I've been subbing....a lot. Still trying to decide if I want to jump into the special ed thing. Those jobs are certainly in high need.
I was in one room with a couple of autistic kiddos. I had a sweater on and was hot, so I took it off. I had a short sleeved shirt on. One of the little boys started rubbing my upper arm. "Smooooth..." he said. I was so pleased with myself. "..and JIGGLY!" he gleefully added.
Another little boy, labeled emotionally disturbed....CUTE CUTE CUTE kid!! I can't stand it, he is so cute! Did I mention he's cute?? Big, brown doe-eyes. Round chubby cheeks. He got upset at something and started in with the Damien face...evil eyes, furrowed brow, clenched jaw and fists, heavy, labored breathing. He came up to me....darn close...inches from my own angelic face. ;-) I reached over with my index finger, tapped the tip of his nose gently and said, "Boop!" Totally diffused him. I'm pretty sure that technique isn't in the books....
Another autistic boy, 5th grade. Has made wonderful strides. One day in class, just would not write what he was supposed to in his class notebook. I tried all the little ways, the polite ways, the non-confrontative ways to entice him to success. He simply wouldn't write. He is high functioning and knew fully what to do. I finally leaned over to him and hissed in his ear, "JUUUUST DOOO IIIIT...NOW!" I'll be darned. The 50's parenting technique works on others' children, too! I'll remember more. They just crack me up.
I've lost track of time. I have one more day off, then back at it. Nice week in all. Thanksgiving at my dad's. (We took food up to his place) Decorated a little tree for him and my step mom.
Actually got nearly half way through a book! The Visitation by Frank Peretti. I'm laboring through it a bit. He usually has way too many characters, it's a bit long...and I have a hard time keeping up if I'm not reading every day. But, getting halfway through a novel is, well, novel for me.
I enjoy the FB experience, it's still just a little...either too much or too little. Kind of cyber voyeurism. It's an amazing little invention. Sometimes I think about shutting it down, kind of like what we all go through with blogging. We do that when we feel a little too vulnerable, the too "glass-housey" feeling.
I seem to be spending a lot of time alone lately, which seems to suit me. I have 2 new doggies to spend time with. They are very sweet, and I'll be adding pictures soon. We went out to look at the Husky Shepherd mix (like we were just gonna 'look') and ended up taking her and a chocolate lab puppy (8 months now). They said he was a mix. I just don't see it. He is so much like a chocolate male Gracie, it's unreal. He even responds to commands that I inadvertedly say that only she knew. He's tall and slim and sweet. I didn't want a Husky, a German Shepherd, a male, nor a lab. I got 'em all. The Husky was a bit of a challenge--she thought she was the Alpha dog....we set that straight....but she is turning into such a sweet girl. Walking was the problem, but that's better. Anyway, they are good company, and very loving.
Do you ever just need to be by yourself? I guess Jesus needed that, why wouldn't we? I've been spending the time thinking about being well. Getting massages that are breaking up some connective tissue issues; reading; walking. Time of reflection?
My neighbor and I had a run in again. I saw him in my yard and driveway blowing his tree's fallen leaves back over to his yard. I had a cup of coffee in my hand and felt the HS leading me to talk to him. I went over to him (he was back in his yard) and said hi. I smiled and told him not to bother with the leaves...they weren't bothering us...it's fall, after all, and it is a beautiful tree. He stared at me and said, "Why are you all up in my business? Why are you here?"
So much for following that HS lead..... :-/
I hope you have an awesome week! I'm going to visit your blogs, now!
I'm in a snarky mood today. Seeing selfishness, judgment, meanness, mockery, entitlement. All very ugly. Some personal problems that are very painful.
I lost my minister that I would be calling right about now. He would call me in similar circumstances. Ironic that we saw each other very little. Phone was our communication. Just hearing his voice on the other end brought me a little closer to hearing God's words to me. Mike had one foot (or more) in the spiritual world. I miss him keenly.
Husband's work is way affected by the economy right now. Their customers are waiting on Obama money and are not purchasing. This is so indicative of what happens when the government steps in. Thomas Sowell, in "Vision of the Anointed" gives statistical fact about what happens to a society when the government intervenes. It simply creates more neediness and poverty. We will be taking a salary hit in December. All employees are required to take unpaid vacation in December. They are employing these methods to avoid any layoffs.
Although I'm not supposed to be working full-time, I've been subbing full time to offset salary cuts, and am going to apply for certification to teach. I'll be working toward a Special Ed certification since those jobs are hard to fill. My doctor is not pleased, but it's about all I can do now to help rebuild our retirement and anticipate tax increases thanks to Mr. Obama.
Art is very sketchy now. Punny. No one wants to pay a reasonable rate for murals. I had one woman, who lives very nicely in a very large house, offer me $75 to paint a small mural in her kitchen. That's okay, they exhaust me anyhow. Takes me 3 days to rest up now, after painting a large one.
This has been a season of losses, of illness, of frustration and alone-ness. I'm feeling spiritually bereft. Can you tell? ;-)
I'm posting his name.....Michael Stephen Dunn. My friend and brother in Christ. Sometimes people come into your life that change the way you think about life, God, living, ministering. Mike did that for me and for many others....some who may not even know that the man was praying for them. Mike passed away today from struggling with the effects of chemo on his body. He is finally where he has always wanted to be....in the arms of our Creator.
I am such a FB addict now. It's like cyber-voyeurism. Catch a glimpse of everyone's day. Will anyone comment on my status, or comment on a comment on a comment (or how much I wish I hadn't liked your status because I have 80 notifications about it)?
I need to get back to blogging. It's the deeper stuff I need. I always sort of scoffed at journals and such...we were forced to journal in jr. high and high school. I'm not the sort who likes to be forced to do anything.
Blogging is journaling by choice, and I need to journal more.
I need to read your thoughts...the ones that you haven't just typed in while waiting for an appointment or a coffee. Those are important...but it's the more orchestrated ones that intrigue me the most.
A resounding theme with folks who are ill is numbers. Blood counts, percentages, antibody levels, kidney function. We all hold our breath to see the "numbers." I've seen, through the work of the Lord, that these numbers don't always mean much. We're told Gracie has had 5% kidney function for some time now. I cannot accept that, and we don't accept it, nor receive it. How in the world could an animal, or a human, run like a maniac on 5% kidney function? True, she may drop dead running. That wouldn't be a bad thing, going while doing what you love, now, would it? Numbers aren't all they are cracked up to be...or at least some of them. You may find this next story a little TMI, but that's okay. For a week, every morning at 3:16 I kept waking up to, well, you know...go to the bathroom. Every time I'd look at the clock, it was 3:16. I even had a dream that I had to be somewhere at 3:16. It was seriously driving me crazy. Finally, exasperated, I just asked. "LORD!!! What are you trying to tell me by sending me to the John at 3:16?!?" Oh. John 3:16 He has a sense of humor. He has to. He made ME. The Concordant Literal NT: "For thus God loves the world, so that He gives His only-begotten Son, that every believing in Him should no be perishing (middle voice) but may be having life eonian." I know that is a slightly different verse than you are used to, but it makes perfect sense to me, with my universalist leanings. It also yells hope and promise all over the place for the people I worry about. I don't know if it speaks to you; I hope it does. Some numbers matter.
This is long. If you don't feel like wading through, at least read the last paragraph and verse. ;-)
I've been absent here...Facebook draws attention and addiction, but I want to put things here that I'm feeling...stuff that I don't want on FB. It has its merit, but sometimes we forget who all is reading that....that happens here, too, but I've kept my blog a bit of a secret to some friends and family.
This has been a roller-coaster season for me. I've been angry. I've been depressed. I've been frustrated. I've been joyful. I've been at utter peace and in utter desperation. Missy has been reporting on her journey with auto-immune disease. It makes me mad that she is going through this and brings back my journey of 20 some years ago when it officially began. I have several friends struggling so mightily that it makes me beyond pissed off. Robert's dealing with his heart issues--so unfair that a man with such a good heart is struggling with that physical heart. I have friends with cancer. My brother and stepmom's neurological diseases are progressing--Jill at Altered with ALS, KB and wife Ann struggling. We learn so much from these struggles; everyone has a journey, but now at my age, it begins to create more fear and anger. I'm supposed to be a mature spiritual person, and these things aren't supposed to phase me as much anymore, right? It seems I am able to handle them less.
Struggling on a day to day basis with my best furry friend has been heartbreaking, exhilarating, and frustrating all in one. Some folks won't understand the caring so much for a dog, but this one is special to me because she has changed my life. It's so unfair to watch her spirit, her life, her happiness, knowing that vital organs are failing, and yet be blessed that she is doing so well. She doesn't want to eat kidney diet food, so I have to prepare special stuff for her. When she turns her nose up at stuff I've labored over, it really gets me. A lot of people wouldn't even do this for their pets. I just can't give up for now. I had guilt over missed symptoms, but I think I've been relieved of that, believing that God has big plans for us all, in all circumstances. Women get bent out of shape when loved ones won't eat, don't you think? My guys say, "She's not hungry, forget it." Dogs are ALWAYS hungry. She wants to eat what she wants to eat, so that's where we are. Quality of life over quantity. Women, when someone dies or is sick, cook. We are life-bringers. Food=life. That's what we do.
I've never been on so much medication in my life. My lupus has flared, and I'm on a bunch of stuff I would never have touched before. Supplements, too. Only 2 medications pictured here are essential to my survival...my thyroid meds. The rest are treating symptoms of pain, fatigue, and depression. I take them with an open mind and a prayer that it is only for a short time. I am so tired, I fall asleep when I sit for any length of time.
Yet, still, if you've read this far, I have hope. Not Obama hope, mind you. ;-) I've applied for a full time job that may open up in the next few weeks at the school that I love. It's not available yet, but God will figure all that out. I'm still a sub. I've worked on murals through this lupus season. I keep yelling at God, and He sticks with me no matter what.
The other day I was filling up my car with gas and I looked around at all the people wandering around without talking to each other. The TV show, "Joan of Arcadia" came to mind....God talks to Joan through other people, stepping into them to give her a word, a scolding, etc. I actually started berating God under my breath..."What's all this about, huh? What's with all the suffering?! Why are you letting good people hurt? Why can't you send one of these people over to give me a WORD....SOMETHING, ANYTHING from you that can soften this anger I have?! I don't want to be angry with You!" Nothing. I finished filling up and paying and went on my way. I needed to pick up some stuff from the vet, so walked in and it was empty except for a woman with a young, black mixed-breed dog. The dog's face was battle-scarred. White, furless, lines showed through the short black fur on her face. Scars showed up over her body. Yet, for whatever she had been through, she ambled over to me when I sat down. She put her paws on my knees, then reached a paw up to my face. I leaned over, placing my hands on her, softly petting her. She gave me sweet doggie kisses. Her owner came over and sat. I said, "What a sweet girl you have. What is her name?" The woman responded, "Grace." Ask and receive. :-)
Matthew 11:28-30 (New International Version) 28"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
It's been a while. Lots of stuff going on. Dog is still here. She is an amazing Grace. Not only here, but happy and energetic. They are amazed. I don't know how long this will be, but I hope there is no suffering for her. I'm going to get to all of your blogs this weekend! I must catch up. It's been too long, you've all been in my thoughts and prayers. I love that some of you are on Facebook. If you are and I don't know it, let me know. Have a wonderful weekend. Stay cool, for all of you in the Northern Hemisphere!
Just back from the vet for acupuncture for Gracie; we haven't checked her kidney numbers in a couple of weeks--decided that she's feeling good, eating, playing, etc., and there's not anything more we can do for her than we're already doing. I've got her routine down pretty good. Dr. says it appears she isn't in any pain, etc., and I think that's true because she knocks me over in the morning to get outside to play. I think they are surprised. We are really blessed! Thanking God, and thank you so much for prayers and good thoughts! I have no idea when or how things will happen (who does about anything?), which has been a valuable lesson through all of this. We are learning to take things a day at a time. Or, at least, still trying.
Things I've learned from Gracie:
Greet the new day with anticipation. Play whenever you can. Greet everyone as a friend. Forgive. Look at the same old things as if they're new. Nap when possible. Get some sun. Listen Walk. A lot. Live in the moment. Live with joy.
I went into a class yesterday morning to pull out a couple of special needs kids; the class is Hispanic, but all the kids speak English very well. These are some of the kids that I adore. I subbed for that teacher for a week and brought home all kinds of handmade and hand-picked flowers, rocks, and paper dolls, given as gifts to me. That'll rock your world. These are some of the kids that mob-hug me. I was subbing in PE and 12 of them rushed me. Thank God they were all around me or they'd have taken me down! About 600 pounds of kid smacking into me yelling, "MS D!!!" I love it, of course. Anyway, as I was in the class about 4 of them ran up to hug me, and the teacher pulled me aside and told me that the folks that run a not-to-be named organization from the local hotel behemoth come into the classrooms to conduct little seminars for the kids. She said they asked the teacher if, before they came, she could tell the kids not to hug them. You know...Hispanic kids, swine flu, etc. The teacher said, "How was I supposed to tell these kids not to hug? What should I say?" I asked, "What DID you do?" She laughed and said she gathered the kids around and told them, "Class, the nice ladies that come to school today are from a hotel. Sometimes, since there are all kinds of people from all over in hotels, they could be carrying certain viruses or 'bugs.' I don't want you to get sick, so when they come, it's probably better not to hug them!" She said the kids all got wide-eyed and said, "OK!" HA HA!! When the ladies came, the kids sat at their seats and waved sweetly. When they left, they waved sweetly good-bye. And the "ladies" never knew that THEY were the verboten ones!
..That's what Gracie is teaching me (with our Dad at the helm, of course). She's had good days, and we're heading off to the vet in a little bit to check her blood. She'll get some acupuncture, too. Last week it jazzed her up, and it made us both feel better. The lesson here is really that we're only promised this day. Gracie wakes up with a smile on her face and is still rarin' to go. Skinny girl, but eats enough to chase the ball and squirrels.
Robert is heading to Iraq. His wife sent me the send-off pictures from Ft. Hood and those made me cry. 12 to 16 months. I worry about him, and will just have to put him in God's hands.
Like just about everything else, right?
This song from Downhere has comforted me these days:
Yes, Marc Martel sounds (and looks) a lot like Freddie Mercury as evidenced by this little number he did for a church that had a message based on Bohemian Rhapsody. Incredible:
My sweet and beautiful lab, Gracie, has kidneys that are failing. The vet hasn't given up on her yet, and we will take her one more day tomorrow for IV fluids. I beat myself up because I should have seen signs (that really weren't there) and been more vigilant. I have had her on a strict kidney diet and she gets lots of love, play, and exercise. All she exhibited was pickiness in food, not wanting to eat her kidney diet food; but would happily eat anything else. But, we knew she had kidney problems from birth and they had given her about a year to live. She's 5 and a half now. I am struggling so hard. This beauty saved my life.....but I don't think I can save hers.
Well, my chiropractor never got back with me...and I haven't called him back. I don't want to mess with someone who is not committed, you know what I mean? I'm taking all the steps that I knew he'd prescribe anyway, except I'm not close to giving up chicken or fish. I've been juicing every day. Connie is too, and we can bounce recipes back and forth...I pretty much stick to an anti-inflammatory recipe with ginger for arthritis. I also drink Pau d'arco tea with....100% organic catnip added. You heard me. I'm tellin' you, it is a safe and relaxing herb--unless I am allergic to it. So far, so good. I researched it mahself. Pain relief without the side effects...and my hands are feeling normal. I've also lost about 5 pounds. I walk a mile a day. I'm cleaning up my stinkin' thinkin' and looking forward, and laughing when it's hard to physically move forward. So much to be grateful for, so many blessings. Gives me energy to be praying for my stepmom, brother, Ann, Bob, Barbara, Keven, Paige and hubby, and all of you who mean so much to me.
Here's my boy, and his proud dad looking on during a visit a couple weeks ago. Robert's grandmother passed away this week, so it's been rough on all of them. Robert ships out on the 15th of April to Iraq. I'm pretty much not happy about that.
Man. So much suffering. Friends losing family. Friends losing jobs, but not bills. Friends having family troubles. Companies downsizing and closing plants. Friends who are sick and suffering. Running a prayer ministry is a blessing, yet can be difficult.
Does anyone have some good news to report? I'd really like to hear some good news.
I caught Joyce Meyer this morning. I have an afternoon gig at a school, but woke up a little later than usual (6 a.m.) and thought: Hmmm. Need to listen to Joyce this morning. She talked about peace. My life has been filled with much more peace since my last health scare. A little over a year ago, a chest xray showed a spot on my lung. 25 years ago, my lungs were filled with calcification from living with a smoker and a bout of bronchitis every year that I was at my folk's home. I nearly passed out when the doctor showed me my chest xray. 25 year old woman with lungs that looked like that. Add to it that my mom died of lung cancer 10 years after she quit smoking and you have the makings of a pot full 'o fear. As I was working on a mural a year ago, waiting for my appointment for a CT scan (they always make you wait at least a week, right?) my anxiety level was through the roof.
Slapping paint on a 2000 sq ft. mural, I could feel the fear rising. I was trying to concentrate on my work and ignore the fear. Finally, I got desperate and put my brush down. I got on my knees that day...nice, too, that it was a church I was working in....and pleaded with Father. I asked him to PLEASE, whatever was going to happen, I didn't care...but to PLEASE just give me peace about it! No more anxiety! If I was to live, please let me live on a day to day basis, not fearing the future. If I was to die, please let me live on a day to day basis, not fearing the future. I suddenly realized that I was praying for the same thing, either way, and the outcome made no difference; it was the peace of each day that mattered. A friend in the church, a man who ministers to prison inmates and battles his own demons staying sober and fighting Hep C came by later and told me my CT scan would be clean.
Something happened that day. The colors of everything became brighter. I noticed miniscule stuff. Tiny details. "Look at the shape of those leaves! Isn't that amazing? And they are so GREEN in January! Can you believe that?! See the little orange dots on there. Amazing!!" My family probably thought I was nuts.
I was a tad nervous on my CT day, but not crazily. I prayed in the spirit the night before and felt a healing occur. My CT scan was clean; nothing was remarkable. No calcifications mentioned.
So, when listening to Joyce talk about peace, I was reminded of that and even further back. My mom had become disgruntled with our church when the pastor had an affair with a member, and we stopped going. For some reason, though, she signed me up for vacation Bible school when I was still in elementary school. Yep, it was offered through the school, can you believe that? I had no idea what it was all about, but I remember packing a little sack lunch and going off to this place every day for a week. It was magical. We talked about stuff we never talked about in school--or at home. The teacher told us about God, and Jesus, and I was....intrigued and amazed. We walked out of the school one day and sat on the hill outside the school and ate our lunches as she talked more about God. It was summer in Iowa, but it was a breezy day. I still remember that one day, on the hill, being fed inside and out and hearing the Word of God. The cool breezes were tempering the hot sun and....life stood still. Just that place, that day, that moment...I existed, aware of He and I, together. The Now of being....The Stillness of knowing He is God. The peace.
I remember that day more than any other day of my childhood and it never really occured to me that it was the beginning of who I became in the Lord, that He has made a few standout days in particular for me to know that He is there. To remember those days reminds me to remember the importance of ONE day. EACH day. To sit on a heavenly hill and just BE, in His stillness. To rest in His arms, like a child.
I got my bloodwork back last week. It looks better than it has in a long time, so I was wondering why I feel so bad. ANA has been 1:1200 for the last year and a half, which is way, way high...last one was 1:160. Much better. Low inflammation. My joints are worse, even, than my tissue pain. My wrists keep giving out. I've been exercising more, and my feet hurt. I thought, I'm not sure 20 more years of this is worth it.
It's been kind of depressing. I've upped many supplements and my energy has improved immensely, hence the exercise--which could be the pain cause. I've had to restrain a kid a couple of times, and had no problem during or after...but suddenly something changed.
I decided to go to the chiropractor this afternoon and work my way through doctors. I didn't plan on saying much...he's a great chiro and all, but never really impressed with me much. Except today. He told me he'd been at a conference about autoimmune processes and wondered if I'd like to be a guinea pig....just his cost for the supplements. Anyway, long story short...EVERYTHING he told me lined up with my inner voice telling me what I needed to do--today I have just had liquid smoothies and a veggie soup that I concocted. He tested me for allergies and, amazingly, I'm not allergic to things that I used to be allergic to. 30 day trial and not a lot of cost.
I had prayed this morning for SOMETHING, ANYBODY to listen and help me out here.
I watched Jane Austen's Emma the other night. I love both versions: one with Gwyneth and one with Kate. The story is so sweet. I couldn't help but stare when I saw Emma and Harriet Smith talking, taking tea together, nearly knee to knee. Hardly ever do we meet over tea; knee to knee; face to face, to catch up on all the news. We meet for coffee in shops; we meet for dinner in restaurants; we email; we Facebook; we Myspace, we text. In Emma's day, face to face was the only way---save for letters hand-delivered---to communicate. They savored every moment of someone coming to visit. Things were tidy (cuz the "help" did it!) and upon the arrival, everyone straightened up to look as if they hadn't a care in the world when the visitors were announced. Then the visiting began and the focus was on each other, on each other's face and words. I see my friend Connie very infrequently even though we talk on the phone every day. It was as if God heard my yearning at watching Emma. Connie called me up and said she was coming over to bring me some books to read--and I put the kettle on. It was a sweet visit; hugging in the flesh, face to face. Gracie adores her, and they made over each other grandly (we had to roll the hairy effects of the loving off of Connie's lovely outfit!) It was the most peaceful part of my day. Matchmaking aside, Emma knew what she was doing.
Well, I may not know where I'm heading, but I'll tell ya one thing. Going back to substitute teach at my favorite school after Christmas break and getting mob-hugged by about 30 little kids is just about the bestest thing in the whole wide world.
Matthew 10:14 If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town. I've always liked this verse. It's sort of a second chance (and isn't our big Daddy the God of second chances?) and speaks to me of moving on, unhindered. A pastor friend of mine did a live-stream message last week about moving on in 2009. He referenced that passage and put a new light onto it. We see this as shaking the dust off so we can forget what has not been received and move on. How about shaking the stuff off so we don't drag the old garbage to the new place? Ho ho! That's interesting! How much of our old junk do we haul around on our "shoes?" Some of it, I think, we'll really need to scrape off! Let's move on into 2009 and try not to take a bunch of baggage with us. Let's forgive and forget--perhaps even farther back from 2008! Let's take ownership of what we actually own and let go of what we don't. We can only handle so much. Embrace the new. Let go of the old. What are some things you need to let go? I'm thinking my list is pretty long!
Hmmmm. Maybe it'll get better. Robert and wife, after actually living together for a month or so as a family, married over a year,(along with several other issues) have decided to call it quits. None of us are happy about this, of course, because Michael is at the top of our concerns. However, the kids are looking out for his best interests (so are we all!) and staying in the same town; both will be financially sound as Bob's wife is in the police academy there. She'll be a good officer. Bob is headed to Afghanistan in a couple of months. No stress there. Please pray for them, and the little one especially.