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I am the crazy mom of five boys.  Four of my five boys are on the autism spectrum. Neuro-Diversity rocks!!!  I cook, I clean, I blog, I breathe.  Yup that is about it.  If you want to catch a glimpse of our crazy world you are more than welcome but don't say I didn't warn you.

Monday, November 21, 2011

A Glimpse of Fiction-Part 2

The sun peaked over the horizon, turning the sky into a masterpiece of reds, pinks and purples.  She looked at the beauty of the morning and smiled a sad smile.  Memories began to flood over her again, faces, places, smells and sounds that no longer belonged to her; pictures and memories of another life, another love, another time.  Sometimes she wished she could erase her own memories the way she erased her name.  It would be so much easier to walk away if you did not know what you were walking away from.  But now other memories began to encroach, memories of darkness and needles and screams.  Memories of endless corridors and insanity and blood.....so much blood.  Now it was easy to remember why she had run away, not walked away, but run like the devil himself chased her, because he did.  The panic began to rise, her heart began to race and her breathing came hard and fast.  She reached into her purse and grabbed a prescription bottle.   She desperately fought with the child safety lid and finally poured one pill into her shaking hand.  She looked at it, sitting in her palm.  She could swallow it and in fifteen minutes her world would right itself once again.  The terror would fade; the memories would once again become hazy and painless.  Yes, she could swallow this oblong slice of oblivion and everything she had fought so hard to accomplish would be for nothing.  Slowly, she opened the prescription bottle once again.  She forced herself to place the pill back inside the bottle, close the lid and place it back into her purse.  She willed herself to take slow, deep breaths and to silently count backwards from 100.  By the time she reached 35 she was calm once more, in control of her thoughts and her fear.  She glanced at the purse and thought about dumping the pills for good.  But no she needed the reminder. Yes, some memories one should never forget.
She cautiously looked around the parking lot.  It was empty.  First placing the knife in her purse she then unlocked her door, put her sneaker clad feet on the pavement and stretched.  She locked the driver's side door once more and made her way to the restrooms.  The smell assaulted her senses the moment she stepped through the door causing her to wrinkle her nose in disgust.  She glimpsed herself in the grime streaked mirror.  She looked like a street urchin, her hair still piled in the baseball cap, her clothes loose and ill-fitting, months of stress had reduced her appetite to nothing, her eyes over large and haunted.  She looked more closely.  Yes, she could be a Kate.  It suited her almost as well as her old name, maybe even better.  Kate....Kate what?  Why Smith of course!!  She laughed aloud, the sound of her own voice startling in the empty bathroom.  Listening to the sound of her own laughter Kate realized it had been 48 hours since she had heard a human voice.  She cleared her throat and held her hand out to the mirror, as if to shake hands.  "Hello.  It's nice to meet you Kate Smith.  You and I are going to be great friends."

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Beauty of Loneliness

The world around me is noisy and full, nearly bursting at the seams with its commotion
Yet I am alone
My kids chatter away, my husband tells of his day, my cats' meow their discontent
Yet I am alone
My social calendar is scheduled, my days packed with essentials
Yet I am alone
 
I have learned there is a beauty in loneliness.  It is in the quiet stillness of loneliness that I have time to sift through my thoughts and ever changing emotions.  In the midst of loneliness I am grounded, I am anchored.  Sometimes it takes the quiet ache of loneliness for me to discover the hidden truths, those pearls hidden for the earnest seekers of truth.  Lonely seasons, seasons of reflection, seasons of growth.  It is in these times that serious heart work is done.  It is so easy to distract myself with everything and everyone else around me.  Loneliness is the mirror in which only I am reflected back at myself.  It shows the imperfections of my nature that I mask so often in front of others; pride or envy, anger or apathy, love or hate are all inescapably reflected. 
It is in loneliness that I come to understand the truth that I am NEVER alone.  The One who placed the stars in the sky, the One who knows the beginning from the end, the One who sacrificed Himself to bring salvation to the world, yes He who knows the number of hairs upon my head, He awaits me in the place of loneliness.  How often I have missed Him by refusing the beauty of loneliness?

Dear friends I have been reflective this past week.  It has been in my reflections that this piece was born.  I am blessed to have so many beautiful friends who are there for me in any circumstance.  I know you are there:)  I firmly believe in the importance of having a good, trust-worthy support system.  I do not for a minute want anyone to think that I am now going to become a recluse.....I enjoy people way too much for that.  This is just the other-side of the coin of loneliness.  A perspective that I hope will encourage any one of you my firends who may be walking down the path of loneliness right now.  If you are in that place please know that I love you and am here.  Lots of love-Kristine

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Glimpse of Small Town ISD Harassment

You've probably have noticed by now that I have plenty to say;)  Actually it is not very often that I am at a loss for words but now is one of those times.  I have been very honest about our struggles with the school system here in small town TX.  Our battles have led to me homeschooling three of our five boys.  It won't be too much longer before we pull the last two boys out of the system.
Unfortunately, I am not able to go into to detail about our latest battle quite yet because it involves legal action but I am going to share a few things that I have discovered about our ISD (Independent School District) along the way.  I want to be clear that I have met many wonderful teachers with in the district (some have become lifelong friends) and this editorial does not reflect upon them in any way.  No this is about the "system" and administration.  A system that is compromised at its very foundation, a system that claims to want the best for our children but prizes the almighty dollar above the child's welfare, football above education and shoves our SPED programs into darkest closet they can find.  This is my experience with Anna ISD.
When we moved here nearly four years ago from VA I was quite naive.  The school system we were in had an excellent autism program and we saw massive improvements in the two of our boys that were diagnosed at the time.  I mistakenly thought that the SPED system down here would be similar, after all it is federally funded and over seen.   But I was wrong!!!  From the moment we enrolled our children in the public school  it has been one nightmare after another.  They have constantly and consistently tried to get out of providing services to our children.  From losing my sons confidential records not once, not twice but SIX times (a file that is around 300 pages) to losing my actual child TWICE in the same school year we have seen it all.  Diagnosticians have tried to change the diagnosis on my children three times, diagnosis they received from actual doctors who specialize in autism.  I was once told by the then head of SPED co-op (now disbanded) that my son could not possibly be autistic because he knew his ABC's and could use scissors.  When I refused to sign paper work agreeing with this exercise in the absurd his paper work was conveniently lost......notice a pattern yet?
Teachers have been disciplined for talking to me about MY children, one teacher (one of the best in the SPED department) was actually pushed out of her job as a direct result of her involvement with our family and trying to provide the best education possible to my boys.  There is systemic harassment of any parent or teacher who dares to speak out against the ISD in any way.  Most parents simply pull their kids  and homeschool them or move out of the district because it is easier and less costly than fighting the system.  I say enough is enough!!!  I will not be bullied, I will not be silenced.  I dare any credible news agency to come and invsetigate the shenanigans going on here.  I guarantee you will be shocked by what you find.
Standing my ground-Kristine Skiff

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A Glimpse of Fiction part 1

Windshield wipers beat a sharp staccato as she drove through the night.  The rain, which had begun as a soft drizzle, was now a torrential downpour.  The defroster had stopped working 30 miles back and she was now forced to lean out the rolled down window, every few minutes to see the road ahead.  Another 50 miles and she would find a rest stop and stop for the night.  This was a dangerous choice for a woman traveling alone but she really had no choice.  She had spent a good portion of her cash on the clunker she currently drove.  Besides, the truck stop could hold no monster more terrifying than the one she currently ran from.   She laughed at the irony her life had become.  She, who was once a power player,strong and independent, was now weak, scared and disillusioned.  A mere whisper of the woman she once was.   She shivered at the mixture of cold and memories threatening rise again to the surface of her consciousness.  She reached into the console and ran her fingers over the knife she had secreted there.  She was not defenseless, she reminded herself.  Not now at least......never again.  She pushed the memories down, swallowed the lump of fear in her throat and forced her hand to release the knife.
Her eyes were growing heavy from lack of sleep.  She had not slept the past 48 hours, determined to put as much distance as possible between herself and the monster of her nightmares.  She had driven across much of the country.  It was funny, here she was checking off one of her bucket list items and she could not even appreciate it.  Actually could a nameless woman even have a bucket list or dreams  or were all her hopes, dreams and ambitions gone along with her name.  Another irony of life.  She who had once been so proud of her name, her lineage and now it was gone, forever gone.
Elizabeth, Lisa, Sue, Anne, Catherine, Becky, Marianne, Emily, Hannah....she said each name aloud, trying to settle on one that felt right.  It had to be simple, something that she would remember to respond to if it were called out.  Erin, Melissa, Rachel, Kate.....Kate.....Kate.  Yes Kate was simple and easy.  Something she could remember.   She cleaned her rear view mirror with her sleeve and tried to glimpse herself in the smeared darkness.  Could she pass for a Kate?  Nope she couldn't tell right now.  She would have to wait until morning to decide. 
Finally, she caught sight of the rest stop ahead.  Bone weary she pulled into a brightly lit spot.  She shoved her drenched hair into a ball cap, she would have to cut it soon.  The one vanity of her former life she had yet to give up.   She put the sun reflector in the windshield and hung towels on her side windows to shield herself from the view of curious onlookers. She dared not change out of her sodden clothes completely but she had to put on a dry sweatshirt at least.  She was suddenly very glad she had worn a button down blouse.  She could put on the sweatshirt and take off the blouse without  being disrobed.   Somewhat dry she reached into the back seat for a blanket and a granola bar.  She hadn't eaten anything since lunch and she was suddenly famished and very thirsty.  She grabbed a bottle of water while she rummaged around.   Suddenly she began to hyperventilate, she felt trapped and claustrophobic. She tore down the towels and the sun reflector frantically and took a long look around, looking hard into the darkness to see if any shadow was out of place. Everything seemed alright but once you've met a monster you know better than to ever feel truly safe.  She double checked to make sure her doors were locked tight, her windows rolled up as far as they would go,  she took the knife from the console and placed it in her lap, under the blanket she had pulled from the back seat.  She would feel safer if it were a gun but you can not buy a gun when you are nameless.  Well, she was sure you could but she didn't know how to go about it but she would learn she promised herself, oh she would definitely learn.   She took a long drink of water and closed her eyes and tried to grab a few minutes of restless sleep.  


So you know how I say I never know what I am going to write....well once again  this proves true.  I have had this story in the back of my head for several years, I even started to write it once but it never quite gelled.  Tonight it would not be denied any longer.  Over the next several months I will write more of it as it comes.  Hope you enjoy a glimpse into my somewhat twisted imagination (I think I read too many Nancy Drew's as a girl;)  As always lots of love-Kristine

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A Glimpse of a New Look

We have had some big changes here at Glimpses of Skiff the past few weeks, which is why I haven't posted.  First we are now found at glimpsesofskiff.com.  Not a big change as to the reading but it makes me smile every time I type it in. It definitely makes us easier to find without a link.   The big news however is our major face lift!!   I have to say I LOVE the classy results.  I must give a huge shout out to graphic artist Michelle Hartfield for the much improved look.  I have been quite frustrated for some time with my limited graphic and technical abilities.  Michelle listened to my rambling description of what I wanted for this site and gave a result that is above and beyond what I had dreamed.  If you are in the market for a graphic artist I recommend Michelle highly.  Here's a link to her site:


 
Here are few things to look forward to in the future here at Glimpses of Skiff.  In the next two weeks I will be doing a small Thanksgiving drawing.  All comments on this blog, sorry folks facebook comments don't count, since our first post in Sept will be entered into the drawing.  Good luck:)
My last post before Christmas will be our Christmas giveaway.  All comments between our Thanksgiving giveaway and the the Christmas drawing will be entered.  Again only comments on the blog itself count:)
I am super excited to see what God has instore for us from here on out.  Lots of love-Kristine

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