Saturday, April 28, 2012

Update Saturday afternoon 4/28

Praise be to God!  Dale has reached a new milestone.......four full weeks without a seizure!  Isn't that wonderful?  His previous record had been three weeks and six days (one day shy of four weeks).  I was on the phone with my mom this morning and was telling her just how long it has been since Dale's last seizure; since I wasn't exactly sure of the time frame, I checked my daily planner, and, sure enough, it has been four weeks.  Wow.  Who'd have thunk it?!  We believe the medication Dale takes has helped his brain fight off the seizure reflex, but we give our amazing God the credit for continuing to heal Dale's brain.  If Dale should have another seizure, so be it; we will still celebrate this wondrous event.  If God wills that Dale never suffer another seizure in his life, we will thank Him and praise Him as always.  Our God knows what is best.  I'm just thankful we have this particular reason to be glad!

I mentioned I was on the phone with my mother this morning.  She was asked to write an article for a Christian ladies' magazine, Christian Womanhood, about Dale's drowning, rescue, and recovery.  (This magazine is an excellent resource that helps Christian teens and ladies grow as godly women.  I don't believe you can view their articles online, but you can order just a single subscription if you desire.  Their web address is  Her article was included in the May (Mothers' Day) edition of the magazine, and we just received it in the mail today.  When I read what she had written, I cried.  I hadn't visited those particular memories in a few months, and her account of those first few weeks brought back vividly just how dark those first days seemed and just how far God has brought Dale---and us.  She even brought out a few details about Dale's miraculous fight for life that showed just much prayer was being offered for our son and just how big our God showed Himself to be.  I know this magazine is read by hundreds of Christian ladies all over the U.S. and around the world, and I'm glad Dale's God's story will be used to show how strong His mighty hand of healing truly is.

My second youngest daughter, Ashley, and I were talking this afternoon in the car when she said, "You know, Mom, God has really blessed us a lot.  I mean, He has done so much for us."  I readily agreed with her, knowing our Father has, indeed, showered us with blessings.  We were listening to a CD by a group of sisters who have seen their own share of heartaches, faith testing, and God's grace.  One of the songs was about having faith no bigger than a mustard seed.  Ashley asked, "Is a mustard seed big?"  I replied, "No, a mustard seed is small---about the size of a sesame seed on a hamburger bun."  (If my analogy is a bit off, please forgive me!)  I reminded Ashley that Jesus had said that, if we have faith as big as a mustard seed, we could move mountains.  I continued, "We might not need a mountain moved, but, if that is what we could do with a little faith, imagine what God can do if we have a lot of faith!"  Her eyes got wide as she digested this information.  And it's true.......God is only limited by our faith in Him.  We look at a blind man and think, "He'll be like that forever."  Jesus says, "A little mud will take care of that."  We look at a dead person (Dale) and think, "What a tragedy."  God says, "Wait and see what I can do!!!"  We have a big God----as the song says, "Bigger than all our problems, bigger than all our fears, God is bigger than any mountains that we can or cannot see."  He is, after all, omnipotent which means "all powerful."  He is just waiting to help us with our needs, big or small, if we will but ask.

Dale sees the neurologist on Wednesday for a check-up.  I'm assuming the doctor just wants to see how Dale's doing, if he needs his meds adjusted, and if there are any new complications or issues.  Poor Dale.  He has this neuro appointment at 8:00 a.m., then SP at 11:00, followed by PT at 12:30 p.m.  By the time he's done, he'll probably be ready for a long nap!  (I know I will!)  He has PT on Monday morning as well; we moved SP from Friday to Wednesday due to a scheduling conflict his SP teacher has on Friday.  And then there's school as usual to deal with, so we will undoubtedly be quite busy.

To demonstrate Dale's goofy sense of humor:  Just now in the tub, Dale asked for help with the shampoo.  It's getting to the bottom of the bottle, so it's difficult to squeeze the shampoo out.  I helped, squirting the shampoo all over his hair and accidentally getting some down his back.  We laughed about this, and I instructed him to go ahead and rub it in.  Dale immediately reached around and began rubbing his back, saying, "I'm rubbing it in, Mom!" and we laughed again.  I'm so glad God allowed Dale to keep his funny bone; it's a heartwarming feeling that spreads all over me when I get to interact with Dale just as I used to.  Sometimes we need to slow down and repeat instructions or a punch line to Dale, as we do with other people as well; these times don't come very often and only serve to remind us how very blessed our family is to remain whole.

In His service, the Ostrander family---still seven strong!

Matthew 17: 19 - 21  "Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said,  Why could we not cast him out?  And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief:  for verily I say unto you,  If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain,  Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.  Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting."

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Update Wednesday morning 4/25

Ever feel like your whole world is going to the dogs?  That's how things have been for the last day or two for our family.  Dale woke up this morning to find himself unable to walk without jerking pretty badly.  He sat down on the stairs only once but fell getting into the van to come to school and then twice just trying to get from our van to my classroom.  His legs have steadied a bit since then, but we are still having to take things more slowly.  Katie has been sick since Sunday; it seems to be a combination of ailments, none enough to require medical attention but plenty to make her miserable (stomach, intestines, and worse!).  Emily has acquired a small lump on her foot which defies explanation.......she may very well be making more of it than is necessary, for she is definitely a drama queen, but we must all pay attention or suffer the consequences!  Chad has been feeling under the weather as well---allergies, a head cold, and just plain being tired, as one can expect when working two jobs to support a family of seven.  Dale, Amanda, and I seem to be the healthy ones for now; I'm sure we'll have our turn being ill later!  Actually, not Dale.......he rarely gets sick, not even with contagious things like chicken pox or strep throat.  He has more than made up for all his missed sick days, though, over the months since August 5th!!!  ;-)

We have no therapy today since Dale's physical therapist's son is undergoing the surgery I asked you all to pray about.  It's kind of nice having three "free" days in a row---no need to go anywhere but school and home, no watching the gas gauge needle sink toward the "E" quite so quickly.  Plus, extra almost-uninterrupted time at school gives Dale a feeling of continuity with his schoolwork that helps reinforce the lessons taught that day.  He has worked hard at English, math, science, and history since Monday, taking a couple of quizzes and gearing up for the next tests in these subjects.  It's good to see him doing so well; even though it takes Dale two or three times as long as someone else might to finish a full lesson, I know he is retaining the knowledge and will be able to remember most of it at least for the test---and for life!

We are all pretty excited about the fact that there are only five-and-a-half weeks of school left for us!!!  We usually start the last week of August and take fewer breaks during the year, so we tend to get out of school the end of May/ first week of June.  My Emily is "graduating" from K5 this year; she has gotten so big and grown-up......for the most part.  Next year will be Amanda's senior year of high school.  She's already thinking ahead to her last year in volleyball, her senior trip (which they are predicting will cost quite a bit!), college, etc.  I am nowhere near ready to lose her yet; she'll have to pry my fingers off her arm to get on the plane for college!  Ashley is moving into the sixth grade, so this will be her last year in the elementary.  Dale is headed for eighth grade; Katie is going into tenth grade.  WOW!  My kids sure grew up fast!  People always say, "Treasure each moment with your kids because they'll soon be grown," but it's easy to ignore that when they're young.  And then, as they grow, we get busy with life and forget to capture those memories.  Now, with Amanda facing adulthood, I wish I could rewind the clock a few years and relive those precious moments.  And, if I don't stop myself now, I'll wind up crying all over the keyboard and then the computer expert will have to try to dry it out and it'll wind up frying the connections and my boss will get mad because I ruined their computer and we'll be kicked out of the church and have to go live in Timbuktu...........maybe I should just stop!  :-)

Speaking of precious memories, Amanda and I made one yesterday that I'm sure she would really rather I just forget!  She had gone to an elderly lady's house to clean and had called me to pick her up when she was done.  She climbed into the car covered in dog hair---it seemed that little Angel Pie had shed all over her clothes.  I told her to wait until we got to Safeway (my husband needed coffee) before attempting to brush herself off, lest we carpet the van's floor with white doggie hair.  The instant Amanda stepped out of the van, she began trying to rid herself of the dog hair; this proved more difficult than she had imagined.  These little while hairs were stuck all over the front of her shirt and skirt, and they refused to be gently removed.  She began using more force, swiping at her clothes and picking off the hairs one by one before deciding she needed to use a more intense method of removal.  Amanda grabbed a couple of fistfuls of skirt material and began shaking her skirt violently to dislodge those stubborn hairs still attached.  Needless to say, she was not concerned about modesty at that point; her desire was to get rid of the dog hair at all costs, not even aware that her violent skirt-shaking was displaying quite a bit of leg to general view.  At this point, I realized that a man had exited the store and was approaching us.  My hope was that he would walk on by to his car.......unfortunately, his car was parked right next to ours!  He stopped and peered around the corner of his vehicle, trying to see what had captured my attention and getting somewhat of an eyeful at the same time.  I tried to discreetly get Amanda's attention.  "Mandie, MANDIE, MANDIE!!!" She was intent on her task.  Finally, I said, "Mandie, we have company!"  Her head snapped up and she dropped her skirt quick as a flash.  She tried to pass it off casually, saying, "Oh, I'm so sorry," and moved to get out of his way.  The man was a kind gentleman who simply replied, "That's all right."  We quickly walked to the store entrance---or as quickly as we could since she was mortified with embarrassment and I was convulsed with laughter!!!  She saw the funny side of it as well, which was good since I couldn't stop laughing through fully half of the store.  I'm sure her face was beet-red, but I couldn't tell because I was laughing so hard I was almost crying.  Even now, writing this, I can't help but chuckle; it was truly a funny occurrence.  I teased her afterwards, saying, "That's the last time you'll ever ignore your mother, huh?"

God is so good to us at all times.  There are days when His hand is evident and it's easy to see His goodness.  There are days when it seems like He is silent and the world around is dreary.  But, just because the weather changes or our spirits droop or circumstances pile up doesn't mean His character has changed; He is always good and will forever be.  If I can't see His face clearly today, I can trust He is still there.  If His blessings come fast and thick, I will store up my thankfulness so that I will still thank Him when His hand is seemingly removed.  We have a wonderful Heavenly Father Who delights in us.  He is, simply, good.

Proverbs 3: 5 - 6  "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths."

Monday, April 23, 2012

Update Monday afternoon 4/23

We survived the auction!  Everyone connected with our annual school auction breathed a hefty sigh of relief when we were able to turn out the lights and go home Friday night.  We got there around 3:00 p.m. and didn't leave until about 9:45 p.m.  Some folks were there longer---some even all day.  I was in the Bed Babies nursery with another worker; we only had six children to care for, most of whom were contented for the evening.  We had two newborns who were soooo sweet and cuddly and soft!  The next nursery up from us had ten children and three workers.  I think they had a couple of unhappy kids for a while until they settled down.  The K4-K5-1st Grade Room had sixteen kids in it.  The couple in charge of them did a fantastic job of keeping them occupied, fed, and uninjured!  My youngest, Emily, was in that class and seemed to have a great time.  My two middle children, Ashley and Dale, were in the 5th and 6th Grade game room.  (The husband of the couple in charge there was Dale's teacher last year, so he didn't mind Dale being in there; plus, some of Dale's classmates were in there as "helpers".)  Dale spent the night playing board games and video games and having a great time.  Ashley had fun, as well, hanging out with her friends and playing games.  My two oldest girls, Amanda and Katie, were serving the meal and waiting tables in the gym all night.  A wonderful family in our church had offered to roast a pig (in a hole in the ground, real style!) in accordance with our luau theme.  Then, not to be outdone, a local pastor and good friend of our church (some of his church members and family attend our school) said he would cook a pig in a roaster (American style); then, everyone could taste the two and vote which one was better.  Of course, our man won.........after all, he's from Bethel!  :-D  (Amanda said she thought the other pig actually tasted better but that they were both good.)  By the end of the evening, Mandie and Katie were both hot, tired, and exhausted; their feet ached, their ears were ringing (it was an auction, after all), and they wanted nothing more than to collapse!  Even the next day, their feet were sore from standing for several hours while serving.  I talked to one of the main coordinators on Saturday, and she said we brought in about what we did last year ($15,000.00).  Praise the Lord!  Our school has suffered this year from a drop in enrollment due to the economy, so these extra funds will help us greatly.

A bonus on Friday---there was no school in order to prepare and decorate for the auction.  We all got to sleep in (some of us more than others!) which meant Dale felt more rested as he began his day.  Good thing, too, as he didn't get to bed Friday night until 10:30 p.m. (blame the auction again!).  He seemed a good bit steadier Friday than he had the entire past week, so that was an extra blessing.  We went to SP in the morning where he was met with a brand-new challenge.  Last week, Lisa had played a recording where a man read a string of numbers aloud.  Dale needed to press the button in his hand whenever he heard the number "2".  His biggest problem that day was holding the button still with one hand while pressing down each time he heard the number "2" because his hands were so shaky.  This past Friday, Lisa stepped things up a couple of notches.  This time, the man announced that Dale needed to press the button each time he heard a number that was three greater than the number before.  Like "3......6"---Dale would press the button, but not "3......7"---get it?  This meant that Dale had numerous things to think about all at the same time:  he had to listen for the original number, add three, listen for the next number, press the button if it was the number he had come up with when adding, resist the impulse to press the button if it was not, hear the new number, add three to it, and so on.  Lisa told him before they started that this was a hard thing to do.  She said she had tried it, and it was definitely tricky!  Dale did pretty well, although he did better when she slowed things down a bit.  Lisa would allow the man's voice to announce the new number; then she would pause the recording and remind Dale to add three; then she allowed the recording to play until the next number was announced and checked to see if Dale pressed the button accordingly; then she reminded Dale to add three to this new number, etc.  They only worked on this for ten minutes, but you should have seen how utterly exhausted Dale looked afterwards!  His brain had worked hard for that short time, and it required great effort for him to pull himself together in readiness for the next task---which was alot easier.  Lisa suggested we continue this therapy at home/school to help Dale re-learn how to multi-task; it is also hoped that Dale will begin to multi-task for longer periods of time.

These past few days have been gorgeous weather-wise!  We've hit 70 degrees each day including today, and I hope we get to keep the sun for a couple more days.  Each spring and summer here in Washington State, we have to teach our children over again what the giant glowing orb in the sky is......we see it so rarely!  My husband's joke:  What do we call two sunny days in a row in Washington State?  Summer!  :-D

Dale's steadiness has remained at a medium level since Friday.  He had PT today and would have absolutely received an A+ if there were grades being given.  Alison helped him regain confidence on the stairs by suggesting Dale step down, straighten that leg, then bring the other leg down.  When we went into the PT gym, Dale practiced jumping (while holding onto the bars of the treadmill).  His top record has been 14 jumps (feet completely off the floor) in 30 seconds.  Today, he topped that!  He jumped 19 times in 30 seconds!!!  Next, Alison wanted Dale to work on the "wobble board"---a wooden platform nailed onto a (kind of) half-sphere; you can imagine how it would help with balance.  While she was hunting this down, Dale took the opportunity to get in about 20 more jumps!  Seeing this, Alison said, "Dale, you're ready for some independence, aren't you?"  I couldn't help but agree---Dale so badly wants to be free of these shakes and jerks and unsteadiness, which is why he works so hard in PT each time.  Some glorious day...........!  His balance on the wobble board was incredible.  Sure, his legs buckled a few times, but Dale soon learned how to correct his own balance and was willing to let go of the steadying bars in order to test his abilities.  Alison was very pleased with how well he did.

Please pray for Alison's young son.  He will undergo surgery on Wednesday to correct a problem.  She and her husband feel good about the surgery, but it's still a scary process.  I guess her son is taking the news well, telling his mom, "It's necessary!"  She is a special lady who has done so much for Dale, and we want to show her child the same love and concern she has for ours.

Time to get off the computer!  To all of you fabulous people:  You have our deepest appreciation and gratitude for the love and support you have shown our family.  God has greatly enriched our lives by allowing us to touch yours.  Have a blessed day!  Kirsten

II Samuel 22: 50 - 51  "Therefore I will give thanks unto Thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and I will sing praises unto Thy name.  He is the tower of salvation for His king:  and sheweth mercy to His anointed, unto David, and to his seed for evermore."

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Update Thursday afternoon 4/19

Thank you again for the jokes some of you post in your comments.  They may be knee-slappers; they may be groaners; but they are all appreciated.  I share as many of them with the family---especially Dale---as I can, and we share some laughs together.  Our family is blessed (?) with a large sense of humor which can, at times, get us in trouble.  It is not uncommon for one or more of us to get a giggle fit during what should be a serious time (church, especially), leading to heavy frowns from whichever parent is not doing the giggling---usually Chad.  This silly streak also gets my kids in trouble at school.  Before Dale started school, I used to say I would feel sorry for whoever was his teacher because Dale likes to be the class clown.  Guess who was Dale's first teacher in K4?  ME.  And now I'm teaching him again, tutoring most of his subjects each day!  I guess, in a manner of speaking, I'm reaping what I've sown.  :-)  So please, keep the jokes coming; we love 'em!

Dale has, sadly, continued to struggle physically for almost the last full week.  His legs and arms jerk spasmodically; naturally, this causes him to feel out of control of his own body.  Tuesday afternoon, Dale wound up on the gym floor, crying and angry with, of all people, me.  He had stumbled while walking and began to fall, even though I had hold of his hand.  Big sister Amanda was close behind to help break his fall.  She had him around the waist, supporting him while his limbs did their jerking routine.  He was getting scared since he couldn't stop the jerking, and his widened eyes and frantic yelps gave evidence to this.  I helped ease Dale to the floor, trying to calm him down by saying, "It's all right, Dale.  You're okay."  Apparently, this was the wrong thing to say!  Dale began yelling at me right there in the middle of the school gym:  "Stop, Mom!  Just stop!  Stop trying to keep me from having a seizure!"  Amanda and I looked at each other in amazement, simply astounded that he was angry with me for helping him.  I was already on the verge of throwing in the towel (for the moment!) due to previous minor altercations with Dale over school work and unsteadiness, and this just about did me in.  THEN, the snot had the gall to turn to Mandie and thank her for helping him through this!  At that, I nearly took his head off---literally.  I used my "controlled-anger voice" (you know, speaking through tightly-clenched teeth) to question why he was accusing me---who had done nothing wrong---and thanking Amanda---who had done nothing, period.  He refused to see my point, so, at Mandie's behest, I turned around and walked away.  Not for long though---I quickly turned back, helped Dale to his feet, and assisted him to the van where I, by sheer iron will, refrained from tying him to the luggage rack for the ride home!

Unfortunately, this was not the end.  Yesterday, while leaving school to go to PT, Dale fell again and, again, got upset with me as if I should be able to prevent all ills in his world.  This time, he didn't get away with it.  My own anger bubbled up, and, once we were in the car, I let him have it.  For a while after Dale's accident, we treated Dale with kid gloves; he was not fully aware of his actions and their consequences.  However, that time has passed!  I informed Dale in a kind and loving voice (NOT) that it was completely unfair to blame me for things that go wrong in his life.  I told him how wrong it was for him to get angry with me, as if I wasn't doing everything in my power to help him right now.  I reminded him that I was the one (mostly) who stayed with him at Doernbecher in Portland; I spent every weeknight with him in Good Samaritan (weekends were taken by Chad, Amanda, or Katie); I was the one who helped change his diapers and clean him up when his brain and body could not get the hang of potty-training again; I am the one who takes him to therapy and doctor appointments and gives him his medicine, etc.  By the time I was through, Dale was rather ashamed of himself and the way he had been treating me of late.  He sat in the seat quietly for a long time before reaching over and laying his hand on my arm, saying, "Mom, I'm sorry.  I love you."  Which, of course, melted my heart and cleared the air between us.

We did have a small verbal skirmish centered around his waiting until all the high school was on break before informing me he had to use the restroom at school; this entailed walking him to the restrooms, waiting for big sister Katie to clear out the ladies' bathroom, and posting her on guard duty while I helped Dale into the first available stall.  (Please don't tell me you think it would have been better for me to go with Dale into the men's room.  That would have required the enlistment of someone outside the family to clear the way, not to mention my unease at entering foreign territory and the high school guys' discomfort at seeing me go into their private quarters!)  My irritation with Dale was due largely to my being, by then, so very tired, and, once I got a nap after school, I was okay for the church service last night.  So far today, Dale and I both have done quite well maintaining our Christianity!

You've heard the joke:  A boy was complaining to a friend about his summer vacation.  He said, "Last year, my mom forgot my toothbrush.  This year was worse.......she forgot my whole suitcase!"  Dale has a twist on that:  "Last year, I forgot my toothbrush.  This year was worse........I forgot my suitcase.  But don't worry, it was just my suitcase---not my clothes!"  (I did tell you we were zany.)

God has blessed us greatly as of late through the giving hearts of our extended family and friends.  We have received numerous phone calls, cards, and letters from caring folks wanting to help with our expenses.  As you know, I cannot work this year at my usual job due to Dale's accident; Chad has recently taken on a second job to make ends meet; my girls have had to pay for their own stuff multiple times this year.  This last concept is not necessarily new, but the number of things they have had to buy for themselves has definitely increased since August 2011.  Our family has not gone without food or shelter, but our purse strings have been gradually tightening over the past few years (we may have to sell the purse!) and much more so in the past several months.  To those of you who have donated time, money, food, and clothes to our family since Dale's accident, thank you.  God alone knows just how much we owe you.  I do not desire to make anyone feel sorry for us, nor do I want to paint a bleaker picture than is actually true, but we have several times come to a financial crossroads which seemed to us to be "the end."  And each time, we tell God, "Whatever You want us to do, we'll do.  If you want us to lose the house, so be it.  If You want us to find yet another job, we'll do it.  If You want us to sell one of the kids, we'll do it!  Just, please, let us not get angry with You; let us still glorify You."  This is especially hard for Chad; he feels like he is not fulfilling his job of taking care of his family when we have money trouble.  So, thank you, wonderful people, for helping us stay on track financially.  Medicaid covers all the actual hospital bills, various tests, therapy appointment co-pays, and medication; but it doesn't cover the gas needed to go to these appointments or the loss of my paycheck or the items we have purchased to help Dale at home (like extra handrails in the bathroom, etc.).  And, in the early summer, we'll need to ask Medicaid to review Dale's records.  Originally, we were told Dale is only covered for one year, retro-dating to August 1, 2011.  We'll see if they change their minds or if we'll need to explore different avenues for Dale's therapy, medication, and such at that point.

God bless each of you who have traveled this road with us.  Your thoughts, prayers, tears, and love are felt daily by each of us in the Ostrander family.

Psalm 35:  27 - 28  "Let them shout for joy, and be glad, that favour my righteous cause:  yea, let them say continually,  Let the LORD be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperity of His servant.  And my tongue shall speak of Thy righteousness and of Thy praise all the day long."

Monday, April 16, 2012

Update Monday afternoon 4/16

Tax time is upon us!  I hope you all are law-abiding, tax-paying citizens who have not waited until today to try to get your taxes done.  Did anyone else see that disturbing report on tax day and drivers' moods?  They said that there are significantly more auto accidents on tax day than other days surrounding it.  I guess we should rank April 15th as scary a day to be on the roads as New Year's Day.  Less alcohol involved, maybe, but definitely more tempers.

We in the Ostrander household have had a fairly good weekend.  Dale had SP on Friday; he also was invited to a birthday party after school.  Both events were affected by Dale's inability to walk very well that day.  I've probably stated this, but I will again anyway:  Usually when Dale gets up in the morning, his legs are shaky and his balance unsteady.  Sometimes his limbs will even jerk a good bit before settling down.  Once he has had the chance to sit for a bit (at school), his steadiness improves and he is able to walk all right.  Not Friday!  From the moment he got up to the time he went to bed, Dale had difficulty walking, doing stairs, and even staying on his feet.  He must have fallen (with me holding onto his hand to ease him down, of course) at least seven times during the day, possibly more.  We took this in stride, slowing down and giving ourselves more time to get around.  As the day wore on, Dale himself admitted, "Mom, I don't think the scavenger hunt (first part of the birthday party) is a good idea."  I had to agree with him; there was no way he was going to be able to search through the woods for the scavenger hunt items, so we just went home after school and waited for the phone call letting us know that the party was headed to the boy's house for cake and ice cream and such.  Dale still got to enjoy some of the party with "the guys" and didn't look like he felt he had missed out.  He didn't seem to mind; he knows his limitations and is accepting them with a good attitude.

I wonder sometimes if Dale accepts those limitations a bit too easily.  This morning I scolded him on the stairs because he kept sitting down on the step behind.......but only when he was stepping down with his right leg and bringing the left one after.  It seemed like Dale was allowing his right leg to buckle and then himself to fall to the step when it was possible for him to stiffen (strenghten) his right leg and stay upright.  Usually, it's the left leg that causes the problems, but lately it's been his right one.  I told him, "Don't just accept that this is the way things are, or this is the way they will always be."  I want him to keep trying every day---every step---to make his brain control his movements, not just give in to the weakness.  I want his brain to keep making those neural connections, not just give up trying.  I know God has more for Dale in his life than falling and only taking two steps at a time.  Dale simply needs to be encouraged---and scolded---to see that for himself.  He needs to not give up and just take what comes; he needs to keep trying.

On Saturday, our area held the annual Daffodil Parade and Festival.  I've never gone before (and still haven't, for that matter) and was excited when Chad told me to look into it, find out start times, and see about going.  By Friday, we were unsure of Dale's ability to walk the distance from wherever we had to park to the parade route itself; by Saturday, we were certain of it.  Saturday didn't seem to be much better than Friday had been as far as steadiness was concerned.  So Chad took the girls to see the Daffodil Parade, and Dale and I stayed home.  Again, Dale didn't seem to mind; as he had never been before, he really didn't know what he was missing and wasn't too keen on seeing a bunch of flowers.  His only regret was that Mom made him take a bath as soon as the girls were gone!  Bath times are getting easier for Dale, though.  He washes himself now completely, hair and all.  He has lost his fear of having his ears in the water when he needs to rinse his hair, so that is no longer a concern.  He even demonstrated good thinking during a mini-crisis when he got water (and maybe shampoo) in his eyes; instead of flailing wildly (yes, that used to happen!) and getting upset, Dale groped blindly in the water until he found the washcloth and wiped his eyes.  His only real problems now are setting the shampoo and soap bottles back on the shelf (his shakes and jerks sometimes knock the bottles right back off) and getting out of the tub once he's done.  Saturday's bath was perhaps the easiest time yet getting him out of the bathtub!  Praise the Lord!!!  Yet more progress!

Today, we had PT in the morning and then school the rest of the day.  This week will probably be hard on Dale's concentration skills.  We've got our annual school auction on Friday, and my classroom is being used as a convenient storage facility for auction items until then.  The ladies in charge of getting all these things ready (stored, tagged, wrapped for presentation) have been so apologetic each time they have to disturb us.......but, obviously, they have needed and will need to continue coming in frequently to store things and check their stock.  I warned Dale when we walked in this morning to expect this week to be a bit crazy because of this.  What I didn't realize was that the roofing crew would be working on our building this week as well.  We have been treated to an assortment of sounds including scraping, shifting, dragging, creaking, thumping, and, of course, hammering.  Dale tends to groan whenever we hear something new while I try to settle him down and remind him to keep working.  So far he's not doing too bad a job of it; he studied for and is now taking a science test.  We'll see how he does!

I have to sign off for now.  Dale is about done with his science test and that means I must get back to tutoring him.  God bless you all!

Matthew 17: 27  "Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money:  that take, and give unto them for Me and thee."  (Who said fishing was a waste of time?)  ;-D

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Update Thursday morning 4/12

Once again, I find myself so very thankful for the church in which God has placed us.  Not just because of our wonderful church family or our many friends here or the Christian school connected to our church but because God Himself is present here.  Last night during the sermon, I found myself deeply convicted.  I grew up in a Christian home, taught by godly parents; I attended Christian school from second grade on through my senior year of high school; I attended Hyles-Anderson College, the best Bible college on the planet; I have continued to be active in our church's ministries throughout my adult life.  I have, truly, tried to live my life in a manner pleasing to God since my salvation.  But I can count on the fingers of one hand how many times I have actually prayed to the Holy Spirit asking Him to convict me---and keep on convicting me until I change!  God's Spirit has been working on me about a number of things for quite some time; last night I decided to listen to Him.......finally.  It wasn't that the sermon was particularly bombastic or of the "hellfire and brimstone" variety, but it was definitely caused some soul-searching on my part.  The main emphasis was on Jonah (you know, the guy in the whale), but we moved all over the Bible while being reminded that it isn't just what you do for or give to the's what you don't do; it's what you hold back.  And your sin---MY sin---affects me, my family, my friends, the people I come in contact with (therapists, doctors, hospital staff, folks who recognize Dale from the TV accounts), and even people I don't know (those who read this blog, families of those aforementioned).  I believe that God allows/causes troubles to happen in our lives for various reasons:  (1) as punishment for known sin, (2) to make us aware of unknown sin, (3) to test our faith, (4) to show His might to the world, etc.  I don't think God allowed Dale to drown in the ocean last August because of some sin in our family.  I believe with all my heart that God chose to allow this hardship to bring great glory and honor to His name and to test our faith in Him.  However, I certainly do not want God to have to rein in His healing of Dale because of some known sin in my life.  As long as I live, I want to be surrendered to His will and the Spirit's leading.  I won't reach perfection until I reach Heaven, but I can sure keep on trying!

Dale had PT on Tuesday.  I wish you could have seen how well he did!  Usually, Dale (and the therapist) will walk down the stairs one step at a time until they reach the last couple of steps.  Then Dale will walk foot-over-foot (as we normally do) down those last steps.  He may rest for a bit before turning to walk back up the stairs; lately Dale has been going foot-over-foot pretty much the whole way up.  On Tuesday, Dale surprised us by walking down the stairs foot-over-foot of his own desire.  He did this on about half the stairs total, having to bring both feet onto the same step the other half of the time; but he managed to walk down the last six steps foot-over-foot in succession!!!  YES!!!  Then, without pausing to rest, Dale turned and walked back up the stairs, foot-over-foot, all the way to the top!  I was glad there were not many people in the waiting areas around the stairway because Tracy (assistant therapist) and I were excited and cheering him on!  Poor Dale was so tired once he reached the top; it was all he could do to walk semi-normally down the hall into the PT gym.  We let him sit on one of the mat tables and rest and drink some water---before getting him going again!  He worked on the Total Gym for a bit; then he did some push-ups on the mat table (!) to finish out the hour.  I couldn't stop praising him for the great work he had done.

THEN---in the parking garage on the way to our van, Dale nearly gave me a coronary.  I knew we had parked at the far end of one of the ramps; I just couldn't remember if it was on level B or C.  We got off the elevator at level C and proceeded down the ramp with me holding Dale's hand for support, only to realize that our van was up the ramp on the level B side.  I told Dale, "I don't see the van.  I think we parked up the other ramp."  I was still craning my neck in a vain attempt to use the x-ray vision that I don't possess to espy the van's location when Dale said, "Hang on, Mom."  I assumed he meant, "Wait a second."  Next thing I knew, Dale had jumped to try to see over the vehicles blocking our line of sight.  He jumped off the ground......of his own volition.......just by instinct!  When he landed, his knees buckled, but he caught himself; then his knees buckled again, but he caught himself again and steadied himself.  He stood there grinning like a fool while I alternately scolded him and laughed for joy!  I did threaten him that if he ever did that again without warning me first, I would probably beat him!  I was scared half to death by something I wish Dale would do more often---and he will, now that he knows he can do it.  Wow!

God is good, as always.  Even through our darkest hours (or days or years), He shows His constant goodness and love toward us.  If we had but a sliver of that same love toward Him, what might we be willing to do, give, share, leave, endure, achieve?  And we have the promise of Heaven with Him after this life as well.  We are truly blessed.

Matthew 5: 6  "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness:  for they shall be filled."

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Update Tuesday morning 4/10

Happy Easter, everyone!  Or, as my pastor put it, Happy Resurrection Day!  Thank God we have a risen Saviour, not just a dead one.  The term "gospel" refers to the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.  Without Christ's death on the cross, our sin penalty would not be paid.  Without His blood being spilled, there would be no remission of our sins.  Without His burial, there could be no proof of His resurrection.  Without His being buried in a new tomb, there would be no proof that He was the One Who came out alive.  Without Jesus' resurrection, He would have no victory over death, thereby condemning us to an eternity without God.  Thanks be to the Father for creating a plan to save mankind, for being willing to use His Son as the ultimate sacrifice, for allowing Him to die, for raising Jesus from the grave, for giving us the opportunity to spend a lifetime serving Him here before spending an eternity with Him in Heaven.  What an incredible gift we are offered:  to become a child of God, to bear His name here below while serving Him and laying up treasures above, to have His guidance and help always, to receive His loving and just discipline when we err to bring us back into the fold, to know we will see Him face to face some day.  Praise God---He arose!

Our family receives "happys" frequently from folks we know and some we don't.  "Happys" are what our school secretary calls nice things done for you, i.e. getting candy or flowers, seeing a rainbow, finding the perfect pair of shoes on sale.  Sunday, Dale got one.  He couldn't participate in the teen egg hunt (activity on Friday) because of scheduling conflicts, and there was no way he could participate in the one for teens Sunday after church due to his unsteadiness on his feet.  He took this all in stride (pardon the pun) but declined trying to walk out to the field to see the younger kids' egg hunt, stating that "It would be torture" watching them run around gathering candy-filled eggs and knowing he probably wouldn't get any of it.  So he sat in the van with Dad while Emily and Ashley gathered their eggs.  Bro. Monnin, one of main coordinators of the kids' egg hunt, asked me if Dale would like some Easter eggs since he couldn't go hunt any for himself.  I responded gratefully, "Yes!"  He got a little busy then, but, at church Sunday night, he handed Dale a bag with about twenty Easter eggs inside.  You should have seen Dale's face when he reached for that bag!  We had to almost forcefully prevent him from opening the eggs right there on the front pew!  Plus, Oma (Mrs. Helen Hernandez) gave each of my kids a chocolate Easter cross, so they all now have plenty of chocolate to give them plenty of cavities!!!

Monday morning at school, our family received a "happy."  Someone who apparently wishes to remain anonymous sent us some gorgeous deep purple and bright yellow tulips addressed to me here at the school.  I was quite surprised when Mrs. Monnin brought in the green ProFlowers box and said it was addressed to me.  I knew my husband hadn't sent them; not that he doesn't love me, but he wouldn't spend money on flowers when there are bills that demand payment!  She stood by while I opened the box and removed the card.  It simply stated, "Wanted your family to know that you are often thought of and prayed for.  Have a nice Easter Weekend.  Tell Dale to keep up the good work!!"  There was a beautiful spring green vase included along with a small box of delectable chocolates.  I was good; I thought about keeping the chocolates for myself but shared instead with the family.  :-)  If the person who sent us this special surprise is reading this blog, please know you have made our day!!!  Thank you so very much for this wonderful "happy"; the flowers brighten our lives and our spirits and your encouraging words brighten our souls.  May you receive manifold blessings in return!

We had no therapy yesterday; our main therapist is off this week, and our second therapist, Tracy, only had an opening on Tuesday this week.  So we will attend PT Tuesday and SP Friday.  We will have good news to report at PT today:  Dale has been walking foot-over-foot upstairs regularly with no problem.  He stumbles occasionally but catches himself very well.  AND Dale has been walking down the last steps at home going foot-over-foot!  He's still learning how to balance himself while stepping down (he tends to lean too far backwards, thus causing himself to fall backwards onto the stair behind), and he forgets to slide his hand down the rail sometimes---but he's doing it!  We are so excited at this next step of progress (again, pardon the pun).  Pretty soon, he'll be walking up the stairs with absolutely no difficulty; it will take some time still before he's going down as easily.  Having seen this progression of activity before with walking at all, with doing stairs at all, with sitting down, with brushing his teeth.......we can tell that someday in the not too distant future Dale will be walking better on his own and becoming more independent.

Speaking of---yesterday morning when Mrs. Monnin (school secretary) came in to deliver the flowers, she mentioned that she had teased Bro. Goltiao about helping Dale walk.  I panicked!  I said, "Where are they going?"  She said, "Outside; it's such a beautiful day."  Bro. Goltiao had decided to take his history class outside for the period.  I had to make a deliberate choice to remain in my seat and not go find them and make sure Dale was all right.  He needs these moments of independence from me; he needs to know that he will be safe with other people's assistance and that he doesn't have to have me near in order for things to be okay.  I waited the class period out (happily distracting myself by putting the vibrant blooms in water), but I was still relieved when my door opened to admit Dale and Bro. Goltiao once history was done.  After getting Dale settled at his seat with math work, I went to the history room to retrieve Dale's books.  Bro. Goltiao met me halfway and handed them to me, giving me a chance to thank him for assisting Dale while walking and for giving Dale this much-needed breath of independence.  It's good for Dale to (I hate to keep using the phrase) get back to normal, to feel like life will not always be shaky and uncertain, especially as summer approaches.  It is my intent (you know what they say about good intentions :-<) to get Dale out-of-doors as much as possible this summer in the effort to (1) build stronger muscles, (2) get him excited about regaining stability and increased motor skills, and (3) just enjoy being alive......literally!

I stood looking down at my son this morning when I went in to wake him up for school.  I couldn't help but be thankful to our omnipotent God that I still have a son to rouse each morning.  Thank You so much, Lord, for Your bountiful blessings and mercies You bestow each day.  I have a kind, loving, godly husband; I have four beautiful daughters who strive to please You; I have a son who should be dead, yet lives; I have a wonderful, giving church family; I have the privilege of working in our Christian school; I have a home in Heaven; I have You.  I am content---for today!---with the life You have given me.  Thank You, dear Lord.

Mark 14: 61 - 62  "But He held His peace, and answered nothing.  Again the high priest asked Him, and said unto Him, Art Thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?  And Jesus said, I am:  and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven."

Friday, April 6, 2012

Update Friday afternoon 4/6

I told my kids the "Peanuts" joke from last blog.  Dale thought it was funny; the girls voted it the saddest joke ever.  "Poor Peanuts!" they cried.  Then we all fell to giving our imitations of Peanuts as he sailed over the fence into the elephant pen again and again, looking up gratefully when he saw the policeman approaching, pitifully telling the judge his name.  Our family is seriously crazy, so we had a good time laughing at Peanuts' expense!

Dale had PT on Wednesday; he was already shaky and unsteady, so I wasn't sure what to expect that day.  As it turns out, he had his best ever stair-walking event yet!  Dale walked down half of the stairs going foot-over-foot (like we normally walk) instead of bringing one foot down to a step followed by the other foot onto the same step.  His leg tried buckling a couple of times, but he's getting better at catching himself before falling now.  Once down, Dale turned around and walked up almost the entire flight going foot-over-foot!  His therapist and I were soooo excited.  When we reached the top, Alison gave me a high-five, and a lady who had been watching Dale's progress cheered for him, too!  What a great day that was.  And, oh how tired Dale was afterward.  His legs seemed like limp noodles after all that exercise.  Alison even asked if we would be okay getting to the van; I assured her that Dale would be so glad to leave, he would walk just fine---and he did!

Unfortunately, Wednesday did not continue to be quite so wonderful.  Later that afternoon, Dale was trying to get from the living room to the dining table where we have our laptop set up.  I was looking at something online, and he wanted to see what it was.  Despite my instructions to stay put, Dale got down on the floor and walked on his knees around the table.  When I noticed this, I told him to go back!  He got partway back, but, upon attempting to stand up in order to sit in the easy chair, he lost his balance and fell, striking the back of his head on the wooden base of the nearby couch.  Of course, when we heard one of his sisters gasp and then Dale's cry of pain, everybody came running.  I was vascillating between feeling sorry for him and being mad because he had done it to himself.  He had ignored me and done what he wanted and had now paid the painful price.  We got him up and into the chair; Emily had already gone into action, grabbing a cold pack from the freezer and wrapping it in a towel.  She's getting quite good at being alert and helpful when someone is in distress.  That's impressive in an almost-six-year-old, even if I'm a bit prejudiced in my opinion!  Dale reclined in the chair with the cold pack against the back of his head for a while.  However, not until we arrived at church did I check out Dale's profile and realize he had quite a lump on the back of his head.  Of course, it was tender to the touch, but I checked it anyway.  The skin was bruised and reddish but unbroken.  It remained sore, especially when he lay down to go to sleep, but in the morning the swelling was gone.  Dale said it's feeling much better now.

Thursday was spent entirely at school, doing lessons and taking a couple of quizzes.  Because of his fine motor troubles, Dale takes twice as long to write something, so quizzes take twice as long as usual.  However, Dale's mental faculties are not greatly affected any longer.  He listens during the teaching time and responds with correct answers to review questions.  On both history quizzes, Dale received a 70% D; there were only ten questions, so each wrong answer took off 10 points.  Dale missed three questions each time.  Letter grades aren't really all that important, are they?  :-P  (Just kidding!  I'm a teacher, so I know that letter grades are a good way to judge how well a student is learning the material.)  I'm not as concerned with Dale's letter grades right now as I was when he attended regular classes, and I believe he is retaining the information well.  That's what is important.  We are working our way through his grammar book and math book as well as history and science.  In each subject, I can tell Dale is remembering what he was previously taught and adding to that store of information.  As we get farther into each curriculum book, I'll be able to see how well Dale accepts and uses new information.  For now, I thank God for Dale's progress.

I've already begun preparing Dale for re-entering regular classes next year.  That may or may not happen, but it's good to help Dale look ahead at his life.  So much of our lives now focus on the present, this minute, today, that it's good to think about the future some.  I try to give Dale something to look forward to as well as encourage him to realize that life will not always be like this:  struggling to walk, only attending a few classes, tutoring with me alot.  This morning, Dale said something that made me pause.  Our school likes to celebrate "First Fridays" (the first Friday of each month) by dressing in casual clothes (today was "Favorite T-shirt Day") and having a bake sale.  Dale and I went out to get something from the tables; he noticed his classmates there too and said, "We got here just in time.  My class is out here."  I keep thinking Dale feels isolated from his classmates and feels not fully part of the school.  Apparently, that's all in my head!  I'm the one who sees Dale differently, but not Dale himself.  Even his classmates and school friends have accepted him as he is now, while giving him room to grow and develop out of each stage of recovery.  What a precious gift these students have given us in taking Dale any way they can get him!  Not once has anyone looked oddly at him; never has he gotten looks from classmates when he stumbles while walking; the students are careful not to bump into him, yet, at the same time, they rush past him when headed somewhere, giving him the idea that they consider him normal enough to be able to catch himself if he needs to.  Do you get my drift?  They treat him like anybody else in school!!!  Who would have thought I'd be so glad to see one of my children "ignored" as only junior high/high school kids can?!  Praise be to God for giving us back our son.  Dale is well on his way to full recovery.  He's not perfect yet, but who among us can claim that?

One of the little second-grade girls asked me today, "Are you going to be my teacher in third grade?"  I responded, "I don't know yet; we'll see."  She said, "Maybe Dale will be all better by then!"  I marveled to see such trust and faith in her small face, and my heart was blessed.  I was encouraged by this young girl's words and could only pray, "Even so, let it be, Lord Jesus."

Well, only two more months of school left before summer break.  What a way to live, always looking forward to the next time you get to sit and do nothing!  Didn't the summer seem longer when we were kids?  Now, we get out of school the first week of June and return the last week in August.  How depressing.  I've been praying that some parents of elementary students will desire summer school for their children so I'll have a job this summer.  I'll already be tutoring Dale; adding more students to the mix won't be too hard.  I'll just have to work around Dale's therapy sessions.  I taught elementary summer school last year, so I have an idea what to expect.  If God wants me teaching, He'll make it possible; if He doesn't, I'll probably pout and whine some and then accept His will!

We tried going to SP today, only to find out upon our arrival that they had called yesterday afternoon and cancelled.  Someone in the house (my husband!) had forgotten to give me the message.  So Dale and I drove all the way out there (30 minutes), made our way to the second floor office, and turned around and walked back out to drive back to school (30 more minutes).  I couldn't really be upset though; it got us out into God's beautiful springtime.  Today's weather has been sunny in spots, cloudy in others, with some wind and a few raindrops.  Easter Sunday is usually held during a downpour; we consider ourselves lucky if we get only mildly wet.  Does anyone know of a way to exchange today's weather for Sunday's forecast?  It'd be great if we could have sun on Easter.  (Considering this is Washington, I'm not holding my breath.)

**Dale's PT therapist told him on Wednesday, "If you can master the stairs with ease and eliminate the need for assistance while walking, we can drop you to one session per week."  You should have seen his face light up when she said this.  Ever since, Dale has been working extra hard to walk up and down the stairs going foot-over-foot.  It's good to see him pressing toward a goal, believing in his future.  God has great plans for him; I'm just glad He lets me be here to witness Dale's applied faith and determination.  Won't it be something to look back a year from now and see how much farther Dale has gotten?  Can't wait!!!

Matthew 7: 7 - 8  "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:  For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened."

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Update Tuesday morning 4/3

First, the "bad" news:  Dale had another seizure Saturday morning.  Apparently, nobody told Dale's brain that the medication he has been taking does not allow him to have any more seizures!  'Cause he just keeps having them---with regularity.  This one was not too only lasted about 20 - 25 seconds, he pulled out of it fairly quickly, and he was sitting down for the whole thing.  And that's the odd thing:  he was sitting down at the table when the seizure occurred.  Usually, Dale is walking down the stairs or trying to get out of the tub or getting dressed when his brain glitches.  This time, he was already down the stairs, seated at the table for breakfast, when his toe caught the table leg just a tad.  We would just pull back gently and allow room for our foot to move around.  Dale's legs began jerking; soon his arms joined in, and there was nothing he could do about it.  He was telling me, "Mom, stop it!"  He wanted me to somehow stop the seizure from happening, but, if I knew how to do that, I would have done so long ago!  I held him during the episode and talked gently to him.  Once his body relaxed, I scooted his chair back from the table and tipped it back on its hind legs to allow it the rest in a reclined position against the couch behind it.  This made Dale more comfortable as he recovered from the seizure.  Within a few minutes, his breathing was steady, movement had returned to his arms and legs, and he was talking just fine.  He wanted to stay at the table and eat; I overruled him, assisting him to the easy chair so he could lie back and rest.  (Even while protesting this, Dale was slowly leaning forward in the table chair.  He was too tired to keep his balance even while sitting!)  So, we made it almost two weeks since the last seizure, the difference this time being the extreme jerking on Wednesday and the extra long (week and a half) steadiness Dale enjoyed before the shakiness returned.

I called the neurologist yesterday to relate the newest seizure activity.  The answer came back:  keep Dale's morning dose at 3 1/2 pills but have him start taking 4 pills at night.  We'll see if the extra 1/2 pill is magic!  (Heavy sarcasm here.)  I also informed them of Dale's jerking episode Wednesday which they did attribute to seizure activity without actually blacking out.  I'm beginning to think Dale's seizures are not so much a result of his brain trying too hard to do something and thus glitching; I wonder if the seizures are a result of parts of his brain waking up more and attempting to make those neurological connections again or reroute and form new pathways.  I have no science to support this belief, just observation.  I told God about it because, after all, He is the only One Who truly knows how the brain works and where Dale's still needs healing.  I'm sure He smiled indulgently at my human attempts to understand His divinely superior design!

How many times have you set an appointment to get family pictures or school pictures taken, only to have one of your children decide to add some color to their face or cut their own hair---or a sibling's?  Spring pictures were Wednesday at school; the date has been on the calendar for some weeks.  My girls spent some time the night before choosing just the right outfit and planning how they were going to curl their hair.  About an hour before bed, my youngest, Emily, was digging through the disaster area otherwise known as their closet (who knew the jumble of toys and stuffed animals piled neck-deep at the bottom of the closet could pose a threat?) when she tripped over something (too many possible suspects to name one) and launched her small self headfirst into the depths of the chaos.  Fortunately, she didn't hit the back wall; unfortunately, her face smacked into the edge of the dollhouse half-buried in the debris.  She took the full impact on the upper cheekbone directly around the left eye.  I was in the shower and somehow didn't hear the blood-curdling scream she let out, but older sister Amanda came running.  Mandie soothed her and applied a cold pack to help with the swelling (it didn't).  By the time I saw the injury, Emily had quite a lovely knot protruding from her cheek, painted all colors of the, purple, blue.  My first words were, "Oh, honey, are you all right?"  (Stupid, I know, since she obviously was not.)  My second words were, "Oh, no, school pictures are tomorrow!"  Amanda hastened to inform me (as it was obvious she had already had this discussion with the injured princess) that Emily could simply turn her head so the bruise (and protrusion) wouldn't show.  I quickly agreed, averting another meltdown.  Her skin is so delicately fair that the discoloration seemed even more pronounced, and, even now, she still has a partial black eye.  I cannot count the number of times people laughingly asked us, "Did you beat that child?"  Just how do they expect me to answer that?  "No",  "Yes!",  "It's none of your business"?  If I were such a monster as to beat my own child, would I allow her to walk around with some lame story like, "She fell into a dollhouse"?  Truth is definitely stranger than fiction.

Dale went to PT yesterday and had a great day.  Alison, the therapist, was thrilled with how well he could walk, climb the stairs, and do the treadmill.  They even had time for a game of Cootie before our hour was up.  She said she can't wait for him to walk more steadily and do stairs easily so she can "graduate" him to coming just once a week.  Dale was very excited to hear this!  He had just asked me earlier that morning if there would ever be a time when he would not need PT twice a week.  Now he has a definite goal to work towards.  In fact, I had him alternate feet while stepping down the stairs this morning (something they worked on yesterday) and "made" him walk on his own, steadying himself, into the school building and to/from class today, reminding him that these are things he needs to be able to do on his own in order to drop to one PT each week.  He gets it; he's working hard and only complaining slightly about my drill-sergeant attitude!

We have been blessed lately with some sunshine.  If this keeps up, we'll no longer be able to claim rain-forest status!  Spring here usually means lots of rain (surprise), crisp mornings, and a few sunny afternoons which increase as the season progresses.  Today, it's raining.....buckets.  Not all at once, just a steady solid rain:  fat, cold raindrops that always manage to find the gap between your neck and your collar.  The kind that soak your jacket, causing you to have to put on a damp coat every time you need to go outside.  (I'm not complaining; I'm just stating facts!)  My poor Katie came to my classroom about half an hour ago to show me that her shoe had breathed its last.  She said it had a small hole in the side this morning; then, in class, she shifted her foot inside the shoe and the whole side gave way!  I went with her to the office to plead her case, and she was granted permission to change into her PE (tennis) shoes so as not to catch a cold from having wet feet.  Now she's sporting white sneakers with purple laces as a fashion accessory to her school uniform!  Just what every ninth grade girl wants.  :-D

I need to close, as I have other matters which I really ought to at least pretend to get to!  Thank you, all you wonderful folks, for your support and encouragement, love and prayers.  You are special to us and to our Father Who sees each time someone does something for one of His own.  God bless you.

Genesis 7: 11 - 12  "In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.  And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights."  (In case we here in Washington State start to feel too sorry for ourselves!)