Life Is Lived In The Periphery

The Human Genome Project (1990-2003), proved that the life, the activity, the energy of the cell, was ‘lived’ in the cytoplasm of the cell…in the periphery.

As I meditate on that, I think of all of the things in my life where that rings true. Life is lived in the day to day rituals, habits and values I hold as a person, and then in the broader sense, the day to day rituals, habits and values we hold as a family.

What we devote our minds and attention to, when no one is looking, is what is produced, grows and flourishes in our relationships, work and recreation and, in turn, makes us into the best version of ourselves.

I can often bristle against the mundane. The waking up at 5, drinking organic green juice, praying, journaling, listening to Tony Robbins, having prayer with my husband, working out, and practicing guitar for 15 minutes. But that is where my life truly is lived. The out growth of that routine shows up in everything else I do in front of and for others. It is light, it is energy and it is life!

Think about how your life is lived in the periphery? Just like me, if your life doesn’t reflect the values that you have or the way that you want your life to look, maybe you need to change up your habits and routines. It is a bit painful to change and build new ‘muscles’, but you will never regret adding value to yourself by living a better life in the periphery<3

I am walking this journey of wholeness with you and I would love to hear from you today!

Feed Your Faith, Not Your Fear

Are you feeling a bit afraid? Me too. Sometimes I walk outside and think, holy crap is all of this really going on? Are we really in a pandemic? In a month so many things have changed and, like 9/11, I think they will change, the way we do life, forever.

Well, forever, as pertains to this life anyway. When I was about nineteen years old I became, what Christian’s call, born again. I intentionally gave over the control of my life to Jesus Christ. I knew that I was living a very selfish, self gratifying life with a lot of secrets and well worn roads and I was miserable.

One night when I was driving quite a distance from home after performing some singing telegrams, that was my occupation at the time, I happened upon a Christian radio station. The old-time preacher was calling me out from the front seat of my metallic blue ’78 Mercury Zephyr. He said; “If you died tonight, would you go to heaven?” I said, “No” out loud. He went on to explain that Jesus came to earth, died and rose again and is seated in heaven now to take my sins and the sins of the whole world and there is nothing we can do that will make us a good enough person to get into heaven, but we must surrender our life in Christ. He went on to say, that we must ‘hand over the wheel of our life’ and give Jesus the control over it because He knows what He created us for, where He wants us to go and what He wants us to do. Well I was driving with the steering wheel in my hands and said, out loud, driving down the highway, right there on my white leather seats, “Jesus take the wheel of my life in yours, I hand my life over to you. ( And this was long before Carrie Underwood wrote the song:)

He saw me and He heard me and my life has never been the same. He became my focus and pursuit and a whole new world and possibilities opened up for me. My life was no longer focused on the next self gratifying event, but instead, I became very curious about this King of Kings, and how I fit into His Kingdom.

Today, this moment, it seems to me we are confronted with the same choice. There is an unseen virus that is wreaking havoc in every place of our lives. Our once autonomous lives are becoming less and less autonomous. There is no where to hide. We can’t leave our neighborhood, our county, our state or the country. We cannot meet up with friends like we used to. We cannot shop to get some retail therapy. We can’t get our hair done or go to the gym so we can feel a little better about ourselves. We are being forced to sit with our selves our thoughts and the families that we are bound to.

There is no game to go to tonight, no dinner reservations, no show. Some people are wearing masks and gloves and some are visibly bothered by being around others, even six feet away. Some people have to postpone graduations, weddings and even the mourning of a loved one. It’s easy to see how we can be overwhelmed by fear and panic. What can we do?

We can feed our faith. We can, like Philippians 4:8 says to do, meditate on whatever things are true, noble, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous and praiseworthy things. Meditate means; to engage in thought or contemplation, reflection, ponder, consider, dream about, purpose, think on. The Bible says that We can transform our minds by the renewing of our minds. I know this is true, for I have spent months doing this very exercise at a time in my life when I forgot what my true identity was as a Christian.

Jesus said that He is the way, the truth and the life. He also called himself the light of the world. He said, whoever follows Me will not stumble around in darkness but have the light that leads to life. We need that light and that life today. Just like the unseen virus that roams around waiting to devour, we have an unseen enemy of our souls and his name is satan or the devil. The virus threatens our lively hood, our education, our health, our society, our world and maybe our very life. But Jesus said in Matthew 10:28, “Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul.

Satan seeks to kill, steal and destroy, just like the virus, but the ramifications are eternal. He seeks to take your soul through deception like lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh and seeking after all the things this life has to offer. His primary focus is to convince you that you are not a child of God and God does not have your best in mind. He is a liar and a thief and loves to use fear as a primary weapon.

Faith in God is eternal safety in this life and the life to come. He invites us in to His Kingdom that is without end and offers us joy and peace that, He says, surpasses all human understanding. As the layers of what we have known as our lives get pealed away, He is there offering supernatural protection, direction and hope.

I chose this image for the blog for it’s majesty, peace, calmness and hope. As an Aromatherapist, I know the value of Lavender for it’s central nervous system calming and sedative properties. It is very effective as a support for people who struggle with anxiety or have a hard time falling asleep. It is beautiful to gaze upon and beautiful to smell. Green is the color of life and being alive.

Purple is the color of royalty and peace, very fitting for The King of Kings. Mountains are majestic and lift our eyes up to something greater than ourselves. During this time of panic and uncertainty, lift up your eyes to where your help comes from, everlasting help comes from The Lord Jesus. Call on His name, give him the wheel of your life and feed on Him as the object of your affection and your faith.

No matter where you are, no matter where you have been, He is warmly and excitedly waiting for you right now.

Blessings<3

Coming Out of The Shadows

Change….it’s hard. There is so much to it. Overriding uncertainty and fear, being courageous, taking a step, acceptance that you may not be where you want to be, but how are you going to get there if you never begin?

I bought myself a curriculum suggetsted by my therapist called, The Artist’s Way. It is written by Julia Cameron, a screen writer, and it is somewhat of a hands-on classic for blocked artists. Cameron suggests writing three large amounts of “pages” everyday to get un stuck. It doesn’t matter if you are a writer, a musician a painter, a dancer, what ever your art form, the writing is a necessary means to a desired end.

The curriculum was suggested because I needed time to, drain my brain, as my therapist said, but it has been so encouraging to me as I have stepped out in many areas of creativity lately- I highly recommend it to anyone who is afraid to develop those deep desired aspirations.

This is what Cameron says to affirm those afraid to take themselves seriously in any realm of creativity.

“In order to move a way from the realm of the shadows into light of creativity, shadow artists must learn to take themselves seriously. With gentle, deliberate effort, they must nurture their artist child. Creativity is play, but for shadow artists, learning to allow themselves to play is hard work.”

This statement is so true of me! On one hand, I take myself way too seriously, on the other, I haven’t taken my desires, gifts and talents serious enough. On one hand, I have spent literal hours and years, alone, practicing, writing, singing, playing, taking lessons to improve, on the other hand, I have so easily hidden in my fear and have not wanted to step onto center stage using the excuse, “someone is always better than I am.”

A lot has changed in my life over the last four years. A cataclysmic event in my life, cloaked in the appearance of a “bad” thing, actually turned out to be an open door of hope and change in my life. I do not want to discount how, in many ways, it was a hurtful event, to many people because it was. But what are we supposed to do with the shadows of our life? Hide in them? Blame them? Avoid them at all costs? I don’t think so. I think we are to, as Henri Nouwen says, in so many ways, embrace the shadows and the light together. Life is full of both and both are intended to be lessons to us.

The event in my life was a glaring signal that something needed to change. Many things infact needed to change…first, me. I was living a false-self life. I had desires and dreams, but I had for years stuffed them so far down to my toes, thinking they were selfish instead of, ‘desires of my heart’, God had perhaps placed there.

Allowing myself to say, I do not want the next 25 years to be the way the first twenty-five were, was very new for me. It was liberating. I didn’t go about it all the right way, for sure. But when we take actions to grow and change, ripples occur and affect those we surround ourselves with.

I have decided I want to take positive actions that affect myself and the ones I love in a positive way- those are my perimeters after trying to change in a destructive way. It is not easy, change never is, but it doesn’t have the negative ramifications surrounding it like bad choices to change, have.

Just one aspect of this change is found in our new hobby of playing as a family band in local venues. My family has played in worship settings for years, and still continue to. But we have recently created a set list of music, that is meaningful to us as a family, and stepped out to share our love of music together with the community.

We play rock classics, pop songs, jazz and originals that give a back story of the things we have been through as a couple and a family and it has been met with encouragement and huge support. I, for many years, was a drummer for bands. Although I would still sing from, ‘behind the band’, even lead or sing my own songs, I always had the comfort of the first layer of musicians in front of me to keep me in the shadows. I couldn’t see the faces of those we were playing to very easily and that was fine with me!

Coming out of the shadows right now for me means, stepping out in the courage that I have been given something important to say and share. That my life counts, that I have a message and that there are others who need comfort from hearing it. Ultimately, Jesus continues to use my life, bring me out of the shadows and in to all that He has destined for me to be and for me to do. In the process, I am empathetic to others and can comfort others with the comfort I have received. Ultimately, that is what I think shadows were created for. When shadows are exposed to light, you see all the beauty, life and detail that was always laying quietly there all along<3

How To Deal With Anxiety….and Everything Else!

Yesterday I had the privilege of working a long side (my husband, pictured here:), but also, another very gifted and intellectual man, Dr. John Neyman. The seminar was held at Cornerstone Church of Clarion who warmly and authentically welcomed us to share. John wrote a book called; “The Neyman Strategy”, out of his life long career of counseling people with various issues, namely, anxiety. He shared the information from that book and more, in his seminar, “A Day Of Grace”.

If you get the chance to schedule this doctor of Theology, Psychology and Behavioral Specialist in a town near you, which I highly recommend, my husband and I will most likely be supplying the music for the event and sharing a bit about our story.

Dr. Neyman’s over arching theme is; change your thinking, change your life. His passion comes from his own life journey, where he walked in dark trenches himself and met God there. That led him on a path of faith and a voracious desire to become educated in every way so that he could grow and help others.

He shared many stories of the transformations that happened in seemingly hopeless cases. He once asked the City Of Pittsburgh to give him their most difficult behavioral case, and they did! It didn’t happen over night, but freedom eventually came to the tormented person who others would have written off.

God says in His Word in Romans 12:2, “Do not conform to the world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Science backs up God’s Word for this! In recent years, the neuroscience field has proven that new neural pathways can be created when we meditate on positive, life giving thoughts and subsequent actions.

One of the strategies that Dr. John teaches in his book and at his seminar is, meditating on scripture for 7 minutes a day in 1-minute increments.

We are given second, third, forth, chances when we apprehend this tool! How am I so certain? Well, God did this very thing for me after I came through a great challenge and subsequent failure. I could have been left in depression and in the bondage of guilt and shame, but God lead me by His grace into His path of light and life. I wrote about this journey in my book; That’s Not Who You Are.

The very method of renewal that Dr. John spoke about for hours yesterday, is the same method I used to recover from failure. I spent hours and days, studying scripture, meditation on it, writing it down, writing songs and blogs about it, speaking it, memorizing it, trusting it, and trusting God- not my circumstances. It transformed me. It didn’t happen in a minute, it wasn’t the microwaved, drive-through version, it was deep, wide and continues to sustain me.

I was able to share a bit about that at yesterday’s seminar and connect with people who have been touched by the pain of hopelessness. I share how God is a God of hope, second chances and new life! I share how God made Himself so real and intimate to me in such a dark time of my life. How He brought others to surround me along the way as I surrendered my control to Him.

If that is not the God you know, I invite you to rediscover Him again, through His son, Jesus Christ. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life and He does not disappoint! No matter what you are going through, addiction, depression, anxiety, loneliness, failure…He has every answer and has given us the tools to illuminate our lives. There is nothing that you could have ever done or do, that He will not welcome you with open arms when you come to Him for help. He delights in mercy.

It is to Him, I am grateful to have the privilege and the honor to work with and along side so many amazing people<3

To inquire about a Dr. John Neyman event, call: 724-712-9449

Many Emotions Can Emerge At Christmas

Understanding that Christmas-time can bring a host of conflicting emotions, we pray this over each of you today.

Jesus said, I am the Light of the World, whoever follows me will not walk in darkness but have the light of life.

Blessings to each of you, in His Mighty Name, by the Power He gives in His Spirit. Merry Christmas from Honest Aromas.

Aromatherapy Shoppe!

 

Check out our products at Honest Aromas and juliaallman.com  !! Remember, we also create custom blends for all of your therapeutic needs, by a Certified Aromatherapist!

We had a loyal customer contact us over the weekend to tell us that she lent her Arthritis Pain Blend to her husband while they were traveling. She reported that, he slept soundly all night with out pain waking him up! This is one of many positive testimonies we receive at Honest Aromas!

Aromatherapy can be a great way to start implementing self-care and margin into your life. The measures you take toward health or choose not to take affect you! We care about you: Spiritually, physically, mentally and emotionally and we are walking this path of wholeness with you. We want to hear from you today!

Autism, Birthdays, Mistakes and Inhalers

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My son is autistic. It has been one heck of a ride! Mostly the ride has been within myself, learning to accept, be flexible and be open to a new normal. It has taken almost fourteen years and I have by no means arrived.

 Having a birthday party for him was something I swore off a few years ago…and Oh Buddy, how I did swear!! One does not always know what is going on in that beautiful mind and if you go left when he wants to go right, watch out!  I couldn’t take any more tantrums in front of friends, leaving his friends sitting at the table because they ate their cake before he had the first bite or rude comments about the presents he didn’t like and the list is endless.  It is just too stressful….for me. Does that sound selfish? Maybe it is but I think I have a better grasp on my humanity and what I am able handle peacefully.

He started planning his party 2 months ago. I see him maturing in many ways. He has no problem communicating his need for more freedom and less parental control. I didn’t handle that very well when our oldest son communicated the same things to us at the same age, but I see my error in that now. I want to help raise confident, think for your self, respectful and God fearing men-so I can appreciate his hormones and intrinsic make up better than I used to appreciate his brothers’!

No person on earth has more tested, tried, exasperated or challenged this writer, than this particular son. He makes me want to hit the escape button on my emotional hand held and I sometimes  ponder if space from each other would’n’t be a good idea. I don’t know the answer to that but I do know, he is exposing many things within myself.

As I grow deeper in union with Christ, I have found this to be true. That the people and the situations in our lives that are cataclysmic to us in someway, are the very doors of hope that God has purposed. That can look a lot of ways, can’t it? It can look like the accident,the unplanned pregnancy, the lost dreams, the divorce, the illicit relationship, the addiction or the communication break down, just to name a few. God is standing there, purposing good through it, what ever it is. His hope and future for our good, in the pressure, in the refining and in the heat.  When you are aware of it, your eyes are opened! He wants to do something in us and through us. Ultimately, He wants us to so know how loved, accepted, forgiven and pleasing we are to Him- so that knowledge is given freely to others no matter how they behave, acknowledge or appreciate us.

I am getting ready for a big Aromatherapy event this weekend and in my busyness,  I made a mistake while blending some inhalers. I see that I am maturing a bit too. I just looked at the cartridges and asked, what shall I do with you now? Ginger, Lavender, Frankincense and Bergamot…. the blend lent itself to calming anxiety and reducing stress…perfect! I will give one to each of the special boys who are coming to the birthday party tonight and give one to my son and myself! A mistake turned into a blessing! That is what they are all intended to be. Not just for ourselves, but for everyone who surrounds us as well.

Thank you for reading, I really do appreciate it. I am right here walking this path of wholeness with you and I would love to hear from you today.

Don’t give up! You’re on The Edge of a Precipice

20180618_133059I have a message burning deep in my heart that I want to share. When darkness closes in all around you and it feels like you are going to suffocate from lack of hope, don’t give up—you are on the edge of a precipice!

The definition of precipice is this:

Precipice

[presuh-pis]
noun
  1. a cliff with a vertical, nearly vertical, or overhanging face.
  2. a situation of great peril: on the precipice of war.
I have been on this precipice many times in my life. Sometimes I found myself there from choices I made, but many times I found myself looking off a cliff from situations that simply presented themselves.There are a few choices we can make when we find ourselves here:
  1. Go back the way we came and deny it.
  2. Find other routes to escape it.
  3. Face and accept the seemingly impossible challenge.

I have tried all three! I can say, without a doubt, facing and accepting our challenges is the only choice we have to growing healthy and moving forward.

I have had situations all my life in which I had to choose not to give up. I was born to overcome; nothing in my life has been easy for me. I was the youngest of five, born into a turbulent time. My mother had given up and over to alcoholism, and my dad was an oft-absent traveling salesman. I got a lot of attention early on for being the “baby”, but that soon lost its luster, and I usually felt like I was just in the way, the third (or fifth) wheel, and definitely not preferred over anyone else in the family. Although I now see everyone was trying to do the best they could, the attachments at home were not secure for me.  I was abused in different ways, which further lead me to finding my own ways to detach and protect myself.

Elaine Aron, in her book The Highly Sensitive Person, says:

All childhoods are not equal. Some are truly horrible. And they can differ within the same family. Statistical analyses of the influence of family environment on different children in the same family show no overlap. Your brothers or sisters lived a totally different childhood. You had different positions in the family, different early experiences, even in a sense different parents, given how adults change with circumstances and age.

When I was in middle school and high school, I had the potential and some outside encouragement to really excel in music or writing, but I think the lack of concern at home made me lose motivation to exert any effort. I regret, yet accept not having the wherewithal to take advantage of those opportunities better. I felt unnoticed by my family whether I did something really well or not, so I took the path of ease. There was no support or excitement about what I might become; I only felt the annoyance of others if I asked for help. I have in recent years recognized when those feelings resurface as an adult, and have seen the same scenario play out in my marriage at times.

It has required a lot of dependence on God, prayer, and therapy to work through these deep wounds that have affected my person, marriage, and my own family. First and foremost, I have to believe that I am loved, accepted, pleasing, and forgiven by God. This is where all of my significance lies. I have found Robert McGee’s book Search for Significance to be authoritative on this subject and extremely healing to me.

When you find yourself stuck in life or turning to things you never thought you would engage in to get relief, you owe it to yourself and others to take the time to find out why. We deceive ourselves when we think we can leave one bad situation and move into another one that will magically be healthy without any work. It is a process and a journey that is lived one healing minute and hour at a time.

When you find yourself with your back against the wall, suffocating in the hopelessness, what are you going to do? Remember the three choices from the beginning: we can go back the way we came or stay in the same old ruts and familiarity, but I challenge you that is not the way of healing. We can find other routes and escapes. Again, this is where dependence or addiction to drugs and alcohol, and idolatry of every kind comes in. We can choose it, but it will take us in to a greater bondage than the momentary relief it brings. I have made this choice in a variety of ways, I have been destitute, shed many tears and almost completely lost hope for choosing this way.

The third choice, however, is facing and accepting that our situation is hard and taking that challenge. This is difficult, but healthy, because it is walked out in truth. Of course, I am not suggesting that you should remain in a state of hopelessness or receive any kind of abuse. God came to set the captive free and loose the chains of bondage. We are not living healthy lives if we are enabling others to abuse us and perpetuate the cycle. God calls us out of darkness and into His light, and sometimes it is a bloody battle to get there.

I am saying that when we find ourselves in desperate situations, that is usually an alarm that there is something to address. This alarm contains the perfect opportunity for healthy change. The thing about precipices is that there is something vast waiting on the other side, a lively and healthy adventure that you will never know unless you decide within yourself that this is the way of peace, even if it is difficult.

Whether you are in a circumstance of your own making or have done nothing to deserve your position, do not give up! Take courage! Forgive yourself, love yourself, realize that you are accepted and pleasing to God and that that is more than enough, even if others are rejecting you.

I bought a plaque to hang on my wall. I bought it after I had caused a great disturbance in the lives of many because of some of my behaviors. It says: Let your courage set you free! I still look at it and am strengthened by it. I am weak, but Jesus says, “When you are weak, I am strong in you.” That gives me courage. I do not have to muster something that I do not own, but I can let Him do it through me as I am a container pouring out. He can supernaturally change situations if we are open to Him and have faith in Him to change us and change the situation.

You have to believe that you were created for something greater than you can imagine. Maybe you have been climbing up a sheer cliff for many years;  you haven’t reached a plateau or a resting spot in what seems like forever. I understand! My husband and I have gone from one hard or devastating circumstance to the next. Even if I chose to escape for a while, I eventually had to return to the place that I needed to accept the situation and see how I could change or grow while going through it.

It’s like being in labor with a baby; at the point that you think you cannot go on in labor, the baby is just ready to emerge. Every single time I was reaching a precipice, it felt excruciating, like I didn’t have the energy to go on. But every single time, there was freedom and a higher understanding on the other side. Just over the crest is where new life begins; there is no turning back when you keep that perspective.

So, the message that burns within me is this: You are not alone! Do not give up! You are only on the edge of a precipice.

 

Our Personal Autism Awareness Journey

 

 

Every April 2, the world celebrates International Autism Awareness Day. Before I had a child with autism, I used to think it was an over-diagnosed disorder caused by immunizations. However, once our youngest son, who we never immunized, was diagnosed with autism, I began to walk in a different pair of shoes.

In the years since my son’s diagnosis, I’ve done a lot of research. And while I do think immunizations can exacerbate autistic symptoms in children, I now know some more facts about the prevalence of this little-understood condition:

  • Autism affects 1 in 68 children.
  • Autism prevalence figures are growing, becoming one of the fastest growing developmental disorders in the US.
  • Autism costs a family $60,000 a year on average.
  • Boys are nearly five times more likely than girls to be on the autistic spectrum.
  • There is no medical detection or cure.  Research by Autism Speaks

Since we discovered our now thirteen-year-old son’s autism, our family has worked hard to manage and improve the various impacts that autism has. Our son has been in some form of therapy since he was three to four years old. We’ve had some extremely grueling years of day to day therapy at home, including vision therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and vestibular therapy. We have worked a lot on large and small motor skills through the years. Doing “simple” things like tying shoes or using scissors are not easy for him, but he can do it. He gets overwhelmed very quickly, and moving from one activity to another is extremely hard for him.

All of our children have had food allergies and sensitivities and with the research that has been done in relationship to gluten intolerance and Autism,  we just felt it was wise to keep him on a gluten-free diet. We have had extensive tests done through the years regarding the vitamins and minerals he needs as well as pre- and probiotics to keep his system regular. We also found that a very low dose of a stimulant medication helps to support his ADHD. All of these interventions, along with physical activity and heavy structure, have proved to support all over well being and reduce self-injurious behavior.

Behavioral therapy has been an ongoing challenge for all of us. Tools that my husband and I use as parents have to change several times in a course of a day or a week. What worked last week like a charm will not necessarily work today. Obviously, this can lead to strain in our own relationship as we work to adequately parent this child. Nothing has been more difficult in our marriage. We have also attended family therapy, as the tension on the typical siblings have proved to be extremely stressful as well. We have learned ways to communicate better, using common terminology and allowing everyone to share their feelings during meals or family meeting times.

According to Dr. Robert Naseef, Autism in itself doesn’t necessarily cause divorce, but living with a child who has challenges brings out all the weakness in your marriage. We have both wanted to leave the situation out of sheer frustration and exhaustion, and there was a time in our marriage when we were ready to call it quits. In our effort to rebuild our relationship, we knew our number one objective had to be parenting this child with as much unity as humanly possible. We also realize that we hyper focus on the autistic child, by shear virtue of his particular issues. We work very hard at trying to have a positive, strengths oriented atmosphere. We have a black board in our dining room and we will often write positive quotes, mantras or scriptures to encourage and inspire each other.

Socially, our son has a great desire to have friendships, which can be unusual for someone on the autistic spectrum. Unfortunately, his desire for companionship is not often reciprocated by his peers. Because he has remained socially immature, the friends he had when he was younger have moved on to other friendships. We have, however, found a few families who invite our son for play dates or sleepovers, and it is much-needed respite for all of us, including him—he gets tired of us too!

Our son is very bright and extremely creative. He likes to write movie scripts and draw cartoons. He likes gaming, Minecraft and Legos, riding his bike with us on the bike trails, taking hikes and visiting the lakes and creeks in our area.

We have tried our hand at homeschooling and private school, but we have landed at our local public school that has more access to learning supports and accommodations. When we first attended the orientation for high school, we sat down and created a short biography with our son with his picture on it. It reminded teachers that our son did have an IEP and included information about his likes, interests, strengths and vulnerabilities. We gave one to each teacher as we entered the class and they all said that really helped them get to know our son much faster than they would have with out it. We have contacted every teacher through email and keep in touch asking them to notify us as soon as something transpires in their class as opposed to waiting for a slip from the school, which can take up to a few weeks. The opportunity for bullying at school is always present and our son has had his run-ins with it. We call his school case worker and principal right away at the first sign.  Our son has not always acted in sound judgement in his behavior and it is met with swift removal of gaming that must be earned back. Teachers, counselors and administrators appreciate our communication and participation in our son’s education and we all have the sense that we are supporting each other to meet the goal of success for our son.

Through the years, we have tried several group sports, some successful and some not such a great idea. He had the most success with flag football this last fall and he just started our school’s track program a few weeks ago! It is his first ever group sport where he has had a strenuous practice every day after school! It is a personal best sport as well as team effort, and he definitely has exceeded his ability since last year at this time, just by showing up for practice. Our son also likes to wrestle and roughhouse with us. I started doing yoga three years ago and working out at the YMCA just so I could be strong enough to handle my fast-growing son. Every day takes an immense amount of mental and physical stamina, and it is all beyond our human capacity.

When I gave birth, we found out that I had a ruptured uterus and that it had been so for some time. He and I really should have died. His name means “gift,” and on our hardest days we choose to remember that. We have spent the last thirteen years trying to readjust and relearn everything we did with our first three, “typical” children. All the while, we keep in mind that this child is exactly who he was meant to be, and as messy as it can be some days, we are all learning and growing together.

Every day is like the movie Groundhog Day here; we get up each morning and start the process all over again. I would like to say that we have no doubt he will grow up to be a self-sufficient human being doing amazing things in the world, but I would be lying to say I was confident. I know he is capable of greatness and deep down that is who he is, but we have so many days that we struggle and feel inadequate.

As parents, we give all the tools, love, and encouragement to our children we can give, and they make their own choices. So we continue to pray,  move forward, try new things, grow one minute and one day at a time, and celebrate all the little victories along the way<3