Monday, March 25, 2013

Finding My Voice - A Journey with Selective Mutism


What does a young child do when the world around her is hostile and punitive?

What if she perceives that no one is listening?

What is she discerns that no one really cares?

Anxiety creeps in

It becomes too painful to speak and she turns inward

Inward where the love of God lives

She talks only to Him

He listens

He cares

She grows in His love

As His beloved child

Her young mind ponders His promises

And hangs on tight to His Word

Years pass

She endures many trials

Her faith unflagging

As He walks by her side

He sends her many to love

And is loved in return

She learns to use her voice

To nurture as she was nurtured

By the heavenly Father

Love

Affirmation

Truth

To bury the sins of the earthly father

Monday, March 18, 2013

Gifts


Reagan has many gifts.  Most of the world will only see her disability but there are so many good, kind and decent souls who recognize her gifts and engage her.

I have countless stories I could tell about the way Reagan moves through the world - the way she moves others and the way she moves this mama's heart.  She attracts special people and people who need what she has to offer.

They see her ability to love others unconditionally.

They see her generosity in the way she gives love away.

They see her sensitivity to where they are in the moment.

They see her nonjudgmental heart.

They see her joy.

If  only we could open the eyes of all to that deep love that can only come from the Father.

The most recent story...

Reagan and I were out looking for a little birthday present for a young friend so we stopped at the local Christian book/gift shop.  As we were paying for our  gift, the lady helping us noticed Reagan and began to engage her in conversation.  Reagan introduced herself and the woman, Louise,  noted and complimented Reagan on her t-shirt.  Her favorite shirt right now is a brilliantly colored tie-dyed shirt with a huge pink heart over her chest.  I commented that it was the perfect shirt for her since she is all about love.  Louise hesitated,  then reached over the counter to touch Reagan's arm and said, "Reagan, will you pray for me - I need love..."

Now, I've got tears rolling down my cheeks while Reagan is quite solemn and nodding in the affirmative and responds with, "I will."

And she does. Louise has a prayer warrior lifting her up to our Heavenly Father.

The Father doesn't see Down syndrome.  He sees her heart and soul.  He created Reagan intentionally in love with a purpose.  She is working to fulfill His will for her and she will be known by the fruits of her labor.

The temple where the Holy Spirit resides in her has its door wide open and I believe God finds His work through her quite pleasing.

I get to live in the shadow of this missionary who spreads the love of God wherever we go.

I am in awe of the power of the Holy Spirit working through Reagan. My heart is so full of gratitude - thankful to be her mom.

It really doesn't get any better than this...







Thursday, March 14, 2013

Prayer Journals - Finding Peace on the Journey





“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”   Matthew 11:28-30

Those of us who are raising children with special needs know many places that those who are raising typically developing children cannot know.  We have many more worries and concerns for our children.  We spend an enormous amount of time in physician’s offices, deal with multiple health crises, interact with insurance companies, see that our children receive therapies they need, deal with challenging behaviors, IEPs…

The list goes on and on.

Friends and acquaintances often wonder how we do it all.  I know you know the downward glance and the lateral shaking of heads – and sometimes wonder the same thing.

How do we do it?

We do - we do it as best we can at any given moment.

Not one of us is SuperMom. You might be wearing your SuperMom mask and cape but I know your heart.  I understand your struggles.  I wear the mask and cape too.

We wring our hands in worry.  

We tend to ruminate about our present circumstances and about future unknowns.

We often have trouble sleeping.

We may suffer bouts of depression.

We often stumble, fall and weep in our weakness.

But you won’t see it.  It usually happens when no one is watching.

In our struggles, we often forget that we are not alone.  We forget to consult the One who walks with us every moment of every day.

In our weary, overwhelmed state, we cannot see, hear or feel our Lord’s presence.

We are blind to the One who longs to offer us comfort in the midst of our suffering and the chaos that swirls around us.

Rest assured, He waits for you.  He longs to carry your burden.  

In love, He wants you to give it all to Him.

People often wonder just how to accomplish such a task.   I admit I found it a daunting task too.  But I have a tool that I use which has really helped me to see that it is possible.

Mine is a small spiral notebook which goes everywhere with me.  You won’t know it is special.  You won’t know it carries much of my heart unless I divulge its secret.

I call this little notebook my prayer journal.  The contents are what I have given over to God.  It is a tangible reminder that I am never alone.   It is immediately available just like our Lord is and it waits to hear my heart just like He does.

It is a tool that I can refer back to and see just how God is working in my life, the lives of my husband and children and in the lives of those I pray for every day.

I also find it helps me seek better ways to glorify Him along the journey.  It makes me thoughtful about my words and actions for in the end, I must be held accountable.

In my prayer journal, I record the ways in which my children with and without special needs minister to others, make a difference in this world and glorify God in the process.

It holds my failings too.  It is my safe place to pour out my mistakes, my grievances, and my pain.
The beauty of this prayer journaling is that as I write I know He hears and I can then let go. 

My burden is lightened, if not lifted, and I am free to take on whatever comes my way.

I started quite simply with three columns in my journal -  a simple plan for a simple girl.  The first column was a date for the initial petition, the second for the petition and the third for thanksgivings.  As I really began to see the works of God in my life it grew.  My prayer life began to expand along with a deepening awareness of the Lord’s presence in my daily walk.

My prayer journal started out as a tool and has become a gift.  What started out as a way to a more focused prayer life has become the way to give the Lord my burdens and my sins.  It has become a place where I know profound gratitude for all I am blessed with and by in relationship with Him.

A little nondescript notebook transformed to a place where I know the love and mercy that springs from an ever-growing intimacy with Christ.  This anxious mother and wife transformed into one who trusts the Lord in all things, has confidence in His plan and knows the peace which passes all understanding.

 I walk in amazing grace - to God be the glory.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”   Phil 4:6-7

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

He is Enough

‘Nevertheless, I will bring health and healing to it; I will heal my people and will let them enjoy 

abundant peace and security.'

Jeremiah 33:6


 




When I wake in the morning
He is enough

Throughout our day
He is enough

When no one is there
He is enough

In every trial
He is enough


Lost on the journey
He is enough


When tears fall
He is enough

Overcome with grief
He is enough

When the pain is unbearable
He is enough

When I close my eyes at night
He is enough

In all things
He is enough

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Home Education and Down Syndrome

I've spent a great deal of time over the years researching how children with Down syndrome learn.  As I read and researched, I began to collect information and slowly begin to put the pieces all together.  Learning in children with Ds is a complex interaction between strengths and weaknesses, motivation and learned helplessness, errorless learning and targeted interventions.

I have shared most of what I know in an easy to use, easy to read format in my free e-book, Homeschooling Children with Down Syndrome

Now, I would like to share the paper that contains the research behind the e-book.  It is found on the best site for information about Down syndrome - the Riverbend Down Syndrome Association website:

 Home Education and Children with Down Syndrome - The Primary Years

If research is your thing, you'll love the reference section!


Monday, February 25, 2013

Life Beyond Homeschooling

No, I am not retiring from our homeschooling lifestyle as of yet.  We will continue this homeschooling journey until I know in my heart that we need to seek a new direction.  Reagan is in a prime learning period.  She is picking much up at a rapid pace so we will continue on learning together.

I am encouraged (but not surprised) by studies that show that cognitive skills continue to develop with increasing age in individuals with Down syndrome and, in fact, they may be more developmentally ready to learn when they reach young adulthood.  (Down Syndrome Across the Lifespan, Chapter 7)

So, for right now, we will continue on this path.

Sometimes, my mind travels beyond homeschooling.  I have so loved this period in my life.  What will I do when I do retire?

What will I do with that big hole in my heart left by the passion of living and learning with my girls?

I must admit to some trepidation when my thoughts move to the future.  But not to fear. 

New, strange, exciting things are coming into my life.  For most of my life, I did not believe I had an artsy bone in my body. 

Now, I am driven to write.  In the past, I have written many informational kind of pieces.  I have written much about my passion for homeschooling children with down syndrome.  My free e-book Homeschooling Children with Down Syndrome has been read by over 16,000 people in the various places it is available.

So very grateful for the journey!

I have written many pieces for our regional homeschooling association creating awareness for those of us homeschooling children with special needs.  It has worked.  For the first time in a long time, we will have workshops at our local convention targeting those of us homeschooling children with significant special needs.

Now, I am driven to write stuff that is kind of off the wall for me - creative writing and something akin to poetry.

Now, I am obsessed with my camera and photos - some of which I share here.

All I know is I must create.

I know my work isn't all that good but a new phase has begun and a new path is forming!

Seeking beauty and spreading hope have become my passion.   Perhaps it always has been but now I am driven in a different way.

I want people to know that hope and healing are inevitable.  No matter what the crisis you face - God waits for you to bring Him your heart and soul, your tears and your pain - to give it all to Him.  He will create something new and beautiful of all that we endure here on earth.

I know God is at work in me.  As I transition into a walk on a different path, I find I am not lost but only finding a new direction.

And I find that exciting!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Journey to Acceptance

"The Lord said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord?"  Exodus 4:11




Some parents have difficulty with the miracle before them.

A miracle imperfect in their eyes

But a miracle made perfect in the eyes of God

Most come immediately

Recognizing Love

In the miracle

Many find

Grief swiftly descends

Then rapidly departs

Only to reappear periodically

Some come slowly

Their grief intense

Gradually fading

With sporadic resurfacing

A few struggle

Grief unabating

Wrestling with societal demons

Refusing to accept

What their heart sees

As imperfect

In the end

Most will know

As Purpose revealed

Finding Grace sufficient 

Love wins

The imperfect

Reaches perfection

In Love



Thursday, February 21, 2013

Joy Lifts My Soul


Joy lifts my soul

And makes my heart sing

A dark, bitterly cold morn

Cannot steal it away

A new day

Snow gently falling

Greeted by beauty

Before me and around me




The past is distant

Given to the Great Physician

Coming to this day

Healed and whole

To approach what lies before me

In Love

Without fear

Safely resting in Him
 



I walk in the Light

Knowing grace surrounds me

Light flows from broken places

Peace settles into my soul

Confident the day before me

Will know Love

In the ebb and flow

Of all I give and receive