I’ll Go Happy

Last Monday, Aaron had a rough and grouchy day at his day group.  Sometimes we can pinpoint the cause and other times we just can’t.  I’m so thankful for the understanding staff at Paradigm.  I don’t know how they do what they do on some days, but I do know that they don’t get paid enough for all they endure on those days.  I love their philosophy:  Tomorrow is a new day and we start all over.

As I said goodnight to Aaron at the end of his rough day and gave him a hug, Aaron said, “Mom, tomorrow I’ll go happy!”

So on the next day, the new day in which we were starting all over, Aaron was indeed happy.  His attitude was entirely different than the no good very bad yesterday.  And on this better day we also got some wonderful news from our daughter in Houston.  She has a break between jobs and was coming home for a visit!!!!  Not only Andrea was coming, but also her boyfriend Kyle!!!!  Not only Andrea and Kyle were coming, but also Andrea’s two dogs and Kyle’s dog!!!!!   


Can you tell I was excited?  You bet!  Aaron was excited, too.  He loves and misses his sister.  He’s getting to know Kyle and to realize that Kyle is a new part of our family.  But oh, I know Aaron and I know that having a house full of people and pets can be challenging for him.  We face this issue any time that we have extra people around…..extra noise……extra routine disruptions……extra attention grabbers away from our usual main attention grabber.

We work to prepare Aaron for those disruptions before they occur.  I went over several things with him, like how he would use Gary’s and my bathroom while Andrea and Kyle were here.  We talked about the dogs and how we need to act with having four dogs in the house.  I tried to cover all the bases with Aaron, but Aaron brings out new bases quite often……based on what’s happening around him at the time…..things we just can’t predict. 

I let Aaron stay home from Paradigm on the two Paradigm days that Andrea and Kyle were here.  Aaron was SO happy with that idea!!  He loved going with us to eat lunch at Freddy’s.




He loved going for a walk in Swanson Park.


He loved being here with us and the doggies.


He loved us watching Independence Day Resurgence with him while he ate snacks and snacks and snacks.

He loved trying to sneak snacks and snacks and snacks to the doggies.

He loved talking to all of us, especially to Andrea and Kyle, about all his favorite topics.  And this is where we usually start seeing some issues with Aaron, because Aaron doesn’t know when to stop talking.  Sharing the stage is hard for Aaron.  He truly wants to be included in our conversations as we sit around the dinner table, for instance.  We do listen to him and try to include him, but Aaron isn’t going to talk about the subjects that we talk about. 

Here is a sample conversation:  We may be talking about Andrea’s new job or talking about Kyle’s summer at sea.  Then Aaron will loudly call one of our names.

“Andrea!!”  he says.  When she responds to him, we often hear this from Aaron:  “Ummm.  Ummm.  Ummm.”  We wait.  “Ummm.  Did you know what the Queen Alien on Independence Day Resurgence looks like?!”

“No, Aaron, I don’t know what she looks like,” Andrea answers.

“Well, she looks like a…..I don’t know.  Mom, what do you think she looks like?” Aaron asks.

So I try to answer but I don’t really know how to describe the Alien Queen because it’s been awhile since I saw that movie….and I don’t really care what the Alien Queen looks like…..and in trying to muster some enthusiasm and interest in this question that I’ve heard a hundred times, Aaron can sense a shift in my emotions.  As much as Aaron struggles with social norms, he is very adept at picking up the subtle cues that we are not as animated about Alien Queens as we are about Andrea’s job or Kyle’s schooling. 

He views our world from afar, wanting so much to enter in, but never knowing how.  But he does express his frustration by comments that we later hear.

“Mom, you didn’t want to talk to me.  You just wanted to talk to Andrea or Kyle,” he will say. 

I try to explain that we do want to talk to him but that we haven’t seen Andrea or Kyle in so long…..and we want to catch up with them on their lives…..but to Aaron that doesn’t make sense.  Round and round we go, and where we land nobody knows.  Or when we land.

Which happened on Friday during supper.  Andrea’s friend, Sarah, had come over to see Andrea and Kyle.  They sat in the family room visiting and talking and laughing.  Aaron was up in his room, then down in the family room…..up in his room, down again.  He wanted to be a part and he was in many ways.  He just can’t be the whole part and so conversation would swirl around him.  Kyle was talking and laughing at one point, and Aaron whacked Kyle’s leg with a book.  I heard it but didn’t see it.  It was a sign of things to come.  Aaron was frustrated now, truly frustrated, and when that happens he picks a target.  Lucky Kyle.

I don’t remember all the details of what happened at supper.  I was up from the table getting slices of cheesecake ready to serve.  Aaron was at a boiling point and we didn’t realize it.  His system was on overload…..his pressure gauge was maxed out…..and he erupted.  He leaned forward and yelled at Kyle. 

Aaron left the table.  We apologized to Kyle.  He was understanding and patient.  Aaron came down later and apologized.  We watched the movie later and Aaron was very happy, as if nothing ever happened.

Why do I tell you this story, one you’ve heard before if you’ve read this blog for very long?  Because this scenario is just a very real picture of how Aaron processes…..or doesn’t exactly process…..the world around him.  Our world is ticking along like normal, but Aaron’s isn’t.  He is so impacted by nuances that we don’t even notice.  Sounds…..loud laughter that he doesn’t understand…..hilarity……silliness…..his routine changing….   All these things greatly affect him, more than we can begin to know. 

So he reacts, usually loudly and hurtfully.  Then he’s sorry.  It takes great understanding, as I’ve said, to deal with this about Aaron.  He doesn’t think like we do or process as we do or react over time as we do. 

But he truly wants to. 

Andrea and Kyle left to go back to Houston the next day.  Aaron was with us in the driveway, entering into things, when Andrea asked for a hug.  Aaron ducked his head and walked away, through the garage and into the house as he muttered to himself.  A hug in front of everyone?  Are you kidding me?!  We know this about Aaron and it makes us smile.  He can yell, but spontaneous hugs are very, very difficult.

One of the first things I did after they left was to get Aaron’s things put back in his bathroom.  “Us kid’s bathroom,” he calls it.  We got his cup with his toothbrush and toothpaste put back on the counter.  We got his body wash and wash cloth back in the shower.  We hung his towel on the towel rack. 

Aaron then noticed that his razor attachments were not in the correct place.  He rearranged them the way he wanted them.  He stood back and observed the counter for a few seconds. 


Then he said, “OK.  It’s looking good.”

That night at supper, Aaron asked the blessing.  He nearly always says two things when he prays.  He doesn’t say the same thing with each prayer, but he says two things.  On that night he said, “Lord, thank you for the food.  And thank you that Kyle and Andrea got to come.”


Yes, it was looking good now for Aaron.  He was happy that Andrea and Kyle were here, along with Darcy and Oakley and Aries and our own Jackson.  He will be very happy when everyone comes for Christmas. 

Aaron will have every intention of saying, “I’ll go happy!” 

He’ll go happy into our family time, but it will be a time of upheaval for him and of struggle as well.  It’s up to us to understand that and to allow that for Aaron, all the while trying to help him know how to take time to decompress and not to blow up. 

Only when things are back to normal…..Aaron’s normal…..will he be able to step back and say, “OK.  It’s looking good.”

And it’s very important for us to be able to look at Aaron’s world through Aaron’s eyes, and still be able to say, “OK, Aaron.  It’s looking good.”

Let’s go happy!  It’s sometimes the hard choice, but always the best choice. 

Pass The Kleenex

Aaron has just recovered from a nasty virus.  It was nasty in more ways than one.  He felt terrible.  He had a stuffy head.  He had a sore throat.  He ran a fever.  He had some seizures.  All of this is definitely nasty.  But there is another level of nasty with Aaron when he has a cold……a level that I have written about in the past.

Aaron would not blow his nose.  We’re not totally sure why he won’t blow his nose, but he just refuses.  Therefore, as I wrote before, Aaron snorts.  It’s very disgusting and annoying.  Nasty.  For me, for Gary, and for anyone else within hearing distance.

I told Aaron over and over how much better he would feel if he blew his nose.  I finally resorted to telling Aaron over and over how much better his dad and I would feel if he blew his nose.  Aaron wasn’t particularly interested in how we felt, however, so the snorting continued.  He wasn’t even interested in the fact that blowing would help HIM feel better.

Until finally, one day, my words got through to Aaron’s stuffed up head.  He blew his nose.  He actually, for real, blew his nose.  I praised and praised him as if he was a small child who had just gone potty for the first time.  He looked at me as if I was an irritating gnat, so I backed off the vibrant praise and tried to be very flat and factual, which Aaron much prefers.

“Good job, Aaron,” I said with a level voice.  “Doesn’t that feel better?”

“Yeah,” he said as he walked away.

The next time he blew his nose, I asked to see the Kleenex.  He knew then that I had surely lost my mind, but I told him that the color of the mucus could tell us if he had an infection.

Sorry for being gross.

But Aaron held out the Kleenex very gingerly and I peeked at it, made a comment…..we don’t need details……and off Aaron went.

Aaron marked that information down, though, as a way to keep reminding us that he wasn’t feeling well.  When he’s sick, we hear over and over the same four word comment from him:  “I’m not feeling well.”

“Mom!” he said soon after the mucus color test.  “I blew my nose and it was GREEN!!  That’s how I’m not feeling well!”

I wanted to tell him that’s how I’M not feeling well now!

I heard a lot from that point on about green nose stuff.  We were still in a nasty mode, but at least it was in a Kleenex now.

Speaking of……Aaron did with his nose blowing what he does with everything in his life.  He developed his own way of doing this task.

He had to have a box of Kleenex with him at all times.  Not a few Kleenex, but a box.  A box at his desk.  A box on the end table beside his TV chair.  A box on the kitchen table while we played Skip-Bo.  A box on the nightstand beside his bed at night.

And not only a box of Kleenex.  He also had to have a trash can in which to place the dirty Kleenexes after blowing.  And not just any trash can.  It had to be his trash can from his room.  His trash can beside his desk.  His trash can beside his TV chair.  His trash can beside the kitchen table while we played Skip-Bo.  His trash can beside his bed at night.

When he finally felt better and was able to return to his day group, he was still needing to blow his nose.  By now his nose blowing was routine for him, but also done in just his routine way.  So he told me that he needed to take a box of Kleenex with him to Paradigm on his first morning back.  I agreed, and Aaron was very happy about that, as you can see.


He marched into Paradigm that morning, box of Kleenex in tow, ready to start his new week.


“Barb!” he said as he barged into her office.  “I’m blowing my nose!  I brought a box of Kleenex!”

Barb laughed and I explained.  She knows Aaron well enough to understand that this was a big moment for him, and to not question the box of Kleenex.

I was just thankful that Aaron didn’t insist on taking his trash can!

Aaron has blown and blown and blown this past week.  We hope his nose blowing hang ups are a thing of the past.  We definitely hope that his snorting is a thing of the past!!

And once again we just watch as Aaron decides to own something like this…..and to really make it his own, in the unique way that totally suits him.

Gary and I are once again along for the ride, shaking our heads and laughing when Aaron can’t see or hear us.  Even something as mundane as nose blowing becomes a picture of just how unique Aaron is.

Pass the Kleenex.

The BOX!!

Black Lettuce

There are some things that I can always count on with Aaron.  He will always write down the time he gets up in the morning and the time he goes to bed at night.  He puts these times in the notebook that he keeps by his bed, on the floor.  Always on the floor.  He will always only read at night.  He will always keep his tennis shoes on his floor in front of his trash can, placed just so-so.  He will always ask at night if it’s going to rain and if I’m going to have the monitor on, to listen for seizures.  He will always want four cups of coffee in the morning (they’re not full, but there must be four!).  He will always finish a song we’re listening to before he gets out of the van.  And he will always want a house salad when we eat in a sit-down restaurant.

In fact, as soon as his bottom hits the seat…..before our host or hostess can say a word…..Aaron looks up and says, “Can I have a house salad?!”  So I have to run interference and rescue the confused host or hostess by telling Aaron that he needs to wait to order his salad.

When the host or hostess comes back with our water, Aaron once again looks up and asks if he can have a house salad.  Never mind about ordering his meal.  His salad is of prime importance, and once it is ordered…..with Ranch dressing and no croutons…..then he can get on with the business of looking over the menu and making his meal decision.

A couple weeks ago, as Aaron ate his house salad in IHOP, he said, “I like this salad.  The lettuce is black and yellow.”


I smiled and thought that of course the lettuce looks black and yellow to Aaron.  He’s color blind, and so not only did the lettuce look black and yellow to him, but black and yellow lettuce made perfect sense to Aaron.

Just like so many other things in Aaron’s life, I thought.  We don’t see it quite like Aaron, but to Aaron his view of things makes perfect sense.  The rest of us are left to figure those things out and understand them.

Here are some recent examples:


It’s actually a satellite weather station that Aaron had on his desk.  He loved it.  He especially loved the precise time it kept, and the display of the outdoor and indoor temperature.  He kept a close eye on those temperatures.  One Saturday morning, Aaron came downstairs, looking troubled.

“Mom,” he began.  “My clock says that the temperature is 13!”

I knew he meant the outdoor temperature, because that’s the only temperature that he keeps track of.  Since it was summer, I also knew that something was very wrong with his weather station.  And since something was very wrong with his weather station, I knew that something was very wrong with Aaron’s world.  Since something was very wrong with Aaron’s world, I knew that something was about to very wrong with Gary’s and my world.  That’s how these issues work.  A domino effect, you know.

The planet was definitely out of kilter for the remainder of that day.  Aaron came downstairs repeatedly, telling us that the temperature was wrong.  I finally asked, “Aaron, can’t you just ignore the temperature?”

Aaron looked at me with no expression, but I could see that he thought I was very off balance.  “Aaron, can’t you just ignore the temperature?” I asked again.

“No,” was all he answered as he turned and walked away.  Life had become very hard for Aaron at that point.


Gary worked on the outdoor sensor, to no avail.  Later, Aaron came back downstairs and told me that he wanted to take a nap.  I agreed, and he started to walk away.  But he stopped, turned around, and said, “I would take a nap.  It’s just that my clock says 97.”

So the temperature had jumped from 13 to 97?  Neither of those temps was correct, as Aaron knew all too well.  However, I assured him that he could really take a nap regardless of the temperature on his clock.

He turned to walk away once again, but once again stopped.  Turning around, he said, “I would take a nap, it’s just that……”  What he left unspoken spoke volumes.  It’s just that his clock was sitting on his desk showing the wrong temperature, and to Aaron that clock was screaming, “ALL IS NOT WELL IN YOUR WORLD!!!!  WE NEED TO MAKE IT RIGHT!!!!”

Bless his heart, Gary made it right.  He ended up buying a new clock that shows the outside temperature, and now all is well.



Aaron got all nine seasons of The X-Files for his birthday and for Christmas last year.  He finally, after several months, finished watching all nine seasons.  But then one day in Wal-Mart he found the new tenth season.  He still had a Wal-Mart gift card, so I let him buy season 10.  Those of you who know Aaron well can guess what happened.

Aaron had to start watching the whole series again, beginning at season one.  You don’t simply watch season 10, people.  You must watch the series in order.  Season 10 must come after season 9, which comes after season 8, which comes after……

You get the idea.  He had to watch the whole series again.

The  WHOLE.   SERIES!!!!!!

I think he’s just beginning season five right now.  I so hope there is not a season 11.



Aaron cuts out my coupons that are in the Sunday paper.  He is extremely meticulous, trying very hard to cut only on the dotted line.  No shortcuts are allowed.  He is sure that he is the only person in our house that cuts coupons correctly.  We have lots of coupon stories that we could tell.

Anyway, the other day I was taking expired coupons out of my coupon box.  I had a pile of coupons that were of no use any longer.  Aaron walked in the kitchen and spied the pile of coupons.  He asked what I was doing with them, making me feel like I was partaking in something forbidden.  So I explained that I was sorting out the expired ones.

“What are you going to do with them?” he asked suspiciously.  I told him I would throw them away.  He stood over me staring at the coupons that I was laying out to be tossed in the trash.  That’s when he saw it……the coupon that somehow was not exactly cut on the dotted line.  I’m sure he thought it was one that I had cut out, since he knows that Mom is a very sloppy and careless coupon cutter.  He reached over and gingerly picked the offending coupon out of the mess laying there.

Then he went over to the kitchen drawer, opened it and took out his scissors, walked back over to me, and began to cut that coupon on the dotted lines…..the way it was intended to be cut!

He didn’t care when I reminded him that I was just throwing that coupon away.  He didn’t care when I told him that the coupon was expired and of no use anymore.  He didn’t care that I told him he was just wasting his time.  He continued to carefully cut off the extra little strip of paper and let it fall into the pile of expired coupons.  Then he took the coupon that he had just corrected, laid it on the rest of the coupons very methodically, put away his scissors, and walked away as if all was well with the world.

Because for Aaron’s world, things were made well at that point.

Silly Mom.



My last example…..for now…..is Aaron’s bowl of ice cream.  This past Friday night we were getting ready to watch a favorite TV show, Blue Bloods.  Aaron was with me earlier in the day as we bought some groceries.  I bought him some Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream that he wanted, so before Blue Bloods started he asked if he could have a bowl of his new ice cream.  I got his ice cream and handed him the bowl as he sat in his favorite family room chair.

I was in the kitchen for a few more minutes.  When I walked back into the family room, there sat Aaron is his chair……but he wasn’t eating his ice cream.  He had placed the bowl on the ottoman in front of him.

“Aren’t you eating your ice cream?” I asked him.

“Not yet,” he told me.

And it hit me.  Aaron was doing with his ice cream what he also does with his popcorn at the theater.  He was waiting for Blue Bloods to begin before he would pick up his bowl and eat his ice cream.  I watched him.  Sure enough, the second that Blue Bloods began, Aaron reached over and picked up his bowl of ice cream.  He ate every bite and loved it…..but not until it was just the right time to do so.


You see, life for Aaron has certain rules.  He doesn’t walk around explaining those rules to us, but we’ve come to know them well since we have lived with autism for so long.  Someone else wouldn’t get it at first, but trust me when I say that Aaron would educate them soon enough……and at times maybe not so kindly.

Strange how he has precise coupon cutting and ice cream eating rules, but his rules of etiquette and relationships can be sadly lacking.  How he can’t nap when his clock is showing the wrong temperature, but he can sleep soundly at the end of one of his rough behavior days.  How he will take weeks and weeks to re-watch X-Files so that he can keep the seasons in order, but saying a simple “I love you” is so difficult for him.

It’s just like his salad with the black and yellow lettuce.  Sounds pretty weird to us, even yucky, but not to Aaron……because that’s just how he sees it, right there in front of him.  The salad tasted fine, no matter the color.  And the taste was what mattered to him.

So Aaron’s ordered world is what matters to him, too.  Ordered in his way that he understands, because that’s just what he does and it’s really all he can do.  He’s come a long way and made lots of improvements, but Aaron is Aaron.

And sometimes we’re the ones who need to improve, honestly.  Improve in our acceptance and our understanding of Aaron, not expecting him to bend to us but instead be willing to bend to him.  Our way isn’t always the only way, in many areas.

But I draw the line at black lettuce.  Not gonna do black lettuce.

Yellow, maybe……but not black.

Well…..maybe just a taste.  It might surprise me.  ♥

Big Red Gum…….And Forgiveness

He Said What?!

I want to share something that happened yesterday morning with Aaron.  This incident gave a glimpse into several aspects of his autism, and also taught me yet another valuable life lesson.  Aaron does have a way of teaching me things that stay with me for a long time……..and sometimes hopefully forever.

I had an obligation at church on Monday and Tuesday that prevented me from taking Aaron to meet his day group.  I arranged for his driver to pick him up at our house.  But on Monday I realized that I could drive Aaron to meet his group, and so that night I told Aaron that I would be driving him the next morning.  He likes that arrangement better and so he was very happy. 

As I got ready yesterday morning……Tuesday……I decided that I would just go over to the church a little early.  I hadn’t contacted Aaron’s driver concerning…

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How Quickly Things Can Change!

This past Saturday, I took advantage of the beautiful weather and spent some time in the garden.  I ended up with a large bucket full of tomatoes.  Our tomato plants have produced beautifully this year!  It’s certainly the best tomato year we’ve ever had.  I’ve canned quite a few quarts, and as I looked at my overflowing bucket I knew that there would be more canning soon to come. 

Aaron was in a very happy mood over the weekend.  One of his favorite staff from his day group came over for pizza on Friday evening.  When he left, Aaron got to spend some time petting our neighbor’s cat, Dallas.


There was a favorite television show to watch that night, too.  And the next day there was time outside, time playing Skip-Bo, and tacos for supper that night.  It doesn’t get much better than that!  Simple joys are sometimes the best joys.

Aaron was in such a helpful mood on Saturday, too.  He helped me cook the tacos and set the table.  And then he offered to help me wash the tomatoes from the garden after supper.  We got them all cleaned up, with Aaron stacking them higher and higher on the counter.  We laughed when four of them fell on floor and we had to reposition the tomato tower. 


On Sunday afternoon, Gary and I had hoped to take Aaron to a corn maze.  However, Aaron started complaining of a sore throat.  We could also tell that he was getting a cold.  We’ve learned not to tell him in advance that we might go somewhere, just in case it doesn’t work out, so he was none the wiser when Gary and I cancelled the corn maze idea.

On Sunday night…..actually, early in dark morning hours on Monday……Aaron had a seizure at 1:20.  Then another and another, until finally he ended up having five very hard seizures in five hours.  He was already struggling with all the head congestion, so the seizures were a little scarier than usual.  He bit his tongue and wet his bed – all the bad stuff that points to hard seizures. 

He slept all day yesterday, Monday, on the couch while I washed all of his bedding.  When he did awaken, he sounded terrible because of his congestion and his swollen throat.  He was running a fever.  He was terribly weak, the seizures having taken quite a toll and then his illness making matters worse. 

He very slowly made it up the stairs in the late afternoon, on all fours like a monkey because when he’s weak he feels safer that way.  He climbed in bed and immediately fell back to sleep.  He got out of bed for an hour, later in the evening, and then slept all night last night. 

I took him to the doctor this morning.  Aaron had pneumonia last year and was in the hospital for a week.  That was my fear now, but thankfully he doesn’t have pneumonia.  In fact, we’re treating this as a virus and waiting to see what happens.  Too many antibiotics last year was really hard on his body for months afterward, so we want to avoid those drugs if at all possible. 

Aaron ate a little lunch when we got home.  Now he is sleeping, again.  Poor guy. 

And I’ve been thinking how quickly things can change.  Sickness with Aaron is more serious than it usually is with most of us.  Sickness on top of five hard seizures has just done a number on him.  He is very slow and wobbly, and extremely tired.

It’s amazing how we could go from this:


To this:


To this.


Hopefully, what Aaron has right now is nothing terribly serious.  But the stark change that he has gone through, literally overnight, is a reminder to me that we just never know what a day……what an hour……might hold for us. 


In James 1:2, James told us to consider it joy when we encounter various trials.  That word “consider” means to make a judgment.  It’s up to me to decide how I’m going to view my hard times.  It’s my call.  And various trials really mean “multi-colored trials.”  I think we all would agree that trials come in all different colors.  God uses a wide variety of situations in my life to grow me and to teach me. 

But again, it’s what I do with my trials that can make all the difference.  It’s like Aaron’s pile of tomatoes, stacked up on the kitchen counter.  I could have left them there, where eventually they would rot and be no good for us or anyone.

Or I could do what I did Monday while Aaron slept nearby on the couch.  I could use the tomatoes for something good……for something that will benefit us during the cold winter that’s coming.


It was my decision what I did with those tomatoes.

And it’s my decision what I do with the trials in my life, so often unexpected and unwelcome.  God is waiting to grow me through the troubles I have.  I don’t have to understand them, but I do have to make the choice to let God use them in my life for something good…..and in the lives of others as well, I hope. 

Not to become bitter, but better.  And then in future cold days that may come, I will benefit from the lessons learned…..learned in the hard times. 








I have some container plants on our front porch.  They need routine watering, of course, but definitely need plenty of water during our very hot Kansas summer.  A few weeks ago, I was guilty of neglecting those plants for longer than I should have.  You know how it is.  I just got busy with many other things.  I would remember the plants and tell myself I needed to check on them, but then once again I would forget to do so in the midst of running here and there.

I had noticed my pretty Impatiens in the corner drooping a little one day, so I gave myself a mental note to water the plants that evening.  But I yet again got distracted and didn’t water them like I promised myself I would do.

When I finally went to check on the plants some time later, I was sad to see that my Impatiens was completely wilted.  “Beyond wilted,” I thought.  “This poor plant is dead……gone.”


I very nearly just tossed the pitiful thing in the trash can, but something made me stop.  I decided to go ahead and water it.  What could it possibly hurt?  So I filled my watering can, gave all my plants a much needed drink, and waited to see the result.

The first time I looked at the dead Impatiens after being watered, it didn’t look any different.  This just confirmed to me that it was beyond hope.  But still I waited.

And wouldn’t you know, by the next day I was amazed at what I saw!!


My once dried up plant was now thriving once again!  It had sprung to new life because of simply being watered.  It soaked up what it needed once that life giving need was provided.

I have gone through times in my life where the bad news and the burdens are overwhelming.  Sometimes it’s been hard to handle the stress, and so I have bowed low under the pressure.

It’s during these heated times in my life that I must not let myself neglect the one important element of what sustains me…..God.  He knows my situation and has even planned my path for a purpose.  But it sure is easy to become distracted from Him as I feel the weight of my fears and burdens.  Someone else felt this way, too, and wrote about it beautifully in Psalm 42:

“Why are you in despair, O my soul?  And why have you become disturbed within me?  Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him for the help of His presence.”

When we know God, it doesn’t mean we won’t suffer.  It doesn’t mean we won’t feel despair.  But knowing God does mean that we have hope.  Hope in God is hope well placed.  It’s a hope that brings us to praise…….praise for His help and His presence.

“The Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime; And His song will be with me in the night, a prayer to the God of my life.”

God loves us throughout each day and even gives us a song during the awful dark hours of the long nights.  That song is our prayer as we lay in the stillness of night, when everything seems darker and bigger and more awful than in the light of day.  Our prayer to God…..our deep groanings……our praise…..turn into a song, even when we don’t really hear a beautiful tune at that moment.  But God hears and He is pleased, and He is the One Who turns our prayers into a song.

Just in the past few days I have a dear friend who found out that she has breast cancer.  She will soon begin chemo and then face surgery.  My brother-in-law went in for a heart cath and was told that he will need bypass surgery.  A friend said goodbye to her wayward son as he moves very far away, and she feels she may not ever see him again.  Another friend is watching her son’s seizures dangerously increase as she awaits a visit with their specialist in Memphis.   I could keep going.  It just seems like there is so much suffering and personal attack right now.

This past Monday I sat in a friend’s back yard, at her picnic table, and we along with another friend were sharing some of the ongoing situations that one friend especially is dealing with.  This wonderful mother and wife, my sweet friend, suggested that we pray.  She bowed her head and started speaking very comfortably with God.  We all prayed, just as if God was sitting right there with us and we were including Him in our conversation……which is really the case.  It was so sweet, and each of us was so encouraged in just the way that we needed.

Just like my wilted plant.  We all felt like this at first –


But after praying, we were encouraged and refreshed…..just like my plant that finally received water.

“Why are you in despair, O my soul?  And why have you become disturbed within me?  Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God.”

The more I wilt, the more I can count on God to give me just what I need as I hope in Him, praise Him, and rest in His arms.  He will refresh me and He will revive me, even in the heat of the trials that I may be encountering.

He’s a good God and an amazing caregiver for us.

And He never forgets us when we need watering!