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.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Better Than Nothing

It's hard not to get down on myself.

I don't do speech often enough with my daughter.

I don't do music.

My house doesn't get clean enough. My routine is not established enough. There are always so many more things I could do.

But the first month of school is behind us, and while there is so much more that I deeply desire to do better, I should pause and celebrate the things that have gone well.

We made homemade strawberry jam. We are doing all kinds of creative things to strengthen hands and improve handwriting skills. The jam was delish!

We searched for plastic numbers in died spaghetti. Learning how many dots go with each number is a LOT of work!

We are learning all about our stop and go fingers!

And Reagan is growing and thriving, too.

I will try to get better, but we ARE beginning to learn Proverbs 1, are reading The Red Badge of Courage aloud on occasion, have reinstated library trips almost regularly and have at least thought about it enough to outline a weekly routine that--if followed--would help me enormously in the never-ending-is-it-ever-possible quest to get organized.

That is certainly better than nothing.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Endings and Beginnings

It was another one of those hard mama days this last spring. The approaching end of the school year meant the end of another year with Mrs. Sims...simply the best teacher in the whole world. 

Ryan's IEP team had a plan for this school year.

It was the not the plan I wanted.

But I thought I could take steps forward in faith, and be (as) open minded (as my typically closed mind could be).

I went and observed the class they suggested she would be in. The teacher was wonderful. The environment fabulous...for typical kids. 

But the teacher barely acknowledged me. She asked no questions about Ryan. She looked at the floor rather than looking me in the eye and I knew in my heart...she did not want my daughter in her class.

I get it. 

I really do.

Thirty two kids in a class is just too many. And one who will never learn the way the other kids do, who doesn't talk, and occasionally laughs so hard she wets her pants, can be just. too. much.

But she is mine and I love her more than life and even though it all made perfect sense I went to my car and cried. There was just no way I could leave my daughter at school each day believing she was looked at as a burden.

My hubby and I began to look into my older daughter's private school. We would need to provide an aide, we would need to pay tuition, but the door was open.

And then the restaurant I have worked at (very) part time decided to close at the end of the summer. Our income was cut as our outgo needed to increase. 

I chose to believe God would provide.

I felt peace.

Last week Ryan began her 4th year of kindergarten at the San Luis Classical Academy. We are just so excited. 

SLOCA, as we family members call the school, is a hybrid program. Tuesdays and Thursdays my daughters are on campus. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, they are home schooled, based on a curriculum provided by the school.

We do get to augment...

The end of one school means the beginning of another adventure.

The end of employment means more time to devote to my family.

I am excited about both the ends and the beginnings...

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Lamenting the End of Summer

This was going to be the summer I wrote daily.

Epic fail.

However, that doesn't mean the summer was a failure. It just means I didn't write. It was, actually, a great, great summer.

God met me. He showed me stuff about myself. About the world. About how the world and I go together.

I read. TONS. There were many blogs and articles (I am a recovering magazine addict) and books. Just a few of the books were:

  • Interrupted and Seven by Jen Hatmaker
  • Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis of Amazima Ministry
  • Half the Sky by Nicholas D. Kristoff and Sheryl WuDunn
My perspective is forever altered. I saw missionaries speak at various churches. I prayed about where God may or may not be stirring my heart. I am excited to move into the future.

In addition, I felt like God graciously granted my hubby and I joy in several areas that were draining the life out of us at the beginning of the year.

We hosted a family reunion for his family, so everyone could visit his parents at the Alzheimer's facility they now live in.

We threw a birthday party for my nephew.

We went to Disneyland.


The day after the last family member pulled away, we served the Lord.

There were bbq's and water parks and pool days and naps and I just LOVE, love, love summer.

I miss it already.

Sunday, June 16, 2013


Recently I read a great blog post: It basically describes ways to get input that will help with personal growth. It is great, and it has made me think.

Over the years I have been mentored from afar by many great and talented people. People I have studied and learned from with (sometimes) very little contact. Others with a great deal of contact. I have asked many direct questions to fuel my growth and satisfy my thirst for knowledge. I have also watched subtleties in how different people interact with others.

I am so far from the person I want to be, but I am closer than I was before.

Much of my struggle as a human being is in the area of organization. I have spent hours reading blogs and books and magazines trying to change. Recently I have had a few tastes of doing things in an organized manner...I liked it.

The other night my hubby and I had the privilege of taking our turn to host a "Supper Club." For nearly a year 4 other couples have joined us every few months, as we potluck at each other's homes. It is a great time to gather and share and laugh. The husbands actually have as much fun as the wives do!

Sometimes PINTEREST can be my mentor. It can be the source that paints the picture for me of how I want my life to feel. I was actually organized for my company to come over...

Lately it seems like several people I have admired have either fallen off their pedestal or fallen on hard times. 

Some I think..."I used to want to be like you, but I am not sure I feel that way anymore." Others, it is more like..."I still want my life to be like your life used to be.

I am in a time of transition. So far I have protected myself from filling the emptiness I face with filler. I am fighting the urge to avoid having nothing immediately replace the something I lost.

My life is actually already full. But loss can make me grasp for anything to hold on to. Part of this journey is learning to decipher the way people I admire look, and who they really are, and not worrying about how I look, but on who I really am.

Psalm 46:10 says: Be still, and know that I am God.

In being still, I give myself time to acquire wisdom. Sometimes it is wisdom I already possess. Sometimes it is wisdom I must seek out. "Walk with the wise and become wise, for the companion of fools suffers harm," Proverbs 20:13.

I want to be wise, and this summer I want to grow in wisdom. I will make that happen by:

  • Reading materials written by wise people. Classic works of literature, blogs about subjects I am looking to grow in and most importantly I will read my Bible.
  • Spending time with wise friends, and getting rid of useless words and conversation in my life.
  • Simplifying. I want to clear out clutter so that my mind can be more clear.
  • Serving HIM. I have a huge Brighten A Corner project coming up. This ALWAYS grows my character.
I am peaceful. I am excited. I will be growing...