Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Four Things

1) Jeana Came

December was busy and flew by, as did the first week of January. But ever since then, I've been getting more and more mopey. From grief. The grief of moving away from Jeana. I'm bored of not living near Jeana anymore.

Mercifully, God gave me an oasis in my Jeana desert. She came to see me! It was super wonderful. To us. At the end of the first day, we laughed because our idea of fun was to go to Home Depot and buy drawer knobs and then sit around for a few hours making a spreadsheet.

We also did an interior design brainstorm to figure out how I want to decorate my home, which was fabulous and stupendous and spectacular and awesome and amazing and serendipitous and stellar. We also drank tea and talked for hours.

Then Jeana had to go home. So now I am back in my Jeana desert. But I can already see the tips of the palm trees in the next oasis, and I am definitely looking forward to reaching it. Hope.

2) My Personal Style

While Jeana was here, she had me take a Stylescope Quiz at homegoods.com, which revealed that my personal decorating style is something called New Country, with a touch of something called Farmhouse Glam. I'd never heard of either of those decorating terms before, but apparently they're all official and everything. I was reticent at first to attach myself to a label, but that's been the problem all along -- not having a defined style. For me, undefined = undecorated.

Now that my style is defined, I'm excited to start decorating my spaces. It's great to see that a lot of New Country elements already exist in my home, so I have a great starting point. I'm also going to incorporate a few nautical accents, but NOT blue stripes and sailboats and anchors and life preservers. More like wooden and brass bits and old parchment maps. I just inherited a super old trunk that needs a little TLC, so I'm going to cover it with a world map and put photocopies of old family letters and envelopes and pictures on the sides.

My bathroom is chocolate brown with lavender accents, and along with an arrangement of silk flowers and a bowl full of my own agates and some mini pine cones from our yard, I did something I haven't done before. I got an 8x10 of one of my own pictures, framed it, and stuck it on the bathroom wall. Very pleasing.

3) Special Help for Special Needs

James is having a very bad time making this transition to our new life in Washington. Every day, I feel frustrated, exhausted, powerless, lost, and alone. And that's nothing compared to how he feels. He's getting picked on at school, and he nearly always responds with aggression, which never bodes well. His classwork is difficult for him. Some of his teachers are not very understanding, and the rest of the school staff has rallied around him so completely that he often refers to himself as a lab rat. He feels worthless, hopeless, and desperate. He is completely miserable. I'm brokenhearted for him, and I reached the end of my wits a long time ago.

I am so very thankful that Christ has more wits than I do. That when I've lost mine, I can fall back on His and find inexplicable peace for my broken heart.

Last Thursday, God sent me to a meeting at the elementary school. In our district, there's a Special Ed PTA. How cool is that? I've never heard of such a thing. So I went to the meeting last Thursday, totally unsure of what to expect but knowing that at the very least, I just needed to sit in the same room with other parents whose children are autistic.

I went to the meeting feeling bedraggled and discouraged, but I left feeling empowered and hopeful, thanks to a woman named Shirin Sherkat, a child psychologist who wrote a book called Create Happy Kids. She came to the meeting and gave us a one-hour presentation about how to talk to and motivate our special needs kids. In terms of parenting, it is the best hour I have ever spent in my life. I am looking forward to implementing the strategies she suggested and figuring out what works for James and me.

4) My Strengths

Our community group took an online assessment to help us determine our strengths. I was surprised at the findings. My top five strengths are empathy, consistency, relator, positivity, and developer.

I'm not surprised about positivity or consistency, I've seen developer in the past on a grand scale and currently on a small scale, and I do like to relate to people. But I was totally surprised that empathy made the list, and not just that it made the list, but that it topped it! Me? Empathetic? I don't think I'm very empathetic at all. I have to pray for compassion all the time.

My theory is that I can sense other people's emotions not necessarily because I care about them, but because my childhood conditioned me to figure out how other people were feeling so I could be sure to fly under the radar or attempt to control their emotions codependently. My "empathy" is actually self-protection. Or at least it started out that way.

I don't feel driven to protect myself anymore, thanks be to God, but I have not lost the ability to read other people's feelings. See what God did? He developed a strength in me borne out of a trial. Bad from good. Again. Redemption. Again. :)

I like God. :)