Thursday, June 22, 2017

Tale of 2 Celebrations

Through a strange series of events, B ended up with 2 birthday celebrations with friends.  And by strange I mean, my poor planning.  Anywhooo...

I felt very strange about the whole thing.  2 celebrations felt over the top. But, as things often do, everything turned out for the best.  

B had one Pokemon themed celebration with 3 of his friends from school at our house.  They hunted for Pokeballs in the front yard ala Easter Egg hunt. They hunted, ate cake, opened presents then just played.  It was low stress for everyone.  

His second celebration was at Sweet Frogs with some other friends who had been out of town.  This too was perfect for B as well.  He and his friends got to create their frozen yogurt concoctions, laughed and ate.  And cracked me up! 

Now that it's over, I'm so glad we did it this way.  B was able to handle both celebrations with no meltdowns.  He was able to pay attention to his friends at each celebration.  No one got lost in a crowd.  He wasn't overwhelmed in either instance.  

I am so thankful for the friends that B has and that they were able to celebrate with him.  As a parent, you're worried that your kids wouldn't have friends.  When you're kid has autism that makes socializing difficult, that concern grows. B's friends are so sweet to him and understanding when he gets overwhelmed.  That's a gift to all of us.  

Sometimes what seems strange at first works out better than you could have imagined. 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Visoneering

In May I shared my TBR (to be read) pile with you.  The first book in my pile was The Myth of Balance.  Next up is Visoneering by Andy Stanley.

Andy Stanley is a pastor in Atlanta, Georgia.  He founded North Pointe Ministries in 1995 and it has grown to 6 churchs in the Atlanta area and 30 networked churches around the globe.  At least that's what the back of the book says ;).  I first encountered Andy Stanley at the Orange Conference last year.  He's a very relatable speaker.  At this year's Orange Confernce, the book store had a revised and updated edition of Visioneering and I grabbed it.

In Visioneering, Andy goes through 20 building blocks for Visoneering.  Every building block is discussed against the backdrop of the story of Nehemiah from the Old Testament.  God gave Nehemiah a vision for rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem.

Visioneering is a wonderful book.  It is full of so much Biblical wisdom.  I like to highlight my books and this one is full of pink highlights!  As I read I could relate and apply things to visions God has given me in my own life.

I wouldn't go through the entire book, although I could.  I could write a super in depth review but this is such a deeply personal book that you need to read it for yourself  My applications and insights wouldn't be the same as yours. God has not given us the same vision.

My favorite chapter is near the end of the book.  It's called The Inexplicable Life.

As we slosh through the brick and mortar phase of pursuing our vision, we are to live lives that reflect the character of Christ.  We are to conduct ourselves in such a way that causes people to take notice.  And upon further examination, to draw the conculusion that there is someting devine about our lives.  In short, we are to live inexplicable lives.  (pg. 223)

Above and beyond the achievements associated with your vision, he wants to draw people to himself.  (pg 223)  

The truth is, our secular pursuits have more kingdom potential than our religious ones.  For it is in the realm of our secular pursuits that secular people are watching.  (pg. 224) 

Stanley goes on to talk about 3 things that make us stand out.  The first is peace.  So many people are not at peace with themselves or others.  When we maintain our joy and peace, we differeniate ourselves.  The next is healthy relationships.  Don't let your goals get in the way of people.  Take care of your spouse, your children and those closest to you.  The final thing that will make us stand out is our character.  We can not sacrifice our characters for our vision or goals.  When we compromise our character we take God out of our vision.

I can not tell you how this chapter spoke to me! I get so caught up in the kingdom applicaitons of what I'm doing at church.  I forget that my work at school and at home also have kingdom applications. I want to stand out.  I want my life to point people to God. Everything we do, every success we have is so that God can shine through us.

These are things I need to remember as I go about my day.  I am called to live an inexplicable life.  And so are you!!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Promises

B man turned 9 this past weekend.  My boys' birthdays always make me think about how far we've come and where we're headed.  But B's birthday makes me especially introspective.  He's gone from being sickly and failure to thrive to a healthy boy.  He's gone from 3 words (the doctor wouldn't let me count daddy and dada as 2 words) to more complex vocabulary than many college graduates.  He's able to tell us when he needs help at least 75% of the time now instead of a complete meltdown.  I could go on and on.

So, I want to share with y'all some promises I've made to B-man for his 9th year.

I promise to find the sweet spot between pushing you and overwhelming you.

I promise to encourage your interests, no matter how foreign they are to me.

I promise to do everything I can to set you up for success.

I promise to balance your needs with the needs of The Bigs.

I promise to take your concerns seriously.

I promise to help you face your fears.

I promise I will do everything I can to help people understand you.

I promise I will keep telling you that you are AU-some and that Autism makes you awesome.

I promise to do everything within my power to help you understand that you were created in God's own image and that He loves you just the way you are.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

RIOT!

This week has been RIOT week at church.  RIOT is our version of VBS - on steroids! Today is actually the last day!

B has tried RIOT in the past and had some trouble but I knew he was up for it this year.  We also had a couple other of our Valuable Special Needs ministry kiddos there so I was pumped! Each day consists of a high energy opening session, Bible study, Impact (missions), Rec/Snack sessions and a high energy closing session.

On Monday B put on his noise cancelling headphones and went into the opening session.  He was good for a bit but became overwhelmed.  He went to our Valuable room and hid in the tent. I convinced him to come out for the Impact session but that was short lived as well. I decided not to fight him.  He stayed in the tent while I checked on the other kids.

Tuesday morning as soon as he got up he said, "I don't think I'm ready for RIOT".  But I had a plan.  How about if we skip the opening and closing sessions and just do the Impact, Bible Study and Rec/Snack sessions.  He said he'd try.

He did awesome!! He participated in the Impact session and love it.  He wasn't so sure about Rec but went outside anyway and made it all the way through!  I was so proud of him!

Wednesday was super hero day at RIOT.  I tried to get B to wear a Flash shirt but he wasn't having it.  He was going as a super villain - Pumpkula (pumpkin + Dracula).  A villain he made up himself, he even created a mask! He dressed himself in orange and green (pumpkin style) and off we went.

As soon as we walked in the door, he was looking for Ms. Laci, our children's minister.  While he looked he talked to anyone who would listen about Pumpkula.

His super villain powers are shooting poisonous carrots.
His nemesis is Apple Man who shoots apples from a gun or cannon.
Pumpkula has super salad powers.

B even let some kids try on the mask.  Pumpkula was a big hit!

B wore his mask to Impact and participated with it on!  He needed a break afterwards so we took a 10 minute break before Bible Study.  He struggled with Rec when he couldn't catch a water balloon in a kitchen colander.

But on the whole, I'm super proud of B.  He faced some challenges this week and did well.  He was able to share his creation with others.  And he learned a thing or two about Jesus.  I'm a happy momma!





Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Summer of Yes!

At the end of May, I wrote about telling B-man "No" all the time and telling him yes when it costs very little.  At the end of that post, I mentioned that one of the reasons I like summer is that I tell B "Yes" more often.    Today I want to update you on the things I've said yes to so far this summer.


  • Sweet Frogs for dinner
  • Sleeping in a cabinet at a hotel
  • Building a house for the hermit crab 
  • Putting the hermit crab in the house
  • Taking over the TV by casting his YouTube videos from his iPad
  • A new lamp from IKEA for his stop motion videos
  • Movies at bedtime


And my favorite...

Asking a Lowe's employee about monsters!

A little explanation here...

B-man has rediscovered Scooby Doo.  He's super interested in the monsters they catch.  He wants to catch monsters himself.  So, he did what ya do.  He Googled "Where do monsters hang out?"  Turns out that monsters like to hang out at hardware stores.  Ryan, B and I went to Lowe's to look at paint samples.  Every time we passed an employee he'd say, "Excuse me" but Ryan and I would shut him down quickly.

On our way out the door, an employee smiled at B and said have a nice day.  Ryan could tell that B really wanted to talk to her.  So, we went back in.

"Excuse me. Have you noticed anything strange going on around here?  Like any monsters?"

The employee looked a little confused, "No, I don't think so" I tried to help her out "You know, like Scooby Doo kind of monsters.  This seemed to help.  Her face light up "No, nothing like that."

B: "OK, well, monsters like to hang out in hardware stores so keep you eyes out and check for unusual stuff on the security cameras"

A huge smile spread across her face and she promised B that she'd keep an eye out.  Satisfied, B was ready to go.

I was so happy that we'd said "Yes"! It made B happy and I'd like to think it made the Lowe's employee happy.  Can't we all use more happiness?

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The Cost of Independence

When you find out that your child has a developmental disability like autism, you immediately start to wonder how independent he or she will be able to be.  I want B to be independent.  But I also know that his development is uneven.  He's very advanced in some areas, right on target in others and very behind in others.

I struggle to find the balance of helping B with things that are hard and pushing him to do things for himself. Some of that struggle is purely selfish.  If I do it, it's done correctly with very little mess.  But there's no learning or growing there for B.

B is definitely a maker. He's forever making things.  At least once a week he wants to set up a stand in front of the house to sell things he's made.  Last week, B went to art camp and made some awesome things.

The first day of art camp I was at the allergist with Zac so Sam took B, but Zac and I picked him up. When the art teacher brought him to the car she mentioned how much they enjoyed the cheese toast B brought to camp for everyone.  I smiled and said "Oh great!" but I had no idea what she was talking about.

As we drove off B told me he had made grilled cheese for his friends at art camp.  I thought Sam had made him some sandwiches on the griddle and let it go.  When we got home and there was no dirty griddle, I had to investigate more.

Turns out that B had made the grilled cheese sandwiches himself while Sam was upstairs getting dressed.  In the toaster.  My shiny new toaster.  Not a toaster oven.  An actual stand up toaster.


I was irritated at first but then I was proud of B.  He had fixed himself some lunch and thought enough of his friends to fix them some as well.

We did have a conversation about toaster safety, what you can put in the toaster and what you can't.  We also enacted a new rule that you can't use the toaster without someone in the kitchen with you.

There's always a price to pay for independence.  If you're lucky, it's just a toaster.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Different

Who among us doesn't want to change or improve something about us or our situation?  I know I do! I'm working on shedding these extra pounds I stress-ate my self into.  I know exactly how I got here.

Peanut butter sandwiches in the middle of the night.

I don't sleep well when I'm stressed.  I wake up often.  I love peanut butter.  And also bread.  Oh how I love bread!!  So, I'd wake up in the middle of the night and decide I was hungry.  I'd get up and make myself a peanut butter sandwich.  And it was so delicious that I'd make myself another one.  Then I'd force myself to get back in bed before I ate the whole jar and an entire loaf of bread.

This ritual had another consequence.  I was tired.  It turns out it's not so easy to go back to sleep after you've eaten 2 peanut butter sandwiches.  So, I'd watch a couple of episodes of Friends or 30 Rock.  When the alarm went off I was not rested.  I started skipping my morning quiet time and my evening workouts.  I was just too tired.

I have a million excuses.  Things are so busy right now, it's hard to eat right.  I'll grab us Taco Cabana again because we need to get to this or that game.  I'm too tired to work out.

Yesterday I was talking to my fabulous sister in law, who doubles as one of my best friends. In the course of the conversation, I made the statement "If you want different, you have to be different."



Isn't it funny how God uses your own words to convict you!

I want to lose weight but I still want to eat whatever I want.

I want to be close to God but I don't want to get up and do my quiet time.

I put my new mantra into action last night.  I wanted a diet green tea with strawberry from Sonic.  Ryan and B wanted ice cream so off I went.  When I got to Sonic, I was tempted to get an ice cream.  But then I remembered, I want to lose weight and if I want different, I have to be different.  I skipped the ice cream and just ordered my tea.  I didn't even sneak a bite of Ryan's ice cream!

What do you need to do different?  Share in the comments and let's encourage one another.