The Power of Two Simple Words: He can

Jack and me end of school 2016 square

Ten months ago, Jack and I had our first day of school. For me, it was the first time I’d been in a classroom in nearly ten years. For Jack, it was his first real experience in an inclusion classroom where the majority of his peers were neurotypical and only a few, including himself, had special needs.

I remember helping him get dressed and ready for that first day. My fingers were shaking as I buttoned his little oxford shirt and told him “you’re going to have a great day, Jack.” I was excited, but also scared. My first class was later that night and I had so many questions racing through my mind as we both opened what felt like not a new chapter, but a new book in our lives.

How would things go? Would Jack make friends? Would I? Were the schools we enrolled in right for us? For our family? and How am I going to do this? How am I going to juggle a baby, a preschooler, a new kindergartener, and grad school? What have I gotten myself into?

What if we fall?

What if we fail?

And yet, the question What if we fly? was folded in among those questions, too. And, over time, that question grew stronger within me, until new questions sprouted and grew:

What if God has something bigger in mind for me and my children?

What if Jack and I could bring hope to others simply by opening a window into our daily life?

What if I could love more, work more, and give more for His kingdom?

And, as those questions rose, walls started coming down. I started being more honest, more open, more real. I started listening more, loving more, and stretching myself more. And here is what I’ve learned: If there’s something tugging at your heart that feels like it’s too far out of reach and yet you can’t seem to shake it, it probably means that’s the very thing you need to do. Will it be scary? Yes. Will you have doubts? Most certainly. Will you see “I can’t” shining bright like a neon sign in front of you? Yep. But if you turn doubt on its head and ask God to show you how to make the desires of your heart a reality, He will show you exactly what you’re made of and what you can do for His kingdom, for it truly is within us and at hand (Luke 17:21). So, when the world tells you, “you can’t,” friend, wholeheartedly tell it “He can.”

when the world tells you, -you can't,- wholeheartedly tell it He can

 

 

Autism Awareness Month: Light It Up Blue!

In honor of Autism Awareness Month, we will be lighting it up blue here at Wonderfully Made! Over the course of the month of April, we will have a series of posts about understanding autism, piece by piece.

Though autism presents many challenges, it also bears amazing joys. We want to be open and honest about our journey with a child on the spectrum, and hope to offer you information, understanding, and compassion to encourage you along your journey, as well.

In the coming weeks, we will share what we have learned about autism and how it has impacted our family, our marriage, and our faith. We also will have therapists, who have dedicated their passions and professions to celebrating children on the spectrum and helping them live successful, fulfilling lives, share their perspectives and insights as well. 

Thank you for joining us and God bless!

Light it up Blue 2 with Border

A love note to moms at the witching hour

A Love Note to Moms at the Witching Hour

4:00pm

“Mooom! The iPad isn’t working!? Mooom! What’s the code? MOM! Why isn’t it working!?” my six-year-old son yells. His shouts are followed shortly by my three-year-old, tutu-clad daughter’s cries resonating through the kitchen after bumping into the kitchen table while trying to jete in the air: “Mooom! I hurt my ear jumping! MOOOOM!”

To top off the cacophony of cries and shouts, my one-year-old son bursts into tears when he realizes I’m no longer sitting next to him because I have stretched myself between my shouting six-year-old and tear-filled three-year-old.

Every day, like clockwork, my children fall apart at 4:00pm.

I’m guessing they do at your house, too. And I’d wager you’ve made many a bargain with God across the weeks and months and years of witching hours: If You’ll just get them to {insert need here}, Lord, I promise I’ll {insert bargaining chip here}!

Sound familiar?

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said those words, while simultaneously thinking Couldn’t I just curl up in my bed and call it a day?

But, as moms, we don’t get to clock out. So how do we keep going?

I’m learning that answering this question isn’t easy. As a mom of three young children – two of which have special and/or high needs – I can’t just pop out to the movies or take a walk on the beach or sit down and read a good book or hire the neighborhood babysitter to watch my kids for an afternoon. Self-care takes planning and planning relaxation time can be stressful, which leads me back to the question: how, as moms, do we fill up our self-care tanks on a daily basis without breaking the bank or ourselves? I am no expert, but these five things have brought me sanity in the most chaotic of moments and I’m hoping they might do the same for you!

Keep a journal. And by journal, I don’t mean a space intended for posterity, but rather a simple, open space where you can jot down your personal thoughts, ideas, feelings, frustrations, questions, and answers. By writing down the way you experience life, you give power to your inner-voice – something that often falls by the wayside when you become a mom. Tapping into our inner-selves unlocks the ruts we can get stuck in when life starts to feel like Groundhog Day.

Be honest. With yourself, your spouse, your friends, and your family. Too often, we try to hold it all together so we’ll look like we have it all together. But do we honestly gain anything from this? By hiding our struggles, we rob others of knowing our true selves and allow friendships that might have blossomed in truth run flat just for the sake of showing a brave face.

Embrace screen time. Yes, there are a million studies that tell you you will rot your child’s brain by planting them in front of the TV or iPad, but if you’re here, I’m assuming you don’t park your children in front of the TV for 12 hours a day every day. So, give yourself a break! There are some wonderful shows that teach great lessons to little ones – our current favorites are Puffin Rock, Winnie the Pooh, and Daniel Tiger – all available on Netflix. Also, anything by Pixar is a winner! Screen time can be a powerful tool if you use it wisely, and, IMHO, the witching hour is a wise time to use it!

Have open-ended toys, crafts, and activities on hand. Playdough, blocks, paper, markers, stickers, paint, puzzles, kinetic sand, books, puppets – anything your child can be creative with and enjoy without your input is an open-ended toy! Need ideas? Check out this post by Wildflower Ramblings and two of my favorite creative blogs: The Artful Parent and TinkerLab. They’re awesome.

Drink hot chocolate. Or tea or coffee – whatever floats your boat. But I find that hot chocolate (preferably with marshmallows) feels like a decadent treat around 4:00pm. It takes me back to when I was a kid and warms me from the inside out. It makes me less prickly around my children and reminds me that simple pleasures go a long way in the midst of chaos.

To the mom who is reading this at 4:00pm on a Thursday (or Wednesday or Friday or any day). Who is tired and cranky and just wants five minutes peace. Who needs a break and a cup of hot chocolate and a friend. Know you are not alone. Know you are prayed for. Know you are loved.

And if you need an extra boost of encouragement, join us on Facebook. Moms are meant to live in community – one step, one day, one 4:00pm at a time.

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