Puzzle Pieces

Romans 8:28 has always been one of my favorite verses. When I was young, I believed I understood the meaning. It was pretty straight forward, right? All things work together to make good things, happy things, happen in life. I believed that circumstances will eventually work out exactly the way I want, so long as I loved God, did the right things, was basically a good person. Right?

I kinda didn’t think about the last part of the verse…the “called according to His purpose part.” Yes- I now realize the naivety of that interpretation! 🤦‍♀️ 

Life hits and hits hard at times.

I learned that it definitely did not always turn out the way I wanted it to. Thankfully I have learned and continue to learn that our circumstances will turn out the way God wants if we allow Him to work in our life. Ultimately it will be in our best interest for His purpose. 

God often uses the very things that are our weaknesses, struggles, and pain to achieve that.

It never crossed my mind as a college student that disability would ever be a part of my personal life. When I was in college, I knew one thing for sure, I did not like working with individuals with autism. They actually scared me. I was a speech-pathology major who quite honestly did not enjoy working with those with severe disabilities. I wanted to work with those cute little kids who couldn’t say their “r” or had a little lisp. 

One semester, when I was in graduate school, I had a huge probably 300 pound adult patient with autism. It honestly made my knees knock every time I had to work with him. He loved Neil Diamond. All he wanted to do was listen to his Neil Diamond cassette tapes on his hand held tape recorder and so that is just what we did during his speech therapy sessions! I definitely tried to work on speech goals/life skills with him, but he was easily agitated. I remember sweating bullets, thinking, if he decides to kill me, how long would it take for someone to find me!?! Everything was good so long as he got to listen to his music, which we did…a lot! 

Over the course of time and working with articulation and language disorders and those with a variety of other disabilities, I decided autism was the hardest one to deal with! At least to me. 

I definitely didn’t want to deal with all that.

God has a sense of humor doesn’t He? 😂

After having a child with severe autism for over 9 years now, I think maybe I’ve warmed up to it!  Actually now I feel a sense of connection to all those with any disability and their families. I feel compassion and empathy on a level that I would have never known had God not added Landon to our family.  

Am I saying that life is easy now? 

No way! If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you know I have some challenges in dealing with my son’s disability. It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. Some days the autistic behaviors (aggressive outbursts, bites, hits, kicks, and scratches) leave me in tears and concerns for the future.  I truly appreciate the encouragement, support, help, and prayers I’ve received along this journey. God truly has a plan and a purpose for it all along and in the last 6 months or so, God has allowed me to see the very beginnings of the next part of His plan. I’m beginning to see those very first pieces of the puzzle come together.

So for the last nine years, maybe I didn’t see how Landon’s autism, my speech therapy background, and all that went along with it would really benefit anyone or anything. I started writing this blog about 4.5 years ago to encourage others in their difficulties and I’ve had some awesome feedback. My prayer has always been for God to use the writing, and my experiences to encourage others. But if I’m totally honest there were times I felt like there had to be more than being an autism mama warrior. I’ve always felt in my spirit I was supposed to be doing something more.  I love to write and encourage others, but there seemed to be something else I was supposed to do. I just couldn’t figure out what the missing piece was.

Things sometimes get a lot worse before they get better, don’t they? That’s honestly where I was about 6-7 months ago. Not much seemed to be going right in several areas of my life.

A few years ago, a speech-language pathologist in the area saw me in SAMS and asked me to come work for her in Early Intervention (EI serves babies from age 0-3.) At that time, I was totally swamped with dealing with Landon’s behavior and medication issues as well as full-time homeschooling my two older kids so I declined her offer. 

About 6 months ago, as I said, I was really going through a trying time with several issues, and this particular lady came to my mind. I felt like I should message her and see if she needed any help with speech therapy in early intervention. Crazy, right? Despite the struggles going on in my life, I felt the nudge to do this. Message her. Reach out to her and see what she says. I thought to myself, “this is crazy, I’m sure she doesn’t need help at this point.”

So I did it.

I sent her a message. 

I didn’t even have her phone number so I just sent her a message through Messenger.

She responded in a couple of days.

“YES” was her response.

She told me she would still love to have me come work for her. She said she never found the right person to be on her team.

I realized right then that I wanted to do this. 

I immediately told her that I have a pretty full schedule still with homeschool and mommy duties I would only be able to work a few hours here and there. 

She said “You can work as little or as much as you want.”

“You can set your own schedule and hours.”

She then asks, “How much would I have to pay you to get you to come work for me?”

I’m thinking, “hold up.”

“You want to hire me- someone who hasn’t worked in speech therapy for 17 years- (although I had maintained my certification) and let me decide my hours as few or much as I want-and pay me well for it?!?”

“And would I happen to be interested in working with babies with autism and their caregivers (as well as other disabilities)?”

“Yes, I’d love to work with babies with autism and their families.”

(The organization she contracts with receives speech therapy referrals for babies from birth to three-years-old in need of early intervention.)


“God, I’m in shock.” I said out loud later on that day. “I might be catching a glimpse of your plan and purpose now.”

It isn’t just about me. 

It’s about others. 

Others who I can relate to and understand now because of my own experiences with disability. 

I began seeing some speech therapy babies and their families in August. 

I’m excited for the opportunity to serve in this way. 

In every patient, 

in every family member, 

I’ll see a glimpse of Landon, 

a glimpse of my family, 

a glimpse of God’s plan, 

a picture of other image bearers of God. 

I am seeing the first little pieces of the puzzle fitting together. 

This is something God had planned all along. 

I’m familiar with sensory issues, behavioral therapy, many medications and their good and bad side effects, natural supplements, bone-weary caregiving, the effects of a disability on other family members, self-care, spiritual growth, and prayer just to name a few. 

Am I saying I have it all figured out? 

No, of course not.

But I understand more than I ever did when I was a kid in college. Hopefully in a few years I’ll know so much more than I do now. 

I understand Romans 8:28 better now, it just took me a little while to get there. 🙂

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.

~Romans 8:28 (NLT)

Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me – you did it to me.’

~Matthew 25:40 (The Message)

Your friend,


Above and Beyond

As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart. 

~Proverbs 27:19

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

       ~ Matthew 6:21

I just love “above and beyond” people.    An example for me is my son’s psychiatry nurse practitioner. She always answers my questions, works with Landon’s complex issues, brainstorms with me about new things we can try, prescribes his medication and changes his medicine if needed. We’ve worked with her for the last 4 years or so. She answers my questions promptly and actually cares about Landon. She never gives up on him. She is getting another job soon and will be so missed! I’ll always remember how she worked tirelessly for Landon even when some doctors wouldn’t and told us so.

Other amazing people immediately come to my mind who I know either as a teacher, nurse, friend, doctor, pastor, etc. and it isn’t a super long list. They care and do what they do with excellence. They really shine especially when they move, leave, retire, etc. and are replaced by those who don’t seem to care as much and sort of half-heartedly do things.

It’s hard not to compare, but I like to think of how much more this makes me appreciate the “above and beyond” people.

Those who put their whole heart in.

Those are my people.

They always will be.


Your friend,





  1. a person who has defeated or surpassed all rivals in a competition, especially in sports.
  2. a person who fights or argues for a cause or on behalf of someone else.

Champions view themselves differently than the average person does. Here are some characteristics of champions.

First of all, champions see themselves through the eyes of God. Their identity comes from God and not from people or possessions. Champions are not intimidated by what others think about them. Champions don’t need others to tell them who they are because they know who they are. Champions are people who have been through thick and thin, hold their ground in conflict and bear up against adversity. Champions are people who hold out under stress and stand firm even if they have to stand alone.

Champions persevere under pressure, they wait calmly and courageously. Champions resist weariness and defeat. In other words, they do not allow their circumstances to rule them.

The Apostle Paul is a great example for us to follow when it comes to facing hardships. Acts 20:22-24 says, “And see, now I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me. But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.”

Paul understood that overcoming in life required him to press through challenging times and overcome a victim’s mentality. Just like Paul, champions are people who prevail in life. In other words, they gain the upper hand and the mastery.

Champions are not ashamed to stand up for what they believe in. They are not intimidated by other people’s opinion. Winning in life requires us to take on these characteristics.

Finally, those who have the mentality of champions have also decided to take control of their passions. In other words, they have learned to control their thoughts, their words, their actions and their attitude.

People are not born champions, rather champions are grown and developed. They have taken the principles discussed and applied them to their lives on a consistent basis.

~Marlando Jordan


transitive verb

1 : to act as militant supporter of : uphold, advocate always champions the cause of the underdog. 2 : to protect or fight for as a champion

I read the following devotion recently about the Holy Spirit. When I read the title “He Champions You,” it really resonated with me. I usually think of the word champion as a person who wins a title or an award in sports. Like a surface level accomplishment. Thinking of champion as a verb is a much richer, deeper concept. When we champion something or someone we are upholding, believing, supporting and advocating for it/them. For me, understanding that the Holy Spirit is championing me brings such comfort and confidence. Not confidence in my abilities, but confidence in God’s. If God allows the Holy Spirit to champion us, it should confirm in our hearts that the God of the universe is for us. He champions us so we can champion Him. I pray the following devotion encourages you today.

Your friend,


Benefits to Having The Holy Spirit, A 5-Day Devotional by Jeannie Cunnion

He Champions You

In John 14:16–17, Jesus says, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.”  

It’s easy to ignore the Holy Spirit when we’ve been told, or have just assumed, that He isn’t all that relevant or necessary to a thriving faith. “Why do I need the Holy Spirit when I have Jesus?” is a fair question a lot of Christians ask. But today’s passage will help ensure that’s a question none of us will ask again.

The Greek word translated “helper” in this verse is parakletos; which literally means “called to one’s side.” But this wasn’t just any helper. See, even more exciting is how Jesus said the Holy Spirit would be “another Helper.” The Greek word translated “another” in this verse is allon; which, in this context, translates as “another of the same kind.”

Jesus is assuring the disciples, and us, that the Holy Spirit isn’t “less than” Him or even “similar” to Him, but just like Him! 

God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit coexist as the eternal (no beginning and no end), omnipresent (existing everywhere at all times), omniscient (knowing everything), omnipotent (all-powerful) Godhead.

The Spirit’s presence is the manifestation of the Trinity among us today, and though He carries the same authority and shares the same attributes as God the Father and God the Son, He performs distinct functions. This is important and speaks to the tragedy of the Spirit often being neglected and forgotten. God the Holy Spirit does specific work in us that differs from that of God the Father and God the Son. 

In the ESV translation, we just read that the Holy Spirit is called “another Helper” by Jesus, but in other translations—because parakletos is too full of meaning to translate into just one word—the Holy Spirit is also called our “Comforter,” “Counselor,” “Advocate,” “Strengthener,” “Intercessor,” “Standby,” and “Champion.”

What will make a dramatic difference in how you live is knowing that God Almighty dwells inside you by His Spirit, and then believing that everything that is His is yours. His power. His wisdom. His strength and joy. His peace and comfort. His love. God manifests all of Himself, in His people, through His Spirit.

If you’re struggling to love an unlovable person, or forgive an offense that the world tells you is unforgivable, or heal from a devastating heartbreak, the Holy Spirit wants to help you. He is able to help you. How do we know? Because the Holy Spirit’s role is to make us more like Jesus, and this is who Jesus is. He loves His enemies, forgives His accusers and killers, and brings wholeness and healing to brokenness.

Where there are strongholds of sin that need to be broken. Where there is spiritual warfare that needs to be won. Where there is toxic thinking that needs breakthrough. This is where the Spirit of God is desperately needed and more than capable.

Do we believe this? Everything we need is inside of us—all and only—because the Holy Spirit inside us is all-sufficient. This doesn’t mean we don’t need community or friendship or help from outside sources. It means we can have confidence because the God inside us wholly equips us for what’s before us.

Featured Actor- David Britt

I don’t typically feature actors in my blog, but this was an opportunity I didn’t want to miss. Meet David Britt. My son Landon and I initially met David as Landon’s school bus driver.  For the last several years, David has kindly and effortlessly interacted with my extremely hyperactive, autistic, no awareness of personal space, son on the special needs bus. Landon adores Mr. David and Mr. David has always cheerfully greeted my adorable, albeit very behaviorally challenged, son. Every. Single. Day. Of. The. Week. With. A. Smile.

My son is just one of many students David interacts with. Landon thrives on routine due to his severe autism and David’s presence has been a comforting part of the school routine for him. If you ask Landon what makes him happy, he may say school bus. That means the whole experience -the amazing bus aide(s), and the ride- but it mostly means Mr. David. 😂

David’s calm and laid back nature is sprinkled with a happy, fun side. With his verbal quick wit, intellect, and humor he relates to others with ease. He is super smart, but never comes across like a know-it-all. David is as down-to-earth as they come and continually exudes a kind-spirited warmth to all.

As time passed, I learned that David was a theater major and has played some pretty cool characters, his primary role being that of Jack Sparrow. (Jack Sparrow was played by Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean.) He fills that role effortlessly, naturally adapting to Jack Sparrow’s personality and appearance. Add David’s expressive sea green eyes to the mix and voila, the pirate role is complete!

Recently, David has taken on another endeavor, all while being fully dedicated to driving the special needs bus and driving for a limo business. He is part of two new shows by P.A. Entertainment featured on YouTube. 

The pilot episode of The Roko and Coko show was recently released on YouTube and David is the voice of Roko, a bird puppet from the Bronx.

A merry heart doeth good like a medicine and Roko and Coko will definitely put a smile on your face!

Please click on, watch, share, and enjoy the first episode of The Roko and Coko Show. The link is posted above. Blessings.

Your friend,


Happy Mother’s Day

To Mother

You painted no Madonnas,

On chapel walls in Rome,

But with a touch diviner,

You lived one in your home,

You wrote no lofty poems,

That critics counted art,

But with a nobler vision,

You lived them in your heart.

You carved no shapeless marble

To some high soul design,

But with a finer sculpture,

You shaped this soul of mine.

You built no great cathedrals,

That centuries applaud,

But with a grace exquisite,

Your life cathedraled God.

Had I the gift of Raphael,

Or Michelangelo,

Oh what a rare Madonna,

My mother’s life would show.

~William Pitt Fessenden

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers. 💕Being a mom is one of the greatest, yet hardest, callings one can ever have. It is amazing to me, though, how God fills a mother’s heart with never ending love for her children despite difficulty, fatigue, or any other circumstance life brings. A mother’s love is unconditional and while she is not perfect, I believe it’s the closest thing to Jesus’ love on this earth. Thank you, Mamas, for all the sacrifices you make that no one ever sees. The love that you give your children will multiply in their lives like ripples in the water. Even if you can’t see it right away, know that your love brings beauty and kindness to this world that never goes away.  Blessings. 💕

Your friend,



My life is immersed in autism and special needs due to my son’s disability as most who follow my blog know. I haven’t written as much lately due to factors related to that and some other issues that are having to be addressed. Anyway, another special needs mom shared the following link yesterday, and it totally touched my heart so I wanted to share. (I haven’t donated to them, but just loved the heart behind the program. ❤️) It was a great reminder to me about not only caring with words but in the kind actions of giving and serving, too. I pray God richly blesses all who serve others in love whether with words or actions or both.

Blessings friends!

Your friend,


Here is the link to special needs program. Click on the short intro video on the site. I hope it blesses you!


The Value of Creative Work

It seems as though lately tons of things have been added to my plate, some of which I didn’t see coming. I’m so thankful God did, however, and that He works all things for our good. The following is an excellent reminder of the significance of our creative work. While our identity is so much more than our work, the gifts we use in our creative work are valuable and significant to God.

Excerpt from Jesus the Creator, Carpenter, Gardener, & King, this week’s devotion from my church. Just a little reminder and encouragement that our creative work has purpose and value. 

Your friend,


Before God tells us He is love, before He tells us He is holy, before He tells us He is Savior, God wants you and I to know that He is a creative, productive, working God.

This idea of a God who works is unique in the long list of stories of the origin of the world. Every other religion claims that the gods created human beings to work and serve the gods. None would dare to say that God Himself works—much less introduce that fact in the first breath of the story.

This truth carries the utmost significance for the work we do today. Work is not a fringe thing or a meaningless means to an end. Work is central to who God is, and thus, central to who we are as His image bearers. That’s one of the great meanings of this first revelation of Jesus Christ.

And it’s not just any work that God does. It’s creative work—the work of taking risks to create new things for the good of others. It’s the work of entrepreneurs and artists, storytellers and sales executives, marketers and mothers. And as we will see tomorrow, it’s the type of work Jesus did when he came to earth to be born into the home of a carpenter.

Unexpected Blessings

Thank you to everyone who prayed for Landon’s dental surgery Friday. I could really feel all the prayers. ❤️ I honestly thought I would be inspired to write because of the difficulty of the experience of Landon’s dental surgery, but that isn’t the case. God blew me away with His goodness and kindness. I know the unexpected blessings were answers to specific prayers because they were little miracles that would normally not happen.

Unexpected Blessing #1

When we were checking in, a nurse came over and told me she had a son with autism. She told me it would be about a three hour wait until it was Landon’s turn. She understood how hard it would be for Landon to sit and wait so she suggested we ride around in the van and said she would call me when it was his turn to go back. The waiting time was one of my concerns as Landon gets really anxious when having to wait in a new place.

Unexpected Blessing #2

Murry and I rode around with Landon for about an hour. He had nothing to eat or drink since the night before at about 8:00pm. If you know Landon, you know he LOVES to eat. 😂 During the van ride he only asked for chicken nuggets twice AND he never had a meltdown. We told him he would have to wait until we ”got the boo-boos in his teeth fixed” to have food. Usually he gets really upset when he’s hungry, so again, I have no doubt God was answering that specific prayer. He only asked for chicken nuggets a couple of times but never got frustrated.

Unexpected Blessing #3

When the nurse called us, we drove back to the hospital and walked Landon back to a private room. They immediately gave him a medication to calm him hidden in a small amount of Sprite. (The only slight hiccup we had was that two doses of meds didn’t put him to sleep. The anesthesiologist seemed a little surprised. I imagine he’d probably never met anyone quite like Landon who has the strength and resolve of a much larger person.😂) However, they did not put his IV in until he was asleep. Answer to prayer right here! During the last (attempted) blood draw at the doctor, Landon was fighting so hard a vein blew immediately causing a golf-ball sized knot on his tiny arm. So my concern about that was totally resolved!

Unexpected Blessing #4

When they took him back, he settled down and did great with the anesthesia. The dentist X-rayed his teeth. The x-ray revealed he had 9 cavities…more than we thought! The dentist filled them, cleaned his teeth, and sealed his teeth. She said we shouldn’t have to do this again for several years or maybe not ever.

Unexpected Blessing #5

The nurses warned us that patients often are combative when waking up from anesthesia. Landon wasn’t! They even removed his IV without much fuss.

Unexpected Blessing #6

When Landon was awake enough to sit in the wheelchair and be taken out to the van, the nurse and my husband easily moved him into the van. I drove home, Landon slept in the van and remained asleep as we tucked him back into his own bed. Again…no meltdown!

Unexpected Blessing #7

Landon woke up several hours later. He was happy, smiling, and wolfed down two hotdogs and some water. He never got nauseous or sick from the anesthesia!

Unexpected Blessing #8

The next day, I decided to attempt to brush Landon’s teeth. Normally he fights me…big time. But he didn’t. He allowed me to brush his teeth without a fuss!

Then it hit me.

The thought that maybe part of the reason he had been fighting and so upset about having his teeth brushed was due to the fact that he had so many cavities!

Maybe his teeth were sensitive and hurt!

He couldn’t tell me his teeth hurt!

All he could do was scream and try to get me to stop brushing.

I still can’t get this thought out of my head! God knew all along that Landon’s teeth were sensitive and causing him pain. I’ve never had a cavity in my life. Not one. I don’t know how it feels. We don’t know how long Landon has had undetected cavities. But God knows. Landon’s surgery had to happen. To make him better. To remove and cut away the deteriorated part of his teeth. The parts that were causing Landon pain. Pain we couldn’t see. Pain we couldn’t fix.

How many times do we have something in our life that is hurting us? Maybe it’s something God wants us to let go of. Could it be He wants to remove some things that we aren’t even aware of so we can heal? Things only He can see.

I‘m so thankful God loves Landon. He loves each unique individual, more than a parent loves each of their own children. Although we do live in an imperfect world full of “cavities” at times, the Holy Spirit is always present in our lives- comforting, guiding, and helping us. He uncovers hidden hurt and pain and leads us towards healing where we need it. He’ll even send us unexpected blessings to remind us He’s there through it all. He wants us to have abundant life. Not because we earned it or deserved it. But because He loves us in an unexplainable and beautiful way. Simply because we are His.


Your friend,


PS As I am writing this, the song You’re Carrying Me (Vineyard Worship) began to play on Pandora. I really felt I should share the lyrics. No matter what pain or burden you might be carrying, remember God is carrying you. Trust Him.

Unexpected kindness, I turn my face to You
Surrounded by Your mercy, I’m falling into You

I’m waiting, You’re running and I lean into You

You’re carrying me, You’re carrying me, You’re carrying me
And I choose to trust You, Lord
You’re carrying me, You’re carrying me, You’re carrying me
And I choose to trust You, Lord

I don’t know the future but I place my hope in You, hm-mm-mmm
As You call me forward, I’m falling into You

I’m waiting, You’re running and I lean into You
My burdens are falling as I lean into You

You’re carrying me, You’re carrying me, You’re carrying me
And I choose to trust You, Lord
You’re carrying me, You’re carrying me, You’re carrying me
And I choose to trust You, Lord
You’re carrying me, You’re carrying me, You’re carrying me
And I choose to trust You, Lord
You’re carrying me, You’re carrying me, You’re carrying me
And I choose to trust You, Lord

I’m waiting, You’re running and I lean into You, woah-oh-oh-oh-oh-ohh
My burdens, they are falling as I lean into You, oh

You’re carrying me, You’re carrying me, You’re carrying me
And I choose to trust You, Lord
You’re carrying me, You’re carrying me, You’re carrying me
And I choose to trust You, Lord

I trust You, I trust You, I trust You, hm-mm-mm-mm-mm
I trust You, I trust You, I trust You

My March Tree/Birthday Tree

I wasn’t sure if I would have a March tree. My 10-year- old son was not too keen on the whole Christmas tree still being up thing. 😂 Since his birthday party is on Saturday, I promised to decorate it as a birthday tree. He actually told me he liked it today.

On another note, please keep my family in your thoughts and prayers as my other son has to have emergency dental surgery on Friday. It will be an exhausting and challenging day. However, I’m sure Landon will provide me with plenty of inspiration for writing that day.

Blessings to you, friends. I pray the beginning of your springtime is beautiful.

Your friend,


Springtime (Chris Renzema)

You’re the resurrection
That we’ve waited for
You buried the night
And came with the morning
You’re the king of heaven
The praise is yours
The longer the quiet
The louder the chorus


We will sing a new song
‘Cause death is dead and gone with the winter
We will sing a new song
Let “hallelujahs” flow like a river
We’re coming back to life
Reaching towards the light
Your love is like springtime

You’re the living water
God, we thirst for you
The dry and the barren
Will flower and bloom
You’re the sun that’s shining
You restore my soul
The deeper you call us
Oh, the deeper we’ll go

We will sing a new song
‘Cause death is dead and gone with the winter
We will sing a new song
Let “hallelujahs” flow like a river
We’re coming back to life
Reaching towards the light
Your love is like springtime

Come tend the soil
Come tend the soil of my soul
And like a garden
And like a garden I will grow
I will grow
Come tend the soil
Come tend the soil of my soul
And like a garden
And like a garden I will grow
I will grow
I will grow
I will grow

We will sing a new song
‘Cause death is dead and gone with the winter
We will sing a new song
Let “hallelujahs” flow like a river
We’re coming back to life
Reaching towards the light
Your love is like springtime
Like springtime