#bloginstead Challenge Day three, episode 1: The one mostly about marriage

Where a Heart and Flower GIF would  Go in Social Media

My little girls love opera and classical music! Earlier in the week, I was whistling the Flower Duet from Lakme, and my oldest daughter stopped what she was doing and looked at me.

“What’s that?” she asked.

I told her.

“Wait. I think I remember you showing me a video of that a long time ago. Can we watch it again?”

Soon I was tucked under the fascinated faces of the girls as we all watched Dame Joan Sutherland and Marylyn Horne sing under the flowers. They begged their dad to find them the full version and put it on our Plex account. They love the music and the stories. Since they inherited my giant voice, it’s especially fitting that they love one of the only artforms that’s big enough for them.

This morning’s beautiful and sweet-smelling offering of wildflowers from my oldest daughter of joy.

Behind the Scenes Prep

Last night’s post was supposed to be yesterday midday’s post, but I read my email. I realized that I needed to use a different set of technologies in next weekend’s workshop at the St. Emmelia South Homeschool Conference. I spent my afternoon quiet moments  sketching worksheets and patterns to convey ideas as efficiently as possible. Then I remembered that I ran out of business cards last week. I spent the evening designing business cards as well as stickers for flash drives.

I’m putting together a big bundle of printable comment boards, visual schedules, worksheets, and information/best practice for accessibility guides to give away at the Antiochian East Parish Life Council where I’ll be leading a workshop this June. Everyone who comes to that workshop will go home with a flash drive of the files so they can print as many copies as they need for their parish use. Well, I thought to myself in a moment of giving-myself-more-work, why not bring a small sample of the larger set to this conference? So that’s why the stickers. For my future big conference workshops, I am going to order laser labeled bulk flash drives where the manufacturer images them for me ahead of time. But for these smaller ones, I am using cute little stickers.

Thinking About Marriage

After I finished my workshop preparations for the day, I joined my husband in bedtime routines for the kids. Yesterday I used the metaphor of my mothering self as a canyon wall to direct my children’s development into deeper and swifter graces. What I didn’t say but thought about a lot last night is that my husband is the other canyon wall. Marriage is not only partnership in childrearing, but when it is, it’s beautiful. I fell asleep last night thinking of us a pair of giant stone statues over swift, deep rivers, our joined hands making a bridge and holding firm the walls so the waters can find their courses.

I was thinking about marriage because I had just read about the Pastoral Challenges in Marriage Conference -Kairos & Chronos (link is to registration information) that’s taking place at the end of the month in my city. I’m very grateful to see that along with her husband Fr. Joseph, Presvytera Melanie DiStefano  from the Greek Orthodox Center for Family Care is speaking in a workshop on “Ministering to Families with Special Needs.” I’m not planning to attend the conference since it seems to be geared towards people in more formal ministry roles, but I am very happy to see families with disabilities getting pastoral attention through this workshop at the conference.

I wrote about marriage when you have children with special needs in a post a couple of years ago, “When the Wine Runs Out: Marriage in a Special Needs Family.” Everything I said there is still true, but I got to thinking about some practical ideas I would add that really help. The way my brain works, I can’t usually set down a thought till I’ve written it onto a list.

Download it in PDF HERE to print, or see image below to read (text is in alt-text for screen readers):

1: Don't be afraid to be a family who prays outside the box. God gave you this family and is with you. Find a way to connect to prayer. Ask your priest for help. 2: Make physical space for prayer in your home. Include a place to lay aside your burdens symbolically, whether through touching the Cross, lighting a candle, or another habitual movement. 3: Reserve attention for your spouse. Set down phones or tasks and turn toward your spouse when they talk, at least 5 times a day. 4: Spend time and money disability-proofing just as you did baby-proofing. Remove handicaps to safe family life. For instance, you might need stainless steel teapots and coffee carafes, special locks, visual aids, visual timers, the more expensive ramp so that you don't stub your toes, and/or older child/adult diapering facilities in your home. 5: Find a capable babysitter (off-duty OTs or nurses, for instance) or two who can watch all of your kids, and get away for uninterrupted conversation a couple times a month if possible. Even once a month helps! 6: Sleep together in the same bed. Buy a bigger bed if you need to. 7: Family vacations might be a challenge. Trade time off for personal trips for each parent to spiritual growth conferences and retreats. 8: Schedule half days off and take the family to an afternoon Children’s museum or fun farm outing. Look for Sensory-Friendly nights at family venues. Vacations might be unfeasible, but fun isn't. 9: Build on your meaningful routines, and ask your children’s aid workers and therapists to help them participate. Example: We started our kids' therapies at the tea table. 10: Keep your couple identity. You’re not only Mom and Dad. 11: Find your family patron saint and ask him or her to pray for you and your prosperity and health. 12: Don’t blame each other for the children’s challenges or deny that the challenges exist. Rather work together to find God’s presence in your marriage and family and in the disability shaping your family. Summer Kinard author, Of Such is the Kingdom: A Practical Theology of Disability


4 thoughts on “#bloginstead Challenge Day three, episode 1: The one mostly about marriage”

  1. So sweet your girls like opera. You must be musical! I hope all goes well at the homeschool conference. What a lovely little bouquet!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.