Somehow time has flown.

All of the sudden we have shimmied from April right through summer and into the start of another school year.

There was so much that I had wished to chronicle here, but … yeah.

Let’s just say that these months have been a journey…

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… during this time we have experienced awesome accomplishments and stared some huge fears in the face. There have been tweaks, tantrums, and tears. There have been sighs, snickers, and great rejoicing.

Through the good, the bad, and the ugly, it is amazing to see how far we have come, as individuals AND as a family.

We have walked, crawled, and sprinted along the way. Sometimes together. Sometimes on our own. But always with God at our side.

And as I hope to return here again to write soon, I just want to leave the verse that I have been clinging to on this journey… “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” ~Jeremiah 29:11

It is World Autism Awareness Day. Autism is thrust into the spotlight and buildings, monuments, businesses, universities, and homes around the world light up blue for the day. It seems especially significant this year as the CDC released new prevalence numbers last week now saying that 1 in 88 children (1 in 54 boys, 1 in 252 girls) will be diagnosed with autism. The numbers are staggering. They remind me of why educating others about autism is so important.

I have felt like I am at a loss for words about our journey lately. So much has happened. We have reached some joyous highs — like a field trip in which spaghetti was eaten and actually enjoyed!!! 😀 — to some of the lowest of lows — headbutting teachers at school and needing to be removed from the classroom with tears that just never seem to end 😦 . We have had to adjust medications that no 7-year-old should have to take. I have had to have meetings with heads-of-companies about mistreatment of individuals (and parents) with autism. We have spent too many nights up at 2 or 3 am because sleep will no longer happen for our beautiful son. All of this happening since January. I know that I have felt overwhelmed and exhausted in every way possible. I can’t even begin to imagine how my dear boy has felt through all of this.

Our 1 in 88 (1 in 54).

Our 1 in 88 (1 in 54).

But Christian doesn’t give up. He powers on and inspires those around him. His braveness has encouraged me on this journey and looking back I wouldn’t ask to be on any other path or I would have missed out on all of these unexpected lessons that I have learned along the way. And I am thankful for God’s goodness (Jeremiah 29:11) — “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

We have also been blessed to have our beautiful Olivia. Christian’s “big” little sister. She is his advocate and friend and loves him without condition. She “wore it up blue” in honor of her brother today. I am so proud of the great sister that she is…

Olivia wears it up blue for World Autism Awareness Day.

Just know that each person’s/family’s journey with autism will be different. We are all on a rollercoaster ride of highs and lows. Some of us will want help and some will want to go it alone. Some of us are willing to share our stories and some will just not be ready to let others into our realities. But we are all here. We are your family, friends, neighbors, members, customers, etc.

To read some other great posts about World Autism Awareness Day, please click here to visit Jess at Diary of a Mom and click here to visit Jeneil at Rhema’s Hope.

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For those of you who have wondered where I’ve disappeared to, feel free to visit my running blog http://2012myyearontherun.wordpress.com

Yep. My Liv is younger, but she plays the role of the Big Sister so often. Not that I think she minds much. She wants to be the older one.

It cut my heart a bit last week, though, when I sat down with Christian’s teacher and reviewed some of the recent testing that they had completed. We were curious to see what developmental level Christian was testing at as it had been three years since he last round of testing. The results showed that he is testing at a developmental age 2-1/2 years below his chronological age. OK. I guess I wasn’t too overly surprised by that, but what smacked me was realizing that my 23-month younger daughter had now surpassed my son by about 3-years+ in developmental age. That isn’t supposed to happen. It’s just not.

Thankfully, my kids don’t seem to mind who has what developmental vs. chronological age. I am praying that it will always be this way. I don’t understand God’s plans, but I know that he has great things in store for both of my beautiful children. I’m praying to feel the peace that this knowledge brings.

I’ve been finding myself thinking about weakness a lot this week.  Mostly, my weakness.  Somedays I feel so overwhelmed by the weight of the world and all of the questions that constantly swirl through my mind — the “what ifs” and “woulda/shoulda/coulda”s.  My nights are sometimes haunted by sleeplessness (brought on by no one else) or dreams that seem surreal beyond being restful.  Everything comes back to my strength weakness — my desire to control the world around me ‘cuz “I know what’s best”.

So, then I read 1 Corinthians For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength (1:25), and start thinking about my life. 

From hindsight, it is clear that the times when I have felt that I had the most control over my life were times when I really didn’t.  Times in my life that I would go back and erase if I could.  I was cocky, so sure that I knew the way that things would play out.  Guess what — they never did. 

And the times when I felt the least in control — the times when I’d cry out, “Why, God?  Why would you let this happen to me?” were the times that I look back on and think, “Wow.  Look at how that has changed my life.  Look at what I have learned from that experience.”  I look back at those times with fondness now.  Clearly seeing God’s strong hand holding me up and carrying me through those challenges when I was unable to handle another moment on my own.

But [the Lord] said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Yep.  Not feeling it today.  I’m finding myself walking around in circles trying to remember what I was going to do next.

(Yes.  I have tried writing lists, but even that has not been productive today as I forget what I was going to write by the time I get to the paper.)

My attempt at cleaning picking up the house today has been OK.  (Which means — please, just stay in the living room.  Perhaps, then you can conclude that the rest of the house is tidy, too.  😉 )

My attempt at keeping the basement toilet-free today has failed.  More than once.  My stock pile of paper towel is dwindling (and I think my patience is fleeing along with it).  (At least I thought enough ahead of time today to remove the item that was making the basement particularly difficult to clean.)

My attempt at staying calm in the face of a diva tirade has been unsuccessful.  I think I need to put myself on a timeout next time I see one of those coming my way.  And, really, how did this tomboy end up with a diva-tastic princess?!?  This is SO off my radar screen she has my mind spinning everyday trying to keep up.  I just wish said princess would nap and/or let this Mama do the same.

But does it really matter if my house is clean and tidy, my basement is not a toiletbowl, and my diva wakes up on the sunny-side of her bed???  It would be SO INCREDIBLY GREAT!!!, but not necessary.  What matters more is that my son spontaneously wants me to pick him up, so that he can hug me.  My daughter tells me that I’m the best mom in the whole “entired” 😉 world.  My hubby tells me that he loves me.  My God has kept my on this earth another day to learn of his unexpected blessings and unending love.

I guess maybe I don’t need to be SuperMom anyway.  😉

(Thanks, KS, for this GREAT medallion!  What a fun surprise in my mailbox today!!!  🙂 )

Words spoken from Christian’s mouth as we attended church this afternoon, “Perfect Jesus.  Precious Jesus.”  🙂

The importance of Good Friday…

Prayer — Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with [Jesus] to be executed.  When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified him, along with the criminals–one on his right, the other on his left.  Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”  And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.  (Luke 23:32-34)

Promise — The soldiers also came up and mocked [Jesus].  They offered him wine vinegar and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.”  There was a written notice above him, which read: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.  One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at [Jesus]: “Aren’t you the Christ?  Save yourself and us!”  But the other criminal rebuked him.  “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence?  We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve.  But this man has done nothing wrong.”  The he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”  Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”  (Luke 23:36-43)

Provision — When Jesus saw his mother there, he said to his mother, “Dear woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.”  From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.  (John 19:26-27)

Position — From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land.  About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?“– which means, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”  (Matthew 27:45-46)

Pain — Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.”  (John 19:28)

Perfection — A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips.  When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.”  With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.  (John 19:29-30)

Presentation — It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour, for the sun stopped shining.  And the curtain of the temple was torn in two.  Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”  When he had said this, he breathed his last.  (Luke 23:44-46)

Proclamation — And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, heard his cry and saw how he died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!”

May we never doubt God’s love for us sinners!

“What next???”  A phrase that usually runs through my mind when I perceive things as going horribly wrong.

However, today, I breathe that phrase as I watch my son.  I am filled with awe.

God has blessed Christian with a remarkable gift — words.  Not spoken words.  We fight for every one of those we hear.  Written words — spelled out with letter blocks or written on magnadoodles.  I try and catch each one before they are erased or magically morphed into something else.  Christian must just have images of these words running through his mind…

pachyderm … hippopotamus … Temple Grandin … Madagascar … Hasbro … giraffe … swamp …

… and these are just a few on the ones that I’ve actually seen in the last few days.  (Beyond his usual “credits/production company” words, like… cast, created by, executive producer, associate directors, music by, walt disney, pixar, presents, dreamworks, universal, paramount, previews, play all, set up, main menu, columbia, tristar … just to name a few.  He can read these all to you, too, if asked.)

And interestingly enough, he has now been starting to drag me to a word if he is unfamiliar with it, taking my finger, making me point to it until I tell him what it is, he repeats it, then pushes me away because he now knows what the word is and needs me no longer. 

All I can say is that I am constantly amazed…

…and I wonder, “What next?  What new word/skill will we behold today?”

All true blessings.  We are rejoicing.  🙂