Pondering Perfect Storms

Not like it’s been a perfect storm, or anything; but what does the East Coast call it, a Nor’ Easter?  Yea, lots of life to get thru already this year.

So this is where I am supposed to get all my poetic skills out and find a way to expound gracefully about all the details going on in our little family.   Just as a flavor of early 2018- We have been pushing hard to get T. her last classes to finish school-and hard as it is to push thru her most nemesis subject (history and wars) it’s getting even harder to manage the red tape to get it all pulled together.  The boys have all hit that age where they really see how far ahead, in worldly measures, all their peers are and the resulting depression is hard- even the youngest is there now.  Hubby was part of the new round of layoffs at his job.  I have also started a new doctor for me, including getting an infection from my teeth cleaning, but I am hopeful.  I would have to pull out my journal for more details, but to be honest, I don’t  really want to…’cause most days I am doing good just to keep going.

But it is against the backdrop of all this that something rather cool occurred to me.

I was in the car, deep in fervent pray about it all; from trying to stay positive and calm, to helping hubby thru the writing and the stress of resumes and job hunting, to miles of driving, to getting the girls thru this year of school and all.  You know, normal stuff.–  And in the middle of my prayer, I spotted a piece of paper spinning in a lazy circle on the road ahead of me.  It was the only visible warning, and then was upon the spot- and the van bucked a bit as I drove thru an invisible dust devil.  It was like a lightbulb moment; how so much of our life is like that.  All we can see is the tiny outward evidences- the single pieces of paper.  But the Lord is doing massive amounts invisible to our eyes- – like spinning the winds into little or not so little vortexes, just for us, to remind us that he is there.  Moving the things for his children, like driving thru Invisible Dust Devils.

Categories: Courage quotes, Midnight musings | Leave a comment

Happy 2018 courage quotes

Well friends, we made it thru the holidays.

Adventure to Midway Ice Castles

guest artist– My youngest made a picture for Grandma.

Adventures were had, and I’m glad, tho’ I needed lots of Heaven’s help to make it through.

… So now, in trying to move forward, well- with phone issues and lots of chores needed in the house to set things back on track–Well, this week is seriously one of those weeks that will need lots and lots of courage quotes.
SO- here’s some to start off with…
“The principles of living greatly include the capacity to face trouble with courage, disappointment with cheerfulness, and trial with humility.” -Thomas S. Monson
“We don’t develop courage by being happy every day. We develop it by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity.” -Barbara De Angelis
“It is only through labor and painful effort, by grim energy and resolute courage, that we move on to better things.” -Theodore Roosevelt

“Never be discouraged. If I were sunk in the lowest pits of Nova Scotia, with the Rocky Mountains piled on me, I would hang on, exercise faith, and keep up good courage, and I would come out on top.” -Joseph Smith, Jr.

May the new year bring lots of fresh new starts, and golden sunsets after the storms.

Categories: Courage quotes, LDS Mom of Autism | Leave a comment

Christmas needs Cookies

Christmas time was thoroughly improved when we went next door to help make cookies.  The kids got busy with their recipe, and us Moms tried out a Gluten Free recipe. It was a perfect Saturday afternoon.  So I am sharing our recipe- adapted from Land o Lakes (link at the bottom.) They turned out perfectly not-too sweet. 

Christmas Cut-Outs (Gluten-Free Recipe)
1 cup Butter softened
1 cup sugar
1 large Egg
2 tablespoons orange juice or milk (I used milk)
1 tablespoon gluten-free vanilla
2 1/2 cups Gluten-Free Flour Blend (see note)
1 teaspoon baking powder
optional—Red and green gel food colors or cocoa powder
White coarse grain sugar, if desired
How to make
1. Combine butter and sugar in bowl; beat at medium speed until creamy. Add egg, orange juice and vanilla; continue beating until well mixed. Add flour blend and baking powder; beat at low speed until well mixed.
2. If doing plain cut-outs, skip directly to the chilling the dough in the fridge step.
* If doing swirled colors— Divide dough into thirds; set aside one-third. Place remaining thirds into separate small bowls. Starting with small amount of gel food color, tint dough in bowls to desired shade of red and green dough, adding additional food color, if necessary.
If doing chocolate two tone cutouts, make two 1/2 batches of dough, make one normal vanilla, and add up to 1/2 Cup cocoa powder to the flour step of the second batch.
This recipe also makes great thumbprint cookies.
3. Shape each dough into a ball; flatten to 1/2-inch thickness. Wrap each in plastic food wrap; refrigerate 2-3 hours or until firm.
4. Heat oven to 400°F.
5. Working with half of each dough color (keeping remaining dough refrigerated), drop tablespoon-size pieces of dough from each color onto lightly floured surface in random pattern with dough touching. Roll out dough pieces to 1/4-inch thickness, forming marbled design. Cut with 2- or 3-inch cookie cutters. (for thumbprints, roll 1 to 1-1/2 inch balls in your hand, place on cookie sheet and press indentation with thumb… fill with 1/4 teaspoon of jam before baking.
6. Place 1 inch apart onto ungreased cookie sheets or line cookie sheet with baking parchment. Sprinkle with coarse grain sugar, if desired. Bake 7-9 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned. Cool fully on cookie sheet  as they are very tender and break easily till cool.

NOTE—Gluten-Free Flour Blend: Combine 1-1/2  cups coconut flour, 1/2 Cups extra fine sweet white rice flour (or sub all 2 cups with the coconut flour if you can’t find the extra fine rice flour ), 2/3 cup potato starch, 1/3 cup tapioca flour and 1 teaspoon xanthan gum. Use appropriate amount for recipe; store remainder in container with tight-fitting lid. Stir before using.


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A Merry Adventurous Christmas

Some people have told me that I invest a great deal of time  helping my family grow and gain experience;

sometimes, only hug therapy works

Maybe, but it seldom feels like it.  Mostly it just feels like trying to keep living and moving thru being a Mom to some awesome kids who have some fairly large hurdles in this life.   In fact, this year has been more intense than most, moving thru house remodeling, and

Learning to play in the dark.

going from one to two Service Missionaries!   Then it  got even more harried with all the extra  concert performances that my youngest’s orchestra managed to add for the holiday season. But, sometimes  the moments of tiny miracles seemed to fall into place so obviously that it becomes a season of joy.

Christmas Card of her very Own!

This year, My Tea Rose and I found out about a Christmas Card Art contest for Artists with Autism- and she decided that it would be a fun thing to try.  Lo and Behold, she was one of the Artists selected!  How cool is that?!  The excitement level was too high to even stim–almost too high to breath! It was a great start to the Holidays.

So, a moment of backstory–

A sudden, VERY flat tire could have ruined my day- but instead allowed a sneak photo of my 2nd becoming a hero for me.

My kids were all born in Utah, and have fond childhood memories of the snow and cousins.  About once every two or three years I find myself agreeing with their need to go visit snow and family.  This year it was time.  So the planning began.  And it’s serious planning… just jumping in the car for a spur of the moment adventure longer than a few hours is NOT something that is easily or lightly done with 5 on the Autism spectrum.  Loose ends are not often little things.  But even tho’ my schedule has not been easy or sane- – still, everything I needed to do kept falling into place better than usual.  I am positive that the Lord had a mighty hand in that.

So – as I sit in my Mom’s kitchen with only the night light on- I needed to jot down a few notes of my Christmas so far.

Last Saturday- Oldest- “Mom, let’s just not do Christmas this year, I’m not ready and I’m just not feeling it.” Me- “It’s not. about. you.  The other kids don’t need a gift from you, they just want to share their Christmas with you.”  I left it there for the time being.

So, skip to Sunday- Christmas Eve morning- Getting ready for Church while packing for a trip.  I wouldn’t recommend it, but on the other hand, it wasn’t any more stressful than any other Sunday at our house, which was kind of amazing.  The meeting was more awesome than great!  Kydee kept breathing and praying, and managed to find the courage to get up with the youth choir with her violin- she was accompanying their singing-  And she did it!  Yes she played well, but for her and I, the biggest miracle was facing up to her social anxiety (she inherited way too much from me, I’m afraid) and when she sat down with me, afterward, we were both feeling very supported by the Lord.  🙂 Then TeaRose managed to face her stress over new things and came up with me and hubby with the Adult choir’s turn.  Way good stuff!

the kids like my phone holder/ travel companion…

Sunday afternoon we had Christmas.  It was actually a huge “Santa” score; but the best part for me was afterwards; when my oldest comes to me and said.  “I tried to keep my attitude good for all the kids.  You really scored great with the gifts this year, and next year I will score with the atmosphere of the Christmas season.”  Most Amazing Mom moment.

So, then it was time to pack the van.  Brand and Hubby were amazing troupers, but even with a record pack time, I still didn’t manage to get fast enough to leave that evening- I needed a final night’s sleep.  But by 7 am on Christmas morning we were all in the van- prayers for the trip said- and off! By the way- if you ever want to see city freeways nearly empty, early

Sunset on Mt. Nebo, Utah

Christmas morning is the time to do it.  🙂  The trip was long as usual, and full of it’s normal numbers of Migraines and stresses, but not many meltdowns. They have traveled this path many times.  In fact I didn’t even need to provide a packing list this year, a milestone of growth.

Monday, at bedtime- TeaRose- “Mom I am feeling so much anxiety and I don’t even know why!”    Me- “Well, it’s a long drive, a different schedule a new house a new place to sleep”.      T-It’s not new, I like being here with our cousins.”      Kydee- “Just a schedule change up.”       T- “Do you think it’s my Autism’s fault then?”    Me- “Probably.”     T- “Stupid Autism.”  Yup.

But perhaps hard is where we grow most.  I think so.  I can almost taste whole stories waiting somewhere in my head, to be told about the power and glory to be found in pain and trials. But for now, all I can say is that as hard as it has been, this year has also really has been a season of growth and maturity.  It’s all good.  Merry Christmas.

Categories: "only with Autism" Adventures, Midnight musings | Leave a comment

Predawn on Thanksgiving

I’m sitting here in the very early light of Thanksgiving Morning.  The turkey is still thawing in the sink.  Some kids are up, playing quietly to not wake anyone else. My oldest walks in and whispers “Happy Thanksgiving” to me and quietly fist-bumps me. My head not quiet cleared from my bad cold, but I am at peace.  Looking around, all the stuff I still have to do is not so glaring and painful to my heart.  In fact, everything feels softened, like the light around the edges of the trees outside.  My world is touched by the gratitude I feel for the Love my family gives to me, and the Love I feel pouring quietly from my Father in Heaven.

It’s a good day.  So I will leave you with a couple of scriptures that touched my heart, and I think I will start some french toast for the kids.  It’s a good morning for a hot, sweet breakfast.

Love you.

Jerimiah 30:17 For I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the Lord

19 And out of them shall proceed thanksgiving and the voice of them that make merry: and I will multiply them, and they shall not be few; I will also glorify them, and they shall not be small.

2 Corinthians 9:11 Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God.

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But, Looking Up…

Some days, as much as you want to be strong and capable, it just doesn’t work out that way. Whatever is on your plate at the moment, like chronic fatigue, or ptsd,  or whatever fiery furnace is the lot of the day–  gets to the point, for me anyway, of getting the kids to their schools and places to be, then coming back home to take a nap.  Once I cound’t even do that, and I called the kids in sick. (When mom’s sick, nothing happens.)

I need to tell you of a special moment that happened for me during one of these dark parts a while ago.  I was at a point where I was praying and pondering- calling to my Father, “… I  know all the ‘Sunday School’ answers about how to feel closer to thee– The Scriptures, Fasting, doing Service for others in the Temple, etc… but what do you do when you can’t do any of these things?  What do you do when you don’t have big enough blocks of time between all the kids needs for excursions to the Temple, and you’re so drained that your eyes don’t cooperate to read scriptures, and the computer is down so you can’t even have it talk the scriptures to you?

Well,  I felt answered.

A song came to mind that I had never really thought about– and it was the second verse of the song, no less.   It went like this, as it came to me;  ” Are you ever burdened with a load of care? Does the cross seam heavy, you are called to bear?  Count your many blessings Angels will attend, Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.”

A sweet feeling of lightening of the weight filled my heart.  And I remembered the conference talk recently of “Look Up”.  Finally, once again I felt like my head was above water and I could breathe.  Watching for the good moments, smiles with my kids, An awesome sunrise.     Writing this has been so good for me this morning…Yesterday included one of the worst panic attacks I have ever had.  But this morning’s predawn quiet was a moment of peace I was able to share with my youngest– both of us typing on a laptop (she has been doing the NANOWRIMO  (National Novel Writing Month) thing in the mornings) so I enjoyed the quiet companionship instead of popping outside for a photo, and used one from a previous lucky moment with the camera.  So, my November Gratitudes would never be complete without a loving thankfulness to my Father In Heaven, for coming to my rescue when I need it- and for journaling and blogging- that helps me remember it when I need it again.  ❤


Categories: LDS Mom of Autism, Midnight musings | Leave a comment

Almost Adulting – Part 2

So- when I posted yesterday (Almost Adulting) I was expressing my gratitude for the time and brain power (as in free from fibro-fog and ptsd fog for a significant amount of time) to get moving on the kids portfolio folders.  But since I have a few friends who would like to see what I put in them, I decided to put it here so I have a good way to save it.  So here we go… (warning, it’s longer)

Where it all begins.

My Big Folder isn’t really “Everything”- It’s just everything I need for a full year.  A copy of original diagnosis’ are there, but only the most recent IEPs.  All of the old stuff gets filed into their big school books with their school pictures and art and stuff. Even at that, it’s hard to keep it trimmed down enough to actually carry with me to the various meetings.  My project to split off copies for each kid had it’s seed when my older girl went thru regular mainstream 12th grade English (ahem, excuse me- language arts 🙂 ) She was my first one to manage that far, and it has been many many years since I did myself- so when they had their unit on preparing for college, I was really (REALLY!) grateful for all that info in one place and time.  But even tho I started to really want to do this project, nothing happened on it for a while,  while life smacked me in the face.  This year tho, I suddenly realized I have absolutely NO more IEP meetings to go to until/unless college happens.  (wow! super weird!)  The interesting thing is,

index page for my NT high-schooler

just because they hit the edge of “high school washes their hands of you”, doesn’t stop them from needing help, nor the resources available to move forward.  They will totally need all this info and need to know how to find it.  (They also need other helps, but that is another post altogether).  So- for all you friends out there in my boat- here is what I have put into this folder….

  • – I made these info pages a long time ago to fit into my day-planner.  Theyhave contact info on the left, and a record of doctor visits, etc. on the right, folded in half and hole-punched for me, and cut in half for theses books.
  • -I also made a spread sheet of all the contact info I was gathering for the various schools we have been comparing.
  • -I just finished catching up the first 3 kids’ resume’s. Even if there is not much info to put on it, it’s important that they feel professional and grown up. (and it will surprise you what you can add to it as time moves on- Service Missions have been amazing here.)  Also included in the original school unit was a sample cover letter to a college.  This also got copied and put in this area.
  • -The school records that they will need is different for each kid for us, as we have had needed several different paths to get thru the maze called School.  For instance– for one, it is simply his GED Diploma, Jr. College records, and Seminary Graduation Certificate.  For another it is a non-official high school grade transcript (with an official one in the original sealed envelope slipped in behind it.) Seminary completion papers by year (because she couldn’t finish the year of her surgery), certificates of completion of the computer game design course she took for fun, and a copy of her State Competency exams. It will also have her certificate of completion for her Technical college and High School diploma next year… It’s been a long haul, but the light is in the end of the tunnel.  The school assignment that started this all, reminded me to get each kid a letter of recommendation- I have that on my list of to-do’s still.
  • – Of course is medical… starting with the cover-page I already mentioned, and then I took all my personal records and made a timeline for each kid.  Something to give their selective, childhood memory a back-up in “it really happened this way”.  Also is IEP/504 docs for those who had them, and official diagnosis letters where applicable.  Also will be copies of birth certificates (I’m not yet willing to hand over the originals- don’t want them lost) Driver’s license, selective service letter, and all that legal jazz, including the power of attorney papers when we get that finished.
  • – This section is for copies of their patriarchal blessing and also copies of the annual letters I wrote for scout camps and girls camps.  You know- those bits of my heart that need to be there. I also included one or two of their own personal stuff, things that speak of their heart.
  • That original high school project also had worksheets on things such as a sample budget (which she could not do- it blew her brain circuits) I actually think this was so important that I will be working on it with all the kids in a separate “adulting” folder –not done yet, but I’ll let you know.
Categories: LDS Mom of Autism, resourses | Leave a comment

Almost Adulting

Have you heard the old saying- “It will get easier when the kids get older.”  Well, it’s only partly true.

On the one hand, mom’s taxi service is getting to be a force of nature that is not to be taken lightly.  Early morning high school (before the bus) plus jr tech daily, has been raised to a whole higher level with two Young-Church-Service missionaries.  So on a full-on day, I can easily top 6o miles by lunch.

On the other hand, I have actually had a few major, whole afternoon sized, chunks of time here and there this month – where everyone was happy and independent and no-one needed me at all- and I could start moving on projects that have been set on the shelf for way too long.

The kids call it my “Everything book”

Notably, I have been spending a lot of this time taking my “everything folder” to the copy shop, and making lots and lots of copies.  With my kids starting to leave the teen years behind, the time has come to make sure they have their own copies.

with a section for each person.

Included will be their own resume, school records, health

(Index borrowed from my daughter’s 11th grade English project. I think I got more out of that unit than the class did.)

records and legal stuff, etc. all in a personal portfolio that will be separate from their photo folder.

Five new folders nearly done… Phew!

It’s been a huge project- but so good to have it nearly finished. Talk about a blessing!

So, today’s gratitude is for the gift of both the time, and the ability to think, thru getting all these records worked on and organized.     It’s a gift that is astoundingly rare.

Categories: LDS Mom of Autism | Leave a comment

First of November Gratitudes

Hello!  After being in the shop 3 times in the last 4 months, Apple decided to value a long-standing customer and made it all good.  I am baaaack!  (Amazing how much we get attached to our connection to the world.)  So even tho it’s late, I wanted to start off November with a bit of gratitude.

Halloween 2015

First, I want to say that even tho’ Halloween is quite disruptive to schedules and sensory struggles;  I have been very blessed to find ways to make it a good memory.

Halloween 2016

We have totally fallen into a great tradition of my two girls pushing a neighbor friend around to the houses on our street- sharing the trick-or-treating fun.  (And of course it makes for a great excuse to enjoy costumes too. 😀 )  It also give us moms a chance to catch up on each other’s busy lives.   She thinks we are doing her a favor, but the truth is- the chance for my sweet kids to learn the joy of service is a big deal to me, and very high on my priority list.   So today’s gratitude moment is the joy of good neighbors and the fun moments of Halloween Service Projects.  (And having my computer back too.)

Halloween 2017

Categories: Midnight musings | Leave a comment

Good Moments

Well.  My laptop is in the shop for the third time in four months, the tire shop did a lousy job of realigning my van’s tires, and fibromyalgia is messing with me big time today….BUT the laptop is still under warranty, I can sort-of write this post on my iPad, now that I figured out how to transfer back and forth.  And my awesome Hubby fixed my van. So I decided I needed to take a moment to share some good.

First-  So excited to let everyone know I officially have 2 missionaries now!    My TeaRose has all the paperwork done, and the place of Service found; she has even spent a few days with her knew mission Supervisor and blown her away (in a good way). People are still so surprised at how smart kids can be and still be obviously on the Autism spectrum.  But we blow away myths pretty regularly around here.  And for right now,  I am so excited for her new adventure.    Also, my other missionary has a new assigned area, he started last week.  He will be serving in our area’s ROC center, that does the preparation and follow up computer work for the Indexing part of  the Church’s Family History.  Fun stuff for this geeky mom.

Things are starting to look done in the older boys’ room remodels too.   I even tiled a shower wall and it looks totally awesome, and not at all like its only the second time I have ever done tile (don’t tell him). DK is really picking up speed in his homeschool efforts, and Kydee was amazingly brave all thru yesterday’s adventure of getting braces. (Tho not up to photos yet– can’t say I blame her, I’ve been just as panicked as she was.)   And to top it off, all my kids have been exceptionally calm and low maintenance this week, in fact they have really been loving on me.  It’s possibly because it is fall break here, but more likely just growing up a bit, whatever the blessing’s source- I have been really grateful to begin having bits of time totally to myself  (and the ability to think straight at the same time!) to start cleaning up the piles from the chaos of the remodel, and the overload, and everything… it doesn’t look like much yet, but it’s huge to me!  I even get to make a Wonder Woman costume this year (heehee)

So anyway, hope you all think of something good that happened this week too!  Sending you Cyber Hugs!

Categories: LDS Mom of Autism, Midnight musings | Leave a comment

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