Friday, August 29, 2008

Posting late today, but it'll be up all weekend...

I was totally thrilled with John McCain's choice of a running mate in Sarah Palin. I had never heard of her prior to today, but I've also been steering clear of politics lately...
So I went on a Google spree as soon as she was leaked as a possibility this morning, and she looks like the answer to my hangups about voting for John McCain. She is staunchly pro-life, in fact she had a baby in April with Down's Syndrome, even after being encouraged to abort him. (FYI: statistics show 80% of Down's Syndrome babies are aborted. How sick and sad...) She's also strongly in support of getting our own dadgum oil... and pretty much a straight up conservative.

She is the youngest elected Governor in US history, elected at 42 (she's 44 now) I'm geeking out a little about a true conservative being a heartbeat away from the presidency... especially how she says she never meant to get into politics. Maybe I'll be President yet!

I think she was a genius pick for McCain, and I feel excited for the first time since Huck bit the dust.

In other news, I think it's time for some Smartypants. Hit me with your best shot!
Ms. Smartypants is here for your medical, political, social and no doubt ridiculous questions. Submit your inquiries now through Sunday night, and she will answer as many as strike her fancy!

In other, other news:

Thursday, August 28, 2008

So, since you are all dying to know what is going on in my life, I will tell you.

• Larry the odd-job handyman and lawn-guy appears to have stolen our lawnmower. We let him borrow it on Tuesday to mow a neighbor's yard.

The perp

• R2 will begin school on Tuesday. But really, he's just going for an hour so they can observe him in a "normal" class and then say on their paperwork that he needs to be in "Exceptional Education" classes instead. He will be wearing a uniform, and he will be an adorable little special needs college professor.

• Today, R2 got his scleral conformer. This is the clear plastic shell that eventually will be painted to be his artificial eye. He'll have this clear conformer for a few weeks, which gets his eye ready for more permanent shell, and stretches his eyelid a little.

So for a few weeks, his eye actually looks worse, because all the scarring and buildup on his bad eye shows through. The long-term shell will look exactly like his good eye, though. He had the impression made on August 14th, and then they built this shell based on the shape of his shrunken eyeball.
I can already tell it's going to be really cool. He seems a little annoyed by it, and gave me the All-done sign, but he doesn't seem to have any pain.

• That is all.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

This is another edition of the Clark archives, you can find older chapters over on the sidebar under "The Story of Us".

Okay, I'm going to jump around in chronology here, because I'm all sci-fi and I can do that. Last clarkive, I covered R2's birth.

Now we're going backwards to the 2 years prior to that, 1997-98. Richy and I were both working at Hewitt Associates, and doing youth ministry about 3 nights a week and over the weekends. Josh (josharoo) and Richy and I were doing full-time youth pastoring while holding day jobs, and we knew our goal was to be able to just do ministry. Our church was in the process of developing a ministry school, and Pastor Mike asked Richy if he would consider quitting his day job and going to the brand new Joshua School of Ministry.

When Richy asked me about it, I was all for it, with the condition that I could go too. So we began the process of quitting our jobs and moving back in with my parents, which freed our expenses up to be just our car payment and on occasion, even car insurance!

There were 8 of us in that guinea pig edition of Joshua School. We were committed to 4 hours of class a day, 3-4 hours of homework per day, and I forget how many prayer hours, plus the youth services we had already been doing. Basically, we were all suicidal.

We had to find creative ways to live during the 10 month program. For us, it was fairly easy. We lived with my parents and ate their food, plus the church paid us $500 a month to keep up what we were doing with the youth group, and I cleaned the church once a week.

For our friends, it was a bit more of a stretch.

•Ann came from Palestine, Texas and moved in with the Bretts, who already had 4 kids and a dog in a little house.

•John worked full-time overnights and came to class with a psychotic gleam in his eye.

•Josh sold knives, and a variety of other work-from home projects. Oh, and he lived in a treehouse. That cut way back on his expenses.

•His brother Jeremy lived in a shed. He had a bed and a desk and he might have had a block to walk to the restroom, I can't remember.

•Joseph and Tabitha came from India and lived with the Reicherts.

It was a hellish, wonderful year of our lives. We began the year with a course called Issues of the Heart, which makes you go deeeep and learn what is hindering you from loving others. It's kind of like a heart transplant without anesthetic. I consider my primary salvation experience as happening in that class.

Then we began the full school program. We were taught for about 4 hours, 5 days a week. Then we’d go home, or to our treehouse, and study and do the homework... things like: 
“Spend 3 hours in worshipful adoration before the Lord. Do not ask for anything. Journal your results.” 
“Go to a public place and share a 1-minute version of your testimony with a stranger.” 
“Find an unbeliever that is willing to go through a 10 week foundational Bible study with you.” 
“Engage in an overnight corporate prayer gathering this week.” 

And we did it. The only way to get your diploma of Ministry was to do 100% of the work. Every one of us graduated. We would have all had perfect attendance, too, but Josh went to jail once. Oh, and John had a nervous break of some kind from working so much and quit school for a few hours. But he came back.

When graduation finally came, everyone was just so relieved that the crazy ride was over, we didn't see what we had really done. But now, with the retrospect of 10 years (hey, we should have a reunion) I know that it was one of the best years of my life, and some amazing exponential growth. It gave us such solid roots and foundation for the course our lives would take.

When Pastor Mike's flight to graduation is late, Richy and Josh and I thoughtfully entertain the crowd.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

So I have done a lot of paperwork for the whole school thing, and now I'm waiting for someone to call me. I hate waiting, and I especially hate the phone.
Toby and Bean are pretty much keeping the crazy train rolling all the time around here. I just intercepted the ceremonial eating of the diaper cream. This is not the first time. I wonder what it tastes like?

The current "Hill to Die On" is the phone. We recently plugged in our landline to receive local calls... and pushing the buttons is like Disneyland. Which erases the incoming message, changes the language to French, calls Japan, etc. Which, you know, whatever. I let them take off all the couch cushions, pull out all the blankets, take out all the tupperware and play drums. But this one thing they are barred from. I am going to win this one... someday.

I need some lunch and a nap. I am decidely grumpy today.

Monday, August 25, 2008

"HEAR" and "SEE" a conversation from a football field away.Powerful enough to capture distant sounds from 300 feet away. Zoom in and see what you're hearing. Sounds and images impossible for the human ears and eyes to pick up now seem as if you're only a couple of feet away. This secret surveillance device is perfect for when you really need to know what's going on! Orbitor Electronic Listening Device $49.95

And so discreet, no? I could slip it in my purse, take it to the park. Simply slide on the oversized headphones, point the large cone-shaped weapon at my victim of choice, and get all the information I need without detection!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Today we met the new neurologist.

When we were in Texas, we had a loose team of doctors who had followed R2 since he was born, but in recent years we had seen some turnover, and met some new docs and such. When we moved here, the pediatrician who is AWESOME sent referrals for all the services we would need, and everything was just lined up for us. That has been really nice, and we really like the Children's Hospital here a lot.

If you don't live my life, or one similar (as a parent of a special-needs kid) then the thought of liking a hospital may be a little weird to you. But if you know, you know. Children's Mercy here in Kansas City is pretty amazing. If we are going to spend time in the hospital or multiple clinics, this is where we would want to be.

Anyways, we met the first neurologist (brain doctor) in May, it was basically an intro visit. During that appointment, I laid out my concerns about Richy's behavior, and the seizure medication he's on. I am used to doctors figuring out that I know my stuff, and then genuinely listening. Dr. F was a bit distant, felt committed to sticking with this drug, and was unconcerned about the behavior issues (rages, self-hitting, tics). So off we went with our increased prescription and I decided to give it a few weeks and see if things stayed the same. They actually got worse, so I called back and basically got blown off. Which is SO not cool.
So I went to the head and arranged for a second opinion, which is what today was.

The new doctor is named Jean Baptiste LePichon. (echoes of little mermaid: lePichon, lePichon, how I love LePichon)
He is an extremely thorough guy. Not particularly warm, but he took pages of notes and really heard me out. I could tell at first he was a little peeved about me not liking Dr. F, but after a little he seemed to get over that and figure us out.

So we don't have a specific plan of action yet, he's leaving that up to me. But I can either a)change drugs entirely or b) add a drug to help with the behavioral issues, which might be a side effect from the current medication. I don't know which one I'm going to do yet, there are pros and cons for every option.

And we got some language, a potential diagnosis of Pervasive Developmental Disorder... one part of me shrinks from putting another label on Richy, and the other part is like, please, call it something so I can get some idea of how to work with him. I don't know a lot about PDD yet, about to do some mad Googling. I do know it's similar or connected to autism, which is no surprise. I've read enough over the years to see the similarities.

Anyway, maybe this is too heavy or medical for you guys... just processing the visit and putting it in words. Please pray for wisdom for us as we make decisions for Richy.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

You may or may have not noticed I have taken a step back from politics for the last several months... as I process my own thoughts. If you haven't watched the Civil Forum from Saddleback Church, you really should. Rick Warren (Purpose Driven Life) interviewed Obama and McCain. Youtube it, it's about 2 hours worth of clips, but really fascinating insight into the candidates on some moral issues and faith.

We watched a few clips last night, and I want to watch the rest when my brood allows.

I'm watching carefully to see who gets chosen for the vice presidential candidates... I don't see Huck being picked, but maybe Romney. I still don't know if I'm going to vote, or take the conscientious objector route.

In other news, I went up to the school yesterday to take another step in enrolling R2. I have to repeat these facts over and over. He has never been enrolled in school. He is 9. He is special needs. Yes, that's correct. 9, homeschooled, special needs. Okay, I'll repeat myself.

So now we have an appointment with someone else on Monday and then maybe we can actually start all the Special Ed evaluations and such. And then at some point after that, I guess we'll know when he'll actually start classes. And then we will buy uniforms (for public school, can you believe it?) And maybe someone will tell me what school supplies he needs, since he won't be in normal classes.

I don't know what to expect, but I feel good about moving forward and trying this for a year.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

On the flight to DC, I was cheerfully thumbing through Sky Mall as usual, laughing at the ridiculous things that obviously someone is buying, and then I thought, hey! this is excellent blog material! So occasionally, when I find myself with not much to say, you can feast your senses on products for the frequent flier!
Today's item is especially choice. An indoor restroom for your pooch.

The Indoor Dog Restroom.
This mat-and-tray system gives dogs a place to relieve themselves when they can't get outside for respite. Ideal for high-rise dwelling dogs, when owners aren't home, or even just for times of harsh weather, this ingenious system uses a mat made of antimicrobial porous artificial turf that gives off an organic scent to attract dogs, so they can be taught quickly that it is an acceptable spot for relieving themselves.

The mat sits on top of a plastic grate which allows liquid to drain into the included tray for easy clean-up. The turf yarn is a unique construction specially designed for use with dogs, and its antimicrobial composition helps prevent odors. The tray is easy to empty and can hold up to two gallons of liquid.

1" H x 30" W x 20" L. (6-1/2 lbs.)

Yeah. Maybe you didn't catch that. It's a strip of Astroturf on top of something like Tupperware. What lucky individual gets to lift and lug the pee-soaked mat and tray outside and hose them down? And how great must your house smell? This is a must-have, folks.

Josh reminded me to add the price. You can get this gem for a mere 150 bucks!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

So yesterday we went to the school district building to start the enrollment process for R2. We are way, way late, as school starts on Monday. But we've been fasting and praying to see if we should do public school this year, and didn't want to make a decision till after the Call.

I have always wanted to homeschool my kids. I love learning and I love teaching and I love having my children with me. Over the last couple of years, though... it's become pretty clear that I'm not giving R2 everything he needs. In a love sense, in a parenting sense- I am. We're good there. Just in an academic and therapy sense, he's going to need more support. And I need more support. So we're giving the ol' system a whirl, and then hopefully he and I will have the kickstart we need to school at home for the rest of his academic career.

I saw a Spiderman lunchbox at Walmart and got choked up. This baby has been with me pretty much 24/7 for 9 years. So I know I'll miss him a lot.

Anyway, we went to the admissions building to do paperwork. It's in Downtown KC, in the old part of the city. All of the last-minute citizens of the city were there to enroll their kids a week before start day... we wandered a little but ended up paying $5 for parking across the street. 

In the building, we were sternly directed next door. Now, we have had lots of experience with government workers, and in general their morale is low, and customer service is not a priority. So we took our orders and went next door. We asked for certain paperwork, which caused a worker to RISE to his feet and scan the papers in front of us... puzzled, he says, "Uh, why don't you just fill out this one and that should work." We were greatly reassured by his confidence < /sarcasm>

So we followed the arrows around to the auditorium. As we rounded the corner, a 400 pound woman and her sister came barreling through, disgruntled. They warned us to be prepared to wait. Basically.

As we entered the auditorium, all around us were the discontent and increasingly outraged holders of "E" tickets. The administration officials at the front were still calling "D" numbers, and the masses were getting pretty teed.

The week-before crowd was comprised in large part of people with an entitlement mentality, and they were furious at the poor administrator for not calling them first. Because E81 should be seen before D70, no?

So get this... we are packed in this little auditorium , probably 200 parents and about 3 admins frantically doing paperwork and writing numbers on a whiteboard. What made it insane was the crowd was about ready to riot. These women were screaming from their chairs, insulting the poor admin, and egging each other on from around the room. 

I was totally delighted. You put a blogger in a crowd like that and the ol' memory bank starts cataloging. The spouse, not so much. He's a bit of a more practical guy and he was calculating how many hours this would probably take, and so off he went to find someone to give him the scoop on when would be the best time to come and get through faster and such.

So in the meantime, I am left in an auditorium of racially diverse but economically and socially connected people. I was beaming. I kept having to wipe the smile off my face lest someone see me and open a can of whoop-smile. 

The admins, "D70? Do we have D70?" 
The ladies in front of me, "^% no we don't have no D70. Ain't nobody with a D in here. HEY! Anybody got a D? See? Nobody! #$#%"
Admins, "D71?"
Ladies, "Absent." (laughing uproariously)

Mom, if this were a PG Wodehouse novel, this is where the Tough Eggs would begin tossing ripe fruit.

As the numbers wore on, the language deteriorated and the few remaining D's were served under much scorn and public derision. Richy came back and found the fast track was getting there at 7:45 am, when the proletariat has not yet risen. If I had been there by myself, I would have stayed and maybe even broken out my spiral and started jotting some observations. Anybody who thinks Jerry Springer is fake, I have my doubts. 

I'm not terribly concerned about the school based on these patrons, for a couple of reasons. One, this was the administration building for the whole district, not just one school. Two, these registrants were registering almost a month after the admin deadline. And three, R2 is not going to be in normal classes, he will be in the Special Ed department all day. So I took heart in that, and in the cool head of the admin who did not fear the wrath of the people. Glorious.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Howdy, everybody.

Here's the clips from when we played at the Call.... here and here...

It was a long, intense day. The atmosphere over DC is pretty heavy, and in intercessory terms, breakthrough was difficult. But we did what we felt like God told us to do, and we're content with that.
And I am very glad that we're done and we can think about some other stuff for a couple of months. Like what, maybe you're asking. Nosy. Anyways... like enrolling R2 in school. I have a bigger post I'll do about that later this week.

It's a little bit like the week after Christmas, and I'm not really sure what to do with myself. I need to maintain some spiritual momentum and not slide back into some apathy...

My kids had a great weekend with Viking Granny. And we got to be tourists on Sunday... get this... my FIRST time in DC. My hubsand has been like, 4 times. And I, le politico have never been. We had to move really fast, and we were walking everywhere. So I am skinny and tired, but very happy. My brain is a little fried, so if you have specific stuff you're curious about, just ask!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I’m writing this on Wednesday night... we will have internet via the iPhone all weekend, but I doubt I’ll have much time to blog, not to mention typing on the iPhone is obnoxious. Now, before you get all snippy and “Oh, look at the Apple product that’s no good...”
imagine typing a blog on a TEXT MESSAGE. How annoying would that be, I ask you?

Anyways. It’s pretty insane what we are getting the opportunity to do. It’s an honor to be invited, and we are well aware that it’s God’s day...

If you haven’t caught the instructions over the last few weeks, I’ll recap a little now.

The Call is a massive gathering of people for 12 hours of fasting, prayer and worship. The first and largest call was in DC in 2000, with over 400,000 people on the Mall. Since then there have been Call events all over the world, and about 10 here in the States. Radiant has made it our aim to attend as many as possible, since we know mass fasting and prayer is an effective means of seeing our country changed by the love of God. We’ve attended a lot, and played in LA, Dallas, Nashville, and Las Vegas. We are the first band during the televised event, although another band will begin the day before the “starting gun”... If you are watching via GodTV, we’ll be on at 10/9 CST.

Here’s the dealio with GodTV. In the States, you can get it if you have DirecTV, or online. In the UK, it’s on regular TV. If you’re planning on participating via the interwebs, you have to register for GodTV. It’s free, and easy.

Or, if you live in Conroe, you can drive over to Christ the King Church on Airport Road (our home church) and watch on the big screen with the congregation, who will be joining us in prayer.

After Saturday, I’ll be giving you the recap and then I’ll cease the Call-talk for a few months... until October when we start gearing up for the Call California November 1st!

It’s a fine line I’m walking here. On one hand I am so stoked and out of my mind excited to just get to be a part of something so huge. The other, more spiritual part of me recognizes the extreme importance and gravity of the day, and keeps spazzy-me in check.

But butterflies, absolutely. Holy moly.
Sometimes it seems my life is a continual series of transitions. Which is great because variety is the spice of life and all that, but it also makes me feel like I am in a holding pattern most of the time. Today, I am getting ready to go to DC tomorrow. And in a lot of ways, DC is the beginning of a new chapter for us.
It's just weird that I am sort of always waiting. Ah well, anyways.

I am pretty boring lately, because I have a lot I'm thinking about which always leaves me with nothing to say.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

So. Time to dish.

dishes... food...mmmmm, food. Anyways, back to my blog.

We left for Texas Thursday morning. We planned on leaving by 7:30 and got on the road by 9. Cest la vie with 3 little kids... and a Daddy that can walk in circles for 15 minutes before he remembers what he needed in that circle. Took approximately 15 hours to get to Texas, and quite a few animal crackers. I was a little crackers myself there by the end.

Friday, we set up and practiced a little with le band. Saturday, we practiced all day and led a service that night. It was a BLAST. I love me some music with my radiants. Sunday marnin the MOG preached at CTK and then I FINALLY got some fajitas. Then we took band pictures for 7000 hours. Oh, and it was my anniversary. 12 years- yay us! Monday morning we left around 9 and arrived around 11:30 pm here in KC.
6:30 am we arrived at the hospital for R2's ocular prosthetic fitting, under general anesthesia. I'm hoping to schedule in some time for sleep before we fly to DC Thursday morning, but who knows?

Monday, August 11, 2008

eventful and fun weekend in Tejas... Poking buttons on iPhone does not inspire my muse, so I'm out. Will update tomorrow, we should be in KC late tonight!

Friday, August 8, 2008

So, I don't know if you noticed, but I was out for a week. Oh, and I wrote a brilliant Smartypants, to which you all replied, "Hey! My lights are off! Bring the beanie babies!"
My art is so misunderstood.

So last week, I went to the house o'prayer 2 hours a day and didn't eat anything for 5 days.... drank protein shakes and then broke my fast on day 5. My goal was to break myself down and get real with God... and I did. Incredible week. I feel like I've grown a ton, and I want to sustain it now, only with food.

The Call is Saturday. We're on first thing, so that's 9 am Central on God TV. We'll be on for 30 minutes, so don't miss us! And then stick with the Call for the rest of the day- we are believing if we call on God, He will heal America... and wipe out abortion.
So go over to God.TV and register for a free account, so you can watch. Or make a friend with DirectTV. Or, I have heard that Christ the King Church will be broadcasting the webstream and praying along. Or, go to and click find a bus to DC, find a campsite or hotel, and join us there! The end.

In other news, Toby is nuts. Crazy sneaky crazy nuts. He has devised all kind of new plans to destroy me. He is the joy of my life and the puller-outer of my hair. Seriously. He is simultaneously THRILLING me with his amazing intelligence and creativity, and making me scream at his amazing intelligence in thinking of creative ways to make messes and do bad things.

I'm not terribly literary today, but who cares! Trees down in the yard! Babies everywhere! And I'm not bitter! See you Monday.

Oh, and Conrovians: we will be leading worship Saturday night at Sanctuary Church, and Richy is preaching. Then Richy will be preaching at Christ the King on Sunday. We leave back to KC early Monday morning, so we don't really get to visit anyone, mostly just practicing music. But we love all you Texans! Peace out.

Friday, August 1, 2008

uncle josharoo said...
Ms. Smartypants,

Since we just purchased a home and are expecting our 2nd child in November, should I increase my life insurance amount?

It is recommended, dear reader. Especially if your spouse is likely to knock you off. Not that this reporter has inside information.

 happy clam said...
Dear Ms. Smartypants,

Since i'm leaving my current career path for something more eternally beneficial, do you have any suggestions?

I already know i want to have a garden, but i don't know how eternal that is.

Your thoughts?

An eternally minded career is essential. May I suggest professional badminton? Some other options are finch cleaner, or troll. All of these are careers that have higher things in mind.

 anonymous said...
dear ms smartyPants 

Should I soak my beans over night or just cook them?

I hesitate to speak, but perhaps beans should be foregone for you, entirely. Eradicated from your diet universe entirely, permanently, and with haste. 

anonymous said...

If you feel like you are going to throw up, is it better to go for a run and try to rid yourself of toxins? Or is there a better method?-G
If you swivel your palm towards the earth, you might find throwing down or across more feasible. 
anonymous said...

IF someone were to want a haircut and basically... well... have not much hair, what would you recommend?-G

Sort of like the cucumber in the hairbrush song by veggie tales.

There are multiple options. Sinead O'Connor comes to mind. There is also the Bruce Willis, or Kojak. All excellent role models of haircare.

 jennifer james said...
Ms Smartypants- In the prayer room, whenever people sit down next to me, they always have really atrocious breath and sit way too close. What is the proper etiquette for dealing with these issues?

Perhaps one could suggest less garlic to one's husband, before leaving together for the prayer room. Less Garlic makes more room for holy things.

lonley louis said...
Why can't I get a girl friend?

I would rule out excellent spelling as a cause.

And with that, I'm out. See you next Friday! PS, Sorry if I just sent you a zillion emails. I set up an away message for my email account and it went a little nuts at first.
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