Tag Archives: attitude

Look to His Light

 

Don’t let obstacles overshadow your blessings. When you step into His Light you will often find that the smallest of miracles are far greater than they appear.

“I have come [as] a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness,” John 12:46 NKJV

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Jesus and mii

We have one of those Wii gaming systems that the kids have enjoyed for years. I was reluctant to get one at the time but soon learned that the Wii Fit activities actually helped improve Lan’s hand-eye coordination and balance. So in moderation, it has actually been quite beneficial in addition to entertaining.

I was playing with it today, trying to exercise my coordination and balance before I began my “real” exercise. One of the upsides to the Wii is that it allows Lan to create various characters to join us in this little universe as we play. These characters are called “miis” (rhymes with me).  Ever the artist, Lan has created “miis” to resemble everyone from classmates to historical figures.  And yes, he even created a mii to resemble Jesus.

Now some would think that is kind of blasphemous but when the child said “we want Jesus with us all the time, don’t we?” who was I to argue? Apparently Lan understands some Biblical concepts far better than many adults.

Well today as I was struggling with one exercise in particular, the only mii “companion” remaining with me on the screen was the mii of Jesus. I was struggling and struggling to accomplish one particular task on the screen and I just could not manage to do it before the timer went off. Time and time again it would be just the two of us left. I would love to tell you that I did finally manage to beat the buzzer with “Jesus” at my side but that was not the case.

However, my little exercise did reiterate to me that no matter what “trial” I am going through, even when I am unsuccessful in my endeavors as long as Jesus is with me, I’m okay.

I figure if God could speak through a donkey, gaining some spiritual enlightenment through a Nintendo game wasn’t that far of a stretch. You see, last week with all the snow and ice down here in the south I had a few cold and hard disappointments that really got to me. I had to pray continually not to let anger consume me and not to lash out at the offender. I knew I should let God handle it but I still wanted to do something and say what I was really thinking.  Thankfully, I did not and have since mentally walked away from that particular situation. But it was not easy.

My lesson today affirmed that I don’t need others to always treat me fairly. Sure it is nice and appreciated, but it isn’t a necessity in this particular situation. We will all run into circumstances where someone else will turn against us or disappoint. I was allowing this “situation” to dominate too much of my thoughts and the simple reminder that Jesus is all that I truly need really clarified my thinking.

My baby boy once again provided a venue for mommy to re-learn yet another lesson. It can easily be said that kids on the spectrum see things differently that the average person. However, I am learning that my child sees some things far more clearly than many “neuro-typicals.”  He doesn’t leave Jesus at church or just at prayer time. He wants to have fun with Jesus, talk to Jesus, run with Jesus, laugh with Jesus and allow Him into more than just compartmentalized times or venues that are deemed “proper.”

How liberating it is to love, laugh and trust like a child. With Jesus, we actually have the freedom to do this. Sometimes, as adults we forget this fact with all the “important” things we have running around in our minds. But thankfully, our children can often show us the way if only we expand our minds and open our eyes to see…

“But blessed [are] your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.” Matthew 13:16 NKJV

“Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven,” Matthew 18:4 NKJV

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

Out of focus!

My mother gave me a very lovely camera for Christmas. As it arrived shortly after Thanksgiving, I didn’t hesitate to begin shooting with it. I have in a short time learned a bit about photography. There is far much more to it than simply “point and shoot.”

Different lenses when used for the same “shot” yet yield different results. Some differences may be subtle while others are quite pronounced. One image may be crystal clear whereas taken with another lens it will be little more than a blur. Fooling around with cameras and lenses over the Christmas break highlighted for me that I need a better view of what’s really going on. I need to focus!

Lan “survived” his first semester of high school. It was a bit touch and go a few times, the highlight of which was “bad kids” attempting to steal his backpack the last few days of school. He squeaked by on finals, with us learning after the fact that much of the information he needed to study wasn’t in the book! But we made it.

He made it.

Now if only we can refine our “focus” so that he can thrive and not just survive.

My new camera provides an auto-focus mode. This means I have to think less about the image I want to capture and just let the camera do its thing. The auto mode will capture the image. It just may not take the best picture possible.

I think I may have been on “auto” with Lan this previous semester thinking what once worked before would continue to do so. Not so much! I’m learning at this juncture “auto” isn’t going to cut it. I’m going to have to handle the details myself.

I learned that professional photographers rarely rely on the “auto” mode. Instead, they purposely arrange the details such as lighting, aperture, setting and a bunch of other stuff I don’t yet understand. This yields a far superior result than the “auto” mode. In fact, professional photographers rarely trust leaving the details to others. That is another lesson in itself!

In the last few days of the semester, I learned Lan’s medication wasn’t working. Of course, he didn’t bother to mention this!  I only asked  when a few things just weren’t adding up. So he saw the doctor over the break.

Come to find out that his dose of medication was incorrect because the physician’s office in September documented him weighing far less than he actually does! At this recent appointment the physician thought the child had gained forty pounds!  My boys eat a lot but neither one of them eats enough to gain forty pounds in three months even if my grocery bill says otherwise. Alas, one problem belatedly solved.

Secondly, my husband spoke with his school counselor who informed us Lan should have been receiving handouts of all the information covered in class that was not in the book from his teachers.

I didn’t know this. I had no idea a large part of the information covered in some of his classes was not in the book. More than one teacher, unaware of the details of his IEP, failed to provide this information for him.  It now makes sense why those hours he spent trying to find the answers in the biology book for those study questions were less than productive.

In this year, I am going to take a more detailed approach toward what is going on in regards to school. I’m going to ask more questions, and not take for granted that every instructor is doing what he or she is supposed to.

A better picture requires more effort. I will work on the “composition, subject and setting” for Landon more so than I did last year. But that’s okay. I’m more than willing to do whatever it takes to make sure that this next semester is as close to “picture perfect” as possible.

Setting. Lighting. The correct equipment. These are necessary to get the desired result.  I can’t expect to capture a “landscape” image using a lens best suited for a microscope! I can’t rely on my “auto” mode to get the job done.

Lesson learned.

I thought the camera from my mother would introduce me to a new hobby. God used that gift to open my eyes to so much more!

“Open my eyes, that I may see Wondrous things from Your law,” Psalms 119:8 NKJV

 

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

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!