Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I Swim Now.

I swim now. I mean I have always been a swimmer, but as part of my workouts I have started swimming a mile every day. I have been super frustrated lately with my oldest son, Timothy. He is autistic, and at times just dealing with him can be a workout in and of itself. The past few weeks his behavior has really been exceptionally tough so my frustration level has risen to the occasion. I have been on an endless ride of discipline and dissappointment with him- even to the point where I wanted to be done. After a long weekend with him I was ready to throw in the towel and check out mentally but I knew I could not. So Monday I went back to the gym, got in the pool and as I was swimming laps I was praying- just talking to God about my frustrations as a mom, my emotions, my feelings. I was searching for an answer. Then it happened. I looked up and saw it. I don't know if you have ever swam in a lap pool, but at the end of each lap is a cross made out of tile. It's a turning point for swimmers who do continual laps and that day it was a turning point for me. I was so frustrated about everything but in that moment when I called out to Him, I remembered that verse Psalm 46:10 "Be still and know that I am God." So I stopped at the end of a lap, I looked up and saw a cross, reminding me that He was there. That He cared and that I should not give up hope. I came home and looked up the surrounding verses and this is what I found: "He stops wars everywhere on the earth. He breaks all bows and spears and burns up the chariots with fire. God says, 'Be still and know that I am God.' I will be praised in all the nations; I will be praised throughout the earth. The Lord All-Powerful is with us". After I read that, I felt an empowerment and a peace reminding me that God is a huge and mighty and powerful God. He stops wars everywhere, it says! He can conquer this thing with my Timothy. I just needed to be reminded to be still, and to know that He is God and trust in His power, not in my own. I would encourage you, friend that whatever your battle is, to stop trying to do it on your own. God is so much more powerful that we are. We just have to be still and know that He is God and we are not and trust in His strength rather than our own.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Done... undone.

And then I re-read PEACE 101. Funny how God uses my journaled thoughts to answer my prayers. "Cast all your cares on Him for He cares for you." He cares. He loves us. He wants to deal with this, not me, not my husband- Him.


Today I write from a place of frustration. For those of you who don't know, we have a son who is four years old who has never been diagnosed, but is autistic. I love my son, my Timothy. Please do not mistake that but I am exhausted. I am so tired. Tired of fighting with my son to stay on his super strict diet (that lately doesn't seem to be affecting him at all). I am tired of the looks we get while we are out in public with him. Looks from people who just don't get it. I am tired of feeling like he's a bad kid when he is supremely precious- not bad at all. He just can't control himself. I am tired of not being invited to friends' homes because Timothy is out of control. I am tired of feeling like we can't go out in public. I am tired of people telling me I should do this or do that to try to discipline him when reality is- nothing works. So what happens? What do we do? The answer? I honestly don't know. Things have gotten so stressful that the relationship between my husband and my self has been affected. We both lose our patience with him and after a long day of fighting a losing battle I am just "done" most days.

My head gives me all of the scripture I need. My head tells me I should do this and that and give it to God. But for some reason I feel like I can't. I have been praying for him for a while and our prayers have thus far gone unanswered. So where is God in all of this? I know He is here. My head and my heart both confirm that. But why is Timothy having to deal with this? Will he struggle the rest of his life? Will we ever be able to go out in public and enjoy time spent with him? Will he ever be able to live the life he was creatd to live? Why did this happen to him? Was there something I could have/ should have done differently?

My head tells me Satan is playing mind games with me and I need to fight it by praying and praying some more. I think I just reached the point where I wonder when God is going to answer this prayer and completely restore my son. And another question: why do I just assume God is going to do that? I think I feel like I have to or I will lose hope. I have to hold out hope that God is a God who heals and who hears my prayers. I know I will go to bed now and hopefully wake up with a heart refreshed and have wisdom on this situation. I just needed to vent. To be real.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Peace 101

I was praying about this week's discussion topic for KSBJ and what kept coming to mind is something I have been stressing about for a while- Trinity starting Kindergarten. I couldn't shake the thought that I was supposed to talk about that. But why? What was the application here? How could I use this situation to encourage other people? So then I started praying about how this would apply to others and how I could reach out and bless someones life by sharing this and this is what God revealed to me: 1- I am stressing about it. God's word says several times in Matthew to NOT worry and all I have done is worry. But even more than not worrying... 1 Peter 5:7 says "7 Give all your worries to him, because he cares about you." So how does this apply to my Trinity starting Kindergarten. The verse says give all of your worries to Him (some versions say cast all of your cares upon Him) why? Because He cares for you. He wants to shoulder that load, not you. Circumstances are going to come in to our lives- for some of you, it's your baby starting Kindergarten. For others of you, it's a loved one who is sick with no hope for recovery, or the single parent who is struggling to make ends meet, or maybe you're looking for a job and all hope seems lost. My encouragement to you is this- cast ALL of your cares on Him because He cares for you. He doesn't say cast only the really big ones on Him, or the life-threatening cares on Him. He says all of them- even the ones as silly as your baby starting school for the first time or your teenager learning to drive. He cares for you. He wants to walk you through this time. And what I have found is that when you do that- when you cast those cares, those fears, those worries and anxieties on Him, what He gives you back is that peace that passes all understanding- it's a peace no one can explain but that we all need. It's a peace that says to me as she walks out the door that first day "she's going to be okay mom." And I have a feeling in that moment, when she leaves for her first day of school, I will experience that fullness of peace as I trust I am releasing her in to God's hands.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

One More Month

So my little girl is going to start kindergarten in about a month. I have heard so many parents say things like "I can't wait til school starts and I can send the kids back!" But not me. It's all over my mind. I think about it most every day and every night as I am going to sleep. I go back and fourth about whether or not I am doing the right thing by not home schooling this year. I have been praying that I am making the right decisions for them. I worry. I know the Bible says not to worry, but I worry. I want to protect her, to keep her safe. Not just physically (although that is a huge issue in my mind) but also mentally. She is only five and I want to protect her innocent mind and heart from learning some of the things I know they talk about in school lately. So ya. I am a little worried. I know God is in control and I know He has a perfect plan for her. I just need to trust in that and find my peace there. I need to bring it to Him and leave it there.

So in the mean time I am going this weekend to start buying school supplies. What ever happened to the good old days when you brought some pencils, some glue and a backpack? Oh well. There is this small part of me that is really excited for her to begin this experience. I am excited to buy the supplies and to fill her backpack. I am mildly excited to watch her walk in to school for the first time. I think this is a huge turning point as a parent. This is where the rubber meets the road. This is where your skills as a parent are really tested and you begin to see how the years spent training your children for these days works out. I can't wait to see her shine as a student. I can't wait to see the traits I worked so hard to instill shine out in her life. She is supremely excited and every she asks if she can start school "today".

I pretend to be sad for her when I respond but inside I am glad I have that month. A few more weeks to love on her all day long. A few more mommy daughter trips to Starbucks. A few more days by the pool and lunches together at Chick-fil-a. So I guess deep down I am okay with sending her to school. I am confident in her character. She is a brilliant, amazing, loving, caring, generous, thoughtful little girl and in one month she will get her chance to show her new friends and her teacher just how special she really is. In the mean time, this month with her is mine, all mine. :)

Monday, July 21, 2008

Sea World

Vacation- After the Fact

So I have had tons of people ask how the big vacation went. Honestly? It was really hard at times and so perfectly, wonderfully special at other times. I am trying to focus on the best times, not the worst. :) We had let Timothy get off of his diet for the week because we didn't know how to keep him on it during the trip- way impossible for us. So he was out of control and Kyle was frustrated with all of the kids. I was frustrated with Kyle because he was frustrated with the kids and it was this huge snowball of frustration. But then there were these moments- these perfect memories. These times where everything chaotic seemed to calm and I got to see the look on the faces of my children as they watched real live dolphins playing and swimming with people in front of them. I got to see my son enjoy his first real ice cream cone (and didn't use his fingers to eat it!) I got to see complete joy on their faces as they raced up and down the tracks on their very first roller coaster rides. They were amazed, even speechless at times. They were precious. They enjoyed the vacation so much and have been asking if we can go back every day since our return.

So ya, we had our rough times and allowed our frustrations to get to us at times, but all in all our first family vacation was amazing. I almost allowed our joy to be crushed my the memories of the frustrating parts but the good times- those are the ones I am focusing on now.

And by the way- we so sat right in the splash zone at the Shamu show and were the only section that did not get drenched! :) Oh well- maybe next time! Look for more pictures later.

Potty Training 101

Seriously. Why are boys so much more difficult to potty train? We have been at this for ages and he is just now comfortable wearing his underwear and not going potty in them for a while. But then if I don't stay on him he has an accident and don't even get me started on pooping in the potty. I don't see that happening before graduation. Someone tell me this gets easier?

I honestly remember Trinity being potty trained at 15 months- well that goes for tinkling on the potty. Timothy is over 4 years old now and they say he won't be able to move up with his friends to the next class at church unless we can get him trained. So why is it so difficult??? Anyone? I need a book on the topic. Somehow I just don't think that would cut it. Timothy is a rare child indeed. He gets very determined and when he is determined NOT to do something, it literally just does not happen. Help? :)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

All To Jesus...

Well I feel like a mom. Not that I haven't always felt like a mom, but I really feel like a mom now. I prayed after our exhausting vacation that God would renew my heart for my children (with whom I had grown incredibly frustrated) and for my husband (for whom I seemed to have lost all respect). I prayed and prayed and prayed and God changed my heart. I was emotionally done. I was removed from this family that I adore. I felt like I had lost my place and was drowning and couldn't climb out- but God heard my cries and He rescued me. So why all of the frustration? Why all of the emotional mumbo jumbo? My good friend reminded me I had been living in my strength and in my experience when I try to do things in my own strength, I usually end up realizing how much I truly need God. He always allows me to see life from the other side of the coin so that my heart wants to call on Him, to rely on Him, to surrender to Him.

So today when I woke up, I felt like a mom for the first time in a while- the way a mom should feel- in love with her kids, excited for the day ahead, no longer depressed, no longer frustrated, no longer looking for a way out. I had surrendered all of me and what I found there waiting for me was His strength, renewing, refreshing, revitalizing me. So this is what it means to live in His strength. Why did I ever do it any other way?

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Girl Time... and packing

So we're leaving today for our first ever family vacation. I planned everything out and have everything I need and am now fully packed. If you know me, you hear the sarcasm in my voice. :D I have about half way planned everything, I still desperately need to make a trip to the store and have washed my clothes but have not yet begun the fight... of packing. Soooooooooooooo why not? Am I excited? EXTREMELY! In fact I was just looking on the Sea World website and got a little emotional thinking about all of the things my kids will get to experience. It's going to be awesome. But why did I get so delayed in the process of getting ready and why am I writing about it now? Well after an intense and exhausting day as mommy dearest yesterday, I needed a break so Kyle sent the kids to bed and sent me away to pick up those last few little things we needed.... and perhaps some Starbucks for my self. Did I ever make it to the store? NO. A dear friend of mine (whom I refer to as my wise counsel) called me and asked if we could meet up because she had something for me. The funny part to this is that I had previously called a few of my dearest friends to ask if they could come out with me because I was in desperate need of a friend and some girl time. None of my friends were available and I was disheartened and exhausted to the point of tears.

So anyway, I met this friend of mine in a parking lot and we talked for about 20 minutes. Then we decided to go to a nearby Starbucks to visit some more. Let me just say that was probably the best thing that could have happened to me. During the 3 and a half hour conversation with my friend, I was able to open up and share my fears, concerns, doubts, thoughts, and she listened. Then she shared the love of Christ with me. She showed genuine concern, but really demonstrated insane amounts of wisdom for each of the situations I mentioned to her. She encouraged me and built me up. She gave advice for each of these situations- and not just advice, but Godly advice. Our time last night was like water for my soul. This friend of mine is one of the greatest blessings God has ever given to me and He knew deep in my heart I needed to be with her last night so I am ever so thankful... I'm way behind, but way thankful. :) My heart has been refreshed and I am in the right frame of mind and could not be more excited. So if you ever read this Ms. Charlene, thank you. You are so loved and so adored. You truly are a gift from God and I cherish our times together.

So now I am off to pack. :) See you when we get back!

Monday, July 7, 2008


I wish I had captured the 23 minutes of firworks displayed in The Woodlands on Friday the 4th. It's not the fireworks that I found so captivating, it's the look on the faces of my four precious children. Even Jacob, the baby, was in complete awe during the display. Because of my awesome ADHD, my mind could not focus on the fireworks alone (even though this was probably the best display I have ever seen). I started thinking about why we celebrate the 4th and how I am so proud to be from a country such as this and how I hope someday my children will share this pride and excitement and recognize that their freedom came at a cost- the ultimate cost for many. So when I looked up in the sky and enjoyed the display, I got a little emotional. I thanked God for the freedom we have and felt guilty because I know I take it for granted. But I do love this country- even with its flaws, I am proud to be an American and proud to pass that freedom on to my children.

Sea World

Sea World. Seriously. We are about to embark on our first ever family vacation- destination: San Antonio, TX- home of the awesome theme park Sea World. My kids know all about Shamu and the dolphins and every day they run around asking "mom! can we go now? Can we go now?" Cute on so many levels. We don't normally get to do fun things like this but this year we decided we needed a break from the every day norm and we wanted to do something the kids would remember forever. As a family we have lots of little memories but this is something I feel like at least the older three kids can deposit in their little memory banks forever. So am I looking forward to spending 5 days away from home with over ten hours of drive time in a car filled to the rim with children? Absolutely! Well... as long as they aren't screaming children. :P It will be a fabulous time, I am certain. We will begin the mini-vacation with a visit to east Texas to see GG, Paw Paw, and Nanny (GG is my grandmother who lives in East Texas and then there's my dad and my step mom who have just arrived from Canada for the week). So, we will stay at my grandmother's for a couple of days and then head to San Antonio to make nice with Shamu- good times! I am stoked! I seriously slept maybe 4 hours last night because I could not stop thinking about what it will be like when the kids finally get to walk through the gates of Sea World, TX. They are going to absolutely flip out and I will be there with my camera recording every step of the way! :) I hope to come home with pictures of the kids playing with Nanny and Paw Paw, or pictures of the kiddos talking to Shamu. Either way, I promise to come home with tons of pictures to share on the blog. So what are you doing this summer? Me? I'm going to Sea World- next year, Destination: DISNEYWORLD!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

A Fine-Tuned Instrument

my friend sent me this from her daily devotional subscription and I wanted to share it here.

A Fine-tuned Instrument
Zechariah 13:9
...I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on My name and I will answer them; I will say, "They are My people," and they will say, "The Lord is our God."
My business career has been as an owner of an advertising agency. Over the years, I have had the privilege to work on many different and prestigious accounts. One of those accounts was Steinway Pianos, the maker of the world's finest pianos. Each piano has always been made from scratch; it takes over a year to make one Steinway. The most impressive scene as I toured the manufacturing plant was the place where the soundboard is stretched to its maximum tolerance and allowed to sit for an extended period until it remains in the curved design. This was done in an off-to-the-corner part of the plant. If the wood were alive, it would be crying out for mercy.
After an extended time of stretching, the wood will never spring back to its original state. It is permanently changed. The piano is becoming a fine-tuned instrument. After this process takes place, the next step requires another point of stress. It takes 11 tons of pressure on a piano to tune it. Each step in the process moves the piano closer to a finished product that will ultimately be played by the world's finest musicians. These musicians desire a particular sound that only a piano like this can make.
God looks at each of us as a fine-tuned instrument. However, we begin as rough wood that He desires to transform into gold. Tuning us requires certain experiences that will stretch our faith, our frame, and our very life. Sainthood springs out of suffering. If we can stand the strain of this intense process, we will come forth as gold-as a sweet-smelling offering to our Maker. When we are in the midst of these times, it feels like fire. It is painful to be stretched beyond our perceived limits, but the Lord knows this is necessary for us to become an instrument that can play a beautiful song that others will seek after.
Let the master Craftsman have His way in your life today. You will be pleased with the instrument He fashions.