At 42 Degrees

At 42 Degrees

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Reformation Day!!!





October 31, 1517 Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses,...which began the Protestant Reformation,...it is little celebrated, or at least here in the deep south...and seemly little known, aside from those who truly have a yen for church history...but for us it's an important date,...and we've always give the day its due,...because: 

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.

Ephesians 2:8-9

Those (2) Bible verses,...are pretty much the entire 95 Theses in a nutshell,...

As for Halloween,...gee that's always sticky for us,...because 'unsurprisingly' we don't go in for the spooky-scary stuff,...it's just who we are.

However in our area, Fall Festivals are plentiful and we have taken Isaac to several,...he likes the slides and jump houses,...but he doesn't 'get' the significance of holidays,...so sigh, but just a little, because Isaac is being exposed to new experiences,...and that's always positive. 

Besides,...Isaac ALWAYS has a blast!!!

Today Isaac's preschool is hosting a trick-or-treat party,...thus he has his trusty 'jack-o-lantern' or 'pum-pin' - all ready for school,...and he dressed in black for his costume,...which is super-simple, as I sent his little yellow 'batman' vest,...but if he gets sensory-overload and balks, I told his teachers to just consider him:

Johnny Cash - the man in black





May everyone have a fun and safe
 October 31st!!!!!


Until I post again,...may God bless and keep you!












Friday, October 25, 2013

Impromptu Pumpkin Patch

One of Isaac's most precious gifts is the ability to find fun where ever he is,...
and he makes sure you have fun too!

Last Sunday after church
Isaac was delighted to find that Lowes had made a Pumpkin Patch display



Let the fun,...begin!!!


The place was a speech therapist's paradise:

"PUM - PIN" 

says Isaac,...again, and again, and again,
without any prompting from anyone!!!!



Oh,...so many 'pum-pins' to choose from



And Isaac was a man with a plan,....


Only that plan,...just needed a little tinkering,...



Pum-pin,...within Pum-pin,..



After all,...hungry pum-pins need to be fed,...


"Green" 
the bemused face says it all,
"Yes, Isaac that pum-pin is green."


Silly face for a 'yellow' and 'orange' pum-pin.

And no, I didn't have the heart to tell
him they were actually
acorn squash,
practicing all those 'p's' for pum-pin is too important!"


And delight of delights,...shared attention as Isaac points because he saw birds overhead



"Birds" - we say and sign,...


Daddy was shopping while we hung out in the Pumpkin Patch,...
it took a while,
quite a while, so Isaac took a break to sing a bit,..
Didn't quite catch those lyrics,
but the impromptu tune was mighty cute,...lots of:
 "ooh-OOH-ooohs"



Daddy finally found us in 'pum-pin' land,...


Our little guy was having so much fun,...we were a bit worried about
transitioning out of so much fun,...
but Isaac's growing and learning and maturing,...so nicely.

When time to go,...
he was happy to sign:
"All Done!"



Our little pum-pin face,...had a pumpkin good time!



So many unknowns in our future, but Isaac is teaching us to live in the present
and enjoy each moment to the fullest!

Until I post again,...may God bless and keep you!





Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Happiness Personified,...

Just a little while ago,
I saw this picture
that I took last week,
and it so strongly reminded me that:
Isaac's good,...
at three years old he's got the world figured out
and spends his precious time on:
Life,
Liberty,
and the Pursuit of Happiness.
He finds 
that happiness too,
every day.
As I type these words,
I can hear his giggles.
Most beautiful sound in the world. 



Despite the unwelcome news this week,...
we feel very blessed
and
grateful
for our three sons.


"Sons are an heritage from the LORD,
children a reward from him."
Psalm 127:3




Until I post again,...may God bless and keep you!

Ever Hopeful,...

Trying to stay positive as we face hard realities this week, as we learn that the Affordable Care Act impacts our life with the horrible irony of making healthcare, for us, unaffordable.



It's sad, very sad, but I know we're not the only family negatively affected by ObamaCare, and with such daunting deductibles it looks like Isaac will be losing significant services,...including speech and his autism therapy.

Boy, oh boy, do I want to be hopping mad, because we had pretty good insurance, and as of the new year,...that will be history,...but ever hopeful,...ever hopeful,...ever hopeful....is my mantra. 

We will never, never, never, ever stop working with Isaac to help him communicate,...and he will continue to receive some speech therapy through his preschool,...so that is hopeful. 

Some, better than none. 

As for the rest?

As people of faith, we truly believe: "...all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28

Even unaffordable health care. 

Ever hopeful.

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD, your God will be with you wherever you go." - Joshua 1:9

Ever hopeful.

"And my God will meet all  your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus."
-Philippians 4:19

Ever hopeful. 

Isaac is a precious blessing and I know that ALL of his needs will be met. 

How? 

I don't exactly know how,...but faith is about not having the answers,...it's about having belief. 

Being ever hopeful. 

My thoughts and prayers are with all the other families who are also facing the hard realities that are afflicting our nation. 

Until I post again,...may God bless and keep you!









Friday, October 18, 2013

New Car Reveal,...

A few weeks ago when my husband called me
 and said we've been 'gifted' 
A BRAND NEW CAR
 I was naturally thrilled!!!

How nice, a new car,...yeah!!!

"What model?"

Then my husband mentioned it was battery operated,
I had an horrible inkling and gasped:
 "You don't mean a car for Isaac?"

He did.
 And I admit, it was all I could do from exclaiming:
 "HAVE YOU LOST YOUR EVER LOVING MIND?"

Hello, 
as if the child is not fast enough on two legs,
 let's add four wheels to the mix!

"Oh, he'll be fine," 
says my husband to all my concerns,
 with the nonchalant assurance men seem to have regarding all things motorized. 

So after a week or two, and some gracious assistance with transport,
 the little green vehicle arrived at our home in a huge box.

First opportunity my husband, gleefully put it together, 
while this slightly worried Mama was only mollified that
 the battery operated car is a Fisher Price product, so it is very well made,
 and that it can and will only be operated with excessive-supervision.
Mine! 


For the Grand Reveal we grabbed cameras got into position.


Here comes an unsuspecting Isaac flying down the walkway.


With man-like nonchalance he greets, Teddy


Then he takes off like a flash!!!!

Toward the car???


NOPE!

 With utter disinterest Isaac went right by his new car,...

Hello Isaac?
You can't miss seeing that car!!!
There is is in all its green glory
and we're screaming:
"Isaac's it's yours!!!"

Our little man couldn't have cared less!

And YES, it was too funny for words,...
we laughed and laughed 
while Isaac happily raced for the open yard

(Honestly the only predictable thing about Isaac is that there is nothing predictable about him!)


But after running a lap or two around the backyard,...
Isaac came back to the driveway
 and decided to humor us and
  do something with that
 pretty cool-looking car
that we were so excitedly yakking about.


Only he just wasn't quite sure how to get in,....no doors,....


Daddy to the rescue,....


Foot on pedal?


Hand on steering wheel,...


Oh,...foot on pedal,...hand on wheel,...


Finally figures it out,....
and shocks Daddy by figuring out how to put the thing in reverse.
while Daddy exclaims:
"I didn't know it could go in reverse!"

Isaac shrugs, he's got it under control.


And there our little man goes all of 2.5 miles per hour,...
which this Mama loves,
 it's sooo slow Isaac can crawl faster than
this car goes at top speed!!!


End result?
Kinda of a fizzle.
It seems Isaac agrees with Mama,
 he's really not quite ready to be a car owner.

For fun, he'd rather run races in the backyard.
And that's fine, the car will keep.


Ungifted, would we have purchased this car for Isaac?
That would be a no,...at least for now.
However we do have this pretty cool car in our garage,
And taking a long view
I do see this car becoming quite popular
perhaps next summer.
Hmmmm,...
An uber-cool motivation
for speech therapy?
Perhaps.
Or, 
perhaps
it will just be for fun.

At any rate, we'll always treasure the story of Isaac's priceless reaction to his first car!

Until I post again,...may God bless and keep you!




















Monday, October 14, 2013

It was Isaac,...

 A couple topics up today,...as I couldn't choose one,...so I decided to do them all.


Isaac chilling out with big brother while his other big brother is buying him some French fries,...cute pix, but it wasn't one of the topics,...I just love seeing my guys together....


1st topic:  Isaac's stenciled shirts for Fall and Winter are mostly completed,...and I have to say that the overwhelming positive response from Isaac's shirts has been such a blessing and it is peace of mind for me,...a small thing, perhaps,...but hey, I'll take whatever I can get,...and it is a comfort to know Isaac can always be identified by what is rapidly becoming a signature style. 




2nd topic: Flu season is about to descend and this very functional and cheap sanitizer station idea is worthy of being shared. My older guys are really good about washing hands and using hand sanitizer and I've got the stuff in every room, but I wanted a way to Gel In, Gel Out,..like you do at the doctor's office. 

So when I saw these automobile cup-holders at Walmart for $1.98 for a pack of (4) - I thought they might work, and they do. The cup-holder has a plastic bent portion located at the very top. It was very easy to snap that off,...nail to wall and add a medium size hand sanitizer. 

Our adventure walk wore him out!

3rd topic: Being open about Isaac's condition. 

There are times, when it is or is not appropriate to make reference to Isaac's Autism and Apraxia. 

And it's tricky. You have to really be discerning, because most people have never heard of Apraxia and it can get long, detailed and confusing to explain the paradox: 

"He can speak, but he can't speak?"

Especially since I haven't figured everything out myself. 

As for the Autism, that too is a muddle:

"No, Isaac's not like Rain-man"
It's simplest to say:

"Isaac is just Isaac,...he's a blessing,...we love him,...and God doesn't make mistakes. EVER."

Still, it's hard to know when to speak openly or not,...there is always the chance of getting the dreaded: 

Oh no! Your son has the Plague - look

Those individuals run so fast in the opposite direction, my heart hurts for their ignorance, but they have to live with their fears, not I.

So with all that said, I generally do speak quite openly about Isaac's diagnosis. Although that can be tricky too, because I know special needs lingo can be a muddle unto itself without stepping on politically correct toes.  Believe me, I don't want to offend anyone, but I also don't have the time to be worrying if I say autistic or has autism, and add in the side of apraxia,...it is mass confusion,..and a headache, I just don't need.

So sticking to simplicity, I speak of Isaac being diagnosed with Apraxia and Autism,...and the challenges he faces,...but  you know,...it's still it's tough to say,...no one wants their child to have special needs,...and having to admit it,...speak it,...acknowledge it to others,...can take a mighty big dose of courage,...and I admit there have been plenty of times, when I just smile and let the issue slide,...


However, something happened today that has really changed how I feel about being open about Isaac's condition. 

Actually it began last night when my husband and I were talking an evening walk sans: Isaac who was hanging out with his Teddy. 

We have neighbors who are moving, and the lady of the house flagged us down wanting to give us some toys for Isaac,...we've not seen our neighbor in quite a while, they had already moved six months ago, and their house had just sold, thus they were cleaning it out. Anyway she had not heard about Isaac's diagnoses, and when she asked how he was doing, I told her about his diagnoses and his preschool, but I felt funny doing so, and wished I hadn't said anything. 

Now, we're talking a sweet lady here and I didn't get the 'plague-look' - but I just wished I hadn't said anything,...I don't know why, but I just did,...especially since the odds of us ever seeing this neighbor again,...are extremely low,...I should have just said with a fake smile: "He's fine."

Fast forward to this morning and Isaac was hanging out with his Michael while I took a walk outside. While walking pass our neighbor's house that was sold, I was frantically flagged down by an older woman with an anxious expression. 

She wanted to talk to me, she desperately wanted to talk to me,...and it was about her grandson,...who was three years old and recommended to go to Isaac's preschool. She said her daughter had been so worried about her son and putting him in a new environment with his challenges. 

Talk about divine appointments!!!

The older woman had decided on Sunday to ask our neighbor if she knew anything about the preschool in question,...and the only way our neighbor was able to refer the older woman to me,...was because I had been so open about Isaac's condition the previous night!!!

Been there and done that on the anxiety of placing Isaac at his present preschool and it was such a pleasure to be able to reassure the older woman that her little grandson was going to be in the very best of care.

Wow! 

It was such an amazing encounter,...and lesson learned,...because we are all in this together,...and word of mouth is sometimes the only way to network within the special needs community,...so next time someone asks me how Isaac is,...I will not hesitate to tell them,...even if I have to drag us both through the entire paradox. 

4th topic: How others perceive Isaac's condition.

Kinda relates to the 3rd topic.

The two pictures here illustrate how I feel others, not all, but enough, 
how they perceive Isaac and his condition....
I feel, they can barely see him through 
a web of misunderstanding.


And here is how Isaac and us who know Isaac see him:
whole and well in sunshine!


Since this spring we have been blessed to attend Church of the Highlands,...we love our new church, the members and especially the special needs ministry: Highland Havens.

Every other Sunday I work in the Highland Havens ministry,...individuals,...children and adults are given what assistance they need,...be it just someone to guide then to a seat, or perhaps sit with them and assist with note-taking,...and of course there is an entire department devoted to signing for the hearing impaired,...as for the children,...aides are assigned to help them through their classes and children's church services. 

This past Sunday I worked in the Havens Ministry,...I help with the older children,...as to keep Isaac from dominating my attention in the preschool department. 

However Sunday our staff was short due to several sicknesses, and for a time, I was the only person with the Havens ministry on call. 

Apparently Isaac did fine through his Sunday School class, but in the second hour, I was called out the children's church because they were having issues with a special needs child in the nursery. 

It was Isaac.

From the frantic look and anxious voices from the teachers in the corridor, I expected to find my little guy in a full blown meltdown, which would have been utterly rare, as Isaac, thankfully doesn't have meltdowns. But when I walked into the room, all I saw was all the other children sitting on chairs watching Veggie Tales,...while Isaac was off to the side playing by himself on a rug.  

It was all I could do to keep from saying, "And,..the problem is?"

Obviously Isaac wasn't cooperating about the chairs, but hello,...he can't,...if he could,...he would,...and we're doing all that we can to help him learn how to cooperate in such situations,...but it's going to take a little time, folks. 

Delighted to see me, Isaac immediately wanted to count,...as the classroom had a very large clock,...so we counted,...and chanted a few colors,...then Isaac's Havens aide, who had been running late arrived,...and the no-drama-drama was ended.

When I went back to the children's church, I had one of those flashes of despair that like to pierce your soul, concerning your child's condition.

Let's face it, all those other three year olds were sitting in those chairs so nicely, but my Isaac didn't, nor did he understand that he should. Heartbreaking. Even more so is that he was at church, but isolated by his condition, and I had to ask myself:  'Was he even getting the benefits of community?'

Before I could start sobbing, I took a perspective break, and I am getting good at them, because let's face it, the teachers in Isaac's class, obviously didn't know how to deal with a child with his condition, and that's OK, believe me, three years ago, I wouldn't have known how to either. 

Most of the people who work with our Havens ministry are connected to the special needs community - either as teachers, aides, therapist, or like myself,...they love someone with a disability.

The teachers saw the special needs tag, no aide and freaked out when they couldn't communicate with my little guy -- that web of misunderstanding.

Once the aide arrived it was all sunshine. 

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

More than anything I want Isaac to learn from his church experiences is to:

Love one another, and be kind to one another. 

And after my perspective check, I do believe that is happening - even if he's not sitting nicely in a chair - Isaac has to feel the love of those caring for him from his teachers to his aides,...and I'll be the first to say his teachers can better minister to Isaac when he has an aide to redirect and redirect and redirect when needed,...and translate his communication challenges,...so cooperation can be achieved. 

After church, Isaac had a cardboard cross, a Bible story card, a colored, or rather very scribbled picture, and a lollipop,...just like all the other children. 

It was all sunshine. 

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Long post with four topics, thanks for reading if you made it this far. 

In retrospect, I know I should have narrowed the topics down, but  I felt they all needed to be addressed,...or perhaps I just needed to digress,...it's a lot to take in sometimes, those paradoxes are pretty paradox,...and I just love my little guy so much,...all I see is the sunshine!

Until I post again,...may God bless and keep you!






Friday, October 11, 2013

One Spear of Hay,...Forward


Pumpkin Patch time for Isaac's preschool and Isaac tackled the day - one spear of hay at a time.


We've been to this pumpkin patch before and Daddy made sure to get off work to be with us,...

Isaac wore orange 'cameo' shoes for the 'expected' dirt and mud,...the little orange shirt, purposely loud, for greater visibility among a multitude of other school children,....


One little guy and a field of pumpkins,...


Which way to go first,...


Which to choose,...


Isaac liked this pumpkin,...for a time,...then he realized it wasn't a ball to throw.


So, the pictures are cute, but was the outing successful?

Yes!

No!

And yes! 

As always with Isaac you have to examine perspective.

For starters, here is the low-down on what we had hoped for on our 2013 visit to the pumpkin farm:

We had hoped Isaac would be interested in picking out a pumpkin,...because it's fall and pumpkin season. 

We had hoped he would have been engaged with this teachers and classmates. 

We had hope he'd have at least an inkling what all the activity was about.

He didn't. 

But don't get me wrong, Isaac enjoyed the outing 100%.

In his unique way Isaac always manages to have a blast, and he makes sure you have fun too!

Just a different way.

Having grown in this journey I wasn't in despair over unrealized hopes, although last year, I would have been. 

Wisdom is coming, slowly perhaps, but its growing,..for myself and my husband:

In the pumpkin field, my husband nudged me, "Look!"

Isaac was being distracted by butterflies,...he chased them,...precious,...because he's never noticed them before,...not even in a butterfly house at the zoo. 

In the hay pile,...Isaac stopped his play and selected a spear of hay for my husband,...and then one for me. 

Offerings of love. 

And shared interest,...Isaac didn't have the words to say, "Hey I am having fun in this huge pile of hay," - but he made a point of sharing his joy with us. 

HUGE,...developmental step forward from last year,...and while I didn't cry,...I was close.


Actually I didn't have time to cry,...Isaac like that hay pile, but he also like the open fields,..especially the unexplored fields,...constant vigilance from his teachers and us,...kept our little explorer in check,...and he was mostly happy and content to climb,...



After hay,...horses,...or ponies,...and Isaac has a brand new love,...horseback riding!!!


The tractor trains were fun too,...especially with Daddy at his side,...


To avoid sensory overload,...lunch was in the car.

Following his own tastes, Isaac has no use for juice-boxes or juice,...he likes his juice straight up from the grapes themselves!


As it was, Isaac needed the extra sugar as fuel for the next activity,...


In this blog, I have mentioned before, that Isaac is fearless,...haven't I?


That twenty-plus foot slide did not intimidate him,...nor did the pushing and shoving older elementary school children,...who I must say were actually very kind and caring to Isaac,...especially one boy about nine or ten years old, who made a point of always getting behind Isaac on that high climb upward to help if our little guy got stuck,...because his little arms couldn't quite reach the ropes....In turn, Isaac repaid the kindness the only way he could,...with GREAT big smiles!!!!


My favorite memory of the day,...Isaac unleashed in a bounce house,...squealing with delight!!!



                                                  


However there was an epilogue to our pumpkin patch field trip.

That night at Walmart, Isaac was reunited with a pony!


Slicked over,...icky and sticky,... after a day of field trips and fun,...Isaac still managed to sweetheart some rides on the carousal horses at Walmart from his Daddy,...while I shopped,...and even from a few obliging strangers, who cheerfully offering up a quarter or two,...

And that's Isaac and his charm, with that sunshine smile, he's utterly eloquent without saying a word!!!

As for next year's trip to the pumpkin patch,...we still have hopes,...and we still have faith,...and we still have a growing sense of wisdom,...it helps with the perspective needed,....

Until I post again,...may God bless and keep you!