Trust. We must trust Him. We have to. I’m struggling with His timing, wondering when or if things *I* want to happen are really going to happen, am I going the “right” way. In all honesty I have no business feeling this way. The Lord has never failed me. Ever. It all really does work out in the most amazing way doesn’t it? At first I thought I was struggling with trust but now I see I’m struggling with patience. Waiting for His plan to play out.
In the past I know patience was never my strong point. I often and still do feel I am in a state of “hurry up and wait” which stinks to tell the truth. That state of being usually leads to frustration and doubt. Both of which are unpleasant emotions.
So I guess this leads to the encouragement of increased prayer. “Pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:17-18). I’m thinking I should pray for increased patience while I hurry up and wait for His plan which no doubt will be perfect and glorious.
Like most mom’s I can remember just about all of my first child’s everything. Especially when that first child is not a typical child. When evaluations and professionals become involved *and* you knew something was wrong to begin with you tend to remember everything. I remember Thomas didn’t walk until he was 15 months old, yet Alyssa walked right around 13 months. I’m talking walking independently, steps if you will.
When Thomas was around 13 years old I think, we were referred to a well known and respected neurologist for a consult. I trusted the doctor the referral came from so I made the appointment and Tommy and I went all the way uptown NYC, like you can’t get any further uptown, Manhattan. We even paid out of pocket to see this man. Somehow Thomas’ history and “packet” was lost and I about lost it crying, I was also upset because Tommy took a day off work for this appointment. The doctor agreed to see us anyway and I had to give Thomas’ whole history, his past 13 years of milestones, hospitalizations, medications (both trialed and in current use), other specialists verbally. I could not believe I remembered literally everything. Even the doctor was impressed. These days I don’t know if I could do it again but then again I don’t “have” to. All this comes to mind because we have to begin the process of guardianship for our son. Long story short, it means we will still be Thomas’ guardians even though technically he will be an adult when he turns 18 this year. We are doing this to protect him so he won’t be a target for any unscrupulous people looking to take advantage of him. It also is because Thomas will never be able to fully make responsible decisions for himself so Tommy and I will until we decide the state will make those decisions or one of his sisters many years from now.
You don’t think of these things when your special needs child is young. All you want to do is get through the day or at least get through the hour depending on how your day is going. I say I don’t miss when my kids were young and I don’t. However I do miss *my* innocence, my hoping that Thomas was going to get better or we would find the magic combination of meds to contain out of control behaviors. That very important neurologist put all that hope to rest when he told us Thomas was brain damaged and would never get “better”, nor would he get worse. But… through it all he’s still my Thomas and still will be when we assume guardianship for him.
It’s been 2 years since Thomas has been hospitalized and we realized he couldn’t continue to live at home anymore. 2 years of adjusting to a new normal, me going on meds and in therapy. He’ll have been in residential 2 years this coming summer when he turns 18. These upcoming milestones aren’t the ones we thought we’d be making 18 years ago or 16 years ago when Thomas took those first steps.
I’ve been taking notes at church lately, I’m afraid I’m going to miss something I think. I used to never take notes, I figured I wouldn’t go back and read them anyway so why bother. Well, I do go back and read them. I love to re-read what our Pastor said and how it all applies to my life. Our Pastor has been discussing the importance of prayer, that we must set aside time to be with The Father. But I wonder if we ever feel we have set enough time aside for The Father. Could there always be more time? My answer is yes, but I also believe God knows what is in my heart and he hears me. I guess that sounds defensive. I’m defending why I don’t spend more time in prayer. I wish I had an answer, a true answer.
Our Pastor also said, “Your life is a continuous act of worship. Everything can be lived to the glory of God.” I find that extremely inspiring knowing that all one does can be done to His glory. There is no act too small or unimportant.
I also find myself being more and more thankful for my life and the blessings He has given me, which makes me want to spend more time in prayer to praise and thank Him. I guess it becomes a wonderful cycle eventually: You spend more time in prayer with The Father which leads to more blessings and/or increased appreciation for present blessings which leads to more prayer and praise and thanks.
He hears us.
My husband and I recently were able to get away for 3 days this past week. Nothing over the top, we went to Atlantic City, NJ. A place not too far away but far enough that we felt “away”. It was nice. There I said it, it was nice to be with just my husband and no kids. Alone. And do what ever we wanted to, watch whatever we wanted to on television and do whatever we wanted to in the middle of the afternoon with no regards for who was watching who or where “they” were.
What I find amusing is we chose a place famous for gambling to get away to and neither one of us is a big gambler. I mean, I like to play around on the slot machines but to be honest I felt a bit angry when I lost. And then guilty even though it was a relatively small amount of money. Tommy felt that it was “fun money” to play around with and if I lost it well then it was lost~no big deal. I suppose his attitude is the right one to have but being in Atlantic City those few days made me realize I am totally *not* a gambler. I do not want to “lose” money. We work way to hard to make that money to give it away to a casino.
We did have a really nice time otherwise. We ate in the finest restaurants and went shopping a bit. We walked a lot. And I mean a lot. Oh my goodness my husband loves to walk! I’m not complaining just stating a fact. We walked the boardwalk quite a bit and it was A-Okay with me. We walked and explored just about every casino and mall within the casinos. It was fun because we were together and both wanted to do that. We laughed and talked and then didn’t need to talk. We people watched and oh yes we even sat through a time share sales pitch. Yes we did. No, we didn’t buy the timeshare but it was interesting to learn about what this particular company offered and of course it was sweet to receive the gift card we earned/were promised by sitting through the schpeal.
I’m glad we got away. It really does make you appreciate “home” more when you return. Even things you don’t realize you appreciate. Like showers that aren’t from a “low flow” shower head. I’d had enough of that. And just my house and my bed. I missed my “little” queen sized bed after sleeping on this huge California king. And yes I even missed my kids. I am so glad we were able to go and just be alone, together.
I went to church yesterday as usual but I *almost* didn’t go. Then when I saw parking was very tight due to all the snow around here, then I figured I wouldn’t go if I couldn’t find a parking space. The perfect parking space opened up, no kidding. God was working and so was the enemy. I believe the enemy works to find ways to keep us from God, like keeping me wrapped up on the computer right before it was time to leave for church and making the parking situation look so much worse than it was. I won’t say anymore about him. I love how The Lord made way for me to able to worship Him when I had such doubtful thoughts.
When I arrived at church I realized how much I missed being there from the week before. Then I remembered we (the choir) sang last week. I cried through some of the worship songs, the words are so powerful and really make you think. “You make all things work together for my good”, is one lyric that almost made me sit down and made me cry. Those are such powerful words to believe and I do believe it absolutely. But when I think of the seasons of pain, Thomas being aggressive to me and then depression I get sad and teary knowing that those are some “things” God has worked together for my good. How and why I have no idea but I trust Him.
I was on the ferry last week writing in a journal how God plans our every move, our everything for His glory. It’s a wonderful thing to think about. How He orchestrates all of our moves in life even the “small” ones for our good and His glory. Yesterday our Pastor said, “Nothing brings hope like the name of Jesus.” Oh my goodness the truth in that statement is overwhelming. How we pray and want to be like Jesus, to want to follow Him and love Him. And He loves us and His name is what we cling to for hope. Even writing this gets me teary (I’m a bit emotional lately, bear with me) That statement struck such a nerve with me, but in a good way. I think our nerves need to be struck every now and then. Jesus is the name we call out to for hope when we’re in pain. I remember one instance years ago when Thomas was aggressive with me, I literally yelled out, “Jesus!” but not in vain I called out for help. Help for Thomas to stop. When Thomas heard me yell out it stunned him and he stopped for a moment, enough time for me to get my bearings. I needed hope so bad that day and who’s name did I call out? Jesus. He gave me hope he really did. He sent the most caring ambulance workers and police officers to my house that day after I called 911.
I don’t mean to skip down memory lane to painful memories but I can’t help it when I think of The Lord working everything together for my good, because He is in charge and His way will always be better than mine in the long run. One of the most difficult lessons I’ve learned these past couple of years is to *really* trust Him. To honestly and truly put my life in his hands. To know with all my heart that if He hasn’t already planned it, it’s not going to be. So tough to put into practice but so necessary to know.
Seriously. And I can say this because I also have a small dog~a toy poodle aptly named Spike. Our big dog is named Riley, she’s a rescue dog and we love her so much. Of course we love our Spike, he’s been here almost 12 years. When Daniella was a year old, Alyssa 3yrs and Thomas 5yrs I decided we needed a dog; a small dog though. I thought I wanted a Yorkie but the ones we say were either sickly looking or hyper beyond belief. Then…I met Spike. Oh my goodness he was just the cutest little thing all fluffy and apricot colored fur. Draw dropping cute no kidding. And he wasn’t crazy hyper just normal puppy playful. Spike also trained super easy which I couldn’t believe, almost everything about him was easy. And he never ever nipped at the kids even with them being so young and active. Spike really is a great dog.
So 11 years later Tommy and I start talking about getting a big dog. Just “talking”. You know because Spike, and 3 cats aren’t enough pets… We talked for a couple of months trying to decide which kind of big dog. No puppies we had decided. I had a German Shepherd growing up (the best dog in the world evah but that’s another story), but we were nervous about getting a well behaved one. Pitbull? Yes definitely in the running but again we were wary about being able to handle him/her. Especially since we’d be taking in an adult dog.
One afternoon I go to Petsmart with Daniella and Samantha to get food for Spike. There was a rescue group in the back of the store with dogs and cats for adoption. We saw an adorable Yorkie mix but I knew we already wanted a big dog. Then we see her. Riley. This big golden retriever/golden lab mix missing half of one ear. Only you didn’t know her ear was missing until you got up close and pet her. Riley let us pet her, she laid down on the floor of the store so we could keep on petting her. Meanwhile the rescue foster “mom” was there to answer all our questions. Jackie was great and just the sweetest.
I text Tommy that we’re at Petsmart and petting a rescue dog. He texts back, “ok”. I text: ” I’m filling out an application for her, she’s just the sweetest” and send a picture. Tommy is like, “…ok…” Meanwhile I’m a little nervous. What am I doing?
Jackie brings Riley to the house for a home visit and Spike and Riley get along so well, it’s unreal. The cats are wary but what can you expect. We’re ready to tell Jackie to just leave Riley here we don’t want her to go but Jackie isn’t able to because Riley still needs to be micro-chipped. We agree to meet at Petsmart in a couple of days and we’ll take her home from there.
So almost a year later Riley is a part of our family as if she’s been here forever. She is the sweetest dog I’ve ever met. Yes I’m biased but I don’t care ;). When the depression would rear it’s ugly head, Riley was here when everyone else was at work or school. And I would think how she is rescuing me like everyone always says. When Thomas met her and hugged her, Riley just sat there with this adorable look on her face. Spike isn’t the same, he loves us but Riley is unreal in her caring for us. Tommy and I both say we’ve never seen such an affectionate well mannered dog.
I’m so glad I stopped in Petsmart that day.
It’s 6:30 am on a Sunday and the only reason I’m up is because the the choir is singing today at church and I’m in the choir. I’m not complaining about being up (No, I don’t enjoy waking up this early on a Sunday) but it is what it is. We are to be at church approx. an hour before the first service for extra practice time. I don’t even mind the practice as it gives us a chance to say hello/good morning and just be together, in between songs we’ll laugh and joke a bit. It’s really nice and kind of makes up for the fact that we’re all there so early :). I’ve mentioned before how much I enjoy being in the choir. Everyone is really nice and genuine. There is no phony-ness although I see no reason for that to even exist anyway within our choir. What I love the most is the fellowship. I’m probably repeating myself from a previous post but I can’t help it. To know when you really need prayers that this group of awesome people will pray for you is an incredible feeling.
The only thing I would change right now is the weather. It’s colder at 7:45 am than 10:15 am which is the time I usually go to church when the choir is not singing. I have to laugh because when I first joined the choir and I was told what time we had to be there on the Sundays that we sing, someone should have told me what my face looked like. I say this because inside my head I was like, “Nooooo!! Oh No…please tell me you’re joking”. It’s funny though because you do get used to it and to be honest after a while it’s really ok, you just have to get over the initial jolt. I’m not a morning person but as I get older I find mornings can be pretty cool; just don’t talk to me until I’ve had coffee.
Oh and the other really cool part about being in the choir is that we get to sing for all 3 services. I love that as each service has it’s own personality. When you’re up there you realize this and it makes it all the more special for some reason. One or two services are more vocal than others, one can be on the “quiet” side, one can start out quiet than really get into the singing. It’s really sweet to be a part of every service in that way.
What totally surprised me is that people really do notice you up there. You might think you’re inconspicuous or hidden behind the microphone or another person but …nope! You are out there and people see *you*. At first I thought that might freak me out a bit, but it didn’t and still doesn’t. Story of God’s sense of humor: The first Sunday I was singing with the choir I was determined to not be in the first row. I was very nervous. I somehow managed to situate myself in the second row and I was feeling good about that for my first Sunday. Then the choir director asked someone to move to the first row to even us out. I felt my hand go up and then I heard myself say, “I’ll go”. What?? Who said that?? I ended up in the first row and you know what it was fine, totally fine. I was not nervous and I really felt like I was singing in front of my family. I was. I was in front of my church family. God would never let me make him look bad.
Winter ~ I’m tired of it just like everyone else. There’s too much snow and ice here (insert whiney voice). But, I wouldn’t have it any other way, I have no desire to move anywhere. Not even down the block. I like my house and l like this borough I live in. I adore Manhattan and that we’re so close to it. Sometimes I find out many people aren’t fans of the ferry but I love it :). The quantity and quality of people watching on the ferry is beyond compare.
Anyway, getting back to complaining about winter. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad if I were a cold weather sport person, like skiing or heck even sleigh riding down the various golf courses here. Nope. I loathe being cold, I’d rather be hot than shivering cold. And I’m not just saying that because it’s 23 degrees today. Ok again, I still don’t want to move. I actually enjoy the change of seasons, I find I get bored of the weather being the same all the time and I really dislike it when we have unseasonable weather. Like when it’s oddly warm in January and February. It just feels very wrong. Those months *should* be cold where I live. So we can all complain about how cold we are!
On the plus side of winter, the snow is pretty. Even ice is pretty when you’re not walking or driving on it. The picture above is this little tree my neighbor planted last year. The ice is amazing on this little tree in my opinion. I guess you have to look for things that are pretty to get you through. This past snow storm did leave everything pretty with the snow on bare branches. Most of that is gone now and most of the snow is looking dirty these days. I think that’s when the complaining starts, when things get ugly. Or when things melt then freeze again. Ugh! Feel free to join me in complaining since there is nothing any of us can do about it. The season is the season and soon enough I’ll be complaining about how darn hot it is outside!
I know we all have these incredible defining moments in our lives. Moments that change you. Whether or not you want to be changed is not a factor. After all is said and done you’re different. So serious huh? But I don’t mean for this to be all that serious. There are plenty of happy defining moments that change us. Change the way we see the world, change the way we see our spouses and children.
I’m terrible at quoting scripture. I can tell you the gist of which quote I want, I’ll even know what book it’s in but those important numbers that follow escape me. A defining moment came out of me needing a quote from the bible. I asked both my girls what quote would fit what was in my heart ~ what I wanted to say using scripture. My 12 year old daughter listened to what was in my heart and BAM, out came the perfect verse. It was personally impressive to witness that. To watch her eyes light up as The Spirit moved her. It was a defining moment for me to see God’s light shining within her. A small blip in time that meant so much.
A “big” defining moment came when we were waiting to hear back from residential schools for Thomas 2 years ago. As I’ve written in past posts, the Board of Ed had forwarded Thomas’ “packet” to various state approved school and weeks had gone by with us not hearing a word from any of them. One afternoon I looked up each school’s phone number and started calling each one asking for the admission’s department. After going for a walk one morning, I arrived home irritated and sweaty. Sweaty from the walk, irritated as depression had already started to get it’s grip on me. The phone rang and I did NOT want to answer, I was not in the mood to talk to anyone. Then I saw on the caller ID it was a school I had called on that afternoon of phone calls. I tell you with all my heart the Holy Spirit made me pick up that phone, just as I know God orchestrated the whole scenario. No other schools returned phone calls after this one. Not one. And I spoke to only 2 others when I started calling. The school who’s phone call I answered is the school Thomas attends now. This was one of many defining moments telling me that God gives us what we *need*. It’s simple actually but so hard to digest especially when there are so many things and not necessarily material things, that we “want”.
If there were 2 things I could “preach” they would be that The Holy Spirit really does move people and that God really does give us what we need. But I’m not a preacher. I can only witness to you what He’s done in my life. Oh, one other thing is that He meets you where you are. I know this to my soul as He’s met me exactly where I was, and when The Lord met me I wasn’t expecting him. I highly doubt He wanted me to know His plan of arrival. And that’s fine. It makes it all the more special and defines me stronger as a believer.
Snow day. For me not the kids. It’s snowing here in NYC and I believe it’s coming down heavier than predicted. I’ve already shoveled twice and I’m done. I know my husband will accomplish more with the snow blower than I will shoveling over and over. It’s that heavy snow, you know? Not fun to shovel. Yesterday it was about 50 degrees (Fahrenheit) here, I had a couple of windows open and today…this. It is pretty though. It’s a “quiet” snow, just falling, falling and making the trees look awesome and everything looks so clean. I walked to pick up Samantha and it was really nice to walk and take in God’s splendor. I know the last snow storms we’ve had I’ve been too busy shoveling and trying to get my car de-iced to enjoy the quiet prettiness.
I think I accomplished a lot though on this snow day of mine. I got Samantha off to school, arrived home to vacuum and mop the floors, changed sheets, made beds and listed 4 more things on Ebay. I’m impressed :). All while coming off one of my meds (per my physician).
This part totally stinks, my head feels like my brain is shivering from time to time. It’s an odd unpleasant feeling to tell the truth, but I am glad to reduce meds and I know this will last a couple more days so I’m looking forward to when this is over. The feeling isn’t incapacitating just unpleasant and makes you slow down a bit, take it easy. I have one of the best prayer partners who prayed for me yesterday after church. We are in the choir together and we sat together during service. I was emotional during worship as a result of the med change, crying which I don’t usually do. Patty sat with me after and I told her what I was experiencing and she asked me if I wanted her to pray for me, next thing I know she is saying the most wonderful spirit led prayer and now she has tears. I’m getting tears in my eyes writing this. God is so good, he truly gives you what you *need*. I wish I were able to quote scripture and be more able to express my faith more than I feel able to. But it is what it is right now. I so appreciate and love the Lord for placing the people he has in my life.
So this is my snow day. Tomorrow hopefully the streets will be plowed, my car will be cleaned off and my walkway clear. I don’t have to hope that God will be here because I know with all my heart He will and He will be guiding us and who knows who’s life He will place you in next.