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.

Taking Over The House, EEK!

    This week, Sarah is taking over the housework. I made a list of things she needs to do; daily, as needed, and weekly. I'm going to try not to remind her to do them. My first goal is to make her more responsible. The second goal is to prompt her to do things around the house without being asked to, in the future. That may all be wishful thinking, but its worth a shot.
    I see so many parents that don't give their kids any thing to do around the house. Honestly, Sarah didn't previously have many chores to do herself, in the past. Partly because she mentally could not grasp how to do some things, because of her neurological issues, and partly because it was easier for me to do it, then to fight with her about it. That has all changed more recently. Over the past few years, I have taught her everything she needs to know, to run a home properly. So, if I give her a task, it better be done. If she doesn't do the task, the most effective punishment for her, is not having screen time. Meaning, no TV, iPod, computer or electrical device of any sort. 
    God is like that with us. He will give us more difficult tests and things to accomplish as we become more like His son. The learning curve can be bothersome at times, but He is giving us a compliment. As if He is saying, "I trust you to properly handle this crisis, problem, or event, and learn from it". "I will work all things together for your good, Really"!
    So while Sarah makes breakfast, lunch and dinner. Cleans up after each meal. Washes, dries and puts away the laundry, gathers and takes out the trash, straightens, scrubs and vacuums the house, mows and weed-eats the lawn, does the dishes, buys the groceries and basically runs the house. I get to work in my garden, catch up on caning vegetables for winter, and get everything ready for her schooling. Now if only Paul will not take up her slack, AND we have a clean, well running home this week, that will be a miracle only God can accomplish. Only a few days left.

Snug as a Bug

I am snuggled under the garage roof in my own little space, listening to rain fall. It is a gentle, tender rain without thunder or lightning. I have been packing and unpacking for what feels like a month, and if I'm not careful I'll trade in this post for a nap.

It isn't just the rain and the weariness, I've been longing for a place like this all my life, and the rest that has come with it is both overdue and overpowering. I'm pushing myself to stay focused on the other parts of the house, but every little thing adds up. Last night I hung up a red birdhouse on the window above my desk. I hunted up my Pieta statuette and put it in a place of honor. This morning I rearranged the furniture and and cut the shrink wrap off. All of these actions rewarded me with the energy to do a little more. 
The more was to take time and pray. Pray without the pressure of hurrying done before kids woke up and the day needed me. For just that necessary ease that space can give, I was able to get back to a prayer routine I was sorely missing. It's important to persist in our spiritual disciplines in order to reap the rewards of knowing God better, but I am beginning to understand when this or that becomes difficult it may be that God is opening the door for greater growth through change.
I didn't want to move here, but I'm discovering many good things I couldn't have had without moving, including this room of my own.

VBS!

    This past Sunday, Monday, & Tuesday, our combined sister churches had Vacation Bible School, also known as VBS. I didn't originally plan to help. However, they had a picnic dinner before they began, and I ended up staying and helping with the youngest class. Great idea, feed people and maybe you'll get more help. It worked with me any way.
    There were a few children that tugged at my heart strings, they needed a bit of extra help. This didn't bother me because I totally got it, since my Sarah had neurological problems previously in her life. I simply guided them back, held their hand and helped them stay with the group. These kids and I totally geld. The other adults didn't seem to get them, so I took them under my care and all went smoothly. 
    The only part that bothered me about VBS were the snacks. So, the plan is; we are going to give these kids obscene amounts of sugar, High Fructose Corn Syrup, MSG and artificial dies, then tell them to sit quietly as we tell them a story? Who's bright idea was that? I said nothing, and even helped with the snacks, making waves in the icing laden gram crackers, with the peanut butter chips in between them to symbolize the parting of the red sea. A work of art I tell ya, and I ate some too.
    I am the mom that gave weird healthy snacks for my kid to eat. However, healthy snacks have improved. Towards the end of Sarah's, different then everyone else snack phase, other kids wanted Sarah's snacks instead of theirs. Now she can eat what ever, in moderation, and she knows what to really stay away from, which was my goal.
    I guess I was suppose to be there for two reasons. 1. To help with the kids that had issues. 2. To observe the snacks that were given, so they may be improved next year. I'll gently guide the adults to healthier snacks, instead of slapping hands, so to speak. It worked for the kids. Hey, at least the kids were given bottles of water to drink. Praise God for the little things!

Church business.

     I have friends that LOVE to post horrible news stories about churches flat out being evil. 90% of the time I completely agree with them and repost their news stories with an all caps, "CHRISTIANS, WE NEED TO FIX THIS!!!" But, before I hit the share button, I always dig a little deeper to find out what was happening. As I said, 90% of the time, I find out my friends are absolutely correct to post as they did. Recently I found one of those 10% where the church went back and is trying to fix it.
    I sat down at my computer to be greeted with this headline in my timeline. "Church sues homeless teen over $2.25 worth of cookies." I read about how a homeless teen had wondered in, found a tray of cookies in the kitchen, ate some of them from starvation, and left. The church then pressed charges. I was AGHAST. I was ready to fly to California and give this church a SOLID piece of my mind. UNTIL I went to the church's website to verify any of this. I found this statement, “On the afternoon of June 29, 2014 a young man entered our church building, triggering the security alarm.  As a result he was charged with burglary, but the charges were dropped on July 22 following an unrelated arrest.  At the time, we had no indication he was homeless.  Our church family is reaching out to the young man and his family.”
    Well, that changes it quite a bit! I see in my mind's eye a bleary eyed pastor that is awoken by the ringing phone and a security service saying that his church had been burgled. He calls the police in to check it out. As you see, as soon as they found out the entirety of the situation, they dropped the charges and started doing what all churches should do, help the young man and his family.
    We have a tough job to do. Many times, we make mistakes. I fail often at understanding the entirety of the situation. I judge and condemn before I have all the information.  I am called to be the church I want to see and I want to attend. I want the homeless teens to find our outer foyer doors unlocked and the foyer space filled with sandwiches, cookies and waters. I want to be the place that donates blankets to homeless shelters and does grocery drives. The change has to start with me and this must be a priority. Otherwise, I have not love and am nothing but a clanging gong or rhythmless cymbal.

There is a friend....

   Usually I am on the run. My days normally consist of some combination of working at my job, taking care of our 4 kids and 2 nephews, and playing music with our band. Hanging out with friends is often combined with one of these activities. It takes some crafty juggling of my schedule to be able to just hang out. It is a rare occasion when it happens.
   I have a friend who isn't involved in any of my three main activities. Time spent with her always lifts my spirits. We crack each other up. We laugh at the same dumb stuff. Our friendship is effortless. And it seems like no matter how long it has been since the last time we actually saw each other, we just pick up right where we left off.
   I had the opportunity to hang out with her today. Our time together went like this.....  I was on my laptop working on video clips and flyers related to some upcoming band projects. She caught up on her phone calls. I dragged her with me to the bank, Staples, one of the kids' schools, and to drop off flyers for our upcoming benefit concert. Once we made it back to my house, I logged her into my wifi so she could surf the web. While she did that, I payed bills online. She made more phone calls while I went upstairs to start making supper. When it was ready I ran back down to let her know only to find her passed out on my couch. I ate with Gene and the girls and then took a plate downstairs. We watched an episode of "Chopped". (It is now 9 PM)
   She asked me if she had told me that her sister has to have surgery. I said "no". We laughed about how we had been together the whole day doing and saying nothing. She said that the next time she can't sleep, she is coming over to borrow my couch. Then she went home.
   I didn't have to entertain her. She didn't care that my bathroom wasn't spotless. It didn't matter to either of us that we didn't "catch up". We both enjoyed just being together. No agenda. No expectations. Lots of laughs. A Chick fil A sandwich with extra pickles (she knows what I like). A nap. A soda with crushed ice. Refreshing. Thankful. Best. Day. Ever.