Thursday, January 31, 2008
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
This is Riesa Kay Waggoner, born March 18. Riesa has been previously cared for by her mother, but needs a new home now. She was born with Down's Syndrome and probably some degree of autism as well.
The thing is...Riesa no longer looks like the photo above. She is my aunt and was born in 1958! At the present, she resembles the picture below much more than the one above.
I am blessed to have a husband and children who are happily sacrificing at least some degree of freedom and are actually looking forward to having her in our home. Though most of Riesa's personal care will fall to me, it will effect the whole family, and quite honestly, I don't know to what extent. There are many uncertainties surrounding this move.
Here are some FAQ's from friends and other family:
Does Riesa understand that she's coming to live with you permanently? I don't know...when I told her, she rubbed her hands together (her way of showing joy) and responded, "Oh, boy! I like that." But maybe she just thinks she's coming for a visit. I'm doing everything I can to make her room feel like "home"...utilizing her favorite colors, putting family pictures on the wall, tailoring it to her lifestyle, etc. Maybe I'll post pictures in a couple days.
How will she adjust to being away from her 85-year-old mother who has been her primary caretaker for 49 years now? I don't know...they are attached at the hip, but at times, Riesa seems to long for some independence. I'm more worried about my grandmother being lonely. She will be alone for the first time in her life, and she will have no one to take care of. Someday I'll post more about her and the way she has lived her life.
How much care does Riesa need? I think I know...she can complete most of her daily hygiene with minimal to moderate guidance. She needs help washing her hair and she needs reminders about most other self-care. She is mobile, although with age, she is becoming less so. She has fairly minor health issues: she is nearly blind - she sees the world through a rain-laden windshield - but she opts not to wear her glasses most of the time. Her hearing has faded somewhat, though some of us think she just hears "selectively" like the rest of us. Her main issue is pain in her feet, hips and back, which hinders her from moving freely or quickly.
Does Riesa work or attend any programs? Finally one I know...since "graduating" from high school at age 21, she has always been involved in some sort of workshop or day program. She is currently attending a program 3 days per week in Festus where she socializes and participates in community activities such as delivering "Meals on Wheels," visiting nursing homes and learning to function in public settings.
Fortunately, we have discovered a program right next door to the boys' school (.9 miles from our house!) which is incredibly similar to the one she's in now. It's small, they do similar activities, most of the "consumers" are older, they allow part-time, and it's pretty laid back.
How does she spend her time when she's not at the program? Riesa loves to watch game shows, especially The Price is Right, Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune. She sets her life by her watch and the time of these programs! She also loves music and owns quite a collection of LP's which she listens to fairly often. Riesa owns a very old, but well-loved ATARI, and plays Pac-Man and some hunting game. So, she's a lot like a teenager...TV, Music and Video Games. Sigh. Oh, yeah...and she absolutely loves to write. She goes through tons of notebooks each year. She'll write the names of all the family members (which is no small feat in this family), their ages and birthdays; she'll write whatever words she sees on TV too. Her writing has become less legible as her eyesight has diminished, but she still does it endlessly.
Can Riesa be left alone? Yes, but only for an hour or two at a time. Though she poses no danger to herself - she wouldn't get out the knives or matches or leave the house - she also wouldn't know what to do in case of emergency. She knows HOW to dial 911, but probably can't discern WHEN to call.
Is Riesa able to communicate? Somewhat. She learned to do simple reading and writing, we taught her the sign language alphabet which she loves to use, and she can talk plenty...just not usually to real people in space and time. When you ask her how she is doing, she may say, "She's fine," referring to herself in the third person; she might look off to the side and talk under her breath to an invisible person, after which she may or may not directly answer your question. If she is in pain, she will pat or rub the involved area and say, "It's fine...it's not hurting," but will NEVER say, "My leg hurts." Then if you ask her if her leg hurts, she tries to be tough and says, "It's O-K...it's better." When asked to do something she either doesn't understand or doesn't want to do, Riesa will twist her foot and jamb her finger into her leg - a sort of minor "fit" - but can't tell you why she's upset.
Riesa has a good sense of humor and she loves to be silly...and boy can she be silly! She loves to laugh at others' silliness too. She loves hugs and kisses...IF she's in the mood. Sometimes touch that catches her off-guard is disconcerting, but she'll usually adjust.
So, this is where we are heading, by faith. Pray for all of us.
BTW, since I don't completely know in what ways my life will change, I don't know if I'll find time to blog or not, but if I have dry spells, don't give up on me!
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
If you said "that's the great duo of Joe Montana (# 16 left) and Roger Craig ( #33 right)" then you would be right and you would move up a notch or two in my book for recognizing them. Quite frankly, the game of football just isn't as good as it used to be and thus provides little inducement to fit it into my schedule. There is no Joe Montana (and never will be), no Jerry Rice, no Roger Craig, and definitely no Bill Walsh; I'm not even sure there's a Ronnie Lott or Dwight Clark. (And no, Danny, neither my husband nor son had anything to do with this post!)
So hey...it may not be great, but it's still football...and there's always the half-time show, plus the food and company (25 at our house) will be great!!
2. Seven choices of vacation. Pick one:
a. Beach house, white sand, great waves
b. Condo in the mountains; view of snowy peaks
c. Nice hotel in NYC with tickets to the latest Broadway show
d. Historic tour of Greece and Italy
e. Bed and breakfast with time for antiquing
f. Home - sleeping in, hanging out, adn doing stuff you usually don't have time to do
g. I prefer not to take vacations.
I'm going with my instincts on this one. If I think about it too much, I'll never be able to choose! They're all appealing, except for "G"!!
My answer: a! Remember this house near Monterey? This is where I want to go and spend a week with the windows open, smelling the ocean, reading, writing, browsing through used book shops, eating great seafood and watching the sun set.
3. Coffee drinker? If no, why? If yes, sugar, cream, or neither?
My answer: Yes, yes and yes. I love a cup of bold tasting coffee, but I like to cut it with some heavy cream and, if it needs it, a little Sweet 'N Low.
4. What's the last book you read?
My answer: Nothing by Walker Percy, that's for sure! Of his books I have only read The Moviegoer, which I found quite dreadful. Maybe I'll have to consider Angie's recommendation for Love in the Ruins.
ANYWAY....on to what I HAVE read! In the last week or so I finished A Table in the Mist, a commentary on Ecclesiastes by Jeff Meyers; I quickly re-read What's Wrong with the World by G.K. Chesterton; and I am still finishing up The Kite Runner...which I had laid aside for a few days because, so far, the movie followed the book exactly, so I considered not finishing it...but I can't do it...I have to finish.
5. You're at the grocery store waiting in the check-out line with a cart full of stuff. You glance over your shoulder for a moment, wondering whether you should have picked up an extra package of waffles. When you turn back around, you notice that a lady has cut in front of you in line. Your eyes meet. She glowers and starts unloading her items on the belt. You...
a. Grumble to yourself but don't say anything out loud. You dislike scenes.
b. Say, "Excuse me, ma'am, but I was next in line." That's as far as you take it though.
c. March over to the belt, push her items onto the floor, and tell her that she and her cream of mushroom soup can go get in line like everybody else.
d. Grab your cell phone and snap a picture of the lady, thinking, "Yes! I've got something good to blog about!"
My answer: On a good day, when I've timed things right, it probably woundn't even phase me. I might even say something pleasant. HOWEVER, on a bad day, my answer is a. My grumble would go something like this: "No, please, go ahead. No...really. I'm sure you didn't see my ample body and heaping cartful of low-carb delights just standing here RIGHT OUT IN THE FREAKING OPEN NEXT TO THE CONVEYOR BELT!!! But please...go ahead. I'm in no hurry. Really...I'm just a stay-at-home mom, what the hell else do I have to do besides stand in line at the grocery store? Care to call a friend or two and see if they'd like to join you IN CUTTING ME OFF! It's fine...really. My kids don't care if I pick them up on time at school anyway. No, really...go ahead."
Then I would stand marveling at how such a little, tiny thoughtless act can arouse such hostility in me...where did THAT come from?
6. Please share 2 or 3 links of things that made you laugh. Out loud.
My answer: This video of women falling down cracks me up! My friend, April, tells of a humiliating moment here (I guess this is funny even if you don't know her...but it's REALLY funny if you do!) And finally....I'm really not a brown-noser, but this post at Bloggin-Dazs is more than a little entertaining! (I should warn: it also contains some serious content, but the opening and the opthamology suggestions are a hoot!)
Monday, January 28, 2008
Friday, January 25, 2008
1. We are not in control.
But the truth is, no matter how hard I work, or to what noble ends, this work is eventually left to another and I have no control over what happens to it. It may be discarded, squandered, misused, misunderstood, dismantled, ignored or even used against me.
I cannot always "fix" that which is broken and continual efforts to do so, with the expectation that my efforts must be fruitful, is as frustrating as trying to corral the wind.
Solomon's conclusion: DO IT ANYWAY, leaving the outcome in God's hand.
2. Life doesn't always make sense.
Bottom line: we live under a curse and frequently experience life as judgment, injustice and death. Life is beyond our ability to comprehend. We cannot make sense of circumstances, events, people, even our own selves! Mankind is mysterious and depraved..."bent hnau" (as Lewis brilliantly tags us) and that which is crooked cannot be made straight. Solomon tells us repeatedly that "you do not know" and "you cannot find it out." No matter how diligently we seek to bring about change or to understand life, it will elude us.
Solomon's conclusion: DO IT ANYWAY, looking to God for final and faithful judgments.
3. The wisdom we do acquire along the way is limited and vulnerable.
Solomon's conclusion: DO IT ANYWAY, giving generously of your time, love, money and wisdom while you have it.
In his long and diligent search to know what is good for man, Solomon's ultimate conclusion is this:
1. Fear, trust and rest in God.
This great oversimplification of Ecclesiastes (mine, not JJM's), represents the truths and conclusions which I hope will transform my own heart.
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
And then they did see.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Monday, January 21, 2008
Sunday, January 20, 2008
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Monday, January 14, 2008
Sunday, January 13, 2008
Saturday, January 12, 2008
Friday, January 11, 2008