Above All

I value honesty above all. I was taught by my parents, that no matter how hard it is, to be honest, at times, it is still the very best way to live.

I believe that with my whole heart. I have grown up believing that a person’s integrity will carry you far in life and integrity builds character. Anyone can tell a lie, but the person with a clear conscience is always honest, all the time.

I always strive to give my honest opinion when asked, and most of my close friends and family might say that I am brutally honest or very blunt. I do not like hurting people’s feelings and/or making them feel bad. When this happens, I have to stand back and take a look at how I reacted when I was asked a question, because I know that although many people claim to believe honesty is the best course of action, not all people carry through.

There have been many times in my 52 years that I have had to apologize. Feelings were shattered, friends felt betrayed and I felt like the worst friend in the world. I am the same whether I am at home, church, a job, or in public. I am not afraid to give my opinion, whether solicited or not, I stand up for my beliefs.  I can’t imagine how people do it when they act one way at work, a totally different way at home and yet another way when they’re out with friends. That seems like it would be very tiring and very disingenuine.

The one thing I need to learn, is I don’t always have to offer my opinion on the subject. I could do a better job of creating boundaries and explaining that I do not feel like I am the best person to answer on all subjects I am asked. I do feel I have significant knowledge to deal with most things that cross my path, but there are moments, after I have spoken, what I believe to be the truth, that I wish I could take it back. Not because it isn’t a truthful statement, but because of the injury it may cause to another person. Many times, most people, don’t want to hear the truth because truth can hurt, but if we don’t walk and live in Truth through Jesus and live out our lives according to Him, are we really His disciples?

Walking in truth means to be able to walk in love and share the love of the Lord with others through our conversations and remember to season our words with grace. Along with being honest above all, forgiveness must play a role if I overstep my boundaries.

Earlier this week, a friend asked for my opinion and I told her the truth, what I believed to be the truth and I hurt her deeply. The last thing I ever want to do is hurt someone I love so much. I am very extroverted and speak my mind. I have realized that maybe I could have handled that conversation a little bit better than I did, but there is no manual you can seek and it will give you rules of living, except one, The Holy Bible. I do my best to live by the examples of how Jesus lived. And this time, I know I messed up.

I am sorry that I hurt you. I have asked for the Father’s forgiveness in this and now I ask for yours. I love you deeply and can’t imagine my life without you in it. I will not mention names or details, she knows who she is and she reads this blog. If I threw the stone, please forgive me.

 

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John 8:1-11New Living Translation (NLT)
8 Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives, 2 but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them. 3 As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd.

4 “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”

6 They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. 7 They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” 8 Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.

9 When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. 10 Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”

11 “No, Lord,” she said.

And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”

May you know the Jesus Loves You!#HopeAlwaysHaveFaith

Blessings to you!

Beyond Blessed

Today God reminded me how very blessed I am. My good friend, Julia popped by to brighten my life, not just my day, but so much more.

Since I became disabled and unable to get on my knees or squat down, I have not been able to plant my flowers.  My husband and I used to plan our flower beds and containers, go to the local home improvement store and purchase potting soil, plants, flowers, etc. and each year create beauty outside of our home. Then after the weeding and planting and mulching, we could sit on our front porch and enjoy the beauty of our hard work. Those times brought such joy to my life.

Three years ago, when I did my final plantings, I laid flat on my stomach in the yard on a cardboard box and planted the seeds and starts of blooms. It took a long time, but I was so determined to do it. I knew that would be the last time I would be able to do it. Joint and bone wear had taken its toll.

Now, Julia amazes me because she is always creating beauty in her own flower beds with a mixture of plants, herbs, flowers, grasses, etc. When the weather is nice enough to be out digging in the dirt, that’s where you will find her. She has seed starter plants and starters from other plants all over her kitchen and outside on her patio. It’s like walking into a home garden center. And she isn’t afraid to get dirty or remove hedges that were in her way or change the design of her garden if she doesn’t like it when she’s done.

Today, she appeared at my home with a load of mulch and composted soil, empty planting containers and starts of herbs, flowers, and vegetables and her gardening tools. She knows how much I miss my flower garden. And while she was figuring out where she wanted to plant everything and how to do it, I sat on my walker and we fellowshipped with one another.

Because she has such a huge heart, full of love, she allowed Tyson to help her plant the flowers and dig in the dirt. That’s huge for a three-year-old with sensory issues. He cried when she had to pack up her tools to go home. But she promised she would be back, tomorrow with more plants.

As you can see, she is a very beautiful friend, outwardly as well as inwardly. She loves with all she is. We have been friends for over 11 years and we have laughed and cried together and encouraged one another when we felt at our lowest.Julia

 

1 Samuel 16:7New Living Translation (NLT)

7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

Thank you Father God for reminding me that blessings come in all shapes and sizes, and in all forms. The best blessing that any of us can have in our lives are our friends and family.

Thank you, Julia, for the love you have shown me today! It will not be forgotten.

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

Blessings to you!

 

 

Early Intervention is Key

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blessings to all!

Prayer Is Powerful

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

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

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

May you know Jesus Loves You!

Blessings to you! #HopeAlways#HaveFaithprayer-1308663_640

Free Me From This Prison

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

Fibromyalgia Prison

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Psalm 18:1New Living Translation (NLT)

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

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

May you know how much Jesus Loves You!

Thanks for letting me share my thoughts.

Blessings to all!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

via Daily Prompt: Reprieve

Stand Up & Be Kind

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

Cyberbully

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

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

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

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

STOP BULLYING

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

May you know how much Jesus Loves You!

Blessings to you!

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Just Stuff

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

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

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

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

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

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

John 10:10New Living Translation (NLT)

10 The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.

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

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

Philippians 4:11New Living Translation (NLT)

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

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

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

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

Matthew 6:24New Living Translation (NLT)

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

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

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

May you know how much Jesus loves You!

Blessings to all!