Sunday, June 28, 2009

What a great day!

Paul and Jacob tried to race each other, but Jacob got stuck at the opening gate. Paul ended up way ahead.

Chelsea and I at Schlitterbahn.

Paul bought the chicken, potato salad, jalapeno puppies, and strawberry shortcake.

106 degrees it said on the thermometer! How hot can Texas get?! We had such a good time cooling off!

Friday, June 26, 2009

How should we be remembered?

Okay, two posts in one day means that I need to walk away from the computer but I have thought more about my earlier post and didn't want to erase or add to it just start a different line of thought about the same subject.

I'm thinking of when my grandfather died, my mother-in-law, and my good friend Alice. We want to remember the best of them. My grandfather did some activities that can be called unethical. My mother-in-law hurt us badly. I spent an hour a day of every school day with Alice. I looked forward to seeing her and enjoyed bouncing ideas off of her, but after 2 weeks of all the good words about her, I started thinking...Alice wasn't perfect.

We all want to be remembered for our greater good. Yes, Michael Jackson should be remembered for his musical talent. Oh, that was hard to type.

Michael Jackson

I've heard of 4 deaths in the last week. The most talked about is Michael Jackson. At the beginning of this week I saw a post that someone had lost 2 brothers within 4 days. It left me speechless and in prayer for this family.

I learned yesterday that both Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson had died. I am hearing very little about Farrah Fawcett. As far as I know she lived an upstanding life. I know Michael Jackson dubbed himself the king of pop, and yes I enjoy his music, but it hits too close to home, because of his outrageous behavior toward children.

Just last week I learned that a music teacher that 2 of my children had was indicted of 10 counts of sexual exploitation of children and 43 counts of child pornography. I observed this man, admired his ability as a teacher, respected him. Before this allegation I thought of him as a mentor, and now I am conflicted. It makes me start wondering how he will be remembered when he dies.

Yes, Michael Jackson has music that I like to listen to, but will my music teacher friend be remembered for his great ability in the music field. Probably not, most likely he will slip away without mention or be remembered by his actions of child endangerment.

I remember Michael Jackson saying that he thought sharing a bed with boys was beautiful. My music teacher friend said something similar--that he thought children were beautiful and taking photos of them was a form of art.

Michael Jackson's music will live on but this outpouring of "love" makes me feel sick.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Completing the Circle

From very early I knew I wanted to work with children who had special needs. I always thought I would work at a children's home, but this didn't fit into Paul's plan. I almost had my bachelor's degree in accounting when I thought Occupational Therapy was more what I wanted to spend my life doing.

I had to have my Bachelor's degree completed to apply for the Masters in Occupational Therapy, and they didn't advise a degree in accounting to prepare me for the OT program. I immediantly went over to change my major to Special Education.

Several years later I received both a degree in Special Education and Elementary Education. I never did go back to get my Masters in Occupational Therapy. I loved working with the students with special needs.

Then the move to San Antonio. I think working at CHS (a private school) with students who are set to learn has been a wonderful gift. Last summer I decided to get my Masters in Advanced Literacy. I saw myself in the next many years using my knowledge in reading and writing to help CHS.

Now my life is getting confused once again. I may be able to stay at CHS, but the way the enrollment is decreasing, I wonder if I need to use my Reading Specialty elsewhere.

This is one of the many reasons I ask, "Where is God leading me?" and "Am I being led back to those with difficulties learning?"

I just read on my sister's facebook, "If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans." Now that lightens the mood.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Meaning of Life

I am feeling very serious today. By this time of the morning I've usually gotten much more accomplished, but I just can't seem to get started. I started the day with a walk. It didn't lighten my mood. I am filled with life right now...I mean I have kids keeping me very busy, college, genealogy, and teaching. Usually all of this brings fulfillment, but today just seriousness. I'm thinking where is all this going. What next?

It reminds me of youth rallies growing up. You'd go out of town with a bunch of people, have lots of fun and then come home only to realize everything was the same and you were no longer on a "high." These past few weeks I've connected with friends from high school (Karen Vasquez), connected with family members (Laura, Jacobye, Tim), and just this week-end spent time with old friends in the mountains (my Riverside congregation). Now I am back, and not just the same old routine but wondering what the new routine will be. Where do I want to go, what do I want to do? Can I go where I want to go? And if I don't know where I am going then how do I lead others?

When I study the bible, I know that the people didn't know where God was leading them, but I so want to know where I am being led. Does God give us more than we can handle or do we just not realize we can handle it?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

How I've learned to tolerate my children's pets

I didn’t begin life with a love of animals. We had a dog for a short time period growing up, but I never felt a longing to have a pet. Somehow 2 of my 3 children were born with a different attitude toward animals, and I have come to tolerate their pets.

I could tell from the time Chelsea was a baby that she loved animals. When I would read to her at 6 months old, she would kick her little legs excitedly when she would see animals in a book. Everyone in our family characterize Chelsea from her handling of the animals. She’s caught tadpoles, frogs, turtles, lizards, stray cats, and even a tarantula she found on the street. While volunteering at a pet store, Chelsea was given a rat by the owner, because Chelsea had handled it so much it had become tame. The owner didn’t feel right selling it as snake food since it had been treated as a pet. Chelsea is not only a horse whisperer, but can truly talk to cats, dogs, mice, rabbits, snakes, any animal without exclusion.

My son Jacob is the biggest animal activist I know. He’s 13 and has been a vegetarian for 3 years. He would never hurt an animal much less eat one. I have had trouble convincing him the animals are okay in their cages. He likes to let the bird fly around the house, he thinks the rats should roam the laundry room, and while we taught the rabbits to use the litter box they have left unwelcome presents in the house when they have been allowed to jump around freely.
At many different times in my chidren’s lives we have had over 8 animals. You have not lived until you wake up in the middle of the night hearing noises and find out your son’s snake is chasing the hamster. One time I was going up stairs about 6 a.m. to wake up my husband to go on a walk and the snake was coming down the stairs. I screamed for my husband, Paul, and then I screamed for my son, Jacob. No one was waking up. I took my cell phone, to call my home phone, to get someone awake to get the snake! I have many stories about the snake, the hamsters, the pet rats, the rabbits, but how did I come to love them…

When I started taking the animals to my classroom I would either have my daughter, Chelsea come hold the animal or my son, Jacob. Just this past year, I didn’t have Jacob or Chelsea at my school. The first time I took the snake to my classroom, I brought in a 3rd grader to hold the snake, but later while discussing the pattern on the snake I had to get it out to show the students. I tried to separate myself from the situation, pick it up, and not act afraid. I succeeded. I wasn’t happy, but I got the job done. Later when I took my daughter’s pet rats to school, I again did not want to handle them, but took them out, and even kind of liked their little hands as they grasp my finger.

In a unit on life cycles, I ordered a frog from the science center. The frog jumped from my hands, and the girls stood on their desks screaming. I think this is when I started yelling, “It’s a frog, and it can’t hurt you!” I knew this is what my daughter has told me about her tarantula, and many other of her pets that have scared me. I knew if I was going to keep having pets in my home and in my classroom, I was going to have to face the reality of when it is okay to handle the animals and not let it scare me.

Chelsea enjoys volunteering because of taking her rabbits around for Easter pictures or to preschool classes. Jacob’s love of animals has been fostured by letting him have animals in our house. I have never been, and I don’t think I ever will be an animal lover. I have learned to tolerate the animals for the greater good of my youngest two children. I have to tolerate the animals for the experiences my students can have with them. I also acknowledge a feeling of accomplishment that I can handle the pets successfully. This is a milestone. After 10 years of pets, I can finally live with them in peace.