Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Update: Wesley (one year later)


Seriously! Is this happening? How is he a 5th grader already?
It's funny because when I (or anyone else) looks at Wyatt, we immediately see Wesley when he was a baby. 11 years goes by so fast Mommas. I wish someone would have told me. I'm sure someone did, I don't think you don't really get it until it's gone by. You are in the smack dab in the middle of learning about raising this kid. Not just kids in general, but *this* kid and suddenly this kid is a big kid. When we say every kid is so different, wow, is that true.
Last year around this time, I wrote about how Wes was tested for Aspergers and he was *diagnosed* with anxiety and depression in this post Aspergers & Emotional Disability or Fearfully & Wonderfully Made?. I talked about how I knew that was not Wesley's identity. I knew we had things to deal with, obviously, otherwise he would have never been tested but I also know God has a plan for Wesley's life and those words aren't included. Over the course of his 4th grade year, he was also tested for ADHD in which the results came back borderline.

Let me just say something about this, for all the parents that struggle with faith vs diagnosis. I know for some of us, we feel that if we find out whats going on that we are not standing in faith concerning the issue. But for our family, it has helped us so much.

Clearly, over the course of almost 11 years of life, we had our struggles. In and out of the principles office he went. Meetings with teachers every year since pre-school. In the beginning, we just all thought "Wow, he has a temper or boy is he emotional." Everyone else thought "Wow, you need to discipline him better or Boy is he naughty." Until the ending of 2nd grade, his teacher recognized something familiar and just made mention of it. Once we started testing, therapy & diagnosis process, he has only progressed. There has been nothing negative in the process. We are, as his parents in full control what we have him do. No one is forcing us to do anything. And we (especially I as his mother) go to the Lord about everything. If I ever needed the Lord's help, it was in this area of parenting. Seeking his wisdom concerning each of my kids individually is on my agenda-DAILY!
Wesley has had lots of prayer from my family too over his life and I am so thankful for that.

But as a mom, I appreciate just knowing I am not alone. I also appreciate knowing he is not alone. And I am learning daily how to communicate with him. It doesn't hinder my faith in God to know what I'm dealing with because I know where we stand. And I know that He is greater and lives inside of us. It doesn't help me to pretend that we haven't struggled with things. What helps us and him is knowing what is going through his mind and how he interprets things, so that I both know how to pray with and for him and also know how to communicate with him.

He is getting older, so with the territory comes eye rolling and attitude on occasion, but my biggest and main concern is that Wesley knows he can talk to Jeff or I about anything as he grows into a teenager. I make sure to sit down with the kids. I go to their rooms and talk to them about their friends, their classes, what they like and dislike. Not every day, but I do it because I want them to be able to confide in me. All of them.

Wesley is so completely different from Jada. And Jada is so completely different from Leila. It's seriously crazy how different these kids are, but I love their differences and I can see God using them so much in their lives and futures.

This past year, he was moved to public school after being in private for 6 years. He has been able to take advantage of special education and school counselors, which were not available in private. But he has not had one single issue where he even needed major intervention since switching schools. The only thing the special ed teacher has helped him with is remembering his homework each day.
He was feeling rushed at the end of the day and he would get distracted, forget his homework, which in turn would cause him to get in trouble and was creating a lot of anxiety for him the first few months of his new school. So we remedied that. And since then, he almost always is joyful, loves school and has a good attitude concerning it.



If you have ever dealt with similar issues, you can't imagine the relief we had at the end of his school year as everything turned around for him. Not a single principals office visit all year. Not a single out of schedule meeting with the teacher. And after we dealt with the homework issue, he was in a better mood, he started making friends at the end of year and he is happy. So I am happy.

Towards the end of his 4th grade year ,we received an email and had a meeting with his former principal at the private school he attended, in which he welcomed Wes back for 5th grade this year. I don't know why, but even though we had been praying for this to happen, I just didn't feel it was the right fit for Wes yet. I kept talking to the Lord about it, but something didn't feel quite right. Maybe he wasn't ready, I don't know. But I just followed that quiet voice inside me. So he is back in public. Next year he is off to middle school and we have another big decision to make, obviously. Do we keep him in public or put him back in his old school where the kids knew about some of his shenanigans. I wonder some days if he still has a reputation or if he will be accepted because the Wesley they knew caused quite a commotion some days.

As the year progresses, I am keeping the middle school situation in prayer obviously. I see so much improvement. I am so thankful. He is so full of love. And he is so smart. And I push him a little socially & physically to do things that he doesn't always want to do (because he'd rather be on the computer in his room), but he is always happy afterwards and wants to improve even more so.

This year has been a defining year for me as a parent. I have never thought more about intentional parenting as I have this past year. And I love it.


Friday, September 12, 2014

What Good Is The Internet?



Some days I really struggle with the internet. I struggle with the good and bad of it.
Let's face it. There is a lot of bad. There is greasy, dirty, whiny, angry, gossipy & downright sleazy all over the place.  It's gross. It's meant to suck people in.  And it accomplishes what it sets out to do. All we have to do is see a pretty picture or a catchy title and suddenly with the click of a mouse or tap of our phone we are engaged in what so and so thinks about so and so and the 7 reasons why.

And if we are not careful, we begin to feed our hearts with trash. It may not look dirty, but it makes our hearts dirty. We read it. We involve ourselves in argument and debate over it. We dwell on it. We infuriate over it.  And suddenly, Jesus is not first and foremost. This thing is. This issue. This debate. This gossip.

So why do we fall for it?
Why do we spend our time accommodating the patterns of the world? That's not who we are.
Romans 12:2 says Be not conformed to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is-his good, pleasing & perfect will.
We are called to be more. We are called to protect our hearts. Do you want to know why?
Because everything we do flows from it. (Proverbs 4:23) 
Are we protecting our heart with every click of our mouse?  Are we allowing the life of God to flow out of us?  Or is what flows from our mouths and fingertips something else? 
It's something to think about.

1 Peter 2:9 -"But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God's very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
What I see here is that God has chosen you. You are prized. You are precious. You are holy and royalty. And you are different. And because of that, you are called to show the goodness of God. That is your purpose here on this earth- to show others his goodness. Whatever you do, whatever you speak, whatever you share, let it bring glory to God alone.

The thing about the internet it has given anyone and everyone a public voice. This can be a good thing if the right people are using it, but more often than not it's doing the opposite. Some people don't know when to keep their mouths closed. Some people entertain idol argument too quickly. And some people just just want to tell the world what they think.
But as a man or woman of God, that is not what we are called to do.
That's not who we are supposed to be.

Yes, we are to defend the gospel, but we should allow the Holy Spirit to guide us into doing so with the right words.



The internet can be an excellent tool if you use it correctly~If your intent is to honor God with your words and not yourself, if your intent is to honor God and not dishonor others. There are certainly very talented speakers and writers and debaters and actors and politicians that have the ability to captivate us and persuade us and entertain us. But talent & persuasion don't equal truth.
Let's not take every word out of every great writer or speaker and cut it up and swallow and digest it as truth just because it's said with eloquence. On that same not, let's not take every word and throw it out just because someone is imperfect. 
If we renew our minds daily with God's word, and ask him to open our eyes, we will know the truth inside of us.  We just will.   And that is what we should be sharing. That truth that brings glory to God. We shouldn't let ourselves to conform to the thoughts and patterns of the world we live in.

Our voice, if we should decide to use it publicly (which most of us do to some degree nowadays if we own any sort of social media account) is to be used to breathe the life of God into any given situation. If we are not using the online voice we have, (however little or big it may be), to bring God glory, what are we using it for? If we are speaking up on this or that, we need to be sure our heart is close to God's heart and our voice is guided by Him. Because when it comes down to it, our opinions are not what matter. We can certainly have them, but they aren't what matter. What matters is bringing God glory. And bringing people to see Jesus.

And likewise, let those who do wish to glorify God, be brave enough to do it publicly. We need more brave people online pointing people to Jesus, not just away from things or people. Give people somewhere to look, not only something to look away from.

Let's ask ourselves this question before we speak, 
"Will they see Jesus in what I am about to say?"
And if the answer is no, maybe we should lay that thought quietly down for awhile and let God work in us what HE wants us to say. Or we can say nothing at all. Sometimes that is better, ya know? It just is. I hold back a lot of my initial thoughts. Because it's just that, it's my thoughts and my reaction to other peoples thoughts. That's all.  And I want to be sure that when I speak it's not hasty and when I speak, it's really very simple, I want people to see Jesus.

God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. Do you  have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you  have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ."
1 Peter 4:11

The internet isn't going away anytime soon. But as we engage ourselves in it's use, let's not get tangled up in the grossness of it. We need to learn to recognize when what we read or what we say is a ploy meant to shift our focus onto people or ideas rather than the Lord.  Instead, let's use our voice on the internet to boast about the NAME that is far above every other name that calls out to us.
The name of Jesus.


Sunday, September 7, 2014

11 Ways We Turned Our Family Fun Day Into The Apocalypse

the photoshoot in which Jada would not stop teasing Leila
This probably won't sound intense, but it sure felt like it.

In that moment on that day (Saturday) when anticipation filled the air.
Anticipation for what you may ask? Family Fun Day of course.

I will admit it. I set my hopes high. I think we all do when it comes to Family Fun Day. We have some sort of delusion of grandeur that everyone will be as well behaved and anticipate this day as much as we do as a parent.

But if you have a truck full of kids like I do...(or if you have a toddler who is very particular like my friend, Lisa, does) you start to ask yourself 'why do I bother?' Because Family Fun Day just isn't very fun when you the fun is sucked out by the kids who should be having the fun. Let me clarify. Sometimes the kids actually ARE having fun as they antagonize and instigate. But Family Fun Day for us this past weekend ended in a near melt down.
I wanted to take the family to celebrate our heritage and culture, so we started getting ready for Indian Summer Festival!
It started bad and just got worse. I should have known.

1) Leila's comb-over. I tried to fix Leila's hair in french braids. She has a huge clump of knotted up hair that she will NOT let me brush through, so for a week now I have been brushing 'over' it in order to hide said clump. This wouldn't work with french braids. A lot more hair separating is needed. SO I get lots of wiggling, yelling and crying instead. We ended up with regular braids brushed over clump (as shown above). This is how our day began.

2) Photoshoot gone awry. So the braids were necessary for my little native girls. If you follow me on instagram, you may have seen I was pretty excited to go. So I got the girls all braided up, clump comb-over and I wanted to take some pictures. The better portion of them were of Jada pretending to be picking her nose and wiping it on Leila and Leila was getting mad (as shown above). And there was a lot of me saying "JADA! KNOCK IT OFF!"

3) Leila wants chocolate milk. We are driving away from the house and she starts yelling and crying that she is going to puke if she doesn't get chocolate milk. I tell her I am not stopping for chocolate milk and whining and crying is not the way to get her way. She keeps whining in hopes I will make a stop for her. I didn't, obviously.

4) We got lost. How on earth we could get lost in a city we have lived in our whole lives pretty much, I will never get. But we still manage to do it. A trip that should have taken about 12 minutes ended up taking about 30. And the last 20 of those minutes was spent in a 2 mile radius trying to find a parking lot.

5) We got there late. We left later than planned. We drove longer than planned. We parked farther away than planned so we had to walk longer to the main entrance than planned. Everything just takes longer with kids. A lot longer. You would think I would know that by now and plan better. But as much as I plan better, I never plan for kid fights and last minute announcements of "I NEED chocolate milk or I will puke" as we are driving away. And when we finally reached the gate, there was a line that was way longer than I expected.


proof that we actually did make it to Indian Summer for the 25 minutes I claimed

6) There were 'bees.' Bees are not a friend of our family. Really they are wasps, but you get the point. My oldest child is terrified of bees. He runs (like Phoebe on Friends) and he screams. Well, if there are a lot of bees, there is a lot of screaming and running. He knows people are watching. He doesn't care. He panics and cries. I feel really bad for him, I do. I seriously have no clue what to do to help him.  He never enjoys anything outdoors in the summer, which means neither do we. But the whole 25 minutes we were at the festival, he didn't stop screaming and running. Yes, I said 25 minutes. That is how long we lasted.

7) Jada wanted to take a nap. First let me say, Jada is 9. She isn't 2. We finally get to the festival late. Wesley is crying. Leila has  matted comb-over hair and a booger on her arm from Jada. Jeff and I are irritable from the extra long drive and getting lost. We hadn't even made it to the pow-wow yet and Jada starts crying and whining (oh that whining) because she has now decided she wants to go home and lay down and take a nap. Her words, not mine.  I told her to lay on a bench and she said 'No. People put their butts on there.' Okay, I can understand that so I told her to lay on the ground with Wyatt's blanket. But that wasn't acceptable either. Home was the only place she wanted to be.

8) War breaks out. At this point, Jeff had finally decided that he would take Wesley to a safe haven (a place free of bees) and come back later and pick me up. The panic Wes was dealing with was more than it was worth to try to push through it, for any of us. So we decided we would swallow the $19 we paid for Jeff's ticket and parking so he could get Wesley to safety. The girls both decided they wanted to go with Daddy. I had a feeling that was a bad idea, but hey, it meant I could get a break. Just me and the baby. Not really. Within 2 minutes I saw them all walking towards me and Jada was crying and Jeff was ticked because the kids were already fighting with each other.

9) We give up. 25 minutes into the gates of Indian Summer and I hadn't even met up with my family yet who was saving us a spot, but we couldn't deal anymore. The entire day thus far was a bust and I couldn't see it getting any better. I prayed for strength. Seriously, I did. I breathed the heaviest breath ever along with a loud sigh and said "Lord, give me strength to do this."

10) The kids are 'sorry.' Wesley and Jada are both crying now because they don't want me to be sad. Of course I was upset. They were whiny and misbehaving and we had to end up leaving because of it. And Leila was now crying as well, but because she wanted to stay. So now $33 is wasted instead of just $19.  I made sure Wes knew with his repeated "I'm sorry mommy" that it was not his phobia that got him in trouble, but it was the fighting with Jada. Although the phobia is stressful for us, of course he can't help it. I am trying so hard to get him to understand the screaming has to stop though. He holds it back just fine in front of his friends when he sees a wasp. He just runs away like any other person, so I know he can do it. But for some reason, when it's just him and us (and the general public) he has no problems with making a scene.

after we left the festival and before the apocalypse we stopped to stare at water?


11) The Apocalypse. Or what felt like it anyways. So on our way home, the kids are told to not speak to one another. Not a peep. You know how that goes. Jeff and I decided to treat ourselves to WINGSTOP-(because that makes everything better.)  And we have to stop at Target and grab some easy quick food and drinks for the kids. As soon as we walk into our house, it's like everything that can be shaken is shaken.

It's that moment when you have a million bags, cameras, diaper bags, purses, the baby seat and your food of course and you are trying to bring it all in. The baby is crying and wants me to feed him. I have to go to the bathroom. The dog needs to be let out. Leila is crying about chocolate milk (again). Jada is asking for cookies before dinner and complaining about what dinner is and teasing Leila. Wes has calmed down but is talking a lot and digging in the fridge for the 'pre-dinner food' that he always seems to need. Everything is going on and no one is calming down, and we can't even hear ourselves think. We told the kids to go upstairs to their rooms, (both because of the fighting and because 'Jada needed to lay down and take a nap') and we told them 3 or 4 times with no response. They acted like we didn't even say anything. And that was it. The apocalypse happened.
I almost felt bad for Wesley because he was just talking at this point, but it happened to be when everyone else was doing everything else, so he probably couldn't even hear us tell them to get upstairs. But enough was enough.

I told a friend of mine that I felt like my hopes and dreams for a perfect family fun day were shattered. I was joking of course but it was one of the top 3 most chaotic days out with my family. Sometimes, I seriously don't know why I try. Ever feel like that?. My kids are much happier and well behaved at home...plus we save money. It's just more work than it's worth. I'm learning little by little to plan better.

What goes wrong this time, I will try to remember next time... if there is a next time.
Depends how brave I am.