Friday, February 28, 2014

The Best Choice

Lisa Jo Baker invites us all to write for 5 minutes (as a way of letting go of perfection) each Friday. We all write about one word...Today's word is CHOOSE. Welcome to 5 Minute Friday found here.

IN the moment. That is what I call this child of IN THE MOMENT child.

I can't worry about yesterdays...surgeries and appointments; medicines and diagnoses; limitations and hopes.

I can't worry about tomorrow. It is not guaranteed. She may never talk. She may never do so very many things.

But if I choose to focus on that, I miss the moment that is right here.

She is love embodied. She is joy, and she is fiest, and she is a gift. Each moment I choose to see, is a moment I am thankful for.

Before my precious little peanut came into my life I was always spinning from one situation to the next, my mind was always, always, always whirling. But parenting a child with special needs changes all that because no matter how hard I try, I can not control the pace of her life.

Unless I want her to pay a high price...sacrificing all the wonder and possibility that she may discover in her own moments in her own time.

And that is something I will choose not to do.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Garden-5 Minute Friday

This is my first 5 Minute Friday found over here: Fun...will add pictures in a bit! FINALLY, I did it.

In my mind the visions are beautiful and plenty.

The rows of vegetables are even and marked by sticks that are lovely, yet imperfect, because they are made by precious little people who live under my roof.

The fruit trees blossom, and produce fruit that is lovingly transformed into luscious pies and homemade jams.

There are summer parties where friends gather and take home the overflow, and there are healthy opportunities to snack everywhere I turn.

The benches that line the paths of my garden beg me to come and sit with my Bible. And I do, each morning, with my cup of coffee.

It is a place of nurturing and learning for my precious little daughter with special needs. Who doesn't talk, but does love. Who is learning to read, but not quite learning to count. In my mind my garden is a rich and full place of endless counting practice. Ryan's Rooster Ranch is in the corner, with its picket fence, and every day we count the eggs we collect and the vegetables we pick.

That is all in my mind. In reality I have a side yard that is all dirt and dead weeds.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

A Million Little Stories

Like the one about the guy who came walking into the emergency room with a bullet in his chest.

Or the one about the purple rubber glove and a kiss.

Or failing to stand. Or endless waiting rooms. Or company coming and going and coming back again, laughing and crying and all that fills the moments in between. 

My hubby's mom has severe dementia, and began her forgetting well over a decade ago. My hubby's dad has Alzheimer's and masked it with anger, fooling an entire family for years as we worried about mom.

My certainty that my life will settle into routines of blogging, Bible Study, Homeschooling, ministry and family are foggy wishful thinkings, lost in weeks of ambulance rides, hospital rooms, and decisions.

A year ago, my father in law went into the hospital with severe dehydration. It weakened him so much that he was never able to return to his assisted living center. He stayed in a rehab facility for weeks with my mother in law in the building next door, until they were kicked out. Memory Care for two people in our county was around $150,000 a year. Just as we were preparing to look out of state, we found a memory care facility in a neighboring county that we could afford.

We drove an hour to have a look and loved it.

After three long weeks trying to make it in the assisted living wing, we made the decision to move them to the memory unit...

A few weeks ago my father in law was taken back to the hospital, three times. Twice he would not have made it through the night had he stayed home. Two separate times there have been medication errors. It is exhausting.

All of his kids were here, coincidentally, as this was happening. Saying goodbye when each one left took on a whole new meaning...

But now he seems to be perking back up. Perhaps he may even go back to the memory unit with his wife. 

We have made alternate arrangements. We have a PLAN A and a PLAN B. God has provided, and we are trudging along in faith. But we are weary. My hubby and I are both a bit brain numb today...Sometimes balancing all of life seems impossible.

Because there still is this partial homeschool thing that we are doing, and want to do well.

And a ministry that we are trying to build momentum for. And a airplane my hubby would like to get in the air again, and businesses that must be maintained in order to pay those dog gone bills.

I am pricked by the knowledge that God wants to build my character through all of this. He wants to build my faith and reliance on Him. And so on my gratitude list is added, very simply, deep breaths. They carry me through this season, and help me refocus on the joy that is very real and very present if only I pay attention...

Friday, November 29, 2013

Of Course I Don't Let My Kids Climb On The Furniture

Until I do.

Ryan was invited to a gymnastics birthday party a few weeks ago. Sometimes I forget how not normal my "normal" is.

They set up an obstacle course for the kids at the gymnastics studio. There was a trampoline and things to climb over. The kids LOVED it!

However, the 4 year old siblings lapped Ryan 3 or 4 times every go around. They were so polite, "Ryan, can we pass you?" Ryan, of course, just smiled as she let each of the kids go by.

But I had to face facts...Ryan is significantly less coordinated than "typical" kids.

Parenting a child with Special Needs involves a constant tension. The tension is between accepting and loving them for who they are, while trying as best as possible to give opportunities to stretch and grow.

So I came home and rearranged my furniture into an obstacle course for her to climb over and navigate. I may have even started one outside.

I had my Bible out and was working on a Bible Study while Ryan played, and it reminded me of my own life...there is a constant tension between where I am and where I wish I were in Christ. The sanctification of my character is often not as rapid as I wish that it were. I am not in shape. My house is so often a mess. I don't serve as many family meals around the table as would be best for my family. I don't balance my checkbook.

But my life IS marked by Christ. I encourage people to read the Bible and serve the Lord. I am more broken hearted for the poor around the world than I used to be. I pray more. All of this is because God loves me where I am, but too much to leave me there.

Exactly how I feel about my daughter. Which is why, occasionally, I let her climb on the furniture.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

A Difference

There should be a bigger difference. There should be.

I look at the government of this country and how the people behave and it is appalling. The decisions get poor results. The way they talk about and treat one another leaves little room for hope in the future. Principles are compromised. Relationships are based on what one can gain, not what one can give. I want my kids to behave better than that in this life.

I look around in the church and I see the same thing.

But I want different for my family.

We are trying to put more outside, poetry, and color into our days. I want my kids to be unique, thinkers, kind and brave. I want them to love the Lord. I want them to be the church. I want collegiality, thoughtfulness, the willingness to disagree and not wish harm on the other side, and the desire to obey Christ foremost in their days.

During the government shutdown Christians should have held hands all around the Capital building praying together that our nation honor God. United--congregation to congregation, denomination to denomination--in fervent prayer for God's blessing. We don't even need to be united in what that blessing looks like. After all, God is actually the one in charge of it and He is not a democracy looking for the most popular idea to make happen.

But, as Christians, we should all want His blessing for our nation.

And we should all want His blessings for our churches.

And our families.

So why don't we act that way?

"There should be room for..." I have heard myself say over and over again at ministry meetings. I think what I was really pleading for was room for me. Isn't there room for me? Someone who doesn't think like many of the others; someone who finds it painful to silently disagree, so she speaks out; someone who sees things differently and often predicts things accurately; someone who wants to scream "I told you so" regarding those situations that are lived-out-predictions that others like to call "coincidence". I still wish we could all just get along a little bit better. I wish our lives in church would be built around what we can give and not what we can gain.

I am pretty sure that's what Jesus wants to.

It turns out figuring out how to live that is a more advanced skill than I currently possess.

But I am not giving up. I am still learning and growing.

Earlier this fall I heard a great speaker at an education conference say, "We need to be exposed to consistently reliable and sophisticated language. What is readily available today is consistently unsophisticated and often unreliable language." That is profoundly true.

There should be a difference between the way the world functions and the way the body of Christ functions. There should be a difference between Congress and the church. And if I want there to be a difference between the way my past was and the way my future will be, perhaps I need to concentrate on consistently reliable and sophisticated input into my family and my mind.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Perfection in Procrastination

This Bible Study has been sitting, unopened, on my shelf for years. Literally.

I just never did it. But right now is actually the perfect time for me to walk through the book of Joshua with Henry Blackaby in Called to be God's Leader. It is so insightful and informative.

And convicting.

This morning I found myself seeking the Lord's forgiveness. There was a section in the study about the epidemic of evangelical idolatry and I have lived out the example almost verbatim! Seriously? My intentions were good, but my approach missed the mark.

Nothing is as important as obedience. Nothing. Obedience precedes all other blessings. Obedience precedes growth. Obedience to God is the preeminent and stand alone concern we should all begin and end with. The only focus I should have. How do I show my love for Him? Obedience.

"Throughout the book of Joshua we find the following pattern: God spoke--Joshua obeyed--Joshua experienced success."

I don't hear God speaking as clearly as Joshua apparently did, but I have God's word. I am loving studying it again--I have been in a dry spell for a bit. I am thankful for the fresh anointing; thankful for God's word; thankful for conviction; and thankful for perfect timing that can even bring the best from procrastination!

Sunday, October 20, 2013


I have those moments when I am overwhelmed at how good God is. This week gave just these kinds of gifts.

Last Sunday, after doing a ministry booth for Brighten A Corner at a local church, I came home and started working on a Bible Study I am doing. A study that has been sitting on my shelf gathering dust for years. I am loving it! While reading Scriptures and filling in blanks I had an epiphany. I realized that God wants me to deal with my laziness.

God doesn't speak to me in an audible voice. It is hard to articulate what it really looks like when I feel like God is communicating with me, but it is a certainty in my mind and heart. The certainty lines up with Scripture. The effect of the impression would either benefit others or mean more godly character for me.

Not very sophisticated, but that it is my life with Him.

Sometimes a revelation like that is NOT what I want. Really. There are so many areas of my character/life that need "fixing".  But in this tiny moment of time, I found this empowering. I really felt like letting God do His work in me would be a great, great thing.

Monday rolled around and I prayerfully continued to mull around getting rid of my laziness. Lo and behold I had more energy to approach our home school day!

Tuesday my former house cleaner--who I had to say goodbye to last year because we couldn't afford
it--was back. PRAISE THE LORD. She and I cleaned for hours. I put away piles, threw things away, folded and scrubbed. It was the cleanest my house had been in months.

YES! It seemed like the mere act of confessing that I was ready to deal with my laziness made room for change.

I have actually gotten on the treadmill more than once. I have been more patient. God is just so good.