Monday, June 30, 2014

Where did June go?

Is it really the last day of June already?  It feels like school just got out, and now we're facing the fact that tomorrow we'll be able to say, "School starts again next month!"  That's just plain wrong.  June should be extended for at least another two weeks to give those of us who've spent at least half of each morning in bed a chance to experience a full June day before we move on to July.  Not that I'm admitting to being lazy, mind you.  I'm just.....sympathizing......with those who may be.  Yeah.

Anyway, we've had a relaxing first month off school.  I keep telling myself ---and Chad--- that we'll get up earlier each day so as not to set ourselves up for trouble come the last week of August when we have to get up around 6:45 a.m. for school.  Eventually I will fulfill that promise and be an early riser.  Eventually.  Like, when I'm in Heaven.  Maybe.  Please tell me they don't have alarm clocks in Heaven.

For those who have been praying with us about Dale's necessary meds and neurology appointments, the news is not good.  Apparently everyone is "really sorry" about having us over a barrel, but there is no way around paying through the nose for a once-a-year doctor appointment.  The insurance company said that's just the way the provider chooses to bill it, and the provider said that's what the insurance company's contract states.  Either way, we have to meet our $600 deductible along with the $60 specialist fee in order for Dale to be seen by the neurologist.  Dale usually sees this doctor in May, but we couldn't get an appointment until November.  They put us on the wait list for cancellations, though.  This visit will be especially important because the doctor will be able to see Dale's regression since the last visit.  It just seems like Dale has given up trying to walk correctly and instead chooses to shuffle along, posture all out of whack, taking no more than four steps, and depending way too much on his right leg to do all the work.  Chad and I and Katie and Ashley have tried and tried to get him to walk correctly, but Dale just ignores us for the most part.  Once in a while, he walks correctly---good posture, right foot then left, shoulders back; these moments are few and far between, and, when we point out his errors, Dale makes excuses.  Nothing is ever his fault, so there is nothing he can do to change it, see?  Please pray that Dale will take more responsibility for his own actions and be desirous of achieving the goal of being more independent and walking better.

Every week we have people ask us, "How's Dale doing?" or "Is he getting better?" or "Have you considered _________?"  Neither we nor the doctor think a cane or walker would help Dale right now; it would just give him one more thing to have to think about.  He does not go to physical therapy because (a) Dale is only allotted six therapy appts. per year (and what good would that do?) and (b) these each cost $60 because they're specialty visits.  We honestly have no idea if Dale will get better or worse or stay the same for the rest of his life.  We appreciate everyone's prayers for him and our family and are by no means giving up; we just realize the need to think practically.  My husband has a good job which pays our bills; our family is strong yet vulnerable; we all have "good" days and "bad" days.  Just because you see Dale struggling to walk doesn't mean prayer doesn't work.  Just because you see me or my family frustrated with Dale for not listening/trying doesn't mean we're mad at God over our situation.  And......please don't take offense.......just because something has worked for you or your family member or your friend doesn't mean we're going to jump right up and buy it.  Trust me---we've looked into numerous different products and therapies and supplements for Dale; there is simply not enough data/studies/time/money/patience for us to try everything that has been brought to our attention as the next medical or natural wonder.  We are sincerely doing all we can to help Dale improve, and only God knows God's plan for Dale.  It's easy (and more hopeful) to think that God has some grand and complex plan for Dale's life that will naturally require him to be fully healed to fulfill, but the truth is THIS may be God's plan for Dale.  Sparing his life may have been the ultimate plan God had for Dale, and now it's time for someone else to be God's next miracle.  Maybe God's plan is for us to trust Him day by day to give us the courage, strength, wisdom, and patience to live with His ultimate plan.  I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God's plan is best, and so I trust His choice in this matter just as I trust His choice in all other matters.  I'm not giving up on God.  I'm learning new ways to trust Him.

Have a safe and wonderful Independence Day!  Remember to thank God for our country and our freedom.  God bless each of you.

Psalm 150: 2, 6  "Praise Him for His mighty acts; praise Him according to His excellent greatness.  Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD.  Praise ye the LORD."

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Hooray for summer!

I know only kids are supposed to get excited about school ending, but we teachers are pretty pumped too!  I mean, we've had a great year and my students are wonderful---but I can't wait to not set the alarm.  Oh, the bliss of waking up at 6:00 a.m. and realizing, "I don't have to get up soon!"  Yes, this is what motivates me to smile and love and overlook my class' boisterous activities these last few days/weeks.  We only have three days left!

Having said that, I am so thankful to be a teacher.  I taught K4 for several years and loved it.  A lot more stress, a lot more goofiness, a lot more potty breaks, but so good.  A few years ago, I had the opportunity to move up to 3rd Grade.  The teacher at that time was leaving to have a baby, and our principal was looking to fill her spot.  My husband, wise man that he is, urged me to tell my boss that I could teach third grade if he wanted me to.  I was terrified!  I had become comfortable in K4; I had a great routine in place; I had little grading or testing to do.  I had it made!  But, I followed Chad's advice and threw my hat into the ring.......and I've never been so glad I did.  These students are at the perfect age:  they are moldable, teachable still; they listen still when I talk; and they love unconditionally.  I have learned so much from them about helping others, about seeing the Bible through a child's eyes, and about how kids grow up---what shapes their thinking.

Let me just stop and say, "Thank God for godly teachers for my children!"  We take our teachers for granted, expecting them to train and instruct our kids in academic values, forgetting that they teach much more than just 2+2=4.  My children are who they are because of their godly teachers.  From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

But, even with a school year full of excitement and a computer full of grades reflecting how well I taught and they listened, there comes a time when we all need a serious break.  We call this summer.  Summer is the time when even adults try to sleep until noon, when life takes on a more relaxed pace, and when we pretend to get lots of chores done that had to wait until we had time.  This is also the time that drives my husband nuts.  He can't stand the fact that we don't have to get up at O-dark-thirty or the fact that we tend to laze around for at least the first week!  To pacify him, I will create a "chore list" of things that truly should be done around the house, and then each week we will look at the list.  We probably won't actually do any of the work, but we at least looked at the list!  This also drives Chad nuts.  I may have to change my strategy.

I think I need to make some actual changes to Dale's schedule.  He seems to have regressed physically this year.  He is not at all steady on his feet; he falls frequently; and his balance is way off.  I want to implement a workout program for him to strengthen his muscles and help him feel better in control of himself.  I think, with the growth Dale has experienced over the past couple of years (height), he's not as sure of himself as he used to be.  Chad thinks we also should make another appointment with the neurologist to see if Dale's medication needs to be adjusted.  Please pray that the insurance will approve a referral from our regular doctor to the neurologist so that we will only need to pay the office visit fee.  Right now, the contract that the neurologist has with the insurance company states that any visit must be covered as an outpatient hospital visit which means we must pay our $500 deductible as well as the specialist fee.  That's quite a chunk of change!  We need to make the appointment in the next week, so your prayers are coveted.

With the close of the school year, everybody moves up a grade.  Emily will be in third grade---yep, my class.  (The year I moved up to third grade from K4, Emily was supposed to enter K4.  She was soooo upset that I wouldn't be her teacher.  She has been threatening me all year with dire punishment if I move to another grade this next year!)  Ashley will be in eighth grade.  She acted recently in our school plays; she was an accountant to the king in one and part of a group of protesters in the other.  As the accountant, she was dressed in a much older style and had her hair up and makeup on---she was almost unrecognizable!  She's already pretty, but in a few years when she can start actually wearing makeup---watch out!  Dale will be in tenth grade, although he is still catching up in a few subjects.  And Katie will be a Senior!!!  She is excited and scared to death.  But those feelings are swamped by the overwhelming relief that she passed geometry this year!  Amanda is finished with her first year of college and is coming home in a few weeks for a two-week visit.  We are so excited, not having seen her since saying goodbye in September.  Each member of our family has had to deal with not having her with us each day, but the ache in our hearts never eases.  I thank God for kind, loving people who are helping work out the plans to get her home.  Sooooon!  :-)

God has been good to us.  There's no doubt about it.  Have you every heard the song, "God's been good in my life"?  Each word is so accurate an accounting of our family that I cry each time I hear it.  He is so loving, just giving us breath; to bless us with health and home and work and children and mercy and kindness and love is beyond expression.  He is wonderful.  He is good.  He is!

John 11: 40  "Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?"