About Shawna

I am so glad you are here at Not The Former Things.

This blog is about motherhood and special needs. It’s about being a wife, and being a follower of Jesus. It is about all the crazy messiness that life brings, and the joy found in every day moments.

It’s about how I can really mess things up, and how in my failures, I learn more and more about grace.

Somehow, there is nothing better than hearing another parent whisper, “Me too.”

So, me too. You are not alone. Not even a little.


Not The Former Things has had the honor of being featured on:


The Huffington Post

The Mighty

Autism Speaks

… and many other wonderful sites.

I have published two books and am working on a third. All of them are about the day-to-day realities and the heart behind mothering two boys with special needs. 

Special Education at Home (2)




My story is very much like so many of yours. I was not raised in a Christian home. I made terrible, hurtful, painful choices throughout most of my adult life – and God saved me anyway. It still seems so unbelievably crazy.

I am happily remarried to a genuine guy, the kind only God could bring to marry a “girl like me.”

my hero

I am also now a homeschooling, stay at home mom to two boys. My eldest son has autism and generalized anxiety disorder. He also recently received a  Sjogrens Syndrome diagnosis and a Pediatric Systemic Lupus diagnosis – we are still working to understand and help him live well through these chronic illnesses. He is wicked smart. He is delightfully funny.

He is fearfully and wonderfully made.

My youngest has significant learning disabilities, ADHD, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder and was diagnosed at age ten with bipolar disorder. He loves animals. He is clever and outdoorsy.

He is fearfully and wonderfully made.


Please let me be perfectly clear – I am not expert. I am just another mom, trying to figure out how to best help my children, and live well in the mess.

I fail all the time, y’all. All. The. Time.

I am a private person. I have social anxiety. I only like talking to people who I already know and that already know me. I have two delightful, terrifyingly different children that require so much attention and energy. I have a complicated marriage to a man I really, really want to serve well. There are so many reasons not to do this.

Yet, at the end of the day, I know it’s matters that we share. I know it’s important to encourage each other through all of this. Somehow, there is nothing better than hearing another parent whisper, “Me too.”

So, me too. You are not alone. Not even a little.

Please join me as I share all the sweet, and sometimes ugly, things that make up this precious, redeemed life.

With love,



15 thoughts on “About Shawna

  1. Shawna, I loved it! My husband is on staff at our church and he leads a group of volunteer called Shadows, who are trained to sit beside each of our special needs children and help them navigate Sunday school and children’s worship at their level. They are also trained to take their special friend to a quiet spot also and interact in quiet activities if that is needed. It is a amazing ministry and our volunteers love, love, love their ministry. Parents get the opportunity to study Gods word with peers and worship. Just wanted to pass this model along…thanks for sharing your journey!

  2. I am in tears after reading this. We are struggling at church with our 4 year old who suffers from SPD and PDD. They said he is a bit of a mystery. He exhibits many symptoms of autism or Aspergers except he doesn’t have any problems with being social so they just gave him the diagnosis of PDD. No one ever understands the PDD or SPD and many people think he is just out of control or just needs more discipline. We get bad reports every Sunday and it’s very very frustrating. Even I can’t do a lot with him at church when I’ve tried attending preschool worship with him, he’s rocking, spinning, rolling, inappropriately laughing, making odd noises. He’s the sweetest kid, he loves people, but once worship or Sunday school starts, a whole different side of him comes out. I get frustrated myself so I know the teachers must get frustrated as well. He never wants to go to church anymore because he spends most of his time in time out. I just dont know what to do anymore. If any one

    1. I didn’t get to finish that. :/ If any one has suggestions I am more than willing to listen and give them a try. I’m at my wits end.

  3. I’m really enjoying your blog. I also have social anxiety and find blogging helps me connect without feeling overwhelmed. I’m contemplating homeschooling our little ones. I’d love to know your experience with it, if you’re in the mood to share. 🙂

    1. Welcome! I am so glad you are here. I have written a few posts about homeschooling. Overall, I will say it has been the best thing for all of us. It takes a while to settle in, but once we did, it changed the boys’ approach to learning and helped calm down so many of their “issues”. I will post a few links here for you and highly recommend you take a look at the Resources Tab for recommendations as well.
      Thank you for your comment.

  4. I found you because someone on my fb autism support group posted one of your blog posts. What a t blessing today, when I really needed to read what would be my words if I bothered to blog. 😉 I completely relate to what you’re writing. Re: this “about” post, just have to say, your comment about God using a fallen woman made me shake my head. A friend of mine made a quilt with the names of the women in Jesus’ genealogy. The ones mentioned are Rahab, Bathsheba, Ruth… the ones who would never have been chosen by the world… the “fallen” and redeemed. It’s always been God’s way, to take the things that are not, and say yes to them!

  5. Hi Shawna,
    Just heard your podcast on Ed Snapshots and wanted to stop by. Our children have many of the same acronyms so I really enjoyed your talk :). Looking forward to reading more on your blog. I have had the book, “The Spark” on my Amazon wish list for a year now so I think it’s ready to move to the cart after your suggesting it! Love your story.

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