And God Laughs
I told God my plans and He laughed. So now I am living, laughing, and loving according to His Plans.

Stone Soup






Every year as Thanksgiving approached, I skipped over the traditional lessons on Native Americans and Pilgrims for my preschoolers. We were still working on the time concepts of today and yesterday and tomorrow, let alone something that happened hundreds of years ago. Instead I focused on the functional and meaningful skills and messages of the holiday of working together, sharing, and celebrating what we have. So every year I taught my kids how to cook soup from a stone. We used the book Stone Soup, usually a newer version as I disliked the soldiers in the original version, and engaged in a multitude of activities that required working together. The best, and favorite, was cooking our own stone soup. It began with a stone that I had boiled for atleast an hour at home the night before, and some vegetable stock. Then each child brought in an ingredient the day before our feast. The children used plastic or safe butter knives to cut up the vegetables for the soup with assistance as needed and then added them to the pot one by one. Due to cultural, diet, and other issues we stayed with a vegetable soup that could easily be pureed. I then took the soup home that night and cooked it until the vegetables were soft. The morning of our Stone Soup feast, I decorated the classroom with Christmas lights over the tables and paper lanterns, and tablecloths for the children to decorate, and special "fancy" place settings. The soup sat on the counter staying warm in a crock pot. We then made biscuits, cut up fruit, and prepared pitchers of juice to set out at our feast table. The focus was on how we could not do this alone, but when we each added something important we had the perfect soup and the perfect feast. My kids really seemed to understand this and were excited to see "my carrots" and "Lucy's potatos", and they were enchanted by how we managed to make soup from a stone. Each child got a "magic soup stone" in a decorative bag to take home at the end of the feast so they could make Stone Soup with their families.
My life is a lot like that stone soup that I made with my little ones. It started out two years ago with something ugly and jagged and seemingly worthless, a rock of illness and disability. I cleaned off the rock and did what I could with it, but it was still a rock. Then one by one incredible people: family, friends, and people who became friends came forward and offered gifts that only they could give. They gave me hope, they gave me understanding, they gave me laughter on days when I wanted to just cry, they gave me reassurance, they gave me a sense of belonging, they gave me courage, they gave me back my sense of self, they gave me love, they gave me joy. On my own I can not make it, but with all of the unique gifts that my friends and family have given to me something wonderful and unexpected has been created, something nourishing and sustaining and greater than the sum of its parts. Thank you for being part of my community, thank you for bringing what you do and adding to my stone soup. Two years later I give thanks that what was once just a ragged, jagged, ugly rock is now surrounded by blessings and lessons and hope. I give thanks for you.
2 comments:

you are surely one of my personal blessings- :)
and not just because of your help, but because of your humor and attention to detail.
Love you simply always!


Stacey said it perfectly! What she said - for me, too!

Just last week I read a post by a mom complaining about the pretense that her preschool sn daughter 'made' a pilgrim hat in school. I agreed with her - what a meaningless use of time. If that mother read this post - no doubt she would be working to recruit you as her daughter's teacher!

You.are.amazing. Rock or not.
Barbara


Job 8:21

"He will fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy."



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Wild Olive

Wild Olive

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Creative Victory

This is Me

I am a thirty year old enigma who has defied every expectation ever placed upon me and refused every definition created for me. My greatest passion in life is to make a difference in the lives of children with special needs and their families. As a special education teacher I broke all of the unwritten rules to make sure that my kids received the services they needed and had a right to receive. I have never been so proud to be reprimanded before in my life. Now, due to unpredictable twists in life, I am learning first hand what life is like when you rely upon a wheelchair for mobility. I am a medical puzzle with the pieces slowly being identified and put together, and my medical bills alone could fund a small nation. It takes a village to keep me alive. :) However, I am not defined by the genetic misspellings. I am a teacher, a daughter, an aunt, a friend, a dreamer, a reader, an amateur photographer, a writer, an advocate, a star gazer, a world changer. I am stubborn, situationally shy, quick to use humor and wit to make others laugh or cope with a situation, sarcastic, fiercely independent, giving, compassionate (sometimes to a fault), protective of those I love, defiant of arbitrary boundaries, perfectionistic, self conscious, self assured (yes you can be both!), articulate and occasionally dramatic. And that is just what I could fit in two sentences! :)

Who's On First, What's On Second, I Don't Know! (Third Base!!)*

Simple Vocabulary Definitions for those who may not speak fluent medical :)

Undiagnosed Progressive Neurological Disorder- This is the diagnosis that is believed to make everything else fit together. It explains my frequent infections, my muscle weakness and dystonia, my dysautonomia, my cardiac issues, my inability to regulate blood pressure, my dysphagia, my ataxia, my severe fatigue, my extreme nausea, my gastrointestinal dysmotility and IBS like syndrome, my unbelievable migraines, my sensory changes in my arms and legs, my vision issues, my hearing loss (so much for blaming medication), and so much more. Going back to infancy and childhood, this would explain the severe apnea, the significantly delayed motor skills, the reason why I could never keep up with my peers in physical activities, the neurogenic bladder, the malfunctioning thyroid, and my frequent illnesses and vomiting. This is the diagnosis now being used since the DNA testing for Mitochondrial Disease came back odd and I can not afford the expenses of a workup at the Mayo Clinic. We are treating symptomatically.

Pan-Dysautonomia- "Pan" means that it impacts many different systems of my body, "dysautonomia" is a failure of my autonomic nervous system or the part of my brain that does all of the automatic things that do not require conscious thought like telling your heart to beat, regulating your blood pressure, adjusting your body temperature, maintaining balance in space, digesting food, hunger and thirst, etc. It is believed that I have had this from birth based upon my history of symptoms, including severe life threatening apnea as an infant, but the cause remains elusive at this time

Dystonia- abnormal muscle tone and spasticity, including painful spasms, that primarily impacts my feet and lower legs and is now starting to be a problem in my back

Ataxia- difficulty maintaining balance and coordinating/executing movements

Dysphagia- difficulty swallowing due to any number of causes including muscle weakness and poor muscle coordination

Adipsia- the absence of a sense of thirst



Other Medical Issues- Lupus Anticoagulant (autoimmune disease that causes me to tend to form blood clots and has already caused two deep vein blood clots and one mild stroke), Migraines, unknown connective tissue disorder, abnormal gastric motility, allergies, history of v-tach and severe sinus tachycardia, changes to my echocardiagram that include leaking valves and a new murmur, low blood pressure, ataxia, untreated PFO (small hole in my heart that increases the risk of stroke), chronic lymphadema in my left arm, Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, Narcolepsy/Idiopathic CNS Hypersomnolance (believed to be a result of the dysautonomia and my brain's inability to regulate the sleep/wake cycle), mild hearing loss, malformed optic nerves, polycystic ovarian syndrome, pernicious anemia, vitamin deficiencies


* Title comes from an old Abbot and Costello routine that I chose to memorize in 6th grade and absolutely love.
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