Monday, February 23, 2009

Almost Perfect!

Kayla is learning math! And she's smiling!

Of course, I am still facing the reality that I have a sixth grader who has finally learned adding, but she HAS learned it! Today, I gave her the final test on that unit, and she got a 96%! She only made one mistake! You should have seen her smile.

She's learned to add. And she's learned how to learn math. Tomorrow, we begin subtracting. I'm going to start pushing her harder now that she's learned she can learn.

I knew she could learn. I just knew it! Yes, she learns a little slower and needs good explanations and lots of encouragement, but she CAN learn! And she thinks she is smart. She went home with a test that has a big, red 96% on it and a big smile on her face.

My Middle Son and the Bullies

Thanks for all your prayers!

I had a talk with my son, and apparently, he had a bad day that day. He admits that these two boys are being mean to him again and calling him names, but he does not seem too worried by it. We talked about it, and I told him that their problems are their problems, and he is not what they call him. I explained that often people who are hurting themselves hurt others in an effort to feel better, and that he does not need to listen to what they say. It is not truth. I also told him that his teachers, parents, and principals are aware of what is going on and are taking action, but I explained that he might not see all the action that is being taken.

He seemed relaxed about it, and happy that we were listening. I also encouraged him to befriend another boy in his class who is friendly with him and to attract the other boy who is bouncing between the three. With those other two, he could form his own "gang" of boys who would be strong enough to withstand the bullies words. Let's pray it works. The other boy - he's friends with my son, but they both have the same issues this year - a growing laziness with their school work and a stinking attitude. I told my son to shape up and pull his buddy along with him. Together, they can be strong and get back to how they were last year - active, interested, intelligent boys.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Problems with Bullies

My husband is coming home tomorrow! I've missed him! Doesn't help that he is visiting where I would love to visit, too, and I miss him and being with him there!

But, I am home, and we've got problems at home today.

A look back - two years ago, my middle son had problems in school. He was being picked on by some kids, teased mercilessly, and was angry. He is the quiet explosive type of angry child who prefers not to talk about what is going on. It was difficult to help him without knowing what was happening. It was so severe that he even soiled himself at night at times. His teacher that year was new and already overwhelmed with teaching a split class.

We made it through that year, and the next one was better as the boys who gave him trouble were now in fifth grade and had moved out of the grade three/four split. This year, though, they are back together in the fifth/sixth split. The first half of the year went relatively well. There were a few minor bumps and the teacher was very good at helping and sorting through the mess.

Recently, though, he has begun to show stress again, not liking school, and writing in his journal about being teased and mocked by these two boys, and once by his brother with whom I will have a very serious chat this very night! The principal pulled me aside to talk to me today, and I shared what I knew. We don't know exactly all that is happening. On the outside, my son still looks relatively happy and excited about school, but his journal writings are more and more stressed about these two boys.

Can I ask you to pray for him? And pray for wisdom for me and for his teachers and principal. I have a good relationship with them and am often in the school, so we can work together as a team to help in this situation.

I am hurt and disappointed today. I was so hoping that we were making it through. He had healed and improved so much in fourth grade without these boys and this year he seemed to be weathering it ok, but now this. I'm concerned about seventh grade then, when he will be back with these boys. Do I put him through it one more time? Or what?

Just pray. And anyone with experience with this, please write. I'm a bit lost here. I was hurt as a kid, but not by bullies. I did have one year as a fresh back home MK that I was in a position to be teased, but I had a great teacher who not only cared for me but also got the class to accept me as much as they could and even invite me to their houses for sleepovers and parties. Mr. Fox - thank-you.

But dealing with a whole class's attitudes is different than dealing with two boys who have their own emotional problems and whose defense is to pick on my son. One of these boys is fat (truth, not being politically correct or mean.) and doesn't do well in school - not because he isn't smart, but because he gets more attention that way. Both come from broken homes. The other had a cleft palate and has scarring on his face. His mother left them without any explanation about three years ago, and he has huge emotional scarring from that. I understand that these are hurting kids who need us, and I try. But I also need to be able to protect and care for my own child who is bearing the brunt of their pain. They call him, always when the teacher can't hear, short, fat, and dumb. I'll own up to the short part - he is, probably always will be, but he is neither fat nor dumb.

Just cover #2 in prayer. He's going to need it. I need it to as I struggle to find out how to help him.

Monday, February 16, 2009

An Unusual Solution

Ok - remember the burned bottom? On my middle son?

Well, it was a bad burn - skin turned grey, flaking off, fluid leaking out. How do you bandage a rear? I tried a nice dressing, but having your butt cheeks taped together produces a wooden puppet-like walk and was decidedly uncomfortable. Besides, it made using the toilet awkward.

So I thought... hmmm... I need a dressing that sticks to his underwear, not his butt, and one with a non-stick cover... yup, you got it - a maxi pad - Always with Wings!

I don't have any since I had a hysterectomy, but I found one somewhere, and yes, it was perfect. Just the right size, sticks to his underwear, non-stick! Perfect. Not wanting to explain the female reproductive cycle to a ten year old whose response would likely be total disgust and refusal to wear Always with Wings, I told him it is a pad like people wear when they leak a little pee. He knows I change diapers in the nursing home, so that made sense to him... (the lies we moms tell...)

It works. Padded, so it protects his ah, tender butt, and absorptive so it catches all the leaking interstitial fluids.. Yes, he does have a cute little J-Lo butt, but hey, it's working!

Now, I need to go to school tomorrow and get permission for him to use the staff bathroom. That could be the end of his junior school experience if kids found out he was wearing a maxi pad!

If the shoe fits....

Sunday, February 15, 2009


I just got a call from my husband tonight. He is on a trip...

But while on his trip, with a dead computer and no internet on other computers, he picked up a book. And God began to show him something, and it is good. Been praying for this for a long time, but it is something that has to be God's timing and not ours, never pushed.

So he phoned me to talk about it and to pray with him. I did. then he is going to sleep.

I'll write later. It is late. But... right now, it is important that we are praying, covering him in prayer.

So, I'm writing to all of you who have prayed me through the last few months. Right now, pray. Pray for protection, for God's working, and for his response. I'm proud of him, but having walked the road he is setting out on, I know it is tough, and to do so means you will be hit on all sides from the enemy seeking to stop you.

It was a good Sunday for me, too, with God showing me another thing - which I would love to write about, but it is past midnight, and I am tired.


Thursday, February 12, 2009

You Did What?!

Ok - my husband is gone for two weeks...


- the brakes on the car went funny

- it rained so hard that two months worth of snow melted in two hours

- the melted snow leaked into my house and ran across my son's floor.

- A drainage ditch needed to be dug to the street to drain the puddles of melted snow.

- the carpet needs to be ripped up quickly before we have mildew (thankfully, it was going to be ripped up for trash next month anyway!)

All that, and I was tired. Today, I was able to talk to my husband (yay!) and life was looking better. No major emergencies today besides a severely constipated child in tears, but we got that worked out - literally!

Then came those five words I am beginning to dread. "Mom, can you come here?"

I went. My middle son had taken a bath, and like all my kids, had wrapped in a towel and came down by the gas fireplace to warm himself. Warm himself he had! A bit too close. And now his cheeks are sporting two fairly large burns. Yes, those cheeks!

Sometimes, all you can do is laugh and reach for the frozen vegetables!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Those Important Questions

I have guest staying with me for awhile. I'll write more about that one day soon when I can calm down about the issue of parents!!!

So to take in the guest, I moved my youngest son in with his sister. They are eight and six, and they have been inseparable since she was born. They wanted to share the bed instead of going on the floor, and I said it was ok as long as they both went to sleep. Amazingly, they have been, and they wake up and snuggle and talk.

They were so excited about this prospect, and began to talk all day about the things they would do. "We can play house. We can wake up and build Lego. I can read to you if you get stuck on the big words." All day they planned and planned their adventure.

Somewhere, just after supper, my daughter turned to her brother.

"Wait! There is just one thing I need to know. Do you snore?"

The little guy paused, tilted his head to think and responded, "Well, I know how to snore when I am awake, (he demonstrated), but I haven't figured out how to do it when I am sleeping."

She breathed a sigh of relief. "Ok. That's good then."

And late last night, as I passed their room on my way to bed, I head soft gentle snoring and peeked in. Two heads curled up tight on the pillow... and my daughter snoring!

Monday, February 9, 2009

He Did Go.

Sorry, with the really long post last time, I forgot to tell you if my husband went or not. He did, and I am glad... although I miss him.

He'll be gone about two weeks. I will try to use the time to get caught up on things that I haven't had time to do because kids will happily eat french toast for supper and think it is a treat! Less work without my husband around. :) For a few days, I don't mind, but then I miss him. I'm going to try to sew my daughter a dress or two. For some reason, the clothing industry thinks that after they grow out of size 6, we should dress them like sex objects!

So, I'm back to work today to finish up writing... I hope...

Friday, February 6, 2009

Why We Need to Watch What We Say

I was told a very wise thing by someone when I first got married. I think it was a non-Christian British friend I had when I first lived overseas as a married woman. She was the only one who spoke English, and I hung out at her house often.

She told me a few things about fights. I would go to her house if things were tough. She lived a good twenty minutes walk away. I learned that walking is good when you are upset. It gives you time to think. I learned that talking to a friend is often good. But she told me, "be careful who you talk to, especially with your parents. You may forgive and forget, but your parents won't. It will be harder for them to see your husband in a friendly light if you talk about your problems to them."

She was wise. I took her advice, and mostly followed it.

This situation I am in right now is difficult for these same reasons. This man, our team leader, the one who has vision problems, thinks I am psychologically damaged, so impossible of a person that anyone would suffer living with me. What hurts is that most of the fodder he has for thinking this has come from my husband. From when he was angry, very angry.

My husband is amazing. He saw that he was wrong. He came and apologized and asked for forgiveness. He is doing well.

But it is the power of words spoken that can not be withdrawn; the words he has spoken over the years to this man still color how he sees me. My husband has apologized and realized he was wrong... but the effect still is there... words repeated back by this man... words that hurt enough the first time through.

Tough situation. Tough also because this man is our leadership.

Tough, too, because I know that my husband shared things I told him in confidence to this man without my permission. Now he uses those things to accuse me of having a mental illness of some sort.

Ah. If only people who have no training in psychiatry would keep their nose out of it.

It lingers. The horribleness of my husband's words in his darkest moments of anger linger on in the shadow of this man who believes them as absolute truth and who takes small snapshots and strings them together to make a movie without seeing the whole picture.

And I have to work with him with grace.

The gentle and quiet spirit. God says it is how we win our unbelieving husbands... perhaps it works with skeptical, critical friend/leader with vision problems.

The thing is - he is really a nice guy. I kind of like him. He has quirks, but I like him. I think he would like me, too, if he got to know me. But he never has invested that time, preferring to see me only through my husband's eyes, and usually only through my husband when he is angry and venting at him.

Reason to see the wisdom in my friend's advice. You may forgive, but people don't forget. Reason to chose wisely people you talk to.

I think my husband chose wisely. Honestly. This man should have been a wise choice. A leader, a long term friend, an older man who should have wisdom and insight. I don't think my husband failed. I don't think this man has any evil desire or vengefulness in him. He is only slightly biased, slightly ignorant, and not near us. He hears things. He visits infrequently. He doesn't understand things, and he has an opinion. Skewed opinion, yes, but definitely not a mean or cruel person.

It still hurts.

I've seen him do something similar - different accusation - but similar to someone else once. I know that it hurt that person, too. It makes me sad. In the end, the situation changed, and I saw him hang his head in his hands and groan that he had taken the word of one against another and he had judged wrong. Yet, he still continues to judge that person wrongly often. I puzzle over it at times. It is, I think, at times the horribleness of the great need in missions and the factor of usefulness. In a disagreement or conflict, leaders will often believe the person they need the most. Not necessarily because they might really believe them if they thought about it, but because they can not wrap their mind around how they would cope without that person who is useful, capable, needed.

It hurts.

I am not angry today, no. There are days I have been angry. But I am sad. Hurt. I feel pre-judged, unknown, condescended to, lied to when I am smiled at to my face and things said behind my back.

And I don't want to fight. It would not honor God. It would not reach the goals we both are reaching for. So I hurt. And I have to love. I have to follow this leadership in a way that honors God. I am not responsible for his actions, but I am for mine. I have to honor him and follow well.

It is slightly amusing that I am writing for women, for women who are seen as second class humans, whose voice is disregarded, whose value is degraded, who are seen as weak, and accused of anything and no accusation against them needs proof; and in only a very mild way, I am facing the same attitude here. I am not accusing him of being like those men, not at all. But there is a small similarity.

It is not about me. It isn't. And I have to know that, knowing in not just a head way, but in a walking way. I have to walk this one through.

But... I know a God who sees me, who delights in me, who is pleased with me, who sings over me. And one day, He will lift up my head. And until then, if I have to face pain because this world, including ourselves, is not perfect,.... well, I face it with Him.

Thanks. It is good to have people, women, to talk to. Being heard takes much of the pain at times. Pain hurts more in solitude.

Something to Pray About

Hmm... in the five minutes I have before school, if I want to shower... without saying anything wrong about people... I'd like to ask for some prayer..

It is a long story, and one day I would love to be able to carefully write it out, but that might not be now...

For now - my husband said he would go somewhere for a course. I'd like him to go.

Separate and unrelated to that, I was upset last night and told him one member of our team, such as one in authority over us, is hard for me to cope with because he thinks I have something "psychologically wrong" with me. He thinks it is either a result of my past history of abuse or an inherited thing from my family. (Case in point - my dad is annoying, and my brother is in prison = something wrong with the whole family, right?) And - this person is the one who will initially edit the lessons that I am writing - for women.

It is difficult for me to deal unemotionally at times with this person - who is also my husband's close friend. On the basis of that, I would love to have a decent relationship with this man and his wife.

Hard to do though when I know he thinks I am weird, damaged, mentally ill, making it all up for attention.

There is so much more I could say. I don't really blame this guy - he is only ignorant, unaware, surprised even that abuse happens, just oblivious. Grew up in a very sheltered environment, really intelligent in some areas, highly intellegent - but lacking in others. Just like most of us.

Anyway, since I told my husband, now he wants to not go. Why? I don't get it. It is not a new crisis that he needs to sit here and hold my hand. This man has thought this for three years. It hurts, true. But go on with life anyway.

But to pray - pray that he goes. I would feel horrible if he didn't because of me. Not my intention. I just wanted to share how I felt.

And pray for me - with turning in the ten lessons I am almost done, I have to work closely with this person for a time doing edits and other things. You are women, so I don't have to explain how that feels. :)

Life. I long for the day when all things are open and put in the light, and that light covered in perfect love. Accusations silenced, misunderstandings cleared, and sin gone!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


Yup. I'm officially paying in pain for my new job. You see, I used to work in a much more active job, always on my feet either with kids or old people. Lifting, walking, caring. Now I sit for a few hours a day staring at a computer screen or a child's text book. Sitting. It's taken a toll on my fitness level. No, not obviously, but today I realize it.

We went on a vacation. We had fun. My boys and I climbed, carried, and slid. We ran, swam, and walked. I had no problem keeping up with them. I felt pleased with myself. I was still in shape.

But today, I'm paying. Everything hurts. And I don't feel so cocky and young today. Ha!

Oh well, it was fun, and advil works well. I'll recover.

Still staring down a deadline... tired of writing... my brain is freezing over at times... but I'm getting there. Only three more to go. I've written four this week, three to go.... if you think of it, pray for time and some solid thoughts to put on paper.

But right now, I dislike writing. I don't even want to see an empty page right now. I can't even think of anything funny or interesting. I don't even want to read anything right now. Words overload.

Check back later.... I might recover.