Monday, April 25, 2011


GL has to take medication four times a day. Anyone who says medication is never the answer for behavior should try living with him unmedicated. He learned to swallow pills at age 7, and has never had a problem with them since. Even when the pharmacy filled his prescription with the same number of milligrams, but more pills, he swallowed handfuls of pills with no difficulty. Until recently. He had a cold a month or two ago with coughing and choking. He happened to cough or choke on mucous more than once while swallowing his pills. The cold is long gone, but now he is convinced that pills will make him cough, choke, or gag. First he started coughing while the pills are still in the front of his mouth, before he attempted to swallow, spitting them across the room or into the cup of water. Now he's started coughing and gagging before they're even in his mouth, sometimes as soon as I open the bottle. Heavy sigh.

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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Alleluia! Christ is Risen!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Happy Good Friday

Happy Good Friday? Well, yes. Every Good Friday, one of my favorite bloggers reposts this post from her archives, and for the third year in a row, I'm linking it. She says it so well, there's really nothing to add.

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Sunday, April 17, 2011

A Must-Read Blog!

I just found a great new blog. Actually, it found me. Brian left a comment on my last post, and, wondering who Brian was, I immediately clicked his profile and took a look at his blog, Both Sides of the Coin. (If you want me to read your blog, nothing gets my attention like leaving a comment on my blog.)

As you know, two of the things I blog about most are homeschooling and autism. These are the topics of many of the blogs I read, as well. As you might imagine, most of them are written by moms. Nothing wrong with that, I really enjoy their humor and insight, but when I find an autism or homeschooling blog by a dad, it really gets my attention. (If you run across any, send me a link. I've only seen a handful.)

It's not just a blog by an autism dad, it's a team blog by the parents of a boy with autism, with a he says, she says format. It's well written, humorous, and insightful. Drop everything and read it. And the post A how-to guide for dealing with autism dads, from Brian's old blog, before he and Christy combined their blogs to write Both Sides of the Coin.

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Palm Sunday: It's only fun until someone loses an eye!

O.K., no one lost an eye at my church this morning, but I have been poked in the eye when some short people related to me got over-enthusiastic with their palm fronds. And I'm sure it happened again today to someone, somewhere. People say Christmas is for children, but it's got nothing on Palm Sunday for pint-size congregant participation. With fronds like these, who needs enemies? 

Palm Sunday is a strange holiday. Even staid congregations that don't usually leave their pews for any other reason have processions. People who would normally never raise their hands in church are waving tree branches. And think about it: palms--which would never survive the winters here--before the first hint of buds on local trees. 

But the strangest part is this: we praise Jesus by reenacting a scene in which we play the crowd that turned on Him and demanded his crucifixion. I still remember telling my mother about the morning's Sunday school lesson on our way home from church, Palm Sunday, 1975. How Jesus rode into Jerusalem, and the people recognized Him as the Messiah, and cheered as he went by, saying, "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!" We relished the story together, but then she pointed out, "Those were the same people shouting, 'Crucify Him!' a week later." 

Oh. The teacher hadn't mentioned that. It worried me a bit that people could be so fickle, so treacherous. But I thought I could never do that. Over the years, I noticed that the two stories were kept separate in most of the churches I attended. The connection might be mentioned in passing, but the stories were told on separate occasions. I still waved my palm branches, but I felt vaguely guilty doing so. Should we imitate these people who didn't stay true to Him?

Fast forward to my first Palm Sunday at an Episcopal church. We had the procession, we waved our palm branches, I got poked in the eye, all in the usual way. But when we got to the Gospel reading, instead of the rector reading the entire passage, there were parts for him and parts for the people. When I heard my own voice crying out with the whole congregation, "Crucify Him! Crucify Him!" an old lesson hit home in a powerful way. My heart is fickle, even treacherous. The choices I have made (and continue to make) sent Him to Calvary. It is only when I recognize my voice in the crowd saying, "Crucify Him!" that I am truly able to cry out, "Hosanna," literally, "Save us!" I was reluctant to identify with the hypocritical crowd, fearing it would make me a hypocrite. What I'd failed to see was that identifying with the crowd only revealed the hypocrisy that was already there. Which of us has not, by our words or our silence, by our actions or our failure to act, failed and failed again to live up to the faith we profess?

The most persistent objection of unbelievers is that "there are hypocrites in the church." Now we all know that there are those in every church who are not yet truly converted, those who pretend to be holy to impress their friends, families, or neighbors. If we forget, there are Christ's own words to remind us: "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven." But the reason this accusation stings is that no one is so aware of his own sin as a true believer. We are commanded to confront and eradicate it, even at the cost of a hand or an eye. You can fool your neighbors, you can fool your friends, you can fool your pastor, and, most frightening, you can even fool yourself, but you can't fool God. What happened when Ananias and Sapphira lied to the Holy Spirit and were struck dead? Great fear came upon the whole church, and more than ever believers were added to the Lord.

Outsiders who complain of the hypocrites in the church seem to imply that they are above that sort of thing, perhaps not so holy as the holiest believers, but wholly without pretense. Hogwash! Why is the church so full of hypocrites? Because the world is so full of hypocrites. Every problem in the church is a direct result of the fact that we keep letting those damned sinners in, but the reason the church exists is to bring in damned sinners! Some of them will continue to deceive themselves, and those who will become holy will become holy over time. We can't be sure who's who. If we try to uproot the weeds, we will uproot some of the wheat with them. We are commanded to let both grow together until the harvest. 

So I admit it, I'm a hypocrite. But if I stayed away from church, I would still be a hypocrite. The church has my only hope of a cure. Seeing hypocrites in the church and saying the church causes hypocrisy is like seeing cancer patients in the hospital and saying the hospital causes cancer. At times, I'm tempted to rap with Steve Taylor:
Can't understand those Christians, so
You type us all in stereo:
"They're hypocrites! They're such a bore!"
Well, come on in! There's room for one more!
But when I look at my own heart, I have to say what Edmund said to Eustace after he'd been un-dragoned: "You were only an ass, but I was a traitor."

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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Question of the Week returns

I participate in several Yahoo groups related to homeschooling, disabilites, and other topics. One of the group moderators had started posting a "Question of the Week" as a discussion starter. I enjoyed reading the questions, responding, and reading the responses, but it took time away from blogging. Since the topics were generally related to the topics I blog about, I decided to post some of my responses here. Shortly after,   the moderator found herself busy with other obligations, and the Question of the Week fell by the wayside. She's back, and has given the Question of the Week its own Yahoo group.

Usually the question is a single sentence, but this week we have some background story:

am having a day where I would like to scream, yell, and cry all at the same
time. My kids are fighting non-stop--actually escalated into a fist fight and
school is completely unproductive today.

I have older teens, so I run into great difficulty when it comes to coming up
with disciplinary measures. My kids have activities almost every day and
evening--and I would love to remove them--but other people depend on my kids to
participate in them, such as being Cub Scout Den Chiefs. So I feel that taking
those things away would really be more of a penalty to the others that depend on
them. I have thought about removing computer, cell phone, electronic games, but
I am not sure how effective that would be.

I don't take the approach that "boys will be boys"--and I do generally
discipline them; but apparently what I have done in the past is not working; and
I am really frustrated today with my kids.

I don't know if they just need a break from each other as they do spend so much
time together and do nearly all of the same stuff. I can't figure it out; I
just know that I feel like a parental failure today.

I need some creative ideas.

What do you all do for disciplinary measures in your home?
You can read the responses there. Here's mine:

My boys are 14 and 12, and they excel at annoying each other. When one of them wants attention or is just bored, he finds his brother and tries his most effective annoyance techniques, one after the other, until he gets a response. Despite hundreds, perhaps thousands, of repetitions, he is still surprised when his brother finally gets mad and yells at him. It just never seems to occur to either boy that:

1. Although these behaviors get attention, it may not be the kind of attention he wants.
2. If he annoys his brother enough, his brother will get mad.
3. When his brother gets mad, he will yell at him, and possibly hit him.
4. This will make Mom and Dad unhappy.
5. Mom and Dad are already unhappy with him, because his brother is supposed to be doing schoolwork, and even if his brother has kept his temper so far, he is distracting him.
6. If Momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.
7. He started this whole process, and could have avoided it by leaving his brother alone. 

The brother who started it thinks the other brother started it by hitting him. To him, bringing up what he did is only changing the subject. If we keep bringing the conversation back to what he did, he will finally admit that he did something, but minimize it: "All I did was tickle his neck."

Neglecting to mention (even refusing to admit, if it's pointed out) that:
1. Brother hates having his neck tickled.
2. He knew this, and did it anyway.
3. He had already done 47 other things specifically designed to annoy his brother.

Punishment has not been effective, since each boy believes he is entirely innocent, and we are punishing him for his brother's actions. We do point out the above-mentioned facts, and maybe, with time, repetition, and maturity, they may begin to sink in. Perhaps the boys will someday allow the possibility that we might be right on one or more points.

In the mean time, they have work that needs done. If they are both working, I put them in separate rooms where I can keep an eye on them, but they can't see or hear each other. If one of them finishes before the other, he is allowed, and on most days required, to find a quiet activity in a place where he can't bother his brother, and his brother can't bother him. 14 yos usually goes to his room to watch a DVD (with headphones). 12 yos usually goes to the basement to play LEGO. We've recently discovered (with his concentration issues, who'd have thought?) that 12 yos can take his schoolwork to the public library (two blocks away) and actually be focused and productive. 

Once they have both finished their schoolwork for the day, they usually get along better. If they don't we separate them.

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Sunday, April 10, 2011

First warm day of spring. On the way home from church, I rolled down the windows and cranked up some John Mellencamp.

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Friday, April 8, 2011

Now That's a Guarantee You Can Take to the Bank!


Sunday, April 3, 2011

Cadet Bear's First Orientation Flight