Thursday, September 29, 2016

Marble Track

YouTube has struck again.  B watched some outrageous marble track and now that's all that's on his mind.

Saturday morning B, Ryan and I went to Home Depot to get some PVC pipe connectors (I guess that's what you call them).  I designed and built a PVC pipe cardboard corral for my classroom and it wasn't as stable as I'd like it. So, we needed some different connectors so we could add more pipes to the bottom.
the list
don't be hatin' on the sandals.
the world's dumbest dog ate B's
apparently the world stops selling
sandals in July. 
I thought this would be a quick trip.  I knew what kind of connector I wanted.  Apparently, pipes aren't supposed to come together that way.  So we had to take some time to figure out a work around.  B came in with a list of things he wanted for his marble track.  While Ryan and I experimented and figured out our problem, B assembled quite a pile of stuff.  We hadn't gotten a cart (I thought we were coming in for 4 connectors) so he gathered all his stuff in his shirt to go to check out.  $25 bucks later, he had marble track parts.

Do you know how hard it is to find marbles? It's not as easy as I thought it would be. I figured I'd go to the Mart, go to the toy section and find a bag of marbles.  Nope.  Not even any marbles in the crafts section.  I had to go to Hobby Lobby.  And even there I had to buy 2 pounds (that's a lot of marbles) in the floral design section! When I got them home B was not too pleased because all the marbles were the same.  How can we tell who wins if they are the same!?! Thank goodness for Sharpies, another crisis averted!

Ryan had agreed to help with the marble track.  B wanted to glue his pipe parts together but Ryan geniusly convinced him use blue painter's tape to connect the parts.  As you can see from the picture, B had already drawn out what he wanted the track to look like.

After some trial and error, they finally had a track that worked. It was so cool to see them work together.  And, honestly, it was nice to watch instead of being the one doing the project with B.  Ryan was great about explaining to him what needed to be changed to make the track work.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

All Behavior is Communication

This is a tough lesson to learn.  With my two older boys I usually sought to first correct their behavior.  I didn't try to figure out what they were trying to tell me by their behavior.  Then our Bman entered the scene.   

B did not speak until he was 3.  He didn't have many gestures to try to get get our attention or point us in the right direction.  And he refused to learn sign language.  I wish I had videoed some of those speech therapy sessions when the therapist tried to teach him.  He straight up wanted nothing to do with her or her hands.

Because he couldn't speak, I had to learn to search his behavior.  Sometimes it was easy.  We'd be driving down the road and a bottle would fly into the front seat.  He was finished drinking.  Or I'd get hit by the bottle and he'd start crying - he wanted more.

At times this was nerve wracking.  Alright, I'll be honest 90% of the time this was nerve wracking.  I used to carry this large blue backpack full of stuff that might make B happy.  I'd also pack extra stuff for other kids to play with so they wouldn't touch whatever was B's favorite thing at that moment.

I can remember being at one of Sam's football games, not able to sit with B in the stands.  He was too disruptive, he would bother people trying to watch the game.  So we found a spot by the fence where I could see part of the game, if I was able to take my eyes off B.  I dumped out the bag.  This day he wanted Mr. Potato Head.  Awesome, I had a huge MPH set in the magic bag.  Some little boys come over and they want to play with some cars B had.  Awesome, he wasn't interested in those.  The boys sat down and started playing with the cars.

B is usually pretty good with parallel play (this is a fancy term in the autism world that just means he plays with something while sitting by a kid playing something else. They don't play together.). This day, he's not having it. He wants MPH and the cars.  But he doesn't want to play with the cars. He just doesn't want the other kids to have them.  I tell him we have to share.  He's still not having it.  Screaming starts.  I give the boys the cars and send them back in the stands to play with them. I try to comfort B, telling him it's nice to share with our friends and look at all the awesome things he can do with Mr. Potato Head. As soon as the boys are out of his sight, MPH because interesting again and the episode is over.

Life seemed to drag on during this time. I was always on edge, trying to anticipate what make B happy next.  Trying to cut a meltdown off at the pass.  We didn't eat out during this time.  If he food came and was too hot he'd throw it and wouldn't eat anything for the rest of the day.  But I started to figure it out.  I started asking waitresses to wait until his food was cold before bring it out.  Bring out everyone else's then bring his cold, please, it will make life easier for everyone, I promise.

Learning to read behavior has helped me be a better mother, teacher, servant and friend.  When something isn't going right, I try to think "What is this person trying to tell me with their behavior?"  It works with special needs kids, neurotypical kids and adults of all stripes as well.

It's another gift that autism has given me, the reminder that people speak through words and actions.  I've learned to believe people's actions before I believe their words.  It might seem silly for a writer to say but words have become less important. Actions are a more reliable indicator of character than words.  

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Losing It

Lest you, dear reader, think that I've got it all together, I am here to report that I lost it tonight (Monday).  Several stressors added up to my 'episode'.  Among them...
  • jury duty (thankfully I wasn't chosen)
  • rear ending a lady on my way home from jury duty (for real, when the light is green we move)
  • teenage boys
  • teaching a teenage boy to drive
  • pressures at work
  • feeling like I'm not good enough
  • a dog who will not leave me alone.  Mark my words, I'm going to trip over that dog and break my arm
  • living with a kiddo who's imagination is faster than his hands.  "Momma, cut this out" "Momma, glue this"
  • living with a kiddo who loves to make things from recycled materials - my house is a mess
  • allergy/sinus troubles
  • 2 day old headache
And then I think I had a hot flash. I swear, I was sweating and no one else was hot.  I hate to sweat.  I went to change my clothes and ended up dumping all this on Ryan. And then I cried.  Then I took 2 Advil and finished cleaning up the kitchen and living room.  Taking a bath and listening to music helped calm me.  

Now it's Tuesday morning and as I look back over this list, I realize many of those things are blessings. I love my boys. I love B's imagination.  I'm thankful to have a job.  I'm thankful to live in America and to participate in our democracy.  And I know that lots of those stressors are made worse by the last two.  This song always helps me re-center.  I've got it on repeat right now.  

Thursday, September 22, 2016


Do you get enough sleep?  If you are momma with birds still in the nest, I'm gonna guess the answer is no.  My answer is no.  I can never seem to get enough sleep.

The first time I was pregnant many different people gave me this advice "When the baby sleeps, you sleep." 15, almost 16 years, later I still follow this advice.  The boys say goodnight and I'm not far behind them.

For a while, this was absolute necessity.  B would not sleep through the night.  He has always had trouble staying asleep.  Some nights we'd have a 2 hour interlude between naps.  I never knew when I would get a full night's sleep.  So, if he was asleep, I was asleep.  In the past year it's gotten better but I still don't feel like like I get enough sleep.

When I wake up in the mornings I do my devotional and spend some time writing.  Then I get back in bed for a 15 minute cat nap.  My day hinges on those 15 minutes.  If I don't get them, the day is not as smooth.

People have told me "If you work out you'll feel so full of energy.  You wouldn't feel like you need a nap all the time." This has not worked out.  When I am working out, I do feel better. But I always want a nap.

There is no better place than my bed.  My sheets are perfect. My pillow is perfect.  The noises in my room are perfect.  I'm sleepy right now thinking about it.

Years ago, my brother in law told me he used to think I was lazy because I was always talking about wanting to take a nap. But then he realized I went 90 to nothing while I was awake and he thought my nap was justified.  It's true.  When I get up in the morning I think "what has to be accomplished before I can get back in this bed". Then I go full force getting things done so I can get back in my hermit hole.

After 40 plus years, I've finally just accepted that this is how God made me.  He made me to love and need sleep.  And I'm learning to structure around it.  Like my 15 minutes every morning.  Or Sundays, I schedule my Sundays so I have time for a nap.  I can get through Saturday without a nap but Sunday without a nap does not make for a great week.

I think that's what I like about getting older. Accepting myself.  Knowing myself.  There are a lot of things I'm still trying to figure out about myself.  But there are a few things I know for sure.  And when I honor those, life goes that much smoother.

What have you figured out about yourself? What's a little quirk that you love about yourself? What's something you do that makes life go smoother?

Wednesday, September 21, 2016


There are so many reasons not to write this post.  It's probably not wise to wade into the fray.  I am a white woman raising 3 white boys. I am privileged not just because of my skin color but because of where I live.  Things that I had nothing to do with.  Privileges I did not earn.  I don't know the worry of sending my boys into a world that seems stacked against them at every turn.

I'm also not a police officer.  For a short while Ryan thought he wanted to be a police officer.  I was scared out of my mind.  But I put on a smile and said, "Do what you think is best."  He applied and made it the interview stage before he realized he didn't really want to do it. It's a heavy burden to be a police officer.  I admire the work they do.  I don't have to go to work every day wondering if I'll make it home.

And yet...

There are African American boys I love dearly.  Boys trying to figure out how to become men in this world. A few of them trying to figure it out while having no male role model in the home.  Others have awesome fathers trying to figure out how to walk them through all this.  My heart aches for all my boys.  I wish I could just tell them "Do XY and Z and you'll be ok".  It's not that easy.

And I am an American.  I love our country.  I love the principles for which we stand. Justice for all. Freedom.  I'm worried about our country.  We don't have justice for all.  We have justice for the privileged.  We don't respect the freedoms of others.  We've gotten the idea into our collective psyche that freedom of speech means you can speak freely only when you agree with me.

Above all else, I am a Christian.  I am deeply pained to see other people say they are Christians then spew hate.  Or espouse politics wrapped in hate.  My heart aches.

A friend of mine, Georgia, said it best yesterday on twitter - "None of this will change until we learn to relate to each other differently"

We live in a fallen world. We are each sinners.  There is not one person on this earth who is better than me. I may not act that way all the time but it's true. There is not one person on earth who is better than you.  It's time we all started acting as if this is true.

We are called to love one another.  You can't love someone you are judging.  It just doesn't work. That's what prejudice is all about - pre judging someone before you know them.  We all have prejudices.  I'm prejudiced against people I perceive as lazy.  I don't get them.  Many times I'm not interested in getting them.  I just want them do to what they should be doing.  But that's not my call.  Who am I to say what they "should" be doing?  I certainly don't want someone telling me what I "should" be doing. I need to extend that same courtesy to them. The courtesy of getting out their business and not judging them.

I am left with many more questions than answers.  More heartbreak than salve.  So what can I tell my boys is this - get to know people before you decide you don't like them or that they are 'dangerous'.  Lead with love instead of suspicion.  For my African American boys - I see you. I see you working hard in this world. I love you.  Bend, don't break.  Don't give into the hate.  Keep working hard.  Keep loving.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Seeking Approval

Last night one of my Facebook friends posted about Corey Feldmen's recent performance on the Today show. I went directly to the intrawebz and searched up the performance.  It was painful.  I'm not even going to link to it.  I really do feel sorry for Corey.  I was a huge fan back in the day and even watched the ill fated reality show The Two Coreys.

My first thought was "Why would he do this?" And then this scripture came to mind...

It seems clear to me that Corey is seeking the approval of man.  Of course, I don't know for sure because I'm not Corey Feldman.  But, I know a little bit about seeking approval of man.

I'm here to tell you: I am an approval freak.  I like for people to like what I do.  I like to win contests.  I love to get awards. When I feel valued and appreciated, I will move mountains for you.  Words of affirmation are a serious love language for me.

And I will tell you that I've done A LOT of work on not finding my identity in those approvals.  It was hard work.  I was brought low when I didn't receive a something I had worked hard to attain.

It's not a one time thing.  It's an every day thing.  I've been working on this for going on three years.  But, something can happen and before I know it, I'm right back in that pit.  It happened in August.  A few comments and I'm staring up at the world from the bottom of my self dug pit. It takes a little less time to get out these days but it still happens.

First, I had to come to terms with the fact that I am not in control.  This took some time.  Just like I love approval, I love control.  But when I surrender control, I learn that God has a plan that is so much better than anything I could dream up.

Next, I had to learn to be quiet and listen.  Listen to what God is trying to teach me both through his Word and through His people. Another difficult task. I like to talk.  I started asking questions and listening to people and I found a new direction.  My favorite comment around this time was from Ryan, "I don't think you should have given up on writing"

Finally, I had to learn whose I was. When you're brought low, you have to remember that you are a CHILD of GOD.  I have awesome, loving parents but God some how loves me more! That blows my mind.  For real! Just soak that in.  The God of the Universe loves YOU!  He knit you in your mother's womb.  He knows you and wants what's best for you.

So, I am finally learning to seek my approval from God and not man. When I make things I still like to post them.  I'm posting these words for you to read.  But lately, I'm taking more satisfaction in a job well done.  In the idea that perhaps God is using my words to guide someone else.  I'm not so caught up in the likes and the accolades.

It can be tricky and so hard at times.  God doesn't send me any awards.  He doesn't email to say "Great job! You rock!" But He communicates with me in other ways.  He gives me peace in the direction I'm moving. He has one of my volunteers FaceTime me so a kid can tell me thank you for his favorite chips.  I'm learning, slowly but surely.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

New Shell

Last summer my sister bought B and Zac hermit crabs, complete with their own crabitat. I let Zac keep his in his room.  Zac never named his crab and rarely took care of it. Needless to say, Zac's unnamed crab went home to meet his maker earlier this year.

I was concerned about letting B keep his crab in his room so we kept him on the bar in the living room.  B named him Nemo.  Basically, I've cared for Nemo.  I clean his crabitat. I make sure he has food and water.  I spritz him from time to time.  There have been times that we thought Nemo was dead but we've managed to keep him alive 14 months now.  Yea us!

From the start we've kept extra shells in the cage.  I've wondered when Nemo would outgrow the shell he came with and start using one of the others.  When he stayed in his shell I, being a freak, I began to worry if the other shells were big enough for him. Was I stunting the growth and development of my hermit crab by not providing the appropriate shells!?!

Last night, I happen to look in on Nemo.  He was in one of the other shells!  Everyone gathered round the crabitat to check out his new duds.  I went to bed happy that I had provided what Nemo needed.

Cut to this morning...Nemo is back in his old shell.  What the What!?!

I can't read crab minds but I guess Nemo decided that the old shell was more comfortable.

Aren't we all a little like Nemo?  We'll try something new but not for too long.  We want to go back to what's comfortable.  Or what's easy.  If we were willing to stick to new things, dieting would be super easy.  So would working out.  We'd just change our habits and they'd stick right away.  No matter what life threw at us, we'd be eating well and working out.

I guess some people are like that, they can make a change and stick to it.  I'm not. I worked really hard in the spring to work out and eat better.  Then summer happened.  And now the fall is super crazy busy and I'm eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at 4:30 for lunch, while I'm cooking dinner.

One of my favorite songs we sang at the church we went to when the older boys were little was called, "I will change your name"

I will change your name 
You shall no longer be called 
Wounded, outcast, lonely or afraid 
I will change your name 
Your new name shall be
Confidence, joyfulness, overcoming oneFaithfulness, friend of God 
One who seeks My face

Is that awesome!?! God gives us a new name.  Even when we think the old shell might be better, He still calls us His and let's us return to him!

I'm interested to see if Nemo stays in his old shell or returns to the new one.  I'll keep you updated.

Here's the song.  We sang it a little more upbeat and without the rounds, but the message is the same.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016


What do you do when you're frustrated?  How does your body react? Where does your mind go?

When I'm frustrated I turn into someone I'm not sure I like. My blood pressure goes up. Grace goes out the door. No one can do anything right. Everyone is doing something stupid. My mind gets foggy. It's hard to think. And I have a hard time remembering what happens. 

For example, Monday night I went to the Wal-Mart closest to our house. I needed groceries, a few things for work and B wanted marbles. Some of you are laughing at me right now and thinking "of course that's the setting of your frustration story, stupid girl". But in defense of the Mart, I don't usually have a problem. I go in, get what I need and get out. 

I could not find what I needed for work. I wasn't certain it existed as I had never used or purchased one before. I wasn't sure I was looking in the right area. So I walked and rewalked the electronics section. I called Zac and made him send me pictures of the sides of my laptop so I could try to find something that might fit. I finally just picked something I thought would work. I received a text that what I picked wouldn't work. I had wasted 20 minutes. Frustrating was growing. 

I moved on to the office supplies. I could not find a simple plastic folder with brads. What is that about? I find something similar but my frustration inches up. 

I go to the toy section to grab marbles. I go directly to where I thought no they should be. No marbles. I go up and down every aisle of the toy section.  No marbles. My frustration is bubbling and I feel like I'm losing my marbles. 

When I left the house, I told Ryan and B that this would be a quick trip. I'm now 40 minutes in. 

I decide to get my groceries. By this time my thought processes are erratic at best. I criss cross the grocery section, retracing my steps as I pass by items on my list and have to go back. More time passes, more frustration. I get everything and decide to make another pass through toys. 

This time there are 2 families casually strolling through the toy department, getting no my way at every turn. "Really?!? Why would you bring your entire family to Wal-Mart?" I finally face the fact the there are no marbles to be had. Neither in the store nor in my head. 

At the front, there are no lanes open on the end where I parked. I get in the closest line that looks short. Wrong again. In front of me is a sweet grandma and her grandson. It appears they haven't been to the store in a year. 

I get a text about a problem at work. I test out the problem. Yep, it's there and it appears to be a big issue. I escalate the problem to the appropriate person. Seething, I check my heart rate. A full 30 beats per minute higher than usual. 

I finally get out of the store but not before I buy a Psalm coloring book and a Milky Way brownie. Always an emotional eater, I scarf down the brownie in the car, take some deep breathes and drive home. 

I get home and recant my stories to Ryan. He has mowed and edged the yard and is on finishing dinner. That's how life no this short trip had taken!  Of course I get riled up all over again as I retell my stories. 

Later that night, as I lay in bed, I wonder "How did I let myself get so frustrated?" I hate to admit it but this happens to me a lot. Little things pile on top of each other and I push myself to the edge. When I've had a really bad day, it's most likely that a lot of small things have added up versus one thing happening. I know if I'll pause, breath and pray, I become less frustrated. But sometimes that's hard to do.  It's like a wave of frustration comes and carries me out to the sea of frustration.

Honestly, I can't wrap this up in a pretty little bow: I got really frustrated this one night, God taught me how to not get caught up in that cycle and now everything is fine and dandy.  It's not fine and dandy yet.  But it will be.  God is teaching me.  He will continue to lead me as long as I submit to being led.  Perhaps He uses these frustrations to draw me closer to him.  I know he uses our weaknesses for His good.  This morning I read about the thorn in Paul's side in 2nd Corinthians 12.

His grace is sufficient for me. Even when I'm frustrated.  Especially when I'm out of control frustrated.    

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The Strength to Love

I woke up this morning with this prayer on my mind - LORD, give me the strength to love.

What does that mean?  Does it take strength to love?

Hollywood would have you believe that it does not take strength to love.  That love is the most natural thing there is. You fall in love and live happily ever after.  Maybe that's why there's so many divorces among celebrities.  They think that love should be easy. And when it stops being easy, they bail out.

But that's not real life.  God never promises us a life of ease.  The apostle Paul certainly does not model a life of ease for us.  He is beaten, shipwrecked and imprisoned for love.  He loved people so completely that he was willing to do the hard things God called him to do.  Living in community with people is hard work, sometimes.  It requires all kinds of love.

As a parent, one of the ways I show love it to hold my boys accountable to certain standards.  They need to maintain their grades, they need to keep their rooms relatively clean, they need to treat themselves and others a certain way.

I'm sure sometimes my 'love' seems like nagging and nitpicking to them.  They want to do things one way and I want it done another.  Usually, they want the easy way and I want the right way.  I often say to them "is it done your way or the momma way?" The momma way is a pain in the butt for them sometimes.  It requires more of both of us.  I have to set my expectation, model it and hold them accountable.  They have to work to meet that expectation.  It's much easier to let them do what they want. But then I'm not teaching them to work hard and strive for a standard of excellence.  God has not called me to raise happy kids.  He's called me create strong adults who love Him, themselves and others.  That takes effort. It doesn't just happen.

And, to be honest, some days, I'm too tired to put in the effort.  I'd rather just lay on the couch and read.  But then we both suffer.  Last week, I let B spend the evenings creating and building.  We never studied his spelling words.  Consequently, he got a 58 on his spelling test.  I didn't do my job.  It's my job to teach him good study habits.  This is the first year he's had spelling tests.  I can't expect him to remember to study and to take care of it himself, yet.  I have to do my part to emphasize the importance of good study habits.  I have to teach him to balance his projects/creation with his school responsibilities.

With the older boys it's not as hands on but it is just as constant.  I don't have to sit down and study with them anymore. It's more asking them questions about their school work.  It's helping them get and stay organized. I've already but in the some of work, they know the drill, they just need a push or reminder.

Yes, I do need the strength the love.  I need the strength to put forth the effort to pour into relationships.  I need the strength to lead, ask questions and maintain certain standards.  I need strength to do the things that God has called me to do.

The wonderful silver lining is that God is always willing to give me that strength.  I need only ask.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

No Patience

I'm nothing if not a good student so I took my momma's words to heart and long ago stopped praying for patience. Just yesterday I correlated praying for patience with the other thing I've been praying for: to serve with a happy heart. 

My 'why' is service. I have it tattooed on my wrist. I'm really into serving people. But lately I've struggled with serving the unlovable. Let me explain...

I am, at my core, a storyteller. When the ups and downs of life happen, I'm thinking about how to present the situation in a story. I started to notice that most of my stories were about the ways people irritate me. To be clear, I am easily irritated. I get miffed every morning at the people who still do not seem to understand the school drop off lines (pull up, Precious Perfect gets out, drive away. You do not have to get out or watch Precious Perfect walk all the way into the building!). But those things are momentary irritations. What I was noticing was my irritation with people who needed my help.  This is no beuno since I am in several service positions and since I usually love serving people.  

So I started to pray to be able to serve with a happy heart. And God provided opportunities. Mercy did He ever! It took a few days for me to realize what was going on. 

God doesn't call us to love only the lovable or serve only the servable - is that a word? Maybe serve only those who joyfully accept our service? Anyway, I'm supposed to serve the people He gives me to serve. No matter their receptiveness, no matter their attitude, no matter their gratefulness. 

I no longer pray for patience or to serve with a happy heart. Instead, pray that I will choose to have patience with someone and that I will choose to serve them with a happy heart. The difference is my attitude. I'm not expecting God to bestow something on me. I'm recognizing that He's already given it and I am choosing to use it to glorify Him.  

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Try It! or Try It?

Can I be honest with you?  Really, really honest? Saturday morning sucked.

First, I have to acknowledge that 95% of my frustration was exhaustion based.  The first two weeks of school wore me down.  Friday night we traveled 2 hours to watch our high school's Varsity Football game.  We got home around 12:30 then stayed up until 2 sorting pee wee football uniforms. Ryan is the director of our pee wee football league and they had their first games Saturday. And the games were at our stadium.  Ryan and the boys were up at 6 am Saturday morning to go set up and work the games.  I kinda got off easy but still, I was worn out.

OK, that's out of the way...

Earlier in the week, B had promised Ryan that he would dress out for football and stand on the sidelines with his team.  I was tasked with trying to make this happen.

At first, B liked the football pants. He said they were soft.  But the jersey was too tight. Then he decided that the pants were too tight too.  "I can't even get a fart out!" So, I bagged up the uniform, put B in shorts and headed to the game.
Not a picture from Saturday but
his face sums it up

At the stadium, B greeted his team mates and his daddy.  He announced that he wanted to work the concession stand. Okie dokey.  Off he went.

I found some friends and took a seat in the stands.  B decided he'd had enough of the concession stand and joined us.  He had packed a bag of things to do (after his game) and he started taking things out.  He asked me for his polymer clay.  I reminded him that he packed that bag, not me.  He lost it. I felt like I might lose it. We left.

Once home, I sent my momma and sister in law text messages to bring them up to speed.  Then I proceeded to start bawling.

Here's the thing, with the older boys we always said "You don't have to sign up but if you sign up you have to finish."  That saxophone that seemed so cool at band night but now is not, you have to stick with it.  You have to keep practicing even though it sounds like cats dying a slow death.  You can quit in May when school is over. You don't have to be in band next year but you have to finish this year out. We haven't done that with B, obviously.  We've learned, the hard way, that when B tells us he can't 'take' something, he's usually right.

Case in point, 2 years ago at Universal Studios he told us he couldn't do the Simpson's ride.  We had never been on the ride, or even to the park, and did not know what to expect.  We thought it would be ok so we prodded and cajoled B into the ride.  Good gracious, what a mistake! I wouldn't spoil the ride for you but it's not kid friendly.  They almost stopped the ride because B wouldn't sit up. He kept putting his head in my lap.  "Front row, you must sit up."  "Again, front row you have to sit up or we will have to stop the ride."  By the end I was sitting up on one hip, pushing B up to make him appear to be sitting up.  Which would have been alright except for the two cute teenage girls also in our car.  The Bigs were so embarrassed.  And we learned to listen.

I'm such a suck-it-up-stick-it-out parent.  This is not to say that we let the boys sink or swim with no guidance. We talk them through hard situations but the key word is THROUGH.  They have to stick it out until the end.  I'm not sure how to parent at the opposite end of that spectrum.

How do I teach B to keep his word, uphold his commitments while also listening to him and honoring what he knows about himself?  I have no idea.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Prayer 911

Sometimes, I can't pray for myself.  I'm too invested. I'm in the middle of the mess.  I know I need to pray but I just can't do it.

Most often these situations involve a fair amount of stress, a heaping dose of things going differently than I planned and other people not cooperating.  Stress that I've brought on myself.  Things don't go my way because I haven't planned enough. Or I've planned too much and not left any room for change.  And of course, these people aren't aware they aren't cooperating.  I've built up a situation in my mind and everyone should just be falling in line with my vision.  That always works out, right?

At any rate, I'm in the deep end.  Struggling, gasping for air.  I see the life preserver, I just can't grasp it.  It's too far away.  The more I reach, the more I'm pulled under.   The more I fight, the stronger the pull down becomes.

In these situations, I'm thankful for my prayer 911 people. These are the people I can text and say...

I need to be doing XYZ but I just can't.  Can you pray for me?

And they text back...

On it.
Praying now.

And I sit still a minute.  I stop kicking. I stop drowning.  I catch the life preserver.  

In these moments, I am reminded that God never intended for us to doing everything on our own.  He made us to live in community with each other, to rely on each other.  But there are times when this is so so hard.  Living in community requires vulnerability.  You have to be able to say "I don't have everything together. I need you to help me." to both God and others.

But when you do it, when you take that leap, the peace that comes is overwhelming.  When I catch the life preserver, I can physically feel the anxiety pour out.  My shoulders relax.  My neck loosens. I'm pulled from the rough waters.   God's love washes over me.  And I am able to move forward.

And I am thankful!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

DIY with B, part 3

First we had the epic lollipop fail that actually turned out ok, then we had the spectacular cereal.  This morning I give you B's Pokemon environment DIY.  This one was all him.  I didn't do anything for this one.  I'll let him tell you about it.

He actually started this one at church Sunday morning.  But that one didn't go the way he wanted.  He found a stick outside and tried to glue it to the paper so it would stand up like a tree. He worked on the felt version Monday after school.  I recorded the video Tuesday morning before school. He's still in his PJs but he was hard at work finishing his project.

There are so many things that frustrate B.  Many times he get upset when things don't work the way he thinks they should.  While he was working on these three projects, he did get frustrated. But he persevered.  And the failures taught him to do something different.  He couldn't make his stick tree stand up on the first version.  On the second felt version, he put a rock behind the tree to make it stand.

But this is really true for all of us, I think.  We learn more from doing that from watching. And if we'll let ourselves, we can learn a ton from failing.  B can't stand to fail, like so many of us.  It irritates him to no end and sometimes causes a meltdown.  But when I walk along side him through his failure, he'll let me teach him something.  And he is always teaching me things!  These projects were a good reminder to me that I need to let him try more, fail more and encourage him to try again.