Friday, December 30, 2011
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
2. A substitute.
So I've been thinking. I've been thinking about spiritual stand-ins. During the past year I've experienced a lot of challenges. I've also had friends and family experience challenges. Its part of life. In attempting to understand the "why" of my own personal tragedies I came to learn that if allowed, the Lord has lessons to teach us through these challenges. I've come to realize that these challenges and adversities allow my Savior to take his teaching role in my life and help to mold me spiritually. Learning this has caused me to have more gratitude for challenges (I still have my moments of hating them of course, I'M HUMAN!). I seem to have more faith that I will be able to get through them with my Savior and that I can be a better person because of them. I'll admit that I would have loved to had someone come and sweep me away, out of those miserable moments, those times when I just couldn't take it anymore, when I just couldn't see the light ahead. Shoot I'd love to have all of my challenges taken away this very instant, but I know better--1. that will never happen; 2. I know its for my eternal good!
I'm sure you'll all agree with me, we all want that someone to make everything alright and for all the bad to just go away.
This got me thinking. Do we not as mothers do that for our children? Do we attempt to make all the bad stuff go away? Maybe its how its meant to be, but because of what I've learned about challenges and the Savior's ability to succor and to comfort and all that it has taught me about the atonement and turning to my Savior (because I didn't have someone there to make the bad stuff go away), it causes me to wonder. I wonder whether or not we can actually become stand-in's for the Savior when he is the only real source of peace, comfort, and the only one able to save. In our attempts to love and free our children and others from pain and suffering do we actually neglect and lose out on opportunities to teach them of the power of the atonement and to help them develop a relationship with their Savior? Do we attempt to make all of the bad go away and thus rid them of the need for the Savior? Do we prevent circumstances that would otherwise require bended knees and humility before the Lord?
Earlier this year our son received a priesthood blessing just prior to his ADOS evaluation to determine a diagnosis of Autism. In the blessing, the Lord blessed our son that he would be able to use the atonement to rise above challenges. I've thought a lot about that promise and realized my role in helping to teach Gavin the power of the atonement. It wasn't until my adult years that I began to understand the atonement as a source of peace and comfort to pains and sorrows. It had always been viewed as a mechanism for forgiveness of sin. I had never understood the underlying foundation of the atonement, perfect (complete) love.
At the age of 2, Gavin has already had to do many hard things. There have been countless moments when I've wanted to quit it all. I've wanted to just embrace the happy boy that our son is, avoid his challenges, and forget the therapies. He will have even harder things ahead. I sometimes think about the days ahead and fear when his autistic characteristics in his speech and social behavior will turn from cute now, to odd and different which will lead other children to tease him and not want to be his friend. I hope and pray that I fear the worst, but of course I want nothing more than to prevent those moments from ever happening. But, I can't. There will most likely always be noticeable differences and even typically developing children generally always experience social insecurities, bullying, and the likes. Shoot! I was nicknamed "Stacy O'Smell" my freshman year by the boys in biology class and was constantly teased by the girls on my sports teams through high school. Its inevitable. Looking back, I didn't have a parent rushing in to make things better, I didn't even tell my parents, but if I had understood the atonement more and the power of my Savior to help me through those moments, I could have grown from them, instead of becoming more and more insecure and hating high school when it came to social relationships.
Its as if our relationship with the Savior is built on experience after experience of turning to him so that he in turn can come to our aid--"And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities" (Alma 7:12). In this text succor means to "run to". So he has suffered that he might be able to run to us. I love the imagery those words invoke in my mind. I imagine the Savior dropping everything he is doing to attend personally to my needs and rushing to my side. And I know that he does the same for my son as we continually witness miracles in his life during the past year. Each small moment develops and adds to a foundation of faith in Jesus Christ, in His atonement, and in His Gospel.
To realize that even Lehi, a prophet of God, couldn't prevent his sons from dissenting or from the problems they caused Nephi, gives me much perspective about my role as a parent. The Lord doesn't prevent much of life's heartache and sorrow because agency plays such a significant role in His plan of happiness. He understands that it is our agency that allows us to choose to turn to Him and to experience the bitter and the sweet. In electing ourselves stand-in's for the Savior in succoring our children (old and young), they miss out on vital spiritual life lessons.
We have to teach them to believe. They come to earth innocent and full of faith, but the world quickly pollutes that innocence and if we are not there to help them establish from a very young age a foundation of faith in Jesus Christ and his atonement and help that childlike faith to blossom when they are young, our children will seek happiness in places other than the Savior and His gospel. He will not be their refuge from the storms of life. The prophets and apostles of our time have continuously been promising us that if we will do the "small and simple things" individually and as a family consistently and deliberately, then we will be greatly blessed! Our children will be more prepared to witness for themselves the power of atonement in their times of need and we will have more faith in our Savior and a greater ability to be sensitive to the Holy Ghost and those teaching moments and times when we need to hold off from jumping in to rescue our children and instead help them in opening their arms to the Savior, who will undoubtedly run to their side! Each experience adds to their reservoir of faith and testimony in the reality of the living Savior and prepares them for challenges ahead as they will undoubtedly come.
* Please realize I don't mean that you should allow your toddler child to touch a hot stove or run into a busy street, nor am I saying that we should not attempt to prevent our children from making big mistakes. This is merely a representation of some of my observations of life and relationships, as well as, food for thought and discussion on the significance of the Savior and His atonement in our lives and the lives of our family.
Thursday, December 15, 2011
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Saturday, November 19, 2011
Saturday, October 29, 2011
So I picked up the painting (originally posted about here) this week and when I got it home I realized I hadn't established a place for it. So, I ended up starting on a gallery wall in our dining room that I've been debating over for months and gave up on since we're moving to Oregon. I figure this way I use some of the pieces of art I've been collecting instead of it sitting in closets. As for the empty frame in the middle, I'm going to DIY something in black and white abstract I think this week. I'm excited! The yellow and green abstract on the right is one of my own works as well. It's an original! LOL! I am definitely no artist but I am loving painting. It is so relaxing and really gets my creative juices flowing. I was supposed to take a second acrylic painting course in September but the class was cancelled. Hopefully I can pick up on some more courses in Eugene. I absolutely love the significance and meaning behind the Large Horse, Small Rider painting! Love it!
Friday, October 21, 2011
Thursday, October 20, 2011
The above is Gavin's therapy schedule. Not very typical for a 2 year old, eh? What amazes me is how resiliant he is. Our schedule changes about every 2 months it seems and every time it does I get stressed and crazy. I have to stop myself from saying things that I know I'll regret and from being someone who's demanding and overzealous about their child's well-being. For example Gavin's speech therapist took a new job and we were assigned a new therapist. She was on maternity leave for 6 weeks and so we had an interim therapist and the only time available for G was 8am. For those who know me, I AM NOT A MORNING PERSON! I remember a co-worker once telling a new employee that you don't talk to Stacy until after 11am. So true! I'm the get to work and get busy type, chit chat is so overrated! Then at 11am I'm ready to gabber on. So I told her that time just wouldn't work for us and so she asked another family to switch times so we could have the 9am slot. Horrible I know. It worked out because that child gets up at like 6am and G gets up at 8am so they were already up. Since then we added in our therapy playgroup to help G work on and develop social skills to prepare him for preschool. It necessitates that we drive to Chico for it so that adds another hour of driving to our day. That threw a huge wrench in our schedule and I had to adjust again. I had to cave in and actually request the 8am slot for speech therapy to make it all work. Its crazy at time how much sacrificing motherhood requires, at times more than others, but its also amazing because it all brings us closer to becoming who we can and who the Lord wants us to be. We can get so caught up in our own expectations for life and needs, but having children and those with more needs than others allows the opportunity to give daily service and sacrifice.
Friday, October 14, 2011
What have you been learning about autism? Share with me!
Did you know there are "absolute indicators" or what are termed "red flags" that indicate a child should to be evaluated for autism? A year ago I remember seeing TV commercials by AutismSpeaks.org discussing the Red Flags. I am positive that seeing these commercials helped me to investigate further and then push G's pediatrician for a referral. I thought I'd share them with you today. It is a scary thing, but once I started reading I found out that even though we don't know the cause of autism and there are a multitude of different treatment methods to help with the behavioral and medical symptoms, the one thing we do know is that Early Intervention reduces the lifetime affects and helps children to thrive and be more successful when they begin school. The brain is still in a pliable state up until age 3 I believe and so new neuro pathways can be developed and hurdles overcome easier at that early age. There is NO BENEFIT in waiting it out! ABSOLUTELY NONE! Do not let fear keep you from asking the questions and getting the evaluation. Family and friends need to be willing to look out for children too and help parents to see concerns if they are warranted. Another reason for not waiting is that the federal and state governments provide funding for services for children under 3 who show signs of developmental delays. These services are what Gavin has been receiving for almost 9 months now. They can be for infants/toddlers under age 3 who have speech delay, physical gross motor delays, food/eating problems, hearing/vision problems. Any developmental delays, not just autism. What a resource! Too many children miss out on these services and once they are 3, they do not qualify for them. Yes, there are services after 3, but not as intense or easily accessible.
Here are the "Red Flags":
- No big smiles or other warm, joyful expressions by six months or thereafter
- No back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles, or other facial expressions by nine months or thereafter
- No babbling by 12 months
- No back-and-forth gestures, such as pointing, showing, reaching, or waving by 12 months
- No words by 16 months
- No two-word meaningful phrases (without imitating or repeating) by 24 months
- Any loss of speech or babbling or social skills at any age
Post Edit: FYI As a parent you can self-refer your child to receive an evaluation for developmental delays/services. All you have to do is call your Regional Center. For Northern California its Far Northern Regional Center. You have to be the advocate for your child because too many doctors are still promoting a Wait-and-See Approach which is robbing children of time and resources! If you insist with your pediatrician most likely they will refer.
What are your favorite comfort foods? Hands down mine would be mac n cheese, chicken pot pie, shephard's pie, and I think I've added tamale pie to the list. Did I forget any serious contenders?
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Monday, October 3, 2011
Thursday, September 29, 2011
It's October! Isn't that crazy! It is usually my more favorite time of the year, but this year is different. I just don't want to let go of the long summer days, the swimming and lazy weekends spent outside. Don't get me wrong, I am so over 100 degree days for sure! I love the crisp air that is starting to present itself. I will have to pack this fall with all the favorites to get me in the mood! So far, last week I made pumpkin squares and they were the only thing I ate for about a 24 hour period I fear. I did half with chocolate chips and boy those hit home!
Friday, September 16, 2011
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Its been a while...sorry.