The High Dive

It’s a hot boring summer day. You’ve managed to get yourself to a nearby public swimming pool. You’ve swam, jumped off the side of the pool, played marco polo, gotten some candy, and watched as many people have jumped off the high diving board. Your boredom has gotten the best of you. You decide that you need that excitement in your life right now. It looks so easy and fun. There’s this glimmer of hope for the cure to your boredom blues. As you walk to the ladder you go from walking boldly like a lion to slowly moving while swallowing the fears trying to creep in and deter you. Blocking out the noise of those fears is pretty easy at first. Then the person in front of you is going and a surge of adrenalin goes through your veins and your heart feels like it is going to burst out of your chest. You slowly walk to the edge of the board, suddenly regretting every decision leading up to this point in your life. You consider climbing down the way you came up. But the fears of everyone hating you, push you to risk your life, plunging what feels like 100 feet into a pool of chlorinated pee water. As you come into contact with the water you kick and reach up to keep yourself from going too deep. Your head bursts through the top of the water and you gasp for air, realizing that you may have overreacted in your emotional response when reaching the top of the diving board. You even consider going again.

That memory became fresh in my mind yesterday as they were taking my 4 year old into her 10th surgery. You see, I was given two options. To wait and see if we could get her intestines to start working on their own, or put in a temporary ileostomy to give her large intestine an extended break and heal fully so that they would work like they are supposed to. Initially, it was a no brainer. She has had 3 hospitalizations in one month because her bowels were just not functioning. Going through this pandemic COVID-19, we needed to avoid the emergency room at all costs. That, and now my usually happy go lucky kid was now struggling with post traumatic symptoms due to the frequent needle pokes, NG tubes, and hospital stays, something different needed to be done. I had numerous affirmations from highly respected medical professionals and friends. But suddenly, the morning of her surgery I was once again at the edge of that diving board, wondering if I made a mistake. I don’t think I made a mistake in my decision. These emotions I think are actually common when faith is required. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Does this resonate with you? Did you jump? What did you learn from that experience?

She Heard them Moo

It is indisputable that Temple Grandin is an extraordinary human, who has lived an extraordinary life. For decades slaughterhouses were run the same way. Human’s design for what was cheaper and what made sense from their perspective. I believe that they would all be run the same exact way if Temple Grandin hadn’t come along. She was the first person to acknowledge that there was something wrong with their loud mooing. The men working in the field had learned to just tune them out and follow the system. Many people say, “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it!” What if it is broken, but it takes someone seeing it from a different perspective. Autism does that. It allows people to see things from a different perspective. Through countless hours of research and just spending time with the cows, she was able to identify the flaws with the system. The original slaughter houses relied heavily on using electrical shock (cattle prods) to force cows to go into the direction that the humans wanted them to go. Then they were forced to go through a dip to get rid of any insects that may be on their fur. The problem was that they sometimes would slip, break a leg, and then drown. Once they had drowned, they could not be used for meat. Temple watched closely to how the cattle like to move in circles. She personally crawled through the cattle shoot with the wide gaps in the fencing and realized how the sun reflected off of metal surfaces, causing the cattle to get startled. She watched them walk into ponds and realized the flaw in the dipping process was that it was slick and steep going in to the water. Temple arranged the cattle shoot to move in circles, with solid fencing so that reflected light wouldn’t get in and startle them, and then she created a less steep transition into the bath that had grooves so that they would not slip. All of this kept the cattle calm through the entire process. Cattle prods were rarely needed (if at all). And most importantly, cows weren’t injuring themselves leading to drowning. In the end it was a win win situation. The cows were calmer and the ranchers weren’t losing money on drowned cattle.

So many times people tune out things to force something to happen in their timing and in their way. But what if you can’t tune those things out. So instead you hear them and they rip your soul to shreds. Some people say that autistic people don’t have empathy. That is a total lie, straight from the pit of hell. In fact, if anything, we over empathize. We not only experience what others are feeling, but we feel it even more intensely. The problem is not that we don’t feel it, we just often don’t know what to do with the ever-present, intense emotions. Then we are overwhelmed by the emotional storm inside us that we often push the source away or run away from it.

My youngest daughter has spina bifida. She has endured through 10 surgeries in her 4 years of life. Three surgeries this year (2020). This most recent one is a little more difficult for me. She had an ileostomy placed. If you don’t know what this is, they disconnect the small intestine from the large intestine, and direct the small intestines into a bag outside of the body. The plan is to wait a year and then reconnect the small and large intestine. It will take time for the small portion of intestine that is outside of her body to not look so raw. In the meantime, it is extremely difficult emotionally for me to even look at her stoma. I must fight the overwhelming urge to run away and instead comfort my recovering baby.

Going through this experience, I was reminded of how my dad handled similar circumstances when I was a child. I remember breaking my arm when I was 12. My dad could not be in the same room while they casted it. My mom has told me numerous times that my dad could not ever be in the same room when I was having any medical test or treatment. Many people would look at that behavior and think how cruel and cold, but now, I get it.

I would put myself in my kid’s place a million times over if I could go through it instead of them. The emotional pain is so intolerable and there is nothing I can do to get rid of it. I just have to feel it. I talk about painful experiences a lot. I do this because it helps me to process and work through these painful events. I am trying to get better at processing these things. Do you have a method or specific approach that helps you process the emotional turmoil caused by difficult trials? What has helped you?


Imagine, you are an alien from another planet. You are stranded on this foreign land and you need to survive. What’s the best strategy? Blending in. The minute you stand out, it’s over. They will want to know why you are different. Once they know, your life is over. You become hyper-vigilant watching people’s reactions. No response, is worse than a negative response. At least with a negative response, you know to stop what you are doing and reassess what your next move will be. Positive reaction? well, you’re golden.

That’s been my life as far back as I can remember. Whether it was my cousins and brother or classmates at school, I learned early on, that survival = blending in. It was second nature, like breathing. The one response I could never (and still can’t) interpret is the no response. It makes me so nervous. And like a broken record, the words or actions in question replay over and over and over in my mind. I can’t stop the tornado swirling in my head.

It happened to me last week. I wrote a post that made me a little vulnerable on Facebook. I got a couple of comments and a small handful of likes. But for hours, there was no reaction. I could NOT get it out of my head. There was so much I needed to do to tend to my family, I just deleted it.

Later, I reflected on why it could’ve bothered me so much. Memories of watching people’s reactions came flooding to my mind. The anxiety that I constantly lived in when people didn’t respond, was often consuming. I realized that I was never truly free to be me. It seems so cliche.

I want to be free. I want to be me, without apology. I want to be content if not everyone likes, loves, or approves of me. I want to live as if my life depends only on being the me God made me to be.

So, today. February 18th, 2020, guess what world? I am a Christian, Autistic, home school mom, to five amazing miracles. I am awkward, sometimes funny, strange, and quirky. But, I am also, lovable if you just try to see things the way I see them, through binoculars.

Who do you think You Are?

The enemy whispers with spite dripping from his tongue, “Who do you think you are?”The words echo in my soul like an unexpected gunshot. I immediately shrink and hide in my shell.

I started this blog with purpose, enthusiasm, and strength. I could see it growing and encouraging others. And in mere seconds after those words were spoken, I was instantly unsure and weak. Fast forward a couple of months, I hear a catchy song at a concert by Casting Crowns called, “Nobody”. There’s a chorus that says,

“I’m just a nobody, trying to tell everybody, all about somebody, who saved my soul…”

At the time I didn’t think much of how those words could apply to me.

On my first trip in 2020 to Nashville, I decided to listen to a book recommended to me on Audible called, Same Kind of Different as Me. I HIGHLY recommend this book especially the audio version. Anyway, it just so happens that near the end of the book, those exact words from the Casting Crowns song are in the book. It was then that I decided to listen to the song again, and again, and again (what can I say, my autistic self just gets a little fixated and likes repetition). Anyway, in the song it says, “who do you think you are.” That was when I realized what had caused me to stop writing my blog. It was those exact, words.

I suddenly found the response in the song to be pure genius. “I’m just a nobody, trying to tell everybody, all about somebody, who saved my soul.” That is it! My story isn’t great because of me. My story is great because despite all of the trials I have faced, God has always come through. People look at me as if I must be super strong. The truth is, I know I am weak. I fight my battles on my knees. There are two things (just like there are two lenses in binoculars) that in a way define who I am and how I perceive the world around me, my autism and God. No matter what I have faced in life, He is the reason I come out of the fiery furnace without so much as a singed hair. My autism defines me because, I believe, it is exactly how God made me for His greater purpose.

Walk on Water?!?

I don’t want to get out of the boat! The boat is safe, it’s warm and dry, predictable, makes sense, is most logical. I don’t like to get wet and I hate cold. Besides walking on the water is absurd! What are the statistical chances of someone actually walking on the water? I could get wet, drown, fall, get hypothermia. Now, forget about me, you want me to send my child out of the boat? Shouldn’t there be a clause in that command? Like, no kids allowed outside the boat? Even though I hate the cold and wet, I’ll go! Whatever you want me to do, I’ll do it, just leave the kid in the nice, safe, dry, predictable boat. What? Trust you? Well, of course I do! I told you I would get out of the boat…why do you have to involve the kids? Well, of course I know you love them more than I do, I just, well, couldn’t you just take them on a more predictable path? I just don’t feel comfortable with unpredictable. I just don’t feel safe. Well, could you put floaties on them just in case? Well, I know you can protect them. But what if they die? Then they won’t be with me here. I will miss them. Well, of course, they may live to do amazing things. You want to show how amazing you are through their life? Well, yes, I know there are many who don’t believe in you. Of course, I want them to see what you can do. Ok, Lord, but it won’t be easy. I may cry. It might be messy and UNPREDICTABLE. And to be honest, I’m scared. 

In the storm

There’s few things I hate more than having to go out and about in rain. The cold and wet rain overstimulate this autistic mommy. All I can focus on is that I’m cold and wet, and I don’t like to be cold and wet. The real life things become distractions and I am irritable. One Saturday morning I was standing on my porch, enjoying my cup of coffee while watching a massive storm rip through my backyard. There was turbulent thunder and luminous lightening across the sky. I could smell the delightful scent of rain while it pounded the roof. It was beautiful, much more so than how I can describe it. I was in awe of the magnificent orchestra that my Lord was directing in my very own backyard. I began meditating on the difference of being in the storm vs. watching the storm. While in the storm, I don’t see the amazing wonders, sounds, sights, or smells. Inside the storm I am only abundantly aware of the cold, wet rain.

In life we encounter many storms. In fact, I currently am in a storm. I don’t see all the amazing things that many of my supportive friends and family see. I see the challenges and difficulties, and that I don’t like challenges and difficulties. I realized how important it is to take a step back, onto the porch, whenever possible so that I can see the wonders and beauty within the storm.

Sometimes I can’t find my way out. So I reach up (prayer) and out (friends and family). I am never disappointed. I think this blog will help me process this journey that I am on. Maybe one day it will serve as a map through someone else’s storm. Blessings!


Bird Watching

It was a crisp Saturday morning in November. I took my daughter to a park where a bird watching club was meeting. We were late and couldn’t find anyone, so we ventured on our own to see what kind of birds we could find. Have you ever looked for something while looking through binoculars? Birds are typically small creatures that move about quite a bit. Trying to locate a bird while looking through binoculars can make one dizzy. I learned this quickly on my first bird watching adventure. It’s best to locate the bird without the binoculars and then look through the binoculars. But what if you saw the world as if you were looking through binoculars all of the time? There is so much to take in! You don’t have peripheral vision. It can be overwhelming and anxiety provoking if you are being pressured to see the whole picture.

I have high functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder. This is how I see the world. It has been difficult because I miss so much that everyone else seems to see. Then people accuse me of being insensitive, cold, or stupid. It causes me anxiety, however, there are times it prevents anxiety. You see, at the moment there are several stress provoking circumstances occurring in my world. Because I can only focus on one thing at a time, and each of these circumstances requires me to focus, I simply do just that. Whatever I need to address at any particular moment, I focus all of my attention on that one issue, blocking out everything else. Most people can’t do that. They are perpetually aware of all stressful circumstances and have an even more difficult time coping. There are times I am frustrated by my differences, and then there are times like these that I can appreciate how God made me.

I believe all five of my children fall somewhere on the Autism Spectrum. They are each so unique. My husband is the only neurotypical in our home. I often find myself trying to help him understand how we see the world so that he can relate better to our children and me. The world needs to identify the people who have high functioning autism for many reasons. I grew up not realizing I was a square peg living in a round peg world. For nearly 40 years I, along with others, kept pounding and pounding me trying to get me to fit into a round hole. I have been traumatized many times over in my life. So much pain could have been avoided. I could have recognized and channeled my strengths so much earlier in my life. I see many (too many really) people on the spectrum that have an incredible amount of intelligence, skill, and potential that lays dormant, never to be used to better this world. It is so sad to see these people think they are useless pieces of trash simply because they don’t fit in with everyone else. What if we created more square holes? And then guided these fellow square pegs to be used in such holes?

Why get my kids diagnosed? You may ask. You have probably heard the phrase, “it takes a village to raise a child”. It’s true! And even neurotypical parents realize that. Well since I have autism and I see the world through binoculars, I can’t possibly identify and accommodate or address every area of weakness in each individual unique child that I have. I need help! I need services for myself and for my kids, so that 1) they can reach their full potential, without wasting their God given strengths simply because they think or see things differently than most of the world. 2) They can avoid unnecessary pain. I can’t protect my kids from all painful experiences. I don’t want to. They grow and become amazing people through trials and hardship. But that doesn’t mean I am going to push my kids into traffic!

People think that because they don’t experience our autism very much, so that must mean we don’t experience it. That’s not true! We subconsciously hide it. We don’t want to be different than those around us. Most of us know by the time we are 6, that if we are too different we are teased, labeled, attacked, mocked, the list could go on. We see that and we struggle internally. Sometimes the pain becomes so intense we explode emotionally. So just because we are good at hiding it, that means we are “cured”? We don’t need services, understanding, accommodations, different expectations? I am starting this blog for many reasons. I have several unique and difficult circumstances that I have or am dealing with. Many people have suggested I write a book. Who knows, maybe this is a precursor to my first novel. I have heard, and I believe that God never wastes a hurt. So I am choosing to use my hurt to help others heal and maybe not fall in the same pits I have. So here it goes. August 19, 2019, this is my first post. I look forward to sharing my life as I see it, “through binoculars”.