Tag Archives: five minute writing

Five Minute Friday…on a Saturday {release}

Awhile back, we were at our favorite place in the world.

Sonic.

Yes, I realize I should have said something holy…like church. Or our house. Or visiting a soup kitchen. But the reality is that we love Sonic. I was getting a Coke Zero and Graham was getting a shake and I was so excited. Even with all of Adelaide’s medical bills and raising three children on one income, we allow for the Sonic splurge. Last year, we went almost three months without Sonic. It wasn’t good. I saved us $16 and about lost my marbles. We decided to work Sonic trips into the budget.

Anyway, I got a text message. It about made my heart stop. A friend asking if I ever felt depressed. Like not the normal I-am-a-mom-and-my-kids-are-about-to-send-me-into-a-closet funk, but a bona fide depressed state. I didn’t really know how to answer. I had experienced the hormonal ups and downs. The moments where I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to keep everything going until Dave got home from work. The really long showers where you just stand under the hot water crying and pretend you don’t hear the baby screaming on his lap. But I have never been depressed. Not the kind she was asking about. So, I told her no. And explained how I had felt at times. And told her to talk to her doctor. And told her that I loved her. And told her that I was praying for her. Then, I prayed. And I felt God saying, “You need to call her nurse.”

Ahem? I am not doing that. I don’t like looking crazy and I am pretty sure this person just confided in me. Doesn’t it break all kinds of laws that maybe shouldn’t even be in existence anyway to do that? But God laughs at my questions, because He doesn’t care about me not wanting to look weird and silly and intrusive. He wants me to listen.

Right there at Sonic, where I had been nursing Bess and listening to Graham cry about his shake being too shakey, I called my friend’s nurse. I told her what I knew. I asked her to call my friend. To tell the doctor. And she did. The nurse didn’t think I was overstepping my bounds. She didn’t think I was being a busy-body or a worry-wart. She said, “Wow. You are such a good friend. It takes courage to step out and do something that probably felt weird.” She acknowledged that it wasn’t normal. But that didn’t mean that it was wrong.

I am pretty sure my friend would have called her doctor the very next day, but I think God was wanting me to call for me. He wanted me to step out of my friendship comfort zone and do something that my flesh thought was absurd. And no Sonic drink can top the feeling of freedom and release you experience when you listen to the Holy Spirit and follow God’s prompting…but that Coke Zero still tasted pretty amazing. Not gonna lie…

Time’s Up…

Five Minute Friday

Linking up with Lisa-Jo Baker for Five Minute Friday. Unscripted. Unedited. Real.

1. Write for 5 minutes flat for pure unedited love of the written word.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. Be generous and leave an encouraging comment for the person who linked up before you. That’s the best part about this community.

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Five Minute Friday {nothing}

Recently, someone I know was going through a heart-breaking situation. The kind of loss I have not experienced. I wanted to say something, but I was too afraid. Why was I afraid? Because the internet has inundated us with lists of how everything we say hurts someone’s feelings. I actually looked up some articles to make sure what I was going to say to this person wouldn’t be accidentally hurtful. I talked to a dear friend who had been through the same situation. I looked up a few more articles. And then I just wrote what was in my heart and hoped that it came across the way it was supposed to…because I am tired of all the lists. 

Top 10 or 15 or 21 Things You Should’t Say to Someone Who is Single/Stays At Home/Has an Only Child/Adopting/Married/Works Outside the Home/Adopted/Has A Big Family/Infertile/Has Battled Cancer/Has Miscarried…and the dreaded Raising a Kid with Special Needs.

I often read the list that is supposed to represent me and I cringe. Some points can be valid, but most completely miss my heart. According to these lists, I am a ticking time bomb of emotion about to decapitate everyone around me as I grieve every missed milestone and secretly hate you and your healthy children. You think I am exaggerating, just google it. My biggest fear is that people will stop talking to me. Because the internet has scared them away with list upon list. I don’t want my friends, or even strangers, thinking that I am judging every word that passes through their lips. That is how we make ourselves unapproachable. All in the name of education, we stop people from becoming educated. Just think about how many times you have wanted to say something, but you remembered reading your question in an article entitled, “Twenty-Three Things You Should Never Say to a Parent with a Non-Verbal Toddler”…bloggers are churning this stuff out and real conversations are being killed in the wake. So, I am making my own list. I am obviously an extrovert,  because my list is called:

Things I Want You to Say to Me and I Promise Not to Hurt You if I Am Hurt By Anything You Say

Long title, I know…

1. “How are you?” Whether I am having a super day or a horrible day, I appreciate that you care. Please ask. I can decide whether or not I am going to answer honestly or give you a summed up or unicorn version of that day’s reality.

2. “How is Adelaide?” Again, ask away. I am not going to start bawling {well, I can’t make any promises} and love talking about her accomplishments.

3. “What is Adelaide’s diagnosis?” According to the internet, you are not supposed to ask this. It’s a freakishly long answer, which I am willing to share if you buy me a Sonic drink. My hairdresser just asked me this question. The world didn’t fall apart. I enjoyed teaching her about two rare diseases/symptoms/whatever-the-heck-Adelaide-has.

4. “When will she be able to fill-in-the-blank?” We don’t always know, but I love that you are interested in her. I don’t consider it a back-handed comment about her abilities or lack thereof.

5. “How can I help you?” I won’t actually answer this, because I have serious issues with inconveniencing people, but I don’t read into this that you think I am incompetent.

6. “How did this happen?” I don’t think you are accusing me of shooting up heroine during my pregnancy. We can have a lengthy chat, but there isn’t a clear answer on this one either.

7. “Are you planning on having more kids?” I enjoy talking about children, pregnancy, babies, and almost everything related to little people. I won’t hear you say this and assume that you think I cannot parent a fourth.

8. “I am praying for you.” Thank you. I covet that.

So, there are the Top Eight Things You Should Say To This Parent of a Child With Several Disabilities. But please add others. The only thing I can’t handle is when you say nothing. Unless you need the silence. Because I read on a list called Top Six Things You Shouldn’t Say To An Introvert that you may need a bit of time to process…

Time’s Up…

Five Minute Friday

Linking up with Lisa-Jo Baker for Five Minute Friday. Unscripted. Unedited. Real.

1. Write for 5 minutes flat for pure unedited love of the written word.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. Be generous and leave an encouraging comment for the person who linked up before you. That’s the best part about this community.

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Five Minute Friday {joy}

Elizabeth Mae’s name was actually Flannery Mae for almost 3 weeks. Dave and I were secretly in love with it, until we started having doubts that Baby Girl was actually a Flannery. We are lovers of Flannery O’Connor. But we just felt in our hearts that our little girl would be named something else. As soon as we saw her, our choice for Elizabeth Mae was confirmed. Our little Bess was just perfect for her name.

We named Graham pretty early on and used his name all the time. His first name choice was Jude. But I tried it out a few times, and people thought I was saying Jew Ballew. Then we were hit with Graham. It was out of nowhere, and it made my stomach jump. It was just right. And his nickname was Gray.

Then, Adelaide was going to be Natalie. She was a December Baby and ‘nativity’ just made beautiful sense. But we weren’t 100% positive, so we decided to wait until we saw her. If she looked like my mom, she was going to be Adelaide Marie. Della, my mom’s name, is a nickname for Adelaide. One of Adelaide’s nicknames is Adele. Since our second child was taken from my womb looking like a replica of her Mema, we went with Adelaide. It is perfection. Noble and sweet. So fitting for our blessing.

We are done having children. We are done naming children. I still have a list of names I would use if we were unexpectedly blessed with another. I hear a baby name and think, “Oh, that’s on my list!” It’s silly, I know.

I also love my own name. I never wanted to change it. In kindergarten, we were asked to explain what we would name ourselves if we could have any other name. I wrote my own name and said I didn’t want it to be different. My teacher thought I didn’t understand the assignment. I couldn’t fathom a name change as a five-year-old. As an adult, I can see why people would want to go by something else. Not personally, but it was no longer a foreign concept.

But when I started naming my own children, I wondered if they would ever change their names. It was a fear. What if they hit their thirties and hate what I have been calling them? I am choosing for another human what other humans will call them. That’s a weighty responsibility. Will they ever adopt different nicknames? Or go by middle names?

It makes me chuckle to think about our girls changing their names, because their names just fit them so well. Of course, they could surprise us and become Hulgas. And we come full circle with a (Mary) Flannery O’Connor joke. Silly little Joy Hopewell. Keep an eye on that leg…

 

Time’s Up…

Five Minute Friday

Linking up with Lisa-Jo Baker for Five Minute Friday. Unscripted. Unedited. Real.

1. Write for 5 minutes flat for pure unedited love of the written word.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. Be generous and leave an encouraging comment for the person who linked up before you. That’s the best part about this community.

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Five Minute Friday {crowd}

We made our very first Vegan Banana Bread with *homemade* oat flour. It ended up being flat and dense, but tasted great! And not just in the this-tastes-good-for-a-vegan-recipe great, but in the Graham-and-Dave-kept-saying-yummy kind of great! With all my dietary restrictions right now, I am definitely making it again.

It is dairy-free, egg-free, and made with oats. {Bess can tolerate some wheat, but not much.} No cocoa, artificial sweeteners, soy, or caffeine. It meets all her allergy/intolerances and doesn’t taste like cardboard. Winner, winner, banana bread dinner!

  • 2 flax eggs {Mix 2 tbsp of ground flax with 6 tbsp of water. If I have time, I let it sit in the fridge for about 15 minutes.}
  • 2 bananas
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • 2 cups {before processing} of oats {put them in the food processor and turn them into ‘flour’}
  • 1/2 c. of sugar
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp of baking soda
  • 1 dash of cinnamon

Mix it all together. Pour into a pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 35-45 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack and allow to cool for 30 minutes. {Hahahahaha!} Slice and enjoy!

It still needs some tweaking, since I just basically threw a bunch of stuff in the mixer and then popped it into the oven. If you tweak it, please share your improvements {and flops} in the comments!

This was a crowd-pleaser at our Little House in the City.

And is there anything more precious in this entire world than a non-verbal little one praying over her snack? I argue that there is not…

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“Sowwy, Daddy, but I ated all da banana bwead cuz it was so good and so yummy and I couldn’t keep some for you.”

“Mama, I’m pwacticing telling Daddy sowwy for no more banana bwead for him. Cuz I’m gonna eat it all!”

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“Mama, it’s short like Adelaide!” Yes, yes it is…

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Time’s Up…

Five Minute Friday

Linking up with Lisa-Jo Baker for Five Minute Friday. Unscripted. Unedited. Real.

1. Write for 5 minutes flat for pure unedited love of the written word.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. Be generous and leave an encouraging comment for the person who linked up before you. That’s the best part about this community.

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Five Minute Friday {willing}

I am not good at friendship. I am actually amazed that I even have friends. My friends are unbelievably patient. I receive cards, letters, messages, texts, and calls asking how they can help. I am not good at saying ‘yes’ to help. I know there are people out there who need the help more than I need it. There are medically fragile children whose moms are barely making it today. There are moms who need meals and clean laundry and a break. I guess I am that mom in my circle, but I don’t like it. I don’t like being the one who is seen as weak. Incompetent. I want to be helping them during their trials and times of struggle. Their hardships are for a season, but mine just go on and on. I know that accepting help from a friend won’t end here. It’s not like I will be back on my feet soon. I am always tired. Always behind in everything. Always feeling like I am not doing enough. So, a little break here and there doesn’t really do much, except remind me that I am in a boat I never imagined I would be co-captaining. I have been convicted of these things lately. The fact is this: I am keeping people from blessing me. I am not allowing my friends to use their talents and show their love in tangible ways. I have read several things about friendship lately, and I realized I am no good at friendship.

I texted a friend and asked her to watch Graham while we went to Adelaide’s appointment. I knew it was going to be a rough afternoon. Adelaide was being fitted for her first pair of AFO braces. We are hoping and praying that a 27-month-old little girl will learn to stand with help. Normally, I would just pack up all three kids and get it done. I would do it on my own. But, today, I asked for help. I allowed a friend, who has offered dozens…possibly hundreds…of times, to actually bless me. I dropped Graham off and went to the appointment with only two of my children. As I drove away, I was already thinking that I had done the wrong thing. I was inconveniencing her. I was the mom who couldn’t handle three kids.

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I am willing to change, but I don’t actually know how to do it. I don’t want to look back and realize I lost friendships because I was too prideful to say ‘yes’ and allow someone to do something for me. David and Jonathan had a truly remarkable friendship. I have yet to know what that is like, because I won’t even allow someone to give me a cloak. I just run off to a cave and try to figure it out myself. Or, I try to be everyone else’s Jonathan. Giving and doing. But for what reason? Am I afraid that I need to tip the scales, because I am so high maintenance? I don’t even like to offer prayer requests to my close circle of friends, because it seems like a burden. I stopped sharing prayer requests with our LifeGroup. Someone wants us to pray for her friend who is sick. Oh, and now it’s time for Lyndse to start crying as she tells us Adelaide is having seizures. I don’t want to be ‘that family’ who never has a good old normal prayer request.

I am willing. And I have been praying that God would show me how to say ‘yes’ to my friends. And to be a better friend in return.

Time’s Up…

Five Minute Friday

Linking up with Lisa-Jo Baker for Five Minute Friday. Unscripted. Unedited. Real.

1. Write for 5 minutes flat for pure unedited love of the written word.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. Be generous and leave an encouraging comment for the person who linked up before you. That’s the best part about this community.

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Five Minute Friday {choose}

One of Adelaide’s therapy goals seems simple enough.

Practice rolling a ball.

The reality is this: It is very difficult to teach Adelaide to practice rolling/catching/hugging/paying any attention to/throwing/pushing/doing anything with a ball.

In Adelaide’s opinion, mirrors and sucking fingers trump everything. Except for food. Food trumps all.

We tried anyway…

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Let’s all choose to pretend that the whole session looked like this…

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When it actually looked more like this…

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PS: Don’t forget to enter our very first giveaway in honor of Rare Disease Day!

Time’s Up…

Five Minute Friday

Linking up with Lisa-Jo Baker for Five Minute Friday. Unscripted. Unedited. Real.

1. Write for 5 minutes flat for pure unedited love of the written word.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. Be generous and leave an encouraging comment for the person who linked up before you. That’s the best part about this community.

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Five Minute Friday {small part two}

I know it’s Monday…please bear with me.

In my years of teaching, I taught several children, preteens, and teens with autism. So, a typical beginning-of-the-year conversation would go like this:

“Hi {Student} ! How are you today?”

“Hi, Mrs. Ballew. How are you?”

“Well, I am having an okay day. I woke up feeling yucky, but I think lunch gave me a good break. I am looking forward to walking after school. The weather is so beautiful today. But you didn’t actually answer me. Do you want to give me an answer?”

“Mrs. Ballew, is it okay to say that I am having a rough day? Am I allowed to say that? Everyone else just says ‘fine’ and keeps walking.”

“Yes, some people just want to get to class. But you can always tell me how you are really feeling.”

“Okay, Mrs. Ballew, maybe I will tell you next time.”

“Sounds great! Have an awesome day!”

As the year progressed, our conversations would look like this:

“Hi {Student}! How has your day been so far?”

“Mrs. Ballew, my day started off good, but then I missed the bus. I had a fun 2nd hour, and I get to see my cousin after school! How has your day been?”

“I am tired, but my day has been great. We had Taco Salad for lunch, which you know is my favorite hot lunch, and Mr. Ballew and I are renting a movie when he gets off work tonight. Tell your cousin I said ‘hi’ and be safe!”

“Bye, Mrs. Ballew!”

It’s a small thing to be able to share your *real* day with someone. Often times, I want to answer ‘fine’ and keep walking. Online it looks like, “We are great. Thanks for asking.” Or “We are good. Thanks for your prayers.” But I am not great right now. We are not good at this very moment. What I am living right now is hard. I vacillate between complete transparency and silently retreating into a bag of Oreos.

A friend posted this today, and it sums up how I feel today.

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This isn’t a complaint. I am not in sin. This is how I feel today. And I want to thank everyone who has been praying for us and trying to get past the “We are good.” to get the real answers.

Time’s Up…

This is my second FMF about the word ‘small’…last year’s is still one of my most-read and most-shared posts of all time. It was about Adelaide playing with a doll house. You can read it here.

Five Minute Friday

Linking up with Lisa-Jo Baker for Five Minute Friday. Unscripted. Unedited. Real.

1. Write for 5 minutes flat for pure unedited love of the written word.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. Be generous and leave an encouraging comment for the person who linked up before you. That’s the best part about this community.

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Five Minute Friday {write}

I have failed to write my true feelings and thoughts and secrets on this blog. You are probably shocked to hear it, because I am pretty transparent. I have been both praised and chastised for sharing what it is really like for this mama to raise a strong-willed preschooler who just recently finished potty-training at the ripe age of 50+ months. That sounded better than 4 and then some, but now it is looking worse. That is a big number. So, let’s just say 4 and them some. Oh, and I am mom to a girl who is both baffling her doctors and therapists, while also causing quizzical looks. She is doing both better and worse than she could be doing. She is both amazing us all with her milestones and confusing us by her lack of progress. Can’t explain it. And most people don’t understand it. And I have a baby who can’t tolerate anything I eat. Unless I eat carrots and drink water. And there is a slight possibility that water may be causing her to be sick. That’s a joke. Moms of kids with allergies need to make jokes sometimes, because it is a rough row to hoe. And I had better get approval from her gi tract before I plant any seeds in those rows. And I am usually honest about myself. Maybe too honest. Lately, I can’t be. There is stuff going on that can’t be shared. There are people who have hurt me to my core. Unspeakable. Except that I want to speak. I want the words to come out and be typed and be free for all to see them and hear them and soak them in. Yet I can’t say anything about it right now. It makes me feel like I am the liar when I need to keep things private. But then I remember that even Jesus went to the garden and had time where he shared things with his Father. He told him his private thoughts and not one of his disciples knew everything that was going on in his mind. It doesn’t make me a fraud or a fake to keep certain things hush hush until I am given the go-ahead to scream it from the rooftops. It doesn’t mean that I have done anything wrong, when I can’t share someone else’s wrongdoings. It just means that I am following orders for awhile. Even Jesus followed orders. Especially Jesus followed orders. And I would benefit from following his example and falling before God and crying out to Him.

Time’s Up…

Five Minute Friday

Linking up with Lisa-Jo Baker for Five Minute Friday. Unscripted. Unedited. Real.

1. Write for 5 minutes flat for pure unedited love of the written word.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. Be generous and leave an encouraging comment for the person who linked up before you. That’s the best part about this community.

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“Because who is perfect?” {This video. Just this…}

Tomorrow, we travel more than 7 hours for Adelaide’s pediatric neurology appointment. Some days, I forget all of Adelaide’s limitations and unknowns. Other days, it is thrown in my face at every turn. As I was sitting in our living room nursing our ‘typically developing’ Bess, my heart was just hurting. Bess is meeting new milestones every day. Today, she put her feet in her mouth. She and her big sister share socks.

Adelaide has the feet of a 6-month-old. And the height of a 12-month-old. And the head of a two-year-old. And the brain of no one else. We have yet to find anyone with her same brain structure and abnormalities. We have spoken with thousands of parents in a dozen countries. And I was wrestling with that fact, while still trying to embrace the truth: no one is perfect. We live in a fallen world. Not one person has a perfect brain. Or perfect feet. Or a perfect mom. It’s okay to be a mom who hurts and grieves and wonders and hopes and rejoices. And who experiences those things all in the same day. Or the same hour.

And I watched this six times and bawled.

I would love to see a mannequin of Adelaide. It would be a beautiful moment to see her stand.

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Five Minute Friday {visit}

I still have up all our Christmas decorations. I am pretty sure they will still be up come Valentine’s Day. We even have a Christmas tree decorated in butterflies. It was Adelaide’s birthday tree and I think I need it up year-round. Maybe the butterfly tree and the nativities and the polar bear on a sled ornament will distract you from the laundry and dishes and toys and pajamas and lack of organization abounding in our January home. This year has started off rough and we are living in a grace place. I am not going to lie and say that I don’t wake up every morning feeling like a complete loser of a mom. Because I do. We still have up our Truth in the Tinsel calendar. And we have been on the letter ‘G’ since late November. We are here living day to day. I don’t know what you will think if you visit, but Graham will ensure that you don’t leave without seeing his favorite music video.

I was hoping he wouldn’t see my camera, but no luck there. Fortunately for us, he didn’t mind it at all.

Time’s Up…

Five Minute Friday

Linking up with Lisa-Jo Baker for Five Minute Friday. Unscripted. Unedited. Real.

1. Write for 5 minutes flat for pure unedited love of the written word.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. Be generous and leave an encouraging comment for the person who linked up before you. That’s the best part about this community.

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