I predicted that August would be filled with activities right up until school starts, didn't I? And I was RIGHT! :-) That happens on rare occasions! Today is the last day of Vacation Bible School.......which also means today is the last day Ashley gets to go to VBS as a kid. Next year she will be entering the seventh grade, so she'll be working in VBS instead of attending. This, naturally, is adding a note of sadness to an otherwise fun time for her. This year's VBS format is somewhat different from previous years; at first, Ashley wasn't sure she liked it. You know how it is: you expect one thing, and, when presented with something different, you have a hard time letting go of your expectations and enjoying this new thing. But, after letting her talk out her disappointments (and frustration at some of the other kids who wouldn't be quiet and thus were ruining VBS for those around them who couldn't hear properly!), she was ready for the next night of fun. I reminded Ashley that having fun is up to her; it's all in the attitude. She came home the next night all happy and looking forward to tonight's carnival, the final blow-out excitement of this year's VBS. I hope she has a great time on her final night of VBS.
Amanda and Katie are both working in VBS, Amanda as a bus worker/class helper and Katie as a nursery worker, watching the children of the VBS workers. Monday night, there were only two of them in the nursery with several children, a few of whom cried continually. Talk about a night to remember! Katie climbed in the van that night absolutely exhausted and so glad none of those nursery kids were coming home with her. Last night was better---they had an extra worker who offered not only another pair of hands but experienced ones at that. So she came home still tired but not ready to fall over. Maybe Dale will be able to help in next year's VBS. Wouldn't that be great?
Our church chose to cancel last year's VBS because of Dale's accident. He drowned on Friday, August 5; VBS was due to start on Monday, August 8. Preacher announced the decision Sunday night during the service, stating, "No one really feels like conducting VBS right now." Think about what was going on: their hearts just weren't in it. Of course, this was before Dale woke up and began to show God's wonderful miracle. Still, it was such a blessing to have church family there nearly 24/7 that first weekend and throughout the next week as well. God knew what we needed, but He was also very aware of what our church needed, too. His miracle in Dale was not just for our benefit but for our teens and church family........and the whole world, it seems! Praise the Lord!!!
Dale and I are wrapping up his summer schooling. He will take his last spelling/vocabulary quiz on Thursday, so that will be one less subject to deal with. We are in the adverb section of his grammar book with only one more vital section left---prepositions/conjunctions/interjections. I'm deliberately ignoring a couple of sections (keys to a better writing style, book reports, etc.) as less necessary to his seventh grade education.......especially as he will be continuing the same line of thought in eighth grade in just three weeks. In math, we have finally begun actual algebra; Dale is struggling a bit with this, forgetting that "what you do to one side you must do to the other." Once he gets the basics down, I think he'll do better. Science is moving along.......slowly, but still moving. At least, due to our hard work, Dale is more ready for eighth grade now than he was at the beginning of the summer. I'm half excited and half scared to see how he'll do in school this year. I don't want the teachers to make any concessions for him, yet I know that they will have to to a certain extent. Some adjustments will be necessary to allow Dale to reenter the classroom successfully, but I believe (and hope) that, as the days and weeks continue, Dale will realize he has to step up and perform according to those teachers' expectations and not fall back on any excuses such as he uses with me---a lot. We still have to work out the logistics of getting him from classroom to classroom, his carrying his books, etc. Since we are not at present attending any therapy, there should be no need for him to miss any classes except for general illness. That should help him as well, the continuity and "regularness" of school. We'll see!
Each big step we take with Dale is a SCARY one. Moving him from the PICU to a pediatric ward was scary; what if he got worse? And he did, and it was dealt with. Transferring him from Doernbecher to Good Sam was scary; was he really ready for this next step? He was; all the doctors were right, and Dale did very well. Helping him transition from no liquids to thin liquids to thick liquids to regular food was scary; what if he swallowed something wrong and choked or got an infection? He did swallow wrong, though no infection set in, and he relearned how to avoid having anything go down his air pipe. (I never thought I'd be so glad to hear someone coughing after swallowing! When Dale finally remembered how to cough to clear his airways, the doctors knew he was ready to go back to solid foods.) Bringing him home from the hospital was very scary; what if he relapsed? He did some, and then we were able to start therapy with Rehab Without Walls and then Group Health, and Dale improved. Letting him take steps on his own was scary; what if he fell? He has, dozens of times, and we've learned how to avoid some falls and how to recover from others. Here we are: putting him in eighth grade classes is scary; what if he fails? He might........but he might not! Dale may surprise us all by adjusting just fine, becoming more "normal" because of hanging around his friends more, feeling like a "normal" teenager. Courage is not the absence of fear; courage is going forward in spite of that fear. "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." God doesn't expect us to be without fear; He wants us to trust Him in spite of our fear. (There's that whole trust thing again!) Each day I tell God---and myself!---that I trust Him no matter what and that I specifically trust Him to do what's best in Dale's life and body. If being shaky and needing assistance walking and falling frequently is what He has in store for the rest of Dale's life, then I thank Him for what He's given us back and go from there. If He has more in store for Dale and is just waiting for His perfect time to show us, then I thank Him and go from there. Now, I tell God this several times a day, sometimes non-stop dawn to dusk. My fears get the better of me sometimes, and I get frustrated and discouraged. That's when I begin to take out my emotions on those around me, yelling, crying, chivvying Dale to try to do better. Eventually I calm down again, pray for forgiveness, and make peace with my family, reminding them that God is control even when I'm not. I have a loving God Who, I'm sure, covers His ears sometimes at my whining. But I know He loves me just as I am, temper tantrums, failings, and all. (He doesn't have a choice---He is love! Read I John.) God loves us all even with our fears and failings, and He is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think. Sometimes He doesn't even wait for us to ask for His help; He just helps. Those are the times I thank Him for the most, relieved to find He always knows what I need and is willing to give aid even when I'm too stubborn to admit I need anything or too fearful to face the future. I love Him so much.
Thank You, Lord, for everything You are and everything You do. You are wonderful, mighty, loving, just, true, and always faithful. I love You, Lord.
Philippians 4:19 "But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus."