Saturday, November 28, 2009

Unexpected Gifts

For the first time, Rick and I got up bright and early on Black Friday in hopes of getting a Nintendo DS lite for Matt. He has it at the top of his Christmas list, but knows it's a higher priced item and doesn't really expect to receive it. Our early morning adventure paid off and we were able to get a the game system at a great price. I can't wait to see the look on Matt's face when he realizes he has the gift he wanted, but didn't expect.

This year has been a good one for our family. Yes, there has been plenty of transition, but it's been good just the same. We had an unexpected gift from God along the way that has just been precious and completely unexpected. The gift of time has lead to some perspective and allowed me to see God's provision.

Back in April, Pastor Evan asked people in our congregation in they would be willing to share a cardboard testimony about God's work in their lives. After some delay, I decided to share how I had been abandoned by my biological mother, but I was not forgotten by God. Isaiah 49:15-16 says "Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me." I am so thankful to the Lord for showing me those verses and letting them go from my head to my heart. God was working on something awesome that I couldn't see yet, in the middle of this.

About a month later, Abby had to do a family timeline for school. We worked on together and got it done. I started thinking about my biological mother's side of the family and realized I would like to know just a little bit about their family tree. All I was hoping to figure out was a timeline. I headed to and entered the information I knew. Along the way, I found my biological aunt's email address. With a good dose of trembling, I sent off an email asking for the information. Not only did I get the family tree I was hoping for, but so much more.

At the same time I was making the decision to do that cardboard testimony, my Aunt Wendy was at my biological grandmother's house and gathering up photos and notes about my biological mother, me, and my sister, that she thought should be preserved. Aunt Wendy and I have formed a friendship, I have those photos and notes she gathered that day, as well as perspective on a lot of things I thought I never would understand. I have seen God's protection, provision, and most of all his love. What an unexpected gift in an amazing form.

So what about you? In what ways has God shown up with an unexpected gift in your life?

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Mommy Guilt

Rick and I attended parent/teacher conferences Monday night. Both Abby and Matt are ahead of the curve, which is wonderful to hear. Matt's teacher brought something to our attention which I am very grateful for, but at the same time I am experiencing what I call "Mommy Guilt" over.

Ever since Matt started school he has had trouble with handwriting. He hates to write and I always thought it just wasn't on his list of favorite things to do. The other thing he has consistently done is write his numbers backwards, especially on a timed math test. Every year at conferences Rick and I would ask about it, and were told he'll grow out of it. His first grade teacher said if it continued into later years (Matt is now in third grade.) to look into further. That brings us to the present. While Matt is doing well, he is still writing numbers backwards and now he wrote his name backwards like a mirror image. His teacher said she was still in the process of learning about it, but she thinks Matt has dysgraphia. I'm so thankful to have a name for what Matt has been struggling with. As soon as we were home from conferences I got on the computer and started researching.

Here comes the guilt. I found an article explaining this learning disability, symptoms and learning strategies. The more I read the more I recognized things that Matt has struggled with. Things we used to battle over. It has to do with spacial reasoning. People with dysgraphia are often very intelligent, but can't put their thoughts to paper well because of having to walk through how to form the words. Another symptom is not being able to hold a pencil in the normal way. Matt makes a fist to hold his pencil. There are other symptoms as well, enough for me to print out the article and send it to Matt's teacher. I highlighted everything that reminded me of Matt. I feel horrible for having battled over these things and now I realize it was not his fault.

On the plus side. Matt's teacher has already begun to work with him. His school is going to provide therapy so he can learn how to properly hold his pencil, and an IEP (Individual Education Plan) meeting is going to be scheduled. That means that Matt will have the help he needs with assignments and tests. All of this a relief to me because at least now we have an answer to something that we have always wondered about.