Making Someone Strong…

*And cue the tears, people*

True, I’m a sucker for these Olympic videos, but this short clip is so powerful and emotional and real.  Of course, it gives me all the feels because the truth behind it tugs on the heartstrings… deeply.  It really does take someone strong to make someone strong.

Thanks for being the embodiment of strength, beauty, love and perseverance.  You are worth more than you know.

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Embracing the Middle Ground

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I just discovered my wide open fridge door.  And I have absolutely no clue how long it’s been open.  My brain has been gone since the moment I had children, but there’s more at play here.  Dear friend, listen if you will.  It’s taken me a week and a half to write this post.  I wish I could boast and say it’s because I spent countless hours pouring over the exact words to write and the deep meaning behind my motherhood ramblings.  But it’s not.  Dear Lord, it’s not.

My world is a world of “half-ways.”  It’s a chaotic, never-get-anything-done kind of place.  There are some rooms in this house that are just permeant works in progress, and I’ve finally come to accept that as a reality.

At 8 months pregnant, I waddle around my house and sigh.  I attempt to start cleaning, or do dishes or accomplish something semi-productive that assists in making my home not look like a disaster zone.  I breathlessly begin my task.  And then it happens…

A child cries.  Something breaks in the other room, followed by a “Uh oh…”  The dog scratches at the door.  The phone rings.  Food spills.  I lose my mind, my focus and sometimes my sanity.

So I move on to the next creature that needs my care, forgetting the tasks that linger behind.  A couple of hours later I look at the half emptied dishwasher.  Crap… now we won’t have clean silverware for dinner and I have to HAND WASH it.  I open the laundry room door and ugh!  What is that smell??  Oh yeah, those clothes have been in the washer since last night right.  Now let me dig through the 5 laundry baskets of clothes to find matching socks for the boys.  Well, no one will really see their feet with shoes on, so we’re fine.  Mismatched it is.  It goes on and on and overwhelmingly on.

Life is full of interruptions.  The unexpected’s almost always outweigh the expected’s in our residence.  Things are going to be left undone and there’s just no way around it.  We can get annoyed and peeved that our good intentions may never come to full fruition, but walking around angry all the time is just gonna stress me out!  Here comes the deep part ladies 😉

Let’s look at our day from another point of view.  A much shorter and cuter point of view.  Your little one looks to you for everything.  From food to clothes to kissing boo-boo’s.  You are their everything.  And Mommy is always the answer.  They have plans too ya know.  It may not involve bringing order to the chaos, but they’re still very important and real.  And when things don’t go according to their plans, who do they turn to?  You.  And many times you are the interruption that disrupts their moment…

“Mommy no!  Don’t clean up my hot tub!”

I’m sorry.  I didn’t know we had a hot tub in our playroom… My bad.

We and our babies are a lot alike, besides existing within the same family and all.  But these precious ones have the divine ability to see interruptions as a good thing.  When mommy comes in and plays with them instead of cleaning, that’s a good thing.  When we decide to stop at the park instead of going to the store, that’s a good thing.  When we read one more story when we should all be hitting the hay, that’s a good thing.  Like us parents, they have their bad reactions to interruptions too, but in general I’d say kids just know how to live life a lot better than adults do.  They know how to make life fun.

I’m learning to embrace the middle.  This land where perfection doesn’t exist, but laughter and joy do.  Where imperfect homes and families are a symbol of real life with real life interrupptions.  Where we have the freedom to live life as its meant to be lived, with open hands.  Because God will always have a better plan for my day than I will.  He knows where the hidden gems of authentic goodness exist.  And while our perspective may deem this middle ground as a wishy washy, unpredictable place, Jesus calls it love.  He calls it finding Him and His beauty in everything, including the things we don’t plan for.

So next time I see my fridge door wide open (because I know it will happen again and probably soon), I hope to hear myself say, “Bless it.”  I will smile and move on.

Because, hey… I’ve got lots of half-way-completed things to do today.

Thank you middle ground.  You’ve been embraced.

Born to Shine!

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April 2nd used to be just another day.  Nothing significant or extraordinary about it.  24 hours leading to the next 24 hours.  But that changed the day we found out our first baby boy had Autism.

I remember the visit that led to the evaluation.  The doctor told me that he just wasn’t measuring up developmentally and should probably be checked out for delays or other “disorders.”  I was MAD… like I wanted to punch a hole in her perfect looking office walls.  I know she wasn’t the bad guy.  I know she was just doing her job and wanted the best for my little boy, but it was just so nonchalant.  Just another checkup with a mom and her son.  But for me, it was dreadful.

Nobody wants to hear that something may be ‘wrong’ with your son.  When I look at my sweet, sensitive child I see nothing but beauty.  He isn’t a mistake.  God didn’t say, “Well shoot!  My bad…” when making my kid.  He is perfect and he has been wonderfully made, with a definitive purpose and destiny in mind.  And believe me, he will shine!  So when I see professionals or others evaluate my son, my spirit still cringes because he is mine.  He is beautiful.  And anyone who tells me he is less than better hope I have enough self control to keep my cool.

Okay, Momma Bear is rearing up here, so I better back off…

April 2nd means something totally different to me now.  It is a day I get to celebrate the glory of my son and the good God who made him.  It’s Autism Awareness Day.  Every one who wants to support Autism and those who have Autism (or I’d say any kind of sensory processing disorder!) are suppose to wear blue.  Light it up Blue they say!  I am certainly sporting blue, which just so happens to be my favorite color.  But coming from a momma who is raising one of these blessings, it doesn’t just support my son.  It supports me.  It supports my family.  And it is one step closer to showing acceptance and love for all who have the privilege of raising such children.

Did I just say privilege?  Heck, yes I did!  Raising my firstborn has taught me more about God, unconditional love, patience, perseverance, flexibility and grace than almost anything else I know.  It has been so hard sometimes when the tantrums take over and repeat themselves every few minutes.  It’s hard when I don’t know how to communicate with him, and I can’t understand what he is trying to say to me.  It breaks my heart.  I lose my junk almost daily.  My patience wanes and I get frustrated.  I ask for God’s eyes to see my son, when all I see are his struggles.  And then my boy smiles or laughs or says he loves me.  I’ve only heard him say, “I love you” without being prompted by me or someone else I’d say 20 times or less… and he’s 5 years old.  Then there are the countless hours of therapy and school and meetings.  Be still my rapidly beating and overwhelmed heart!  Pouring your all and more into a precious human being who is learning how to operate in this crazy world is insanely difficult.  But when I see my baby grow and take steps that others may take for granted, the reward is all the sweeter.  When I hear him clearly ask me for what he wants or he calms down by himself when his emotions go off the charts, there is much rejoicing in the house!  When he initiates play time or interactions in any way, I stop everything and play with him and his brother.  Which reminds me, I’ll be right back…

He wanted me to play camping and tent with him, almost like he knew I was writing this post for him. 🙂  It’s a privilege to raise my son.  It’s an honor to watch him grow into this incredible man God has created Him to be.  I can attempt to see the world through his amazing eyes, but he will experience this planet in ways I never could imagine.  Did I mention how insanely talented he is with art, music and his imaginative spirit.  He is seriously one of the most creative individuals I have ever known.  People have told me, “God has a plan in all of this” and I say yes.  My boy IS His plan.  He has known my son from the beginning and the supreme goal for him is this:

To know he is loved.  Wholly and completely just as he is.

He doesn’t need to change in order to be accepted more by God.  He already is perfect to Him!  He doesn’t need to be farther along on the spectrum and function at higher levels in society in order to gain His approval (or mine for that matter!).  He already is adored right where he is at.  My boy is a blessing.  He is a gift!  And I don’t operate under our culture’s rules and norms.  I operate under God’s and He says all is perfectly well.  My heart for my son will never be shaken.

So today I want to say thank you to my son, David.  His name means “Beloved” and that is exactly what he is to me, my husband and so many others who are honored to know and love him.  But above all, he is his Father in Heaven’s beloved son.  And when the world and its unfortunate cruelty will rear its ugly head in my boy’s direction, I pray he realizes who he is and who he belongs to.

Things will come and go and change and develop.  People will love and talk and bully.  But through it all one thing remains.

You are my Beloved, sweet son.  Remember that buddy.  Always and forever.

30 and Counting…

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Happy Belated Easter all!  I know I’m late.  But I figure Jesus is pretty worthy of being celebrated everyday, so I’m good!  Sunday was a great day.  It was laid back and fun and filling.  I looked down at my ever-growing belly, felt my little man karate kick my rib, and thought “I’m 30 weeks today…”

And then I began to freak.  30 weeks!  THIRTY WEEKS!  Things get real in these last 10 weeks.  I will have a baby in the 30’s (if I’m lucky… please Jesus!).  And life will change all over again.  Right when we start to get the hang of things and get into the “groove,” everything gets shaken up.  Is there ever a normal period in parenting when we can sit back and breathe… where we can say, “I’ve got this”?

Well dear friend, let me be the one to let you down gently.

No.

The answer is no.  Because life is fluid.  It continues to morph and transform and throw curve balls your way, especially if you are a parent.  No one can ever fully say, “I’ve got this” because we don’t have all the answers and that’s okay.  We aren’t meant to ride this crazed coaster alone.  We need each other.  Desperately.

God created community for a reason.  Desert islands are beautiful to look at, but if you were seriously stranded there, the isolation would begin to take its toll quickly… no matter how many pina coladas you downed.  There’s a solid reason solitary confinement is a form of torture.  Since most of us are not stranded physically we can check that off the list.  Emotionally, however, may be a totally different ball game.  It takes guts to put your real self out there, but the payout is certainly worth it in the end.

Relationships matter.  Deep relationships matter.  You know, the ones where you can bare your whole exhausted, burnt out soul and know you will be loved regardless in return.  The ones where you can drop a kid off for an hour so you can grab a coffee and a moment of sanity.  The ones where you do life together and actually enjoy it!  The late night texts for prayers.  The random cards in the mail that encourage your heart.  The phone call that made all the difference.  It all matters.

Jesus was relational.  He cared about His people with everything He had.  Not because it was an obligation, but because He loved them just as they were.  When Jesus introduced his disciples to people, I doubt He said, “Hey all, these are my followers!” I’m pretty sure He called them His friends because friends are more than acquaintances. They are family. And He wants us to experience the sweetness of being known.

I’ve said to my husband a thousand times recently, “I have no idea how I am going to do this… add another kiddo to this glorious insanity.”  And I think my spirit has been able to breathe a sigh of relief because I’m not going to do this alone.  I have dear family and friends who will help me survive and keep me afloat.  I know my people and my people know me.  And I will maneuver my way through the ups and downs and topsy-turvys of life because some of the best people on the planet are by my side.

No desert island for me, thank you very much.  I’ll drink my pina coladas in the company of those I love.

Well… In 10 more weeks that is.