Monday, February 20, 2006

three days....

We've been busy trying to get this house in some kind of order to prepare for the upcoming in-home interview with the folks from the prospective school. We recently retrieved all the stuff we had put in storage when we had the house on the market. It is good though, because the timing of it all forced me into spring cleaning mode and that was really needing to happen. What I've learned:
We have a TON of books and I cannot part with any of them.
Our house is really tiny.
All discarding of items however old, outgrown, chewed on or useless, must be done under the cloak of darkness because Abby grieves these inanimate objects as if they are long lost friends upon which we are inflicting a cruel fate. It is sweet but a nuisance at the same time.
Outside of organizing and clean-up, we spent the very cold weekend holed up and huddled in front of the fireplace working on a 500 piece puzzle of Renoit's Spring Bouquet. It was great fun. I really hated to see the weekend close. But now it is back to business. We have a lot of little loose ends to tie up before Wednesday: Letters of recommendation to collect from their old preschool and BI, finishing up the financial aid packet, and of course making our humble home as warm and inviting as possible. I know it will not be what the interview team is accustomed to, but I am okay with that. It is lived in, but clean and frankly, one of the many blessings that has come with the demands of remediation of the girls' disorderedness has been a freedom from the desire to acquire. Praise God! We know that things and stuff and nonsense are not what makes for a happy heart or a happy home.
Well, that's all from the front today friends. Please keep us in your prayers this week. I may not post again until after the interview on Wednesday. This is my scrapture this week:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7

Saturday, February 18, 2006

oh the things they will say!

The girls and the funny things they say. I have collected a few statements and "shuebonics" over the past few weeks. Thought I'd share them for your entertainment:
"Scrapture" ~ Random and completely arbitrary proclamations made by Abby which she then follows with the question, "Is that in the Bible now?" I.E. at the dinner table:
All people who do NOT put hot sauce on their eggs will get an A. If you put hot sauce on your eggs, you will get an F.
Is that in the Bible now?"
Emma Jean on Steve Martin in the newest Pink Panther movie, "He has a moustache, but not a single beard!" then much merriment ensues at this notion.
Abby's response to Emma Jean's suggestion that one of our community throws is a clanky (what they called their blankies in their earlier days), "It is NOT a clanky. It is just an ordinary blanket."
Emma Jean's conclusion about what it takes to be a real gymnast:
"First I have to learn how to do the little things, then I can be a teenager and do the big things, like those teenager tumbler girls. And I have to eat all my carrots. Right mommy?"
Abby to Dr. Rao, "I am doing swimming now! Today I did motor boat glide. You should really see me do it. You can come watch me next time."
Another Abby proclamation, "When I grow up and I'm a teenager, I am going to stay up all night, just like you mom and dad."
Emma Jean at play with her Ello creations, "How much does this place (gesturing around our house) cost anyway? Ten bucks?"
After church I turn to observe Emma Jean asking a classmate's daddy with a great deal of skepticism in her voice, "Are you a father?"
He answered, "Why yes. Are you a daughter?"
She replied, "Uh, well perhaps. We are really just a couple of kids." She shrugged, gesturing to Abby.
Abby's opinion about going to church, "I LOVE going to church with my family because I love God.
And Jesus.
And YOU!"
Then she does a little dance around the furniture.
And it just doesn't get any better than that.
I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God.
Isaiah 61:10

Friday, February 10, 2006

surprised by grief

Do you know what I mean? We are going along, all is well or some facsimile there of, and then boom! There it is. My old and unwelcome riding companion, grief. Ugh.
Grief pulled a drive-by today. It has left an open wound.
Not as big as it used to be and certainly not as deep, but it still stings and makes me cry.
I am making a proclamation that flies in the face of those tired sayings people like to trot out when they don't know what else to say.
Time does NOT heal all wounds.
There I said it. Time and its so called medical expertise can kiss my fanny.
Today the director of the lower school that we are applying to for the girls' next year called. She told me how much she appreciated the forthcoming and informative essay I wrote about the girls for their application. In addition to testing and a in-home interview, the school requires each parent's testimony and an essay detailing (their word) why we chose their school. Oh, they also have us read the Dorothy Sayer essay so we can discuss the principles she addresses at some later date, presumeably the interview. Anyway, it turns out this director's background is in Speech Therapy and she even worked for EI for some time. Her daughter is an OT whose "passion" (emphasis hers) is autism. She explained her postion that while she has special training in these areas, her teachers do not. I counter explained that we do not expect anything of the sort and if we thought the girls needed special expertise then we would not waste our time or theirs by applying to the school. Or the $300 plus for the whole application process, but I didn't say that part of course. Anyway, to make a long story shorter, she wants to
a) come along to the in-home interview scheduled for next week and
b) observe them in some kind of academic or social type enviornment with peers.
I told her that I would call their consultative therapist at BI to see what we could set up. Here is where the drive by occurred. She went on to explain that while she wants to give our girls every opportunity to be accepted and be a part of the school, she alone does not make the decision that there is an entire board that she will need to (and here's the arrow) "convince." And in order to do that, she needs to be armed with as accurate information and profile of the girls that she can present. I am confident that her confidence in their ability to perform in a typical classroom will either be the deal maker or the deal breaker. She could just prove to be their best advocate.
I maintained my composure and totally heard what she was saying, but when we got off the phone my heart broke into a thousand little pieces all over again. It grieves me to think about anyone needing to be convinced to accept my girls. That they should have any kind of special need that would demand "convincing" as a result of it. I can't really articulate it well, but it just hurts. It reminds me that we have not been playing in the same sandbox as everyone else all this time and I hate it. Not for me so much as for them. I don't expect things to be easy, but maybe just not quite so hard.
Anyway, Lori called me this evening, well after school hours, and I gave her the low-down and permission to speak with the Lower School director. I told her that she and the director could set up whatever they saw fit and that all they needed to do was tell me when and where to show up with the girls. I am so thankful for the people at BI. Thank you GOD for Lori! After I relayed the conversation the first thing she asked me was, "She hasn't met the girls yet has she?" She went on to explain that every time they have been in the process of transitioning a kid into a school program, the teachers involved are only worried because they have a preconceived notion, no matter their experience or lack there of with ASD. I got the feeling from listening to the director that she was concerned about disruptive behaviors, which mercifully the girls do not practice, at least not beyond the kind of getting carried away by a fit of giggles or talking when they shouldn't that the average new student might get caught up in. Praise God for His grace and mercy. So things stand for now. I feel a little bit better after bathing myself in the praise music all day and occupying myself by doing for others in need. That really helped. I prayed a lot too, for peace, for relief, for comfort.
His will be done.
That's the news from the front.
Stay tuned.
Sara Groves' "What I Thought I Wanted" fit the theme of the day so I'll close with her lyrics:

Tuxedo in the closet, gold band in a box
Two days from the altar she went and called the whole thing off
What he thought he wanted, what he got instead
Leaves him broken and grateful

I passed understanding a long, long time ago
And the simple home of systems and answers we all know
What I thought I wanted, what I got instead
Leaves me broken and somehow peaceful

I keep wanting you to be fair
But that’s not what you said
I want certain answers to these prayers
But that’s not what you said

When I get to heaven I’m gonna go find Job
I want to ask a few hard questions, I want to know what he knows
About what it is he wanted and what he got instead
How to be broken and faithful

What I thought I wanted
What I thought I wanted
What I thought I wanted
What I thought I wanted

Staring in the water like Aesops foolish dog
I can’t help but reflect on what it was I almost lost
What it was I wanted, what I got instead
Leaves me broken and grateful

I’m broken and grateful
I want to be broken and grateful
I want to be broken, peaceful, faithful, grateful, grateful
I want to be broken, peaceful, faithful, grateful, grateful

Thursday, February 09, 2006

my new hero

Dorothy L. Sayers

In the world it is called Tolerance, but in hell it is called Despair, the sin that believes in nothing, cares for nothing, seeks to know nothing, interferes with nothing, enjoys nothing, hates nothing, finds purpose in nothing, lives for nothing, and remains alive because there is nothing for which it will die.


As part of the application process for the school we hope for the girls to attend next year, they ask the parents to read an essay (that was originally a speech) by Dorothy L. Sayers called "The Lost Tools of Learning." The piece outlines the school's fundamental approach to teaching and it is just incredible. It was written in 1947 and has not lost an ounce of relevance. In fact, I think her message is more urgent than ever before. I won't reprint it here, but this link will take you to a transcript.
One thing I am convinced of, if the girls are not accepted or we cannot find a way to pay for tuition, I will use a curriculum that is based upon the tenants outlined by Mrs. Sayers and by Charlotte Mason and teach them myself, find a cooperative for social skills building opportunities. I cannot believe I am even thinking about homeschooling, but given what's out there, if this school doesn't work out, it may be the only thing we can do.
Anyway, check out her essay if you are so inclined. It is fascinating.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

from our hearts to the magic of the postal service....

The applications for school are in the post.
It's in His hands. It's in His hands. It's in His hands.
That is my mantra and my petition to Him is,"Lord I want to leave this with you. Thy will be done."
As part of the application process, we had to submit our testimony individually. I am so lazy that before I sat down and prayed about it, I had planned on just printing my newest old one from when I was getting baptized. Can you believe I could not find the file anywhere? I actually got kind of indignant about it too. I am such a brat. I don't know why God puts up with me for one red minute. Anyway, as it always goes, ALWAYS, I was blessed by having to rewrite it for the application. I guess God still knows what He is doing. But I still think it was a little bit stinky to hide that file. JUST KIDDING folks!
Anyway, here it is. I literally felt compelled to blog it. I think it is not just my own need for seeing my words published. I sure hope not. Maybe someone will be blessed by the posting. All glory to Him.

I accepted Christ as my savior when I was seven, as a camper at Kanakomo Camp for Girls. I was so excited and my family was supportive and committed to shepherding my walk with the Lord as a child and a young adult. My father died when I was thirteen. In that loss at such a vulnerable age, coupled with teenage angst, I allowed for a wedge to be created between myself and God. I was in boarding school and that only eased my ability to look outside of the family fold for ‘guidance’ and comfort. While I fed my intellect, I starved my spirit. In my anger and resentment I distanced myself from God for many years.

When Jimmy and I became pregnant, my desire to know the Lord was undeniable and by His mercy, despite my best efforts, I had not snuffed out the light that had been given so freely to me twenty years before. After many hours on my knees, I recommitted my life to the Lord and when I opened that door, there He was, just as He promises in His word. I was truly born again. I do not believe that my salvation had been in jeopardy during those prodigal years of my life. I believe in the assurance of salvation as promised in the New Testament, especially in 2 Timothy 2:11-13:
“Here is a trustworthy saying:
If we died with him,
we also live with him;
If we endure,
we will also reign with him.
If we disown him,
he will also disown us;
if we are faithless,
he will remain faithful,
for he cannot disown himself.”

In April of 2004 I was baptized. I was so excited to proclaim my belief and commitment in a public act of obedience to Him. While our family has faced many trials in the last two and a half years, we have been blessed by experiencing so many of the promises found in His word, particularly the comfort and joy written of in Romans 8:15-17:
“For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs---
heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”

What a blessing to consider again what He has done for me and for my family!

"Many are the plans in a man's heart,
but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails."
Proverbs 19:21
  • International Day of Prayer for Autism & Asperger's Syndrome