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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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

 

 

 

Gift of Love

James 1:17 New International Version (NIV)
17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

 

As I sit here this morning, watching the snow fall outside my window, it reminds me of how the Father covers us.  When we come to know Jesus Christ and accept Him as our Lord and Savior, he covers us by the sacrifice of his blood on the cross. And we are made pure in his sight, white as snow.

I’ve always said I don’t like snow and I have to confess I love watching it fall outside my window, I simply don’t care for the cold temperatures associated with falling precipitation.  Earlier, gazing out my window, I saw a muddied yard, with brown, lifeless trees and now I see white all around, and everything appears pristine and fresh.

2 Corinthians 5:17 New Living Translation (NLT)
17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

No matter who you were or how your life was before Jesus, you are given a new life, one held together with love, mercy, and grace. Your sins are covered by the blood of the Lamb, similar to how God covers the muddled, messy ground with freshly fallen snow.

There is not one of us that can claim to be Holy or Righteous without the Cross. Jesus bore the sins of the world so we could be reconciled to God. When sin entered the garden, it separated us from God. With Jesus’ death on the cross, it gives us atonement for our sins, once and for all. When we come to Jesus, repent of our sins, and choose to follow Him, we are considered children of God. Jesus is the bridge that brings us back to a Father that sin keeps us from.  Living a life as a Christian isn’t easy.  He died for us so we could live life abundantly.  He didn’t promise there wouldn’t be problems, but in life and in death, he showed us how to live and overcome hate.

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Live your life with purpose, choose Joy that only God can give. Accept peace and hope as the things we seek and cling to. Live passionately, love extravagantly, Choose life. We are only given one chance to get this right. Choose to love others, help those that need help, pray and expect miracles. Leave a legacy.

May you know how much Jesus loves you~right where you are, right now!

Blessings~Hope Always, Have Faith

Carlene

 

Hope & Healing

God promises that He has a plan for our lives, He promises that he will give us abundant life, He promises to keep us safe from harm and He promises to give us HOPE and a future.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you, and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”-Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

This particular scripture has been my “go to” Life Verse for as long as I can remember. Many days when I was struggling to keep my emotions in check and appear that I had it all together, when in fact, I did not, this one verse became my lifeline. I would remind myself over and over that God had promised he had a plan for me. Plans to prosper me and these plans would not hurt me and they would give me hope and a future.  And knowing the God of the Universe cared enough about me and my life, has always been enough to keep me going.

In 2008, I took a bad fall down a flight of stairs and then my life started changing dramatically. I started having continuous chronic widespread pain, that never went away but would become worse if I overdid it. My fatigue levels were crazy! Taking power naps anymore just wasn’t enough to keep me going on long days. And if I didn’t get enough rest, the pain was almost unbearable and there was no relief in sight. Every time I spoke to my physician about how  I was feeling, I would constantly hear, “we can’t find anything wrong” “your blood work looks normal” “as you get older, your body is going to have aches and pains” “you must be imagining it” “there is nothing we can do” and the list goes on. Talk about feeling hopeless.  But then I would think… God says HE has a plan for me. So even though I can’t see any good coming from all I am going through, I am going to TRUST Him, because I know His plans are so much better than I could ever imagine or dream.

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In 2010, I finally found a doctor that was willing to listen. After two years of complaining to numerous doctors, getting labs done, imaging tests, exams and even counseling, finally someone was willing to look through my charts and see a pattern emerging and sent me to a Rheumatologist that confirmed her suspicions. I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder for which there is no known cure and treatments that work for some people have no effect on others. Along with this new found diagnosis, I learned that my energy levels would soon become very precious to me and I would have to pick and choose what I did each day.  It has been said in medical journals and research that most people that develop this specific illness usually happens as a result of trauma to the body or caused or brought on by added stress to the body.  I believe the result of this diagnosis was in direct correlation to the traumatic fall I had when I fell down a flight of stairs, face first and landed with physical injuries that healed, but trauma to my entire body in the fall set off the chain of events that led to the chronic condition.

Fast forward to May of last year (2017), in this blog, I wrote about how this disorder was like living in a prison. And 7 months ago, I had pretty much given up hope, I was clinging to the verse that God had plans for me, but it wasn’t the strong faith I had always had, it was mustard seed faith. I was beginning to think that, for whatever reason, that I was being allowed to go through this type of suffering, I just couldn’t see that anything good could come from it.  (Romans 8:28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.) But, I chose to trust in the Lord and all His promises, even though I couldn’t see the light at the end of my dark tunnel. My faith had carried me all my life since I was a young girl and I wasn’t going to let this disorder change me like that.

And then the most amazing thing happened, God sent a messenger to me and she gave me hope.  No promises, but renewed hope. Did He see how my hope was faltering? Did He know that I was losing hope and that my faith was weak? OR Had this been part of His plan all along and now the pieces were finally falling into place?

I choose to believe that everything that led up to that day in May when I had lost almost all hope and was only hanging on by a thread of faith was all part of God’s Plan for my life.  Why do I choose to believe it?? Because I am a walking miracle!!!

After trying all kinds of prescription medications, physical therapies, and various medical solutions, none of which provided relief from the constant pain I was in, God was and is using plant-based supplements to heal my body from the inside out! I am forever grateful that I chose to listen with an open mind and heart when His messenger reached out to me.

I will admit that I was very skeptical that any type of supplement/vitamin could work for what I had been suffering from for over 7+ years. But then I thought, what have I got to lose?? If it didn’t work, then it didn’t work, but what if it did???  Trust me when I say this when you live with any type of chronic condition, and have tried just about everything the medical profession throws at you and nothing helps, the thought of taking supplements almost seems crazy, but I figured that was the only thing I hadn’t tried yet, so why not?

God/Jesus Christ is Sovereign, He Reigns Above ALL. He can heal people in whichever way He chooses. And He decides whether our physical infirmities are healed this side of Heaven or not. I firmly believe that. Jesus healed our souls when He died on the Cross.

(Isaiah 53:5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes, we are healed (our souls have been healed, cleansed, made right with God so we can live eternally with him).

Since starting these amazing plant-based supplements, and getting to the root issues of the diseases and disorders that I have been living with for years, my body is starting to heal from the inside out. No, they are not magic. Yes, you do have to be consistent in taking them, every day. Getting enough hydration through water, which our bodies need to function properly, as God designed them, and making better food choices, and yes, even exercise~all of that together, along with these supplements loaded with prebiotics, probiotics, magnesium, and many other vitamins and minerals our bodies need to function (without sugar, gluten or GMOs)  is transforming how I feel and how I look!

God gave me my life back and now I choose to share with anyone that is willing to listen that there is HOPE. It comes in many forms. And for each of us, it may be different. But the one thing He promises is we can always have Hope. Hope in a God that loves us so much that He died upon a cross for us.

There’s this company based out of Scottsdale, Arizona that cares about people and their health and happiness. They care for their customers, their Ambassadors that have come to not only know the amazing products and the benefits of the products because for most of us, we are a product of the products. We all have our own stories to tell of how choosing to take a chance with Plexus Worldwide has not only given us our health back but has given us hope when we didn’t have any left.

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I thank God every single day that He is allowing me to live again. I would much rather live with the aid of supplements that are created with plants, and a few products have New Zealand Green Lipped Mussels in them, that God provides for all of us, than to rely on synthetic/genetically modified medications created by man.

God has always provided for our needs~all of them. Somewhere along the way, I lost sight of that. And the good that came from what I went through, well now I can understand how others may be feeling and offer them not only comfort but hope.

May you know how very much Jesus Loves You~right now in this moment and always!

Blessings and thanks for stopping by! #HopeAlwaysHaveFaith

 

~Carlene

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blessings to You

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As we approach Thanksgiving Day here in America, I pray blessings for each and every person that reads this. I pray that you will have a day filled with love, laughter, and joy! However, I do know that for some people, it will be a hard day, as people we love have passed, and this Thanksgiving may be a day that is hard to find something to be thankful for, in your grief, but I ask God to give you peace and comfort that only He can give.

There will be many people that will be settling down around a table filled with delectable and savory dishes that they look forward to every year, traditions that go on and some traditions being started for the first time. There will be laughter as the memories of Thanksgivings’ past evoke, of loved ones that are no longer here and there may be tears of ones we wish were still here to celebrate life with us. And there will also be people that don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, as they have no family or no friends with which to celebrate or who are alone, and for them, it may just be another day.

For me, Thanksgiving isn’t just something we should look forward to in November, on the fourth Thursday of the month. Thanksgiving should be an attitude of our hearts and we should be able to find ONE thing to be thankful for every single day that God gives us life. For many, the Thanksgiving holiday signifies the beginning of the Christmas shopping season by early “Black Friday” sales, that apparently now start on Thanksgiving and go through “Cyber Monday”.  I know all too well about that concept, retiring from retail early last year when all that was taking place. I say a special prayer for those people that have to work and cannot be home with their families and friends because they must be at work to take care of their customers.

I recall simpler times when everything was closed on Thanksgiving day. When families spent time with one another and the only thing open was a few gas stations and convenience stores. Now you can drive around and all businesses are open, trying to boost their bottom line before the end of the fiscal year.  A sign of the times, I suppose.

I try to find something to be thankful for every day. And usually, even in my most trying days, I can always find something. I have always found that if my heart is focused on being grateful and living in gratitude, I can’t grumble at the same time. When it seems like there is nothing to be grateful for, I call out to Jesus and I ask Him to help me get through, to help me see the world through His eyes, I read His Word and I pray.

John 10:10New International Version (NIV)

10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

However you choose to celebrate your Thanksgiving this year, I ask God to bless you so richly, your cup will overflow.  Peace to you and your families. May you know how much Jesus Loves you and He will meet you right where you are. Blessings to all~Carlene