Category Archives: love

The Human Spirit

Memorial Day May 27 2019 Leroy Myers

 

 

On May 27, 2019, Memorial Day evening, the lives of hundreds of thousands were changed forever including mine. Here in the State of Ohio, 19 confirmed tornadoes, 15 in the area known as the Miami Valley from where I am from. My family and I were some of the very lucky ones that the tornadoes, loss of water and power missed. You can see the interactive map with all the information here.

The Meteorologists and National Weather Service did an amazing job of putting out warnings through news channels, radio stations and cities that had tornado warning systems sounded as well. Unfortunately, some of the cities hit had no siren based warning systems and the fast-moving storms left little time for some people to prepare for the onslaught of devastating weather.

Since Monday evening, my heart has been heavy for all the loss and devastation that I have seen on the news channels, social media and for all the people affected. Only one person lost their life, a gentleman from Celina, Ohio that by all accounts was one in a million. Two hundred people were injured either by the debris and storms themselves or from carbon monoxide buildup and while helping clear debris. Ohio is made up of big cities with a small hometown feel. Almost everyone knows someone that has been affected in one way or another.

But the one thing that has been prevalent since the onslaught of the storms has been the resilient human spirit from total strangers and neighbors helping one another, leaning on one another and all of the donations pouring into local centers to help out those that have lost everything. The kindness and compassion seen through local videos of people stopping to offer food and water, clothing, baby items, from everything and anything are out there for those in need.

As much division as can be seen where evil and hate are lurking, there is so much more love and compassion being poured out for everyone, it makes me proud to be living in a state where when the chips are down, the people pull up their boot strings and get to work helping one another however they can.

As my husband and I traveled North of where we reside today to see a friend that was one of the unlucky ones in losing his home and most of his things, the devastation that we passed on the way there, looked like a war zone from some far away land. As we crept along the roadway, making our way to his property, I was reminded that I am glad I live in a place where no matter what happens, everyone pitches in to help others. When we asked him his thoughts on everything, his response was, “I don’t know what happens now, but I know I will Trust the Lord to meet all my needs.”

Matthew 22:36-40 New Living Translation (NLT)
36 “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?”

37 Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”

Jesus tells us to love others, expecting nothing in return and this week I have witnessed this. My prayer is that once the cleanup is complete and repairs are made, roads are reopened, that this love for one another will continue. It is sad that it took something of this magnitude to bring out the best in people, but this is a big lesson for all of us to love one another as we love ourselves.

At the beginning of this natural disaster, there were over 50,000 people in the area without power. Our local utility company, with help from over 400 utility workers and companies across many states have been working round the clock to restore power and as of this morning, there was approximately 1,100 left without power. Kudos to the women and men who have been working in hazardous conditions since the beginning. Thank you to the many utility line workers that have left their families and homes to come help restore power. Also, thank you to the Water Plant for getting the water turned back on for all those that have been without water or were under a boil advisory.

For the residents that no longer have homes to live in, the ones that have no place to go to work, for the ones that are struggling to hang onto hope, my prayers are with all of you.

Here is a compilation video from WhioTV Channel 7, Dayton, Ohio of the Dayton-Miami Valley Area Storms.

Jesus loves you~always.

Jesus can turn any test into a testimony and any mess into a message. #HopeAlwaysHaveFaith

Blessings~Carlene

Advertisements

The Half That Makes Me Whole

I wrote this earlier this evening and posted it to my Facebook pages.

This Season I’m In

I want to scream and cry all at once
I want the fear and worry to cease
I want to know it will all be okay
I want the meltdowns to go away and never come back
I want healing and return to good health
I want peace without begging for it
I want the pain to end
I want one day to be perfect with no problems
I want the storms to pass and the dark valleys to become full of light again
I want to live and not just exist
I want to smile with my mouth and not just my heart
I want to walk with no more pain
I want to know my husband will never have another stroke or seizure again
I want to be all God calls me to be every day
I want to be a light to someone in their darkest times
I know this season I am will not last forever, this too shall pass
I know God will stretch me beyond what I think I can endure
I know God has a plan for my life
I know I may not understand His methods or His plan
I know part of growing is going through stuff
I know He is always with me
I know Jesus is my source of joy, never-ending love, strengthener of my faith
I know everything I go through, He will use for good
I know I am loved without conditions because I am HIS
I want the world to know that the Grace of God is enough to carry me when my eyes cannot see why we go through what we do. Jesus is enough.
I know how blessed I am and my wants are temporary, my love for Jesus is eternal.
©Carlene S. Wooddell/May 13, 2019

 

Hebrews 10:24 New Living Translation (NLT)
24 Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.

 

This past week/weekend, our family had some very scary moments.  Where you stop and evaluate your life. Where you remember that it can all be gone in an instant. My husband suffered a stroke that led to a series or maybe just one seizure lasting over 30 minutes. Wires and monitors everywhere, in and out of consciousness, not remembering the episode or even the ride to the hospital, not knowing how close we came to not having him in our lives.

We both know when it is our time to leave this earth, we will return home to Jesus. There is no fear of dying. The fear comes in when you watch the love of your life, laying there motionless and unable to communicate or even aware you are there. As I worked to maintain control of my emotions, silent prayers were being said, calling and texting all prayer warriors to come to our aid again.

FB_IMG_1496319303477

He survived this time. He is home now. I am doing my best to not be the “helicopter wife”, hovering over him and treating him like a baby that needs to be watched over, just waiting for the pin to drop, but it has been difficult to not do that. It is hard to watch him realize he doesn’t know much of what happened and even after asking multiple times, he can’t remember and must ask again. The sorrow in his voice as he apologizes for something he had no control over. The concern on how long these effects of his memory will last and the sheer fatigue that is hard to comprehend when all he does is sleep.

While I do my best to reassure him that the rest his body needs is imperative and the short term memory loss is normal, it does nothing to help him feel better about it. And I don’t know if I were in his shoes, it would make me feel any better or not.

The fact he is required to take new medications to prevent future seizures and the possibility of not driving until he is approved to do so by his Neurologists is scary. Losing any type of independence at any age is daunting.

But we will get through this together, one day at a time.

Tell the people in your life how much they mean to you, show them by your actions, love them daily as if it is their last because when that time comes for them to pass on, don’t leave regrets of words and actions not being said because you always thought there would be time. Settle disagreements quickly. Life is so very short.

Trust that Jesus has a plan for your life and He loves you very much!

Jesus can turn any mess into a message and any test into a testimony! #HopeAlwaysHaveFaith

Blessings~Carlene

Acceptance Is Needed

Genesis 1:27 New Living Translation (NLT)
27 So God created human beings[a] in his own image.
In the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.

April is Autism Awareness Month, but what I propose is let’s change it to Autism Acceptance month!   Awareness is okay, but acceptance is what is needed.  There are so many autistic individuals that hear ‘there isn’t a cure’ or ‘we don’t know what causes autism’ and for many individuals on the autism spectrum, they don’t want to be cured; they want to be recognized as individuals who have neurological differences and their brains are wired differently, but there isn’t anything wrong with them.  And guess what, they’re right. autism symbol

Tyson is still the same boy we loved before he was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. He has had many challenges and he will, most likely, face challenges as he grows older because of the autism, but having this neurological disorder doesn’t make him less than someone without it, it just means he needs extra help.

When Tyson was diagnosed in July of 2016, he was diagnosed as level 2, meaning he would require substantial support. He has made great strides through intensive home and outpatient therapy, preschool and has added ABA to his list of supports. He no longer needs PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) or sign language to communicate as he has found his voice. We are so thankful for and happy for him that he has. Communication is a big component of Autism. Some people are nonverbal indefinitely, other’s use visual supports and sign language or ACC devices to communicate.

sample pecs

Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) is an umbrella term that encompasses the communication methods used to supplement or replace speech or writing for those with impairments in the production or comprehension of spoken or written language.

Social cues is another big area where many autistic individuals have a difficult time. Depending on the individual they may learn how to ‘act’ like their peers and try to blend in; for others slang language or sarcasm is totally lost on them and they don’t understand why you can’t say what you mean, instead of ‘beating around the bush.’ Just be straight forward and say it! For Tyson, he is a very social person when he knows the people, but when we are in a waiting room or a store, he tends to hide and shy away from people. Too many people cause him to be afraid or have anxiety. Even places we go all the time, like outpatient speech therapy.

Sensory processing comes into play for a lot of individuals on the Autism Spectrum. Everyone is different. Bright lights, loud noises, the hum of fluorescent lights, hair dryers, vacuum cleaners, lots of people talking in a restaurant, too many people in one place –  these are just some of the things people can be overwhelmed by and if they become overstimulated or overloaded, a meltdown may occur.

Our Autism Home

Meltdowns are totally different than temper tantrums. A temper tantrum is a reaction to not getting something you want and a person throwing a fit looking for a reaction or response to it.  A meltdown is a neurological response to overload and they have no control over it happening. A meltdown looks different for every individual.

Stimming is a term that most people don’t understand or understand the reason why many autistic individuals stim. Lots of neurotypical people stim but usually in a more quiet way.  For instance, if you are the type of person that gets nervous in a meeting at work, you may tap your foot or click your pen. But most NT people know when to stop. For autistic individuals, stimming is a way to self-soothe when everything becomes too much to handle. Some people flap their hands, jump up and down, spin around, hum, make noises only known to them and their loved ones, dance and the list goes on. For every individual on the spectrum, there are just as many different ways to stim. The only time I have stopped Tyson from any particular stim is if he will hurt himself. Then redirection is necessary.

The one saying that holds true in the Autism community is “If you have met one person with autism, you have met one person with autism.” There are families with multiple people that have autism and not everyone in the family will deal with the same challenges or respond the same way.  Each case is individual.

The last thing I want to say about this today is please be aware that parents/grandparents/caregivers of children/adults of autism don’t have all the answers, they have the answers that work for their specific human. And sometime’s they don’t even have those. It is very exhausting to fight a system to get services, some due to long waiting lists or fighting with the insurance company to approve it or finding services that will be approved.

There are many different types of therapies that can help people on the spectrum, but not every person needs every therapy available and not every therapy available helps every person. To date, there are no medications for autism. There are many co-morbid conditions that some people with autism have, such as ADHD or anxiety/depression and there are medications for those; as well as many holistic approaches to help people.

The Lord God created all of us.  None of us are exactly alike. All of us are “wired” the way He chose for us to be. Please think about that the next time you meet an individual with who is Autistic.

I know I have only touched on the basics of Autism, but this is only the first of the month.

May you know how much Jesus Loves You! Jesus can turn any mess into a message and any test into a testimony! #HopeAlwaysHave Faith

Many blessings~Carlene

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reflections in My Mind

Psalm 119:169-170 New Living Translation (NLT)
169 O Lord, listen to my cry;
give me the discerning mind you promised.
170 Listen to my prayer;
rescue me as you promised.

I miss working daily.  I don’t miss rising super early while it’s still dark outside, with little traffic to speak of, but I do miss the daily conversations with co-workers and vendors/customers.  I don’t miss working on holidays or funky schedules because of the type of job it was, but being an extrovert and conversationalist, it’s difficult day in and day out to not talk to people, other than your family members you live with. Don’t get me wrong, I love my family.

I don’t miss being in such severe pain that I would cry every day as I limped to my vehicle for the 10-minute ride home.  I often wished my drive home was longer because this was the only time I had to myself throughout my day. Being a people person; never meet a stranger type gal, I still need quiet time for me.  And since retiring with a disability, the only time I get for myself is when I sleep. (I did have one day over the weekend where my husband took the two children for the day to visit other family members and it was very appreciated!)

There is always someone with me. I am very thankful to have my husband with me, as we continue to grow older and blessed that I get to spend all day with two of our grandchildren and our daughter, but there are moments when you just need your own space. And if you are a parent, then you know even going to the bathroom usually means there will be someone following you in to talk with you or “hang” out.  I never fully understood until I had children of my own, what parents meant when they said they couldn’t even hide out in the bathroom. Our children are grown, but inquisitive toddlers don’t understand their presence is not needed every time.

I used to read three to four books at a time, and now I am lucky to get through one chapter of a book in an entire day!  I miss reading like that.  Just immersing myself in a story, envisioning the characters and the scenes, gripping the book in my hands with a feeling of ‘I know I should go to bed but I can’t put it down just yet’ or ‘I’ve got to see how this ends’ mentality. Now I just pray to make it through one chapter and hope that by the time I can pick the book up again, I won’t forget what I read and have to start it over.  It’s so frustrating how my brain has changed since I retired due to my fibromyalgia and other health conditions.

I look back at where I was in 2016, leaving a job of 16 years, with no plans except trusting God for everything, to where I am now and a whole lot has happened in the short amount of time, but Jesus has carried me through every single situation. He has been my strength, my provider in more ways than one, and continues to be available for me every single second of every day.

art artistic black and white blank

Photo by Lynnelle Richardson on Pexels.com

*I was approved for my Social Security Disability within a few months of applying, for the first time on my own. No denial or a need to get an attorney to help me fight, which is all I heard from people when I said I was going to apply.

*Available to help our daughter with her son, after he was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder as he needed substantial support and constant supervision. Read everything I could get my hands on to learn about ASD and did my own type of “homeschool” to help him(this would not have been possible if I had been working full time).

*I wrote and self-published a book about the Jesus and His mercy and grace.

*Met others that live with the same type of health conditions I have so we can offer one another support and encouragement.

*My faith increased as I saw God’s hand in my life and the lives of those I love.

*Drew closer to the Lord through trials and tribulations of going from having an income to no income to a fixed income and thankful for pantries and organizations that help when you need it.

I’ve been blessed to witness so much in our grandson Tyson since his diagnosis in 2016. He was nonverbal. Now he is speaking. He made no eye contact or engaged with others, now he is doing better. He lived in his own world, and now he lets us in.  Every victory, big or small, is celebrated. And when I look back at to where he was at 26 months to now, I am so thankful God has placed the right therapists, doctors and medical support staff in our path.

I’ve sat with my husband at doctor appointments for myself and him, as we navigate the many health issues we have and I am thankful I was able to do that for him and not wonder what is going on, as his memory isn’t what it used to be.

I have seen our older grandchildren blossom into thinkers and doers. Always being kind and helpful to others. Moments that I would have missed had I not retired. But early retirement comes with a price. When it’s not planned and you have no life savings or retirement funds to look forward to, there is always the concern that what will happen if there is an emergency or a crisis.  Even in those moments, the Lord has seen us through.

I miss having a steady income stream. Or should I say I miss my hourly rate of pay? If I were to figure out my monthly disability income as an hourly wage, I would be making a lot less than the federal minimum wage.  And that 2% cost of living increase the federal government was so kind as to give people that receive social security doesn’t even begin to cover anything. But an increase is better than a decrease I guess. Receiving benefits once a month versus weekly or bi-weekly truly teaches the value of money and what you spend your money on.  Going to the movies, out to eat, bowling, museums, etc. that is a rarity. Trying to explain to children why they can’t have a $3 happy meal is difficult some days, but it is not the end of the world. Life goes on.

The one thing I despise is having a chronic condition and going to urgent care or emergency room because the pain you have is something out of the normal for you and if they know you have an autoimmune disorder, many tests/scans that might be done for a person without a chronic invisible illness, presenting with the same complaints and symptoms, isn’t even considered or done because of the chronic condition you have.  Why does the public or medical personnel think that every person with chronic pain related condition is seeking out drugs or medications for pain relief??? Sometime’s all you want is an answer to why you are feeling so poorly and wanting help.  You know it’s not the same kind of pain you live with day in and day out, but once they hear the F word (fibromyalgia) it’s chalked up to that and nothing is done. I know why, so you don’t need to tell me, it really was a rhetorical question.  Because there are many people that have cried wolf one too many times and makes it bad for the rest of us that truly do need help.  I don’t take any kind of pain medication that I can’t purchase over the counter from the pharmacy.  I can’t due to another health condition.

Prayer and focusing on Jesus and His Word carries me every day. I could complain all day long, but it won’t help me feel better.  It will actually suck the life out of me. Focusing on how blessed I am and how thankful and grateful I am makes me feel better, even on pain filled fatigued days.

Yesterday was a pain filled day. It didn’t start out that way, but as the day progressed, the severe muscle spasms that come when they feel like it and leave the same way, almost debilitated me yesterday.  As I was trying to reach something just out of my reach, they started in my abdomen, worked their way under my ribs on both sides and into my back and shoulders.  When these hit, there isn’t one thing that makes them better.  Lots of little things I try: stand up, bend over and hang in that position for a while, press firmly on my sides, try massage, ice packs, heating pads, a lot of breathing in and out slowly much like a woman having contractions in labor. I wish I could just walk them out similar to leg and foot cramps, but I am at the mercy of my body. And as they relaxed to a dull ache, and not a stabbing pain, I was finally able to lay down and rest. I hate when I have days like that. I’ve been dealing with these stupid spasms for over ten years. No one knows why they happen, or how to prevent them. I’m not low on magnesium or potassium, it’s not my heart, it’s just one minor inconvenience of having fibromyalgia.

I do take a supplement that helps with overall pain, but it’s not a cure-all for all my pain.  How I wish it was. But I am very thankful to have it as a tool that I use daily.

I am in the process of listening to the Lord and seeking guidance on writing another book. Not sure when it will happen, if it will happen but I feel a tugging on my heart to do it. I know God gives us the desires of our hearts and the gumption to achieve them.  I am still waiting to discern the topic for the book. My thoughts are jumbled and my spirit believes it has to do with His might and our worth in Him, but forming the words into sentences that make sense and will help others know Him more intimately, are still randomly bouncing around in my mind.

Our homelife recently changed, as our granddaughter Emmalin made her presence known. We are adjusting to having a baby in the house again and loving the fact we can see her daily, but how easy we forget the demands of a new babe and they have no sleep routine yet. They are more powerful than they realize. It’s all good.

As for reading, I am currently reading a book called The Autism Answer by Dr. Frank Lawlis. I will let you know what I think if I finish it.The Autism Answer by Dr Frank Lawlis

It’s only 122 pages long and years ago, I could have read that in a few hours. I have had it since last Friday and only have made it to page 11! So, maybe if the stars align, and Tyson is having a good day, and health problems don’t arise, maybe I will finish it before summer time.

I know this post has been all over the place, but that’s where my mind is today. My husband is having some health issues without any kind of answers and I will not say I am worried because worry gets you nowhere.  I am concerned that no answers of any kind seem to be attainable right now, but I will continue to press into the Lord and seek his guidance and wisdom.

May you know how much Jesus Loves You~right now and always. Jesus can turn any mess into a message and any test into a testimony. #HopeAlwaysHaveFaith

Blessings ~ Carlene

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

JOY

1 Thessalonians 5:15-19 New International Version (NIV)
15 Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

19 Do not quench the Spirit.

Joy comes from the Lord. Joy does not come or happen because of our circumstances and thank the Heavens for that.  If we depended on life’s circumstances to provide Joy in our lives, most times we would be sadly disappointed.

img_20190220_165052_101

Joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit.  It is not something you can turn on and off at will. It is a gift from the Holy Spirit.  I hear so many people say that they can’t find their joy or have no idea what joy looks like because their lives are so hard or difficult.  Joy has nothing to do with any of that.

It took me many years of prayerful time with the Lord and leaning on more mature Christians who know the Word and could counsel me in Godly ways to understand Joy isn’t something that happens.  It is just a part of who we are. If you are a believer in Jesus and profess to be a Christian and live, walk, eat and breathe a Christ-like existence, you have Joy. Period.  There will be times you can’t seem to grasp it. Times you don’t feel very joyful at all, but it’s there.

If I depended on life to grant me the gift of joy, I would be hard pressed to find it most days.  Happiness comes and goes but the Joy of the Lord is forever.

The past few weeks have been blessings and blessings with challenges or opportunities, I guess if I am being my optimistic, positive self. Our fifth grandchild, our second granddaughter blessed our lives. I call her my little peanut.  She is so tiny and precious. Just weighing a little over 7 pounds. She came into this world, with a good set of lungs and even a little bit of stubbornness. She loves when its time to eat; a little bit of a guzzler, can’t seem to get enough, but refuses to burp, which has been quite a challenge. But she doesn’t cry unless she’s hungry or needs to be changed. She has bright eyes and loves to scoot around on her back when lying in her bassinet. She almost reminds me of a “game-spinner”.  It doesn’t matter what position you lay her on her back, as she gets settled, she usually ends up facing the other way and she is just two weeks old today!

Being able to be in the delivery room, while our daughter gave birth, was so joyous of an occasion. The first time around with her son, Tyson, my other little buddy, that you have read about, I was banished out of her sight. Because I am a crier. I can cry at the drop of a hat. It can be something as simple as a cute commercial on television or something that isn’t even real.  With Tyson, for me, seeing my first-born child giving birth, I was so overcome with emotions, tears were streaming down my face and she couldn’t handle seeing those tears and I was given strict instructions, “Mom, if you are going to cry, you’re going have to back up, I don’t want to see you crying!” So, even though I was in the room to witness his birth, I wasn’t right by her side.

With our tiny Emmalin, I sat and held her hand, bound and determined, that no matter what, I would not let the tears spill out. And I held them at bay.  This time it was watching a miracle.  The miracle of watching our daughter give birth naturally (all the while, observing the epidural not work, pain meds do nothing to alleviate her pain of the harrowing back labor she was experiencing) with pure love, sheer grit, and determination to bring her daughter into view, was one of the most beautiful sights, this grandma’s eyes have ever seen! Praying and thanking Jesus for allowing me to watch and helping me to conceal my tears of joy. And realizing what a strong woman our daughter is. Even though she usually disagrees on being strong, this time she was strong and earned the respect of her parents, her older sisters, and her brother.

Ty & Emma

Big brother holding baby sister/Ty & Emma

As our family is growing, and we are learning new routines, Tyson is doing is best to be a good big brother. There are many challenges that go along with bringing a baby home to a home with a toddler that has had the rule of the territory for four and a half years. And while he proclaims to everyone and anyone, that’s “his baby”, he doesn’t understand why she can’t get on the floor and play with him or why he isn’t allowed to carry her around like a rag doll or why it’s not a good idea to poke her with his fingers in her face.

As we are ever vigilant, hyper-vigilance has become our new norm when he is awake as we have no idea what he may or may not do next. The jealousy of a new baby isn’t as noticeable as I thought it might be, because his mom and my husband and I are making special times for him too and there are many days you will find the baby in her arms, while she is sitting on the couch and him right beside them as close as he can get.  As with everything new for him, it will take some time for him to realize how “babies” actually work. He doesn’t comprehend why she can’t share goldfish crackers with him, but I think it’s great that he wants to share with her, just the same.

I am doing my best to hope and pray that the similarities I notice with Emmalin and Tyson are because they are siblings and not for any other reason, but it has always been on the forefront of my mind if she too will have some or all of the special needs he has and I continually pray that whatever needs she has, God, will continue to equip us to care for them as they need.

As an update for Tyson, he is thriving at his ABA (applied behavior analysis) therapy sessions. He loves going and right now he is attending 3 afternoons a week after he gets home from school.  On days when the weather closes the center, he is sad and doesn’t understand why he can’t go. As we continue to add more structure to his day, his aggressive behaviors and sensory meltdowns are not as bad. Instead of 6 hours a day dealing with them, some days it may only be a couple of hours to only 30 minutes. What a lifesaver this has been for all of us; as well as changing to ADHD medications that are working better for him than the ones he was previously taking.  We have also found, that playing with dominoes that his great-grandmother gifted him last year, can usually keep him focused and entertained for a while, without bouts of throwing or screaming.

Galatians 5:22 New Living Translation (NLT)
22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

May you know how much Jesus Loves you~right now and always! He can turn any mess into a message and any test into a testimony.  #HopeAlwaysHaveFaith

Blessings until next time~Carlene

 

 

 

 

 

HIS Peace

Proverbs 3:5 New Living Translation (NLT)
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.

I feel like I’ve been gnawing my way through tons of emotions this week to remember to trust in the Lord and realizing His ways I may not always understand, but He is in Control. Of EVERYTHING.

I love Jesus with all my heart. There is absolutely no doubt about that. I know HE is the God of Peace. I know He is Good. I know that many things happen in our lives and lately I have felt all alone, even when surrounded by those that love me.

I guess it’s some type of depression. I haven’t dealt with depression for me very much and so I have tried to banish it from my mind. I’ve lived with others that have depression and have lived with it for many years and I truly don’t know how they manage to make it through every single day, unscathed.

I know that I have always been able to turn to the Lord and He comforts me. He reminds me I am loved and no matter what I am in the midst of it is only temporary.  I cling to that hope. I hold on so tightly that sometime’s the tears don’t stop.  But no one sees the tears because I have learned to hide them. Even if they see tears, there is always an explanation of why. No one suspects anything. But hiding this depression isn’t helping me and it certainly isn’t helping anyone around me.

I am up late, usually alone, soaking in the silence and hanging on because once I go to bed, I don’t want to get up. I want to sleep.  Sleeping is easy because then I don’t have to face all the high stress in the house. High stress of living with a special needs child that creates stress for the rest of us. Stress, none of us, seem to be able to get a grip on. And as much as I don’t like to use the word worry, lots of concern over if our happy little guy will ever be back again. If his appetite will come back. If he will want to eat foods again that he used to love and were good for him. If he will learn how to control the sensory overload and not go on a rampage throwing toys, breaking objects, trying to hurt himself and hurt others. And while I pray about this and I think about it every single second I am awake, life goes on.

My friend Mary went to be with the Lord eight days ago. I grieve for knowing I can’t talk to her anymore, her children don’t have their mom to hug and hold, her husband must go on without her and all the people whose lives she has touched, have this deep sense of loss just as I do. But Mary knew her time was near. She had visions of being with Jesus. No matter how painful her last few days were, cancer could not destroy her spirit. She fought her short battle with so much grace and dignity, I can only hope I can go as peacefully when my time comes.  And I know I will gaze upon her face in the future. I know she is with our Lord and Savior, dancing and singing in Heaven showering Him with Praise and totally pain-free. And that gives me peace.

In 4 weeks, more or less, there will be a new life in our home. I am so excited to meet our newest granddaughter, but I am cautiously optimistic because I am concerned about how her brother will react when she cries. Will, he still gaze upon her as he does every other baby he sees with such awe and wonder? Or will he not understand and act out? Will he be gentle and kind, or will he………?

New therapy and new medications have started and I am believing this will be the missing pieces along with continued love and support to help our little guy gain some understanding of what works for self-regulation. For ways to cope when the noise becomes too much for his little body to handle all by itself. Sensory tools are being used in the home to help too. A new sensory swing that he now requests. A new “favorite game” he calls it. He lays on the couch and I lean back across him, applying pressure, for only a few seconds, several times in a row. And then he seems to feel better. And in those moments, we have peace.

blue sky clear sky cold fog

Photo by Bri Schneiter on Pexels.com

Even as I write this, I feel a peace settling in around my heart. A peace that only comes from God because, without Him, I would be a wreck of a human being.  I want this peace to become so much that nothing shakes me to the core. I used to have that peace and slowly, I let the distractions in my life, chip it away bit by bit. This last week has been proof of that. Thoughts that come to mind and I send them fleeing because they are not thoughts from my Lord. Words unspoken, because I realize we all deal with our emotions so differently and words hurt. Even well-meaning words can have an effect that nothing good can come from.

I consciously choose to love through it all. And I also consciously know without Jesus, His grace, His forgiveness, His love, and His mercy, I would be a jumbled up ball of emotions, shaking in a corner and wishing I could go home too.

I don’t like being depressed. Or even sad. I know the enemy would like nothing more for me to succumb to it. But the one thing satan seems to forget is I am a God girl and there is nothing he can do that will ever change my mind, my heart or my soul. I am a Princess of the King of Kings and I know my God is bigger than anything I will ever face.

Lord Jesus,

Thank you for loving me unconditionally, no matter what type of emotions or circumstances I find myself in, You are always there. You hold me up when I feel like I am falling. You strengthen me when my strength is gone. You give me peace where I can’t find any. You battle for me in the realms where I cannot go and Your love endures forever. Your peace no one can snatch from me. I hang onto the hope Father that you have plans for my life, plans to prosper me and not harm me, plans to give me hope and a future. You give me people to counsel me and share their testimonies of what a faithful father you are. You will never abandon me, or leave me. I love you, Lord! Father God, I ask that you forgive my unbelief when I doubt that you are working in my life. When I can’t see past the hurt and sorrow, when I weep, I know you are still working in and through me and on my behalf. In Your Mighty and Powerful name, Jesus. Amen

Jesus Loves You~right now and always. He can turn any mess you are in, into a message and any test you go through into a testimony! #HopeAlwaysHaveFaith

Blessings to all ~ Carlene

Living in a Battle Zone

Genesis 1:27 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

 

Constantly aware. Ever vigilant. Exits secured. Dodging bullets (nerf bullets, toy trucks, sippy cups, shoes, metal toy cars, anything that can be used to target a person or glass screen, window or door). No bunker to run to for safety. No place to retreat to escape the torment. Physically or emotionally. The only place to retreat is Jesus, crying out for shelter and rest as tears tumble down your cheeks. Mentally trying to figure out your next battle plan, strategy to calm the attacks. Weeping because you are exhausted of this every single day.  Thankful that 28 days ago, there was a truce of sorts. No battles, no lashing out, no rage at all. A day of peace with quiet, but sad because that was a day he wasn’t feeling good and just wanted to be held and cuddled. Wouldn’t let you let go, because he feels most secure when he’s close and held tight.

Sounds and noises we cannot hear, whether we have tuned them out because we have the ability to filter out noise or because we aren’t gifted to hear such quiet noises he can hear. The moment the gas furnace comes on before we can hear it before we can feel the hot air coming through the floor vents, he rushes over and is fearful, asking “what’s that noise?” but I hear nothing out of the norm. A few seconds later, I hear it chug to life and feel the heat. I assure him it’s nothing to be afraid of, it’s just the furnace (in the basement far from where he hears it).

Investigator of all. The coffee pot full of HOT coffee. The toolbox with sharp tools, that can’t be locked. The dryer that is big enough to climb inside. The vacuum that might need a new belt or part. The stovetop where he can cook his play food.  The step stool he tries to stand on to reach something that has been put up high, out of his reach. The tablet or smartphone that he probably knows how to operate better than us. There is never a time we can let him out of our line of vision. Because no matter how many times we say, STOP or DANGER he will still reach for them or climb on it.

Constantly moving, sits for YouTube videos and when he is in his car seat with a locked chest clip and buckle guard, so he can’t escape while the vehicle is moving or in his specialty stroller with a built-in torso vest and extra fasteners. Activities that once held his attention painting, playdough, putting puzzles together, coloring, matching sequences, matching objects in a memory game, no longer appeal to him.

Body slams into people and walls, gates and furniture. Climbing and jumping off of anything he can. Sliding down the stairs on his stomach face or feet first. The faster and harder the surface the better. Hitting and punching, pulling your hair, grabbing your eyeglasses off your face, biting, throwing his body on the floor, banging his head. All the while, trying to stop him from doing things to hurt himself or you. Holding him tight, hugging him, playing music, counting out loud, letting him swing, offering his trampoline, suggesting he spins himself around or jumps up and down. Let’s make a tent so you can hide in the darkness.

 

Houdini wanna-be. Made it past adult the other day, out the back door wearing a pull-up only. No clothing/coat or shoes. Hates clothing. It was 34 degrees. He didn’t get far this time, I was in the driveway. Doors are secured with locks at the top, every single door in the home, but where there’s a will, he always seems to find a way.

Sleep is either totally out or restless. There is no in between. If he goes to sleep too early in the evening (9pm), he’s full-on awake by 1 a.m. If he waits to go to sleep later in the evening, he’s too tired to function in the morning hours. Night terrors since birth. Some doctors say he will outgrow them. Cannot sleep alone due to health conditions. He co-sleeps with his mommy or me, so at least every other night, we can get some rest. Sleep only comes with the help of prescribed medication, otherwise sleep is like that of a newborn baby, constantly up and down all night.

Psalm 139:13-14 New Living Translation (NLT)
13 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.

Many prayers prayed throughout the day. Not to make him better, but to help him. Help him figure out why he acts the way he does, how to control his moods and impulses. Show us how to love him through it all in a calm manner. Help us figure out what sets off the explosions, the sensory overloads, the meltdowns, the anger. Help us know when he is in pain, help us to soothe the noise. Help us to respond and not react. Reactions are normally based on emotions and emotions ride very high when you feel like from the minute you wake up until you lay your head down for the night you live in a battle zone. Responding in love and compassion and words that lift up are always much better, even if it takes him a while to process it.

His brain is wired differently than ours. He sees the world differently. That’s okay. We need to learn how to teach in a way that he learns. In a way that he hears. Our expectations can’t be set so high that we set him up to fail before we even start. And we also can’t see our parenting skills as a failure. We know we are doing the best we can. He has one parent and two grandparents that care for him daily. That battle with him daily. That on occasion, we laugh and giggle with him daily.

We miss our happy-go-lucky boy. We miss the one that used to love to build block towers, play with toy cars on his toy race track, blow bubbles. We miss sitting and watching Paw Patrol and Blaze and the Stuart Little Movies over and over and over again.

We miss the child that used to love all types of food, raw vegetables, cooked ones, all types of meats, dairy products, foods that fueled our bodies. Now his main staples are chicken nuggets, chips, cookies, and juice. Occasionally a yogurt sneaks in. And cold cereal.  We miss the child that used to drink his liquids the right way and now we must watch him drink and make him swallow it or he will spit it out on himself, you or the floor, table, wherever he can.

We miss the child that didn’t seem angry and upset all the time.  We know he is still in there because we see glimpses of him.

We miss the days when he didn’t have to take medication unless he had a fever or an infection of some sort. Now he takes medications to prevent seizures from happening on a regular basis. Medication to help him fall asleep and stay asleep. Medication to help him focus and not be so aggressive. And I often wonder with all the medication he is taking, the constipation it causes him to have isn’t a source of the battles. We will find out more at the end of February when he goes to see a GI specialist.

When we are in public, we pray he will have a good time. No throwing himself on the floor. No knocking merchandise off the shelves. No meltdowns. But when he sees his developmental doctor, although we don’t want him to have problems, it would be nice if just once they could visualize the outbursts of aggression so they could understand it’s not just him having a bad day.  All of us have bad days from time to time.  Days we want to stay in bed, pull the covers over our heads and skip participating in life that day.

BUT, even with all of this, we are very grateful for how far he has come. Two 1/2 years ago there were no words. No way for him to communicate with us at all. And during this time he has had to endure extensive speech therapy every week. In-home therapies.

Soon, he will be starting ABA services. In hopes that they can reach him and help him and help us to live a little bit more of a peaceful existence.

We will continue to fight the battles and strategize the best way to live our lives with this amazing little boy. He is truly a blessing in our lives. We would never want to imagine him not with us, no matter how hard it can be.

Having a child with special needs requires a lot of perseverance and a whole lot of patience and never-ending unconditional love. And a grandma like me, that isn’t afraid to pray over him daily that Jesus will help him to understand the world around him and that the world will understand and love him just as much as we do.

In four days, his back to school will resume. The winter break has been brutal. His routines thrown out the window. And it will take him a couple of weeks to get back into that routine. Most families cherish winter and spring breaks, a time to refresh and rejuvenate and all I have been praying for is when the day comes to put him back on the bus and sit down with my feet up for a couple of hours and just rest in the peace and quiet.

animal army battle canine

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

So, the next time you hear someone say that being a special needs parent is much the same as being a combat soldier, their not downplaying the role of a soldier in combat, but relating the stress levels are just as high. If you know of a family that has special needs individuals, ask if you can help. If you are a special needs family, don’t be afraid to ask for help and support.

Love one another, through the good, the bad and the ugly. Show grace when you feel like you’ve failed. You are doing the best you can. Seek the Lord and His guidance. PUSH-pray until something happens.

Mark 9:22-24 New Living Translation (NLT)
22 The spirit often throws him into the fire or into the water, trying to kill him. Have mercy on us and help us, if you can.”23 “What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.”24 The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!”

 

Tomorrow is a new day. A clean slate. I cling to Hope.

Jesus loves you more than you will ever know! Jesus can turn any mess into a message and any test into a testimony. #HopeAlways#HaveFaith

Blessings~Carlene