Going Blue

Today is National Awareness Day for 2014! I know there are many days on the calendar that are designated for a special purpose or cause. In fact, you can find a 2014 calendar here that shares many of these special days. There are many people who suffer with many issues. Honestly, cancer sucks, diabetes sucks, cerebral palsy sucks, and the list goes on! For this day, we turn our attention to the effects of lives of individuals and families who are affected by autism.

We are one of THOSE families!

In November of 2012, we found out that one of our beautiful sons was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, which is a high functioning form of the Autism Spectrum Disorder. Later in the next year, we received the notice that a second son was diagnosed with autism as well. It is fair to say that it was a fairly complicated year.

Do you know that 1 in every 68 children are dealing with autism, which includes 1 in every 42 boys (www.autismspeaks.org)? Children with autism are more likely to be bullied or harassed. If you are dealing with this possibility I highly recommend checking into the Autism Speaks 100 Day Kit and the Asperger Syndrome and High Functioning Autism Tool Kit. You can find information about that kit here.

One of the struggles that we face as parents is that we face the comments and concerns of other parents and “concerned” adults. Our children have emotional outbursts that they cannot always control. Some of the simplest things can send them spiraling out of control. Recently, in school, a teacher was disciplining a whole class but our son thought they meant only him. He lost it at school. Autism is hard to explain to others because our children do not experience the world the way “normal” children experience it.

I am starting to hate the word, “normal!”

What is normal anyways? What does it mean to be “normal”? Are any of us truly normal? By definition, if we truly believe that we are all unique creations of a loving Heavenly Father, we are all different. There is no normal. Actually, normal is found at the foot of the cross. There is where we are all at the same place. But, I digress…

I do not hate autism. I cannot hate autism because autism is part of my kids. It is part of my family. It is part of what makes my kids who they are. Do I wish that things were easier for them? Would I take their place in a heartbeat? Will I fight every day to make sure they get the help and consideration they need to get where they want to?

YES

So, will you join me in remembering the individuals and families who deal with autism every day?

 

Why We Need to Reclaim Santa Claus

After having lunch today with my friend, Garrett Andrew, and listening to him share his sermon from the past Sunday, I could not get the thought of “Reclaiming Santa Claus” out of my head. I have included a link to Garrett’s sermon at the bottom of this post.

One of the thrusts of Garrett’s sermon was that we need to “reclaim” the idea of the true nature of Saint Nicholas and what he stood for and why he was a saint in the first place. Saint Nicholas, known commonly as Santa Claus, is the patron saint of children. The story of Saint Nicholas includes many miracles and the most important ones include service to children and families.

Our idea of Santa Claus does emanate from this saint but we have lost the true sense of what made the life and story of Saint Nicholas so special.

The thought and understanding of giving a gift without receiving one is the true definition of Santa Claus. Looking out for the less fortunate and downtrodden, not for our benefit, but because we are called to it is the true definition of Santa Claus. Making the welfare of others more important than how we see ourselves is the true definition of Santa Claus.

This Christmas in my own struggles with how I understand Christmas there needs to be a chance to “reclaim Santa Claus” in my own life!

Soli Deo Gloria!

The link to Garrett’s sermon:
http://sermon.net/1stpresalbany/sermonid/119772989

Family Vacation 2011-Day 5, Staycation Day

Today was a great day!

20110624-100608.jpg
We visited the Flint Riverquarium. We saw fish and…

20110624-100700.jpg
turtles. They have a great place.

20110624-100755.jpg
We played the Weather Game!

20110624-100828.jpg
We saw lots of great animals!

20110624-100912.jpg

20110624-100938.jpg
We went to the aviary.

20110624-101006.jpg
Xander wanted to take some pictures with a turtle.

20110624-101041.jpg

20110624-101104.jpg

We had a great lunch with some friends!

Then we took the boys to see Cars 2 in 3D. It was a pretty good movie.

Then, we got home. The boys got to go swimming…

20110624-101305.jpg

20110624-101332.jpg
and I got to cook dinner!

20110624-101403.jpg

We watched the new “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” movie. It was a great end of our vacation!

Wo Dje Boat!

Often while I am driving home, I sing with my two sons.  Xander and Cameron love singing almost any kind of song you could imagine!  One of Cameron’s favorites is “Row, Row, Row your boat.”  Lemony Snickett describes this song as a “a well known hymn of naval disaster”.  One of the reasons I think of the song is because Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock sang it in Star Trek V.  Cameron just likes singing it.  He has a slightly different version of it!  He sings “wo, wo, wo dje boat.  Definitely down de tream.  Merry, merry, merry, merry.  Life is but a scream.”

Life is but a scream!  What a wonderful thought to come from a two-year old!  Is your life a scream?  Ecclesiastes 3:4 NLT says, “A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance.”  Today, I do not think we give this verse its fair due.

I see lots of grieving and crying.  I see people who are down, depressed and complaining (I almost said whining).  I do not see may people dancing and laughing.  Scripture tells us that there is a time for both these things under heaven.

Why do we always find time for the bad and not the good?  When did humor and fun leave church?  Why has no one invited them back?  Writer Steve Case for Group Magazine said in the November/December 2006 issue that “the gospel is shot through with real humor—which makes sense, because God created us with a sense of humor, and we’re created in His image.”

When was the last time you danced before Jesus?  When was the last time you laughed before our Lord?

“A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance.”

I choose to dance.  I choose to laugh.  I want my life to be a scream!