Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Here is my Guest Post

Here is the post that I wrote for Heidi Poppins:

I have stopped listening to "The Christmas Station" on the radio. I used to love to turn it on in the background to help me get into a Christmas-sy mood--but now it just enrages me, so I leave it off.

There is a simple explanation (and no, it is not my hormones making me madder than David Banner on a bad day!). It is that some of the greatest music ever written is about the birth of the Christ Child--and very, very little of that great music is played on the radio. Instead, we are subjected to the worst twaddle of the twentieth century (and yes, I am referring to Wham's nausea inducing "classic" "Last Christmas" or the electronic saccharine of "Do They Know It's Christmas").

Apparently 1984 was the bottom of the barrel, song-wise--except that was the year that Mark Lowry wrote the words to "Mary Did You Know" (although it took another six years for someone to set it to music).

In this song, the author, Mark Lowry cites a laundry list of disabilities and sorrows that the Savior miraculously healed. Most of us know or have interacted with people who were blind, deaf, crippled or lamed in one way or another. When I was young I wondered if being "dumb" or mute still existed, because I had never met or even heard of someone who was mute. Very few people have.

Now I am the mother of one.

Partially the reason we don't hear about it is that the name has changed. Now it is called being "non-verbal"--which is actually more accurate. My daughter can not speak, but she is FAR from being the silent creature that the word "mute" implies, and, while she has neurological and developmental issues, no one who has ever met her would consider her "dumb". Also, it is statistically quite rare.

However, that doesn't change the fact that she doesn't speak. I have never heard her say "mama" or tell someone her name or how old she is. She can’t tell me where it hurts, or what she is thinking about. I would give anything to understand what is going on in her head, what she wants and how she feels.

Which is why listening to "Mary Did You Know" invariably reduces me to tears, especially when it is sung (perfectly) by Kathy Mattea.

This song is not only beautiful, reverent and thought provoking, but when she sings (at 2:07) that "the dumb will speak the praises of the Lamb" I am reminded that the true meaning of Christmas is the birth of Him who heals all sorrows, including my non-verbal child. I know that someday, my funny, loving, adorable daughter will look into her Savior’s face and "sing his praises".

So, instead of listening to the radio, I made myself a playlist on YouTube, so I can listen to the truly great music of the ages .

May you have a wonderful, joy filled Christmas--and may you be aware of the miracles that you take for granted every day.

Monday, December 19, 2011

I got to write a guest post!

I am really excited! I was asked to write a guest post for my friend Heidi over at Heidi Poppins. She is doing a Christmas post each day in December--and just like real life, some are memories(the beautiful kind as well as the funny ones!) some are traditions and some are new things to discover. Check them out each day!

True Learning

Our society has an extremely narrow view of what "learning" is, and where and how "learning" takes place. How much of the lessons you learned sitting in a classroom are a vital part of you, of the things you use everyday? How many of the things you learned in a non-classroom setting are a part of you?

I know quite a few people who learned to read before they started formal schooling, and then got in trouble with their teachers because they A) "weren't supposed to know how to do that yet" or B) were bored with the little sissy books they had to read, and read books that were "higher than their grade level".

I love the freedom to let my children learn to love learning. Wonderful books do not need to be classified by "grade level", "reading level" or other systems. I do feel that some books are too advanced or difficult for younger children ( from my own personal experience as an extremely precocious reader). That is one of the great benefits of reading 9and discussing together)the books your children read. The other blessing is being introduced to the amazing children's and young adult authors that are working right now.

In my opinion, there is FAR more creativity, cleverness and good writing happening in the "young adult" market than in the "adult" section. Check it out!

Friday, December 16, 2011

BigGirl is getting better. She mostly slept all day yesterday, but she was able to keep liquids down and eventually ate (and kept down) some saltines. While I am happy that she isn't contagious, and we won't have some horrible virus running through the house for Christmas, I REALLY wish we could find out what is going on that makes her body do this. It is not right for someone who is 5' 8" and 150 (skinny) pounds to lose 15 pounds in 3 days. It is really not right that it keeps reoccurring.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

I found an old post

For the end of the year, I am doing a little "housecleaning" and posting some blogs I wrote but never got posted.

Here is one from when I was cleaning out files on my computer and found this Easter post (I am not sure what year, but I think it was 2009 (and I honestly don't remember these events, which just goes to show the importance of journaling!):

Easter Highlights: SmallDaughter begged and begged for me to open a package of marshmallow Peeps. When I gave her one, she refused to eat it--she just wanted to pet the little yellow chick!

LargeBoy ate the ears and top of the head off of his hollow chocolate bunny, then gave it a cool whip "brain" and did some disgusting zombie things.

Everybody enjoyed the traditional egg hunt, where Grandma P hides the eggs--which I will be finding in the yard for the rest of the year!

Ralph, Chuck & Earl...

I haven't been blogging lately. I have been baking cookies like I am making up for the last 5 Christmases that were...lame-ish (at least in the baked goods department). I did my Christmas shopping, and can officially state that I have avoided the mall this holiday season--YAY!

I have been taking care of my poor BigGirl, who puked every hour for 20 straight hours, and sporadically after that. The doctors do not seem concerned. I am. She had this back in April and was throwing up on and off for 10 days. I think it is part of a bigger problem.

I am really excited that I was asked to be a guest blogger! I will give you the link after it is published.

Life is (as usual, but even more during the holidays) an interesting mix of deep sorrow and great joy for people I love. I am praying for the people who are experiencing both.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Homesick for a land I've never been to

I have been pondering lots of spiffy blog posts in my head, but I have been too darn busy to write them down--and then I forget most of them.

I recently read the sequel to one of my all time favorite books "Anything Can Happen" by George and Helen Papashvily. It is a charming little book* (literally--because it was published during WWII while there was paper rationing, the hardbound book is only a little larger than the size of a paperback) which I found at a library book sale in my early teens. George was a natural storyteller, and this delightful autobiography of his adventures of coming to the US from Georgia (near Russia, not the state of the US) influenced my life for ever after. I just found that he wrote (in his book "Home and Home Again") about his return to visit his home village in Georgia after 40 years in the US.

Reading his books makes me homesick for a place I have never been to--and, because of the political instability in Georgia (which, for those who are not totally up to date on their former Soviet countries, is located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe--bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the southwest by Turkey, to the south by Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan) I probably never will.

Which is a shame, because I would LOVE to visit a country with over 9000 years of history! It is one of the oldest countries in the world, which has retained its own culture, language and traditions in spite of being smack in the middle of the territory everybody else wanted--which brought about hundreds of invasions.

Ahh, well--I am a great armchair traveler, and Google Maps has made it even more fun!

*and because it was a bestseller and book of the month selection, it isn't very hard to find a copy--the reissued 1984 paperback lists on amazon for .40!