Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Simple Thank You

Today I just wanted to write a quick little thank you to all those people in my life who have thought of my son and my family pretty much the past four years since the birth of my middle son Wesley. Today he had his cast removed from his 3rd surgery, and we will not know the full results until he is back on his feet. But today I want to thank you for the phone calls, the text messages, the cards (even from people I don't know), the cookies that where baked, the tears that where cried with me, the prayers that where said, the hope that was given, the love that my strength,the gifts that where given, the help that was recieved. I will never be able to truely show my gratitude for what all you have done for us. I know this simple small thank you is not enough, but truely from the my heart to yours I love you all, and I am so very thankful..Your kindness does not go unnoticed!!!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Thanksgiving in my Heart

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and we are all looking forward to wonderful time with close friends and family and that mouthwatering feasts that will be spread before us, We shall all eat to much and all gain that dreaded holiday weight. Okay so maybe that is just me, but still Thanksgiving is upon us. I thought it would be a smashing time to make a list of a few of the things I am truly grateful for this year. So I made a list of 10 to limit myself from writing a book, because I truly am one very blessed woman. So lets begin the list which I assure you is not in any specific order.

1.) My heart is overwhelmed with gratefulness that I know that I am one of God's warriors. I am made in His perfect imagine, and while I am far, far from perfect He still spread His arms in love for me. He knows my heart, my desires, and my hopes. He breathes love and joy into my life on the brightest of days, and becomes my light on the darkest of days! I am thankful for my Jesus!

2.) My beautiful husband this section could be a blog all on it's own. I am so grateful that he loves me. He actually does more than just love me, he puts up with me even when I swing my mood into Ice Princess mode. He spoils me with extra sleep on weekends, and he has fit into the mold of fatherhood with style, and wisdom. I am truly thankful for him. I am thankful for finding my soul mate so young in life and already being able to spend 9 plus years filling our lives with memories and adventures. I look forward to so many more years with him....

3.) Parents I can't say enough how blessed I am for my parents, my in-laws included. I am grateful for them always being around for advice, love, and support in so many areas of my life, and the lives of my own little family. They have become more than just parents they have blossomed into our friends. I cherish every second of time I am able to soak up with these special and beautiful people!

4.) Siblings during childhood they annoy us one minute,then stick up for us the next. Not much changes when you reach adulthood. I really believe that the greatest gift my parents ever gave me was my kid brother. He is my life long friend who knows me probably better than anyone. He has been my shoulder to lean on so many occasions in my life. I am so very thankful for him and his beautiful family!!! P.S. I am pretty sure I can still kick his tail at some old school street fighter! =)

5.)Growing up has brought me many things to be grateful for, but my three babies are my greatest treasure. They are a piece of my heart walking on the outside of my body. they are my greatest success, and the beginnings of the legacy I will someday leave behind. They are my smile and my joy. No matter how difficult motherhood is they never fail to make it all better with an "I love you Mommy", or a great big hug!

6.) My heart holds a spot for all the doctors and nurses who have done their jobs well, and have made a difference in my Wesley's life. I believe some of these special folks have been answers to my prayers. I am so very grateful for their hard work. These folks have a speical gift to help others and for that my heart will forever be grateful.

7.) Last year we finally started settling down at a new church. This year we have started becoming more apart of the church body. I am thankful for all the new and fresh things the church family has brought into our lives, and for the friendships I see sprouting, and growing.

8.) I am thankful for small and simple things like, music and books, There is nothing more satisfying than a rainy day with a good book, and your favorite blanket, or dancing in the living room to some fabulous music with the sound of children giggling because they think mommy is silly!

9.) My memories! How thankful I am to have such beautiful ones. Both from my own childhood, and the ones I have made with my husband and children. My memories are living treasures in my heart. Something that brings me smiles on even those I don't want to get out of bed days!

10) Rounding things out at number ten is how incredibly thankful I am this year that I have learned the true meaning of forgiveness,and for allowing love to take over and come out triumphant. What a glorious good thing it has been to finally discover how to let go, and allow love to be the true guide in life, no matter what skeletons haunt your closets. Love is truly a golden, and magical thing! It brings peace and heals even the most damaged of relationships! Three cheers for love!!!

Well folks that is a bit of my hearts thanksgiving this year. I hope you will take a moment to reflex on whats important to you, and maybe even tell a few of those special folks in your life what they mean to you!!! Happy Thanksgiving enjoy turkey day!!!! =) Peace and love to all!!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I <3 Polyvore

My newest obsession is a website called Polyvore. The website allows you to clip imagines from other websites and use them in your own unique and creative way to make collages or better know on the site as sets. You may also use imagines that have already been clipped or collected to the site by other users. You can be clever as you want in making your own layouts. You can role play, remake celebrity fashion statements, put your own twist on your favorite fairy princess, design album covers, or just make beautiful or scary pieces of art. It's kinda like a blank art canvas or paper dolls for grown ups! You can gain inspiration from anything around you from favorite movies, to the song that has been stuck in your head for weeks. Personally my favorite inspiration comes from books that I have read. I feel like I am bringing to life the characters that are inside my own head. The site is also just entertaining to surf around on. So many beautiful ideas in one place it's pretty impressive. You can even make a list from some of the fashion sets and go on a thrift store treasure hunt or gather ideas for next years costume parties. You can even just take some hints to dress like your favorite fashion idols or trendsetters. Polyvore also includes a section for you to shop to your hearts desire. Every item clipped to polyvore is linked to the website it was originally clipped from. This website is just jam packed with fun for the art, fashion, costume, etc lovers out there... It's pretty much where I have been spending all my free time lately. At first I was just hoping to gain some fresh ideas for my blog. Which I did indeed, but I also feel in love with the website. Now I just can't stay away! I warn you if you love art and fashion this is where they mingle and party together. That said you could become totally addicted, which may cause family members to panic =). If by chance you do join the Polyvore family be adventurous, be inspired, be unique, be colorful, be enchanting, be creative, and show of your flare!!! Oh and don't forget to look Mysticiris up while your there! I would love to see what your making. See you on Polyvore where fashion and art fuse together!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Sigh...Yes I am a Twilight Geek!

In honor of the midnight release of New Moon, and to stay true to my motto embrace the geekness. So to stay absolutely true to the geek that I am I thought I would write a little about Twilight and even feature a New Moon inspired fashion set I made with the help of the website POLYVORE. A blog soon to come featuring that super awesome and fabulous website. okay back to New Moon. I am excited for the appearance of Aro and the whole wicked Volterra crew. Although New Moon is the one book in the series that I was tempted to put in a shredder or at the very least throw at a couple walls, and maybe out the window of a moving car. Okay so I am really just kidding kinda, but yes I am that passionate of a reader, yes those thoughts really crossed my mind embarrassingly so. Lets just say it's a darn good thing Alice is smart enough to grab Bella whisk her off to Italy to save Edward. Else the book would have never survived my geek wrath =)...Okay Okay so what if Alice gets visions of the future and has nothing to do with how smart she is. She is still totally my favorite!!! I will admit Bella is so not my favorite she is a tad to much of a whiner, and I have a feeling the melodramatics will come flying in this movie with the whole tug o war with Jacob and Edward. Silly girl she is!!! Yet I love Twilight, and the story the book series has illustrated. I am a sucker for a good love story, and yes it is a great love story. Bella and Edward are a typical oil and water love story couple only they get lucky and get a happy ending unlike poor Romeo and Juliet. As the movie releases tonight and the super fans are standing in line for tickets. I admit I am tad bit jealous because I can't wait for Alice to steal the bright yellow Porsche with her cute little style, and Jane to get uber pissed a take it out on Edward. Don't worry all you Twilight haters out there I don't think that it's going to take over the world or anything at least you hope not! =)

Below is a Fashion Set Inspired by Jane making her first appearance in the Twilight Series New Moon.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Whats For Dinner?

Today I thought I would simply share one of my favorite slow cooker recipes. I love pasta so this recipe quickly became a favorite of mine! I hope you all enjoy. Feel free to leave a comment with your favorite recipe or send me some mail and maybe I will feature your recipes on my blog in the future! Like what does your family always ask you to make. What do you make at least once a week? What do you fix as your dish for family holidays? What do you make for a quick easy dinner? These are all some fabulous questions I would love to know the answers to from my readers? Plus I might want to steal some ideas for my own cooking needs =)!



1/2 lb of ground beef
1/2 lb of ground Italian sausage
16 ounce jar of marinara sauce
1/2 small onion
1/2 small green bell pepper
4.5 can of mushroom -drained
14.5 can of Italian style tomatoes -undrained
9 ounces of tortellini noodles ( I like the cheese stuffed ones in the frozen food section)
1 cup of shredded cheese


Step 1 Crumble beef and sausage add the halves of the finely chopped onion and pepper brown in a skillet on medium heat.

Step 2 Combine contents of the skillet with the mushrooms, tomatoes, and sauce in a slow cooker, cook on low heat for 4 hours covered, cook another 2 hours uncovered

Step 3 Stir in tortellini and sprinkle with cheese, cover and cook for 15 minutes on low. Don't over cook or your noodles will me to soft!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Show Hope, Live Hope, Have Joy

Sometimes our worlds seem to come crashing and a darkness falls over out hearts. A gloomy grey color lurks around our souls, and sadness or worry overwhelms our thoughts. Sometimes it is brought about from our own struggles, sometimes by circumstances we can't control, or even sometimes it comes by sharing the hurt of another person. There is just no denying that the human heart breaks, and storms will brew in our lives. It's in those dark moments we must hold on to hope, believe in love, and live off faith. Understand we don't have all the answers, and trust that we are strong enough to hold on to joy. We must be confident even when we feel our hearts breaking, and the confusion of our emotions spinning in our heads. Believe in the people that love us. Trust in them to shower us with support, hold us when we cry, walk beside us, and celebrate with us in hope. We are not alone. God knows our hears, and loves us despite our weakness, emotions, and short falls. So believe....show hope, live hope, have joy, and know that you can not be that easily overcome by the darkness of one little storm!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Creative Costume Monster

In the spirit of the approaching Halloween season I wanted to talk about my favorite part the costumes. Every year I get almost giddy thinking about what my boys are going to be for all the festivities. This probably drives my poor husband insane for I usually start obsessing about it months before October even arrives. Maybe it's the fantasy lover in me, maybe it's the the little girl still longing to play make believe, or maybe it's the creative treasure hunter screaming to make something once a year. Whatever the reason I love the decisions and the making of my families costumes. Even as a little girl my Mom worked hard to make sure I was Halloween ready right down to my ruby slippers, spider embroidered witch dress, and my red yarn raggedy Anne wig. I really appreciate all her hard work. That is easy to say now that I am attempting to do it myself. While I could go the easy route and do the store bought costumes every year save myself some time, and stress, but apparently that creative monster is much stronger than the need to be stress free! So as I go off to the thrift stores, and glue the last piece of felt on, and tape up the last inch of boots, I know I made the costumes with love and excitement. While they will ended up sticky with candy, dirt, and who know what else on the first night of fun filled activities it will all still be worth it to me. So this year my boys along with my hubby and I will be Superhero ready in our made at home with love costumes!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Connecting The Puzzles With Love

Kyle and Sarah Broady like so many of America's couples fell in love in their college years, and a couple of years later were married. They were off reaching for their dreams and walking hand in hand on the path that the Lord had laid out for them. Kyle Broady is the worship and family pastor at a Baptist Church. Sarah is a homemaker, home school teacher, and entrepreneur of Totes'N-Stuff. Kyle and Sarah are also the proud parents of three darling little boys Benjamin, Samuel, and Joshua. Today Sarah has been kind enough to let us on the inside of her family's life in order to share the blessings and the struggles of day to day life with their son Samuel. Samuel the beautiful young life made in the very imagine of our own God and entrusted to Kyle and Sarah as their son. Samuel was 27 months old when he was diagnosed with autism. Sarah describes that moment as confirmation of what she already knew in her heart and has said many of the emotions came later. Even still, the family faces a deeper emotional process. Sarah calls it the grieving over the loss of what she had once hoped for her son. Now the family is learning a new way to live that is not based on expectations. This is Samuel's story told from the very full heart of his mother Mrs. Sarah Broady. This story is beautiful, frustrating, inspiring, spiritual, and unfinished....

Sarah's Story, and Heart shared:

Autism is a pervasive developmental disorder that affects three domains of functionality. Social, communication and repetitive behaviors are the three domains. When all three of domains are affected to the point where it prohibits the child or person from functioning within a "normal" range, a trained doctor may diagnosis that person with autism. There is no definitive cause for autism, though there are many possibilities. Genetics are certainly a factor, especially if close family members have similar disorders that would give the child a predisposition to inheriting a developmental disorder, as are environmental circumstances, chemicals (i.e. mercury in vaccines), and other disorders such as Fragile X syndrome has been proven to cause autism as well.
The story of how we came to begin this journey of living with autism: Sam was different from birth. He not only had a different cry from his older brother (19 months difference), he had a totally different disposition. That was not atypical of second-born children. However, Sam had a variety of issues that greatly varied from his brother that began to cause concern. Although he reached most of his normal developmental milestones on time - rolling over, sitting up, and crawling, his language development was delayed, and he barely began walking "on time", at an old 15 months. His only form of communication was screaming and crying. Not just an annoying scream. This was a blood-curdling ear-piercing scream that I can only describe as a cross between a screech owl and a velociraptor from Jurassic Park. We had to play "100 questions" to figure out why he was screaming. He had always screamed like that, but at age 18 months, it was concerning. His behavior was volatile as well. When he threw a fit, he didn't just throw himself on the floor and cry until he got over it. He would bang his head repeatedly on our hard wood floors, or run to our thick wooden door, or use the ceramic kitchen tile floor for his head-banging session.
The pediatrician sent him for a hearing and language screening at 18 months. His hearing checked out fine, so that wasn't the issue. His language however, was at a 50% delay. This means that for a child who should have been on an 18 month old level, his language was actually on a 9 month old's level. No 9 month old says, "Mommy, I want juice." No wonder he couldn't tell us what he wanted! We began going through the state's First Steps program that provides in-home therapies and we started both speech and ABA (applied behavior analysis) therapy simultaneously right at age 2 in August of 2007. ABA has been a proven therapy for children with autism and other developmental disorders. I had a good friend who was an ABA therapist and she had helped me in a crisis situation with Sam one time and strongly encouraged me to begin therapy for his behavior right away.
He began to progress very well in therapy, but it was still a very difficult time. As time went on, my husband and I just felt like something was "off". He didn't seem to fit into our family. He imitated everything, and that was his play. While Daddy had wrestle time with the boys, Sam would just do whatever Ben did - it didn't seem to be he understood what he was doing; he simply imitated actions. He was obviously very smart, as he knew all of his alphabet, numbers 1-20, colors and shapes by age 2. I discovered that within the two days his big brother had started playing a Blue's Clues CD-ROM that showed letters, he had absorbed all the information! I could point to any random capital letter, and he knew what it was.
For our own ease of mind, and to "rule it out", we took Sam for testing in December '07 (four months after beginning therapy. He was 27 months old). After a two-hour testing session, including a full-blown questionnaire for me to answer as well, we received the official diagnosis of autism.
Our faith is the single most important aspect of living life - no matter what struggles we have in this life. If we have no faith, we have no hope. Without faith, I would be forced to view my child as someone who drew the short straw in life, always feeling sorry for him. Without faith, I would have no comfort that there is a plan for his life, designed by God Himself. Without faith, I would not understand that my child was created exactly the way that he is by the God of the universe, knit together in my womb, known by God before he was born.
Samuel was created for God's glory. That sounds so very strange, doesn't it? Why would God make a child with disabilities? The truth is, we are all created "disabled" because of sin. God made each and every person in His own image, and yet, we are born into sin. Disability is simply an outward manifestation of the sin that is in each of us. The fall (in the garden of Eden when sin entered the world) affects every single person, without partiality. Jesus Christ is the only one who can save a person from the consequence of their sin - death and eternal separation from God in hell. What does this have to do with autism? Well, honestly, struggling as a Christian mother to live a godly life, I am reminded daily of my own need for a Savior. It happens that Sam's autism brings that out the most in my life. I'm not always as compassionate as others would think a mother would be toward their child. I get angry at his outlandish behavior. I get frustrated because my own plans get interrupted far too often. I am inconvenienced by every yell, every cry, every request for help, every extra minute that is required of me that I don't feel like giving. All of that is nothing but sin. I am selfish, desiring only to sit on the couch and update my Facebook status, or read a book, or take a nap, because I am preferring myself over my children. It is not wrong to desire any of those things - but I am made extra-aware of them because they usually come at the cost of making my kids wait for me to feel like getting up to help them, or intervene in another argument, etc. For all of that, I need a Savior. I need Jesus to give me strength to do what I need to do, what He has given me to do as a mother. The fact that my son has this disability shows me that much more that he too, needs a Savior. He has no hope of living a life glorifying to God apart from believing in Jesus. His autism brings out his sinful nature in a very profound way. My son needs Jesus just as much as I do.
I need the hope that none of this is in vain. That God is using every moment to grow me, to show me my utter dependence on Him alone because I cannot do this on my own strength. In my own strength, I would have given up long ago and followed through on that fleeting thought that I can't do this, that I'm a horrible mother, and that maybe I should just leave. But God had grace on me. He gives the grace every day to handle whatever comes my way - from autism or otherwise. Here in the power of Christ I stand!
Sam has taught me very simply, compassion. When Sam was first diagnosed, I wasn't angry, as I read about many parents who feel that in the beginning. I had already been angry with him because I didn't understand why he was acting the way he did. I didn't understand what was making him different, why I couldn't connect with my child the way I was supposed to. Sam's autism diagnosis brought this incredible flood of compassion I never knew before. Maybe it was because in my mind, he was now justified for behaving as he was. There was a legitimate reason why he hurt himself so badly banging his head and screaming at the top of his lungs. I was able to finally show compassion toward him when I understood that reason. It changed our relationship. Now, he has grown to the point where I can tell when his autism is what's causing his frustrations or when his depraved little 4 year old self is acting out because he just wants what he wants when he wants it. He is disciplined in the appropriate ways for both scenarios. Although it's still very frustrating when he acts out, and Kyle and I get mad when all we wanted to do was have a nice family day out and Sam's screaming ruins the whole day, we are still able to understand that this is life with autism, and we have to go into "coping mode" at that point. We can still have compassion on him even in the midst of all that frustration, and handle it in a way that is hopefully pleasing to God.

A peek in to some of our everyday moments. First of all, the importance of spending individual time with each of our boys is crucial. I am able to spend a good amount of quality time with Ben and Josh (5 1/2 and a new 2) every day while Sam is at school. I home school Ben, so we spend lots of time together. Sometimes while Sam is at school, Josh will occasionally take a morning nap, and then Ben and I have our own time without distractions. He also doesn't take a regular afternoon nap, so we have time together while his brothers sleep. Sam is harder, simply because I can't leave the other two alone and take just Sam. We live in a very small cramped trailer (temporary until we sell our house), so there's no where to go really to be alone. We're always all in the same space. Kyle and I will use time to run errands and take just one of the older boys with us. Kyle likes to take Sam to the bus stop - it's about 10 minutes they have just the two of them first thing in the morning. At bedtime, Kyle always leads family devotions. They each sit and listen to the story, they get to each choose a song to sing, we play a bedtime game, and they each get their own special hugs and kisses. As an associate pastor, Kyle gets one day off during the week, so that's always family day. When Sam's in school, Kyle gets special time with them apart from Sam, then they get Daddy play time - boys only - later in the day. It's a difficult balance, and we are always trying to be aware of it and improve our time with them. Sam has not seemed to need a specified routine - always doing the same things in the same order every day. He does well in a structured setting where he knows what to expect in any given activity. I make great use of our oven timer. I can change anything in our day, as long as I give him information on what to expect, and a timer that dictates our schedule. For instance, when he comes home from school, he always has play time while I make lunch. I can't just say, "Lunch is ready! Come on!" and he comes running. But if I set the timer and tell him "Sam, when the timer goes off, it's time for lunch." He says "Okay", and when it goes off, he comes running. Same thing with bed. Sometimes, a bit frazzled, I just start calling for the kids to head to bed. But it throws him off because he was playing with his toys and wasn't prepared for bedtime. So I tell him again that it's bedtime when the timer goes off, and I'll set it for 1 minute. He doesn't care how long or how short the time is - he does what I told him to do when it goes off. I use this method for just about anything during our day - eating, bath time, bedtime, nap time, play time with certain toys, etc. He requests the timer now. It's a safety for him because he can trust it. The other children usually respond like this when Samuel is having difficulty expressing himself. Usually, it's an escalating event. Sam will try to take a toy from Ben, and Ben will calmly tell him that it's his toy and Sam has his own toy (as is our policy, because Sam will attempt to take his brothers toys away, no matter what they are). Sam will yell and start to whine, and Ben's voice raises as he insists Sam not take his toy. Josh, looking on, will start to whine and cry. If I don't intervene, or don't get there in time, it's a full-out yelling and crying war for all three boys. Sam will just begin to whine, cry and/or yell at anything he doesn't like, including if his brothers are upset about something. I've heard Josh yell - playing - then Sam yells back. Then Josh, then Sam, then it's no longer playing, it's become a screaming match. Very frustrating. Even more so when we're all in the van together. I've had to pull over before to get everyone calmed down. You know the phrase, "It takes money to make money"? Well, sometimes, it takes a screaming mommy to stop screaming children. :-)

A few things I would like the general public to know about our lives and the lives of other families like us is....People with autism - no matter their age - are people first. They themselves are not a disability. It's as simple as changing the way you refer to people with any disability. It grates my nerves to hear people refer to our family situation as "The Broady's have an autistic son", or "autistic kids", etc. That kind of phraseology puts the disability first and the person second. Change it around. I have a son who is affected by autism, or who has autism. "Autistic" is a defining word. Our children are not defined by their disabilities. They find their value and worth in God, not in a disability. I have a friend who's youngest son has Down's syndrome. He is not "Down's". It is a subtle difference, but as a parent of a child with autism, it is a big difference nonetheless. It makes a difference to me. Also they can be supportive and more helpful to families with special needs by being more sensitive to the needs of the parents for some down time. I am not nearly as affected by this as I know so many other parents are who have to care for their children with physical impairments around the clock. Many children with autism have sleeping issues. Either they fall asleep okay, but can't stay asleep, or they can't fall asleep at all. I know parents who will never have a normal night's sleep because they have to care for their child during the night too. Even nighttime doesn't give them a break. If there are siblings involved, that is even more challenging.
Offer to take the siblings for a play date for a part of the day, or a whole day, or even overnight (if you are close friends and have a trusting relationship with the family). Our biggest struggle is having to pack up all the kids wherever we go. How wonderful it is to just walk out of the house and get in the car without dealing with car seats, or forgetting toys and safety blankets, etc. Offer to come to the house and send the parents for a night out. Some churches have respite programs just for families of children with special needs. Your whole family can volunteer together (if you have middle school or older kids), and be servants to these families who come. The parents can drop off the kids, who are cared for by individual trained buddies, then go out for 3-4 hours for some much needed alone time. Some parents rarely get to have time to themselves because one of both of them work during the day, then they care for their children in the evening and sometimes through the night as well. Consider starting this kind of a ministry, as our church is now.
If you are financially able, find out if the family needs any particular equipment. For instance, we need a hammock chair swing and gymnastic parallel bars for Sam to use, for both calming down time (the swing does wonders for him and we don't have a play set), and improving strength. It helps strengthen his low muscle tone. There are websites that cater specifically to special needs. A simple Google search will give you tons of ideas. Some of these things are relatively inexpensive, while others are overwhelmingly expensive. Sometimes even the littlest cost is too much for families of kids with special needs. Find out if they have a specific need, then get a group of friends to go in together to buy it for them.
Many kids need special foods for their diet because of allergies. These special foods are NOT cheap. My Sammy can't drink cow's milk. He has to have rice or almond milk. It's almost 3 dollars for a quart, which can go in less than 2 days. His autism also causes a lot of issues with eating. There are only certain things he will eat. He truly will refuse food to the point of medical attention, so we HAVE to cater to what he will eat. Help a family stock up on certain food items for their child. Give gift certificates for groceries, for date nights, or just money to go towards therapy expenses. Families spend literally thousands of dollars each month for necessary therapies that are not covered by insurance or grants. A lot of families have taken out second mortgages, sold cars, moved to a smaller home - whatever they could do to pay for therapy. I could put Sam in an incredible ABA therapy program, as he used to be in, that would probably make a 100% difference in his behavior and eliminate his need for school... if only we could afford the $4000 it costs per month.
All in all, just be aware of their needs and be sensitive to the fact that it is embarrassing for them to ask for help. Sometimes it's embarrassing to be offered help. But we are grateful beyond measure. One more thing - parents of special needs children are regular people too. They need friends just as much, if not more, than anyone else. Don't be afraid to ask them about their family. I am grateful Jaime asked to write about our family. It shows a desire to understand them and to be involved in their lives. I want people to ask me how to talk with Sam when he shrieks in their face. It's okay to talk to parents about their children. But do NOT pity us. We are not ill-fortunate people to feel sorry for. Have compassion on our situation, yes. Show us love.

Kyle and I have made great strides together in viewing and approaching our children with love, compassion and grace. We pray for wisdom and discernment to know how to handle every situation that comes our way, and how to teach these principles to our children as well. It brings great joy to my heart to hear Benjamin exclaim how proud he is of his brother when he sees Sam do something. He finds pictures or projects Sam made at school and tells Sam how proud he is that he did that and gives him a big hug. I remember just about a month ago when Samuel told me he loved me for the first time - spontaneously, without imitating me. It's so often taken for granted that your child loves you. But when he never tells you on his own, you sometimes wonder as a mother. It made me cry when he told me. Another accomplishment I guess, would be all the boys together, growing and learning how to live with each other, good times and bad, and being sensitive to Sam's needs. We glory in the little victories every day, which will eventually add up to a lifetime of worthy accomplishments. Our hope and prayer is that God is glorified in each of these celebrations.

Every day brings new things - sometimes old things in new ways. There are certainly times of anger, frustration, and the "what-if game". But there are moments of joy, of celebration, of this life God has entrusted to us: a child He made in His own image. I pray my story can be an encouragement to other parents going through the same things.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Life with Miracles

At first glance Max Brooks looks like any other sweet little baby boy. With twinkling eyes, and chubby little cheeks dressed in matching pajamas just like protective big brother Clay. Max was born with a rare, severe form of sleep apnea called hypoventilation. This has resulted in several surgeries and now leaves young Max with the constant presence of a trach. So soon after his birth the Brooks family realized that they had some decisions to make and took to heart that it takes a village to raise a child. They made the decision to move their family from Sevierville, TN back to Cookeville, TN in order to be closer to family, which provided a much needed and appreciated support system. The Brooks family has been showered with love, prayers, and helpful hands. This is a family of fighters, believers, and constant prayers. While the road ahead maybe a gravel one, little Max is already reaching milestones, and proving miracles are to be believed in!!! I want to thank Max's Mother, Dusti, and her family for allowing me to share their story with my readers.

Walking through Your Tragedy like it’s a Comedy
By: Dusti Brooks

The Celtic Christians had a name for the Holy Spirit. They called him the Wild Goose. The name hints to the mysterious nature of the Holy Spirit, much like a wild goose. The Spirit of God cannot be tracked or tamed. An element of Danger and an air of unpredictability surrounds Him.

I understand that a wild goose chase typically refers to a purposeless endeavor without a defined destination. But chasing the Wild Goose is different. The promptings of the Holy Spirit can sometimes seem pretty pointless, but rest assured, God’s working His plan. And if you chase the wild goose, He will take you places you never could have imagined going, and by paths you never knew existed.

I’ve had a few tragic situations in my life that turned to laughter. Such as the time when I picked up an electric drill and began playing with it while my little two year old sister was close by. I got her hair caught in it and the only solution at the time was to yank it out, but with that left a perfectly round spot in the middle of her head. It was tragic. Even then she had great hair. We can laugh about it now but then not so much.

Another time was when we got pregnant with our first son Clay. We were not planning on having kids anytime soon and I was devastated. I was still in college. I had a lot planned and kids were not in the picture. I thought this baby had ruined my life. I was scared I would resent him for upsetting my plans. To me, at the time, it was tragic. I wanted to get a good job. I never wanted to be a stay at home mom. Then baby Clay came and has been the one to wake me up with a smile on my face most everyday!

So then we had a not so tragic beginning with our second pregnancy. We tried for 6 months and found out Jan 18th we were expecting!!! The timing felt perfect. Clay was becoming more independent. Daniel had a good job. We were thrilled. Then we found out it was another boy!! We wanted Clay to have a buddy.

I knew the day I was going to have little Max. I had my bag packed and Max’s diaper bag ready with his sweet little coming home outfit. I got Clay ready. I picked up Daniel from work. Dropped Clay off at Staci’s, and off we went to the Dr’s office with no labor pains at all, but I just knew. 13 hours later, here came little Max!!

And the room was silent. Daniel didn’t move from my bedside. I asked him to get some pictures of Max and he quickly returned. I kept asking, “Is he ok?” “Is everything alright?”. No response. I was then given some morphine and it got a little hazy after that. When I woke up my dad had just walked in the room, very solemn, with his arms crossed. He said nothing. Without hesitation I asked, “He died didn’t he?” Dad jumped back and said “Oh no, no, no, but there is something wrong. The doctor is on his way to talk to you.” It was more than tragic. I was devastated. I couldn’t even hold him. They wheeled him in a little isolate where I could only stick my hands through and touch him. He did not want to breathe on his own. I was confident nothing big was wrong. I loved God. I had been serving Him since I was 15. We were youth pastors for crying out loud. We had to be covered from crazy things like this.

So I stood strong…until day 14 came in the NICU. We were suppose to go home at day 7 they had said but still we had no answers and a baby on life support. Then day 21 came and he was tested for a rare genetic syndrome that is simpler said as a rare form of sleep apnea. I knew God was just going to heal him so I tried not to worry. Day 26 Max had tracheostomy surgery where they placed a trach in his throat so he would not have to intubated and sedated. At that time he had been sleeping with drug assistance for 26 days. We could barley touch him. When we did it would cause him to stir which would cause his intubation tube to move. That would gag him and cause him to throw up.

But with no sedation our Miracle Max began to shine! Everyday with Max was different. We had good days and hard days. But one thing is remained the same, Whose Name we called on. Everyday we cried out to the God we knew saw our every tear, heard our every frustration and listened by being all we needed. I never felt abandoned. He was ever present and I knew He was the giver of life.

Max began to do so well we decided to try him off the ventilator. Before this he was 24 hour vent dependent. He went 7 hours the first day, 10 the next, 13 after that and his labs were coming back just beautiful. My prayer began to change to what Max needed that day, not a generic prayer of “God please heal my son.” Max had specific needs so that’s how I began to pray.

Psalm 23:2 says “He lead me beside still waters.” He leads me. God isn’t behind me yelling GO! He is ahead of me bidding, come! He is in front of me clearing the path, cutting the brush, showing the way. Just before the curve he says turn here. Prior to the rise, He motions step up here. Standing next to the rocks he warns, watch your step here. He leads us. We will find grace to help us when we need it Hebrews 4:16. He places himself between you and the need.

And I began to not be moved. Because I was not longer leading me anymore. My Sheppard was. But sometimes it takes a shipwreck for God’s plans to succeed. So how we handle these shipwrecks determine whether our lives become a tragedy or a comedy. We can not always control what happens but we can control our response. You still get to choose your attitude. The ending to your story is entirely contingent on whether you turn to Jesus. If you don’t, the tragedy stays a tragedy, but if you do, the tragedy ends and the fairy tale begin. Not to leave out where Jesus said in this world you will have trouble. Bad things happen to good people, but when you give Jesus complete control over your life, He begins writing His story through your life.

Soon after Max’s tracheostomy surgery, he had to have a feeding tube put it because he was aspirating. Six months later it was removed. He is now only on the vent at naptime and nighttime!! Dr’s said he would never talk. He says dada, bubba, and bye bye! He has hit every developmental milestone. Trying to walk at the moment. The doctors have exciting plans for Max’s future.

So what are we doing now? RUNNING!!! For our life, for Clay’s life, for Max’s life. Why? Because we hear Him calling Come, Believing everyday that our wild goose chase is not pointless but strategically mapped out into the story God has written out for our lives!

If I could be any encouragement to where you are in life, I would say trust the leading of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes it may feel pointless, but He knows what he is doing. Sometimes it may take longer than expected, but the last sentence of your story has yet to be written so have hope and be confident in the author of your life!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Beyond the Disabilities

I have ask two very special families to share their struggles, hopes, joy, blessings, needs, and dreams with us. For the Brooks family their lives where turned upside down when sweet baby Max was born with a rare syndrome called hypoventilation a severe form of sleep apnea. Then there is the Broady family, a family of five learning together how to view the blessings of child with autism, and leave the struggles and meltdowns in the dust. Both families have be kind enough to talk with me and share their very personal stories with me. They have shared heart breaking moments of struggles, and the hopes they clinch to daily. As these families face obstacles they are uniting in prayer, and finding their way past dilemmas to build strong families full of inspiration. Teaching us that love builds walls for us to climb over our problems. Not be stuck behind lingering hopelessly in the darkness. I must say thank you to these two brave families who have helped us look beyond the disabilities and it to the precious faces of these children.

Join us this week right here on Inside My Head for insights, and advice from two truly remarkable, strong warriors of Christ, as they share their heartwarming stories with us.

"A true friend knows your weaknesses but shows you your strenghs; feels your fears but fortifies your faith; sees your anxieties but frees your spirit; recognizes your disabilities but emphasizes your possibilities."
— William Arthur Ward

A few helpful links are listed below:

Autism Speaks

What is Hypoventilation

Autism Society of America

Children's Disabilities Information and National Support

August 1988

It's August 17th 1988, and I am going to my second day of the 1st grade. My teacher is Mrs. Swallows, and today my Mom is writing a letter addressed to me. A letter that will not effect my life until I am around the same age she is when writing it. She tells me in the letter how she wants the best for my kid brother and I, and how she wants me to know that I am just as smart not smarter, and just as pretty not prettier than the rest of the people in this world. She writes the letter because she is sad I am growing up to fast, and how letting go is the toughest part of parenting. Words I would have never understood as a six year old child, but now things are a little different. I am no longer six, and those words bounce their way off the paper, and into my soul. The soul that is now 27 years old, and mother of three little boys that also seem to be growing up way to fast. How realizing today that they are not always going to be small children, but I will always be their proud Mother. Also realizing that words written over 21 years ago by my Mother are teaching me life lessons, and my filling heart with joy. She was proud of me then even when I was 6, and she loved and thought enough about it to write it down for me to have now. Here is to my Mom for loving me, for teaching me, for putting up with me even still, and for the hardest part letting me go! I am proud to be your daughter and your friend! I love you Mom!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

From the Hearts of Billie Ruth Buccigrossi's Grandchildren

I joined my family this past weekend in Akron Ohio to celebrate the life of my Grandmother Billie Ruth Buccigrossi who passed away on October 14, 2009. As I sat there with my family feeling almost helpless, as her daughters scattered making arrangements, answering phone calls, and filtering pictures. It was weird standing in her home, and not hearing her laughter fill the rooms around me. I let myself get lost in the memories of my 8 year old self when elephants filled the house, the carpet in the breeze way was blue, and babies where gave their baths in the big sink in the laundry room, kickball was played in the empty lot, and rolling down what at the time seem like such a big hill in the backyard. I can almost hear my Grandfather calling me bug-a-boo, but those years of innocents, and child's play have long been washed away. I am left here with the understanding of how very real it is to say goodbye. So in this weekend her family and friends have come together to celebrate the life of Billie R. Buccigrossi mother, wife, sister, friend, and to us 15 she was Grandma. She loved us all in her own special way. The love was unique to us as our own individual colorful personalities. We have so many memories of her that dance in our hearts. Today I would like to share with some of those very personal thoughts and memories from the hearts of her grandchildren, and give you a glimpse into the incredibly lucky world of being born one of Billie Ruth's grandchildren!

My own memories of my Grandmother start with her hugs for such a petite woman her hugs where strong. Sometimes I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to breathe again, but for some reason I just couldn't get enough of those hugs. My grandmother also taught me to write letters that came from my heart. I was even lucky enough to receive the a letter from her with the story of her falling in love with Grandpa. A story I am so glad she shared with me. Even being miles away from her she still found a way to connect with me, and love on me!


I remember Grandma Billie as the sweetest thing that would always tell you how pretty you were even if you just rolled out of the bed. She was the first person to give a compliment and stick up the grand-kids when we were in in trouble because we were "good kids" I remember go-cart Sundays when one of us would wreck and Papa would get mad she would say "Frankie leave them, alone they aren't hurting anything."

Grandma had a love for life and children she never cared to sit and listen to a story she had heard a hundred times. She will be truly missed by all.

Would also like everyone to know that no one will ever be able to make red potato salad the way grandma did.

I have so many great memories. Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays were my favorite days. I would bring movies to Grandmas and we would sit together and watch movies and I would make her lunch. We spent so much time together and I enjoyed every minute. Her favorite movie was Happy Feet.... We watched it so many times, and it never got old. I brought over The Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants and she loved it. I was sitting at home and the phone rang. It was grandma calling to tell me Sisterhood 2 was coming out and she wanted to go see it. So I got to her house one Friday and said okay lets go! We drove over to Lake cinemas and got some popcorn and sat through the movie. She was sobbing, and when girls where looking at her she said " I am old, I'm allowed to cry". We had some truly great times, and I'll cherish all of them for the rest of my life.

There is not one fond memory of my grandmother and I, but an entire lifetime of memories that fill my heart. She was a person who never judged me despite the many mistakes I made. She always supported the decisions I made for myself. I remember playing hooky during the school year when I was little just so I could stay home with grandma all day. We would eat wonderful food like chicken livers and fried potatoes while we watched our channel five soap operas. To this day we could tell each other what was happening on those daily shows even if we had missed a few here and there. Grandma was part of my everyday life and it is going to be hard to knowing that piece of my day will be altered now that she is resting in heaven. I feel grandma was very proud of the person I have become, including the mother I am to her great granddaughter Lucielle. I am heartbroken to no longer have her in my life but I am thankful to now have such a wonderful angel watch over my family and I. With all my love to grandma; forever and always

I'm sure that no one has ever had better steaks than the $17 steaks we had from Giant Eagle, the ones that remind me of one of my fondest memories of Grandma Billie.

To celebrate one of our first meals official meals in the new house that dad and papa built, my dad gave me his debit card and told me to go to Giant Eagle and buy some steak for everyone so would could cook them on the grill. I did what I was told, but my parents weren't to happy when I returned and saw the receipt for the $17 dollar steaks. "Oh take it easy!" is probably what Papa said followed by Grandma Billie of course reminding my dad they like their steaks well, well, well, well, done....."NO PINK!" We all sat down for dinner and everyone took their first bite of steak... Well that bite began a running joke that has continued for the past 12 years. Both Papa and Grandma could not stop raving about the best steaks they have ever had. Every single bite, Grandma would say that she couldn't believe the steaks were from Giant Eagle....She's never had a better steak. She didn't care how much they cost....I heard about the steaks all night. After that night every dinner Grandma had involving a steak was automatically compared to my Giant Eagle Steaks. She would say we went to so-and-so for dinner last night they had steaks, but they were nothing compared to those ones.... "We had steak at Lonestar last week and I almost sent it back and went to Giant Eagle!" There has not been a steak since that night worth mentioning

I will never forget the dinner with Papa and Grandma in which we ate "The World's Best Steaks"


So many years that we have spent making memories. Spending summers in Ohio, going to get ice cream, going to the park chasing squirrels. Today is a day you never want to imagine would come, but knowing the strong Christian woman my Grandmother was. I know that today she wouldn't want us crying tears of sadness, but tears of joy. No matter how much older I got she always called me Grandma's Baby, and that I will forever be. Though we were miles apart she was only a phone call away. I hope that one day I can say I was half the woman she was!

As I remember my Grandma Billie today I remember a sweet caring woman, and even miles apart I was felt so close. Running to the phone on Monday mornings to get to it first so I could talk before mom did.

Summer trips to stay with grandma where my favorite. Baseball games, painting each others finger nails, and going to the produce store. Is what I will remember. The trouble me and Allen would get into never mattered to her. She would yell at us and let us go. One thing through all the trouble we would cause, never did she let anyone think we done anything wrong. She would take up for us even when she knew we were guilty. She was there when I graduated, got married, and had my first baby. There isn't hardly a family memory that I have that she isn't in. Today as I say goodbye to my redhead Grandma I can't help but think about the one thing she would always tell me "Never go to sleep with saying I LOVE YOU". So today I say I love you Grandma Billie!!!

The Ending:

I am going to end our trip down memory lane with and excerpt from her grandson Allen's blog Brillance or Madness. Allen who is in the peace corp in Africa and was unable to join the family in Akron, Ohio, but we all know his heart was with us. Here is what he had to say in loving memory of his beloved Grandmother

For Grandma
I would like to take a moment to remember my grandmother, Billie R. Buccigrossi. She passed away October 14, 2009. I know that she is happy with the life she was given. She lived happily with my grandfather, Frank, and her children, grand children, and great grand children. She lived a good life and always wanted the best for everyone. She loves her family unconditionally and put their health and happiness first.

I have a lot of good memories with my grandma, she'd always make the best apple crisp and no-bake cookies (and not just for anyone...sorry Val, lol), she drove on so many of my class field trips in school. During summer vacations, she'd have to deal with me and Samantha and all the trouble we'd get into, but she was never mad for long (even if we did throw rocks at cars or spray strangers with the water hose and run). She'd give us a dollar to spend at Ritzman's pharmacy, looking back it seems like that dollar bought us a months worth of candy. I think I'll always remember her as my redheaded grandma who we loved to visit.

I can't help but feel that she's gone too soon, too suddenly, and with that the world seems emptier. She'll be missed and will remain in our thoughts everyday. We love you grandma!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Brunette Prince

Many of my days lately, and even some sleepless tossing and turning nights my thoughts are filled with decisions we have to make for my four year old son Wesley. At first glance Wesley is like any other child. His marvelous blue eyes are filled to the brim with happiness. It takes a closer look and some background knowledge to understands this little boys hurtles. Wesley who has walked with a limp every since the day he took his first steps. His right foot which has very little movement, and leg with a under developed muscles. The disability causes some discomfort, and little things like standing on tip toes, running, buying a pair of shoes, or even walking for extended periods of time proves to be difficult, and sometimes impossible. His case is rare and often leaves Doctors scratching their heads to options, and treatments. Which to be honest makes me nervous, and a little on edge as we prepare for the next surgery, and venture to Georgia for one more final opinion. Today as I watch my none stop Wesley bounce from one daily distraction to another. I watch his eagerness to run fast, and his non complaining attitude. I realize how much braver he is than his Mommy. He chooses to be happy, and loving despite the discomforts, and challenges that face him on a daily basis. I could learn so very much from this marvelous, blue eyed, love giving, full of life, four year old trooper. He brings such joy to this family!!! Such a precious gift bestowed upon me the little brunette prince. I will continue to hold to hope, and pray for the day he crosses his final hurtle!

But if we hope for what is still unseen by us, we wait for it with patience and composure. Romans 8: 25

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Homecoming Date

The date was October 8th 1996 I was in the passenger seat driving down a familiar old gravel road. I was particularly chatty this day. Mom drove past the house and towards the old barn to where my Dad was clearing out the fence row. I had something very important to ask my Daddy on this day. I was in my first semester of my Freshman year of high school, and I had been ask out on my first real date. I thought for sure when I ask permission my Dad would say I was way to young, but he didn't he said yes. So later that evening I was off on the cool October evening to the homecoming football game in the passenger seat of a Crown Victoria with a Junior, and the man that would soon become my first love, not to mention the love of my life. I don't remember every detail of that night. I can't even tell you if we won or lost the game. I do remember it being pretty chilly that night. I also remember the butterflies throwing a huge party in my stomach, and laughing was a huge part of the evening. I was a 14 year old girl hoping on the stars he liked me as much as I liked him. Lucky for me he did, and on that cool October night at the football game in the student section in Hog-eye country two lives began to intertwine. That night I found my heart. I am not sure that I exactly new it at the time. Nor did I know that my true soul mate was going to be sitting next to me on the first date of my life. You just never know when love is going to gain her amazingly beautiful momentum!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Question of "SAX"????

Like an Alford Hitchcock swarm of birds, the term "birds and the bees" frightens and freaks us parents out just about as much as an old horror film. A taboo subject that makes us want to put are hands over our ears, and sing silly kid songs so we can't hear the questions. Talking about sex with our children is just not a simple matter. So many questions surround the subject, and not just the questions the kids are asking. When do you bring up the subject? Do you wait until they ask or maybe when they hit some magical age of understanding? Do we attempt to pass it off to school education or even to the other parent? How much information do they get, and is subject an on going discussion or does it stop at THE TALK? Do your beliefs come in to play or are you strictly sticking to the facts of science? Does your child's personality come into play? Is it okay to lie a little when the question comes up before you are ready to give the answers? Do you use a parenting book, go by your own knowledge, or pass along the same information your parents gave you? So so many questions about such a small little word. Who would imagine that the word sex and the subject of the matter could cause such chaos, and down right fear in parents. Besides the subject bringing so many questions it also has an equal amount of opinions depending on the parenting style, knowledge, and faith of the parents. So that being said before your child ask you about the subject of "SAX". Which is what my friends 8 year old son called it when he popped the question on her, after hearing it on the morning news program. You might want to start asking yourself and arming yourself with some answers. Having a 7 year old son myself I started thinking about how I will answer his questions, and when I should bring up the topic for serious discussion. Truth be know I am not totally sure I have a plan. Hey just because I can write down the questions doesn't mean I get to escape the fear of the questions. I don't actually have any real answers to the questions I am just now starting to form my opinion on the subject. What I do know so far is this...I want my boys to be totally comfortable in asking me questions about any subject for that matter. So I will be open, honest, and truthful in my answers. I had much rather them learn the truth from me than fiction from someone else, or the television for that matter. I do not want the subject to make either of us blush, although I am sure that is going to be a lost cause. I do think that in my household their Father will be handling the topic with our three boys for the most part. Although I do want them to know mom is cable of handling the subject with confidence. I will not shy away from their questions, and I will not put them totally off on their Father (which I totally once thought I would). I want them to understand it's a serious subject, and I want them to be armored with information sooner rather than to late. I also believe for my family our values, Christian beliefs, and morals will play a valuable role. Ultimately I also must understand that while I can answer questions, teach values, and guide them to the best of my ability with love and truth it will be their own values and own beliefs that will guide them to make decisions regarding the subject of sex. All I can do is arm them with the proper information. So all in all when it comes down to this scary and often secretive topic I want my boys to know on an age appropriate levels what sex is. Now to figure out the right words, time, appropriate facts, and age to start this process well lets just say I am still working on sorting all that out inside my own head.... Why I do I get the fun feeling I better get it sorted!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Awkwardness One Bad Picture at a Time

Everyone has them them tucked away in a box, posted in long forgotten annuals, or even hanging proudly on the wall at grandma's house those embarrassing photos. The ones we wish didn't exist or at least the ones of us anyways. Well I ran across this website devoted to them. Suddenly my old embarrassing photos didn't seem so bad after all. The website's motto is 'Spreading the Awkwardness'. I must admit I spent about an hour glancing at the photos some made me laugh others almost cry. Talk about bad hair days, silly faces, strange events, and just plum what where they thinking moments. How I stumbled upon this website you might ask. Well I have to give my friend Sarah credit for this one. She posted a link on the mighty facebook. I also might add a thank you to Sarah for making my bad hair days, and silly moments actually seem kinda normal! So go ahead check out this weird, and wacky website dedicated to spreading the awkwardness, and they don't seem to be running out of the moments anytime soon. They add new photos and update almost everyday. Check out the bad hair, the all dressed to match in denim non the less, the grandparents who could use a lesson in modesty, the folks that love their pets a little to much, and the family photos that make even the blackest sheep in our families fit into the at least average category. Hey if it doesn't make you feel normal maybe you have some hidden awkward treasures to contribute to the site, or at least black mail your family and friends with. (insert evil laugh)! Either way take a look at all the glorious moments captured on film at awkwardfamilyphotos.com

Monday, October 5, 2009

Backyard Bunnies

During an afternoon with a brief break from the rain my husband decided to mow our yard or more fitting the jungle that was replacing my yard. As he was mowing he made a discovery of a burrow filled with three tiny hairless wild bunnies. They really where not so adorable on day one, but day two to my amazement they had gained some hair, and where starting to look more like rabbits. I have been checking on them daily to make sure they are looking healthy. Since I am not likely to see the doe rabbit during the day. She stays away from the nest for the most part only attending to babies a couple minutes a night. Contra to what some believe wild rabbits will not reject their offspring if they are touched by humans. Still I have thought it best to disturb them as little as possible. It has been a pretty amazing to be able to wittiness the growth of the babies, and how quickly that growth has taken place, and I thought my kids where growing up to fast! I am pretty sure that Momma rabbit is still attending to them and doing her job for they are becoming more and more active everyday. Poking their little heads out of the fur and grass mixed nest to checkout the world around them. They even hop around at the sound of foreign sounds when I come near. Finally they day came when there little eyes where open wide, and ears where standing straight up. They are just so sweet. Pretty amazing at what unexpected surprises you can find in your own backyard. The miracle of life, and the blessing of the world all around us. Sometimes we just need to take a closer look!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

"Lonely in this Crowd"

Adam Ryan...singer, songwriter, dreamer complicated, inspired, focused, small town boy. Guided with passion and a love affair for good music, Adam Ryan is out to prove to the world that not all the good songs have already been written. Adam was raised in a small town in the middle of nowhere Tennessee where Hog-eye runs blood deep, folks drive tractors on the highway, neighbors actually know each other, and family values are still taught by parents. Adam's songs are proof of raw existence told with beauty. Even in the darkest of his songs you hear an under toning hope that breathes life into an untold story. The songs are polished, sustaining and undoubtedly smart. 'Lonely in this Crowd' is undeniably a romance of words told with a heated passion and true complexity of the process of life. Adam Ryan is a blazing young songwriter on the Nashville scene and his delivery of 'Lonely in this Crowd' is worthy of lending your ear to.

Here is what the man behind the lyrics and melodies of 'Lonely in this Crowd' had to say about life, inspiration, the music industry, and the up coming release of his debut album. Read the interview, hear the music and then witness it for yourself on October 1st, Douglas Corner Cafe, Nashville, TN at 6pm.

Q: When did you first start writing songs, and what prompted you to do so?

A: I was kind of a late bloomer. It wasn't until I finished playing baseball in college that I actually sat still long enough and learned to play the guitar. From there, I would write down ideas and then learned that I am my own worst critic. I spent several years fighting the urge to self edit and over analyze. When I moved to Nashville, I was fortunate enough to work at Carnival Music. There I was able to learn what a great song is and was witness to some great stuff in the making. I was one of the first people to ever hear "Anything But Mine" written by Scooter Carusoe. He and I actually recorded the first version of that tune... still have it, it's great. Also, "Angry All the Time" by Bruce Robison... another phenomenal songwriter.

Q: Generally speaking what makes a song a hit?

A: Ask Scooter and Bruce. Ah, you know... people have to identify with it. It's so simple but yet so hard. I just try to write what I know and hope that others can relate.

Q: Do you think it is a good or bad idea to try and "go against the grain" of the typical song writing mold?

A: I try not to think about the mold... that feeds the self critic in me. The best writers are there own thing. There's a Rodney Crowell quote that I love, "Ignorance is the enemy of society. Self-conscieness is the enemy of art." That blew me away when I read it, it's so true.

Q: Who inspires you the most?

A: It started at a young age. Steve Earle when I was twelve. Chris Knight, Springsteen... he's something else I discovered late. Owned the Boss box set when I was a kid... not sure why really, just wanted it. But never really dug in to it until a few years ago. I think the best inspiration, for me, happens when I'm tuned in spiritually. I pray God gives me clarity and the peacefulness to hear the stories he wants to tell. I fight to find that space and quietness.... but when it happens, it's a lot of fun.

Q: Which song of yours do you consider to be your best, and why?

A: That's tough. There are different connections to different songs but I guess "Lonely In This Crowd." It's the title track and one that I wrote by myself. It really captured the place I was in at the time. I was sick of the music business, or at least the scene I was in. Was falling for this girl but hated the situation that surrounded it.

Q: Do you co-write often, and do you consider it important to do so?

A: Yes, you should know! Your husband and I tend to get good results. I don't really do the Nashville co-write thing... I tend to comb over things more than that situation allows. I think its good though. There are great writers in this town. Mostly though, I think the best songs come from a real place and not something contrived. Hey, but who knows.

Q: Do you find the struggles of the music business to be worth fighting for the dream?

A: Dreams are always worth fighting for.

Q: Do you believe that music has changed your life?

A: Does a one legged duck swim in a circle?

Q: How do you think your fans view you as a writer, and person?

A: Not sure. Probably like... "Dude, you're hair is so much longer and you look nothing like you did in high-school!"

Q: Why don't you tell us a little about this New EP of yours Lonely in This Crowd?

A: A while in the making but extremely proud of it. Learned so much and can't wait to get back in the studio... I already have the songs. I just need people to buy this one so I can afford to do it! Beyond that, I'd love to hear what other people think about it. I'm too close to it and some of those songs have been around a while. They have changed meanings a few times and are what they are now. Maybe ask your readers to give some feedback. Would love to hear it!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Pink Cape of Motherhood!

The crazy conclusion that Motherhood should come with an instruction manual, superpowers, and a pink cape for fashion purposes of course. Just think how amazing it would be to clone ourselves at the snap of our fingers. We could get the laundry done, read a book, change a diaper, mop the floor, supervise homework,and cook dinner from scratch without even blinking an eye. I have a feeling this cloning ability would be a favorite of mothers of multiples. But hey lets not sell ourselves short with just one super ability. I mean x-ray vision like Superman would be handy dandy. We would always know what are darling angels where up to no more writing on the walls, mistaking mom's makeup for a paint set, or flushing toys down the toilet. Then there is the putting away every toy, dirty sock, and dish with our Jean Gray/Jedi mind skills. Talk about super clean home! Oh lets not leave out Wonder Women's lasso of truth. Always knowing who really started it!!!! No more spoiled plans with this nexted power. Manipulate the weather like Ororo AKA Storm from X-men. Sunshine on trips to the water park, snow on Christmas, and a little rain to make our gardens grow, perfect weather for every occasion. The last of this little day dream of mine would included Sue Storms ability to be invisible. You know for that five glorious and hard to come by Mommy time. Well we may not have all those super, crazy, human abilities, but we do have some special powers. We make boo-boos feel better with kisses, we can make Superhero capes out of bath towels and rubber bands, keepers of the peace, anANCan fill our hearts with as much love as we need for each of our children, and make more as needed! So you know what I don't need know super pink cape....but a cute pair of Jimmy Choo's would be nice!!!!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Iris Rainbow of Emotions

Winter ugh winter! Winter is fast approaching. I really hate winter. Which is fairly ironic considering I love Christmas, and was born in the month of January. I am just not a snow, freezing rains, wind chill kinda girl. Although I do love my pink pea coat. Anyways I figured since winter is chasing me down, and there is nothing I can do to stop it from catching me. Which is depressing. I should think of something that I love about the warm more pleasant time of the year. So I decided to turn my focus on one of my favorite flowers the Iris. The greek word for Iris is rainbow. Can't get much more beautiful than that. The Iris flower is symbolically carries many different emotions; wisdom, purity, faith, hope, passion, and many more. It's probably one of the reasons I love it so much. It's a complicate flower a lot like the human race, it gets all confused to what emotion it wants to convey, yet still is a thing of beauty. Iris was also the name for a greek goddess the messenger of love in fact, and is probably where the flower got it's name or the fact it means rainbow gave the flower it's name, because it comes in a numerous amount of colors. I am sure the science/garden geeks are still arguing over that somewhere. Either way I don't really care where or how it got the lovely name. I am just glad they exists for me to admire. Purple Siberian Iris are my particular favorite, but I believe that all Iris have a touch of true beauty. I always love admiring my Granny Sadie's Iris garden, and the fact she has them labeled by name is also impressive. There is even an Iris named Skywalker which fascinates my geeky side. My favorite flower carrying the name of my favorite hero. Yes this beautiful, mysterious, dainty looking flower is one of my very favorite things about spring and early summer. So when winter finally catches up to me, I will be dreaming of Spring and Summer and the beautiful Iris it will bring into bloom!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Carter Baby!

Seven years ago at 1:36 in the morning on September 18th a very scared, very nervous, very excited young girl of the age of 20 gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. On that day a Father was given a son, a family become one more member strong, a grandson was gained to spoil, and another Mother was created in the world. Although many women before me have marched to the same tune in their own unique way. This day was my own. It was special to me just like the baby we named Ethan Carter. As over the years he has gone from my newborn peanut. my dancing toddler, my excited preschooler, my reading kindergartner, my helpful 1st grader, and that brings us to this year. The year my sweet little peanut has become a dashing second grader. I look back sometimes and wonder where that bald little bundle of joy disappeared to as well as that scared new mommy. We both have grown so much, and still have many things still ahead to grow from. I am excited for the future, and sometimes miss the past. Today I am grateful for the present, and the simple small fact I can still scoop him into my lap, and love on him. Because I know he will be driving in no time, and friends, girls, college, and so much more will soon absorb his time, energy, and focus. For now in this moment I am happy that he is my dashing seven year old son. I love him more than breathing. He is one of the keepers of my heart, and today when I write his birthday letter, kiss him goodbye before school, and bake his superhero cupcakes, today September 18th, 2009 I celebrate him. I celebrate him the little boy who gave me my Motherhood title. So happy birthday my beautiful red headed Carter Baby!!!!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Boot Scootin Zebra Style

Rainy Rainy day in my zebra print rain boots. I love the rain always have. I love the smell before a summer afternoon shower. I love the life a spring rain blooms. Rain brings with her superb opportunity for afternoon naps, curling up with a good book, or an all day marathon of Aubrey Hepburn movies. In my world rain brings the good fortune to wear my rain boots. I have never been much of umbrella kind girl. I just don't mind getting rained on. Plus I have my spectacular boots. I call them my I can't possibly have a bad day boots. You just can't wear loudly printed boots without a smile. These fabulous boots bring out the inner punk girl in me. The I want to put pink highlights in my hair, add a new tattoo, and learn to play bass guitar boots, and at the same time have the magic ability to bring out my lighter child like side. The splash in the biggest mud puddle, and stick out my tongue and catch a few rain drops child. So for me the lover of a rainy day my zebra print trimmed, in pink rain boots just make me one happy dancing in the rain mommy!!! Plus on the more practical side they keep the bottom of my pant legs dry!!!

Friday, September 11, 2009


Every now and then I read a book that inspires me, and maybe even changes me a little, and this summer a story about a young Mexican girl did just that.
Esperanza Rising this book made me tear up several times. It is such an powerful story about struggles, family, new beginnings, sacrifices, and the strength that love and hope gives. When young Esperanza and her mother leave behind a privileged fairy tale life in Mexico. After tragedy strikes their family forcing them to start over in California as farm workers. It's a tale hope, and the strength people gain when love is shared and unbreakable family bonds are formed. Even in the hardship that this young child faced she never gave up on love, and even found love standing right in front of her. She is guided by her heart, and forced to grow into an adult much before her time. The book is also a remarkable example how the decisions we make can effect generations of our family tree in the branches that are yet to come. I didn't know until completed the book, when I paid attention to the authors name, that it was loosely written about the authors grandmother, it only made the story that much more touching!

This book is beautiful written and I am glad it was a random book I picked up my last adventure to the bookstore. I think I learned some lessons of my own in this book....I recommend this book to anyone!!

favorite quote from the book:
"We are like the phoenix," said Abuelita. "Rising again, with a new life ahead of us."

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A Movement of Love

A movement of love! The man in this interview I haven't actually seen since my high school years. What I do remember about Jim Florea is his laugh, and the crew he called his friends. They where all stand up guys with hearts for laughter, jokes, music, and Jesus. Always fun to hang around, and they where always on some sort of adventure. So it was no major shock that almost ten years out of high school Jim finds a calling on his life to build a church in Nashville from the Lord. A calling he is obediently following. A calling that will allow seeds to be planted, and steer the people of Nashville to follow Christ. While I have no direct personal connection to this project from the moment I found out about Forward Church. I have felt the Lord's command to pray very heavily for this important piece of God's work, and the people He has called to complete the task of His work. So I decided to spot light Jim Florea man with a calling and a heart to please the Heavenly Father. Here is what Jim had to say about Forward Church and the commands on his own life? Maybe it will inspire many of you to pray for or be a part of Forward Church.

Interview with Church Planter

Q: I hear you have a calling to build a church here in Nashville. Can you explain what that means?

A: It means I'm called to build a church. I don't have all of the answers but what I do know is 3 yrs ago I was called to build a Church in Nashville. Why Nashville? Why Me? I don't know, but what I do know is that God has a plan and I am on board with whatever that is whether I know the meaning or not.

Q: Can you tell us about the team you have supporting this project, and making it come to life?

A: Its pretty hard for me to say that I have formed anything. I don't really know if you are talking about a team of people involved in the Core Group or if your talking about the groups and organizations that are and will be financially supporting us. The River Community Church is what we call our "mother church." They are big financial supporters of us as well as the leadership of our church is a intermediate eldership body for Forward Church. We are also becoming members of TBC and a group called the CPC which are both financial supporters. As far as the Core Group goes, I have spent the last year casting vision with one on ones and with different groups of people to form a small band of people roughly twenty who are in on the vision of Forward Church.

Q: Do you think building relationships will be a key to success of the church?

A: Yes I believe building relationships will be A key to building the Church but not THE key. JESUS IS THE KEY to building Forward Church. Jesus said, "I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not stand against them." So I am going to spend my time building people and let Jesus worry about building a Church.

Q: Who are your theological or ministerial heroes?

A: That is a tough question. There have been a lot of great men and women that have done great things.

Q: The name of the church is Forward Church correct? Was that inspired?

A: One Day, Patrick Mayberry walked out of my office and there was a sign across the hall that said, "Church Offices" and on it was a arrow (->) pointing to the right. Patrick walked over and placed is hand over "Offices" and said, "Dude, Forward Church would be a great name!" Real Spiritual, I know.

Q: You call this a movement of love can you explain why?

A: And now these three remain: faith hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. That is what Jesus tells us. Now the question is, what is love. Jesus tells us this is Love, that I have layed down my life for you, that you ought to lay your lives down for one another. It is pretty self explanatory, Jesus says love is laying down your life, laying down your dreams, laying down your wants; so that is what we are trying to start, a movement of love. Which means us laying down our lives.
to God.
to People.
to the City.
to the World.

Q: What does this vision mean for the people of Nashville?

A: I think Nashville has a rich history of great churches, great ministries, and organizations. I mean lets face it, Nashville has more churches per capital of people than any other city in America. We are excited to be able to partner with everything God is doing in the City. Our vision is simple, it is the same vision of every other church in the world. We are a band with one song. So as far as the people, my hope is that people would get on board with what God has called us to be.

Q: What does this vision mean to you on a personal level?

A: I don't understand the question. I will try to answer it the best I can.
Two years ago when I was walking in Hillsborro Village I felt the Lord say to me, "This is where you will plant a Church." For quite a long time I didn't understand why in Nashville. The more I learned about Nashville, about how 75% of the city is unchurched, about how 95% of the Churches of the city have platoed or declining, my heart broke for the City. So with that said, I am called to the city of Nashville. Until the Lord calls me else where, on a personal level, I will do whatever it takes outside of sinning to spread the Name of Jesus and to fan the flame that is already here in Nashville.

Q: How do you plan to spread the word of Forward Church?

A: Starting the first Sunday in October, we will start meeting in the upstairs of Bongo Java. we will be doing very little marketing at this point. We hope that in January 2010 we will start doing a once a month preview service, then launch full on grand opening on Easter morning. Starting in January we will be doing all kinds of marketing from crazy gorilla style marketing, to mail outs, and everything in between. Our hope is, everyone in West Side of Nashville will have heard about Forward Church. However, we are not under the allusion that fliers grow a church. The best way is by people inviting people, friends inviting friends. I will do my best to encourage the people that are already intended on bringing their friends.

Q: Is there any thing that has happen you never thought would since the start of this calling to place this church in Nashville?

A: Yes, people are showing up! This is not false humility. I have never planted a Church before, nor do I think of myself as very pastoral. I am pretty blown away every time we meet and people are there.

Thanks for the opportunity to share a little piece of my life.