I Often Wonder……

Isaiah 44:3 New Living Translation (NLT) 3 For I will pour out water to quench your thirst and to irrigate your parched fields. And I will pour out my Spirit on your descendants, and my blessing on your children.

I often wonder if the answers will ever come. I often wonder what goes on in your mind that keeps certain things just out of your grasp and I often wonder what you see that makes you gaze off in the distance as if something has caught your attention that only you can see.

I wonder why music makes you happy, but instruments playing cause you to cover your ears and bury your head.

I wonder what happens when everything becomes too much and what is the one trigger that sends you into a meltdown. Is it something I can control or remove from your environment or is there any rhyme or reason as to why it happens at all?

I wonder why spinning around and around brings you the most amazing release and joy, but makes me swoon almost to the point of collapse.

I wonder what it was like at the beginning of your life when you couldn’t communicate, did you think we didn’t care? I hope not.

I wonder what it feels like in your head; do you hear everything in the same tone? Do you hear all the noises at once, because I know that processing information for people diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, many have a difficult time processing information or input you hear and you may need more time than most people to answer questions or respond appropriately.

I wonder what is happening within you when you run and jump and slam toys and objects into the floor; when you throw things without thought as to what can happen. Someone may be hurt or something may become broken, but all you seem to know is you have to throw it, you need to do it to make you feel better.

I wonder what happens when everything becomes too much, and you cry and whimper, because they are no words to describe or explain the overwhelming feelings you have and sometimes no amount of hugs or deep pressure helps you feel better, only crying yourself to sleep helps.

I wonder what happens to you and how your brain is affected when you have a seizure. Will those seizures change who you are? Will they affect your thinking processes? No one seems to have an answer.

I wonder why vacuums and ceiling fans are your obsession. I can’t begin to understand, but I know they are. I have heard this is normal for people with autism, just like when you line things up. You can be so rigid with that, but you love the chaos of toys strewn everywhere and it drives me crazy.

I wonder if you will ever understand the danger of running into the street or running toward water without one of us with you.

I wonder if you ever get tired of me asking you to repeat the same word you just said and if you understand I am only trying to help you communicate more clearly.

I wonder if you know who Jesus is. I wonder if you like going to church because you get to spend time with other children, your age and learn about Jesus, or if you just like getting out of the house and have some freedom.

I wonder why you bang your head, and even though it hurts, you do it again and again.

I wonder if you will ever to be able to read on your own. Or if you will always rely on pictures to understand.

I wonder if you will ever be able to live on your own, or if you will always need the support of family.

I wonder why you have night terrors. I wonder what causes them and why you must experience them because you already deal with so much and you are only four years old.

I wonder if you will ever be able to be outside without wearing a safety harness as we go shopping or to appointments. I wonder if you know we only do that so you can have a little bit of freedom, but we can keep you safe.

I wonder if you will ever take your Epilepsy and ADHD medications independently or if we will always have to hide them inside your liquids and foods. I wonder if you will always have to take medications to keep your brain from misfiring and your hyperactivity under some sort of control.

And while I wonder all of these things, there are many ways that you amaze me every single day.Tyson Vacuum image

I am amazed at how much your ability to communicate has improved over the last couple of years and how you work over and over to learn new sounds and words.

I am amazed that when you started preschool last year, you were considered nonverbal and only had 24 words under your belt, but by the end of the school year, you were speaking in 5 Word utterances.

I am amazed that you love with such a huge heart and tell me every day, without prompting, that you “wuv” me.

I am amazed that at times, you can sit still and remain calm, if even for five minutes. That’s a huge success.

I am amazed that if we show you pictures marked on a calendar you understand how many days you have to wait for something to happen.

I am amazed that you know how to use the potty when you want. It isn’t every day, but someday it will be.

I am amazed that you go to Speech Therapy every week and you improve on what you learned the week before. And this is part of our routine. Every week for two years.

I am amazed that you try to write the first two letters of your name but recognize all of them.

I am amazed that you know how to count from 1-10 on your own and are learning how to go onto 20.

I am amazed that you can recite the alphabet and can also recognize letters, even if they are not in any particular order.

I am amazed that you know what it means to put things in a sequence and you do it without error.

I am amazed that you love foods that are good for you. Tomatoes, cucumbers, strawberries, watermelon, bananas, apples, vegetables, yogurt and cottage cheese.

I am amazed that you can name almost every vacuum made by simply knowing how they look and are designed and how impressive it is when we are out in a store and you can point them out to me.

I am amazed that you like the taste of my coffee, once it has cooled off.

I am amazed that you never give up when you want something. You are almost relentless in asking for it, even when the answer is no.

I am amazed that you are willing to share your toys, even if you don’t want to.

I am amazed at how much you love animals and are not afraid of them. I shouldn’t be amazed by this, because your mom loves animals too.

I am amazed that you are always willing to try and you don’t give up easily.

I am amazed that when someone doesn’t want to do something, you gently remind them to try.

I am amazed that you can watch ceiling fans and fidget spinners spin for hours and you love this. Who knew something so simple could bring such joy?

I am truly blessed that you are in my life, Tyson. You have taught me many things. Some I have learned by trial and error; in many ways, I have a ways to go. But you never give up on me. You bring such joy to my life. I cannot imagine my life without you in it.

Every condition and disorder you have been diagnosed with, one would be more than enough for anyone to handle, but you deal with five. So no matter how many times, I want to cry and feel sorry for what you have been dealt, I look at how resilient you are and I know that because you live with these, I do too. I’ve learned to look at life just a little bit differently and realize that although these disabilities may afford you some extra help, that they do not mean you can’t. You just do things differently.

I love you; I love you more; I love you the most; I love you forever! This is what we say to each other before bedtime. He repeats much of what he hears but will say I love you too, on his own.

*I wrote this for our grandson, Tyson. He is four years old. Someday he may be able to read it or have it read to him, but I want him to know that although we never expected to have a Special Needs grandson living with us and being a part of our everyday life, challenging us to think outside the box of “normal parenting” if there is such a thing, that without a doubt, he has opened my eyes to the world around me. He has taught me so much in these last four years, more than I could have ever learned in a book.

I am thankful to our Heavenly Father that he felt he could entrust Tyson to our care, along with his mom. And I pray daily that we utilize every opportunity to help him learn and thrive in the world we live in.

May you know that Jesus loves you~right where you are right now and always.

Blessings, Carlene

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Broken Pieces

I’m trying hard to comprehend the need for Tyson to break and destroy objects that he comes in contact with. Is it because it’s the natural course in the life of a toddler? The curiosity of how things are made and assembled? Or simply the pure joy of seeing toys, priceless mementos of a lifetime ago break apart, or does his need for sensory input figure into the equation? love-1221444_640

I learned long ago as a younger parent to not ask the Lord for patience; inevitably that required walking out many trials involving the art of patience, only developed as you learn to maneuver the pitfalls and blessings of parenthood. In my 30’s, it seems I was more apt and skilled to tune out the chaos. As I’ve grown older and presumably wiser, my hope was I would be much more mellow than I am.

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Some things require ongoing instruction; He’s teaching me to live in the Peace only He can give. To seek wisdom and discernment in areas that although familiar to when our children were young; they never seemed to have this much high-strung energy that never stops!

And in the same instant that something has been quashed, there’s this ray of sunshine that gleams thru and says, “I wuv you.” And sees my sad frown turned upside down, leaps in my lap and hugs me tight.

I talk to him about the broken objects and try and explain why we don’t break things. Some days, he says,”sorry” other days there is no comprehension that a mistake was made.

And I forgive.

I think of the many times in my life, I have done or said something that grieved Jesus, and yet, He loves every broken piece of me and forgives all.

He doesn’t hold our sins over us but lovingly rebukes and corrects us and allows us to live under His mercy and grace.

At the end of my walk here on earth, I want to know that thru all the brokenness and struggles, I learned to love and forgive like Jesus. To overlook offenses and show mercy. To not be the one pointing the finger, but the one saying, things are just things. People matter more.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
John 14:27 NIV

May you know how much Jesus Loves You~right where you are in this moment.

Blessings~Carlene

 

 

 

Keeping Afloat in Franklin Lakes

Abuse of children, at any age, disabled or not is wrong. Period. I am sharing this because she is my friend. I know the post is credible and I believe in standing up for what’s right. There is absolutely no excuse for the behavior of the trusted adults in this mess. And what angers me the most, is when the victim is unable to speak or communicate.

The Autistic Momma

We are a blended family with 7 children. We have 5 autistic children, 1 child with other diagnoses and a 1 year old. We believe in a world where people with disabilities can succeed and have a full life. We believe in equality and what is right. These beliefs are being shattered by a school district.

Our story begins 3 years ago when our 6th child was born. The changes caused our then 7 year old autistic child to experience anxiety and frustration. He began biting his hands as a way to cope. We documented each bite and the school was aware. We implemented in home services and within 2 months the biting stopped. We thought this was the end of the story but we would later realize that it was only the beginning.

Fast forward 3 years, our 3 year old autistic son starts preschool in the same school…

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Remembering Daddy

My father went home to the Lord on September 18, 2015. It seems like only yesterday that I heard the words, he’s gone. I miss him every single day and think about him all the time. Wishing I could pick up the phone or turn on my Skype and talk to him. But I have to say that out of all the holidays, Father’s Day is one of the most difficult. Our family is in several states and getting together for any holiday is difficult, so missing him at Christmastime, isn’t the same as missing him on a day set aside to honor him.

 

Constantly being reminded by marketing ads that Father’s Day is near and seeing all types of retail products to entice people to purchase gifts for their dads have made it even more difficult this year.  I have a hole in my heart, that will always be there.  As  my father’s life on earth was ending, he was ready. He knew he was going home to Jesus and he was at peace about it. And our entire family misses him something awful, but we too have peace in our hearts, it’s grief that comes at you from nowhere and knocks you down. There is no timeline for grief. I think the reason it hurts our hearts so much is that when you love someone so much, it’s hard to redirect that love when the person is no longer with you.

I had the privilege of having my father for 50 years. He was my superhero. He didn’t need a cape. He was a man of integrity, put others needs always above his own and he was always ready to help anyone in need, even if that meant the last dollar in his pocket or, literally, the shirt off of his back. His rules were simple. Lead by example. Honor and respect your elders. Be kind. Always be honest. Love unconditionally. Do as your told. No backtalk. Pick up after yourself, do your chores. He wasn’t a complicated person, although from time to time he did make things complicated because it seemed like he always had to have the last word.

I think of the many ways that my father and I are alike and there is no doubt I am his daughter. I pray daily that I honor him in how I live and in how I not only value honesty but will not tolerate people being dishonest. I have no room for it and dislike when I hear people say “it’s just a little white lie”… A lie is just that. Big or small, doesn’t matter.

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Daddy and Tyson

He taught me about Jesus. He modeled a life of service to others. He taught me its ok to laugh and cry at life. Life isn’t fair, you do your best with what you have and you thank God for those blessings. He taught me parenting isn’t easy and you can’t be your child’s friend and parent all at the same time. He taught me that bias and prejudice create hate; love all. Let God deal with avenging.

He has always had my heart, loved me even when I wasn’t very loving and forgave much. We shared a special love of being there and helping others. That’s why its so sad that I have very few pictures of him and me together. I was usually behind the lens.

He lived his life his way and on his terms and he went out the same way.

Daddy, I miss you and love you so much, but  I know I will see you again.

Happy Fathers Day to all fathers!

 

But among you, it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Matthew 20:26‭-‬28 NLT

May you know how much Jesus loves you-right where you are in this moment! #HopeAlwayaHaveFaith

Blessings~Carlene

 

 

Forgiveness Heals

Forgiveness is the key to being free. Letting go of hurts and hang-ups is the beginning of healing in you.

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I grew up thinking everyone knew how to forgive because in our house that is how we lived every day.  My parents only spoke one way to each other and it was always with love.  It wasn’t until I was older that I realized how blessed I was.  My father is a stress management consultant and lives what he teaches.

When we hear the word FORGIVE our first thought is …there is no way I am going to forgive him/her because if I forgive them that means I think it’s ok and I DO NOT THINK THAT WHAT THEY DID WAS OK!!!

Forgiveness does not mean that we are ok with what happened it only allows others to be less than perfect; we are forgiving those who have done wrong to us it does not mean we are approving of what those people are doing.

I would like to share…

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Family Time

This past week, we loaded up our Yukon and drove 989 miles in searing heat with no air, except for the wind whipping around in the truck with our windows down. As humid and hot as it was, and all the perspiring going on, we should have melted the pounds away.

When you travel with a child that has special needs and an adult with respiratory problems, you feel like you’re packing the entire house for a weekly excursion. Loading the truck with suitcases, a medicine bag for several people, mobility devices and a bag of toys/books to keep everyone satisfied….checking lists off twice, it’is not as easy as it sounds. It takes almost an hour to load everything and then you pray you didn’t forget anything.

Our family, except for our daughter and fiancee, secured in our seatbelts and car seats made the normal 15-18 hour trip in 21 hours. Longest 21 hours of my life so far.

I love the state of Florida and someday when I’m old and gray, I hope we can call Florida home again. Ok, I’m old and I do have some gray strands peeking through, but Tyson is doing so well in Ohio and is all set up with his therapists and specialists that moving is very daunting. I’m not sure I could talk his mom into leaving her friends in Ohio and I know I couldn’t handle being too far away from him or our other grandchildren.

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Tyson loved the pool and we tried to go every day while there. At first, he was hesitant, but once in, getting him out was almost impossible. His Uncle Mike made it fun, taught him to close his eyes and hold his nose to go under the water. He loved jumping from the steps with his swim vest on and spinning in the water. This was a great way to expend his energy before our nightly dinners and almost always ensured he would drift off to dreamland.

When your only living parent lives almost a thousand miles away, you cherish the time you have and if you are even a little bit emotional like me, find it hard to say goodbye. I kept my tears inside and thought about how blessed I am to still have our mother here and so very thankful to have spent the 7 days with her. Great memories were made and all of her neighbors doted and loved on Ty. Providing him with toys to use while there and yummy snacks any toddler would love.

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We visited a great Thai rolled ice cream shop in downtown St. Petersburg called Ice Burg. We watched as they made the specialty treats. It was worth the drive downtown just to try it out! Very filling for low prices.

We ventured to a fenced in play area near Gulfport beach in Pinellas County and Ty was able to access a small beach area with sand and shells. For the past few months all he has talked about was going to the beach and building sand castles but as it turned out, that was the only beach he would visit. He didn’t want anymore to do with beaches only the pool. Maybe one day he will relish the sand and surf.

You never realize how much you miss your mom’s home cooking until you are eating it. We ate out twice while there..the rest of the time was savoring the smells wafting in the air as she prepared meals. My mom is an amazing chef!

As we embark on the road trip home, I’m so very thankful to Jesus for keeping us safe. We’ve been on the road for over 8 hours now and thankful my husband and sweetheart is good at driving and navigation; he used to drive for a living.

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The biggest takeaway from this post. Enjoy the time you have with your family. Love one another, laugh and cherish each moment you are blessed to have.

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Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good.
Romans 12:9 NLT

May you know how much Jesus Loves You~right now wherever you are!

Blessings~Carlene

#HopeAlwaysHaveFaith

Discord or Harmony? Which do you choose?

I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no divisions in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose.

1 Corinthians 1:10 NLT

 

This was my daily verse that appeared on my computer screen this morning and it made me realize that I cannot hold onto anger or irritation because that is not who God has called me to be. How easy it is though to let simple irritations or perceived wrongdoings take hold if we let them. Until I read that verse, I had mulled over what I had found and shared that information with my husband hoping he would be just as upset. And there at that moment, discord happened.  I knew better. I know better, but I was angry.

I do my utmost to be loving in all circumstances and show mercy and grace to all; some days I fail miserably. Forgiving the offense is hard today. Maybe because it’s a repeated offense of thinking of oneself and no one else or the circumstances at hand. However, I know that if I do not forgive, the enemy wins. And if I do not give it to the Lord and ask for forgiveness for my thoughts, words, and actions, I am no better than the offender.

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Photo by Steve Johnson on Pexels.com

So I will forgive, not because people think it may be the right thing to do, but because that is what Jesus does for me daily. I will forgive because my perceptions are totally different and I can’t let this one offense rule over my thoughts and actions.  Discourse in the church begins in our hearts. Different ideas, perceived notions, beliefs with an unwillingness to shift or change how we do life and how we perceive what other’s think or believe can leave you feeling pretty agitated. We have to be willing, as a member of the body of believers (the church) that everyone hears from God in different ways and every person has different parts of ministry in their lives. We have to be willing to stand up for injustice, love others~even if they aren’t very lovable and be willing to open our hearts and minds to the people God places in our path.

Each one of us is created in the image of God. I believe He did that so that we might see a glimpse of how diverse and omnipotent He is. Remembering that  man looks at the outward appearance and God looks inwardly at our hearts, pricked mine today because it reminded me that my heart wasn’t in a very good place and for my heart to show the Love of Jesus to  others, it has to be full of love, peace, patience, gentleness and mercy- not anger, resentment and bitterness.

I think it is simply awesome that God knows what each of us needs to read or hear in order to put our hearts in the right place, even though all of us have very different circumstances going on all at the same time.  The fact that any of us could attend a church meeting, hear the same sermon and each receives the message to help us in our daily walk, shows us how Sovereign and Omnipresent our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is. He knows what we need, and He is always listening and ready to guide us. I am so thankful for that.

John 10:10 New Living Translation (NLT)
10 The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.

May you know how much Jesus Loves You~right here, right now! #HopeAlwaysHaveFaith

Blessings to all~Carlene