My Young Church Service Missionary-“No. My heart was racing so bad I couldn’t breath or sit there.”
Him- “Yeah- I got up and bore my testimony today.”
Not much can cause a cascading rush of emotions in a mom quite as good as that. I am totally aware of the courage, and the spirit, it would have taken for This one of mine to get up and speak in front of others. As super smart, loving, and deep thinking as he is; still, getting words to cross that mysteriously semi-broken brain-to-mouth barrier is one of his biggest hurdles in his own, personal grab-bag of ASD struggles. Anyway, I mentioned that I wished I could have heard it. So he told me what he said.
He said he was waiting for meeting to start, and happened to open the hymn book to Hymn #235, and also that he thought of Hymn #185. He said he felt so strongly about what those verses said. So he got up, and started with the saying “A song of the righteous is a Prayer unto me” and Read to the congregation verse one of 235, and verse three of 185… And finished with his testimony that words have power and closed and sat down.
I was happily amazed.
Then thought. The second one I had sung many times, but not the first– in fact I can’t remember ever reading it. So he looked it up for me, and read the two hymns together for me and then I was Thunderstruck. Have you seen them? I will dare greatly, and copy the verses here as he read them…
“Should you feel inclined to censure Faults you may in others view, Ask your own heart, ere you venture, If you have not failings, too. Let not friendly vows be broken; Rather strive a friend to gain. Many words in anger spoken Find their passage home again.””Bid thin heart all strife to cease; With thy brethren be at peace. Oh, forgive as thou wouldst be E’en forgiven now by me…”
The feelings in my heart were powerful. It was my daily reminder that our kids think deep thoughts. Totally makes everything worth it to be able to see those glimpses of eternity peeking thru.
Praying this morning for the courage to get up- I felt a prompting to hunt down some new quotes to share.
“To me, courage is not a specific set of skills that can be taught. Courage instead is the combined elements of the human condition. These combined elements are composed of caring, compassion, service, kindness, and love.” –Byron Pulsifer,
“Wholehearted living is about engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness. It means cultivating the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough.” –Brené Brown
“Truth be told, you will never really know just how strong and adamant you are unless adversity strikes. Then you learn courage, you build resilience, you learn to persevere, you build character. “- T Whitmore
“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
But there has been growth too. For instance, I took my younger 3 to Phoenix Comicon at the start of summer. Dealing with a crowd of several thousands took a lot of energy to stay calm, for all of them. And then we just crashed and I don’t remember the next day. But they all had fun in a learning sort of way. Big plans have already started for next year.
We have also been trying to finish the remodeling of house- it’s almost done- in spite of the heat. In the mean time, courage quotes keep me going…
“Valor is stability, not of legs and arms, but of courage and the soul.” ~Michel de Montaigne
Tonight, in the care of family and loved ones, I am ready to start up my habit of posting courage quotes again…
“Sometimes the biggest act of courage is a small one. “ ~Lauren Raffo
Some kitchen Experiments actually succeed!
The quest at my house for a long time, has been how to add nutrition, and sometimes just plain enough calories, to a whole pack of different sensory-driven picky eaters. Generally speaking, a success is when at least half of the family will eat it. This one is amping up a traditional treat with Oats and Chia seeds to sneak a little nutrition into a lunchbox snack. Disclaimer– I am not a great showman in the kitchen, or foodie-photographer. But the recipe is great; so here we go!
—SO Good! Food tasters at my house say they taste like cinnamon rolls. Tempted to frost them for special occasions.—
They were good enough that snitching began before the bars were even cool enough to hold their shape, and they were eaten with a spoon…
So- I spotted these new flavors recently, and in my quest to move my family to gluten free, it looked like a great product to try out. (by the way- if you find another bran of gf cinnamon rice crispies, go for it)
Also, needed is rolled oats (regular or quick- I used regular) and Chia seed. I have totally fallen in love with this little seed- the nutrition density is amazing. I am finding all sorts of places to sneak this into.
And also butter,
and about 1+1/3 bags of mini marshmallows.
- about 8 cups of “Cinnamon Pebbles” (full box)
- 1 cup Cinnamon Chex, smashed to small pieces
- 2 cups oats
- 1/2 cup chia seeds
- 1/2 stick of butter
- 13 oz (1+1/3 of the 10 oz bags) mini marshmallows. (approximate- a little more, up to 1-1/2 bags is no big deal.)
Prep a 9″x 13″ cake pan by lining it with baker’s parchment (if you don’t have parchment, you can butter the pan with the other half of the stick of butter, but it makes for greasier lunch bars)
Put all the cereal and Oats and Chia seeds in a big mixing bowl, mix together and set aside.
in a large saucepan, on medium heat, melt the butter and the marshmallows stirring constantly (more or less, this is the directions on the back of the bag of Kraft Marshmallows.)
Pour over the cereal and stir carefully with a sturdy spoon until the chia seeds are lifted from the bottom and mixed in with the rest of the cereal. Dump into the prepared pan and flatten firmly (again, to avoid more butter, I use a silicon spatula to press with)
(ps- I am fully aware of the sugar content- remember, I am trying to get calories into my kids. I am also aware of the corn syrup debates (aka-marshmallows) but I am choosing my battles.)
It was the great pause; the breath between preparation and the excitement. 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 clean 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 glad. 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.
So- Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!
ps- here’s where I found the cookie recipes;
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 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!
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.
Last week was one for the record books in hard for me. It wasn’t any one thing- but more like a mountain of daily life poured into a funnel too small to hold it, mixed liberally with car troubles and my own anxiety attacks….in fact, much of the time, it seamed as if all the powers that be were trying to keep us from having the courage to move forward. And yet, here we are. Sunday Morning’s early light is peaking in the window and I find myself contemplating about daily miracles and courage. So I looked up some of my favorite courage scriptures to start the day–
1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
2 Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
3 Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. — Psalms 46
4 Arise; for this matter belongeth unto thee: we also will be with thee: be of good courage, and do it. -Ezra 10:4
16 ¶Now therefore stand and see this great thing, which the Lord will do before your eyes.
22 For the Lord will not forsake his people for his great name’s sake:
23 Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way:
24 Only fear the Lord, and serve him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things he hath done for you -1 Samuel:12
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.
Tender mercies for sure.