Archive | May 2017

Early Intervention is Key

Early intervention is so important when you think that your child or a child whom you love has developmental delays. Push for the doctors to listen to you and if your child’s doctor doesn’t listen, find another doctor.

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Every parent, whether by birth or adoption, want only the best for their child. They want to see them live to their fullest potential, fit in with the world around them and succeed in every way. When you notice that developmental milestones aren’t being reached, it may just be that they are taking their time. I am not saying to push the panic button. However, if you have a concern, express it, explain it and wait for the answer. If their physician sees no concern, ask them to explain it again.

I have become an advocate for this cause because I live with it every single day. Our grandson, Tyson has Autism Spectrum Disorder, @level 2 requiring substantial support. That is the official diagnosis. He is three now. When he was just a little over 2 years old, we finally found a doctor that was willing to refer him to our local Children’s Hospital Developmental Pediatrics Clinic for further evaluations.

The signs started when he was about 6 months old. He didn’t ever really crawl on all fours, it was more of a “leap-frog” type of crawl. From birth, he had the strength of an ox to hold his head up and when you tried to lay him down to change him, he would twist and turn and place his body in such awkward positions, we didn’t know what to think. Diaper changes were traumatizing for him. The only way to get him to remain partially calm was to sing Amazing Grace to him to settle him while he was being changed.

When he was able to sit up on his own, he would and still does, bang his head and rock back and forth. Immediately we were concerned that maybe he had autism. He wasn’t cooing or saying mama or dada and when he tried to communicate, he would scream inaudible noises. Each and every time we brought our concerns up to his pediatrician, who had been one for over 30 years, we were always met with comments, such as “he has done so many other things early, he will talk when he is ready”. So we decided to trust her judgment. We didn’t know that maybe just maybe she wasn’t the right one to make the decision for us.

At his 18-month check-up, he was very active, wouldn’t sit still for any reason and loved climbing and jumping off chairs, stools, exam tables, but he didn’t like being examined, and his strength would reappear, he would twist and turn and this was chalked up to his age and something that was not a normal day thing.  He had mastered walking on his own at 10 months, but still wasn’t showing any signs of talking.  Trying to figure out what he needed or why he would cry became a guessing game. It was so frustrating for all of us, but mostly for him.  Again, I asked, are you sure it isn’t autism and again I was told he did not exhibit any signs of autism. He was a boy and some boys develop slower in communication than girls and she was concerned. Again, we trusted our pediatrician.

We watched videos of the ABC song, we tried to show him pictures of animals and mouth the words to him when speaking, hoping anything would break through in his mind. The main concern at that point was how will he communicate what he is feeling, needing, wanting if he can’t talk to tell us.

We were very lucky that due to his mother being a single parent, she had signed up for Early Intervention Services when he had been born, in the event he would need them down the road. In the State of Ohio, Early Intervention services are from birth to three years old.

We had Help Me Grow Brighter Futures make home visits from 1 yr to 3 years old. This program focused not only on the child but also helping our daughter be the best parent she could be. They were able to get more services for Tyson and our daughter than we would have on our own. An ISFP (individualized services family plan) was initiated with goals and timelines to meet those goals for both our daughter and Tyson. If goals had not been met by the deadlines, we took a look at the goals, revised what needed and kept going.

HMGBF also helped us get connected with another early intervention provider, PACE (Parent and Child Enrichment Program) through our County Developmental Disabilities Offices. After evaluations with PACE, he started working with a speech therapist in the home, as well as a developmental specialist to find out exactly what he could do on his own and what he needed help with. These specialists were able to form a bond with him, as well as teaching all of us how to work with him at home, for continuity of care. They also helped us have him evaluated for Sensory Processing Disorder by an Occupational Therapist and it has been confirmed he is a Sensory Seeker and Avoider, depending on what we are talking about.

We must be ever vigilant and he can never be left alone. As with any three-year-old, he is very inquisitive and examines almost everything he can get his little fingers on, but he also throws objects as a way to get input his brain is not getting on its own. If you wish to read more about Sensory Processing Disorder, please click the link. He is considered an elopement risk or flight risk child. He doesn’t perceive dangerous situations as dangerous. He doesn’t understand that the street is not a place to play or if something is hot, he cannot touch it. And the most important thing is we can say, “No, stop” and he doesn’t have what his brain needs to process this information at the moment.

Autism Spectrum Disorder is a neurological condition and everyone on the Spectrum has their own challenges. The saying for people diagnosis with ASD is, “If you have met one person with autism, you have met one person with autism.” No two people on the spectrum are alike. What one treatment or therapy works for one person, may not work at all for the other.

From experience, living with and witnessing Tyson daily, Early Intervention Services are very important because a child’s brain is most impressionable and develops by age 3 if services are not started til later, they will progress, but it may be slower.

I am not a medical professional in any way, just a grandmother that has become an advocate for this beautiful little boy who wants so much to communicate with the world around him. If you would like to follow Tyson on his journey, please visit Missing Pieces-Living with Autism.

He has made progress since his diagnosis, so much so, that he will be starting Special Education Preschool services this fall in an integrated classroom. I can’t wait to see how he soars!

For more information on Autism Spectrum Disorder, please visit Autism Speaks.

May you know how much Jesus Loves You!#HopeAlways#HaveFaith

Blessings to all!

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Prayer Is Powerful

Prayer is one of the most powerful tools there is. I can honestly speak from experience.  Yesterday was one of the worst days for me. I was ready to give up AND then my prayer warriors and total strangers prayed for God to invade my body and give me peace.

Today, has been a great day! Pain levels have been considerably lower. Completed work that needed done. Spent the evening out with my husband and friends, enjoying life. I’ve learned not only is it important for me to seek the Lord, when you ask others to pray, miracles happen.

Thank you Jesus for your never ending, ever faithful love and mercy.

May you know Jesus Loves You!

Blessings to you! #HopeAlways#HaveFaithprayer-1308663_640

Free Me From This Prison

Every single second of every day I pray for a reprieve from this insidious pain I live with, called my body.

Fibromyalgia Prison

Today is a very high level pain day for me and normally I wouldn’t even feel like sitting at the computer, but sitting here is the only place I have felt any comfort today. Comforted knowing that I am not the only one in the world crying out to Jesus and asking for the pain to lessen or better yet, stop.

Living with chronic illness never gets any better, but there are days that are bearable.

Sometimes, I wonder what I did to deserve this pain. Before I had FM, I thought there is no way someone could be in as much pain as I had heard, but I received a strong lesson in assuming once it wracked my body.

Getting a reprieve from the pain and fatique, if only for a day would be so great. The problem with feeling good on low level pain days is I tend to go for the gusto and overdue it, but I don’t realize I overdid it until it is way too late to stop. Several weeks ago, I was able to go grocery shopping and make it through the entire store and not have to sit down. I was able to go for over an hour that day and then, even though my energy levels were draining, I came home and did housework. That was over 3 weeks ago.

Today, I got dressed and went one place and was only there for a total of 5 minutes, came home and feel like I have ran a marathon.  There is no rhyme or reason to this disorder. Fibromyalgia has its own set of symptoms, as many as 250, it’s different for everyone. Right now the vice like gripping pain in my rib cage and the tingling, burning sensations in my legs is just about enough to send me over the edge.

I don’t have the luxury of laying down right now and I am so close to just giving up, it’s not even funny. I am an optimistic person and for me to feel this bad, and express it to anyone, especially where hundreds of people may read it, tells me I have let my pain levels get too high.  It is entirely my fault. If I would learn that the dishes can wait, the laundry piled up can wait, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

Normally my glass is half full, but today it is empty. I do not like this disorder and I do not like feeling this way.  I am so very tired of my body and all it’s nerves and muscles punishing me daily because I choose to live, as best I can, instead of allowing this illness to confine me to a bed. So, yes, a reprieve would be nice every now and then.

 

Psalm 18:1New Living Translation (NLT)

1 I love you, Lord;
you are my strength.

You, Lord, are my strength. You carry me all the days of my life. I cry out to You, Jesus. Help me to endure this torment that is within me.

May you know how much Jesus Loves You!

Thanks for letting me share my thoughts.

Blessings to all!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

via Daily Prompt: Reprieve

Stand Up & Be Kind

“Bullying is something that we need to talk more about. We need to stop it from happening if we witness it. All of us have the power within us to make a difference, but the fact is many people allow it to go on because it’s easier than getting involved.

Cyberbully

When I was a child, I was bullied because I did not fit into the mold of the correct size of peers my own age. I was very tall and I felt oversized. I used the excuse of being big-boned like my grandma and that was how I was created. The fact of the matter was there was nothing wrong with me or my size. I was the right weight for my height, but that didn’t help me feel any better. It was like I had to make excuses for why I was the way I was all the time. We have all heard it said, “kids can be so cruel.”  I have learned over the years that if parents don’t teach their children the right way to be toward others and to see differences as just that and not reasons to be mean, children will continue to be cruel even if they don’t realize they are. Most children are honest to a fault, because they haven’t learned that sometime’s being honest about how someone looks or how they dress, may be the best they can be and being different can be scary to others.

I grew up with a sister that is deaf. So, I automatically became a defender, even if she didn’t want one or need one. There was no way I would let anyone mistreat her with words of ignorance or any other actions. The truth is she didn’t need me to stand up for her, she did this quite well and still does today.

When our children were going through grade school, junior high and senior high school, they too faced times of bullying and as a parent, that was not okay with me. They did not want me to step in, that would just make it worse, put a target on them, so to speak. I did step in, I did contact the principal, guidance counselors, teachers and anyone else that needed to be talked to because I wanted my children to not only get an education, but I wanted them to feel safe at school and not afraid to go.

I have learned over the years that most people who target others to bully, demean or belittle have their own issues of insecurity or have never been treated kind, and they lash out instead of facing their own difficulties.

STOP BULLYING

As we have progressed as a society, and electronics have become a way to live, communicate and thrive, it has also opened up doors, bigger than any of us can close on our own, on bullying. Now it doesn’t have to be done face to face; it can be done through social media posts, Instagram photos and cyber attacks that can’t be traced.

Most. if not all reputable websites have policies in place against bullying others, being vulgar or using profanities, but the Web is a huge and controls put out there to monitor such actions can’t keep up.

I know I can’t change the world all by myself, but I can choose to create ripples of kindness instead of ripples of hate. Every word and thought I have I choose. Every way I choose to react is a choice. Each time I see someone being belittled or hated on, I can choose to speak up against it or I can turn away.

My choice is to be kind and to show kindness still exists.

Tonight, a dear friend, was telling me about her day at work and how she had to defend someone because another co-worker was being insensitive and mean. She talked about how it angered her that the person being mean thought it was okay to act like that. She talked about how she was bullied when she was younger and I think that those of us that have been treated unkind know what it’s like and we don’t want another person to feel that way. Ever.

My mother always taught us that it costs nothing to be kind. We never know what kind of battle someone is facing. But we can always be kind.

My challenge to all of you reading this is this: be a little kinder, turn the other cheek, remember we all have struggles, real or imagined and being mean, hateful, spiteful, or hurtful doesn’t help. Think before you speak. Love each other. And the Golden Rule, if you can’t say something nice, keep your words to yourself.

For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers, and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. – Galatians 5:13 NLT

There is enough evil and hate in this world. It’s time we start taking the world by the horns and showing others what living in love and living like Jesus is all about!

May you know how much Jesus Loves You!

Blessings to you!

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Just Stuff

Hoarding disorders can be life threatening to the individual(s) that believe they cannot let go of items because they have a perceived notion of value, either monetary or sentimental value.

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I see small hoards in my own home and I truly understand why they are there, but I have a hard time getting these hoards cleaned up. Early in our marriage, we had substantial problems and we moved a lot and with the moves, many things had to be left behind or let go because we didn’t have the means to transport them. We had started over more than once with nothing but the clothes on our backs,  Once you have a place to store things, it becomes very easy to hold onto items that you necessarily wouldn’t hold onto otherwise, but you don’t let it go to the trash bin, because you might need it down the road. In our minds, if we had already spent money on such items, why trash them and then have to spend more money on them again.

I open the door to what was supposed to be the fourth bedroom but never was. It became the storage room because this old home has no closets. It was neatly stacked and organized when we moved in 6 years ago. Now it is a chaotic mess, the door opens, but not all the way. If we don’t know where to place something but do not have the desire to discard it, it’s taken to the “storage” room. The storage room is a disaster. I need to be able to clean it out. In order to do that, I would need several days with no one else in the house because I am sick of the mess. I would estimate that there are probably only a handful of items that actually need to be in there. Consisting of the Christmas tree, lights and decorations, and photos that need to be scanned into the computer for digital imaging.

My hoard items are shoes and clothing that I need to donate to a charity and tote bags. I have outgrown the shoes and clothing or they are items I no longer wear. I know it is not just my family members that struggle with letting go.

The biggest concern is we live in a large old farmhouse with no closets and everything is everywhere. I am at the age where less is best. Having a chronic illness, I do not have the time or inclination to spend days cleaning and rearranging items.

Watching the show Hoarding: Buried Alive on A&E Network, I think to myself well we are nowhere near being hoarders, but it all has to start somewhere.  So, I am writing this to put myself on notice that we have to start working on the items in this house and we have much to rid ourselves of.

John 10:10New 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.

Just as the enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy, this hoarding problem, although it may be small, steals time and joy from our lives. You can look at it, you can box it up and you can even put it behind a door in a room, but you know it’s still there.

In the Bible, the Apostle Paul tells us in Philippians to be content with what we have.

Philippians 4:11New Living Translation (NLT)

11 Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have.

I have Jesus. He is enough. All these other material possessions are just stuff. They have no importance or they shouldn’t have importance in my life. I have Jesus. What more could a girl ask for?

So, my question to all of you is there something that you are holding on to that is more important than Jesus? Sometimes, it takes sitting down and taking an inventory of your life to realize that all the material possessions are just that. Possessions.

Every time I think about being content in the Lord, I am reminded of what Jesus said when he gave the Sermon on the Mount of Olives:

Matthew 6:24New Living Translation (NLT)

24 “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money.

There are many reasons for hoarding. Everyone’s reason is different. I know why we, as family, hoard. Too many poor choices early in our lives, losses that not only signaled losing possessions but unwelcome changes that changed the dynamics of our family.

If you or someone you know has a hoarding disorder, please know there is help out there. Please visit this National Cleanup website for organizations in your area.

May you know how much Jesus loves You!

Blessings to all!

Twenty One

Twenty-one years ago today, I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy with bright red hair and deep brown eyes.  I was shocked to see the red hair, I couldn’t begin to fathom where that had come from as his dad had black hair and mine was dark brown, until I learned that his paternal grandfather had affectionately been called Red when he was a young man because of his brash red hair.

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He was a happy baby and an inquisitive child. As I have watched out son grow into a man, I have seen his kind heart and sensitive spirit be broken and made fun of. Men aren’t supposed to be like that. Men are supposed to be tough and rugged. He heard that a lot growing up from his friends and men in the family. But I loved this sensitive side.  I told him, and I firmly believe this, that God creates all of us in His image. He wasn’t created to be harsh or unkind. That wasn’t part of his DNA. We did our best to instill in him that everyone is different and to embrace who you are.

And he has. He cares for others with a deep compassion and love and will help anyone in need. He sees the lighter side of life and loves to laugh and tell jokes. He is my video gamer. Where I could not see how this could help his attention deficit disorder growing up, it helped him learn to focus. Now he has his own YouTube Channel where he reviews video games and is slowly building a following. He found out how to do all of this by following other game reviewers and learning the ins and outs of the “game” so to speak.

He also works a full time job, has his own place and is making it. He might come for meals and to do his laundry, but my baby is all grown up.  I love you son!

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The best part of this day, was the day he graced our lives with his presence and the fact that today we get to share the day-his 21st Birthday and Mother’s Day-well, that’s just a bonus!

Love your children. Encourage them. Build them up. Let them learn they can’t always have what they want, but they will always have what the need, one way or another. Model the way you want them to live and give them wings so they can soar!

He’s here now and we are hanging out with my grandson and his nephew and we are watching a Paw Patrol Marathon. That’s what you call love.

May everyone know how much Jesus Loves You!

Many blessings!

Love Is A Choice

My mother’s life started out rocky, but she learned that love is a choice. My grandparents adopted my mother at the age of 10. They chose to love her and I am so thankful they did.

My mom had her own family, 2 sisters, 1 half-sister and 2 half- brothers, and she was the oldest of them all. Their life was hard and very tumultuous and scary. The details are hers to share with those she chooses. It was not the type of life anyone would want a loved one to be in, but it was her life. And she was the luckiest of all her siblings because although she did not grow up with her siblings and her mom and stepfather, she did grow up in a home of love, laughter, and joy.

She grew up in a home with parents that loved and honored the Lord. She learned about Jesus and forgiveness and she learned about being loved. She learned that life is full of choices and every choice has a consequence. She learned that she was free to make mistakes and with mistakes came lessons that would guide her along the way in her life.

She often wondered about her sisters and brothers and what happened to them and even her mother. She was able to connect with her siblings later in life and build lasting relationships. As I said she was the lucky one. My heart breaks for my aunts and uncles and the hardships they endured, and I continue to love them as if they have always been a part of my life. They are family.

Fast forward 10 years to my parents tying the knot with their own dreams of having a home and starting a family. My parents were blessed with four children. Myself, a sister two years later, another sister four years later and just when they thought they were done with diapers, my brother appeared 8 years later. He was definitely a surprise.

The story could stop there.  It could be they had four children and lived happily ever after. Well, they did have a great life. They remained married and in love with one another until my father passed in 2015-51 years with each other.  That fact alone would be enough to inspire you.

My mother is more than a daughter, sister, mother, wife, grandmother or aunt. She taught me what selfless love is all about. My sister, born two years after me has a hearing impairment.  There were no support groups or local organizations to reach out to for a special needs child. She helped to form a local group for parents of deaf children. She took my sister to weekly speech therapy appointments, while still raising 3 other children and running a home, plus being a volunteer fire dispatcher (before 911 existed) and being the chief cook, laundress, bottle washer, and confidante.

As we became older, she shuttled all of us to our various extracurricular activities, made sure we had hot meals and lots of love.  And she instilled in us a kindness and compassion for others that came from her life as a child. To love others is a choice. A family is family and family is first. It doesn’t matter if you have been thick as thieves with your cousins all your life or if you just laid eyes on them as a teenager. The love is the same.

She worked for child service agencies to help protect children from the horrors of the world because she understood that better than anyone what is was like to be hungry, hurting and alone.

She chose to not live as a victim. She chose to live a life of love and she shows that love every day to her friends, family, and total strangers. She embodies the heart of Jesus. She shows grace in all situations. She prays daily and gives her worries and concerns to the Lord. She is my hero because her heart always has room for compassion and kindness like I have never seen.

She has mended many of my broken heart moments, she has given advice that has carried me far in my life and although there have been many times, that I have hurt her heart and been less than stellar as a daughter, she hasn’t loved me any less.

She is the rock in our family.  She is the glue that keeps us all connected when we lose touch with one another. The sad part is she lives thousands of miles from all of us, but she is only a text, video chat or call away. It’s not the same as being with her in person, but it’s the next best thing.

I only pray that someday, I can be half the mother she has been to me and my siblings. I strive daily. She isn’t just my mom, she is my hero.

Mom, I just want to thank you so much for choosing love. Thank you for choosing to love others unconditionally and to always show grace under pressure. Your forgiving heart and spirit have taught me more than I could ever express. I am very honored that God chose you to be my mother. I love you so very much! Happy Mother’s Day Mom!

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Our Mom