Tag Archive | life

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. ❤

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. ❤

Late Night Thoughts

Life doesn’t come easy for me,
but I still believe in my dreams.
Some people may call it crazy
but I like to stretch beyond my means.

For it’s only when I am spent and done
that God can truly show His strength.
And when He shows up, I know I’ve won
and for that I would go to any length.

Things might not always turn out right,
but they always turn out best.
There are times I feel like giving up the fight,
but then He gives me rest.

Of course His ways are higher than mine,
so I don’t always understand Him.
Sometimes I wish He could send me a sign,
then I realize He’s just waiting for me to read them.

His Word is here right in front of me,
It’s value truly worth more than gold.
When I humble myself and read,
His words help make me whole.

He is drawing me closer year by year
while training my heart to listen.
Day by day He helps melt my fear;
as He teaches me how to trust Him.

Life doesn’t come easy for me,
but I still believe in my dreams.
Some people may call it crazy
but I like to stretch beyond my means.

For it’s only when I am spent and done
that God can truly show His strength.
And when He shows up, I know I’ve won
and for that I would go to any length.

.

.

Battle of the Emotions

girl at windowAs some have noticed, I have fallen incredibly silent since I’ve gone down for the count with my foot surgery.  It may not have been noticed as much over here at the Zebra Chronicles, but the Autism Diary page and our other sites have definitely seen a drastic shift in activity over the last month.  I’ve been battling a slow recovery that keeps taking bad turns, hurtful situations with some extended family, a feeling of defeat and being trapped from being home bound for so long, and trying to juggle continuing to be there for the boys in spite of it all.  I’ve also been facing the challenge of keeping up with their schooling and their social development while being pinned to the couch still for most of the day due to pain and mobility issues.  The truth though is that as much as I tried to hide behind a few funny memes and some surface level conversation here and there, my biggest battle goes much deeper than all that surface stuff.  I’ve been battling emotions lately that come from all across the spectrum of life at all different ranges of severity and I have been trying to hide it for a variety of reasons.

The two that came up the most for me if I were to be honest with myself were

1) Trying to save face and pretend like I am fine.  I am supposed to have it all together.  I am supposed to be the one that can handle all this.  The one that is use to it, and can take it like a pro.  If I keep telling myself that, maybe I will start to believe it as much as my friends seem to.  And if I start to believe it, maybe just maybe it will start coming true?

and

2) Trying to keep a happy tone going for my friends and for DogForDavid as a whole.  I have worked too hard for too long to be a source of encouragement and positivity.  I want to be a person that can help lift others up when they are down and help them see that the sun really is going to shine again even when they may be facing their darkest days.  Knowing that, I really didn’t want to risk throwing it all away now with a range of posts about the darker side of life.  I kept telling myself that if I publicly let on that I was dealing with issues like depression, grief, anger, hopelessness, and the like that I would be letting everyone down and ruining my chance to be able to minister to others again in the future with encouragement and hope.

Philippians 4 encouragement_blog readyBy allowing myself to be so focused on what others might think, or how I may come across to them, I was forgetting something (and someOne) very important.  I was forgetting to let go and just trust God.  I was forgetting about one of my favorite promises in the Bible.  The one about how God will give us peace that surpasses all understanding if we just turn to Him.  The days I would start to remember that, I would allow my thoughts and my depression to turn it into an attack instead of recognizing the encouraging reminders and promises that they are.  I would say to myself, I haven’t been doing well about reading my Bible on a regular basis, or I haven’t really been keeping up with matters of faith or trusting God, and as a result, I would let those precious words slip right out of my hands and into the darkness that was surrounding me.

I know very well that I am not perfect and only human, and I understand others know that too and that it’s okay, and even important, to show my shortcomings and humanness from time to time.  However, I have never been comfortable with truly letting people into the inner core of my heart and thoughts unless I had something positive and encouraging to say that I hoped would be of help or encouragement to the reader/listener.  True, I have stepped out of my comfort zone a few very rare times… most of which have been here on this site, but I have never truly been able to shake the torment of feeling the pressure to keep up a good face and positive energy on my sites and with my friends as much as possible.  Considering that finding the silver lining and the sunshine part of life is something I thrive in with just about everything I have faced, that task isn’t always a daunting one for me to accomplish.

559929_453790487989602_293406818_nHowever, in times like the ones I’ve been facing over the last month, the darker side of emotions and weakness have been pounding down my doors and creeping in through the cracks.  When the tough emotions start taking over, slowly weakening your resolve, your hope, your resistance…  staying positive and upbeat starts to become about more than just finding the silver lining or putting on a smile.  It becomes a real battle for hope and life.  One that can get dark and ugly at times, and other times can simply weaken you to the point of wanting to crawl under a rock and hide it out… waiting for brighter days to appear again.  Too much time under that rock though can take the zeal and enthusiasm out of a person.  It can steal their hope of a brighter tomorrow and make their already dark days even darker.  In turn, that makes the battle turn into an all out war if the person wants to see the light of day again (figuratively speaking).  The worse part?  That war isn’t against other people, situations, sickness, or even bad days.  It’s against our very selves and the voices we have let reign in our heads for too long.  Voices from the devil that lie to us, steal our joy and self-esteem, and that can render us weak and powerless if we listen to them.
The good news with all of this though is that as long as you’re still breathing, it is never too late to turn things around.  We can’t do it alone and it won’t happen over night, but it can definitely been done.  For me, when I found myself starting to lose the battle with depression and fear, no matter how hard I was trying to fight back against them both, I chose to change my battle plan to hiding under that proverbial rock.  I’ve been hiding there for a while now and doing what I can to hide that fact from as many as I can.  Giving brief glimpses here and there to very few people out of sheer need to not be alone, but then returning to my rock to hide anyway.  Through some well timed devotions, some encouraging songs, boost of faith, friends that cared enough to not leave me alone, and a care package from a friend who knows the darkness and shadows of this road far too well herself but continues to have victory over them, I am slowly pulling out from under the rock and finding my footing once again.

Spoon from AlexThank-you to all who have kept me and my boys in your hearts and prayers.  I truly appreciate it.  And a very special thank-you to the friend who sent the care package.  You know who you are, and I want you to know how much you and your friendship mean to me.  By the way, I am wearing my extra spoon around my neck. 😉  I also have put the verse cards and the little book in the little purse and are keeping them close for encouragement and reminders to hang in there.  Thank-you, from the bottom of my heart. ❤

.

.

.

.

.

.

New and Revived!

A BIG thank-you to all my readers and followers who have stayed with this blog through my silence.  This site started out as a sister blog to “An Autism Diary”, and is part of the DogForDavid family of sites (which you can now see featured along our side bar on your right 😉 ).

Please check out our different pages (and consider following them to make sure you don’t miss any updates from us), and give a quick read to the new description for this site called, “The Zebra Chronicles” found on the front page. 🙂  Also note, that we have the same address (www.BeyondtheAutism.wordpress.com) but a new name (Stripes and Puzzle Pieces).  For more info on DogForDavid as a whole, please check out our main site, www.DogForDavid.com, and while there, check out our FAQs page too for the answers to our most common questions received. 🙂

Thanks everyone!  And as always, please feel free to comment and offer feedback.  I appreciate hearing from my readers. 🙂

A Daughter’s Heart…

In a little over a week, my world is about to change. At first I tried to convince myself it wouldn’t have that big of an impact; that it wouldn’t bother me much and that I would adjust easily enough. I tried to push back the tears and bury the sense of fear that was trying to climb. Old memories came flooding back against my wishes and fought with current realities for my attention. Sadness and regret pulled on my heart… both for things in the past as well as dreams left unmet in the here and now.

Grandma comforting David

Grandma comforting David

Truth is… my world is about to change and it’s not going to be in a small way. My mother is leaving. A short time ago she lost her job in a round of layoffs after having just gotten back to work after months of medical leave. When this happened, she found herself facing a big decision. Should she stay and struggle through? Try to get her job back? Maybe a new one? Or should she move somewhere that offered her a new start and a place to stay until she was able to get back up on her feet?

She made a wise decision to choose the latter, but sadly that means she will be leaving for Oregon soon to move in with my sister and start a new life for herself half a country away. I couldn’t offer her the same kind of help as my sister. My sons and I don’t have the means or the resources to take care of her while she tries to rebuild her life. I don’t even have the power or privilege to offer her a room to stay in my home as it’s not mine… I rent under a government aid program as my own disability, and other things life has harshly dealt out, has left me in need of financial aid in order to support my two sons and myself. Where as my sister has a home of her own with a room to share, as well as the finances needed to help support my mom in her time of need.

Joshua and Grandma

Joshua and Grandma

I am happy for my mom, I truly am. This move will be good for her. I am happy for my sister and my niece too as I know they have missed her and they will be blessed to get to have her so close again. The whole thing still weighs heavily on my heart though… and it’s not just because of the impact this is having on my two sons, who live for their time with their favorite Grandma and who are already broken as they understand a little better each day that she’s going somewhere that they can’t follow… They have been left and hurt so many times by so many people they should have been able to count on and the only two people in their life that provided them any kind of stability at all have been me and their grandma… and now they are losing her as well… At least in their minds and hearts that is how this all seems.  I am trying my best to get the to understand differently though.

My mom and I don’t have the greatest past. We don’t even have the greatest present to be honest. There has been a lot of pain on both sides and a lot of scars as a result. But… she’s still my mom and my heart still breaks at the idea of saying goodbye. Especially since just in the last couple of months we have finally had some talks that have brought so much understanding and healing.

David and Grandma at play

David and Grandma at play

She also has been a staple in my life from before I can even remember.  Being one that craved independence I admit that I hated having to need her so much, but all the same I was still grateful to have her help when she could. She even helped me take care of my oldest, David, after he was first born and I was so sick and weak I could barely move. What I treasure most about that situation though was that she loved me and David enough to not try and take my place either even though the situation would have made that a very easy thing to do. Instead, she helped me be there for David and filled in the gaps where I physically was unable to. As a result, even though I was chronically and seriously ill, I was still able to be blessed with the special and irreplaceable time of bonding with my son, and David was double blessed by being able to have that time with two people that loved him unconditionally with all of their hearts. My mom and David have always had an inseparable bond between them as a result too. One that was at a level most grandmas and grandsons don’t get to treasure together. ❤

David and Grandma playing in the snow

David and Grandma playing in the snow

I have other memories of when my mom stepped forward in my times of need too. In fact, as I look back at my life, for every scar formed and every moment of pain, I can more than balance it out with separate memories of love, encouragement, and support. Our lives and relationship may not have been perfect, but I know she loves me as much as I love her and that we both did our best and will continue to do so. I may not have always been able to see this truth, but I do now and it’s what I am clinging to right now as I watch my mom pack up her things and get ready for her move.

I am going to miss her… the tears are flowing already even as I write this and she’s not even gone yet…

I know we will have phone calls and letters and the occasional vacation/visit, but it won’t be the same. And as much as my heart yearns to pack up and follow her, I know I can’t do that for a number of different reasons.

L to R: Me, David, Joshua, my mom

L to R: Me, David, Joshua, my mom

I am going to miss her help and support. My life will get notably more difficult without her here to help with the boys or help fill in the gaps when my health fails me like it tends to still do from time to time. But none of that is what I am going to miss the most… what I will miss the most is the friendship that we were finally starting to solidify. One that has been in the works for a long time and has seen some major ups and downs, but has finally gotten some much needed boosts recently that I don’t think either one of us expected or even realized we needed until they happened.

David and Grandma at the art show

David and Grandma at the art show

In a little more than a week I will be losing more than just a member of my family… I will be losing more than a mom, or even a grandma to my boys… I will be losing a woman who was becoming my best friend and who has been my most trusted confidant for a long time. Given all our hardships, my mom still knows more about me, my heart, and what makes me tick, than anyone else ever will. And a lot of that has become true in just the last few years…

It is with a heavy heart that I offer my sincerest well wishes and blessings to my mom on this new chapter in her life. And with tears, I say my goodbyes but also pray that she finds happiness in this new adventure.

And mom? If you are reading this, please know that you have my heart and always will. I love you, I’ll miss you, and I wish you God’s best in this new journey of yours. ((hugs)) Keep in touch ❤

A Personal Achievment

Friday night I went to my local Celebrate Recovery group as usual. I started going about 7 months ago after being convinced by a new friend that I could find help and peace there to start my journey in healing from being abused so much in my life as well as from being abandoned by my husband a couple of years back.

6 month chipThis last Friday though was a little different.  I am celebrating my 6 month anniversary on my own personal healing journey this upcoming Tuesday (which also happens to be my birthday 😉  yay me 🙂 ) and I got to pick up my 6 month chip at the meeting because of it. : )  The chip in the pictures is it. 🙂  In case you can’t read that first one, it says Celebrate Recovery in the middle and around the edge it says, “My Grace Is Enough For You”.  An encouraging reminder that’s printed on every single chip. 🙂  I have come a long way from where I was when I first started going to those meetings.  And I have made some new friends that have come along side me also to help me grow and stay committed.  One of my closest ones is even going to celebrate my birthday with me on Tuesday. 😀  I can’t wait to get to see her and hang out with her.  Especially since my mom’s birthday present to me is free babysitting so I can just go out with my friend on my own. 😀 😀 😀  Yeah, that’s a great present over here. lol 😉 🙂

David's coloringWe also finally got our van’s oil and filter changed.  Angel (the name the boys helped give her) is much happier now. lol  Although that silly sensor/oil light is still constantly going off on me and since I’ve now completed repairs on everything that could possibly be wrong, the mechanic is concluding that my sensor (like so many before it) is broken.  Ugh!  I’ll be getting that one fixed sometime in the coming week.  I can’t stand the constant dinging. lol

.

.

A couple more pictures from Friday night 🙂

Celebrate Recovery

Me holding my chips up for a picture : )  My red and green ones are not showing in this though.

Me holding my chips up for a picture : ) My red and green ones are not showing in this though.