The Live Tree


We searched for, picked out, purchased lights for, brought home and put up our first live tree yesterday.  I’m more than happy to spend my "black Friday" that way.  Aside from making sure the tree was secure in the stand our day was pretty uneventful and I’m not complaining.

Reading that "we searched for" our tree makes me smile because we went to the parking lot of two major stores and a man had rented the far end of the lot to sell Christmas trees. We live in a fairly urban area and we would have to drive at least 45 minutes away to actually "search" for the perfect tree. I'm perfectly content with how we selected our tree even though in my opinion it's unlike a Christmas story book.

Thomas was thrilled picking out our tree. And I think it’s funny how God makes you slow down and notice the little things or you will miss them. As we walked towards our car with the tree I heard Thomas say, “Have a nice weekend” to the tree salesman. This is a pretty large step for Thomas in interacting and being social. I’m glad I didn’t miss it.

So our first live tree is up and lit. I have to say its gorgeous and much prettier than our pre-lit artificial tree. I don’t remember the type of tree it is but I don’t think it matters. Oh and it smells nice 🙂

Coming Home and The Tree.

Thomas will be coming home for Thanksgiving.  I’m looking forward to him being here.  Our last visit was cut short by his behavior so hopefully we won’t have a repeat of that.  For forever now we put our Christmas Tree up the day after Thanksgiving.  It’s now become Thomas’ “thing” to do with me.   The girls help out don’t get me wrong, but it’s definitely my son who call this shots about the tree and the skirt and the ornaments and the star on top and the stockings…  The older girls get into hanging up “their” ornaments like the ones I have from when they were babies or made at school.   I love those.  Oh and the girls like setting up the Nativity.     

I’d like to get a live tree this year. I’ve always been against it, paranoid of the tree drying out and being set on fire by the lights. Yes that’s how my mind works. Tommy and I discussed it and we will go tree shopping the day after Thanksgiving with Thomas. How could we go without him?

I’m getting ahead of myself though, I’m talking about Christmas trees and the day after Thanksgiving but not Thanksgiving. We are hosting at our house. It will be really nice as my Mom and I split the cooking and it works out great as nobody gets overwhelmed. Hmmmm I guess I don’t have much to say about Thanksgiving except I am thankful for my family, my church family, my friends, that I am free to worship and that I get to worship the one true God.

Maybe that’s why I’m so eager to skip over to Christmas. The songs about Jesus birth. I love them. Especially the ones that command, “Come and worship!” Of course I like the regular winter themed songs and Rudolph but the reason is Christ’s birth and we should sing about His birth and worship him.

I’m looking forward to this week. My son being home, Thanksgiving and then…The tree. The tree that Thomas can’t wait for every year.

Moving forward

“Moving Forward”. 2 words and not a difficult statement to follow given you have the means to do so.  At this time in my life it is time for me to move forward.  I’m quite serious about my business (, I want to see this succeed.  I feel this is what I’m supposed to be doing; shopping.  Feel free to laugh it’s ok.  Yes I dream of getting paid to shop for other people or find them some treasure they haven’t been able to locate on their own.  That treasure can be almost anything, but I specialize in clothing, shoes and the thrift.

Moving forward. Why isn’t it as easy as it sounds? I believe I’m not going anywhere until The Lord decides it’s the best time according to his plan. If my business took off last year I would have buckled, I was not ready and was still healing. But just because I think I’m in a better place doesn’t mean God agrees. Giving it all over to Him is one of the most difficult things I’ve done. To The Lord I handed over Thomas’ residential school and now I hand over my future of trying to be a success outside the home. I know He is “in charge” and He really does know better than we do. I trust The Lord, he is faithful.

I’m looking forward to moving forward. To not visit the depressed and traumatic times anymore. They’re still there, just not ruling me like they did. I’m also looking forward to growing as a person and sharing that growth with my family. Frustration and having more patience are two things I really need to work on. I want things to happen NOW like most of us do. If I’m to trust The Lord, I must develop more patience and accept his timing and not get frustrated.

I’ve done quite a bit of reflecting of when I was going through the depression and when you’re in that state you don’t realize how far down you are. I was thinking about this, this morning. I don’t ever want to be that far down again. When I was remembering that place I was reminded of the physical sensation of being that far down. It was as if I were in a ditch looking up at everyone and I couldn’t get myself out. I don’t ever want to be there again.

So here’s to moving forward!

The hurt.

When I spoke to my son on the phone the other day I didn’t mention that I felt sad afterwards.  Sad that this is his life away from us.  Before we had to take him off the one med that produced stability I had things pretty wrapped up for Thomas.  He was in a great school, awesome recreation programs and on the waiting list for group home placement for when he turned 21.  Thomas was also pleasant to be around.  High maintenance yes but not aggressive and well liked at school and his other programs.  It’s only recently have I realized that my way is not the way things were to go.  As my husband likes to say, “We’re not in charge”.  He’s right.

When I think back to actually admitting Thomas to residential; as his mother I literally gave them my son.  I couldn’t live like that anymore and neither could he. I was still spiraling from depression and everything just felt so hopeless. I realize now that our situation was not hopeless. I did love my son enough to want him to get help even if that meant handing him to other people and admitting I couldn’t do it.

I think what hurt the other day was the cold water reality that “my way” that I worked so hard for wasn’t ever going to happen. It really bothered me and it took a therapy session to unearth that in me. I’ve had time to digest that fact and I’m ok with it. What matters most is that Thomas receives all the supports and help he needs. He also needs his mother. I need to remember that, he’ll always need me here and there just like the girls. Heck I still need my mother.

I wish I had something deep and philosophical to write about the love and courage it took to allow other people to help shape my son’s future. I don’t. I can only say that it stings even hurts sometimes but it will be totally worth it to watch him grow.

IEP meeting

I spoke to my son tonight.  He called from school.  It was sweet listening to him, mostly because he wants to talk to me. And that means a lot considering all I’ve been through with him. My girls tell me about their day and friends, funny things that happen and I love it. I love that they talk to me but when it’s Thomas…he’s so deliberate in what he wants to say you feel like you don’t want to miss anything. And that he wants to talk to you and tell you about his day or upcoming events, well it’s special.

I had Thomas’ IEP meeting today (Individualized Education Plan) which is goals and therapies his school must work on and provide. This meeting was with the district. It was the most uneventful meeting ever! I already spoke with Thomas’ school last week via teleconference about building on previous goals and new goals for Thomas so the IEP meeting was a but redundant. I was happy it was redundant though. I’ve had way too many IEP meetings with me yelling and crying through the meeting because I didn’t feel heard. In those days I was fighting for my son and at this moment in time I don’t have to fight. I watched a woman younger than me walk in anger down the hall with mention of her attorney. I’ve been there, done that, have the t shirt. Part of me wanted to tell her everything will be ok, but I don’t know that at all. I don’t know her situation but I know exactly how she feels and it’s not a good feeling.

When I sat down with the district representative and a district psychologist I recognized the rep from many IEP meetings of years past. I know I’d been unpleasant to this woman during those meetings. Those meetings were full of tension and uncertainty and mistrust. At one point she asked if I remembered her and I smiled and said yes. She asked if my hair used to be blonde, I laughed and said yes. We chatted quite a bit about my son’s school, how happy we are with his placement and how happy we were with the previous school. I’ve never had such a district IEP meeting, ever! When we were done I thanked them and said it was so nice to have a meeting where I was “relaxed”. I look forward to future meetings of this manner. Praise God!

Being nudged

I mentioned me thinking of sitting with Christ in my last blog post.  I told my friend John who is the grandfather of my youngest daughter’s best friend.  He listened intently and suggested that maybe I have too much on my mind or something in particular was bothering me and Christ came to comfort me.  I thought that was very nice, but I’m not sure I believe that.  I’m not sure of the “why’s” only God knows.

 On this past Friday there were 4 of us mothers and grandfather chatting after school while the kids played in the school yard. This is common practice for us while the weather is nice. John and I passed each other in picking up our respective children. He said as we passed each other he said, “You know what you told me the other day? I need to talk more about that with you, we need to talk”. I said ok and then we were together with the other Moms.

The conversation was light hearted, out of nowhere and without warning John says to me with a smile, “Aren’t you going to tell them what you told me. Tell them what happened”. I almost froze. I was not prepared for this at all. Then I just started talking and telling about meeting The Lord and that I wasn’t daydreaming that I felt like he met with my soul. I also told them about the joy I felt afterward.

After I was done I felt uneasy. Were they going to think I was crazy? Will they persecute me? Am I ashamed? Am I embarrassed? Then I felt guilt for being concerned with those scenarios. After all that Christ went through to save me I shouldn’t concern myself with what people think. All 4 of us ended up having a very interesting conversation about how we were raised, and our various religious backgrounds, and how it shaped us. John couldn’t stress enough the most important thing is one’s relationship with The Lord. That no one knows what is in another’s heart but God.

Afterwards walking with John I told him the Holy Spirit was surely working with him to get me to speak up. That I was concerned with being bold and him encouraging me to tell my story was God’s way of making me be bold. If John didn’t say anything I never would have said anything. I’m glad he did though. I feel like I’m one step closer to the boldness I wish I had.

Playing it Safe

I had the pleasure of attending an amazing Hillsong United concert last night.  They were incredible and so full of energy!  Not only was the music great but the “talking” part was wonderful as well as it was all about Jesus, some prayers and some preaching.  No matter, it was all good. 

While thinking about the concert and how open these artists are with their faith I admire them and anyone else who does not play it safe for fear of rejection, persecution, hatred, etc… I like to think I do not play it safe but I don’t believe I’ve ever been in a situation of defending my faith. I’m fortunate to live in this country and I’m free to worship God. I do enjoy declaring that I am a Christian and try to live as one.

I admire my 12 year old daughter. For the past 2 years in middle school she has challenged her science teachers when they teach evolution and/or the “Big Bang theory”. She asks, “What came before that?” And she’ll repeat herself until the teacher doesn’t have any answers left. I admire her tenacity. I don’t know if I would have been so bold at that age.

I guess this boils down to boldness as well which I’ve discussed in a previous post. I don’t want to play it safe. And I’m thinking me writing this blog could be my way of being bold. I’ve written things here that I’ve barely spoken about. I believe with all I am many times what I’ve written was directed by the Holy Spirit as I wouldn’t start out as passionate as I’ve ended. I guess that statement would be a testimony to the work of the Spirit in my life.

I also believe the Holy Spirit immensely enjoys guiding us to do, say or write things that bring Glory to God. Giving us the words to say or actions to perform. I find Him fascinating and I’m so grateful to have seen The Spirit in action first hand. It was the Holy Spirit who directed me to pick up the phone when the one residential school returned my call and actually spoke to me about my son. This is the school he now attends.

To reply to my own thought; To “play it safe” would be denying the Holy Spirit. That’s how I see it anyway. Rebelling against his pushing and prodding to do something or the right words to say or write. What God the Father actually wants you to do as per his will and plan. Many times I wish there were a clear written letter or directions from the Spirit. However it’s been my experience that one just knowswhen The Spirit is at work.

Another meeting

I had a teleconference meeting yesterday with my son’s school to discuss his progress and goals for the next year.  To start off I am very happy with this school.  They know my son and that by itself goes a long way.  His future goals are pretty much a continuation of last year’s or should I say they are building on last year’s goals.  Right now Thomas “works” at a Goodwill not far from his school, does his laundry with supervision at the laundromat and shops at the supermarket also supervised. His teacher stressed to me that if they are at say the library and Thomas has a question he is directed to ask the librarian, same with the supermarket, etc… I love that they are promoting independence. I know there is no way I could have done these things with him and keep an eye on our youngest and hope Thomas doesn’t get aggressive. I know the school setting is very different than our home setting, they have structure, back up and staff available. I don’t.

After the teleconference I did feel a bit sad that this is our reality. Thomas’ reality. I don’t regret the decision for residential school. His placement alone is testimony to The Lord. As thrilled as I am with Thomas’ progress and placement there’s still that pain there. Sometimes it is more dull than other times. But it’s there. I don’t think it will ever go away.

Speaking of The Lord and meetings I had an experience a week or so ago that left me not knowing what to make of it. I was driving home with the girls and the Christian music station was on the radio. I was listening to the music and thinking how wonderful it must have been to be a disciple of Jesus back then. To have heard Him teach and be witness to His kindness and forgiveness firsthand. To be able sit close and be able to touch Him. I can’t describe how incredible I think that would be. The next thing I knew I had a crystal clear image of me sitting next to Jesus. We were on the ground near boulders in a green field. He was speaking but I don’t know what he was saying, I was intently listening and in awe of Him. Then, I was “back”. I never took my eyes off the road and I wasn’t daydreaming. I felt as if He met with my soul if that is possible. And the joy, the joy I felt was similar to when I met The Lord the first time when I was stopped at a red light.

There is nothing like that joy and I don’t want to forget it. At first I was nervous to share this experience but thinking more, I’m not. It’s my experience and there has to be a reason it hasn’t been revealed yet.

Our Anniversary

On November 12,1995 two best friends were married.  Today is our wedding anniversary.  Today is the day 18 years ago Tommy and I became Mr. and Mrs.  I don’t mean to sound corny but I am proud of us.  I don’t know what the future will hold but the past 18 years seemed to fly by.  I remember us lying on the beach on our honeymoon saying we should save up to go back to Hawaii on our 10th anniversary.  10 years seemed so very far away.  We had no idea Thomas would be who he is nor did we have a clue we would have had 4 children.  Thomas was born that following July.

Speaking matter of fact, I’d have to say Thomas was our greatest challenge during our marriage. We had no idea what we were dealing with during those early days. We were young and he was our first child. I know we were guided by the Holy Spirit. I know because there is no way we made it through through that time in our own strength.

I’m excited to celebrate 18 years. I know it’s not a “milestone” like 20 or 25 years but it’s a milestone nonetheless. I can’t say I never thought we would make it this long, I didn’t think that at all. To be honest aside from our honeymoon and mentioning the wish to come back to Hawaii in “10 years” we never discussed future anniversaries or how we would celebrate them. Maybe that’s how we get by; putting one foot in front of the other and not taking the next day or year for granted. I know raising a child like Thomas had that effect on me personally as I never know what the next moment would bring never mind the next day, week or year. I took one day at a time with him, sometimes one hour at a time especially when his behavior was challenging.

I love my husband probably more now than I did 18 years ago. We were 25 years old when we said, “I do”. I believe we have both grown as people and I know Tommy has taught me so much. About myself and about the world in general. I only hope I’ve taught him something as well.

A Meeting

Meeting the Lord.  I remember the first time I met The Lord and I treasure that memory.  Treasure it as I should.  I figured it would be a once in a lifetime meeting but I was wrong.  I didn’t know you could meet The Lord more than once and I am in such awe of Him.  The feeling of peace and excitement after you realize what just happened is almost indescribable.  It makes you fall in love with Him all over again and wonder how you ever had moments of doubt.  

The first time I met The Lord, I was in my car as I was stopped at a red light about a mile from my house. I was listening to the song “Praise You In This Storm” by Casting Crowns and I was crying my heart out. Thomas was back in the hospital and I was so angry and tired of it all. Most of all I was angry. As the song played the lyric, ” and every tear I cry you hold in your hand…” gave me a distinct vision of Jesus standing behind me cupping his hand to gather my tears. My anger faded and I realized that emotion was gone. This really happened and I then understood what it meant to meet Him. He truly meets you where you are. And until that day I didn’t understand that concept until it happened to me that morning sitting at a red light.

I love writing about The Lord. I love looking back at memories a year ago, 5 years ago, even the past week and recognizing when His hand was blatantly at work that there could never be another explanation. When the Holy Spirit moved and things happened.

I wrote my last post about boldness and wishing I were more bold. I still wish that and when I pray I ask for boldness. God is amazing and I know he has a plan.