Blessings Through the Storms

This post is a wee bit more sharing than I typically do.  But I am trying to find and share the blessings that come from storms in our lives.  Trying to find our new normal over the last few months has been anything but fun or pretty.  

And you come here to find beautiful finishes on beautiful or not so beautiful furniture… but it’s not always perfect behind the scenes.  

My hope is to share and give God the glory as we work through this and hopefully help or gain help from one of you that stumbled upon me today!!  Many of you have continued to send emails, private messages, and even texts to lift me up in prayer.  

And this is a hard hard post to write for this mama. But I do look for blessings through trials. 



One of my favorite worship songs by Natalie Grant is Back at My Heart- “Strong on the outside, But coming apart at the seams- That Me.  Tragically always together, But bruised underneath, Well that’s Me. I stand just to stumble, tripping on my pride.  Why do I always try to hide?”  This and the rest of the song has been the honest truth of my last few months here at home.  

If you follow along on here, Pinterest {where all these images can be found} , you already know that my love for Jesus & faith is BIG and are most important.  & if you truly know me and our family, then  you really know that God is always first and then family. 

Family is above all of our priorities… even when other’s don’t understand or can’t even fathom.  It doesn’t always make me the most popular but it Honors God in all that I do. 

I don’t want to be that girl who has all the right words, but doesn’t have her life as a reflection of what she speaks.  And part of that reflection lately, well is a messy life.  I’m far from perfect and learn lessons the hard way… because if it were easy, I wouldn’t be able to come out saying Thank you Lord!! I’d be praising myself… and that is never ever part of  God’s plan. 


So what am I getting at.. awhile back I asked for prayer on Facebook and took a rather silent road for quite some time.  Family life got messy, really messy.  And I will likely start a second blog  to help continue the healing process and hopefully touch lives of those who walk this same path of “not so typical” parenting!!  But today I want to share it here.  Y’all have always been so accepting of my personal sharing and I am so grateful!!  

I have made friends of sweet mama’s with other down syndrome angels and friends of painting enthusiasts alike, who just make me smile with their encouraging words of more than paint!!   This story is also why the paint drama is just a blessing in disguise.  I need to go back to the basics of why I started painting for others!!  Therapy!!  Which is why I love my custom clients!!  I don’t do this to compete or compare.  I truly love what I do.  And just painting for awesome clients, lets me LOVE on them and myself.


For any parents out there, that recognize the differences in your children early on… I say push harder to get the help you need.  My daughter is 15.  And unlike Mia, she wasn’t born with distinctive features that tell you she has “XYZ”.   She was born prematurely {8 weeks}, she was on an antibiotic for the first 2 years of her life, all but a couple of weeks total- lots of ear infections, delayed speech beyond 3 years, “day dreamed” a lot, rigid in routine, change caused major abnormally long tantrums, little eye contact, extreme sensitivity to textures, loud noises, and so many other things that should have been red flags when I would mention in concern to doctors… I knew something wasn’t right for so long.  But the tricky part is that little questionnaire every doctor would give to me to send to her teachers.  You see it was all at home that these behaviors were present and often exacerbated beyond our control.  So self-regulating at school and melting down at home was how we operated for years.  “behavioral issues can be fixed by parenting style changes”-  well maybe in typical children but for us- 6 hours of tantrums of your daughter screaming one simple word “MOM” and rocking herself violently back and forth and banging into the wall over and over and over…. didn’t seem so much like my parenting style.

I can remember every year saying a prayer that “7” would be different… and every year replacing that number with the new one.  The only thing that changed were the behaviors.  As she got older, it was more defiant and less frequent tantrums.  She became extremely rigid in routine and I recognized the fits surrounded by change.  But we spent many years of just being diagnosed with a non-specific learning disorder and nothing more.

When we moved here to Texas after adopting Mia, and many Mia therapies later… I took her to our private Speech Pathologist  {Again school had failed us, school had a signed waiver to perform one and never did}- we found her delayed speech at 13 was more than just the speech part.  Language processing disorders, memory retention problems, and sensory processing disorders.  We were able to trim some of the fits using music and bouncing on the trampoline but that didn’t change everything for her.  I began seeing the difference among her peers.  When you are little and playing it’s so much easier to be bossy and just play.  But as she got older it was the extremely focused/obsessed with certain topics that she would get stuck on and not let go that would wear her friends out.  They started dropping off… what we saw as typical fun loving and quirky “B” , was really socially years apart from her friends.  Then the self awareness of being different finally hit… and hit hard.  How? Well girls are mean.. and began to bully her.  Not just about her social awkwardness but about other things too- she couldn’t process it all together the way you and I could… and she couldn’t let go of it either…  And much of it she hid from us.  Talking about feelings was extremely hard for her.  She couldn’t tell us what she was feeling ever.  

So much more I will add another time, but the day after all the paint debacle… my sweet “typical” looking beautiful daughter, tried to overdose on Excedrin… We spent several days in ICU and when stabilized we were transferred to Children’s Inpatient Psych unit… I don’t think I have cried so hard in all my life.  But GOD was right there with us through it all .  He never left our side and especially not hers.  Days before this incident she asked me “Mom, where is God?  Why would he do this to me?”  If I had known the pain behind those words that day, I would have held her and never let go.

Leaving my daughter at Children’s was one of the hardest things I have ever done… and I have had to leave a newborn for 10 days in NICU, walk an adoption journey of almost 5 years with many ups and downs, so this was truly truly hard.  But what blessings God gave us in just that first two hours of  intake, was something I always searched for but couldn’t find… the truth.  The thing that made her, well her.  The diagnosis that one doctor tried to have her evaluated for the year prior to entering high school, but the ARD team literally laughed because she’s such an angel- Autism Spectrum Disorder/Aspergers.  She’s extremely high functioning but there were obvious pieces to that puzzle that this one brilliant doctor could see and get from her in just 2 hours.  I had waited for those 2 hours her entire life… literally.  It was a moment when she told me, that I sat there biting back tears.  Mad, grief, and now what… all at once.

Mad.  I was mad because all these years I had said everything she said to the doctor and more.  Why didn’t anyone see it, hear me, or want to help her?  Grief, my daughter just tried to kill herself and it took that horrible tragedy to get this help.  Just typing those words open flood gates.  Now what?  I am so type A.  I need to know what this means and how I can fix it.  

people with aspergers may

They say that dad’s just want to be able to find the solution and fix things.  Well, that is me too.  I don’t have time for a lot of drama.  That’s why God gave me Mia, I am sure!! I can’t fix down syndrome- but I can give her every therapy and life opportunities that someone else wouldn’t have the time or energy for.  I can do whatever it takes.  But this new diagnosis is uncharted grounds for me.  I didn’t write a judge a 14 page essay on what autism is and how I can provide for her. {Yes that is what we did for Mia and proving that we knew what we were getting into with her specific special needs.}  I have provided for her for 15 years and it’s been all wrong… well not all.  I’m flooding myself with books… learning what behaviors are AS and what behaviors are not.  I am learning that I can’t fix this for her, but can love on her extra hard.  I am learning that my new daily routines are needing to be a little different and a whole lot more scheduled- did I mention I am ADHD, no really… emphasis on H and SPONTANEOUS is my whole life.  I am FULL of life and with most of my little’s that is a good thing.  But now I need to learn calm and predictable, so we can weather this storm.

My dad said something to me through this all that I am holding onto, I need to take care of myself, so I can take care of them.  So, what do you do to take care of yourself?  I paint.  I had that bed set forever in the last post.  If Kim only knew that every brush stroke was full of prayer and tears…   So, I am going to keep  painting.  It’s therapy and it’s contributing to our family in many ways. 

Financially, like I have always said- I am showing how God can use my gifts and talents.  I am hoping that sharing our life with you will bless someone as well.  You see perfect or imperfectly perfect finishes on beautiful furniture.  And our family is beautiful and full of God’s beauty and grace.  But he gives us things in our lives to bring us through it stronger and ultimately to help someone else in life that is walking it too.  

Thank you for all of your prayers over our family.  Thank you for allowing me to share a little snippet of our life with you.   And thank you in advance for grace and any help or insight you have… 



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  1. Elaine says:

    Prayers for your family!!!

  2. DeborahW says:

    I only found ur Facebook page yesterday, I was so inspired by ur inspiration posts, ur painting and ur pictures of ur daughter.. I am a 6o yr. old grandmother who has walked w Jesus for 37 years and through just about everything.. but not what u have been through. I was the one that posted ” I love You!”. Because I knew from ur Facebook page that You were my sister in Christ and I so enjoyed your page.. Thank-you for sharing your struggles. May God Bless you and your family. Oh what a Mighty God we serve! <3
    Funny how I look to these blogs andFB. pages for painting tips and find oh so much more! :')

  3. Norma says:

    Be as you are a true strong parent. You know what your child’s needs are and you struggle to help her. You are a gift from God for that child. That’s why You were selected for her. I know of a few people that have Aspergers but not with Down’s and they struggle. You are a saint. You have the strength and conviction for that child that she needs. God bless you.

  4. I am praying for you all. God doesn’t put on us more than we can bear, but He sometimes really tries our endurance. As a former teacher I have seen so many children with misdiagnosed problems. All any of us can do is our best, and I know you are doing just this! May God give you peace and endurance. Please know I am in your corner!!

  5. Lori,
    You are an amazing woman, and each and every person who knows you are so blessed!! Your family is wonderful, your spirituality lifting, and your tenacity unyielding. Love and prayers to your and yours!

    Your CTMH sister,
    Tammy Pinchard

  6. Cindie says:

    Lori, I am lifting you up in prayer and will continue. I have followed your beautiful decor transformations, and so hope and pray that this new direction for your life will indeed be a blessing. I would recommend that you listen to another song that has spoken volumes to my heart. Laura Story’s Blessings.

    Casting Crowns has another song called Praise You in this Storm

    With love through Christ, our Lord and Savior,
    Cindie Vaughan

  7. Lisa says:

    Thank you for sharing this part of your life with all of us. I remember going through a similar time with my son when he was 17. He went through a short time where he was cutting himself, not enough to require stitches, but just enough to cause pain. I never imagined that my precious child would want to hurt himself! God led us to the right people for therapy, and was with us through each step of the healing process. He is now 25, married, and doing well, thank God. I will definitely keep you and your family in my prayers.

  8. Oh, Lori. Thank you so much for sharing. I have been so worried for you and for your family.

    I am glad you finally have some answers, but so sorry that you had to face the horror of almost losing your daughter to get those answers. Our family knows too well the tragedy of teenage suicide.

    My cousin, who would have been 20 on Friday, took her own life in 2009 when she was 15. Her story was different than your daughter’s, but she found the world too cruel to endure. I hope your daughter is able to see the light and the good and most importantly to realize how special she is and how loved and how her absence would create a hole nothing could ever fill.

    Take care of her and take care of yourself.

  9. Diana Hamm says:

    Wow, what an inspirational story. I have worked with several students with Aspergers. In fact, I’ve been in a position to help diagnose this condition. It’s definitely one that takes a great deal of patience. And for you to have handled it so well even with all the misdiagnoses. Which I find difficult to understand, because Aspergers is not generally that hard to disiminate between it and other conditions. I praise you for all that you have and are doing for this child. I always say that God has a plan. I said this when my nephew committed suicide. Even when it was so hard to grasp that God intended that to teach or to cause anything but pain. But I do believe there is a bigger picture, one that we don’t see yet. May God bless you in all that you do. Thank you for sharing what had to be a very difficult time for you. I’m thankful for parents like you, loving your child so much. And having the courage to share with us all. Godspeed to you and your family!

  10. Darcy says:

    “When we long for life without difficulty,
    remind us that oaks grow strong under contrary winds
    and diamonds are made under pressure.”
    ― Peter Marshall

    Lori, I love this quote and thought I’d share. I have been so touched by your testimony tonight! God IS Mighty and He renews mercies everyday! Thank You Jesus! Thank you for sharing and revealing a tender season publicly. I have prayed for you as I saw your posts asking for prayer – and wondered. “Diamonds are made under pressure” and Lori… get ready for God to shine even brighter through your family! May His grace pour abundantly over each of your family members – may your daughter be lifted up and a hedge of protection around of her. May the Lord’s wisdom and discernment speak clearly and loudly to you and your family. In Jesus name, amen!

    Blessings to you! Great is His blessings when we count it ALL joy!

    From one artist to another! :o) Much love!

  11. You are great example of a Proverbs 31 woman… “Your children shall rise up and call you blessed”. Stay strong my friend!

  12. Madie says:

    You are AMAZING and God believes so too. Eventhough we don’t always understand FAITH does help us move on until the reasons are revealed. I will pray that YOU endure and I will pray that your lovely daughter stay strong and that she too can see that she is GOD’s creation and in His eyes she is PERFECT! GOD does not make mistakes and He has given her an amazing source of strength and exampe…YOU! You were chosen to be together and He will see you BOTH through this. I pray for the other children too and of course your husband. Be well, stay strong, BELIEVE with all your heart and KNOW that ALL things are possible with Christ! Hugs and kisses to you and your family. You are truly spreading God’s word because as I write this I see how often I forget about these things when going through hard times and difficult situations. Pray for me too that my faith gets me through the issues within my family. There are never too many prayers! God bless!

  13. June G. says:

    Lori, this broke my heart. As a mother of two grown daughters with two little granddaughters, this just tore me up! I’m so glad that you felt close enough to all of us that you shared something so difficult in your family. I pray for your strength especially as her mother and that of your whole family. I was glad to hear that your father is able to give you some wise fatherly advice. Girls just need their dads. I’ll pray for you and the doctors and therapists that will now be able to help your dear daughter. I’m still going to come to Texas one of these days! So, keep painting and enjoying all the talents God has given you!
    Mathew 5:16

  14. Debra Essex says:

    I have been praying for you and your family.. stay strong and keep faith..

  15. Carol says:

    I don’t know how I found your blog (and don’t know if you’ll see this somewhat old post response) but I feel led to respond.
    First of all, I’d like to send you a big hug. I have a daughter alot like yours. For years we knew she was different, but school testing didn’t tell us much. Although she didn’t have tantrums, she daydreamed, had texture, noise, and food sensitivity, couldn’t really communicate her thoughts and feelings to us, couldn’t remember what she needed to for school but could memorize books and movies word for word. She couldn’t care less about what she was wearing or other current trends. She loved playing make believe – especially about whatever was her current obsession. She was at a christian school so the other kids were not too bad, but even there the girlfriends she knew for years began socially isolating her. The amount of stress, exhaustion, endless homework and unhappiness was too much for all of us to take anymore. We checked out the public school Autism program (she was 13 and by this time we had a label), but we didn’t think putting her in a room all day with a group of mostly boys with the same or more serious issues was going to educate or help her. After much prayer and lots of trepidation on my part, we decided I would homeschool her. That was 6 years ago, and I can say without a doubt it was the best thing we could have done. It took a lot of work to find activities, co-ops, groups, etc. to engage her socially and some worked, some didn’t. But she has grown and developed amazingly well. She is now 19 and in a full-time post high school special ed program. I don’t know your situation, but just felt led to share where we’ve been. If I can answer any questions or help in any way, please email me.
    Praying for you all.

  16. Oh you. Thank you for reaching out to me on Facebook. I’m so sorry for your struggles and relate to you so much. I send you love and hope and the same for your girl. Peace be with you.

  17. Heather Lian says:

    I am so glad I found this post…It has really touched my heart in ways that are indescribable. I see so much of my oldest son in this…and got the same from the drs and schools. He just has some ‘undiagnosed learning disorder’…but deep in my heart I know it’s so much more than that. You have really given me the encouragement to work harder in finding answers for him. Thank you so much for spilling out your heart.

  18. Laurie says:

    I related on several levels…daughter with speech delays, IQ issues, processing issues and a pronounced stutter. I also related because my husband’s youngest brother took his life after so many attempts (even as a young child) almost 20 years ago. Thank you for sharing your story and helping others. I found your link on SITS FB.

  19. Janet King says:

    Thank you for sharing your story with us. Hopefully your daughter has received the medical help she so needed and is enjoying her life. You are such a good writer and painter (which are gifts). I have so enjoyed all your painting tips and your beautiful finished pieces of furniture. You are inspiring in so many ways especially as a Christian, parent, and talented painter.

  20. Thank you for sharing your story and for fighting for your daughter. She is blessed to have a mother who is never going to give up on her. Visiting from #tellhisstory.

  21. […] has been so much pain in the past 3-4 years with our oldest daughter and my world fell apart and even questioned where […]

  22. […] home for me, would be a grand understatement. We have had a really hard time walking a tough battle for 4-5 years with our oldest daughter. Moving to a new area and with a desire to love all God’s […]


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