Friday, December 23, 2011

I hope all of my blogger friends out there have not forgotten about me. And I have not forgotten you. It has been a tough year and my desire to write has either died or gone into hiding. Sometimes the rough weather causes things to go dormant. Just as a tree looks lifeless in the winter, there is always life within its sap. And I hope that is all that is going on with me. With the loss of my mother a year ago, our son's diagnosis, and other family trials, there have been so many days where I have felt like I am just trying to survive. However, there have been blessed moments of children's smiles and giggles, hugs from precious family and friends, and encouraging words from those around me. My heart is reflecting on this season and the joy of Christ's birth from the throne of glory to a needy and dark world. And as I marvel of this truth that never grows trite, I think of how life is all about holding on and letting go. Here is a perspective from Mary's heart. And I believe it is the heartfelt thread shared by every mother. Merry Christmas!

Holding On, Letting Go

Contently she smiled as she bundled Him up,

Cradling while kissing his face,

Tenderly she whispered the name of her Lord,

As she soothed this bundle of grace.

"Jesus, Jesus." she murmured.

Her heart oozing intense adoration,

Tears of emotion dripped from her face,

As she soaked in intricacies of divine creation.

Like any newborn baby,

No hint of Shikinah glory to see,

Ten fingers and toes; soft downy hair,

"Lord , how could all of this be?"

She held in her arms the Hope of the Nations,

Anointed Savior of All,

Wonder of wonders humbly born,

In a filthy cold cattle stall.

She pressed the babe tightly against flowing affections,

Breathing in the scent of pure Love.

"Help me Lord, to be his mother,

To keep watch over Heaven's Dove."

Holding on as she swaddled Him,

Knowing what words cannot express.

The time of letting go would come soon enough,

"Will I pass this painful test?"

But for now she would simply cherish,

The Father's first gift of His heart.

Peace and stillness flooded her soul,

Realizing they'd never really be apart.

Holding on, yet letting go,

For now she would simply treasure,

The fullness of the ALL in ALL,

Which separation could never measure.

Gazing into the eyes like a dove's,

An ocean of Heaven within,

Savoring the moment in her heart,

As she pressed God against her again.

Love and Blessings,


Saturday, May 7, 2011


It is 9 a.m. and Timothy is already outside. I am gazing out the window observing as he happily plays with the stream of water leaking from the garden hose. His mouth is moving so he is probably singing his favorite song, "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star". And his sweet face is gleaming with that shimmering smile of his. It is that kind of grin that lights up his entire face and beams from his bright blue eyes. His countenance is one that melts the heart. And this morning I am reflecting, remembering and realizing. I am seeing beyond what is visible. Something very special is being revealed and the revelation that there is more going on here than meets the limited human mind and reaches toward the depths of the eternal heart.

Six months ago, our precious 4 year old was diagnosed with moderate to mildly severe autism along with severe developmental delays. What we already suspected and feared was true. At the age of 3, Timothy mysteriously began to show signs of regression in his speech and overall development. We don't know why. We don't know how. But we do know that it is what it is, Autism. I had to go through my own time of grief. It has been a perplexing and painful season. And I wrestled with feelings of shame and guilt concerning my grief over the thoughts that my child was not "normal". People would say,"Well at least he does not have cancer." Or, "How do you know for sure and how did the doctors come up with that diagnosis?" Well meaning friends minimized my pain with their words, questions, and doubts. I really did not expect everyone to understand. However, I am very blessed and grateful for those family and friends who simply reached out with compassion and support. It was an indescribable pain knowing that things were going to be very different for Timothy and for our family. The dreams I had for my child were dead. I had to grieve, to mourn , and to process the shocking truth.

Then it was time to get busy and move forward by researching, learning, making calls and talking to experts and other parents of children with autism as well as finding speech and occupational therapy for Timothy. Talk about overwhelming! I thought," How in the world am I supposed to balance this with the responsibility of all the other children I am a mother to? And what is going to happen to Timothy? What about his future?" I felt like I was drowning.

Each day since the diagnosis, I have had to give it to God and I say, "Lord, I don't know how we are supposed to do this, but I trust that You know what to do and not do. So, I give it to You. I give you little Timmy. I give you this family. I release my fear of the unknown and choose to trust You with it all." Has the fear completely left? No. I face it every day. You see, I often feel fear but I do not let it have me. For it is in the face of fear where I am trained to be courageous. I am learning that it is not fear itself that consumes me for fear will come. But it is how I respond when it threatens to consume me and control me.

And many days I feel so inadequate, lost and unfit as a mother. Once again, I take it to my room and I pray again to God. Basically, I am simply living on a prayer. And to be perfectly blunt, I am learning that living on a prayer is the best and most productive way to live.

Yesterday, I took Timothy to a make up session with his occupational therapist. He normally goes every Monday. However, there was a special blessing awaiting. When we arrived, Michelle greeted Timothy as she always does. "Hi Timmy! We are going to play in the barn today!" Timmy's face lit up because he loves the barn as it is a large room set up with a small trampoline, bowling, large mats for rolling and jumping, and other fun activities designed for sensory and physical development. The atmosphere of the barn was different this day because there were more children present. I noticed a little boy in a wheelchair who was being assisted by his therapist with strengthening exercises for his upper body. He was watching every move Timothy made as he energetically ran around exploring everything in sight. When Michelle placed him on his tummy on the large platform swing, Timothy began to bellow out his favorite song "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star". He sang it in his own little language but he had the melody down pat. The child in the wheelchair began to giggle with delight. His therapist said, "I have never seen him like this. He usually cries when other kids are in the room." Then, the two therapists began to discuss the possibility of changing the sessions so the two boys could be together because of the "positive energy" (as the therapist called it) Timothy exuded.

Here is this little guy named Timothy. He does not have many words. He whispers most of the time when he does speak.Yet, through a simple song, a happy countenance and a brilliant smile he touched a little boy's life. And he touches mine everyday. It may not seem like a big deal to most. However, when you live with autism, every moment matters. Every milestone is significant. You know, I am the one who is truly blessed. I am changing for the better because God has given me the privilege to be the mom to 11 very precious children. However, there is something about Timothy that is leading me in a new and profound way. I am learning to slow down and to savor simple accomplishments. I am seeing that a person can be deeply touched not so much through words but through a smile and a joyful countenance. And my vision is enlarged because the purity of an innocent child can make a significant impact on the lives around him. Also, I am considering that maybe the things we label as abnormal are not so abnormal after all. I find myself, like Timmy, singing and just enjoying small moments. Just as this quote says, "We can sing our cares away easier than we can reason them away."

Timothy, you will go far in life. God has amazing and unfathomable things in mind for you. I am seeing it more and more. It will not be what I imagined , it will be much better! So I sing to you Timmy, our little shining star. I pray that your light will never fade and that your life will lead many travelers who are lost in the dark toward the true light!

Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are.
Up above the world so high,
Like a diamond in the sky.
Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are!

When the blazing sun is gone,
When he nothing shines upon,
Then you show your little light,
Twinkle, twinkle, all the night.
Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are!

Then the traveler in the dark
Thanks you for your tiny spark;
He could not see which way to go,
If you did not twinkle so.
Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are!"

(Written by Jane Taylor 1806)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Just Enjoy!

The Lord is teaching me more and more each day about His rest. We have had our share of hardship and trials over the past few months. My mother died very suddenly this past December. Just two weeks before her death, our 4 year old son was diagnosed with autism. And just a couple weeks ago, I took one of the girls to the doctor for pink eye only to discover she has a heart murmur. She was referred to a pediatric cardiologist and some abnormalities showed up on her EKG. Now we wait for the next appointment for more testing. Waiting is just plain difficult. It is excruciating at times. It seems like torment. However, it is within the waiting room of hardship and adversity that our faithful Lord teaches us about true rest and leaning upon Him.
I am finding that even though some days I do not handle stress very well, my Father truly understands my weakness. He does not get frustrated or angry with me. He just wants me to lean on Him. Simple as that.
And He keeps His arms around me even though I sometimes get frustrated with Him because I cannot feel His embrace. Faith is more than what I am feeling. Faith is assurance. Faith is knowing He is holding me regardless of what my mind or emotions say .
He just wants me to live each day enjoying the simple things in life. For the simple things are truly what brings pleasure and delight to the soul. Through trials we learn to appreciate the seemingly insignificant moments and pleasures. The insignificant becomes very significant.
There are lovely reminders God has graciously given us to capture each day if we will just stop and take notice. When I soak in His beauty, I find healing and peace.

In His grace, I can truly enjoy all the beauty around me, even within the seasons of the unknown.
There is comfort surrounding me. There is sunshine in my darkness.
There are smiles within the midst of my tears. Because of who He is, I can enjoy my life. I can have abundant life. My eternity is not only held within the future but I am living it in the now.

May you always discover hope in the midst of your fears. May you enjoy each day as you lean upon the Hope of Glory.

Love to my friends,


Monday, January 24, 2011

Genuine Friendships Within the Storm of Grief

"In a culture that does not like to acknowledge loss or talk about the impact, it's difficult to grieve. And when we add this silence to the fact that most of us have never been taught about the process and normalcy of grief, no wonder we struggle."~~ H. Norman Wright

As the days slowly pass since Momma died, I am seeing the blessing of strong relationships and true friendship. God has placed people in my life who are truly safe places. Even though my Daddy is hurting tremendously, he continues to encourage me that mourning, which is an outward expression of grief, is very normal. He is a very safe person in my life and I admire his strength in the midst of His own anguish. In addition, I feel such an overwhelming sense of gratitude of the amazing friends God has placed around me in this difficult and trying season of my life. I never want to let them go.

Yesterday,Daddy sent photos of Momma's gravestone. When I awoke I turned on my computer to check my email.The photo above is what I saw. I stared at it for the longest moment. My mother, who was so vibrant and full of life...and here is a granite stone with her beautiful name engraved upon it. It just seemed completely unreal all over again. And the thrashing waves of grief threatened to overtake me as the tears flowed through out the day. However, they were much needed as I have withheld a seemingly internal waterfall for the "sake of the children." But I know this is needed. I know this is good. And I know it is normal.

My heart is swollen with immense gratitude for the precious people in my life who have allowed me to express my pain. These precious souls have not tried to heal me, nor have they attempted to advise me on how to heal. These few friends have simply entered into my wound, sat with me as I have bled, and told me they are there. How simply powerful is this? How loving and gracious?

I have been reading a book written by a mother of an autistic child entitled, "Let Me Hear Your Voice", by Catherine Maurice. She expresses her need for just simple understanding after the loss of a stillborn baby as well as processing the news of her young daughter's diagnoses of autism. This is what she says.

"None of us, especially myself, wants to jump into another's pain. If we can't fix something in our friend's life, we feel helpless. If we can't make it go away, we want to pretend it is not there. We don't know what to say. We are at a loss for words.Our lives have their own aches and sorrows. If we see poverty, we try at least to help by giving some money away,even though we know our money does not go very far. But if we see heartbreak, most of us are less effective; we try to talk the person out of it. Often we have to learn that there is no solution for suffering. Everyone has some of it sooner or later. What helps is to have one or two people around who keep trying to understand, who are just willing to just hold our hand as we walk on through it."

As I pondered these words, I realized that God has blessed me with very strong people who have truly partaken of my pain. They have not tried to "fix" things, they just sat with me, loved me, and comforted me. I just want to express my appreciation because you all have been a true example of Christ in my life. God simply wants to enter into our pain, for He genuinely experiences it and deeply feels it. He never minimizes our trials because our sufferings are as personal to Him as they are to us. When my child is hurt, I hurt too if not more. I am reminded of the passionate and intimate love of our Father who longs to enter into our hardships and embrace us right in the middle of that messy place. Grief is not tidy. Grief cannot easily be defined. But it is an appointed part of life that every soul shall experience. No two shall experience it the same. But we all shall feel it's sting. So in the midst of mourning, God will envelope us in His love, in His understanding, and knit the body of Christ into the beautiful masterpiece He has called us to be.

Now that we know what we have—Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God—let's not let it slip through our fingers. We don't have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He's been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin. So let's walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help. Hebrews 4:15 The Message

Love to you all, my precious and loving friends,


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A Lovely Life

One month ago today, I received a phone call from my Dad that my mother was not doing very well. By the sound of Daddy's voice, I knew it was very serious. She had been rushed to the hospital by ambulance and her heart rate dropped dangerously low. For one day, a life support system kept her alive but her soul was already gone. Her heart stopped beating for good on December the 12,2010. It has been one month and I still cannot believe she is gone. Her death was so sudden and shocking. Some days I wonder if I have moved on from the shock. It all still seems so unreal. I wake up in the morning and for one second all seems normal. Then the reality hits me all over again. My mother is in Heaven now. I will not hear her voice over the phone. I will not see her pretty face or chat with her on Face book. Sometimes I think of her at home working in the yard, reading a good book, working a puzzle, cooking yummy food, or just sitting with my Daddy having a pleasant conversation. I often think of the joy she brought to others. She made people feel special when they were in her presence. She was a happy woman and she made people smile. She did many kind things for others but she never announced her good deeds. Momma was also very precise and organized. She wrote lists of everything she needed to do and she completed them all. I always told her she could be the CEO of a major corporation because she was so organized and disciplined. She would have made a wonderful leader and boss because not only did she know how to "get the job" done but she had fun doing it! She was a leader because she led me. And I pray that I will be able to carry on her legacy.

My mother had a heart of gold and she always found ways to encourage others. I will never forget the wise words she gave me when I was in the 6th grade. I was a new student in middle school. Some of the kids were very unkind and I would come home from school crying everyday. She would put her arms around me and tell me not to worry. She said, "All you need to do is find some children like you who feel left out. Make friends with them and do not worry about the ones that are being mean." I took her advice to heart and it worked.

Momma was also a very beautiful woman. When I was a little girl, I loved to watch her do her hair. I remember she had a beehive hairstyle back in the day, and she would tease it up until it stood about 8 inches above her head. I would admire her beauty. To me, she was the most beautiful woman in the world. She was not perfect, but she was herself and she loved me. That made her the most beautiful woman in my eyes.

In John 10:10, Jesus said He came to give us life so that we can have it more abundantly. My mother lived an abundant life. She knew how to enjoy life but the abundant life is much more. Her life was overflowing with the fruits of the spirit which are pleasing to God. She lived knowing she was loved, therefore she granted love. Momma was full of joy,exuded a peaceful countenance, was graced with patience, showered others with kindness, exemplified goodness, remained faithful, and maintained a gentle manner as well as self control. Many benefited from her beautiful qualities. I know I have!

Even though I have all of the memories of the person she was, I now love to ponder the person she continues to be in the presence of her Maker. Her life here on earth was lovely and her life in Glory is even lovelier. This woman's name is Linda and her name means "pretty". What a fitting name for such a wonderful woman who loved God, loved her family and loved her friends. I miss her so much. My heart aches with longing to see her again. And because the Hope of Glory lives in my heart, I know that I will be with her again to hear her voice and to see her smile. Momma, I know you are serving the Lord and resting in His care. I bet you are completing everything on your list and assisting God in preparing a magnificent place for us when we finally meet again. I love you my lovely mother!