Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Special Times For My Special Guy!

The summer is a time for things to grow! My grass needs to be cut every single week...or we are in up to our knees! My son Kyle has had a growth filled summer as well. Summertime has always been a challenge for Kyle because he thrives on routine. Being on the "Spectrum" obviously adds challenges to his daily life, more than anyone would know! He is a fun loving, funny little guy with a sensitive spirit and a beautiful heart, but what he must overcome on a daily basis would exhaust me, emotionally and physically.

It usually takes about a month before he stops asking the question, "Is it school today?" Then when he is not asking that question, we know that we have "detoxed" him from that routine. However, he is constantly searching for consistency in his day. Well, we are far from consistent here...especially in the summer. Children come and visit all the time, we are beaching, or swimming, or visiting or whatever, and sometimes we don't even know until that day what we will be doing. Craziness for someone like Kyle. So needless to say, he has had some serious challenges. He acts out a lot in anger/frustration. What will happen is this: Kyle will start to sing a song or behave a certain way to entertain and make his audience laugh. Well, it is cute the first 15 times, but then, after about 100 times of hearing the same song or seeing the same behavior....it is NOT FUNNY any more...to any one! Children have a far less level of tolerance for this type of thing (I, being his Mother and knowing his "issues" can tolerate it a bit longer). Then the natives get annoyed and the fighting commences. You here kids shouting "KYLE STOP IT!!! YOU ARE ANNOYING...GO AWAY!!!" His brothers don't do this regularly because they are use to him as well, but if another child starts in on Kyle...his brothers will agree!

We have had many, many, many tears! I have talked with him. "Kyle, people don't like it when you do this 100 times in a row, it is really annoying!....No one thinks you are funny right now....you are not going to be able to keep friends if you continue this..." You get the idea?

Because he struggles socially, it is really hard for him to get that!! He doesn't know when to stop...he doesn't catch the social cues like average children do.

All this to say, he finally had a moment of clarity. Kyle went on his first sleepover, by himself! HUGE deal. Shane & Brendan have both had sleepovers....Kyle NEVER! This was one of the most precious moments I have witnessed with my boy.

We are all set to go to our friends home where his friend Sammy (5 years old) is anxiously awaiting Kyle's arrival. We get into the car and you can tell Kyle had been rehearsing this event in his head for awhile. He says to me, "Mom, I'm not going to sing that song anymore and I will only save my kisses for my Mom and Dad...I don't want to be annoying...I'm a big boy and want to be a good friend." He heard everything I said this summer. When we arrive at the Dinardi's home everyone was waiting outside to greet him. "HI KYLE!!!".. Kyle in the car says to me..."Mom, should I put my backpack on now?" So adorable...you see his need for routine. We get out and he walks up and says this..."Hello everyone, it is so good to see you all today." My eyes just got all welled up with tears. My precious boy...has been working on this for awhile now. Again, because of his social deficits, he has to work very hard to communicate in a way he feels is acceptable. He is the most polite boy I know....far more than my other children who I must constantly remind..."say thank you...what do you say?" Well, his sleepover was an amazing success! The Dinardis tell us that he can come anytime! Here are that happy friends!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

I DID IT!

My first 5K ever! Started training way back in May for this event! The New Bridge of Lions 5K Run in St. Augustine Florida. It was amazing! I was very excited leading up to the night before. When I picked up my packet, I started feeling intimidated. Here were the questions (and some of the lies) streaming through my head..."What was I thinking?" "Seriously, these people are in so much better shape....who am I to do this?"...I even asked my husband if he would be disappointed if I didn't go through with it! He said this "I would never be disappointed, but I know you will be and I know you can do this NO PROBLEM!" Well, I shed a few tears the night before, but got my buttocks out there bright and early the next morning. Here are a few pics! (The picture above is me in front of the Castillo De San Marcos National Monument in the oldest city in the United States of America, St. Augustine Florida) The above picture is all that needs to be packed for an overnighter without children! Seriously...that is all that Mike & I packed!

Me the morning of my race!


Me thinking Mike was on his way to the finish line! I was sweating already and hadn't even started running yet! Twenty minutes before I'm to begin and I just said a word of thanks to the Lord for taking me this far on my journey to lose weight!

The new (temporary) Bridge of Lions!

The starting line! Approximately 500 people out to support the Louis Argitis Foundation for Challenged Children! How exciting!

I was dripping with sweat! But knew I didn't have much further to go! I am proud that I ran the entire first mile and a little of the second...then I power walked through most of the second mile...but that last mile...I ran!

With my eye on goal...
I sprinted the last 1/4 mile through the finish line! That felt amazing!
I am so red! Sun burn and seriously hot! It was 89 degrees with 95% humidity! I don't usually run when the sun is up and shining so strongly! The Florida sun is a killer! I think that is why I didn't beat my 38 minutes because I had to slow it down to get a drink at the second mile marker! (I never had to do that while practicing)! No big deal I am just glad I did it! Those are not two threes in this picture -- I'm holding up two "Ws" for Weight Watchers. Six months ago I was 40 lbs heavier and unmotivated to exercise! Today I ran a 5K in 4o minutes! Thank You Lord!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Focusing on the Negative..Why?

What is it with us...humans? Why do we have the inclination to focus on the negative? I'm thinking that part of it is sometimes it is what we are used to, so we are comfortable listening to it, speaking it and sadly at times believing it.

My son Brendan is away at camp this week. I have noticed that whenever Brendan is gone for any length of time I begin to see Kyle's (Brendan's twin brother) abilities more clearly as opposed to seeing is disabilities glaring at me! I think because Brendan is so different than Kyle, he is responsible, advanced and gifted in some areas, it almost creates a glaring contrast to all of Kyle's issues. (ie. his severe learning disability and his autistic tendencies)! So it is a nice reprieve to see Kyle and Shane together and Kyle begins to shine in his abilities!

This morning he woke up on the "wrong" side of the bed. I got home from my morning run and I found three little boys (we have a friend sleeping over this week) sitting on the couch and Kyle is already grumpy! (This is 7:30am folks, and they had been at it since 6:30am--according to my husband who couldn't wait to get to work!) HA!

Kyle quickly jumped up to tell me that Shane and his friend were "saying mean things to me...and I've wrote them all down!" I wanted to smile. This from a boy who a year ago couldn't write anything legibly, phonetically or otherwise! So he brought me a stack of papers with at least 15 sheets of negative comments made by Shane and his friend directed towards Kyle. Here is a picture of just a few:
Allow me to interpret: "See this red thing...I'm going to rip it!", "Blah blah blah...I can't see you!" those where quotes from Shane, but as you can see there were many others.

Here is my conversation with my Kyle: "Honey, why are you wasting all of this precious paper on negative comments?" "So I can remember them." "Well, why would you want to remember something that hurts you?" "So I can remember why I am mad at them and remind them of what they said that hurt me when they want to be nice and get something from me!" (Seriously, I wonder if he is really "special needs"! HA!)

You see, there is no hope of getting over this when all we do is repeat all the negative things people say or the lies the enemy may try to tell us. We just sit and hold on to all of this nastiness and it festers like an infected wound making us more and more sick.

Romans 12:1-2 says: Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

It is true that God's thoughts and ways are not those of the natural person. But human minds and hearts can be renewed and transformed by seeking Him; then our thoughts and ways will begin to conform to His. Our greatest desire should be to so live in conformity and the likeness of our Lord that everything we do pleases the God we serve! I encourage you to read Romans 8 and James 1.

So I talked with Kyle and just started speaking truth over him. Reminding him how much he is loved, how precious he is to the Lord and to me, reminding him of the times that Shane shared with him and encouraged him. Then I got him to do this: Write down something positive Kyle--


He actually ended up having a very good day and the boys played very well together! Thank you Lord for giving us Your Word that is full of truth so we can combat all the untruth we swim in each day!

Philippians 4:8 "Finally, brothers, 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."

Monday, July 13, 2009

Just A Quick Notable!

About a month ago a reporter from Moms Who Blog.com wrote to me and said she had been reading my blog for awhile and wanted to do a profile story of me. Well, Veronica did a great job...I am so blessed and honored to be chosen and wanted to share the article with you - all the people who keep reading what I write!!

The site is here: Moms Who Blog -- enjoy!

Veronica, if you are reading this...thank you!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Race Day Is Just Around The Corner!

I have been training for a few months now for my first 5K. I remember my first day out I thought I was going to die! Just up and down my street in a half hour. That was probably 1.5 miles. Twenty pounds lighter (a total of 40 lbs. since I joined Weight Watchers in January) I now go every morning (except Wednesdays) and walk/run this route: The Causeways

Do me a favor and click where it says hybrid and zoom in just a bit so you can appreciate how beautiful it is! It is a little over 4 miles long and when I go about 6:00am in the morning it is so beautiful to see the sun rise. I have been walking it with a new friend and she and I have just been having such great mornings sharing our testimony and giving glory to God. When I say it has been good for my body and my soul, I really mean it!

I have been training on the flat land of my neighborhood for so long, that since I have switched to bridges with an incline, my feet are not happy! Blisters!! Nice big blisters right under my big toes! (my cute little tan toes with pink polish...remember those from a few blogs back! -- very sore now!) This is mainly the reason why I needed a rest today. I'll be back on the bridges tomorrow with moleskin in my sneakers!

So next week, I am off to St. Augustine for the New Bridge of Lions! I am totally excited and exhilarated. I kind of wish it was a little bit earlier, because it gets very very hot in Florida after the sun rises, but I am prepared to sweat! My race begins at 7:30am. I will be going up the night before with my friend Lorrie and my husband and children will drive a little over an hour to get there before I cross the finish line! I told my husband he needs to have the camera in hand and ready! So any runners out there have any advice for a newbie...bring it on!

This weekend Mike & I are headed to Universal Studios. We received two FREE tickets! I LOVE FREE! So we are going...prepared to stand in line forever....(without having Kyle we have to wait like everyone else!). It will be our first time to Universal (we are Disney people), but this is very special...it's a date for just the two of us! Thank you to my dear friend Katie who offered to watch all of my boys all day! We are headed to Emeirl Legasse's Tchoup Chop for dinner (this will Mike's early birthday gift!) and a once in a lifetime treat!

Fun times are certainly ahead!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Enjoying Our Independence...

...while we still have it! Oh, just kidding (kind of )! I'm not going to get political, I just want to report that my family had a wonderful 4th of July with friends who have become like family to us! Dinner made by all of us...Dinardis (minus Dave...he was busy protecting Daytona Beach as one of their finest!), Bradleys & Engels (plus Pop)..traditional fare...burgers, hot dogs, potatoe salad, deviled eggs, veggies & dip, chips, watermelon, strawberry shortcake and chocolate strawberry trifle. Getting hungry?
Afterwards we head over to Bethune Beach..looks like our very own private beach huh?
The kids and I did this...until we felt like it might be feeding time for the sharks!



Then night fell and it was amazing. Fireworks everywhere! Right over our heads, all along the beach. It was like a private showing! I felt very patriotic and so excited about celebrating with our friends. Below is Elinor and I! She is sporting a very cool glow stick!



My camera cracks me up. When you shoot an evening picture you cannot see through the lens so I'm constantly cutting of heads! Here we are..Amy, myself and Linda! Between our families we have 9 children! I love it!
Don and Mike...good friends! No better way to spend the 4th (we missed our Mr. Dave though)
Enjoying the front seat view of all the fireworks. There was a lot of looking this way and then turning around and looking behind us too! It was fun!
And now, finally....our National Anthem sung by Amelia Bradely and Gabi Denardi!
Happy Birthday America!
video

Thursday, July 2, 2009

I Found A Little "Me"

I have been serving in Vacation Bible School for years! Five years at this church, and at least 10 years at my other church. I have served in several different capacities, but always for the same reason. Seeing children come to know Christ and sharing the message of hope with them is the reason I serve all week at VBS every year.

Last year I wrote a blog about my friend Nellie. I got permission to write about her. This year the Lord placed a spot light on a different little girl. A girl who is in so many ways "me" 36 years ago. I don't really have permission to write about her, so I am not going to use her name. In light of the circumstances of her life, it is better off she be anonymous for this purpose. She is not and never will be anonymous to God or to me. Today, I told my story. I told the boys and girls that 36 years ago, I was sitting in the same kind of place they were sitting in today. Someone held up a storyboard and told a story of a little girl who had a Mom who was very sickly, and I saw that little girl kneeling beside her Mother praying. I identified with that little girl in the picture, and we were told that we could know Jesus personally and we could talk to Him, and He would answer us, He loved and cared for us, and He wants to be there for us. I still remember like it was yesterday. We sang Trust and Obey and then our leader asked if anyone wanted to ask Jesus to come into their hearts and be saved. I was the only person who ran down the isle. I needed Jesus, to save me and my very sick Mommy.

You can see my testimony here. I was a child who needed to be rescued in many ways. I told the boys and girls today bits and pieces of my story. When I finished I told them that I realized that many of these children have really great lives and my not see the need for a Savior (although we ALL need Him), but I also knew that there may be some like me, for whom life was hard and they desperately needed a hope! Either way, we live in a fallen world and why would we want to work so hard to get through this world without Jesus and have no reward in the end. If we ask Jesus to take up residence in our hearts, then we don't do life by ourselves and our reward is eternal life in Heaven with Him. I prayed a simple prayer with them and several people raised their hands to tell me that they had prayed that for the first time (approximately 32 children said they said that prayer for the first time).

When the bell went off to be dismissed a little girl came up to me, face flooded with tears and said these words: "I pray before I go to bed, but I never knew we needed to invite Jesus into our lives. I did that today for the first time." I cried, she cried...she continued to tell me that her Father just recently showed up in her life after being away for a very long time. Her parents are not together. She loves her Daddy, and now he wants to take her away from her Mommy. She loves her Mommy too. "They just don't get along, and I cry a lot at night! I am scared!"

I told her through my tears that she is not alone. She has invited Jesus into her heart and He will never leave her or turn His back on her. I told her how she needs to talk with Him all the time. When I was her age...I did just that! Sometimes you would find me under a table or a desk with my small New Testament talking to Jesus as I shook with fear at the circumstances around me. I needed her to know that even though she made this decision, Jesus didn't promise to keep her from all the scariness around her...her Daddy may still want to take her away & her Mommy & Daddy may continue to fight. Tough times may still be apart of her life, BUT, now she has a Rescuer. Jesus will be sure she makes it through those tough times and He knows everything she must endure and He will give her strength and wisdom beyond her years to get through the tough times. I told her my life was very very similar to hers and look at me today. Here I am, still loving Jesus, still holding on tight to Him, full of His joy and telling others about Him! I told her what she learned in VBS, that God is with us, God is powerful, God does what He says He will do, God gives us life, and God cares for us, is all very very true and she will probably see that to be very evident in her life! I told her that even after I said that same prayer, many things happened to me that I wouldn't wish on anyone, but GOD has always been my constant in an ever changing world! Even 36 years later!

We hugged each other for a little bit and she just cried in my arms. OH how my heart broke, but I know that this little girl was the one that God etched in my heart to never forget. Much like my Nellie (who, by the way, joined us again this year at VBS!) I vowed to Jesus to intercede on her behalf. I may never know what happens to her, but I know this, that I gently laid her in the palm of my Abba Father, and I know He will take very good care of her!

Lord, thank you for this precious little life. A little "me" from so long ago. Lord, you are a faithful God and you care deeply for your children. Watch over this child for me. Bring her parents to a saving knowledge of You! May her world be changed forever because of her decision to follow you. Father place in her life people who will disciple her and teach her how to read her Bible and pray. May she learn songs to sing to you and sing them often. As she goes through life, may she always be aware of Your hand of protection in her life as it was in mine! As the tears flow from my eyes right now Jesus, because part of me wants to tuck this child in tonight, please please tuck her in for me. Cover her, place your angels in charge over her and minister to her body, mind and spirit! May she always know how much she is loved by you!