Vision Exam

It amazes me how God has a way of putting it all into perspective.

Life seems to constantly drive us. Forward. Backward. From side to side. Direction is irrelevant. Constant motion is the objective. Anything and everything coming at us to keep us moving. Constantly busy. Void from the thought that perhaps there is something else.

The bustle of life can make us loose perspective. On what is important. On what matters. Instead, we focus on the trivial. The trivial changes from situation to situation; but the end result is the same. Emptiness. Our lack of perspective brings our everyday life to be summed up in one word. Vanity.

Then... the Holy Spirit begins His work. He uncovers the issues. We see clearly our busyness. Our emptiness. He shows us how our spiraling thoughts move us from one issue to the next - all with our self as the focus. He whispers with a still small voice, "Is this what it's all about?"

The questions come. They drive us to examine. Examine things we have just taken as the way it is supposed to be - because it is the way they've always been. The questions continue in our minds throughout the day. They interrupt the quietness of our nighttime hours. They invade our thinking, whether we are at home alone and by our self; or whether we are in a crowded room filled with people.

Finally we come to the conclusion: "There has to be more..."

Then... in His mercy and grace He shows us exactly what we needed. He shows us someone else. He shows us His love for them and asks us to stop the merry-go-round of life to allow His love to minister to them through our lives. When we do the picture clears. It all makes sense. Suddenly we see what He has for us. Others.

I want my life to be enveloped in others. It's not about me. It's about an awesome God who has power to save anyone, anytime - for all of eternity. It's about HIM!
Tonight, the light came on. A 'little' opportunity turned into a water shed moment. WOW! I almost missed it! I'm thankful He has a way of bringing the lens of life into clear perspective. I surely am enjoying the picture!
Thanks for stopping by, I am so glad you did.

A Walk in the Park

Big sister wanted to take some photos of little sister. Little sister was glad to oblige the request. She can never turn down a trip to the park. This time she took a little friend.

With a smile like that, how could I ever be depressed! How she brightens my days!
Thanks for stopping by, I am so glad you did.

Dressing for the Occasion

Zak is quite excited that winter is here. He asked me if he could get his warm clothes on and go out to play. This is how I found him dressed outside with the cold wind blowing. He was also quite upset the he was so cold - even in his warm clothes.

OK, so we have a bit more teaching to do on deductive reasoning. Until the lessons are finished, I think I will be helping him get dressed for his winter outings.

Never a dull moment here!


Answered Prayers

The past few weeks have been interesting in regards to our vehicle situation. It seemed that every time we turned around something was going wrong with one of our two vehicles. The last such instance came on a Sunday night as we were heading home from church. The van started to act funny and we all knew of something was not right. (You get that idea when you see your husband carrying a bucket of water from out of a gas station at 9:30 at night - in his suit and tie no less!) We had been praying that God would show us what to do about our vehicle issues.

I knew that night that we were going to see God answer our prayers - I just did not know how He would do it. We told the kids that they could not go to school the next day because there was no vehicle to take them there. The next morning the children prayed on and off throughout the day that God would provide a car for us. They asked me several times how many days that they were going to miss of school. I told them I did not know. I told them the truth. I also told them that unless someone pulled up into our driveway with a new car - they were not going to school the next day either; because we did not have the money to just go out and purchase a new car.

Zak finished breakfast and said that he wanted to go up to his room and pray awhile about a new car. I told him that would be great. While he was up praying someone pulled into our driveway. I am not exaggerating at all - they had a car that they had purchased for us and were there to drop it off. The kids were jumping up and down. Some were crying. I was crying.

How thankful I am that we have a God who cares about the details of our lives. How thankful I was that He allowed this situation to show my children that He cares. Zak kept saying it over and over, "I prayed, God answered, I knew He would!"

I knew He would too - I just did not know HOW He would answer. I think it's best that way. I love being amazed by my God!

The other two vehicles have seen their last days. We now are down to one van. It leaves quite a juggling match for us in getting everyone off and to their correct places each morning; but we are managing.

What a God we serve.

Trust you are able to bask in His greatness. Thanks for stopping by, I am so glad you did.

Birthday Celebration

This fall we celebrated Zak's birthday. I just can not believe how old he is getting! It also seems he gets taller each and every day. I am almost sure that he will be the tallest child in our family - we will wait and see. I wanted to share pictures of the birthday boy.

Zak with a plate full of food - he special ordered a cookout.

He had been asking for a balloon each time we passed the floral department at our local grocery store. He was quite surprised and happy at the gift. (We were surprised at how Zak's shirt matched his balloon!)

Our celebration was blessed with two different phone calls. Both sets of grandparents called while we were celebrating - making the night complete. Zak was so excited that they called to talk just to him!

I loved this picture. One of the few you will see where Zak is not smiling. I liked it because the look on his face is about how I feel each year as I look at a cake nearly on fire with all my birthday candles. I just wonder what his expression will be at 39 if this is what he looks like at 8!

No one can every know how thankful I am that God brought Zak into our lives. He truly is a gift to us from God. I can not imagine our lives without him!
Happy Birthday, Zak. We love you!

Truly Thankful

This Thanksgiving seems to be taking on a different feel than most. So much has happened in the past year - and to be honest, so much continues to happen. This summer has been one of the most difficult we have had; and forever it will be lodged within our memories. Difficult times have a way of changing someone; and I have found that to be true in this situation.

I am thankful for so many things in my life; but when we were faced with the news that Rachel was diagnosed with Guillian-Barre syndrome in July, the list of truly important things quickly shortened in my mind. So many things that had been important, even hours before, suddenly did not matter all that much. It has been a difficult recovery - and we still are traveling that road. This past hospital stay the doctors told us that they were certain the original diagnosis of GBS was correct ( a diagnosis that had been debated several times, by several different doctors) based on the issues Rachel continues to have. When I heard that news, I stopped and thought how fortunate we are to have Rachel home and with us this Thanksgiving. If she had a normal case of GBS we still could be visiting her in an ICU ward with breathing tubes still in place keeping her alive. God is good.

So, as we sit around the table this Thanksgiving I am going to be thankful for what I say every year, "I am thankful that we are together as a family once again for another Thanksgiving." But as I finish my turn telling what I am thankful for I am going to look over my family - each one - each face, and I am going to realize how close we came to have that not be a reality this holiday.

Trust you are able to enjoy the holiday wrapped in love of family and friends. This year I will think about how much I take for granted and how small the list really is of the most important things in life. Family is near the top for me. God truly gave us a gift when He made the family. This year, I want to enjoy the gift of family each and every day!

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Family Fun Night

Several weeks ago - (yes, I am just now getting the pictures off my camera and into the computer!) we were all home for a Friday night. We decided that we would have a family night. Rob did not want to just do an ordinary family night - and surprised the kids with s'mores.

The weather was too cold for the marshmallow roasting to be done outdoors, so we improvised and had a cookout in the kitchen.

The marshmallow on fire seemed to be the pic of choice for all of them to pose for:

Unless, you are in Jr High - then a picture of you make funny faces and trying to be the star of the party is in order:

Again, the fire picture. Same pose - different kid:

Zak got all he could out of the marshmallows being the crackers have gluten. Bring on MORE of the sticky white things!

Now, this picture is to prove - 'like mother, like daughter' - is true not matter what. Anna HATES her fingers getting sticky. (None of my readers will appreciate this picture as much as my Mom; because somewhere in the shoe boxes of photos stored somewhere in her house, is a photo much the same. There is a difference, the baby in my Mom's picture is me but the look on my face is the same.)
I HATE my fingers getting sticky. This is EXACTLY how I feel inside when I find my fingers feeling sticky. "It's OK, Anna, Momma understands!"

You will see that there are no pictures of me roasting marshmallows or eating s'mores - of course not! My fingers might get sticky in the process. I just took pictures - and enjoyed a Diet Coke!
Thanks for stopping by. I am so glad you did. I must go - just looking at this picture makes me want to go wash my hands!

Another Hospital Visit

We had yet another trip to the hospital with Rachel. Pain has been the biggest issue. She has missed a week of school; and is anxious to get back. They have run more tests and are looking into an autoimmune issue. We spent eight hours in the emergency room before they made the decision to admit her to the hospital.

She was discharged from the hospital last night and we are trying to get rested up from the difficult couple of nights. We head back to Children's tomorrow for another doctor appointment. As difficult as this week has been, we do feel we are getting somewhere and getting some answers. We are thankful for that. Thanks for your prayers.



Recently, James had a friend over for the weekend. I am amazed at how much they look alike. What do you think?

I can not tell you how many times I have been sitting in church and thought that Chandler was James! I think the boys had a wonderful time together.

Thanks for stopping by. I am so glad you did.


Rest and Relaxation

Our morning routine starts pretty early. Everyone has their assigned tasks, timed bathroom visits and their own dishes to wash. I spend my mornings assembling lunch boxes, putting dinner into the crock pot and hurrying everyone out the door at the appointed time. No time for dawdling.

The arrival at school is filled with same intensity as everyone gathers their book bags, lunch boxes, instruments and makes sure that Zak does not run out in front of in-coming vehicles. It keeps us all on our toes - right to the very end.

When the last side door has been shut, the last trunk door slammed, it is then that I hear this cute little voice from right behind my seat fill the silence with this statement. "Let's go shoppin, Mommy!"

I have heard that shopping helps a woman to relax. I am not sure if that is true or not; but I know when I hear that little voice my nerves do a lot to relax as I laugh and think of what Rob would do if he heard the same thing. Somehow that thought alone seems to melt all the tension away. I then say with glee, "Oh, yes, Anna - lets do! Let's go shopping!"

The Language of Love

Having a child with autism mean that you have a child who feels pain in different ways than most other children. At first glance, Zak would appear to have very developed social and communication skills. Yet, there are so many things that he does not understand; and so many levels that he does not communicate normally.

This past week he has been acting differently. I kept thinking something was wrong. His teacher kept saying that something just did not seem right. We continued to go through our normal week. He continued to do odd things. We continued to ask questions. "Are you in any pain?" "Does anything hurt?" He continued to assure us that he was fine. He even asked us to stop asking him all these questions!

Then on Wed the teacher told me that she thought it best if he went home. I asked if he was being bad. No, just different. I watched him at home that day. I agreed. Something was not right.

The doctor was called the next day. I figured it would not hurt if she took a look at him - even though he assured me that everything was fine.

The doctor asked questions. "Does your ear hurt?"

"No, my ear is fine!" Zak answered, not even looking at the doctor.

"Does your nose hurt?" the doctor probed

"No, it just feels like something is stuck up there."

I decided to mention here that he seems to grimace when he swallows his water. Zak interrupts me while I am talking.

"Wait just one minute! I have something to say. I have something to say here. Wait one minute!" The doctor assures him that she is listening. "I have something to say."

"I'm listening, Zak. What do you want to say."

"When the water goes down my throat it gets stuck. I can't get it to go down. Then my head is sore."

"So you have a headache?"

"No, my head is just sore."

She then proceeds to shine the light into his ear. "Does your ear hurt?"

"No!" he answers emphatically. Then as she touches his ear he pulls back and yells. "Be careful when you touch my ear. It is really really sore!"

"But you said it did not hurt."

"It doesn't hurt; it just really sore!"

Once again, I understand that so many times we speak the same words; but so often we are not speaking the same language. Sure enough he had an ear infection, a sinus infection and a throat infection. That would explain the odd behaviour for the past week.

Someday perhaps, we will speak the same language. I am so thankful that he understands the language of love. So I rub his hair while I put the drops into his ear. He does his odd little behaviours over and over. The doctors call these movements neurological tics; and Zak always seems to have these tics worsen when he is ill. Asks the same questions over and over; and I am thankful that God has given him to me to love and to teach me that love covers a multitude of behaviours and speaks louder and clearer than words. So I pray that God gives me a heart to love him; and God gives him a mind to comprehends how much he is loved.




I have become very aware of time here lately. I think about it often.

The time it takes to get to school - everyday.

The time spent waiting for school to end - everyday.

The time I need for housework now crammed into just a day - Saturday.

I spend a lot of time thinking about the lack of time; or the amount of time spent doing things on a weekly or daily basis. However, lately I have been thinking about how fast time seems to slip by.

Perhaps it is a mid life crisis. Perhaps it has a lot to do with a summer that was filled with unexpected illnesses that still linger. Perhaps it is a little of both.

I am amazed at how fast time goes by. How quickly the years have come and gone with our oldest daughter Rachel. It seems like just yesterday I was planning her nursery and looking forward to the day she would be born. Now, I am planning her graduation. It just flew by so quickly.

I think about when I had just two little girls in tow and can remember teaching them how to fold washcloths and put the pajama's away. Now they can efficiently do all the laundry themselves - I still have to remind them to put away their pj's in the morning. :)

I think about Ally's homegoing, and I'm amazed that it has been thirteen years since we stood in the snow and said goodbye. My little ones were still little - one still safe within me growing and waiting to enter the world.

My, it has gone by so fast! Without warning, it has just sped by. I want it to stop. I want to go back and do it again - taking time to stop and take in the smell of their hair as they cuddle with me for a quick bedtime story. I want to record within my mind their giggles and laughs as they enjoy Daddy pushing them on the swing set after a long day at work. I did not think it would go by this fast.

I am determined. Determined, that with the time that is remaining I will enjoy the time as much as I can. I will stop the hectic rush of life and spend time enjoying what really matters. Because what really matters will not be here with me in my house forever. I will enjoy them. I will love them. Each day, I will cherish that we are all still together.

Today, I will love them and realize that someday, sooner than I want to think, I will look back and think how fast the time as gone.

Thanks for stopping by. I am so glad you did.


Update on Rachel

I feel the need to apologize for my delay in posting. The proverbial, “ I’ve been busy,” is the only reason I can give. The school schedule seems to be keeping us quite busy and I am finding my blogging time, and my accessibility to a computer to hamper my efforts here. We also have had some set backs with Rachel and her health. This has caused my time to be even more limited as I try to find time to accommodate doctor appointments.

Rachel has come a long way from where we were this summer; and for that I am thankful! She still is having some difficulty having the stamina to keep up with her normal life. We were planning on pulling her out of afternoon classes to allow her to have some extra rest time. However, she is in need of one of her afternoon classes in order to graduate; leaving that option to be of a last resort.

She continues to have weakness and has experienced increased pain in her joints and muscles. The doctors have prescribed her physical therapy for the time being. She is going to therapy two to three times a week to try to build up her muscles and recondition after the long summer of being down. We have not, as of yet, seen any benefit to this venture; but are continuing to work on the exercises and give the body time to get stronger.

She has had some blood work come back questionable and we are awaiting a visit to a specialist in Milwaukee. The overall inflammation throughout her body is high. The insurance has been pushing for these tests to be run to give us a more conclusive diagnosis to her prolonged illness. We are thankful that we have the opportunity to have the tests run. We plan on using the results to give us more information to make knowledgeable decisions about her care.

At this time, she is continuing at school and we are thankful for that. She has had to back out of some things; but we are thankful that she is still able to attend school. Thanks so much for all your prayers and emails. It means so much that people are praying.