Thursday, January 31, 2013

Weakness and Strengths...

I just woke up from a dream that I had.  The story line of my dream and the ending of the dream has really shaken me up.  Basically it was about a student who has a lot of social, academic, and behavioral challenges.  In my dream, we as the team, did everything we knew how to do to help him make progress.  Then we had a teacher prep day in which the students were only to come for 4 hours of the day and we were to stay another 18 hours and prepare for the next term.  (Sounds just like how many of us as teachers really do prep for the next term).  With in these 18 hours all the children had been picked up, except for one (I'll call him Tim). 

Tim had a teacher, one teacher who totally understood him.  This teacher (I'll call her Ann) had just was Tim needed: understanding, patience, and love for who Tim really was.  Ann could help Tim, really help him to progress.  I would always watch in awe and wonder (and a little jealousy--because I did NOT have this talent or skill) of how she would work with Tim.  My heart would break when I would think of how many times I probably would have failed Tim as a teacher because I was just not Ann.  Sometimes that really bothered me--my comparison of my weaknesses to Ann's strengths--but I had to let that go and just do my best with the talents and strengths that I had been given and allow for my weaknesses to improve with time and through the efforts of the Lord. 

In this dream, Ann was involved in an important meeting and needed all the prep time she could have so that next term would be a success.  So, Tim and I spent time together--real time...I saw him laugh.  I saw was makes him sad, and I saw what behaviors that he struggles with, and in that struggle, I felt an instant connection and empathy for what his parents face and fear every day for Tim.  The Parents fear that one day Tim might just act out on his impulsive behaviors and die.  Tim loves climbing, seeking out heights, and then jumping off of them.  Ann knows just how to help with this behavior...again, she is amazing.

As the dream continued, Tim and I checked in on the other teachers to see how their prep-day was going.  Each teacher was making progress, each teacher was very happy to see us, and each teacher was so willing to give so much time in preparation for all the kids they served, I was just overwhelmed with this feeling of happiness and love.  In this feel that I had, I let go of Tim's hand...then I became distracted.  I reached back for him...but he was not there...and It just happened so fast.  Tim was gone.  I raced through the building to find him, raced to try to hold his hand again.  The whole time my mind was telling me very destructive thoughts of how weak of a teacher I was, how stupid to let his hand go, how non caring I was and on and on. The feeling of doubt and darkness was so real.  I just kept running trying to find Tim.  Suddenly as I turned a corner, I did.  His body was just lying there a little heap beside a fire ladder that was mounted on the wall.

I ran to his side and threw a blanket around him.  He stirred a little, and his eyes opened, but he said nothing.  I picked him up and ran with all the strength I had left to get to the office to call for help. In my run clutching Tim, I just prayed that he would not die, not until I was able to receive help...I was begging for forgiveness for letting go of his hand.  I was trying to find comfort.  I was praying that Ann would be out of her meeting to help.  Ann can help everyone...even now...even with Tim.  I ran and ran...but I ran out of time.  Tim's little body went limp...his last breath just left.  He looked so peaceful...I just crumpled in the hall holding him and asking for forgiveness...and suddenly I saw Ann. 

She ran over she tried all that she could do to help him, but it was too late.  Tim was gone.  Ann just looked at me, deep into my eyes...she was so hurt.  She was so shocked...and I had nothing to say.  My heart just began to break because this was my fault.  I promised to help him.  I promised to not let go of his hand.  I promised and promised...but I let go of his hand.  The fact is, I did.  I became distracted for just a second, and I let go...

I woke up with such a feeling of worthlessness...the feelings in this dream were too much, too powerful, and I had no resolve from the dream. 

When dreams like this happen, it forces me to really think.  It forces me to really look at and try to figure out what are my deep fears.  For this dream, I fear that I will disappoint others, let others down, I not as good as others...and in the end, not be able to be forgiven for what I let them down in.  It is a dark dark.

Times when you try your best, but because of lack of time, choices of others, and priorities, weaknesses are exposed.  When they are, an examination of the faults and weaknesses must take place.  In the scripture is says, " And if men come unto me I will show unto them their aweakness. I bgive unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my cgrace is sufficient for all men that dhumble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make eweak things become strong unto them." 

In my examination of my weakness, I can find things to improve upon, but I can't improve upon them with out the Lord's strength, with out His help, and without His Atonement.  That is the part about being humble.  Really accepting the Lord's correction so that improvements can be made.  While accepting these improvements, GROWTH that growth it causes a lot of pain.  Why?  Because it is HARD to change.  It is hard to give up habits of weakness like running from problems instead of facing them.  It's hard to have a conversation with someone who you are fearful of and tell them that they are wrong.  It's hard to look back on events and see where I was in the wrong, admit that wrong, and ask for forgiveness because of that. 

Being in a semi leadership position has brought a whole new perspective of looking at more and more of my weaknesses.  I see clearly how much I have to learn, how much I have to grow, and how much I have to do to overcome with these weaknesses.  I know that the Lord can give me the strength to do this, however, my biggest weakness is allowing for that painful stage of growth to happen.  Learning the new skill...not thinking I have any more time, energy or aptitude to learn it are really my weaknesses.  It takes me so much more effort to learn, to read, to study, and then to take that knowledge and apply it.  It seems like for others, study, reading, thinking through the problems to find solutions without JUDGING others--they are just so good at it.  I just stare in wonder at how they just seem to do it.  I've learned a lot in leadership: to not just jump in and do something just to do something, but to take time to think, take time to listen...but even then I fail...because I just want to have a solution that sometimes the 3rd choice is what I go with verses the best choice because living in the "unresolved" is too hard.  Those are my weak points.  They nearly paralyze me with fear, but because I know the Lord is with me, I do it.  I hate the growing pains of it.  I hate the failures that come with it...but in the end the growth and progression are worth it.

One day, one step, one fall, and one recovery at a time...this has been a perspective of my growth.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Hero's and True Friends.

A true Hero and a friend.

A Tribute to Dallin Beck:
How do you say thank you to a friend?   I think it starts out with actions, events and time together, and then moves to words. to pick the right ones?  We'll start off with attributes. Dallin is someone who made a choice.  He choose to accept Garrett for who he is.  When it comes to the friendship that Garrett and Dallin have, Dallin is thoughtful, kind, energenic, caring, patient, and someone who listens to Garrett.  Truly listens to him.  Garrett can feel and sense all of this, and so he trusts him.

When it came time for Garrett to be baptized, he asked Dallin to do it.  Dallin accepted and performed a saving ordinance for Garrett.  How do you show gratitude for that?  Again, with an attempt with words...

Garrett's Baptism

Who does Garrett invite to his parties?  His 16 year old cousin...Dallin

 Garrett and Dallin have a connection that is simple, possibly one sided (for Garrett's sake), but for Garrett Dallin fills a friendship that is needed.  Dallin is nicknamed the "protector".  When I asked Garrett, "Why is Dallin the protector?" He responded with, "he is so strong looking, and he he can save me from any bad guy."  Well said.
Garrett at the Sidewalk art show...

Garrett is 9...who knew where this would lead him?

How do feel about Dallin? He is the best-est EVER!

Dallin and Garrett's Special friendship captured...

Sharing a secret...sweet.

 Garrett and Dallin shared a day together recently.  Garrett invited Dallin to be his guest at the Museum Ancient Life at Thanksgiving Point, and I quote, "The greatest place of earth!" I dropped Garrett off and Dallin drove them down.  Garrett had saved his money to use to pay for Dallin's entrance fee, movie, and lunch.  Garrett said that it would take all day to see the museum correctly...8 hours later, they had seend it all.
 Anyway, throughout the drive, they talked about many different things: school, likes, dislikes and relationships with girls (Garrett has a girl friend.  Her name is DW--yep from the cartoon Authur--cute, but not real, sigh).  Garrett was talking about how sad he sometimes when DW doesn't listen to him, and how that can hurt his feelings...Dallin started relating right away with some of the relationships that he has had.   He just kept listening and empathizing with about friends...he really understood some of his pain.
 During this same trip, Dallin experienced an opportunity to have great patience.  This was during the gift shop adventure.  One of Garrett's favorite things to purchase are the dino's for his dioramas.  Dallin had promised him that he could buy one.  Garrett took about 24 minutes at the counter to narrow down out of the 34 he had brought to the counter which one he was going to get.  Dallin soon discovered the fascinating way that Garrett makes decisions: complete with sound effects, sound tracks, and flying dinosaurs.
 In the words of Dallin it became the battle of champions; complete with brackets, heats, and play-offs.  (Thankfully there weren't too many other people in the gift shop waiting to buy anything.  Although they had gathered quite a crowd to witness the battle of champions! Now as is any battle, there were dinosaurs attacking each other, death and carnage, and well when they finally were dimissed--remember that Garrett is humming/chanting music throughout the battle and explanation of each characteristic of the dinosaurs, suddenly the looser would be thrown over Garrett's shoulder in luckily into the SWIFT hands of Dallin.)
Garrett is standing proud.  He had the "best day of this life!!" 
  In the end, one of the dinosaurs was determined the winner and they finally left the check out stand.  Test in Patience...Dallin, you will learn many more of these on your Mission--although I'm not sure that they will have sound effects, visual effects, or a full sound track to accompany it. :)
Dallin's job was to lift Garrett to see all of exhibits up close.  and then help to categorize all of them...again patience.

Dallin Shawn Beck a true hero and  friend to Garrett.  Thank you for everything.
Dallin, Thank you for accepting, loving, teaching, and showing Christ-like love to Garrett.  You are just so cool with him! Your friendship to Garrett means so much to him...and to me as a mom.  I'm so proud of heart is bursting!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Garrett and Church new expectations

In thinking about how to help my family learn of the Gospel, my mind kind of goes into a checklist type of setting.  I think about things like, have I covered this topic?  Have I explained that topic?  Have I shared my testimony about the Savior?  Can you feel love in the home when you enter?  Does home feel like a special place?  Many questions...well one question popped up and it happened on a Sunday...

During the 5th Sunday meeting I watched how Garrett sat off to the side of the group.  I watched how he just looked at his books and didn't really care about anything that is going on in church.  Since he is "quiet" he really isn't bothering anyone, he just sits on his own, but no one really asked, or encouraged him to be a part of the group.  Now, with that being said, I know that encouraging Garrett is a challenge because of his Autism:  1) he likes to be by himself, 2) he doesn't like to be touched, 3) he is more interested in his books then the gospel and so forth.

However, looking at the new curriculum that the Church is going to be using with the youth and really focusing on learning and teaching as the Savior did, the Spirit really spoke to me on Sunday.  I felt an understanding of how, if the Savior walked into that meeting, he would have just pulled a chair beside Garrett and started interacting with him. Granted, the Savior knows Garrett and understands how he feels, why he acts as he does and so forth.   But, I just was stunned and just sat there looking and looking at my son.  I felt a new impression that, "Garrett is important and needs to learn more about me." Again stunned silence at the impression.... I thought, "how? How do I help him "learn"--participate--more during Priesthood and Sunday school to learn about You, without him throwing a tantrum or having a bad attitude?  How do I teach Garrett the new routines and what is expected of him, as well as help train and help his teachers so that they can also "encourage" him to participate?"  The Spirit whispered back, "give Garrett a responsibility and a small and simple things are great things come to pass." 

So, wow, my heart was just overwhelmed by the "how" of doing this because "doing" this is going to cause growing pains on both ends.  But the Spirit spoke so clearly that he was to have "a routine and a responsibility".  I'm praying and fasting right now to figure what that might look like.  What I need are some ideas of routines that the quorum does, and to help give the boys in the quorum a "calling" of loving and accepting Garrett's differences, forgiving of his outburst or anger, and highlighting his talents.   Again following this thought, silence...pondering...reflection...

If Garrett does not have a standard set or expectations given of him, how will he learn of the priesthood, more about his Savior, or about the atonement?  Silence...then that all wonderful guilt...(why is it when I'm trying to get to an answer that Satan starts his depressing, "doubt" assault???).  So in that reflecting I acknowledge that I am also at fault for not expecting more from Garrett when it comes to growing his testimony...looks like the only thing I can do is ask for forgiveness for that and set out our expectations or hopes for Garrett.

Now comes the important part about how to accomplish this task of encouraging Garrett to participate, feel the Spirit, and feel of the Love of his Savior during church.  I know that it is not based on a timeline exactly (for example, I'm not saying things like, "by the time he is 14 he should be doing this or that--like passing the sacrament"), more like Garrett should know about the love of God and how as a young man he can serve and love his fellow quorum, ward, and family members. 

Small steps...small drops in the bucket...line upon line...this is my new perspective on how to better encourage (which is a word that I really love!) on how to feel the Spirit.  For me, the most important work that I will ever do is to teach my family about a loving Heavenly Father, His Son Jesus Christ, and about how their love will help them get through anything.  Baby steps....

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2013 First day!

 First day of 2013...We went swimming!  Here is the mermaid herself, Miss Margaret.  She just loves to swim, and swim, and did I mention swim?  yep...she loves it.
 This is Virginia...she is showing me how she can a mermaid!  Yep I have two of them!
Kellis laughing at Marianne's outfit...goggles, swimming floaty, and well, just her cute little smile!  How can you not smile?

 This is how we spent most of the swim time:  playing Loch Ness Monster!!
 Here is the killer outfit.  She just figured that she was a simmer too and so, into the pool she went.  After a few minutes, she just started jumping into any water everywhere!  Mom had to put down the camera and start playing life guard!  She has no fear!!  Good and bad....I'm hoping that this summer we can help her with more of her swimming talent and not downing talent!

I'm going in mom!
This is Marianne watching her older brother jumping off the high dive.  What did she do?  Yep, she started climbing up to the top of the diving board!  I had to keep on signing to her that it was dangerous.  She would just glare at me!  What can I say?  When I was 3 I went off my first high's in the genes!