Just a few things:
- You know it is a great song when you hear it on the radio, realize you have it on your Ipod, and yet you continue to listen to it being broadcast live . . . as was the case today when a song that was ten years old came on. Loved it, sang it, appreciated it. My pastor has a cool phrase for such a moment. Spontaneous combustion of music or something like that. It is much cooler when he says it.
- New babies are awesome . . . birth stories are not – enough said.
- Family is great – I am thankful that most of mine live close and that they are always there to help.
- I am ready to feel in the Christmas spirit. Hubby has asked four times during the past week to decorate the tree that has been in place since Saturday. I am not ready yet. I wonder what it will take? Something about a forecast of 69 degrees on Sunday does not help inch me closer to that warm fuzzy feeling. I am feeling more like a nice mix of the Grinch and E. Scrooge at the moment.
- I am excited about a trip. . . more details to come if we can actually get it done!
- I like volunteering, I wish I could do it all the time. Work is getting in the way!
- One more lesson for school is a reason to celebrate!
That is all for now. . .
Thanksgiving was filled with family, fun, food, and the Rockettes!
I have never gone out to see the Radio City Rockettes, but this year mine and hubby’s family all went and took up an entire row at the Opry House. I was not really expecting the show we got. I was so impressed. Even though the actual time you see the Rockettes is limited, (hey, those girls have some major wardrobe changes) when you did see them they were great. Call me predictable, but the March of the Toy Soldiers was my favorite!
The Nativity Scene was fantastic too! Live camels, donkeys, and one very unruly sheep later made for a great finale!
I love reading various blogs throughout the day during some down time. It is a cyber people watching game, my major was Psychology after all. One that I read without fail is my Pastor’s blog. He had a great one today – one that needs to be shared. It is about appreciating our church leaders and lifting them up and how sometimes we forget that they are people too.
As a child I grew up in the house of a pastor. My husband’s family was in the ministry. This can make for a very hard childhood. You see your family give and give and give with little to no recognition 24/7/365. The pastorate is an around the clock, full-time, no true vacation job description. If you do get a vacation, it is usually to a church related function full of church services, training classes, and responsibilities. I remember once we got a real vacation. I was 9 years old and we went to the beach and then on to Disney World. We had no sooner set foot in our condo when the phone rang and someone in the church had died. My dad made a hard decision and decided to stay on the vacation. How hard that must of been for him to choose, I am sure he got flack from someone about it, but what was he to do? It was one of our first “real” vacations as a family.
The choices they have to make a hard, the standards they have to live up to are high, and the people they must please are never satisfied. It is a hard job. To sum it up it is time someone said all of this. It is sad that someone had to say it.
I think you should take a look, words from a wise man. Take them to heart.
A few weeks ago, a friend of mine shared an advance article with me from Parenting Magazine. She and her family were in a feature article called, “Life With Anthony” It is the story of their family living with her son who has Down Syndrome. It discusses Anthony’s birth, his diagnosis, and the family’s integration with their new child. They were interviewed about nine months ago for this piece, so some of the milestones they had hoped he would reach he already has! It is a great article about a great family. Unfortunately, the Internet version does not include the great pictures that accompany the hard back magazine – they were simply precious. I am so proud of this family. As my friend and I talked she teared up at the thought of her son growing up. She is optimistic and hopeful for her son’s future. I will never forget what she said to me, “I give him all of the tools to help him reach whatever potential he wants to reach, not because I have set a standard for him to reach or I want him to be like my two other boys. He is his own person and we love him”. I love the fact that the article discusses that children who are in contact with a person or a family member with a disability are more empathetic and accepting of other people. They learn respect, kindness, and caring far faster than other children who have no contact with children who may not be like them. It is a great argument for inclusion. Check it out, I wanted to share my newest little celebrity!
Do you see this? My husband is utterly exhausted. I took this because it first hit me as cute. I love it when all of my babies fall asleep together, but then it hit me how spent my hubby is. He has not had a day for himself in quite a while. On top of working 60+ hours the past couple of weeks, he has also given his “free time” (what?) to help out in my volunteer activities as well as helping out so many people around him and being an outstanding role model. During a very sad weekend, I have been reminded, once again, how extremely lucky I am to have this man in my life. This weekend we have watched two very different families say goodbye to their father and husband in two very different ways and it has been heart wrenching. One was a physical goodbye, filled with sadness and hurt, but hope and a future. The other was emotional and seemed to be the death of a family that will never see a resolution. I feel like I have been on an emotional roller coaster just watching. All the while, my hubby has been there on the front lines helping out in every way possible. How much this man astounds me.
He has become a teacher even without trying. His life goal used to be to pursue a degree in education, and because of life and other commitments (welcome to military life – ready or not) things did not pan out. I learned tonight what a great life teacher he has become. He spent yesterday at my side at a funeral, this morning at my side cleaning (and I mean cleaning) preschool classrooms for our great kids, and today at my side helping a friend escape a very bad family situation. He has become such a good MAN. I am so proud of him. There were some very impressionable young teenage boys helping my friend today and he was heard telling them, “See guys, this is what happens when one man does not do his job and take care of his family, it takes many other men to step in – be a man and do your job, don’t leave it up to someone else.” I was so proud of him when I was told that, but that is him. I don’t deserve him. He always tells me, “you are the best” everyday, without fail, it is a constant – it always has been. I think he has it wrong, I definitely know he is the best.
I woke up this morning and turned on the TV. The Today Show is a staple of my morning. I have been watching it since I was 13 and I got my own TV in my room. I slacked off some when Katie Couric left, but my faithful following has continued through the good, the bad, the big Al, and the little Al.
I have always enjoy Ann Curry’s special reports and I catch her on Dateline when I can. She tends to do what I call human stories. They are not about research or science, statistics or politics, but about people who are encountering the horrors that sometimes this life has to offer. Her reports are heartfelt and show the personal side of people who are suffering in this world. This morning I watched as she did a report on mental institutions in Serbia. You can see the video here.
The story was a report on how disabled people are sent to institutions to live out their lives in horrible conditions. It is an astounding display of the human race at its worst. Children with mental and physical disabilities are placed in “mental institutions” to basically live out their lives with no services, no contact from the outside world, and only their basic needs meet. They are tied to their cribs and left for the duration of their lives. Parents are told by the government to institutionalize their children if they are born with special needs. This is done because they have no way to provide support or services in a country where poverty is rampant. These institutions look exactly like I feel the concentration camps of the Holocaust looked. Public showers with people being wheeled in and hosed off in groups, bars and locked doors with children and adults laying on the floor with no care, no therapy, and little or no physical or emotional contact. There are children tied to cribs; their bodies distorted and atrophied from neglect. There was one man who was at least twenty years old who looked like a small child. “Failure to thrive” the government called it. It is not – the term failure to thrive is a legitimate medical diagnosis where children’s bodies refuse to grow but it not a result of neglect or lack of physical and emotional interaction.
My heart literally broke as she moved from child to child. Some with cerebral palsy, some with Down Syndrome, some with blindness and deafness. If these children had been born in our country there would be services, health care, and professionals lining up to help them gain access to a life full of possibilities and limitless joys and dreams. How sad that these children are forced to witness firsthand the evils of a world without understanding, compassion, and empathy. Only God knows what they could have been or accomplished.
I was talking to a friend today and her child has Down Syndrome. She is a first class mom who shows nothing but first class love for her child. Her world, as seen through his eyes, is filled with love, possibilities, and limitless opportunities. The world is wide open for him; if only every child everywhere had support like that. She reminded me that less than half a century ago, forty something years, we, in America, also institutionalized and put away our children who didn’t turn out “just right”. She has told me that sometimes when she is out and older women look at her son she sometimes sees a sadness come over them. She wonders just how many of them gave their children over to a life in an institution and never heard from or saw them again.
Another friend of mine, whose child also has Down Syndrome, was telling me about an article they were recently apart of in a magazine. She told me the story of giving birth to him and learning two hours later that her child had special needs. She said, “You cannot tell me that my child’s life does not have quality or a purpose. I try to give him the tools that he needs so he can can grow to his full potential- not so he can reach a standard I expect of him.”
These women are my heroes, if I can only be half the mothers that they are.
The report gives ways to help. Also, there is a great website I have had posted her for a while. It is Reece’s Rainbow and it has special needs children all around the globe who are in orphanages and awaiting a family to adopt them. Most of the children are under three because when they are three they are placed in institutions just like the ones in Serbia and they are lost in the system. Adoption is not for everyone; there are ways to donate, via Paypal, to buy specific needs for the orphanages. Some need chairs, some need beds, some need windows to keep the cold out and keep the children dry.
Talk about an assignment, talk about a way to change the world.
I was pretty upset about the whole writer’s strike. I had been ignoring the news updates, the blogs, the Internet pleas to support the Writer’s Guild. All I knew was that it meant no new Office episodes (for shame!), Brothers & Sisters, and even Late Night with Dave. The strike truly hit home with me when I realized that there are only TWO more new episodes of The Office this season and 24 can not begin production until the strike is settled (or until Keiffer can stay sober, but that is another blog). I got pretty upset. After all, when a long day ends I want to see some good TV. I want to be entertained. I want to laugh. I want to hope that one day Toby will find love and be happy. I do heart Toby!
I was pretty deflated. Like most of America, I wanted the writer’s to go back to work. I just wanted all of my favorite story lines to continue uninterrupted until the obligatory season ending cliff hanger. I expect that and secretly I look forward to it. How will they keep us hanging for five whole months this time? It has to be better than Jim asking Pam to dinner or the Walker clan jumping into the pool after a heartbreaking year. Now, I may not get that, but after all I have seen I think I am accepting of the writer’s decision to strike.
I was reading Pam/Jenna’s myspace blog tonight (hey, hubby is working late, again- what else do you want me to do?) and she eloquently explains the whole situation and how The Office crew and cast have decided to support their writer’s. Most of their cast are the writer’s but I digress. She said her trailer has been cleaned out and she will not cross the picket line. Production is shut down and we may not know – for a while – what will happen to Pam and Jim and Dwight and Angela. (I think hubby may cry!)
So to sum it all up – here it is. The writer’s get paid a measly percentage of every DVD of your favorite show that you buy in the store. That is only part of the problem. The production companies have started airing full episodes on the Internet for which they get paid nothing. Every time their handiwork is used to make NBC or CBS and others money via the Internet they receive no royalties. The production companies sell advertising around all of the webisodes. (Hello, have you ever missed Dancing with the Stars and had to watch it the next days- you HAVE to watch those advertisements if you choose to watch it on the Internet). However, the production companies make a huge profit off of these webisodes, (think about it no packaging, no shipping, no nothing- just you and your computer screen) but under the current contract the writer’s receive 0% of the royalties. That does not seem fair to me. If I was an integral part of the creation of a product and then that product was used to make other people and businesses money, I would expect a piece of that pie. I would demand it. That is what they are doing.
Check out this video, they are not asking for much. In a world where the Internet is taking over they only want the security of a paycheck when TV and Internet become one. It is already happening and they want to make sure that they are protected under the new contracts.
So, for the sake of all of us whole love our TV – Fix it, give the writer’s what they want!
My boxes are almost packed and ready to go. . . I am waiting on one more delivery from Amazon and all can be shipped. They are stuffed with Country music and sports memorabilia, video games, Cd’s and DVDs galore, yummy goodies, and Christmas decorations. I have 9 boxes to send. Some of my guys are at Walter Reed Army hospital nursing wounds and waiting for family to come visit. Some of my guys- well most of them – are in the sandbox, far away from their families and in harms way daily. Some are my family, some are old family friends, some I only know through email and a few I never here from. But, they are all important, loved and worth all the time and effort every single month. Our Holiday initiative Operation:Christmas 4 100 quickly grew into a life form all its own. We never would have expected such an outreach from our church, our community, and our family and friends. Thank you to all who made it possible. Some of you gave items, some of you gave cash right out of your pockets. Some of you gave us contacts and allowed us to use your name to the big record labels and companies. Thank you all. You are helping us to reach so many!
Also, check out the G4S articles which we were apart of recently. We all agreed we ALL hated the photos!
So, it is techinically not Veteran’s Day, but my aunt sent this to me. I almost didn’t watch it. I thought I was too busy, didn’t have time, etc., etc., etc. You should watch and if it doesn’t touch your heart check your pulse.
I feel bad about all the whining and complaining about Mondays, today was actually a pretty good day! I decided to remind myself why I have absolutely no reason to be unhappy or negative. Here are a few things that made me thankful today:
- For the second day in a row, I started my day by watching my two deer “pets” in my backyard munching on some treats I had left them- just taking care of God’s creatures.
- Today I heard from one of my adopted soldiers and he finally broke down and told me what he wanted for Christmas. A measly Xbox game- turns out our guy was a National Championship gamer back in his day. That is pretty cool. Now he is fighting a war with his newborn baby girl growing up at home without him. Think about that.
- A good lunch with a good friend who is quickly becoming like a big sister. ( It is so nice to find people you can talk to)
- I started treatment with a new child today and during therapy he said his first word -EVER- His mom cried, I will not lie, so did I. This is why I get up every morning, my little way of changing the world.
- On another work note, one of my kids really looked at me today and smiled. That might sound like a weird thing to say, but I work with children with Down Syndrome, and he REALLY noticed me today, he recognized me when I picked him up- again, why I get up in the morning.
- I turned in another school assignment! Two more and counting!
- I just finished watching RENT for about the tenth time in six days. Sing it. You know you want to! 525, 600. . .
- One of my kiddos moms found out she is going to have a baby!
Yeah, I have nothing to complain about!