Don’t Be Jealous of Our Romantic…(WOW! Write On Wednesday! takes 1.30 min. to read)

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I’m glad I got your attention. Romance always does, right? You wonder where we might have gone that you’ll get to try some time. Or perhaps you’re thinking we found a great new spot for dinner and you’ll be adding it to your list of places to go!

Well, lane change! That’s not exactly where I taking you. Instead, I’m taking you on a little trip. Oh, yes, it’s a real trip. But it wasn’t the trip I was expecting and neither were you.

Recently, we realized in planning a trip for ministry, that the hopeful 3 days we’d hoped to have (just the 2 of us seeing the sites after the meetings) would need to include our son. The usual care options for our 33 year old son with special needs weren’t available for that frame of time and we would need to take him with us or not go. Delete the words not go and romantic. Even though the trip had nothing to do with romance, just the two of us getting to be together can be romantic because we’re not really alone that much!

We’ve come to realize that sometimes that “romantic dinner for 2” will actually be 3, or the trip that was to be just the two of us will be including our son. It’s a matter of vocabulary and attitude. If we want to do these things, sometimes we need to think outside the box and just make a new plan.

When your plans get changed, the romance you hoped would happen – doesn’t, or you can’t do what you’d thought you might, can you change the vocabulary and attitude to fit the circumstances and enjoy the journey?

I haven’t arrived yet; I’m still learning, but now I generally make sure I reserve a table for 3!

Special Needs –“Now, What?”

Previously Posted/Newly Updated for THIS our NEW website/blog

READING TIME @ 3.5 Minutes

Your child has “special needs”. You never thought it could happen to you, you never wanted it, you never asked for it…but you suspected it and now it’s confirmed. Now, what? Someone you love survived an accident, but they’ll never walk again. Those things happen to others, but now it’s happened to someone you know and love. You would never wish this upon anyone – but it happened. Now, what? You feel like you’ve been punched in the stomach – unable to catch your breath. You can’t think, you can’t talk about it, and if you’re one who prays – you might not even be able to pray.

You know life will never be the same – and it won’t. It will take a while (and it’s different for each person), but when the shock of this new reality sinks in, you’ll realize there are many with whom you can now relate. In the United States (according to the Disability Information and statistics via Joni and Friends):

  • 54M people (20.6%) are living with some sort of disability
  •  26M have some level of severe disability
  •  9M people are disabled to the point of needing personal assistance for everyday activities – 1.6M use wheelchairs
  •  4.8M canes, 1.8M ,walkers,
  •  4.2M use hearing aides
  • 1.7M use back braces.

Of those with disabilities: 6.1% are under 18,  6.9% between 18-24, 14.1% between 25-54,  28.4% between 55-65,  38% over 65,   56% over 85.

With such statistics, we must recognize that what we thought would never happen to us or to someone in our life, probably will. Whether it’s ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder), mental retardation, Alzheimer’s, autism, Down syndrome, spinal cord or brain injury, Muscular Dystrophy, sensory integration, spina-bifida, or some other special need, it is likely that someone you know, or you, will be affected. Now, what? Like anything else in life, the “now what” is easy to hear; harder to apply.

If The Special Needs Situation Involves Someone Else

  • Look around – become aware of those around you and their needs
  • Learn to show compassion to others – you will grow as you become aware.
  • Offer help when you’re able – you will learn as you serve.
  • Read about the disabilities of those people in your life who have the challenge of a special need.
  • Read like you would if it were your disability – they will be blessed and impressed that you cared.
  • Ask questions and send kind notes of encouragement to them. They are seldom asked about their situation and rarely get encouragement outside their families.

If The Special Needs Situation Involves Yourself or Your Loved One

  • Take time to evaluate the diagnosis, your feelings, your loved ones feelings, and discuss it. Don’t run and hide, even though you might want to.
  • Ask questions.
  • Get answers.
  • Talk to doctors, therapists, social workers, agencies, others in your situation, etc.
  • Find sources of resourceful help. It takes time.
  • Share with others as you are able. Share what you are comfortable with.

Realize you will probably follow the Elizabeth Kubler-Ross stages of grief:

Denial – “This isn’t happening to me.”

Anger – “Why is this happening to me?”

Bargaining – “I promise I’ll be a better person if ______.”

Depression – “I don’t care anymore.”

Acceptance – “I’m ready for whatever comes.”

Both places are basic starting points. The journey takes perseverance, stamina, energy, endurance….and time. Are you willing to ask yourself the question: “Now what”?

 

PROCRASTINATION

Previously posted/newly update for THIS our NEW website/blog

 

READING TIME: 1.5 minutes….so you can get busy doing something else! 🙂

 

Sadly, I am guilty of procrastinating. And I usually KNOW when I’m doing it!

Yes, when I feel frustrated, not meeting my goals, when I find myself wasting time, missing deadlines, or I’m feeling less productive….I’m usually procrastinating. That feeling of, “I don’t want to do ‘that’, but I need to do to ’that’, but then I don’t” – or I find something else to do. I can identify those feelings and frustrations that go with procrastination, and I can as easily identify what happens when I stop procrastinating and start getting down to business.

I know if I’m PRO-active (rather than, PROcrastinating) I’ll take action on things I’m avoiding and as I continue doing that, life starts to come to order, my goals will be met, I’ll even have more free time, my tasks will be completed, my to-do list will be checked off, and I’ll feel more productive. In generaly, I feel better!

I have a lot of things I “say” to myself to justify procrastination, but in reality that “justification” is just a nice way of saying I’m making excuses. Join me as we evaluate whether we’re PROcrastinating or PROactivating:

If you say:                                                                  Then try this:

I dont’ have time                                                        Spend 30 minutes on it

I dont’ like doing it                                                    Do one thing you like, one you don’t

It takes too long                                                         Time it – you’ll be surprised

I’ll do it later                                                                Do it during your “prime time” of day

I’ll put it away later                                                   Put it away now – your done

Only I can do it                                                           Instruct/teach others how to do it

I don’t want to do it                                                  Delegate, barter, hire

I don’t want to start it                                             Work 30 min. each day ’til done

Something else is more important                    Re-evaluate/Reprioritize

It must be done my way                                        Get a life! That’s only in movies.

So….now that I FINALLY have this blog done, I can cross it off my list. I feel good. What will you get busy and do today!? Dont’ procrastinate!

THE EYES HAVE IT!

Previously posted/newly updated for THIS our new website/blog!

Reading Time @ 4 minutes

My husband had finished his requirements for graduation from dental school at THE Ohio State University, and was given a menu of options and opportunities regarding where he could spend some discretionary free time. He chose to work at University Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, doing dentistry for children with special needs.

He’d been taught in dental school to look into the eyes of his patients to be sure they were not experiencing any discomfort (okay, pain) as a result of whatever procedure was being done. What he noticed when looking into the eyes of these children with special needs, was how absolutely beautiful, even captivating their eyes were. It wasn’t just the color of their eyes, or the fact that some of them couldn’t even focus their attention on something. It was just “that look”.

For most of them, the only communicating they could do was with their eyes. It was fascinating to him to watch their eyes as he worked on their teeth.In the early years of our marriage and his dental practice, he worked in a few nursing homes whose residents were children with special needs. Dealing with drooling patients with flailing arms, squealing with uncontrolled emotion, was very sobering. It was challenging from a dental perspective as well as an emotional perspective. He was always thankful to come home where things were calm and “normal.”

When our son Joey was born he seemed quite “normal”, but one night, Joe was caring for Joey so I could get some needed sleep. Joe scooped Joey out of the crib like he’d made a great football catch and took him into the family room to play on the floor for a bit. As he rolled Joey gently back and forth, even rolling a ball to him, attempting “catch” with his infant son, he caught a glimpse of Joey’s eyes that took him back to his experience at University Hospital. He knew “that look”. He picked Joey up and held him close, saying, “Oh God, not my son!” 

What Joe knew that night, I was not yet seeing. I noticed that Joey wasn’t doing the things others his age were doing, but the doctors assured us he’d catch up – developmentally delayed. But the truth was this: instead of catching up, the gap kept getting bigger in what he could do and what he should have been able to do. 

For Joey’s first birthday, a few of my gal friends and their children gathered at the home of my parents for a little picnic. All the other children were running around their property, throwing stones into the pond, and eating a kid friendly lunch by themselves. What a shock it was to me that Joey could do none of that. He sat is the high chair, had to be carried everywhere, and needed help putting food into his hand. A dear friend, whose son was a little younger than Joey, but running circles around him, privately chatted with my mom about the boys. She shared her concerns about Joey. Because she cared enough to share in such a loving manner, it prompted us to begin asking some difficult questions of the doctor and pursue testing.

It must have been difficult for her to bring up her concerns, but what a loving gesture that was. She was often the one to call me at just the right times – when I’d gone through a rough day – listening to my concerns, allowing me to cry, and encouraging me.

Sometimes we want to deny what we see. We want to close our eyes, and pretend what’s happening isn’t. We want to turn our heads the other way or even go to sleep. But denial won’t get the help that’s needed. We need to open our eyes, and move forward. Once we accept what we are seeing, we can begin to take the necessary steps to seek the right doctors and diagnosis – getting the help that will allow our child to learn all they can. The earlier the recognition and acceptance, the earlier we can get help, and the better chances the child will have to gain the kinds of skills and learning they’ll need to make it in this world.

We’ve been on this journey for many years now, so I’ve had many opportunities to look into the eyes of parents and children. What is very difficult and challenging in the early years, can indeed become a great blessing later on. Today, if I’d be asked to vote whether I’d take this journey again, I know I’d raise my hand and say, “Count me in! The eyes have it! ”