Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Trying to Avoid Burn-Out...

...but not doing all that well!

Here's possibly why:

Last week Sam was in hospital for 4 nights with suspected pneumonia , and I got very little sleep, as he was very distressed, and worried. He's home, and back at school since yesterday - but for me, I feel like I'm going to need a little longer to recover. Isn't that strange?!

Last week, we also had a very important assessment of Ben's development. He has been seeing a speech therapist for some months now, and she was becoming quite concerned about some of his behaviour; so Ben was referred to a specialist team for assessment. The appointment was last Tuesday, the day after Sam's first (sleepless) night in hospital. I really had no option but to go for the appointment, as we had been waiting for at least 6 months! After an hour 1/2 of playing with him, observing him, testing his cognitive skills, and chatting with me in length, a diagnosis was finally made: Ben has ASD (autistic spectrum disorder). While they think this is fairly mild, it is still necessary to have a formal diagnosis so that we can get the help and support needed - especially at nursery/ school, where the last thing we want is for him to be labelled as "naughty"...

Incidentally, in the course of the conversation with Dr Karlman, I spoke a fair bit about our difficulties with Sam, who has a diagnosis of (and is medicated for) ADHD. I have always been convinced that Sam has ASD or Asperger's Syndrome, and yet the doctor who has been following him is adamant that ADHD is his main 'problem'. However, Dr Karlman seemed to agree with me that Sam's symptoms are much more indicative of Asperger's than ADHD (which wouldn't rule out ADHD!), and suggested that his diagnosis be reassessed, which I am now in the process of doing...

It would seem that God in His wisdom, has chosen us to parent three children with special - or 'additional' needs...
And while I wholeheartedly trust His plans for us, right now I feel emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and physically burned out.

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Wonderful Autumn

Quite possibly, this is my very favourite season. Although I know that by the time spring comes around I will probably be saying spring is my very favourite season! In truth I think I simply cannot make up my mind.

Autumn delights me. It refreshes, and invigorates me, yet at the same time I find it incredibly restful and soothing.
Autumn for me is a season of new beginnings, of change and endless possibilities, of renewed purpose and energy, of freedom and creativity.
While summer frustrates and sometimes even depresses me, autumn makes me want to get things done, and excites me.

I know autumn is often used as a metaphor to signify the later years in life... And if that is the case, I cannot wait for those years!! Autumn is not, for me, a season of sadness, or of waiting for 'death'. I guess it's a choice of attitude. I could choose to bemoan the fact that it is getting colder, that the days are getting shorter, that there is less green around, and that trees are losing more and more leaves every day.

On the other hand, colder means early morning mist hovering over golden ripe fields, bringing with it a freshness heavy with the strangely sweet, moldy fragrance of damp soil, moss and fungi.
Shorter days give way to long cosy evenings wrapped in a fluffy jumper, soft fleecy slippers, watching flames dance in a little wood burning stove with a mug of hot chocolate in one hand, and a good book in the other.
Less green...also means a gloriously rich tapestry of reds, golds, browns and yellows! Thinning, barer trees, but so much more fruit, more colour, more fun kicking the carpet of crisp leaves which have fallen to the ground...

I read this a few days ago. It made so much sense to me, and they could almost have been my words... I read and thought: at last! someone who gets it, who isn't afraid to admit that while our british summers are usually a bit of a flop, our british autumns more than make up for it and should be celebrated.
"It is almost a relief to declare the dismal summer of 2008 finally over. Teasing reports of pressure building over the Azores will no longer give rise to false hopes of camping or days on the beach, only to be deflated by another Atlantic depression twisting the isobars. The tent is paked away and the first evening fires have been lit. The beaches are empty and the stew is on the stove. The cruel waiting and disappointment is over; bring on the autumn when tempestuous weather and coats are expected, not resented"... (Guy Watson, Founder of Riverford Organic Vegetables)
The way God intended the wondrous mystery of changing seasons is indeed to be celebrated, and not begrudged. So let's enjoy and delight in creation!

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Others on Sin and Forgiveness...

It's amazing what you find by following links in the Blogosphere...
On sin, here is what I found on Brandi's blog the other day:
(NB: I've abridged it to get to the point more quickly!)

When John Wesley was in college, he wrote a letter to his mom asking the question, “What is sin?” I think he was looking for a catalog of activities. I can imagine somebody listening to this about media, saying something like, “Okay, well, tell me what I’m not allowed to watch. Kind of give me a …”

Mrs. Wesley wrote him back. I think it’s so wise. She said,

Take this rule: Whatever weakens your reason, impairs the tenderness of your conscience, obscures your sense of God, or takes off the relish of spiritual things; in short, whatever increases the strength and authority of your body over your mind, that thing is sin to you, however innocent it may be in itself.
Isn't that ever so helpful...??!

On forgiveness, I found out this morning that in the Eskimo language, they have a 24-letter tongue-twister of a word: Issumagijoujungnainermik
(and if you click on the word itself it'll take you to 'Kisses from the Father' , a beautiful blog where Stacey writes about forgiveness too, amongst other things...)
This rather delightful mouthful means litterally this: 'to not be able to think about it any more'...

I love it! It just says it all - doesn't it?

Saturday, 13 September 2008


What am I building with?

Gold, silver, costly stones?
Precious time given to the needy, love for the unlovable, grace to forgive those who hurt me most?
Giving and not expecting to receive anything in return?
Giving and expecting NOT to receive anything in return?
Forsaking pride for the sake of the good news?

Or wood, hay, straw?
...Cheap, imitation materials destructible in an instant by fire or flood?
Paying lip service to God with emotional but empty worship?
Giving my 10% to the church every month?
Doing my bit for the environment?
Putting effort, time and money into fundraising for charity?
Attending every prayer meeting...?
Fasting and making sure everyone around me knows how hungry I am?

"Each one should be careful how he builds... If any man builds on this foundation [which is Jesus Christ] using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss..." (1Cor.3v10-15)

Saturday, 6 September 2008

One of Many Favourite Sleeping Positions

This is how he was sleeping tonight...!! Genius!