27 February 2009

Mommy trauma

As most of you know you, I homeschool my son. We just started last fall in Kindergarten, but so far it's going well and I like it. Think he's learning almost as much as I am.

But, on Monday my little three-year old daughter will be put on a bus and sent to school. Not your standard pre-school, but a special school offered by the district for kids with speech and language delays.

Hard decision. Both my son and daughter are in private speech therapy, but there's only so much insurance money to cover the $120 per half hour, per kid, each week. So, the private speech therapist suggested I contact the school district to get the kids tested and find out if they qualify for (free) services with the district.

If things weren't already challenging enough trying to help my kids get up to speed with their speech and language, now I have to deal with the dreaded school district. I have to tell them I'm a homeschooler, which comes across as an unspoken criticism of public schools and teachers. Then I have to jump through all of their hoops, which includes filling out a conscientious objector form because I don't immunize my kids.

Before any teacher or specialist has even seen my kids, I'm already labelled a right-wing nut.

But, wait, there's more. There are several forms that ask about my daughter's outside involvement, I guess it's looking to see how much "socialization" she gets. The form is too black-and-white for me. If my daughter is in another pre-school program, a box gets checked for that. If she's in day-care, check the next box. If she's involved in any other district run educational programs, check that box. I protest that she's involved in a children's bible study program every Thursday and numerous homeschool activities like going to the Nature Center, MN Orchestra, Children's' Theatre, etc., etc. I believe she participates in more activities than many children in her age group.

The box that gets checked on my daughter's form is: No outside involvement.

What? No outside involvement?? Is she locked in a dank closet somewhere?

Of course, things are going down hill because I already came across as a right-wing nut in my choice to homeschool, but now that I mention that the "only" outside school setting my daughter participates in happens to be, egad!, bible study, then the rubber stamp gets pulled out of the bottom drawer and I get "religious wing nut" invisibly, but indelibly, stamped on my forehead.

Actually, her teacher seemed very nice and didn't blink or roll her eyes when I mentioned homeschooling, it was just all the people I talked to before getting to this point that treated me "special." Part of the reason we didn't pursue services for my son, is that since he's already in school, homeschool, there were so many "if not, then" turns in their procedures that nobody seemed to know who we, as homeschoolers, were supposed to talk to. Appointments were arranged for testing only to have them call and cancel because my son was already of school age. There's a different process for him, you need to call another lady. Of course, that lady had no idea what I was talking about or who to forward me to.

But, Monday morning at 7:48, the bus will pull up in front of our house and gather my daughter for her first day. I've prepared her as best I can and she seems thrilled to be going. It's my husband and I that are concerned about bussing a three year-old. One of the three teachers rides on the bus and picks her up, straps her in her special seat, and then they take her to the school's front door. Upon arrival, the primary teacher meets the bus and brings the kids into the building and into the class room. NOT an easy concept to get used to, especially when my daughter is not able to tell anyone who she is, where she lives, or even if she needs to go potty.

She will attend school MWF from 8-10:30am. That's a huge amount.

Hubby is taking the morning off to see his little one safely on the bus. The rest of the family plans to hop in the car and follow the bus to school, just to ease our minds. I hope it does. Hubby is getting a chance to see the school and meet the teachers today, so hope that helps too.

Am sure my daughter will have a great time and she really needs the therapy. To my daughter, it is just another great adventure and a class with kids to play with just like in bible study. For the rest of us, it's been a long and difficult process and she hasn't even stepped on the bus yet.

25 February 2009

Sage mentor

Vincenzo sent me a Dogbert cartoon earlier and it reminded me of the sage wisdom of Dilbert, who happens to be a hero of mine. When I worked closely with the sales force in my last job, I had this posted outside my cube.

Dilbert's "Salary Theorem" states:
Scientists and Engineers can never earn as much as administrators and sales people.

This theorem can now be proved mathematically:
Given: Power = Work / Time
and, Knowledge is Power

Substituting knowledge for power, we obtain: Knowledge = Work/ Time

If Time = Money, then: Knowledge = Work/ Money

Solving this equation for money, we obtain:

Money = Work/ Knowledge

Therefore, as knowledge approaches zero, money approaches infinity, regardless of the amount of work done.

Conclusion: the less you know, the more you make.

23 February 2009

Hands of a priest

Just sharing some thoughts that have been on my mind for the last few weeks.

As I mentioned in prior posts, I received the Anointing of the Sick a few weeks ago, what used to be commonly called Last Rites or Extreme Unction. Of course, I was hoping to receive a complete and immediate cure for my tinnitus, but am grateful that the sacrament is also to give me the grace necessary to endure.

I never envisioned receiving this sacrament at this point of my life. I always saw myself as old and infirm, the priest visiting and anointing me in preparation for death.

In 10th grade I was anointed when I was confirmed. I had no appreciation for my Faith. I didn't even know what the Immaculate Conception was back then. I don't even remember if I was in a state of grace when the archbishop confirmed me.

The profound thing that sticks with me from this experience of receiving the Anointing of the Sick is the power of a priest, the power in his hands. It was amazing and very humbling to have the priest, the same priest who anointed my father years ago, and my mother many years before that, anoint me. Lay his hands on my head, anoint my palms and forehead. Anoint and bless my ears. Hear him saying prayers over me.

It was very humbling. I was very grateful. I don't think I will ever see Father John the same way again. I don't think I will ever see any priest the same way.

"In persona Christi" certainly means the priest is more than a place holder.

"Priests who dwell upon earth and make their abode therein have been commissioned nonetheless to dispense things which are in heaven, and have received an authority such as God has not given either to angels or archangels. For it has not been said to them: All that you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven (Matthew 18:18). Those who rule upon earth, indeed, have authority to bind, but bodies only, whereas the binding done by priests takes hold of the soul itself and reaches to heaven. What priests execute below, God ratifies above, and the Master confirms the judgment of His servants."
~ St. John Chrysostom

22 February 2009

Sweet Little Jesus

I stopped by to visit the Carmelite Hermits today to give them an update on my condition since I received the Anointing of the Sick two weekends ago. It was a much nicer visit from my point of view since I was feeling better.

Two weekends ago, just as Father finished anointing me, my son said, "That was a stupid prayer." *Cringe* I don't think my son liked to see that his mom was sick and people were praying...this was his response to the situation.

Today, however, he redeemed himself. He's quite the little singer, making up lullabies for his sister each day at nap time and also singing her a lullaby before bed. While my husband and I were trying to talk to Brother Joseph, my son was sitting next to Brother and started singing. We couldn't really understand what he was singing since it was an original score, so Brother asked him. "The Glory of God," replied my son.

Ah, bonus points for that! I thought it was going to be a song about how Megatron and the Autobots were killing each other.

Brother Joseph is quite a singer himself, teaching chant to various Carmelite orders and offered to sing us a song he had written himself. It was very sweet and tender and really provides a peak at Brother's interior life. Here are the lyrics...Brother provided me the original copy of the music he wrote for it too, but will have to scan that later. It's really a Christmastime song, so you have time to learn it before December rolls around again.

1. Sweet Little Jesus
When Mary gave You birth,
Heavenly Angels
Sang us "Peace on Earth."

2. Sweet Little Jesus
Held gently on the breast
Of Your sweet Mother,
Mary, Virgin Blest.

3. Sweet Little Jesus
St. Joseph held You too,
Always adoring,
Wholly loving You.

4. Sweet Little Jesus
Poor Shepherds came to You,
Hearts full of wonder,
At their Shepherd True.

5. Sweet Little Jesus
Given Your Holy Name,
And all who love it,
Feel a Living Flame.

6. Sweet Little Jesus
Presented to the Lord;
Raised up by Simeon,
Anna, too, adored.

7. Sweet Little Jesus,
Three Wise Men from afar
Find You, True Wisdom,
Guided by Your Star.

8. Sweet Little Jesus
Rescued from Herod's harm;
Fleeing to Egypt,
Safe in St. Joseph's arm.

9. Sweet Little Jesus
Returned to Palestine;
Living most hidden,
For You our hearts pine.

10. Sweet Little Jesus
Still with us even now;
Hid in the Euch'rist
Though we know not how.

11. Sweet Little Jesus
Coming in us to dwell;
Sweetest Communion:
Our Emmanuel!

12. Sweet Little Jesus
Our hearts we give to You;
Take them and keep them
Faithful unto You.
Copyright, Carmelite Hermitage of the Blessed Virgin Mary

He also wrote the following, which I told him proved he's not a Franciscan.

Listen companion,
You know as well as I,
That we are both doomed
Not again to fly!

That's right, you know, then
What shall become of us;
Well, let us go, then,
Joyful, without fuss!

These two that take us,
With their Sweet Little Boy,
Will so employ us,
That the world find joy.

Look her comes Simeon,
Hear what he says to them;
This Babe we'll die for
Is a special Gem!

Ah, yes I see now,
She is so beautiful,
Yet She must suffer,
That that joy be full.

What does it matter,
Broke' neck or holocaust,
Shed blood or burnt up,
Let's not count the cost!

Come, then, together,
For them we both shall die
Then for all Ages
We shall truly fly!
Copyright, Carmelite Hermitage of the Blessed Virgin Mary

21 February 2009

On my feet

After being scolded by a few people, here's an update.

I'm much better than I had been. The horrible ringing has toned way down, thanks to the help of a chiropractor. Although I had used alternative medicine before, I had never been to a chiropractor. My ears went from raging to annoying ringing. It is still hard to deal with the persistent ringing each day and am typically mentally and physically exhausted around dinner time, but they are getting slightly better all the time.

Thank you all for your prayers. I really appreciate them and hope you continue to pray for my complete healing.

I was even well enough to go on with my previously planned Usborne book show last Thursday night. Someone came late, walked in the door and managed to win the door prize before she had even sat down. Wish I had luck and panache like that :)

I am hoping to post something other than medical updates soon! Now that my head can hold a complete thought instead of just hearing ringing!! I'm still seeing the chiro several times a week (and will be going in to see a doc about a white noise device to help my brain learn to not hear the noise, not a cure, just a way to cope) and have a few other developments going on around here (nothing bad) that are needing attention, not to mention that I think I was a homeschooler...oh, yeah school. Still fitting that in in between appointments.

I think my angel gave me the foresight to plan a week off of school next week since I will need it to catch up from the week I was in bed. Surprisingly, I'm pretty much on track!

Thank God for getting me to this point...now if He would just completely stop the noise...

Again, thank you all so much for your prayers and concern!

10 February 2009

Holding pattern

As Cathy mentioned in a comment on my prior post, I am quite sick. Have been pretty much confined to bed since last Thursday night with this tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and also think I got a stomach bug that still persists, along with a nasty sinus infection.

Received the Anointing of the sick on Sunday. Please pray that God's mercy rests on my ears as the tinnitus is debilitating.

01 February 2009

The circus was in town

I'm a cradle Catholic. I like to say my family, in a large part, has been Catholic since St. Patrick converted Ireland. But, for a time I was a CINO Catholic.

No, not that I disagreed with the teachings of the Church. Even considering how poorly catechized I was, I never doubted the Church. I was a CINO because I didn't attend Mass for several years when I lived in Seattle. Still considering myself Catholic, but not keeping the basic and most critical commandments. I was Catholic enough to know the grave state of my soul, but ignorant enough to figure God wouldn't "call me home" while I was separated from the Church in this way.

I didn't see that I was exercising my own free will and would be held accountable for it. God's plan for my life would go on as planned, it was my choice to be in a state of grace, or not, when "my time came." A very risky and fool-hardy game to play given I'm not a gambler.

On one occasion when my father was visiting, he asked me, being the good dad he was, when was the last time I had been to confession. I told him it had been awhile. It had been years.

Guilt can work wonders and my dad had unintentionally pricked my conscience enough that I was ashamed at how far I had drifted, how long I had been away from the Church. Undoubtedly, it was the prayers of my father and many others that had kept me on the straight and narrow during the time I was "outside" or "separated" from the Church and no longer in the state of grace. Now that I keep myself in the state of grace through frequent reception of communion and confession, I see how utterly important and essential that grace is, and am humbled in the realization that someone, many someones, must've been praying for me to have kept me from falling into any of the many pitfalls that are out in the world.

After I went to confession with a priest who was very liberal (it was hard to find one that wasn't liberal in WA at this time), the repulsion I had at my sins and not wanting to have to go through the emotional ringer of purging everything and coming back to the Church again, I resolved I would get my back side back to Mass every weekend.

The abuses were the primary reasons I drifted away from the Church. My husband and I couldn't find a parish we could half-way agree with. It was irritating. It was frustrating. Eventually, I figured that if I was just going to be angered and upset each time I went to Mass, then I might as well not go. This wasn't a sudden decision, it happened gradually as I became more and more angry at the abuses going on, even in the "conservative" parishes.

I did struggle a great deal after I came back into the Church to find a parish I could deal with. We spent a lot of time parish hopping, hoping that each weekend we would find a "home." Parish after parish, abuse after abuse. It was bad, it was almost disheartening.

However, I did come to realize that I was there to see Jesus and the early Christians gave their lives for this privilege. Despite the abuses and the upset I felt, I realized there was some pride on my part underlying all this contentiousness and finally saw I was there for Jesus and could put up with an hour of irritation and sometimes a circus atmosphere to be with Jesus and to receive Him in the Eucharist. Pride finally aside, I saw that I was the one hurting my relationship with Him by dictating the terms and only wanting to attend Mass if the conditions were perfect and to my satisfaction.

And Catholics around the world were grateful to even be able to attend Mass. Some were risking their lives to practice their Faith and here I was wanting things my way.

Attending Mass then became as it should: a privilege and honor to be with God. I was able to tune out so much of the rest of the bunk around me, offer up whatever distracted or angered me, and just concentrate on the reason I was there.

NOTE: Thank you Chris for bring a hugely awful typo to my attention! You are a saint. For the rest of you that read this and didn't say anything, if God doesn't get you, I will :) Hope you all had a good laugh...such an apropos error. I didn't hardly sleep last night and I wrote the post every early so that's my excuse!