It is Well With My Soul, No Matter What.

I get some things about this life…..

But there is so much that continues to floor me, even though it probably shouldn’t. I have walked through many hard things in my life as I’m sure you have as well. Still, every time a loved one gets sick, or is hurting. Or when someone I love says hurtful things to me. Or when my child goes through hard things….There I go….Freaking out!  I don’t know about you, but I go straight down the rabbit hole. I mean like right away, emotions come, all of them.  I go from wanting to kill people, to feeling like such a victim, literally you can see it on my face.  BUT then, I REMEMBER.

None of us were promised a smooth ride through this life. In fact, we were told for sure that we would have trouble ( in the Bible, if you believe that, and I do).

THEN, I stop the madness and get to work. First off, I try to forgive.  This, I know is not easy,  but here is a tip I use to make it easier….remember how much forgiveness you need?  Yeah, so they need it to.  That always helps me, cuz this girl ain’t perfect, you know??

Here in the Pacific Northwest it’s been a loooooooong winter. I mean, dark and dank, with soooooo much rain!  We are all lamenting and nearly about to take measures into our own hands every year about this time…. I mean peoples be freaking out!  Then something happens.  Every year, suddenly, a SUNNY day happens and everybody in this entire city of Tacoma Wa. comes outside in complete disbelief…Like, is that what I think it is?! the SUN!  Slowly but surely Summer does come and we all forget immediately about what will happen after the new year like around Febrary. We get totally Summer giddy and lose all our minds and mostly any diet plans we had been following.

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My point is…Maybe we should just keep on looking forward in anticipation for Summer…because it will come!  Having Hope, when you are in the middle of a dark Winter, whether literally or emotionally or physically or even financially, is the Sun that you have been waiting for.

It’s Spring now and almost Easter…MY FAVORITE…The animal babies are being born. The blossoms are popping out. The smells are better than winter for sure.  It’s a time were we can stop and think, or say out loud ” Hey, no matter what happens….I have HOPE and It is well with my soul.”

No matter who you are or what you are going through, there is a light at the end of the tunnel..but you have to look for it and find it, reach out to friends, family, community, church and let people know what’s up.  You will be so surprised how GOOD people really can be.  And on the flip side, If you know of someone who is hurting or needs something that you can help with…or just needs you to be with them and listen. Then reach out.  I promise you will not regret it. Even if the person is unreceptive or ungrateful, being a giver and doing good is never a waist of time.

With this Easter coming, I just want to remind you of LOVE, the sacrifice that our Savior made and the miracle of his Rising! Be encouraged that our God is not Dead…He’s ALIVE and YOU matter to Him. I love you….Go get some Sunshine and love on someone!

 

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Today I Was Reminded Again, That I don’t have the same life as everyone else. Not that I needed reminding.

 

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How Many Momma’s out there are like WHOO HOO, SCHOOL IS STARTING!!  That has for sure been me in the past, but not this year.  I have been so nervous about my oldest son starting the 6th grade.  He is going to middle school, whaaaaat??   I am so not ready.

It seems like I just got used to elementary school and trusting those folks with my special miracle. You see, our journey has been loooong through those elementary years with so many hard bumps along the way. My oldest Son Noah has specials needs (nonverbal Autism and Phelan-Mcdermid syndrome). Trusting the Teachers and hard working Para Educators, everyone at the School, to take good care of my wobbly, nonverbal angel was something I could barely do. Even though this Momma was functioning most of the time on hardly any sleep, and I truly needed the “go to school” break, it was still so hard.  And Now…..Now that I have finally fallen in LOVE with Noah’s school, Teacher, Para educators, Therapists and Principal…we are starting all over at square one.   It’s not just square one, it’s freaking Middle School.  “The kids are big, and smelly, and can be mean.”  This is what Fear and Anxiety keep whispering in my ear.  Believe me when I say, I really want to pull up a chair and listen to them, agree with them. Heck, I want to grab coffee with them and let them remind me what all could possibly go wrong…… But you know what?       I CAN’T…because deep in my heart, although I know, and you know and we all know that Middle School can suck.  I choose to believe people are still good.  Most people are still caring and kind and loving.

I have noticed that even if you are having a hard day, sometimes just a glance at sweet Noah’s face can make you feel love. My child….I BELIEVE is here to change people and if he isn’t in middle school, then how can he spread that sweet Noah love to everyone?

I mean we all have a glorious purpose right?  Even if we think we haven’t found it yet, we all believe we have one. I believe that the Purpose IS the journey.  Noah’s life lived everyday is his purpose.  Showing up to school, excited to be there ,squealing in delight, can make anyone’s heart smile. those kids and those teachers deserve him now. I can’t be selfish and keep him at the same school all his life.  More folks are waiting to be touched by his sweet hand and changed forever.

SOOOOOOO.….. this morning when we showed up for ,”get acquainted with your new school day” I sort of lost hope for a minute, when the front desk Lady and pretty much everyone else looked at me like I was crazy for showing up….I guess they weren’t expecting the special needs kids to come. This just seems crazy to me, because if you know anyone with AUTISM, then you Know, they need more time than most to get familiar and happy with new things, people, or places.  I left with Noah holding my hand, and walked back to the car. No get acquainted for my guy.   I felt so offended, rejected and hurt.  I just kept thinking…they don’t value my SON. Why don’t they value my SON???  Maybe it’s because some people feel that my kid won’t contribute to society in the ways that the rest are expected to and part of me of course, understands that. But my Mother’s heart doesn’t get that at all.  Every human being , especially a beautiful child, should be respected, protected and loved.

So I come home and get sad and cry for a bit, actually I’m still crying a little but I’m one big emotion so it’s whatever…Then, I hear “I am God…Noah is fearfully and Wonderfully made. Be still and watch what I DO.” So I choose to trust HIM, in Jesus. I know that this will work out for Noah’s good…I feel an opportunity to talk with the Principal coming and maybe an Opportunity to have a relationship with her where I can share with her a unique insight into the lives of special needs families…This could turn out alright after all….I’m just going to be still, be grateful, and be stronger than I want to be.  This is my journey, my purpose and both are right now.

If you are nervous about a new school, or any NEW or UNKNOWN thing right now, Please sweet friend, listen closely…..”You are stronger than you know. You are more powerful when you are full of Love. You are the best when you are just being YOU. So take one step at a time and breathe, and you will see….It will all be okay ,even if it’s not.”

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I Wish I Knew What You Would Say

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As I lay in bed this morning, drifting in-between  sleep and awake, I thought to myself,” I WISH I knew what you would say.”

So each day I get up, and stare at you, looking for clues and asking myself 100 million questions, constantly.   I wonder if you, Noah, feel as crazy as I do at times?   I believe we were made for relationship.  As people, we were made to love and serve, entertain, and help one another.   Can two people really have a deep relationship without talking?  My head says, “no” but my heart says, “yes.”

I know that you “know” me Noah, and I am convinced that I “get” you.   I will never stop trying to unlock your voice, my precious one…..  Not ever, ever, ever, ever, until I go home to be with Jesus.  And if you are still here on earth when I leave it for good.     I want you to know, I am going to march myself straight to the Prince of Peace himself and get some long awaited answers.  Hopefully I can get you the miracle, full restoration healing, we have been praying for all this time!  Wow, what a story that would be, huh?

But wait…..What if the miracle is more about he we lived  day to day in the midst of our questions and pain?  What if THAT is the real story?

I only have one chance at this life and I don’t want to spend it in sadness. Quite simply because we all have so much to be thankful for.  I want to show as many Momma’s in this hurting world as I can, that there is a real HOPE, everyday.   In the midst of your suffering, loneliness, pain and questioning, you can have joy everyday.  Maybe not all day (because, let’s keep it real) but enough to keep you going…..breathing….moving forward…sustaining you and yours until the breakthrough comes.   Don’t give up.  Never give up!

That’s how I want to live.

A warrior for my Family……..

A lover of this life……..

A servant of others ………

A light in so much darkness………

Here is the sweetest joy….When my Noah giggles. Oh thank you Lord for his laughter.

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” You are blessed when you care.  At the moment of being care-full, you find yourselves cared for” Matthew 5:7  the Message

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Camping Prigg Style

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So, we just returned from our yearly camping trip. Every Memorial Day weekend we pack up all the things and the kids and the dog and go to Eastern Washington to get our CAMP on. We love it, well…I have many thoughts on camping, and love is just one of them.

Oh, let me make some things real clear before I can even go on. We don’t really camp, we GLAMP. Please don’t judge, because it is necessary for two reasons. Numero uno, being that I am a very southern girl and I don’t, as a rule, camp…It’s just that, getting dirty ( and I mean disgustingly dirty) feet and bugs and heat and sweat…just. NO.
Numero dose…Noah Luke. kind of, enough said if you know him. He needs his movies, and this is not a joke. It is an absolute must, do you hear me? Autism needs those movies really, because if it were up to me,and i thought Noah would be fine, I’d throw those dang movies off the narrows bridge and then have a full-on party to celebrate there demise, that’s how many times we’ve all seen those movies over the years. Watching the same Mickey Mouse movies 50,000 times makes you feel crazy. Unless you have autism and then I can imagine, it makes you feel safe.noahsunlakes

So glamping is camping, only with a camper trailer instead of a tent. Its like camping in a small single wide. Its the best I can do, not because I’m too above a tent..I just would rather do anything else in the world than camp without electricity, that’s just the truth.

So now that you all know how it really goes down in our camping world…Let me tell you, its still real hard and it’s still really dirty. It is also lots of fun… Making memories with the kids, and our friends that are more like family is priceless. Even if it sucks to prepare all the food, pack and then unpack when you get home.

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Every year I get very worked up, because of several things. I am not laid back, I can admit this now (for years, I really thought I was laid back, so weird to me now) I am, who I am, high strung, high energy, and high emotion…whatever, I’m also freaking fun! So you can imagine how I freak out every year at the possibility of all manner of things going wrong. I try to run “what if”s” in my head and make myself crazier, I try to over prepare for just in cases…weighing our camper down by probably 20 useless pounds. Then as always, I give up and say, ” you know what, nobody’s gonna die! No people on my watch have died! and we can do anything for five days.”

To be honest, we usually have a mixture of good, awesome, and bad. Noah can get very anxious at times and makes lots of noises. He is non verbal, yes, but that doesn’t mean he’s not loud. It just means that no one understands what he’s trying to say, and I start to get anxious because I want Noah to feel relaxed and happy. I want Josh to have the best time ever because his friends and camping mean everything to him. I also want our friends and camping neighbors to not have their trip ruined by my verbally stemming kid. Things just don’t always go as planned (gosh, in my life, like never) So often times Jeremy and I will have many moments of tension just because we don’t know what to do. Jeremy(the hubs), bless his soul, is much more laid back and relaxed about camping and Noah than me…thank you Jesus. He does his best to help me realize that everything is okay…actually better than okay. Noah is who he is and that is OKAY.

So, This trip was different for me. There wasn’t one time when I got stressed out (and I’m a truth teller, so I would tell you) and Jeremy and I had no tense moments, nada. Noah did get loud, and anxious at times, but not much. I am so, from the bottom of my heart grateful. I realized something about myself in Sun Lakes this year. That much of my frustration can come from feeling like Noah and I are missing out on fun. You see, my love language is quality time. If I love you, I want to BE with you. and to know that so many of our close friends were out and about in the sunshine or sitting just out by the camp fire, but I was stuck inside with Noah, doing what I always do….feed, change diapers, change movies….repeat. It used to make me feel, angry, sad, self pity,and isolated… all those things.

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I feel like the Lord changed my heart this year…I hope it sticks because it was wonderful not to feel those feelings this time. Instead, I felt needy for alone time with each of my boys. I felt thankful for any opportunity to try something new…I sat next to Noah on our little couch in the camper and read a book while he watch his movies, and felt content, in stead of angst…WOW, what a wonderful miracle. He felt it too because he was happy that I was choosing to stay by his side and take him to do all the things, even if he didn’t like it. whatever, we would just leave and come back to the camper. At least he tried! I’m so proud of he and I… as we continue to grow together, not perfect by any means, but we keep giving each other grace. That to me, is the most important thing…love each other, give as much grace as you can…KEEP TRYING.

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I’m actually looking forward to being brave all summer…Doing things that might give our family lasting memories. Enjoying each of my family members for who they are individually…I will also give my self grace…I need it the most I think.

Be Brave sweet Momma’s out there…If you have a bad day, get up and try again tomorrow. Try something new. Try something again, but with a changed heart. Look at your life and say…wow, I am so grateful!

Love,

Rhonda

Summer is Coming and I’m Kinda Scared

28240_1528937471787_96446_n Okay ya’ll. It is almost summer, and I always start to get nervous. I’m not sure if it is just that summer’s have been really hard for me in the past or if it’s all the parenting that is required during that time. Either way, I can literally feel myself wanting to freak out. However, this Summer I really want to NOT do that. And listen, I know their are many of you Mom’s out there who are soooo looking forward to summer vacation, and you are good at being a summer Momma, and I am literally standing and applauding you right now. Because I WISH that was me….but it’s so NOT. I wanted my children so very much..these babies were prayed for, longed for and we were ready for them! So many would say my freak outs don’t make much sense. Well, it makes sense to me, because I know why I do it…I just wish that I wouldn’t. My trepidation comes from times where I was working too much and my son Noah wasn’t sleeping hardly at all (he has a sleep disorder and literally barely slept for the first three years) and things got crazy you know….. Summer can be hard for lots of reasons. Many Mom’s feel guilty because they have to work a lot. Many feel stressed because they don’t have the money for the kind of summer their kids desire, or that they desire for their kids. Some might just feel that there is so, so much parenting required that it seems to make them feel crazy by September. I’m the mom that usually feels crazy, run down, and completely empty by Summer’s end. I wish I was stronger and able to be content no matter what the circumstances. I am writing today because I know their are other Mommas that feel this same way, so let’s work some stuff out together, wanna?? Okay, so the first thing, is to try and get organized.(I know, for some of us that is like saying, be totally somebody else completely) So let me be specific. I mean, think about camps, VBS (vacation Bible school), babysitters, vacations, grandparent visits, playdates….whatever works for you and your family. You don’t have to change anything major..Just do whatever you can handle. Basically I’m saying get some stuff on the calendar for everyone to look forward to. It REALLY helps. Then, maybe make a couple of goals. One of mine last year was to have Joshua riding his bike without training wheels by summer’s end. That gave us something as a go to when he was bored. It doesn’t matter the goal, it’s the point of having something to bring parents and kids tougher as a team. Then hopefully having something to celebrate after the goal is achieved. Now, I have many friends that are in my same boat and that said boat, looks very different than many families……It’s the special needs family boat. This makes summer so much more challenging. This boat WILL have rough waters to go through, and that’s a guarantee. All of us who are in this boat know that Summer is never all smooth sailing…like ever. Having a son with autism, that is non verbal and also physically challenged (fine and gross motor skills) makes summer real, real looong at times. He loves his routine and the summer throws him for a loop, man. He gets bored and over it about three days into summer vacation….Not kidding…..and that means Momma gets over it not too long after him. Oh man its tough, but this year, I want things to be different. I am thinking of camps (for Josh) and thinking of goals for Noah. I am determined to NOT put the pressure on myself to be everything for everyone. The children can be bored, that’s okay. Noah can whine to go for rides fifty times a day, and that’s okay. I will carve out some time to rest..and make it a priority to just watch my kids, Gosh they are growing up fast. I think my point is that, this life is hard…and Summer can be awesome and terrible depending on the moment….But I, as the Mom and Captain of the Prigg summer ship, have a choice. I can be miserable or I can be content. I choose to be content. Knowing this life I have is crazy, messy, and painfully beautiful. I know I will be talking myself off the preverbal ledge every now and again, and most likely some of my friends too, but girls, we always have a choice. I choose to love summer, to love my kids, to love my life…There is so much to be grateful for. What do you choose? BUT….Summer hasn’t started yet…… img_0563.jpg

Being Brave

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Today I am sitting in my kitchen, looking at my two puppies, fast asleep. I’m taking a break from cleaning and cooking to reflect on the last week and a half.

Joshua, my youngest and I, just returned home to Tacoma, after a 10 day trip to my home state of Georgia. We both absolutely loved spending time with my family and some wonderful, amazing friends. I ached for Noah, my oldest son (who has Autism and Phelan-McDermid syndrome) and their Daddy, Jeremy to be with us. I kept seeing Joshua with his cousins, laughing and playing…doing things that cousins do…laughing..playing ball in the yard…dancing to Just dance 2015…It made me smile, while at the same exact time wanting to scream out loud at the unfairness….You see, my sister, Dawn and I were pregnant at the same time twice. Both times totally by accident. So, her two girls and my two boys are less than two weeks apart. Eva, her oldest and Noah are the same exact age….Eva is attending a special school for highly capable children, Sings, dances, and plays tennis like a champ… while my sweet Noah, is in a self contained class and I fight tooth and nail, just so they will teach him anything, literally. I FIGHT just for them to keep him SAFE.

So, you see, I have a lot of feelings about this irony…and I mean, A LOT. I have gone from being so upset, jealous, and mad at God for the differences in our lives…to being able to sincerely love her stories of my precious, amazing, beautiful niece, and her amazing capabilities. It has been a journey…

This trip home, while watching the kids play….the old thoughts tried to come back…the voice that says,”this is soooo unfair!” “This should be Noah,Joshua, Eva and Charis.” It feels like a noose around my neck getting tighter and tighter…I feel like screaming to top of my lungs! WWWHHHYYY!!!????
Instead, this time, I chose to be grateful for the time we had with our family. I chose not to focus on the injustice of this life. I know in the marrow of my bones, that my son is a gift to us. I understand to the best of my ability, that we are not promised a life without difficulties and that no one…If they live long enough, get through this life with out SOMETHING HARD. I know we are not alone. So why does my broken heart stay so very, brutally broken?

Well, I have thought about this so much lately. So far, here is what I know for sure….
We are here on this earth for each other, for relationship, for community. My heart ache is not just for me…It’s for you. I have, because of my brokeness, a deep, deep well of compassion, love and mercy for those that are IN the STRUGGLE… It doesn’t have to be like mine. I just feel the pain of those that are doing their best with their broken heart.
I also, know for sure, that you can have a broken heart and still have unexplainable hope and joy. I know because, I have it.
I have, by no means mastered living the perfect life. I am not a perfect special needs Mother or person in general by any means… I still have days, when things are really going wrong and I may be vulnerable in some way, that I just lose it… To be honest with you, I don’t think that will ever change…because, I will always be angry, beyond words when a little innocent child is hurting…sick…and challenged in ways that are simply NOT FAIR. That is my truth.

Today, I sit before you, a woman that has been through many storms and come out on the other side of those storms, changed…refined…better….sifted like wheat….I.AM.Not.THE.SAME.

I love better now. I love people more…even though so many of them are so hurtful because they are hurting themselves…I can step outside my feelings and look at the “why”, and not the “What”…It helps, trust me.

If you have been through, or are going through a dark, dark time right now…I am encouraging you to FEEL your feelings. Talk about them…Please don’t hide out and self soothe in secret. We are all in this thing together…Let someone that loves you know how hard it is for you.
I have found so much solace in my bible study group over the years…women who are truly authentic in who they are… Helping each other by listening, praying, and learning what the truth is about this life. What the authority on the matter says..you know, God. If you really look at what he has to say about it, the good the bad and the ugly….He really does make you feel better!
That’s the cool thing about truth..it just IS…and your soul recognizes it.

If you sincerely say to God..”Hey, I’m having a really hard time, I need you…Show me who you are.” I guarantee, He will…You will start to notice how things start to point to HIM…I’m totally serious girl.

So…. to finish my story from earlier..Josh and I are having an AWESOME time with Nana and Papa and all the cousins…Then it came time to leave… Goodbye’s are always so very hard for me. I just don’t know if I was made to be away from my people. So…..AS USUAL…. I have a FIT..and by that, I mean I cried like a newborn baby and totally fell apart. I’m not like most first born adult children that totally hold it together in stressful times and are like awesome, take charge people and all that stuff. No Way, I’m more like the 15th child, in that, I am incredibly terrible at all that and very good at crying….Anywho….

We made it to the airport in Tallahassee, Fl. Then, the first bad news came. The weather was so bad in Atlanta that our flight was delayed several hours… Of course we get tis news way after my sister and brother-in-law are way gone. To make a long story short, we made it home together about 24hours later than expected…Hungry, jet lagged, and so tired that I felt like I had the flu.
I remember during the horrible situation, asking all my people to pray and I prayed hard myself…after I stopped myself from having a full break down, about 8 or 9 hours into our journey and we weren’t even out of Florida yet ( the destination was Seattle, ugh!). I simply prayed, and asked the Lord…”what do you have for me to learn right now? I am ready to learn,and not have a fit.” and It was in that very moment I heard a small voice in my mind say…”I want you to remember…YOU ARE BRAVE.” Then he said…”Even though you are trembling, you are brave..I am with you.” I am so grateful for HIS encouraging words…His truth.

I do not appreciate the uncomfortable…at all. I don’t think I ever will. But one thing I know is…I believe GOD is good. I also believe that He loves me and that He loves you and that He loves our babies more than we do.
Just because life doesn’t happen the way I’ve specifically ordered it, doesn’t mean it can’t be wonderful…because I know for sure it can.

No matter what the circumstances are in your life…You can be Brave…and that doesn’t mean PERFECT..It means, though you tremble…you keep going.

I love you and HE loves you too…Now go….. BE BRAVE

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