Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Crisis of Christianity . . .

I was hunting for something is morning in my archives and found this . . . I liked it so I thought I'd share it again . . . it was originally posted November 13, 2008.

Here's what I have been pondering all day. I read an blog post by a woman talking about losing her religion. She is the mother of a child with special needs and she said she prayed for a sign while her child was going through a very difficult time and may lose her life and she didn't find the sign. She went on to say how her child survived and has since thrived. I commented that even though it happened some time down the road and even after some very difficult months, maybe that was the sign. . .

What I have been thinking about since is how I view my own relationship with God and how we as Americans expect our God to behave. I know for myself I pray for things whether it be healing, clarity or closure and I expect an answer to fall out of the sky. . . right now . . . while I'm waiting, with a tag attached to it. I think it comes from our ready made and drive-thru society. For goodness sake we don't even have to peel carrots or cut and clean celery after bringing them home from the store. We can buy pre-made mashed potatoes and already cooked pot roast, why should I have to wait for God to tend to my needs? God works in his own timing. It may be in years that I can look back and find that everything worked as it should.

Same things with praying for a specific answer. Sometimes I think maybe I shouldn't pray for the answer because maybe I won't like what God has to say. His idea of what's best for me and mine may not always jive in the short term. It's when I look back and see how things worked out that I can understand and appreciate the greater plan.

For me my faith is more about resting assured that God has my well-being in His hands, not about asking for things I want or even need. I have always assumed that my God is omniscient and not only knows what I need, but usually knows better than I do what that might be. Because of that my prayers are not a laundry list of what He can do for me, but rather taking Him along for the ride. I chat. I talk about my struggles, I talk about my stupidity, I talk about His grace, I tell Him how thankful I am. It helps remember that I do have things to be thankful for even in times of turmoil and stress. Talking to Him helps me keep things in perspective and reminds me that I am human.

For me faith is not about FEELING there is an all-knowing, all-powerful God on my side, but KNOWING there is. I equate it with what someone once said to me about marriage. They said, "Feelings fade. You will not always feel like you are totally in love with the other person, you just have to remember that you are and try to remember what you once felt." I think that's why we are called BELIEVERS. We must believe there is a God and believe that he still has as part in our lives today, because we can't always FEEL it.

I think the problem I have with Christians is that they tend to go all rabid. They take everything in scripture to the honking extreme. (LOL . . . honking extreme . . . I think that will be my new favorite phrase) You can have tattoos and be a devoted follower. You can have a glass of wine or even a few shots *gasp* and be a devoted follower, you can enjoy music other than contemporary christian and still love God. What's that bumper sticker . . . Jesus, a bleeding heart, long-haired, peace-loving, anti-establishment liberal with strange ideas, Everything Conservatives Hate. Jesus hung out with the dirty, unwashed masses. He loved-on the ones shunned by the church he ate in their homes, he embraced their families. He cleared out the "den of thieves" in the temple. So many times, we forget what our "mission" is, so many times Christians get caught up in their own little world and forget they are supposed to be community activists and fight social injustice and care about those that are not like themselves.

I think that because of the way christians judge everyone unlike them and turn them into pariahs we are creating a society in which there is a crisis of christianity. So many people are turning away from the church and on christians because so many times it "their way of the highway". Where's the love? What happened to hate the sin, love the sinner? Churches have interpreted the Word of God in so many different directions and yet forgotten some of the most important verses in red.

If churches don't wise up to how their followers are acting more and more people will begin turning their back on God due to his followers and their way of handling their religion. We ALL need to become Christ followers as opposed to church followers. Churches are fallible. Christ is not.

Gandhi "I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ."

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
Hebrews 11:1

What is the deal . . .

Craziness I tell you! So many of my bloggy-friends are having to shut down their blogs lately due to some crazy circumstances and it makes me ill. I have spoken to 4 bloggers this week who have had to shut down their blogs. One was the target of some online group who targeted the author and reported their family to Child Protective Services. Crazy! The others are all facing their own issues which also could concern CPS. Even Snarky Mom from Postcards from Insanity came back from an absence letting us know that she was the target of a possible law suit due to her blogging. The whole thing makes me ill frankly.

What shocks me is that regardless of what is written in a blog, our readers have only a minute portion of the whole story. It is also easy to say that how I write something could definitely seem very straightforward to me, but a reader could take it completely differently than what I intended. It reminds me of an issue I have had on facebook. I have one friend from high school who is very good at making me think my positions through (typically political ones) and will say something that she thinks I meant a certain way and I had no idea it could've been construed that way from how I wrote it. It always reminds me that everyone's minds work differently all our history and personal experience influence what we read and how we perceive it. I love our discussions, because it always make me think about how I say things and it makes me reclarify my positions so that I am being clear. Most often than not, we find we have similar positions even though at first glance it seems we are miles apart. That is what civil discourse should be like . . . civil.

This is why it amazes me that we can take one blog post (or several to be fair) and make a determination about what may be going on in a home. I know that I have been guilty of this and can see how foolish that truly is. But, to go as far as to turn someone into CPS is ridiculous.

In my own case as well as others of you with kiddos like mine, situations at school, words our child uses, the noises they make when raging, or the confused thinking they use have been reasons for us to have CPS brought into our lives due to mandated reporters. There have been those cases that after the fact, or the CPS involvement that someone within the system has found our blog and misconstrued things that have been said or spoken about. Sad.

In my own case, I had involvement from the housing code people due to a lock that was installed on my door (at the direction of the police) to help keep Dustin safe from running out of our home. It felt like an invasion of privacy even though I put it all out there for anyone to see. It is an odd situation.

For me, I will keep blogging until it bites me in the butt. I sure hope that it doesn't, but odds are . . .

Monday, September 27, 2010

Busy weekend . . .

I photographed a friend's wedding this weekend . . . talk about stressful. She is GORGEOUS so it was fun. She deserves so much happiness!

My baby girl turned seven this weekend. How does that happen? It seems she was just born a few days ago!

Friday, September 24, 2010

I get it . . .

Ever have one of those days. Days when you are challenged to your core? I'm not talking challenging behaviors here, we all have those, I am talking about something that challenges a belief you held to firmly. A belief that you thought was at a core belief of your belief system.

I woke up this morning the same person I have been. One phone call changed that.

Let me clarify. Nothing mysterious or life altering happened to me physically. Nothing has changed my faith in God. Nothing has affected my family.

However, that phone call changed my beliefs. Now, of course, I cannot divulge the nature of that call without breaking confidence but I suppose that is not the issue here. I suppose what I am trying to convey is that you cannot wholly understand someone else's choices until you have lived them. This conversation has given me a whole new appreciation of judgement and specifically judging other's choices. I get it. I finally understand something I have struggled with and JUDGED others for for years. I have said I would NEVER make that choice and I can finally say I WOULD. I know now there are times when sometimes NEVER is not an option. Someone was put in that NEVER situation and through their words I understood.

I feel like I have been given a blessing. I feel like I grew YEARS in that hour conversation. While this lovely friend went through hell (and still is), and for that I am sorry, I am thankful that I have been given a lesson from it. I have been horribly judgmental of others in situations that have been similar. I have no place to judge. I don't know everything. I have not lived in their shoes. This friend shared this information with me knowing what I have said in the past. They are truly a HERO, not only for living it, but being willing to be REAL and telling her story.

Thank you dear friend. Thank you for changing me. Thank you for humbling me and making me understand yet again that I don't have all the answers. Thank you for what you do daily to touch others. I am thankful you are you. I pray for peace. I pray for healing.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Ho hum . . .



I am in a terrible mood today. No reason other than the fact that I feel like I could be doing 65,000 other things other than sitting here in my desk. I have been in this purge mode lately. I thought I was in on earlier in the summer and did a great job of cleaning out unnecessary stuff out of closets and cabinets, but apparently I had no idea what was on the horizon.

I have been watching Hoarders. I know that there are 2 different networks that have shows on hoarding, and I have no preference. (Although I love Dr. Zasio on one of the shows) I just love looking at how people live who suffer from Hoarding disabilities. Some I am not sold on. Some I think are lazy and the cleaning got away from them, kind of like the BBC show How Clean is Your House. Some, well, some are truly sick. Last week there was a woman who spent a whole day with cleaners just to clean the entire backyard and she went and pulled trash out of dumpsters that night before hey returned the next day! One guy said that they have put her in therapy, but she took the trash home from therapy! Yikes.

While I am by no means a Hoarder, I think the show has inspired me to get rid of everything that is completely unnecessary and unused in my house. I keep looking at things and thinking, "If I moved, would I want to move that?" If not, it goes.

Our city has those large, uniform trash bins at every home. We have 2 and the abandoned house next door has 2. I filled 2 of them in the last 2 days. I pitched things from closets, armoires, cabinets, and the laundry room. My goal is to fill another tonight and them drag the 3 bags of donate stuff to Goodwill. When the weather settles down (Hello! It is autumn and the high today is 94!) I will purge the attic.

My trash guys are gonna hate me!

I did purge my office at work yesterday and moved furniture around today. My office looked so empty, that someone actually asked me if I was moving out of my office. Woot!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Services . . .

Just a few weeks ago I was saying that I could finally envision ourselves having Dustin living with us long term. While I can still see how it will get easier as the littles get older, and still have hope, boy it has been a rotten couple of weeks.

Services have started. Dustin goes with his mentor 3 days per week. He sees him for hours per week. That means he is out of the house on Monday, Thursday and Friday evenings. He attends a disability ministry at the church where I work on Tuesday evenings. I'm not gonna lie, it's been kind of nice enjoying our evening, and doing our bedtime routine with the littles without Dustin. I think it has been really good for the littles too.

I do think that it is causing some serious behavior issues with Dustin. I hope they will even themselves out. He is grouchy and foul at home. He is argumentative and disruptive. When he talks to us it is very disrespectful and just plain sassy. He is very defiant. I think this could be happening for several reasons. First, he is under constant line of sight supervision at home. I think that maybe he feels as though he is getting something over on us by leaving with his mentor. I must say that I was worried that his mentor would allow him to get away with things that we do not, however I am happy to report that this is not the case. (Woot!!) Which I think may be the second problem. While Dustin is always very excited while waiting for his mentor (like at 2:00 when he gets off the bus until the 7:00 visit time!) he always seems disappointed that they are not doing something he wantes to do. These visits are not strictly "for fun", they are supposed to be teaching skills whether it be social, personal, or independent living. He always comes home complaining that the mentor did not let him do something, which is always something we don't let him do! It makes me laugh (not in front of him!) and warms my heart that we are all on the same page. Thirdly, I think he is just simply hormonal! Ack!

I got a call from the wrap around services coordinator this past week who wants to meet and talk about things they can work on during their time together. I am at a loss. One of the things I thought they could work on is matching clothing. He has no concept of what goes together. I still pick his clothing every day. I thought they could use some time at the mall to match outfits. I also thought about maybe doing a little grocery store work. I figure when I need something I could send them a very detailed list and have them pick it up. I suppose this could even graduate to giving him a certain amount of money and figuring out what he can get with that amount and what has to be left behind. I would love to have him partner with some other clients they may have to build some relationships but I am not sure if that is possible.

Other than that I am at a loss. Any ideas for me??

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

New hair . . .

I have had to have boring hair all summer since I spend so much time in the pool on my field trips. Otherwise, the pool water would be pink! Today I got a color and I went a little extra bold. Whatcha think?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Why I ♥ Goodwill . . .

I have sung the praises of our local Goodwill stores before. They are FABulous! My mom is addicted and I am slightly less addicted, but addicted nonetheless. We went shopping this Friday and Saturday and hit 2 different Goodwill Stores. Friday night I picked up two pillows, one was stained and snagged, but had a feather insert and I knew I could use it for another cover. Saturday morning I got to work taking it apart . . .

This one was $4. She is awfully pretty and I bet she cost a pretty penny when it was new. It has a snag in the fabric, and a small stain. I love the trim and it has an awesome down insert. It is 18 x 18 and you'd be looking at paying $12 bare minimum for a new one.

Here is the immaculate insert. It looks brand spanking new. Totally worth $4.

I took apart the cover, thinking I could save most of the fabric that wasn't ruined, I love the trim that I will use for something, then I found a zipper! Bonus.
So here is what I ended up with. Some fabric, 72 inches of beaded trim and an 18 inch zipper! Woot.

This one cost $3 and is also 18 x 18. The insert is not down, but I loved the quilted cover. It has a striped backside that ties to hold the cover on. I didn't even look at the inside, but I noticed the insert was evenly stuffed and seemed really new. I figured I would take the cover off and wash it and replace the insert if it was clean. It is blue and brown which I am in LOVE with right now.

When I took off the cover, I found this inside. I am not sold on the fringe, but it was in beautiful condition and I like the blue/brown fabric. The fringe was a little matted from being in a cover so I took a comb and brushed it out. It made a huge difference.

Here are my two beauties. What do you think? Good deal for $7? I think so!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Do you remember? . . .

I think most people remember what they were doing when they heard about the attack on the Twin Towers on September 11th. I remember it well.

We were fostering Dustin at the time and he was having a great deal of difficulty in school. He had his final visitation with his mother the second day of school and he had a teacher who was not very well versed in particular kind of crazy. The school's administration was even worse. He had been suspended for the first time on September 11th. The prior day, Monday, he had attempted to bite the teacher and they suspended him for attempted assault. Seriously.

I got up that morning and saw Robert off to work and did not turn on the TV because Dustin was on consequences. The previous day I had asked the school to gather some work for him to accomplish so I could make him think this was not the free-day he had wanted. I finally called the school about 9: 15 to see if I can come pick up the work. They sounded very irritated and said, "Considering what has happened and all the drama this morning, maybe you should not come." I told them I was coming and that I would be there in a few minutes. We drove to the school without the radio on. I picked up the work and went home.

When I got home I got a call from Robert saying that he was in a small town up north doing his deliveries and he wanted to know if I knew what was going on. I turned on the TV after the plane crashed into the Pentagon and minutes after the first tower collapsed. I, like everyone else, was in shock. The images of ONE World Trade Center tower sticking up into the air was just not right. The world was screeching out of control and I could not believe what I was seeing.

I had just found out that I was pregnant with Harrison on the previous Sunday. I was in shock that I could be bringing a child into a world with such animosity and terrorism. I was already 6 weeks pregnant and the hormones were pumping so I was more emotional than normal. I spent most of the day in tears and sobbing. Dustin was at a loss. I recall Robert coming home from work as soon as he could and we went to fill both cars up at the gas station. Everyone in our city was freaking about gas shortages so we went and sat in line to pay an exorbitant amount of money for gas for both vehicles. Like most people I was numb and glued to my television for hours both that day and days after.

The thing that got me the most and what still haunts me when I think about that day is the alarms the firefighters wear. I knew from my many field trips to the fire station with my Prek kids that firemen wear alarms when they go into a fire. They activate the alarm that they wear on the right shoulder when they go into a dangerous situation. The alarm will sound if the firefighter is knocked down and/or remains still for too long. They would always show this to our kids and have them listen to the whirring alarm as they held perfectly still. They told us that these alarms will sound and that lets every other fire fighter know that they are injured of stuck and need help. I recall watching the second tower falling and hearing hundreds of firefighter alarm sirens screaming out for help. The whirring alarms were so loud you could hear them on cameras that people had blocks away. Each one of those alarms represented a downed fire fighter. It hurt for me to hear all those alarms that rang until they wore out there power source.

What hurts now is the fact that those like Pastor Terry Jones in Florida think that burning the Qur'an on September 11th is a good protest to the pain and suffering inflicted by terrorists on that day. (I am aware that he has since canceled the protest) How would they accept burning of the bible on April 19th, the anniversary of the bombing of the Murrah building in Oklahoma City? Tim McVeh considered himself a christian. Should we consider all christians terrorists and racially profile them? Those that used those planes on that day were not simply Muslims in my eyes, but terrorists, regardless of their religious preference.

Fly your flags high tomorrow. Remember that feeling of one-ness we are experienced in the weeks following 9/11/01. Hate will not bring an end to this suffering.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Grandma Driver's Chocolate Chip Cookies . . .

You asked for it . . . You got it. . .

Cream together:
1 c crisco
1c brown sugar
1c white sugar
2 eggs

dissolve tsp baking soda in Tsp of warm water and add to mixture

Stir in 2 1/4 cups of flour

Add in your chocolate chips (I prefer few so I do like 1/4 of a bag)

Bake at 375 degree oven

Mmmm! Enjoy.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

A new friend . . .

Introducing . . .

Mixy Trixy (name courtesy of McCartney!)

I bought her from a friend who has had her for 4 years and NEVER used her. I have always wanted one, but the price tag hindered me. I got her for a steal. I am in love with her. Here are some pictures of her maiden voyage . . . I made Grandma's Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe. . . it beats the stink out of Tollhouse!


Monday, September 06, 2010

Deep Breath . . .

So something miraculous has happened. For the last couple weeks things have been changing around here. Perhaps it is the initiation of services that will FINALLY start on Thursday, perhaps it is the ease of routine filled school days, perhaps it is just my attitude as of late, but things took a turn in my head this week. . . as always, let me back up.

If you have not been reading here for a while let me fill you in on our current psychiatrist. He is a true gem. When we first began seeing him I decided I liked his short, to the point, and to the point attitude. Through his VERY business like and professional I could see a man who truly cared about what we were dealing with in our home. I don't think he truly understood yet the extent of Dustin's disorder. After a few months with him as our doctor the crap hit the fan and we had to do an emergency hospitalization. It was over a holiday weekend and the doctor on call medicated the crap out of Dustin, to the point that he was drooling and not in reality any longer. We decided the first day that our p-doc saw him to take him off all his meds (which we had never seen him without, EVER) and see what we were dealing with. It was during this time that he saw what we were dealing with on a daily basis. He commended us and apologized for not understanding. He promised me at that time that he would do what he could to stabilize Dustin and make it work in our home. He was sent home after 14 days and we tried to make things work. He returned 2 weeks later for another 13 day stay. When he left that time, he lasted about 15 days before he needed to return for a third visit. It was this time that the Dr. suggested we think about institutionalizing Dustin. He could not fathom keeping him functioning in our home while keeping the rest of us safe. I freaked out and he agreed to continue treating him until the point we came to an impass.

I knew that I was not at the point that we needed to put Dustin into treatment. I knew that with Dustin's FAS and his moderately mentally handicapped status that he would not be a child who would flourish in a treatment program. He needed to be in a family. I was not ready to admit to needing that kind of support yet, but knew that it may very well be a necessary evil in our lives in the future. When asked, I would always say, "we plan on keeping Dustin in our home as long as we are able to keep him and the littles safe." I had no idea how long that would be, I knew that it would be a part of our future. EVERYtime we see the psychiatrist he is very complimentary. He tells us that he cannot believe that we have lasted thins long and that he cannot fathom him thriving in a home environment other than ours. He tells us that we are committed and it shows. It makes us feel like we are somewhat doing the right thing. But, I always know that there will come a day that he is no longer able to live in our home.

Bringing us back to recently, I have been seeing things in a new light. Dustin is still difficult as can be, but the dynamics in our home are changing. I have been seeing it, but I have not yet vocalized it. Today I had a discussion with Robert and he feels the same way. Dustin is becoming much more manageable. Our daily struggles are changing to things that are mundane and easily dealt with. Our stretches of "typical" behaviors are becoming longer. Our ability to keep him occupied and involved is much greater. So the thought I have is this . . .

For the first time in 9 years of having Dustin in our home, I can visualize him living here long term without institutionalizing him.

Wow! That feels weird admitting that not just to myself, but to the bloggy world. Now, I am well aware that things can change at the drop of a hat in my world, but for now, it is pretty amazing to feel this way.

I think maybe one of the factors in this feeling is that the littles are not so little anymore. The constant vigilence of watching Dustin around the littles is not so consuming. They are able to "hold their own". They know what is appropriate and what is not. They are not so easily swayed by his behaviors. They can fend him off if need be. The also offer 2 more sets of eyes to watch over him and make sure he is not doing anything terribly dangerous or just plain stupid. We still have to make certain that he is under constant supervision, but the littles are not so much like antique tea cups anymore. It is easier to breath and enjoy our home-life when you are not constantly concerned that he will do something foolish enough that will hurt one of the babies.

Whatever it is that contributed to the feeling of success and having a future with Dustin, I welcome it. I like envisioning him as a part of our life at home in the future. I know that he will likely never live alone and it makes a mother's heart proud to see him being with us for the long term. Our journey is definitely not over, but it is these pit-stops that help us make it through the race.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

All that and the kichen sink . . .

So, I have nothing to blog about. I suppose I could tell you that Dustin is doing well in school. He has been in school for 7 days and only has had one time that we received a call. He would not stop talking and would not stay seated. He would just wander aimlessly around the room. Oh and he tried to use the restroom 27 times in his 5 hours day. Serious. What did I say when they called and told me this? "Welcome to my world". They were not whining, they were just informing. I love the special education department at his school the teachers are pretty realistic (it's the para (aide) that has the issue with that) so we don't get too many behavioral reports anymore. Woot.

The two littles are enjoying he heck out of 1st and 3rd grade. They go to bed relatively easy and they get up well in the morning. Harrison struggles with going to sleep as always, but I have maxed out his Melatonin and he still gets up well so I don't push the issue much. Their ability to absorb information astounds me! They are both pretty voracious readers which makes me proud.

The husband is doing well. He struggles with sleep issues as well. (that's where Harrison gets it) But the last week or so has been really pretty good for him. I can sleep at a moments notice ANYWHERE on the planet. Robert cannot go to sleep to save his life. He is jealous of that ability. I can also have a full on conversation while sleeping, complete with questions and answers that make sense, all while seeming completely wide awake and I am SO NOT!! I have be known to spill secrets on occasion this way, so don't tell me any! Shhh!

My house is reaping the benefits of a particularly hardy run of OCD right now. I am patching walls, touching up paint, scrubbing, cleaning, repairing, and trashing clutter. I have no ideawhy it is hitting me so hard right now, but I am not really stressing about it I am going with the flow. Work has been particularly stressful, so maybe I am simply pooring some energy into the OCD pot and it is spilling out into my home. Projects are getting done and things are looking good, so I will not look a gift horse in the mouth at the moment. Rest assured if it gets much worse or it spills over into other parts of my life, I will get a handle on it.