Midnight musings

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

 

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

On Becoming Superman

It’s  4:30 am, Tuesday Morning.

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

And then we waited.

And waited.

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

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

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

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

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

Ponderings on a Friday Night

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

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

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

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

Tender mercies for sure.

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

A Family History kind of week

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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2012

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

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2016

 

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

Dragging Angels thru the Mud…Watching for Tender Mercies

Just an ordinary Thursday.  But it’s not really.
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Today is a milestone amid the mundane.
For the mundane, it’s a homework day; and I am sitting here watching my hero-warrior daughter fight to keep doing her homework even though the effort of staying focused after a full day of battling sensory struggles and sorting thru social thinking, always brings her to tears and makes her heart hurt.
For the Milestone; today marks one more month left before the end of the last semester of her senior year.
But not graduation.
It’s been a hard couple of years, as the pace of 11th grade was never really recovered from before full fusion back surgery for scoliosis.  So in order to keep her functioning and moving forward, I have had to insist that she can’t do double-time pace that the school district wants to force upon our kids.  I have even had the councilors say that lots of kids are having emotional anxiety this year, and they say it with puzzlement. It’s a duh moment… but for my sweet Angel, it’s like a jaunt thru Hades.  So she has a few online classes left.  Or not.  The public school won’t talk about GED options, it’s not in their best interest financially.  But I already have been that way for my older boys- the pain of High School was more than they were able to bear.  So yes, I know that road.
“What about accommodations?” you ask… Well,  my journal friend, IEP helps are only given for those who cannot keep their grades up without it.  She has a few 504 helps, but that’s all the help we have ever been able to get the red tape to do. That nasty catch 22 of twice gifted.  It’s tripping us up as she is no longer coping well, and it’s even getting to her health.  But my sweet T has a lot of friends. It’s a great group of angels that were drawn to each other in early Junior high.  And she really wanted to walk across stage at graduation with them.  It’s the only reason I have been helping her fight to keep the pace.  She tells me I am the character “Joy” and she is “Sadness” being dragged thru school by the foot.  I’m not sure that makes me feel any better.
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I used to manage to stay afloat fairly well, bouncing back from moments of drowning, with the help of Heaven and Family and faith, tho the House chores suffer.  But as the years roll on, my health has grown more untrustworthy, in large part from the decades of sleep deprivation; and I suppose I empathize too much with my older kids as they move thru all this.  It gets harder and harder for them, and for me.
So today, on the tail end of the latest unsuccessful red-tape moment, I tried finding some comfort at Deseret Bookstore.  But I couldn’t find anything to fill my need.  So I turned to fb friends for comments on “How to hang on to joy thru our special griefs”.   Most of the comments managed to remind me of things I already knew, but couldn’t bring my tired head to remember.  For that I am so very grateful.
Perhaps you would like to see a bit of the list. (In no particular order)I didn’t list ask for help- because I think this list is for those times that come after that.
-Thinking outside the box
-Gratitude / focusing on the positives
-Stay in the moment
-Laugh
-Favorite Scriptures / first aid scriptures
-Praying for peace / Pray a lot
-Be gentle with Yourself
-Watching for Tender Mercies
-Recognizing the blessings that come BECAUSE of the griefs
and don’t forget
-chocolate and Hiding in the bathroom
🙂
Not bad- I can remember moments when I have used all the above.  I also have used
-naps
-service (to others outside my family, usually in secret)
-indexing (and temple work)
sometimes there is no time/ energy for more than a shower, but I always know that I can ask for the blessings of the priesthood to help.
Well, working thru all this was so good for me.  Especially the reminder to watch for the Tender Mercies.    One tender mercy already tonight, is that I somehow had the courage to tell my sweet daughter about the school’s position of the day- and she was carried by all the prayers from family and friends, to stay ok (not happy, but still able to think and keep moving forward) Very big moment of gratitude here.
So, time to get back on track with my good moments journal…Thanks to everyone who pulls together to help us out in our struggles.  I’ll end with a  courage quote that popped up in my memories feed on fb today.
“The struggle of life is one of our greatest blessings. It makes us patient, sensitive, and Godlike. It teaches us that although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.”
― Helen Keller

(Jerimiah 1:19   And they shall fight against thee; but they shall not prevail against thee; for I am with thee, saith the Lord, to deliver thee.)

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

The Gift of a Friend

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It started somewhere in the first days of Junior High.  A lovely sweet girl did the tiniest act of kindness on instinct.  She invited my young TeaRose to sit with her and her group of friends for lunch.  She probably didn’t even think it was that big of a deal.

That one small gift built.  The group of friends she had gathered around her, all had that same spark that drew them together, the spark of reaching out in kindness.  They drew T in, and others along the way, becoming a tight core of friends-changing a little here and there with the changes in school lunches and other fortunes of life- but always sticking it out with each other.  All the way.

Today that gift had reached all the way to the night of Senior Spring Prom- which T did not want to attend.  And it turned out some of the others didn’t either.  So one lovely young lady decided to throw an “un-prom” pizza party, and didn’t even think twice about inviting T, she was totally just part of the group.

OH, how much fun TeaRose had!!!!!  She came home giddy with joy, telling me how wonderful her friend’s parents were and how silly her friend’s brothers were, and how much she loved her friends.  Oh, and how she had never stayed up this late at a friend’s house before. 😉   So now, it’s quarter to 11:00, and she barely made it thru prayers before the sugar crash and the late bedtime tackled her hard… but I am so grateful.  Life is hard.  Some years are harder than others, and this year has been crushing.  But for this one moment in time, my sweet warrior had the gift of just being a normal friend at a senior party.  Such a beautiful gift.

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Running on a knife edge

I walk the knife’s edge.

As “World Autism Awareness” day approaches, I wonder if that’s all a good thing.

True, when I was growing up, I had never heard of the word.

When my kids were small, neither had most doctors.

Now most people have heard,

seen the t-shirts.

They’re “Aware”

and some care.

But this week, my son spotted my bumper-sticker, “Mom! I can’t believe you have this!

“I can’t believe you would do this to anyone-You know that word is toxic!”

It’s true- In his age group- well, let’s just say if that word comes up-

All the friends he’s been trying to make

disappear

into thin air.

“It’s not pretty” he says “and it’s mostly because- of young mothers in all their campaigning.”

Ouch- my heart hurts.   Like a mother bear with unfinishable battles-

I must fight still, to get the help they may need– but I must step with care

For all they crave is to be seen as just kids

No yellow star they must wear

to make people stare.

So Yesterday I put on my red shirt and red shoes, my great big folder in hand as my weapon.

Took on the red tape, and was strong in my stand–it was good.

But then I dropped it all at home in my room, notes will wait.

for Today I will hug, laugh and play without care

of the knife edge- It’s worth it

to be loved by these angel warriors

God placed in my care.

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Categories: LDS Mom of Autism, Midnight musings, Poetry | 1 Comment

A Moment of Hope

I just now had the most amazing glimpse of a vision, and I really need to share.

You see, when you get dragged thru the depths of the cold waters of non-stop needs and trials, you tend to get so tired that it’s hard to hear the spirit so well anymore.  At least for me.  So I have been praying hard for the Lord to help me replenish my bucket of faith so that I can keep going. Then, prayers are answered, you know. It was probably the shortest moment of personal revelation I have ever had- but amazing none-the-less.

For tonight- after a enjoying a very uplifting tho tense movie with my kids;  I was tucking the girls into bed, and a flash of a picture played across my mind’s-eye, like a Déjà vu.

I saw the counsel fields of heaven before the world was, but after the great counsel and the resulting epoch battle… there was this huge, crowded, line of beautiful women, warriors at heart, and linked arm-in-arm, and laughing and talking, full of the most incredible joy in each other and the glory of God’s plan.  I was in there somewhere, tho it didn’t seem to matter where, and we had just been called to a meeting with our Heavenly Parents.  Then it came to me that this group of mighty women were those who were being asked to perform the most grueling of tasks- one which we would not see the victory of until it was over.  Gladly was our hearts’ response.

That was the end of the glimpse, except I know what came next- I have felt it many times…..”Thank you” said the Father.  “I need such strong and humble daughters to be the mothers of my most special angels- these will be the ones who will have special needs in their small moment of mortality, usually needing constant care, often without any visible hope for what will seem long stretches of time.”

I am so grateful for this glimpse.  It feels so nice to know I am not alone.  I’m grateful that the Lord takes the time to mend my weaknesses when I have nothing left to give.  My anchor is re-set, my heart feels ready for another long week.  May He send a moment of Hope to you too, my friends.

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Categories: Midnight musings | 3 Comments

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