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Global Warming and God's Will



Saturday

A sleepy Saturday – although with the sun as bright as it is, it’s hard to be too sleepy. I managed to sleep in until almost 8 this morning, which was quite a feat. Usually, I wake up by 7, no matter what – stupid internal alarm clock.
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It’s been kind of eventful this week – sort of. Maybe it just feels that way because of all the pressure I’m feeling. I’m trying to get plans into place for Ben’s party, Prom is in a week, and I’ve got a major paper due in two weeks (the polished final draft is due tomorrow and then we’ll correct whatever the professor says to and turn in the final, final copy in two weeks).
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Ben was sick for most of it – missed four days of school. I think it was just a cold, but it was a humdinger of one. His nose was beet red and literally bleeding from being wiped so much. He’s feeling fine now, but his nose is all scabbed up on the outside. That needs to be healed up by next weekend (prom)! He was cooped up in the house all week long so last night Will took him to see “The Jungle Book” which just came out yesterday. It’s not nearly as altruistic as it sounds – the state pays him to do things like this!
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Ben was just fine on Monday, but then woke me up at 6:12 am on Tues, asking to stay home from school and for drugs. That is the worst! I have to get up at 6:25. If I’m going to be awakened before the alarm goes off, I’d much rather have it happen at 2 or 3 in the morning – when I still have hours left to sleep once I fall back into bed. But getting awakened 13 min. before my alarm goes off is just cruel. Plus, I had to stand out in the kitchen, freezing, trying to wrestle pills out of a foil packet for Ben when I could barely stand upright.

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I’m sneezing today – allergies. Sure hope I won’t be too drugged up to enjoy my night. It’s Single Parent Provision and I have a list of things I want to do during my free time.
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I took David over to the high school one day this week to try to hammer out a schedule for him for next school year. There are several classes I wanted him to take. We were there for over an hour. In the end, we ended up signing him up for Construction 1 the first semester and Construction 2 the second. He is also going to take “Fundamentals of Construction” and possibly a metal working class the second semester. I wanted him to take Speech class, like Will did. They have done away with that class, however. I was shocked! How are kids supposed to learn public speaking without Speech class? I wanted David to take a photography class. They no longer offer Photography. I had toyed with the idea of him taking Spanish, as well, but decided against it since I don’t know if he’s college bound or not and it seems like colleges are all over the place anymore on their foreign language requirements. He has enough trouble with English. I signed him for something called, “Fundamentals of Writing” which the guidance counselor explained was exactly like it sounded. I figured this would be good for David. But something told me I ought to email the teacher and I’m so glad I did. She said it was originally designed to teach students the basics of writing, but has since morphed into a class for students who are really into writing. Well, that’s not David. So, I’m taking that off his schedule and am just going to draw up my own curriculum for him to do that at home. I may look for a photography class at DMACC for him his senior year.


I thought it was interesting when the counselor was talking about a lit class I’m interested in for David and he paused and said to David, “Well, I can see you’re a Christian” and went on to mention how one of the kids in that class this year is reading the Bible and how the students are free to read and report on whatever they desire. I whipped my head up, wondering if the counselor just knows our family’s reputation or why it was he said that. But then I saw he was nodding towards David’s t-shirt that had a cross and a verse printed on it. I guess that would probably give it away!
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Sunday

I got the second final draft of my paper submitted – which is why I’m home from church tonight. I had really hoped to make it tonight. But after seeing how many hours it took me to get that thing ready for submission – there’s no way I could have done it all this afternoon. And it’s not like I procrastinated on this paper at all – every single day this week I was working on it. I will be SO glad when this class is OVER! Two weeks from today I will submit the final, final draft of the paper and, for better or worse, I will be finished. Yay.

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Ben’s party is coming together. I looked at a website this week for tent rental but then I was talking to my neighbor and he’s got three tents I can borrow. For free. Plus, I’m going to borrow his cotton candy maker and slushy machine. Ben’s SCL worker (my friend, Deb) told me she’ll bring pasta salad for the party, so I think the menu is set (we’re having more than just salad, slushies, and cotton candy). And my new stool came. I had purchased a retro kitchen stool like my both my grandmothers had when I was growing up about five years ago. Then Ellie arrived and she proceeded to eat my stool. She put a bunch of gashes in the thing with her teeth over the years. I told myself I’d replace that thing before the next graduation party. And she has stern warnings that I had better not catch her teeth anywhere near that thing! I also got the party invites addressed. I just need to discover where I put the return labels for safekeeping three years ago (At that time I ordered cute labels with graduation caps that read only “Heywood” so I could use them for all three of the older boys).

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There was a disturbing news story this week about an adoptive mom in nearby Urbandale who was arrested after her kids told police that she was being violent with the adopted kids – forcing them to fight eachother and use a belt on eachother – really awful stuff. Stories like this crop up every so often and now that I have the girls I find that my emotions are so torn. Of course, it’s awful and it’s obviously wrong…but, I understand how an adoptive parent, especially, can get there. Parenting a child who is not biologically yours is hard, especially when that child is coming from a place of hurt and may have life-long issues as a result, like RAD. You just feel like you’re under attack all the time by this kid and nothing you do or say makes a difference to their heart. I can totally see how violence could very quickly enter the picture. But what I’m learning is that what I say and do IS making a difference – I just don’t get the immediate affirmation that I’m used to from the boys. But then the girls say or do something that makes me realize that huh – they are listening to me!

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Lizzie’s teacher remembered this week to offer Lizzie the special brown paper for a project they did, where the kids were making representations of themselves. Lizzie came home and told me that she was “so embarrassed” by that. Sigh…I can understand that. She feels singled out. But yet, it also feels strange when she makes a caricature of herself and she’s sporting pink skin like all the other kids in her class. She can’t win.


And then Friday she got off the bus in tears. She didn’t want to tell me what happened, but Sam was more than happy to do so. Apparently, Lizzie had commented to one of the new neighbor boys (her age) that he had gotten dirt on his face. He responded to Lizzie, “That’s because I’m turning black like you.” And then he persisted in repeatedly yelling, “You’re black, you’re black, you’re black!” Argh! So, I walked up to the neighbor’s house, hoping to catch the mom. I wanted to have a private word with her, but it seemed like the entire family was out in the driveway, so that was impossible. She was livid, which I was glad to see. A sibling hauled her son outside and he was sobbing while Mom screamed at him and I felt so sorry for him, even though he had just made my child have a miserable bus ride home.


It wasn’t long before Mom, the kid, and several of his sisters came traipsing up to my house and Lizzie was reluctantly pushed out the door by Will. She didn’t want to come outside. Little Tyler choked out an apology and Lizzie told him she forgave him and went back inside. Mom and I talked for awhile and then she left, promising all sorts of punishments for her son, and then I went inside. I found Lizzie huddled miserably on her bed and she finally told me that she was embarrassed to have to receive that apology. I can understand that. I explained to her that the apology was more for Tyler’s sake because he has to learn that what he said is not appropriate.

I just wish she wasn’t having to go through these things. I thought we were supposed to live in a color-blind society. I thought the Civil Rights movement meant that we would “judge a man by the content of his heart, not the color of skin.”

What a joke.

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David earned $80 last week with more promised this week. Our postmaster (who isn’t really OUR postmaster, anymore, since we lost our post office 10 years ago, but actually runs the Hartford office) stopped by one day after work and said that an older couple down on the highway had stopped in that day wondering if Janet knew of any reliable, responsible young man who could take over the yard work on their acreage. Janet told them she knew just the person! So, David gave them a call and he worked two afternoons last week. Their house is so close that you can see it from the cemetery.

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I texted Ben’s prom date this week to ask about her preference for flowers and she texted me back and said that she doesn’t want to do flowers and would prefer to “leave them for the bees.” She added, “It’s 2016 now, you know.” I think I was supposed to be put in my place with that. So what – are flowers for prom not a thing anymore?

But this weekend people were putting up prom pics of their kids on Facebook and quite a few of them were sporting corsages.

Including Ben’s date…who went to another prom this weekend with her actual boyfriend. They both had corsages. Maybe she just didn’t want to have to buy two boutonnieres. I don’t know!


But, it IS 2016…and I guess anything goes anymore. When I was talking to Kim, my neighbor, after she forced her son to apologize to Lizzie, I met her oldest daughter, who is a junior at Pville. I asked her if she was going to Prom and she nodded and told me she is going with another girl. At first I thought, oh, two friends going together. I did that my junior year. And maybe that’s all it is. But then she commented that she had “asked” this girl to the prom and so, is buying her flowers. And then she proceeded to tell me that she is renting a tux to wear and her date will be in a regular gown. And I’m standing there nodding my head trying to act like this sounds perfectly normal, all the while trying to keep my jaw from hitting the gravel! Will said she's probably just vying for attention. I hope that's all it is.
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When I finally went into the house that afternoon, Sam got my attention and whispering (I don’t know why he was whispering) exclaimed, “Mom, did you see all of Tyler's mom's tattoos?!” I nodded and told him I had, indeed (they are kind of hard to miss since she was dressed kind of skimpily and the tats cover nearly all her available skin area). And then he went on, “And she had earring holes clear up her ear!” Yes, she does. And I am reminding myself as I talked to her, She is no less valuable than you are. Jesus died for her, too. Sam then said, very decisively, “Well! I just don’t see a need for more than one set of earring holes!” I pointed out to him that I have two sets and he was rather astonished. Apparently, he had never noticed.
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Tuesday

This might be some record – taking 4 days to write a single blog post. I was hoping to finish Sunday night but Will needed some help figuring out his “educational philosophy” for a class so I ended up doing that instead. It was amazing to me, as I worked through that assignment with him, to see how much homeschooling has shaped my philosophies regarding education. I would not have had the same thoughts 25 years ago when I was an education major.

But one thing I would still be in agreement with is


Teachers should not swear at their students.


Yes, really. And yes, this became an issue last week. The elementary staff was out for two days attending some training so they had all substitutes covering the classes. Lizzie came home on Tuesday and reported that the sub in her class had used the “s” word. She had become frustrated when some of the kids were throwing pencils and paper on the floor and told them to “pick that ---- up!” Wow. I was NOT happy, but figured there wasn’t much I could do about it at this point, since she was a sub and all. But then, the next day, they had the same sub again and Lizzie came home and told me that that day the sub had used the word, “crap” in class. That’s not a swear word, but it is crude and it’s something I’ve been working hard to eradicate from my own vocabulary. I don’t let the kids say it.

After that report, I emailed the principal. I didn’t expect him to deal with the situation since it was a sub but I expressed my displeasure and suggested that the next time he needs a sub he might want to find someone else. He emailed me back right away and said, yeah, that’s not good and he’ll definitely be skipping over her name the next time they need someone. 

Good grief. And to think I traded homeschooling for this.

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Yesterday was my grocery shopping day. Ugh. But, my day was made infinitely better when I decided to check and see if my professor had graded the second draft of my paper. I really didn’t expect him to have done so because I know he was planning to go over them with a fine tooth comb so that he could return the papers to us with his suggestions and we could fix those problem areas before submitting the final draft in a couple of weeks.

Mid-afternoon, though, I decided to check my phone just to see if he those grades done – maybe he would. Imagine my shock to discover that not only did he have the grades done, but I had scored 30 out of 30 points for this draft. And, in his weekly announcement to the class he wrote this: I am particularly pleased with the quality of the papers I received to grade. Special "Shout-Outs" go out to J. Cowan, Sarah Heywood, and A. Stonehocker for submitting exceptional papers; all ready to submit for their final paper they way they are right now!!!!


And then this is what he wrote on my actual paper: Your paper is OUTSTANDING. In fact, all you have to do now is to submit THE EXACT SAME PAPER in Week 8. So, be sure to do that. Your work on the paper is DONE; you can now work on preparing for your live video presentation for Week 8. But, again, remember to resubmit this paper in Week 8, as well. Thanks for all the hard work you put into this project; I can readily see you did a lot of research and your paper is very well written.....GREAT JOB!

Yay, me! When I decided to enroll at BVU I had kind of a neutral attitude about it. I wasn’t sensing God definitely nudging me in that direction, but neither did I feel Him telling me to NOT do it. So, I just kept moving forward, since it seemed to make sense to finish up college. I’m starting to think now that maybe I really am where I am supposed to be!

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Tomorrow will be the 20th – 15 years to the day since I miscarried. I wonder how different my life would be now if that had not happened? I mean that in a good way. I don’t know if I would have all these Littles if my family had proceeded the way I had intended.

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Sunday one of my casual widow friends posted a picture on Facebook. Her husband, a pastor, was killed in a snowmobiling accident 7 months after Paul died. They had 5 kids, all still at home. The youngest was an infant, actually. I heard about it from another widow friend, so I contacted her and we talked briefly at the time. So she’s been widowed just over 2 years now. And her picture was with another man who had his arm wrapped around her shoulders and it was intended to announce she’s now in a relationship.


It made me feel a little jealous. And somewhat like I’m failing at progressing in my own life and relationships. And I know we can’t compare ourselves to others, but it’s human nature to do so.. I mentioned this to Will later and he asked, “And just when is it that you think you’d have time to fit in dating?” Well, there is that…From there, he went on to say that he thinks I need to focus on school and raising the kids right now and once the schooling is done and I’m working and things are all settled financially, then would be the time to start looking for another mate. Spoken like a logical man. And, those are not thoughts I haven’t had myself already. But still, I worry. I’m not crazy about the idea of being alone the rest of my life and what if all the “good” ones are taken by the time I have time to date? That sounds like I’m trying to get to the front of the line for a Black Friday sale! Oh, I don’t know. I do know it’s nothing I need to be fretting over. I was thinking about this last night and the words from Ps. 84:11 popped into my mind, “…no good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly.” And if having a second husband is a good thing for me, then God will give me one. And if it’s not, then I hope He’s planning on giving me the grace to walk alone the rest of my days!


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The other night on the news they mentioned that, in an effort to make up for a budget shortfall, the Iowa City school district has approved a plan to begin charging $500 per year per child to ride the bus. I am really wondering how they plan to implement this. I know that Iowa City is one of the wealthier areas of the state. But, being a large city, there is still going to be a certain percentage of students who, if they do not ride the bus, will not be able to get to school. Obviously, truancy for these children won’t be an option. And how do they think they are going to collect a minimum of $500 per family from families who qualify for free or reduced lunches? So then that makes me wonder – who will pay the bus fees for these children? Will that be a school responsibility or will the state pick up the tab? But, the schools are already funded by both the state and federal government. So, basically, the school will be raking in more fees – from those they manage to collect from families who don’t qualify for assistance and then from the government. Looks like a pretty clever set-up to me.

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Yesterday afternoon I got a text from Ben’s prom date excitedly telling me that she and Ben were both elected to prom court. Prom Court? What’s that? I have got to be the most clueless high school mother in the state…At the same time she’s texting me explaining it, her mother begins texting me, ecstatic about the same news. Huh. So this is a good thing, then, I guess! It is. It’s like the homecoming court. I don’t know what they do but it does involve special recognition when they do the prom walk-in and at some point a prom king and queen are elected. Today I recognized some of the other names on the court list and it looks like Ben is in pretty good company – like, right alongside the main football star this year. That’s so sweet of his classmates! Man, these are good kids!


So, I immediately suggested to his date that maybe she’d want to reconsider her no-flowers stance. No, no – she still didn’t want any. But today, she texted me and told me her mom told her she thought they better do flowers with this whole prom court development. Yes! A win for the moms!


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Well, my hand is cramping up, so I need to get this posted. I spent TWO hours tonight working on a class discussion. Midway through I accidentally lost everything I had already typed. I about cried. Fortunately, I had taken notes and was able to reconstruct my thoughts. I am so ready for this class to be done. I am totally going to deserve that A I’m headed for!





















































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