Thursday, November 29, 2007
Another item of urgency is to get my varicose veins removed. These have plagued me for years and kept me from wearing knee length skirts or shorts. It is unsightly. Oftentimes, people(usually teenage girls) will ask me if I've been in an accident or something because it looks like my calf is weirdly injured. "Well, not exactly an accident..." I never know how to reply. I usually just say, "No" and leave it at that. I mean what can you say? "This is what happens when you gain and loose 45 pounds every 18 months for 10 years?" I just leave them wondering.
So today I had my vein ultrasound which was an interesting experience. I learned that when you hold your breath and bear down and the machine sounds like the creature from the Black Lagoon that your vein is not working properly. It also produces a wonderful display of red and blue on the monitor like Fourth of July Fireworks.
I did have a fruitful conversation with the ultrasound technician about the blessing of having many children versus the physical discomfort and pain. She has a baby at home and is dreading the labor aspect of having more children. We talked about the purpose of pain and the things we knowingly go through as moms to give life. In the end, the body is not eternal, but the soul is.
The doctor, a very nice man, was so tactful in explaining my condition. "Well, your vein is very large and distended. About one centimeter. About 5 times the normal size. This is not normal." Yes, I knew that. Bottom line, once insurance does their thing I will have the vein stripped out of my leg and a little bit of cosmetic work done so that my leg will be "pretty" again.
I am looking forward to shorts next summer and going on road trips without wearing a compression hose. I am looking forward to working without my left leg swelling up. I am looking forward to getting out of bed in the morning without feeling the blood rush to my foot and stay there.
Can't you just see me in my June Cleaver dress vacuuming the carpet? Well, maybe not.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
I have the albums, the paper, the pens, the stickers, the embellishments, the memories to fill an endless amount of scrapbooks. What I do not have at this moment is the energy, free time or space to even begin such a project. Someday I will. But for now I don't.
However, thanks to my husband and his computer savvy we have been having great success digitally sharing and arranging our pictures with Shutterfly Studio. Here you can watch an instruction video and download their free software to begin creating a digital collage or scrapbook. There is even an option to get your collection bound into a book. You are under no obligation to purchase. You can send it along to whomever you like. Just download your pictures from your camera, choose from a plethora of layouts, drag and arrange to your heart's content.
No more getting out all the supplies, rushing through a project before the kid's wake up, loosing the scissors, misspelling someone's name in permanent ink or having to pick up little shreds of paper. Now that's working for me!!
Be sure to stop by Rocks in My Dryer for more ideas!!
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Recently a permanent exhibit opened honoring Anne Frank, Ruby Bridges and Ryan White. It is incredibly well done and moving, too. There is actually a worker there walking around with Kleenex. I really appreciate the exhibit's emphasis on empathy rather than tolerance. The voices of each of these children really comes out through the different media as well as the ugliness of hatred and fear. We barely even touched the surface on all the information that was offered. I saw on the museum's website that they have some teacher guides and lesson plans that I think we will take advantage of soon. I'm sure we'll be back to discover more.
Monday, November 26, 2007
So I finished my grocery shopping for the month of November and there is much rejoicing going on here in this house! For this second half of this month my grocery/household total came in at $198.43. Included in this is about 35 pounds of turkey that I bought on sale for our freezer. Coupons, sales and CVS deals combined we saved us a of $207.15!!
This is amazing as far as I'm concerned. $361.23 spent. $239 under budget. $513.72 saved in November according to receipts. (I personally think these numbers are a little inflated) $9.15 CVS bucks to take me into December.
Now I'm on to figure out how to save money on gas and to do some research on turkey recipes.
Catherine has been providing a weekly review of the books that she has read this past year. She reads several a week in all different genres. I love it that her reviews are interesting and honest. This has lead me to read many books this year that I would not have even known were out there. I'm always trying to finish one so that I can move on to the next!
Alaina is a fabulous cook and posts her menu and recipes each Monday. I've been stuck in a cooking rut now for some years it seems and she has inspired me to look differently at what's in the pantry. Her ingredients are things I usually have on hand and there are many crockpot dishes as well. Yum.
Morning By Morning
Michelle is a personal friend who has begun blogging as a way to record her recent diagnosis of breast cancer. She is a homeschooling mom of four energetic boys who is real about her faith. You'd be encouraged to read about her journey.
Oh, there are so, so many more.... But I must go for now before my children "starve" (so they claim).
Please pass on any sites in particular that have inspired you recently and why.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
My mom wasn't one to entertain us children. She did not structure her day around our play or making every moment a "learning" opportunity. I remember her getting up before us and sipping on hot tea in her robe. There was always a warm hug inside that purple robe to greet me on those cold winter mornings. When we were dressed and fed we were sent off to play on our own. We read a lot of books, practiced the piano, played Atari, dressed up dolls, caught toads, hoed the garden, rode bikes, shot basketball in the driveway or played babies with the kittens. Of course, there were always chores to be done. We quickly learned to never look bored lest we be roped into some extra work.
She spent her days working around the house, taking care of Grandma, preparing Sunday school lessons, talking on the phone, going to "Jessy's family food market", preparing meals, helping neighbors and harvesting the garden. Her days were busy apart from me, yet I never felt neglected. She didn't seemed stressed when I came to ask questions as though I had somehow kept her from the all important "to do list". There was a strange security in seeing her do the same things everyday and knowing that she was there for the emergencies. She seemed strong and in control. I don't think that I really longed for her "one on one" attention to assure me of her love. I didn't desire her to be my playmate because she was my mom.
Occasionally, Mom entered into our play in the form of hitting softballs for us to chase, reading us books, playing a piano duet, singing in the car and even shooting basketball. And often she invited us into her world to cook, shop, ride on the lawn mower, visit the elderly and sing in her church children's choir. I remember all of these occasions with great fondness not because I was particularly entertained, but because I witnessed another side of her. She was interesting, fun to be with and she made it known that she was glad to be with her children, too.
Of course as I grew older and the world expanded past the back yard, life got full of activities. No longer was I at home day in and day out with my family in the routines that provided a pleasant rhythm. For the most part it was a monitored coming and going that came to define life then. But as I look back, I now see that my mom in her own way continued to keep herself available. She did this not by micromanaging my calendar or working her way into involvement with every activity. She did one simple thing. She kept her door open.
Each night when I would come home my parents would likely be in bed reading or laying in the dark. Their door would be wide open and as I would walk by I would hear them say, "Monica, come and talk to us." They would make a spot for me in the middle and the talking would begin. Sometimes they asked questions and other times they would just listen. Laying in the dark, I felt as though I could share anything. I would tell tales of my teenage trials and woes. I would philosophized about life. I would tell ridiculous stories until we laughed so hard our sides hurt. I usually stayed only a few minutes or until my Dad made it apparent by his snores that my time was up.
I look back on these talks in the dark as one of the major ways that my parents held on to me during my final years at home. I knew the routine. I knew the door would be open. I knew where to find my mom when I needed her or just wanted to ask a question. We related not through activities, but through sharing.
And so here I am today. As I now have become a mother to seven children, I am often concerned when I consider whether or not I am really connecting with them. It seems as though society gives mixed signals to moms. On one hand, we are expected to be routine, list driven, organized home managers, yet scorned if we are found at home doing the same thing day after day. All the while, we are encouraged to create the perfect atmosphere of spontaneity for our children's development taking them into the realms of the unknown to explore their most recent interests. Falling short means that we are depriving our children of the best.
Being upset by interruptions in the schedule or being frazzled by a whirlwind of activity is not the connection that I want to have with my children. The kind of connection that I desire is found in relationship. It is defined in the security of routines and boundaries in which children do thrive. It is defined by the natural interactions that center around work and play that occur when a family lives at home. It is defined by an open door and talking in the dark.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
I have always loved receiving yearly updates from friends and family via the "Christmas Letter". I look forward to catching up on the happenings in their lives and the growth of their children. However, our family never seemed to quite "get it together" enough to send out that year end letter.
Of all the holidays, Thanksgiving is our very favorite. It is a foundational part of our country's history, it commemorates the fruit of year's work, it focuses on people (not things) and it is a time of grateful reflection toward God. So we've decided to take our thankfulness and form our family letter from there.
We have a set of four questions that we ask everyone in the family that hopefully will give the reader a snapshot of our past year as well as reasons to be thankful with us. We also take a family picture in the same spot every year to include. My newest vision is to take the letter and begin a scrapbook around its content. This would be a place to chronicle in pictures the highlights of the past year.
For more Works for me Wednesday ideas go to Rocks in my Dryer.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
A few months ago our favorite babysitter, Jenny, approached me saying that she would like to watch the kids for a weekend so Sean and I could get away together. She is a sophomore nursing student who works and has a busy life, yet she perceived that we really needed some time away. Why would she do this? Her friends think she is crazy to even try! She would do this because she wants to serve God and she loves others more than herself.
Sean and I took a week long trip to Florida in 1999 leaving our oldest two with my parents. Since then I think that we have had a weekend away twice without children. Once was for a wedding and the other was a backpacking trip. But other than that if we have gone somewhere a baby has been along with us.
So this was a much anticipated weekend for us. What did we do? Slept in until 10:30, went to a movie, sat around at Starbucks, went out to a nice restaurant, and played our favorite card game several times. We gave eachother 100% of our time and attention. No interruptions. No schedule. No duties. We did this 10 miles from our home, but it felt like we were at a vacation resort. Wonderful.
I knew that Jenny was at my house busy as she could be and taking wonderful care of our children. As she has watched them over the years she has taken the time to get to know them as people. We can talk frankly about issues and conflicts. I know that she loves them.
I pray that my children remember these times with her and come to appreciate the ways that she is blessing our family. More than that, I pray that my children grow up to be like Jenny.
'A psalm for giving thanks', Psalm 100 presented at our
homeschool program this year. (Baby John can be
heard in the background joining in.)
“Know that the LORD is God. It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people, the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name. For the LORD is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations.” Psalm 100:3-5
We have known another year of God’s goodness and grace. Life can be so busy in our family as we continue to work hard, learn, play, and grow. It has been a blessed and fulfilling year and we owe all of it to the Lord. We sat down together to reflect on these things. We pray that you are encouraged to share in them as well.
What has God done?
He answered our long time prayers for a van that would seat our family safely and have working heat and AC.
He ministered to us through our homeschool group, Lighthouse Home Educators, providing friendships for our children and a place for growth and encouragement.
He established the work of our hands (Ps 90:17). Sean continues to thrive teaching at Covenant Christian High School and has become a regular speaker at math/science/technology conferences. Monica is homeschooling the 5th, 4th, 2nd and 1st grade kids this year and continues her work as an RN and lactation consultant a few hours a week.
He has grown his church (Mt 16:18b). We are seeing Christ Church Reformed Presbyterian become more established through the faithful preaching of the Word of God, outreach and accountable relationships. The congregation is hoping to move to a new facility soon. This will allow for further ministry and growth.
What has God taught you?
“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through your knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness” (2 Peter 1:3).
“All that I truly need He has given”– Monica (35)
How to walk, eat big people food and wrestle my brother – John (1)
To use my words instead of crying for what I want – Rebekah (3)
“How to be brave and speak in front of people”– Miriam (7), a.k.a. Mr. Standish in a recent homeschool group play
“To do what I am supposed to the first time instead of waiting” –Lydia (9)
“How to be patient when I’m waiting a really long time” –Betsy (6)
“To think before I act” –Hannah (11)
“To say ‘I’m sorry’ and ‘I forgive you’” – Joseph (4)
“So much good stuff”-Sean (35) A deeper study of the 10 commandments and the book of Deuteronomy made me think seriously about the application of my obedience to God. From preparing for the ACMS conference I was encouraged in my thinking about integrating the use of Scripture into my classroom and teaching. A parenting seminar also challenged me to continue to lead consistently in daily Family Worship and reminded of age appropriate resources to engage my children with the Word.
How has God protected or preserved?
*Aunt Vanessa (Monica’s sister) moved home from Russia in February due to a mass on her thyroid. This was an uncertain and scary time for all of us. Thankfully the tumor was benign, was promptly removed and she has had a full recovery. This emergency trip home resulted in a time to become reacquainted with a lifelong friend. As only God can do, this friendship has grown into a loving commitment and she will be getting married this February to Chris Nelson.
*John and Joseph had hospital visits this year related to RSV and the croup. We saw God’s preserving power to restore our boys to full health. Now Mom is breathing a little easier.
*As a family we had great opportunities to travel alongside Sean to his competitions, conferences and classes. We are thankful for God’s provision of safety on the road as we traveled nearly 4,000 miles this year.
What is your favorite memory of this past year?
Weekend reunion with college friends – Monica
Holiday World and Spashin’ Safari – Hannah (11)
Hiking at Turkey Run State Park with my cousins – Lydia (9)
Going swimming at a hotel – Betsy (6)
Spending the night all by myself at Nate’s house – Joseph (4)
Seeing George Washington’s house – Miriam (7)
Playing with my friend, Anna – Rebekah (3)
Hiking, swimming, and relaxing at Spring Mill State Park last winter – Sean
Basketball Camp & Tennis Camp (with Coach Dad) at Covenant – Hannah (11)
Spending the night at Grandma and Grandpa’s –Betsy (6)
Riding the kiddy rides at Holiday world –Rebekah (3)
April & June trips to the US Space and Rocket center as guests of NASA –Sean
Seeing Niagra Falls on the Maid of the Midst –Monica
Going to Canada –Lydia (9)
Staying at a hotel –Joseph (4)
Playing in the fall leaves –John (1)
Many Blessings from our family to yours.
Friday, November 16, 2007
We've really been trying to integrate exercise into our homeschool curriculum this year. It is actually listed as an assignment each day now and the kids are really faithful to do it. Rollerblading. Biking. Jogging. Jumping Rope. Soccer. Obstacle courses. They are pretty creative. It especially comes in handy when they are frustrated and need a break. Blood circulation does wonders for learning. It is recommended that children exercise 60 minutes a day and adults 30 minutes. This may happen in the warmer months, but in the winter it just gets hard. And for me? Well, I'm not so good at working it into daily life no matter what the season.
About 8 years ago I was taking great efforts to improve my health and found the elliptical machine at the Y (loved the child care available) and water aerobics to reap great benefits. It really didn't take much, just consistency and some sweat. I was healthier and stronger. Since then, I've had 6 children and find it harder to leave the house to exercise. At this point, most of my children are too old for any daycare that a gym would offer. So I attend the occasional evening water aerobics class currently, but know that I need more.
I've been praying about this. When I hit forty I want to be on the incline, not the decline (if you know what I mean). I've been perusing ebay on occasion hoping to find something to meet the need and yesterday there it was! An elliptical machine. The owners purchased it two years ago and used it twice. And it is a pick up only item about 10 miles from my home!!
Ebay gives me a heart attack. The anticipation of the whole thing is unnerving to me. I can see how some people could go crazy spending or become addicted to this sort of thing. We bid, my heart raced, I obsessively pressed the refresh button, the children cheered. We got it!!
A bonus from work is allowing me to purchase this item for 1/5th of the price retail. I'm always blessed beyond measure at God's perfect provision and I know the benefits will far outweigh any cost.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Found a great website through Money Saving Mom, printed my coupons, went to Super Target (never grocery shopped there before due to cost) and look what I bought for groceries and for Thanksgiving food that I'll be fixing:
4 pounds of bananas
2 loaves French Bread
1 Spinach Dip
2 Boxes Oatmeal
1 Bag cereal
2 Bags of cheese
4 Sour creams
2 Bunches of Brocolli
4 Boxes of Cake mix
5 Boxes of Stuffing Mix
1 Large bag tortilla chips
1 13 pound Turkey
For a grand total of $40.06!!
Yes, I did apologize to the cashier for the 24 coupons I handed her. She just smiled and said, "Good for you!"
Yes indeedy, good for me.
For years I have been the frugal queen. Coupons. Consignment. Matching competitors prices. More coupons. Making everything from scratch even baby food and baby wipes. I'm not naturally bent to do these things. It's rather a work of necessity that I have come to appreciate through the years. There is a lot of purpose and joy when being intentional with one's resources.
I have never once considered our family to be poor. We have all that we need. But with 9 people to house, feed and clothe money has to be watched carefully. Our monthly budget for household items, diapers and food is around $500-600. Even then there is a lot of stretching that has to happen in order for this to work.
Sadly, I gave up couponing about 18 months ago not because it didn't work, but because it was just too complicated. I played the Grocery Game which was awesome. But when I dropped my coupons all over the grocery store floor for the hundredth time and I burst into tears in aisle 5 I knew that my day had come. There isn't time enough right now (or emotional energy, it seems) for the organizing and carting all these kids between three stores to get the best deals.
But, as usual, I've slipped away from the budget a bit and found myself overspending and overextending the budget. Then I entered the world of Blogging where there are resources galore and plenty of frugal women to inspire me to do better for my family.
So, I've been planning my menus, scouting out the sales and playing the CVS game. As of the 15th I've spend a total of $128.93 on groceries and $25.25 on household items and toiletries at CVS for a grand total of $154.18!! And to boot I still have $26 Extra Care Bucks to use or roll over. How much did I save? According to my receipts- $306.57!! I have been able to purchase my regular items as well as stock up on chicken breast, baking supplies, butter and shampoo.
The best part? These great websites link me to the coupons. Click and Print. And then they tell me which combinations of coupons/sales will yield the most return. I love it!!
You have to try it or at least come and visit these blogs and see what might be in your future. There is hope.
Money Saving Mom
Sense to Save
The Bargain Shopper Lady
Monday, November 12, 2007
Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints. Philemon 7
I went to a small Christian college in the hills of East Tennessee 17 years ago. I certainly received a good education, but more than that gained four wonderful friends who continue to bless, challenge and encourage me.
Maybe it's that we all "grew" up together there- staying up all night, singing, playing sports, going out, breaking up, finding our faith, working, laughing (a lot), being immature yet trying to be responsible, crying, fighting, facing the future, realizing dreams, recognizing failures, eating far too much food, living on a dime, moving in and moving out, visiting each other's homes, forgiving, forgetting, loving...
Our school would be considered stone age conservative by all standards I believe. No co-ed visitors in dorms. Curfews. No alcohol. No smoking. No living off campus. No cars for Freshman. Though many may laugh at this, as we talked about this weekend, we are thankful for it. We had an atmosphere that allowed for growth. Sure each of us did things that we may still regret, but we had a relatively safe environment to discover who we were and to invest in relationships without being confused and bombarded by all the stuff that college campuses may offer.
This year me and my 4 friends Amy, Cindy, Beth and Carrie turn 35. We have known each other for half of our lifetimes!! We work in an Opera House, homes, churches, schools, a hospital, theaters. We read books, know far too much about various TV series and movies, serve in ministries, mentor, marriage counsel, homeschool, act, create, raise 17 children, travel....
Last weekend was a rare occasion where we all met together for a get away. Refreshing does not do justice to what it feels like to get away with such real friends. It is a gift to be with these girls and pick up right where we left off. It is a gift to be able to share our joys and struggles honestly without fear of judgment. It is a gift to sit in a row in church and sing to our Lord. It is a gift laugh, cry, talk, remember and dream with friends again.
After returning from a weekend away (which I can't wait to write about) Joseph prays:
"Dear Lord, (looking around as if for permission to talk) help mommy to now be the watcher of the kids."
Joseph (4) to Rebekah (3):
Becca, do you believe in God?
Do you trust God?
Mom, Rebekah says he doesn't trust God.
Well tell her why she should.
Rebekah you need to trust in God. He will help you be strong. If you don't you'll get spanked.
(I promise that we don't discipline our children for lack of faith:)
Come to Mary's to read more or join in the fun!
Thursday, November 8, 2007
This shouldn't be difficult, seeing that my life seems rather random at times. So here goes:
1. My first job was working for a fair concession stand. I know how to make a very large, perfectly shaped, buttery, with just the right amount of sugar elephant ear.
2. When I was a little girl my dream was to be the first woman president. Move over Hillary. I had a Ziggy shirt that said, "Ziggy for president" that I believe I wore 2 times a week for a year (that's all my mom would allow).
3. I would like to write a book before I die.
4. I used to drink my Grandma's instant coffee every morning. I don't know why because it was nasty. Now I can't stand coffee (though I do like the smell).
5. I was a competitive pianist until my Junior year of high school. I started lessons when I was four. It was a great outlet for me because I was extremely shy and it forced me to get up in front of people, but I never had to say a word.
6. I was Junior Miss and competed in the state Pageant in 1990. It was a "scholarship" competition.
7. I love to have my arms scratched. This is actually how I've trained my kids to wake me up in the morning. They scratch my arms and then ask for cereal.
8. If I would have been a boy my name would have been Aaron. My mother made ornaments with the name Monica and Aaron before I was born. However, after I came into the world she continued to hang the boy name on the tree. This ended when my sister Cindy "accidentally" broke her Robert ornament one year.
I'm passing this one on to the last 8 people to visit my blog. Join in if you like.
BethanySue, Kim, Saralyn, Devan, Mary, Mindi. Lori, Ami
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
There's nothing like playing games together as a family. Unlike toys, kids never seem to get tired of games and it encourages learning and little healthy competition, too. Here are a few of our recent favorites:
Rat-A-Tat-Cat is a simple, quick game for all ages (even preschoolers). It involves use of memory and recognizing number values. Rats are bad. Cats are good.
Slamwhich requires quick thinking and recognizing patterns. It is not a game of strategy so even the little ones can beat Dad!
Quiddler is a cross between Scrabble, Rummy and Boggle. It's a game that generates a lot of conversation and competition. If children are not yet proficient readers it's fun to pair up. But when the kids are in bed Mom and Dad can go head to head.
In Set you need to put on your thinking cap and exercise a little patience and concentration. The goal is to find three card that produce a set of alike or different cards. In doing so the players are actually exercising their Math brains without even knowing it. Fun for all.
These games have become some of our favorite games to give away as gifts. They don't break. They're always different. And they require that families play together. That's what kids really want.
Having 7 children has left me with this ring of fat below the bellybutton that just won't seem to budge. I liken it to a tire. I'm back in my pre-baby jeans at this point (thanks to the combination of denim and spandex) , the scale is not offending me, but this extra bit of jelly on my belly isn't volunteering to go on its own. I'm not looking to be a model here, just someone a little more well proportioned or at least with something that resembles a waistline.
I need ideas. I need solutions. I need a plan.
I want it gone by next June.
Tell me about yourself. What has worked for you? How long did it take? How did you kick the baby tire to the curb?
Need solutions? Got answers? Go to Shannon's for Works-for-me-Wednesday Backwards Day!
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Betsy left to spend the night with her grandma and grandpa and Joseph kept kissing and hugging her as she tried to get into the car.
Joseph: Betsy don't leave me. Who will be my girlfriend?
Me: I'll be your girlfriend. Come and play with me.
Joseph: Mom, I need a girlfriend this size (holds up his hands to measure an imaginary Betsy). Your too big.
Joseph coming down the stairs this morning groggy, rubbing his eyes, and mumbling:
"What is wrong with the sun this morning? It is still night." (We just switched to daylight savings time)
"This place is a mess. I guess I'll have to clean it up today. " (Coming from the child who acts paralyzed when asked to pick anything up off the floor)
Betsy in her bedtime prayers:
"God help us to pick up our room every day just a little bit. Then soon it will be clean. Then mom won't think we are pigs in a pig pen."
Betsy's inconsolable cries are heard from downstairs. Something must be seriously wrong!
Mom: "Elizabeth, are you okay, what happened?"
Bets: (In whiniest voice possible) "Joseph hit me with a feather."
I'm so glad to have a forum to record my children's brilliant words:) Come to Mary's to read more or join in the fun!
Saturday, November 3, 2007
Thanks to everyone who came by to comment about your favorite dresses. My daughters and I had a great time reading your stories.
Watch for more dresses in the next give away.
Friday, November 2, 2007
She had four children in 2 1/2 year. Girl, twin boys, girl. The best way I can describe her is "contagious". I believe that she has the energy of 2 people and is never afraid to tell it like it is. She is authentic. She is the first to admit her faults and is consistently trying to improve who she is. She has vision. She does real estate and she and her husband are launching an innovative business. She and her husband are very different, yet she compliments him by her words and actions. She works hard and plays hard and laughs really hard. She is generous and constantly blessing others in practical ways. She loves the Lord and her faith doesn't waiver when things get hard. She is a loyal friend. We've dieted together (several times), freezer cooked together and spent many an afternoon with our feet in the baby pool just letting everything go in the name of friendship:)
These past five years have not been easy for her. Of course, how could it be with so many little ones in tow? Her mother was diagnosed with lymphoma and went through serious cancer treatments. Jobs have been unstable at times. She has taken people into her home who need a place to stay for a while. They've made a commitment to a new church. All the while, she has been dealing with her two boys who have progressed slowly and unpredictably through the preschool years. This has meant that she has spent much of the last five years at home with them where she can deal one-on-one with behavioral issues and not deal with what the watching public may think or say.
This week, my friend and her husband received the test results that they have been waiting on for some time. Their boys fall within the autistic disorder spectrum. Not necessarily surprising news, but definitely not easy to hear either.
Did she cry? Yes. She loves them.
Did she feel sad.? Sure.
Did she pout? No.
Did she get mad? No.
Did she have a fit? No.
Did she shake her fist at God? No.
Do you know what she said? She said, "I'm glad that I know what I can do to help them now. "
Then she proceeded to do what her new pediatrician will be prescribing next week which is rid her pantry of all wheat, gluten and sugar products. All the while she was researching for recipes and baking a special cake that her boys could enjoy when they got home from school. They even installed a lock on the pantry door to cut down on any sugar raids. In usual fashion, she just stepped into the next phase of normal and is not looking back.
"Autism is what my boys have. It is not who they are," she says.
When others might only see what they "are not". She knows who they are and who God is. Her confidence is contagious.
There is no doubt in my mind that these children will grow to know that they are loved and wonderfully made by God. They will continue to have a childhood of discovering and learning. They will still have boundaries and consequences. They will have the best of every opportunity available. They will be hugged and cuddled and tickled and taught and challenged. They will grow.
People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Mark 10:13-14