What Autism Is Like – For Us


Our youngest son was diagnosed with Autism six years ago,…and in the past six years we’ve learned that Autism is many things,…some of them WONDERFUL!!!


The gift of Autism is that our little guy has no social hang ups. To him,…he’s “Isaac,” and he’s perfectly comfortable with himself,…and if you’re not comfortable,…that’s YOUR problem,…not his.

According to our son,…he has NO CHALLENGES.


He’s perfectly happy living his life to the best of his ability. As for Apraxia, a speech disorder that basically means you can’t say what you want to say when you want to say it,…that’s not a problem to our son either. If there are communication disconnects,…then it’s not coming from his end,…and he’ll be very happy to work with you until you understand what he is trying to communicate,…in a very ‘there-there’ manner, I might add. Such self-confidence/self-acceptance is another gift of Autism.

The best part of Autism is not only does our son accept himself,…but he accepts others as they are. To him,…people are people, and it doesn’t matter what race, or creed, or ability, or non-ability. Everyone is a potential friend. Of course,…reality is that not everyone is friendly,…but again,…it doesn’t phase our little guy,…he’s only sad for them that they don’t have enough joy within their hearts to share with others. Life’s an adventure,…there is too much to see, and do, and learn, and too much fun to be had for our little guy to ever be bogged down with others perceptions of disabilities.

Make no mistake,…our little guy has challenges,…therapy is a reality for us,…but those challenges are mere speed bumps in the road of life. The challenges our little guy faces due to Autism only strengthen him,…they make him smarter,…kinder,…more accepting and loving toward others and the challenges they face,…and that’s not a bad thing.


Life is to be lived,…our little guy is only nine years old and he’s got a handle on the most important facts: LOVE ONE ANOTHER,…BE KIND TO ONE ANOTHER.

No one expects their child to have Autism,…we certainly didn’t,…but it is our reality,…and it’s not the end of the world,…instead it’s a portal,…to the greatest adventure we’ve ever experienced.

The ultimate gift of Autism is that it breaks down life into it’s most elemental features:

I love you,
you love me,
and what else is really important?

As people of faith we know God doesn’t make mistakes,…our son is ‘fearfully and wonderfully made,’ – and for that we are truly grateful!


Nothing Wasted


Sniffle cough,…sniffle cough,…auggh,…asthma does nothing to make getting over a cold easy!!! Each day I am a little,…little,…better,…and then I’ll have a much better day,…only to be followed by a relapse. And I am not alone,…everyone seems to be having a hard time getting over a persistent cough. Hearts and hugs out there to my fellow-sickmates. Drink lots of fluids,…tea and honey is particularly effective,…rest,…best you can,…and there is a lot to be said for a humidifier if you have a dry-heat furnace!

Here we are at the end of January,…and seemingly not much accomplished,…aside from an unpostponable trip,…and what I’ve been able to direct from bedside like making and filing first semester grades with our Christian School. Still homeschooling here,…but thankfully my oldest son has a teaching degree and he’s been a pal about keeping the studying going along for our little guy, who also thankfully thinks academic stuff is fun!!!

Faith and patience, and perspective, too, have been grown these past weeks as Martha-me as been turned into Mary. Obviously just because I can multitask,…doesn’t mean that I should be multitasking. What really and truly needs to be done,…has been accomplished,…no shock the LORD is always faithful.

Impatience is not going to make this cold go away any quicker,…especially when one has asthma. It’s a comfort for this – multitasking-type-person – to know that these past weeks haven’t been wasted.

Nothing in life is wasted,…life is too precious.

Even sitting around under a humidifier?

Yep,…I’ve needed a rest for quite a while. Most people I know say my task-list and over extended schedule exhausted them. Obviously it’s exhausted me, too.

It’s been nice to rest,…I don’t cough ever single second. I’ve watched Peter Pan, more than once with my little guy, with us both giggling. He giggles at the animation, I giggle in response to his giggles. I’ve adopted some houseplants,…they are very restful,…and a very good object lesson in “blooming where you are planted.” And I’ve had time to sketch,…for a good cause,…as someone I love loves sloths and owls. I had no idea sloths were so much fun to sketch,…such peaceful creatures,…they are in a hurry for nothing!

No these past weeks haven’t been wasted,…

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28

The Tale of Two Campgrounds


Summer vacation is winding down for us. School starts next week for our little guy. Perfect excuse to get in an adventure! How about some backyard camping? Thankfully we have a large backyard, which helps with the illusion of roughing it in the great outdoors. With our little guy’s sensory issues we need to make sure a night in the tent hits all his comfort zones spots. And thankfully we can say it did. Isaac had a blast, “I love it!”


Camping is not new to us. When our older guys were little we did quite a bit of camping. The two most memorable trips were one unforgettably cold weekend in January camping at Shiloh, Mississippi with our guy’s scout troop, and a family vacation in South Carolina.

What were those scout leaders thinking? Who in their right minds decides to go camping in January? What a shiveringly frigid weekend! The overnight temps were below freezing, which doesn’t make for comfort sleeping as our equipment was inadequate for such extreme temperatures. However, we did have an epic campfire, which felt gloriously warm, and despite the teeth chattering discomfort our guys had a great time, which was the entire purpose of the expedition.

The other memorable camping trip was the next year to Hunting Island, South Carolina in June!
Ahhhh,…those balmy temps were ever so appreciated! There is no two ways about it, camping on an Island is totally cool. The first night our campsite was nearly on the beach, only a huge dune separated us, and saved us!

Thank goodness for that dune! There had been a tropical storm only days before we arrived and the tide was high, which meant that that HUGE dune was the only thing between us and the undertow. Yeah, it’s slightly alarming to wake in the middle of the night to the sound of crashing waves only twenty feet or so from your tent.  Needless to say the next morning we moved a tad inland, which seemed safer.


What is it about waking up in the middle of the night in a tent that leads to one not feeling safe? Maybe it was the sounds of a fight, shouts, screams, stuff getting thrown about, drunken feet running past your tent, and someone screeching, “Put that gun down!”

Wow! Does one ever feel vulnerable with only flimsy canvas between them and trouble. Not that anything happened. Camp security was there in no time, and then local, island police. We heard their walkie-talkies, the reassurance of their purposeful steps, the strobing lights from their vehicles, all was well.

Camping, like life, is a process. 

Okay, I confess in Shiloh we didn’t hang around for an extra night. We were new to camping, especially winter camping and we didn’t have adequate equipment. Hyperthermia is not a joke, and the weather reports were predicting plummeting temps, and chances of an ice storm. We garnered what fun we could from the trip and some important lessons.

1. Building an epic fire will make you very popular with others. Hello we were with a troop of scouts, but no one else bothered to build a fire and their camping equipment wasn’t any better than ours, except those in RVs, lucky them. Whatever, we were only too happy to share, even with the RV folks, it made the experience even more fun. And the experience was a blast! We had the campground to ourselves, we discovered coffee and hot chocolate taste a thousand times better outside when you are freezing, and the random snowflakes drifting down were breathtakingly beautiful in the woodland setting.

2. Be prepared for anything. Did we look at the sleeping bag ratings before we left? Nope, but only because we didn’t realize sleeping bags have ratings. Nor did we realize the extreme necessity of having a ground cloth inside the tent. Lesson, learned.

More lessons?
Of course, the process of becoming a camper is all about learning from your experiences. The regrettable January freeze out in Shiloh didn’t stop us from attempting our June camping expedition. Nor did the two unfortunate incidents in South Carolina keep us from enjoying the rest of our Hunting Island vacation. Not that we needed to in June, but we checked the sleeping bag ratings before we left the house, and invested in better camping equipment.

3.  Investments are worth the investment. Trust me, a ten-man tent for four people feels like a luxury suite with plenty of room to spread out and neatly store your gear. No one got cranky about having to climb over each other to find stuff. Important for a week’s worth of camping.
4.  Location, location, location.  It’s the newbies that always seem to make the most mistakes. Hello, there had to be a reason why that ultra-cool campsite right next to the beach wasn’t already taken. It had been a long drive, we were hot, tired, and ready to strike camp and get some grub, and clearly we weren’t thinking straight. Ocean, dune, tides, storms, no one was there to set us straight, but no one should have had to set us straight. When venturing into a new location – it was our responsibility to know what we would likely encounter. For goodness sakes we were camping on an island. Needless to say we learned, and we learned quick. Have you any idea how loud waves can sound crashing yards from your tent in the middle of the night? It’s loud, really, really loud.
5.  No matter what you do stuff will still happen. Like raccoons, exceptionally talented raccoons, who got into our cooler and plastic tub. How? I have no idea, I could barely lift the latch on that plastic tub, hence we thought our little guy’s pop tarts were safe. Did you know raccoons like pop tarts? And bacon and eggs, and loaf bread, too. The peanut butter jar stumped them. Ha! We got you there Mr. Raccoon, but it was a hollow victory, and a major pain to have to lock up everything into the truck cab. No one was happy about the food situation, not us, nor the sulking raccoons, but it was certainly a lesson in ‘go with the flow.’ — a lesson we’d desperately need about twelve years later when our little guy was diagnosed with Autism.
6. Every experience is a training ground. At the time, if anyone had told me camping in Shiloh in the dead of winter was going to be a help later in life, I would have rolled with laughter. How could shivering through the night with chattering teeth in two pair of pants, three shirts, two jackets, a hat, gloves, and wooly scarf, while encased in a sleeping bag teach me anything?

For one, I learned how much I loved my guys. Not that I didn’t already know, but it emphasized what I was willing to ‘cheerfully’ do for them. Make no mistake, we were frozen, but we had a blast that weekend, which leads into the most important life lesson camping has taught.

Happiness is a choice.

Our lives are free will. We get to choose how we respond to freezing campgrounds, wayward raccoons, mistakes made by ourselves, and others. Thank goodness that midnight campground fight didn’t escalate into gun fire! Boy, that night were we ever praying Psalm 91: 9-10 “If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent.” 

The next morning we woke with the dawn with the choice: go or stay. Home is safer, but you can’t experience the world from the shelter of four walls. The only way to expand your horizons is to step out on faith.

Faith is also a choice. 

Wouldn’t you just know it, but that next night I was once again awaken at midnight. Our youngest needed a ‘midnight break’ — oh dear,…just him and I wandering through the sleeping campgrounds to the spotlessly clean restrooms. Never have you seen such clean restrooms in a state park!!!! Come to find some of the RV residents cleaned them in exchange for their site. After the previous night’s rampage, there was something very comforting about the spick-and-span conditions of those restrooms. Hello, no one expects to find pristine restrooms at a campground, but that elderly couple who cleaned those restrooms expressed their concern for their fellow campers by what means they had. “Love one another, be kind to one another.”  Certainly it made a midnight restroom run with a nine year so much easier, especially since my little guy was wide awake.

“Let’s see the waves!”

Oh dear,…the let’s be brave,...let’s have faith talks with our little guys had borne fruit.

True, it’s not exactly prudent to peek over a sand dune at midnight to see crashing waves, especially when there is a full moon. But either you have faith or you don’t, and the sea didn’t sound stormy.

Have you ever peeked over a sand dune at midnight with a full moon nearly light as day? The tide wasn’t in and before us lay the pristine beach magically lit by the shimmering light that sparkled like diamonds. Okay I am being lyrical, but with the sand and the foam and the waves the moonlight was breathtaking! What an experience to walk on the damp sand with your little one in such a glorious setting with the stars over head, the moderate waves murmuring upon the sand, little crabs scuttling along the surf line.

What a memory!

The rewards of freezing in January? Or perhaps learning that camping like life is a process. Stuff happens, and sometimes it’s uncomfortable or unpleasant, but that doesn’t mean extraordinary experiences aren’t just around the corner.

Did I want to get out of the tent that midnight when my little guy was tapping my shoulder with a desperate, “Mama, Mama,…I gotta go!”?

Ah,…no,…no I didn’t, but boy am I so glad I didn’t give into fear. The campground was safe, on our way back to the tent with the hem of our pajamas slightly damp from the surf, we could see the patrol cars making rounds. Climbing back into our sleeping bags with our hearts singing with the extraordinary beauty we had just experienced we slept,…peaceful and unafraid.

Be brave.
Have faith. 

“Enlarge the place of your tent,stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back;
lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes. For you will spread out to the right and to the left,…” Isaiah 54: 2-3

“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness, and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:19

Are you going through a learning process in a wilderness or a wasteland at the moment? Take courage you are being trained for new experiences – some to help others – some to help yourself – and some so extraordinary the only response is to sing, “Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!” Psalm 8:1

God bless and keep you!










Freedom’s Truths

Now that’s a BIG flag!


Can you tell the flag is at least two stories high?
It’s ginormous, but no matter how large or small, we always try to point out American flags to our little guy so he can learn the truths of our country’s history.

One of the greatest truths is that freedom is NOT free. 

Since 1776 countless men and women have made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedoms, and that sacrifice deserves to be respected, and honored.


We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. Preamble Declaration of Independence

Just this past weekend our little guy had a chance to witness our country’s freedoms in action during a firework celebration.

Freedom of Religion: Without fear, speakers freely prayed, preached the word of God, and worshiped in the name of Christ Jesus.
Freedom of Speech: Applies to the above, as we freely prayed for one another and our country.
Freedom of Free Press: The way we found out about this community event was through the free press.
Freedom To Peaceably Assemble: No protests, here. Just friends and neighbors gathered together in peaceful assembly to celebrate our country’s 242nd birthday.
Freedom To Petition The Government For Redress Of Grievances: No need for this measure. This was a community event, and everyone had a great time, but it’s nice to know that we are afforded this liberty should the need ever arise.


Our country is not perfect, no country is, but we are so grateful to live in the United States of America where we have the freedom to peacefully assemble on a hot July evening, to eat shaved ice and BBQ, to jump in bounce houses, play Frisbee, toss a football, visit with friends, family and neighbors, to worship together, pray together, and sing, without fear, without dread, without oppression, “God Bless America,…land that I love,…stand beside her,…and guide her,…through the night with the light from above,…from the mountains, to the prairies, to the ocean,…white with foam,…GOD BLESS AMERICA,…my home sweet home,…God bless America,…my home sweet home,” – to sit in lawn chairs and listen to the laughter of children, to catch fireflies as the twilight deepens,…and when it’s finally dark enough,…enjoy the spectacle of fireworks bursting overhead,…knowing:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Of course it would be impossible for me to close out this blog post without mentioning THE most important freedom of all,…and one that is available to everyone,…no matter what nationality or creed. The freedom of Salvation – won on the cross of Calvary!

“You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32

“There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:1-2

“Out of my distress I called on the LORD; the LORD answered me and set me free” Psalm 118:5

Have a blessed and safe Fourth of July!

Donuts And Desire


Ever had a desire?

The definition for desire – is a strong wish, a craving. That’s where the donuts come in. Who hasn’t ever seen that blinking Krispy Kreme: HOT NOW neon sign, and had a craving for a donut? Okay, theoretically there are not Krispy Kreme donut franchises around the world, but just about every culinary culture there is has some type of sweet fried bread: churros, beignets, crullers, sonhos, lokma, zeppole, to name a few. Plus go into any Chinese buffet in the USA, and what do you find? Donuts, these crispy treats are universally loved!

But what do you desire?

What are you wishing for in your life? Love, friendship, success, MONEY, or maybe just a vacation, or a new pair of shoes.

Do you feel like your wishes are on hold? That craving unsatisfied? Is the assembly-line empty? Everything is ready,…the oil is hot,…the batter risen,…but there are no donuts coming forth in your life.

Believe it or not, but God wants what is best for you. Often the ‘no’ in our life is the best ‘yes’ we could receive. We just can’t see the big picture. Like children, we often crave was is not best for us. Hello, would any parent let their child eat dozens of donuts in a sitting? That’s a one-way ticket to a belly-ache. Perhaps often what we desire is a one way ticket to a heart-ache.

“Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” – Psalm 37:4

A happy heart makes the face cheerful,…” – Proverbs 15:13

Life’s not all happiness, there is plenty of struggles and trials, but “The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trust in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.” – Psalm 28:7

This one is a little more apt for this blog title: “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10

Choice food? Like donuts, perhaps?

Do you get the theme here? The LORD is our strength, our shield, as in our protection, like the way we protect our children from unwise desires. Oh how we love them! Oh how we want to give the little darlings the desires of their little hearts – to see those happy little faces, but oh how we have to be wise in our decisions for them. We are their shield, to keep them safe.

The LORD isn’t against our desires, “May He give you the desire of your heart, and make all your plans succeed.” Psalm 20:4

Donuts are good! So are desires, the right desires. “Trust the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust the LORD with the desires of your heart. If the conveyer belt of your strongest wishes is empty,…perhaps it’s safety issues,…your safety. We’ve all been there,…and as children grow up and understand our reasoning why a dozen or so donuts in a sitting isn’t a good idea,…so can we mature in Christ,…and in retrospect praise the LORD for all the unfulfilled wishes in our life. God wants only the best for us,…only the best.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11