Friday, December 27, 2013

Reflections of an Odd Year

Like my friend, Amy in Peru, I prefer doing reflections at the end of the year instead of resolutions at the beginning. I spend more time blogging the resolution of my camera, which captured the lovely reflection of sunshine on Lake Warnock to the right, than I do blogging New Year's resolutions. In fact, not one post talks about them!

I have noticed a distinct pattern in the past decade of my life. The oddest things happen in odd years: major changes of job for Steve (necessitating a move), amazing projects landing in my lap or dwindling away, switching churches (not often I am glad to say). Some of the most surprising shifts that I could not have predicted in a million years (and, yet, God knew all along) happen in odd years.

The year 2013 was no exception. Some things, I have already shared. At the beginning of the year, I had no idea that two friends and I would found a school based upon a Charlotte Mason style of education. God clearly had been carefully laying plans for years, but He did not bother to tell us until June. Watching Pamela integrate into a class (more on that in another post), helping other families with autism, and seeing children get excited about the world makes the hard work worth it. It also keeps me busy when Steve is working in Kansas (and started working there in 2011—another odd year).

While it stinks that eleven hundred miles separate us from Steve, we are enjoying being able to see so many wonderful things on the long trips back and forth as regular readers of this blog know. This time, we are doing something different and, as my friend Di points out, change gives our older children with autism a chance to think and become resilient. Steve scored uber cheap tickets, so Pamela and I are flying back to South Carolina. What luxury!

About a week before we were due to drive to Kansas, Pamela realized that the babies could not come. She has flown enough to see the disadvantages of hauling five babies through TSA. She asked her brother David, who planned to stay home and rack up some overtime, to babysit for her. She also told me she could only carry one backpack, instead of two or three or four. Since we are without typical schooling materials, Pamela texted the following to Steve, a week after our arrival: "I am getting journel, pencil, chip, hamburger, pickles and coke cola."

Two things I loved about Pamela's mindfulness: (1) she spotted the problem and solved it and (2) she shared her plan with me. If your child in the spectrum struggles with being mindful, Di came up with two important questions and changes you might want to try: What am I doing? Why am I doing it? The poster she created summarizes what has helped Pamela learn to think for herself.

Some exciting changes have been brewing all year, but I cannot share them until January 2014. Years are like road trips. You never know what is going to happen along the way. Steve and I took turns driving through two weather fronts on the long trek from Carolina to Kansas. We left pleasant, sunny weather in Carolina. While going through Kentucky, we discovered that the weather app on his phone makes a loud noise when severe weather alerts are issued. A tornado watch and flash flood accompanied the heavy rainfall. The next day, we saw vehicles, askew in odd positions with parts flung every which way, on the icy leg from St. Louis to mid Missouri. [Notice how I subtly worked in another photograph of a reflection.]

Since the ice storm had already blown through, the road conditions were better than we had expected. When we stopped for coffee on the icy section of the trip, we spotted thick layers of ice, coating the branches of the tree. As we headed to Kansas City, the precipitation shifted to six inches of snow. The ginormous Angus cow statue sported an icicle goatee and a white blanket. The temperature on Planet Hoth was a brutal ten degrees and simply getting out of the car sucked the breath out of me.

At sunset, about a half hour from Steve's place, the Missouri river bridge leading to Kansas offered a neat view. Wave upon wave of black birds flew over us. The procrastinating geese that had gotten caught in the frigid weather traveled in their V-formation.

What surprised us most was how uneventful the drive was in spite of all the wide and varied road and weather conditions. The smooth journey ended at Steve's place. The landlord had failed to have the neighborhood and public parking areas plowed. In eleven hundred miles of traveling across half of our country, we nearly got stuck in the driveway when we backed out to make a supply run.

God sure has a sense of humor!
Have you entered the storehouses of the snow or seen the storehouses of the hail, which I reserve for times of trouble, for days of war and battle? What is the way to the place where the lightning is dispersed, or the place where the east winds are scattered over the earth? Who cuts a channel for the torrents of rain, and a path for the thunderstorm, to water a land where no man lives, a desert with no one in it, to satisfy a desolate wasteland and make it sprout with grass?
Job 38:22-27


Bonnie said...

Tammy, looking forward to hearing WHAT is in store in this next year!
I love seeing Pamela's babies at home on the chair with older brother babysitting. My. That is rich in beauty of relationships right now in my heart. Happy New Year!

walking said...

True. I wonder what Pamela would have planned had David joined us. Perhaps, my parents would have had to step in.

Happy New Year, Bonnie!

Bright Side of Life said...

What a beautiful post. I love reading about your life and learning of Pamela's progress. You both inspire me every day. It was a lovely surprise to read that you had shared my posts, thank you so much . Happy New Year to you all.

This is the link for my post on change.....

poohder said...

hmmm, I think I recognize that bridge

Anonymous said...

thank you for sharing those questions - "what am I doing and why am I doing it?". It's so neat to read about how Pamela is becoming more mindful!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing the questions, "what am I doing and why am I doing it?". It's so neat to read about how this has helped Pamela become more mindful!

walking said...

Charissa, I think you would enjoy becoming a reader of my friend Di's blog (Bright Side of Life). She "gets" mindfulness.