A Work In Progress

I made it to Friday!  I don’t know why this fills me with so much excitement as my job is 24/7, but still, it’s nice to know I made it another week.  Everyone is alive and well, and that’s a good accomplishment around here.

Last week was ugly.  I was in the pressure cooker.  I was tired and in pain, and the kids were being tougher on me than usual.  I sometimes like to think of myself as a tube of toothpaste (I heard this analogy from a pastor a long time ago), when I’m squeezed, what I’m really like inside come out

I didn’t like what I was seeing very much.  Anger is a problem that’s been running in my family for generations.  After years of struggling with a fiery temper, I gave it to the Lord and He miraculously healed me.  I had a supernatural control for a long time.  That’s been slipping away lately.  I found myself so full of steam that I just had to vent, and here I was yelling at kids that I know had no control over their actions.  I knew this when I was doing it, and yet I just had to blow off somewhere, and that’s how it came out.  I just hate it when I’m like that. That’s not the kind of person or mom I want to be, and it just broke my heart when I saw my kids imitating my behavior.

Jesus said it. “Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.”

I had to give my heart over to Jesus again.  I guess repenting is something we will have to do continually and often on the journey of sanctification we go through in this life.  It’s good in a way.  It keeps us humble and ever throwing ourselves on the hands of the Lord.  In His love and mercy, I know there is always forgiveness and healing, and He has already been changing me in this area again.  I am so incredibly filled with gratitude, and not just for my sake, but for my kids as well.

Just because we are saved does not mean God is done with us.  He longs to continue to work in our lives, bringing freedom and healing.  Is there a place He wants to touch in you today?

Shining Moments

I wish I had a working camera because I would have loved to share what happened last night.  Michael’s RDI consultant wants us to do new things with Michael where he would still have to reference us for guidance.  What you’re doing is creating new neural pathways when the child experiences something new, and at the same time, he is in a situation where he is safe enough to explore but just unsure enough where he also wants to ask for guidance, something autistic kids don’t like to do.  That’s why they prefer to stay in the safe and familiar.

So last night, Michael and I went to our favorite store, just the two of us.  He loves going to Adams because on Wednesday nights they have free juice and balloons and Mommy’s in a good mood because she gets a discount on her groceries and she’s made friends with  the ladies at the cheese counter, the guy in the butcher shop,  and her favorite cashier.  I asked Michael if he wanted his own shopping cart (first time we were trying that out), and he was pretty hot on the idea.  He knows there are child sized ones and specifically asked for one of those.  I tried to get him to follow me (like a choo-choo train!), and I got slammed into a couple of times before he got the hang of it, but he was so tickled when I loaded up his cart with groceries.  He must have been very proud of himself because he said hi to EVERYBODY and made sure that they knew he had his own shopping cart.  It was adorable!  He got really good at following directions, and he seemed to at least start to pay attention to the traffic of the crowds as he didn’t hit anyone else.  I did pull on the back of his cart for awhile for guidance but after a few minutes I think he figured it out.  He did so well that he didn’t even have a meltdown when I told him no balloon tonight.  He felt so grown up with his cart that he didn’t seem to mind.  At least he got his glass of juice.  The guy at the butcher shop was even able to teach Michael how to fist bump.  He helped empty his groceries onto the checkout counter and gave the lady the money for the bill.  He did forget himself once and launched about three pounds of apples into the trunk of my car but otherwise was amazing.  I was very proud of him and told him so.  He seemed quite pleased with himself.  The best part of the evening was when he passed by a little girl, she must have been about 3 years old, who was expertly navigating her own little cart with her daddy.  Michael got so excited.  He said, “Oh look, you have a little cart too!  Just like MEEE!”  So many great new experiences for him last night, I could just almost feel his brain network growing a little!

This all from the child who expertly broke out of his bedroom two nights ago and ran between his room and the toy room for several hours before we discovered him (William was having an exceptionally noisy tantrum and we didn’t hear the child lock pop open over the baby monitor like usual).  I thank God he only wanted some toys and didn’t get the notion to explore the house or (God forbid) leave the house.  Michael had lots of fun at Lowe’s yesterday laughing at different colored spools of chain while I picked out a new locking mechanism for his door.  It’s weird and disorienting to have to continually conjure up new ways to keep your creative little genius locked in his room, but Mommy and Daddy have to sleep some time, so it has to be done.  It’s a pretty simple safety chain that you see in city apartments, but this one is attached to the top of his door and the slider attachment is bolted to the wall above.  It’s about 7 feet up, I can barely reach it, and unless he moves a super heavy dresser (we would definitely hear THAT over the monitor), he’s not reaching that one any time soon.

The ups and downs of autism and ADHD are pretty crazy.  The downs can be scary or depressing, but the ups can really give great moments of joy.  It’s an odd feeling to be cheering on a 5 year old for simple things like spontaneously saying hello or goodbye or being able to follow his mother through a store, but those are huge achievements for my 5 year old, and I’m going to celebrate where I can.  Michael is getting nothing but praise from his Sunday School teachers who remember what he was like 2 years ago.  They tell me to keep doing whatever it is that we’re doing because he’s making so much progress.  It’s hard for me to see that as much as others because I feel as though I just deal with the underbelly of life a lot and despair that he’ll ever overcome his disabilities.  I’m so grateful when God sends moments like last night to show me that Michael can be in recovery.

Pulling A Miracle

I know I haven’t been writing as regularly as I would like here.  Sleep training William makes me feel like I’m descending into my own personal circle of hell with all the screaming and crying and sleep deprivation.  Every time I want to quit, he gives me a decent day or night, so we press on, but I have to say I cannot wait till this is over.  I know it’s only been 5 and a half days, but it feels like a stinking year.

(Side note: To everyone who tells me I will miss these days, I smile and nod, but I just can’t believe you yet.  Maybe one day wisdom and hindsight will teach me differently.  I hope you’re right.)

I’m just sort of plodding along, trying to keep us all alive until that time when things are better, and this has unfortunately affected my walk with God too.  Sometimes you just are too tired to have a good quiet time.  But He is every loving and gracious and giving me what I need for each day, whether I realize it or not.  Just this morning, I read the story in Matthew when Jesus tells his disciples to feed a crowd of 5,000, and they tell Him they can’t with only the few loaves and fish they have, but Jesus does a miracle and takes care of everyone anyway.

I feel like that now.  Making it through a day with all the screaming, crying, meltdowns, and tantrums that happen regularly… well, you might as well be asking me to single-handedly feed 5,000 people.  I tell God, I’m only working with four hours of sleep, two hands, and one very short temper.  I just can’t make it stretch that far.  But through this story, He is assuring me again, that whatever I have to give Him will be enough, He’ll take care of the rest.

Between you and me, I really can’t wait to see how He pulls this one off.

Giving the Boot

The last four days have not been fun.  William was officially kicked out of Mommy and Daddy’s bed, and he’s not too thrilled about it.  I have to say I’ve been sleeping loads better without having a baby next to me all night, and my shoulder is feeling better too, but William’s definitely missing his old spot.  He just cries and cries inconsolably, and I’m hoping and praying this doesn’t last much longer.  He will fall asleep in someone’s arms, or even just sitting on my bed next to me, but he refuses to go to sleep in his own crib.  We are making a little progress, and some of the crying jags are getting shorter.  I hate doing this, but it’s gotta be done.  Having him sleep with us is really starting to ruin my way of life.

On the good side, he was able to have his liver treated (acupuncture is a wonderful thing), and he seems to be making some great progress on that end.  Because of that, I don’t feel quite as bad as I would have about the sleep thing as I know he’s not in pain and his intestinal system is doing better.  He’s just mad, and I pray he will get over it soon.

I’m quite excited because today is our first RDI home visit.  Our consultant will be coming and sitting down and showing me what homeschooling can look like for Michael, and I will be videotaping it for future reference and family members who could not be in attendance.  Michael always does exceptionally well with RDI techniques, and this therapist has been able to work with him and a way that no one else has.  I’m eager to learn everything!

Here’s wishing you all a fantastic Monday!

Searching For True Rest

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

I keep praying for the Lord to show me what this looks like in my life, especially in these high stress days of no sleep.  I think sometimes having the ability to reach out to someone who is greater and more powerful and in control than I am is a start.  I figure the only way to truly know this aspect of Jesus though is to be in a time of unrest.

So here we are, I’m waiting for my lesson!

Today we have three therapy sessions, and I bought 40 pounds of chicken last night that need butchering.  Should be fun. 🙂

A Little Light Reading


Asperger’s in Love: Couple Relationships and Family Affairs by Maxine Aston & ADHD: Living Without Brakes by Martin L. Kutscher MD

These books are great!  They have been so helpful and insightful into our family’s dynamic.  One of things that I struggle with is not only does Michael have Asperger’s and ADHD, but I have a lot of tendencies towards both syndromes myself and was even diagnosed with them last year (it was actually a big relief in that it explained a lot of my mental stress).  These resources have been a wealth of information about both of us, and have given me understanding into why we do a lot of things we do, and why the people in my family relate to each other the way we do.  I would strongly recommend either of these if you or someone in your family has either of these disorders.


Picking Up The Sword (Again)

A lot of times I find I just have to put down my sword and walk away.  I don’t know if that’s the best way to go about things, but I’m human and can only keep up the fight so long before I need a break.  The last few months it seems like the battle is on every front: physical, spiritual, emotional, mental, marital, financial, and on and on the list goes.  I do the work, the research, the therapies, the damage control, and the praying, always, always praying.  Then I’m completely burnt out, and I just walk from it all.  God has been faithful and always reminds me it’s not over and brings me back, but I do wish I didn’t always follow such an extreme up and down pattern.

I did nothing since Thursday and it was wonderful.  I think God knew I needed some snow days (sorry, everyone!).  The kids got some extra movies, I got in a nap since Nate was home from work, and all I worried about what was we were going to eat.  By the way, I do not recommend giving up doing dishes in a house that feeds 5 people.  I’m still dealing with that fall out.

But yesterday, our pastor preached on Benaiah, King David’s warrior who killed a lion in a pit on a snowy day, and that was the call to come back to work.  The kids are not better, in fact, they seem to be getting worse.  But God is good and providing what I need when I need it, and I trust I’m going to see Him move for us again.

Where Are The Naps?

I think someone dumped Kool Aid in our water supply.  The kids have been acting like they’re all hopped up on sugar and red food dye.  They were actually flipping furniture yesterday.  At one point, I think I actually had to wrestle them into shoes and coats and drag them one by one down the stairs and strap their thrashing butts into car seats so we could make doctor and therapy appointments.  Fun times.

So the news from one doctor was that William’s liver is running pretty sluggishly.  Now we have to figure out how to get that up and running correctly, but hopefully that will correct a lot of his digestion problems.

We went back to our RDI consultant last night and basically yawned and stared our way through the meeting, but I think we’re making some progress.  Unfortunately Michael’s ADHD is becoming an obstacle in dealing with the autism.  We’re trying to figure out new techniques to work with him and temporarily slow his brain down, but that’s not going to happen until we’ve had a nap or two.  She gave us the talk about having to figure out how we’re going to take care of us right now.  I don’t think Nate and I can have that talk either until we’ve had a nap or two.  I’ve been sensing a pattern. 🙂

With this winter storm hitting, I’ve decided to just bunk up for the next few days.  We’re taking a break from school stuff and I’m gonna keep the chores to a minimum.  If Nate’s office closes, I’m going to see if we can fit a few naps in there.  I’d like it if we weren’t both delirious for Valentine’s Day.  Rest shall be the name of the game.

Hope you all have a fun long weekend!

A Missed Miracle

Matthew 8 has that story we all know, when Jesus healed two men by casting their demons into a herd of pigs which then stampede into the water and drown.  The pig herders run to town, tell everyone what happened, and then they all beg Jesus to leave.  As a kid, it always bothered me that Jesus would just take away those pigs from the poor herders who only happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.  I mean, that was their livelihood, right?  But now as I think about it, why were Jews herding pigs?  It’s not like they were supposed to be eating them or even really be around them.

I wonder, could it be that the real miracle was that Jesus was trying to help out this town that kept pigs?  Could He have been trying to purge something from their lives that was keeping them from getting closer to God?  It didn’t look like a vice or an addiction, it was a job they were probably working very hard at, and it was something they took seriously as we can see from the way they reacted.  They couldn’t see the miracle.  They couldn’t see what Jesus was trying to do in their lives.

Am I the same way?  Are you the same way?  Is God doing something in our lives, but we can’t see it for what it is, and so we resist?  It’s uncomfortable, it shakes up our paradigm too much, so we get angry and ask God to get us out of that situation.

I’m praying the Lord changes my heart and helps me not to resist the good things He is trying to do, even if I can’t see them for what they are yet.

Real Life

I have to admit, I just didn’t have a positive spin on any aspect of life when I woke up this morning.  This season stinks.  It also feels like it’s dragging on forever, but I guess that’s the sleep deprivation.  The issues our kids are dealing with just seem to suck up every ounce of us 24/7, and it’s affecting everything.  Just as we feel we’re making progress in one area, another thing starts.  Is that what parenting’s like all the way through?  I sort of envisioned we’d have some easy seasons where we got to, you know, enjoy our kids.

I’ve been trying to encourage myself, to remember all the things I’ve been writing the last few months.  I’m not feeling it though.  I get that this is a season, it’s just a very long one and it’s hard to see the purpose in it.  I’m trying to remind myself of my mantra.  God is good, and He’s up to something.

I guess this is where faith hits real life.