Midnight musings

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.

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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.  ❤

 

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First of November Gratitudes

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

Halloween 2015

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

Halloween 2016

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

Halloween 2017

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Good Moments

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

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

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

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

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Counts as a good Christmas

It was the great pause; the breath between preparation and the excitement.img_3050  I sat next to my Christmas tree, listening to all my kids and hubby play a little board game before it’s time to shoo them off to bed.  I can hear that they’re getting tired; but they are still all trying to be pleasant and work together for fun.

It’s beautiful sight in the world.   And it gave me time.

Time.  It’s my most treasured gift. The gift of no place I have to be, no schedule I need to keep, no needs or demands from anyone at all.  Along with the clear head to think and ponder- both things together.. It’s very rare.

Earlier this month, I wouldn’t have believed any such spare moment would happen.  I would see the treat-gifts come to the door, and the cards and letters from the neighbors and friends, and think- “yeah, as if I could manage something like that.”

Suddenly things moved, and I had a spare moment to do my yearly ornament and letter for our close family.  Later, on Thursday I found myself totally done shopping!   The peace hit me like a thunderclap.  Like magic, I had a whole day Friday to cleanimg_3067 and work on what I whatever I wanted to.  It was a gift from Heaven— and I decided that I had time to make Christmas cookies after all.  I still tire easily, but it was so good.  On Christmas Eve, it rained almost all day. But it stopped just as Hubby took our Brand to the Mesa Temple-it was Brand’s YSA (young single adult) ward’s turn to help with the tour/crowd control there for the Christmas lights.  Meanwhile, I took the 3 teens and we went delivering the cookie trays.  Don’t make the mistake of thinking I pulled this off without any meltdowns or other Autism moments– the full gammut of triggers=  anticipation, starting to go to the wrong door (and having to run back to the car and try again), relief, seeing happy faces as we gave the cookies, getting on each other’s nerves, tears, and recovery;   TeaRose said it best- “Mom, there’s so many emotions going around in my head so fast that it gets my autism overwhelmed and I go blank and can’t feel anything at all” (yup- she really did say that, we have been working being able to express needs.)   So we reviewed our grounding steps to recover from overload, and then kept going.  I’m so img_3069glad.  The spirit of giving seeped into my car in spite of everything, so that by the time we got home it was very good.  That brings this story back to where I started, under the Christmas tree.  Then it was time to play Santa.

Santa got really lucky this year.  Lots of tactile pleasures (fuzzy blankets and sequinned pillows were half the hit of the morning) and lots of happy smiles.  Now, they are all playing with their new gear, in that near total quiet that my spectrum kids get when they have been running on adrenaline to be happy in the chaos for a couple days- and they are still happy, just tired.  Time is still rare- it took 2 separate spaces of time just to write this post.  But for now, I have time to sit and think- What a great Christmas gift that is.p1040039p1040017

 

 

 

 

 

So- Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!

ps- here’s where I found the cookie recipes;

http://www.glutenfreebaking.com/how-to-make-gluten-free-shortbread/

http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/stained_glass_cookies/

http://www.shugarysweets.com/2013/06/cherry-chocolate-chip-shortbread-cookies

 

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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.

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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.

Daniel 6:27sig10-004_inline
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.

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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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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

 

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