Sometimes I make plans… Oh can I make some detailed plans... Plans to be productive.. plans to be helpful… Plans to organize my plans…
And then God shows me that it is not MY will … But HIS that I should follow…
When I don't listen to what God's Will is.. things tend to go wrong. Just little things.. but there are enough "little" things that I have to deal with? That I start to feel like a salmon … fighting against the current to swim upstream. When I continue to fight against the current… YUP… I feel stressed and exasperated! You probably know the feeling…
When I tried working at the preschool my kids attended? I was good at my job.. and I enjoyed it! I REALLY enjoyed it. But I fought my kids to go to school every day.. with a child on the Autism Spectrum.. with a side of Bipolar? Fighting them to do something that stresses them? It doesn't really work out very well. I kept having to go pick him up from school because he was overwhelmed. He was stressed.. I was stressed.. my neighbor who was putting him on the bus was stressed…
Then one November? My kids were sick… the whole month. I missed a WHOLE month of work.. A runny nose here.. a sore throat there.. a cough… a wheeze… a fever… some bronchitis…
sigh…. and then I sat still and listened…
You see .. MY plan was not what God had in store for me. It took me 3 years to figure that out.. yes I said 3 YEARS.. I am stubborn and persistent. Once I decided to listen to the Still small voice of God.. I realized what He was telling me. HIS plan for me was not at that preschool that I loved… and I wasn't listening…
So at the end of the year I resigned… and I stayed home for the next 6 years. And God? God sent me family after family who needed in home care for their kiddos. I never had a shortage of work.. and I never felt like I was swimming upstream… Now it was challenging and was hard work.. don't get me wrong… but I never felt like I was fighting against every element to make it work…
With that slight change in will-power? I had turned it around, swimming in the direction God was trying to lead me… and BAM.. I was back in control..
Except control is an illusion… I never really had control in the first place….
Someone once asked me what it was like to live with special needs.. Not just special needs really.. But with Autism (and a side of bipolar).. At the time I couldn’t really answer..
I mean.. With autism you know what you get.. Overload.. Anxiety.. Obsession.. meltdowns..
But add Bipolar? Then you add unpredictability.. When you get home? You don’t know if you have a child with a good mood or anger.. Or tears. When your son comes out of his room? You don’t know if you will have cooperation or frustration..
Honestly I can’t tell you if I will see my Son.. his autism.. OR his bipolar… from one minute to the next .. Especially in the spring months..
So to the question? I simply said, “It’s a roller coaster ride.. But it’s worth it.”
And that IS the truth ..
Tonight I watched a movie with my girls called “50 first dates”.. It was really cute .. a little crude in places (yes I am very old-fashioned.. I don’t like crude jokes).. But still cute.. And worth the watch..
For anyone not familiar.. 50 first dates is about a young lady who is in an accident that results in a brain injury. Because of the injury, she cannot create new memories .. So everyday her dad and brother recreate the last day she remembers. Over and over and over again.. When she meets a new guy, he has to help her fall in love with him over and over again.. every day.. Like EVERY day.. Eventually they develop a system.. They create a video of flashbacks since the accident.. Events.. Dates.. And eventually their wedding… And the young lady writes her thoughts in a journal.. A list of things she doesn’t want to forget.. Important things ..
Then she goes to sleep and wakes up refreshed.. And starts each day over again.. Remembering nothing .. Then she watches the video and reads her notes .. EVERY day ..
At the end of the movie? When we saw that she had to be reminded of her child that she couldn’t remember. As the credits began to roll, my daughter said.. “What a terrible way to live”..
But what if she never progressed beyond that accident.. What if she never stopped living that day over and over? What if she never lived ANYTHING NEW beyond that day?
That would be terrible indeed..
But to have flashback videos and hand written notes every morning.. To catch her up to ? To remind her she is married? To remind her she has a baby?
To be living that married life?
To be a mom?
That is being Blessed!
Being a mom to a young man with autism? Living with a loved one with Bipolar? It is very similar to “50 firsts”..
Every morning I wake up.. And I watch a flash back of important moments in our lives.. Important break throughs.. Flash through my mind.. Every day while I drink my chai? I read through the notes I have made through the years.. Only the important ones..
And then I set forth!
I set forth to make new Memories.. New important events.. I deal with each event as they occur.. Living in the moment! Never bringing the past into play.. Not remembering the mistakes from the day before. Unlike the movie? These choices are voluntary.. To choose to forget the bad.. to forget the mistakes..
THEN? Then I record those moments in my mind.. Sometimes I even write important information down..
Some days are good.. And just like movie? Yup.. Some days are a disaster.
And just like the movie? Sometimes the days are so bad that I cry myself to sleep at night ..
Then every night ? I sleep and the stress washes away. I wake up each new day ready to conquer some new activities.. With my flash backs and handwritten notes.
And we celebrate every “first” that comes along.. His first 2 word sentence at 5, his first full night sleep at 6.. His first solo cooked meal.. His first time walking to class on his own.. The first test taken by himself.. The first time he stayed home alone..
Ok.. You are right! There are WAY more than 50 “firsts” in our life. But we celebrate each one…
I know that some people look at my son’s life .. At MY life.. and they think, “What a terrible way to live”..
But to me?
To me a world without my son in it? A world without 50 OR 100 “firsts” being celebrated?
I woke early today. Before the sun rose over the horizon. Fog clung to the Earth with a chill in the air. If you looked closely through the fog, you could see deer moving slowly and quietly through my backyard.. Eating treats where they can find them. With spring, my backyard is coming to life.. so the deer stopped often.. If you didn’t watch closely, you would miss the movement at all.
As I drink my chai, I find myself thinking.. Did Mary, mother of Jesus, look out her window 2000 years ago and see a quiet foggy morning? Did she wonder what would happen that day? Did she wonder why Nature seemed so calm when her life seemed to be falling apart? Did she wonder why God didn’t send a terrible storm? Full of fury and winds?
I have a long list of things I would like to get done today. Mostly getting prepared for the fun family celebrations this weekend… But it is definitely work.. and I would rather sit here.. blending into the still world around me.
The still world around me?
Being still this morning? It made me stop and remember.. Remember that right about now? Right about now Jesus would have been in pain and bleeding.. Jesus would have been exhausted.. And marching with a heavy cross upon his back.. Moving forward as fast as His earthly body would let him…
Yet Jesus never complained.. He never tried to get out of His duty.. Jesus knew what God was asking of Him.. He knew He was about to die to save us all from an eternity in Hell.. Yet when Pilate told Jesus that he could set Him free.. Jesus didn’t jump at the chance.. He simply answered…
Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above.” (John 19:11a NIV)
In other words.. Everyone on Earth is only given the power which God has allowed them… and Jesus knew that He was sitting in Pilate’s office that day because it was God’s Will that it should be so..
So what did Jesus do?
He politely refused Pilate’s help.. He accepted God’s plan for Him.. He picked up His cross and Jesus set off to do God’s Work.
I am tired today. I fill my days with volunteering.. and parenting. I squeeze in doctor’s appointments and cleaning the house. I have chicks to care for, chickens to feed and laundry to wash. This week I have also had friends who needed support, children who needed to be listened to, people who needed prayer and meetings to attend. Not to mention fighting off a virus.
I literally had no time to write this week.
So today? YUP.. today I am tired.
But when I think about Jesus on Good Friday? Think about Jesus on the hardest day of “work” in His short life?
I think I will politely refuse Pilate’s offer to set me free from my tasks. And with this last sip of chai, I will hoist my cross.. my heavy tasks.. up on my back and set off to do God’s Will…
…because my day will be nothing like Jesus’s Good Friday… but it is what God has asked me to do….
I always tell people that you can’t write about life .. if you aren’t out there living it. So I am out there.. living life. But life isn’t just exploring, meeting new people, learning, having a good time, and laughing. Sometimes it is fixing things, moving households, comforting loved ones and saying good-bye. But I wouldn’t give up the “good” living to avoid the “sad”.
In fact… If my life was a cup? It would overflow frequently with all sorts of emotions.. all sorts of activities.. all forms of life…
For the last couple months, my cup has indeed been very full. My “living” consisted of hard work and a busy schedule as we prepared to perform Seussical the Musical at our High School.. During this time, my daughter found that Dr. Seuss must have agreed with our family’s philosophy.. because she found this among his many famous quotes…
“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.” Dr. Seuss
But sometimes I cram too much living into a small amount of time.. Or Life comes crashing into my schedule and overwhelms it. This month? My cup was definitely running over with Life. As much as I tried to stay organized.. YES you guessed it.. IF you came to my house during the Seussical shows, you would have found piles.. Sewing piles.. laundry piles.. paperwork piles… Chaos! All organized chaos.. but chaos just the same.
As Christians, we constantly tell ourselves and remind others that God only gives us what we can handle. Sometimes we wear it like a badge.. sometimes I use it as a cattle prod.. (to get myself out of good book… Or out of bed… or to leave that glorious sunshine.. to get back to work)… but sometimes I think we get stuck on “accepting” God’s Will for us.. Kind of like a “stop your whining” reminder.. I find myself forgetting that God sent a model for us when our Life Cup floweth over.
God sent us Jesus to model for us what He expects… When Jesus was not looking forward to the hard work that His Father had set before Him? Jesus was overwhelmed!! Jesus knelt in prayer and cried out to His Heavenly Father…
“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” Luke 22:42 NIV
This was not Jesus whining about hard work.. or whining because He knew He was about to die for our sins. No. This was Jesus being overwhelmed with the task before Him. What does this mean? This means that God says He will understand if we need to tell Him we are overwhelmed. God is giving us PERMISSION to ASK if a task can be taken away. We can ASK if He will heal a loved one.. we can ASK if He can change the Path before us.. The answer might be “No”… but it is okay to ask..
Then God shows us that He expects us to accept his Will.. accept his decision in all things. “Your will, not mine.”
God ALSO shows us through His Son that He doesn’t expect us to be strong all the time.. He expects us to fall apart when our cup runneth over with Life.. Then we have to rise.. brush off our knees.. and get back to Living..
How? You ask. How do we know for sure?
“Jesus wept.” John 11:35
Jesus wept when He found that He was too late and His friend had died.. Jesus was so overwhelmed.. His cup of emotions ran right over the top… And He gave into His tears.
This week should have been a relaxing week for me.. Our production was over.. the set cleared away… the stage clean.. Yet my calendar filled to the absolute brim.. My Life Cup filled with Activities.. Good activities… fun activities.. but definitely too many.
And then my mom called.
It seems that God called one of His children home to Him this week. While my uncle was in India.. visiting his grandson.. he had a heart attack and passed away. Now.. I imagine my uncle was one of God’s favorite children… Because he is an amazing man.. and I can imagine God couldn’t possibly wait any longer to call him home…
..still… My Uncle will be greatly missed until we see him again in Heaven.. I can see my uncle standing at the pearly gates.. inviting me in with that Great Smile of his… inviting me to stay at his mansion until mine is ready to go.. and especially offering to help me explore those streets of gold..
Today I think God will understand if my cup runneth over.. and I think God will understand if I ask that my aunt and my cousins have their cup of sadness taken from their lips… I think He’ll understand if I ask Him to pour some of those emotions into my cup.. as full as it is.. so that I might share this heavy task with them.
In my life I ALWAYS celebrate the small stuff.. I make little goals and update them often.. When my son said his first 2 word “sentence” at 5 years old ? We celebrated.. Then I set my goal to using a “sentence” every day. When my daughter read her first book solo.. at 5 years? We celebrated… then we set our goal to reading a book (solo) everyday. When my son told me he was mad .. Instead of melting down? YUP!! We celebrated! (I admit my son looked confused when his mom laughed and hugged him for saying “I’m mad at you.”) We celebrated and then talked about what made him mad.
When my daughter stood up to the bully who had pestered her for years..? Ok.. that was a BIG thing.. but still we celebrated.
Big goals sometimes take too long to accomplish.. and admit it.. If goals are too hard, sometimes we give up. So by keeping my goals small? My milestones achievable? Yup.. I tend to celebrate a lot.
Which is healthy…at least I think it is…
As an author, I celebrate each milestone too.. especially with book selling! Yesterday Shadows broke through the ranking of 100k on amazon’s best selling ranking. Doesn’t sound that great really, lol. I know.. I know.. it sounds like Shadows is barely floating. But to me it is a small goal. Ranked #100,000 out of a million books? It’s the top 10%.. To me that’s great..
SOO.. Yesterday I celebrated reaching my milestone…
Today? Today I set my next goal to keep my ranking up to 100k..
What am I celebrating today?
Today I am celebrating that I am only 16 “likes” away from 200 followers on my facebook page.. Once I meet that? Yup.. keep aiming higher…. one teeny tiny step at a time..
I love celebrating the small stuff..
Interesting in checking out Shadows? Here is my Amazon link.. and where you can get a free sample.
One of my readers informed me that they could tell a lot about my personality from my book… Ha ha… I think that this is especially true by reading the sections of Shadows with Mark and Seth. I think that my greatest gift in life was siblings.. not only brothers but my sister as well.. Unfortunately, Emma’s story just didn’t lend itself to having a sister in it…
Enjoy the following sample from Shadows….
When the vegetables were almost tender, Emma went out and rang the dinner bell. “Everythin’ will be done by the time they make it in from the field,” she figured.
“I made it in time fer dinner?” came a voice close by.
She turned in the direction of the road to see James walking toward her. Emma laughed at the hope in his expression. “It’s like you’ve a clock in yer belly.”
“Is yer family still in the field?” he asked.
“Yea. I canna leave my bread bakin’ ta take them lunch today,” she explained. “They should be in shortly.”
“Anythin’ ya need help with or should I head out ta meet `em?” James asked.
Emma thought about his question. “I’ve only the wash tub ta refill, if ya want ta make sure my Da and brothers heard the dinner bell ringin’,” she suggested.
“Seth can hear that dinner bell over any sound, no matter how quietly ya ring it,” James said with a laugh. “Let me go check ta see iffen they’re headed in, then I’ll fill the wash tub fer ya.”
“Thank ya,” Emma said. She returned to the kitchen. She could smell that her bread was done baking, so she pulled it from the oven and set another loaf in its place. Then she drained the vegetables, replacing the lid to keep them warm until the menfolk came in. She had just set the plates around the table, when James came in toting a bucket full of water for the wash tub.
“They are headed in. Should be close ta the front field by now,” James reported as he headed out the door with the empty bucket.
“I’ll dish it up when they come in.”
“It sure smells good,” James said eagerly.
Emma laughed softly, “Now ya sound like Seth.”
James laughed too, as he left through the door.
When James returned again, her father and brothers were with him.
“Sorry ta make ya come in fer dinner. I couldna leave my bread bakin’,” she explained to her family.
“We were needin’ a break from the sun, Emma girl,” Da answered.
“This smells better than a picnic lunch anyhow,” Seth decided, inhaling deeply.
Emma met James eyes and they laughed. Seth’s words were almost the same as the ones James had used earlier. Da saw the shared joke and raised his eyebrow at James. Emma had turned back to start serving up the plates and missed the exchange.
Once everyone was seated, her Da blessed the food and everyone started eating heartily.
“We noticed the raccoons are back in the fields. They did a fair amount of damage ta the cornfield by the woods last night,” Da told Emma. “So we’ll probably be sittin’ out there tonight.”
Nodding in understanding, Emma started planning what food she would send out with the boys.
“Ya interested in joinin’ us, James?” Mark added.
James agreed easily. “Wished I woulda known earlier, I could’ve jest stayed on inta the night.”
“We could send Emma inta town with a message fer yer Pa,” Seth suggested.
“I’ll not ask her ta make that trip in this heat,” James said. “Besides she’s bread ta bake.”
Emma gave him a thankful smile. She was already dreading the trip to the mercantile that she knew was coming up. An added trip was not appealing to her.
“Speakin’ of bread,” Seth said suggestively. “Can I have a slice with my dinner?”
Emma put her fork down and pushed her chair back from the table. Reaching for a loaf that was cool enough to slice, she heard a whispered comment that made her smile.
“Rotten kid. Let her eat her food while it’s warm,” James said.
“Jest asked fer bread,” Seth responded confused.
Their father laughed at his expression.
“It’s fine,” Emma insisted. Setting the plate of sliced bread on the table, she sat back in her chair.
Just as she was putting a bite to her mouth, Seth asked with a impish smile, “Could I have butter on mine?”
Emma froze mid-bite, just in time to see Mark smack Seth in the back of the neck. James slid his chair back and retrieved the butter crock before she could even respond. She tried to keep her smile hidden as Seth rubbed the back of his neck. “Never dull at mealtime,” she thought to herself.
**DISCLOSURE*** No brothers were harmed in the making of this book…
(If you would like to read more… Click here for links to BUY Shadows.)
Everything sounds better with the echo of a still small voice.