Principal Calling – 4 part plan of action

I’m waiting for the phone to ring. Trying not to get too busy or caught up in some project. I’m sure you’ve had those days knowing – waiting for the inevitable action of someone else. Sometimes we know it’s coming at some point, I know it will be in the next hour. The principal from my daughters school will be calling me, I will probably have to go to the school, I will have to modify my plans for the day and probably tomorrow as well.

Suspension
Principal Calling  ©2015 Elayne Cross

I need to post a blog anyway, may as well get started while I wait. Life with a Special Needs child has been on my mind to share. Writing while I’m in the middle of a ‘moment’ will be as real a time as any.

Overwhelming is too small a word to describe how some days, some seasons of life are. No one likes being blind-sided, I’m no different. I know the principal will call because my daughter’s teacher, Mr. C emailed me at the end of the school day yesterday. I can’t say I will ever get used to having the principal call me.

What am I feeling?

Anticipation – this will be the third, maybe fourth call this year – It’s still October. There have been 10 weeks of school.

Dread – I don’t know but I can guess the principal will suspend her for today and tomorrow. She may add days next week. Schools often keep a running tally and the consequences increase with each event. More on that later (maybe even another post).

Feisty – well a mild feisty – I am my daughters first and last line of defense. My job is to advocate and give her the voice she lacks. She just doesn’t get it, doesn’t understand.

What is the issue?

Yesterday while waiting for the bus she hit another kid in the knee with her umbrella. That is the story I got from Mr. C. Monique, my daughter, told me she hit him because he wouldn’t get out of her way.

Sounds clear and easy right? Wrong!

Nothing with a special needs child is clear, easy or typical. The ‘typical’ kids express ‘typical’ behavior. Monique is not typical. Thanks to all the politically correct gobbledygook it’s hard to explain.

Introducing Monique;

She is clinically classified as having Pervasive Developmental Disabilities. What does that mean? I’m still trying to figure it out! I’m serious stop laughing! I describe her like this, and I know it’s not PC, get over it.

She is mentally retarded

  • Mentally mean her mind and cognitive processing
  • Retarded means it moves at a slow pace, when you retard an engine you slow it down

Her mind moves – processes, analyses, connects, understands information at a slow rate. It takes her multiple times experiencing a new skill to learn it. It can also take multiple times for her to un-learn something. She does NOT pick things up – she must be intentionally taught. Of course the exception happens ‘one time she saw ____ and does it.’

Her expressive and receptive language is hindered. Meaning, she doesn’t understand or process easily what she hears or sees – nor can she tell you, express, what she feels, needs, wants well.

The only other witness to the event I am aware of is the victim, another special needs student. I don’t know his ability-disability, they can’t tell me. So it’s a he said – she said situation with two questionable sources.

My 4 Part Plan of Action?

  1. Gather information – principals’ call when they have their plan and course of action nailed down. I need to ask well-crafted questions to offer suggestions that will be heard.
  2. Remind the principal of Monique’s inability to understand what she did was wrong.
  3. Brainstorm mitigating circumstances and possible prevention. I need to find out where Monique’s aid and teacher was during the event. This is not about shifting blame unless there was a total breakdown in services. Things happen, I get that, just tell me what…
  4. Be ready to stand up for my daughter. The principal is not certified in special education and deals with typical students behaving badly. I have to remember that and help the principal remember that without being too offensive/defensive.

In The End

  • she hit another student, that’s never ok.
  • She needs to experience consequences for her behavior.
  • She doesn’t understand consequences beyond losing the opportunity to be in school with her friends.
  • She doesn’t understand jail or long-term things.
  • She is not typical, but very much in the moment.
  • She doesn’t have a big-picture view.
  • Get dressed I will probably have to go pick her up.
  • Be the light!

Have more to add or think my plan needs tweaking, share with me I would love to hear your comments.

Have you experienced something like this, want to share to add to the story? Please share

Do you know someone else who could use this information, even as an encouragement that they are not alone. Getting a call from the school is rough, encouragement helps. Share using the buttons below.

©2015 Elayne Cross

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End-time Signs Hype or Hog-wash

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign

If you know some oldie’s music the melody may already be invading your mind. It’s from the song “Signs” by Five Man Electrical Band in 1971. Like music of any generation it revealed some of what was happening in the changing culture. “Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the signs?”

Humans have always been watching for end-time signs.

After being expelled from the garden Adam and Eve watched for a sign were their son would crush satan and everything would return to how it had been. Cain’s birth was probably the first sign of hope. Then he went and killed Abel, well that didn’t work out. Then Seth came, hope again.

Jesus came fulfilling prophetic end-time signs, and we know how that worked out, not exactly what the religious leaders expected. After His resurrection His Disciples wrote expecting His imminent return. Jesus Himself said watch for the signs. The Book of Revelation is full of signs. So it’s 5776 years from Adam and 2015 years from Jesus, and still we wait, watching for signs.

Every generation has had at least one end-time sign promoted as “The Sign” of the end. In my lifetime some signs include; the planets aligning, comets, asteroids hitting earth, creation of the UN and a possible one world government, computer chips on credit cards, the year 2000,…

Not only are there signs, there are those trying to make a buck revealing them. The hype recently over blood moons and God’s Judgement is making lots of money for a few people. All the hype on end-time signs can bring a sense of fear and anxiety.

Three things to remember about End-Time Signs.

  1. We are to watch and be ready. In the parable of the ten virgins, Jesus said be ready, watch, and, not be found asleep. Jesus was not referring to physical sleep but spiritual. Stay awake spiritually and you won’t be caught off guard. The benefit to being ready is less anxiety and more peace. Peace will allow you to investigate the end-time signs without or fear.
  2. God is not pouring down judgment on any nation. All judgment was placed on Christ when He was crucified. Jesus has all authority to judge and He will judge when He returns. Things referred to as judgment are actually consequences. Consequences result from choices we make. If I poke a dog with a fork and I get bit it’s not judgment from God, it’s consequences. The Holy Spirit brings conviction to each person individually. Conviction is to draw us closer to God and to live more like Christ. This also keeps us spiritually awake.
  3. Regardless when ‘The End” comes we live for a finite amount of time. We are not guaranteed tomorrow. I live life knowing I may not have another opportunity to say or do the things that are important, for me that includes loving the people God has put in my life. Define your life mission, your purpose statement. We all have one, what’s yours? My mission is to let the light of Christ shine through me as if today is my last, while preparing to live a good long life.

It’s not hog-wash, one day the end will come. It could be tomorrow or two hundred years from now after we have all finished our time here on earth. Some will be ready and some will be left sleeping. Be encouraged. it’s not hard or complicated to make yourself ready. Draw close to God and He will draw close to you.

The last verse of the song wraps it up.

And the sign said “Everybody welcome, come in, kneel down and pray”

But when they passed around the plate at the end of it all I didn’t have a penny to pay

So, I got me a pen and a paper and I made up my own little sign

I said, “Thank you, Lord for thinkin’ ‘bout me, I’m alive and doin’ fine, woo

There are as many ways to prepare as there are people. What is the Holy Spirit stirring in you today? How are you letting your light shine? It starts with prayer, a conversation with God. If you have never prayed or want more direction check out the 7 elements of balanced prayer.

I would love to hear about it. Let me know what you think, like it, share it with others, help start the conversation.

©2015 Elayne Cross

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You Are Creative

“I’m not creative!” “I’m not an artist.” I’ve said these things after admiring beautiful artistic creations. I fall into the art appreciation camp. At least I thought I did. But God has worked at changing my mind. Over the last year I have heard the Holy Spirit whisper reply, “Yes you are!” “You don’t get it! You are creative.”

Every time I think about other people being creative and decide I’m not, someone says something to the contrary. Sometimes I just want to be left alone in my wallowing, poor me attitude, But God seems to show up right on cue. So I’ve decided it’s time to reevaluate my thinking.

My husband heard about a new quilt show forming in the area through a relative and told me about it. Mildly interested the topic came and went. Two months ago he mentioned it again and had a flyer with the web site and show dates. My interest growing, checked it out. The submission deadline was a few weeks away and I had this wild thought. Ok I say it was a wild thought but I know it was the Holy Spirit. See God was on this “you are creative” push to change my thinking.

The requirements stated the quilts must have been completed in the last three years. I had recently completed my second quilt ever for my granddaughters third birthday. It was not fancy pieced together patterns full of intricate stitching. It’s basic; a top pieced of squares, bottom, and a middle filler that is sewn through all three layers. But it was carefully planned and assembled with love. I wouldn’t call it a piece of art, but I created it. Hummmm, maybe God has a point.

I entered that quilt, crooked seams and all into the show. Feeling a surge of excitement realizing that I am at least a little creative, I decided to enter a book of animals I made the year before for her second birthday. I chuckled to myself thinking I now had an excuse to go to the show, and drag my husband along.

Two weeks ago I got an email. “Congratulations! Your quilt, ‘Audrey’s Animal Book’ won second place.”

God definitely had my attention now. This is the first ribbon I have won for anything beyond, participation. I’m not even successful at silent auctions. I work hard and do my best but comparatively speaking, I’m OK not exceptional.

Comparatively speaking! Artistic creativity! Those are the key words. Going through this exciting discovery about my creativity I realized something, two things actually.

  1. Comparatively speaking is a human endeavor and in the right context it’s valuable and important. When it comes to determining my value, as an individual child of God, it is deadly. I allowed myself to judge my ability to create based on the quality of the people around me. I have some incredibly talented people in my circle of friends and family. Their creativity is not a reflection of mine. Creativity is not finite, it’s infinite.
  2. Semantics matters. Creativity is not synonymous with artistic. When I think of someone being creative I think about artists who paint, draw, or sew masterpieces. Being artistic is about creating things that are aesthetically pleasing or moving. Artists make things that look good and stir emotions. Creation is the act of producing something that was not here before, like this blog. Creativity is the spark that inspires us to create something new.

God Created You – Therefor You Are Creative

You Are Creative
IN the beginning God created; male and female He created us to create

God created man; male and female, in His own image. (Genesis 1:27) What is God’s image?

Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God created.” Here we encounter one aspect of His image He has built into us. God is creative, He makes things that were not there before. He made this world, and universe with all its beauty & wonder, laws & structure. God created us. God created you and God created me. New, unique, and creative, He created us. God created man; male and female, to create.

Art is about the visual and according to Dictionary.com artistic principles are “involving only aesthetic considerations, usually taken as excluding moral, practical, religious, political, or similar concerns:”

The creativity is what makes a picture worth a thousand words. I believe that without our creativity, we would be incapable of making art. You are creative because you are made in the image of the creator, God. You may create beautiful art, I create with words. There is only one you, and only you can create your creations.

I want to hear about you. How do you reflect God in your creativity? Do you create innovative ways for people to save for retirement? Do you create music, paintings, or quilts? Do you prepare yummy food for your family in creative ways?

©2015 Elayne Cross

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Political Change You Can Believe In

The debates put election season in full swing. We hear the fate of our nation and our way of life hang in the balance. Hope and change proliferated the atmosphere in 2007 followed by change we can believe in in 2011. Things have changed but much remains the same. This is as much a spiritual issue as a human one, what are the big issues? What issues matter? How much impact does my faith have on who I vote for? Should it?

The voice of Samuel resonates in my head. ‘They have not rejected you, they have rejected Me.’

Change you can believe in!

Those who fought the civil war fought about political changes. Choices matter.
©2015 Elayne Cross

1 Samuel 8 has the story of rejection and warning. I have many correlations to the election cycle, America, and God that I will share over the next year. Today is about the three questions above. The answers hold the key to voting for change you can believe in.

This is as much a spiritual issue as a human one, what are the big issues?

Our priest or pastor on Sunday and religious commentators resonate with similar ideas from the warnings in the blood moons to the apparent cultural shifts that have altered American society. We are both flesh and spirit so politics has both human and spiritual implications. It is not as neat and clean as a movie or comic book where the evil one is obvious and distinct from the good. It’s more like I have seen the enemy and it is us.

1 Samuel 8:3 says But Samuel’s sons didn’t follow Samuel’s ways. But is a powerful word in Bible reading. Do we have a responsibility? The big issue is, do we serve God or man? This is a question each one should ask themselves, if Jesus were standing by you what issue would matter? Does the Holy Spirit have influence in your life or have you relegated Him to a narrow place outside your ideas or desires first as a human. God was rejected as the leader of the nation in Samuel’s time. Samuel, God’s Prophet felt that rejection. Our nation’s heritage is based on Judeo-Christian ideals. Who changed? Not God!

What issues matter to God? What issues matter to me?

I can tell you what issues matter to me, and you can tell me yours. Those may change from day-to-day. Since I am just flesh and not all-knowing. I must seek advice from God. It sounds trite to some but He is all-knowing, so I ask. Lord what is Your thought about ____? God’s response is like that annoying, but excellent, teacher that puts the question back on you with some Socratic question. “What do you think the result will be?” Followed by “And the result of that?”

Does it matter what the next president looks like? Do the decisions they make matter? Do we judge based on the content of their character or the color (or gender) of their skin?

  • Saul was educated and Timothy was young.
  • Deborah and Jezebel were influential women.
  • Saul flip-flopped to become Paul and Judas was one of Jesus disciples.

Is the issue age, education, gender, influence, changing you mind, or who you know? From each pair there is only one choice for me.

God and America stand on freedom, but. But, freedom is messy because freedom includes choices. Some choices are bad and with them come bad consequences. If you want to know the real issues, look at the consequences of the choices made by previous representatives. Do you want more? Do you think a flip-flop on the idea is in order? If it needs changed, how?

How much impact does my faith have on who I vote for? Should it?

The root of this question is the value I place on my faith. For many it is important to know what happens after death. Will I go to heaven or hell? Will I hear some “well done good and faithful servant” line as I pass through the pearly gates? Does your faith have value only for your personal eternity? Does it have value and influence for your time here? You will be judged good and faithful based on what you do on this side of time.

Change you can believe in!

The gift you have is today. The gift you offer is what you do with today. Today you have the freedom to make choices, help impact those around you, serve God’s children, and leave the world a little better than it would be without your presence. If what you do is all about you, your faith doesn’t matter. If your faith matters, what you do is about serving others and helping them find their way closer to God, today. How? Make your choices based on God’s truth not the wisdom of man. Impact others through love and service. Find ways to improve the world.

Watch for more posts as the election cycle continues. For now did this make you think? What issues do you think are on God’s heart? What issues would you like me to discuss? Comment below, share on Facebook or forward to a friend. I would love to hear what you think.

©2015 Elayne Cross

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And to think that I saw it on Erin Street

And to think that I saw it on Mulberry Street! If you haven’t had the joy of reading the book by Dr. Seuss, I will tell you it’s about a boy and his father. The father is trying to get his son to pay attention, see the things happening around him. From the boys perspective there is nothing to see, so he crafts this grandiose tale to tell his father. And to think that I saw it on Mulberry Street!

And to think that I saw it on Erin Street!

I was reminded of this book at 8:00AM this morning. This is not a time I’m usually on the road, but my daughter forgot her locker key so I made a trip to the high school. I came around a corner and saw a school bus picking up elementary age students. My first thought was ‘why did I go through a neighborhood?’

One stop finished, drive fifty feet and the lights flash red. Second stop completed. At this point I’m laughing. Drive a hundred feet and on go the lights. A car has now pulled up behind me. A mom, with her sweater pulled tight against the chilly morning waves from the left side of the road. I notice in my right peripheral a small boy. He is running, back pack bouncing with every step, arms trying to wave. Now a light has turned on in my head. Too late, the bus has started to pull away. I honk to no effect. The bus continues to the stop sign, no more opportunities for the boy.

The bus and I both turn right. I watch to see the father and the boy turn left. Time, 8:02. Thirty minutes until school starts. They may not let the kids into the building until 8:25. Hummm, bummer. And to think that I saw it on Erin Street. Not as poetic but life doesn’t always rhyme like a Dr. Seuss book.

What did I see today as I went about my way?

On Erin Street I saw a school bus, and more.

First stop; a mother with two children. One got on the bus, the other was swiftly ushered to the mini-van parked in the drive.

Second stop; the door opens and a young girl emerges. I look back to see an older sister following behind carrying her backpack on one shoulder and what looked like a coffee cup in the opposite hand. I noticed she walked funny. Then the object in her hand became clear, she was carrying a boot. One boot on, one boot in hand she made her way to the bus. Me laughing while Mom stood in her doorway until the bus started moving.

Third stop; mother and daughter waiting at the end of the drive. Together they watch for the signal from the driver to enter the street. The mom gives her an affectionate pat then pulls her sweater tight. A moment later she waves as she sees her daughter inside the bus. The lights go off just as I notice the boy in the grass to my right.

Pre-First stop; somewhere the bus stopped and boy wasn’t there.

And to think that I saw it on Erin Street. What did I see you ask? Life, beautiful and messy.

And to think that I saw it on Erin Street
You are not alone

The first mother was going places, now. She was organized, ready, and moving. Her children, were where she wanted them. The second mom watched as her daughter, shoe in hand, made the bus just in time. The third mom, went with her daughter as far as she could go. Then encouraged her on. The last was the lost boy. He missed his bus, his friends, his ride. But dad!

But his dad didn’t leave him behind, to find his own way, or figure it out alone. No this dad took his son, where he was unable to take himself. He took a different path. Maybe it was longer, maybe shorter. His road was full of “let’s go” “Oh No” and “I’ll get you there.” He got to ride with dad, and spend a few extra minutes with him.

I’ve had a day like each one of these families. The hurried day. The mad-dash. The calm and gentle days. And those ‘Oh NO’ heart pounding excitement days.

There are so many things this relates to. Raising kids, busy life, goal setting, or staying calm: But dad!

I would not describe my ‘real’ dad like the father I saw today. But, I have a dad like this, He is my Heavenly dad. He pushes me when I drag my feet, encourages me to keep going, and helps me get where I need to be. Today, He reminded me three things.

  1. He is with me even when I miss the bus.
  2. He loves me even when I don’t have it all together
  3. He will never leave me or forget me, in fact sometimes those days are really good days.

How do I know the three things above? He reminded me on Erin Street.

How has God reminded you of one or  these three things recently? I would love to hear. Please post a comment, or share this with a friend that may need reminded you and God care.

© 2015 Elayne Cross

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