Saturday, August 28, 2010

So Tinny, So Impotent

This past year was the worst home school year I have ever had. I came very close to putting my kids in school. There were days when I thought there was no way I could do this anymore. I had grown used to moving, financial strain, job changes and losses. It wasn't easy but the one thing I found such joy in was home educating my kids. I lost that over the last year or so.

My oldest was a dream child to teach. She read just before she was five. Loved stories, reading and even writing. She was eager, diligent and happy to do whatever she was given. Having a child like her first can really mess with your head. I thought it was something I had done. I felt pretty good about my home educating abilities and my parenting. Though I was diligent and committed myself...much of her "success" was about who God made her to be and very little about the curriculum or the teacher.

Enter child number two to home educate with out of control behaviors and severe learning struggles, a newborn baby, job loss, postpartum depression and well......do I need say more. The descent started two years ago and reached a head about six months ago right in the middle of another move. I found myself craving space more then people. I wanted my kids to go away and leave me alone. I felt at the end of myself in a way that I never have in my life.

I couldn't make my son learn..heck I couldn't get him to behave or even get dressed without a major melt down. Then I had a little baby crying and needing me and a very diligent big girl who was falling between the cracks as her school load became more demanding. She started to struggle and I didn't even know it because I was over in the corner with two crying boys. As a mother, the things you expect of yourself without flaw is being able to help and love your own child. When you aren't able to do that something sorta dies on the inside. I felt like such a home school mom failure. I knew sending my son to public school wasn't best for him or our family. I wasn't interested in best anymore but just easiest. It would be easier to let someone else deal with his struggles.

On top of all this it was obvious to most people he wasn't typical but yet there was no clear reason he wasn't. Lack of discipline? Bad character?  Mean spirited? Brat? It is an interesting tendency of human nature to take what is different and find some normal category to rationalize it. I did that for a long time. We don't like different so we find a box to put it in that makes us more comfortable. We find a place to put fault in order to help it make sense. I placed most fault on myself and honestly, the stares and comments of other people did too.

Not home educating my children wouldn't change what I was facing but getting the right help would. It took me a long time to ask for help. I used to be so anti-label. I thought it put a child in a box that he would forever be confined too. It would somehow limit his options and opportunities. I have found just the opposite. Knowing what I am facing everyday actually empowers me to help him. The more I understood why, the better I got at responding in the way he needed me too. For one, we stopped any form of physical discipline. And honestly, in my circles I feared more judgement about that then almost anything else. It is easy to think that if you don't apply the rod it can't be biblical discipline. I do not believe physical discipline is wrong or unbiblical but not every child will fit the formula. Training a child in the way he should go is about getting their heart, to lead them to the savior and not about making sure they don't misbehave or "get it right" . Getting to the heart of one child may look different then with another. When we stopped we saw amazing results. I believe this is true due to his strong sensory processing issues and his mind blindness. How do you tell a boy who just lashed out in a meltdown that he is in sin when he responded to a physical fight response from sensory overload? I could touch him on the head and he would yell as if I had hit him. He could bump into me running down the hall and get mad because I pushed him? I am sure it is very hard to understand until it is your child and you live with it everyday.

I remember feeling so helpless to help him. And feeling help-less in regards to one of my children I think is the hardest thing I have faced. I recall having the same feeling when my son Jonah died in my arms. I was his mother and there was nothing I could do to save him. I was supposed to care, nurture and protect him and all I could do is hold him while he flew away home. I felt over the last year or so that I couldn't save my son Isaac either and he was running around under foot every single day. It was almost more painful to have him there everyday and have no clue how to meet his needs.

I find it easier to write about now because we are on the road to help. I have learned SO much about why he struggles with many of the things he does. Some of it still makes no sense at times but you know what.....my being helpless and so weak has made me so much more grace filled toward him. I had to cling to God (which really means he held me close to himself) like never before. I was done and so unable to perform or maintain anything but the raw basics if life and that poorly. Being in that place caused me to become more comfortable with my weakness, my sons weakness and the amazing strength that God has to work in us when we are in that place.

I am actually beginning to like being weak sometimes. Still an uphill battle but God in His wisdom used the weak in the world to shame the strong (1Cor. 1:27).

And just so you know.... I am very much looking forward to learning at home again this year. Partly, because I have finally found somethings that work, we are having outside help and my boy is doing much better on many levels. Though I know in many ways the battle has just begun..... knowing is empowering. Not only understanding my son better but having hard evidence that once again God was faithful and so he will be again.

25 Human wisdom is so tinny, so impotent, next to the seeming absurdity of God. Human strength can't begin to compete with God's "weakness." 26 Take a good look, friends, at who you were when you got called into this life. I don't see many of "the brightest and the best" among you, not many influential, not many from high-society families. 27 Isn't it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, 28 chose these "nobodies" to expose the hollow pretensions of the "somebodies"? 29 That makes it quite clear that none of you can get by with blowing your own horn before God. 30 Everything that we have - right thinking and right living, a clean slate and a fresh start - comes from God by way of Jesus Christ. 31 That's why we have the saying, "If you're going to blow a horn, blow a trumpet for God."

1Corinthians 1:25-31 (Message)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Will You Please Pray With Me?

I am sure you have noticed the side bar on the right with a very cute little boy smiling. That is Aaron, a little boy waiting for his forever family in Eastern Europe. They (Rob and Julia) are there right now bringing Aaron home. They have run into many obstacles, one major one being little favor with a local judge deciding over their adoption.

They have just been told they have to wait 2 more weeks with no guarantees. They have already had to leave Aaron behind once and that was hard on him and them.

Please pray for them. For favor with the judge. For little Aaron to bond easily and quickly again. For Julia's mama heart (Rob too) to be at peace as they literally have no control over how this goes.

God is good and faithful. Join me in approaching the throne of grace for this little boy and his forever family.

Follow their blog here for updates.

This family are relatives of very dear family friends. God has used their story to stir my heart so deeply for orphans. Not sure what that means for us but God does. My sweet friend Stacy also has adopted and following her story a while back really started my heart down this road of considering adoption.  

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Ummm......


What-cha got up your sleeve little man?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Change is Coming


We are back from our road trip and gearing up for September when the rhythm and routine of fall comes. The days become more structured and less leisurely. I have to adjust to the pressure of the structure gradually. It is one reason I ease into fall by adding things little by little. The kids have soccer camp next week and then we are into our routine a bit at a time. We are already working back into the habit of chores daily and learning new responsibilities.


In the re-thinking of my blog I have cleaned out my google reader. I have grown tired of agenda blogging as I call it and have narrowed my reading. I am sticking with Mommy blogs, Homeschooling, Autism and IRL friends. I was finding myself getting sucked into others peoples agendas and opinions on issues that really are not central. Not that I didn't agree with their opinion it just isn't how I need to spend my time. I am not interested in rants and platforms but just women who love Jesus and each other. There is an amazing community of women who are living a simple authentic life with all it's mess and scratching it out in cyber space. I find great encouragement there....listening to their stories. I am searching for quiet rest in a simple life online and off.
So as we settle into our new season I am drawing some hard fast boundaries with this here computer. I find I have to do this every so often or I get sucked in much like I do if I watch TV. I recently cut out an article in our local paper entitled "Will those 'glowing rectangles' make us stupid? I've hung it near my desk as a reminder to make sure I have more face time with my people then I do my screen. To live a simple life requires me to steer clear of glowing screens too much. It will be interesting to see what writing looks like this fall.
There are many changes coming. Grade 5 is a bit more intense this year adding a foreign language. Isaac will have therapy 4x a week for 2 hours a day, as well as, working through grade 2 and I have a very cute toddler who will need speech therapy. This deoan't even include simple hang time with the kids plus everyday life stuff. The trenches feel deep and wide but God's grace is deeper still. One day at a time.
I have been reading at Ann's this week and her post have met me almost everyday this week. Take a stroll over if you haven't already and be encouraged. She speaks of women friends in such a real way. I want to BE that friend and never take for granted those who have made that commitment to me. Her heart on priorities and homeschooling encouraged me and made me return to the roots of why I am home, my kids are home and that daily with grace based effort I will love Him with all my heart.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Every Day

Your everyday communication influences the shape, quality, and
direction of
your relationships. Every day, your words give your
relationships their tone.
Every day you tell people what you think of them,
what you want from them, and
what you would like to enjoy with them. But you
don't do this in grand moments
of oratory. You do it in quick side comments
in the bedroom, as you ready for
work, or at the curb as you hop into your
car, or in the kitchen as you grab a
sandwich, or over dessert at the local
bistro, or in the family room during a
commercial. Because our talk lives in
the world of the ordinary, it is easy to
forget it`s true significance.It is
easy to forget the impact our words have on
every relationship.

pg. 69-70

Being blessed by reading Relationships A Mess Worth Making by Tim Lane and Paul Tripp.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Away!

Credit: H.Evans

Off to visit some good friends and go on a road trip.

Can't wait!

My middle man turns 7 at the end of this week.....where has the time gone.

See you when we get back.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Story Tellers


I have come close to shutting down my blog for many reasons. One being, my writing juices have not been flowing. My mind is ever at work but the drive and discipline to commit them to words has fallen very short. In fact, there is not a time I am not thinking...well maybe when I am sleeping. Speaking of sleeping, there has been little of that going on around here lately. Insomnia and I are in a battle of the wills.

Another reason for considering abandoning my post is something akin to why Tonia has left the blog world. She has since taken down her last post which I wish I could share with you. We are now sharing our story in hand written letters which I love!

Do I really have something worth saying? Have I already said it? Am I just contributing to more cyber noise? Yes, I love to write but I can do that in a paper journal, which by the way, I still do almost daily. Why do I put my words here?

I have been praying and asking these questions for weeks.

Then I read this and knew it was God speaking to my heart about these questions. I don't know if she is a Christian but God used her words.


Tell YOUR story.


Please!


You never know who might be listening.


Those words have not left me since I read them. She is speaking of the autism community that I have recently become intimately acquainted with. But more then that, it made me think of God's community the church. It made me think of how God used the greatest story of all to rescue mankind. How Jesus all through out scripture used parables/stories to help us see truth...to relate to godly living. It makes me think of many women I know who have lost babies like I have and have gone on to survive another day, have more babies or not and still love Jesus. We cried together, we prayed together....we listened to each others story. I think of all the adoption stories I have followed that have opened my eyes and changed my heart toward adoption. Or a now dear friend of mine who recently committed herself to the Lord and has come through so much.....she graced my life with her story. I am changed by God's work in her and it now is part of my story. All of these were instruments in the hand of God to build my story.


We are designed for story.


My blog isn't popular or frequently visited. It is not going to impact the thousands or even hundreds but all I am looking for is one. The person who might read my rambles about living with Aspergers, home educating, training little ones, dealing with sin, learning doctrine or whatever I write. We impact each other....we change each others lives with our actions, listening, prayers and words. We share our story and it becomes their story. I have been effected deeply by others words and am so grateful for the writing (and saying) of them.

So I will keep writing and sharing my story here. My words are not profound or greatly important but they are my story.....the story that He is writing for His glory. Our stories are meant to be shared...that exchange.....that sharing of our lives is community, His community built one story and experience at a time. The beauty of it all is He has good stories/plans for each of us every step of the way. Not always easy but always good.


I have created some more strict boundaries about where and what I will be reading on line. More on that next time.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Update of Sorts


It has been full around here on many fronts.

We received the final written report of Isaac's assessment and have lined up some help. Still processing all this on many levels. Though I know the black and white words on the paper do not define my son....it certainly hit hard what they were saying. It is a faith walk and a huge learning curve this Autism Spectrum.

We had to have the school room carpet replaced. Think..... animals and carpet! We spilled water on the carpet and the prior tenants came back to haunt us in a very stinky way. Fortunately, the owners replaced the carpet fairly quickly. And of coarse, if I was going to move EVERYTHING out of the room then I might as well purge, organize and change the furniture around. My last week has been consumed with this as well as the behaviors that come with all the change and non-routine involved. With a child on the spectrum it is a calculated choice.

Now, my learning room is neat, tidy and ready for September. I've threaten to remove limbs if the kids don't put their stuff away....just kidding but it feels good to have it settled. Not only will we do school there but Isaac's therapy will take place in that room. Many new experiences and struggles will happen this year for all of us. One more part of our story will grow and develop in that space. A good plan full of hope.

Much unknown around the corner tends to tempt me to anxiousness but I have this rest about Isaac and about the help we are getting. Not sure what it will look like but grateful for a system that helps meet our needs. God cares for him and us...therefore I need not worry. There was a time when I thought help would never come.

I have been putting much thought into my on-line life. I started this blog over four years ago without really knowing where it would lead me. But for right now I will leave those thoughts for another day.