Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Dear My Beloved...

A friend of mine recently sent a link (on facebook) to a bible study she had written.

I've had some time to spend on quiet meditation, study and prayer I took some of this time to work through her study. At the end of the study, I had a letter. A letter created with an open mind and listening heart. It is what I imagine God would say to me.

(If anyone is interested in the study, e-mail me privately, I'll send you a link)

Dear my beloved Nikochan,


"This (my love) is my rock, and here I come...
To steal the secrets of the sun
This (my love) is my rock and here come I
To steal the secrets of the sky..." (author unkown)

The secret is open. All are welcome.."Come..just as you are to worship..."
Be (you are/I AM) the rock (love). The rock that weathers the storm/shifts in form, yet never changing at the elemental level. Always (always) surrounded by the warmth of the sun (Son) .

You have been blessed (Remember the cornerstones of your life? Belafonte, King Kong, Beatles, Private Eye Club, Rush and Traci Chapman, Fires of Wisdom, De Colores, Surely the Presence..and more to come!)

Be yourself.

Embrace My People (my human family)

And always..always..

Listen. Listen. Love. Love.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Boys are Finding Their Rhythm.

There was a gentleman who was speaking at the prison this past weekend. He was a guest speaker from ATT. And he was talking about how there is a study where some scientists have taken peoples DNA and turned it into mathematical equations. When you plug a person's DNA equation into a computer..the computer generates a tone. I.E. We are all wired to have a certain tone.

So if we are all a only makes sense that we thrive on rhythm.

I have been thinking a lot about rhythm..the importance of some-sort of rhythm in our lives. Especially now that the boys need me much, and Levi needs more structure. So I have taken some time these past few weeks to see what is and is not working for us (meaning me and Bug) and we have fallen into some nice patterns in our day.Part of our day. We really don't have a plan for afternoons..Just mornings and evenings . That is plenty for now. And with these patterns? Makes more predictable nap and bed times. Meaning? A much happier Bug.

And just like in a well-composed symphony. Our rhythms are fluid. They are not set in stone..but they are the foundation that holds the rest together.

In the morning:
-wake up, dress, play in the living room, Eat Breakfast
- feed the chickens
- play with books
-Bug naps, (I enjoy the quiet)
-TEA TIME (for Bug and Me) Breakfast for Cody
-explore instruments

In the late afternoon/evening:
-play on deck (in the secret garden)
-start dinner (Bug plays in his play kitchen..and loads his toys in our dishwasher, climbs in cabinets, etc.)
-collect eggs with Uncle Brian
-get ready for bed

But Bug is not the only one developing patterns to his day. I recently received an update from Austen. And it appears that the boy has found his rhythm..during his time in the woods (or ranch). Since many have asked how/what he is doing. I thought I would share with you today.

-Wake up with the sun.
-Catch breakfast
-Cook and eat breakfast.
-lie on the ground and watch the clouds for a couple of hours
-scrounge some lunch/dinner
-afternoon adventure
-cook and eat dinner
-bed with the sun-set

From what I understand..Austen's afternoon adventures..have involved lots of exploring, discovering springs, hunting for bigger game, creating a cooler that is buried in a hole in his cabin to protect his food from animals, digging for caves near sink-holes.

Austen has asked us to pick him up on Saturday so he can spend Easter with us. Yay!

Then Austen returns to his rhythm in the woods for one last week, before composing a new summer song.

Monday, April 11, 2011

WOO HOO, What a Ride!

'Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body,but rather to skid in sideways -Chardonnay in one hand - chocolate in the other -body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and...screaming 'WOO HOO, What a Ride'  -author unknown

This is one of my all-time favourite quotes!

And for me, the ride has taken me to and now THROUGH the Parish Ministry Training Program for the Southwestern Texas Synod of the ELCA.

It's official. We (meaning me, Don, Kim, Mike, Everitt and Larry) are finished ..with the studying part, that is.

Next month we all have exit interviews with the director of the program and company, then another interview with the Bishop.

I have spent the past 3 years with these guys..and now? Our adventure really begins!

And so I enjoy this time. This time in-between what was and what is to come.  I came home from class Sat. night to 12 teens/young adults. playing Settlers and various other games whose names have escaped me. They were here to celebrate Cody's birthday. Making pizzas, listening to the coffee house station and just laughing, talking and catching up with each others lives. Nice.

Brian and Angee came down from Austin. And the dreaded boy came out of solitude for the evening. (He is now back in the woods, so to speak. Not to be picked up until Easter) We had the whole gang home. 'Twas very nice.

Then Sunday morning found me back at the prison. Some of the men-in-white offered to treat me to lunch. Alas, the  volunteers and one of the guards had beat them to the punch. I celebrated with my partners in crime over some-sort of hamburger, potato lunch in the cafeteria.

  A few hours later, I find myself with 39+ men in a classroom. We are short volunteers so drama and English choir share a room. The men are all trying to learn to sing and play a particular song.

  An hour later we are all still here. There is laughter. There is prayer. There is a lot of reshuffling of chairs as everyone tries to squeeze between the instruments while someone brings in a fan to get some ventilation in the room.

I sit along a wall between two of these men. One is the writer of the play. The other one of the choir members.Surrounding us are members of the drama team. We discuss the importance of using the gifts that we are given. And I am challenged to use my own gifts, as well.

There is a fiddle part to be learned. I am encouraged to help one gentleman, in particular, learn this. We agree to hammer out the tricky parts next week.

I watch the sun pour through the bars of the windows, surrounded by the voices of these men as they sing.. Each and every man in that room has memorized this song. And now they have joined together to sing in unison Set Me Free  by Casting Crowns.

And as I listen,

I know.

I know I am right where I am supposed to be. The rest of the journey is still untold but

WOO HOO, What a Ride!

Thursday, April 07, 2011


Yesterday Cody turned 18! We celebrated low-key. He and I and the bugboy went out for tacos for lunch. He opened some presents from extended family, and spent the evening with his girl-friend. Rumor has it that not only was it his birthday but he has been dating Ellie for a year now. So dinner with Ellie it was..followed by going to a local cafe/restaurant/club  and listening to a friend who had a gig in nearby San Antonio.

Holy Moly..who would have thought! I am so proud of the young man Cody is today.

When we first decided to homeschool for the long haul Big B and I decided we wanted 3 things for our children in adulthood. These were a strong sense of compassion, responsibility and humor.

Cody is all of these things and So. Much. More.

And WOW..what a journey it has been. For you see, when Cody was 3 he was diagnosed with PDD/NOS..a few months later HFA. A few years later he was rediagnosed Aspergers/HFA/Highly Gifted. But by that point? Who cared?

Cody had broken down his original barriers of autism. You know those books you read or movies you see (A Child Called Noah, Dibs in Search of Self, etc) where a kid goes from autistic to fully engaged adult? Well that is Cody.

Why him? We honestly can't say. At the age of 3 Cody went to PPCD where an amazing staff worked with him daily to develop speech, parallel play and an ability to walk without spinning;)

As soon as he came home from PPCD we had set up the Son-Rise program ..or lifestyle rather, at home. Did we really expect a change? No..but we wanted him to know we loved him. We wanted to catch those "green-light moments" when we could. And somehow over a few years, we got lucky.

While some of his milestones were major..I.E. speech, eye-contact, etc. Many were (and still are) much more subtle.  But the truth is Cody knows, and has always known, more than anyone else what he needs to live more fully.

We learned early that we needed to trust Cody. Sometimes this trust meant supporting him when things seemed crazy. For instance when he buried all the black-keys to the piano in the backyard? We took it in stride and buried with him. (Only to be glued back on at a later date)

The details of Cody's journey are a book in and of itself. And a few scholarly papers have been written about him. But by the age of 9 Cody was taking apart..and fixing.... computers instead of pianos. At the age of 16 he was taking apart..and fixing cars.

Cody has a gift for memorising patterns and systems in ways many cannot. At the age of 7 he referred to the elements on the periodic chart as the ingredients of the universe. Next was patent laws, then bar-code numbering, etc. Cody learns these things with a passion. Then moves onto something else when he is done.

Over the years he has studied the nuances of  conversation. Cody uses the art of questioning and dry wit to keep conversations going. He has come to realise that many of the things that fascinate him (wiring diagrams, programming codes, banking systems,etc..) are not the most intriguing topics of conversation for many of his peers.

As odd as it may seem since he still often appears painfully shy, Cody is probably the most social of all of the boys.

Today Cody is studying information systems. This skill will serve him well in a number of fields. It is a skill that is treasured by certain companies and gov't agencies..yet he chooses to study at a small liberal arts college instead of a more technically inclined school.

Why? Because he knows he needs the balance. Cody is stretching himself. Head, heart and hands. Good for Cody.

There is one song that I listen to often. I sang this to Cody at nauseum as he was growing up. I'm sure he'd be happy to tell you just how nauseating it is.

Whenever I here it I still think of Cody. John, I love you.  by Sinaed O'Connor is Cody's song in my mind. (just replace John..)

The refrain is what gets me. The lyrics are simple...

There's life outside your mother's garden
There's life beyond your wildest dreams
There hasn't been any explosion
We're not spinning like Dorothy
If you look now then you'll see why
Don't be afraid to cry
This time don't let yourself fly
Pick up those dancing shoes
Kick off those wedding blues
These are the ways
You can choose....

Cody is 18 now.

And while they may be disguised as flip-flops, Cody has chosen to pick up his dancing shoes.