On Becoming Superman

It’s  4:30 am, Tuesday Morning.

This has been the most amazing of hard weeks in many ways.  But this morning, I am only thinking of one of them.  Today is the hinge-point of a new adventure.  Over 2 years ago,  my 21 year old and I started the paperwork for him to express his desire to serve a mission.

And then we waited.

And waited.

And while we waited, of course, more life kept happening all around.  School.  His sister’s scoliosis surgery. And lots of learning.  Learning to handle the red tape of new paths, learning to let the pain go of watching peers younger that him go on their mission-and come home 2 years later, learning to grow thru and in spite of medical needs,  learning to keep going thru trials, and stay steady while waiting on the timing of the Lord.  I admit, sometimes it was harder for me than for him, we kind of traded back and forth on that one.  And then all at once, about a month ago, things started to move forward and we could see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Even then, tho- there was no visibility of the path, things were still open-ended as we moved thru the steps of a not-quite-fully-defined gateway to the new Young Church Service Mission.  Then even more suddenly- like the frost on a cold window- everything came together all at once; and he had the final interviews, finished papers, calling and setting apart all in the last 2 weeks- and he starts his mission TODAY!!!  Yikes!

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So my dear son, I hunted down some courage quotes for the 2 of us to start the day with…

Remember, sometimes the Lord asks us to  “not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson) This is the path of the Trailblazer, the life of the strongest of heroes. And I’m afraid much of the time, it’s our lot in life.  The path of learning to become a superhero is never easy- it is much closer to bootcamp, for the Lord is making warriors.
But He doesn’t leave us to wander lost.  “Our Heavenly Father did not put us on the Earth to fail, but to succeed gloriously.” (Richard G. Scott)
So, just like Father Lehi in the Book of Mormon, The Lord has given us access to helps along the way.  Scriptures, Personal Promptings, and even our Patriarchal blessing are like our own Liahonas- guiding us through life’s dangers.
Neither does the Lord ever ask us to be completely alone.  Jesus has been on our path before us, and has sent us family and companions here and there to stand by us. Hold tight, we will make it together.
And remember- as we move forward, “we learn and grow and become stronger as we face and survive the trials through which we must pass.”  (President Thomas S. Monson)

I am so proud of you, my son.  Your kindness and steady strength will see you thru many things.  Keep hold of your courage.  This will grow into a great adventure.

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

Sunday Morning Courage

Last week was one for the record books in hard for me.  It wasn’t any one thing- but more like a mountain of daily life poured into a funnel too small to hold it, mixed liberally with car troubles and my own anxiety attacks….in fact, much of the time, it seamed as if all the powers that be were trying to keep us from having the courage to move forward.  And yet, here we are.  Sunday Morning’s early light is peaking in the window and I find myself contemplating about daily miracles and courage.  So I looked up some of my favorite courage scriptures to start the day–

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1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
2 Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
3 Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. — Psalms 46
4 Arise; for this matter belongeth unto thee: we also will be with thee: be of good courage, and do it. -Ezra 10:4
16 ¶Now therefore stand and see this great thing, which the Lord will do before your eyes.
22 For the Lord will not forsake his people for his great name’s sake:
23 Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way:
24 Only fear the Lord, and serve him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things he hath done for you -1 Samuel:12

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Ponderings on a Friday Night

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It’s been a very heavy week this week; seriously tired.  So praying has been minute by minute – mostly for the strength to hang on and move forward.  Then this afternoon, I had a really long talk with my oldest.  He has been so struggling too; but today we felt so connected and, well, having each other’s back- so to speak.  And it was so good.

Sometimes miracles are the quietest of things, and yet they still have the power to be a hinge that life turns on.  Like the hugs from your adult sons.

So I’m going to bed with this scripture tonight.

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He delivereth and rescueth, and he worketh signs and wonders in heaven and in earth, who hath delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.
Ready to take on the weekend.

Tender mercies for sure.

Categories: Courage quotes, Midnight musings | Leave a comment

Sunday Night before School, Courage Quotes

I ran across an old post full of courage quotes.  The lift they gave me reminded me that I need to get back into the habit of lifting my spirits with scriptures and courage quotes.  So I went hunting this evening, and I found that I couldn’t pick just one…  I guess you’ll have to enjoy me doing a bit of a collage of courage quotes.
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First- this one seemed to talk to me personally and profoundly—
“Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections.”- Saint Francis de Sales
And when considering my faults….
“You can’t forgive without loving. And I don’t mean sentimentality. I don’t mean mush. I mean having enough courage to stand up and say, ‘I forgive. I’m finished with it.'”- Maya Angelou

Because, so long and steep feels the mountain of life, that I find myself totally feeling like this one….

“Don’t wish me happiness – I don’t expect to be happy it’s gotten beyond that, somehow. Wish me courage and strength and a sense of humor – I will need them all. “-Anne Morrow Lindbergh
But then I found these quotes- they will probably end up on the bathroom mirror for this month…..
“We don’t develop courage by being happy every day. We develop it by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity. “-Barbara de Angelis
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”- Winston Churchill
“Success is not measured by what you accomplish, but by the opposition you have encountered, and the courage with which you have maintained the struggle against overwhelming odds.”- Orison Swett Marden
So- as you and I get ourselves ready to try to get enough sleep to take on a Monday morning of extremely normal proportions, here is  some final thoughts to take with us in our prayers and dreams…
“The courage of life is often a less dramatic spectacle than the courage of a final moment; but it is no less a magnificent mixture of triumph and tragedy. “-John F. Kennedy
“The principles of living greatly include the capacity to face trouble with courage, disappointment with cheerfulness, and trial with humility. “-Thomas S. Monson
  “Fear not; for thou shalt not be ashamed: neither be thou confounded… for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth, and shalt not remember the reproach… any more.”- Isaiah 54 :4IMG_2151
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Mighty Wins Often Come in little packages- Watching for the Good

After a long, hot week here in Arizona (115 plus) along with all the normal stress of a weekend, I had a lovely string of success moments that made me really feel grateful. And since my lesson in primary today was on sharing, I had to share my awesome tiny victories of this evening.

  • Oldest smiles and tries hard to laugh with sibs even tho a migraine is raging.  Then he catches his dad in private and whispers “Thanks Dad, I really like talking with you.”
  • DK says “Can I watch a movie please?” (note full sentences and manners- especially after a hard weekend and church)
  • Hubby says “Did you like me talking it thru calmly till we figured out where our miscommunication was?  I am really trying to learn good communication, I’m not perfect but I’m trying”
  • TeaRose and I have been newly called as primary teachers together.. she was really panicking, but afterwards today- she admitted being around the 6 yr olds was very fun today.
  • Brand made it all the way thru the full 3 meeting block of YSA (young single adults)meetings, and stayed for their after church mingle to get some of his home teaching with his partner done.
  • And the house is quiet and at peace.  What a great way to end the day.

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

Jello-Chia food bars

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Well- I promised the recipe for the bars I used for my sweetie to take with her to her Pioneer Trek.  As a success note- she tried her best, and ended up only needing to rely on these bars once.  (whoo hoo!!!!)

So, I found the original recipe here; and she does a really great job with cooking photos (which I don’t) so I am going to let you hop over to her site for that kind of details if you need them…

So, here’s the original recipe ingredients…

Ingredients:
2 cups oats (regular or quick)
2 1/2 cups powdered milk
1 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons honey
1 3 oz package jello (orange or lemon–these bars already have a high sugar content, and a sweeter jello just makes them more sweet)
3 Tablespoons water

  1. Mix oats, powdered milk, sugar in a mixing bowl.
  2. Mix water, jello, honey in a saucepan. Bring to a rolling boil.
  3. Add jello mixture to oats mixture and blend well with a mixer. If the dough is too dry to stick together, add water one tablespoon at a time- here in dry Arizona, I needed 4 tablespoons to get a mix that clumped, but was not too wet.
  4. After it’s thoroughly mixed, press into a lined (with parchment paper) 9″x13″ pan. (*if you put another parchment paper on top, you can use your rolling pin, then discard the top paper) Make sure to press it down firmly.
  5. Cut dough into bars before you bake, and ensure they’re completely cut through. (I cut it into 24 bars, in a four pieces by six arrangement.)
  6. Bake bars at 200 degrees Fahrenheit for 1.5 to 2 hours. Remove from pan and allow to cool. (Alternatively, you can dehydrate them at 145 degrees for 4-6 hours.) (the goal is totally dry)
  7. After dry and cooled, separate bars and package in a foodsaver bag or mylar bag.

Notes:

We used quick oats, for an easier to chew bar, and orange flavored jello; and I also added 1/4 Cup chia seeds, for the added protein and nutrition I have been trying to get into her.  The resulting bar is really sweet tasting (which she loved) and tasted a lot like a lemon drop in crunchy form.   For myself, I might try reducing the sugar a bit next try,  but it doesn’t bother me much as this is not a diet bar- it’s a trying to get food IN my kids bar.  :)  Even so, it is still way under 200 calories per bar, when cut into 24 bars like I did, which easily compares with commercial brands.  I found another blog that tried this recipe too- and he did some basic math for calories- for those who are interested, here.

We are already planning our next flavors- starting with strawberry.  And I have also started playing with an idea in my head for bone-broth crackers.  I’ll let you know if they work.

Happy Trails!

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A Family History kind of week

P1030761It’s been a Family History kind of week, this week; dominated mostly, by the once-every-four-years handcart reenactment that our church organizes for the youth.  Called “Trek”, it’s an off the grid space during the summer where they work as groups to pull their stuff in real handcarts;  bringing them closer to the pioneers, their own ancestors, and each other.  Last Sunday saw me still finishing the sewing the pioneer clothes for my youngest (yup, it’s been that kind of year) but it turned out super cute!  Then she was packed, and I could focus on packing for her brother.P1030763

Well- that was my hopes anyway.  In the end he was overcome with bad scout camp memories and fears stuck in rigid thinking mode- and I just couldn’t find it in my heart to force him to go.  So I let him stay home, tho I still have yet to feel up to unpacking his gear; while bright and early Wednesday morning, off went my youngest.  I was more than a little jealous.

(oh- I should include a side note here; one of the few invisible struggles that Kydee inherited is a real sensitivity to a lot of foods.  So we also experimented with a pintrest recipe for high protein survival bars.  They turned out great- I’ll put them on a post sometime soon.)

Moving thru the week was quiet- all the other kids missed their joyous sister.  but some of it was good.  Everyone was on such a zoned-out even keel, that for much of Friday, I enjoyed participating in the “World Indexing Event” with my church.  This had me reading all sorts of marriage records for people in Kentucky- a place I have never been, but now I feel lovingly connected to.

Then Saturday came and it was time to go get Kydee, and hear all the stories from their adventure.   Quite the adventure of fun it was.  We were regaled with the story of her being caught wrong against the bushes and knocked over–right into the path of the cart-wheel.  And we were all amazed and our faith strengthened to find out that all she got was a couple of small bruises.  And her Great Grandpa would be suitably proud to hear that she did exceptionally awesome at the rifle range.🙂

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The part called the “Women’s Pull” where all the guys hike up the hill early to allow the kids to feel the struggle of the time when the men of that pioneer group had been called to be in the “Mormon Battalion”. Yup- that’s really what the handcarts looked like.

 

DK was a little sad about his choice to stay home when he heard that; but then not, as he listened to the talk from the other boys about how they all enjoyed talking together. His peers are growing old enough to not tease or actively hurt, but they still never talk to him as a friend.  sigh.  I ache for him, well for all of my angels really in my most private heart; but if I frown or let the tears escape, it makes them sad and panic– so I smile.

anyway-speaking of angels;  Angels sure watched over my Kydee on her trek.  The spirit has whispered a lot to me this week too, prompting me in pondering some of my own ancestors that traveled those long paths of immigration.  Crossing vast landscapes for what they believed in.  I actually have a lot of pioneers in my heritage- but one in particular has been on my mind all week.  Her name was Marianne Gardiol; a lovely little (under 5′ tall) Italian girl from the distPyranees Mountains.  At 19, she left her home and family and all she knew, and traveled by foot, boat, and train from Italy to frontier Utah.  I wonder in awe at the courage and determination in such an adventure.  And when she landed in Salt Lake City, meeting Brigham Young, she still did not speak any English.  But When President Young called to John Dalton Jr. and said “I want you to look after her”- Her faith was great enough to trust the Prophet of her new faith and marry the blonde man who was nearly 18″ taller than she was. 🙂 And she never did waver in her commitment, tho family stories say that she never really got good at English.  Still, I feel a strong connection.  Her dark hair changed my family line for all the following generations till my and my sister’s girls.  And I think likewise, it might be thru her that my family has always felt so strongly about  Sticking true to your faith no matter what… and also of the power of close family ties to make it thru all that life throws at you.  She was truly a mighty woman of valor.

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2012

You know, perhaps this is why we are encouraged to seek out our family stories.  tonight’s ponderings have really helped me.  Knowing someone who loves you, has gone thru it all before, and out the other side– it helps.  Tonight has brought comfort and courage to the trenches of daily life.  It helps me remember that we can make it too.  (And I sure have some cute pioneer girls of my own🙂 )

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2016

 

Categories: LDS Mom of Autism, Midnight musings | 2 Comments

Saturday Night Courage Quotes

I have been doing a lot of pondering here and there (especially in the car, for some reason- it’s my ponder place)  about the power of adversity, Sometime I will have to find the time and space to write more about it.  In the mean time- I found I needed some courage quotes.  So here’s a few quotes that really resonate with me tonight.
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“I really believe in the old expression that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. It’s through adversity that you find the strength you never knew you had.” -Christie Brinkley

“In spite of discouragement and adversity, those who are happiest seem to have a way of learning from difficult times, becoming stronger, wiser and happier as a result.” – Joseph B. Wirthlin

“Many of the lessons we are to learn in mortality can only be received through the things we experience and sometimes suffer. And God expects and trusts us to face temporary mortal adversity with His help so we can learn what we need to learn and ultimately become what we are to become in eternity.” -David A. Bednar
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Summer! Reflections on the Good, the Bad, and the merely Difficult

It sure has been a long space of time since I last sat down with  total peace and quiet around me.   On the other hand, I think it’s actually a good thing that I waited to write about the end of this school year- It has given me the chance to breathe after the amazingly high-stress black-hole of this year.  Time to refresh my perspectives. (LONG POST ALERT)

First, the not-so-good, ok- really bad,  so that the good can be truly appreciated…..

Bluntly put- 12th grade for a kid who is quite autistic, but smart enough that she can’t get an IEP (cause her grades are above the “failing” requirement) is hard to describe any other way than harsh.  The nasty catch 22 of what some people call “Twice Exceptional” (learning issues/asd/etc. plus smart)  has no foot-hold in the school systems, every inch must be carved out by hand.  This is not the first time I have had to walk the path of end of high school with my kids, but every kid is different- and so never can I walk a path that I have already done. It’s new every time.

I am blessed, that even with 5 peeps on the Autism spectrum in my family, I don’t have to deal with major years for all of them at the same time very often.  (phew)  This year has bean close, but was mostly my TeaRose’s turn. With the lovely (not) addition of starting the year off with a full major back fusion surgery to treat her serious scoliosis– much of the time, neither of us thought we would get out of this year alive.   We were lucky to have good teachers, and also a couple really good friends; but I think that I will actually, gratefully, leave most of the details of the red-tape “fun” in my journal.  Suffice it to say that the curling up in a ball in mommy’s lap shaking with anxiety attacks, had degenerated into a more than once a day thing, and functioning skills were actually going backwards.  There are still a few loose ends that we have to tidy up this summer – BUT WE MADE IT!    BREATHING,  AND SANITY INTACT!

At this point- I want to totally put a plug in for my personal anchors in the storm–And I would be very ungrateful if I didn’t mention some of the Good moments.

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Golden Scholar Awards

1- Kydee was super excited to be on the Principal’s Golden Scholar list for straight A’s.  She has really enjoyed the 9th grade, and is a true friend and source of fun for all her siblings.  She handles it all with a grace that she is not even aware of.

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End of year ice cream

2- Friends.  TeaRose has had the amazing blessing of being pulled into a great group of kids that hung together all the way thru jr High and High school.  They probably don’t know how instrumental they were in keeping T successful on a day to day basis, but they were- and I send a prayer of thanks for them.  Some of them even invited T to the Comicon at the end of May.  I went the first day, and took Kydee.  She and I geeked out on science, while T went off with her friends.  In fact I sent T on her own with her friends the next day.  It is a huge blessing to know I can trust those who she is with enough to be totally relaxed.

3-My Father in Heaven, and the Priesthood.  I don’t know how many days I would have stopped breathing if I couldn’t have had access to the love of Him who asked me to take on this mortal assignment.

4- I read an article once that talked about a spiritual 72 hour kit; or in other words, writing down good moment and spiritual feelings during good days, to be able to go back and read on bad days when your too tired or overloaded to get past the blackness.  That is also what has been one of my major survival tools.  This blog and my journal are my well of faith, to draw up buckets of “I remember that” when my day is too heavy to think at the time.  I go back and re-read other years where I have pulled thru and gained the tiny victories of the day.  It helps.  A lot.

5- Service.  This year has been hard to keep this up, as the daily grind has drained away my health and emotional reserves– but it is a life-vest that I fight to keep hold of.  The act of thinking about someone else’s needs instead of your own for a moment in time is amazingly good for the soul- it elevates and gives perspective, not even counting the blessings down the road.  And I did find a few things to do.  IMG_2255This spring, I spent a week doing a huge painting.  I also started working on a book… I’ll tell you about it sometime.  Then after school got out, I had the privilege of hauling my family cross-country with me to install the huge mural that I painted, to brighten the wall of a friend’s young son.  That little boy is also a special needs warrior, and the day was a HUGE win for me and my family.

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art all wrapped for travel

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the Hanging Event- with help from my awesome boys.

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And hubby – playing for the camera, just for me.

6- Family.  I am so grateful for my those treasured great souls who rally around me when I am in need.  And that brings me to the rest of our first week of Summer.  As we drove down the California coast to meet my sister’s family at SanDiego.IMG_2425 Something good about spending time with people who have a true interest in your life and how you’re doing.

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Then off we went for the real Highlight event.  It really hurt Me and my sweet TeaRose that the school wouldn’t let her walk the stage with her friends at graduation (she still has an online class to finish to get the “required credits” done- did I mention the catch 22 red-tape).  So my own personal make-a-wish foundation (ie- my family) all got together to really help TeaRose feel like she had accomplished a major thing in getting thru 12th grade with such a mountain to climb.  And we took her and her cousin the same age, and gave them a swim with the Dolphins.  :)  They both deserved it so much!

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how do I pick just one photo?!

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It was good, even tho we had one with a migraine, and one with a massive sunburn.  We even had the blessing of an awesome extra stop at the “Medieval Inn” with our huge extended family.  But you know, there is only so much fun that a family full of Autism spectrum peeps can have in a short amount of time; and we all piled into the van just in time, as I could see the meltdowns beginning to build.  (Everyone needed to recover for a week.)  But I am very grateful.  Grateful for my folks who care so much.  Grateful for my Hubby who put all his own asd stresses aside to be my wonderful knight in shiny armor.  Grateful to my kids who still let me drag them around on my adventures; and who try really hard to make me happy in return.

So now, even tho the load is still there and not finished, and even tho we are now back into the 115 degree summer weather,  I am also very grateful that the good parts are bigger than the struggle.  Gonna keep watching for those good moments for my journal.  Hope you do too.

Categories: "only with Autism" Adventures, LDS Mom of Autism | 4 Comments

A Warrior Mom’s gift to Color

I made the mistake once, of telling someone that I hated Mother’s Day. I was hurting, and hoping for some comfort, but instead got a lecture about how it gives families a chance to show their mother how much they are grateful to them.  Well, the years roll on, and my awesome family makes the effort to tell me every. single. day. how much they love me and are grateful for the things I do.  I’m good now, tho I still don’t expect get a traditional “normal” day, with the trappings and cards. Perhaps because of these things,  it has been on my heart all week, to give a card, instead of getting one.

So I drew up this coloring page and wrote a poem for you— all my loved ones and friends; Whether we are young, old, with families or not- we care for each other, putting us all in this boat of life together.  Feel free to pull off this picture and take it with you to color and get silly with, whatever you like.

I Love You.

SuperMoms

Categories: Courage quotes, Poetry | Tags: , | 2 Comments

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