Friday, March 27, 2015

Fun spring art!!

This adorable little art project is not original with me.
It was, indeed, a pinterest find.
But it looked like a winner to me, so my plan was to do this at our "Celebrate Spring" party.
I loved how easy it was for my little ones to do.

Let me just say though, not all soda bottles are created the same.
But don't just take my word for it.....

So here's my tip-of-the-day.....
This project works best with Diet 7-up or Seven-up bottles.
The pattern on the bottom of the bottles is flat so the paint sticks to the entire
flower pattern on the bottom.
If you look at the bottom of Coca-Cola bottles (or Dr.Pepper or Sprite), you'll notice
that the points of the flower patterns are raised and will take the paint
and not the entire flower pattern.
We used the smallest size 6-pack bottle available,
and were extremely happy with the results!
Happy painting!!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Refreshing our marriage: Couple's Retreat 2015

"You married her because you loved her.  But from tomorrow on, you must love her
because you married is a choice."

~Elizabeth Elliot

If my husband and I have learned anything in our nearly 19 years of marriage, it's this:
you must be intentional about nurturing and investing in your marriage.

A great marriage doesn't just happen.
You don't always get along.
You don't always get to see each other everyday.
You sometimes have to make quick decisions apart from each other.
Life can become a tsunami of demands from children, bills, phone calls, responsibilities.

Another thing I've learned over the years is the more stressful your week, the less time 
you've had to talk, the less sweetness between you,
the longer it takes to make a connection when you do finally get time alone together.

It sometimes takes more than an hour at dinner alone to get the surface conversation out of the way
to really be in sync with each other again.

One way that we have loved combating all that is by purposing, at the beginning of the year,
to get away for a two-night couples retreat.

 We have found a lovely camp that is just 4 hours away from our home that hosts
a delightful retreat annually.
This spring was our 3rd couples retreat.

It is so peaceful and relaxing there.
The schedule is the perfect combination of planned, encouraging sessions
and free time to just be together and choose what activities you 
might like to participate in.
Want or need to just nap all afternoon?
Go right ahead!!!

Feeling particularly social and want to join in some games?
There are lots of friends to visit with!

The schedule begins with dinner on Thursday evening,
so once our children are settled in their places for the weekend, we head
out for the 4-hour drive.
We usually stop along the way for a sweet lunch somewhere and just enjoy
the conversation together the rest of the way there.

After we get checked into our room, we have a little time to visit with friends
from other churches we haven't seen in awhile.
After a fun dinner, there is usually one marriage strengthening session.
After that is over you can head back to your room to relax together,
or you can get together with friends and play games or get some snacks and coffee.

Friday includes several more teaching sessions, fun group games,
and an afternoon of free time.
On Friday evening, the staff usually comes together and puts on a really lovely
private candlelit "date night."
It is designed to last for one full hour with several courses
and allows you time to just talk quietly and enjoy each other.

After the evening session on Friday, they set out more snacks and board games and open up
an area for game night.

Saturday morning begins with a session and brunch is served immediately after that.
Then it's time to pack up and head home.

We love this so much that we start planning it all out right at the beginning of the year.
Once we have the dates nailed down, we pair up the children with a sibling they get along with, 
and start farming them out to close friends.
We also get Grandma on board to help with transportation and food preparation and
supervising household care.
We've also agreed to devote part of our income tax return money to pay for this
much needed investment.
We look at it as an investment in a happy retirement!! 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Happy 11th Birthday Abby!!

This spring, our 3rd, only brown-eyed girl, celebrated her 11th trip around the sun.
We had so much fun getting ready for her special day.

The week before her birthday, there was a small party for all the March birthdays at our little school and she enjoyed being one of the guests of honor.

Her birthday was actually on a school day this year, so we took in some treats to share with all our friends during our one break of the morning.

One tradition that started with our oldest daughter is that her Daddy wanted to take her out special on her 11th birthday (why 11 was chosen I cannot remember!) and buy her a special outfit.  This year it was finally Abby's turn.  She picked out the dress and shoes all by herself.
One Easter outfit = CHECK!!!

Her birthday also just happened to be "Free ice cream cone at Dairy Queen Day," and what better way to cap off your birthday than with free ice shared with special best friends!!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

How does God see my ADHD child?

In the past I have mentioned that I believe my Heavenly Father has a purpose for each of my children. I believe that each and every human being is created by a Master Creator and has been given a divinely appointed purpose for their life.

"Then the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,
'Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee;
and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee,
and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.'"
Jeremiah 1:5

I love how the prophet, Jeremiah, relates to us that the Lord God had a plan for him even before he was born. Many, many people walk this planet with no knowledge of a God who loves them and has a specific purpose for their life, and they believe that they are here just to live it up, make money, and die. What a hopeless, miserable life that would be. Especially if you are living with an incurable disease, or birth "defect", or syndrome, or disorder of some kind. It offers me GREAT hope for my children. Many places I have read that people who grow up with ADHD have a higher risk for promiscuity, addictions, job losses, divorce, and jail time. But I know that God has a plan for my children.

First and foremost, He loves them and His plan is for their salvation.

"For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God:"
Romans 3:23

"For the wages (payment that must be paid) of sin is death (eternal);
but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
Romans 6:23

"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus,
and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead,
thou shalt be saved.

"For whosoever (put your name there) shall call upon the name of the Lord
shall be saved."
Romans 10:9,13

Second, His plan is that they honor and glorify Him because of what He did for them through salvation.

"For we are His workmanship,
created in Christ Jesus for good works,
which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them."
Ephesians 2:10

"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God,
that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God,
which is your reasonable service."
Romans 12:1

Third, He will use ANYONE!!

"But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise;
and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen,
yea and the things which are not, to bring to naught things that are:"
I Corinthians 1:27,28

"But the Lord said unto Samuel,
Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature;
because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth;
for man looketh on the outward appearance,
but the Lord looketh on the heart."
I Samuel 16: 7

I'm so encouraged by that last Scripture verse, because it is right out of the story of the man this post is named for. David is one of my very favorite Bible characters and I always hoped I would be able to name one of my sons after him. In the last several days, I have been thinking about and reading through the story of David and have found such tremendous encouragement!!!
When you read through the list of issues in my previous post that children with ADHD are challenged or gifted with every day, I can see so many of those characteristics in young David.
I'm certainly not saying that David had ADHD, nor am I saying that the stories of him that clearly show the miraculous power of Almighty God through him can be explained away or attributed to the side effects of a neurological disorder. But what I AM saying is that it is so encouraging to see that even though David had his weaknesses and struggles in life, that He was called "a man after God's own heart." Even though my children may look like they have insurmountable problems, God can use them ways I can never imagine.

Just look at this story of David and the Giant, Goliath, from I Samuel 17:
  1. vs. 20 "And David rose up early in the morning"......(don't all ADHD boys wake up early and hit the ground running?)
  2. vs. 20 "...and left the sheep with a keeper......(David loved being outdoors most of the time working with animals; he was a shepherd)
  3. vs.20 "....and took and went, as Jesse had commanded him; and he came to the trench, as the host was going forth to the fight, and shouted for the battle. (my ADHD son LOVES to be shouting and playing war games and seeing anything exciting like that)
  4. vs. 22 "And David left his carriage in the hand of the keeper of the carriage and ran into the army..."(always running)
  5. vs. 23 Goliath (the giant warrior of the enemy Philistine army) shows up and starts talking trash to the Israelite army where David's brothers were. All the Israelite soldiers run in fear and David turns his head as they run by and he says, "...who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?" (Funny how our ADHD children say exactly what they think of people even when it makes us cringe)
  6. vs. 28 So his oldest brother gets upset at David when he hears him questioning the soldiers about Goliath...."and Eliab's anger was kindled against David, and he said, 'Why camest thou down here? and with who did you leave those few sheep in the wilderness? I know thy pride, and the naughtiness of thine heart; for thou art come down that thou mightest see the battle?" (Can't you just imagine that response from the older brother of a boy with ADHD? Again, not saying that David did, but it's interesting to imagine that?)
  7. vs. 32 So David goes and tells the king of Israel, Saul, not to worry, that he (David) would fight the giant himself. (ADHD=Risk-takers)
  8. vs. 37 "David said moreover, The Lord that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine." (my ADHD daughter often has a vision of what she wants to accomplish and is undeterred by the obstacles in front of her)
  9. vs. 40 "And he took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd's bag which he had, even in a scrip; and his sling was in his hand; and he drew near to the Philistine." (ADHD children so think outside of the box; they creatively come up with unlikely solutions to problems)
  10. Of course, we know that David killed Goliath with God's help by outsmarting him and using the skills he had been honing while outside with the sheep, and he eventually ended up living in the palace of the king which prepared him for being king one day......who would've thought?

Some other correlations I see between the life of David and the person living with ADHD:

  • He seemed to love being outdoors whether as a shepherd or a warrior.
  • He was both musically gifted and a poetic genius.
  • He was quick on his feet and had to run for his life several times.
  • He seemed to be a charming, engaging person.
  • He seemed to be somewhat impulsive at times, but especially in his lust and ensuing sin with Bathsheba, and then in the consequential murder of Bathsheba's husband.
  • He had a kind heart. He spared the life of Saul 2 different times when he went after David to kill him.

"And when he (God) had removed him (Saul), he raised up unto them David to be their king;
to whom also he gave testimony, and said,
'I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfill all my will.

Of this man's seed (David's) hath God according to his promise raised unto Israel a Saviour,
Acts 13: 22,23

I just love that Jesus is not referred to in the Bible as the "Son of Abraham" or the"Son of Jacob", but as the "Son of David."
God chose David to be linked to Jesus.
Luke 3:23-31,32-38

Now who's to say that this same God doesn't have a plan for my children too??

Monday, March 9, 2015

A very long overdue update on our journey with "Intuniv"

Five years ago, my husband and I came to a crossroads.
We were struggling in our relationship with our son, who was 8 years old at the time.
It was not something new.
On the contrary, we had struggled with this little fellow nearly his entire life.
But by 2009 things had come to a head and I was desperate for help.
After much prayer and consultation with a plethora of people, professional and close friends,
we made the difficult decision to put our son on a non-stimulant medication to help manage his ADHD.
You can read more about the circumstances and the considerations that were involved in making this decision here.

There was quite a learning curve involved with this medication, and I spent a lot of time blogging about it.
If you're interested in reading through how he adjusted and then how our family needed to adjust to his calmer behavior, you can read through my posts about it here.

Since we began him on this medication in early 2010, several things have changed.
First of all, he has gotten bigger.  As he has grown, the medication is absorbed in his body differently.
He will be 13 next month.
We've changed the dosage several times.
We started at the lowest dose of 1 mg., and moved up from there.
At one point he was maxed out at the highest dose available of 4 mg. {considered the adult dose}
During one of his annual physicals {which our pediatrician requires because of the kind of drug it is},
I mentioned to him wanting to take him off all together because I wasn't really convinced it was doing much to help him control his impulsivity and hyperactivity.
Our doctor then suggested we might want to try something different as Intuniv was not really meant to be a stand alone drug, but one that was administered along with another stimulant medication.
I did NOT want to go that route with him, but we did try to withdraw from it all together.
It was while we were trying to wean him off that we realized just how much it was actually helping him have that internal control and to feel like he could settle down and not feel unable to control his own body.
Our doctor also recommended that we try giving him his dose at bedtime rather than first thing in the morning as is usually prescribed.
That has been key for us!!
For some reason, it seems to take a long time for this medication to kick in for him, and now he wakes up very calm and able to get right to the tasks at hand.

Eventually we moved back up to 3mg., and that is where we've found a more peaceful place for him.

He does not struggle in falling asleep, and we don't give him melatonin anymore.
I have been learning about the amazing benefits of using essential oils over the last year, so we're trying some new things with oils instead of synthetic sleep aids.

Read about what happened and the strategies we tried here.

We have always had to work at keeping Grant engaged and trying new things.
He has never asked to try something new.
The only thing that he will do for hours on end without being forced to is video or computer games.

His dad and I have learned that we have to present a new activity or idea to him several different times, and let him think about it and get himself ready before he's comfortable with it.
Most times, he blows a bunch of "smoke" {think throwing a fit} about something we would like for him to participate in, and usually once he's there he really enjoys it.
So we've had him play baseball with his good friends in the neighborhood.

We've had him involved with our church's mid-week children's programming called "Master Clubs," and we worked really hard to get him through every level successfully.


School continues to be an immense struggle for him.
On paper he started the 7th grade this last fall.
He is only working at about a 5/6th grade level at this point.
We are involved in an amazing "homeschool assistance program" this year that has been a miraculous answer to prayer for us, and I'm hoping that by the end of this year he will be working closer to a 7th grade level.
But he still has a long way to go and this is the time of year where he has always struggled the most.
His ability to focus and stay on task dwindles to almost nothing just before spring break.


He has had the opportunity to try out basketball in this little schooling program, and no surprise, he isn't wildly crazy about it.
BUT, he does really good at it.
He has some natural ability with it that has surprised us all, and himself as well!!

He still struggles with anger issues, being very demanding, not sharing very well, and being able to focus and stay on task in his learning environment.
These are not new issues, and as he is getting older, we are finding that the intensity to which he struggles with these things is decreasing as well.
One area in which he is doing much better in is sensing humor.
When he was younger, he could not interpret when someone was kidding or trying to be funny or if they were being literal.
He never laughed at cartoons because he didn't see any of them as funny.
He also never ever understood when people were just teasing and having fun with him.
He usually just got upset and thought they were "being mean" to him.
But as he has gotten older, he is better understanding appropriate humor and is learning how to laugh at truly funny things.

{Valentine's Banquet 2015}

As I mentioned before, I feel that in this journey we are on, the Lord has led us to learn about essential oils.  We've been using them in our home since Christmas time, and they are just wonderful.  I love being able to use natural, God-made, plant-based things in our home to help our bodies heal over synthetic, chemical laden, side-effect producing, man-made products.
I am currently researching different oils that can help with calming and focus and clarity.
We have been experimenting with Cedarwood and Lemon oils.
Like any other strategy you try, it takes time to find the right amounts and time to apply these oils, but Grant is willing to try and interested in learning how to do it himself!!
I will be posting more about essential oils in the near future and what we find works best for our son!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Round two: Yet another change of plans

What happens when you face an unexpected change in your routine?
When there is a roadblock on the journey of life?

Do you get frustrated?
Do you get angry at the inconvenience?  
At the change of plans that were not in your plans?

 "But I trusted in thee, 
O Lord, I said, Thou art my God.
My times are in thy hand:"
Psalm 31:15

Do you sit and pout and do nothing using the forced stillness as a cover for ungratefulness?
Do you allow the loneliness to overtake you and allow your mind to be filled with anxiety and depression and self-pity?

"When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, 
then thou knewest my path."
Psalm 142:3

Worry is nothing more than denying the existence of God in your life.

Instead of fussing over being made to stay put. 
Instead of complaining over an unexpected delay or detour.
Why not look for the gifts.
Not in a Pollyanna, Disney-fantasy, kind of way, but realistically.
Look for the beauty around you in His amazing creative genius found in nature.

Look for that person the Lord intended for you to meet and minister to.  Who's problems are way worse than yours!
Look for an opportunity to create something. 
To simply enjoy the quiet moments.

Use the time to expand your skill base.  To learn something new.  Broaden your horizons.

{Find those adorable sewing guides here.}

Wintry weather that keeps us in is pretty unusual here in Texas.
We average about 1 bad day of winter a year.
So when we experienced our 5th day of school/business closings of the year this week, it caused me to do more than just pause.
When life comes to a grinding halt, use that as an opportunity to reflect.
To be grateful for all you have been blessed with.
Then share it.
Be the hands and feet of Jesus to those around you.
Open your hands and allow the abundance that God has lavished you with pour out of your hands into the lives of those He has brought into your path.
I'm preaching to myself.
I don't always handle interruptions in my day or my week with these thoughts in mind.
Our wintry weather this year reminded me that God often has much bigger plans for our day than we do.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Unexpected intermission

So last week we had the unexpected happen here in north Texas.

It started on the last Sunday evening of February.
The sleet came down in buckets and coated everything.  Monday morning our street looked like this.

We couldn't get out of our driveway.
 So we did not GO to school, but we did get to stay home and do things like this:



 The next day weather and road conditions were not much better.
In fact, they were slipperier and even more treacherous.
So, we did more of this:

{We made homemade "snow" playdough and scented it with peppermint essential oil}

{Our oldest working on her art that she is selling to raise funds for her missions trips this year!)

 {If you haven't checked out the fun at you should!}

By Wednesday, we ended up with snow on top of the ice. 
 An unprecedented third consecutive day off from school!

{This is the "board game" that our 7 year old made.  It comes complete with storage box, game pieces, a rule book, and prizes.  It's called "Aryn and Mom."  Goodness, how adorable!}