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Birthday With a Side of Autism

Yesterday I turned 35.  The day mostly went by as just another day with just a few tweaks here and there as I attempted to make it something special.  My boys were confused and largely oblivious to what day it was even though they had others who were helping them prepare for it for over a week.  They were also struggling with disconnect and excessive pent up energy from us having been snowed in for the last few days.  I have to admit, the way they finally figured out it was my birthday was because I had a meltdown of my own about their behavior and shouted out “and even on my birthday!”.  Not my proudest moment by any means, but a real one.

In a last ditch effort to salvage what was left of the day, I sent the boys off to play by themselves so I could cool down and started making myself my favorite dinner.  That’s when my mom called.  She helped me vent my frustrations as well as helped me remember to relax and look for the little things.  She then talked to the boys to try and help them calm down a bit and focus.  The day still didn’t end perfectly, but eventually the boys did finally click and they sang me “Happy Birthday” and gave me two precious birthday cards, complete with their signatures and a little message each. ❤  Then, after waiting for them to settle down again from their excitement, we settled in to play some card games and watch some Netflix together.

There was no cake, there weren’t any presents wrapped up in shiny paper and bows, and the birthday song didn’t even happen until after 11 pm…  When I look back at it all though, I see what mattered most did indeed happen.  My boys remembered me and I got to spend some special moments with them.  It was a good birthday. ❤

Kindness of Strangers

img_5321-editedThe snow outside is getting deep and yet it just keeps on falling down.  I haven’t seen the ground underneath it for over a month now.  Definitely not something I am used to dealing with having come from a place that normally is lucky to even get a trace now and then.  Thankfully though, the snow has not been the only thing piling up around here.

As a single mom with two kids (all three of us disabled or with special needs) I have had quite a bit of experience bearing a load that was never really meant to borne by one lone person.  Many are the nights I have prayed quietly, sometimes with tears on my cheeks, for the comfort and help of someone to walk this journey along side me; to share the joys as well as the tears, the triumphs as well as the struggles, to simply cuddle with on a cold winter’s night while watching a movie.  That blessing has not been one I’ve been granted yet, but in it’s place I see encouragement and reminders that God cares and He hears delivered to me through the kindness of strangers that come in and out of our lives.  This winter, the deeper the snow gets, the more the kind strangers seem to show up.

img_5258-taggedOur first blessing came when the boys were struggling to shovel out the sidewalk at least enough to get to the mailbox safely.  The snow was deep, they were struggling with focus (it’s kids in the snow… focus issues are to be expected haha ^_^ ), and their shovels were necessarily small to make them useable for the kids.  Across the street from our home is a small community church.  As the boys were digging their shovels in for another round after a brief snow ball fight, two young teens and their dad pulled up in front of the church with huge shovels.  Long story short, I asked the teens if they would be willing to let me pay them to help shovel us out and they not only refused the money, but they have come back every single morning the snow needed to be removed again and without even knocking to alert me to their presence.   I still don’t know who they are, and they still won’t accept anything in return the few times we’ve managed to catch them in action.

Another blessing was when I found out the doctor team here decided to pick up our family for Christmas.  They bought both boys some really meaningful and fun gifts for under the tree and they gifted me with both necessities like the specialty laundry soap and bath soap I need due to Joshua’s allergies and simply little things to make me smile like new coffee mugs and a replacement of a beloved movie I had lost when moving to Idaho.  A very moving experience to have someone care so much about my family.

img_5312-editedToday, the stranger we encountered was a store clerk where I was attempting to trade in snow boots.  Someone (from the team of doctors) saw my shoes full of holes and decided to gift me with a way to keep my feet warm and dry this winter. ❤  The gift made me cry from the gratefulness that flowed out of my heart for them.  Unfortunately, the boots were not able to fit though so I went to see if they came in a bigger size.  Upon getting to the store it was discovered that the only ones big enough to fit were more than I could afford, even with the trade in.  The worker that was helping me look for a replacement had chatter me and my kids up about the boots so knew about them being a gift.  She also caught sight of my holey shoes as well and couldn’t hide her reaction.  All I could do was shrug and say that they were old.  I didn’t know much else I could say in response.  When she went to help ring up the bigger size and found that the difference in price was too large for me, she pretended to be accessing store coupons to help lower the price only to turn around and hand me a receipt.  She paid in full for the new boots and wouldn’t even take the gift card I received for turning the smaller ones in!  I admit I thanked her, but other than that I was too shocked to think so just stood there stuttering in amazement.

Digital Camera

the intersection we got trapped in

Then on the way home, while turning the corner where my home sits, our car got stuck in the piled up snow.  As I stood there struggling to push it forward while fighting back the anxiety of being stuck in the middle of an intersection, 3 other cars pulled up and got out to help.  Digging out my tires, pushing from the back, helping steer from the front… and all with smiles and words of encouragement the whole time.   It took 3 adults, 3 kids (David included because he just had to be part of the action lol) and a lot of muscle power to get the car moving forward again, but they did it.  They didn’t leave me stranded to figure it out by myself.  A blessing that touched me deep as it was also an answer to the silent prayers I was praying on that normally quiet and lonely street while pushing against a car that refused to budge.

Being a person who values kindness in action to the point that I set up and manage a group to promote it and used to set up special events just to spread it to those who rarely see it, having the kindness come back to me like this has been overwhelming but so beautiful at the same time.  So, all things considered… if the deepening snow brings out the kindest of strangers, let it snow! ❤

 

New Year, New Hope

Our devotions started with a classic hymn entitled, “It Is Well With My Soul” by Horatio Spafford. (click here to hear it sung by Chris Rice).

When peace like a river attendeth my way,
when sorrows like sea billows roll;
whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
“It is well, it is well with my soul.”

Though Satan should buffet,
tho’ trials should come,
let this blest assurance control,
that Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
and hath shed His own blood for my soul.

horatio_spafford

picture credit Wikipedia

Those are the first two (of a total of four) verses written by a man who truly understood grief as well as the Lord’s ability to bring peace in the midst of suffering.  Horatio, an American lawyer and Presbyterian church elder in the mid to late 1800’s, wrote these words when the boat he was traveling on, in a trip to meet up with his wife Anna, reached the spot where his daughters lost their lives in the boat trip before him.  Two years after having lost their son, Horatio Jr, to scarlet fever at the tender age of 4 years, Horatio and Anna decided to take a trip to Great Britain with their 4 daughters; Annie (11 ), Maggie (9), Bessie (5), and Tanetta (2).  At the last minute, Horatio was called away to deal with business that couldn’t wait so he sent his family on ahead of him.

The trip was going well for his family until the boat carrying his wife and children collided with another boat off the coast of Ireland.  As the waters started to rise and the boat started to sink, his wife took their daughters to the deck, offered a prayer of trust to God, and then loaded the four precious girls onto a lifeboat.  The mom eventually made it back to land safely only to learn that the lifeboat her daughters were on ran into trouble and sank… She sent word to Horatio who still hadn’t been able to take the trip by way of a simple telegram that read, “Saved alone.”  Overwhelmed with grief he took the next boat available to go meet up with his wife and it was on that trip he penned the words to what would become such a classic and moving hymn.

“Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.”
– Matthew 5:4

After the tragedy, Horatio and Anna lived to have more children, another loss, more travel, and what turned into a life mission to help others in Jerusalem resulting in a God honoring legacy for the family.  (Go here and here to learn more about his story).  God didn’t leave Horatio and his wife drowning in grief; He didn’t let their story end in tragedy.  The beautiful part?  He will do the same for you as well.  God has promised that in all things He will work for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28) and that he will fill us with a peace that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7).

peace-i-leave-with-you

pic credit Bing search

No matter what you may be struggling with, whether it be stress, loss, heartache, failed dreams, feeling stuck in a rut, death of a cherished family member, death of a friend, painful memories of a loved one lost in the past… God invites us through His son Jesus to rest in Him (Matthew 11:28), and to cast all our cares on His strong and loving shoulders (1 Peter 5:7).  Jesus’s promise to us in John 14:27 states, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”  When we claim that peace and let Christ fill our hearts to overflowing, we then are able to find the courage to join Paul in saying,

“…we also rejoice in our sufferings,
because we know that suffering produces
perseverance; perseverance character; and
character, hope. And hope does not disappoint
us, because God has poured out his love into
our hearts by the Holy Spirit, Whom He has given us.”
(Romans 5:3-5)

Let us move forward into this new year with the strength, confidence, and hope that comes from knowing and trusting in Christ.  Let us not allow the pain and trials we have endured to chain us to state of perpetual sadness but instead cling to Christ as we move forward, trusting Him Who can do “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20,21) and keep our eyes and hearts open to how God will bless us as we use the comfort we have received to bless and comfort others (2 Corinthians 1:3,4).

New Year, New Start

Wow, so much has happened since I last let my fingers run free on the keyboard for this blog.  There have been both struggles and joys, trials and triumphs.  It has definitely been chaotic, but still good overall.  I let my writing take a back seat during all this and I have found that I miss it so I am back.  My goal is to pick back up my writing and to try and share something new everyday on at least one of my blogs.  Health may interfere with that goal but I am going to still do my best to reach it.

For the latest on my boys, check out my post on our sister blog here.  That is where I will most likely post updates on them, especially if it involves updates that reference their Autism.  There may be a few (or more) posts of them on here though; time will tell. 🙂

Since my faith is such a huge part of me and my life, one of the things I am going to be starting too is sharing some of my thoughts and lessons from my devotions time.  That may or may not be everyday, as sometimes it’s a bit too personal for me to write out.  The family devotion I shared with my kids today turned into a personal devotion as I continued to dig deeper.  I found it to be especially fitting and encouraging with all that has happened in the last year both personally and in the lives of those around me.  My hope is that sharing today’s devotion (found here) will help us all step forward into this new year with refreshed strength and hope. ❤

Getting Connected

Morning everyone! Guess what? I actually got to sleep last night! Whoo hoo! lol David lasted for almost two weeks this round! Man will I be grateful when I finally can put a safety block on our door again.

Had an appointment with a new cardiologist yesterday too. They’re putting me on a heart monitor and doing a new echo on my heart to make sure I am truly stable. Been pretty weak again after a scary episode that took me down about a month ago. Depending on the results that come back, I will either be released with some instructions to help keep things stable or I will be starting discussions with the doctor about medications or other interventions. Can’t have my heart refusing to cooperate on me again like that.

In the meantime, the boys and I are starting to get used to our new town and neighborhood and are starting to get connected, slowly but surely. The boys and I are also getting connected with the EDS doctors we’ve been needing. Oddly enough though, my cardiologist (of all people) asked about genetic testing and when I told her of the mutated gene that no-one could explain that showed up on both of my boys’ reports she told me to make sure I told my primary care doc and have him get us in with the EDS geneticist specialists that will be coming through Boise soon. She thinks they may have answers to the mystery gene that might in turn provide some answers for my family. Worth a try in my book. : )

Hope this finds you all having a good morning! Please say hi in the comments. Would love to hear from you. 🙂

Idaho Blessings

Have to admit, I can’t sleep and here I am up on my own and I don’t know what to do with myself. lol Yep, the boys actually went down for me a couple hours ago. Had to keep putting them back in bed over and over and over… (you get the idea lol ) but I got them down. And here I am… still wide awake! Go figure right? haha

Life has really been changing a LOT for me lately. So many new things, so many mind blowing blessings. I have my struggles still too of course, but they truly seem like nothing when held up against all the blessings that have been coming through for me and my family in these last few months.

A compassionate and knowledgeable doctor and medical team that is able to help us with all our health needs.

A local community of Autism families, where the boys and I can go and just be ourselves, quirks and all, without judgement.

The local library even welcomed my kids with open arms. Even with David getting into the books on hold section, running off repeatedly, and repeatedly forgetting to keep quiet. THAT’s something pretty special right there. lol

And now we even have a church that welcomes us. I have longed for that for so very long. And the children’s minister proved yesterday that my boys really were welcome, wanted, and understood. She had asked me if there was anything David really liked so I mentioned his obsession with trains. When we showed up for church, she showed up with a box of trains and tracks, brought in specifically for David to play with. And she didn’t even bat an eye when he lost control with excitement and started flapping and spinning and shouting his happiness. ^_^

There is so much more than even what I’ve listed here, and I couldn’t be more grateful to the One behind it all. As my sons learned in church yesterday, “Being rich is not about money or possessions. To be truly rich is to be rich in the blessings that are less tangible: love, family, friendship, and most of all Jesus.” I wholeheartedly agree with that. To the world I may look poor and broken, but in His eyes I am precious and priceless and my life is truly richly blessed. ❤

A Dose of Positivity

Oops! I allowed myself to get so busy I forgot about the post positive challenge! I think I missed the technical day but figure better late than never. 😉  Please feel free to join me by listing your own 10 positive things.  It does a heart good to take a break and sit back long enough to remember the things that makes you smile. ^_^

10 positive things in my life right now

1) Doctors who understand my EDS
2) A brace specialist who will be making me a new knee/leg brace soon
3) Beautiful nature at my doorstep
4) Mountains within view on most of my drives
5) A group of other Autism moms and families that I can hang out with locally
6) Those colorful crates being sold at walmart right now (they’re making a fun shelf alternative 😉 )
7) I found the painting from Officer Rhodes and the Maize police officers!!!! 😀 😀 😀
8) Being able to hang some pictures and paintings up finally
9) Cuddles from my boys when they are having calm moments
10) The blessing of laughter throughout the day, even on the hard ones

and of course, none of this would be possible without the ultimate blessing, a loving God and Father in Heaven who cares about even the little things 🙂