The Purple Board

Some classrooms have blackboards, some have whiteboards, and these days, some even have Smartboards. But, not Abbie’s classroom..oh, no, she has a Purple Board!

OK, I admit, it wasn’t necessarily by design, but when I went to buy some black flannel to affix her word cards to, there wasn’t any available. There was, however, a big fat bolt of bright purple! Easy decision, and beautiful, Abbie-pleasing results.

Some time ago her therapists built a PVC-pipe “gym” for Abbie, from which we could hang things for her to kick at or bat with her hands. As she began to flourish in reading, we decided to put the gym to academic use. Simply laying a piece of flannel over the top bar gave us the now-beloved Purple Board.

And, here’s what she’s been up to this morning:

In each of the following pictures Abbie had to choose three of the words herself in order to build the sentence. In this one she had to correctly choose the day of the week, the month, and the date.

In this one she had to choose the words “hot” and “sunny”, and choose the right picture to depict “sunny”

This one is my favorite, because she had to work extra hard.

In this last one, Rae told her that she was looking for the word “swimming”, but then showed her the words “swimming” and “raining” without telling her what they were. Abbie quickly (and correctly) chose “swimming.” I was stunned and challenged. We thought these sentence building exercises would be challenging for her. Not so much. So, if she can already read “swimming” without explicitly being taught that word…where do we go from here? I LOVE problems like that!

This past weekend brought the first big shift in our family, as we took Chase to college at Santa Clara. It was a profound “full circle” experience for me, because Chase was born during Christmas break of my senior year at Santa Clara.

After I’d dropped him and his stuff off at the dorm, I circled the campus to find a parking spot. Walking back towards his dorm, I approached the mission church as the first rays of pink sunlight were finding it. Ushered down the driveway by myriad rosebushes, the long arc of God’s faithfulness struck awe in my heart.

Having Chase so young was a scary thing. Youthful naivete and a good bit of bravado made it possible for me to walk through campus ignoring the whispers, and to sit sideways in those desk-chair combos that are completely unfriendly to pregnant women! Although I didn’t know Him well then, God’s grace attended my every step…not just though graduation (on time, with my class), but through each day of motherhood since.

Standing in the shadow of the large cross that sits before the mission, the “rightness” of my decision back then was utterly confirmed. Oh, I have always known it…from the first flickering ultrasound images, to counting toes, lost teeth and As on the report card. But, for the first time I felt like I have completed an assignment, and received a complete affirmation from the Lord. God’s faithfulness, and the answers to prayers may best be measured not in moments, but in years.

Being Chase’s mom has taught me much about how I journey through life as Abbie’s. When folks try to measure Abbie’s potential in a snap-shot, I will smile and recall the revelation of that long arc, looking forward to the day, in the shadow of the cross, when I will sense once again, “Well done….”, and rejoice in the joyful outcomes of the decisions we are making today. We choose hope, faith, and love, and we trust God for the end of the story.


Right before we said goodbye, on the steps of Mission Santa Clara


Among some of the many roses in the Mission Gardens at Santa Clara



Chase and I together at the foot of the cross.

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