Friday, April 24, 2015

The Truth

 I found this sign hanging on Squirrel's door...

"Pretty, Kind, and Gentle Trinity"

I quite agree...and I'm glad she knows it.
Why not see ourselves the way He does? 

"You're always with yourself, so you might as well enjoy the company."
- Diane Von Furstenburg

Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.
- Philippians 4:8 The Message

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Grace...and Happy Earth Day!

 Funny how different our days can be. For mothers, funny how different our minutes can  be. One moment the house is sparkling clean, a second later there is a sink full of dirty dishes and sticky peanut butter hand prints on the wall. One minutes we are giggling at the rise and fall of little voices, the next instant we are pounding our heads against the wall because the noise just won't stop!!! (you know what I'm talking about...when you feel like being put into a straight jacket would be pure relief.)
 One day is full of sunshine, the next rain. One meal is beautifully prepared with all sorts of good herbs and wholesomeness and "minced this" and "sauteed that", the next dinner is picked up through a drive thru window. The pee sheets are washed, another accident happens. The fridge is full, the fridge is empty. One day we are up to our eyeballs in company, the next week is full of isolation. Moments - always changing. Always compared to other moments - lots of guilt.
 It's pretty easy to feel conflicted. Am I a good mom? Am I a patient mom or a crazy person? Am I a playful mom or a lazy mom? Am I healthy and intentional with my decisions, or do I fly by the seat of my pants, throw caution to the wind and hope for the best outcome? One moment we are walkign through the house, enjoying the coolness of the hardwood floors on bare feet, the next instant we are writhing in pain from stubbing our big toe on the couch! Are my hormones balanced because this week I feel good and last week was just I a hypocrite because this week I have no bad feeling about anyone but last week I was so hurt by someone's words that I wanted to hide in a hole and not come out until that person moves to Europe.

What if I told you I think that everyone is a little bit of everything? How about if the truth came out and even the crunchiest of granola mom's admitted that they don't have everything figured out...they are just doing their best? What if I told you that the working mom who has to leave her littles all day to give back to the community or bring in a paycheck and doesn't have time to serve a four course meal is also doing her best? What if I told you, that just because there is a day that we throw caution to the wind, doesn't mean that we are unintentional about life, that when we have to splurge on an expensive water filter doesn't mean that we have lost all frugality.  If we don't do the three step skincare routine one night it doesn't mean that we are giving up on ourselves, if we go a week without taking a walk it doesn't mean that we are unconcerned about our health. What if just maybe not every single decision is a death sentence to our character or to our lives or our children's lives or our morals?

 What if I told you that none of us are perfect - but we all share something in common?

 We all need grace for each other
We all need fellow moms to have our backs, to say "you are such a good mom, dirty dishes or not. You care about your kids and the Father cares about you." What if we could all quite comparing and have grace and love for ourselves that our children could see that it's simply "ok." What if we could stop listening to other or reading about others and saying "I don't agree with this point you are making" and instead say "wow, you are doing such a good job right where you are, caring about those you love, caring for yourself - good job mama!" (I mean, do we really want to put ourselves out there and be vulnerable just to be bashed and told 'I don't agree?' I sure don't.)
What if we could read blogs and realize that the pictures in them are just small glimpses of a very complicated life...that the people in the photos have runny noses sometimes, are impatient, have frequent bouts of heartburn ... the flowers aren't always blooming in the garden, the sun isn't always setting perfectly in the horizon, the view isn't always scenic, and not every single night of someones entire life is spent snuggled up on a couch under a grandmother's handmade quilt?

 What if I told you that sometimes life is very very good and beauty can't help but to be seen? But what if I told you that sometimes life can be very very ugly and we have to search for the good in the situation, in the person?

What if I told you that everyone in this entire world needs unconditional love? What if I told you that everyone in the world needs words of kindness, a helping hand, anonymous charity, a listening ear, grace to start over, mercy, forgiveness?

What if I told you that we can give it. We can't be everything to everyone, but we can be love to the one next to us, the one reading our words, the one watching our videos, the one far away that needs a few bucks to make ends meet. We can be love because God loves us.

 We all have dreams, we have wishes, desires, longings. We feel broken at times, pulled apart by demands. Sometimes we are so put together we can conquer the world (tackle play dates, go to the grocery store with ALL of the kids, can several quarts of apple my case make bone broth as a vegetarian.) We have different roads to travel, different pasts to work through, lots of futures ahead of us. But what we all need, all of the time, is grace for others and ourselves.

~ * Alyssa Spring *~

P.S. Happy Earth Day - we live on an amazing planet that was created especially for us, lets be conscious of how we treat it...try to take care of the gift. :) 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015


So - we have tooth decay. I would like to say that we have "cavities" caused by eating too much sugar and not brushing because that would be a pretty easy remedy to fix - Set a timer and cut out sweets. But, alas, it's more complicated then that. We have CHRONIC tooth decay, food intolerance and major deficiencies. Be still my's not your fault.

 I've been learning a lot about natural tooth care. In the last two week I have bought me and Brady ionic toothbrushes, Earthpaste toothpaste, I've made a natural baking soda plus essential oil mouth wash, and I have started flossing religiously every night.
 Last year we took Brady in to have his teeth cleaned by our holistic dentist and saw that all four of his adult molars were basically crumbling away. I mean...they were half gone. Pretty gruesome. My dentist told me about the gut/tooth correlation - one that I had never heard of. Like most people, I've always just been told that cavities are caused by not brushing well enough. I had no idea that there is glycerin in our toothpaste, that the teeth are actually living structures in our body that basically tell you the health of the rest of your body, that the flouride in our city water basically poisons us and breaks down enamel.  Had no clue. She mentioned that I should try going off gluten because people with celiac show that they have pretty soft teeth compared to none celiacs.
 So - we went of gluten and I watched the sugar and after he got fillings (sans bad stuff) I thought we were good to go. To be honest, besides switching to a natural toothpaste, having the kids brush after any treats and watching gluten - it was kind of off my radar.
 Fast forward one year. I decide to floss Brady's teeth last week for him since he lacks the fine motor skills himself at this point. I put a drop of essential oils on the floss and begin. I see something black behind one of his teeth and think "shoot, he's getting a cavity again!" I put the floss up there, trying to get the essential oil to get into his gum line, and when I bring the floss down...half the tooth just falls out. Oh my. I felt horrible - pretty sure that I had hurt him really bad.  "Did that hurt buddy? Oh my goodness I'm so sorry!!!!" It didn't hurt him at all he assured me - didn't feel a thing. On further inspection the piece of tooth that came out was completely grey and black and was super soft - like a piece of cooked corn. I continue flossing gently and when I get to the tooth directly across from the rotten one - a white chip comes off.
 So - he has an appointment with the dentist this coming Friday, he's in no pain and that is the earliest that I can get him in. I can't even begin to describe the guilt I felt (that's what we mom's do best sometimes isn't it?) I guess the reason I felt so bad is because I had read quite a bit about tooth care (I even read the entire Dr Price research which is no easy feat, where he studied people from different demographics and their diets and their teeth. It's a pretty interesting read although lengthy.) I've spent so much time researching autism and what nutrients the kids need to help them with some of their challenges that the whole tooth things just kind of got shoved to the back recesses of my brain. Like way in back.
 My conclusion is that even though we were gluten free I still let the kids have oats, nuts, beans and fruit. In the Cure Tooth Decay book I've found out that those foods all contain phytic acid which for some people - can rot their teeth. I also found out that people with tooth decay generally are deficient in tons of nutrients (read about it here). This is really no shock to my husband and I because we have been trying to figure out Brady's deficiencies for awhile. He is very pale, very thin, and gets tired really easily. Some nights he will say "I can barely move my legs." Deficiencies from our SAD (Standard American Diet) are very common now days but especially in kids with autism. For some reason their bodies just don't generally absorb nutrients the same way as neurotypical kids.
 So - the plan.
I ordered fermented cod liver oil (the highly esteemed and rather pricey Green Pastures brand) and we are boosting his Vitamin K, A, and D intake. I will need to start giving him a better probiotic for his gut. He needs magnesium with calcium because it is better absorbed that way. We are going to try and remineralize his teeth and it will be rather...trying. I will probably go ahead and start all of the kids on this regiment too just to prevent - and I see dark lines in the tops of my teeth...deep in the crevices and after I started reading about tooth decay I guess that's a sign of my teeth starting to break down in the centers. Great.
 I have read tons and tons of stories that prove that you can save your teeth, it's just a pretty big change - just google search it if you or your littles are also having problems with cavities - it's pretty intense! One part of me is happy that there is something I can do about it, the other part of me screams "NOOOOOOOOOOO." Just one more responsibility, one more thing to be wary of.
 In the long run, this is what being a good mama does. She searches for answers to help her littles, she puts in the time and the service for their betterment, she supports them where they can't support themselves - she moves forward and stops blaming herself.
 So - another journey begins for the Corleys. We are remineralizing (or trying too.) Stay tuned.

Friday, April 10, 2015

I Love

“what if we intentionally make the most of every day we receive?” 
― Kim Cash TateHidden Blessings

I called and I called for her and there was no answer...

 ... my squirrel had found a tree to rest in. 
I couldn't think of a better use for a tree-house. It's rare to find my children asleep in the middle of the day, I love the privilege of being able to see sleeping children. There is nothing sweeter then a rested soul. 

I love visiting the rooms of our little house, finding other little houses full of other little lives. 
I love spotting signs of imagination. 

I love walking outside and finding a new that I didn't full bloom in my very own backyard. Anyone know what kind this is? I love flowers but sadly haven't been properly introduced to most of them. 

I love finding new uses for old things. 

I love remembering that I am crafty. I love pretending that I'm a newlywed and making myself a wedding gift in an afternoon. This one just needs a frame...

I love figuring things out. I love accenting words in gold. I love my kids coming up and saying "oh wow, you are such a good painter! Will you give me lessons?" My littles always making me feel talented in my simple creations - as if I could "charge" them for formal lessons. I simply say "I will show you what I know" for that's the best any of us can do for another isn't it? 

I love coming across an old photo and realizing that all of those long days at home, isolated with my four little kids,  when I felt/feel like I couldn't keep up and longed for an adult conversation - I was never alone. Instead, I was blessed tremendously. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Signs of Joy

I've been searching through my lens
finding signs of joy
reaching out and taking the blessings given to me
not one bit greedy, just accepting my gifts
in whatever form they come
let me share them with you....

I'm blessed enough to have a flower shop right in my back yard - you can buy various sizes of dandelions and blades of grass, or if you prefer, white "puffs" that after blown...all of your wishes come true. The best part of all...

They only cost 2 cents. 

The shop owners are friendly and enjoy their customers immensely - often they will give you a flower free of charge. They treat you like you're their number one priority, and when you take off with your lovely goods they call out "have a nice day...and thank you!" 

Pleasant words are a honeycomb, Sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.
~Proverbs 16:24

Another one of my gifts is watching my littles be part of a team every Saturday. I have the incredible joy of watching a knobby knee little peanut squinting into the sun, bravely sticking her hands out to block soccer balls that are being hurled toward her body. Inspiration at it's best. 

I love the way there are 4 sets of little hands all around me each day. I love their need for me. I love their shapes and plumpness, their long growing fingers and their short stubby ones. I love their softness and their dirty nails and their purple nails and their soft pink nails. I love their little hands. 

I'm blessed with a son that after a bit of grooming - can look quite dapper. I love his effort in trying to get a good picture even though it's uncomfortable for him. I love that Finn needs to show the camera his toys that are in his hand - I love the two munchkins on the right and their need to be close and to hug and show love all of the time - in photos, at rest time, at the dinner table. Peas in a pod. 

Two are better than one,
    because they have a good return for their labor:
 If either of them falls down,
    one can help the other up.
~ Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

Preparing meals can be taxing. The planning, the cost, the time, the clean up. I'm thankful for the texture of food. I'm thankful that we are blessed enough to be able to nourish our littles with good quality nuts and beans and veggies and fruit. I'm thankful for the view of a birch tree from my kitchen window - watching the leaves blow makes washing dishes "not so bad." I'm thankful that my oldest son eats with "gusto." I'm thankful for the colors of food and it's complexity. Yah - I'm thankful for food and the simple joy it can bring...if it's loved and not despised. I'm thankful for meal times and having the privilege of teaching my kids good manners, of hearing about their day, listening to their giggles. Whoever said that children must be seen and not heard must have missed out on a heap load of joy. I'll take his portion if it's up for grabs! 

I'm blessed with a yard big enough to not only hold ONE Easter egg hunt - but three. Our kids had such fun searching for their little plastic eggs that we re-hid them several times. I'm blessed with simple pleasures, games and laughter, running bare feet and wicker baskets. I was blessed at Easter and it has now become my favorite holiday. The newness of spring, the fresh tastes of berries and lemons and cilantro, the Sunday service and the joy in the church and the joy felt out of the church. Waking up and knowing that I'm free to be exactly who I was created to be - me...because of His great Love. That he has beautiful thoughts about me...that He doesn't criticize and command and take advantage, that He doesn't scowl and condemn - that He smiles and Loves and stands with Open Arms for ME. That He knew me before I was created - and He loved what He saw and wanted it.  I was baptized this Easter and being up their in the warm water, being submerged and coming back up knowing that I am washed, that I can fly because of Him, that I am His forever was the biggest gift I have ever been given. I know exactly who I am now - and that is a joy in itself. To be able to smile and wipe the water away from my face and feel washed and new. It was an amazing experience - it was joy in it's fullest form.  

Bunny cake - that's a blessing in itself. 

Gluten free vanilla cake with a layer of lemon curd, then iced with thick cream cheese frosting. Don't mind if I do - like I said..."Love, don't despise." Gooey vanilla, lemony , creamy joy.

I'm blessed with vision, with creativity. See those two lone trees in our yard? I wanted something special to go right there... so I asked my BIGGEST joy if he might build it. He smiled and said yes. Oh yah, let's not forget the absolute ecstasy of looking into a handsome man's eyes and knowing that he adores you. Finding simple ways to please him because of love - joy that can be taken on a daily basis if you will. Finding ways to encourage him ... a daily joy if you will take the chance and love him first above all. Finding ways to step back so he can step forward, like a dance...given freely because of joy. Him taking care of you, saying "yes" when you say "please" because of YOUR respect for him as a person and as a protector, his hard work and his care for you. Your smile that you still keep just for him - a daily beautiful gift...marriage. 

You don't need acres and acres to have something special in your yard. The building process is taking a bit but my kids are learning how to build a bit, my man is making himself even awesomer then before, and in the end...

I'm going to have a great place to find more joy. I'm going to go up to this little tree house in the mornings with my cup of coffee and meditate, listen to God, journal, read my novels, watch the birds, study the clouds...soak in my babies and experience them floating in a pirate ship, living in a castle and making a fairy fortress, and i'm going to find more and more to be thankful for. 

Is there joy all around you? Can you see it? 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Autism Awareness Month - Three Letters

“Autists are the ultimate square pegs, and the problem with pounding a square peg into a round hole is not that the hammering is hard work. It's that you're destroying the peg.” 
― Paul Collins

 My Dear Brady,
  I will love you always for exactly who it is that you are. I will not push you away when I don't understand you. I will not use sarcasm when speaking to you since you don't understand it. I will explain well known expressions to you - I will make sure that there is never a loud fan in our house, that the bathroom is moth free. I will not make fun of you because you are scared of butterflies, I will not chastise you because you have to learn and memorize empathy. When you say "move out of my way" I will know that you are not intentionally being rude, just blunt. I will try to help you learn the polite way to say things so that you might have long lasting relationships in your life. I will never try to force you to be who I want you to be.
 You are brave. You are smart. You are good. You are my precious first born son. I love my little Aspie and I will always be here for a hug, a meltdown session, a cup of tea, or a long conversation about China. You can stay with us for however long you need - and if I have to carpool you around until I'm 85... it's my pleasure. Being scared of traffic really should be the "norm" anyways.
Love you,
Your mom

My dear Koala Bear,
 I'm so grateful for your gift of affection. You are always there to comfort others and you have SO much empathy and are so sharing you will probably be the kindest and poorest man on earth. God smiles down on you because this is a trait of His that you are blessed to have naturally - without trying.
 You are learning and growing and this year you have begun to play more sports and we have discovered that you are very athletic. You are learning to read and doing an awesome job at it.
 Tristan, I commit myself to you for the rest of time. I will listen to you even if it takes me a bit to understand, and when you need me to be your voice - I will be. You are not to "touchy feely" for me, I welcome your hugs and your kisses and your tickling fingers. You have a hard time speaking so it's natural that you would want to bond and communicate through touch. Everyone in the world could probably use a hug - I wish they could just spend on day with you and their love buckets would be full if only they would put their guard down. You are strong and funny and handsome. I will always be your help for as long as you need and your biggest fan - autism is just way of being, not a life sentence. You have so much to give and such a full life ahead of you. You are my love.

My Little Bug,
 You are a sign of patience that has grown in me. Sometimes I look at you and think "wow, are family has come a long way. We have grown tremendously." You are becoming a little boy this spring, but you have so many hurdles to jump right now. I'm sorry that you are scared of the bugs outside, of the sawing noise that is coming from down the street. I'm sorry that sometimes I clap when I exercise and it scares you, and that after an outing we have to turn our car in the wrong direction (towards home!)  I'm sorry that sometimes "normal" is painful. You are learning to deal with things around you by playing games in your head - and baby, if you need mommy to be a giant penguin or Katarina the Cat then that is what I will be any day, any time.
 We don't quite know yet what your interests will be but we know how INTERESTING and INFECTIOUS you are if given a chance. A lot of people don't understand you right now, but that's not your problem - people have a hard time understanding puzzles and they over compensate by either ignoring and thinking the worst. Lucky you, I don't mind puzzles and I will work extra hard to put pieces in place that will alleviate some of your anxiety.
 I will protect you from pain, and when I can't - I will always have open arms for my Super Finn. When it's time for you to try new things I will try to step back and let you do it because I know you can. If you need me to hold you until you are 7 I will try my best (even though I may need to step up my workout routine because you are going to be a very big boy.) I love you my Finn and autism or not - you are exactly the son I always wanted.

“Think of it: a disability is usually defined in terms of what is missing. … But autism … is as much about what is abundant as what is missing, an over-expression of the very traits that make our species unique.” 
― Paul CollinsNot Even Wrong: Adventures in Autism