Things change

I usually think of a blog post FIRST, then write it…

But today, I’m just writing, as I think.

Life is so different in this season. Some differences I like, some I don’t.

I like:

  • that I spend alot of time in my house right now. For many years, I drove Arabella to Friendswood everyday to go to The Horizon School – so I would spend the rest of the day in a coffice like Starbucks, or at client’s home for case management. But my new case load is close to home… and my kids are in local public schools, and going to local pediatricians, barbers, dance studios, and soccer fields. I like this alot.
  • that my mom is going to Precepts with me. I’ve always done Precepts bible study with friends… and I had little one-on-one interaction with my mom that isn’t centered on my kids. I’m glad to see her at Precepts.

I don’t like:

  • that I’m only good a juggling a certain number of things, and exercise is always the 1st to go. When I didn’t work in Maine, my list of things could be bible study, exercise, maintaining the house, feeding the family, and all the kids stuff… But adding case management bumps out something.
  • that I’m back to too many friendships I’d like to have, too much driving to have them. In Maine, everyone was close by, and the number of people I knew was limited to a year of time… In Houston, I have 36 years of friendships spread over this enormous “city” encompassing Friendswood, Pasadena, Pearland, Katy, Cypress, Spring…

I’m still processing this past year, the joys & the disappointments. They have changed me more than anything in 15 years… not sure if I like all the changes.

Until we meet again…

Getting crafty: modifying t-shirts

For the GCLFEDS Step Up for Down Syndrome walk today, all the individuals with DS had bright blue shirts to stand out for the green for their team. I accidentally ordered an adult XL for Arabella, so I had to modify it.
Using a few YouTube videos as samples, I made her shirt shorter, narrow, with cap sleeves.

At 7am, I tried on my Step Up walk shirt… Ughh. Boxy & shapeless. And the collar was touching my neck!
So I made mine shorter, narrower, with cap sleeves like Arabella’s… but I also added a v-neck.

It came out so great I came home & did the same thing to my Beautiful beyond the Pain shirt that I where to remember my cousin Alex, who went to heaven in May.

Here’s the progression:

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Before

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With v-neck

Feeling stupid not generalizing

So this week, I had 2 typical experiences in new settings in close enough time, that they shined light on each other….

  1. Darin went to day camp and got in lots of trouble the 1st day. Then I figured out he didn’t have 1-on-1 support, that was added, and he was able to continue with daycamp.
  2. We tried putting Darin in a class at church, so we could listen to the sermon, and he lasted 10 mins… and Joel missed the rest of the service sitting in the hall with him.

And it clicked for me:
Church is the only setting where we try to put him in a class without 1-on-1 support, pretending in that setting he is typical.
We don’t do it at school, or day camp, or VBS.
But week after week, we are shocked it goes terrible at church.

Unfortunately, this realization was not accompanied by a solution.

Interestingly, the sermon at the church we visited today was about Act 6:1-13, where the 1st church had to address unmet needs within the church.

I wish this didn’t feel like a unique need that not everyone shares. I don’t want to be the one with the need.

What are other special needs kids doing within small churches?

Coming back to Texas, identity, and hurt

I’ve been keeping quiet over the past few weeks. I’m not a big fan of public whining… and whining has been most of what I’ve been feeling.

While I was wrapping up life in Maine, deciding to move back to Texas, I still felt a strong sense of understanding. We went to Maine in response to a call from God, and that call felt stronger than the risk of pain involved. At the end of this year, I felt a peace in the storm of what transpired at New Life Community Church.

But returning to Houston without a specific calling has been an emotional valley. I have daily struggled with God over what my purpose is.

But I’m beginning to think this is good healthy questioning…
Because I need my identity to be secure in Him, even when everything else is chaotic.

I remember hearing Heather Mercer at World Mandate declaring if the Gospel you believe & preach doesn’t provide salvation for the imprisoned, rejected Afgani wife in prison, then it’s not the Gospel.

For me, I am challenged to believe that the Gospel of my Lord is true, even as we are homeless, jobless, and not living in Vacationland.

A year in Maine

Have you ever been on a vacation & wished you could stay longer?

This year has been like an extended vacation for me. It’s my first year not to work full-time since Holden was 1 yr old.

It has truly been the best way to see Maine – river swimming in the summer, fire-building outside as the leaves change, hibernating for the winter in ‘Narnia’, and now watching the green & pink explode.
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But the best part has been getting to know the people here. They live and think distinctly different than I’ve ever lived. They value things I have never known.

While moving back and forth across the country was an expensive way to experience this, I am so thankful for this year.

Church

As I approach the 1 yr mark of moving, I’m reflecting on lots of things & the way my perspective on them changes…

Today it’s on church.

I’ve “church shopped” several times in my life – upon moving home from college, after getting married, etc, always evaluating the preaching, the worship music style, the kids stuff, friend potential, etc.

But moving to Maine was different. We moved here to be a part of a church I spent one Sunday at & 6 days among the members. And I moved here to join them regardless of the music (not my style) & kids stuff (no kids stuff, but tons of nice kids).

What I’ve found is the lack of the option to CHOOSE a church had forced me to choose to make my church better over and over.

  • Choosing to connect with people of different ages, interests, & styles than me.
  • Choosing to be a leader when I was to be a consumer.
  • I often remember that these people are why I was not lonely when I arrived 2000 miles from home.

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Jesus’s sermon

We are working our way through the gospel according to Matthew on Wednesday nights.
Today, I’m preparing for us to finish Matthew 5-7, Jesus’s big sermon (aka the Sermon on the Mount).
We have analyzed Matthew 5, then Matthew 6…
And before I open my notes for today, I’m challenging myself to reflect on what I’ve learned:

  • In the “blessed are the…” section, I see Jesus’s kingdom valuing:
    • mercy,
    • humility,
    • recognition of own sin & need,
    • restoration of peace, and
    • taking persecution for restoration of relationship with God & others.
  • In the “You have heard it said, but I say…” section, I see Jesus showing the Law was a measure of justice, fairness, not hurting another; and the standard of Jesus’s kingdom is higher.
    • In fairness, your actions are determined by the other person’s actions. Jesus expects our actions to be determined by who God is – a constant that doesn’t change.
    • In justice, you have a right to specific compensation when you are harmed. Jesus expects us to lay down this right for the sake of God’s plan.
  • In the instructions on how to practice righteousness, I see so much about God my Heavenly Father… both as the motivation and the instruction for praying, giving to the poor, fasting, forgiving, not worrying.
    I do all these things with confidence about who He is and with confidence that I am rewarded by who He is.
  • In chapter 7, I see criteria for following the “blessed are the…” from chapter 5 & the instructions on practicing righteousness :
    • Blessed are the poor in spirit – recognize the plank in your eye
    • Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy – don’t judge, least you be judged.
    • Give us the day our daily bread – if you give good gifts to your children, how much more will your a Father in heaven!
    • You heard it said love your neighbor… I say love your enemies – treat people the same way you want them to treat you.
    • You heard it said do not (murder, adultery, lie)… I say don’t just keep the law, restore relationships – don’t try to enter through the broad gate, enter through the narrow gate
    • Do things for heavenly rewards, storing up treasures in heaven; treasures on earth burn up – good fruit vs bad fruit, house on rock vs house on stand

Wow! If this is all I internalize from the Bible, I think might be okay!