Tuesday, November 29, 2011


My son, Cal, has been asking if we could ride the train for about 3 months now. NPayne took him on a train ride back in May with his two best friends to celebrate his birthday. However, it turned out not to be a celebration. Although Cal LOVES the train....for some reason on this particular day in May.....he did not. It wasn't until they were on the TRE, and it was in motion; that he began to have a full blown panic attack complete with screaming hysterically for the first 30 minutes of the ride. If you have ever ridden the TRE, this is how it works usually.....you ride one way (30 minutes), either get off or hang out on the train (30 minutes), ride the other way back (30 minutes)....so yes....that's an hour and a half. NPayne decided the TRE wasn't going to happen again for quite a while. With a child with autism, unpredictability is part of the deal. Sometimes, things that he normally loves and has loved, make him completely nuts. Other times, things he normally can't stand, he deals with just fine. He has made so much progress with communicating this to us, but every now and then; we are fooled...for lack of a better word....into thinking all will be okay when in fact it won't. After much discussion over the last week, NPayne told Cal we would ride the train this past Saturday. With Cal, you also have to be very specific, because if he has something in his head; and it's different than what you had planned....it is almost guaranteed disaster. So Saturday we prepped him all day by telling him that we would ride the TRE not the diesel (that is at the station down the street). He was fine with it and asked what time we would ride and what time we would be finished.....like he always does. Although he had been asking to ride the train with his sisters for the last few months, he kept saying that he didn't want them to ride on Saturday. NPayne told him if he wanted to ride, the girls were riding too. Cal agreed to all we had prepped him for and off we went. We got there, and he started to get a little upset; we quickly gave him an out and told him we could go home. He declined and got really excited when he saw the train coming. We all climbed on and found our seats....the girls with me....and NPayne and Cal right behind us. The train was not crowded at all, there was a guy with a bicycle, a woman, and another man in our car. The train started, and a few seconds in, so did Cal's anxiety. He began to scream and cry as loud as he could that he wanted to get off and didn't like the train. NPayne tried to console him, and I tried to console him with absolutely no luck. The conductor and the 3 passengers obviously noticed his horror and looked a little concerned, but then they seemed to dismiss it.....all except one man. He started asking questions and even came and sat by NPayne and Cal to see what was up. When NPayne told him they were fine, he moved back to his seat across from them and began to cover his ears as Cal continued to scream. I heard the man mumbling a few things, and then I looked at him. When I looked at him, I knew immediately.....he too was autistic. After about 15 minutes of Cal screaming with no end in sight, the man approached me and asked me if I thought Cal might like to ride the train downtown to the Neiman Marcus parade. I explained that Cal didn't like parades, and then he asked me if he liked trains. I told him that yes he did like trains but apparently today he wasn't in the mood for a train ride. The man told me that he rode the train every day to his house, and that if Cal didn't quit screaming they would call the police on him. I smiled at him and assured him that the police wouldn't be called. I found myself consoling this grown man and assuring him that Cal would be okay once we were off the train. It was sort of like an out of body experience....explaining to a full grown man, who seemed to have the mind set of a young child....that my boy...who was clearly driving him a little insane with his screaming would be okay. I couldn't help but wonder if the man had once felt the same as Cal and was able to finally adapt to riding the train every day. The girls and I ended up moving to a different car, to see if that would help Cal calm down, since he appeared to be upset that we were all riding the train. After a bit, he did calm down. I'm not sure if it was because we moved or because he got distracted, while we were sitting on the train at the depot, and he was watching the diesel trains pass by. Nonetheless the last hour of the train ride was quiet....even when the train filled up completely at one stop....Cal remained quiet. What set him off...we still don't know...and never will. It's part of life with a child with autism....never knowing....expecting the unexpected....being pushed into uncomfortable territory as he screams and yells in a place that you can't leave...and then calming down (that has just started happening in recent years, and for this coping skill....we are very thankful).

Saturday, November 26, 2011


This is me....I just took this photo. Most women I know...maybe not all....but most have many things about themselves they wish they could change.
After some thought about this, I've decided to embrace some of these things about myself like....
-my naturally uncontrollable curly hair
-the wrinkles that are becoming more frequent and dominating my face
-the chin that use to be single and is now starting to date another chin....hence leaving me with 2 chins, hopefully they won't marry and reproduce.... I don't want anymore chins.
-the eyebrows and lips that are too thin
-the hips and waist that are not thin enough
-the teeth that are not very white
-the painful joints and back that goes with having arthritis
-the varicose and spider veins....WAIT A MINUTE....I will not embrace those. As soon as I can afford to, I will have those repaired.
I think it's okay to try to improve the things about myself that I don't like, but I just want to remember that God created me perfectly; and He loves me no matter how many wrinkles, chins, veins, etc. I have. It looks like I will start an exercise program and be visiting my rheumatologist soon! UGH!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Christmas Card

Yesterday we took family photos for our Christmas card. See the post below for one of my favorites. That one won't be used on the Christmas card, because well....then it wouldn't be a surprise. If you know me, you know that I love making Christmas cards....I don't get overly excited about much else at Christmas....but I love making the cards. A few years ago, I started with the "theme" tradition. I choose a scriptural theme and run with it....using it in my card and on my letter.....you know to remind folks that Christmas is about Jesus. I usually think of a theme a long time before it's even cool outside and sort of let it evolve in my head, then I tell my family...."Hey, we are doing this for the Christmas card this year; so let's go take some photos!" And they know I'm neurotic about it and happily oblige me. Yesterday they did a great job with my props and plans, and we were done shooting 206 photos in approximately 30 minutes. They are well trained! ;) Today when I sat down to start creating it, I had the "theme" and photos all planned out. I left Addi in charge of finishing up the card for me today while I went to shoot photos of another lovely family. When I came home, I saw the card; and she did an amazing job. I so love creating Christmas cards....and I think Addi does too. Below is our card from last year....can you guess the theme!


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Mission Trip

As I sat in church this morning and looked around, I noticed attendance was lower than usual. It could be because of the holiday, it could be because of the stomach bug that has been going around, it could be because of the tournaments and playoff games going on; but I think much of it was because there were a slew of youth and adults serving at the Mini Mission Trip. This is the second annual Mini Mission Trip that our youth director, NPayne and many other adults organize to serve others during this week of thankfulness. It's referred to as the "MINI" Mission Trip, because our usual mission trips are a week long. This one is from Saturday and lasts through Monday night. The youth and adults find people, in our area, that need some help; and they help them. They begin their day with worship and breakfast, then they head out to work throughout the day....eating their sack lunch on site. They return to church that evening for dinner and a fun time for fellowship. Then they sleep on the gym floor or in The Hub (the youth hang out) until the next morning when they start all over. Since NPayne is instrumental in planning this, I happen to know a few of the projects they will be working on over these next few days: building two wheel chair ramps at our sister church...Heritage, replacing some windows and doors for some folks who need some help with upkeep of their home, many minor repairs for a single mom of four, and painting a house for an elderly couple, and that's just a few of their projects. It's a lot of work for this group to accomplish in a few days, but it's work with a reward....the reward of knowing that they are doing as they are called and being the hands and feet of our sweet Jesus! What a blessing they will be to those they serve and how blessed they will be when they see how a little work has made the difference in the life of someone. Thank God for Mini Mission!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


my family
my church
my friends
my pets
my co-workers
living in the USA
I love LOVE! Hmmmm.....that gives me a great idea for a Christmas card!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

I'm A Teacher

I found out that a boy, that I had in my Transitional Kindergarten class many years ago, has a brain tumor. Today during my Sunday School prayer time, one of my dear friends asked for prayers for him. When she said his name, I said out loud to myself...."I had him in TK!" I couldn't believe this sweet little boy who is now a teenager was having a brain tumor surgically removed tomorrow. I have thought about him all day and tonight I found myself wondering what happened to all of the kids I have taught over the years. Some of them are my friends on Facebook....a little weird to see them all grown up, in college, or married with families of their own; and some of them still send me Christmas cards. But most of them I wonder about. I have never found myself wondering in a negative light until tonight.....after the news of the brain tumor. When I thought about a particular student, it was usually to tell a story about something that happened or to laugh with NPayne about something that he would remember.....but not wondering if they were alive and well....I just assumed that. Now I can't help but wonder if they are all alive and well....I just wonder. I also found myself wondering if the school year they spent with me had any impact on them. I would like to hope that, at least one of my previous students, might say something like...."Mrs. Payne is the reason I love school!" or "Mrs. Payne taught me how to read!" or "Mrs. Payne was the best square dancer around!"..... that's another blog post waiting to happen. I wonder what teachers my children will remember. I know which of their teachers I will remember, and I hope they realize how much time and effort and determination and creativity goes into being a teacher. I hope they realize that those teachers that made the positive impact....those teachers truly loved them. I know I have loved so many, and I will go to bed with thoughts of them tonight. Please pray for Mitchell's brain surgery tomorrow!

Friday, November 11, 2011

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas...already?

It's the most wonderful time of the year....or so they say! I am not a huge lover of Christmas....the materialistic, over indulgent, over planning, kind of way; and it really use to bother me when people jumped the gun and went straight from Halloween to Christmas. But that's because Thanksgiving is probably my favorite holiday....besides our birthdays! I've decided to let that whole "already decorating and listening to Christmas music" thing go, and just embrace the holidays as best I can. Living right in the middle of "The Christmas Capital of Texas" is also not nearly as enjoyable as it may sound, but once again....I'm going to do my best not to let it wear me out this year. So let me start by listing some things I'm thankful for:
My family
My kids
Jesus Christ
My church
My job/s
a house to clean
groceries to buy
cars to maintenance
all of the wonderful care the medical profession can provide
spending my day listening to giggling children
Kenda...my Bible Study leader
My parents
Money (in the necessary sort of way)
Armed Forces
"Jesus Calling"
My Bible
My Sunday School class
Elli's sitter and my friend
My time here on earth
Down time
My camera
And that's just to name a few!
If you are reading my blog, then I'm thankful for you too!
I know I may be jumping the gun...but Happy Thanksgiving! Be thankful everyday!

Sunday, November 6, 2011


As I sat in church today and listened to John preach, I kept thinking of Pastor Ken. Ken was the person who God used to really make me embrace my longing to serve others. I'm learning that God is going to use John to help me to continue in that direction. John has been doing a really good sermon series on "If The Church Were Christian...."! Today he talked about if the church were christian, we would be the church not just do church. He said there are roughly 80,000 people a day who are converting to christianity. Many of these people are from other countries and worship in a very different way aka place than I do. His sermon was mainly about how, we the congregation, are the church....it's not the building or where we meet....but the people who attend that make the church. As the church, we need to be doing....not just attending. Everytime we reach out to serve someone else, we are being the hands and feet of Christ. It shouldn't matter where we gather to worship and serve. Do you think Jesus would have told people they couldn't worship under a tree? Do you think He would have told them they couldn't worship in a school gymnasium? Do you think He would have told them they couldn't worship in a tent? Do you think He would have told them they had to have a big building with pews, stained glass, and a steeple to make worship meaningful? Of course He wouldn't! The church serves as a place for Christians to gather, but it does not define what it means to be Christian. Going to church is a good thing....going each week is something I look forward to. I enjoy gathering together with my church family to worship, and yes we do use our church building for more than worship. But I have to admit that if it stopped there, I would not be nearly as blessed. I often hear Jesus through the sermon or my Sunday School lesson. I often see His face in the face of a baby being baptized on Sunday morning. I often hear His voice in the voice of my children singing in the choir, but still those things are not enough for me. I long be His hands and feet. I long to build relationships with others through where God is leading me. Sometimes those things do happen in our church....like when we serve the monthly meal to the people in our community, or when we pack thousands of shoe boxes full of gifts for Operation Christmas Child, or when NPayne and Addi sleep on the gym floor while doing a mission work over Thanksgiving break. The Bible says we are to do good works, but it doesn't say good works are what get us to heaven. God's grace is what gets us to heaven, but I believe that doing good works brings us closer to Jesus. Having a realtionship with Christ is what makes me want to serve others. I want to please Him, and I want to do what He has told me to do.....LOVE! When I googled LOVE, this is what popped up on wikipedia....

Love is an emotion of strong affection and personal attachment.[1] In philosophical context, love is a virtue representing all of human kindness, compassion, and affection. Love is central to many religions, as in the Christian phrase, "God is love" or Agape in the Canonical gospels.[2] Love may also be described as actions towards others (or oneself) based on compassion, or as actions towards others based on affection.[3]

That pretty much sums it up for me....the sermon, the service, what we are called to do, and the greatest commandment of all.....LOVE! I am blessed by His love and by sharing His love!

Friday, November 4, 2011


My sweet son, Cal, got a crick in his neck or pulled a muscle or something painful. His teacher called me yesterday and said he couldn't turn his head or move it. He had been in the nurse's office with a heating pad on his neck. I went and picked him up and brought him home to some Ibuprofen, Acetaminophin, and BenGay. He kept telling me "Cal is getting sick. His neck hurts!" At bedtime, it didn't seem much better; so I was prepared to break his heart today and make him skip school. He LOVES school, but what he really loves is bowling. He bowls for Special Olympics, and he absolutely loves it. Last year, he made it all the way to regionals. This morning he got up and had more range in his movement, but his neck was still a little sore. He could turn his head and begged to go bowling, so I did what any good mother would do and....let him bowl! His teacher and I decided if he seemed to be in pain or if it seemed to stiffen up, that she would call me; and I would drive the 40 minute drive to pick him up from the tournament. I checked on him throughout the tournament, and she said it was a little challenging....more because there was so much chaos than because his neck hurt. I picked him up after school, and Ms. Day his class Para brought him to the car. She said he his neck was a little sore, but he did great. So great in fact that he brought home the GOLD MEDAL! He was thrilled....can't you tell by his photo? ;) He was really happy, but he was also really tired; so a smile just wasn't going to happen. At least I got a picture! Great Job Cal!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween minus one! I'm posting these for my mom, so she can see her grandkids on Halloween. Addi was at drumline rehearsal, so she is not in these photos.....SAD! These costumes were last minute, dig around in our closet and dress up trunk costumes....not too bad, huh! I'm not a huge fan of Halloween, but my kids sure do love it; and I really enjoy the Reeses Peanut Butter Cups they save for me! Notice my boy.....he's dressed up....in somewhat of a costume! He did great....he went to every car at Trunk Or Treat and said "Trick or Treat"! He didn't even flinch, yell, grunt, or anything else when strangers would pat him on the back and say "Go Rangers"! I even think he ended up with the most candy....too bad he won't eat any of it....of course we shared some of it with Addi! I will blogging again regularly now and posting lots of photos! I am booked solid for photos over the next few weekends! Woohoo!