Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Just want to encourage all of you out there who are going through some big challenges.
Don't give up. Don't quit. I know how difficult our lives can be! I understand because I
live it every day! The struggles! The challenges! The meltdowns! The tears! But...

There are good times, too.
There are smiles.   There are hugs.  There are new accomplishments.  

And there are dreams.  Prayers.  Hope.  Faith.

But most of all, there is love.

So don't give up.  Don't quit.

Hold on to those smiles.  

And keep praying.


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Its been TOO long!


 Has it really been 2 years since I last posted in here? 
How time flies!
 But honestly, every time I'd think how much I'd love to come in and post, I'd be unsure about where to even begin...so many strange and new and different challenges, so many triumphs and changes!

 How to catch up?!
 Now I realize how much I've missed this!
 How good it feels to have a place to clear the air!

 Feels like coming home!


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

If I Could have just ONE do-over in my Parenting...

My son turned 10 last month, double digits! Naturally, I've done alot of contemplating, considering mistakes I've made as well as enjoying the results of all the positive impact I've had on my son's life.

I guess, as with all things in life, you have to accept the good with the bad, suck it up, and own your mistakes.

But if could have just ONE do-over in my parenting, just one chance to do it all again but knowing what I know now, it would be this very relevant piece of advice to fellow-parents everywhere: LEARN TO KEEP CALM AT ALL TIMES. STAY IN CONTROL. TEACH YOUR CHILD HOW TO CONTROL HIS EMOTIONS BY YOUR OWN EXAMPLE.

If only it were that easy. Even now, after years of trying to put this into practice, its still hard. When my son is spitting at me, cussing me, physically attacking me, or behaving in destructive, aggressive ways, how easy do you think it is to STAY CALM?

My natural instinct when being attacked by someone is not to stay calm. I feel threatened, I feel adrenaline, I feel concerned and cornered and I think its alot of living in "fight-or-flight" mode. It does things to the mind, it wears down your emotions, and often leaves you feeling helpless.

But then I wonder, if I'm feeling threatened, frightened, cornered, ... what must it feel like to an autistic child, who comprehends things so differently than I do? If its hard for me to stay calm, when I'm feeling uncomfortable, might not my son, although he is the one instigating the aggression, feel even more helpless and out-of-control, than even I do?

I know that the only way I am going to be able to teach my son how to handle his emotions, is by showing him, over and over again.

Every time he becomes aggressive or over-reacts due to his perception of the situation, I know this is a given opportunity to teach by my own example..."Look. Mom's upset. You're screaming and lashing out and Mom feels threatened. But Mom's staying calm. Mom's quiet. Mom's in control of her voice, her words, herself. Julian's turn."

Easier said than done? Yep. But I'm determined. I want my child to overcome these horrific struggles with his emotions, his reactions. And if God believes I can impact my son's life with positivity and make that difference, then who am I to doubt the responsibility God has placed in my hands?


My son Julian

Julian, March 2011

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Its Time to go Public

Its time to finally break the silence and to be able to tell the complete truth about what this family has gone through regarding our son's school placement. Ours is a story of being manipulated, told half-truths, pleading with the school district to consider our son's best interest, and all the while watching our son struggle with the changes he has to live with every day in his new school environment.

The level of stress, worry and concern for our child has brought this family to the brink of insanity.

What its done to our son, only time will tell.

But there is a story here, and it will be written. Whether it is believed or not will not change the truth.


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

For we walk by faith, not by sight. II Cor. 5:7

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

So Much Positivity!

I'm still learning the valuable lesson about God's Word. One day of not reading turns into the next day, then the next day and so on, until I wake up one day, wonder what's wrong with me, and realize that I've missed...terribly...the encouragement, hope and absolute truth I find only in God's Word.

I'm not kidding, the Bible is so full of promises, hope and joy and light! And because I have so many of my favorite verses underlined or high-lighted, my eyes focus right in on some amazing promise, some truth of hope in God that I need to hear, and before I know it my heart and mind are soaring way above my problems, my fears are vanishing into the belief that with Him all things are still possible, and my heart once again finds its peace in His presence.


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Time to Refocus!

Wanted to encourage others who may be facing some challenges in their own lives right now.

I think its easy to get down, especially when we're raising a special needs child, and the main reason is because we spend so much time working on their challenge areas...in our case for instance, we're focused on teaching our son to try new foods, stop spitting, using bad words, how to play better with other kids, learning to control his temper, etc. So of course we pay most attention to these areas...and often forget the accomplishments and goals we've already reached!

It doesn't mean we're negative people, in fact we've always made a point of praising Julian for every accomplishment, because we realize how hard he works to do the things that come so naturally to most of us. And who doesn't need encouragement and praise?!

Just...remember to refocus now and then.

While reaching for today's goals....don't forget yesterday's accomplishments.

God bless.


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Never Give Up!

"Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail". Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Above and Beyond...me

>I can't even begin to express the ups and downs we've been going through...not to mention the in-betweens.

Sometimes it feels like almost a tug-of-war between us...and autism.

We're going to win.

At the end of the day, I know that its not about me. Its not about my comfort...or discomfort...not about my fears...nor my worries. Its not about my tears, or my emotions.

Its about God blessing me with a precious little boy...this son of mine. Its about allowing God to pull me through the fire, through the storms, through the floods of life until I've learned to trust fully in Him...and find peace there.

Its about learning to be consistent, learning to not give up, learning to keep the faith when the faith is all I can see.

Its about learning to rise above the situation, taking the circumstances to God, and allowing Him to intervene as He sees fit.

Its about remaining faithful in prayer, its about standing in the gap for my precious son and loving him the same way my Heavenly Father loves me...unconditionally.

Its about learning to be long-suffering, forgiving, patient, kind, and setting that kind of example for my family.

Its about growing up and being the best mom that God would have me to be, hand-picked for my son, Julian.

Its about forgiving myself for whatever mistakes I make along the way, and moving forward every day with a better attitude.

Its about looking autism right in the face...and declaring God's love, God's power, God's authority over it and over my little boy's life and future.

Its about rising Above and Beyond...me.


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

"Let it go and move on"! Joel Osteen

"Sometimes "religion" tries to beat people down and make them feel bad about themselves. 'You've done this and you failed here, and you didn't treat this person right, and you didn't raise your kids as well as you should have.' Many people wallow in that condemnation and they go around with low self-esteem and a sense of unworthiness. Their attitude is God could never bless me. I've made too many mistakes. I blew it."

"No, God knew you weren't going to be perfect. Why don't you lighten up and give yourself a break? Quit beating yourself up over everything you've done wrong. After all, you can't change the past. If you've made mistakes, just say, "God, I'm sorry; I repent. Help me to do better next time." Then let it go and move on. If you hold on to it, you open the door to guilt and condemnation. Before long, you'll be going around with a "poor old me" mentality."

"I don't deserve anything. I'm just a weak worm of the dust," I hear people say. No, you're not a weak worm of the dust; you're a child of the Most High God. Hold your head up high, put your shoulders back, and start acting like a child of Almighty God."

Joel Osteen/Become A Better You

Sing and Dance Unto the Lord!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Don't let others discourage you!

"And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not perceive the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me remove the speck that is in your eye,' when you yourself do not see the plank that is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck that is in your brother's eye." Luke 6:41-42

Jesus spoke often in His ministry about the hypocrisy of people judging one another. I think sometimes as a person finds herself growing in the Lord, she can easily slip into an attitude of ..."I don't do that"... or "Oh no, what you're doing is not godly.."

I'm sure most brothers and sisters in Christ have good intentions, afterall the Bible does instruct us to teach and even mentor one another in Christ.

But there is also an appropriate time and place for teaching and instructing.

Only God Himself truly knows what another person is going through. Only He can see clearly into your heart, your life, and your circumstance.

The greatest call God places on our lives, is to love one another. To love God first...and love your neighbor as yourself.

Perhaps you have the gift to teach, and are eager to put that gift to use for the Lord. But remember, that's an awesome responsibility, and its important to be discerning of when to teach, and when to just be a friend. Just listen. Just pray for the person.

In Bible study Wednesday night, our teacher brought up a very important point when he said...."Self righteousness kills compassion...." He hit the nail on the head.

Sometimes, your brother or sister might be going through unbelievable trials or challenges, and in fact may be at a point in their life where they just need someone to offer compassion, understanding, and encouragement.

Be careful whose advice you take, who you listen to. I've learned that many times, people have good intentions, but in their eagerness to "instruct me in the Lord", they end up more concerned about how "holy" my life is or is not, what I'm doing that's "right or wrong", and they just miss the opportunity that God sent them alongside me at a time in my life where I was absolutely devastated, just hanging on to God in faith with everything I had in me, and needing to simply be reminded that God loves me, God sees all my struggles, God knows my pain, and He is going to get me through this.

So to my fellow parents who go through indescribable challenges with your special needs child(ren), just remember that there are definitely people in this life who clearly have no clue about your personal battles. Don't let their failure to comprehend the depth of your struggles discourage you about where you are in your walk with Christ.

God knows what you need in your life, and speaking from personal experience the best advice and encouragement I get is from His Word, and my time alone with Him. Encourage yourself by reading an inspiring book...I highly recommend Joel Osteen's 'Become a Better You'. Every page is full of hope and encouragement and inspires me to let God love me and move in me and bring to life the gift He's placed inside of me.

Yes, I understand that we each need to "mature" in the Lord, that there are things in my life that are "carnal", things I may do that others may find worldly and that God's Word is the final authority in my life, and all my decisions need to be based on His instruction.

I also know that God in His mercy and love for me knows exactly where I'm at, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. He can and is shepherding me one day at a time, meeting me where I am, putting all the broken pieces back together.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart...and love your neighbor as yourself.

Just don't forget to love yourself.


Saturday, January 9, 2010

I have grown so much, through the challenges

Dealing with the special needs that many autistic children face on a daily basis, has without a doubt been the biggest challenge of my life.

I suppose because I was unable to have children, yet found myself blessed at the age 43 with my first and only child, I was just as insecure and unsure about my mothering abilities as all new mothers are....possibly even more-so.

To realize that my first(and only) child would be diagnosed with autism, the self-doubt and fear really started to kick in.

My son will turn 8 years old in March.

I learned that he was autistic afew days before his 2nd before.

We have lived with autism for 6 years now... possibly almost 8 years if you discount the vaccination- causes- autism theory...

To be honest, there have been many ups and downs...days, weeks, even months of utter confusion, chaos and turmoil.

There have been challenges and struggles and up-hill battles...fears and worries and heartaches...and unbelievable mountains to climb..

All that and more...so much more.

But the good far outweighs the bad.

Every victory, however seemingly irrelevant to outsiders is like winning a major battle.

Every smile, every word my son speaks, every new food he tries, whatever new challenge he faces and we face together with him, brings the most unbelievable, indescribable joy that floods my heart with such hope and love and gratitude!

And during those times, those many times when I felt like nobody understood, when I was sure that nobody could really comfort or encourage or help the situation, it was then when I learned to turn to God.

And after years of turning to God as a "last resort" (when all else fails, pray), I've learned to go to God as my first consult...my first resort...my first and final word for any direction I take in my life.

Did God always change my circumstances? Not very often, to be honest.

Did God always change my child's behavior? Not at all, sometimes.

He did change me.

I've learned that God is not a "magician". Oh He CAN and WILL work miracles, when it is His will, not mine.

Sometimes the miracles are a little less obvious. Sometimes, if we're not careful, we fail to even see what He is doing in, through, and around us.

But sometimes? If we ask Him, He gives us a glimpse...that tiny glimpse of hope that coupled with faith and prayer turns the darkness into Light...and we are blessed above and beyond...to realize that He is working miracles within our own hearts.


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Psalm 13:5-6

"But I have trusted in thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation. I will sing unto the Lord, because He hath dealt bountifully with me." Psalm 13:5-6

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Think on These Things...

"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." Phil. 4:8

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Supernatural Love

Speaking as a mom, I find it interesting that it seems to come naturally to me to love my son unconditionally, yet I have the hardest time loving anyone else the same way.

I mean, I don't have to "try" to love my little boy, its just there. Here. In my heart, in my mind, in my thoughts, and in my prayers.

It never occurs to me to leave my child, or to give up on him. I'm sure that must be part of the beautiful, God-given gift the Lord built into a mother's heart. How wise and all-understanding our God is, for He knew every challenge, heartache, battle, and joy a mother would encounter with each unique, precious child He blessed her with.

I wonder why, then, it always seems to be my first instinct to abandon a relationship/marriage when things aren't going very well?

I've been reading and re-reading I Corinthians 13 every night, for it seems I get something brand new from it every time I read it.

And I'm learning that Christ's love is nothing at all like my love.

And I thank God that His love for me is unconditional. Yes, He is definitely disappointed in me at times, but I don't believe that it occurs to Him to stop loving me, or to leave me, or to intentionally try to get even with me because I've let Him down.

I also read in my Bible notes, that this kind of love does not come naturally. Simply wanting to love Christ's way, won't make me love this way.

Its the work of the Holy Spirit in me.

Loving people really doesn't come that easily to me. I've been trying to work at it...but now I really believe I'm on to something here. I really believe that it is indeed going to take the help of the Holy Spirit...God's Spirit within me, to teach me how to love others.

I'm so thankful the Lord hears our prayers.

Even more thankful when He answers them.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Esther, do you know what it means to PRAY IT THROUGH?

I think of all the different things I experienced this summer while camping with my family, this one simple question has had the biggest impact in my life.
"Esther, do you know what it means to pray it through?" Asked my best friend, Joe Harshberger. And that...is why he's my best friend.

It was around 8:00ish that evening, and my little boy Julian had just come running into the camper, crying and pointing to his tummy, when he told me someone had punched him in the stomach and mouth.

Actually, it was closer to an hour later, as I was sitting at our table, my friend Joe across from me, and I was sharing my concerns and fears about my son. Julian is autistic and lives with many challenges, one of which is the right and wrong way to let out his emotions. He's gotten into the habit of spitting at a person, usually if they're ignoring him or if they tell him no. Although we never got completely down to the bottom of why one of the camping kids punched him, its a good possibility he was fed up with being spit at, hit, etc.

I won't go into the details of how upset I was, how I marched around the campgrounds, from one kid to another, trying to find out who punched Julian and why, or the fact that I packed up all of our belongings the next morning and said I'd never be back...and meant it at the time...

Even through all of that, the life-altering moment was when my best friend Joe, had the spiritual where-with-all, the wisdom, to point me to the One true source that can feel my pain, help me carry my burdens, and give me the strength to face each challenge one at a time.

Its amazing, how much impact our words can have on someone.

And to this day, when things get too overwhelming in my life, when I think I'm just going to throw my hands up in the air and admit defeat, I hear those words, I hear my best friend Joe encouraging me to PRAY IT THROUGH!

Thanks, Joe.

And thank You, God...for bringing Joe into our lives.


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A Warm Welcome!

Now that summer is ending and our kiddos are back in school, I'm looking forward to spending time again here in my blog. This has been one of the most exciting, most interesting summers of my life!

Our family spent the summer camping, off and on. We were blessed to buy a camper already set up and ready to move in, back in May. And since the campground is located only 35 miles from our home, we're able to go back and forth during the summer, and now on weekends after school.

I can't even begin to touch on the many experiences we shared this summer, but I'm looking forward to sharing much more about it in the next several weeks.

I hope and pray each one of you had a blessed, healthy summer and are enjoying your families.

God bless each and every one of you, today and every day...


Friday, May 1, 2009

Remember to Take Care of You!

One of the easiest things to do, and perhaps one of the biggest mistakes we can make, is to get so pulled into this life of daily autistic challenges, that we absolutely forget the importance of taking care of ourselves, as well as our child(ren). The irony of that situation is that how in the world can we help our kids...if we don't help ourselves, too?!

I guess speaking for myself, which I hope you realize I always do in here, as I would never presume to know your personal difficulties and struggles, but I've learned to take the quiet moments when and where I can get them. A hot bath, a long walk, an hour reading a good book, time in seclusion praying and reading God's Word, they may all seem like such simple things, but it makes a huge difference, especially in the long run.

Take it from me, its amazing what even just a few minutes can do - away from the noise, the clutter, the absolute chaos that becomes our day-to-day life! Honestly, its almost mandatory to allow yourself to step away, back off, back down, and just exhale if and when you can.

When you're going in adrenaline mode hour after hour, you've got to find a way to step back and let it release...or you'll want to explode. And in fact, its not a bad idea for your child(ren) to see and eventually understand that even Mommy/Daddy need to go to a quiet place and regroup, and hopefully one day they'll do the same thing with positive results.

Its been a long winter here. Now spring is here...well, almost, lol. Its nice enough outdoors to be able to go out for some much-needed fresh air, soak up a bit of sunshine, and just thank the good Lord for helping us make it through the cold, hard winter. Listen to the birds sing! Feel the warmth of the sun on your face! Walk barefoot in the grass! Pick a flower or two! Take a moment to notice how blue the sky is! Look around at all the trees coming into bloom! Enjoy the gorgeous colors of spring! The grass is greener, the sky is bluer, the sun is brighter...these are the small things, yet the things that God in all His wisdom knew could make an absolute difference...if we just take the time to notice them. God bless you and yours!


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

What AutismAwareness means to me

April...is AutismAwareness month!

You'll be hearing, reading, and seeing this on tv this month of April. There will be numerous specials hosted on tv, new segments, talk shows, and radio broadcasts. The point is to get the word out..."April is autism awareness month.

But what does that mean, to you? To me it means that there are still people whose lives perhaps have not (yet) been touched by this epidemic we call autism, but if they will take the time and interest to listen, watch, and learn, they will be better informed and more prepared to deal with the uncertain challenges we who have autistic angels, deal with on a daily basis.

To me it is a reminder that I am not alone in this. That there are countless others who share in my struggles, my son's challenges. And I find that so encouraging.

To me it means that there is a whole world full of people out there, just like my son, just like myself and our family who are praying and hoping and fighting to rise above the challenges, to find a way through, to sometimes, just make it one day at a time.

If you know someone who is autistic, or who has an autistic angel, please take a moment out of your busy, hectic day and just say a prayer for them...for us. Remember there is strength in numbers and even more strength...in the power of prayer.

God does know...He is perhaps THE only One who understands and truly knows what we're dealing with...exactly what we're facing, and let me tell you He is not scratching His head in fear and wondering what is going on...He knew about autism before this epidemic came into our world. In that, I find my comfort.

Please remember to comfort one another...to pray for one another...to maybe just offer a word or two of love and support...for someone you know who is dealing with autism. That's what autism awareness means to me. What does it mean to you?


Saturday, March 28, 2009

Giving God the glory?!

I shared in here today about the awesome changes we've seen in our son's behaviors at home this past week, and I realized I hadn't one time given the glory to God!
I was just on the phone, sharing with one of the ladies in our church children's ministry how the Lord has been working all along, in ways we couldn't see, and how He has brought every single person into our path in order to open doors and move in our lives. We've been through some unbelievable struggles this past year.

To be honest, there were times when I didn't think I could go another day the way things were. It seemed the harder we tried to get through to our son, the worse the behavior became.

I prayed, I cried, I read The Word, and sometimes it seemed that nothing was going to change...ever. Honestly, I don't know how people do this, without having a personal relationship with our Lord and Savior.

And now I know that every prayer, every tear, every sigh, every heartbreak, was heard and seen by my Father, and that He was moving on our behalf all along. NO, we couldn't SEE what He was doing...how He was invisibly speaking to hearts and moving mountains to answer our prayers, but He was here with us.

I just want to make sure I give Him all the glory. And I love and thank Him so much for never giving up on us...on me. He is still merciful and patient...full of compassion and longsuffering, and even though sometimes it may seem like He allows us to suffer through so much, we have to keep believing, keep holding on, and keep asking Him for the grace to help us through one more day. Because as long as God is in the picture, anything is possible.



Myspace Glitter Graphics

Well its been awhile since I've shared in here. Perhaps that's because we've been having such an amazing, awesome time actually enjoying our son! Don't get me wrong, we always enjoy our son, he is a blessing for sure. But up until these past few weeks the challenges have been overwhelming, and sometimes it just leaves me...speechless.

But I honestly believe that the intervention from his school is really working.We are blessed to have a teacher, and teacher's assistant, principal, guidance councilor, and several other school staff who took the initiative to get involved and take a personal interest in our son, our family, and the intense behavior issues we were facing at home.

We have actually gone a full week...with no spitting, no hitting, so screaming or cussing or throwing at home!I think what's key here is that we've found Julian's button. What I mean is that he cares immensely what the staff at school think about him; about his behavior at home.

I myself am amazed and thankful that he has reached this emotional milestone, in that he does care what other people think of him. That he feels ashamed and embarassed when his teachers read our daily report on whether his behavior that night at home was good or not-so-good, is a wonderful way to be able to allow his teachers and other school staff to reinstill in him the importance of how he treats his family.

The fact that he was/is so well behaved at school was a huge clue that he could control his behavior, that it was a choice to behave so badly at home.So now that we're all on the same page, working together as a team, we're beginning to see some positive results!

Someone once told me that because every child is different, whether they are autistic or typical, the key is to find out what will get your child's attention. Because as I'm sure you know, there has to be a consequence for bad behavior, but what works for one child may not work for another.

Our son can't stand the thought of his teachers, who regard him so highly at school, finding out about his bad behavior at home, so now he's learning that we're all working together as a team...almost like what he does to us at home, he in a sense does to his teachers and staff at school, too.

For all you who are struggling with behavior problems at home, I hope and pray that you have support from others...family members, school staff, behavior therapists. For us, once Julian realized that others were aware of his outlandish behaviors at home, he started thinking twice about the consequences, and how this would affect his relationships at school.


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

We're going to get through this!

Its been at least a week since I've shared in here. Things have been...challenging, to say the least.

Sometimes, just when I think I'm at my wit's end and I don't see that light at the end of the tunnel, we get that break-through.

Sometimes, I'm just so busy "holding on", it takes all the strength and willpower I have to just get through the tough times.

But always...God sends someone our way who offers hope and light and...relief.Its a hard thing, trying to break the bad habits and I've always said be careful what you allow your child to do, because I've learned from experience that especially an autistic child so easily falls into a routine, be it a good or not-so-good one.

My little boy has gotten into the routine of coming home from school every day, behaving in a confrontational, aggressive way. And its gone on for so long now that its going to take alot of hard work, determination, and effort to change that routine, redirect, and teach new, healthy habits.

By giving into his "demands" because to be honest, sometimes we just got tired of the fighting and it was easier to just give in for the sake of peace, that behavior has now become a regimented pattern to him and it can be pretty hard to transition him into something different.

But the good news is that I do know what we're up against, and the Lord has sent us so much moral support. So I know we're going to get through this, because I'm determined to help mold my son into the very best person he can be.

I hope and pray, if any of you out there are going through difficult times with your child(ren), just remember that its never too late to try to break the bad habits and instill new ones. And I'm clinging to the verse, "I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me." Phil. 4:13.

I know I can't do it on my own..in my flesh, but that with His help and guidance, He'll see us through. I hope you know the Lord, and that you allow Him to help you through whatever you or your family might be facing.


Helpful info about Autism from the National Autism Society