Saturday, March 27, 2010

Finally Fair!!

Today is nuts. I am scrambling to help Kelsie get all her animals ready for Yuma County Fair, get the little man off to mom's for a sleepover, get to church and prayer partners by four, try to figure out why the email on computer wont work, and get to Del Mar tomorrow! It's official......I am overbooked and boy am I feeling it today.

Monday starts the insanity of our fair. I love it and hate it all at the same time! We have thirty some animals to get there and then I have to help work the barn the whole week. Kelsie shows cavies on Tuesday, Poultry on Wednesday and Rabbits on Thursday and Friday, with the auction on Saturday, and finally check out Sunday night. Whew, just writing it is exhausting me!!

Then, like the sucker I am, I have to be in Del Mar tomorrow........I think I need my head examined!!

Somehow, it will all work out. It always does. I just find that in the middle of the fray, it's hard to come up for air.

I am realizing this week how incredibly fast my daughter is growing up. Only two more fairs for her! It is my hopes this week to just enjoy being a 4-H mom and leader. Take time to enjoy the kids because that's what the fair is all about!

It has been amazing to see her transformation and growth through rabbits. She was so shy in the begining she was scared to death to even show. So many wonderful friends and mentors have changed her into the unique and special young lady she has become. Only two more fairs........where does the time go?

Wonder if my mother felt that way? Experiencing 4-H as an adult has been so rewarding and my hopes are that every child has a terrific experience. For ribbons are nice, but learning to keep it all together under pressure is the ultimate experience!!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Aspiring for More!

I must admit that I am an Olympics junkie. There is something astounding about these athletes that have trained and sacrificed so much for one be the best! I can't even imagine giving up friends, school , and even family to train as an elite athlete. Then you have their families........what have they given up to fuel the dreams of their children? Some have done without for so long......while others have worked two and three jobs to finance their young hopefuls.........It really is almost overwhelming.

However, I got to thinking tonight that we parents of Special Needs children really aren't much different. I have traveled great distances, spent weeks away from home, quit my job, spent endless hours researching treatment, hours of therapy, hours giving therapy, and heartbreaking times fighting for my son. Why, because I believe in him.....I believe.

We parents will probably never be featured on national television, and our children won't be gracing the pages of Sports Illustrated. Still, we press on....some of us trying to teach our children to walk, talk, eat, or learn to be human. Daily.....all around us these struggles continue. Our medals are not Gold or Silver, they are smiles, tears, and triumphs for things most parents take for granted.

I never realized that I am an Olympian. Not a sports figure.....but in spirit because I believe that with tremendous hard work and effort AND son will have a future! I carry my torch daily with so many of my special friends with special children.

If you know one of us......give us a congratulatory hug......our journey is long and for some of us it will never end....but we believe and we have faith! All we ask for is a little encouragement......our finish line is often far away and we need to hear the cowbells and cheers to push us along the way!

Friday, February 5, 2010


Today, I have been feeling used up.......You know, the tired, overwhelmed, can't go one more step, kind of exhaustion. I think we all get there........sometimes.

Kelsie had FFA career activities at our community college all day. That meant the burden of the barn and cavies fell on mom's shoulders. On top of this, I was up all night watching one of her does who was doing her darnedest to have her litter of bunnies on the wire. (This means out of the nest box and on the floor of the cage) Kelsie has had a tough time getting Tan babies this year so, it was important that they didn't become bunnysicles!

I let her go to bed at midnight after we finished her breeder profile that she was asked to do. It was a real honor that she be asked to do this profile as the District Two Director, Joey Shultz will be submitting it to the Domestic Rabbit for his column. So, after much editing on my part.....we came up with a final draft for her to submit...........she went to bed........I babysat a dumb rabbit!

Then, this morning hit with all it's glory. After two hours of sleep, my husband woke me up to inform me that my son had missed the Sped Bus. Great! Now, Kel had to be at school by eight and DJ had to be dressed, take his supplements, eat breakfast and at school by 7:45. So much for a calm morning with coffee and the Today show.

I could go on.....but why??? Many parents face complicated's just lately......I've started to feel invisible. I have become the cog that makes the clock work. I live on the inside and no person really sees what I do. It stinks, and it hurts.......sometimes.

Many of us have felt the sting of being invisible. Although accolades are nice, are they the ultimate prize in our lives? God calls us to reach beyond ourselves and serving here at home is still the most important job I have. So, for today, I need to rest and rejuvenate.....then, I can face the challenges that arise tomorrow.......with God's help!

Sunday, January 24, 2010


Today I was tired. Kelsie and I didn't get home until 10:00pm.........we had another rabbit show. I embarrassed myself by oversleeping and missing prayer partners this morning. I drove my daughter to a cavy meeting that wasn't happening this week, and concluded with an exhausting evening of AWANA. Oh, I also forgot that I managed to get two hours of HBOT in with DJ this afternoon.

Now, that is always an adventure! Imagine zipping yourself into a round vinyl chamber (I refer to as the ziplock bag) with an unwilling six year old child for two hours. There isn't much room and you have to figure out how to entertain them! The first hour usually goes ok as he watches movies and the only scuffle is me yelling "Get your mask on!" You see he also has to wear an oxygen mask to make this work!!

Hour two is much more grueling...... I have to live with the constant complaints of how boring this is, and dodge hits to the head from his elbows. He also likes to beat the lower part of you with his legs......the other awesome part is I get to do this for the next twenty days then take two weeks off......then we'll be back at it again for another twenty days.

So, this is HBOT! I wish that was the part of today that was the worst bummer............but I made a discovery today that kind of blindsided me.

Today, I decided that we would watch G-Force. I am usually watching pre-school shows because he really hasn't graduated to children's movies. I put my foot down today because I am SO tired of Wow Wow Wubzy, Bob the Builder, Thomas, and The Backyardagains! I started the movie and was really starting to get into it when he goes off on how he wants to see something else.

This goes on for ten minutes. Then, he starts freaking out over any scene that has suspense. I keep explaining how it's a Disney guinea pig will will end happy!! The pep talk wasn't really sinking in his little brain. Just getting through the movie was exhausting!

Finally, it was time for movie wrap up! You know the time we all spend reviewing a film after we see it! Sometimes this part is even more fun than watching the movie! Why??? Because this is when we connect as humans.......we share an event that we both experienced emotionally.

We connect!

I got to this part with DJ......I asked him how he liked the movie? He responded with, "I want to watch Extreme Trains." I asked him again.....elicited the same response. I then asked him what pig he liked best.....I got, "I want to get out." This question and answer period went on for another ten minutes. Toward the end, I must admit that I was starting to get a little nasty.......out of shear frustration. I wanted to beg him to relate to me.....see something I did.

Thank God, our time ended in the HBOT. I was struck a little later how it's almost impossible to connect with DJ on a primal level. I know he loves me.....and I love him. I was still left feeling that my son and I have nothing in common.......nothing to talk about......nothing to share.

I could give you every scientific explanation for why this is......I could explain to you how his brain is miswired and how this affect his ability to communicate, relate, and make emotional connections. Truth is that today all I felt was heartache.......The in your face, painful, heart wrenching pain. I had to realize that DJ and I may never have things to talk about except what he finds interesting. I don't even know if he cares that I don't care and am tired of hearing about it.

Tomorrow, we go to Phoenix for two days of doctor's appointments, IV's, and OT. Tomorrow I will bury my hurt and frustration and blindly have faith. Thank God.....I have tomorrow. This is how I cope...........this is how I survive.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Is God Calling???

I feel a shift....a change.....a movement....somewhere in my soul.

Lately, I have felt a rut. Here I sit.....a teacher without a job. I know being a mother is an important job. I also know raising a disabled child has been one of the greatest challenges of my life. Still, my soul thirsts for more.

Why.....what can I do now? I know that God has called me to do more than I am doing now..........

I think I figured it out tonight......I need to go to Haiti. I need to make a difference and use the gifts that God has given me. I can teach....I can lead...I can help.

The times in my life that I have felt the most energized are when I have been actively engaged in helping more than ever I need to be a part of something bigger than myself. Don't we all feel that way......when teaching, assisting. or helping others.....don't you feel like a bigger part of something?

I don't know where this is going to lead but i will keep posting my journey. Needs are everywhere.....I just feel this is something God is calling me to do. The people of Haiti needed tremendous help before this happened. This need will go on for years after the media has long since left. I want to be there to help. Guess I better start working on my Creole!! :)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Enough Already....

Yuma is typically a city with no weather....... We vary between sunny and hot and sunny and warm. There isn't much else to our weather. Lately, I wish that that was the case. We have been flipping between windy and cold, and windy and rainy. I have had to arrange my schedule to get things done when we have a couple breaks in the wind and rain.

The other problem with the weather flips are that this crazy weather has sent my son into various emotional flips and behavior outbursts. You see, major shifts in barometric pressure can cause some children with Autism to have behavioral problems. I have been asking myself if he is actually my child this week.

This week, I have spent many hours trying to keep a containment field around him. It also doesn't help that hubby is still rehabbing from hip surgery, so he's no help. I was really feeling at my wit's end this evening. After I had cleaned up the destruction that was my house for the fifth time, I was about to kill him. I put him in the bath and he threw water everywhere and then I knew that someone was going to have to call a professional for me.........

He got dressed.....then we finished the night time ritual. You know, brush teeth, comb hair, and read bedtime stories. I was so thrilled that seven o'clock had finally rolled around.........the magical hour when the child goes to bed!

Then, he did something that made me regroup and release all the frustration that had been building up all week. When we said our prayers, he asked for God to help mommy. Mommy was tired and grumpy and needed help........and God, could you turn off the clouds. I like rain, but Yuma has enough now and I want to play outside........and lunch inside at school isn't any fun at all.....

Small children have this way of simplifying things. Clearing away all the complications and finding the exact way to solve the puzzle. His answer was that God could fix it..........pretty simple.........Darn, wish I would have thought of that!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Abundant Blessings

Today I got the opportunity to have coffee with a terrific friend and fellow mother of a child with autism. We laughed and talked about all the weird things our children do. It was such a release to spend a short time with a women who understands......a kindered spirit. I should have been doing two-thousand other things but chose not to. I chose to be in that moment with my friend. Away from reality for just one hour.......It was AMAZING, REFRESHING, and necessary.

Sometimes, I think we get so wrapped up in ourselves that all we see is the bad in our lives. It's easy to get stuck in a rut.....I know I have been in one as of late. Visiting with a friend and watching the suffering in Haiti have a way of forcing you to change your perspective.

I have been kind of nostalgic this week. When you turn on the news, it's shocking. How can you look at the destruction and human suffering and not be moved. I can't even imagine how the Haitian people must be I've been feeling darn blessed this week. I didn't ask for a disabled child but I have a house, car, family, and friends. I think sometimes we forget how good we have it. We have more than these poor people started with. Today, I just took some time to actually appreciate what I have.

Pray for those families and give what you can. Imagine loosing everything including your family......definitely changes your perspective. Over all, consider what you have in your life and thank God for it.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

When a Band-Aid Covers the Bullet Hole...

Pain is inevitable. Life doesn't go the way you want it to and it has this amazing way of ripping the ground right out from under you! Mine was cancer and autism.....What's yours??

How we deal with the pain is the key to survival. Some people shut down and fall into deep depression......some get angry and spend the rest of their lives and bitter and mean.......a few just live in denial.......and others still go on to simile and tell you they are fine.....which one are you??

I tend to be the smile type. I don't really like to focus on the negative, but it will rear it's head and I find moments when I just break down and fall apart...... You start to think about all the long term implications of your problems. Will my child ever be able to survive on his own, will my finances hold out, what is happening to my family and how will we be able to survive the next disaster. These thoughts tend to surface when it's very late, I'm alone, and exhausted.

The thing is.....we all place band aids over the gaping holes in our life. Dark and spooky places where the light doesn't shine.

What pulls us out of these places?? For me it's God and my wonderful friends. Little miracles show up when I least expect it. Today, it was a beautiful comment left for me on Facebook.

I had a rough day....lately they all have been. Cardiologist appointment for husband this morning, then I had to pick up prescriptions, needed to do some serious cooking for my son, and that didn't even begin to put a dent in my to do list. I have been totally and completely overwhelmed the last couple of months. Yet, through it all....little miracles keep popping up. My small group has provided me with a couple of meals. One really special friend even brought desert, and made special brownies that my son could eat. His smile made lots of the frustration go away....... Then today, the beautiful comment.

The point it how many people have that band aid on? Do we look deeper or take the, "I'm fine" band aid response as the final answer? Pain is we reach out to others is a choice. Giving of ourselves is a choice. We can help properly dress each others wounds.......pour out love and dress with a hug. I think I will try to look deeper tomorrow.......I challenge you to do the same.

Monday, January 4, 2010

They Grow Up So Fast.....

I am truly happy that this day is over. It started at four this
morning after a terrible night of sleep. Sleep or no sleep, I had to get DJ to his doctor's appointment by 8:20AM for labs and IVIG. Intravenous Immunogammoglobulin is an IV drip that lasts four hours. We head up to Dr. Schneider's office every month to have the procedure done. I usually stay over and follow up with chelation and OT the following day. I had to make it a one day trip with husbands hip surgery, so I knew that it was going to be a LONG day. Phoenix is three hours from Yuma, so six hours of driving with four hours of doctor's appointment isn't something you look forward to.
Anyway, today was our once a month.....With the kids being out of school, I took Kelsie with me.
I loaded everyone into the car at five and headed East. Kelsie slept off and on and DJ doesn't sleep but he was fairly quiet on the way up. I just tried to stay awake.....
We got the IV started and I left Kelsie with DJ to go shopping at Whole Foods for his dietary needs. She had to help him for the hour I was gone by keeping him entertained and wheeling his IV down the hall to the bathroom when he needed to go. I could leave knowing that she was responsible for him.
We got through the doctor, shopping, and dropping off a rabbit to 4-H kid that wanted one of her Tans for the Maricopa County Fair. We got to Gila Bend and I let her take over driving. As she drove, I got to thinking about how blessed I am.
I looked over at the driver's seat and saw a young woman......not the kid I was used to seeing. It seems that the times you are the most exhausted that clarity sets in!
Kelsie takes on a tremendous amount of responsibility. I know that she is capable of taking care of her brother which is no easy feat! She manages a herd of fifty rabbits, and thirty cavies while still managing to make decent grades and participates in 4-H and FFA.

Here's the issue.....I spend more time riding her butt then I ever do telling her what an amazing person she is becoming. I did a better job of complementing my students at school than I do her. What will the cost to her self-esteem for my mistake be??
I made it a point to let her know how impressed I was with her driving skills today. I also made it a point to thank her for helping me with her brother. I may not get it right everyday but, today I made sure I did.
I am so blessed to have both of my children.......they are more than just a job, they are my gifts from God!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

What Do You See??

Lately I have been studying a bit on the life of David. King David was certainly a walking conundrum. He either had his eyes on God, or somewhere in the dirt. He was either a hero or a goat and NOTHING in between.

Sound like anyone you know??

I have often felt a kindred spirit to David. Considering I either really get it right or fall so short, I know God flinches with disappointment. It is always when I take my eyes off of God and look at circumstances or people as a human that I inevitably fall on my face.

This past year, I would have missed the opportunity to get to know an incredibly special young woman had I based my opinion on my own judgement. You see, I saw this young woman as selfish, childish, and quite conceited. I based this opinion on the few times I saw her in very controlled situations. At first glance she did seem shallow but, I never took the time to speak with her......only about her to others. Yep, I participated in good ole fashion gossip. I never spoke outside my family but gossip is still gossip. Why did I do this?? I still ask myself that today.

God sometimes has a way of making me see my faults. Sometimes He's pretty in my face about it.........but not always. Sometimes, He moves quietly behind the scenes. Weaving a tapestry that will become my bigger picture.

It turns out that my daughter became friends with this young woman. At first, I was VERY skeptical. I warned my daughter repeatably to be careful as these "friends" were older and could eventually hurt her badly. Still, I felt that sometimes hard lessons need to be experienced and let the relationship develop without intervening.

The turning point for me was when I sat down one afternoon and had a very long conversation with the young woman. She was so easy to talk to. I found her to be sensitive, caring, and extremely compassionate to others. She was like many people, putting on a front until she got to know you. Having been hurt so much in her past, it was just the way she protected herself and she was young. Young people need the chance to make mistakes and grow into mature people. I was surprised about her true nature and felt immediately drawn to her. In fact, I have become somewhat of a mentor to this young woman and have grown to love her very much like my own daughter.

Initially, I felt incredibly disgusted with myself for making such rash judgements when I have fought so hard for people to see my son as person not a disability. Yet, I had done the same thing........I had done exactly the same thing to another beautiful human being.

1 Samuel 16:7 says "God does not see the same way people see. People look at the outside of a person, but the Lord looks at the heart. (NCV)" I had forgotten to see the heart see as God sees. Once again..........I was the goat.

God forgives and, I learned. I carefully guard against forming opinions before getting to know someone and I definitely stay away from gossip. The lesson for me was truly seeing through God's eyes means looking inward first which is contrary to our nature.

What do you see when you look out into the world?? Sometimes stepping back and pondering what God's vision would be will keep you from being the goat too..........try it the next time your ready to jump to conclusions. Imagine how different the world would be if we all did!

Friday, January 1, 2010

What is Your Breaking Point?

Lately, I have been bombarded by a plethora of too much stuff to do........

Hubby got a new hip, so I have had the privilege of convalescing him. Then, there is always DJ's diet, supplements, animal chores, and finally.....Christmas! Throw 4-H meetings on top of that plus medical trips to Phoenix, and I just wanted to find a large hole to climb into.

The breaking point came yesterday. It wasn't anything huge...........just a painful part of raising small animals. One of Kelise's prize Coronet show boars, Preston, got a mystery respiratory infection and died. No warning........healthy pig one day, dead pig the next. This of course, just happened to be a pig I had gotten rather attached to. Whether it was my exhaustion, or just emotional release, I cried for quite some time. I honestly can't remember getting so upset about a cavy in years. I don't think it was just the cavy though.......

The point is that we all have a breaking point. Mine just happened to be over a cavy. The pressure and stress that had been building up in my life spilled over because I just couldn't handle one more thing. The release was amazing and let my family know I had actually had it! They woke up and took notice. I probably should have found a healthier way to manage the stress but, in the midst of all the chaos I forgot to communicate.

What is your breaking point?? How close are you to reaching it? Slow down in the new year and take stock of what is really important to you. I let things get away from me and ended up in emotional upheaval. I figured I had control of my insanity so, I pushed forward to the point of having a mini-breakdown. God reminded me once again that I can't survive without help. We all need to ask for help before things get out of hand.......remember, no person exists in a vacuum and everyone, even me, needs help from time to time!

I do feel better today. I am blessed to have a tolerant and loving family. However, I still hurt and miss Mr. Preston. :( God never promised a pain free life but that's a topic for another day!