The Simple Woman’s Daybook: August 24, 2014

Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY August 24, 2014

Outside my window… dark and cool. A nice change from the heat of the day.

I am thinking… about the errands I have to do tomorrow morning while Daniel is in school as well as the dental work that will be coming up.

I am thankful… for my mother-in-law watching Daniel this afternoon so I could have a much needed nap.

In the kitchen… pesto tortellini tonight.

I am wearing… a plum heather shirt from Old Navy and black capri sweats from Target.

I am praying for… a new parish for Jon, healing for some of the people in my life, and for some special intentions.

I am going… on “epic errands” tomorrow morning.

I am reading… Skeleton Letters by Laura Childs. I’m binge-reading all of her scrapbooking murder mysteries.

I am hoping… Daniel does well this week at taking the bus to school. I’m also hoping that we have the same bus driver as last week because she was very nice.

I am hearing… my girls being nocturnal.

Around the house… silence as I’m probably the only one up.

A favorite quote for today… “Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons for you are crunchy and go well with ketchup.”

One of my favorite things… ice chips.

A few plans for the rest of the week: working on my proficiencies for ODesk, doing errands as needed, and whatever else comes up. I don’t know that I have any really major plans.

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7 Quick Takes: Kindergarten, Grumping, and Murder Mysteries

7 Quick Takes

— 1 —

Brett His family passed court a few days ago and are now in the 10-day waiting period. They are, however, not fully funded and need $2500 added to their FSP before they can book their plane tickets home. Here is the link to their FSP. Could you please share it on your blogs/Facebook/Twitter and let people know that the number needs to read $13,000? Thanks!

— 2 —

First week of school. In case you missed my post on Monday, Daniel started kindergarten this week and it’s been a mixed bag. We love the school, his teacher, and the aides. What we don’t love: the transportation hell that we’re in. They hadn’t gotten him on any of the class lists last Friday so I had to bring my BINDER OF FUN down to the school to fill out paperwork and give them every recent evaluation of every kind. This also meant that they hadn’t gotten him routed for the school bus… and I’m glad my mom suggested I call and find out. Well… Claremont Unified decided to use their transportation instead of Bonita Unified doing it. On Wednesday, we put Daniel on the bus… which then refused to start. OK… one more day of taking him to school. We put him on the bus again this morning and it was fine… except that they screwed up the pick-up time and Claremont Unified decided not to call Daniel’s school back to let them know that they were dispatching someone. I realized that his bus was in front of me and called the school to tell them not to put him on the bus. The school secretary was spitting fire over the whole transportation screw-up (as I would hope she would be, given that Daniel is non-verbal and people had seriously screwed up) and I got a call from the principal personally apologizing for what happened.

Is all of this making me wish I homeschooled? OH HADES NO!!!!!!!!!!!! I have no regrets about putting him on a bus and sending him to school — I just wish the person coordinating this stuff (the special ed person for Claremont Unified) was actually competent. I’m at the point of asking for her head on a platter and I don’t think the people at Daniel’s school would mind helping me with that! (They’re pissed with her as well.)

— 3 —

Special intention. I had a seriously painful dental appointment today… and it was just the consultation. Blue Shield of California also screwed up my insurance so my dentist can’t even refer me out for treatment because they don’t know what insurance will cover or who of their endodontists I can see. Could y’all please pray that they can get their acts together so the office manager of the practice and I can hammer out a treatment plan on Monday? I’d also love prayers for my headache to go away.

— 4 —

Sleep deprivation. You know you’re sleep-deprived when you swallow your handful of night pills and then realize they were your morning pills for the next day. God willing, I’ll sleep OK tonight…

— 5 —

Baseball. The Giants are only 3.5 games back from the Dodgers right now. They could conceivably take the division if LA starts playing as crappy as they normally do. The Cardinals are also 2nd in their division though it’s fairly close with them and Milwaukee — only 1.5 game back.

— 6 —

Murder mysteries. I’ve gotten addicted to Laura Childs’ scrapbooking murder mysteries about a scrapbooking store owner in New Orleans named Carmela Bernard. There has already been some crossover between these and her tea shop mysteries and I’m wondering if her tea shop people (in Charleston) are going to make a trip to the scrapbooking store in New Orleans or vice versa.

— 7 —

Special intention. Could y’all keep praying for our special intention regarding ministry? Please and thank you!

For more Quick Takes, visit Jen at ConversionDiary.Com.

Why I’m Not Homeschooling: Socialization

Several of my homeschooling mama friends are blogging about their upcoming school year and a conversation with my mother-in-law coupled with all of their posts on the subject brought to mind a large reason why I am emphatically *NOT* homeschooling Daniel right now: socialization.

Before I go into my reason for saying this, can I get something out of the way first?

I’m fully aware that in most cases, homeschooled children have no issues with socialization and are capable of getting along with other kids and adults.

Mine is the exception. One of the things that Daniel’s preschool did was mainstream him during recess and field trips so that he was able to spend time with neurologically typical kids. The point of this is to show him how to behave in certain situations, to help develop play skills, etc. We could have probably done preschool with him at home except that I really wanted him to have this opportunity. Thankfully, there was a preschool only about a block away that had the exact program we needed and he thrived there.

Living with my in-laws this summer (and dealing with the incompetence that is Special Education in the Claremont Unified School District) showed me that there is a big reason why I do this. When Daniel is around other kids, he behaves better, focuses better, and is starting to take social cues from them. If he were around other kids in places other than at school, we might be able to consider homeschooling. However, my normal for church is this post by Kathleen and the churches Jon has pastored lately do not have any kids that are Daniel’s age. (We haven’t been in a parish with really any kids period since 2010.) As much as I *love* getting the stink eye from people (/sarcasm), it gets really embarrassing to be asked by people why I’m not making my kid try to behave while he is spending storytime at the library running around trying to open/close doors because that’s his autistic stimming behavior of choice. (Well, it’s that as well as opening/slamming drawers and flipping light switches.). It’s also incredibly mentally tiring to still be in “parenting a toddler” mode when your kid is five and to constantly be trying to figure out how to reach your child who is largely locked up in their own head because they can’t talk. (Autistic kids tend to deal with apraxia of speech and Daniel is no exception.) Without being in school, he is around his incredibly introverted and quiet mother (me), his dad, my father-in-law who has cancer, and my mother-in-law who is trying to take care of my father-in-law. We’re not exactly the best people to teach him how to be a 5 year old.

Additionally, Jon/Daniel/me are in transition mode at the moment and school is pretty much the one stable thing right now. Autistic kids tend to do the best with a very set schedule and the easiest thing to do right now is to give him that in the form of a school day. It also gives me a chance to try for some freelance work to help with finances and I tend to be a much more mentally healthy person when I can contribute to the family financially. (OK… getting out of the house by myself also helps.)

I’m not trying to justify my decision to myself or others in the least — it’s one of those nights where my brain won’t shut up so I’m up blogging to get it to calm itself.

The Simple Woman’s Daybook: August 17, 2014

Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY August 17, 2014

Outside my window… sunny and incredibly hot. It was 93F earlier and that’s warmer than I like.

I am thinking… about the messes that I have to sort out tomorrow. There’s the SSI mess, the car insurance mess, and the mess with Daniel’s transportation. I am so NOT happy about this.

I am thankful… that we went to the teacher meet n’ greet on Friday at Daniel’s elementary school — we found out that none of his paperwork had been processed yet so I had to go back over with my BINDER OF FUN and give them copies of Daniel’s IEP, his immunization record, his birth certificate, the most recent school psychologist report, and copies of the most recent evaluations for PT and OT. We also got to meet Daniel’s teacher who was a bit shocked that she now had one more kid in the class. Apparently, her class roster has been shifting around quite a bit and Daniel’s placement in her class on Monday hadn’t reached her yet.

In the kitchen… I had to put the Skittles up high because Daniel was trying to climb on the counter to get them.

I am wearing… charcoal-colored “Strike Out Cancer” shirt from 108 Stitches and khaki shorts.

I am praying for… guidance, the ability to forgive someone, for Daniel’s first day of school, and a few special intentions.

I am going… out to dinner with Jon for his birthday tomorrow.

I am wondering… who put me on the Rick Perry for Governor mailing list. I got an email from Ted Cruz today asking me to stand up with Rick Perry. I traced it and apparently, my email address was put on a Romney for President list without my permission. I was tempted to email them back and tell them that I’d rather chew ground glass than support Rick Perry but that would be wrong. #bluestateproblems

I am reading… Motif for Murder by Laura Childs. My mother-in-law also lent me Designated Daughters, the latest Margaret Maron book, this weekend and I couldn’t put it down.

I am hoping… to get some freelance work once Daniel goes back to school.

I am looking forward to… my dentist appointment on Thursday so that maybe we can get to the source of my jaw pain.

I am hearing… Daniel talking to himself and looking through books.

Around the house… robots vacuuming and cleaning floors.

From the learning rooms… working on writing letters and numbers.

A favorite quote for today… “I have learned now that while those who speak about one’s miseries usually hurt, those who keep silence hurt more.” — C.S. Lewis

One of my favorite things… ice chips.

A few plans for the rest of the week: taking Daniel to school in the mornings until transportation for the district is worked out, probably dinner with Jon tomorrow night, dentist appointment on Thursday, and whatever else life throws my direction.

A peek into my day… Here’s my “What I Wore on Sunday” picture.

Me pondering the grandfather clock.

Shirt: Old Navy
Skirt: Kohl’s
Shoes (not pictured): Naturalizer

Then there’s the cute little boy who will be starting kindergarten tomorrow…

Mommy loves Daniel.  Daniel loves Mommy.

What I Wore on Sunday

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7 Quick Takes: Literary Cats, Daniel’s School Sitch, and A Quote About Depression

7 Quick Takes

— 1 —

Brett. Brett’s family is facing court in the next few days to adopt him. Prayers would be appreciated.

— 2 —

Explaining suicide and depression. I blogged about my depression on Wednesday and I finally found the quote I was searching for:

— 3 —

Dormition of Mary. Today is the Dormition of Mary in the Orthodox Church(or Assumption if you’re Catholic) and one of my friends posted a link about how Protestants need to embrace Mary. I thought it was pretty interesting so I’m linking it up here.

— 4 —

Daniel’s school sitch. While I was in San Jose this weekend, the cogs were moving as far as getting things worked out for Daniel schoolwise. On Monday morning, I was on a walk with Mom and Daniel when I looked down at my phone and saw that I had 5 missed calls. One of them was my mother-in-law so I called to ask if she knew anything about it. She did — the person who was responsible for getting all of this worked out had called her and told her that Daniel was back in the school district next door to us and they had a placement at a school in San Dimas. I made the call to this person and found out what had been happening. Apparently, they try to keep the ASD (autism spectrum disorder) classrooms capped at 10 kids and they had an opening in this one. They’ll also be transporting Daniel to school and back which means he gets to ride a school bus and we’re not going to have to fight traffic.

His IEP was Wednesday and while the special ed person for our home district was there and screwing up Daniel’s information, the other people were sharp and on the ball with everything which makes me feel much better about all that has to happen.

Serious prayers answered here!

— 5 —

Baseball take. The Giants are now 5.5 games behind the Dodgers. *grumps* At least the Cardinals (my other boys) are only 2.0 games back from Milwaukee (the leaders in their division).

— 6 —

Cute kid story. My mother-in-law has family pictures on various bookshelves and surfaces which fascinate Daniel. Recently, she put the palm-jousting pictures down on a shelf where Daniel can see and reach them. He goes over to them and starts talking to them and when we’re gone, he goes over and says “Dada Mama?”. She’ll explain that we’re in the car and will be back soon. I saw him talking to the pictures yesterday and it was just about the cutest thing ever.

Recently, he has been taking the family pictures of us (the ones with him in them) off of the mantle so we put them down on a table at his level and he’ll take them and look at them.

— 7 —

Harry Potter/cat fun. My mother-in-law and I were talking about school stuff and she made a comment about “if an owl flew through that window and said something about school”.

My reply: “An owl delivering information about school would be a totally normal and rational thing.”

She looked at Edda, my black cat who she has renamed “Bellatrix”, and said, “But an owl is not going to fly through that window. And if one does, LEAVE IT ALONE! DO NOT MESS WITH IT!” Edda looked at her as if to say, “I am a literary cat and I know better than to eat any owls that come delivering messages.”

Yeah… I married into the right family, Lutheran clergy Mudblood that I am.

For more Quick Takes, visit Jen at ConversionDiary.Com.

Having No Joy and No Hope

Someone in one of my Facebook groups linked the Matt Walsh post on Robin Williams. (I am refusing to link it here because I don’t want to have any hand in generating hits for someone whose ideas I find so utterly off-base. If you want to read it, Google it.) In essence, Walsh argues that depression is spiritual, Williams made the choice to die, and that we can choose to look for hope and joy in our lives or we can wallow in depression.

Yeah… NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Someone who says all of that crap obviously has never been so depressed that they cannot physically pull themselves out from under the covers or so depressed that they just cannot eat. Someone who says that suicide is a choice and they make the choice to straddle their family with grief has never been in so much physical, emotional, and mental pain that it’s like being trapped in a burning building and your choices are to either be burned to death or to fling yourself out the window. (Someone posted a quote about this on Facebook and unfortunately I can’t find it.) Here’s the quote:

“The so-called ‘psychotically depressed’ person who tries to kill herself doesn’t do so out of quote ‘hopelessness’ or any abstract conviction that life’s assets and debits do not square. And surely not because death seems suddenly appealing. The person in whom its invisible agony reaches a certain unendurable level will kill herself the same way a trapped person will eventually jump from the window of a burning high-rise. Make no mistake about people who leap from burning windows. Their terror of falling from a great height is still just as great as it would be for you or me standing speculatively at the same window just checking out the view; i.e. the fear of falling remains a constant. The variable here is the other terror, the fire’s flames: when the flames get close enough, falling to death becomes the slightly less terrible of two terrors. It’s not desiring the fall; it’s terror of the flames. And yet nobody down on the sidewalk, looking up and yelling ‘Don’t!’ and ‘Hang on!’, can understand the jump. Not really. You’d have to have personally been trapped and felt flames to really understand a terror way beyond falling.” – David Foster Wallace

Why do I say this? I’VE BEEN THERE.

The reason I’m sitting here typing this and not dead 19 years ago is that something intervened 19 years ago in a way that can only be considered the hand of God. The night I planned to end my life, someone was praying for me and God heard those prayers. I can’t really put into words what happened (nor do I want to try because I’m keeping this purposely vague for my family’s sake) but that was the night I gave my life to Christ. Somehow, I survived the rest of that school year and the rest of high school though I came out of it with pretty significant PTSD.

In college, I suffered with depression so intense that it was all I could do to get out of bed some days. I lost a great deal of weight from not eating and there were days when I couldn’t stop crying. Again, God intervened through some of my non-Christian friends who carried me to the health center, sat with me while I cried to the doctor about what I was feeling, and escorted me to my psychiatrist appointments. A few of them also explained to me that if I didn’t start eating a certain amount at each meal, they were going to carry me to one of their apartments, tie me to a chair, and feed me Cheerios and soy milk from a mixing bowl the size of my head. The college group leaders at my church saw what was going on and one of them made me an appointment with the therapist who ran the shepherding ministry. I saw Donna (the therapist) for two years and was on medication that whole time. I was surrounded with enough people who were keeping tabs on me that I was able to graduate a year early despite everything that had happened.

In my current life, I’ve been on meds for 10 years — since Jon’s first parish and while I don’t have many days when I’m too depressed to get out of bed, those days still happen. I’m thankfully functional because I had a physician’s assistant in Minnesota who was committed to finding a medication and dose that worked for me and I’ve built myself a network of people online who *do* check in on me in some way/shape/form and who are not afraid to email me and make sure everything is OK. It’s how I survived everything surrounding Daniel’s birth (the number of people watching me for signs of post-partum depression was pretty massive) and how I’ve survived everything since. This also isn’t a one way situation — I watch *THEM* for signs of these things because I know what I’m looking for.

One thing that Walsh does say and then backs away from is that when you’re in depression that severe, you cannot feel joy — it was honestly (in my case) like someone had put noise cancelling headphones on my heart. You might have some good things in your life but you cannot register any of the joy from them. I seriously have wanted to throttle people who tell me that my depression would go away if I looked at all the good things in my life — don’t they think I’ve tried that?!?!?!?!? Ditto with the people who claim that my depression is spiritual and it would go away if I prayed hard enough. Again… I was praying pretty darn hard and that specific cup was not removed from me. Instead, the way I approached my spiritual life changed.

I remember sitting outside the Cowell Coffee Shop with my friend Jeremy and the phrase “my grace is sufficient for you” came into my head. We grabbed our Bibles (which we had in our bags like good Intervarsity students) and found the source: 2 Corinthians 12:9. The verse reads:

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” I will all the more gladly boast of my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

I’m not saying that this verse cured me of my depression or made every bad thing go away but it did give me a new way to approach mine that worked and that helped me to know that God was with me in the midst of everything I was fighting instead of watching on the sidelines. God became someone to kvetch to instead of this faceless deity who existed on some other plane and maneuvered us around like chess pieces.

Getting back to Robin Williams, I don’t know what his “network” looked like or whether he was on medication or really anything other than he died of asphyxiation and he left a grieving family and fans all over the world who are stunned. I know that he had substance abuse problems which is actually not surprising — many people self-medicate with alcohol and/or drugs just to make the pain stop. I’ve also seen people who are SHOCKED that he killed himself because “he was such a funny guy”. This might be a newsflash to some people but a lot of people who are humorous and funny in that fashion are doing it to hide some pretty horrific pain on the inside. It wouldn’t be a huge surprise to me if he couldn’t the joy he was giving people or even any hope that things would get better.

Do I wish he had acted differently? Yes. I can’t imagine the pain of his wife or kids. Do I think he made a choice and said “Screw my loved ones — they’re going to be sad but I don’t care”? No. I think he honestly couldn’t see a way out and we need to respect this. I’m not God so I can’t tell you his eternal placement but I believe in a God who is abundantly merciful so I’m confident that wherever Robin is, his pain is over.

The Simple Woman’s Daybook: August 13, 2014

Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY August 13, 2014

Outside my window… warm. The city is repaving streets so there are asphalt trucks and workers out.

I am thinking… about Daniel’s IEP this afternoon. His school situation got fixed kind of amazingly on Monday and I’m dealing with someone in another school district who is actually treating me (and Daniel) like a person and not like a problem they’d like to make disappear.

I am thankful… for the weekend with my parents and for drama-free drives up and back by myself with Daniel.

In the kitchen… Jon is making himself lunch. I had elevenses so I’m not thinking about food-type stuff for a few hours yet.

I am wearing… charcoal shirt and tan khaki capri cargo pants.

I am praying for… some special intentions, discernment about our next step in ministry, and that this afternoon’s IEP goes well.

I am going… hopefully nowhere tomorrow.

I am reading… A New Kind of Christian by Brian McLaren. While I was up in San Jose, I also read a couple murder mysteries: Cutwork by Monica Ferris (meh) and Death by Design, a three-pack of murder mysteries by Laura Childs which was good enough that I just requested the other books in the series from the library.

I am hoping… Daniel takes a long nap so I can get some writing done.

I am looking forward to… going to an ordination on Saturday.

I am hearing the ticking of the various clocks in the living room.

Around the house… quiet as people take naps or read or do whatever.

From the learning rooms… the usual: letters, numbers, writing, days of the week, months of the year, etc. School starts next week for Daniel and I’ll be happy to be done “homeschooling” so I can start focusing on freelance work again to pay the bills.

A favorite quote for today… “If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.” — C.S. Lewis

I post this one every couple months but it’s one that resonates well with me.

One of my favorite things… a quiet house.

A few plans for the rest of the week: IEP today, some business calls tomorrow, open house at Daniel’s school on Friday morning, possible date night on Friday night, and heading to an ordination on Saturday.

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