The Reward for Surviving Rough Seas

The Reward for Surviving Rough Seas
We are all like sea shells tossed about in rough waters and being re-shaped in wondrous ways. But have you ever contemplated the notion that sea shells have to complete their journey through the rough waters before they get to rest on the shore? Yeah, we are ALL like sea shells and Heaven is The Great Shore.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

I Stand Amazed in HIS Presence.

Greetings Everybody,
Wow...yesterday turned out to be an amazing day.  
All through the day there were positive things going on.
I was sailing along on a really good crest of "It's a Good Day" thinking.

When the school day was over I left and drove home.
And a few minutes after I walked through the door the phone rang.
It was my mom.

She told me that my dad had fallen.
She also said "He thinks he broke his ankle.".
(I was busily absorbing this news and was about to ask if I needed to come over and help them...but NOOOO...the next sentence out of my mothers mouth changed my whole stream of thinking on the matter...)

She said, "He is trying to drive himself to the hospital right now."

This is when my mind went into HYPERSPACE....

...I got this image of a nearly 76 year old man with a broken ankle driving their TANK of a car .
...and I got this image of him having a wreck on the way.
...and THEN I had an image him trying to drag his body out of the car after parking it...and then of him having to hobble toward the Emergency Room door...only to fall and lie writhing in pain on the parking lot....

I told my mom that I was on my way and would go directly to the hospital.
I said that I would call her when I got there.

OK, for the record here's what really happened.

My 6 foot 2 inch tall daddy did in fact drive to the hospital with a BROKEN left Fibula.  He was in pain, but he made it.  And I have to give the "old man" credit for having his wits about him. Instead of driving his car to the Emergency Entrance, he drove to the OTHER side of the hospital. He went to the VALET PARKING guy.


He had the Valet go get a wheel chair and help him get in it.
Next he took his car key OFF of his key chain and handed to the Valet.
The Valet then parked his car.
Dad asked the man what time the Valet service stopped for the evening. 

The man said 8 pm.

Daddy asked for his key back.

And after THAT...he asked one of the young valet's to wheel him to the emergency room.

HOW SMART WAS THAT!!!  And how completely thorough!
There he was with a broken leg and he was cogent, cool, and in control.

I was totally impressed! 

Anyway, I arrived before he was triaged, and stayed with him through the whole hospital ordeal.
My husband also came and between us we got him back home, got his prescriptions, went to the grocery store and got some things for them to eat for a couple of days, and then we came home.

Now on the surface this sounds like a fairly cool little story right.

But I gotta tell ya, it's WAY COOLER than that.

Here's why.

There is a list of things longer than my leg that happened "JUST RIGHT" in the middle of all this trouble.
And every single thing that NEEDED to Happen DID HAPPEN.

-The accident happened in the afternoon, which meant that school was over and I was available to help.

-The break was a clean break, did not need to be re-set, and daddy was able to come home last night
-If he had NOT been able to, I would have had to put my mom in an emergency assisted living facility because my dad is her caretaker.  She has a host of medical needs and can not remain unattended for more than 4-5 hours.

-The whole process at the hospital took less than 5 hours.(God's Timing Is Perfect!)

-There was gas in my car and money in my pocket when I needed to respond and GO to my parents at a moments notice. Didn't have to stop at an ATM or a gas station.
-My cell phone was fully charged and I could make all the necessary calls to family.
-Daddy had enough money in his wallet to pay for the prescriptions and groceries. We didn't have to go by My Dad's ATM either.

-My beloved husband was there to help as we orchestrated how to get everything done that needed to be done.I wasn't alone and stressing on how to get it all done.

-Mom and Dad already have some of the special equipment that they will have need of during his healing time.  He has a motorized cart he can use in the house.

-I am able to work half a day today and then go check on them.

In the midst of pain and suffering...GOD was in control.

HE took care of every detail.

In spite of the fact that my amazing day took a really serious was STILL an incredibly positive day.  

God's Hand was just ALL OVER this situation and every time I turned around I could see it very clearly.

I stand amazed in HIS PRESENCE and am reminded of these words:

"I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.
My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.
He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.
Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.
The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand.
The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.
The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.
The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore." Psalms 121:1-8

In Him, 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

This is a kid you wanna play blocks with!

Greetings Everybody,
It is Sunday Morning, and we have family coming over after Church today.  The Kids (our  very pregnant daughter, her incredible husband, and my extremely spiffy grandson) will be eating lunch with us here at the house. And then later in the afternoon, my parents are coming over.

The baby can now sit up on his own, has a big boy "BURR" haircut, and is not looking like an infant anymore. My daughter called me right after he got that haircut to tell me that he didn't look like a baby any more. She said, "This is a kid you wanna play blocks with!"  

And she was right.

He now LOVES to play with blocks (the soft kind).  

Photo courtesy of webpage
He delights in knocking down a stack of blocks, picking one out of the rubble, holding it up as his captive and waving it all around like a Viking.  SUCH a little boy lolol.

When my daughter ( his mother) was a baby, she was a block STACKER, and would have been devastated if someone had DARED to knock down her beautiful stack of blocks.  

I believe that there is "MORE THAN A PLUMBING DIFFERENCE" between how little boys and little girls are made. 

And often one of the big differences is Play Styles.

This one is ALL BOY lolol.

Today am grateful for Family and we are going to have a grand old time eating and visiting and playing blocks.

I am grateful that we all live close to each other and that my grandson and his yet unborn sister, will grow up with a multi-level support system of people who love them.

We are blessed.

Happy Sunday Everybody.

In Him,

Friday, March 23, 2012

Doorknobs, Storms and Friends: A Correlation

Greetings Everybody,
Let's talk about Doorknobs for just a little bit.
Photo courtesy of Royalty Free

There are lots of different kinds of doorknobs.
Photo courtesy of Royalty Free

Photo courtesy of Royalty Free

Photo courtesy of Royalty Free
And when we are looking for hardware for our doors we can spend AGES looking for just the right style.

Some doorknobs are all "sparkle and shine" like that glass doorknob.
Some of them are all "cozy and warm" like the blue and white ceramic one.
Still others are all "sleek and efficient" like the metal one.

There is a style for everybody's taste.

And People are Just Like That Too.
Some are all "sparkle and shine".
Others are "cozy and warm".
While other folks are "sleek and efficient".

The people who surround us in our daily lives may be quite an eclectic bunch. 
If you are like me, we may be friendly with many people. 
But our actual FRIENDS are fewer in number.

This is never more poignantly apparent than when we really need somebody we can turn to during hard times.
That's when we "thin the herd" and select only the ones who are most reliable and trustworthy to share sorrows with.

During difficulties, we get real particular about who we turn to don't we?

We do so BECAUSE... 

1. The people who are all sparkle and shine tend to be shallow.

2. All too often the cozy and warm ones are rather "opaque" emotionally and don't really seem to understand our troubles either.

3.  And the sleek and efficient ones are all about the quick fix to the problem and they really don't want to sit and listen, cause they just don't have time.

This is when we need someone who understands us well and will hold hands with us when we cry.

Ok...I am just about to tie these loose threads together, so stay with me.

Just for a moment...please examine this next photo and then I'll link it to Storms.
Photo taken at the top of the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse in Daytona Beach, Florida that you've had a look at this doorknob, let's talk about it.

It's not built like most of our doorknobs today.
This one is substantially different.
It is meant for someone who requires a sure grip.

And so NOW things should be coming together for you as I ask you to consider the needs of a Lighthouse Keeper.

A Round Metal, Glass or Ceramic doorknob would be useless to a Lighthouse Keeper who was working in a torrential rain.

And A flattened metal doorknob, no matter how pretty and sleek, would be even worse because it would slip right out of their hands causing all manner of dangers.

But this doorknob is heavy duty hardware and will pretty much "hold hands' with you when you reach for it.

Even with gloves on a person could use this doorknob and safely manage to secure the door.

As listed in the caption of this photo, it was taken at the top of the The Ponce DeLeon Lighthouse in Florida. (It's been around since 1867 and as you can well imagine, this lighthouse has endured many a Stormy Night.)

Can you imagine how many times this doorknob has been held by the Lighthouse Keepers during gale force winds?

Can you imagine how grateful the Keepers were for the reliability of this Heavy Duty Hardware Doorknob?

I bet you are ahead of me right about now and you realize that we aren't talking about Lighthouses and Doorknobs anymore huh? 

And you have probably already figured out that those stormy nights and gale force winds are just figurative language for the hard times in a persons life right?

So here's where I tie all the loose threads together:

Yeah...we are talking about Friends now.

There are lots of different types of friends.
Some are really more like casual acquaintances.
But others are the reliable trustworthy kind of friends.
They are the ones you rely one when you really need somebody to "hold hands with" during the storms of life.

I'll take the "heavy duty hardware type of friend" any old day of the week.  There is a place for everybody on this planet, but during "stormy weather", I want a reliable trustworthy friend by my side.

We know that Abraham from the old Testament was God's Friend.

"And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness, and he was called God’s friend." '

James 2:23

I don't think it would be considered blasphemous to say that God Almighty is the ULTIMATE  "Heavy Duty Hardware Type of Friend". And we have a scriptural precedent letting us know that we CAN be His Friend.

But Scripture also talks about the importance and blessings of Earthly friends. Here are just a few of verses that mention Friends.

"A friend loves at all times, 

and a brother is born for a time of adversity.
Proverbs 17:17

"Oil and perfume rejoice the heart; so does the sweetness of a friend's counsel that comes from the heart." Proverbs 27:9

"Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!"  Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 

"A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother." 
Proverbs 18:24

May your life be blessed with the Heavy Duty Hardware Type of Friends.

In Him, 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Kid in the Hall Said "I've Got A Bullet Issue."

Greetings Everybody,
If you have a Teacher in your family, please go give that person a hug.

Right now, I am feeling this phenomenal fatigue wash over me.
Probably cause the adrenaline has just now worn off.

During the last period of the day, I stepped out of my classroom and left my student teacher just happily teaching away.

I didn't think twice about.
I had school issues to tend to.

As I was making my way down the hall, I saw an Administrator up ahead walking AWAY from me.

Now that I think about it, he was pretty far ahead of me and was walking like he was on a mission.

And I could see that he was escorting a male student around the corner.

And then I realized that two security guards were walking rapidly TOWARDS me.

I kept walking down the hallway, but was beginning to tune in to my environment a little bit more.

Just before I rounded the corner, I saw the Administrator turn around and start walking back toward me.

Then he suddenly stopped.

He used his Walkie-Talkie as a pointing device and turned in the direction of the corner and said "Get Back."

He was not talking to ME though, so I kept on going a few more steps.

I rounded the corner.

And I saw the kid he had been escorting.

And THEN I saw the look on that kid's face.

He was leaning against a wall like he wanted it to absorb him.

Big Eyes.

I asked him if he was OK and he nodded...but he didn't move from the spot he was in.

He didn't look angry.
He wasn't physically agitated.
He was very still.

And when I asked him what was wrong, he looked me straight in the eye and very clearly said, 
                            "I've Got A Bullet Issue."
Photo is Courtesy of Yahoo Images

   He didn't offer any further explanation.

He just gave me a look as if he was assessing my level of Street Smarts.

I nodded.

And said "I see".

And we waited there together in silence.

After about 5 minutes I asked him to tell me the what was going on.

As he told it, while at lunch today, a student who dislikes him & often bullies him threatened to have another student put a bullet in him.

He called both young men by name.

He said that they were down the hall.

And yes, if you are tracking this story correctly...that's the same hallway that I had been casually walking down when I first realized that something unusual was going on.

Reality Slammed Me with the thought that it was possible that some student on MY Hallway might have a gun and might be quite willing to use it today.

I swallowed.


I have to hand it to the kid though.
He was articulate.
He was calm.
No Tears.
Just Big Eyes.

I stood there realizing that I had positioned myself with a student who was a Target.
And I stood there thinking that this just might be REAL and not just some adolescent trash-talk... because this was taking a long time.

What was going to happen if someone down the hall indeed DID have a gun?

While we stood there, I was mentally trying to work "What If" options for where we would try to go if we heard heavy footsteps running toward us.

We waited there for about 30 minutes before it was all over.

To the Best of My Knowledge 
No Gun Was Found On Our Campus.

The Administrator eventually walked back to where he had stashed the student.
He saw that I had stayed with the kid.
And he thanked me.

The Kid walked away with the Administrator.
I went to the Faculty Restroom and tried to collect myself,

I wasn't shaking, and I wasn't crying.
But I was actively contemplating how fast things can get out of hand in a school.

The General Public has no idea how much Teachers  and Administrators deal with.

If this had happened at The Mall, it would have made The Evening News.

But we just take it in stride.
We Investigate, Take the Appropriate Measures, File Reports, Dust Our Hands, Thank God for a Good Outcome, and Go Home At the End of the Day.

People...Today, a Student had A Bullet Issue....which meant that this Teacher had A Bullet Issue too.

So let me just state for the record that I don't LIKE having Bullet Issues. OK? Sheesh! 
It's Scary!!!

I remember praying very early this morning for God to keep my school safe today.

It's NOT a Prayer that I Uttered Lightly.

And it's one that I am SO glad that I took the time to pray about.

So Yeah, Figuratively and I guess somewhat Literally too, it looks like We "Dodged The Bullet" Issue Today.

God please keep that young man and all the rest of us safe. 
Please Protect Our Schools.

Like I said at the start of this post...If you have a Teacher in your family, please go give that person a hug.

In Him,

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Lost Kids

Greetings Everybody,
Wanna talk with you about The Lost Kids.

I am not talking about Miscarriages, or Abductions, or Runaways...
But I AM talking about the ones who have been so damaged by Adults that they may never fully recover.

Amazingly...The Lost Kids that I am referring to today are NOT categorically the ones who have survived Physical or Sexual abuse.  

The Lost Kids that I am referring to today are NOT categorically the ones who have a Parent who has an Addiction Problem.

The Lost Kids I am referring Today are ones with Broken Hearts and Trust Issues because Mommy and Daddy Got Divorced.

YES I have seen kids from divorced families who are Happy and Highly Functional.  
But they are Few.
And they are Far Between.

I know that raising a child in the presence of fighting and hatred isn't wonderful either

...and I know that parents are often torn between staying with a horrible person for the Sake of the kids
divorcing a horrible person for the Sake of the kids.

All I can tell you is that, in my 20 plus years of observing students in my classroom,  the majority of the kids from divorced homes are Typically NOT Happy NOR are They Highly Functional.

Clearly there are Socio-Economic Status factors at play.

Clearly there are Support System factors at play.

But to quote one my students...
 "Parents don't realize that divorce messes kids up for a long time."

Now before anybody starts clammering and throwing rocks at me over this issue of how divorce impacts kids...let me clarify a little bit.
1.  I am not citing double-blind clinical studies here.
2.  I am not citing statistics.
3.  I am not a psychologist, psychiatrist, social worker, or counselor.
4. I am simply offering insights based on what I have observed over a couple of decades of working with kids.

Clearly I am NOT an expert 
on Divorce and its Impact on kids.

But I AM a High School Speech Teacher and as such, I listen to kids talk all the time. 

I hear what they are Afraid to tell their parents
BUT will openly share with their Peers in a Speech Class.

And they talk all the time about how Divorce is Awful.

Did I just hear somebody muttering  "Other than quoting one of your students, what evidence can you bring to the table to solidify your assertion that divorce messes kids up for a long time?" 

Well...glad you asked.

Please keep reading.  

There is a certain Visual Aid based Speech Project, called "My Life Chart" that my students build and present in class to their peers and to me.

It's a graph of the highs and lows of their lives.

We discuss positive and negative graphing, and then the students build the X/Y axis on which to graph SOME information about their lives

I ask them to limit their graphs to 10 items.

They get to choose what they talk about, and are told that they do NOT have to discuss anything that is Deeply Personal.

Yet they do.

They tell about pregnancies.
They tell about about abortions.
They tell about going to jail.

They talk about their 13th, 15th, 16th, and 18th birthdays.
They talk about Family Reunions.

They tell about Drug and Gang involvement.
They tell about personal pain: car wrecks, broken bones, surgeries


Just so you know...This particular assignment gets wonderful reviews from Students AND Administrators. 

The Kids get to talk without notes and speak based on the prompts on their visual aids. 
They tell me that they LIKE this assignment.

The Administrators LIKE it too because it is a cross-curricular assignment that promotes higher level thinking.

Disclaimer: I did NOT come up with this on my own.
It is research-based (Rief 1992) and I have provided one of the samples used in that research for you guys to take a look at before we go any further with this discussion.

Sample of Visual Aid for a speech presentation called "MY LIFE CHART" (as used Under Data Camera)

oRief, L. (1992). Seeking Diversity. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Let's continue with my Anecdotal Evidence asserting that "Divorce messes kids up for a long time.".

The Process for Building and Presenting this speech goes like this:

1.  Each student in the class generates his/her own Visual Aid (X/Y Graph) about their own life events. (10 items)

2.  During these presentations the lights in the classroom are dim so that the projection can be read on the screen.  

3.  The students speak openly and honestly and very freely about the good, the bad, the happy and the sad parts of their lives.

And time, after time, after time I hear the story of how Parents Divorced, and how Horrible it was to Endure, and how it Still hurts, and how they wish their Family was still a FAMILY.

Here's another observation that is most Salient for me...
Most of the time the divorce is the lowest point on their chart and it is then followed by a series of low events.

The charts that my students produce lead me to believe that for many of them, their parents divorce serves as the the LOWEST turning point in their lives and there is rarely a HIGH that counterbalances the depth of that LOW. 

In Essence and in Layman's appears to change their Happiness Threshold for a long time.

I guess it's a further sign of our times, that it is now very rare for me to have more than 5 students in a class of 30 who have both biological parents who are married to each other.

Did I just hear somebody say "So What?"


Here's your "So What?"!

Parents neither Can Mitigate, nor should they even Try to Mitigate every Negative Experience in their kids lives.

Emotionally Healthy Individuals MUST develop the ability to cope with the Highs & Lows of life.

But here's what Parents SHOULD try to Mitigate: If at all possible they should not make life altering decisions that will serve as a SOURCE of Pain and Misery for their Children for Years to Come.

I Understand That Sometimes Divorce is Warranted.
I don't like it. 
But I understand it.

But Marriage Vows should never be treated like a pair of Disposable Gloves.

Quite Frankly, The next time you want to cheat on your spouse...the next time you want to cash in all of your marital chips...the next time you feel like taking your wedding ring off and hurling it into the abyss...I want you to visualize your sons and your daughters standing at the podium in the front of a classroom with tears in their eyes as they talk about how much YOU hurt them.

I want you to visualize those faces.
And I want you to contemplate the hearts that will be broken
...the hearts that will very likely have Trust Issues for a long long time because of YOUR actions.

I have seen so many of these Lost Kids that I too am a little heartsick.

And I wonder how they will ever learn to Trust again.

If you and your spouse have been tossing around 
"The D Word", please remember that far too often Divorce is a Wound that Festers in a Child's Heart for Years and Years and Years.

It's possible that YOU may be eager and able to "move on" quickly after a divorce.

But it is also possible that your Children may see that Divorce as Deepest Level of Negativity 
on the Life Chart of their Lives.

In Him,