You Might Be A “SN(e)P If …

3659451-you-might-be-a-redneck-hillbilly-memesWhen I’m in a mood, Jeff Foxworthy can always find my funny bone. (Pair him up with Ron White and a generous glass of chardonnay, and I have to pull out my emergency stash of Depends.)

Foxworthy’s “You Might Be a Redneck” shtick  always gets me going … While poverty and ignorance, by themselves, are no laughing matter, he represents a segment of the population who genuinely need a good laugh, and like to laugh at themselves. And if you can’t beat ’em … well, you know.

With that in mind, I’d like to offer this little Foxworthian tribute to another segment of the population who sorely needs a good laugh: moms, and in particular moms of special needs teenagers. When surging hormones (theirs) meets depleting energy (ours), it can be a volatile mix. If we don’t find a way to laugh — well, we just HAVE to find a way to laugh. Perhaps with a little help of a friend, and a generous glass of chardonnay.

So … YOU MIGHT BE A SPECIAL-NEEDS PARENT (SNeP) IF…

  • If the dog dives for cover when the school bus pulls up …
  • If you count the Xanax like you were doling out jellybeans in grade school (one for you and one for me, one for you and two for me) …
  • If you sign the school paper, put it in the folder and backpack, remind your kid six times to deliver it to teacher … then take it out to scan and send it yourself …
  • If you open the mailbox and get more excited over a birthday party invitation (for your child) than the Publisher’s Clearing House guy …
  • If you’re beginning to worry that “independence” is just a city in Missouri …
  • If your calendar is so full of therapists, doctors, teacher conferences, and psych evals that your dentist plays double duty as your gyno …
  • If your child’s psych eval and nocturnal wanderings both keep you up at night …
  • If the only thing that scares you more than your child getting asked to prom is the thought that she might not …
  • If you settle the question who did the dishes last night by rewinding the safety cameras …
  • If your kids’ shenanigans have ghosted more friends than a serial killer …
  • If your child’s notebook has more violent artistic renderings than Scotland Yard …
  • If your idea of a hot date night is to stay awake long enough to find out Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? or Shall We Dance? (or really, anything that doesn’t have a Disney princess in it) …
  • If you blow out the candles of every birthday cake wishing that one day you will get your life back … and hoping that they will launch successfully into theirs …

What would you add to the list?

Weekend Ponderings: “And other boats were with him…”

rembrandt1633The Gospel of Mark is quickly becoming my favorite because he packs so much into a few short words. His stories are spare and to-the-point … but every so often he slips in a phrase or detail that makes you go, “Hmmm…”

Sunday’s Gospel reading is like that. In the story of the apostles on the sea with the Lord, being tossed about until He speaks a word that make “the wind and waves obey Him,” it would be easy to miss one little phrase Mark slips in there as he tells the story (Mark 4:35-41):

“Leaving the crowd, they took Jesus with them in the boat just as he was.
And other boats were with him.”

What boats? You may well ask. As the squalls kicked up, all but capsizing the fishing boat in which the Lord and His disciples were resting … we must assume that the surrounding boats were in similar straits. Being thrashed and buffeted by the prevailing wind and rain. Their occupants similarly terrified. Perhaps even more so — they didn’t have Jesus in their boat!

There are some situations in life that, honestly, I don’t know how you endure without faith. The death of a loved one. A shattering disappointment. A brush with your own mortality. Being a Christian doesn’t anesthetize us to the real pain these situations inflict upon the heart. But it does — or at least should — make a difference in how we process that suffering.

It is blatantly dishonest to deny the existence of the pain. Even the Lord Himself cried out from the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” The pain is real, and it can be life-altering.

However, for the Christian, our grief need not define us, or cause us to founder and go under. Rather, faith lends a vital perspective — that Someone bigger and wiser than us holds those mysteries in His hands, and will entrust them to us when the time is right.

Photo Credit: Rembrandt by Valtora

Enjoy the Ride! Two inspiring videos for you…

p3230067Yesterday was a hard day. Although I don’t cry a lot, I found myself weeping profusely … twice.

I’d prefer to keep the details of the first occasion to myself, but I wanted to share the second one with you here. This snippet from “Britain Has Talent” is a rare gem from a middle-aged Catholic woman named Susan Boyle who dedicated her entire life to tending to her parents … and only after they had died got a chance to fulfill her own dream and her mother’s last request, to share her gift, publicly, with the world. Check out this YouTube bit … you’ll be glad to hear that some dreams never die … and reminded that not all Extraordinary Moms tend to children. Some care for parents as well.

And if you’re still feeling a bit blue, check out this beautiful video sent to me by my friend Deb Elmore. If anyone knows the original artist please let me know, as I would love to give credit to him or her!

I’ve put both links in the “inspirational” section of the blogroll, in case you need them again.

Miracle Monday: Ben’s Bells Project

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Update: On April 15 I got a note from Ben’s mother, thanking me for the post … and letting me know that, two years after Ben’s death, they adopted two girls from Russia!

On March 29, 2002 — Good Friday seven years ago — three-year-old Ben Packard suddenly died of croup. His parents desperately wanted to find a way to bring some kind of healing out of their personal tragedy.

They created “Ben’s Bells” to recognize acts of kindness in their community — in their own words, “to inspire, educate, and motivate each other to realize the impact of intentional kindness and to empower individuals to act accordingly to that awareness, thereby changing our world.”

“Ben’s Bells,” grew to become a community effort that recognizes the power of kindness. In memory of little Ben, people in the Tucson, Arizona area gather to create these beautiful ceramic windchimes … and send them to selected recipients (it’s called “belling”), whose act of kindness has made a difference in the life of local residents. To date more than 11,000 sets of bells have been distributed.

One of the recent recipients of this award are foster parents Barbara and James Reyes, whose story was run in the Arizona Daily Star last February.

Ben’s mother Jeannette tells their story here.  The site offers instructions on how to start a chapter of the “Bells” in your own community as well!

Miracle Mondays: Tootsie Roll Trials

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This week the Knights of Columbus are doing their annual “Tootsie Roll Drive” to benefit local mental health support services, including the St. Louis Center and Special Olympics. We hand out Tootsie Rolls in exchange for small donations.

In one sense, we could have picked a better weekend. It was cold and blustery, spitting little raindrops intermittently against pavement and eyeglasses and turning our hands to red, chapped icesicles. On the other hand, the sight of us hunched against the cold seemed to make people dig more deeply as they tossed change into our buckets.

Not everyone, of course … Some averted their eyes as they dashed past. But most had a kindly expression as they handed over their dollars. One store owner even brought me a cup of tea and invited me to stand in the entranceway, out of the cold.

I was proud of Craig, who actually chased people with shopping carts to their cars for a contribution. He came back with a full can. I waved and held the door open for restaurant patrons that didn’t seem to see me standing there … and returned with the bottom of my bucket about an inch deep.

I couldn’t help but think about the young men and women served by the organizations we were collecting for. How often do they feel invisible, as though people are embarrassed at the sight of them? Do they ever feel like charity cases, rather than valuable human beings deserving a little support?

When was the last time I gave one of them a cup of tea … just because I was glad they were there?

Miracle Monday: A Daughter’s Story of Life

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The other day “Mighty Mom” sent me this link to a moving story about a mother who chose life for her daughter, despite having every medical reason not to do so!

Thanks, Sarah, for being willing to share your story.  Your mom sounds like an amazing woman.

(At the author’s request, this story may not be reproduced without her permission. But please do follow the link and read it … you’ll be glad you did!)

Miracle Mondays: Running the Race … Together

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Happy Martin Luther King Day!  Today is a great day to celebrate people with a dream, and I’d like to share one with you today!

I recently received a message from my friend Julie, about an inspiring father-and-son team that offers another good example of what miracles love can do. Dick and Rick Hoyt are a father-and-son team from Massachusetts who together compete in marathons and triathalons … even though Rick can neither speak nor walk.

Check out THE VIDEO(below)….
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f4B-r8KJhlE