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Wonderfully Made is dedicated to encouraging women and their families along their journeys of faith, motherhood, marriage, and special needs. We believe wholeheartedly that you and your precious children are wonderfully made by God and look forward to walking the journey with you. "You formed my inmost being; You knit me in my mother’s womb. I praise You, because I am wonderfully made." {Psalm 139}

It’s Halloween! {Encouragement for special needs families}

It's Halloween and a million questions are racing through your mind about how the night will go for your special needs child. I know, friend, I have been there and they have raced through my mind, too. Here is some encouragement for you today. Three things to remember about Halloween starting now.

Growing up, Halloween was a joyful, festive time. I loved trick-or-treating, getting together with neighbors and friends, and sorting and trading candy at the end of the night.

Today, there are Jack-O-Lanterns, candles, spooky decorations, candy, and costumes just like when I was a child, but I see it all through a different lens – one of a child with Autism and SPD, which means many of those things I once regarded as fun I now view as potential triggers of distress for my child.

Will one bad experience ruin Halloween for him forever? Will others be understanding? Will he be able to eat the candy he receives? Will he be able to wear a costume? Will he have a meltdown? How is this going to go, Lord? are all questions that have raced through my mind as we approached the holiday each year. But, over time, here is what I have learned:

  • Halloween should be fun. If that means sitting in your living room watching It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown or snuggling by a fire or treating the day like any other Friday night, do that! Do what brings your family comfort and joy.
  • Halloween is not a competition. In today’s culture, there is so much competitiveness surrounding who has the most/the best of something. In the case of Halloween, this is usually centered on who has the cutest costume, the best decorations, the most candy at the end of the night. I have fallen into this trap, friends. I so have. But here’s what I’m learning – children think the most or best of a situation when they feel comfortable and loved. So, if they feel uncomfortable in a scratchy costume, bag it! If they feel most comfortable going to three houses instead of thirty, go to three! If they want the experience of trick-or-treating but feel too overwhelmed by the sights and sounds, trick-or-treat at your own home! Make the day your own, not a competition.
  • Halloween is one day. One day out of 365 and if it is a day that doesn’t work for your family, that is ok! Over the years, our family’s perspective has shifted on holidays and we are learning to approach them with joy for what they are – a day together as a family. If we are able to add in decorations or trick-or-treating or a meal with friends, then we do. If it does not work for us, we focus on being together as a family and on celebrating the day for one simple reason: we love being together.

Last year, Jack was The Cat in the Hat, which he was the year before as well. It was comfortable for him, so it was comfortable for us. We went to three houses and called it a night. We came home, ate a few pieces of candy, and talked about the evening – all 8 minutes of it :) – and it was great!

Some things about Halloween feel different than they did when I was a little girl, but you know what? It is still a joyful and festive day. We just had to find our way to what worked best for us, and you can too, friend. Whatever Halloween may mean for your family, embrace it. Your family is wonderful, beautiful, and amazing exactly as it is.

It's Halloween and a million questions are racing through your mind about how the night will go for your special needs child. I know, friend, I have been there and they have raced through my mind, too. Here is some encouragement for you today. Three things to remember about Halloween starting now.

{Halloween 2013}

Coming Home {From Allume}

Sometimes, we have to face our past so we can step bravely into our future.

“Mommy!” Jack exclaims with a bright smile. “I can’t believe it’s you!”

I turn to my husband, eyes wide with disbelief and say, “How did he learn to say that, honey?”

Jeff laughs, as surprised as I am, “I have no idea! I don’t think I’ve ever said that to him before!”

I kiss Jack’s rosy cheeks, look in his eyes, swirls of blue and silver, and hold his beautiful face in my hands. “I’m so happy to see you, honey,” I tell him. And I am. I am so happy to see my son whose heart is bursting through his smile and I hold him tight.

I look over to the adjoining seat in the back of our Explorer to bright blue eyes haloed by cornsilk hair and say “Hello little owl.” Kristen kicks her feet against the car seat joyfully in her owl adorned PJs and chirps “Hi, Mommy!”

I make my way over to her side of the car. She smiles, reaches her arms out and hugs me. My girl who has struggled with touch, who has cringed and cried when we try to hug her, squeezes me gently and I squeeze her back.

And I think, This is love.

As we drive home from the airport, I lace my fingers with my husband’s and hold his hand under the slip of the moon and it feels so good.

Coming home, I realize there are pains from my past that need healing. Things I must unearth and feel, and the process will be hard and slow and painful. But there’s the moon and my babies and my husband all together in one space, so I start with hugs and holding hands and lean in to the possibility that I can be made whole again by love.

* * *

All too often, we bury our pain. We feel like it will swallow us whole or that others will not understand it, so we stuff it. But I think we have to face our past so we can step bravely into our future. To be willing to see our lives as budding, not dying on the vine. To open ourselves to the possibility of love so we can feel its fullness.

And I think it’s going to hurt before it heals. It’s going to strike chords so deep we feel like we might drown in the music. But I also believe that if we are brave enough to face it, it just might make us stronger. It just might lead us to a life that is holy. It just might bring us Home.

3 #Ausome Apps for Children with Autism

3 #Ausome Apps for Children with Autism | beautifulinhistime.com & wonderfully-made.net #ausome #autism #apps #write31days

This post is part of 31 Days of Supporting the Special Needs Family, a blog series filled with hope and encouragement, compassion and understanding for special needs families and their loved ones, hosted by Beautiful In His Time. To read the post in its entirety, and to read more great posts in this series, please visit www.beautifulinhistime.com. Thank you and God bless!

When our son was first diagnosed with autism, everyone recommended downloading apps. The problem was, I had no idea where to start and some of the apps I found were so expensive I could not justify purchasing them on our tiny family budget that was already stretched thin by daily therapies and appointments. I have also learned that while it is important to balance screen time with outdoor and active play time, technology can be a beneficial tool for helping our son calm himself and escape from the noise of the world around him. After more than a year of speaking with parents, therapists, and specialists, today, I am sharing our top three favorite apps! These apps are all user-friendly, affordable, and visual-based. They have been wonderful for our child, and I hope they will be for yours, too!

To learn about these #ausome apps, click here!

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