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)

Do Not Worry, Happy Thanksgiving

Do Not Worry Matthew 6:25-34

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 

26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 

27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? 

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 

29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 

30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 

31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 

32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 

33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these are

34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Go to the land of even if, instead of what if.  The what if’s just cause more fear and anxiety. Even if the worst happens, Jesus has our backs and know that He is taking care of us! However, it is true that we don’t understand why many of the things happen to us.   That is why it such effort to have faith which is based on a strong foundation with Jesus! When we become depressed and anxious, we can lean on faith to help us get through it Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. These three tips will help as well:

 Scripture: Put on the complete armor of God daily.  Ephesians 6:13-17.

The 3 sections of it are:

  1. The belt of truth is the most important part of the suit. Truth is God’s Word and saying it aloud protects us from harm.  The belt keeps the armor in place.
  • The breastplate of righteousness protects the heart and he shine of it blinds the enemy.
  • The feet of the armor symbolize peace and a willingness to spread the Gospel to other people.

Pray constantly. Verse 18.

Serve by helping others. It gets you your mind off your own problems and blesses the person you are helping as well as you. If our thoughts get stuck in our head, like a news loop that is shown so many times that it seems impossible to think of anything else. I know that it is so hard to be thankful this year. 2020 has been a year none of us will forget! We need to pray for a nicer year in 2021.

I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus. 1 Corinthians 1:4

Tribute to My Parents

I added to this!

K-popawheely

One of the most precious memories of  my young childhood, when I was knee high to a grasshopper, was when my Dad would pick me up and dance with me, especially after work. It seemed extra special to be up when almost everyone else slept. He managed movie theaters, so he often got home well after midnight, particularly in the summer. Drive-Inns were still cool in those days. One could see a double feature for the price of one! Anyway, when my dad came roaring up in with his 1965 Mustang Square back, it usually woke me up! My mom enjoyed after midnight snacks. Her favorite ones were the cheap tacos from Jack in the Box. Can you believe that they were a nickle each back in the Stone Age of my youth?!

If Daddy was in a good mood, and I heard the rustle of a bag, I would…

View original post 826 more words

A Few Sweet Memories From My Life

Today is My Birthday, so I wanted to post a few of my favorite posts and photos

God’s Paint Brush

Nature is my beat,

God’s beauty is my party,

Renews my tired mind.

As we understand that, “the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it,” (Psalm 24:1) we can see that we are merely temporary possessors (or stewards) of things that He owns. It is also important to remember to be thankful for what we do have, but if you are like me, you waste too much time complaining and mourning over what we could have or what we have lost in life. May we become better stewards of our temporary home! God bless! Here is 1 Pair of Hands (not my words) It is a song by Carrol Robertson

One pair of hands formed the mountains,
One pair of hands formed the sea
And one pair of hands made the sun and the moon,
Every bird, every flower, every tree
One pair of hands formed the valleys,
The ocean, the rivers and the sand
Those hands are so strong, so when life goes wrong
Put your faith in the one pair of hands

One pair of hands, healed the sick,
One pair of hands raised the dead
One pair of hands calmed the ragging storm
And thousands of people WERE FED
One pair of hands said I love you
And those hands were nailed to a tree
Those hands are so strong, so when life goes wrong
Put your faith into one pair of hands

[music]

Those hands are so strong, so when life goes wrong
Put your faith into one pair of hands
Put your faith into one pair of hands

Memories

The Unfortunate Mishaps of the Dingy, Disabled, Daffy Dame

The mishaps of the dingy disabled Daffy Dame continue in my quest to be seriously self-sufficient. On Sunday morning, I adjusted the bed so that I could reach the trapeze bar with my less than long, lanky upper limbs. It also helps to have gravity going for me since my little fat feet float off the pillow to help circulation and reduce swelling! I reached for the pole and gave it a mighty tug. Momentarily, I felt a sense of accomplishment as I had hoisted myself in one smooth move! Adjusting the bed so I could sit up to eat was a very different story, however.

As the bed came up, the silly string for the switch for the overhead light snapped suddenly sending it sailing through the air and with a noise it landed on my tray table, Of course, no maintenance staff works on Sunday, and nobody could fix it until Monday morning! Oh well, It is what it is! Knowing me, there will be many more to come!

Just today there was another mishap, just prior to Hallway Bingo. Some, like me, decide to come to the doorway without crossing the threshold of the doorway, so we do not have to wear those hot, muggy, miserable masks which are required outside our rooms. Others choose to hangout in the hall, perhaps so that they can hear more clearly. My tray table on wheels was already in place. I was in the process of lifting my water jug onto the tray table since the games often last for more than an an hour. Things did not go quite as I had hoped and planned. Suddenly, the top came off, the water jug slid down my lap, hit the floor and bounced into the center of the hall floor. I sat there with a very wet lap and the top to the jug in my hand. One of the nursing aids cleaned up the mess, glad that it was only water. I was very thankful that nobody using canes, crutches or a walker had fallen and hurt themselves.

Me,