Mom, Can You………….?

Aaron certainly does have his particular ways of doing things and is not likely to change.  I saw this fact about Aaron two times this morning.

Number One:

I have some uncapped strawberries laying out for us to eat.  Aaron doesn’t like to eat uncapped strawberries.  Earlier I had walked through the kitchen and saw where he had started to remove the top of a strawberry.  Later he asked, “Mom, can I have some strawberries?”  I said, “Sure, Aaron.  You can have some strawberries.”

He paused.  “Mom, can you take the top leaves off?”  So I discussed with him how you can hold and eat a strawberry with the top leaf part on, and then throw the top leaf part away.  But, no, he will have no part of eating a strawberry with the top leaf part on.  He will not change concerning the top leaf part of a strawberry and I may as well remove that top leaf part of the strawberry if I expect him to eat it. 

Number Two:

Aaron has a reversible comforter on his bed.  He has always had the polka dot side up as opposed to the striped underside.  Granted, the polka dot side is prettier…………..but last week I decided to see how he would handle a change.  After we changed his sheets and he had left the room, I flipped the comforter over to the striped side.

He surprised me by letting the striped side remain up for several days.  But finally he flipped the comforter over to the polka dot side.  We did not speak of this flipping incident.  Until this morning. 

We were changing his sheets again, and as we neared the time to put the comforter on, Aaron asked, “Mom, can you make the polka dots where you can see the polka dots part?” 

So now the comforter is comfortably on his bed, situated where you can see the polka dots part.  He will have it no other way, I am sure now. 

There is not much flip-flopping in Aaron’s world, that’s for certain!

Lessons From the Threatening Storm

Gary and I are preparing for a huge backyard project that requires us to remove our fence. Gary doesn’t have much time for this kind of outdoor work, so the extended daylight in the evening has been a help. All day yesterday the weather was perfect, though a little windy. Yet I was reading on the weather information on-line, or hearing on the local news, that we might get some storms in the evening. You’d never know it to look outside, I thought. Such a sunny day it was!

Gary came home from work and we sat down for supper, as we always do. This time together is very special – time to enjoy dinner, talk about our day, and just relax with each other. But looking outside, we noticed some gathering dark clouds on the horizon. A few minutes later we heard a low, distant rumble of thunder. Knowing that Gary wanted to take more of the fence down, we didn’t linger over our dinner. After eating, Gary hurried on outside while I quickly cleaned the kitchen. Then I joined him at the soon-to-be-gone fence. He dismantled while I carried boards over to the stack that he had begun the night before. Jackson, our huge Great Dane, went back and forth between us, all the while sniffing the heavy air as if he knew that something was brewing.

And brewing it was! The clouds were rolling and darkening by the minute as we hurried to complete another section of fence. We didn’t want this interruption to stop us from completing the sections that Gary had begun. The thunder was much more frequent and the winds were stronger. Finally, there was a bright flash of lightning, and soon our back door opened as Aaron burst out to tell us about the lightning he had just seen. We continued to scurry about our job in the hopes of finishing at least this certain part that Gary had begun. The storm was building, the threat was worsening, and the lightning becoming more frequent and intense. Gary insisted that I go inside, then, while he completed removing just a few more boards. Finally, he was able to remove the boards before hurrying inside to safety. Sure enough, as the evening progressed, the storm increased. The rain came, the lightning seemed constant, the thunder boomed, and the hail pinged off the windows. And this morning – the sun is bright, the birds are singing, the air is fresh and cool. The storm has passed.

Gary and I wouldn’t have chosen to have a storm at that time last night, even though we always need the rain. The rain causes our grass and flowers to grow, and nourishes our trees. But last night we had planned to finish the fence. This interruption has been a set-back, a delay, in what we wanted to accomplish. Our weekend will be busy and now our schedule has to be adjusted. And isn’t this just how life’s delays are? Delays can be for good and happy reasons, but more often our bumps in the road are not very pleasant.

We see the storms on our horizon and feel the heaviness in the air. Sometimes it happens overnight; at other times we watch it coming over a period of weeks and months. Those trials of life; those hurts; those fears; those great disappointments. We walk out of the doctor’s office, stunned at the sobering news we’ve just been handed. We stand beside the grave of our loved one, never dreaming we would be in this place at this time of life. We pick up the phone and hear our child’s voice, broken and confused. We perhaps experience the coldness of a relationship that at one time was dear and valuable to us. We watch others experience financial blessing or other joys that never seem to quite come our way. We wait for the other shoe to drop; wait for the surgery; wait for the pink slip; wait for the loneliness to go away; wait for the consequences of our child’s actions to happen…………..while we wish that we could have just enjoyed life and been able to accomplish those things that we set out to do in the beginning.

But last night, as I looked in one direction, all I saw was darkness and heaviness. Yet when I turned around and looked behind me, I saw the beautiful opening in the clouds. I saw the sun’s rays streaming through, outlining the clouds in silver. There was hope! The end of the storms would come and there was glorious light to anticipate. God was there! And God is there in the middle of our deep trials and terrible hurts. A God Who has a reason for our pain and Who gives us that eternal perspective in our trials that carries us through. Paul certainly experienced deep suffering and in Romans 8:18 he said, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed in us.” And again in 2 Corinthians 4:17, “For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison.”

Look to the future, to the plan that God has that we don’t know or understand or can’t even fathom at this point. The sufferings that we experience now are nothing compared to the eternal glory that awaits those that know Him. The clouds will open, even it’s not until heaven, but there is a reason and there is a hope for each of us. Let’s keep our eyes on the One Who sent the storm and trust Him for the outcome!

She’s Perfect!

I do believe that I have firmly established the fact that Aaron loves to eat.  A lot!  Loves it a lot and eats a lot! 

I was out yesterday when my cell phone rang.  My friend, Melody, asked if she could stop by after picking her son up from school.  She had a treat to drop off, she said.  Oh my, how nice!  I love those unexpected surprises!  I told her that I wouldn’t be home, but Aaron might be home by then.

Melody brought the treat over and sure enough, I wasn’t at home……….but Aaron was.  She rang the doorbell and heard him inside saying something about “ding-dong, the doorbell is ringing” or some such thing.  He said hi to her and was pretty polite, I think, which brought a deep sigh of relief from me.  We never know with Aaron.  He’s been known to just grab things from people at the door and then firmly shut the door.  If someone doesn’t know Aaron, that can be pretty shocking. 

This simple exchange made quite an impression on Aaron.  When I returned home, Aaron immediately said, “Mom!  This woman came to our door and brought those!”  He pointed to the bag on the table.  Inside were delicious dipped pretzel goodies.  YUM!!

Aaron continued, “So why did she bring those?  Do you know her?” 

Aaron, since when do random people that we don’t know show up at our door with food?  I assured him that she is a friend from church and we talked about how kind it was for her to share these delicious treats with us.

This morning, this whole incident was still on Aaron’s mind.  He talked again about how Melody came to our house, bringing food.  Then he said, “So………does she, like, deliver food?”

He said it in such a hopeful way that I knew what his mind was imagining.  And I could almost hear the angels singing in Aaron’s world.

He has just discovered the PERFECT woman!!!!!

She comes to our door, delivering FOOD!!!!!!!!!!!

I hated to ruin his dream…….to pop his bubble………to jerk him back to reality.

No, Aaron…….Melody does not routinely deliver food.  This was a special thank-you, a sweet gesture in more ways than one……..a treat!  Do not expect regular food deliveries.  Come back to earth!

Now do you want a bowl of cereal?  You can fix it yourself!

Potato Salad

Aaron went with Paradigm to Wal-Mart today.  As you know, I never know what to expect when he comes home each day………..especially from a shopping trip.  He bounded in the door today and immediately plunked on the table………..this:

He bought potato salad for lunch……….again.  Except this time it’s  FOUR pounds of potato salad. 

I had to laugh as I said, “Wow!  Aaron, you bought…………potato salad.  FOUR pounds of potato salad.”

I asked him if it had been kept in a refrigerator.  He replied, “Yes, and I ate a few when I took it out of the frig.”

A few, huh?

“Well, if I ate it all it would give me stomach problems, right?”

Absolutely, definitely right!

FOUR pounds of potato salad would cause some stomach problems, I would say.

Then he asked, “Can I just eat some of it for supper?”…………..even as he was smelling the Beef Stroganoff in the crock pot. 

So I answered, “Sure, Aaron, whatever you want.”  And in the split second following my remark he blurted out, “Well, can I have some meat, too?”

Later Gary, Aaron, and I sat down to eat supper.  I offered Aaron his potato salad and he declined, saying that he wanted some of the noodles and stroganoff……………two helpings when all was said and done…………and some deviled eggs.   But no potato salad. 

As we cleaned the kitchen, I asked Aaron about the FOUR pounds of potato salad.  I asked him if he liked it, and I wasn’t surprised at his answer.  “Well, it’s not my favorite.” 

That’s his way of saying no, I don’t like it, and I will not eat another bite of that FOUR pounds of potato salad.  Now we have a container of potato salad, FOUR pounds of potato salad, hardly touched.  Aaron was right when he said he ate a few of it when he took it out of the frig.  I know that Gary and I will not eat any of that FOUR pounds of potato salad. 

This ranks right up there with the day he bought THIRTY-SIX rolls.  At least we liked the rolls.  But this FOUR pounds of potato salad…………well, it’s not our favorite. 

Lessons From the Wind

We’ve had such a hot and dry summer, along with many others, and so the recent storms and rain that have come our way have been very welcome. It’s been so nice to see the clouds building in the distance, then hear the rumbling thunder, and eventually, hopefully, see and hear the falling rain. My flowers and vegetables are much happier, as am I! It’s been a relief to not have all the watering responsibilities over the past few days that I’ve had all summer. However, with some of our storms comes the inevitable and unwelcome strong winds. I could wish that all of our rains were like the sweet and gentle little shower that we received this morning. But this is Kansas and more often than not our storms are accompanied by strong winds. I can move our outdoor baskets of flowers to a safe location but there really is nothing that can protect all of the flowers or vegetables that grow around our house and in our gardens.

Most of my flowers are perennials and so I really don’t like to see them damaged or killed. Replacing them every year can get expensive! The other day we received a late-night storm with those high winds, and when I saw my Black-Eyed Susans the next day my eyes lighted on a new patch of flowers that were leaning over and not looking the greatest. I propped them back up and hoped for the best. Today I couldn’t help but notice them right away when I walked out the back door. There they were, all brown and wilting instead of perky and bright yellow. They were some of the tallest flowers in that patch and were such a bright spot in my garden. Now they look dismal and dead, lifeless and limp. The wind was too much for them and they are gone.

We all have storms in our lives at certain points. Sometimes the rains fall rather gently. We are actually refreshed by the waters when all is said and done, even though it may mean that we have to endure some rather stressful times. Yet at other periods of life the storms blow in with ferocity. The winds are strong and challenging, more than we feel that we can bear. They may mean prolonged suffering as we are relentlessly buffeted by one piece of bad news after another. We wonder if our roots can withstand the continual beating of the winds. We no sooner feel the winds of our trials easing up when we are suddenly blown again by another heartache or pain.

I’ve seen those I love being blown like this and I have experienced those times myself. It’s during these heavy winds of storm and uncertainty that we need more than ever to cling to God and to remember Who He is. We may not understand the reason for the wind or see the purpose that He has in mind for us, but we do know that we can trust God’s character and His goodness. In Psalm 73:26, the Psalmist said, “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Instead of giving up, leaning over, becoming uprooting and lifeless, let’s let God be our strength! Let’s weather the storms and winds with His grace and peace so that we can be upright, bright, and blooming for His glory and for His pleasure.

Circle Berries, Wax, and Storks

I bought two new food items on Friday.  Well, new to us in the sense that one is an item I have never bought and the other is an item that I rarely buy.  Of course, Aaron noticed both of them and so last night we had a conversation.  Is there ever a time that we DON’T have a conversation?!

The first item he talked and talked about are these:

I got some pretty blackberries at Sam’s on Friday.  I don’t remember the last time I bought blackberries.  Neither does Aaron.

“Mom, what are these?”  he asked as he held up a fat blackberry.  “They look like our mulberries that we used to have.”

I told him that they are blackberries.  He was very intrigued by their color and their shape, but his conclusion was that they definitely have the wrong name. 

“Mom, they should be called circle berries.”

Circle berries?  “Yeah!  Look at all the circles on them!”

And you know, they do have many little circles that are all put together to make:  Circle Berries!!

The other item I bought was a bottle of Sweet Banana Wax Peppers.  He saw them in their jar and was puzzled.  “Mom, why are they called wax peppers?”  I wasn’t sure, really, so told him I didn’t know.  But I assured him that they are not wax, even pulling one out for him to reluctantly smell. 

He just couldn’t figure out that wax part, though.  “Wax is like a thing we use to do things with tools.”

Once you decipher that sentence, it really makes perfect sense.

And lastly, tonight he was – for who knows what reason – talking once again about the fact that storks do NOT bring babies.  “Mom, that legend about storks bringing babies isn’t true, is it?”

Nope, Aaron………..that stork legend is just that…………a legend (since that’s what he likes to call it). 

And he ended by saying, “So the stork is not a baby bringer?”

Right………….storks are not baby bringers…………not at all. 

And I’m glad he left the kitchen on that note, before he wanted to talk any further about baby bringers!

A Statue Wearing WHAT?!

This little snippet will reinforce what I said in my last blog, which is:

1.  Aaron is observant

2.  Aaron talks about his observations

3.  Aaron has few filters

Gary and I are a set of parents who:

1.  Wish that Aaron wasn’t always so observant

2.  Wish that Aaron would keep some of his observations to himself

3.  Wish that Aaron had more selective filters

Yesterday Aaron saw an article of my clothing that reminded him of an incident in the East Mall on Thursday that he somehow forgot to tell me about.  Here we go:

“Mom!  Yesterday in the East Mall we were walking around and I saw a STATUE of a lady wearing BRAS!!!!!!!”

I remained calm and unaffected……….outwardly………..even as I felt the blood draining from my face.  But I reminded myself that I had not received a call from mall security, Wichita police, Aaron’s day group, irate parents………….time for a deep breath.

I casually responded, “Really, Aaron?” 

I didn’t wait long for the rest of the story.

“Yeah, it was a STATUE wearing BRAS!!!  I told Tiffany ‘That’s yours!!  You wear BRAS!!!!’ ” 

Well, well, well.  Tiffany is another client and a friend of Aaron’s.   I’m sure that Tiffany got a good laugh out of this because she and Aaron apparently laugh a lot about lots of things.  I don’t really want to know, honestly. 

Aaron thought that all of this was “quite funny.”  I’m sure all of this was “quite loud.”  I can just hear Aaron’s and Tiffany’s unfiltered, boisterous exchange in the middle of the crowded mall.  Again, some things are best to be left unknown. 

I wanted to ask if the “statue’s” name was Victoria and did she have a secret…………but thought I should just move on to Aaron’s next topic and leave well enough alone. 

Pretzel Dogs and RVs

Part of what makes Aaron so interesting……..or complex…………or sometimes frustrating……….is the fact that there is very little in life that escapes his attention.  He notices, comments on, questions, or informs us about absolutely anything and everything – whether we are interested or not. 

A friend from our Life Group asked me recently if we would consider letting Aaron join in on our small group time.  We meet in our home and so it would make sense for Aaron to participate.  I told her, though, that as nice as it was for her to want Aaron to be a part of our group and to let me know that he was welcome to come, it wouldn’t work.  Aaron would be interrupting our conversations every chance he got.  He would see that time as his prime opportunity to talk, talk, talk…………and not about the Bible study or prayer requests or each other’s life.  Only his life and his interests.  That’s Aaron!

His comments are random, out-of-the-blue, and often unexpected.  We are usually along for the ride, carried here and there by his observations and stories, and often struggling to respond correctly or with feigned interest or without laughter. 

Yesterday after returning from his group, he described the lunch he bought at the East Mall.  “Mom, I got two pretzel dogs.  You remember pretzel dogs?  They’re this big.”  And he used his hands to approximate the size of the pretzel dogs. 

He continued, “I noticed something about those pretzel dogs.  They’re slippery!”

We talked about the butter on the outside and why they put butter on the outside and then what other good pretzels are sold there and why he doesn’t like the cheese dip but Cody does and the salt on the outside of the pretzels……………  

Wow!  Can he ever take a simple pretzel dog and make a whole commentary on it!

Then, “Mom, after my pretzel, I got a dipped cone at Dairy Queen.  You know, it’s that vanilla ice cream……not chocolate!………but it’s dipped in chocolate………it’s called a shell.”

I asked him if he liked the ice cream cone with the chocolate shell, and he said, “Well, it’s not my favorite.  It’s messy!”

As we headed outside to take Jackson for a walk, Aaron continued talking about the pretzel dogs and ice cream, and then told me about the group stopping at Sonic and how he got a grape slushie.  Then he transitioned right into RVs.  Yes, somehow he decided that he had a question about recreational vehicles. 

“Mom, does an RV have water in it for, you know, a shower or to use a toilet or to come out at a sink?”  I was still on pretzel dogs and grape slushies, but I’ve learned to switch gears quickly, so I told him that yes, RVs do have water inside.

This surprised Aaron.  “You mean an RV has water in it like a human house?” 

Yes, just like a human house, Aaron. 

I guess a human house as opposed to a bird house………..or a dog house………….which reminds me of pretzel dogs……..and chocolate ice cream with a shell………..and grape slushies. 

I’m beginning to think like Aaron!

Mystery Shopping

Aaron’s day group is at the mall today – probably the East Mall, as he calls it.  No telling what stories or descriptions he’ll have to share with me when he comes home. 

For instance, once he was trying to describe the lunch he bought at Wal-Mart. 

“Mom, it wasn’t a Cheddar Pasta Salad.  I don’t know what it’s called…….I can’t remember.” 

So I asked him to describe his unknown meal.

“Well, it was a mashed potato salad thing.”

Hmmm…….I need more info, Aaron.

“It was bright like potatoes.”

Still not sure.

“It was in a bowl thing.”

A bowl thing?

“You know, it was not in that cage.”

And so given this very useful information, I was somehow, amazingly enough, able to figure out that the mashed potato salad thing that was bright like potatoes and in a bowl thing, not in that cage, was:

POTATO SALAD!!!!!  It’s sold separately in a container and isn’t behind the glass counter with the other salads and some of the potatoes are kind of mashed and don’t ask me about it being bright. 

Then last week he went to Target with his group.  He told me, “Mom!  Today we went to Target and I was in the SUPER part!” 

The super part?  OK………..

“I got a Combo Pizza Meal.  It was $2.19 but then it became $7.24!”

Yeah, right, Aaron.  Did I miss something?  Have taxes gone up that much?

Hard to know with Aaron!


Aaron and I left earlier than usual yesterday morning so that on our way to meet his day group we could stop to get his hair cut.  He loves getting his hair cut, as well as his goatee and eyebrows trimmed.  Many of the girls at Great Clips know him now and so he is greeted warmly.  The other patrons are a little more curious about Aaron………..I can read it in their glances at him, or the stares.  Of course, the way Aaron bounds in the font door in his “take charge” fashion doesn’t discourage the stares.  He’ll ask (loudly), “Can I get my hair cut?!”  even as the ladies are still trying to say, “Welcome to Great Clips!”  Aaron knows that I’ve told him we can’t be there long, so if there’s a wait then we may have to leave.  Leaving is not an option to Aaron……….nor is beginning his conversation with a nice “Hello.”  Nope – it’s get right to the business at hand………the hair cut and can I have it now and do I have to wait and I better not have to wait!

We were told that there was only about a five minute wait.  “So can I get my hair cut now, Mom?!”  Yes, Aaron, we can wait for five minutes.

He and I were both very relieved at that news, although for different reasons.  As we sat in the chairs to wait his turn, Aaron began his usual conversation………..loudly, as always.  “Mom, those people in the pictures on the walls look weird.”

Why do you think they look weird, Aaron?

“Well, their hair looks all funny and their faces are shiny!”

So we talk about their haircuts and the make-up and their clothes and why they look just fine, not weird.  I believe, though, that Aaron still does……….and will always………..think they look weird.

Then he said…..loudly………”Mom, Great Clips is a salon, right?  It’s spelled  s -a – l – o – n, right?”

Yes, Aaron, it’s a salon.

“Well, I get that word mixed up with that other word spelled s – a – l – o – o – n.” 

So we talked about the pronunciation of salon and saloon, and how closely similar they are spelled.  Aaron said, “Yeah, I get them confused.” 

He paused and then said, “A salon is where you get your hair cut, but a saloon is that beer dancing thing!  You don’t get your hair cut there!”

Nope, I don’t think anyone would want to get their hair cut at a beer dancing thing.  Although I’ve seen some that look like maybe they have!