Autism And\Or ADHD……Our New Diagnosis?

The very first thing you learn when you become a mom is…..EVERYONE knows better than you do about your child!   And it’s rare to come across people who will say things like…

“I only give my opinion if asked” (and actually stick to it)

Or

“Or just tell me how I can help” 

If you find these people KEEP THEM CLOSE!

The funny thing is that the moment you share with people that something is wrong with your kid the know-it-alls in your world magically become immediate experts in whatever crisis it is you are facing….when in reality all you really need is a hug and the two above statements backed up with ACTION!

So as we have been on a knowledgable journey of autism for the last 20 months.   I have run into all kinds of experts.  Experts both with and Witout medical degrees…..experts who truly know what they are talking about, and self-proclaiming experts that read something on the internet and are just blowing smoke!    

They come in all shapes and sizes!   In all sorts of careers….let me ask you this…..DO YOU HAVE TO HAVE A MEDICAL DEGREE TO BE AN EXPERT ON AUTISM/ADHD. Or any illness  for that matter?

NOT A CHANCE.   

AND 

Does it mean that just because a a person has a medical degree that they are an expert, or even understand autism?

NOT A CHANCE!!!

I’m quickly becoming an expert in the land of  Weasel(our autistic son).  I’m not an expert in all autistic kids. 

My friend Noelle put it this way to me “You MUST. Become a student of…..”  And it’s so true!   The trigger foods my son has will not be the same as the next kids, though there are common ones like red food dye (or any food dye) and then there are kid specific ones like cinnamon!   And in reality we should all be students of our children.  Knowing their fears, desires, joys!  The things they like!

For example

Tornado: loves history just like daddy and mommy, specifically the civil war era.  And has since he was 4 or 5.  He loves art and music.  He wants to learn!

Ladybug…the lover of pretty things, a girly girl through and through BUT NOT AFRAID TO GET DIRTY :)

She loves horses and longs to have her own.  She loves to color, paint her nails and play dress up.

Weasel- a little boy who is showing much promise in art and is almost completely pitch perfect.  He loves anything tiny and is afraid of windows (NO JOKE)

Little bean- Mr. Independence, super cuddly, love rescue bots and Jake and the Neverlad Pirates and choo choo trains.  Loves almost all animals except mice and any bug to which he screams like a girl and hides (he is 4 people!)

I intentionally left off struggles for this reason, we as a family believe children need to feel safe in their home and that means their personal struggles stay within our family!  Anything outside of that is not making our home a safe haven!

So then what about the title?  Well all the above is stated because being a student of your child is helpful in knowing who is just blowing smoke!!

So I’m going to put the  ADHD question to rest here…..

Yesterday (6/20) we drove across the state for Weasel’s Neurology appointment to address two concerns

1. siezures activity

2. ADHD (this was requested not by us but by the Evaluation center who diagnosed Wesel’s autism)

So here’s the outcome

1. Siezures inconclusive…siezures and autism go hand in hand BUT  even though he has some signs not all are there like rigid ness and eyes OPE During the behaviors as he sleeps.  We are to keep our eyes open for these things (pun Not intended). Also the spell from September where he fell out of his chair at school would be deemed a fainting spell.  Faints go limp siezures=Stiffness.  The faint could be from a drop in blood sugar, a drop in blood pressure or any other number of things!  

2. ADHD – Negative.  Autism and ADHD share some similarities and it is not uncommon for an autistic child to have both!  And I am here to tell you as a once self-proclaimed expert that I was dead wrong. ADHD is a VERY real NEUROLOGICAL  disorder.  Though our son does not have it, it is something families deal and struggle with.  Is it misdiagnosed absolutely, and our son was almost one of those misdiagnosed….misdiagnosed by church families, family members, a bus driver and a doctor! (Let’s just put an end to the misnomer that ADHD =excessive energy!   That is False)

And in closing I just want to say this, as a parent of a special needs kid, it is my desire for my child to be loved and accepted!  I am aware not everyone will do that.  I know that people who take the name of Christ  and claim it as their identity will act as though they themselves have never experienced the love and grace of Christ.  It’s a sad testament that over the last few months I have read heart  wrenching stories of special needs kids being kicked our of church nurseries and Sunday Schools all over the country. Act like Jesus….if you are going to take his name CHRISTian you better put forth the effort to LOVE LIKE HE DID, SACRIFICE HE DID, ACCEPT LIKE HE DID, One of the biggest blessings you could ever receive is to have a special needs kid!  Yep, I just said that!

I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy, and no I don’t know your circumstances.  But I do know that God exhorts us to

“Give thanks in ALL circumstances” 1Thess 5:18

AND

“Rejoice in The Lord ALWAYS,” 1 Thess. 6.16

SO THAT BEING SAID Here is how special needs changed this mama!

1. I know now that a screaming kid in a grocery store is not necessarily the product of bad parenting.

2.  It is my job to fight for my child…whether that is mistreatment, or for services needed.  

3. Being able (and willing) to put ourselves inside his world.  This takes practice and patience and a lot of reading between the lines, but if you do this you can eventually see things in other kids who come into your sphere.  So yes kids don’t have the same anxiety or fear, but you can take the skills learned from entering your child’s world, and begin to enter another child’s world.   (THIS ONE THING GIVES YOU THE ABILITY TO REACH OUT NOT JUST TO THE KIDS BUT TO PARENTS AND SIBLINGS).  

4.  Just  like any major illness, you become painfully aware of precious time.  Before we ever found out that weasel was autistic we have to call 911 three different times. Poison control more times than I care to remember, and our doctor for some very strange things….namely eating things that shouldn’t be eaten!  (A sign of autism)   go figure! 

So as you can see despite all the negatives we have experienced there are bright spots…..they are sometimes sproartic…and sometimes show up in a plethora, but no matter what keep your eyes open, search for them.  I promise they will show up in AMAZING WAYS,

 

BOOK REVIEW:The Nesting Place By Myquillyn Smith

The Nesting Place by Myquillyn Smith is a unique book on home decorating.

It takes the approach of if you like it go with it!

The book is skillfully written to encourage the reader to step outside of your comfort zone!  It’s geared towards both homeowners and renters with the weight leaning more towards  renters but please don’t think that it is exclusively so.  

The whole first part of the book goes into great detail on each of the authors many past and present dwelling places…and trust me she describes each so well that it feels like you are standing right in the middle of that particular room. And don’t worry even if your minds eye isn’t quite catching on most of her descriptions are captured in beautiful photographs illustrating, projects, problems and real life!

Let me start off my critique by saying this….THIS IS NOT A BOOK I WOULD NORMALLY PICK!   I picked it out of sheer lack of interest in all the rest offered.  I am a crafty person by nature but I have always felt true home decorating just out of reach!   This book changed my outlook completely

As a pastors family decorating money is slim to none!  So when I read the chapter on shopping your own home, I was instantly inspired to do this !   I visited three locations in my home and found just what I needed

1.the kitchen for 3 Mason Jars (1quart and two pints)

2.the Garage for White spray Paint

3. And my front yard for DAISYS

Yep that’s it….and this is what I got…..

This  simple country centerpiece literally took me 10 minutes!   

And why didn’t I think of this sooner?????

Another chaper talked about the MIStreatment of your windows.  She relates a story that she became impatient with waiting to take expense fabric to be sewn professionally for curtains.she just  cut the fabric, hung them with curtain clips (she didn’t even finish the seams!  *GASP*.  So when a designer friend showed up she though she had already had them done!  The friend was surprised when the author admitted to her impatience and their incomplete state.  The designer friend would have never known otherwise!  She goes on to explain that sometimes we get it in our heads that we can’t do something because it’s NOT THE “RIGHT” WAY!!   We think that it has to be this kind of Fabric, or only professionally done or……the list goes on and on and on!!   Well when it comes to decorating you can go with what you like, what you can afford……and anything weird you so desire!  So I need dark curtains in  two rooms….and guess what I will be using?   SHEETS!  Yep brand new 5 dollar cotton sheets.  I can make the dark curtains for four windows…2 in each room for about 20$ and get exactly what I want and need without spending LOADS of money!

So here are a few other things I will implement in the coming months

A gallery wall.  Showcasing all the things I love (and I won’t be afraid to change it often!

Stumps as end tables…probably white washed, but maybe plain as well!   (don’t knock it, they are pretty cute)

I’m going to paint furniture.

I’m going to repurpose things that were once used for something else.

I’m not going to be afraid of something new…and if I don’t like what I did, I will redo it!

So I must absolutely give this book a five star rating!  It was such a joy and an encouragement to read!   Even if you are not crafty or the decorating type this book can help you love even the most undesirable of situations!   

DISCLAIMER: I received a free copy of this book from BookLook, with no obligation of positive review.

Wordless Wednesday-The Steadfast Love Of The Lord

Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday

I’m taking a 1966 Collegiate World Atlas and turning it into a travel journal…..complete with stamp art and the like!

ALMOST THERE

ALMOST THERE

Life Happens……

…..and you embrace it.  But sometimes SOMETHING has to give.  For me over the last two months, I have had to set aside my blogging in order to do things well!  To be a good wife, a good mom, and a good ministry leader, and most importantly a good Princess…I am a child of the King after all..  

So this is my return.  I am refreshed and renewed.  I have soaked in God’s word (as I continue to do so).  My house is clean…(mostly) and my kids are all snug in beds….ok so I am sitting outside of a bedroom as I type this struggling with a special needs kiddo who thinks sleeping is old fashioned!

These last two months of veritable silence  here in my little home sweet home has not just been full of busyness (and it has) but it has been a time of peace, renewal, a time of wrestling with God(more on that in a bit) and a time of new insight, not just into my heart but into the lives of my hubby and children.

Does this all mean that my life is any less crazy right now???   Not a chance!  I will ALWAYS be busy!  That is quite ok though.  I would rather have a gazillion things on my plate than to be absorbed into a fake world that leaves me with countless hours of wasted time, money and brain cells.  

So what just has happened over the Last two months

Well Hubby finished his M.A. In Linguistics

      So for those keeping track

         Associates in Wood Products engineering

          Bachelors of Religious Education Pastoral/Languages Emphasis

           Master of Divinity

            Master of Theology

             Master of Arts in Linguistics.

Words cannot express at just how proud of him I am.  Not because he has 5 pieces of paper, but because of his diligence to what God has called him to do, always willing to better himself to help others!  It makes every single second worth it!

Then there is the end of the school year activities

Along with picnics, awards ceremonies, 2 zoo trips, 

A drive across the state for a retirement recognition for hubby’s parents

And THIS…..

We were so saddened to hear of the death of a dear mentor of hubby’s.  This actually pushed back my original restart date by two weeks as my dear husband grieved the hardest I have ever seen him grieve. And even though he has done over 20 funerals in five years he was still touched very deeply by this loss!  But we can rejoice that he is with God in Heaven learning even more of the ins and outs of Greek and God’s word than ever imaginable, he is still greatly missed!

And you might as well

Because I too have engaged in a wrestling match with God over the contents of a book I am working on.  Thankfully no dislocated hip was endured, but a process of dealing with stuffed emotions for many years has culminated in a recurring theme. A friend (ok MORE THAN ONE FRIEND) has been repeating themselves, “share your story you’ve been given,” as they encourage me. Sometimes we don’t want to for whatever reason, but I have laid down my preferences, I have cried uncle and I will press forward.  I don’t know how I am going to do this BUT, in all of it, I will trust God to hold my hand!

So in a VERY abbreviated nutshell this is what has consumed our life over the last few months!  

It’s not been easy but the refiner’s fire gets rid of the impurities so we may shine all the brighter for the one who died such a radical death for me.  So here I am ready to run this race again.   Be watching for some changes and encouragement .

With much love,

 

 

 

hi guys!

Hello!  Do you remember me?  Oh good…

I just wanted to let you know YES I am still alive!

Over the last few months life has been hectic to say the least AND. I had a major finger infection!

ICK!

But hubby is now done with school AND has passed!  He will receive his diploma some time in mid June AND the two oldest children will be done with school within the next week and a half….at that point I will return to my normal blogging schedule.  But have no fear I have a huge list of fun things to talk to you about AND there are going to be some new stuff around here as well.

We will refer to it as BLOGGY SPRING CLEANING! 

So if you will just bear with me and we will see you soon 

Love,

Reflecting Jesus

Today, as I sit on my couch, just after sending my three older children off to school and the youngest watches Jake and the Neverland Pirates, I scroll through my Facebook newsfeed, I see lots of neat things, but in the midst my heart really breaks for a group of moms. In understand that the Nigerian culture may not celebrate Mother’s Day they may not even know it exists here in our comfy country, but I like them have something in common…..we ARE moms. We labored many hours bringing this children into the world. We have sacrificed greatly to provide our children the basic needs, and we entrust our children to a school to be educated.

Let me say this, it’s not the schools fault.
It’s not God’s fault.
It’s not the parents fault.

My heart breaks for these 200 moms who don’t know where their daughters are. BUT GOD DOES.

My prayer is that these moms will have their stolen daughters returned. My prayer is that God will be glorified through this unthinkable act. My prayer is that these girls will trust God, that they will not waiver from their faith and that lives will be changed. My prayer is that these wicked men will see Jesus through these girls and MOST of all my prayer is that these girls will be rescued quickly!

As I brushed my 7 year old daughters hair this morning……I felt blessed to not need to fear for the faith of my child. I have no idea what the future holds for her…or for any of them for that matter! I have been reminded constantly lately that being in constant prayer for my children is so necessary!

Be present
Be kind
Be loving be a good listener
Be ready
Be available
Be focused on them

I need constant reminders, God knows this. I’m easily distracted by all the noise of this world, by everyone’s opinions of me, but they are people too! What are their perceptions of me?

If I care for everyone else’s needs but forget theirs, the rest is in vain. I’ve failed them and God for they are great treasures given for me to take care of and to polish! So they reflect, not my image but that of Jesus.

So won’t you join me in not only praying for our own children but also for those 200 girls stolen. That they too may shine with the reflection of Jesus!?!

A Heart Lesson From Lot

 

This morning as I sat and did my devotions I was  confronted with  a verse that chiseled pieces from my heart.  It’s not something I struggle with consistently.  It stems from low points, those valley moments.  Sometimes valley moments leave me wanting to hide in a storyline…I Love a compelling story!  It’s the girl in me.  It kind of tykes me outside of my circumstances and allows me to enter a land that has happy endings.   

It’s been a rough couple of weeks with our 6 year old.  I can’t fix the issues he struggles with.  I just can’t .  It’s not like a splinter.  You remove the foreign body, put  an antibiotic ointment and a bandaid on it and in a few hours it is forgotten….for a healthy 6 year old anyway.  And this week has been even worse because they have had no school, no school = no rigid routine.  No rigid routine= mass chaos inside this little boys head!   I’m still relatively new to this so it was a great insight into the possibilities for summer!

But all of that said, sometimes we need to step outside of our reality.  That’s why people like TV, MUSIC, MOVIES AND FICTION BOOKS.  and in and of themselves, they aren’t bad things

BUT. Sometimes, sometimes we get blinded by a good storyline and get sucked in.  We get blinded to all the peripheral sin going on.  And that is dangerous territory and that is exactly what happens to Lot as well.  Though his circumstances are slightly different.   The land he goes to is “good” but the people surrounding him are not!

2 Peter 2:7and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked 8(for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard);

Pondering all the false prophets I let into my life.  They may not just be spiritual teachers, but those I am following in my day to day life.  Do those people live like God commands or do they pay lip service and live another way OR does it blatantly go against God’s word and I allow it into my life to  numb my mind and heart to what God calls sin.  Lot does this by living in a city rampant with sin, he offered his daughters to the crowd, he had a husband chosen from the horrible city to marry his daughter. COMPROMISE, doesn’t just affect us, but our families as well.  We can see the effect of compromise on Lot’s daughters.  

 In our everyday life we make compromises.  Compromises aren’t necessarily bad.  It’s when compromise hurts ours our others walk with God, that it becomes horrible.  And recognizing it quickly is key.   It’s amazing at how fast this can happen especially at your lowest points!   

So here are steps to help combat this moments

1. Be in Gods word daily!  A new thing I added recently is listening to the Bible.  Some days are just too insane to add sitting for 10 minutes.  I can hide God’s Word in my heart by listening to it while I wash dishes, fold laundry or make dinner!

2. Memorize these verses

1 Corinthians 10:31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
AND
Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

3. Put Pure things in!  Get lost in the Chronicles of Narnia, or Anne of Geen Gables, Little house on the Prairie.   There are positive alternatives out there. You just have to make the effort.  And if you are thinking oh those things are hokey or out of date, Well I promise you this in 10 years so will  the stuff you are into now!the point isn’t graphics, animation, cool effects.  Thats changes in this world so fast these days.  What matter is purity.  TRUTH.  

4.ask yourself  If the kids can’t watch it, Why? And then  should I be watching this?   And if the kids should walk in while I am watching this what would it communicate to them?   Would it communicate a double standard?   There are something’s that young children should not see…the news for instance, some documentaries.   Adult conversations.   (We didn’t let our kids watch the Bill Nye/ken Ham debate,not because it was bad but because there were sensitive adult subjects that an 8,7,6 and 3 year old are not capable of processing yet)

5. This new one I added after reading Courtney Joseph’s book Women Living Well!   Would I invite these people into my house to have sex on the couch in front of me and my children?   Seriously think about this!  This IS what we are doing!

It all comes down to this: : it’s a perspective change. We try not to let false teachers in but every once in a while one sneaks in. It’s a good reminder that despite a “great storyline”. Sometimes we need to shut off a TV show or movie, put down that book, and change the radio station! Because it may have a great beat, or a funny or compelling storyline but if the circumstances surrounding the storyline or lines laced into that great beat go against God’s word thaen we are not guarding our heart! This is not easy and convicted my heart as I am constantly reviewing why we do what we do in our family……does this fit into 1Corinthians 10:31 and Philippians 4:8-9

1 Corinthians 10:31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
AND
Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

If it goes against these then we are in danger! Our children are in danger, because hypocrisy jeprodizes faith in the greatest of ways.

BOOK REVIEW:Thrive by Mark Hall

This book  has two sections

DIGGING DEEPER

and

REACHING OUT

Mark Hal, lead singer of the band Casting Crowns paints a beautiful picture of what Thriving looks like!  Like the tree on the front cover Mark challenges every single believer to grow deep in your faith, but it’s only when you have that deep ness that you can then reach out and give from those roots!   

Reaching out as Mark states “is the way we  sow the world we belong to Jesus”

I would be lying if I said this is an easy read!   Not that is horribly written or biblically unsound, BUT, that it challenges cut to the inner struggles we all face!  Each chapter takes some working through.

One of my most favorite quotes  from the entire book (and there are Soooooo many gems) comes right from Chapter 3 Unknowns

The more I looked at Scripture the more I found broken people rather than whole people-people like Moses, David,Peter, and Mary. I see how the weak overcome the strong. The poor have an easier time getting into heaven, than the rich.  Everything the world calls success I didn’t find in the Word, and I learned that God takes you just as you are.

When you finally get your brain wrapped around that one statement, your perspective changes, and so does your life!  This book gets five stars!    It’s challenging to the core, but the amount of growth it invokes is amazing!

Dreams Change…….

As a kid I LOVED ANIMALS!

Every animal…..there were a few that I held an even deeper fondness for, are you ready for this?

Whales

Dolphins

Frogs

Turtles

Lizards

Koalas

Pandas

Moneys (specifically Chimpanzees)

I still have a major dream to swim with Dolphins.   I loved the series Voyage of the Mimi!   I wanted to be a Marine Biologist! I loved Biology…..and science in general.   My interest was made even deeper by a trip to inner harbor Maryland!  AMAZING! That’s where I met Taz in my first Dolphin show!  (Yes I had just completed 7th or 8th grade and I can still remember the dolphins name but not what year of school I had finished!)

But until in college had never been to a zoo!   My now hubby took me to my first one!   And on our honey moon we went to 6!!!!

I am simply amazed by God’s creation!

I have been to major zoos all over the east coast, you could say it’s kind of a hobby!  But at some point (not really sure when exactly) but God changed my heart from working with animals to working with people. I know exactly when I wanted to be a pastors wife, but that took 2 1/2 years of college!  Truth be told that’s when I said yes to God, but I had really been wrestling with it for almost 5 1/2 years.  It started with a love for serving…I did everything.  I laugh at what I did as a teenager, if I was asked I did it!  

Then came a missions oppertunity.   I had never ever left the country before…..and this, this was huge!  I so desperately wanted to be a missionary and I did for 6 AMAZING weeks! And then I came home and suffered what is called reverse culture shock.  Add culture shock as I moved into a girls dorm 10 days later ( I was a Tom boy!). I just wanted to go back AND FAST!

But that’s not what God had planned!  He closed doors to return!   I was very sad!  Then came a really awesome inner city kids ministry!  This country girl felt strangely at home.   I attached myself to youth ministry,.   But that slowly morphed, though it is still a favorite that wasn’t what God wanted.  Then came along this guy, now I’m not one of those girls who said sure I will be a pastors wife BECAUSE. You are going to be a pastor.  God brought us together both not wanting to be in a pastoral position, but both of us, yielding to God’s plan for our lives.   And then through our friendship God brought us to a place of wanting to serve Him in Pastoral ministry.  Though it took me a little longer because when I figured out that my friend was “the one” I ran.  I tried to get my roommate interested in him…..I didn’t want to get hurt again!   

But you can’t get very far when God is holding the back of your shirt!  AND ta-Da here I am….Pastor’s wife!

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