A funny….

I have to write this out because I don’t want to forget it. Last week I was at a doctor’s appointment. I’ve been having some health issues which I will dive into at a later time…but, for now…just know that my doctor had ordered some lab work to be done. This particular appointment was made last minute because I am really, REALLY wanting some answers. Since I was able to get in within 3 days of when I called(usually, he is booked out atleast a month) my 5 year old daughter, Samantha, had to come with me.

So, there I am….sitting in the chair in their lab about to get some blood drawn. My daughter was so sweet and wanted to hold my hand and encourage me….dear heart…love her. The technician had just begun the blood draw, I’m staring at my daughter who is staring at the blood pouring into the tubes. She then, as serious and innocent as can be,  asks the technician, “How does the wine get into the little holders?” Yes…yes, the.wine.

I’m pretty sure my face turned as red as the “wine” she was asking about. The poor tech was laughing so hard that she was trying not to let go of my arm.

Ohhhhhhh…too much sometimes….just too much….(and, no, I’m not talking about wine…) ;-)

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A new day…

Once I signed off yesterday morning and tagged back into life with my family…we were outside the whole day. We didn’t come in for good until after 4pm(this is a long time for our family)!

It was one of those Colorado summer afternoons where you think it is just about to start really raining on you, it gets overcast, and then nothing happens. There might be storm clouds all around you, but, where you are, nothin’. Usually, out here…especially after the last two summers…you pray for rain, but yesterday…it was nice to stay outside. Eric and I worked just about the whole time in the garden beds around our home. These beds had become some over-ridden with weeds you could no longer see the edging and where the actual bed started. Quite sad, fortunately, it was on the side of our home and really, didn’t look that bad.

We pulled up all the weeds, pulled up the old edging and pushed it back so the flower bed is wider and laid down a new line of big rocks. It looks so much better…tended to…fresh….ready to hold some gorgeous flowers and plants.

So, yes, yes I did go there with Eric while we were doing all of this. He’s usually not someone that spends alot of time ‘working’ outside. He plays outside all the time…it is one of his favorite places to be…but…yard work, stuff around the house…something he is learning to love and he’s getting wonderful lessons from our most spectacular neighbor, Mr. S! My point here is that one of the times we stopped and stood back to take inventory on our work….I said with a smirk to him…’ya know, I like working in the dirt because it really is a great symbol for life and what God does…’ I don’t think he was thinking about “life” at that moment… ;-) But, as I stood there, the meaning of it all couldn’t escape my thoughts….

My life….my heart…gets over ridden with weeds if I don’t tend to it. Yes, sometimes to the point where I’m not sure where the edge is because I’ve gone so far past the line. I need help and I need someone to come in and rip out those weeds…to.the.roots.! I need to push back the margin in my life to make room for more…and, in this season at the moment, it is for more rest. Rest for me. Rest for my family. It is good and I’m discovering that we have more energy to love well. More time to be flexible with and meet others when we need. More creative juices flowing and dreaming about our future both in the Air Force and/if we ever get out of the Air Force. It’s been refreshing. Hard, but good. I didn’t realize how intentional we would have to be in order to make rest a priority.

So, after Eric so graciously listened to my banter, we got back to work.

And, Josh? Josh recovered so well. Another sign of his maturing and growing… It truly does get better….We both were breathing deeper the longer we stayed outside. He talked with neighbors. Ran around the homes with squirt bottles. Had a picnic in the front yard. I think we both distanced ourselves from the morning’s hurts…until we had to walk back inside.

I chose to say nothing.

He chose to come running up to me and announce he wanted to give a concert to our friends who are coming to stay with us.

My heart so relieved. Thank You, Jesus.

He moved all his music and instruments to the basement and set up a stage to sing and dance with our friends….one of his very first friends from Illinois. A chance to look back and see truly how far this blessed, little life has come. It fills my heart with gratitude and in my mind I thank each and every person who helped and continues to help along the way…for the 1,000th time.

 

 

   
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Trying to breathe…

Ever have one of those days where everything goes perfectly….from the weather, to being the first in line, a prime parking spot right when you pull in the lot, kids who are happy and A.P.P.R.E.C.I.A.T.I.V.E.?!?!? Yesterday was a day that, honestly, a year or so ago I never thought my son would do….not just do…but, THRIVE!

It started with a trip to Target to pick out new shoes that Josh badly needed especially since we were then headed to the Renaissance Festival….and after the festival he had a birthday party at a glow in the dark putt putt place in the mall which he then followed that with coming home and going over to our neighbor’s house, playing with 6-7 other kids, bouncing on a trampoline….having one awesome summer day!!!

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I remember when going to Target was exhausting and almost always led to a meltdown. The lights, the noise, the over stimulation of it all….He would have to wear his headphones and I’d have to walk the store the same way, through the same aisles, the same direction(even if I didn’t need anything from them) just so he’d feel safe and secure enough for me to speed walk through the store and get what we needed.

Going on an outing to the Renaissance Festival…a new place, new rides, new shows, with new people and kids, let alone all the people dressed up in, uh, ‘imaginative’ costumes….wowzers…yes, wowzers…I can only handle a bit of that at a time! But, remember, it was a day where everything just kept running so smoothly. The weather was ideal…a slight breeze, overcast skies, not too crowded, the kids were taking it all in and trying new things and NEW FOOD!

The next part of the day was me taking Josh to the birthday party. Um, yeah…we don’t ever go to the mall…and by never, I mean we’ve lived here 4 years and I think we’ve been there 4 times. And, again…going to the mall with a sensory kiddo can be exhausting and add on a birthday party with kids screaming and black lights…oh boy, it’s like a perfect storm brewing! And, yet, again…yesterday…he left the party with me and as we were walking to the car he informed me about how much he loves me. Right?!? I mean a day  like today is almost too much for any kid…So, I was so impressed with how he was handling and adapting to every situation.

We came home and he immediately wanted to play outside…which is always welcomed! The kids in our neighborhood were out…and, to our surprise, he went over and started playing with them on their driveway and then in their backyard on the trampoline with about 6-7 other kids. I honestly didn’t know what to do…he was acting, well, so ‘normal.'(whatever that actually is…maybe I’ll use the word, typical…yes, ‘typical’ is better).

I think there comes a point where most parents of children with a diagnosis of autism or SPD are simply waiting; waiting for that meltdown to happen. I realized that I was living yesterday in the waiting…waiting to see what trigger was going to send him into a tailspin. I’m grateful that my eyes were opened to that before the day was over. I started breathing and e.n.j.o.y.i.n.g. the day…I know, what a concept. I enjoyed the people we were with. I enjoyed watching the kids watch some crazy guy breathe fire and knights on horses in the jousting arena. I watched Josh get so excited to see his friends at the birthday party and how they ran up and gave him hugs because they were so excited too….and, how he quietly came over to me and asked me if I could walk around the mall during the party because he ‘felt good.’ I was breathing that all in and watching and being grateful for each moment.

Are you wondering if a meltdown ever happened? Well, I’ve learned as he’s getting older and being able to handle these type of days…the FOLLOWING day can be, well, hazardous to us all and it is best to have a day at home. This is what we are doing…and, this is why the title of this post is called ‘Trying To Breathe.’ Yes, yes it started at 7:15am this morning…yes, the defiant, disrespectful, need all the control, exhaustive meltdown is happening.(this is why I’m in my office typing because I have tagged out and Eric is tagged in for this round). I knew it was brewing when, at 10:00pm last night he was just falling asleep. I knew it was coming when he couldn’t lay still and we had to go back to our metaphoric tool box and do joint compressions to help him. And, this, this is what breaks my heart. unnamed

This is a picture of all his music stuff from this room…these are his treasures…his loves…his therapy. He tore off his list of his CDs from his wall and marched and threw all of this downstairs to our dining room where we are gathering things for a garage sale/giveaway. He yelled he was never doing another concert. He was never listening to his music again. He wanted to sell ALL of his music stuff.Why? Because his sister needed a CD that was in his room.

These are the moments that I can be rendered speechless, motionless. Which child do I protect? Which child needs to understand? Which child needs to feel loved? Both, right? Don’t both deserve all those things? Why does his sister always have to be the one that takes the blunt of these meltdowns? She simply wanted a CD to listen to in her room. It was not Josh’s…it was just in his room.

She is more wise and discerning than most 5 year olds. She knows that she has caused Josh this pain and stress…but, really, SHE hasn’t….

It is in these milliseconds that I have to make a decision. Who do I stress and challenge? More often than not, Samantha will concede and change her mind. We are trying, desperately, for her not to do that with her brother, but to learn she can stick up for herself…she is learning, but, she also loves her brother with her whole being and if she can make him laugh…she will. It is in this moment, standing outside his room, that I try to help him understand and come up with solutions to his frustrations…he’s sitting there fighting tears, (I want to run and give him a hug, but I know, in this place, that will send him over the edge…ugh, I’ve been battling my way of parenting for almost 8 years now…he has taught me what he needs…I have to respect that…not parent out of what I need), he is biting his tongue to not say hurtful words(I’m so proud of this progress)… Eventually, it is all too much…Samantha does get the CD and walks with her head down back to her room. Oh my heart…I walk with her, because I’ve learned that Josh needs his time alone to yell and cry. I attempt to encourage her and I feel like she can see right though my eyes and hear the real words in my head….”I hate autism. I hate these moments. WHY am I still taken off guard when they come? Am I not doing enough? What am I missing for him? for her? Do they know how much they are l.o.v.e.d?”

I make peace with her.

I turn around and I see what he’s doing. His CD case. His microphone. His keyboard. All outside his room.

I go. I don’t want to, but, I go…I talk with him about making decisions when we are angry and hurt. We often regret those the most. He looks at me and listens…I try to remind myself of these words at.this.very.moment….I remind myself how much progress he has made…it use to be fruitless to try to speak during these times with him, but now, he’s open and listens and takes it in. I try to encourage and love. But, ultimately, I know he needs his time and space(like his mom.)

Ok…it is almost my turn to tag back in. I can hear outside my office that he’s been with Sandi. Sweet, Sandi…and we all have plans to head outside. I am breathing deeper now…

Deep breaths in…Deep breaths out….Prayers in….Prayers out….

“The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.” Job 33:4

In the meantime…it will all stay there….and we will see if tonight…it moves.

 

 

   
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The Bare Necessities…

I can remember my first CD that I purchased….Paula Abdul, Forever Your Girl. I mean who doesn’t remember that music video of Opposites Attract?!?

I can remember calling radio stations in Midland, TX when they were having giveaways… I believe the first time I won….the giveaway was a 6 pack of Crystal Pepsi(I now know why they were giving it away!HA). My stereo that had TWO places for cassette tapes was a.m.a.z.i.n.g.! Not only could I record songs from the radio(after sitting there for an hour waiting for them to play a song I like)…I could record now from someone else’s tape! That was life changing! ;-)

Music has always been a love of mine….

Can I play an instrument? No.

Can I sing a solo? No.

Can I decipher between what instrument is playing? No. Unless of course it’s a piano or a guitar!

So, when my first kid was born….well…even while I was pregnant…I always had music playing and I was always singing. Seriously….there was a song that would calm my son down…no matter what….hands down…he’d hear the piano intro…his eyes would widen and he’d start taking deeper breaths….So, thank you, thank you, Nick Lachey for your song Resolution…I’m sorry it had to come from your break-up with Jessica Simpson…however, it saved me the first year of my son’s life!

When our son turned one he had a couple of sounds…not really words…but, he had “juuu” for juice…”Geeee” for our dog, Gidget. “mi mi” for milk. I don’t really know the exact time when it happened…but, at some point, he lost those sounds and obviously didn’t add any words at all. I do know it was sometime between 12 and 15 months because by then I had made an appointment to take him in to see his doctor because ‘something’ wasn’t sitting right with me.

During all of the evaluations, therapies, and interventions that were going on…the one thing that didn’t change was the amount of music in our home. It was an incredibly overwhelming time….Eric was in the throws of his intern year of Residency, we were living in a new town, I’m reading and reading and reading as much as I can on SPD, Autism, Gut Imbalances, changing the food I buy, changing the way I cook, etc etc etc….I needed something to help me stay grounded…and, well, sane.

I was in Community Bible Study at the time, but music…oh music…to just blare a song and sing at the top of your lungs…there is something so therapeutic. When Josh would be in the middle of a meltdown…which at times would then send me into a meltdown…turning up the volume on a song and having an impromptu dance party helps…it helps alot!IMG_0353(this was Josh dancing to the music we had playing on the computer…we were here alot)

It was about this time that my mom, his Nana…another fellow music lover….gave him a kid-friendly music player with a mix cd she’d made full of kids songs. He still didn’t have any words(he was two years old), but he did have sounds and inflection in the sounds. He listened to this CD and the first song was Bare Necessities from the Jungle Book soundtrack…for whatever reason this was his song. HE.LOVED.IT. and then something amazing started happening….he could sing part of the song!! Yes, seriously, he was able to sing songs before he was ever able to say a complete sentence or ask a question or anything “age appropriate.” It was an incredible blessing and answer to prayer to have a way to be able to connect with my son! Usually around age two you are able to have hugs, hear “Mama” or “wuv you” or hold hands or something that reinforces that bond between mom and child. We were not able to have any of that during that time….so, music….music helped strengthen our bond during a time when it was oh so battered.

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I started thinking about all that because a couple of days ago, TACA(Talk About Curing Autism) posted a short snippet on a research study that was done by the Department of Neurology, Music and Neuroimaging Laboratory at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School. It was done in 2010 and the title was “From music making to speaking: engaging the mirror neuron system in autism.” Obviously, this intrigued me and I started reading about it. TACA had other comments from parents that talked about something called NMT! I thought I had heard of all the acronyms out there associated with Autism…yeah, not so much. NMT stands for Neurological Music Therapy and, of course, one of the leading research facilities in this is at Colorado State University; the Center For Biomedical Research In Music! Who knew?!? I obviously didn’t.

This was so encouraging to me because I really believe that this is what helped our son in this aspect of his recovery. So, I wanted to let people know that this option is out there and there are clinics across the country where you can take your child for therapy…music therapy! 

   
Leave a comment | Posted in Hope, SPD

So close to my heart…

20131020090403-1_Helping_Military_Families

I have been sitting on this post for almost a month now.

I am not sure why.

Maybe, it’s because I don’t know how to accurately and fully communicate my thoughts.

When something is so close to your heart….sharing it can make you feel so vulnerable.

I suppose my fears of failure and inadequacy need to take a backseat.

This is why…

There are so many military families with special needs children that need help. That need just a little extra support. Just that one thing that could set up their whole family for success…to have hope to experience a “normal” life…something that can transform merely surviving into THRIVING!

What could do this?

In our personal experience, it can come from the STAR Center located just south of Denver, CO. The treatment received there is like nothing else in the country. They have a team of support for not just the child, but for the whole family….from siblings to grandparents. Their team includes OT therapists, Speech therapists, Pediatrician, Eating Specialists, Psychologists, Family and Marriage Counselors and on and on.

We were fortunate enough to take our son there for the first time in the fall of 2010. This was a huge blessing for our family. We were moved from Scott AFB to USAFA in Colorado Springs in June. My husband left about a week after we moved into our house for a year long remote tour(12 month assignment without family) in Osan, South Korea.

So, you can imagine the stress and anxiety that a 4 year old with Sensory Processing Disorder and Autism would experience when his whole world changed and his rock, his dad, was across the world from him.

Our time at the STAR Center fundamentally changed our family, for the better. To make a list and go into detail about our experiences would take many more posts….and, perhaps, I will do just that in the near future, but, for now, let me just simply describe it this way…

For so long, I walked through every day feeling like a failure. I did not understand why my son was walking on his toes, hitting his head on the walls and floors while he was screaming in pain, would meltdown transitioning from one activity to another, lined up his toys obsessively, talked late and not well, wouldn’t let me hold his hand, and I could go on and on…basically, I felt like I was failing my son.

Our time at STAR is where we learned what our son needs…when he needs it, how he needs it, and WHY he needs it. This is where I learned more about how our son experiences the world around him.

The STAR Center and the times we have spent there not only nurtured the relationship with my son, but taught me so much about myself.

It set us up for success after we completed our treatment sessions. I am not saying that it is a “cure,” but maybe something even better. My son is still ‘him’ but with self-help skills and even more strategies to adapt to the world around him while maintaining his own unique self.

So, now…here we are….

What do you want to do when something has helped your family? We want to share it….

Eric and I are now helping the STAR Center and the SPD Foundation help military families with special needs kids.

We are trying to fund scholarships so that a military family…no matter WHERE they are stationed, can come and receive treatment.

Here is all the information….

The videos are quite short…only about 60-90 seconds long….

Now, here is where I’m going out even further on the limb….( I feel it shaking, or is that me?)…

I need two things:

1) Would you please consider giving $10 or even more if you are able? Every dollar we receive goes directly to the military scholarships….                          If you’d like…you can push the buttons on the right side of the screen(on the indiegogo site) and you will receive autographed copies of some of the best resource books and recognition from the SPD Foundation….Or it can all remain anonymous…

2) Would you please share this with your friends and family? We only have TWO weeks left. It sounds like a lot of time, but, it really isn’t.

Ok, thank you. Thank you for reading this. Thank you for sharing this. Thank you for taking the time and investing and helping us give back.

Much love.

 

   
Leave a comment | Posted in Hope, Military, SPD, STAR Center

The next morning…

Last night was a doozy. Well, ALL of yesterday was a doozy. My son’s school was out yesterday and is out today for parent/teacher conferences as well as all of next week for fall break. So, yes, he has from the 10th-21st off from school. Away from his routine, his friends, his “security”….

We have always known that he needs routine and needs to know the plan for the following day BEFORE he falls asleep. Anxiety? yes! But, it has not inhibited our lives for a long time. His ability to adapt and be flexible with changes has grown exponentially. With each year he matures and is able to develop even more self-help and coping skills. He can write his own schedule out, he creates his own check lists, and he uses “self-talk” to calm himself down. (ok, sometimes it’s self-screaming in his room!)

I think with all these steps forward, it was even that more jolting with his 3 major meltdowns within 24 hours. It was a bit traumatic and created a heavy dose of anxiety for myself. It pushed me back 4 years ago when this happened all.the.time. and thoughts of parenting failure never left the front of my mind.

Who knows what triggered it. The crazy front that blew in yesterday? Hurricane force  wind gusts blowing allergens around? No school? Something he ate? Is he getting sick? Have we really not moved forward as much as we thought? About to go through a growth spurt?

All these questions were swirling around last night after he finally was able to fall asleep. I even vented on Facebook!(gasp!) I try never to do that, but, well, I’m  thankful I did this time. I had more responses from that one genuine, heart-felt cry than anything before.

The responses reminded me how supported we are. They reminded me how so many are walking though the same thing. They made me laugh. They made me cry. They were simply encouraging.

So, now, the next morning….how are we?photo 1

 

Well, that was my view when I looked out my window. Freshly fallen snow on Pike’s Peak. The most so far this season. The sun was rising and the sky was a blend of pink, purple, and orange. Beautiful.

“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, says my soul, therefore I will hope in Him.” Lamentations 2:21-24

These verses I know by heart….brought to mind first thing this morning.

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Josh slept til 7:45! That is a whole hour later than normal.

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Posted by Scotty Smith last night…

“We should ask God to increase our hope when it is small, awaken it when it is dormant, confirm it when it is wavering, strengthen it when it is weak, and raise it up when it is overthrown.” John Calvin

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We are better. A friend said this last night,

“Life is hard. We all juggle something. Otherwise why would we need The Lord. Right? And then He gets to show Himself off and we get to testify…”

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I am thankful for being brought back to my knees.

I will be thankful for:

  • this reminder of where/how we used to live every day
  • the encouragement from family and friends
  • knowing that I am not alone
  • how strong, smart, resilient, and amazing my son is
  • the reminder of why I started Hope in focus
  • God’s faithfulness, love, and peace

Jesus saying, …”I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” John 14:27

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May you know the same peace in your heart and mind. Thank you for the support. I only pray that I can support, encourage, and listen back for you….

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(If you have not already “liked” Hope in focus on facebook, go ahead and do that. Then, you will be able to see the conversations that go on over there too. )

   
Leave a comment | Posted in Hope, Uncategorized

Do you have a dog???

Well, we do not currently have any pets…although, if you ask my kids, they may tell you otherwise because some of their stuffed animals go with us EVERYWHERE and feel like they are part of the family.

I grew up with dogs, fish, hamsters, and at times there was a horse named, Pal, that I’d go visit. I remember baby chicks in the garage of my grandparents’ house and I remember seeing a lot of cows and hens out at the ranch. I love animals. I always have and what little girl doesn’t dream of becoming a veterinarian at some point??

During the last two years we have talked a lot about adding a dog to our family. I would have two years ago, but I knew it wasn’t the right time….I mean, my husband had just returned home from serving a 12 month remote tour in Osan, South Korea. We needed to figure “us” out again before throwing anything else in the mix.

Also, my kids…they tend to have a fear of dogs. The two big reasons, I think, they are like this is because 1) My son can’t “control” a dog. It is something he doesn’t quite “understand.” 2) My daughter reacts to things the same way her brother does because she thinks he is the coolest person EVER….and, well, there was this one time that she was clobbered by a neighbor’s dog on our driveway after he got loose.

So, forgetting all of those things and having a deployment date come and go without receiving any orders which means, hopefully, he’ll be around for awhile…we are seizing the opportunity!

The two breeds we are deciding between are Miniature Australian Shepherd and a Goldendoodle. Thoughts? Opinions? We are open to them all, but I’ll tell you we are leaning towards the Aussie! Something a little smaller that we can take with us easier and may not overwhelm the kids as much.

But, the real reason I’m talking about dogs is because of this video…I read this story a couple of weeks ago. It is remarkable and fills me with such joy that I want to go adopt every dog I see…

With all of my son’s struggles and seeing life differently than most, I’ve always known a dog would bless him mightily!

So, grab a kleenex, watch, and smile!!

***ok, so you can’t watch this video on your iphone, or ipad, you can on your computer. So, here’s another link to the story and the video I posted is at the very bottom of this link!**** http://todayhealth.today.com/_news/2013/04/28/17708432-xena-the-warrior-puppy-rescued-from-abuse-helps-8-year-old-boy-with-autism?d=1

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

   
1 Comment | Posted in Hope, SPD

When I don’t understand, 

I will choose You.

When I don’t understand, 

I will choose You, God.

When I don’t understand, 

I get to choose to love You, God.

It’s that week again. Every year, for the past 14 years, yes, 14 years… the month of April comes…I know. It’s not a surprise. It IS part of the calendar. I think what surprises me is the consistent “bad things” that happen. I mean, at this point, I shouldn’t be surprised. I have begun to be more prayerfully aware and mindful of what is going on around me during this month(and well, all the time).  In fact, Saturday night as Eric was falling asleep and I was wrapped up in prayer..I told him, ” I feel like something bad is going to happen. Things don’t feel right. Something is going to happen.” Monday morning…I texted him after reports of the bombings at the Boston Marathon. It had happened again. Here is a list that I know of off the top of my head for this past week:

  • Columbine Shootings
  • VT Shootings
  • Bay of Pigs
  • Lincoln Assassination
  • BP Oil Spill and explosion
  • OKC Bombing
  • Boston Marathon Bombing
  • West, Tx explosion
  • Titanic Sinking
  • Hitler’s Birthday
  • 4/20…that’s a big deal here in CO! ; )
  • Autism “Awareness” Month

My point with all this is every year I feel it is my duty to stop and reflect…to take account of…to check in with myself…I do this out of honor for the victims from Columbine High School.

Not because I owe them anything. Not because I knew them personally.

I was a senior in high school that day. My life, as I saw it at the time, was going anywhere than how I thought it was suppose to go. I was walking through my own personal hell that week in 1999 and especially that day, April 20th. I can remember sitting on our living room couch that afternoon and evening watching the news…I remember the video and pictures looking down from the helicopters…I remember thinking…THEY have lived through an actual hell on earth. 

Nothing is hidden from Your sight.

Wherever I go You find me.

You know every detail of my life.

You are God

and You don’t miss a thing. 

The days after Columbine, we began to learn more about the shooters and their lives. The phrase that was tossed about after interviews from people who knew them was, “boys will be boys.” They didn’t see or think that any thing so horrific could happen. That phrase pierced my heart because, what I was in the middle of that week…the same, exact phrase was used by a parent….”boys will be boys”. What does that even mean, really? Or, I guess the question should be…what SHOULD it mean?

Anyways, what took me awhile to learn is that I ended up identifying with the victims.

I am in no way comparing.

I am saying that I felt, and still do feel, connected, in a spiritual sense, to them. What was happening inside my heart was being played out in real life, in front of me on the tv.

On that day my heart felt shot. My heart was in shock. My heart was battling a war. At the time it appeared more in the physical sense with people around me, but, I knew it was something bigger.

I knew it wasn’t really about me.

I knew what I was watching on tv was symbolizing something not of this world.

It was beyond me and at the time it was left at that for me.

A fundamental shift happened in my heart that week. A battle that had been raging long, long before me was becoming more and more played out in the world around us.

You make beautiful things. 

You make beautiful things out of the dust.

You make beautiful things. 

You make beautiful things out of us.

You make me new…

You are making me new…

 I think of the victims… I ask these questions: What about their lives? The families they would have? How are their parents? How are their siblings?

How are the parents of Dylan and Eric? What do they do today?

 I ask myself questions.

Am I doing enough?

Am I showing the love of Jesus to those around me?

Am I raising my own kids in a way that they know without a doubt they are loved? And in a way that they know mom and dad aren’t perfect, but Jesus’ love is?

Spirit of the living God,

Come, Fall afresh on me,

Come and fill this place, 

Let Your glory invade

Come wake me from my sleep. 

Blow through the caverns of my soul

pour in me to overflow.

And then I settle….and I rest….and I thank God. I hand my life back over to Him, again….

and in return? He fills me with love. He fills me with peace. He fills me with joy.

He reminds me how the story ends. I know how the story ends.

I see heaven. 

I see heaven invading this place. 

I see glory falling in this place. 

I see hope restored…

Satan is defeated.

This one thing remains, 

Your Love never fails

It never gives up

It never runs out on me.

In death 

In Life

I’m comforted and covered

by the power of

Your Great Love.

My debt is paid

and there is 

nothing

that can separate my heart

 from Your Great Love.

I pray. I pray an intercessory prayer.

the songs I quoted and used as prayer through the post:

I Breathe You In, God by Brian and Katie Torwalt

You Know Me by Bethel Music

Beautiful Things by Gungor

Fall Afresh by  Bethel Music

One Thing Remains by Bethel Music

 

   
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Roadtrip to Santa Fe!

This past week has been Spring Break for our kids. We decided to take a roadtrip down to  Santa Fe! I grew up going there, but hadn’t been there since high school. My husband had never been there and we love going to new places with the kids…so, off we went!IMG_4088

I researched places to eat before we left..as always…with our lifestyle, this is a must.

I thought I’d share the places we found that were awesome in case you ever find yourself in Santa Fe!

  • The first one and well, my favorite because they carry cupcakes!! (but, that’s not all!) is called MOMO & CO Bakery.IMG_4153 IMG_4155
  • Seriously, it was the first time our kids were able to stand in front of a case of cupcakes and were able to choose ANY of them! My son asked me several times, “mom, are you sure I can have any of them? They are all ok to eat?” It was so sweet and little too…he’s always asking and wanting to make sure what he eats is ok! See..aren’t they beautiful and delicious looking? IMG_4119 IMG_4109 IMG_4140 I wish I had one right now next to me! You can go here and check out their full menu…which includes waffles, lasagna, sandwiches, and so much MORE!! Oh..and notice that they do ship and they also have a fabulous indoor play area for the kids!IMG_4135
  • The other place is  Casa Chimayo. They have a menu that has GF options marked and the service there is remarkable. They will work with you and create yummy, delicious, and FRESH food. Their meat is organic and incredibly tender. I ordered their fajitas with corn tortillas, the kids ordered a chicken soft taco each, and my husband ordered the enchiladas. (side note: he is GF, but not dairy free). My kids actually ate ALL the chicken and BOTH corn tortillas that came with it. That’s unheard of for them when we eat out. It was just that good! Their story and history are great and you can read about it on the menu! IMG_2140 IMG_2141This is the guitar player that my kids loved dancing to his music. It was not loud…just perfect background songs to the meal!
    IMG_2142
  • Another coffee/cafe is The Station Cafe. They serve drinks and carry coconut and almond milk as well for espresso drinks. I ordered their Cold Brew drink that is steeped for 36 hours and served with coffee ice cubes! Refreshing! I poured Almond Milk into it for the cream part. They also carry Taos Bars(pictured below). They do contain agave, but not too much, and since we were on vacation…it was so worth it. This tasted like a reeses peanut butter cup with a little bit of crunch. I couldn’t taste the butterscotch at all. Anyways, that area has some shopping around or you can catch the Rail Runner down to Albuquerque like we did! IMG_2088 IMG_2089 IMG_2090

Alright, I hope this helps you in your trip to Santa Fe! If you’ve been there and have other places to suggest or to stay away from, please leave a comment and let us know! The more resources there are out there before a trip the easier the trip goes!! :-)

 

   
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What are you carrying around???

I’m not exactly sure how to write this post…it is my daughter’s birthday today and at the moment, that is where my heart is…but, let me start by saying that over a month ago one of my sisters emailed me a notice that The MOB Society was going to be featuring “guest posts” during the month of March. Have you ever heard of The MOB Society? Well…if not, I urge you to go take a look. They also have a big presence on Facebook as well.

Anyways, once I read that email from her, something went off inside me and I knew…just KNEW I was suppose to submit something. I begrudgingly thanked her for the information ;-) and kept it in the back of my mind.

So, yes, I did end up turning something in, not really thinking they would do anything with it. I felt like it was just the process that was good for me…that I had the discipline enough to follow through with it…I in fact, forgot about it! Well, my family and I were out of town this past weekend on a wonderful, quick getaway! While we were there I received an email that The MOB Society accepted what I sent them AND it will be published…TODAY!

Whoa! It was an awesome email to read…very exciting, humbling, and a little frightening as well.

So, this is where I am now…I pray that you head over there,  read about where my Hope comes from and I also pray that it encourages you and that if there is someone that pops into your mind while reading it…that you pass it along to them…

I’m praying that it reaches a parent who is struggling, who is carrying around so much guilt, and shows them how to take the burden OFF their shoulders…

www.themobsociety.com

Thank you!

 

   
1 Comment | Posted in Hope