Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Red-Neck Wagoning?

I nearly forgot I had these pics!  They are simply too good of an example of "boy" to not share.  I mean, c'mon, this is my life!  I must chronicle these insane moments for my sons to forever cherish.  Tee hee hee 
Okay...so, my super sweet friend Lissa came to visit with her boys, Isaac and Ian.  We needed one last shabang before we all hit the books again.  

We tried to do something "normal."  Really!  We did!

We tried to have a simple and fun day at the pool, but a storm kicked up and we were sent home packin'.  

After it blew over though, our guys quickly found a way to entertain themselves.  (Don't they always!!!)
As Lissa and I were enjoying our couch time and catching up, I received a friendly phone call from my sis-in-law who lives up the street.  She wanted to let us know that our younger boys were outside riding the lil red wagon down the not-so-little hill on our road.

You may remember from posts back in the winter that we have great fun on this hill when it snows (okay, even when it ices), but I wasn't sure wagoning down it in the Radio Flyer was the brightest of ideas!

So, we thought we best heed the warning and check on things!  

Out we go, to make sure it was indeed our precious little darlings attempting this feat.  Of course, yes, indeed, we see the fruit of our wombs zipping down the pavement.  

And, huh? Wha...what is that they are using as a brake?  

Why, it is a bug net!  Just what we all would choose out of the vast array of tools in the garage right?
What do we do next?  

Well, we don't do what we use to do!  

We don't go running like mad women after them, freaking out that they may kill themselves (even though, of course we are thinking it in our minds)! 

No, no!  For, you see, we are now "seasoned" mothers of male offspring my friends!

NOW we finally understand their need to do these adventurous, risky, although, let's be honest, usually not completely thought through stunts! 

So, what do we do you ask?  

We act cool, calm, and collected!  (Please note that I said act!)  

We say, "Okay, if you are gonna do this, why don't you put on a helmet and pads and at least pray that you don't scrape your face across the street because, really, a bug net for a brake and flip-flops on your feet???" 
I have to admit it was actually great fun watching all this.  Even the big brothers left the X-Box football game to check it out.  Isaac was enthralled and ready to give it a whirl, but Garrison took his father's kind of approach:  he videoed hoping to cash in on the first mishap of stupidity!  You weren't gonna catch him in that wagon!
Now, here is my question:  Do you think it's bad that I was thinking, "Well, what is the worst that could happen here?  They aren't going that fast.  They have a fair amount of protection.  Some stitches?  A broken bone?  Is it worth the fun?  What do we have to lose compared to what we have to gain?"


(I would really like to hear from moms with boys out there and know if you have come to think these ways too.  And, if you don't have boys, or at least more than one, close in age with the other, well, you don't really get a say in this one because you probably just don't understand this unless you had brothers or close friends or relatives that are boys!!!  It's a whole other world I assure you!  Hahahahaha)

So you must be beside yourself wanting some live-action footage of this...and wanting to know if anybody broke anything I'm sure!

Okay...here's some video for your viewing pleasure:

Alex's try...he was beyond needing a Bug-Net Brake!  He was a pro now on his second trip down!  The fake fall at the end was lame, but whatever...
Now Isaac...he has a nice little leisurely ride.
All was going well.  Really!  It was fantastic fun and thrills.  It seemed that we had stumbled upon a new Hoosier pastime, ready to knock basketball out of its place!  



Until...Ian went for his next turn.

He got a little cocky and it didn't work out so well for him...and let me just say, I don't know why I couldn't stop laughing and perhaps my husband is right...this one time...that I do have an itsy-bitsy, teenie-weenie, little problem with laughing at people when they get hurt!  Maybe it's just the way I deal with stress honey...a coping mechanism for difficult times that truly doesn't mean anything along the lines of me not truly caring for the individual who is wounded??? (SMILE)
Did you see it?  The wipe out at the end?

He fell down...but thankfully, did not break his crown...and his buddies all went running after!  

BUT...the very great thing about Red-Neck Wagoning is that the wagon doubles in duty and acts as a stretcher to get the injured back up the hill!  
 ...so that they can collapse on the driveway and recuperate!
 See?  All's well that ends...well?

Well, Lissa and I thought it ended well!  No one else went back down and experience taught them the lesson (not their raving, worried mommas)!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Throw It Off and Run!

I was able to get out to a homeschool meeting last night.  I met some new people and caught up with some I had met previously.  I have been praying for some God-connections as far as homeschooling goes, and I believe God is answering those heart cries for the boys and me.

I also enjoyed an ice-cream date with a friend afterward, and it was nice to sit and share our lives.  That conversation has me thinking on perspectives again today and all the angles from which we can view life.  

How easy is it to glance at a situation or someone's actions and pass a quick judgment?  I continue to think on this and be amazed at how we do this!  And I think because we tend to do this and know how quick we all are to judge others it makes us shy away from being honest with people about our own weaknesses...because we live in fear of being judged!

The Bible clearly tells us that in our weakness, God is made strong.  We can't do everything perfectly!  That is precisely why we need a Savior!  But still, we strive.  We try so hard to meet some standard that we think is "perfect."  We fail miserably to see that we can never attain it.  Or, actually, maybe we don't fail at seeing it.  Perhaps we really do know that it is impossible, but we feel pressured to keep up with the illusion that we have it all together.  ???

A bunch of people walking around trying to look like they have the perfect life.  What's the point?  Living a charade is exhausting and it benefits no one!  Eventually, we will grow weary in playing this part.  Our true "ugly" will begin to seep out, and usually, let's be honest, it doesn't seep, it explodes!  Then, after we have our release, we pull it back together and begin again to act.

Why do we do this???!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Fear of rejection.  Fear of abandonment.  Fear of failure.

I think we see the underlying problem: FEAR.

The Bible tells us that perfect love casts out fear.  What is perfect love?  God.  God is love.  God doesn't just have love.  God is Love.

I know from experience that the closer we draw to the Lord in relationship, the more these fears and insecurities that keep us messed up will grow less suffocating.  In His presence is fullness of joy.

Joy is defined as an inward spiritual force.  It differs from happiness in that happiness is a fleeting feeling that changes with our circumstances but joy, once you yield your heart to the Lord, is ever-present to help you.  I don't always feel happy, but I always have joy.  It seems that the more I choose to bask in His presence, the greater my joy becomes.  It's certainly not that I don't get aggravated or shaken, but at my core, I am steady.  I know where my hope lies and from where my help comes!

I know who I am.  I am not who this world says I am, nor how it tries to define me.  I don't care anymore what "class" some may try to lump me in, because I recognize now that they only do this because it's their coping mechanism they use to feel better about themselves!  

I am me...and God loves me!  In ALL my failures, weaknesses, and shortcomings...yes, in my downright disgusting SIN, He loves me.  It doesn't matter what anyone else thinks.  I don't have to meet any standard!  I was set free when Jesus CHOSE to take my place on Calvary!  He didn't wait until I was all cleaned up and without spot or blemish to accept me.  He opened His arms wide and said, "It is finished."  So all the striving I have done has been in vain.  All the time I have spent worrying, pretending, acting...meaningless.

Let me note that I don't, by any means, intend to convey that we should get in that selfish rut of "this is just how I am and if you don't like it, too bad."  NO!  I am not an advocate of anyone being a rude, mean, or self-centered stubborn soul who no one can stand to be around!  There is a big difference in trying to be things you are not in a fake way and choosing to love others and treat them with respect...the way you want to be treated yourself.  

If we truly love God, He says we will obey His Word and want to display Him to a hurting world.  We will want to lay our lives down for others, help them, encourage them, be there for them, and meet them where they are.  We will rejoice with them when they rejoice.  We will mourn with them when they mourn. 

We will do our best to put ourselves in their shoes and understand where they are and what they are walking through.

Can you imagine a world like that?  A world where we all stopped to take the time to think about others before ourselves?

It saddens me to sit with a friend who fights feeling guilty for even sharing their struggles.  What is there in laying out your weaknesses to feel guilty about!  NOT ONE THING.  We are ALL messed up heathens that can't meet the mark of the only measure of perfection which is God Himself, and praise Him, He fully recognized that problem and sent His Son Jesus as the answer!  To try to be that answer yourself is at best, futile and at worst, idolatrous!

My sweet sons~Don't get caught up in this vicious cycle of trying to be something you can never be.  Just be you.  In all your junk, just be you.  Draw near to Jesus, and He promises He will draw near to you.  When you see something about your character that you don't like, don't wallow in self-pity or blame others for its hold on you.  Spend time with your Redeemer and you will find yourself becoming like Him.  Your time with Him should never be seen as an obligation or burden, it should be your safe refuge...your place to pour out all that vexes your soul.  Don't stand far off from Him, trying to be good enough to come to a Holy God.  Throw off anything and everything that hinders you, and RUN fast to the One who longs to set you free!  Remember: there is NOTHING you can ever do to make Him (or us) love you any less.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Teach the Heart

I'm cracking up at myself right now!

Usually, when I have a project that needs done, I wait until the desire to conquer it hits me in full and then I blow it away!

Seriously...rearranging furniture, cleaning out closets, sticking boys into new rooms all over the house...whatever it is, I wait for a day that I know I can persevere, and I go full force to completion...even if that means into the wee hours of the morning!

(Laura! Are you remembering a bedroom with navy blue walls, glow in the dark paint, and your foot in a bucket at 3 A.M. right now? Or Heather! Pushing an armoire up the stairs and trying to round the corner to a bedroom!  And Lissa! Sectional stuck in the door frame of my living room! HHHHAAAAAAAAAAAA!  Great memories!)

I'm thinking I am great with projects that I love doing or love the end result of, but these things that I have to get done...oh my!

I have never put school planning off this long, and deciding to put it all in a computer program while I am actually starting school is a bit much!  But I know the benefits of good record-keeping.  I know how nice it is to be able to print out a list of assignments so the student can just check them off!  

So why am I laughing at myself?  Well, I have already checked email and Facebook and shopped for guitars and caught up on my friends' blogs...so here I am distracting myself by writing here.  Hee hee

What can I share today?  

Nice of you to ask.  (wink) Okay, so it's our second day of school.  Fifth and eighth grades have begun!

That is beyond weird to even think about still!  Our eighth year of homeschooling.

I was getting very tickled at the boys as they sat at the table looking through their new books.  I tried really hard to put together great materials that they may actually find fun.  I want learning to be enjoyable for them!  I want them to be excited to read and find out how things work...to be thrilled to pour out their thoughts on paper or learn to speak another language or draw something from their imagination.  

Imagine how my heart lept when I heard them saying things like, "This looks cool!"  "I'm gonna do this first!"  "Mom, can I go start this book?"  "I'm actually feeling excited to do school this year!"

Thank you Lord!  Mission on the way to being accomplished???

I really have been trying to press into their hearts and minds that it is a blessing...a privilege to be able to learn...to live in a land where they have transportation, clean drinking water that runs from a faucet any time they want it, and a soft place to sleep while AC keeps them comfortable!  

I don't allow them to say, "I have to do this or that." They used to say, "Do I have to take a shower?"  I would say, "No son, you get to take a shower...please remember that."

Luxuries.  Luxuries taken for granted.  

You may be interested to know that I did follow through with my (God's actually!) idea to have the boys use only one arm for the day.  I think they gained some great empathy for people with disabilities!  Garrison even came to me with tears in  his eyes in frustration at one point which allowed me to say, "So are you getting a good perspective on how Bethany Hamilton must have felt trying to learn how to overcome adversity?"  All he could do was shake his head yes.

They had some good laughs amid their aggravations, but I believe they will look at people with eyes of compassion and admiration in a greater way now.

Homeschooling affords us many unconventional opportunities.  I do believe it is important to educate children academically, but I think a major downfall came when we became so focused on that aspect that we let life skills and heart issues that determine character slide.

Boys~No matter how or where God calls you to educate your children, make sure their education is complete and well-rounded.  Above academics, teach them character, morals, and compassion.  And don't forget...the most effective teaching method is modeling.  Live it guys.  Walk your talk because you will be their most influential teacher.  I honestly believe you will because you are already seeing the blessings that come from having a father like that, but you know, as your momma, I have to be sure I told you! (Smile)

Here they are with arms tucked inside their shirts.  I thought I was nice to let them keep out their dominant hand!  You were great sports guys!  Love you so much!!!


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Never Give Up!

Okay!  Just need a break from entering lesson plans into the computer.  

We spent our day at the pool with Hadassah and Ethan and our friends, Toni and Jamey.  I am amazed at how cool it is right now!  After days of high 90s, I was actually shivering in the pool.  We all had a fun time though.

This was our last big hoopla before we all jump back into school tomorrow.  It seems like the summer flew by.  All the kids seemed bummed, but I have to say, I am ready to get back into learning.

It's a hard thing.  The kids are done and ready for a good break when summer roles around and honestly, so am I!  However, I see the changes in my children's attitudes and find that when they aren't directed they tend to get in more trouble bickering with one another.  DONE WITH THAT!

So yes...let's get going on a new year of learning!  LOVE IT!

After the pool, we grabbed McDonald's and baked double fudge cookies for a treat.  We cuddled up to watch Soul Surfer.  Great story...could have been more tasteful with all the bikini shots.  Thankfully, my kids were absorbed in the action of the movie and didn't seem phased by the body parts.  I do intend to speak to them about it tomorrow though...just curious where they are at with that.  Glad we have a lot of open communication at our house!

Anyway, we enjoyed our evening together.  Trey came to me in the kitchen and said, "Mom, I'm so glad you're my Mom.  I'm so glad you and Dad teach me how to be a good kid.  If you weren't my parents, I would be a bad kid."

Funny what goes round in their little minds isn't it?  Where this came from I do not know.  I have no clue what triggered these thoughts, but I sure was happy he shared them.

I replied, "Well, honey, who does all the glory really go to?"

He answered, "God."

I said, "Yep, if Daddy and I didn't love the Lord, you probably wouldn't be the kid you are simply because we were your parents.  It's only God who shows us how to love you because God is love."


Ever hear God speak a good reminder through you and you get the "a-ha" moment?

It was one of those for me.

How neat to get that reminder the night before you begin a new school year with your boys!  


Thank you Lord for reminding me that without You, none of this would be or could be what it is.  Thank you for my life.  Thank you for a husband who truly loves me and his children.  Thank you for real, transparent relationships with my boys.

I am who I am because You are who You are.  And Trey is who he is because Your love overflows.  

How blessed am I to see my son thankful for the Goodness in his life.  THAT is why I do what I do every day.  THIS is why I can't let the daily storms discourage me.  

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9

We often don't know when or how our harvest will come.  It may not be in the time we expect, but we can rest in knowing it WILL come.

I love that!

I think tonight's whole message to my heart was: DON'T GIVE UP.  NEVER, EVER, EVER, NEVER...GIVE UP!  

I am thinking about having the boys tuck one arm into their shirt tomorrow and only use one arm all day...you know, to see what it was really like for Bethany Hamilton when she lost her arm.  I bet they would forever remember the first day of school that taught them to never give up!  

At last, I'll share some recent photos:

 Can you believe how big they are? Just doesn't seem possible!
 We were headed to a special church meeting this night.  Look at this boy!  How cute! 
 Trey asked me if I thought he looked like Austin...a very, very sweet young man from our church.  I'm so thankful my boys look up to guys who love the Lord and others...and who care to take care of their appearance and hygiene!  Hee hee!
 Love all the different hairstyles they are trying out lately!  It's pretty funny when two come out with the same style and the other one goes right back in the bathroom so they don't look alike!
 Wild how he looks the same but then totally different.  Where did my baby go???
 Absolutely love this one of Laurla!  Adorable!
 Lydia and Joleen came to stay with me.  They brought me an entire bag of crafts they spent the day making for me!  How sweet is that!  I think it's a true honor to be loved by kids. 
 SQUEEZE!  Could just squeeze them forever!
 One Sunday we made a big dinner of fried chicken and all the fixins for our dear friends, the Bells.  I LOVE cooking with my family!  Of course Alex was in charge of dessert.  Sprinkles anyone???  He used pink for Princess Tori.
 Trey was mashing potatoes.
 Here I am with my favorite polka-dotted apron!  Alex loves to play with my camera!
I love you Alexander Stephen!  And you too Garrison...even though you ditched family cooking for the X-Box because you were grossed out by raw chicken!   

Thursday, August 11, 2011

What's Goes In Will Come Out!

The interesting story I mentioned previously:

Andrew Pudewa spoke so much wisdom at the convention.  He told us of his adventure of living in Japan while studying the Suzuki violin method.

He enjoyed his experience there very much and worked hard to learn Japanese.  He arrived at a point of being able to converse rather well with his Japanese friends, but he noticed that there was still a "way" they said things in conversation that he did not. 

Mr. Pudewa asked his friends for help.  They just kept telling him that his Japanese was good!  He became frustrated because they didn't understand what he was trying to convey.  Then, one day, he had an idea!  He purchased the children's book, Jack and the Beanstalk.  He memorized it in Japanese sentence by sentence.

He said that he could entertain the Japanese children quite well by the end of it, but also that one day, as he was speaking, it all finally clicked!  He was able to converse in the style of his Japanese friends!

What caused his breakthrough?  Simply put, his mind had learned the patterns of the language.  He had trained his brain to "pick up the pattern!"

When he returned to the States, he sat up a preschool to try the Suzuki learning method in all subjects.  He would lead the children in poetry memorization daily.  One day, a little girl, who was always adorable and very helpful as long as he could keep her vanity in check, came in and said, "Teacher, I have a problem."  

He said, "Well, I am quite sure I can help you."

She then took off in a little rhyme that just so happened to sound like one he had read to her, but she said (I may say this a bit off of her actual rhyme, but you will get the idea), "Today I have forgotten my lunch and what I shall do, I haven't a hunch!"

Mr. Pudewa used this story to show us, his audience, the necessity of students to take in or hear good language patterns.  What goes in, comes out!  No big rocket-science finding there.  Simple, right?

Do you know that most books and television programs today are written on 3rd to 5th grade level?  

Think about what is going into our minds.

Mr. Pudewa has an excellent writing program and has been invited to help schools teach writing more effectively.  He noticed that some students were not "getting it."  They just were not able to write like some of the other students.  Eventually, he realized why.  Most everything that goes "into" us in our culture has changed dramatically since the 1800s.

We are watching our nation go down the tubes!  Change the nation by changing what is going in.  Children have to be taught to think logically and intelligently.

He suggests reading good classic novels aloud to your family in the evenings.  The more the better.  Put good stuff in!  He also has a product called, Linguistic Development Through Poetry Memorization. 
This comes with a book and CDs for children to listen to and read along as they take in poetry that will increase the language patterns and understanding.  These poems are boy friendly...as in, they are not all about gardens and flowers, but will capture a boy's imagination and natural draws.

I hope this can help you think a bit differently about what is going into your children...whether you homeschool or not.  Family reading is my favorite thing to do with my children.  The discussions that have occurred because of this time of our day will always be treasured in my heart.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Mouse Hunt

I know I promised an interesting story, but this must be shared while it's fresh in my head!

I should have known when I awoke this morning to the commotion of Trey with a sword at the top of the stairs yelling to Alex running up with a piece of cheese in his hand that it would be an exciting day! 

"Boys, are you on a mouse hunt?" 


"What are you going to do with the sword Trey?"

"I'm supposed to go like this..."  You must picture him jabbing the plastic sword into the carpet.

"You are going to smash the mouse into my carpet?"

Big eyes.  Guess he hadn't thought that through all the way.  

However, his very quick-witted brother had the answer:  "No Mom!  The cheese would be under him!"

"Oh yes boys.  That would make it much better.  No mess there."

We proceed through breakfast and clean-up to get ready for our pals to come hang out.

Suddenly, Trey runs to my bedroom trying to say something out of breath..."Little...baby...mouse...fourth step...calling Dad from the house phone to his cell phone...he is downstairs...he can try to sneak up..."

"Okay son, whatever you think is best.  You just protect me." 

(See this is their big chance to be my heroes, and now I know how important that is to boys!  Hunt. Conquer. Protect. Get injured if need-be, but at all cost, WIN THE BATTLE AND HELP SOMEONE!)

Tom slinks around the corner with a very impressive stack of cardboard something as his weapon of choice.  Alex has the sword again at the top of the stairs (great, back to Plan Smash the Mouse into the Carpet...or was it into the Cheese???)!  

Trey has a box.

I debate on whether to grab the camera, sit on top the couch to keep my feet up or maybe go outside with the dog so she doesn't eat said mouse...  

Alas, I decide to go lock myself in my bathroom and wash my hair!  (Isn't this what any woman with four males on a mouse hunt in her house would do???)

I should have rolled the video camera.  Will I ever learn?  They would have loved to watch that over and over!

I thought it was all over, but when I returned, Tom was on the stairs with a box and he had stationed boys at the top and bottom with boxes and who knows what else.  

Thankfully, at least Dad had a better plan than to smash anything into the carpet!

And then, action!  Dad goes in for the capture!  It starts to run past him, but NOPE!  You can't get passed our SuperDad!  

He caught the mouse with his bare hands!  He stuck it in the little box!

It wasn't a big, ugly mouse!  It was so cute and tiny.  They wanted to keep it.  I probably should've let them, but I said no in the moment.

They all went outside for a few minutes to decide it's fate.  How do you kill something so cute!

Then Alex comes in all sad-looking and says, "Dad threw him down a drain.  It probably crushed all his bones!"

Trey followed in behind and said, "Poor Steve."

"You guys named it Steve?"  Trey shakes his head.

"Yeah, Little Steve...in the drain now.  But when we catch his mom, we can put her in the drain too and they can be reunited!"

"Ummm...his...mom?  You think we have...uh...more...with us?"

"Oh yeah Mom, the other one I saw last night was bigger!"


I hope our mouse hunting is over here, but stay tuned because it may be just beginning.  At least we went about a year without any.  I guess that just happens when you live next to a field and woods.  

Glad I have all these wise hunters to take care of me!  Hee hee

P.S. If anyone feels led to start a collection for the new carpet I may need, you go ahead!

P.S.S. Alex asked if he could spray Lysol on the steps.  BHHAAAA!

P.S.S.S. Trey said he was going to vacuum up the mouse poop behind the couch.



Sunday, August 7, 2011

Pieces of the Puzzles!

Wow!...So...yeah...new school year.  New things to figure out.  New things to buy.  New ways of seeing things!

Just got back from a homeschool expo in Chicago...that just happened to be on my birthday...which I love!  Totally don't understand people who don't love their birthday...or anyone's birthday!  LOVE to celebrate people!

I never would have thought I would be spending my 35th birthday in Chicago (it was an impromptu trip), nor spending it with two people I went to high school with and haven't seen in forever!

So weird and cool how God intertwines human pathways.  Love that about Him!

We had a GREAT time for real though.  And, even better than all of that AND spending it with my favorite husband AND knowing my boys were safe and happy as hippos with my AMAZING, WONDERFUL, FABULOUS, LOVING parents...if that wasn't enough...

GOD TOTALLY MET US THERE, AND I WOULD EVEN SAY DIVINELY SET US UP...though, you know, we just thought we were taking an "impromptu" trip!

I'm so serious.  I don't care if you don't believe me!  Nothing could convince me otherwise.  NOTHING!

As I was in workshops, Tom was in workshops.  Unrelated workshops...or so we thought.

We went thinking we had all our curriculum researched, purchased, and on it's way.  We thought we were good to go and this was just a "Cool, let's see what wisdom we can learn as we jump into a new year" kinda conference.


I got all messed up.  Tom got all messed up.  There were four specific speakers God used to create this glorious collision:  

Andrew Pudewa of 

Kirk Martin of

Rebecca Ingram-Powell of Mom Seriously

Tom Clark of
In reality, we only ended up changing math curriculum.  We have been doing Teaching Textbooks, which helped me a great deal, as math is not my cup o tea.  But, after Tom (who very much is a numbers guy), sat in Tom Clark's talks on Video Text and learned how much this man has achieved and why he wrote his math curriculum the way he did, well, Tom was hooked.  It just makes so much more sense and shows the students the why, not just the how!

Alex and Trey are not ready for the level of this curriculum, but thankfully, Mr. Clark gives his top picks of elementary level arithmetic that helps with the conceptual and shows the why behind the how:  Right Start Mathematics, Making Math Meaningful, and Math U See.  

Math U See didn't work for our family, so we have now switched to Right Start and though that may seem like it is of little importance, it is a VERY BIG DEAL for my house.

You must understand that my Alex is not a conventional kind of schoolboy.  Garrison and Trey could sit in a traditional American classroom and pass just fine, but Alex does not do well with that kind of teaching style.

Alex needs to wiggle and fig-it and chew.  He would get in trouble at "regular" school and end up...well, I'll just drop that.  I just know it's not the place for him.

Okay, switch gears but stay with me here.  

As Tom is in the way-cool math talks (oh, sorry, that was ME gagging just then), I was sitting with Mr. Pudewa and Mr. Martin learning about tactile (busy-hand) learners and learners who don't thrive well in traditional prisons...I mean classrooms (it feels like prison to one of these kinds of learners).

Mr. Martin was talking about how to best parent and nurture, especially, these "different" kinds of learners...you know the highly inquisitive, super creative, think-outside-of the box types that we wouldn't have most of what we have in this world if it weren't for these types... We are now the proud owners of FOUR cd sets by him (which I have already listened to three of).

Mr. Pudewa, on the other hand, was then talking about these same "different" kind of learners and how they process information and learn best.

I have so much information I could share, but let me just bring it down to this:  Tom and I sat at lunch choked up, with tears in our eyes, sharing with each other all the pieces of this puzzle we felt like God gave us for our Alex.  

I mean, WE know he is amazing.  WE have always known he is a wonder of God's creation.  We just didn't know how to help him thrive in the conventional learning methods we were taught or thought we had to use to teach!

To some, you read this and think, "Oh, well how nice...they found a new little math workbook for their son.  Lovely."  NO!  You don't get it!  What we found was a key we have been missing that will mean our son can really have math click in his brain and be able to actually go to college and now do really, really well if he wants!   It is a key to his treasure...a way he can take all the incredible ideas that run through his mind and do something with it!

We had it confirmed to our hearts what God has meant as He has been speaking..."Radical amputation."  There are some very specific things that have to go from our lives. 

There are some very specific things that have to be done...that have to be added and implemented.

And they all mean the difference of our son acting out because his mind and the way it is wired has him utterly bored!  He picks at his brothers because he gets a reaction that stimulates his mind, which increases blood flow to his brain...the same reasons he chews on things, cuts things up, fiddles and fig-its CONSTANTLY!  


I learned so much...so much that I desperately needed to see through my lil boy's eyes.  


That's all I will say tonight, as I need to go hold my little treasures that just got home instead of write about them, but soon I will try to share a very interesting story.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

You've Been There, Right?

You may remember some post ago when I shared about my Alex's experience at camp and how the judgment of another person of Alex's action broke my heart as his momma. Well, tonight, I received some texts from a childhood girlfriend about her day with her son.  He had to go to the doctor to get help for an injury and whatever procedure they needed to do evoked tremendous fear in him.

I want to share with you a part of what she texted me because it is motherhood in its rawest form:  "I just can't explain how he lost total control out of fear and there was no bringing him back down.  I was useless and all he saw me as was just someone trying to hurt him.  I was sad, angry, embarrassed, and felt every other emotion...definitely not like a protective parent!"

This is from someone I have known most of my life.  She is not normally a person who struggles with being ultra-sensitive (like me!), nor extremely emotional.

This is a very intelligent, very level-headed, successful, independent woman.  She is beautiful, skinny, has a lovely home, gorgeous children, dedicated husband...and other than really wanting to have a different vehicle at the moment, from the outside looking in, she appears to have it all.  

She isn't one to struggle with insecurity in many ways.  She is normally confident and can hold her own in this world.  She was blessed to be raised in a strong Christian home, taught that God has her back and loves her deeply.

But today, my friend's world came crashing down on her.  No amount of money could change what happened.  Her intelligence and training in psychology, experience in social work, and love of children couldn't make her situation better.

She watched helplessly as her boy lost it.  

He has his fair share of struggles with learning difficulties and ADHD.  Parenting him has not been what she expected.  His little mind processes things quite differently than most children and definitely differently than his momma's and daddy's.

From the perspective of a bystander in the doctor's office, it may look like this child was just throwing a tantrum and needed a good spanking.  Maybe they thought that in their head...or thought, "If that was my son, I would..."

I know I have done that.  Have you?


It's okay.  I know my friend well.  I know she has done it too.

It's so easy to judge isn't it?  It's so easy to pass quick criticism on situations we get to peek into.

But, I know my friend.  I know her boy.  VERY WELL.  

I KNOW their struggles.  I know the tears my friend has cried in trying to understand her son...in trying to help him be "normal."

I wouldn't have had the same thoughts as a passer-by who doesn't KNOW the real story.

My eyes filled with tears, and I cried out to Jesus to help my friend when I read that text.  You see, I have been there.  I have known that kind of despair.  I have ran through all those emotions as a mom.

It's hard.  Terribly hard.

We have ALL been there or somewhere around "there."  We have all experienced times of humiliation over something that hit us out of left field!  We have all felt the judgment of others, haven't we?

In those times, we must be very, very careful not to be moved by other people's approval...or what "they" think is right because it worked for them or they read it somewhere or their parents did it!

I can't tell my friend what to do for her boy.  Sure, God may give me some divine wisdom to speak to her, but short of that, my boys are not like her boy.  What works for mine, may or may NOT work for her son.  For me to presume I have the answer to her success is dangerous at least.  Perhaps some things I try may work for her.  If she asks, I will try to help her.  If God directs me, I will be faithful to give her a message.  But short of that, I have learned this very important lesson:  SHUT UP AND PRAY.

I will pray for my friend and her family because God has her answers and the Holy Spirit will lead her into ALL truth.  I will not talk about her or judge her.

When I saw her lil boy tonight, HE stopped me and said, "So, I guess my dad told you what I did today."  

I was SHOCKED!  All I knew from his mom at that point was that she had a bad experience with him at the doctor and she would talk to me later.

The amazing thing was that he was looking me straight in the eye when he said it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You have to understand that eye contact for any length of time is HARD for this boy.  He runs by me and shouts hi when he comes over.  I have to tackle him for hugs...and that I know I can only do occasionally, lest he freak out.  


So, I say, "No, what happened?"  

"Nothing."  He looks down.

I stand wondering how to handle this.  God help!  He seems to want to talk!

"What happened buddy?  Did you all get in a fight?"

Eye contact BACK!  Yes!  (Barely audible) "I used my karate on her."

"You used your karate on your mom?  Why?"

"The doctor was trying to do something to my finger.  I was scared.  I didn't want em to so I went like this..."  He showed me how he kicked his mom.  He looked down at the ground.  

Clearly remorseful.  

Clearly in shame.  

My heart busted...for my friend and her boy.

This is not a mean, bad little boy.  This is a little boy who isn't "conventional," sometimes gets carried away, but who isn't malicious.

"When are you supposed to use your karate?"

"To defend myself."  (Still, I have eye contact!  This is a record for us!)

"That's right...only as a last resort, right...when NOTHING else will work."

He looks down again.  I rub his head and tell him it's going to be okay.  "Did you tell her you were sorry?"

Eye contact back.  He nods his head yes.  "It's gonna be okay buddy."

I drive away.  I want to call my friend immediately.  I want to tell her that though this may have been one of her worst days with him ever, it just became one of my best!

I mean, okay, clearly, no one wants what happened in that doctor's office to happen, but wow! 






Not many people would know those are breakthroughs in his little life.  On a day the devil would try to lie to my friend and tell her she is screwing up or that he is screwed up, the Lord put me in the right place, at the right time, to be able to say, "My friend, the devil is a liar and you must be doing many things right or your son would not have wanted or done any of the above!"

His heart and mind are not beyond God's reach!  He may not learn things in a way we are used to, but God knows the keys to reaching him his way and God will show his momma!

Boys~Please be careful how you pass judgment and criticism on other people's situations.  There is often a whole lot of history you know nothing about.  All you owe others is to truly love them.  

True love believes the best of people.  Ask God to give you His eyes for every situation.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Be Yourself!

Alright!  I shared yesterday what triggered the awakening of realization that people-approval idolatry was in my heart.  

I think as humans we all deal with this our whole life long to some extent or another, but I have found in talking to others that there seems to be this POW! moment of awakening where eyes are opened, brain fog leaves, and we understand that we have been living to please others.

I can't even tell you how hard it was to publish the post from yesterday!  See, I am still in process of letting it all go...of just being real.  I found myself "worried" over who might read it and if I might offend someone, blah, blah, blah.

But, you know what?  I know the kind of ministry the Lord has called me to:  hurting people...people so wounded inside that they feel suffocated and paralyzed...people who are stuck in the pit the enemy laid for them.  I know that transparency is what it takes to climb out because transparency exposes the deep fears and condemnation!  Once exposed, God can shed His healing light and those peopel can walk out the life God has for them!  (Okay, okay...I know it is not usually as easy as it sounds because some of us have been through some ROUGH stuff along the way and if often takes time!)

In the book of James, we are told to confess our sins to one another, SO THAT we will be healed.  There IS power in confessing sin to each other.  It doesn't make us any more saved, but it does somehow help set us free from the suffocating bondage sin brings.

Oftentimes, the actions of others cause us pain, but in reality, there is to be found deep in us, a place that allows that pain to affect us.  We tend to deal with the symptoms and never get to the root.

Let God examine you and help you see if there is a root of fear or condemnation in you because when there is, you usually try to please others so they don't reject you.

One major symptom that will tell you if you are dealing with fear and condemnation as a root is perfectionism.  It still amazes me how we strive to be picture perfect in this world.  It doesn't exist.  We can never please everyone and Jesus fulfilled our perfection before the Father.

I write this openly, not only to help others on their journey, but for my boys as well.  You see, they have lived through much of this process with me.  I know I have messed up royally at times where they are concerned, and as much as this is our journal of life together, it is also my living love letter to them.  They will grow up and try to figure out things about themselves, as we all do.  They will look back on their life and seek to understand what causes them to see and do things certain ways.  I shudder because I will be largely responsible for that!  I want my sons to know the good, bad, and ugly of their momma so that maybe they can have understanding of the times I messed up!  I want them to learn from my triumphs AND my mistakes and sin.

I know many people may not agree with that either, but that's my whole point!  I am doing what God has put on my heart to do!

Boys~remember the words written on your bathroom wall growing up:  In a world where you can be anything, be yourself.  

Please forgive me for times I let you down and messed up.  When you are parents, you will realize just how "  grown-up"   you really aren't yet!  (giggle)  You will see how much growing we do as we parent our children.  It's scary stuff, but the more transparent you can be with your kids, the more grace you will find them giving you.  Thank you.

Monday, August 1, 2011

To the Only One Who is Worthy

As I was driving alone today, I started thinking about when this whole journey of "getting-over-what-people-think-of-me-thing" began.

It was in days of fasting and praying before the Lord.  We were in a church and our situation there had become toxic to my mind, emotions, physical body, and even my marriage.  

We had served, in our opinion, faithfully to the Lord, our leaders, and our brothers and sisters.  Sadly, our leaders did not feel the same way.  For whatever reasons, they had determined in their minds that I could not be trusted.

I knew something was wrong, though I could never put my finger on all of it...to the point that I thought I was going to go crazy and literally had researched mental hospitals to get help.  I thought I was messed up and must be the cause of all of this somehow, though I did not see how!

I tried everything I knew to make the situation better.  I even stuffed all of my giftings down and did little and talked to hardly anyone so I couldn't be accused of anything...so maybe my leaders would feel more secure...so maybe my husband could keep a "friendship" he cherished and had needed for a long time.

Things from my past, however, had caused my physical body to react to conflict and difficult situations in violent ways.  I was getting very ill from the stress.  Where many individuals can go through chaotic times and recover relatively quickly, my body responds with physical responses I cannot control.  I will spare you the details, but heart palpitations and anxiety attacks were part of it.  (Thankfully, that has gotten better.)

My sweet  husband was lost and confused.  He was torn.  He was trying his best to understand what all was going on, as I was.  It just seemed like nothing I ever did was the "right" thing where my leaders where concerned.  Their methods of "correction" left me feeling like such a loser that could never get "it" right...whatever "it" was that I was striving for!

I know so much of that was my own insecurity and fear of rejection and abandonment.  I definitely don't place all the blame on them, and even then, I recognized the enemy's hands on the whole thing.  But, when humans decide that they "know" something, it is hard to change their minds and one cannot be lead correctly and effectively by those who do not trust them.  That will always affect their motives and ways of handling situations.

All this came to a head as my husband was starting his new job.  For several weeks, he was out of town, which was really a God-send.  I took that time to fast and pray alone with the Lord, and I know that He told me not to return to the church at that time because He confirmed it three times over.

The Lord showed me many, many things through His Word in that season.  I examined my heart, let Him exam my heart and reveal it to me.  Of course I saw where anger and hurt had allowed bitterness to take root.  It was definitely THE hardest time in my life, but at the same time, the absolute sweetest time with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

The more time I spent with the Lord and allowed Him to take me out of that environment, the healthier I became...to the point that neighbors, friends, family, and even my medical doctor noticed a difference!  I poured over the Word and prayed and listened intently.  I saw how much I had let other people and my fear become idols in my life.

I had been operating, not be His direction, but by fear of man.

I cared deeply for my leaders (still do...want nothing but God's best for them).  I wanted to please them, to help them, to stand up for them.  I still believe I was doing all those things to the best of my human ability, but unfortunately, the enemy was working and they became convinced otherwise.

The devastation of having your character questioned guts you as a human.  I saw the rejection and betrayal my Savior took on Himself in a whole new light.

I determined then that I was going to overcome the fear of man and man's approval in my life.  I was going to tear down that idol with the empowerment of the Holy Spirit so nothing else could be stolen from me.

I remember so vividly the night before a retreat I went to be part of.  I was laying in bed by my husband, telling him how nervous it made me to talk in front of people.  He does such a great job with that!  I felt led by the Lord to ask Him to pray for me, that I would be helped in speaking out boldly.  It was an amazing moment between us, and though I cannot explain it, I felt something tangible happen in my physical body.

When I spoke at the retreat, the Lord was with me and helped me convey a message of hope and healing.  I was able to share transparently and was in awe of what was taking place.  It was a life-changing experience for me.  Sadly, the next day, I received a phone call from my leader that was...well, let's just simply say it wasn't kind, and that is the point the Holy Spirit has taken me back to and shown me that I shut down in my soul.

I do not believe the hurt was intentional.  I believe these leaders were doing what they thought was right in these times, but they were misguided and the effects have been far-reaching in my life, my husband's life, and other people's.  

The enemy doesn't play fair and will use anyone as a pawn to destroy.  We must stay alert and watch for anything that is used to tear us down. 

That was three years ago, and just recently, at a conference I went to, my soul began to reawaken in a fresh way.  It has been a process for sure!  I have learned so much.  I would not go back and change it if I could.  Shocking, I know, but I wouldn't trade what propelled me into the arms and understanding of Jesus to the deepest extent I have known yet.

I realize now that my insecurity caused me to seek man's approval.  Seeking man's approval caused me to allow wrong actions and wrong actions allowed me to be torn down in many ways.

Something snapped in me in the months that followed.  Something bold and ferocious rised up inside me.  

It was my identity in Christ.

I have been on a journey of learning who He died for me to be...of understanding what all He took on Himself so I wouldn't have to.

I owe no person anything but to love them.  I learned that Love doesn't always want me to stay where I am mistreated or put up with accusations leveled against me without cause or witness.  Love doesn't require me to be fake and pretend that nothing happened.  Love wants me to be kind, patient, and forgiving.  Love does not require me to forget what occurred, but to learn from it and not to throw it back in someone's face in a spiteful way.  Love desires for me to move on and realize that people are people, not flawless messiahs!

Hurting people hurt people.  Sometimes they mean to, but many times they don't.  Hurting and insecure people often judge others and are critical with an opinion of knowing what others should do in every situation!  

I know I hurt others in my hurt.  I am sorry a thousand times over for my part in things...yesterday, today, and forever.  God is teaching me how to look to Him for my security and acceptance...to realize Jesus is the only standard of perfection, and I cannot meet it in my human self.  I am utterly dependent upon Him and thankful for His obedience and sacrifice to take my place on the cross.  The full fury of God's wrath was taken out on Jesus so that I could be free...and I am learning what it means to live free!  There is therefore NOW, NO condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

I am in Him.  He is in me.  I don't have to be who anyone else wants me to be.  They may not understand me.  They may disagree with me.  But, "they" are not my Judge.  I want to bow only to the One who is worthy of my worship.  I will move when He says move and do what He says to do...without apology or explanation to any proud human critic.

I pray you will too (especially you my sons...always, but in the utmost love and humility).