Dodging Bullets

“Excitement” in my life tends to come in overwhelming waves.

October buzzed into life with the wave called neuropathy for me, and shoulder surgery for hubby. Kinda felt normal about it all by then.  But with a change of meds, the neuropathy began to relent.  I was excited to pick up my life and function… for 2 whole days.  Then I got hit with a mean one- and discovered what cellulitis is- right in the face.  I’m not going to post it- but it would have been a great Halloween mask.  So, a week and a half, an IV, and 4 shots later, I was praying pretty hard to feel a little of the light and loving hand of the Lord to keep me going.

Then I realized that the answer to my prayer was already there…

The Sunday before all this started, we had a tornado siren go off during the night.  Twice.  It was not a drill.  But we had been watching the weather, and so weren’t very surprised.  All the kids remembered our plan, And because we had a plan, there was no meltdowns at all.  In fact I was very calm.  Does that count as a Hand-of-the Lord moment?  Absolutely.  Later that night we learned where the tornadoes had hit in Dallas and surrounding cities.  None had been as far north as our city. Another moment of feeling blessed.

But the moment that stood out to me was shopping a couple days later, thinking about the tornado, and I suddenly thought that I needed to restock some basics that had run down. Soon after that, I was flat sick, but the pantry was full of all they needed for a few days.

No denying it- a personal tender mercy for sure!

So. The doctors were serious, and have been working very hard to get me feeling better.  Today my face looks almost back to normal, and I feel about halfway to well—But it was close.  Talk of hospital stays came up for several days.  Apparently the cellulitis can get to the bones, eyes, or blood stream pretty easily from a facial infection.  But I was blessed to sneak past the week with just a scary looking face, a lot of sleep on the couch, and lots of love from my family.

I feel really really watched over right now.

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

The grief sneaked back in.

It’s raining outside.  A lovely little thunderstorm cooling the 100 plus degree temperatures of late August, bringing cleaner air and a feeling of a late sunrise.  Inside is completely quiet and at peace.  Totally transformed from yesterday.  A good time to work my way thru the griefs.

Yesterday was huge.  A Monday of rather more epic proportions than normal.  It started with a no sleep night..  I already knew how the evening was stacking up to be.

But then the girls were up, and happy excitement filled the whole house.  It was time for their first day of college. Choosing to start close with our local community college was our smart gift to ourselves.  Easy to keep tuition manageable on top of everything, and allowed me to walk them thru the start-up and crowds.  Not that Kydee really needed it, but TeaRose did, and we enjoy our “girls adventures”, so things were seriously looking up.

Then it was off to find parking. No joke- there is no parking lot like a local college parking lot.  It even puts BYU to shame.🤪 But it was ok.

Then, a very intense 25 minutes in the bookstore crowds, and an hour in the school ID lines.  I knew it was coming, and we had the time to spare, but the sensory input was hitting poor TeaRose like a thunderclap. It was almost as bad as Disneyland, but nothing fun to look at while waiting. By lunch time she was huddling.  Kydee was in her happy place.  Her first class was soon, all the other classes are later this week fortunately, but Monday was her Russian language class  😮😉

I’m so incredibly proud of her.
She loves learning, and enjoys keeping very high standards for herself, but never lets that interfere with her grace in kindness and pure friendship. Especially towards others who have it harder.  So I took my “first day” photo, and off she went to have fun.

I wanted to stay, and giggle and buzz with excitement with my mini me, but it was time to get her sister out of there. I need to say that I am every bit as proud of this sweet angel warrior as I am for her sister.

I watched as she valiantly held herself together and just whispered, “I’ve got to get out”,.  How she walked with her arms loose in fake confidence, not grabbing my arm in dead panic, till we were alone.  We sat in the car, and I held her till the shaking stopped, my heart just aching.  The grief was out of the closet that I keep it in.  Our world is not geared to notice the hard won fight if there is no headline, no prize, but just making it thru the day with courage and determination.

It hurts to walk the knife edge- how much do I trumpet one sister’s accomplishments while hugging the other?  We recovered, then listened to Kydee’s happy report till it was time to get home and handle the rest of the epic Monday.

I didn’t take my pain meds last night, and I was right- my heart rate went down and I was able to sleep.  Got to make another dr. appointment.  In the meantime, the rain has paused, and I feel better, the closet is closed
again.  And I can again enjoy my warriors for the wonderful kids they are. Have a blessed day.

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Of Endurance, Triumphs, and Summer heat

Change is hard.

Or, an Ode to the process of growing.

I haven’t been on the blog much of late, it has taken most of my energy just to keep moving family and myself forward.  But Facebook sent me a memory photo, that really brought home to me the size of adventure our family has been on.

August marks the one year anniversary of our move across the country from Arizona to Texas. And, as I started browsing thru my photos, I realized that summer has quite a few anniversaries.  We have learned a lot over the past while.(note: this was originally going to be two posts, anniversary one, and a list of things I’ve learned. But needs dictate putting both here, hope you forgive the length)

…..So.  July marked the 4th anniversary of TeaRose’ scoliosis surgery; right between 11th and 12th grades.  And June marked the one year anniversary of her hard won graduation from High School, and from her Two year tech school in Early Childhood Education.  And btw, her success in spending an entire afternoon in the middle of  a mammoth crowd of excited, noisy teens- twice.

And
June is also the one year mark for Hubby’s new job and my drive to Texas with him so he had a vehicle for work, and I could start looking at houses before flying home to get the rest of the family.

Some of our milestones were not actually summer things.  Mark’s whole department at work was cut in early spring last year; right before I flew to New York with my youngest on her orchestra field trip to Carnegie Hall.  (Which fortunately was already paid for.)

And both Brand, and TeaRose have finished their Service Missions for our church.  They finished very well indeed, having to include a transfer clear across the country into their mission experience.

Back to this summer, August was  also the one year anniversary of flying my kids into Texas, and immediately getting Kydee enrolled into 12th grade, three days before school started…and she had a grand time, graduating end of May.  She deserves plenty of horn blowing for keeping her grades and school goals up. And in my opinion, even more horn accolades for balancing that with helping to shoulder the care of home and siblings who were struggling with the move.  A huge accomplishment.  She even made first chair in orchestra!!

I know that’s a super fast run thru.  A full picture would make for nearly a book.  Before I move on, tho, I need to express how eternally grateful I am for my parents and friends who stayed behind in Arizona to help, so that I could focus on the needs of my hubby and family.

…..Anyway, now we come to the fun part. Here’s just a bit of what I have learned this year- in no particular order.

  • “It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity” Texas does not quite reach the high temps of Arizona, but humidity brings it to a close match.  Hot is Hot.
  • No place has a corner on unkindness, but there are also good people everywhere too.
  • House hunting is hard. House selling is harder.  Glad we’re done for a bit.
  • when you need help, ask the missionaries…
  • I didn’t realize just how much I missed green while I was in Arizona, till I got here.  Photos of trees and grass were a thing for a while.
  • Not all of Texas is flat, this area is quite challenging to the bicyclists.  😉
  • Never, NEVER, believe the moving company when they say “don’t pack anything”.
  • Traveling for fun is one thing (and not all fun and games.) But moving across country WAY over-maxes out an ASD person’s ability to cope with, and roll with change.  There is NO safe place left to retreat to for a recharge.  It’s just Mom and each other.  Eventually this will be a blessing, but before that, moving a family including 5 special needs is an act of faith and raw grit.
  • Advance research (in schools, etc) is worth its weight in gold. Maybe more.
  • it takes 6 to 8 months for even the highest functioning ASD to feel a bit steady in a new place. 9-12 months to recover from regressions and to feel at home. This includes moving thru the culture shock, mourning, depression, etc. that are very real and need addressing.
  • Always jump on an inspiration!  Early this year, felt like I needed to add comfort animals to our family. I went and found the county shelter and adopted the cutest kitten ever that very week. Then I spent quite a lot of time researching dogs and breeders. We now also have a cute mini golden puppy.  They have already been angels of comfort to our kids. And have pulled them thru some very hard times. (And given them something else to care for, which always helps)
  • ”No sales tax” doesn’t mean cheaper living, believe me.
  • Fresh starts with no gossip are priceless.
  • I love hearing cashiers and others say “have a blessed day”, and meaning it. 💛
  • Cats snore. And dogs bark in their sleep.  I didn’t know that. (Don’t laugh)
  • the Cicadas sound different here than in Arizona.  Didn’t expect that.
  • Mark is amazingly valiant, both in his job hunting and work ethics. Even tho (or perhaps because) it took 3 months of 7-8 hours a day, and a partner all-in,  It was a powerfully good thing for the kids to see the process first hand and up close.  This bullet point needs a whole post.  I’m working on it.
  • Different states have different red tape (talking about schools mostly).
  • There is no end in sight for the mother bear hat.  (Now it’s community college registration time)  But I’m good with that, progress is still being made, and the love I feel for my family is still a fire deep in the bones.
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Prayers for the Super Hero

Here at the end of a Lovely Father’s Day, that turned into pretty much like fairly normal Sunday, I can’t think of anything more appropriate than a post from a few years ago… it’s still on point, ‘tho this time it’s cell phone tech needs,  and that just makes me love him even more….

Superheroes are not to be found in the spangly outfits with capes, that glint in the sun as they fly through the air.  They don’t own a cave, or trashing cities while they fight intergalactic monsters.

No.

the real Super Heroes are found in the dead of night– after a long, hard, day of work- fighting the villains of OPP (other people’s problems) and striving to overcome their own Goliaths of mortality– they are found in one of their son’s room, fixing the computer through all the wee hours, giving council while he’s at it, knowing he still has to go to work again tomorrow.

Father, bless my Superhero, the knight in shining armor who swept me off my feet many years ago, and who now blesses my heart with his strength and willingness to serve when it’s hard, and there is no likely end, or obvious gratitude. Give him extra measures of strength tonight, and comfort and knowledge. Hold him up in thy power, for his is the heart of a true Superhero.

Happy Father’s Day.

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

Christmas Eve

I know I have a lot of catching up to do on our adventures of moving across the country.  But it can wait.  Today I was reading my poem from 2011, (see below) and got to thinking how some things have changed and some things are the same, so I’m writing a new stanza…

‘Twas the day before Christmas, and I’m snug in my home.

No more dodging thru chaos, the shopping is done

The fire is on, the girls having s’more fun.

while I hang out in my bedroom with each kid one by one.

I was sad-just a little- as I ignored the toy isles, thinking

Big kids take more effort to bring Christmas smiles.

But then I watched as they put their own wishes aside,

and try to think what the others might be wishing inside.

I’m thinking it’s funny, how surface traditions don’t last

Growing up can seem long, but it really is fast.

Yes, hard things can happen, change can bring fear

And even our house is new one this year.

Still, here on my bed We’re here with this lasting tradition,

Enjoying the fun of our family ambition,

of learning to think about each others’ dreams,

Practicing love, and the joy that it brings.

https://butterflykissesandpixiedust.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=2164&action=edit

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

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.

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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

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