Tuesday, April 15, 2014

oceans

Bugaboo cried for an unknown reason for half an hour before Bubby's preschool pick-up time. He cried for the first part of the drive to preschool as well.  Oceans by Hillsong United happened to come on the radio, and though Bug's tears slowed down, mine started.  The words seemed different today.

I'm sure many of the people listening to this song which speaks of going where God calls them, walking upon water, trust without borders imagine God calling them to do something really awesome - like start a church or be a missionary or stand up for a certain cause. There are probably all types of people raising their hands in different church venues every weekend to their song, perhaps thinking of this music as a sort of spiritual pep rally. I love a good spiritual pep rally, a word encouraging me to go and do great things for Jesus.

But I am not going anywhere. The great unknown for me isn't a new location or a new calling. The great unknown for me is in my mothering. All of the little things in my little world creating an ocean filled with waves - scaring me, amazing me, humbling me.

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders, the song says.  Do we really want that as we sing it? Trust without borders may mean moving to a foreign land to spread the Gospel.  Sometimes it is trusting in the midst of being with my three year old through his crying spell, through his inability to communicate the way we both want.

Wherever you may call me may not be platforms or sanctuaries or airports. It may mean waiting rooms. Literal waiting rooms for therapies and doctor appointments and IEP meetings.

Where my feet may fail and fear surrounds me -- the fear that I am failing to meet both of my childrens' needs, to be a good wife and daughter and friend. Failing in so many ways, but knowing I can't stop getting back up.

Then there's the last part of the song, I will call upon your name... I will rest in your embrace... and my faith will be made stronger in the presence of my Savior.

Sometimes churchy people give out pat-answers, "Let go and let God." or "God won't give you anything you can't handle." (untrue)

But the presence of my Savior. That's the key for me right there. It doesn't magically make everything better, but there is peace. There is empowerment. There is relief and rest.

Monday, April 7, 2014

So I'm officially going to be "one of those people"

"Four?... When is your birthday?" a person will ask him.
Bubby then responds with his birth date.
"Oh, you get to go to kindergarten next year!" the person replies with a big smile on his/her face.
"Mommy is going to be my teacher next year," Bubby tells them with an equally as big smile.
And then the person usually fumbles with what to say.

This has happened several times in the last month.I know it will only increase in the spring and summer months. I cringe thinking about it. Inside I am saying, I don't want to be labeled as one of those people.

I want to explain or justify our decision. I want to pull out all of my books on the Charlotte Mason method or classical education. I want to tell them about my wonderful years in the public school classroom. Yet, I also want to tell about the moments I had both as student and teacher that make me say, "My child will never go to a school like that."

I want to defend my rights. I want to show them my pro and con lists of every single option we looked at. Every. Single. Option. (Even the options I swore I would never look at.) I feel the need to tell them Bubby was included in the decision making process - we presented him with options and still keep asking him if he is sure he wants to be home for kindergarten. I want to talk about Common Core and socialization and lockdown drills and how much I love the fact that I get to teach and learn right along with my very own child.

But I say none of this usually.  I just smile and move on for the most part.

It is a weird thing to really be stepping into homeschooling. The weirdest thing about it is kindergarten will not look that much different than what we already do.  We already read lots of books together each week. We already explore math concepts and Bubby has picked up on phonics both formally and informally. We already sing and do art projects and have lots of imaginative play.  Kindergarten is going to look very similar to our pre-kindergarten life.

And that is precisely one of the reasons we are choosing this option for next year.



Mommy-ing is my favorite. Teaching is my second favorite. Researching and implementing all things about education and parenting is my third favorite. It wouldn't make sense for me NOT to do this next year.

(Sidenote: I will be blogging about our homeschooling stuff mostly at my other blog. I don't write on it that much these days, but I'm sure that will change in the weeks and months ahead.)

Monday, March 31, 2014

you are not forgotten (reflections on Ecclesiastes)

In the midst of a study
on some words of Solomon,
but really a study of the words of God,
somewhere between the word meaningless
and themes of sovereignty 
the facilitator said,

"You are not forgotten."

He kept talking,
the class kept discussing,
but my eyes filled like a brook in springtime
because my mind filled,
recollecting

seasons of war
seasons of peace

seasons of mourning
seasons of dancing

seasons of casting away
seasons of gathering together

seasons of ripping out
seasons of mending

seasons of laughter
and seasons of tears, so many tears it seems

seasons when I spoke  - and thus was forgotten

seasons when I kept silent - and I wondered if anyone remembered

And in this darkness I am told,
You are not forgotten.

I will worship
because He has not forgotten me.


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

What I Want You To Know on C. P. Awareness Day

It seems there is a day for everything - Sweetheart's Day, Autism Awareness Day, Groundhog Day, Breast Cancer Awareness Day, National Chips and Dip Day. Some of these days are for promoting a cause (or an awareness of something), some days are for celebration, some days (like chips and dip day) are a bit ridiculous.

But today is Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day. Last autumn my youngest son was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Until that day, I only knew a little bit about C.P. Very little actually. I am still learning because like other spectrum and neurological disorders, there is not a one-size-fits all description.  I only know about Bugaboo's diagnosis, his challenges and his strengths. I have seen on facebook some in the community saying, "Happy CP Day!" Although I understand their sentiment, for me that phrase feels awkward.  Instead today, I celebrate Bug, not just what he has overcome and accomplished but who he is.

I celebrate the fact that Bug is getting better at his pincer grasp... someday soon he will master silverware and small pegged puzzles. I celebrate how he "ran" around the backyard this weekend in the spring weather. I celebrate his ability to use the stairs, with someone walking near him for safety and support. I celebrate his love for music and the ability to sing lines to various songs. I celebrate that he is kind, never getting mad if someone takes his toy or leaves him out. I celebrate his laugh, one of my favorite sounds in the world. I celebrate his amazing memory which displays itself at the most interesting times. I celebrate how he prays every night by listing the names of family, friends, and teachers, and even the occasional fictional character.

(photo by Sarah Bottarel Photography)
It is easy as a mama to get overwhelmed, even when your child fits the textbook description of milestones and development. But there is something I think unique to motherhood when you have a child with unique challenges.  I celebrate the little things, like having the muscles to actually take a bite of food or climb up stairs with support.  I get a little depressed when I see kids younger than my own using a crayon to scribble or running around quickly and without falling. I get defensive (sometimes) when someone brings up his drooling.  I worry that I might be one of the only people who understands what he is saying. I fear that society will underestimate his capabilities just because he can't respond quickly or the way they need him to.

I say all of this on Awareness Day to hopefully make our friends and family and strangers on the internet aware. I am not a super mom because I have a child with special needs.  While I believe in the sovereignty of God, I don't believe I am any more qualified to be on this CP journey with Bug than anyone else. I am qualified to be his mom just the same way I am qualified to be Bubby's mom, just the same way those of you who have children are qualified to be their parents. As a person of faith, I am qualified to handle this journey not in my own strength, but in the strength and power of Jesus Christ.

So on CP Awareness Day I celebrate the graciousness of God, Who gave us Bugaboo and Who leads us on this journey. I celebrate the strengthening of our faith, the nearness of the Holy Spirit when I most need Him, and the promise that He has a plan for our lives.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

(an announcement) because I am not so great with technology

Apparently in a few days Google/Blogger will no longer be hosting blogs like mine.  I don't know if this means it will automatically go back to being http://www.wanderingonpurpose81.blogspot.com or not. I would love to keep being wanderingonpurpose.com, but I haven't had the time or the know-how to figure out how to do that.

I have backed up my blog. (I am 99% sure I have done that correctly.) But since I am technologically challenged, the best thing to do is to follow this blog on Facebook. That is how I will be able to redirect you to my blog if I need to do so in the next few days.



I DO plan on writing more regularly again. Hopefully soon. So (please) stay tuned.

Monday, February 24, 2014

plans, lists, memories, and blooming

We drove around after church yesterday, through a couple of little towns outside of where we live. On a main street in one town we saw a couple walking their pig. That and some other things about the town made me feel like I was in an Ozarks' version of Stars Hollow. To make that Gilmore Girls reference even more complete, a deer almost hit us on the way home.  (But she didn't.) . . . And I digress . . .

The Hubs had a major test to keep studying for, so we didn't have a ton of time, but we made some time.  The boys were content in their carseats. For about thirty minutes we talked about what might be ahead in another eighteen months. We talked about what might not be ahead, too because once upon a time we thought we would only be where we are for four or five years. But it has been eight and a half now, and the earliest we will leave with our newest commitment will be at ten years. We are somewhat comfortable because things are familiar, but we are also feeling a bit pinched and restless because this was not our plan.

These days I often find myself wondering what that even means. . .  "Our plan?"



The days and the weeks blur together, extremely long and also all too short. On Saturday I sat on our driveway with the boys and a box of chalk. The Hubs came out and helped with the bubble wand, and I attempted to teach Bubby the art of hopscotch. Then I promised him in another year or two I would teach him how to play four-square.  Just the words four-square bring back wonderful memories of elementary school recess. My friends and I would run on the blacktop to get a square so that we wouldn't have to share a square with the boys. I didn't excel at any sport. In fact, I didn't attempt many sports, but I could hold my own at four-square. Somehow that still makes me happy,  twenty-plus years later.


Lately in the in-between moments I find myself holding Bugaboo, who is crying for unknown reasons. Inconsolable.  It is almost like he used to be at bedtime for all of those months, but now it is at random times during the day. I hold him. I pat his back. I sing. I pray. I stay silent.  When he isn't having these crying spells, he is a happy and easy going boy. He keeps making his lists of names or shows or songs, adding a few here and there, taking one away for awhile.  I have now started saying full sentences to him  with the words when he lists, trying to get him to repeat and make a complete thought. Once in awhile he does. But usually he sticks to listing.

A new list appeared this weekend.  "6...7...8...9...10...11...12...13" An outsider may have had a hard time with his struggling articulation, but it was there. On his own while I was driving he said it.  I tried to have him do it again with me, but he refused.  Then later I heard him counting in his room.  But today he actually cooperated and counted with me. That mysterious, wonderful mind keeps me guessing. What else is in there to unlock, little boy? Help me find the right keys.



 As spring approaches (I hope, please come soon, Spring) I keep getting this  phrase in my head, "Bloom where you are planted."  I want to argue with this cliche'.  But I can't. We are here, still, so I have some choices to make and an attitude to adjust.  There's so much more I still want, need, have to say. Nothing earth-shattering, just little decisions here and there, and the process of processing still more. I hope to find the right words soon.


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

updates, faith, and my word "quiet"

My word for the year is quiet, and I am finding myself quieter than usual with my blogging lately.  It is not because I have nothing to say. It is because I have much to say, yet I can't find (or sometimes don't want to find) the words.

We are in a beautiful and confusing and exhausting place right now. But mostly exhausting. I think my poor husband maybe gets four hours of sleep some nights between work, homework and going to school/clinicals.  I don't know how does it all, but he does. (And he is not even cranky. Seriously. I am a lucky woman.) It also looks like we have some answers about the next year or more, which is a good thing, but also a weird thing.

Bubby is a challenge in ways that are not "your typical boy." I don't have to worry about him throwing rocks or biting his brother. However, he is my child and by that I mean his mouth gets him in trouble.  Yet at the same time, his mouth projects some of the most profound questions and sincere faith that I think a person can have. By him, I am reminded of all of Jesus' words on becoming like a child, having faith like a child, and not being a stumbling block to little ones. The hardest, yet most effective discipleship program I have ever had is becoming a mother.


Bugaboo amazes us with some of the things he knows or picks up on, but we are still struggling so much with unlocking the key to better communication. His new thing has been crying spells. Beyond the typical two and three year old type tantrums that are easy to figure out, he also cries for unknown reasons. These times are heartbreaking and zap me of all energy.  During these crying spells he cries out for Jesus, and I don't quite know what to make of that. But as I'm holding him trying to calm him down, I find my heart (and sometimes my mouth) crying out for Jesus, too. 


There is much in my heart and in my home these days, even if I do not write about it.  Bubby cracks me up almost daily with the things he says.  Bug's newest thing has been to grab my face in his hands and give me a kiss - which really is just slobbering all over my face instead actually puckering up.  The Hubs and I keep putting one foot in front of the other each day, and we find moments when we laugh about something the boys do or an old inside joke. We rent a DVD on some Friday nights and just sit for a couple of hours, or we grab a cup of coffee on Thursday morning after preschool drop off.  By the grace of God we are making this adventure work. And there is a light at the end of this nursing school tunnel.

I try to hang on to the fact that God has a plan for us, that He is at work even when I don't understand it. I don't say that because I have faith or parenting or life in general figured out. I do not. I regularly have to remind myself that He will work this out for good because He loves us and we are called according to His purposes.  I am leaning into verses like that these days because without this faith I have found, I will come crashing down.