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Friday, September 30, 2011

Friday’s Confession Booth: I don’t care enough to hide it

Welcome to Friday's Confession Booth. To participate - you write a "Confession Post." It doesn't have to be serious, and you can read more about them HERE. Make sure you Enter the link-up below.  Then grab the button and place it in your post to link back and share with everyone's confessions.


Confession for this Friday? 
I take random photos of things that I think are funny or ridiculous … and then usually never do anything with them.  Usually – it takes me too long between the picture taken and the event I wanted to associate it with, so they just sit on my phone.  So here they are.  Complete with captions.
* Remember… taken with a cell phone – so we’re not entering any photo contest here.
** Most of my life involves some sort of embarrassing scenario or another.

Life here is still a Series of Unfortunate Events.  But, we still laugh. I guess my real confession this week is… that I don’t really care that we look like a bunch of nuts.  I’m proud that we can laugh at ourselves.

Confessing with us?  Come on! Join the fun.  Just Grab the Button to link back and enter your info below.

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Thursday, September 29, 2011

I feel trapped.

This was a comment made this morning. By someone with a label. That broke my heart.

I wasn’t going to write this post.  It is in answer to a question about labeling. (Ok… I was debating about doing this writing prompt because I am trying to flex my “writing” muscles a little.)  But, I am in the middle of a picture heavy, happy fall post.  I suppose I was toying with the idea because I had words floating in my head, “what does labeling mean?” “is it fair?” do I support labeling?”

And then… a conversation that hit a little too close to home.  “I feel trapped,’ can you imagine?”  yes… I can.

Here were my original thoughts:

Labeling is essential in life.  As a teacher, there is no way I can appropriately teach you if I don’t know what “level” you are on.  Can you read? Do you need a big challenge?  How can I push you?  What are your interests?  How can I engage you?  How can I relate to you?  Everyone is different, but – grouping people into “sort of boxes” gives me the advantage of reaching people at the level they are. 

Example:  If you put William Hung in the same music class as Jackie Evancho, everyone might get frustrated.

Yes, inevitably everyone gets labeled.  The nice thing about our society is that we don’t live in a caste system.  You can move freely in and out of your label.  Athletic, musical, intellectual, social – you can be all at once or move into and out of your labels.

That would have been the gist of my post.  That would have been the stand I took.  My head still says… “We need labels! They are a necessary ‘evil’ in life!”  But my heart weighs in heavier on this one.

I Feel Trapped.

Mother, Father, Sister, Brother, Teacher, Administrator, Coach, Student, Child…. it could have been anyone.

Andrew. Addison. Alexander.

Alexander’s eyes say, “I feel trapped.”  I know he is cognitively aware of what is going around him.  He laughs.  He plays peek – a – boo.  He wants to do things that his body just will not allow him to do.  When I look into his soul… it says, “please, don’t let me stay trapped forever.” 

What if we would have listened to the doctors when he was born? What if that label would have defined him?  What if others let that label define him? What if someday we are not around to look into his soul and fight to release him?  I hate every label attached to him.  I hate the words “Mentally Retarded.”  I hate the words delayed.  All the while my teacher – self says those labels are necessary to get him the assistance he needs, my “mommy-self” screams those labels do not define my child.

Andrew and Addison.  They are the the siblings of a child with a severe disability.  They are close in age.  Where ever Alexander goes, they will also go.  And vice – versa.  I pray that they can stay together.  I pray that they support each other.  I pray they don’t have resentment for the things they have to or can’t do because of their circumstances.  Please… just let them love and support each other.

What if Alexander’s labels harm their feelings of self worth?  What if the labels that come with them change their feelings of self worth?  How can I prevent that?  How can I prevent them from slipping into a caste system where they can never overcome a label?

In life, I am a Mommy first.  I am their Mommy first.  I have some real concerns about the labels that are now innately attached to them.  I am afraid those labels could be so life defining that they won’t be able to attach themselves to other labels. Mama’s Losin’ It

I’m linking up today with Mama Kat – and her writing inspirations.

Oh - And don't forget to link up tomorrow if you're "Confessing!"

So what do you think?  Labels a good thing?  A necessary evil?  Or – all together wrong?

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I won’t take NO for an Answer

It is not an option.

It doesn’t exist in my vocabulary.

“Obstacles are put in our way to see if what we really want is worth fighting for,” unknown.

Here’s a letter I wrote to my students last week.


These are true statements.  There is nothing I can’t learn, do, accomplish.  Do you know what the rate of mg/kg of Keppra Alexander needs to currently keep his seizures under control?  It is about 45 mg of Keppra for every kg Alexander weighs.  This means that at 11lbs 8oz, he weighs 5.2 kg.  He gets .8ml of Keppra 3 times a day.  The solution is 100mg/1ml.   The ratio comes out to 45mg/kg. (actually closer to 48... but you get the picture).

I hate math.  I hate calculating things.  And yet… I calculate.

I also calculate calories.  A constant mental calculation of calories that Alexander eats.  Liquid calories, food calories, supplementary calories… calculate, calculate, calculate.

Because I can.  If I can inspire one student to believe they can do something they thought they “couldn’t” … Then I can be a satisfied teacher person.  I know I’ve been talking about my big dream, but really – I’m living my dream.  This dream of changing lives one person at a time.

Inspire. Dream. Inspire. Believe. Inspire. Push. Inspire… Don’t take NO for an answer. 

We had our IEP meeting for Alexander yesterday.  It went amazingly.  Don’t take NO for an answer.

gait trainerAlexander will continue PT and OT
Alexander will begin the process for developmental therapy and speech therapy services.
We will continue the LONG process of getting a Gait Trainer for Alexander.
We are going to attempt to enroll him in a “daycare” / “playschool” for Alexander a few hours a week.
All of these are really more for the social aspect of his development more than the therapy.  I’m excited that more people will be around to give Alexander stimulation.  IMG-20110909-00273

*sigh* relief.  A meeting full of yes’s.  Because, honestly – “no” is not in our vocabulary.  An Obstacle is not the End… but the window into what we really want.

My children deserve everything I can give them.  My students deserve everything I can teach them.  Alexander is showing them why perseverance is so important.  And I’m proud of my baby. 

I’m linking with Shell today

Is there anything you won't take "No" for an answer?

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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Beef and Beer… how can this go wrong?

Truth? It can’t.  I’ve never been to a “beef and beer.”  It is sort of an East Coast City thing.  You get together and … eat  beef and drink beer.  Sort of self explanatory.  Around our little area of hillbilly land we call them “drawings” or “feeds.”  (Yes, we actually call these things feeds.)  

Anyway, this past weekend we went to this amazing benefit for one of Alexander’s friends.  In this quasi – world of WHS, there are very few of us out there… and there are even fewer boys.  Tanner is amazing.  He’s like a shot of sunlight that just… curls around your heart.  When he smiles, I swear – the world smiles.  Tanner is extra special to us because – he is yet another example of how awe inspiring children can be.  Yet another example of why doctors should not give up on any child.  Tanner is Alexander’s hero – and his benefit was one we were proud to attend.  Here’s a few shots from the day… golf, a walk, beef, and (of course) beer.  But most of all – friends.  Pulled together by something out of the ordinary – made friends by something extra ordinary.
Tee it up for Tanner.  We could not be more overjoyed to have such great friends.

I didn’t put captions under all the pictures because… well – the amazing thing isn’t the pictures.  The amazing thing is we. are. not. alone.  There are big brothers and big sisters and husbands and new babies…. and us: Moms and Miracles.  And the miracle is – we are together. 

Thanks J and J – for the opportunity to gather with my soul sisters and support your beautiful son.

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Monday, September 26, 2011

Where I’m From….

I’ve decided to link up with a writing prompt.  I’ve never actually done a writing prompt before, but this one made my heart smile on a dreary Monday morning.  This is adapted from “Where I’m From” and comes from the blog Mama Kat

I am from a doll named Cindy.  Made from yarn and material and sewn by Grandma B’s loving hands, from Velveeta Macaroni and Cheese cooked on the stovetop, and Little People, Barbies, My Little Ponies, and GI Joes strewn all over our bedroom “wonderland.”


I am from the sweet smells of a farm.  The bales of hay, the sound of a tractor running, and the zap of a practical joke involving an electrified fence.


I am from the poison ivy that came every summer while picking raspberries and the Charlie Brown Christmas tree we always ended up with because we waited until the last minute to get a tree from the Boy Scout stand.


I am from the Christmas Eve church play and stubbornness , from Grandmas and Pappies and everything they stand for.


I am from the belief that a man should still drive the car and that God can do all things.


From “stop crying or I’ll give you something to cry about” and “you can be anything you want if you work hard enough.”


I am from protestant Methodist values.  From Amazing Grace and The Old Rugged Cross.  From Psalm 121.


I’m from small town USA with no stop lights, Montgomery Pies, and Hog Maw.


From the time my uncles almost burned down my grandparent’s garage door.  They were still living at home, and old enough to be creative in their “cover up”.  They were praised for their hard work and initiative to re-paint the door and no one was the wiser until many years later; the values of a woman raised during the Great Depression, who still cooked Dandelion Soup and wasted no food… ever, and the wisdom of a woman who gave up too soon on a dream to be a teacher and has since pushed me to achieve all my dreams.

Christmas 013dad 9DSC_0386

I am from the “family Bible,” the big black scrapbook,” Stottlemyer chairs, and the house between the pines.


Head over and Check out the other blogs using this button Mama’s Losin’ It

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Attracted to the moon so I can see the sun

I find myself falling down wormholes and entering entire new places I’ve never been.


Let me back up.  At lunch, they make fun of me.  My co-workers even do hand motions of as they grasp these random words that come out of my mouth.  I think they believe I’m drunk.  Or, they just tease me about it.  Truth is, I’m not… it is just my brain moves so fast, my mouth has no way to catch up with it.  Hence, I’ll be talking about a topic, my brain will jump start through three more related thoughts and I will end up talking about something so irrelevant. Now that makes total sense… right?


The internet is like this. Click. Click. Click. My brain and mouse can work in tandem as my eyes try to keep up with all these places I must go.  Until finally… pause … I come across something I must read.  It happened to me again last night. 


It seems these pauses are filled with darkness.  Why is it that I click through shades of sunlight only to land on the moon?  The blog that goes thereyou know – to that dark place.  I’m going to admit it – I couldn’t stop reading.  I sent the woman 2 messages… one public and one private.


The blog that sucked me into a wormhole of darkness?  It was written by a woman - just a normal wife and mother  - until her husband had a psychotic break.  Her entire life changed when he committed suicide.  Apparently it is illegal to speak about suicide in Australia – where she is from.  Apparently her blog was an “average” blog until this tragedy – and now she has a huge following.


I wonder if she can make a difference in this “no speak” law in Australia?  Wouldn’t that be an amazing legacy?  I wonder if her followers are followers because they are supporters or rubberneckers?  I wonder if she wonders that too….


The reason I wonder is, I had to go there with her.  I can’t explain why I felt compelled to travel back through her posts, her anguish, her pain.  I knew the root cause of it.  Why did I feel this pull to travel into the dark night?  And now?  I can’t get her out of my head or heart. 


I started to write her an e-mail.  To tell her that she wasn’t alone in battling demons.  I wanted to tell her that life gets better.  I wanted to tell her that the depression would ease in time.  I wanted to talk to her as “one person changed by circumstances to another changed by circumstances.”  And then I realized how completely pompous that statement was.  If I was her – I would have reached through the computer to slap myself.


Enter the sun.  Yes, my life was changed by circumstances.  Yes, I did suffer through the enormity of coming to grips with our new life.  Yes, I do still have bad moments.  But – how DARE I compare the two.  My husband still comes home every night and my son is a beautiful blessing every day.  I don’t know how she will handle her “new normal.”  I haven’t been where she is.  I can’t talk to her from one changed woman to another. Because my life just veered off the path I thought it was headed.  Her life took a sharp left turn and did not pass go.


Instead, I will pray for her heart.  I will pray for the healing of her family. I will cuddle my kids and tell my husband that I love him.  I will be thankful for all that we have.   And, I will enter into the sunlight of our life… because the moon has set on another wormhole.


*I decided not to link that blog here.  It seemed weird either way… talk about a blog without linking / talk about a blog of this nature and link.  But the truth is – this post isn’t about her blog.  It is about how small things help me to remember how blessed we are.  Sunlight.

Friday, September 23, 2011

It’s Just a Pipe Dream

I’m going to a writing conference.  BlogHer is partnering with Penguin Publishing and they are sponsoring this writer’s workshop.  I’m thrilled.  I’m petrified.  I’m both…. 

I want to be a teacher.  I want to write.  I want to do both….

I want… wow – I can’t remember when I have so vehemently wanted something so badly.

I want someone to say, “You can do it.”  And… although my friends and supporters cheer me on … I really want to know if a professional thinks I have any shot.

Confession… I have never done anything that I wasn’t good at.  If it was something that I wasn’t going to be able to do well – I just wouldn’t do it. 
I wasn’t going to go.  I was going to dream about going, make some excuse about leaving the kids and Ray, yada yada yada… and not go.  The real reason I wasn’t going to go was – what if they don’t like me?

Then a good friend asked me, “How many signs do you need that you should pursue this dream?”
Five minutes later, another good friend said, “I really think you should take those Letters to your students and write a book…. and my wife loves your blog.”
And finally… 10 minutes before school let out, a few students were reading my latest “letter” and said, “I think you should write a book.”

Huh? Really?

I came home. Talked to Ray before I could talk myself out of it. And paid the registration fee. I’m going.

I feel like the girl who goes to the party alone…. Please let them like me. (Oh wait – I am going alone.)

Maybe it will be amazing. Maybe they will tell me that I have a story people would like to read.  Maybe they will give me a signing bonus and tell me to write.  It is those maybe’s that I am excited for.

Maybe all the spelling, grammar, and writing errors will be pointed out.  Maybe they will tell me I have to commit more time to this blog.  Maybe they will tell me to come back when I’m a little more polished.  It is those maybe’s that I am scared I will hear.

I’m going to draw inspiration from my children.  They are amazing.  They never complain.  They are fearless.
Once again… my babies have inspired me to stretch, go, try.  My blessings overflow.

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