Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Joke's On Me.

Today I began my day spending some time with my 10-year-old before he left for school, then went for a 2.5 mile walk/run/walk (I like to interval train). I finished up my alone time by spending it with God and in my new Bible.

This is turning out to be a true gem. It's the TrueIdentity Bible (TNIV).

I'll admit it - I'm a bible glutton. I have so many bibles in different versions with devotions written for different aspects of my life: women, parenting, marriage, becoming closer to Christ, etc.

I believe that God works in amazing ways, of course, and I love it when I can actually see his hand moving in my life. I recently felt called to give away one of my bibles - notes, highlights and all. I love this friend and felt her struggle, and God showed me a way to help. But I thought I was helping her.

Turns out, He was using the situation to get to me, as well. I set out last night on a trip to the bookstore. I benefit greatly from the messages that are pulled out from the text of that particular version (shown right) and wanted to replace the one I had given away with the same one.

The bookstore I went to didn't have the Becoming Bible, so I began browsing through other versions and happened upon the TrueIdentity Bible. I sat and read and read through it before ever leaving the store. I couldn't put it down.

I love being excited about being in the Word, and I love even more when a good group of writers can pull from the text and talk about issues that we are facing in today's world and can give answers and solutions with more of God's word.

The first thing I randomly turned to when I first picked it up was about precisely an issue I've been struggling with. What I read totally convicted me and made me ask for forgiveness right there in the religion section of the store. I love it when God speaks to me bluntly, even when it is something I'm not particularly ready to hear.

Life just wouldn't work for me without staying in God's Word daily. I would wither and die.

Here are two other bibles that I read from daily. One is great for general life application of God's word in today's world, and the other one is a devotional bible for Moms.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Taken Down.

Autism kicked my butt today. Really. Whomped me good. And I don't like to admit defeat.

However, after 15 straight minutes of trying to get our 5-year-old into his church classroom, I gave up in utter defeat. Not defeat like - okay you're coming into our service.

No, defeat like - I took his hand and walked him (with my husband trailing behind wondering what I was doing) back through the church biting my lip to hold back the tears. Defeat like - I grabbed my coat and LEFT.

I knew I was going to blow, and I didn't want to sit in a pew during service crying my eyes out over the fact that my son's special needs had gotten the best of me. Of course, I probably would have walked out feeling much better after being there and listening to the message. But at the moment, I just wanted it all to stop.

So instead I cried all the way home - quietly, so he wouldn't know I was crying and think that it was his fault. He can't help it. As bad as I feel, it has to feel a thousand times worse for him.

Most days I handle this role I've been given with as much grace as I possibly can. Then there are days like today, when I dig as deep as I can and still can't find it in me.

I know I am incredibly blessed to have these three boys, each with their different needs and issues; and I love them beyond measure.

Here's hoping that this week brings renewed strength and a fresh outlook.

photo by davi sommerfeld

Friday, March 27, 2009

It's All In Who You Know

My totally awesome pal, Alli - of Mrs. Fussypants, Mother of All Conservatives, and Worthington Wire - fashioned me a new header a few nights ago. Girl just whipped it up while we were chatting on Skype! That chick's gonna rule the world someday - you heard it here first. Go check out all that she's got goin' on.

I wish I had talent. But I digress ...

She felt bad that I was all boring on the top and rockin' down below (well, my words ...).

I's got totally kewl buds! Thanks, Alli!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The GIVE Act: Exposed On The Bitten Word

The House passed the Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education Act on Monday. The bill includes language indicating young people will be forced to participate in mandatory national service programs. The bill also states that "service learning" will be a mandatory part of the youth curriculum.

This bill calls for a minimum of three months of mandatory service, during which time participants (our children) will be forbidden from attending worship services, bible studies, or Sunday School.
Read the entire post on The Bitten Word.

Whoa - hold on there. Our government, which was founded on religious freedom - in fact, is the reason we are not all living in England right now - is trying to put into law mandatory volunteerism (quite an oxymoron) during which they are restricting our freedom of religion?

Two questions:
WHY haven't we heard more about this?

HOW does something like this get all the way to being passed in the House?
Please go call your senators about this. NOW. They represent you. I'll make it easy for you:

The US Senate and contact information for each state.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Spring Has Sprung!

Well, in honor of spring, I wanted to lighten things up.

What say you?

Blessed. So Very Blessed.

I am particularly struck this morning with feelings about my life. Whether it is the cold/flu drugs I'm on or whether God is speaking to me loudly this morning doesn't so much matter. The message is the same.

I am unbelievably aware of how good I have it. This is not an easy sentiment to have at times when raising kids with issues like mine have. Autism, a mood disorder and years upon years of severe ADD can really wear a family down. Especially if you let them. And trust me - it's a daily, uphill battle not to crumble in defeat most days.

There isn't a single day that we aren't the parents of special needs kids; and likewise, there isn't a single day that my kids aren't the brothers of other special needs kids, or a day where either of them gets to take a day off from being a child that must deal with more than their neurotypical peers. You see, it's a vicious cycle that our entire family can very easily get caught up in if we aren't careful.

Yet, I am so very blessed. We are so incredibly blessed to have one another.

I am married to my very best friend who is a wonderful, faithful man of God and sweet, awesome father. We have a rich history of nearly 22 years of being together - 18 of those being parents.

My boys each have such great, very different personalities that each add such richness to our lives that I can't imagine who we would be, as a family, if God had made them any different. Yes, they can be difficult. But easier, I am finally coming to realize (and appreciate!), does not necessarily mean better.

We have a super support-filled extended family who make it possible for us to function sometimes. Without them, we would have fallen through the cracks and become a statistic long ago. And if you don't have brothers and sisters, I suggest you go and adopt some a.s.a.p.; because there really is no life without them. When all else and everyone else walks away from you, they are left standing beside you.

We have friends whom Sean and I call family because we would do anything for them, and know that they would for us, as well. They see our darkest sides and still love us. They step in where we are stumbling to fill in the gap. They love our kids as their own. They make us guacamole and french toast and hug us even when we haven't showered.

Yep. The special needs are so incredibly, unbelievably, undeniably hard to deal with on an hourly basis. It's exhausting, heartbreaking, frightening, and down-right crappy a lot of the time. But God has blessed me beyond measure, and I know he's given me the heart to embrace it.

We often work against what we know God has put before us. It's easy to fall down, fall prey to self-pity, and let the forces of this world get the best of us. But He's still there, every step of the way - working on us, molding us, preparing us for what's next - whether we feel it or not.

Today I am feeling it. Tomorrow may be a different story - send me back here then, would ya?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Kerri Rocks The House!

Comedian Kerri Pomarolli rocked the joint Friday night for an event that I can only describe as a girls' night on steroids.

I wish she could just stay and be our weekly anti-depressant. I left the event, Chocolate, Coffee, and Comedy, having laughed 'til I cried, cried while she spoke to our hearts, and renewed with a spirit of contentment. She makes you realize that you are not alone if you're feeling unsettled, not quite happy, and just a little bit crazy. And she reminds you that beneath all of that is the God who loves us and wants a relationship with us.

Read more about the night on my other blog, In The Thick of It.

Kerri - thanks for totally bringin' it to Noblesville.

A Heart Like No Other

What comes to mind when you think of what a 10-year-old would wish for, if given three free wishes? Video games? Toys? Movies? Going on some awesome trip?

When Joel, our almost-11-year-old son, told us his class had been given a writing assignment for St. Patrick's Day about what they'd do with three wishes, I imagined what his entailed: video games, a trip to Legoland in California, perhaps a bigger and more awesome room and that his pesky brothers would disappear. I wasn't quite prepared for what he wrote, yet I shouldn't have been surprised, given his nature:
If I got three wishes from a four-leaf clover, I would definitely be careful what I wish for. My first wish would be that my 18-year-old brother, Alexx, would be INVINCIBLE as he goes into the Marines in October. He has long red hair, is big (I always call him gorilla), he's the strongest person I know, and he plays drums. And did I mention he's the greatest artist alive? He's been thinking about the Marines for about a year. I think it will ease my worry about him going into the Recon.

My second wish is that my mom, Holly, is good at her new job as a writer for Mother's Digest or something like that. She only does a small portion, but she's been trying to get a writing job for awhile. She's a really good writer and it would help everyone, we'd get more money for food, bills, (toys a little) and safety.

My third wish is for my little 5-year-old brother, Seth. He has blond hair, likes to play Star Wars, and most importantly, he's autistic. My wish is that scientists can find a cure for autism. Autism is a brain disorder and it would really help my family if it was cured. It would also help him.
Of course, as I read this, my heart swelled and my eyes filled with tears. This is so Joel. He has a heart of gold and a mind that works well beyond his years - and always has.

I absolutely cannot wait to see what God does with him!

And by the way, I'm a writer and editor for Blissfully Domestic Publishing (BlissfullyDomestic.com) - close enough to "Mother's Digest" I suppose!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Oh. No. You. Didn't.

Our esteemed president comparing his bad bowling to the Special Olympics. I am not even going into this. I don't think I need to.

Mr. President - don't try to be funny just because you're on Leno. Because that's not funny.

Monday, March 16, 2009


Couldn't help but post this. I love it.

Back Off the Berry, Man.

So I'm not so much a phone person anymore. Ask anyone who knows me. I used do a lot of chipping away at my time talking on the phone. I used to start my day talking on the phone, punctuate my hours with phone calls, end my days saying to someone on the other end of the line, "I need to get to bed."

Then there was mostly dead silence from my end, save for that occasional and inevitable, "Help me. Help me! I just spent the last half hour listening to my son scream at the occupational therapist, and now I'm jummmmppppping offfff thisssssss clifffffffff."

Read: My son was diagnosed with autism and my phone world went virtually silent, and my time as a woman with any free time disappeared as well.

Most of my phone conversations then happened when I had a few minutes driving here or there. Not the best way to stay connected with those you love. There are now exactly three people who hear my voice on a daily basis over the phone. Three. And it's because they called me through that time no matter what. Whether I'd picked up the phone to talk to them for 10 straight days, they understood and took on the responsibility to keep us connected. That and they truly love Seth and the rest of my family, so it was important to them. And they knew that my not having time anymore to sit and chat didn't mean I didn't care about them.

As time and circumstances moved on and I found myself digging out from the bottom of being a special-needs mom, I also found that people I spent a lot of time talking to had moved on, as well. Some have let me reconnect in other ways, some have decided not so fast, there, Miss dropped-me-like-a-hot-potato-when-life-got-crazy.

So I've entered a new era of communication that works well for me, my circumstances and my daily life. I am able to instantaneously "talk" to more friends than I ever did with my voice; they lend unbelievable amounts of support, wisdom, caring and uplifting words, unmatched humor, and - that's right - companionship.

I know some say that their Blackberry being attached to them is a hindrance in their daily life. Well, mine gave me back some semblance of a life. Without it, along with my laptop, I'd be back a couple of years ago feeling isolated and alone, but unable to be with anyone because of the circumstances of my son's autism.

He's doing amazing, I'm doing amazing - and we both feed off of the other one's happiness. So make fun of me and my precious Blackberry if you want, but it's given me back the friends who were at the end of that dark tunnel waving - and waiting for me; and connects me very quickly to the ones who never left and still stick by me.

This all has more significance than I first thought, because I've had to do the same thing once again. Our 10-year-old was diagnosed with a mood disorder last fall, and once again we find ourselves having to circle the wagons and pull in. We are again making our way through another diagnosis - learning what it means, how to deal with it, find and implement what works best for him.

I've had to stop being gone, for the most part, in the evenings because this is his worst time. I've had to pull out of several activities that are very important to me and am missing seeing friends who mean the world to me. Time will tell how it will play out this time, but I've got technology on my side this time - that and some experience.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

We're Live!

Woot! The new Special Needs Bliss channel over at Blissfully Domestic (of which I am the new editor) launched this morning.

Fer Realz!

I've got a super group of writers along with myself contributing to the channel. I'm so excited!

So - here's what's new today at SN Bliss:

If special needs is your area of interest for any reason - please come on over and bookmark the channel or subscribe to our feed. I don't think you'll be disappointed! The entire magazine itself is chock full of articles on just about every subject and interest you can think of.

Come on over!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Google Can't Answer Everything

We have been given by God an unlimited capacity to love. How much and how often we choose to show it is up to us, but limitless potential lies within each of us.

However, I do believe that there is a limit to what we should worry ourselves with. As we journey through life, the things that come to our attention as issues to advocate for just grow and grow in number. How do we decide who needs our help the most? Where could we do the most good, make the biggest difference? Just how much do we get involved in?

This is assuming, of course, you are the type of person who feels compelled to care about any issue enough to stand up and try to make a difference. If not, then might I suggest you put down the Wii, turn off the television, and venture beyond the nice comfort zone you've built around yourself?

There are so many things in the world that need attention: poverty, homelessness, illiteracy, child abuse, human trafficking, stray animals, elderly abuse, 3rd-world countries, at-risk youth; and for crying out loud, I just saw a video that's supposed to open my eyes to the horrible conditions circus elephants are subjected to, urging the public to boycott this childhood rite to save them.

Where in the name of Dumbo do we draw the line?

This parallels another issue that often befuddles some people, including myself. And that is trying to ascertain just what spiritual gifts God has equipped you with, and how to best use those gifts in your daily life. Again - how to decide? Where could we do the most good? How much do we get involved in? Where do we draw the line?

More importantly, how do we keep from feeling guilty or inadequate when we do not or cannot do much in some area of need that we know is important?

Pray. First and foremost, we need to seek guidance from the One who placed within each of us those unique gifts in the first place. I believe that God places aches in our hearts for special issues and areas of need, which then lead us to where He can best utilize us.

Listen to your heart. What makes you happy? What activities do you continuously seek out? What skills or talents have you been blessed with? These are some ways to begin to answer "What are my spiritual gifts?" If you are drawn to children and your heart soars when you spend time with them, then this is what you should pursue. If you dread going in to an office every day and long to help those who are ailing, then perhaps your calling is somewhere in healthcare, or mission work. Listening to your heart is a great first step in the right direction.

Let yourself off the hook. We cannot all be good at everything, or have a heart for all causes. My mom loves to work with the elderly and has a huge, compassionate heart for them. My neighbor longs to get back to teaching small children and spend her days in that capacity. These are not my strong areas. In fact, spending day after day with a classroom of children would send me into a drinking problem.

Comparing ourselves to what others are made to do does nothing but undermine our own self-confidence. In this sense, we need to put on our blinders. We cannot all be the goalie on the soccer team, nor can we all be the star in front of the camera. Someone has to play each of the other positions; and all are equally important. Zero in on what you love and what you are good at and go from there. I am a smart aleck, love to write, and love to connect with people through common feelings and emotions. So I spend my time writing sometimes snarky, other times heartfelt and deep pieces hoping to speak to at least one person's heart . . . or to make them laugh.

Remember that life is a journey; and what we are being called to do now is not necessarily what will be our destiny forever. In fact, just when you've finally settled in to what you think you are supposed to be doing and are happy - God may throw you for a loop. He's in charge, and it's His prerogative! Sometimes I think He does this to give us more practice in following instead of always trying to be in charge.

So buckle yourself in, because once you surrender yourself to be completely led to where God wants you to be, you may just be in for the ride of your life.

And therein lies the beauty of it all.
Photo by Eleaf