Cool story here.
Wednesday, May 6, 2015
We just recently had Sammy's IEP (Individual Education Plan) meeting. I was dreading it. It normally isn't that big of a deal, but I've been in a funk, and kind of emotional, and the last thing I was prepared for was sitting down in a meeting surrounded by professionals who, though they really do love Samantha and I feel that, would fulfill their job of telling me that she hadn't reached her goals for the year. We've sung that tune every IEP and I went in with a bad attitude.
I entered the meeting smiling, but I was feeling weak.
Yes, she didn't accomplish any of the goals that were set for her. But there was so much love in the meeting, I was finding myself feeling better, even though I had come to the meeting predetermined to be sad. It clearly wasn't working out because I found myself getting happier and happier. And then, they shared something with me that just delighted me.
"Sammy is, by far, the most talkative member of our class."
This didn't surprise me. She can be very vocal. But they used the word talkative.
The teacher continued. She told me how Sammy will call out students' names. She will repeat what is said, often, and she even has quite a high opinion of herself and shared it. Last week they were at the table doing a craft. The teacher was across the table from her and she said, "You can do it Sammy!" and Sammy yelled her reply, "I CAN!!!"
Sammy no longer gets speech in school because she wasn't progressing, but this new speech therapist is keeping a close eye on her, constantly consulting with the teacher and sharing ideas. I do believe that Sammy has a lot she wants to say and will one day get it out.
Her teacher sent me this picture today. I asked that we add a goal that she can drink on her own. I don't care if it's an open cup. Who cares? I want her to have more independence and if she's thirsty...that she can take care of that. How liberating would that feel for her? I suggested a water bottle since she has a hard time holding onto a cup, and it would spill if it was dropped. Sippy cups are difficult for her to suck from at times. And straws are hit or miss. She's good with them, but then sometimes she just chews.
From this picture, it sure looks like she's getting the hang of it, and I couldn't be happier about it.
Our little girl is such a gift. She reminds me daily to not take things for granted.
Each small step forward is a success...no matter how small.
Sunday, April 26, 2015
|8 months old|
I'm not sure why, but I've been feeling especially tender about Samantha lately. More often, I'm stop in the middle of what I'm doing, think about what an angel she is, and I just tear up. It lasts a brief moment but it's happening often. If I didn't intentionally stop myself, I would be in full out cry mode all the time. And I really don't have time for that. I pray that this constant reminder of what a blessing Sammy is in my life is merely a time when I'm spiritually growing, becoming more connected in my life, recognizing my blessings....and not that I'm being prepared for something...something I don't want to think about. I think back to some very difficult times in her life...
|Just out of surgery|
|Finally able to hold her|
and I count our blessings. The truth is, as extremely difficult as it all was in the beginning, she has gotten easier over time. Things have just kind of evened out and hit a happy and welcomed lull. Her seizures, for the most part, are stable. Overall, as she has grown and matured, she has mellowed out. She really only cries when she's hurt or upset. And when she does cry, it's so sad you can't help but join in. We definitely still have our concerns, but she is so pleasant and such a true joy to be around.
|Doing well. Still swollen and hair already slowly coming in.|
Here's the thing...and it's very simple. I am so blessed. When it comes to my children, I feel like I am so incredibly blessed...and it all began with Sammy. Her entry into the world wasn't an ideal start. In fact, it was rather emotionally traumatizing. But her life, her little spirit, has filled our home with so much love. I want to be a better person because of her. I want to make sure I'm always worthy to be by her side...and quite frankly, I'm not. She's so much better than I am...just a far better person. She has this beautiful capacity to love and trust, so immediately. Often, I wonder if the biggest lesson that I need to learn from her isn't just that -- to love and trust immediately. To love and trust the Lord...immediately. I'm working on it. There are other lessons that I've learned from her, that's for sure. Patience. That's a big one. Acceptance. Tolerance. Hope. Faith. But those, I am finding, are secondary to that one big one...the need to put all my trust in the Lord...just as she puts all her trust in us. I haven't figured it all out yet, and I don't think I'm expected to either. So it's ok.
|Father's Day 2008|
Sammy and Callie both look just baby dolls
She brings sunshine into our home. My days are happier when I've spent time alone with Sammy. It only needs to be a little bit, but I feel my day is whole when I've had a little time with just her and me. (Well, that's kind of true for all my kids...but I'm talking about Sammy right now.) That's one reason that I look forward to putting her to bed. It's time when I can just hold her. She curls up in my arms and just rests there. She looks up at me usually once or twice, smiles, and then nestles in again and cozies on up. It's frequently one of the sweetest parts of my day.
My life isn't perfect. But I'm ok with that. There's a Colin Raye song that I've referenced before...She's With Me. In many ways, I feel like that's Sammy's song. I feel like her imperfect perfection is my ticket into heavenly splendor. As long as she's with me, I'm maybe good enough to slide in...because she's making me a better person. Maybe she can vouch for me and she'll let the angels and sentinels know, "Don't worry guys, she's with me." I truly believe Samantha is my personal angel -- slowly smoothing out my rough edges, encouraging me, lifting me, and at times pulling me along.
Friday, April 24, 2015
Monday, April 6, 2015
I read this last year but there are a few books that I loved and wanted to still write about. This is one of those books. I had pre-ordered this book. Then one day, it appeared on my wee kindle and it was perfect timing. I had just finished a book and was ready to dive into another. Truthfully, all I knew about this book before buying it is that I really like the author. That was good enough for me. But the surprise I got when I began reading...I didn't expect. I immediately, immediately, fell in love with it. I was hooked and did not want to put it down. I read it while at the gym, and I got some great LONG workouts on the treadmill because I just didn't want to stop.
I kind of don't even know where to begin when it comes to sharing all I loved about the book. The story itself is captivating. In all my reading years, I have actually never read a book about the Vietnam War. I've read a lot of books around the Civil War and WWII, but never Vietnam. So that caught me. Crowe did such a great job of sharing insights of each of the characters...so perfectly. Somehow I felt totally connected to this teenage boy. The things he carried and tried to deal with I have never experienced, yet, I was there with him. It was so well-written. I felt love and so much compassion for all of them, even when I was upset. And let's talk about emotions...I think I felt them all! I laughed. I seriously cried (on the treadmill...at the gym). I was frustrated and angry and hurt. I was so into this book.
I do that. I connect when I read. But this was particularly different. I think because the author made a genius move, in my opinion. The entire book is written in haiku. What?! Who in their right mind takes the time to do that? I can't even wrap my mind around taking the time to make the entire book work so perfectly like that. But it really made the story magical. Every word, I would assume, was so carefully chosen and placed. It really was beautiful...a work of art.
I can't say enough about this book. I've loved his other books, but I think this is my favorite. If I was still teaching in the classroom, I'd definitely use this as a part of my curriculum for it's study of history, social pressures and social "rules" of the time, issues then vs. now -- how they are different and the same, diction, poetry, imagery....I could go on.
It's among my favorite books in 2014.
I loved this book. It was so beautiful. To begin with, it is based on a true story...an incredible true story. Many are aware of the Lost Boys of Sudan. Back in the '80's there was war and a terrible amount of unnecessary death...murder. Families were destroyed in a blink of an eye as men with guns wiped out villages within moments. Some were able to escape...many young children traveling alone, seeking refuge.
Part of the book takes place in 1985. Salva is at school when gunshots rip through the village. He runs home to find he is alone. This book shares Salva's story. However, it is interwoven with Nya's story, an 11 year old girl from Southern Sudan in 2009. Each day, for her family to survive, she must fulfill her job of gathering water. It takes a large portion of her time and day. It is difficult work but needs to be done in order for their survival.
Salva is a real boy...now a man. After his experiences, he decided to add some good to the world. Salva started a foundation that drills wells in South Sudan. Water for South Sudan is clearly a work of love. You can hear Salva's story here.
It's such a great read...one I plan on reading with Callie.
Tuesday, March 31, 2015
Oh wow. I really enjoyed this book. It's a story of enduring love between two women, and how that love transcends social pressures, stigmas, and adversity. When Lisbeth is born, she is passed off to her wet nurse -- Mattie, a slave who has a 3 month old child, herself. Mattie cares for Lisbeth day and night, creating a bond much stronger than Lisbeth has with her own mother. As time goes on, their bond only strengthens. After time, they lose contact, but their stories are still woven together.
Though slavery is the basic story, themes of love, sisterhood, family, forced separation of slave families, social pressures, courage, personal power -- and the lack thereof -- are also scattered throughout the novel. It was a beautiful story. I loved it.