Yes, it is!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

No Wonder She Had A Nightmare

Tim and and I woke in the middle of the night last night to find Jackie had crawled into bed with us. That was odd behavior for Jackie as the only time she will come into our room in the middle of the night is if a loud storm woke her up.  Ben, on the other hand, is the one who usually finds his way into bed with us.  

This morning, after the kids left for school, I got a call from the school that Jackie had forgotten her lunch and she didn't want any of the school choices.  I got Jackie's lunch ready and planned to drop it off at the school after I went to a morning Zumba class.  As I left the Zumba class, I received a phone another call from the school, this time letting me know that Jackie had gotten injured when she tripped on a step and hit her head on the floor.  After being reassured that Jackie wasn't in need of emergency care, I told the nurse that I would go ahead and check up on Jackie when I dropped off her lunch.  

So, I arrived at the school in time to have lunch with Jackie. As we're sitting there, Jackie began to tell me that she had a nightmare and that's why she got in bed with us.  She told me the nightmare was about how the neighboring house (the ones who hate us) had people who would come out with knives and try to steal her (Jackie).  These particular neighbors get very into Halloween with their morbid decorations.  I figured that's what got Jackie so scared. I reassured Jackie that I would never allow anybody to steal her or threaten her with knives.  

We got home and as I went through Jackie's folder, I discovered something.  It's no wonder she had a nightmare last night.  One of Jackie's assignments was to write a story.  Even though I always check Jackie's homework after she's done, I somehow missed the story map.  Apparently, the assignment was to write a scary story.  I'm not too keen on that, especially if it caused a nightmare for Jackie. Take a look:

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Cautiously Optimistic

It seems lately that for all the good things that have been happening for me, there is always one bad apple that tries to bring me down. 

I recently wrote about some healing changes that have been occurring in my life.  I also wrote about some things that have been on my heart about a couple of issues and people.  I am so thankful for those friends who have stood up for me.  Unfortunately, even though these friends went with their heart to include me in certain things at church, there are some people whose ultimate goal is to make things as difficult as they possibly can.  It's all about control.  Somebody at my family's church recently got into trouble because they approved me to help these friends with a children's ministry on Sunday morning.  Apparently, somebody at this church got wind of it and reported it to the top brass at that church.  The main reason?  I'm not a member, although my husband and daughter are members of that church.  I have my suspicions about who reported me. Am I angry?  Not really.  But considering who I'm suspecting, it's very disappointing, especially because I have done nothing wrong to this person except feel betrayed.   I've had background checks and fingerprints done as a substitute teacher in the public school system.  I'm safe.  If all it takes to be able to work in any ministry at my family's church is to go through their own class and background checks, I'm all for it.  But church membership is of utmost importance there.  I will NOT allow this to keep me from my children, however.  Unfortunately, that church has too many rules and regulations that I'm not in agreement with.  (I recently got a copy of the church's constitution and I have some concerns about it). So, I'm apparently not allowed to do anything at that church until I agree to become a member and be baptized as a baptist.

During this discovery, I have learned who my friends really are.  They stood up for me and were just dumbfounded at this turn of events.  The staff person who actually approved my friends' request for me to work with them went with his heart because he knew that I would be good and that I have a heart for children, especially those with special needs.  He has seen me in action.  He also knows that in order to work in the school system, I have passed the background checks that are required to work around children.  Beside that, working with a group of people, it wasn't as if I was ever going to be alone with any of those church kids.  After being told that I can't help in any ministry there, I started to panic at the thought of not being able to be near my own children at church but this staff member reassured me that I can be with my children at any time, even in their own classes.  I have to shake my head at this.  I can be around all those children when I go to check on (or even sit with) my children but I can't help with any ministry.  And in case you're wondering if I do check on my children, yes, I do.  I enjoy looking in on them to see how they are interacting with others and vice versa.  With the issues that my children have had (Ben has a severe speech disorder with sensory issues and Jackie has CP), I feel the need to make sure that my children are having a nice time. 

Despite feeling a bit depressed about this past week, I am feeling optimistic variety of reasons.  My friendship with these couple of friends who tried to defend me has proven to me that they are true friends.  They care about me and find value in me.  In fact, these friends have struggled on my behalf with their feelings about this situation and for that, I feel honored but also a bit guilty.  If it wasn't for me, none of those people would have gotten into trouble.  

One of the things that glared out at me on the church constitution is that there is to be no tattling.   I think some of those church members need to read their constitution because there is plenty of tattling going on there.  And this one, slow to take offense, but always ready for reconciliation and mindful of the rules of our Savior to secure it without delay.  I'm all for reconciliation with this particular person but the ball is now in her court.  I've done my part by reassuring that I was not angry and that I had still considered her a friend.   Here's an interesting one, We also engage to maintain family and secret devotions.  Secret devotions? What in the world?!  Also, I've never heard of a church requiring church members to abstain from the sale and/or consumption of alcoholic beverages.  I know a lot of churches recommend against it but I've never heard of the requirement against it.  So that there would exclude me from becoming a member as I enjoy the occasional glass of wine.

In light of this crap that has been going on, I've been feeling optimistic about some things.  I recently had the opportunity to audition for a vocal group that puts on concerts throughout the year in the metro area.  I am proud to say that I am a member of the Masterworks Chorale.  It is such an honor to be a part of this.  Even more exciting is that we will be performing one of my favorite pieces, Handel's Messiah, during the Christmas season. 

This afternoon, another event made my heart feel so encouraged.  My day was made brighter after I received a message from somebody who has been missed very much during this past year.  This person was never far from my heart and it meant so much to see that message.  I feel hope.  I feel optimistic.  I know healing can and will take place.  Now on to the next step...

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Feeling Blessed

These past couple of months have been an encouraging time, for the most part.  Recall during the summer that I have had a friendship restored that required healing on both of our parts and am I ever glad that this has occurred.  This person really has been a blessing to me.  She has been encouraging to me and has prayed for me.  Since getting to know her better, I have found her to be fun and funny.  I love that our children get along so well when they're together.  Even when we weren't friends, I always appreciated that she was so sweet to my daughter.  Her daughter was, and still is, a very sweet friend to Jackie. I really look forward to developing a closer relationship with this friend.  

There is something that I've been wanting to express for quite some time that relates to this particular friend.  When I first met her, I thought she was nice but I purposely didn't pursue a close friendship with her or anybody else.  It's difficult for me to get close to anyone, especially when they seem to have it all together.  This person seemed to have it all together.  She has the looks, the sense of style, the friends, the strong faith that I knew I would never have.  In fact, she never seemed to lack self-confidence.  Frankly, I felt inadequate next to her.  I knew I could never measure up.  About a year after we met, I wrote about something that she didn't like and it caused a rift between us.  I found out later that even though the comment was not about her at all, she felt hurt by it because it was about a topic that she cared very much about.  The comment was just an honest (not malicious) opinion about something that happened at church.  I never intended to offend anybody. I figured that since I was already not a valued friend, it didn't matter that we were no longer talking after that.  But... deep down inside, I had regard for this person, mostly because she was (and is) always so sweet to Jackie.  Knowing a little bit of this person's background already, I couldn't help but wonder how she had such confidence about herself.  I found it intimidating at times.  I realize now that part of my problem with her self-confidence is because I wanted that for myself.  I wanted to feel good about myself like she did. I wished I had that ability to exude such confidence like she did.  In the past few months since we've allowed healing to take place between us, I have really enjoyed getting to know her and learning more about her story.  I have learned that she and I have more in common than I ever knew.  I can relate to her in many ways.  I sincerely hope and pray that we can continue to develop our friendship and that by hanging out with her, that I can learn how to exude a good self confidence, too.  And learn to be bubbly.  And sweet.  And everything else positive like this friend.  I really look forward to us being life-long friends and that our children will also be life-long friends.  

I have also been blessed to get to know another friend better, thanks in part to the above mentioned friend.  This particular friend has blessed me in so many ways.  She has been encouraging and has prayed for me along with the above mentioned friend.  She is also so very sweet and loving with my Jackie. She also has a neat story of redemption. And I enjoy being around this person for just about the same reasons as friend above.  Together, these gals have made me feel more comfortable at church, they have listened to me, they have helped to make me feel like a part of something.  They even invited me to help them occasionally with Sunday morning skits in the children's department.  They have helped to give me a sense of belonging around them at church.  They have welcomed me at their homes.  They are such a joy to be around.  And they help me feel more confident around them.  

I have been blessed by another person who has recently stepped up to "mentor" me.  She offered to do a private study with me which I accepted.  I've never really felt comfortable attending large group studies so I'm really looking forward to this one-on-one time and learning more from the bible and how it applies to me.  I have enjoyed getting to know her better, too. 

Even though I have been feeling so blessed by these friendships that I've developed, there is one person who has been on my mind so much during these past couple of months.  She was one of the first "real" friends that I met since moving here 9 years ago.  We're no longer in touch and I don't know what is going on with her but I do miss her friendship.  Recently, Jackie has been asking about this person and why she hasn't seen her.  So, Jackie misses her, too, which makes my heart hurt more.  Another friendship recently came to an apparent due to a sense of betrayal on my part.  Despite the betrayal, I was never angry at this person.  That's not to say I wasn't upset, though.  I still considered this person a good friend until I realized that she had written me off.  That hurt but after some realizations, I'm starting to feel okay about it.  I still care about this person and I don't feel resentment toward her but the ball is in her court now.

Throughout these past few months, I have discovered once again, what real friendship is about.  I have learned what makes a real friend.  Friendship is about trust.  It involves time. It involves loyalty. And love, and compassion, and having fun together.  It's about encouraging one another and being there in time of need.  Friendship is like a flower; you have to water and nurture it in order for it to grow and stay healthy. With neglect, it withers away until it eventually dies.  

When I first moved to this area, I intentionally avoided developing close friendships because I just knew that we would be moving away in 3-4 years.  Beside, nobody could replace my friends back home.  Well, that was 9 years ago and since it doesn't look like we'll be moving away anytime soon, it's about time that I allow myself to develop close friendships here.  So, I'm going to go nurture these new friendships so we can weather storms together.