Not speaking well…

I’ve long been worried about Royce’s speech – or lack, thereof.  He’s an intelligent boy – he can take most things apart and put them back together like no one his age should be able to muster, but if you put him in a room with a group of kids his age, it’s clear, he doesn’t sound the same.

The first day I picked Royce up, he didn’t have many words to say – even though his emotions and non-verbal communications were clear to me.  Other children asked me about a million questions about the wrist brace I wore, “Why do you have that?” and weren’t satisfied with a pat answer, “Well what does it do?” they continued to ask, in a conversational tone I am just not used to at my house.

While I know Royce is smart – very smart – I know his verbal skills need help.  We had a check-up today, in which a doctor was FINALLY willing to admit he needs help, and recommend us a place to go.  I’m hopeful this screening gives us answers as to what is going on in his brain, and how we can best help him communicate with us and with others.  I look forward to the journey, even if it’s not a “traditional,” or “Normal” road.  Royce is a beautiful soul with many gifts and I look forward to helping him excel!

I was discouraged to hear that the doctor also thought my two-year-old, Arthur, is also behind in speech.  Comparatively, Arthur has many more words than Royce did at his age, and I wasn’t even worried about it.  Now, I wonder if I’ve been missing something, some warning sign – and it feels terrible.

It’s hard to be a parent.  There’s the agony and pain of pregnancy and childbirth, the sleepless nights of infancy, the mess and craziness of toddler years, and now, for us anyways, the pain of cognitive development not matching the “national standards”.  I’m hopeful our boys won’t spend too much time struggling, and we can help them thrive.  I’m hopeful I can focus on the beauty and joy both boys bring to our lives, rather than the struggles I  know most parents go through.

One thing I know for certain is I love them and I will do whatever I can to make sure they have happy and fulfilling lives.  They are beautiful children, created by God in his image, and I’m grateful for the gift they are in my life!

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Where did Stef go?

It’s been quite some time since I posted last – those who know me personally know why!  Since my last post, my younger sister was married, my family and I packed up and moved to Colorado, and I started my internship at a wonderful church in Denver.

It was a tough transition – not the sister getting married part – I knew Charles was “the one” for Tracie since before I met him – the move to Denver is what I’m referring to.  Transition has always been tough for me, and it started in elementary school.  We moved to a new town for an awesome job opportunity for my dad, and it took me years to be fully adjusted.  I never felt like I fit at the new school, and though I had a few friends, my first few years there were spent being chanted at about what a dog I was, how dorky I was, you name it.  I’ve used the word tortured to describe some of the experience, a word which some have jumped upon.  I was nine when we moved, and this place wasn’t the kind of place that was used to new faces and new, loudmouthed young women.  It made an impression on me – change is bad, and somehow, my personality is offensive.  It’s a couple of damaging messages that I’ve spent years trying to overcome.  I’ll let you know when I’m done…:)

Anyways, I spent the first week at home with some family members that helped us move in.  I was grateful for the support but really feeling poorly about the separation from a life and a home I knew and loved.  The move from my college town to the Twin Cities was easy – I knew the place, I had my friends and family there, and I’d always felt like it was home.  Denver was different.  I didn’t know anything about anything, and though I have family and a few friends that just moved here, I felt incredibly lonely and forlorn.

Luckily for me, the church I’m interning at is large, busy, and filled with wonderful people who are very supportive.  This place KNOWS how to do an internship – they know how to welcome and support, and I’m grateful to have this crowd with me!  However, this place is also going through some major transitions – in the past six months, they’ve had several retirements as well as pastoral staff taking new calls – we currently have an interim pastor, and our associate will be gone in exactly one month from today.  It’s tough on them, and it’s tough on me.  I started with one supervisor, found out after I got the news I was going to Bethany I’d get a different supervisor, and a month in have news that I’ll have yet another supervisor.  This new one is the interim, and he’s promised that I’ll have a new supervisor again, since he hopes we have the permanent senior pastor starting sooner rather than later.  Talk about transition for a girl who struggles with it!  ACK!

I feel fairly confident God has a plan in what is being laid before me – and I know I will learn and grow through out it all.  I know this congregation is prepared to care for my learning, and I will be supported as these transitions take place. This system is set up in such a way that one person does not carry it through – there is a team of staff, ministers and lay leaders that are capable and I have high hope for what the future holds for this congregation.