Saturday, 30 August 2008

A Book Less Ordinary

This book has got to be read to be believed... Read it, many times... over and over, until the truths within it begin to sink in and change your relationship with God... and maybe possibly even your life.
If you have read it, please leave a comment and tell me what you thought.

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

A Week in Devon

We came home yesterday after a week spent at Mark's parents' home in Shaldon, South Devon.
I am not sure how to accurately describe our time away; suffice to say that it was jam-packed full of highs and lows..., excitement and frustration..., fun, laughter and sunshine, as well as tears, hot-tempers and nasty weather!
So for now let me simply share a few lovely snaps of some of the lovely times :)
The last few pictures are of Fleur (5), Ellie (11) and Jack (8), the boys' cousins, with whom they always have a blast! Seeing them was such a highlight... even in spite of the grey weather.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Glorious Evening

I took a late evening stroll tonight...
I needed some fresh air, and some time to be alone with my thoughts, and my Heavenly Father, away from noise, mess, cooking smells, chores and the general pace of life.
It was a most beautiful evening, the air fresh and fragrant after some recent rain, and the sky clearing to reveal a glorious setting sun.

After coming out of a particularly shady part of the lane, my heart stopped as I looked to my right: through the hedge in the sky I glimpsed some lean and athletic-looking clouds which had taken on an intense, golden pink-ish hue.
Everything around me was peaceful; not one car, not another soul, just the distant sound of owls calling... it was deeply soothing and totally breathtaking at the same time!

And gazing at those beautiful clouds, I felt something deep within my core, something that I don't experience very often: I felt totally in communion with my awesome Creator God.
I felt He was whispering to me that He had laid on this spectacular display to show His passion for me, and also to show me how the whole of creation joins in to worship Him.

I am one of these people who needs to be out in the middle of nowhere, alone, to really experience God. Nature and its beautiful intricacies speak to me of a majestic God who cares about the details as well as the big things in life; a Father God who cares passionately about every man and woman He ever created, and who desperately longs for each and every human being to live in relationship with Him.

What a God!!

[NB: sadly I didn't have my camera with me to capture the beauty I saw tonight. So instead, I went here]

Monday, 11 August 2008

Remembering slightly warmer days...

...Was it really only 2 weeks ago??

That was July and this is now August; both months couldn't contrast more widely weather-wise, and the pool has not seen any action for quite a few days now. So my boys have finally given up braving the freezing water, and have realised that they can't actually get warm once they come out because there is no sun out there to warm them. They are sorry and bored, and are running riot indoors. Maybe-it's time to devise some cunning indoor activities... Tent-building, obstacle-course-designing, crafting-a-la-Wibbz; hmmmm... Oh - and LOTS of TV!!!

Yep, sad and nostalgic as it is, I may have to accept defeat, and agree that summer is over for another year - although this does herald the slow approach of the new school term.
I do hope we can use the pool again before schools go back, but it's not looking hopeful. Anyway, it was fun while it lasted!!

Man, I am gutted! It's not even mid-August yet, for crying out loud...

And just in case you were wondering - you were right in thinking there is one extra little boy in that video; and he most definitely does not belong to me!! He's a little neighbour-friend from across the road, who my boys like to play with in the holidays. But unsurprisingly, we've not seen him in our patch since the weather turned!

Sunday, 10 August 2008

Venting... Again...

Sam and Tom have been off school now for nearly 3 weeks.
3 more full weeks to go, plus 3 days before they go back, on 4th September.
And counting.

I love my boys and I am loving having them at home; it's been a lot of fun...mostly.
But today I feel like I'm turning into 'Monster-Mummy'!!
I am intolerant and irritable, and it's not even PMT...
I just can't seem to avoid shouting at them for longer than 5 minutes!
What's wrong with me?? Why am I struggling to enjoy being with my children, why do I have a such longing to get away, to have some space,

I guess the combination of constant bickering, demands, mess and fussy eating would stretch even the most saintly of mothers! Added to which I am not sleeping nearly enough, and am running on very low physical, emotional and spiritual resources all of the time.

So really, it's no wonder I'm cranky.
[Boy I love that word! It says it all, and you don't even have to know its exact meaning to get the full gist of it. Why can't we Brits loosen up a little and come up with cute little words like this that sum up a whole range of feelings in one go?!?]

Meanwhile, this is a much more worthwhile read than the above 'rant'... Do go and visit Hoggstar if your perspective needs a little kick up the backside!

Saturday, 2 August 2008

Constant Sunshine?!?....

Don't think so!
At least not at the moment.

Our nearly-6-year-old Thomas is developing a pretty vicious temper, we are getting tantrum after tantrum over absolutely nothing and I'm slowly discovering exactly how much hard work it is trying to parent such a tempestuous child. Man, I am really struggling... And failing - at least it feels that way.

OK. I'll grant you that: Tom is absolutely delightful. He is happy, easy-going, charming, tender and generous. He is so loving that he makes my heart melt and soar with joy many times a day; needless to say people everywhere fall in love with him, because he is simply irresistible! He does indeed have a stunningly sunny personality and undeniable charisma. And he's WAAAAY cute. And he knows it. Too cute really; if you have a child with Down's Syndrome, or know any, you'll be familiar with the 'cute-factor'... Right??!

His play and social skills are second to none; he is funny and entertaining and I would go so far as to say he is a very talented, hilarious little comedian whose potential God only knows ( this space!).

And I can truly, honestly say that we are very blessed to have this special child in our lives; we wouldn't swap him for the world.


Thomas is also stroppy, fickle and sometimes aggressive. He screams all the time with a very high-pitched, shrill little voice. This seems to be his 'default setting', the only way he communicates and it's so loud I often have to stick earplugs in to avoid getting migraines! He is incredibly easily provoked and this makes him very belligerent - sometimes even downright mean. When he gets cross or upset, it's head-against-the-wall type stuff! You do not want to get in his way when he is in a rage, as he has a tendency to randomly throw heavy objects around the place, and/or kick, and/ or bite.

And I could go on.

How do I parent this child??
He doesn't really respond to rewards.
Ignoring him could lead to him injuring himself or one of us, or to him escaping out of the house, which has happened a few times.
Smacking has been tried, and is not an option, as it just makes him even more aggressive and angry, and teaches him that hitting is OK.
I cannot really reason with him.
I refuse to plead with him, and am certainly not prepared to let him wrap me round his little finger!

I am persevering: in prayer, in loving him, and in praising him as much as I can. But tonight I am strugglin, and worried; I'm anxious about how much worse he might become over the next few years if I don't nip his behaviour in the bud.

I'm really not sure where to turn for support and advice. I have heard and read that you should discipline a child with special needs as you would any child.

Ha! Yeah right...
Much as I'd like to, I don't think I believe that to be possible.

So please.
Help me!
If you have a child with similar patterns of behaviour, what strategies have you found helpful?
Have you read any books which have helped, given practical and realistic advice?
Is it likely to get better or worse??

...And would you pray for us?