Saturday, September 28, 2013


How do you mend a broken heart?

No, really. I need to know.

Currently, there are 3 situations in my life that have left me heartbroken this week.  Two of them I have 0.0% control over so I pray for those involved.  I pray a lot!

But one I am intimately involved in and I just don't know what to do about it.

Today Brennan told us "God didn't make me right.  I can't act like everyone else." See? Heartbreak.

I think he's been thinking about this most of the week.  On Wednesday he asked me "Why did God make us?"  I told him God made us to worship him, to love him and to show his love to others.  That's our big family rule: Show God's Love.

You see, Brennan's had a rough week at school.  He's become physical with friends and teachers.  And while the grown ups around him work together to find solutions, he's doubting his worth.  At 5 years old.  Heartbreaking.

I don't know where this has come from.  I do not believe for one second that any adult in his life has said this to him.  I know and love his caregivers at school.  They care deeply for him.

But he is broken somehow.  He thinks his differences are wrong. And that's not OK with me.  But I don't know how to fix it.

Honestly, I haven't gotten over the pain of it to look for solutions.  I haven't discussed it with my usual support system.  Ryan and I haven't discussed it.  I don't know that I can yet.  I'm crying just typing this.

So, this is real life with an autistic son.  One who is smart as a whip. And cute.  And funny.  Who makes everyone fall in love with him.  Who is made in God's own image and paid for by the blood of Christ.  Who doesn't believe it yet.

But I do.  And Ryan does.  And his brothers do.  His grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins do.  Team Monkey does.

And through this pain, God will show us how to show him.

Monday, September 9, 2013


Authenticity is very important to me. I strive to be an authentic person.  I want authentic friends.  I like 'warts and all' people.  Here's a little story about me...

Long time ago in a land far away with only two boys, I ran a website called Organized Momma.  I love sit.  It was a lot of fun.  I even wrote all the HTML myself (I'll pause here for your oohs and ahhs).  I had a lot of help from my good friend Mike Colville (a pretty authentic person himself) to get it set up.  I really enjoyed it.  I sent out a weekly newsletter to about 250 ladies each Monday afternoon.  I had 5 tips, a recipe and sometimes a product in each newsletter.

Enter my little monkey.  Who shot the wheels off everything. We would show up places with no diaper bag or no shoes.  Brennan has had more shoes that he wouldn't wear than most 3rd world countries.  But I digress...I no longer felt organized.  I was missing newsletters.  I finally decided to shut down Organized Momma.  I sent an email to my ladies and explained the situation.  I received many emails encouraging me to fight through it.  "You'll get organized again" But I couldn't do it.  I felt like I would be lying.  I would not be authentic.

During my time as Organized Momma, I signed up for Twitter.  When I stopped being @OrganizedMomma I stopped tweeting. Jump forward a couple of years...I came up with a book idea. I wanted to start writing again.  And somehow ended up back on Twitter connecting with writers.

One of the first of which was Myra McEntire.  Myra had an agent and was working on her first book.  I still how exciting it was to read her announcement about that first book.  Myra and I connected almost immediately.  She was so open and helpful.  I specifically remember her reaching out to me after I tweeted something about Ryan losing his job and money being tight.  She sent my her email address and helped me calm down.

Myra is funny.  Myra wears Chucks.  Myra knows baseball.  Myra is an amazing writer.  Myra is authentic.  I appreciate her. I like her.

Jump forward a few more years and three books later (Myra's, not mine). This past Thursday Myra and 3 other authors were speaking and signing books at Barnes and Noble in Frisco.  I was beyond thrilled to get to go.  My momma kept Brennan and the big boys had football practice.  I got there an hour early.  I bought all 3 of Myra's books (My first copy of Hourglass was lent out and never returned) HOURGLASS, TIMEPIECE, and INFINITYGLASS. I ate dinner and milled around Brighton before returning to B&N.

Myra and Tessa  
Myra being funny
 I was familiar with Tessa Gratton but not the other 2 authors.  I enjoyed hearing them all speak, though.  I really loved it when an member asked "What do you when self doubt sneaks in?"  I'm not sure that was an exact quote but that was the gist.  Myra said "I know that God's plan for me is good."

When it was time to line up for autographs, I was a little nervous.  How do you start a conversation with someone you only know on Twitter?  My nervousness was added to social awkwardness (one of my specialities) because Myra was at the end of the line and I didn't have books for the other authors to sign.

So, I put my books down in front of Myra and awkwardly say "Hi. I'm Aimee Bartis" Myra jumps up and gives me a big ol southern greeting hug.  She says "I was looking for short hair"  Anyway, I wouldn't bore you with the rest of the conversation.  Suffice it to say that it was like reuniting with an old friend.

Myra and I
I am thankful for Myra's authenticity.  I strive to be authentic.

You can follow Myra on Twitter here.
Here website is here
You can get her books from B&N here.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Nearly perfect

I used to be a perfectionist. Sometimes I still am. But God gave me these 3 little men to mold and shape and perfectionist went out the door. 

I certainly don't want to strap them with my perfectionist ways. I do want them to do their best. I want them to be creative, secure and loving. 

As I sit here on this rainy holiday morning drinking coffee and reading, I am reminded that God has blessed me with a family that's nearly perfect. 

We're not nearly perfect because of our short comings or a diagnosis or a million other reasons. We're nearly perfect because we're in process. God is molding us into his perfect image.  

And I am proud to be nearly perfect. 

Monkey came in and screamed "behold!" And somehow inspired this quick post. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A diagnosis and lots of hope

I've been a part of a couple of life changing diagnosis'. My daddy's is the first that comes to mind. Buffy's is another. Brennan's...not so much.

On February 13, Brennan was diagnosed with PDD-NOS (pervasive developmental disorder) which puts him on the Autistic Spectrum. The actual diagnosis was not a shock. It's something we've suspected for a long while. Honestly, it was a bit of a relief.

It doesn't change who Brennan is. It doesn't change the services he receives at school. But hopefully it will change our house. The diagnosis makes some new therapy available to us. Namely, ABA (applied behavioral analysis) and Occupational Therapies. I'm hoping these things will be helpful to Brennan and our home life. I'm hoping that he can learn to get along better in this world (which will not change to suit him). I'm hoping it will help the big boys understand him better.

It does take us down another road to help Brennan. Hopefully this road wouldn't be as frustrating as the one we've been on these last 3 1/2 years. I know one thing for sure, God is in control. He has a plan. And I'm happy to be a part of His plan.

Friday, February 1, 2013

I AM a Kappa Delta

20 years ago this month, a young stupid girl made a decision that changed the course of her life.

I can hardly believe it's been so long since I pledged Kappa Delta. My time at ET within the walls of Kappa Delta were wonderful. I had a lot of good times. Just as it is not the building that makes a church, a sorority is made by her members. And good gracious, we had wonderful girls.

I could fill a million posts with funny stories from the good ol days. But we're all older and (hopefully) wiser and I wouldn't embarrass anyone. And this isn't a post about college life. This is a post about real life.

After college people scatter. I left Commerce for College Station. Girls marry, start new careers and families. It's hard to keep up with everyone.

And that's a tough transition. I've struggled with making new adult friends. I judged all friends by my sorority sisters. It's hard to balance family, career, old friends and new friends. Time passes and time together becomes harder and harder to come by.

This past week I have learned a great many things but mostly I've learned that time and distance hasn't destroyed the bonds of sisterhood. One of our sisters was diagnosed with breast cancer this week.

I have had the distinct pleasure to watch a group of women I dearly love wrap her in love. And a cozy brobe. And in 5 short days collect enough money to replace some much needed kitchen appliances. And all anyone is asking is "what else can I do?" And "how is she feeling?"

So today, 20 years in, I am proud to say I AM A KAPPA DELTA!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Project Pictures

I am so in love with Pinterest! I know this is not a shocking revelation but I felt it had to be said. And I actually like to do the things I find there.  I'd been wanting to make pictures for our living room for a while but I didn't have any awesome pictures. Well, Minna and Angela of Love and Grace Photographs took care of that for me.  Thanks girlies!

And I had pinned this awesome tutorial a while back.  I was ready to go.

Step One: order pictures.  This took a while.  I comparison shopped at Walmart, Costco, CVS, Walgreens and Sam's Club.  Sam's Club was the least expensive.  I was able to get 2 20x24 poster prints, 4 8x10s and 2 5x7s for about $25.  I did have to get a photo release from Minna, though.  It wasn't a big deal but something to know when you get your photos printed at Sam's (or Walmart, I'd assume since they are the same company).

Step Two: get wood.  This required a trip to Lowe's.  I made Ryan go with me so he could talk to the Lowe's guys for me.  I'm weird that way.  We found 2x2 pieces of particle board for about $4 each.  In the Pinterest post, she says she had to pay Lowe's to cut the wood.  Our Lowe's cut them for free - woowhoo!! We had 2 pieces trimmed to 20x24 and 1 piece cut into 6 8x10s.  I also picked up some sponge brushes.

Step Three: get ModPodge.  I tried to get this at Lowe's because I'd never purchased it before. You should have seen the look on the dude's face when Ryan (see step 2, making Ryan talk to Lowe's guys for me) asked for it.  We should have asked if we could land our alien aircraft.  We would have gotten the same look.  Anyway, I got it at Walmart for $8.

Step Four: paint wood.  Since the wood is particle board, it didn't need to be sanded so I just went straight to paint.  I used our left over paint that matched the living room.  I painted the edges and one side of each piece.

Step Five: apply photos.  This is where I expected everything to fall apart.  I don't know why but I didn't really trust that the ModPodge wasn't going to ruin the pictures.  First you coat the wood with the MP. Then you lay down the photo and 'paint' over it with MP using sponge paint brushes.  But it all worked out beautifully!

Step Six: hang and admire.  Ryan hung them for me the night we took down all the Christmas decorations since he already had the ladder in the house.  He put two picture hangers on the big pictures and one of each of the small ones.  We even used a Pinterest trick to hang them.  We put a dap of toothpaste on each of the hangers then pushed them against the wall.  Then Ryan put the nails where the toothpaste was on the wall.

I'm really please with how they turned out.  And the whole project came in at about $50 so I wouldn't feel bad taking them down the next time we get our pictures done.  If I had spent a bundle on actual canvases, I'd feel like I had to have them up forever. 

Please to excuse the pictures of the pictures. It turns out it's harder than you think to take a picture of pictures hanging at the top of a wall....

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Bartis Bes

I made this last Christmas, I think.  I'd seen those cute signs with Family Rules. You know the ones I'm talking about.  "We do laughs.  We do love.  We do whatever else." Get the picture?

I wanted something more specific to us.  And I didn't want to pay a lot.  So, I used a Michael's coupon and made my own.  Of course, it doesn't look like it did in my head.  Nothing ever does.  But it's grown on me.

I get the most questions about "Be GOD's" and "Be for GOD".  It's important to us that we belong to GOD through our salvation.  But being for GOD is a different thing all together.

Being for GOD means living out his ways and purpose for our lives.  This is not easy.  Salvation is easy.  It's a gift of grace from a loving Father.  Being for GOD is a day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute decision.

The other Bes are things I felt are important to a well rounded person.  I mean, for real, life would be pretty boring without silliness.

The verse at the bottom is Jeremiah 29:11-12.  It's our family verse.  "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plan to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you."

It means that Ryan and I take control of our boys spiritual lives.  Last January, we started attending a new church.  The boys love going to C-Life.  Their friends are there. We used to meet in a movie theater and Brennan really loved that.  Two weeks ago, we moved into a new building. We are so excited to see the role C-Life plays in our boys' lives.

But it's not just church.  It's in our home.  It's the way we talk to the boys when they are in trouble. It's the way we show GOD's grace when they make mistakes.  It's teaching them to offer grace and love both to others and themselves.

Most nights we are able to eat dinner together.  Brennan's job is to say the blessing.  Then we have a family devotional.  It's called Sticky Situations 2.  The situations aren't all that sticky.  The boys always know the 'right' answer.  But it does open up the discussion of "Yes, that's the right choice but what are we likely to do?"

This year we are adding another step.  We are memorizing a Bible verse each month.  I found a calendar on Pinterest.  I enlarged January, printed and hung it on the fridge.  We say the verse together at dinner.  We're working up to memorizing our family verse.  We write prayer requests on the lines.  My favorite so far is "that Brennan will be less loud".

We also talk a lot about showing GOD's love.  Both to those we love and those we don't.  Sam's new cell phone has provided MANY great opportunities to discuss this.  Our cell phone rules reflect it.  We created the rules after the boys had had their devices (Zac's is Ryan's old phone with no service and a texting app).  It's hanging above their charging station.  It's a picture saved on their phone.  To me it was important for the rules to be on their photo roll so they had an out on peer pressure.  "Look dude, it's my mom's rules."