Not Just a River in Egypt

I guess I can’t deny it any longer.

Moose has autism.

When we saw the doctor that gave us that terrible diagnosis, I really didn’t believe it.  And the therapists that were working with him were pretty skeptical.  So, I allowed myself to believe that she was wrong–she saw him on a bad day, she didn’t have all the information, she had the wrong information.

But, he’s been in school for five months now, and while he is making good progress, it’s not the progress you’d expect out of a simple delay.  He’s also exhibiting a few more signs of autism, which could be imitation of something he’s seeing in school, but is more likely just proof that he has been affected by this.

It’s hard, because he doesn’t have a lot of the “traditional” symptoms of autism.  But that’s the bitch of this thing–it manifests in so many ways, that “traditional” or “typical” don’t really mean anything, because it’s a disease (disorder? what is the right word for it?) that’s based on being atypical, even within itself.

A part of me still hopes that one day he’ll have a big breakthrough, and we’ll laugh at ever having thought he was autistic.  But realistically, that’s probably not ever going to happen.

The Perfect Easter

I love the way our church celebrates Easter.  I can’t believe that before last year, I had never come across this before, but as far as I know, none of the other churches I have attended has consistently arranged their services this way.

We started with the Sunrise Service at 6:30.  No Lord’s Supper, but still a great celebration of the Resurrection. Beautiful, celebratory music, the traditional Scripture readings, a wonderful sermon, and, of course, the return of the Alleluias.

After that service, we went downstairs for our church’s Easter breakfast.  It was delicious–biscuits and gravy, scrambled eggs, sausage, and, my children’s favorite, doughnuts in a variety of flavors.  It was a nice time of relaxation and fellowship.

Following breakfast, we went back to the sanctuary for the second service of the morning.  This is the part that is new to me, and genius, in my opinion.  It’s a completely different service.  Different music (still beautiful), some selections by the choir, different sermon, different Bible readings, and the best part, the Lord’s Supper.  A completely different experience from the first service, which makes it totally worth it to stick around and attend both services (even with four small children!).  Between the two services, I got to sing all my favorite Easter hymns:  At the Lamb’s High Feast We Sing, Jesus Christ is Risen Today, Christ Our Lord is Risen Today, I Know That My Redeemer Lives.

There was a Sunday School egg hunt after the second service that we didn’t get to stay for–too many tired children–but hopefully next year that will also be a part of our Easter celebration.  The way our church schedules everything on Easter makes you want to show up at six in the morning, and stay until everyone has left, which is just about the highest compliment I can pay any congregation.  I can’t think of any way I’d rather celebrate our Lord’s Resurrection than spending the morning at church, with my family, and with our church family.

Our day at home was equally perfect.  Everyone took a nap (no small feat around here!), including us parents, while the baseball game played in the background (and the Cards won!).  We had a nice, lazy, fun day together, which is good on any Sunday, but especially nice on Easter.

We also had a very nice, traditional Easter dinner.  Ham, cheesy potatoes, roasted carrots, and, for dessert, s’mores pie, which was the biggest hit of the meal–we had a chocolate covered Moose before it was all said and done.  Now we’re winding down by watching the Easter Beagle–what would a holiday be without Snoopy?

A beautiful Easter–He is Risen indeed!  Alleluia!

The Great Vigil of Easter

Without a doubt, this is my favorite church service.  I look forward to it all year long (although, there have been plenty of years where there was no service available for me to attend).  Don’t get me wrong, I love Easter morning and Christmas Eve services, and all the other festival Sundays, but the Vigil will always be my favorite.  The return of the Light, the Scripture readings, remembering our Baptism, the Lord’s Supper…going from the tomb to the resurrection. So ancient and beautiful, with all of the chanting, and the sprinkling of Baptismal water, the Sacrament, and especially that moment where we can finally say again “He is risen indeed.  Alleluia.”  And the return of the joyful chords of Jesus Christ is Risen Today, which chokes me up every Easter, after the long wait of Lent.

There’s just nothing else like it.

Quote of the Day

What is happening? Today there is a great silence over the earth, a great silence, and stillness, a great silence because the King sleeps; the earth was in terror and was still, because God slept in the flesh and raised up those who were sleeping from the ages. God has died in the flesh, and the underworld has trembled. Truly he goes to seek out our first parent like a lost sheep; he wishes to visit those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death. He goes to free the prisoner Adam and his fellow-prisoner Eve from their pains, he who is God, and Adam’s son. The Lord goes in to them holding his victorious weapon, his cross. When Adam, the first created man, sees him, he strikes his breast in terror and calls out to all: “My Lord be with you all.” And Christ in reply says to Adam: “And with your spirit.” And grasping his hand he raises him up, saying, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light.” “I am your God, who for your sake became your son, who for you and your descendants now speak and command with authority those in prison: Come forth, and those in darkness: Have light, and those who sleep: Rise.” “I command you: Awake, sleeper, I have not made you to be held a prisoner in the underworld. Arise from the dead; I am the life of the dead. Arise, O man, work of my hands, arise, you who were fashioned in my image. Rise, let us go hence; for you in me and I in you, together we are one undivided person.” (quoted in For All the Saints, vol. III, p. 1037)

Reproaches

To me, this is the most beautiful part of the Good Friday Chief Service–the Reproaches.  The fact that, even with all the wrong we do, even though it was because of us that He was nailed to the cross, Christ still calls us His people, continually blows me away.

Thus says the Lord: What have I done to you, O My people, and wherein have I offended you? Answer Me. For I have raised you up out of the prison house of sin and death, and you have delivered up your Redeemer to be scourged. For I have redeemed you from the house of bondage, and you have nailed your Savior to the cross. O My people.

Thus says the Lord: What have I done to you, O My people, and wherein have I offended you? Answer Me. For I have conquered all your foes, and you have given Me over and delivered Me to those who persecute Me. For I have fed you with My Word and refreshed you with living water, and you have given Me gall and vinegar to drink. O My people.

Thus say the Lord: What have I done to you, O My people, and wherein have I offended you? Answer Me. What more could have been done for My vineyard than I have done for it? When I looked for good grapes, why did it yield only bad? My people, is this how you thank your God? O My people.  Lutheran Service Book

Box Day “Lite”

We got to have a mini Sonlight “Box Day” this week.  It was, in a lot of ways, even more fun than our first “real” box day last summer, because Turkey and Bunny knew what the box was, knew there would be lots of books in it, and followed me (along with Moose and Ladybug, who were just plain curious), like a parade to the schoolroom.

It’s a decent amount of books, even though all I ordered was the next levels of Language Arts and Readers, which we’ll begin using in a few weeks.  Nothing like a full box day, with all the subjects, but Turkey and Bunny entertained themselves for quite a while looking through the books, picking out which ones they’ve read before (some of the Dr. Seuss), guessing what others were about, and wondering if they would *really* be able to read some of them on their own before too long.  It was kind of a nice break to the regular routine of school.

I had a moment of panic, however, as I looked through the teacher’s guide.  We started our homeschooling journey, what, seven, eight months ago?  And I had forgotten in just that short amount of time how daunting a task it is to hold that new teacher’s guide in my hands and realize that my children’s education is falling solely on my shoulders.

I remembered (rather quickly) having that same feeling as I looked at our first core purchase–I didn’t know how I’d be able to do it!  Would they really be able to read the whole Fun Tales set by the time the year was over?  (The answer is a resounding yes!)  Would I be able to teach the things they need to know?  Would I find a way to schedule my days to make the most of all of our time?

But as we settled into a routine, and I saw how eager they were to learn, most of those questions and concerns vanished.  So here I am, back to square one, wondering how I’m going to be able to teach them to read longer words, to use proper grammar, to write on their own.  I’m guessing that these concerns will also fade as we get started (I hope!).

I wonder if I will feel this way every year, as I see the difficulty levels of their materials increasing?