Autism Isolation

As autism awareness month comes to an end, I can’t help but look at our family life. Autism is not something we think about just in the month of April, we live it every day.

The wind is a little chilly but the sun is shining bright. Our little loves were eager to get outside and enjoy all our backyard had to offer. We don’t go to public parks much especially on pretty days. They are normally to crowded for our little guy. The noise can be to much for him and trying to keep him safe while allowing the others to play freely is stressful. The stares and the whispers from the other patrons should not get to me, but it does. So our backyard is our sanctuary. Here he is safe and here our other four can run and play and I don’t have to worry.

Four are dressed in their play clothes while one is in his standard pajamas. It maybe 70 degrees outside but you will always find him in his magic long sleeved flannel pajamas. They are his safety net at home. While our other little loves run and play tag he sits on the sidewalk lining up his cars. He seldom looks up, but when he does it’s for a quick Look Momma look what I did. He loves his cars. He spends hours lining and relining them up. He is perfectly happy doing so.

Today, while we played ball with our youngest daughter, JR came over to watch. We tossed the ball back and worth to our two year old and she giggled as it bounced down the hill. Out of nowhere JR decided to engage and went after the ball. He laughed as he throw it to his dad and giggled as he tried to kick it. For the next ten minutes he played with us and it was wonderful. It was perfect. Then just as quickly as he had joined in he stopped and returned to his cars.

Autism is so isolating at times. I truly believe he wants to be part of everything, he simply can’t. We have had people tell us, Just take him out or Just make him go he will get over it? As if they think we don’t want to go out and do things. But the truth is his happiness and wellbeing are important to us. We know what he can handle and what he can’t. Days that we can make it to church as a family, or trips to the grocery store without a meltdown are considered victories in our house.

If the outside world just took a few minutes to get to know our little guy they would see how truly wonderful he is. He is the sweetest most loving little guy you could ever meet. He is the best big brother to his two year old sister and he loves to cuddle babies. At his school he is known as the hugger because as everyone comes through the doors he is there to welcome them with one of his giant bear hugs. He is not less because of autism he is so much more.

As a mom I love days where we have moments like today. To hear him laugh and to see him run and interact with his siblings is something I will never take for granted. Today was a good day and for that I am truly thankful.

JRs superpower is autism, what’s yours?

Side note:

Thanks to everyone who has bought my book Beautiful Chaos Our Story about Foster Care, Adoption, Faith and Love. If you haven’t done so yet you can go over to the new website at http://www.beautifulchaosmomma.com and pick up a copy. My prayer is that our story inspires others to become foster/ foster to adopt parents.

Fitting Room Fuss

Spring has finally arrived.  The birds are singing, the frogs ugh the frogs that noise, and the kiddos have discovered the creek that flows beside my parents house.  I love spring time.  Spring also means out with the old and in with the new….clothes that is.  Does anyone else dread trying on new shorts and bathing suits as much as I do?

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My oldest daughter, mother, and I are taking a cruise next month.  My mother has never been on a cruise so, my daughter and I thought it would be fun to take her on one for her birthday now that’s she retired and can actually take a few days for herself to relax. All three of us are looking forward to it.  My daughter was just excepted into grad school so it will be nice for her to get away before she’s bogged down with work and college and for me well, I jumped at the chance to spend five days with only adults.  I love my little loves but every mom needs some “me time” every now and then.

Our passports are in order, our luggage bags are prepacked with the essential goodies, all we need now are a few new pairs of shoes, some new shorts and of course the bathing suit. With only a month to go, I can’t wait any longer to go pick one out.  It is time.

We made a quick trip back to our hometown this weekend to get on our parents and to take part in a birthday celebration. While there I found a few hours to go shopping.  The fitting room can be such an interesting place, especially during the the changing of the seasons.  Today was no exception.

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I hate trying on clothes, but I hate buying clothes only to get them home and them not fit more. So like half of the shoppers in the store today, I gathered up my wish list items and made my way back to the tiny off white cubical’s that make up the fitting room. What is it about those little rooms that make people act so crazy?  In one stall, was a little boy maybe around the age of nine, he felt he was to old to be in the fitting room with his mom and  definitely to old to have her pick out his clothes while his mother seemed to think he was still two by the was she talked to him.  Sweetie, are you doing okay in there? Do you need mommy to come help you?  Sweetie, make sure the shorts aren’t to tight in your crouch area.  In another stall an exhausted mom was trying on dresses with her two very active toddlers.  The little girl was full of complements as her mommy tried on dress after dress, Mommy you look beautifulest in the flower one.  I love that one too mommy.  Let’s get them all.  While the little boy was not as impressed and entertained himself by crawling under the wall to the stalls next to him until little sis ratted him out and then he started crying, correction screaming.  Screaming that he was bored, screaming that he was starving.  Screaming that he should have stayed with daddy instead of coming with the girls.  I heard the mom let out a sigh.  I’ve been in her shoes more times than I care to count.  Shopping for yourself with the kids in tow is hard.  (Side note thank you mom and dad for watching my kiddos so I could get out of the house by myself for a few minutes today)  Still in another stall was a young lady, I’m guessing 15 or 16, with her cell phone in one hand and ten pairs or short shorts in the other she made her way to the fitting room.  She looked aggravated, and by the speed she was texting I’m sure she was telling someone about it, but that’s when I noticed her dad.  He clearly had no idea what he was doing but he was trying.  As the swarm of mother’s came in and out of the waiting area handing in new clothes and taking back clothes that didn’t fit here was this dad holding short shorts for his daughter.  She would bring a few pairs out and tell him to go get her some more and he would.  Clearly he did not feel comfortable doing what he was doing, but he was doing it for her.  He loved her enough to take on the chaos of the fitting room.  I had to smile.  I don’t know their story, maybe he told her the shorts were to short or maybe her mom got called out to work, or who know’s what was going on, but I do know that in that moment that dad was willing to take on one of the most hated places on the planet for most women for his daughter. And that was my reminder that there is still good in this world for the day.

I finished trying on my items and liked the way a few of them fit.  As I left the fitting room the one mom was still handing her son clothes over the top of the stall just as fast as he was shoving them under the door.  He was done trying stuff on, she just hadn’t figured that out yet.  The mom with the two toddlers was trying to load the little boy in the buggy while the little girl now cried because she was not getting a new dress like her mommy.  As I passed the brave dad, he smiled, Nice day out there isn’t it? , he said as his daughter handed him a few shirts.  It sure is, I said as I smiled back.

I made it back to my parents house and my little loves were ready to go outside. If the fitting room taught me anything its that we all of things going on.  We need to take time and enjoy what’s in front of us.  Our fussy little ones will be annoyed teens before we know it.  Take a few minutes to enjoy the present, be in the now.  I may be taking a cruise next month but until then the creek life is fine with me.

 

Beautiful Chaos is now AVAILABLE!!!

Hello everyone,

For those of you who have been following the release of my first book Beautiful Chaos Our Story about Foster Care, Adoption, Faith and Love, the wait is over!! It is now available.

I want to thank all of you who have supported this project in some way. For those that helped me fund the project THANK YOU!! For those that have prayed for the book and for me Thank you!! For those that gave me the encouragement to get it started and then to get it completed Thank you!! I am truly humbled by what is taking place.

Thank you to my beautiful family for allowing me to share a glimpse of our life with the world. Thank you to my wonderful husband who not only lives this crazy life with me but also has had to listen to me over the last few months give him play by play details as our story became a book reality. Mostly I want to thank God for allowing us to be a small part in His beautiful masterpiece. He has allowed us to be part of some many lives on this foster care adventure. He has been my comfort when a child is placed back with a birth parent or relative, He has been my guide when I did not know what to do, He has been my protector when situations have become unsafe, but above all He has been my friend that has walked with me every step of the way. To You oh Lord, be ALL the glory.

This book is for you!

If you have ever thought about becoming a foster parent or have ever wondered what it takes to foster a child, if you have ever thought about adopting, or if you have ever questioned your plan in Gods story I encourage you to read our story. My hope is that it inspires at least one person/one family to open their heart to the idea of becoming foster parents. If one child gains a safe place to lay his or her head at night then everything struggle and every worry in making this book a reality was worth it. It’s all about the kids. Always

You can find the book at the following websites:

WestBowPress.com

Barnes & Noble

Amazon

Check it out and let me know what you think

From our beautiful chaos to yours, may you find a way to make your mark In this great big world. One act of kindness at a time

Mamaw’s Chair

My brother and I spent a lot of time at my grandparents house when we were growing up. They lived just up the holler (up the road for you city folk) which make it easy to see them everyday. We spent our evenings there until mom and dad made it in from work and during school breaks they also watched us during the day. Most of my childhood memories come from that house. Many of those memories are centered around a chair. An old spinning leopard print chair.

For as long as I can remember the chair has been part of our family. From what I can remember my grandmothers brother, my great uncle, gave her the chair. After a few years my grandmother wanted to replace the worn out upholstery. Her brother offered to take it to where he worked and replace the fabric for her with some that the shop was trying to get off their shelf. The end result a leopard print chair that matched absolutely nothing.

My brother and I would spend hours spinning in that chair. I can remember many times we would be in the chair and our grandma was yell in and tell us, You better not be spinning in my chair. You know someone could fall off and get hurt. All the while our grandpa was the one spinning us faster trying not to laugh. Good times. Precious memories. As the years went by grandpa replaced the legs as they wore out. With four different legs the chair did not set level making the spinning even more exciting to my younger self. Keep in mind this was our entertainment, there were no IPhones back then.

After my grandparents passed away the chair ended up at my parents house and when I got married the chair moved in with me. And just like my brother and I, my daughter and son enjoyed countless hours spinning in the chair and using it to make the best living room forts.

Fast forward to three years ago and we were now we are foster parents/ parents to four new little loves that also loved this chair. The forty plus years of childhood spinning had caught up to the chair. And one day while wild man and Diva were playing the back broke completely off. My heart sank and I cried for days. I could not bear to throw the chair out but we could not find anyone willing to repair the chair. So I covered it and placed it in our garage.

The chair moved with us when we came to Tennessee. Everyday I would see it in the black plastic in our garage. After we were all settled in I called around looking for a furniture repair shop. A few could do the upholstery work but not the repair while others could do the repair but not the upholstery. I was being to think my grandmas chair would never be again. Then I found a man named Jack. He told me that he would be more than happy to reupholster the chair and that he was sure his good buddy could repair it. I was excited. So early in December I dropped the chair off to his shop. I gave him the background story and he said he would try to match the fabric. I knew that would be a long shot so I told him if he could not to just do a soft black, grandma always wished it would have been plain to match her other furniture. I was not surprised when he called and said he could not find the print anywhere. Sad but not surprised. He went with a solid black and it was ready to be picked up.

So a few days ago I made my way over to his shop and picked up my grandmas chair. When I walked in and saw it I cried. It was beautiful. He had not found the print to match but he had found the original legs. He loved the story behind the chair and even kept what he could of the leopard print so that I could make a pillow or something with it. I could not thank him enough for saving the chair for me.

I brought it home and it now has a new place in my living room.

I know it’s not the leopard print that it once was but I do believe grandma would be pleased with how it turned out. It still stands out and will now be able to withstand many more years of children giggling while they spin around. And who knows maybe one day down the road my future grandchildren will smile as they recall the good times they had at grandmas spinning in her old chair just as I do. To many this is just a chair, but to me it’s memories, it’s a piece of my grandmother. It’s love and laughter. It’s part of my childhood. I am so thankful to have it back. Me and Sadie girl in Mamaw Sadie’s chairThe next generation of spinners

Christmas Break

The last few days have been crazy. I have barely had time to go to the bathroom let alone write a blog with all of my little loves home for Christmas break. It’s been busy but so many memories have been made.

Our school district has been on break since December 20th and the kiddos return to school on January 8th. In talking with friends and family back home our break is insanely long compared to many of theirs. We started our break off by visiting my parents. My husband was on call for Christmas so I loaded our six little loves up and headed back to the comfort of the West Virginia hills and my momma’s house. The kids were excited to see their grandparents and to see big bubby aka our oldest son (he opted to stay in WV when we moved) It was nice catching up on things and hanging out with them.

Christmas Eve our oldest daughter showed up at my moms and we spent the evening with my mom’s side of the family. For as long as I can remember my grandparents have always hosted a Christmas party on Christmas Eve for the family. The last few years have been hard since papaw passed away and I knew this year would be even harder with Mamaw’s passing a few months ago. They loved Christmas and seeing everyone together. So we knew they would want the tradition to continue. The food was placed on the tables and the room began to fill with laugher and a hum that comes with a large family. Although there was a sadness with the absence of my grandparents (and others that have passed away) the amount of love that filled the room was unmeasurable. I’m sure they were looking down and were pleased. My grandparents with my parents aka Santa and Mrs Clause

Christmas morning our little loves gathered around the Christmas tree and waited patiently, well as patient as children under seven can, to open gifts and have breakfast. My husband surprised us by driving up so he could be with us Christmas morning. After breakfast and presents we headed to my in-laws and celebrated some more. After opening gifts we gathered around the table to some of my mother in laws homemade lasagna. It was so yummy. We spent a few more hours hanging out before loading up the van and heading back home.

Four hours later we arrived home and had another round of Christmas. Our house looks like Toys R Us exploded but I love it.

This week has been laidback. We have filled our days with pajama parties and building living forts. Sleepy days and cold days. Sure we have had the occasional sibling argument, okay at least three a day, and yes I agreed to fast food for lunch on Friday and ended up going to McDonald’s, Taco Bell, and Little Caesars because no one could agree on what to eat (I know it’s crazy but I also know I’m not the only mom to do this to keep the peace or to keep my/her sanity) but its Christmas break. It’s all good.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. May God bless you in 2018.

20 Things about our Large Family

With six under the age of seven and two young adults (who are still my babies) you tend to have lists. This is one of those lists:

20. Your once spotless house is now well lived in. Very well lived in.

19. Alone time with your husband is classified as…. ha ha jokes on you there is no alone time.

18. The amount of homework in the evenings is ridiculous (I will never survive when they all hit middle school)

17. Even though you have a toy room you somehow have toys in every room in the house.

16. Getting anywhere,such as school or church, on time is considered a victory.

15. If your phone is missing look to see which child is no longer the playing with the others and go to their room. There you will find both child and phone.

14. Bedtime snuggles and “mommy I’s love you’s” are the best.

13. You will hear “This is the worst day ever” by at least one of the little loves daily.

12. You find food in the strangest places such as toy boxes or in the clean towels.

11. Someone will always complain about what’s for dinner and refuse to eat. FYI keep cereal in the pantry.

10. Bath time equals floor will be mopped due to the insane about of water splashed around.

9. You watch the clock in the evenings until your adult child(ren) call to let you know they have made it home from work/college.

8. The TV is always on Disney or Sprout…ALWAYS.

7. Someone is always crying because someone else is not sharing.

6. Words such as fart, poopyhead, and stupid are bad bad words and the little loves race to tell you who said it (so they can say it and giggle)

5. You think to yourself “Was it THIS crazy with my old ones?”

4. You are convinced that you’re a horrible mom at least a hundred times a day and worry if you are doing a good job.

3. You give good behavior stars if they go potty (extra stars if the actually hit the toilet)

2. They can pick on each other and fight with each other all day long, but no one else can. Mess with one you mess with them all.

1. You remind yourself they are only this small for a short while and sigh. Then you Thank God that He picked you to love this beautiful chaos.

Beautiful Chaos Book Funding Link

hello everyone,

As many of you know I have sent off my first book to be published.  I am super excited and can’t wait to hear what people think about our journey through foster care and adoption.   We have hit a small problem however.  There were some fees I was not expecting and I am looking for people willing to help raise the money.  If we hit the goal I will select 7 people who have donated at random and they will receive an autographed copy of the book.   If you can’t donate that’s perfectly fine, please share the link and pray for this project.   I truly feel God intends to use this book to help others take that leap of faith and become foster parents/adoptive parents.  The link is below:

From our beautiful chaos to yours, thank you.  Together we can make this happen

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A Salute to My Favorite Veterans 

In honor of Veterans Day I thought I would talk about a few of the finest men I know.  I am honored to have/had them all in in my life.

I have several uncles that have served our country proudly.  Two however I would like to tell you about, my uncle A and my uncle L.  Both of these men helped shape my life in more ways than one.

When I was younger I belonged to a clogging (an Appalachian form of dance) team.  I along with my brother, mother, and father all danced on this team.  So did my uncle A, aunt and cousin.  We practiced weekly and on most weekends we performed at different festivals.  I loved those days.   Our two families are close thanks to those times.  We also spent many of our “free” weekends at my grandmothers and if we were there you could almost bet my aunt, uncle and cousin were there as well.  In fact most of my childhood memories include them.  I would give anything to have him spin me around the dance floor one more time to one of our old routines.

Now my uncle L is on my dads side.  He has a love for motorcycles and for Jesus.  He is one of the sweetest men I know.  He always has a kind word to share and he makes sure to tells me just how much he loves me every time I see him. When I was younger and still lived at home he, my aunt and their two kids lived less than a mile from me.  Family is everything to him.  And I will never be to old for one of his bear hugs.

I am blessed to have had both of my grandfathers serve our county as well.  Both Papaw W and Papaw L served during World War II.  Papaw W was in the Navy and Papaw L was in the Army.  My Papaw W always had a story to tell and made sure we knew who the greatest hunter/or fisherman was. Later in life he would quiz me on Bible verses or share a passage that he thought was interesting.  My Papaw L was my rock when I was a little girl.  I spent most of my early childhood days at his and mamaw’s house.  Having them as our neighbors made it easy to see them daily.  We would pass the days by working in the garden or playing games of Canasta.  I would ride in the back of his old black Ford pickup truck to the store were he would buy me a soda and candy bar for under a dollar.  Those were the days.  I would love to be able to hear just one more hunting story from Papaw W or to be able to play one more game of Canasta with Papaw L.  I know they both watch over me in all that I do.

I even married into a family that has served our country with pride.  My father-in-law was in the Air Force and my husband was in the Army.  My father-in-law fought in the Vietnam War.  He is the best when it comes to being an all around great guy.  From the first day I met him he welcomed me into his family.  He showed me how to eat chicken wings and helped introduce me to NASCAR. He is the first person people go to when something needs done.  He works with his church making sure all the local kids have food to eat through the back pack program and he is always the first one to offer to help if something comes up.  He would give the shirt of his back if he thought someone needed it. He is also a pretty awesome papaw to our little ones, just ask any of them.  When he says “I love ya girl.” I know he means it.

My husband, my hero, my rock, and my partner.  He fought for our country in Operation Iraqi Freedom.  He always has my back no matter how crazy things get.  He works hard to provide a good life for the kids and me.  He opened his heart up to foster care when many others would have said no.  He makes me happier than I have ever been. He is my shoulder to cry on, my go to guy when I need good laugh, and my stealer of the sheets at night.  My favorite place in the world is in his arms.

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I also have many cousins and friends that have served the Red, White, and Blue proudly.  To all of them I say THANK YOU!!!

The point of this blog is to show that our Veterans are not nameless people or people without faces.  Our veterans are everyday people.  They are someones grandfather, father, uncle, cousin, husband, son, daughter, aunt, mother, or grandmother.  They are real people with real families yet they choose to serve to give us the freedoms we have.  They sacrifice so much to give us opportunities many Americans today take for granted.  Freedom is not free.  It comes with a cost few are willing to pay.

So today, as well as every day, if you see a veteran thank them for their service.  I am honored to be part of a family that has served our country over the years.  To all those that have served or are currently serving I salute you.  Thank you for being you.  And God bless you.

 

What Happened to Peace on Earth?

Like many of you, my heart hurts for those that lost loved ones or were injured in the horrific event that happened in Vegas.  I would love to say I’m shocked that someone could do something so cold to anyone let alone complete strangers but the sad truth is shootings like this are becoming part of our normal.  That my friends is scary. 

When I was growing up I never felt unsafe. I would walk to the little general store up the road from my house just to buy a candy bar and a soda.  My parents didn’t have to worry, they knew I would be fine and would return safe. I never worried about going to the mall, movie theater, a concert, or church. Those type of places where safe places where people could enjoy the company of others and share a few laughs or sing a few hallelujah’s and know everything would be fine. Now….now I won’t lie I do worry.  I worry for my husband, I worry for my kids, I worry for my future grandchildren, I worry for America. We are still the land of the free but I am afraid many of us (myself included) are not so brave right now. We are scared. Really really scared. 

I remember in the days following 9/11 how united we were and how we stood together. In the middle of complete terror unity and love grow.  It makes me sad….no not sad angry and hurt that in just over sixteen years we have forgotten those days. Until tragedy like Vegas, Pulse, or the countless school shootings happen. Why must such horrible things happen for us to unite as a nation?

I blame the news stations and social media sites.  Since 9/11 it seems all we see or all we hear about is the bad.  The mass shootings the attacks and the suicide bombers make up most of the evening news. In order to keep their ratings up they shove these gruesome images in our faces over and over.  This morning on one local channel there was an hour and 45 minutes played of personal videos taken from the shooting in Vegas.  The sound of the gun shots echoed and the screams of the people were deafening.  It was to painful to watch yet I did until my daughter came in. The line of people standing to give blood to help those victims received not even 2 minutes. (The death of Tom Petty had a 10 minute segment)

My seven year old walked in the living room while our tv was on the station and asked What happened this time momma?  It’s become such a normal part of our society that the large loss of life did not scare her. She knew something bad happened but something bad “always” happens.  How scary it that?? Or am I the only one that thinks this way?  Do you not remember how scared we were on 9/11?? These shootings and other attacks are the same thing. And they are happening more and more often. Has our society grown accustom to the violence so much so that we are okay with it?  Seriously we need to wake the hell up people. 


On Sunday here, a man was pulled over for speeding. He was going 55 in a 30.  It should have been an easy stop.  However inside his car the police found 900 plus rounds of ammo, multiple firearms (all loaded), and other weapons.  I don’t want to think what he would have done if the cops had not pulled him over.  That was less than twenty miles from my home.  What has happened to us as a nation?

We are so easily offended by everything nowadays. I was having lunch with my oldest son last week when we overheard two women talking about how they were glad they were that their boys refused to stand for the National Anthem, because they never liked that song anyways.  Seriously?!?! I about lost it in the middle of Taco Bell.  

I agree with what Jason Aldean said following the shooting:

“At the end of the day we arent Democrats or Republicans, Whites or Blacks, Men or Women. We are all humans and we are all Americans and its time to start acting like it and stand together as ONE! That is the only way we will ever get this Country to be better than it has ever been, but we have a long way to go and we have to start now. “

 I pray we come together and that we stay together. I ask Jesus to comfort those that have lost loved ones and to heal our nation. I pray that we have seen the worst and that better safer days lay ahead for all of us.  I pray that one day we truly our One Nation Under God. And that we will not live in fear anymore. 

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