Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Welcome To Engeland

No..I didn't spell it incorrectly. This is a little something I wrote (thought I blogged it, but can't find it)....way back in 2007. My son Kyle was diagnosed with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified) way back in 2003/2004...that diagnosis explained a lot, but totally rocked my world at the time. I have spoken about Kyle so many that boy as he shows me Jesus in so many ways. I have a friend who read something that I once read...a long time ago. It blessed me way back then, just as it has blessed her most recently - It was called Welcome To Holland. When I read it, it prompted me to write something of my own. I called Welcome to Engeland!

I read it again made me laugh. Oh how I remember those days of being misunderstood. How hard it was for me, but at the same time really loving what God was doing in me. I remember how I use to pray for a healing for Kyle. Still believe God totally heals. But what I believe was more powerful is the change God has done in my life & the lives of the rest of my family. Kyle is absolutely amazing. Does he have challenges? Of course. He still struggles, but nothing like he use to. If you ask my family (the citizens of Engeland)...we will say, Kyle has issues, but don't we all!?! That is what we say. Anyway, I thought I would share what I wrote back in 2007. In case anyone else wants to relate or needs to relate to what goes on in our world. (REMEMBER I WROTE THIS IN 2007) :)


By Lisa Engel
January 2007 

Engeland (kind of like England, but with the extra "e" that makes it my special country). I recently read a description that someone wrote about what it is like to have a child with a disability. It is called "Welcome to Holland". It is basically saying that when we were pregnant and waiting the day of our delivery it was like planning a trip to Italy. You get all excited about going to Italy, you read the books, talk to others who have been to Italy, you buy the clothes for your trip and you are beyond excitement after months of planning this trip and finally the day arrives for you to land it Italy and you get off the plane and the flight attendant says "Welcome to Holland". You can imagine the shock and then all the things that go into having to learn a new language, meet new people, learn new customs...... you get the idea, all the while wondering what life would have been like in Italy. If you’d like to read the full story just let me know, I can show you where to find it. There is an update to that story that someone else wrote, that brought even more comfort to my heart and that was entitled "Holland Shmolland". Basically, that having a child with a disability is not always pretty and spotted with windmills (like Holland) and yes though, we can find the joy in our lives even while in Holland, it still is splattered with trials and turmoil.

That is why I call my little country Engeland. Because no two families, no matter how close in disability you get, are never ever the same. Ours is where the Engels reside and it is unique. Sometimes I weep when I think about Kyle. Will he ever conquer the challenges in his life?

Sometimes I laugh when I think about Kyle. He is such an individual with such a sense of humor and carefree spirit because black and white just make sense. Gray is hard. In Engeland, it is tradition to wake up each morning and go through the ritual of making yourself into an edible burrito with all the toppings just to get dressed and ready for school. Literally, it is the same corny jokes and same corny story that we must tell Kyle in order for him to get dressed in a timely manner. If not in a rush, Kyle will change 3-4 times when the room is at the right temperature and his clothes will match - oh yes, blue on blue or black on black. But, the citizens of Engeland, if you ask them, they would prefer to stay in their jammies! Oh yes, and where a mask. The other day at church Pastor Tim was thrilled that Batman would grace Edgewater Alliance Church with his presence while singing on the stage.

Ever give an Engeland citizen a fruit rollup. Oh dear. Beware. It has to be straight, no wrinkles, and it needs to go on a plate and fast. First we must look at it for some time and then we must try to eat it with a fork. Yes, a fruit rollup. Don't laugh.

You see to Mike and I these are the things we do to survive in peace and unity in our country. We understand, as do my other boys, that this is just how it is here and if we work on accepting some of the "isms" that our fellow citizen has, it makes for a pleasant and sometimes hysterically fun place to live.

The other day while at Disney, Kyle had to touch every person he came close to. Just a finger, a soft touch with a finger and then move on to the next person. Oh yes, he has been in the phase of tasting things too. Have citizens of your country ever tasted the monorail at Disney before? Well, that is an experience not many have encountered. He is ours. And we love him.

In fact it blessed me today, while trying to get one of our other "citizens" dressed and off to school, I asked Shane if his best buddy was a little boy Luca in his class. Shane said, Kyle & Brendan are my best buddies too. I pray that my boys will always be best buddies. We've been invited to dinner by a newer couple in our church and Mike & I always fear that our first invite will be our last, because not everyone understands the lifestyle of the citizens of Engeland. That has never happened yet; we have in fact been blessed to have some really wonderful friends. Some of our friends even volunteer actually ask to "hang" with our children for a while. WOW! 

The truth is, that the citizens of Engeland have an enormous capacity to love. We know love, we have felt it in real ways, we have experienced it in many arenas, and we are generous-genuine sharers when it comes to love. That makes the citizens of Engeland very special and I'm so glad to be a part of this country. 

Well, two of my citizens are home now, and I must go and welcome them and go through our afternoon of lining up the pennies, eating fruit rollups with a fork, and cutting fruit snacks with scissors. I can't wait. No really, I am saying that with a smile. It's going to be a full day. Oh yea, one other thing we do real well in Engeland is sleep. After a full day here in our country we get real tired and sleep comes easy.
If you would like to read more of my posts about raising a special needs child, or children with ASD...please feel free to search at the top for those labels (special needs child or Autism Spectrum Disorder).

Monday, May 28, 2012

The Quickest 30 Days

"The world's favorite season is the spring. All things seem possible in May." - Edwin Way Teale 
I cannot believe the Month of May is over (well tomorrow it will be). Then I look at that picture and think how time has flown since last year. I remember when my parents use to tell me how time flies when you get older. Were they ever right about that. I really wanted to summarize our month of May, but God has been teaching me so much too...I may have to save my lessons from the Lord for another post or two. I use this blog to do several things (besides distract me from writing and publishing my book), primarily it is a place for me to journal my life, but it is also a place for me to sort my thoughts and record my lessons. Today...I'm simply going to journal our journey this past May!

 I love my life with boys. I really do! I grew up with sisters...this is so much more fun!! Typical day at our home! Little brothers just have a way of forcing you to post signs on your bedroom door!

 We had so many field trips in the month of May. We started at DeBary Hall. One of the best trips ever! So educational, so fun...for a museum!

 We went with other friends...which always makes it more exciting.
 Every Wednesday we try to focus on Missions, local or foreign. This particular day was very local, and very personal. We have a friend who is a teacher in the public school (her mission field) and she has just had a very difficult year. When my children woke up that morning, the white board greeted them with "Operation Spread Joy!" We were going to be purposeful in spreading joy to one of our dear friends. We prayed for her, made her cards, wrote her letters and finally picked up 3 of the most beautiful sunflowers and marched over to her school in the middle of the day to surprise her. She was indeed surprised. Mission accomplished!

 I continue to give guitar lessons to my 4 students. I love doing combines two of my passions...teaching and guitar!
 On the music note, I had to give in to the fact that my children we're not all going to love the same kind of music as me. My youngest son has a "rock" sense that I never had. I could try to force him to listen to my kind of praise and worship, or let music minister to him...the way it it ministers to him!
 Took my dog out for a really long run one was too long for him. Had to call for Dad to come and rescue him...he clearly needs a 10K app! Speaking of 10K...I have completed that goal (check) and can run 6 miles in 61 minutes.
 Dentist appointments! Not Shane's favorite thing to do by any means!
This was so much fun! My great friend Tammy and I and the "girls"...she lets me hang with them because this is the only "girl" time I get...went to see Jamie Grace, Mandisa and Laura Story in concert!!!  What a blast!! Unforgettable night really!!

 Here we are on our way to the DeLand Courthouse to participate in the National Day of Prayer! What an honor to stand before God and man, to pray for our nation and to read God's word out loud! His Word never comes back void. Here are my children reading through the book of front of anyone and everyone passing by.

 To hear the prayers of children...there is nothing quite like it! You can read more about this particular event here.

 Our future leaders of America!
 We went out to this really great spot in DeLand!! YUM! Oh and we brought our best buddy Jacob with us too!!!
 More guitar lessons. I love this girl! We have totally formed a precious relationship that I'm ever so thankful for! She makes my heart smile. We'll be making more summer memories together this summer! Can't wait!!
 Fun times with girl friends!! Shoe shopping with my best friend! She makes me move out of my comfort zone..and I'm so thankful for her! NO I did not buy those shoes...I could barely walk or stand up for that matter!!
 One of the best days Gemini Springs! Jacob came along...but the focus was for my sweet dog Dodger! There is the best Dog park here. Tons of property where dogs can run leash free!! OH we tuckered him out that day!!

Absolute beauty all around!! We took trails, got lost and just had a great time. Kyle did inform me that he was not a fan of summer, spring, winter or fall. (He doesn't like getting a little lost...and it was hot that day!)
We saw two alligators...nice and close up! I love see gators in the wild!

 Trips to Dairy Queen!
 Watching the super moon from the beach! Beautiful night!

Still baking...I think these were sweet potato muffins. 
 This was something you don't see everyday...a ringed neck snake in my washing machine. (I love snakes too)...I find them fascinating!
 Great great time at the Holland Family Farm. We went blueberry picking! What a great adventure!!

 We ate until we were stuffed. They said..they weigh the buckets..not the feel free to eat!
 6 1/2 pounds later...we had such a great time!
 Then there was my trip to Kentucky with these two! We had such a great time traveling together!
 My sweet friend Karen's house! OH so much went on here...I'm gonna save the details for another post! On the way home...we sat right next to each other! So much laughing!!
Came home in time for Mother's Day! Which was just perfect! Of course this was the first year Mr. Incredible didn't have his we had a special memorial to her on that day. 

There were Downtown Disney trips in May like every month. Another field trip to the Florida Agricultural Museum (my husband took the boys on this the pictures are still on his camera.) I might be able to get him to write a little entry about this trip. ;)

Here we are on Memorial Day. We getting ready to go out the door and visit our Pop's burial spot. He was a veteran...we miss him every day. Life is totally different without him...but we remember him in our hearts and thank God for the opportunity to be with him and make tons of memories with him while he was alive!

Memorial Day...let's remember our service men and women...let's also remember to make memories with the ones we love.

Friday, May 4, 2012

If My People...

 ...who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven and I will forgive their sins and I will heal their land." - 2 Chronicles 7:14

Yesterday, May 3rd, was the National Day Of Prayer, the purpose behind this day is to mobilize prayer in America and to encourage personal repentance and righteousness in the culture. According to the official task force of the National Day of Prayer..."The National Day of Prayer is an annual observance held on the first Thursday of May, inviting people of all faiths to pray for the nation. It was created in 1952 by a joint resolution of the United States Congress, and signed into law by President Harry S. Truman. Our Task Force is a privately funded organization whose purpose is to encourage participation on the National Day of Prayer. It exists to communicate with every individual the need for personal repentance and prayer, to create appropriate materials, and to mobilize the Christian community to intercede for America’s leaders and its families. The Task Force represents a Judeo Christian expression of the national observance, based on our understanding that this country was birthed in prayer and in reverence for the God of the Bible."

My children and I were invited to join others in the "christian community" to do that very thing. Proclaim God's Word (because it never comes back void) and to pray for our nation! It was such a great honor to do this with my children. May these, our future generation, carry on our values and beliefs and passion to see this lost country with lost people and lost leaders come to the saving knowledge of Christ!
Here is our handsome "task force" above! My friend Susan is the one that told us about the opportunity! I love that one of the purposes of this local demonstration at the DeLand Courthouse included reading through the book of John and then as much Psalms as they could throughout the entire day. It was a constant flow of volunteers, reading verse after verse, chapter after chapter! 
While we were gathered during this particular time we followed along with whomever was reading. That is my boy below. The most shy of my three superheros! Reading through a chapter of John in front of some friends, some strangers and anyone who was passing by. It hit me at that moment, that this is what I pray for my children. That they would be a witness, unashamed to proclaim the gospel! There were a myriad of emotions flowing through this Mom at that moment. These homeschooled children, didn't think twice of standing in a public place, reading the gospel of John with people all around...I know Jesus was proud!
We didn't force the children to read. It was strictly volunteer. My shiest didn't flinch, but my youngest was nervous. He saw his friends (and one of them was a sweet 7 year old girl who read first) do it and it gave him courage. I love how God puts people in our lives to give us the courage to go forth and do what the Holy Spirit is nudging us to do. I am so thankful for the friends in my life and in the lives of my children who love the Lord and strive to honor Him, and help me along my journey too.

I did go and give him a little assistance. He would lose his place because this is my people oriented boy - looking at all the action going on outside our circle...I was there to get him back on track! I was so proud of him!
Then there is this young woman below. A soon to be teen. I've known her for years...and I love her! She is incredibly smart and beautiful and has no problem sharing the good news. God has big plans for her I'm sure!
The adults that were there to organize this demonstration, were touched to see our children. This Mom below had 3 young children and one on the way. I was so impressed with her passion. Getting out with three children under 6 and one on the way...I know she was like me...intentional. Doing this for her children..raising them to have a heart for what matters most. It was such an honor to pray and read with these amazing women.
When it was my turn to read my chapter, I got goosebumps. There is power in the spoke Word of God! Really there is! I had the honor of reading John Chapter 8. If you get a chance to read so..and read it out loud...its powerful!

Then we had to get a picture of the crew of children on the steps of the courthouse!
They are children after all...apparently we can't get a shot without being goofy! :) Great memories!
After the photo shoot was over, we gathered in the shade to pray. This was so incredibly precious. The children all prayed from their hearts for our country, our leaders, our community. They prayed for peace, for our nation to return to its founding values. I was humbled as I agreed in prayer with our future generation.
Then we took a little time to visit the courthouse. To explain its purpose and look at all of the great pictures!

What a great group of people! I'm so glad we had this opportunity!!
After reading, praying and visiting...we decided to end our day with a quick walk to a Sweet Spot in DeLand. Ice cream for everyone...and water for me. :)