Saturday, January 28, 2006
We have walls! I remember how happy everyone was when The Berlin Wall was torn down. I am simply ecstatic that our walls have been re-erected. From a counseling perspective, it is all about "tearing down walls"... However, having not had any walls for several months, I can tell you that sometimes walls are necessary. Sitting on the commode while someone peers in at you can be rather disconcerting. Walls offer a certain amount of privacy and protection. Walls can also offer an opportunity to be prayerful and reflective. I'm thinking now of the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial Wall, or the Wailing Wall. We inserted Dave's journal entry about our Katrina experience into our living room wall. Someday, hopefully when we are gone, or much older, it will be opened and an opportunity for reflection will be provided.
I have been struggling with a little bout of depression this week. We had a guest counselor come to school Wednesday afternoon to discuss emotional effects of the hurricane. After leaving that presentation, I found myself needing to crawl into bed and pull the covers up over my head. Now, a counselor-type would say, "I was put in touch with emotions that I hadn't been in touch with previously..." Maybe that is true. But, maybe, just maybe... I needed whatever emotional wall I had built around myself just to be able to keep putting one foot in front of the other.
I read a story in the paper this morning about a man who was forced from his home in New Orleans after the storm. Given the description of the gentleman, he may not have been a bastion of mental and emotional health. At any rate, he killed his fiance', critically wounded her four-year-old child, and finally shot himself. His actions left the couple's five-month-old baby an orphan. Don't get me wrong. I think that probably alcohol and/or drugs were involved. Maybe Katrina tore down whatever walls were holding his fragile psyche together. That is what I have noticed most about this hurricane recovery process. Everyone's true nature is being revealed.
I'm not much of a scripture quoter, but I know that Jesus encouraged people to enter into their "closet to pray". In a closet, you are surrounded by walls. Perhaps, that is the lesson. I need to keep the walls of spiritual truth around me, so I don't need to build emotional walls to protect myself. Being sure that God's will is being done for me and my family, even in the face of a lot of worldly ills can be difficult. But, I am quite sure that it is much more difficult without the walls of spirit protecting me.
A group from People Building People (www.peoplebuildingpeople.org) came out to help us erect our walls. They are pictured above. We are so grateful. We have been beautifully touched by so many people who have reached out to help us. Dave is downstairs sanding the laundryroom, so it will be ready to be painted. Imagine! I will have a working laundryroom and won't have to hike across the yard to Mom's house to do laundry each week!
Oh! And, just a little update about the nutritional supplements I started Danielle on... We ran out, so I didn't get more just to see how she would do. She has developed symptoms of a cold again this week. So, back to the health store I trudged. While I was there, I picked up some "Happy Camper" for me! No, kidding! That is really what it is called. Both girls are also doing hypertonic saline treatments twice a day. Lots of hype in the news about that recently. I'm curious if any other CFers are trying it and having good success.
Namaste' ~ Christy
Monday, January 16, 2006
These photos were taken at War Memorial stadium in Pascagoula. I am horrible with directions and things like that; however, I would guess that the stadium is at least 2 miles away from the beach. Interestingly enough, FEMA was able to use Pascagoula High as an emergency management hub after the storm until school reopened.
This is a picture of the storm surge from Katrina in Bay St. Louis. Hopefully, those of you who were unable to access it via e-mail can see it. My question is: Who in the world took this picture? They must have made it out safely because the picture was able to be posted.
Saturday, January 14, 2006
We have been busy, busy, busy for the past two weeks. Dave and I installed two windows and we are going to install two more this weekend. We got to purchase a "Saws-All" to do it, which is really cool, just because we have both always wanted one. There is something about power tools that just really turns me on. I think it is because power tools make the impossible, possible. Need to cut through nails? No problem! Just get the right kind of blades! Need to hammer into concrete? No problem! There is a nail gun that uses 22 caliber shells to really pound the nails in! It is facinating to realize that all types of tools have been invented to make incredibly toiling tasks an absolute breeze.
Fortunately, that is what a relationship with God does for me... Makes the impossible, possible. Who would have considered that God is the ultimate in Power Tools? But, I promise that I see it more clearly now than ever before in my life. Last week, I got a little off-track with my prayer and meditation. I wasn't as close in my walk with Creator. I'm working to continue to be mindful of God in every life situation. Only then am I open to receiving Divine Grace. God and His Saws-All go before me to make smooth and perfect my way!
Speaking of cutting the crap... I need to vent about the tenets of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). If you are just looking for the family update, you may wish to scroll down. I have a Master's degree in Special Education. I won't bore you with the details of why I had to get a M.S. degree to teach, but just know there was a degree of "hassle" when I first became a teacher in our public school system five years ago. So, now I have this Master's degree and yet NCLB says that I am not qualified to teach. Lucky for me, I'm an inclusion teacher, so the fabulous teachers that I work with are qualified and I don't really have to be yet, but I will. The government has come up with a system for those of us who have been teaching for a while to qualify. It is called the HOUSSE method. I have enough training hours, continuing education credits, and professional awards to qualify under this method. I know I have them because I spent last week gathering them and placing them in a plain, manila, coffee-stained folder. Some of the newer teachers do not. However, there is another option! Sign up to take a test called the Praxis II in the area in which you would like to be "highly qualified". After teachers take this magic, handy-dandy test, they will be certified in whichever subject areas they are able to pass the test. Before my school district's push toward the HOUSSE method this week, I had already signed up to take the Praxis II in Elementary Education. After taking the test, I will be certified to teach K-5. Here is the thing... It insults my regular education counter-parts to insinuate that by passing one test, I am "highly qualified" to teach in that given area. Let's just say that I somehow managed to bumble my way through the Praxis for Algebra. I PROMISE you, I am not an Algebra teacher. Now hopefully, there is a safety net for this... Maybe someone would look at my transcripts, see my 'D' in Pre-Calculus and realize that no more math happened for me in college after that. But, who knows really? Also, what about those people who are really brilliant in a subject area, but are terrible test takers? Maybe it is just another one of those areas where I have to trust the process. Still, I guess I just want it known that I understand the process is stupid. I don't think we are going to have a rash of people clamoring to become teachers who aren't really qualified to do the job. We don't have enough teachers as it is. I suppose I just get frustrated with the utter stupidity of a process that doesn't improve education for anyone. Most of the people I know who are having to prove they are "highly qualified", are truly gifted teachers. There are some others, who will remain nameless (not at my school, of course :-) who couldn't teach their way out of a wet paper sack, but they are "highly qualified" under the law.
Enough of my ranting. How about a Dan and Sarah update? Danielle is doing well. She has a band contest this morning. She plays the saxophone. I really believe playing helps with her breathing too. Still, I had to wake her up early to get vest and treatment so that we are ready to go. Sarah is doing well again. This week I took her to the regular pediatrician because she began running a low-grade fever again. Given that she was hospitalized not even two months ago, I just wasn't ready for another trip to our CF doctor, Dr. Sindel. Dr. Dugger, her pediatrician, suggested taking the "don't just do something, stand there" approach. Her fever abated mid-week and she has been fine. I'm just feeling grateful. Just another example of the One Absolute Omnipresent Power Tool at work!
This week, we will work to fix our stairs and begin sheetrocking the laundry room. I should have a functional laundry room again soon and won't have to continue to trudge across the yard to Mom's house. My uncle laid brick in our laundry room, which simultaneously raised the level of the laundry room to that of the rest of the house. It looks gorgeous.
The picture is from Christmas. The girls were opening some of their gifts from our wonderful Unity friends in Oregon.