On Wings of Eagles

I was feeling so tired and overwhelmed with everything that we did last week, everything coming up, and all that is going to happen with school starting:  IEP meetings, new teachers, new classmates, new routines to establish, etc.

And to tell you the truth, we just really have a lot to deal with these days.

“These days” started around November 2002 when the twins were born; one being extremely sensitive to everything and cried most of the first 4 months.

It seemed then, that we had “too much on our plate” as people would say to us.  Then Sketch was born and we heard that even more.  Then Dash was diagnosed with autism in 2004 (I think the extreme ADHD part didn’t need a diagnosis, it spoke for itself!)

At this point, friends we had made started to disappear. I think it was just too much for them; they didn’t know what to do, they were ovewhelmed by what they saw and so they must have decided to just not get involved; to take a step back.

Then Sketch’s medical problems (eczema, reflux, food allergies, extreme asthma) started around the age of 10 months, in 2006.  Things got harder than “too much”.

In 2007, when Sketch was 2, he was also diagnosed with autism.  His color on the spectrum was very different from Dash. Dash is more yellow: a sensory seeker-extreme boy type.  Sketch is more red: the sensory avoider-anxious type… the kind that tends to have terrible meltdowns…often.  In 2011, he was also diagnosed with ADHD and anxiety.

Our surprise baby in 2011 has been a wonderful joy, but along with her came a sudden onset of crippling aggressive Rheumatoid Arthritis for me.

I won’t even go into the many other things that could be added to the list along with these. It’s too much to type.  Too much to read.  It IS overwhelming.

On Sunday when I was standing in worship, singing the songs that had been chosen for that day, the words to Chris Tomlin’s song “Everlasting God” really struck me.  They are directly from the Scriptures:

Isaiah 40:28-31

Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the week. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

And relief poured over me as I felt my heart beat slow, muscles unclench, and a calmness settle on my shoulders. There IS ONE who will never grow tired or weary of hearing what goes on at our house; in our lives.  There is ONE who will listen over and over to my problems, to my complaints about my RA pains and symptoms.  He understands like no other; he understands completely.

Not only is He always there to pour out my heart to, but He promises to give me strength to carry on. He will make me soar on eagles wings, and run this race without growing weary.

Matt 11:29-30 says, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

 

Click here:  Everlasting God by Chris Tomlin  to listen to the song.

 

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Was That A Vacation?

Six and a half hours into our drive home, with just a little over 1 hour of driving left, the worst thing that can happen–that dreaded “what if?”, happened.

They say 90% of the time, what you most fear never happens.  I guess that was true on this trip.  More than 90% of the time was fun, but that 10% that was bad, was very, very bad.

9 year old Dash (adhd/autism) would correct these numbers to 1 1/2 hours out of an 81 hour trip = .02%.  Technically, we got off light.  It should have been 8.1 hours of what we feared most, and for this (not happening), I am very, very grateful!

It’s so easy to let the torture of being crammed in a car with 4 children (2 adhd/autism, 1 neurotypical, and one 7 month old) and a husband for that last hour+ with the baby crying, which set of my 6 year old Sketch (autism/anxiety/adhd) into one of those classic autism-screeches that just blows your eardrums out along with the few brain cells that were left behind after childbirth, cloud your thoughts of EVER doing something like THAT again!

But, now that time has calmed me down and blurred the horrors of last night (NOT), I’m ready to think about the other 79.5 hours of the vacation that were really, quite nice!

We went to the same hotel we went to last year, and met Mr. Incredibles parents there.  The main attraction at this location is the indoor swimming pool.

It was truly one of the best vacations we’ve had.  Normally we laugh (read cry) at the thought of a “vacation” because it is so exhausting to take our family anywhere, but this time… I think it counts as a true vacation!

As a family, we had no children missing at any rest stops or during the hotel stay. We didn’t even feel the need to booby-trap the door to our room so if anyone tried to escape in the middle of the night, the noise would wake us up…well, ok… Mr. Incredible did leave a very noisy bag of chips in front of the door the first night, just in case (by the way, have you noticed how loud chip bags have become?  Sunchips are especially noisy.).

We had NO COMPLAINTS from the people staying beside us or below us for noise or stomping or screaming!

During the entire trip, no one bolted!  I am still in shock of this one!

Every single one of the kids surprised me with how much they have progressed in the last year, and how well they were behaved.

Dash slept like he normally does at home instead of keeping his reputation up of 24/7 wakeful hours 3 days in a row. He was wonderful swimming, and compared to last year, he was not afraid of getting his face wet, or going under water. He didn’t “drown” even once!

Sketch handled so much change and even several disappointments very, very well.  He was absolutely amazing in the pool. He  has made so much progress!  Last year he wouldn’t leave the steps leading into the pool because he didn’t want to get his swimsuit wet.  This year, he went all the way in and traveled the perimeter of the pool all the way to the super-deep section of 4 1/2 feet (insert big proud smile here)  and climbed the ladder to get out of the pool all by himself.  He was his very happy self, a side of him that his grandparents haven’t seen before because he’s usually too stressed out by all the changes and the new environment to “be himself”.  But this time, he was hilarious and engaged with a lot of back and forth interaction.  He also coped with no DVD’s for the entire trip. This was an accident, we’d brought them, but we did not have the power cord to the DVD player.  He handled it amazingly well (insert another big smile here).

Princess Buttercup had a great time, as always.  She had a blast playing Dicecapades with her Grambo (what she calls her grandma).  She was a great big helper with her baby sister and her little brother.  She shared a room with her twin brother (Dash) and there was minimal complaining and fighting!  She also practiced playing underwater this year, something she wouldn’t even try last year.  She learned to “sit” on the bottom of the pool and dove for quarters with Dash!

Polkadot was a little angel.  She even slept pretty well for her first road trip!  She was very alert and happy, taking in everything she saw.  She wasn’t so sure about Daddy jumping out of the water unexpectedly with goggles and wet hair, but she adapted after that initial shock just fine.  She had a lot of fun showing off all her “tricks” to Grambo, like zerberting a fresh spoonful of baby food right at her (ha ha!) and sitting up big and tall, “reading” her board books. She even handled her very off-schedule days with no problems at all. She never cried when she was tired, she just would fall asleep and wake up happy.  Quite a big surprise!

And, Mr. Incredible behaved himself as well (hee-hee).

There is so much to be thankful and grateful for on this vacation.  Taking out my treasure stone that I kept to remember the lesson I learned last year about the gifts God gives us (click here for more on that),  I have decided to “let go” of that .02% of yuck, and cling to the wonderful memories and good times we had.

Colossians 3:15-16 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.

On The First Day of Winter My True Love Gave To Me…

Today it happened again.  Either these boys have inside knowledge about the weather, or Someone out there really loves them a lot and wants to make them happy!

It was Sketch this morning, who came out from his room, looked at the window with the ketcup-stained curtains still pulled closed, and asked, “Snow?”

I opened the curtain and looked outside, but there was no snow.

“Snow?” he asks again.

“Not today, Sketch.” I confidently reply, since I’d already checked the weather forecast.

No more than 5 minutes later a fluttering flake catches my eye.  Then another, and another.  “Sketch, look outside! It’s snowing!”

Rewind to nine days earlier, on the first day of Winter.  Dash comes downstairs and wanted to look outside.

“It’s the first day of Winter! We get snow!” he looks out the window, “Where’s the snow?”

I told him there is no snow today but that we’re supposed to get snow on Christmas. He was disappointed and left the kitchen. Then, I look out the window and wouldn’t you know, there was SNOW!

God really does care about the little things… really enjoys giving his loved ones things to make them happy.

I almost titled this post something like:  But What About the Stink?

Why, you ask?  Well, let me tell you…

I started this post weeks ago, well before the first day of Winter. I was having a Really-Bad-Day because things were going downhill quick in regards to our in-home supports.  Each boy was approved for 18 hours and we were using most of them.  But, big problems were getting worse and on this day, I knew it was over.  Our supports would yet again, be yanked out from underneath us.  The hardest part is that the boys were both attached to the staff we had, and we’d have to try to explain to them why they weren’t coming anymore, and the reason for this was not a reason a 6 and 9 year old should know.

It was a Tuesday when this all was going down. I was so worried about this, along with the other ramifications of  loosing 32 hours of help a week when I needed it more than ever.  Regardless,  I drive to the church for Ladies Bible Study:  Beth Moore’s “Believing God”.  I walked in to the study distracted and upset by all that was going on.  Funny… it really seems little compared to the other recent trials like job losses, health insurance loss and Rheumatoid Arthritis making it’s presence known.  God sure had taken care of all those “big” problems, in really BIG ways, too!

After missing the first part of Beth’s talk due to worry, I start to tune in to what Beth Moore was saying, and she was talking about what Martha was worried about with Lazarus.  Martha didn’t worry about if  Jesus could take care of the big problem of raising Lazarus from the dead. Instead, Martha worried because Lazarus had been in the tomb for 4 days and he may stink!     “But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.” Luke 11:39  (I love Beth Moore, I don’t think I would have ever picked up on that line on my own!)

And it is so true, that we often believe God for the big problems, but think He is too busy for the stinky little ones, or we think they don’t matter to God.  Neither are true.

God does care about the seemingly little things. He has taken care of the boys emotions regarding the sudden loss of staff.  He’s taken care of us during our loss of help too.  And, He even took care of the boys desire to see snow on the first day of Winter!

Philippians 4:6-7 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

What little things has God done for you?   Please add you experience and encouragement to this post with your comments!

Recommended Readings:

The Colors of Space in the Craziness of Time

Muller Moments

Struck Down But Not Destroyed

The Colors of Space in the Craziness of Time

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
White space may refer to:
  • White space (visual arts), portions of a page left unmarked
    • Space (punctuation), the space between two words of text
  • Whitespace character, a computer character for the space between words
    • whitespace characters, a character class in regular expressions
  • White spaces (radio), allocated but locally unused radio frequencies
  • White space (management), an area where no one is responsible
  • Whitespace (programming language), an esoteric programming language”

I have been thinking about White Space lately, but not the kind mentioned above.

I’ve been thinking of the kind of White Space that is more like White Noise–that background static that either drives you crazy or that is so common you don’t notice it anymore…or maybe you love White Noise because it drowns out some other sounds you would rather not hear.

The White Space I am writing about relates to T-I-M-E.

That four letter word we never seem to have enough of…or do we?

One of the things I have noticed in the last few weeks (after keeping record of the blessings God pours down on me, unrestrained each day), is that there is actually a surprisingly large number of time-pockets, where things are calm and quiet. I know… dare I even say that? It may be snatched away!

But no, there always is time like this.  This White Space, lingering about waiting to be noticed…to be used, appreciated.

At our house, It looks something like this:

          (The beginning more resembles black space because that is how I feel when it happens…dark & anxious, frustrated and s-t-r-e-s-s-e-d out.)

Sketch gets home from school in a bad mood.  He asks for Veggie Tales, “King George and the Ducky” DVD and so I put it on, thinking it will calm him down.

As soon as it plays he asks for the “Introduction”.

There is no official introduction on that DVD.

Sketch says, “All done King George & the Ducky?” so I take the DVD out.

Sketch asks again for King George and I remind him we just had that on and he didn’t want it.

He asks again.

I give in, trying to avoid the impending tantrum and tell him this is the LAST time I’m putting it on.

The movie starts.  Sketch says “All Done King George? AHHH!”

And it happens.  (I suppose it had to happen, if not now then in 5 minutes..he just has to get it out of his system!)

He starts pushing me, throwing toys, trying to attack in any way.

I (eventually) get him in his room where he will calm down (after he pees on the floor, adding another to-do item to my list).

          (Now enters White Space).  There is nothing I can do at this point.  Sketch is throwing his fit and he is safe in his room.  History proves he will NOT calm down unless he is alone in his room.

But usually, at this point I will still be stressed out about the whole thing, wondering what is wrong? Why is he acting this way?  How long will it last this time? …What could I do differently?  etc.

But worrying steals away the t-i-m-e that has been handed to me to unwind, relax, enjoy.

I could stop myself once Sketch is safe and not be upset any longer.

I could be thankful for the break.  Lately when I have calmed down and refused to stew over what’s happened, that pocket of time has seemed to slow down.  It feels longer than it was.  I thank God for it…for the calm, for the space in time.

In some ways, I’m sure the time is actually longer because less is unnecessarily handed over to the black space.  But I am sure that those minutes of calm, when noticed…are actually longer.

Have you ever sat and watched a clock tick for a minute?  It seems to take forever!  But day after day those minutes tick away so fast we don’t know what happened to them.

Time slows down (at least our perception of it) when we notice.  When we are present in the moment.

Now I know there are those days when it seems like there is no White Space time…when tantrums and crisis come one after the other and there seems to be no end to it. The intensity can be so strong that it seems like the crisis has taken up way more time that it actually did… usually because of what we do with it in ourselves, during and after… the worry, the time sucked up stewing… the drainage of energy leading to less productive time after.

But the truth is that there is White Space coming. It always does, and once we recognize it and are grateful for it’s arrival, the time seems long…once noticed, time stalls a bit. Relief. Rest.

Even if the time-pocket of White Space is short… it is there.

Even if it is prematurely interrupted…it was. And, it will be again. We can always look forward to those pockets.

And I wonder, if there really is such a thing as black space.  I wonder if that black is really more like a dark purple… a royal color.  A color marking that God is there.  He promises to turn all things around for good (Romans 8:28).  He redeems everything, even what seems so dark, black to us.  If God is in it, using it for his purposes, then is it really black at all?

Conquering the Rain!

A few weeks ago, I watched one of the most beautiful sights unfold before my eyes.

It was a dark and stormy night.  Well, not really, but it was a rainy afternoon, which in our house can turn into a dark and stormy night pretty quick!  If you are new to my blog, you can catch up on the rain posts here and here.

On this rainy afternoon though, Sketch blew me away… and it wasn’t even windy!  I had to meet him at the bus at the end of our long driveway.  So he had much farther to travel to get into the house, than when I was homeschooling him.  Plus, now I am expecting our fourth child (a surprise treasure from God, for sure!), and I simply am not able to carry him all the way in, as I had before.

So I spent a great deal of time trying to figure out how to make this work.  I decided to walk up to the bus with Sketch’s frog umbrella.  He loves that frog umbrella when it is dry, and he’s inside!  Not once has he used it in the rain. He always rejects it and while terrified of getting wet, he asks, “Carry?”.  So I thought if he saw me use it in the rain, he’d understand that it will keep him dry too.

When he stepped off the bus, he looked at the umbrella with a smile.  I handed it to him but he didn’t reach for it so I took his two hands and had him hold it.  When he seemed steady with it, I slowly released my hands.

Bigger Smile!

And he was soooo proud of himself!  He held it very tightly, and just seemed amazed at how it was keeping him dry.  He didn’t go in the house when we got to our door, he kept walking around in the backyard, cute as can be…soaking up his victory!

From our back window, this is what I saw:

Isn’t it beautiful?  There he is holding that umbrella as if it were the Flag, as if he were marching!  Maybe it was his victory march for conquering his rain fears 🙂  When I saw him walking around like that, tears came to my eyes…and granted, I am pregnant so maybe it was just the horrormones (as my friend, Kay, would call them), but really, what I was thinking about that made this picture so beautiful to me is what has happened to to get him to this place.

After the post Short, Sweet, and Silly was written, I had to take Sketch in the rain to OT.  He surprisingly didn’t object to leaving the house!  He didn’t want to get wet or deal with rain, but he didn’t let his fears stop him! (Lesson #1) and he asked to “Carry?” which I did.  He didn’t just have me simply carry him though.  When I picked him up, he wrapped his little long legs all around my waist and his little long arms all the way around my neck (almost twice!) and he clinged to me so tightly that I didn’t even have to hold him!  If I let go, he was just there, unbudged!  (Lesson #2)

The next time it rained, he did the same thing. Just accepted the rain and clung to me as if his life depended on it.

And the next time, it was a Sunday and we were at church.  Mr. Incredible got to carry him this time and I got to watch Sketch cling to him in the same adorable way.

It’s just intensely beautiful…because this is just what God wants us to do with our fears.  He does not want us to be held back by them, but to cling to Him through them!

Isaiah 41:10 says, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Joshua 1:9 says, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

God must have been holding up Sketch under that umbrella, making the safety of His presence known to him.

And he’ll do it for you too!  Do not be afraid!  And as my favorite potty training card says, “You go girl!”

Merry Christmas everyone!

Sketch’s First Day of School!

Today is the day of Kindergarten for Sketch.

Besides being worried concerned about all the things that could happen on his first day, we are very excited.

I was planning to homeschool him this year.  Sketch had such a hard time leaving home to go to preschool every day, especially when he would see his Princess Buttercup and Dash staying home.  He always loved being at school, but the leaving home part was what was so heart breaking.

With tears streaming down his face while he sobbed, he’d wave his hand at me from the car, “Bye-bye Mommy. I love you Mommy!  See you after school, Mommy!”  (Sniff, sniff!)

Heart wrenching!

He really didn’t “play fair” at all.   As soon as Mr. Incredible would pull out of the driveway, Sketch would perk up and start singing his heart out, happy as can be.

But day after day…it just wore on me!  I started to wonder how much he understood.  Like, did he know that the twins were staying home with me all day for homeschool?  Did he wonder why we sent him away to school?  Does he wonder if we don’t want him home?

Sketch has always liked being home.  He would often need some coercing to get him to go out of the house unless it was a highly motiving place, like the Bounce Zone or Childrens Museum (and now we can add gas stations and drive-thru’s as highly motivating too!)

But, somewhere along the way, his “want to” (as Beth Moore would say) changed.

I think seeing his twins get on and off that big yellow bus had something to do with it.  He just loves busses!

Over the first month of the twins school, Sketch made it clear that his “want to” changed.  He didn’t want to be at home for school.  He didn’t want me to be his “teacher”, but to be his Mommy.

He DID want to go to school. He wanted to ride the bus to school, to participate in circle time and play in the big gym (and probably to show off his spanish vocabulary and accent, and his reading, writing and spelling ability…or, maybe that’s me!)

And, as I’d watch him play at the Bounce Zone, I’d see him watch the other kids, and he’d get so excited to be around them.  A wonderful thing for a parent of kids on the spectrum to see 🙂

However, I am sure that his real “want to” is to sit on my lap on the bus ride to school and to sit on my lap in those tiny kindergarten-sized chairs all day at school!

There may be some surprises this first day!

However, we are so proud of him for being able to express to me and Mr. Incredible, his desire for school.  We were so proud that we didn’t even really take it as a blow to our home-schooling abilities! How awesome for God to change his ‘want to’ from being just home with Mommy, to wanting to socialize with others!  Especially considering that not being “social” is one of the core deficits of autism!

Sometimes we need to re-evaluate our want to’s as well.  Sometimes we don’t want to change something that we know we should.  But God can change our want-to, just like he changed Sketches.

Psalms 40:8: I desire to do your will, my God;  your law is within my heart.”

Psalm 119: 1-5

1 Blessed are those whose ways are blameless,
who walk according to the law of the LORD.
2 Blessed are those who keep his statutes
and seek him with all their heart—
3 they do no wrong
but follow his ways.
4 You have laid down precepts
that are to be fully obeyed.
5 Oh, that my ways were steadfast
in obeying your decrees!

So if there is any hesitancy to in seeking God with all our hearts, in jumping over to solely following and obeying God as the Psalmist did…if there is any hesitancy to delight in His ways…if His laws are not engraved in our hearts… then maybe we should ask God to change our “want to” too?

John 14:14  “You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”

Now that is an awesome promise!

Short, Sweet, and Silly

It’s raining it’s pouring

Robbie will be roaring

He won’t go to the car

it’s way to far

to get there while it’s storming


It’s raining, it’s pouring

The inside is getting boring

It’s time for OT

I need a trick up my sleeve

to get him in that building

Right now, all is calm at home.  Robbie is having a blast playing with Banangrams and spelling the names of his favorite places.

But, it is raining and pouring again…and it’s Wednesday.  Being aware of what struggles are coming as far as getting Robbie in the car, and in the building for OT, then in the car again and in the house, is trying hard to ruin the mood. The playful, fun mood…

And I don’t want the silliness to end. So, I’m not going to let it. I am going to enjoy the next half hour of Robbie playing Banangrams and potty training his doll.  Why miss it to worry over what’s to come when there is silliness at hand?

I think that today, I will choose to take the advice of Paul in Philippines 4: 4-9

4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head!

I’ve just got this vision playing in my mind, that takes place about 20 years from now.  I am 60 years old, carrying my 25 year old Sketch,who won’t step foot in the rain.  I’m wondering how that is going to work?

I am sure he’ll come to tolerate the rain a bit better by then than he does now, but at this point, his total disgust and fear of the rain is getting worse, not better!

Today I was coming home from taking him to OT, and the darkened skies opened wide, spilling it’s heavy rains to the earth.

When we got home, Sketch wanted just one thing:  to be in the house where it was dry.  There was just one problem with this what-should-be easily solved problem. He has to get though the torrential downpour that is blocking his way between the car and the house.

At first he wouldn’t even come near the car door.  When I opened it, with the umbrella in hand, he backed up away from the open-to-the-dreaded-rain door.  He was not ready to face his fear head-on….or, head under, as the case may be!

“Come on, Sketch, I’ll carry you!  See?  I have an umbrella to keep you dry. It will be ok!”

“Are you all done? AHHHHH!”

“Sketch, it’s ok, I’ll carry you in and keep you dry!  Then you can get your blue blanket (his favorite thing)”

“Ahhh!  All Done!” Sketch screams and cries in objection.

It took about 5 minutes of convincing him that it is safe, and worth it, to let me carry him in.  He screamed all the way… I’m sure the 4 steps to the porch and 4 stair-steps up to the door seemed to be more like 4 miles long, with each inch looming with the potential disaster of getting wet…of having “spots” on his shirt…of his shoes having a darker shade of leather than they did before…or…here’s the worst…wet hair!

But, it didn’t happen.  I kept him dry, just as I promised…all the while getting my own feet wet from walking in puddles since I couldn’t see the way while carrying him…my back was spotted with rain drop stains, my shoulders sore from attempting to coordinate the umbrella and Sketch at the same time.  But Sketch, he was ok.

Except, he didn’t think he was.

If I thought he was screaming before, it was just a minor whimper in comparison to what came next.  Now that he’s in the house and dry & safe, he lets loose with the high pitch alarm sounding scream…the one usually reserved for severe pain or terror!

Ignoring his screams, I sit with him by the fire place to get warm and dry.  I grab a extra-comfortable quilted blanket with a rainbow colored sunburst in the center, and wrap it around us both.

He giggles.

I squeeze, and he giggles in relief, again.

I just hold him and warm him and give him squeezes of pressure & hugs that make him feel safe.  (I really don’t mind this part at all!)

We cuddle by the fire, feeling safe from the dangers outdoors.

Sometimes we have a storm in our lives, or a dreaded event, or something we just don’t like.  And we have to endure it to get to the promised land of comfort & safety. And just like I carried Sketch in the house, God offers to guide and protect us as well, while we “walk through the valley of the shadow of death”  We don’t need to fear any evil, for “your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4

And even though we may be absolutely dreading the path we have to take, and it takes all we have to make that first step out of the door into the arms of God (who’s holding us under a really big umbrella), God is there and He carefully takes us to the other side.  God takes the rain on his own shoes and back.  “He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.”

And once we are safe… we may still feel a bit traumatized by the whole thing.  We may still want to throw our fit and scream:  “Did it really have to happen THAT way God???  Couldn’t you magically get me here from the car while avoiding the rain???”

And God comes, and takes us by the warm fire of his presence, re-assures us with his Word, and wraps us with the Holy Spirit like a blanket, and comforts us.  And we relax. And we may giggle at how silly we were about the magic tricks, or the situation we dreaded so much but just turned out to be no big deal in comparison to God. “Everything is possible for him who believes.” (Mark 9:23)

Often at the point of finally relaxing, we want to just move on. To get up and start doing things that need to be done.  But I encourage you to follow Sketch’s example and to not do that.  Treasure the moment. Stop by the fire place and rest, soak in the love of our incredible Savior.  Rest in the presence of God, absorb the Words of God and soak in the comfort of the Holy Spirit.

It’s still raining outside here in Maine, and maybe it is still raining where you are too. Maybe you are about to take that first step out of the car to make the journey to the other side, and to you I say:

Fear not, the God of the universe is waiting to take you safely over, hand-in-hand, or perhaps by carrying you all the way.


Misplaced Car Seats

On Saturday we went to a really cool kids-carnival at our really cool church.  There were bounce houses and volcanoes exploding with candy.  There was mini-golf, pony rides, face painting, food, etc.  It was really fun!

There is no way I would go to something like this alone with the three kids, but Sketch’s pre-school teacher just really missed Sketch and so she wanted to come that day and help.

Rachel, the teacher  (not her real name) happens to drive a silver car.

Daddy, or Mr. Incredible, also drives a silver car.  Mr. Incredible used to drive Sketch to school in the “silver car” every day and Sketch would sit in his car seat behind the drivers seat.

On this day, Rachel drove all 3 kids in her car to the kids carnival at the church, and I drove the empty Red Van (yes, I’m smiling and remembering the silence of that drive!)

Mr. Incredible was planning to meet us at the carnival (he had to work.  The “smile” is now upside down) and help with the kids but it turned out he had to stay at work (note the tears streaming down my face!)

So, we had fun at the carnival for about an hour & a half (pretty good, considering!), and the only reason we made it that long was because of  Rachel’s help and the help of the awesome people at our awesome church!  One person took Princess Buttercup on the pony ride, that she desperately wanted, another helped watch Dash, and I am sure there were countless eyes watching out for my reputable run-aways.

But, about 90 minutes into it, Sketch seemed a bit “edgy”.  The tell-tale signs of  a melt down were appearing…such as wanting to go to the Red Van, wanting me to enter all the bounce-houses with him, wanting to lay down on the floor of the bounce house instead of jumping around, and wanted to go to “church” or wanting to go to “sunday school”, etc.  Pretty much wanting to do anything but what we actually were doing. So, I gave the 5 minute warning that we would be going to the Red Van to go home.

“In 5 more minutes, we are going to go to the Red Van, and we are going home!” I make sure each child hears and acknowledges they understand.

I thought that was pretty clear.

Once the 5 minutes were up, Mr. “Wanting To Do Something Different” decided he didn’t want to leave after all.  (I smell a power struggle brewing!) and down he flops to the ground.  “All done, No Thanks!”

“Sketch, it is time to go to the Red Van, it is time to go home” (Note the sweat starting to drop on my forehead as I imagine Sketch digging in his heels and letting loose one of his incredible high-pitched screams that I am sure would even be heard over the sound of the airplanes taking off and arriving next door to us.)

But, thankfully, Sketch just got up and walked out with us.  Phew!  (note the premature relief in my “phew”!)

We walk by the church building, and Sketch again says “Church? Sunday School?”  and I tell him there is no church, that it is Saturday, and church is tomorrow, on Sunday.  Sketch attempts to pull me to the building in the off-chance that maybe that would sway my decision.

But no, we went to the typically beloved Red Van, just like I said.

“Silver car!” Sketch screams as he sees the car seats being moved from Rachel’s car to the Red Van.

“Sketch, we are going home in the Red Van.  Rachel is driving the silver car.”

“Daddy?  Silver car?  All done Red Van, no thanks!” He cries.

We take Sketch to the Red Van in hopes to persuade him to sit in his car seat. All attempts fail!

“Sketch doesn’t want to go in the Red Van” Dash starts fussing.  “Sketch is too loud! Sketch is screaming!”

Princess Buttercup starts complaining too, and pretty much we have 3 meltdowns instead of one, all winding eachother up a little bit more.

It seemed like several never-ending hours, but it was really only about 30 minutes, that Sketch threw his tantrum and refused to get in the van or car seat.  He kept asking for Daddy, and silver car, and sometimes even white car, which I think was the car on the other side of the van.  I tried explaining that Sunday School is tomorrow, and today is Saturday, and Daddy’s at work, etc.  Finally, I called Mr. Incredible and told him what was going on, and that I think he’s waiting for him to come to church and he won’t get in the van.

He talks to Sketch on the phone and Sketch relaxed a little.  (This is the appropriate time for that “PHEW!”)  He hadn’t seen his Daddy in a while because he had to work Friday night late, and left early Saturday morning.  Sketch agreed to get in the van and to go see Daddy at his office.

Now, we have another problem.  Mr. Incredible’s office JUST moved, which is why he was working all weekend!  So I get Sketch in the car and try to explain that we are going to his NEW office.  The poor kid just can’t get a break.

But, we make it, with only a little confusion and when Mr. Incredible walked out of the New Office, Sketch painted his face with a big flappy smile!

Once we got home and started unloading the Red Van, I look back and notice that Sketch’s car seat is in the WRONG spot!  In the Red Van he sits to the right of the drivers seat. In the Silver Car he sits on the drivers side!  Probably reminding him of  his confusion of where Daddy has been.

“Oh my goodness, look at that!  I bet Sketch was upset because his car seat was on the wong side of the van!”

Princess Buttercup replies with words of wisdom of a child of God, “Really?  Sketch just worries about things he doesn’t even need to worry about!” (Notice the surprised and proud look on my face for my 7 year old daughter!)

And there we have it… the tie in to the scriptures yet again.  I mean, is there really anything that we need to worry about?  I know that we will worry about many things, but I am thinking that ultimately, they either won’t matter, won’t happen or will be taken care of (as always) by our ever-loving, all knowing, always there, Provider.


1 Peter 5:7  “Cast all your anxiety on him, for he cares for you”


Matt 6:25-26  “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear.  Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not much more valuable than they?”

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