Hope & Lessons I am Learning

End of death, sin, agony and pain.
Abundant joy and life everlasting.
Savior for the broken, imperfect souls in every one of us.
Triumph over addiction, hate, loneliness, depression and tears.
Everyone who asks has a mansion in His heaven.
Redeeming grace, love and forgiveness He gives His children.

These are the the blessings that my husband, my parents my grandparents are now enjoying, yet my frail human spirit misses them all and thinks of them daily. Part of me longs to be with them, yet I am still here. This means that my job is not yet done. Due to my Cerebral Palsy, I did not expect to be. Several people told my Barry to expect to be a widower at a young age. The irony is that God had other plans and took my husband first. just last year.

I had grieved deeply before.  But, my grandparents as well as my parents were all very ill, very elderly or both. In any case, I had time to get used to the idea. I had learned that it is better that they go Home, away from me, that for me to pray for them to stay with me is very selfish on my part. This did not come to me in a flash of great insight, but gradually. I lost them slowly, inch by inch. I was aware of the magnitude of their suffering whether they spoke of it or not. I felt it!

With Barry, it was very different. I felt like he was stolen from me and our daughter. I watched her do CPR on him. I saw him being yanked to the ground as the EMT’s arrived. After 33 years 3 months 1 day and 22 hours, he was just gone in the blink of eye, before my daughter could tell him that we loved him. There was no denial nor bargaining with God. I tried. I was reading the last few pages of the book by Don Piper, 90 Minutes in Heaven.  I was told by someone to leave – they needed room to move around. Like so many times before, I was in the way, my chair took up too much space, and it kept me from being where I should have in the bed, holding his hand. Suddenly, it occurred to me that this was the reason that God had me read the book. I was to pray my Barry back to life. I prayed and I prayed. I could not lose him now. In a few months we would be in a position to buy a home of our our own, out of a major city. His tests had actually shown stability and his blood sugar and blood pressure were down. Therefore, death seemed impossible!  Up until I left him at the funeral home for the last. time, I held out hope for a miracle! His face looked at peace, not contorted in pain. The constant pain made him have age lines that he may not have had yet, but for the pain, The lines were not present in younger years. The biggest lesson I learned was God/Jesus does hear and respond to our prayers. Barry was finally free of pain and constant self-doubt. He never felt worthy or good enough on this Earth! From the look of peace on his face, I knew that he finally felt good enough, loved enough. That was  a miracle!  (Matt. 7-8). Also, Romans 8: 28. However, I wanted it done here on Earth with me to witness it, but God wanted it done a different way! Until, I left him, I thought it may be the ultimate Joke. He looked like he was having the best sleep in ages! There was a small part of me that expected him to suddenly awaken and say “Gotcha good that time, didn’t I?

Who was going to take care of me? I certainly did not want my/our daughter to carry that burden. The truth is I need a lot of help with ADL’s, otherwise, called essential activities of daily living. These include: bathing, dressing, transferring in/out of bed etc. Another lesson I learned is just how much our daughter is like her dad. Just at the time that my income went down a great deal and my rent was going up well past my total income, my daughter found a place which she could afford, just as her dad had planned, away from the city. While the care-giving situation has not always been smooth (it takes 6 people to take the place of my Barry). Naturally, that doesn’t even count the spousal things that go into it! BUT, my point is that God provides! (Matthew 6). Again, (Romans 8:28). Sometimes, it is just enough, but He is taking care of me!cropped-doves.jpg2012

 

FINALLY, I  was reminded that;

Have Courage & Be Thankful!

16 But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go, I will go, and where you stay, I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. 17 Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” 18 When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her. Ruth 1:!6

This took a great deal of courage for Ruth to go against the cultural expections. Her husband had died. According to tradition and cultual expectations, Ruth was supposed to return to her homeland and her people in Moab. Her sister-in-law had already started her journey back home. Naomi but she had love and compassion for Naomi, her mother – in – law. Ruth decided to go with Naomi to new place and a new family. The book of short but it and can easily be read in one reading time!

Courageous people tend to have a more thankful spirit. I am very grateful I have many, many things and people to thank in this life. Thank you God for all your blessings! My biggest one of late is still being created! Behind me are photos of Barry, my husband and my baby, who is busy with God, creating another miracle in our little family!

Unexpected Blessings are the Sweetest and the Best

After quite a few years and many more prayers than that, I am so over the moon.

I have not been so happy in such a very long time and it could not come too soon.

Our daughter is expecting a baby, our baby, is having one of her very own to love,

I wish that her Dad, my husband Barry was here to share the blessing, not so far above.

However, I can imagine him knowing God’s plan before us, & showing off his beloved grand,

All around the majestic Heavens, while shouting louder than the biggest high school bands

“This is the best, most blessed grandbaby ever created by God’s wonderful and loving hands!”

I am 8 weeks old due to appear August 18th, 2021

A Few Voices from My Own Heart

It was 1967, I was three years old when my parents rolled me into the biggest room I had ever seen with kids in wheelchairs from the ages of 3-12. My eyes were drawn immediately to the blackboard, the long table slightly to the right, the play area and a yellow piano. As I took in the scene with my keen eyes, I saw a young girl. She was so pale and fragile and not much larger than me even though I later found out that she was nine years older. Elizabeth, unlike me, who was very loquacious, could not speak or feed herself. She had a smile brighter than sunshine, and she beamed whenever she saw me. A year later, I met Bruce who had eyes the color of a blue jay and a great Tarzan yell, so I was deeply in love for a four year old. Forty years later, I carry these two in my heart; they taught me so much about grace in the face of terrible pain and suffering. At seven years old, they gave me the courage to leave them so I could help break down barriers for us and other handicapped children. Who would speak to Elizabeth and bring that wonderful smile to her after I left?  I saw Bruce one last time; the light of life was absent from his eyes. Later, I learned that Bruce had gone home to be with God and Elizabeth’s Dad had placed her in a nursing home.

     Everyone at California Avenue treated us with such loving compassion as if we were their own children or grandchildren. Praise was never in short supply! “What a great job, two gold stars, Kathy!’’ Whenever one of us celebrated a birthday, we would all work together to whip up a birthday cake for him/her. I wonder how many eggs I cracked all over the table, but nobody ever raised their voices. We were our own assembly line starting with the birthday person who began by adding the precious ingredients to our much anticipated treat. It was a sneaky but fun way for us to practice our therapy skills and our counting simultaneously. It was a little tricky for me to hold the mixing bowl and stir with my right hand as speedily as possible while counting by fives: “:five, ten, fifteen…’’ By the time the bowl was passed around twice, all the lumps were beaten out. Next, the birthday kid poured the batter into a pan with Mrs. Coles’ help, our marvelous teacher! The same lucky kid was given the momentous honor of licking the mixing spoon. While waiting with great anticipation for the oven to produce its eagerly awaited treat, we loved gathering around the piano to sing and/or clap to rousing, but slightly off key renditions of Old McDonald, and other favorites. I must have had the most fun of anyone that ever went to school! Our class even put on a grand production of The Little Gingerbread Man. Bruce played the Gingerbread Man and I was the old Grandma who made him. I still recall the bright smile Elizabeth gave me as I took over the part of narrator from my teacher and my Dad’s roaring, snorting laughter that rose above the applause. I think Bruce and Elizabeth were so especially dear to me because they had the most tragic diagnosis of all the kids. They kept such a bright outlook in spite of their sad circumstances Both of them were part of my nightly prayers.

       One day, we went on an exciting field trip to Camp Pendleton, the nearby Navy/Marine Corp Base, because President Nixon was appearing there, and one to the zoo as well. For the most part, these excursions were fun adventures, but they were also personal lessons. My first lessons that showed me people could be extremely cruel to kids in wheelchairs, especially toward my sweet friend Elizabeth. “Look at that stupid retard!’’ This happened many times to her and anger seethed through me each time, but I didn’t know how to cope with it. Tears were streaming down her cheeks, but the cerebral palsy had robbed her of the ability to voice her agonies! I made it a point to let her know she was a beautiful, smart person; they were the dumb ones! It was around this time that I noticed that Bruce was growing weaker. Mom explained that he had Muscular Dystrophy; he was dying and that meant I would not see him again once he died. It was a difficult concept for me as I had thought that only old people died. Little did I know or comprehend how much the winds of change were swirling in my life and in society as a whole. .It started the following year. First grade saw me mainstreamed two hours a day into a regular classroom at the elementary school next door to my special education school.

         I was part of a trial group selected as an experiment to see if children with severe disabilities could succeed in a class with able-bodied children and if we would be accepted by them. Our success in part led to the inclusion laws a few years later that allowed children the least restrictive education possible. Toward the end of first grade, my parents were called to a meeting. The experiment would be expanded to see if I could handle a full day in my neighborhood elementary school. I would soon be leaving my precious friends. How would I say good-bye to Bruce and Elizabeth? I was filled with sorrow. Mom said that my new classmates could be mean to me, and my mind recalled Elizabeth and the agony at the zoo and other places as well.

        A mixture of dread, sadness and anticipation filled me on that first day in my new school. As I rolled to the front of my second grade class, I introduced myself, explained about Cerebral Palsy (CP) etc. I was so nervous that I could not recall what I said even a few minutes afterwards. It amazes me now that I do not recall my years at San Luis Ray nearly as easily as I call to mind my time at California Avenue. A piece of my heart stayed behind there with Bruce, Elizabeth and the others. Part of me wanted to return because I KNEW I was accepted there, and I missed them a great deal

       It turned out that it was not my academic performance or my classmates who tried to railroad my mainstream experience, it was the school administrators. They hired aides for me that they knew would not last long; Mrs. Brand was pregnant, Mrs. Stover was elderly… Mom was my aide until she caught the flu and I was forced to stay home. Flu or not, the school district had greatly underestimated a mother’s love when her child was being denied a quality education. She had college dreams for me, after all. Mrs. Deibert entered my life a few days later, and she has never been absent from it. We have had a great many good times together all the way up through my high school graduation and beyond. At this moment, I type away doing my best to fulfill a mother’s wish, dreamed so long ago. This dream has rekindled in me as well; the fire burns deep in my heart to get my degree.

It took me five years to achieve my goal. In 2016, I finally received my BS Degree in Social Work with a specialty in Gerontology (working with people 65 years of age and older) as well as people of all ages with various disabilities which have a major impact on their lives. I hope and pray that both my parents were there in spirit to see it; somehow, I know they were because God made sure of it. This is just one chapter of my well-lived life; there will be more to come.

Senior year photo
2016 University Graduation Photo with my family and cheering section

Something to Ponder….

I have heard so often that our biggest problem in the USA, in the entire world, in fact, is climate change. Really? Granted, the industrial revolution, has sped up the natural course of climate changes, but you do not have to be much of history aficionado to know that there have been numerous climate changes through the ages. Whether changes constantly. I saw the temperature drop 29 degrees in less than an hour! Before I knew it, there was something huge hail stone hitting the roof. Before going further, I should explain that I have lived most of my life in California and Washington State where it is relatively rare occurrence to have a pea-sized hail storm, the fact that something that large could fall from the sky was a big shock! Granted, the roofers were busy for a while, and several automobile dealers had scratch and dent sales, it did not make it onto the national news!

I feel that our country needs to leave the anything and everything goes philosophy behind, especially in the Church and show more integrity. We cannot be hypocrites! Integrity is something that every person on this planet struggles with, me included, at least from time to time. Just what is integrity? Dictionary.com defines it as follows:

[inˈteɡrədē]

NOUN

the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.

“{H}e is known to be a man of integrity.”

synonyms:

honesty · uprightness · probity · rectitude · honor · honorableness ·

How many people live up to that high standard consistently, without even a hint of exaggeration? I know I cannot say that I always do! It is a difficult standard to live up to these days; society considers being “politically correct” more important – even if a person must be dishonest to achieve it.

I also feel that Jesus/God needs to be prominent in our lives once again! The Church must be proactive in expressing themselves. It is not right that some churches are being fined and considered non-essential even if they are following the safety protocols., e.g. meeting in parking lots in vehicles. How is that unsafe? Our freedoms are gradually stripped from a few are saying much to oppose it. I feel this virus is a warning for us to return to God. For the last 60 years, various legal decisions have made it more difficult for people to worship. Little by little, the mention Jesus has been removed from our lives. Not long ago, it was not politically correct to say, ‘Merry Christmas.’ Covid -19 has shuttered numerous churches across the country. So far, church is still open to us on-line and on-line attendance has risen dramatically since the virus began to spread last winter!

Amplified Bible, Classic Edition

8 For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them].

NIV

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.}

It should be our goal as the Church to hold ourselves and others to a higher standard. We all need more love and truth – the characteristics of God.

This Will Be Us Someday

In Heaven, there will be NO MORE CP,

The Girl will finally dance so alive and free,

Songs from heaven will guide her steps, you see,

To her heart’s one and only great love.

In the cloudless sky from high above,

The two fit together like a hand in a glove

The one no longer misses the other

Together forever at last, they hold one another.


He does not have to hold her, though ‘twas no bother.

Simple Definition of Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy (CP) is a group of disorders that affect a person’s ability to move and maintain balance and posture. 

November 27th – Advent Day Two. — The Contemplative Activist (TCA)

I think we have to step up collectively as His Church with a capital C, and stand up for Jesus, the Truth! If we don’t stand up for Him, who will??!

LUKE’S CHRISTMAS GOSPEL OF JESUS: A 30-Day Christmas-Time Devotional. My Good Friend, Luke. Luke 1: 1-4 (MsgB)  [1] So many others have tried their hand at putting together a story of the wonderful harvest of Scripture and history that took place among us, [2] using reports handed down by the original eyewitnesses who served this […]

November 27th – Advent Day Two. — The Contemplative Activist (TCA)