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

Making Memories & Learning

Philippians 4:13 New Living Translation (NLT)
13 For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.

 

Earlier today I realized as Tyson was dumping toy bins and playing, that in a week, he will be home all day long. And I started to panic, thinking about the messes and then someone reminded me that I need to look at things a little differently. Don’t look at it as just a mess, but making memories.  I know that’s how I should view it. It’s extremely difficult to remember that, all the time.

Tyson and Bee
Tyson playing with his musical bee

I started getting our learning materials in order so he can continue to expand and learn on concepts he is currently learning and maintaining some type of routine and structure so that when school starts back up in the fall, it won’t be so hard to get back into the swing of things. At speech therapy for the past several weeks, he is trying to learn the concepts “in” “out” “over” “under” “next to” “open” “close”. Asking where, what, and who questions are not as easy for Ty as we would hope, but each week he makes progress. Speaking the words are hit and miss. The word ‘in’ is easy. On and off are simple enough, because they are short syllable words. Last week, he finally could say the word open.  We have been working on the word open since he was 2 1/2. Using the sign with our hands as if we were opening a book and showing him what the ‘O’ sound looks like with our mouth.  What finally did it for him shows me and his speech therapist that all of our minds process words and sounds differently.  She had an ink pen and he was saying pen very well. She made the ‘O’ sound and then said pen-pointing to the pen. He finally got it and said ‘open’.  It took something so different for just that one word, but now he understands how to say it, what it means and the sign language for opening something. It’s been a long 11/2 years for him to understand.  Beginning and ending sounds are something he struggles with.  “V” comes out like “B”.

He fixates on two objects and will watch numerous YouTube videos of these objects. You will never guess in a million years so I will spare you the guessing game. #1-Vacuums #2-Ceiling Fans. Every time we go anywhere that has vacuum cleaners or ceiling fans, he wants to stop and look at them, check out all the details and if the ceiling fans are not turned on, he wants to know why.  I am not surprised by the ceiling fans. They spin and he loves anything that spins. Being obsessed with the vacuum cleaners has developed over time. He DOES NOT like when they are turned on. The sound is too loud and painful for him. He has noise canceling headphones that he wears when we have ours turned on at home, but he loves it so much when it is off, we literally have to pry it out of his hands. He will unwrap and rewrap the power cord as many times as we let him, sometimes for hours if we allowed it. We have learned when we are finished using the vacuum, it is put up right away, otherwise, a meltdown will occur and it may take hours before he is calm enough to talk to.  In the stores, we must avoid the vacuum cleaner displays or he cries and screams.  If they are unavoidable, we have learned the battle is not worth the outcome. We stroll down the aisle and let him see them, point out the colors, features and then we say goodbye.  I never thought in all my life, I would be talking to inanimate objects, but it makes him happy and keeps him calm.

When the weather is nice and not pouring rain, like it has done for the past several days, his mommy and her fiancée take him for walks in the neighborhood. He loves taking walks and playing outside. I miss being able to do this activity with him. I do have my walker with a seat on it, but it’s difficult to hold onto his harness and the walker at the same time. Somehow we will figure it out. Being outside, playing and walking, is not only healthy for him, but it helps to reduce the hyperactivity associated with the ADHD he deals with, along with the medications he is on. I hate the fact he has to be on medications, but for him to stay focused and not out of control, right now they are needed. I am very thankful for his AED medications. He hasn’t had a seizure for almost two weeks, which is great! Dealing with Epilepsy, I am learning is being ever vigilant because he has a mixture of different types of seizures and there is no trigger that we know of, at this time, so you never know when one will happen. AED is the abbreviation for anti-epileptic drugs. I often forget not everyone knows the terms or abbreviations I use.

Today was a good day for Tyson. He was excited when his bus picked him up this morning and played most of the afternoon, watched some videos and spun around until I was dizzy just watching him.

I know that we have to keep his mind entertained as well as having just good old-fashioned playtime.  Repetition is key for him learning and recalling things. He is very visually oriented and I have found a great site to get products from that will help him to learn in a fun way.  I love TheAutismHelper page on Teachers Pay Teachers. If you have Pre-K through 6th grade and love someone on the Autism Spectrum, I highly recommend checking out what she has to offer. There are many resources that I have purchased in the past, as well as some magnificent downloads for free.

I thank Jesus every day that he entrusted Tyson to our family and I pray daily that He will guide me and give me strength when it seems like too much to handle. I know that HE is my strength. Jesus will lead me and guide me, I just need to remember to listen and follow His lead.

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May you know how much Jesus Loves You~right where you are at this moment!

#HopeAlwaysHaveFaith

Blessings~Carlene

 

 

 

Blessed to be a Mom

Proverbs 6:20-23 The Message (MSG)

20-23 Good friend, follow your father’s good advice;
don’t wander off from your mother’s teachings.
Wrap yourself in them from head to foot;
wear them like a scarf around your neck.
Wherever you walk, they’ll guide you;
whenever you rest, they’ll guard you;
when you wake up, they’ll tell you what’s next.
For sound advice is a beacon,
good teaching is a light,
moral discipline is a life path.

 

Motherhood does not come with a manual, but a plethora of advice from those who have been in the trenches of raising children.  Some advice is not only helpful but lifesaving in moments of chaos and distress. Much of the advice is not helpful because it applies to certain children with special circumstances.  The best advice I ever received was when your child is happy or sad, mad or hurting, love them. Don’t be afraid that rocking them to sleep will spoil them. Children cannot begin to understand what love is if they don’t see it in their own lives. They can learn, but oh to be able to experience it first hand is so much better than being taught what love looks like.

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This beautiful woman is my mother.

My children, who are adults now, used to exasperate me when it came to school projects. I am sure many reading this can relate. They are given an assignment, in which a visual presentation must take place, along with a report or speech. Many times this counts for a large portion of their grade. Educators know that in order for them to complete these projects, they are given ample time to accomplish them. Several weeks time, usually. However, my children would always wait until the very last-minute to spring these projects on me ~ usually one to two days before they were due!  And as they feverishly rushed to finish them, I would comment on how lucky they were to live in this day and age.

“Google” in my day meant making a trip to the library, searching the card catalog for reference materials and books to read and research. We didn’t have the luxury of the internet or typewriters/word processors that had self correction included. If we made a mistake, we had to start over. Long before “white out” was invented or “correction tape” was available. And many times you could tell by the details, the projects were rushed. Long nights of gluing and pasting pictures cut out of magazines or printed materials, with the hopes they would pass their class. Loving them also meant that if they didn’t complete it to the teacher’s satisfaction, it was on them. Learning to realize that there was a solution always in front of them, using their time wisely and not waiting.

It would have been easy for me to do their homework, but they wouldn’t have learned anything by doing that. Life is full of lessons.  Working on school projects and homework helps to prepare them for the real world with a real job and performing many tasks that may seem mundane, but so important.

I wish I would have taught them about why a budget is so very important. If they had money to spend, as a child, the thought of saving it was lost on them until they saw something they wanted and didn’t have the funds to get it and I was a “mean” mom. If they didn’t need it, chances are they weren’t getting it without working for it. I believe it’s important for children to understand that not everything in life is free. Earning funds to pay for something teaches the value of hard work and feeling accomplished in by the success of reaching a goal. Goals are important in life. Creating plans on how to accomplish goals takes perseverance and a willingness to “get it done” attitude. Lofty goals can be accomplished, but you have to be willing to put the work in to get to where you want to be. And there is nothing that can stop you, except the limits you place on yourself.  There is still a sign, hanging in our home that reads “Just because something is difficult, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try, it means you should just try harder.”  I firmly believe that. I also believe that “giving up is not an option”. Something my parents taught me from a young age.

Mother's Poem

I have tried my best to model love and kindness to my children. To show them that even though they may not have everything they want, they have everything they need. To teach them that they need to exhibit kindness to others and stand up for the downtrodden. Be a friend, offer a hand up, listen, don’t judge someone by their appearance or circumstance. Be thankful for all you have. And if you want more than you have, do what you need to do to make it a reality.

I never had to wonder if my mom loved me. I was lucky. I am still blessed. I made many choices my mother did not agree with and I know many times she was disappointed, but never once did I have to wonder if she loved me. Never. I pray that my children will always be able to say that with confidence and mean it.

I am not blind to the fact that there are many people in this world that did not have a mother that loved unconditionally or even cared what was happening in their lives. And that breaks my heart. My response to those who haven’t had a  life where they had a mom or had a mother that loved them in spite of their faults, remember this no matter the type of parent she was-she loved you enough to give you life. And I imagine that may seem a cliché thing to say, but it is a fact. If you are reading this, then at some point, a woman decided you were worth it. Even if you were given up at birth, you were worth the love of being allowed to be born. Jesus will always love you, even when you feel unworthy of love.

I also think of the women that don’t have children, the ones that would give anything to have a child, to hear the words “I love you mommy.” And, I don’t know why God allows some women to have children that aren’t wanted and those who want them, for whatever reason, can’t conceive. But know this, there are many motherless children in the world that need your love. If you have a deep need to be a mom, and can’t do it naturally, please look into adopting or fostering a child. God will always make a way.

If you have played a role in a child’s life, through mentoring, teaching and making them feel special, regardless if you are their mom or not, you have shown love.

It is my prayer that if you are mother that you have a very blessed Mother’s Day this weekend. If you have lost a child, please accept my condolences. I too have a child in Heaven and I think about her every single day. One day we will be reunited.

May you know how much Jesus Loves You~every single moment of every day!

#HopeAlwaysHaveFaith

Blessings~Carlene

 

 

 

 

Living with Purpose

For many years, I have believed that I was living with purpose and living out the plan and purposes that God has for me and my life.  I love to encourage others to stretch themselves and their faith, and to realize that our faith isn’t dependent on what we do, but what God does in our lives.

Seek Him

God calls us to be bold and to live abundantly, to trust Him for everything we need; HE will always go before us, and HE will equip us with what we need to achieve anything, but we have to have faith in Him.

How many times, in your life do you pray fervently, but see no results? How many days are you down on your knees, pleading with God to help you figure out what you are going through and why are you going through it and what possible purpose will it serve for you to go through the pain and agony you are going through? Often times, what we face in life, our challenges, struggles, our victories, are all leading up to glorifying God and being thankful and grateful that He allows us to go through this things so we can learn to comfort and bless others with our own stories.   The challenge for those of us that are so used to getting quick fixes to problems, is those quick fixes may be temporary solutions to long-term problems. God isn’t here for just a quick fix, he’s here for the long haul. From birth to death and into eternity.  He’s not the type of God that gives you a one time fix and says, “that’s it, you’ve reached your allotment for life, now go figure the rest out on your own, been nice knowing you.”

He is the type of Heavenly Father that weeps when you weep and cheers when you succeed. He loves you with a love like no other and all he asks in return is that you choose Him over anyone or anything else. That you choose to follow Him, to listen to what he tells you and to do two main things: Love Him with everything you are and everything you have and love others.  I have spoken on this before, but I think it is so important that it is repeated until everyone understands and grasps the simplicity of what HE wants from us. Because once you get that, once you understand that Love and everything that comes out of a true, selfless loving heart than you have everything you need to do His work.  And His work will look different in every single life. He calls us to walk with Him, to have a relationship with Him and I know from my own personal experiences in this life when I am walking with Jesus, I see things differently and have a more compassionate heart for people and their struggles.  He doesn’t want us to walk in fear or a belief that I am not good enough, I can’t do this or I can’t do that.  Moses didn’t think he could lead God’s people Israel out of Egpyt, but he did. But it took convincing from God that even though he did not think he was strong enough or people would listen to him, God went before Him and God equipped Moses for everything he needed to do for the Kingdom.

 

I have been reminded of this fact lately in my own life. As many of you know, I have struggled with living in chronic pain for over the last 7+ years.  And I have had to change my way of doing many things and learn to adapt to new circumstances that were entirely out of my control and not only was it very depressing to me, and people that knew and love me, but it was a tremendous burden to my spirit that I could not provide for my family or help with the household income.  And I had pretty much given up any hope of ever feeling truly alive again. I didn’t give up on my faith, my faith in God and His promises is the ONE thing that kept me going. I knew without a shred of doubt that HE has a plan for my life and His plans are always so much bigger than I will ever be able to see.  I also know that if I were to know everything that I would go through and will still go through, it would be too overwhelming for me to handle. So living into my purpose comes in pieces that are tangible for me to understand and grab hold of. And that is why I am who I am and God is who He is. He knows just exactly what I need at the moment and He knows just what you need, nothing more, nothing less.

In June of this year, I received an amazing gift of love from a dear friend that has changed my life forever. I no longer suffer from chronic pain, fatigue or the many other symptoms I was experiencing and I want to share what has helped me to feel alive again and better than I ever have. I want others that suffer from chronic health problems, that believe that all hope is lost and they are destined to continue on the path of pain, fatigue, depression, irritable bowel symptoms, allergies too many to mention, that need to get themselves healthy but have no idea how to do it. I want to share with others that this is not a quick fix or a magic pill you take, and all is better. I want to educate others, as I have learned that many of the autoimmune disorders that people live with and are diagnosed with every single day, can be helped if they understand how their body functions and works. People that want to not only be in their children’s and families lives but actually be able to participate in their lives and be part of them and trust me when I say there is a difference. Watching from the couch or sidelines isn’t a way to live. I did that for many years. I could make plans and then have to cancel them because I just didn’t have the energy required to even get dressed, let alone go anywhere.

Eleanor Roosevelt quote

And I am the type of person when I have something to share, that I believe will benefit others, I want to shout it from the rooftops, and the valleys, but I too struggle with wondering if my voice will be heard. I am human. I have learned that just because people reject what I am sharing with them, doesn’t mean they are rejecting me. And as I grow into this new person I am becoming and learning to love the body I am in, finally, I know that I am doing what I am called to do. Every day when I meet with God in prayer, he confirms this is where He wants me right now. Life is a journey, full of dull, sad, exciting, transforming and unexpected moments.

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Had I not chosen to accept a gift of love over 4 months ago, I might still be sitting on the sidelines wondering what it was like to be living life to the fullest every day.  I chose to trust God that His plan was bigger than I could see or envision.  And as I continue to trust in Him, I know that He is using these amazing new products to heal my body from the inside out. I would love to help you if you want to be the best version of you. I would love to know how I can serve you and be a blessing to you, just as my friend was a blessing to me. When you are ready to take your health back and in turn live your best life ever, let me know. I am here and I would love to walk with you in your journey to better health and happiness.

May you always know how much Jesus Loves You and he will meet you right where you are!

Blessings to all of you~thanks for stopping by.

#HopeAlwaysHaveFaith

 

Praise Report

Hello, dear readers! Sorry for my absence.  I have had a lot of things happening in the last few weeks and have not been very diligent in keeping up with this blog, I do apologize. You have been kind enough to engage with me and follow my writing and I really do appreciate every single person that takes a moment out of their busy days to stop by and read what I have to say.

As with everything I write and share with you, there is ALWAYS one common thread. His name is God, Jesus, Holy Spirit.  He gave me life, and he gives my life purpose.  Everything I have comes from Him and everything I will ever have in the future comes through His blessings in my life!!

There is so much to be thankful for.  In July of 2016, our 26-month-old grandson was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Level 2 (meaning he would require substantial support) and was considered non-verbal.  And while he does require substantial support, God has changed the non-verbal to communicative. Does he speak in clear sentences and phrases that most people can understand the meaning? Sometime’s he gives one or two words, and that is enough. But for all of us that love him and spend life with him, he has made amazing leaps and bounds from where he was a year ago! Thank you, Father God. You are so good! Our grandson started preschool this year, with 45 words which may not be a lot of words to the general public, but to anyone that loves a nonverbal individual, those 45 words were like winning the lottery!! More precious than silver or gold!! And since he has been in school for a little over a month now, a light has come on, a part of his brain a door has unlocked and words are bursting forth. He knows more than he says, that is very evident. But God did that! Prayers have been prayed over the Autism Diagnosis since it happened by many people, probably even some I do not know personally, so thank you for being faithful prayer warriors and leaving the outcome to Jesus!  And thank you for allowing me to see how YOU work in all of our lives if we remain faithful to your Word.

That would be enough praise, in itself, but there is so much more!!!! A little over three months ago, a friend shared with me an amazing story of how much better she was feeling and what she was doing that was so radical for her, that I had to try it.  It was called self-care, sprinkled with hope and amazing results! What a concept!  For me, I have always been the one that cares for everyone else in my life. My husband, my children, grandchildren, friends, parents, and I always came last and that was how I perceived my role as a wife, mom, grandmother, and friend. As long as I was meeting everyone’s needs, and everyone was feeling loved, I would get by. But, if you have been on this same path I was on, you all know that is not true. And if we don’t take the time to care for ourselves, we might not be around to enjoy caring for others.

We have to learn that we are worth just as much love and care that we pour into others. We have to realize that we need time, too, to focus on our needs and everyone’s needs are different.  Mine was focusing on my health and having some quiet time alone and with friends, without feeling guilty I was taking the time. And changing my mindset.  And after 52 years of having that mindset, it wasn’t going to be an easy task, but I am so glad I decided to take the time because it has been SOOOOOOO worth it!

I know God was in every single detail of what led my friend to share with me her self-care tips and a supplementation program she was using and the great benefits she had received.  If I hadn’t of been raw and real and very vulnerable in a blog post from May 27th, Free Me From This Prison, I might still be sitting here in pain and discomfort. When I wrote that post, I battled with God back and forth about I didn’t want to write it, I didn’t want to be that vulnerable, I was always the “strong” one and I didn’t want to appear weak, but he said, “do it anyway, trust Me”.  After many tears and “are you sure’s?” , I wrote.  When God wants to use me in a small or big way, and it’s out of my comfort zone, I always struggle and wonder if I am hearing him correctly, but what I need to do is trust Him. Listen to Him. His ways are not my ways, but they are the Best Way!

My friend shared how these all natural, no chemicals, no preservatives, no gluten, no man-made anything was in these supplements and how God was using these products to heal her body from the inside out.  Had it been anyone else, I would have said, “thanks, but no thanks.”  But God knew I would listen to her because I truly valued and respected her and her opinion and I knew she would always be simplistically honest with me and HE also knows I value Honesty and Integrity in everything.  He sent the right messenger.

So, I started taking these amazing supplements and learned what kinds of foods my body needs to thrive and what things I needed to let go of that were slowly killing me.  My inflammation levels internally and externally have been high for so long, I don’t even recall when they weren’t a part of who I am. Internally, every time I have lab work done, that is one of the things that is always checked and every time, it would always be so very high, my physician would make mention of it, with no clue as to why or how to make the inflammation go down.  There are many OTC products and prescription drugs that can be taken to battle inflammation, but then you have to worry about damaging your body further from unwanted side effects, or worse yet, they don’t help and now you have added products to your body that didn’t help and you still feel just as bad as you did before you tried them.  I will admit, I was skeptical, but I trusted her to know I had to give them a try and if it didn’t work, it didn’t work, but when you live with chronic, debilitating, immobilizing pain, you will try anything, almost anything at least once and then mark it off your list and move on.  Except for this time, I didn’t have to check it off my list and move on, because, for the first time in 10 years, I had hope.

My pain levels, sheer exhaustion fatigue, and terrible brain fog didn’t miraculously;y lift from me overnight, but after three weeks of using these supplements I could tell a difference.  I didn’t have to sit on the side of the bed in the mornings for 20-30 minutes just to gain my balance to stand up and steady myself. I could roll over in bed without being in such agonizing pain, I didn’t need all these pillows supporting and propping me up just so I could “TRY” to get some rest. By the 8 week mark, I found myself in tears again, not because they weren’t helping, but because God cared enough about me, to choose to heal my body with these amazing products. He loved me enough to take away my pain, my fatigue, my brain fog and I started noticing so many other things, too.

The severe knee/hip-joint pain I had for the last several years wasn’t there either. Many days I sat in amazement that this had to be a really fabulous dream I was having, but pinching myself made me realize, it was not a dream.  It was as real as the God I serve and follow and it was his gift to me. I know without a shred of a doubt that every single piece that fell into place was because I chose to trust God, to step out in faith and to obey His leading. And every single time that I do that, He blesses me or my life. Why? Because he is a Good Good Father and He LOVES extravagantly!

Is my health all perfect now, nope? I have ways to go, but I am on the right road. I didn’t get unhealthy and out of shape overnight and I won’t become the picture of perfect health overnight either.  But I will be the best version of me from here on out. I will choose to eat whole, healthy foods and less processed foods. I have learned that my gut health is too important to my overall health to not care what I put in my mouth. I lost my diet soda/sweet tea habit and replaced it with nice refreshing water.  I can’t get enough green vegetables, they are packed with so many nutrients and minerals our bodies need and how come I didn’t already know this.  I should have known it. My neighbor and friend, has been trying to tell me for years how important it is what I put in my body, but God knew I wasn’t ready to listen yet and so I ignored her warnings.

As I sit here and tell you all this fabulous, life-transforming news, I am sitting here wide awake when( my new normal, I would be sleeping) I should be sleeping,  but I have some ulcers on my lower legs where I’ve always battled poor venous circulation and getting the blood flow to return is always slower than when it is working through my system. They are painful and using bandages or gauze compresses are difficult because latex tape and cloth tape really irritate the skin around the area, which then causes a skin allergy reaction, and then all I want to do is scratch layers of skin off, but they are too tender and sore to even touch.  Anything that touches them, even air, well let’s just say I would not recommend having these for fun.  Because they are not.  And before you speculate, no I am not a diabetic.  I thank Jesus for that. It could be a lot worse than it is. But I will also take the time, right now to thank God for placing amazing people in my life that saw a need and took care of it so I could take care of my legs. I am very blessed indeed.  I thank God that I have a wonderful wound care doctor that I have had to see in the past and I will see later today to get the healing process started on my legs. Without God, none of this would be possible.

I choose to look at life optimistically, there’s always a silver lining. And even when I go through trials and struggles I know Jesus is with me. He becomes my strength, He is my Peace and my rest. He is my Hope.  No matter what I face in this temporary life, here on earth, He has already overcome it! He knows my every single solitary detail about me, everything I will ever face, and HE carries me every single day!  He can do the same for you if you are willing.

Father God, saying thank you doesn’t seem like enough for all you have done for me, my family and my friends in this lifetime. Sometime’s I feel that you deserve more than I know how to give, but I give you my all. I praise you, not because I have to or because other’s say I should, I choose to praise you and honor you because I am your child and I love you. Thank you for pushing me, nudging me, stretching me in ways my eyes can’t see the vision, thank you for teaching me to step out in faith and thank you for putting the right people in my path at just the right time. Thank you for opening my ears so that I can hear and for not allowing my heart to become hardened when life is hard. Thank you for giving me Jesus and for the blood He shed on the cross for me and all my sins. Thank you Father God, for giving me an advocate, The Holy Spirit that nudges me pricks my heart and convicts me when I need to know my way is not always best.  But most of all Father God, thank you for loving me unconditionally and showering all the blessings you do every single solitary moment of my life. My cup overflows. In the name of Jesus. Amen.

May you know how much Jesus Loves You! He will meet you right where you are, in this moment. And I promise you this, when you choose to take up your cross and follow Him, your life will never be the same again!

Many blessings on your journeys! Much love~Carlene

Accepting the Challenge

Yesterday, I became one of many that have accepted a challenge to live healthier for the next 90 days, knowing that if I can make the change in the next 90 days, I can turn it into a new lifestyle.

For someone who is considered “morbidly obese”, I knew that to be truly committed to this challenge, there had to be accountability. That is why I love that I am part of a group of Christian women that love the Lord and seek His guidance daily. They are a great group of ladies from all walks of life and have challenges ahead of them just as I do. Our challenges may be different, but the opportunities that God has placed us all together is not a coincidence. His plans are always perfect and purposeful.

So, one of the challenges I have faced even before this challenge officially began was learning to love water, instead of soda or some other high-calorie beverage. A week ago, I was lucky if I drank even 8 oz of water a day. Now I am drinking 120 oz a day.  My goal is to reach 200 oz a day (if my doctor approves that amount).  Along with drinking all the water and choosing to eat healthily and losing the extraordinary amount of carbs that have become habits for me, I am trying new supplements from Plexus Worldwide. I will take these supplements daily along with moving more.

healthy eating

I am gaining new insight into the world of chair exercises. Right now my balance isn’t great and standing for more than 10 minutes at a time, causes pain and serious discomfort. My hope is that as I move more, even in small increments, I will notice a difference for the good. I am praying that as I embark on this journey, I will not only become a healthier me, but I will be able to share my success stories with all of you.

Once I learn more about the supplements and how they will help to heal my body from the inside out, I will share what I am taking and how they are working for me.

God dropped this opportunity in my lap because I chose to be real about my pain and discomfort. Other people reached out to me and asked me to come along for the ride.

Jeremiah 29:11  International Version (NIV)

11 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.

I know there will be times that Satan will try to discourage me and distract me, but I am committed to making a better life for myself. I am tired of writhing in pain and feeling so fatigued that sleep never comes. I want to enjoy life, not from the chair I sit in daily and look at the four walls. I want to be able to walk without pain, play with my grandchildren, dance with my husband and love life.

And the best thing about this new challenge is I am making friends I will have for life.

God is good! All the time!

May you know how much Jesus Loves You!

Blessings to all!