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Archive for June, 2009

Diving Forward

Isn’t it fascinating when you see your child leaping forward developmentally with apparent abandon?  That is when I know God is working mightily.

The past two weeks have been such for Edward.

Last week we went swimming with two slightly older friends–one who is a fairly skilled diver and swimmer.  Edward watched this friend absentmindedly, attempted dives halfheartedly, and later annoyed the friends by splashing them and simultaneously blathering “blah blah blah” in an cloying voice.

I was so thrilled when this most patient child finally told Edward that what he was doing was “dumb” and held up a kick board to shield himself.  Edward actually garnered enough self control to stop his mind-numbing action immediately.  This is big for him.

A few days later, Edward shocked me beyond belief by laying out a decent dive into the deep end of our neighborhood pool.  Apparently, when I thought he was in “La La Land,” he had been watching his friend.  His swim coach was equally surprised when he claimed he knew how to dive and then dove off the diving board to prove it.

dive-three

At swimming lessons the next day we saw a dear friend from kindergarten days.  He was with another boy and the two were lounging by the pool watching the lessons, dangling their legs into the cool water.

Edward sauntered up to the pool, took keen aim, and laid out a perfect dive in front of the two boys.

diving-one

The new boy turned to Edward’s friend and admired, “Wow, that dude’s good!  Who is he?”

The friend replied, “That’s Edward.  He’s my friend!”

I blinked back tears behind my sunglasses.

diving-two

Edward is a dude who’s been “good” at multiplication, reading and memorizing.  He’s a dude who I’ll wager knows more about the Tudors than most adults.  Yet I think this was the first time Edward had ever been genuinely admired by a peer for something athletic.

Then the child who has been terrified to stand on his head and flip over at gymnastics, a child fearful of somersaults and a child who would never consider a backward handspring, began doing back flips under the water in rapid succession.

The next day at gymnastics he garnered more shock and awe by doing an assisted back handspring.

Something is going on in that brain of his, and I am beyond awe.

Still, isn’t that the way God works?  He wants to bless us so much more abundantly than we can ever imagine, and so often He comes through so mightily just when life has begun to look rather bleak.

“If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” Matthew 7:11.

I have more stories of Edward’s progress that I will share next week.  In the meantime, I am going out of town for the long weekend and will be back Tuesday!

Peace!

Posted on 26 June '09 by , under Autism Spectrum/Sensory Processing, Faith is the Evidence. 15 Comments.

Summer Mumbers

mumbers

9,854 Times I have asked Sue to stop playing the “pan flute” a well-meaning baby sitter bestowed upon Edward.

pan-flute-1

Yes, she’s a tiny Ian Anderson…

pan-flute-2

8 Numbers of bacon slices Sue and Edward felt H should have for his Father’s Day breakfast–that and a cup of mandarin oranges!  I guess nothing says Father’s Day like bacon.

bacon

And having lots of help while fixing a sprinkler system in 102-degree weather…

sprinkler-repair

Why puppies and puzzles don’t mix well:

puppiespuzzles

777,777 Number of prayers that have been prayed for sweet Elliot, who is doing quite well after his heart surgery and may actually come home this week!  Thank you for praying!

elliot2

Posted on 22 June '09 by , under Humor/Disconnected Miscellany. 14 Comments.

See the culprit?

I’ve written before about the evil leveled against me by my “Internet service provider”–a term I use loosely.

I’ve railed on the dangers of their wires criss-crossing my yard and tripping unsuspecting trick-or-treaters.

I’ve lamented the unsightly holes, mosquito-attracting mud bogs and outright grass murder their many attempts at “burying” important wires have wrought.

I’ve threatened “supervisors,” “client retention agents” and poor call center workers alike.

I’ve racked up overages on my cell phone waiting to speak with a “live agent.”

I have seen this company install signal “boosters” all over my house–the last one in my daughter’s room because it was the optimal site.

I’ve been charged by this company for work done down the street.

I could rail on and on about my displeasure with this provider but that would only bore you further.

And lest you wonder why I wouldn’t just switch to a different provider, let me assure I have tried other providers to no avail.  There are few choices in this sad sister of a town: remember our restaurant options?

froglegsbetter

A year later and this billboard still stands, the restaurant thriving!  Thriving I tell you!

OK, I digress.  Back to the cable issue.

Yesterday they actually managed to send a live person to my house to, yet again, “check the line.”

This fellow plodded his muddy feet all over my house (even when I told him the problem was with the outside line) and then charged out into the yard only to emerge, triumphant, twenty minutes later.

“I found it, ma’am.  Yes I did,”  he encouraged, sweat dripping onto my newly-mopped floor.

“Found what?’ I countered, fully ready to believe that rodents or snakes or bats had severed a cord or built a damaging nest.

“The (insert complicated cable part here) had melted.  You see that occasionally but not that often.”  Figures…

“I’d like to have that old (complicated cable part) for my records if you don’t mind,” I challenged.

He returned a few minutes later with this:

img_9713

Doesn’t look so complicated, does it?

Are you buying this?

Does anyone agree that he might, just might have grabbed some old part out of his truck in an attempt to appease the ignorant but slightly belligerant housewife?

I’ve got the piece in my posession and there is nothing melted about it.

Nothing melted at all…

Posted on 16 June '09 by , under Humor/Disconnected Miscellany. 11 Comments.

Steak-Ummms & Sketchy Internet Connectivity

I haven’t abandoned blogging, but between swimming lessons, irrational bat fear, Huck Finn camp black eyes and trying to teach cursive to a 7-year-old, I’ve had little time online.

Seriously, my Internet connection is sketchy again–it’s up for like 30 seconds at a time–so I’ll be doing short, quick, blog bursts that I’m sure will be a relief to some.  (In fact, I’ve tried to post this for two days and haven’t been able to do so…)

Joseph, who is nine, is quite interested in learning how to prepare food for himself, which I applaud!  H reminisced about his own childhood culinary forays and popped up, not surprisingly, with the Steak-ummm.

(No, I didn’t know they still made that product either.)

H set Joseph up in the kitchen with hot pads, a spatula and a non-stick pan.  He plopped the package proudly on the countertop.

Here is an opportunity to test yourself.  Study this photograph and see if you can determine what’s offensive and troubling about this image.

steak-ummm

So Joseph walks over and begins to study the package.  He then quickly tosses it aside like so much filth and cries, “Horrible!  Dad!  Why?  Why? Why would you try to get me to eat horseHorse! Aghhhh!  What is wrong with you?”

H is puzzled, “What are you talking about?  Horse?  What do you mean?  Steak-ummms are pure beef!”

Joseph, a child who can discern diced broccoli hidden in apple muffins, is wary and shrewd: “You can’t fool me.  I know horse when I see it!  Look here–‘Hot, sizzling Philly’…everyone knows philly means horse!”

Mean, mean daddy…

Posted on 13 June '09 by , under Humor/Disconnected Miscellany. 4 Comments.

Paradigm Shift: Episode I–Pray for Elliot

Update: Elliot came through surgery better than expected today!  Praise God!  Thank you so much for all your prayers!

elliot

Elliot is a 22-month-old boy at our church with a complicated heart condition.  I will never forget his parents–heavy with pregnancy and responsibility–coming before the church seeking prayer after Elliot was diagnosed in-utero with a seemingly-hopeless heart condition.

Doctors felt Elliot would not survive the birth process, and told his family that even if he did, he would most likely die during the first few days of life.

Elliot lived.  Elliot fought.  Elliot defied all the odds because, as we all know, there are no odds with God.

God has brought Elliot through three dicey surgeries in his short life.

I first met Elliot and his mother in the church nursery.  For me, an 8:30 nursery gig is a tough deal.  I struggle mightily with mornings in general and oftentimes find myself growing bitter about having to be at the nursery when others are either in church or bed.

Such was this morning.  Elliot’s mother brought this smiling, glasses-bedecked toddler into the room; the unusually tiny boy was tethered to an oxygen tank; tubes and wire wound about him endlessly.

My first thought was panic.  Did she expect me to take care of him and handle all these tubes and wires?  How could I do that and take care of all the other babies?

So soon I felt an inward embarrassment and paradigm shift in my own view of the situation, the day, and even my own life.  This sweet mother plopped down in the floor of the nursery and proceeded not only to take care of Elliot but also to help with the other babies.

Elliot cruised about, amazingly careful with all his wires and tubes; he was able to crawl and play, occasionally stopping to emit a troubling cough, but then moving on to another toy.  And slowly, calmly Eliot’s mother began to weave her tale of his life story, God’s faithfulness and her own relentless love as a mother.

I left the nursery with a shift in my own understanding about tirelessly loving a child with special medical needs, graciously outpouring your life for someone else and cherishing each day regardless of tomorrow’s challenges or fears.

The miracles God has wrought through this child and his family have touched our church and our town.  Eliot is now 22 months old and speaks fluently and eloquently in both English and Afrikaans.

Today as I submit this post, Elliot will undergo the Fontan procedure in Philadelphia to heal his tiny heart.  His family’s prayer is that he will sail through surgery with no complications and emerge stronger than ever and able to leave the oxygen tank behind.

If you are so led, please join me in praying for Elliot.

“For as many as are the promises of God, they are all YES! in Christ Jesus.”

II Corinthians 1:20.

Posted on 8 June '09 by , under Faith is the Evidence. 7 Comments.

The Joy of Rain

We began our day with Sue’s swimming lessons which have been, by far, the most unusually pleasant swimming lesson engagement I’ve ever experienced with a three-year-old child.

In the past, I found myself chasing smallish boys through mud and trees, seeing tiny boys create a tee tee fountain arc over concrete to the delight of tiny swimmers, and screaming at seemingly-innocent boys to not let a frog or turtle drop into the pool.

I’ve found myself 8 months pregnant donning an unholy maternity swimsuit in a last ditch effort to salvage swimming lessons for a fussy, unexcited brother-to-be.

Sue, however, is cool with the swimming.  She saunters up to the pool, cover-up casually tossed over her shoulder, and sits down on the steps to await her turn.

Sue’s swimming lesson counterparts are two, 2.5-year-old boys.  These boys sob, cry, flee, screel and bargain endlessly for extra Smarties.

Last night Sue was describing the lessons to her daddy:  “I don’t know why I am in this class with these baby boys.  All they do is cry and run and cry, Daddy.  They are babies and I am not a baby.  I am a swimming girl.”

Today began with an overcast sky and slight drizzle.  I wasn’t sure the lessons could commence, but the rain held and Sue swam half the length of the pool to the delight of her “coach” and obvious chagrin of the sobbing, flailing two-year-old boys.  As we pulled out of the driveway, the rain began in earnest, coating the pavement with giant frog-like hopping drops.

I breathed a sigh of relief, for I revel in a rainy Summer day indoors.  Such a grand excuse to feed everyone lunch pancakes and allow them to play unusually noisy games like “hall ball” followed by mandatory solitary book reading.  (That’s my personal favorite.)

And as you might have guessed, the championship game was indeed rained out.  Yet that only gives the White Sox more time to recuperate, more time to contemplate and more time to prepare to DOMINATE!

Yes.  I do love the rain…

Posted on 4 June '09 by , under Humor/Disconnected Miscellany. 4 Comments.

Baseball Coach with a Bow Tie

It was unfathomable to me that in a town known for producing extraordinary youth baseball players, my bow-tie wearing, spreadsheet-obsessed husband would end up as a head coach.  (I mean people move to this town so their children can play baseball; it’s a bit crazed.)  This is a man who only played the game himself one season as a third-grader and had the nerve to tell his obsessively-competitive childhood coach, “It’s just baseball and we’re only children.”

(It didn’t fly then and it wouldn’t fly now…)

Yet his noble recruiting strategy has paid off seven-fold.  He simply recruited boys with actively-involved fathers, therefore securing a bevy of kind and talented assistant coaches, pitching coaches, first base coaches and the like.

This has left him–a man blessed with the spiritual gift of administration–to organize, strategize, email, analyze and seriously memorize the Little League rule book which he can, when prompted, quote expertly without blinking an eye–surprising and astounding 20-year veteran Little League umpires and coaches alike.

Apparently he has become quite an enigma in the local Little League scene: one league administrator recently described him as “always hurrying about with a laptop, important-looking spreadsheets and some black binder with all these secret plans.”

baseball_binder

No parent is without up-to-the-minute details about the next practice or game.  Honestly, it’s like nothing I’ve ever seen.  We’re used to last-minute calls that were supposed to be placed by the coach’s baby sitter but never got made so we don’t know there is a practice and only get a phone call asking where we are when we are actually at the dermatologist.

And now this grand communicator with his notebook of plays and plans will coach the last game of a “best-two-out-of three” season finale.

baseball-hit

It’s a grand, rangy bunch of boys aged 9-11.

Bar-b-cue sunflower seeds are the favored dugout currency.

baseball_rangy

They are so grown-up yet still so young–so tough and quick to punch or slam a glove or bat, yet still cry over striking out or being told to bunt.

H says it’s like a crash course in the emotional life of the ten-year-old boy…a tumultuous life it is!

baseball_first

“Coach H, see, I had my blue Gatorade right there on the bench and he was throwing those sunflower seeds up into the air and not watching anything–not even our game--and he knocked over my special blue drink and now it’s all over Austin’s pants there and that notebook where you write all the rules and plays…”

dugout

“Hey Coach H, can I pitch?  When am I gonna pitch?  Why can’t I pitch right now?  Why does he always get to pitch?”

“Coach H, if I run really, really fast, do I have time to go to the bathroom?”

“Don’t worry Mom, I was mad about getting hit with a pitch, but I wasn’t going to ‘walk the bird’ like Hayden did to that umpire,” the bright-eyed boy encouraged. “Walk the bird?  What is that?” the confused mother queried.  “You know, Mom, like when you use your middle finger like the two bird legs and hop it around.  Walking the bird.”  That mom breathed a quick sigh of relief;  she could still claim her innocent nine-year-old.  At least for one more day.

Also heartening is a continued zeal for the obligatory after-game Icee.

baseball_icee

The White Sox are winners regardless of tomorrow’s tie-breaker.  Let us revel in the joy tonight, however, and not forget the reason for the Game–total domination!  (See last night’s scoreboard?)

baseball_score

If you could pray for us tomorrow at 6:30 Eastern time, we’d greatly appreciate it!  I’ll let you know how it all turns out!

baseball_win

Promise!

Posted on 3 June '09 by , under Humor/Disconnected Miscellany. 9 Comments.

Mumbers: And then I saw the tiny buck teeth…

mumbers

1 Number of rats that Sophie, our 6-month-old Boston Terrier puppy, apparently caught or found already expired.

sophie_teeth

Yes, I was sitting in my back yard yesterday evening enjoying a solitary moment while my children watched an educational show about warthogs when Sophie bounded up to me, some brown hunk in her mouth.

At first, I assumed it was a stick since she is known to chew sticks, leaves and the like.  I patted her head absentmindedly and continued my musing.  She chewed with such abandon, however, that I finally looked closer at her prey, only to note that it had a foul odor.

I peered even closer and saw rheumy eyes staring back at me.  Naturally, I jumped back in fear and horror, and then proceeded to chase her around the yard while the corpse bounced and bobbled in her tiny mouth.

Finally she dropped the ugsome mass at my feet.  Gingerly, with my face aimed in a different direction, I scooped up the creature with a stick and began to carry it toward the fence.

Slowly, out of a twisted curiosity, I took a gander at the thing.  It was stretched out thin and brown and, at first take, appeared to be part of a snake.

I was cool with that and slightly relieved because while I was in New York, Sue apparently ran in the house announcing the arrival of a snake and H had to chase the snake back into its hole and then jam a Number 2 pencil down in the hole to assure the snake made its home a grave.

I dashed across the yard with the snake-on-a-stick only to ponder the necessity of determining whether or not this snake was a poisonous variety.  I squinted protectively and looked closer.

And that is when, to my own blood-curdling revulsion, I saw two tiny buck teeth protruding from a flattened mouth!  Not a snake, but a stretched-out, leathery, jerky-like rat!

I had to run inside a pour myself a small glass of sherry I was shaking so hard.  I quickly retired to my fainting couch for the evening.

I’ve no mumbers left…

Posted on 1 June '09 by , under Humor/Disconnected Miscellany. 10 Comments.