Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Holidays are a mixed blessing at our house. In many ways we do things similar to hundreds of other families. But then we throw OLA into the mix and ramp up the extremes several notches. Thanksgiving was craziness and meltdowns. We had five days of togetherness - which on one hand is really great. But on the other hand it just heightens the insanity of our lives. Wednesday started off with a bang. Dad and OLA went the rounds the very first thing after they both stepped out of bed. What a way to start the holidays. We finally got everyone fed and back to an even keel. Things went pretty smoothly after that - they all went out to finish up the yard work before winter arrives. But then we got to evening and we took up round two. Shouting, screaming, name calling, throwing Christmas items (we were trying to put up the tree) the whole works. The day ended pretty much like it began. Thursday we tried to head-off morning melt down by being up and serving breakfast when the kids got up. OLA had other ideas - he was not eating so he could save room for turkey dinner. Never mind that it is 8:00a.m. and dinner isn't until 1:30p.m. A melt down disaster in the making. We finally convinced him to take a few bites of egg. We managed to avoid the melt until about 11:00a.m -KUDOS for us!!!  Then by evening we did it all again. Friday and Saturday thankfully were fairly pleasant - with the exception of OLA trying to launch a piece of the Fisher-price nativity set every time he walked by - thank heavens it is Fisher-price and made for small but not so gentle hands. Though I'm not sure how others would feel about the reoccurring flight plans for the baby Jesus?!
Sunday morning started out with melt and ended with melt - because now we are back into the "worry about school" melt mode.  This on again off again melting behavior (although nothing new here) has increased in frequency since last Wednesday- and I don't really see a reprieve until January. Holidays are a mixed bag around here - the normal hyped up excitement mixed with the inability to process and deal with all that extra emotion and energy. We aren't drowning yet - but we just might be by the time we get through Christmas!! Maybe I'll ask Santa for a life preserve as an early Christmas gift so I can stay afloat!! Just a thought!!:)

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Garden

Having four visiting family members, the wife was very busy, so I offered to go to the store for her to get some needed items, which included light bulbs, paper towels, trash bags, detergent and Clorox. So off I went.
I scurried around the store, gathered up my goodies and headed for the checkout counter, only to be blocked in the narrow aisle by a young man who appeared to be about sixteen-years-old. I wasn’t in a hurry, so I patiently waited for the boy to realize that I was there. This was when he waved his hands excitedly in the air and declared in a loud voice, “Mommy, I’m over here.”
It was obvious now, he was mentally challenged and also startled as he turned and saw me standing so close to him, waiting to squeeze by. His eyes widened and surprise exploded on his face as I said, “Hey Buddy, what’s your name?”
“My name is Denny and I’m shopping with my mother,” he responded proudly.
“Wow,” I said, “that’s a cool name; I wish my name was Denny, but my name is Steve.”
“Steve, like Stevarino?” he asked.
“Yes,” I answered. “How old are you Denny?”
“How old am I now, Mommy?” he asked his mother as she slowly came over from the next aisle. “You’re fifteen-years-old Denny; now be a good boy and let the man pass by.”
I acknowledged her and continued to talk to Denny for several more minutes about summer, bicycles and school. I watched his brown eyes dance with excitement, because he was the center of someone’s attention. He then abruptly turned and headed toward the toy section.
Denny’s mom had a puzzled look on her face and thanked me for taking the time to talk with her son. She told me that most people wouldn’t even look at him, much less talk to him.
I told her that it was my pleasure and then I said something I have no idea where it came from, other than by the prompting of the Holy Spirit. I told her that there are plenty of red, yellow, and pink roses in God’s Garden; however, “Blue Roses” are very rare and should be appreciated for their beauty and distinctiveness. You see, Denny is a Blue Rose and if someone doesn’t stop and smell that rose with their heart and touch that rose with their kindness, then they’ve missed a blessing from God.
She was silent for a second, then with a tear in her eye she asked, “Who are you?”
Without thinking I said, “Oh, I’m probably just a dandelion, but I sure love living in God’s garden.”
She reached out, squeezed my hand and said, “God bless you!” and then I had tears in my eyes.
May I suggest, the next time you see a BLUE ROSE, don’t turn your head and walk off. Take the time to smile and say Hello. Why? Because, by the grace of GOD, this mother or father could be you. This could be your child, grandchild, niece or nephew. What a difference a moment can mean to that person or their family.
From an old dandelion!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Gift!

Life is a gift. But sometimes getting the wrapping paper off is tough. We all want to see what is inside that wrapping paper. Because for most of us a present is something exciting and fun. It is the same for us with OLA - he is a gift but it can be very difficult to get under the outside packaging too truly see him. Most people only ever see the wrapping paper on the outside. Be that paper pretty or ugly.  This last weekend was a difficult one. We had multiple melt downs. But after an inspirational moment at church I had the thought "do I see my son as God sees him?" You would think as his parent this would be a given. However, it is not - I too get caught up in seeing only the wrapping paper and not diving into look underneath to find the gift.  Although this insight doesn't change the struggles and challenges it does change how we deal with them. When I try to see OLA as God does I spend less time on the wrapping paper and more on trying to bring out the gift. Those waves that crash against the shore are very hard at times but when I find the true gift it makes the swim worth while. To my special little angel and his special big brother - You are both incredibly awesome and true miracles in our lives.