Parenting- not for the faint of heart!

Why is it so hard?!?? If it’s not one thing, it’s another. Lucas is in a huge testing phase (and let’s be honest, Jack is doing it too!) One where he is just pushing buttons to push buttons. And it’s hard. Tuesday and Thursday he goes to speech. People are understanding him better. He has conversations at school. He talks to people. And speech at school and at ASU has truly saved him! He has so much in his head and couldn’t get it out. We still have or moments, but it’s so much better. But how do you help him when he is THIS exhausted!! Starting next week he will start at the reading clinic. It will be amazing and so good for him!  But on another level so hard!! That’s another hour he will be working so hard! Which means those evenings might be more hard times!! This is why we haven’t been able to try sports. Oh I would love for him to do it. But his plate is already full with therapy. I have my moment of “that’s not fair.” But I realize what a huge blessing it is to have these therapies to help him get to where he needs to be.

So we were stuck. I’ve read countless articles on how to help your children. Use rewards, don’t use rewards. Spank, don’t spank. All I learned is each child is different and there is no right way! It’s all about how the kids handles things and what works for you. My wonderful friend said to try the Bucket Filler book! That way it’s not rewarding for everything good thing, but seeing it in a tangible way. And when the bucket is full, we could do something together as a family. LOVE IT! Bringing the book home tomorrow. It’s all about how being kind and helping others fills your invisible bucket, but when your sad and having a hard time, you might spill some water out of your bucket. And people can either fill your bucket or cause it to lose water. I can see tomorrow going well, but the true test will be this time next week. It’s so hard!!!

But it’s hard. My bible study is about the Armor of God and preparing yourself. And the biggest thing is prayer. That’s our way to talk to God. And I realize I don’t do this enough. If prayer can bring miracles, it can also help in the little things. Pray! Pray! Pray! I’m thankful to learn all about the different armor and how God uses it to equip us!

 Since I was raised Presbyterian, we didn’t talk a lot about the devil. But there is a spiritual warfare going on that we can’t see. In a weird way, this gives me peace. I’m not wrestling against Lucas, or Jack, or little things that bother me. It’s the enemy trying to take my joy and peace that God has already given us!! God already won!! But the lies and deceiving are there to make us forget or just get down! But take heart. For I have overcome the world. John 16:33

Andy and I talked a lot tonight and so thankful to have an amazing husband and father who is in the same page as you. Yes, we don’t always see eye to eye, but we are a good team. We talked about how Lucas reacts and does things that seem so compulsive and off. But then we talked about how he truly has damage to his brain. We have 2 MRIs to show this. How does it affect him behaviorally? We can’t make excuses for him. We can’t let him just do whatever. We have to hold him accountable.  But sometimes it’s so hard! 

So asking for prayers. For Andy and I to be the kind of parents our kids need. To learn how to help them and how to teach them to be people God will be proud of. 

New Blog…

Don’t forget it’s a new blog…. https://faiththrutherain.wordpress.com/.

New entry today!!

New Website

After lots of prayers and LOTS of help from my cousin, I’ve decided to make a new blog site to truly follow and update on the life of our family!!

Faiththroughtherain.wordpress.com

How our faith continues to grow and build thru the rain!! God can use anything!!

Just Keep Swimming

“Even your disability can be your biggest strength,” Ellen Degeneres.  I love this.  Somedays it’s hard.  I wish that Andy’s memory didn’t affect him.  I wish he could drive.  I wish reading wasn’t difficult and that he didn’t worry about people thinking less of him.  I wish Lucas had “normal” vision.  I wish Lucas’ speech was fixed.  I wish his muscles weren’t like jell-o.  I wish we were a “normal” family.

But then God gives me a glimpse of how amazing it is to have what we have.  My children know their dad.  They love playing with him.  He plays monster.  He plays cowboy.  Now I’m not saying it’s bad if your dad works.  My dad worked.  And it was good and it worked for our family.  It was what we were supposed to do.  But that’s not my family.  My family has a stay at home dad who is writing a screenplay and getting ready to produce a “short” this weekend.  But that’s just the first part…Andy reminds me of Dory.  Not in a silly way….but he has a heart of gold.  “She has a brain that works a little bit differently than everyone else’s, but it also allows her to make connections that other people wouldn’t, or see other things that other people might miss,” said Washington Post columnist Alyssa Rosenberg.  (http://www.cbsnews.com/news/finding-dory-shatters-stereotypes-about-disabilities-with-empowering-characters/) He would do ANYTHING for someone.  He puts others first.  He cares about what others are going through.  Yes…he sometimes forgets things, but God keeps showing why his disability is his biggest strength.

And then there was Lucas.  It is SOOOOO hard to see your child struggle.  For you to not be able to fix it.  I used to pray that by the time Lucas was 2, things would be caught up….then by the time he was 3…then 4.  But now my prayer is Lucas will fulfill what God has planned for his life.  He is strong-willed.  And sometimes that is soooo hard.  If he can’t do something…he tries..and tries..and tries.  But it’s sometimes things you wouldn’t think of having to overcome.  Going up and down the ladder at school.  Doing a puzzle.  Jumping.  Skipping.  He gets angry when he can’t do it, but keeps working.  He will spend the entire time learning how to do something.  But he has determination to overcome hardships.  He has a hard time knowing how to deal with some feelings (anger) and we keep working on it.  He has some challenges with balance….and falls…a lot! But he RARELY cries when it happens.  He fell at play practice and told me he got a “crack” in his knee.  It really did look like a crack!! It was a good little split on his knee. 🙂  But he didn’t cry.  Today he slipped and skinned his knees and hands.  He said it was stinging….but didn’t cry.  Jack falls and you would think his knee fell off!  But Lucas has amazing pain tolerance.  Lucas is Nemo.  He is determined to swim out and touch the “butt.” 🙂 When push comes to shove he is going to get the pebble in the cleaner.  And while Lucas can drive us crazy when he doesn’t know how to deal with emotions…he also has the biggest heart.  If someone is crying, he wants to help.  If someone gets hurt, he wants to give them a hug.  I love what the Washington Post said, “Nemo has to point out to his father than denigrating Dory for the way her mind works is just as cruel and unfair as denigrating Nemo for his fin. “You made her feel like she couldn’t do it,” Nemo tells his father, suggesting that Marlin’s skepticism is a bigger obstacle for Dory than Dory’s own unique brain.” Sometimes your disability is your biggest strength. (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/act-four/wp/2016/06/17/finding-dory-and-finding-nemo-change-the-way-we-see-disability/)

The other thing that relates to our life with Finding Nemo and Finding Dory is the importance of community.  We have been blessed with amazing therapist for both Andy and Lucas.  Andy had an amazing speech therapist who went above and beyond what he needed to do to help Andy.  Lucas has been working so hard and had the most amazing teachers to help him.  I get nervous as Lucas goes through school and gets in situations where people don’t really know him.

“And so the problem is not necessarily that Dory’s brain works differently from other people’s, but that other people aren’t willing to extend kindness or be patient with her, or work with her on the terms that her brain works,” Rosenberg said. (http://www.cbsnews.com/news/finding-dory-shatters-stereotypes-about-disabilities-with-empowering-characters/)

I want people to give him the chance to figure it out.  Be patient.  Don’t assume he doesn’t know. Find a different way to ask or allow him just a little more time.

I cannot imagine going through what we have without our community, our church, our family, our friends.  People have embraced our family and helped us so much.  I get worried how Lucas reacts when things don’t go his way.  He doesn’t care if it’s in public or in private.  I worry when kids say “Why does he talk weird?”  I worry when people say something to Andy that makes him feel bad or less than who he is.  But our community loves and supports our family.

At the film’s onset, Dory announces her memory loss to everyone she meets, often with a tone of profuse apology. But by the end of the film, she stops apologizing and everyone else learns to simply assist her when needed and to patiently give her latitude to challenge herself otherwise. She can’t do it alone, which is another of the film’s big takeaways: A supportive community is essential to the happiness and health of every member. But Dory’s independence — something she finds during her long journey toward home — can and should be encouraged. (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/act-four/wp/2016/06/24/finding-dory-isnt-just-about-disability-its-about-community-and-support/?tid=hybrid_collaborative_1_na)

I know I am not the only person who has hardships….who has a child with a disability.  There are so many things we can learn from this movie.  To help others and to encourage others.   Help people to embrace their situation.  To find the strength in their disability…and to see how it is their biggest strength.  Give people a chance to be who God intended them to be and to find the positive in every situation.  To just keep swimming.

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Grace and Truth

I am heartbroken. I try not to put my opinion on social media, but my heart is just so sad about this shooting. Please stop polarizing!! Moms lost their sons. Dads lost their daughters. Friends lost friends. Brothers and sisters lost their best friend. Please stop.

I’ve heard so much about Grace and Truth and we need both!!!! AndI continue to hear unless i have a personal relationship with someone, then I cannot change someone’s opinion and force the truth I believe in them. I need to show grace and love! 

I worry what social media has done to us. We think everyone needs to hear our opinion. To know our truth. But that’s not what we are called to do!! And we don’t know what God’s plan is for this. Why are we trying to figure it out!! God is crying with us. 

Hearing the story of heroes saving strangers, of Chick-fil-a showing love by opening up Sunday to serve others, of Muslims praying for those slain. I just pray we can stop being so polar and remember the 2 main commandments: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ If we do this, then we are following God’s commands for us! Serve others. Help others. Love Him. 
This is a great video from Andy Stanley about truth and grace. We need both. 

http://northpoint.org/messages/christian/when-gracie-met-truthy/

Lucas’ trip to the ER

So our spirited little boy was standing on a slide that literally touches the ground from top to bottom. It’s on a little hill. Well, he fell. Lucas has the highest pain tolerance I’ve ever seen!!! Poor guy!! He cried and held his arm for 45 minutes. So we decided to take him to the hospital. My mom stayed with Jack and Andy and I headed to the ER. We called our amazing friend who is an orthopedic surgeon! He met us there. The nurses were amazing! We had an X-ray and didn’t see anything. But today it was still very tender!! So what we think happened was he hyper-extended his elbow and MAYBE a small little crack, but nothing showed in the X-ray. So we have a sling. He didn’t really like it. He took it off in his sleep, but today went better!!

But poor guy!! He already has some gross motor issues. When he first was wrapped up, his hand wasn’t out and it really caused him issues with walking. He uses his arms to help with balance. So we took his fingers out of the sling, which made him happy, “now I can count.” So funny!!! He’s figuring it out. But you can say some prayers!!!! He can’t open his car door now. It’s hard for him to get into his bed. He can’t play “Cowboys” or “monsters.” (He is really sad about this). Of course, he doesn’t speak using contractions. He says, “I cannot play Cowboys.” Sweet boy!!

He’s a brave kid!! He has a high threshold for pain. He loves to play!!! 

Dear Educators

Dear educators,
On Monday I sat in a transitional meeting for my soon to be kindergarten child. I put on a different hat. The hat of a mom. Knowing what kindergarten looks like, knowing the demands put on classroom teachers, and knowing my son’s delays overwhelmed me. I did good! I only cried twice. But I write this because I am amazed. 
First of all, the communication between OT, PT, speech (both at our school and at ASU), EC teachers and preschool to kindergarten teachers was amazing! There were so many conversations that took place before we met to make the meeting run smoothly and to help make Lucas’ transition smooth.
Watching his future kindergarten AND EC teacher take notes and smile and nod almost brought me to tears. I’ve been there as the kindergarten teacher. Taking it all in. Thinking how this child will learn and how I will help them. And Monday, I sat in a different chair, praying you see him as a little boy who needs your help and guidance. And you did. You weren’t overwhelmed listening to his delays. You didn’t seem burdened by that. Thank you! Thank you for seeing him as a child who needs your love!
Hearing the teachers talk about him and things they enjoy working with him on. And the fact that that know his likes and dislikes. They see his determination and know how to use that to help him. It’s not just a job to you. This is your livelihood. Yes, many of you are married, getting married, and have a life outside of school. But you care so much for what you do to help his students, that you have meetings that sometimes last A LOT longer than you are required to stay. You do more paperwork than imaginable. You plan lessons to help all your learners all through the night. You are…a superhero!
I just want to say thank you. It’s so hard when you are the parent of a child that struggles. No parent wants to hear your child struggle. As I type this I get a knot in my throat. I felt like I did everything right when I was pregnant. But I was dealt a different hand than expected. But all parents want their child to succeed. I don’t want everything to be hard for me. I want people to understand what he is saying. I want him to have good friends. I want him to make wise choices. I what him to know and love Jesus. 
Thank you for seeing my child as a child. Not as a big stack of interventions, modifications and hardships that you have to deal with. Thank you for already helping my child and spending 1.5 hours learning about him and his strengths and weaknesses. Thank you for believing in him. Thank you for all that you do. 
I know you don’t get paid enough. I know your job is thankless many days. But people do see what you do. People are grateful, but sometimes people forget to say it. I honesty cannot express how I felt today knowing that the 11 professionals in the meeting were there to help him. They all were so respectful, listened to each other and developed a plan I fee will help Lucas to find success and grow. 
To all those who are in the education field…thank you. Whether you are in Washington state, New Mexico, Texas, North Carolina or South Carolina. Whether you teach elementary, middle school, high school or college. Whether you are a public school teacher or private school teacher. Thank you. People notice. I notice. Kids notice. 
Thanks!

Oops!!!

Sometimes it takes a lot for me to truly hear what God has to tell me.  My dad has been telling me since I was little “You are not in charge.”  Through Andy’s stroke and through Lucas’ early birth and his struggles as he continues, I continue to learn I am not in charge.

The last few weeks God has taught me to slow down.  People have told me to slow down, but I don’t know how.  Between school and parenting and running and church and…. and….and…I didn’t know how.  So…I was training for another half…and felt a weird pain in my foot.  But it got worse, and worse.  So I finally went to the doctor and figured out I have a stress fracture.  But at first, I was ok with it.  I knew God was telling me to slow down, and this was the only way I would.  Here were the reasons I was ok with this and knew God was helping me and teaching me:

  1. I was getting tired of training for another half.
  2. Andy is busy with his screenplay and needs me to watch the kids more so he can plan and film his screenplay.
  3. Now I can go to Andy’s next art show in June instead of running the half.
  4. I was a tad (hmmm…) addicted to my Fit Bit and getting steps in. I lost my charger and couldn’t charge it right before I got the boot!!

But Wednesday we had a field trip and it was hard.  I realized I had a boot on my foot, but I wasn’t changing too much.  I wasn’t running, but I was still walking a lot.  It wore me out though.  I felt like I had run a marathon and my feet were aching.  I haven’t’ run in 2 weeks and was starting to get super stressed out and didn’t know what to do?!?!  LUCKILY….I CAN SWIM!! I swam today and felt so much better.  I could feel my body getting to release energy and I was happy.  It was great.  I’m glad I was able to find something to help release my stress and be good for my joints and bones!!

So I’m learning to slow down.  To walk slower.  To sit down.  I think God is teaching me something.  To be still.  If I don’t learn this lesson now, then I know something else could happen. So my plan is to listen the first time…and work on this!! 🙂

This weekend was Beth Moore and gave me time to be still, listen to His word and recalibrate!!! I think I was relying too much on working out to relieve stress and not enough on Him. I just need to recalibrate, turn to God and be still. 

Psalm 46:10 Be still and know that I am God.

Kinder Orientation

I cannot believe Lucas will be in kindergarten next year!!! Today we had kinder orientation and so excited for who Lucas will be going to school with!! Already some amazing families to go through this journey and an AMAZING school and teachers!!!

Lucas loved it!! Favorite thing?!? Riding the school bus without seat belts!! So we have already argued about not wearing a seatbelt tomorrow in the way home!! He’s ready for kindergarten!!!

He loved it! He did good on his letter and number recognition. I was so happy!! His fine motor skills are still weak, but he’s improving! Writing his name is hard….and he didn’t get it completely, but he was getting close!!! Copying touching his fingers to his thin was also hard. But he’s growing and has amazing teachers to help him!! I’m so excited!

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I still get nervous about what the future holds for Lucas. I pray that I can be the mom he needs me to be and to guide him and help him on his journey. I pray I hold him to high standards that are reachable and allow him to be who God has in store. I pray I can help Lucas discover what God’s plan is for him. I pray Lucas learns how to handle anger and disappointment. I pray his words continue to improve. I pray for his fine motor and gross motor development. I pray he continues to make friends and they accept him for who he is. I pray for his teachers and for them to accept him for who he is. I pray they help push him to do more, but have realistic expectations. I pray… A lot!!! 🙂

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Andy’s Project (inspired by his stroke)

Andy had a stroke September of 2007.  He has had to go through so much and sometimes it is so amazing how God uses the gifts He gifts us with to overcome obstacles.  For Andy, it’s writing.  I would NEVER want to write…I’m not creative enough.  But I love a good book.  Andy is the opposite.  He doesn’t enjoy reading (which is good since the stroke has really made him have a setback in reading) but he LOVES writing.  He has always been a fan of movie….and even worked at Blockbuster through college. He has been working on a screenplay since before his stroke.  The cool thing is that it has morphed into this murder mystery, through the eyes of a stroke patient who has some of the same setbacks Andy has…no vision to the right, some memory issues, etc.

When Andy first got home from the hospital, he didn’t know his alphabet.  In the hospital, he could only tell me the alphabet to “G.”  But if you put a computer in front of him, he could type out words with pretty good spelling.  There were and still are small errors, like “tipe” for “type” but still spelled phonetically.  So while he was going through speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy and cognitive therapy, they would give him homework to do and he did NOT enjoy doing it.  But he still loved writing and working on his screenplay.  He would write…then the next day have to reread what we wrote and try to “fix” it the way he wanted it.  God gave him this desire to write, which also served as this amazing therapy to help him!

So Andy thinks he MIGHT be done writing it….after 9 years!  He decided he really wants his screenplay to be turned into a movie and has talked to a lot of people about this.  He has talked to people at Appalachian State, Wake Forest, and UNC Chapel Hill about his journey and all that he has been through.  He has made new connections and met amazing people.  When he was at UNC, he met Carl McIntyre.  If you have seen Dawson’s Creek, he was the guy who comes to the bed and breakfast and does the review.  Carl had a stroke too, and helped produce a movie called Aphasia.   It was awesome and really helps explain what stroke victims and their families go through.

Through this process, he was told he needs to raise money to try to get a trailer or the film produced so he can show others.  But this is a crazy, complicated process.  So he found out about a fundraiser type website to help get the funds.  Here is what Andy wrote (by himself): I had a stroke a few years ago.  I couldn’t read, do simple math, had short term memory loss, my right side was very heavy, and I had a unique visual field cut which made my field of vision on one side disappear.  Through rehab and recovery I found therapy in writing.  I wrote a script that is a murder mystery “who-done-it,” on the service, but is really about a broader picture of the surreal world of what goes on in a stroke patients mind.  I wrote the script over the past eight years, which sounds like a long time, but that’s how long it took me to figure things out.  Filming the script will be interesting, as through my eyes you will only see half of the screen.  Most of the film can be made in Boone, N.C. on a small budget.  My plan is to make a film, enter it into movie festivals (hopefully Sun Dance)  and connect with people in the industry to show this unique and interesting story on the big screen.  The initial ask of $10,000 is to film a high quality preview, almost like a movie trailer.  After this, I will try and get funding of around $125k to make the entire full feature film.  Although this is kind of “backwards” (making the trailer before the film), I have found that most people are too busy to read a 96 pg. script.  Filming a trailer will give investors something tangible that they can see in 4 minutes.  Please consider my project to fund my truly unique story.  Thank you for your time and support.  Andy

So Andy is looking for support.  If you would like to help fund his project, please click on his Kickstarter website: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2051298193/finding-money. If you could donate any money to this project, he would really appreciate it!

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