the art of unfolding & resting

Driving to work today, radio on, I heard:

 And what was said to the rose to make it unfold

Was said to me, here in my chest…

This line specifically:

What was said to the rose to make it unfold.

Whenever I hear it, I stop dead in my tracks.

There is a sacred pause…The mystery and magic of this line makes me weak in the knees. I just want to take a deep breath and soak it in all over again like it’s the first time I’ve heard it.

I’m sort of an arm raiser during praise and worship. Not every song, not every Sunday. But it happens. When something moves me enough — I throw my hands up in the air!

Why the automatic response of praise is to often raise your arms has always baffled me.  Seems like such a funny thing that our bodies just know what to do when we’re moved…

All of us opens up.

But if the mastermind behind the flowers is the mastermind behind our souls I guess it isn’t all that crazy.

His voice. His mystery. His beauty.

It makes things unfold.

Flowers.

Hearts.

There’s an art to the blossoming.

Flowers don’t just flop open in the morning.

Nope!

They ever so slowly, ever so patiently, unfold

— displaying endless beauty for all to see.

Sometimes I forget this art. The art of opening up.

If flowers don’t flop open, why do I think my heart would just flop open?

Maybe there are times my heart swings open it’s doors to take in the world.

But other time, I am slow. Just like a rose.

I unfold.

Roses are the perfect image of God’s work on our hearts. His love slowly unfolding the mysteries of our hearts

— with each beat of his love in us we open up just a bit more. 

Until we unfold. Fully and openly.

We open up to display all our beauty.

…….

This morning, the next few words that follow in the song struck me — I’m usually so caught up in its preceding lyrics that I miss this:

… so be quiet now and rest

Anyone ever watch a rose (or any flower for that matter) all day?

Doesn’t do much.

It opens up.

And then it just basks in the sunlight.

All. Day. Long.

Apparently. Roses know how to rest.

And maybe God wants us to be more like roses.

‘Cause if we were.

We’d open up.

And then we’d just bask in the warmth of his love.

All. Day. Long.

I forget this.

But today…. I stopped and smelled the roses.

….And they were a beautiful reminder to unfold and rest.

Kaylee (and husband, Dan) have one daughter, Miss Bella, who lives in a world of FPIES,EoEDelay in Gastric Emptying.  Kaylee works full-time at Start Garden and fine-tunes plans to take over the world while driving to doctors’ appointments.

a little help from your friends

[forgive the wacky formatting, Friends… I’m working on it, but the internets are against me today]
The Sweetboy that God gave to us, is delightfully quirky.
Sometimes, though, The Quirk doesn’t manifest itself in socially healthy ways.
Like, when the adjustable waistband in your shorts has unraveled and said shorts are now pooling around your knees.  And you aren’t affected.  But, all of your friends on the bus most certainly are.
Lord, why? He deals with so much, already!
“Why, this is the perfect opportunity to introduce a Social Story about your clothes fitting correctly!”, I thought.
You’ve heard of these magical things – social stories. They are often used with children who experience difficulty expressing language and/or understanding receptive language.  These short and simple stories – with simple pictures- allow children to see how a doctor’s visit might go or how a relative’s visit might work or how you must wear underwear under your clothing.  (Oh, to be a fly on the wall of the family for whom an encounter has just left them shouting, “WE NEED A SOCIAL STORY FOR THAT!”)
And so, here was our Social Story about Shorts:
Shorts are a kind of clothing you can wear.
  shorts_l
Zip and snap your shorts when they are around your belly button.
zip_shorts_missindeedy
Shorts should not fall down.
stomach_shorts_missindeedy
The End.
Not. Even. Kidding.
These kinds of stories have gotten us through our first dentist visit, bringing home a baby sister, and the death of our beloved dog.
Sometimes, that wonderful “not caring what other people think” quality of Sweetboy’s?  It get’s him into hot water socially.
Like, when your shorts are falling down around your knees when you get off the school bus. Only, instead of complete embarrassment over this incident in-the-moment, Sweetboy simply told me, in a very matter-of-fact, ASD way, “My shorts fell down all day today.”
Because this blessed child?  He doesn’t think of it as socially unacceptable that his pants were falling down All The Day Long.
No. This blessed child just thinks it was a nuisance, and so he asks me to fix his shorts so that it won’t happen again, please and thank you.
So, to review, the shorts must stay up around your middle.
Or bad things can happen. Things like, your shorts falling down in front of your friends.
Or your mother.
Either way, it’s not good.
Or socially acceptable.
And someone cries.
Usually, me.
Lord God, shield my child’s heart from the cruel misunderstandings that follow him in his Autistic tendencies.  Shield my own heart, and the hearts of the many mamas and papas who are doing their level best to raise these children You’ve blessed us with.  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
Also, every picture you’d ever need, and then some, is available for free at www.do2learn.com  It has been an invaluable resource for us.  Maybe it will help you too?
Today’s post is from dear, sweet Missy.  You can find Missy writing anonymously about the mishaps of daily life with an Engineer, a child with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder, and a preschooler who’s convinced she’s 14.  She is a Southern transplant living the dream in the New England area.  The mishaps are a’plenty.

My child is a screamer.

My child is a screamer.

Please don’t judge me.

HI! Have we met? My name is Elissa, and I’m the Mama to 4 beautiful children. Three have been with me from the beginning, and my youngest was adopted at age 7 from Russia.

It’s not clear exactly what happened to our youngest son before he joined our family, but a special recipe of neglect, trauma and abuse has left our nine year old functioning at the developmental level of a four year old, both cognitively and socially. He doesn’t do crowds, he doesn’t do stores, and he doesn’t like it when life deviates from his picture schedule.

As his adoptive mother I’m new to this whole world of special needs parenting. It took me longer than I’d like to admit to figure out that my new son’s temper tantrums were fear based, not orneriness. I’m still sort of trying to figure out what will send my son into panic mode. It’d be so much nicer if my son would come to me 10 minutes before he had a meltdown to tell me “Mother, I’m simply over stimulated by the options at the grocery store today. If you would like to avoid having me throw bananas at you, you’d be wise to take me home soon.”

Yeah, that doesn’t happen.

I’m the one with a screaming kid in the checkout line. Fortunately my little guy is the size of a six year old so I get a slight measure of grace from curious onlookers. But mostly I can feel their stink eyes burning into the back of my head. Their judgmental thoughts echoing in my psyche,

That boy is too big to be riding around in a buggy. Not to mention throwing a tantrum.

Can’t she keep that kid quiet?

Just give him your phone and shut him up already. (So he can throw it across the store? I think not.)

I hear these sentiments because I have thought them myself. I have callously assumed the screaming kid on the next row was just being ornery to get a treat. I have also assumed that his Mama was too lazy and self centered to make him get his act together.

Oh sweet Jesus did I really think these things about other women? How could I have been so judgmental? Thank you Jesus for bringing my new baby to me to help me be a better Mama. A less judgmental Mama. A Mama ready to link arms with those other harried Mamas in the checkout line and do our best with what we’re given. 

ElissaElissa Peterson is a slightly off kilter Mama to 4 who likes to pretend she has her act together. She writes about the joys of dancing through life with a very special 9 year old glued to her hip on her blog: Don’t Let Life Pass You By.