Friday, August 21, 2009

One More Time

Children have this incredible way of not letting go of things. DJ, for example, wants to jump in the pool, ride the train, ride on the bus, play a game of Uno, ride his bicycle down the street..........One more time! There are days it almost drives me crazy. I get so caught up in just trying to get things done that I forget..............

the early days.........

I remember having a two and a half year old that didn't talk. How I longed for him to just say my name. He did once.............then I never heard it again for three years.

I remember a little boy who was sick ALL the time. In a time span of a year and a half, he was hospitalized four times for the flu. The worst part was he couldn't even tell me what was wrong. He had to have tubes put in his ears, his adenoids removed, and his tonsils out during this same period of time. I thought about getting frequent flier miles at our local hospital! We even found out that he had sleep apnea. I endured two sleep studies on a three year old and the sleep machine that followed us home. I thought only overweight or old people had apnea........guess I learned.

I remember a little boy who sat in a room staring blankly at the dust filtering in the window.......for hours. He didn't even notice when people came and went from a room, or when someone came to the door.

I remember enduring endless doctors appointments. Only to hear the experts tell me....."There's nothing wrong with your child." Still.........I knew. I just knew.

I remember a child who wouldn't eat. He still ate baby food at two and a half years old because it was all he would eat. If you tried to give him something else he projectile vomited all over you, the counter, the floor and the walls. DJ threw up a lot.

Finally, I remember going to the specialist in Phoenix. Oh, this place was well known and I was finally going to get some answers.........only, I was afraid of the answers.

These experts told me my child had Autism and I should give him a multi-vitamin, fish oil, and think about long term care for my son. They really offered no hope and I sat very still, watching my boy, with tears rolling down my face. I couldn't speak.......I just had to leave.

Those were the dark days........the days long before, "One more time."

Taking care of DJ's needs isn't any easier but my child is healthy, happy, and lives in my world now. We still have much to overcome and many mountains to climb. However, we are so far from those dark and scary days.

So today, if your children or grandchildren start to drive you a little nutty........remember you could have silence and a life without "One more time".
Please pray for us:

Thank you God.......for recovering so much of DJ. You have given Michelle back the promise of DJ's future. I pray that other parents will be able to experience the joy of taking their child back from the grips of Autism. I also pray that other parents will be comforted in those dark times when this disease/disability robs so many parents of their hope.

The Prodigal Daughter

Most folks that know me today would never believe what an independent and free spirit I was as teenager. I honestly don't know how my parents put up with me. I wasn't bad to the point of drinking and doing drugs.........I just had the ability to find myself in terrible situations because I didn't engage my brain before actually rushing into things.

For example, I don't know how many cars I crashed. I remember crashing my Mom's car, my Dad's truck, and even my own car in the span of less than three years. My mom joked that everytime I went out she had the urge to call the emergency room. I wonder if she was really joking?

I didn't make really terrific grades in High School either. It was my personal goal to see how much stuff I could get out of and still pass. School just wasn't interesting to me.......that's got to be painful to deal with for two high school teachers.

Still my parents stuck by me......they yelled a tremendous amount, but they stuck by me. I know my mother had to spend entire nights praying I would get it together.

The final straw was when I was a freshman in college. I was attending Arizona Western (kinda) and working full time. I told my mom that I was moving in with my boyfriends family because they "understood" me. We had some serious fights but in the end......she let me move. It isn't like she had much choice in the matter. However, she didn't let me leave before she took my house keys and told me to call if I wanted to visit. OUCH!!

About six months guessed it....I came crawling back. I knew they were going to let me have it with both barrels. mother was so thrilled!! She hugged me and asked if I wanted to go out to dinner. It was almost like some kind of celebration. She even helped me unpack and helped me set up my room.

I thought of this story today because my devotional this morning was on the Prodigal Son. I wonder if my mother was thinking of that story the day I returned............maybe?

It's nice to know that our Lord will take us back unconditionally.........I know I don't deserve His grace but I am so thankful to have it! I am so grateful today that I had an earthly example to remind me of His unending love. As I tend my own children the rest of this week, I hope that I can be an earthly example much like my mother was for me. I'm sure with God's grace upon us..........we all can!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Price of Friendship

Like many mothers and daughters, I have a complicated relationship with my mother. We definitely don't always see eye to eye and often have differences in opinion. She is my mother and I try to always respect that realizing that she is getting older and getting even more set in her ways. I honestly didn't think my mother had anymore lessons to teach me........but I was wrong.

Yesterday, my mother buried one of her dearest friends. She had been friends with her since I was in 4-H thirty years ago. They didn't always talk frequently especially after I grew up. Sometimes, they didn't communicate for months at a time. Still, when they did get together, they fell into a fluent pattern like no time had passed at all.

A year ago, a mutual friend of theirs called my mother. She basically asked her if she knew their friend was dying. My mother, of course didn't fact, she was rather speechless. What defined my mother as a friend was what she did for the following year...............

My mother rallied around her friend. They would make trips to chemotherapy followed by lunch and Walmart. This was the one time my mom's friend could get out of the house, and she so looked forward to my mother's visits. My mom even taught her how to drive the motorized carts at Walmart. This gave her very independent friend freedom. Mom even once complained that sometimes she couldn't find her in the Walmart because she got moving very fast on that cart!

Cancer eventually robs it's victim of all energy, independence, and physical strength. The last few months were true for my mom's friend. This is usually the time when friends stop coming by and paying visits. It's the lonely part of cancer.

Mom didn't stop visiting. She even took on some care giving for her friend. She would help her eat, shower, and get to bed. All that while, she watched as her friend deteriorated. Mom told me the last time she helped her friend shower, her friend told her she was nothing but a skeleton. Mom doesn't matter. Truly, I don't think it did matter to her.

The last time mom visited her friend she could barley sit up, and had great difficulty speaking. As mom left for our family vacation, she knew the end was near. Her friend passed away the morning we were to return from our vacation.

I learned so much from watching my mother be a friend. Sometimes the price of friendship is very high........but what is the cost by walking away?

Jesus' friends left him during his greatest time of need. I would like to believe that I would have stayed, but would I?

My mother showed me a priceless example of what it is like to walk in Christ's shoes. What a tremendous see, she showed me the awesome gift of compassion, love, and friendship by simply giving of herself. Could we all pay the same price?

Monday, August 17, 2009

School Daze!

Beginnings....are new, exciting and extremely complicated if you have a child with special needs. You wouldn't think that there would be problems with a Kindergarten repeat, but inevitably there is.

It seems this year that there are too many special needs kids and not enough aide to go around. This has forced me to repeat Kindergarten again. The last two days I have spent helping out in my son's class. I have done this to relieve some of the pressure on his teacher and aide.
I will have to continue on this course until I can have a meeting with the district personal to work out the kinks in his Individual Education Plan.

Not exactly what I had planned for........

Still, I have learned some interesting truths about life by hanging out with these "little" people. Things I think all adults should be reminded of every once and awhile.

1. When you got to got to go.
2. Recess is the most important subject and activity.
3. Sometimes the right color isn't found in nature.
4. Friends are the people sitting next to you.
5. Sitting and listening to stories is still fun.
6. Resting after lunch is a good idea and makes the afternoon go better.
7. Doing something for the first time is kinda scary.
8. There is nothing better than a brand new box of crayons.
9. Sharing is sometimes really hard, but it's nice to make your friends happy too.
10. Forgiveness isn't hard.....Just say your sorry and move on.

I guess you really do learn many of life's lessons in Kindergarten. We just have to go back and remember these lessons from long ago.......or hang out with Kinders!

I Play Farm Town!

It is rather embarrassing to admit........but I play Farm Town on Facebook. I don't just play Farm Town, but I am probably going to need some Farm Town intervention soon!

The game is rather create a virtual farm and find other Facebook friends that you can also addict to play with you. So far, I've manage to addict around sixteen friends.........want to be next?

Seriously, my husband thinks I've completely lost my mind. Everytime he turns around, I'm on the computer harvesting something or other.......I think he believes that if he becomes a Farm Town avatar I will have more interaction with him. I hope he is not right!

I have decided that the reason I play Farm Town is because it is predictable as the heat in the Arizona summer. I crave predictable. Since autism came to live in my house, not too much falls under the category of predictable. If you plant grapes on Farm four've got grapes. The whole crazy game works that way. If I am leaving town, I plant crops that take a few days to harvest. Farm Town even works around my trips to Phoenix with DJ! I've got people who can't work around my schedule.

Farm Town is predictable, and I am accomplishing a tremendous amount in my virtual world. Currently, I am working to get to level 34 so I can buy a mansion. This is probably the only earthly mansion I'll have and I'm pretty excited about it. I have a feeling after that I'll loose interest in the whole crazy thing. There just won't be anything else to accomplish on my virtual farm. Since as humans we feel like we have to be working toward a goal, I know my passion for the game will fade away.

Until then, you can find me on Facebook, playing this silly game............sometimes it is nice to have a least for a little while!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Open the Door continued...

As I stated yesterday......I met Pam on one of my extended stays at the Ronald McDonald house.

Staying at the Ronald McDonald house is a blessing for many parents. It saves a tremendous amount of money and helps me afford the skyrocketing costs of DJ's care. It is however, an environment of people from all backgrounds and beliefs. Not being new to this experience, I usually kept to myself and focused on entertaining DJ to the best of my ability.

There was something tugging at my heart everytime I ran into this woman. Her child was disabled to the point of being frightening, and I didn't want to get involved. I had enough problems. I had already faced so much disappointment from my own "friends". People that I thought cared had disappered when DJ was diagniosed. I really didn't want to get hurt anymore.

Still, God kept knocking.......
..........glad I opened the door!

I was given the opportunity to learn about this special little girl and her mom over the course of the next few days.

Pam's daughter
, Makenzie, choked on a Goldfish cracker at eighteen months old. She suffered an anoixic brain injury. In less than five minutes time, this walking, talking, neurotypical little girl would be forever changed. Still, my best friend is not bitter. She has hope, and faith that literally could move mountains.

I have had the privlidge to watch "Kenzie" come back to our world over the last two years. I have seen God's healing power transform her into a happy, giggly, irrestiable little girl. It has been amazing for me to see His mighty power provide resources, and specialized therapy for this family.

The biggest blessing for me has been our friendship. I have someone in my life that understands my hurt and pain. Pam knows the day in and day out work it takes to raise a diabled child. She is my biggest supporter and is quick to comfort and rescue me when I reach the breaking point. She convinces me that it is ok to step out of my comfort zone........... You see, she is responsible for me joining Facebook and starting a blog!!

I am so glad that I opened the door when I really didn't want to...........what is God asking you to do? If we listen and obey, He will reward us with amazing blessings.......we just have to open the door!

To learn more about Pam and Makenzie follow this link to her blog and website: