Friday, November 28, 2014

not giving up

Luna the muppet has developed a fondness for a frisbee as of late.  What is most humourous is watching her try to pick up the frisbee off the floor - almost impossible for her paws to grasp the plastic and flip the frisbee.  She will spend an incredible amount of time trying to flip the frisbee.

At least, I found it humourous at first.

After these last seven days, I can empathize with the frustration of wanting to flip over to the other side of the toy.  I'd like to flip over to a smoother side of living.

It's been a Rachel's-sick-Ralph-has-shingles-Sara-pulls-a-hip-muscle-Rachel-has-a-UTI-Sara-has-an-allergic-reaction-to-the-flu-vaxxine kind of week.

Rachel's mending and is back at school, and I am feeling much better this afternoon.  (Ironically, the meds I was given to deal with the allergic reaction cleared up the remainder of the pulled muscle pain.) I am thankful for antibiotics and our essential oils that help, but admittedly, the meds and oils don't take away the worry we have over Ralph's bout with shingles.  They are on his face, which is troublesome to the eye - never mind the pain and numbness on the head.

This is not a pity post, but sometimes, writing it out gives us a chance to unpack our feelings.  And we can't pretend we don't need warm fuzzies and encouragement from our community of support. Hey, we're all supposed to make this world awesome for each other (Kid President).

an awesome get-well card from niece Aleah - with good advice

I shared some of my discouragement with my dad earlier this week, and he reminded me to farm for climate - not the current weather.  I'm biased, but I think my dad's a great preacher; he's also been incredibly encouraging with my own faith life.  He has this sermon with the illustration of farming that reminds us to remember the big picture, the big story.  The current weather we are experiencing isn't the way it always goes; if farmers based their success on one harvest, many of them would throw in the trowel and give up.  But a good farmer believes that if this year's harvest is crap, next year's harvest will be better.  Okay, so my dad probably didn't say crap.  But you get the idea.

Kind of like the Churchill "never, never, never give up."

Kind of like Lamentations 3:19-23 - these sorrows, these frustrations won't consume us.  HOPE remains in a faithful God who says we aren't alone.

So, we aren't giving up.  We are making jokes when we can, and we earnestly hope that Ralph feels amazing soon.  Shingles are physically painful, but the time of waiting it all out is also painful on the soul.

Flip, frisbee.

peace for your weekend,

This weekend, we remember Dad Pot who passed away in the early morning hours of November 29, 2013.  We love you, Opa.  An 85 year old testimony of never, never, never giving up.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

first snow

First snowfall.  First of many days spent more indoors than out.  First time with the big blankets on the swing.  First snow for Luna the Muppet.

First of many races with the Wii and friends.

Happy early start of winter to all of you.  Here's to being creative with our imagination. Just a little bit of Lego, and our little friend had long stories to tell about the boat and the men and their battles.

peace for your week,

Wednesday, November 5, 2014 what?

...and the day is done.

The girls usually come home this tired after their day at school.  I take that as good signs they've been stimulated and exercised.  Their bodies and their brains are tired -for good reasons.

I felt a little like that last night, returning home from the annual OACRS (Ontario Association of Children's Rehabilitation Services) conference.  From Sunday to Tuesday, therapists (PT, OT, SLP, RT, etc.), administrative staff, families, educators, researchers, and many others all affiliated with children's treatment centres in Ontario gathered together to share best practices, ask questions, and learn from each other.

My experience in 129 words or less? Arrive Sunday after one hour of driving, meet family reps from across Ontario, confess that I iron during our important once-a-month teleconference, discuss matters we want to address in the coming year with OACRS, have a lovely long dinner with two moms - Anchel who is a great writer and Sarah-Leigh who also drives a Sprinter, meet Minister Tracy MacCharles and Deputy Minister Alex Bezzina of Children and Youth Services, be inspired by sports psychologist Dr.Jensen, attend amazing sessions that emphasize the need for family engagement and preparedness for the future, have another lovely long dinner with people from KidsAbility (Kitchener CTC), have more wonderful conversations late into the night, and finish Tuesday with attending a panel of speakers who are moms to adult children with special needs.


And then I drove four hours in the rain last night to find our house again.

The temptation to walk away from a conference like this is to think poorly of myself or feel overwhelmed by the conversations.  There are some amazing parents at this conference who have changed their career, created new business, motivated change in their community or local gov't - and there are amazing staff that have done so much for children with special needs.  I look at all of it, and wonder where I fit.

I don't like admitting that two kids with special needs (along with the other two kids and a furry almost-kid) are a lot of work because that evokes the pity or sympathy that doesn't motivate me or encourage me.  Yet, I know I have to admit it to myself, so that my expectations for a day's work are realistic. I have lots of ideas, but the reality of my responsibilities threatens to squash my desire, and I end up sticking it all in a (figurative) box and shoving it under my desk the day after such a conference.

On Monday morning, when Dr. Peter Jensen stood up to speak, I wondered if I'd be struggling to pay attention. He's a sports psychologist, and I'm not really into sports - and I'm often skeptical of the self-help/motivator stuff.  But, the minute he started talking, I was all ears.  Sure, he used stories of working with athletes, but his message caught my attention- the girl who still can't shoot a puck.  In short, he talked about igniting the emotion and imagination to persevere.  What propels you to be the best you can be? He challenged the notion that adversity and failure are negative influences.  His experience has taught him that the journey of trying to reach our goal is often richer and more rewarding than achieving the actual goal.  And if we never reach our goal, it is twice the loss if we ignore the growth and change that has come as a result of trying.

Not new words -but wise words. He may not have intended to preach the Word, but he was speaking words that rang familiar to my faith.  I might never learn how to dribble a basketball, but I'd listen this sports guy again.  So maybe I need to work a little harder and pull out that box.  Maybe some of those ideas I have are worth the emotion and imagination that I forget I have.  I'm still wondering where I fit.

Prof. Susan Cadell also presented at OACRS, and she shared her research on post-traumatic growth.  Her work echoed Peter Jensen's - without her intending so.  The idea of post-traumatic growth resonates with the resiliency of someone who is trying to reach a goal, in spite of/with the failures, trauma, and sorrow.

Grace in disguise.

I'm living to embrace that and use it as I find my fit.  I believe it - and I also like hearing it come from different places and different people.  See the mess and find the message.

peace for your week,