Monday, August 29, 2016

Making Memories Around the World

I've got my journal, my passport and some books!
It starts with a dream. Well, it starts with believing God at His word and understanding your identity in Christ. Then it takes a step of faith to believe God is who He says He is and will do what He says He will do. (No trying to figure it out - as you will see - it doesn't always happen the way you expect.) So that's where my journey begins.  Believing God!

What does His word say about me and His plans for me! I declare scripture over my life every morning! I must....because my mind is prone to wander and doubt - but my spirit presses me to "seek first His Kingdom". Do I believe His Word to be true - all of it? If so, then why wouldn't God fulfill these scriptures in my life? HE WILL! We are Abraham's heirs after all!

Then, everyone has heard of vision boards. Basically, it revolves around the idea of the "Law of Attraction." Proverbs 23:7 says "For as he thinks in his heart, so he is.." It's about Habakkuk 2

 "And the Lord answered me and said, write the vision and engrave it so plainly upon tablets that everyone who passes may [be able to] read [it easily and quickly] as he hastens by." Habakkuk 2:2 [Amp.]
My vision board - entitled...Because He Loves Me!

This post really isn't about vision boards, its about one small picture in the board...the one that says..."I want to make memories around the world..." I expect that all these things on my board are desires that the Lord has put on my we will address others throughout the years.

I sat with my cousin at lunch one day (a few weeks after the completion of my vision board). She recently lost her husband to Parkinson's and she stood by her husband of 40 years and cared for him and loved him for these last years on earth as this disease took his life. Incredible story of love and dedication. Jim and Ilene have been a part of my life since I was a little girl. As time drifted and my life took me from one parent to another and one state to another, we lost touch, until I moved to Florida 13 years ago. We've been close ever since. When my cousin's husband passed away she expressed her interest in enjoying the years she had left. She loves to travel and has been to many places around the world. Her words to me at lunch will ring in my heart forever. "I want to travel, but I want to travel with you...I want to show you the world Lisa!"

What? She wants to make memories...with me! I'm so glad my heart was prepped by believing I am who God says I am! I'm humbled beyond belief, and excited just the same. Lord, really...I'm going to make memories around the world?

Here is our first overseas adventure....a Viking River Cruise along the Danube River.

Our itinerary!

I've got my journal, some books on the places we will go and see. I've already begun reading about Slovenia and am learning some key phrases in the language as well as its history. I've got a year to also study (and I will be studying) about Budapest, Bratislava, Vienna, Melk, Linz, Passau and Prague.  I'm writing the key things I learn through my research in my journal....(words/phrases, history, landmarks, places to see, food to try, things to do...) 

Our first stop...Ljubljana, Slovenia - be still my heart
And I will be blogging about my world adventures while I'm there, taking pictures, going live, and skyping my family. What about my family? Oh, well, they have some incredible adventures to look forward to as well. They will not be coming on this trip - but there will be trips, I'm sure of it. 

I hope you will want to join me here (feel free to subscribe to this blog - see along the right side of this page where it says "subscribe" or up a little further where it says to follow if you are a blogger as well) to see and learn about all the different places I will be going. The Lord has already revealed in my heart that I will have opportunity to sow seed and to be a light, all while enjoying the beauty of a world I've never laid eyes on.  I'm so excited to spend this time alone with my cousin - we will indeed be making memories around the world. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Silent Pain Brought to Light

Kyle, Brendan and Shane

As if the transformation from boy to man isn't difficult enough, add on the social pressures, hormonal changes, and well meaning parents and it's the making of a perfect storm.

(This post was shared with Kyle prior to my posting.)

This isn't going to be an easy post, but I feel strongly that I have a small voice and if I can help someone else....well,  you understand. This has been, hands down the most difficult year of Kyle's life. As most know, Kyle is my son who was diagnosed at 3 years old with PDD-NOS (a spectrum disorder). Recently the Lord has been revealing His Word to me as it relates to our body, mind and spirit. The Lord brought to my memory today of words I've spoken in the past - words that both Kyle and I had to reread. Here is that post - He's My Superhero.

This past year Kyle has been under certain torment. Imagine the square peg in a round hole. He was finding it easier to be "himself" among people that do not know him, that can not see him, and that only know him by the words he types on a screen. So as a parent you see a pull to this environment, you naturally want to limit his exposure because after all, "these people aren't really your friends Kyle," you don't really know who they are...they are...words typed on a screen.

So, I may not know everything there is to know about all things techy, but that is why I work extra hard to be sure I'm on and in everything my kids do. They know that with every device they have - I have the ability to access it at any given time. That's the way its done around here. I had a parent tell me that their child would not appreciate knowing that I can look at a chat that they're involved in. Well, sorry - pick up the telephone and chat the old fashioned way...I'm not listening to phone calls. We all need accountability....and they are all minors. Anyway, with that said I had read some of the most beautiful words written by my son to others in this building game that he plays. His heart for people astounds me. His heartfelt prayers for people....I know it is kind of a ministry for him. However, he was getting lost in that world. I had to help bring him back.

We went to counseling and he was/is loved by his counselor. She adores him. Kyle will tell you, he had so much anger pent up inside of him. He would lash out, uncontrollably. We started not to recognize him at all.

Mike and I tried to help him by showing him different ways to handle himself. In the most loving way a parent can, we would try to help Kyle "change" so he could perhaps be more socially accepted. We didn't understand. An example would be, Kyle had this "thing" where he would want to give everyone a high five but at the last minute move his hand so you would miss. Okay, not bad right? Well, not the first 20 times, but after a while we kept thinking, everyone is going to get so tired of this. Or his crazy dancing that he would do - people may think that is odd or goofy. So we would suggest, "hey buddy, why don't you try to mix it up a bit, surprise people, shake their hand instead." Things like that. We would try to give him alternatives. Different ways to help him, so he didn't "stand out" because he was different. We just wanted him to feel loved by others. We wanted him to feel accepted, like he had friends. We were afraid that kids were not wanting to be around him. He didn't want to go to co-op, church anywhere...he just wanted to stay home and be with his online friends.  We were just trying to get him to hold back on the things we interpreted as "unusual behavior" or "awkward".

All the while, not understanding what was happening, we were trying to squeeze this very special peg in to a box that he wasn't ever meant to fit into. Well, that's painful isn't it. When the counselor said to us, "You are probably the only people who think Kyle has to change, everybody else in that youth group, or co-op or anyone that knows Kyle is not expecting Kyle to be any different." I wept and wept. My son, who was tired of living, who told me it would be better if he were not alive and if he went to be with Jesus. My boy who smiles and makes people around him smile, was dying on the inside...and the people who love him the most were just trying to make him into something he was not. As if what he is...wasn't enough. OUCH!

He is enough. He is perfect. He is a teenage boy, with a sense of humor, a style of his own. He is this child who marches to the beat of his own drum. The same boy who drew this 5 years ago...
So, as the video shows below shows, we have embraced Kyle's uniqueness. We actually try to remember to encourage it. In this we were at a coffee house and it was 80s night. My boy got up and danced his own special dance and people just came out and joined him. He was on top of the world. So we did what any proud parents would do..we cheered him on (even though it reminded me of some 80s version of jazzercise). We laughed, clapped and cheered and it was FUN! When we got in the car that night he said, "The best part about this night was when I heard you guys cheering me on - that made me feel awesome." Lesson learned! So, we love our Kyle so much. He's going through some serious stuff, I would rather have crazy Kyle, the Kyle that God created, the one that was chosen and who is greatly loved, holy, a child of God than a boy who doesn't know who he is.

Parenting. It's not for wimps. He still has limitations on his technology, I still try to encourage other avenues of entertainment. He had a life altering encounter with the Holy Spirit while he was away at camp with our church youth group. He went up for prayer for a broken heart and he came back whole! He feels like he has friends at church now, brothers. He knows what the Lord has done for him. He wants to share his story with others. He even asked if I thought he could be a youth pastor. Ummm....YES!! I have always believed Kyle was special and unique and that God created him for greatness. I got a little lost in the every day teenage hormonal storm, but I'm standing strong now. It's not easy...I'm a human being...but every single day I rely on the Holy Spirit to get me through. I am working on "supernatural parenting" as our youth pastor would call it. I'm thankful for those that have supported us during this time, this very silent time. I encourage you, do not make the mistakes we've made. Just like Kyle never wanted anyone to ever know he spoke of suicide, we never wanted anyone to know the anguish and level of discontent we were living with either. When you put that stuff in the light, the enemy loses his power. Find people you can trust, people you know will storm Heaven on your behalf. People who will speak life over your family and over you. People who will put you in your place and tell you what is what. I'm so thankful. Kyle is still going through puberty, he still struggles with many things. No question. But I see a huge change in him. I see him trying to get past the limitations his disorder has claimed in his life. We now declare over him what God's word says. Autism Spectrum Disorder...its got nothing over my boy! He is created in the image of God, whole and perfect with a destiny that will astonish the next generation!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Being Intentional

I'm working on being intentional about everything that's important to me right now. I've been studying on how to be lead by the Holy Spirit. I want to be lead in every way, in every area of my life. I told the Lord I want to be your student - teach me. So I must invite the Holy Spirit into all the areas of my life that I want to be lead in. My home, my marriage, my schooling, my parenting, my ministry, my business (yes I'm still doing Juice Plus), my dreams and goals all of it!

Slow down. Let's take one thing at a time. Suddenly, I've picked up my "pen" and started "journaling" again. (I place that in quotes because I mean "put my fingers to the keys and starting blogging again" - I journal almost every single day with an actual pen.) I use to blog regularly. I have taken time off, I get caught up in having to "educate" or "entertain", but my original plan for this site was simply to capture moments in my life and save them. If I can be a blessing along the way...Praise the Lord!! (I've got some huge dreams coming to I can't wait to share!)

So what's new? Well, today I'm gonna write about my superheros! (Afterall, that is why I started this blog to begin with.) Oddly enough, my children, my teenagers, asked why I haven't written about them recently. I found that so strange coming from the children that wouldn't allow me to take a picture of them at age 13. Same children who said I should be "very careful on social media."

So here we are Shane, age 13, Brendan and Kyle age 15. Brendan (10th grade) has his learner's permit and is presently dual enrolled at our local college. What? How? When? I know...please...I know all too well. Kyle (9th grade) has had the most difficult transition of all (I promise I will touch upon this as well - for all my special needs parents - I will share what I'm learning - and mistakes I've made in the journey), however he is having such a great school year (only day 2 but hey...we'll take what we can get). I see such great potential and changes in him. Shane, well, as much as I've tried to keep this child my baby...I'm afraid he's grown up despite my efforts. Presently in 8th grade and as fun and funny as ever.

Being intentional about homeschooling. I've done this every year since I pulled Brendan out of school and homeschooled him in 1st grade. As I sat in the van after dropping my young 15 year old, my introverted sophomore, my sweet, self motivated, encourager, my precious treasure of a son....(sorry I digress) to take his PERT exams (college placement tests) I cried a million tears.

WHY? Because at that very moment I heard the words of Brendan's kindergarten teacher say to me in a quiet voice at the grocery store...."Have you ever thought about homeschooling? If you did....your son could soar! He wouldn't have to be "placed in the bubble", he could work at his pace and go full speed ahead!"

Well I brought him home and often times I thought about what she had said and didn't really exactly know what she meant. How do I let him soar? How do I let him...."get ahead"? Does it mean do more chapters in a day...take two math tests a week? I never understood.  Then there he was - at the college - enrolling in two classes for the fall. He will graduate (like many before him) with a high school education and an AA Degree and transfer to the 4 year institution of our choice by the time he is 18. This is his chance to SOAR!  Who knew?  I'm so proud of him! it's not super easy to just let him go. He's been under my wings for a long time. He is my little rock...but as I've been memorizing Psalm 91...I know that God will cover him with His feathers and under HIS wings he will find refuge. His faithfulness will be Brendan's shield and rampart. THAT has been my job, my real job from the beginning of parenthood - planting that seed in him and watching the Lord do the rest - for such a time as this.

Being intentional is paying off!

Until next time.