Saturday, March 30, 2013

Fine Free (Good) Friday

Mindful that it was Good Friday, I found myself fielding Reid's daily after-school negotiation for a thrift store visit. 

"Hey! isn't today the last Friday of the month?" talking to myself outloud.  
Then to Reid, "Yes it is!  You know what that means?  I get my privileges back! Let's go there..."  
Astounded he repeated, "You got your privileges back?! No way!"  (It's been awhile.)

Win, win! Library bookstores have the best thrift of all.  The only thrift worth thrifting: Disney Masterpiece VHS tapes.

And so....with that, comes this edited repost from 5 years ago. Since then they've re-named our library "Happy Hour" Fine Free Friday which is in keeping with family values.  Another reason we love libraries: they epitomize the meaning of Easter.  We can claim our privileges--of returning to the garden to commune with God--because of the ultimate Fine Free Friday!  

Happy Good Friday and Happy Easter!

Does your public library have a Happy Hour? Countywide, on the last Friday of every month, ours does. Alcohol is not served; everyone's just very happy to return late materials with no fines whatsoever, no questions asked, no due dates checked, no snickering.

Thirsty one day, and not at my usual branch, I noticed the sign on their counter. Not to be believed! Could this be? I inquired. Yes, indeed, they would rather have their books back--no matter how late--than leave them missing in action. They waive all fees, even their potential profits from replacement fees. I had incurred upwards of $50 a month before this happy time. This was very good news for me!

My husband jokes that I have lost library privileges in every state in the union, which is not quite true. We haven't moved that much!
What is true, is that I am frequent library user, a horrible procrastinator and an avoider of conflict. So, when I have books that are more than a couple days late, I go into avoidance mode feeling I can't show my face at the local branch. I bury my head shamefully in the sand while the fines steadily increase, like a taxi meter headed for the airport, finally exceeding replacement value. Of course, loving books as I do, I eventually own up and pay the exorbitant fines, considering it a good deal compared to the equivalent cost of much shipping and handling at Amazon. The library is certainly a good cause.

Until I learned about Happy Hour! Now, I mark my calendar for the last Friday of every month, anticipating another new grace period, while I search under mattresses and behind furniture for the rogue book or tape. The library has long been my favorite institution, all the moreso now! Between my over-consumption of books and Reid's penchant for stickers and de-constructivism, we have tried the patience of many a librarian. (See original post for details.)

When I carry a double digit debt at the library, my heart is heavy. I feel banned from my favorite place to browse and choose books. Trapped at home, unable to find my Get Out of Jail Free card (the missing book) I enter a stubborn refusal to pay for something I only intended to borrow. Grounded from a favorite activity, then a paralyzing guilt of neglect and tardiness set in. Chastising myself is depressing and being angry at Reid for his part in it, is not productive. Now, not to over spiritualize but, isn't sin just like that?

Happy Hour sets me free! Last time, I was visibly uplifted, walking out to the car with a fresh stack of free books! The parallel hit me with the salt air; Jesus forgives and forgets our iniquity. He gives us privileges back; the right to pray to Him and be heard without obstruction; the carefree feeling of innocence and childlike faith return; the squeaky clean shine of having unrighteousness removed as far as the east is from the west. The only difference is that His happy hour can be daily or hourly, as needed.

Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. 1 John 1:6-8

When Jesus saw their faith, he said, "Friend, your sins are forgiven."
"Blessed are those whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
Psalm 103:11-13

Friday, March 29, 2013

Have a Great Day Falcons!!!

This will be short and sweet...and multi-sensory!  How can I explain all that this 5 sec. recording represents?

Reid is 18.

When he was 5, I was a naive yet stubborn advocate for full inclusion. The look I got from the preschool administrator then was, "you've got no idea lady." I didn't. But I prayed for it.

When he was 7, we homeschooled. I corralled typical neighborhood kids to join us and paid facilitators to integrate them.  I tried to make it work.

When he was 9, we enrolled him at the local elementary school. I bought stacks of books for the teacher and told her how I thought it should be done.  I tried to control it.

When he was 10, I got flowers at an IEP (more like memorial) and they showed us the door. I stopped believing it was possible.

For 8 years, Reid spent varying lengths of time at 4 of our city's finest non-public special ed schools. Typical role models were noticeably absent. I forgot my previous prayers.

Last summer, in an odd turn of events, he matriculated into our local Torrey Pines High School, a California distinguished school, just 5 miles from home with many familiar faces and families we know.  

This morning, I dropped him off at the curb with a motley throng of quintessential American teens.  He walked by a table of donuts for sale, said hi to a girl he knew there, and headed up the ramp to meet his aide.  

I still stalk. At least long enough to record him capping off the morning announcements with flair. In unison...with other members of the school body.

Is there a prayer you once prayed that you've left for dead?  Pray it again. Timing is everything.

You don’t get to know the time. Timing is the Father’s business. Acts 1:6-8 

And likewise, all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and his successors onward, also announced these days.  Acts 3:23-25

If you wake me each morning with the sound of your loving voice, I’ll go to sleep each night trusting in you. Psalm 143:6-8

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

SongStream live stream of our story

Letting someone else tell your story requires trust.  We have done this several times, either to support a program we liked, plug The Kingsmen, or just amuse our neighbors.  This time is different.  We are 100% satisfied with the result!  Nothing was taken out of context or misconstrued; we weren't surprised by any hidden agenda; I don't feel the need to editorialize or correct.

Talia and Michael checking levels with Reid
The SongStream Project is a team of young visionaries creating intimate audio experiences to tell the songs behind a story and the stories behind a song. Their conviction is that music is a vehicle for building community.

"Voices of Autism" is their first broadcast.  In it they interview 4 young musicians on the autism spectrum and their families. What results are some common threads about the power of music, a desire to change the world, and the pure joy of embracing people for who they are.

You can stream or download the broadcast here on the Soundcloud audio player.

At their Catalysten launch party, Michael and Vanessa took me aback when they thanked me for trusting them with our story.  I thanked them for being trustworthy.  It was then I realized the contentment I had had listening to it. Their telling of our story--and the massive editing it required--was accurate. That's a first!
Attentive crowd at the Catalysten release party

"On the air"
It's been said that the most powerful thing you can do for another person is to listen. Just listen. In our living room, wired for sound, they gave us that gift. They listened intently.

And so did I, to my own husband.  I didn't expect to hear anything new but I did. He owned aspects of our journey and articulated truths I had not heard from his lips before.

And so, to quote Catherine de Hueck Doherty, "With the gift of listening comes the gift of healing."

Will you listen to it and tell me what it does for you?

Give ear and hear my voice, Listen and hear my words.  Isaiah 28:22-24 

“Are you listening to this? Really listening?”  Mark 4:8-10