The Answer Came Full Circle
Have you even felt that you were on a circular path and didn’t even really know it? It all started with a simple pray. I say simple in that the content and the words that I used were simple, but the outcome of that prayer was nowhere near simple. Here is the journey…
My prayer began over the Spring break in April 2014 three days prior to General Conference. I was inspired to develop and create eleven 72 hour kits/backpacks for my family based on a Sunday school lesson that was very inspiring and moving to me. I haven’t had the Spirit move me in a while…I’ve just been numb and stumbling through life. It was frustrating, but there wasn’t time to really change things because of all the demands.
While I was constructing the 72 hour kits, my family was fighting and bickering, and had a lot of pent up contention. Much of it was aimed towards each other especially towards Marianne. They simple weren’t signing to her, and they were frustrated with her not communicating and she was equally frustrated that they would not communicate back. They were tearing her down and screaming and tears and on and on. My prayer was to make this stop, HELP!
I’ve written in different journal entries the details of this prayer so those details won’t be shared here, but the bottom line was that I needed to change what was happening. The clear understanding was that ASL was going to be a part of this change, and I was to no longer work at Spectrum Academy. I was shocked and blown away by those answers, but I being inspired by the spirit I stepped out in faith to make this happen.
I created the Education Center©. The center would help me to do 3 things: 1) be a teacher mentor instructional center, 2) be a community instruction for ASL, and for parents who needed support with their knowing how to work with their children who have Autism Spectrum Disorders, and 3) An ASL preschool would support the learning needs of Rosie and Rhetten and would also keep my income up as well. I shared my plan with Scott and while he was a little worried, I kept reassuring him that everything will work out. That was the peace that I had in my heart, so I figured that that peace was the answer. (The peace was true that everything would work out, but I thought that that meant it would work out according to my Education Center© and preschool plan…ah, the Lord can see the beginning to the end and just let me patiently struggle with this preschool plan for the next few months).
To make summarize the preschool and teacher mentor stories: 1) I spend savings on improving the north entrance of our home, 2) painted and designed the Education Center to host families/teachers, and 3) No one signed up. These services were not wanted (or so it felt). Now what? No savings left, no job for the fall from Spectrum Academy, and no income from this business. (Fai!.....so back to the knees I go, and this time with more humility).
Blessing and Miracles did happen during this failure/struggle with finding answers. One was when the family came down with Pertussis. What?? A blessing?? Yes. Summarizing this story: 1) April Rose came down with it, shared it, and ended up that 6 of the 10 of us contracted it. 2) That meant that the family was home for a week—Sunday night till Saturday night. A WEEK all together—Good Times!—Not working at Spectrum Academy helped me to understand that I can let it go and the school will make it. All my work as a founding parent, teacher, and parent had been for a reason…Spectrum would stand without me…this witness was needed for my heart. 3) A phone call from a friend on Monday that would change the course of my summer. I would end up writing a comprehensive social skills curriculum for her: BASE© Building Advanced Social Education. Her school district purchased the program based on a sample that took me two days to produce while we were all home sick with Pertussis—Blessing?? Yes—future selling of this curriculum to other school districts, and nationwide is preparing for Spring/Summer of 2015. 4) I was at week 19 of my pregnancy during this Pertussis quarantine…week 19 was when I had swine flu with Marianne’s pregnancy, and week 19 was when I had Influenza B with April Rose…hum….will there be more ASL in my future??? If this baby is a girl, I think the odds are for a 3rd baby who is deaf.—Blessing? Yes, more time for ASL language and more supports for their siblings; we will have to wait till October to find out.
It is now mid June. I have no one signed up for preschool, for teacher mentor services except for one teacher, and no one signed up for ASL community classes, so it is time for a new plan. (This should be mentioned here, I did take a Job share position with an amazing fellow teacher so that I would have something to fall back on if nothing worked out for me…I thought this was a good plan, but the Lord had other ideas). Even with my back up plan I felt directed to start putting my resume out there to find a position because we were going to need income….by Aug 15. That would give me 10 weeks to find a position and would allow me to continue to write my curriculum.
To summarize this adventure I applied for 11 teaching/directing/specializing positions had 9 interviews, 2 job offers, but the salary and commute was not going to support my family’s needs for ASL or income. At the end of Aug 13th, I had no job positions. (I should mention here that on Aug 2nd Spectrum discovered my plans of finding a new position and so I ended my job share with them. I had kept in close contact with my fellow job share teacher and she knew of my job search. But for her, things worked out great—I am so happy for her!)
During this job search adventure one sharp clarifying answer came (one in which I was NOT looking for and hit me with truth and fear like I had never felt before). It happened when I was dropping off Marianne to a preschool summer camp. Her teacher asked how I was doing, how the preschool was coming along, and just had an interest in us. I shared with her the challenges, and she took a breath and looked me square in the eyes and said that I should apply and interview of the preschool position at Marianne’s school. The emotion and truth that hit me when she said that was overwhelming and it was a long tearful drive home. The clarifying answer was that I needed to teach at JMS which meant that I needed to return to school and get my deaf and hard of hearing endorsement. WHAT????? Going back to school being married, with 9 children, with working full time????? I did NOT see this one coming. It was as clear as anything, but I was immediately filled with doubt and fear…the question of “how” was too much.
In the midst of all of this, I was still writing curriculum, job searching, and now adding on gathering information on how to attend school, care for my family, still have summer fun, get kids to and from scout camps, CAP, swim, go to the zoo, attend T-ball games, and teach my kids the gospel and ASL--busy SUMMER!!!! I called on my family and friends several times during this summer for fasting and prayers. They supported me and I felt their strength. During all of this, my husband and some key friends delivered answers at the right moment…right when I was going to give up. I love how the Lord knows those tender mercies and allows them to happen in the midst of trials to help you make it through to another day.
To summarize the last few days and hours of this trial, it went something like this: 1) Drive to Idaho, present the curriculum, BASE, to the teachers—complete with 50 video modeling films and so forth, 2) More prayers more applications, more prayers, 3) Attend the temple on Wednesday Aug 13th, share with my mom and sister parts of this journey, 4) go to an admission interview for the University of Utah and find out all the information about school, start time, working the schedule, and meeting with Cheryl Winston who was amazing and so supportive…it was a great day. 5) Muddle through a frustrating Thursday—no answers from job applications, feeling like dirt, and just blah. And 6) I made a plan for Friday because I had no job offers and I needed to keep my mind out of the “unemployment” rut. So, I took Kellis on a driving lesson, and it helped. I also talked with a good friend, who reminded me of my previous answers and to NOT give up on those answers because of panic and fear. I will be forever grateful for that conversation.
Finally, a few hours after that conversation at 5:30 in the evening received a phone call…the phone call. It was a job offer that had all the components that I was looking for: 1) the right salary, 2) flexible time to be with my kids more, 3) a way to finish school, 4) hiring a very pregnant employee and figuring out how maternity will work with this position, 5) teaching, managing, and mentoring, and 6) the position allows me to support my family’s ASL needs in a way that I had only dreamt of.
My simple prayer lead to a simple answer, but that did not mean the path to that final answer was easy. The Lord needed me to struggle and wrestle with this answer in order to grow towards him, and be committed to following the answer. I would have never thought that finding a new job would have been an answer. I would have NEVER thought that going back to school was an answer. I would have never dreamt how that a week of Pertussis would have been answer. I never would have dreamt that my social skills curriculum BASE© would have been created, video models produced and edited, never mind being bought and sold within a summer. And finally, I would have thought that the answer of helping my family to learn ASL would have lead to such a different career path, family structure, or way of understanding.
My ASL journey has expanded to understand that Marianne and April Rose’s communication is lifelong...I thought I understood that, but no, I was thinking more short term. That short term thinking is not what I want. I want to talk to my girls about the gospel, teenage things, crushes, graduation, college, marriage, children, and so forth. Think about it: you are handed a baby that needs to learn a foreign language. Well how are they going to learn it, unless you learn it first? I have to learn ASL first then turn around and teach the family this language. I understand clearly now that this journey is lifelong, that our family will be blessed by going on this new path. I am forever grateful for this full circle journey and that the Lord loves me enough support me.