a little background

hi, my name is mandy and I have two amazing little boys. My oldest son, Ty, has been diagnosed with autism (which is what you will read most about in this blog); I also have Tripp, who is an amazing little brother to Ty (who you will also hear alot about). I was encouraged to start this blog to document our journey through life and life with autism... my world has been rocked in last few years and i have responded in good ways and bad ... but Jesus has gotten me through all of it...

i hope i can be an encouragement to you, and for the friends and family that will read this - maybe this will keep you posted indepth on what Ty is learning! :) and the adventures of Tripp too

thank you for reading, and if you have any questions, comments or smart remarks; feel free to post them.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


I just started reading a book about a girl who leaves the US to go to Uganda for a 3 week trip and then at 19 decides to move to Uganda for good, adopts some of the children and starts a nonprofit to provide basic needs for anyone who crosses her path but mainly children. Her main objective is to share the love and grace of God in an impoverished village and country. (Thats a very condensed version of what ive read so far) What does this have to do with Ty and his journey? Well I'm getting there ... Let me give a quick run down .... When I was 19 I wanted to go to Africa, I knew that God had placed that desire on my heart and it was strong! (But I didn't go, for various reasons) After reading the first 8 chapters of this book, I am broken, I wish I had been able to make a trip to Africa when I was younger. But as I mom I now understand the concerns my parents had and why they were reluctant to push this desire of mine. So now, at 31, I will be taking a two week trip to Uganda with some amazing people to help out in some impoverished places this December. I am excited, nervous, anxious and scared all at the same time. I'm not scared or nervous for myself but because I will be miles away from my sweet boys and awesome husband. As I was reading the first few chapters of this book I realized that had I gone to Africa when I wanted to, I probably wouldn't be where I am today, so I am thankful that I was made to wait (something I'm not good at) or I most likely had these two amazing boys that have changed my life ... The more I read (Cody you were right I couldn't put it down) the more I was broken and the more I realized that I am a selfish person who has some messed up priorities. I still question God on Ty's communication issues and I pray constantly for him to talk. I feel so selfish when there are kids, of all ages, who know that if they don't get simple medications, vitamins and meals then there won't be a tomorrow - kids who are thankful for a stranger who plays with them and feeds them and takes care of their very basic needs because no one else can or will. And I am crying over a very healthy boy who only lacks the ability to speak clearly and has a few other sensory issues??? We have a home and an over abundance of clothes & food. My boys get a bath every night and have more toys than some kids could want and at the onset of any minor illness we are treated and back to normal within a few hours and at the most a couple of days. We have family and friends who love and support us and on top of that, I have a really good job. So how can I sit in the comfort of my home with my healthy boys and complain or question God? God is good and He has a plan and I need to get my priorities in check so I can follow Him in every area of my life and so I can teach my boys to do the same ...

Autism is a challenge but it's not life threatening (not in our case anyway) and I want to provide Ty with what he needs and with what can help him without my selfishness and to focus on Gods will for his life and His will for our family and to reach out to those around us to show them the amazing love and grace of Jesus! But if I'm bogged down in "me" then how in the world can I help anyone else? How can I show them the love of Jesus? I think autism awareness is good but just like anything else... If it consumes you then what is it really about? Yes talking about autism and teaching others how to interact with Ty and taking Ty to therapy and providing him with all the things he needs are all amazing things, but if I put them before God and if I let them consume who I am, then what have I accomplished?

So how do I balance all of this? How do I not go overboard with my desires for my kids to have a good education? How do I give them what they need without creating selfishness? How do I balance an IEP meeting with Gods will? I don't know yet...but I'll let you know when I find out. I'm gonna start by laying it at the feet of Jesus... He has had a pattern lately of teaching me to let go of things .... And to be patient.

I hope all this makes since to you, bc it does in my head :). thanks for reading!

The name of the book is "kisses from Katie" and she also has a blog www.kissesfromkatie.blogspot.com
Everyone should read this book ;)

Monday, September 9, 2013

Autism is not a four letter word....

Some of you may be thinking that the title of this post is silly, obviously the word "autism" has six letters and not four. Now, don't let me lose you on the mathematics of it, what I mean is that autism is not a curse word. I've had lots of conversations with lots of people about autism and most of them are good conversations but there have been some really awkward ones. One time in particular I was with my two friends, Carla & Heather, and a lady commented on Carla's hoodie (she was wearing Ty's hoodie) so Carla introduces her to me and tells me that she also has a son with autism, my response was "that's awesome". Which I quickly realized was not a proper greeting, her face dropped and almost had a look of shock as if I had just cussed her out. The smile on my face was probably adding insult to injury and I just continued with small talk about her son until I could quickly exit the conversation and place. Another time I was talking with a mom and she was describing her sons extra curricular activities and personality and quirks. The way she was talking and using certain phrases it was almost clear to me that she was trying to tell me her son had autism without saying it, so I asked if he had been diagnosed with anything. (If you know me you know I mean well and don't walk around accusing people of having autism or any other disorder and I never mean it as a insult if I ask). Again I received a look of shock and terror as if I had just said an ugly word. I quickly tried to explain what I meant and that I thought she was describing aspergers (which is what I thought) and that I did not mean to offend her in any way. These conversations aren't limited to the two instances I have so vaguely described, but these are conversations I have weekly, if not daily. I guess I just don't understand what conversations are socially acceptable? I am not offended by autism and I don't really understand why others are? I also don't understand the lack of knowledge about autism. I guess the media portrays autism with certain quirks, not making eye contact, throwing tantrums, being a loner, spinning, rocking, and being socially awkward. And yes, those things can be and are a part of autism but like I have said many times, every child is different. No one person is just like another. So to look at every person with autism exactly the same is to look at every person you meet exactly the same. So I guess I'm just saying there's no reason to be scared or offended by autism and that it's ok to talk about it and if I say that someone has some autistic tendencies I don't mean it as an insult but just an observation an possibly even a compliment ....

Autism is not a bad word and I hope we all have just a bit of the joy and unconditional love that I see in Ty and that everyone will look at life the way he does from time to time. Full speed, soaking it all in, living loud, not caring what anyone else thinks kind of life. :)

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.
Philippians 4:4

Friday, September 6, 2013

school updates and the rest of life...

Kindergarten is a whole new world for this momma, Ty has settled in and seems to really love being in big boy school! Pick up and drop off for school is a new adventure. Every morning we drop Ty off in the pick up line and one of the teachers walks him down to his class. He is always so excited and ready to go, almost jumping out of the car and pulling the teacher to his class. All of the teachers in the pick up line have been so sweet and Ty always seems to make them smile with his big grin and overflowing energy but I'm still learning to not be nervous about this and to not hold up the pick up line as I'm trying to watch him walk all the way out of sight. We have just always dropped the boys off in their rooms at the daycares, I don't know if it's just part of being a momma or if I'm over protective but I am doing my best to let him grow up and do big boy things?! I got to spend a few hours in his class about a week ago and see some of the fun things that they do, PE is his favorite (lots of freedom and playing with balls!ha)and from what I have heard nap time is his least favorite. He's eating really well at school and we are still working on potty training; but one day we will get there! The last couple of days at car pick up Ty has been getting mad when he gets in the car? He is happy walking up to us but once he gets in and I buckle him in his seat, all heck breaks loose, he screams and cries almost like he use to on our way to Hattiesburg for therapy? I don't really know what started this? It could just be that he is tired and doesn't want to be buckled in, but not knowing just really sucks? I'm sure we will figure it out soon.

Brotherly love.
Tripp has been loving K-4 and is apparently a whole different child in the classroom than at home. He never fusses or whines, listens to all of his teachers and brings home smiley faces every day and is quick to tell me which one of his friends didn't bring home a smiley face. I am not complaining and I am very glad that he is a good student! I just need to learn what they are doing so that he will act that way at home, ha! Tripp has been very sweet to Ty and everything that he does, he wants his brother with him (minus the few times at home that the brotherly love turns to fighting) but all in all it does my heart good to see them so involved with each other and playing and communicating in their own little world. Here's a fun story: I was in the kitchen fixing lunches one afternoon and all I heard was a lot of giggles and the chains from the swing rocking in the playroom. Just a normal day. This went on for about 20 minutes. Well, the next thing I hear is the chian popping and the swing crashing to the ground? I run in and see them both wide eyed and staring at me with the swing sitting under them and Tripp says "it broke momma, but it was just an accident" I tried not to get mad and then tried not to laugh because I imagine that Tripp was hanging on with his good arm, (he broke his left arm a month ago when he fell about 14 inches from our indoor trampoline) and then once he got it twisted up enough for it to spin on its own lifting his feet and swirling around like a mad man. I have to give him props for his creative genious. I have seen him do this before(and it is kind of funny), and we talked about only swinging the "proper way" because the swing could break. So before I could even get on to him he says "momma, you know if you twist it up to much it will break"?! and I just shook my head and said "that's right, let's not do that again ok". Oh the joys of these two boys!

New things
Some other things that Ty has been doing lately is saying new words and stacking blocks independently! He was at my dads last weekend and when his Grandy would count "1,2,3..." Ty would hold his hand out and say "un" aka "one!" followed by cheers and laughter. And then we were at his granna's house another day this week and he was stacking blocks 5 or 6 high, on carpet, until they would fall over. Then he would giggle, wait for us to clap and repeat the process. He was also using both hands to steady the blocks and not just slap them up there, which is something I haven't seen him do! So lots of fun stuff going on here. Church has been lots of fun for the boys. Ty loves to hear the band play on Wednesday nights and usually dances and sings and makes a lot of "eeeeEEEeee" noises, it really makes me want to take him to a concert! He has also been going to childrens church and mission friends with Tripp and having a blast. Last Wednesday night he came home with a hand print picture and Tripp had finger prints all over his page and Tripp was not satisfied until we hung them both up side by side on the wall. He was so proud of Ty and just kept saying "momma, look how good he did!" Oh how I love to see them encourage, play and love on each other!

I guess that's all I have for today! thanks for reading! I hope you have an amazing day!