Category Archives: Stories and Values

This is What Parents of Children with Special Needs Can Do to Plan for the Future

An aspiring young writer, Jenny Wise asked to write an article for this blog.  In her writing, Jenny shares her compassion and understanding of children with severe disabilities.  I know you will appreciate what Jenny has to offer.  

Parents of children with special needs understand more than anyone else just how important it is to plan for the future. These parents cannot afford to put off creating a plan to ensure their children will be cared for when they no longer can do it themselves. You may not be able to care personally for your child forever, but you can make sure the right people do.

  1. Keep Detailed Records

Keep all of your special needs child’s records up-to-date. Create a file containing your child’s medical history, previous and current medications, surgeries and procedures, therapies, and doctor histories in a secure location in your home and in a safe deposit box or in your lawyer’s office.

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We Wanted A Bit of Magic

Sometimes the best-laid plans blow up all over us! Elaborate arrangements for a Labor Day weekend wedding in Corpus Christi began ebbing away when Hurricane Harvey first hit the Texas shores. Shortage of gasoline became the final blow to the couple’s wedding dreams. On Thursday evening when Joy called to tell me they had decided to cancel plans for a Saturday wedding in Corpus, she asked if they could get married in the gazebo behind our newly purchased home. Well of course! No problem! Yikes! Crawling into bed that evening, I asked Chris, “Can we pull this off?” “Of course we can,” he assured me.

 

So, with the first floor of our new home totally torn up for remodeling, downstairs toilets pulled, running water turned off, and only one day to prepare, we put a wedding together. Chris worked extremely hard cleaning the pool and balancing the PH levels. Our daughter Kirsten once again came through with brilliance and stamina. Todd helped with the delivery of tables and chairs and with wise suggestions. David, Melissa, Lane and Dalton joined the effort. We cleaned, swept, and moved tables and chairs. Continue reading

A Touching Story of Pure Love (or Maybe Not. . .)

On a hot summer day in August, I took Catherine, Aidan, Chandler, and Elliott to Altitude, a trampoline park. Because of a torn contact lens, Catherine had to stop jumping early and be delivered to an eye appointment. The agreement was that the three boys would keep jumping during the brief time I would be away.

Just before leaving with Catherine, I gathered the children for a water break. Elliott insisted that he did not need water; he needed candy. After touching his sweaty little body, I replied, “No, Elliott, you really need some liquid. No candy at this time.” A serious pout began.

As I prepared to leave, Aidan whispered, “Grandma, Elliott may really need some water. Would you leave some money with me just in case he needs something?” Well, of course I would. Off I drove with Catherine.

Upon my return, Aidan confessed, “Grandma, I got worried about Elliott. He wouldn’t jump; he wouldn’t drink anything. He just sat there pointing. So to take care of him, I bought some candy and made him share it with Chandler and me. That way, Elliott didn’t get too much sugar.” How thoughtful of Aidan. Looking at Elliott, I said, “Next time, let him pout.”

Hmmm. Perhaps from the beginning Aidan had a divinely conceived plan to get candy for everyone as soon as I left with Catherine. I ponder this remote possibility. . .

You have to love a kid who works from a master plan to manage the adults in his life. At age twelve, Aidan never misses a beat. Apparently, we adults totally lack the resources to keep up with his drumbeat. I find myself smiling. Oh — the possibilities for this kid.

To Heck With Being Sensible

Some of you may already know that Chris and I backed out of the offer we made on a cute little house. Today, I write about our latest (and final) house bid.  

I’m running out of time. No doubt about it. With my 80’s looming ahead in the not so distant future, I’d better take advantage of what’s left of my youthful 70’s. To heck with being sensible and sedate! Not that I have anything against practical shoes, a little help walking, or the luxury of peaceful naps. Searching for the proverbial gold in these golden years does not get easier. I’ve decided to go for it while I still have the eyesight to spot that golden glow.

And so, my husband, who is eight years my junior and I dumped our previous notion of downsizing. Actually, we had previously downsized all the way to life in a motor home. Yes, it was fun. Without a doubt, getting rid of superfluous stuff felt great. And yet, there were hazards to that downsizing movement.

In spite of providing the advantage of always being able to locate one another, the motor home left no space for a family that seems to insist on continual expansion. Those kids — the ones we assumed would grow up and move on with their lives have become rabbits. Constantly, they accumulate spouses and children, dogs, cats and even chinchillas. Don’t get me wrong. We love each and every one. While some senior citizens collect antique dolls, stamps, coins, or even books, my husband and I collect grandchildren.

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That Swinging Pendulum Can Pack a Punch!

Have you ever felt like life mimics the swinging pendulum on a grandfather clock? On one side, life presents the circumstances you prefer. The opposite direction propels you into dread and dissatisfaction.

I believe that if I can avoid wild, dramatic, herculean swings I can keep the pendulum gently swaying somewhere near center. As we all know, staying centered provides a path to contentment.

I also tell myself that just as I cannot control the motion of the clock pendulum, I do not control the variances of life. Faithfully, I remind myself (and anyone who will listen), that I can only control my reactions to life’s swings. Much of the time, I stay relatively close to center. In addition, most of the time my attitude remains stable in spite of worldly events. But not always. Below, I share two extreme swings of my personal pendulum. Continue reading

Poking Fun About a Serious Subject

At the risk of offending friends and family, I post this fictional and foolish letter. My intention, to poke fun at a serious topic, contains bits of ridiculous along with a significant truth. The underlying message suggests that grave responsibility accompanies sexual activities.

 Disclaimer: I do not have any grandsons named Billy Bob or Rex.

Dear Billy Bob and Rex,

After years of lectures, warnings, and suggestions about flossing, I feel my work on this subject now ends. However, rather than resting in peace, a new compulsion takes on importance. Billy Bob — it is now time — yea past time for a considered and intelligent conversation about sex. You know you have been anxiously waiting for many years. Now, the time has come and I owe it to all of you young, innocent males, with your under-developed frontal lobes, to tell you the truth about this important topic.

Here it is. Prevention falls squarely onto your young shoulders. You think the female members of the species would take the lead on this, with the 9-month thing and all, but alas, it falls to you. As much as females intend to take care of the issue — yes, I write about birth control — reliable evidence indicates that females frequently do not do so. Lurking in the back of our female brains, a vision of cuddling a cute, happy, dry baby persists. This syndrome creates a “yes, I took care of it” delusion. For example, “I thought I took the birth control pills…I only missed one tiny dose. . .that little ring thing just fell out. . . I heard the music but I lost the rhythm.” The list goes on and on. Of course, abstinence definitely works best and when used properly, it offers 100% certainty. However, abstinence presents a challenge. That means, you can apply abstinence 99 times out of 100. One “oops” cancels all previous hard work. Yep! That’s the one and only time! For obvious reasons, major surprises often accompany the abstinence method.

Even with the most responsible female, the responsibility, like the preverbal tennis ball, remains in your court. Any time you decide to engage in sexual activity, you enter a realm that could involve creating a new life, which we consider far too precious to take lightly. Truthfully, a shared responsibility indicates mutual maturity and responsibility.

I sign off as your grandmother wishing for great grandchildren in the far distant future. Sending Love and wisdom to you.

Grandma  (Written Oct. 2015)

Possible Reading

Herndon, Emily, M. Zieman. “New Contraceptive Options.” American Family Physician. Feb. 15, 2004.  http://www.aafp.org/afp/2004/0215/p853.html

Partners In Health. “Contraception Health Centre.” Web MD. 2015.  http://www.webmd.boots.com/contraception/features/new-long-term-contraception-methods.

A Father’s Day Story: Changing a Sworn Enemy to a Friend for Life

In my entire life, I only had one serious enemy. My foe, Johnny Cain, had enormous blue eyes and sandy hair. Each afternoon, while walking from school to my Grandmother Glover’s house, Johnny pretended to run me down with his little blue bicycle. In an effort to maintain some shred of dignity, I showed no fear. I stared straight ahead, kept walking at a steady pace, and refused to look at my cruel tormentor. The more I pretended bravery the more this game appealed to eight-year old Johnny.

You probably can’t imagine the horror I felt when Daddy announced that he and I would be going to a fish fry with Catherine Cain and her son, Johnny. “You can’t be serious! Johnny is the meanest person in the whole world,” I responded in a panic. Seventy years later, I know this world can be cruel. At eight, I thought surely Daddy would listen to reason. However, the following Saturday, I found myself scrunched against a back seat door staring out the window. Johnny stared with equal determination out the opposite side of the car. We refused to speak to one another.

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Responding to Challenges Times

Every Sunday, the members of our church sing two important phrases. “This is the time we’ve been waiting for. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.” With increasing frequency, I repeat these sentences to myself.

Nationally, we have an idea on which we all seem to agree — America faces challenging times. A national split seems to widen each day with no solutions in sight. We find divisions about climate changes, racial inequity, immigrants, Muslims, gays, women’s rights, taxes and many more issues. As long as we remain divided, no one can truly enjoy the freedom for which this republic began.

How can this be the time we have been waiting for? Division feels terrible. I can’t speak for others, but during times of challenge, I experience my most significant reflection and growth. The challenges we now face call on us to be the best we can possible be. Circumstances also prompt us to live up to the intentions of our founding fathers.

Our constitution begins, “We the people. . .” The words do not include we the people of a certain color, gender, sexual orientation, or religion. How might our nation look if we were to rise to the level of those opening words? According to Reverend Jim Rigby, “We seek a freedom that does not enslave others.” If I say, “I love you but I don’t want to pay you a living wage,” I clearly demonstrate hypocrisy. Likewise, can I claim love if I favor laws that make voting difficult for any group or individual? Am I a loving person if I live in fear of any religion or group that differs from my personal values?

Rigby suggests that if we live in captivity to our fears, we restrict the freedom of all of us. Additionally, putting money ahead of human values denies us our own liberty. The laws of the Old Testament and the laws of our own constitution exist to help us establish personal freedoms —freedoms, which must exist for everyone within the boundaries of this great country.

Apparently, these are the times we’ve been waiting for. These times require us to wake up and live out of compassion, to move beyond our fears and act with courage. Only with open hearts can we find the freedom we seek. No leader of any party can provide this for us. Nor can any religion or clergy provide us with healing. The freedom, as well as the safety we seek abides within our own beings. This is the time and we are the ones we’ve been waiting for.

Work Cited:

Reverend Jim Rigby. St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church. Austin, Texas, 2017. Ideas in this writing come from a sermon delivered by Jim Rigby on Sunday, May 28, 2017.

EASTER

EASTER

Like “walking dead” zombies, we sometimes stumble around without seeing the beauty surrounding us, without caring for self or others, and without accepting hope. Existence at that level symbolizes death. The triumphant news of Easter reminds us that we can claim the life intended for us. The Easter story focuses on becoming alive. The message encourages us to rise up from being asleep — essentially dead, to fully embrace divine life.

When lived at its fullest level, life progresses beyond inhaling and exhaling. The message of Easter reminds us to be “empty, open vessels to receive the full measure of Diving blessings. I am whole. I am one with Spirit.” Easter’s message of LIFE lives on eternally.

“Rest.” Daily Word. April 15, 2017.

Marching Into the Gates of Hell

Stockpiling weapons for the purpose of defending home and family may sound like a solid plan. But, is it? In an effort to consider a new perspective on personal protection, please join me on an imaginary time-travel journey to contemplate the following question:

Can the words of Jesus apply in today’s world?

Imagine for a moment that just outside the walls of Jerusalem, we mingle with devout followers of Jesus. The Last Supper has been eaten, Judas departed, and Jesus has withdrawn to pray. Although most disciples sleep, a few of us crouch around a small fire to discuss possible actions to take. All of us realize that danger lurks. Our Master’s life hangs in jeopardy.

As we linger, we hear “Jesus will be arrested. He will be tried and found guilty of blasphemy. We have to do something.” Following a hushed moment, a disciple mutters, “We must arm ourselves. In order to protect our Master and our cause, we must resist. Let every man take up arms and be ready for defense. When the soldiers arrive, we will be ready.”

How might history have unfolded if the disciples had physically fought the soldiers – soldiers, who, in fact came and arrested Jesus? Would fighting have been a “courageous” action or a futile massacre? How would recorded history be different? These questions suggest some interesting considerations about whether the teachings of Jesus can actually apply today.

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