Taking the Scenic Route

Halloween Party at Church

24th October 2010

Halloween Party at Church

I missed the “in costume” part of the instructions, but since Zane’s costume wasn’t complete anyway (bad mommy!), he wouldn’t have been able to wear it.  They really enjoyed the party though.  They had a bunch of different, creative activities that both of the kids enjoyed.

Among the activities were apple bobbing…

(I ended up holding Zane’s hair out of his face, but it was still something he could not get.  I am debating whether or not this is a skill I need to teach. :laughn1: )

and pumpkin painting…

posted in Church, Halloween, Zane, Zora | Comments Off

10th October 2010

Goats are Evil

Children’s story at church was about why Jesus talked about separating the sheep from the goats and what it meant. Asking the kids what the difference was, Zora piped up with some long rambly thing about “Sheeps being nice”…blah, blah, *needs to be cut off now* blah.  Zane, in a loud clear voice, states “Sheep are Good, Goats are Eeeeevil”. :bago: :roflrly: You could find me on the floor under my pew hiding.

posted in Autistic Life, Church, Giggle | Comments Off

12th July 2010

Jesus and the Rabbits.

aka: My Little Gentile.

Zora was writing (drawing) out the lyrics to a song she is learning at church. I asked her what it was and she said it was about Jesus and the Rabbits. Confused, I got her to elaborate. Evidently, Jesus was talking with the Rabbits, and they weren’t very nice (and bit him, apparently), but Jesus still loved them and was nice to them (he pets them).

I think I need to explain what a “Rabbi” is.

posted in Church, Giggle, Language Development, Zora | Comments Off

27th June 2010

Singing in church

Videos of the three songs the kids did with the children’s choir in church this morning.  Zora was belting the songs out at home, but got shy in front of the crowd.  I have a feeling that will go away soon though, given her personality.

Forgive the camera work…I was trying to watch it live while shooting the video with my camera, and that doesn’t always work well.

Meet Me on the Mountain

Obey My Voice

Come Walk With Us

Both of them are less than seasoned performers, to say the least, but I am so glad they are getting the experience. It drives me a little crazy that my two are the wiggliest ones up there though, but I should expect it given their genes. :love2:

posted in Autistic Life, Church, On Stage, Zane, Zora | Comments Off

25th June 2010

Last Day of VBS

The kids really enjoyed VBS this year.  Zach and I were only there for the last day (to help watch kids on the blow up waterslide, for safety), but both kids came home happy and tired each morning, and Zora even took a few naps this week.

Zane had a jr. high girl that hung out with him all week to help him, and I was so thankful.

The group in the sanctuary, there were about 30ish kids this year, a group size that works so much better than the enormous group at the other church last year.   They did several hands on service projects, one of which was making backpacks with hygiene supplies (for Youthville) and a pillow, and it took a lot of explaining to get both kids to understand that they weren’t taking them home with us.  :laughn1: Early in the week I didn’t know what the project was, but I was pretty sure that they weren’t going to bringing home the toothbrushes, soap, and “special backpack” they kept talking about.  I was very glad to see a variety of projects like that because it stimulated a lot of good conversations this week.

The one project that we were there for was writing cards to send in care packages to soldiers.  (and I plan on taking pictures of the other crafts, but my camera batteries need to be recharged first, so it will be another post)

This is Zora’s card:

And this is Zane’s card.  It tickled me.  (it is a stickman style maze/obstacle course, including an exit)

And some crafts from the week:

And, for the final hurrah, the waterslide

The remarkable thing about this picture is that it isn’t as remarkable as it once was.  Zane standing in line, something I wasn’t sure if I would ever see a short while ago.  It’s those little invisible victories that make life so great.

The big kids helping the littler ones up the slippery stairs.

And when did my girl sprout legs like that?  She is growing so fast.

Zane struggled to get up there, but he was so happy at every step.

Taking a break to enjoy some birthday cake.  There were a handful of birthdays this week, and both of my little stinkers tried to claim it was their birthdays too.  (both are fairly obsessed with birthdays and parties right now).  :laughn2:

I love this church.  I am finally starting to feel like a member of the community there.

posted in Autistic Life, Church, VBS, Zane, Zora | Comments Off

17th October 2009

Suprise! (at the Mission Supper)

Every year in my memory the church I grew up in has had a Mission Supper. My parents are pretty much always heavily involved with it, and this year is no exception. The simple fact that my mom was focused on the event, led to the first time we have ever totally surprised her. I told her earlier that I doubted we would make it, because I am sneaky like that. We came at the end so that she would have more opportunity to sit down with us and we could help clean up afterward. (I have so many memories of being one of the last families to leave and helping clean up after events like that…it was part of our family culture).

Every year the Mission Supper raises donations for a specific project, usually something to physically help a group in impoverished areas. (rather than evangelical stuff) This year’s project is really awesome: Personal Energy Transportation They raised enough to send 30-something vehicles to areas of need.

Now to the fun. We actually, genuinely surprised her. A major feat because she always guesses something is up, even when she doesn’t know what. This time it never even crossed her mind. It was worth it when we saw her face.


Zane did pretty well, given the loudness and number of people. On a side note, in the background of this shot, that guy in the blue shirt is special to me. He was a good friend of my maternal grandpa, ornery as anything, and a regular at the restaurant where I had my first job. He goaded my grandpa into giving the first (and I think only) tip he ever gave a waitress to tip me after a meal. He was instrumental in encouraging a shy, very sweet guy who had a crush on my friend to actually talk to her. They are happily married with kids now. He is one of those guys that just makes everybody around him feel happy and cared about. I hadn’t seen him in probably 20 years, but it was like old times when we started teasing each other again.

After the meal, Zach and Zane went out to the farm because Zach needed to diagnose the computer issues they were having. (Computer was dead and would not be revived without stupid amounts of money…better to just get a new one). Zora stayed with me and we helped clean up. It was good to see Zora happily helping and made me feel like all the extra effort I go through to teach her how to help was worth it, despite the fact it can make life a lot more frustrating in the moment. Here she is helping “Uncle ‘teve” with the donation cans.

After the work was done, it was funny to see the kids playing the same games, with the same setting, as I did as a kid. The church basement can be opened up for events like this, but in regular use, there are series of heavy curtain walls that are pulled together to create a bunch of “rooms” for adult Sunday School discussion groups. Just like we did, the “rooms” became houses, and time was spent running around them. Zane, on the other hand, was just interested in how the curtain moved on the rails.

posted in Autistic Life, Church, The 2 Opas (J's Parents), The Kids | Comments Off

14th December 2008

Christmas Pagent

The Christmas Pagent at Church was after the worship service this Sunday. My parents and brother all came up to go to the church service (we were having an orchestra and choral music “Moods of Christmas” thing…our church has a lot of professional musicians and it is just spectacular when they do stuff like this) and to watch the kids at their first ever Christmas Pagent.

Honestly, my kids were the most challenging; Zora because she was the youngest (and pretty spirited too), and Zane because it was chaotic and difficult for him. However, both of them made it through with no meltdowns and I am happy that they were able to participate. I was really impressed by the other kids who helped my kids out so much by taking their hands and helping direct them when they couldn’t figure out their cues very well. I really like this group of kids a lot and am continually impressed with their maturity and acceptance.

They were absolutely adorable in their costumes. Somehow the scrape on Zora’s chin just seemed to add to the ironic charm of her costume.

Gathering around for “Away in the Manger”. In rehearsal that morning Zora was quite upset when they took away baby Jesus to reset the scene and wanted to know “Where Baby Jesus?” over and over.

After this scene is when they are supposed to line back up, ready to sing “Joy to the World” and “Christmas Truth”, but this is where my pair went off script. Zora wouldn’t leave baby Jesus and was in the back, guarding the manger, and Zane’s headpiece came undone, and he tried to get it back on his head but couldn’t get the headband on it and it kept falling off his head (looked like a dinner napkin on his head at this point). This disoriented him and he started walking across the stage, up to the second microphone, and was just starting to talk into the microphone as I reached him, took his headpiece and told him to “go back to your x” in his ear (we had an “x” marked on the stage where he was supposed to stand). He did (thank goodness), and the play ended just fine (the leads were focused enough that they didn’t seem affected by Zane’s detour)…welll, except that Zora stood in between the lines (one of the older girls had gotten her away from the manger, but she wouldn’t go back up to where her “spot” was), but she was singing and doing the actions. If I would have had a camera, I could have gotten great pictures of her singing from side stage. lol.

edited to add: a link to mom’s account of the day: Littlest Angel

posted in Autistic Life, Christmas, Church, On Stage, The Kids | 2 Comments

30th September 2008

Sunday at Church

First, gotta say, I love this new church. Sort of sad that I post less about church now that I am happy. Human nature I guess.

This Sunday the children’s choir sang. I was debating up until the last minute whether to go with Zane to the front or stay in the back. I want him to be able to handle it independently, but it really isn’t fair to him to have his first “being up front and singing” (well, on purpose at least) on the Sunday the church is as packed to the gills(the church’s 25th anniversary and they had special speakers, etc…there were people standing in the lobby when the seats ran out). So, I followed the group up there. Zane was on the end of the front row, so I could sit right up front (there is a banister in front of the front row of pews) that can sort of hide me, plus, the kids were up on the steps, so even when I was sitting down there, I wasn’t blocking anybody at all.

I wish I could say that all the work we did on the music (and all of hours of earworms for Zach and me) meant he just stood there and sang like everybody else (a mom can have fantasies, can’t I?), but I will say he didn’t run away, he stopped trying to blow out the alter candle once I told him to stop doing that (and the breath taking moment when he used the sheet music to “point” to the candle and was within an inch of catching it on fire…that caused my stealthy movements to change to a quick jump up. lol), he stayed in the same spot and only turned to the side a few times, and he did actually sing every once in a while (big YEAH! to that). He also didn’t flap or screech that I can recall, which he doesn’t do a lot normally, but can when he is overstimulated…so it was a big possiblity in this situation. He also smiled and seemed to really enjoy it, which made the whole thing worth it to me.

Overall, a success. Not a fireworks exploding success, but a great step never-the-less. I was literally dripping sweat by the time the kids walked back out of the church to their Sunday School from nerves, trying to remain unobtrusive to the people behind me, and the constant juggle of trying to decide if something is distracting enough to cause further distraction by refocusing him.

On a very cool note, I was approached by one of the Sunday School people who said there was a teen daughter of somebody who works with kids of SNs professionally who asked if she could come help out in his Sunday School classes and was putting out feelers wondering if I might need a babysitter. WOOHOO! The young lady who does the kid’s music is getting her certification to work in intergrated classrooms, which, combined with the relatively small group (there are 15-20 kids ranging from Pre-K to 5th grade instead of 20-30 kids the same age as Zane) really makes it a much better experience. I am SO glad we changed to this church. Not only are the adults enjoying it so much more, both of the kids seem to be doing better too.

posted in Autistic Life, Church, Music, Zane | 3 Comments

8th September 2008

Deeply Dissapointed

Zane woke up Sunday morning out of sorts, so I called the church to let them know we weren’t going to make it. (He has a “para” person that meets him, so we can’t just not show up). Since Zora was rarin’ to go, we decided that I would stay home with Zane and Zach would take Zora to the nearby church that we used to go to (and loved, but it was when the autism dx was brand new and we didn’t know how to make it work and were afraid to ask).

Unlike the last 8 months, Zach enjoyed the sermon and service so much, he actually called me from the parking lot to tell me about it (keep in mind, the church is less than a mile away). It really brought to head how incredibly disappointing the experience at the MB church has been.

Instead of walking out of church feeling spiritually renewed and excited and ready to meet the challenges of life, we would walk out feeling irritable, frustrated, and like we wanted both showers to get the ickies off and a nap to recover. The worst part is that I was in denial that it just wasn’t going well for Zane, the only thing that was keeping us there after a few weeks. We have been there long enough that he should have looked more engaged and excited, but he still had the flat affect and did not seem to be enjoying it at all. Zora is like I was as a child, and as long as there are people there, she is ok, but honestly, I have seen her more excited to go to Zane’s therapy as she was to go to church, and that isn’t really what I want for her either.

With the exception of one sermon series on Jacob, which had interesting pieces here and there, the sermons were rather empty of substance. They were NOTHING like the Mennonite churches I grew up with and pretty much exemplified every stereotypical negative about an Evangelical Right Wing church you can imagine, right down to the “Focus on the Family” hate mail propaganda in the mailbox.

Last week, I had a glimmer of hope when the pastor said something about the Muslim community beginning Ramadom and that we should pray for them. My face lit up…was I seeing actual compassion for Muslims in war torn communities and facing so much prejudice here in the US? Uh, no. When I got to my mailbox after church I saw the ‘prayer calendar’. It is a nice concept…everybody praying for a particular person/group/country at the same time, but the prayers, just ugh. Every day had a different city and country and we were supposed to pray that they see the error of their ways and come to Jesus. You have GOT to be kidding. THIS is what they pray about? How self centered and self righteous can you possibly be? I so don’t belong there.

Seeing the church we like has not changed, despite the death of the beloved pastor, made me hungry for that fellowship and interaction again. It also made me hungry for real music, not this “lets sing the same phrase over and over again with no harmony” stuff (I am a tenor/contra alto…I squeak trying to push out soprano), to hear a sermon that uses three syllable words and assumes a level of cultural and biblical literacy, a church bulletin that actually explains what is going on instead of just slick marketing material, and a service that feels like a fellowship instead of a stage show. I know, for a fact, I can not take one single Sunday more of “6000 year old earth” crap, “if you don’t spank your children you are disobeying God” stupidity, and listening to regular slams to how horrible liberals are. I certainly won’t miss running into that school social worker that was so evil and/or incompetent that it pushed me towards homeschooling, who seemed oblivious to how much she destroyed my faith in human beings for a while and still makes me distrust schools. I also won’t miss the long drive there on Sundays. The church we are moving to is less than a mile away and that means we will be able to participate in the events during the week too, not just Sunday morning.

I will miss seeing a few high school friends I hadn’t seen in decades. I will still be seeing the other family (the ones who invited me) with the autistic twins at therapies and events for the autistic community and homeschooling community and I hope she and I can still be friends because, despite our differences, there are still a lot of similarities between us.

Now the hard part. I am expecting a call back from the children’s minister/sunday school person to talk about what we can do to help make this a better situation for Zane. Frankly, even if Zach and I have to take turns being a para to Zane, seeing the sermon every other week is still far better than hearing the MB sermons every week. lol. I need to try and find the phone numbers of the people that worked with Zane at the MB church. I do appreciate the effort, but it just isn’t working for us. I know that all the numbers I need are locked inside the computer that died, and not sure how many of them I will be able to find. *sigh*

posted in Autistic Life, Church | 1 Comment

27th July 2008

Kid’s Creativity: VBS & Church

Zora made this. The reason it looks so beat up is because she keeps carrying it around with her.

I helped Zane make the basket. He understood how to do it, but didn’t have the fine motor skills to really do it well. He directed me when he wasn’t doing it.

The woven mat Zane did totally on his own. Very cool craft for him.

posted in Art, Church, Crafts, The Kids, VBS | Comments Off

  • Zane's age

  • Zane is 15 years, 9 months, and 21 days old
  • Zora's age

  • Zora is 11 years, 9 months, and 25 days old
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  • I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision — Maya Angelou

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