Become That Which You Aspire To Be

It is an amazing journey! ❤

Positive Outlooks Blog

Life is not a race-but indeed a journey. Be honest. Work hard. Be choosy. Say “thank you”. “I love you”, and “great job” to someone each day. Take time for prayer. Be thankful. Love your life and what you’ve been given, it is not accidental. Search for your purpose and do it as best you can. Dreaming does matter. It allows you to become that which you aspire to be. Laugh often. Appreciate the little things in life and enjoy them. Some of the best things really are free. Do not worry. Forgive, it frees the soul. Take time for yourself. Plan for longevity. Recognize the special people you’ve been blessed to know. Live for today, enjoy the moment.Bonnie Mohr

Man walking at sunset

You can buy this quote as a framed poster. Go HERE.


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Miss You

Good morning Gram, Happy Birthday, I miss you. ❤

Today my great-grandmother would have turned 103, had she not been called home to Heaven 9.5 years ago. I think of her daily, but especially on her birthday, and the day she went to be with our Heavenly Father, which was October 1, 2005.

I was blessed to have my great-grandmother in my life until I was 28 years old. She was my rock, even when I was too busy to visit her like I should have, just knowing she was there brought a sense of calm to the chaos I lived in.

The last year of her life was not one of quality, and it broke my heart to see her suffer. When her year of suffering came to an end, it was a blessing for which I was extremely grateful. She was a strong woman who deserved to live with dignity, and the last year of her life seemed to rob her of her spirit.

As thankful as I was for her to be free, and no longer suffering; I was not sure how to face a new day without her here. The first year after her passing I was in a fog, and made a complete mess of my life. Through the grace of God, Henry stood by me; and we survived, one of the darker times of my life, together.

Fast forward to March 16, 2011 (the day Anne was born), and Gram was with us once again. From the very beginning Anne has reminded me of Gram, she just has so much of her spirit. She also has a LOT of Gram’s facial expressions and mannerisms. There are times she will say something and stare at me, with my Gram’s eyes, and it takes my breath away. When people comment on her spirit, I just say: “The German is STRONG with this one.” 😉

Sometimes, I feel horribly sad that my girls will never sit and talk with the wonderful woman, who was the matriarch of our family. Then I stop, look with my heart, and I realize she has been with them both all along. I know she whispers in their ears, and I KNOW she watches over them, just like she did me. We may not be able to physically visit with her, but she is Always With Us. ❤

This a picture of my gram’s engagement ring, from 1934. It is one of my most prized possessions, and resides behind my wedding rings. One day one of my girls will wear this ring, and Gram will continue to guide our family into the next generation.

miss you

 

Have a blessed day everyone, and don’t forget to smile. ♥

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Why We Started Homeschooling, Part Two

A few weeks ago, I shared the emotional reason why we began homeschooling. Now, I would like to share the logical reasons.

Once I worked through the emotions of our situation, I started doing my research to see what would be best for Beth. Should I fight for change at our public school, or should I homeschool?

Our district is all-inclusive, which means it does not have any self-contained classrooms past preschool. This was something I was thrilled about when Beth first started school in 2012, but now saw as a negative, given our situation. Beth thrived in the self-contained classroom; but appeared to have had more bad than good experiences in the blended one. From kindergarten and on, she would be in a “pod classroom,” which would have 8-11 students with IEPs blended with 10-15 neurotypical  students. The students with IEPs would be given 30 minutes a day with a Special Education teacher for “extra help,” but would spend the other 4.5 hours with one teacher and one aide in the pod.

Having taught 4yr pre-k, and substituted in kindergarten, I could not see this ratio working for any of the kids. Being neurotypical, and without an IEP, does not mean those children will not need additional help. How could two adults possibly fulfill the needs of 18-27 students, and still provide a positive educational environment?

With that question in mind, I started examining the benchmarks and kindergarten readiness skills on different sites. I realized that Beth barely had 50% of the skills suggested to start kindergarten. Although, her IEP was in place because she learned at a different rate, than her typical peers, I also realized that her achievement of IEP goals had been overstated. Perhaps they could get her to “perform” one-on-one, but overall she did not possess the skills to utilize in the classroom (or other non-school) setting.

I brought my findings to her therapists (who have been with us since Beth was 2.5yrs old), and asked them for an honest opinion on  her chances of success in a pod classroom. The answer was unanimous, she would fall further behind, and would not be able to reach her God given potential, given the structure of the pod classroom. They also felt that this would only add to her anxiety, self-esteem, and confidence issues.

Henry and I discussed our options at length. Although he had several reservations, he supported my desire to attempt homeschooling.  We also debated whether to allow Anne to remain in public school, or withdraw her too. In the end we decided that if the school was not a safe, positive environment for Beth, then it was not for Anne either. Our girls deserved more respect, and a better chance of success in reaching their God given potential, than our public school could provide.

I am beyond grateful for the ugliness that stemmed from our request for help, because it opened my eyes and heart to the reality of our girls’ situation. We had put too much trust in the public school staff, and given them more power than they deserved, but that is a post for another time.

 

Have a blessed day everyone, and don’t forget to smile. ♥

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Al-Anon Family Visit

After almost three months of not being able to attend meetings, I was blessed to visit my Al-Anon family this evening. It was WONDERFUL to see them, and drink in their wisdom. Plus, nobody gives hugs like those lovely ladies. ❤

As usual the meeting was not only a great release for me, but I also walked away with much to ponder. One of the women talked about Kahlil Gibran’s words on children, so of course I had to look up the passage when I got home. It reads:

“Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of life’s longing for itself. They come through you, but not from you. And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you. You may house their bodies, but not souls. You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you. You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth. The Archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far. Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness; for even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.”

She was right about it being a powerful, and humbling message.  I have read it several times since being home, and am filled with a new sense of purpose and hope. The one line that stands out the most is: “You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.” I find that almost everything I do, is to make Beth and Anne better than me. I want them to have a solid foundation, so they can make better choices than I did. I want them to know how special they are, so they do not suffer the low self-esteem, and lack of confidence, I have always (and sometimes still do) struggled with. I often wonder if in my efforts to make them better (or different), am I just repeating the well-meaning (but somewhat damaging) cycle?

Since we started homeschooling, the one message I receive repeatedly is to follow their lead. They are amazing little teachers, each with their own set of strengths. I think as we settle back into school, tonight’s meeting was just what I needed to start us off on the right foot. I realize now, that I must concentrate less on making them better than me; and more on simply helping them to be the best them they can be. Perhaps as I help them navigate their path, I may even become the person that God knows I can be. If at the end of my life, I can say that I was half the woman my girls are, than I will have lived a blessed life. ❤

 

Have a blessed day everyone, and don’t forget to smile. ♥

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The Key To A Good Relationship

Although I was upset with Henry yesterday, it was just one bad day. We are not perfect and we do things that upset the other a lot. We are a work in progress, and sometimes after 11 years we still have no idea what we are doing, but we LOVE each other and always find a way through the bad days.

Positive Outlooks Blog

There is no soul mate or best friend out there who will solve every one of your problems. There is no love at first sight that lasts without work and commitment. But there are, however, people out there worth fighting for. Not because they’re perfect, but because they’re imperfect in all ways that are right for you. You complement each other’s flaws in a way that allows your souls to unite and operate more efficiently as one. You will know when you meet one of these people, when through them you meet the very best in yourself. — Unknown

Man walking at sunset


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Disappointment

Today was Beth’s birthday party. I considered cancelling it due to Anne’s recent illness and hospitalization, but then decided to have it as scheduled. Henry is gone 17 hours a day, Monday thru Friday, between his two jobs, so I knew it was my job to prepare for the party.

He had told me to leave what I could for today, so he could help me. I do not do well with last minute preparation; I end up anxious, stressed and crabby. So I did as much as I could and was proud to have everything bought, except the food being picked up today, by Friday afternoon. All that was  left was the cleaning.

Disappointment #1, he woke up irritable. Upon returning from an errand, and having a very tense breakfast, I had to send him to bed, because his mood swings (due to unregulated glucose levels) were upsetting the girls. I had to get the house ready for company by myself, which meant Beth and Anne were ignored, because I was overwhelmed, while he was napping.

Disappointment #2, he was completely antisocial during the party, watching TV and only talking to his friend or father. The only interaction he had with the kids were negative ones, and my heart broke more, the longer the day went on.

Toward the end of the night the girls were struggling, Anne especially was melting down over everything and Beth was getting agitated. I was exhausted and really needed his help. Disappointment #3, he could not stop himself from being the crabby, nit-picking daddy; the daddy he hates to be, but nonetheless becomes when his glucose levels are not regulated. Needless to say, I was greatly relieved when he said he needed to go to bed.

Today is one of those days, when I am beyond grateful for Al-Anon. I kept my mouth shut (silence is better than angry words), worked my program and did not make the situation worse. In Al-Anon we are reminded that “expectations are predetermined resentments.” My expectations for the day, were that he would be the fun-time daddy they were longing for all week. He was not that man today, and so I find myself filled with anger, disappointment and resentment.

Tonight I will go to bed talking to God, and asking for help in reconciling my heart and mind. My mind knows that Henry had a VERY stressful week at both jobs, on top of Anne’s health concerns. My mind knows that he did not purposely upset us today. My mind knows he is working through his own stuff, and needs the space to do that. My heart, on the other hand, is hurt; which always brings the negative thoughts to the forefront. When that negativity gets a hold of me, all I do is sit on the “pity pot.”  My heart and mind will talk, so that I remember  all the reasons (and there are MANY) that I am blessed, and proud, to have Henry as my partner in this life. Tonight, as I converse with God, I will replace the negatives with positives; I will stop judging and start loving more, so tomorrow can be a better day.

 

Have a blessed day everyone, and don’t forget to smile. ♥

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What A Week

Last week Anne had her first experience with vomiting. She is almost four years old, and this was the first time she had vomited. Needles to say, she was terrified! She awoke late Tuesday, early Wednesday, with a very bad belly that was expelling all it had.

She was fine most of the day Wednesday, but would not eat more than a handful of cereal. As soon as evening hit, she was back to vomiting. Thursday she slept on/off all day, and was lethargic at best. Friday, she was no better, so we went to see our pediatrician. Since she had not been running a fever, and was drinking small amounts, she was not dehydrated; however, he gave her until Saturday to stop vomiting (no matter how sporadically) and start eating, or go to the hospital.

Friday night she only vomited 3 times, and I was filled with hope that we were over the worst of it. Saturday morning came, she was barely responsive and vomited twice. Off to the Emergency Room we went.

The staff at the ER complimented our efforts at home, and said it eliminated a lot of the preliminaries, and allowed them to jump right into treatment. This being Anne’s first hospital visit she was understandably frightened, and MAD at us. The only thing she would say was: “I want to go home.” Given that during this illness she had stopped speaking, even her angry words were music to my ears.  Unfortunately, the efforts in the ER were not enough for her to come home, and she was admitted.

We spent four days at the hospital, where she endured many procedures and tests. At the end of the four days, she was feeling MUCH better and was able to come home; however they never did discover the cause. Our official diagnosis was Viral Gastroenteritis, which (for us) basically meant complications from a stomach virus and dehydration.

It was one of the longest weeks I have experienced in recent years, but the four days at the hospital were made easier by their AMAZING staff. In a world where we often only hear the bad things, I have to say that the staff at Hope Children’s Hospital is EXCEPTIONAL.  ❤ They did everything in the power, to help Anne get better, while trying to make her happy as well. Their Child Life Specialists were great with Anne, and were sometimes the only ones to get a smile. They went above and beyond to make sure I was comfortable, and assist in managing my stress. Our night nurse even washed my clothes, when I ended up covered in urine for the second time that day.

Although, we never want our children to need a hospital, I am thankful that we have such a wonderful one to go to when it is necessary.

Anne is home now, and we are all getting back to our version of “normal.” I am overjoyed to have both my girls under one roof again, even if they started bickering after the first hour. 😉 The typical Sister Dynamic is in full swing, but it wonderful to hear, after a week of us being apart.

 

Have a blessed day everyone, and don’t forget to smile. ♥

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