Sink or Swim … (So Why Am I’m Still Sinking?)

I like to swim.  Actually, I loooove to swim.  I even love to just tread water in the deep end of the pool.  All day long swim, swim, swim.  Both, literally and figuratively, I’m pretty good a swimming.  I can do it just fine on my own.  But add a kid and swimming gets a little more difficult.  I can still do it.  I might have to switch to treading water.  Add two kids and some other stuff.  Well, I start sinking like a brick.

If you’ve read previous blogs you know I’ve been doing a little “treading water” for a while now.  It’s been kind of rough with finding the right way for our boy with special needs.  I thought he was headed back to normal or somewhere close.  Well, what is our normal, anyway.  Then he had some medical stuff that has kept us up at night for a couple weeks.  A lot of up being up to check on him at least once, if not more.  Somehow he mostly sleeps through it.  But it makes for some sleepy parents.  Now this week he has decided to kick off all of his covers numerous times in the night and call mom to come and cover him up.  A task I reeeeally wish we could teach him but for whatever reason it isn’t happening.  So, more sleepless nights.  Aaaaand, Dad happened to gone this week. 

It’s no wonder I ended up sick.   If you were wondering, yes, the The Water Horse is real.  She was beached on the couch all week right here in my house.  That’s the movie we watched.  (By the way, it was really good.  And now my 4year old wants his own water horse for a pet.)  I didn’t bother telling my husband I was sick.  He has no trouble calling in the Coast Guard to let them know I’m sinking.  But I knew everyone was off helping other people.  Why bother them when I knew they couldn’t come help anyway?  I’ve said before I don’t like people to know I’m sinking anyway.  Best to take one of every painkiller kidding! in the cabinet & tough it out.  

It’s times like this that remind me when that song about making me broken, Keep Making Me, comes on Christian radio I need to be changing the station with lightening speed.  Do NOT sing along to any song requesting God to make you broken.  He just may follow through with that request and leave you relying on only him!  Yes, I’m kindof, semi- joking.  Relying on only God sounds good in theory.  But when he comes through on that request, look out.  It’s probably not gonna be the easy way.  But when you make it through to the other side and you are able to look back at the plan God had all the while.  Wow.  Just wow. 

I don’t think we are on the other side of God’s big plan just yet.  We were up three times last night with our boy.  (I think it was three.  We lost count at some point.  And my husband and I have both walked straight into a wall on different nights.  Not pretty.)  But we’ve been at this long enough to have been able to look back several times and see the “Hindsight is 20/20” moments, those things God was working together for our good.  We have learned to rely wholly on God through these hard times.  Our motto this time around is “God has a plan.”  We may not know what that plan is right now, but I am confident he won’t let us drown in the deep water.  We are so comforted by the “Wow” things he has done in the past that we know this time he’s up to something big again.

Bible Verse I’m Loving Today:
Romans 8:28

Romans 8:28
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

The Best Medicine …

Laughter.  We’ve all heard it’s the best medicine.  I’m beginning to believe it’s true.  

Just yesterday I was informed of an old high school friend’s mom’s passing.  I haven’t seen the friend in years and it’s been even longer since I’ve seen her mom.  You know how it is.  Little by little you see them less and less.  Before you know it you haven’t seen them in years.  All my memories of my friend’s mom include her laughter.  She was always laughing.  I remember being in their living room doing our own thing and hearing her in the other room laughing.  She would laugh at us and our stupidity.  She was just so full of joy.  I can picture her right now standing in their kitchen laughing hysterically.   I mentioned this to her niece and she said the same of her.  She had this reputation of always laughing.  She even had a nickname because of her distinct laughter.  What a great way to be able to remember someone.  Their laughter.  

Lately, we have been missing the laughter from one of my sons.  While he has disabilities he has always been known for his joy and laughter.  Disability has never been disabling to his joy for life.  His smile has always brought others joy as well.  Just like a good high school friend, little by little his laughter left us.  We didn’t know we were missing it until one day it was gone.  How did we get here and how do we get back?  I’ve been singing in my head a song by Lucinda Williams called Joy.  “You took my joy, I want it back.”

It’s so hard to see someone hurting, especially our kids.  I just want to be able to fix it; to magically snap my fingers or wiggle my nose like Samantha in the old TV show Bewitched and it’s all better.  If you watched that show you’ll remember that even Samantha somehow always messed it up.  She had to live it out, sometimes go through the pain, to make it right in the end.  So that’s what we’ve had to do too.  Some trial and error.  Some tears and lots of prayer.  Thankfully, my boy is surrounded by a God so much more powerful than any witch with a twitchy nose.

A few nights ago my husband and I were outside in the yard with the boys.  We heard laughter.  That genuine, belly laugh that is so contagious it makes everyone around it smile.  My husband said, “Man, it’s good to hear that again.”  Our boy was laughing at something his little brother had done.  Or maybe it was the dogs.  It didn’t matter … 

My Joy is back.

Bible Verse I’m Loving Today:
Proverbs 17:22
“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”

Keep My Mouth Shut …

I think I need to rename this blog “What My Children Are Teaching Me”.  Because it seems they teach me a heck of a lot more than I teach them.  Most recently I am learning to keep my mouth shut.  Oh don’t worry, I will continue to entertain you by sticking my foot in my mouth on occasion, I’m sure.  

Ever since my son with special needs was born we have received well intended but unsolicited advice.  Everyone has an opinion about everything.  The more my son goes through the more opinions I receive.  We have more doctors, nurses, therapists and teachers  than anyone I know.  Believe me, we get whole bunches upon bunches of actual medical treatments, trials, theories, and plain old random ideas that just might work to cure whatever is currently ailing my son.  One of my son’s many doctors is a specialist in a top ten children’s hospital.  I recently asked for her advice regarding an issue.  This was in her field of study and what she deals with every day.  She was stumped.  I walked away that day without her giving me any answer.  Yet, we have no problem getting answers from the average Joe on the street.  

Then it seems when we don’t take the advice of others we will receive their judgement regarding the choice we do make if they aren’t in agreement with that choice.  I was crying out to God with my frustration about all of this recently.  Pleading for him to please make them understand how they have no idea the stress we live under every single day.  We research every possible idea, every possible medicine, every possible cure, every possible doctor.  We don’t just think, “This will be the most convenient doctor or will be cheaper gas to get here.  Let’s experiment with this on our child.”  It’s pain staking.  We cry.  We stay awake nights.  We argue.  We cling to each other.  We cry out to God for help every single day.  Every. Single. Night.  And on top of that we live with the judgement of others that we aren’t living up to their standards when it comes to raising our child.

So when I finally stopped my screaming rant against God that’s when I heard his voice.  Why is it he doesn’t yell back at me?  He always waits for me to shut up.  Which sometimes takes a while. No comment from the husband, please.  Or maybe he was speaking all along and I just couldn’t hear him above my own voice.  What did I hear?  “JUDGE NOT LEST YE BE JUDGED!!”  In full-on King James version, Ten Commandments movie starring Charlton Heston voice.  I know, that bible verse doesn’t really apply to what I’m talking about here.  It speaks to judging another’s sin.  But that’s what got through my thick skull and woke me to my own sin of loving me and my ideas more than others.

What I am asking others to not do is exactly what I am doing.  The people who choose different schooling for their kids than I do.  Judgement.  The people who choose different medical treatments than I would.  Judgement.  The people who worship differently than I do.  Judgement.  People who [insert the different choice for most anything here].  

There are things that are going to fall into the grey areas of right & wrong.  And there are choices that will be wrong.  I’m sure I will be the one to make some of those wrong choices.  I hope I offer others the same forgiveness and second chances I’ll want.  But those things that are just different than the way I would do them?  Well, I’m learning to keep my mouth shut…

Bible Verse I’m Loving Today:
Ephesians 4:29-32

Ephesians 4:29
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

Pro-Life, Pro-Choice or a Pro Like Mary?

** Warning **
This post may be a little more PG-ish than you’re used to in my posts.  
But it won’t be any more so than the local 6pm news.  
Which may actually be more detail than we need at dinner time. 
But it will be waaay less than an ABC Family  trashy TV show.
And names have been semi-changed to protect the blah-blah…

Pro-Life.  Pro-Choice.  Sometimes Pro-Life.  Sometimes Pro-Choice.  So many social media posts.  Everyone has an opinion.  I have an opinion.  I have friends and family that fall on both sides of the fence.  Even though we may not agree I know they didn’t come to their decision lightly.  I didn’t come to my belief just because someone else told me that’s the way I should think or because I haven’t given it much thought.  What I believe may not be so surprising.  Why I believe it may be a little more so.  It was a hard slap in my face the day I came to fully believe the way I do.  It was a time, a day, a moment, I will never forget.

Since the whole Hobby Lobby hullabaloo I thought I’d get my views all out in the open.   Ruffle some feathers.  I love to ruffle feathers.  Whatever side you fall on it’s time to admit that your side has some haters.  My side has some haters.  And it’s probably time we all admit that hating isn’t getting us anywhere.  Signs and candles along the highway are really not getting us anywhere.  So here’s my side of the debate …

I’m going to start where any good pro-life or pro-choice debate starts … with a pregnancy.  Some know the vague details of my teenage pregnancy but I’m going to take you back to the end of that pregnancy.  The beginning was like most teenage pregnancies, unplanned.  But the ending was also unexpected.  Typically it’s called a miscarriage.  If you take a peek into my medical records the medical terminology of my 12 week miscarriage will read, “spontaneous abortion”.  Alarming wording for even a prepared girl.  Some miscarriages one can see coming; they aren’t so spontaneous.  Mine was definitely spontaneous.  While I had some warning signs, once it started there was no stopping it.  Let’s just say, more than my dignity was left in the Emergency Room that day.  There at the wise beyond my years, but still pretty stupid, age of 18, I was left alone with strangers.  One was a Heaven-sent nurse named Mary, the other a callous doctor.  As I lay on a table filled with fear about what was going to happen next, Nurse Mary stood by my side through the next hours explaining everything I questioned.  Preparing me in every way she could.  That callous doctor helped shaped my views on where life begins.  I already had a viewpoint.  A true abortion, of course, had previously been an option.  It was presented to me by, of all people, a well a meaning Christian just hoping to protect my future.  However, I was of the opinion that if I was prepared enough to be having sex then I was prepared enough for the possible consequences.  But that day in the ER, laying on the table, my viewpoint was solidified.  Dr. “Callous”, as he was performing my emergency medical procedure said, “Do you want to see your baby?”  It really wasn’t an option as he held the lifeless baby in the air in front of my face.  At 12 weeks she was just that, a baby.  A very, very, tiny baby.  


But who wants to have “She was Pro-Life” on their gravestone when their days come to an end?  I want people to remember me for being like Nurse Mary.  Years later I sat in a church and looked across the aisle.  There sat the nurse that so gently, yet strongly, got me through still to this day one of my toughest nights.  Tears welled up.  I couldn’t stop staring at her.  She had no idea the impact she had on me.

Our Pro-Choice movements, Pro-Life Silent Roadside Sign Chains, our social media postings …  The person they are trying to reach, I WAS THAT GIRL and none of those things helped me.  I understand all those other things are trying to sway the voting public.  But what could we be doing to really help THAT GIRL besides yelling our political views at each other?  I don’t expect you to go busting in the neighbor girl’s house and try to help her.  But both Nurse Mary and Dr. “Callous” were just doing their jobs that day.  Each was “at the office” so to speak.  Just growing where God planted them.  Or at least Mary was. 

I’m not there yet.  And I’m as guilty as the next at getting wrapped up in my own stuff.  But as a Christian, I want to be known for more than one thing.  How will I ever be able to tell others about the love and forgiveness Jesus has given me if I’m standing across the highway shaking a sign at them or just tweeting whether I’m shopping at Hobby Lobby or Michael’s, (What about JoAnn’s Fabrics?!)? I really want to be remembered for being someone like Nurse Mary…

Bible Verse I’m Loving Today:
John 13:34-35 

“A new command I give you: Love one another. 
 As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  
By this everyone will know you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Loud & Proud …

We are a loud family.  When we show up people know it.  There is no hiding us.  A day in the life of us may include yelling “BobGoblin!” (from Nickelodeon’s Wallykazam) with the 4year old and “GOOOOOAAAAALLLL!” during the 2014 FIFA World Cup soccer games with the almost 20year old.  I’ve even been trying to teach my teenage son, Evan, with special needs to whisper.  It comes out as this hilarious, raspy, but still loud voice.  Man, I love his effort.  And that same man/boy does love to hear the sound of his Crocs shoes slapping an echo across tile floors like tap shoes.  The sound brings him such joy.

Don’t get me wrong.  I love quiet.  I need the quiet.  I crave quiet.  I am a huge proponent of taking some time away from the noise and recharging, even if it is only a couple of hours.  Hearing what God has to say in the silence can be most beneficial.  My brother recently did it at a monastery.  You can read about it on his blog,  But I’ve come to accept that it’s just not gonna happen most of the time for us.  We are mostly loud.

We are loud where ever we go, even in church.  Even in the back rows we are a distraction.   Throughout history church has evolved to become this super, quiet, could-hear-a-pin-drop, kind of place.  Soooo, in walks us.  You can picture the entire impeccably dressed sanctuary turning their heads from their place of somber prayer to annoyed, interrupted looks as we find our place in the back wooden pews.  Our every movement echoing throughout the high ceilings of the stained glass decorated place of worship.  Okay, where we go to church is way more relaxed than that.  But that is how it can feel when you have a special needs teenager that isn’t cooperating through an hour-long sermon.  Not to mention the bathroom breaks, the medical checks and that’s a good week.  Who knows what the pastor was actually preaching about.  We are lucky to get through a Sunday with minimal distractions to the rest of the people attending so they will know what is in the sermon content.

The thing I’ve been wondering about is how loud and distracting will it be in Heaven?  No one who’s actually been to Heaven is able to report back on the the decibel level.  So I am going to compare what is in the Bible to my Jimmy Buffet concert experience.  I love a good concert.  But when I go to a concert I go to hear the person who’s name is on the ticket.  At a Jimmy Buffet concert apparently you go to hear thousands of Parrotheads singing along with Jimmy.  Yes, Jimmy has the microphone.  But he may as well be whispering from his bus backstage.  Let’s just say, I was not a happy Parrothead.  But I digress … Heaven.  In Revelation 5:11-13 it says there were “angels numbering thousands upon thousands and ten thousand times ten thousand”.  I know at the Jimmy Buffet concert I could not hear myself think and there were probably a few thousand less than “ten thousand times ten thousand”.  So I think it’s fair to say that Heaven will be LOUD!!!!!!  

Finally a church service where we will not be a distraction!!  

I cannot wait for the day where our God is the true focus of worship. Where we don’t run the risk of being called out for too many bathroom runs, Croc slapping, hearing the sound of our own voice echo in the sanctuary, and glucose lancet snapping.  These will be such minor sounds in the realm where angels praise our God.  

Bible Verse I’m Loving Today:
Psalm 95:1