December 20, 2013

The Light of Christmas


God said,
"Let there be light,"
and there was light.
God saw that the light was good,
and he separated the light from darkness.
~ Genesis 1:3-4
When I was little, my grandmother told me when her dad went into town, misjudged the time and was caught by the quickness of the descending darkness, her mother would put a candle in the window to guide her loved one home. Grandma said candlelight can be seen from far off when it is totally dark out on the flat, treeless prairies.

are my lamp,
O Lord; the Lord
turns my darkness into light.
~ 2 Samuel 22:29

My husband and I have been enjoying the Christmas TV show "The Light Fight." It's amazing to see the creativity every one has displayed so far with all the Christmas decorations and lights. I especially love the twinkly lights, but my favorite is the house that looked like a gingerbread house. I have a thing for decorated Christmas cottages. . .

is the way to
the abode of light?
~ Job 38:19a

Which brings me back to the reason for the season. It's not about Santa Claus or how many gifts we must buy or how many we will get or the red-nosed reindeer or how many lights we can put up on our houses to outshine our neighbors. Simply, the reason for Christmas is that Jesus was born as a baby to Mary and Joseph. He came to light the pathway to God's salvation.

Jesus cried out,
"When a man believes in me,
he does not believe in me only,
but in the one who sent me. When
he looks at me, he sees the one who sent me.
I have come into the world as a light, so that
no one who believes in me should stay in darkness."
~ John 12:44-46

So as you drive around your neighborhood this holiday season to view the Christmas light displays, remember those tiny bulbs represent His life and light. He brought light for everyone!  
of the tender mercy
of our God, by which
the rising sun will come to us
from heaven to shine on those
living in darkness and in the shadow
of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.
~ Luke 1:78-79

I appreciate Jesus' birthday, because I have no hope of an eternal life in heaven without His assistance. I'm not good enough to get there on my own. I go to church, but that won't save me. I live a basically good life, but that's still not good enough to get me to heaven. I need Jesus. He lights up the bridge into heaven.

the Holy City,
the new Jerusalem,
coming down out of heaven from God,
prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for
her husband. . .The city does not need the sun or the moon
to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp/"
~ Revelation 21: 2, 23.
My Thanks ☼

1. Jesus, the Christmas light!

2. The willingness of Mary and the missionary Paul to carry the light into the world!

3. For warm clothes, a warm house, and warm water to wash with!

4. For Bookworms, Librarians, and Packrats! Thank God for these three! They have made my hobby of researching my ancestors and magazine transcriptions so much easier. I'm glad they had the foresight to keep the history of this great nation from being tossed into a recycling bin somewhere.

5. I'm thankful for the Good Samaritan who helped my mother up when she fell on the ice last Friday taking the trash out.

6. And last, but never least, I appreciate my blog readers, whether you are a newbie or a re-Pete! Yes, you! Even if you don't add your gratitudes to this blog weekly like I do, you encourage me when you return to read my next postings. Thank you!

May you enjoy God's mercy, protection, grace, and the joy of His salvation this holiday season!


December 12, 2013

How You Live Your Dash

I have recently attended two cousin's funerals. Both pastors, during their eulogy, spoke of this poem and commended both ladies for living their dash for Christ so well.

This poem was written by Linda Ellis and another cousin, Glenn Ellsworth Ullom Hansen, a newspaper publisher in Rantoul, IL loved Linda's poem so much, that he added it to his wife's, Marguerite "Peg" Clark Hansen (1917-2001), funeral leaflet to be read during her funeral.  Here is Linda, reading her poem on a YouTube video.

How You Live Your Dash
By Linda Ellis.

I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of a friend:
He referred to the dates on her tombstone.
From the beginning . . . to the end.
He noted that first came her date of birth
And spoke of the following date with tears,
But he said what mattered most of all
Was the dash between those years.
For the dash represents all the time
That she spent alive on earth. . .
And now only those who loved her
Know what that little line is worth.
For it matters not, how much we own;
The cars . . . the house . . . the cash.
What matters is how we live and love and
How we spend our dash.
So think about this long and hard . . .
Are there things you'd like to change?
For you never know how much time is left,
That can still be arranged.
If we could just slow down enough
To consider what's true and real
And always try to understand
The way other people feel.
And be less quick to anger,
And show appreciation more
And love people in our lives
Like we've never loved before.
If we treat each other with respect,
And more often wear a smile . . .
Remembering that this special dash
Might only last a little while.
So, when your eulogy's being read
With your life's action to rehash . . .
Would you be proud of the things they say
About how you spent your dash?

December 04, 2013

Mastering ADD -- Part 1

I have ADD. Yes, that's right -- Attention Deficit Disorder. It's a misnomer though, because I can super-focus on something that really interests me, like my current research project. *wink* For most of my life, I felt like a failure and stupid, but guess what? The first eye opener for me was in high school psyc class. My classmates and I took IQ tests and I discovered I could qualify for Mensa! Wow! Me, a brainiac, no way!

Of course, then that led to "Dolores is not living up to her potential" statements on report cards. Is that a set-up or what? But, tightly sheltered in my hands, was a tiny shiny glimmer of hope that maybe, just maybe, I was not so dumb after all. Maybe giftedness was why I thought and acted differently from everyone else. Even then, I didn't completely accept myself, because I still was not "normal." I could identify with Pinocchio who wanted to be a real boy and later Data, on Star Trek, who sought to be human.

However, it was not until much later, after marriage and motherhood, that I discovered just who I was. All of us, our whole family was diagnosed at the same time by the same expert (Dr. Grace Ketterman. I've mentioned her before--here.) with ADD. Hallelujah! For me, it was such a relief to learn my state of being had a name and that it is neurological.
My autographed copy of
Dr, Ketterman's book.

The very first thing I needed to know after our diagnosis was practical coping skills, not only for myself, but also how to wisely parent our son. My doctor could not follow me around daily, handing out free advice. She had to make a living. We continued to visit her on a monthly basis for a couple of years and I journaled the most pressing problems to receive her advice, but I felt overwhelmed and at the same time, starved for information, so I turned to books. While medication helped to clear the cobwebs of foggy thots, most of the materials I read about ADD/ADHD, did not tell me how to manage living with it. What may seem obvious to you, scatter-brains like me before medication, do not have problem-solving techniques under our belts. I needed assistance -- helpful concrete step by step directions, written in sequence. I continued to read self-help books, adopting some survival skills along the way. If you think coping is a crutch, you may be right, but you wouldn't take crutches away from a one-legged man, would you, if he needed them to get around?

After six difficult years in public school, we decided to educate our son at home. I got involved right away in a local homeschool support group. Later I was asked to sit on a panel of parents and share some of my organizational tips. I went from being completely disorganized to over-the-top organized (one of the hazards of over-compensating for ADD deficiencies. *wink*).

Anyway, I love hand-outs which I collect in 3 ring-binder notebooks. It's something I can refer back to, if needed. So on the hand-out that evening, some of my suggestions were:

1. Make a master list and check it twice.

2. List all the most important tasks your family must complete (including lessons) in a daily, weekly, and monthly schedule. Make "appointments" for each on one BIG calendar.

3. Store items near the place you use them.

4. Transform piles into files.

6. A place for everything and everything in it's place! Remember this rule: O.H.I.O. Only handle it once.

7. Pull weeds when you see them in the infant stage, otherwise you'll have Godzilla-sized problems in no time.

8. Date all papers. File or throw away papers that are no longer needed.

9. On scrub day, start at the door and work your way around the room.

10. Do each task one step at a time and complete the task before beginning on a new one. If needed, write down the steps of a job in sequence and laminate it. Post it near job site as a reminder of what needs to be done.
11. Go for the Gold! Visit stores with a list of the items you need and only purchase those items. I carry a small spiral notebook and pen in my purse for reminders and master lists. Somehow, that link from hand to head makes things stick for me!

12. If you can manage this without getting distracted, combine tasks to save time. If you are running errands, write down all the places you need to go, what you need to get, and "map" your way there in the straightest way possible. Don't backtrack as that wastes not only time, but gas.

13. Delegate chores. Many hands make a job light!

14. Learn to say NO! Know your limitations. After all, God rested after creating order from chaos all week!

15. Keep a pad and pen near your phone to write down important messages. Assign a place for posting them such as on the refrigerator or on a bulletin board near your calendar. This is for everyone in your family. Post the message and act on it as soon as possible if the message was for you.

16. I keep 3-ring binders or file folders for all loose papers. Other items go into themed boxes and baskets. I label them using blank index cards (temporary) or blank sticker labels (permanent).

17. Prepare lesson plans in advance. Write them down and put all items needed for the lesson together. Being organized means less frustration, less time lost and secondly, if you become ill and a substitute teacher takes over, everything will run smoother because the day was pre-planned in advance. (I wrote my son's assignments in a large spiral notebook, leaving him space to check them off as he progressed through them. It gave him a real sense of accomplishment and helped him know when those assignments were completed, he could play with his homeschooling friends up the street,
a real motivator for both. I also kept them as proof that my child was getting an education.)

18. Be flexible.

  ~~ <> @ <> ~~

Note: After retiring from homeschooling, the above list was helpful when I later went back to teaching in Pre-K Sunday School and was asked to prepare a teacher training class called "One of the Honey Bees of Teaching: Bee Prepared."
~~ <> @ <> ~~

"The Week's Calendar"
by Frances Heilprin.

Monday-- Watch the bubbles fly--
Tuesday -- See the wash get dry.
Wednesday -- Mend with all our might ---
Thursday -- Make things clean and bright.
Friday -- Bad for dust and flies. --
Saturday -- Good for cakes and pies.
Sunday -- From all tasks we're free,
After church we have our tea.
~~ <> @ <> ~~

Near to the end of our homeschooling days, I filled out a survey for a book called "Homeschooling the Challenging Child" by Christine Field.  She is a lawyer/free-lance writer/homeschool mom who had adopted a boy with ADD. Previous to that adoption, the lawyer in her blamed parents for discipline problems, but she soon saw that she couldn't lay all the blame at parents feet, because despite doing all the "right things," her son was still struggling. She quotes me four times in her book.

1. Delores from Missouri notes, "Like David used harp music to soothe King Saul's nerves, we've tried to keep soothing music around." p. 55.

2. Delores in Missouri gave her son an interesting assignment. She writes, "He's always had Bible memory verses to practice his handwriting with and memorize at the same time as his spelling. I've tried to make his verses uplifting, positive ones since ADD people tend to internalize the negative, preachy ones (pessimism, discouragement, depression). Last year, he had twenty-five verses of joy and cheer to memorize! His outlook changed for the better--everyone noticed!" p.57. (see post below for verses)
3. Delores says her son is a tester, more so in his younger years than now. "He's one of those children Dr. James Dobson in his Strong-Willed Child book says was born with a cigar in his mouth." P. 72.
4. Delores from Missouri writes: "I learned to be firm, stand my ground when needed, but refuse to argue, and his privileges would go bye-bye! And he still had to do whatever was requested of him." P. 117.

To be continued. . .

Mastering ADD --- Part II

Here's the Scripture Memory Verses I mentioned previously in Christine Field's Homeschooling the Challenging Child book on page 57:

Week 1 -- Ecclesiastes 8:15 = So I commend the enjoyment of life, because nothing is better for a man under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany him in his work all the days of the life God has given him under the sun.

Week 2 -- Psalm 118:24 = This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Week 3 -- Proverbs 15:23 = A man finds joy in giving an apt reply--and how good is a timely word.

Week 4 -- Psalm 65:8 = Those living far away fear your wonders; where morning dawns and evening fades you call for songs of joy.

Week 5 -- Nehemiah 8:10 = For the joy of the Lord is your strength.

Week 6 -- 2 Corinthians 7:4 = I have great confidence in you: I take great pride in you. I am greatly encouraged; in all our troubles my joy knows no bounds.

Week 7 -- James 1:2-4 = Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Week 8 -- Psalm 100:1-2 = Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.

Week 9 -- Psalm 5:11 = But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.

Week 10 -- Proverbs 19:22 = A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

Week 11 -- Proverbs 15:15 = The cheerful heart has a continual feast.

Week 12 -- 2 Corinthians 13:9 = We are glad whenever we are weak but you are strong; and our prayer is for your perfection.

Week 13 -- Philippians 1:3-6 = I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Week 14 -- Galations 5:22-23 = The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Week 15 -- Ephesians 6:2-3 = Honor your father and mother--which is the first commandment with a promise - that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.

Week 16 -- Proverbs 23:25 = May your father and mother be glad; may she who gave you birth rejoice.

Week 17 -- 2 John :4 = It has given me great joy to find some of your children walking in the truth.

Week 18 -- Psalm 20:5 = We will shout for joy when you are victorious and will lift up our banners in the name of our God. May the Lord grant all your requests.

Week 19 -- Proverbs 12:25 = An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.

Week 20 -- Jeremiah 31:13 = The maidens will dance and be glad, young men and old as well, I will turn their mourning into gladness, I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.

Week 21 -- Acts 2:28 = You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.

Week 22 -- Psalm 28:7 = The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.

 Week 23 -- Philippians 4:4 = Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!

Week 24 -- 1 Chronicles 29:17 = I know, my God, that you TEST the heart and are pleased with integrity. All these things have I given willingly and with honest intent. And now I have seen with joy how willingly your people who are here have given to you.

Week 25 -- Romans 12:12 = Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

Week 26 -- 2 Corinthians 9:7 = for God loves a cheerful giver.

Week 27 -- Psalm 96:12 = Let the fields be jubilant and everything in them, then all the trees for the forest will sing for joy.

Week 28 -- Psalm 98:8 = Let the rivers clap their hands, let the mountains sing together for joy.

Week 29 -- Job 8:21 = He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.

Week 30 --Psalm 126:6 = He who goes out weeping carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him.

Week 31 -- 1 Chronicles 16:10-11 = Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. Look to the Lord and his strength; see his face always.

Week 32 -- Isaiah 51:11 = The ransomed of the Lord will return. They will enter Zion with singing, everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.

Week 33 -- 1 Peter 1:6-7 = In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith--of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire -- may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

Week 34 -- 1 Peter 1:8-9 = Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

To be continued. . .

Mastering ADD -- Part III

In order to further understand ADD, when a friend in our church offered a free NAMI
(National Alliance on Mental Illness) Family-to-Family Education Program, I jumped at the chance. It's a very intense 12 week program, taught by a family member who has lived with a mentally ill family member, has graduated from at least one Family-to-Family Education Program (she had 6 classes under her belt, learning something "new" each time) and extensive training to successfully teach the class. Although the information mostly dealt with the most intensive forms of mental illness (schizophrenia and bipolar disorder), I graduated from the class with a better understanding of medication, and brain biology, communication, and advocacy.

Recently, I watched a show on our second local PBS TV station called "ADD & Mastering It" hosted by comedians
Rick Green and Patrick McKenna, who also were diagnosed with ADD as adults. They listed 36 tips to mastering ADD. See how closely they resemble my own lists above:

1. Acceptance -- Embrace your Diagnosis of ADD.
2. Educate Yourself -- ADD is a neurological disorder, not a character flaw. It is everywhere. It's not about willpower. It's not laziness. It genetic -- it runs in families. ADD may be accompanied by secondary disorders. It looks like anxiety and depression. It's treatable.
3. Understand your flavor -- ADD or ADHD?
4. Bend the world to you.

5. Chunk it up. Start with one thing and break the task into small, manageable bits.
 6. Take action -- start, quit procrastination.
7. Use doorways to help you -- use the door to remind you to take something with you the next morning so leave your backpack or tote bag on the door handle, or use it as a bulletin board (leave a sticky note reminder for yourself), or a starting place to begin cleaning.
8. Make an Entrance.
9. Meditate -- use it as a focal point to refocus yourself on a task at hand. For example, place all your attention on the feel of your feet on the ground.
10. Seize the small opportunities.
11. Sing, Dance, Move.
12. Don't apologize for having ADD.
13. Apologize though when you screw up.
14. Choose the right job. Do something you love.
15. Find the Right Partner. Practice communication. Continue to educate yourself.
16. Simplify.
17. Start small.
18. Exercise.
19. Forgive yourself & others.
20. Make lists.
21. Reframe It.
22. Clarify Your Goals. ADD people live in the now. We have to project goals into the future, then lay the foundation for the steps to get there.
23. Choose Your Distraction. Baroque music or white noise generators are most helpful.
24. It's your Experiment.
25. List Your Strengths, meaning positive traits.
26. Journal.
27. Turn off the TV -- watch 1 hour less and put the time to practical use.
28. Laugh and learn to laugh at yourself.
29. Use only one master calendar. Use different colors for different people's activities.
30. Don't trust feelings of being overwhelmed.
31. Build a TEAM --of professionals (therapist, physician, etc.) and wise, supportive friends.
32. Keep It Together. Where you use it, store it there. O.H.I.O.
33. Get real about time. Figure out how long it takes you to do each step in a task, then allow that much time to complete it. Don't procrastinate.
34. EXPRESS GRATITUDE -- it will make you happier.
35. Create a bigger context.
36. Don't overdo the good things. Build one new habit at a time until you master it. Life is not a sprint, but a marathon.

12 Reasons Why You Should Love Having ADD

"You are not the Brightest of my four sons" by John Shuchart.