Saturday, July 07, 2012

I was called Prudish!

Heaven help us...someone called me prudish! Can you imagine?!
(Can you feel my sarcasm? :)

Here's what happened...Some ladies I know were going to see Magic Mike. If you don't know it, you aren't missing anything important. Anyway, I had seen a preview and was horrified. I felt a natural inclination to turn my face away even during the commercial. That should tell you something about it right there. It's a movie all about male strippers, and from what I've heard it should have a rating of more than R. So anyway, on to what happened. I turned down an invitation to go see it. I wasn't rude, or judgmental about it towards anyone. I just stated that I'd rather do something else. "Oh, don't be such a prude, Celeste."

I couldn't even think of a response. And even now I can't think of something graceful to say really, except that I don't believe I need to be looking at a man in such a way that this movie wants you to and encourages you to.

I'm married, and I take my covenant/sacrament very seriously. It's taken me a long time to learn the seriousness of this covenant and I'm doing my best to live up to my end of it.

Here is an excellent insight into more about Magic Mike from Warrior Wives. It's worth taking the time to read her blog entry for a more in depth look into why I felt the need to say no to seeing the movie.

I'm not always good with explanations but she does an excellent job of saying what I feel in my heart.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Guests, and guessing!

So there are two things I would like to share about today.
1) Having guests over. 
2) From the outside, looking in. 

Both of these things can have unexpected results. 

I will start with the idea of having guests over to my home.
The idea of sharing time and talk and food with someone is a lovely idea. I love having good conversation. I love serving good food. The idea of "community" is a desire we all have, I think. What happens, though, is something quite unexpected. Here I'm going to share something I don't share with much of anyone, but it explains a lot. And I suppose this might be taken the wrong way. But please, it's not about you! It's about our coping mechanisms :)

My children's high needs aside, I myself struggle with social anxiety, panic attacks, and some other symptoms that might be associated with the Autistic Spectrum. I can almost see your eyes glazing over now. And that's why I hesitate to share with anyone. There's nothing wrong with me, just as there is nothing wrong with my children. I just struggle for what you might consider "normalcy". Over the years, due to life circumstances, I've come to hide my struggles well, push them aside and put on a smile for the world, and get on with things! It's actually been very good for me in that it has forced me out of my comfort zone and into those situations, like with guests, where I must go outside my own head and learn social norms. Perhaps that is why I seem slightly weird at times, or say things that might be taken as offensive or improper. Sometimes my filter misses! :)

So anyway.
I love having guests over, and so do my children. However, the aftermath can be quite a struggle. My children, and myself, often have to "recover" from social interaction. We might each go off and close the door to a room to be alone. A grouchy attitude might take over the household for a bit while we all struggle to accept that we had to "act right" for the world. Not that we are weird when no one is around, but the filters can be put aside, questions can be addressed about why people act a certain way, meltdowns can be let out. It takes an extra effort for my high needs household to function normally after guests. Guests are rare! Not because we aren't kind to them, or because we can't have fun, but because the effort can be quite exhausting. We thrive on routine, even if the routine seems vague. 

Now the second part of this is about looking at my/our situation from the outside and guessing about things. Educated guesses can be a good starting point. However, I've run into quite a few situations recently where someone is just guessing that I'm a bad parent because of how I "let" my child/ren act. Others might be thinking, "Better you than me! That little one is crazy....". Indeed it can seem crazy. Exhausting. Overwhelming. Just as it's overwhelming to put on social norms, it can also be overwhelming trying to hold my tongue about people who don't get it, don't care to get it, or just think they can do a better job. Oddly enough, society doesn't send you to parenting classes prior to having children. Oh, yes, they are out there. But "I'm never going to be one to need them because my children will be well behaved, normal, disciplined little people who will act just so." (I wish you all the best!) Often times, in fact most of the time, it's not something that you can control. Your children are separate entities from you. They grow and gain independence. You can teach them and give them good example all you want, but ultimately they must choose to behave accordingly. Even high needs children with Aspergers, etc. They can still choose. They just must understand clearly why.

 I tell you that I have learned so much patience and understanding from my children. They are sincere in their curiosity. They are not trying to push buttons (most of the time) by acting out, or regressing inwards. They are coping in their own way and it's just slightly less common than what you might find elsewhere, I suppose. I do my best to give clear and concise instruction, to teach with understanding and openness to what they might experience out in the real world, but with firmness and educated answers. (Boy, do I do a lot of reading. These little people have so many questions! I was never that way as a child, I just took everything at face value.) 

I feel privileged to be their parent. It's a growing experience for me. The knowledge I have gained from being their mom, and continue to gain, is an amazing gift. Things I would never have learned otherwise, to be sure. No doubt I struggle, and can seem cynical at times. Everyone needs a break now and then. Perhaps their needs from any other person would be misunderstood as just "bad behavior". But I see the prologue.

To be continued. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

It's another day!

I took this picture, above, while laughing internally because it's just so comical. Two seconds later flower weeds were thrown at me. That's more like it! 
I've been struggling a lot lately with the questions, "What does God want from me today? It's another day! Nothing has changed. Maybe I need to change my perspective?" Most likely the second question! 

On with the day. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Am I misunderstanding?

Hang with me for a few minutes. I'm trying to figure something out in my head.

I read several books  at a time about theology and scriptures and applying them to your life, etc. Just the other day I started reading an ebook by Sarah Mae called Frumps to Pumps. It's basically a book about getting up and getting dressed in the morning like you matter, taking time to acknowledge your value and that you need to make an effort. 
 So at the beginning of the first chapter this is what she says;

"Here’s what I know for sure: I know that if you follow Jesus, then you are perfect, right now, for eternity.

Wild, right? Can you even fathom that? Perfect? That’s what Jesus did for you, and it’s a crazy mystery, especially seeing as we still sin. But yes, according to Hebrews 10:14, if you are being sanctified (meaning you know and follow God), you have been perfected for eternity. 

  This means that you don’t have to get there. You are there (in Heaven’s eyes)."

I read and hear similar ideas from other Christian writers and speakers all the time, that you "don't have to get there" because Jesus' sacrifice fixed that for you. Basically all you have to do is live. But that bothers me. It implies that you don't have to do anything, you can just coast through life with a guarantee that you're going to heaven. 

But scripture clearly says that you must run the race. Running a race means hard work, exercise, sacrifice, effort. No one is going to pop in and carry you to the finish line.

No where in scripture does it say that all you have to do is claim Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior and then you are done. Many Protestants believe that salvation is a one-time act that offers absolute salvation, but I have a really hard time with that. Yes, Jesus died once for all. 
 However, Rom 5:1-2 says

 Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand and rejoice in our hope of sharing the glory of God.

 It says hope, not "assurance". We have hope. That implies there is something required of you, an action. That also implies that if you neglect something then all the hoping in the world won't get you anywhere. I can hope and hope and hope to win the lottery, but if I don't buy a ticket on a continuous basis I'm most definitely not going to win. In Jas 2:14 is says, 

What does it profit , my brethren, if a man says he has faith but has not works? Can his faith save him? 

That's pretty cut and dry! So obviously if you say you have faith then you are going to do something about it! Feed the poor, cloth the naked, visit the sick, etc. 

And then again in Jas 2:18, 26 it says,  

"Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith...For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so faith apart from works is dead." 

Jesus also clearly told us that if we do not bear good fruit that tree will be "cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will know them by their fruits." 

And then Matthew 7:19 says, 

Not everyone who says to me, "Lord, Lord," shall enter the kingdom of heaven...

There is a theme here. He never said "just say you believe in me and you are saved". He keeps giving us instructions that even after we believe in him to do something (see last passage!). And THEN, in Phil 2:12 it says,

Therefor, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.  

Wait. What? Work it out? With fear and trembling? Fear and trembling implies I better seriously do some work to get to where I have hope that I am going?  

So....maybe I'm not as perfect as Sarah Mae says after all. It sounds like I have work ahead of me.

Monday, May 14, 2012

There was an article I was reading recently about parenting children with specials needs that listed 5 things that are essential to surviving. They are:

  • Tolerance
  • Acceptance
  • Patience
  • Organization
  • Time for Yourself
Even as I sit here writing this out, my little one has pulled up the bottom of the sandbox again, spilling sand everywhere, beat the dog with a soda bottle, upturned all the patio furniture, and dumped dog food in his train table.

I tolerate him up turning things and making messes because honestly you get tired of micromanaging to keep things clean. I am lacking in all the areas listed above...But I do TRY.

I accept, and practice everyday accepting. There are times when I get beyond crazy, when one after another troublesome thing happen, and I start crying in my head so I won't scream at the poor child. In those moments I've started to pray and remember that God made me this child's mother because he thought I would be best in some way. Then search within myself to rustle up some more acceptance of the situation. The other thing I do is spiritually throw myself at the foot of the Cross and beg God for help. It sounds desperate, but in those situations sometimes I feel desperate for help.

I try to be patient as he grabs at me to hold him while I clean up his messes, or when he tells me he popped the pool with my car keys that he took out of my purse that I had put on top of the refrigerator so he wouldn't steal them again.

Organization. All I can say is...I try. It's hard to do. We have a morning routine, and an evening routine. What happens in between usually consists of me repairing destroyed furniture, walls, clothes, toys, cleaning up one room at a time, or making sure everyone has clean clothes to wear. I just finished filing papers that had been collecting on the counter for the last 6 months. You get the idea.

Time for yourself. I'm not sure I have anything to say with regards to time to myself. It's important. Numerous people have pointed out its importance. It's hard to come by. Especially with my husband away and not having the extra funds for a babysitter. I usually take little moments out of the day for myself. I listen to some devotions while I make the kids lunches. I read a paragraph of a book while I brush my teeth. I pray in the shower. I close the door to my room until I can't hear kids making noise, or until they come banging and crying at the door. I guess I could say...It's a nice idea. 

At any rate, I feel that each of those things could use some work. I could take more time to think before I act. Or to think ahead at how I can react.  I'm a work in progress. No matter who you are, or what your situation, I'm sure these themes could apply to your life as well.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

I'm venting, so hold on.

Don't take it too seriously. Some times I need to just get it out!

Some day's can be a challenge with an Aspie who doesn't understand why you haven't completed all the tasks on your to-do list, including running his errands or doing what he considers necessary. I have no excuses. I have reasons. Mom needs to be able to take a moment to catch her breath too.

Between chasing the 2 year old off the top of the fridge and trying not to get disconnected on the phone with the doctor again...No I didn't pack your lunch this morning! Really...anxiety over not packing lunch. To a normal person this would seem ridiculous. But. There's the but. I know the anxiety is really about having to go in the lunch line, which is not routine, and make decisions quickly which he's not good at doing at all. Sometimes I just want a little give-way.

Needless to say, his lunch got packed two minutes before the bus arrive.

When I am tired I get unreasonable in expecting certain things from my kids that I know they aren't capable of. They aren't good at spur of the moment stuff, large social settings, changes in routine, or expectations that might be normal to some. I have days where I just want things to go "my way". I'm laughing as I write that because nothing ever goes my way. I'm not sure you get used to things never going the way you want, but rather you learn to tolerate it as part of how your life goes with high needs kids. Rigidity and routine. You learn to go along rather than rock the boat. Storms are not fun. There is always clean up afterwards.

Ok. On with the day!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Being a missionary in my own home.

“In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love.” – Blessed Mother Teresa

When you think of a missionary a few things pop into your mind; building houses, digging wells, providing food and water for the hungry, clothes for the naked, preaching the gospel with our actions and then with our words if situations call for it. As a young woman I thought I was being called to the contemplative life. I could pray, I prayed all the time. I could quietly move from one activity to another, just doing my duty and minding my own business. I always looked at the missionaries with awe and a feeling of "there is NO way I could be that/do that/be called to that".

The funny thing is being older, looking at my life, my children, my situation here with these people God has put in my life and feeling like, "Oh my gosh, I am a missionary!" I am called to do all those things in my family, with my children, with my husband, with people I meet. And I'm called to teach them to be the same way as well. Mother Teresa, the ultimate missionary if ever there was one, was so amazing in saying that we should do small things with great love. It's those things that can make the biggest difference sometimes. My children need all those things from me. My husband needs my prayers, my help running our home and raising our children, he needs my example of how to live a Christian life because he didn't grow up with a clear knowledge of what that is. (This is all so daunting to me, and I feel superiorly under-qualified most days).

I'd like to talk about doing those things, those missionary works, and when we least feel like doing them. We are the masters of our body, but so often our body (and our mind at times), does not want to cooperate in those works. I don't feel like cooking, cleaning, helping with homework, doing laundry, reading to the kids, saying prayers over/with a screaming child. "I don't feel happy when I am doing" them, you might say to yourself one day when you have gotten little sleep and little ones are uncooperative. The thing is that those things still need to be done. Your work does not end just because you are tired, crabby, cranky, over worked, underpaid, or feeling unappreciated. That is the time when the real work you. I believe that often times our missionary work is not so much about what we are doing for others (although those things are good and we should do them because Our Lord asked us to do them), but that some work is being done in us as we do them. We are being taught to love, by practicing love. Jesus begged the Father to not let him go through his impending death, but he still picked up his cross and marched on even when he kept falling because he loves us.

The thing is, love isn't about doing what you feel like doing all the time. Love isn't about having that "feeling" all the time. Real love, being a real missionary, is doing what is right because you know it's right and you know it's true. Those things together let you see the beauty in your everyday life...if you pay attention. Your seemingly meaningless tasks of missionary work are Great because you practice love when you do them most especially when you don't want to.

I don't wear a habit, I don't dig wells, or do extraordinary things. I do the small things because practicing love makes them big things. Practicing love when you don't feel love...well, that's real love in my eyes.

Now...I'm going to go clean up that dog food all over my porch. Definitely not because I want to, but because I'm practicing love ( by taking a time out away from my child so I don't yell at him for using dog food as confetti. )

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Its the small things.

By now I should get it. You'd think.
Over the last few days of the kids and I being sick I've been pouring myself into researching into some of Matthew's behaviors. Allergies were first off my list. That's an easy one, I guess you could say. Cutting out sugar and all that has helped tremendously with his behavior. He's a much nicer person. But....There are still all the other things that make me feel like I'm losing my mind 24 hours a day. I've narrowed it down to perhaps a Sensory Processing Disorder.

I came across a forum with led me to a website that is all about treating and helping diagnose it. They had a 3 page checklist to help you determine if this might be something your child struggles with. Out of the 100 or so items listed I checked at least 70 of them. It'll be going with me to the doctor. I got more than a little frustrated with telling his pediatrician something is going on with him and having it poopoo'd. Twice. So I called the advice nurse and had a lengthy conversation with her about it, and she couldn't recommend much to me in the way of figuring out where to go for help. She suggested going to Anthony's behavioral specialist. If that's what it takes...I suppose that's where I will head next.
We've gotten fairly used to his outbursts, dangerous behavior, lack of empathy, senseless mean behavior. Lately he's taken to pulling my hair (out) when he's mad\frustrated. I'm not sure what this accomplishes for him, and I know he's just mad and doesn't know what to do with his anger. But the tearing the hair out of my head thing...yeah, not so nice. I should know better than to wear things around my neck that he can grab onto, because you better believe he will do the same thing.

Selfishly I keep wearing necklaces. Over the last few years I've not been able to wear earrings due to an allergy to the metals, (which in this case might be a really good thing), so I've taken to wearing bracelets and necklaces. It makes me feel good, ok. Don't judge. :) Anyway, I keep hoping maybe he'll see that they are special to me. Silly me. He doesn't think like that. He thinks, "What's's different. I want it! PULL!", or he yanks out of anger or frustration. Beads go flying, clasps get broken. After three or four of them you'd think I'd be the one to catch a clue.

It really is a selfish thing of me to keep wearing them expecting him to catch a clue. I just want one small thing to be special, and to be mine, and to be left alone.

I'm learning to let go of the small things. It hurts sometimes.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Cleaning up!

Our diet that is.

Having highly sensitive, highly needy kids it shouldn't surprise me that they're tummies, immune systems, and attitudes are sensitive as well. The thing is, for a minute you would just like to pretend that there is one thing that can be "normal". We all need to rethink what normal is though. What works for most or some should not be judged as the norm. Yes, I know majority rules. But when the the majority of my family has sensitivities....well, then sensitive is the norm because that is what my life is about--my family. That doesn't mean I'm not still working towards acceptance:)

A few weeks ago I decided to try out an elimination diet of sorts. Honestly it was out of desperation. Our youngest, Matthew, was making us all feel neurotic. Constant outburst (seriously all day, from one thing to another), tantrums, fit throwing, object throwing, meanness, hair pulling, food pitching, wall climbing, door slamming, awake until 3 in the morning, no going out in public sort of neurotic. Everything was a fight. I know 2 year olds throw tantrums, etc. I've plenty of experience with that. This was just unreal, and we were ready to rip our hair out. The other two kids were feeling this way as well. We had tried everything as far as discipline. Nothing was working. The pediatrician didn't take me seriously. I knew something had to change, and all I knew to do was eliminate everything so at least we could rule foods out of the equation.

The first thing to go--> sugar! Or as much of it as I could eliminate reasonably without clearing out all our cupboards and fridge. Doing just the little bit at a time has helped tremendously. Secondly, as much processed food as possible, and items with preservatives. Granted, I spend a lot more time thinking about food (which I really would rather not), but it's helped him calm down SO much just in the last few weeks. Those very simple things have made our life more bearable. He's actually changed from whacking you in the face when you lean to hug or kiss him, to hugging or kissing back, and being playful. Who knew there was a sweet (still busy trouble-maker) under those food poisons. Yup, to me they are poison because they make my baby be something other than who he really is. We're seeing that there is a nice, playful guy under there. We just had to find him! The effort is worth it.

Granted, we have quite a ways to go, but the difference has been amazing. We'll keep going and see what happens.