Thursday, October 24, 2013

Desert Cries Part 1: The Exodus of Shame

When Pharaoh heard of this, he tried to kill Moses, but Moses fled from Pharaoh and went to live in Midian, where he sat down by a well.
Exodus 2:15

In Exodus 2, we learn that Moses’ first trip to the desert was not a groovy vacay, but a means to stay alive.  Pharaoh had a price on his head.  While he had been raised predominately as a prince in the palace, one rash decision changed his entire life. 

He had undoubtedly seen the mistreatment of Hebrew slaves before, but the witnessing of a fellow descendant being beaten on that fateful day was enough.  Anger consumed him, and he killed the offending Egyptian.  His plans to cover up the crime (literally) had been thwarted by witnesses.  Word spread.  He knew this damaged his reputation with both Egypt and his biological line.  In spite of his intent to come to the aid of those oppressed, he had just made their lives harder.  No longer an adopted child of privilege and not accepted by his fellow Israelites, he ran to a place where no one knew him. 

I don’t know about you, but nothing sends panic through me quite like knowing I’ve botched something up badly, and it seems extremely difficult, if not impossible, to repair.  From reckless spending in the name of “cash back rewards” to thoughtless, impulsive words that sever a relationship, I’ve done my share of screwing up.  The moment I begin to realize the magnitude of my actions, the pit in my stomach becomes a gaping hole of fear.  Frantic, shame-laden thoughts swirl through my mind, robbing me of sleep and appetite.  Unable to continue in this maddening state of “if only,” the goal of escaping becomes my number one priority.

When Moses fled to the desert, he truly thought no one would know him there, but he forgot something, or rather Someone.  While in hiding, God kept him safe, brought caring people into his life and, when the time was right, God addressed Moses regarding his purpose. 

Hiding is not new to God.  Adam and Eve did it.  Jonah did it.  I am no surprise to Him.  When I run from responsibilities, relationships or even from God Himself, He does not leave me.  He provides me with material needs, emotional support and, when I am ready to stop running and face my problems, he forgives me, loves me and reminds me of my calling. 

Shame is powerful.  Shame is crippling.  Shame is not God’s will for my life.  Satan knows that the longer he can keep me in a cycle of justification, guilt and self-loathing, the harder it becomes for me to approach the Throne of Grace. 


It’s not easy to come out of the desert and face your past.  God’s forgiveness does not remove all natural consequences.  Healing and moving forward is not instantaneous.  It wasn’t for Moses, either.  But the Same God who did a mighty work in a quick-tempered, conflict-avoiding and anxious dude wants to do the same in us.  He will meet us in our place of guilt and shame, and more importantly, will guide us to a place of restoration and healing, if only we let him.   

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Desert Cries: An Introduction

My sweet auntie has called me "Moset" (think Moses sans beard and perhaps an earth-toned lip gloss in lieu of a staff) for a few years now-- I suppose most people would find that quite curious.  After all, didn't Moses have trouble speaking up?  Clearly, I'm not known for being quiet by anyone who has known me for longer than five minutes.  In fact, when we have group activities at church and split off into numbered teams, my husband has been known to jokingly complain to our pastor, "No fair-- you took my mouthpiece!"

If speech alone were criteria, I'd say the dear matriarch who has known me since the womb was off-base, but girlfriend knows her scripture and she knows me, too.  She knows that "The Big M" and I have both experienced our share of learning, leading, wandering and, at times, hiding, in the desert.  While he trudged through sand dunes by foot, I have found myself traveling through my spiritual Sahara for surprisingly similar reasons.  I know some of you really dig the arid wastelands, but nothing about the desert sounds remotely appealing to me.  Dry.  Hot.  Desolate.  Beige.  Ick!  Add another "S" to the subject matter, and I'm all over it, but I can't even handle stopping in Yakima, Washington, unless I REALLY need coffee!  That said, I know that I've learned far more bumbling through the badlands than anywhere else.  Throughout the next week, with some scriptural help from the book of Exodus, I will unpack some of my wilderness wanderings with you.  When I first began to write this, I thought I could cover it in a single post, but I quickly found the subject matters to be many and the length of just one point to be a potential cause for eye strain!

I hope you'll strap on your sandals and take this walk with me.  Perhaps you'll find there's a fair amount of Moses in you, too!  

Pack Sunscreen!
~Amy 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

For Miriam Project: My PPMD Story

Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and body with grief.
Psalm 31:9

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Walk With Me

Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
Galations 6:2

Even at a gathering with like-minded colleagues, we still stuck out a bit, my quirky compadre and me.  In an attempt to keep my appetizer of nothing but meats from coming in contact with gluten or dairy, the plate was placed in very close proximity to my beloved friend, who happens to be a devout vegetarian.  As we all scrambled to find a spot that wouldn’t put meat near her, or gluten on my carnivorous antipasto, my friend winked at me and took the plate.  “Leave it here,” she insisted, “It’s fine.  Unless, of course, anyone else would like some dead animal before I put it down?”  Humor with an unexpected twist and understanding, the foundations of our friendship, were visible once more.  With hummus and edamame on her plate and “dead animal” on mine, my friend came along side me, so I wouldn’t feel alone.

            When other people in the birth community find out she and I know one another, they are somewhat surprised.  I live in the country, she lives in Los Angeles.  I have mom hair, she rocks a faux hawk.  While we both taught earlier in our lives, we were on opposing ends of the spectrum there, as well.  While I was playing “Ring around the rosie” with my class of preschoolers, my buddy was a prominent dance instructor.  While my students were barely potty trained, hers could drive!  I’m an extrovert, she’s an introvert.  I’m barely a year into birth work, she has her PHD and writes for major perinatal publications.  I drink almond milk, she drinks soy.  To say that we’re different has a bit of a “duh factor” involved.  But what brings us together?  More opposites …

            We “met” on a fellow friend’s Facebook page, cracking one another up with our shared love of zany humor.  We stayed in contact to share and discuss some hardships we had both shared surrounding our births and our battles with Postpartum Depression.  Our stories were different, even in these areas, but we both had a burning desire to support and help women.  Through our laughter and tears, a kinship grew. 

            As we grew to learn more about one another, we shared more pieces of our lives.  Some we both had experienced in one way or another, some we could not relate to, but support was always there.  One phrase I heard from her during a particularly challenging season with Wyatt gave me unexpected support from a friend who had never walked that path.  It literally changed how I view any person in crisis, whether I believe I have had similar experiences or not.  I’m sure she probably doesn’t even remember saying it.  It was so simple, but so powerful: “Wow, I don’t know anything about your life experience.”

            While you might think that made me feel alone, it actually made me feel validated.  My feelings, my situation, my struggles were unique.  Following that statement, she encouraged me by telling me that I was a strong, caring, and competent mom.   She told me she had no advice to offer, but she would listen.  She would care.  She would walk with me. 


            I am blessed with some very special friends who also have some of the same struggles I do, but none of my friends share all my struggles, and I don’t need them to.  I always assumed that “bearing one another’s burdens” required personal experience, extensive knowledge or both to be truly effective.  I no longer believe that.  You don’t need to have lost a spouse, battled cancer or experienced the sting of unemployment to be a good friend; you need to be willing to hear their stories, to see their pain and to bow your head with them as they wrestle with God, waiting for Him to lay words of encouragement on your heart.  There is something to be said for solidarity and camaraderie, but at the end of the day, if you want to be Jesus to a hurting person, leave the wisdom to the experts, the healing to The Great Physician, and simply walk with them.  

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Prego and the Pitbull



But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
1Samuel 16:7

There is supposed to be an order with labor and delivery, that goes as follows:  mom begins contracting, contractions increase in length and intensity while decreasing in spacing, water breaks, mom dilates, mom pushes, baby is born.  This would always be the order and rhythm of birth, if not for one little hiccup:  babies can't read.  

One lovely spring evening, I was visiting a client whose little one decided to jumble up the "order" a bit, making mom uncomfortable and certain that birth was near, but hinting that perhaps it wasn't quite "go time" yet.  In the interest of having her husband rested for the "main event," mom-to-be decided this was a good time for a walk, just the two of us.  As we headed toward the sidewalk, a third party approached our mama-doula-duo ... 

With ears perked upright, she walked slowly toward me.  Though smaller than typical, her facial features, brindle coloring and muscular physique were unmistakable.  Whether young, or mixed with a smaller breed, I was not certain, but I was completely confident that a pit bull was headed my way.  She did not charge, nor did she make a sound, but it was clear that she was not the least bit afraid of me.  Unsure of what would happen next, I simply stood there, allowing her to come closer.  Circling slowly, she sniffed me cautiously, then ran toward my client.

There was no time to be afraid for her.  In an instant, this curious canine was right next to a very expectant mother, of whom I felt very responsible.  Fortunately, there was no cause for concern, as the dog happily wagged her tail approvingly-- first at my client, then at me.  In that moment, I remembered the tendency of "bully breeds" to be protective-- even nurturing toward expectant mothers and small children.  She had no intention of attacking us, she was simply protecting a fellow female and her offspring, and wanted to make sure MY intentions were good.  

While I enjoyed our moment of estrogen solidarity, I had certainly expected it to end when we walked past our canine compadre's abode.  Surprisingly, she joined ranks and walked right next to my client, creating a physical barrier between the mother-to-be and the road.  When we walked, she walked.  When a contraction came, she stopped as I applied counter-pressure to my client's back.  When a car drove by, she would circle us protectively.  She never barked at the oncoming vehicles, but her eyes were ever-watchful.  

Though we urged our faithful walking buddy to go home, she was unrelenting of her "post," until a familiar car drove up with her owner inside.  As he apologized profusely for her "bothering us," we explained that we simply did not want her to get lost, or for her human to think she'd gone missing.  Waving to our furry friend and her "person," we continued our walk.  

In between contractions, we discussed how sweet and loyal the dog had been, and what a shame it was that the breed once called "Nanny Dogs," due to their former positions to look after young children, had, In recent history, been inbred, tortured and trained to fight to the death.  Clearly, this dog had not been raised in such a fashion, yet, due to her DNA, she would most likely be labeled throughout her life as a "dangerous dog."  We knew differently, however-- we knew this noble beast would someday be a part of a special little girl's birth story.  

That night, as I drove home for a few hours asleep before "rip roaring labor" began, I thought more about labels.  As humans, it is in our nature to judge one another by past experience, preconceived ideas, cultural bias, economic status ... The list goes on.  We have to work exceedingly hard to look past what we think we know about others, and try as we may, we all fail more often than not.  Our human hearts, eyes and minds are truly limited.  

God, however, is limitless in His ability to see each and every person for who they really, truly are.  He is not fooled, nor is He surprised by last names, bank account balances or even the history of our countless failures.  While He does not high-five us for losing it with the kids or speeding in a school zone, He is able to see the the beautiful traits we all possess-- inside and out, amidst our brokenness.  If we are willing to simply ask, He is more than willing to forgive our mistakes, heal our hurts and encourage us to use the gifts He has given us.  

And perhaps, one of the greatest gifts Christ has given His church is a blessing we choose not to utilize.  We have the power of The Holy spirit living inside of us, yet we choose to simply rely on our human eyes to see those around us.  What would happen to our families, our communities, even our world at large if we looked at one another as Jesus does?  May this be our prayer:  that we might change our outlook, which, in turn, will change our thoughts, our actions and our effectiveness as we strive to become the Hands and Feet of Christ. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Warrior and the Rainbow: a true account of bravery, love and beauty after the storm



Weeping may tarry for the night,
but joy comes with the morning.

Psalm 30:5b


Once upon a time, there was a brave, caring and beautiful warrior.  She had endured many storms in her life, but she had weathered them with grace and dignity.  She was ready for a moment in the sun.  Though life at home had had more cloudy days than clear, she was thrilled to know that a little life was growing inside of her.  "This," she thought, "will change my life."

              And it did, but not in ways she expected. 

            Clouds rolled in, cramping and pain thundered through her, and as the tell-tale signs of a miscarriage were coldly confirmed in the emergency room, down came the rain.  

            Though little Zachary could never be replaced in her heart, a beautiful blessing in the form of another little life was on the horizon.  Though scars from that storm had not yet healed, she welcomed the little ray of sunshine growing healthy and strong inside of her.  This time, she could wear maternity clothes, have baby showers, and prepare a room.  She bathed in the sunlight of fresh starts, new beginnings and hope.  Suddenly, it began to hail.

            As the precious baby prepared to meet her mother, another loved one was slipping away, years before her time.  Wrought with grief and exhaustion, the signal of labor was bittersweet.  Her journey to her mother’s arms, likewise, was unpredictable, difficult and covered with many dark, cloudy moments.  But when that little sunny-side up face came into view, the skyline changed dramatically.

            With the birth of Allison Charlotte, loved ones who had been sobbing and shaking their fists in the air to question God dried their eyes and, for the first time in days, felt inexpressible joy.  She came when she knew she was needed most, this little rainbow baby.


            More storms would come before her first birthday, causing the brave warrior to fight for the safety and well-being of her child.  My, how it rained.  And yet, with one look into her daughter’s face, she knew this storm served a purpose and would not last forever.

            As time marched on, her mother noticed the brilliance and turbulent storms constantly waging within her daughter.  Autism might be the technical name for it, but I see it as one more reason that my goddaughter, Allison, is truly a rainbow baby.  She is smart as a whip, fiercely loving and full of sunshine and enthusiasm, yet the need for rigidity, crippling anxiety, social uncertainties and sensory struggles can bring heavy black clouds into the simplest of tasks.  But her mother helps, supports, guides, soothes, and, perhaps most of all—she waits.  She knows that without the storming amidst her brilliance, there would be no rainbow. 

Happy 6th Birthday, Allison Charlotte!
Happy 6th Rainbow Birth Anniversary, Jillian!
All My Love,

“Auntie Mamy”  

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Sister Mary Catherine

 Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Matthew 5:11

            I’ve always been a square peg in a round hole world.  I remember trying as a kid to be like other children, and woefully failing.  I’m sure some of that was due to my being a little girl with ADHD at a time when only little boys were on the radar for such things, but my desire to sing early in the morning and my inability to stop talking and eat my lunch was only part of the quirky little puzzle known as yours truly.  I was also one of the few kids I knew in school who went to church.  I didn’t go to birthday parties that were scheduled on Sunday mornings.  I didn’t listen to music that had swearing or sex in it.  Even in elementary school, that made me different, and one more reason why I stuck out like a sore thumb.  I remember clinging to teachers for companionship and support during the first nine years of school, a sort of “substitute mom” until I could return to the safety of my home, where I was loved, not just in spite of, but because of my uniqueness.  Understandably, I wanted to be protected and defended from a world that didn’t seem to understand or like me.    

            By the time high school rolled around, the few kids who had a beef with me, my faith or both didn’t bother me, because I had found “my tribe”—the art and music freaks and geeks.  In that group of students, there were people of no faith, differing faiths and my faith.  I had friends who smoked, drank and did drugs, as well as some who abstained.  I had gotten used to affectionately being called, “Sister Mary Catherine” by friends whose lifestyles varied from mine.  They didn’t see me as a threat.  Ironically, in high school, my opposition came from two teachers.

            I remember sitting in art class, while a substitute teacher eyed me warily.  I wasn’t doing anything out of the ordinary for me, but she didn’t trust me.  She brought me up to her desk and said, “Alright, just tell the truth.  What are you on?”  I told her nothing.  She asked me what on earth could make my pupils that big and cause me to smile this early in the morning.  I told her the truth—I professed the name of the One who had made my pupils that big and gave me a reason to smile during first period: JESUS. 

            Apparently, that was proof I was on something, and I was sent to the nurse.  When I popped my head into her office, the dear lady who saw me every day for my hypoglycemia snacks couldn’t help but laugh.  She knew my pupils were naturally large, I loved art class and yes, I loved Jesus.  We had a chuckle about it and she sent me back to class.  It was a little weird, but certainly not a life-changing occurrence. 

            My science teacher (We’ll call him Mr. K), however, attacked my faith directly.  A student teacher, who was also a Christian, had taught with Mr. K earlier in the year.  Among many other life lessons, the student teacher shared with me the importance of studying evolution, because it was school curriculum.  He told me that the outside world will never respect and consider your views if you don’t know where they’re coming from, where you agree and where your views differ.  However, if I chose to do a separate report on the Intelligent Design theory (with reputable sources to back up my position), I could share it during the last five minutes of class for extra credit. 

When we were almost done with our evolution chapter, I went to Mr. K. and told him I was ready to schedule my extra credit report.  He snorted, shook his head and said, “Why would anyone listen to you?  I will not permit you to waste my time on this mythological B.S.”

Shocked and angry, I brought this information to my principal.  My teacher was forced to apologize, but I was never permitted to share my data (He always “ran out of class time”).  I got a decent grade in his class, but Mr. K never looked at me the same after that discussion.  In his eyes, my faith made me an idiot.  I couldn’t get a note from the nurse clearing my name this time. 

Jesus knew more about this feeling than anyone.  He’d been called crazy, a liar, a blasphemer and worse.  The way He loved, the words He spoke and the mission He came to complete made him a target.  He knew we would someday be insulted, hated and, in some parts of the world, even killed for being who He had called us to be.  He said we would be BLESSED because of it. 

Does anybody else struggle with this one?  It would be easy if we were called to be different and were encouraged to freak out on people who insult us.  I’d be all over debating to the death in my defense—it’s what passionate people do!  But we are called to simply love those who hate us, lie about us and yes, even those who wish us harm, and let Him be our avenger.  UUUUUUUGH, I don’t wanna!  I’ll love ‘em, but I want to have my say!  Unfortunately, Jesus didn’t put a rebuttal clause in to loving those who hate you.  Sometimes you have the opportunity to respond, sometimes you don’t.  But if Jesus could keep silent and love as He died for the sins of all humanity (yours truly included), surely I can rest in knowing that the same God who made me quirky, loud and enthusiastic will equip me to love in the face of adversity.

               

Saturday, July 20, 2013

I'm Here

"As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you ..."
Isaiah 66:13a



My Sweet Wyatt,

            It’s been a wild night, hasn’t it?  What I’m about to say might seem odd now, but I think someday you’ll understand. 

I don’t know what the future holds for you, but I do hope it includes parenthood.  I say that, not only because I am ecstatic at the thought of spoiling grand kids, but because I want you to know how much I really do love you.  Yes, even when you yell, scream, threaten and say hateful things to me.  But you can’t understand that until you’re on the other side of the door, listening to a screaming child from the outside. 

When you were little, so much of the world overwhelmed you, but comforting you was tricky.  I couldn’t give you eye contact, you didn’t like to rock, there could be no noise and yet you needed to know I was there.  I often would hold you facing out, so you could feel my presence and “check out” at the same time. 

Now that you’re older, your needs are different.  You are still overwhelmed by the world sometimes, but your meltdowns are very different.  In stead of banging your head repeatedly, throwing every object in your room at the wall or screaming a single tone incessantly, you throw words at me.  I want you to know, I’m still here.  I know by the frightened look in your eyes that you don’t mean, or even truly understand the hateful phrases you hurl at me.  While I may need to step away from you, or even leave the room for a while, I’m still here.  I have not given up on you.  I never will.

I also know that when you begin to calm down, the overwhelming guilt from words and actions that felt so out of your control will wash over you.  I wish I had a stronger rebuttal for your self-criticisms, but I want you to know that I mean these words with every fiber of my being.  You are NOT a mistake.  If given the choice, I wouldn't change you.  Autism is not a character flaw or a disease.  It is part of you that I love very much.  If you didn't have autism, while it’s true that you wouldn't have so many meltdowns, you also wouldn't have cracked the phonics code at three years of age.  You wouldn't be able to calculate (in your head, no less!) the exact number of chips in a bag.  You wouldn't draw valentines with video game characters proclaiming their love for me.  Half of the awesomeness I post on my Facebook page would vanish without your wit, quirky humor and amazing heart.  Your gifts are worth the work. 

I do not know what the future holds, son.  I don’t know what you’ll need, or how I will meet those needs as the teen and adult years approach.  It scares me sometimes.  I’m sure, just like now, I will have to try my darnedest and fail often.  I know you will someday be bigger, taller and stronger than I am.  You probably won’t want to rock on my lap, as you do now.  You might even want to live on your own when you graduate.  And yet, amidst the uncertainty, this much I know: we do not walk this journey alone.  As I do my best to comfort you, The Father will shower us with His perfect love and guidance.  It is because I know He walks with me, I can promise you this, Wyatt: as long as there is breath in my body, I’m here. 


All my love,

Mom 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Scar Stories


… and by his wounds we are healed.
~Isaiah 53:5b


Inspiration comes from the strangest of places when you’re me-- my chickens, food (okay, LOTS of food), laundry soap … clearly, God knows that I am one abstract chick, so He goes outside the box when reminding me of life lessons.  Today’s journey takes us to the pediatrician’s office …

            My poor little buddy- if there is one thing you do not need in elementary school, it’s an additional target for teasing.  We’ve dodged a lot of the icky boogities (that is too a word, my mama told me so!) that seem to love children.  No head lice (thank you, LORD, for boys with short hair!), scabies or impetigo have crept into our homes yet, but we did have to take one of my kids in to get a wart removed from his finger.  He wasn’t afraid of the treatment, he wasn’t afraid of the doctor, but he was quite mortified that anyone aside from his mom would know what lurked beneath the bandage.

            We had tried every over-the-counter medication and a few homeopathic remedies, but this little menace kept coming back.  It was time to bring in the big guns; in this case, a liquid nitrogen variety. 

            As we sat in the office, waiting for the doctor, I could tell my son was nervous.  As a mother, it’s my job to calm him down, reassure him and be a safe place for him.  While I was trying to do that on the outside, on the inside, I was thinking, “Oh dear, I didn’t trim his fingernails!  They’re going to think this is just a lack of hygiene and bad parenting issue, I’m sure of it!  We used hand sanitizer on the way in, but did he wash his hands before we left?  I can’t remember.  His ears are clean, that’s something.  Wait-- is that toothpaste on his shoulder?  Oh well, at least he’ll know I make him brush his teeth …”  Hmmmmm, can you imagine where my child would get these irrational fears of his? 

            When the doctor came in, I braced myself for questions regarding what we had and hadn’t tried, washing regimens and the like, but what I witnessed was quite the opposite.  This dear man (who, I found out later, is also a father of three little boys himself) gently approached my son, asked to see his fingers, took a few notes and then held out his own hands, to reveal several tiny scars.  He told us that warts just seem to love little kids, and when he was young, he had them all over his hands and feet.  He empathized that they can be embarrassing and hard to get rid of, but he would do his best to take care of things as quickly and painlessly as he could. 

            I don’t know what it is about doctors, but it seems so easy to forget that they, like the rest of us are people.  They don’t start out life in miniature lab coats and nitrile exam gloves, they start out as little kids, just like the rest of us.  They get colds, break their arms, and yes, they too can get warts!  They live in the same world we do, with the same frail bodies.  Because their job is to heal, we forget that there are times when they too, need healing of their own. 

            I began to think about what life would be like as Christians if we, in stead of strutting about proclaiming our vast knowledge of how to live a perfect life, spent time with hurting people and showing our “scars.”  Hope feels a whole lot more real when you know that the life-changing gospel isn’t just something mature Christians read about to help those “poor, lost sinners.”  The world needs to know that we don't just share The Word to help others, but because it is our hope and saving grace!

            Just as the doctor had to risk someone thinking less of him by discussing a virus he had in his youth, we too, risk others removing us from a pedestal.  Frankly, can hurt one’s pride quite a bit—and maybe that’s needed.  We all know that Jesus was willing to sacrifice himself for us, but his humility began much earlier.  The God of the universe was willing to take human form from a very humble family.  Of his own free will, he chose to sleep in a feed box, poop in a diaper, skin his knees, maybe even get a pimple or two in his teen years, hang out with fishermen and endure the human experience at large, just so he could empathize with us.

As Jesus stretches out his nail-scarred hands to help us, are we willing to follow his example?  Will we reach out to others, sharing our lives, “warts and all?”  

Followers

About Me

I'm not your average housewife; but then, neither is any other housewife I've met! My life is a constant blur of kids, animals, hunting down and testing allergy-friendly recipes, shopping, LOTS of coffee, yarn crafting, nannying, singing and writing. I married my highschool sweetheart (the introvert who is a type-A, shy, organized, loves hunting, hiking and mountain climbing. He lives for pizza, burgers and cookies and doesn't like coffee). We are polar opposites, but Love, grace and a whole lotta Jesus can overcome anything! :) We have two boys who fill this house with lots of excitement, love, laughter and lunacy! Alan (9) is a happy-go-lucky, inventive, dramatic, eager-to-please kid who loves being dad's shadow and mom's shopping companion. He's the snuggliest kid I've ever met! Wyatt is extremely bright, inquisitive, entertaining and endearing. He lives for routine, Wii games, pixar films and writing stories. Alan is typically-developing, Wyatt has high-functioning autism. We live on an acre in the Pacific Northwest with our two aussies and 5 chickens. It's not the Waltons, but it works! :)