Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Special Needs are Called Special for the Reason, Tis The Season for Special Care

Tis' the season for Chaos. As the Holidays approach starting first with Candy Season, moving into Food Season and full Force into 'oh how are we going to afford this?' Season, I am encouraged to remember why I love these times so much and how I can make them special for our children, especially for our Special Needs children....isn't that special.
In our home there are some needs that I have been reminded of again this week, as the first on-slaught of chaos sets in with Fall Festival parties, Trunk-or-Treats and a family party coming up Friday.
I know that we all get overwhelmed with the sites, sounds, busyness, and just general fun for all, but there is a sub-set of little people in our home that find it nearly painful. For these children this is both fun and potential disasters for themselves and all the work we do through out the year to get them through the days.
On any given day we navigate meals with special needs, a few days a week we navigate them with a 'lunch room' type setting that so many are familiar with, but what most home educated children never really deal with, add in the sensory over load of our special needs and I am painfully aware that because these precious gifts of ours don't 'look' different and do a fantastic job of appearing to only have 'active personalities' it is easy to see them only as discipline issues on any given day and even easier to exclude.
In order for our Family to have a successful holiday season, bringing glory to God I will have to figure out, and re-work a plan (because the same plan has to be tweaked every year with developmental changes), to show my children the face of our Lord in all of the Chaos with out some complete meltdowns.
God is in this, He hasn't been caught by surprise not one time in all these years and God is in us. The Lord's sweet Spirit must reign supreme in me as a parent and in our children as we go the curvy roads of loving each other through both a fun season and in many ways a dreaded season.
It isn't PC to say we don't like this season in wide Christian circles, because it seems a slight to our Lord, but God....He knows I love Him, even when I navigate the crazies.
Special Needs are just that Special.
Everyone has challenges, some of us are just given more in your face sort of work to do with challenges.
Holidays are hard for a lot of people for a lot of reasons.
That will be discussed more fully in the coming weeks.
Today remember the mom or dad in the pew next to you, the homeschool family you share a field trip with or a few classes taught together, the class room mom in your on private or public school that looks a little overwhelmed as she has another talk with the very busy son or daughter of hers remind yourself looking typical.....just that looking.
In the coming months as you have family dinners and trips through the airports or your family is at a large church function watching from the outside in a child who seems to be out of control...even though they look normal, all special needs aren't obvious, but most parents are aware and doing the best they can.
Roll up your sleeves, as I tell my children, and get in there, getting your hands dirty with the Love of Jesus. Be patient, speak quietly, fix an extra plate at the pot-luck for one of the kids or better yet for the mom or dad. Offer to find a quiet activity or book and a cozy corner....love them.
Let's remind ourselves often in the coming months to be on the look out, a secret mission to find these families and really get in there and give them what so many never get, a sweet glance, knowing smile and a hand, without advice or judgment, just way to get through their holiDAYS.
For many of us these are just the days you see our special needs, but every day is a special day in our homes and class rooms, with special needs called Special for a reason.
Lets remind our selves with all sorts of friends and families the Reasons for the Special Season(s).

Friday, October 24, 2008

Terrified but Okay and Moving with Change Even if I Can't Neatly List It

I hate change. I like constancy, predictability, for years I didn't buy things that were on sale that I would love to have, because I know I couldn't get them if they weren't on sale and that wouldn't be a habit and predictability that I could keep on my grocery list. I want to do the same thing at the same place every day and every week. I am content with an hour by hour schedule of where to be teaching, what to be teaching, grocery shopping, churching, and praying. I am most content when I have a cleaning schedule and everyone does exactly what needs to be done. None of this is a reality for me. Very few things outside of a couple of classes and church happen the same time every week, much less every day. I certainly have not been able to conquer keeping a home with 6 kids and now 3 adults in the order that seems to make all the little pieces inside of me fitting very carefully. What is a girl to do?
For many years I justified this weirdness with the, "it's what the kids need, it's what is best," line. Yes schedule is good, routine even better, mean momma because everything is not clocking in and out on time like it should, dysfunction. I see this, I know this, I am getting better. Is it to late. Will the children see this as just another system ( a system that will probably relapse often)? Will they buy into the work that God is doing in me? With prayer, I believe they will. I will seek forgiveness (I must do this often), I will pray through the tyranny of the changes moving in me as I accept the not perfect home that looks so different than almost every one I know, what with the curtained off dining room and small kitchen and re-arranged appliances in the dining room.
I will be forced to deal with what drives me to the frustration of over managing.
Did I say that out loud. I have tried for quite some time to micro-manage my way out of internal chaos and frustration and hurt....there is never enough management. I will heal on the heels of change.
I will embrace this new season, I will believe that it will not make me crazy.
Change is painful, change is scary, change is good.
Seasons change and it works for the Creator, this change thing. I will embrace the change in me.
I will not hold myself to a standard that I can't keep, believing I am a failure because others have been able to keep it.
I will be both terrified and OKAY.
Embrace being afraid and mobilized at the same time today.
Will you?
Let me know.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

More on That Relationship Later in my Thoughts Through the Word and that Dog gone book

Relationship....it really is all about relationship. If you have read this blog for any time at all it is obvious that for me it is All about Relationship. I have finished The Shack and now am reading it out loud with the entire family a bit at a time. It is important to me that the children get as much input as possible to understand Relationship with our Lord and Forgiveness of our sins...and others. As I read it again I see things I missed, scrambling my thoughts, my Bible...finding more answers about this God of relationship....moving Him out of the box. Seeing Him, seeing me...through His words to me.
I am grappling. I continue to go back to the word of God, my sweet husband..and, and, and.....get the picture? Grappling without getting the firm grasp. I wonder to myself and sometimes aloud if I will ever get it. I can not grasp how far back current struggles go in the story of my life, the story of our family's life, the story of my parent's lives....my aunts and uncles. I saw the story at my uncles funeral as I watched my aunts and mother from behind the pew in a funeral home. I see the story in my sweet grandparents and read the regular emails and notes of hope.
The stories change the way I move, the way I think. The stories change the relationships I value AND the ones I don't want to value, but must.
These are my thoughts, fragmented as they may be. Relationships are there good, bad, hurtful, hopeful...we have them all. These are our stories, my story. How will I weigh that in my minutes?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Shack by William P. Young

I am reading The Shack By William P. Young
With out giving away the plot I am to a point where the main character is called to judge, something I do often and he is asked.....

This quote is shaking me (as are many parts of this book) causing me to ask questions, not new questions, but to ask them out loud.

He wrote:
"And what about the man who preys upon innocent little girls? What about him, Mackenzie? Is that man guilty. Should he be judged?"

"Yes!" screamed Mack. "Damn him to hell!"

"Is he to blame for your loss?"


"What about his father, the man who twisted his son into a terror, what about him?"

"Yes, him too!"

"How far back do we go Mackenzie? The legacy of brokenness goes all the way back to Adam, what about him? But why stop there? What about God? God started this whole thing. Is God to blame?" (160-161)

This is a place I have been at often in recent seasons and days of my life. How far back?

I have talked about the stories of my Aunts, my grandparents...to some extent my parents.

How far back. I am learning the story the brokenness in more ways than I like has brought me to this point. Am I pointing a finger at God? What are my feelings, do they matter? Who is to blame, who should I judge, how should I judge? Without the judgement is there healing? Am I to blame for wanting to judge. Where and how does God our God reconcile with this?

Before you become alarmed that I am turning my face on our Lord rest in the fact that this is not the case. Rather, I wonder have I ever really faced our God or have I just imagined the face of God in a way that I am comfortable with concerning this blame, this judgement, this pain that I have wrestled with. That is more likely the case. I am more comfortable with this, but none the less burdened and often hurting. If God's will is that I not carry a heavy yolk or an unsteady burden, can this actually be God that I have been 'seeing' or is it only an idea I am comfortable with and a real relationship and peace isn't so much within my grasp(because lets face it I have no grasp on any of this at all), but instead waiting for me to acknowledge God for who He really is?

Who is He really?

Really Lord who are you?

Lord, who do you want to be in me?

Who do you want me to be through you and not through me?

Where are you really in my story...really?

Only you Lord have the answers....Only you.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Standing Knee Deep in a Storm, A Reminder

I remember pain tonight. I have been reminded. Pain of loss and question when all that you think is one thing becomes quite another. Pain of realizing you have allowed your self to believe a lie about your life, the ones you have hurt or been hurt by and it all comes crumbling, crashing like waves one after the other into you so that it is easy to forget that the depth is only to your knees, as the pain is sucked in like salty sea water. Grasping for ways to end the pain, quickly, with harsh tones, hushed silent treatments, desperate prayers while it gurgles in your throat the pain. Calm. Calm is what has come after torrents of pain in my life. That weird calm that tells me,"just do the next thing next, Suzanne, breathe."
Lighting candles and sending up prayers, washing the dishes and putting kids to nap, going to church and crying during lunch, making to many phone call and turning the phone off.....pain has driven me to do insane things that didn't make any since then or now, then I would breath.
My life is different now, not as much pain, I am not having new pain come at me constantly....anymore. I am reminded of the causes of past pain often. I have given up on being rid of the residual pain it is much like the joint pain in my knees and hands, I breathe and find ways around it, different things work at different times.
I must remind myself often that the pain I feel, the lump in my throat, the urgency to fix....it is not about now, but more about then and more....way back then or is it way back when?
There is nothing I can fix about the pain or the lump in my throat (does that ever go away?). I must just realize that I am only in knee deep water and that the waves aren't so high I am not able to wade in the water and continue to enjoy the sites and sounds of the ocean.....life.
Now, I know warning signs of choppy water, unsafe seas, I see the red and yellow flags go up and I get out of the water. The storms still come, I am still often tossed and I still get choked up a bit. I am not afraid of drowning.
Not today, I will never say never, I have faced too many unexpected, uncontrollable storms, to say never.
Today I am okay the pain is okay, I will feel it, I will remember it, I will grieve it, I will NOT drown in it.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Family 'It", Getting 'it' and Having Just Enough Everyday of "IT"

I have 8 aunts, 4 Holton family and 4 Walker family, my father and my mother. They are different. I fit with some....
Yesterday, I sat behind four of my aunts at a funeral, 4 women, the last living siblings in this family, both of the sons have died.
I have 4 daughters and two sons, interesting how my life as been similar....in that.
I had so many rushing thoughts as I sat behind them. I don't have siblings that I really know and none that I grew up with or around. I don't know what it would be like to loose a brother or a sister in this context. As I sat there it was a rush of emotion, a rush that I wish somehow I fit, I fit comfortably with this family, they are nice enough and I have cousins that seem to fit quite comfortably. This is after all the family that I was raised around for the majority of my life ( I only spent summer with the other side of my family). For many years my aunts (and now deceased grandmother walker) treated me like a princess, we talked of the times where I was dressed up and trotted around the Goldsmiths store, I remember special times. I have memories with my cousins, but as adults, well I fell from grace. There are lots of reasons...
I am sure they have forgotten, but I realized yesterday as I was there laughing with my head thrown back and my high heels then kicked off, all of our young children circling around us, I long to fit, but I don't know if I ever will again. I have forgiven for some recent pains and hurts, forgiveness for things that were never admitted, but only talked "about", but the wounds are there and I am sad that like my children I can't just hop back on the bicycle or slide back in roller blades or climb a tree, even with a fresh scab and keep playing nice. I am playing nice and I do love them, but the pain was deep and hard. I wanted to tell them, I wanted to shout it to them (not at them), but now at nearly 4o I realize, they would not hear, or understand....they only saw from behind their on personal, perceived correct points of view how things happened how I fell from grace and then maybe some even took credit (rather than giving it fully to the Lord), when my sweet life turned around. There is certainly something difficult about wanting to both fit and turn away and never look back at the same time. The lump in my throat even this morning is a reminder that needing family that just can't understand is probably one of the hardest hurdles of my short life. I want 'it'....I will explore what that is later, but I do I am guessing they do love me, but maybe just don't understand why I can't see how right they are, about the things they did. It cost me, I have counted the cost and they were high on every front from the check book to the heart.

I don't know.

I hate that, but I don't know, how to work through this pain, so instead, I will home educate, fix lunch, smile for my kiddos and rest in the fact that there are those that get me....and that will be enough today. Always, just enough, but sometimes I want more, just the way I want it, when I want it.
I want those who get it, who give me 'it' close, I need them close.
Lord draw near to me.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Singing the Blues and Having a Ball In Memphis at Our Home

Washing dishes, wiping faces, shaking sand out of a four year old, writing reports....last night I dropped off my oldest at Choir, worked out for 30 minutes then came home and fried up some potatoes for my momma and husband. These are the days of my life. If I am out past midnight I am afraid to loose my glass slipper and have my coach turn into a pumpkin. I experienced just that last Saturday night.
I had the chance of the season here in Memphis...I went to the Memphis Blues Ball. My very dear friend Laura had the opportunity to do a cake for Jerry Lee Lewis that evening and with it came to tickets to the ball. So I donned myself in a borrowed gown, borrowed shoes, borrowed jewelery and a fresh pair of shaved legs, finished serving beans and rice to the kids and off we went to the ball. I sat within arms length of Lisa Marie, saw our mayors, and watched people work to impress. I spend most of my days keeping little people and teenagers happy (which is a pretty tough crowd), however I must say on this night, I showed up and had a blast and left knowing I had the right calling, just a mom and wife.
I have to admit to occasionally perusing the pages of our local RSVP magazine looking at all the pretty faces and thinking about the glamorous life these folks must have, all the fun of knowing the who's who of Memphis, and yes of having MONEY. Friends, it was fun, but my goodness, it looked down right painful for some of these citizens. The last thing I thought about during the evening was how that is not Memphis (even though that is what the folks all there said it was). I was speaking to a young lady who was from Atlanta (raised by her nanny she said), currently living in NYC and how she really found her roots there that night. Honey those aren't your roots that is playing pretend. The roots of Memphis are found a few blocks and miles away in homes just like mine. In homes like mine from Frayser to Orange Mound and Tipton County-McNairy County we are the roots of the south, cooking dinner (yes blackeyed peas and cornbread, turnip greens with bacon and pepper sauce, fried chicken and mashed potatoes with gravy), with our children under us or running around the street with other kids. In our house you would be hearing KIX 106 or the new KIM FM with a twist of Veggie Tales tunes. In the real south here in our home you will still find Sweet Tea and Budweiser, struggling to make ends meet and grateful to go to bed every night with my husband who is working 17 hour days to make end meets. In the real Memphis there are very few black tie events if any, but instead sweat pants events with the kids in the front yard with our neighbors just breathing a sigh of relief to get through another Friday.
Think about what your hometown really is.....after it steps out of the pages of some magazine and be grateful for THAT town.