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CAUTION HIGH RED ALERT: K-12 Special Education/Education Teachers, anyone who services special needs in K-12, All cultural teachers, parents, and anyone who cares:

Bill 610 has been introduced to the House of Representatives to do away with all Public Education and ALL SPECIAL EDUCATION!

GOP tries sneak plays to quietly push their agenda through, while Trump distract the USA! Pink slips for all public school employees and back to warehousing if your kid has special needs!

EVERYBODY SHOULD BE CONTACTING SENATORS AND REPRESENTATIVES ON THIS ISSUE!!! No apathy or excuses!

“The school voucher system proposed by Education secretary Betsy DeVos does not mean you can choose any school you want your kid to go to. It means the public education program will be dismantled.

If your child has an IEP (individual education plan for students with special needs), kiss it goodbye.

If you have a job in special-education, if you’re a special education teacher, physical therapist, occupational therapist, speech pathologist, a para, a teacher’s aid, or an ESL (English as a second language) teacher, you’ll go first.

House Bill 610 makes some large changes. Inform yourselves. This bill will effectively start the school voucher system to be used by children ages 5-17 and starts the defunding process of public schools. The bill will eliminate the Elementary and Education Act of 1965, which is the nation’s educational law that provides equal opportunity in education. ESSA is a big comprehensive program that covers programs for struggling learners, advanced and gifted kids in AP classes, ESL classes, classes for minorities such as Native Americans, Rural Education, Education for the Homeless, School Safety (Gun-Free schools), Monitoring and Compliance, and Federal Accountability Programs.

The Bill also abolishes the Nutritional Act of 2012 (No Hungry Kids Act) which provides nutritional standards in school breakfast and lunch.

The bill has no wording whatsoever protecting Special Needs kids, no mention of IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act), and FAPE (Free Appropriate Public Education). Some things ESSA does for Children with Disabilities:

-Ensures access to the general education curriculum.
-Ensures access to accommodations on assessments.
-Ensures concepts of Universal Design for Learning.
-Includes provisions that require local education agencies to provide evidence-based interventions in schools with consistently underperforming subgroups.

-Requires states in Title I plans to address how they will improve conditions for learning including reducing incidents of bullying and harassment in schools, overuse of discipline practices and reduce the use of aversive behavioral interventions (such as restraints and seclusion).

Please call your representative and ask him/her to vote NO on House Bill 610 (HR 610) introduced by three Republican reps.”

–quoted portion taken from unknown author, found on FaceBook.Elementary and Education AES

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Goodbye Kisses

imageDedication:
I have many friends that have recently experienced the loss of a parent and others who are facing it in the very near future. It is to them, and to my beloved Mother, that I dedicate this personal walk of faith, in the hope that they may gain some solace.

 

.In the end, during those last two weeks in the Riverside Hospice facility, Mama was too weak to open her eyes or speak; but I talked to her and read Psalms, Song of Songs, Romans 8, and her favorite, the book of Ruth. I played hymns and quietly sang to her. And I held her hand as we listened to the soundtrack of Maria Callas performing “Madame Butterfly”–the very first opera Mama had taken me to see at Heinz Hall in Pittsburgh, when I was six. I had found a cache of an eclectic array of music cassettes and CDs in the gorgeously decorated parlor complete with richly opulent Victorian Christmas decorations. It was in the midst of this loveliness that my pastor came out, and my Mom and I shared our last communion together. Breaking bread and sharing the cup, as we had done so many times in church, I was fully well aware that I would never share communion with her again in this lifetime. Another home video stored up forever in my soul! And I am so grateful to God that I had the sacred privilege of walking my Mother home to heaven! It remains the greatest honor I have ever had bestowed upon me.

The gentle, blessedly dedicated hospice staff even helped me bundle Mother up in blankets like a mummy and take her outside one last time, to feel and smell the winter’s crisp, fresh air as I lifted her face up so that the sun’s rays shone down upon her timeless beauty, etched now with the lines of a life lived in service to God and all of His creation. Each line, every furrow and wrinkle adding loving-kindness, patience, wisdom, forbearance, diligence, faith and such character and dignity that her skin glowed like a translucent, ethereal, intangible shrine of a life poured out for others. A relief map of Christ was her beloved face. Moments like these have become memories etched deeply in my heart from those last four months of her illness when I never left her side.

The final day, when Aaron, my baby brother came in to us, he went over to her and lifted open her eyes with his fingers and she looked right at us, her eyes perfectly clear and focused!

It was amazing and I felt so dumb I had not thought to try that myself. She looked right at us and got to see us one last time. Aaron softly said, “There you are.” We smiled tearful smiles, lips quivering with the effort, as we assured her that we were going to take care of each other and that we would be okay. That we knew she had to go.

As Aaron released her eyelids to close, I leaned down and whispered, ” Just look for your little boy in his red, pig sweatsuit, Mama. You’ll see him. And when you do you just run to him and don’t look back! He’s been waiting for you! Tell him I said, ‘Honey!’ ” Aaron and I watched in amazement as we saw her eyes under her lids scan back and forth several times, until they abruptly stopped, her face relaxing. Did she find him? I believe that she did!

When I asked her to convey a message to Scottie, it was not an idle gesture. I was referring to what had become one of our own private little rituals over the years. My other brother, Scottie, was born with Down’s Syndrome. He had passed away ten years earlier from a congenital heart defect. He and I shared a very special love and adoration that had grown between us over the years resulting in our own little inside jokes and routines forged in love. Instead of saying hello or goodbye, we would put our foreheads together, third eyes touching against each other. We would both cup one another’s face with our hands and gazing deeply into one another’s eyes–his sparkling blue, mine dancing green–both filled with a deep, abiding, eternal love; we would smile and at the same time say to each other in unison, dragging the endearment out with artful practice, “Honey!” Then we would just smile big, joy-filled toothy grins full of adoration and love. I don’t even remember how it started, but I recently saw that it is a very ancient greeting and farewell for an ancient tribe of people from several thousand years ago!

~~

In the early, darkened hours of the next morning, everyone had been called to come in because the nurse had told us that Mama was close to the end. Exhausted by our vigil, one-by-one, we had all fallen asleep–in chairs, couches, on the floor.

Then something awakened me. I looked over and a nurse was bent over Mom with her stethoscope over Mama’s heart. She whispered, “I just heard her heart beat a second before you woke.” Nothing moved in the room. The stillness was electric as we waited, eyes locked on one another. Finally, she pulled back, her expression telling me what I could not bear.

And Mother was gone, just like that.

Almost with a jerk, Aaron, my brother, lifted his head, just as I started to stand up and start over to the hospital bed. Then one by one, each one of us woke, one sleepy head after another rising and looking toward her bed without a sound. I truly believe when her spirit left her body, she stopped one last time to kiss us each goodbye.

We stood around her bed and I had been with her night and day, never leaving her side for four entire months except when she was moved into ICU over Thanksgiving. I looked at this incredible, amazing human woman, who was the epitome of strength, dignity, life, and everything lasting and endurable and unconquerable I had ever known . . .and she was just gone! Just like that.

We had been in hospice and I knew the doctors said she was dying, but until that moment, I realized, deep inside of myself, I had not truly believed them. I was stunned as I felt wetness slide down my face. Looking around at so many others I loved so much, I saw the truth of grief and loss etching itself in each face like a mark of passage. And it went through me like my insides had been wrenched out and dropped to the ground.

I remember thinking just, “How?”

How can love and vitality and everything she was not be in that beloved body anymore?

But at the same time the room was so still with the Presence of the Almighty God. So sacred. The holiest moment I have ever experienced besides giving birth to my daughters and seeing a whole new human being come out of my own body. We were in a sanctuary at that moment, not a hospital room. And the Lord, God had filled that place; had come personally to walk my Mother home!

Just like my baby girls had taken their first breath like a holy sacrament; so, now Mother had taken her last breath in the same hushed stillness of a holy communion. And these experiences forever changed who I am and the meaning of life and love and death for me. Yet still, even ten years later, an overwhelming actual physical ache will come upon me and I just want-no! need to hug my mother, even though she has been gone ten years now.

But I feel her. When I’m alone. When I need her most, I sense her presence; feel a tingling like arms wrapped around as if I am being hugged. Sometimes the scent of her surrounds me and on rare awe-inspiring moments, sometimes I can almost see her. Reaching out toward a shimmer in the air, I feel an electricity, an expectancy. And I know she is right there with me!

I know there is life after death. I am visited by love when times are at their hardest. I know if a person opens themselves to spirit, they will know, too. The Bible says that love is stronger than death. And all I can tell you is what I know: It is true.

 

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Experience

Experience (Photo credit: djniks)

When someone else speaks their truth and it hurts or makes me furious, I find it is time to go be alone.  It is best not to react in front of that person, but to get by myself and then vent my feelings.  After venting, I need to ask myself what I can learn from this experience.  I can always learn something.  God does not send me experiences, especially painful ones, unless I can learn from them.  Sometimes the experience is only a marker to show me how much I have grown so that I can practice gratitude for prior lessons.  Sometimes it is a warning to show me what could happen if I make certain choices in life.  Sometimes, and I find these lessons the hardest, it is a mirror to show me something about myself of which I may not even be aware, which really wounds or infuriates me when I am on the receiving end.  By being willing to look in this mirror, I will receive the most beneficial instruction because I can truly see where I need to grow the most.

Log jam in Craighall. An old dead tree has cre...

Log jam in Craighall. An old dead tree has created a natural log jam on the Craighall burn. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

These insights are my greatest life opportunities.  I can choose to humbly accept them and work out a plan to improve myself or I can hide from them in fear.  But letting fear win only hides these problems from myself.  They remain glaringly obvious to everyone around me.  I am finding it is far better to admit my issues and move forward than to hide from them and stagnate.  Stagnation works like a log-jam.  Everything builds up behind it until even the water cannot flow.  It will eventually become a dam in my life, preventing anything from flowing forward or backward.  Since a characteristic of life is change, building a dam is a form of spiritual death.

The good news is all death is but the changing point, not the ending point.  The bad news is it is possible to get side-tracked or lost in a change-point for a long time.  When something stagnates for long enough, it begins to rot and stink.  When we stagnate, our lives begin to rot and stink.  We become polluted, sick, dying.

Clearing the jam is the only way to renew ourselves.  Fortunately, many have paved the way through this dam before us and we can walk in their footsteps.  We are never alone on our journey.  While each path is individual, all paths are made of experiences we share in common with our fellow humanity.  There is no single way to clear this jam.  It is up to each of us to find our own best way that works for us.   I have heard some say we need to confront the past.  Some say going over the past just reinforces it.  I think it depends on the person and the issues.  Whatever gets you moving forward, free of burdens, is right for you.   I have struggled a long time with this issue personally and have found, for me, it is usually a matter of learning to love myself more.  The more I love myself, the more I seem able to inherently make the right decisions for myself and the more free I become of the past.  The more I love myself now; the less the past matters.  The more I love myself; the higher my self-esteem.  The higher my self-esteem; the easier it is to examine myself for things I may want to change, or release comments that might hurt me or make me angry because I have examined them and determined they just don’t apply.  When that happens, my next question is am I sending signals I don’t want to send or is this person’s judgement just way off-base in this circumstance?  Loving myself helps me realize that it isn’t always me!  It also helps me forgive someone else when they are wrong.  Including myself.  So, how do I learn to truly love myself?

That, my friends, is another post.  But first I would really like to hear from you.  How do you build a loving relationship with yourself?  I am looking forward to reading all of your responses!

 

Attitude and the State of Peace

My friend, if you look into your past, you will recall situations that once brought you thoughts and emotions of stress and pain that you now deal with in a more peaceful manner. The same type of situation may occur today, but your reaction and attitude to it is more positive and peaceful. You simply through experience realized that there was a better way of dealing with it. A more experienced and mature attitude brought you greater feelings of peace and understanding. Looking back, you see that the ability to choose peace in such situations had always been available, and that it was simply the way you looked at and reacted to it that needed seasoning.

When we lack peace in any situation, it is not because peace is not available, but because the attitude we are supporting is blocking the awareness to the state of peace. Once the attitude is shifted, all that is left is the state of peace. As your attitude matures and your sense of inner peace strengthens, you will become more and more confident that your inner peace has very little or nothing to do with your outside environment. You will depend less and less on circumstances turning out a certain way, or on other people responding the way you think you want them to. As your attitude and inner peace develops, your outside world will also begin to “change” to realign with this new way of thinking. Slowly, you will begin to realize that the world you experience outside of you is directly correlated to the thoughts and attitude you support within.

To assist you in remembering the importance of attitude in your daily experience, consider the following statement on attitude from renowned author and pastor Charles R. Swindoll:

“This may shock you, but I believe the single most significant decision I can make on a day-to-day basis is my choice of attitude. It is more important than my past, my education, my bankroll, my successes or failures, fame or pain, what other people think of me or say about my circumstances, my position, or me. Attitude is that ‘single string’ that keeps me going or cripples my progress. It alone fuels my fire or assaults my hope. When my attitudes are right, there’s no barrier too high, no valley too deep, no dream too extreme, no challenge too great for me.” 1

Peace, Health, Happiness, Love, Laughter and Light.

James Blanchard Cisneros
Chosentoremember.com

If you will, allow me to offer a personal note of gratitude to all who read this material, ‘like’ the message, and take the time to comment and share it. In this life you may never know whose day you assisted in making it a bit more joyous and peaceful by adding your comments and sharing the message with your friends, but I will promise you that there will come a time when you will see and feel the results of even your smallest efforts to bring joy and peace to this planet. May we all become examples and reminders to others of the light within us all.

1. Charles R. Swindoll, Strengthening Your Grip, Word Books, Waco, TX, Copyright 1982, p. 207.

 

To find more follow the link below:

www.YouHaveChosenToRemember.com

English: Two teen is kiss

English: Two teen is kiss (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am grateful that I am finally learning the difference between being kind and loving and being a doormat!  I can seek to be forgiving and to understand why someone does something hurtful to me but that does not mean I have to stick around and allow them to continue harming me.  I may be one with humanity and the universe but that doesn’t mean I must be a personal friend with each and every soul at this moment in my existence.  Sometimes it is a matter of my own personal growth to choose to love myself enough to walk away.  And instead of making me a bad person that action will make me a better person.  As I get better at loving myself I get better at loving others.  And there are times when the most loving thing I can do for someone else is to show them by my absence that cruelty, unkindness, and extreme narcissism are not to be tolerated.   For the first time in my life, I am processing choosing to end a relationship or relationships which are spiritually, mentally, and emotionally unhealthy for me without guilt or shame  or self-hatred.  I am congratulating myself for personal growth and strength to say, “Enough is enough.”  It feels good to make a loving decision on my own behalf and stick to it.  I am thankful, so thankful, I am finally–finally–learning to let go of negative people and negative emotions on this journey of discovery into gratitude and love.

  • Love! (feetfirstbook.wordpress.com)

Ending War

Hands Passing Baton at Sporting Event

Hands Passing Baton at Sporting Event (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You have wounded me.

But I can see

my wounding

is from

your own pain.

I refuse

to allow

this relay race

of passing

this baton of hurt

to continue

for even

one more lap.

I will keep

this baton.

I will return to you

loving kindness

and

forgiveness.

And

I will not

concern myself

over

whether you

“get it.”

I

will leave that

between

you

and

God.

Struck in Series Whether these trees were ligh...

Struck in Series Whether these trees were lightning struck at the same time, I don’t know, but it would certainly be a coincidence if they weren’t! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today I am grateful for synchronicity.  Synchronicity is when everything seems to flow forward towards the same outcome.  It is when someone you don’t know begins talking to you about a particular problem you have been struggling with and gives you encouragement to overcome it.  It is when you are broke and find the exact amount of money you need on the sidewalk.  Some people might call it coincidence.  I don’t believe in coincidences.  There are too many of them.  I follow my path and know God leads me on in little baby steps.  Nudging me, inspiring me, encouraging me from one moment to the next.  The synchricity I detect is actually the plan for my life toward the goal of fulfilling my life’s purpose.  The knowledge that I am right where I am supposed to be gives me such a feeling of security.  I am confident in God’s plan and care for me and I can relax and destress because I know everything will work out just right.

The messages I receive from the universe around me encourage me.  I know I move within the grace of God in a place of the miraculous.  In a place of eternity, infinity, all possibilities.  And my view of who I am is both diminished and increased until my ego dwindles to nothingness and my spirit encompasses all that is, all that was, all that ever will be.

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