I AM DYSLEXIC… HEAR ME SCREAM

TL I AM DYSLEXICI was recently made aware of yet another trick my eyes play on me…  yeah – I really needed to add to that list.  My eyes apparently see small g’s and small q’s the same way.  Sound weird?  Oh – not to me!

I was supposed to type PLAGUE, as in the plagues of Egypt – but typed PLAQUE, which, unless I’m mistaken, is something people get on their teeth OR an inscribed commemorative tablet, usually of metal placed on a building, monument, or the like.

UGH…

Dyslexia makes writing a real challenge, but it seems like I keep finding new twists and turns.  To be perfectly honest, I’m thankful somebody caught it and told me, but I had no idea my brain was this bad.  I try to be careful, I really try.  If you are dyslexic and get where I’m coming from, it’d be great to hear from you.  I knew I had some issues, but this is a brand new one.  Getting q’s and g’s mixed up…  huh.  Great…  just great.13102822_982147601892571_6280506427244160185_n

Why does God impress upon me to write when it’s such a challenge?  Maybe it’s His way of keeping me dependent upon Him.  When things come easily, we tend to think we’re doing them in our own strength.  It’s just a theory…  but dyslexia is the most frustrating condition to deal with.DYSLEXIA

I’ll scream…  and cry…  but I’ll probably get up tomorrow and write again.  I have to believe that God’s got His reasons for everything.  I don’t know why I see things differently than others do.  If I had the power to change it, I would.  I’ve done the best job I can do and leave the rest to the Lord – so please forgive my errors because I’m so very human.  🙂

 

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DEALING WITH DYSLEXIA

DYSLEXIA WORD CLOUD

BLESSINGS FROM PAIN

I received a message on facebook from a gentleman who has a daughter with dyslexia.  She’s in elementary school and faces challenges daily.  He says it is something new every day…  joked that at least it’s not boring.  He asked if I’d write a post about my experiences with dyslexia and talk about how my parents dealt with it.

 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.  – 2 Corinthians 1:3-5

Well…   we all take it as it comes – but of all the supportive things I remember my parents doing, the most important one was…  they always encouraged me to be better, but they praised me when I did my best.  I was one of the lucky ones because I was diagnosed early and got into special education in elementary school.  So many people are adults before they are told they have dyslexia.  That has to be so frustrating!

Bless my parents – they made sure that my grade school made use of my talents in music and encouraged the positives I had to contribute instead of focusing on the negatives – the spelling errors, illegible handwriting, careless errors in math, and length of time it took me to write an essay.  I have wonderful memories of playing vibes in a music class performance.  Nobody in my school made me feel stupid or inept.  My teachers encouraged my talents, and I believe it’s because my parents were involved in my education.DYSLEXIA

Parents of dyslexic children have to keep their ears close to the door of the classroom.  They have to be involved every step of the way.  My mother had constant communication with not only the teachers but also the principal and everyone else responsible for my learning experience.

It wasn’t easy…  homework was horrible!  I went to bed crying every night because I felt so stupid.  One thing I did learn early in life is that you need to resist the temptation to compete with smart kids.  Our smart kid was Karen “Blythe” Watson.  I heard through the grapevine that she is now a successful lawyer.  I’m not surprised!  Blythe was everything I wanted to be – I so wanted to be her.  I don’t know why, but I was always invited to her slumber parties and I felt so COOL because the smart girl wanted me for a friend!  Blythe had naturally curly hair – long and thick…  in the 1970’s that was THE cool hair to have!

Keep your child in a good circle of friends because that’s going to help her self-esteem.  If at all possible, surround her with the smart kids – because dyslexic kids are slow – but we’re not stupid.  It takes us longer to notice stuff – but we get there.  We are good and listening to others and catch on when we hear good ideas from smart kids.  Our problem is with visuals – perceptions – concepts.  We can learn!  We are determined to learn…  we just don’t learn the same way.

When they showed films in school – other kids were taking notes and I was wondering what they were writing down that I had somehow missed.

Even today visual learning is not good for me.  Pop in a CD (back then it was a cassette tape – LOL) – and let me listen to it a couple of times – then I grasp the concept – if I can hear it without words on a screen or pictures – I can get it.  I’m all about books on CD – love ’em! 

I used to listen to my devotionals each day – and I still hop on the computer and listen to them!  Reading weighs me down – I do read because I’m determined to overcome this disability…  I’m stubborn.  This isn’t going to win – it just isn’t.

Not every child learns the same way, and educators need to realize that.12345408_1096907133676554_2760705983542940339_n

Be your child’s biggest encouragement.  People in the world will not be kind, so it’s up to you to find your child’s strengths and offer lessons to them.  Pull the weeds – but make sure you water the flowers.  The flowers I grew were musical.  I took private piano lessons for many years every Thursday afternoon.  I’m not a great pianist – but it’s something I was pretty good at – playing music makes me feel good.

Today I’m more well-rounded and I’m a better reader than I’ve been before.  I’ve not read WAR & PEACE – but I read to entertain myself these days, which I never thought would happen.  I do still have to follow the words with my finger – I don’t think that will ever change.  My eyes tend to skip lines and twist words and numbers – so…  it does get interesting sometimes.

I hope this post helps you as parents.  Dyslexic kids are slow – but there are eye exercises that help (remember the pencil exercise – ???  Keep your eye on the lead portion as the pencil comes closer to your face…  LOL).  They said it would strengthen my eyes – I think it gave me headaches.  :-/

Let your child know that you understand their frustration and keep the lines of communication open with them about it.  If they want to cry during homework time – let the tears come.  Just cry with them and don’t make them feel worse or use a nasty tone of voice or mean words with them.  It does not help.

Encourage your child to be better than she was yesterday.  Don’t compete with others, but be more complete yourself!  Comparison with others makes us feel like failures, but if we see our lives as God sees them, we will know that He gives us gifts and talents.  Maybe I can’t do math in my head, but I can do some things that others can’t…  so if you combine my gifts with the gifts of others – how cool is that?  We sharpen one another’s iron and that makes everyone better, right?  🙂

 

 

 

 

I WILL MISS YOU…

TL A TRIBUTE

CELEBRATING LIFE (Andre' Crouch)

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72-year-old Andrae’ Crouch, a truly anointed man of God, the father of modern gospel music and 7 time Grammy Award winner, is now a part of heaven’s awesome choir.  That has to be the sweetest sounding choir – but it’s much improved now.  I can’t help but think that those Grammy Awards, nice as they are, pale next to the awesome crown he has now, and casts at his Savior’s feet.

 I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.  – John 17:4

His songwriting, singing and piano playing had a profound influence on my life!  I remember how the music in our little Southern Baptist church changed in a big way in the 1970’s because our new hymnal included some of his great songs.  We got to sing songs of faith such as “Jesus is the Answer”, “Through it All”, Take Me Back”, “It Won’t Be Long”, “Soon and Very Soon”, “The Blood Will Never Lose its Power”, “I Don’t Know Why”, and my favorite, “My Tribute (To God Be the Glory)”.

Hey – I was the pianist and I literally witnessed the change in people when we sang those gospel songs!  Don’t get me wrong – I treasure the old hymns, but there’s something about singing words that echo what our hearts really feel – instead of the words of a hymn penned hundreds of years ago – well, it just means more – and we can truly worship from the bottom of our hearts.

The songs Andrae’ Crouch wrote were absolute genus because they were so simple.  His music and lyrics were not difficult to learn – and once I learned them, I could take the focus off the logistics of the written music – and focus my attention on God – on His Holy Spirit – and let Him have it – lock, stock and barrel.  Just let go and let God…  that’s when the worship really happens.  He was so wise because he kept the tunes and words simple to learn, simple to teach – so we could all get down to the business of praising our Lord!

By the early 1980’s, the music of Andrae’ Crouch was still popular.  I had a very close Christian friend and co-worker named Liz.  She happens to be African-American.  I wouldn’t mention it, but it’s important to the story.  Liz and I spent a lot of time talking about God, theology and so forth.   We thought it would be fun to visit each other’s churches when we had singspiration nights.  I don’t know if churches do that anymore – but it’s when people are free to sing, recite poetry, do skits or whatever they wish to do to worship the Lord.

We did this for a while and it was a lot of fun.  I began noticing an obvious, glaring trend and suspect she noticed it too.  When she came to my church, she sang something written by Bill & Gloria Gaither.  When I went to her church, I sang something written by Andrae’ Crouch.  I remember singing this one:

This went on for a while and I wasn’t sure whether I should say something about it or just let it ride.  I just kept thinking, “Surely she is seeing the same pattern I am”.  You’ve been there, right?  Not sure whether to broach a subject or leave it alone???  Well, I decided to just let sleeping dogs lie, so to speak.

We decided to take our brown bags outdoors and enjoy the lovely weather one Monday after we’d had a great night of singing and praising God the night before.  I still didn’t feel prompted to say anything – but apparently God was talking to Liz, because she said:

“Have you noticed that I sing songs by Gaither songs and you sing songs by Crouch?” 

Finally someone said it!  I was relieved.

We just sort of stared and grinned at each other for about two seconds – then laughed uncontrollably!!!  It was the longest I’d laughed in years!!!  From that moment on, the awkwardness was behind us.  We were finally giving each other a sort of permission to follow the Holy Spirit’s leading instead of trying to “fit in” – so to speak.

As I recall, the next time I went to St. Matthew’s for a singspiration, I played and sang a song that was not written by either Bill Gaither or Andrae’ Crouch.  I don’t remember what it was, but I remember knowing it was something God’s Holy Spirit was prompting me to do and it had nothing to do with fitting in.  I remember by that time feeling as comfortable at St. Matthew’s as I did at my church.

The music of Andrae’ Crouch broke down all sorts of barriers.  I remember some eyebrows being raised when his choir helped Madonna and Michael Jackson with some music videos.  But is it really any different from the Stamps quartet singing backup for Elvis?  I don’t know – but I do know that if we are proclaiming the name of Christ, we cannot just stay in our safe little houses of worship and proclaim it to each other.  We have to get out there in the world – the sick ones need the doctor.  Who knows what kind of impression someone in that choir might have had on Madonna???  Ya know???  

It occurs to me that this multi-talented child of God walked the path many of us walk today. He was a type 2 diabetic, had cancer and heart disease.  He was dyslexic!

My dyslexia contributed to my success.  – Andrae’ Crouch

We know a number of complications come our way when type 2 diabetes is on board, and dyslexia brings its own set of challenges, but look at what he did with his life!   He made it matter – he made it count – he followed God by using the talents and abilities he got from God. Shouldn’t we all be doing that???  Wow – I just admired this man so much. He showed us that no matter what is going on with these bodies, our spirits, our true light – cannot be dimmed because that’s where God’s Holy Spirit lives – inside us. God is so much bigger than anything that can attack this body.   🙂

 

 

 

 

SPECIAL EDUCATION DAY

TL 12-2 SPECIAL EDUCATION DAY

 

12-2 A GOOD IDEA

Raise a glass (of apple juice) for the 10th anniversary of SPECIAL EDUCATION DAY!  As we reflect and reform for the future, we also think back to the day that former President Ford signed  IDEA – the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

IDEA was ground-breaking legislation and provided education for all children with disabilities.  Although we’ve come a long way, we need to think about education in the future.  Back when I was in school, taking special education classes because of severe dyslexia, there was such a stigma that followed me and my friends everywhere we went.  It is extremely frustrating (even now) to be a slow learner.  Sometimes I don’t “catch” things very quickly and I hear someone say “duh”.  Just a quick note about that – it’s rude!  It’s also very rude to call us retarded or stupidIt’s sad that I even have to mention it.

I wasn’t diagnosed with dyslexia until my mid-30’s.  Long days and nights in the library in college produced a collection of C’s.  Twelve of 13 medical schools rejected me.  I was told that I was the least talented person in my residency and advised not to go into cardiac surgery.  Time and again, I was told, “Don’t do it.”  But sometimes the best advice is that which you don’t take.  Instead of listening to people who told me to quit, I heeded the quote that sits on a small placard on my desk:  “What can be conceived can be created.”  I discovered only recently that it was from a 1980’s-era car advertisement.  That’s OK, though, because it reminds me that dreams should be lofty.  – Toby Cosgrove, M.D.

I’m sure kids today are more tolerant of their classmates who need a little extra help.  There’s so much awareness these days about bullying and hopefully the kids in special education are not teased like we were.  Through positive thinking, a patient teacher and innovation a child with special needs can be taught and one day be a vital, contributing member of society.   Basic criteria include patient teachers, pro-active schools and loving parents.

This day was created to honor progress in special education and celebrate students with disabilities.  We tip our hats to the teachers, schools and the patient parents and wish to open up a dialogue between them so that the children might benefit.  Hopefully as a result, appropriate reforms will be made as needed.

One reform that was launched through Special Education Day is SpedEx, an innovative and successful child-focused dispute resolution model that is free for schools and parents.  It works to create trust between the parties. For information about SpedEx, please visit www.spedexresolution.com.

If you are interested in hosting  a celebration large or small in your school district or community, contact SED at info@specialeducationday.com

I’m happy to know that special education has advanced from when I was a kid!  Hopefully through good communication, reforms will move special education forward, improving the teaching and learning for kids with special needs.  😀

Everyone needs a new devotional book to begin the new year!  Lucinda Berry Hill’s poetry makes a great Christmas gift!

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Click on the link below to order your copy!

http://bookstore.westbowpress.com/Products/SKU-000952694/A-Second-Cup-with-Jesus.aspx 



A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (22)

I COULD NOT HAVE DONE THIS

Have you ever wondered how people cope with difficulties if they do not have the Lord in their hearts and lives? All you have to do is turn on your television to learn the answer to that question. There are so many addictions to choose from! I’ve been asked if I think a person can get too much Christianity – too much “Jesus” in their lives. Well, no I don’t think you can go overboard on your walk with the Lord.

I’m so thankful for God’s Holy Spirit in my life! I acknowledge His working in my life every day. To be honest, I don’t think I could take my next breath without Him. If that’s too radical, then so be it. Remember the guy who said his barns were all full and he made all these lofty plans to build more barns to store more of his stuff? God called him and fool and said that night his life would be required of him – he was gonna die.

When we get to thinking we are indestructible and infallible, we are treading on dangerous ground. When we have the attitude that we are somehow self-made, God can and will humble us and quickly. Back in the Ten Commandments we are told that our God is a jealous God – He will not have anything or anyone compete with Him. God is either Lord of all, or He’s not Lord at all. Those are the choices. There is no middle ground.

If someone would have told me a year ago that I would be writing a blog post on a fairly regular basis, I would not have believed it!  A dyslexic writer – ???  That’s an oxymoron if ever I heard one.  But you know what?  The glory goes to God because He is definitely guiding me!

Old McDonald was dyslexic, I-E-I-E-O.  – Billy Connolly

I could not have taken on so much this year if He was not leading me. God has a plan for my life and every morning I wake up with a new enthusiasm, anxious to watch His plan for my life be revealed a little more. Where are these opportunities leading? I don’t know, but that’s okay! My heavenly Father knows! That’s good enough for me! 🙂

FREE THINKERS DAY

TL 1-29 FREE THINKERS DAY

DYSLEXIA
Today we celebrate those who think for themselves…  it is the birthday of Thomas Paine and is also FREE THINKER’S DAY!!!  Did you know that Christians can be free thinkers???  Yes, they sure can!  I am one to weigh everything in my mind and come to my own conclusions.  Of course, being dyslexic, sometimes the process is – shall we say, hilarious!?!?!

If you struggle with reading and writing, I want to encourage you to keep reading and keep writing. I know that learning is difficult and when you read and skip lines it can make you want to pull your hair out. Or when you read quite as quiet or stuck as struck or… well there are many examples.  And keep your wits about you, your sense of humor by your side, and weigh your thoughts for yourself.  Be a free-thinker.  Take everything to God – weigh it against His Word.  Figure it out.

God had His hand on me. I made some great friends in school who were in the advanced classes. Some of them even helped me with homework. They didn’t make fun of me and I learned a great deal from them.  They let me grow at my pace and let me reason things out.

If you struggle with dyslexia, you are not alone. It will take you longer to learn, but you can learn. You are not stupid. Don’t let anyone tell you that! Do you know to this day I skip lines when I’m trying to type things up? I was a secretary! Can you believe that? I had a very patient boss who understood because his son was dyslexic too. Once in a while I would just miss an entire line on something and have to do it over again. I’m fine if I can use either the cursor on the computer, or my finger on the written page. I get into trouble when I’m trying to put something from a printed page onto a computer screen. No finger to help me follow the lines, so often times the lines get skipped completely! Take a look at what I see. I fall into the “wavy words” category. I wish they’d just stop moving ‘cuz it makes me sea-sick! Oh, and don’t even ask me to read while I’m riding in a car – huh-uh, no way!

I’ve used HUMOR to cover up for a great deal of frustration.  One example is this:  When life hands you LEMONS you make LEMONADE.  But guess what?  Life hands a dyslexic person MELONS and we make MELON BALLS!!!

Just this morning I was designing one of my own poems and skipped an entire line when I was typing it up! It’s just a quirk that will probably be with me forever, I guess. The important thing is to surround yourself with understanding people who encourage you and support your dreams! You can do anything you want to do. Just do the very best you can! Hold on to hope and don’t let anyone do your thinking for you!  You can DO this!!!