National Autism Conference-Days 2&3

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Can’t believe how fast this week is flying by! Dorian has been doing a great job of sleeping in a little longer than usual, enjoying his super comfy bed! He has been enjoying his “Children’s Institute” class and all of the activities they have been doing. Today, he had to wear his swim trunks to class as they were having out door water activities of all kinds! The grounds and the campus as a whole are extremely beautiful and relaxing.20170731_162813

Yesterday we went to a morning session on, “Using Drugs to Improve the Behavior of People with Autism” by Alan Poling, and learned that there really are not any specific studies for prescription drug use and Autism! Of course many people treat the symptoms of Autism such as ADHD and Anxiety with medication, but there just isn’t the data to show the benefits for Autism. Pediatricians weighed in on the conversation and said at the end of the day, they just have to “try” what is available and see how it works with a particular individual. I guess we were surprised that there isn’t more research or cutting edge information on the use of drugs for this wildly growing disorder, but we are not surprised that drug companies are in business to make a profit, not run studies:-(

In the afternoon, we went to a whirl-wind session given by Jolin Jackson on “Social Skills”. She gave about 6 hours of information in her fast paced 3 hour session!! I guess the biggest take away for George and I on the topic, were the use of  motivational items and reinforcements to encourage social skills and that we need to be consistent. There was SO much information in that session,  I am trying not to get bogged down with technical terms, but trying to take nuggets that I can implement in our daily lives pretty easily.

When we left there, we tried to go to a store before we went to dinner at a Thai Restaurant. Both ideas did not go well and it was very reminiscent of the time we had on  the trip here. George asked me to take over for him for a while, which we are both willing to do for each other, but it didn’t take me long to be in the same mental space as he was. We really were trying to expect too much. We hardly ever go out to eat with Dorian, it is just hard, and not enjoyable for anyone- so we did pretty amazing having several meals out together. The night before we went to the Happy Valley Brewery which is a super cool establishment! The food is excellent, as is the atmosphere, and all in all, it went as well as we could hope.20170731_165353

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Today’s sessions started with Judah Axe giving a lecture on Problem Solving. Excellent! Here is a list to consistantly go over with any child, but especailly important for your Autisitc child. In every situation get them to start asking and answering;
*what is happening?

*What are 3 things I can do?

*What might happen?

*Which one of those 3 things are better?

*How did I feel that it went?

We can see that implementing these questions consistently will get Dorian to start thinking about his actions and can be taken into every situation, eventually when we won’t be around to prompt him.

Our last session was on transitioning out of high school by Jane Thierfeld Brown. We also got alot out of this lecture and panel and are thankful that we heard the information now, while Dorian is starting high school. Jane high lighted how the biggest problem with Autistic children transitioning into college is, their parents having been doing way too much for them and not allowing them to be a part of their IEP’s or appointments. When the student gets to college, they do not even know what their disability is or clearly be able to state what they need their accommodations for! The parents are no longer, by law, able to communicate with school officials and it makes for a train wreck. I was reminded that although there are a few things that Dorian simply cannot do, and we have tried, there are many things we need to make him responsible for. Parents, one simple thing….make your child get up for school by him/herself!! We are doing many disservices to our children when we do too much for them. I have always had our children do their own laundry and make their own appointments when they had the skills to do so. I see that I handle more for Dorian than I did for the older children, but was challenged to change that potentially bad habit. Get more information on that and more from Jane at PaTTAN.

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This evening we went to Mt. Nittany and took a hike. We MOTIVATED Dorian with Pizza if he would do the trek with out any complaining! It worked and we had a great evening walking around parts of the Agriculture campus, eating ice cream at The Creamery and taking a late swim back at the hotel.On the way to the car, Dorian took my hand and said, “I like when you hold my hand, it makes me feel safe.”!! I celebrated that sentiment with him because he would not have been able to communicate that to us before-Praise God! As I am typing this, I am thankful for everything in this week and I am ready for bed;-)

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My Beloved

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“The core of my faith belongs to the conviction that you and that I and that we are the beloved daughters and sons of God. One of the enormous spiritual tasks we have is to claim that and to live a life based on that knowledge.” henri nouwen

I agree. It is something that I have been trying to wrap my mind around for the last few years, but more than that, asking God Himself to implant that deeply into my mind and my heart. I believe it is the core of living; looking past our “false self”, or our apparent self or circumstances to our “true self” who is the beloved of God to fully live as we were intended.

While meditating on Nouwen’s book, Spiritual Direction and his meditation on The Beloved, I wrote this song.

 

I am your beloved-you made me in eternity

You gave me love-so I could give it out-it will not run out in you

My beloved, my beloved, my beloved-Jesus

 

Here and now-your love is my power for victory- your song and strength to me

You will never leave- though the enemy tries to deceive- I will trust in you

My beloved, my beloved, my beloved-Jesus

 

You know my thoughts afar- you come to where we are- no stones, just nail scarred hands

You put them ’round my face- and sing amazing grace- love divine pouring into man

My beloved, my beloved, my beloved-Jesus

 

I pray that this love pours out of me to others and that I let it’s truth sustain me the rest of my life<3

It Wasn’t Always Like This!

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Over the last year, my husband and I have something we call “Friday Morning Dates”. It wasn’t always like this. This year marks our 25th wedding anniversary and for 23 years of this adventure, we didn’t have regular dates.

In the last few years, after our separation, I started posting pictures of our Friday Morning Dates on Facebook to make memorials along our journey and to encourage others in what is possible when you let go and let God.

We, by faith, have trusted that if we are willing to make changes in ourselves, and literally throw ourselves on Christ, that something beautiful will, and has to, happen. Whether we would have remained married or not, we both had to deal with the deep root issues that neither of us wanted to face. We realized that those issues were in fact affecting all of our relationships and that we would just take them into a new relationship if we were not together.

We started completely cutting out things that didn’t serve ourselves individually and our marriage…like not discussing anything that could be emotionally charged after 7 P.M. and conversely, we realized we could not get our son ready for school together in the morning. One of us had to leave- we had to change our routine.

We decided to start praying every day for our marriage (George usually calls me on his way to work and usually on his lunch break). And we needed to start having a weekly date, even if it was short. So as soon as the kids got on the bus, one of us would make breakfast, wrap it up and we would head off to the bike trails in the area (even in the middle of winter!).

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Every week, we read a book we have been reading through for two years; Face To Face; Seven Keys to A Secure Marriage by Dr. Jesse Gill ( who we have since started a friendship with and a dialog about leading a group study with his book). This book, similar to Susan Johnson’s Hold Me Tight, in it’s focus on attachment,  has revolutionized the way we look at our negative marriage cycles.

After we spend some time reading through the book, we take a walk (even in the snow!) and listen to each other.

As I am reading this, I can understand how some would say, “my significant other would NeVeR take the time to do these things!” I have been there! As a matter of fact, when we started this process, many times I did not want to be on the date! Many times while we were on the way to marriage therapy, I couldn’t stand being in the same car! When we went to a marriage retreat, we didn’t stay in the same room! Like the title says,  it wasn’t always like this , and we certainly haven’t arrived but we are miles from where we started. I thank George every week for making the decision to change his Friday morning schedule to make his marriage a priority, because if he didn’t do that, I wouldn’t have remained.

It wasn’t always like this, and it will ebb and change again. But I want to encourage YOU to be willing to change and grow where ever you are, especially when things look bleak. And fall in love with  Jesus who loves you more than any other person in the world, who has a perfect future and hope for you and who WILL grow something amazing and beautiful in you using ALL the things in your life to accomplish it!

I’m Believing God

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Went to the doctor’s today

Left so upset at all the things he had to say

My mind flooded with pictures of the news

So many voices, so many ways to choose

I could slip away and stay in bed all day or I can face my fears there is another way…..

 

I’m believing God, He is who He says He is

I’m believing God, He created the heavens and the earth

He died and rose again

I’m believing God, His Word testifies of Him

I’ll only believe what He says, I’m believing God

 

Before I know it I give into despair

The bills, responsibility, does anybody care

I stop and sing a gentle song to Him

The Alpha and Omega, The beginning and the End

I could drown my sorrows, there are many ways

Or I could lift my hands to worship and Proclaim…

 

I’m believing God, He is who He says He is

I’m believing God, He created the heavens and the earth

He died and rose again

I’m believing God, His Word testifies of Him

I’ll only believe what He says, I’m believing God

(From I’m Believing God, Julia Allman c.2000)

 

 

 

 

Live (Fully) In The Now!

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Anxiety. Next to Inflammatory diseases, anxiety is a world-wide epidemic! Anxiety is constantly trying to get in my door and it has taken major vigilance to keep that evil, time wasting intruder out!

Yesterday afternoon I got pretty anxious…and isn’t it funny how everything looks insurmountable when that happens? The bottom line was that I needed some time alone. I asked my husband if he would take our over weight son running, (which was a source of my anxiety) as his ADHD was out of control yesterday. I workout all week to keep my vessel in shape and I make lists for our son every day (because that is part of our Autistic way of living), which includes exercise on it. But in my anxiety yesterday, I was feeling like my husband doesn’t have enough vision for the part he plays in our son’s physical fitness and that was adding to the pile. You micro manage when you have a special needs child, and you get tired of micro-managing…and I was tried.

Any way, he graciously agreed to take him out and after they left I decided to work on an art project while I was listening to a Malcom Smith teaching. I mentioned Malcom last week in a blog, he is a person who dedicates his life to teaching Christians who they are in Christ. I needed some of that soundness in my mind.

He was teaching that in this particular Psalm (103:1-5), David was talking to himself. He said “often we allow our self to talk to us, but David addressed himself and took authority over his inner person concerning the distractions and made himself Bless The Lord.” As he was teaching, he expounded on how anxiety is simply letting go of the peace that you currently have right now in the moment, and exchanging it for fear of any number of things! I resonated! That is so true. I had been thinking about my son not being physically  fit enough,  my husband not being pro active enough, the things I don’t have enough of, attitudes I have too much of, etc. etc.

Right now, In this moment, I have the Mind Of Christ as a Christian! I have the peace of God that surpasses all understanding that guards my heart and mind.  Right now, I do not have fear but Love, Power and a Sound Mind! God has never left me or forsaken me, He loves me with an ever lasting love and wants to build me. I have perfect peace when my mind is stayed on Him. I carry Jesus wherever I go, and He told me not to be anxious for anything, but to talk to Him about everything.

Why is it so easy to exchange all of that peace for fear… for a lie? Well, I have found it very easy to do, but I know what I heard Malcom Smith saying and what I was meditating on last night is truth an brought my mind into perfect peace. It is living in The Now, and realizing right now, I have everything I need in Christ Jesus. I can tap into the supernatural realm right now, because Jesus lives now and wants to abide in me as I do in Him. Heaven will be amazing with our new bodies and all, but I can live a supernatural life in this here and now and so can you!! Live Fully in The Now!

End Note; when the boys came home, we were all in our right, peaceful, strong minds! We all had the time and the adjustment we needed and I was in a very hopeful and encouraged state of mind<3

 

Addiction…I Understand the Struggle.

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I am definitely taking a raw plunge on this blog. I have gently touched on the subject of addiction many times but I think straightforwardness is in order because there  are so many vices, so little time and so many lives being wrecked.

This is from Larry Crabb’s book, Connecting. “God declares that there is no goodness in sex outside the boundaries of a loving relationship with a lifelong mate. When we believe Him and therefore are inclined to do what He says, obedience yields a joy that supports us in what ever frustration may exist. ”

Do you agree with that? I know that I have been spared pain and destruction when I have hidden myself in” the loving marriage relationship”, even when it has been a down right unloving relationship and even when it called for separation.

He goes on to write; “A man (or woman) has a difficult day of meetings and retires early to his hotel room. One press of the button (or call that call or that sext) and pornography will fill the screen.  He calls his wife, gets some work done, and then goes to sleep…never presses the button. The next day, meetings go well, that evening the urges come back, he yields.”

“What ever the complexity might be, it is clear that we are a strange mixture of good and bad urges and they can have a life of their own. With God’s Spirit we can love as Jesus did, but we can also sin like the devil..indwelling sin is a lifelong problem-indwelling goodness is a life long reality awaiting release.” (All wrapped up of course in Romans 7&8 )

“His personal problem is sex addiction. That man senses a voice that yearns to be filled but lacks the sense to realize that he longs for LOVE, not pleasure.” And that is where the wreckage happens. I know, I have experienced it first hand.

Is God’s love enough? That has been my question. That has been my adventure. That has been my pursuit. Can His love surpass anything this world or anyone else has to offer me? Can His love be so tangible and intimate that any other would pale? Is He that interested in my well being and future? Or is what seems a justifiable and reliable provision of pleasure/center of life/lust/control/addiction really soul satisfaction?

In the midst of my addiction behavior I could say; “I can live with out_______, I cannot live without God”- Even though nothing in my flesh wanted to let the addiction go. It is so easy to feel isolated when you are struggling or failing. I would look for anything on the internet that might help relate to me, a Christian woman caught in addictive behaviors. I did find an extremely helpful prayer that seemed to understand the snare and all of the anguish I had been caught in. But more times than not, most Christian articles related to addictions or failures left me feeling more demonized as the guilty party.  I needed to know there was a light at the end of the tunnel, that people had not only come out the other side, but that they were Alive!, Thriving! and were loved and used by God again! I want to be a light like that to someone who is where I have been!

You have to understand that I believe Jesus delivers!! That all power belongs to Him! That nothing is too difficult for Him! That He came to set the captive free, and had when I first came to Him, so why was I in bondage again? I had to understand why I would allow myself to come to such a low place and risk loosing my whole life as I knew it. During the search for that answer, I learned so much about myself and God.

These are the things and people He has used to reveal who I really am in Him and His love toward me. If you are caught in addiction, and really want freedom and health, these are the resources I highly recommend. First, Friends who see the greatness in you. I tightened my circle of friends and unfortunately had to cut off some really significant relationships that couldn’t be that for me (my husband being my best friend  and support  even while dealing with his own issues.) Any of Larry Crabb’s books…I think I have read and re read them all. Henry Cloud’s Changes that Heal and Robert McGee’s Search for Significance.  I had two amazing Licensed Marriage Family Therapists (which are the only  type of counselors that I recommend) who I still reach out to. Through a set of supernatural sequences, I got a hold of The Adulterous Christian Woman; The Lies that got me there, truths that brought me back by Lyndell Holtz, who has become one of my dearest friends since, and continues to be a radiant light ahead of me.  I also immersed myself in watching You Tube videos by Malcom Smith and Sylvia Pearce who’s life mission is to help Christians understand who they really are in Christ.

If I could have left my life and gone some where to figure it all out, I probably would have. But God has been so good to me to send me help while living my day to day life out and I believe He has given me grit and perseverance in the process.  Like I said before, I want to be a compassionate light leading some one else who is navigating their way out of the pit of addiction…I understand the struggle.

 

 

And The Results Are In… (drum roll, please;-)

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Remember a few months ago when I posted about detoxing after my doctor found out that my liver really wasn’t working well? Well, I have been on that diet ever since, giving up coffee, taking it back up a few times, not eating dairy, sugar, or most grains and watching my fruit intake.

I followed up with that same doctor this week and he said that I was doing amazing!He said; “congratulations, you just added 5 years to your life”! I have lost 16 pounds so far, and many of my labs have done a 180 degree turn! My body is starting to heal it self!! My iron levels are not in the range they need to be, and the same is true for my thyroid, but we are in the “tweaking stage”, as he called it, and as I continue, the results will improve!!

I am so thankful for that great news and I definitely feel the healthiest I have been in my whole life- despite having a ways to go! I do not have the sugar cravings, and I am much more even keeled with my adrenals being supported with supplements. I sleep great and have a lot more energy and stamina. Any inflammation I had is completely gone and my mind is clearer. I desire to stay on this diet the rest of my life, having the indulgences for special occasions.

Essential Oils have definitely helped with stress. I have such an amazing Aroma wafting through my home because of what I do, and I am thankful for the supportive roll they play in strengthening my immune system. I personally like to blend Frankincense and Lavender in some Avocado oil and use as a moisturizer. It is calming and fortifying and smells pretty delicious!

So, if you want to re boot your health, I definitely recommend a fast. Getting sugar out of your diet, in all forms, is the biggest health shift you can make! It will change your life! Your not alone, I am right here with you on the health journey and I want to hear from you today!