If you had asked me if I’d ever write a children’s book one day, the answer probably would have been a confident “No”. But God sure does have a sense of humor, doesn’t He?
In early October I arrived home from an out-of-town creative conference I was blessed with the opportunity to attend. With my husband on a work trip of his own, I headed to my in-laws’, to pick up my three children.
The moment I swung open their screen door and saw my oldest little’s face, I knew something was wrong. Avery was nearly green. I sighed and asked what he had eaten that day, and he rattled off a list of greasy, sugary foods. “My stomach hurts,” he moaned.
“Let’s go home and get to bed,” I said, hoping a Tums and a good night’s sleep would do the trick. But the next morning when he got up, so did the pizza, the pastries, and the candies he’d devoured the day before. Gross.
As I finished preparing school lunches for the non-pukers, I overheard my middle child questioning his brother loudly. “Why do you always throw up after we go to Nana’s? I eat junk food there, too, and I don’t throw up,” he added with a tinge of belittlement.
By then I’d reached the bedroom door and found myself blurting out, “Because Avery is more sensitive than you. His stomach is more sensitive than yours. His eyes are more sensitive than yours; his ears, his taste, his feelings… they’re all more sensitive.” I carried on with my explanation in a sort of out-of-body parenting experience, where I wondered where the words were coming from.
When my son was five, he was diagnosed with sensory processing disorder (you can read more about that experience here). Since then it’s been a journey of learning to understand and appreciate his differences, and help others do the same.
I haven’t always got it right.
The road has been marked with melt-downs and hugs, screaming fights and apologies, tears and talks, victory and disappointment and yes—even sometimes puke.
During a phone call with my grandmother last year, I was bemoaning my frustrations with Avery and some school stuff going on. My sweet, wise grandmother is also a bit of a fireball. She stopped me dead in my complaints and informed me she was going to pray. Like right then.
I’ll never forget the words she told me that day, “Katie, I believe what the Holy Spirit is telling me is that what others see as Avery’s weakness, is actually his strength.”
Holy Spirit turned the table that day. Instead of focusing on his “problems”, I began to pray that God would show me his unique gifts and help me to encourage him to use his difference to make a difference.
And do you know what?
My son, who gets his feelings hurt easily, is the first to introduce himself to a new friend and invite them to play.
My son, who has been called a “busybody” because he hears everything, senses when I am having a stressful day and simply need a hug.
My son, who is the first to point out detail, creates the most endearing artwork for the fridge.
All because of his sensitivity.
On that rainy morning in October, in the doorway of my boys’ room, “Different by Design” was birthed. The story of a puppy, Tommy, and his family that is inspired by our own personal journey.
Our prayer is that it will inspire other children—especially those who are different by design—to know that they were created with a purpose that is just as unique as they are.
For those of you who have been following this journey, it is my pleasure to announced that “Different by Design” is finally available for pre-sale! All of the playful, detailed illustrations were drawn by Avery. The finished product is a premium paperback with glossy pages that will hold up to years of wear and tear.
You can grab a copy for the special child in your life by clicking “Different by Design” on the menu above. All pre-orders made before February 1st will be shipped / available for pick-up by mid-February.
Thank you for your support--you are different by design!
A special thank you to Heather, Anne, Jess and Tanya who have
helped shaped not only this book, but me as a writer.
A little about me...
Hi, I'm Katie!
Wife to Craig, mom of three, author, writer, Jesus-follower, Bible teacher, and coffee enthusiast.
Follow me as I follow Christ and share my heart throughout the journey.
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