Magical and Maddening

“Aaron, look!!” I exclaimed one recent night as I closed our family room blinds.  Aaron walked over to join me at the window.  There, emerging from the grass in our front yard, were dozens of fireflies.  Lightning bugs, we called them where I grew up in West Virginia.

Aaron thought they were very cool!  He insisted that Gary come to the window as well, and so we stood there together for a minute, enjoying the sparkling little bugs.

A few nights later, Gary and I sat on our front porch after the stifling heat of the day had subsided somewhat.  It’s nice for us to enjoy a few moments of quietness and of being together, just the two of us without Aaron’s loud interruptions.  As dusk fell and darkness was encroaching, up from the grass once again came those beautiful fireflies.

It was captivating watching their glow, so many of them combining into a magical light show right in front of us.  So peaceful.

Then…BAM!!

Out on the porch rushed Aaron, who is rarely quiet.  There went the peacefulness of our front porch evening!

“MOM!!  Are we watching a Little House tonight?” he asked, knowing the answer.

I assured him that we would watch an episode, as always.

But, as always, that wasn’t enough for Aaron.

“When?” he asked.  “Can we do it now?”

I knew what was ahead but wanting to remain in the magic of firefly glow I told Aaron that I would let him know when I was ready.  This answer never suits Aaron.

One of the very hardest things for Aaron to do is to wait…on anything.  He especially finds it nearly impossible to wait on me to watch a program with him when HE is ready.  He escalates quickly into anger at those times, no matter what I say or how well I prepare him for the inevitable wait.  That night was no exception.

Our evening was quickly reverting from magical to maddening.

Such is often the life of a caregiver.

My blogging friend, Cheryl, is the author of a caregiving blog written out of her experiences as she cares for her husband who has Parkinson’s.  Our situations are very different but also very similar.  I have loved her insights and her godly wisdom.

In one recent blog…linked here… (https://parkinsonscaregivernet.wordpress.com/2020/06/13/similar-yet-different-but-really-similar/) – she wrote:

“But we live for the moments of joy: seeing our loved one smile, hearing them recount experiences from the past, watching them respond to family and friends, hearing them tell a favorite joke. Those moments may be brief, so we hold them sacred in our hearts and bring them to mind when the times are difficult. Another is the joy of knowing we are doing our best, that we are doing the right thing, that we are doing God’s work here on earth by caring for our loved one. Let’s not forget that, especially when the moments are difficult or uncomfortable.”

The difficult moments with Aaron often involve his autistic behaviors…his demands that life revolves around HIS order and expectations of how things are to be.  During those times, no one else’s desires or needs are considered by Aaron to have importance.

Maddening.

On our firefly night, we told Aaron that he needed to wait.  We tried to get him to  enjoy the magical lights in our front yard but he was blinded by his own frustrations and cared nothing for the beauty around him.  Only one thing mattered.  And he wanted that one thing NOW.

Anger intruded into our evening and stood on our front porch, as opposite in its effect as could possibly be when compared to the earlier joy of time together with Gary among the little sparkles in our yard.

Later, the anger was gone as Aaron and I watched our show.  Aaron is usually oblivious to the effect he has on us during those times as he brushes off the recent outburst and is happy in his bubble again, where all is well.

Oh, that it was so easy for me to do the same!

Like Cheryl said, though, it’s important to hold the moments of joy sacred in our hearts and in our memories.  And to know that we, as caregivers, are doing God’s work here on earth.

My heart this morning was heavy as I helped Aaron during his second seizure…knew that I would have bedding to wash later…canceled my hair appointment…and tried to still my worried heart about other matters.

I had finished my normal Bible study and so I opened my Bible randomly to see where my eyes fell.  I love doing that!  It’s like opening a treasure box that I just unearthed, excited to see what’s inside!

And look what God gave me!!

“But ask the beasts, and they will teach you; the birds of the heavens, and they will tell you; or the bushes of the earth, and they will teach you; and the fish of the sea will declare to you.  Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this?  In His hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind.”  (Job 12:7-10)

It’s all in God’s hands!

Aaron…me…Gary…others I love…our world…

All life and breath is in God’s hand.  All of creation declares that truth!

Now it’s up to me to trust our loving God and to rest in His hand.  And to…most importantly…trust Aaron into His hand and know that God put Aaron into our lives for a purpose I may never know on this earth.

But may I trust God’s knowing.  Trust and know just as much as the beasts and the birds and the bushes trust and know Who has done all this!!

Fireflies know, too, I am sure.

Maybe that’s why they shine their magical lights for all to see!

May I do likewise.

Photo by National Wildlife Photo Contest entrant Radim Schreiber.

 

Aaron’s Talking Points #8

Time for more of Aaron’s comments that I’ve collected over the years!  😊

 

I just watched Aaron chow down 4 slices of taco pizza that I fixed. Then he said, “You know, Mom……….that wasn’t my favorite.” And it took you FOUR slices to figure this out, Aaron?!

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This week, Luke B has started the next part of our remodel. It did not go unnoticed by Aaron yesterday that the baseboards in the hall are gone. He charged into the room where I was, excited and bothered.

“MOM!!! Why is Luke digging up the bottom of our house?!!” 😅🧐

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I’m heating up leftovers for supper tonight. Aaron decided he wanted some Ravioli Lasagna.

The time was 4:36.

Me: Aaron, do you want me to heat up your Ravioli Lasagna now?

Aaron: No. It’s not 5:00.

Gary: Are you hungry?

Aaron: Yes. But it’s not 5:00.

😁😜⌚⏲

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Gary’s working on his truck mirrors. Aaron was outside talking to him (of course!), so when Aaron came inside, I asked him what Gary was doing. His answer?

“Dad’s working on his look-out mirrors!” 😅😅😅

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I ordered a game for Aaron yesterday. I told him it will arrive in a week or in 10 days. Today he said, “So it’ll arrive in a week or in 10 days, which is a week & 3 days. That’s all, right?” He must know the EXACT day. We’ll have this conversation for the next week or week & 3 days! If it doesn’t arrive on time, I may take a trip for a week or a week & 3 days – far away!

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Me, at 11:37: Aaron, do you want some lunch? Some pizza?

Aaron: No. It’s not 12:00. Don’t rush me!

🤣🤣🤣

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I told Aaron that Gary and I were going out tonight. His response: “OK. Scram.” He doesn’t waste words.

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I was trimming our big Rose of Sharon bushes while Gary worked on our bathroom remodel. Aaron was helping me put the limbs in a trash can. He could tell that I was getting tired, so he had an idea.

“Mom! You should take a break…and fix supper.” 😅😛

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Aaron had seizures night before last and into the day yesterday. He was slow and quiet and all the other things that go into a seizure day.

But today…total opposite for sure. He was out of bed way too early for me on a Saturday morning, but not for him!

“MOM!! I woke up at 7:59, but I stayed in bed till 8:00! Was that good to stay in bed till 8:00?!”

Let me think before I answer that, Aaron. 🤔😜

Trust me, I was trying to pull up all my sympathetic feelings from yesterday as he stood in front of me before 8:30, fully showered and dressed and mouth working overtime

He followed Gary around like a little puppy, talking about anything and everything.

“DAD!! Have you heard about…?”

“DAD!! Have you heard about…?”

Finally, Gary muttered something for only me to hear…something about motor mouth. But sharp-eared Aaron heard it.

“YEAH, DAD!! Have you heard about Mighty Mouse?!!”

😂😂😂

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Aaron, talking about someone who got pulled over for speeding (it wasn’t me!!): “He was supposed to be going the speeding of 30, but he was going faster than that!”

The moral of this story: Speed the speed limit!!

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Aaron asked me to fix him some apples. Then came the big decision about when to eat the apples. Finally, he had a plan.

“I know, Mom! I’ll watch Pirates of the Caribbean during my apples!” 😁😁

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Aaron had one seizure last night. When he only has one seizure instead of three or four, that’s when he seems prone to having the serious drop seizures that have caused injuries. I ran out this morning before Gary went to work and bought Aaron a helmet.

Aaron is staying home today to:

  1. See if he has anymore seizures.
  2. Participate in helmet training

So far, we have seen:

  1. No more seizures
  2. No helmet training participation

I have constructed a scientific formula based on our testing today.

Autism + Helmet = BIG FAT NO!!!!

Further testing and participation look doubtful. 🧐😟😬😝

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I’ve shared before about how Aaron has a very difficult time understanding and remembering family relationships. Remember when he was struggling with the fact that Andrea was going to marry Kyle? We told him that he wasn’t losing Andrea but instead would gain a brother. Then on a bad day, he responded, “I DON’T want Andrea to marry Kyle!! I don’t need a Grand-brother!!” 😄

So the other day, this happened:

“Mom, guess who picks up Chris at Paradigm? Sometimes his younger dad, and sometimes his grandfather!!” 😂👨‍🦰👴

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Aaron: Mom, do you want to play Skip-Bo?

Me: Mmmmm…..

Aaron: Do you want to?

Me: I don’t know.

Aaron: So do you want to play Skip-Bo?

Me: Mmmmm…..

Aaron: Do you want to?

Me: I’m thinking.

Aaron: Well, I wish your thinking would HURRY!!

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Aaron’s Talking Points #7

Here are more of Aaron’s comments that I have collected over the years.  Enjoy!

 

Aaron told me that the other night he had one of Andrea’s hairs on his toothbrush. “Mom, some of Andrea’s hair leaked onto the counter and got on my toothbrush!”

It’s a good thing he doesn’t keep his toothbrush in my bathroom because my head leaks lots of hairs!

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Aaron: Mom! Did you know there’s an OLD Robocop movie that was around when Dad was around?!

I didn’t tell Aaron, but I think Gary is still around. I’m running down now to check, though, just in case he knows something I don’t know.

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Aaron got a little choked during supper. His observation:

“I swallowed it down the wrong throat!”

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Aaron saw the news and pictures of the nuclear reactor fires in Japan. So he asked, “Mom, what are those ball buildings?”

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Aaron also saw a nuclear physicist being interviewed. This man had some wild gray hair, much like Einstein, so Aaron got excited and asked, “Mom!! Isn’t that the guy that invented…….oh, what was it?………H2O?”

Ummm….No, Aaron. Different formula. Same hair, though.

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Aaron and I were just watching the news. A special segment came on about Michael Jackson. Aaron said, “Hey, I know some of Michael’s dance moves. Want me to show you?”

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Aaron is almost as concerned with the weather as he is with keeping correct times. When time and weather collide…well, hold on!!

Aaron asked me on Thursday night when it was going to rain, as he does nearly every night. I told him that we might get some storms over the weekend. Silly me.

Aaron: When will it storm?

Me: Maybe Sunday evening.

Aaron: When is evening?

And before I could form a reasonable answer:

Aaron: What time is evening?

And again before I could answer:

Aaron: Is evening lunch time?

Me: No, not lunch time. It’s…

Aaron: Is it supper time?

Me: YES!!!! It’s around supper time.

Aaron: So it will storm at 5:00?

AAAAAHHHHH!!!!!!!!

My plan is to keep a close eye on The Weather Channel, Weather Bug, MyRadar app, AccuWeather, KAKE Weather, KWCH Weather, and 101.3 storm chasers. At the first inkling of a storm here, we are eating supper. I don’t care what time it is, we will eat supper, people!!!!!! 🤣😬💦💨🌩️⛈️⚡

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Last night Aaron wasn’t sure that he wanted to wear green today. “I don’t want to look like a vegetable!” he said. Well, he had four seizures last night so he didn’t get to go to his day group today. I have been counting my blessings today, and one is for Aaron…..that he didn’t have to go out today looking like a vegetable!

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Aaron told me that today he was walking downtown with his group and saw a German restaurant. He looked in the window (poor patrons!) and said that he saw bottles of wine. “So Mom, is that what Germans like for food? Wine?!! Is that all they eat?”

Maybe we should go and check it out!!

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Every time Aaron and I go to Dillon’s he must, if possible, stop by the fresh fish and seafood display. He loves seeing the shrimp, the lobster, the crab legs, and anything else that’s there. Today there was a surprise! Two whole fish!! Aaron was so thrilled that he pushed himself in front of a little family as he exclaimed loudly:

“MOM!! LOOK!! He’s all fish!!!” 😂😂🐟

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Aaron: Mom! If I had a clone, it would be the same of me.

Me: That’s a great way to put it, Aaron!

Aaron: Would you want a clone of me?

Me: NO!! I mean, no.

Aaron: Why not?

Me: Because ONE OF YOU IS ENOUGH!!!

Aaron: OK.

He just walked off with no reaction. Oh, the tragedy of so much wasted sarcasm in this house!! 😆😆💙💙

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And we’ll have more of the same of these Aaron Talking Points!

Trust me!  😊  😊

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Biscuits and Blessings

Aaron was very happy last Thursday when I asked him if he wanted to come with me to Aldi.  I needed a few things, which with Aaron involved would turn into more than just a few things.  Shopping, even for groceries, is Aaron’s second favorite thing to do.  First on the list, most definitely, is eating out.

But shopping ranks a close second.  Aaron sees a store as a huge area of nearly limitless possibilities.  When we enter, he is instantly on the prowl for his catch.  Will it be gum?  A canister of peanuts?  Pringles?  Croissants?  Thick grated cheese…not that thin stuff!!  Or will he find an unusual item that he holds up for me…and all within earshot…to see?  Like an artichoke or an eggplant or a star fruit!

Stores are just awesome!!

When we exited Aldi, Aaron had captured a large container of mixed nuts and THREE cans of biscuits!!

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The biscuit discussion ensued.  When would we eat them?  For which meal?  How many would we fix?  Would I eat any?  Would Dad eat any?  And even when the questions were answered, they must be asked again…and again…and again.

Expected with Aaron, but exhausting.

I told Aaron that we would eat some biscuits on the next day, Friday.  Then he plotted and planned at which meal we would eat them, and how many cans would we fix.

“Can we have TWO ?” he asked.

But I assured him that the three of us did not need more than 8 biscuits, so he resigned himself to that reality as Thursday ended and the promise of Biscuit Friday lay ahead.

Before he finally decided to stay IN bed and go to sleep, he had to verify it one more time.

“Mom? Did you say that tomorrow you’re only fixing ONE barrel of biscuits?”

How I love his phrasing of common names!  Only Aaron can make a can of biscuits take on a whole new meaning.

“Yes, Aaron,” I answered with a smile.  “We only need one barrel of biscuits.”

During that night, Aaron had two seizures while he slept.  But he really perked up when he got out of the bed later that morning.  In fact, he talked and talked and talked as he followed me around the house.  I was so saturated with his chatter and endless questions that I was in need of some relief.

I agreed when he asked if we could have some biscuits for lunch instead of waiting for supper.  He put three biscuits on his plate when they were ready.

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He was SO happy! Look at his face as we settled in to watch a Little House on The Prairie episode, and he had his plate full of biscuits.  Pure delight!

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Later, I was very thankful for that moment. Aaron had another seizure that evening around the time we would have been eating supper. After awhile, when he was alert, he didn’t feel like eating any more biscuits. His appetite is usually ruined right after seizures. It always makes me sad when his seizures mess up his happy moments. But it was like God gave me that sweet gift of watching the joy of Aaron and his barrel of biscuits earlier in the day, knowing that if we had waited until supper then he would have been sad about missing his biscuits…and so would I.

God’s gifts may seem small sometimes but they’re really not at all. They sure do fill my heart and make me happy. ❤️❤️

And God’s gifts are all around us, every day, if we take the time to look.

Who would have thought that our barrels of biscuits would turn into barrels of blessings?

 

AARON’S Mother’s Day

The above title is not a mistake.  You see, every special day for Aaron has one bottom line.  That bottom line, simply put, is food.  Aaron knows that special days usually call for special food.  To Aaron, special food is what makes the world go round.  Forget all that love stuff.  It’s FOOD, baby!!

This memory from 10 years ago popped up on my Facebook news feed recently:

Aaron: “So are you getting something special since it’s your Mother’s Day?” I walked over to him, put my arm around him and said, “Well, a hug is special.” Aaron: “I was talking about food!!” Ah, if Mom gets special food then Aaron might get special food. Smart boy!

This past Saturday, while I was planting my porch flowers in various pots, Gary took Aaron out to buy me a Mother’s Day card and flowers.  Aaron walked up on the front porch when they got home and awkwardly thrust the flowers out for me to take.  He immediately turned to walk away, hoping to avoid the hug that he knew was coming.  But before he got very far, he turned and said these priceless words:  “Mom, now that I got you flowers, can we get something special to eat?!”

HaHaHaHaHa!!!!

He enjoyed watching me put the flowers in a vase.

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He was happy when I finished the porch flowers.

He was VERY happy when he hopped in the truck with me and Gary as we went to Lowe’s.  A shopping trip might…just might…mean a stop for special food.

So he was beyond happy when he heard the words “Burger King” come out of our mouths.  Yay!!  Later, as we sat around our table and ate our simple but special food, Aaron was enjoying every bite.

Mission accomplished!!

The next day, Aaron ran into the bathroom as I finished drying my hair.  He told me to hurry because he had something for me.  I didn’t hurry fast enough, however, and Aaron couldn’t contain his excitement.

“Mom!!  I got you a card!!  Hurry!!”

No matter how many times I tell him not to divulge the secret, Aaron cannot keep secrets very well when it comes to the gifts he gives.

With unfixed hair, we ran downstairs to where Gary sat.  Aaron grabbed the card from Gary’s hand and happily handed it to me.

I opened it, and my laughter delighted Aaron no end!

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Later that evening, we feasted on great food – grilled ribs and yummy sides.

And I was once again reminded that, despite the issues we sometimes face with Aaron, he provides us with many special moments.

Happy Mother’s Day to me, from Aaron!

Every day, if I take the time to look.

 

 

 

Who Are These Special Moms?

As the mother of a son with special needs, I have often had people tell me that they think God gives special children to special moms.  While I realize that this sentiment is meant to be encouraging and kind, I also must say that I think it’s misguided.  A big reason I think this is because I know me.  I know me better than anyone else knows me, except God.  I know that I’m no more special than any other mom out there.  This isn’t fake humility, either.  It’s just the truth.

All moms need God’s grace for each day.  We who are His children need His grace for our own children in so many different ways.  How amazing is God’s grace, too!  He promises this undeserved favor to us over and over, greater grace for greater needs, along with His mercies that are new every morning.  He has all that I need.  He has all that any mom needs.  I asked God many times to give me grace for the challenges that I faced as a mom of all three of our children.

Having said all this, let me also say that I have a great respect for the moms that I know who are walking this life alongside their child or children with special needs.  My heart goes out to them, ones I know and ones I don’t know, as they face demands that they never dreamed they would encounter as a mother.

Aaron-mothers day 12May1985

So as Mother’s Day approaches, and we see the beautiful cards…….heart tugging commercials…….perfect mother and children photos…….and all the lovely images of motherhood through the years – let me give a “special” shout-out to all the “special” moms of special children.

Those dear Moms:

  • Who spend hours researching your child’s diagnosis rather than hours researching what sport for him to play.
  • Who pray for your child’s teacher to be understanding of meltdowns, bluntness, and a zillion other things that have nothing to do with her grasping of educational facts, and yet have everything to do with her ability to learn.
  • Who dread with a passion those IEP meetings.
  • Who dread having to once again explain your child in every new setting.
  • Who dread high school graduation because……then what?
  • Who try to ignore the stares from others in public places instead of basking in admiring glances.
  • Who are learning how to use your child’s feeding tube rather than planning his fun pizza party.
  • Who are searching for the best wheelchair rather than the best bicycle.
  • Who watch their child being marked for radiation rather than getting a cool tattoo.
  • Who are shopping with their daughter for a wig to cover her bald head due to chemo instead of shopping for the perfect new hair products.
  • Who are driving their older child everywhere because he can’t have a driver’s license due to seizures or other medical issues.
  • Who hurt because their child doesn’t have many, or any, friends.
  • Who are signing guardianship papers instead of college admittance papers.
  • Who are scouring the internet for the latest medical treatments instead of scouring for the best college scholarships.
  • Who know more drug names and side effects than they ever wanted to know.
  • Who spend far more time finding caregivers than finding cool vacation spots.
  • Who are adept at rearranging schedules due to unexpected medical issues.
  • Who lay in bed at night with the sound of your husband sleeping on one side, and your adult child breathing heavily in the baby monitor on the other side as you listen for seizures.
  • Who read your adult child the same book every single night of his life.
  • Who keep waterproof mattress pads on your child’s bed – your adult child.
  • Who have a hard time finishing a conversation with your husband without being interrupted over and over.
  • And who, for some, will find themselves looking at a gravestone on Mother’s Day instead of looking into the eyes of their child.

 

So to all of you amazing mothers of special needs children, I give you a huge high five!!  I hope you know that you are loved and that God does have special grace for you every day.

And may you, as my friend Atha would say, be established in your purpose……this God-given purpose……of raising one of His very special children.

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See…And Be…The Blessing

While my husband was mowing our yard on Saturday evening, I decided to run down to the store for some good old fried chicken.  Working behind the counter was a familiar face…a sweet woman who often waits on me.  I always ask her how she’s doing and ask about her elderly mother who lives with her.  She missed seeing Aaron with me and was asking about him.  Everyone knows Aaron…trust me on that!  😊

I ordered my chicken, and then asked for a few more pieces to be added a la carte.  As she filled the container for me, she told me that she would just put in those extra legs and thighs at no charge.  I said no, that I would pay for them, but she insisted on her plan.  The reason?

“You are always so kind to me,” she said.  “I want to do this for you.”

I was so touched…a little embarrassed…and walked away very blessed.

The next morning our pastor shared a meaning of that very familiar word…the word, “blessed.”

He said that to bless means, “To kneel in order to serve.”

He talked about how Jesus knelt down and washed the disciples’ feet.  Jesus was kneeling in order to serve.

We often talk about how we want to be a blessing, to God and to others.  We also talk about God blessing us.

But how can I possibly bless God?

I bless God by kneeling and serving.  I kneel before God, certainly.  But I am also to be like Jesus and kneel in service before the people in my life.

As Gary and I listened to the sermon, it hit me.  God had given me a sweet object lesson of this “blessing” principle just the evening before.

I had blessed this deli worker by showing her that I cared about her and her life.  She turned around and blessed me by giving me some free chicken.  I wasn’t showing her kindness for the purpose of getting something free, but my kindness gave her the desire to bless me in return.

As I serve God, I am blessing Him…and He, in return, will bless me.

I don’t mean that God will give me free stuff.  I mean that God will kneel down in His kindness and will bless me with joy…peace…love…grace…and other such sweet blessings that are promised to me all through scripture.

Sometimes, though, we think of serving God in big, obvious, public ways.  Our human nature and our culture tend to value the well-known over the little-known.

Over the years, more and more, God has taken away most of the public ways I had of serving Him.  Instead, God has brought home to me that, well, my home is to be my primary place of blessing God and blessing others.  This is my personal experience and doesn’t mean that it will be yours as well.  But wherever God has put you is where you ARE, by His plan, and that is the place where you can still bless Him and others.

Home can be a hard place to feel like I am a blessing.  The sameness and the drudgery of home life, honestly, can squelch the feeling that I often associate with being a blessing.

Cleaning around the toilet can be a blessing?  Really?!

But I’m brought back to Jesus, humbling himself by doing the disgusting work of a servant.

Washing the disciples feet can be a blessing?  Really?!

Really.

I kneel.  And I serve.  In the place where God has put me.

I don’t choose the place.  I don’t choose the service.

Validation isn’t the important thing.

Serving is the important thing.

For me, I serve God as I serve Aaron.  He was given to us by God.

On a seizure day:

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While we walk:

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Or he TALKS:

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When he wins and grins:

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Or asks for that homemade milkshake:

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The times are precious:

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And so are the children and the homes that we are given!

“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name.  Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits.”  (Psalm 103:1-2)

 

Remember When?

Last summer, Aaron had a dentist appointment…and in his usual fashion, he plotted and planned where we could hopefully eat afterwards.

“Mom?” he asked.  “Tomorrow after my dentist appointment, can we eat at Jimmy’s Eggs?”

Yes, he calls Jimmy’s Egg – Jimmy’s Eggs.  I mean, who just eats one egg, right?!

The next day found us sitting at Jimmy’s Eggs enjoying a delicious lunch/breakfast.  And yes, Aaron did happily eat every bite of all this food!

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There was, though, another big reason why Aaron loved Jimmy’s Eggs.  Well, it was actually a very little reason that was quite big to Aaron.

Can you see it?

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An ant!

Aaron wasn’t alarmed at all by having an ant join us for lunch.  In fact, Aaron put a little piece of carrot from his salad on the table so the ant wouldn’t feel left out about not being allowed to order lunch.  Next, he added a piece of bacon.

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The server was embarrassed by the ant, but I told her not to worry.  Aaron loved having the ant company, and it made me happy to watch him trying to care for the little guy.

We haven’t been back to Jimmy’s Egg(s) since then.  It just hasn’t been on our dining list, but not because of the ant.

One day not long ago, when the closure of restaurants during this virus was hitting home with Aaron, he thought about Jimmy’s Egg(s).

“Mom?” he asked, “remember Jimmy’s Eggs and how we used to eat there before the virus?”

He said it so wistfully that it made me sad.  Like now he measures time as Before Virus (BV) and After Virus (AV).

All of us, though, are having similar thoughts.

Remember when?

Remember when I had a job…was planning that trip I had to cancel…was going to march in graduation…could be with my mother in her nursing home or hospital…was having a huge Easter celebration…could go to church…didn’t fear for my family’s life?

I certainly don’t understand everything that’s going on around us and why certain decisions are being made, but here we are.

What I CAN do is pray, a lot, for God’s wisdom and protection for all involved in this mess.  That’s basically the whole world, and for our nation in particular.

When I zoom down to my own life, or the lives of so many that I love, I do find myself at times remembering when…and if I’m not careful, fear and sadness can rule my thoughts.

That’s why yesterday morning, when I read these verses, I was so tremendously encouraged.

“But as for me, I trust in You, Oh Lord.  I say, ‘You are my God.’   My times are in Your hand.”  (Psalm 31:14-15a)

The word “times” here doesn’t just mean that my lifespan is in God’s hands.  David also meant “…all the kaleidoscope of circumstances that meet him left and right.  Calvin rightly draws attention to the plural form – ‘times’, and says that David uses it to ‘mark the variety of casualties by which the life of man is usually harassed.’  (Dale Ralph Davis, In the Presence of My Enemies)

Beside verses in my Bible, I often write a date and sometimes a note to remind me of when and how God especially spoke to me through that verse.  I call them my memorial stones.

Beside those two verses above, I had written “Nov., 1994.” I was going through a stressful time concerning a possible health issue and the death of my Grandma.  We lived in Leavenworth, Gary was deployed for training in the military, I had three little ones, Aaron’s special needs were getting more difficult, and I was far from home and family.  But God reached down in that chaos and stress, and He told me very sweetly and clearly that those times…MY times…were in His loving hand.

Now here I was yesterday, with COVID-19 and all its issues swirling around us and those we love, and I was remembering when…

Remembering when God spoke to me all those years ago in another stress.

Remembering when God filled me with peace.

Remembering when God proved His promise to be my God, then, and is doing the same now.

“How often the truth of this text has proven a bastion and bulwark for God’s servants.  Ulrich Zwingli, a reformer in Zurich, was visiting his people, trying to console sick and dying.  The plague had some to Zurich in August 1519.  By autumn Zwingli himself had succumbed to the disease.  Confined to bed and staring death in the face, Zwingli prayed:  ‘Do as you will, for I lack nothing.  I am your vessel to be restored or destroyed.’ Different words, to be sure, but actually just a paraphrase of ‘My times are in your hand.’  One can rest there even in the plague.”  (Dale Ralph Davis)

We can rest in God’s hands and in His times for us individually…for our families…for our friends…for our nation…for our world.

Now, beside these verses, I have added a new memorial note: “ COVID-19, April, 2020.”

May God’s promises and His faithfulness be what I remember when I’m “remembering when!”

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Stay-At-Home With Aaron

This Friday will mark one month that I have kept Aaron home due to COVID-19.  To borrow Aaron’s words while I was still able to take him shopping:  “You’re getting that because of the Coronavirus, aren’t you?”  Said with frustration, I might add, as he has seen this virus as a great deal of unnecessary drama in his life.  I think many are feeling that way right now!

The other night he got to video message with two of his friends from his day group.  It made him realize how much he misses them and his other friends.  I was glad to hear him say that, for getting Aaron to re-enter his former routine may take some doing.

He does love being at home, although some days he is at loose ends.  When this first started, I thought of something to do every day that would keep him occupied and happy.  Watching some shows during the day, for instance, was a treat for him since it’s something we never do.  So many activities we would normally do – eating out, movies, the zoo, shopping – are off limits now, so giving happy moments every day was…and is…vital to Aaron and to ME.

However, Aaron has now become a professional Event Coordinator.  😊  He finds it quite fun to plan our days!  But today, after going through the car wash and grabbing a to-go pizza for lunch, I had to say no to driving to a nearby lake.  My days are still full of necessary home life, so when added to these fun activities with Aaron, I’m finding myself getting behind.  I’m realizing that these are the days I used to wish I had…days at home when I could get so much done…but the “getting so much done” just isn’t happening!

One thing I really wanted to do today…and have wanted to do for many days…is to give a quick update on my stay-at-home life with Aaron.  What have we been doing to occupy our time?  Let’s see:

 

Playing Go Fish:

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Taking drives and seeing fun wildlife like these turkeys:

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Cutting coupons:

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Watching favorite programs:

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Dairy Queen Blizzards at Lake Afton:

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Donuts at Lake Afton (this pattern must stop!):

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Walks at Swanson Park:

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Practicing with selfies:

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Cooking:

 

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Getting a new PC game:

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Eating by lantern when the electricity went out:

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Pulling Weeds:

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And relaxing as only Aaron does, crunching mulch:

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We’ve had some moments, for sure, but I can honestly say that Aaron has mostly handled our stay-at-home much better than we thought he would.  I know that’s because of prayer, and I am so thankful for God’s mercies and strength and wisdom.

We are truly blessed to have so many options of places to go and activities to do that keep us safely distanced from others, yet able to leave the house and get some fresh air and sunshine, hear the birds, and enjoy this new pause in our lives.

How are each of you and your families doing?  I pray that God is strengthening you and that you are being encouraged in unexpected ways during these days.

Let’s keep praying for one another, and for our great country.  May God keep us safe and wise, and may we continue loving Him and each other in these unprecedented times.