Autism Awareness~30 Days of snapshots: Day 22

I did a Post earlier this month dedicated to Siblings, to ALL three of my kids together….

Today I want to Focus on Big Sister, my Oldest…

*She leads, He Follows*

*She helps Him learn new things*

*She helps keep Him safe*

*He Cheers for her at Softball Games, she shares her free drink*

*They Caught a Caterpillar and Named it “Fuzzy”*

*She is His Miracle League Buddy, His Big Sister, His Friend*

I Know there are days when He drives her Crazy, I know there are days when they fight like cats and dogs, but I Hope and Pray that I am doing a good enough job of ensuring she maintain her individuality, and not letting her get lost in the overwhelming storm that Autism can sometimes be. I Fear that no matter how much I try to do, it will not be enough, that I have somehow let her down.I Pray that she will not resent her brother, but continue to love Him as they grow older. She is a HUGE Blessing and help to me,  and words will never be enough to express how much I love her, How Proud I am of the young woman she is growing into.

The Power of Hope

There was a time in my life when it seemed Hope was Lost. I struggled with my faith. I asked God “Why?”. When I heard the words “Your child Has Autism” it was a devastating Blow. Dreams were torn from me. I was surrounded by negativity. Statements like “He may never talk, or have friends, play sports, or live a “Normal” Life” . When He was 4 years old, For the first time in His life, I heard Him say “Mommy” and It is truly the most beautiful word. I Learned to look for the GOOD things,  to bask in those tiny moments.  God has reminded me that He IS with me on this Journey.

As I sat in church last Sunday listening to the sermon, Pastor read John 10:10. “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” Plain as Day, I heard in my heart ” Rachel, Autism seems to steal and destroy, but when you chose to LOOK for the blessings and lean on ME, to stop wishing for things to be different and be thankful, to bloom where I have planted you, you will have life, and have it more abundantly”. It is a daily battle, to CHOSE Hope, to LOOK for the blessings and not focus on the negatives. Some days are harder than others.

The other thing that Jumped at me out of Last weeks message was Galatians 5:22 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” In Raising a child with Autism, I have gained Unconditional Love, I have Gained Joy, I have Gained Peace, I have Gained Patience, I have gained Kindness, I have Gained Goodness, I have Gained Faithfulness, I have Gained Gentleness, I have Gained self Control. I have only gained each of thee because I DAILY have to ASK God for them. I have to CHOSE Life and Hope, and not despair and death.

As we approach Easter Sunday, I am reminded of a song I have known since Childhood, and it fits here so well, so I will leave you with it…..

“God sent His son, they called Him Jesus
He came to love, heal, and forgive.
He lived and died to buy my pardon,
An empty grave is there to prove my Savior lives.

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.
Because He lives, All fear is gone.
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living just because He lives.

How sweet to hold a newborn baby,
And feel the pride and joy he gives.
But greater still the calm assurance,
This child can face uncertain days because He lives.

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.
Because He lives, All fear is gone.
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living just because He lives.

And then one day I’ll cross the river,
I’ll fight life’s final war with pain.
And then as death gives way to victory,
I’ll see the lights of glory and I’ll know He lives.

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.
Because He lives, All fear is gone!
Because I know He holds the future
And life is worth the living just because He lives!”

Words: Bill & Gloria Gaither

Autism Awareness~30 Days of snapshots: Day 21

When I take a step back and look at the big picture, and look at my “Village”, There is a group of  people who I Can’t forget to mention, and that is MY Grandparents and my Husband’s Grandparents, my children’s GREAT-Grandparents. Our Grandfathers have all left this earth and their presence is greatly missed and there is one set of Great Grandparents that even I have never met as they left this earth long ago, but our Oldest is named after that great-Grandmother, but the lessons they taught us live on. My Grandmothers are my prayer warriors. Their prayers are without a doubt part of the reason my faith is as strong as it is today. Their prayers have carried me through some of the toughest battles in my life. I don’t live close by anymore, and can’t visit as often as I would like, but I know that they pray daily for me, for my husband,and for my children, because I can feel the strength.

“Did you ever know that you’re my hero,
and everything I would like to be?
I can fly higher than an eagle,
’cause you are the wind beneath my wings.

*BOTH Of my grandmother’s have that “wall of Photos” that goes back YEARS, the saying “If these walls could speak” the Photo wall speaks VOLUMES*

*Dak and my grandmother playing the piano together: One of my favorite moments EVER. Grandma is a retired music teacher, she taught me the love of music, and to see Dak reach out to her like this…I Cried*

*Grandma is the happiest when she has kids to fuss over!*

*Watching Dak play*

My Children are very blessed to have their Great-Grandparents in their lives! I Can’t close this Post without including my Husband’s Grandparents. My Oldest Daughter is the only one who met his Grandpa, but what a precious moment that was, even though she will never remember it. She was only 6 months old, and we were stationed in California at the time, and came home for a Visit. She let Grandpa Hold her long enough to sing “You are my sunshine” which he had sung to every grandchild. While we were home that visit, He passed away. I regret that I never got any photos of Him with my daughter, but I have that moment forever in my memory.

“You Are My Sunshine
My only sunshine.
You make me happy
When skies are grey.
You’ll never know, dear,
How much I love you.
Please don’t take my sunshine away “

Granny has been there for Birthdays, shopping trips, 6th Grade Graduation, Holidays. She is a constant support and presence in their lives, and they love her so.

*Christmas Cookies*

*6th Grade Graduation*

*Easter Treats*

To Our Grandparents…

You gave us Roots and Wings…