Stress is Like a Soda Bottle


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 … 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!


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


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


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.


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…


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.


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…

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.


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?”


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


“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?)


“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.


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.


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…..


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.


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

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.
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.
 GW BUSH Stalls 2
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,
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.
 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

A Letter to My Sons: Learning to fly- lesson one

What an amazing feeling tonight-  my oldest is going to turn 22 years old tomorrow, and my sweet daughter is at a dance!  I don’t know how they got that old- I  surely didn’t.  I really don’t feel old enough to know how to have teens and more.  :O

But these pondering gave me the chance to work on something I have been thinking about for a long time.  So–here is the next chapter after the “Parable of the Egg”  (you can read it here) (p.s. She did great!!!)

A Letter to My Sons
Learning to fly- lesson one: Principles of Intelligence

Often, the Lord walks the Earth, checking in on his beloved creations.  Most are not ready to know he was there, but there are ever a few great hearts here and there.  One soft evening in early fall, he came upon the great forest tree that had held the nest of the eagle’s egg.  He recalled watching with joy as the egg hatched; and had sent his wisest Angels to watch over the tiny newborn along with his natural, Earthly parents.

As the cold early spring had blossomed and warmed, the eaglet had watched as all the little birds and creatures nearby began to fledge and fly or scamper off.  Summer came, and now he had begun growing fast- needing all the efforts of his parents to hunt and feed their young offspring.  Then, as summer began melting into fall around him, his parents seemed to know that they were involved in raising greatness, and never complained as they left the nest to the care of the Angels; soaring farther and farther in their search for meat.  But the little one often felt alone and agitated.  It was on one of these times that the Lord came to visit.

The Eaglet saw him, and looked down as the Lord sat beneath the tree.  He didn’t feel much like small talk –  “Ok”- said the young bird. “I followed what you said; and look- here I am stuck in this tree; no one around, lonely and bored out of my skull, and no where to go.  Nothing is fun, nothing is easy. It’s been ages!  Where have you been!   I thought you said something about flying.“

“Ah-” Answered the Lord.  “Only the sparrows and chickens get it easy.  They have not the capacity for anything else.  Greater joy, just like Freedom and all things truly of value, only come to those willing to pay the price- the price of the Victor’s Crown, the Price of Learning to Fly.”

The Eaglet stared up at the heavens in wonder. “What price?” he said.

The Lord’s voice was rich and deep, but not overly loud. Yet it carried with perfect clarity to the nest so high in the tree.  “The price begins in simply time and effort, and obedience to the process of learning.  And It  begins in mastery of the mind over the physical body.  Then you will be ready for the lessons of mastery of the spirit, or what will be called the soul, or heart- over the mind.  All together, I will call these lessons the Principles of Intelligence.”

Now the little Eaglet was confused.  “I thought the principles of Intelligence meant going to college.  That’s what everyone says.  What if I can never manage that- am I doomed forever?”

The Lord leaned back against the soft grass, and gazed into the same heavens as the youthful bird.  “No little one.  If that were true, all my loved ones from Adam and Abraham and Moses and everyone in-between would also not be flying as they are.  Do not fear, those other voices are not right. They have jumped onto a half truth and embraced it with full zeal.  Many of them will yet learn these lessons of mine as they grow, not to worry.   You cannot understand it all yet, so I have broken down this learning into lessons.  Steps that will move my loved ones form the tiniest whispers of understanding, into great soaring moments of wisdom and beyond.  Some of these  lessons are had among men as a gift to start the learning process.  Most come from the scriptures and family values that are had among the parents who ask in faith. “

He stood and looked at the young Eagle who had such a great heart.  “Do yo wish to learn them- these Principles of Intelligence?”

The Eaglet felt alive and weak all at the same time; hope and fear woven together in a great chill down his back.  To learn to Fly!!! but it depended so much on himself.  He didn’t know if he could handle that.  OH! But to FLY!  Finally he looked down to the Lord who was waiting in perfect Peace,  “Do you think I can do it?”

“Yes” was the simple answer.

“But I feel so alone.”

“You will never be truly alone.”

“I mean of those like me- eagles who have not yet learned to fly.”

“There are more Eaglets in the world than you could possibly know.  There are many reasons to spread out the Eagle families so far, but for now I will say just that there is not enough resources here in this small space of forest to feed that many.   Be patient – that is your first principle.  Allow your mind to control your body enough to trust in My timing and wait with faith and patience for your parents to do their best in teaching you the skills to grow up.  Sometimes lessons will need to be repeated throughout your life, perhaps this is one of them…  knowing that you can wait.  Then, each time your parents return, watch them; the great ones who I have assigned to start you on this journey.  Learn to feel what they are feeling- their joys and their fears- as your body gains the strength to beat your wings strong and far;  find the way to connect to the people around you. This is called empathy, and is principle number two in your quest, the principle of seeing beyond yourself.
Now I must go visit others, but I will be back to see how well yo have learned this much.”

The Eaglet watched him walk away like any other man- but he was so much more, and had filled his mind with wonder and pondering.  The great wheel of stars above turned as he thought about what he had heard.  In fact he was so caught up in the new thoughts that he didn’t even notice his grumbling empty stomach.  “Principles” He thought. “What is a principle?” As he fell asleep, the young bird resolved to ask his father when he got home-


Categories: Courage quotes, Midnight musings, Parables | 2 Comments

The Gift of Courage

I wrote this a while ago- but never felt right posting it.   I think today is a good time.


Courage is gained piece by piece, like a Chinese puzzle box, as we gain the victory over each moment of fear and move on to the next; this is how the Lord refines warriors who have the strength to stand against all the hosts of evil or just daily life….

 This is the Gift of Courage
The Courage to Smile
When you don’t feel well.
The Courage to Stand Tall
When everyone is looking.
The Courage to be Kind
When others are not.
The Courage to be Honest, Always,
Whatever the consequences.
The Courage to forgive
When you are hurting inside.
The Courage to ask for forgiveness
When you caused the hurt.
The Courage to try again
especially when it’s hardest.
The Courage to open your heart
and Love.


-Shard, Jun. 2010

Categories: Courage quotes, LDS Mom of Autism, Midnight musings, Parables, Poetry | 2 Comments

Seeing the Hand of God


Christmas vacation was over.  On the first day back to school, I felt like I should make a good start to the year, too.  So as I drove around to all the schools that morning, I set myself the task of watching throughout the day to see if I could spot a moment when I could feel the hand of Heavenly Father working in my life.

The day went well enough for a first day, all things considered.  But the kids were reeling from exhaustion by the time they got home, just dealing with the social struggles and workload of school after the restful break.  And we hadn’t even made it to homework time.  I was wondering if I would have anything to write.

But I have to tell you about homework time for DK.

He fought it all afternoon- which was fine by me, it gave me a chance to help his sisters and get dinner finished.  But then it was finally time to focus all my strength on him.  “Mom, You’re getting more strict too, just like my teacher!” he complained.  Then a picture opened up in my mind, and I cuddled him up in my arms and told him the picture…

“My son, imagine you are swimming out in the ocean.  It’s fun, and you are playing, but I can see a huge wave coming.  I know that a half hour of hard work will save your life- but you don’t  see the wave.  You don’t want to work, you want to play.  Which choice should I make?”


He saw the picture, and answered “the half hour of work”

“Yes, being strong and strict to make you work for a half hour just saved your life on that ocean, and now you’re safe, and can play the rest of the day…. This is the same thing.  There are things you need to know before you hit the adult world.  You need to know some basics, and how to find answers, and how to make yourself do hard things- or you won’t survive the adult world, you will drown.”

Well, he cuddled into my lap and started working; painstakingly writing his answers and smiling at my silly jokes.  And I thought, I wonder which was the greater moment of the “Hand of God”… The mini story that hit my head fully formed- or the minute of sudden and complete clarity of thought that my Autistic son had,  that allowed him to not only understand the parable- but to make the jump to apply it to himself enough to help overcome his fear of writing for the rest of the afternoon.  Nephi mentioned that small things are often the greatest miracles of all- It makes you wonder.   🙂

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

I Will Be There at the End

Reprinting my favorite courage quote today- I needed it.


“Life is Not like a race, or an archery tournament; where the prize goes to the fastest, or one shot wins the glory—
Life is like a boxing match, or a marathon; where the reigning victor is the guy who can out-last all the opposition.
I am not always strong, I make lots of mistakes; but I will be there at the end, still hanging on…”   (-Shareen Halliday, Aug.2011)


Categories: Courage quotes, Parables, Poetry | Leave a comment

The Parable of the Egg

I wrote this story a while back- when my oldest ones were really starting to hurt emotionally from the pain of trying to grow up with a disability;  But in many ways, it applies to each of us.  We have all spent our moments just beginning.


“The Lord, who watches over all the creations of his hands, went out in the world one fine morning, and saw an egg lying in a patch of wild grass by the side of a great tree.  It had been rocking so hard in it’s effort to hatch, that it had fallen right out of it’s nest.  Bending down, he picked it up in his strong and gentle hand.
“Come along my little one”  He said, looking up at the tree.  “Let’s get you back to the nest.”
The baby bird inside the egg called out  “NO!  I don’t want to go back to the nest!  It’s tiny and plain and the twigs scratch and hurt.  I want to stay here in the grass where it’s soft and smells good.”
The Lord hears all voices, great or small.  So he heard the bird inside the egg, and answered;  “Ah, but the wide world is a dangerous place for such a tiny thing as you.  There are snakes and lizards, cats, and even bigger birds that want to find you and swallow you whole.  You do not yet have your wings to fly away from such dangers.  And there is no food here in the grass, you would not even be able to care for yourself.”
The baby bird answered, “Then break open this shell and set me free!”
The loving Father saw the cracks that were starting to zig-zag around the shell.  “That is something you need to do yourself”  He answered in his most encouraging voice.  “Come on, your nearly there.”
But the baby bird got angry. That was not the answer he wanted to hear.  “No!” he shouted up at God.   “ The shell is too hard!  You said you would listen to my prayers!  You said you would help me!  I hurt!  All I prayed for was to open the shell- and now all you can say is No!”
The Lord’s eyes were sad, as he looked at the tiny thing in his hand; but his voice became stronger, like steel that knows the world, and will not bend.  “You have not noticed, because of your youth, but I have been helping all along,”  He said.  “I gave you a hard shell as a wall of protection for your body as it developed and grew large enough to think and move on it’s own.  I gave you food to last through the whole process that was just there with no effort on your part.  I provided an air pocket for when you out-grew your food supply- so you could taste the real world and feel a desire to get out there, and I made it large enough to sustain you till you are finished.  I even provided a special sharp tooth on the end of your bill that will break open the shell.”
“But I’m tired and sore and hungry!  I can’t go on any more!”  the bird in the shell kept on, not even listening.  “You promised me I would be strong, and smart.  All my friends have made it out of their shells already.  Some are even starting to fly.  And still here I am.  You gave me a defective shell.  If you don’t get this shell off me,  I’m giving up.  I don’t believe in you anymore.”
Heavenly Father sat down on the grass with the egg in his hand and thought about all the things he knew, and how to best answer the little bird he loved so much.  What could he say that it would understand.  “Little one,” he began  “Your great heart needs to be strengthened.  The effort of breaking the shell may seem a great thing to you right now- but your heart is vital to your survival.  It must beat strong enough to match the power of your wings.  If I short-cut this small but necessary piece of your development, you will die.  The first time danger approaches, you will try to use your strength, but your heart will not be able to match it; and the unbalanced effort will give you a heart attack.
“In all of this earth’s thousands of years, and billions of baby birds, this has always been true– should I not allow the heart to strengthen, I get 100% death rate.  If I make the baby do this great work of his, there is a few- perhaps one in 10,000- that give up and suffocate inside their shell.  So when faced with a choice; 100% or a thousandth of a percent, I will chose the option that gives me the most hope.
“Your friends’ shells are not as strong as yours, because they are sparrows and chickens, you even have a few friends who are falcons, hawks, and owls.  Their shells were strong enough for the size of their hearts.  But you have a much greater heart.  You are an Eagle, and need great effort to bring about the full power of your Eagle’s heart. If I took away your shell, I would rob the world of one of my mightiest creations.  Your belief or not in me does not change the fact that I am here.  And because I am here, I must choose the course that will bring my best to the world.  Whether you keep on trying or not is your part of the choice.”
Then Heavenly Father put the egg back in it’s great nest where the mother Eagle was waiting.  “Choose wisely my little friend, so we can fly together someday.”  –copyright, Shareen Halliday, May 2010

Categories: Courage quotes, LDS Mom of Autism, Midnight musings, Parables | 1 Comment

Lessons from the Vanilla Bean and a Candle in the Wind


Family Home Evening started out as many do for me-  flying by the seat of my pants and a prayer.  You see, I know the family needs this moment in time, but sometimes, especially lately,  I’m just plain unable to plan ahead through the stress of day.   But the Lord never lets me down when I let him help; and this one was so awesome I had to share!

As I gathered my family around for the song and a prayer, I was casting my thoughts and my eyes around the stuff in the room, wondering what would be a good object lesson for the day.  I had caught onto a question in church, about how we can “make our influence felt?”  but I didn’t know where to go with it.   Then, just as all the kids were all settled and ready for me to talk, my eyes landed on one of the small jars of homemade vanilla extract that I had made for local Christmas gift exchanges this year.  Suddenly the whole lesson was there in my head.  So I began.

“Do you know what this is?” I asked.  After the round of no’s and good guesses, I told them. “This is the gift that I made for us to give away this year-   Inside this little jar is a real, actual vanilla bean.  What do yo notice about it? “and this is where it got Good.   So here it goes…

“You see, the vanilla bean looks a bit like a piece of hard, dark leather or shoestring. It has a tough skin, like maybe it’s had a hard life.    But after you bruise and scratch it to get through it’s shell,  maybe even brake it in half,  you put it into a jar of liquid and leave it there for a while.  Slowly, bit by bit, the clear liquid starts to take on the warm brown color of the vanilla and starts to smell  sweeter and sweeter.

We are all like the Vanilla Bean, and the world is like the clear liquid.  We color and influence those around us- bit by bit, by sharing with those we meet the sweet goodness inside of us.  Sometimes we get bruised and battered around a bit- and we feel a little torn around the edges.  But it turns out, in the big picture of things, that those superficial things serve to let our goodness be seen and noticed by others.  Then as they are touched by our example and influence, they feel more like touching those others around them that we might not even know about.   Soon our vanilla warmth and goodness has flavored a whole jar full of liquid, and it’s ready to flavor things we cook.

“Christ taught about the power of influence and example, but the object that he used was a candle.  ‘You are a light to the world.’  He said.  And there is no amount of darkness that can put out our flame by itself, not without help.   What puts out a candle?  Wind, moisture, direct touch, suffocation;  there are things that can influence the light if we let it, just like there is things in the world that can make it hard for us to keep shining.  To protect a candle, we put it into a hurricane glass.  the high walls keep out the wind and influences, allowing the flame to burn.  Our hurricane glass is ours to create, by what we allow around us in our own home.  Staying in control of our  TV and media input, praying, all these things that we already know, as well as helping each other- our family was created as a place to go to recharge and refresh 0ur own candle’s hurricane glass, so that we can keep on going in this world of wind.”

Well- that was the main lesson- and it took a full 20 minutes to move through this much.  I don’t ever try to shut down all the details and repeats.  It’s more like directing a singalong, and just par for the course in a family full of lots of Aspie and HFAutistic good kids who want to make sure they got it all down and have had their say heard.  It’s all good; repeating is how we learn.  Anyway, wrap-up how you want to… Most weeks I am way too tired for games and treats and everything all in a single production- and my kids can’t sit still, all together in one space that long anyway.  I think I’ll work on slipping the rest of the pieces in during the week.  🙂

(recipe to follow)

Categories: LDS Mom of Autism, Parables | 1 Comment

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