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Autism and Independence

D is now 7, and the list of things he should be able to do for himself is growing.  I am grateful of all the things he does independently.  It’s been a long, tough battle, but D brushes his own teeth with toothpaste every single morning.  Not without asking.  Not without me preparing the toothbrush and making sure it gets done, but toothbrushing for us has been a 3 year arduous battle.  I’ve been in his face more times than I can count, alternately yelling and coaxing.  At times, I’ve had to give up and do it myself.  But for the most part I won. My reward came last week when the dentist told us zero cavities and I’m doing a wonderful job with him.


D can dress himself and put on his own shoes and socks.  Once again, A long arduous battle ensued.  D didn’t want to dress himself and would deliberately mess it up, putting on shorts or his shirt wrong or backwards.  Anything to get me to do it for him.  D feels absolutely no need to be independent.  He would prefer for me to do it all for him, always. Requests for him to learn something new that promotes independence has always been a battle.  Self-care battles are daily excursions.


With pottying we are coming along.  He is almost completely independent, except that he won’t wipe.  We have been battling toileting for almost 2 years now.  We are still waging that battle, although his 1+ year continuous requests for a pullup are gone.  At this point, he realizes mama won’t give up or give in and he’s accepted the inevitable.  His occasional accident seems the result of carelessness or distraction.  Slowly, surely it gets better.  He has not had an accident in public in months.  It’s yet another thing that’s difficult.

It’s now time for him to learn to wash himself in the bathtub.  I’m hopeful that this battle won’t be quite as significant.  Our first foray night before last was successful.  D put up a token and half-hearted resistance.  It was obvious though he cared little about getting the dirt off and I imagine it will be months, at least, before I’m able to trust that he will wash well enough to remove the dirt.  I would try a shower, since his father has threatened him with one if he cannot stop getting water all over the floor, but I’m afraid that the sensory bombardment of water would prove way too distracting.  Plus, it would be difficult for me to watch to make sure he washes well.

A is now potty training as well.  He’s much easier, of course.  It’s been about 2 weeks and he’s about got it down.  He wears underwear most places.  Since he doesn’t have Autism he is much easier.  A wants to be independent and do it himself.  He is also delayed, though, so some things are still hard for him to do.  I still help occasionally with dressing, and brushing his teeth.  Still, it’s not the years long battle that I have with D and for that I’m eternally grateful.



Why I’ll Never Give Up On Taking My Son to Church

So, it’s been awhile.  Remember what I said about being in the belly of the whale?  That’s where I’ve been.  Fighting the battle that is THIS post.  I didn’t want to write this post.  But He has refused to let me think about anything else.

Almost every Sunday, I drag D to church.  Going to church is hard for D and he’d rather do almost anything else.  Most Sundays he has a meltdown and I have to intervene to calm him down and get him centered in order to continue.  Most Sundays he complains about having to go and is simply determined NOT to enjoy himself.  It is difficult for ALL of us.  Occasionally I will wonder why I keep fighting this battle, before remembering the promise I made.

When I got pregnant with D I was 37 years old.  I knew this child was a gift from God.  I just knew God gave me this pregnancy.  And I behaved like I knew exactly that.  I never, ever once worried I would lose the pregnancy.  I knew I wouldn’t.  This child was a gift.  This child had a purpose.  I didn’t know what it was but I knew he had one.


But then things changed.  Instead of thinking that this child was God’s gift to ME.  I started thinking that this child was MY gift to God.  That THIS child belonged to God.  That I was tasked with raising him and training him, but ultimately the child himself belonged to the Almighty God.  I really didn’t understand this thinking myself until very recently when I read this bible passage:

For all the firstborn are Mine; on the day that I struck down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, I sanctified to Myself all the firstborn in Israel, from man to beast. They shall be Mine; I am the Lord.”  Numbers 3:13


I grew up knowing that all firstborn animals of Israel belonged to God.  It was not until recently I read that all the firstborn children of Israel belonged to the Lord, also.  I am certainly not a Hebrew, but I am certain that this passage explains it.  It explains why I am so certain that D belongs solely to the Lord.  That is His child.

And that is why I will never give up trying to take D to church every Sunday.  D has to know God.  It’s absolutely necessary.  It’s important for all children to know God, of course.  But D is different.  He has autism and that complicates things.  He is a black and white child in a world filled more and more with grey.  He doesn’t understand how the world works.  He won’t understand how God works.  I know he will struggle with faith.  He struggles with most everything else.

I pray solely and daily for him, most of all.


Not because I don’t love A.  But D is different.  He was different from his birth.  He was named biblical names.  His middle name is Jacob. In the bible, Jacob literally wrestles with God and is renamed Israel.  God has promised Jacob an entire nation built through him.  There is the birth of the nation of Israel.

I do not know what God has in store for my son.  I know he has something in store.  There was a time in which I prayed earnestly for an answer to the question of whether or not D would be a man of faith.  The answer was that God has plans for D.  Plans that don’t include me.  I am to introduce him to Christ, and through Him, God.  Then let him walk his own path.

I am unable to do that alone.  I must have help.  I am so grateful for those who embrace him with open hearts.  You don’t know how richly you’ve blessed us.

And that’s why I will never, ever, ever give up taking D to church.


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Our Best for God

I’ve been reading Leviticus the week in my daily bible reading.  I have to admit to being fascinated by the demands that God levied on the people.  He was strict and exacting in his instructions.  Even striking two of Aaron’s sons dead for daring to burn incense against His instructions.  I’ve been reflecting on some His instructions to the Israelites:

 ‘But if his offering is from the flock, of the sheep or of the goats, for a burnt offering, he shall offer it a male without defect.  Leviticus 1:10

So, one of His rules was that it had to be without defect.  They couldn’t bring the Lord an animal with any kind of defect.  No lame or sick animals would be allowed.  It had to have VALUE.  This would be an animal that would, if sold, bring quite a lot of money to the owner of the animal.  This animal would be the best of the lot.  An animal in its prime, without defect.  The BEST of all the animals the person owned.



From the sacrifice of peace offerings he shall bring as an offering by fire to the Lord, its fat, [a]the entire fat tail which he shall remove close to the backbone, and the fat that covers the entrails and all the fat that is on the entrails,  Leviticus 3:9


This was one of the verses that inspired me.  I remembered something that I saw on television.  A man went to visit a village in Africa.  While he was there, they killed the fatted animal for this visitor.They gave him the best pieces of the animal.  The piece that they gave him was ALMOST ALL FAT.  The visitor even remarked how he almost couldn’t eat it.  See, our culture has changed!  These days most people remove the fat of meat before they eat it, but IT WASN’T ALWAYS THIS WAY.


During biblical days, the FAT had more value than the lean parts of the animal.  Now, we know that the number of calories in a gram of fat is 9, but in a gram of protein is only 4.  What this meant in biblical days is that FAT KEPT YOU ALIVE LONGER!  FAT HAS MORE VALUE!  

So, God demanded the absolute BEST from His people.  Not only the BEST animal, but the BEST part of the BEST animal!

So I asked myself if I am giving God my best.  The best part of me.  The best time of my day.  The best of my money.  The answer was a resounding NO.

Most of my day is given to my children.  Some is given to my husband.  God gets about 20 minutes right before bed.  Unless I’m too tired.  Then He gets nothing.

Has God’s standards changed since the days of the Israelite?


Has His People’s standards changed?


Instead of my time, God gets lots of my excuses:

“I need coffee before facing anyone.  Including God.”

“The kids are always demanding early in the morning.”

In my experiences, I’ve come to a conclusion.  It’s not good to be available 24/7 to my kids.  Not good for them.  And not good for me.  Last year, when I began doing yoga to help with my fibromyalgia, I was interrupted almost constantly.  I almost gave up.  Then, in determination, I began to be “unavailable” to my kids.  Every time they attempted to interrupt me I’d say, “I’m not available right now.”  And you know what happened?  Nothing.

That’s right.   Nothing.  No one died.  There’s was no blood.  And (almost) no big mess.  I was unavailable to my kids for up to 30 minutes and nothing bad happened.

There’s no reason I can’t be unavailable to my kids while I’m reading my bible and spending time with the Lord.  The same goes for you.

No one will die while you’re unavailable for your kids for a few minutes.  In fact, they might learn something about not being in the center of their universe, which in my opinion, is a good thing.

My new goal is to give the Lord my absolute BEST.  No excuses.  Won’t you join me?



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Embracing God’s Gifts

Tomorrow is my son’s birthday.  Perhaps that’s why tonight I’m thinking about gifts.  Perhaps I’m thinking about gifts because a friend told me today that mine was wisdom.  I don’t know if that’s really my gift.  I know I have the blessing of listening to friends and family.  It’s impossible to know if one is wise.  How can one judge herself as wise?  Isn’t the very act of judging yourself wise rather unwise?  I think it is.  I’m still learning.  We are ALL still learning how to travel our path that God has given us.


I find myself believing most are unaware of the gifts that God has given them.  Creativity  is an obvious gift, and those that have that gift seem to use it almost unconsciously.  My mother has the gift of hosting, and is perfectly comfortable with having enormous numbers of people in her home.  That is definitely not my gift, although I do enjoy smaller groups.  I used to make excuses why I couldn’t do as He asked.  We all do.  Even back in biblical days.  The bible is full of us giving God reasons NOT to do something.  God’s people make a lot of excuses why they can’t use their gifts:

“I really enjoy having people over, but my home is way too small to actually invite my Sunday School group.”

“I love to garden, but I’m sure the church has people that can do that job much better than I can.”

“I’d love to teach, but those kids get so wild and crazy…”

Mine was:

“I’d love to teach, but I can’t imagine actually getting up in front of all those people.  Besides, who would listen to me anyway?”

In my defense, it was a legitimate complaint.  In school, every time I had to get in front of the class I would get so nervous and anxious that I would go to the bathroom and cry and throw up afterward.  It was horrible.  I actually got out of having to sign a song in my college sign language class because the professor could tell I was a wreck.  The only time I successfully spoke publicly was in an 8th grade english class.  Oral book report.  I chose a biography of Adolf Hitler and I was still a wreck before I started.  Once I started though, something magical happened.  I got so into conveying the interesting and complex background that I forgot I was in front of the class.

I guess that’s what is happening now.  I’m leading a ladies’ bible study.  Granted, I know all the ladies but one and they are all wonderful.  Still, the same thing happens to me there that happened during my Adolf Hitler book report.  I’m so fascinated and into the subject matter that I forget to be nervous.  And we have a few stunned silences, which I figure either means I said something that they never thought of or they didn’t understand a THING I just said.  LOL  God seems to whisper in my ear, at times.  Sound crazy?  But I just start thinking and meditating and He leads me to answers in scripture.  I learn something almost every day.

So, do I have a gift?  I don’t know.  I do know that I had to make myself available.  I had to make that move.  I walked up to my pastor and said the words pastors everywhere LOVE to hear:  I’m available.  I’m willing.  I’m being led.  Use me wherever you need me.

Stop the voice in your head telling you that you can’t.

Stop making excuses.

Stop thinking someone else will volunteer.  He laying it on YOUR heart for a reason.  Allow Him to change your life.  Allow Him to change your circumstances.  It’s YOUR gift.  Use it. Bless others and you, in turn, will be blessed.



A Biblical Marriage in a Modern World

There’s not a whole lot in my life I’ve done right.  I’ve done a few things right.  One of the things I did right was my marriage.  I knew when I met my husband that God sent him to me.  I know that God has plans for him.  I knew that I wanted a 1st Corinthians 13 kind of love.  Let me refresh your memory:


I had been in love before, but it hadn’t been the 1st Corinthians 13 kind of love.  It was the kind of love that DID keep a record of wrongs.  It was a jealous kind of love.  It was a provoked and self-seeking and arrogant kind of love.  I didn’t want that kind of love this time.  This time I wanted the 1st Corinthians 13 kind of love.  The love that the bible describes.  The love I still believe is possible between people.  So how do you start a biblical kind of love?  I started by being a biblical kind of lover.  I loved as patiently and kindly as I could.  I tried hard not to be jealous or a braggart.  I didn’t provoke nor did I keep a record of his wrongs.  What I found was that it worked.  I invited God into my relationship.  And He stayed.

He is still there.  What I also found was that my husband responded accordingly.  Imagine that.  The bible was right all along.  Since I didn’t keep record neither did he.  Since I was kind and patient, so was he.  It worked, y’all.  I am as amazed as anyone.  What kind of marriage does a couple with a 1st Corinthians 13 kind of love have?  You guessed it, a biblical one.


I was prepared to say it.  You know the word.  The one that’s been erased from the marriage vows because women tend not to like it?  Starts with an “O?”  I was perfectly prepared to say that word.  And I was perfectly prepared to actually do the deed.  You know, obey my husband.  (I didn’t get the chance to say it.  They don’t ask these days I guess.)  I like to think that I do obey him.  But I’ll admit that my husband makes it very easy.

I still remember a conversation we had early in our marriage.  My husband said that the “kids come first, I know.”  I disabused him of that notion:  “No, they don’t come first.  We come first.  If we don’t make this marriage work everyone loses.  Including the kids.”  I meant every word.  In our household, first comes God, then my husband, then our children.  It sounds old-fashioned, I know, but it works.

I know a marriage like ours is unusual in this modern world.  But I also know it’s a good marriage.  A Godly marriage.  When it seems like marriages and relationships have little or no chance to make it, we have.  Invite God into your relationship.  Do it His way and I promise you won’t regret it.




When I was in school, I played the viola.  (The viola is shaped like a violin with a deeper sound.)  When you’re first starting out playing the viola you pluck the strings quite a bit, to get used to the sound of the instrument.  Plucking the viola for hours on end got very painful until something wonderful happened.  My fingers developed calluses on the ends to protect my skin.  Calluses made for 3503360299_edeb108283less painful viola-plucking.  Over time though, I noticed something.  Calluses meant less pain.  Calluses also meant less feeling.  I noticed that the tips of my fingers couldn’t feel the softness of the old quilt on my bed, or the silky satin of my doll’s dress.  In fact, I had lost much of the sensation on the tips of my fingers.

Some people have calluses over their hearts.  They have been hurt often, so a callus has developed around their heart to protect them from pain.  But, just like my fingers, there’s a cost to a callus.  A callus on the heart leaves out so much of the emotions of life.  Life is messy and emotional.  The loss of a loved one can leave us devastated and broken.  The birth of a child brings feelings of awe and wonder.  The smile on the face of that same child brings such tremendous joy.  To this very day the sight of my children’s sleeping faces brings such feelings of love that I am almost tearful.  The sight of my husband walking up the drive after a hard day brings on such relief.

We are creatures of emotion.  God created us that way on purpose.  To love Him with “all of our heart, all of our soul and all of our mind.”  (Matt. 22:37)  We were intended to love with all our heart.  We were not intended to protect ourselves with calluses.  Instead, we should lean on the one who created that very heart:  ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. ‘(Proverbs 3:5)  God is big enough to handle our emotions.  I have gone to Him broken and lost.  I have cried out sorrow and anger and pain.  I do it often.  Live life to the fullest.  Experience as much of it as you can with your whole, entire heart.  And if it gets broken, then take it to the Healer…