She Calls Me ‘Kiss’

She Calls Me ‘Kiss’

She Calls Me ‘Kiss’

When I look at Elizabeth,
What I hope to see
Is the sweet child that hides behind
The eyes that gaze at me.

When I look at Elizabeth,
What I would love to see
Is the girl who’s chosen a nickname
Which means so much to me.

Elizabeth is slowly learning
The importance of our names,
And how she can refer to us
In both times of sun and rain.

The name she uses just for me
Is a sweet name I’ll never miss –
My little two-year-old sister
Is the one who calls me ‘Kiss.’


I suppose it’ll be a while yet
Before I understand her mind,
But in the months that follow here,
I simply desire to be kind.

Being a big sister to a child like Elizabeth comes with a dozen daily struggles.

I am challenged every day to care for her in the right, loving, godly way, and more often than not, my efforts fall short. I think that’s because for most of this time, I’ve been relying on my own strength to get through each day … instead of allowing the Lord to love her through me.

Recently, I’ve been adhering to the belief that it will always be this way, that she’ll struggle with her emotions and understanding of the world for years to come. When I stop to watch her, however, I see improvement every day. If I don’t focus on her setbacks, I see the beautiful progress she’s making. When I trust that the Lord is working in her heart, I don’t fall into despair … I give her room to grow.

I’m praying that the Lord will continue to work in my heart, that He will teach me how to love her constantly. I don’t want to only be happy with her and enjoy her presence when she’s having a good day. I desire to care for her in the moments when she doesn’t understand, when she’s trying to understand … because the thing about autism is that she’s not giving me a hard time; she’s having a hard time. That’s a quote I read recently that really spoke to me, because I have to remember that when Elizabeth’s upset about something, she isn’t deliberately throwing a fit, or trying to ruin our day … she’s in just as much pain as we are, if not more.

Living with two autistic siblings has taught me so much more than I would have realized. It’s teaching me how to truly love someone, and how to care for them as the Lord does. It takes a special deepness of love – strength that only the Lord has! – to unconditionally adore people who are different, who have bigger struggles.

I’m praying that I won’t take this time of learning for granted, that I won’t wish it away … I’m praying that I’ll embrace it from here on out.

The inspiration for this poem and post is based on the fact that Elizabeth calls me ‘Kiss.’ She has confused my name with my mom’s occasional encouragement to her to give me a kiss on the cheek, which is both weird and absolutely adorable. The fact that she refers to me by how we show affection to each other honestly touches my heart. It’s the little blessings like this that make life worth living.

The Truth About Autism

The Truth About Autism

My younger brother, Joshua (14), and my little sister, Elizabeth (2), both have forms of autism.

Joshua has Asperger’s Syndrome. On the spectrum, he has what’s considered “high functioning” autism spectrum disorder (ASD), which means that some of what he does is like the average person, but several of his personality traits are different and enhanced.

Elizabeth has a stronger form of autism. Her behavior, mental processes, functionality, emotions – all of these things are affected by the way her brain works.

I have met different people who have said something about my siblings’ autism that has really rubbed me the wrong way.

While talking about Joshua’s high functioning autism, the only way these people knew how to respond was by saying, “But he [Joshua] is so smart.”

Autism, just like many other disorders, is tainted by common misconceptions.

By pointing out how smart Joshua is (which he is, by the way), that’s saying that he can’t have Asperger’s since he is intelligent.

Autism, in its many shapes and forms, affects how individuals learn things and see the world. It does not mean that they’re naïve, dumb, stupid, or any other unkind word that’s often silently associated with disorders.

By denoting that ASD is “not normal,” we’re saying that we’re right and they’re wrong.

The truth is, the average person tends to be balanced in their abilities – their strengths and weaknesses. In contrast, the autistic person experiences much less balance in their life. Their responses to things can be unpredictable and often intense. As well as this, they excel in areas of thinking and performing that the average person couldn’t ever dream of achieving.

Isn’t that a beautiful thing?

There are people in this world who are wired differently than the masses.

These are the people who have found ways of inventing things and fixing problems that we never would have thought possible of accomplishing!

Elizabeth is the most unique, quirky toddler I’ve ever met. Her transition into toddlerhood was a rocky one, to be sure, but she has so many bright and fun moments, it more than makes up for the hardships she faces. Our family adores watching her, and we’re all excited with each and every bit of progress she makes. She’s making large strides in her understanding of language and communication, as well as how the world works. This sweet little girl is in my prayers often, because I want her to grow up in a family who’s willing to learn about how her brain processes things so that we can effectively teach and help her.

When I think of autism spectrum disorder now, I no longer stereotype it. I can see that their are huge differences in every autistic individual, and I certainly don’t see it as a handicap anymore.

Every autistic person deserves to be treated with love, kindness, and understanding – just like every person on this planet does.

For this post, Joshua has graciously agreed to answer nine questions I’ve asked him on this topic. I’m very happy to provide an inside look on how a high-functioning autistic person sees autism. Thanks again, Joshua!

My Interview With Joshua On Autism

1. Do you see Asperger’s syndrome as a disorder? Why or why not?

I don’t see it as a disorder. It just shows I’m unique in certain ways.

2. What are the pros of Asperger’s for you?

If I’m interested in something, I’m really good at it. I can take a lot of stimulation.

3. What are the cons?

I forget things easily – like names, [and] if someone asks me to do something, I’m not actually focused on what they’re saying. If I don’t like something, I really don’t like it.

4. Mom mentioned that when you were younger, you stuck to a strict routine (with food and daily habits), but now you are much more adventurous. Why do you think you’ve made that change?

I’m able to enjoy life more by being dangerous and exploring things – for example, getting about six feet of air off a bike ramp. Being a daredevil’s a lot of fun.

5. Our family knows how optimistic you are. How are you able to keep such a positive outlook on life?

Because being negative doesn’t bring me up at all, so I’ve just stuck to a positive aspect …. All in all, just being positive, it gets rid of negativity. If you’re negative, it isn’t gonna help you. If you’re positive, it will help you.

6. What do you want others to know about autism?

  • Don’t judge someone because of them being autistic. Some people can have slight stages [forms] of autism, and others have stronger ones.
  • Don’t stare.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask [an autistic child’s] guardian about their child so you can learn more about autism.

7. How do you want other people to look at Elizabeth?

Just respect her and don’t make fun of her.

8. Thank you for letting me interview you. Is there anything else you’d like to add?

My autism is actually very helpful, and not much negative, which is nice. Autism is just the way somebody looks at life – it’s not crippling, it’s not a disease … it can affect some people more than others.

In conclusion, I am very passionate about protecting my sweet siblings. I’d love to educate people and allow them to learn more about autism specifically, because these special kinds of people don’t deserve the wrong, awful stereotypes that are associated with them.

If you met Joshua, you’d see a boy who’s passionate and talkative about what he’s interested in. You’d see a guy who cares about people way more than the average boy his age. You wouldn’t see Asperger’s syndrome unless you knew he had it before you met him.

If you met Elizabeth, you’d see a toddler who’s insanely curious about the world around her. You’d see a child who lights up when she’s able to communicate what she’s feeling and needing, and you’d see a girl who adores animals and being creative. You wouldn’t see autism unless you were aware of her having it.

Just like all of us, people with autism have good days and bad days. Learning to help my little brother and sister through both kinds of days is causing me to grow as a person, in ways I never would have imagined possible. I am beyond grateful for the Lord’s hand in all of this … I know He has beautiful plans for all of us.

My Outreach Ministry

My Outreach Ministry

“God will not give you a talent and then fail to give you opportunities for discovering, using, developing, practicing, and perfecting it.” – Dr. Charles Stanley

I’ve been wondering, for quite a while, how the Lord would use what He’s given me to glorify Him.

My relationship with Him began about seven years ago, although it honestly feels like I’ve always been walking with Him. I can’t remember much before I accepted Jesus as my Savior, and in the years after that important decision, I can look back and see His hand at work in every season of my life.

I couldn’t always acknowledge or see it at the time, but He has been present in both my highest moments and my lowest points.

I fully believe that He has given all of us special talents and abilities in an earthly sense, and He also blesses His children with spiritual gifts. What we’re able to do that most others can’t is absolutely a gift, whether that’s cooking masterfully, creating gorgeous paintings, understanding scientific calculations, and so on and so forth. When I tell a good joke and get everyone in the room laughing, or someone is blown away by how well I keep my living space organized, I’m never able to just pat myself on the back and take all the credit.

Outwardly, I accept the compliments and grin, appreciating the recognition, but inside? I’m giving the Lord all the praise.

Of course, there is the thing of fully utilizing what I’ve been given – that’s a choice, and I can be thankful that I’m living up to my full potential. But it’s also about being faithful with what He’s given me, and I have these talents, gifts, and special abilities so that I can impact the lives of others for His glory.

One of the biggest ways I’ve seen Him work through what He’s given me has been just in these past few weeks.

The Lord placed on my heart the desire to start something new – a project that would utilize my ability to be creative, stay organized, and inspire others, which is the perfect thing for me to be passionate about!

I began an outreach ministry at the little church I’m currently part of that has already encouraged so many people.

I have started creating little gift bags, which are full of encouragement and kind words. I encourage others to take one if they’re going through a rough season in their lives and could use a bit of love and inspiration. These bags also make great gifts – my pastor had suggested bringing them to people staying in the hospital, which I thought was a beautiful idea.

The featured image of this post showcases where I’ve organized all of the ministry supplies. It’s so pretty and girly!

What started as the desire to inspire others has turned into a full-on ministry, where I get to use three gifts and talents the Lord has given me! I had no idea this passion could grow so quickly – everyone I’ve talked to about it has been deeply encouraged by what I’m doing, which just confirms to me that the Lord’s hand is upon it.

The quote I shared at the beginning of this post made my heart absolutely sing.

For so long, I’ve believed, in the back of my mind, that if I wanted to accomplish things for the Lord, I’d have to find a way for all of it to work out. However, I’m now learning that bringing Him glory is by being faithful with what He’s given me – He will do the rest!

I have not had to put a fraction as much work into this ministry as I would have thought I’d have to. What started as making ten gift bags to bring to church became a project financially funded by others and blessed by the people who are dearest to my heart. I am still in awe as I watch all of the little details effortlessly work out.

This is most definitely something that the Lord is doing. I may have had the initial “idea,” and I may be doing most of the work involved behind-the-scenes, but He’s the One Who gave me the idea – I’m simply the one He used to present it and bring it to life.

Being entrusted something as beautiful and life-changing as this ministry has already blessed me tenfold. I absolutely believe that when you set out to bless and encourage others, you are blessed and encouraged in return.

What I’ve shared above is certainly not why I’m doing this ministry, but I still think it’s beautiful how helping others has been a blessing right back.

If you’re inspired by this ministry idea, please feel free to make it your own! I’m praying that this gift bag project won’t just stay in one church, but rather that it will grow into something that can bless a great many people.

Feel free to email me – I’d be happy to share how exactly I’m coordinating all of this, and we could figure out how you can start something similar!

Have a blessed day!

“Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.” – Matthew 5:14

The Quality Of Our Time

The Quality Of Our Time

Hi there! I hope you’re having a fantastic day. ❤ In this post, I will be sharing with you something that has been deeply on my heart lately. It was on a recent car ride home with my mom that a conversation came up that really inspired both of us. By the end of our chat, the way I view something very precious in my life was completely changed. Can you guess what the topic is?

Yes, the title states it clearly: TIME.

Continue reading “The Quality Of Our Time”

Eighteen Months of Dreaming of Guatemala

Eighteen Months of Dreaming of Guatemala

Hi there! I hope you’re having a beautiful day. ❤ This morning, I was thinking about what post I’d like to write and share today, and within moments, I knew in my heart that this was the one!

I love adding to post series I’ve been keeping up with for a while, and the last post I shared on this topic was last September, where I celebrated blogging / Guatemala-dreaming for eight months! (Check out that post here.) Today’s milestone is quite a bigger one, and I’m so grateful to be able to say that these combined passions are still very relevant in my life. Thank you so much for reading – I hope you enjoy!

Continue reading “Eighteen Months of Dreaming of Guatemala”

Emotional Bank Account

Hi there! Happy Saturday to you. ❤ A few days ago, I read a wonderful, inspiring post by a new blogger I just met, and I had to share it with you! I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did. ❤

Hey Guys! I’ve never heard of this term before until a couple of weeks ago while I was attending a professional development seminar, and it really stood out to me. If you’re like me, a newbie to this term don’t worry I’ll explain it all in a few. Just like a regular bank account, we […]

via Emotional Bank Account — ATBA