Sunday, May 12, 2013

A Fresh Start

Well, as you may have noticed, I haven't posted anything in the last few months.  Here's the thing:  We left our church of eight years and pretty much my entire social life.  The Nerd got a new job (praising God daily for this!)  We moved to a new house and had to do so pretty quickly due to the new job and our lease coming up.  Life became a lot different for us rather quickly.

At first, I was too too busy to post.  There was too much life to even have time to write about it.  And in those months, we celebrated our Beast turning six, enjoyed a stress-free Easter for the first time in a long time, and tried to figure out where we were in the whole homeschooling thing.  When things finally started to settle down, I realized that I had so much to write.  Things that were important to me were weighing heavily on me, and I wanted to get them out there, hoping that someone might be inspired or changed by them.  But when I came here to write them,  I realized that they didn't fit here anymore.

We have changed.  The season of life that was "Temporary Insanity" is over.  (And no, it isn't to "Permanent Insanity," haha!)  We are very different people than we were even a year ago.  So I decided this would be my final post here on Temporary Insanity, and I started a new blog for the new us.  You can find me writing now at Dandelion Bouquets.

I do want to say a big thank you to the faithful readers that stopped by here often and encouraged me with their comments.  I hope you'll swing by the new site and check it out.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Joys of Autism: Friendship

Last week, I started a series on my blog called the Joys of Autism.  The series came about when I realized that most of my posts on autism tended to be a little more negative and dealt more with the difficulties and challenges of parenting an autistic child.  Although I don't intend to sugarcoat the realities of autism, as a parent to a kid on the spectrum, I can appreciate and enjoy the blessings and joys that come with the territory also.  I want to share those joys in this series, to help people better understand autism and to encourage parents or caregivers of those on the spectrum.

The other night, I was talking to a friend on the phone.  We were making final plans for a Saturday outing and just chatting about our kids and life in general.  After I hung up, I began folding a basket of laundry and thinking about my friend.  The realization hit me that she and I would probably never had met, let alone become such close friends, if it were not for David's autism. 

The truth is, our journey with our autistic son has led us to meet some pretty amazing and wonderful people.  I remember well the first time we encountered "Mr. Scott," David's teacher in 3-year-old preschool.  He was the first adult that seemed to have an uncanny ability to connect with David and get him to do things that we thought were impossible.  He patiently listened to our concerns, went out of his way to help us solve problems that we were having with David, and most of all genuinely cared about our kid.  David had several more teachers that took extra steps to help him hit milestones.  I will never forget "Miss Sally Ann," David's physical therapist at Neurotherapeutics.  She was so kind, so gentle, and undoubtedly David's biggest cheerleader during that time of his life.  His confidence grew in leaps and bounds as well as his overall body strength.  I looked forward to each Wednesday so I could chat with her and hear someone talk about my son in such a positive and encouraging way. 

Most of all, one morning while I was dropping off my three-year-old at his class, feeling scared and unsure of the steps we were taking with him, another mom approached me and introduced herself.  She had twins in the same class as David.  We immediately connected and starting to get together with our kids often.  Dawn is one of those rare friends that you feel like you have known forever.  We have chatted for hours about our families, schools, and churches; and we have found ourselves buried in deep discussions on faith, relationships, and our children.  We are dedicated moms.  We are loving wives.  We are faithful friends.  We are encouraging women.  But the thread that ties us together and keeps our friendship strong is our mutual desire to help our kids in the special challenges they are facing.  I can share all the details of a rough day with David, and she understands.  She doesn't just have compassion - she gets it!  She doesn't have to try to comprehend it;  she is experiencing similar issues and challenges with her own children.  She knows.

I am grateful for the friendships that this journey with autism has forged for us.  Did I mention that Dawn faithfully came by every morning to pick up David for school so that my big old pregnant self wouldn't have to pack up my crew and do it? 

She's a pretty amazing friend, and I am blessed to have her. :)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Love Never Fails

Love never fails.
We do.  All the time.  We fail and fall short of who we want to be.  We hurt others and make pitiful attempts to be like Him
Thank God that love NEVER fails.
My love is imperfect and not always faithful.
His love is constant, forever, and absolutely perfect. 
May His love shine out through my life today.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Donuts, Leg Warmers, Shoes, and Scrambled Eggs

I uploaded yet another ridiculous number of photos from my phone to my computer tonight.  I am always amazed at what I think is picture -worthy.  I'm afraid I've become one of those people who photographs what they are eating.  I have no idea why - did it just look pretty on the plate? did I want to show off that yes indeed I ate a salad for lunch like a good girl? did it taste so incredibly good that I just wanted to share my excitement for all social networks to see?

Anyway.  I did find a few photos that show a little of what goes on around here besides homeschooling and freaking out and getting everyone all fired up because you post about your vulnerable, spiritual side.  So, I present, in random order, stuff that goes down at the Temporary Insanity household.  Some food photos have been included, but I made sure they were the ones accompanied by cute kids.

1.  We have a membership to the Portland Children's Museum and have been going often in the last few months.  They have a very realistic pet hospital in which to play.  The Drama Queen, who dreams of becoming a veterinarian someday, is hard to pull away from this spot in the museum.  (And I think she totally should be a vet someday - how cute is that lab coat on her?)

2.  I bought Little Sprout some new leg warmers on clearance the other day.  Baby pink with white polka dots.  I relished in these ridiculously cute baby legs all day.  We cranked up the disco music and danced!

3.  I may, perhaps, have been enjoying my new donut machine (a Christmas present!) a little too frequently lately.  Surprising the kids on Saturday mornings with homemade, no-artificial-ingredients donuts has been fun!  Last week, the Beast asked me if I would make donuts for dinner.  "Why not," I thought, "I make pancakes and eggs for dinner all the time, and donuts are kind of like pancakes.  Right?"  So I made these super yummy sweet potato donuts (recipe here although I did not make the maple glaze) and served them up with sunny-side up eggs.  Mom of the year.

4.  I like shoes.  A lot.  I do not like spending a lot of money on shoes.  Sometimes I can't help myself.  This month alone, I have purchased three new pairs of shoes.  All crazy heels of course, which are so logical for a stay-at-home mom of four.  Still.  Aren't those the cutest little bow-wrapped heels?

5.  David.  Star Wars happiness.  The end.

6.  Her grandparents got her a cookbook for Christmas, and since then, the Drama Queen has been begging to help out in the kitchen.  One Sunday morning, she made breakfast (mostly) by herself.  Everyone loved the scrambled eggs in toast bowls.  That girl could be a chef.  Oh wait.  A vet or a chef?  Either way, the girl is going to turn out awesome.

I'm sitting here smiling at the silly little memories created in each of these photos and looking forward to what moments creep their way into my instagram feed this week.   

Friday, January 18, 2013

Whom Shall I Fear?

"Whom Shall I Fear?"

You hear me when I call
You are my morning song
Though darkness fills the night
It cannot hide the light
Whom shall I fear?

You crush the enemy
Underneath my feet
You are my sword and shield
Though trouble linger still
Whom shall I fear?

I know who goes before me
I know who stands behind
The God of angel armies is always by my side
The One who reigns forever
He is a friend of mine
The God of angel armies is always by my side

My strength is in Your name
For You alone can save
You will deliver me
Yours is the victory
Whom shall I fear?
Whom shall I fear?

And nothing formed against me shall stand
You hold the whole world in Your hands
I'm holding on to Your promises
You are faithful
You are faithful

(by Chris Tomlin and Ed Cash)

My favorite lines in this song are "I know who goes before me, I know who stands behind."  So grateful today to have a God that is before and behind me, above and beside me.  I feel His love and protection and am basking in His promises and faithfulness.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Joys of Autism: Character Embodiment

I have been looking through the archives of Temporary Insanity, revisiting the past and trying to determine a direction for the blog in the future.  I have noticed that the vast majority of posts with the label autism tend to be more on the negative side.  They speak of the challenges and unique difficulties in parenting a child with autism.  And while I wholeheartedly believe in being real and true to what I am thinking and feeling, I realize that there is a whole other side of autism that has been neglected completely on Temporary Insanity.  Yes, despite the struggles and tears, there are many beautiful things that autism has brought to our lives as well.  I call them "the joys of autism", and quite honestly, I would never get to experience these amazing blessings if I didn't have an autistic child.  Those of you that don't have any experience or contact with a child on the spectrum, please listen!  These joys of autism that I plan to share over the next several weeks will hopefully be insightful into the wonders of parenting our Beast.  And for those of you that have been as blessed as we are with a special needs child, take heart!  Use these posts to encourage yourself and remind yourself of the good things, especially on those days that can suck the life out of you.

Today, the Beast is David.  Yes, I know that's his name, but he really thinks that he is the David of the Bible today.  At breakfast, he regaled me with the tale of how he killed the giant Goliath.  He spent a lot of time on all the gory details, making sure that he mentioned as many times as possible that he was the hero of this story.  He likes to be the hero.  It gives him a sense of control in a body that doesn't always do what he wants.  People watching him retell the story would see only a boy awkwardly moving around, but in his head, he is David, and he is awesome!  In his mind, he executes every military movement flawlessly.  In his world, nothing is impossible!

I call this joy of autism "character embodiment."  Most days, my son is "not himself."  Just yesterday, he was Anakin Skywalker (before he became Darth Vader, of course), and last week, he was a ninja warrior.  Most kids love to dress up and pretend to be various favorite characters.  But David lives his characters.  His entire day revolves around what that character would do and how that character would act. He sinks completely into his role and does not come up for air for days, sometimes weeks, even.

Character embodiment is a joy of autism.  It is a window into his thoughts and feelings.  He may not tell me he loves me very often, but David the soccer star might give me an awkward punch on the arm and inform me that I'm his favorite teammate.  I'll take that!  And the tales he weaves like a master storyteller entertain me to no end and make my heart smile.  It's just a bonus that I can easily convince him that Anakin did indeed need a lot of sleep and would absolutely go to bed right now.

On the days that our Beast is withdrawn, quiet, and somewhere far away in a world of his own, I pray for David the warrior or David the ninja to make an appearance.  When one of his characters shows up, I know we haven't lost him completely.

And hey, who needs cable when you've got a David/Anakin/Spiderman/ninja/soccer star to entertain you?

Monday, January 14, 2013

A Letter to My Seven-Year-Old

 Dear Gabi,
     God has blessed me with four amazing, undeservedly-wonderful children.  You, my sweet girl, are one of those blessings that I thank God for daily.  You are the one that changed me from wife to momma, and although I love you and your siblings equally, there is just something special about the firstborn.
     With you, darling, I have experienced all kinds of momma firsts.  Together, we have navigated our way through growing and losing teeth, tantrums and sweet first words, reading and playing together.  I cherish the relationship that you and I have, and I hope it only grows stronger throughout the years ahead.
     I am humbled and inspired by the person you are at age seven.  I want to tell you about these things that I admire about you because I want you to hold on to these things and make them a part of yourself always.
    1.  First, you have such a tender heart.  When things aren't right between you and someone else, you can't do anything else until that has been resolved.  I hear it in your earnest prayers to God and in your conversations throughout the day.
    2.  Secondly, you exhibit such a spirit of kindness, especially towards your brothers and sister.  I rarely have to remind you to share - you are always a step ahead of me, volunteering your things to others.  Even at seven, you recognize that your autistic brother needs more kindness and understanding than most, and you freely offer it to him without expecting anything in return.
    3.  God has blessed you with an overflowing well of love.  Our days are full of hugs, kisses, and "I love you's" from you.  I hope you know that every time you give Daddy one of those hugs and kisses, you melt his heart and strengthen his resolve to be the best daddy he can to you.  Never stop sharing your love.  Unfortunately, there will be people in the future that make you want to hide and hold love back.  Resolve now to love openly, despite others.
    4.  We named you well, Gabi!  You and I have dozens of conversations all day, and though I may not always look like I am paying complete attention, I am savoring the fact that you trust and love me enough to share what you're thinking.  I pray that you will always feel free to share your heart with me.  I love to listen to your thoughts - it makes me marvel at the lovely young lady you're becoming.
     This weekend of celebrating your seventh birthday will be forever engraved in my memory.  Spending time with you shopping, getting your ears pierced, and having the privilege to get your your first American Girl doll were all priceless experiences.  I am so proud of you for getting your ears pierced!  I know that your fears often get in the way of you having some great experiences.  I totally get how paralyzing those fears can be, no matter how silly they may seem later.  I know every fiber of your being didn't want to go back to the earring store to get your ears pierced, even though you wanted it so badly.  But you managed to find the tools to overcome that fear, and I can see how happy you are that you went through with it.  I will be reminding you of this victory time and again as you face more fears in the future.
    For this year of your life, I have two wishes.  First, I pray that you will grow in leaps and bounds in your relationship with Jesus Christ this year.  Also, I hope that you will be able to make some new and wonderful friendships this year.  I know this is not your strong point.  You hide behind your shyness and wait for others to make the first move.  Ask God for courage, my sweet love, this year to speak up and to be the one to introduce yourself.  You can do it, and you will reap the benefits of good friendships for a lifetime!
    I love you, Gabi!  Happy happy birthday to you!  I can't wait to see what wonderful things this year will bring for you.
          all my love, always and forever,

 {happy surprise!}
 {Daddy's girl always}
{happy chocolate cake}