Sunday, June 25, 2006

Yoga and the Cat Rescue Mission

I am currently engaged in my second year of teaching Summer Scholars Yoga. I absolutely love it. This year my friend Kenna is helping me. It has been wonderful. Kenna isn't a Yoga practitioner, but she has risen to the occasion beautifully. And, who knows? After this, maybe we will take a class together. That is the thing I love about Yoga. Everyone can do it and be successful at whatever level each individual is able to participate. The other thing I love is that I am absolutely mindful of God's presence and how I might be an instrument in helping others to get in touch with that. Of course, we are in public school, so we don't speak "directly" about God. But, each child is encouraged to find their own Spirit within to guide and direct them during Yoga practice. We do meditation activities involving focus and learning to turn the mind off and truly listen to guidance.

For quite a while in my life, I wanted to be a counselor. I even have a degree that says, "Counseling", but after a certain point, I no longer felt a need to pursue that avenue. Well, for one thing, every time I would try to stop teaching, God would shove me with two hands back into the classroom. So, for now, I have conceded that I am supposed to be a teacher. And, I definitely use the counseling degree daily in the capacity in which I work with students... Still, at some point I learned that "counseling", in the traditional sense, is not what ultimately helped me to become happy in my life. Seeking a personal relationship with the God of my understanding is the way I have come to know peace and contentment in my life. If you have read this blog, you know that I am certainly not peaceful and content all the time, but I know the way to get there.

My last blog radiated frustration about the girls not doing their vest and nebulizer in a timely manner. I wanted to take a moment to share the solution. Immediately after I wrote that, I read that I need to meet frustration and negatively with love. Thus, I have been going up with them each time they need to start their vest and helping them to get started. I help them put the vest on, put the meds in their nebulizer, start the vest, and turn on the nebulizer machine. Now, here is the key... I do it with an attitude of love. We have a moment of conversation. We have turned it into a little moment of togetherness. Will this help them to be independent and be able to go off to college and do their treatments on their own? I don't know the answer to that... The thing that I know is that I have peace in my home. I'm not screaming up the stairs. I'm not frustrated and threatening. We are all happier. I suppose I will just trust God with the independence at college problem. We have some time...

Dan has started the Tobramycin Inhalation Powder (TIP) therapy trials. So far, it has been great. It is a much quicker way to administer the drug. After only two days, she is completely cough-free. When she came back from Italy, her pulmonary functions were down, but after a week of vest therapy, she improved dramatically. Now, she will be on this trial drug for 28 days. So far, I have seen an even more marked improvement than when she uses the nebulized form of TOBI. It is wonderful!

Oh, I would be remiss if I didn't mention Mama Cat and her four kittens. About two weeks ago, Mom and I were riding down our street at night when I saw the tiniest little kitten on the side of the road. I asked Mom to stop and after getting out and inspecting the bushes, found a Mama Cat with four kittens. They were hungry, abandoned and flea infested. Mom, J.R. and I tramped down the road to give them some food and water. One thing led to another and the kittens and their Mama are now living in J.R.'s workshop. Yesterday, Danielle's friend, Kasey, came and adopted the one with no tail, the Manx. So, as of today, we have two kittens still looking for a home. Dave and I have agreed that Sarah can have one for her birthday. Mom and J.R. are going to keep Mama Cat. The summer cat rescue mission has been a great experience for the girls. If you would like to give a kitten a home, please let me know.

I wish you great love and happiness in your life today. ~Namaste'~ Christy

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Peace, The Vest and Nebulizers

It's easy to be really spiritual when I don't have to be around other people. The girls have returned home after ten days of being on vacation. When they were gone, while reading "There is a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem", I had conjured up all these ideas about how positive my parenting practices would be... How our home would be one of peace, love, and sunshine... How each day in our home would be a harmonious expression of God's love in action. I'm sure that it IS all those things, but it doesn't look like I envisioned. Don't get me wrong, we are glad to be back together. I missed them both terribly, but I am so glad that they got to go and have great fun on their respective trips. In their absence, I thought about how we could have more peace in our home. What most people don't know about our day to day family life is that every day is a repitition of medical treatments and medications. The girls get up in the morning and do therapy vest , breathing treatments, and take handfuls of pills. As a mom, I don't know any other way. Both my children were diagnosed with cystic fibrosis before birth, so this has been the way we have done things. For the girls, it is old. They resist. I insist. There is conflict.

I don't understand why they dawdle. Each girl will come up with every excuse in the world to postpone getting in the vest and doing the treatment. "It's Sarah's turn first... It's Dan's turn first..." (Part of this is the insurance company's responsibilty since they are currently denying paying for a second vest. They are treating the girls as if they are one entity and that is wholly unfair. It will change this year and be approved. More to come on that later.) Then, I hear, "Can I eat first?" During the school year, we have a rigorous routine, but in the summer, things are more lax. I let them sleep in from time to time. I'm not a complete treatment Nazi. But, make no mistake. There must always be a repitition of dialogue. "Have you started yet?" "I'm getting it!" Ten minutes later... "I don't hear it!" "I'm getting it!" "What number are you on?" The vest goes off after 10 minutes... The idea is that the vest user is supposed to take off the vest after 10 minutes, go cough and spit, and get back in the vest to do two other ten minute sessions. Needless to say, we don't do this. Once I get the little cherubs in the vest, they certainly aren't coming out of the thing. If they need to cough and spit during the process, I make a trash can available for their spitting pleasure. Otherwise, they can just do it after the 3rd session is complete.

The thing I try to remind myself of is that I don't have cystic fibrosis. I don't know how it feels to have to do the same series of treatments every day. I try to be compassionate. Still, it is frustrating for me. Even during times when they are having trouble breathing, they resist doing treatments, which will utimately make them feel better. I don't get the resistance. When I am especially frustrated, I think, "These children will have to live with me for the rest of their natural born lives or they won't ever get their treatments."

A behaviorist would say: Stop arguing with them. Allow them the natural consequence of their own behavior, or lack thereof, in this case. The natural consequence, however, in this case, is far too punitive in my mind. I want health and life abundant for my girls. Unfortunately, my wants are not theirs. They are children, and they are not able to see how their immediate action or inaction affects the big picture of their lives. I guess it doesn't necessarily have to do with the fact that they are children. Many adults opt for instant gratification over what is ultimately best for them.

So, what to do? What to do? I'm tired of the struggle. But, we are stuck, as a family. I asked for Dan to pray for the willingness to be willing. She is usually willing to go along on the spirtual journey with me to see where it will lead. Sarah generally gets dragged along on the spiritual journey, but she is usually willing toward the end.

Yesterday, we went to Pulmonary Associates to see Dr. Tony Cowan. He is a researcher. The girls were asked to participate in a study for a new method of administering TOBI. Initially, Sarah was resistant to participating because the study requires blood levels to be taken. However, after talking to her and explaining that if other patients before her hadn't agreed to studies like this, we wouldn't have the medications that we have now that help them live healthy lives, she agreed. Interestingly, though, after all the discussion necessary and the tears that preceded the discussion, Sarah did not qualify for the the study because her pulmonary function tests were too good. Dan qualified for the study. But, in looking at the data, Dr. Sindel saw that her functions have fallen during her trip to Italy. She was very healthy before she left, but being without the vest never works well for Dan. She did Acapella, but it is never as effective as the vest. She also coughed up a little blood yesterday, but it seemed to be a one time thing. Dr. Sindel left and instructed me to bring her in Monday, the 12th if she isn't better, and Monday, the 19th if she is better. This weekend will be a healing weekend to allow consistent therapy to restore her health. If she isn't better, she may need I.V. antibiotics, which would disqualify her from the TOBI study for a while.

At any rate, here I sit with all of this and spiritual questions... I have been reading about energy vibrations, prayer and meditation. I have been submersed in daily meditation practice. Becoming one with the One, if you will. All of this in absence of the girls. And, here I sit, still trying to figure it out. The truth is, it can't be figured out. It is up to God. All of it is up to God and that should be good enough for me. What is my role? How can I bring peace to my own family? It is easy to give fried chicken to strangers. It is difficult to bring peace to my own family members who don't necessarily do what I think they should, when I think they should. My family doesn't always cooperate with me with my talk of speaking it to the Universe and visualizing healing light flowing to every cell in the body, and my strangeness and my yoga practices. They want to do it their own way. And, surely, that is O.K. too.

~Namaste'~ Christy

Sunday, June 04, 2006

An Instrument of Peace Bearing Fried Chicken

I'm reading Wayne Dyer's book, There's a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem". I am thoroughly enjoying it. Summer is such a great time for me to recharge my spiritual battery. This book is wonderful in that it gives practical suggestions for how to put in practice the ideas outlined in the St. Francis Prayer:
Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master, grant thtat I may not so much seek

To be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
It is in dying to self that we are born to eternal life.

~Saint Francis of Assisi

The coolest thing is that Dan is in Italy right now. They went to Assisi on their first full day. She was able to go to Saint Francis' chapel. She called me from there and assured me that she is bringing me something magical because Mimi says everything from there is magical. Mom and J.R. are there and having a wonderful time too.

Right now, I am on the explanation of the very first line, "Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace." Yesterday, I stayed home all day to wait for the auditor from the MS Grant Program and a furniture delivery. The auditor arrived early in the morning and took care of all of that business quickly and efficiently. We qualify for a large grant and I am feeling so blessed at the inflow of prosperity. The furniture delivery guys were a different story. They called at 1:30 and told me that they would arrive around 3:00. In actuality, they didn't arrive until after 5:00. It wasn't a big deal, as I really didn't have anywhere special to go anyway. Dave and I got to spend the afternoon together and I always enjoy times when we just get to be together. Still, as the day wore on, we were curious as to whether our end tables and meditation table were to be delivered at all. I went ahead with dinner. Dave made bruschetta and I fried chicken wings. The house was really smelling delicious when the furniture delivery men arrived. One of the guys commented on how good it smelled in the house. So, as I was standing over the stove, I thought I should give them some chicken. When the guy came back to have Dave sign the paperwork I asked if he would like a piece. He indicated he would like one, so I asked how many men were with him and served a piece for each delivery man. He seemed very grateful.

It occurred to me afterward that these are the principles outlined in the book I'm reading... The delivery men had probably been working their tails off all day. They arrived at my house after 5:00 when they were supposed to arrive at 3:00. Probably they aren't being greeted with loving kindness when they arrive two hours late. So, I was able to send them a little peace through fried chicken. Afterall, in my mind, goodwill and fried chicken wings are synonymous.

Sarah called last night too. She is white water rafting with her dad. Go to ~ Go to photos and click June 3, 2:00 trip (view all) to see her. It is great that she has Randy and Kristine, because nothing even remotely appeals to me about careening boldly down rapids. Sarah loved it, though. She said her dad fell out of the boat. Thankfully, they must have had a guy with a big hook to fish him out.

I'm teaching Summer Explorers for three days next week. Then, starting June 19th, I get to teach Summer Scholars: Yoga. I am so excited. I absolutely loved it last year. This year will be an adventure because my partner teacher is my dear friend, Kenna. Kenna is not a yoga practitioner and one might be generous in saying that she can be a little high strung. Still, I am grateful that she wanted to help because it really isn't a class that needs to be taught by just one person. We will do lots of hands-on activities in addition to practicing traditional yoga asanas (poses). I'm excited because Kenna will bring her wonderful energy and enthusiasm, and hopefully I will bring peace, centeredness and promote a connection to each individual's connection to the Divine. Wouldn't it be interesting if our roles reversed?

Dave has started working for Pascagoula now. He is doing weight room duty every day while he gears up for summer school. He will graduate in August with his Master's in administration. Who knows what exciting opportunities that will bring? For this coming year, he is looking forward to teaching some sort of math and coaching the Pascagoula Panthers. Mind you, Dan will be performing in the Gautier Gators marching band at the same time Dave coaches the Panthers to victory, so our family won't see each other on Fridays except for the first game when the Gators play the Panthers. Quite a delimma in the football world. But, since I was reared in a completely non-competitive fashion, it doesn't bother me in the slightest.

I just returned from Norman, Oklahoma, where I visited my wonderful friend, Michelle. Michelle and I taught preschool together at the YMCA years ago in Virginia Beach. Now, she runs the Early Childhood Development program at OU. (Go Sooners) I was able to visit with Michelle and her family for about three days. It was great seeing her again. I got to go to work with her each day, which I enjoyed tremendously. She has a preschool program each day, with college students present learning how to teach. Her program is fully inclusive and children with disabilities are entirely integrated into the program. It was so exciting for me to be able to play and work with the children. She has three students affected with varying degrees of autistic spectrum disorder. I so enjoyed interacting with the kids and giving the student teachers little tips and tricks of methodologies that might be helpful.

I also got to know Michelle's children, Chantal and Rainy. Chantal is a lot like Sarah. She is fiercely independent and fiery. For Chantal, life is a play and she is the star. Everything is very dramatic. But, being around her gives a feeling of being able to star in the show as a cameo. That was fun. Rainy is thoughtful and inquisitive. He so impressed me when we were talking in the car and he said, "Fun Friday, that is an example of alliteration." I wanted to drag him back to school with me and show him to my fourth graders. Michelle didn't acquire her children in the typical way. There are still court sessions to be attended and legal documents to be signed. Still, the children are hers and Sterling's, nonetheless. Just like my favorite story, "Horton Hatches the Egg", Michelle and Sterling have been faithful and reared the children. They have given of themselves and it is evident in the spirit the children present to the world. It was nice to see "nurture" winning in the longstanding argument of "nature vs. nurture".

We are headed to church this morning. I'm looking forward to more opportunities to be an instrument of peace. I probably won't be bearing chicken today, but maybe something else. Maybe just a smile, a kind word or thought, or whatever happens to present itself at the time.