Sunday, November 16, 2014

Living in the Gap ~ Guest Blogging Day

Photo Courtesy of Evgeni Dinev/
I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. John 17:14 NIV

We were in the car a couple of weeks back, on our way home from Lake Tahoe and we passed the sign on I80 which read "Emigrant Gap."  Having recently visited the museum on Donner Pass, and been freshly familiarized with the tragic story in America's history of the Donner Party, I started thinking about what the Emigrant Gap actually represented.

I started to research "Emigrant Gap" and found that it actually is a city in California.  But, along with that, I found out that, according to the Office of Historic Preservation
The development of discovery of gold in California is due in no small measure to the men and women who came by the California Emigrant Trail and who stayed to build our state. No other method of entry can parallel it in danger, privation, fortitude and romance, nor is anything more closely associated in the mind of the average American with the Gold Rush than the covered wagon.  (accessed on-line 11/5/14 at No. 403 Historic Landmark)
The early American emigrants who braved a new and unknown world set out on a journey which they knew would not be easy.  They had heard the promises of possibilities, and they knew that the road would be beyond difficult.  They left behind family and friends with the understanding that they would likely never see them again. 

Read more about the inspirational pioneers of the West... 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Sacrifice and Thanksgiving ~ Guest Blogging Day

Photo Courtesy of Felixco, Inc/

On that day Gad went to David and said to him, “Go up and build an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.” So David went up, as the Lord had commanded through Gad. When Araunah looked and saw the king and his officials coming toward him, he went out and bowed down before the king with his face to the ground.

Araunah said, “Why has my lord the king come to his servant?”

“To buy your threshing floor,” David answered, “so I can build an altar to the Lord, that the plague on the people may be stopped.”

Araunah said to David, “Let my lord the king take whatever he wishes and offer it up. Here are oxen for the burnt offering, and here are threshing sledges and ox yokes for the wood. Your Majesty, Araunah gives all this to the king.” Araunah also said to him, “May the Lord your God accept you.”

But the king replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on paying you for it. I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.”

So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen and paid fifty shekels of silver for them. David built an altar to the Lord there and sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. Then the Lord answered his prayer in behalf of the land, and the plague on Israel was stopped.

2 Samuel 24: 18-25 NIV

As the year 2014 becomes history in the next few weeks, we; my family, could look back and focus on what we have lost this year.  

What have we sacrificed?

Continue reading on  Comfort in the Midst of Chaos...

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

When the Heart Hurts ~ WAGR Wednesday

Photo by Erin Moore Photography
Yes, my daughter is legally blind.  Yes, she is a cancer survivor.  Yes, she has high blood pressure and the possibility of kidney failure down the road.  Yes, she is developmentally delayed. But what do I fear the most?

Her heart being hurt.

I was picked on as a kid, and I know how much it made my heart hurt.  I don't want to see her go through that.  But here she is, a ten year old who still sucks her thumb.  A ten year old who is scared to lock a bathroom stall door for fear of being locked in.  A ten year old who, when the rules of the "game" change, or when someone doesn't WANT to play it her way, will break down into tears and not listen to reason. 

I feared it a "little" when we lived in WI, but that started to wane as we were becoming more and more woven into the fabric of the community.  I saw how the kids loved her, her good parts and her not-so-good.  I saw how they just kind of attributed some of her quirks to "that's Evie."  So, when we decided to follow God's plan to take us 1800 miles away to Nevada, it was the social changes that made my heart hurt the most. 

School work, we can deal with. New doctors, we can work through.  Getting new medicaid coverage, just a matter of time and mountains of paperwork.  But, friends...friends?  How do you establish the same types of friendships that took nearly a decade to create?

Last week, the ugly beast of Evie's anxiety reared it's ugly head.  Her amazing group of girlfriends were at recess with her, and they had planned to play school (just like Evie loves to do), but then some decided that they DIDN'T want to play school.  I guess that didn't go over well, and there were tears from Evie...and, if you've ever seen the tears and reaction to "plans changing" for her, can get pretty dramatic.  The teachers took care of the situation, and that was great.  I didn't really think anything of it, because it didn't seem to bother Evie all that much, so I thought, "no big deal." 

Until Monday...

I'm used to seeing the girls surround Evie and just kind of absorb her into the flock when I drop her off in the morning.  They USUALLY give me a big hug, and start chatting about their weekend, while Evie is, not-so-subtly, trying to get me to leave.  But, on Monday, there was an odd silence when we approached the spot where her class lines up.  The girls were already involved in their own conversations, they looked up at us and smiled, but Evie didn't get sucked into the circle like she usually does. 

I saw the blank look on Evie's face, like there were gears turning, but she didn't quite know what to think. She just stood there, staring at the circle of girls.

"How about if I stay and we can chat?" I asked.

"No." said Evie, not removing her eyes from the circle.

A girlfriend strolled by and said, "Hi, Evie, how was your weekend?"

"Good," Evie replied with a smile.

"I'm going to go get in line," said the friend, excusing herself.

Evie turned around and went to the back of the line of backpacks that held the students' places on the ground.  Still the circle of girls didn't break up, or open, or invite.

Why did this feel so tense to me?

A boy walked up to Evie and started talking with her, so I carried Evie's "big book bag" over to her (it holds her assigned reading which is enlarged so she can read it with her low-vision).  I set it down and gave Evie a kiss.

"I love you, Peanut and I'm excited to see you after school, and then tomorrow is a no school day, and we can spend the whole day together!"  I said, adding the last part as a comfort, more so for me than for her.

On  my way out of the playground, I tried to hold back the tears.  Thankfully, my sunglasses helped mask my blinking eyes.  I started to recall the story of the playground drama from Thursday (we had Friday off of school)...and I realized that the awkwardness and tension may have been coming from that.

Oh worst fear!  They had seen a meltdown and now things were weird.  To use my Minnesota-Girl vernacular, "Crap."

I had a lot of other things on my mind that day too:  The medicaid paperwork was due and I hadn't had a callback yet from my two messages I left with questions on how to fill it out; I still didn't have access to Evie's chart at her new medical specialist's office, so I didn't have a way to get them some necessary documents; and I was trying to figure out how to prove to medicaid that Evie doesn't qualify for SSI when a parent can't sign a child up for SSI on-line, so you have to go to an office and do it in person, and yet I only had a week to get the papers back to the Las Vegas office. 

I became a complete emotional wreck. 

This is when the heart REALLY hurts.  When all the weight of WAGR piles on and you don't know how to fix ONE let alone ALL of the problems. 

Evie's SPED teacher phoned me in response to a distraught e-mail I sent her.  We agreed that this is a difficult situation.  That the kids need to learn not to take this type of thing personally; that it's Evie's inability to cope with change well, and that it's okay to not let her get her way.  I wanted to let the teachers to know that I don't expect kids to play with Evie if she's being difficult; that we can give her a choice to play cooperatively or to have some alone time, but that demanding everyone do everything her way is not an option.  I'm so thankful for her teachers who are so eager to help Evie "fit in" and yet teach her the right way to socialize.

Thankfully, we had yesterday off of school, so I was able to protect my bird the way a momma bird does.  Today when I dropped Evie off, it seemed like things were back to normal for the most part.  Her friends were enthusiastic and welcoming and warm. 

Maybe I had over-reacted.  Maybe I had let me own  past hurts affect how I saw this situation.  Maybe there were a bunch of other reasons why Monday morning felt different.  I'll never know.  But I do know that I wanted to share the heart-ache that we feel as parents of kids who are "different".  That sometimes, the medical fears play second fiddle to the socialization fears. 

That sometimes the heart.


Biggest Little City in the World,      Blackjack dealers, Wild Horse wranglers,      A thoroughfare to Burning Man and Nation's A...