A House Divided

August 11, 2008

I live in a divided house right now.  Of course in one way, we’ve been a divided house since my first-born went to college.  She went to UGA and my dear one took some classes at GaTech.  Every fall, they have a standing appointment to watch the annual game together.  And, every year, my dear one suffers the razzing of his daughter when his team goes down in flames.  At times like that the comparison of team IQ’s doesn’t help. 

I wish our division related to football.  Instead, it involves a major family decision.  You know, the ones you don’t make unless you are in agreement?  The funny thing is that I thought we were on the same page.  So did he!  Until it became obvious that we weren’t. 

Families are such an amazing thing.  We’re all different, but we all function best the same way: in unity.  It became apparent in our discussion that we really weren’t that far apart, but even the smallest gap meant that we weren’t in agreement. 

No agreement. No action. 

Now, you should understand that none of this means that the two of us are fighting or in strife.  We just aren’t in the same place.  We have a different thought process, different emotional needs, and different perspectives.   

We are in agreement not to let this divide us.  I know that sounds like a contradiction, but I guess it’s like agreeing to disagree. 

It’s hard not to argue when you don’t agree.  But, what I’ve decided to do is trust that God knows what He is doing and to stay open to hearing from His Spirit.  If either one of us is in error,God will reveal that.  Or if one of us is out of God’s timing, He’ll reveal that too.  I have no doubt of my dear one’s ability to hear from God or his willingness.  In the meantime, we keep the rest of our relationship in harmony.  It’s not important that one of us gets our way.  What is important is the power of unity in a relationship.  Unity keeps us out of trouble, confirms God’s will in our life, and provides a powerful blessing.  Stay in unity, even when it’s hard.  Oh, and “GO TECH, GO DAWGS, or ROLL TIDE, ” whichever is important to you!

Psalm 133: 1-3

Behold, how good and how pleasant [it is] for brethren to dwell together in unity!  [It is] like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, [even] Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; As the dew of Hermon, [and as the dew] that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, [even] life for evermore.

Advertisements

Wedding Photo

August 8, 2008

My older daughter sent me this great shot of the wedding.  It actually has all our clan except for her son who refused to be in the photo.  It was such a nice reminder of a lovely day that I thought I would share it.   I’ve included my favotite one of my grandson too, just for fun. 

I

I had really hoped that we’d all get through the first week of school without any major incidents.  We weren’t so lucky. 

My beautiful granddaughter, age five, is a bright child who reads Harry Potter, plays the violin, knows number places that include the ones, tens, and hundreds, and can tell you about the Mars Rover in detail.  She was born with a physical disability known as a cloacal anomaly, a problem that occurs in 1 in every 20,000 or more live births.  Of all the variations of this, hers is one of the worst.  It is considered one of the most difficult pediatric surgical challenges to correct.  Her surgical history is too much to explain here in a short post.  But, as a result of these procedures, she does not yet have urinary or bowel continence.  As a temporary measure, her parents use large Pull-Ups to deal with this situation.  As you can imagine, they worried about how well she would be accepted in public schools. 

On the one hand, they didn’t have to worry.  Her teacher, principal, school nurse, and the staff are wonderful.  They love her already and she is thrilled to be there.  I can’t say enough about how supportive her teacher has been so far. 

On the other hand, the after-school program, a separately run program that is on-site at her school didn’t do so well.  I picked her up after her first day.  I am amazed that her clothes weren’t soaked since that was one of the wettest Pull-Ups I have ever held.  They didn’t change her.  They admitted that they didn’t check.  They admitted that they were told how to do it by her teacher when she brought her to after-school.  I changed her in front of them to reassure them that, while her anatomy may not look normal, there is hardly any difference in the process of changing her.  They assured me that there would be no problem and responded in detail as to how they would and could handle this need.  They seemed positive and enthusiastic. 

Day two.  Her mother received a call while on her way to pick her up.  She was told that her child could no longer attend after-school since she had a medical problem.  They were okay with Pull-Ups, just not with the “medical problem.”  When she arrived, she discovered that her child was waddling from the pain of being kept in a feces-laden diaper for the two hours she had been there.   She had told her caretakers that she needed to be changed.  When her mother arrived, the two caretakers were sitting at a table talking with only her daughter and one other child present.  She was immediately informed that her child would need to be changed….

She was livid.  My granddaughter had dried feces on her bottom and a severely swollen and bleeding rectum from being unchanged.  It will take a few days for her to return to normal.  We can expect her to cry with every bowel movement until it does. 

So far, we only get lame excuses.  They weren’t comfortable!  THEY had my personal number and the assurance that if there was any problem I would come.  THEY chose to let her sit in feces instead.  Their superiors aren’t any more helpful. 

So, what do you think.  Is this neglect or abuse?  We could turn the other cheek, but, in my granddaughter’s case, both “cheeks” are already involved.

The First Day of School

August 4, 2008

Firsts are always nerve wracking.  Whether you’re the parent, the child, or an adult experiencing one, they don’t get any easier.  In the morning, my youngest child will experience her first day of high school.  She’s understandably excited and nervous.  The two grandchildren start kindergarten.  They feel the same way. 

I feel that way for all of them.

My grandson is an active little man who is fearless about doing things, yet shy around new people.   A first day of school for him involves a lot of new people.  My granddaughter is shy about doing things, but hardly ever meets a stranger.  But, she has medical issues that can get her teased.  My younger daughter is beautiful and doesn’t know it.  She has all the normal teen angst going for her.  She’s also Chinese in a primarily Caucasian and African-American school.  We, her parents, are also Caucasian. 

Each of these three kids have a lot going for them.  They all have their own unique personalities.  Personalities that we hope will find their way socially.  Because of that, both myself and their parents will have a slightly nervous day tomorrow while we wait to get the answer to that universal question, “How was school?”

I’m on my fourth teenager so I have pretty much figured out that all control over their lives ends when they leave the womb, Band-aids don’t fix all boo-boo’s, and someone out there will hurt my child at some point.  Probably at many points.  And now, with the grandkids, it starts all over again. 

We can’t always be there for our kids.  We can love them, give them appropriate support, and pray for them.  But, they are the ones that have to experience and deal with their own lives. 

So, tomorrow I will get up early and drive my daughter to school for the first day.  And then, I’ll pray.  Pray that others are kind, pray that she finds all her classes, pray that her teachers and friends see her heart, and pray that all the older boys are myopic.  At the end of the day, I’ll ask the question.  And fortunately for me, she will probably answer in great detail.  May it always be so!  My children will ask their children the same question.  And we’ll all hold our breath for the answer. 

Ephesians 4:32

And be ye kind one to another….

My dear one and I are of an age where we are rapidly approaching the “empty nest” time of life.  Or, so we would like to believe. 🙂  We are on our fourth teenager, and her entry into high school starts in two days.  Our household itself is still large.  Basically, there are seven of us under one roof; ten, if you count the dogs.  I have three in college, one of whom isn’t ours, and now one in high school.  Those three will graduate by or before the youngest hits college, and well, that puts us in countdown mode.  As the mother of four children who range from 14 to 29, this has been a long time coming. 

For two days, we have had an empty nest trial run.  All of our children are out-of-town for various reasons.  It’s so quiet. 

I love it.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I also love it when they all gather here to swim, eat, celebrate, or just hang out.  But, I can handle the quiet.  My dear one and I are happy to just be in each other’s company.  A lot has been written about what couples go through when the last child leaves the nest.  I’m sure that it will be an emotional experience for us too.  But not of mourning or loss.  You see, my goal is to raise independent children.  Anything less is a disservice to them.  With that goal in mind, while my marriage has involved children, it has never been child-centered.  Our relationship with each other as husband and wife has always been the foundation of everything else.  Oh, there are times that we’ve been caught up in the hectic schedule of children, but we have always seen our relationship as paramount. 

Based on my experience I would say that there are three primary things that you need to have to “empty-nest-proof” your marriage:

1. A spouse that you spend exclusive time with on regular dates or other activities.   

2. To see the goal for your children as independence.  Then, when they hit those milestones, it is your victory too.

3. The ability to live your own life, not your children’s. 

So, when my children are out of the nest, I will have done my job.  I look forward to the times I will still spend with them and the additional grandchildren that I am expecting to be blessed with through them.  But, I also look forward to spending more time with just my dear one.  After all, he is my best friend and the love of my life.  Read the rest of this entry »

Rejection

July 28, 2008

Every month at the Georgia Romance Writer’s Group meeting, we make time for member’s news.  It’s kinda fun to listen to people stand up and say that their book has been accepted by a publisher.  Or they just had the movie rights optioned for their series.  We all clap and get excited.  Funny, even the most published ladies in the group appreciate that applause.   

But, there is another time we clap.  Sometimes even louder.  It’s when an author-in-waiting stands up and says that they just got their first (third, fifteenth, whatever) rejection from a publisher on their novel.  Yes, we clap for rejection.  Loudly. 

Why?  Because it means that the author is doing something.  Finishing a manuscript. Putting themselves out there.  Taking a chance.  Every single published author in the room has had their share of rejection letters.  It’s a rite of passage.  And, it doesn’t always end with your first publication.  Even authors like Haywood Smith, the Red Hat Club novelist, who has written bunches of successful novels still gets them sometimes. 

None of us like rejection.  I know I don’t.  It’s probably why my three stories are all still unfinished and not yet rejected. 

Today, I got news of my editor/agent appointment time at an upcoming conference.  I get a one-on-one appointment with a major editor and a major agent to pitch my work.  It’s a good wake-up call.  Time to finish.  To risk rejection.  To take a chance. 

There are so many times in life we risk rejection.  Friendships carry that risk.  Family carries that risk.  Marriages carry that risk.  All relationships carry that risk.  But we still need to put ourselves out there.  Rejection has something to teach us.  Perseverence for one thing.  Where our own wounds lie for another. 

We’ve all been rejected at some point.  During our lifetime, we’ll probably experience it again.  What I’ve learned in my writer’s group is that rejection is to be expected and even embraced as a vital stepping stone in my journey. 

My manuscript may be rejected.  I’ll never know until I take that risk.  But, if I don’t finish it and try, I stay stuck in the journey.  

So, if I’m rejected.  There is a major consolation here.  I continue the journey in good company.  Even the best of us get rejected and denied from time to time….

Mark 14:72 

And the second time the cock crew. And Peter called to mind the word that Jesus said unto him, Before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice. And when he thought thereon, he wept.

I promised to share our family’s funniest memory in my last blog.  My younger daughter, after reading that blog, asked what the family’s funniest memory was….

OOPS! 

That’s when I realized that this incident had happened before she was born!  All those times we teased her father or mentioned super-glue, all of the rest of us had a point of reference that she didn’t. 

So, I told her the story. 

I think she’s still trying to figure out what was the big deal.

Okay, so maybe you had to be there. Funny has that problem sometimes.

Our relationship with God is like that.  God has a different point of reference than we do.  He knows more.  WAY MORE.  We don’t always get the big picture.  We see things from one point of view, from one side or another, and the challenge is to transcend that limited reference point.  

These are the times when things happen we don’t understand.  These are the “Why?” moments for some of us.  Me, I’ve never been big on asking God why, but on trying to understand how he will use something.  But you may come at life’s situations in a different way.  Which ever it is, we need the whole picure.  And it’s the one that only God has. 

So, when I really need a point of reference, I have to go to God.  But, only if I want the big picture. 

Get the big picture.

Joshua 5:13-15

And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, [Art] thou for us, or for our adversaries?  And he said, Nay; but [as] captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant?  And the captain of the LORD’S host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest [is] holy. And Joshua did so.