Bill Cosby... I just love him to death and respect him in so many ways, but I am really sad to see his dark side. I was so disappointed years ago to find out that he had cheated on his lovely wife, I think the overwhelming majority of us has done or thought of something we would rather other people not know about. And if you haven't, you are probably in denial. People have to work hard to avoid sin. And the easier it is to feel like we are getting away with it, the less incentive we have to avoid it. God has always been pretty quick to show me that he's not letting me get away with ANYTHING, and I'm glad. Too bad for all the women who were taken advantage of by Bill Cosby. If someone had not "looked the other way" from the beginning, I think he would have stopped a lot sooner. I never was a Jerry Sandusky fan, but I kind of have the same sad, sick feeling about Bil Cosby that I felt about Jerry Sandusky. We all have different weaknesses, and I don't ever want to judge anyone too harshly. People need to stop sinning, and we need to help each other avoid temptation and we need to keep each other accountable. I hope I am never in a position where my "looking the other way" encourages someone to continue in sin. I believe Christians can and do sin, but you can't make a habit of it and think you're okay with God. Bill Cosby has professed to be a Christian. He has done a lot of good. BUT, that isn't enough to keep you on God's good side. Sin separates us from God, even when we think we're "getting away" with it. Please, please, please speak out against sinful behavior and support others in avoiding it. You may not get someone to change, but at least you won't be guilty of condoning their behavior.
Today I had a conference with the principal and my daughter''s kindergarten teacher, her reading teacher, and the principal. The assistant principal was going to come, but had to have some dental emergency. Dilara and her dad were there with us.
I have homeschooled Dilara her whole life. She attended private preschool 2 days a week from the time she was 2 till she was a little over 5 1/2. I don't think private preschool was of any benefit. My 2 older children didn't attend any preschool at all, other than homeschool.
We had a Family day at the fair yesterday. I had hoped to pull Dilara out of school on Tuesday to take her to the Field Trip day at the fair---rides were closed, but exhibits were open. I had a fibromyalgia flare, and couldn't take her with the homeschool group. It really takes 2 days to see everything. Dilara outlasted my brother as well as Callie and Noah, and she didn't want to go home when I said it was absolutely too late.
We went at 3 till 10. We are usually in bed by 8:30. It was not too crowded till later, but the rides looked prettier when they were all lit up at night.
Dilara really revealed herself in her choices of activities. She spent much more time with the educational things, like the livestock and Mr. Bond's Science, etc. Her favorite 'amusement' was the funhouse, which she went through 4 times straight. She rode one ride in the 'thrill zone' with her teen-aged brother and sister and it was 'too high' and after that, she carefully considered which rides would best suit her.
There is a HUGE difference in the experience of "riding" and sitting passively in a seat, buckled in and going along a path pre-determined by others, and exploring a funhouse at your own pace. I am not the LEAST surprised that she kept going back for more treks through the funhouse, where I am sure she experienced or noticed something slightly different every time and was able to go at her own pace somewhat. There were kids behind her and there wasn't always room for them to squeeze by, but she went through it enough times to be sure she had gotten all there was to get out of the places she might have been rushed through. Kind of like "working to mastery" in homeschool. I am also not surprised that she didn't choose to ride ANY of the rides more than once. Nothing new to see, nothing new to learn, too much unexplored territory out there!
During her learning time at home, she is very good at selecting her own activities that cover a ride range of subjects, and she knows how to decide what is appropriately challenging. She used to get frustrated when she couldn't do something. Now, she may take on something a bit too advanced, but it is okay if she decides that she is not ready for it. She does 'too easy' work 'just for fun' and that is fine with me. She sees for herself the value in review, in how it helps with retention. I could not have asked for better student to homeschool while I deal with chronic illness. The only trouble she gives me is when I tell her what to do, but there isn't too much resistance, and I know she is just 'switching gears' between 'self-directed' and 'teacher directed' activity.
The ONE thing that surprized me was how interested she was in the livestock competition. I was grateful for the chance to sit down! She really wanted to try to milk a cow, and to bring home two brown and white 'dutch' rabbits and a small duck and some chickens. She looked at a game cock and said it reminded her of 'The Little Red Hen' and I was pleased at every turn.
I really wish Dilara's dad would trust me. I have tried to tell everyone I am the world's expert on Dilara and I know better than anyone how to make sure her educational and other developmental needs are being met. Her time is MUCH better spent outside of the institutional setting. It grieves me that she is being forced to settle for less than the best, even if it is a temporary arrangement. Dilara will never be able to get back the hours lost this year in kindergarten, and I will never be able to get back my parenting time that has been taken from me. I'm not saying it is all a miserable experience for her, because it isn't. I'm just saying that she should have the right to the best and most appropriate educational experience that is available to her, and I should have the right to do what I am best at, rather than having my hands tied by people who don't have the facts and understanding to make a decision that is truly in Dilara's best interest.
Well, sometimes I have to go through a few "false starts" before I get going down the new path I want.
It is very hard for me to go against what I think is the way something "SHOULD" be. You can teach on old dog new tricks, it just may take a bit longer to unlearn old habits.
I have for a LONG time--like 2 1/2 years, tried to not have a co-parenting relationship. But I have worked against myself towards that end because of my firm belief that a child deserves parents who love each other, or at least can get along with each other. The huge sticking point has been the fact that we have joint legal custody. That implies joint decision making on important issues. Dilara's dad has said over and over again that he doesn't want to discuss anything with me. Yet, he is the one who has complained to the court that I refuse to consider his opinion about the things he doesn't want to discuss with me. I have already asked for sole custody, or at least sole decision making authority, but only after he did. I don't think either of us can convince a judge, at this point, to change anything about our custody arrangement. The law is pretty strict about requiring "material change in circumstance" that affects the child in a meaningful way. At this point, Dilara has not been affected in any meaningful way by her parents' inability to communicate and make joint decisions.
Our custody arrangement can stay the same, with us simply going to court to break the tie when we can't agree on something. If we start going to court a lot, that may get tiresome after a while.
One HUGE thing that happened this year is that Dilara's dad and I have shown that we can all sit together as a family for brief periods of time, on special occasions. We are able to communicate well enough to adhere to our agreement, other than the implied joint decision making part. I, at this point, expect that we will be able to both attend school functions, graduations, weddings, etc. as a family. I know people who have been married to each other who can't even do that, so for us to have had our child out of wedlock, and never have been "in love" with each other from the start, I think that is pretty good.
So, I have been trying to a week now to work as though I already have sole legal custody and there is no need for me to communicate with Dilara's dad beyond basic scheduling, and letting him know what we need. No need for discussion! What a relief!
There have been several times when I have been stonewalled and I have said, "Fine! I'll just pretend I have sole custody and decision making authority and I don't NEED to talk to you about anything!" But, until now, I have always kept him "in the loop." I am retraining myself to not share with him anything about DIlara's experiences when she is with me. She is old enough now that he can ask her about her day. She has a blog that we put updates on. He is free to ask me questions. But I am not going to send him texts of cute things she says or does. I am not going to send pictures to his phone of cool things she does. I am not going to send him reminders of things.
I am going to block him out of DIlara's life during her time with me. I am not going to ask his opinion on anything. I am sure I'll slip up from time to time, but I have a huge sense of relief because this is the answer to my struggles.
I have said for a while that if I can't have a good, healthy relationship with someone, I don't want a relationship at all. I have been trapped in this one, though.
I can feel good about this because I am allowing him to come to me. I am not stonewalling him. If, at any time, he has a change in attitude and wants to co-parent, i think it would be great. BUT, I don't expect that to happen.
Expectations truly set you up for disappointment. The only thing I expect from him is "more of the same" and if I get anything different, I'll be pleasantly surprised.
I am really trusting God for the outcome of any court decisions. I will appeal as far as I can, if I think the court makes a decision that is not in Dilara's best interest, based on the laws and relevant facts.
We are currently in a fight over education. Other things I expect to end up in court over are religion, and him getting permission to take Dilara to Turkey. At this point, I would let her go to Turkey when she is 15 or 16, I think, but I might let her go sooner IF I went with her and IF I thought there was no risk of her getting stuck there. At this point, I don't foresee having any confidence that if she went to Turkey, I'd see her again till she was grown.
It is hard to give up trying to make things the way they SHOULD be, when i have no control. It is very freeing to choose to control the things that I actually DO have the ability to control.
And, of course, there is a lot of peace that comes from trusting that God is in control and working behind the scenes in ways I don't understand.
I thank God every day that Dilara's dad is such a good man, and I am glad that I love him so much. If I weren't a Christian, I don't think I would have ever gotten to this point. It is God who gives me this love to bear this burden, to "endure" as 1 Cor. 13 talks about.
When I consulted with an attorney last week, he told me that if I went to court to confirm my right to homeschool, he told me that the judge would want more of a parenting plan than we have and that they would wold want me to keep Dilara all week and give Sinan every other weekend because our current schedule would be "too disruptive" for Dilara. That is a lot of baloney, I think, and I didn't even get to the part of wanting to ask for money for "extraordinary educational expenses" before I had to leave and take Dilara to the bathroom, then on to the hospital to get her stomach pain checked out.
I am going to just go ahead and start "officially homeschooling" her next month and show her Dad what I can do. Hopefully, he will be impressed and won over. I don't like doing something without him being on board.
I hate that this sucked 3 weeks of my life away, but I held my ground.
I spent 2 1/2 hours yesterday in mediation with my daughter's father because I want to continue the work I do with her in giving her a home-centered education, on the schedule I do it on at the current time, and he wants me to send her to a "brick and mortar" school. Things are working beautifully as they are. I'm happy, she's happy, her father's happy. He just doesn't think he will continue to be happy unless she is in a "regular" school.
I do get emotional about my daughter. I was the ONLY one there who knows Dilara very well. I tried to point that out. NOBODY is more of an expert of Dilara, what she needs and how she thinks and what she knows and how she spends her time than I do. I tried to point that out, but it was like beating my head against the wall.
I was sitting there at a table with her father, who spends probably 12 hours a week, actually "one-on-one" with his daughter in a week, and I have NEVER seen him as actively engaged with her as I am for at least 40 hours a week. The lawyer who was sitting at the table with me was being paid to help Dilara's dad get his way. The mediator was being paid to get Dilara's dad and I to come to an agreement or compromise. I was the only person there who acknowledged that not only was what is going on now working well for all of us, but that it is in Dilara's best interest to maintain the status quo.
I felt like I was beating my head against the wall when I pointed out that none of them knew Dilara as well as I did and that they should trust me to be the person most qualified to act in her best interest. I was frustrated when they kept saying that Dilara's dad didn't want to take my parenting time away. How can they say that I am not losing my parenting time when they are wanting to take my control away of over 22 hours a week of the best hours of the day? They were not listening to me. I kept hearing "he's not trying to take her away," but I could only visualize a calendar with all the hours Monday through Friday that she was going to be kept away from me against my will, AND against her will. 22 hours is a LOT of time. I am meeting her every need right now, but they wouldn't understand that, either. The argument was that she will be better off being with kids her own age and with other adults to teach her. I said over and over, and I have for years, that she already has a very diverse social experience. I have invited Dilara's dad to meet our friends. He doesn't know anything about our lives...it's a "don't confuse me with the fact" type of situation. He is making judgements that he is not qualified to make! He is making uninformed decisions. AND he is ignoring the evidence and resisting my attempts to reveal the truth to him.
One of the worst moments for me was my last-ditch effort at the end of mediation to give them an example of how Dilara and I interact. I brougnt my computer and showed this video of Dilara and how she thinks and how we interact with each other. I ended with this, but next time we go to mediation, I will START with it, although it still probably won't make any difference. There is no compromise we can come to. I will not settle for less than the best I can give Dilara and the best I can give her is my time and attention and affection and teaching. This is a small sampling...less than 3 minutes long, of the kind of interaction Dilara and I engage in. She's so brilliant and exciting to me! I love her ideas. I wish I could record everything she does. NOBODY is even as interested in watching this video than me. The mediator closed my computer partially through this and she totally missed the points I was trying to make it in showing it. That really was the worst moment of mediation for me, but it everybody had already made up their mind that we weren't going to come to an agreement. Dilara's dad doesn't pay attention when I try to tell him about things Dilara says and does, either. Yet, he thinks he knows what is best for her. I almost opened the computer back up and said, "Wait! You're missing the best part!" but, really, nobody care about what is going on inside Dilara's heart and mind or see her in the way I do. I can't document every amazing thing she comes up with, but I was glad I caught her explaining why she could not put many beads inside this contraption. This is one VERY small sample of what I think is good interaction between a student and a teacher. I worked in a classroom setting. I know teachers can't give this kind of one-on-one attention and appreciation to an individual. I still got distracted sometimes and got wrapped up inside one child's mind for a while.It is great when kids can get this kind of attention and encouragement. So few children have the opportunity that Dilara does, and it is so unfortunate that her father wants to take her and put her in an environment that will not come anywhere near to meeting her needs as well as they are being met now. I love her father and I know he wants what is best for Dilara, but he isn't understanding that what she has NOW is the absolute best situation possible. The mediator was "impartial" but she DID have a goal, and that was to get us to come to a compromise. There was NO compromise that I could make that would not rob Dilara of the opportunity she is rightfully entitled to.
Are You As Reasonable As a Five-Year-Old?
Dilara is opinionated, outspoken and has a head full of great ideas. She can be stubborn sometimes and I sometimes let her suffer the consequences of her not- so-well- thought-out actions. Experience IS a GREAT teacher, but it isn't always the BEST teacher.
She made a picture with red "glitter glue" and folded the paper up. She brought it to me to open up and look at. After I looked at it and expressed appreciation for its beauty, I laid it down to dry. She wanted it to be folded back up. I tried to explain to her that it needed to be OPEN when it dried, THEN she could fold it back up. She yelled and screamed about how it was HER picture and SHE could to whatever she wanted to with it. I said, "I will fold it back up to dry IF you will be quiet and listen to me. She got quiet and glared at me with crossed arms, but with open ears as I said, "This picture is made of wet wet glue. The primary purpose of glue is to stick things together, right? Therefore, if I fold this "glue picture" up while it is wet, what will happen?" She continued to glare at me in silence, so I answered the question, myself. "Isn't it true that you can expect that the glue will dry while the surfaces of the paper inside are touching each other? If the glue dries while the surfaces of the paper are touching, you will be unable to unfold the picture later, because the parts inside the fold will be glued together in such a way that if you try to open the picture, it will tear the picture up, or else not open at all. You will never again be able to show anyone this beautiful picture because you want to do what you THINK will give you your desired result, and do it YOUR way rather than choose to listen to someone who knows better than you and wants to not see you mess up something beautiful and that you value so much. If you follow my suggestion and let it dry while the paper is flat, the glue will dry on the entire page, THEN, since the glue is flexible, you will be able to fold it again and open it again, just the way you meant for it to do in the first place. Which way sounds better to you now? Folding it to dry, or leaving it flat to dry?" After a moment, she said, "You're right. Let's do what you said,"
If a strong willed 5 year old can set aside her own preconceptions and be open to the fact that the path she is taking will NOT lead to her desired results, shouldn't an adult be able to?
We should always stay open to the possibility that someone might know a little better than you as to what the facts are and what the outcome will be. Anyone can make an emotional decision. Sometimes, our emotions are all that it seems like we have to go on sometimes. But we ignore facts and evidence and experiences and mistakes of others of others at our own peril.
This is one of the most comforting verse in the Bible to me, and I don't want anyone to take the wind out of my sails by saying that it doesn't mean what I think it means, even though I still think I am free to interpret and apply it the way it "speaks" to me personally. I think we are all "called" to God, but some of the things he "calls" us to go through to work "good" (what good? Hopefully we'll see later, like in the story of Joseph) may cause us to question that God still loves us and cares for us when he allows us to suffer. I use this verse to remind me that it isn't
"all about me" and even if I cry out to God to reveal his plans to me in advance (like when I got pregnant with Dilara and I asked "God, WHAT are you THINKING to allow this?"), and even if I NEVER see the good end result that came from my "challenge du jour," I can take this verse as a promise that God is in control, he knows what is going on, and I should be honored to play any role he asks me to and I should be confident that he is making something good out of all the mess I make, step into, or get dumped onto me by others. God knows my heart and I love him more than anything and I WANT him to use me to do his "calling" in this life.
Lots of emotional/mental turmoil for me the past couple of weeks. Many family members are doing/thinking things I don't approve of, but I can't control. Last week's news wrung me out so badly emotionally, I feel like I am "dazed and confused" after the latest revelation.
Early this morning I had a dream. I was in a volkswagon "bug" and was going somewhere to do something and I got lost on the way. I pulled over to the side of the road and the ground seemed unstable, so I pulled farther ahead in a place that looked like it was a safer place to park. I got out of the car and walked up to the road to try to get my bearings and to call for help. On the way to my parking spot, I had passed a police car and the thought didn't occur to me to ask for help, but I was just wondering if I was doing anything wrong that I'd get pulled over for (of if I had a brake light out or something that wasn't my fault, but I was just unaware of), As I got up to the road, I saw the ground open up where I had first parked my car, but moved away from, then I saw a sinkhole partially swallow my car. I could not believe it. For some reason, there was a long rope trailing from behind the bumper of my car, and somehow I dragged the car, all by myself, to where I could drive it. As I was standing beside the car thinking about what had happened and what I would do next, the policeman I had passed, who was on the top of the hill and had been watching me the whole time, drove up and asked me if he could help. Then I woke up.
House organization/cleanup is coming along very slowly, but surely. I am having a hard this week. I am eating my Xocai Healthy Chocolate daily. I am quite sure it is something I need for the rest of my life. I just hope that someday I can get it for free....I just need 3 preferred customers, and mine is free. I love the new XoLove Bites (sounds like "show love') and I hope they are big sellers. We already have so many great products, I know more people would be using them, except that they are so expensive. I am having issues related to weather changes and some perimenopausal symptoms, but I think I will be fine in a few days.
I have gotten my garden off to a good start. I have plants to share with friends. I am going to be using 2 of the community garden plots that are 4 x 12 feet each. I have started many plants. I am very interested in permaculture and edible landscaping and I know it will take years to get to where I want to be, and it will always be a work in progress.
I have just found a great website http://jubilee101.com/
that has a ton of free info on all kinds of things that interest me.
Dilara wants a heart-shaped garden and/or a peace sign garden, in addition to a sunflower fort.
I want to build a solar cooker to help keep from heating my house up this summer. Looks like it can be used to "can" fruits and tomatoes, like a water bath canner.
I am going to be growing a lot of San Marzano tomatoes and I am hoping to make paste. I am going to try really hard to grow and preserve as much of my own food as I can. I am going to be hard up financially when Dilara grows up and I lose the child support money, which helps me pay for housing expenses. My house will not be paid off by that point and I don't want to lose it. I said when I bought my house that I want to die here, and I still feel that way. I never want to move again. If my house was paid off, I could live quite comfortably on Social Security income. My house takes up too much of my monthly income, but I will never be able to buy another house that would best meet my needs. I have been here almost 11 years. I hope my kids will be in a position to help me out financially until my mortgage is paid, if I have urgent needs. I just hope and pray that my roof won't spring a leak and that my HVAC will hold up until there is someone in my life who can help with that type of major expense.
My plumbing needs to be replaced, but epoxy glue and fiberglass cloth will probably work as emergency repairs for several more years. My iron pipes that carry waste water from my house are literally rusting through. I patched up a hole that was at least as big as a nickel several years ago and that stretch of pipe is still not leaking.
I really hope that my kids will be successful financially and will have money to spare to help me out, I certainly want to do all I can to need as little help as possible.
I need to fence in the end of my yard to make a run for my dogs so that I can get them off their cables. I hope they are old enough to not jump or climb a 4 foot fence. I plan to use part of the area where one of the dogs is to plant something edible. There was a mimosa tree over there for a while. It died and I took it down. The dogs need some shade. I think if they are fenced in, they will be able to get into a shaded corner at any time of day.
I am really excited about some of the projects Dilara and I can do together. We can be real Renaissance Women between all the things we will be learning and doing. It is nice to develop skills and talents. It will be fun to see what opportunities God opens up for us.
I do not have as close of a relationship with my teenagers as I would like, at this point. I guess I had might as well accept it, since I can't change it, but I hope that Dilara and I will continue to share interests and enjoy each others' company even when she is a teenager. We shall see. At this point in my life, I have absolutely no interest in getting married again. Who knows how I will feel in a month or a year, though. I am trusting God to provide a suitable mate if it is truly in my best interest to have one. As long as my sex drive is in low gear, I don't have much motivation to find a "mate." I have plenty of friends and interests, so I don't think I could ever be too bored or too lonely.
My ex-husband has someone and Dilara's dad has someone, and I am getting used to being without a partner. I have been divorced for 12 years or so, so I guess I ought to be used to it by now. I am so extremely busy with Dilara. I would rather be spending more time with my teenagers, but Dilara likes getting their share of my time and attention, which they don't seem to want or need anymore. It is so hard to get all 4 of us together for a family activity that everyone wants to do and will make time for.
I have been working for years to be content in whatever situation I am in. If I can't change my situation, I can at least change my attitude. I'll always be sad that things didn't work out in a way that I think would have been better for my kids, but I have to trust that God is in control and he's working things out better than I could. Maybe I'm having a happier and healthier life than I would have been if my husband had not divorced me. I think about that a lot. I would not have Dilara if my ex had not remarried. Is she my consolation? Dilara's dad and I are not enjoying a cooperative parenting relationship, but we are not having a lot of conflict at this point. I thought the home schooling issue was going to me a major point of contention, but I guess not. He seems to be happy in his life/work/relationship and he and I have frequent, but brief contact. It is a blessing to be spared the conflict and stress a lot of women deal with, and that I have dealt with in the past.
Yes, it is better to be in no relationship than in a painful relationship, but there is no reason human beings can't live in harmony together if they want to. Until I find someone who is as dedicated to building a healthy and happy relationship, I will find a way to remain content without a life partner. I am forced to be independent. Not my choice, but my reality.