Making Sense of Sunday

For as long as I can remember Sunday was unlike any other day of the week. Mike and I were brought up by Christian parents who were intentional about taking our families to church. Typically we were there Sunday morning, Sunday evening, and back on Wednesday evening. And that is how we raised our family as well.

Then slowly things began to change. Jacob could cause a rukus in a worship service so we’ve always had someone stay with him in another area of the church or our home. In the last couple of years, we might have made it to church two Sundays a month because it became more difficult to find a consistent person to give us those few hours weekly.

Worshipping shoulder to shoulder with your brothers and sisters in Christ is one of the most beautiful experiences on earth. When that is not possible you become resourceful. The capability to livestream a service into our home is a blessing not to be taken for granted. Something generations before us didn’t have and probably couldn’t have even imagined.

Search the web and you can find sermons and Bible studies by every pastor imaginable and every subject. We have so much at our fingertips! Don’t miss out on what God has to say to you through His word delivered in hundreds of different ways.

Mike and I tuned in to our pastor delivering a sermon via livestream recently while Jacob played happily in his room. Listening to music, bouncing on his bed, and having a grand time. The only problem was as our pastor started speaking, “I want to ask you to turn in your Bible to John, Chapter 21”, Jacob’s music got louder and louder:

Uh, huh, She loves the monkey’s uncle,
Yeah, yeah, She loves the monkey’s uncle,
Whoa, whoa, She loves the monkey’s uncle,
And the monkey’s uncle’s ape for me!

I had a lot of trouble that day concentrating as my thoughts were competing with the monkey’s uncle. But isn’t that life? Things distract us. Find a way to focus! Which often means putting in earbuds. Sometimes it means watching a replay later.

Sunday’s aren’t the same as they were but we are making the best of them. Last February, ‘Zoom’ meant to increase the font size of a document or what an airplane does! By mid-March, we were accessing Bible Study by Zoom or sharing life with friends via a weekly Zoom meeting.

Last Sunday one of Jacob’s Sunday School teachers called, “Hey Terri, I’ve got M on the phone and we want to sing Jacob’s favorite song to him”. Only problem was that Jacob was still sound asleep. We set up for them to try again later and at 11:30 Jacob got a phone call. Mrs. J played the piano and M led a group of special friends, who live in a group home setting, in singing Swing Low, Sweet Chariot to Jacob.

In all his years attending the Special Ministries class, when they’d sing that song, he would twirl and smile. Hum and sing in his own way. They all knew it was his favorite. That morning he sat still on his bed and listened. He reached for the phone. There was no twirling and I didn’t catch a smile but you better believe, he loved it. He clapped as he was transported back to Sunday like it used to be.

We are in a new normal and don’t know what the future holds. We do know who holds the future and even if we aren’t able to worship in the same ways as before, we are making sense of Sunday by taking advantage of all the many wonderful ways to connect.

The Rest of the Story

The Through the Woods post last week, https://problemfreephilosophy.blog/2020/08/13/through-the-woods/, ended with Jacob not wanting to leave. He was so glad to be at Granny and Granddaddy’s. The day went by too fast. He hadn’t been there long enough. He likes it best when their home isn’t filled with all the aunts, uncles, and cousins.

I resorted to a bribe to get him off the couch, “if you get up, we’ll get hamburgers on the way home”. I grabbed his cup of orange juice and diluted it with water to give him something to drink in the van. It’s his preferred cup with a spout top. Not spill proof, but a good solution. The bribe worked and we were soon on our way.

When we are travelling, I’m often checking him in the backseat mirror. As I watched, he took a drink and then sat the cup across from him on the ledge. What was I thinking? Mistake #1 was giving him juice instead of water in a moving vehicle. Several times I told him to put the cup in the cup holder. I could just imagine the cup sliding and sticky juice going everywhere. I switched from asking him to put it in the cup holder to asking him to hand me the cup. He looked at me as if I was speaking a foreign language and refused.

I decided to crawl over the console and take the cup. That was Mistake #2! Don’t report me but I unbuckled to get the cup that was teetering on the edge.

As I reached for the cup, Jacob reached for my arm and pulled me toward him. Alrighty, Mistake #3 in progress—I sat by him. Didn’t have much choice so I buckled up. One of our hard realities is that no one can ride near or beside Jacob in a vehicle. Oh that we could go back to the days of us riding like a ‘normal’ family. His place is alone on the third row of our van. It works except for when it doesn’t.

Okay, fine, I could ride the rest of the way home sitting by him. Obviously he wanted me there as he wouldn’t let go. Obviously he wanted me to go back where I came from because he was intent on causing trouble.

I am not exaggerating when I say it felt like I was sharing the seat with an octopus!! How can Jacob’s two arms appear to be 6 or 8? He was bent on pulling my arms, clothing, and hair. It sounds crazy but it is impossible to escape him with his arm down the back of my shirt. Mike asked if I wanted him to pull over. He was watching arms flying and helpless to intercede. We were on the interstate and I was determined to manage until we got home.

Because I knew what could happen, I quickly undid my necklace and set it aside. Lesson from the past with broken necklaces! Mistake #4, I didn’t remove my bracelet. He grabbed, it snapped, and I was mad! I reached to take off my earrings realizing I was already missing one.

It was 25 minutes of misery. And as angry as I was at him, I was more overwhelmed with sadness. How did we get here? What makes him react to me, or anyone, being in his space?

I’ve promised fast food burgers before because it’s something he enjoys. I had every intention of keeping that promise. Until, I couldn’t reward him for the behavior he exhibited before we arrived home.

We were frazzled but lived to tell about it! I learned from Mistake #1. There is no reason for him to have anything but water when on the road. I think I’ll remember that. The broken bracelet was repaired quite easily with my handy needle-nose pliers. Mike found the missing earring in the stow-away floorboard.

A few days later we went on a long ride and he was perfect. And, we got him hamburgers while we were out.

That brings me to, Mistake #5 – I accidentally published this post on the ninth of August. As I created this story I went to save and set a August 20th publish date, and I clicked the wrong button!! I try to work ahead and have a couple of posts ready to go. That doesn’t always happen but it helps me to compose and then mull it over. I usually edit quite a bit between the creation and going live.

I was so aggravated with yours truly. In almost a hundred posts, it is the second time I posted before I was ready. But this one needed to follow last week’s. Unfortunately, this one had a sad undertone, a true example of living with autism.

But know this, I’m not in the habit of pointing out all the mistakes I’ve made. You know how on Facebook and Instagram, we show our ‘best side’? Right. While the mistakes listed here weren’t catastrophic, they added up to a frustrating total. Thank the Lord I am not the sum of my mistakes. His grace covers me and reminds me tomorrow is a new day. Learn from mistakes and move on. I learned a lot that day. It’d be nice if sharing my mistakes helps someone, too.

Please understand that as crummy as part of that ride was, it didn’t ruin the trip. The visit was fantastic.

And, the ending became it’s own post.

Through the Woods

Open the gate and to The Woods,
To Granny and Granddaddy’s house we go.
GPS knows the way to take us there,
It’s gonna be great, we know!

We were overdue for a visit. As soon as we got the van loaded , I told Jacob we were going to Granny and Granddaddy’s. He could not get to the door fast enough to head out. Obviously pretty happy about our destination.

Upon arrival he got out quickly and began exploring. He needed to get out of our house and this was the perfect place to do his thing. Whatever thing he felt like doing!

He pulled stuff out of the closet. Toys, linens, whatever was of interest.

He opened cabinets and drawers. Looking for treasures, magazines, candy, who knows?

He pulled things out in their office. Being most interested in a stack of blank DVDs. They were either tempting to spin or surely held some wonderful content.

He got all nosey in their bedroom. Curious to see what Granddaddy keeps in his nightstand. And, although I didn’t get a picture, he got down and looked under their bed. Granny and I were cracking up!

He stayed busy going from room to room seeing what he could find. He ate all the snacks brought from home and some of Granny’s, too.

He found the photo albums. That’s like winning the lottery to Jacob. He LOVES thumbing through pictures. At one point he probably had six albums opened and spread across the floor. Evidence of not getting to do that often enough. Look closely at the photos of him and Granny where you can see into the den and all the open doors!

He made Granny and Granddaddy happy with his antics and obvious pleasure. It made me happy to be there. We had lunch together and it was fabulous. Hominy Casserole, Cream Peas, Fried Green Tomatoes, Homemade Sour Dough Bread, and Fresh Peach Dessert (ripe peaches, angel food cake, peach jello, and cool whip). #familycookbook Granny and I were a team frying up those Green Tomatoes. Oh.My.Goodness. You need some of these in your life.

This isn’t a cooking blog but I’m gonna share this recipe. They are that good. And, why not?

FRIED GREEN TOMATOES

3 medium green tomatoes
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour, divided
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
cooking oil

Slice tomatoes into 1/4-inch slices. Discard ends.
Combine egg and buttermilk; set aside. Combine 1/4 cup flour, cornmeal, salt, and pepper in a shallow dish.
Dredge tomato slices in remaining 1/4 cup flour, dip in egg mixture, and dredge in cornmeal mixture.
Pour oil to a depth of 1/4-inch in an electric skillet; heat to 375 degrees. Carefully place tomatoes in hot oil and cook 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Drain on rack over paper towels. #familycookbook

Jacob wouldn’t go near them but that was fine by me.

After a morning of exploring, he relaxed on the office couch. And fell asleep! Told you he was busy. We let him sleep a while but finally had to wake him up to head home. He was determined not to get up off that couch. Pushed me away. Squeezed his eyes shut. Got up to appease me, only to run back and stretch out again. Little rascal. NOT ready to go home.

It’s gonna be great we know!

And, we were right!

Showin’ You the Door

In some ways, Jacob is very much like a child. And in some ways, he is like a typical teenage guy.

How you ask?

He likes loud music. Not necessarily the genre that most teens might like, but he likes it LOUD!

He has odd eating habits. Healthy choices aren’t of interest to him.

Usually needs a shave.

He’s content wearing the same thing for 4 days in a row.

He likes to sleep in.

He can be rude to his parents. Wait. WHAT????? Surely, not Jacob.

I’m sure not suggesting that all teenagers are rude. Or, that rudeness only comes from that age bracket. We know that isn’t so!

He will insist, with urgency, that we come to his room. Upon getting there, he will quickly close the door in our face. YES. HE. DOES. Rude, but actually funny at the same time. It happens fairly often, too. He’s trying to make a point that can probably have multiple meanings.

Sometimes though, we are needed. It may be to plug up music. Or turn on a lamp. Or change batteries. Or maybe adjust the speed or turn off the ceiling fan. When we have completed the tasks, he is quick to show us the door.

He is not partial to only us when it comes to being rude. I know, right?

Anyone who has been in our home, for any length of time, and ventured into Jacob’s bedroom, has experienced him showin’ you the door. Some are lucky enough to stay longer than others.

We have learned to tell new sitters, not to take it personally, but that he doesn’t want them to sit in his room. That’s not why he has a nice comfy chair. You are allowed to come in, but when your service has been rendered, he will show you the door.

Friends may want to stop in to see Jacob. Thinking they’ll sit in his room and chat a little. Before long, he is showin’ them the door.

If it’s someone he loves, a family member, sitter, or long time friend, he may offer his cheek for you to kiss him. But, he is just being polite before showin’ you the door!

Years ago, our youngest granddaughter was staying with us and at some point, she said, “Nannie, I need you to go out and close the door. I need my privacy.” At the time, ’privacy’ seemed like a really big word for such a little girl. But, she knew she wanted to be alone.

Indeed, Jacob’s way of saying, ‘I need my privacy’ is showin’ you (and us) the door!

And everyone deserves their privacy!!