You Gotta Think Positive

When negative thoughts rise within him, Sweetboy needs as many hands on deck as possible to redirect him towards hope. Sometimes, my earnest hugs and feeble words don’t come close to touching his darkest thoughts. Or, it might be a day where my mood might be a tad bit darker than his, making it even harder to help him move toward joy.

But God…

He provided me with Sweetman, who can pick up where I leave off. And He also saw fit to give us Sweetgirl, who carries hope in her pocket every hour of every day.

It’s within the safety net of home that we are able to be helpers to each other. We find ourselves dancing around each others’ moods with just the right steps. And we come to know which moves to use under what circumstances, the longer we have had to be in each others’ presence.

I’m grateful that Autism touches our family. It forces us to dance to rhythms we might never have chosen. It also teaches us to be patient as we learn new moves.

I’ve been giving negativity a lot of thought, lately; as in, wanting to give it the boot. And, when I read this blog post about the ill effects of negativity, by Michael Hyatt last week, holy cow! My determination to keep moving Sweetboy in positive directions got a major boost.

To that end, Sweetgirl and I made up a chant to help our Sweetboy think more positively. Our little ditty isn’t likely to win any Dove or Grammy Awards, but it surely does help to snap that child’s mind into a better place. And, while he does indeed groan whenever we fire it up, we’ve started hearing him hum it to himself as he bounces around the house, once in a while.

“You’ve got to think POSITIVE, POSITIVE, POSITIVE! And only think the BEST, the BEST, the BEST!”

(I totally stole that from God. In Philippians 4:8. Where He directs us to think about only the things that are good and worthy of praise.)

Progress – that’s all any of us can hope for as we go along. Certainly not perfection. There was only One who was perfect. And He longs for us to keep moving forward, inching our way as we crawl on our bellies, some days. But, moving forward, nonetheless.

One way to keep taking steps in the right direction is to keep our eyes on all that is good. Another way to do that is to surround ourselves with folks who look for the best in a situation. I see us, Sweetgirl, Sweetman, and me, as those people for our Sweetboy.

And, I pray God continues to surround him with those people outside of our four walls.

Ahab always told us to “plan for the worst and hope for the best”. Solid advice, that.

And I’d add, you gotta think positive!

Yes indeedy!

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Write It With Your Feet

Sweetboy’s soccer team made it to the playoffs this weekend.  It was quite an accomplishment.  Even the coaches (whom we think are the bomb diggety) acknowledged that it was like they had their very own “Bad News Bears” team!

We were doubly excited for this opportunity because, as many of you know, Sweetboy is on the Autism Spectrum. And while this doesn’t mean much of anything to us in terms of his abilities, it does mean that he isn’t comfortable participating in group sport activities with typical children.  Weekly practices and weekend games are a struggle for this child who prefers the consistent environment of our safe and predictable four walls.

But, Sweetman and I decided about 3 years ago, that this was one sport that we would encourage him to be a part of. We wanted to give him opportunities to interact with his world in ways that would prepare him for the life he will someday have to live outside of our four walls. We contacted the local recreational soccer organization and laid out our wishes and concerns to them. They were welcoming and accepted the challenge to let him just be him and be a part of the group. We were (and are) so grateful.

Now, this child? He is no go-getter.  We’re 99.9% certain that he doesn’t have an aggressive bone in his body. When Coach says “hustle”, he hears “meander”. His practice runs, dribbling the ball up and down the field each week, resembled erratic muscle spasms far more than intentional directing of the ball. But, each year, this quirky kid of ours has been able to practice being one part of a whole team.  And to us? Well, that’s all that matters, to be quite honest.

But this year? This year’s experience was spectacular.

For him and for us.

And not because we made it to the Championship game.

No. It was because any time our son’s foot even remotely looked like it was going to touch the ball, he had parents on the sidelines cheering him on wildly.  And when he actually attempted to kick the ball and his foot connected?  You could feel the encouragement literally carrying him along. And he felt it.  And he felt like he was part of something bigger than him. And he felt competent, whether he was or he wasn’t. Don’t we all just long to feel like we can accomplish something?

So, this morning, as we headed for the playoffs against a team they had lost to twice before (and lost big), Sweetboy had some words of wisdom to share:

“They’re just gonna beat us, today.”

And I took this golden opportunity for the teachable moment that it was. I asked him what Coach would think of his attitude?  He acknowledged she wouldn’t like it one bit.

“But it is true. They will beat us.  Probably 4 to 0 or 7 to 2 or something like that.”  (And these were the exact scores of the other games against this team, because we are wildly creative in our predictions around here.)

So, I told him that this story had not been written yet.  That he had the chance to write a new ending to the story of this game today.

And Sweetgirl piped up from next to him, “Yeah, write the new story with your feet.”

Indeed, Sweetgirl.

Indeed.

And he did!

They didn’t win.  But they came dern close.

5 to 4!

And our Sweetboy was On Fire today.  Everyone noticed it.  And everyone commented on it.

And even though his team ended up in second place, he felt like he was in first.

Because he wrote it so with his feet.

And that couldn’t fill us with more joy.

Could.

Not.

Indeed!

soccer_boy_missindeedy

Promote What You Love

We did a little of this and that yesterday.  I ended up being able to catch up on some reading and I was seriously blessed for it.  In the interest of being more concerned with promoting what I love than shaming what I don’t, I thought I’d share some of my “loves” with you. You’re welcome.

To that end, here are just a few things that I’m loving lately:

1) April is Autism Awareness Month.  In case you didn’t already know, with a son on the Autism Spectrum, this month is near and dear to my heart.  Sweetgirl also turns 5 (FIVE!!!!) this month, so there’s that, too.

April_Is_Autism_Awareness_Month

2) I am catching up on my Relevant (online and print magazine) reading.  And I mean “catching up” as in, harking back to July issues.  Anywho,  This article, about why Christians have such a hard time being funny?  It is good!      And, then  this article will definitely help you put depression in perspective.

3) My friend, Christina, over at Five Walkers wrote a short, but powerful piece on how a specific portion of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s story affected her own thoughts on marriage.  Yes.  Yes. To. This!

4) Ever wonder what the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org is?  Here’s an awesomely simple explanation by Erin Ulrich over at design by insight.

5) I’m blessed to know this lady in real life.  There are approximately 32 reasons why she’s awesome and I love her.  But, shoot! She. Is. Talented.  You can check out her website here at Kym Scott Photography.Her photographs sometimes sing to me, sometimes shout to me, and sometimes just knock my socks off. This recent one, called “Will”?  Socks.  Knocked clean off!

Will

Will

Happy April!

Five Minute Friday – Grasp

I’m linking up with Tales From A Gypsy Mama for Five Minute Friday again.  Free-writing for 5 minutes flat.  No editing. No overthinking.  Just write it!

Grasp…

Your inability to grasp the deeper meaning behind my facial expressions is sometimes beyond my ability to accept.  I beam at you with pride as you wear  your I-don’t-give-a-rip Autism colors so brightly.  I look at you, my eyebrows like giant question marks, as I try to decode the phrase you’ve just used to tell me what you want.  I swipe away angry hot tears at the unwanted attention your fierce loyalty to the “red swing ONLY!” brings.  You notice none of it.  You only grasp happy or mad.  And I am neither.

I am, however, your mama.  And I am swollen with another life inside of me.  I wonder if this one will be different?  Will she grasp what a treasure you are to our family?  Will she flare with annoyance when your Autism rears it’s sometimes-uglier head in her affairs.  Will she realize that she was born for this very family?  Another puzzle piece.  Like the very many we’ve spent the last years gathering together about you?

My prayer for you, my child with Autism, who has brought us such a beautiful range of emotions in a spectrum I never could have imagined?  My prayer is that you will grasp how very deeply you are loved.  Not just by us, the other pieces in your family puzzle, but by a God who made you exactly the way that you are.  And what are you? You, my child, are thepuzzle piece that connects us all together, here on this earth.

And I can grasp that.  Oh, indeed I do!

“And I pray that you…. may…grasp how wide and how long and how high and how deep is the love of Christ…”

Ephesians 3:17,18

STOP

Just so as ya’ know, I am NOT pregnant again.  This was actually adapted from an old journal entry from 2008.  It’s funny how rereading old thoughts can spark a new perspective.  I love how this word did that for me!