Category Archives: Love

My view of the world and how it should be

The Practice of Grace

Building a home isn't easy.
Building a home isn’t easy.

 

    The reality of homeschooling can be overwhelming at times.  I won’t lie about that.  I think that’s true for all of us who homeschool.  Simply put, it’s enormous responsibility.  Add in the ‘extras’ of being a mom, wife, cleaning and cooking and you wind up with quite a big load for one person.  Now, imagine doing ALL of that with a chronic illness.  

Daily pain and discomfort is a reality for some of us.

I consider myself one of the fortunate ones.   My asthma is well controlled for the most part.  My fibromyalgia and IBS is managed by diet and vitamins.  Most days my goals are met.  My housekeeping goals are broken down to 1 to 2 loads of laundry per day and one housekeeping chore.  Needless to say, it has become important to conserve my energy.  Most days I keep up with it all:  Housekeeping, cooking, homeschooling, being a mom and being a wife.  It all goes fine until there’s a cold or virus.

A virus brings the normal misery and then some.  First, there’s the usual symptoms, then there’s the fibro flare.  Pain, radiating from the small of my back, then throughout my body bringing with it fatigue and sensitivity to cold and heat.  I won’t lie.  It’s absolute misery.  It brings a halt to all but the basics.  The basics in this house?  Homeschooling:  the 3 Rs, Home:  basic maintenance (picking up, laundry and floors), Cooking:  Anything that is quick and easy.

Unfortunately, the fibromyalgia doesn’t affect my vision.  So, I see all the dirt piling up.  The floor in desperate need of cleaning.  The bathroom.  Oh, my.  The bathroom.  It would be so easy in this moment to believe that I am just terrible at this whole mom thing.  It is so easy to give in to the despair and the depression.

But this is where the PRACTICE of Grace comes in.

Because, you know, you won’t be any good at something you don’t practice, right?  So you tell yourself the things you would tell your BFF if she was in this SAME POSITION.

It’s okay.  It’s not like this is an everyday event.  This is temporary.  You will fix it when you feel better.  You’re allowed to be sick sometimes.  You’re not Super Mom.  You can do it, but just not all at once.  You’re not a bad person or a bad mom just because the floor is a little dirty.  The kids are happy, isn’t that what really matters?

My house at better times.
My house at better times.

I continue in this same uplifting self talk, until I feel better about my situation.  As a mom, it is so very important not to let myself slip into despair.  The cost to my house is huge.  Despair will tear down what I have built up.  It is the thief who is here to destroy.  Despair has a cost that a dirty floor doesn’t have.  The two just can’t compare.

Grace is a practice.  Just like we have to practice drawing or piano, you must practice Grace for yourself and others.  The dictionary defines Grace as being goodwill and mercy.  It is important to be merciful on ourselves, as well as our kids.  Practice Grace today for yourself.  Be merciful to you.  Be kind to you.

 

Becky

 

 

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/126581270@N08/15076010253″>Ephesians 2:8-9</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a>

Don’t Discount the Cost of Sin

As a parent of a child with Autism, my son makes frequent social mistakes.  Sometimes terribly personal social mistakes.  D frequently walks down the middle of a hallway, forcing others to jump to the wall to avoid running into him.  He has no filter and at times calls people “fat” or “old.”  As his parent I have to call him on his mistakes, autism or no autism and I do.  I explain why his behavior is wrong.  I tell him he needs to apologize.  Most people are kind people.  Frequently, they say the words, “It’s okay.  It’s okay.”  Probably thinking they are doing us a favor.

They are not.

Since his behavior wasn’t socially acceptable, then it wasn’t “okay.”  By giving him an out you discount the cost of his behavior and make it more difficult for me to teach him appropriate ways of dealing with the world.  D is like all of us and would much rather have an excuse for his current behavior than change.

This mama doesn’t give excuses.

I’m not in the excuse-making business.  Not even for myself.  I got pregnant with D on purpose and without his father’s consent.  I almost lost the relationship as a result.  I didn’t, but there’s always, always a cost to sin.  And I don’t mean on judgement day.  There’s a real, personal cost to sin.  For all of us.

For D, discounting the cost of his poor judgement means it’s more difficult to make connections with people.  His ability to make connections with others is crucial.  It’s generally the reason we are successful at business, have friends, and stay in long-term relationships.  My dream for him is that he finds someone that loves him as much as I do.  That dream is lost if he doesn’t understand his mistakes and doesn’t try harder.  So no, It’s really not “okay.”

14828527245_55c8c377a9_b

There’s always a cost to sin.  The cost to D is loss of a dream and a good job.  The cost to me was the loss of trust in my relationship to his father.  If I discount the cost, then I’m in danger of repeating the sin.  We always want to make everything okay, but it encourages us to sin when we do that.  We WANT to believe that we live in a gray world, but God sees sin as black and white.

Sometimes the cost of our sin is manifested in others.  Choosing poorly in relationships can mean absent fathers and broken-hearted children.  Sometimes it means bitter fights and custody battles.  The sin of poor choices affects ALL of us at one point in time or another.  We ALL make poor choices at times in our lives.  But, I believe, that if we acknowledge our sin then the chance of repeating that sin is lessened.  The  problem is that it’s easier to discount it.  Make excuses.  Blame genetics.  Make it about someone else.

Don’t make excuses.  Don’t discount the cost.  Acknowledge the full weight of sin.  Count ALL the cost of it.   So that we can grow in our faith and encourage each other.

 

Becky

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/122594368@N03/14828527245″>3 Keys for a Healthy Conversation</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a>

The Growing of Boys

I’m losing my boys.  Slowly and surely, they’re slipping from my grasp little by little.  I can do nothing but watch it happen.  It is as inevitable as the tide.  What is happening has happened to millions of other mamas as well.  It’s part of the growing of boys.

When they were little they needed me to nurture them.  To take care of them.  I was the source of food, comfort and sleep.  Their day ran on a clock that I wound.  I thrilled to their need.  I smiled at their discomfort and sleepiness.  I knew I was the only one who could fix it.  I was the one who soothed them.  Fed them.  Rocked them to sleep.  Dressed them. Took them out to see the world.  Played with them.

daniel 009

 

But they are boys.  And boys grow to be men.  That means us moms have to let go.  It’s time for someone else to take over.  It’s time for the one in the house to take over to teach them to be a man.  Since I’m not a man it can’t be me.

It has to be a man.  A good man.  A strong man.  A man who can show them how to protect their mom.  How to tell the truth.  How to stand up for what they believe in.  How to look out for each other.  How to walk.  How to talk.  What to say.  How to tell what’s important in this life.  It’s their dad.

They are blessed with a good one.  He’s honest, good and upright.  He’s faithful and walks with integrity.  He’s gentle, kind and helpful.  He’s all they will need to teach them.  Guide them.  Show them how to be a man.

He’s necessary.  Dad’s are necessary.  Even in this day and age.  Especially in this day and age.  Rampant divorce means nothing to a child.  ‘Unreconcilable differences’ is meaningless to a boy who needs his dad.  His presence is vital to the boys’ psyche.  There’s no alternative to an involved dad.

IMG_0160

 

So, I’m losing my boys.  I’m okay with that.  They need their dad more than they need me.  Oh, they will still need me from time to time.  To dry their tears.  Bandage their boo boos.  Fix their snacks.  But from here on their dad will be teaching them how to be man.  That’s a good thing.  I get to sit back and be a proud mom.  Because if they’re anything like their dad, they’ll be a good man.

Becky

A Time to Plant and a Time to Reap

It’s spring and my husband and I (well, mostly my husband) have made a small backyard garden.

11150187_10203582405861214_4949204551696558503_n

 

We plant in spring so we will have a garden full of vegetables in the summer and fall.  Then winter will come and everything will die and we will replant again next spring.  Happens every year.  A lot of people plant gardens in the spring, and we accept God’s timing in that.  Spring is for planting.  No one tries to plant a garden in the winter.

10432966_10203582406821238_7571083410802701164_n

But somehow, it’s harder to accept God’s timing in our life.

I didn’t meet my husband until I was 37.  There was a time that I would lament that I met him so late in life.  I would tell him that I wished we had met earlier, like in our 20s.  He, in his blunt way, would deny this idea and say, “No, you don’t.  I was a jerk.”  Over time I have begun to realize that God’s timing was perfect.  God has been working on my husband far longer than even he realizes.  I simply couldn’t meet him until he was ready for me.  If I had met him too soon, he would have been a “jerk” and it wouldn’t have worked.  I met my husband when God intended me to and, in return, I have a full, bountiful life.  Just like my garden will be in the summer.

 

So many of us don’t accept God’s timing.  We plant our gardens of life in the winter.  Then the frost comes, and we don’t understand why everything is so devastated.  If we had only waited for God’s timing, we would have a bountiful harvest, and instead we have reaped despair and heartbreak.

Yet those who wait for the Lord Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.  Isaiah 40:31

If I had insisted on rushing the Lord (trust me, I tried) and not waiting on His timing I would have married a “jerk” or even more tragically, married someone God didn’t intend for me to have.  I cannot imagine what my life would be like, because having a child with autism is stressful enough.

I abide in the Lord and He has poured His bounty into my life.  My cup runs over.  How amazing that He has been so faithful even when I have not.

Becky

Parenting the Neurotypical Sibling

There’s a unique quality to parenting an older Autistic child and a younger neurotypical child.  One, quite frankly, I haven’t figured out yet.  I’m sure it’s well understood that parenting a child with Autism is different.

There are thing that I let D get away with that I would NEVER have if he didn’t have Autism.  I have to let some things go.  I have to give him an outlet for his frustrations that doesn’t include aggression.  I must allow him some comforting behaviors  that sooth him that are not always age appropriate.

And then there’s A, the typical younger child.

Alex

 

Ironically, I have no idea what to do with A.  The crash course I’ve taken in parenting a child with Autism didn’t include any chapters in parenting a child like A.  A is a typical younger child, doing things at times to spite older brother, which under any other circumstance is perfectly normal.  He is also picking up behaviors from older brother.  Behaviors that he wouldn’t otherwise be able to get by with. Tantrums, complete with throwing things, which I don’t let D get away with.  He often attempts showing a temper that I’m sure he doesn’t have.  He tries to do everything big brother does, which I know is perfectly normal.

The biggest problem is me, I know.  This one is the last baby.  The one who almost wasn’t.  The one who cries.  I’m such a sucker for a crying child.  I can’t stand it and want to soothe almost immediately.  Then along comes the child who uses tears instead of anger to get what he wants and I fall for it.  Yes, I admit it.  I fall for the tears.  I’ve only just begun to attempt to steel myself against those tears he uses so effectively.  I’ve begun to discipline A, finally.  To begin to enforce the rules.  I still do not know what to do when he imitates some of D’s ASD behaviors.  I’ve been at this parenting journey over 7 years now and still haven’t figured it all out.

I’ve often said that by the time I figure out how to raise my kids they will be in college and won’t need raising anymore.  Isn’t that kind of the way it works though?

Becky

Marrying Young – A Lesson of Hardship

A friend’s daughter asked me my thoughts a few week’s ago about marrying young, specifically in your late teens.  I didn’t tell her not to.  It wasn’t my place.  I sent her to the bible, which is always a really good answer when you don’t know what else to say.  In truth, marriage really hard in the best of times.  In the worst times, it can be a disaster.
I believe some who marry very young wind up staring across the marital bed at someone they would never have chosen if they’d waited.

5592082610_4e8903b447_b

My brother married very young and it didn’t work.  Two, decent, hardworking people that I admire very much couldn’t make a go of it.  No abuse, no cheating, no evil intent.  So, that’s my experience with marrying young.  Not positive.  But sometimes, God sends people into your life to change your viewpoint.

Yesterday I met a young lady who married young.  She was still married at 26, with 2 young children.  Her daughter was 4, almost 5, and her son was 2.  She was married at 19.  After her parents told her she needed a college degree, she went to a local junior college to get her associate’s degree and got married.  But it wasn’t just her success in marriage that I found fascinating.  It was the trials she had experienced at such a tender age.

Her husband was partially paralyzed in a terrible accident a couple of years ago.  She told me that the day he took his first step after the accident he lost his job.  He became despondent and started to give up.  She refused to see him in a nursing home in his early twenties.  She stood strong and told him that if he went that route she was going back home to her family in Oklahoma.  He straightened up and went home, and their marriage continued through the hardship.  He’s only able to walk with a walker, which is too treacherous to attempt in a house full of toddlers.  Fortunately, his family is both close and   close by to help.

8689475955_ee4432fcca_b

 

Now, this young lady is facing another blow.  The doctors are looking at her 2 year old boy for Autism.  He doesn’t have an official diagnosis.  The doctors want to wait to see if a language delay is his only issue.  Lack of speech can cause meltdowns and tantrums due to frustration.  I was a positive as I could be for her.  I will pray that this young lady doesn’t have to shoulder so much so young.

 

I shared with her my belief that our trials either make our marriages stronger than ever or break them up completely.  The fortunate ones survive.  Mine has.  Hers has.  I have to admit that I have such tremendous admiration for this young lady.  And I didn’t even get her name.  She must have a will of steel.   A backbone of iron.  Never giving up.  Never quit.

So, perhaps young marriages have a chance after all.  And perhaps we should all learn something from this amazing person.  The lesson of being persistent.  The lesson of enduring through hard days.  The lesson of determination.

What excuses work now?

Becky

 

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/23408922@N07/5592082610″>Project 365 #94: 040411 With This Ring I Thee Wed</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a>

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/54177777@N00/8689475955″>20130106_IMG_1734</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a>

Listening: A Way of Showing Love

The longer I live the more I realize how important it is to listen.  On Valentine’s Day, I listed 14 reasons why I love my husband on Facebook.  First on the list was that he listens to me.  I mean, really listens.  Sometimes he gives advice, but mostly he just listens without rushing me or acting impatient.  I was reminded again today how important that is.  For each of us to find someone who will listen to us.  I’m learning that it is the most valuable skill we could possess.  When we listen we make the other person feel valued and important.

6813010169_50eddd419b_b

I’m a fixer, I think I’ve said that.  Being a fixer means I like to give advice.  But there are situations that can’t be fixed.  Sometimes there is no advice to give.  Most of the time, I’ve learned, advice isn’t necessary or even wanted.  Simply to listen, without judgement and with empathy.  I try to be understanding.  I try to be a friend.  In return, they valued and loved.  That’s right.  Loved.  All of us need to feel loved.  Nothing quite like it.

I have 2 friends struggling with relationship issues.  They feel devalued and unloved.  I want to help them.  I want to be a good friend.  The “fixer” in me rises to the surface, but there’s no way to fix it.  I flounder for awhile, wondering what to say.  I wind up listening, not because I know that’s what to do, but because I don’t know what else TO do.  But I’m beginning to learn that that’s all they needed.  They needed to feel loved and valued.  They needed to be heard.

5626559847_d7422807e1_b

My favorite time of day is in the afternoon, when my husband comes home and we share coffee and conversation about our day.  I wonder if that’s really rare, in our society and our time, for a couple to spend a valuable few minutes every day to listen to each other.  Perhaps someone can tell me whether or not it’s rare.  I don’t know.  I know it’s part of us.  I know it’s part of how we connect with each other.  I know it’s part of how we stay together when dealing with a child with issues is so difficult.  Relationships are hard.  Children are hard.  Sleep deprivation is hard.  All three is really tough.

I wonder what could happen if we all began to listen to each other.  How much love we could show each other.  How much more valued we would all feel.

Becky

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/7681361@N04/6813010169″>IMG_4867</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a>

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/94595697@N00/5626559847″>Turquoise & chocolate</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a>