The Twinge

Food poisoning. 

If you have ever been in such a predicament, you know all too well the feeling of fancy-freedom one moment and then in your mid-merriment enters an intense guttural pain bringing one to a fetal position.

“THE TWINGE OF DOOM”

There was a time as a little girl at a waterpark I was excitedly walking towards the waterside and in my excitement stepped on a HORNET.  Twinge of doooooom. 

I’ve also experienced “the twinge” deep in my heart. Maybe you felt something similar before… It’s like a of a swirl of sadness, rejection, and hurt. Food poisoning of the soul or a sting to your heart if you will.

I had a moment like that recently. I was out at the park having a jolly old time with my son, laughing and smiling and enters a friend that just a few years prior suddenly unfriended me on social media and also in “real life” for reasons I just never knew because she made it clear by her ignoring me and my attempts at reconciliation that she was done with me. I made peace with that. I forgave her. I prayed for her and asked God to bless her. I assumed the best. I let it go. 

In that moment at the park when it hit me who she was, I went from excitement to seeing her to dread. I suddenly felt flush with the embarrassment of rejection and prayed, “God give me courage and the strength to be kind and talk to her if you open the door, even though everything in me wants to pretend I don’t see her.”

And so, I rounded up my godliest Pastor-wife grin, ready to say a warm hello of reconciliation to the unfriender I had now just locked eyes with just a few feet away.  And low and behold, just as my lips were transitioning from smile to words, she looked away, and what seemed to be in slow motion, she spun on her toes sparkling with confidence and flipped her hair behind her and she SPEED walked away in the opposite direction. Well, maybe not exactly like that. 

As I sat in the cloud of dust from her getaway, I thought, “Maybe she just didn’t see me. I was too slow in gathering my courage. Maybe I try again if she comes back.”

If the truth be told, that 180 degree turn of hers brought back feelings that I didn’t know were there. Yucky feelings that could’ve ruined my day. “Twinge of doom” feelings that pointed to a greater response in me than I was anticipating.

 And then it hit me. The twinge. The stinging lies of the enemy trying to pull me down and steal my joy. “Maybe she really just doesn’t like me…maybe something is wrong with me. Maybe I’m just a failure at being a friend.” Lies. 

I have taught countless hours on emotional wellness, self-awareness, identity in Christ, rejection, etc. But in that moment, I toyed with those lies. Those lies toyed with me. 

Hearing a lie is one thing. Believing a lie is another. We act on what we believe. And at that moment I believed I was a loser. And I felt all twingy doomy. 

We left the park, and I couldn’t shake it. I fought back tears. I prayed. I built myself up in truth, I talked to a dear friend about it. And I forgave again. And asked forgiveness for the accusations and offense in my own heart toward her. Because Lord knows, those stored up offenses will turn even the sweetest person into a bitter person. And that gives you wrinkles. I really don’t have time for unnecessary wrinkles. 

And so, there has been no sweet resolution to this unfriendly situation. If I run into her again, I’ll be ready and willing to accept her even if she chooses to continue to keep me an un-friend. 

I’m keeping my joy. And when God brings her to mind, I will pray He blesses her. 

Blesses her really, really good. 

Back Seat Driver

It was a few hours past the evening routine of “bath, pjs, water jobs (brush teeth, potty, wash hands),
story time and bedtime prayers. Enter 10 year old back-seat driver (who shall remain nameless). He was shouting directions at his mother (who may or may not have been yours truly) and telling her that she wasn’t taking the right way.

This sleep deprived boy was also one who happened to know nearly EVERY highway path to his house from any direction possible. Obsessed with highway systems, he knew the fastest routes and whether he needed to go north, south east or west. Let’s just say deviating from his ideal route of Autistic precision doesn’t include a gracious “re-routing” like GPS would often provide, but rather endless reminders and escalating revolts that the driver was not selecting the best possible route. His route selection.

While the little genius is often CORRECT, he doesn’t always see the reasons WHY the said driver (also a very reasonable mapper and EXCELLENT driver, might I add) would choose an alternative route. He doesn’t know of the road closures, the congested traffic, accidents, etc.

He only knows what he sees.

And in the fury of his exhaustion on that late night drive, he screamed to his beloved mother through a slobbering of hot, angry tears, “I am going to steal your seat and drive a different way! I can get us there better than YOU!”

Isn’t that just precious? (Sigh.)

But how many times are we like that darling little back seat driver who shouts out to God, “But we need to go a different way! I don’t want change! I will fight you and scream at you until I get my way and I’m not letting up. This way is not BEST. This way isn’t the way I would take! I’m going to be the driver not YOU!”

Been there. Done that. I’ve chosen to do things without considering God.

I’ve said through my actions at times, “I don’t like your timing, God, so I’ll do things my way.”

It is a temptation when we face difficult situations to go in a way that seems like the best way.

Maybe you can relate to some of these common mis-directions:

-The job stinks so you start looking elsewhere when you KNOW it is where you are supposed to be.

-Waiting for a God’s best spouse for you takes too long so you compromise and start opening your heart to people who don’t have the same values as you.

-Money is tight so God is the last on your list instead of the first like He once was.

-The God-given dream in your heart is taking too long so you stop taking the necessary steps to prepare yourself…and let the dream shrivel.

There are countless times in our lives when we may be tempted to take our own route, especially when the pain is intense. In those moments of intense despair, anger and frustration at His navigating our lives, we can either turn TO Him and trust Him, or like the 10-year old and his thirst for control, we can push God out of the way and grab hold of the wheel, and seriously delaying or ultimately crashing the destiny He has for us.

I am walking through a situation right now that involves complete trust in Him. I feel like that 10-year old at times, and He lovingly reminds me that He knows it is hard that I can’t see what He is doing, but once again, He has His BEST in mind for me and my family even in difficult situations. These are a few of the scriptures that provide me a sense of calm
when I am tempted to throw trust to the wind and stay angry, hurt and frustrated.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭3:5-6‬ ‭

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭29:11‬ ‭

“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭30:21‬ ‭

Cry out to Him. Tell Him your dreams and frustrations with His driving.

It won’t change His love for you.

He can take our tears and our anger. But the peace comes when WE let go of the fight. Fall at His feet and cry it out. I’m talking ugly cry if you need to.

Ugly. Cry.

But at some point, to have peace, you gotta choose to rest in Him. It hurts to let go of our plans and dreams and give it to God. But it is the ONLY way to have peace when we stop shouting directions at Him and simply let Him give you His best way.

Eventually that darling sleepy 10-year old “GPS boy” did relax. He got home and had his night-time routine a few hours late and climbed into his cozy bed let his momma kiss his squishy little cherub cheeks as she tucked him in with “extra blankets and extra love.”

And his mom lived to tell about it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Talkin’ Trash: Treasure in the Trash

Have you ever thrown something  in the trash can that was REALLY valuable? Maybe a wedding ring, car keys, tickets, money…or perhaps a prized piece of fridge art?

If you have, chances are you rolled up your sleeves, grimaced your way through the various textures in hopes you’d find the object of desire.

A number of years ago, I had worked for a faith-based recovery program in Minneapolis called Teen Challenge. The clients in the program lived on site, and at the time, I worked the evening shift.

On one particular evening, one of the ladies threw away her set of false teeth after her meal!

Let me say it again: She threw her false teeth in the trash.

She was laughing and enjoying the company at her table one moment, and the next, she was panick-stricken as she realized she was missing her sparkling white smile!

The giant bags of dinner time trash had been taken out to the dumpsters already. My co-worker and I did what ever good Christian staff would do…put our gloves on, pushed our sleeves up and we went on a search for her teeth! We gagged our way through bag upon bag of spaghetti-sauce smeared contents of 60 residents, and praise The Lord, we finally found her chompers! (Guess that gives new meaning to the phrase, “Trash Talker!”)

When searching for something important, it doesn’t matter if the desired object was in the trash or sitting in pristine condition on the kitchen counter, it never loses its value! Most people would do whatever they could to find their missing treasure even if means getting dirty! (And for me…it takes a lot to motivate me to get dirty!) If my wedding ring was stuck in a puddle of mud, it would still be every bit as valuable to me. It would take some effort, but it could be cleaned off and brought back to its original shine again with a little TLC!

Like the diamond in the dirt, many of us have spent time in places that diamonds just don’t belong!

Our smiles may have been hidden beneath the heavy weight of the trash tossed at us. We may have been caked with the mud of this world, or we may have been splattered with a mess that didn’t even belong to us. Family wounds, sinful attitudes and actions, unhealthy relationships, abuse…there are many kinds of trash that we have been faced with.

But one thing remains the same: treasure is always treasure whether it is in the trash can or in the treasure box!

Who wants to dig through trash? Not me! Even driving past a trash dump is enough to ignite my gag-reflex. I can’t imagine many of us want to spend our days sorting through the things that have been deemed “garbage.”

Eeeewwwwwww….

I’ve heard it said, that “if you sit around the trash long enough, you’re going to begin to smell!” That may be true, but what if the deep wounds of the heart, the pain of the past, held pearls of wisdom that if we sorted through it for a moment would help us to see the diamond in the dirt?

The Treasure in the Trash

The things that we have packed in our hearts may not alwasy be lovely…the memories, the piercing words spoken …the pain of the past. Some of those memories we may never want to think about because of the painful response it invokes in our hearts. It is not necessary to look at the trash, but to look through the trash to find the treasure. 

 

 

 

 

 

It is not necessary to look at the trash, but to look through the trash to find the treasure.

 

To find the treasure in the trash, we need God’s perspective. He is the expert at making beauty out of a ashes. He sees the treasure in the ash heap. He sees us in our most vulnerable moments, covered in wounds and trash as a priceless treasure that He came to save.

Trash is nasty. That is the nature of trash. However, what is lovely is the treasure that comes out of it! As the saying goes, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” That has been true for many when it comes to finding something in a garage sale pile or thrift store. But When it comes to considering pain, hurt, and brokenness a treasure, that is typically not our first response. At least not mine. Thankfully, we have God’s word to anchor our thought process with truth.

Let’s take a look at one of my favorite scriptures, James 1:1-5,

“Consider it pure joy my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

The first time I read this portion of scripture, my heart did a belly-flop. “Consider trials pure joy?!?” How in the world am I supposed to do that? You see, at the time I read this passage, I was a young single woman, filled with so much pain and grief that I cried myself to sleep almost every night. I had a heart filled with broken dreams, unfulfilled promises, shame and pain that I just didn’t know what to do with all of the pain in my heart. So I did what I thought a Christian should do, slapped on a smile and shoved that pain deep into to the basement of my soul. And when nobody was around, I cried. Deep, deep cries  that only Jesus and my cat knew about (and probably my mom because moms just know those things). I cried for years, and years and years. And it was during that that time of healing, God healed my heart. He taught me how to see the good in the trial. To consider the joy in the trial. To see the beauty in the ashes. The trials themself really stunk. (Trash stinks, remember?) But the testing of my faith during that painful time truly brought about the greatest healing I could’ve imagined. And God used it all, and continues to use it. Thankfully, those tearful years have passed, but it was in the most painful time in my life that my relationship with Jesus grew. Some of the pain was a result of my own doing, some from others. I have forgiven and moved forward, but know that Jesus was with me and not one tear was wasted.

He never wastes a tear.

He always knows where his treasures are. You are His treasure! No matter what you’re going through, no matter what trash is around you, God has His eye on you, my dear!

You are His delight. He would go anywhere to redeem you. No pit is to great, no trial is too big, to amount of pain is too deep for God to heal. He will rescue those who are in need. He will redeem all that was lost. He will restore all that has been broken.

He sees the treasure in the trash, and He will do whatever it takes to bring His beloved to a place of freedom.

“To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the LORD has planted for his own glory.”‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭61:3‬ ‭

Time

Keep it short. Make it quick. Time is wasting…

tick tock tickTime keeps ticking. Seconds fly. Time is ever passing by.

Family time with phones in hand, Face to face with Facebook Quality time with Instagram.

The little kids now fully grown, Day by day the years have flown. Look at all the time we’ve blown!

Life is a vapor. When will we learn We just have one life There is not another turn? 

So take your time, enjoy the ride. Live it up with loved ones by your side. 

Time is ticking…

Tock tick tock 

Look at the time–there goes the clock…

            *********************

This little poem just popped into my heart as I was thinking of just how quickly this summer has gone by. Isaiah is napping now and I’m in a sentimental state thinking of how all of the treasured memories we have had with loved ones this summer. There are things we really wanted to do, but never did. People I never got together with who I wish I could see more often. And certainly never got enough journal time with my Jesus. 

And then I get to thinking about what comes after the time on earth runs out. I believe as the Bible says that we will all one day come before God and have to make an account for our lives. I just tremble inside thinking of that day! The glory of His majesty and the deep sorrow of my heart for all that was left undone. I imagine that as I stand before God I will tremble as I am face down before His majesty. I think about the questions I will be faced with, and how my whole life flashes before me even now as I wrote the words! Did I truly know HIM? Did I do what God wanted me to do with my time? Did I honor my commitments? Did I share my faith with those He was calling me to? Was I a faithful servant? Did I live a life that was honoring to Him? Did I stand for Christ even in the face of persecution???

These thoughts bring me to tears as I can say that I am well aware that I have not lived a perfect life. I have missed the mark. None of us have lived exactly as we ought to. But I know for certain we can learn from the past and make a decision to live God-honoring lives. One life. One death. One Savior to cover the sins of our one life. Will we choose to live a fully devoted life for God with our one life or will we live it for ourselves???? As long as we have breath we still have time to choose. But after that…no.more.time.

With love,

Ginger

Gotch Yer Back

Just seeing this picture and it’s caption brings me to tears of gratitude as I think of–the kindness of strangers and friends who have seen little man in meltdown mode in public and drop whatever they are doing to help. (Not defiance meltdown–usually–but sensory overload meltdown…BIG difference.) Doesn’t happen much these days, but it does happen. Too tired, full moon, too much sugar, not enough exercise, fluorescent lights, loud music, standing too close to him, changing directions in our usual route…could be a slight breeze and POOF we are in the battle of our lives in the middle of Walgreens. A sensory meltdown is like that–it seems to come out of nowhere–like a tornado touchdown in the middle of a picnic lunch. Each time we go somewhere and Isaiah is calm, it is a miracle. Each time we have to change a plan and he doesn’t have a meltdown, it is a miracle. He is a MIRACLE! Being in a store or busy public places–even church–can be very overwhelming for a child with autism. 

We stay home a fair amount because our little guy is at his best at home–his toys, his own peaceful sanctuary. And yet, the very best thing for him is to experience new things. We go places because every time we do he overcomes and can expand his comfort zone (and mine)! It does take some planning, but we have expanded our list of places that we like to go and he and I came up with a list of 100 places to go this summer! And with God’s help, we have gone many of those places already!

On behalf of mommas and the poppas of special needs kiddos who are having a screaming session, don’t just do something–stand there! Yep-just stand there! Even if you don’t know what to do, come on over and stand there. There have been many times when I was in the middle of a store and have had to do a restraint hold. It isn’t cute. It may look like I’m a child abuser as my child fights to break free from my wonder-woman grasp, and I fight back tears of great frustration as my strength wanes. Sadly, there have been countless pairs of shoes who have shuffled by, while I was below on those tile floors. And there have been the shoes that have stopped. Those were not the shoes of a creepy stranger–instead their presence told me, “You’re not alone. I see you in the battle.” They didn’t need to have advice, they didn’t quote any scripture.  They stood.

Well, speaking of scripture, Isaiah‬ ‭52:7‬ says,

“How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!””

The feet of those stopping by in those moments brought good news, peace and a sense of God’s goodness. It was a tangible reminder to me that God sees the battle and He reigns. 

We can all be there for someone else…to see beyond our own agenda to be the feet of those who bring the goodness of God to those in a hurting world. 

As we in Minnesota say, “Gotch yer back.” 

 

‭‭

Unforgettable 

Unforgettable                                       By Ginger Ekholm*

  

Your name is written forever on the palm of my hand 
You are my child with whom I have a purpose and a plan 

Don’t grow weary when it seems too hard to walk

I myself will hold you up and listen when you talk

I know every tear you cry and bend my ear to hear everything you say 

I myself will be with you when others have gone away 

My child when pain surrounds your soul, when it seems too hard to bear 

Just remember I have not forgotten you and I will always be there. 

You are unforgettable and I will never leave you. 

Don’t listen to the lie that you have been forgotten 

While you watch with an aching heart the blessings others have gotten 

The time will come for you, dear one, but that time is not for you to know. 

Just reach out to me and seek my face, learn from me and grow. 

As your destiny unfolds, you see that the purpose in the pain endured, and in every loss. 

And there will be true fellowship with Me, as you daily bear your cross. 

I have not forgotten you, and I know where the road will lead 

I know the plans I have for you and I know everything you need 

And in due time new blessings will come, new seasons will unfold 

But trust in me and be content and I will take your silver and give you gold. 

For you are not forgotten and you will never be. 

For you are my child and I will love you for all eternity. 

*I wrote this poem with tears streaming down my cheeks as I had yet another friend tell me they were getting married. While I was truly happy for them, I couldn’t help but note the longing in my own heart to be married. Ever since I was a young girl, I knew part of my calling was to be a pastors wife. All I needed to fulfill my calling was a pastor! 

Time seemed to be slipping away and It was several years later after writing this poem that I met my super amazing husband Steve. But during the loooooooong time of waiting I remember wondering if there was something wrong with me or if I had standards that were too high. I asked God if he had forgotten about my heart’s desire to be a wife and a mom and this poem is what He whispered to my heart. 

Thankfully God has far exceeded my expectations by blessing me with a hubby who is even more wonderful than I ever dreamed! All those years of waiting were some of the most stretching years of my life, but it was also the sweetest, as I grew closer to Jesus than ever before. 

If you’re in a time of waiting, I know just how hard that can be. Whatever you’re waiting for, just know you’re not forgotten. God sees you. He loves you and He has a wonderful plan.

💗Ginger


Prayer Hit List

“For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.””

Galatians 5:14 NIV

Sometimes the best way we can love someone is to pray for God to bless them. Sounds so simple but even if it doesn’t change them it will change us! When there are people in my world who just aren’t friendly or who are negative on a daily basis, I see that as an opportunity to put a prayer target on them! They automatically get an arrow with their name on it that gets shot to Heaven daily!


It is my mission to pray for the frowny-faced grumps every day and give a smile to them even if they don’t smile back. Someone needs to show them the love of God even if they keep growling and scowling! I love getting Jesus on their case!!! I learned some time ago that if someone is mean to me or others they are probably just really hurting, as someone said, “hurting people hurt people.” So I get em on my prayer hit list!!! Look out–blessings are gonna chase you down and pretty soon that frown will turn upside down into a perma-grin on your face because of God’s love!!! 


I really don’t care so much about whether or not people care for me–that is a waste of my time and energy! I also cannot judge them–for all I know they are deaf and have facial muscle disorders and aren’t able to smile–or maybe they are hurting deeply and have nothing to give–but I do pray God to bless them! I’m looking for ways to be a blessing. 


The love of God melts even the toughest hearts. It is easy to love those who love you, but not so easy to love those who cannot give you anything in return. We need His love to flow through us–we can only love because He first loved us!

 

I’m reminded that Jesus took the hit for us. He took the hit for the grumps of the world. He will take those prayers and acts of kindness towards those who are depleted of love and turn worlds inside out! 


Who in your life that needs to be on your prayer target list? Listen to The Lord for direction as to how you can pray and be a blessing to those in your world. Be a world changer by shooting your prayers like arrows on behalf of those who seem angry, mean or hurting and ask the Holy Spirit how you can show people the kindness of Jesus–even if it seems small. ☺️


Dear Father,

Send me to be the light in this dark world today. Let your love shine in me to ALL around me and show me how to be honoring to those who are not honoring to me so that they may see Jesus and come to know how much you love them too. In Jesus’ name, Amen


Identity: Spoken Word/Oral Interpretation Reading

This is meant to be a reading for 3-5 people to in unison. They will read the parts that are the same together in unison and any part that is different will be read separately.

Person 1:

Some say I am
worthless to
society
all because of

poverty

But the life I live is

family
loyalty

Survival in depravity
Is so familiar to me

You see
I’ve learned to

watch TV…
my escape from
reality

this is my

I   D   E   N   T   I   T   Y.

Person 2:

Some say I am
worthy to
society
all because of

money

But the life I live is

lonely
empty

Survival in popularity
Is so familiar to me

You see
I’ve learned to

watch TV…
my escape from
reality…

Money…
this is my

I   D   E   N   T   I   T   Y

Person 3:

Some say I am
trouble

a burden to
society
all because of my history

But the life I live is

lonely
empty

Survival in addiction
Is so familiar to me

You see I’ve learned
To numb the pain of my reality

To only think of me.

addict…
this is my

I   D   E   N   T   I   T   Y.

Person 4:

Some say I am
worthy to
society
all because of

My degrees.

But the life I live is

lonely
empty

Survival in stress
Is so familiar to me

You see
I’ve learned to

Work perfectly
my escape from
reality…

Success
this is my

I   D   E   N   T   I   T   Y.

Person 5:

God says I am
worthy to
be free
all because of

the Cross of Calvary

But the life I live

Not my own

Victory
Is so familiar to me

You see
I’ve learned to

turn off the TV…
to embrace the reality

CHILD OF GOD
this is my

I   D   E   N   T   I   T   Y.

AHHHHHtism…Awarness Every Day

Today is April 2nd, World Autism Awareness Day. Maybe you’ve seen the “Light it Up Blue” ads or are wearing blue today in honor of a loved one who has autism. I’m glad people are recognizing the need for Autism awareness. There is a sense of support that lends itself to those who have a family member with Autism. The thoughts I’m jotting here are some things I’m aware of as a mom of a sweet boy with autism not only today, but every day. Autism is not glamorous but it is amazing. It is our reality and we are aware of it. Pretend for a moment this was a reality show…well here’s just a few reality stories from our little family… 🙂

1. Lobby Lady

Some days I’m more aware of Autism than others. I’m aware of the challenges that we face in our family. Just the other day, I was taking Isaiah to an appointment for Speech and OT (Occupational Therapy) and the battle to get into the door was quite a doozie. While most days he leaps out of the car to go to his appointments, that day he wanted to stay in the car. I’m guessing it was partially related to fact we were driving daddy’s car (which we didn’t know would be the case) and while on the road, he was just fixated on turning right instead of me taking the normal left that we do every week into his appointment at the last minute. Just the smallest thing can set a meltdown in motion. And once a meltdown is in motion…buckle up because it will be quite a ride…at least until something better comes along to fixate on!  That day we made it inside the doors about 5 minutes (which was pretty quick all things considered,) and he began full on biting and kicking and throwing anything at me he could get his hands on. I quickly morphed into Ginga the Ninja mom and put into practice my restraint skills and backed up against the front office desk and slid down to the floor to get some support and hoped to prevent him from harming himself or others. The waiting room was fuller than normal that day of other moms and their perfectly behaved little children sitting quietly in their seats waiting to be called on…and though nobody said a word, I could feel them watching as I attempted to calm Isaiah down with a “hug”–holding both of his wrists tightly across his body like a hug as he screamed and struggled to get loose. I felt myself dissociate from the situation, fighting back the urge to cry (which I did later believe me!) and turned my thoughts to my source of strength, “God you are my rock. My fortress. My strong tower. In you I take refuge right now.” Even in those awful wrestling match tantrum moments, God is always there. And just at that moment of helplessness, as my ninja powers were wearing thin, a sweet mom noticed my purse was in the way, and asked, “can I take your purse for you?” That simple act of kindness was all I needed to feel supported at that moment. In those moments, we may not know how to help, but we can do something. And I will never forget how supported I felt in that moment of feeling so alone with an out of control child.  Sometimes all that needs to be done is to just stand there and say, “I’ll just stay here until you think of how I can help.” Just being there. Isaiah eventually calmed down when he saw his favorite therapist was ready to bring him to his appointment, but those moments in between are a battle sometimes. It was such a reminder to me to never judge a parent whose child is acting out…we never, ever know the full story, but we can always offer to be there. Thank you mom in the lobby for being there. You were my hero that day.

Line Up. Isaiah loves American flags. He is obsessed with them. Anything he does can be related back to an American Flag! Our front yard has 100s of garden size American flags aerating the grass in the spring and summertime. He loves to line them up and watch them as the wind makes them flap in perfect rows. He sure does love straight lines, and I see this in his daily activities. These flags have become his toys. There are mom flags, daddy flags, even little baby flags with broken legs, or flags that are old grandpas. He told our neighbor that he is a “flag farmer.” He faithfully plants his flags year after year, and wonderful care of them! This past week we took a quick trip to grocery store and I asked him to put items from the cart onto the conveyer belt. Everything was perfectly arranged in a straight line…a 4 inch space between every item. Applesauce and Gluten free pretzels lined up like little soldiers ready for battle.

He loves to put things in rows, sequence and thrives on order. (which is really a blessing because I tend to be more of a free spirit!) He loves writing lists and if we don’t have a list, we often have a meltdown later in the day, so we love lists too! Routines are our best ally. Our daily list might look something like this:

1. Wake up at 6:00
2. Cuddle at 6:05
3. Get dressed. Undies, socks, pants, shirt.
4. See the sunrise
5. Breakfast at 6:30.

And so on…
Last night, I tucked Isaiah into bed and we said our prayers. I admit I was being a little silly in my prayer and he said, “Mommy, now you’re just being silly. You need to stop that praying and just go out now so I can get some rest.” Ok then, little man! He never ceases to put a smile on my face in such unexpected ways.

Autism Awareness.
There is autism at our table…we love to celebrate huge victories of a bite of  rice or even smelling food that is unfamiliar. I cried when he ate a sandwich for the first time. And just yesterday he ate two bites of eggs. These may seem like small victories, but for us they were monumental.

There is autism in our church as we watch Isaiah dance freely to the music, offering up his own form of praise and worship…or the time when he went to be baptized and stripped down to his underwear! Only to find the water in the tank was freezing cold! So he screamed at the top of his lungs and sat along the ledge of the baptism tank with his Captain America briefs facing the crowd, as he cheered for each participant in his skivvies!

There is autism at school…he loves to figure out number patterns. He learned to count by 60s well into the 1000s while the other children struggle to count to 30! Or watching him read books that are waaaaaaay beyond his recommended reading level, and spelling “hippopotamus” as a 3 year old. Or writing the alphabet Z-A instead of A-Z just because he can.

We are all in this together.
My hope is that as awareness of autism in our society continues to spread, the judgmental stares will get less and less, and people will not say foot-in-mouth things like, “Get a handle on your son!” Or, “If he were my kid he would be grounded” during a screaming fit in the store because the music was too loud and hurting his ears. There are people who just probably won’t get it. Other sweet and well meaning moms and dads will say things like, “Oh I know what you are going through, my child had a meltdown the other day too…” Thanks but I know you don’t get it. They mean well, but they don’t get it. And that is ok. We don’t have to fully understand in order to care. have no idea what it is like to be in their shoes either, and that is OK. It really is. God knows what it is like to be in my shoes. I hold on to that hope that the meltdowns will fade over time (and they are!), that Isaiah will grow up to be well loved and that he will be all that God has intended him to be. With our without a diagnosis of Autism, there is a little boy in our lives who we love so very much! His spirit is fully alive and full of so much love! He happens to have Autism and we are totally aware of our love for him!!!

We are not the perfect parents. I’m sure there are parents who would do things differently if they were in our shoes. But they are not in our home, or our shoes, so I try not to worry about those people who aren’t there! (Now I sound like a crazy lady…well at least that’s out in the open now! Just kiddin.) We don’t strive for perfect because we never will be perfect…some days simply surviving is as good as it gets!!! Every family has their set of challenges, and there is a fresh grace available for any trial that we face. Truth is, we will never be perfect, but we do have the perfect God who has given us the perfect love for Isaiah. And He can do the same for anyone! He gives strength and solutions to our every issue, and I have certainly found that to be true. When my hubs or I feel low on fuel, we run to God. He is our refuge. There are moments when Isaiah is having a moment and I ask God, “What do I do?” And an idea will pop into my head and will be the key to a peaceful evening. God knows our kids better than we do! He created them and knows just what they need. As parents, we are His kids too, and He promises to walk with us and give us instruction if we ask for it.

These promises in Isaiah 40 are such a wonderful comfort to me…and God has proven faithful time and time again. He gives us strength to keep going and no matter what challenge we are facing, God is there.

Do you not know?
    Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
    and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:28-31)

I’m so grateful I don’t have to drag my feet just to get by, but we can SOAR! God will help us to rise above our circumstances and challenges with a light heart and joy for the journey. Be blessed my friend!

Peace and Giggles, ❤
Ginger

Glam on A Dime: Fashion Forward into Spring!

With Daylight savings approaching in a few hours, I’m reminded to FASHION FORWARD as well! This is the time of year I start to pack up my fall/winter clothes and re-introduce my spring/summer clothes!  As I take inventory of my closet his spring, I plan to find a few wardrobe updates to freshen up what I currently have. While it is indeed fun to update the seasonal wardrobe, money is usually the biggest factor. I’ve learned LOTS of ways to stay fashion forward without spending un-necessary dollars! There have even been times when I was able to new spring clothes without spending any money at all!!! If this interests you, read on!

10 Ways to be Glam on a Dime this spring:

1. Have a PLAN.
Sift through your closet at the beginning of the season and pull the things you don’t LOVE. What are the holes in your closet? Do you have 10 dressy tops but not even 1 pair of dress pants? Come up with a list of items you need and know what you have. What is on your list for this season? Is there anything you can stretch to wear another season? Keep what you love and toss what you don’t. Simple.

2. KNOW YOUR STUFF.
Knowing what you’re looking for before you hit the racks will help eliminate unnecessary purchases. Do your best not to buy impulsively and think about what you already have. Maybe you have a few terrific dresses you never wear because you just don’t have a place to wear them…could one of those be used instead of making a new purchase? Look for items that you can wear for many occasions. Find out what your best colors are and think about what you really enjoy wearing. Before making any purchase for your wardrobe, ask yourself the question: 1. What do I currently have in my wardrobe? 2. Do I wear what is in my wardrobe? Find out what you need, what you want, what you have and what you can live without. If you know what you have it will be so much easier to add to your wardrobe.

3. KNOW YOUR UNIFORMS.
Plan ahead for events that you know you need a special outfit for…weddings, family photos…etc. When you plan ahead, chances are you’ll have a little time to scour some clearance racks, ask friends to borrow or find one of a kind pieces at thrift stores or consignment shops. Find outfits that you can mix and match and wear for multiple occasions simply by styling them differently. If you have questions about what to wear, see my #9 tip on Pinterest below!

4. INVEST in good, quality basic pieces.
This doesn’t mean spend a LOT. If you’re like me and you’re a little (LOT) thrifty, chances are you wear your clothes and shoes until they can’t be worn any more! I have learned that for items like shoes, purses and outerwear, that it is more cost-effective in the long run to purchase items that are quality made. Shop garage sales, thrift stores and clearance racks during the off season at the outlet malls and look for quality pieces that will last over the years. There have been many occasions when I’ve run across fantastic quality pieces at a thrift store simply because I knew what to look for and was able to snag a staple piece for a super deal!!

5. Be true to yourself.
Don’t just wear something because it is trendy. Many women (myself included) see something on a friend and assume that it is going to be right for us as well. This is not always the case. Wear an item because it is awesome on you and you feel amazing in it! Find out what your best colors are, what fabrics and fits are most flattering and stick with what works for you. There may be things in your closet you LOVED 5 hair styles ago, but are just not representative of your current style. If you have items in your closet that are not your color or that you love but never wear because they never quite “feel right” that is more than likely an indicator that they are not you. If it is stained or beyond repair, either find a re-use for it or toss it out.

6. Accessorize.
Can’t afford a new outfit this spring? Not to worry! Try a new scarf, belt, colorful tank top or statement necklace to change up your staple wardrobe or find pieces you already have to change up your current looks. You’d be amazed at what a little piece of costume jewelry can do to spruce up an old outfit! This is my FAVORITE way to change my wardrobe. Another trick is to take an old tarnished piece of costume jewelry that you already have and paint it with a pretty opaque shade of nail polish or even metallic polish! I have several pieces of silver costume jewelry that I have painted with silver nail polish and they look brand new for practically nothing! And if you know how to do some simple sewing, consider taking the old buttons off of an outdated blouse or cardigan and putting more modern ones on…sometimes a little button goes a long way to bring something old back to life!

7. Remember the LATTE RULE.
Don’t spend more than you would on a foo-foo latte drink to purchase a super trendy piece of clothing. Say whaaaat??? Yep–That is my rule. Has the style been around for awhile or is it something that is going to go out by the next season? I have found some high quality, VERY cute, trendy pieces for less than $10 at name brand stores simply because I’ve waited to shop the clearance racks. If something is ultra trendy, I will ask myself a few questions: . Does this look good on ME? Just because something is a trend doesn’t mean that it will be flattering to my shape or coloring. Do I NEEEEEEEED it? Just beacuse a $3 shirt fits and looks good doesn’t mean you NEEEEEEED it. Do you have an occasion to wear it for? If you don’t wear it again, what would you do with the item?

8. SELL, GIVE, TRADE.
When you clean out your wardrobe at the end of each season, take a look at EVERY item in your closet and ask yourself or a friend if it STILL looks good on you. Is it in good condition? Are there visible stains or discolorations to the fabric? Any buttons missing or areas that need to be sewn? How does it fit? What can you give away? What is in great shape that could go to a consignment shop? I have a friend who also LOVES clothes, but we have an agreement that if we are going to give an item away, we ask the other one if they would like first dibs. This is wonderful to have a friend who wears the same size and has a great sense of style! Many of my “toss” items are her new wardrobe staples, and vice versa! Sell-what items have you got in your closet that you could sell for some extra cash for. There are several 2nd hand retail shops that will purchase your clothing from you. I often have a garage sale in the spring and in the fall and find that I make some good money on clothing I would’ve otherwise just had hanging in my closet. I also find that there are online garage sale pages on facebook dedicated to helping people sell their items. I have made hundreds doing this in just a short amount of time, and that way I don’t have to have much of a budget for newer items! I have been able to make money on many of my “latte” priced trendy pieces, and internally smile as the buyer purchases the gently used quality item for a fraction of what I paid for it NEW! Have a SWAP party with your friends and bring purses, shoes, or clothing that you don’t wear anymore and make exchanges with one another! Have a garage sale! Use money earned from your sales to put towards some new up-to date duds!

9. Get on PINTEREST!
Learn how to rock what you’ve got with Pinterest! Have a blazer you love but don’t know how to wear it? What to know how to wear a trendy necklace you got for Christmas? There are more than likely great ideas that will spark your memory of what you already have and how you can wear it! For example, I have a basic denim dress that I got for a super deal and thanks to Pinterest now have at least 15 different ways I can wear one dress! Love that!

10. BE CONTENT WITH WHAT YOU HAVE!!!!
Chances are, you have items that you certainly could wear for another season. If you love it, the fit is right and it is in good condition, there is no need to toss it. Don’t keep something because you “might” wear it in a few years! Sell it, trade it or give it away! Or find a re-purpose for it! Old sweaters can make really cute scarves or mittens! I’ve used RIT dyes to change the colors of my favorite items that just were not my best color and was so happy with the end result and was able to keep the item that was a perfect fit, but the wrong color. Wear what you have and be thankful for what you have. You may not like what is in your closet at times, but always remember to be thankful to God for His provision! Cute and fashionable clothes are NOT a necessity but a blessing. In our country we have an abundance that we are blessed with. If you have more than one pair of shoes, consider yourself rich! There are many parts of the world that don’t have the luxuries we do here. I never want to take for granted all that I’ve been blessed with! Maybe you have an abundance and know of someone who doesn’t have much….bag it up and give her the option to sort through it to see if she could use pieces that you don’t need. You’ll be blessed by the opportunity to give and she will be blessed to receive!

That’s my glam on a dime tips for the day! Set your clocks ahead and be fashion forward this spring!!!
Ginger ❤