Tuesday, August 27, 2013


It's officially time to mourn....SUMMER has ended....and we are back in school.   Actually I haven't been nearly as bombarded with paperwork and my hand hasn't cramped up at all from writing checks for this, that and the other...of which we need none!  The kids all seem happy....okay, some are kinda cranky.  I don't do that....let's start putting them to bed early and getting them up early a few weeks before school starts, so they'll be ready.  HECK NO!  I don't want to get up early, and I don't want to spend the last few weeks with them all tired and cranky.  I believe in going cold turkey.  Let them be cranky the first few weeks at school.  I mean the teachers are usually pretty lenient at first anyway, so if they are grumps (which we all know kids are much better behaved at school than at home)...then hopefully they will give them some slack.  I would rather have the grumpy kids home for a total of 3-4 hours before they are in bed for the night vs. A.L.L.  D.A.Y.  L.O.N.G!  Things got off to a fairly good start for all but my boy.  HELLO....the one who needs things to go smoothly.  First, they didn't have him on the schedule to ride the bus....which he was not completely gung ho about anyway, but we are positively gung ho about.  His high school is a hike, and high school is a large and daunting place.  We just wanted him to make sure and get where he needed to be every day without me having to park, get out and take him in.  The bus provides independence and safety...if you want to know the truth.  Of course today, the safety part was questionable.   After some begging and screaming or NPayne telling them to fix it and get him on the schedule.  They did, and he got to ride the bus today.....the 2nd day of school.  However they were in such a rush to get him on the schedule that they didn't notice one small detail....the school he goes to.   No they didn't...yes they did.  They delivered him to the wrong high school this morning.  Of course this happens after he got on the bus crying, because he doesn't want to ride the bus.  But guess what?  The most wonderfully awesome thing ever happened.  Cal told them when he got off the bus that he didn't belong there.  The teacher was looking at him and asking the driver if this was a new student....meanwhile his teacher at his school was looking for his bus # and for him to get off with no luck.  Then Cal said, "I don't go to Grapevine High School.  I go to Colleyville Heritage High School!"  DING DING DING!  They quickly put him on a bus and drove him to his school where he got off the bus and proclaimed...."THE BUS WAS LATE!"  NPayne received several calls and emails with the deepest and most sincere apologies and complete assurance that Cal handled it wonderfully and needed a high five when he got home today.  All in all, it turned out to be a blessing....at least for me....knowing that he was able to take charge of the situation makes my heart swoon!  So it's official....summer has ended, and school has started; and I'm sad!  Although I do have to admit that I kinda enjoy the peace and quiet at 8:30 instead of at 11:30 with everyone getting to bed earlier!  To all my educator friends, parent friends, student friends, students.....HAVE AN AWESOME YEAR!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

End of Summer

What does the end of summer look like for you?
For me, it looks like this...
*tan slowly fading which means I have to start wearing make up again
*getting up early....really early
*busy....really busy
*no more free Saturdays
*lots of money spent
*juggling schedules
*therapy, dance, soccer, music lessons, athletics, Bible Studies, choir...to name a few
*2.5 weekdays at home alone
*cooler weather
*football season
*fall holidays

Mixed emotions....I love having everyone home, flying by the seat of our pants, not being busy, swimming, relaxing, sleeping late!  But I like the idea of routine and having a few days to get some things accomplished.  Plus the house renovation should be right around the corner...hopefully!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Joy or Happiness

JOY VS. HAPPINESS:  We had this discussion in SS not too long ago.  What I know from experience, reading The Bible and speaking to others is this....I believe that you can have joy without having happiness.  I also believe that you can have happiness without having joy.  For me, joy is internal....the feeling of contentment, peace and elation.  For me joy comes from loving Jesus and knowing He loves me.  Joy does not usually result from circumstances.  Happiness is something that oftentimes results from circumstances.  It is fleeting and comes and goes.  Joy is there always if I allow it to be and allow myself to be filled with it.  Happiness is not...some days things happen which cause great sadness...and happiness is hard to find.  When I'm having a day like that, I will often stop and think about Jesus' love for me.  It doesn't always remove the sadness, but it certainly enhances the joy.  Sometimes sadness is overwhelming, and I can get lost in it momentarily; but sometimes happiness is overwhelming, and I can get lost in it momentarily as well.  Joy, however, is always there; and I love getting lost in it.  Oftentimes the same thing that causes me to be sad can cause me to feel joyful too.  Today was a day of sadness...remembering the loss of a sweet baby boy....8 years ago today was one of the hardest I've ever experienced.  Watching my sweet friends lose their son in childbirth was devastating for all who love them.  However when I think of my sweet friends, sadness is not what I think of.  Joy is definitely what invades my thoughts....joy and gratitude.  Because of the loss of their son, they ran open armed to Jesus and have allowed Him to rule their lives.  It has been a beautiful thing to witness and share, and I wish everyone I know could meet them and feel it too.  I was sitting in the movie theatre today with 3 of my kiddos and feeling so overwhelmed with sadness.  I wasn't thinking about my friends or their boy but about other things that have made me so very sad.  I couldn't concentrate on the movie and had the urge to run out, so nobody would see me crying.  But then my youngest, Elliot, came over and crawled into my lap.  Snuggling up with her, smelling her, holding her little hand, feeling her warm body completely resting on me calmed my spirit; and my sweet friends' boy came to my mind.  As I held her, I thought about how they have longed to hold their boy and how much they love Jesus because of their pain and longing; and my spirit calmed and the joy was there.

Meaning:Happiness is an emotion in which one experiences feelings ranging from contentment and satisfaction to bliss and intense pleasure.Joy is the emotion of great or calm delight or happiness caused bysomething exceptionally good or satisfying; keen pleasure; elation.
Causes:External sources: Events, FeelingsInward sources: God's abiding presence
Emotion:outward expression of elationinward peace and contentment
Time frame:MomentaryAlways
Example:Winning a lottery will make one happyIn the midst of trials and temptations joy is still present.

Thursday, August 15, 2013


Change is hard and oftentimes uncomfortable, but it can also be very very good.  I have been praying for guidance in several circumstances.  I thought I had heard the answer, but now I am wondering.  I thought the answer was the "comfortable" one, but now I'm wondering.  I thought the answer was the one that would keep things harmonious, but now I'm wondering.  I thought the answer was the one that my family would be happiest about, but now I'm wondering.  A very wise and faithful friend told me that sometimes we lean on comfortable, but God is telling us to get uncomfortable in order to glorify Him.  If I get uncomfortable, will it be the answer?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

My Boy

There I sat, listening, as a room full of women discussed "my son". They weren't really discussing Cal, but they might as well have been. It was a book review of "Love Anthony", and the topic of the boy with autism was the main focus. A small percentage of the group knew that Cal is autistic, but most did not. It was interesting listening to all of these opinions....not good or bad....just interesting! Reading the book and listening to the discussion took me back to when Cal was a little boy. I've been that mom in the grocery store trying to calm her uncontrollable son, praying "NOT NOW...just let me get him out of here", that mom in the park that is shunned by the other moms, that mom that turned "the wrong way" but can't figure out why he is so upset, that mom that steps over lines and lines of trains. I've been that mom who feels sad and sometimes resentful, because my boy was not included or never gets invited. I've been that mom....  Listening to others talk about this boy and this life and think they have it all figured out in a mere 45 minutes was interesting to say the least. I wish that I had spoken up and said "Yes...having a child with autism is difficult, but it's not the end of the world!   Not all parents feel the way the mom in this book did. We don't all live our lives in anger over it. Sure I have experienced challenging times, sadness, worry; but I have also experienced celebrations of accomplishments, joy, confidence and gratitude."  Cal keeps me grounded and is the reason that I appreciate the "little things", the things that are often taken for granted....unprompted hugs, tying his own shoes, eating tacos, going somewhere new and handling it very well, the ocean, schedules, being silly, holding my hand, belly laughing...and that's just a few! He is a new beginning every day!

Monday, August 5, 2013


As I finished reading "Love Anthony" by Lisa Genova, my mind is a whirlwind; and my emotions are ripe.  I am feeling joy, understanding, acceptance, sadness and some validation.  This is a story about a boy named Anthony who has autism.  Anthony is a nonverbal boy who has died leaving his parents...mainly his mother....devastated, grief stricken and searching for answers.  As I read it, I felt completely overwhelmed by so many of Anthony's descriptions of his feelings....it was like looking into my own son's brain.  So many things that he does made more sense.  Of course I have no idea if Cal's brain sends him the same signals as Anthony's, but nonetheless it made so much sense of things that normally don't.  The overall feel of the book for most may be sadness but for me it was relief....somebody understands what my son provides for our family aka "his purpose".  It's easy to explain what Cal has taught me, but I don't think it's always easy for people to understand.  It can often sound very simplistic, but in reality it's anything but. One of the subjects the book embraces is how parents deal with having a child with autism.  I can honestly say that I don't ever remember being angry about Cal's diagnosis.  I have felt extreme sadness, overwhelming guilt, fear and worry; but I have learned to love and appreciate the boy...not the diagnosis.  There tends to be much controversy over how you "label" a child with autism..."autistic boy" or "boy with autism".  One seems to focus more on the boy and one seems to focus more on the autism.  I use to think that autism didn't define my son, but if I'm going to be truthful...it does.  It defines everything about him...the same things that have made me sad, fearful, guilty and worry have also made me happy, joyful, grateful and full of love.  My girls, my husband and I all accept Cal and love Cal for who he is and what defines him; and we have never felt angry about who he is.  There are many times when I have been overcome with sadness when I have been faced with Cal's reaction and a "typical" child's reaction to something.  Of course I would love for Cal to have typical and age appropriate interests, and I pray that his inner struggle doesn't eat away at his being.  But overall I think Cal, just like Anthony, is happy just being who he is. He loves what he loves, and why should we try to change that....even if it is something not typical of a 14 year old boy?  I think "his purpose" is to show us how to love unconditionally but also how to accept love unconditionally, how to appreciate the things we would typically take for granted and be so grateful, how to handle struggles and challenges and help someone other than ourselves, how to co-exist with someone who is not just like us, how to be brave and learn to cope when things don't go the way we think they should.  Cal's "purpose", just like Anthony's, is to be; and for us to learn from him not to change him!  Having Cal in the mix of four "typical" girls has taught our whole family so much about acceptance, love and connection.  The last thing that Anthony "says" in the book to his mother is this:
"Take what you've learned and love someone again.  Find someone to love and love without condition.  That is why we're all here.  Love, Anthony"

In the author's notes, Lisa Genova writes the following:
"After talking with parents, physicians and therapists and reading as much as I could about autism for the past two years, here's what I've come to believe:
The spectrum is long and wide, and we're all on it.  Once you believe this, it becomes easy to see how we're all connected."