Thursday, June 30, 2011

…and after




44 jars of jam later, there are no strawberries in my kitchen.  At the moment, anyway. 

Fortunately, it will be a little bit before my raspberries are ripe and I get to start again. 

Wednesday, June 29, 2011



Guess what we’re doing today?  :)

Hint:  I’m listening to jars ‘pop’ as they seal…

Saturday, June 25, 2011


“If you are traveling with a child or someone who requires assistance, secure your oxygen mask first, then assist the other person.”

Recognize that little speech? If you fly, you might. It’s from the pre-flight safety information. It’s been on my mind the last few weeks—and it’s very appropriate for moms. Most of us give and give and give, often to the point of near burn-out. But rather than speak up and say something about our need, we keep going, frequently snapping at our husbands and lashing out at our children. Why do we do this?? Before we hit that point, we need to take time to recharge. After 20+ years of parenting, I”m finally starting to recognize the signs that I need some space. A bit ago, I knew the time was coming, and after checking the calendar, I blocked out a weekend for me. All by myself. With Jim’s blessing, of course. :)

Yesterday, I packed my bag and said goodbye. I drove up the road a bit and checked into a hotel. It’s not the physical distance that’s a big deal, it’s the mental and emotional space. I have thoroughly enjoyed myself! Walks in the park, a trip to the fabric store, time to read, a nice hot bath—doing some things to replenish my reserves. I don’t think I realized just how low they had become until I checked in yesterday. On Thursday morning, I had coffee with a very wise friend (who shares her wisdom on an incredible blog!). Brenda has been in my shoes as a homeschooling mom with a child who has learning issues. She shared something that helped her out as she walked this path: a quarterly weekend away. Not far, not fancy, but an opportunity to make sure that mom is able to refocus and recharge. I shared that bit of wisdom with Jim, and his response was “Start putting it on the calendar!” I love it!! What a great guy. :)

One more night away for me. I am loving the peace and quiet, the uninterrupted reading time, the time to think and pray. I’m jazzed about the fabric I bought for some quilts I get to make. I’m getting some things done too, things that weigh on me over the summer. As I check them off, it feels so good! Although I am not ready to head back to the reality of life yet, I’m pretty sure that tomorrow I’ll be happy to see my crew.

In the meantime, I’m off to read, relax, and recharge. Catch you later!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

blown away—an answer to the prayer request!

It’s been a long haul.  Some days, I’ve been ready to give up, to walk away, to say “Never mind.  We’ll just take care of this ourselves.”  But God has been gently pushing us to continue in the fight, so we have.  This afternoon, the battle is over.  Victory is ours…or, more appropriately, God’s.  And Logan’s.

As you know, Logan gets speech therapy from our school district.  He’s there 45 minutes a week.  His speech therapist is awesome, and she loves Logan.  We’ve tried many things to get him the assistive technology he needs, but until May, when he qualified for more therapy, there wasn’t any way to do that.  Then, pieces started coming together.  We had Logan’s motor skills tested, to make sure that he was staying on track.  He’s not.  He qualified for occupational therapy (OT) for his fine motor skills.  It was just the opening we needed.  His IEP needed to be rewritten, and could be done to include the necessity of the FM system.  (He’s used a loaner from the local hospital, but it had to go back.)  So we did that.  Included a letter from his audiologist stating that he needs this FM system for full academic use, including time at home.  And the school district employee responsible for making that decision balked.  (You can read about that here)  We wrote her a polite, respectful letter, delineating the portions of federal law that required her to take the IEP team’s recommendation under careful consideration instead of dismissing it outright.  We didn’t win any friends.

But, apparently, persistence and prayer pay off.  She knew we were right, and started requesting strange pieces of information, things she already had in her possession.  Each time, we responded politely with “That’s on page x of document y.”  In the meantime, the system was ordered, and our SLP picked it up and tucked it away in her office.  Today, the phone rang as I was fixing dinner.  It was the SLP, and her first question was “Are you sitting down?  I have approval for Logan to have the FM system at home for the summer!”   Tomorrow, we will stop by the elementary school in the neighborhood and pick it up.  Tomorrow, we will plug it in and get it charged.  Tomorrow, we will start using it.  Tomorrow, Logan will have more access to language.

There aren’t words to describe the joy.  I finished fixing dinner with tears of gratitude on my face.  God, ever faithful, has again shown His great love to a child and a family.  Logan is in complete awe that God has answered his prayer.  And he cannot wait to start using his new FM system.

Even better?  It’s just in time for a new adventure.  Stay tuned…Logan’s going to spend the summer using technology to help with his speech therapy too.  He starts on Tuesday.  And I can’t wait.  If it can do half of what it appears to be able to do, this could be a life-changing summer for our little guy.


hiking with Daddy…one of the best things ever!IMAG0071

Sometimes it takes a change to appreciate what you have.  Yesterday, I was blessed with that opportunity. 

Summers are different these days.  Brent and Hailey don’t live at home any more, so I try hard to not take their visits for granted.  Brent was here last week, and it was so wonderful!  I love having him here, and am happy to say that when he left,  the visit felt far too short.  That’s a good thing—I don’t ever want to feel like I can’t wait for him to leave.  No worries there…it was perfect having him back in the house for a bit.  It is nice to see him and have him around, and good to see that he truly is a capable adult, managing life on his own quite nicely.  Hailey lives closer so we see her more often, but her visits are a few hours here and a few hours there.  That works too.  She’s doing quite well, and is also a capable adult.  Rewarding to see.  :)  Em is home for the summer, working lots and spending time with friends.  It feels more like she’s just here for the bed, and that’s okay.  She’s also an adult, and it’s delightful relating to her as one.  Tori lives here but has had a packed schedule so far this summer.  She’s doing volleyball camp this week—out at 7:30 in the morning and home again around 5.  That generally leaves me home with the dynamic duo.

Not so yesterday.  Monday evening after work, Hailey stopped by with a grand plan.  She invited Ryan and Logan to her apartment for a sleepover.  They were excited beyond measure, and ran upstairs to pack.  Swim trunks?  Check.  Towel?  Check.  Shorts and t-shirts?  Check.  PJs, tootbrushes, pillows, stuffed animals?  Check.  Bicycles and helmets?  Check.  Hey—wait a minute.  Exactly how long are they staying??

They left Monday night about 8pm, and came back Tuesday night around 7:30.  They were exhausted.  And happy.  Oh my goodness.  They had an incredible time with their big sister.  And they cannot wait to go again.  They want to know the next time Hailey doesn’t have to work…they’re already planning their next adventure.

And the perspective thing?  Well, occasionally I think about how life would be without those two little boys.  Once in a great while, it sounds nice to not have two 6 year olds around.  Then they were gone.  All day.  And Jim was at work.  And Em was at work.  And Tori was at volleyball.  And me?  I was at a complete loss by noon.  I had cleaned house, done laundry, been grocery shopping, gone for a walk, read a book…and didn’t quite know what to do with myself.  I realized over the day that without those two little guys, I would be a mess.  Some days they drive me nuts, but they are such a huge blessing!  Recognizing the joy they bring, the purpose the provide was very necessary for this old tired mom.  And while I may still grumble on occasion, I have a renewed sense of gratefulness for their presence in our lives.

Maybe, just maybe, that realization is a better gift than the time off.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

prayer needed

Logan’s FM system is sitting in the office at his school speech therapist’s, just waiting for us to come get it!  And why haven’t we?  Because the gal at the district office who must sign off on the request to have the assistive technology at home refuses to do so.    :(  Please pray for a change of heart, that she would see the need and have compassion on Logan and his needs.  And, that she would read and understand that state and federal law prohibit her from refusing the request of the IEP team simply because we homeschool.  :)  There is no cost associated with Logan using the FM system at home over the summer—we sign a form accepting all responsibility and liability for the items—and to deny him is just flat out wrong.  I think she’s not happy with us because we carefully, respectfully pointed out the portions of state and federal law that allow us to make the request and spell out the grounds under which our request can be denied.  (And there aren’t any!)  Some days I can’t understand why this is such a big deal—I mean really, hearing is a basic function of communication, and she’s okay with denying him that.  Even though federal law spells out specifically that assistive technology needs to be available outside school hours for the deaf/hard of hearing population if they need it for communication!

PLEASE pray for a change of heart and a quick reply!!  Logan starts an exciting new speech therapy next week, and being able to actually hear what he’s doing would help immeasurably.   

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

decisions, decisions

Life is full of decisions.  Most are boring, everyday decisions that can be made without much effort (what’s for dinner?  laundry before or after the trip to the store?), but there are the bigger ones that can be more difficult.  We’ve just come through a spell of more difficult one (repair or replace?  stand firm or walk away?  hold or sell?  step out or stay the course?  drive or move?) and I’m very grateful that, for a short spell at least, it is behind us.   

I don’t think I realized just how much I was being affected by all the stuff hanging over us.  Once most of the decisions were made, it was like an invisible weight had been lifted, one I hadn’t been conscious of carrying.  When it was gone, though, the relief was evident!  And it made me wonder:  why is it that I cannot do what God asks in Matthew 6:25-34?

Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear.  Is not life more than food and the body more than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not much more valuable than they?  Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? 

And why do you worry about clothes?  See how the flowers of the field grows.  They do not labor or spin.  Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.  If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will He not much more cloth you—you of little faith?  So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For the pagans run after all these things and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.  But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.  (emphasis mine)

Whew.  Pretty clear, isn’t it?  And the funny thing is that I’m not typically a worrier.  I just don’t—there’s no point.  If I’m not in charge of it, there’s no point in wasting the time and energy.  Someone else is responsible for the decision.  And if it’s my decision?  Well, then, I make it and move on.  But for some reason…maybe the number, or the gravity, or the combination…this time they got the best of me.  I worried.  But it didn’t help.  All it did is make me grumpy.  Now, though, we’re through it.  The decisions are (mostly) made.  Next time, I hope to remember that my job is to pray and to trust.  God’s job is to provide.  It’s really that simple.

**Oh.  Those decision?  Well…let’s see:   Repair or replace?  Repair.  Successfully.  A huge relief. And an answered prayer!  Stand firm or walk away?  Stand firm, for now.  It’s not only about us, but about charting a path for those who come behind, in this case.  And we are seeing God move!  Hold or sell?  Yes.  Hold one item, sell the other.  For now, anyway.  We are praying for God’s timing on the second sale.  It all belongs to Him anyway!  Step out or stay the course?  Stay the course.  This was probably the hardest.  I’d like to step out, but we need to be of one accord in this venture, and we’re not.  So stay the course it is.  My heart aches, but God knows my desires.  I will trust His timing!  And drive or move?  Well…drive, for now.  Moving is likely in our future, but at this point—for at least the next year—we’re staying here.  That works for me.  I love this house.  And if or when it’s time to move?  Well, then, we’ll look to see where God would have us.  And we’ll probably need to revisit most of these decisions.  Won’t that be fun?  :\ 

Monday, June 13, 2011

Wiggle Worship

Excited to be there…


and NOT excited to be there…


Pretty typical of the two of them.  It was fun to be there, even if Ryan stood most of the evening with his arms crossed and a scowl on his face.  Brought back memories of watching my other boy do Wiggle Worship many years ago.  Same scowl.  Same crossed arms.  Same child?  Maybe.  But they’re 16 years apart…

They did have fun though.


soccer camp





Saturday, June 11, 2011

telephone survey

Last night the phone rang as I was fixing dinner.  I answered it, and after a long pause, a male voice says he’s conducting a brief public opinion survey about politics and asks the first question.  Phone surveys are not my favorite thing, but when I’m trying to do other things I really dislike them.  I wasn’t thrilled that he presumed I would be delighted to participate and jumped right in to the first question…  Then he asked the first question:

“If the legislative election was held today, would you vote Republican or Democrat?”

My answer?  “I would vote for the candidate whose position on the issues most closely represented mine.”  I didn’t realize I was throwing a curveball!  He had NO IDEA what to do with that.  He stuttered and stammered for a minute, then said, “But would you vote Republican or Democrat?”  I calmly repeated my answer.  Flustered, he asked me to hang on for a moment.  I could hear him asking questions of a supervisor.  Then he returned, and said, “Well, okay.  Let’s try a new question.”

“If the presidential election was held today, would you vote Republican or Democrat?”

Guess what I answered?  :)  (You know where this is going, don’t you?)  Yep.  Same answer I had given to the last 2 questions.  After a moment of dumbfounded silence, he took a deep breath and said “That’s all the questions I have for you.  Thank you for your time.  I’m sorry for bothering you.”

Please!  Tell me that the future of this country is more important that the party affiliation after a candidate’s name.  Or is that too much to ask?  Is society really so unthinking???  I think I’m discouraged.

Friday, June 10, 2011


One or two—your choice!—grumpy, cranky, argumentative 6 year olds.  Or, if you prefer, their tired-of-refereeing mother.

Only 3 more hours til they go to soccer camp for the afternoon…

Monday, June 6, 2011



Clearly, I cannot prepare my children for every possible situation they will encounter in life.  For those things, it is my hope and prayer that they have enough resources and enough common sense to figure out a solution to the problem facing them.   Today, I’m not exactly feeling like I succeeded…

Fortunately, the problem was relatively insignificant, and the solution fairly straightforward.  Next time, this particular child should be able to walk through it alone.   But then…we hope there ISN’T a next time.  :\

Thursday, June 2, 2011

I was reading 2 Corinthians 4 today.  Some of it wasn’t very pretty…  How about this?  “Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart.”  (verse 1)  We don’t lose heart?  Yeah, right.  I know this ministry is through God’s mercy, but I have lost heart.  I’m discouraged.  I’m tired.  I’m ready to quit.  Why is it that knowing this ministry—these boys, the special needs, the homeschooling—is through God’s mercy doesn’t seem to help?  Epic fail, and I’m only at verse 1.

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.”  (verse 7)  Uh huh.  Treasures.  What treasures?  I sure don’t feel like a treasure, and I’m fairly certain that I am nowhere near as strong as a jar of clay.  And them?  Today has not been a day that makes me think of them as treasures.  Frankly, most of the week has been like this.   All-surpassing power?  What all-surpassing power?  I’ve been so focused on the basics of survival that I can’t seem to see God’s power.  Maybe it’s time to quit looking at them and start looking at Him…

“Therefore we do not lose heart.” (verse 16a)  Who am I kidding?  I’ve lost heart.  Entirely.  It’s gone.  I’m done with this.  I can’t any more, God.  It’s too hard.  “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”  (verse 17)  Light and momentary?  It sure doesn’t feel light and momentary.  It’s heavy and all-consuming, and it feels like there are very few answers to all the questions.  Moderately severe hearing loss.  Apraxia.  Cleft lip and palate.  Vestibular defect.  Auditory processing dysfunction.  All those pieces add up to one huge, complex, sometimes overwhelming trouble.  And then there’s the other one, the child who has night terrors most nights, who hasn’t slept through the night by himself but maybe a dozen times since he came home almost 6 years ago.  Afraid of the dark, terrified of being abandoned again, nighttime is crazy scary.  Some days are better, but I still spend most nights in his room…sharing his double bed so we get something that resembles sleep.  It gets old.  I get tired.  And it makes everything seem even more overwhelming, less light and momentary.

Then, at the end, there’s hope.   Verse 18…”So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”  This stuff, the overwhelming everyday stuff of life…that’s the seen.   I can’t focus on it.  I have to keep my focus on what I know to be true instead of what I see every day.  And what is it that I know?  I know that these two boys are a blessing.  That their presence in our lives is a gift.  That they are stretching us in ways we never dreamed of.  We’ve learned things we didn’t know we needed to know, things we didn’t care about before.  We’ve become fairly good at advocating to meet their needs.  We’ve been humbled as we are now parenting a child for whom none of our ‘tried-and-true’ parenting methods work.  We are reminded daily to stop and smell the roses.  We see clearly that life goes by too quickly, that we need to be purposeful and deliberate about the things we do.  And we need to stress less and enjoy more. 

Tonight, I’m pondering the end of 2 Corinthians 4.  My head knows that it is through God’s mercy I have this ministry, these boys.  My heart needs to remember that.  My heart needs to focus on His blessing, His strength.  I need to fix my eyes on the unseen, on the author and the finisher of my faith (Heb 12:2).  And when I do, then I enjoy this adventure.

After all, as a friend so aptly stated, “Life is an adventure in itself, so we might as well hang on for the ride and make the most of it.”  Good plan.  :)