Friday, December 29, 2017

Sweet Memories, Smart Little Kids

February 28, 1995: The other day Rebecca asked if I was going to give Sarah a bath. I said not right then because I had a lot of stuff to do. She said, "That could be one of the stuff you have to do.”


Last night Rebecca was sounding out the word LOVES, and I toldher there was a quiet E. She said, "I'm scared of quiet E's."


March 2, 1995: When Rebecca forgets what she wants to say she says, "I lost myword."


March 3, 1995: This afternoon while our new insurance agent was here, Rebecca asked, "Mommy, does Jesus even love bad people?" Theagent said, "Yes, even insurance agents."


March 4, 1995: Sarah was just smelling my hair, and she said that Icouldn't smell my hair because my face couldn't get to it.


March 9. 1995: "   I was helping Sarah get dressed later, and she said, "I'm notSarah." I asked who she was, and she said, "Somebody I don't even know."


Yesterday Caleb brought home a page of braille from school, andhe could read A, B, C, and L. (Almost had his name there.)


The other day at my Mom's house, Rebecca came in to the kitchen and said to me and Mom, "Mommy and Grandma, two planes are going toland on your heads."   


Later that afternoon when Murray's Mom had come, we were allstanding outside, and I was holding Sarah. She said, "There's twoGrandmas. There's a Grandma, and there's a Grandma," she finished,looking from one to the other.


March 17, 1995: When Sarah sees something red, she will say, "That's my favorite color balloon," or shirt, or book, whatever. This morning she was sitting on my lap and she saw a cut on my cheek by my nose where I'd hit myself on something. She asked, "What's on yournose?" I said it was an ouchy. She said, "It's my favorite color."


March 19, 1995: When the kids were getting ready for bed, Sarah said she was going to take her hands off. Rebecca said that when she'd taken onehand off, she wouldn't be able to take the other one off, because she'd only have one left. So somebody else would have to take theother one off.


At supper Rebecca said something to me, and I said to her, "Now be quiet you cute big girl." Sarah said, "No, I wasn't talking; Rebecca was."


March 21, 1995:   Last night the kids were asking if Jesus could carry everybody to Heaven. Then later, they were talking about taking their toys and hair pretties to Heaven, and Rebecca said, "If Jesus needs us to holdsomething, because His hands are too full, I will."


This morning, Rebecca and I were folding socks, and Rebecca said all the soft ones were hers. She said, "Because I'm a fancy girl. Ithank God for myself."


This afternoon Renato (our exchange student from Brazil) was swinging with the kids, and telling them that he's going home soon, and that his Mom and maybe his sisterwill come here to get him. When he said his sister might come, Sarah asked, "Will Fernanda get out of the phone?" She's used to himtalking to his sister on the phone.


March 24, 1995: Last night after the girls were in their bed, Sarah said, "We're holding hands. My sister is holding my hand because shewants to."


Today after supper, Caleb asked, "Is this tonight?"


March 30, 1995: Caleb was singing a song while ago that he learned at school atThanksgiving time, "Five fat turkeys are we!"   


When Renato got home, I asked Sarah to count for him. (She’d just learned to count to ten.) He said he would give her some soda if she did. She got too shy to do it, and said she would do it tomorrow. Renato said he wouldn't give her any soda tomorrow, though. Rebecca said, "But he will still be proudof you."


April 5, 1995: On Sunday, Rebecca told Murray that her bicycle'sname is "All the pretty bugs in the world."


April 6, 1995: At breakfast today the kids were talking about when they grow up and get married, and Rebecca said, "Mommy, I want tomarry your husband. I want to marry Daddy."


Sarah brought a magazine to me a few minutes ago and put my handon a picture and asked, "Who is this?"


April 10, 1995: The kids wanted to go up from the basement this afternoon because there was a spider. I was still in the laundry room. Rebecca asked me, "If the kids go upstairs, all three, will you be all right?" I said that I would. She said just in case, she wouldleave the light on for me.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Wipe Our Tears This Christmas

Father God, at this precious season, your children want to celebrate the joy of the gift you gave us, your son to pay the price for our biggest need.

But many families are filled with heartache at this time of year, for sorrow and loss, for terrifying disease, with many fears and uncertainties.

Thank you, Father, that you are the God who cares about our daily sorrows, who comforts our hearts in ways our minds do not understand. Lord, please wipe our tears this Christmas.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34: 18

But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness. Lamentations 3:21-23

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Psalm 46: 1

As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; Psalm 103: 13

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Psalm 119:9-16, Beth

Psalm 119 was written as a poem, each stanza beginning with a letter of the Hebrew alphabet.

How can a young person stay on the path of purity?
    By living according to your word.
I seek you with all my heart;
    do not let me stray from your commands.
I have hidden your word in my heart
    that I might not sin against you.
Praise be to you, Lord;
    teach me your decrees.
With my lips I recount
    all the laws that come from your mouth.
I rejoice in following your statutes
    as one rejoices in great riches.
I meditate on your precepts
    and consider your ways.
I delight in your decrees;
    I will not neglect your word.

Early in my Christian life, God gave me the gift of love for the Bible. I used to memorize regularly, especially when I was in college.

After my accident a few years ago, I laughed at the idea of even trying to memorize. But recently, at a women’s conference, I was encouraged to try again.

I am now finding so much fun in working on memory verses. It helps bring God’s will to me when I’m tempted to disobey, and it gives me such joy as I’m reminded of all God’s great gifts and love for us.

Father, help me to seek you with all my heart. Help me to grow in not straying from your commands.

Friday, December 8, 2017

My Journey With Braille

This article was published in the Fall 2017 issue of Dialogue Magazine.
I love books.
One of my earliest memories is sitting with my patient grandmother, slowly reading to her from the Bible story book she’d given to my brothers and me for Christmas when I was in first grade. It wasn’t long though before I couldn’t see well enough to make out even the large print in those early children’s books.
Then I would bring books home from school and beg my mother to read to me. My favorite was MY FRIEND FLICKA. But my parents were farmers, and they had four kids to take care of. There could never be time to read enough books to satisfy me.
When I turned eleven, something happened to change my world.
I learned braille.
I was so hungry to read books for myself, I rushed to learn this new system. I was introduced to talking books at the same time, and I love them too. But braille has always been my favorite.
For forty-five years now, braille has been an everyday part of my life—for pleasure reading, writing, housekeeping, school, and work.
When I started my own writing, I filled an unbelievable number of three-ring binders with poems and short stories. I took notes in school, all the way through graduate school, with a slate and stylus.
From the time my children were babies, I found joy in reading to them—The Chronicles of Narnia, The Little House Books, To Kill a Mocking Bird, The Treehouse Mysteries, so many more.
I was the queen of braille labels—everything from the colors of my hair ribbons when I was a teenager, to cans of food and other household items, to the office files when I was a secretary at the University of Missouri. And when I became a rehabilitation teacher, the most fun part of my job was teaching braille.
When the opportunity came along about ten years ago for me to take a class in braille transcribing from the Library of Congress, I jumped at it.
After becoming certified in braille transcribing, I moved on to the braille proofreading course. This was after I’d been brain injured from an accident, and I’m sure that made it more difficult. I can remember almost finishing so many pages of braille lessons, down to the last line, and then making a mistake. I can’t begin to count all the times I had to start over and redo a page.
I complained about this constantly to my family, and finally my daughter Rebecca gave me a cheerful reply. “Every time you make a mistake, put a quarter in a jar. When you’re done, use all the quarters you’ve saved to buy yourself chocolate.”
She was good for me. I didn’t do it, but this was a perfect response to cheer me through my whining and discouragement.
After all those hours of work and starting pages over again, I received a certification for Braille Proofreading as well.
Then came Unified English Braille, UEB. If I wanted to continue with braille transcribing and proofreading, I could study for the Library of Congress UEB test to add to my other certificates.
I love braille. I would love to keep braille as a part of my working life.
But what was all this?
A list of contractions which would no longer be used. Changes in how contractions could and could not be used. And then all the changes in punctuation and new symbols, to more accurately copy print, and to be more useable with computers.
I don’t know if other braille readers would agree with me, but I believe that it won’t be hard for general readers to become comfortable with UEB. Just by reading, they will get used to the lack of some contractions and the new ways some contractions are used. Also, many books and magazines list the new symbols at the front of the book.
To me, it seems it will be hardest for teachers and transcribers to learn to switch from the former rules, to try to use all the new rules perfectly.
But I was willing to try. I studied for months.
And then came the test.
I had a two-part, at home test to take, allowing me to look up rules I had questions about.
More and more hours of work, and so many pages to redo.
I complained to Rebecca again. She had two suggestions.
“Think of all the good you’re doing to the environment for me, all that paper to recycle.” And: “Think of all the good exercise you’re getting for your fingers.”
Grumbling, I said I liked the chocolate idea better. But I kept on working.
Then came the grade for the first part of the test. No errors were found. Oh, how my head swelled.
The second part of the test. Oh, how my head deflated.
I did not make the required 90 points to pass this part of the test.
However, since my score was above 80 points, I could redo the parts of the test I’d gotten wrong.
More grumbling. More hours of work. Thinking, searching the rules, trying to figure out what mistakes I’d made. But finally, I had the resubmission of the second part done as well as I could do it, and it was mailed.
Now all I had to do was wait.
My letter came yesterday, August 9, 2017, and I passed the test. No need to swell my head with pride about the score, but I passed. I am so excited. Now I can look for more work to do to continue my journey with braille.