Where do you live?

    The question; "Where do you live"?, has become more complicated for us lately. Last year, if you lived in the north, you may remember the winters awful cold, snowy and icy weather. Well, my husband Paul has had several injuries and surgeries. Minus 18 degrees, doesn't go well with a broken body. When we visit Florida in the winter, Paul is not in as much pain. We considered moving back to Florida but we have family in West Virginia and missed them allot when we lived full time in Florida.
    Another consideration was Sarah's education. We would have to be in one state or the other, during the entire school year. The West Virginia school time frame encompasses the entire season of winter. Also, Sarah and I had a hard time getting up at six a.m. for her to get ready to go to Middle school last year. Previously in grade school, we got up at seven fifteen and that worked out great. Strange how an hour and fifteen minutes, can cause one to be overly tired. On top of that, even though Sarah has had all of her vaccinations up till now, the new law requires more vaccinations for any West Virginia public or privately educated student to remain in school. Sarah's neurologist told us to stay away from casein because of her previous autism issues and the inability for autistic people to process it. Casein is in one of the vaccinations. Sarah also has several allergies. We found this out after taking her to two allergy specialists because she has eczema problems. In light of these issues, we did not feel it would be in Sarah's best interest medically, to further vaccinate. In Florida, vaccinations are optional. However, living in Florida for the entire school year would make our time with family very limited.
    We prayed about all of these situations. This past spring, by the grace of God, we bought a home in Florida. We own our home in West Virginia, so we are keeping it too. Since I changed my residency to Florida, Sarah was able to take advantage of Florida's free online home school package. So God has given us a way to reduce my husbands pain in the winter, give our daughter an excellent free education, the ability to get up at seven thirty, when we are rested and not to further vaccinate. Also, I am able to do my job by logging in remotely no matter where I am physically. It has all come together for our good. Only God could do all that.
    So where do we live? We live in West Virginia and Florida, that's the short answer we give.

Open to the process.

     It always amazes me how my attitude affects my learning.  It shouldn't surprise me but it does. I am suspicious of overly marketed or hyped studies or books. I always question the author's intent when there are coffee cups, bookmarks, pens, framed art, and t-shirts to promote the book ostensibly about Jesus. Case in point, Power of a praying person series by Stormie Omartian.
     I worked in Christian retail when these books hit and wrote them off as another of a series of gimmicky books written to market pottery. Then my friend showed up on my door saying God called her to do "Power of a Praying Wife." And could I please do it with her. Sigh. Fine.
     I opened myself to the book and Stormie and was immediately struck. I got on my knees in prayer and God revealed another major idol I had. I was rebuilt in that moment. In a really good way.
     God calls us. When we open our hearts to His words, we allow Him to reach inside and change. It can be His Bible, a Bible study, a sermon, or word from a friend. However Jesus comes, we should open our hearts and listen.

Good Intentions

   So finally after 3 weeks, I remembered that I am supposed to post on Tuesday while it is still actually Tuesday. I always seem to have lots of good intentions, but sometimes those good intentions get sabotaged by distraction. I have had a lot of distraction over the past couple of weeks....
  A benefit concert that I had suggested quickly turned into a six hour outdoor event complete with 5 bands, food vendors, pony rides, bounce houses, door prizes, dance groups, karate demonstrations, and so on. From the time we secured the venue for the "concert" to the time the "event" took place was about 6 weeks. Most events like this are planned out a year in advance....so there was a lot of hustling and scrambling, planning and preparing, communicating and waiting.
  In the middle of all of this, one of my teenagers who had been in a group home for therapeutic services was returned home (insert happy dance here). This meant a bunch of extra appointments, hearings, and meetings to ensure a smooth transition. I also had to plan for 5 out of the 6 kids in our house to return to 4 different schools.
  Sooooo..... I forgot to post. I emailed everyone involved and apologized. When the next week rolled around....I forgot to post......again...and.....I forgot to email everyone....much less apologize.
   My intentions were noble. My distractions were actually for good causes. But I just couldn't keep up with it all. The benefit event was exhausting but fun, and the kids started school yesterday (insert happy dance here). Sometimes life just goes full speed ahead and you wonder where the last few days or weeks went.
   This week my good intentions include....slowing down, catching up on some rest, listening to some music, praying, enjoying the kid's excitement over the first days of the new school year......
   ....oh yeah.....and laundry!
 

freak out

My kids soak up my brain. For years, I've packed up and gone to Barnes and Noble to write, because the busy cafe was less distracting than being at home. If they have a hangnail I want to know about it. We battle away like all parents and children, and I love every minute.

Recently, we moved and bought a house with a pool. I think I was the most excited about it, but the kids have been swimming every day. I've been watching from the side, measuring each swimmer's ability and good sense. They developed a rule of the pool that you have to go down the slide. Even Jimmy, our youngest took the plunge. When I finally felt secure enough to swim myself there was no question about going down the slide, what good is a pool rule if you can opt out of it? I eased into the cold water, and as soon as I was completely in the heckling started.
I am a planner. I need to think things through. I didn't plan beyond going down the slide. I sat there trying to plan and the heckling became shouting so off I went. I have three different skills I rely on in water, but my lack of a plan for employing one meant complete panic. The only thing that saved me was a calming thought that there would be be help. Sure enough, Rose snagged me and pulled me over to the side. All those years of taking her to swim class paid off.
As I calmed down I realized that I hadn't really been swimming since my college days. I've been by the pool and at the beach, but stroking my way through water, not so much. I'm always keeping them safe, though I now think it's time for a refresher class. If ever there's another need to panic, I want a much better plan.
I'm thinking I've been doing the same thing spiritually. Every life has its ups and downs, and different times require  different skill sets. There are disciplines I used to participate in every day that I'm taking for granted instead of practicing. I think it's time to reach and grow and seek the Spirit for a refresher class.


Comm"unity"

For the past six weeks, we have been making preparations for a fundraiser to benefit the private school that I attended from Kindergarten through high school.  Back in June in Cresaptown, Maryland, the skies opened up and poured 5 inches of rain per hour, resulting in massive flooding all around the area.  Calvary Christian Academy sustained massive damage to the first floor and basement of the main building, and the gym floor was a total loss.  My sister took her little girls to help with the cleanup efforts in the first days following the flooding, and brought the idea of holding a benefit concert to the band at their next rehearsal.  The idea took off, and as the weeks have passed, it has taken on a life of its own.  There are several other bands involved, including one comprised of the children of a fellow schoolmate.  There are dance groups, a karate group, vendors, an illusionist, and many other local talents participating in this event.  We are expecting great things from this, and are anticipating a large turnout from the community.


In the time since the flooding, the community has rallied around, and CCA has received assistance from countless area churches of all denominations, as well as local businesses and individuals.  Because of all the support, they are actually going to be able to begin the new school year on time!  I am so grateful to be able to do something to help, as I live and work too far away to be able to help out with the cleanup and repairs.  I am looking forward to seeing what God is going to do with all this, and also to reconnecting with old friends.

Survived!

      If you read my blog last week, you know that Sarah took over all the duties of keeping the house. So, did we survive? Barely. We are thankful for hotdogs and cereal lets just say. Paul said if he would have eaten all that Sarah made to eat, he would have lost weight. So, she didn't make breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. We were lucky to get one meal after the first day. I work three days a week and I'm the one that makes her do her chores. When mama wasn't around she got away with more, shocking! However, she did take out the garbage. I took it from house to large outside can, once, but she thanked me without being prompted to. Also any time I did anything for myself, she thanked me. This tells me that she recognized making my coffee was her task and she was thankful for the help. Everything else was accomplished. The laundry was not exactly as Paul or I either one would have done it, but hey, we had clean clothes that were not pink instead of white. I'm not complaining.
    Is Sarah helping around the house more lately? Her help is slightly elevated from previous to the take over. She does totally get how much work it takes to run a home, even if it's not properly run. She does not grumble as much or as loudly when she is asked to do something and she gets that she must do her part of the chores in our home, finally!
    I was able to work in my garden some, get her schooling situation figured out and ready on my part. I canned some peppers, relish and pickles, yay! So, all in all, I would say that the this was of benefit. God was also teaching me to be patient and trust Sarah to do her work during last week. He was teaching me that He is ultimately in charge and not to get stressed out about the little things but rather be grateful for the things that were learned and implemented by Sarah. Knowing the struggles that Sarah has previously overcome, makes me appreciate the fact that she is able to run a home. God has done wonders with both of us and we did survive. Praise be to God!

Wait. Wha?

     I'm gregarious. Outspoken. Colorful. Adventerous. (Truly!) Dogmatic. Scatterbrained. Learning disabled. (Thanks for the grace on my grammar issues.) Brilliant. Sinful. Moody.

And I really really really ABSOLUTELY cannot abide
change just for the sake of saying we changed.

      Recently I've had to adjust to a series of small yet routine disturbing changes. None of them were warranted in the least. All of them were just changes made for the sake of making changes. Now, for those of you who follow me and know that I have an autistic child, you are already figuring out where this trainwreck is a rollin'. I cried out PLEASE you do NOT understand. You are making my life miserable all just to say that you can! Please stop this and do not do this. But it didn't matter, the changes were set in stone. Again, I have learned that being accommodating is a luxury that special needs people cannot afford. 
     In any number of these changes occurred in a past incarnation of my non-mom self, I would have rolled with it and embraced it wholeheartedly. But I know now with my child, if I roll with it and move on, he will get ground up in the gears. So I, looked at my situation and said, "Fine. You only get me half the time and Pete half the time. One of us is staying home with the kids because change for change's sake is not enough to have me bring them." The people involved said, "Fine." I pouted. I thought for SURE! that 50% attendance would help those involved see how much this really was a serious issue not just whininess.
     While pouting, my mom said, "You know honey, maybe you just need to take a break from this for half the time. Maybe God isn't just trying to spare your kids, but you too. You do so much and are so willing to help out where needed, why don't you take your night off and rest. That could be God's plan all along."
      Wha? ... oh. right. I'm exhausted ALL OF THE TIME. My kids have needs that have me needing to be brutally consistent. I cannot let up or look away. I have to be on it all of the time and being this hyper alert constantly has worn me completely, all the way down. I was giving up heart. This break that threw me for such a loop, is probably exactly what I needed.

Rest...

The past week has been, well, interesting to say the least. We just returned from a wonderful week spent with my stepdaughters and their families, and walked into what my beloved refers to as "a spaghetti pile."  I suppose it's apropos, coming from an Italian...  At any rate, we were swept into a whirlwind of desperately seeking replacement caregivers for Philip's father after two quit on us within days of him coming home, asking a friend to go help the caregiver get him off the floor early one morning because we were an hour away, and taking on 12 hour shifts ourselves when we couldn't find coverage.  Although the family had attempted to honor their father in bringing him home, it was apparent that it was not a sustainable plan.  My husband ended up spending the entire week down with his parents, went with some of his siblings to search out the best alternative for their beloved father, met with his parents, then dealt with the emotional aftermath of that discussion over the next few days. He finally returned home in the wee hours of this morning after band rehearsal.  I determined that he was going to sleep as late as he cared to this morning, and I have felt impressed to make the next couple of days, as much as possible while still having to deal with scheduling of caregivers and other issues that may crop up related to his father's care, days of rest. This morning when I awoke, the first thought in my head was, "Be still and know that I am God."  I felt it so strongly.

We accomplished a fair number of things today, and are heading to see a movie now. I asked Philip if he felt restful despite the busyness of all we had done, and he said that he had. I am so thankful for the rest that The Lord has given us in the midst of the craziness of this season.