The Ultimate List of Boy Books

This morning I scrolled through my email and discovered there’s a new Little Blue Truck book! What? How did I miss this? Jackson adores the Little Blue Truck books. So I did what any mama of a truck-loving boy would do. I added that book to my cart and it will be on my doorstep in two days (thank you Amazon Prime!)

I got to thinking about all the books Jackson loves – books about trucks, trains and planes – and decided to make one big list of all our favorites. If you have a boy, these books are for you!

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Little Blue Truck: A little blue farm truck and his animal friends help a grumpy dump truck after he gets stuck in the mud. The grumpy dump learns that you have to slow down and be polite. If you don’t, you’ll end up stuck without anyone willing to help you out of the mess. This book was the inspiration for Jackson’s first birthday party.

Little Blue Truck Leads the Way: The little blue farm truck is far from the county. He finds himself in the middle of the big city. The cabs and other vehicles are in too big of a hurry and whiz by the Little Blue Truck. When a traffic jam keeps the mayor from getting to his important destination, Little Blue Truck comes to the rescue.

Little Blue Truck’s Christmas is another favorite in our house and the perfect addition to our Christmas book collection. A story of Little Blue delivering Christmas trees to all his friends on the farm.

Little Blue Truck’s Halloween This is the newest book and I can’t wait to read it with Jackson!

Smash! Mash! Crash! There Goes the Trash!: We are all about the trash truck at our house. This is a fun book about the garbage truck and all the stinky items it picks up on it’s route. Fun rhyming words and silly sayings.

I Stink!: Another book about a garbage truck. Learn the parts of a garbage truck, how it collects the trash, and takes it to the dump. Your little one will get a lesson in his ABC’s as you read the list of items being thrown into the garbage truck – egg shells, nasty neck ties, and baked zitti with zucchini.

I’m Dirty!We are a big fan of construction trucks in our house, too. This book is about the day in the life of a backhoe loader and all the dirty jobs he has to do.

Where Do Diggers Sleep At Night?: Before you tuck your son into bed, make sure all the trucks are tucked in, too. The firetruck in the firehouse. The tractor in the barn. It’s a great bedtime story for any truck-lovin boy.

Where Do Steam Trains Sleep At Night?  This book just released in May, so I added it to my Amazon order this morning. It will no doubt be a hit with my train loving kid! 

Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site: End the long, hard day by saying goodnight to the construction crew. The dump truck, the cement mixer, and the excavator need some sleep so they can work hard again tomorrow.

Goodnight Baseball: Most of our collection involves trucks, but this book is just as much for Jackson as it is for my baseball loving husband. A little boy takes a trip to the ballpark and wishes the players, the fans, and the crowd goodnight after the big game.

Roadwork – We wore out our first copy of this book. The cover had completely fallen off. I had to snag another copy on a recent trip to Target. It’s a great board book about a construction crew building a road. It’s a sing song read with great words like ping, bang, boom, and splat!

Demolition – This book is written by the same author as Roadwork. It’s about a crew doing demolition in order to build a new playground. It’s the same great sing song read as Roadwork with the same great descriptive words.

Construction This time the construction crew is busy building a library!

I’m Mighty – This book is written by the same author who wrote I Stink and I’m Dirty (two of our ALL time favorites). It’s about a tug boat and  his adventures.

I’m Brave Join the big red firetruck as he sets out on an adventure to put out the flames.

I’m Fast – Jackson loves trains! I hear Woo Woo constantly! This book is about a train that races a red car to Chicago. “Chooka Chooka Chooka Chooka…..”

Diggers Go – I found this book at a gift shop in the DFW airport. It’s bright and colorful illustrations are fun. Each page tells about a certain piece of construction equipment and the sound it makes. It’s easy to get tongue-tied reading this one! The same author has also written Trucks Go, Trains Go and Planes Go. We’ve got them all!

Digger, Dozer, Dumper This book includes a fun rhyming description of every truck you can imagine.

Mighty Dads I bought this book because it’s perfect for a daddy to read to to his son at bedtime. A story about all the Daddy trucks teaching their sons what it means to work hard.

The Littlest Snowplow Just because you’re small, doesn’t mean you aren’t tough. The little snowplow proves just how important he is when a blizzard buries the city.

How to Train a Train We went through a long period where this is ALL Jackson wanted to read. It’s a silly book about a boy catching and training a pet train.

Bulldozer’s Big Day I ordered this for Jackson’s birthday not realizing it’s a story about Bulldozer’s birthday! Bulldozer thinks his friends have forgotten his big day; but it turns out they have the perfect celebration planned and it includes one ginormous cake!

What I’m Reading This Summer

This summer is all about books! I’m not writing as much, but I’m definitely reading! All my favorite authors have released or will release a new book this summer. I’ve pre-ordered each and every one of them (thank you Amazon Prime)! My beach bag will be full of wonderful stories to get lost in while I sit on the beach in August! Here’s what I’ve read so far ( and the books I’m waiting to find in my mailbox).

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Pretending to Dance By Diane Chamberlain

Aside from the fact that I always enjoy Chamberlain’s novels, this book intrigued me because of the adoption story weaved throughout the pages. As Molly and her husband prepare to adopt a baby, she must face her own dark secrets. The life she’s tried to forget and has strived so hard to hide now threatens the family she desperately longs to have.

All the Summer Girls By Meg Donohue

A story of three former best friends who have returned to the beach town, where tragedy struck and tore them apart. After years of secrets, the truth is finally revealed among the sand dunes and salty air. All the Summer Girls is a story about secrets, lies, deception, love, forgiveness and starting over.

Big Little Lies By Liane Moriarty

I’ve read most of Moriarty’s books – some I’ve loved; some I didn’t even finish – however, Big Little Lies did not disappoint. I love the way she weaves the stories of several characters together, surprising the reader at every twist and turn. Madeline, Celeste and Jane have no idea just how connected their lives really are and the tragedy that will occur because of their little white lies.

Barefoot Season By Susan Mallery

Michelle has just returned home to Blackberry Inn after ten years and three tours in Afghanistan. She’s healing from physical and emotional wounds and the last person she wants to deal with is her ex-best friend Carly. Carly has kept Blackberry Inn running since Michelle’s mother died, clueless that it’s on the verge of foreclosure. Michelle is desperate to save the Inn but needs Carly’s help to do it. Will she swallow her pride or lose the only place she’s ever called home?

Here’s To Us By Elin Hilderbrand

I’ve never not loved a book by Elin Hildebrand. Her novels scream summertime and her newest release did not disappoint. Three women – who loved (and married) the same man, but hate each other – find themselves on Nantucket to say their final goodbyes to famous chef, Deacon Thorpe. Throw Deacon’s three children into the mix and the drama just escalates. The untraditional family fights, laughs, cries, betrays and loves as they figure out how to live life without the man they all loved.

Currently Reading…

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Books Sitting On My Bedside Table…

Three Sisters By Susan Mallery

Chose the Wrong Guy, Gave Him the Wrong Finger By Beth Harbison

Books Making Their Way To My Mailbox….

Truly Madly Guilty By Liane Moriarty

Once Upon a Wine By Beth Kendrick

Results May Vary By Bethany Chase

 

Ten Things I Learned In June

  1. Jelly Bean Loves Bubbles 

Jackson loves bubbles and so does his dog! Jelly Bean springs to life at the first site of bubbles blowing in the wind. She flies across the yard, jumps into the air and pops them with her mouth. It’s pretty much the cutest thing ever! I adore these action shots I took of her earlier this month.

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2. Depression Doesn’t Always Mean You’re Sad

I’ve struggled with depression off and on as an adult. For me depression isn’t so much about being sad, it’s about feeling lonely. Earlier this month I was in one of those hard, dark places. I was struggling. I believed the enemies lies. I felt completely alone.

Ann Voskamp recently wrote, monotony can weaken faith more than catastrophe. Maybe it’s not the monotony of life but the loneliness of life. 

I think her words hold so much truth.

3. You’re Never too Old to Drink Kool-Aid

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4. We Made the Right Decision Enrolling Jackson in Summer School

It was a last-minute decision, but a good one! Jackson is doing so well, he loves school and the schedule is almost identical to what he’ll be doing in PreK. We knew if was very important that we keep him in a classroom setting at least a few days a week. Structure and routine are so important to him. Going to school twice a week is setting him up for success when he starts going five days a week in August. We’ve seen him grow leaps and bounds (not just with his language) in the past few months. I have no doubt he’s going to be in a good place, ready to rock Prek, come the first day of school!

5. Lemon Oreos are the Perfect Summer Treat

6. “Finding Dory” is a Must-See this Summer

We took Jackson to see the Nemo Movie (as he calls it) and we couldn’t have loved it more! He is still talking about it! I happened to love the movie even more after reading this article. I could totally relate to the scene where Dory’s parents expressed their fears about Dory’s future- one of them being whether or not Dory would make friends. The movie left me thinking about many things – both from an adoptive mamas’s perspective and as the mama of a child with special needs.

7. It Was Time to Toss the Shorts

There are two pairs of shorts that have mocked me every May for the past few years. I’d slip them on and they were always just a little too tight after the long winter months. I’d slip them off and my self-esteem would plummet. They motivated me to get moving but not in a good way. I obsessed about fitting into those shorts. I didn’t feel good about myself. I finally decided it was time to stop the nonsense.

Yes, I started working out. Yes, the shorts were a little less snug. But I realized that I don’t want to feel the way those shorts made me feel every single summer. I bought them years ago – in the junior section! I’m 34-years-old and my body isn’t gonna be like it was when I was 24. So I tossed them and bought new shorts. They slip on a little easier and make me feel good about the skin I’m in.

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8. The State of My Heart is More Important than the Size of My Body 

I was so focused on fitting into those shorts that I stopped caring for my heart. Sure, it’s important to take care of our physical bodies, but not at the expense of our spiritual health.  Several years ago I got intentional about my quiet time. I was in God’s word daily and my relationship with Him flourished. When I got serious about my physical health a few months ago, my quiet time became almost nonexistent.

It wasn’t long before I began to catch glimpses of a heart I didn’t want to have – anger, bitterness and jealousy started seeping out and it wasn’t pretty.

It’s hard for me to balance my spiritual and physical health, especially when I’m busy doing the whole mom thing.

But I’m learning the state of my heart is much more important than the number on the scale.

9. It’s Time to Call It What It Is

A thousand thoughts went through my mind the day news broke of the Orlando shooting, but what kept coming to mind as I read everyone’s opinion on Facebook was this…

It should NOT matter if those that lost their lives were black, white, gay or straight, children or adults, tall or short, fat or thin. They were people. People loved dearly by God. Nobody deserves to die in such a horrific way.

Let’s stop blaming sexual orientation. Let’s stop blaming guns. Let’s stop making this a republican verses democrat issue. 

This is something we should be UNITED about.

Let’s call it what it is.

It’s EVIL.

It’s HATE.

We can do much better than that.

Let’s LOVE.

10. I LOVE Zumba!

I discovered our church has a free Zumba class on Tuesday nights. I’ve been wanting to try Zumba for a while so I asked my friend Emily if she’d like to join me. We pushed our insecurities aside and gave it a try. I have never laughed or sweated so much in my life! It was so much fun I didn’t even feel like I was exercising! You know you have a true friend when she’ll look like a fool with you, laugh her butt off with you and sweat like never before!

When Your Offering Becomes An Idol

It’s been quiet around here lately. I’ve felt a need to step away from the blog (and even my Facebook page) over the past few weeks. I’m not completely sure what the future will look like in either space. I can’t see myself giving up writing completely; it’s ingrained in me. It’s who I am.

But I’m realizing more and more that my worth is not wrapped up in the words I write.

The other day I stumbled across something on social media that describes the season I’m in. I think I’ve taken a sabbatical. I’m not quitting, I’m just taking a rest from work or more literally, ceasing. A period of rest and rejuvenation. 

I don’t make much; but writing is my life’s work.

Writing is therapy.

Writing is surrender.

Writing is my offering at His feet.

But there are times when writing entangles me.

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Social media, platforms and status updates leave me weary.

My worth gets tied up in the words I write.

They are no longer an offering but an idol.

That’s when I have to take a step back.

That’s what I’ve been doing this summer.

God has tucked writing dreams into the deep places of my heart, but the outpouring of words hasn’t always resulted in the outcome hoped for.

I’ve heard His voice numerous time – a small whisper instructing me to share my stories as a way of pointing others to Him.

There’s a purpose for the words I pen; although at times it feels like the words just disappear into thin air.

Recently our pastor shared these words: The process to get to the promise is often messy. We can’t focus on the promise more than we focus on God. 

I’m guilty of doing just that.

But when I cease striving, spend time with Him, and pen words straight from the deep places He’s touched, that’s when He moves.

I pour out my offering.

I share struggles.

Pain often leads to purpose.

And I catch a glimpse of the promise He’s given me through the words of a reader – keep writing, we’re listening! 

 

Seven Things I Learned In May

1. Tuesdays Won’t be the Same 

We have been blessed to be part of an equine therapy program since August. Unfortunately, the program closed it’s doors this month and Jackson took his final ride. There was nothing better than seeing Jackson on top of a horse. I will never forget his first session. He hopped on the horse without an ounce of fear and said the word orange for the first time. From that day on he could say every single one of his colors.

He was super excited to receive a trophy during his last session. He kept saying, horse trophy, horse trophy, Jackson’s room. It sits proudly on a shelf in his bedroom. We will miss the staff and the horses; but we’re so thankful for the amazing memories we made during the past ten months.

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2. 21 Day Fix

I completed my first round of 21 Day Fix this month (the exercises anyway) and I really and truly love it! I didn’t follow the food plan or drink the shakes because I’m honestly a very picky eater and purchasing the shakes just isn’t in the budget right now. I decided I would make healthier food choices and drink a few less Dr Peppers. The number on the scale isn’t a whole lot different, but my body is changing. I’m toning up and slimming down. But the best part? I’m getting stronger. When I started the program I had to do the plank exercises on my knees; now I can do them on my toes! I’m learning it’s all about progress, not perfection. Each day as I sweat, I’m telling myself these ten things!

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3. The Best Mother’s Day Gifts Can’t Be Bought

Mother’s Day was filled with a sweet message from Jackson’s birth mother, a free family portrait (that Jackson sat still for) at church and Jackson talking my ear off. Not a single one of these gifts cost a dime; but they are gifts I will cherish forever. So very valuable in my eyes. And the best gift of the day? Jackson decided Mother’s Day was the perfect time to start taking himself to the potty! Hallelujah and Amen!

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4. IEP Meetings Are For Advocating

What do you do when your IEP meeting is the Friday before Apraxia Awareness Day? You take goody bags for each member of the team – filled with information about Apraxia. You also take a huge cookie cake to celebrate the progress your son has made this year – because so many words, y’all! He’s talking up a storm.

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5. My Worth Isn’t Found In What I Write or What I Weigh

6. Even Though It’s Difficult, Leave Him With Pop and Lolli

When you have a child with special needs there are very few people you feel comfortable leaving your kid with. My parent’s are  the only ones who watch Jackson for extended periods of time. This month he went to Pop and Lolli’s house for a few days so we could meet up with our friends in Boston and road trip  to Montreal.

This mama was nervous. It’s not because I don’t trust my parents. I do. I was just worried about the things they aren’t used to dealing with because they don’t see Jackson on a daily basis. There’s the meltdowns, lots and lots of words that can’t always be understood, sensory issues and the exhaustion that comes from keeping up with a sensory seeker. I was worried because my mom happened to mention a few weeks ago that Jackson gets sad and calls my name at bedtime (Why did she tell me that??) My sister reassured me that everything would be okay and she’d be there to help my parents out.

I was nervous but I also needed a break. So despite how difficult it was, we left him with Pop and Lolli and enjoyed some much needed adult time. While we made our way through Montreal, Jackson took on Texas! I’m sure there was plenty of Dairy Queen ice-cream, rides in Pop’s truck and trips to Whataburger. It doesn’t take much to make the kid happy!

7. I’m Lovin’ My New Summer Hair 

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Kicking Off Summer { And A Bucket List }

Yesterday was Jackson’s last day of school and the temperatures were a sure sign of what summer will be like in Oklahoma. Hot and sticky!  We celebrated the last day of school with 50 cent corn dogs from Sonic (that Jackson didn’t eat).

A nap was not happening when there was a water hose and sunshine waiting outside.  Jackson officially kicked off summer with mud puddles, popsicles and a much-needed haircut!

Can I just say how happy I am that it’s summer? Hair cuts are a breeze when I can give Jackson the water hose to distract him!

It’s hard to believe this is our last summer before Jackson starts school full-time. Come August he will be going to school five days a week (which will make having to answer his constant question “cool day?” a lot easier).

This summer will be about making sweet memories.

Sticky, sweet, ice-cream melting memories. 

And we’ll eat our fair share of ice cream too!

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Here are a few of the activities we hope to mark off our bucket list this summer.

1. Play in the Fountains in Sundance Square.

2. Head Back to Destin for another Wonderful Week at the Beach.

3. Autry’s Annual Visit to Oklahoma.

4. Go Swimming.

5. Slurp a Sprittle from Classic 50’s.

6. Watch Fireworks.

7. See Dolphins and other Sea Life at the Aquarium.

8. Play in the Backyard Until Dark.

9. Spend the Day at the Water Park with Family and Friends.

10. Make Kool-aid.

11. Have a Pizza Picnic.

12. Explore a New Place We’ve Never Been.

13. Build a Sandcastle.

14. Go see Finding Dory.

15. Make Memories with our Friends.

 

What’s on your summer bucket list? I’d love to hear where you’ll be traveling and how you plan to stay cool during the dog days of summer!

What This Mama Learned From PreK-3

In August I wrote a letter to his teacher. I gave her a glimpse into our world of Apraxia and Sensory Processing Disorder. I asked her to look passed the limited words and rough behaviors, to the amazing, joyful, school-loving kid that I call my son.

I had no idea that letter would mark the beginning of a long year of advocating for him.

There have been many words written and spoken between myself and school administrators to ensure Jackson received the services he needed to succeed in the classroom.

It’s been a difficult year.

Fighting for my son; making sure they take his special needs seriously.

Educating teachers about Apraxia and Sensory Processing Disorder and how they affect everything he does.

There have been many tears shed by this mama and her son.

In the drop off line as he had a meltdown; when he didn’t want to leave school; and tears of anger when a school psychologist met me on the playground deeming my child a behavior problem.

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I didn’t drop Jackson off at 9 a.m. and just go about my day.

I was the mama who worried.

I was the mama who prayed.

I was the mama making phone calls.

I was the mama reading books about special education law and IEP’s.

I was the mama who requested meetings.

I’m the mama some school officials might come to hate.

Jackson isn’t the only one who’s learned a lot this year.

I’ve learned I am the only one who is going to stand up for my son.

I’ve learned communication is key.

I’ve learned if you don’t speak up, your kid will get shoved into a classroom where he will fall through the cracks.

I’ve learned a teacher has the power to make or break a school year.

I’ve learned who truly has Jackson’s best interest at heart.

I’ve learned this fight won’t likely end until the day he graduates high school.

Fast forward nine months and we’re taking photos on the front porch, celebrating the last day of school.

We survived!

It’s been a hard year; but it’s also been a year of growth.

A little boy who hardly spoke in August is now talking our ears off at home.

A mama, once defeated, is empowered to keep speaking up for her son.

 

 

 

10 Things I’m Telling Myself As I Sweat

If you read my post from Monday you know I’ve got body issues. What woman doesn’t, right? We live in a world that says you have to be skinny to be loved. I scroll through my Facebook feed and all I see are posts about the latest exercise fad and the tasty shakes promising to rid you of those unwanted pounds.

I have a love-hate relationship with my hips.

I have a love-hate relationship with exercise.

I have an addiction to Dr Pepper.

I have a tendency to get really down when the number on the scale isn’t as low as I’d like it to be.

I want to workout for one week and slide easily into my pants the next.

Wouldn’t the world be a lovely place if it were that easy?

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Last summer I worked hard to drop a few pounds before our beach vacation. I had one goal – fit into the cute shorts that were just a little too snug.

Guess what?

I worked out, I made healthier choices, I drank a few less Dr Peppers and I wore those shorts in Florida.

I also felt stronger, had more energy and proved to myself I can do more than I think I can.

But then I came home and life got busy and I stopped those healthy habits.

Those shorts I fit into last summer – yea, they’re snug again – and I’m so mad that I’m back to square one.

But there are 10 things I’m telling myself as I sweat these day….

  1. It’s About Progress, Not Perfection.
  2. I’m Starting Two Months Earlier Than Last Year – and this time I’m not going to stop after vacation.
  3. I Can Do All Things Through Christ Who Gives Me Strength – repeating this verse over and over and over again is what kept me pressing on last summer. It really is about getting your mind right.
  4. Yes, I’ve Gained Some Weight; but I’m Not Where I Was Four Years Ago – You have to celebrate the small victories. If I work hard, the shorts will fit!
  5. Eat Out Less – I got into a bad habit of going through the drive through. Last summer John and I gave up eating out for a month (we had a few cheat days) and we noticed a huge difference. I’m going to see progress if I eat at home.
  6. Drink Fewer Dr Peppers – I don’t have to quit cold turkey. Should I? Maybe. But I’m a Texas girl who loves a DP with extra ice. Progress y’all, not perfection.
  7. Keep Walking – I try to get 10,000 steps a day on my Fitbit. Walking really does make a difference.
  8. Finish 21 Day Fix – Sunday I will finish my first round of 21 Day Fix (the exercises). I really do love the workout routines; I’m not sure I’m going to love the eating plan (because I’m a super picky eater). Maybe I’ll try it the next go-round; maybe I won’t. Either way, I will keep doing the workouts!
  9. I’m Not Going to Get Tone and Skinny Overnight 
  10. Persevere!!!!! Exercise does not come easy for me. I’ve never really enjoyed it. It seems like a trial. But James 1:2 says, consider it pure joy brothers whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

 

 

 

 

When Lies Threaten Your Worth

This weekend I felt defeated. Lies got tangled in my thoughts. I entertained them and was left feeling anything but stellar. We walked into church Sunday and the preacher’s words (truth) replaced the lies that had taunted me most of Saturday.

He said, your identity is never in who you are – a title, what you do – but in whose you are!!!

I spent most of Saturday believing that in order to really matter I had to be a skinny, successful writer.

I believed:

My Worth Is Measured By My Weight 

Two weeks ago I started the 21 Day Fix program (the exercises; I’m still working towards that crazy eating plan) because my shorts are a tad bit snug as we approach the start of summer. I’ve been consistent and have completed each daily workout. Although I feel stronger, the number on the scale still mocks me.

I’m disappointed in myself because last summer I made changes that led to a healthier Jennifer. Then winter came and I stopped, gained a few pounds and it’s back to square one.

Oh, and did I mention I have major body issues?

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It happens when you grow up with the nickname Betty Spaghetti and end up with PCOS which causes you to pack on the pounds. To make matters worse are the comments from ex-boyfriends that still haunt me – if only my hips weren’t so big; if only my chest were a little bigger.

I am my own worst critic.

I’m having to replace the lies that I have to be a size 6 in order to matter. My worth is not based on the number on the scale or the size of my shorts.

My worth is found in whose I am.

Saturday I believed:

My Worth Is Measured By How Far My Blog Reaches

Saturday I wrote a blog post for Apraxia Awareness Day, hoping it would be as successful as last year’s post – which is still my most read post to date. But it wasn’t.

It didn’t get shared by the national Apraxia organization; a lot of other blog posts did.

The lies were out of control: why are you being overlooked? Why can’t your platform be bigger? Did God really say you should be a writer?

I struggle with a lot of insecurity when it comes to blogging.

I want my words to matter.

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I want to reach the masses; but God always asks me to do the same thing.

Reach one person. 

Maybe that’s because I’m more likely to be obedient if I’m writing for an audience of one verses an audience of one million.

My worth can’t be found in the number of followers I have.

God won’t love me more based on the size of my platform.

My identtiy isn’t wrapped up in the words I write.

My worth is found in whose I am. 

 

What lies are you believing? Do you think you have to do more and be more to matter to God? Stop believing the lies and cling to the truth! Your worth is found in whose you are! 

 

 

 

 

8 Things Apraxia Has Taught Me {Apraxia Awareness Day}

Today is Apraxia Awareness Day. Today I raise my voice to advocate for Jackson and all the other kids with Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS). Today I educate other’s about the speech disorder that steals the voices of so many kiddos; our little guy included.

We’ve been on this journey since Jackson started speech therapy at 18-months-old. I’ve definitely learned a few things along the way; both beautiful and gut-wrenching lessons.

This journey has been filled with joy and pain; hope and fear; laughter and tears.

If I could sum up some of the lessons learned, here’s what they’d be:

Love Needs No Words

Love is those big brown eyes sparkling. It’s his pouty lips kissing mine. It’s his little arms wrapped tightly around my neck. These moments between me and my son are just as powerful as hearing those three little words fall from his lips.

I’ve never loved so fiercely. And by love, I mean learning to love more like Jesus intended me to. Loving Jackson for who he is and not who he could be. It’s a love that doesn’t give up; but pushes past what seems impossible. It’s hugs and kisses and snuggles; but also heartache, challenges, and pain. It’s walking through fire; being refined; stripped of selfish pride. This love is fierce; daily changing me to be a little more like Him.

Every Word is a Miracle

A child with Apraxia must hear a word approximately 3,000 times before it becomes part of their vocabulary. Our life has been a constant game of repeat and we are finally seeing the fruits of our labor. In the past year Jackson has made incredible progress. He’s talking up a storm and with each new word, we celebrate! Hearing his voice never gets old!

Nobody Else Will Be His Voice 

I’m sure people get sick of my Facebook posts about our journey. I’m certain I’ve lost friends and turned off family members because of my constant updates about Jackson’s progress. But it’s my job to raise awareness and educate others about Apraxia. There are so many people who have never heard of the speech disorder. I have to speak up for Jackson until he can speak up for himself. Because I’ve learned the hard way that nobody else will.

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God Does Give Us More Than We Can Handle

Many people say God doesn’t give us more than we can handle, but I don’t believe that anymore. Sometimes he has to give us more than we can handle; because it’s the only way we will fully rely on Him. And His grace is waiting to meet us in those hard places; in all our inadequacies.

2nd Corinthians 12:9-10 says: My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness. So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 

I Speak A Second Language

Recently Jackson was saying something that John couldn’t understand. I was able to translate for John, which surprised him. I told him the next time someone asks if I speak a second language I’m going to say yes. I speak Apraxic.

All Therapists Are Not Created Equal

We’ve had our fair share and we’ve had a few doozies. But we’ve had a few that just can’t be duplicated. The kind of therapists who only come around once in a lifetime. The kind who still advocate for Jackson even though he’s no longer on their case load. They text to see how he’s doing. They text encouraging news and celebrate with us. They see the heart of my son – past the meltdowns to the miracles. 

Grief Is Not A One Time Thing

One of the most difficult parts of the special needs journey is grieving the life you thought you would have. And that grief isn’t a one time thing. It can hit you at the most random times. Life doesn’t go as planned after a diagnosis. This Apraxia journey is a roller coaster ride. There are days I feel strong and capable; Jackson’s biggest advocate. Other days I question my ability to get it right. I’ve learned to embrace every day as it comes.

There Is Hope

Even on the hardest days I hope. I cling to Psalm 71:14 which says, as for me I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more. There is hope in Jackson’s smile. There’s hope in his eyes. There’s joy unspeakable in a little boy still learning to speak. Hope is hearing him say his name and the giggles that follow. Hope is there; even on the hardest days.