It’s A Bloody Battle

20170930_134258

I go to the gym three times a week and work out like a fiend to get all the happy hormones I can get in a morning! I listen to my playlist through my headphones, but there are TV monitors in the gym that I can not escape the view of. I have purposely quit watching and listening to news over the last few years to de clutter my mind and allow space for more peace in my life.

I blogged last week about the devastation in Las Vegas and the last few day, news has been about all of the perversion in Hollywood (not surprising there;-( Devastation seems to be on every side. Hurricanes, fires, scandal, the demise of families; this is a hurting world. I have been harmed by people in my life and I have also caused harm because of my selfishness.  I understand pain very acutely and I understand stumbling and making a mess of my life. From here forward, I want to be a healer and a light to others who are in darker places.

I wrote a song last year as part of a healing process that I want to share. I had this deep pain and I had to get it out. God gave me the ability to write this song and music and it was pivotal in facing the trauma and bringing healing. A friend of mine used the term “bloody battle” to describe her journey and I resonated with that. My heart is that I can comfort someone else by the understanding I have received  and the vulnerability to give it away. I believe there is only one face you can look into, one Name that has power to overcome the world, and one voice that you can listen to, to apprehend this healing. His Name is Jesus. You can click here to hear the song on YouTube. Many Blessings and Peace to you<3

Coincidence….

20170930_121817 (1)

Alcoholics Anonymous has a saying; Coincidence is God’s way of doing something and still remaining anonymous! I agree with that! When we visited a forest a few weeks ago, it was apparent there had been a significant storm in the park with an amazing amount of trees that had fallen over forest stairways and paths. I was pondering the timing of our trip, comparing  the trees that had fallen over all of the paths against those that had been sawed away for us to get through,maybe even just days before. I said; “it is not coincidence that this storm happened when it did and we chose the weekend that we did. If we had come any earlier, the devastated paths would have made it impossible to navigate.”

I felt a similar thing happened yesterday at a festival I worked, at attending my Honest Aromas booth. God had orchestrated certain people to be there at certain times in my day and I would even say He had prepared me a head of time through a dream the night before and a cell message on my phone from a friend sharing a spiritual insight. It didn’t feel like an orchestration while I was navigating it, it felt like freakish coincidence in the way we all normally define that word. But as I processed the entirety of the scenario through the evening, there was no doubt that HE is at work and that this was another step on the journey I have been on toward Him and His purposes in my life and in the lives of others.

It is easy to react. It takes patience and self-control to say; “God what are you up to? What are you doing in this situation?” But that is exactly what He gives us self-control and patience for!! I am learning (slowly, very slowly!) how not to be over emotional in my emotions! Yes, I have a lot of emotions and I have always been a very caring person, but I do not need to be ruled by my emotions. I can choose how to respond and that is truly all we have power to do. So this set of circumstances gives me and opportunity to feel a broad range of emotions and ask God what He is up to, and sit and rest in His Doing something in the situation! He is up to something in your life as well and it is no coincidence;-) Tell us what’s going on in your life, we want to hear from you today!

 

National Autism Conference-Days 2&3

20170731_162328

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

20170731_174902

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.

20170802_172527

 

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;-)

20170802_201354

My Beloved

20170602_154838

 

“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!

20170703_094104

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!).

20170303_091547

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

Why-Believe-In-God

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!

appointment-18319_960_720

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