The Weekend…

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Such a busy weekend!

Saturday morning I left the house bright and early to go to my annual hospice volunteer re-training. It’s not exactly inspirational stuff — this is the yearly re-training on things like HIPPA and such — all the mandatory information you need when doing this work that you don’t really realize when you first look into it. The laws are detailed, and breaking them — even accidentally — is serious business. This is why none of my family and friends even know the names of the patients I visit — let alone anything else. I am free to share how this work changes my life, and general info about it, but that’s it. Guarding patient privacy is a big deal. Every year volunteers are re-trained and sign paperwork testifying that they understand the laws and will follow them, and every year we hear stories about what can happen if you don’t follow the rules. Basic things like, “Never take a gift from your patient,” can be very important to follow in the long run. While it can be hard to turn down a gift in the moment, after someone dies serious trouble can occur if a family member goes looking for “Grandma’s ring, or old sweater, etc.” and discovers it is missing! As much as I love this work, I’m very thankful for all the “rules” we have to follow as well… it may seem dry and it may appear to take some of the “heart” out of the service, but in reality they are all safety measures of one kind or another — for both the volunteer and the patient.

Then Sunday afternoon The Professor had his piano recital, which is always a big deal. He puts a lot of work into practicing his pieces — despite how much pain it can cause with his head injury — and this particular recital had him really nervous simply because of how hard it’s been to practice lately. Of course he did well, all the pianists did a good job, and the entire program really was quite a success. I was impressed with how smoothly it all went since it was one of the biggest ones we’ve attended, with 56 different pieces being played. Afterwards all the families brought refreshments so that we could have some snacks before we went home.  I baked our sweet potato banana muffins that are a real hit around here, but I think the fact that they were on the “special diet” table (and their accompanying sign) kept away everyone but my boys. A sign that says, “Gluten Free, Milk Free, Sugar Free, Made with Almond Flour and Eggs!” doesn’t exactly scream “Come eat me!” :) But that just means we get to eat them — they’ll be gone within a few days. :)

Today I tried to catch up on housework — at least I managed to get back on top of the laundry. My hubby was gone all weekend and I really wanted him to come back to a sparkling house, but there just wasn’t enough free hours. I only managed to cover the basics — so I’m hoping to get more done between now and Thanksgiving. Tomorrow The Philosopher and I both have doctor appointments in the morning, and then I have to start writing some pieces for work this week… it’s going to be a very full day. Just thinking about it makes me tired, and I haven’t even finished today yet!

I had planned to write more this evening but I’m out of time and I’m simply just too tired — tonight I hope to rest amid all the chaos and busyness of life… tomorrow comes early.

“Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest in hope…” (Acts 2:26)

I am grateful…

  1. coconut macaroons for the boys…
  2. the guys back home from their trip…
  3. piano recitals…
  4. heating pads…
  5. Signature Hospice…
  6. our Volunteer Coordinator (the boss lady)… :)
  7. knitting belt discovery…
  8. Every Moment Holy (amazing book!)…
  9. Christmas Music on the radio!!!
  10. Little One walking all over the house…

It’s all Grace…

 

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Of Civics and Thanksgiving…

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The Professor in front of the Oregon State Capitol 

Well, our trip to the state capitol was a huge success. :)

Representative Bynum was very respectful of The Professor and appreciative of his criminal justice reform ideas. She’ll be taking them to the proper committees and checking on any bills that might be in the works related to them. Actually, she was so impressed with him that she personally invited him to come be her intern for a day when the next legislative session begins. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect during the meeting, but I knew The Professor would be in his element — civics, laws, brainstorming civic solutions — these are some of his favorite things.

I actually hadn’t been to the state capitol building since I was in Junior High, and I was impressed to see some of the ways technology has been introduced since then to make the work they do there more efficient. There is even a nifty fingerprint scanner available to aid in the voting process — very cool. :) The building itself is like a living history lesson — every part of it seems to tell another piece of the history of Oregon… and there is soooo much beautiful craftsmanship! We took plenty of pictures, but in thinking over the day I keep thinking of ones I wish I would have taken. The next time we go I’ll be sure to take a few more.

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Oregon State Capitol Building

There was the usual awkward cover up of surprise when I introduce myself as The Professor’s mom, but it was over very quickly. (I look young for my age still, so as he gets older people often initially think we’re siblings — I’m used to it now, and try to consider it a compliment rather than condescending.) After he had been talking with them for awhile, the natural question of where he went to high school came up since he was so well educated in the issues that he was discussing. (He makes me look good.) :) West River Academy was such a blessing for us — giving my boys the freedom to be in complete control of their studies and allowing them the intellectual liberty I wanted to give them all the way through their education. I love how they are both so entrenched in the learning lifestyle that they’re still studying their pet subjects and working on their projects as their physical abilities allow even though they’ve both graduated now. (The Philosopher actually spent most of the day working on his writing while we were away.)

It was wonderful to see The Professor’s thoughts and ideas so appreciated and taken so seriously. Living day in and day out with autism means that I don’t always get to see him shine like that — some days are like the day he had yesterday, where his head is hurting so bad (or he’s so upset) that significant periods of the day were spent non-verbal. It’s hard for people to understand if they don’t experience it themselves. I am so proud of how my boys continue to move forward through life no matter what the days might hold for them. I’m proud of their ability to think for themselves — in their own unique ways — and yet they remain respectful of everyone else’s intellectual freedom as well. The Professor in particular is fascinated by other people’s perspectives simply because he knows very well that he experiences the world different from everyone else, and he enjoys knowing more about how other points of view intersect (or don’t) with his own. We had a great time discussing issues all the way down to the capitol and back… it was a blessing to get to spend so much time with him and not have any doctor visit involved. :)

 

 

Tonight, I am tired… but as I listen to the boys brainstorming for their writing projects in the living room — I am flooded with thanksgiving… eucharisteo… as Ann would say.  As I listen to the rain on the roof and the wind blowing outside, snuggled in the warmth of a blanket — as I look at my world with soft eyes… I hear Andrew Peterson’s Don’t You Want To Thank Someone For This? play through the recesses of my mind.

“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.” (1 Chronicles 16:34)

I am grateful…

  1. The Professor sharing his thoughts freely…
  2. The Philosopher making me laugh… :)
  3. leftovers!!
  4. finally getting the necessary cords to set up the home office…
  5. rain on the roof and warm blankets…
  6. watching Frasier as a family… :)
  7. trustworthy mechanics…
  8. beautiful artwork…
  9. blue sky and clouds…
  10. playing photo tourist with The Professor…

It’s all Grace…

 

Time and Motherhood…

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The Professor at his last piano recital — his next one is next Sunday!

Time is such a strange thing.

Tomorrow afternoon The Professor has an appointment with one of our state representatives — Rep. Janelle Bynum — to discuss some of his criminal justice reform ideas. This is completely his own doing — the only thing I’ve done is plan to provide him the transportation he needs to get to our state capital for the meeting (and I’m far more nervous about driving down – and finding parking! — than he is about talking his thoughts over with a state representative). Civics and civil service is one of his many diverse interests — perhaps not as heartwarming as the rainbows and kitties that fill his camera, but still a big part of his thoughts. Not only does he know about our own civil system, but he studies systems all over the globe as well. So if you want to know about how they handle voting in other countries — he can tell you, and he’ll compare and contrast the way things are done around the world too. He might be struggling with the results of this head injury, but this guy is still brilliant — even if autism means he is still dependent on me for some basic things…

I am so proud of him… so proud of who he is — his gentleness, his belief in the “goodness” of people, his jokes that he shares with everyone he meets… his laugh. (I’m thankful that his name — which means laughter — is such a perfect fit for him!) I’m proud of his unique way of understanding things, his musical gifts… his perspective on life, the universe, and everything. He has so many struggles, and yet he wakes up every day and keeps going. It’s been almost 20 years since I first looked into his face, and I’m just so proud of all he’s accomplished so far — despite everything he’s faced.

Where did all that time go?

“But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” (2 Peter 3:8)

I blinked… and The Professor and Philosopher grew from little ones whose hands wrapped around my finger into young men who are facing their own life-obstacles with courage, and a certain level of determination and persistence. It is hard to be patient with yourself when you have plans — you have things you want to do — and your body physically holds you back… It’s hard to be forced to slow down during the time of life when everyone is telling you to speed up and spread your wings so you can take off properly. That isn’t how life is going for my boys. There will be no wing-spreading any time soon — though thankfully, we are seeing slow signs of healing and progress for them both… Still, they have a hard time seeing it — for them, it’s still do a little… rest… do a little more… rest… and heaven forbid do slightly too much… and crash. When did they go from being so small that I could fix all their problems, to being so grown that I can only help carry their crosses as they struggle underneath the weight? No one warned me how hard life can really be… No one told me… It’s so much harder to see your children face obstacles than to face them yourself.

Where did all the time go?

It’s been almost 20 years since I became a mother. I didn’t know that I would be joining the ranks of mothers whose experience of motherhood would be something other than “average”. I didn’t know that life’s basics could be so complex… Motherhood has been one lesson after another… it has been exhausting, challenging, mind-expanding, life-altering… it has been hard… and so beautiful. I wouldn’t have changed a thing. I am so blessed to have the sons I have been given. It’s true that they are so different from other teenagers… Legos, Wordgirl videos, Winnie-the-Pooh, world-building, reading aloud… my days are a unique blend of all their younger years and in-depth discussions about complicated subjects, like how history has impacted the world we’re facing today and civic system solutions.

I am so thankful for all the moments we’ve had together over the last 20 years… but I can’t believe it has passed so quickly. They say the days are long but the years are short. Apparently, the decades blink by too…

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; …” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)

… so many “times” have filled my moments as these boys have grown. They have woven a beautiful fabric out of my life — with dark shadows and brilliant bright areas of light… My journey is becoming a masterpiece of moments…

I am grateful…

  1. new pajama pants (thanks sisters!)…
  2. shopping at Natural Grocers today…
  3. cocoa powder…
  4. surprising the boys with macaroons…
  5. surprising my hubby with spicy pumpkin seeds…
  6. another successful dinner experiment… :)
  7. living two doors down from my sister…
  8. getting ready for the holidays!!
  9. pumpkin pie plans… :)
  10. All-Classical Portland Radio while I’m doing dishes…

It’s all Grace….