He Is (at 32:45)

Old notes taken mostly from my personal time with God. We're moving house again, so, I guess we're back to being, literally, pilgrims on the Rough Roads of Planet Earth. (Photo taken on a road to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, North Auckland, NZ, Dec 2009.)

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

My Daughter Just Left

Dated June 17, 2013 Monday, 10:29am NY time

My daughter just left for her Summer Project.

The printer won't print her boarding pass and other items she wanted to print. The weighing scale was spoiled or had ran out of battery, so we couldn't weigh her check-in bag. However, by feel I knew it was way over 20kg. She couldn't figure out why her bag would weigh so much when it's just clothes and a few toiletries. I thought her toiletries must have had a lot of liquid which made it weigh so much.

Thank God, the drive was ok, no problems there and there was only a little traffic jam part of the way to the airport. We left the house at past 6am when we were supposed to have left at 5am.

I was so nervous when we left I was wondering why the people I met going in (I just dropped her first then I went to the carpark to park) to the check-in area were looking at me with a funny look. When I found her she told me the bag weighed 30kg.  She said she had to re-pack so I went back to the car to get the plastic bags I had carried for those items she may have to leave behind. Thank God there were not many people, I was expecting more crowd, and having to park really far away. It was a short walk to the car park. On the way there I noticed my blouse was inside-out!!! I went inside the car, took it off and put in on the right way. Phew, Thank God, no one in sight. :(( Then when I got out of the car I left behind my glasses in the car seat.  I didn't realize it until I was back at the check-in area to join her again.

 We tried re-arranging her things between the check-in bag and carry-on bag. It was still heavy. We finally figured it's the metal in her bag (the built-in trolley in it) which was making it too heavy. After much deliberation, she realized the best option was to leave that bag behind with me and just carry whatever she could into her carry-on bag, check that in and use a smaller cloth bag (she brought one, thank God!) as a carry-on bag. That worked. Only 16kg. Her limit was 20kg. She only had an hour left so I pushed her to check in, go into security check and go on to board her plane. I was so nervous she would be late for her flight that I dropped my camera when I was about to take a photo of her checking in!! Now the camera is spoiled. It will need to be repaired or thrown away. :(((

We hugged and she went in. I noticed there was a queue at security so I went to her and we prayed at the queue before she left. I was so nervous we even forgot to pray. It was a good thing we were still able to when she was at the queue for security check.

She will be gone for 6 weeks, that's why we already celebrated her b-day and my younger son's graduation 4 days before this, on the night my older son was leaving for his Asian vacation. It was a rare moment having all my children together.

June 22, 2013 Saturday 11:16am NY time

I'm glad that's over. But phew, now I have to get a new camera, just two days before my younger son's graduation.

Now i realize that was probably my older daughter's defining moment, that's why I was so nervous? I remember how I was so stressed when I helped my older son beat the deadline for mailing his college applications in 2006. Their dad was also away, as usual, and my son was at the end of his tether. He said he didn't want to do the Teacher's Recommendation part because he wasn't close to any of his teachers, especially his classroom teacher and he doubted she would do it for him.  He had been doing all the preparations all along - filling up the forms, writing his essay, putting all the other docs needed together. This was the hump he couldn't seem to get through. So, I stepped in. I went to see his teacher who turned out to be really helpful. We somehow lost his last report card so she had his records photocopied and notarized by the school. She made me write the recommendation and she only signed it! Finally, I had to put everything in envelopes and I would have to meet up with her in front of the school on a Saturday morning (no school) so she could sign all those application envelopes from the outside, as per requirement. Then I posted them. After I posted them I was driving out of the car park when I hit the column right behind me! I had parked in that place hundreds of times and I had reversed around that column all the time. But I was so stressed I hit it. :( Thank God at least it wasn't a car, I didn't have to answer to anyone.

Then this thing happens - I drop my camera. I may have dropped cameras before, on grass, or on pavement with its cover on. But this time, I had just taken it out of its case when I dropped it right flat on the concrete airport floor. Of course, it wasn't working anymore when I turned it on. I was that nervous, and stressed. Well, my daughter will probably find the vocation of her life on this trip. Just as my older son's future was sealed when those college applications were mailed? Defining moments, I believe.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Spring 2013

May 4, 2013 11:00am, Bayside

I am such a sucker for Spring. I promised myself I won't waste gigabytes on my camera or computer, or even shutter time, for silly photos of flowers in Spring this year. I thought, "They are just the same every year, why bother?" But ekk, I still did it. Well, here goes...

And now, here are the telling ones:

Spring 2012 and Spring 2013 photos of the same spot. There were four trees along that foot path but three were lost to Hurricane Sandy last year. Only the middle of the three trees on the left photo is shown on the right photo - the lone surviving tree, a trail-mark left behind by Hurricane Sandy.

A photo of that row of "trees" right after Hurricane Sandy in Autumn last year (2012).

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Red Roses from God

Dated April 22, 2013 Monday 9:43 am

I asked for a dozen red roses with a card signed "Jesus" for Valentine's Day this year. I was smiling to myself about how God would answer that. I thought this is going to be interesting.

Then on Feb. 13, 2013 my special needs daughter decided she's not going to school anymore. She wouldn't go through the school gate, after we walked one block from where we parked. I waited. I thought it was just for the day, for a few days. But after one week I knew I had to inform District 75. I decided to inquire about home schooling. 

Looking back, it's been a solid 12 months of volunteer work with the senior lady I have been visiting. I started seeing her on the 14th Feb., 2012. This year I thought I would spend my Valentine's again with her, and her caregiver who came in some time in this past year - a cheerful girl coming from the country of Guyana. I bought her a card and dark chocolate on the night of Feb. 13. I was debating whether to buy roses, too. It was a good thing I didn't, because it wasn't meant to be. The next morning my daughter said she didn't want to go to school. This time she followed my instructions the day before, "Next time, if you don't want to go to school, tell me when you wake up in the morning, not when we're already here in front of your school and I have already paid for parking!" So, this time I spent Valentine's at home with my daughter. 

I had sometimes thought about what's going on in my daughter's school. Sometimes she didn't want to go to school. In the last week or two she was there there were times when it was a struggle when we arrived at school or her classroom. She didn't want to go in. She has no words to explain. She wouldn't tell me or she just doesn't know how to explain. She used to love school, in a way. She looked forward to working with Ms. A, her favorite "teacher." (Her Speech Therapist.) And sometimes when I go to my senior friend's place I would say to myself, "What the heck, I can't work because of my daughter's condition. I can't work because nobody can care for her if she's feeling poorly and has to stay home. So, meanwhile, we struggle to keep her in school and then I spend my free time with this senior lady. She's a gorgeous person and I love doing this, but I feel there is something amiss here. I should just really be keeping my daughter home, teaching her myself, and spending my time caring for my own." For some time I had been comforting myself with the thought that when she turns fully 18 ( the official school-leaving age for special needs children here) I can take her out of school officially and then we can start home schooling so I can train her to care for herself. For as long as she's in school all we do every day is rush in and out of bed. 

When Blizzard Nemo came (Fe. 8, 2013) and left, I was trudging through the piled up snow from the paid parking together with my daughter and we had to wade through snow and freezing water in some places. I thought, "Father God, You know the things we go through just to comply with whatever You bring into our way in this life. I pray for Your grace and I believe You have a purpose for all these.  I peacefully put up with this and I pray that You would grant us continued mercy and grace to cope with all these." One time I even had to shovel snow just to get a parking space near my daughter's school. A young guy also looking for parking saw me and suggested shoveling it for me and asked if he could use my shovel to clear space for his car, too. I said, "Sure." But in those times I was really thinking, just sending my kid to school is so tough here. Well, I don't even let my family or most of my friends know that I have opted off from the bus system for my daughter. They will never understand why I did that because that is another story of its own. So, when we finally started home schooling I looked back and realized God did answer my cry for mercy and grace - He delivered us from the grind called school. There were a few more days when it snowed, even as late as a few days before Spring season, and I would say to myself, "Thank God, I don't have to drive through this snow."

When I decided to opt out from the bus system at the beginning of this school year (Sept. 2012) I prayed that God would answer my prayer for a school transfer for my daughter, to one nearer our home. Then maybe she can take the school bus at that school. She's been there before, when she was being initially evaluated for school services she would need; the teachers and the environment in that school were so different. They were more efficient. I also told God that if she can't be transferred then I pray that it wouldn't snow this year, just like last year, or if it would, I pray that somehow I would never have to drive through snowfall. After snow has fallen and the roads have been cleared up, driving is not so bad. It's when the snow is still falling and the roads are still not cleared that it's dangerous to drive, due to low visibility and the slippery road. I actually never knew how dangerous snow is until we came to live here.  Then looking back now, the times when there were snowfall, my daughter was home for some other reason/s or it fell on weekends, or in the case of the last few times, she was already being home schooled. The slot in that school I asked for never opened for my daughter but God did answer my prayer for  not having to drive through snowfall, ever. He saved me each and every time. 

So I guess the dozen red roses means the solid twelve months of volunteer service  God enabled me to render. My daughter seemed to have settled down a bit in those twelve months. Prior to that I was just ferreting her from one doctor or government office for a problem, evaluation  or whatever. Alas, those days of being "settled" in a school were not to last. And now, I'm fully "grounded" again. Well, all the while I have always wanted to home school my daughter but my husband was never convinced it's good for us. Actually, with all the resources available here in the US, I think this is the best place to home school, although there is no financial support from the government for that. So, twelve red roses?  I believe God answered that prayer in His own way and His own terms. I'm sure the blessing of my one solid year of volunteer work will prove to be of much more value than how it looks now.Some day, I'll know.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Good-bye Again

April 5, 2013 Friday 11:29am

This post can be alternatively titled "Education of a Special Needs Child, Cont'd." but then probably many of my next posts would also be titled such.

I just came back from my daughter's ex-school. Well, yes, it became ex-school starting March 19, 2013.

I did pray to God to show me very clearly whether I should home school her or not. It was still winter, Spring officially started on March 20th here. There was a spell of drizzly and cloudy days for about two weeks. So, I "fleeced" God. I usually don't do that because I believe that's not the best way to find God's will when looking for directions, but I was desperate and that's what I do when I'm desperate. Since I actually wanted to home school my daughter, I prayed, "Tomorrow, if it rains then I would take it that You don't want us to home school, Lord. And I mean, I want a deluge, a real big rain that goes on the whole day or most of the day so I would know it's really You speaking." The reason I was desperate was because it is serious work I am about to do. First, the home school packet said I had to come up with a curriculum and textbook/s for 13 subjects, within the next 4 weeks after I receive the packet.

I saw the weather forecast on Monday when I prayed (4th March) and for Tues. (5th March) but they were both like partly cloudy. On Monday we actually got to see a bit of sun, quite unusual for a period of gloomy, cold and drizzly weather. Then on Tuesday the sun was so bright when I woke up and it stayed really steadily bright the whole day and the sky was totally blue! Then the following day Wed. it was back to gloomy weather. It was also rainy and very windy. By the evening it turned really cold and was snowing lightly. Then Thurs. was even worse. There was a flurry falling and I wondered if I would have the courage to drive my son to school. Then the next day and the day after and days after, it was back to cloudy and drizzly again. On the day when I asked God to give me a deluge if He didn't want me to home school, He gave me a totally weird sunny day in a series of dreary, cloudy / drizzly and even snowy days. What does that mean? He says "I want you to home school" loud and clear! I really thanked God for that for then I know He would carry me through writing that curriculum.

Now my daughter may be somewhere in Grade 2 at reading but pre-school at comprehension and at pre-counting level for Math. So, how can I just give them a curriculum like Grade this or that? And if they don't recognize the textbook for each subject, I am supposed to give more details on it. The 13 subjects include Spelling, English Language Arts (Phonics, Vocabulary), Reading and Comprehension, Writing, Math, Science, Social Studies, Geography, ADL - Activities of Daily Living (with Fire Safety and Substance Abuse Education), Health, Music, Visual Arts, Physical Education. So, I decided the best way would be to write everything in detail, what topics we are going to cover under every subject, until the end of this school year (end of June). So, I went online to see what online curriculums there are available, and I looked up the library for what books I can borrow and I looked up Amazon, what resources I can buy. So, I worked on it for for one or two hours every day for two weeks and one all-nighter on a Friday night and voile: Curriculum for 13 subjects! I ended up subscribing to one online site that covers most of the subjects, looking at other online resources for Art and Music, borrowing and keeping on returning and borrowing about 50 books at a time and buying books, an inflatable globe and hand weights (for P.E.)! If there was anything deficient with that curriculum they would give me only one week to rectify once they notify me and then they either approve or disapprove my application. I thought, if they find anything deficient I wouldn't want to be panicking to get it right within a week, so, I better do a really good job at this. So, I gave it my best shot!

I had talked with the District 75 Home School director on Feb. 20th and the packet she sent arrived probably on the 22nd. I sent my application with the completed curriculum on the 14th of March, so I was well within schedule. On the 22nd I got a call saying it was approved and my daughter was officially enrolled at their home school program (District 75 444) on the 14th March, the date my application was dated. She was de-registered from the ex-school on the 19th March. Yay! Then they sent me the packet for the authorizations to get my daughter's speech and occupational therapies from private providers. I already got her speech therapist and we started our first session yesterday and the occupational therapist is in the works. Today I went back to her ex-school to get a most-recent report from my daughter's therapists at school so I could pass these reports to the new therapists, and also some personal effects of my daughter's. I talked with her teacher and he explained that one girl student is very much affected by my daughter's absence in school. So, he called that student's mom to ask if he can give me her phone nos. so we can get in touch and find a way for her daughter to see mine. At least he did do that extra effort. I talked with the paraprofessional (teacher aide) directly working with my daughter and actually had the chance to see all her classmates. They all expressed how they missed my daughter, including the teacher and helper at P.E. (they were at P.E. class). I got my daughter's teacher aide's address and she even gave me her phone no. so we can keep in touch. They all miss her. They were concerned whether she's happy being home schooled and I said, "Well, sometimes she doesn't like to do her lessons so I would tell her, 'Tomorrow I'll take you to school?' And she would say, 'No!!' and immediately do her lesson." I just couldn't emphasize how she loves it without offending them. (They weren't; they just wanted to make sure she's happy.) I had to explain that we're actually doing lessons at home (5 hours of learning is required per weekday) and I had to come up with the IHIP (Individualized Home Instruction Plan) for 13 subjects. So, I hugged her paraprofessional /teacher aide and once again, it was good-bye. Well, this is my life, our life.

But looking back at least I won't have to constantly think and pray about parking in her school anymore, among other stresses I was subjected to. I actually got a parking ticket already in February (with a fine of $115) for parking in front of her school for about 10 min., just to bring her in. But one thing good about America is that here you can challenge a parking ticket online. It is quite a headache and a lot of work and stress because if they don't reply to the challenge before a certain date the fine would accrue an interest. :( I didn't want to pay that fine, so I challenged it with the reason that even though my daughter's school campus has a Special Education unit in it, there is no parking available for disabled people. It was stressful because I had to keep checking its status online. Thank God it was dismissed. Sometimes I did have to pay parking to park a block away just to send my daughter or pick her up from school because the school requires the parent to sign in and sign out a special needs child at the school office which is located on the second floor. It's insane. I couldn't tell my husband about that parking ticket or he'd go berserk because he always tells me to play it safe by parking far away. Oh well, thank God, all that is over. I believe this is God's way of saving me.

I was so happy taking this photo just before I got into my car, that day when I got booked. I didn't even notice the ticket in my windshield wiper until I reached home. :(

The ticket.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Easter 2013

April 1, 2013 9:58am

I actually didn't go to church yesterday, Easter Sunday. I knew the church will be crowded with Christmas-and-Easter-only-churchgoers, so, I decided to stay home. (I almost didn't get a seat last year!) I went for the Good Friday service though, and it was really good!

Was sharing with FB friends vids and verses during this past Lenten Season for those who observe it. There's very little enthusiasm but I know that some are really earnestly seeking. I can see that some people really believe in John 3: 16 (For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son so that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.) For who has not heard of Jesus? And who has not heard of that verse? If you grew up with that knowledge, you know that you know that you believe. But are we saved?

When I hear / see comments like, "I hope we're really saved..." etc., I know where people stand. They are not sure. Well, thank God they are not deluded. Because if we really search the Scriptures we know that the word "believe" in John 3:16 is really loaded. That word in the Bible means "knowing and loving" God. And for God, loving Him is the same as obeying him. That's His love language.

John 14:21 He who has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by my Father and I will love him and manifest myself to him. (NASB)

 Well, you can't possibly love a person you don't know, so, you've got to know him first. And according to Jesus, having eternal life means knowing Him.

John 7: 3 Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.

 So, I guess the real Gospel verse we should be preaching is in:

Hebrews 5: 8,9

  Although He was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him...

Or we can reword John 3:16 into:

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son so that whoever loves Him back shall not perish but have eternal life. (my paraphase in bold)

 It is a Gospel of Peace from a God who is love.

The Bible has many radical teachings which not many can believe and accept. This is what sets the saved and unsaved apart. Many actually believe but whether they love God and neighbor, and persevere to the end, is another thing. Believing, in the popular sense of the word, is only the beginning. That is the reason we need to meditate on the love of God expressed by Jesus' sacrifice for us at the cross in Calvary 2000 years ago. Knowing just how much Jesus had to suffer and what He had to give up to save us, does soften our hearts. And then maybe we will be inspired to turn our backs to the world and embrace God instead.

Friendship with the world is enmity with God.  (James 4:4)

1 John 2: 15-17

15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. 16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.

It is impossible for us to love and obey God without turning our backs to the world. We are in the world but we cannot be of the world. So, all year round, we have to remain at the foot of the cross of Jesus, not just be there on Holy Week or Easter Sunday, or Christmas. They say it's Christmas everyday! I say it's even better if it's Lent everyday!

Ecclesiastes 7:2

It is better to go to a house of mourning
    than to go to a house of feasting,
for death is the destiny of everyone;
    the living should take this to heart.

It is in dying to our old selves that we are able to live a new life. That is what the Resurrection of Jesus is able to accomplish in us - our dying and rebirth. It also means the dying of the world within us, and the birth of inner eyes that constantly gaze on God.

If we were in our mother's womb for 9 months in preparation for a lifetime of 60 or 90 years on earth, what could this earthly life be preparing us for? The Bible talks about eternity - no end. In mathematics, 60 or 90 years is really insignificant or equivalent to zero when compared to eternity. But thank God, He actually cares for every blimp of life on His radar in all eternity - every tear, every emotion, every smile and laughter, every thought, every dream and aspiration we ever have in that blimp is precious to Him. So, in every minute we're here on earth He is actually asking: " Would you care to spend eternity with me?" Oh yes, He does. If we search for Him with all our heart and mind and strength, we will find that He does.

Happy Easter! (And hey, this ain't April Fool's!)

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Education for a Special Needs Child

Feb. 27, 2013 11:26am

The snow of two weeks ago is gone but my daughter's disinterest for school lingers on.

My special needs child just refuses to go to school anymore. It's been two weeks since she's been staying home with me. We constantly work together on her home work workbooks but beyond that we don't really do anything much apart from going to the playground on good-weather days and her tagging along with me to the shops. I have called the District 75 concerning this and I was told to just keep on encouraging her to go back to school. Also, this has put pressure on the Transfer Officer-in-Charge concerning my pending request for a transfer of school for her to a District 75 school nearest our home. She may be able to start at that school this coming Summer, if there's a place, and then she can go on staying there. Of course this is if at all she would still want to try a new school. I am exploring home schooling under District 75 although I have heard it's a tough path.

So, a few days ago I got the packet from District 75 for Home Schooling and it's so daunting as it looks a lot of hard work. I am slowing down today to pray what really is God's direction for me as my younger daughter's schooling has been such a burden ever since pre-school, until now. And it's all because of what the governments dictate us to do.

So there, today it will be a turning aside for me to wait on the Lord concerning this heavy burden  and rough road of educating a special needs child.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Looking In from the Outside

Feb. 14, 2013 11:19am

A Facebook friend posted a greeting for Valentine's: "Happy Valentine's to all those who are taken, are almost taken, taken for granted, waiting to be taken, assumed to be taken, and those who aren't taken seriously." Wow, that covers pretty much everyone, almost, except those who are "taken for a ride"! Lol !! Whatever category you may be in, sure thing make it a happy one !!

 My favorite catch-all phrase is, "whatevers", and my children find it so annoyingly sarcastic my older daughter suggested I change it to something else. So I came up with "sure thing", and it works wonders!! hahaa!! For a Valentine's Day movie, try watching something out of the ordinary, or rather, something extraordinary. Try a love triangle, with an underlying theme of macabre. Ugh, I don't mean the over-used romantic, vampire movies - they aren't extraordinary anymore, nor macabre to many. Try something more up-to-date, a 2010 movie for instance. Hahaaa, ok, two years old isn't up-to-date. I kind of think it's a new movie because I have never heard of it until we watched it last weekend.

Workers clearing the snow in front of the restaurant right next to the library when we came out from.

 It was February 8th, Blizzard Nemo was hitting at night, the snow had started falling, it was past 5pm and we knew the library would close at 7pm. Of course, it was already dark as the sun sets at 4:30pm in winter. My older daughter suggested we borrow some movies as we might really get holed up in this blizzard for a day or two, or longer. I called just to make sure they were still open and yes, they were, but only until 6pm. So, we hurriedly bundled up and trudged in the snow flurry. Woot, the falling snow was pretty! I had bought the last box of matchsticks I found at our local pharmacy cum sundry shop, had bought all sorts of bread at the supermarket to last us for days, just in case we couldn't cook if the lights went off and the water and gas lines were interrupted. In short, I was pretty much all-geared-up for that blizzard assault, after our past experiences with Hurricane Irene, and the more recent Hurricane Sandy to whom many people lost loved ones and properties - property and emotional damages and liabilities that North East residents, especially New Yorkers, still suffer through to this day. Many of us city dwellers were caught with our pants down. Water entered some people's homes when they are not even near the water line, trees crashed into the homes of some, rudely intruding into their well-furnished living rooms or cozy bedrooms in the middle of the night. Some of us had our basements flooded and a cluster of about a hundred flooded homes were razed down by fire due to short-circuited power lines. Not to mention an explosion of a substation of Con Edison, the power supply contractor of New York City, brought a good part of the business center Manhattan, to darkness, for many hours. Apparently, only blizzards used to hit this Northeastern coast of the US in the past, not tropical storms. Irene and Sandy had been largely unexpected and many people were caught unprepared, some didn't even have workable flashlights. Having just come out fresh from the huge predicament of Sandy, these metropolis dwellers have become wary and went into preparation over-drive for Nemo. This time the bread and majority of frozen food went on sale in our supermarket, the match stick section in the shelves was emptied, the petrol stations upstate ran out of gas even 12 hours before Nemo came, and our neighborhood ones got emptied hours before! I had bought three packs of bottled water two weeks ago myself, when it was on sale. They jack up the price when it's emergency time like that, so, I had become wiser myself!
From the outside looking in. Who's in the fish bowl, we or them? - I find this still from the movie, "Never Let Me Go", symbolic of the whole story.

 Anyway, back to the movie I am suggesting for you to watch. Yes, it was one of the movies we got for that blizzard Nemo weekend. I picked it from our local library, along with six others, more because of the heavy-weight names on it - Keira Knightly, Andrew Garfield and Carrey Mulligan. But I've never heard of it before. Either it's a super-flop or... well, these big names won't waste their time making this movie if it's not something. Ok, for mega-spoilers here it is: It's a love-triangle of a common kind, you know, childhood friends, classmates, even dorm-mates. Nothing is said on the DVD cover about what it's all about and the word is never mentioned in the movie. It keeps you guessing until almost half-time of the movie. My daughter says it's similar to a movie she had watched before but this one is set more romantically and presented charmingly - in the idyllic English countryside with English characters with very thick English accents. Now you smell English rose? Think Valentine's when there are no parents, no community, no aging,... eh, sounds other-worldly. It's a story within a story, within a story; with the last story probably being more about what it does to your own soul. It's probably unreal, that's why I tended to dismiss it after I have watched it. But I wanted my younger son to watch it for social awareness so I sat with him the next day to watch it again. He found it boring, he didn't wait for the children to become adults. It was too slow for his gamer generation. As for me, after I watched it again, I couldn't shake it off. This movie has three characters. And as I already mentioned, it has three layers of stories. And the impact of the movie is probably in that it mentions the soul being missing but God and spirit are totally not even mentioned, well, as in most movies, anyway, but it matters most in this movie. It is very much open-ended, as there was no solution to the problem they faced. In fact, only if we acknowledge that there are really three characters in this story - us, our spirit and God - will there be a resolution to the story. But as it is, the story presumes our spirit and God don't come into the picture.

 Ever wondered why there is slavery in the Bible and why the societies of the Old and New Testaments accepted it, or why even Jesus never spoke against it? Slavery had always been part of human history, in any culture. Why? I tend to think that if God abolished it we will never understand the spiritual slavery that we are in. The New Testament says we are slaves of sin; we become slaves of the sin we obey. Or we become slaves of the master we obey, be it God or the evil one. (That's why the Apostle Paul was a self-confessed bond-slave of Christ, and he's one servant who truly loves the Master who thoroughly loves him.) If slavery is totally eradicated from human experience how will we ever be able to understand our being in a state of spiritual slavery to sin? Before the Messiah Jesus came God sent "types" - the sacrifice of bulls and lambs and goats, the sacrifice of Isaac who was replaced by the sacrifice of a ram, etc. Because we had the "types" in the Old Testament we are able to understand the ultimate sacrifice that Jesus did in behalf of all of us to set us free from the slavery of sin. And yet, many of us miss it because we refuse to face the issue. It's pretty much the same with this movie.

 Now back to the movie. Will humanity get to this level of barbarism? Or are we already there? Brutal crimes against women, abortions and human trafficking are just some of the crimes of humanity that have wrought the recent outcry of a few. What more evil under the sun have we not uncovered?Talking about slavery, I tend to think this is the ultimate kind. A love triangle set in the time of the gladiators? Or the Hunger Games? The brutality and macabre are subtle. Who has no soul? The chicken and goats in a farm? The farmed or the farmer? This is one love story that must be watched by all, even just once. Then probably it will make for a happy Valentine's for all of us.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Another One of Those Days

Feb. 13, 2013, 4:27pm, Wednesday, New York

It's one of those days. For the past two days my special needs child had been dragging her feet to school. Well, she's perfectly normal while we're getting ready at home - washing and dressing up, taking breakfast, jumping into the car, etc. But the moment we reach the school she would be reluctant to get out of the car. Somehow, for the last two days I had been able to drag her out and bring her to class. If we're on time we'll catch her class at the cafeteria having breakfast, if not, I'll have to climb two flights of steps up to the second floor to her classroom with her and sign her in at the school office there. Yesterday the school staff were somehow able to persuade her to finally go upstairs when breakfast time was over at the first floor. But it was a lot of persuasion. But once she's in class, according to the staff, she's been "good", i.e., she does her school work, unlike in the past when she would be pretending (?) to be sleepy and put her head down unto the desk to sleep. I have problems getting free parking in front of my daughter's school and about two weeks ago I finally got ticketed for illegally parking in front of her school, where there's a no-parking-no-standing sign, while bringing her in. It takes only 8-10 min., if a teacher doesn't talk to me about something. But in that 8-10 min. I got a parking violation ticket! I have challenged the ticket online, citing inadequate access for handicapped people to this school building, but it would be a matter of time for me to find out whether they would dismiss my case or not. Meanwhile, I have to pay it ($115) before it accrues penalty charges at a rate of $10 a month! In the mean time, I talked with a social worker from my daughter's healthcare provider, and I found out that I can apply for a "blue tag" which should enable me to park at the curb of a road and have access to disabled parking in commercial buildings. This one will take a long time as the basic requirement is for my daughter to have a non-driver photo ID before we can apply for it. That will be the first step I will have to make and today I just Googled how to do it. 

 Going back to today, I couldn't find free parking so, we had to park in a paid parking space along the main road nearest to her school, a good one block away from the gate of her school. So, I paid for 30-minute parking and displayed the ticket on the driver's side of the windshield, as required. Then my daughter wouldn't get out from the car. I thought, here we go again. Well, I finally got her out of the car with much persuasion, encouragement, promises of some "delicious" temptations, even threats of "reporting" her behavior to her dad, etc. So, we walked through the long block of houses, carefully evading the ice on the sides of the path (traces of Blizzard Nemo left in New York), and then we were almost at the road in front of her school and we could see the big gate and the big, grey building of her school. Then she stopped walking. She just couldn't be persuaded to keep walking. I thought, it's still a long way inside and at the rate we're walking we'll miss her class at the cafeteria, I'll end up walking all the way up to her classroom with her. With the amount of dragging I had to do the day before, I thought, oh, forget it. Let's just go home. I'm not gonna do this every day. This isn't really the first time she's missing school, but this is the first time she got so near to any school and we still have to turn back home. It doesn't help to think that we had to drop her older brother to school also today, because it had been so cold the past few days. He usually takes the public bus. But because I gave him a lift one extremely cold day before Nemo struck, we all realized it's not that difficult to send him as well, it only takes 7 extra minutes, and he wouldn't have to walk through the chilling winds and stand in the cold waiting for the bus. Because of that I actually studied the map so I could find another route that evades all the traffic lights we have to pass through going from his school to my daughter's school. I had tried it yesterday and it worked, so, today I was confident I'll do good time again, and we did, it's just that, it's like driving through a maze going through those residential roads and having to stop at stop signs at almost every junction. Well, at least, there's no traffic jam and we had to cross only three traffic lights instead of an endless series of them! Her school starts at 9am and we were at the parking at 8:47. Not bad, we had plenty of time to walk to her school IF I could make her walk through the gates and the hallways when we reached it! Oh well, today, we went to the playground instead. :)


Smile! God loves you and me. ^____^

About Me

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The Many Versions of Love Stories 1. Boy meets girl, they fall in love, kiss and marry. They live happily ever after. 2. Boy meets girl, they fall in love, kiss and marry. The marriage sours, they part, and live happily ever after. 3. Boy meets girl, they fall in love, kiss and marry. Then boy finds out it's more fun to be girl... or girl finds out it's more fun to be boy, they part, change sexes and live happily ever after. 4.Finally, boy or girl meets God. It's love at first sight... The roads went rough, the tides rose high, the strong winds blew and the quake shook the ground... but they truly live happily ever after, forever and ever. 5. Try God's love... it's always happy forever after, and the story never ends. :-D