November 30, 2011

a time for everything...

I found myself caught up in the hustle and bustle of the weekend and realized I hadn't been taking pictures of our time together with Aaron's family. So I grabbed the camera and captured some moments while the boys were playing outside.

The Thanksgiving holiday weekend hosted beautiful weather - crisp, sunny mornings followed by mild afternoons. What perfect weather for playing outdoors!

Grant associates Grandma and Grandpa Mayes' house with three things: Grandma and Grandpa (of course), Henry the dog, and basketball. It takes about fifteen seconds for him to exit the car, locate the ball, and direct the closest adult to "shoot".

Our beloved Henry is getting up there in years. Yet he still tolerates a lot when the boys come to visit.

. . . . . . . . . .

Since I mentioned Henry, I have to sneak in a couple pictures of our own sweet "Sadie-kitty". She is so patient with the boys - even when she is getting her tail pulled. Both boys have learned the valuable lesson of "being gentle" with her.

. . . . . . . . . .

The weekend left a fingerprint of happy exhaustion.

The cold weather has finally been ushered in and the leaves have begun their final act of descent. The bare trees announce that it is time to prepare for winter. I reluctantly concede. I feel as if my heart has already been laying dormant in mourning and I am ready for spring. I seek a new chapter but I cannot force it. Just like the seasons, it will come. I know it will. I cannot yet see the light at the end of the tunnel but I can faintly feel its warmth.

...All in good time. 

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: 
  a time to be born, and a time to die;
  a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; 
  a time to kill, and a time to heal;
  a time to break down, and a time to build up;
  a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
  a time to mourn, and a time to dance; 
  a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
  a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; 
  a time to seek, and a time to lose;
  a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
  a time to tear, and a time to sew;
  a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
  a time to love, and a time to hate;
  a time for war, and a time for peace.           Ecclesiastes 3:1-8


November 28, 2011

Unwrapping Christmas Joy

{Meditate on the Meaning}

It's amazing how a sight, smell, or sound can instantly transport a person back in time. One whiff of fresh-baked bread and I am in my mother's kitchen as a girl anticipating the first bite of homemade goodness.

Sunday afternoon, as I was unpacking Christmas decorations, I was reminded how heavy my heart was last year. It was as if I could feel the weight of my sadness all over again. I caught myself staring at the ornaments recounting my desperate emotions. With embarrassment I must admit that I didn't want anything to do with Christmas. Instead, I nursed my pain as I watched others joyfully experience the traditions that accompany the holiday - traditions my oldest son, because of his many symptoms, cannot handle.

I was angry that my life wasn't as I had planned it to be. And the holiday season seemed to escalate all my emotions. While my feelings of pain were valid, it didn't help that I focused only on my own situation and struggles and not on the purpose of the holiday. I will not let it happen again.

I want to celebrate the birth of the baby that marked the fulfillment of so many prophecies.

I want to rejoice in the very Word of God coming to earth to share the good news and save us.

So, this week I am going to mediate on the following scripture...

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God... And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:1-2, 14

But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days. Micah 5:2

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

Already, as I relive God's gift to me through those words, I feel my spirit lift.

{...full of grace and truth... ruler... Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace...}

Please join me as I rejoice over the promise of a Savior fulfilled.

November 23, 2011


Gratitude has a new depth of meaning for me this Thanksgiving holiday.

I have discovered that it is both an action and a state of being.

     Gratitude is what protects my heart against the ugly bitterness that threatens to destroy me.

     It ushers me to a place of peace, hope, humility and joy.

     It turns my focus to the things I once considered little and reveals their beauty.

With renewed perspective I look around me and wonder, How can I not be grateful?!?




As I review the past few months, I choose to dwell on the good. The year has been heavy with heartache, loss, and immense strain... But to focus on that would be unjust for the year has also been rich in beauty and joy.

To my family who tirelessly supports us in every way imaginable... thank you.

To my friends who stand beside us and have shouldered my many tears... thank you.

To my husband who has cast aside his own dreams and works harder than anyone I know... thank you.

To the many who love Grant and patiently work with him... thank you.

To my Savior who lovingly leads the way... thank you.

Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. Colossians 2:6-7


November 18, 2011

Just me

I had another eye-opening/self-realization/humbling experience this week.

It was kind of like the time I caught a reflection of myself in the polished elevator door while leaving the doctor's office a couple months ago. At first glance, everything appeared to be in place - hair, clothes, makeup... wait... I gasped at something I saw and ran to my car. I yanked the rear-view mirror towards myself and took a closer look at my face.

Again I gasped in horror. Oh dear. I felt my whole face turn hot with embarrassment.

That morning, while I had been hastily getting ready for the appointment, I smeared some extra concealer under my eyes, attempting to hide the effects of sleep deprivation. But, for some reason, I had forgotten the important step of dabbing the concealer into my skin.

So, for 30 plus minutes I talked with my son's neurologist about some very important things while patches of white were plastered under my eyes (think football players with those black patches they put under their eyes to protect them from the sun - only with cream-colored patches... that was me). Lovely. (Though, I'm guessing the doctor and everyone else I came in contact with never noticed the dark circles under my eyes. I suppose you could say "mission accomplished" in that regard.)

Earlier this week some special attention was brought to a blog post I had written and I was elated to say the least. A steady stream of e-mails related to the post began to drop into my in-box. I was giddy as I began to open and read them. Soon my mood became more serious as I digested one heart-felt testimony after another. Each one touched me so intensely that I had to take several emotional breaks.

These sincere people were sharing their personal stories with me. They related with me, encouraged me, applauded me, and others shared their pain with me. I began to feel embarrassed. 

     What if they could see the real me? The me that still struggles with fear and fights feelings of doubt.

The experience was like taking another look in the mirror and seeing, once again, I am full of flaws. I am inadequate. I am not worthy.

Then God hit me with a response that quickly put me in my place.

     No, you aren't worthy... but I am. This is for My glory - remember?

Of course. Seriously, when will I learn that this is not about me?!

Instead it's about my patient and faithful God who uses the many {just me}s in this world for His glory.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.  2 Corinthians 4:7


...Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.  2 Corinthians 12:9


November 16, 2011

the whisper of a dandelion

Recently I prayed that God would open my eyes to see the circumstances that surround me through His eyes.

... to see beauty and joy throughout the trials of this world.

A piece of me expected a great conversion. But just like Elijah {1 Kings 19}, I experienced God's glory in a way I didn't expect...

As my youngest son and I went for a walk, I was hoping to capture an image that would encompass beauty. I became increasingly frustrated with each snapshot I took - none of them held fast the thoughts I wanted to express. 

 Then my son stooped to pick a dandelion...


A weed we often despise and discard reminded me of the attention to detail God gives everything - in the mighty and in the least of these.

It was a reminder to take notice and enjoy the little things God provides me every day.

You are on the path of My choosing. There is no randomness about your life. Here and Now comprise the coordinates of your daily life. Most people let moments slip through their fingers, half-lived. They avoid the present by worrying about the future or longing for a better time and place. They forget that they are creatures who are subject to the limitations of time and space. They forget their Creator, who walks with them only in the present.  
{Excerpt from Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, page 128}


You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13

And behold, the Lord passed by, and great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper. And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And behold, there came a voice to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 1 Kings 19:11-13


November 11, 2011


With both eyes glued to my son, I attempted to carry on a conversation with my fellow mom friends. I scanned the play area and took inventory of everything that Grant could hurt himself on: uneven ground, steps, the plank that bordered the playground… 
Play dates at the park always make me nervous, I thought to myself, So much chaos and uncertainty.

I watched Grant trying his best to keep up with the other children. He wants to be just like them.

Grant began to climb up the stairs to go down the slide and stumbled forward. I inhaled sharply and lunged forward, catching him just before he crashed landed.

A few months ago Grant was diagnosed with Fragile X Syndrome. It is the number one known genetic cause of autism and the most common cause of inherited mental impairment. A significant component of the syndrome is Sensory Processing Disorder. 

Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), formerly known as sensory integration dysfunction, is a condition that exists when the eight sensory signals we have (touch, taste, smell, hearing, sight, vestibular, proprioception, and interoception) jam together and do not get organized into appropriate responses. 

SPD affects Grant’s whole world - the way he eats, walks, plays, and filters the commotion of the environment around him.

When Grant was learning to walk he had a very difficult time transitioning one surface to another and he was absolutely terrified of cracks in the sidewalk. Because of his perception issues related to SPD, Grant found it difficult to judge the depth of an ordinary crack. His whole body would shake with fear when he approached certain spots during our afternoon walks. I had to hold his hand and guide him. To his eyes, those cracks could have been deep caverns.

When I realized the details of Grant’s condition, I put on a brave face but inwardly cascaded into a valley of darkness.  My life had changed in an instant. One day I was a normal mom – the next I was the mom of a special needs child who would never live independently. The dreams for my son’s future shattered and I felt lost, alone, and hopeless. I went into mourning. My mourning gave way to bitterness. I felt haunted by my new reality. Any public place was a platform to display the life that was taken away from me. 

A couple months after Grant’s Fragile X Syndrome diagnosis, I was standing in line at the grocery store and I overheard a conversation between a mother and her teenage son. They were talking about the teenager getting his homework done so he could drive over to a friend’s house. It was a normal conversation that wouldn’t have caught anyone else’s attention, but I felt as if I had been slapped in the face. I dropped my items and fled to my car. 

Sobbing, I cried out to God, "Will Grant ever drive a car? Will he learn how to be “socially acceptable” enough to have friends? Who will take care of him when I am gone? Oh Lord, why did you choose to give my son a life so full of trials?!" 

God replied by putting a verse on my heart:

Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…
Isaiah 43: 1b-3a
 It was then that my focus began to adjust. I didn’t want to live a life stuck in sadness. I wanted to move on. I began to focus on the blessings God had given me and lean heavily on Him to provide our needs. My son, and my family, will have many struggles. But all of this is for God’s glory and if I rest in Him there will also be much peace and joy. 

I spent too long wanting what was taken from me and not what was given.
Prince Caspian from The Voyager of the Dawn Treader
I am pleased to say that with a lot of hard work and therapy, Grant now walks with ease over any crack. We love our evening walks as a family. 

I am still learning how to move on. I'm guessing it just takes time as I follow God's lead.

Follow-up: While events such as play dates at the park (or trips to the store, etc) were and, at times, continue to be a source of stress for me, they are very necessary for Grant. He needs to learn how to navigate through challenges and I need to let him be challenged. My job as Grant's mom is not only to be his protector and advocator, but also to be the person who lovingly pushes him to grow and develop (even though it can be hard to watch him struggle). I know Grant will go far. God is going to use him in a big way for His glory!

This post was originally published at Jennifer Hudson Taylor. Slight changes have been made.

November 9, 2011

Sous Chefs

Most of the time I "shoo" the boys away from the kitchen... I'm too busy trying to get dinner ready to engage them properly (and constantly keep them from endangering themselves). It's easier to just keep them out.

But I want them to love cooking and baking. To know and enjoy the process. To be independent.

That means I need to start now - while they are young.

What better way to begin than to bake some cookies! Of course we did more than our fair share of testing the dough while learning to follow instructions.

 We don't have any kid-size aprons so I adjusted mine as best I could... too cute!

For some reason, Wesley decided he needed to hold a ball while spooning the cookie dough.


Add a cup of milk and it was a recipe for fun and "yummy-ness". Or as Grant would put it: "Mmmmmmm!"

 I learned all I know from the best. Thanks, Mom, for teaching me so much about cooking and baking.

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