Sunday, July 10, 2011
It is time for me to share some special updates on things...
First of all, our pastor shared the day by day events at our church last week, with many of them being about the boy, Michel that I told about yesterday. The community has really helped out--the funeral and casket were paid for before anyone even arrived at the funeral home by people in the community. A lot of donations have also come in. I knew that Michel's father went out of town on church business and was in Missouri when Michel had his accident, but I didn't know that his father was in a car accident and that was why he wasn't back yet. Another community member came and offered money, and upon finding out that all of the funeral costs were paid, left a sizable check for the family to care for them until the father is able to return to his job in mid to late July after being injured. The folks at the funeral home told our pastor that they have more than enough to cover expenses there and that a sizable check will be given tot he family because "in their pain and situation, they will need it." I am so sad and sorry about the passing of this young boy, but it does my heart good to see the community take care of one of our members like this.
On a similar note, I got good news about my own son Micah and all of the grief he has gone through lately. He was falsely accused by someone of a mean and evil act that ended up involving the police and the State's Attorney. The detective finally got the word from the State's Attorney late Friday and the short story is that the case is unfounded and Micah was not charged with anything. As for the rest of the story, there are pieces for us to put together and things I have to do to help rebuild my son's trust in the world, but I can at least start that process now that I have this news.
My first grad class in some 15 years is challenging me by the sheer enormity of work along with my lack of experience with the technology. However, I expect to catch up soon. I may have an additional chance tomorrow because the park program is going on a field trip that I am unable to go to. I have been trying to read a section of the book available online at google books, but I am finding that reading without an actual book doesn't quite work for me. I don't know if that is my age or experience talking.
I think that my eyes may be the source of the headaches that I have had off and on this week. I am going to go for my new glasses tomorrow and if I don't have relief in being able to see and in being able to function, I will call my opthamologist. It may be time to deal with my cataracts. All of my recent injections may have increased this problem. Steroids are a cause of cataracts and the only one that my doc and I could attribute to their early appearance in my eyes. I have another dentist appointment on Wednesday and will be getting my permanent crowns and I think my new lower partial as well. This is not a fast, cheap or easy thing to do, but I need it done well and that seems to be what I am getting now.
My physical therapist has referred me back to the water therapists. I will see them twice next week. He wants them to help me to develop some more complex exercises to correspond with my newfound improvements. I am looking forward to that. My last day to tutor is Thursday. Then we have two weeks until school starts. I have my fair share of medical appointments over this two weeks, but I think I am returning to school much healthier in body and spirit than when we finished.
Another amazing thing has happened. Our pastor has a jeep that needs some new brakes and he asked me if we wanted it. He wants to have his garage space back and by promising to fix the brakes and license it, he gave it to us. It's body is in great condition and it has new tires as well. My husband and our son Miles (who is studying to be an auto-diesel mechanic) are so happy to work on this project together and it turns out that it basically has simple to install cylinder pads and that is all that it needs. They have been happy and busy little bees--I'm afraid that all I see is a solution to our recent transportation problems. This is a wonderful thing, another answer to our prayers.
Rumor has it that we might have some rain tonight. We have only had sprinkles twice in the last ten days and my gardens really need it. It would be nice to happen overnight and then let us have sunshine. Summer has gotten very hot around here and I love it so much.
It has been a very good weekend around here--things seem to be looking up in many ways. Have a wonderful week everyone!!
Saturday, July 09, 2011
Our community had a terrible tragedy this 4th of July. An 11 year old boy drowned in the Mississippi River. Drownings happen from time to time in this community that is joined by two main rivers and several tributaries. A drowning is always a tragedy and there is no other way to look at it. (http://qconline.com/archives/qco/display.
This story had several unique elements to it and it was a personal story in a few ways. Our local area is a major area for refugee resettlement. The boy who drowned was a refugee from Burundi whose family came to our area a couple of years ago. There is a housing project in Rock Island that is now serving quite a few of these refugees. At one point, a group of African refugees approached my pastor and our church council about using our church for worship. They wanted to worship Christ in their home languages--and even though there are at least a half dozen different languages between them, we offered them our church to worship in. Since then, they attend one or two of our services monthly and their choir performs an African hymn or two on one Sunday a month.
I think it has been a mutually beneficial arrangement, because it has given us a chance to meet these wonderful people and learn about their culture. They have a nice place to worship and are included in our prayers and outreach programs. There aren't any "losers" in this relationship.
A few months ago, their group sort of divided and restructured itself. I was saddened to see that because I was just getting comfortable with the people who had been worshipping with us. However, they were hoping to become part of a new denomination--and they called themselves the "African Light Pentecostal Church." The boy who drowned was the 11 year old son of the new pastor of their group. He had often sat next to our family or close to us with his four sisters and parents.
Their community was celebrating the 4th of July at a local park where the Mississippi backwaters are a source of entertainment to all, providing boat slips and fishing. I learned that in Africa, it is common for people to jump into rivers and swim--and that is what this boy and several of his same aged peers did. This is not what can be done in the Mississippi with her strong currents. The park is clearly marked "No Swimming," but I think it is safe to say that 11 year old boys from any culture group probably don't pay much attention to signs by adults, for adults.
This was truly an accident--a tragedy--and it is so sad. The church was filled with people and every bit of space was full. there was a long, long line of people waiting to get in to view the body and it made things all get started late. This family had attended two schools in my district and there were many other educators there to offer their condolences. This also comes two years after a younger child, a kindergarten aged refugee drowned on a school field trip to our local water park. She was from the same school that this boy was from. I am pretty close to that story as well, because it happened the first day my oldest daughter worked at that water park. Now, all that are left are memories of that child and lawsuits against the city, the park board, the school district, etc... On top of the sadness, there are some ill feelings here and there. It was a horrible, horrible accident and nobody anywhere wanted to see this little girl hurt, let along dead.
Right now, it seems as if the community is managing this tragedy as well as it can. However, when I looked up the link to the newspaper article for this blog--I read some other blogs and comments that indicate that it may not stay so peaceful. I am sad and hope that my Lord will help people work through their loss and grieve together.
God bless Michel Niyubahwe's family and loved ones as they deal with this awful, awful situation. I pray that He look down on our community and help people to be loving and kind, showing respect for each other and their needs. This young man came from a Christian family who is making a better life for themselves. As we all heal from this, may our lives be enriched by each other and may we all learn to care about each other no matter where we are from and what our backgrounds are.
Life is fragile. We must treasure every moment that we have. We must love others and we must never, ever judge. That isn't our job.
Friday, July 08, 2011
It has been a busy week--short workweeks always vex me because for whatever reason, it seems that we (teachers) try to get five days of work in even if there are only four days.
My family went on a picnic at the lake on the 4th right after the Sunday evening fireworks at the park. I have some photos ready to share and I am hoping for some feedback. I am going to be a co-leader of another Spark Class team this month and I am trying to select one of these photos for the team. Please let me know which one you like the best.
Anyway, I spent a good deal of time trying to get the online portion of my class set up on Tuesday, in between my tutoring work and physical therapy. I was still doing the same on Wednesday in between my work and a doctor's appointment. I am still waiting for the book. Today, I found out that the reason I couldn't do it was because the guy who does the roster hadn't gotten my name on it yet and had been away from his job for a few days. He was back today and I was able to start accessing things. My book isn't here yet, so I still can't get started and I am already behind on some assignments. This weekend may be about me getting caught up. This class is the first that I am taking to earn my ESL endorsement. It is called "Sociolinguistics," and it looks like I have a lot to learn about.
Tomorrow is an extra work day (since we were off on Monday) and I have a routine check up with my cardiologist. Even though my last two visits and the PET Stress test showed me to be just fine, it seems that I will need regular monitoring. I'm okay with that, it was scary to have been diagnosed with chronic heart failure, so I want to make sure that I stay better. I remember being so freaked out with that diagnosis and then I met someone who was really laid back about it, calling it "no big deal." It scared me.
Anyway, the following photos are from our fireworks party on the 3rd. Don't forget to let me know which one of these that you think would be a good team photo. Thanks!!
The sun is starting to set--there was a bit of light rain sprinkling on us from time to time.
The rainbow was special to enjoy as we waited for fireworks.
The sky was beautiful after the rain and as the sun was setting.
I hope that I got some of my best fireworks photos. I am kind of a beginner at taking photos, but I took about 25 of these. I sure hope one of these will be a good photo for a team.
Thanks for being my friends. Thanks for your support after I was MOD on Saturday and Monday--I am still getting caught up on the messages about that. Anyway, I care about you all. I do appreciate every kind and supportive word and I take them to heart.
Monday, July 04, 2011
Happy Fourth of July!!
We started today with a wonderful "Blues Music Service" and Communion. We enjoyed the church band with both of our daughters playing saxophones. The praise music featured two of our sons and Marissa, who surprised us with a wonderful blues solo. She hadn't told us or I would have taken my video camera and recorded for everyone. She will be singing again sometime this month or early August, and I will be prepared for that.
We came home and did some yard work. It was quite warm--but we weeded, mowed, planted three new plants that I bought. Then we got the things together for our party tonight. We packed them up (including our screen house, tables, chairs, games, and coolers)and went to set up for the afternoon and evening for fun and fireworks. (My husband had to drive a couple of the kids to work and pick them up--but we had everyone but Mason, who was with his girlfriend's family) We also took Marshall's birthday cake out of the freezer where it has sat because he works so late every night to have his birthday party. There was some light rain a few times, but all that did was convince them to start fireworks at 9 rather than 9:30.
It was a fun family time. The fireworks and music were beautiful and it certainly made me think of years gone by. I thought about learning all of those patriotic songs from my past as a child. I also thought a lot about the soldiers and troops who have given so much for all of us since the beginning of this country. There aren't enough ways to thank them and their families.
I hope that you all have an equally wonderful holiday!
Saturday, July 02, 2011
I had a tough night and was awake off and on, but I fell asleep this morning and managed to finally get my 6 hours in. I work for that each day, anyway. When I opened up my computer, I had many, many, many emails about comments on my Spark Page. I get them from time to time, but never like that--so I knew something was up. I opened the first one and found out that I was MOD. Thank you all, I am humbled. It will take a while to respond, but I will try to get that done.
I appreciate the support more than you know. There are days that it feels as if I have scratched my way up to a real life. It takes one baby step at a time for some of us. I am getting to the place I want to be and my most recent "aha" moment is that it takes growth in every area. I have had to learn to take care of myself and speak up for my health and decent treatment from everyone. I had to learn that I deserve to be treated right before I could do anything. That doesn't seem like it should be tricky, but for me--it has taken a long time and many setbacks before I finally "got it." I am worthy and deserve to be treated well. That is true for each of you as well--and I believe that is the real starting point of becoming healthy, inside and out.
Today is a special day for a number of reasons. I have lunch with my best friend today. We make a date each month so that this important time we share doesn't get pushed aside. I am going to the pool and then bowling with my kids. Bowling--really, me!! I went with Micah yesterday and using an 8 pound "little kids" ball, I bowled 114. I wouldn't have guessed I could do that a year ago!! After that, I am going grocery shopping for our family weekend with my husband, two of my sons, and Mitchell's girlfriend. She and I had a long phone call last night as I told her all of the honest things I feel about her. She is a wonderful girl and I thought it was important to tell her that. I also wanted to let her know that if I messed up and forgot to ask her opinion or if I assumed that she was joining us on a family event, it was simply and oversight because I think the world of her. It seemed to have touched her--but I wanted to make her feel welcome as she settles down here, away from her family and childhood friends. I am thinking that might be a bit difficult.
Anyway, I wanted to thank you all before I head out on a busy day. You are all awesome and I will be checking in later.
Life is good.
Get An Email Alert Each Time ENUFF81020 Posts