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, 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!)


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