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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Spring has sprung!

Although I'm working now I get home early enough that I can cook dinner.  Today was so dern pretty that I opted to take a book outside and soak up some Vitamin D. was a stellar spring afternoon!

No slaving in the kitchen tonight!  We were having a picnic in our very own backyard AND pretending we were French!  A petite baguette, two kinds of cheese, apples & grapes and an avocado.  Yum!

#2 Son wasn't interested in such a petite dinner but came out later for chit chat, pictures and fun.  He's the most sensitive of our boys and gets a kick out of My Guy and I enjoying each other.  And, I rather like it too!

I'm in the suck-the-marrow-from-life mindset...hope it sticks!

Thursday, March 24, 2011


Hey friends....I'm keeping Vava's View about life in general.  And, so have dedicated a new blog to our story about you-know-who.  I'd love to have you visit "A Son Called Reed."  Thank you SO much for your encouraging comments on the first two posts!!!!  As I've said many a time - what WOULD we do without girlfriends ♥?!♥

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

This Son Called Reed (Part 2)


In kindergarten the nurse told us perhaps Reed had hearing or processing problems. If you hear the word “processing problems/issues”, I’d call that a red flag. Pay attention.

First, second, third grade. Shouldn’t these school days be about exploration, learning and just a BIT of fun? There was none of that for our boy while in school. He could be open and engaging until he entered the school room doors. They’d close and he’d close up. The light went out of his eyes. Teachers would be shocked when I’d tell them that, yes, he is (sometimes) happy and loving and fun at home.

In first grade he was class clown and the write-ups began. Back then “hyperactivity” was the buzz word and we fell for it and put Reed on Ritalin. His anger turned to rages that scared and shocked us to our core. The world was telling us he was a defiant, behavior problem and the world solution to this problem was time out, spanking or screaming like banshees. “He needs discipline!” was the mantra. I would get so angry at my baby I thought I was losing my mind. When it was over I was spent and utterly exhausted. Oh, yes…then we’d do our making-up-I-love-you-forever act.

God chased me down and in 1998 (2nd grade for Reed) I timidly attended a Bible study. As I looked around the circle of women God’s sense of humor was evident. Five of the group knew each other well. We had played Bunco together for many years. We’d often laugh – “from Bunco to Bible study.” A new season of life had begun. It was what my mind and soul needed. I ran into our bedroom that first night and jumped on our bed: “You won’t believe these women. It’s what I’ve been looking for – exactly what I need.” I was a novice in prayer but knew it would impact our children and our marriage. I began praying with Reed – talking to him about God – about the Bible. He was an open book – ripe to hear it all. It delighted my heart and filled me so full, at times I’d burst. It became a ritual to pray together –with his dear hands crossed, eyes closed he was my angel.

By the time he was in fourth grade I had no pride….about parenting. I became an open book. In my case this meant begging for prayer. I dubbed myself the “Prayer Hog.” I am not a fan of roller coasters, they scare me! Yet our life was one: ranting and raging. Next you might see us as the all American family – cute as pie, all kisses and smiles. Reed had been a love-bug since day one. His emotions ran the gamut but he loved just as fiercely as he raged.

In hindsight I am able to see where His hand was. God was smack dab in it with me. When I was in the fire it was about me or my sons, or stepping in between boys and husband. The focus was on The Circumstance. My focus was not on the Lord. The Hand of God (HOG) moments are pretty cool. They came in the form of just the right song on the radio, that day’s devotional, an email or in human form. There are no coincidences. I’m of the belief that every, single, solitary, teeninsy detail is in the hands of God!

HOG Moment

Reed’s elementary years were a challenge to put it mildly. It was a real struggle for my boy who was unable to voice what was happening in his little body and mind. His teachers were also challenged. He was a regular visitor to the principal’s office.

I saw said principal at our church when Reed was in high school. She had always been kind and gentle to us. I walked up to her a bit hesitant…and as she turned, a smile flooded her face. “How is our Reed? I’ve been praying for him all these years.” Do you see it???? The hand of God!

(Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.) - Deuteronomy 31:6

Fourth grade was a turning point. Toward the end of that year, Reed’s anger was routine and aimed at authority figures. It could be the soccer coach, a teacher or his parents. Our home life was tense. We walked on eggshells never knowing when he’d blow. The word “no” was the switch that turned our sweet-faced, handsome boy into a raging tiger. As intense as each episode was the making up was just as intense. Reed and I do love fiercely!  Always have. Our baby would be beside himself with remorse and we’d fall into one another, hugging and loving each other. I’d ask his forgiveness and he’d ask mine. All was well. Until next time…

Reed was placed in special education for his learning disabilities and we had rights under the IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act). We met with his teachers once a year. These (intimidating) meetings were called ARDs. They were a resource to help parents and families of students who are eligible for special education supports and services. Waiting for the meeting to begin made ME feel like the student!

I worked full time and the afternoon was interrupted by one of those dreaded phone calls. “Mrs. ___, Reed was brought to the principal’s office for acting out. He proceeded to tell the principal *@# and then ran out of the office. We had to call the school police. You’ll need to come pick him up.” It was a Friday. Our fourth grader was expelled from school until the following Wednesday.

We took our son home clueless about his future education. I turned on The Oprah Winfrey show at 4 pm. The promo stopped me dead in my tracks. “Is your child ADHD or Bipolar?” Two checklists were on the screen. Why, I believed we had a 10 year old with Bipolar Disorder. Oh…the school district had made an appointment with a psychiatrist for us the following week, before he could return to school. They did have four years’ worth of files on him.

Enter scary psychiatrist. Me: “Sir, if I may…I believe he may be Bipolar.” Doctor: “No, duh. Why’d you take so long to get here?” We agreed with everything he said. We believed him. And trusted him. At that point, it’d been seven years of fits. We did not know what else to do. And so…we put our son on heavy psychotropic drugs. Those were for Bipolar; and since he was ADHD we added that pill to the mix.

It was time for the ARD in fourth grade which included the psychiatrist’s report. My husband and I entered a conference room and were joined by the principal, teachers, school psychologist and a few others. There were piles of files on our son. Every write-up was documented. Every phone call was noted. Remember how much I hated caller ID!

Monday, March 21, 2011

This Son Called Reed (Part I)

I meet five women on Mondays for coffee and chatting about the love of writing.  And it's one loving circle of encouragement.  I think perhaps I'm to write a story.  About Son #2.  It's real.  And raw.  You may not think so highly of me but I'm okay with that.  The Beginning:

I hated caller ID. I learned to pray “…help me, Lord” before I even looked at who was calling. It was such a relief when it wasn’t from the school district. I have my son’s permission to tell our story.

No one knew the anger that bubbled inside of me. No one knew how it only erupted when my sons pushed my buttons. The 6 pm glass of wine was much too appealing. Burying myself under the covers sounded heavenly. Running away from parenting was a consideration. And afterward I’d closet myself far from the family in tears, begging God for forgiveness, mercy, and help!

Where to begin? How about when he was in daycare? As young as three years old, our son was an angry soul. I recall once driving down the street, glancing over at my little cherub and the vitriol out of his mouth shocked me so I had to stop the car.

In pre-K, the teacher called me to a corner and with a very solemn face proceeded to prophesy over his future. “He’s not ready for kindergarten. I’d hold him back if I were you. Are you having problems at home? Is there a lot of anger in your house? Something is just not right with your son…”

And so the story begins. I didn’t pay heed to that teacher and placed him in first grade. I simply could not deal with him more than I had to. I was one of those parents who hoped another’s influence would change him.


Thursday, March 17, 2011

New Things!

Have you missed me?  I've been MIA for a good reason.  I returned to work - 25 hours a week and even that's put a kink in my energy level.  I have Emergen-C on my (work) desk.  It's a necessity.

New thing #1:  Returning to work is part of the plan God (obviously) has for me.  While going to a class Thursday mornings on healing life's hurts, I had one of those "aha" moments.  We learned that if we've judged; it's coming right back at us.  Let me give you an example.  I posted on my bosses and once upon a time I cloaked each with an adjective:  abusive, dismissive, condescending, etc.  I judged the bejeebers out of them.  In almost every position, "Mr. Hart" was my boss.  I'd ask My Guy "WHY do I have a boss like this?  What is the meaning behind this?"  And, I'd bad-mouth, judge, gripe about how horrible they were to me.  Sort of bitter....ya know?

Dabney Coleman as "Mr. Hart" in Nine to Five.

During Sherry's class three weeks ago, she talked about bitter roots.  We have to PULL THEM OUT, get rid of them.  I had an epiphany....I judged them therefore continued having the SAME type of supervisor in my life...Can you say "AHA!?"

On the evening of February 23 our home phone rings and I hear:  "Virginia, this is Pastor Dan.  I'd like you to come work for me."  Huh???????????????  Dan is one of our church pastors.....and My Guy and I have to count him as a favorite in our church!  To make a long story short, I met with him two days later and learned about the position.  I left absolutely giddy.  And excited.  And peaceful.  And scared.  The job is a stretch; but how else does one grow? 

This is week two.  It's going to be good.  It's all new at this point but I am most thankful that God has answered a prayer of mine - what do YOU want me to do, Lord?  How can I serve YOU?  My new boss is a godly man - filled with kindness, joy, and creativity!  It's just SO cool!!!!!!!!!!!

New thing #2.  I've gone green.  No, I'm not talking about my green sofa.  I traded in my honkin' gas guzzler SUV for a 2006 hybrid!!!  30 - 35 mpg!  Woo-hoo.  And, my "work" aka church is 7 minutes from home!!!

New thing #3:  Helen (mother-in-law) is in HER new home.  She is ensconsed safely in The Silverado which is an Alzheimer's facility.  It is LOVELY!!!  And the care givers have such compassion.  It's small, close to My Guy and his brother.  Hey, that's sort of green too, right?

Spring is also green and all about renewal, regrowth and rebirth.  I'm feeling it in many areas of life.  And if you don't know by now, I do love a good adventure!