Thursday, March 19, 2015

There Is Enough Grace For This

I have been reading Kara Tippetts' book, Big Love: The Practice of Loving Beyond Your Limits with a small group of women. It has led to some very good discussion as we examine kindness in our relationships - primarily parenting, but also in marriage, family dynamics and other relationships.  In one section Kara wrote about a time when her husband had to be gone for work for a week at a time - and she was at home pregnant and/or with very young children, and how that was hard for many reasons. She said that God placed a mantra in her head one year when her husband was gone, "There is enough grace for this. There is enough grace for this," and she began looking for grace, for joy, for the gifts in the hard things. (This idea reminded me of Ann Voskamp counting the gifts, even the hard blessings, in her book One Thousand Gifts.)

So for the past couple of days Kara's phrase keeps going through my head, "There is enough grace for this." At times it has brought me strength to complete the task. At times it has brought a smile to my face and a soft answer from my lips. At times it has brought me to tears because after I have thought of her phrase, I have found myself praying, "Help me, Jesus. This is so hard."

The last twenty-four hours with Bug have been difficult. His schedule/routine was off again this week because we had out of town visitors, and last night he could not get to sleep. Lots of crying. Lots of restlessness.  Today has also been difficult for him because of his lack of sleep as well as recovering from a routine change. "There is enough grace for this," I whisper to myself in these moments.

Tears poured out this afternoon as I was driving thinking of all of the things I need grace for in this season.

There is enough grace for the long hard days.

There is enough grace for endless questions from my curious kindergartner.

There is enough grace for the potty training which has mysteriously regressed the last two weeks.

There is enough grace for the season ahead of more schooling for The Hubs.

There is enough grace for the never-ending laundry.

There is enough grace for the Tuesday nights I am without childcare and miss the book study.

I didn't even realize the tears were flowing until Bubby said from the backseat, "Mommy are you crying?" I quickly composed myself.

Grace is a powerful thing. It isn't positive thinking for me, but a trust and surrender to the one Who is the Giver of grace. There is enough for each day. There is enough for each moment.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

What I read in February

I did not read as many books as I had planned to during the month of February. My excuse is that it is the shortest month - so I had three less days to read. Plus snow days with young kids in the house are different than snow days pre-kids. Basically they are just as exhausting as non-snow days with the added bonus that schedules are off because of cancelled activities. Hopefully the snow is done for the year.
Now without further ado, the books I read last month:

  • You and Me Forever by Francis and Lisa Chan - I love everything I've read by Francis Chan, and this is another book by him I would highly recommend. It's about marriage, but different than any other marriage book I've read. Skip the Dobson and Rainey books on marriage and read this one instead. The Chans are complementarians rather than egalitarians In their marriage but I knew this before reading it. My marriage wouldn't look exactly like theirs because of that fact, but there was still so much to gain from this book. 
  • Yes, Please by Amy Poehler - I had high hopes for this book. I think Amy is hilarious on tv. Everyone I know who has read this book loved it. It was just okay to me. It wasn't as funny as I thought it would be. (And maybe I shouldn't compare, but I loved Tina Fey's book when I read it a few years ago.) I got about 70-75% through Yes, Please before I had to return it to the library. Maybe it wasn't the right time in my life to read it, but I found it just so-so at best. 
  • Landline by Rainbow Rowell - Such a fun novel. I loved her book Eleanor and Park, and I liked Landline almost as much. The characters were enjoyable and relatable. Plus there was a time-travel aspect to the story ... and I love time travel stories. 
  • Gilead by Marilynne Robinson - There's a reason this book won a Pulitzer Prize for fiction. Beautiful, beautiful writing. I went through this book as slowly as I could. (I'm a speed reader AND I had a three week limit on it from the library.) An elderly man writing to his very young son about several things, but mostly it is him wrestling with some of questions most of us wrestle with. There is a scene near the end of the book that is still staying with me, days after reading it because it was so powerful and beautiful yet simple. My blogger friend, Brandee, told me about this book, and I'm very glad she did. 
  • Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney - This is a children's picture book. (We read a lot of those. I should start reviewing that genre as well!) Lovely read. Even if you don't have kids in the house, read this simple book. You will be inspired. 

I'm already a good portion of the way through three books I hope to review/recommend at the end of this month. What are you reading? What should I read this spring?

Friday, March 6, 2015

This Week (month and a half) in (smartphone) Pictures - week 12-17

The end of January and all of February went by without me posting pictures from my phone of our day-to-day life. Here are the highlights of our winter that I caught on my phone.

Tenth anniversary date night selfie.Thankful for our friends who watched our kiddos while we went out to eat.

A rare nap for Bugaboo.

Bug has really started to get into his play kitchen - this was a great day where his pretend play was the best it had been. He still prefers to just look at his cookbook, but this little kitchen has been where we have had the most success with some of those pretend skills/interaction skills he needs.

 A beautiful day in February playing in the backyard. This was before our snowy weeks.

 "Hey there, groovy chick. I dressed myself before co-op day. Mom didn't realize it was yearbook picture day OR that my shirt was unbuttoned like it was the 1970s." ~ Bubby, age 5

Boxes from Babushka are the best! Exhibit A.

Exhibit B. (Not sure how exactly he got himself in, but he definitely needed my help getting out!)


Bubby helping saute' the veggies for fajitas.

Valentine's box Bubby made at co-op. God bless kindergarten teachers who do the V-day boxes at school instead of having parents do them at home!

The best sugar cookies in all the land. Too good to only eat at Christmas.

Found this waiting for me somewhere in my house.

Night of the Decades theme night at Awana - I tried to dress for the 80's using things I had in my closet.  Wish my bangs would have been puffier. I was better at doing my hair when I was eight.

Trying out a gymnastics class with our other co-op. Fun, fun, fun for both of the boys!

Cars for the Pinewood Derby at church - Cookie Monster Car (Bug) and The Flash (Bubby).

Working on pre-jumping skills using the scooter.

Bubby made Jesus out of play-doh. Next to Jesus (not pictured) is a stegosaurus. I'm assuming Jesus is cool with this.

Finished kindergarten math this week. So proud of Bubby! Onto the next level before we break for summer in two months! (Can't believe how fast this school year has gone!)

Attempting a snow day (aka pajama day) selfie with Bugaboo. He was not really into it.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Five Minute Friday - gather

Joining with the Five Minute Friday crew to write for five minutes without editing on a given topic. This week's word is gather.

It's been a week. A week since our guesses were confirmed. A day when everything changed and yet stayed exactly the same. And when I shared our news, everyone gathered around us in their own ways.

The comments you sent on Facebook and on the blog brought me to tears. You emailed. You texted. You called. You asked, "What can we do to help?"

I have felt well loved this week as you have gathered around me in your own ways, even from far off. I have been wrapped in your words and your hugs and uplifted by your prayers.

The tears come easily, but that is nothing new. I cry because that's what I do when I feel something  deeply. And these tears? I know they are gathered, too.

"You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in Your bottle." Psalm 56:8


Friday, February 27, 2015

the diagnosis

Understanding Bugaboo so that he can get the best support possible has been a journey. Many of you who have read my blog for a long time (and/or are part of our lives in real life) have watched us try to find the right therapies, go to various doctors and specialists, and then a year and a half ago get a diagnosis of mild cerebral palsy and "wait and see" on some other things.

The waiting and seeing was hard.

We continued with therapies. We tried preschool. We stuck with therapists that were working well (and that weren't taken from us after age three), and we found new therapists when others did not work well.  Some circumstances this summer pushed us forward even more in trying to unlock the mystery of our youngest child.  The crying spells and meltdowns increased.  Bug gained more words and the ability to speak more, but the communication did not improve and the echolalia became more noticeable, more frequent. The gap between how his peers interacted with each other and how our son did not interact with them grew even wider. It is a hard thing to observe this on a playground or in a Sunday school room.

So with the recommendation of our pediatrician, we recently took Bugaboo in for an evaluation. We knew what they were going to tell us. I taught elementary school. The Hubs works in the psychology field. Everything was there in the DSM (IV and V) for us to check off.

But it's one thing to know the label your child is going to be given, and it is another thing to sit at a table and have an expert  with all the paperwork tell you that label. It is not a surprise, but it is still a shock. 

In a matter of moments many of your hopes are dashed, your prayers are not answered the way you wanted them to be, and your dreams for your child's future become fuzzy.

I drove home with the boys in the minivan. Unfortunately it was Bubby's day to pick the radio station, so I didn't even have uplifting or memorable music on the ride home. I don't know why this is important to the story, but I felt a bit frustrated by it yesterday. The rest of the day had to continue. There was dinner to make, laundry to avoid, and bedtime stories to read.

A wise and trusted friend who has had a similar journey reminded me that Bugaboo is still the same Bugaboo and "God is still the same God, no matter what terminology we use to describe him." And it was comforting and true to hear that.  Today was the same as the days before our new diagnosis. We got up, went to therapy, did some things at home, met friends to eat lunch and to play, and so on.

I have fears though, tonight. I fear that the label Bug has been given will make some people view him differently or treat him differently- even more differently than they might already view/treat him. But I have no control over what people think or do. And so I share with those of you who have been on this long journey with us that the journey is really only beginning.  Bugaboo has been given an autism diagnosis. There is a lot for our family still to process, questions we have, fears we are facing, but we have been given the grace to get through our questions and fears today.

He's still the same Bugaboo he was the yesterday, the same Bug he was last week and last month. And I love him so incredibly much. What a blessed woman am I that I get to be his mama - not because he has CP or autism - but because he is Bugaboo, my son.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015


While en route home from BSF today, Bubby said to me, "When I grow up I want Bug to live with me because otherwise I will miss him."

I managed to hold in all my various types of tears.

I worry a lot about both of my boys. I worry about Bubby having to share a room with a little brother who has unexplained meltdowns. I worry about his conversations being interrupted because of having to take care of something for Bugaboo. I worry about all the time he sits in waiting rooms and doctors' offices and therapy appointments for his little brother. I worry about how a five and a half year old handles the circumstances of our lives together.

And today, without intending to, he reminded me that it's going to be okay. Their friendship and their brotherhood doesn't look like the ones their peers have, but my boys aren't missing out. Bubby's words reassured me that they are probably the best brothers in the world.

one of my favorite old snapshots of the boys

photo from tonight's Night of the Decades at Awana -
(90's decade)

Monday, February 23, 2015

the snowy days

I am not a fan of snow.

I moved to southwest Arizona right after college for a few reasons, one of which was not having to live in snow ever again.  Two years later, I was back in Missouri. And (almost ten years after that) we are still here.

Our winter this year hadn't been very snowy at all.  Then in the last week a few inches fell, the temperatures got really cold, and we got a little bit of freezing rain/ice.  Due to the weather we only had one "normal" day last week. The rest of the week our appointments were cancelled/rescheduled. And as much as I love routine and was so ready to be back into our routine this week, the break was nice.

Four days a week we have at least one place (sometimes two) for Bug to be for therapies. A couple of other days a week we have other activities for one or both of the boys. The down time was lovely. I think I stayed in pajamas or sweatpants almost every day.

Bubby loves the snow. He played for quite a while in the backyard with Scout while I watched from the kitchen table.  Bugaboo is usually ready to come in and read his books after a few minutes of walking slowly (or just standing still) in the snow.

We enjoyed the snow this last week or so. And now, in my opinion, it can leave. I'm ready for spring and the allergies the pollen brings. :)