Saturday, October 25, 2008

Sixteen Candles

In an earlier post, I promised to share my "Blooms of Summer". I was trying to explain the lack of postings by saying, "I did more blooming than blogging this summer!" So, before the first snowfall comes...

I remember turning 16...probably because it was just a few years ago. I loved the movie "Sixteen Candles" with Molly Ringwald...Lord knows I've seen it WAY more than 16 times! Being 16 was amazing! I really loved it.

Now, as of May 1, I am a parent of a 16 year old, hard to believe, but true. That's right, Jackson turned 16! This was such a monumental day for us.

It doesn't seem that long ago that we were walking to the hospital in Elizabeth, New Jersey, to deliver our first born. Yes, I walked 6- 8 blocks, during intense labor, stopping to lean over a newspaper box when the contraction got to be too much. I'd do it all over again. My labor lasted a whole 5 hours...gotta love that!

Back to the blooms...

I love my son. I loved him before I even knew he existed. I imagined the joys of motherhood before I even met his dad. I've always dreamed of being a mom, and I have always planned to love my kids with intensity and much joy. Our dreams and plans do not always turn out as planned, but life is still rich and beautiful and joy-filled!

When Jackson smiles, the whole world is smiling. He has a great sense of humor. You can see it in his face. Having a non verbal child is very challenging (and that is the understatement of the year) but, it really helps us fine tune our listening skills. We now listen with our eyes, our spirit and then our ears. It is amazing what you can hear when no words are spoken.

Jackson is very loving and sensitive. He will come up to us and spontaneously give us a hug...miracle. He LOVES his Papa. He will just come and sit close...just to be near. On a recent visit from my parents, Jackson would be put to bed by his helper. Once she left, he would come back out of his room and just squeeze in next to my dad and sit for a half hour or so.

Jackson is creative. He loves to paint and cook. His watercolors are really beautiful. I sometimes think he has captured a world I have yet to see.

Birthdays are a BIG deal to us...we just love having a reason to celebrate with friends!!! Turning 16 is a BIG deal. Other kids would be celebrating their driver's license so...

Todd worked with an agency here and he found a HUGE advocate for Jackson. Melinda is amazing. She worked so fervently to see this dream come true. Besides having fun, (and Melinda says having fun is enough!) maybe Jackson can eventually get a paper route in our neighborhood! Todd is hoping that Jackson may one day be able to drive a riding lawn mower. Right now, Jackson loves to give rides.

Jackson...we celebrate you and your life. We love you more than words can say.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Never a Dull Moment

At 10:15 a.m. there is knocking at my door. This time Todd and Ashley are at church, Jackson is watching 101 Dalmatians and I am watching my Bible Study session on my computer. Wayne, friend, brother, neighbor and fellow ywammer is at the door. Hmmmm...I see my next door neighbor walking back to her house. Wayne says, "Call the sheriff."

This time I will give a bit of a layout of the neighborhood for you. As YWAM, we have two houses on this street. Also, two ywam families own houses on this same street, there is another family just around the corner and one family about a mile away. The house across the street from ours is called "Hospitality House."

This sweet little house is totally furnished to welcome guests that come through, either visiting or volunteering with YWAM-Charlotte. Well, to my surprise, just moments before Wayne came running over, the neighbor decided to adorn this yard with...

...his Chevy Blazer! First, let me say, no one was hurt. The baby was in her car seat. Although she lost her shoe, she was uninjured.

I just looked at Wayne (who with his wife Karyn had witnessed the whole incident from their front porch) and said, "How in the world?!!"

This guy driving lives right next door to me. From his drive way to this front yard is MAYBE 50 feet! He did peel out of the gravel driveway. The cement wall of the neighbors, and then of Hospitality House, indicate that he must have hit the wall causing him to go air born.

After he knew everyone was okay, Wayne asked "What happened?" Our neighbor only said, "My wife." (For the record, she was not driving.) Sounds a bit like Adam... in the garden. My neighbor did pass the Breathalyzer test. Although, he could not produce a valid ID or Driver's License.

I sit on my front porch and thank Jesus that no one was hurt. The car did not flip. The passengers are only shaken up. There were no children playing outside or pedestrians walking by. It is a miracle of a day.

Well, I think Todd will be surprised at how well we took care of the neighborhood while he and Ashley were at church. We saw a few miracles of our own right here on Talleyrand!

Thank God for adorable pajamas!

It's 4:31 a.m. I'm having trouble titling this posting...not because of the time of the morning, but because of the content.

At 3:20 a.m. I heard frantic pounding and crying at our front door. I woke Todd. Our little neighbor boy was crying at the door, demanding to be let in. (In our neighborhood you don't just open your door at all hours of the matter what age the person on the other side of the door is.) Todd opened the door and the little boy ran through the door, tears streaming. I honestly thought he was being chased, he had such fear in his voice.

This 10 year old was home alone. He said someone broke into his house and hit him. There was no one there to help him. He does not have a phone. After calling 911, I called his mom. She could not be reached. She may have been at work.

Finally the police arrived. (Our police are wonderful...however "dispatch" is a bit slow on the uptake).

After telling his story, the police took him, in Todd's shirt and socks (poor kid came running in his boxers only) to a relative's house. I could go into great detail on past history here, the state of the family and parental responsibilities...I won't.

What I will say is that this is just one family situation. I know there are many out there. Some are in neighborhoods like ours, some are in neighborhoods like yours. I think we all need to pay a bit more attention to life outside of ourselves (I am talking to myself first!). There are people hurting everywhere. We may not know the story, but we can offer a simple smile, compassion, refuge.

In this was a t-shirt, pair of socks, a bottle of water, hugs and prayers.

On a MUCH lighter note...

I am so glad I was wearing my cozy,adorable flannel pajamas from my friend Janelle, along with my "Sarah Palin" hair...this is what I call it when I throw my hair up in a clip! All three police units were glad I had the "where-with-all" to pop in a piece of gum. And all my friends will be so happy to know that I was very hospitable to my early morning guests...offering bottled water to each one. (I felt it was too serious a situation to offer fresh pressed coffee).

Also, praise God, my house was clean because we had guests over last night. This is my equivalent to the old adage, "Make sure you always wear clean case you are ever in an accident!" Mine, "Make sure your house is case you have a portion of the police department at your home, in the middle of the night, along with a neighborhood boy in his boxers!"

Seriously, please pray for our little friend. We can call him "Fred." He is hurting and scared.As the police interviewed him in our living room, I was thinking, this is an impressionable moment. I prayed, "Lord, please let him know that someone cares for him, that YOU care for him." I know the next few days may bring lots of change to "Fred's" life...with DSS and everything. Please pray for God's grace and mercy to be on his life.

Through all of this, my kids slept peacefully. For that I am grateful.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Seasons of Change

This morning I woke up, opened the front door and found leaves in the yard and on the sidewalk. It was just 80 degrees the day before. I felt as if I had opened the door and walked through the wardrobe into Narnia.

Can season's really change this fast? As if in a blink of an eye?

It's not like I wasn't expecting it. Really, it is October. It just seems to have come upon me so suddenly.

If I reflect on it all, I do know that the sunshine has felt different. There has been a crispness to the morning air. I have celebrated my birthday. Our students have arrived for their DTS with YWAM. My kids are on Fall Break. I should not be all that surprised. There have been signs and expectations.

So, as I sit on our patio, Starbucks mug in hand, I reflect...

I am entering in to a new year (I count my years starting in September, not January... school starting, my know).

What does the Lord have for me this year? Am I entering a new season, or am I already there...just needing to open the front door and step into it? Have I noticed the signs, do I hold expectations of change...

I do know that my kids are getting older, I have taken on different responsibilities, my friend Dave says I am "just now" hitting my stride, I am waiting on promises, but most importantly I am waiting on The One who made those promises. I do have an expectancy in my heart.

Oh, I am hope filled for a new season...whatever that season may bring. I am stepping out, paying attention. I am a captive audience. I'm ready to go!