Apr 23

Long Weekends + Nice Weather = No Blog Posts

The Munchkin had a five day weekend this weekend, and it was pretty much like a second spring break. EXCEPT that it was actually nice out, so we spent a lot of it outside. That’s why it’s been so quiet around here. All of my day time hours/minutes that I would spend putting a blog post together was spent outside. We went on walks, went to the park, and worked on the yard. We also celebrated the CRAP out of Easter, but I’ll get into that later. For now, here are a couple of pictures of the work I’ve been doing in the yard. Big shout out to the water table and joint naps for allowing me to get all of this stuff done.

yard-work-yesterday
This is what the hill behind my house looked like as of yesterday evening. I’ve been working on and off on this space whenever I got a chance to, but I’ve never had a big chunk of time available  to me like yesterday. I got a lot done, but I knew I had a long ways to go. I posted a slightly different view of this photo on facebook yesterday, and my college adviser said it looked like the pit in Parks and Recreation, haha. He wasn’t too far off. When I started working down there, I found that the builders just dumped all kinds of junk down here – carpet, concrete, trash. It was awful.

I had a little bit of time to work on it today, and here’s where I left it before dinner:

yard-work-today1
Much improved, right? I made the raised garden box mostly with pallet wood, although the long single piece at the top of the front and back sides are from my neighbors’ deck that they disassembled over the weekend. Those stairs are from there too, less you think I made them. The smaller stairs at the top of the hill were there when we moved in. They’re tiny and crappy, and I can’t wait to cover them up with more of the deck wood and the rest of the deck stairs.

I’m going to do my best to save that little tree there. I don’t know if you can really see it, since this photos is so monochromatic. The tree is starting to grow leaves, but not that many. I hope it thrives! I am also really sad that it looks like all of the grass on the hill is dead. I gotta say, when I originally envisioned this whole thing, I pictured green grass flowing down the hill. I don’t know what I’m going to do with all of this crap. You can see a distinct line where my living lawn ends and the dead hill grass starts. Ugh. Anyone think I can water it and make it live again? No? Nuts.

yard-work-today2
Here is a different view of the crappy steps and the garden box. I made one side of the box taller than the other to accommodate for the hillside, but I don’t know how to cut a triangular piece, so there is hole in each of the sides. My parents said someone can cut it at the hardware store, but I think I just might stick another piece of wood on the inside before I fill it with dirt and call it a day. If I put rocks between the stairs and the box, I bet you won’t even see it!

Now, I guess I’d better start some seeds in an egg carton or something, and get me some dirt!

Apr 23

Seasonal Skirts: A Guide to Feminine Dress Throughout the Year {SPRING!!!}

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I am so excited to share this new series with you all! There are 10 of us bloggers who are joining together to share “Seasonal Skirts: A Guide to Feminine Dress Throughout the Year.”

For many of you who have been following my blog, you have read about my path to modesty. If you haven’t, you can read about it HERE, HERE, and HERE.  Unless you caught me on a sick day (either myself or one of my children), you will rarely  find me wearing something other than a skirt. The most important reason for my choice in skirts are my convictions. The second most important reason is my husband. Many years ago, my husband asked me to wear skirts.  He loves me in skirts and he loves the feminine appearance skirts give.  His personal convictions for how I dress are based on our convictions of this scripture:

The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so areabomination unto the LORD thy God. Deuteronomy 22:5

There are times that I do wear pants for certain occasions, but that is at my husband’s request. A couple specific occasions when he requested that I wear pants was when we went caving outside Mt St Helens and hiking on Mt Rainer.  I have also blogged about wearing pants HERE,HERE, and HERE. Other reasons for wearing skirts come from various scripture and much time in thought and reflection, but is always based on my husband’s guidance as the spiritual head of our house.

Over the summer I read Set-Apart Femininity by Leslie Ludy and, I must say, this book is amazing. This book really reinforced that the path to modesty I was on was the right one for us.

There are many surveys out on modesty. One in particular that I wanted to share is very detailed and informative; unfortunately, that webpage says it is “under construction.” However, HERE is another post that has some snippets from that Modesty Survey and, hopefully, the site will finish with its construction soon.  This survey is definitely worth your time!

This next survey was given by a young lady who teaches Sunday school in her church. I found this one fascinating because it was done in-house with only members from her own place of worship. Check it out HERE.

These surveys, articles, blogs and books I’ve read only reinforced my convictions. The scripture reading our family has done and guidance from my husband ultimately catapulted me down the path I am currently traveling. I wouldn’t say I was ever an immodest dresser, but now I really am much more intentional about what I wear.

That brings us to the reason for this post – Spring is here!!! YAY!!! :) In the state of Washington, sadly, that means more rain. However, a few sunny days here and there have snuck in on us so I am trying to feel Springy! :)

I am thrilled to bring you this edition of Seasonal Skirts: Spring!!!

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Outfit 1:

Headband: Claire’s

Denim Shirt: JcPenny’s

White T-Shirt: Old Navy for FREE :)

Skirt: Zulily

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Seasonal Skirts-Spring-6

Outfit 2:

Hair Clip: Lilla Rose

Red and White Short sleeve Sweater: Old Navy

Jean Jacket: Old Navy

Skirt: eShakti

Shoes: Zulily

Seasonal Skirts-Spring-7

Seasonal Skirts-Spring-8

Outfit 3:

Hair Clip: Lilla Rose

Lilac Sweater: Dress Barn

Stripped Top: Dress Barn

Skirt: Zulily

Shoes: Who needs ‘em :)

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Seasonal Skirts-Spring-10

Outfit 4:

Headband: Garlands of Grace (stay tuned for a full review and GIVEAWAY of this on Sunday!!!)

Gray Tank Top: Old Navy

Pink T-Shirt: NY & Co

Skirt: Zulily

White Shoes: Bought at the exchange store

I hope you enjoyed the Spring Edition of the Seasonal Skirt Blog Hop!!! Please make sure you link up your own posts if your a skirts mostly wearer and take time to visit the other pages!!! May God bless you all this Spring :). Here is a listing of the 10 bloggers participating in this Blog Hop. I hope you take time to go visit them!!!

Dusty at To the Moon and Back

Erin at For Him and My Family

Laura at Raising Soldiers 4 Christ

Kyndra at Sticks, Stones, and Chicken Bones

Selena at Look! We’re Learning!

Mrs Warde at Sceleratus Classical Academy

Cynthia at Cynce’s Place

Melissa at Life Off the Paved Road

Dawnita at Fogleman Forerunner

Hilary at Our Homeschool Studio

Annette at In All You Do

In Christ,
Laura

The post Seasonal Skirts: A Guide to Feminine Dress Throughout the Year {SPRING!!!} appeared first on Raising Soldiers 4 Christ.

Apr 22

Sharyl Attkisson- "Be suspect–do your own research!"

Apr 22

Mommy Quiet Times

As a mom I have learned that quiet time is a valuable thing. Everyone needs a few moments of peace, and moms are no exceptions!

quiet time

I hear a lot of moms say that they feel guilty for taking time for themselves, but sometimes the house cleaning doesn’t matter, sometimes the kids could use some quiet time too.  Sometimes…you just need a break!

As a busy mom of two special needs kids, I have learned that “mommy quiet times” are a must. Not only does my three-year old son have quiet time, but mommy does too! Now that I have my baby girl, it has been a little bit harder to find these quiet times, and they are a lit bit farther between, but I do find them.

Three Ways I Tend to Find Quiet Time:

1. In the Shower.
It may sound silly, but I am serious about my shower time. It’s relaxing and at times it’s my only way to get a few moments of quiet time. Of course I shower daily, but occasionally I get in the shower at night after the kids are in bed. It helps me relax, think, breathe, and rest.

2. Before Bed.
Here’s a secret: sometimes I say I am going to bed or I go to take a nap while the kids are napping, and I just go up and rest instead. Sometimes I don’t need an actual nap, I just need some quiet time, some time to myself. I lay there and listen to white noise, or just think and dream. It’s my time with no one else around.

3. I Take Turns With my Spouse.
This is something that has really helped my marriage. We have learned that working together as a team helps both of us, and taking turns caring for the kids and getting time to ourselves is one of those teamwork things. I usually will watch the kids while my husband takes a nap or has quiet time to himself, and then he does the same for me in return when he is done. It’s definitely one of my favorite ways to get quiet time, and it’s one that works well for both us.

If you’ve kept up with my blog you know that it’s been a crazy roller coaster for us since my baby girl was born. If I can learn to make time for quiet time for myself, you can too! It doesn’t have to be for hours, I mean what mom has time for that? But take a few minutes for yourself, it might even mean helping you become a better mom!

“For now should I have lain still and been quiet, I should have slept: then had I been at rest.” – Job 3:13

“Then they are glad because they are quiet; So He guides them to their desired haven.” – Psalm 107:30

 

What about YOU? What are some ways you find quiet time at your house?

 

The post Mommy Quiet Times appeared first on Singing through the Rain.

Apr 22

Earth Day!

In recognition of Earth Day, I’ll highlight some things you ...

Apr 22

Semi-Homemade Cornbread Stuffing With a Twist!!!!

Stuffing

My family loves this recipe! It was a dish I learned to make from my mom, then I also added more of a twist to it.  We don’t eat if often, but it is amazing when we do!!!

Here is what you need:

  • 2 packages of sausage. We use Jimmy Dean Natural
  • 1.5 packages of Craisins. I use the low sugar ones for less carbs
  • 1-2 Onions
  • 2 Apples
  • 2 boxes and stuffing mix. We use Stove Top chicken flavor

Preheat the oven to 350.  While that is preheating follow the stove top directions but in the water add the Craisins, apples, and onions to soften.  Follow the rest of the stove top directions and set aside. In a separate skillet brown the sausage. Take the stove top mixture and the sausage and mix together well. Pour into a 9 x 13 baking dish, fluff the stuffing a bit. Bake until lightly brown.  Serve and enjoy!!!!

I hope you enjoy this semi-homemade recipe!!!

In Christ,

Laura

 

 

The post Semi-Homemade Cornbread Stuffing With a Twist!!!! appeared first on Raising Soldiers 4 Christ.

Apr 21

The Human Dog Connection – Health and Happiness

Dog lovers have long recognized that their animals contribute more to life than entertainment, and research indicates they’re right. Quality dog time actually alters human brain chemistry, improves your mood, and raises both health and happiness.

If dogs make such marvelous contributions to the quality of human lives, humans ought to reciprocate in kind.

Changing the mind
Washington State University researchers conducted a small study on the human-animal connection in which one group of incarcerated boys spent an hour with shelter dogs while another played video games or basketball. The boys who interacted with the dogs were reportedly “more joyful … and calm … [and] outbursts and hyperactivity diminished.”

The regular interaction had a positive impact on depression, ADHD, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, all common problems at the Excelsior Youth Center.

Paying it forward
If science is indicating that dogs improve human health and happiness, then humans should feel an obligation to return the favor. Reciprocating the unconditional love of a dog with kindness, compassion, and thoughtfulness is only the beginning.

Many dog breeds require both exercise and stimulating activities to ward off boredom and anxiety. The ASPCA, citing the fact that dogs have been bred for millennia to work, suggests that modern dogs suffer from a variety of problems because of inactivity.

The society recommends exercise as the ready fix for many common dog problems such as digging, chewing, raiding the garbage, predatory and aggressive play, or excessive barking.

Dog problems solved
The dog behaviorist Cesar Millan notes that dogs experience many of the problems they help humans overcome. The Wall Street Journal reported on Gunner, a bomb-sniffing dog working in Afghanistan who became so edgy from active duty that he was relieved of duty.

While most veterinarians wouldn’t go so far as to make a formal diagnosis of PTSD, the Marine Corps determined that Gunner’s wartime experiences had made him so anxiety-ridden that he became a liability in the field.

Walk, play, and play again
There are many stress-relieving human-dog activities that will benefit both. One of the most rewarding is rambling, whether across a mountainside or an urban park, as Katherine T of Active Hound brilliantly illustrates.

Dog and human can get that health-promoting exercise by playing any version of the throw-chase-run-and-jump game so beloved by dogs. While these games don’t necessarily require specially made toys, there are a huge number of proven exercise aids that make the human companion’s job of much easier, such as the Chuck-It! line of toys stocked by Active Hound.

Dog companions enrich the lives of their humans in so many concrete and intangible ways. They are confidants, confessors, partners in happiness and grief, and our touchstone for surviving the vagaries of life’s good and bad fortunes.

Recent scientific evidence suggests that they contribute far more than joy, however; interaction with a dog can change brain chemistry in positive ways. They do this for people with no argument and ask for very little in return: just a scratch, a pat on the head, a thrown ball, or a ramble.

Apr 21

Our First Fort Rucker Vistors- Pa Pa Rich and Janice




Pa Pa and Eli

LOVE!!!!!
 
They bought Eli this awesome bike for his birthday! He loves it! And as an extra surprise, they bought me one, too!!!!! YAY!!!! Love Love Love! Thank you SO much Pa Pa Rich and Janice!!!!

They took us out for hibachi the last night they were in Alabama- Thanks, Shay-Shay for babysitting! YUM-O!




Apr 21

Pinterest Fail


What Eli did with our eggs Saturday morning- Nice 'babysitting', Dad!
I thought I would be a Pinterest/Hippie Mom this Easter and make dyeing eggs extra hard:( Wouldn't have minded the extra work IF it would have WORKED!!!!!! GRRRRRRRRRRRR
 
 
Only the beets worked.


Spinach, blueberries, carrots and beets

Apr 21

Report to Congress forecasts Tricare ABA coverage changes

    Last week, the Defense Department submitted reports to ...

Apr 21

Modest Monday: Praising God In The Storm

MM Praising God in the Storm

It is so easy to give God the glory and praise when things are going well, isn’t it? Getting a promotion at work, a healthy baby, someone buying your dinner. All of these things are wonderful and we SHOULD be giving praise to our Lord for them, but what about when things are not going well?

We are a military family. We’ve endured the long periods of separation, the financial stress from picking up and moving across country or living paycheck to paycheck, and losing friends and loved ones due to injury, illness and combat. In short, during our marriage, we have sure had our share of bumps like many of you have had your share of bumps. However, nothing prepared us for the mental and emotional fatigue when we found out our youngest had a stroke in utero.  You can read all about that HERE and HERE.  Our bumps, bruises and stresses are not the motivators behind this post.  Instead, the motivator behind this post was what I read on a friend’s Facebook page.

I graduated High School in 1995.  I had some of the best friends in High School! However, I want to specifically talk about my friend Jay. He dated and married his high school sweetheart, another friend of mine, Christy.  They were an amazing couple.  Jay became youth pastor at one of the local churches and Christy was an awesome Pastor’s wife.  She was truly one of the sweetest people you would ever have the pleasure of meeting.  In 2005, Christy went on a mission trip.  When she returned from that trip, she became ill and passed away in November of that same year. I cannot tell you what a shock this was to everyone who knew her.  My heart ached and continued to ache as all of us gathered at the funeral home. My heart ripped in two thinking about not only Jay, but their daughter who would now grow up without her mom. Would she know how much her mom longed for her? Prayed for her? Loved her? I had comfort in knowing her daughter would know all these things because of the family she was surrounded by.  I knew Jay’s and Christy’s family would never allow the memory of this little girl’s mother die.

How do you praise God in that storm?  How do you continue to thank God during these tribulations?  How do you find the blessings when your soul mate, the mother of your child, is gone?

Fortunately, Jay’s story doesn’t end there.  He later remarried and now has more children. I do not personally know his wife, Emily, but from what everyone says she is an AMAZING woman. I see Jay’s posts on Facebook about her and I know he is crazy in love with her! His daughter, while not having her birth momma, has a woman to love her unconditionally by choice. Isn’t that amazing?

Jay’s story doesn’t end there.

Elijah

This week Jay received some very shattering news.  Those who follow me on Facebook have seen my posts asking for prayer.  Jay’s 6 year old son was taken to the hospital because they thought that he had pneumonia. However, what the doctors found was that he had cancer.  Knowing all of Jay’s story I just cried. I cried for all he had been through and is continuing to go through. I cried because I have three boys of my own and I can’t imagine receiving news like this.  So how do you praise God in all this?

Let me share with you a few of Jay’s Facebook posts.

From April 15:
Update: This morning Dr. Saxena (his primary hematology Dr.) came and said that the blood smear from yesterday revealed a diagnosis.  Elijah has Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. It’s showing up in 30% of his bloodstream, which means it’s likely that over 60% of his marrow is now Leukemia.
While no parent ever wants to hear the word “leukemia”, this is the best possible kind for kids to have. Cure rate is more than 90%. He is in the Children’s Oncology Group, which is the same treatment he would get at St. Jude, Mayo Clinic, or any other.
Today they are starting him on his first dose of chemotherapy. He is also being sedated for a bone marrow sample and spinal fluid tap around 2PM. The marrow will be tested for genetic indicators. The spinal tap will look to see if its present in the testicles or brain fluid.
Tomorrow he will have a port installed in his chest, and they will be able to do all treatment and blood samples through the port. When he’s not being treated it will stay under his skin and he can do normal boy things.
Treatment starts right away, and will last three years. Most of it is outpatient, and we might actually be able to go home in a little more than a week. Much better than the month we were initially told.
Elijah will have to stay out of school for the first six months, and we will learn over time what he can and cannot do. The chemo will wipe out his immune system, so much will depend on that.
We are encouraged by this news.
We have been flooded with love, texts, prayers, and support. We cannot respond individually but know that they mean a lot. I have gone whole half hours without crying over the past day. Well, not really.
It’s interesting to fully love and trust God but also know that it doesn’t mean that you’ll get the outcome you want. Our hope is not in Elijah getting well. Our hope is in the Resurrection, and the resurrection is a Person. Our sincere desire and pleading with God is for Elijah to be fully healed, to live long days serving Jesus. We also pray that this pain is not wasted. We live in a broken, dying world, and the decay is not just in our bodies and bloodstream, it’s in our hearts. As I sit in anticipation of the pain my son might go through I am reminded of the pain that God’s Son chose to endure for us. We are trusting that Jesus will physically heal Elijah-miraculously or through medicine. But we are hoping that Jesus would also use this chapter in our life to prod others towards Christ. If you find yourself a bit jaded by Christ or the church, please hear me: the Peace of Christ is real and the love of the church is overwhelming. We have been loved so well. Many of you have asked what you can do for us. At this time, our needs are met and we are still just trying to comprehend what’s happening.
So here’s my request: Find someone in your life and love them like you just found out their child had cancer. Forgive them like you just found out their child had cancer. Serve them like you found out their child just had cancer. And live today like eternity matters.
With much love – Jay, Emily, and the family.

From April 16th:
What we know now: Emily and I just met with our oncologist and other team members.
Praises – so far it is looking like Elijah is in the “standard risk” for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. The genetics testing for bone marry will clarify that in the next few days. The spinal fluid test showed zero trace of leukemia on his brain fluid or testicles. He really likes this hospital and says it’s “the best in the world.” It certainly feels that way to us. St. Mary’s Children’s hospital is amazing, and they are a certified member of the Children’s Oncology Group, which is the best of the best group of children’s cancer treatment facilities in the country/world. Emily and I have felt very loved and cared for, from family, church, and hospital staff. We’ve been given a place to stay that is literally just next door to the hospital, with our room furnished by furniture from the Breakers!
Prayers – Elijah’s pneumonia is worse today, which means they don’t want to do the surgery to put in a port for treatment. They have opted for a pic line, which is nice because they can do treatment and draw blood from it. That procedure successfully happened this afternoon. No more sticks. The poor kid has been jabbed in the same square inch more times than I can count. He’s so brave but was starting to emotionally wear thin when they come with the needle in the same spot. (Side prayer, I have an irrational fear of pic lines form my experience with Christy. I know what happened with her was nowhere near normal, but I have to control panic when we talk about a pic line. Please pray for me.) They are going to start chemo treatment today with a one minute push.
This month we start something called Induction. It includes a concoction of three different chemotherapy drugs and steroids. They are going to wipe out his immune system and supplement it with broad spectrum antibiotics. (Hey youth, remember what I told you about Romans 8:28 and God being like the Great Pharmacist that works together things that are bad to be the exact prescription you need to save your life and make you well? Welcome to chemo). They will keep us here for the first week of treatment, and then if all goes according to plan we can go home. We will bring him back here for 2-3 trips a week to check blood counts, get treatments, etc. Currently leukemia has taken over 80% of his bone marrow and 30% of the blood in his stream. The goal at the end of the first month is zero detectable leukemia cells, or Remission. He will then follow a 3.5-4 year treatment plan. Lots of details with that, more than I can process right now.
Short term please pray that he overcomes the pneumonia and takes well to the chemo and other drugs. Pray for emotional sustenance for the entire family. Pray for me as I attempt to explain to Elijah today what he has and what it means. He knows he has leukemia, but that means nothing to him. Pray that we have an effective witness with the people we are around. We are not super human, we grieve and fear for our kids, but we trust Jesus and want them to as well. And pray for my sister in law who is in a hospital up the road giving birth to our new nephew! We love you all and appreciate you praying and sharing. God doesn’t waste the pain of his children, and we trust this one isn’t wasted

Jay’s storms are more like hurricanes.  Losing a wife and then receiving news that his 6 year old child has cancer are storms that are difficult for any of us to weather.  However, look at his praises and his prayer requests.  What an example to follow.  As I asked earlier, how do you praise God in the storm?  Look for the small blessings He continues to give.  Look for the rainbows He shows between the clouds.  It is difficult, I know, but it is possible as demonstrated by my friend Jay.

Here is another story from my friend Maryann.  She lost her husband while she was 32 weeks pregnant with her first child.  Here are a couple of her posts:

Maryann

Today:
It’s been 4 months today, since He went to be with Jesus. In some ways, it feels like an eternity ago, and in some ways, it feels like yesterday. I can still so clearly feel his rough calloused hand holding mine, and feel that little scar on his left hand from when he was a dangerous, energetic kid.  I can so clearly see him looking into my eyes, and hear him telling me he loves me. I can still so clearly feel him touching my belly as he talked to Landon, telling him how excited he is to meet him. And it really hurts.
But when I think about the fact that he’s spending Easter with Jesus.. I have to smile through my tears. Cause I know how much he loved Jesus. How much he looked forward to meeting him face to face. And I know he’s SO happy.  Happy Easter, sweetheart. I miss you
.

Landon

 

( Maryann’s baby who was born valentine’s Day)

Today again:
“Alive! Alive! Look what mercy’s overcome. Death has lost, and love has won.

Alive! Alive! Hallelujah, risen Lord. The only one I fall before. I am His, because He is… Alive!”
“Because He lives, I can face tomorrow. Because He lives, all fear is gone. Because I know He holds the future. Life is worth the living just because He lives.”
My heart keeps ringing these songs today.

So how do we get the tools we need to be able to praise God in our storms?  The book of James says

 Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy. James 5:10-11

1.  Stay in the Word- Staying in the word keeps us connected to God, we need to read the word to know what he is telling us and teaching us.   But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Matthew 4:4

2.  Prayer-having a regular prayer time even in the midst of tragedy and trials allows us to talk to God. Not just with a list of demands of what we want him to do, but a deep meaningful conversation, like we are talking to a friend. Because after all Jesus IS and should be our best friend. And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. James 5:15 

Blessed be God, which hath not turned away my prayer, nor his mercy from me. Psalm 66:20

3.  Music-The book of Psalms is full of verses praising God in the midst of trails and tragedy. They remind me that songs  can truly help us to refocus on Christ, well if we are listening to the right music. You can read more HERE about how we chose music.  Christian and gospel are what do it for me. And it came to pass as they came, when David was returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, that the women came out of all cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet king Saul, with tabrets, with joy, and with instruments of music. 1 Samuel 18:6

No matter your storm, I hope you remember these two stories and tips.  These stories give us all a glimpse of hope during our times of trials and despair.  God loves you, even when you think He has forsaken you.  God will never leave you.

So what did I wear for Resurrection Sunday???

FYI, there is a spot on the pictures in the middle. I didn’t realize I had a smudge on the camera lens. It is fixed now though :)

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MM-4-19-2014-4

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Hat: Fred Myer on clearance

Dress: Dainty Jewells

Shoes: Zulily

We had a blessed day starting with SONrise service. Then we followed that with breakfast at church, Sunday School, and Church. We then had friends over for lunch and fellowship. It was a great day!!! I hope yours was blessed too! Also, if you have a storm God has carried you though, feel free to share in the comments! I love hearing how God has worked!!! :)

In Christ!!!

Laura

The post Modest Monday: Praising God In The Storm appeared first on Raising Soldiers 4 Christ.

Apr 20

Christ Is Risen- Alleluia!



Apr 19

The Scars that we bare…

Everyone has scars. Everyone. Emotional scars. Physical scars. Some have a harder time dealing with them than others. Some people are better at hiding them then others. For me, there are some scars that I have carried that are evident and some that are hidden. And for this moment, I am willing to let the world see those scars I have kept private.

You see, the scars I carry are those of a once battered person.You wouldn't know that from looking at me. That I was this once beaten down shell of a person. Broken. 

Like most children out there, I was one that was picked on quite a lot. I had bucked teeth, metal in my mouth and weird hair. Not much was put on self esteem or self confidence at this age. I always wanted to be part of something. Tried to please everyone, even when it backfired. Little did I know that how I was treated and how I saw myself would dictate who I was when I reached young adulthood.

 Even in my teens, I still had that mentality of wanting to just fit in. Sure I went through the normal teenage strife of boyfriends, parent issues and trying to do well in school. I tried, but emotionally I was beat down. It was then when I was 19, I met him. The one that would change my existence on this earth.   

He was older and in college. And boy did I fall hard for this man. It was the last year of high school. I pretty much threw away my grade 12th year for him. And when you are at this age, any attention that is thrown at you, you will grasp at like a drug. At the time, life at home wasn't the best, so he was my out. As soon as I got my high school diploma, I had kissed my hometown goodbye and left with the love of my life to the big city. For me, at this point life was good. 

All relationships have their honeymoon phase. You are blind to the faults of your partner, I overlooked certain behaviors as I thought they were cute.  I enrolled in College and started working part time at a coffee shop. I was making friends and learning stuff that interested me. I was blind to the gradual controlling nature of the man I loved. I didn't see the possessiveness and the jealously. He was jealous of the time I spent at school and work. As it was time I wasn't with him. I would try to talk to him and reassure him that he was the most important thing to me. Sometimes that would work and sometimes it wouldn't.

 I graduated with honors. The night of my graduation, he couldn't bring himself to be happy for me. The night that was supposed to be mine, turned into a night that was all about him. This was the first time that it had gotten physical. I had never been hit in my life. Ever. Sadly this was just the beginning. 

It didn't stop. The emotional abuse beat me down to the point where it was ok in my mind that physical abuse was all part of what love should be. I never had to cover my bruises with makeup as they were all under my clothes. I would plaster a smile on my face and pretend I was a happy person, when inside I was this broken down person. 

I spent 2 and half years living like this. I can't tell you what gave me the courage to get out of this relationship. Maybe it was my own will power or maybe it was those who finally saw the pain in my eyes. What ever it was, I am thankful it. 

It has been 15 years since. 15 years that I have struggled with those scars. 15 years of various therapy. 15 years of loved ones picking up the pieces and trying to put me back together again. It wasn't until I met my husband, who to his own credit, taught me that I am worth something. 

I write this, as I hope that my story will help those out there that who are broken and beaten down. Domestic abuse isn't just physical. Emotional abuse is just as harmful to a person as it will break you down to the point where the physical abuse will seem ok. 

Please if you think you are in a abusive situation, seek help. You are not alone. You are worth it. You are somebody that counts and deserves a life of happiness and love. 


Apr 19

This is Isaac

Apr 19

Foundations Tested By Fire

Foundations

Welcome to another installment in Clay’s Corner.  I do apologize for the long wait between my posts.  Between work and Seminary, the hours of the day seem like short minutes.  I digress.  This installment, as read in the title, is called “Foundations Tested by Fire.”  Once again, grab your Bible, pull up a chair, kick back and enjoy.  All comments are appreciated.

1 Corinthians 3:10-15 says, “According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

Paul is talking about our foundations being tested by fire.

Proverbs 17:3 says “The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and the LORD tests hearts”.

What exactly is Paul alluding to in 1 Corinthians? Is it a house? Is it gold or precious jewels? Is it our spiritual lives?

Revelation 3:18 says (paraphrasing) “I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich.”

Refining gold from the ore in which it can be found involves a process in which the ore is “tried” or melted, in order to separate pure gold from the other elements. The word tried originated from refine, or to purify.  The LORD used the phrase “gold tried in the fire” as an analogy for growing in faith and truth. See Isaiah 1:25 and 1 Peter 1:7-9.

Backing up to v. 8 in 1 Corinthians 3, God rewards those who labor in the spiritual fields in service to Christ our Lord.  Every leader should have the same basic vision, one aim, to plant and water seed to receive the harvest which God brings. It is not our responsibility to bring growth to others, merely to do the work God has commanded, planting the Word of God, watering it.

While all true leaders work in the field, The Lord will reward each for their individual labor.  The average church leader has many laborers – from pastors to Sunday school teachers, even to those who serve supporting roles in meeting the needs of the church such as janitors.  We all work in our individual roles, and each will receive a reward accordingly.

The foundation of our faith and our work is Jesus Christ.  There can be NO other foundation.  Jesus is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6). Our works are not the foundation – nor our traditions, our doctrines, or any other thing.  Christianity is intended to be different from mere religion.  Other religions are typically founded on works they must do or laws they must obey to reach God.  Christianity is based on God reaching out to man through Jesus Christ to show us His love. While certainly works should follow our faith, those works are based on the work God has already done on our behalf.

1 Corinthians 3:12-15.  This passage is firstly directed at those in leadership in the church, whose job it is to plant and water the fields and build upon the foundation of Christ.  It also applies to every believer, for part of the purpose of church leadership is to equip the saints for the work of the ministry as they build up the church (Ephesians 4:11-12).  Scripture exhorts that we will all be judged according to the deeds we have done while on earth at the judgment seat of Christ, and receive rewards accordingly.

Verse 13 says the worth of our works will be revealed by fire.  This applies two ways.  First is the testings on earth, our trials and tribulations.  How we respond under pressure and temptation demonstrates where we have grown in the grace and knowledge of Christ.  Life brings many tests to all, believer and unbeliever alike.  These give opportunity for us to demonstrate the effectiveness of God’s love and grace in our lives, or else should show us areas which still need more work.  When we pass the test, we show spiritual silver, gold, and gems.  But if we quickly fail under trial, if the fire of testing usually burns up our potential testimony, then we know that area is still wood, hay and stubble.

Let’s take, for example, manifested anger.  Some people naturally have a short fuse and quickly explode in fury.  If God is working in that area and you are learning to crucify the angry nature, you should gradually become more self controlled by the power of the Spirit of God.  As you do not manifest your anger as quickly, you are showing some spiritual fruit, and a little silver.

But God is looking for a deeper work, where we not only do not let anger get out, but we do not anger as easily.  Peter said, “blessed are those who endure testing for a season, for when they are proven they will receive a crown of life.”  As we seek The Lord and learn to kill the anger before it can rise up at all, we begin producing spiritual gold.  When that thing which used to make you angry and offended no longer stirs up your carnal nature and self righteous anger, greater reward will be awaiting you in heaven.  The degree which we mature in our respective areas directly relates to the rewards we will receive on that day.

1 Peter 1:6-9 says testings come because we need them.  And it is not our finances, our health, or our family which is being tested.  It is our faith – whether we will trust God.  Jesus is the Author and Finisher of our faith.  The testing demonstrates whether we have faith in God in that area in our lives.

When testing comes and we show some improvement in our faith in the area tested, then our faith in that area is genuine.  Fire not only proves whether it is gold, but also serves to purify it.  Gold is purified by melting it then scooping out the dross which floats to the top.  When you begin to show some gold, then testings should show us where we are still short so we can confess to God and He can cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).  God will continue to allow testings to come our way, keep applying fire so He can keep revealing and removing the dross.

We may start out with spiritual growth of, say, 5 karat gold.  At this point, it has some value, but not very much compared to what it could become with further refining.  So as God turns up the heat, we should see the dross, the routes sin can still take hold of us.  Then we continue to go to God, learn to take every thought captive in obedience to Him (2 Cor 10:5). He cleanses us.  If we keep doing this, eventually our faith in that area will be pure 24 karat gold and great value in God’s Kingdom.  The reward we receive will be greater.

The second way this testing in 1 Corinthians 3:13 applies is at the judgment seat of Christ.  On this day it is too late to build in more gold and gems, or to refine the spiritual gold.  Our works on earth will be tested as by fire.  Our rewards will be determined by what remains, whether gold or jewels or a pile of ashes.

Those works which were not done as a result of our faith in Christ will burn up.  The good news is that even if very little remains, we will still be saved and will inherit eternal life. For salvation is a gift and not a reward.  In John 15, Jesus warns those who bear no spiritual fruit will be cast out, but as long as there is at least a little fruit, Jesus will keep working on them and they will not be cast out.

But do not think the loss of rewards is something to be ho-hum about, for they are of great eternal value.  1 Corinthians 2:9 says, “the eyes has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has it even entered into the thoughts and imaginations of man all of the things God has prepared for those who love Him.”  But what things we receive depends on how we build our lives in Christ.

Moreover, the suffering of loss will not be a pleasant experience.  Paul compares it to being burned up by fire (the works, not us).  Imagine the sorrow and embarrassment as we stand before The Lord and realize what great rewards awaited us had we been faithful to grow in Christ as we ought.  The Word does not merely say that we will not receive the reward, but that we will lose it, that we will suffer loss.

Rewards await every believer in heaven.  But we earn them with our very lives, by putting to death the wicked deeds of that sin nature which we all possess and by choosing to obey God.  As we bring forth the fruits of righteousness and faith, we will manifest Christ in our daily lives, mature our born-again spirit and produce spiritual life on earth.  In so doing, we lay up treasures in heaven.

Hebrews 11:6 poses a very good question.  How do we build gold and gems into our lives, and what are they, that we might receive the rewards promised to those who diligently seek Him?

During this time of the year, I pray that you continue to reflect on the everlasting love of God as He sacrificed His Son so that you and I can be free from sin and have everlasting life.  Jesus is the way, the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through the Son.  I pray that you reflect on the punishment Jesus took for us.  Every stripe, every lashing, every beating, every mocking word, every bruise, every piercing, every drop of blood was shed for you and for me.  Love hath no greater man that this: that a man lay down his life for his friends.  Jesus loved YOU that much that He would lay down His life for you.  Are you willing to lay down your life and be born again for Him?

I pray that you reflect on your foundation.  Is it made of gold and silver and gems?  Or is it made of rubble and ash?  You may be the only Bible someone ever reads.  Is your testimony pure, or does it contain impurities?

If you are reading this, and have not yet accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, I would love to pray with you.  If you have been saved by grace, but are struggling in some area of your life, I would love to pray with you.  All I ask is that you leave a comment.  You don’t have to say what your prayer request is.  Just type “Pray” and I will contact you privately.

Clay

The post Foundations Tested By Fire appeared first on Raising Soldiers 4 Christ.

Apr 18

How Jodi Got Her Groove Back: 10 tips following an autism diagnosis

For several years after my son was first diagnosed with ...

Apr 18

It’s Friday…..But Sunday’s Coming……..

John 316 Easter

A few, short months ago, we celebrated the birth of a baby, our Lord and Savior, who was laid in a borrowed manger.

Manger

The precious baby, who was already the King of Kings, grew up as an ordinary child.  That precious child grew into a man who set out to preach to all the world.  He would heal the blind and set the lame to walking. He would love his neighbor and he would share the good news of his Father in Heaven with all who would listen.

Bread and Fish Mark 641

A few, short months ago was a wonderful celebration in the birth of Jesus Christ.  Now, here we are, the week of Easter.  A week of reflection on the Easter Bunny, hidden eggs filled with surprises, chocolate shaped rabbits and baskets full of cheap toys and candies.  Don’t you just love the secular celebration and commercialization of this time of year?  The stores do a wonderful job at distracting us from the meaning of Easter.

“But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed..” – Isaiah 53:5.  ”….he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter….” – Isaiah 53:7.  These words found in Isaiah are difficult to wrap up and place in a basket and sell, apparently.  Our reflection should be not on bunnies and chocolates, rather our reflection should be on Christ and the punishment He took for you and for me, and his crucifixion so that we could be saved from sin.

Jesus was surrounded by 12 men that He discipled everyday.  He loved these 12 men and they loved him back. However, Jesus was betrayed.

He was convicted of crimes He didn’t commit.

He was beaten.  He was tortured.  He was mocked.

That precious baby, whose birthday we recently celebrated, was nailed to a cross.  All those who were there to witness this horrific event on the hill called Golgotha, watched Jesus die.  I can’t help but think of his mother during this.

Take heart though my friends!  Today is Friday, but Sunday is coming!

We cannot possibly celebrate what happened on Sunday, without the sacrifice of Friday.

Take time today to reflect on the sacrifice God gave to you and to me….the sacrifice of HIS one and only Son!  That precious baby who became a precious gift for all who believed and called upon His name!

In Christ,

Laura

The post It’s Friday…..But Sunday’s Coming…….. appeared first on Raising Soldiers 4 Christ.

Apr 18

What We’re Currently up To: Week 29

This past week, we’ve been…

mommy-panda-blog-currently-boys-couch
Clearing out books that we don’t read anymore. Before John left for NTC, I tried to make it through the wall of books that I mentioned briefly last week…and the week before that, I guess; but we still have three boxes left to go through. I texted him pictures of all of the books, but he said there were too many to go through over the phone. *sigh* I just want those books gone!

The boys have been digging through the block toy box and attempting to submerge themselves in the blocks. I don’t get it. A sensory thing? I step on one block, and I want to shoot myself. How is getting into an entire TOY BOX filled with them a good thing? Oh, but they love it. They cram themselves in there and throw blocks at nothing. Or, maybe they’re having a throwing contest and I’m just not aware. Anyone’s guess, really. Good times.

I wish I could say that I’ve been digging in the garden, but production on my raised beds has halted with John not being able to watch the boys, and with it being cold. It snowed on Monday, for crying out loud. I’m hoping to get more done once The Munchkin’s ABA therapy starts next week. Conveniently, it takes place during The Bean’s nap time.

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Mixing things up now that I don’t have to make full out meals for dinner. With John gone, I get to make whatever I want for dinner, and it’s great. Waffles? Sure! Pizza? Delish! I’m trying not to become a fatty while he’s away though, so I am cooking some more-or-less real meals too. This week, I pureed a zucchini and a yellow squash, and added it to our spaghetti sauce. To me, it tasted the same as when I saute the chopped veggies and add them to the dish, but this way, The Munchkin actually ate it! He never eats pasta with veggie chunks in it! (Chopped tomatoes don’t count. He’ll eat those in sauce. Also, tomatoes are a fruit, so…) The Bean, of course, devoured it. That shouldn’t surprise anyone though. This week, however, I was able to add a second food to The Bean’s “No, Not Gonna Eat That” list: Tuna melts. The boy was NOT interested. In case you’re curious item #1 on the list is pickles.

Oh, and if you’re wondering, The Munchkin is a fan of tuna melts, as long as he can dip it in ketchup.

Reading our Yo Gabba Gabba comic board-books that John found in his car before he left. They have been in there since we moved here. No wonder I couldn’t find them in the house! Also on the bedtime story list: The Bernstein Bears book where they go to the moon, “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie”, “Brown Bear, Brown Bear”, and some of “The Lorax”. The Munchkin usually gets bored before we make it very far in that book though.

During the day, The Bean will usually bring me either “The Lorax” or the “Heroes of the City” book I got in exchange for hosting that review and giveaway. He actually makes it pretty far through the books, if he’s tired and comfy enough. This week, he has started bringing me these little board books that my sister sent us that have pictures of various things, and then what they are in English and Spanish. Well, I might have lived in Miami for a couple of years, but I don’t know a lick of Spanish, so I only read the English words. The Bean loves pointing at a picture and looking up at me until I tell him what the word for that thing is. He does the same thing with the alphabet book I made the boys when The Bean was first born. I love his growing thirst for knowledge.

I am reading nothing. Not. A. Thing. People’s Currently entries, maybe. If I find myself with time to read, I craft or scrapbook instead. Priorities, yo.

mommy-panda-blog-junction-city-blogger-sunset
Watching Despicable Me every day, or at least it feels that way. My son watches Despicable Me the way your daughter watches Frozen, I swear. Just without the singing. He loves the minions. Actually, that’s how he asks for the movie – he asks if he can watch minions. Either “with cookie robots” for Despicable Me, or “monster minion!” for Despicable Me 2. The Bean is just a fan of whenever the TV is on, but a couple of times, I’ve said “No minions – it’s time for The Bean to pick something.” and I always have The Bean “pick” Super Why, which seems to be his favorite. I tried to watch the blood moon, but I don’t think I looked at the right time.

That was our week, how was yours?

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Apr 17

JMac qualifies and is running the Boston Marathon

Josh McElwain, otherwise known as JMac, the superstar teenager with ...

Apr 17

Well, hello again..

…and I’m back from another long hiatus. I was surprised my musings were still here.

My sister called and asked how she could get a blog started.  …and while I’ve been meaning to get back here, I just didn’t really know what to say.  …but there is so much to catch up on!

Let’s see, my last post was in July…  Since then, Roman started 1st grade.  He’s played two seasons, fall and spring, of soccer.  He’s quit with his speech pathologist.  He’s eating!  He got diagnosed with ADHD.  We found out he’s going to be a big brother.  We found out he’s going to be a big brother to a little girl, who’s due to make her grand debut in less than two months.  I started couponing.  I’ve started a stockpile for baby.  I’ve reconsidered ABA therapy.  I’m in the process of getting him into ABA therapy.  …and 1st grade is over in less than two months.

I guess that’s where we’ll start.

School has been rather quiet this year.  He has a great teacher, Ms. S, but no aide.  His special needs person comes in for a little while every week, but he is 98% mainstreamed.  That’s come with its own issues.  There are two kids who’ve told Roman that their parents said they couldn’t play with him.  I don’t think they know he has autism.  How could they?  You can’t see it.  At first, I was worried, thinking it would get him into deeper trouble if he couldn’t stay away from those particular kids.  I think the younger me would have been more insulted that my son is the “stay away from that one” kid to those parents, but I honestly feel like he’s better off for it. I’m not going to beg anyone to be in his life.  …and those who are love him for all his little quirks.

Although, some of his impulses do get him into trouble.  It’s a tough situation.  He bops kids on the head.  He gets excited, forgets his social stories, and gets their attention by bopping them on the head.  Some kids understand… some kids get really annoyed.  So, we looked into ABA therapy.  I had always been hesitant about ABA therapy.  I always had this idea in my head that it changed, took away rather, his quirks.  I always felt like the public school system wanted my little 1st grader to be a quiet, little, mindful robot and ABA was the fix for that.  So, I avoided it.  Enter: Dr. B, Roman’s developmental pediatrician.  He suggested it, and I never considered it.  Until the weeks that Roman would come home every day for something else, some other something that he’d done to someone else.  I knew then that lack of therapy was probably doing him more harm than good.

So serendipitous to find our therapists now.  Although, he hasn’t started yet, they seem to be a good fit.  They understand that I want to keep my son the way he is, just teach him the tools he needs to navigate the world around him.  In the end, I only want what benefits him, not catering to everyone else.  Maybe that’s what it was about all along…

Will it work?

Only time will tell….

…but I am glad to be back.


Apr 16

Heroes of the City Giveaway Winner

heroes-of-the-city-winner
Congrats, Alison! You are the winner of my Heroes of the City prize pack! Thank you to everyone who entered!

Apr 16

Mental Health is a Real Issue That Needs to be Addressed!!!

It’s time to suck up my pride and ask for help.  I’d like to think I can do it alone, but I think it takes a village to raise every child, not just my own.  Luckily Brian and my family are surrounded by extended family, friends, therapists, teachers, and doctors, to name a few, that are constantly giving Brian the best care possible.  I thank God that we are so incredibly blessed, because I know so many that don’t have a support team surrounding them, and it makes my heart ache for them.  I hope that somehow through blogging, I can help some families get assistance where they didn’t know it existed.

I can’t even begin to tell you how many doctor’s appointments my son has had over his 7 years and 8 months of life.  I can guarantee it totals more doctor’s appointments than most people have in their entire lives!  We have always been blessed with incredible insurance, Tricare, since my husband is active duty in the Army.  This is the 4th year he’s been away from our family, due to deployments and now school, but wonderful insurance has always been a benefit that helps reduce the stress on our family.

Until now……

We are currently having problems with getting a child psychiatrist to accept Tricare.  The reason is that Tricare (and other insurance companies, to be fair) only pays the going rate for the service, which is considerably less than what child psychiatrists are charging.  What does this mean for us?!?!  It means we will have to pay out of pocket for the costs that Tricare doesn’t cover, which will be considerable over time.  Can we pull it off?  Maybe, maybe not?  Due to the number of appointments my son has with specialists and the fact that there is no after school care that could care for my son, I stay at home and my husband is our sole financial provider.

We are a modest family that has no debt, thanks to my husband’s thrifty self that is slowly rubbing off on me after nearly 10 years together.  We chose to put our daughter into a private preschool due to it’s high academic standards and longer care times so that she doesn’t have to accompany us on our almost monthly trips to Vanderbilt to see  a number of specialists, as well as many local appointments.   This past year we have also had to pay for my husband’s housing at XP school because we couldn’t accompany him due to the lack of services for our son.  These two additional costs have stretched our budget, but we realize they are both important and necessary for our family.

Shopping at the commissary saves money, as well as shopping at consignment shops for our children’s clothing.  I rarely buy clothes for myself or luxury items.  We eat out maybe once a month and spend next to nothing on family entertainment.  The most we have spent in several years was using part of our savings for our son’s service dog, which happens to be the best investment we’ve ever made!  We save, but never enough. We need to find a way to save more for college and retirement and other expenses, but we do what we can.

So can we afford a child psychiatrist for our son without going into debt?!?  We have no choice!  This is one specialist that my son will see , regardless of cost!  Why???  My son has bouts of aggression, ADHD, and mild OCD that is getting worse as he gets older.  He also has a genetic condition, a partial duplication on one of his chromosomes, that has little known about it.  A research team so far has found that due to his duplication, he is more likely to have OCD, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.  Now you see why I can’t just not pay for my son to get the help he needs.  Being nonverbal, it’s hard for him to express himself and he has been known to pull hair, hit, scratch, bite, and bust noses with his head (it’s already happened twice at school).  He is generally a happy guy, but when frustration sets in or when he doesn’t want to do something, aggression seems to be the quickest way he can communicate his feelings to us.

Mental health is such an incredibly HUGE concern across our entire country and people are not getting the help they so desperately need.  Being a military spouse, I have talked to many people who know of soldiers with PTSD or other symptoms that just don’t seem to be getting the help they need.  Of course, much of that is due to the stigma associated with mental health.  As a society, we need to find a way to break down the barriers of the social stigma that goes hand in hand with mental health.  My own mother committed suicide over 10 years ago, so I know first-hand about the social stigmas.  As a nation, we must change the way we view mental health and make sure people aren’t afraid to come forward and ask for help.  The military suicide rate has continued to be elevated and it makes me so angry when I read that there is no correlation to number of deployments!!  Combat related stress is palpable and can’t be ignored!

The largest study of it’s kind states that suicide rates are due to “mental illness, substance abuse, financial and relationship problems”. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/07/us/deployment-factors-found-not-related-to-military-suicide-spike.html?_r=0

To say that deployments and combat related stress are not to blame is ridiculous!!!  The causes they name are secondary to the initial cause, in my opinion…….but I’m just a military spouse….but I digress.

My son needs to see a child psychiatrist.  I was hoping that he wouldn’t, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.  His OCD issues seem to be more problematic as he gets older and I hate to see him in distress.  In addition to other problems, he is nonverbal and can’t tell me what he finds so upsetting about things, such as shadows. I have to give him every means to communicate, as well as the best health and behavioral care as possible, to make sure he leads a happy and fulfilling life.

Being faced with the fact that Tricare can’t cover the cost that child psychiatrists charge, I’m looking into the Medicaid Waiver program for children with disabilities.  Before now, I’ve let my pride take center stage, but I know I must get the help my son needs, even if that means asking for additional help.  He was part of the Medicaid Waiver program when we lived in NY after it took several people talking me into it, but since moving to Alabama almost two years ago, I haven’t let myself look into getting it for him here.  I wanted to try and get everything he needed without additional support, but it looks like I have to overcome that and try and get him all the help I can.  I know the Medicaid Waiver program will be beneficial to Brian, but it’s still so hard to ask for help.

Since I’ve started blogging and have met other bloggers raising special needs children, I see a great absence of mental health care that many of our special needs children so desperately need.  Many families are faced with children that have so much aggression that they are no longer safe in their own homes.  The families are begging for help and yet they are turned away because no beds are available or there is no insurance coverage.  I’ve read where families have spent days and days in the ER waiting for an available room for their children.  These are families that are finally fed up with being told no and are standing up for what their children need.  Seeking mental health should NEVER be a battle!  Innocent lives are being taken as we shut doors in so many faces.  We have got to put a stop to this!!!

No human can survive from birth until death without the help of others.  Some of us just need more of an intertwined web of compassion, hope, strength, support and love.

Apr 16

5 Tips when dealing with unsupportive family members

  Recently, I received a post on Facebook asking about ...

Apr 16

Grandparent’s love

As I sit down to write this, I am listening to my father talking with my daughter. They are sitting down sharing some toast and jam. The conversation is going between talking about her dolls and the want to go to the park. As I hear the familiar 20 questions that are always asked, my father is taking it in strides. He is doing his best to make sure that her questions are answered, even if they are the same questions over and over again.

For the past couple of weeks I have been privy to seeing just what it means to be a Special Needs Grandparent. There have been so many fantastic, touching moments that have happened between watching my children interact with their grandparents. The moments of patience, understanding and taking it all in, in what it means to have someone in your life that is special needs.

I think that it is sometimes hard for family members, who are not always with a special needs family,  will only see a fraction of what the parents have to go through on a daily basis. Sometimes I think it is hard for a Grandparent to take a step back and see the different parenting style it takes to parent a special needs child. As parenting styles and "Rules" have changed since we were children. But when you have the family members that accept, love and support your children, it is a very special bond they will have with your children that are uniquely theirs.

From watching my father sit patiently with my son in his lap, explaining the TV show they are watching. Talking calmly and quietly into his ear, while massaging his joints for joint pressure, as he knows that will help calm this wild child down. From the trips to the park, where Amah is perfectly content in pushing a swing, as that is only thing he wants to do. Listening with keen interest was my daughter talks about everything, repeats it and then asks a bizillion questions. Calming her down when its raining so hard and they know the sound bothers her. Taking their small little hands with in theirs as they walk down the sidewalk.

Its all those things that will build the best memories. Memories I hope that my children will hold on to, when their grandparents are long gone from this earth. It is memories like these ones, that keep my grandparent's spirits with me. For children it doesn't take much. A little love, some understanding and you will have created a bond so strong with them, that they will remember and cherish you.

Apr 16

Part 2: How The Total Transformation Is Changing Our Life

Total Transformation Program-2

Recently I shared part 1  of my series on How The Total Transformation Program is changing our family.  Today I would like to share some more personal details about ways that this program has helped.

Once we discovered what ineffective parenting skills we had been using (they were not bad, just not affective), we immediately put threw those parenting skills out, or at least really tried hard to do so. It wasn’t easy to retrain our brains to think a different way, but we kept thinking about how much we wanted to reach and help our son, so it was worth it!

  • We as parents stopped attending every battle we were invited to by our son.  Our son is very stubborn (did I mention very?!)  Although I’m not quite sure where he gets his stubbornness, hopefully my mom doesn’t chime in (HAHAHA).  He is also a slick talker and, buddy, in seconds he can have me engaged in a battle with words!  He doesn’t yell or scream.  He tries to justify his actions or uses a play on words and I get sucked RIGHT in.  The first thing I had to do was stop this.
  • We learned how important it was for us to control our own emotions.  Obviously we already knew this, but this program reiterated this and explained this so well.  In fact, the program gives us names for our parenting styles/issues as well. Remember in my last post I told you how thankful I was for learning the “names” of my sons struggles? Well the tables were turned when mom and dad learned the “problems” they needed to correct. :)
  • We have learned that telling our son, “This is what we expect and if it doesn’t happen there is THIS consequence” and sticking to it really does work.
  • We have learned that we have to WHATEVER it takes to make sure that our child knows we are the parents and we are in control, NOT them. Now, with that said, we need to do this by controlling our temper and following the steps in the program or it just won’t work.
  • Our son had a habit of hiding his school work and saying he was done. We home school and he knew I would get busy and be working with his brothers, so I might not get to check it until that night. So for that moment he had gained control.  He won.  When I would find out, I start lecturing him on how important  it was for him to finish his school work and to not hide it. This was something that regularly occurred so I regularly told him this was the same thing as lying and being sneaky. However, the issue continued. I would give him extra assignments and other things that preoccupied his time, but nothing seemed to really get through to him….that is until The Total Transformation Program. My son is VERY smart and and there are just some subjects in school he could care less about. With this program, though, we have had a break through! He has had at the time of posting this 3 consistent weeks of school that are good! He has completed all assignments that I have asked him to complete.
  • My oldest can tell you the rules my husband and I have laid out.  He can point out when his brothers would break them. However, when it came to him following the rules there appeared to be a disconnect.  In the lessons we learned, regardless of a diagnoses of bi-polar, ADHD, Aspergers, ODD, etc., these kids still have to learn to function in society. Now we have always tried to raise the boys to follow the rules, to obey, to especially follow the Bible teachings we personally hold so important.  For my oldest, this seemed to truly be a struggle. I can say that the more lessons we do and the more we learn in this program that I am seeing changes each day. When we first started the program, he tested the waters. They DO warn about this in the program though. It may get worse for a bit but don’t give up! We didn’t and I can say that it does get better! I honestly took a break from school those days because his behaviors were so bad.  I figured we would make them up since we home school year round.  I dedicated as much time as I could with 3 boys to this program. I am so impressed with how well he is doing!

Camping 11

On a recent nature hike with Trail Life USA :)

Camping 8

He is in blue on the right. Having a blast camping out with his friends and brothers:)

We haven’t finished the whole program and we still have a ways to go.  However, for the first time in a really long time I feel like we have hope. Hope of not just getting our son to obey and comply, but actually reaching his heart.

In Christ,

Laura

 

 

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