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Expression of Gratitude


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A quick note to say Thank You to my readers.  Sometimes I flit in and out of here, with a quick reply to a comment, forgetting to say, “Thanks for stopping by.”  I see other bloggers do that and I really like that.  So I promise to remind myself to do the same.  There are some long time readers out there, as well as new friends and I thank each and ever one of you for taking the time to comment when really most people will do a quick “like.” Those are good, too, but I think bloggers really look forward to getting to know the people who are interested in what they have to say….. So, I say Thanks~!

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God Don’t Like Complainers


NoComplaining

Um…. I guess that would be me.  So embarrassing to say that, but yeah.  Life is so weird.  You live, you try to sculpt yourself into the person you’d like to grow up to be; then as you try to “be” that person, you say to yourself that you’ve got to be you, you’ve got to voice your opinions.  That’s paramount and you assert yourself.  But let’s see where that got me……

Before I go further, I must state that I am fully blessed.  Despite my many failings, I am deeply loved.  That gives me the courage to write about myself and my flaws and failures.  First and foremost I am loved by God and have the firm belief of His profound forgiving nature.  There is a quote that speaks to this and I read it every day.  I have a firm belief that God has a purpose for each and every one of us, despite our imperfections.  He literally has a specific need, or finds a specific need for our specific imperfections.  We are useful despite it all.  This give me hope for my own soul.

“My imperfections and failures are as much a blessing
  from God as my successes and my talents,
  and I lay both of them at His feet.”
   ~Mahatma Gandhi

All my life I was the quiet one.  The one who desperately strove to melt into the background, and blended in, right in between those gigantic flowers, painted onto the wallpaper in our kitchen.  I was a stutterer and I could not get a word out before the several attempts that usually bored people right before they moved on to other subjects.  Get the picture?  Not only could I not communicate, but I did not learn the social skills in order to interact with other human beings.  So I listened.  I listened to exchanges that totally, totally bored me.  I simply was not interested in most female conversations regarding curtains and home decor.  So what developed was that I became judgmental of females…. well, whether I am justified or not on that is still out for debate… pfst.  To this day, I find a conversation with a man much more interesting than talking to women…. sorry gals.

Anyway, so I’ve gotten to the point in my life where I can hold a conversation, but struggle with the social cues.  I do not stutter, except under stress it might come back a little.  I find that I am a woman who has a problem recognizing and honoring moderation.  I seem to be either this way or that–to the extreme.  Like, I could abstain from soda for months, yet if I get one taste, I’m off and running consuming more soda in one day than one has a right to.  WTH?  Same with water.  One day I’m consuming massive quantities of it, and the next I am a camel in the desert and you could not force one drop down my throat.  As a matter of fact, I need some right now……..

I’m back…. So, now that I’m going verbal, my Gemini self cannot shut up and every single thought in my head is out and off the tongue no sooner than my brain gets a hold of it.  Well, some thoughts should stay unspoken.  After years of keeping my mouth shut tight, the flood gates are opened and with my relatively newfound confidence, I speak my mind whenever and wherever and to whomever.  And it’s not all good.  You know if you can’t say anything nice, then don’t say anything at all.  The bottom line for me is that after I speak my mind, I feel better.  But taking my judgmental self outside and giving the double-parkers blocking traffic with their cars a piece of my mind, well, that can’t work for anyone but me.  Even then, afterwards I usually feel that I could’ve handled the situation a lot better.  I can’t abide inconsideration in any of its forms… but I really shouldn’t be getting into confrontations like I do.  Maybe writing about this will help me remember that next time.

Today I was listening to Alan Horvath who is a musician who does videos about the bible and religion.  I do suggest checking out his videos on youtube if you have a desire to listen to the Word with the names in their original languages.  I’m hoping the meaning of these books go back to the beginning, without the contamination of the human pen.  I watched one video about  Alan’s experience during Frankenstorm Sandy and he talked about how he heard a lot of people complaining.  He said, “God doesn’t like complainers,” and I thought, O.M.G. that’s me.  I complain long and loud to anyone who would stay quiet long enough for me to do so.  But you know, even though we didn’t have power for ten days, we had everything else, until our food spoiled; but even then we could still travel to towns every day to pick up some food for that day.  Yes, we were in long lines at the gas station, but heck, it was not bad enough to complain about.  I think people today don’t want to wait for anything.  We are under so much pressure to do it fast, then move on to the next thing.  I used this blog to complain, I also complained on facebook, I got together with my neighbor and we complained to each other… sigh.  But it was driven home to me, an active member of a Roman Catholic church, that God does not appreciate complainers.  Should that have been news to me?  Nope.  The whole book of Exodus tells us of the Jews complaining every other day and you know what?  God kept them wandering in the desert for forty years.  You’d think they’d learn their lesson.  You’d think that I would have by now, also.  My hubby is an excellent example.  He doesn’t complain at all.  Usually, that plays out well for me when I am involved, but if it’s something outside this house, I get frustrated with him, but you know, he’s got the right way to go.  It shows, too.  God is with him.  He’s just one of those people, that you just know.

I need to really learn my lesson.  It’s not like I’m an ignorant bitch…. not really.  So I will close with stating I am truly blessed.  Things are never really as bad as my first impression.  Regarding Hurricane Sandy, we got through it.  We did not flood though this house has a long history of flooding.  Because we did not flood, we kept our hot water.  We had a gas stove to cook on.  No heat, but plenty of handmade blankets to keep us warm at night.  We had radios and thanks to the presence of our seven-year old, plenty of batteries to keep the radios and flashlights going.  I was so grateful for NJ101.5 to keep myself connected to the outside world.  Finally, I had my loving husband and my beloved son with me.  What more could I possibly have the audacity to ask for?


dragonmommie:

I thought I would take the opportunity today to talk about the added significance of this Federal Holiday. You see, it’s a personal holiday for me, too. This is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. The day we commemorate a great man who gave his life so that EVERYONE could be truly free in this “free” country of ours called the United States of America. A man whose life was wasted, taken away from him, BUT his life was not wasted. This country started out with a great foundation, but those ideals were actively held back from the population of this country who were not white. The black people who had helped make this country what it was. Black people who fought along side the whites so that this country could be free from British rule, but they were also fighting for their own personal freedom.

As I said earlier, this is also a personal day, the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday of Jan. 2005 will never be forgotten by myself or my family. This was the very day that we found out about my “late” pregnancy. A day that is written in our history and in my soul. I am reblogging a post that I wrote way back when as a private post, then made it public but did not tag it to sort of keep it under the radar. Today I reblog it with categories and tags because, well, it’s my contribution for the day. I couldn’t ask for a better day to have the door to my future open up wide and loud. It was this day that God’s plan started to unfold for me, my purpose in life was finally revealed. Now that I look back, so appropriate that his name would be Gabriel.

Back in 2005, I read somewhere that the definition of Gabriel was “strength of God.” Very simple. But if you think about it further, it was the Archangel Gabriel who came to Mary to announce the birth of Jesus, he appeared to Zechariah to announce the birth of John (the Baptist). I am reassured I chose the perfect name for our little Life-Changer.

So without further ado, I present our birth story:  (oops, the link is above)

Originally posted on DragonMommie's World:

August 23, 2005 ~ Written in Yahoo 360 blog

It’s 11:50AM and I am expecting Gabriel to wake up from his nap any minute. Nothing out of the ordinary today; but later we will go shopping for a crib. Gabriel has almost outgrown his cradle, the one in Ed’s family for a generation. All his brothers and sisters and nieces and nephews have been in it, and now, our son. We hope the tradition is carried on by the kids. This weekend we will be going to Ed’s sister’s house, so I probably will not blog over the weekend. We want to bring back the cradle when we go, hence the crush to get a crib this week.

Gabriel has been such an unexpected blessing in our lives.

First of all, we didn’t even find out I was pregnant until I was almost 7 months along. I experienced no symptoms…

View original 1,737 more words

A WordPress Exercise


No lights?  Light some candles.

No lights? Light some candles.

Okay, so I thought I could answer prompt questions thrown out by WordPress to keep blogging, even if it’s just a little bit.  We’ll see, usually my “little” blurbs grow into monstrosities.  First one up:

Honestly evaluate the way you respond to crisis situations. Are you happy with the way you react?

I jumped on this question right away because I can honestly say that I’m not happy with the initial way I react to crisis situations, or at least some of them.  What comes to mind right away is Hurricane Sandy.  We live in Elizabeth, NJ and had lost power for 10 days.  We ONLY lost power and had no flooding in the basement to speak of.  Immediately, I felt isolated in the dark and a bit scared when the power didn’t go back on right away.  We are used to the power going off, but never had gone more than a few hours without it coming back on.

After the fear (I never got over the isolation), I started to get angry.  Angry because I was hearing about everyone else getting power back and we were not slated to get ours back any time soon.  The feeling isolation was profound and something I had not felt since after my divorce and was forced to take up residence in a succession of rooms.  After the storm, no power, no phone.  I had a cell phone, but could not make calls.  I needed to connect with the outside world, my family, but I couldn’t.  Eventually, I discovered that I could do text messages and texted my family to relay our situation, inquire of theirs and hoping that I would hear back from them.

Forever tuned to NJ101.5, this radio was my lifeline to the outside world.

Forever tuned to NJ101.5, this radio was my lifeline to the outside world.

We had a radio and I latched onto that all day and night to hear news about the storm.  The station I listened to was NJ101.5 and at the time just didn’t buy into the “just be grateful” speech.  I wanted my power back, but really?  I wanted my internet back.  I feel ashamed, but that’s what it was.  I resented not having my internet.  I really don’t know why.  When I look at the things I do when online, I can’t see what is so important.  Also, our whole routine was disrupted, mainly our son was not in school for 10. whole. days.   That’s a LOT of days.

What refused to come into my sphere of any importance were the people who were REALLY affected.  Those who lost family and friends, who lost their homes, clothes and possessions…..lost memories.  Those who had no idea where their next meal was coming from.   Traumatic stuff that forces a realistic perspective.  I had my family and that really should have been enough for me.  It was hanging off my peripheral consciousness, but I was too hyped up.  Much too much caught up in the stories I was listening to on the radio and applying them to myself.

I can only pray that I have learned from this.  I am not going to “say” that I’ve learned from this because how many times do we say that, then the next time the so called definitive lesson eludes us and we jump right back into that trench.  A good thing to do to keep it into the forefront is to just keep thinking about it.  Think about the petty way that I reacted to this situation.  I say “situation” because it wasn’t a real tangible crisis.  We managed.  We kept warm.  We took hot showers…. That’s right, because we didn’t flood, our hot water heater was not affected.   On the coldest night, we all slept in the same bed.  HA… there I was thinking that DH and I were going to keep our seven year old warm and he was the one who kept us warm!  We had gas, so the stove was available, but after the food was gone two days later, we had to drive to other towns to get our food every day.  Was that so horrible?  Looking back, I cannot think that it was.

I really have to learn to stop, breath, and think things through.  I’m such a baby sometimes, which brings my thoughts back to someone in my past who told me just about as much and that I needed some growing up to do.  I guess I will never stop growing up and that is somewhat of a comfort.  My challenge to myself is to start being more mindful of not just my external environment, but my internal environment.

If after this, you’d like to read more about the details of our storm situation, you can go to the links below:

Day Nine Post Sandy

Who Turned on That Light

Frankenstorm Sandy Continues

Halloween and Frankenstorm Sandy

Winding Down the Days Post Sandy

Stormy Reflections

Imperfectly Perfect

Imperfectly Perfect


So, yeah.  I’ve had over a week now to reflect.  Unfortunately, I could not quiet myself down for long enough to get back into that personal quiet place.  I made an attempt here, at Stormy Reflections, but the boy was off from school at the time and I just didn’t get myself far back enough, or quiet enough.  Right now, I’m at Starbucks, enjoying a Christmas coffee, with jazz playing in the background; but this snooty Asian girl is staring at me and I have no idea why.  Is it the fact that my boobs remain unfettered and out on their own?  Could it be that she is oogling my new nail design, or maybe that I tried out a new clear polish on just one nail?  Holy Crap… I really like the wet, shiny finish of  “Looks Wet” Ultra High Gloss Topcoat I just got at the Christmas Tree Shop…. Merry Christmas to me~!  Who knows about this girl, but I really want to get into the topic, so I’ll just jump right in at probably the far left, but it’ll get me started…..

Last Sunday, I served as lector at our church and it was one of those times that you just know the Holy Spirit is right there with you.  My heart burned.  I feel the need to post the readings as I could never explain them.

1 Kings 17: 10 – 16

10 So he arose and went to Zar’ephath; and when he came to the gate of the city, behold, a widow was there gathering sticks; and he called to her and said, “Bring me a little water in a vessel, that I may drink.”
11 And as she was going to bring it, he called to her and said, “Bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.”
12 And she said, “As the LORD your God lives, I have nothing baked, only a handful of meal in a jar, and a little oil in a cruse; and now, I am gathering a couple of sticks, that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die.”
13 And Eli’jah said to her, “Fear not; go and do as you have said; but first make me a little cake of it and bring it to me, and afterward make for yourself and your son.
14 For thus says the LORD the God of Israel, `The jar of meal shall not be spent, and the cruse of oil shall not fail, until the day that the LORD sends rain upon the earth.’”
15 And she went and did as Eli’jah said; and she, and he, and her household ate for many days.
16 The jar of meal was not spent, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the LORD which he spoke by Eli’jah.

Hebrews 9: 24 – 28

24 For Christ has entered, not into a sanctuary made with hands, a copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf.
25 Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the Holy Place yearly with blood not his own;
26 for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the age to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
27 And just as it is appointed for men to die once, and after that comes judgment,
28 so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

Gospel: Mark 12: 38 – 44

38 And in his teaching he said, “Beware of the scribes, who like to go about in long robes, and to have salutations in the market places
39 and the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts,
40 who devour widows’ houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.”
41 And he sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the multitude putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums.
42 And a poor widow came, and put in two copper coins, which make a penny.
43 And he called his disciples to him, and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury.
44 For they all contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, her whole living.”

It’s irregular of me to post scripture readings, but I found these resonated inside and I felt comfort and I felt shame at the same time.  I was comforted because the scriptures were telling me that I could feel free to donate to hurricane victims, despite not having a whole hell of a lotta resources to support our family; and this is because the Lord will take care of us.  The widows of the first reading and the Gospel gave all of themselves, to the point of true sacrifice, whereas the ones who donated from their surplus, were not truly feeling the loss, and so it was not really a sacrifice at all, and not heart-felt by them.  I do have faith in that, but walking the tight rope is pretty scary and fear creeps right back in sometimes.

I feel shame because one of the days right after Hurricane Sandy blasted through, I was approached by a guy asking for money.  I made a judgement that I know full well that I should not have made.  This guy seemed to be lying to me and I refused to give him money.  I never should have done that.  I could have given him a dollar, even, but I didn’t.  Whether he was lying or a drunk or a drug addict is between him and God and now, my refusal is also between ME and God.  Living day to day has played havoc on me in a lot of ways and I’ve grown weaker when I should have been growing stronger all along.  This is my shame.  Also, I failed to set a good example to my kid.  FAIL.  Sigh, I just realized that.  Holy Crud, I’ve been wracking my brain on how I could  teach the little guy to be more giving and there it was right in front of me.  At the time, though, I have to realize I was a little afraid to stop to talk to this guy with my son along with me.  Elizabeth is not a very safe place, but I really should have trusted more in the Lord to take care of us.  It’s gone… but maybe I can learn from this.

I have to look back at the hurricane, which was really nothing for us, and realize that whatever our inconvenience, was just that–an inconvenience.  We did not lose anything but the food in our fridge.  We had no heat, but we had hot water and gas to cook on top of the stove.  Yes, I missed my internet.  I felt so disconnected and isolated and it was a horrible feeling.  My world literally stopped, paralyzed because we could not get any information about what was going on in our city and what was being done to fix the power problem.  PSE&G continuously lied to us and I feel that if they were just truthful about the time frame, that I could have simply made plans to go stay with someone.  The problem was that my dad in PA and my sister in Old Bridge, NJ. also did not have power, though my dad had a generator going.  Then when the schools reopened, that was it for us and we had to stay here.  Pathetic, right?  I thought so when I was finally able to see pictures of our shoreline and how those people REALLY suffered and still are after losing their homes permanently, not just for ten days.  Some of those people, at this writing, have still not been allowed back to their homes.  I’m sure that whatever they have left is gone from mold now.  All I can do is pray for them, for strength to be given to them to get through this.  Gas lines?  Sheesh, is nothing compared to what they are going through.  I guess the only Americans who can really know what they are going through are the Katrina victims.

Okay, so I’ve still not managed to “get inside” myself to do proper reflection, but writing sure helps get thoughts out.  DH and the boy were supposed to leave me alone today and I was planning on it, but those plans fell through.  Sometimes things do not work out and we have to make the best of it.  One thing I do know and that is that I am blessed.  I have a family…. a family that I never thought I’d have and it has surpassed every hope and expectation.  A loving husband and a very happy little seven year old.  My spouse is my rock and my little boy shows me joy and happiness, and both accomplish this with a simplicity that boggles my mind.

Henri J. M. Nouwen wrote of the Wounded Healer.  I am very much a “broken” spirit struggling every step through my life’s journey, which is why the quote below holds so much hope for me.  I try to keep this in mind every day with the goal of serving the Lord in my brokenness.   My comfort, my hope and my joy.  I do believe wholeheartedly that God has a use for us.  Imperfectly perfect.  We will never be perfect, but I find comfort that I have the perfect place, as I am, in God’s Great Grand Plan for the world.  So ironic that we all struggle, we all search for our purpose.  Do we ever realize that we need not really search for anything.  “It”, our purpose, will find us at the right time.

“My imperfections and failures are as much a blessing
  from God as my successes and my talents,
  and I lay both of them at His feet.”
   ~Mahatma Gandhi

I am very much drawn to one of my favorite hymns this week, “The Cry of the Poor.”  In this haunting melody you meet the burning need of the poor face to face.

Introductions, Please.


Okay, like I said yesterday, I am amazed every day by how much my little guy is learning and implementing.  Well, last night he hit me with another one.  So, every night the last thing we do is snuggle.  This used to be for extended periods of time that are now whittled down to just a couple of minutes, give or take, and we talk.  Sometimes it’s longer if we have lots to talk about and sometimes it’s literally just enough time to satisfy his need for snuggling.  Little Drake (my little nickname for him) has regularly been asking if his father will be in school on his social skills group night and every time I have to say yes.  This week Big Drake just has to hand in a paper and is free, so I said he was going to come.  LD got so excited and informed me that he was going to, and this gets tricky to relay here because he can’t express himself well yet and his exact words are nowhere what they should have been.  He basically expressed that he was going to introduce us as, “Mr. & Mrs. Dragon (insert surname, the real one here).  I definitely was NOT going to remind him that I’ve been there the whole time and have been speaking with the supervisor and interns on a weekly basis.  I just told him that I was looking forward to it.  His smile was bright and his eyes were big.

I’m just so proud of my little man!


(I preface this post with a note that this post was already published and linked to “a diary of a mom”, prematurely, through the quickie post feature at WordPress and still trying to get used to it.  This complete post is really an update. My apologies for any inconvenience.)

This is Autism Awareness Month and my boy is autistic.

I don’t say that to draw attention to my son being autistic. I write that to draw attention to Autism.

Lately, I’ve been seeing embryos of posts for myself that start with comments I make on other blogs.  Finally, I am writing one here that I’ve written for Jess at A diary of a mom, which I highly recommend reading, BTW.  Her post today is entitled, “Passed Right By – and Never Knew”, thoughts that we all must be thinking.

Long before autism, I believed that we are meant to turn our negative experiences into positives by sharing them to help others.  There is such a liberation, a burst of freedom when this clicks within our consciousness.  Just think about it.  For eons people have been asking themselves, “Why?”  Why does God let this happen to me.  I believe that I’ve found the answer.

“…sharing them to help others.”  What I left out is “sharing them to help others who share the same suffering.”  While everyone suffers uniquely in intensity and within our own circumstances, we so deeply share the hurt of our suffering.  I am reminded of this just this morning.  Our son has been very upset lately surrounding “school”.  At first, I thought it was the typical adjustment from spending a week off from school without the structure provided at school.  I could not get out of him why he was so upset or what had happened to cause it.  This morning he told me that “the kids don’t let me play…”  This was the only phrase that I could understand, yet it burned me to the core.  If you know any of my history, you know that I spent 1st grade through 8th grade without friends, among people who actively pushed me away.  This morning, my hurt was Gabe’s hurt… and visa versa.  I took him in my arms and generously administered copious skin on skin back rubs.  I told him that not everyone is going to be our friend.  I told him that he does have other, new friends at the social skills group he just got into.  I told him that Zach is his friend.  I couldn’t tell, but I hope that was a consolation to him.

Just found an article I wrote about the “Blessings of Pain,” hoping to elaborate more about what our personal pain can be elevated to.

My quoted comment above states that I discovered this little bit of wisdom “long before autism” and that is correct.  For my whole life, I was wondered why God would isolate me, it seemed, so deliberately.  I wondered why none of my teachers or school principal did anything to help or stop what was going at school, a catholic school, btw.  Just this week I confided this bit of my history to a counselor at Gabe’s school and she had an answer that made sense and I had never even tried to rationalize an answer for myself.  She said that the reason they didn’t do anything was because they were thinking that this experience would make me strong.  Well, I don’t doubt that, but it had also screwed me up emotionally and socially for most of my life and I still carry the baggage that can be seen at times, more than I would like.  It’s dirty baggage.  It’s smelly baggage.  It’s damaged baggage.  My old school is closing and I cannot say that I am sorry to see that happening.  Thirty years later, my old classmates want to have some kind of party to commemorate the school.  Since on facebook, they had gotten dinners and fundraisers started to save the school even before this.  Needless to say, I had no desire to participate in any of this.  My memories are damaged.  Distorted.

Counselor Lady told me something that I knew already.  She said that God would not have let Gabriel into our lives if we could not deal, if we could not handle a child as special as him.  Yes, I knew this.  I didn’t know it from the first day, but I learned it.  After continually, if even with humor, complaining about how my life was over because I had a kid in my mid forties, I learned that I would’ve made a horrible mother if I had a kid when I was biologically supposed to, in my twenties.  I know more and accept more about myself now than I did before and that is so damn important… to be as comfortable as you can be in your own skin… BEFORE having kids, and this applies to ANYONE, any mother, any parent out there.  Young parents teach their kids what they were taught from their own parents because that is all they know, quite frankly, and I had a mom who was a yeller, screamer and a hitter (and I’ll not say with what).  An older parent can teach more than that.  We can teach what we’ve learned from our own lives, from our own personal perspective and less from the strict perspective of our parents.  I am SO aware that I am more like my mom than I care to be.  With this knowledge, I am super sensitive about checking myself before I get to the “hitting” point.  I’ll not lie and say that I was always successful, but I can say that those episodes were stopped very quickly and I have been successful for over a year now.  Even at his young age, I made it a point to apologize and ask for forgiveness.

Somewhere in my thirties I came to the realization, s-l-o-w-l-y, that all my hurtful experiences could be made clean by using them to help other people going through the same pain that I went through.  God made me a talker and even though I spent the first part of my life largely in silence, when I started talking you’d be hardpressed to try and get me to stop.  It’s well known that if someone had an issue and needed emotional support, what is appreciated and helps the most is if someone could talk to that person who had experienced the same problem.  Other people try to help and say the same kind, yet superficial and irrelevant words; whereas others who have that specific empathy, offer so much more than that.  They offer their own experience, they offer their own pain up in an effort to heal the hurt of another.  Grace such as this not only can help that person, but the person who offers it.  We are indeed healed a little bit more by sharing the most darkest parts of ourselves.  When we can realize the poetic harmony this plays in our lives, we will never question again the “why’s” of a tragedy.  We will never doubt or blame our God (whatever the name) for making us suffer.  We can immerse ourselves, bath ourselves in the pain and emerge on the other side with something in our pockets for an emergency.  With such an arsenal, we now can find purpose in any part of our lives.  We can be the wounded healers (I did not coin that phrase.  It’s the name of a book, “The Wounded Healer”, written by Henri J.M. Nouwen, one of my very favorite writers, may God bless his soul.  He also said, “By giving words to these intimate experiences I can make my life available to others.”

We are put on this earth to interact with others.  There is no doubt about that.  Let’s love one another.  Let’s help one another.  Let there not be hate or violence against others.

Hey, just adding in here that I’d love to hear your thoughts, so please comment with any and all of them.  I welcome any and all comments… with spam, disrespect and filth being the exceptions.  Thanks!

Sensory Friendly Theater


 

 

This is Autism Awareness Month and my boy is autistic.

I don’t say that to draw attention to my son being autistic. I write that to draw attention to Autism.

Every post from now on in the month of April, I will start in this way, regardless of content.  I’ve not done much this year I guess because I’m not a good planner, so this is the least I can do.  I have blue shirts and blue nail polish and briefly I contemplated dying my hair blue; but ya know it has no effect if I don’t leave the house.  Sometimes I wonder if there are people out there who will read this and listen…. especially people with the power to change things.  We’ve had little victories here and there, but in general I am disheartened by the apathy of the education system.  It’s either that they don’t give a damn, or maybe they are in a comfort zone they fear to leave.  They have a system and this autism thing just throws a wrench into the works and screws them all up.  I can tell you that when our school decided to form a social skills group, it was on the fly and they don’t even know if they’re doing anything right yet.  I was told that they are creating it as they go along and while I’m glad that they are trying, I’m a little  a LOT worried about how successful their efforts will be.

Well, God will answer our prayers.  In my case, because I’m not good at praying, He sees into my heart and knows what I need even before I know and I trust that.  I received today in Gabe’s backpack, an envelope from his Speech teacher.  Inside was a press release from the Union County Office of Public Information, announcing a new Sensory Friendly Theater series of performances specially designed for children with autism and related disabilities at the Union County Performing Arts Center in Rahway, NJ.  The notice is entitled: “Union County Offers Theater Program for Children with Autism and Related Disabilities.”  This is what caught my eye:

The new series, which begins on June 10 with Tom Chapin and Friends, is designed according to guidelines that help to reduce disturbances for youngsters who experience heightened sensory sensitivity. The Performing Arts Center is committed to a creating a judgment-free zone with plenty of trained specialists who understand autism and similar disabilities.

A sports program for the autistic child, it is not; and I personally would LOVE such a sports program.  Seriously though, I wouldn’t care if this was a special program for making 10′ snowmen on a hot July afternoon.  I’m in a state of elation right now because these are exactly the types of considerations our kids absolutely need in order to benefit from their participation.  Adults who have training and understand autism (and similar disabilities) are absolutely essential for a successful program such as this.  There is a lot more to this notice, but I keep coming back to the above words:  “judgment-free zone, trained specialists, understand autism.”  The sad fact is that our school professionals are officially none of these things.  Let me just stop right here and say that this in no way diminishes the teaching abilities of these professionals.  I think, as teachers, we are very lucky to have who we have, however…..   My experience with school professionals working with my boy:  Compassionate, yes.  Patient, yes.  Accommodating, yes (so far).  But even our Special Ed teacher is not trained to understand autism.  Why is that?  Well, she got her degree way back in I don’t know what decade and has had no other education to bring her uptodate on Autism or any (similar disability)… umm that really, no, REALLY doesn’t sit right with me.  I think I can be fairly certain of that because I’ve asked whether she had training and I never received an affirmative answer or any qualifiable answer.  Soooo, what would you think?  I’ve advocated to the principal, political candidates for office who come to our door, and anyone who’d listen, and even at a town meeting that it’s imperrative that our teachers be educated to understand autism.  I feverently believe that it’s not just unfair to ask our children to be put into a classroom with adults who don’t understand them; but it’s also unfair to put teachers into that same room with the knowledge, tools and strategies to educate these kids and navigate the myriad of possible disruptions that can occur.  So you see, I have reason to feel disheartened.  Anyone who comes to this door will continue to get an earful and I suppose will regret knocking on our particular door…. oh well.  SO to get this news today gave me a little hope.

I’d also like to share with you the person responsible, Union County Freeholder Chairman Alexander Mirabella.  I won’t replicate the whole announcement here, but here is a link at NJtoday.  If you’d like to call for information, here the number to call: 732-499-8226… OR here’s the link to Sensory Friendly Theater web page

This is What I Do


SNOOZE ALERT…….

After reading this, it’s not one of my more inspiring, funny or crazy missives.  In fact, it might just be, well, boring.  Sometimes we all go that route.  Two things inspired this post.  1. I am taking some time for me today, and 2. This post by Diary of a Mom.  First, read that.  It’s not long at all and then come back here to read what I do to rejuvenate

Oh, you’re back and caught me rummaging through my bag looking for snacks that aren’t there.  I’m sitting in my favorite daytime spot to be in the world.  Everyone needs getaway time and most maybe go on vacations; but what about those of us who desperately need that time, yet cannot afford to even take three people to the movies without planning it… and forget about the 3-D ones.  We’ve been living on a budget… NO.  I can’t say that because living on a budget means that there’s money there to juggle in the first place.  Most of my adult life, I’ve lived from paycheck to paycheck and hoped that I had a little something left over for anything extra.  Well, I’ve found ways over the years to do that something special for ME, to feel special, to get out of the house, relax, maybe read a book (WAY back before Kindle/tablet times).

Sixteen years ago to be precise, I went through a divorce.  An amiable, yet with stormy undertones.  I ended up with not much from the marriage except a car to drive me to work.  I never had to support myself and, well, I just managed to do that but my living conditions were not what I would have liked, though I must add they were the most interesting times of my life.  I made friends and had experiences that stayed with me for the rest of my life.  Still, I could not support myself in my own place.  I was forced to rent rooms and did home share situations.  Not bad, but I had nothing to really call my own.  So, there were pros and cons and my family only really saw the cons and acted like I was not living well.  I had a roof over my head and that was good enough for me at the time.  It was a time when I craved as little responsibility as possible anyway, so it worked out, though it was not, could not be a permanent way of life.  I moved from place to place for a few years and that really left me drained and without a sense of belonging anywhere.

This was around the time I first discovered that you could just sit on the floor in Border’s and read a book without being pressured to leave or to either buy or put the book back.  The first time I went there, people were sitting on the floor all over the store and I thought this was really cool.  Another cool thing was Starbucks.  There was one just a few blocks from where I lived, hmm somewhere back in the mid to late nineties.  I discovered that I could purchase just one cup of coffee and spend the whole day there, reading (I was not knitting or crocheting then) in the comfiest chair I had ever sit in.  The music was not overpowering and did not seep into my reading.  I spent cool summer Saturdays there, reading to my hearts’ content.

While I still do enjoy Starbuck’s, it’s so crowded that I do not gravitate to it during the day.  The last time I was there waiting for my knitting group, I couldn’t help overhearing two conversations going on simultaneously.   The daytime coffee is all for me, however.  These are the times I crave peace and quiet, though music is welcome.  These days I spend my special time at the Coffee Beanery in Garwood, NJ.  The music that is played comes from my childhood and love that it’s played  there.  Here, again, sometimes I only buy one cup of coffee and stay for a few hours in either a comfy chair or at a table typing, as I am doing now.  I  did have my lunch here today and my whole lovely experience only cost somewhere around five bucks.  Not bad at all, AND I do not have to plan it like you have to plan a vacation.  I can do this any day during school hours.  I love my husband and he makes it possible for me to be able to go and get out and not worry about a thing, and not worry that I need to be home.  I would not have a loving family I get to watch grow every day.  I would not have a loving if pleasantly quirky hubby and a beautiful, smart and affectionate little boy.  Not least, I would not have the time to sit back, clear my mind and enjoy the memorable moments.  We definitely have our challenges, but I would not have it any other way.

Today I sit and think about a future, which was not really possible even just weeks ago.  With me, struggling to find a job that I can thrive with, and DH attending school full time… every semester being his last… ha, HA.  With DH finally (really) nearing the end of his schooling, I can imagine us moving on to the next stage.  With a more stable, predictable schedule, I’ve even started to see myself actually working outside the home, though we need me to do that desperately… now it seems more feasible schedule-wise and I feel that I’m really ready for it, especially if I can enjoy my work.  Paying someone for a couple of hours seems more doable than for eight to ten, well, because I can’t see myself making any kind of decent salary and the thorn in my side is that I couldn’t bring myself to fork over my whole salary plus more just to pay for daycare.  I mean, I’d rather stay home and once I did stay home, I never wanted to look back.  Now, almost seven years later, I find that I would LOVE to go back to work, if only it could be to an employer I respected.  You see, my time has always been the most valuable commodity I had that was all my own.  It was instilled in me from the time I was a teenager that to be employed meant that you stayed loyal to that employer and never left that company until you retired.  That was the ideal.  In this day and age I have experienced, what I still feel, as a betrayal by an employer who shall remain nameless who promised our department a whole new space at the home office, after years provided that space, just to months later dissolving the department.  Words better to be remained unspoken about what kind of entity that would do something like that.  Well, today it is practically a standard in the business world.  Not very encouraging.  Still, I/we  really need me to work and I’m ready for it, grateful for the time I had at home living a life I could experience at my own leisure.  Damn, DH is always right, though not 100%.  He believes that I need a job to conquer low self esteem.  I say that is not right.  My time is valuable and I am loath to just give it away to a business that might not be worthy of it, not appreciate my service.  Now that I’m finally ready, I find millions of people out here with me and the competition is brutal.  Still, while I strive to think positive as friends have so arduously done, I still know it’s hard to find work… really, really tough.

I really have no idea how to close this.  Mine is not a story of big Disney vacations, or a weekend respite at some tropical island, and there’s nothing wrong with that.  I speak from the position of doing what it takes for me, with limited resources, to take time out for myself and truly feel special, relaxed and “me” if even for just a few hours.  There are more options out there which would fit just about anyone’s personality and private needs.  This is just me.

Oh… I really need a tiara, don’t you think?

I really love this one.  Do you think it’s available?

Define Gratitude


grat·i·tude   [grat-i-tood, -tyood] noun the quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful: He expressed his gratitude to everyone on the staff.

Today I’ve been feeling that I need to write about being grateful for my friends. I’m still going to do that, but I wanted to do this preliminary post about gratitude, in general.  I just hope I can do the subject justice.

It wasn’t until I consciously strove to feel grateful, did I start to really enjoy life. Not only that, but I do believe that it’s a critical ingredient to a happy and respectful marriage; and this, my friends is from where I speak.  Through my marriage, my husband, I can see the world not as the old, cynical me; but as a refreshed me.  I really credit my DDH (Dear Dear Husband) with the bulk of renewing my life, or at the very least he be the catalyst for it.  He nurtures that, and you’d better believe, in his own subtle (or not so subtle) way, he calls me out on the carpet when I stray…. but not before I make a total jerk of myself… aaaah- He loves me~!

Not only is gratitude key for a good marriage.  It’s critical to any relationship, and the other major one is my relationship with God.  If I’m not grateful for everything that God has given me, then I really do have nothing.  I’ve made it a rule that I must always be grateful for everything I do have in my life and forget what doesn’t happen to be here for me.  I can’t waste my time going to places I can’t reach… yet.  Concentrating on what I do have means that I’m not thinking about the negative, whatever that may be.  What I’m doing now with these gratitude posts is refreshing my memory, reminding myself that there is so much in my life to be happy about and to remember to thank my Creator.

For me being grateful means that in taking the time to think about the positives, about the really good people in my life, presents more opportunities to project a positive spirit out to others.  More opportunities to tell the people in my life how much I love them and how much I appreciate their presence in my life.  Another thing is that up until now, I could not tell people how I felt about them.  I was embarrassed or I thought it was silly.  I thought it wasn’t important.  Now I know that is a lie.  It IS very important to those around me to know, more importantly TO BE TOLD how much they mean to me.  I need to take the time to tell my friends I love them.  That they are important to me.  Thank them for being in my life.  I won’t miss those opportunities again.  Too many times we let the moment pass, then regret it.

Another concept I came away from Oprah’s Lifeclass is when she said, “Your presence is enough.”  If I remember correctly this was part of a discussion about “what should I do when I walk into a room” or “what do I say?”  Something like that, and this sentence, “Your presence is enough” just jumped out at me.  Yeah, I really get that and I want to close my eyes: OOHHMMMM.

Gratitude is the fertile soil for Love.  See what those OHM’s can do?

edited to add:  Just found this quote I was saving about Joy:

“When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find 
it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy. 
When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see 
that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.”

~Kahlil Gibran

 

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