Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas, From Our Family to Yours

Christmas is time for family, time of reunion, time to catch up with loved ones. Time to give your heart the wings it needs in order to express your feelings.
It is a time for Peace.

A time for Laughter, Children and Gifts.
Time for the Candles that Illuminate the Gratitude we feel to be alive and feel the love in our hearts. 

Christmas is the celebration of life, because we celebrate the birth of Jesus in all of its expressions. God is born in each of us and he comes back to life in all of his creations.
Every Christmas is the confirmation of the Promise of salvation and eternal life for all.

This Christmas may we all have a heart full of sighs for the love that surrounds us. May we all feel the family, which is physically next to us and those which accompany us from the heavens. 

May we all feel, from heaven, the renewal of God's promise of love. 
Merry Christmas to All

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Sunday, December 15, 2013


Learning that Natalie has autism came as a tremendous blow to me and our entire family. One of the first emotions I experienced, once I accepted Natalie's diagnosis, was the feeling of guilt. As parents, we have the major task of protecting our children from danger. As a mother I often wonder if something I did or failed to do during pregnancy might have made a difference in Natalie.

I have read so much about autism and because there is no proven cause, there is much speculation and many theories. I have questioned the safety of where I live, our water supply, I have wondered about toxins in the environment or in my home. I have questioned vaccinations, and asked myself, "Did I take care of myself when I was pregnant?"

I even had someone speculate that I had "bad" genes and overheard a woman at the hair salon say that autism is caused by ignorant parents who should have taken parenting classes before having a child.  These two incidents alone, were emotionally devastatting to me. Because although they made me angry---they also created doubt and caused me many sleepless nights.

When picking up Natalie from school, I chat politely to the other parents.  One mother mentions that her son has extra speech therapy.  Another one talks about the social skills group she enrolled her daughter in.  Another one declares that she just signed her child up for Karate with an aide to help him.  Despair and guilt wash over you.  “These parents do so much” I think to myself.  “How do they do it?  Where do they find the time and the money? Therapy is so expensive and our insurance covers so little. But I should do more.  As the guilt factor sets in, I shamefully accuse myself of being a bad parent.

But I do know that I try. I try, every single day, to be the best mommy that I can be. And I was entrusted with this beautiful little girl.  But although I no longer spend all my waking hours feeling guilty or even wondering what actually caused it. That little guilt nag is always in the back of my mind.

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Thursday, December 5, 2013

"I Want More"

I have not blogged much lately and I must admit that part of the reason is because I have felt discouraged and sad. It isn't easy. I am impatient. I want Natalie to be okay and I sometimes feel like I am racing against time. I want her to be able to communicate by using her words as quickly as possible and I'd love for that to happen before she enters her elementary school years. But it isn't happening as fast as I would like and I become desperate. I don't reflect these feelings to anyone but I feel them on the inside. I sometimes feel so angry that I have this beautiful child who is so loving and giving but who is locked in her own mind. But, when I find myself getting frustrated and angry, I do think about how Natalie feels: What's it like for her? That's when I realize that I can't fall apart, I can't let her down, and I have to be strong and do what's best for her. 

Lately, I have felt so impatient and this caused me to forget something very important...God doesn't do things on my time...he does things on his time and I must have faith and I know that I need to slow down and be patient. I must learn and I must trust in the Lord. God's timetable is not the same as ours. He knows better than we do when is the best time for our prayers to be answered. Unfortunately, my mind sometimes becomes clouded and I forget this...
But God was sure to remind me in a beautiful miracle yesterday.

I always give Natalie a chocolate treat when we get home from grandma's house (Natalie loves her chocolate). Last night I put some mini m&m's in a small bowl for her as we sat together on the couch. When Natalie was done she held out the bowl in front of me....
and she SAID...

"I want more" 

Even now, the tears are flowing as I am writing this...It was the most joyous moment since the day she started to call me mom again. I was overwhelmed and, of course, I looked at her and with a big smile replied, "Yes! you can have more!" and I put some more in her bowl.

You must understand, we have been going to language therapy for months and the 2 words that the therapist and I have tried to teach her to say are, "help" and "more" but sadly, Natalie never said either word. The therapist would explain how important these two words were and I say these words all the time in order to get her to say them. But last night, she not only said the word "more" but she spoke a complete sentence...

"I Want More" 

Those 3 words were amazing and it was a huge milestone! I pray she keeps them. I called my mom and my husband (who unfortunately was still at work) and I told Austin and posted to my Facebook page. I was elated! and I wanted to share my joy with the world!
About an hour later we were playing with her porcelain tea set. We use apple juice and pretend it is tea and we sip through our tea cups and when the "tea" was all gone, she handed me the empty tea pot and pointed to the apple juice. I said, "Natalie, do you want more?" No response..."Do you want more tea?" She, smiled and nodded. "Natalie, more?" she pointed to the apple juice again. So I stood up, took the apple juice and placed it back in the fridge. She followed me and frowned. she looked down and then up again and she SAID, "I want more" I immediately jumped for joy and said, "Okay, yes! let's have more!" and I took the apple juice back out and refilled the tea pot. These are all skills that I owe to Natalie's ABA therapist, Kristy and her language therapists. They have really trained me in order to maximize retention and push Natalie to use her words. I am so thankful to them and I am so happy for Natalie, I know it isn't easy for her, but she tries so hard and she is doing great things! 

It is beautiful how God does everything at the right time. We cannot question him we cannot lose faith, we must pray without ceasing.  It is His time, His will. I forget this some times but I must work harder to remember.
Our Father knows what's best for us,
So why should we complain ...
We always want the sunshine,
But He knows there must be rain.

We love the sound of laughter
And the merriment of cheer;
But our hearts would lose their tenderness
If we never shed a tear.

Our Father tests us often
With suffering and with sorrow;
He tests us, not to punish us,
But to help us meet "tomorrow."

For growing trees are strengthened
When they withstand the storm;
And the sharp cut of the chisel
Gives the marble grace and form.

God never hurts us needlessly,
And He never wastes our pain;
For every loss He sends to us
Is followed by rich gain.

And when we count the blessings
That God has so freely sent;
We will find no cause for murmuring
And no time to lament.

For Our Father loves His children,
And to Him all things are plain;
So He never sends us "pleasure"
When the "soul's deep need is pain."

So whenever we are troubled,
And when everything goes wrong,
It is just God working in us
To make "our spirits strong."

~ Helen Steiner Rice ~
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Please help me reach my Goal!