Sunday, March 31, 2013

He is Risen!

Happy Resurrection Sunday!

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.” ~ Matthew 28:5-7

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. ~John 3:16-17

Friday, March 29, 2013

Telling Stories to Wrap Your Brain Around

Last night, my husband and I had an interesting conversation with our oldest son at the dinner table. The conversation centered around my youngest son and all of the challenges that he faces. This conversation was prompted by all of the electrodes on my youngest son's head as he was in the midst of his 24 hour ambulatory EEG.

My oldest son could not understand why his 10yo brother is in the 5th grade and is still learning numbers. And the alphabet. And why isn't he doing 5th grade work? We tried explaining that although he is in "5th" grade, he is actually in a special day class; it's not really 5th grade, at least not as he knows it. We tried explaining that some kids learn at much slower rates, and some kids don't learn things like algebra. This was too much for my oldest son to digest. "But he's got to learn those things!"

We then related the story of how when his brother was born, the doctors told us that he was going to die because of his severe brain hemorrhage. We were told to take him home and enjoy what time he had left. My oldest son got quiet. I don't think he ever realized just how close to death his brother was. His little brother, who can irritate the crap out of him; his little brother, who can play his music way too loud; his little brother, who has alot more challenges than his older brother. "We're just glad he's here, buddy. It doesn't matter to us if he learns algebra. Everyone is different. Everyone has been given different gifts and is blessed differently. You, on the other hand, have been given different gifts than your brother. You have to learn algebra and don't waste your gifts."

That seemed to satisfy him somewhat. I think his little brother still annoys him, but I'm seeing a subtle shift in attitude toward his little brother. I'd like to think it's a positive change.

"Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms." ~ 1 Peter 4:10

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Sadness and Happiness and Advice for Those Who Listen

Sadness is seeing a picture of your son and his classmates and realizing that he may have more challenges than you thought. Happiness is knowing that he is the same lovable little boy.

It's fairly easy to talk about the happy moments. Who doesn't want to hear about progress or a challenge that's been overcome? It's more difficult to talk about the sad moments that occur when raising a child with special needs. There are several reasons for this:

The feelings can be difficult to verbalize.
You're not ready to face the challenges that those sad moments bring.
You don't want to be a downer.
And finally, sometimes in those sad moments you realize that you may have to reorganize or readjust your plan for your special needs child yet again.

There are plenty of happy moments in our lives, like the other night when my youngest son spontaneously picked up a spoonful of baked beans and brought it to his mouth. Yay!!! There are also plenty of sad moments, like yesterday, when I saw a picture of him with his classmates and realized that his challenges were in some ways more severe than I previously thought. Part of this may be that I'm comparing and I shouldn't. But part of this is also realizing that he may need more help than he's currently getting.

To those of you who are tempted to make everything all better while listening to a friend who verbalizes about these sad moments, my advice to you is: Stop. Seriously. Just. Shut. Up. And. Listen. Don't try to make everything all better with platitudes like, "Well, at least he's made progress in other areas." or "He's come a long way." or "Things could be alot worse." My tempted un-Christlike response would be, "No shit, Sherlock. Can you go F&@# off and be nice somewhere else?" This is also advice for myself. I have to remember not to be Miss Pollyanna when I'm around someone who's hurting. I, too, have a tendency to make everything all better.

There's alot to be said for having optimism - most of it's good.☺ But sometimes the reality of a situation may force you to look at it with more sobering thoughts. All I'm saying is that sometimes in those sad moments we realize that we need to change something. The sadness occurs because we/I feel helpless and unsure of how to make a change. It's a process. Unless you have an immediate solution to the problem, don't be so quick to jump in and make it better with empty words. We know that this too shall pass and that nothing lasts forever. In the meantime, the Bible has some good advice on this very subject:

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Romans 12:15

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

It's the Waiting that Kills Me

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. ~Psalm 56:3

The problem with being able to think ahead is that my mind tends to overreact, or worse, I start second-guessing myself. Is that what I really saw? Don't you think you're overreacting? Aren't you jumping to conclusions? If you don't do something it might get worse. You'll look like an idiot if it turns out to be nothing. See what I mean?

We're in the process of scheduling an EEG for my youngest son as it seems he had another seizure over the weekend. You may remember that he may have had one at the beginning of the school year. When we saw the neurologist in October he advised that since my son had been seizure-free for so many years, we would treat this as his first seizure. He also reminded us that sometimes seizures return with the onset of puberty. Fabulous. As if puberty by itself wasn't enough. No, really, sometimes I say, "WTF? Are you kidding me?!"

At any rate, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous for several reasons. The thought of my son dealing with seizures again makes me want to vomit. The thought of going through the list of anti-seizure meds or doing the ketogenic diet also makes me want to vomit. All of this runs through my mind and we don't even have a definitive answer yet. It's the waiting that kills me. I'm good at enduring and persevering, but not waiting. Once I know for sure, then I can deal. Until then I need to breathe and try not to explode.

I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. ~ Psalm 34:4

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Measure of Success

My imaginary address to a graduating class...

Some of you will go on to be wildly successful. Though some of you may be burdened with wealth or fame you will know that one of the secrets to life is knowing that it is a privilege to serve (1) and a joy to bless others.(2) Some of you may not be burdened with wealth or health, yet you have learned the other secret to living a successful life, which is being content no matter what your circumstances, whether you are healthy, wealthy, poor or sick.(3) Being successful means that you don't follow the crowd; most people will simply shake their heads or roll their eyes at you. A few will secretly admire you but they'll still think you're crazy. How can you gain more by giving more? (4)

Some of you, I'm sorry to say, will not be so successful. Unfortunately, you will acquire beautiful cars, and houses, a successful career, and lots of money. You'll be burdened with worry about how to protect all of these things and without realizing it these things consume you and become your life.(5) Your empty shallow life will be the envy of many thereby enabling and encouraging you to continue in the vicious cycle, until you wake up one day realizing that your life is nearly over and you have nothing to show for it. It will all be gone when you are. (6)

The road to failure is wide and easy to take. Everyone's doing it. The road to success is narrower and harder to find. (7) The good news, my friends, is that as long as you are coherent and breathing, it's never too late to turn away from failure toward success.(8)  Just stop, turn around, and go against the crowd. Keep your head held high with your eyes on the prize and don't look back.(9)  You're on your way. The good news is, when you've chosen to walk the path to success, it won't ever be taken from you. (10) The good news is: although you will lose the whole world, you will gain your soul. Now that's success.

(1) Mark 10:45
(2) Acts 20:35
(3) Philippians 4:11-13
(4) Proverbs 11:24
(5) Matthew 16:26
(6) Luke 12:19-21
(7) Matthew 7:13-14
(8) Luke 19:1-10
(9) Philippians 3:13-14
(10) Luke 10:41-42


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