First of November Gratitudes

As the Halloween stuff gets put away, the stores all start carrying little wood or metal cutouts proclaiming the words “Grateful”, and “Thanks”.  The letters look simple, and a little cheesey, but sometimes well intended.  But I love thanksgiving anyway.  I love what it does for people and families.

So as I looked at my facebook page this morning, and saw an invite to follow a writing prompt and post which person means the most to me, it started me pondering all day.  Even when I was taking kids to the DMV- the question was on my mind.  I spent a long time trying to narrow it down…

Should I pick my parents?  My mom, who could out-work anyone I know till she was over 70, who taught me about faith, and loyalty and courage?  My Dad, who only this year quit carrying a full sheet of plywood by himself (mostly), who taught me the true meaning of family, and charity, and fun and physics and eternity- sometimes all in one day?  They gave to me the foundation of the parts I love the best about myself.

Or should I pick my Husband?  He is the hero of my heart.  He works hard to overcome his own very real struggles so that he can care for his family.  And then he comes home to help fill in the places that I am struggling, trying very hard to make it so that no one knows where I am short.  He knows me, and never tells anyone but the good parts.  I would not be able to keep going without his help.

Yes I am incredibly grateful that the Lord gave me these people to cherish.  Which brings up the one I would be remiss to not list; My Father in Heaven.  On good days, when I am alone in the car marveling at the Beauty of the clouds, he is there to listen.  And on those days that it takes 10 minutes of fervent prayer first thing in the morning to get enough courage and strength to sit up and get out of bed (like today) he is there; and often those are the days that my kids are the happiest as they wake up. I cherish those gifts.  And the moments that I lose my I-pencil (not a cheap mistake) at the DMV (yup- today again) He is listening- and I feel SO loved that it is there waiting for me at the counter.

So, I decided not to chose.  I am too grateful for all of them.  Happy first day of Gratitude.

Categories: Midnight musings | Leave a comment

Sunday Evening Ponderings, and Hope.

Hello blog friends.

Sorry I haven’t written much this year.  This has been a big, crazy time in our lives. Most of the time I have felt like I was trapped on a broken roller coaster, that had no brakes, in the dark. Hurtling faster and faster toward some unknown end I could not see.

Much of the happenings have actually been good, but I have had no time or ability to write them down.  I will try to rectify that later… For now, I just want to jot down an impression I had while pondering things I have learned this weekend, while watching general conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints, in my new home.

You see, moving thru all the chaos, good and bad, I have been carrying a prayer in my heart for a long while.  And that has been to find the help and strength I need to heal and forgive old hurts.  I have been craving this, but also I have been fighting health and a fairly hefty dose of chronic fatigue and depression.  All these things were shoved into a shoebox on the shelf of my heart while I moved my whole family to Texas.

I need this new start, but haven’t felt able to completely cope— but then I had a thought and a feeling… the thought was while pondering the challenge to submit ourselves to a ten day fast from social media, and then see how we felt.  And as I was pondering the break from any contact of the only people I know (since I haven’t had time to make friends in this new place yet)  I suddenly thought about all the support groups sites I follow. Some are uplifting, but some are in a funk of being a vent and cry place for other moms who are going thru the same pains that I have gone thru.  On the surface this seems like a worthy thing- but I came to realize this evening that in my present struggles, all that those posts are doing is constantly reopening old wounds in my heart, not giving them a chance to heal. So-when I go back to visiting my friends and family on face book next week, I think I am going to be even more rigorously selective about what I allow myself to see.  I know there will be many more steps needed for healing and hope, but it’s a start. And it fills my spirit with a measure of calm and courage. Oh, and I saw a double rainbow yesterday.  😉 Yes, a very good start.

May your sabbath evening bring you comfort and courage for the new week too.

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Monday’s need courage quotes…

Last week we lost our air conditioner… in Arizona… in June.  But we have emergency window units and tomorrow the ac guy comes.  Everyone has been trying hard to be pleasant and patient.  Just need a little more courage to hang on for one more day.

“We don’t develop courage by being happy every day.  We develope it by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity.” — Barbara De Angelis

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It’s in the little things along the way.

Lunch break with my friends

Today was the first day of summer break.  And also the first day of our local comic convention.  I

My kids, like most of the people there, were just thinking that the day was purely an excuse to dress up in costumes and hang out with other like-minded geeks, and grateful for a mom willing to take them there.

I won’t lie, I love a chance to let my geeky side enjoy the day, and I really love designing and making costumes; but there is Oh, SO much more to it than that.  This is a sneaky-mom confession moment.  Over the last couple of years of attending , even tho it’s  been just one day each time, here is a few of the things that Make my “mom” side happy.

They have learned how to be patient in lines.  Last year the lines were much worse than this year actually, so that was a blessing.

They learned how to be gracious in letting people take photos of them- and how to say thank you with the same steadiness when complimented..

They learned how to handle being in a crowded place and still focus on mom and the goal of the next event.  And sometimes, how to be alone without too much panic while we split up to do two things at once (cell phones are a great blessing here),

They learned to read maps.  Plotting our way thru the vast convention as well as following mapquest to see where we were on the way home..

They learned how to work together to choose the next event, and to take turns in choosing. Huge.

They learned to breath out frustrations.  This one is especially hard, but I didn’t have to even comment on leaving early this tome as a motivator.  True Mom win.

Not a bad list for just one day.  Then came the long drive home, and I was so pleased with their effort to stay positive when exhausted. Home again, and there is a price to pay.  But even when needing deep compression hugs to stop the after-shock-type of shivers, there was still enough joy to let me take a selfie.  Now for bed.  (Yay!)

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It’s called “squish therapy”

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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)
Ingredients
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.

https://www.landolakes.com/recipe/20048/swirled-christmas-cut-outs-gluten-free-recipe/

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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

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