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, January 21, 2014

Africa and perspective changes

So I don't really know where to begin this post... I just got back from a two week trip to Africa. We left the day after Christmas and came home on January 9th. It was absolutely amazing! I learned a lot about myself and about their culture and just life in general. I know that I am distracted a lot from our main purpose and goal as Christians - and that is to spread The Gospel. Just that simple. Love others and show that love daily and to be sure that everything you do points to Christ.

Before I left, I struggled with leaving my boys, and i knew I would get to talk on the phone with them but I wouldn't get to see them everyday. And even though Ty will listen and jabber with me on the phone I wanted to see their faces! There were a few days that we stayed at a place that had wifi and we were able to face time, which made my day and eased the ache of missing them! But I longed to squeeze them tight!

Our days were long and full of activities! We spent lots of time in the villages and would typically end up at school buildings that were just concrete structures with open doors and windows and lots of wooden benches with desks attached to them that would seat about 4 or 5 comfortably but could squeeze 8 or even 10 kids. The children were so excited to see us and even though we didn't speak their language, communication wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. I thought about my boys a lot on this trip. I saw kids their age running around with a baby strapped on their back, bare footed with clothes that would literally fall off if ripped in one more place but they were happy. They didn't complain about life, they didn't expect us to watch their brother or sister while they participated in games or crafts they just came as they were, dirty, hungry, thirsty and willing to hear about Jesus. They were eager to hear what we had to say and even though I wanted to take each of them and hold them, love them and just give them food, water, clothes and shelter... All those things would only last for a short while... The most I had to give them of any lasting value was The Gospel. We still fed each village and gave clothes and our church sent money ahead of us to build churches and schools- but when I was there I realized and I could see first hand that the only thing that truly could change any of their lives for the better was and is the Gospel! And that just blew me away.

I am very protective of my boys and I could never imagine just letting them roam through a village without me!? I kept thinking, where are their parents? Why aren't they here!?(some where) but most of the time it was just packs of kids... And everywhere we went they would literally just come out of the woodworks and follow us where we were going and loved to just to be near us. Tripp and Ty are snugglers, they love to be right under neath you and in your lap and want you to be engaged in their world. I could see that in each of these kids! They just wanted to be touched, held, loved! They wanted to carry your back pack or hold your hand and it was so sweet and humbling. As we spent time in each of these schools at the villages, I kept thinking about how selfish I am. How demanding I am for Ty to get a better education - for him to have a swing, trampoline, iPads and smart boards... Yes I know these things will help him and I'm not saying that it wouldn't be nice to have. But how can I expect so much when these kids have absolutely nothing. They don't have crayons and paper and crafts to send home everyday. They might get a notebook and pencil if they are lucky! And here I am expecting equipment that costs as much as an entire school building!?!? Who am I to request that!? Who am I to expect that!? Yes I want Ty to flourish and to learn and to express himself and begin to talk and communicate so that his frustrations will be less - but he is happy, healthy, and crazy smart! He has started pointing to things that he wants more, and he will point to me and then a chair so that I will sit down (and does this to ask for things, he doesn't always listen if I say "no you can't have that" he may still take it and run, but he asks!!!)... He has been laughing at movies and making sure that I am watching his movie by grabbing my face and moving it towards the screen and the pointing at the screen as if he is saying "you sit here and watch this with me". And I just can't help but think about those children living on the islands and on the mainland that are in mud huts, sleeping on the floor, taking care of their brothers and sisters, working for food and to go to school, selling everything they can so that they can eat and possibly get an education. And here I am with my boys, in a house bigger than I need, on land that I could easily plant a garden and watch it grow and feed my family without worrying about the fertility of the soil bc if I need to I can buy fertilizer, education is typically free, we have more than enough food in our house and when we run out we just buy more, my dog eats better than the children I spent two weeks with ... And here we are upset when someone looks at us wrong, mad when we don't get what someone else has, demanding more and more - when really and truly Jesus is all I need... And if He is all I have then I should be grateful... Even if all I had was a mud hut and one meal a day... I should be singing and praising His name... Because that's exactly what these people did! I don't really know where I am going with all of this... I guess to say that education is a privilege and we should treat it as that. Having a home, car, toys, tvs, access to medical attention, running water, electricity, beds, ac&heat, food, etc.... is a privilege and I never knew how spoiled I truly am... The bible says that "everyone to whom much was given, much will be required" and these words ring true in my heart so much more than they ever have before... So I am grateful for where we are, I am grateful for Ty's teachers and those we have learned from in the past and we are blessed beyond what we deserve and I hope that I keep this perspective and don't get distracted by the things of this world.

Thanks for reading!!! I hope it all makes since... My mind goes in 100 diff directions on a normal day and is really running ever since I've been home.

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