Wednesday, February 25, 2009

What is wrong with me? Why can't I just drive by the dang dog who has been hanging out at the Flying J Truck Stop on our way to school? I wish I'd never seen him lying pitifully under the guardrail for three days now. Pooh Bear placed a tub of dogfood in a plastic container in the van, and I had Tater feed him before picking Peace up from school while I filled up my gas tank. I'll do a dangerous thing here and name him Spot. Claire, who lives at the exit, asked me to check on him once, and now I'm sucked into the poor doggy vortex. Pray that Spot finds a loving home before I lose my mind completely and bring him here.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Those of you who are my Facebook friends already know that I ran over a hen when I pulled into my garage yesterday. She was a beautiful black with white speckled girl with sweet gentle spirit- supposing chickens have spirits. I feel sad that I took her life. I also feel terribly guilty that I wished it was a goofy rooster instead of one of my precious egg layers. Pooh Bear watched her get run over from behind, and Wise One felt the bump just like I did. We all gathered round in horror as she didn't exactly die instantly. The other chickens were swarming to peck the egg which had been squished out of her.

This morning, I cranked one of my favorite songs, "Grace in the Wilderness" by Eoghan Heaslip, had a good cry driving home alone from school drop offs. It may sound silly, but for me, killing a pet who has given of herself to our family is wilderness, and I need the grace to forgive myself. If you don't know Eoghan's work, his worship music hits the sweet spot for me. This song in particular has helped me through the many times I struggle to love well.

I'm going to be okay about this. I really am, but it's going to take a few days to wipe the clean up scene from the front of my brain.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Expecting Adam

I made some new friends this weekend which is unusual, because I've become rather introverted over the last six years. However, I've let go and have all out enjoyed getting to know these folks from the bottom of my heart. They're the kind of people with whom you wouldn't mind sharing the whole of life. Now that I know them, I wish they were my back door neighbors. The Becks are a family who are literally down to earth who teach other how to live abundantly. Of course, I haven't really ever met them in person, but rest assured they are real and knowable people. Martha wrote so candidly about herself and her family, it makes me ache as a writer myself that she split herself wide open and laid her innermost being on the line for all to see. I tend to want to dash from a room and throw up once I realize someone has read my own work before we've gotten a chance to know one another. For me, it always feels like a I'm-naked-in-school-dream come true. And I don't even write about myself in publications (I know I do here, but it's not the same). What vulnerability it must have taken for Martha to put herself and her family in print. And I love her for it. Martha Beck's book is called Expecting Adam, and I'll let her tell you in her own words what it's about:

This is the story of two driven Harvard academics who found out in midpregnancy that their unborn son would be retarded. To their own surprise and the horrified dismay of the university community, the couple ignored the abundant means, motive, and opportunity to obtain a therapeutic abortion. They decided to allow their baby to be born. What they did not realize is that they themselves were the ones who would be 'born', infants in a new world where magic is commonplace, Harvard professors are the slow learners, and retarded babies are the master teachers.

Here's another section I feel compelled to share:

There were other people who didn't seem to hear me either. Once, after I gave a speech to a woman's club and mentioned my experience having Adam, a member of the group came up to me in the women's room. She burst into tears and said, " I wanted you to know that I had to make the same decision you did, and I chose the wrong thing!" She had, in other words, consented to an abortion. As I watched her face contort with anguish, I felt that my heart was being ripped from its moorings. I don't know if she took in what I said, so I want to say it again,in case she's out there.

There's a Chinese word that means "soul sister", and that is word I would use to address you in my heart. Listen to me, soul sister: Fate or luck or destiny already put you through hell once. Please don't make it worse by condemning yourself. There is no choice that would have left you feeling not guilt. Every time I watch Adam struggle to speak, every time I see other children laugh and point at him, every time I watch his face fall as he realizes he is not going to be treated like the other kids, I feel wrenched by guilt just as you did when you heard my story. Life is hard. We make the best choices we can. Condemnation, whether it comes from you or inside you, only robs the world of another dram of compassion. God knows, we needs all the compassion we can get. If you promise to try to forgive yourself, I'll try to forgive myself as well. I think in my heart of hearts, that there is nothing for either one of us to forgive.

I recognize how loony it sounds to love the person of an author, but I do. I learned even more from Martha how to love foolishly- my personal goal in life.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

I nearly dumped him today. I told him I was willing to do so even though I have been loyal to him for many years. I just couldn't take any more of the broken promises, the delayed actions. A girl has needs- ya know what I mean? Every year there's one glitch or another and I find myself sparking, angry, and wanting to call the whole deal off. I became so flustered, I fell into using sarcasm and saying, "Nice!" when I didn't even mean it. I don't easily come that unhinged, so when I find myself in knots, I just have to count if it's all worth it or not.

What am I talking about?

I had a huge conflict when ordering some of my daugher's home school materials from a company which-shall-not-be-named. The anxiety those people put me through makes me feel like a drug addict in need of a scholastic fix. "Give me the books, man. I just need the teacher's manual. I get shaky when it's been too long." I ended up feeling like making a deal with the devil. I told Chris, the sales supervisor at the-company-which-shall-not-be-named that I wouldn't cancel my contract IF in the future, I was allowed to order my ALL materials well in advance of the course. I've been told numerous times this was against store policy. However, I was thinking six weeks, but Chris wrote a note on my account authorizing me six months advanced materials ordering power. Now I can score some third grade phonics action before I'm white knuckling it.

Just send me the curriculum, and no one gets hurt!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

God must be teasing me.

After careful consideration, my husband and myself have decided to try public middle school for our middle son after six years of homeschooling. Homeschooling with a son who has huge mother issues has been challenging to say the least for the teacher (me)at home. Yesterday, the vice principal of the middle school met with me, and I liked her relational attitude. I was quite direct when I gave her the attachment issues spiel, and she knew what I was talking about from experience. And I don't think it was a positive experience for the previous family or the school. The vice principal requested we bring Tater in today to meet him and get a feel for us as a family.

Here's where God began His Joke. Remember, Buck, Tater and I were sitting quietly waiting for our one o'clock appointment for about three seconds when...

The secretary leaned over the counter to a very red faced angry middle schooler and asked, "Why ya in here, son?"
"I ran away from my teacher" he announced proudly.
"Why'd you do a thing like that?" the secretary proceeded.
"Because I HATE HER. She is mean and STUPID, and I don't have to stay with her if I don't want to," he sputtered.

In flew an adult male with his arms spread wide between two bigger boys. He firmly spoke pointing opposite directions, "You go to the vice principal. You go to the guidance counselor." A security officer came in and told the boy directed to the vice principal to sit down. The older sat right next to the runaway kid and started chatting, "This time I think I'll go to jail. They told me it's about time to arrest me for all that I done. I've seen that jail. There are six cells total in juvie. Them cells are no bigger than..." Tater's eyes grew wider with every word.

Buck leaned over to me and whispered, "I don't think they are talking about biology, do you?" I couldn't hold it in- my man knows how to make me laugh. And God sure put every inhibition I have about public schools on display.

I needed to go pick up Pooh Bear, while Tater and Buck toured the school. Buck explained to me afterwards that kids waved and called out, "TATER!" in every. single. classroom. Kids we know from soccer, basketball, swimming, church, round town. All very positive and sweet influences for this charismatic boy with a broken self-protected heart.

God could have sent a scroll that read to Tater, "I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse: therefore choose life, that thou mayest live, thou and thy seed." It was all right before our eyes. I pray earnestly, "Oh, God. Let that boy choose life."

Sunday, February 08, 2009

The Vyne clan has whooping cough. Seriously. Buck dragged all four sick children and himself to the clinic after several days of hacking and fevers. I have evaded the worst of it with a little cold. The blight hit Tater first while we were finishing up Wise One's room. Pooh Bear contracted it last spiking her normal terrifying fever of 104.3. I've been handing out tylenol like candy. Buck got a mild form of it the evening he finished the flooring in Wise One's room, but he's muddled through with a tough guy's grace.

Here's what I'm up to today:

I'm preparing for a Still Waters session (something of an afternoon retreat) for a little coffee house church as an introduction to Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. The church is seriously considering allowing me to continue my research on children's spiritual development with them. My work with children has been on hold since the evening service and my class, "The Well of the Good Shepherd" at my home church was canceled and new leadership took over the children's department. Though the new staff are great people, they don't understand why I can't just jump on board with their curriculum. I couldn't teach from a coloring sheet of cartoon Jesus to save my very own life though I honor and respect those who do. I am cut from a different cloth in which I prepare a rich and succulent feast for a community and step out of the way to allow God and the participants to enjoy one another. I'm always looking for ways out of lecture and into experiential methods of teaching.

I'm also working on materials to send to an upcoming women's retreat for my church which I won't attend.

Hope your Sunday is blessed and full of rest and refreshing.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Revamped my blogroll today. I hadn't realized that Blogrolling company has been down since October (I think),and I haven't been able to edit my list. I had to input into blogger by hand as Blogroller wouldn't or couldn't let me in to cut and paste. So, if I left anyone off or someone new wants to be on my blogroll, just ask in the comments.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Here's Peace on the new and very cool couch in his room. He's coughing his guts out and sick, but he looks comfortable, right?
The couch folds out into a lounge chair, two lounge chairs, and the back also folds down like a lawn chair to make a bed. Little feet can be pulled out from zippered slots on the cushion for the lounge chair positions. My mom asked it it was a futon or a fold out couch. Buck explained to her that it is a hybrid couch. Aren't we green now?

On the opposite side of the room from where Peace is resting is the new bedroom suit we snatched up on Sunday from someone locally on Craig's list. Love that site! The seller said she's just posted it before I emailed her. Good thing I did, because by the time my husband went to look at it, she'd had three more calls. He bought it on the spot, because she was selling it for such a great price. She's an older woman getting married and consolidating households. This set had been in her guest room.

Last week, this room contained raggedly nasty berber carpet, school shelves, school table, a partition and Peace's worldly belongings. Homeschool supplies have now become part of the kitchen. It's a little crammed, but it's going to work. The kids and I removed an outdated wallpaper border from Peace's room- tedious. I patched and scrubbed to prepare for the entire family to paint together. Buck installed the beautiful floor.

Anyhow, Peace now has a room he can comfortably share with our guests. So, we are waiting for your call if you ever need a place to stay in Tennessee.

The rest of the house in recovery mode. All Peace's stuff has been strewn throughout the kitchen, living room and halls. There's nothing like a mess to create a dumping ground for other mess. The children have been playing in the snow and chucked their gear everywhere- boots here, gloves there, coats over shelves, hats hanging from lamps. You get the picture. I've gathered it all and am in the midst of mountains of laundry. All I really want to do is take the book I'm reading and go and hang out with Peace in his lovely space. Sigh...

Sunday, February 01, 2009

So what did you do Super Bowl Sunday?

I woke up with a bee buzzing in my bonnet about getting my children back on track in terms of contributing to our household. It seems they only have time for the things for which they want to do. Movies, games, books, legos, dolls, Facebook, itunes. You get the picture. The rules 'round here require tidy rooms before use of media, yet not one child's room comes close to orderly. And I've seen plenty of movie watching and computer time.

Also, they have been bucking bedtime and sleeping in. I begged Buck to help rally the troops, and he and I tried. The proof will be in the pudding.

Today all the boys helped me (without one complaint) scrape an annoying wallpaper border in preparation for a much needed fresh coat of paint in Wise One's room. You see, we've decided to make Wise One's room a teenage hang-out/guest room instead of part homeschool part sliver of a bedroom for Wise. He needs more space, all the kids need another place to go with friends. It's not something I like to do on Sunday at all, but we have a very short time to paint before Buck must quickly get to installing the floor. If you want to feel great about the state of your house, come visit us. We have books, boxes and furniture strewn in all rooms. There's wallpaper shreds everywhere as well. It's not easy losing the homeschool room, and we've got to find another place to house my addictions- books.

Pooh Bear took on an animal chore as well. She's our official morning chicken scratcher. Buck gave her lessons on filling the bucket and whizzing the corn chunks
across the back yard.

Wish us luck on the makeover. We've got our work cut out for us this week.

Oh, we did catch the Superbowl and that 100 yard touchdown. However, I had to sneak off for Sense and Sensibility on PBS at 9. Love that Jane Austin.