Monthly Archives: September 2011



Me:  These rocks are freaking HEAVY.

SGM:  It’s hot as balls today.

Me:  No kidding.


It was a surprise to have him home yesterday.  SGM had decided to take the day off and help me move some rocks in the backyard.  One of the many hidden treasures in this otherwise old and battered little ranch – a ridiculous amount of beautiful field stones, large and small, that we hadn’t noticed when we first came to look at the house.  Over the last nine years since, I had constructed a small rock wall that flowed along the front and side of the house containing a garden that I had long dreamed of growing.  Many late summer evenings spent tending to young blooms those first few years.  I was so very proud of all I had created – all I had poured my heart and soul into.

But hard times had come.

Prolific weeds had crept in and overtaken nearly every inch of breathing room between each of my precious budding flowers.  There just wasn’t any time or energy left at the end of the day to fight back.  I might grab hold of a single leafy weed or two as I passed by, barely noting the blooms being choked all around.  It was too painful to look more closely and recognize all that had been forgotten and neglected.  I was tired.  So tired.

Two Afghanistan deployments, 4q deletion, autism and family drama had choked the life out of my garden – out of me.  Out of motherhood, marriage and church, too.  There were days I felt hollowed and left to compost.

Those Dog Days Are Over now.  I have spent the last few months rebuilding, renewing.  Everything.  It started with a pile of rocks that I purchased three springs ago.  Dumped at the end of our driveway, it took me more than two years to place the gravel in the garden beds one barrow-load at a time.  Exhausting but rewarding work, it just took so much for me to find the energy among the chaos to get it done.  But this summer was different.  I was relearning what peace felt like.  Rebuilding, renewing.  Breathing.  Relearning love, patience and quiet moments with my babies.  Revisiting the love with my husband – what it felt like before and what made it new again.

Those weeds didn’t know what hit them.

The fury of which I ripped out the old and dying and replaced with new and exciting was dizzying.  But oh, how it felt so good.  Long summer days spent digging in the earth after countless hours wandering the local nurseries until I found just what I wanted to grow.  What I wanted to grow.

It was an amazing summer.  In so many ways.

The spaces between each of my precious buds are opened up once more, free breathing room to blossom.  Space for roots to be nourished, leaves to grow lush and for petals to welcome the sun.  As it should be.

Space in between my babies and me that can now be filled with sweet kisses and a thousand ‘I love you’s.  I feel the love for my children more fiercely and softly than ever before.  It hits me continuously like a freight train of feathers.  Like the moment they came into this world, there is nothing else like it – every moment, every day.  I can feel my heart once again booming, swelling, aching for them.  As it should be.

Now lies space to be Me again.  To be filled with time for reflection, personal pursuits and renewed confidence.  To feel passion again for the sun on my face and the earth in my hands.  I can breathe easy as I sway in the breeze with eyes closed and just daydream once again.

No more weeds.  No more chaos.  No more war.

All of which leaves me feverishly in love with the SGM.  It’s a new love.  It’s solid.  It’s hot.  It’s tingly and it fills me.  More than just a tag-team that survived the last five years, we are in love.  Madly.

Now that the gardens were tended to and made beautiful again, it was time to move forward.  I was ready to build upon what I have and make it new again.  I had always wanted to take the larger field stones and construct a fire pit.  I dreamed of a relaxing space for us.  Snuggling by a fire after a long autumn day of crunching leaves beneath giggly children’s feet.

So there we were, out in the yard working together to care for all we have built together over the years.  Appreciating the old, moving on from the tired, and constructing what remains.  Reconstructing from a solid foundation with an eye towards the future.  A joyful future to be lived in each moment and savored like a fine wine.

Our new fire pit made of old stones is perfect.  Last night after the children were tucked away, tuckered from a day spent in the yard and dinner served at the picnic table, SGM and I enjoyed the new Ranger TV.  And I told him – there was nothing I could want for.  I am so happy.

Thank you, My Love, for all of your hard work out in the yard with me this summer.  Thank you for the strength and love you share.  Thank you for each stone you labored over to reconstruct with me.  What we have built and continue to grow is beyond blessed.


#WordlessWednesday : Soothing Noodles










Go forth and celebrate this day of FREEDOM, HEALING and POSSIBILITIES.

Be generous with ‘I love you’s, hugs and smiles.

Thank a soldier, a police officer, a firefighter, a first responder.

Forgive someone today.

Move forward with peace in your heart.

Feel the sun touch your face.

Laugh harder. Love deeper.

Today is a gift.

You are a gift.


#WordlessWednesday Autism Fashion Photo Essay



“Do you think she will still be doing that when she’s older?”

Hmm.  I guess deep down in my heart, I do.  But I don’t want to upset the SGM or discourage his hope, so I craft a careful response.

“Well, I think she will always be expressive with her hands.  I don’t think it will appear so much like flapping.  You know – a less obvious version of her own brand of Flaptastic.”

It’s true.  She’s not an all-out flapper.  Her handflapping is more like puppeting – one hand close to her face and it appears she is having a conversation with a sock puppet.  No sock.  No intelligible conversation.  But there’s some kind of exchange going on between her and the wiggling fingers in front of her.  It’s often either a sweet sing-song voice or full-on gravelly falsetto.  And because she is well-versed in sign language, it is sometimes difficult to distinguish her flapping from signing.  It’s adorable, too.

But the reality of being Flaptastic is a cold, harsh one.  Outside of our four walls, or the secure compound she attends school at – the world is not all that accepting of unusual hand gesturing and the squawks and squeaks that accompany them.  Especially within the confines of long grocery lines or intimate seating at a restaurant where the tab comes to anything more than twenty bucks for a family of four.  Folks tend to frown upon dining with Flaptastic.

Which is such a shame.  I know people get uncomfortable around things they don’t understand.  But wow – you are really missing out if you do.  Because my daughter might be a Flaptastic Prom Queen someday.  Or a Flaptastic scientist that cures your terminal disease.  Who knows?  Maybe she’ll be flapping away at the dinner table with her father and me many, many years from now.  Maybe she will be flapping at your dinner table because she owns the restaurant you are dining in and would like to know if your meal is satisfying.

You don’t know.

Neither do I.

So as it is impossible for me to answer the SGM with any accuracy about the Flaptastic side of autism, how about we agree to just accept it and move on to bigger fish?

Like passing the Caring for Military Kids with Autism Act.  Have you shown your support yet?  Click HERE.  Thanks!

Follow Friday

He goes by the handle “Rocket”.

No, sorry, he is not actually on Twitter yet.  He’s only 8 years old (as of today).

But mark my words.  He is someone you’re going to want to keep tabs on.

I see great things coming down the pike from This One.

More than the greatest Lego creations ever made – he has a heart wider and deeper than the ocean to share with you.  With everyone.

He’s a bit of a goofball, but it is a remarkably charming quality and it works for him.  If you can interrupt the spasticity and get a peek straight into his deep, green eyes you’ll see it – a wisdom beyond his years and the ability to surround you and wrap you up in his magical gaze and just pull you inside.  Pull you right in to a sweet, gentle soul that loves without apprehension.  A young man without prejudice who already seems to grasp that we are all with faults and nobody’s perfect, but we all are special and worthy no matter what we are challenged by.

I love this boy with all my heart and I plan to follow him anywhere.  He is a great gift from God, with a heart filled with joy, and I wish him the happiest birthday today.

Mama loves you, Snugglebear.

I will follow you to the stars and back, my Beautiful Boy.


[Ed note: We are still asking for your support for the Caring for Military Kids with Autism Act.  This critical legislation is sitting silently in committee and needs everyone to stand up and tell their members of Congress to take action! Go HERE to help. Thank you!]

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