Stress is Like a Soda Bottle

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FINALLY!  Yesterday was the last day of this school year– I can almost believe we made it!  Sitting, watching “Bill and Ted’s Most Excellent Adventure” was still not quite calming the jitters left over from getting everyone thru to the end of the day.  It took a lot of hug time.

And what a day- talk about going out with a bang- I had to enlist hubby’s help to get everywhere, tho’ it wasn’t all bad… First, TeaRose to school for the last day of 11th grade finals, (she is still emotional about her less than good English grade, but happier with the other classes and their willingness to help her pull things together thru her overload times),   then to Jr high, and photo’s for Kydee’s awards, 1st half- but I couldn’t stay, ’cause I had to run over to a second high school to sign papers and have a mini IEP with their spec-ed team- going to try school again for DK, he needs out of the house and I am overbooked for my ability to keep him going in schooling (10th grade) especially with this coming summer(more of that in a bit).  It’s a second High School because the one we have as our district school is a smaller school (which I love, and where the girls are) and it does not have all the services he needs- only the bigger one has classes that are for normal, grade level (or above) course work yet still small classes et.al. … then back to the Jr. high for the rest of the awards- and then home to get everyone lunch.

Phew! Of course, after lunch- I took the 3 younger ones to celebrate with Ice Cream- they sure deserved it!

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Yay for sticking it out to the end! Next year will be her Senior year! Coolsville and Unbelievable all in one.

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Next year will be 10th grade! So much will be new- hoping it adds up to an awesome year!

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And my new Freshman! Totally out of Jr High- nothing but High School left. WOW!!!

Beautiful TeaRose went into aftershock shakes and crying before the end of lunch.  By evening, it was 3 times.  She said thru her panic tears- “I don’t know what’s wrong!  I don’t know why am crying.”

So then came the “Soda Pop” lesson.bottles-of-soda-pop-cola-jpg

“Do you know how when we shake soda pop bottles, it’s like they store up all that fizziness, ready to explode when we open it?– We are like that too.  When we have heavy stress, it’s like shaking a Soda Bottle.

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This last bit of the semester and finals has been like shaking the bottle A LOT.  And suddenly stopping and relaxing can be like opening the soda bottle.  Not just you- it’s a know fact that a lot of people get cold and flu at the start of their vacation…

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The way to fix the soda and us is the same- it just needs quiet time for a while to calm down.”

“Oh”  (and lots of hugs)

It made a lot of sense, and still does.  Sometimes it feels like there are seasons in our life when the Lord is really pushing us to the edge for maximum personal growth.  I heard a saying the other day- “why do things come in clusters?” but I got thinking, and I think that the Lord knows our time here in this Earthlife is not long, and I think it is more like “Shaking the Soda Bottle” of our learning curve, as often as he can- and then letting it rest when needed to keep from the explosions that might not be good for us.

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It doesn’t have to be much- Some of MY rest periods are courage quotes, scriptures, and mini funny moments, or moments of awesome clarity (sometimes they are both)- they get me thru- so before I end this post, I thought I would share a couple from my journal this last month—

May 7th- Brand- “Thanks mom for putting up with me when my intellect turns on and off”
(Me- “I wouldn’t say on and off- it’s more like you have a door that opens and shuts your access to it.”)

And again on May 7th- Ryan was telling me that they have found documentary proof that medieval knights also got Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  I said – “you know who else they have found gets ptsd?”  He said “who” I said “moms of of Autistic kids.” To which he replied- “I don’t think there is anyone in this house that has Autism.”  :)  I did manage to keep a straight face, but also told him to look up the high functioning end of Autism, not the low functioning end- but I am really going to have to make a poster or two.

This week, Brand came back to the subject… “Mom, I’ve been thinking, maybe I might have had some of that ‘Autistism’ stuff in high school”- (me-sincere, straight face, very important)  “but,” he kept on, “the word Autistic is very “toxic” right now.  If it ever enters a conversation… (trying to say-all my efforts are lost.)”    There you have it- wisdom from them who know.

So, you know,  prayers are pretty constant for me-

This morning I had a beautiful flash of insight- remembering all the years of coaching kids thru their prayers, there were significant amounts of times that I would have to tell them to think of 3 good things every night to say thank you for… And it suddenly translated into making a place for teens to play a similar game of one good thing every day for the summer.  I am excited- I think this will be good.  Already my TeaRose is on board.  She looked up baby-giggle videos to share- which got us sitting side-by-side on my bed, a laptop each; and me coaching her thru the details of deeper navigating of face book – and ended in a “poke” fight that went to a tickle fight– and released the rest of that soda bottle for her… I love my kids.  So grateful for Heaven’s Help to get them thru this mountain of life.  Keeping on-one day at a time.

Love ya-

(oh- p.s. note… while looking for photos, I found an amazing science project site… going to have to do this one during this summer…http://www.stevespanglerscience.com/lab/experiments/mentos-soda-popdrop

Categories: "only with Autism" Adventures, LDS Mom of Autism, Midnight musings, Parables | 1 Comment

The tale of Gandalf and Winston Churchill, and a thing called Defiance

This school semester has been an exceptional adventure… tho I have to admit, not so much in the fun way.  Full of all the “joys” that a broken van, then a broken hubby’s car, of course the asd’s trying to stay sane with high school state mandated tests, and 11th grade English (still not sure we’ll make it on that one), an overabundance of doctor appointments trying to hunt down health problems- finding one- and the panic of scoliosis needing surgery (has anyone got any good thoughts on getting Spectrum anxiety thru that one?), all stirred together in a house still trying to get thru the chaos of remodeling as we work to add a couple rooms for the older boys.  There has been good things too- like walking 6 or more miles all over Disney, chaperoning with the 8th grade orchestra workshop- I’m so proud of her!

But I would be very ungrateful if I did not mention a very amazing moment of “wow- I love the gift of inspiration!” right smack in the middle of everything.

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One day, right in the middle of all that was going on, I had to go get hubby from work, and my younger boy was having one of those “I do not like submitting, Mom-I-am;  I will not, can not, move my brain from this stand” kind of days; so  I made a snap decision that he had to come with me in the car. He hates those times– it means he has pushed too far.  I have told him that he has to earn the trust bucket of staying home on his own when I make my errands… But suddenly, I didn’t feel like reminding him of this.  Instead- after lots of hugs- I had the feeling that he was old enough to learn the term “Defiant.”

So– here’s my story…….

“DK- Do you know that Gandalf and Winston Churchill are a lot alike?”

“No.”

“Yup- they could practically be brothers.”  (did you know that?)  Suddenly all was calm, and I had him in rapt attention.

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“In fact, Even tho’ Gandalf (the wizard of the story “Lord of the Rings”) is fictional, and Churchill wasn’t, there was a point in each of their stories that was very close to the same situation.  You see, both men were very concerned with helping others in the big picture sort of way- and both were fairly well known in their peer groups, what you might call the movers and shakers of politics; but they were not all that well known to the common person or to other countries.  And that was just fine with them. And both were at the right place at the right time when their unique qualities were most needed…

“So super-shorthand version; at one point in the story, Gandalf was taking his group of questing friends across the high mountains.  All other paths to safety had been blocked, and they had no choice but to go thru the deep, dark, caves called the mines of Moria.   Then they found out that it was completely over-run by the enemy; they were horribly outnumbered and out-gunned.  Miraculously,  they won free enough to make one last run for freedom, and then the great Balrog appeared….

“Now- do you know who Churchill was? (Naturally I got a startled- uhhh) Well, Churchill grew up in Britain.  Sometime between the World Wars, he decided to get into politics.  By the time of Germany’s invasions of Europe, Winston was respected enough in his circles of influence in the British Parliament, that he was elected into the office of Prime Minister.   Britain tried to ride the mountain peaks of staying out of the war- but Nazi Germany was moving fast.  It did not last long before all choices had been blocked off- and they were in their own version of the mines of Moria- it was War- and it was dark, frightening, they were badly outnumbered and out-gunned.  For a while they were holding their own, but then came the bombing raids….

(do you hear the dum-dum-dummm music?)

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“So- do you know what the word ‘defiant’ means?”  umm…. so I continued.

“Here we have Gandalf on the bridge.  He has made the decision that there is nothing that will move him from keeping his friends safe.  So he stands on the bridge, and holds up his hand, and (say it with me)  “YOU SHALL NOT PASS” (and if Tolkien had ever heard of periods between words for more emphasis, it would have probably been written that way.)   THAT is defiance.  Every ounce of his energy is focused into the act of ‘defying’, or refusing, any further progress to his enemy.

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In Britain, Churchill faced an equal need for defiance- but it was not such a personal battle- it was his whole country in need.  For after the Nazi regime conquered the surrounding countries; then they turned all that extended power towards the Island of Britain.  The people needed the courage to ALL stand against the enemy. Churchill had to spend some time, and much of his attention to speeches and any other thing he could think of, to gather and rally his people to stand fast and ‘DEFY’ the whole enlarged German empire.

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We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.

 

Now- is what they did a good thing?  Yes, absolutely.  Defiance, by itself is like a box of matches.  It is not the matches that are good or bad, but what they are used for.  When we use our feelings of defiance for purely selfish reasons- for just us, and what WE want, or just because we don’t feel like doing something, or don’t feel like obeying someone, the world calls that “oppositional defiance”.  The Scriptures call it selfishness or childishness, or Pride.   When we use that inner feeling for good, for helping others, or for a just cause- that kind of defiance is called “inner Strength.”  It is also the only kind that can build our courage.   As we grow, it is the mark of maturity and true greatness to turn our ‘defiant’ tendencies into this inner strength.  I feel for the moms of Gandalf and Churchill- but aren’t you glad they learned to use their defiance for truly good causes?  They learned how to turn their childhood struggles into Great Strengths, and this is a very big reason that we think of them as great Men.  You are on the road to being Great too– I have seen you as you try to overcome your weaknesses.  And don’t forget- ask for help- that is also a part of growing up to become a great man.”

Categories: LDS Mom of Autism, Parables | Leave a comment

Parable of the Eagle- chapter 3, A Letter to my Sons

Yesterday,  I was struggling with how to help me and my son Brand get thru a blue day.  At the tail-end of a great deal prayer, I flipped open my laptop, and opened my documents folder without really having any idea what I’d find.  Almost instantly, my eyes landed on a letter I wrote to my future sons many years ago but had long since forgotten.  There was such a powerful uplifting feeling while I read it out loud to the two of us- It’s funny how the lord prepares things for us before we even know we need it.  Today I am doing much better- in fact I have been feeling well enough to ponder the next installment of my Eagle parable.  So here we go…..

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Not long after his visit with the Eaglet in his nest- the Lord went out across the mountain ridges to find the young bird’s mother.

He found her at the edge of a cold, clear mountain lake.  “I was just visiting with your young one, ” he said after greeting her.

She fluttered her feathers a bit to still them, and then looked at him squarely with her piercing eye.  “I hope he is o.k.” she replied.

The Lord smiled and sat comfortably next to her.  “Yes.”  he answered.  “He is very o.k. and in fact progressing quite well, which is why he is so restless.  I came here to tell you that your son has a magnificent heart.  He has within him the seeds of greatness; and for these seeds to grow well, the next principles he must gain are courage and faith.   So I must ask a favor of you.  I need you to carry on, and it will appear to be without me to your son.  For he cannot learn faith, until he learns to choose to have hope in something he cannot yet see, but only sees the effects of- like the growth of the trees brought by the light of the sun and the rain, and the good in you that he can emulate.   As he learns faith,  and begins to trust you, then he will begin the road to courage.  Can you help me?”

The great mother’s heart moved a bit faster.  “I can only try my best” she said with more humility than her form would suggest.

“That will be enough.”  The Lord answered “I will make up the difference.  Call on me when you have need, I will be near.”

Then he was gone.  The mother Eagle sighed, and remembered the fish under her feet, picking it up to carry back to the nest.

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It’s short; but in my pondering today- I felt like the letter I read yesterday might somehow be a letter this Mother Eagle might want to send to her sons in some way,   (in fact, I have several that would fit in that category) so I am including it in this parable.  (and if you want to see the first parts, here is chapter 1 and chapter 2)

Nov, 3
A Letter to My boys
As you grow and hear what people want to believe in school and on the media, you may find at some point that I don’t always teach the same things.  This is not surprising.  Trying to reconcile the philosophies of men with the truths of God is not possible- they are not compatible.

Men like the idea of no higher authority, and also of predestination because both ideas let them off the hook… they can say for instance, “Our lives are set down before us- so there is no need to try or care.”

But the truth of free agency says that we are held accountable for our choices, and must answer for them to a supreme being.

You ask how can there be freedom of choice if God knows all we will do– the answer comes in 3 parts…

1–It is easiest to understand by remembering that Heavenly Father is our FATHER.  Just like, as a parent, I try hard to know what my kids like to eat, and have those things on hand; it doesn’t stop you from having the responsibility to eat right and not complain- nor does it stop you from needing to have the courtesy to ask please for it.   Heavenly Father knows our needs, but waits for us to ask.  Just like he will not let his grand plans be messed up, but does not force our actions.  His mind is so great, that he can set things into motion to handle much more than one choice from us, not just one possible pathway.

2–two, comes the truth that this life is just a tiny, tho important, piece of our lives.  Like a bridge between our spiritual youth and the mighty eternity of our adulthood.  This bridge of Earth-life must be crossed.   HOW we cross it is what defines us as great men and women, or just normal.  We cannot become great tho, just by wishing for it, or dwelling on the world’s distractions.  All the great men of this world  prepared long before anyone had ever heard of them.  George Washington was one of the greatest men in history-  but most of what made him great was learned in his youth and as young-man.  Courage-under-fire,  care for his fellow men, wisdom, strength of heart to stand on his beliefs when no-one around him wants to have the courage to agree, handling trials with faith, and looking for other ways around obstacles instead of quitting.   It was not until after he stood his ground thru the tests and pain, that all could see how great a man he was.
(just a note- there are two things greater than fear= love, and faith… leaning on these two things is how we manage to have courage, which is not the absence of fear, but going on, thru the fear, because we make the choice that the action is more important than the fear.)

3- and finally– when we get to the other end of the bridge called this lifetime (also called probation in the scriptures)  there is a toll booth we have to go thru.  This toll booth is the judgement bar of Christ.  The toll is to sit with him and make an accounting of our life and choices.  The answers will determine how cool the rest of our life will be forever… but though, I suppose, Heavenly Father knows us well enough to say before we get there what kingdom we are meant for– he does not, because loves us, and know we would feel cheated of the chance to try/  and because there is no learning, no happiness,  and no growing up, without choices and consequences, and yes- even pain….

And in the end, THAT is what Heavenly Father is really interested in– the Growth and Maturing of His children- us.

Categories: Midnight musings, Parables | 3 Comments

Adieu to This Moment in Time

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the inside walls between the rooms are up-

I don’t have anything profound to say.   It’s just a rare moment; being a Saturday afternoon, and I have a tiny bit of time to sit and write.  It’s General Conference day, and hubby is off with one of our big boys to care for the electronics at our church building… while the other is here helping Grandpa.  We have sure enjoyed the extended visit, and the help he has given us for the boy’s new rooms.

This time round we have finished plumbing, wiring, and the interior walls are framed.  The very excitement has kept us going (mostly) thru the intense chaos of living thru a remodel job during the school year.  I have to admit that I need a bit of a break and a rest, and everyone else needs their schedules re-affirmed- but it’s still hard to say goodby for a while, and put things on hold or at least slowed down till the next visit.

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peeking down thru the hole in the ceiling, now filled with the new ac/heat ducting

So, just for fun- and because it will never be like this again- I held our annual Easter egg hunt in the new rooms.  Mini adventures to add to the bucket of good memories. It’s been a very good day.

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Categories: LDS Mom of Autism | Leave a comment

Holding the Savior’s Hand

Browsing my Journal for courage quotes, Here is one I found on 8-11-14

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The Lord Thy God Will Hold Thy Hand
Craig Zwick   Of the First Quorum of the Seventy- Ensign oct 2003
Among the supernal promises of coming forth in the morning of the First Resurrection and inheriting “thrones, kingdoms, principalities, and powers” are the additional promises of “all heights and depths” (D&C 132:19). The great plan of happiness includes a proverbial roller coaster of challenging times along with the most joyful times. Yes, we all have our moments of difficulty and heartbreak. Occasionally, they are so difficult for us that we just want to give up. There are times when our steps are unsteady, when we feel discouraged and even reach out in desperation.
Elder Holland reminds us that the “symbol of the cup that cannot pass is a cup that comes in our life as well as in [the Savior’s]. It is in a much lesser way, to a much lesser degree, but it comes often enough to teach us that we have to obey” (Trusting Jesus [2003], 42).
Every one of us needs to know that we can go on in the strength of the Lord. We can put our hand in His, and we will feel His sustaining presence lift us to heights unattainable alone.  We can never complete “the race that is set before us” (Heb. 12:1) without placing our hand in the Lord’s.
Several years ago, our only daughter decided to compete in a marathon. She trained and worked very hard, along with some of her friends. The race was difficult, and there were times when she wanted to quit. But she kept going, just concentrating on one step at a time. As she was approaching the middle part of the course, she heard someone behind her shout out, “Blind man on your left.”
She turned her head only to see a blind man overtake her, holding the hand of another man. They were both running the race. As they passed, she could see how tightly the blind man held the hand of his friend.
Overcome with her own physical pain, she was lifted as she watched these two men run hand in hand. He who could see was motivated by his blind friend, and the blind man depended upon the connection he had to his friend’s hand. Our daughter knew the blind man could never finish the race alone. She was inspired by the trust of the blind man and the devoted love of his friend.
In like manner, the Savior has stretched forth His hand to each of us so that we don’t have to run alone.”

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The Allegory Of Bathroom Stalls

I told my mom yesterday how I explained their Autism to my kids, and she asked me to write this up.  so this is for her.
DK came to me sometime -oh – almost exactly two years ago now, (time really does move on, amazingly)  and he asked “Mom; Do I have Autism?”  Yes.  “What’s Autism?”  The question of the era, right?  But what if it’s not a doctor with lots of education doing the asking– but a 13 yr old trying to understand himself…   Well- that was one of those golden moments of inspiration; here we go.
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There are all kinds of bathroom stalls in the world–
There are the tiny little Kindergarten ones that seem big when you are 5, but are actually pretty short when you grow up.
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There are the slightly bigger walls in the elementary schools.
There are the “almost-tall-enough” stalls in the high schools :)
The tall, nearly private stalls in movie theaters,
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And even the incredibly tall, fancy, stall walls in the nicer hotels.
Autism is like the wall around a Bathroom Stall.  The person is just a person on the inside- but he is locked inside a wall that interferes with how well he can see and understand and communicate with the people on the other side.
Some people have very short walls, like those kindergarten walls.  This is like the end of the Autism Spectrum we call High Functioning.  (“where you are, my son”)  For people inside this kind of bathroom stall, when all is calm and normal, they can see over the wall really well.  They can talk and giggle and interact with the rest of the world without anyone really noticing the wall between them.  But if there is something surprising come up, or they feel sick or in pain, or something hits their trigger– it’s like a bit of wet floor, and they slip and fall.  There on the ground- not only do they hurt, but they can’t see over the wall, either.  It doesn’t matter how short or tall the wall is,  they still can’t tell anyone what is wrong or even get comforted until they recover enough to get their feet under them and stand up far enough to see over the wall again.
Some people have really tall walls.  That doesn’t mean they aren’t any less of a person inside, it just means that they have a hard time seeing over the wall.  All sorts of modern knowledge and efforts have been used to try to help.  Most therapies are designed to either work on the communicating (talking to the people on the other side of the wall) or interaction part of their struggle.. it’s a false notion that it opens the door; it’s more like giving them a step-stool to stand on so they can see over their wall.  Then they can be part of the world, as long as they are feeling steady.
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 On the other side of the wall, there are all kinds of people too.  There are the ones who only come into the bathroom to look at themselves in the mirror.  They don’t notice anyone else in the room, so don’t let it get to you if they don’t look at you either.  There are the ones who have all their attention grabbed by the efforts to see themselves over everyone else’s heads, and they are unkind to whoever gets in their way.  It is not your fault- let it go.   And then, there are those who come into the bathroom with approachable hearts.  They look up and see you in the mirror and are willing to say hi.  You will find some of these, and more as you get older and they do too- People grow up, and the more they grow, the more they can see past the end of their own problems enough to be kind.  It’s hard work- but no one wants to feel alone, so we try to see over the wall.  Have patience and be kind.  It is worth it.
Categories: "only with Autism" Adventures, LDS Mom of Autism, Parables | Tags: , | 3 Comments

Careful what you ask for….

butterflypixie:

Saturday morning ponderings

Originally posted on Digging for Gold amid Pyrite - finding the good:

A little while ago, I went with my teens to their Stake Youth Conference.

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Talk about Awesome!

I am very impressed with any pile of leaders that can pull off a fun and spiritual full-day event (and I hear they did it with very little advance notice.) There was even a special table at the meal lines for Gluten Free needs.   <3

The very best part, of course, was the Fireside that night. The theme was Overcoming Trails, and guest speaker was Josie Thompson– you can look her up here– and if you ever get a chance to hear her talk, it is well worth all sorts of effort.  I learned a thing or two that night.  When our dear speaker talked about her dark moments as being times when she couldn’t see or touch the world- my sweet daughter leans over and says “Mom- just like me during…

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“With the Light” A reader’s review from a new perspective

I have had moments to wonder why Manga is so very attractive to my kids.  They read very well, but if given the choice- it will be manga.  Well,  I started finding out from my hubby and my kids, that they think in pictures- and they feel like speaking in English is like translating from their first language (pics) to a second language (words).  And suddenly, it was not so hard to understand; reading in your native language is a happy place.

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Now- My sweet TeaRose found a book at the school library… and it’s pure love.  Not only Manga, but is a lovely little story of a young mother’s efforts to raise a severely Autistic boy in modern Japan.

She has these (the first 2, so far) in the place of honor on her night table, after she asked me to read it too, of course.  Then she started asking me very good, direct questions of the “was I like this” and “what are the other ends of the spectrum like with this” sort.  She says it has helped her a lot, and everyone should read it  :)  and, well- it is actually a good read   (if you are willing to read from the right hand end of the book to the left, Manga style.)

Categories: Favorite Books, Guest Posts (seeing the Autistic perspective) | Tags: , | Leave a comment

High-School, Disneyland, and some Things I have Learned

I’m sorry I haven’t written much lately.   I have tried writing this post half a dozen times since I started it late last December.  But even tho it’s a little late, I think I still want to finish, because I feel like there is something here that is needing to be shared.

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Have you ever had one of those school years that just has no other words besides hard, hectic, no rest, etc.?  This is one of those years.  A quote from the movie “Sky High” seems to pop into my head a lot– “If life were to suddenly- get fair-I doubt it would happen in High School.”   I mean, the feeling of drowning is getting easier to bear, because it’s so normal.    At times, it has been so hard not to feel like I get nothing done.  In retrospect- keeping everyone going and sticking with it to the end of the semester,  has been my only available agenda for some time.  Just Mom-taxi to/from all the schools is minimum of 40 miles a day- and doctor appointments can more than double that.  Coaching one-on-one help thru homework usually takes what ever is left.

Getting the kids (and me) thru school stress means LOTS of hugs, LOTS of prayer, keeping the lists and calendars in more than one place (kitchen wall and in my purse at a minimum)   Plus a running list in my head to make sure I don’t leave anyone’s needs out;  getting the scriptures on audio, because I’m too tired to read;  and showing my sweet ones how to squeeze in the search for joy amidst the everyday things.

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And, you know, just like for anyone, Joy for my kids is also found – in the feelings of success -in watching for those moments to be grateful for- and service.  Searching for joy is really hard when you’re tired; but we have managed a few great moments–

Here’s just a few…

The remodeling is coming along very slowly- but weekend visits from my folks are so exciting in bringing visible progress…

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A December success moment; we have a new door…

One of December’s success moments– DK had to make a Globe Theater model for his Drama semester final.  Since it was so close to Christmas, we decided to make it out of Gingerbread (gave me an excuse to keep up my gingerbread tradition) It was a very fun way to handle an unavoidably hectic 2 days!

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and it got a good grade- plus the fun of lots of oohs and ahhh’s! :)

I always make sure to watch for awesome clouds and sunrises while we drive,

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and my kids have learned that I like to spot birds.  It cheers me up, and they help me keep my finch feeder full.  Best birding day ever was just this last month…

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My phone camera doesn’t zoom enough to do this justice, but this is a Bald Eagle that is visiting the field by the kid’s High School!  He was about 80 feet away from me.  Also in this field, but giving the Eagle plenty of space, are Ducks, tons of White Egrets, a few Sand Pipers, a Blue Heron, 6 Vultures, a whole flock of starlings, the odd, common Brown Bird here and there, and a small Hawk that I haven’t identified yet. Kinda one of those days that you feel the Lord is aware of what you are going thru, and sends a tiny miracle to cheer you up.   :)

Service Projects are one thing that I try very hard to make a priority during stress times.  It sounds weird on the surface, but not really.  Losing your focus on self for a tiny bit, and helping someone else, brings the Lord’s help- sometimes in a big enough way to allow me to point it out to the kids.

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preparing bottles of home-made vanilla to give away at Christmas time… Science and service project rolled into one- totally something my kids could get into.

And then- (drum roll) we came to finals week; but, you know, the last couple of preparing weeks before-hand were grueling.  This year has been especially hard on TeaRose.  Trying to cope with 11th grade mainstream is hard for everyone on occasion;  but adding in Autism stress, and sensory integration problems has really had her running from tears, to non-verbal meltdown, to more tears, and starting to spike stress-fevers at all kinds of odd moments of the day.

With the rest of them stressed over school too;  and all of them in the house together– it’s one of those recipes for cabin fever of the 99th magnitude.

Finally, the kids needed a break so badly (and me too), so Mark gave me the incredible gift of a quick jaunt to Disney Land. We chose to take a sick day from school (I made sure there were no tests) on the middle Monday of December, which we had been told was the least busy of the year.  This is the first time we have been brave enough- and able- to take the kids.  It didn’t help the work load, but it seriously cheered me up  to sneak around packing the kids bags in secret; all the while hoping that the experience would let them, especially T, manage Finals the rest of the week.  Just fyi- you probably could have heard Kydee’s scream of excitement from the other side of the neighborhood when she found out what I was up too .  :D

Well- the Sunday of the drive came, and my oldest wouldn’t go. He told me he felt really bad about it- he just couldn’t take the claustrophobia and social anxiety.  It was sweet; he has been a little extra tender with me lately, even gingerly hugging me.  Brand wanted to ditch too, because his stress has made him freak out about being around the younger kids… but I didn’t want to let him.  I told him that learning how to be around sibs was high on the Lord’s priority list, and that if he was going to try to pull a “I’m too old” trump card, then he better be able to look at all the ramifications like an adult- and then tell his little sister himself… Finally, Mark went in and talked him into handling the trip by having him bring his earphones, and giving him access to his smart-phone to stream music.  (p.s.- make sure you know how much data that uses before you do that :O !)

The drive to disneyland

The drive to Disney Land

I held my breath all night at the hotel (figuratively) because I knew that the next day would be a day of extremes, and I just hoped that good memories would be part of them.

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Well- now I can tell you about extremes, and the Lord’s blessings…

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Yes- the morning was very good.  We had less than 5 minutes in any line we went to.  Even Brand was all grins with the Star Tours ride.   Eventually we stopped for lunch, and that was about the edge of the proverbial cliff…. After lunch, the volume of people in the park exploded, and the noise.  Brand was no longer willing to endure- but knew that the others wanted a bit more.  So he said he would wait for us at our predetermined spot in the park center.  I decided to catch on camera what might have set him off– and I found that the camera’s mic was overloaded; 7 different rides could be heard from that spot, plus happy people.  It was a mommy-duh moment.

On the other hand, my sweet Tea-Rose leaned over and said, “Mom, I think Heavenly Father blessed me with having a cold- my ears are all stuffed up and the noise doesn’t bother me like it normally does, so I can enjoy the rides.”  So there you have it.  Blessings in disguise, and noticed too.  :)

Well, we didn’t stay much longer- the walking is hard on me too- but long enough to learn a secret spot for any other family who struggles with hearing-sensory integration problems… there is a little “theater” on Main Street that plays the old black and white original mickey mouse movie reels non-stop.  That little space was quiet and dim and pretty boring to most of the people who peaked in and left again… We stayed for almost an hour, while Mark and Brand went off for pain meds for me–  it was the most blisfull oasis!

So, off home we went- very glad that we hadn’t spent the money for more days worth of tickets, but also very happy with the experience. And in case you were wondering, yes it did help them get thru finals week- Major Daddy Success :)

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

good morning courage quote

It’s 6:20 am–and tho cars are buzzing outside, inside is still tiny slice of absolute calm.  So, for this tiny piece of quiet before the whole house wakes up- I thought I’d share a few courage quotes from one of my daughters favorite heroes-
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“It is for us to pray not for tasks equal to our powers, but for powers equal to our tasks, to go forward with a great desire forever beating at the door of our hearts as we travel toward our distant goal.”
 “Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.

“Faith is the strength by which a shattered world shall emerge into the light.

–Helen Keller
Categories: Courage quotes | Leave a comment

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