Thursday, April 30, 2009

Well, That Was Fun

Today was a miraculously bad day. I'm thinking one of the top 10 worst days I've had. This year.

Let's not go into micro-details, for that would help no one. But suffice it to say, I was at one point sitting in tears asking if God could just please give me a month, a week, a day without special needs in my life.

My head pounding, my 18-year-old's rock band practicing in the basement (and our walls and floors are apparently made of something similar to tissue paper), my 6-year-old autistic son screaming and kicking his bedroom door instead of picking up the clothes on his floor - and my 11-year-old decides it would be a super neat idea to randomly spray sunscreen all over the glass doors leading to the screen porch. And then deny doing it. Over and over. While my head spins around on my shoulders preparing to explode.

Having all boys is like no other thing on earth. Having all boys each with his own diagnosed neurological issues is like no other thing in this universe. I know I'm not the only one going through it, but I'm the only one I know going through it.

I know. I know. I was chosen for this role. Long before I was born, God had his plan for me all laid out. Mrs. Zipps tells me that even though it doesn't feel like it, I'm doing a good job. (I made her stay on the phone with me today for an agonizingly long time while I came unglued at the seams dealing with Seth).

I'm not feelin' it right now. Perhaps after a (good?) night's sleep, life will feel different. At least I'll be one day closer to heaven.

"Our struggles are times to grow."

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Are You Second?

There are some inspiring stories at I Am Second. Thank you, Justin, for bringing this site to my attention. He is the senior high pastor at our church and they viewed some of these videos last Sunday.

One of my favorites was Pete Briscoe choking up on how Jesus is "passionately crazy" about him whether he's doing well or not . . . whether he just sinned miserably or not; and coming to grips with the depth of Christ's love for him.

I also enjoyed Brian Welch from Korn, and John Meador accepting his disability as a conduit for God's glory was amazing.

I encourage you to take the time to sit back and watch some of these. Your faith will skip a beat as you listen to their stories.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

This Is NOT Why I'm Fat

This may be the grossest thing I've ever seen. Meat cake - meat loaf "iced" with mashed potatoes and ketchup. Scoop of ice cream with that?

The site This Is Why You're Fat is full of the grossest, most vile concoctions imaginable - including my personal favorites, chocolate-covered bacon and the sloppy joe on a Krispy Kreme. Of course I couldn't stop looking. Thank you, StumbleUpon, for this gem.

Check it out for your daily GAG.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009



Are you a coffee addict? Me too!

I just discovered a way for my earthly coffee habit to make an eternal difference. Check out Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee.

Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee™ works directly with coffee growers in Rwanda to ensure each worker is treated fairly and paid a Living Wage. As they enjoy the fruit of their labor, growers experience the sweetness of God’s grace. Perhaps this is the Revelation many Christians need to hear; that their daily habits have a remarkable impact on people all over the world, that through simply purchasing coffee where every worker is taken care of, an entire nation is experiencing redemption.

Engage redemption.

Drink Coffee. Do Good! from Catalyst on Vimeo.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Get Back Up!

Today my house is a complete disaster, as it always is on Monday after a weekend of All-Boy Trashfest. This does not make me want to get busy. It makes me want to go work out, spend the day at a crowded amusement park waiting in lines, or offer to do all my friends' laundry - all things I would never do if I had free time.

The sun is trying so hard to come out to motivate me, and my dog keeps licking my toes as if to say, "Come on - I know you can do it!"

I get caught up - in life, in circumstances, in struggles, in the little things that seem big at the time. Sometimes they really are big and warrant getting stuck. Other times not so much.

I'm easily overwhelmed, and anyone who knows me well at all is acutely aware of this. However, they say they see a side of me that I am blind to - a stronger side, a side that is not as easily knocked down as I think. I must be too close to these situations, because all I feel much of the time is two steps behind and wondering what to do next. And I'm tired of being that person.

Most of this is tied to being a special needs parent. It drains you of much of your energy, both physical and emotional, and you are left with little to deal with the normal, everyday things that still must be done. Things like meal planning, dusting, laundry, and picking up. This may sound trivial, but it becomes a huge problem.

Tack on top of that the guilt that is felt when you feel you are stumbling spiritually, and things within this mama can spiral downhill quickly.

Music motivates and moves me greatly, and you all know how much I love Third Day. This particular song often gets me back on track, with the second verse (lyrics below) hitting very close to home.

I'm feeling better already. Enjoy!

Having faith in the long run is easier said than done
It's hard to live out in the light of day
You're bruised and you're battered, your dreams have been shattered
Your best laid plans scattered over the place

Despite all your tendencies, God sees it differently
Your struggle's a time to grow
And you, you're a miracle, anything but typical
It's time for the whole wide world to know

Keep on, keep on shinin'
Wherever you may be
Keep on, keep on shinin'
For all the world to see ...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Another Year Closer to the Empty Nest

Today is my youngest son's 6th birthday. This is our son with autism, and the last 3.5 years with him have been quite a ride. Let's face it - it's going to continue to be.

Seth has accomplished more in his little life than is even imaginable. He works his little mind so hard each and every day just to function in ways that most people take for granted. Many things do not come easily for him. He is faced with people every day who misunderstand much of his behavior.

Up to this point, he has been blessedly oblivious to his differences. However, he's beginning to feel the sting of comparison in his own mind. He's been compensating lately by trying to do things that he doesn't necessarily want to do, but they are things that make him more like the other kids. Sometimes he is satisfied with the result, other times frustration sets in and he becomes self-deprecating. I have heard several times lately, "I look like a fool," "I hate myself," and "I'm the weakest," after playing with his friends outside when they begin riding their bikes (without training wheels) or scooters. Seth's balance isn't developed enough, so when he tries these things they end in frustration for him. His friends are not treating him that way, he is treating himself that way.

Hearing him say these things breaks my heart. He really has no idea how far he has come. He just knows that he still lags behind in some areas and this makes him feel different.

Seth does not eat cake. Or cookies. Or cupcakes. Or anything "treat-like" whatsoever. He'll eat a couple different kinds of candy and that is it. But he so wants to be like the other kids that he asked me to make him a "vanilla" cake with no icing so he can try it. It will be a huge leap if he actually tastes it, but he just wants something to blow candles out on.

We are all so proud of how far he has come. He is officially ushering Sean and me out of the "little child" era of our lives. Seth, however, remains my "snuggle bug" and my "cuddle buddy" and still values our hugs and kisses. For that, I am truly grateful.

Happy Birthday, Seth. I can't wait to see what leaps and bounds you make this year! I know God has more great things in store for you.

Be Still.

When we think of bravery versus cowardice, action versus inaction is often at the heart of issue. Doing little or nothing in the face of something that looms larger than we are is usually deemed cowardly. And to be perfectly honest, it often is.

However, this morning as I was reading in Exodus about Moses versus the Pharaoh of Egypt, the devotion in my Bible that went along with it talked about God being a fighter and working on our behalf. We have the ultimate defender fighting for us; and here is what it said:

"Be brave enough to be still."

The first thing that struck me about this concept was in regards to having two special needs kids. In the daily faces of autism and childhood mood disorder, in all honesty, my first instinct is sometimes to want to run. Turn tail and run.

But I know that God wants me to stand still and face it. And I can do that knowing that he is a fighter and he will fight on my behalf. He'll fight the demons inside my head and heart telling me to lay down and cry. He will fight the enemy working to chip away at my confidence as the mother of these boys. He will stand by me and in front of me, if need be, to ward off those feelings of self-doubt in this role I have been placed.

And I will do my best to be brave enough to stand still and not run and hide. I am not alone in this.

We are not alone in this.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Uh Oh.

I know I know I know I know I know. Please accept my apologies, Internet, for woefully leaving you in the dust.

You have to understand. Last week I was KID-FREE while my boys spent spring break elsewhere. It was true joy to do whatever I wanted for five days. Yes, I completely took leave of all responsibility.

Then a six-year-old birthday bash with the neighbors along with what seemed like 108 kids hit yesterday along with Easter today.

However, I am (almost) back in full swing. We shall see tomorrow just how *back* I am. The boys go back to school and our regularly-scheduled programming resumes.

Are we still friends?

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Passion of the Christ

I just saw this movie for the first time last night in a sanctuary full of people I attend church with. But I felt as though I was in the room alone. I'm not sure I will ever be the same.

This cinematic portrayal of Christ's journey from the evening of his betrayal to the moment his empty body was lowered from the cross was nothing less than haunting.

For each person, the experience must be unique, depending on where you are in your relationship with Jesus, or whether or not you have one at all. I cannot say how it would have affected me 10 years ago, or a month ago - it would have been different.

At this point, this particular time, this particular month, I am struggling as a mother of special needs kids. And that is the woman who walked into our church last night. Before the movie even began, I sat alone, in a pew, praying for my heart to please, please, be able to handle this role for another day.

Please, God, strengthen my heart as their mother, give me just one more hour of endurance, more wisdom and guidance to be their best advocate and to help them cope with their issues. I'm teetering on the edge, Lord.

For two hours, I was convicted as to how very little I actually endure as a mother. Yes, it's all relative, and I do deal with a lot. But watching a portrayal of the mother of Christ endure her son's destiny play out in front of her - yet out of her reach - was at the same time nearly too much to bear, and exactly what I needed to experience.

I can do this. I can do this.

I can do all through Christ, who strengthens me. ~ Phillipians 4:13