Category Archives: love

Fresh Start

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2019

As 2018 draws to a close, thank you from the bottom of my heart for sticking with me and being part of my life.

May 2019 bring you peace and joy.  At the stroke of midnight, you will have 365 days to write your story.  Every choice we make determines the destination we land at.

Love others, forgive often, admit mistakes, don’t be too hard on yourself. Show yourself grace in difficult moments.

Jesus Loves You~always.  Jesus can turn any mess into a message and any test into a testimony! #HopeAlwaysHaveFaith

Blessings~Carlene

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Faith Can Move Mountains

I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33 NLT

person on a bridge near a lake

Photo by Simon Migaj on Pexels.com

 

I read the above verse, and I am reminded that I have the  Holy Spirit with me. He dwells within me and I know that without Him, I wouldn’t have made it this far.  Each approaching new year, there are always goals/visions/hopes/dreams we each have. Some people make New Year’s Resolutions, others choose to make lifestyle changes, dietary changes, relationship changes, and some choose to just look at it as another day and keep putting one foot in front of the other.

I look back over the past 12 months and I have seen a lot of hard behaviors to cope with, on a daily basis. Keeping the peace of Jesus in my heart and alive in my life has been nothing short of a miracle; many days I wept inwardly, wondering where that Peace was. How had I went from being able to handle almost anything that required coping skills, to being in constant prayer and conversation with my Maker because I felt I was losing my grasp on His Peace. What had gone so awry that I felt lost and alone, in a room full of people? And then I realized that I was relying too much on my own strength and not relying on His.

In our home, we have many medical diagnoses. Four of us live here, soon to be five give or take 6-7 weeks if our soon to be (second) granddaughter waits until her due date to make her arrival.  I personally deal with fibromyalgia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, sleep apnea, degenerative disc disease in my lumbar spine with facetous arthritis, osteoarthritis in my hip/knee joints, carpal tunnel syndrome, thyroid disorder, high blood pressure. Plus I live with people who suffer from depression/anxiety/heart/stroke/language disorders, autism, adhd, sensory processing disorder, epilepsy, and mental illness.

Keeping track of medical appointments, therapy schedules, labs that need to be completed in a timely manner and pregnancy-related appointments, just about makes my head spin; dealing with IEP’s and developmental delays….the list goes on.  If only one of us is having a rough day, we can manage pretty good; if all of us are having an off day, it’s a true struggle.

It’s remembering that I was not created to do things in my own strength.  I have heard, as I am sure you have too, that God will not give you any more than you can handle and there have been days I have questioned that statement. But the Truth is, God doesn’t expect us to handle anything on our own, but to turn to Him and rely on Him.

And while in the midst of my cries to the Father, seeking guidance on how to proceed with this life He allows me to live, waiting on His answer is always the hardest part for me. In the past two years, since retiring early due to disability, I thought for sure I knew the path He would take me, but it has been such an amazing and frustrating journey, that He only gives me glimpses of what He has called me to do. Just enough to take that next step of faith. I can only imagine that if I were to see the entire picture of the plan He has for my life, it would be so all-consuming, overwhelming that I might crumble at the thought of it.

In His infinite wisdom, He knows what is best for each of us. He provides for every need. It may not be the provision we envisioned, or even hoped for, but He always gives us just the right words, at just the right moment. And yes, He answers prayers. Some days it’s “Yes, my child.” “No, not now.” or “Wait, it’s not time for you to know yet.” In His perfect timing. I have learned not to pray for patience because patience always requires testing of some kind; so I pray for peace to get through those times.

Every single solitary thing we go through in life refines us into the people God created us to be. Some are very exciting and mind-blowing, others are so sad and sorrowful, we want to skip that process, but every single second of our lives, He is working in us and for us. And the grass always seems greener on the other side of the fence.

I love my family more than my own life. I don’t like when we are nipping at one another, or being grumpier than normal, because it tears me up inside. I guess though, that since we are human, that is bound to happen from time to time.

I’ve been in my own world for weeks now. A close dear friend is fighting the battle of her life with a cancer diagnosis and no definitive results yet on exactly the type of or the best type of treatment for her. And when I think of all she has been through, what her family is going through daily, I give thanks because my problems don’t seem so out of control as they feel. The strength and courage that she has shown, in living out her faith and trusting in the Lord brings joy to my heart and encourages me to look for every single blessing I have or blessings I have overlooked.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 New Living Translation (NLT)
16 Always be joyful. 17 Never stop praying. 18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

Whatever mountain you are facing in your lives today, please know there is a Savior that would love to hear from you. He is always available. He is always listening.

Jesus can turn any mess into a message of hope and any test into a testimony.

May you know how much Jesus Loves You~right here-right now!

#HopeAlwaysHaveFaith

Blessings until next time~Carlene

 

 

 

 

 

 

Raging Storm

lightning and gray clouds

Photo by Andre Furtado on Pexels.com

I love our grandson Tyson. I will do anything for him. Today, I did a whole lot more praying over him and crying out to my Lord, Jesus Christ seeking guidance and peace.

Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:16‭-‬18 NLT

I am worn out. We all are. One minute the day is going well and the next we are trying to figure out what sets him off into a crying, screaming, angry little guy. These meltdowns use to be sporadic, now they’re daily, off and on all day until he falls off into dreamland. Whatever is triggering these meltdowns is also affecting his speech therapy at school and in the outpatient setting. Maybe he’s tired of going all the time and just needs a break; we really have no idea.

The few times I’ve seen him focus on anything here at home lasts only for 5-10 minutes. He has combined type ADHD. Not only is he very hyperactive, he also struggles with focusing on tasks and is very impulsive. His Developmental Pediatrician says it could be attributed to being autistic while also dealing with adhd and seeking sensory input or wanting to avoid sensory overload. While we are trying medication to help in those areas, we are also waiting to start ABA services.

I wonder when these raging times happen if he’s in pain we don’t know about or he believes we know why and wonders why we aren’t helping him.

We have had one day this month where we saw a glimpse of our happy loving child. In our eyes nothing was different than any other day, but for him it was. He laughed and played and not one angry outburst or meltdown. I actually marked that on my calendar; as a reminder he did have a good day. Something to hold onto. Hope if you will.

My heart breaks for him. To live a life where he can’t express the noise within except by lashing out. He kicks, body slams into walls and doors, hits, bites, pulls our hair, throws toys, cups, plates full of food. I fear he is regressing in some way and I don’t know how to stop it.

Being 4, he is very inquisitive and like most children, special needs or not, he still investigates tools and their uses, tries to help fix things he thinks needs fixing or breaking something so he can fix it. And in his mind if something breaks, we can just go to the store and buy another.

Up until this behavior became an everyday thing, I would hear from other parents of the struggles they were going through and thank God we weren’t. Now I understand the sheer exhaustion of it all.

His baby sister will be arriving in a couple of months and as much as I don’t like to worry, because it only causes more unnecessary stress, I wonder what our life will be like then.

I know God is in control. I know He has great plans for Tyson. My prayer is that we will figure out how to help him in regulating his moods so we can live in our home without tears daily. For all of us.

As I sit here and gaze upon this sleeping child, there is a sense of peace that I haven’t seen across his face for a very long time.

I don’t know what our future holds, but I know The One who holds our future.

Father God, Help us help him. Help us be the light in the darkness of these storms. Strengthen us and pour out your peace upon us all. In Jesus Mighty name. Amen

May you know how much Jesus Loves You…right here…right now.

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

Blessings to all~Carlene

 

 

 

 

 

 

Giants

Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”

John 8:12 NLT

 

All of us have dark times in our lives, times that seem hopeless and we feel that no matter what else happens, we will stay stuck in that dark place. It’s easy to let feelings like that wear on you.  I have had those feelings lately.

And in the midst of those feelings of despair and depression that takes hold and doesn’t want to let go, Jesus is there. He is my Hope. He is the reason I don’t give up and I don’t quit.

There have been many days that I would rather, pull the covers over my head and go back to sleep than have to get up and face the day and all it holds and that is exactly what the devil wants. He wants me and you to believe that nothing will ever be better and the feelings of hopelessness will consume us and everything in our lives. That is why it is so important to stay in The Word; to spend time with the Creator of the Universe.

Jesus came to earth as a baby, born to man, to save us and give us everlasting life. This life we live here on earth is temporary. This is not our permanent home. I know sometime’s I forget that. He endured hardships, trials, struggles and yet even though he never sinned, not once, He died on a cross, bore the sins of the world so that once and for all, sin would be no more.  He shed His blood for me. For you. He did this so you and I could have life and that through Him we would live forever with Him in eternity.

There have been many times lately, that I have hoped for that eternal life. No more pain, no more tears, no more frustrating times. He has a plan for our lives. And in the midst of those plans, heartbreak happens. But if we put our faith in Jesus, He will see you through it all.

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For the past several weeks, in our home, we have battled with our grandson. He requires a lot of patience and understanding. Living with a child that is autistic, you never know from one moment to the next what will happen. The demands of a special needs parent/caregiver are great.  And until you go through it, and take that walk, you can never fully comprehend all it encompasses.  It’s not an easy road.  Teaching him requires thinking outside of the box. His learning styles are vastly different from other children his age.  He processes information more slowly than most.  And just when you think you have him all figured out, when you know what upsets him or throws him into a sensory overload, you are right back to where you don’t know as much as you thought.

We love him immensely, but there have been many times, I have asked God, “Why?” Why is he one of the many that have to have these struggles? Why couldn’t he be normal? Why do we have to keep the same routines, no spontaneity allowed in our life, because this will set him off? Why must he have sleepless nights, with night terrors? Why do bright lights and loud noises hurt him so much? And while there have been no concrete answers, I was reminded of the story of the man born blind who was healed by Jesus and saw for the first time (see John 9 for the details).

I know that God has a plan for Tyson and his life. I may not understand the plan, I may have a hard time coping with what he goes through each day, but I have a God that is bigger than any problem that comes our way.  Through Tyson, I see the world through different eyes. Even through the tears, I am reminded that Jesus is with us. And with him. And how much he lights up when I talk to him about Jesus. While I may never fully know how much Tyson understand or comprehends, I know he knows Jesus. Worship music soothes him. Going to church and learning about Jesus makes him smile.

Tyson reminded me, late Sunday afternoon, how much he loves being with others that love Jesus too.  My husband and I woke up early Sunday morning, and quietly prepared to leave the house to attend church. Usually, we wake Tyson and take him with us, but I was being selfish and I wanted a break.  A break from chasing him and fighting with him to get in his carseat and stay buckled in. A break from his mood swings and impulsivity; so we quietly got ready to leave, leaving him to sleep with his mother and left without him. Later in the day, as he sat on my lap, telling me over and over, “I love you mamaw,” he looked at me with a sad little face and said, “you go church?” When I replied, “yes, papaw and I went to church,” as his tiny little lip quivered, he exclaimed, “I go church!”And I had to tell him no, not this week. He cried. And I realized then, that my selfishness caused him pain. The last thing I ever want to do. And I also realized that this tiny 4-year-old has a love for the Lord and even though it may be a struggle getting there, I won’t withhold that from him anymore.

During the sermon Sunday, the pastor reminded me that all of us must have the sincere faith and love that a child has for Jesus. A child isn’t afraid to ask and make requests, no matter how outlandish they may seem as we grow older. Children aren’t cynical like most of us, mainly because they haven’t had the life experiences we have had and take Jesus at His Word. Isn’t that how we should all be? Jesus came so that we could have life, and have it abundantly! He died on a cross so we could have eternal life! We should have nothing to fear because we have Jesus!

Worry can consume us, which becomes fear of what may happen, but Jesus tells us that He will always be with us, He will never leave us; never forget about us.  What a promise to take hold of and help us as we go through our days! He is the living water, and we will thirst no more!

John 7:38 New Living Translation (NLT)
38 Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’”

I am forever grateful that I have a Savior that loves me unconditionally and is always available to me, no matter the time of day.  He is available to you too!

Luke 11:8-9 New Living Translation (NLT)
8 But I tell you this—though he won’t do it for friendship’s sake, if you keep knocking long enough, he will get up and give you whatever you need because of your shameless persistence.[a]

9 “And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.

Trust in the Father. Have faith. Hope Always.

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

Many blessings~Carlene

 

 

 

 

Moving Forward

Revelation 21:4 
‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

I look forward to the day when Jesus returns as He promises in His Word. I eagerly anticipate when there will be no more pain, no more tears of sorrow and mourning will be ended once and for all. 

Earlier this week, a dark cloud appeared in our lives and reminded us that life is but a fleeting moment here on earth. That just as there is a time for being born, there is also a time to die. It was with great sadness, my father-in-law drew his last breath. While we know, he is in Heaven with The Father, it does not make it any easier for the family members that are left behind. While we can rejoice in knowing, we will see him again, the ache that hangs onto your heart and the tears that are near the surface of spilling out, that is a sorrow that will take years to get over. 

When I was younger, I always heard that”time heals all wounds”.  I know, now as an adult, that it isn’t the case, exactly. I know that one of the reasons grief is so hard and messy is that when you grieve the loss of someone that you love and care deeply for, there is no time frame for when that grief stops. I lost my own father three years ago and he is always on my mind. I know that when it was time for him to leave our presence and go to the presence of Jesus, he no longer suffered or struggled with his pain and labored breathing, and in that essence, he was in a much better place.  And I also know that no amount of preparing yourself for the inevitability of a loved one’s time is drawing near, cannot prepare your heart for the sorrow it holds when their time has come. 

Each and every person deals and handles grief differently. There is no right or wrong way to grieve.  Today, as I surveyed the space within the room where a time of hugs, laughter, and tears were erupting, I realized how short life is. Every person on this earth touches the hearts of others, in many ways.  Some experiences are pure joy, while others are hard lessons to learn and some are sad. I have learned that no matter how much time you have to live your life, living it to the fullest means not leaving this earth with regrets. Or living in the “I wish I had done________” or “What if?”.

Cherish your family, make amends if needed, love deeply. At the end that is all that matters. Loving each other for the time we are given on this earth. Regrets don’t have to be if we choose to live in the abundance of love. Forgive others, hold dear the memories and treasures of the time you have with those that make up your tribe. Be thankful and grateful that you were blessed to be part of their life. Don’t be afraid to speak their name or share a memory or story of why they were so special in your life. 

I have found, in my experience with loss, as you share what you loved about the person you’ve lost, not only does that piece of your heart that feels like it will never be the same again, start to fill with love because you had them in your life, the sorrow does become easier to live with. It’s always there, but in order to continue living your life, some days you have to tuck it away in a special place in your soul and some days you allow it to run freely because you just need to do that. That’s okay.  Every one of us grieves and processes things differently.

Saying goodbye is never easy. Tomorrow we will say our final farewell to a man that meant so much to so many. And I will cherish all the memories that we shared over the past 24 years. I will share those moments with our children and grandchildren so our family history will continue with each generation. 

We love you, dad. We will miss you. We are happy that you are home with mom now and we look forward to when we will see you again. Thanks for being a part of our lives. 

Dad & Mom Wooddell

In loving memory of Donald K. “Woody” Wooddell. First breath taken on 10/26/31 and last breath drawn on 11/12/18.

May you know how much Jesus loves you~right now~in this moment. Jesus can turn any mess into a message and any test into a testimony. #HopeAlwaysHave Faith

Blessings until next time~Carlene

Daily Life Struggles

Proverbs 15:15 The Message (MSG)

15 A miserable heart means a miserable life;
a cheerful heart fills the day with song.

 

With joy in my heart, I still struggle.  Joy comes from the Lord and no one can take that from me. I can choose to live with a joyful heart and know that I will still face many struggles and trials, but still, love and be the person I am because God has placed Joy in my heart or I can choose to live without joy and be miserable always.

Over the weekend, the fibromyalgia flared up and reared its ugly head. The constant pain that never fully leaves, but some days are so rough, that just breathing and moving, make you question if getting out of bed was the right thing to do. And knowing that if you choose to remain in your bed, how many things will face you to take care of once you arise.  Most of us that have fibromyalgia know that sometimes the best we can do for ourselves is to stay in our beds or the comfy places we have carved out in our homes. We do not have the energy to get dressed, shower, or do any extra. Getting up takes every ounce of energy just to be able to spend time with our families, and going anywhere is totally out of the question. That was me on Saturday. I showed up, in my nightgown and I stayed in my nightgown all day. I KNEW I was not going out into the cold for any reason and I saw no point in causing myself more pain to get dressed simply because that was expected of me.

I have dealt with FM for 10 years. And for the past year, it has been manageable. But for the past several months, I have noticed since stopping the natural supplements I was using, my inflammation throughout my body and the pain levels have been increasing again.  I choose to work through my pain in prayer and time with the Lord. Limiting what I do. Staying in more than going out and while dealing with my own health battles, helping our grandson through his.

He has come a long way in the past two years since being diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. He talks now. He is becoming very independent, but also very demanding. He is four. When he wants something, he wants it now. And even though he asks for something correctly and always says please, he does not understand when he is told no.  He tries again, to word it differently or even smile and say please and sometime’s the answer is still no. I know it must be confusing, because he is being polite, and saying please, but simply does not understand that even if you do everything right, sometime’s the answer will still be no.

So imagine being in such excruciating pain, that you do not want anyone touching you; let alone a four-year-old jumping on you, bouncing into you, climbing on you, but you don’t dare say no because you don’t want to make him feel unloved. He doesn’t understand what it means when I say “that hurts” or “please don’t do that”. And he loves to give big hugs, he loves deep pressure. He loves climbing behind me on the sofa and me leaning back on him, but all I want to do is cry because every amount of playtime for him is pain time for me. But I do it because this brings him comfort and joy. Love is powerful that way.

I left my home on Sunday to go to church. I needed that more than I knew. I didn’t realize how much I missed the interaction with others until I was there. I interact with people daily through social media and texting, but it just isn’t the same as being able to see smiles, receive hugs and just be loved on for simply being you. By the time, my husband and I arrived at the church with our grandson in tow, we were both emotional. My emotions were creeping near the surface, ready to spill out in the form of tears. My husband was frustrated because our grandson is a runner and any chance he gets, he bolts. Even though he had his safety harness on, and my husband was holding onto the strap, he wasn’t ready to go on a run with him.

And Tyson has learned that if we are trying to pick him up from the ground, and we want him to stand, all he has to do is bend his knees when we are lifting him and he becomes heavier to maneuver.  He is big for his age. He’s four, but weighs 50 pounds and is over three and a half feet tall. Carrying him for any length of time is strenuous to us “old” folks. Wrestling him into his car seat so we can go anywhere is an everyday battle. Once in the seat, he does ok, but getting him in the seat is a battle, every single time. And he has to be in a five-point harness because otherwise he would be climbing all over the vehicle and exploring.  Safety and danger are words he does not understand. He always wants to sit in a regular seat with just a seatbelt but we know that won’t happen until he is much older.

Walking into the church lobby, as we were greeted, the tears started welling up, and I just didn’t have the strength to hold them back or hide behind a pasted-on smile and pretend everything was good. I was tired. Tired of my own pains, tired of always struggling with Tyson when we need to leave the house. Tired of always being the positive one. We all have our breaking point. Yesterday was mine.  I know the devil will do anything he can to try and break me. For the past three weeks, I have opted not to leave the house on Sunday. I’ve made excuses, stayed home, watched our church’s live stream of the sermon and remain isolated because that was so much simpler than struggling with him to go anywhere. In doing that, though, I lost out on connecting with other people and being surrounded by people that love us through all our struggles; people that are compassionate and caring and offer to help in any way they can.

Sailing Life

I think for most of us that live with autistic individuals it’s not that we don’t welcome the offers of help or hope that someone will be willing to help, it’s that we don’t know what kind of help to ask for. Our home is “proofed” for him. We have specialized gates, taller than him to keep him safe and confined to an area of the home where there isn’t danger. We have learned not to have “pretty” things that he can break. We know if he is outside, he must always be (1) holding your hand tightly (2) have his safety harness on (3) be secured in his specialty stroller with a vest and five-point harness or (4) be in a fenced-in area where no escape is possible. We know he has food aversions and sensitivities. We must always have his emergency seizure medications at the ready and available. And the list goes on. Going anywhere, we must still take a change of clothes bag and appropriate necessities, because he isn’t potty trained yet. And if someone opts to take him for a few hours, what if he hurts himself, has a seizure, breaks something, gets sick. Yes, he is verbal now. Can he communicate everything he needs to? No.

The one thing I can offer to those willing to ask: please don’t stop asking. For me, it’s hard to ask for help for anything for myself, Tyson or our family. But I am learning to accept it. Accepting prayers from others is easy. I love to pray for others too. Accepting offers of helping with Tyson is getting easier, but I know how challenging his behaviors can be and I know that we never know from one moment to the next what he understands and what he doesn’t, but we do know he is very smart and intelligent in many ways. And letting go and accepting help may not be in my nature, but being part of a community of people that love us regardless of our challenges does truly make all the difference in the world.

May you know how much Jesus Loves You~right now~right at this moment and always.

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

Blessings until next time~Carlene