stories of the Mix family lovin' the country life

Monday, February 20, 2012

"...Fear not; I will help thee."

Yesterday, our pastor preached a message titled "What to Do When Everything Falls In."  It encouraged my heart so much, and I've decided it's time to share something very personal with you.

Now I don't really feel that my whole world is falling in.  I have so many blessings that come every day.  I am very thankful for God's love and peace, and I appreciate all the good things that He has provided.  However, there is a part of my life that is very stressful and hard, and parents of autistic children know what I mean. 

There.  I said it.  That word that I have avoided saying for about a year.  The word that's been in my mind for a couple of years, but I always pushed it away with, "She can't have autism.  She talks so well."  But she talks too well, like an adult in a four-year-old body.  And sometimes the things she says are so extremely proper, that she sounds ridiculous.  And when she doesn't understand something, her mind turns off and she screams horrible things and breaks things. 

For a long time, I kept thinking that she was just extremely rebellious.  People would tell me that I just have to be firm and eventually she would calm down.  Eventually.  I got advice from older Christians who raised good families.  I read good parenting books.  I tried eliminating things from her diet.  More time passed.  Instead of outgrowing her screaming and her strange sense of order and her need for certain routines, it all got worse.  I started researching other possibilities.  I found a good description for Asperger syndrome, and it described so much of what she does.  Now our family doctor is helping us to get her officially diagnosed before she starts school this fall. 

There's so much that this involves.  It's hard to share all the frustrations.  Everyday things like going to the store can take a lot of time.  She insists on brushing her teeth, but screams when I brush her hair.  Sometimes it takes a long time to persuade her to wear the right kind of clothes.  "Today's a cold day; you have to wear a coat instead of a sweater," doesn't make any sense to her; but when summer comes, it will be hard to get her to give up her coat.  Sometimes her food is confusing to her.  I have to break it down into bites and show her which one to eat first.  Even just writing this, I've had to stop so many times to stop her from doing something or to get her something.  And every time it's a huge emotional ordeal for her.

Sometimes I wonder how much she really understands.  Does she just memorize words and sentences and responses?  Then when she runs out of memorized material, is that why she has a meltdown?

I'm trying to learn.  I'm making social stories and comic strips.  I'm trying to find out what works.  I've learned that pictures work better than speaking.  I also know there's a long road ahead.  I'd like to share some of what I was reminded of in our pastor's message yesterday morning from 1 Samuel 30.

  • We are inadequate, on our own, to handle our problems.  David clung to God, and he was strengthened and encouraged.  "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."  (Phillippians 4:13)  "But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus."  (Phillippians 4:19
  • Don't assume.  During times of stress, it's easy to just assume what you should be doing.  Always pray and follow the Lord's leading.  Don't just make your decisions based on what "makes sense."  "Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him, and he shall bring it to pass."
  • Don't faint.  Go all the way through this trial.  After the tenth or twentieth problem of the day, I still need to be patient and have the right attitude. 
  • David recovered everything.  God can work wondrous things in this situation. 
Now, you can see a part of my heart.  In future posts, I probably won't talk very much about it, but if I mention that a particular day has been hard, you'll know there has probably been a lot of tears, battles, and seemingly futile efforts.  Pray for us.  We really need it.

God is so good, isn't He?  I love the verse in Isaiah 41 that says, "For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee."

"...Fear not; I will help thee."

I just love that.


The Gift of a Day

A friend came over this morning and told me she was here to do "anything and everything."  I don't like to ask for anything, and my friend knew this, so she just came over and told me she was going to help.  She allowed me to spend some much-needed time with Abbey while she took care of Lizzie, Jon, and her own little baby.  She was such a blessing today and turned a stressful Monday into a {smiley-face} day.

I'm getting another post ready about our issues with Abbey.  It's a hard one to write, but I want to share some of this challenge with you.  Most of my day is spent helping her work through situations that come up, so I don't often have time to write.  Or, when I do have a few minutes, I'm too emotionally exhausted to open the computer.  I'll write more in another post.

Anyway, thank you, dear friend, for the gift of a day.  Today I feel so calm and rested!


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

I have a big Starbucks mug that I just love.  My sister-in-law gave it to me for Christmas in 2010, and I drink coffee and tea in it almost every day.  It holds two cups of coffee (now you see why I like it so much). 

Well, yesterday, I decided to do some reading while the kids were napping.  I sat Indian style on the couch with a book and my big cup full of hot tea--and dumped the whole cup right onto my lap.  OUCH!!!  I did a sort-of dance around the living room, staying as quiet as possible.  After a second, I realized I had to take off my skirt and tights, because they were saturated with the burning liquid and were continuing to burn my legs.  I ended up with a dinner-plate sized burn across the top of my thighs.  I probably should have gone to the emergency room to be checked, but I didn't want to wait a few hours and then be told, "You appear to have first and second degree burns on your legs."  ["Oooohhhh, so THAT'S what happened.  I was wondering."]  They would probably just tell me to keep the area clean and come back if it gets infected.

So I just sat in Bobby's big chair all afternoon and evening with three bags of frozen veggies on my legs.   I was so thankful that Bobby did not have a long day at work. He took care of supper and the kids.  By the time I went to bed, the pain was almost gone.  I was able to sleep well.  This morning I am uncomfortable but not in pain.  I have blisters on both legs that rub when I walk, so I am surprised it doesn't really hurt anymore.  Being able to sit that long with the ice must have really helped.  I told Bobby that his taking care of everything is what allowed me to feel better so quickly.  I am thankful for such a caring husband.  
We have started a new routine this last week.  Our house has an unfinished basement that we haven't really used.  I do laundry down there, and put wood in the fire (we heat our house with wood), and that's about it.  Our basement is old and creepy--spider webs, dirt, water, and you never know what else.  This past year we were able to get new siding for our house, and that took care of the water problem.  The last couple of weeks, I've been cleaning it a little at a time.  It was a big job, and it's still not pretty, but it's clean enough that I could take the kids down.  I took a rug and some toys down and let them have a little playroom.  On the other side of the basement, I set up a little table for Abbey to do her "schoolwork."  She hasn't started school yet, but she has a tower of plastic drawers with preschool workbooks and flashcards.  She likes to practice her letters and numbers, so much that she can already read a little bit and do simple addition. 

So now, we spend each morning downstairs.  I help Abbey get started, then I play with the other two for a little bit.  The whole time I have soft piano music playing on my phone.  It really sets a relaxing mood even though we're in an unfinished basement.  I have plans for making it prettier.  I'll probably show pictures when I get something done.

Here's Abbey's little table.  My grandpa made it for my brother and sister and me when we were little.  It's very special.

Like her cowGIRL boots?  She is insistent that they are not cowBOY boots.

I can't show you a picture of the playroom because Lizzie decided to take her skirt off.  I have to go get her dressed...again.

'Bye for now  {smile}