I have no clue what i’m doing….

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So, I had to teach my almost 12-year-old how to shave her legs last night. Now, this would see to be exciting for most moms. Their little girl is growing up, making changes and so on. But my situation is different. My daughter is 95 lbs and I’m still bathing her, dressing her, helping her brushing her teeth and comb her hair….you get the point. Kali is special needs. She has made some of  the most remarkable changes in the last few years. I am overjoyed, everyday at a new accomplishment she has made. God showed me her healed and whole and that’s all I have left to hold on to.

Let me let you in on a little secret…..I have no idea what I’m doing. Little things pop into my mind, “What if I can never go on vacation with just my husband?!”, “What if something happened to us, who will take care of her?!”, “She’s off today, did someone hurt her at school?!”, on and on and on…This is real. I can’t remember the last time I had a night away with my husband, let alone an actual vacation! Shes easier to look after now than an adult version! So my need for rest and a break, leak. It leaks into every crevice of my home and life. I find myself exhausted at the simplest of days, short-tempered at the littlest things and unable to give anything else. I feel things unravel rather quickly when I get this way. I panic. People say things like, “You can do it, God knew you could”, “He wouldn’t have given you this if He didn’t know you could handle it!”. Are these comments suppose to be helpful?  If you have a friend going through anything, don’t say these things to them. They aren’t helpful. You know what is helpful? Hug them, cry with them, pray with them, laugh with them, just check in on them, offer to give them a break, pick up the kids, run some errands, pour them a drink…. those things are helpful.

So I find myself at a cross-road, I can spiral deeper or suck it up buttercup. Lets be honest here, I have like a small window to panic, cry and then I have to pick myself up and move forward. I don’t have the grace to just check out. it doesn’t work that way. I find my center. I read, I clean, I take a walk, workout, cook…whatever. I do something to remind myself of the air I’m breathing, the ground beneath me, the sounds that I hear and the fact that I’m okay. Maybe I paint or write a song. Whatever it is, I find my way back to the present. I reel in the thought process that can get out of hand. Take it one day at a time, take a deep breath and move forward. This is an ever evolving process. I can be good one min and then something can take me for a ride into the “what ifs”. It’s a fight at times and other times I laugh that I even let myself be swept away. But this is real. This is the battle that we have has moms or parents. Weather you have a child with special needs or you’re in the terrible two’s, the preteen, the teenager years, or whatever. We go through things, we believe we have no clue what we are doing, we would love some paid vacation leave. Find your center, find what aligns you, give yourself grace, grace and more grace, love yourself more, think happy thoughts, laugh at everything and nothing, cry when you need to, morn the perfect life you had painted in your head and celebrate the imperfect perfect life you have, play with your kids, imagine, dream and dream some more. Ground yourself in the present moment, remember to love life and when life beats you up a little, take a deep breath and find your center again. Most importantly, remind others to do the same. We forget sometimes…

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The unbalanced balance

I sometimes watch Kali and wonder, “how in the world is she not falling over?!” She can be the most uncoordinated child but always gets to her destination without falling! I watch her stumble and literally throw her legs in from of her, one by one, while laughing and looking all around (anywhere but her actual target), and most times shes doing something completely different with her hands as well. Its actually quite impressive. I see other people watch her in disbelief and sometimes her sisters try to teach her how to “walk normally”….you know, like, balanced.

The word balance is interesting to me. The description of balance is “an even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady”, “offset or compare the value of one thing with another” or my favorite description, “keep or put something in a steady position so that it does not fall”….. interesting….A “steady position”. I would never, according to these descriptors, describe Kali has “balanced”, however, she makes it, every time, without fail.

I’ve been seeing a lot about balance lately. Blogs (clearly not mine :)), pod-casts, talk shows, lots of conversations, magazines, books, you name it, its out there! Could it be that society is feeling a bit “unbalanced” and that’s why this sudden influx and borderline obsessiveness regarding how to balance oneself is happening? Don’t get be wrong, I think most of them are brilliant. A good friend of mine is a part of a popular podcast called “The Balance” and does a really good job with it. I just wonder if our idea of balance is wrong? In society, if everything in your life is running like a fine oiled machine, you are probably described as a very balanced individual. If a certain level of chaos surrounds you, I guarantee, most people don’t describe you as, balanced. If you tend to work more than the average bear, or more than what that individual person believes is correct, you’re unbalanced. If you work and have children, some people say that’s unbalanced. If you dedicate one part of your life to one thing more than another, that could be deemed as unbalanced. In the end, its a bunch of crap. Here’s the bottom line, are you happy? is your family happy? Is your husband or wife happy?

I get caught up in the judgments of society like any of us do. I rush around and probably work too much from time to time, I loose it on my kids here and there and yes, I yell.(Gasp) I have arguments with my husband and friends from time to time, I want to quit my job every so often, cause honestly, dealing with people can be hard (but I do love it). I beat myself up if all of my kids aren’t doing an extra curricular activity and I’m not playing taxi like all the other moms out there (clearly I’m being sarcastic here, I play taxi), I have to watch everything that goes into my childrens mouths and my families mouth cause most of the food out there is awful, so going out to fast food once in a while is deemed irresponsible and I’m am clearly unbalanced cause I didn’t plan ahead. (insert rolling of the eyes). I use to have my kids in daycare while I worked but that is unbalanced because “children shouldn’t be raised in daycare”. I too, have meltdowns. Moving on…. I could go on and on but, I think we all get the point here. Its all garbage. While there are some truths in it, that doesn’t make us unbalanced.

My balance can look different from yours. That doesn’t make it unbalanced. Sometimes, balance looks a lot like Kali. Super “unbalanced” but somehow, it works! Its balanced for her. Life is unstable and wobbly. Most often we miss steps and loose our footing…That’s ok! Process is everything . The way I see it, our individual process is the foundation of what our life will look like balanced or unbalanced. The way we handle the process determines so much. There isn’t a recipe or final way we all need to follow in order to achieve this, its a constant pursuit of the greater things. Whether your journey looks like you are about to fall with every step, your hands don’t match your feet and your laughing with every step or you’re a bit more serious and methodical in your balance process, both are equally as unbalanced and balanced, there is no concrete way we get through life, there is no “balance” recipe. There is only one day at a time, one step at a time, the grace to fall and pick yourself up again, the encouragement to keep moving forward and not to compare, the love of the process and the joy in the journey.

We all need to be “Special Needs”….

Its been a while since I’ve posted anything. No reason really, just sometimes you don’t feel like writing. There has been a lot of shifting and changes that have happened in the last year. A lot of “stuff” going on. Stepping outside the whirlwind and looking at everything from the outside in can be helpful in order to gain perspective. I’ve had many conversations over the last few months about whats happening in Syria, Israel, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan,China, America, Japan, Canada, Mexico and so on. The one common thing I have taken away from every conversation is, when did we stop treating people like human beings? When was the decision made to “love” people from a distance? I’m guilty of this too. Not pointing fingers here, but if this does stir something inside of you maybe you should look at that….? I wonder what it would look like if we just loved on people with no agenda attached? None.

I watch my daughter get on the little short bus every morning for school. She has no agenda for the day but to just be in the moment. Every step she takes is another opportunity to see the beauty around her. She loves fiercely and without a second thought. She watches people intently and tries to communicate with them on their level, even if she doesn’t understand how exactly. She sings off the top of her lungs anywhere and everywhere we go. No, really, everywhere. She dances any time she pleases and doesn’t give a crap whose looking. When someone is sick, she is first in line to pray for them and is always asking about them until they are well again. When someone is hurt or in trouble, she cries with them or for them. If your heart broken, so is she. The interesting part about her is, we call her “special needs.”

Its funny that we call her a special needs child. She has taught me so much about how to treat people, how to slow down and how every person deserves a hug from time to time.  Now, there are bad guys in her world and this is reality, but she slows down enough to accurately see who is who. Kids do this. Kids have this way of loving with no agenda and seeing right through the crap. We get a hold of them and mess it all up.

I would encourage you, myself included, to slow down, take a deep breath and ground yourself in the moment. Whatever that may look like….at work, at a desk, in your car, at the DMV, at the park, at the grocery store, with your baby, with a sick relative, at Starbucks, wherever you are, just be ever present and watch how easy it is to connect with people around you when your agenda is checked at the door.

Whats love got to do with it?

So, I’m sitting on a plane heading back from a trip to visit my best friend and sister. Now, I’m not a huge fan of planes. not sure exactly why but, I’ve never been. It’s interesting though how many people are in the same boat as me.  As I look around, I’ve noticed a few things…it’s fascinating to me how people deal with certain things. Everyone around me is so different. For example, we have the women next to me that been clinging to her rosary beads and silently saying a prayer, we have the man to my left playing Sudoku, reading and playing more games, staying seemingly calm trying to mask his anxiety by staying busy. We have the woman to my left back, sleeping while her alarm goes off, not bothered one bit while the man to her right hasn’t stopped talking. All this going on is trumped by the constant and loud cackling of 3 women that clearly have had too much coffee. Oh the joys of flying… It’s interesting how many people have a fear of flying. I’m masking my fear by listening to worship music and writing how everyone else is handling it. Ha. Turbulence isn’t helping this either. I’m wondering what causes this irrational fear or fear at all?! Is all fear irrational? Food for thought, I guess.
For me, it has nothing to do with dying. I’m not afraid of that. I know where I’m going. After really thinking about this I figured out that this fear is no different than any fear. It’s the future thought of things to come. Its the loss of control and the lack of grounding yourself in the present. It’s the inability to relax and enjoy our surroundings. It’s not real! Fear isn’t real!! Wait, it isn’t? Nope. It’s the forward motion thought that we somehow morph into unrealistic things that usually never happen! I wonder what would happen if when we were in a fearful state, we took a deep breath and grounded ourselves in the present. Sometimes taking it a bit further and enjoyed the things we wouldn’t even think to consider. Like the air, the view, the laughing, the chairs, the ground. The simple things that we rush by and forget that this is what’s real, the here and now. If we stop and think about the fears we all have, it wouldn’t start or stop with something like flying. Finances, sickness, relationships, lack of hope, lack of understanding, people, etc. It’s things that haven’t even happened! It’s the “what if’s” that get us in trouble. Now I’m not saying danger isn’t real, I’m saying fear isn’t real. We need to learn the art of entering a room and taking our peace if it isn’t there.
I recently went to a Graham Cooke conference and he said when he walks into a situation and he doesn’t have what he needs to handle it, he says; “I allocate —– in the name of Jesus”.  So I thought I’d try it. As I was sitting on the plane, feeling all the anxiety swirling around me, I quietly said, “I allocate peace in the name of Jesus”, took a deep breath and grounded myself in the present. I feel much better now. Why? Cause fear isn’t real. Danger is real, but fear isn’t. What would happen if we stopped responding to fear and responded to everything with love. After all, perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18). That’s what I did, I used perfect love (in the name of Jesus) to remind myself of my authority (I allocate) to remove fear by choosing to bring supernatural peace down from Heaven.
So, love has everything to do with it! I can’t get to a peaceful state on my own. I had to relinquish all control and call on perfect love and supernatural peace to remind myself that I am in the present, the hear and now and I have the choice to sit back and enjoy the ride.

Mastering the art of LEARNING to be a superhero….

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OK, anyone that knows me, knows good and well that this is something I have not mastered. I actually wouldn’t even say I was all that good at it. I can say that I’m much better then I was, and I’m OK with saying that. This is a very hard thing to master. Especially for women. We have what I call, “Superhero syndrome”. We like to take on everything! Most of the time its not even ours to take on. In this day in age I’ve seen this take off even more. With Pinterest and Facebook and Instagram, we feel the need to keep up.

You know, keep up with the mom that’s working full time, raising all her kids perfectly, lives in a perfect home with her house spotless, makes every meal from scratch and probably sows her and her children’s owns cloths. You know this woman! We all know at least one! We also know that woman that grows all her own food, makes everything from scratch and churns her own butter, home schools all of her children and they are well adapted, gives freely to everyone and donates her time at church, women’s group, children’s group, small group, homeless outreach, etc..and both examples are always well put together ….These examples are what I call superheros. Those women that set the bar so high it seems unreachable. Why do we compare ourselves?! I, for a long time tried to be woman number 1, and then woman 2 for a period. I remember working insane hours, starting at 5am and ending at 6pm. making dinner, doing homework, cleaning my house (spotless), doing the laundry, making the lunches, making homemade bread, prepping dinner for the next night and then putting my kids to bed. After they were down I would get back on my computer at 8ish and work til 12am or 1am…… INSANE!!! I was literally killing myself. I remember having a gathering at my house at one of the men came out of the bathroom and said, “Wow, your house is always so clean! You could eat off the toilets!” I felt so accomplished. A short time after that my life completely changed. My career went away when the market took a turn. I was no longer a “successful woman and mom” in my eyes. I had a false sense of what a superhero was. After a tough process of learning to let go of control and the effed up idea that a super woman has to be perfect at everything, I had a good heart to heart with myself.  What if a superhero is something so much simpler? What if its simply loving my children 100% without any distractions, or sitting and listening to my husband be goofy and laughing at all his jokes. What if its taking the time to have coffee with a friend that needs some human contact because shes isolated herself because she doesn’t think she is a “superhero”? What if its being a good sister, daughter, friend, wife, mom….A loving person?  What if its letting the house be a little dirty, leaving work on time and not working overtime, saying “no”, ordering take out and remembering your not perfect?

We need to give ourselves some grace. This is the art of LEARNING to be a superhero. Its a process, a journey and seldom do we master it. Our jobs aren’t to be perfect but instead, to be excellent.  Excellent at loving, excellent at laughing, excellent and letting go of control, excellent and not being perfect and excellent and mastering the learning process. We need to be one another cheerleaders and give a warm hug, or pat on the back to one another. Then we will realize that everyone is a superhero and master the process of seeing the superhero in the unassuming ways.

A long way from home….My journey as a mom having a child with special needs (Part 2)

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Like I had said before, this is going to take me some time to write because of the tender nature of the subject for me. With that being said, this is part 2 of my journey with Kali girl.

After the initial scare with Kali when she was a newborn had passed, the next few years were what I would call, normal. Anyone knows that no 2 children are alike. We are all so different and so perfect in our own ways. Well, that’s how I looked at my girls. My oldest was extremely bright since birth. She was always that happy child and overly creative. Kali was a little different. Not different bad way, different like every child is from one another. She was such a happy little girl. Always smiling and loved the camera. My little poser. She has always had the sweetest spirit, very loving and always had these eyes that when you looked in them, you knew that she was a deep well. Lets fast forward a few years.

We are now at age 3 and my sister and I are both coaching girls soccer for both Kali and Chloe, my oldest. If you want to learn patience, come from competitive sports and coach 3 and 5 year old girls soccer. 🙂 We were hosting a team party for both the teams in order to talk to all the parents. There was about 25 kids in my house at one time. Kali didn’t want to go hang out with the kids, she wanted to be around the adults. Ok, fine. No big deal to me. At the time, my sister was a teacher and was originally going to be teaching special education. While we spoke to the parents, Kali walked around fixated on a soccer ball, but only having one sided conversations. She was what we call, “Stuck in her own world”. My sister turned to me and said, “I think you may want to get her tested…”. Now, I’m not the type of parent that’s in denial, I realized there was something going on that day that didn’t seem “right”. We took her into her Dr.’s to get evaluated and they diagnosed her with Asperger Syndrome. Now, I didn’t know a thing about this. Being me, I dove in, read everything and studied everything I could get my hands on. Autism wasn’t rampant then, there wasn’t a lot of information about it really. it was still considered a newer diagnosis. I soon realized that she in fact, did not have Aspergers but they really didn’t know what was happening. Fun fact, Aspergers can not be properly diagnoses til the child reaches at least Jr high….So there you go. She was 3, not 13.

After this first diagnosis, things started to spiral down hill fast…Kali was then diagnosed with Pica and started eating dirt, glass, rocks and other non edible substances. She would take the glass balls off the Christmas tree and eat them like they were apples. Glass everywhere. She ate my Best of Sinatra CD…like chewed it up….such a good CD too. (shes was never hurt, don’t worry) She was now in preschool and was tested in. They had her under the Autistic Spectrum. She had also been diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder. Basically, this means that when we need to move our arm for some reason, our brain signals our arm to move. This is a process that happens without us having to give much thought about it. Kali’s brain wasn’t working that way. If she needed to move her arm, she would study the other children on how to do so, then, eventually her brain would send a signal to her arm to move. This is the easiest way for me to describe it. Nevertheless, this was extremely difficult to get Kali to respond to anything because her brain wasn’t processing it quick enough. So, I have a soon to be 3 1/2 year old who has (according to the Dr.’s) Aspergers, ASD, SPD and Pica. This was a lot to chew on, fast. I didn’t have time to sit around and feel sorry for myself. Early intervention is key, so I got to work fighting for Kali. We thought our life was beginning to get some kind of order to it. Then, everything changed….

I remember the day like it was yesterday. I went to go lie down, I had been in my room for maybe 30 minuets and I hear my husband yelling Kali’s name. I knew something was terribly wrong. Its that sense you get as a mother that something is very wrong. I flew out of bed and ran in the room. My husband had Kali standing straight up. Except her feet weren’t touching the ground. She was stiff as a board, non responsive, not breathing, jaw clenched and eyes rolling back in her head. My husband was panicked, absolutely beside himself. “She wont breathe! She wont breathe!! Come on baby girl, come on!! BREATHE!!”  I immediately called 911. This went on for what seemed like forever. Everything slowed way down. I could hear the ambulance in the distance and ran to go open the door. They rushed in and she had  finally come out of it. They took her, again, by ambulance to the hospital. I was in the back of the ambulance with her. She was really out of it. Very tired. The paramedic tried asking her questions and she wasn’t responding. They rushed her in, she was on oxygen and a very scared little girl. She had a seizure. A very large one and this may have not been her first. My brain was scrambled and I couldn’t breathe. This is not how I envisioned my life! What did I do wrong?! Its funny how we think situations like this are a punishment. Its easy for our brain to think that this child was “broken” in some way, that I did something to “cause” this to happen. I was only just 23 when I found out how strong I was, when Kali first stopped breathing and 26 when I found out how completely wrong my thought process had been…then started my journey….

Kali girl age 3

This was Kali right before everything changed. I have yet to see her that smile like that again. Change is comin though!

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I’m going to warn you, you’re not going to like what I have to say about this…

Fact, there are 150.6 million people in the US claiming to be Christians. This is both hilarious to me and funny as hell. Not funny in a good way. I am disgusted at the behavior I have seen on Facebook and the internet, through our streets, in our families, at our churches and our schools…There is so much hate and bashing that I’m completely baffled. What happened to honor, love, kindness, gentleness, GRACE!!! What happened to faith that God has all things under control!? And what the hell happened to prayer and the power that holds!??

I have seen and heard postings wishing the president nothing but bad, hoping the obamacare system fails, bashing and bashing and more bashing. Now, I’m no rocket scientist, but the definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over again expecting different results and you want to go back to how things were?! This may not be the answer but the way the system was, isn’t the answer either. Here’s the problem, we are too busy fighting with each other that we forgot how to fight. Aw the success of the enemy…Let’s get both sides fighting for justice and we will distort things so much that they can’t even see what they are doing!!! (Insert evil laugh). What a bunch of crap and we are falling in line all “fighting for justice”, disgusting. How is bashing the president, spewing hate all over any different than the Westboro churches, picketers at the abortion clinics, the guy on the corner condemning everyone to hell or the church saying we are all sinners still! Oh, wait, did I strike a nerve? No, news flash, we are NOT all sinners still. We are saints, saved by grace, forgiven and redeemed, sons and daughters of the King. Start acting like it!

Are there a lot of bad things happening? Yep. So open your mouth, pray, love, do the opposite of all the crap you see! Holy cow people, we are in a spiritual war against principalities and things unseen, NOT against flesh and blood! When are we going to realize that all this talk only fuels things in the spirit realm and it’s not our side our hate is fueling? Even Jesus got upset and turned over the tables in the temple. It’s called righteous anger. However what he did afterwards is the lesson. We get stuck in the drama. Typical. It’s the cleansing of the temple, the crap being driven out. Let me ask you something, if you were there when this happened, and the way you are currently operating, would you be driven out too? Mathew 21:12-17 will help you with that question. :).

We have been given authority to speak to the mountain and it will move! SO SPEAK! Open your mouths and pour out your prayers, pray with authority and stop your begging! Last time I checked, royalty doesn’t beg. We are ALL royalty. ALL! Yep, that word all includes the president. Some just don’t know it yet. Sometimes the hardest people to love is your family. If you looked at your child and spewed the hatred towards them that you are towards our country, what would happen? We want change but all we do is curse.  Eph 4:26-32 MSG (26-32) “Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry—but don’t use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don’t stay angry. Don’t go to bed angry. Don’t give the Devil that kind of foothold in your life.  Did you use to make ends meet by stealing? Well, no more! Get an honest job so that you can help others who can’t work. Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift. Don’t grieve God. Don’t break his heart. His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself. Don’t take such a gift for granted.  Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, and profane talk. Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you.”

What if all 150.6 million people in the US that claim to be Christians actually acted like it, prayed like it, responded like it, what an amazing world we could live in…