Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Harvest

We get a little bit of autumn here in Florida.

Mostly it's a state of mind.

Pumpkin candles lit, fall decor, and a little more of a breeze.


Still, it sets my heart in tune with the reality of harvest time. 

Soon, there will be a harvest moon casting its amber glow upon the mossy oaks that hang and a solitary hoot owl that makes nighttime that much more enchanting.

And then, there's the food.  The glorious, turkey-ous gravy-ous, pie-ous food!

And, the soporific affects afterward that send us into a loungy, hands on the tum sleepy bliss, like Pooh Bear after a lip smacking indulgence of honey pot sweetness; we are happy and full without a care in the world.

There's something expectant about autumn.


Maybe because it's a time of harvest,

a time to reflect on all we have to thank the Lord for,

and a time for hope that fills us and creates a longing for the One who is, who was, and who is to come.

"I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is, who was, and who is to come, the Almighty." (Revelation 1:8, ESV)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Raising Arizona

Before my Little Man was old enough for us to have to pay for an extra airline ticket, my husband and I decided it would be fun to visit one of the world's greatest wonders: the Grand Canyon.

We flew into Las Vegas first to visit relatives who we hadn't seen in years and then drove over the Hoover Dam and across the hilly landscape down to Arizona.  

Needless to say, the hilliness of the landscape did not sit well with a Bright Girl's tummy. She proceeded to empty her stomach and of all its contents across the Nevada border and all the way to Arizona.  

Once we were in Arizona, Little Man decided to join in on the fun, and made his mark in our rented SUV. By the time we got lost trying to find our hotel, it was dark and smelly, and loud with two sick children crying. 

Thankfully, we stopped at a little motel with a neon sign blinking bright and a kind manager who offered us some paper towels and directions to the hotel we had paid for.

That night was sleepless in Arizona. Bright Girl would not stop with the emptying of the stomach, and we were getting near ready to take her to the emergency room.

After a heated discussion (okay, an argument), we made up and prayed over her. 

We came all this way to see the Grand Canyon, and we are out of money, out of time, and out of our minds.  Could we please just get a glimpse of your glory, God?  

Bright Girl started to perk up. She drank some water. It stayed down. Hope began to well up inside of me. 

We're gonna see it! What grace! Thank you, Lord!

We drove past a few hotels and then a short distance away there it was. An endless, cavernous rock, cut out in vibrant hues of reds, oranges, and browns.

This ancient canyon had many stories to tell. 

One came to mind of cataclysmic proportions...  

Cracking and convulsing, the water burst over and under and through the rock. Higher and higher it rose, covering the plains, hills, the highest mountain tops. Deluging all creation, except on the far side of the world, around the area that contained the fertile crescent, the cradle of civilization.  Above it all, one floating boat.

A boat that is remembered by all the earliest civilizations and has been kept preserved in the record passed on to Moses in Genesis 6-10.

A boat that held one family and two of every kind of animal plus seven pairs of each livestock and plenty of food to last many, many months.

That they survived was nothing short of a miracle.

And, here I was, a spectator of this Grand Remembrance of the event that the Lord used to rock the world and make it new again.

It will happen again. But, because of the bow in the sky and an ancient Promise, it will happen a different way. The earth will be made new again. There will be survivors. They are the chosen ones. And, like Noah, they have found grace in the eyes of the Lord (Genesis 6:8, 1 Peter 2:1-12).

"By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith (Hebrews 11:7)."

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Tea Cups and Trampolines: Understanding SPD

The Tea Cups at Disney--a favorite of my children, only Mommy doesn't like to go too fast!

Why in the world do we like to get dizzy?  

It has something to do with our senses.  

Did you know that there are more than five senses? Really. There are seven of them, actually. And, the two that we didn't learn about in elementary school are crucial to a child's development. 

As a little girl, I remember twirling around and around my grandmother's livingroom with arms extended like a helicopter until I lost my balance and crashed onto the olive-colored plush carpet, the room still spinning.

Or better yet, leaping on a friend's full size trampoline, attempting to defy gravity and grinning from ear to ear!

These two sensations of movement, spinning or jumping up and down, activate the vestibular and proprioceptive senses.  You probably haven't heard a lot about these other senses maybe because they are so hard to say, or because they aren't as external as the other senses.

What happens when these two senses are impaired? How would you know? What would it look like?

Well, I found this out the hard way. When my Little Man was about fifteen months old, he still wasn't walking. Temper tantrums were already in full swing, and there were times where I was at my wits end about what to do. I cried out to the Lord in prayer, begging him to help my son and show me what to do. 

His pediatrician wasn't too concerned, but sent him to an orthopedic doctor just in case.

The doctor took a look at him and said, "Well, there's nothing wrong structurally. His bones look fine, but because he isn't standing at fifteen months, it could be a CNS issue."

Earning a degree in Communicative Disorders, I knew that CNS meant the central nervous system.

Is there something wrong with his nervous system?

Back in college, I used to be a speech-language pathology assistant for a special needs preschool. There were many children there with cerebral palsy. The therapists and teachers would use therapy brushes and vigorously brushed the children on their legs and arms. It did something positive to their nervous systems.

So, I tried this with my son. I kept brushing him and coaxing him to stand for about a week until he took his first steps.  Needless to say, he skipped cruising and standing, which is detrimental for brain development as well, but I'll get to that in a later blog.

Thinking that he was over whatever was causing him to lag behind in his development, I didn't pursue asking his pediatrician to send him to be tested for physical or occupational therapy. 

As far as I knew, he didn't have any underlying problem, except that he was a late walker.

By the time, my Little Man was four, he was still having meltdowns, and I started to pursue more answers. I had him tested by our county's early intervention center. His speech was fine, but his gross and fine motor skills were delayed.

The diagnostician had seen many children with my son's same issues and they were diagnosed with sensory processing disorder or SPD.  She said it was mild, though, and gave me some activities to do with him at home.

Not content to try to give him therapy alone, I asked his pediatrician to refer him to be tested by someone professional. 

Our insurance company only covered one therapy center in town, so that's where we went. The occupational therapist who tested him, also thought he had SPD, as did a psychiatrist who interviewed him.

For the next two years, my Little Man received sensory integration therapy twice a week, then eventually, once a week. I started to see progress in him meeting all his developmental milestones. The temper tantrums waned, because his nervous system was working better at keep his senses all working in-sync.

Reading The Out-of Sync Child, I learned more about SPD, and what I, as a parent, could do to help my child.

Putting, my Little Man on a "sensory diet" would help his brain make new connections so that his nervous system would get even more in-sync.

The sensory diet included activities that would activate his proprioceptive and vestibular senses mostly--those two, rarely talked about senses whose impairments were causing my son to lag behind in his development.

Well, here we are, three years after his diagnosis, and he's come a long way. He no longer is receiving occupational therapy, but I have continued his sensory diet for the time being.

He is also going to be tested for vision therapy because he has complained about seeing double and skips words while reading.

While my Little Man is not cured, I've seen him come a long way. At six years old, he is so much more affectionate now, and loves to play with his siblings. He's loving math, and even reading in small bits. He recently went on a camping trip with his daddy and was the first to try the zip line.

Being thankful to the Lord that I am not alone in this has helped me to have peace every step of the way. He has the power to heal and the grace to bear me up when that is not His will.

I still have questions; I still don't totally get all the in's and out's of SPD, but I don't think I have to. Just knowing that Jesus loves me is enough, and He loves my Little Man--that's definitely enough!               

"Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is high, I cannot attain it...for you created my inmost parts, you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works, and that my soul knows well.(Psalm 139: 6, 13-14)."

Thursday, September 6, 2012

So I Will Comfort You: Review of A Mother's Heart by Jean Fleming

One little book has been a go-to for me as a parent. Teaching me to love and comfort my children. To pray for them. To point them to the gospel. 

It was an excellent garage sale find. The picture on the cover was very old fashioned. The woman's hairstyle was enough to make me pass. But, something or Someone drew me to it. Ten cents later, I became the owner of A Mother's Heart by Jean Fleming.

I can't tell you how much I have referred to and applied this little paperback to mothering my children. 

It was truly a God-send.

Jean speaks from experience as a missionary wife and mother to four children. Her graceful approach to mothering while completely depending on Christ has inspired me in so many ways.

In the newest edition the cover has been updated and Jean has added even more insight into mothering.

My favorite part of her book is how to effectively, specifically pray for your children. I still take time each year to focus on prayerfully creating a spiritual inventory of my children. I have seen the Lord answering those prayers and growing them in ways that has brought praise to my lips.

Most of all, the book has helped me to focus on Christ and let the values, vision, and character development of my children be an overflow of a heart trusting in Him.

Mothering is a daily divine appointment. We can't do this alone.

In A Mother's Heart, Jean Fleming will inspire you to lean on Christ and make you into the loving mother your children truly need.  You can find this book on the NavPress website and check out the new cover at http://www.navpress.com/author/A10272/Jean-Fleming

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." (Philippians 4:13)