Friday, December 30, 2011

Looking Forward. Reflecting Back.


As we are winding down from the twinkling lights, Christmas songs and joyful celebrations with family & friends, I’m also reminiscing on this time of year 2 years ago. Two years. My conscious mind held onto little of that holiday season. Emotionally vacillating between completely numb and frantic packing. 

I’m blessed that I will never have the opportunity to be so self-indulgent again! Truly.

Freshly from the tub Jan 2010
This year has been amazing. My beautiful son, is a teacher. He's taught me the value of admiration, joy, trust, security and living exuberantly!! He is diligent. Forthright. Bountiful. He is a kid who knows what he likes when he sees it. He is a child with style. He is growing some real self-confidence and from time to time, shows some leadership skills in his classroom, making sure that kids aren’t pushing each other around. “School is a safe place!” he’ll say.

December 2011

He is coming up on 5 years old in April. Which is exciting and sad to me all at the same time. Where is my little weeble wobble baby with the big belly that was here just 2 years ago? Then again, I also look forward to seeing more glimpses of the young man he’s becoming. 


He’s taken the bull by the horns lately, surpassing some developmental milestones of which I wasn’t sure we’d ever say good bye. He continues to be very diligent in mastering a new skill, task or build. He rarely, if ever gets frustrated, simply requires the time to get it working… and he usually does. He’s extremely fascinated in how things work, where connections happen, and what goes where and why and what happens if….  I think Christmas was surpassed as his favorite day, when the plumber came to the house recently. The plumber did not charge extra for his ‘4 yo apprentice handling”, for which I was most grateful. His exuberant curiosity and lack of self-restraint combine to make the normally unspoken rule of “No going under cars” mandatorily spoken repeatedly. Although he will attempt to trick any unsuspecting visitor by slyly rolling a ball under their car and ‘offering’ to go get it for them. Do not fall for it. You’ve been warned.

We’ve had a really wonderful year! I’m blessed to have some very supportive friends near and far. God sent. Truly. Blessed.

This year, I’ve come to learn that our biggest hurdles lie in me. Learning to be a parent, a home manager, and a single mom. 

It seems as if, I’ve been chasing down this ‘place’. This ‘place’ that once we get there, everything else will be easier, calmer and so much more obedient. This ‘place’ is a myth.  This myth is hard to let go of. Addicting almost. Cortisol is, I think, involved.  Each day I strive to reach some "place" before we have to get to the next "place". 

I want to thank you all for indulging my fantasies of there being such a mythical ‘place’ of attachment. Mythical ‘place’ of cleanliness. Mythical ‘place’ of being on time. Yup. Took me 18 months to figure out it doesn’t exist. There is no ‘place’. It all just "Is."




And thus enters us to a new year. A year that only God knows what holds, and we are willing to take what is given. This year will be the year I learn to listen and be. The year to break the addiction of stress and cortisol and stop searching for that damn 'place'. The year I learn to loosen my grip a little. I’m still actively seeking employment and now have expanded this search globally. I literally have NO IDEA what is next for us, but I walk in faith, because God knows. Clearly the glory will be His because I’ve been trying to figure it out for 18+ months and have made no progress. Time to give Him the reigns. I will fail at this almost daily. But this year I strive to give more than I grasp.

I wish each and every one of you peace, joy and exuberant laughter throughout all of 2012.  We will be walking forward. Our path can sometimes seem a bit dark, but this year we find peace in walking forward in confidence and faith. Our love to you.


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Keeping Cabin Fever at Bay (so far)...

Gone. Not forgotten. We are still hard at work on a few things round these parts. Keep praying and manifesting mojo and juju (and lottery winnings while we're at it, huh?!).  If you've noticed somethings pop up on your reader, I've been cleaning house round here from time to time so I apologize if old posts are popping up as new ones. Forgive.. and well.. just forget it. 

It's been some time since I've written anything heartening. My heart is still buried in the heavy and.... well, the joyful too. Here's a bit of what we've been doing to keep away the winter crazies
"Digging for worms" in the frozen turned up earth, the 'new plow guy' provided. eh hemm. (this picture was clearly taken more than a month ago)

Climbing Trees. Necessary for sanity of any 4yo boy.

Examining dead trees. Soon to be walking sticks.


"Sang" (aka- picked nose) during candlelight service.


Peace on Earth. Joyful. Effervescent. Rowdy. Soulful. Peace.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Wednesday Wiggles-

In case you missed it over on the time sucking black hole...

You can dance if you want to. 
If you don't nobody will




Sunday, December 11, 2011

Sundays...

It could be a redneck Christmas, if it weren't a completely normal everyday occurrence. Yes. That is a skidder. Yes. That is a sugar shack. Yes. Those are 4 & 5 year olds gearing and fitting up the four wheeler. And although, technically, it's not my back yard, ... this is my back yard.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Fb - The Blackhole of Time...

F@cebook is a time suck for me. This is an example.

-Clicked on a canadian friends link to a huff post news article regarding Attawapiskat. Having never heard of that name, assuming it was in regard to a native population issue, it intrigued me.

-I read the article.

-Getting less interested as it had to do with Canadian politics and the budgetary defines and codes of restriction. Yet, still. Attawapiskat. Where is that? What did I miss that this article is clearly following up on dozens of others and apparently there was a crisis. hmmm

-Interested. I went to Goggle maps and searched for it.

-Zoom out. Out. Out. Out Out. Whoa. Way up there west side of the Hudson Bay in Ontario. Pretty much where I assumed it would be but to see it on the map. oooh intrigued.

-I'm a map nerd. Actually. More of a map ho- as I have zero intellectual knowledge of maps. I just totally dig them and day dream "in the map". Totally thrilling for me. See weird. Nerd. Ho-esque.

-Airport. Single strip. Images taken in summer or painted as everything seems green. Landfill... burning. Interesting. What are those square areas? zoom closer... follow the roads. No clues as to what they are. They lie just shy of the bay itself and the road seems to have a small continuation over to the bay. Hmm. Ponder. Think. Follow the road the other way.. through town... all the way to it stops. On the edge of a river. At a large building compound area. Zoom Closer. Closer. Closer. Oh...tooo far.. back up. Does not seem to have any other road leading out. So this community is completely inaccessible except by land and water. Hmm. interesting.

-Look at clock. 30 minutes has gone by. CRAP. TIME SUCKING Fb BLACKHOLE.

It gets me EVERY TIME.

Must stay clear of the gravitational force.

My sentiments exactly!


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Sunday Smile...

This is a first folks.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Thankful & Giving...

I started writing and almost finished, when, I realized- I'm preaching to the choir here.
Let's put the most important pieces first.
You all know what it means for a child to not be able to contribute, with physical labor, to the family in rural Ethiopia.
How does a child wrangle the camels, graze the goats, or drive the donkey's with club feet?



You all know what happens when a family loses a father.
Perhaps we know, too well.


You all know what it will mean for this child to grow, marry and become a father himself. 
You all know that without this surgery ... it gets harder to imagine. 
Harder to know.
For we have seen it with our own eyes.
Perhaps we have touched it with our hands.
We can not deny it.
For our hearts have certainly felt it.

So the important part is here:
As an 'other' honory put in LIZ MCGOVERN's name (this will track donation for support of these patients)
It took me 3 minutes to do it. 
Do not get lost in internet links land. Go now. Click here.
Please share Scoop's link on your own site, blog, fB and tweet. 


 After you are done with that- come back and click here for the back story.


Ok- back to the drivel I was tapping out before....
********************************************************
It's amazing. Provision. 

I worry. 
Ache.
Feign giving it to God.
With all true meaning to do just that, but it is truly so foreign that, perhaps, it can never really be accomplished. 

We live complex.
Oh, I can 'say' we live simply. Our home run-down modest.
I can 'say' I'm grateful for the $30 balance.
And it is even true, for moments here and there.
But do I live it? 
Do I live grateful?

Do I live giving to those in need, without questioning what I will have left?
No. I don't. 
I count the cost.
I question, what about me?
What about tomorrow?
Will we have any left?




It has been said time and again, that Ethiopian people are the most generous people on earth. Friends, family and acquaintances who travel extensively will recount the number of times they are invited to share a meal or coffee. They will recount the entering of the dirt floor home, with a pad on the floor, where many people sleep. I read of the host gratefully joyful, long preparing coffee ceremony and serving the last bits of food in the home.  Some of this is likely misperception through western lenses. For we hoard and stock up so instinctively, we haven't a clue what is needed on simply a daily basis and have a different room for every different activity, one for sleeping, one for eating, one for cooking, one for TV....
For now, I want to focus on the generosity. The giving.


Ethiopians are full of spirit. 
Full of God. 
Regardless of the name to which the bow nor book upon which they adore, God truly lives in them. 
They, seemingly, know this, without doubt.

For how else can they give all they have without worry? 
Without anxiety of what the morrow brings? 


It is a life lesson, I grapple with.
Do not count the cost. 
Live simply. 
Uncovered by the stuff that weighs us me down keeping me further from God. 
Give the last and know that God provides. 
Without question. 
Grateful to give joyfully.

When I speak of the generosity of the Ethiopian people and being touched, moved and inspired by it; please do not mistake that as saying "they gave me a child. Oh, most generous." This is not that post, nor is that a true statement.


God has provided. 
Thank you for praying.
Fully felt thank you.
That formerly $30 balance, went to Ethiopia yesterday.
Joyfully given.

He is merciful.

I do not know what happens tomorrow. 
But he does.
And he will provide.
We do not lack.


Five years ago, upon review of an ultra sound, it was known, my cousin would be born with club feet.
Born, casts and braces made and fit.
Months later, surgeries easily scheduled. 
Pain meds easily provided. 
Care readily available.
By 1.5 years old, he was without any sign of his birth anomaly.

He is graceful.

Around the same time, in rural Ethiopia, a child was born with club feet.
Let us not get bogged down in the what we can not do.
Not, in what we did not do.
Not, in what didn't happen.
Not even, in the lack of care available.
We can not take care of his goats or cattle for him.
We can not drive him the 6+ hours to Addis Ababa for surgery
We can not sit by his side.
We can not get his medicine.
We can not nurse him back to health.

We can not imagine the Godly hope his father carried in knowing God would provide.
We can not be the surgeons hands.

But we can provide.
What was given to us, can be given to him.

We can give.
We can joyfully gratefully give what has always been provided.
Do not count the cost.
Live simply.
Know that the morrows will bring healing for this child.

He is most faithful of all.


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Cold Dark Uknown Fear and Thankful...

Truth be told, I'm really scared.

There are times fear riddles my body and mind. I've needed to make some very hard choices these past 22 months. Very few made hastily. Some hard choices that on the surface, are deserving of criticism and harsh judgement from those who know better. Perhaps I was wrong. Likely I was, a number of times. But each time I needed to choose what was best for my son and our family in the long term. It has not been easy.

It's so easy to throw "Should've"s around. So easy to say "That's what you get when...". Whether its in the roll of the eyes or the cocked smirk and huff. Or whether we say it right out "Well, that's what you get. You're the one who brought him here."  "Well, you should've found a job at Wallyword or McD's at least by now." "Well you should've made him fall asleep by himself by now".

All these calls are easy to make when you aren't the one parenting. And my instincts want to justify- "But I can't work nights and weekends, I've only got childcare during the weekdays" or "He has sleep issues, ptsd, anxiety, clingsyndrome, darknessbarnacleitis".



It's of no good use. Neither the proclamations of the righteous in hindsight nor the mistaken self doubt that conjures the justification drive. Neither are of good use. Neither are loving. Supportive. Giving.

So today- in my fears- in my self doubts of days gone by, I prostrate. Peel back the layers of doubt. Judgement. Condescension. Black soul sucking layer by layer and find me as I am.

Here. In His arms. Full of wrong doing. Answering in faith. Thankful for the shelter we call home. Thankful for the family woven together by Him. Thankful for his ever present weight on some portion of my body at every moment. Thankful for the struggles. Thankful for the $30 balance. Thankful that I can not see what lays ahead nor what comes next. Thankful, because in the struggle comes growth. Growth in Him, if I can be weak and give it all. Growth in spirit. And all glory be His. It's the only thing left. Thankfulness.

Praying people, I do not ask often. Today I ask with a full and open heart. Even those of you who do not pray- I believe God cares for you and your heart. I would ask you to say a simple prayer, for us- for clarity, provision and wisdom.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sundays...

I think this may constitute 'bowing before the false deity of television??
Rocking Horse
He really enjoys this. I finally figured out what he likes, is that I'll get on the floor and do it alongside him. #slowlearner Now if I can get off my high horse of trying to get him to do it "right". #nagaholicmother

After: some quiet focus time. Small- muscle- group activity

Masterpiece

I forgot how cathartic painting these can be. I think I'll try coloring next

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Live vs Digital...

I need some input from you all. I'll let anonymous comments through for this one so please speak up.

Do the people (family friends) in your town and daily lives, venture into your online life as well? Does your family know about your blog and read it? Do have 2 facebook accounts? One for your digital life and one for family and friends?

Do you have pseudonyms for your online life? Do you think that protects your privacy some how?

Do you publish/broadcast anything that you want to share with some of your online people/support network, but that you wouldn't want people close to you having details about? 

Would how you deal with this crossover aspect change if you had some 'boundary issues' with those that surround you (family/friends/acquaintances?)

I know many of these questions don't have direct answers, but if you could please speak to the subject of them I'd really appreciate it.

I have boundary issues with a few people in my life. At least one person is a close family member and the overstepping of personal boundaries, the implied codependancy, manipulation and feelings of somehow slighting them is something I'm attempting to address, finally, at 40 something years old. This person is a family member and lives close by. And is, for what ever reason, upset that I won't friend her on fb. (my feeling is- we speak more than 10 times a week, see each other no less than 3 times, you know most everything going on, there is no need for fb time!)

Honestly, this isn't the entire reason I'm asking. I'm thinking of the future. Our future. Balancing this digital age with the needs of us, privacy, accessibility, support systems etc. I'd like to know how you handle all this. Thanks.

A gifts from members of my support system. Some are tangible. Most are not. Thankful heart.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Holiday. Short Edition...

Not long ago I posted about an episode of Parenthood where the unpredictability of holidays (halloween in particular) can cause hyper-vigilance and straightjacket worthy anxiety in parents-- with children. (and I'm going to leave that as a period, because I believe all kids have special needs and/or special considerations... and really- "parents with children" pretty much just sums it up.)

Started the day with some heavy work. Hitting hard. Engaging full body balance, strength, coordination.


So in making the decision to go out 'trick or treating' this year- I had to be very conscious of the 'why' and whether it was going to be ok for him. Not spiral inducing. Consider events prior and the week(s) to follow. What was 'new' or 'a lot' on the calendar of events?

Next: Building a car. Hand eye coordination. Small parts. Small tools. Eye focus. Executive function. Concentration required.

After an entire year of him knowing a little more and a little more about the American tradition of trick or treating, I knew he wanted to go, expected to revel in it and that he would, in fact enjoy it.

Keep him coming back for more! End OT with a pull on a wheeling balance board: secretly requiring lots of core strength and hand- arm coordination & strength to hold onto the very small ends of the rope while being pulled willy nilly all down the hall.

It was a full, fun and therapeutic day. Despite his ever present mucus drain, hacking cough and watery eyes (that I suspect will be here at least until we can move out of this home.), he did so good on what could have been a very very very overwhelming with excitement, fear, dread, unknowns etc day.

Next: Home for fresh COLD air. Free time. Child led play/work. Next stop: Fuel up and Nap (critical to success)

He was a beautiful butterfly who ran from house to house in the beginning, when it was still light out. By 5:30, 6pm- darkness settling in, he stayed far closer to me or held my hand. He traded out ringing doorbells with whoever we were with at the time. He laughed about the skeletons and jack-o-lanterns.

Starting out in a place of 'knowns' and with people of 'knowns'. Feel free to make fun of the Butterfly costume made of a child harness, lawn ornament and glow in dark duct tape. He can't read your comments yet. Oh and glitter spray. Can't forget the glitter!!
Running from house to house with his cousins. (clearly not our street....)

Although I'd packed PB&J's, he sat at the table and ate 2 bowls of Doya's (Gloria's) spaghetti. Doya & Dickie are my HS BFF's parents. How many times did I sit at this table and eat her famous spaghetti? I'm so glad he's gotten the privilege of walking in, being welcomed, making himself at home and finding a job to do like everyone else has done for the past 50+ years they've lived here.


After handing out candy in at their house, we went out trick or treating in their neighborhood (formerly mine too), just he and I this time. The pure excitement of what was around every corner was so contagious.


This goes without saying, but I'm learning there is power in saying it. Not only in type, but in voice. Thank You for letting me be a part of his world. The joy that stretches my heart. Thank You. Thank You. Thank You.

As we curled up in bed talking about the night- he announced "Next time- I'm going to be a FROG!!"


RRRRibbit.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Joys of Parenting...

Things never cease to surprise me.

As I'm sitting here trying to get caught up on some things, job searching, laundry and watching Parenthood on Netflix.

They just had the scene where a child "Max", who has Aspergers and frightened of all things fire, demands to go out trick or treating. The parents argue back and forth, over every minute detail, knowing that he's never been able to do anything like this before - or seemingly even come close. They tried to manipulate all the different variables they could to make sure their son was not scared, and could have a successful outing. They bickered, took precautions and manipulated before and during the events. The anxiety levels were clearly high as they tried to preempt and anticipate all known and unknown variables. 


There was one BIG Haunted house that they'd agreed to stay away from. But all the little cousins wanted to go to that house. Max said he could do it too. The parents said no. They gave all the different reason why this was a bad idea. They were scared of ruining it for him. Scared of allowing him into a situation he would have no opportunity for success. 

I know that feeling. Oh how I have lived that. When it's hard. When life gives you an unregulated season. You try so hard to do what ever you can to make it just a tad bit easier on your kid. To make sure you aren't putting him in a situation that he can 'fail' at, because then things just spiral out of control. It isn't failing. It's the fall out from being afraid, and the oh so very very very fragile confidence meter that gets smashed and effects his every movement throughout the days to follow.

So we do our best, to make sure they are in a situation that there is little opportunity for failure. Little opportunity for triggers. Little opportunity for unknown variables. We stay in the safe. The known.

Max went to the house, came running down the stairs screaming in excitement for his Mom and Dad- to show him the goodies they gave him. Clearly surprised and happy- the parents embraced him.

I broke down in tears. I broke down with my lip splitting open from the smile on my face. So happy for this fictional character, known as Max.

Every day is a Surprise around here. Everyday, even the hard ones, he does things, that I'm reminded, I thought he'd never be able to do. He functions at levels so high, I thought he'd be a teenager before he got do do some of the things he does.

It is hard. Hard. Hard. To stand back. Let him explore. Let him have space. Let the variables intrude. Let the unknown and opportunities for 'failure' surround him.

It us unimaginably breathtakingly beautiful, so see him manuever and find his way through all the obstacles and 'succeed'. New things. You can literally seen that confidence meter as it grows and gets less fragile with every success. With every decision he makes on his own. With space to run and explore. With the spiral that brings him down, passed right by. My son is amazing. And he works so hard at every new experience. He works hard at making good choices. And he never fails to recognize the moment. God is good.

*I say all of this knowing that, part of that growing confidence also means that his inhibition wanes in many areas. That may mean that he gets out of bed far earlier than me and gets a snack, reads a book, turns on the tv and picks up the phone to call someone to ask them to pick him up after school... at 7am. I'm sure my retired, sleep late parents loved that. As much as I had to tell him that was not ok... I was really happy that he COULD WOULD do it. He is amazing.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Friday, October 21, 2011

Parenthood Makes Me Cry...

Both literally and the tv show. Looking back I've been posting some hard heavy stuff lately. That's part of what's been circling the drain known as my brain these days... but the other part is what has kept me absent. Big giant happy tears. I'm really enjoying this lately. Enjoying. Enjoy. Joy. Finally, most everyday.

I'll post pictures later, but I wanted to post this, so that in a day or two, when my emotions, hormones and positive purposeful parenting has gone down hill, and I've found myself screaming like a banshee feeling like we've been in the pit of H. E. double hockey sticks forever... I will have this as a record / reminder that it isn't true. That things are really good. Hard. Difficult. Intense. Scary. but oh sooo very very sweetly good.

Look at his confidence in this walk. Oh my goodness. I'm so grateful. So grateful to be a part of his life.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Monday, October 10, 2011

Friends

Before the mom's knew what was happening. Before the mom's were even in the picture these two had each other.