Tag Archives: ASD

Baby Steps

In the midst of the snow-pocalypse down here in Atlanta my kids were out of school most of the week. That left Lan with lots of unstructured time. Anyone with a kid on the spectrum knows that isn’t always a good thing. One of the things we’ve been trying to work on continuously is maturity and age-appropriate behavior.

When the snow fell on the first day, Lan made mention of going outside and making snow angels. He is now fourteen. His older brother (by fifteen months) had no such inclinations. It was a far cry from the last snow three years ago when they both played gleefully outside. This time however, Cam in his teenage sarcastic voice exclaimed, “It looks pretty but snow is wet and cold. I’m not trying to get in it.” Lan held no such reservations. So, I simply waited for the time he would ask, “Can I go play in the snow?”

Interestingly enough, the request never came. Additionally, Lan was a trooper over four days studying biology on the computer test prep site (and making As), reading the James Patterson book assigned to him by his teacher and thoroughly practicing both his instruments without a peep of dissent.

Cam had biology he could read ahead on and math to preview as well. When Lan saw he was not alone in his studies, he appeared less ambivalent about them and did not at ask why?  He had a sincere desire not to get behind in school. Trust me; this is a huge step forward.

Lastly, as hubby and I headed out for date night last night, Lan was perched on the couch ready to enjoy some television time. When I asked what he was going to watch he said, Transformers.  I was intrigued because for once it was the live action movie and not the cartoon show. I’m sure I wasn’t overly confident that he wouldn’t soon turn the channel to Ninja Turtles or something else on the “kids” cable channel but when we returned several hours later he was still on the couch watching the third Transformers movie. The live action movies with real people were actually able to hold his attention.

So, what’s the point?

The point is the things we pray for in regards to our kids, their growth and development won’t necessarily come all at once. Sometimes they come in increments so small we would miss them if we aren’t careful. I certainly didn’t realize it until I was in church this morning and realized that God was slowly answering my prayer!

And to top it off, Lan walked up to one of my friends after church today and said “Hello.” He doesn’t know Keren that well at all. She said, “You have a really friendly child.” I just smiled. She has no idea of how miraculously far he’s come to reach the point of walking up to her, without me and politely speaking.

None of these minor changes seem like a lot to most people, yet I believe small changes in the right direction should be recognized, appreciated and celebrated.

On this Sunday it is one more thing to be grateful for. My “baby” is taking small steps away from childlike things. Now don’t get me wrong, we still have a house full of Legos, Ninja Turtles and other stuff. And I don’t mind that at all. But it’s wonderful to recognize movement toward our goals. Sometimes when it seems nothing at all is changing, things may actually be making a shift in the right direction.

Today I am grateful to God for “baby steps” no matter how small they may be. I am also grateful for revelation to recognize them and not just gloss over things as I am apt to do. Not only is God doing some wonderful things in my baby boy, it appears He is also doing a few good things in me as well. 

“The steps of a [good] man are ordered by the LORD, And He delights in his way,” Psalms 37:23 NKJV

“A man’s heart plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps,” Proverbs 16:9 NKJV

[I would have lost heart], unless I had believed That I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Psalms 27:13 NKJV

What next?

I am sitting here today pondering, “What’s next?” in regards to Lan and his future. Old habits would have me convinced I should be preoccupied doing something to facilitate an outcome.

A couple of weeks ago my husband and I met with Lan’s teachers and counselor to come up with strategies to help his academic success. So far, so good. However, the true outcome of our plan won’t be evident until progress reports come out… next month! At this point I can only wait patiently.

I’m sure there are things I could be doing but I am confident my efforts would be fruitless. I would just be busy. Having Lan’s best interests occupy my consciousness for so long, it seems odd to be at this standstill. Yet, God isn’t prodding me to do anything right now. It is both liberating and strange all at once.

I’ve prayed long ago for my “load” to be a bit lighter or to be able to manage it better. I’m not quite sure which or both have been answered. It is as if we’ve come to yet another rite of passage, probably more for me than for Lan, that I must cast my cares (once again and continually) and trust God for the very best.

I don’t know how his first year in high school will end. However, unlike before, the unknown no longer fills me with fear or dread. My priority now is to be ever aware when God does give me instruction and respond quickly.

Abraham didn’t know what was next for him when he headed out toward the unknown. Yet, Abraham was patient, obedient, maintained his faith, and was well rewarded for doing so. I only pray that I can do the same.

Abraham even made a few mistakes as he waited (Hagar) and I’ve made mine, but I am not letting momentary failings withdraw me from God’s faithfulness or the promises He has for me!

So if you are like me and have no idea of what’s next, don’t fret!

I am less concerned as I get older in understanding the how, what and why as I am in having faith for the final outcome.

Sometimes, the answers to our questions extend beyond our comprehension. Why do bad things happen to good people? Why is my child diagnosed with autism? How is my child ever going to succeed?

I don’t know.

I’ve finally matured enough to trust God to equip me to do the best I can with what I’ve been given instead of wasting time pondering how or why?

The unknown isn’t as daunting a prospect when you know the God who is in control of it all. We may think we know what is next for our circumstances, our future and our lives. However, all any of us can really do is learn to live our lives as best we can.

Perfection is impossible, that’s why we need a Savior.

We can choose to believe in Him or what this world has to offer. We can choose to speak life or death. We can choose to follow Him or fall by the wayside. Whether we choose to live in faith or fear for the future can make a world of difference. I choose to wait patiently with hope and in faith.

I guess for me, that’s what’s next!

“But without faith [it is] impossible to please [Him], for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and [that] He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6 NKJV

“By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.” Hebrews 11:8 NKJV

 “Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.” 1 Corinthians 16:13 NKJV

Snow Day

Well… it didn’t actually snow.

The above picture was indeed taken on a rare snow day here in Georgia just not this year. But the result was just the same. School in our county was cancelled on Tuesday of last week due to the frigid cold. That added an extra day to my kids’ Winter Break.

There were shrieks of laughter, shouts of joy and happy dances of elation for the gift of an extra day off. As I lay on the couch convalescing, I thought to myself there’s a lesson in this.

My kid’s had just been given a day off and planned on taking full advantage. The party was on! They were making snacks, singing songs and playing games most gleefully together. They were not thinking about possible consequences to such good news such as having more work to do in less time or an extra day possibly added to their school schedule. They simply celebrated the time given to them.

I, however, when given a day off tend to quickly load it with things to do, lists to complete and obligations to fulfill. Even when I am “doing nothing” I am often haunted by the things I should be doing.

I will readily admit IEPs, the challenge of meeting objectives, setting goals, supervising homework and trying to prepare for (predict?) the future can leave my brain a jumbled mess even after the clock has long stopped. As a parent trying my best I often feel overwhelmed and under productive as a tinge of guilt tries to impart in me that I should be doing, more, more, more!

But I’m a little wiser now. I allowed myself to hear God as my children rejoiced at their good news.  You need a “snow day.” You need a day with Me without the guilt, the hurry or a list of “to dos” hanging over your head.  Let it all go and come to Me.

I have been able to put some things down from time to time and run to Him, but now I’m realizing that lately when I’ve turned to Him I’ve come with another set of petitions, prayers or concerns different from the ones I cast down. It isn’t that God doesn’t want us to come to Him. He actually invites us to bring our burdens to Him.

Yet, I am learning more and more it’s good to simply come to Him empty-handed and wanting nothing in return but His presence and the peace it offers. I can go to Him and allow my thoughts to stop racing, my head to stop spinning and simply be still.

I haven’t taken an entire snow day just yet but it is coming! In fact, I am making them a priority in the New Year! The peace I find in His presence will inevitably transfer over to my family and we will all be better for it.

My mental and spiritual health are just as vital as making sure homework gets done and helping Lan prepare for End of Course Tests that will culminate his school year. I just have to remember that and have enough discipline to seek my Father, often.

So if you are like me, probably stressing more than you should and finding more and more things you think you need to do…stop!

Turn to God and listen to Him. Take some time to be still. He will tell you what you need to do to succeed on the path He has allowed before you.

Sometimes the best success comes from doing less!

Snow days aren’t just for kids. Sometimes grown-ups need one too!

“Come to Me, all [you] who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest, Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29 NKJV

Versatile?

I’ve written here about my own failings as a parent, hopes for my children, my experiences with autism and even stray cats. Sometimes I never know what is going to come out when I hit “new post.” Yet more than that, this blog is about how God has carried me, revealed things to me and even dealt with me on my “autism journey.”

A very lovely lady in the UK nominated me for The Versatile Blogger Award.  Sherri Matthews blogs over at A View from My Summer House. Her blog is both beautiful and inspiring. We have since discovered that we share many commonalities including a love for nature, photography, sons with musical interests, children diagnosed with Asperger’s and wouldn’t you know it, black cats!

Sherri inspires me with her story and how open she is about what God has done in her life.

Per my award, I’m obligated to share seven things about myself.

If given a choice between nuts or no nuts I always choose nuts.

I am a sucker for any stray cat, dog or person.

I love quiet time, however living in a house with three men it is indeed a rarity

My favorite color is green

My favorite beverage is sweet tea (southern style, real sugar!)

My favorite Christmas special is Charlie Brown’s Christmas. (How The Grinch Stole Christmas is a very close second)

I feel very fortunate to be sharing this blog with you!

Taking my cue from Sherri, I’m nominating blogs that deal with a subject close to my heart, autism or other mental disorders. The ones I’ve nominated here are informative, insightful and often inspiring. I encourage you to check them out!

Raising 5 Kids with Disabilities and Remaining Sane Blog   (always makes me smile!)

Youth of a Nation: Bent not Broke  (EXCELLENT support for a vast array of disorders)

Weathering the Storm: Overcoming Bipolar Disorder  (lovely blog by a lovely lady)

Coloring Outside the Lines (one family’s journey with ASD)

Adventures in LSD (another family’s personal story about life on the spectrum)

Aspie Story (one man’s story)

AnnKilter (an inspiring and informative viewpoint from years of experience)

I will try my very best to live up to this award.  If God has given me only one thing through this autism experience it is the ability to bend, stretch, and go with the flow…

Well how ‘bout that. Maybe I am versatile after all.

Perfect Pitch!

About two years ago, we discovered that my youngest son has something called “perfect pitch.” He can essentially hear any note played on any instrument and tell you exactly what that note is.

Now this may not be the most “practical” gift a person could have but it is one nonetheless. In fact, my concentration on what he didn’t have nearly blinded me to what he does have.

We were in a music store looking into trombone lessons a couple of years ago when Lan began talking with one of the salespeople which was a rarity in itself. Somehow or another, an instrument was played and Lan stated the correct note in response. The salesman began playing different instruments to see if Lan could continuously give the correct answer. He explained that Lan has “perfect pitch.”

Lan’s “talent” is now somewhat of a novelty with his fellow students in band class. The kids take turns playing various instruments and notes to see if they can stump him. So far no one has. It is something he is good at and it gives him pride and confidence I hadn’t seen before.

I admit I pushed Lan toward his musical inclinations. Not that he doesn’t love music, but my motives were deeper than that. I started him in piano lessons to strengthen his hands. This was my answer to out-of-pocket occupational therapy expenses. Lan was unable to grasp a pencil firmly and write legibly like his classmates. I figured piano lessons would not only strengthen his fingers and develop dexterity but stimulate his brain as well. Coordinating the notes he read on paper to the activity of his fingers would be a great mental exercise.

It would take the music teacher and me roughly two years before we realized Lan was rarely reading the notes! He can read music however we learned (slowly) that Lan has to only hear a simple melody once before he can play it on the piano. The joke was on us!

Sometimes in life we pay so much attention to what we don’t have, we miss out on what we do have. In my case, I was trying to develop certain skills in my child and focused so intently on that goal I was nearly oblivious to his emerging musical talents. I now encourage his musical pursuits not to facilitate a goal but because music is something in which he can succeed and enjoy.

Lately Lan has mentioned a desire to play the trumpet. I suspect the piano and trombone have become boring.  I will indulge his musical pursuits with the appreciation that for him, music is more than a pastime but rather a way that he can express himself and do it well.

I’m glad my eyes are now open to what he can do instead of fixated on what he cannot do. Now, if only I had this revelation all the time.

 I will encourage Lan to nurture his gifts, not based on practicality but rather instead because God blessed him with those things. 

Each of us lacks certain talents for sure, yet we probably possess so many more if only we would have eyes to see…

“And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability,” Matthew 25:15 NKJV

Photosynthesis….lets get into this!

Lan has done a pretty good job holding his own this first year of high school. However, biology has taken a bit more time and mental energy than he ever imagined.

I try to help him as best I can to study for exams and review material. His older brother (only by 15 months) is taking Advanced Placement biology and does his best to help him also. Lan’s enthusiasm for our efforts has been lukewarm at best.

However, this past weekend, He was very enthusiastic about his biology homework. I thought that was odd but decided to be grateful instead. A couple of hours later he bounces down the stairs and wants me to hear his new song. I’m befuddled but go along with it anyway.

Pho-to-synthesis…lets get into this!

Plants take water, sun and CO2…to make the sugar that they use for food!

Now his little song continues on explaining some not so simple chemical reactions. I was first impressed that he actually grasped the concepts in his lyrics but then secondly disappointed that I hadn’t come up with the idea to help him learn these lessons!

My mind then begins to wander. I begin thinking how much better he would be if he were in one of those private (and very expensive!) schools that cater to kids with ASD or learning disorders. I begin thinking about how farther along he would be academically if I were a stay at home mom and had the time to supplement the material he’s getting at school. My mind spins off in a hundred different directions of I’m not doing enough, I’m not providing enough, what kind of sad parent am I?

I only engaged in my pity party for a few minutes until I remembered that “I can do all things, through Christ who strengthens me,” Philippians 4:11 NKJV. I can raise this child to reach his greatest potential while I work more than full time, meet the needs of other family members and not go crazy in the process! I don’t have to be the strong one, through Christ’s strength I am able. It may not be easy, but I am able to do what is necessary.

I had to remind myself “my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus,” Philippians 4:19 NKJV. God supplies my needs not necessarily my wants! And truth be told, I probably don’t know what I want anyway. I have thought that I wanted to not work and stay home to meet every need of my child but I don’t want to be unemployed either! I surely don’t want God to meet one desire and in the midst of doing so I have to undertake a larger problem! Besides, I like the people I work with and the patients we serve. Staying at home full-time might be good for Landon (or not) yet it might be terrible for me! 

God knows what I need and what I really want even when I don’t. I remember that I am indeed blessed and the trials I feel I may have to work through are for my development and so minimal compared to what others are facing! I have since redirected my thoughts to “rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer,” Romans 12:12 NKJV and turned the “what if” button in my head to OFF.

We are all tempted to second guess ourselves and even God from time to time. His timing has never been my timing and by now I should be okay with that (should be but still working on it). I am however confident His plans for our lives are better than anything I could ever put together.

I will continue to let God be…God. I will do what I can and trust Him to do the rest!

 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope,” Jeremiah 29:11

Do My Shoes Match?

As Lan is making it along in his first year of high school he is becoming ever so aware of other people’s perceptions. Somewhere along the line he has matured away from the kid who wanted to wear a sweater in the summer and shorts in the winter into someone with a true desire to be “handsome.” His word, not mine!

I find this kind of comical. Teenagers are often very self-aware and insecure about their looks, dress and a number of other things. Lan has for the most part been oblivious to all of this…until now.

He wants his shoes to match his clothes. He has even taken to swiping some of his older brother’s “cooler” clothes. No big deal for most but I am proud of him for his increased awareness of the people and things around him and his at urge to at some extent blend into the “normalcy” that surrounds him.

I have at times often wondered through the years when some major “turning point” would occur. I’ve prayed about certain things and then forgot that I prayed about them having prayed so much for one thing or another.

Progress begins in steps. Lan continues to make gains, some large and some small.  God faithfully answers my prayers, even those long forgotten.

Simple things like dressing himself appropriately and other social cues that were once so foreign to him are steadily creeping into his consciousness.

I still have a long list of things I’d like to see Lan progress in. I will admit dressing appropriately isn’t even in the top twenty. However, I am grateful for this accomplishment even though I almost “missed it,” not realizing he hadn’t asked me or his father for clothes in months! We always picked his clothes out for him but somewhere along the line he began doing it for himself and doing a very good job at that!

Sometimes our minds are so fixated on the “major tasks” we are trying to carry out that we miss those minor milestones along the way. I am grateful for my blessings, truly celebrating all the gains and successes we have had this year. My every prayer has not been answered, but I have hope and faith that God is not done with us yet!

We are blessed beyond measure even as the ASD hovers in the background. I won’t allow “autism” to rob us of our peace or joy. It only serves as a point of reference for where we were to where we are now.

We are blessed in spite of diagnoses, IEPs, and a few social hiccups.

I’m grateful for gains socially, mentally, and even physically this year. Lan is building up both mind and body going with his dad to “la fitness” as he calls it.  This child who was once weak and so uncoordinated is now hanging tough with his dad on the treadmill, elliptical and bench press. I never could have imagined this years ago!

Lan has friends at school who are nice to him. His new school is no longer a source of anxiety. High school has at least been embarked upon even if not fully conquered.

So much to be grateful for!  Too many blessings to count. God is faithful even when I fail. He lifts us up when we are weak. He has provided us with angels here on earth.

Celebrate this season giving thanks for blessings large and small. I am grateful even for those small things that don’t really matter in life.

I’m grateful his shoes actually match!

Cat Lady

Over ten years ago, our black cat Lucky showed up hungry and homeless. I thought we were a blessing to him but in fact he was a blessing to us, especially for my youngest son Lan. Lucky really pulled him out of his shell and made Lan more in touch with his surroundings. This all occurred during a crucial time when we weren’t exactly too sure how much talking Lan would ever do.

Fast forward ten plus years and here we are again. It’s Lan’s first year in high school and we’ve had a few bumps along the way, the latest of which was an upperclassman trying to bully my child. From what I can tell, it seems the cat or rather cats showed up at another pivotal time for him.

Several weeks ago, a family of stray cats took up residence at our house. At first we believed it was just a mama cat “Grey” as we call her and two kittens. I’d seen four kittens across the street weeks earlier but suspected something had eaten two of them.

Lan would continuously keep an eye out for them, making sure they were provided for as best we could.  We would put out food and water. Lan never gave up hope that all the kittens survived. As usual, he can see the best in any given situation. His faith is at times is stronger than mine.  I can learn a lot from my child.

Today Lan was proven correct!

All four kittens have survived, I found them sitting in rocking chairs on my porch. Lan’s hope was not ill-founded. His fascination with the cats and protecting them has been an escape I believe from the problems he was having at school. I suspect if not for the cats, the issue at school could have caused my child to “shut down.”  As usual, God finds a solution when I don’t even realize I have a problem!

He is not a child of many words and we certainly don’t want to lose any ground that we’ve gained. I’m now grateful that mama cat and kittens have taken up residence.

How I’m going to round them all up and get them to a vet I don’t know. We have had four-footed angels before (even if our resident house cat has been more of a devil as of late). I will entertain our kitties for as long as I can and hopefully find them the best of homes. It’s the least I can do. And if that’s not possible, I’ll be content to be the cat lady on the corner.

My experiences thus far make it awfully hard to remember that I don’t like cats.

Progress Report!

“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things [are] noble, whatever things [are] just, whatever things [are] pure, whatever things [are] love, whatever things [are] of good report, if [there is] any virtue and if [there is] anything praiseworthymediate on these things,” Philippians 4:8 NKJV

Last week both boys brought home their mid-term progress reports from school. Lan called me while I was at work with a slight tremor in his voice. His report wasn’t awful but it wasn’t great either. His grade in two major classes dropped and he was well aware I would not be pleased.

He rattled off his grades tentatively and I succinctly told him I knew he could do better and would do better. He wasn’t grounded. I reminded him that as long as he did his very best I would always be pleased with his work.

Now, that is a huge change from the “old me” of just a couple of years ago. Both boys could definitely put a little more effort into their schoolwork but it isn’t a matter of life and death. Having received a bad report in matters of life and death has definitely put things in perspective.

It is two years ago now that my oldest son, the one without an ASD diagnosis, went to the doctor. He had a funky skin rash that began in October. It gradually spread. Nothing would cure it.

In November, my husband took him to the dermatologist, the earliest appointment he could get. The doctor very matter of fact admitted she didn’t know what it was. I appreciated her honesty, but I thought that was rather odd. I got a funny feeling in my gut, the kind you want to dismiss, but just won’t quite go away.

I was expecting them to leave the appointment with prescriptions for antibiotics and a topical cream. Instead, my oldest left with a small plug of skin taken out of his arm. The biopsy was sent off for analysis.

It wasn’t until two days after Christmas I found myself on the phone with the physician who sat with my son and husband in her office as she explained the diagnosis, a diagnosis that affects one in five million people. My husband was wise enough to have her call me as his head was reeling. After the dermatologist ran through the possible scenarios (including chemotherapy) I vividly remember standing dumbfounded in my kitchen trying to decipher the boatload of information that had been dumped on me. I remember crying and walking around in circles but I also remember very vividly screaming as loud as I could “I will not receive a bad report!”

I heard the dermatologist. I respected her opinion. But I wasn’t going to receive that finality in my spirit in regard to my son. And God heard me.

I prayed. I solicited the prayers of family and friends who had their entire churches and Sunday school classes praying for my child. I knew that whatever we had to endure, we would get through it.

Thankfully, we had only to endure a battery of tests. His skin was affected but not his internal organs. His brain was fine. We didn’t get the final “all clear” until February. It was a harrowing ordeal for any parent. I was forced to examine if I’d put so much energy into one child to the neglect and detriment of the other.

So many questions, but God is faithful. We learned some things through our experience. We endured. Matured.

That experience allows me to put my “bad reports” whatever they are in perspective. Two years later and that time is still so fresh in my mind. I don’t want to ever forget it. I learned things aren’t always as they seem. God doesn’t want us to have faith in what we see or hear but instead in His power.

During that trying time I thought about all the miracles God had done for my family. I thought about the positives, the joys and undeserved blessings. I meditated on God’s grace toward us every time a negative thought would try to break me. It wasn’t easy, but a very deliberate decision on my part. God is pleased when we look at Him instead of our obstacles.

Numbers 13-14 teaches of how eight of the ten spies Moses sent out brought back a “bad report.” They could not see the potential in the land promised to them by God, only the enemies who possessed it. Furthermore, they gave a bad report to the other Israelites causing them to long for Egypt, the very place they had been in bondage.

How often do we look back to the familiar, even when it is to our detriment, because our present obstacles look insurmountable?

Only Caleb and Joshua, the spies who gave the “good report,” made it into the Promised Land with the descendants of those who died. God was so displeased with the Israelites’ lack of faith; He caused them to die in the wilderness. These are the same people who witnessed miracles that freed them and walked through the Red Sea! These were the same people who ate manna from Heaven! These same people would not allow the miracles of their past to fuel the faith for their future.

I don’t want to make that same mistake.

So, we may have hit a bump in the road with grades but I’m by no means accepting it as the “end all” for either child. I have faith in what God can do with them and in them. I have witnessed miracles with both my children. I may not have all the answers but I am confident that I don’t have to.

I look at the neatly typed papers from the county office and see them for what they are…merely progress reports. Not a definition of my parenting skills or a proclamation of my children’s future. I once would have been infuriated with less than the best. I am now… patiently waiting. We are all progressing toward God’s plans for us.

I am not going to analyze, criticize, and run all of us ragged as I used to.  Instead, I think about the great gains Lan has made thus far this year, successes I didn’t anticipate so soon. I’m proud of how Cam has been able to handle his classes along with the rigors of marching band. I focus on the good.

God’s got it, whatever my “it” is at any given moment.  Only His report truly matters!

Focus!

As the mom of a son with an ASD diagnosis I am constantly telling him to focus. At times when he is running around all loosey goosey and flying free as a bird I have to remind him to concentrate on the task at hand. Sometimes when we are so fixated on getting our kids on their proper path, we as parents fail to do that very thing.

I have at times been so frazzled with all the different scenarios and possibilities that are years in the future I have failed to focus. When I allow room for half a dozen priorities and possibilities to simultaneously rattle around in my head I don’t accomplish that much. The time I could have spent being productive leaves me instead with half a dozen half done things. I have since learned that my key to sanity is to focus.

We have been programmed by modern society to think that we should be able to do all things all the time. I’m a good multi-tasker but there comes a time when I need to cut away the extraneous things that engulf my attention and concentrate on the task at hand. The misguided notion that I should be the ideal spouse, mother, friend, employee and whatever else all at the same time is now ludicrous to me. I could do a dozen things all at once but not nearly with the precision or accuracy that I would have them done.

When I finally learned to focus on what the Spirit was prompting me to do instead of what I thought I needed to do, I found a peace and productivity that had alluded me before. Focusing on what God would have me to do in that moment instead of worrying about what could be or what should be gave me the grace to actually accomplish some things.

My God/gut instinct has never failed me. It is only when I’ve been headstrong trying to do too many things all at once that I have regretted my choices.

When I’m not flustered I can concentrate on keeping my child organized and orderly. Our kids take their cues from us. If I’m a mental wreck he picks up on it, more so than most, because he is a sensitive child. Lan tunes into emotions and sensitivities with a tenderness not seen in most people.

I have learned I need to keep it together if we are to both progress. I haven’t always been successful in doing this but I’m much more so than years ago! I’m no longer having those mental meltdowns that trigger his tears! And yes it did take years, prayer and maturity on both our parts but we are definitely in a better place now as we journey along.

I have learned to focus on the present. It has been said that half the things people worry about never come to pass. That amounts to a lot of wasted energy. I’ve decided that I don’t have a lot to spare so I’m keeping what I have for when it’s really needed!

I determined my inability to focus was often founded in fear. Fear of what the future could hold for my child. Fear of failure as a parent. When I decided to rely on God instead of feeding my fears I gained peace that allowed me to abide instead of strive in vain.

“And the LORD He [is] the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed,” Deuteronomy 31:8 NKJV.

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind,”
2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV

When my kids were young and got into trouble I would ask them, “have you lost your mind?” One day a very repentant Lan surprised me, “Mom, I found my mind,” when he determined what should be his proper behavior. I guess I can say I found mine too.

When you focus on your blessings your problems don’t loom as large. Focus on God and your test become testimonies. Focus on His faithfulness, not on your own shortcomings.

I’m always prodding my child to focus, stay on task and stay the course. I’m so blessed that our Father does the same for me.

Overwhelmed? Stressed? Depressed? Ask God to allow you to focus on what really matters. Take it (whatever it is) one step at a time. Don’t stress. Remember you are blessed. And then focus!