Growing, Not Dying

Welcome to my insights, ponderings, and experiences. Hopefully they will enrich you in some small way, or at least make you laugh.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Smart boy

Driving home I was doing a little self-esteem reinforcement with my 8 year old son. "You sure are fantastic. You're great with people, handsome, great personality, getting stronger..."

"Becoming Superman," he interrupts. "I'm practically perfect!"

"Yup. You're smart too," I continue.

"I'm so smart I even have to correct the teacher!"

"Really? How's that," I ask hoping he hasn't done something really rude.

"Well, she gives us problems, like say, Billy has $3.50 and he loans Tom $1. How much does Billy have now? and everyone else says $2.50, but I said, 'No, it's $3.60 cause it's a loan. If you get a loan you have to pay it back plus a dime for every dollar.' Geesh, it was like they didn't know what a loan was! The teacher said I was right too."

He was sitting so tall and proud as I glanced back in the mirror. "That's right. Very clever of you to remember that."

"I know," he responds very matter-of-fact.

After sending him to bed, I shared this with his dad. We laughed with amusement and pride. Dang smart kids.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Inspiration Upon Waking

I awoke and began writing, and continued to write without stopping or editing.

Apologies for the type size. I have tried many times to adjust it and it just seems to want to be over sized.


She swoons, she sways,
Love with all your soul
He shoots, he scores
Follow the champions
A star so bright
Follow your dreams
Live your dreams


Only You
Song of the heart
Find your joy
One world in space
And God in heaven
One life to live
Only you


Believe
Believe in LOVE
Believe in Fairies
Believe in DANCE
Believe in Joy
Believe in LIFE
Believe in death
Believe in forever
Believe in YOU


Sing
Sing to my soul the song of forever
Show me your joy, oh Heavens above
Love of a lifetime pales in compare
Only forever is the worth of my soul
Finding companion to build and create
So hard to track you this mind of clean slate
Seek me also my dear companion
Together perhaps we will sing our sweet song
Bring forth tomorrow where our children belong


Earth
Heavens above-
Heavens below
How shall it come
This planet we grow

How shall we call it
This matter we form
Here in this space
Where this planet is born

Place our dear children
So far from their home
To watch them grow and choose
So hurt and alone

Though cold and hard it may seem
So quickly to pass
Then trials and songs
As my children come back


Try as a child
Succeed as a man
Looking forward to heaven
Dreams of the old
Paradise beyond the here and the now
Finding forever in the touch of your hand


Soul Song
Find me and love me
Hold me forever
Sing of your love to my soul
Hold in your heart
My memory fair
Love me despite me,
My Dear One, I call
Show me your depths
Trust me your soul
Find us together
Forever as one


Backward Belonging
A man to a boy
A girl to a babe
Sand to a stone
Sun to shine
Moon to glow
Frown to face
Bird to song
So one to another
You to I


Do You Love Me?
Do you love me enough to sorrow?
Do you love me enough to try?
Do you love me enough to endure?
I love you enough to die.

Do you love me enough forever?
Do you love me now and today?
Do you love me enough to choose rightly?
Do you love me enough to say?

Can you follow my voice for this moment?
Can you reach for the touch of my hand?
Can you stand with me tomorrow,
So I can hold you Son of Man?



The Devil
Ring the Devil
Tie him in chains
In prayer, in song
All day long
You weaken his power
Shorten his hour
And throw him from the Earth
orig. by Grace Emily


Endure
Endure a bit more longer
Patience as you stand the test
Your time is but short here
A mere dance, a mere breath
So quickly it seems to pass by you
So slowly it goes to me
Like passing amidst thick fog
As wading through the dream


Looking After
Egg in a nest
babe in a crib
Man on the Earth
Heart in the chest

Worth of the souls
Too great to compare
All must be guarded
With the greatest of care

Your Home
Works of gold
Works of art
Nothing so precious
As the human heart
Works of love
Works of light
Bringing the peace
Of heaven's delight

Come seek to enter
Your kingdom to claim
Castles in heaven
*Building your home
Daily your deeds
Lay bricks up above
Your glory forever
Carried on by The Dove

Message to heaven
He wings up your plan
So, in rooms you design
Some day you may stand
Will you love it's glory
Lament it's size
Find peace in it's grandeur
It's shortcomings despise
Only you can determine
The glory you'll have
So choose you so wisely
Actions you take today
Your tomorrow and forevers
determined today


Praise for Being Clean
Has the love of today
Planted seeds of tomorrow
Did you follow true heart
Or will you find sorrow

When living in truth
We never go wrong
When lulled to deceit
How sour the song

Let us sing praise
Of the right and the good
Stand for cleanliness and joy
In this our womanhood


Adam worshiped and adored her as he came to Eve to know her
He set the example and set the seed of pure human desire to share
"Mind and soul, body and heart- making this love with the care of making a work of art"


Pace
For some so fast
For others so slow
How does your life
Seem to flow

How do you spend
Your time so rare
Do you see a friend
Or walls so bare

Time will keep moving
As onward you march
In to forever
Towards the Arch

Under you pass
Too late to turn back
As your life is now over
On a one way track

You can not do over
Pieces you did not like
So choose very wisely
As you place the spike

Building your own rail
To bring you to heaven
Which train will you ride
Look for the seven



Catch It

Inspiration from heaven
Poured out as the rain
Flowing to Earth
Now and Again

No one to listen
No one to hear
Things we would whisper
Within your ear

Grab you a bucket
Find a big pail
Gather the wisdom
For courses to sail

We wish to smooth your journey
Hard pains to avoid
As rougher the seas
**

Time to arise
Begin the new day
So much to do
Kind words to say

Helping another
Giving of me
Only this path
Will bring us glee

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Pleasant Memory

As I drove my son to Cub Scouts tonight "Take My Breath Away" by Berlin (Tog Gun Soundtrack) came on the radio. The world faded away as my mind drifted years into the past, filling my body with a warm flowing sensation like liquid romantic love.

The radio was on, though I didn't hear it. I worked in the kitchen, probably making dinner. My mood was not great and I was absorbed in my thoughts. Jim startled me when he gently but firmly grabbed my hand causing my total attention to shift to him. I intended to protest harshly until my eyes met his. It was mesmerizing, like looking a mile deep into intent love.

Shock overcame me. He took the things out of my hands and placed them on the counter. I just stood there dumbly. He looked deep into my eyes, as if seeing something of great beauty and value deep within my soul. The he gently wrapped his arms around me pulling me to him. It felt as if somehow he had managed to wrap his whole self around me, pulling me into the warmth of his very being so that I no longer felt solidarity of my own physical being.

Then, without speaking, we began to dance.

It was so surreal. It felt like it must be a novel, or a movie, or a dream...and somehow more real than anything I had felt in a long while. There was a longing for it never to end, yet no sense of time. Tears threatened as I wanted to weep at the wonder and tenderness of it. Nothing like this had ever happened before. It was so beautifully overwhelming. Truly, 'took my breath away.'

Time stood still for just a while, long enough to gently burn the memory into every cell of my being. Total peace.

When the song ended he held me a few more moments, cementing the moment into each of us. Upon his gentle release I looked up into his eyes. It was just like a romance novel. You really could swim in them, see forever, and feel totally washed in the warmth of his sincere love.

***

With a wonderful experience like that to take you away, who can blame me for totally ignoring my son's request to change the station?

Friday, January 23, 2009

What to do with siblings during Pinewood Derby!

Of all the things I keep telling myself "I should blog that," this one had to go up because it really could help!

It is with great pride I compliment the leaders and Committee Members of Packs 7 & 17. Last night was our Pinewood Derby and it was a HUGE SUCCESS!

For those who don't know, Pinewood Derby is where little Cub Scouts (7-11yrs old/8-10yrs in LDS groups) make cars out of a block of wood then race each other down a wooden track propelled only by gravity. Most Packs invite the whole family to come watch and cheer for their boy. However, the races can take quite a while depending on how many racers there are and what kind of ranking system is in place. So, what do you do with all the younger brothers and sisters who come along?

The past 3 races in which I had a son, I was only a parent. I spent hours telling little ones, "sit down," "come back here," "don't touch," "just a little while longer," and missing half my son's races. Then my son would come running, "Mom, did you see that?!?" No. I hadn't. Now that I could have a say, I wanted something different, and the great leaders really brought it all to life!

Some of these ideas could be addapted for Space Derby or Raingutter Regatta as well.

There were 2 things we did that helped:
1) For snacks we did "Twinkie cars." During weigh-in all the kids went to the "Fast Food" place and built Twinkie cars using icing to glue on gummy wheels and decorate. We had 3 different colors in bags with just the tip snipped so they could only get a little at a time. We put their name on their plate then set them aside "for display." They got to eat them after the last race while we were filling out certificates and preparing awards. You could make yours as fancy as you would like. Do make sure to keep at least 1 or 2 adults at the table to help out.

2) We also had a "Little Racers" corner. It had a coloring table with cub scout pages, race cars, and little "flags" to decorate. The coloring pages were from the internet. The flags were just plain paper cut diagonally to create triangles taped to sticks or straws. You could also provide tape and a wall for them to post their pictures if you wanted. This might encourage greater production if you needed to fill more time. Then, we used masking tape to make lanes and a circular track on the gym floor. We had bigger toddler type plastic cars as well as hot wheels for the kids to play with. There was also a younger kid board game at a round table, like 6-8 yr old game. This area was mostly just free play, letting the kids move about doing what they wanted. A few parents kind of kept an eye on things.

We got tons of compliments. Parents loved getting to relax & enjoy the races without having to keep siblings under such tight control. Even the scouts loved it. They would occasionally run to the play corner too.

Another thing that helped a lot was breaking up the action some. After about 20-30 mintues of racing, the Cub Master would have everyone stand and stretch or one of the Dens would do a little skit. It really helped things from getting too monotonous. We tried to do a wave, but failed, though you might have a more agreeable crowd.

We highly reccommend "roping off" at least 3/4 around the track. This also helps keep little ones back and reminds absent-minded adults to walk around. Nothing breaks up the action like someone tripping and breaking the track!

Good luck at the races!

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Tuesday, January 06, 2009

My Aspie Son- My Challenge, My Gift

Recent educational concerns and inquieries from friends have led to me posting about my son with Aspergers. He's a different duck so socialization and formal education are difficult for him in many ways. They just aren't intuitive to his nature. He has been in public school. Though his teachers and supporting staff have been very understanding and great about including him, it has been no picnic nor the ideal solution. We continued to look for better answers.

In the school district we are in now, 6th grade is part of middle school. By the end of last year it was clear to me there was no way my son was going to be ready for middle school in another year of the same system. However, pulling him out of it would only make the shock worse when he started again. We decided the best solution at this time, his 5th grade year, for us was dual enrollment. He goes to "regular school" for a few subjects and learns the rest with "at home schooling." As you can imagine this has created interesting challanges all around. The schedule has been.....active. His teacher is great though, doing her best to include him and be thoughtful of my running back and forth.

Though he has shown marked progress in many areas, even our schooling at home provides many problems. Distractibility and frustration continue to be obstacles. I posted about my frustration on Facebook. A dear friend replied they experienced similar problems until they found their unique groove. In her comment she said the one thing they found that did not work was "public school at home." I realised that was exactly what we are doing. I had no concept there was another way, so I began researching things like deschooling, unschooling, project-based learning and inquiry directed learning. I am intruiged by all the new possibilities out there.

in my quest I ran across this article :

Overcoming Autism: Public Schools Deal with a Growing Problem

As the number of special needs students soar, public schools grapple with ways to offer quality education without going broke.
by Fran Smith


All this reading I have been doing, searching for answers, for the right way. The comments that followed the article, even more than the article itself, reminded me that I am not the only one in this struggle. In fact, it's a struggle for more than just the parents of all the special kids. It is a struggle for the underpaid, overworked, unappreciated educaters, administartos and staff as well. It is a struggle for the other parents and other children in these schools who are trying to learn to be accepting, socially responsible, kind and just plain get their education too. It is a struggle for all the people who don't teach or have kids in school but still pay the taxes to fund the programs. It's a real challange for the legislators who see education needs more money, want to give it more money, but have nothing more to give becasue they are alreay paying for other needed programs too- like roads to drive all those kids to school, security so they have the freedom to go to school, and health care so those kids' parents incomes won't have to have more taken out to care for the wonderful people who raised them.

All this thinking caused me to post a comment to that story, a comment that is part of my own private story. I choose to share it here as well that perhaps someone searching for help, answers and hope might find some caring and light in it. Perhaps someone might feel a little less alone and a little more like everything can work out.


This article and thread are old, but perhaps my comments may still help others. For years I thought as many other parents without special kids, that these kids should be in other programs - not distracting my kids, or that they could be disciplined out of it. I continued to live in this denial even after my first son was obviously not the same as other kids. I kept thinking I could teach him to fit, force him to 'get it.'

After dozens of phone calls, over a year and a half, about behavioral concerns at school we had to go in for "another meeting." Going in I was ready to fight for him. Feeling the people in the room cared, I listened. That was the first time I got a clear picture of what life was like for my son. The educators around him did care, but had no training and many other kids to think of as well. My son's desk was back in a corner with tape on the floor marking off the area where he had to stay and the other kids had to stay out. He was treated as a leper of old. He had no friends at all, was teased, hurt and made fun of and didn't know why. Though his IQ was higher than any other kid in his grade, he was made to feel stupid because he couldn't clearly write out his thoughts. With the help of the school we learned about Aspergers and were put in touch with resources to help us. I was grateful for the school's help, and understood their limited resources. Together we worked to try to make things better with "simple solutions." He was allowed 'busy toys' at his desk to occupy his hands, permission to go to the office if became too emotionally overwhelmed, and other simple things that did not require extra effort on the teacher's part.

Over the years we have found taking an understanding proactive role with his teachers to be very helpful. Go in assuming they want to give your child the best education they can. They are probably untrained and each kid is unique in how their behavior manifests their quirks anyway. The teachers, staff, and administration would probably LOVE to give your kid every program, resource and advantage under the sun. However, they are underpaid, underfunded and usually getting abused both by the parents they serve and the district above them.

Meet with the teacher, counselor and principal, before school even starts if you can. Let them know you understand their burden and you want to work with them, not make their job harder. Present strategies that have worked with your kid before and display your willingness to work with them. Be very open and active in your communication, but in a way that is considerate of the teacher's time. Ask your teacher to be willing to try things, "as long as it doesn't disturb the other childrens' learning environment." Thank your teacher and staff often for caring about your child, even for minor concessions.

We are fortunate enough this year to have a very innovative teacher. Sitting still and listening for long periods is really hard for our son. His teacher had the class draw up agreements which include such things like it's okay to take your shoes off in class if they are slip ons, water bottles at desks, moving about the classroom during seat work time and standing during instruction- all with the condition that it respects the learning environment of the class. The goal was to include our son and allow him his uniquness. The side effect was a classroom of young people who felt empowered and have displayed increased sense of responsibility over the course of the school year. Everyone benefited. My experience has been when we open our hearts and are willing to expand our thinking to work together for the benefit of all involved, the special kid, the teacher, parents, staff, and the other children in the class, everyone truly does benefit.


Would I change my son? There was a time I would have said 'yes.' I would have paid any price if someone could "cure him." Now I understand he doesn't have an illness or a mental disability. he isn't broken in any fashion. He is wired to see the world differntly, that's all. Having understanding adults in his life and meeting other kids "like him" has helped him to cope and grow tremendously. Still, I have learned it is not my son that needs to change. Rather these kids are coming into the world at this time in increasing numbers because the world needs to change. It will take the best in each of us to understand them and support them. That alone will make us better people, which growth is a gift to prepare us for the better world they are here to create.

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Friday, January 02, 2009

Sometimes. . . .

I don't like me very much.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Slap Me

The sharp slap of forceful skin on skin contact shot into the room. Quicker than thunder follows lightning came the screech of a preschooler in pain. Dropping her laundry the mother ran to the dining table where, just minutes before, she had left her two young daughters eating their lunch peacefully. With a quickness only experience brings, she took in the scene. Screaming and red-cheeked 4 year old crying while 3 year old sister sat looking very sheepish and sorry.

"What happened," the mother asked rather exasperated.

Blubbering the older girl pointed at her sister, "She hit me!"

Desperate to defend herself the toddler responded, "She said, 'Slap me!'"

The older daughter screamed her words, heavy with anger and accusation, "I didn't mean across the face!"


****

That little indigent 4 yr old with the stinging cheek was me. I had been choking on a bite of food. Since my mom often patted me on the back when that happened I had asked my sister to "slap me," wanting that pat on the back. My little sister honored my request with gusto, as she understood it. Because my request was unclear, I did not get what I really wanted or expected. Rather I learned a painful lesson.

I do believe my requests to life have been likewise unclear as of late, and it is answering with the same gusto my sister gave, leaving the results feeling uncomfortably familiar.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Family Means....

Mom: "If you're talking you are not brushing!" (teeth brushing time)
"How many times do I have to ask you.....?"
"Could you please just do it the first time you are asked?"
"Is your chores/school work/bed/etc. done?"
"And if all your friends were jumping off a bridge would you be begging to do that too?"
"Does that really strike you as a good idea?"
"Well, where did you put it last?"
"Did you look (insert wherever lost thing is suppose to be put away at)? Imagine that. I wonder how it got there."


J 10 yrs old: "And Guess what. and guess what. and guess what."


T 7 yrs old: "What does _____mean? What does that mean? What do you mean?"


E 5 yrs old: "Why does he/she/they always get to? That's not FAIR!"


S 4 yrs old: "How long till ____? How many days is that? Can you show me on your fingers?"
"Is it afternoon/lunch time/playtime/preschool time/etc. yet?!?"

Though when she was 2 and 3 it was simply "again again!!"

As the Dad:

"What did your Mother say?"

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Remembering 9/11

Yesterday I was in a business transaction and the guy wrote the date down incorrectly as the 10th. I simply said, "It's the 11th." He commented he'd been getting it wrong all day. I was a little surprised. It has been 7 years, but I still thought it should ring a bell. Even the small pub out in the countryside I visited in Ireland had a plaque about it.

It did get me thinking though. The popular phrase is "Never forget." Yes, I do think we should remember and honor those who served and gave or lost their lives that day, but it does, or should, raise the question of what is the best way to honor those people.

Is this "war" really the best way? I am in no way opposed to protecting our borders or to the wonderful selfless people who serve in our military. But is there still such a threat that we need to have babies born with daddies thousands of miles away? Children growing up with one of their parents away for months at a time? Do these men and women need to be going on drills and watching movies instead of going to their kids activities and watching them grow?

Was it needed for us to go in the first place? I have no idea. I do know after 7 years the message should be delivered we went to give. After I have punished and lectured my kid, I don't keep on it for weeks on end. It gets old for both of us and stops serving any useful purpose. It looses meaning.

If I had died in that tower, or lost a loved one I would not want my memorial to be more families suffering division and loss. I would want it to be families being strengthened. Daddies playing ball in the yard cherishing the time they have with their kids, estranged friends or loved ones calling each other just to check in, not just for a few days or weeks, but as a change in lifestyle.

Couldn't we have a pro-connection campaign instead of a terrorism campaign? Instead of "homeland security" tightening, what if we, as a country, tried a "home security" policy where we tried to make our own children feel loved and secure in their own family? What if instead of pouring more money into tools of war and training more soldiers we spent just 1% of that on community parenting classes or free family day at area zoos and museums across the nation? There are many great organization working to help single parents, broken homes, low-income, high-risk, African-American males, single mothers, inner-city kids, teen abstinence and self-esteem most of which are way underfunded, under publicized and overworked. Could we start by giving them a hand?

This has gotten a little more "soap boxish" than I had intended to. I simply would like to put forth some questions and ideas. Maybe adding my one little voice to those out there will help create more positive ideas that will result in more peaceful constructive solutions. We all want what is best for our families, our country and our world. Maybe it's time to re-evaluate what that "best" looks like.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Devotion

Recently a word caught my attention, one I had never really considered previously.

Devotion.

Many of us have preconceived ideas around words. Different emotions arise, images, experiences. For the purpose of clearer communication, let us start off with a common understanding.

de·vo·tion

1.profound dedication; consecration.
2. earnest attachment to a cause, person, etc.
3. an assignment or appropriation to any purpose, cause, etc.: the devotion of one's wealth and time to scientific advancement.

Devotion speaks of commitment, but more than a mere loyalty. It is a tie, a binding. It implies deep feelings. When those feelings are affection, admiration, and a sincere desire to see the other person succeed in a relationship you have the base ingredients for a more than stellar relationship.

Now I'm not talking about that song from Grease where she's "Hopelessly Devoted," or some misplaced attachment stalker thing. Let's be clear. For those 'out of this world', 50+ years and still look like newly wed kind of relationships both people have to be devoted. You see commitment stays because it has to. Devotion stays because it can't imagine any other way of life! Joy and happiness are here now. Devotion wants to be here. Loyalty and honor are great, but devotion implies hope. It knows there is more. More what? Joy? Happiness? Love? All of the above!

When one person is devoted, you have hope. When both are devoted, you have heaven on Earth. Why? Because devotion is willing to work, to progress, even change. Devotion is often used in religious or spiritual context. Religion is suppose to be about spiritual change, becoming, drawing nearer to- whether that be nearer God, or Source, or just 'the other side' it is about moving. That is what marriage was designed to be. The progress of two people working together, encouraging each other to become better people drawing nearer to each other and nearer to a higher purpose.

It has recently become clearer to me that this is what our society has been lacking. Devotion to one another. Our divorce rate is epidemic. Children are left questioning and insecure. Hearts are broken, hope wanes and good people walk away feeling like failures because they didn't even know what was missing. They had love, but somewhere it just kind of died out. There was no true devotion

Devotion stands firm in the ebb and flow of infatuation, hard times, passion, fun, luck, play, work, and just plain life. It does not give up, on the other person, the possibilities, or hope. When one is devoted they are willing to seek change, not in compromising who they are or their values, but in enriching the relationship. If that means seeking help or education, encouraging a new hobby in their spouse, finding things to do together, becoming creative. Whatever it is, devotion tries it.

If who you believed to be God appeared to you in a way you found absolutely undeniable, told you everything you ever wanted was possible and asked you to preform a task for Him(her/it/whatever,) wouldn't you do whatever was needed to complete that task? What if it involved knowledge you did not have? Skills you didn't know? What if you plain didn't know how to begin? Would you ask someone who may have the knowledge you need? Perhaps someone whose done it? Let's pretend no one has ever done whatever this thing is before, like Noah building the huge old ark and sticking hundreds of animals on it. Could you begin? Could you take a first step? Could you do one small thing today to at least begin to walk that path?

What can you do today to make your relationship a little bit better than yesterday?

Devotion. Think about it.