Music, Vocals, Writing and Life

Encouragment

Ian’s Rose

Ian's Rose
This is Rose, a wonderful little puppy that we will be picking up in three weeks (when she’s old enough to leave her mommy). We will be training her to be an Autism Service Dog for Ian. She’s a Golden Retriever whose mommy and daddy are both up here in Alaska. They are wonderful dog’s … we are so excited! We know it’s gonna be tons of work to get her certified, but it will be worth it for Ian.

Out of the Mouth of Babes

Life is tough, but God is good. I keep telling myself this over and over. And God is good. He is seeing me (us) through some really tough times and I know He will continue to see us through the next years coming up.
Today is my birthday. I’m usually the one who makes a big deal about birthdays in our family, so my birthday is usually not a big deal. Not because they don’t love me, just because they’re not used to planning anything. To top it all off, my daughter – the one full of Mercy and Love, is sick. She’s got the flu. So I woke up today and we got the day started as usual. No mention of Birthday, no Special Day anything. Just regular life.

Then my sweet Tori woke up. I got her some medicine to take down her fever and as soon as she had taken it, she asked me what day it was. I told her Friday and she said, “Oh good!” and shuffled over to me with a folded paper in her hand. She had made me a Birthday Card! She said Happy Birthday and some sweet sayings and then the rest of the card was as follows:

Blessed is the man who keeps on going when times are hard. After he has come through them, he will receive a crown. The crown is life itself. God has promised it to those who love Him.
James 1:12 :)

I love my daughter. At a mere 12 years old, she saw through the pain we are going through and had faith. Faith enough to share with me. Dave and I are beyond proud of her. She’s an inspiration to us both.

Special Hearts Support Group

We are starting a Special Needs Support Group (on Yahoo) primarily for those homeschooling their High Functioning Special Needs Kids. This includes ADHD, ADD, ODD, OCD, Aspergers Syndrome, All High Functioning Autism Disorders and all other High Functioning Special Needs Kids. However, ALL Special Needs Families are welcome.
This is a Christian Group where we will encourage one another along our journey and also share Success Stories along with our Flops!
 
You will be requested to fill out a questionnaire before you are approved to join the group.  This is to keep Spammers out. We welcome all Special Needs Families.
Once you have been approved, please take a moment to introduce yourself, the child you homeschool (boy or girl) and what Special Needs you are working with. 
No Spamming, Flaming or Advertising Allowed.
This group is sponsored by http://www./home.maggiemccormick.com and McCormick Family Ministries.

To join, http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Special_Hearts

A New Kind of Normal

Although we had a difficult delivery of our first born, we didn’t think much of it. We were so proud that we had a big baby boy! It wasn’t till Ian was about three years old that our world was turned upside down.

When Ian was about three years old, we tried to place him in a preschool. They took him for one day then told us that they could not accommodate his “disabilities”. Ummm, hello? Disabilities??? What were they talking about? They just didn’t know anything, that’s all there is to it. Then it all started to sink in and our world started falling apart.

By the time Ian was five, he was started on medicine … “to fix him”. (little did we realize that it was the adults that needed to be fixed, myself included) We held Ian back for a year so that he could “catch up” to the other kids mentally. When Ian was 7, he was in first grade in a Christian School that had a “Special Needs Department”. The teacher kept telling me (and sending notes to the Dr telling him) that we needed to increase the medication because it just wasn’t working. Ian was still “disrupting the class”. So, the meds just kept getting increased and increased. I listened to the teacher and the doctor … after all, they were the professionals, right??? Finally, Ian overdosed where he freaked out. He lost complete control of himself and couldn’t stop screaming or moving. They sent him to the office where he hid under a table and swatted at anyone who got near to him.

I had taken off work early … just because. I got there and the principal told me that she was ready to call the Police on him. Ok, wait, STOP. This is a 7 year old kid who is overdosing on the drugs that you and your teacher INSISTED that he take??? And YOU want to call the cops???

I found Ian in a corner, under a table rocking back and forth, mumbling unintelligibly. I gathered him into my arms and carried him off … Ian never went back to a “formal” school.

Our world came crashing down around us. Suddenly we had a different kind of “Normal”. All those hopes and dreams of a normal life with a kid who could go to a school, play on a team sport, be baby sat by a teenager … all those things that most people take for granted … all those dreams & expectations were lying at our feet in a crumpled mess.

The pain and heartache of the next few years is hard to put into words. We tried to put those pieces back together again. Unfortunately I wasn’t smart enough to get him completely off of the drugs that those fools had him on. That, I deeply regret. Because Ian has Aspergers Syndrome AND ADHD and ODD (along with other Learning Disabilities) the medication that he was on for 5 years was only making him worse. I so wanted him to be “normal”. I guess that’s why we hung on to the meds for so long … just trying to be “normal” like everyone else.

But “like everyone else” was not where God wants us. God is allowing us to learn and grow in ways that we never thought we would. We’re still learning and growing, but finally to a place where we can reach out to others. That’s what this web site is all about. A way we can reach out to others going through what we have been through and are still going through right now.

We aren’t Doctors or Psychologists, just fellow Special Moms and Dads who have been there and know that! We want you to know that you are not alone. There is a God out there with a Master Plan that includes you and your Special Child. That I know for sure. Another thing I know, my grandmother taught me when I was just a little girl. It’s summarized in a song … the song I still sing my daughter to sleep with: Jesus Loves Me, this I know. For the Bible tells me so. Little ones to Him belong. They are weak, but He is strong. Yes, Jesus loves me, yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me … the Bible tells me so. Sometimes, it’s all I can do to hang on to that one truth … but never let go … never.

Not So Perfect

Ever seen those pictures of moms with their kids all lined up in a row, standing patiently in a line, just waiting for mom to get done with what ever it is that she is doing? Well … don’t believe it! It’s fake!! Those aren’t real moms and they certainly DO NOT have Special Kids!!!

As moms and dads of Special Needs Kids, our life is harder than the “normal” that is all around us. Because of this, I think it’s important that I share the down times as well as the wonderful mountain top experiences that we have. So here’s one of my diary entries of late. This past summer has been extremely hard on our family. From the death of close family to me being laid up on bed rest for 6-8 weeks, life has been tough for us.

Down in the trenches, down in the dumps. Life is so hard right now. We are trying to do what God is asking us to, trying to homeschool, trying to make a go of it living out in the country, doing everything we can to give our kids a better life. Yet, we continually go backwards.
It’s not all wonderful and I’m not the best mom in the whole wide world! I’m broken and He is trying to fix me … daily.

I have Philippians 4:6-7 printed out above my computer. I try to read it every day. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

So Lord … You know everything. You know the finances (or lack there of), You know the structure / discipline (or lack there of) You know our hearts and our desires.

I’m drawn back to a song … one I wrote in Jr High.

When nobody seems to care
I’m all alone out there
With nobody at my side
I just want to run and hide.

But when I’m feeling down
You always come around
To show me a better way
To live my life everyday.

For You, You know what I want
You know what I need
You care about me
For You, show me the way
Through everyday
In every way
For You
You know what I need
And You … You care about me
You’re always there.
Please come show me You are here Lord. I need You … we need You. Give us that peace that passes all understanding. The kind that only comes from You.

Goodbye Chaos, Hello Peace!

I’ve been reading through the most amazing book … Goodbye Chaos, Hello Peace! by Cynthia Hancox (http://www.cynthiahancox.com). In four short days it has changed my life and changed my house! My hubby is so impressed, and thankful!

Even though the main focus of GCHP is getting your home and life under control, doing the self-assessment part of the manual has caused me to really see other areas I need to work on too. The main thing that has hit me so far has been my lack of teaching my son. My son is Special Needs and I really need to continue to change the way I teach so that I can get through to him. What works one day might not work the next day. I was so excited this morning. My daughter and I sat down at the table to work on our HOAC Human Body Lapbook and we read “The Magic School Bus: Inside the Human Body”. My son said that he didn’t want to sit down and read with us, but by the end, Ian was the one sitting there listening and answering all sorts of questions, while my “normal” child was off throwing a fit!

I get to do things differently with Ian … get to scan through the internet, finding cool pictures of what we are learning about and sometimes even creating a different mini-book so that Ian can feel good about doing his Lapbook … cause you know what? It’s all about the kids learning … not about how good / professional it looks from a mom’s standpoint. I have to keep telling myself that as he doodles over his stuff! I’m also working on creating Phonics resources for him. He’s upset … feeling like he will never read … yet I know he will … we just have to keep on, little bits everyday. Kinda like me and this house and my routines … little bit everyday and I’ll get there!

You can find Cynthia Hancox at http://www.CynthiaHancox.com. Goodbye Chaos, Hello Peace! is available completely FREE when you sign up for her weekly e-zine mailing list. You can even join a discussion group for the books (details on that sent to you when you join the mailing list).

One on the Mountain Top

This past weekend I went on the Women’s Retreat for our church. It was awesome …

As I sit in the Chapel, I look up thru the window and see a lone pine tree. This tree is old and scraggly, no leaves, only sticks where once beautiful branches hung.

Yet far beyond in the distance rises a mountain top … full of Pine Trees. At first glance the trees on the mountain top look all full and beautiful. But look closely and you’ll see stark branches as the early morning light shines off of some bare tree trunks.

Each of us bring something different to the mountain top. Each of us separately look out of place … lonely. Yet when we all meet at the mountain top and gather in close, that stark branch on one side of me is covered with a beautitful full branch of the tree standing next to me. All our “disabilities” melt away as we become one in Christ … one on the Mountain Top.

A Sweet Drink

A Sweet Drink

(written Jan 2003)
Twice this morning I’ve been hit over the head with something. It is really basic, yet ever so hard for me to deal with. You see, through this Christmas Program thing at my church, I was deeply hurt that my kids were excluded due to my son being a Special Needs Kid. I was not understanding how in the world this could be a good thing and was really bitter towards those who judged me and my family.

In God’s Word, it says that Jesus can make bitter water sweet. (Jesus at the wedding feast) It also says that God wants a spiritual sacrifice from us. He wants a Drink Offering from us. But, He doesn’t want a bitter Drink Offering – He wants a sweet Drink Offering. How can I give Him a sweet Drink Offering when I’m so bitter inside by what has been done to me? Simple: give my bitterness to God and let Him make it sweet. Now this is easier said than done!

But it doesn’t stop there. Part of the Daily Devotions from New Life Ministries read, “When we forgive, we set aside the circumstance that have wounded us and explore the reasons those circumstances took place. Once we have pardoned people that have hurt us, we may be able to solve the problems that caused them to injure us.”
So…once again Lord, I’m found at the foot of Your cross with Your blood covering me and my sinfulness. Once again I’m asking for forgiveness and once again asking, no, PLEADING for the ability to leave my bitterness with You at the cross. Give me the courage to be the woman You want me to be. Show me how I can use this experience to further your Kingdom and make sure that this doesn’t happen to anyone else.

Daddy’s Little Girl

Daddy’s Little Girl

“I’m running away and that’s all there is to it!” she said with all the attitude that a 10 year old could as she swung her little suitcase to the other side. “That’s fine. Can I walk with you?” her daddy said. “Well … ok. But don’t think you’re gonna convince me that I’m goin’ back, cause I’m NOT! I’m not goin’ back to HER.” … “OK” he gently said.
Walking down the dirt path beside her he asked “Where are you going to sleep?”. “MMM. In my blackberry fort”. “Oh”, he nods his head. “What are you gonna eat?”. “MMMM … Blackberries!” “Oh” he nods again. “You know …” he stops. She stops and looks up at her daddy. “You know I”m gonna miss you terribly if you leave. What am I going to do?”
That was it. That was the straw that broke the camels back. She cried and cried and cried. “I know Daddy. I’m gonna miss you too.” She cried some more. “Come child, let’s go home” he said quietly.
She turned and walked back home, hand in hand, with her daddy. Her knight in shinning armor, her savior and always, her champion.

How many times have I come back to You Father? And yet, every time You welcome me, even chase after me to bring me back to You. Thank You. Thank you for never abandoning me … even when I abandon You. You rejoice when I come back. Your angles sing and celebrate! How I love You Father. I thank You for my daddy and for giving me 30 wonderful years with him. I”ll always remember his love for You and his love for me.

Robert W. Smith. Photographer, Film Master, Radio Announcer, my daddy! Oct 16, 1921 – March 1993

Keep On Walking

Keep On Walking

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.” Prov 3:5

My kids decided to go for a walk in the woods with the dog Toby. Off they tramped thru the woods, oblivious to the road, the direction of the house or anything but following the dog! After walking for about 2 hours, they looked around and couldn’t fine Toby anymore. My daughter realized they were lost and started crying. Being the “Big Brother”, Ian tried to comfort her and be strong for her, but soon gave into his own fears and cried right along with her.

Realizing that crying wasn’t getting them anywhere, Ian pushed himself (as much as an 8 year old with an emotional age of 6 can.) They set off again and found a cabin. Ian walked up to the door and knocked. He asked where his Aunt Vickie’s house was. Rick, a friend of Vickie and Scott’s, told them to just follow the road and they would get to Vickie’s house. The road would take them back 2 miles to Vickie’s. They had taken the “shortcut” through the woods and had only traveled 1 1/2 miles! Mind you, my kids are only 6 1/2 and 8. My daughter (6 1/2) was in flip flops and my son (8) was in sandals!

They were brave and said ok and started out walking down the road. Then a few seconds later Tori started crying again. Ian, again, tried to be strong and reassure her that everything was gonna be alright, but he didn’t believe it and soon he was crying again too.

Unbeknown to my kids, Rick had called Vickie and told her that her nice and nephew were up at his place and walking the road towards home. Vickie immediately sent one of her boys on the quad runner to go pick them up. So help was on the way – even though they did not know. They just kept walking.

Isn’t that just like us and God? We get to walking and loose our way. We cry, we fret, we worry. Yet God has a plan. God has already set in motion our rescue. We just need to keep on walking.

My kids were picked up and brought back. Tori dissolved in to tears and Ian was stoic and “didn’t want to talk about it” while choking back the tears. He didn’t want to admit that he needed help. Wow! Isn’t that just like us humans? “I can handle everything by myself and if I can’t, there must be something wrong with me.”

God made us to be reliant on Him. That is what we are supposed to do.

As we walk thru this life, may we always remember that God has our rescue planned out already, we just need to keep on walking.