Let it go …

Let it go.  That’s the new phrase in our house.  It started with the song from the movie Frozen.  We just couldn’t get that song out of our head.  Then it became a theme song I would sing every time the boys would start arguing about something ridiculous.  It stops the arguing as they just stare at me in wonder … wondering if I’m off my rocker.  (If you would like to get this song stuck in your head … here it is.  But don’t say I didn’t warn you.)

But the truth is I am the one that really has trouble with letting it go.  I tend to hang on to things.  Not things as in possessions, but things as in what has been said, done or could have the teensiest, slightest chance of happening.  For instance, when people say – “I don’t care if my baby is a boy or a girl.  I just want a healthy baby.”  Drives me crazy!  I want to say ‘what if baby isn’t healthy?!  Then what?  You don’t want it anymore?’  I know, I am way overreacting.  People don’t mean it that way.  Still, I can’t let it go … Some years ago I was told by someone who is a leader in education that my special needs son should just take two music classes instead of making appropriate modifications in a different class.  Would this have been said if a child in gifted classes had run out of options?! I know this person was just misinformed.  But still, I can’t let it go … Waaay back in high school I made fun of some people that I didn’t know were the parents of a girl that was nearby.  I felt terrible.  20plus years later I still feel terrible.  And still can’t let it go.  These are just a few examples. I have many more like them constantly bouncing around in my head.  Along with that I have worries of things that haven’t even happened yet.  CAN’T.  LET.  IT.  GO.

My son with special needs tends to be obsessive about things.  One of the things he is obsessed with now is reusable grocery bags.  He loves them all, any bag really.  All shapes, sizes and colors.  He can spot them from 100 feet away.  He must have it!  He probably has 50+ bags.  But every couple of days a different bag becomes his favorite bag.  We never know which one will be the day’s favorite bag.  But if we cannot find that bag, look out.  We must find that bag as he says, “right now”.  He will not leave us alone.  And since he carries these bags everywhere, it may not be where we think it is.  Doesn’t matter.  Find the bag.  RIGHT NOW! 

Lately I’ve been wondering how God feels when I can’t let something go.  I obsess.  It’s all I can think about.  It’s all I can talk to Him about.  I need an answer ‘right now’.  Does God go crazy with my requests, yelling, “Stephanie!!” to get my attention?  How does he try to get my attention?  How does he try to redirect me?  Does he ignore my constant begging for a solution ‘right now’?  Is He thinking, “For the 47th time, Stephanie, I don’t know!”  Obviously, I don’t really know what God is thinking or doing during my temper fits.  But I’m pretty sure he handles it much better than I handle my son’s OCD.  I was going to insert a Bible verse here about God being compassionate and slow to anger.  But do you know how many I found?!  Nine!!  I think God’s point is He is compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love.  

A loved pastor and friend gave a sermon about giving our concerns and worries to God.  He knew some of us (ME!) are visual learners.  We need to see the concept in action, not just hear it, for it to become real, memorable, useful… (Remind me to tell you about the visual sermon he gave on Christ’s beating before he was hung on the cross.  Holy smokes, that one stayed with me.) … But back to letting go — He had us write our concern on paper.  Wrap it up/fold it, and actually give it to God.  We got up out of our seats and gave it away.  His point was in giving it away we weren’t to take it back.  It’s God’s now.  It was out of our hands, therefore out of our minds.  Give it to God.  How many times do I continue to take it back from God.  Back and forth.  It’s not really trusting that God will handle it for me, is it?  It’s saying that I can handle it better.  But not letting go isn’t working so well for me.

Just like I want my son to continue to come to me, I know God wants me to come to him for help.  I know He is the one who can help me stop the obsessing and worrying (Phillipians 4:6-7).  I know the closer I am to Him the closer I am to letting go and getting the help I need (Psalm 46:1).

Bible verse I’m loving today: Matthew 6:31-34


I know what he can’t do!

This is going to be a bit of a rant.  By now you know that I have a son with special needs, both physical and intellectual.  And believe it or not… I know what he can’t do!

My son is in high school now.  But since he started kindergarten, everyday I have been met at the day’s end with a list of what he hasn’t been able to do that particular day.  This isn’t a reflection on the educators.  They are extremely caring people that I know want only the best for my boy.  They have expectations from parents, school districts and state law that can be mind boggling.  I trust them with his life.  I am thankful for their dedication to my son & a difficult field in which to teach.  It’s a reflection on the education system as a whole of our children with special needs.  

Children with special needs are constantly trying to measure up to a standard that has been set, usually it seems just out of reach.  There is data upon data that must be kept of what they haven’t achieved.  And if by chance they do achieve one of the IEP outlined goals, another distant goal is quickly put in place.  

Our typically developing children are praised with every step.  We give them awards throughout their schooling – Best Athlete, Best Actor, Best Singer, Best Instrumentalist, Best Scholar, Best Scholar Athlete, Best: Insert the organization here.  We tell them to showcase their positive attributes on applications for college.  We praise them with not only awards but award banquets to present these numerous awards.

We praise them with McDonald’s hamburgers for A’s on their report card.  Only one principal we have had has seen the value in this & unexpectedly put my son on the A Honor role.  He knew the value in praising our children for the effort they put into their education.  Not all children will receive A’s, but they may have given it their all just to get that C.  This principal also knew the kids in the “Transition Room” weren’t graded on an A-F scale.  They were never given the opportunity to even aim for an A on that report card.  That little bit of recognition for my son was such a boost to my and my son’s mood.  I remember how exciting it was to do the simple act of going into McDonald’s, letting my son show his report card with an A, then be handed a free hamburger.  (Just how gross McDonald’s hamburgers really are may appear in a future blog rant).

Don’t get me wrong – I am all for praising & awarding our typical children.  I have those kids too.  It is beyond fulfilling to have your child walk up on a stage to receive an award for the hard earned accomplishment.  All while video recording & posting on social media, of course.  I’ve done it.  I’ve done it with pride.  And I loved every minute of it!

My rant is this – Why aren’t our kids with special needs awarded for the same achievements?  Once our school nurse nominated my son for a school wide year-end achievement.  How cool is that?!  She recognized his daily determination to get life done.  I loved it!  But did you read what I wrote?  Once.  Now I’m not asking for an award every time my kid walks down the hall.  But why the daily listing of what he isn’t doing?  Let’s just assume I know what he hasn’t done from here on out.

But here is a list of what my son CAN do:
– Every night he prays to our God in Heaven about what has gone on that day.  Which usually includes his classmates.
– Every day he reminds me to put on his knee brace.  Because I am the one that forgets it.
– Every day he reminds me to give him his medicine.  Because I am the one that forgets it.
– Every day he wants to call a friend or family on FaceTime.  Because he LOVES them and wants to see them, talk to them, have fun with them.
– Every day he wants to thank someone for a long past gift he received from them.
– Everyday (If I let him) he would swing in the park, just for the joy of being free.
– Everyday (If I let him) he would visit people just to talk, laugh & be with them.
– Every day he wants to eat in all three school lunch periods so he can see his typically developing friends.  Those same kids that he is kept away from all day long.  He just wants to be a part of their normal lives. 
You may have guessed, the last one is something for which he is reprimanded.  But he just wants to be with those typical kids and experience a high five, a “Hey, Bud!”, to be a part of the excitement that occurs in school lunchrooms.  For just three lunch periods to escape the ‘data’, the ‘nose-to-the-grindstone’ that happens outside of lunch.

My son was made with the purpose of bringing glory to the God who made him.  He does that everyday in my house.  EVERY DAY I am reminded of what he CAN do in Christ Jesus. Normally I would post a link to a bible verse.  Today I’m writing it out as a reminder to me & anyone who happens upon my rant that my boy was made with a purpose.  A purpose that he is constantly fulfilling.  Whether or not the classroom data supports it … I know what he can do.

Bible verse I’m loving today:
Psalm 139:13
13For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.

Lipstick Review #2 …

I have once again had many requests for a Lipstick Review.  Okay, again, it was just one request.  But I feel like many wanted to request it but couldn’t find the words.  So here it is for all of those unheard voices…

This is my Go-To base lip stuff.  It’s in my favorite form, the stain.  I like a stain because I hate sticky, gloppy goo on my lips.  I don’t want to be the mom that leaves her lip mark on the kids after kissing them on the forehead.  Also, I just hate how sticky lips feel.  As much as I love make-up, I don’t want to feel it or taste it.  And I am the kind of person that will unknowingly have it on my teeth or the front of my shirt.

The Instinct color is almost the exact color of my lips, only better.  It’s a less pale version of my own lips.  So it seems to enhance the color God gave me, not cover it up.  There are probably ten or so other colors.  I have tried a couple and only one other worked on my skin tone.  It was a deeper mauve and I think it was called Mystique.  I seldom use it just because I struggle with colors that stray from my actual lip color.

The down side to almost any stain is it’s drying effects.  Yes, this comes with a balm on the other end.  Throw that piece of candle wax that calls itself balm in the trash.  Yuck!  Use another balm.  Preferably something without all of the gross additives (petroleum byproducts) in many of today’s lipsticks & chapsticks.  They (you know, “THEY”) say that we ladies end up eating most of what we put on our lips.  So I try to keep a lot of my makeup and lipsticks free of that stuff.  This stain doesn’t claim to not have those things.  So I try to keep what’s on top of it more naturally derived.  And I see better results on my finicky skin.

Another thing I’m not crazy about is how long it lasts, or doesn’t last.  It does need to be reapplied periodically throughout the day.  Like I said, I love make-up.  But I only want to apply it once.  I’m not one of those girls driving down the highway, with all the mirrors pointing at me, fixing my face.  (They drive me nuts, by the way).

I have found this lip stain in many local stores like Walgreen’s, Wal-Mart and Ulta.  Unfortunately, the place I am always at, Target, has currently discontinued the line.  I do like Ulta because they usually have coupons in our local newspaper and testers to check the color before you buy.

So here’s the recap of the Revlon Just Bitten Lipstain in Instinct:
It’s not sticky, I love the color, it lasts longer than most lipsticks, and it seems to enhance anything I put on top of it
It’s drying, it isn’t naturally derived, the balm is yucky, it doesn’t last as long as I would like (meaning all day), and it seems to run out or dry out quickly (I go through a tube quicker than most)

Overall, I really like this lip stain.  At least until I find something better…

Bible verse I’m loving today:  Proverbs 12:19