Monthly Archives: March 2013

Remember and Absorb

What a weekend.  We had planned a long weekend in Gettysburg, but cut it short to beat the weather at home.  It is amazing what a few days away from home and routine can do for a family though.  In addition to a great time, it was a time for me to finish a book and start a new one while our little fish, Sam, swam in the hotel pool.  It was a time to really absorb some things and learn some new lessons.

The last time we stayed at this particular hotel, I read the Asperger’s Manual by Tony Atwood.  That was just about 1 ½ years ago and just before Samuel’s diagnosis process.  I remember reading that book and all the things were like big arrows explaining things I never understood about Sam.  I read the book by pool side then, and this year I watched as his quirks targets him as being “different” and as kids left the pool instead of trying to understand him.  I heard them tell their mom that they got out of the pool because of him and she didn’t try to explain that he was just different and being friendly.  It was a teachable moment so missed by their mother and by me.  I wanted to speak up, but knew that just points him out more.  I worked so hard to teach Samuel to be social and friendly, but he doesn’t have a filter to understand when to scale it down and to give kids space.  He just wants to play and thinks they would want to as well.  I tried to make a teachable moment with Sam, and thankfully he didn’t hear what they said and he didn’t understand that they got out because of him.  LESSON LEARNED – I need to work on more social situations with Sam, but how do you teach your child that people/kids can be mean when he only sees the good in people?  I need to learn how to speak up to other parents and children.  Ignorance and avoidance teach nothing.

We really usually roll with change well, but we had made several change to this trip before we left and after getting there.  Well, sometimes change can lead to meltdowns because Sam builds upon his recollection of previous trips.  He remembers everything about Gettysburg including a railroad track that we had only passed over once.  So the train museum was closed = BAD NEWS!  So thankful for my phone and we found another store to visit that appeased him, but not after a melt down.  It was not something I had any control over.    There were a few more meltdowns on the trip and it is so hard to get to the “bottom of them” when they happened.  Sam doesn’t just say I am really mad that I can’t spend time in the pool, instead I have to do a multiple choice and just keep asking the right questions.  Then we had to come home a day early which is devastating because I told him 3 days.   Once a fact is in his head he stores it to be true.  Thankfully I was able to find a compromise and remind him of all the toys and our crazy dog at home.  As a mom, I “get” that he will have his melt downs, and they are a result of not being able to communicate but show through tears and screaming.  But, they are HARD! They break my heart because I can’t just kiss them away.  A mom meltdown happens when you can’t control everything.  LESSON LEARNED – Meltdowns are a part of life.  But, when they happen, it is best to evaluate them and change things to prevent future meltdowns.

A friend of mine has been diagnosed with breast cancer this week.  She is handling it with grace and an amazing perspective.  It has been a long time since I have known someone so closely that has been diagnosed.  It brought back some incredible memories of the years I did hands-on cancer nursing.  Sitting at the patient’s bedsides and getting to know them and their families intimately.  In reflection, it was then I probably had the best perspective on life, because I watched people look at life differently.  They taught me to savor the moments of every day, do the things I want to do for happiness, and to make sure everything I had to say be said out of love.   Johnetta put up a blog post that described the same exact things they would tell me and I watched them LIVE  = please visit her blog… (http://lessonblessings.wordpress.com/2013/03/23/diagnosis-top-ten-list/)   LESSON LEARNED – Learn from other people’s lessons, especially when told by a great friend. 

A friend mentioned “aha” moments in a post today, and I so understood.  I have several of those Aha moments in the past week; however, I struggle with the carry through.  I think I realized them ore this week because this week was a different pace.  I had more time on my hands waiting for the kids at the state testing.  More time to reflect and more time to observe.  I am a true believer that God will give us signs through ordinary means to get our attention.  The problem is I am usually so rushing through life that I miss the ordinary. A few came via a TV program that I cried through and realized it could be me.  A few came via conversation this weekend and realized some changes I needed to make. I watched as Samuel, faced some big fears this weekend, and had the “aha” moments that if he can overcome, then I just need to have a child-like faith.  I watched my children be untouched emotionally by some things as a momma that just pushed me a little over the edge. LESSON LEARNED – Re-discover my child like faith and slow down to absorb the signs along the way.

One of the blessings of blogging is it puts my thoughts and lessons into writing.  I tend to get wrapped up in getting through my day that I forget the lessons.  I want to remember these important things every day.  For years I took care of patients that taught me valuable lessons everyday.  I had them for the everyday reminders.  I still have amazing people around me to teach me valuable lessons! I need to be INTENTIONAL to remember these lessons above and to daily slow down to absorb the reminders and new lessons that God gives me daily in the people he has blessed me with in my life!

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Gardening Peace

My last blog was about taking action on beliefs.  One of my beliefs, or at least have taught to Mary, is to live in peace with others even if it takes forgiveness for what seems to be unforgiveable.

At the end of last year, many moments of ‘issues” at school exploded and Mary was left wounded and Jim and I were MAD!  How dare other people believe they had the right to hurt our daughter.  Later in the summer came the first apology and after discussion we talked about the importance of forgiving.  However, forgiveness does not mean that you have to hang out with them after you accept the apology.  Shortly after this school year came the second apology from the other one who hurt her.  We were surprised to get the first apology, let alone the second one.  Again, forgiveness and living a peace does NOT mean you open your life to get hurt again.  She attended a dance at the school, and was able to share the same space in harmony.  This past week we went to the talent show and she wanted to sit with the two people. It was the first time I had seen them and I, the adult, was uncomfortable.  After the event, on the way home, she tells me she really believes they were genuine and would like to be friends and maybe hang out together.  I, the adult, was uncomfortable even hearing that.  Part of my hesitance is I don’t want drama and the other part I don’t want her hurt again.  But, in the big picture, she is right by moving forward.

So, there are a few people in my pathways that I do not really care for.  I find it hard to live in peace with some people.  I can see a correspondence from them and I instantly put up my defense. There are situations that have been posed to me and I thought we were living in peace, only to determine that was not the case.  They feel they are right and well I KNOW that I am.  I am waiting for an apology and I can plan on waiting for ever.  I cave in to be the bigger/better person.  But what is my motive?  To say I was the bigger/better person… to complain about the fact they were not… to claim that I was right… this verse and a few others keep popping up about living in peace.

  • Hebrews 12:14-15 “14 Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many”

I sometimes want to scream, “Lord, you have no idea what I am dealing with here.” (although since He can read my mind, He also knows all the other thoughts I have about “these people”.  “These people” can just be mean and miserable.  And then have to humbly admit, Jesus loved the worst of the worst… He even died for them.  The people I “tolerate” are nothing in comparison to being betrayed not once, but three times, by one of His own Disciples, His friend!  Yes, I may feel betrayed, but I have never had the relationship that Jesus had with Judas. And guess what, Jesus still loved him and lived at peace with him and thousands others.

I teach Mary to forgive and live at peace, and she does.  Then I, the grown adult, acts like a teenage girl and holds grudges.  If that isn’t enough, God keeps putting the above verse in my face…

  • Make every effort – means ignore the mean comments, correct errors instead of pointing them out for just the sake of being right
  • Live in Peace – meaning accepting their apology, not picking a fight even if it is an internal one with that little voice that keeps pointing out what the other person die
  • With EVERYONE – meaning everyone!
  • Bitter root grows up – meaning the bitterness I have sowed regarding people has to be let go, or it wil take ROOT in my heart making me BITTER and will continue to grow and grow.

Sometimes I have to just do it, not because it is easy or because I want to or because they deserve it, but because I am instructed to.   In fact, one of the rules I always said to my nephew Derrick and to Mary is “You don’t have to like it, you just have to live with it!”.   I need to become INTENTIONAL in my efforts, seeking peace in the middle of the war, and with everyone (not just my friends and family, but some of my least favorites).   I need to use the weed eater on the bitter root and some Miracle Gro on my efforts for peace.  I definitely have some major gardening to do!

 

It starts with believing but requires action!

A night of movies… Rise of the Guardian and Won’t Back Down.  For those who have not seen either… my take away is to Know what you believe and take unwaivered action!

The Rise of the Guardian is a family movie, and even if opposed to teaching your children about them or not believing in Santa, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, etc.  I am not here to dispute what you teach your children.  However, it came down to one child who still believed  that saved the movie. ONE CHIlD / ONE PERSON believing in a cause can make all the difference.

Won’t Back Down was an amazing movie, whether you support or oppose Unions, School Systems, etc… One MOM who wanted a change in the education system for her child joined with one TEACHER who also believed in a change for the children (including her learning support son).   Their belief that their children deserved more was all it took.  Of note, there were a couple scenes in the movie between mother and child that left me in tears, but the one of the little boy kissing his mom three times still makes me tear up.

Okay, so both movies are fiction, the principles of the movies are vital and make me ask myself… WHAT DO I BELIEVE IN?  and actually it goes much deeper… Do I STAND in my belief AND remain unwaivered and strong despite people/things around me?  In Rise of the Guardians the little child who believed had to stay unwaivered in his belief despite his friends laughing at him.   In Won’t Back Down the mom and teacher stood united despite doors being slammed in their faces, the union going against them, the fellow teachers fighting it, etc… And in both movies they STOOD UP and took ACTION on their beliefs.  It wasn’t just talk – it was action!

So that night I starting asking my self…

  • Are my beliefs evident in my actions?…
  • Do they show through my words?…
  • Can you tell by looking at my calendar?…
  • Is it shown in what I watch, read, listen to?…
  • Could others tell you what I believe in because it is lived in my life?
  • Do I stand unwaivered by the people/things that go around me?

for instance..

  • I believe in Christ and call myself a Christian, but… do my words speak kindness? Do I turn the other cheek?  Do I think “not nice” things about other people who crawl under my skin (i.e. a separate blog).
  • When you look on my calendar do I see time for what I believe in… time for Christ, my family, myself, my health?
  • I say I believe that God can handle all my problems, but do my actions show I hand them over and let him have control – or does my faith show my disbelief?
  • And though other people’s “opinions” do not truly matter in some ways, as a Christian, I am to be a light… do they see my beliefs in my actions towards them and others (or are my words without deeds).
  • I believe in many things regarding Autism, but do my beliefs exhibit themselves in writing letters to congressmen to fight for them?  I have battled insurance companies and have sent letters to editors, but if I believe our son deserves more, should that not be reflected in my life and actions?
  • I believe in anti-bully as both of my children have endured that fate.  But, what do I do to show that belief? Do I fight for legislation or go against schools or even against other parents (i.e. the scene at Burger King with Sam).
  • Or do I sit back and watch?
  • I am a big believer in if I am not part of the solution (or at least have my voice heard) then I should not be complaining.
  • Do I stand boldly for what I believe in a black / white way or have I allowed shades of grey to seep into my beliefs.

Yes this is more a BELIEF report card to self reflect because I am thinking I may have some Fs and Cs and maybe a few Bs.  The comment section would probably say “room for improvement”.  “attendance to this area is affecting performance” (i.e. not spending enough time.

I need to be INTENTIONAL in know what I truly believe in then remain unwaivered as I take action.  Saying I believe is just not enough… I have some As to earn!  And if they are not earned on earth, it is okay.  But when I get to heaven I want to hear “Good job my good and faithful servant!”

 

James 2:17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead!

Getting Grounded

WARNING internal emotions can be hazardous to my health.  Chest heaviness, stomach tied in knots, headache, floaters in my eyes. Yep – feel like I am falling apart.  Internal emotions backed up causing physical response I am sure.    Internal emotions are experiencing some definite shorts in the wiring system.  I just want to look in the mirror and go – “SHERI, get a grip!” and maybe a slap or two would help!  I know that I am not alone in this feeling (maybe you want to slap me once or twice too – lol).  I could give the list of “shorts” in my internal wiring.

Part of the wiring issue is that I am letting other people control the power switch and the surging of the power.  Actually, I am feeling like some people have taken my fuse box and dropped it in deep water, and stand back watching it fry.  I hate not trusting people and their intentions.  I even more hate what it makes me feel like towards them.  I feel it puts me in a position to either one-up them before another fuse gets burnt out or sit back and take the jolt.  Neither is a pleasant response.  I love to be in environments where people have my back (not worry about being stabbed in the back).

Circumstances that I have allowed to get out of control also lead to the short fuses.  In the past two weeks I have had 2 very scary travel adventures.  First of all, I put myself in the circumstances by traveling, but to my defense did not know the weather was going to go downhill so quickly (both Phil and the Meteorologist were wrong).  This whole winter, I just avoided the weather by staying home.  There would have been a day, the weather would not have phased me.  However, it now can cause the knots in my gut, especially if I have the kids with me.

Commitments have become a wiring issue.  I have a hard time with the “N” word (no).  I seem to always agree to adjust my schedule to meet the needs of others.  Sam gets speech and occupational therapy a couple days a week, and often I am the last one they call to schedule the one because they know I will do whatever I need to get Sam there.  Most of the parents just say it isn’t a good time instead of adapting their schedules.  There are other instances where people just propose meetings or need something today without consideration that my time is also valuable.  But instead of saying no, I continually adjust my schedule.

EVALUATION and ACTION

So, I wrote the above Wednesday night as a start of a blog.  I couldn’t sleep that night and tossed and turned and eventually just got up because I was keeping Jim awake. Then I thought about electrical work, as my dad was an electrician.  I do remember the importance of having grounding to prevent electrocution.  That is exactly my problem.  My grounding has been interrupted.   For instance,

  • I am not consistent in standing grounded in what I believe.  Though the world may act a certain way does not mean that I should cave into the ways of the world.  If I feel like I am being slapped by the world, I need to turn the cheek.
  • The distance between me and God gets a little too far.  The scripture states draw near to Him and He will draw near to ME!  When I am having distance issues, it is because I moved, not because He moved.  When I move from Gods reach, it is harder to be grounded.
  • When it comes to circumstances, I have to remember there is always a choice.   I need to stand firm for what is important (safety versus making it to an appointment).  It requires coming up for a Plan B if Plan A doesn’t work out.  People will understand and if they do not, at least I stood firm in my grounding.
  • Commitments need to be contained to what is important to me and our family.  My time has never been honored because I have never expected it.  People know if they ask, I will just say yes.
  • Grounding also requires that I learn the concept of time and that there are 24-hours in a day.  My calendar should be a picture of what is important to me.

RE-GROUNDING BEGINS

Look around me.  I have a couple dear friends are facing some big issues.  When I look at my “issues” I realize how out of control I have become.  I read one of my favorite blogs this week by a mom with an autistic daughter… she ended up in the hospital due to chest pain.   I need to be grounded by the wake up calls of others around me, so God doesn’t have to give me my own lesson (although I think the headache and floaters could fall into that category).

This morning I placed a Facebook post with scriptures of Standing on the Promises.  When I keep my focus on Christ, He can help keep me grounded.  I think of the story of Peter and walking on the water.  Peter was able to walk on the water as long as He kept grounded by keeping his eyes on Christ.  He lost his grounding and started to sink. (Matthew 14:22-33).  After I couldn’t sleep I got up and found these scriptures.  I had read in the past about personalizing scriptures and I did that with the ones I found.  How powerful that was to switch my focus from my issues to the power I can have in Him.

I also placed a Facebook post about observations with Samuel.  He grounds me to reality often.  He has one pace – HIS.  I can try to make him hurry, but it will not matter.  He has his own rhythm and is always authentic to it.  I on the other hand pick up the pace of the world.  I hurry and loose my rhythm – loose my grounding of the authentic me.

Intentional is my word for 2013, and well, I need to step it up.  I need to be intentional in managing my life. Intentional in staying grounded.  Intentional in knowing my rhythm and my authentic self!