Friday, December 30, 2011

Hoping You and Your Family Have a Wonderful New Year

Here we are again, the time of year where I get very sad. Sad that the year is over and the New Year comes to take it's place. I get so depressed when one year ends. I don't really understand why.

At the beginning of every year we  make plans and we get a chance to do everything over again. The old is left behind and chances to redo and restore all that didn't get finished is what we have to look forward to. Why do you think then, that I can't accept the inevitable of time passing. Maybe it is the grief for all those things that  are left undone, incomplete. Or for chances that we never get back.

The end of the year measures in time where we are, what we have accomplished and it is a time to readjust and reevaluate what we want from life and if we are on the right track to completer our goals. When the big ball drops from the sky, we expect to make resolutions without expectations to fail. But 12 months later when it is time measure up, we have to face yet again that we are not perfect and life has once again gotten in our way to reach that state of perfection we so desire.

I was just a little girl when I became aware of time not standing still. The sense of loss at the beginning of a brand new year. Everyone seems so happy when they ring in the new year. With all the hoopla on New Year's Eve, it is hard to imagine that everyone does not feel the same way. I guess some doctors say it is Seasonal Depression...but I think that comes later in the winter. So why and what is the answer.

The thing is, time doesn't stand still and even this obsession of mine will pass. I will put a smile on my face and wake up on New Year's Day and the day after that and then the next day too. And before you know it, I will be looking forward to spring, summer, fall and then it will be Christmas and once again..and once again I will be sad to see the end of yet another year.

Since it is inevitable that time isn't standing still and the New Year will be here tomorrow night at 12:01 am, I hope that your year was full of wishes and dreams come true. That 2012 will bring you opportunities and open doors leading you into the new year.

Happy New Year



















Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Eve 2011

Christmas Eve is almost over here in Oklahoma. I enjoyed spending time with my brother's and families. My children and my grandchildren, niece and nephews. My Mom had a good time I think although she was not feeling well. We had some very good food and lots of candy and goodies. Yummy... My daughter inlaw had was listening and heard us say we were missing Dad. She made us an ornament that was clear and filled it with sparkles and a picture of my Dad. It has been 8 years, but it made me cry...I guess because I am missing him right now. I would give anything to have him back. Many of my friends have felt a loss this year and I have been giving out words of comfort and telling them how it will get better. Of course it is better but you never forget them and you never stop missing them. As the days pass, you will find that you don't think about them everyday, but then when you least expect it, you can't get them off your mind. I suppose this is when they are talking to you. It really just makes you realize how you much you really miss them...I should take some of my own advice. I should get quite and listen. 

This Christmas I have been so out of sorts. I can't get anything done. I am not ready, and yet here it is. Christmas. I haven't hung the stockings or finished wrapping gifts...and yet.. it came anyways. I am going to bed now and when I wake up, I hope it all falls into place. Thankfully there are no little ones here as there are gifts scattered everywhere.

Well Good Night World...I will be back tomorrow and I bet Christmas happens whether I am ready or not...

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Friends

In this crazy world, I have found that there are certain people that keep you grounded. For the most part, these are your girlfriends. I am lucky enough to be able to call the girls I work with "Friends". '

Holly has the kindest soul of anyone I have ever met. She touches my heart every single day. Have you ever met some one that glowed from the inside out. Well that is the way that I see Holly. Without words, but by watching how she lives her life, I have learned to be more aware and considerate of our whole world and enviroment. She is so patient...whether she is working with one of our angels, or decorating a card...she takes simplicity to the highest level. When we are rushing to finish and move on, she creates the most awesome things. Thank you Holly for letting me call you friend.

Becca does not know the words "I can't". Whatever it is, you know she is going to try and try until she perfects it. Her heart is huge and I think she would give you the proverbial shirt off her back. While Holly is patient, Becca is not. And this is her comfort zone. It seems she has done and seen everything, so it suprises me sometimes at the things she hasn't...such as eating at Sonic. :) And we look to her when we have a question because she will not stop until she finds the answer. I am blessed to have met such a unique person. I love you Bec.

Christy does ground us. Her career choice is perfect. She wants to be a school counselor. If you knew her, you know that she will be awesome. She is so intune with everything around us.  I can't exactly explain how Christy  knows just what to say and how she puts things in the right perspective. Her intuition about people and situations amazes me. Our angels are so blessed to have her in their lives. I have learned so much from her. Thank you Christy for everything you do for me.

Miss Cindy is next. Some times God sends people into your life for more than one reason. She has worked hard and made some difficult choices to be where she is today. She is strong and she shows us to stand up for ourselves even when it isn't always the most popular view.  It takes a special person to care for our angels..to look past their disabilities and love them for who they are. Without sharing any details, I know God sent her into my life.

This year we have added two new children and they brought with them their own angels to care for them. The nurses Hillary and Ruby go out of their way to help us. They certainly help to complete our circle and I am glad to call them friends.


I feel like I am one of the most blessed people in the world. This is just a small part of my world.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

One More Week

With only a week until Christmas, I hope you all are better prepared than I am. I have not gotten hardly anything finished. I have been crocheting and making candy and goodies. Problem is, they keep getting eaten up. Geesh...I guess that is why I keep making them.

I always am surprised at how fast Christmas comes and goes. I love this time of the year and it seems that no matter when I start, it just isn't long enough. I try every year to slow it down and nothing works. I have found that trying to have a little Christmas everyday works better than anything else.

My job this year allows me to do that. We have been having Christmas everyday at school. Some people get tired of this. I guess those in retail get the most exposure to Christmas. I know I have heard that they experience over exposure to music and decorations. I am sure they see some of the UGLY of Christmas as well. This includes folks that are not showing their best behavior during this season of love and sharing. They probably need our prayers.

I have one more week and I hope that I can get through it with zero stress. I hope that every single minute I realize a new blessing

 Enjoy your family and friends. Remember to share your blessings with others. This is the wonderful time of the year.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas in our Pockets

Christmas time for some is not the happy merry occasion that movies are made of. But for the rest of us, we can't get enough. Every year we start with the idea that everything will be perfect. That this year, Martha Stewart will be jealous of all our efforts. Our house will be the exact replica of the "Better Homes And Garden" holiday edition. Of course unless we are a Martha Stewart Clone or we can afford to hire one, our ambitions might fall a little short.

Every year people complain that Christmas is so commercialized and it is taking away from the true meaning of Christmas. But every year when they role out the decorations in late September, early October we all start browsing the shelves. Why? Well I believe it is because that we are searching for all the warm fuzzy feelings that Christmas brings us. Christmas seems to bring out the good and selflessness of our human nature. We spend most of the year thinking of and trying to make ends meet. Trying to get through this life the best we can. We get so wound up in working, carpooling, little league, soccer, school and payday to payday...we forget all about faith and caring.

Christmas cheer and love seems to see no boundaries. People caring about each other in way they don't the rest of the year. They have faith that nothing is impossible. Reaching out and giving a piece of themselves, sharing love and bounty. This is the time we know that the Gift of Giving is a blessing in itself.  Oh how good it feels to give. I think about this every year. If we all carried a little bit of Christmas in our pockets all year long, how much better would our lives be. The blessings we receive by giving could be had all year long.

God gave us his son on Christmas Day. A baby child that would be a King.What makes it even more special, is that he knew he would give his life for us. God knew that giving from the heart was a blessing. My Christmas wish this year...That we all put a piece of Christmas in our pockets and feel that magic all year long. Let's remember that God's love is contagious and when we start sharing it, it spreads.





Monday, September 5, 2011

Septemeber 5, 2011

Okay, I know that I am suppose to be writing here every day...Hmmm I wonder what happened to that. I guess I could make up a bunch of excuses, but the main one...is that every time I think of it, I can't think of anything to write. So here I am determined to write today. I feel like I am lost in la la land with out a reason or purpose. How easy it is to let this danged depression rule me. Or use it for an excuse for not living life. So sitting here scratching my head, I think I will do some rambling.

First ramble of the evening... Omgoodness. David Slade the director just answered my Tweet...how funny..So now I have something to write about...It isn't about David so much, but more like how small the world became because of the internet and social networking.  I have met so many people in this world. We got our first computer in 1996. Since then, I have made friends from almost every continent. I have acquaintances and I have friends. We have never met face to face, but they are my friend. I know about their families, lives, pets and jobs. And this because of a little box that hooks to a modem and sends messages around the world. It has opened up our worlds and made them smaller and smaller.

I look at the people I have met and know that in the past, that would not have happened.. Meeting them seems like an impossible dream. I have spoken to movie stars, authors, people from different countries and the list goes on and on. David Slade for instance...He was working on one of my "Obsession driven favorite Movies" and he would Tweet updates. That in it's self is awesome. And I followed him and still do. Tonight I answered one of his Tweets, and he answered me back. There you go.. Sarah Joy Brown, Carolyn Hennesy, Scott Grimes...just a few of the "Stars" that have answered me. I met a world renowned author on a support group. @ I consider her to be a good friend...even though I can't get her to do a book signing in Oklahoma. Just kidding, Diane.

I have to say that having celebrities on Twitter makes them seem more human and real. You get to see the non celebrity side of them without the cameras and paparazzi. They tweet bits and pieces of their lives just like we do. They take their kids to school, they go out to dinner, they go to the dentist......it is amazing about how plain their lives are. But on the other hand, when some of the newer stars will tweet about what is going on in their lives and it is refreshing to hear the excitement in the tweets. When they are thanking their fans or surprised  at something they are experiencing ...well it  puts a smile on my face to see that they appreciate it all.

Of all the things I could be writing about, this seems a little shallow. However it is just one of those little things that makes me happy. It doesn't take much, does it?

Saturday, August 20, 2011

My Obsessions and Time

My Obsessions maybe small in numbers, however, that doesn't mean they are small by any means. It is that time of year again that my Birthday comes along and I begin to dwell on TIME again. I figure that I am not the only one that feels this way, but no one seems to ever really want to discuss it with me.  I mean some things you have in common with friends, you hash and rehash over and over. I can't get anyone to talk about this. Does no one else care?

This past two years I have expanded my appreciation for music. I went from listening to mainly the softer rock of my youth, to country, to oldies, to easy listening.  Eventually I quit listening. Music was painful. I don't know why. Somewhere, somehow when I became aware of my other obsession that we will revisit a little later, I began to listen again. And it was during this year that I began to work at the school with 7th and 8th graders. Possibly hanging with younger kids at this point in my life, opened my mind and heart to changes.  So now I love "The Script" "One Republic" "Five For Fighting" "Train" "Lifehouse" my favorite idol, "David Cook" "Cold Play" "Katy Perry" "Linkin Park" Some other bands that played on soundtracks from "my other obsession"

"Five For Fighting" sings a song "100 years". I had never listened to the words..But somehow they seem to express my twisted up and strange feelings about time. Anna is 15 this year, and I want to say "Listen Sweetie, see how time doesn't stand still and while your wishing you were older, getting there is the fun part. Once the journey gets you there, you realize It is the Journey. There is not enough time when you reach that important milestone to sit back and just be it...I just thought of something...remember when you get a brand new hair cut. And it really isn't what you want, it is always a little too short. Two weeks later, it has grown, you have learned to style it and finally ..finally, There it is. what you wanted in the first place...Perfect...Well for one week if you are lucky... you are a master at styling it and it just looks great...And you go to bed one night and wake up the next day, getting ready for work or school. And guess what...extremely "Bad Hair Day" number 1 and ok...tomorrow will be better...Nope Really Bad Hair day number 2.  What happened to perfect hair...and you realize that moment has come and gone. Well this is how the time in our lives pass.

As the song "100 Years" goes... Your 15 for a moment.... And you still have time. You  got 100 years to go. Well that seems so long.... As the song goes, 55 and half your life your getting wise and then your 67... Well my dad lived to be 67. Seems old when you are  15...but at 55 or in my case 54...67 is only 13 years...and my Lilly girl would only be 15 years if I went then...

I watched a trailer for a movie tonight...realized that the idea would make a great book that I wish I had written. But then...I am sure the book is already written and so there I go again...wasting time while others are writing my books. I digress... The movies concept from how I saw it was that No one ever aged over 25 years old. Now just because you didn't age, didn't mean you wouldn't die. You were allotted so much time, and I guess you had to buy time literally. The plot it seems is that a rich man that had lived 100 years...ironic huh, was tired of living. He was willing to trade it to another man that wasn't rich and was having trouble buying his time. I think this is a very good story. I wonder if taking some of that idea and putting it on my own story would be plagiarism. I mean there are a bunch of stories out there with some common story lines, that are different. It sounds like a great subject for me to write about. Time....

I feel like I am rambling again, so here goes...my other obsession...hmmmph..Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn. I should say part 1, but the fact is, it is just one book and since the books are my real obsession,  and the actors and movies come in a close second, Don't get me wrong I love my actors and the way they play the characters is really awesome. What I have trouble with is .....the screen play...but we have to take what they give us. If Stephenie had written the script...well it would have to be better. Here is hoping that she had more say in these last two movies...Time shouldn't be a problem since it is two movies. Also...another one of my pet peeves about the movie. Through out the books, when ever Bella was upset, tired , or restless....Edward would sing, hum or play her lullaby. Now I am guessing the reason it was left out of the last two movies, was because of 1. Legal reasons....some sort of copyright contract thingy...or just the directors and Melissa being stupid. ..But now that we have the original composer from the first movie as well as Stephenie being one of the producers and being on location...Well you know...and I am crossing my fingers and toes..

Well I am truly rambling now and so I am going to end this very long blog. Have a great end to your weekend.





Friday, August 12, 2011

This HOT Summer

I cannot believe that we go back to school in just 6 days and how we did nothing all summer except try and stay cool. Not very successfully I might add. If you have lived in this heat wave, you know exactly what I mean. We are closing in on breaking the record for the Hottest Summer on Record. 1980 holds that record right now, but we are very near to shattering it. Closing on the record 50 100+ days we have gotten some relief this past week. The drought rages on, but we are getting some rain and this has cooled temps down below the 100's that have become common. As we have acclimated to the mid and high 100's, 98 to 102 seems to be "cool". Our morning temps have dipped below 80 and the 70's seem quite cool, almost cold.

So many people have to work outdoors in this extreme heat. It has been dangerous. I am blessed that I have a cool place to live. My ac has been working hard, but we have stayed cool. With the heat and drought, wild fires have been plenty. Those working to keep our state safe have given so much.


Then we have to remember that while it is hot here, our Troops in Irag and Afghanistan are enduring much harsher conditions. While they are there serving our Country and doing the job we have asked them to do, they have no relief. Sort of puts all this in some kind of perspective, huh.
 
So bring on the rest of the 100's and let's break this record we have been fighting for. September is not far away and hopefully it will bring some wonderful weather with lots of rain  just in time for the Fair...




Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Trying to be a Writer

I want to be able to take all these thoughts of mine and put them down in a way that makes other people want to read them. I want to write short stories and novels. So I am on a quest now trying to learn to put these words down for others to read. I have been told before that I have no imagination. I disagree. If you had ever been in one of my dreams, you would tell a different story. However, bringing those dreams to paper is not easy. I cannot write eloquently or cleverly. My words seem to run together and I have a difficult time using words with meat. Instead I find myself rewriting over and over again words and sentences that belong in the early "Dick and Jane" books. Why can't I remember all those vocabulary words that we had to write and write and write in school? Why can't my brain  unlock some of the things I learned in school. I know that I made A's in English and Grammar. I must have been in 2nd grade all 12 years. Or else, an Alien stole me from my home when I was 8 or 9 and induced me into a coma, while my alien look alike went to school, made all the great grades and then somewhere right before graduation, switched us back. Even now I am not using proper grammar or punctuation and I am running sentences together. I am blaming it on the late hour and the fact that I just read different authors advice to writers. Just write it and you can correct it later. I think I like that advice. However, don't look for me to correct this one, because it is still late.

 I stumbled on advice from one of the greats, John Steinbeck. He said that in school, he was told he should just move to England, because there being poor is a hardship, here in the US it is shameful. And that becoming a writer takes a long time. The great depression happened about that time, so everyone in America was poor ...He decided that he would never know if he was shameful, But the teacher was right about one thing....It does take a long time. His low scores on his College stories and the hundreds of rejection slips he got was not what he expected. He could read great stories but never really figured out why he couldn't.write them. Well his advice was just to write them and take his chances. We know how that worked for him. I think that I will keep writing, but I had better take some of those basic writing classes as well. I am getting started a little later in life than he did and I was abducted by aliens for at least 8 of my schooling years.

For many years I would read a book and think ...okay I am going to write a book now. Pick up my pencil and paper and sit there...And say Chapter One...She looked out the window.......it was raining, cloudy......hmmmmmmmmm hmmmmmmm. Well of course I can't write, because I have never been anywhere or done anything. How can I write about something I don't know. Excuse number 1....I don't have time for this...Excuse number 2....If I was a real writer, the words would just fall on the page...Excuse number 3...If if if if if if if if if if....I don't have a type writer (remember, I was born before computers, heck I had a manual typewriter in Typing Class) Then I don't have a word processor...If I had a computer...If I had a laptop....If if if if if if if if ...I did write some in journals, but thought I was too boring....Then I had a thought...Writing is a job...it is WORK..oh no..it suppose to be all fun if I was a real writer...then ..here come those words falling on the paper before I even thought them again....
So now I am ready to be real. The last couple of years I have had a few real writing jobs. Blogging for a cell phone company, doing a little web content. I got paid..Now I am a real writer. I figure if I got a check for writing, I must be real.

I am serious now and I believe I can at least write for my own pleasure. One friend I met, Diane Chamberlain, she has told me personally that her advice to new writers, is to take a class in composition and grammar. She has read more than a few great stories that were just badly written. So I am researching and compiling advice from successful writers. My daughter in law has suggested that I go to college. I am 50+ years old and sure that I would have to go to remedial college. I did tell her that I would take a writing class, and see how it goes. Who knows, maybe I will be a college student after all. Although it didn't do that much for John Steinbeck or Mark Twain, I am sure it can only be a positive experience for me. Oh, I forgot to mention that I am a long lost cousin of Mr.Clemmens.  Surely this apple has not fallen really far from the trees...Just kidding.

Well this is a red letter day; 2 blog post in one day:) And also, I am going to have to remember to not use all this texting jargon stuff.. I remember in class one day, a student asked me to read her short story. She was using U for you and LOL and I told her the story was very good, but she wasn't sending a text message.

When I get like this, I can ramble for hours making absolutely no sense. So for now, I think I will go to bed, dream and try to put those dreams on paper tomorrow...Maybe the aliens will take me again and send the smart Cindy back down until I finish a book and get it published. Sweet dreams for everyone.

June 22, 1978 Happy Birthday Lyssa

On this day 33 years ago, I was in the delivery room with a new baby girl squirming on my belly while the nurses were rubbing her down and the doctor was cutting the cord. Mike and I sharing one of the 3 happiest days of our lives. She was my second born and I was sure she was going to be a boy. I remember telling Mike as we were celebrating, that I guess we didn't know how to have a boy. And he was telling me that was quite okay as he was beaming from ear to ear for his brand new daughter.  I didn't know then that she would become my very best friend.

I have 3 children and I love them all with every ounce of my soul. Each one a different individual with different degrees of me and their dad and themselves that add up to be a whole person. Why then is Lyssa my best friend? I think it is because we think alike. We are not alike in the way that we do things, but the reasons behind them, I think are more alike than my other two. She and I enjoy doing the same things.


Lately we haven't been on the same page. We are not connecting as we have in the past. I choose to believe this is just a glitch in time and we will find our way back. She has some broken things in her life right now. I cannot fix these as much as I wish I could. I can't put a band aid on it and kiss the boo boo and the tears. I have to let her find her own way. I choose to believe that she will make the right choices in the end. Her babies need her to be whole again and I pray that God will lead her to the answers she needs.

She is beautiful, young, determined. She loves her family and friends and she tries to make the best of all that life gives her. I could not be prouder of what she has accomplished. She has learned some hard life lessons, she has had to pay the consequences of some very bad choices. When she figures out how to forgive herself, she will be able to put her life back together again. Right now she is just moving through the motions.

Lyssa, my birthday wish for you is very simple. I want you to remember who you are. Forgive yourself as others have already done. Figure out what it is you want and need. And put you back together again. Don't settle for less and keep reaching for the Golden Ring...I love you baby girl and I need you to be happy again. 


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

One Week a Year

Granny and Amos lived in Joshua, TX. This was about 9 miles from my house in Cleburne. And after we moved to Oklahoma, it was a short 211 miles. Living on about 16 acres, a mini farm. And although they both had day jobs, they were able to raise a few "crops" to help with their finances. Granny worked as a cook at the hospital in Cleburne. She was very proud of her job and the fact she had perfect attendance. Amos was my step grandfather and he worked at a convenience store.

She had two weeks vacation a year.  One week of that vacation, my brother and I spent at Granny's house. For some reason, memories of my childhood are sort of sketchy, but these are some of my best ones. In the 60's and early 70's, life seemed simpler.

They didn't have an air conditioner and I can't remember them having even a "Water Cooler". Well I think they did get a water cooler, but they didn't always have one. How did they do that? It was hot in the summer in the middle of Texas. My Granny and Amos slept in separate beds  and rooms. Mostly because she snored like a freight train. I am a lot like my Granny. Her bed was on the back porch. This back porch was screened in and in the winter time, the windows were sealed up. However, in the summer, the covers came off and the room was open on 3 sides. I know now that this is how they were able to sleep. We would take a bath of an evening and go straight to bed. When complaining about the heat, they would call us "Softys,  Softys"... And we would go to bed very early. When we would say something about it, She would say "You are not at your Daddy's house right now, You are at your Granny's." There wasn't much time for TV, but they did have one.

They lived in a small house on 16 acres I think. The house set back from the road and between the house and the road was a  peach orchard. I can so remember the taste of those peaches picked from the tree. The peach fuzz sticking your chin while the sweet warm juice of the peach ran down your chin. Yummy. The smell of the hot dirt between your toes. Between the peach trees and the house, was the front yard. In the front yard were a line of mimosa trees. I loved those trees. Climbing the trees was out of the question, but we still did it. In the afternoon the front yard was shaded with the trees. Amos showed us how to use quilts and rope to make hammocks. So we each made our own hammock. The scents of the afternoon sun beating down on the trees and warming the hammocks. They had St.Augustine grass in the front. It was so nice to walk barefooted on that grass. Unlike at our house where we had stickers, and had to wear shoes outside or pay the consequences.

Now Granny had a blackberry patch. She raised and sold blackberries. Her berry money she used to buy something she wanted. I remember when she bought a new kitchen stove. It was yellow and had two ovens. One on the top and one on the bottom. Even when she moved to town later, she had that stove.Amos grew green beans and sold them in town.  Our time there also include helping with the chores. We had to help pick green beans. Even when he didn't have to plow the fields, he would give us rides. He would sit on his lap and steer. That was so much fun. When the peaches were ripe, we would help him pick those as well. Sometime in there, and I don't remember if it was the week we spent there, or later in the year, we would get together and make home made ice cream. My uncle had a new fangled electric ice cream maker, but Amos had one that we had to hand turn. How much fun that was to take turns turning the handle. And when it got too hard for us, Amos or Dad would take over. The fresh blackberry cobbler with vanilla ice cream was so delicious just not my favorite. My favorite was the fresh peach ice cream. No cobbler, just ice cream.

 When I was really young, Granny had an old fashion washer. The one where you washed in the washer, than used the wringer to wring them out into the rinse water. Then you would run them through the ringer one more time and we would hang them on the clothes line. Laundry had the most wonderful fragrance in the whole world. I loved sleeping on those sheets. She eventually got a new washing machine,  but we still hung out all the clothes. I did miss the old washer, I am sure she didn't.

We didn't eat cereal at Granny's house. Every morning we had eggs, bacon and either biscuits and gravy or toast. She always ate tomatoes with hers. And she let us drink coffee. Of course it was mostly milk, we would pour it from our cup into a saucer and drink it. This was something we learned from her mother, my great grandma. Dipping our biscuits in the coffee, we thought we were grown up. She had chickens also, therefore she had fresh eggs. Some of her hens would lay brown eggs and some were white. Amos complained about the chickens all the time. They were too noisy for him...We loved loved the chickens.

I am sure all the memories are faded and colored, but remembering them, makes me smile. I hope that when my grand kids remember our days together, they remember only the good times. Remembering happy times spent with your grandparents, should help you when you are spending time with your grand children.


Monday, June 13, 2011

Repost /Life with Cindy: Things To Do Before I am 18 or Before I Die

Life with Cindy: Things To Do Before I am 18 or Before I Die: "My 14 year old Granddaughter posted this statement or question on Facebook. Well of course I answered it. It went something like this.... I ..."

Monday, June 6, 2011

Classroom CJH 2010/2011

At the end of the day, I had finished my 3rd year working at CJH. I was blessed with the opportunity to work full time in a class room full of God's angels in this 3rd year. I fell in love with all the children at this school immediately when I began in the fall of 2008. I never could have guessed the blessings God would send me when I started this journey..

I needed to find a job that would help with some of our finances. I had to be able to work short hours and be able to work only when my health would let me. I knew a few people who had been substituting. I was torn as being a teacher had never crossed my mind. I had worked in a day care during high school. I also had 3 children of my own. I loved my kids, but others got on my last good nerve very easily. After giving it some thought, I decided to try it. After all, I could always quit. That last sentence makes me laugh now.

My first year I worked at several schools, and was trying to figure it all out. I got a call from CJH. And here is what I figured out. I love the babies; Pre School and Kindergarten and even 1 st and 2 nd grade, These children love you. And then you have the "Zombies", which translates to High School Students. Of course they aren't all bad, but you never know from one minute to the other what is going to happen. Hello...I am the teacher, you can't just get up and leave. Sorry...And then we have the JR High gang. The majority of these kids are good and they are transitioning now from that little boy or girl into young ladies and gentlemen...You know that Transition Juice that is made up of Hormones and surge through the body causing them to malfunction. So you have the little ones that love, love, love you and have an attention span of about 2 1/2 minutes. You have the High School kids that don't need you because they already know everything. I prefer the middle kids. These have to be my favorite age. Well, people have called me crazy before. They also worry that I have lost my mind. I don't want to burst the bubble, but I am not sure I have ever had one to lose.

My granddaughter Anna, was in the 7th grade at CJH when I started. It was nice to spend time with her and meet her friends. I became known as either Ms. Mathes or Grandma. These young kids are still trying to make up their minds on the things they've learned.. Still waiting on waking up and KNOWing everything. And lastly, Administration at CJH has made me feel Golden. They treat me like I am doing them a huge favor and I am trying to figure out if they would let me work even if they don't pay me.

In the first two years I worked here, I got to experience all classes and students. From the Extremely Handicapped and Autistic children to the Students with Top Honors and those slightly out of tuned ones that land in ISD on a regular basis. I love them all. This past year I spent all my days in the extremely handicapped classroom. This didn't stop me from loving all my students. Every chance I got, I was out mingling with my other kids. I know that the students think I am pretty crazy, but they are good natured about it. And while they still have trouble showing respect 100 percent of time, I think they do respect me.

My year in the classroom full of God's "Angels" ended on May 26. And I have learned so much. We forget sometimes when we care for them, that they are people. And they may not see, or hear as well and we really are not so sure what they understand. One of our girls is blind and so tiny and bent. It is easy just to walk up to her and start wiping her face or sticking the spoon in her mouth. I don't know when I realized that speaking to her before I touched her was so important. And touching her and kissing her forehead. Another of our angels, I learned to hold her hands when I would talk to her. Instead of talking at her or around her, when you hold her hand, she seems to listen. One young man walks around in another world most of the time bouncing his ball. And we would go for walks and you wonder how far away he really is when the look he has in his eyes looks to be about a 1,000 miles. And one day as I was caring for him, he leaned in for a very sloppy kiss. I could write and write about my kids, but then I would end up giving you names and that isn't allowed. I just know that these kids stole my heart. They accepted me into their world and gave me so much joy. On that last day of school, I realized that for two of my angels, I would not see them again. They have moved on. I hope that their new school and teachers will know them and see into their hearts and souls. Give them the respect and dignity they deserve. Maybe I will have to visit at WMHS and check in.

In August when I return to my journey, I will be joined at CJH by my grandson Billy Michael. He has some learning disabilities with a main diagnosis of Autism. I can't wait to be there with him. To help him feel comfortable and learn to love the school as much as I do. I will be returning to the general population so to speak, seeing all the students in different classes. Getting to know the 7th and 8th graders this year. With little contact or knowledge of the new 8th graders, it will feel like that first day 3 years ago.
I also will be thinking about that day 1969 when I first walked into CJH as a student in the 7th grade. This school is always like coming home for me. I feel like Peter Pan in the land where I never have to grow up.

I can't finish this blog with out thanking a few of the people I have been blessed to know. First of all, the administration. Mr.Peak you have gone out of your way to accommodate me this year. You could have filled my position at any time. I am sure it would have made it easier. Your understanding in all of this has been another testimony of the person you are. The students at CJH are so fortunate to have you in their lives.
Ms. Terry Sanders,You have been such a blessing to me. Your effort to give me the best and most positive experience every day has not gone unnoticed. You have been so good to me and given me so many opportunities. I can't thank you enough. Really, you should get a raise. The teachers at CJH are so welcoming to me. I am sure I am not the exception. You treat your subs with respect. Like I have said before. You make make me feel golden. I have heard some horror stories from other schools. Also, the librarians, are also available and help me anytime I need them.  Thank you CJH. Even our janitors go out of their way to make us welcome.

Our classroom consists of one lead teacher and 4 paras. In January we welcomed a new lead teacher into our classroom. Cindy worked very hard and long to get her degrees and pass her test to work in a classroom like ours.Thank you, Cindy for allowing me to continue to work the year out. Our kids need consistency with as little change as possible. We had been going through many changes with the leaving of our head teacher and other para. Then my 3 co workers. We had a great team and everyone was considerate of each other and all of you just dug in and we got things done. You always treated me as an equal even though...I was "Just a Sub".Miss Becca, Miss Coach Oliver and Miss Holly. I love you guys and will miss working with you. We became great friends I think.
 
Two other teachers came in every day to work with our kids. Coach D.Eddy and Ms. Beaty. 
 Coach Eddy was the PE teacher for our kids. We both were alumni from CJH. Best part of that, he will always be older than me. He also made me feel golden.
Ms. Beaty was our 5th hour teacher. She came in everyday and taught our students about science and geography. She loved our kids and entertained us. I could talk to her for hours, as I always learn something new when she is there. I can hardly wait for her to be a part of my grand children's education. She is in the lab classes and she will have probably 3 of them. I know she can't wait to retire and move to New Zealand, however I had to tell her NO, not yet. Ms. Beaty truly loves her job and the kids. I will miss working with you both everyday. I know I will see you, but it won't be quite the same. 

I know I am leaving out more thank yous and praises, but I have to end this soon. If I wrote around the clock about the Administration, Faculty, Support employees, and the students at CJH, I could not praise them enough, or let them know how much I love them. So I am finally shutting up and leave you with this; Goodbye for now. Enjoy your summer, I will see you at the beginning of the 2011/20012 school year if you let me.










Saturday, April 16, 2011

Autism Awareness prt 2/ Ryan


Ryan David Kenneth Mathis was born on October 3, 2000. The most beautiful baby boy. He was my 3rd grandchild, 2nd grandson and my son's first baby. We were on cloud nine. He seemed to be perfect, but Wendy had a feeling something was wrong. He talked sort of early, but even as an infant, he didn't really like to be cuddled and held. He wanted down. And as soon as he could walk, my goodness, we almost wished it was legal to tie him up. Just joking. But he was so busy. And still Wendy, his mom, thought there was something that wasn't right. Oh we told her he was just an independent baby. He stopped talking about the age of 1, but he was on the go. He could climb, he could instant message on the computer. He didn't know how to spell the words, but he definitely had the concept down. But before the time he was 3 we knew there was something different about Ryan. She had him evaluated by a program here in Oklahoma called Sooner Start. And they agreed. Although he didn't have a dx, they gave him a learning disability and when he was 3 years old, he started school.

Wendy did all the research she could on the Internet. She talked to his doctors and teachers, but they still acted like he would grow out of what ever was going on. Now he had a baby brother before he was two. His name is Noah. Noah was talking to us using words like Mama,Daddy, cup,bottle and ball. And then when he was about 6 months, he stopped. They had some things in common, but they were as different as day and night. Noah had to bounce and swing. He would climb and run. Ryan needed things quite. He had to be still. Noises had to be low. He cried and cried when we made him play out in my back yard, because when the train would go by blowing the horn, he acted terrified. I was seeing a counselor about this time dealing with depression. Of course I talked about my grandchildren non stop. One day he suggested that I read the book."The Out of Sync Child" by Carol Stock Kranowitz. The lights came on. We were dealing with Sensory Integration. The book described Ryan and Noah to the T. 

Wendy finally had a starting point. Reading this book, she had something tangible that she could use to describe her boys. She was given a referral to the Oklahoma Child Study Center by the boys physician. Both of the boys were evaluated and they got their diagnosis. Autism...Both boys on the spectrum.We have since learned that the spectrum is huge. There are so many symptoms and no two people have all the same ones. I describe it as the Autism Store where all the symptoms are on a shelf, and you go in and choose as many as you want.

I am talking about Ryan today. Awesome boy. Of course I am the grandma, what else will I say?  He looks at life so literally. To him the world is Black and White. He does not see the gray side. He will say exactly what he sees. If you are fat, he will tell you. He isn't trying to hurt your feelings, he has trouble figuring out why exactly that would hurt your feelings. To him there is only one definition of most words. Hot means just the opposite of Cold. Sometimes this can be so funny. But of course it isn't. If you have ever seen "The Temple Grandin Story"  you will understand how he sees things. Now I can imagine how he sees life. When he was first evaluated they told us that he was short a couple of symptoms that would give him a diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome. If he doesn't have Asperger's, then he certainly has most of the symptoms. 


He is so precious and easy to love. And even though he has trouble recognizing facial expressions and body language, he has no trouble expressing his love for his family. His heart is huge. Appropriate responses to some situations is one of the aspects of his life he has trouble with. Again Temple Grandin was able to tell the story so well. Using visual cues, her family taught her how to better read people's expressions. Her professor at school never gave up on her and encouraged her to get an education. He believed she could and she took that encouragement and made herself. I know that Ryan will be able to do the same. 


He is in the fourth grade this year. It has not been the easiest for him. While he is at his grade level and excels in most areas, he has trouble staying on task. He has an aide that helps him with this. Mainstreamed in some of his classes with peers that are "normal" he still has classes in the resource room.  I am so proud of him and cannot wait to see what he accomplishes. 


In third grade last year, he entered a contest that was state wide. It could be a poem, story or art project. He wrote an essay about the ocean. This was his favorite place to be. Describing everything from the sun and wind in his face to tasting the salt in the air. Sounds impressive...Right? Especially since he has never seen the ocean. His was selected by the PTA at his school first as the winner of the 3rd grade and then he was chosen to represent his entire school at the next level of the contest. I think he just may be a writer, and doesn't even know it yet. In 2nd grade, he wrote for me, three comic books complete with illustrations. 3 stories of Captain Underpants.


When he was only 3 years old, he had 2 brothers. Noah was born when he was 16 months old, and Ashton was born when he was 2 years and 10 months old. Wendy had her hands full.  Lloyd worked all the time as the GM of a Taco Bell. And one evening while he was at work, Wendy was bringing laundry from the garage into the kitchen. She fell and was sitting on the floor almost in tears of frustration and asked Ryan to help her.  Ryan got the telephone and called 911 and brought it to her. He said "Mom, I got you some help". 


He has been helping her ever since. Now there are 5 of them. He has a brother named Brody that is normal. He shows no signs of Autism. A baby sister, Lilly, was born in August 2009. She also shows no signs of Autism. Ryan takes on the responsibility of Big Brother and is a big help to Mom and Dad. 


He loves birds and snakes. Bird watching in my back yard is one of his favorite things to do. He doesn't have much interest in fiction books. In fact he and Billy Michael had a disagreement the other day about the Hump Back Whale. He insisted that the Hump Back Whale has 2 blow holes. Billy Michael was not having it. Wendy told Ryan to just let it go. He whispered to her, "It is because he doesn't read non fiction books".


He loves to watch wrestling with his Dad and has already chosen a name for when he joins the circuit. He puts his clothes on backwards and wrong side out. I tell him that it is okay. His grandma, Me, use to do the same thing. Hence my nickname, Doodle Bug. He thinks that is funny. 


He is a typical 10 year old with the same hopes and dreams as other kids his age. Life to him may look a little different, but he is not oblivious to that. He realizes he has Autism. He is trying to figure out exactly which parts of his life are colored by it and which parts are not. God couldn't have chosen a more perfect mom and dad for him. He and Billy Michael have many conversations about their Autism. Between the two of them, they have come up with solutions and conclusions all on their own. Right now, this is enough.

Once again I speak of Awareness. While we can talk night and day now about Autism, it took us a long time to get here. There is so much out there, but people have got to know that when they hear the word Autism, it is not Rain Man. While Rain Man certainly had Autism, he was also a Savant. This is not typical. 
These children do tend to find one subject that interest them and they will teach you everything you wanted to know and everything you didn't about the subject. It just isn't common for them to be a savant.

We need to educate people about early intervention. While the State of Oklahoma has a very good program in Sooner Start, the earliest that children can be placed into school programs is 3 years of age. It is important that we get to them sooner. The ideal time for intervention is 18 to 36 months. Having said that, they will come into your home and work with your children.

I will leave on this note. Be aware of the children in your life. Know the symptoms. If there is a child you are concerned with, talk with the parents. Encourage them to call and set up an evaluation. There is no harm in having a child evaluated. Early intervention is so important.

It has been a year since I wrote this. After reading it, I had to do a little editing that I missed the first time. I thought I would add this just in case someone new read it. If you are a mother, and you feel there is something just not right with your child, don't hesitate to ask your doctor about it. And if they will not listen, do not give up. You are the parent, and no one else knows your child like you do. People are still in denial and ignorant of the facts of autism. So if you know that there is something just not right about your son or daughter, stand up for them and don't stop until you get the answers you are looking for. If you are right, listen to me now....You will have to advocate for your child. You will have to be their voice.















Tuesday, April 12, 2011

April is Autism Awareness Month

You know I started out to write about my daughter in-law. And as I wrote more and more it got longer and longer and all the grandkids were there. I just kept going off topic even though it was still the topic. I decided that the best thing I can do is to write multiple post about Autism this month.

I decided the first post would be about AWARENESS. I mean this has crossed my mind several times when I posted something on Facebook or Twitter . I would think, how does Awareness help us. It isn't anything tangible like say money or research. The answer sort of crept up on me.

First of all, I work with some of the most loving and unselfish ladies at school. I am sort of a permanent substitute this year. Long story for later. But the classroom I have been in is labeled  Severely and Profound Multiple Disabilities. And while autism is a small part of some of their histories, it is there. We have a new teacher that has worked with Autistic children for sometime now while getting her degree. She is also an older new teacher. The other 3 ladies working in the classroom are so in tune while still learning. Of course my history is with my 4 autistic grandsons. Rebecca is versed pretty well also as she has a daughter with Aspergers Syndrome, which is part of the spectrum. We make quite a team.

We discuss our kids a lot. And we try to provide their needs. So of course, the subject comes up of how people perceive our kids. People in general are ignorant. For me it was ignorance and I have to say I didn't understand either. Wendy would say there was something different about our Ryan. And of course we all made excuses. I know now a motherl knows her child and for goodness sakes, people should listen. Even before Ryan, there was something going on with Billy Michael. But I digress. I want to address each child this month and introduce you to their world. This is about Awareness. After last week and then spending time with Wendy and talking with her this weekend I understand why awareness is so important.

The fact is people are ignorant of the challenges that these children suffer. Not only the children, but every person in the family is affected. Even I do not know how to answer someone when they ask me "What is Autism?" I can list symptoms and tell them it is a neurological problem. Before, I would tell you..."Oh, have you ever seen Rain Man? Well that is Autism." Well that is not a lie, but it is so much more. While our favorite character "Rain Man" had Autism, he had so much more.

My counselor gave me the first real clue about our boys. I was telling him about Noah and Ryan. I described their behavior and told him we just didn't know. He suggested that I read "The Out Of Sync Child" by Carol Stock Kranowitz. It started to click. I read the book and there on the pages were Ryan and Noah. Even after I started learning about Autism and reading the symptoms searching for answers for our boys, everything was categorized and nothing seemed to fit exactly.   Even though the "Sensory Integration" was definitely part of their DX, it wasn't everything. The Autism DX came and we still were clueless. Four Grandsons with Autism, and everyone of them are different. While some of the symptoms are mirrored, they all have their unique characteristics that make them who they are. I have now decided that each child is taken to the Autistic Warehouse and a list of symptoms are pulled off the shelf in no certain order. These make our children.  














Reasons why Awareness is so important. First of all the parents of these children need to know. Parents must be able to take their child to a doctor and say, "There is something different about my child that is just not right." And doctors should trust that a parent knows his or her child. Quicker intervention gives that child the  best chance they have at living the best life they can. While Autism cannot be cured, with early intervention, it can be the difference between having a child that can live in society with his family and peers and one that is at best non verbal and worst case, institutionalized.

With 1 in 110 children, 1 in 70 boys suffering under the spectrum, more and more people are being affected. Many people only have to look into their extended family to find someone on the spectrum. And chances are if you know one person, they have a sibling or cousin also on the spectrum. It is more common to have more than one child in the immediate family with Autism. Something else we didn't know.

Some of the facts that you may or may not know;
1. Although this is something a child is born with in most cases, it doesn't always manifest itself until the child is older. Sometimes children that seem to be developing perfectly normal with lose what they have learned. For instance. my Noah was starting to talk. We have him recorded laughing and talking. Saying words like Mamma and Daddy..6 months old and he started losing it. There is a man that I found on Twitter. Watch this "The United States Of Autism" Official Trailer.. My son has 5 children. The first 3 span the spectrum. He has 2 more, a boy and girl who seem very normal. But there is a fear that one day they will wake up in a world where they are lost. It happens. Many of our Children learn and become as close to normal as they can. But there is always a chance that one day they will wake up and lose everything they have gained. It is a scarey feeling.

2. Melt Downs. They happen. A Lot. You may wake up one day when all is right with the world and everyone is getting breakfast and getting ready for school and because the sun is too bright, the toothbrush is the wrong color, there is a tag inside a new shirt, or for no reason at all, your child starts screaming at the top of their lungs. They fall down on the floor and begin to bang their head on the floor until it bleeds and stepping in only gets you a headbutt that knocks out your front tooth. So now everyone is late for school, or work. And the only thing you are happy about is that it happened in the privacy of your own home. Not in front of peers that believe if you were a better parent that it would never happen.

 Awareness!!!! Parents, I urge you to be diligent when you believe your child's behavior or development doesn't seem right. Talk to your doctor. If they won't listen, find someone who will. This is so important.
 There are more, but these are just a few of the things a parent of an autistic child deals with everyday. Some of their fears and realities. I am going to write more about these this month. I will give you some of the symptoms and the names of websites. Pass them on, share them with your friends. Talk about it. You will be surprised how many people are affected.

Check out Autism Speaks. They are getting out the information for people. They are standing up for our kids and trying to get legislation passed and our Senators and Congressmen to be AWARE.


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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Things To Do Before I am 18 or Before I Die

My 14 year old Granddaughter posted this statement or question on Facebook. Well of course I answered it. It went something like this.... I think the Before I turn 18 ship has already sailed. That is if you don't count my backwards birthdays. So basically, this would be my "Bucket List".

Things to do before I die.
I want to fly. Preferably in a plane or better yet, a Hot Air Balloon.But sometimes I dream that I can fly without any assistance. Yes, I probably am crazy. You can ask my husband and kids to verify that. I have often thought of sky diving. I would have to have someone to push me out of the plane and I think it would hurt my feet and legs to land. I definitely want to fly. Maybe God will give me Angel Wings when I die.

Walk...There are many places I would like to walk. The Red Carpet all glammed out. Smiling at the cameras,feeling good about myself. Walking there might mean that I actually got to act in a movie, even if it was a little bitty part. Just so that I might have the opportunity to be involved in that kind of work. I know this doesn't make sense. Lately I have been wanting to see and watch and even have my hand in making a movie. I could just be that proverbial fly. Does that sound stupid? I digress. I would love to walk along every coastline in the US...but why stop there..how about the world. Does your bucket list have to be reasonable, or can it be made up of dreams? Since it belongs to me, I figure I can make it anything
I want.

Play...the piano. Not pound out notes that I can read, that taught myself. And everyone covering their ears yelling "Mom,STOP" or "Dear, plug the headphones in". My sweet husband gave the piano as a Christmas/Anniversary gift. This was several years ago. I have to say that this was my favorite gift ever. To sit down and create beautiful music.....wow.
Play....to learn to play and enjoy life without any guilt or fear. Sometimes we worry too much about what others think. When laughter and joy is what we need.

Now here comes a biggie....Write....I touched on this before..I want to put words on paper that someone wants to read. They really don't have to pay me money, but of course that would be nice. When I was younger, I would say the words, "I want to be a writer" Somewhere alongside the way, I figured out that it was work. I also realized that I lacked the Education. When I started working at the school, I began to believe it was possible. With this new thing called Blogs, I started writing about stuff that happened in my life and in life in general. I also applied for and got writing jobs. I met a very nice man from the UK. He helped me and critiqued my work. His constructive criticism encouraged me to keep trying. I tried not to negatively effect his company. I think more than anything, he gave me the confidence to keep trying.
Another person that has been a inspiration to me is Diane Chamberlain. She is an author with many books in print. Recently she has made the next step in technology and began to make her books electronic with EBooks.
Now that I have rambled forever, I should get back to the point. Okay, if you didn't get this before, I want to be a writer.

You know that there is so much on my Bucket List, I could write all day and night and still think of more. How will I ever get it done in my lifetime? Even if I have 50 more years and everyone of those I was healthy, I don't know how I could finish. Of course that would mean not adding anymore to the list.

I finished my Facebook comment by mentioning the Vampire Venom. If you ever follow me, you know that is my own personal joke. With my Twilight Saga obsession, I decided that a little venom could get rid of wrinkles, gray hair and arthritis. It is an interesting thought to live forever. I know that spiritually I will have everlasting life. So anything I infer about Vampires and Werewolves is strictly make-believe.

I began 2011 with a resolution to NOT sabotage my life with Self Fulfilling Prophecies. I think if I believe I can and will do them...then of course it's possible. All I have to do is see myself doing them.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2011

I have always been saddend by the changing of the years. It has often triggered bouts of depression. This year I am trying to do the right things to make sure that doesn't happen.

A student where I work made a statement on Facebook. He said "2011 sucks already". You should know that he is very negative and finds pleasure in being negative and causing havoc everywhere he goes. Of course, these kids know I am going to give my opinion on there comments. If they don't want me to comment, then don't say stupid stuff, or don't ask me to be their friend. And yes, I had something to say.

Many times when I start writing, I realize and learn things about myself. Like I said, I am trying to Not fall into the Depression Pit this year. I remember learning about Self Fulfilling Prophecy. Everyone doesn't believe and appreciate this as being a true phenomenon. I do however believe it's true.

As I was telling him how that kind of thinking would insure that his 2011 would suck it occurred to me that I was guilty of the same.

Just because it has always made me sad, doesn't mean this year is the same. I know there are things I do not have control over. I do have control over how I think. I can decide to think positive and not sabotage my own destiny with negativity.

So for today, 1-1-11, I am going to say "Believing that a new year has to be sad is not an option. Believing that I am going to have an awesome year, is the only option I am giving myself."
Life With Cindy in 2011 will be exciting and full of "I cans".

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