Archive for October, 2005

The Game

Sunday, October 30th, 2005

Echotig’s uncle Donald is the greatest gift giver ever. He gave me a Roy Williams jersey. He is a true Dallas Cowboys fan. He works at the Texas stadium gift shop. He has more memorabilia than anyone else I know. He even has a cowboys pickup.

He was showing me his most prized items. His favorite player was Bob Lilly. He has a signed ball and a number 74 jersey with his own name on the back.

My favorite present day player is Roy Williams. I love hard hitting defenders. Bob Lilly, Lee Roy Jordan and Randy White are on my favorites list.

I have noticed all of these gents sometimes go to the games and watch. The legends of the game are out there rooting, no doubt, for Roy Williams. Their time on the field has passed. Their greatness has not. So now they look on as the young cowboys struggle and sweat. Bob Lilly looks down from the sky box on young defenders. There is no doubt in my mind that he stands up and cheers from time to time.

Consider this Scripture:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. (Hebrews 12:1 NIV)

So our loved ones who go to heaven look down on us like retired players in the stands. We know they watch us run our race. It is up to us to make them stand up and cheer.

Finding a Place

Monday, October 24th, 2005

I frequently use some phrases. Some are more colorful than others. One of the phrases lately comes from a song. The phrase is: my place in this world.

You see having a child with a disability changes your thinking. You understand with certainty that you and this child may not share the same goals. Things parents dream of for their children may not be possible. Sometimes these dreams just aren’t the same and really don’t become the child’s own desires.

Two years ago, some teachers asked me about a short term goal for Tiger. I said that I want to play catch with him. The ugly truth is he wasn’t interested in playing catch.

So now I look at things differently. I try to consider his desires more. What matters to me is helping him find his place in this world. I realize that I don’t control what that place will be. The big challenge is finding the desires of his heart.

If I can only figure out what he truly desires then I can help him achieve his own goals. Thoreau was so right; most men do lead lives of quiet desperation. Those who live deliberately seem to have clearly defined desires. They strive after the longing of their hearts. Those who do not strive for their wants still want. It is all about simplicity.

I want my children to do more than long for their goals. I want them to achieve their goals. This will never happen if I obsess on projecting my own agenda on their lives.

My children are far too independent to be molded. I can’t force them to be what I want them to be. Perhaps I should start leading them instead. Tiger’s autism only accentuates the truth. God makes children. Parents just raise them.

My deepest desire is that all of my children discover what they are chosen to be. They all have a place in this world. Maybe I can help them find their place. Or, maybe they can find it without any help.

Real Men look good in Big White Hats

Friday, October 21st, 2005

It doesn’t matter if you are president of the USA or if you work for Texas Instruments.

It doesn’t matter if you are out on the town or if you are clearing brush.

Big White Hats are the ultimate fashion statement.

Thanks for the picture Leatherneck.

CHOSEN

Saturday, October 15th, 2005

Have you ever been the odd man out? Rejection is reality. It happens to us all. It happens all the time. For every evil in the world there is an unequal and opposite good. I say unequal because the good is far greater.

The greatest desire of both God and man is to be chosen.

Chosen. I like to be chosen.

All that is good and right in my life is because I am chosen.

It all started with an irresponsible pair of college students in Lubbock Texas. Wise beyond her years, my birth mother wanted more for me than what she thought she could offer. She checked herself into a home for pregnant women. She knew it would be better for me to be chosen.

Two local kids and their young son were making a go of life in Amarillo. They knew something was missing. So my parents and my brother stood before a judge and I was chosen. They took me to Odessa Texas and never let me forget that I was chosen.

When I was 16, my behavior merited a separation from my car. I rode the bus home one day. At the back of the bus was a young looker sitting with her boyfriend. She looked right through the crowd and zeroed in on me. I did not know it yet but I was chosen.

When I was 17 my good friend informed me that a really good looking girl wanted to meet me. Then I met the girl from the bus. I have never stopped loving her. It is good to be chosen.

Years later, I had made a real mess of my life. The only thing that kept me hanging on was the realization that I was chosen. My loving parents and my friends at a Church across from the park in Odessa Texas wouldn’t let me forget that I was chosen.

One day I was talking to my father. He told me someone had called asking about me. That girl from the bus was back in town. She was back in town to find me. I guess she never really stopped loving me either. Once again I was chosen.

As I ponder my children, I wonder,” Why me?” How could I be the one chosen to turn them into responsible adults? Each of them has their own strengths and needs. I don’t always understand how to do this. But, I know who must do it. Once again I have been chosen.

I try to live my life deliberately. I have my own place in this world. I have a fate, a destiny, a purpose. I am chosen.

When I count my blessings on Earth and when I look forward to my treasures in heaven, I take joy that I am chosen.

I like to be chosen.

State Fair

Monday, October 10th, 2005

We enjoyed the Texas State Fair today. It was a beautiful October evening, cloudy and cool. We have done this twice now as a family and I think I have it figured out.

First, buy the wife a Margarita on the first stop. I have yet to do this correctly but there is always next year.

The livestock is always a big kick for me. We went to the pig pen. It made the kids go, “eeew!” It made Echo homesick. We saw some fine Brahmas. I love to touch the cows at show. Their hair feels so smooth and clean. Alex is amazed by the hump on a Brahma. The stables at Fair Park include the police stables. The Dallas cops love mixed horses. They are usually some mammoth mix like Belgian and Quarter. One of them looked to be 18 hands high.

Echo and Alex rode the Texas Star. It is a huge ferris wheel.

Then of course came the food. We all had Fletcher’s Corny Dogs. Mine was jalapeño and cheese. Fantastic. If that was not enough fried food, Echo and I shared a piece of fried cheesecake. I also had a slice of chocolate covered key lime pie on a stick. Tasty.

Tiger spent a lot of time trying to get away from me. Zoe hit her head on a light pole. Alex came through unscathed. It rained on us a little. Everybody complained about the rain but I really enjoyed it. Of course I was wearing a hat and they weren’t.

Sorry but Echo controlled the camera so I didn’t get any pictures of her.

I really enjoy the state fair but it leaves me nostalgic for the Ector County Fair back home. We were usually exhibitors there. My folks would work the booth while I was able to go all over. Being there every day meant I watched the entire battle of the bands every year. It meant I was able to eat every thing that I cared to. It meant I was able to spend a lot of time with people I knew better. It was pretty special. I just don’t thing anything could be that good again.

So today I went to the state fair. It was great. But tonight I’m going back home. And I will be 13 years old again. I will eat mesquite cooked fajitas and funnel cakes. And I will listen to my brother’s rock and roll band play. Then when I wake up, I’ll get back to loving life in the present.

The Party is Over The Cops are Here.

Wednesday, October 5th, 2005

Well don’t fret. It is a pity party that is over. Echotig and I have been perusing Autism blogs more specifically the blogs of Autistic adults. It is fascinating. I love hearing what they have to say.

These wonderful people are sick and tired of not being treated well. They do not have a victim mentality. Yet, groups that claim to benefit autistics frequently pity and belittle them. They are making an effort to remove the stigma.

When we first discovered that Tiger was autistic I thought Rain Man. I thought this was something terrible, degenerative and beyond all control. Even my college Psychology classes did not inform me very well. I prayed, “God why!!?” The tragedy was overwhelming.

Now that I am better informed, the pity party is over. You see Tiger is a great kid. He is Tiger not Autism. Autism has delayed his speech. Autism gives him sensory aggravation. But autism does not define him. Tiger is no victim.

My desires for Tiger are simple. I want him to be independent and happy. Other stuff just is not worth the anxiety. Neither me nor my family wants pity.

This world is large and autistics have a place in it. There is no reason for them not to find that place and live independently and happily.

I rode the train with some students one day. They were teenagers with special needs: one blind boy and two autistic boys. These boys are special people of superior character. None of the three of them will be able to operate an automobile. So they were learning to use public transportation. I asked them what else they do. All of them had jobs and hobbies. None of these boys were victims. None of them needed pity. They were all going to be fine. Their attitude is admirable. They blessed my day with their presence.

In a world full of people who want the government to run their lives, there exist a group of folks who don’t want assistance. The very people we could easily dismiss to subsistence on the doll strive to achieve and succeed. These people see their sensory problems as less serious than my bad spelling.

The party is over. The cops have hauled my pessimism to jail. It is time to go home.

Too Big for my Britches.

Tuesday, October 4th, 2005

I’m no Mr. Mom.

I am home with the children this week. What an adventure.

Being Mr. Fix It, I often tell myself, or worse tell my wife, if I were here things would be better. Well if I were home all the time things might get a little better after a while. But thinking I could walk in and make it all good in a hurry was so wrong.

The only thing that improved quickly was the children’s behavior. That is mostly because they fear me. In the words of Alex, “Zoe don’t! He’ll paddle us again!”

I have wasted enough time. I better get back to work.