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Posts Tagged ‘Remember’

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 πŸ˜‰ .

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 πŸ˜‰ ). 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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So, I am now at day number two of my Top 10 Goals for 2013, and this time the focus is hubby.

He REALLY does not appreciate posts about him, that mention him, that use him as an example … so, in honor of his preference that I not write about him … heck, I’m just going to do it anyway!

P&C Cropped

He has to forgive me … comes with the whole “love, honor and … forgive” πŸ˜‰

Here are my Top Ten Goals for my Marriage for 2013:

  1. Do not go to bed angry – I mentioned this yesterday in regards to our kids and it doesn’t hurt to say it again, β€œdo not let the sun go down while you are still angry” (Ephesians 4:26).
  2. Get away – make time for at least one night each season to get away together, sans children, as a couple. It is so easy, with all of the demands of life, to forget that the family we created started with us, just us, and for this family to continue we need to invest in us.
  3. Respect him – As I write it I just know that some poor, misinformed lady is going to interpret respecting your husband as some kind of response to an archaic male dominated patriarchal society or religion. That is NOT what this is about! He is a child of God, like me, and as such I need to respect him …
  4. Make his life easier – I am sure that there is at least one thing I can do each week to make his life easier … from answering the phone (instead of letting him, because it is always for him), to doing his dinner clean up once in a while (not too often, as I do not want him to get too used to being relieved of ‘his’ chore).
  5. Thank him – so often when we live with someone it is so easy to forget our manners. Please and thank you are words I know I need to use more often with my man.
  6. Let him decide – … and be okay with his decision! My hubby knows that if I say “you choose” his whole future is at stake. I need to trust him to make a decision, and trust the outcome!
  7. Surprise him – there is nothing like veering from the normal, everyday, meatloaf every Monday stagnant way of living to bore a couple to mediocrity! Start seeing excitement and refreshment in someone else. I WILL surprise him … and the details of that, well those are between the two of us πŸ˜‰ .
  8. Remember the past – I need to reflect on those days, so many years ago, when we only knew adoring love (aka, before we were married πŸ˜‰ ) … not bills, crisscrossing schedules, and to do lists.
  9. Forget the past – we have baggage, and that is a reality, but the past is the past, and needs to be left there. We cannot move forward if I keep looking back.
  10. Plan for the future – “Where there is no dreaming for the future, the marriage relationship is dead” (that is the Carole Wheaton interpretation of Proverbs 29:18) … enough said.

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First there were the girls …

Having daughters scared the life out of me! I grew up as the only sister to two younger brothers. Hubby grew up as the brother to an older brother. I figured that neither one of us knew a thing about raising girls.

Then we had a son, and I figured that raising a son would be a breeze! We both grew up in male dominated households. Also, I work primarily with teen boys, and prefer that reality to working with teen girls much of the time, as they are so honest, and there is so much less guesswork with what they are thinking. For another, ‘they say’ that boys are easier than girls …

I have to admit that in my arrogance, I felt that if I had co-raised two daughters who seem rather well adjusted (only future counseling will reveal the truth of that) a son would be a walk in the park. After all he was just the best baby a mother could ever hope for, and so thoughtful and kind to his mother, surely adolescence would be flawless … right?

I have come to the conclusion that males do have emotions, and that there are times when the floodgates of sorrow, injustice, and anger flow over their banks and cause chaos and catastrophe for all around. Not only are they emotional, but they are also louder at being emotional! Their highs are higher and their lows lower. Plus they speak a language, complete with unique meaning and understanding of what they are saying, that my ears and mind can not comprehend.

In the past few months I feel as though I have been the ‘bad guy’ more than not …. and I am not even a GUY!

The surprising part of this is that when our son was born, I was often heard to say, “God gave me a son so that, when the girls are older, and don’t want to talk to me, I will always have a son who will adore me.” I was so wrong!

Sometimes it seems as though he is actually trying to pick a fight with me, and I am certain that I am at risk of severing my tongue from biting it so often.

But then we have a moment, a time when we can laugh together (over my singing loudly while wearing his headphones), a time when he believes again that he can trust me, a time when he understands that I am offering him mercy, and a second chance … it is then that we make eye contact, and I am reminded of the frightening nine months of praying us through the pregnancy, of my hopes and dreams for him, of the gift from God that he is to me … and the rest just doesn’t matter …

I also think about how one day, he will have a child just like him … and I smile even more!

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As I sat looking at the schedule for chapel at school, back in September, my eyes glanced Remembrance Day chapel, and the name of the teacher who is responsible each year for it. Immediately the name and face of man in our church came to mind.

This man is a veteran of World War II, during which he served as a fighter pilot, out of the airfields of Britain. He has seen, smelled and felt the glories and agonies of many battle successes as well as defeats, including being shot down resulting in the loss of three fingers, and in the loss of many fellow soldiers.

There have been sharing times at our church when he has bravely bared his heart through his memories of his time at war. His speaking is always well delivered, clear, authoritative and moving. He can draw a picture in the mind of the listener when he speaks. His stories contain real, vivid memories of specific battles, when only a small portion of his comrades returned afterward, stories of sorrow, stories of loss, stories that always end with a mention of wishing he had known then about the God who had His hand on his life, even though it he had not known him personally until more than sixty years later.

Well I spoke to this veteran, excited by my great idea to have him share his story with today’s youth. I just knew that he would be the man who would share in such a way that the listeners would not hear of the gore of video games and movies, but of the real experiences and emotions that war produces, as well as a sincere interjection of how faith, however late in life is found, is never too late.

The response from this man, this veteran, adequately sat me back on my behind. His response was sacrificial … he would agree to do it, but only because my hubby and I love him, and he loves us.

All of a sudden, I got it … I got the message that Remembrance Day should provide for all of us who have so little to remember. That message is that the stories that we hear, the remembering that we are exposed to, are not just ceremony with hymns, trumpets and marching, they are not just stories, like fairy tales from a book. They are the memories of men and women who have sacrificed for freedom. They are memories that communicate that the sacrifice is on-going. It did not end when the war was declared ended, it does not end until their inner war is finally declared finished, one that ushers them from this life and into the next.

The following Sunday I spoke with him, thanked him, and told him that our friendship was in no way a reason for him to have to re-live his memories. I told him our friendship would never ask such a sacrifice of him … that he had sacrificed enough already.

With tears in his eyes, he said he just didn’t think he could do it. And that is okay, because he has done enough already!

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I had an auto accident this past week, and am here to report that, although they say that when you are in the midst of a traumatic experience you can have your life flash before your eyes …there were no life flashing through my mind. I will say, though, that almost all of the details leading up to the collision that day are crystal clear.

So, I was driving down the road to pick up our daughter from work, then son and daughter from basketball. The road I was on was slick. Thankfully hubby had forewarned me of the condition of that road, and I was driving under the speed limit.

I noticed a vehicle up ahead, so I tried my brakes, but as I pushed my foot onto the brake, my wheels locked. I tried moving into the oncoming lane, hoping to get some traction … it didn’t work. I tried tapping my gas pedal, hoping the wheels would unlock … it didn’t work. I tried steering in the snow on the side of the road to unlock my wheels … it didn’t work.

I was now fully aware that I was not in control of my vehicle. I realized the vehicle ahead of me was an ambulance (a big sturdy, well-built ambulance), and that it was not moving. It was stopped, on the road, at the top of a gully. I continued to try to stop my vehicle, all the while saying out loud, “please move, please move, please move” … they didn’t hear me.

Now I knew that I was going to collide with the much bigger ambulance than my minivan.

I thought to myself, the airbag is going to open, so I need to keep my hands back from the center of the steering wheel. Then I thought, an ambulance is big, I need to move my feet off the pedals, so that if the impact is great, my feet will not be crushed. Then I thought, if I am fearful I will be tense and might get hurt more, so I started to breath slowly and deeply.

Isn’t it amazing how very much can go through your head in such a short period of time? It is as though the minute or two (probably not that long) I lived through were frozen in time and have been etched in my mind, indelibly.

The following hour or two after the impact has much less clarity for me. I know that all of the emergency attendees were amazing. I know I called my hubby, as I would not be able to pick up our kids. I know I kept warm in the ambulance and I gave and took information. I know my hubby picked me up. I know my kids were concerned for me (an unsolicited hug from any teenager speaks volumes).

The hour or two, after impact, have become foggier, less clear in my mind, in the hours and days since the accident. Somehow, my brain has filtered out what it has decided is not as important.

I do wonder, when my life is ending and my days are flashing before me, what will my brain deem were the most important moments in my life? Will these memories be ones that I would pick and choose, or would they be ones that my subconscious reveals as the moments that had the deepest penetration into my psyche?

I wish I could just choose them, because the memory of an accident’s prologue is not nearly as special to me as the people who I share my life with.

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Remember

There are things that others have said to me when I was a child, and those words still come to mind at times. Words hurt!Β  Words of truth (when spoken in love) only hurt for awhile, but words that have no basis in truth, and have no benefit … the pain that they inflict lasts forever.

Not that long ago I had asked for prayer (in a Christian grouping) for those in our armed forces who put their life on the line, by their own choice, for others who cannot. I heard later that ‘someone’ was offended that I would ask for prayer for … s o l d i e r s … Apparently my prayer request was ‘pro war’ …

And, I would do it again.

Every year we take our kids to the local cenotaph, to remember. They have nothing to remember that has touched their lives directly, but that does not erase their need to be reminded of what we are to remember. George Santayana (a Spanish-American poet) said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” May that not be said of my children, or their generation.

Many of their friends (and ours) will be spending their ‘holiday’ at the mall, sleeping in or playing video games. And, I do not begrudge them of that, since their freedom to choose how they spend Remembrance Day was bought with the blood of the same men and women we remember. But, as for me, and my house, we will remember.

I am not pro war, anymore than the men and women who choose (and have chosen) to stand in the crossfire for the sake of another. Even a pacifist should be able to humbly sacrifice a thank-you, or … offer a prayer for those who have provided peace for others.

I am idealistic enough to believe that words are better than weapons. But, I am also realistic enough to acknowledge that for peace to come through communication and not weapons, it needs to come from both sides. In our war history, there are those who had no intent to compromise for the greater good. People like Stalin, Hitler, Slobodan Milosevic and Bin Laden were not individuals whose ideologies included advice, or compromise. They were individuals whose ideologies only included their own self-serving, hunger for power, and dominance over others. And they could not be stopped by peaceful means … every day meant death for innocent people. Until others stepped in (on behalf of the victims) and risked their own lives, and spilled their own blood, to save the lives of countless people.

That is what a soldier does, they risk their lives to save and protect the lives of those who cannot protect themselves. It is not the ideal that we, or they, would choose, but, we do not always have a choice. It does not make them pro-war, it makes them pro-life. And they are willing to give theirs, even for those who won’t remember.

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