Beth has had so many jobs over the years. For a while she worked in the dining room at a McDonalds but at her break time they allowed her to have a free snack like fries or whatever and it got to the point that's the only reason she would work. She wouldn't do a good job, instead she would just quickly swipe a table or sort of sweep just so she could go get her snack. It became all about the food.
She worked at Creation Station for a short time. It was a store filled with stuff kids could use to create; paper towel rolls, empty spools of thread, cotton balls, springs, lids... schools would have field trips to this place and they would make anything they wanted.
(These are from Google.)
When they were done, Beth would help clean up, put everything away and prepare the space for the next group. It was a really good fit and she liked it there, but unfortunately they went out of business.
She worked at The Dollar Tree but there were some issues between the manager and other co-workers (personality conflicts and arguments at work) and her job coach decided it was too toxic.
She worked a short time at Auntie Anne's, offering samples to shoppers. But she's very shy and wouldn't actually talk to anyone. She'd just stand there, then her feet would ache and her back would hurt... just not a good fit.
Then her job coach found Little Caesars. This store went out of their way to hire and train and include people with special needs. Beth was brought in to fold boxes and everyone there loved her!
The one problem was it's location. The store was about 45 minutes to an hour from our house by car. The DART bus however, would make numerous stops along the way and she'd end up being on the bus for 2-3 hours each way. And she didn't get off work until 8pm so that made for some long days and very late nights.
They found another LC closer to our home and that has worked out so well!
She's been with the company now for a little over 6 years and she folds about 450-500 boxes in a 3 hour shift. About a month ago she told me that she likes it so much that she wishes she could do it every single day! So... I called her job coach (I love the way the Lord works!) and when she went in to talk to the manager, he was folding boxes! She told him that Beth wanted to work more hours and... "Yes!! I hate folding boxes!" So he put down the box and immediately added her to the schedule!
So now she's working 3 days a week. At a job she absolutely loves. Course, the bigger paycheck doesn't hurt either!
And I learned today that Beth has made such an impact on them, they're hiring another person with special needs!
So what kind of jobs have you had over the years? Which one was your favorite?
School bag in hand, she leaves home in the early morning,
waving good-bye with an absentminded smile.
I watch her go
with a surge of that well known sadness
and I have to sit down for a while.
The feeling that I'm losing her forever
and without really entering her world.
I'm glad whenever I can share her laughter
that funny little girl.
Slippin' through my fingers all the time
I try to capture every minute
the feeling in it
slippin' through my fingers all the time.
Do I really know what's on her mind?
Each time I think I'm close to knowing
she keeps on growing
slippin' through my fingers all the time. (Sharaya)
Sleep in her eyes
her and me at the breakfast table
I let precious time go by.
Then when she's gone
there's that ol' meloncholy feeling
and the sense of guilt I can't deny.
What happened to those wonderful adventures?
The places I had planned for us to go?
Well, some of that we did
but most we didn't
and why I just don't know.
Sometimes I wish that I could freeze the picture
and save it from the funny tricks of time,
slippin' through my fingers...
This song is by Abba and is in Mamma Mia, a movie created around their music. I watched this again the other night and found myself crying (visualize: ugly cry) thinking of my two youngest girls.
I don't know how many of you have children, but parenting is hard work. When they're small you're in the throws of potty training, packing lunches for school, doctor's appointments, signing permission slips, sleepless nights, volunteering in the classroom, helping with homework, teaching them how to take showers, clip their fingernails, chew with their mouths closed, how to behave in a restaurant... it's a constant blur of life.
And somewhere in there you plan birthday parties and vacations and music lessons and sleep overs. Then, before you know it they're grown up and everything stops. They're on their own and you stand back and watch them live their lives from afar.
I know I see Sharaya pretty often, sometimes a few times a week, but it's not the same as when she was living at home. And Diana, I've only seen her three times in the last 18 months. It's not a bad thing really. It's exactly what's supposed to happen, your kids grow up, move out and begin their own lives. The circle of life as they say.
So I started bawling when I heard this song again. It's hard to describe the feeling you have when your kids grow up and move away, but Slippin' Through My Fingers gets pretty darn close.
I found out on Wednesday that a good friend of mine recently passed away. She had been sick for quite some time but was living day-to-day and doing pretty well. Went in for a regular checkup and ended up dying that afternoon. I'm still in shock.
On Thursday afternoon I got a text from an elderly friend I visit a few times a month and his wife had fallen and broke her nose! She was taken to the hospital and had to have stitches right across the top of her nose. I saw her today and her face is so swollen and is bright purple. But she doesn't remember a thing! She'll look in the mirror and be so shocked, "Oh!! What happened to me?!"
Then Thursday night my sister sent me a text saying, "First of all, I'm going to be okay." Well you know conversations that start like that are never good! She's had a mild stroke and was in the hospital. She's a little weak on her left side so the doctors kept her over night but it seems she'll completely recover.
Man, stuff like this... even though it's not happening directly to you, it still affects you emotionally. My prayers are going out to all these friends and family.
No that's not a metaphor of my life or anything, there really is a stretch of highway called The Loneliest Road!
This was one of the first trips we took without Sharaya. She was married and pregnant so just 4 of us climbed into the van that morning. We left Seattle and headed East to Wyoming, then headed South to Colorado.
Chuck's mom and sister were having a few health issues and needed some help around the house. One of the big things we did was to clean out their garage so Rose could park her car inside for a change. Those Colorado winters can be brutal!
Chuck's sister Rose, his mom Mary Ann and... Chuck
After leaving Colorado, we headed East and that's when we found ourselves on the loneliest road! There's no sign of civilization for miles. I remember driving through one small town and as we came to the end of it kids were jumping off their toys and running to the street to yell goodbye to us, there was one man who was washing his car and he stopped and waved as we drove by. They knew they were the last people we would see for a while!
The Loneliest Road
This is another section but it didn't take long for it all to look exactly the same.
We came across Arches National Park and decided to stop for a while. We'd heard a lot about it but had never been there. Beth wasn't too happy about getting out because she just wanted to wait in the car and continue to eat her red licorice. (Can you tell?)
We only stayed a couple of hours and so saw just a small part of the park but the landscape was phenomenal!
Can you see Beth in this one?
I gave Beth the camera hoping it would improve her mood. It did a little, but these are some of the pictures she took. Sigh.
Arches was beautiful and I'd love to go back one day and see more of that spectacular park!
We ended up spending the night in Reno, Nevada and it sure was interesting. A miniature Las Vegas but not as nice. I mean, the streets seemed dirty, I didn't feel completely safe walking around, I don't know, it was just different. Now this was back in 2010 so maybe things have changed since we were there.
We had lunch at Big Ed's Alley Inn and I remember Diana and I were afraid to go inside. The area was run down and this little hole-in-the-wall was a bar / restaurant. No thank you. But Chuck insisted that these kind of places have the best food.
Well, he was right! The food was amazing! And we didn't get shot or mugged or anything! We stopped at the hotel to drop off our stuff before heading out to The Strip. We came across Circus Circus and since none of us gamble, decided to go into the arcade. It was pretty big and the girls had a good time.
The next morning we headed for home. This was a different road trip for us because we took a lot of back roads and small highways that we normally don't travel. It really was a lot of fun!
Did you ever take a vacation that turned out different than you expected?
I was looking through my phone and found a bunch of pictures I hadn't shared yet!
For Father's Day Sharaya and Diana bought Chuck tickets to see the Mariners so of course I got to enjoy the gift with him. :) We love going to the ball park! The food is great, the atmosphere is electric, it's just a fun place to be! We had a great time!
Let's see, I already told you about VBA. Oh! Golden Gardens! We've been hearing about this park near our house so Chuck, Sharaya, Allie and I decided to get some sub sandwiches and eat there. (Beth was at work.) It was crazy to get there with narrow, winding roads, tons of people and traffic. Sharaya finally dropped us off and headed off to find a parking spot. It was so busy! But it was a beautiful park. We set up our chairs on the grass, ate dinner and enjoyed the view.
Allie played on the playground for a while.
She's at the top, center.
After we ate we walked down to the water. It was beautiful but we didn't stay long, there were so many people and it was getting late.
(This one's from Google.)
Afterward I took Allie back to the playground, Chuck packed up our stuff and folded up the chairs while Sharaya walked back to get the car. It was a fun, kind of spontaneous evening!
Our church had VBA this week (Vacation Bible Adventure) and it was so much fun! The theme this year was Pirates and everyone dressed up in pirate hats and head wraps and they made hooks (red cups inserted with tin foil hooks) and eye patches for their crafts. There were Bible stories and an Experience room where they got to act out some of the stories they heard. For instance the day they talked about Peter denying Jesus 3 times 'before the rooster crows' they had live chickens (because roosters were too loud) for the kids to pet and feed, plus a real crown of thorns and a Roman Soldier's helmet and shield they could try on.
The church was decorated so well! The team that put it all together did an amazing job! The pirate ship took up the entire platform!
We even had our very own pirates, Pirate Patch and Pirate Peg. I only got a picture of Patch (he's actually our childrens pastor's dad.) 😊 I love this photo! Makes me think of Pirates of the Caribbean.
The first of the week I was helping with Registration, sit at a table and check in the kids. But by the end, I was one-on-one with an 8 year old with autism. He's in our Sunday school class so was more comfortable with me then with the leader whom he didn't know (an amazing lady who volunteered to help if we had any kids with special needs.) Well, as happens sometimes, she ended up with more children (special needs and typical) then she expected. We tried to steer these kids to Bible story and craft and snack and recreation... wasn't easy but we did it! Every morning I'd pick Allie up and bring her to church. One of her best friends - since birth - was there so they hung out together. Part of the decorations included a photo booth and lots of people were taking pictures of their kids! It truly was phenomenal.
Our VBA is only 4 days long, instead of the usual 5 and on Thursday night we have a big Family Night where all the parents come and hear about everything the kids did and learned throughout the week. Then they all swarm the parking lot for hotdogs and chips, games and inflatables.
It was a great week but boy am I exhausted! Does your church put on VBA? Have you ever volunteered?