May 28, 2009

My Other Half

Today Jimmy and I our celebrate our 26th wedding anniversary. I came home this evening after a long day at work and was greeted with a dozen red roses and a grilled fajita dinner. I was starving and the meal hit the spot, so did the flowers.

Oh, how I thank the Lord for a husband who loves God, me, and our family the way Jimmy does. We carry a lot of baggage we two. Having a disabled daughter for 20 years had been no easy challenge. It has in fact been quite difficult, but rather than take our frustrations out on one another, we instead support and cling together as one. God is our glue and He is the key to our success.

I remember praying for Jimmy months before I met him. I asked God to teach and mold him into a godly husband and father. Little did I know the power of those prayers. God is indeed a very faithful God and I see the evidence of His hand 26 years later as we celebrate our vows. Thank you Lord for your faithfulness that endures forever!

Happy anniversary Jimmy.
You are my one and only!

May 25, 2009

Happy Memorial Day!

A little sun and Memorial Day fun. After a long winter Ecclesiastes is happy to have his pool back and Cocoa Bean has yet to learn all it has to offer.

Hope you have a wonderful holiday as we remember those who gave their lives so that we may live in freedom.

May 23, 2009

A Corny Deal

I don't which is handier, the microwave or Google. Today we found corn on the cob eight ears for $2.00. It's hot and humid in Kansas City and while corn on the cob sounded great, heating the house with hot boiling water didn't sound so kind. I couldn't help but figure someone's surely figured out how to cook corn cobs in the microwave so I Googled it and what do you know, you can cook an ear (in its husk) in one and one half minutes and it's fabulous. Add a little butter and salt and this sweet corn was one good deal!

Find some ears and give it a try. It's a great summer treat!

May 21, 2009

When Words Cannot Express

"In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness.

We do not know what we ought to pray for,

but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.

And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit,

because the Spirit intercedes for the saints

in accordance with God’s will."

Romans 8:26-27

Live long enough and you'll experience moments of utter speechlessness. The loss of a loved one through death, divorce or rebellion, financial collapse, or shocking news from the doctor. The list goes on and on. Though times like these may leave us devoid of words, thanks to the Holy Spirit we are far from hopeless. As Paul reassures us in Romans 8, when we are left without words to articulate our pain and suffering, His Spirit intercedes on our behalf.

Like an interpreter, He translates our deepest thoughts and feelings into meaningful speech and then offers it to the throne of God. With our best interest in mind He speaks to our heavenly Father that which we cannot express ourselves, thus ushering us into the presence of the great I AM. While the enemy would have us think we are mute, helpless, and abandoned, the Holy Spirit, our comforter in truth, bridges the gap on our behalf. Sent to live inside us forever (John 14:16) God's Spirit is our constant companion. Never lost or alone, the Holy Spirit in fact grants us a closer walk with our Father in heaven, even amidst great pain.

If great pain or loss has left you speechless today, take comfort. God hears the groaning of your heart. The Holy Spirit is translating and pleading on your behalf. You are in the presence of God. He hears and understands your pain and seeks to heal your every hurt. Trust and know that God is with you and that He will never abandon you. His Spirit lives inside you bringing peace that passes all understanding.

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.

I do not give to you as the world gives.

Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

John 14:27

May 19, 2009

Baptism in a Flash

SETTING: Nancy and Dani arrive home to see Jimmy and dogs had opened the pool moments before.

CONVERSATION: As Nancy walks along the back side of the pool (5 month old Cocoa Bean in tow) she says, "It's only a matter of time before Cocoa falls in. He's used to running all around the back yard, especially across the pool tarp. He has no idea he can't walk on the water."

APPROXIMATELY 4-6 SECONDS LATER: Cocoa drops into the water and begins to swim for the first time in his life. Amazingly enough he begins to turn and swim toward the stairs but winds up swimming to the wall by the stairs instead. Running to the other side of the pool I throwing my purse aside and bend over to guide him toward the stairs. Jimmy decides to help as well and leans over along side me nearly toppling me in with Mr. Bean. When all was said and done my hair and my sun glasses were drenched with toad-green water. Thankfully Beano made it out no worse for the wear. Baptism complete!

Welcome to your first spring Cocoa Bean!

May 16, 2009

Congratulations Drew!

Is it or Missour...eee...? Who cares! All I know is our son, Drew, graduated from Missouri State University this weekend. Woodeewoo! He earned a major in Digital Film Production and a minor in writing and we are as proud of him now as the day he was born.

Leaving at the crack of dawn, we made the trek to Springfield for the 10 am commencement ceremony. God was good to bless us with wonderful weather, great seats, and much appreciated time together as a family. After taking a few pictures we headed off to fill up on Italian food.

Congratulations Drew.
We love you!

May 13, 2009

"Lettuce" Learn

Jimmy and I planted a garden this year. Our pots on the deck are full of beautiful large leafy lettuce plants. Whenever we want a salad we simply grab a bowl and scissors and harvest the meal. Today we took the dogs out for walk/jog (Jimmy walked and I jogged to keep up) and came back hot, tired, and hungry. Like the nifty city farmer I am, before heading to the shower I clipped some lettuce for lunch. There's nothing like crisp cold greens, so I told Jimmy I'd put the lettuce in the freezer while I showered. (Some of you already know what's gonna happen.)

Once clean, refreshed, and ready for a five star salad, Jimmy presented me with the bowl from the freezer. With leaves stiff as a board I said, "Oh, that's no problem just rinse them with cool water. They'll be fine." He rinsed them...but things weren't fine. The freezer killed the lettuce deader than a door nail and the water wilted them like the wicked witch of the west.

Normal lettuce vs freeze "died"

"Lettuce" discern for ourselves what is right;
"Lettuce" learn together what is good.
Job 34:4 (NGV)
(New Green Version)

May 11, 2009

Triple Tiara Day

They say what goes around comes around. Last Friday I shared with you my tradition of buying our son the same birthday card for years on end. Of course when a person does these things they are in essence training up their child to pull the same tricks on them. Perhaps that is why Drew shipped me a Disney tiara for Mother's Day.

When we spoke on his birthday I remember him asking about my upcoming speaking schedule. Naturally I shared the information. Lo and behold a few days later I received a tiara with a note saying, "...please enjoy the tiara. I thought you could wear it when you speak at churches."

I already have two tiaras from the Esther study I recently completed. Our leader handed them out the first day and I took an extra one home for our daughter. Compared to the one Drew sent me they pale in comparison. The Esther tiaras are small and light-weight; good for everyday use. Drew's, however, is much bigger and heavier. Perfect for special occasions like speaking events!

Here I am in all my glory.
It's good to have a tiara for every occasion.

May 8, 2009

Birthday Deja Vu

I'm weird and I know it. My husband knew it when he married me and our son Drew's had first hand experience for the past 24 years. I like to have fun and seek every opportunity to lighten the day. Birthdays are no exception.

When Drew was in junior high school his messy room was a running joke. One day I found a birthday card that mused about clothes strewn all over a boy's bedroom and it was so apropos I bought six of them. He received the same card every year until he moved off to college. Then, one day I found Showbox cards that wish the celebrant a "Clown-Free" Birthday! Since Drew's been petrified of clowns since he was old enough to speak, you guessed it, I bought six of them.

This year after wishing him a happy birthday I informed him he could expect this card on his special day until he is 27 years old! He got a another kick out of it and so did I. It's a Douglas thing I guess. Aren't you glad you are not my child?

What fun family jokes do you carry out with your loved ones?

May 6, 2009

It's a Small World

Life with Autism is difficult for everyone. It steals the life of the one afflicted and puts an untold strain on family and caregivers. About once a month I want to pull my hair out and you can nearly always count on the fact that it's either Dani's or my time of the month. Last Monday you'd have thought we were both about the "walk the red carpet" but hormones could not be blamed for our frustrating day. Autism was the culprit and it wouldn't be the first or last time it would ruin a day.

Jimmy headed out to the range to hit golf balls and Dani and I were going to Target. I could tell it was going to be a challenge because I wanted to strangle her long before we left. It was one of those days she cried at the drop of a hat. Every time she'd sign to me and I'd respond she'd cry, no matter the topic. She'd sign "work" and I'd say "Yes, you go to work tomorrow!" and she'd begin to cry. I was ticked long before we got into the car to leave.

We headed toward our destination and she was fine in the car. She loves to listen to the music and peer at the scenery. On bad days we often hop in the car and take a ride just to get a break. We drive through McDonald's for a coke and fries then off we go for a good dose of mobile therapy. I thought our drive to Target might break the spell, but it only pressed pause. We no sooner got into the store and she was at it again. Searching for deodorant that would not leave white clumps of powder on my dark tops, I was deep in thought when I turned around to see her balling her eyes out again. Standing at the end of the isle for all the world to see her distress only inflamed my frustration again. Stepping over to her I clinched her trapezius (shoulder) muscle and told her to stop the drama, which of course only gave her good reason to cry more.

I continued the trek through Target looking as if I either did not know or care my daughter was in distress. In these instances no matter what I do I can't win. Needless to say I was eager to get home to pass the weeping baton off to Jimmy. He'd had his break and I was ready for mine.

As we discussed her puzzling fixations over the littlest things, both good and bad, we notice how our elderly friends do the same thing. They repeat themselves continuously and often get upset or fixed on things that seem small and insignificant. I noticed this as my mother was dying of cancer. She was always the one up on all the latest news, until cancer began to steal more and more of her life and energy. With this in mind we began to think of Dani and her small little world. To her, next to home, work is the biggest thing in her life. After waiting over a year to begin socializing and learning new things is it any wonder she cries just thinking about going to work? It seems logical that after starving for so long for something to do that the feast of the buffet doesn't yet feel real and the hunger pangs persist. Perhaps it will take several more weeks or months for her to relax and enjoy her days off, trusting she will return to work in a few days.

Dani's world is indeed very small, but so is yours and mine. Compared to the vastness of God any wisdom and knowledge we have is like a grain of sand. In the grand scheme of things our life is but a whisper and many of the things we think are so important are as insignificant as choosing the right deodorant without interruption, yet He loves us with an everlasting love! He cares about every hurt and hang up and knows why we cry even when others do not. He doesn't get frustrated and He won't give up on us. He is the perfect friend, Father, and counselor. I love my God, He loves me, and He adores our daughter. This is why each day I strive to be a little more patient and understanding of her needs. What I don't understand I give to God and ask Him to help me in her care. After all, I too am disabled in so many ways, yet God sees me as His special child; one His Son died for on the cross. His sacrifice was so much greater than any I'll offer as the parent of a disabled child.

May the Lord bless you with His peace in your own trial today.

"He has made everything beautiful in its time.
He has also set eternity in the hearts of men;
yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end."
Ecclesiastes 3:11

May 4, 2009

"Freedom" Facebook Fan Club

Freedom, Healing for Parents of Disabled Children now has a facebook fan page. If you or anyone you know has a child with disabilities, would you pass this along to them? The goal is to raise awareness of Autism and offer support to hurting families. Some of us have walked this journey for many years, while others have only just begun. Regardless of where we find ourselves, we each need support and encouragement along the way. Otherwise it's a sad and lonely road.

Thank you for sharing this link. You'll never know how much this could help a hurting parent.

May 2, 2009


Periodically Dani comes to me with her best buddy who needs a little repair. Meet "Squeezer" her favorite pillow. It's a soft green well-worn Chenille pillow that is easy to find, except when you want one. Then they are scarce as hen's teeth, which is why I keep my sewing kit handy for quick first aid.

She showed me Squeezer's ailments the other day; his stuffing coming out one side. With furrowed brows she pointed to the hole and signed "pain" which is her way of saying he needed mending. I sat down to repair one hole and ended up suturing seven wounds. Now he's good as new and ready for a good cuddle. Bless her sweet heart, she asks for so little.