A Footprint, A ripple, A Ding…what’s your impact?

I will be the first to admit I usually do not get caught up in all the hullabaloo when a celebrity  dies. Frankly, most of them are not the types of role models I would want for my kids anyway. My brother said it best on Facebook today……

“I wonder what this world would be like if people paid as much attention to every soldier, firefighter, cop, or medic killed serving their country or community, as much as people care about Steve jobs or whatever other big name has passed? Don’t get me wrong, He was a great man, I don’t much care for apple as the company is today, but he was indeed a visionary and a driven man, however, my point remains. Oh well, at least he was famous for something beyond being famous, perhaps now we can stop hearing about the Michael Jackson trial??” ~D.C.S.

and I agree with him…well mostly.  This was my response on Facebook: “I agree with you 100% Kiddo! The main reason I even KNOW who Steve Jobs is ( yeah, ok I admit I am not a techie) is because of the HUGE Impact He made on the Non verbal…Autism community…His work has given so many who didn’t have it before a voice, especially in the past couple of years with the introduction of the I-pad and the apps that have been proven to reach kids with disabilities like never before…and for that, this momma is forever thankful. and yes, to stop hearing about the Michael Jackson trial would be nice! LOL”

But it goes deeper than that.  As a whole, our sense of priorities is Topsy turvy. The media drones on to exhaustion about this celebrity or that….but we don’t ever hear about all the unsung heros, the true role models, soldiers, firefighters, cops, or medics, and maybe they prefer it that way? after all part of what makes them such excellent role models is that MOST of them will tell you in a heartbeat “I am no hero, I was just doing my job”.

All this got me thinking about the impact we leave behind. My thoughts turned to my Godfather, Keith Raymond Handy, who went home to be with our Father in heaven  in January 1993 after 66 years (12/26/26-1/29/93).  It has been 18 years, and yet the impacts this man of Faith had on my life are still there. The Value of a good strong hug ( not one of those small squeezes, but a good bear hug), and a smile, the importance of prayer, and the value of family. His death was one of the hardest I have ever had to face, and did not face for the longest time. I was a senior in High school at the time, and I did not know HOW to deal with it. I locked it away.

This brings me to the next role model whose death I had to face, My grandpa Settle who went home to Heaven in February of 2006. Grandpa’s “footprint on my heart” is HUGE.  The memories go deep. A Love of all things History, a true understanding of “His eye is on the Sparrow”, The value of a kind word and a smile to brighten somebodies day. I can remember thinking to myself after my husband and I got married, and I saw my grandpa still looking at my grandmother like he looked at her in the photos I had seen of their wedding day, was “wow, I want THAT…a love for the ages, a Marraige that can stand the trials of life and the test of time.” truly a rare thing these days….

Now, it is 2009…and I am faced again with saying goodbye, to my other grandpa. This man taught me the value of the spoken word, the joy of a game like chess or scrabble, and the value of making time to sit for hours and work on a puzzle with someone, that the reward is not the end result of the game or puzzle, but the time spent.

You see, it’s all about how we LIVE, that effects what we leave behind. My thoughts travel to a young man who left his mark on the world in a HUGE way. He was taken home to be with God at the young age of  21.  His lifesong is still singing…His witness for Christ still shining. He is deeply missed by all who knew and love him, but at the age of 21, he had already made such a HUGE Impact on this world.

All this brings me back around to Steve Jobs. Why do I even take notice? what makes him different than any other “celebrity”?  I take notice because this man, and his company have made a way, via technology for parents of children with special needs to communicate, to bridge a gap that for whatever reason exists on a communication level.  He left an impact, a footprint because he has given to families who may never hear a spoken word from their child, a way to communicate, Apps to make their lives a little bit easier ( and ok, yes, I know , The I-pad and its apps may be out of reach for some…my own kid included) but, that doesn’t change the impact this has had on the community at large.

“Almost everything–

all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure–

these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.

Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know

to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.

There is no reason not to follow your heart.”

–Steve Jobs

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

~~Steve Jobs~~

To the Charlie Sheens and Lindsy Lohans of this world…..stay away from my kids, they don’t need role models like you. I will do everything I can to keep them grounded, to teach them the value of a smile, a kind word, a prayer and a hug, to remind them that its the Soldiers, Firemen, Cops, and Medics who keep us safe, it’s the Farmers who work tirelessly, its common everyday people who give their all. It’s the dreamers like Steve Jobs, and Albert Einstein, Brahms and Mozart, who truly make a difference and will be long remembered. To quote My Friend Jess over at DOAM: “Steve once said, “I want to put a ding in the universe.” I hope as he closed his eyes last night, he left us knowing that he did. He sure  did.” What’s Your impact?

This is my prayer for my own life…

“I may not be every mother’s dream for her little girl
And my face may not grace the mind of everyone in the world
But thats alright as long as I can have one wish, I pray
When people look inside my life, I wanna hear them say

She’s got her father’s eyes
Her father’s eyes
Eyes that find the good in things
When good is not around
Eyes that find the source of help, when help just can’t be found
Eyes full of compassion, seein’ every pain
Knowing what you’re going through, and feelin’ it the same

Just like my father’s eyes
my father’s eyes
my father’s eyes
Just like my father’s eyes

On that day when we will pay for all the deeds we’ve done
Good and bad they’ll all be had to see by everyone
And when you’re called to stand and tell just what you saw in me
More than anything I know, I want your words to be

She had her father’s eyes, her father’s eyes
eyes that found the good in things when good was not around
eyes that found the source of help when help would not be found
Eyes full of compassion, seein’ every pain
Knowin’ what you’re goin’ through and feelin it the same

Just like my father’s eyes,
My father’s eyes,
My father’s eyes,
Just like my father’s eyes,
My father’s eyes,
My father’s eyes”~Amy Grant

“Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes…

the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules…

You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them,

but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things…

they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones,

we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world,

are the ones who do.”

~Steve Jobs~

Rest in Peace

we interrupt the regularly scheduled Blog posting….

Hurricane Irene, she may have hit miles away from where I live, simply because she turned East and headed up the east coast rather than coming into the gulf of Mexico. I am deeply grateful for that fact, but Irene still impacted me deeply. Not only did she hit the Carolina’s where I was stationed while on Active duty in the Marines, and where my Husband and I were married, but she also tore up the east coast and devastated parts of Upstate NY, my childhood home, very near and dear to my heart.

It has been very surreal the past few days to be sitting in the southeast praying for, and watching the devastation caused to NY State by a hurricane, waiting on word from family and friends that all is well.  I am used to it being the other way around, them waiting on ME to call, them praying for ME as a storm moves in.

My thoughts and prayers are with ALL those effected by Irene, from the Carolinas to Canada, and my heart aches for all the farmers in the rural areas devastated by all the flooding who have lost so much more than just their homes….but their crops, their very livelihood to this storm. My heart breaks for upstate NY, but I am VERY Thankful that all my loved ones are accounted for and are all ok.

Autism Awareness~30 Days of snapshots: Day 29

Today’s post is one that I feel needs to be said. It will not contain any cute snapshots of my son, but it is a very real part of awareness, of life.  On Wednesday, April 27,2011, my state was devastated by Tornadoes from a storm system that left a Path of destruction from Arkansas to Virginia.  The storm swept through eight states, and by early Saturday morning, emergency management officials tallied 250 deaths in Alabama, 34 in Tennessee, 33 in Mississippi, 15 in Georgia, 14 in Arkansas, five in Virginia, two in Louisiana and one in Kentucky for a total of  more than 350 lives lost.

Entire Communities have been devastated. People have lost everything. Homes can be re-built, Belongings can be replaced, but the lives lost breaks my heart. those lives , someone’s mother, Father, sister, brother, child. I find myself Counting my blessings.

I find myself thankful that the tornadoes stayed away from where I live, yet crying tears for those in the northern part of my state. I had a HUGE moment of eye opening overwhelming thankfulness brought to my attention by my youngest child. My Husband is currently away for His 2 weeks of National Guard annual training. USUALLY this occurs in North Alabama, but this year, they went out of state. As we watched the News, and the devestation unfold Thursday here at home, praying, my youngest burst into tears asking if Daddy was Ok. They know he USUALLY does His 2 weeks training in North Alabama. Thankfully He is Safe, in Iowa, though I wish He was Home, I am thankful I was able to tell my child Daddy is safe and sound.

As I struggled with Dak, and with meltdown after Meltdown this past few days, I found myself praying for Families effected by the Tornadoes who have special needs children, who have lost everything, for whom Routines have been shattered, and all sense of calm has been swept away. I find myself thankful that even though we miss Daddy, and our routine is not as it usually is, it has not been completely shattered, Dak still has his comfort zone to run to, His Favorite toys to curl up with, His treasured blanket and weighted blanket to help calm Him down, His medications, His Family. My heart breaks for the families, living with Autism, whose lives have been turned upside down by this natural disaster.

With a thankful, yet broken heart, I ask you this; How does one restore a sense of calm, of security, of routine to a family with special needs who has just had it all swept away by Nature’s Fury? How can we help the special needs children who may have lost that one treasured comfort item? I know for Dak, there are certain items that are well loved, that strange as it may sound, Can never be replaced. It is with a heavy, yet thankful heart I pray for them all.

Dandelion wishes and Puppy Dog Kisses

This week has been a whirlwind of stress…it seemed storms were raging all around me.  This was my facebook Status earlier today..

so many thoughts racing through my mind right now….fighting HARD to focus on the still small voice that’s saying “Peace be still”…

~*~””Sometimes God calms the storm,Sometimes He lets the storm rage and calms His child.” ~*~

As I struggled to maintain peace, while worrying about the impending Budget shutdown and praying for God’s will, a verse kept repeating in my head…..

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear;

but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”

~2 Timothy 1:7

*~*~*

God gave me Peace today in the form of my children…..

current countdowns in my house (according to my youngest):
“there are 18 days till my Birthday,13 more days till Dad’s birthday,16 more days till Easter, 21 days till Sara’s Prom and 48 Days till the end of the school year”

(As I was watching the Budget Countdown)

God blessed me in the form of a MAJOR moment with Dak….

When we heard those words “Your son has Autism” it was heartbreaking, Devastating…But I Think it has been harder on my husband than on me.  His ONLY son had regressed to the point he was getting told “Your son may never speak” Forget playing Football or baseball, or any of those other dreams a father has for his son…Then there was the way he pulled away from Daddy, oh how it killed me to see the pain in my husband’s eyes….

Fast forward to present day, almost 10 years after we got the diagnosis. Thanks to the Miracle League, my husband and son get out on the ballfield every Saturday and play Baseball. and tonight, my husband who is in the National Guard is away at His once a Month training, and our son brought me the phone…what follows is my status on Facebook….Dak just brought me my cellphone”Say goodnight to Daddy?” so we called and He said goodnight, then Danced off to his room singing “I love my Daddy!” Came back and asked “want Daddy home safe, when Daddy come home?”

God reminded me to slow down and enjoy the little things in the form of

Dandelion Wishes…..

and Puppy dog Kisses…

Thank you Lord for reminding me that even in the midst of life’s storms, You are with me. That even when the Government plays games with people’s livelyhood, YOU are in control. Thank you for Your gifts in the forms of my children, and for their reminder to slow down and enjoy the moments.

 

Remembering 9/11

‎9 years ago on 9/10/2001 , I got the news that Shawna was on her way into our lives, 9 years ago this week, the Lord brought my friend Kellie into my life, 9 years ago this week, her husband and Mine were in the field, 9 years ago today, the world stopped turning….so many memories, both good and Bad tied to this couple of days.

I will never forget how the day unfolded for me 9 years ago. My husband was away for Annual training for the National Guard. I was at home with our two children, and had just found out the day before that I was pregnant with our third. At 6am, the 2 little boys that I was babysitting at the time arrived, and like any other morning, I put in a Disney movie to watch with them until my own children woke up.  The Movie I chose that morning was Beauty and the Beast. The way my VCR worked, when the movie ended it automatically shut off, and this happened just in time to see the news coverage of the 1st plane hitting. I was in shock, and felt my heart stop, knees grow weak, but I had enough sense to know that at ages 4 and 6 the boys in my care didn’t need to be watching whatever was unfolding before me…My own 2 kids, 4 and 2, were awake by this point, so I shuffled the 4 kids off to play in the other room, then returned to the living room, collapsed to my knees and cried as I watched the events unfold.

in the midst of watching the horrible events unfold on TV, and watching 4 young children, my friend Kellie knocked on my door, and we sat watching, both of us waiting for the phone to ring…hoping to hear from our husbands in the field, Both of us wondering if they would be called up, the future had in the blink of an eye become more uncertain, our sense of security had been shattered, and as Military wives, we knew that the world as we knew it had changed forever.

in the past 9 years since 9-11, every year my husband has not been home , He has either been in the field, away at drill weekend, or activated for Hurricane relief ( Hurricane Katrina). I am Thankful and blessed that He has not, as of yet (*knocks on wood*) been deployed, however I will stand proud and strong if the call does come.  I have learned many things about myself through all this, and the memories, good and bad of that week 9 years ago have been forever written on my heart , tied with a yellow ribbon, and probably the most important lessons I learned are that God’s Grace is enough, and that just as I will never forget the events of that day, I also need to make sure my children also never forget.

That last lesson was driven home for me this past week by a friend of mine on Facebook through something she said, and a photo of her children, which I combined…..this was the outcome:

Tonight I was helping my youngest daughter with a homework assignment about what her name means, and as I remember back to the events surrounding the discovery that she was on her way into my life, I realize that her name is in fact, most fitting. Her name means “God’s Gracious Gift” and on September 10th, 2001, the day before the world stopped turning, God Gave me a reason to hope, a reason to look beyond the sorrow, a reason to look to Him and trust Him that out of the darkness, Light would shine again.

Haiti; Hope, God’s love in the Midst of the rubble

As I sat in Sunday school, and all through the service at church today, I was overwhelmed with a feeling of God’s love, God’s grace, God’s faithfulness. The image that keeps resounding in my mind is one from a video clip CNN did of life in the tent cities that have sprung up all around Port Au Prince…an image of a 13 year old girl hugging her Bible as she says ” I am not afraid, no I am not afraid because God is with me”

This has stuck with me for many reasons…the cry of my heart “Lord give me the faith of a child” ….another prayer….Lord, help me to bring up my children to trust you to protect and guide them in life..

Many thoughts have crossed my mind since the quake struck….but the one resounding….repeating …constant thought is this…God IS there……in the midst of the rubble…the loss…the suffering…heartache and disaster….God IS there

Psalm 46: 1-3
God is our refuge and strength,
an ever present help in trouble,
Therefore we will not fear,
though the earth give way and mountains fall into the sea,
Though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.

Missionary groups like Double Harvest ( Double Harvest also has a facebook page which can be found Here ), Heart of God for Haiti , Elim Fellowship …groups who have had people on the ground since LONG before the quake hit…are now playing vital roles in ministering to Haiti’s physical needs….opening doors to feed the spiritual needs as well.

Matthew 9:37-38
The Harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the Harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His Harvest field.

2 Corinthians 4:8-9
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed but not in despair; persecuted but not abandoned; struck down but not destroyed.

The media has a history…a track record of looking for the negative…of focusing on the bad things…but the Haitian people are not making that easy for them. I has to smile as i watched one news reporter struggle to find words as a group of Haitians sang, and clapped and gave thanks to God behind him….the just of what he said was ” These people have lost loved ones, homes, everything, the poorest of the poor before the quake, now left with nothing, and yet they sing, they cling to their faith.” He was quick to follow that with something about but looting in mass proportions could still occur….with Hurricane Katrina…it was hard to find a positive media story…though I KNOW they existed….but with this disaster….the live interviews with survivors….the Haitian people are thanking God…..giving God the glory for the fact that they are alive….and they are doing it on CNN…..on LIVE television.

As I have spent the past week in prayer for a mission team of people i have known since childhood…who were in Haiti when the quake hit…all of whom are now home in the states….and as I now pray for my pastor, and for others I know….who are heading into Haiti…I have no doubt that God is in control. Please keep Alan Cross and the rest of the team from Helping Hands in your prayers this week…and Ann Bennette and the team from Elim Fellowship as well. May God use them in ways they can never imagine as they minister compassion and show His love to the people of Haiti. May they have a peace that passes ALL Understanding, and may God Protect them as they travel, and be with their families here at home.

heartbreak over the crisis in Haiti

as we all know, on Tuesday, January 12,2010 a devastating 7.0 magnitude earthquake shattered lives in Haiti. Since then, I have been brought to my knees in tears, praying as I watch story after heartbreaking story, picture after picture on the news.

When I first heard about the quake, my first thoughts went to my dear childhood friends…..the Tice Family, as their father, ….a man I have known all my life, one of my father’s close friends….is currently in Haiti on a mission trip with a group called Double Harvest . I called my parents, and started the prayer chain after finding out from Tom’s son, Craig that Tom and his mission team were about 30 minutes from the epi-center….on Weds I received an update from Craig that his father was ok, as was the rest of his team , though there was a lot of damage around them.

As I continued to pray for this mission team, and for all those many people hurting…suffering, I received another message, this time from a man who used to work on my father’s farm….someone I have always admired and respected, a dear friend….he was urgently seeking any news on some Haitians, and an orphanage and school in Port Au Prince,and wondered if I knew anyone who might be able to find out something. I added this request to my prayer list, and taking the photos that he had sent me, and the information given, began searching the internet….to no avail, for something…any news at all about the orphanages and schools seemed vague…no school names given.

Just when I was starting to get frustrated in my search, Glenn posted an update that the Pastor the rest of the staff were all alive….40 of the children had been killed, but 160 survived, though the school itself was completely destroyed. While my heart broke for those lost, I felt it leap for joy that many had survived.

even as I write this, I went to the Heart of God in Haiti website to check for an update, and am sitting here typing through tears…..
this is an excerpt from their latest update from Pastor Dicksent……(HG-Haiti Update: 2:30 PM 15-Jan-2010)
Dicksent is now ministering to over 5,000 people at the Canape Vert Amphitheatre (click here for Google Maps; you will need to zoom in to view the ampitheatre). It is absolutely amazing to us, and another indication that God is working through everything, that Dicksent and the children were scheduled to hold a “Jesus Jamboree” at this very same amphitheatre in December. The plans were changed at the last minute because of a conflict. However, he is now ministering to thousands just as he felt God had called him to do only a few short weeks ago. The impact he is having there is most probably far greater than he ever imagined. God is definitely using this precious servant for His glory!

He is using Psalm 46 to minister to the people; apparently there has been tremendous response as the people are seeking answers. We know that God has promised if we seek Him, He will be found. (Jeremiah 29:13)

I write all this for a few reasons…..one to say that due to the people mentioned above….this heartbreaking Catastrophe has been brought home to me on a level like “9-11” and Hurricaine Katrina were…I had faces I knew and loved there as well….in times of tragedy…at times…it can become a blur…but when it takes on a face of someone you know, it brings it close to home in a way that nothing else can…

another thing I have gotten from this…..is that God Has a plan….He ALWAYS does! He has HIS People in place …it is no mistake that they were there…in Haiti..before, and during this quake…..and that HE brought them through it. Psalm 23:4 states that even though I walk through the shadow of death I will fear no evil for you are with me, your rod and your staff, they comfort me. We learned in Sunday school in a study of Psalm 23 that the promise here is that HE will be there….even through the darkest moments of our lives…HE will bring us THROUGH so that like Pastor Dicksent…in the midst of suffering, tragedy pain, disaster…we can show God’s Love.

I have spent the past few nights since the quake, unable to sleep…..in tears….praying, seeking God for how I can help, and I keep coming back to the orphanage and school…..I can’t get them out of my mind…Double Harvest as well. Please, if you feel led to do so….take a look at the links above, and please add these people to your prayer lists…and follow whatever God leads. Praying for The Lord’s Guidance myself, as I seek for what me and my family can do to help.
God bless you all