Wednesday, October 26, 2016

All of my life, in every season.....

Flashback to 3 years ago.  On a morning like this you might have found me sitting behind our son, holding him to keep him safe, both of us sobbing.  It could have been for a number of reasons.  He tripped, somebody turned a light on, somebody touched something he wanted to play with, I asked him to "be careful," his brother looked at him, somebody whistled.  There are just a few people who had a glimpse of our daily life at that time.  I literally followed Austin around from room to room sitting behind him to keep him safe if he hit his head on the floor.  Then he would be so upset at me when I did that he would get more upset and throw himself back into me and escalate.  Jake and I can both attest to getting bruises and wondering at times if that meltdown would result in a broken nose for one of us.  Wondering if he would have a concussion after hearing the sound of his head hitting the floor while we ran downstairs to switch laundry during a moment we thought he would be ok.  The exhaustion and aching arms after getting through a meltdown.  Those moments seem so long ago but will never be forgotten.  Jake and I both feel that God has used those moments in our lives to reach out and connect with other parents going through something similar.  I don't share these moments to get pity because I can assure you, even in those days that I couldn't wait to just get in the shower to let it out and cry, I could not love our son any more if I tried.  Jake, Cameron, Nolan, and I see life with different eyes.  We see things so much better now.  We are better for it.  Although I would have gladly told you to "keep your better eyes.  I don't want them" on some days.    I also understand the feeling of watching your child struggle and wanting to do all you can to help them experience joy.  If somebody told me a few years ago that our son would be ok, that he will experience joy, that he will make everybody around him laugh because he is just so funny, that he would stop hitting his head, I probably would have just looked at you and said "OK.  Great.  What about today?  I can't do today."  I am aware that people are tired of hearing about our experience with Sensory Processing Disorder and how we have been enrolled in therapy for years, how we have meetings to plan his IEP for school, how we have special diets for our son, research vitamins and supplements and how they might help his body because his just doesn't make enough.  I am not writing this post for you and you probably quit reading by now :) It is for the parents who are in this moment that are doing the best they can to keep their child safe from an intense meltdown.  I have not forgotten where we have been and I will never forget.  Life is much different now.  So.  Much.  Different.  You will get through this day.  You will get through this moment.  I feel your achy arms.  I feel your eyes watering from that blow to your nose.  You will be ok.  You are amazing.  You are not alone.  I pray that you have the people in your life to lift you up when you cannot lift your arms up for one more second.  May you feel the peace that only God can give and know that you will be ok.  Your child will be ok.  You are not alone.  We will never forget.

Sunday, July 24, 2016


The boys love to hear old stories and see old pictures of them. They are always asking to look at the blog "for just a couple minutes."  A couple minutes often turns into many. 😉  I thought it was time for an update. They love those.

Cameron-age 9 1/2
Cameron laughs all day long. He thinks everything is funny and his giggle is contagious. He is an amazing big brother and plays games with Austin over and over and they laugh so hard. Cameron is very amused by Austin and his personality. Cameron loves to read. He is really into the My Weird School books. Some of his favorite foods are hot dogs, Mac n cheese, peanut butter crackers, pickles. He is into slugterra right now and enjoys looking up the different slugs. He also likes Pokemon. Cameron loves to sing and he has a wonderful voice.  He asked to put a radio in his room and loves when "Good Good Father" comes on. Cameron's favorite color is still green and he is not sure what he wants to be when he grows up.

Nolan -age 6 1/2
Nolan is a very thoughtful boy. He is always paying attention to how things affect other people. He plans ahead. He loves to organize and is always by my side if I making a list or chart for something. He asks to know how to make our handsoap so he knows how when he grows up. Nolan has been spending a lot of time playing with Austin. He was determined to teach Austin to play the Scooby Doo pop up game and he succeeded by starting with one game piece, then 2, and so on. He also likes to make up games for Austin to play like "surprise eggs."  Nolan also loves to read "My Weird School" books and giggles out loud. Nolan is into Pokemon. Some of Nolan's favorite foods are hot dogs, Mac n cheese, peanut butter crackers, and brownies. Nolan's favorite color is yellow and he wants to be a vet when he grows up.

Austin-age 4 1/2
Austin's current interests are following our cats around with cucumbers and trying to scare them. He has also taken an interest in slapping people on the butt. He thinks he is quite funny and sometimes it's really hard not to laugh when he does it with those huge dimples and twinkling eyes. We are happy to see him happy but are working on that. ;) Some people he had smacked on the butt this past week are every single person in our family, his Sunday School teacher, his chiropractor, and the air conditioning service repair man. Austin still has a pretty strict diet but has never complained or thrown a fit because he can't have something. We try really hard to find things similar to what he wants and explore lots of different recipes. Some of his favorite foods are oranges, yellow chips, almonds, cucumbers, veggie straws, and "new ranch" and ketchup. His favorite color is blue and he wants to "go to the playground" when he grows up.

Friday, July 01, 2016

Time with Nolan

Nolan got all of his poker chips in his love jar. He asked me to go to the river and we had such a lovely time eating a special ice cream treat, finding shells, and walking along the canal. Nolan is such a sweet boy and I love watching him play and learn. We had a good system:  He would find some awesome rocks or shells, wash them in the river, hand them to me to dry and keep safe. Then repeat. He loves nature and appreciates the smallest details that a lot of people miss. Here are a few pictures from our evening.

Those eyelashes.........

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Why I couldn't post pictures last night

I found myself sitting in the car last week in the parking lot outside of a store.  Jake had suggested I take some time for myself and I had a couple errands to run.  As I was sitting in the car I heard somebody on the radio talk about the book, "When God Doesn't Fix It:  Lessons You Never Wanted to Learn, Truths You Can't Live Without" by Laura Story.  The person on the radio said she started to read the book and couldn't put it down.  She then said, If you are struggling with something in your life right now and have prayed so much and God isn't "fixing" it, this may be a great book for you to check out.  I laughed out loud and asked God if he could have been any more direct.  Anyway, I bought the kindle version of the book and have been reading it the past few days whenever I get a second, and it is rocking my world.

I'm only half way done with it but it has changed my thoughts in ways I haven't thought possible.  Our youngest son was diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder when he was 2.  There have been a lot of ups and downs since then.  We have learned a lot about foods he should avoid and supplements that can help him digest his food better and even what vitamins he was low on.  It's amazing.  His little body is so sensitive that an upset tummy can play a huge part in a 30 minute meltdown.  We were in a place that we got his low vitamins built back up in his body and had removed oats, which we learned he couldn't eat and he was doing awesome.  So stinking awesome.  He would go a week without screaming at home.  Then he got sick.  For about 10 days.  Started with a cold, which alone can throw off a kid with sensory troubles, then he seemed to get the stomach bug going around.  He was really sick, couldn't eat or even drink water for awhile.  Then he got "better."  Everything we had built up in his little system was wiped out and he had to start eating food again, very gradually.  He was a mess, inside and out.  It reminded me and Jake just how far he had come the past two years.  We have two older boys and they scream and throw fits, too. They can do a pretty good job, but they have nothing on our sweet little Austin.  Austin has started to hit his head on the floor again, too.  Not as much as he used to before we removed gluten and soy, but  he is still doing it.

Last night I thought it would be fun to post a picture of the boys with their cute dimples.  I hadn't posted in quite awhile so I spent probably 20 minutes trying to get the best pictures.  Isn't that ridiculous?  I finally got some I was happy with and couldn't bring myself to post them.  The boys were adorable but we had a 30 to 45 minute meltdown with Austin before supper and I wasn't feeling like I could post these sweet pictures and pretend everything in our home was just fine.  It's not.  It's hard.  I feel broken sometimes and frustrated at God for not "fixing" our sweet son.  I pray over him and ask God to just give him peace in his day.  Keep him safe and give him joy and peace.  That's not too much to ask for is it?  :) I have always said that I know God is using our sweet boy in big ways.  If things were easy and perfect that would be great, but how much would I be leaning on God if it were.  I have so far to go but I am starting to understand the depths of what I have been saying.  I often feel like Austin has to have a few good days before I give somebody an update on him or make a post about him, but I am understanding that I don't.  I can talk about the hard days.  How mad I get.  How I lose my temper and am so tired emotionally.  But after digging into this book, I see that God can use me in my brokenness.  I am starting to understand that He doesn't have to "fix" anything.  Where we are right now is just where we need to be.  God is using our life with Austin to draw me closer to Him right now.  I will be honest, I am a little nervous about what God is doing in my life right now.  I have never felt so messy and vulnerable but I feel God using it for his bigger story.  Here we go.

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Lines and Brackets

Last night at supper Cameron made a comment that wasn't kind.  I can't even remember what it was.  Something he had heard at school.  It wasn't a "bad word" but it didn't sound nice coming out of our 8 year olds mouth.  I can't tell you how many times we have said, "Please use kind words."  Or, "Is that ok for me to say that about you?"  Most of the time he just stares at us like he couldn't believe we would even think about saying those things about him.  It has gotten him to think.  A little bit :)  After the comment at supper last night I remembered my sister-in-law telling me that they have been referring to Ephesians 4 with their kids when talking about the stuff that comes out of our mouths.  So, I got out my Bible and we read Ephesians 4:29.  "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen."  They didn't hear a word I said but they saw that I had bracket around it.  "What's that mom?  Why did you do that?  Can you do that?"  We then talked about how I have some notes in my Bible and some of my favorite verses underlined or they have brackets around them.  They were amazed.  They ran to get their Bibles and pens and started to underline and draw brackets around the verses we have been working on as a family.  They did some from Sunday School, and another one we have on our kitchen wall.  Cameron then took his Bible to Nolan's basketball practice and did more.  This morning after breakfast Nolan was still at it.  He kept asking me for more favorite verses.  I asked him to put his pen down, which he reluctantly did.  I told him he could underline and put brackets around every single verse in the Bible if he wanted to but what we really want him to do is to get to know those words and what they mean in his life.  He said "OK, but can we do just one more?"  :)  I told him I loved Psalm 139.  He picked up his pen and put a bracket around verse 5 like I had done.  "You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me."  I told him that was a great verse and one of my favorites.  I showed him the hem in the bottom of my shirt and showed him how it was all closed up.  I told him that God closes him up just like that hem.  He goes to school before him and after him and watches over him and protects him.  He said, "Mom, that is so cool."  Yes it is, buddy.

I love the desire these boys have to underline and bracket off their favorite verses in the Bible but I also pray that they take those words and hold them dear to their hearts and understand even more just how much they are loved and how studying these words deepens our experience with God.  It was such a great reminder to me this morning.  Thanks, boys.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

this post is for you.........yes, you.

I have had several conversations lately with people and read several posts from others about how hard life can be, especially when people don't "get it."  My heart is heavy for those people and I have spent time in prayer for them and I have it on my heart to share a few thoughts.  Dig a ditch, some might say :)

If you have lost a loved one this past month, year, decade, or century, this post is for you.  I have tears in my eyes right now just for you.  One of the hardest parts of this earthly life is losing people that you love.  Its hard to handle and it doesn't always make sense.  I understand how life might stand still for you in those moments, days, weeks, and years surrounding that time and yet at the same time life keeps going on all around you.  The thought of losing a child, a parent, or my husband makes me physically want to be sick.  And so many of you have experienced that.  I can't say that I understand how you feel but I feel for you so deeply and sometimes it just takes somebody saying that outloud to be just enough for you to get to the next moment.

If you know somebody with a mental illness, this post is for you.  My brother, Brian, has schizophrenia.  This hits home with me.  I love my brother more than anything and life for him and the people who love him has been very difficult the past several years.  I have been at that point of asking "God, where are you in this?  I hate this."  I have also seen Him all over in this.  Loving somebody with a mental illness brings moments of frustration, fear, anxiety, confusion, and loneliness.  Begging for somebody to just say, "I understand what you are going through" and I just want you to know that "I get it."  Those 3 words are so powerful.  If you would like to talk more about loving somebody with a mental illness, I would love to talk to you about that.  I feel like it is a subject many people avoid because they just don't know what to say.  If this is you, please hear me when I say "I get it."

If you are a single parent for a few days, a week, months, or years, this post is for you.  I have an amazing husband and he is using his gifts in unbelievable ways.  Sometimes that means that he is gone for a week at a time.  Its been years that we have done this and we always survive.   Pretty much :)  I can see God all over those weeks that he is gone and I pray for those students whose lives may be changing for eternity during those times.  But, I also miss my best friend and my partner.  I have a few people on my heart right now that are doing this parenting thing on their own and have been for a lot longer than a week.  I pray for you and think of you often.  I think you are amazingly strong even in the moments when you just feel like you can't take any more.  You rock.  This post is for you.

If you have a child who has difficulty in life for whatever reason.  They can't walk, they have a language delay, ADD/ADHD, a heart condition, sensory problems, a genetic disease or whatever.  If they struggle daily more than your heart can handle, this post is for you.  It doesn't matter if they are 2 or 42.  I have met several parents through therapy sessions, school, tumbling classes, support pages who seem to be wanting to jump on their bed with joy because somebody has a glimpse of how hard things can be for your child.  There is a huge part of my heart just for you and I believe God is using me.  Not exactly sure of all the details yet, but I feel like I need to dig a ditch so God can send some water.  Please hear me when I say that you are amazing and on those days when you feel like everybody you see thinks you are crazy for the choices you make for your child or the therapy sessions you drive to, or the research you do, the diet changes you make, the transforming of shoes you do to fit them with their braces, the amount of time you put into planning a simple trip to the store, I couldn't be more proud of you.  I cry for you and pray for you when I see you out and about, when I read your posts asking for help, when your body needs to sleep but your child and your constant mind wandering just won't let you.  We have come so far the past few months with Austin, but that's a different post :)  Please know that if you have a child who has a difficult moment, hour, day, week, or year, I have your back.  You are stinking awesome.

If you have a loved one who has fought or is fighting cancer or YOU are fighting cancer, this post is for you.  I hate cancer.  Not as much as you do, I am sure.  I hate that cancer has touched your life in this way.  I don't understand how you felt when you first heard the words but please know that I care.  I spend time in prayer for you.  My heart aches for you so much.  This post is for you.

There are a few times it gets quiet in our house.  Not often :)  In those moments, I hear God saying "love big."  Although I haven't experienced everything that you have in life, please know that you are not alone.  "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."  (Matthew 11:28)

May you find rest today in knowing that this post was written for you.

Thursday, April 09, 2015

"Talk About School"

Well, I gotta be honest.  I was a little nervous about spring break.  3 little boys in the same house, college basketball on, you know.  We had a wonderful spring break.   The weather was beautiful and we spent a lot of our days outside.  We spent time at the river, on walks, on the plasma cars, in the backyard, and at the library.  I can't tell you how many books Cam and Nolan read.  They would just go to their rooms and read.  It was fabulous!  We made some great memories and I am thankful for that Spring Break.  Austin had a great week.  He was off for almost 2 weeks, actually.  The hardest time for him was Easter morning at church and then the day after Easter he was exhausted and hadn't slept well for a couple days.  It was so nice to see our family.  It had been a long time for some of them.  Hugs were longer and it was great to see how everybody has been growing and changing.  

As much fun as we had that week, Austin still missed school.  I cannot tell you how many times he would get his book bag out and get his class pictures and school binder and his Ozzy book he keeps in his book bag and say, " Talk about school."  We would get each thing out and look at each picture and talk about it.  He would grin at his friends' pictures and his teacher and aides.  He was so happy to see their pictures.  It made him so happy to "talk about school."  I will admit, after the first 407 times, it got a little redundant to me.  Not to Austin, though.  Those relationships he has made are huge in his life and the staff at school is so amazing.  They celebrate his gains and invest in him in amazing ways.  We are so thankful for each of them and what they mean to Austin.  And to us. 

I once heard somebody say that parenting is one of the most amazing things you will ever do but it also one of the hardest things you will ever do.  Amen to that.  It's beautifully exhausting.  There are times that I laugh so hard my tummy hurts and there are times I just don't know how to respond to one of the kids.  There are times when I make the wrong choice in my response and I tell them I am sorry.  I am the "talk about it mom."  Maybe that is where Austin gets it from :)  Yesterday Nolan was so mad at me in Jewel he was just standing there crying and not moving in the middle of the store.  I knew I had a few choices.  I could pick him up and take him to the van,  get firm with him, or ask him what was going on.  In the middle of the store I got down on my knees and asked him if he would please talk to me and tell me what was going on.  My sweet Nolan can be really stubborn.  It's hard for him to tell me what he is feeling and why he is upset. I respect that he needs space and may not be ready to talk even if I am but I also feel like working on this now is going to help him so much more with his relationships later on in life.  When the boys are ready to "talk about it" I am gonna be ready.  Last night I was tucking Cam in to bed and he said, "what are we gonna do mom?"  It's like he is always waiting for something extravagant to happen to him.  I said, "buddy, I am gonna spend some time with you before bed."  He looked at me and I'm pretty sure I got an eye roll.  I told him a silly story and he laughed so hard and then we talked about how special of a role he has as a big brother.  We talked about how Nolan waits all day for him to come home from school and the reason he follows him around is because he loves him and wants to be with him.  We talked about the opportunity Cameron has to help shape these little boys.  To show them love and respect.  They do everything single little thing Cam does.  It seemed like Cam had an "Aha" moment.  He saw things from Nolan's perspective and said he wanted to work on that.  I was so thankful that we were able to "talk about it."  

I am praying for more "talk about it moments."  When they are ready to talk and I am ready to shut my mouth and not get after them, beautiful things happen.