I am a Chaplain's wife and mother of two boys with "special issues." I spend a good deal of my time taking care of my family's many special needs, and I work from home for a non-profit agency that helps wounded warriors and thier families:
The Coalition To Salute America's Heroes. I love to write, and recently had the opportunity to write a few devotionals for "Faith Deployed, Daily Encouragement for Military Wives", By Jocelyn Green. To be included in a book with women who have faced difficult life circumstances with grace and faith was humbling, and exciting all at once!
My calling is women's ministry. I love to teach Bible studies and speak to women's groups. I enjoy digging deep and finding rich nuggets of truth and new discoveries in the Bible stories I have heard since I was a child.
Currently my favorite authors include Beth Moore, and my husband, Roger Benimoff, who co-wrote "Faith Under Fire, An Army Chaplain's memoir" with Eve Conant.
It's not quite fall, but no longer seems like summer. It is the second week of school. Much calmer for me than the first. Having two kids with "special issues" means I run like a slightly crazed chicken from one thing to the next. Meetings, groceries, special diet needs. Phone calls from the nurse, visits to the nurse's office. Daily. Hourly, even. Off to whole foods for gluten free school friendly snacks. Back to the nurse's office. Log a teeny bit of time at work (I work from home), and then back to the nurse's office. Stop in the hall to chat with the school counselor. Go into her office for an hour to plan for 504 meetings and ARDs. Have I mentioned the school nurse? The first week of school is always a whirlwind for me, despite the realization this year that all does not need to be perfect on day one. A little bit of perspective in the madness.
This week I have had time to just breathe.
This morning I walked through our neighborhood, enjoying the cool autumn-like breeze blowing through the tree lined neighborhood streets. It is pretty here in an older Dallas neighborhood. Tall trees stretch to the clear mid-morning sky, some higher than the two story homes. I love the trees that have flowers of white and pink blooms, and my favorite are the hot pink blossoms that I can see a block away. I savor the mornings when I can get OUTSIDE and draw near to the Lord through His creation... I get swept up in His beautiful works, even here in suburbia.
I was able to log some hours at work today, uninterrupted for the first time in months. I work for The Coalition to Salute America's Heroes, a non-profit organization that helps wounded warriors in a myriad of life saving, and family saving ways. I work with the partner appreciation program and a great perk of my job (besides being able to work from home and be available for my kids, and the school nurse you keep hearing about) is that I get to call and thank people who have self-lessly given to the organization. Then I get to tell them how this very same organization helped our family after my husband had to get out of the Army because of a brain injury most commonly known as PTSD.
It occasionally tricky to convince the donors I am not calling to ask for MORE money. Then there are the days like today, when more than one caller was so touched they were brought to tears of... Gratefullness... because I simply said Thank You. Two simple little words that we often do not hear much of.
Particularly those of us with the distinctive role of caregiver.
The quietness of the day ends when the school nurse calls me. Tyler's blood glucose level is high-- off the charts. Perhaps the "set" is kinked (that's insulin pump lingo.) We made it almost to the end of the day, so that was a blessing!
The temperature in the mini-van reminds it is still summer, and I contemplate the plan of action as I drive slowly through the school zone, along with the other parents arriving early. I remind myself that Tyler won't die if I do not get to him in the next five minutes. I WILL get to him, all in good time. This is what my husband, the chaplain, calls "self-talk". Powerful tools for a worried mother. A reminder of the TRUTH of the matter.
I gather up my gifts from God and we head home, and for once, the chaos did not start in the car. Tyler, age ten, was stuffing his face with the first food he'd been allowed in a whole two hours (due to slowly climbing BG levels after the post lunch BG check). Since he was on the way home to get new insulin, he could "finally" have a snack.
Blaine, 7, was content to wave at the kids walking home, who were running in and out of the street like college students on Friday night. (Or Thursday if you went to SWTSU.)
The mini van door opened and out tumbled my boys like two wrestling bear cubs. "Put your homework folders on the table!", I called as they headed willy nilly through the door.
Week Two of School-- homework begins. Ahh, the joy. Oh, the weeping and wailing. Earplugs anyone? Homework takes a lot of trouble shooting at our house.
Tyler spent the last 45 minutes of the school day in the nurse's office (20 of which were before she called me, so I must have made reasonable time, despite the "end of the school day" traffic). He rather luckily escaped having homework actually COME HOME, but there are still the weekly requirements of 5th grade, which Mom is now wise to. Like reading for twenty minutes. I still made him read. Despite how very unfair that is.
Blaine, on the other hand, did have homework. And homework is hard for Blaine... he can do the work, I just have to get him focused on DOING it. And finishing it. He was recently diagnosed with Sensory Integration Disorder, and we are learning all the little quirks; what works, what doesn't.
Sitting at the table and writing out the ten spelling words of the week DOESN'T. Sitting on the couch and reading for 20 minutes DOESN'T. After an entire day of sitting at a desk, he wants to wiggle. He NEEDS to wiggle. More than most little boys. Blaine has trouble with sitting upright (and reasonably still) and also with writing legibly. Part of the "sensory issues". Now that the light has come on, the knowledge helps this former Kindergarten teacher undestand why my second grader has a hard time doing things my most of my younger students could do-- by the end of that first year, at least! We have to get creative to help him do his very best work.
So, we did Homework In The Bucket-- otherwise known as "Bucket Therapy". (We call it "Going into the Fort". ) But even after getting the bucket and choosing his blankets, pillows and books/readers, Blaine was not settling INTO to the bucket. I was helping Tyler re-fill the tubes of insulin, and re-insert the insulin pump tubing into his poor little rear (via a rather large needle), and Blaine was trying to give the cat bucket therapy.
After some trauma to his heart and his bottom, Tyler settled into reading his OWN books (which requires wading through fussing and complaining over how NOT FAIR homework is...whether BGs are off or not.)
And I eventually coaxed Blaine into his "Fort". He just would not settle. In, and out of the bucket, in, and out. "I need another snack", "I need another drink", "I need my kitty..." (who did not want to go NEAR that bucket...