Monday, October 28, 2013

I have moved!

Hey y'all! I have moved my blog over to Please visit me there and subscribe. You can also find me here on Facebook.

Thursday, October 3, 2013


“We're not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be” C.S. Lewis

I have always been someone who has encouraged people to let God be enough, but I am still struggling with truly believing and living that out myself. I'm scared to let go of things I want even though they don't seem to be in the plans for me. It seems silly to hold on to something that's not even mine; it's only brought anxiety and worry. I have spent years believing God for something and become so angry because it hasn't happened. A part of me believes that I know what's best for me and I have put my hope and happiness in the things I desire.

Sometimes to get to the best we have to go through the worst. And occasionally what we have in mind for what is best is in fact not as great as what God has in mind. Four years ago when Justin resigned from his job at our church I remember feeling at peace with the decision we had made. We were trusting God to bring us into a new beautiful season. But when it became a long grueling year and a half, it became very painful and I started to lose hope. We knew we had been obedient but couldn't understand why God hadn't yet provided the job we believed He had for Justin. At that time I was struggling with postpartum depression but somehow I still held onto the fact that God really was enough. He was providing for us and when we had nothing else to lean on He was there. Once the job came, understanding followed. We could see the passed up opportunities and closed doors as a blessing. God did want the best. We knew we were to step out in faith and believe God. We didn't do it perfectly and at times I wondered if God had forgotten us. I had to pray through it and remind myself that no matter what happened God was enough for us and God did in fact want the best for us. Where Justin is in his career was so worth the time it took to get there. The job he has now is better than we both had imagined for him.

God has been so faithful to me yet I still struggle sometimes believing He knows what He is doing. I'm having a hard time trying to let go of a certain expectation and remembering God is in control and He does want the best for me. I so desperately want Him to be enough. I need to come to the belief that He sees beyond what I can and He has something great for me, better than I have for myself. But even if He chooses not to bless me more than what I have now, He is more than I need.

If I’m being honest with myself, God has not been enough lately. I have been relying on attaining things to make me happy. I have not allowed God to be my joy. I don’t want to struggle with being unhappy because I depend on things to make my life complete. I want to live out what I tell other people. If this desire in my heart never comes to be I want to be so aware of how much God has blessed me and how much I love Him that I don't allow unmet expectations steal my joy. I want to be the kind of believer that doesn’t waver when things get hard. I want God to be enough for me.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Daily grace

I felt like a big jerk. I wasn't very kind to my son Tuesday morning...over dirty finger nails that were too long. As I rushed him to allow me to trim his nails he sobbed "Now I can't scratch my back!" We ran out to the bus; nails still dirty. I hugged him and he was gone. I stood there ashamed, realizing I never gave him an opportunity to talk. I never asked him why he didn't want his nails cut. He wanted his nails so he could scratch his back. I wanted neat trimmed nails so he wasn't (maybe so I'm not) judged by teachers for not having clean fingers. Had I taken a moment to talk to him we could have compromised and just cleaned them. I of all people should know his mind works differently than mine. I'm still learning to listen before I act when he has a reason for wanting, or not wanting something, instead of assuming he's just being disobedient. Like so many times before I had to give myself grace. I knew as soon as I saw him after school he would give me grace too. And sure enough, He did.

Thursday, September 5, 2013


Today was the second day this week that I had four hours to myself. Ryan started preschool on Tuesday and he was beyond excited. I feel like I should have been too.

I think most mothers long for that day when the last child goes off to have time alone to herself to do whatever she wants, go back to school, or go back to work. I'm still not sure how I feel about it though. I shocked myself and didn't cry on Ryan's first day of school, but I'm not sure it has even hit me yet. I do get time to myself to spend with friends, write, or go shopping, but this alone time is different. This isn't me taking a break after a crazy day. I'm in a new season. Aiden is in second grade, and Ryan is in preschool two days a week. As much as it has been nice, it's been difficult too.

For the mothers that dream about the day their kids are in school and they will have freedom, I'm so happy for them when their time comes. I'm just not one of them. I haven't embraced the fact that my little boys are growing up. They say that it goes fast; whoever they is... but for me it went incredibly too fast. As I have my time alone, it's just me and my thoughts. I'm trying with all my might to make them positive, to see this time as an opportunity and a time of refreshing; and I know it will be. But my heart hasn't quite caught up with what I know is true. So on my days alone, if you see me and I'm not living it up as I should be, be patient and give me time. I will get there.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

5 days

5 days...Yes I am totally counting down. To be honest I have been for awhile. This summer has been difficult. It always is, but this one seemed especially challenging for Aiden. And when Aiden is having a hard time, we all have a hard time. If you have followed my posts about our journey with Autism then you might understand why it's been rough.

Summer is not my thing. After 3 months I start to forget what life was like during the school year. I question whether or not this is a new normal or if it's going to get better when we get back into our routine? It happens every summer, and it does get better. And this year is surely no exception, but part of me still struggles to believe it.

My 5 day countdown feels like eternity, especially after last night and this afternoon. I can't help but wonder if I will ever be able to escape the anxiety, sadness, anger, and doubt I feel while in the whirlwind of one of Aiden's fits when Autism takes over? In these painful moments I try and remind myself to have some perspective. I am really great at having perspective in the great moments, but during the out of control fits it’s hard to see it. I feel helpless and so confused as if I don't know my own child. I know God has equipped me to handle this, but I don't always feel it. I go through ridiculous thoughts like “Why couldn’t we have a different struggle to go through; why does it have to be this?”

That's where I am. I feel like in a lot of ways I failed this summer. I was not always present or enjoying the moments I was in, so I have been eagerly waiting this new season. I am ready for a schedule, routine, teachers to get advice from, and seeing more progress with our son. Five more days to wait for that, but tomorrow I am ready to be all there. I want to capture every smile and laugh. I want to fight the desire to escape if the day turns burdensome, and instead stay calm and work through it to see the bigger picture. I want to embrace the tough moments, although painful, and soak in the precious time I have with my boys.

Friday, August 16, 2013


Do you ever feel like you have something important to say but you are a little ashamed of yourself in that moment? I think I have about 13 drafts for different blog posts but I can't seem to finish any of them. If I don't even like myself right now why am I in a place to be sharing meaningful things?

That's where I've been the past month. I last wrote about Aiden's amazing progress, but he has a several bad days this summer. Okay way more than several. And I can't tell you that I've had the best response to all of it. So I have felt, at times, inadequate as a mother and unsure of the progress I was seeing in Aiden. Along with that I have been struggling with some anger and sadness about a situation and haven't been the best wife or friend. My mind has been consumed and I haven't been a giving person. So in the midst of these things I haven't felt qualified to write. But isn’t that why I’m here? Isn’t that why I write? So the ugly, challenging parts of life can be exposed so others don’t feel alone. I need this so I can remind myself and others that none of us are perfect. And remember I'm not in control; God is. But I have backed down from the very thing I want to convey on here. To be a truth teller and stop being ashamed of the feelings I have because of the difficulties that life brings. Because I believe exposing them and processing those things makes us stronger people. It changes us.

In my small group we just went through an amazing study by Jennie Allen called Stuck. And that's exactly where I have been...Stuck! I have felt very broken, mad, discontent, misunderstood, and confused. On some days I find myself whispering to God the only prayer I can seem to utter, "help me." As I listen to worship and pour out tears, I know He hears me. I've been in hard seasons before so I know I can get through this one too. But I have to allow him to help me. I haven't been doing that. I've been trying to control my own world and have stayed angry when I don't get the outcome I'm expecting. I'm trying to do it all on my own, believing I know what's best for myself when I know that doesn't work. In my anxiety filled days I've forgotten to trust God daily or allow Him to help me.

When we ended the study we talked about what we wanted to leave behind and what we wanted to move toward. I still was unsure what I even wanted. But after a conversation with a friend who gave me a different perspective of why I wasn't fully enjoying my life, it was very clear. My heart and mind had been a different place for so long that I wasn't appreciating the life I have been given. I know I need to leave behind the anxiety and the control I try to have on my life. When I live like that I lead myself into ugly places that steal my joy. So I'm moving toward closeness with God. Because in that I have true peace. I still have questions and frustrations, but I am clearer minded and more trusting.

Because in the end, when I strip everything away, I can't help but see a big God I can trust who can do big things. He meets me where I am and restores me. And I can clearly see His plan is always better than what I could imagine for myself. Sometimes I just have to get through the mess I have made for myself to see His goodness.

So although this isn't what I was hoping to post, it might meet some of you where you're at. If you're stuck like I have been I pray you know you're not alone and that you can go to God for help. Trust Him to change you through your struggle so you can be free.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Disconnected (part 2)

(If you missed Part 1, you can read it here)

Even after reading in Disconnected Kids about parents that were seeing their children come out of Autism, I was not sure it would work for us. But I was ready to try.....

I am very sure now. It was January when we began Aiden on his program. At that time he was not initiating much conversation, very rarely giving eye contact, he was throwing outrageous and uncontrollable tantrums, he was always tired, and pretty moody overall. At Aiden's first appointment with Dr.Gazhi there were multiple tests done to determine if we were looking to strengthen the left or right side of the brain. Dr.Gazhi checked his balance, hearing, eye coordination, posture, and strength on both sides of his body, among other things. Aiden was having a difficult time keeping eye contact, staying on the same subject of conversation, and sitting up straight, or showing much strength at all. After a couple of these diagnostic visits he started chiropractic adjustments as well as different therapies to start to strengthen his body and his brain

Three months into Aiden's new treatments it hit us. This was not too good to be true. This was working. We were realizing that Aiden was talking more, starting conversations and actually giving us details about his day. Instead of giving us an "I don't know answer" to almost everything, he was really communicating with us. He was having less fits, and he was looking people in the eye. He was starting conversations with people he didn't know. He was reading better and talking about his friends. This was all so new and so so wonderful. These therapies, along with a gluten free diet and supplements, were really helping. I was so excited.

Life has gotten easier, but we have to stick to a plan. We have to do therapy, and we have to do supplements. All the little details to make sure he can have the best possible day. When I get lazy I see the results of it through Aiden and it's not good. He still needs a very strict routine and consistency in his exercises, but he is a different kid than he was 6 months ago. And Aiden loves going to Dr.Gazhi, also known by him as the "game doctor." He runs in so excited to share the latest happenings of his life with Dr.Gazhi. We were stuck. He was disconnected until we found this doctor and this book that opened our eyes to see the tools we could use to help Aiden become connected. To feel better in his body and be more confident. I am so thankful for what brought me to this place. Even though I whined and complained about my back, I see how God used that to get us where we are.

Aiden has come a long way, but he is not where we want him to be and we still have some bad days. I know very well the glares and stares. The judgement of other people thinking I am not parenting my child well. I know, I have been one of them myself. Do me a favor; I will join you. When you are out and about and you see a child out of control, and most likely a worn out mom, please remember my Aiden. Spectrum disorder or not, they need grace. We don't know the details of their lives. We are seeing but a tiny glimpse. Give a smile and save your judgement. You never know what that person has gone through or is currently going through. Even if she isn't parenting well, it's not our job to fix them.

What is most important to me about all of this is the help we got for Aiden. I didn't know if it was ever going to happen. But I got even more out of it. Through this experience I was able to correct by back that had hurt me every single day for years, start on a new eating lifestyle that would clear my skin and help me lose weight, and be healthy; feeling better overall. But this has been more than getting healing for myself and my son. It's about learning to have a better attitude in these hard situations. It's about the amazing people that God brings into your life when you feel like there is no good that can come out of what you're going through. Even in times we feel there can be no life in what we are going through, like God must have made a mistake, we see Him at work in others and we see beauty come from pain. People are learning lessons from us by the strength we show through our struggles.

This is our story. We were frustrated, lost, and sad for the unknown. I'm so thankful for the day I strained my back. It brought me to the right person who handed us the keys to unlock our little boy. We are seeing Aiden, who was an angry, out of control child with Autism become happy, brighter, funny, and smarter. He is getting better. He is getting connected.

It's never too late to get intervention. I highly recommend this book, our chiropractor, and these centers.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Disconnected (part 1)

Aiden was the easiest baby. He was a great sleeper and always so happy, but when he was 9 months I started feeling uneasy. I had several friends with baby boys around his age and the summer before his first birthday I remember sitting in silence, paranoid with a million thoughts racing through my mind, at a play date. Aiden wasn't talking like them. He wasn't playing with them. He wasn't crawling. And the sting of the questions never went away; "How many words is he saying?"

I knew deep down things weren't right. Anytime I brought up my concern, people replied nicely with an "I'm sure he's fine. All kids are different and learn at their own pace." Which they are, and I know those responses came with the best intentions. But it was getting more serious. I knew with all of my being something wasn't right. Despite everyone else telling me to wait it out, I sought help. (Moms and dads, this is where you trust your instincts.) People want to believe the best and give advice. And in love they do that, but they aren't always right. When you have that gut feeling go with it. There was nothing to lose but everything to gain.

So I took it upon myself to contact Easter Seals and got Aiden in their ECI (Early Childhood Intervention) program at the age of 18 months. My concerns were confirmed in our first meeting with them. He was behind in speech and had many signs of being on the spectrum. He was enrolled in their program and immediately given speech and occupational therapy twice a week. As much as we saw some improvements, we also saw our little boy go from a carefree happy baby to a frustrated and angry little boy. Simple things weren't simple for him. It was very discouraging. He was disconnected.

It was a warm day in April when I met with the psychologist and teachers. It was that day the dreaded label was confirmed. Aiden had Autism. His specific diagnosis was Autism PDD NOS (Pervasive Development Disorder, Not Otherwise Specified) I knew this deep down for years, but in that moment it was made more real. I handled it better than I imagined I would, but I had to remind myself that Aiden was the same child and we just had a label to go off of to get him more help. Sadly I didn't handle the really hard days that well. I still wondered what his future looked like. Were these therapies even helping him? I hated Autism. I'm not going to sit here and pretend like I dealt with all of this well. I didn't. I was mad. I felt sorry for myself and envied every family with children that were "normal." I was exhausted and I wanted God to fix him. This would be a cycle that had lasted for 3 years and would continue. I would read about these families that saw Autism as a gift and it only made me feel worse about myself because I didn't see it that way. I didn't want to be a part of any of it. I didn't feel like we belonged. I had many angry conversations with God and I was ashamed of myself for that. Why couldn't I be like one of those people that just embraced it?

I kept waiting for change. Hoping that something would click. Aiden had been in public school for three years and he was still having trouble socially, verbally, emotionally, and was still behind on reading. The fits he was throwing would come out of nowhere and were impossible to control. Many days I wanted to walk out of the house the moment Justin arrived home from work. It's emotionally exhausting.

And that brings us to last October. I remember pouting to Justin the night I strained my back. I was super upset and very annoyed because it had ruined our plans of having the weekend without the kids. And it meant money to see a doctor and it was irritating to me that I wouldn't be able to exercise or get around easily for a while. How many times have we done this? Gotten so worked up over something that puts a wrench in our plans that we don't take the time to see what it could be for. Or not even that. Just to see it for exactly what it is. It was a strained back. I wasn't dying. We were all fine. But I chose to have a bad attitude about it. Did I need rest, a chance to get my back in good shape, and a moment to be thankful for what I had? Yes, I needed all of that. Sadly it took me awhile to get there. And little did I know all I was going to get out of this experience....

I had no idea that when I got the recommendation for my chiropractor how much it would change my life. I had a 6 week recovery time for my back heal. And I got something even better than healing for my own body. Through conversation with my doctor I brought up Aiden and his struggles. Dr. Gazhi recommended a book, Disconnected Kids by Doctor Robert Melillo. I ordered it right away and as I frantically read through each page light bulbs were going off. It made so much sense. I was scared though. Was this too good to be true? Exercising the side of the brain that was behind and changing his diet. Was this really the answer? Was this really going to work? Why had I not heard of this book before? He was disconnected... How were we going to get him back?

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


When you do things you aren't proud of it can be difficult to go back and ask for forgiveness. But it's required to be fully free. Sadly I have done a lot of hurtful things in life and have needed a lot of forgiveness. But I didn't always do my best asking for it. I avoided confrontation and hid my emotions; numb to life. I didn't know how to handle things so I just walked away. After a friendship of fifteen years there were disagreements and we went our separate ways; feelings very hurt.

Six years later healing began and friendship started again. I realize this isn't always the case. What do you do when you don't get that opportunity? Maybe you had the chance but you didn't take it. Then all those years later you are ready but the other person isn't willing. How do you deal with knowing you are sorry but don't have the opportunity to tell that person and receive forgiveness. Being remembered for someone you aren't anymore. I've found that I just have to receive the forgiveness from God and have comfort in that.

Thankfully today is a different story. Today I celebrate someone that I hurt many years ago; but our story has the best outcome. Six years were lost, but two people became stronger, wiser, and more in need of something special that began twenty seven years ago. It took time to heal and time to trust again but it has been worth it.

There is just never enough time when we are together. We can laugh about anything. We have serious life conversations, reflecting on the past, and remembering how thankful we are for healing. How often does someone have the same best friend from when they were five? Twenty seven years later we are here. We missed a few years and it took some time, but we are back. I don't even have to remind myself how special this is. I get it. Not everyone has this. It is really rare and special. Today I reflect on how thankful I am for that.

So Happy Birthday Pepper. This is your special day. A day all about you... for gifts, love, attention, time with family, celebration, everything. But today I write because of a gift you have given me. The gift of forgiveness and renewed friendship. I'm forever grateful for it. Thank you for amazing memories, unending laughs, and the opportunity to be my dorky self with you. And most of all, thank you for forgiving me. For seeing that I had changed and for allowing our friendship to be restored. I love you so much!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

On Bread and Wine

It's no surprise we have moved away from the table. We have busy lives with lots of distractions, so we eat on the go or with our heads bowed to our phones or eyes glued to the tv. It's bothered me for awhile. I want the table back. For my own family and for yours. It's mostly what I've been thinking about since beginning my new food journey on the Paleo diet. Once I stopped eating emotionally and started treating my body in the way it was meant to be treated I allowed myself to slow down and enjoy food more. I felt better about myself and I began noticing textures and colors and really what food was meant for. I quit shoveling food into my mouth to numb the pain of life and started eating slowly only to be captivated by the tastes and smells and textures. I see now that food is not only meant to nourish and enjoy, but helps pave a way where we can gather at the table, be open, and invite each other to share life and and meaningful conversation. I want to stop and enjoy the moments we have around the table. We can't continue let those opportunities pass us by.

In her new book Bread and Wine, Shauna Niequist gives us an invitation to bring it all back. Bread and wine. The body and the blood. To give thanks for His sacrifice and to practice that by creating a space to listen, tell stories, show grace, and share life. To get to know the ones in front of us; no distractions. It's about being with those who can encourage you, those you can be an inspiration to, and those who just need someone to listen to them. It can happen around the table. And I don't think most of us are doing it. So let's slow down. Start with a simple meal and be with those you love. Feed them, listen to them, and enjoy the flavors and textures of the beautiful food God has provided. And grab Shauna's book, Bread and Wine. She is an amazing writer, someone I've never actually met but feel like I know. Reading her second book, Bittersweet, really made me feel like writing was something I could do. She is so honest. She shares not only the joyful parts of life but also the hard and the scary ones; and who we can become after enduring them. That's what I want to do.

In the introduction of Bread and Wine she reveals "This is a collection of essays about family, friendships, and the meals that bring us together. It's about the ways God teaches and nourishes us as we nourish the people around us, and about hunger, both physical and otherwise, and the connections between the two." And it truly is.

I came away from some chapters in tears, others laughing, and some so eager to set up a dinner party that moment or run to the pantry in hopes that I had all of the ingredients for the recipe I had just drooled over. The watermelon arugula salad is surprisingly delicious and, oh heavens, the dark chocolate sea salted toffee is amazing. I can't wait to dive into the pages of this book again and start cooking these lovely recipes while sharing life, love, and food.

And she ends so delicately with this, "It's about loving the people in your life by gathering them close into the private space of your home, about giving them soft places to land in hard seasons, about meeting their needs for food, for listening, for peace, for rest."

So thank you Shauna for allowing me to read an advanced copy so I could share about your lovely writing on here. You are an inspiration in so many ways. And thank you to my great friend Kat over at The Wifely Adventurer for introducing me to Shauna's writing two years ago. What a gift.

I invite you to grab her book on Amazon or her site then call some friends and tell them dinner is at six!

Friday, March 29, 2013

This kind of love....

This kind of love it's what I dreamed about
Yeah it fills me up
Well baby it leaves no doubt
This kind of love it's why I'm standing here
It's something we can share
I can't get enough of this kind of love

(Chorus from "This Kind of Love" by Sister Hazel)

This really is what I dreamed about. To grow up, get married, and have kids. I am beyond blessed to be where I am today. Ten years with this amazing, patient, loving person I call my husband; who at times can of course drive me crazy (sorry newlyweds, it's true). He loves me so much and inspires me to be a better person. This love is only the beginning. We are finally getting a hang of this marriage thing, but I also know we have a long way to go. A lot more lessons to learn. Much more love to give.

Through heartache, loss, and disagreements we didn't leave. We didn't give up. We have enjoyed all the beautiful moments and endured the messy ones. And we have come out stronger. At times we were broken, but we were healed. Other times we didn't like each other, but we never gave up on love. We didn't allow the struggles to destroy something sacred. This kind of love will keep going. And this kind of love is what I continue to dream about. I can't wait to see what the next 10 years hold. Happy 10 Year Anniversary Justin. I love you!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Grace to Give

I've been thinking about my mom a lot lately. Those thoughts and musings include reflecting on how different life might have been if she were still here, the things she would have taught me, the fights we would have had, the role she would have played as a grandma, and her killer...

In March of 1984 my mom was brutally murdered in our then city of Las Vegas. I was only two years old. I never struggled with anger or bitterness toward her killer or my situation and I'm not sure why. The details weren't presented to me and it may be because I wasn't fully aware of all that had happened. I was so young at the time of her death so life without a mom was just the way it had always been. It wasn't until recent years that I learned of the extremely gruesome details. When I did finally read the unimaginable story of the tragedy it was a little shocking to me how easy it was to forgive this man.

I lived many years hurting myself and other people. Doing some unthinkable things and continuing while knowing they were wrong. I ran from God and told Him I was better off without Him and what He had to offer. I was angry, full of guilt, and failing to enjoy life as I tried to change things on my own. I didn't truly understand grace so I didn't have any to give. I lived judging everyone, while in secret I was doing the very same things and worse. I ultimately came to a place where I realized what life was like without God. It was hell. And that's where I had to get before I realized what I needed; a lot of people do. I needed grace, or what the dictionary so beautifully describes as unmerited divine assistance given by God for sanctification. And I needed forgiveness. I was desperate for a fresh start. I got all of it. Not because I hadn't done certain things or because I'm special or different. I got it because I asked and I got it because it was available for me. God gave it all for people like me and you, and for people like my mother's killer. I can live today with no anger toward her killer because I know God does the same for me. Whether or not this man has accepted the forgiveness that God has for him I'm not sure. But I know it's available to him just as much as it is for me. And I am beyond grateful I truly understand grace and I have it to give.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

On Food & Books

On Food-

So many of you have asked me about this "Paleo thing" I am doing. I don't write a lot about food on here, but Paleo for me is about so much more than food. I've said before I'm a sugar addict and I lived for so long using food to deal with emotions. I have dealt with acne for years, and have had a constant fight to lose weight only to gain it back after giving up trying to live without sugar. All of these things lead to me trying something different.

So I started the Paleo diet mainly to see if it would help my skin. I refused to go vegan, so it seemed like the most viable option. Basically it is eating only meat, eggs, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds. I know, it sounds like torture and I was convinced it would be, but I was willing to try. I'm not going to lie, the first 10 days were not fun. I had to push through the lack of energy and sugar withdrawals. But once I made it past week two I got some energy and noticed my skin clearing up.

The 2 months leading up to my start date when I talked about it I wanted to cry. Food was a big part of my life. I planned holidays and get togethers around it. For me it was about the food. People too, of course, but the food was a biggie. I get that food is that way for most people, but it was extreme for me. I was addicted. And yes I did feel horrible after indulging in it too much but I was scared to give it up. It was my comfort in times of stress and sadness.

I told myself I would eat this way for 6 weeks and see what happened. After week one I was trying to talk myself into cutting it short, but by time I got to week 4 I was really loving it. I found myself not missing the foods I was most upset about giving up.

I am now in week 7 of eating Paleo. I have lost 11 pounds with very little exercise (that was not the plan, life has been a little busier than I thought so I haven't run as much as I would like to) and I feel really good about myself and am loving how good it feels not overindulging myself in high sugar foods. Do I still miss some things? Of course. But I am not controlled by food. I don't know for sure what this looks like for me long term, and I am not saying I will never eat bread or cheese or a cupcake again. But I can say I'm really loving this lifestyle and hope that I can do this at least 90% of the time.

Eating this way is hard work. There is a lot of planning, especially if you have to work or eat on the run. It does get so much easier the longer you do it, and I can say for sure I don't miss most processed foods, fast food, or my bloated stomach :)

On Books-

One of my goals for this year was to read one book at a time, not including the Bible (which I'm currently doing a reading plan on YouVersion to read the Bible through in a year). My pattern, before now, was reading about 4 books at a time. I found myself wanting to read so many because they are so good, but then can't finish them all because I'm doing too much. So I'm currently finishing up Love Does. I am cheating a little bit because I just couldn't help myself. I received an advanced copy of Bread and Wine and got so excited so I started that book while I finish up Love Does, a book everyone should read. I mean so so good. Here is my current book list some of you have asked for. If you have any amazing suggestions let me know. I'm always adding to my list.

1. Soul Revolution John Burke (finished)
2. Love Does Bob Goff (currently reading)
3. Wrecked Jeff Goins (halfway through)
4. Unglued Lysa Terkeurst (halfway through)
5. Bossy Pants Tina Fey
6. The Story
7. Crazy Love Francis Chan
8. One of Us Must Be Crazy....And I’m Pretty Sure It’s You Tim and Joy Downs
9. Staying Close Dennis and Barbara Rainey
10.The Life You’ve Always Wanted John Ortberg
11. Daring Greatly Dr. Brene Brown
12. A Million Miles in a Thousand Years Donald Miller
13. Bloom Kelly Hampton
14. Bread and Wine Shauna Nequist (available in April but just started reading my advanced copy so I can blog about it and post a review...coming soon.)
15. Start Jon Acuff (available in April)

So with that, think about what you are doing to care for yourself mentally, physically, and spiritually. We spend so much time caring for others, sometimes we forget about ourselves. We can best help others when we take care of ourselves first.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Join the Club

It’s amazing what a little bit of searching can do for you. I was reading through some blogs Friday and there were more than I can read of mothers and families writing about their experiences with a special needs child or children. The more I read the more I saw that these are very strong people with powerful struggles and stories. Life has handed them some pretty tough stuff. But what I’ve found is the majority of them are thankful and joyful. They haven’t made excuses or allowed life to stop just because it’s hard. They have made the choice to be a light to others just like themselves who are struggling in the same areas.

I started to feel myself becoming more thankful to be a part of this community. This isn’t really a “club” I ever thought I would be a part of, or would have wanted to be a part of. But for me to turn down the opportunity to go ahead and embrace it is silly. There are thousands of parents just like me and Justin out there. All I have to do is accept that I am part of it and it only does great things. It allows me to feel less alone. To know other moms are feeling the same way I do. And to hear stories that will crush my heart and bring me to tears, help me to remember to be thankful, and stories that will inspire me and make me want to fight harder for my son.

For about 5 years I have, in my heart, rejected the invitation to be a part of this community. I guess just deep down it was just hard to accept. I know I’ve complained a thousand times and wished this struggle wasn’t part of our world. Of course I pray for recovery for Aiden, but I know in this season I need to be a part of this community and all it has to offer. I’m ready to join. I’m ready to jump in and let them be there for me and I pray I can be that for them as well. It doesn’t mean that Aiden will struggle with the same things forever. It just means for right now I’m embracing all that Autism means. I have written about Aiden’s struggles and what it’s like, but in my heart I don’t think I had ever fully accepted it. I hadn’t accepted that I was part of this amazing community.

In the past several years I have met some pretty amazing people. Giving, selfless people we call Aiden’s teachers and therapists. On hard days it’s difficult to be so open to all of this, but on great days I’m thankful there is so much help for us and I can see the bigger picture. To see the beauty of humanity displayed through people doing their part to serve others. For the ones that don’t teach, they give gifts or words of kindness and encouragement which means more than they know. I am determined to let this part of our life be used for something. I will be joyful even through the dark days, I will encourage those who just can’t see past today. I want to give hope to them too. This part of our life might just be a bit more difficult. But if we are open to it, it will change us in ways nothing else can. For that I’m thankful. And in my heart I am letting go of certain expectations and choosing to join the club.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

When it hurts.

Frustration turns to sadness turns to anger.  I’m too ashamed to share all that I’m feeling.   But in this moment I feel useless, broken, helpless, not qualified, defeated, and just mad.  I’m at a loss.  We are consistent with discipline and schedules, but something is off.  Something is very wrong and I can’t do anything to fix it.  This is our world of Autism.  I feel terrible for having these thoughts and all I want to do is run away.  I’m tired of the responsibilities and the stress.  I don’t feel like this is how it should be.  Having kids and it being difficult is one thing, but this is just not fair.  Most days I am proud of the mom I am, and then these days happen and I don’t feel like I have a clue what I’m doing.  I’m angry.  I’m past the point of asking God what I did to deserve this.  I know He doesn’t work that way.  Should I be praying more, believing more that He can heal Aiden.  Do I believe He can?  Obviously there is a lot to learn through this but I feel like I’ve gone through a whole lot of junk and I deserve a break. As I’m writing this I imagine some of you will be reading this possibly judging me, and your thoughts are something in the range of thinking that I’m an ungrateful person or that I need to suck it up and get over it...So if that is you I’m guessing you either don’t fully understand grace or you haven’t walked through really difficult life yet.  I think I may have been that person once, so for you I have grace.

That was written three nights ago, after multiple hours of Aiden’s screaming fits, disrespect, and out of control behavior. Instead of my previous routine of escaping stress and anger by going to food for comfort, this time I sat and embraced the pain.  Anger, streaming tears, questions, sadness.  All of it.

If you have gone through, or are going through something like this I’m sure you have had some of the same thoughts and wondered if that was okay. I’m still not brave enough to tell you what those thoughts and questions were, but if you are like me I think you probably already know what mine were.  I think there is grace for them.  I think and I hope God welcomes the questions and is there to comfort, not always give us an answer. I’m learning to give myself that same grace I would give others.  As much as I would love to be positive about this situation 100% of the time and embrace Autism as a gift; sometimes I just can’t.  And I know God is still there, even with my doubts and fears, comforting me and letting me ask anything.

I’m past the anger this morning. Once I got past all the whys I asked God, I was still.  I listened and tried to understand what God was feeling, what He was seeing.  No answer in that moment, but some comfort.  So sad knowing this won’t be the last time we have a very difficult night but knowing God is in it and hurting too.  Lovely responses came in after my desperate plea for prayer.  And I started to think about what my approach has been so far.  Have I been praying?  Have I even asked for a miracle?  I know God still does those, but do I believe that He could do it for Aiden?  Declaration was one of the words in a response.

So I’m declaring that I believe God can heal our little boy. With the help of therapies we are doing and God’s miracle working power.  I’m also declaring that I am qualified and strong enough to be his mom.  In the moments I don’t feel like I am, I will find a quiet place and let God be enough.  And a declaration of imperfection.  We all have questions and frustrations.  I think God gladly accepts those questions, knowing it’s a process to get to where we need to be and asking those helps us heal, steady our heart, and realize He is enough.

These lyrics from Kari Jobe’s song “Steady My Heart” say it perfectly.
Even when it hurts
Even when it’s hard
Even when it all just falls apart
I will run to you
Cause I know that You are
Lover of my soul
Healer of my scars
You steady my heart

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Believe It

"Comparison is the thief of joy." -Theodore Roosevelt

We all struggle now and then believing great things about ourselves. Our culture and the enemy have put false ideas in our minds that we aren't good enough, and that if we were like the people we tend to obsess about we would be. This is so far from the truth.

The other day a friend and I were talking about my insecurity. For as long as I can remember I have put myself down, not seen myself as God and others do, and not taken compliments well. I know I'm not the only one. I believe it is because we are consistently looking to the wrong things to speak truth to us. Instead of God's word and the people closest to us being our biggest truth tellers we get lost in our culture and the outward appearance of others. We tend to beat ourselves up so much and think we should be like other people.

The greatest compliment I have ever received was from a close friend or a family member telling me that I'm a great mom. These people actually see me mother my children. For them to be around me, know me well, and to give me that compliment is huge. When someone close to you gives you a compliment take it. Believe it. And continue living to prove that it is true. When we don't accept God's daily grace and stop believing the best about ourselves we stop trying. I know. I've done it. When I put my focus on what I see on the outward appearances of these "perfect" families and marriages, that's what I spend my time thinking about and it steals the focus from my own family and marriage. That will then send me into thoughts that I'm not good enough and that something is wrong. This is not healthy. And when something isn't healthy it cannot grow.

Let's stop this. Stop the comparisons and beating ourselves up. Examine your life. Find your strengths and what gives you joy. Think of what you really love about yourself, and most of all who God says you are.

"Change your thoughts and you'll change your world." -Norman Vincent Peale

I'm still learning to be confident in who I am. But I am me so why not be be the best version I can be? If you don't like something about yourself, change it. Not striving to be like someone else or to please other people but to live out who God made you to be. Interrupt those lies you've been telling yourself over the years and believe what God says about you. Practice that and it will become who you are. You become what you believe about yourself. Make it positive. A daily reminder is necessary. I have scriptures written in my closet and at my desk. But I need more than that. I need to hear truth spoken to me daily, through worship and God's word. If I don't fill my mind with that truth, the ugliness of comparison will steal my joy, cause me to feel not good enough, and leave me wanting to be someone else.

So today I choose to take those compliments as truth. I am a great mother. But I can't stop there. I want to fill my mind and spirit up with the truth about who I really am as a child of God, a friend, a wife, a daughter. And on the days I don't feel like I measure up I need to ask God to help me believe I am who He says I am and ask Him what I can do to improve if I'm not giving my best. I want to be even better. Whatever it takes. I want my little boys to grow up and be secure in who they are because I taught them what God says about them and because they saw me living that out.

When we start believing the real truth about ourselves I think that's when we love more, have a deeper joy, and serve better. That's when we see our world change. Not hoping others will change but seeing the best in yourself and in others. If you don't like the story you are writing then change it. It's never too late to start writing a different story. Let grace be enough for you to move past the mistakes. Choose to be loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, gentle, faithful, and someone with self control.
-Galatians 5:22

In the times where we do start believing the past things that God has forgiven, I have to ask him to remind me who I am and to help me to believe it.