Tag Archives: inspirational

Lessons Learned!

“Those who are planted in the house of the LORD Shall flourish in the courts of our God,” Psalms 92:12

Tomorrow marks the last day of the school year. I began this blog in August upon Lan’s entry into high school. He was nervous. I was scared.

Ever thankful for God’s blessings along our way, I was still anxious and filled with trepidation about this new reality.

Well, we made it! One year down, three to go.

Lan’s last exam is today. He is doing well and should pass it without any problem. We are still waiting on test results from one EOCT (End of Course Test) for biology which is required to earn credit for the class. I am ever hopeful for a good result.

Since this blog practically began with his first day of school, I figured I’d share lessons I’ve learned this year.

Lesson number one, God really IS in control.

At the onset of the school year the huge crowds of kids were overwhelming. The para-pro assigned to assist Lan to his classes (the campus is large with several buildings) actually met my husband years ago.

I’m sure my husband had no idea of the role this gentleman would play in our lives. I am convinced the prior association worked to our advantage. The gentleman not only did his “job” but went above and beyond keeping us posted on how our guy was making out throughout the day. We deliberately sent Lan to this school because we knew the principal and counselor well. The para was an “extra” God through into the mix!

Lan didn’t require his help for long and after two weeks navigated on his own. Yet, I am forever grateful. It was one less thing I had to worry think about.

In addition, Lan had the same geography teacher who taught my oldest son last year. My husband established a great relationship with her then having no idea it would benefit us this year. God does order our steps!

Lesson number two, my kid is capable!

Lan’s teachers watched him come out of his nervous shell and become quite out-spoken! During the last IEP meeting, his math teacher played a video of him before the class explaining an algebraic problem and the steps to solve it.

My husband and I were floored. I’m convinced this kid has an alter-ego. His confidence increased under the care of supportive teachers. I suspect his charming demeanor didn’t hurt either.

Most significantly, Lan made new friends. Real friends. I often thought about him sitting alone at lunch. And for a while, he did.

But slowly, very slowly, he would mention who he ate with at lunch. One friend from middle school would join him on “odd” days when they shared the same schedule.

A new friend from the magnet school starting eating with him also. An upperclassman we know joined in “to watch out for him.” More kids from band class were eventually mentioned. Just last week, Lan told me he skipped eating lunch to sit with his friends and talk instead. How about that?

We have had a few “blips” along the way. However, Lan learned from them and wasn’t defeated. He is no longer upset I didn’t allow him to attend the school he is zoned for. He’s found friends at his school. I asked him recently how he felt about this first year of high school. I finally got the reaction I’d hoped for, “I like it.”

 Lesson number three, Iet go a little.

I am a micro-manage mom. I’m ever working on that, trying to allow both kids room to succeed and fail.  DSC_6962 (2)

Some lessons you only learn the hard way. Lan’s improving grades boosted his confidence. When he fails to study or prepare, he now feels the pain.

His social skills improved because I’m allowing more freedom to learn what works and what doesn’t. At the awards ceremony he didn’t sit with me or my husband. He founds his friends. At the band banquet my husband laughed that Lan quickly left him in a cloud of dust and had a ball.

Without me hovering, he can relax and figure it out. Lan will get the chance to relax for an entire week of summer camp at Clemson University. Last year when he asked about going away like his brother, I was like “not happening” in my brain. Well, a year later he’ll be off on his own adventure.

Sometimes I want to intervene but God says no, let Lan figure it out. And let Him guide my child.

I can’t always be there for Lan. But God can. I trust Him Who can do more for my child than I am able to provide.

Lesson number four, sometimes I just need to get out-of-the-way and let God be God. DSC_6420

 “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6

 

Special Mothers for Special Kids

Last week over at Devotions by Chris,  Chris wrote about several mothers in the Bible who allowed their faith to push them to do extraordinary things.  I believe there is no mother more significant than Mary, the mother of our Savior Jesus Christ. First of all she was a regular girl who found herself in a situation she never imagined.

Just… like… us.

Can you imagine being an unmarried virgin receiving the news “you are going to conceive the Messiah?!” No pressure there!

I’m confident at some point Mary struggled with her responsibility. I’ve struggled with mine.  I thought there was no room for missteps.  

Mary and Joseph lost their twelve-year-old son and found him three days later! Three days! Can you imagine you are responsible for raising the Messiah and you lose Him!? God did not open up the heavens and rebuke Mary and Joseph for their carelessness. Likewise, we should cut ourselves some slack when we fail in things far less significant.

Another lesson is that Mary saw the potential within her child. It is up to us to do the same. John 2:9 describes one of the first miracles Jesus performed. He turned water into wine. In verse four Jesus says “my hour has not yet come.” However, Mary had other ideas. She told the servants, “Whatever he says to you, do it.” Upon His mother’s insistence, Jesus had the servants fill pots with water which He later turned into wine.

As parents it is our responsibility to speak to the potential in our kids. This may mean IEPs, tutors, therapy, doctor’s visits and whatever it takes to pull out the potential we know is there. Many doubted Mary and we will doubt us as well, however we must stand firm on what God says. Following her example, we must insist and persist.

We can also follow Mary’s example of receiving God’s grace for her assignment. Mary was forced to witness her child tortured and vilified for the sake of the world. The problems our children face are upsetting to us as well. But we are available for our children. Mary could not help her child; the crucifixion was something Jesus had to do alone. We are available and able through Christ to meet the needs of our kids.

Mary was there for her child until the end. A mother’s love will do that…follow through until the end. God allows us the same grace. Always remember, the third day. Mary endured witnessing her son’s death only to find joy in the Resurrection. Sometimes we may feel like our path is overwhelming, unbeatable or even insurmountable. Many people get stuck on the “first day” or the death of their dream when faced with the realities of parenting and the challenges their children face.

On the “second day,” grief for what could have been keeps some parents from looking forward to what could be. Things often look dark. There are often reports and diagnosis that confuse and condemn. Dreams for the future seem impossible.

Yet thank God, He makes the impossible, possible. If Mary’s story teaches us anything, it is to stick in there until the end. What looks like the end isn’t necessarily so. Hang in there with your child, hang on to what God has promised you.

Every child has some special need. Some needs are more obvious than others. Some are revealed early in life. Some won’t manifest for years later. God equips us to do what we have been called to do. Mary was chosen to be the mother of Jesus.

We were chosen by God to parent the children He has blessed us with as well.

“Whoever receives one of these little children in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me, receives not Me but Him who sent Me.” Mark 9:37 NKJV

Beauty in the Muck

There have been times in life that I was so busy anticipating potential dangers, that I failed to see the beauty right around me. Last week while working in my garden I was keeping such a keen eye out for snakes (I loathe snakes) that I almost missed the beautiful butterfly in my midst. Sometimes when we are so focused on one negative, it blinds us to the greater number of positives right in front of us.

As the parent of a kid on the spectrum, I have on occasion caught myself anticipating what “could happen” all the while oblivious to what is happening.

Lan will complete his first year of high school in just a few weeks. We are now in the midst of “test anxiety” though trying hard to keep it at a minimum. Failure to pass these exams will mean a summer of trying to restore these credits. “Credit restoration” would play havoc with summer travel plans let alone the struggle of shuttling him back and forth to school.

Lan’s teachers are proud of his work in class. He does better than many of the neuro-typicals in his classes. Yet, Lan has never excelled at standardized testing. Challenging for most, to a kid with attention deficits these exams are a very steep uphill battle.

As an ever recovering control freak, I fight my fears realizing his exams and other things lie well beyond my control. Instead of focusing on the pessimistic what ifs, I am ever searching and sometimes struggling to count my blessings now.

I am grateful this first year of high school has been a success. We had no traumatic events as I’d feared the beginning of the year. Lan’s teachers have been receptive and accommodating. Many students are quite kind to him and often act on his behalf. Lan has made a few friends. He has thrived under the direction of his band teacher. Lan is no longer nervous about the huge crowds and even learned to maneuver them well. As of last week, he no longer meets the requirements for speech therapy services.

In the muck of IEPs, core curriculum and teenage angst, I can appreciate how far we’ve come when I take time to look for the beauty.

I was once so accustomed to looking for potential snakes (bullies, indifferent teachers, additional diagnoses) that I failed to see let alone appreciate the beauty that God poured before me. Now, I am ever grateful and continually search out the beauty in life.

If you feel mired down in your muck, I challenge you to look up from where comes my help. We don’t have to walk this journey alone. We don’t even have to orchestrate every step along the way.

God is willing, available and more than able.

“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. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:29-30 NKJV

“To console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.” Isaiah 61:3 NKJV

 

Time and Transition

transition: “a change from one state or condition to another”   “movement, development, or evolution from one form, stage, or style to another” Merriam Webster

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end,” Ecclesiastes 3:11 NIV

I birthed this blog the first of August when my youngest entered high school. Now with less than a month before school is out, first year jitters have been replaced with a spirit of perseverance, faith and gratitude.  transitions 1

Lan has evolved from nervous freshman to actively seeking out his friends. He has moved away from the kid sitting alone at lunch to having a steady rotation of friends to eat with and interact. Surprisingly, most of these kids aren’t even in his classes.

Friday, when my husband picked both boys up from the high school, Cam made a telling remark. He said once people saw him with Lan they kept asking, “are you Lan’s brother?” Apparently, Lan’s social vine extends farther than any of us realized.

It was quite the eye opener. For years, Lan has always been the other brother, often falling under the shadow of big brother Cam. Now, in high school, the tables are turning a bit and the light is now shining on Lan.

Lan surprised me today with news that he will receive an award at Thursday’s end of the year awards ceremony. We have no idea what he is receiving an award for. He has worked extremely hard on his school work but an A student he is not. However, Lan’s tenacity to put in the extra time and effort has endeared him to most of his teachers.

A school year fraught with uncertainties looks to be ending on a good note. We have traded Georgia CRCTs (criterion referenced competency tests) for EOCs (end of course exams) so test anxiety ever looms. Yet receiving this award, whatever it may be is progress. It is one more step in the right direction, one step forward in personal accountability, one acknowledgement of doing the best you can, no matter what that best might be.  transitions title

It’s has been quite a year of change. Insecurities vanquished. Challenges met head on. Bullies thwarted. Faith in people… restored.

There has been much personal growth and maturity from fragile bud to longer lasting leaf. Lan made out just fine.

I’m referring to me.

He is Faithful!

I planted the azalea pictured above nearly fourteen years ago. I was all excited as we had moved into a new home and my love for all things green made landscaping a priority. I planted three azaleas and looked forward to the beauty they would bring through the years.

Well the bounty of blooms promised twice yearly from the “encore” variety didn’t come to fruition. In fact, the plants did very little to expand beyond their original borders. No amount of water, fertilizer, sun or shade seemed enough to make these plants thrive. In fact, one actually died. My dreams for replicating the beauty of the azaleas that grace my mother’s yard quickly faded away. Out of options and ideas, I finally resolved to put my efforts elsewhere.

Well, last year, my azaleas bloomed. Nothing spectacular yet the surviving plants actually showed some signs of life. After a decade! I didn’t know what to think. These plants appeared lifeless for so long I’d forgotten what color blooms they originally promised. I’m sure I contemplated on more than one occasion to dig them up! Surprisingly, the deep magenta color is a perfect match for some phlox I’d planted nearby. The color scheme on that side of the yard looks very well orchestrated. Little do the neighbors know!

Well, a couple of days ago I walked outside to see the shrubs have tripled in width and doubled in height! What were once small dwarf sized shrubs are alive and thriving. At some point along the way, I’m pretty sure I’d prayed that these plants would live and bloom (yes, I even pray over my plants and grass). The funny thing is I’d made that petition to God so long ago, over a decade ago, that I’d completely forgotten all about it.  DSC_0043

However, God does not forget! His timing and our timing aren’t always the same, yet He is always faithful!

I like to think that if His faithfulness can apply to something as “minimal” as my landscaping, what more can God have in store for larger matters? And what prayers I have dared to pray in regard to my children!

So, if you are feeling that God hasn’t heard your prayers, He has. He hears them all large and small.

God is larger than my doubts and fears. God is greater than ASD. Through once forgotten magenta blooms, He cares and shows His love for me.

“Let us hold fast the confession of [our] hope without wavering, for He who promised [is] faithful,” Hebrews 10:23 NKJV

Camp Sunshine!

Last summer after depositing my oldest son on a college campus for a week-long camp, my youngest child who inspired this blog asked me, “When will I go away to camp?”
My reply was “we’ll see,” all the while on the inside I’m thinking to myself ain’t now waaaayy that’s happening.

Well, it happened.

That’s what I get for thinking in absolutes. God always has other plans.

Lan spent this weekend on his favorite college campus. Camp Sunshine is open for kids who may not be able to attend other camps. I had my reservations, or rather fears, that kept trying to creep into my mind. However, we are trying to foster more independence in Lan and he was more than eager to head off on his own!

For once, he wasn’t going somewhere under the shadow of and watchful eyes of his big brother. When they were younger the boys did most things as a pair. It was usually Cam and Lan. Now as they are older Cam often experiences things that Lan can not.

Lan is always asking when is it his turn?  

Lan’s turn came by the way of a beautiful campus with Lake Hartwell as a magnificent backdrop. He was free this weekend to laugh as loud as he wanted; there was no one around to temper his excitement. This kid was delightfully happy for the time to just be. He was free to be him, idiosyncrasies and all, under the warmth of the sun.

DSC_3073

There was no pressure to conform to the norm, no reason to curtail his excitement. There were no standards to measure him against others. If only he could have this luxury all the time?

But our society isn’t as forgiving as camp. It confines us to standards, norms and expectations. It pushes us ever toward goals and what it thinks we should be and how to behave.

I’m not advocating anarchy by any means but I wonder how much more the light inside my child could shine if he weren’t always under pressure to confine himself into someone else’s “box.” How much brilliance and creativity are snuffed out because society doesn’t always embrace creativity in others when it is packaged differently?

We should all be able to shine under the warmth of the sun free from expectations, scrutiny and the wayward glances of others. If only.

But with God we can shine and just be. He created us. There is no defect or deficiency under Him, only love. Love and acceptance of us just as we are.

There is an old hymn, Just As I Am, we used to sing in church when I was a child. I think my favorite stanza is as follows:

Just as I am, though tossed about
With many a conflict, many a doubt;
Fightings within, and fears without,
O Lamb of God, I come I come!

This weekend provided not only an opportunity for Lan to shine at Camp Sunshine but it was also a reminder that we all can “just be” in God’s presence if only we would dare step out of our confines and into His warmth.

Many of us, especially us Christians, are so preoccupied about what we do (or don’t do, or what others are doing!) we fail to simply “be.”

We fail to be content. We fail to be at peace. We fail to be still be in His presence and allow God to simply and amazingly love us.

We should be joyful. We should be grateful. We should be peaceful.

The Son shines on whosoever will dare to step into the light. His light can transform us into the people we want to become if we would pause long enough and simply be with Him!

In His presence, are the answers we seek, faith and hope that renew, and the peace that passes understanding.

Lan knows how to just be and receive love. He knows how to enjoy the present without worry about the future! Lan trusted that his father would provide the overnight camp he wanted. 

I’m going to trust that my Father provides as generously for me as well!

 

My Brother’s Keeper?

 While I was away this weekend, my oldest son had an epiphany of sorts. I’m not sure exactly what sparked his revelation, but according to my husband he was very suddenly and emotionally distraught about his little brother’s future. 

Now, my oldest has always been mature for his age. I tell you he has more sense than most adults. The only common denominator between both boys academically is their band instructor. The band room is where students often hang out or practice no matter their grade level or academic rank. Music is a great equalizer. Lan, the youngest, does very well in this area despite other academic challenges.

Nevertheless, something occurred to upset my oldest. Both boys were heavily involved in a band festival held at the school last week. I suspect something was said to Cam about his younger brother. Lan could have easily wandered away from an assigned task, said something not quite age appropriate or any number of things. I’ll probably never know. All Lan knows is that he had a great time participating in the music festival. However, per Cam’s suggestion, Lan won’t be hanging out in the band room without his supervision.

I have always told the boys to love one another and be kind to each other because mom and dad won’t always be around. I suspect the oldest has now grasped the reality that his brother may not become as self-sufficient as he is. Cam has readily embraced the role of “third parent” when neither my husband or I are around.   My hunch is Cam’s worry for little brother won’t necessarily end when he leaves home for college.

It has been quite the balancing act juggling the demands of two children who have totally opposite needs. Cam has often been in the background when Lan’s diagnosis has forced us to spend more time and attention addressing it. Lan has often been in the shadow of big brother’s achievements and academic accolades which he has never matched.

My husband and I made a deliberate choice to become parents. My oldest son did not. He shouldn’t be preoccupied with what the future holds for his sibling. Instead, Cam should have the liberty to focus on pursuing his own dreams and aspirations. Cam is a very loving child and through he get’s annoyed with little brother from time to time, he has always shown a love and concern for Lan that I pray will continue long after I’m gone.

We have no way of knowing what the future brings. I am hopeful and trusting that God will just “work it out” as He has done so many things in my life. Still, I am grateful that my oldest son is mature enough and concerned that Lan is well cared for now and hopefully into the future. It is my hope that Cam can spread his wings without the worry of looking back.

I don’t know if Lan will gain the maturity and skills to live independently. I don’t know if I will have the resources to provide for his care years after I’m gone. I don’t know how God is going to resolve this issue. I…just…don’t…know.

So I must trust.  

Such a simple sentence but so often very hard to do. Yet, I will manage by focusing on the present and allow God to order my steps for the future. I don’t have to see the solution, though I admit it pains me greatly. However, we will continue along prayerfully, grateful for miracles yet to come. 

I expect great things for both my boys. Maybe Cam’s experiences with his brother will mold him into the man God intends him to be. Maybe, just maybe, Lan in his own way is looking after him.

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV

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

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

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