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Friday Frivolity

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Series – I had considered posting the third part of my series on children who die in infancy, but I’ve decided to hold off until next week. The discussion on the previous two entries continues to go strong, so I thought I would let that carry on before posting the third part. So stay tuned for that next week. At the very least it is bound to be controversial.

Extreme Makeover – A few days ago I mentioned in A La Carte that our next-door neighbor (or next-wall neighbor since we live in a townhouse) is having an extreme makeover done on her house. This is not quite the Ty Pennington variety of Extreme Makeover, but the builders intend to do at least $10,000 worth of work between today and Sunday afternoon. The organization, Walls of Hope, is a charitable organization that helps families by transforming their living space through the efforts of volunteers and donors. We are not exactly sure what they intend to do, but we know it involves a lot of painting, laying new flooring, and so on. Two or three television stations have been hovering around and the family was featured on newscasts last night and this morning.

This family is new to the neighborhood and has somehow already raised the ire of many of the nearby homeowners. We, on the other hand, have already come to enjoy the family and look forward to getting to know them better. Here is the family’s biography from the Walls of Hope website:

Barb considers her children a “wonderful gift”. A mother’s love, however, isn’t enough to properly appoint a home and make it safe and comfortable for four children. Barb and her family have had to move many times over the years. At the end of June, they are moving once again – Barb hopes this time will be the last. Unfortunately, the new family home had mold in the basement and attic as well as other fundamental issues that delayed the move and put undue financial stress on Barb.

As a single mother, Barb makes many sacrifices but is an optimist at heart. Walls of Hope will be helping her and her family make their new space livable and uniquely their own.

Sarah is 17 years old and comes from Barb’s first marriage. Sarah is a straight ‘A’ student and has made the honour role at her high school for 5 straight semesters. Sarah is an enormous asset in the family. [Tim’s note – our children absolutely love Sarah and come spilling out of the house as soon as they hear her voice outside.]

Barb’s 3 sons – David (13), Matthew (12), and Christopher (10) all come from her second marriage. Each of the boys does extremely well academically and each has tested as gifted in some areas.

David is an enthusiastic boy with tons of nervous energy. He is very chatty, a little impulsive but quick to smile and wants everyone to be his best friend.

Matthew is very introspective, a deep thinker and methodical learner. Matthew is meticulous in his appearance and all mannerisms. He is very sensitive but does not show emotion easily.

Christopher is a bundle of energy. He never stops moving and frequently wears out even the hardiest companion. Christopher has a delightful sense of humour but takes a very long time to bond with anyone new in his life. [Christopher has tons of energy but has not yet managed to wear out my son. They can often be seen chasing eachother (or a football) in the yard.]

All of Barb’s sons have a very difficult time dealing with changes, whether big or small.

All three boys have been diagnosed with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) – specifically Aspergers. At the same time as this diagnosis was made, the youngest and oldest sons, Christopher and David were also diagnosed with Tourette’s Syndrome. Testing also confirmed Barb’s suspicions that her boys also suffered from Celiac Disease. Barb’s middle son Matthew is also hearing impaired.

Despite all these challenges, Barb believes that anything is possible with enough faith. Walls of Hope has answered Barb’s prayers and will be making the family’s dreams come true with a home makeover on the weekend of July 21 to 23, 2006.

They are an interesting family. Shortly after we moved into our house, the one next to us was placed on the market. We immediately began to worry just a little bit, wondering who it was that would end up sharing a wall with us. After all, a bad neighbor can make living in a townhouse an excruciating prospect. At one point we heard that the family thinking of buying the home had four teenagers, three of whom were autistic. I rolled my eyes and whispered a prayer that this family would find another place to live. But I was soon shocked at my own behavior and repented of it. After all, a person who can hold together a family with three autistic children is exactly the sort of person I would love to meet, for she must be a person of character. We have already benefited from knowing this family and look forward to getting to know them better.

Writing Day – With writing projects piling up around me, I have decided to set aside this entire day to write. I have several formal writing projects I need to take care of before July slips away from me. I am both excited and intimidated at the prospect of having to write for the next eight hours. I think it will be a great discipline and am sure that it will be good for me. I tend to do my best writing when I feel inspired to do so, but I think it is important that I teach myself to write during times set aside specifically for the purpose. I would appreciate it if you would remember me in your prayers today as I try to get a good deal of writing accomplished. I have been praying that God would give me wisdom, discernment, humility and ability, for some of what I hope to do is definitely beyond my natural capabilities.

Weekend – I am hoping to have a quiet weekend. I keep attempting to take my son to a Bluejay game and perhaps I can finally make the time tomorrow. Failing that, we’ll be trying to keep cool and trying to get away from the constant noise that is sure to come with the construction projects next door. And, as always, I’ll be posting here. Enjoy your weekend!

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