Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Unstuffy ways to begin a relationship with God.

What keeps people from having a close relationship with God?

There are many reasons, excuses, or possibilities that hinder having a relationship with God. But it is possible.

What does keep people from experiencing a close walk with God?

Simply put, first and foremost there is something called desire. One must have the desire to know God better. Once the desire is acknowledged, a determination to find God even during the busy times of our lives must be made. It doesn't happen without intent. I don't know of any relationship with any level of depth to exist without work and commitment. Relationship with God is not any different.


Give thanks to God every morning before starting your day.

Look for God in the big and small blessings and graces of each day.

Seek to know God. Pray often. Desire holiness. Ask for God-awareness.

At night, give thanks. Review your day. Ask yourself, where was God in my day? Confess your sins and failings. Speak to God in openness. Ask for help.

Listen for God's quiet whisper.

Begin a life of seeking God, following what He tells you, and knowing His holy word.He says that He can be found if we seek Him. Then a real relationship begins.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

"Let not your heart be troubled.

 Ye believe in God, believe also in me. . . .

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you. . .

Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."

These words Christ spoke to his disciples, to comfort them, to prepare them, to encourage them. He knew that soon He would be leaving them. No longer would He be with them in physical form. This would be difficult for them, they were used to following Him not being independent of Him, it would be a new way of walking in the way of faith. They would need to trust in Him even more once His physical presence departed. They can't imagine life without Jesus. Christ is reassuring them, He wants his disciples to know that He always will be with them, still active in helping them, to not be afraid of this for they can access this peace He is saying will become theirs.

It is hard to trust when we are afraid of the unknown, when we've come to depend on others.

Jesus Christ promises us hope and help. He is the way and the truth. He shepherds his flock of vulnerable sheep. Christ offers peace when it's easier to become troubled. He says, No, don't let your heart be troubled and don't let it be afraid. I am with you. He is with us in the storm, and He says, "Peace, be still." Then He stills the storm and the sea is as glass. The miracle of God's grace enacted on behalf of His loved ones.

It is true, #Christ is with us. He keeps us when we are falling apart, uncertain, and afraid. His hand is extended toward us. It is we who must reach out to grasp His Hands, to reach out to His love, forgiveness, guidance, and strength. To be like Peter and say, "Save me!" when the waves are crashing and pulling us under the water.

Jesus saves. I can personally attest that this is true. Not only in offering us salvation for our souls, but in saving us in the troubling circumstances of life.

Let not your heart be troubled, 
                                     neither let it be #afraid.  Amen

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Let's Celebrate: The Blog Evolves: Praises to God!

Today is a day of celebration for me. 100 page views in one day!
It marks the first time my blog has reached 100 page views in one day. As it stands at the time of this writing, I have 125 page views for 07/23/2013. Doing the happy dance!!!

#Blogger Statistics
In case you have not participated in blogging, I will share some statistical information with you. I have several pages of Overview material in my blog statistics that are broken down in "per page view": 
-Audience (countries), 
-Traffic source (URLs), 
-Operating systems (Ipad, Iphone, Windows, Linux, Macintosh, Android etc.), 
-Browser (Firefrox, Internet Exporer Opera, Chrome Safari Mobile etc.)
-Views per post (day, week, month, all).

How did this come about?
I began blogging a couple of years ago. Then I removed several of my blogs' content to use the material in another writing venue because I didn't want to double up the material in two sources. It remained status quo for quite a long period. I didn't have any agenda other than trying my hand at another vehicle for sharing my message of faith and interesting personal experiences. The only blog I felt I must write was "Lockdown." Interestingly, it is the only one that I am aware of being shared a few times electronically (on facebook). I do know of one person who has shared my blog address in her church newsletter and also printed the blog, What Happened to You? for her church's Awana leaders.

Enter....Book Completion.
I finished writing my book. I spent a bundle on self-publishing and a big chunk of change on marketing which was unsuccessful, netting just a handful of books sold. More of my books have been sold by me personally than by the marketing service I paid big bucks to advertise my book. It was a no-brainer that this wasn't working for me and they could bleed me dry. I also believe that my book has merit and is not only just a book for friends and family, but the jury's still out. I have learned though, there are several layers to helping a book sell and to become known, even if they all seem right it still may not take off. Just a comment: I am  at peace with this because I believe I wrote the book I was supposed to write. It is truly in God's hands. If He wants it to be read by a greater audience of readers, He will either propel it forward or enlist me in doing the work. Did you know that authors are often haunted by self-doubt, their thinking is, "Is my book really any good?" I've wondered the same thing. Some positive comments have helped me to not get discouraged. As writers, we can't determine the outcome, but we can take the necessary steps for the writing venue to be done well and to have a successful following especially in the electronic age in which we live.

What to do? 
I soon realized that I would have to become literate in the writing venue, become savy with the book market field and establishing an author platform (a year ago I didn't even know the term). I knew I would need to do two (really three) things. 1. Write more books  2. Establish a writing presence on the world-wide-web, and most importantly, seek God for wisdom and direction so I wasn't wasting time if it wasn't in His plan for me. No point in pursuing it if #God isn't in it. I knew I didn't want to waste any more of my hard-earned money (it's too hard to come by) by giving buckets of it away with no return on the investment. I also am in a deficit position, I don't have any writing partners, coaches, PR, or editors or anyone to help me in my endeavor. It was up to me. By the way, I hope this will change. I am considering some contacts.

Learning the trade
This spring and summer I have been doing my homework, essentially, learning the trade. I went where the information is. #Twitter has become my most useful friend/tool in finding information. It's easy to use and people love to write and sell their product. I put down "author" and became the target for many tweet friends. Perfect! It has been an effective way to find author/writing content information.  There is a host of information on self publishing. I read a lot of it. I have learned that there are cheaper ways and less disappointing ways to get the job done. With Tweets and Blogging I have learned that one must decide their message and hone their process as a way of staking a claim, getting a reputation with the followers, so the readers will know what to expect and how often to expect it!  I write #Tweets three or four times a day and have 70+ people following me. I usually publish my blog on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday or Saturday. This all takes time, a lot of time. I do a lot of reading to learn this stuff since I am on my own in this so far.

The blogger blog has been a learning process for me. I keep finding more and more features that I can implement. Then I go about figuring out how to do it. Once in awhile it backfires. But it hasn't stopped me. My web page has been less successful in my ability to use it which is why I don't blog from my web page. I will be making a change soon.

Here's a picture I just took of my blog Overview page. I think you will find it interesting, especially the countries represented.

Looking Ahead
God has given me a message. I don't want to get off track by writing a script that benefits just my own need to write, but instead, hopefully, benefits my readers. I like to write and have always found words to be of interest. And, I love figuring out the lessons in life. I have a loooong way to go to become "successful" at my craft. At this point, the success is found in knowing that my words can be an encouragement, a thoughtful consideration, a prompt for personal growth, and a celebration of God and the gift of living.

I intend to begin podcasting in August. This particularly interests me. I like using my voice to communicate a message. I plan to read my book in 15 minute segments with my daughter's piano recording in the background. The few times I've orally read from my book to an audience, the response was quite positive, some asking me if I would record an audio book. Some people don't have time to read but they can listen as they drive to work. A friend who is blind, had husband read my complete book to her, a page a night. She was blessed because of the descriptions of nature and the heart of the writing. I believe God is giving this incentive to me as a way for Him to bless others. That is really what it is about anyway! 

I just learned how to put short videos I've taken from my Ipad on YouTube. I hope some of my readers will share my #Lookout Point video with their friends as a way to share God's love. It tells my story (God loves us) in a few simple words besides showing where my book was birthed. The video can be found on this blog's home page in the top right corner. I will be posting more videos and have uploaded a few walnut videos to go with my walnut blog topic. They are fairly crude but a start, regardless. I want to do three more videos at the Lookout.  I believe I will begin their titles with Meridian Moment in keeping with a consistent theme.

My Followers  
Thank you for your "page views." I hope God is bringing peace, joy, and happiness into your life, and that you know His forgiveness and redeeming love. God loves you so much.


I hope you have enjoyed this update. I welcome any comments. If you have been blessed or ministered to in some way by God using the words in this blog, I think everyone would be delighted to hear about it. God's best!

Monday, July 22, 2013

MERIDIAN MINUTE no. 15: A Quiet Interlude

An Evening #Poem
Listening to the crickets chirp while I walk,
A cat lazily stretches out on a concrete step,
Quiet peace descends in layers of joy,
The loveliness opens out to share its delight.

Tonight I went for a walk, a quiet interlude after a busy day. I listened to the sounds as I walked. First it was the crickets singing their nightly tune. Then it was the rustling of leaves as a breeze lightly lifted and touched them. Next it was the cat who has adopted me, meowing its contented complaint as it lazily stretched in leisure at the bottom of the steps hoping for some attention. My heart was feeling full of peace as I walked. I'd met with three friends over breakfast at "Mom's" a restaurant in downtown near the university, talking past noon as we chattered in non-stop delight. My afternoon had more of the same, a conversation with a recently revived friendship. She and I went deep, talking about some of the struggles we've known, the power of God and our self-will to overcome certain injustices and issues that one doesn't like to speak about except with trusted friends.

I came home and had an ice cream sandwich, comfort food that speaks my language! I made a salad that had just about everything in it but the kitchen sink, packed full of dark greens and vitamin-rich veggies (to make up for the ice cream sandwich). And, while doing all of this, I was considering God, how He meets me during the times when I need an immediate answer. We read the words in the holy writ that say we have not because we ask not, and if we should ask, we ask with wrong intentions, incorrect motives. But, God tells us to ask, and to ask in faith, believing that God will act on our petitions. Yes, I have asked for a lot of things which I never received. Sometimes it has been very confusing, those times when I have not been discerning in a spiritual manner even though I was seeking to be discerning. In some ways it almost is like a dog chasing its tail, seeking but never quite receiving that which is being sought. And, you wonder why. It is the kind of thing that turns many away from following Christ. I suppose it goes back to motive. If the thing is from God, then we can let it go if He wants us to, and, if it is of God then that means it can not really be ours to claim and possess or manipulate (back to our belief system). Deep in his heart biblical Job understood this principle. He knew that everything that a person has is from God, and it is God's to do with as He should please or will to do it. If we believe God is good (as I do) then we can accept that He does what is right, always, even when it seems contrary to the very thing. Faith can be very weak. We should pray for greater faith.

I made the statement that God meets me during the times when I need an immediate answer. This was especially true when I had several teenagers in the household! It was a roller coaster at times. Something would happen, a problem or challenge would present itself, needing immediate attention. Something I couldn't ignore or be passive in my parenting. In these cases, I wouldn't always know what to do. A petition to God for an answer would be sent up^^^^. With my prayerful petition I would ask God to give me an answer through a scripture verse or a Christian song. And then I'd wait. Within twenty-four hours I almost always had my answer. A verse or a song would present itself in vivid clarity. With the answer I'd make a second petition ^^^^, I'd ask God to provide the time and opportunity for me to address it with my child, and that it would be natural and non-confrontational. Often, the child and I would be talking about something else and a segue to the issue at hand would come into the conversation. With no anger or anxiety, I would be able to bring up the current concern in a conversational way. I put my trust in God with these petitions and He answered me in a way I could access. I can't think of a time when God didn't give me what I needed. I also found that the times I acted first in my haste to deal with it, and prayed later after the thing imploded, it rarely had a positive outcome. Some of these issues were difficult, hard to address, embarrassing, but God always gave me what I needed when I asked Him to help me in the midst of the crisis.

The bigger decisions, the ones that are life-changing, I have asked for peace to accompany a right answer. I have also asked God for confirmation through His Word (scripture verses), His people (ones I respect in the faith), and through His direct leading. When the confirmation doesn't come, when there is no peace, and when there is no validation that something is of God, I have learned that it is best to drop the thing, even if it has seemed to be right or advantageous. Because something seems to be right doesn't mean it is right for us. Understanding and wisdom is in direct contrast to impatience and hurry, impulsivity. Waiting on the Lord to answer the petition (the wait is active), and seeking peace during its process and fulfillment, will bring us in closer union to God and in increasing dependence on God with those critical things in our lives that matter the most. 

The sky tonight was lovely. I share the picture with you of how God said "Good Night," to me this evening.  #God bless you.
Good Night to you. Thank you, Father-God.

Video of night sky:‎ 

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Lookout Point and Photos

I wrote a book.

 Its setting is at Lookout Point.
 I saw the beauty of the earth.
 Every time I visited my meeting place I was wowed.

God spoke to my heart. I rejoice in His presence.

A gift from my heart to yours.

 (Link to YouTube video)
Moments with God at Lookout Point, Paradise, CA.

Friday, July 19, 2013



Moving pipe in the orchard went well today. While I was working I was looking at the walnut trees thinking how much they are like our lives. These walnut trees in the orchard I farm, provide life examples that are true for the human experience. It was a positive to know and to realize the many good parts of growing and learning that one can observe in growing things. There is also the other side, the parts that can damage or cause destruction to the walnut, or the person, if one is to apply an analogy.

I picked up a walnut off the ground. It had a shrunken wrinkled hull. I stomped on the walnut and it cracked open. The walnut that had been growing inside its shell was blackened and shriveling, a blighted nut. It was not any good, a nut to be discarded. Next, I pulled a walnut off a tree branch. I peeled off its green hull, the outer layer which surrounds the shell, to expose the shell. I stomped on this nut. Inside,the nutmeat was light-white in color and the flesh was full, fibrous and watery as it should be at this stage of development, the developing nut adhering tightly to the shell so I couldn't pick it out for further observation. 

Diseased walnuts I picked off the ground under the trees.

Healthy walnuts as they are developing. The green hull adheres to the shell.

I looked around, the orchard floor was littered with a scattering of shriveled bad walnuts, blighted nuts. Useless walnuts, we always expect some of these. These will be chopped up by the mower when the weeds are clipped close to the ground during a maintenance procedure to keep the orchard clean.

Walnuts that have fallen to the ground.

A person should desire to be healthy in their body, soul and spirit, like the good walnuts. People are capable of producing something useful and nutritious and beneficial. It is a process of growing, learning, applying, and depending on God. It doesn't just happen without an act of intention, and the person's will turned toward its object. Preventative measures need to be initiated against that which is harmful to the soul. This is critical, it must be part of the process. The diseased nut doesn't "go wrong" without a cause and effect in its development. In early spring the walnut begins its bloom, developing its catkins. Once the miniature walnuts begin developing, they consist of a watery substance. In its infancy, the nutlet is susceptible to freezing and something called blight. Warm rains bring on the blight. The farmer must be proactive, prepare for the potential danger. When rain is expected, a spray is applied to the trees to help ward off potential blight before it can develop and ruin the crop. Once blight happens the walnut will no longer be good. the crop will be light, the crop's value lessened. There is a bit of a dance for the farmer in early spring, when and if to spray, to time the sprays to be preventative in action but not more than necessary. Some springs it rains for days on end, too wet and muddy for the farmer to drive a tractor and sprayer on the wet orchard floor. This results in walnuts damaged by blight, falling down out of the trees throughout the spring and summer months
, sometimes a hundred black nuts under a tree. It is expensive to treat an orchard, but necessary.

We, too, must be preventative, purposeful in what we do. This will help us to maintain and grow healthy in our spiritual lives. A strong spiritual life doesn't just happen. It is nurtured. If we assume that all is well, never taking an intense look at ourselves (and our walk with God), we can be susceptible to "blight" in our lives. When the rains come (and they will come), only the prepared, the preventative measures, will ward off its potential harm and damage. How? It's a good question. Important. One of the best preventions is being right where the person should be, in a place where God is feeding them through His Word, and the person is absorbing His truth and refreshment.

Psalm 1 speaks of being like a tree by the water receiving its nourishment. It is that way in the spiritual life. We must be connected to the Source, and the source is God, in a process of dependence on Him through the finished work of His Son, Jesus Christ. That's first, an imperative for true spiritual health. The tree will prosper. It will produce a good crop because the conditions are right. The dependence on God is necessary for a healthy spiritual life. 

 Psalm 1     (NIV)
 Blessed is the one
    who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
    or sit in the company of mockers, 

 but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
    and who meditates on his law day and night. 

 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
    which yields its fruit in season
 and whose leaf does not wither—
    whatever they do prospers.

A healthy tree with walnuts attached to the limb.
I am growing too.
 It is never about us, it is about God working in and through us. I must say, it has a sense of the mystery about it. God can be found, but He reveals only that which He wishes to reveal. We come to a place in our spiritual lives where we must begin to trust God. Until we trust Him and know He is good, we will struggle with circular arguments, the ones that keep people from full faith in God. Seeking God, looking for Him, opening up the spiritual center of a life, is the beginning, the middle, and the end in this pursuit. We want to be that tree of which the Psalmist speaks, finding ourselves nourished and enriched by Father-God. It is a loving reciprocal relationship. A person who has found God to be their Source, will never be the same. God will bring a sweetness into their lives that has joy at its center.

 Welcome video:

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

PICTURE STORY: WHAT'S WRONG WITH ME, A personal story, Central Auditory Processing Disorder

What’s Wrong With Me?

A Look at Central Auditory Processing Disorder
From a Child’s Perspective

Written by Norma L. Brumbaugh
Illustrated by LaVonne R. Shively

Copyright 2006

~ / ~


Central Auditory Processing Disorder is a physical disability that affects the ability to understand spoken language.  In the process of hearing what people say, the person with CAPD is not able to clearly hear the word sounds and so the message gets confused or garbled.  They hear the sounds but the individual parts of each word are not easy for them to hear correctly.  The words become confusing and may be understood to be something completely different than the original word, in some respects like a word in rhyme form.  It is similar to listening to the words in a movie when you are not quite sure of their exact meaning when the sound is fuzzy but you find yourself trying hard to make words that fit with what the actor is saying and doing.

The story you will read is true in content.  It is based on the experiences of one of my own children.   My fourth child was born with this condition.  This story is about his experiences although I use a female character in the story.  He was twelve years old when he was diagnosed with CAPD.    Before that there were many times when I would ask him a question or tell him to do something for me and he would do something quite different than I said.  I would ask him what he thought I said and he would respond with some statement that had similar word sounds but not the same words I had spoken.  I noticed if his back was to me he could not pick up the words I was saying, they were unclear to him.  While this was happening at home, it was at school where it became most frustrating for him.  He was not able to keep up with the demands of the classroom simply because he could not process the information quick enough.  It made him seem lazy and disorganized.

Once my son was aware of his auditory processing disorder he was able to speak for himself.  He learned to ask his teachers to seat him toward the front of the room so he could hear them clearly.  He asked them to speak facing him and to write assignments on the board or on paper so he would not miss something he did not hear well.  He received permission to have a writing pal who would take notes for him during lectures since he was unable to keep up with the teacher’s talking and write notes at the same time.  He worked harder at becoming more organized and responsible for his learning and education.

 My son is sixteen years old now.  He is able to manage in school quite well but he finds that he still misses some instructions and confuses information at times.  Words spoken by the school intercom are especially hard for him.  In sports it is challenging for him if he is unable to see the person speaking the command.  But essentially he has learned that it is up to him to make sure he is getting the information he needs.  The most helpful thing of all for him is that he knows what his physical limitation is and he is able to take responsibility for it.

 You can imagine how hard it is to try to do well in school when there is something that prevents you from hearing what you need to hear.  This story is a way to help you see that others around you may have some sort of disability that makes learning extra hard for them.  There are many types of learning disabilities that children in your school are trying to face while at the same time they are trying to become stronger students.  It is my hope that you will be kind and willing helpers or even become more aware of the challenges that face some of your classmates through the reading of this story.  It is of one child’s struggle.
~ / ~

What’s Wrong With Me?

I was just a little kid when my Mom and Dad first noticed it.  I didn’t talk as soon as the other kids my age.  When I did start talking, I was hard to understand.  Some of my words didn’t make sense or were out of order.  Most of my sentences were short or incomplete.   My brothers and sister thought it was cute when I mispronounced their names like Onas for Thomas and Bon for LaVonne.  I came up with some of my own words but usually I just didn’t say much.   I still wasn’t speaking sentences as a toddler so my mother got some ideas how to work with me from a speech teacher.  She wanted to help me develop my speech.  When it was time to enter kindergarten I understood many things but I was not able to express them very well to the teacher.

~ / ~

Kindergarten was fun but I had trouble paying attention, even during story time.  It was easier thinking about other things than trying to listen.  I liked doing seat work.   During seat work I watched my friends so I would know what to do.  The teacher always went too fast for me to follow.  When my mother volunteered in the classroom she noticed that I wasn’t watching the teacher or listening to what the teacher said most of the time.  Often I was looking at other things around me as if I was in my own world.   It would happen other places too.  I just didn’t seem to be focusing my attention where it was supposed to be.   Adults started telling me to look at them.

~  / ~

 I liked answering questions in class but sometimes it took me a long time to say it.  It was embarrassing when everyone was staring at me while they waited for me to finish what I was saying.   But the teacher said I had good ideas.  In fact she thought I had a very creative mind and knew a lot about nature and other things.   At parent conferences she talked with my parents about her concerns but she thought I probably would catch on later.  She liked my positive attitude and that I was a good helper.  My mom had a talk with me about being a good listener.
 ~ / ~

~ / ~
As I got older, sometimes I got to go to speech class.  I liked speech a lot.  The speech teacher and I played word games and I got to say lots of things.  She liked to hear what I had to say.   She wanted me to use big sentences.  Sometimes I got to be a helper with some of the younger kids in her room.  My mother talked with her and learned that she was working with me to develop my ability to communicate language using more words and expressions.  I guess it took me longer than most kids my age to say a complicated sentence.   I worked with the speech teacher for three years.  Sometimes she made me feel like I was okay and even smarter than I thought I was.

Actually, I liked school until third grade, and then it started getting harder.  We had to write all the time.  I tried to keep up but all the kids were faster than me.  Sometimes I didn’t do it right and the teacher scolded me.  She would say things like ‘pay attention’ or ‘hurry up’.  She would get kind of angry with me.  I decided I didn’t like school and asked my Mom if I could be home-schooled.  Mom started volunteering in my classroom every week to see what was going on.  At home I became upset about everything and would get angry at my sister and brothers.  I hated doing homework.  One time I had to do the same assignment three times before it was good enough for my teacher.  Mom asked me what would make me happy and I said, “If I could just play by myself with nobody else in the room.”   My answer surprised her and I think it made her sad.
~ / ~

It got so bad that I started thinking I was stupid.  I just wanted to hide.  If people would just leave me alone maybe it wouldn’t be so bad.  Sometimes I drew mean pictures and was mad at everyone and my teacher got impatient with me.  She said I was a smart kid but I wasn’t trying.  My Mom and Dad were concerned.  They talked to the teacher and principal in a special meeting.  It was decided that I should have a physical check-up.   Mom took me to see the doctor and after the exam he said I was fine.  They asked about attention deficit disorder but the doctor didn’t think that was something I had.  He also tested my hearing too.  It was normal.   There didn’t seem to be anything wrong with me.   My parents were still concerned especially since I started not liking school and had a terrible time getting my schoolwork done and turned in.

~ / ~

~ / ~

One thing that has always bothered me is noise, background type of noise.  It is hard for me to concentrate when people are making noise.  I don’t like it when there are distractions while I am trying to do my school work.  It bugs me when I can hear the TV or the radio, even the computer or people talking.  The sounds are just too much for me especially when I am trying to think.   I even prefer to play in a quiet room.  It’s hard to be in a big family where there is always someone talking, playing the piano, or listening to music or the TV.  I often go in to the kitchen to talk with my Mom while she is making dinner.  That is one time when I won’t get interrupted or distracted.  I like to talk with my mom because she takes the time to listen to me while I get my thoughts out.  I’ve always wondered why I am sensitive to sound.

It seemed like I had more troubles than most kids.  It got frustrating when I forgot stuff, like not turning in my homework when I had done it the night before, or not even bringing home my homework to do it.  I was never quite sure was I was supposed to be doing.  And my grades…they just weren’t what I wanted.  It didn’t ever seem to get better.  At least some teachers seemed to like me and would be patient with me.  I found that I could do good on special reports and projects.  In fact, I liked things that I could create.  That part of school wasn’t so bad.

~ / ~

Last summer I was sort of dreading sixth grade.  I was afraid I wouldn’t keep up cuz I’ve had so much trouble.  Well, sixth grade wasn’t going too good as usual, until my Mom heard about something called Central Auditory Processing Disorder.  She thought some of my problems were similar to CAPD.  She talked with two speech teachers and started researching for information about it.  I could tell she was hopeful and sort of excited about what she was learning.  We talked about it and I wanted to have my hearing checked out.  I went to see an audiologist.   It took two sessions of testing.  I got to do some listening-talking activities to see if I had an auditory processing problem and also an acuity test to see if I had hearing loss.

~ / ~

Well, guess what!  I have CAPD.  The first thing I said to Mom was, “I’m not stupid after all.”  My problems come from a hearing disorder caused by sound confusion in my central nervous system.  All this time the trouble was that I haven’t been able to understand what people are saying because it takes time for my brain to sort out what it hears.  My brain can’t keep up with all the sounds I am hearing.  It is kind of a relief to know why it’s been so hard for me in school.  Now my teacher helps me by having me sit where I can see her and am not bothered by the other students.  She helps me get my assignments organized and helps me get my writing done.  At home my parents are careful to keep the room quiet when I’m doing my school work.  I practice speech sounds with my Mom and see a speech pathologist to help train my ear so that I can develop my ear muscles since they are still growing.  It’s so much better now and I’m even starting to do well in school.  Isn’t that great!

~ / ~


Children internalize negative messages from sources and influences around them. These self-perceived messages have a basis even if the rationale is faulty. Failure to succeed in some area of their lives may be complicated by misconceptions or ignorance or unhealthy interactions. As a reading specialist, I witness this in low-performing students. They often see themselves as "stupid" or "not smart" or "incapable" of learning and performing. They quit. I consider it my job to jump-start the mechanism, the belief system about their ability to learn. One of my goals, that is not an academic performance expectation, is to help my students believe in their own-selves and in their in-born abilities.

For an example of how this can work backwards for a person, I will use a personal example from my family. I am purposely avoiding identifying my child's name in this  blog writing for their own right to privacy. 

One of my own children had an undiagnosed condition. Something was different about the way my child attended to instruction. It was apparent even in kindergarten. By third grade my child didn't want to go to school and was withdrawing socially. My child's unhappiness came out in a social withdrawing, an isolating from others, and in a few negative behaviors.  Children often do this. They act out their pain and their perceived feelings of  being "less-than" other people. I noticed this in my child. I began asking myself some questions. What is going on? Is it something weird? Is it an outward influence or is it something emotional? The teacher seemed to dismiss my child as "difficult," " unwilling to do the work." She seemed to imply an unwillingness in attitude on my child's part. I wondered what was her and what was my child? I am a teacher, I have never wanted to be a parent who causes trouble or makes mountains out of molehills. I've had my share of angry parents and it's no fun, especially when you are already stressed with the work load. 

My child's frustration, as well as my observation of increasing behaviors, got my attention. I decided to involve myself. I knew I must support my child. A parent must advocate for their children. I wanted to see first-hand my child's classroom environment and the comfort-zone tone of the classroom management combined with compliance-noncompliance attitudes of my child with the teacher. To do this, I requested to become a parent volunteer once a week in my child's classroom. There was immediate resistance on the teacher's part. Later, a complaint would be made by the teacher to the principal about a younger sibling who accompanied me on my volunteer days even though there was no misbehavior or distraction by the younger child. The teacher and I formulated a plan and I would work with my child and two other students at a side table in the classroom, eventually we would move out of sight into the school library. I sensed that not all was going well. I was cognizant that the teacher might feel insecure since it is my profession as well.

On the other side of the coin, from a teacher's perspective, it is frustrating to try and teach a child who has an undiagnosed learning challenge or physical disability when you are busy teaching a room full of students. It can be like trying to put a round peg in a square hole. The fit is not exact. I've been on both sides of the fence with this one. Teachers can make wrong assumptions and deliver pronouncements that are ill-advised, destructive to a child's self-image, block the child's ability to access learning, and leave lasting ramifications. It is a vicious cycle, a dance, one of unending struggle between the teacher, child, and parent unless a better way is attained. Learning and knowing the child's needs is one reason school Student Study Teams recommend a parent's gathering of background information in regards to the child's mental and physical health. 

One day as I walked into the room to do my weekly time of volunteering, the very moment I stepped inside the room, my child's teacher grabbed a paper off her desk. It was one of my child's papers, a lengthy front and back writing. "This work is not acceptable! It's sloppy and not very nice. It's been re-written two times and it's still not right! [Your child's] a smart [child} but [they] don't want to do it. I don't know what's wrong with [your child]. Do it again!  [Your child] can't come back in this class until it's done right." She spoke to me in anger, slapping the paper with the back of her hand and then handing it to me. Returning to teach her students, my child and I were dismissed. I didn't say anything, it felt like I was a little kid again, and that it was me being shamed in front of the class. I was dumbfounded. How could she speak this way about a student, any student, in front of the other students? It was a shaming, a public humiliation. My child was being scolded, shamed, ridiculed, and I, as his parent, was not being respected either or his teacher would have spoken differently to me. Some things should be done in private or at least to the side in a hushed voice. It was surprising to me that she would cross that line. I am sure the teacher was reacting to a student that she felt was purposely avoiding or resisting doing the assignment. However, a public shaming is high on the list of hurtful things adults do to children. It can leave a lasting imprint. (I cringe when I hear people raising their voices as they berate children in public places. It happens all too often.)

My child and I went home. Enough of this! I helped my child write the story for the third time, a defeated little child. The hurt in my heart boiled out and the fear about what was going on was scary. My tears were brimming but I tried to be stoic and kind, to help my child do it nicely, to not speak angrily about the teacher. When we later turned in the paper, I was angry but bit my tongue, civil but confused. As a parent, I was feeling many emotions. How could she treat my child this way? How unprofessional. How damaging. What can I do? Is there something wrong with my child? There was more to this than I understood. I knew my child's kind heart. But, I also was aware that parent only sees one side of the equation. And, I knew my child was desperately unhappy. It was obvious the teacher was frustrated with my child, hence the anger. I wondered what the trigger was and whether she was right about my child not wanting to do the work. Regardless, it is never acceptable to shame a child. I knew she was out of order in her actions and reactions. I also knew something else that is more true than not, if you don't advocate for your child no one else will.  I decided to take it up a level. My child's mental health was suffering.

The next day I set up an appointment with the principal to request my child be removed out of that classroom and into another one. I'm not a trouble maker and hesitant, so it was hard for me speak up, but I knew I must. A Student Study Team meeting was scheduled. The teacher, school psychologist, and a couple of other staff members met with me. Inside of me I felt defensive, not used to being on this side of the table. My fears didn't show as we proceeded through the SST steps by listing the positives first, negatives second, and lastly, a workable solution. I agreed to take my child to the doctor to check for hearing and the possibility of an attention deficit disorder. Which I did. My child's health checked out fine. My request fpr a class change was denied. My child remained in the same class for the rest of the year. I was told that it was too late in the year to change classes.

An observant adult will notice if a child seems less engaged in the process of listening and learning. In kindergarten I observed my child looking around the room while all the other children were attentive.  At church during story time, I observed my child being inattentive, looking around, not watching the person who was telling the story, not even looking at the visuals. It had bothered me. Most children want to see and hear a story.  Also, as a toddler, my child's oral development was delayed, slow to articulate sentences, but I had noticed this same trait in other siblings as well. I could tell my child was smart by the things my child would tell me and their accumulated base of knowledge. It wasn't showing up in my child's school experience, the grades were satisfactory but not reflective of the ability. The midterm report would be low and then my child would engage. I believe, in part, that my child could not perform well because my child was unaware of the expected requirements until the first report, when the concrete information was available. It was tied to my child's undiagnosed physical limitation and condition which we didn't know about at the time.

I started to search for answers. I wanted to know what my child was thinking in relationship to school and home, if I could get any clues as to what was going on from my child's perspective. I asked a question. "If you could change one thing about the way things are here in our home, what would you change to make it better for you?"  My child thought a moment, and then looked up at me with those expressive dark brown eyes, "I want to be left alone, where it's quiet. I'd like to have my own room where nobody will bother me." That was not what I was expecting. The answer surprised me. My child was sharing a room out of necessity. I thought over my child's answer. It made sense to me. It also told me to pay more attention to my child and family dynamics.

My child slogged through third, fourth, fifth, and into the middle of sixth grade, never performing as well as hoped and never particularly happy either. In my child's sixth grade year the answer to my questions and my child's issue came to the fore-front.

For some reason unbeknownst to me, an educational paper was sitting on a stack of mail and on the diningroom table. I didn't know why the paper was there or where it came from. I picked it up and began to read. It documented a list of behaviors that accompany something called Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD). A doctor's name was on the heading but it was a reprint. There were about twenty items on the list. A bell began to ring. The symptoms sounded all too familiar. I read it again, making a mental check for each behavior that I had noticed in my child. They were descriptive of my child in specific educational terms. Wow. I couldn't believe it. I began to feel the beginnings of hope

Time to do my homework. From there I went to the Speech and Hearing teacher at the school where I taught. She loaned me a file on CAPD. I read it through. The similarities to my child were astonishing. I asked her for an audiologist recommendation. From there, I took my child to an audiologist for CAPD testing. The test checked for two things: acuity (hearing ability), and for the way sound is perceived. It took more than one session of testing. From another room, the audiologist would speak words into a microphone which my child would hear in a headset and would respond back, telling her what was heard. In other parts, my child would have to select words to follow the audiologist's directions. My child could not see her speak. Later the audiologist met with me to explain the results of the testing. These were printed out on a several sheets. The doctor explained that my child's hearing acuity was in the normal range. The problem stemmed from a distorting of sound as it traveled from ear to brain. The brain was not interpreting the sounds correctly.  The interpretation of the words being said was not clear. Sounds were confusing especially in certain situations. Yes, my child had CAPD, particularly in the left ear. The audiologist explained that background noises make it very difficult for a person with CAPD to interpret sounds, and that CAPD makes them sensitive to loud noises (remember my comment about my child wanting to left alone). We were given some exercises for my child to practice and a note for his teacher so my child's assignments could be modified as needed. My child would need to be placed at the front of the class to lip read while the teacher talked. It was encouraged, to have a classmate take notes during lectures, and to  have my child's teachers(s) write assignments and key points on the front board for important content, assignments and expectations. Lastly, she recommended that I have my child participate in a Speech and Language clinic at the local university since the inner ear still develops and is elastic into teenage years. The exercises could help it form correctly. We acted on her recommendations.

I told my child that I had the results from the audiologist. "You hear okay but the testing shows that you have CAPD. Your brain is not interpreting the sounds it hears correctly." Immediately my child responded in amazement, "I'm not stupid after all!" My child had internalized a wrong message when in reality it was a physical condition that made my child unable to discern what others were saying. This is what was making it difficult to understand some of what the teachers were teaching. My child's relief in gaining this knowledge was instantaneous. It all made sense. I thought back to when my child felt like a nobody and was so desperately unhappy. It was unfortunate. My child hadn't known what was wrong, that instruction was indiscernible, and my child's teacher had concluded it was laziness or other.  I had known my child was smart enough possibly even bright, but I didn't know why my child was angry. How many children and adults think they're stupid when they can't access learning or achieve academically when in actuality the problem is a physical condition? More than we probably realize.

During my child's growing up years, my special time with my this child was while I was cooking dinner. My child would stand in the kitchen and talk to me, telling me things or asking me questions. I noticed that when my child's back was to me there would be misinterpreting of my comments.  Now I understood the "why." On through my child's high school years, my child would have to advocate for personal accomodations in the classroom. I don't know how much my child did so but I know it did happen. My child never hid behind a diagnosis nor wanted a label, so we didn't do a 409 for special accommodations. It did cause some misunderstandings when my child misinterpreted information via the school intercom or during instruction. At least my child knows about the CAPD. It helps.

As I look back, I remember reading that paper with the CAPD information. I believe it was a God-thing that it showed up. I do. I don't know why I received it nor how it got there. All I know is that it opened the door for my child. We hurt when our children hurt. It was hard to see my child struggle.  After the diagnosis, my child became more relaxed. My child's Sunday School teacher asked me "What's happened with [your child]?" When I told him about the CAPD diagnosis, he said, "I've noticed such a difference in [your child], [your child] seems much happier and contributes more." It is amazing what knowing the truth can do for a person.