Monday, October 22, 2018

Autumn Breakfast

Recently, I had a quiet Saturday in front of me, 
and felt the urge to do something fun for our family!
I was finally ready to pull out the fall decorations,
and to celebrate I decided to slow down the morning 
and have an "Autumn Breakfast."

My oldest daughter picked up a bunch of gorgeous roses
and they were the highlight of the table.
Grandma's homemade cinnamon sugar donuts, bacon, apple cider,
cinnamon apples, and mexican hot chocolate were on the menu!!
I pulled out my wedding china to share with my children
and the stemware is from my husband's side of the family.

{This post was actually from a year ago, and now I feel the need to do this again!!}

Monday, October 15, 2018

Ladies Retreat 2018

There is no single event I look forward to more in the fall
than the annual Ladies Retreat held at Southland Christian Camp
in Ringgold, Lousiaina!

It is always a time of spiritual and physical refreshment,
a time to catch-up with long-time friends and to make new friends,
and a time to just unplug from our hectic, daily routines and stresses
and to get recharged for the super busy season just ahead!!

My family has noticed a pattern of "catastrophes" happening
while I'm gone on this weekend the last several years,
but there was a break in that pattern this year for which we were all thankful!
I was still struggling to navigate through some brand new vision issues
that were really distracting to me,
but the Lord knew what we all needed that weekend
and in His gracious kindness provided joy, rest, and gladness to
refresh our weary hearts and minds!!

One of my favorite Bible sessions was on Knowing the love of Christ.
Our speaker pointed out that you can use John 3:16 to understand
just how immeasurable God's love is for each one of us:

What is the breadth of His love?
"For God so loved the world...."

What is the length of His love?
"...that He gave His only begotten Son,"

What is the depth of His love?
"that whosoever believes in Him should not perish..."

What is the height of His love?
"...but have everlasting life."

When God accepts me --> Grace
When I accept God --> Faith
When I accept me --> Peace
When I accept you --> Love  

So this guy above would show up during meal times to play the part of "Russell" 
from the movie Up.
It was the perfect character for our Wilderness/Nature Theme happening this year.
He was so much fun and worked so hard 
to earn his Helping (the Elderly or whoever needed help) Badge 
as a Wilderness Explorer.
Because of some confusion in registering this year, we had a group of 4 ladies
from our church attend this very same retreat the previous weekend.
They just adored "Russell" and all his antics so much
that one of those ladies went home and created her own "badge"
for Russell on her embroidery machine.
She gave it to me before our group left for the following weekend,
and asked me to please be sure to present this to Russell.
It was the perfect ending for the perfect weekend!!

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Fall Frolicking

"I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers."
~Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

The last several weeks have been a literal blur of activity.

From meeting a two-day old Thai-American baby,
to saying "see you later" to dear friends who moved to Pennsylvania,
to hosting dear missionary friends for a morning of coffee and conversation
before one of them headed back to the field of Thailand,
celebrating a mile-stone birthday with a dear friend
who had a brush with a life and limb threatening infection this summer,
to sharing incredible fall-themed and British delights
while watching a new favorite movie, 
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society,
with fellow Anglophiles who live in my neighborhood!!

God is good and I'm so grateful for the treasure of nurturing friendships!

Monday, September 10, 2018

Growing up: Going off Intuniv

It has been a good minute since I've talked about this guy.
He is so precious to his Dad and I, but my goodness, the things
we have had learn since he joined our family.

He has easily been our most challenging.
The one who brought the most tears and frustration to the table.
The one who struggled the most in our homeschool.
When we had him evaluated several years ago for learning differences,
it was a relief to learn that all we were dealing with
was ADHD - Combined.
I did a lot of research and came up with all kinds
of issues we could "possibly" be working with,
but thankfully, it wasn't as big a deal as I feared.
I cavalierly thought we could manage his emotional outbursts
and terribly aggravating impulsivity issues by ourselves,
with our "magnificent" parenting techniques.
We tried so many things to bring peace to our household,
and to his inner anxieties without medication.
It was just too much with 5 other kids (the oldest with
ADHD - Type 1, and another with Type 1 Diabetes)
to handle on our own.

We researched and prayed, and decided to try a non-stimulant
ADHD medication called Intuniv.
You can read about our journey with this here.
What a terrific tool this was for our family and for our son.

He was on this medication for several years and did so well on it
that I began wondering if it was time to take him off of it.
You can read about that journey in the links above.
He just wasn't ready for it.
But he's 16 now.

He is much more mature and has had clearly better brain development
to take another look at getting off of it for good.

He sleeps much better now, and is focusing so well on his school work
that we've seen a dramatic improvement in his output.
He is much more confident in social settings,
and was even able to talk to complete strangers on a flight this summer
during our missions trip and to lead them to Jesus Christ as their Savior.
Talk about victory!!
Talk about Mama tears!!

So this summer we had a conversation with him.
I pointed out all the good strides he has made over the last couple of years,
and asked him if would consider going off of it.
He agreed.

We visited with the pediatrician several weeks later who eagerly
approved our endeavor to get him off.
We kept the leftover that we had just in case he felt he needed
to wean off slowly, but there was no need.

He went off cold-turkey with absolutely no problem.
No disruption in his sleep.
No disruption in his ability to focus on schoolwork when necessary.
We have had to remind him that his behavior
reaches annoying levels sometimes,
but he very compliantly makes the adjustment and we move on!

I am happy to announce that this marks the end of an era for our family.
No more posts on Intuniv.
It is finished.
That part of the battle is over.

And we thank God for what He is doing in this young man's heart!!
God has driven us to our knees more times than I can count begging
for wisdom in how to guide, correct, and teach our son,
and He has done marvelous things in our eyes!!!

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

When life is changing

You know, it's true what the Bible says,
"Life is a vapor."

It's there, loud and overwhelming, and then poof,
it's gone.

We moved our first child to her student apartment last week
so she could begin her junior year of college an hour away from us.

I hope we taught her everything.
I'm not sure we had time.
Maybe we did?
But did we use our time wisely?
Did we waste too much time not infusing those things into her life?

Those thoughts keep nagging at the back of my mind
worrying me at two in the morning when I should be sleeping.

But, all-of-a-sudden, here we are.
With our bossy, sassy, messy, excitable 8-year old.
At least, it seems like she must still be 8.
I don't feel that much older.
And yet, it's that time.

That time I seriously believed would never happen.
I never thought we would survive homeschooling
and all the terribly long days of mind-numbing discipline and correction.
Those days that were fruitless no matter how much I poured
into planning, and creating, and trying, and re-trying.

And yet, time keeps marching on.
And it's time for her to start her new university classes.
I remember (yes, please indulge my motherly reminiscing)
like it was yesterday the exact day I moved into my dorm
when I was a freshman in college.
I was so excited, fearless, and ready to go.
Of course, there were a few nervous tears as I swallowed down
that huge lump in my throat,
but I had worked for an entire year to earn all the money I could
to pay for this, and I had reached my goal.
I couldn't wait!
New things and people were all around me and I knew that God
had clearly led me there.
What was there to look back at?

I feel the same way for my daughter,
and I dare say she feels the same way too.
Goals set, goals met.
Fun shopping.
God providing!

Yesterday, we all went up to her apartment to spend some time with her.
Younger siblings got to try out the pool.
We played games, ate pizza, and enjoyed meeting
the girls who share the apartment with her.

We couldn't be more thrilled for her and finally reaching
the culmination of years of pouring
God's Word into her, staying on our knees in prayer for her,
and hard academic work.
The praying won't stop.
The encouraging to stay faithful to the Lord won't stop, but
the adventure begins and we can't wait!!