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Posts Tagged ‘encourage’

blogAfter being awakened, far too early, by my torturer (aka, the Wonder Dog) I sat watching the sky to show signs of morning moving aside the darkness of night, my phone dinged an incoming text.

A sweet lady I know was awake when she received a notification, by email, of a blog post from itsawonderfilledlife, and she let me know that she felt she could hear my voice saying it’s words, telling it’s message, to just her.

The most common question I get about this site is,

“How do you have time to write a blog?”

To which I would say, I just do it.

The real question isn’t how? The real question is, why? For if the answer to why feeds some part of us, the how is redundant, for we do not starve ourselves from that which nourishes our souls.

A couple of years ago I wrote about my writing as being what I leave for my kids, in the post, Writing as a Legacy. I have also written about my purpose in Why do I write this Blog? In that post I wrote:

“Although there is great jesting in my house about my desire for Oprah to discover me, really, I write for me. This little corner of the cyber world is where I connect with God, where I process my hurts, where I share my celebrations, and where I just get it all out. For me, itsawonderfilledlife is my hairdresser, my bartender, my shrink. And, you who read are the flies on the wall.”

I do write, primarily, to leave a legacy for my children, and I do write because it is a place where I can be the real me, as I share my successes and failures, and my insights on them. Because we all have such insights …

We all live in the mundane, the magical and mayhem of real life. We all experience love and hate. We all have given forgiveness, and been given forgiveness. We all strive, fall and have to face the reality that we must get back up again. We all have times of being full with life, and times of struggle to get out of bed.

And that, is life … real life.

I simply give words to it all.

It is not unusual to receive messages from people like these:

“I so needed to hear what you wrote.”

“I am going through the same thing.”

“Thanks for sharing your heart.”

“I needed those words today.”

I write … for my kids, for myself.

And I hope that my words of love and loss, success and failure, laughter and weeping, joy and struggle touch you, the reader. Whether the stats show that there were two views, or two hundred, on any given day.

No matter the number of views, it’s the comments, emails, messages and texts in the wee hours of the morning that tell me this isn’t just about me (or even my kids). This is what God does when we offer him the little we have, and he works though our little, to multiply his love into all of our stories.

 

 

 

 

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It’s true!images-3

I shot my students!

(even a few who are not my students)

And they LOVED it!

And they even shot me back!

Of course we were playing Lazer Tag, so the shooting was all on the up and up 😉 .

It was an event birthed in the repeated conversations between a pair of students (could there be a better place to birth an event for students?). Then one day, I heard one of the students mention it to their mom …

and I saw the ‘look’ …

the look that wordlessly said,

“I have put this off too long, but I have so much on my plate …”

When my children have friends over, my life becomes easier, for many with children with special needs, having a friend over can be more planning, more work, more exhaustive.

Months ago I had written a previous post of these “Moms That I Admire“, and in that mom’s facial expression of ‘momma guilt’ I was reminded again of how very heavy the burden of raising a child with special needs can be.

I was also reminded of a line from the child dedication ceremony that my hubby has led many a congregation in:

“Will you, upon hearing the commitments made by these parents, do your utmost as God gives you opportunity, to ensure the fulfillment of these promises and seek to encourage, support and be faithful to these parents and this family?”

The correct response is “we do” or “we will”

Back to these “Moms That I Admire” …

As the momma-guilt look showed all over this lovely but weighted down parent, the commitment from these child dedication ceremonies reminded me that part of our task … as Christ-followers … as friends … as schools, is to come alongside of these families. These families raising a child with special needs, need the support of His people, His churches and schools named for His Son to do the job well.

And I thought, “wouldn’t it be great to support these two families in a practical way.” So, the dreaming began. Then the dreaming was shared with a co-worker, and we began to run with it!

In the end, my co-worker and I, along with twelve students (half deemed ‘special ed.’ and half not or ), and a school alumni, left school at noon on a Friday , leaving their classmates to snooze through their afternoon classes. We donned the vests of the battle, issued mortal threats, complete with evil laughs, chose code names, then we marched off to battle.

An hour and a half later, sweaty and sticky (and stinky) … and laughing with great memories made, we headed for Slurpies, then a slow drive back to school … we didn’t want to get back too early … that would have meant having to return to classes!

You might be asking, “so, Carole, what academic benefit was there from this event?”

To which I would reply, “none.”

But the goal was NOT academic, it was purely social skills.

About half of the students are designated ‘special education’ students, and learning the skills to be socially acceptable in the larger society is a main factor in their learning (of course if anyone walks the halls of any high school, the majority of students might seem to need social skills learning … heck, if anyone were to walk into the staff room … but, I digress 😉 ). The best place to teach and reinforce these skills is in a true social setting, not in a classroom.

These students got to talk, interact, laugh and observe their more ‘typical’ peers in a social setting. There was no ‘us’ and ‘them’ that day, only ‘we’. The ‘typical’ students got to be noticed for the intrinsic way that they already care for their peers … a ‘thank-you’ that most probably did not feel necessary, as they are who they are because that is how they have responded to God’s call to “love their neighbor, classmate, as themselves” (Mark 12:31). These ‘typical’ students were chosen by their ‘not so typical’ peers … no higher praise could be earned!

I cannot wait to see and hear the interactions, and rehashing of memories next week in the halls and classrooms of school.

My favorite part was when my co-worker recounted the words of one of the boys, who said something to the effect of, “I think I will remember this for an exceptionally long time.”

I hope he does, I know I will too.

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One of my favorite parts of working in high school is seeing the metamorphosis that occurs as teens grow and mature in their relationships with their peers.

It can leave a residue on my heart, that, over the years, has changed how I related to students.

There was a girl who was choosing poorly. She had given up on the ‘childish’ things she loved, things like sports, her youth group, books and schoolwork. She was mentally moving to the wrong side of the tracks, and on that wrong side was hanging out at the mall, friends who brought her down, premature dating and exposures to chemical substances.

She was only twelve.

For the next three years she chose the ‘dark side’ and, ironically, that dark side started to gray her appearance. Her make-up became darker, her clothes became darker, tighter and more revealing, her attitude became darker, and her personality became darker.

Her marks slid, her reputation with peers was negative and she was ‘pegged’ a hopeless case. Sadly she was probably pegged that hopeless case a long time prior, as her home situation was a rough one that could make it difficult for her to see and dream of hope for her future.

Then, as school began for yet another year, this young lady ‘looked’ different. The shadows were disappearing, and were being replaced by a brightening, a lightening of her appearance. Her make-up was lighter, her clothes were lighter, looser more modest, her attitude, her personality seemed cheerier, happier, lighter.

That new school year she tried out for a sports team, she walked with a smile, instead of a scowl, and she began to make efforts to connect with a different, a more hope-filled, a more future-minded crowd of peers.

It does not always happen this way, but that different, more future-minded crown of peers, welcomed her in. They accepted her, and invited her to be part of them, to be one of them.

Her life began to show signs of hope.

This story is one that I created from a combination of many stories I see walking the halls of high school every day. It is a story without knowledge of the ending as we do not know where the life of an adolescent or teen might go.

What we do know is that the life of a teen or adolescent is like that of a tight rope walker. They might be headed along on the straight and narrow, but at any time they might lose their balance. The resulting fall call be fast, hard, and with long lasting consequences.

When you see a teen you know, say hello to them, ask about their weekend, their plans for after school. These simple, natural interactions, accompanied by silent prayers for the life, the heart, the soul of that individual, can be the bright spot in an otherwise dark day for a teen. Be intentional in noticing these developing souls as they prepare to emerge from their adolescent cocoon as a moth or a beautiful butterfly.

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