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Laura and her beautiful family! That's Peyton and Sawyer, and her husband, Scott

I remember chatting with Laura in an empty Sunday School room while we took care of babies who had no interest in big church. We pondered everything new moms ponder. And then some.

I consider Laura and her husband friends, although we don’t socialize or see each other unless it’s a random run-in. I’ve been watching her ups-and-downs on FaceBook though. Sadly I’ve never offered her support or said, “I”m praying for you” with a cute little heart, for fear that it would come across as trite. Again, I’m not that close to her. I need to work on that.

 

You don’t have to share coffee and bagels to care about someone. Right?

The baby Laura rocked in her arms that Sunday is named Peyton. Peyton has Autism. I don’t know when she found out, I don’t know if she knew that Sunday we swapped baby stories. I do know that as our boys have grown (Peyton is 8, Eli is 10), she has been on a journey that makes my struggles with reading and mean teachers unworthy of complaint.

Here’s what I learned. Roughly 1 in 110 children have Autism Spectrum Disorder while no two children have the same symptoms. Early diagnosis is crucial, however, getting a doctor to diagnose early is difficult. Imagine wanting to help your child but being denied the tools to help him/her to thrive? I read that some autistic children/adults flourish in jobs and relationships, while others may never. I do not know what Peyton’s ASD will look like in ten years. I hope they find a cure. For now, Laura encouraged me to read “Welcome to Holland” and I think you should read it too (http://www.our-kids.org/Archives/Holland.html) before going any further. One mom’s perspective on finding out she had a special needs child may change your way of thinking too. You really need to read it.

And while many of us will spend hours deciding which school will garner our money and support, Laura is simply relieved that Peyton has found a school for the next three months or so. It’s a special place that deals in the treatment of Autism so that they can learn why some of his beahaviors have gotten out of control. He has been there for about a month now. One of Laura’s recent posts said that Peyton is enjoying it and spends a lot of time outdoors (which he loves). I know that makes Laura smile. Oh, and did I tell you that the school is only three hours away? You see, my heart doesn’t break for Laura because her son has Autism. My heart hurts for her because she has to be away from him. I don’t know how I would handle that.

So I think Laura deserves a Beautiful Thursday!

She didn’t ask for it, nor does she have any idea what I am writing. I am not trying to elevate her above other mothers who do or don’t have special needs children. I simply have the power within me to encourage someone and I am going to do just that…as loudly as I can.

When I think of what makes Laura beautiful, strong words come to mind.

  • STAMINA
  • PERSERVERANCE
  • PATIENCE

I think she shows the kind of attributes that leave soccer moms, caught up in trunk shows and after school activities, in the dust!

My hope is that we as moms, dads, well-meaning neighbors, good friends, grandparents…will learn from all the Laura’s out there. I am inspired as she fights for her son but I know she gets overwhelmed. Could I do something for her? I was happy for her when she posted that she would see her son for an afternoon recently. But did you know that parents of ASD children have medical expenses five times greater than you or I? Could I do something for her, even if  all I can do is minimal?

Tomorrow when I see my kids off to school, change the sheets on the beds, write another blog, or plan for dinner, Laura will still be advocating for Peyton. No matter how much it costs, financially or physically, she will find a way to jump over the next hurdle. She won’t stop until she finds a way to give him a voice.

Don’t let this blog make you feel guilty. I do want you to feel so strongly for Laura, or the mom down the street, or the dad who works in your office, that you get out of your comfort zone to make a difference today. No, I can’t cure Autism but I can send flowers to Laura. Or support her in the next Autism walk. Or send her a gift card so she can do something for herself. How about a one-dollar-and-fifty-nine-cent card that just may brighten her day?! What a difference you and I could make for all the Lauras out there!

So, I have a favor.

Today, I want you to think only of Laura. Not me for writing about Laura or talking about ASD. Instead, say a prayer for Laura and her journey. Then will you go as far as to leave a comment on my blog for her (I have this feeling she will be reading)!

Maybe you could find this blog on FaceBook and leave a kind word for her there. Something to bring a bit of sunshine to her today. Remind her that her efforts are not in vain. That she is a courageous woman. A strong woman. A beautiful woman.

Because Laura’s fight will ever end. Maybe if she has a rough day, she will come back here and scroll through the comments to see the love and support she has from people she doesn’t even know.

Will you cheer on this beautiful mom today?

Please let it begin with Laura. There are so many men and women out there who could use your encouragement and concern. Start with this: “You are beautiful. What can I do for you today?”

I love you for reading today. You, my friend, are beautiful!

 

Peyton

Walking for Peyton's Pride

Laura and Peyton

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35 Comments

  1. Donna on the May 3, 2012 remarked #

    Laura, you ARE beautiful and the epitome of “Mom”. What we won’t all do for our children but you do so much more!!! My daughter is majoring in special ed, specifically to teach autistic children, she is so drawn to them. I pray that Peyton has teachers that love him for who he is and helps him to be the man God wants him to be. Have a beautiful Thursday!!! Thank you Kimberlee for introducing us to Laura.

    • Kimberlee Stone on the May 3, 2012 remarked #

      Donna, my first comment for Laura. Thank you sooooooo much. What a calling is on your daughter’s life. I pray she touches many families along her journey. As for Laura, I’m glad you can know her now. Peyton is the luckiest boy ever to have her and his Dad in his life. What a plan God has for them all. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading and posting!

  2. Patty on the May 3, 2012 remarked #

    What a beautiful blog post, Kimberlee! I will certainly keep Laura and her precious family, especially Peyton, in my prayers. I hope and pray they feel God’s love in ALL things as they face each day. Blessings!

    • Kimberlee Stone on the May 3, 2012 remarked #

      Thanks, Patty! I know they’d appreciate all the love and prayers they can get. Peyton is a special boy and I know they will be glad to have him home soon!

  3. Emily Ann Selden on the May 3, 2012 remarked #

    Laura, you are a courageous and extraordinary lady. How you can deal with such circumstances with such grace, is a testimony to your strength. My prayers are up for you with the faraway school situation and having the extra burdens you are facing.

  4. Cindy Cullison on the May 3, 2012 remarked #

    I have been a special needs teacher for 35+ years and have had the privilege of working with many autistic children. While several have had aides nearby to assist, many have not. In all that time, I have NEVER had any of the other students in class (mixture of special ed. and regular classroom students) complain or leave out a child with autism. They are accepted and loved just as everyone else. The students know that children with autism have sensory overload because they have been educated. This is my prayer for Laura, Peyton, and everyone else involved with autism ~ become educated. These children are not misbehaving or being disrespectful even though their behavior may show otherwise. They are simply trying to cope the best way they know how. Don’t judge a book by it’s cover. Read it and find out the wisdom and joy inside.

    • Kimberlee Stone on the May 3, 2012 remarked #

      Cindy, those are some powerful words. Your calling is for such a high purpose and I know you know that but I can’t imagine the families you have touched over the years with your passion and kindness. You’re right; education is key. I found out so much about Autism just by googling it and I am glad I did. Welcome To Holland really opened my eyes. I wish every parent could get the support and help they need without having to jump through so many hoops and heartaches. But God is good. And His faithfulness and strength will get parents and kids through the hard times. Thanks, as always, for sharing. I love you!

  5. Phyllis on the May 3, 2012 remarked #

    Laura, as a mother of three grown sons and having just gone through a life changing event with one, I just want to encourage you to remember that God is faithful. He is faithful in ALL things and has the power to use ALL things for good for those who love him. He continues to reveal to me each day another dimension of his great love. He hears the prayers of his children and is so worthy to be praised! I will be praying for you and your precious family and will be thanking him for his faithfulness to you.

    • Kimberlee Stone on the May 3, 2012 remarked #

      Phyllis, those are beautiful words. He is faithful, we can’t always understand His ways, but in the end we will know what these world’s trials were in vain. You are a wonderful person and I thank you for taking the time to pass it on.

  6. Regi on the May 3, 2012 remarked #

    Laura, know that you and your family are being covered in prayer today. We pray for strength and wisdom as you walk your journey.

  7. Jesse Sterns on the May 3, 2012 remarked #

    Laura, stand strong and know that you are not alone…thank you for your courage and for your willingness to go the extra mile for your son!
    You are an inspiration and I applaud you!

  8. Maria Robertson on the May 3, 2012 remarked #

    May the Lord almighty walk with you today and carry your load. You are precious in His sight and He wants to provide strength in your time of need. I pray for you today Laura. I have a grandson with Autism, so I understand your walk. God be with you beautiful lady.

    • Kimberlee Stone on the May 3, 2012 remarked #

      Thanks, Maria. You know, sometimes just hearing that someone is going through what we’re going through is a great encouragement. I send big blessings your way today too. Hug your grandson extra tight; I know he is one special guy.

  9. Samantha Acevedo on the May 3, 2012 remarked #

    Dear Laura,
    I am not sure where to start but may I just say, you are such a beautiful STRONG mother to your precious son. While reading this blog that Kimberly written about you and your sons strong fight for each other, all I could think of was I hope I one day will have the same strength like you. I have four children, all boys, all active, and all special in their own little ways. Much like your fight to be a voice for your son, I similarly have been fighting for my youngest son Jonas who is three years old. Since he was a young baby, I always had a strong lingering sense that my child was not hitting the usual milestones that most babies go through. After lots of exams and test, one of which scared us with a possible brain tumor, we found out that he had a cranial dysfunction that required him to wear a therapeutic “football” type helmet to reshape the skull. While the treatment was successful, I still had this strong feeling that my child needed help. Still struggling to have my son tested and being put on an ever long wait list to be checked for autism spectrum disorder, I have a great deal of admiration for you and your son. I’ve always said that being a Mom is by far the hardest although yet the most rewarding job on this earth but when our children need us and there is nothing much we can do for them, well as all mom’s would know, it literally kills us inside. Thank you Laura for being a light of hope for my son & me, even if you never actually known you were. As I go through the fight and struggle of getting the proper treatment for my son, I will always think of all the others mom’s like you and remember everyone in my prayers everyday as we try to be a voice for our children who don’t have one. God Bless you Laura & your beautiful family.
    Sam

    • Kimberlee Stone on the May 3, 2012 remarked #

      Wow, Sam. Sooo beautifully written. I know Laura’s heart is touched, as is mine. I will pray for you in your situation to find whatever it is that Jonas needs to be a strong and healthy boy. No matter what our struggles are as moms, when our children are affected, our hearts literally ache. We all know that feeling to some degree. I pray for you and your family as you come to learn what Jonas is facing. No matter what, and I know you know this, but I’ll say it again. God has put him into your life for a purpose and for great reason. His ways are so far greater than our ways; we simply have to trust Him to work ALL things for good.

  10. Auntie JJ on the May 3, 2012 remarked #

    Laura, what a beautiful Thursday!! I am thinking of you and what you face, I work with 2 women who face what you do, and now I know more of the story!! I am Kim’s fav aunt and am saying a prayer for you today…..Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. 2 Thess 3:16

    • Kimberlee Stone on the May 3, 2012 remarked #

      Spoken in only the way a true favorite aunt could. Your prayers for me are treasured, and I know will be treasured by Laura. Coming from you (a survivor) will mean so much to her today. She will make it through this and her testimony is going to be even stronger! Love you Auntie JJ!!

  11. Sharon Airall on the May 3, 2012 remarked #

    For nearly 25 years I taught Special Education in the public school systems. In that time I have loved many children (and their parents) with ASD. As an educater my hands were often tied and my voice unheard. Parents are the only ones who can truly make a difference. They are relentless in their efforts to bring about change in public awareness, and policies. You will continue to be in my prayers as you continue your journey through the laberynth that is Autism.

    • Kimberlee Stone on the May 3, 2012 remarked #

      Isn’t that the truth, Sharon, with any disability kids face in the public school system. We have to be dedicated to fight for our children, other wise, no one will. I don’t think I realized you taught SE in public school. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you were a bright light to those kids with your kind spirit and smile! I’m learning that Autism is so complex and puzzling. I pray one day a door is opened so that no one is affected by ASD. Thanks for sharing, Hunny Bunny! ;)

  12. Steve Abernathy on the May 3, 2012 remarked #

    Kimberlee,
    Thank you so much for recognizing my daughter, Laura. She is everything you have written and more. Her dedication and love for little Peyton and Sawyer is unmatched. We are all praying that Peyton’s School in Knoxville can help him communicate with us so we can understand what he wants and needs. Thanks again for letting everyone know how special Laura is.

    Steve Abernathy

    • Kimberlee Stone on the May 3, 2012 remarked #

      Steve, I am honored that I could write just a little bit about your daughter. I know it doesn’t cover what you could say about her but I am so thrilled that she can be reminded how many love and support her, Scott, Peyton and Sawyer. I would never pretend that a few words could begin to understand what she has faced or will, but I do hope it helps. Clearly, she gets her strength from her proud father! :) Thanks for reading and commenting.

  13. Karri Misky on the May 3, 2012 remarked #

    Praying for you and your family. Never believe what the professionals say are your limits. God is your limit and through Him, He can do all things. Stay strong and know you are NOT alone. God Bless You!!!

  14. Jim Huddart on the May 3, 2012 remarked #

    Laura,

    The movie titled “Courageous” is a fantastic and touching movie about being men of courage. I highly recommend it to all men. You, on the other hand, are a living, real life example of courage that we all (men and women alike) can learn from. Thank you! You and your entire family will be in my prayers! May extra special blessings from God be showered on you.

    • Kimberlee Stone on the May 3, 2012 remarked #

      Thanks, Jim. I know Laura will appreciate your kind words. On another note, I have the movie Courageous…still sitting in the box unopened and unwatched. I need to watch that soon! Thanks for reading!

  15. Dawn Young on the May 3, 2012 remarked #

    Praying for you and your family…I know from experience all that you have faced and I know you must be strong and have pure faith in our Father. I have been a fighter for my son, who is 11 1/2 and was just diagnosed last year with Asperger’s. It took me almost 6 years to finally get some answers, help and a diagnosis. Now that I know, it is easier to help my son, especially when dealing with schools. I couldn’t have made it without support from my family and meeting other moms along the way and knowing that others were praying and knowing that God was in control. Blessings!

    • Kimberlee Stone on the May 3, 2012 remarked #

      Dawn, it hardly seems fair or right that you would have had to wait six years for some answers. However, thank God you have some answers now. You are fortunate to have such a strong support system; I wonder how many parents fight their battles alone? Thanks for posting here. I know Laura will appreciate you!

  16. Kristi Tiller on the May 3, 2012 remarked #

    I have been a substitute for a couple of years and was actually in Peyton’s previous classroom a few times. He is an extra-special kiddo who has a precious and devoted Mom. Praying for your family, Laura– for your strength and peace– and also for Peyton’s little mind and heart to be nurtured in magnificent ways at his new school! Even when you feel you are at your weakest, may He show you that you are a hero!

    • Kimberlee Stone on the May 3, 2012 remarked #

      Kristi, you always have an endearing way with words…thanks for sharing about Peyton as well. I hope he feels how many people he has blessed as well. I’m glad his whole family is getting some extra love and attention today and in the days ahead. Hero…what a perfect word!!

  17. Mommakisses on the May 3, 2012 remarked #

    Laura and Kim, Beautiful Thursday always gets me!!! Laura, I can only say I have watched other friends fright this fight. I know their struggle has been hard fought. I am so touched by the will it takes to look people in the eye and tell them they are wrong in their lack of understanding. Your son is stronger because he sees you take up the fight. He is stronger because he knows how you think about him. That you love him. That makes all the difference in his life. Thank you for standing strong, loving fierce, and giving the best Momma kisses a boy could ask for. Mothers like you give mothers like me a standard to live by. Blessings!

    • Kimberlee Stone on the May 4, 2012 remarked #

      As always, brilliantly and kindly spoken by a wonderful example of a mother. Thanks Beth!!

  18. Sharon Austin on the May 5, 2012 remarked #

    Laura, what a beautiful woman you are. You are a Godly mother that loves her boys and makes great sacrifices each and every day. It is an honor to pray for you and my prayer is that Peyton is getting the care he needs and that you continue to be his advocate, strong and courageous. God bless your family.

  19. Laura Crain on the May 6, 2012 remarked #

    So, I just wanted to thank Kim and all of you who have left such kind and encouraging comments. It has been a very rough few months, but I have been so supported by my family, and friends like Kim who have taken the time to let me know that they care. Please keep Peyton in your prayers.

    Thanks again!!

    • Kimberlee Stone on the May 6, 2012 remarked #

      Laura, I hope that in the days to come, and if you need anything, you call on us so that we can continue supporting you, Peyton and your whole family.

  20. Cindy on the May 6, 2012 remarked #

    Laura, your family has been uppermost on my mind ever since Kimberlee wrote this blog. My heart aches for you but know that Peyton is in the best home with the most love and caring a child could ever want or need. I’m sure you have had many ideas given to you about communication but I wanted to share a few I’ve seen great success with. Ipods and Ipads are wonderful and most kids get the hang of it immediately. There are pictures that they can point to let others know how they feel. Pictures plastered everywhere and on everything naming the objects in your home, car, etc.! Point to the picture and have him repeat or point to the best of his ability. Visual schedules with pictures, sign language, 1-to-1 conversations where you hold his head lightly and have him look at you-even if it’s only for a few seconds. Parent support groups are a must. There is probably nothing new here but I felt the need to share. God has blessed both you and Peyton and has a great ministry for you all. God bless you.

    • Kimberlee Stone on the May 7, 2012 remarked #

      Thanks, Cindy! Clearly you know where you’re coming from since you’ve taught in this area for many years. I appreciate you continuing the communication! Have a great day!! xo

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