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.

Thursday, November 17, 2016


From the time I found out I was pregnant with Ty I prayed for him. I prayed daily that God would use him in a big way to impact others around him. I specifically prayed for Him to give Ty a passion for Jesus like no other. I still pray that and once Tripp arrived I began those same prayers for him.

Last night at church me and Ty were walking in the sanctuary. Once we got through the swinging door (this can be a process at times) Ty ran over and sat next to one of the younger youth boys. He just squeezed himself between him and the end of the pew, the young man had to scoot over a little so Ty would fit but he didn't go far and welcomed Ty and all his excitement. I laughed and told Ty to come on. The young man smiled real big and started talking to Ty, asked him for a high five and just started giggling at the things Ty was doing and Ty was laughing with him. Then Ty stops, looks up at me and says "Bye...Bye .... bye" lol. Like I was gonna leave him with a 12 year old and trust he wouldn't start hopping pews and running around the church?! We sat and chatted a few minutes with the young man and then went on to get his normal seat with an adult while I played in the band. As I walked away my heart began to smile. There are so many kids and teenagers in this world that show love. They show love to everyone no matter their differences. Yes our church is small and most everyone knows Ty and all his tactics but some could still shy away from conversations with him and some do. But those moments when young kids and youth intentionally create conversation and interactions with others who may not act or communicate in a "normal" fashion, those moments warm my soul. After worship we went to music for the kids and then to RA's. Ty and I ran up the stairs with the rest of the wild and rowdy boys (Tripp among them). We get settled in our seats and Ty starts chattering and trying to talk to everyone in the room, some smile big, some look away, some laugh and encourage his silliness. But there was one little guy (I say little I think he's a 4th grader?!) started talking to Ty. He asked him if he wanted a book, then a pen or pencil and a roll of tape.  He grabbed different things and kept sitting them in front of Ty so he would have stuff to play with. Ty would get excited and nod his head "yes" to each question. The little boy asked Ty how his day was, looked him in the eye and listened to Ty "talk" in his own language nodding along and being so attentive. When class was over Ty got mad because he wanted to leave and play with the door immediately and this same young man came up to Ty to reassure him and comfort him, he asked what was wrong and when I told him why he was upset, he told Ty "it's ok we're gonna all go out and play" and then stood with him. My heart was full again with the love that this kid poured out. The compassion and love in simple acts of kindness and interaction were huge! In less than an hour two young boys showed more love and compassion and kindness than a lot of adults know how to do.

There's so much going on in our world and there's a lot of hate running around in so many forms, it was good for my soul to see so much good in one night. To see kids and young teenagers show love to others and not just because it was Ty?! I think no matter who would have come and sat down and squeezed themselves in that pew would have been welcomed - it impacted me because it was Ty and because I struggle with him communicating and being welcomed by others. At times I judge and get mad and upset over situations where I think Ty was left out, overlooked, shunned, mistreated, on and on and on (I have amazing friends that set me straight when I can't see it) ... Sometimes those reactions are warranted and others are probably just me overreacting or expecting something from someone who hasn't been taught how to treat others or how to communicate and include those that are a little different. Sometimes I am on edge and don't really give folks a chance and I see their stares and assume the worst - I know an 8 year old in a stroller who is "talking" his own language or making strange noises isn't the norm and when he attracts attention by being loud or mad or happy - there are times I don't give folks the benefit of the doubt that they aren't just staring to be mean... there are times that those looks are meant to be hurtful ... but for the most part it is probably just curiosity and I know I need to work on that on my end. But these two boys last night really made my night. It might not have been a big deal to them or to Ty but it was a big deal to me. It showed me their hearts and that there are so many kindhearted, loving and just good people everywhere we go. Something God apparently knew I needed to see.

I told you at the beginning of this how I have always prayed for God to use Ty since he was in the womb. Last night I was talking with one of my favorite teenagers, who's a senior this year. She was telling me all about college and what she wanted to do and her big picture plan for her life. In part of her explanation of  why she chose her major she said "I wanna work with kids like Ty". There have been a handful of former youth, college students and kids that we have crossed paths with in the past 8 years that have gone on to pursue degrees in areas of special education, OT, PT, SLP, etc. That have come back and said "I wanted to work with kids like Ty" ... I know he is not the soul reason they chose their path and that there are lots of factors. They have amazing parents that have raised them and helped in their decision making process and groomed them into the amazing young men and women that they are today. But when I hear "I wanna work with kids like Ty" it makes me smile. It shows me his impact and how God is using him in a huge way, even when I don't see it.

I know this was kind of all over the place and just some random stories but these are the things that show me how God loves. They show me that He answers prayers and that He is using us to impact those around us even in the little things.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

The ugly truth ...

  Life is crazy. There are times that we think we have it all planned out and know where we will be in the next 10 years. We lay out our hopes and dreams for our families, jobs, vacations and think we have it all figured out. We say those "I'll never...." statements and are adamant that we know what we will and will not do with our lives.... and then life happens. I could compare it to the Olympics. Michael Phelps for example, if he were to show up at the starting block for a medal winning race and instead of diving in and swimming hard as he has trained to do, he jumps in and does a canon ball, makes a huge splash and then attempts to catch up with the pack after he's made waves and caused a scene in the pool.  The reaction from the crowd would probably be confusion, a little laughter from some, others would be outraged (I mean he's trained his whole life for this, what is he doing?!), and others would just gawk and stare because they can't believe what they just saw, then you'd have those few that continue to cheer for him because he's Michael Phelps if there's anyone that can do a canon ball and still win the race then it's him, right?!

  Well, that's kind of like my life right now. Everything has changed. Divorce sucks, it's ugly, hurtful and a mess and it changes you. It doesn't matter how peaceful anyone tries to be. It's a mess. It always will be. It effects everyone around you - your kids, friends, family, etc.  It puts a strain on relationships with everyone in your life even when you try for it not to. It's as if I have "done a canon ball in the pool at an Olympic race" and just shook the world around me.  When the news got out about our divorce some people were outraged, some just gawked and stared, a few saw it coming and then I've had those that have just continued to cheer - not that they are advocates for divorce but that they know that life happens and they can see the hope in the future. 

  I've seen on facebook some people who post their divorce selfies with their former spouse and a copy of their divorce, kind of like a newly married couple will do with their marriage license but instead it's with their judgment for divorce. Smiling? Happy? Thumbs up? When I see things like that I think "yeah right, that's not possible". As we started this process I thought "we can do this peaceful and with as little damage to the kids and still maintain a good healthy co-parenting relationship" and that is still my goal but it's not easy. I've learned a lot in the last year. I'm surrounded by an amazing group of friends that have supported me in so many ways and I couldn't have made it through this without them and Jesus of course. They have seen me cry, talked to me for hours, been angry with me, sad with me, mad with me, mad for me, when I couldn't fight for myself they fought for me and they have made me laugh, oh how they have made me laugh! I wouldn't trade any of them for anything in this world! They are my tribe and my people! I love them more than I know how to tell them!

   As of August 11th our divorce was final. We haven't lived in the same house since February but it took 6 insane months for it to be final. I remember letting my friends know that it was done and they all asked me "are you ok?" my answer was yes - there have been lots of emotions in this process and they have seen me at my worst but on that day for whatever reason it was a relief for it to be done. I won't give all the crazy details because honestly I don't want my kids to have ill feelings towards either of their parents and one day they may read this. I know that they still may hear through others stories of what happened as they get older. Some stories will be true and others will be completely made up and they will have questions and I pray I will have graceful answers. Answers that don't tear down who their daddy is to them. Answers that support their relationship with their dad and can somehow show them that this was just another part of life. I hope somehow I will be able to show them love and grace in the midst of the madness of divorce. I want my boys to know that their parents love and support them and even though life didn't work out how we had planned that it's not their fault and that we did everything we could to be good parents. In the end it's all about Jesus anyway. Just because we divorced doesn't mean that I am not suppose to show grace as Jesus would (not that it's easy, but that is my goal).

   Well, let me switch gears for a min and brag on my sweet boys! School has started and they are doing great! They are both riding the bus to school (this was a challenge for me because I have always taken them to school, but after a lot of thought, research, prayer and meetings with teachers and drivers - they are riding the bus to school! and they absolutely love it!). Ty is always excited when he sees the bus coming, he starts giggling and pointing and hugging me as if I have taken him to Disney world lol. The first day he got on the bus he ran up those stairs and never looked back. He and Tripp ride different buses because Ty's bus has fewer seats, seat belts if needed to keep him in his seat and a bus monitor to help him while he's riding. Tripp has done amazing on the bus as well, he comes home telling me all about his friends on the bus and how many stops they make, etc. I think it has given them both some independence and they are loving it.

  We have changed Ty's meds again and now he is on less meds at night! He's been doing really well lately and it is so amazing to watch him grow. We are still attempting potty training, he wears pull-ups and will point to his pull-up if he needs to go to the bathroom sometimes. He likes to just point to his pull-up to get my attention and make me stop what I'm doing so we can go in the bathroom sit on the potty and then immediately stand up without even attempting to use the bathroom. So we have been working on that. He's been doing really well at school. His teacher told me about him sitting in the hall waiting for the bell to ring before they went into the class room and his friend (a girl) was sitting next to him and when the bell rang he jumped up and then leaned down to gently help her up. He also gave this same friend his pencils (if you know Ty, that's a big deal because he likes to carry things with him and it's usually two of something well on that day it was pencils and he's bad about teasing people and acting like he will give you his toy or pencils but then taking them right back) well on this day for whatever reason he gave her his pencils and let her keep them! If you ask him about her he just grins from ear to ear it's really sweet to see him interact with his classmates and form those bonds with his peers.

  We started Ty buddy's at church last Sunday and it went really well! Ty had a helper that took him to Sunday school and then into big church during the singing, sat with him during the children's story and then took him to children's church! It was so amazing to see him interacting and doing all the "normal" things on Sunday and I can't thank my church enough for being such a big part of his life! I have had a lot of people comment on how well Ty has been doing lately and especially at church. He's been listening better and interacting more and it really just warms my heart to see others see that in him! I am excited to see what the Lord has in store for us this year!

Well thanks for reading I know it was a bunch and kind of scattered! love yall and thank you for all the love and support throughout this year and this whole process of our new normal.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016


I know I write a lot of posts about wanting Ty to be able to talk. I pray every day for God to give him the words he needs to communicate in this world. To give him the ability to speak and not have to face this frustration and aggravation of people not understanding what he wants or needs. I pray for Him to give him a spirit of peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control (those are things we are promised? right?). There are days that I see the positive side and I see how lucky I am that he is here and he is healthy and for the most part a happy boy who navigates and figures out how to communicate with those around him without saying a word and I am amazed at his ability to use what he's been given and teach those of us around him what he needs or wants. But there are bad days, there are days when I cry uncontrollably because I can't fix it. I don't always know exactly what's going on. I've gotten really good at guessing and reading him. For the most part I can tell if he's trying me or if there's really something wrong. But to be completely honest sometimes I just don't know. I don't know if he's crying because he's not getting his way or if he's upset or hurting and just can't tell me. I don't know if he's mad because I told him he couldn't do something or if he's mad because he was trying to tell me something else and I didn't understand. There's a lot of I don't knows when your child is considered and "labeled" nonverbal. If I'm honest there's a lot of days I just hate that word "nonverbal" because he's not completely, he speaks some words, he yells, he communicates. He just doesn't do it like everyone else. He has his own language that we are desperately trying to figure out. I understand by textbook definition it's just a "diagnosis" but it doesn't mean I have to like it. There are days I get mad at God. I tell him how I know He can fix this. I know He can settle Ty's anxieties and frustrations and help him have self-control instead of impulsive behavior. I know He is able to do all things. He tells us this. So I ask him, often times out of anger, why won't you let him speak when you are the one that can give him words. You can make the deaf hear, you can make the lame walk, you can heal the sick and raise the dead! I know you can allow him to speak and communicate in a way that we would all understand. In a way that he wouldn't be upset or frustrated because no one understands. So why not?! I get mad and upset and cry and then get frustrated and wonder who am I to ask and demand these things from God? Right ?

A new school year is starting. Luckily the boys and I live in the school district for North Pike this year so no fight there. But as Ty enters 3rd grade and Tripp enters 2nd grade I just wonder. I see kids Ty's age and I wonder and am a bit envious of what they have. I don't mean to be. I wonder a lot. What would Ty and Tripp's relationship look like? How would they be different? Would Tripp look to him more and talk to him about life the way he does with his other friends and cousins that can talk? How would they be different?  What will this school year entail? How will Ty progress? I know that he will progress, he's smart, loving, happy and healthy. But what about the days he struggles to let others know what's going on inside? When will we be able to understand and know? I don't have the answers. I have faith that he will speak. I have faith that he will always grow and learn. I have faith that we are slowly making our way towards potty training and normal daily self help activities and doing those independently. Feeding himself, getting dressed, brushing his teeth, bathing, etc. I have faith that one day he will be an independent thriving young man. Guess I'm saying, yes I know we are lucky, he's amazing, Tripp is an amazing little brother, he's growing, he's healthy, he's here. Doesn't mean that I don't yearn for the day to hear him speak.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016


Oh how I love baseball! Since before the boys were here I looked forward to the day they would start playing baseball and I prayed that they would love the game! Ha, crazy I know but I just wanted them to have as much fun playing and learning the game as I did when I was their age. Lucky for me, right now they both love it. Tripp told me he would rather practice than play a game because they always have fun at practice. He had some of the best coaches any parent could ask for! They took so much time with each of the kids and did their best to push and challenge the boys to become the best they could be and still have fun. The thing I love the most about Tripp's coaches was how they still kept Jesus in the center of the game. He would tell them how he just wanted them to do their best, win or lose, and at the end of every practice and every game he would pray with them. The prayer isn't what kept Jesus in the center but their character and love for each of the kids was evident in everything they did, drills, games, constructive criticism .... everything they poured into these kids came from loving God first and it was great for us to be a part of that!

Ty started his third Miracle League season this year and he had 3 buddies! The league had so many volunteers this year that they had to turn some of them away. I am so happy that we are able to be a part of something so amazing! Ty hit the ball on his own (off the tee) at his first at bat and Addie(the lady that keeps everything going for miracle league) went nuts! Last year we were almost there with batting off the tee but he still would need assistance and this year he just walked up to the tee and hit the ball! Now every time after that was not the same, he still would need assistance some and sometimes he wanted two bats, or a phone and a bat, book and a bat, etc ... but he did hit the ball and run more this year than he has in the last two! We are still working on base running and fielding, he tends to just want his buddies and then friends to just chase him or carry him and when it's time to be in the field he wants to be in the other teams dugout, but he has had a blast! His three buddies have been pretty amazing, they are all high school students and have some of the biggest hearts. They have gotten to know Ty and do their best to keep him engaged in the game and when he just wants to take a break then they take one with him! It amazes me to see these students care so much about a boy they just met. They will never know how much this momma really appreciates them and the time they take to spend their Saturdays with the Miracle League. All of the volunteers are so good and happy to be there. Since Ty is such a runner and pretty social on the field, he gets attention from more than just his buddies and without hesitation each of the kids stop and figure out what it is he's asking and will either chase him or come sit and watch a video on the phone and even hand over their phone just because he's asked for it and wants to look at pictures. It's just really awesome to watch. It's amazing to see them interact without any training of any kind and to just play. When Ty throws himself on the ground and falls down because he can't run the bases with two bats, his buddies just roll with it, they pick him up and carry him around the bases or they chase him to make him want to run or tickle him to make him laugh but never once have they thrown their hands up to say "I don't know what to do" and that in itself is just awesome!

It reminds me of the love of God and how no matter what we do, no matter how we act or react. He never throws His hands up .... instead he loves, encourages, disciplines and guides us.

So thank you Miracle League, thank you volunteers, Thank you to all of our supporters! ya'll are truly amazing!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

sleepless nights

So for 8 years we have been accustomed to no sleep ... Ty was always waking up in the night, multiple times, and keeping everyone else awake too. Then I attempted keeping both boys in the same room, in the same bed with a baby gate up and I was across the hall. Still sleepless nights. Tripp would wake up multiple times in the night to go to the bathroom, when Tripp was up Ty would get up and vice versa. Today I can tell you that the boys have had more sleep in the last month than any of us have in the last 8 years! They started out in the new house in the same room and separate beds. Well that didn't work. Ty kept keeping Tripp up all night, as I started to move Ty's bed into the other room he let me know real quick that he wasn't happy about it. I asked him if he was upset about me moving his bed and he quickly shook his head yes.(I was so pumped about the quick and clear communication!) So I had a heart to heart and told him this was his last chance. He did better that night. However, the next night he didn't - he was up and down flipping on lights and attempting to open the gate. So I bought a gate that used hardware to go into the wall and moved his bed, still not sure if this was going to work?! Bedtime came around and Ty went with me to tuck Tripp in and say his prayers and then I put Ty in his bed, tucked him in said his prayers and closed the gate. I sat quietly in the living room where I could see both rooms and just waited. Ty came to the gate a few times to see if I was there and finally put himself back in bed and went to sleep. Each night got easier and easier. For 8 years our bedtime routine has been: sit in the room until the boys fall asleep, then sneak out like a ninja and hope you don't step too heavy, breathe too loud, stand up too loud .... the list goes on... I'm sure you think I'm kidding, but there have been many nights that the simple motion of moving from a sitting position to standing could wake a child from a deep snore?! So for me to walk in each of the boys rooms and simply tuck them in and walk out and call it a night - I felt like I won the lottery! Seriously, I was in disbelief and I'm pretty sure I pinched myself just to make sure it wasn't a dream. There are still nights here and there that the boys may wake up a little early or need me in the night but not every night! I have even had to go in and wake them up the next morning - that has maybe only happened once in the last 8 years?! It's the little things that turn into big things that make me smile and make me think.

It makes me think of how much God does for us. Those times when we don't think He's anywhere near us. We run around kicking and screaming and crying because we think He doesn't care, He just left me here by myself, He put this gate up so I can't get out, Why, WHY, WHY?!  He's really in the next room waiting, allowing you to grow, allowing you to learn how to control those fears and emotions that want to run rampant in your soul. If we could just trust Him, know He is on guard and know that when it's time He will come to the door and open that gate. Not on our terms and not while we are in the middle of a raging fit .... but when He's ready.