They who dwell in the ends of the earth stand in awe of Your signs; You make the dawn and the sunset shout for joy. ~ Psalm 65:8
As I scroll through Facebook, the sadness and despair I see is so disheartening. My heart just breaks at the hate in the world, the hurt to some from others, the confusion, the country divide. I feel angry when stories of pedophiles, rapists, murderers, and so on pop up on my FB feed.
For a little while, I have been in the process of transitioning such hatefulness rampantly spreading across Facebook feeds by deleting or blocking the negativity. I have also made a point to post something positive or encouraging Every. Single. Day. in hopes that it will put on a smile on someone’s face or help heal a broken heart.
To help diminish the negativity in this world (even if only a minuscule part), I’d like to say…..
………this place is only our temporary home.
The place God has promised us is so much better, so much more comforting and has so much more love and light……. So. Much. More. of. Everything.
In His presence, our hearts can be at peace. With Faith, Hope, and Love for this life I’ve been given, you’ve been given, I’d like you to know:
- You – yes you! – are loved.
- Nobody can ever replace you. God created you in a unique way. I encourage you to go out there and make your mark on the world in a way that is pleasing to Him.
- I am praying for your happiness, your peace, your health, and your faith.
- God Sees You, Hears You, Loves You!
- You. Are. Beautiful.just as God created you to be, from the inside out.
- You have much to offer others by way of love. Reach out to them, help them, love them as God loves you.
I hope you have a blessed day.
In the aftermath of the election, as our country prepares to swear in a new president, we need to remember Love. We are all different. There are two very prominent sides to an election: Democrat and Republican. With the election over, many people in our country are heartbroken and possibly angry, to name only two of the emotions. On the flip side, we also have some very excited and inspired people. No matter which way you voted, no matter which party one in your favor, always remember Love. For our country to pull together we all need to first respect that we are all created equal from the dust of the ground or from the rib of said creation. Second, we need to remember that love trumps all. Rather than be a country divided, let’s stand tall and be a country United! Peace be with you all.
As you know, my husband and I recently learned of a congenital heart defect that my oldest daughter has. Repair is needed so a couple trips to Mayo are in our future.
Since learning of her diagnosis, I’ve been quite worried — as to be expected. I say lots of prayers and shed many tears. Bad dreams have been wreaking havoc on my sleep. And, of course, we can’t NOT include the rest of our life. All the kids. Jobs. School. Homework. Bills. Grocery shopping. Doctor’s appointments.
You know….just living.
Miraculously, my husband and I have been doing very well in dealing with everything on our plate. We are thankful for God’s presence in our lives, the support of our loved ones, and the friendships that are a source of encouragement, love, and joy.
Our home is busy from the moment we open our eyes until the last child falls asleep for the evening. Basically, our time clock runs from dark-thirty to dark-thirty.
And finally, when those quiet moments roll around, we enjoy that little space of time together completely uninterrupted by chattering, squealing, laughing, sometimes fighting children. We snuggle in for talking or a movie…..quality time. It’s in those moments when my mind slows down and my emotions are relaxed that my fears about my daughter sneak up on me.
At that point, my so-very-sweet husband provides a strength that I seem to be lacking after a full day of devotion to my home and my family. It’s in those moments that I don’t have to pour the 50th glass of milk or clean the sticky mess on the floor for the umpteenth time in a span of 10 minutes or step on that same darn Jenga block that has magically reappeared haphazardly under my feet. No more arguments about getting homework completed, who was talking first, or who’s turn it is to do dishes.
In that quiet time with my husband, my heart lets go and my mind slowly morphs into wife mode. In light of my daughter’s diagnosis, many of these nights have been spent held tightly in his arms, soaking up his strength, his words of encouragement and kindness, his reassurances as I cried into his shoulder.
That very quality in a man that the female persuasion is drawn to from the beginning.
Strength of mind, body, and soul.
Strength to keep going when the going gets rough.
Strength to be the husband who provides and protects, the father who meets his obligations without fail, the friend to all who come to him.
Strength to lead a Christ-centered home.
Strength to endure, overcome, grow, and teach.
Strength to be the man that God has created him to be.
Women everywhere, since the time of creation, look for that quality of strength in a man. We are attracted to it. We look for and eventually we find it. And then we depend on it.
Unfortunately, women also overlook the fact that a man who is providing strength oftentimes doesn’t divulge his own fears/questions/concerns because he is too busy being that strength for her. His struggles are just as real. Since my daughters’ diagnosis, my fears and tears have been quick to arise at any given time. If he happens to be home at the time, he’s more-than-willing to console me, to calm me down, to reassure me. He’s listened each time with patience and concern. I’ve not seen him cry, question, or show anything but faith that she will be right as rain after it gets repaired. Upon his reassurance that he is fine and he believes she will be fine, my own worries subside. I guess me knowing that his faith is so strong, makes me okay.
I learned recently that although he is that source of strength for me during this time, he’s had his own doubts. He doesn’t come to me with them because his character, the protective quality in him, is so deeply ingrained that taking care of me by providing strength for me, for his family occurs without thinking about it. It’s at this time he turns to God and his friends or family members.
It’s kind of archaic, but I get it. I even agree with it to some extent, but I do appreciate when he shares it with me rather than try to shield me from it. I mean, how can I not appreciate the -shh, don’t tell him I said this, but– the softer side of him?
I love this wonderful man that God so graciously crossed my path with.
I found this story on FB and when I read it, tears welled in my eyes. Such sweetness. Such goodness. What a wonderful act of kindness to this mother and her child!
If you haven’t read it, please take a moment to do so. It’s traveling all over FB, but I want to share it anyway because, like the manager, I cannot understand what it’s like to raise a child with autism, but my husband and I have received the very same blessing as he gave, a couple of different times. We have also been given the same looks and heard the same whispers, but we have never been hastled by a manager over it. Fortunately. Both of these experiences are eye-openers. Our family of 10, yes 10 (2 adults, 8 children), for one random supper out on the town (family oriented of course), was blessed by a well-meaning and kind soul. He/she/they (we don’t know who), paid our bill and told the server who delivered that act of kindness from the stranger/s not to divulge his/her/their names/identity. They wanted to remain anonymous. And if you don’t know already, feeding a family of 10 in a restuarant is not cheap. The message delivered with that act of kindness was, “What a beautiful family you have. Your children behaved so well.” These moments, sometimes far and few between, remind me of the goodness that is God, the goodness that surrounds us, many times unrecognized. These acts of kindness are only a token of what God has promised us. It’s these random acts of kindness that come to mind when we encounter the rude comments, the soft whispers (as if we don’t know what they are saying?!?), and the glares from other patrons in different establishments, whether it be a restuarant, a grocery store, or walking through the mall. Remembering the kind acts from others in our wake make the rude/snide comments and otherwise unkind behaviors seem less powerful.
Another reason I wanted to make a post on the above article is because beings that our family is bigger than average, we often encounter praises and judgments from others. The praises are recognized and much appreciated and very well rememebered. For a short while, I began to let the judgements, looks, whispers, and snide/rude comments determine outings with my kids. I felt almost ashamed of the size of my family while in public (at home there was never any shame), but then slowly, my appreciation and the love I feel for my kids re-emerged, surpassing the shame. (**when i say my love for them, I don’t mean I stopped loving them because that’s absolutely NOT possible, I simply meant I let it be bigger, outshine anything anyone else had to say, think, assume, or judge).
And now, I look at my family in the light that God shines upon them with peace. I am in awe because they are the truest blessing from God and He entrusted them to me/ to us. Not those judgemental strangers. Not the kind folks that sing their praises to us about our children. Not our parents or friends or siblings, but US – My Husband and I.
And as the Bible says,
Children are a gift from the Lord;
they are a reward from him.
Children born to a young man
are like arrows in a warrior’s hands.
How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them!
He will not be put to shame when he confronts his accusers at the city gates. – Psalm 127: 3-5
And that is reason enough for me. Who else is there to impress, to prove anything, to strive for other than God?
Isn’t His judgement of us what matters most?
Yes! Yes it is.
For all the mothers and fathers out there with one kid, 3 kids, 10 kids, autistic or in any other way impaired, not impaired…no matter, if you have kids just remember this:
Each and every child, born and unborn, is a blessing from God. Each and every child is given for reasons that only God will ever know. Thank God for them every day and pray for anyone who has a judgement to throw at you.
More boys coming up in the house, but tonight I was at the first home game of my Picadilly’s last year of high school football – senior year.
First, before the mushy tribute to my 2016-2017 graduating young man, I’d like to say how exciting this game was. His team lost, but there were some very thrilling highlights. And, of course, it was awesome just being there to watch my son play!
Now for the mushy……
All the many years ago, when this little guy was still just a wee-wittle guy (crying all the time which could have been colick or the nerves/patience of your parents), my mind never looked to his future. Not because I didn’t envision a future for him, but because I was so busy — busy trying to get us both through those first couple of years (looking back, maybe I was more anxious than I realized), busy loving him, caring for him, raising him. When his dad and I broke up, I just got busier being his mom because time with him became limited as he lived/s with his dad. Over the years, I’ve watched him grow and change, throw fits and get mad, laugh and cry. I’ve watched him succeed and fail. I have watched him take what his dad and I have taught him to heart and to fine tune those teachings into what makes him who he is — his values, his convictions, his strengths and weaknesses, his quirks, his views. I watched as maturity began to set in. No, I am under no illusions that he’s as mature as he will ever be….only time and life experience can do that, but he’s as mature as any other kid his age.
I’ve witnessed his hurts. I’ve held him through his tears. I’ve nursed his broken heart episodes. I’ve bandaged his boo-boos. I’ve spent 17 years building a relationship with this softer-than-he-will-ever-admit soul who changed my world. I wholeheartedly and happily admit he’s the momma’s boy in our home who isn’t so momma’s-boyish that it hinders his growth (as I’ve personally witnessed with some of the male species I’ve met). I have been cause, a time or two…., for some of his sadnesses, angry outbursts, tears, smiles, and laughter. I’ve prayed endlessly for him. I continue to pray for him, his life now, his future – whatever it may be. I’ve been there for him and I’ve been selfish. I wasn’t there with him on his first day of grade school, but I volunteered in his classroom numerous times through his grade school years. I haven’t made every game of every sport that he’s ever played, but I’ve tried to make it to most of them. I’ve been his biggest fan his whole life, but I haven’t been the most visible one at times. I’ve sat quietly, for the most part, in the background – greedily taking all the time I could have with him. Throughout the years, that time has been consistent although at different points more frequent. Whatever it was, it was every bit appreciated and cherished. As with any parent, I have years of memories that we’re created sitting tucked away and safe in the Picadilly vault that comes built within every parent for his/her child.
And now we are here – his senior year.
I am not sure about most parents and their feelings about the first senior, but me….
Me – I am excited and sad. I am anxiously awaiting the impending date of his graduation. Anxiously, I say, because my heart is heavy with the thought of him beginning his life as an adult, stepping into this big world without a thought of what is to come. Anxiously because my heart is full of joy at the young man he is now, the young man he is becoming, and the future for him. I have all the doubts of any mother. I have all the hopes of any parent. I have all the dreams (my own and ones he’s talked about) for him. I am trying to convince myself that he’s ready to be in this world. However, the confidence that his dad and I properly prepared him is somewhat lacking.
Then, I have to remember, my dreams for him are not as important as his dreams for himself. My fears are big, but his are just as big, possibly bigger (although he will never admit it). As I sat to watch his first home game of his last year of high school football – his senior year, it took me back. Back to my senior year. Back to his father. Back to that moment in time, senior/junior year, when his father and I found out we were going to become parents.
Never, ever, ever have I regretted the decision to bring that precious little boy into the world. In fact, nothing else but delivering a healthy baby ever occurred to me when I found out about this wonderful bundle of joy. I have never regretted the relationship that allowed him to be created. I have loved every moment (even the hard ones and being a young mom there were plenty) of being his mom. As I sat and watched the game, I watched my ‘little’ big young man out on that field, willing him to enjoy every moment of this year. I said a prayer to the Lord, as I sat cheering in the stands, that he would make this year one of his most memorable ones yet, but one in which he remains safe and continues to make the right choices. As I sat and watched my not-so-perfect, but oh-so-perfect son scuff his cleat through the grass with some disappointment after a dropped ball , I witnessed – one more time – his strong personality, strong as it can be for his age. I looked at him to see what I’ve seen a million times over – my little boy who is now living in an almost full-grown body (a little more growing yet, I think).
My little boy.
My little boy with a heart of gold.
My little boy who cried at the boo-boos who now brushes off the boo-boos.
My little boy who gets anxious when something changes in his routine — I wouldn’t ever believe the anxiety if I didn’t witness it myself. (I am not an anxious person ??? – at least I don’t think so – and I am not sure about his dad as the years since our break-up are many).
My little boy who wanted to be just like his daddy when he was still a little boy, but grew up so different from his dad in so many ways, yet, not so different really at all.
My little boy who seems so gruff and cocky at first meeting, but who’s heart melts as he scoops up his little baby sister in his arms, to give her loves after not seeing her throughout the week. The very same little girl who’s nails he painted when she asked.
My little boy who has made mistakes because we all do, but never been in any real trouble. He’s shown much maturity and responsibility in his teen years. One thankful momma right here!
My little boy who shows much bravado, but a little boy who I know the ‘real’ him, that part of him he only shows to the people that mean the most to him.
My little boy who is so fiercely protective of those that he loves.
My little boy who’s never been in a fight with anyone other than his brother/s (that ever popular sibling fighting/wrestling), who (I’m hoping) tries to avoid fighting, but who would (I know) stand his ground when needed, who would defend someone who needed defending, who doesn’t anticipate a fight (encourage a fight) but would defend himself in a fight without succumbing to fear.
My little boy who deflects uncomfortable situations with trying to make others laugh.
My little boy who likes to be ‘in’ the attention at times, but who also likes to give the attention at times.
My little boy who shows strength, character, selfishness, love, laughter, forgiveness, rudeness and/or opinionated-ness, and kindness.
And I love each and every part of who is. I love the kindness in his heart. I love the love he spreads around him. I love – don’t always like, but always love – the stinky attitude he gets. Chalk it up to some rudeness just because, teenage angst, and being a boy (yes, because he’s a boy! wired completely different than me – a female counterpart 😉 ).
My Picadilly, this is written especially for you, for the first person I fell in love with without expecting anything back – the epitome of love. I was but a child when I had you who grew into a young woman, a mother, overnight. Being pregnant was the first step in my motherhood journey, but you made me into a mom. You have taught me a lot about myself, about life as a parent over the course of your life. I love you, buddy. I love you more than you will ever know. And I am so very proud of what you’ve accomplished thus far and of all the future accomplishments you are going to achieve. I am so very happy that I was blessed to be your mom, to bring you into this world, to watch you grow, and get to continue to be your biggest fan, now and in the future.
I am praying that you will make this a great year. In fact, I am demanding that you make this an awesome year. As they say, you only get this year once. When it’s over, it’s over. You can’t go back. You can’t undo. You can’t relive. So live it. Stay out of trouble but don’t be afraid to make mistakes — small ones ;). Enjoy this year because being a senior is a BIG stepping stone into the adult world. After this, you are pretty much accountable for every action you take, every reaction you make –even more so than in these previous years because when you graduate, the law (maybe not the world and never me, but the law) will see you as an adult.
Love mom ❤
One mushy writing down, a few dozen more to go.
Happy Senior Year, My Picadilly. I love you to the moon and back ♥♥♥
So, all of you know of the heart murmur that was discovered at our daughter’s well child check-up a week or so ago.
Unfortunately, it turns out that it’s so much more than that.
After the echo-cardiogram following that well-child check, the doctors have now determined that the murmur was in fact a sign of something called atrial septal defect (ASD), which is a congenital heart defect. As I mentioned in a previous post, she had heart arrhythmia (more on her story) when she was born and the doctors cleared her at her 2 week check-up.
When hearing the news – barely because as soon as I heard the doctor’s dreaded words that something was, in fact, wrong with my sweet little girl, I stopped listening (all I could hear was that something was wrong) – the question that came into my mind: What gets done to correct ASD?
After getting off the phone with the doctor, I cried. And then I called my husband, who in all his sweetness, was very reassuring. I told him as much as I could recall from the phone call and asked him to call the doctor so he could hear the news from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. I wanted him to get a better understanding so he could explain it more to me. It worked wonderfully. We learned that although it’s not an ideal experience for a child, it’s not uncommon. The doctor reassured us that it’s good that we found it at her age now rather than later in life.
Which leads me back to the question: What is done to correct ASD? The options are open heart surgery or catheter procedure, both of which sound terribly uncomfortable. However, the catheter procedure is probably more favorable.
At this point, my fears are running rampant through my mind. Will the doctors be able to fix it? Will something terrible happen during surgery? Is she going to be okay until surgery? She’s going to be so scared when she does find out. (We haven’t told her anything yet.) Reactions to the anesthesia. Surgeons making a mistake. Recovery time. After-affects of the correction. And so much more.
The uncertainty right now is like a knot in my stomach that won’t go away. Knowing about the ASD has not taken over my every thought as I have more children, a husband, a home, etc. to worry about and take care of, but it’s always in the forefront of my brain. It pops up throughout the day, more so in the evening after the kids are settled and in bed. I cry in the quietness almost every night as my husband holds me and offers his reassurance. He’s said to me a few times since learning of this awful news that I should stay positive, trust in God. At hearing his words, I’ve shown some frustration, but I know…he’s right. Again 😉 So, here I sit, thinking about God, trying to trust in Him…trying to do as I’ve been telling everyone to do for a long while. I remember all the times I’ve said it’s not God that causes heartache. It’s not God’s plan to hurt us. I remember not to long ago about a little child that was killed and my words of encouragement were to trust in God, turn the worries and concerns over to Him. Someone else replied with some nonsense about where is God when something bad happens. And, again, I responded to this person with the exact words I just spoke: It’s not God’s fault. He doesn’t cause the heartache.
And now I am here. Questioning. Doubting. Wondering what I did to create this hardship for my daughter. Asking why? Why my daughter? And I realize, as much as I believe in God and all His goodness….I don’t understand a darn thing. I understand that He is way more powerful than my mind, anyone’s mind, can fathom. As for anything else, I am lost.
So, I have been praying. I am asking once again that if you are reading this then please take a moment to pray. Pray for our daughter. And to pray for me as well. Is that selfish of me?
Anyway, back to my daughter’s story…..
What happens now? What’s next?
She has another appointment with a pediatric cardiologist through the health care system we primarily use coming up at the end of the month. Shortly after that, she will have her first visit with the doctor at Mayo Clinic for his evaluation to determine his plan of care. We will know more at that point concerning surgery/procedure, preparation for surgery, recovery time, restrictions/limitations, and after-care.
Until then, please just continue to pray for her. Also, I have been reading the Bible, looking for scripture to help me get through this time, if anyone has any verses in mind that may be helpful, it would be much appreciated.