A Sweet Drink
(written Jan 2003)
Twice this morning I’ve been hit over the head with something. It is really basic, yet ever so hard for me to deal with. You see, through this Christmas Program thing at my church, I was deeply hurt that my kids were excluded due to my son being a Special Needs Kid. I was not understanding how in the world this could be a good thing and was really bitter towards those who judged me and my family.
In God’s Word, it says that Jesus can make bitter water sweet. (Jesus at the wedding feast) It also says that God wants a spiritual sacrifice from us. He wants a Drink Offering from us. But, He doesn’t want a bitter Drink Offering – He wants a sweet Drink Offering. How can I give Him a sweet Drink Offering when I’m so bitter inside by what has been done to me? Simple: give my bitterness to God and let Him make it sweet. Now this is easier said than done!
But it doesn’t stop there. Part of the Daily Devotions from New Life Ministries read, “When we forgive, we set aside the circumstance that have wounded us and explore the reasons those circumstances took place. Once we have pardoned people that have hurt us, we may be able to solve the problems that caused them to injure us.”
So…once again Lord, I’m found at the foot of Your cross with Your blood covering me and my sinfulness. Once again I’m asking for forgiveness and once again asking, no, PLEADING for the ability to leave my bitterness with You at the cross. Give me the courage to be the woman You want me to be. Show me how I can use this experience to further your Kingdom and make sure that this doesn’t happen to anyone else.
I was exhausted! We had just spent the past half hour trying to get the caulking off of my new car and it was late at night (or early in the morning … depending on how you looked at it!) We had worked so hard, we were all hungry … all but momma. I was just flat out tired. I wanted to go to sleep. But, being the Super mom that I am, I went out and fixed scrambled eggs and cinnamon rolls. Ian ate all his and then wanted more. I was tired and I knew he wouldn’t eat them if I fixed them, so I told him to go eat another cinnamon roll and a glass of milk. He did and came back and asked me when I was gonna fix him some more eggs. OK! By this point, I had just finished cleaning up the kitchen from the last batch of eggs … but, being Supermom, I knew I had to get back in there and fix more eggs. Grumble, grumble, grumble!
So I did. I took them to Ian who was sitting on the floor of my room right at the foot of the bed. He put them down on the floor so he could drink another glass of milk. At that precise moment in time, Tori decided that she needed some attention too and danced around in my room to get my attention. I had just crawled into bed when her foot landed square in the middle of Ian’s hot scrambled eggs. AAAAHHHHHH! I’m tired and I really don’t want to put up with this crap! Why me? Why am I the only one doing anything in this family??? Tori was screaming because her foot is burning hot, Ian is screaming because he just lost his eggs, and Dave’s not that thrilled that the whole room is screaming. But … out I crawl from under my nice warm bed covers (warm because Dave had been there for the last half hour!) and back out to the kitchen for the third time to fix MORE eggs! Grumble, grumble, grumble.
No matter how many times I need to redo something, I just need to do it. Don’t look around me at others who are lying around and not helping, or at those who open only their mouths and don’t actually help. I, like Martha, have been called to work … and work with a joyful spirit. That was what Martha did wrong. She compared herself to her sister Mary. That was why Jesus rebuked her. NOT because she was or wasn’t working. It was the attitude with which the work is done. That is what’s important to God.
Lord, change my attitude. Let me be joyful in my service to You, to my family, to my friends. Not just when I get thanks, but especially when I DON’T get thanks, let me still be joyful.
Over the years, I’ve collected things that help with my teaching Ian. Lots of people have asked for specific things that I do to get through to him, so I thought I’d start to write them out. Please keep in mind that just because they worked for Ian doesn’t mean that they will work with your Special Needs Child. I will try to add to this list weekly … so come back often and check out the Hints~n~Helps Category listed on the side of the web site.
Here are a couple things that have helped Ian with his dyslexia that didn’t cost an arm and a leg:
Colored Sheets Now, you can go to a specialist and pay $10-$30 per page OR you can go to an Office Supply Store and buy “top loading colored sheet protectors”. The trick is to buy the assorted pack so that you can figure out which color works best for your child. Slip a workbook page (preferably the same page so that the color and not the content is judged) into each color from the pack. Usually there is a blue, green, rose, and either a yellow or an orange. Ian’s color is blue. Once you have figured out which color makes it easier for him to read, you can cut the long side of the sheet protector so that you can slip the sheet protector onto a page that is attached to a book. The great part is if you use a white board pen, you can write on the protector and then wipe it off. We use this for our Math worksheets a lot.
Colored Sun Glasses Once you know what color your child reads better with, you can go to the dollar store and pick up that colored sun glasses! If you wear reading glasses, it’s even cooler cause you both get to go get your reading glasses and use them to read. This also helps with him not feeling weird or out of place … if mom does it too, then it’s ok.
Tub o Letters. This has been a life saver for us! Check it out here (although I did not buy it here … I went to our local school supply store and only paid $15) http://www.lakeshorelearning.com/IWCatProductPage.process?Product_Id=9172&SubProductFlag=f&FromBasket=t&Merchant_Id=1 I got the magnetic ones. Then I walked over to the Big Lots store (or 99 cent store) and bought two cookie sheets. Be careful when buying cheap cookie sheets (I bought mine for $1.99 each) … not all of them will hold magnets. Make sure and either bring a magnet or borrow a magnet from the office supply section of the store and test it out! Ian has a horrible time mixing up his sounds when he pronounces a whole word. So …we go back to the magnets (if you get a different type, make sure it looks “big boy” not “baby”. The “baby” ones might be cheaper … but if they won’t use it, why spend $ on it.) With the magnets I can spell out the word, separate the letters and cover my hand over all but the first sound, then go on to the next sound and so on. Then I smush all the letters together to “make the word” and we say the individual sounds over and over and over again, faster and faster until they blend into the word. I try to make a game out of it so that it doesn’t seem like so much work.
5×8½ inch card stock This is a help I got from a $1000 dyslexia curriculum that was an emotional buy at a homeschool conference! Most of what was in this pricy curriculum was hand made that you and I could make in a flash!! Anyway, take the card stock and cut out a rectangle in the middle … just big enough to see one word at a time. The goal of this particular help is to isolate the word they are trying to read so that they can really concentrate on just one word at a time.
Daddy’s Little Girl
“I’m running away and that’s all there is to it!” she said with all the attitude that a 10 year old could as she swung her little suitcase to the other side. “That’s fine. Can I walk with you?” her daddy said. “Well … ok. But don’t think you’re gonna convince me that I’m goin’ back, cause I’m NOT! I’m not goin’ back to HER.” … “OK” he gently said.
Walking down the dirt path beside her he asked “Where are you going to sleep?”. “MMM. In my blackberry fort”. “Oh”, he nods his head. “What are you gonna eat?”. “MMMM … Blackberries!” “Oh” he nods again. “You know …” he stops. She stops and looks up at her daddy. “You know I”m gonna miss you terribly if you leave. What am I going to do?”
That was it. That was the straw that broke the camels back. She cried and cried and cried. “I know Daddy. I’m gonna miss you too.” She cried some more. “Come child, let’s go home” he said quietly.
She turned and walked back home, hand in hand, with her daddy. Her knight in shinning armor, her savior and always, her champion.
How many times have I come back to You Father? And yet, every time You welcome me, even chase after me to bring me back to You. Thank You. Thank you for never abandoning me … even when I abandon You. You rejoice when I come back. Your angles sing and celebrate! How I love You Father. I thank You for my daddy and for giving me 30 wonderful years with him. I”ll always remember his love for You and his love for me.
Robert W. Smith. Photographer, Film Master, Radio Announcer, my daddy! Oct 16, 1921 – March 1993
What matters the most to you right now, this very instant? Ok, now fast forward your life till you are standing in front of Jesus up in heaven. What matters to you most now?
Did it change? Mine did!
Lord, help me to remember what matters most and keep my foremost thought of that and NOT me!
Keep On Walking
My kids decided to go for a walk in the woods with the dog Toby. Off they tramped thru the woods, oblivious to the road, the direction of the house or anything but following the dog! After walking for about 2 hours, my daughter realized they were lost and started crying. Being the “Big Brother”, Ian tried to comfort her and be strong for her, but soon gave into his own fears and cried right along with her. Realizing that crying wasn’t getting them anywhere, Ian pushed himself (as much as an 8 year old with an emotional age of 6) can.
They set off again and found a cabin. Ian walked up to the door and knocked. He asked where his Aunt Vickie’s house was. Rick, a friend of Vickie and Scott’s, told them to just follow the road and they would get to Vickie’s house. The road would take them back 2 miles to Vickie’s. They had taken the “shortcut” through the woods and had only traveled 1 1/2 miles! Mind you, my kids are only 6 1/2 and 8. My daughter (6 1/2) was in flip flops and my son (8) was in sandals!
They were brave and said ok and started out walking down the road. Then a few seconds later Tori started crying again. Ian, again, tried to be strong and reassure her that everything was gonna be alright, but he didn’t believe it and soon he was crying again too.
Unbeknown to my kids, Rick had called Vickie and told her that her nice and nephew were up at his place and walking the road towards home. Vickie immediately sent one of her boys on the quad runner to go pick them up. So help was on the way – even though they did not know. They just kept walking.
Isn’t that just like us and God? We get to walking and loose our way. We cry, we fret, we worry. Yet God has a plan. God has already set in motion our rescue. We just need to keep on walking.
My kids were picked up and brought back. Tori dissolved in to tears and Ian was stoic and “didn’t want to talk about it” while choking back the tears. He didn’t want to admit that he needed help. Wow! Isn’t that just like us humans? “I can handle everything by myself and if I can’t, there must be something wrong with me.”
God made us to be reliant on Him. That is what we are supposed to do.
As we walk thru this life, may we always remember that God has our rescue planned out already, we just need to keep on walking.
My son, Ian is a Special Needs kid. He has Aspergers Syndrome, ADHD and a multitude of learning disabilities . When our kids were small, we had them in Pre-School (while I worked full time) and then started them out in Christian Schools. When Ian was in 1st grade, his teacher kept telling me that his meds weren’t strong enough. So the Dr kept upping the dosage, per the teacher. Long story short: Ian overdosed. He TOTALLY freaked out. The principle called me and told me I needed to come pick up Ian. When I got there, Ian was sitting in a fetal position, rocking back and forth. It was heart wrenching. The principle told me that she was ready to call the Police due to Ian’s out burst. Ok, MAJOR wrong thing to say to me. I picked up my child (after I had calmed him down) and never looked back!
Just for kicks, I asked the local Public School Psychologist what would happen to Ian if I placed Ian in the public school. I was appalled at the answer: Ian would go into a Special Day Class where there would be 8 other students whom all only spoke spanish. Ian would be the mildest Special Needs kid and therefore would probably not receive much if any instruction in class. I’ll never forget his next comment, “The best thing you can do for your son is to Homeschool him.” I was floored!
So, I went into my boss and told him that I needed to put my two week notice in. (I was the first female manager in the Consolidation Dept of a major West Coast Warehouse – a VERY male dominated business) My boss gave me a leave of absence instead – he really wanted me back! Four years later…I’m still teaching my kids! I’ve had to take a part time job (funny how you still need $!), but I am homeschooling my two wonderful kids.
As I’ve often said, “It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done – but oh, so worth it!”
The Homeschooling Conventions
How in the world do you homeschool a Special Needs child without selling the farm? Well, speaking from someone who sold the farm – hind sight is 20/20!
My first Homeschooling Convention and I was one of about 5,000 moms and dads walking around the Ontario Convention Center in California. After walking up and down the isles of the Vendor Hall, my eyes were huge with wonder … and a little bit of doubt. How in the world was I going to educate my wonderful boy? This Special Needs child with a GREAT heart but such a different way of thinking.
I decided I needed a little food break! So off I headed to the snack line. While standing there (in a very long line) the lady in front of me turned, looked at me and said, “You look so lost. Are you ok?” “Well, I’m not sure” was my honest reply! We struck up a conversation and I ended up telling her about my special son She listened and smiled, then she asked me if I would stop by a booth five rows down, eight booths up.
So after lunch, I walked up the correct row and stopped at the eighth booth. Hmmmm. Tobin’s Lab…I wonder what that is? The lady I met in the snack line was there and she waved to me then introduced herself: Tammy Duby. She showed me some of these really cool things called Lapbooks that her kids made. She explained that most kids (especially our Special Kids) learn when they hear the lesson and then “do” the lesson. Then she invited me to a workshop that she was giving on making a Lapbook – “but get there early, as they always run out of seats for my workshops!”
I got there early and got a seat, then I learned about the most exciting thing … a Lapbook. And you know what? I actually made a Lapbook right then and there!!! I was SO excited! “Oh, THIS is what I need for my Ian – this is what will help him learn!” I bought a book about Lapbooking and was set for the day.
Next day, I went back and heard more speakers and was convinced that well, maybe if I buy this program, my sweet boy will learn better. I can’t tell you how much $ I spent at that convention…over $2,000 on this or that that was made “especially for Learning Disabled kids”. I will go into detail on all the different things that we tried, what worked, what didn’t and why in several different posts later, but for now, suffice to say…I sold the farm.
Now I wish I could say that I learned from my first year at a convention…but I didn’t! The next year and even the year after that, I went and sold the farm…again!!! (I’m fairly thick skulled – ya think??) FINALLY I got smart!!! Now, weeks before I go to the convention, I go to the convention web site and look at all the vendors. Then I look up all the vendors web sites and make a list of what I might want to get from them. Then I sit on it for at least a week!! Pray about it and ask His guidance on spending $. After all, it is His $ I’m spending (took me a long while to learn this important truth).
After I’ve gone over my list but one more time, I print out my final copy of what I REALLY need. Amazingly enough, it came to less than $150!!! So all the rest was just emotional spending – THE absolute worst kind of spending you can have! And off to the Convention I go with my list in my hand and my head held high!
So, let’s recap:
Have fun at Conventions. Meet other homeschoolers in your area. Go listen to the speakers – especially those who work with Special Needs Kids. Get encouraged. And don’t forget that CD table! Most Conferences record the speakers. Most speakers allow the conference to sell the tapes. If a speaker doesn’t allow his or her tape to be sold at the conference – take notice. Those that do allow – like Joyce Herzog – are wonderful,
How fast can a misunderstanding occur? Within one sentence – if you don’t take the time! Take the time to fully read what someone has written. Take the time to fully hear your child who, by the forth or fifth sentence might divulge what in the world he really wants
Unfortunately, we live in a hurry, hurry, rush, rush world. As Christians, if we follow the worlds way and rush around – not only will we miss all the really cool things that God has made for us along the way, but we will injure other people with our quick words of false wisdom. And all because we did not take the time.
James 1:19 says, “This you know, my beloved brethren But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger;” NASB
How do you do this? Well, especially on email…don’t just read the first line and then hit reply. You might be “seeing red” and “red” is not a color from God!! *gentle hugs* I know that cause I’ve been there. Does it take more time to actually read the whole email, go and research the question for yourself and then hit reply? YES! But it also – and most importantly – builds up the body of Christ, which is one of the reasons we are here on this earth! Not to make money, not to make ourselves feel good/look good, but to be here for others.
Over the past few months, I’ve been learning the hard way to be slow to speak … I’m doing pretty good at not going off half cocked anymore. However, I still need to work on the slow to anger part! Especially when I’ve been misunderstood – when I’ve been “wronged”. I have to go back to what I tell my kiddos: “Is it life or death? If not…calm down!”