The Purple Board Part II

Abbie has astounded us today to such a degree that I promised her I would sit down and tell you all about it right away. That Purple Board seems to be the tool she has been waiting for, as we are finding intelligence beyond our dreams.

Ray and I got home from Matt’s cross-country meet and RJ’s football game today to find Abbie “doing school”. Today, Abbie was shown the words “Christmas”, “Thanksgiving” and “Halloween” once, along with picture cards that depicted each day. After being exposed to them once, she knew them! Not only that, but she was able to pick them correctly out of three choices.

Until now we have only been giving Abbie two choices, one on the right and one on the left. Her nurse, Rae, wanted to challenge her, so gave her a third option that was her “up” choice, requiring her to lift her arm to select it.

She built sentences that said things like “Christmas is on December 25″, with her responsibility being to choose “Christmas”, “December” and “25”. The stunning thing about that particular sentence is that we hadn’t really taught Abbie December yet, as we have been focusing only August, September, and October. Somehow she either read it or deduced the right answer. She also chose 25 promptly when her other choices were 27 and 31, so it wasn’t an obvious choice.

Then, Rae decided it was time for math. I felt confident Abbie understood the concept of addition, but we haven’t really worked on it. After ten minutes Rae came to get me to say, “1+1, 1+2, 1+3, and 1+4…so easy for her”.

Abbie was continuing to choose from three options, which required her to use her body very precisely. Hmmmm, we wondered…how much more math could she do. This picture answers that question:

It took Abbie less than ten seconds to look at this problem and select the right answer. She also correctly answered 2+5. She is so incredibly happy when she is at work, and able to exhibit her intelligence. Her reading, and more fundamentally, her vision, are blossoming at rates that takes our breath away.

OK….I was just finishing the sentence above when Rae came in and said, “I think you
ought to leave the camera with me.” Check out the problem below!

You can see how the selections are set up on the left and right, and the “up” position. Abbie correctly chose 9 as her answer. The sensation of pleasant shock is making my hands tingle as I type. There are NO limits for her!

You would think, with all of this future-altering progress, that I would be walking on air. The frustrating thing about sadness and grief is that they are so illogical, coming in waves at times that make no sense. Perhaps because Chase’s departure is making me realize my days of hands-on mothering truly are numbered, I have just been very down these past few days. I am not a woman given to fancy jewelry (I don’t feel as bad with 11 single earrings if they are cheap), but I realized, when we went out for the last family dinner before Chase’s departure, that my children are my jewels. Being seated with four sons around me made my blessings so extravagantly obvious. I am a very rich woman indeed, in the things that truly matter.

Still wallowing in the blues, I answered the door this afternoon for the pizza man, bringing lunch for our inpromtu gathering of teenage boys. Many of them were outside, which caused him to ask how many kids we have. When I answered “five”, he smiled and said, “Wow! I used to have a son but he died three years ago.”

Now, this particular pizza man knows us well, and I tip him generously because I am always touched by the sight of this slight, stooped over old man slinging pizzas up to our door. I don’t know what prompted him to share the story of his son, Martin, who just went to sleep one day and didn’t wake up, due to an undiagnosed heart problem.
His pride, sadness, confusion, and longing mixed together in his eyes and overcame his Vietnamese accent. Grief is universal. As we finally parted ways, I felt deeply in my humbled heart, “LOOK at what you have, not what you don’t. All your children woke up this morning.” The fog began to lift.

Ten minutes later, Rae came to tell me Abbie was doing math.

I think the lesson is, we all have a story. When you feel lead to share yours, please do! I didn’t mention anything to Hiep about Abbie, and he probably has no clue how deeply he ministered to me in his brokenness. With God, tears are never wasted.

3 thoughts on “The Purple Board Part II

  1. "Look at what you have and not at what you don't have"
    What a perfect lesson for me as well. I truly lost my purpose when my children were all grown and then my mother passed away. I had cared for my mother in our home for the last nine months of her life and she died at home. Even that was a blessing because that is what she wanted.
    Thank you so much for sharing Abbie, your family, your struggles and your faith!

  2. Tiffany, I'm so excited to keep reading of Abbie's amazing progress in her schooling! Caleb's been doing really good too. There's something going on right now, I believe. God's been showing me so many new things. Our kids are just so amazing…and I have been blown away too these last few weeks. I can't begin to imagine all that God has in store for their futures! Go Abbie!

  3. I'm a reader in Texas and am THRILLED to see all that Abbie is reading and calulating! This is wonderful! But I do have to add that even though my husband's head injury was 13 years ago and he is doing well… I still have moments of depression over what he has lost. And what will never be. I guess it just comes with the territory! The blues are usually temporary though. And because of that, I REALLY appreciate reading about Abbie's progress and all that she has ahead of her. It helps me to remember the miracle that we do have here!

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