Giving Peace and Comfort

Some are more inclined than others to focus on spirituality. Finding the best avenue may be like searching for the right doctor. For 10 years I was a massage therapist and if you came to me with sciatic nerve pain, on our protocol would be Piriformis muscle which is located inferior/ underneath the Gluteal muscles. However, if you went to a Neurologist, they would have an entirely different protocol. A while ago I was feeling spiritually stagnant. I methodically came to realize my beliefs and perception needed to be more inline with God’s. It takes time to understand His words and will. Progressing requires patience on my part and the ability to adapt. When I understand a new spiritual concept, my ability to input spiritual knowledge expands and allows room for more enlightenment. Occasionally the realignment is uncomfortable, like the last unexpected deluge.

It was just another adversarial verbal-combat through a meltdown, with a certain 3-year-old whose name shall remain anonymous. (wink-wink) During pre-season meltdown, the referee(myself) took a time-out to my bedroom.  I am grateful Jake was not traveling for work and was home to take on all the nightly rituals. My affliction held out to a ghastly length. The details of my foe are too tender to share, but certainly the enlightenment can be disclosed. The muttered complaints were mostly to myself, but I guess God took it personally because he sent the Holy Ghost to boldly comfort me with, “You have everything you asked Me for.” It was the nicest way anybody could have told me to “Shut the hell up.” God is right, and all that He’s given adds joy to life. Before His words of comfort came, my personal drama was like involuntarily shoving my own face into a hot-sloppy, muddy- reality and only in submersion could I make meaning out of His words, “Landmarks of success don’t bring peace!”  Past experiences with peace has always been a struggle. Therefore I can expect the same for the future.

A variety of sources lend peace and influence individuals differently.  I was diagnosed with Anxiety/Panic disorder at the age of 21 and what my internal voice has told me is, “If it improves an aspect of your life without harming another aspect, try it.” For the practice of grammar I’ll include a personal illustration: Somewhere imbedded into my sinews is the muscle-memory of running on Utah’s Wasatch BLVD. Animate alongside the Wasatch Mountains with cars whizzing by and my feet making contact with the asphalt; provided an intermittent space of peace throughout all four seasons of the year. ‘Running’ is retired because the function of my body morphed and the amount of its influence wouldn’t be as impactful. Today the Pacific Ocean is an undiluted source of outpouring peace and prevalent for my body. Even though I am an advocate of all organized religions, I don’t think these institutions are singular to knowing God. So yes, the ocean brings me closer to God and helps reset my beliefs to what is true.

God is a good, reliable source in giving peace. His words cannot be bound by earthly cares or effective my the Periodic Table of Elements. His way of providing peace adapts to each person’s unique needs. Like, when these scriptures below were in my studies the day after my ‘time-out.’ He knows I’m a typecast for a dark comedy movie, so the first scripture is enjoyably humorous. Then I’m reassured of not being the only one and to keep my chin up because I am progressing. Then He gives me a job to do so I feel needed.

“12  Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:

Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.

10  But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle”

“5  For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.

6  And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation.

7  And our hope of you is steadfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation.”

So, I guess my hope for the future is staying close to God and trusting He will lead me to more  resources contributing peace and my own false-landmarks will vanish. God gave me comfort and peace to pass on, so others may feel it as well.

 

 

 

“Seas the Day and Adjust the Sails”

The thought has been lingering well over a year to write on a particular matter. However, the matter touches every star in my little universe. It may also touch on one of your stars. My hesitations come from wanting to protect my privacy. I also don’t know how to write about this so it won’t come across as too self-indulgent and whiney. So it is what it is, let’s begin by talking broadly about a few of my blessings in life: Jake has a good job that allows me to stay home with my children, I attend Palomar College, I have three children and a dog, and I live in San Diego! Each of these bring me great joy and I like it just the way it is. These blessing are not here because of only myself. Everyone in my life has helped put me here. These blessing don’t come from one solitary choice and acted out only by me.

Blessings also come with heartaches and challenges. Jake travels every other week, leaving me to be a single parent. Learning my school material is harder because my brain isn’t as absorbent as it once was and I’m a lot busier. My children each have their challenges. My dog, well… she just causes a lot of unwanted hair all over the house. Living in San Diego, means I’m away from family and their possible help while Jake is out of town.

The other day was one of these challenging-blessed days. Often I feel there are so many different opposing sources being thrown into my life and I cannot keep up. During this reflection in a doctor’s waiting room, I looked up and saw these signs on the wall.

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My body settled down and attained a bit a stability. I cannot direct the wind, but I can adjust my sails. One of my sails is that Ayzia has ADHD and Autism. Some say these are disorders, and I find myself saying that as well. However, hear me loud and clear it is NOT. These are blessings in my life and just like any other blessing, it comes with challenges. I remain physically active because of my Ayzia, I keep my brain learning new things because of my Ayzia. But how do I really feel about the diagnoses? As Donald Trump would say, “The relief was HUGE!” But so was the self-inducing guilt. I was happy and blessed to have an ADHD, Autistic child and that all her beautiful and challenging eccentricities had a name. The guilt came from, “I had a feeling it was this all along and not until 8 ½ years old is she getting a diagnoses.” I am angry, frustrated and impatient! I am protective and defensive. I also feel refined individually and in my marriage. My impatience and frustration comes from this rough estimated time line:

  • January 2015: Scheduled an appointment with Rady’s Children Hospital at Autism Discovery Institute to be evaluated. They picked the date of the appointment and my job was to agree it’s timing, August 2015. Say What?? 8 months away!!
  • March 2015: Sitting down with her school and talked about getting her some extra help. We came up with a plan, but getting her an IEP was held off.
  • August 2015: Evaluated and diagnosed with ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorder.
  • Wahoo! All things sail straight from here right? Nope.
  • April 2016: 1 year and 3 months, she finally started speech and behavioral therapy and the school is working on getting an IEP.

Around the time of Ayzia’s diagnoses, I was to restart school. Somehow I got the start time confused with my kids and missed the first two weeks of class. Consequently, I took fall semester off. Which proved useful because it allowed me more time and energy towards family and myself. Reading articles on learning disorders; many of the articles felt deeply familiar and I related to most of them on a personal level. It was then, I admitted to myself that I too, have a learning disorder. It may not be the same as Ayzia’s, but I have something, I just don’t know what exactly. I vowed to myself then, I would not leave Ayzia in the dark about this part of herself and this is why. My prior school years burned a self-belief in myself that “I was stupid.” I genuinely felt and knew I was stupid. Not because anybody told me I was, but that school and friendships were an extreme challenge. I didn’t understand most of my social interactions and friendships. I self-taught myself to read people’s mannerisms. To this day when people talk, I mostly read what their body and face are saying and little of what words they choose. I can look back and understand why, in high school, my friend was frustrated with me because I wouldn’t talk with her as we walked to our next class. During a math test, I couldn’t answer any of the questions because one of my guy friends was chomping on his bubble gum. Near the end of the period I blew up and yelled at him to stop “Smacking his gums!” I cried and laughed to my best friend all during lunch about how stupid I acted and confused I felt. If I would have known what was going on and why, if it had a name, maybe I would have had a stronger self-esteem. I couldn’t and didn’t know how to tell my parents. You may be thinking, what did her parents do? They didn’t know. Because like Ayzia, I didn’t tell them most things and unless you are watching every intricate detail in someone’s life…..it’s still nearly impossible to understand internal problems. For the most part, I look and act ‘normal’ and so does my girl. But if you want to have a conversation with us? Brace yourself because, it is going to take a lot longer than the typical. It is difficult to get thoughts out. I stuttered as a young child and as an adult, if it’s urgent and I have to talk fast the stutter comes back. Learning and dealing with Ayzia’s challenges forces me to deal with myself and my own learning problems. Now that Ayzia is getting therapy, she knows her autism and that I can relate to some degree. I’m helping her believe and feel she is beautiful and extremely smart. She is highly motivated in learning and has an amazing memory with scientific facts and creativity. Our family enforces we are here to help each other build our strengths and overcome our challenges and with this we have times of success and times of failures.

Learning is difficult for me and always will be. I am smart and dealing well with being a slow learner. Given the right topic and the right amount of studying time, I can do well. I received all A’s and 1 B in massage school. In the last 2 ½ years I’ve taken 7 college courses and achieved 6 A’s and 1 B. There are 2 supplements (Phosphatidylserine and Huperzine A) that I take every day that help me absorb new information, retain memory and help me verbally express my thoughts. I should add that my fibromyalgia causes brain-fog and these supplements help with this as well.

To those who come across this blog entry, may God bless your little universe and know that I am here with you striving to be the best kind of star in His big universe.

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After we had a heart-to-heart talk about some of her challenges, she was teary and a little upset. She didn't want to talk and wanted to be alone. She gave me this after some time passed. I truly cherish these gifts from her.

After we had a heart-to-heart talk about some of her challenges, she was teary and a little upset. She didn’t want to talk and wanted to be alone. She gave me this after some time passed. I truly cherish these gifts from her.

 

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Ivy’s 2nd Birthday

Back around Halloween time, the three girls and I went into a costume store. A huge man size gorilla costume was hanging from the ceiling. Ivy looked up and with excitement said, “Monkey!” It was one of the first clear words she had said. After that, she loved to say the word whenever she got the chance. It so happened that monkeys seemed to have appeared everywhere: books, television, movies, clothes, paper plates. So I thought, “Heck, why not?”

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I think she’s eating a sausage link here. There are several things in this picture we are exposing, so why not a half-bitten greasy sausage?

2016Jan05_0042Since she’s only two, I guess it’s okay to write about some of her personality and tendencies. She might be the child to make me completely deaf, because she screams so loud when she doesn’t get what she wants. Which makes her an effective communicator.  She knows exactly what she wants and doesn’t. It’s either up or down, in or out, on or off, and heaven-forbid if I get it wrong. She is just like our other children in the sense that she loves to laugh, be silly and make people happy. She likes a sense of thrill and to go places.  When there isn’t a moment of something occupying her mind, we have endless phone videos of her friend Spencer and family so that she can watch them and talk to them whenever she wants. Oh, and she is the size of a 3 1/2- 4 year old! Watch out Project Runway, she’s coming for you some day!

Circumcision or Uncircumcision?

My Health class in college mandates a research project of 10 different subjects that are health related. The sixth one was from Penn and Teller’s Bullshit on You Tube and I chose the one on Circumcision. I have three girls and no boys. I am greatly satisfied with only having girls, but when a topic arises regarding boys I do wonder how my opinion would be effected if my children were boys. Before I watched this video there was no question, my boys would be circumcised. Now, if it were my choice alone they wouldn’t be, but ultimately I feel it is my husband’s decision which leaves me undecided. Here I will post  the part of my paper regarding circumcision. It is a VERY clean version of the YouTube episode. If you want the full version the link is included as well.

Warning dad! You most likely won’t want to watch the visually offensive video and pretend I haven’t watched it either.

Penn and Teller’s Bullshit: Circumcision

A circumcision is the removal of the foreskin on the penis. The baby feels the pain but is said to recover quickly and tolerates it well. The procedure is done with a Gomco Clamp. The foreskin is pulled up over the bell and cut against the bell. There is “0” chance of hurting the penis- not regarding to the pain but the actual harm of the penis. The argument is whether or not circumcision is necessary and provides benefits.

Some said significant medical advantages are: prevents severe urinary tract infection, during intercourse the skin is delicate and may get little tares. Uncircumcised is more likely to get sexually transmitted diseases, 2-7 more times likely to get HIV. However, all of these can be prevented by wearing a condom. One of the doctor notes that 90% of women prefer a circumcised penis and claims they smell better. Another doctor asks why do women turn their nose up to the way the penis was meant to be?

Linda says it is the most “brutal procedure”. Marilynn says it is a “sex crime”. A male doctor states that a “baby’s nervous system is hyper developed and they feel more pain than adults”. During the circumcision the baby’s “blood pressure goes sky-high and their steroid levels go way up” even when anesthetic is used. How much different is circumcision from female genital mutilation in Africa and the Middle East? A past idea of circumcision is, if they got rid of the foreskin little boys wouldn’t touch themselves. If they masturbated it took away their love for God. Pediatricians say, “The benefits are not sufficient…to recommend that all infant boys be circumcised.” Opposing circumcision reverses past beliefs, a male penis is supposed to have loose skin that slides back and forth, it keeps the penis as an internal organ. It protects the urinary tract and keeps it sterile and isn’t rising the HIV rates. Dr. Lister says “foreskin is similar to the appendix” and doesn’t serve a purpose. But another doctor states that there is 10-20,000 nerve ending compacted in the foreskin. The foreskin helps contribute in the ejaculation process. What happens to the foreskin after it is cut off? Most tissue gets thrown out, but another percentage which doesn’t have consent of the donor goes to researching insulin, and products for burn victims or cosmetics. American Association of Tissue Banks aren’t in shortage of skin so why are they using foreskin? Aside from unconsented research, there is a 400 million dollar industry in circumcision. Good news for circumcised males that wished they had their foreskin; the penis foreskin can be non-surgically restored by tugging your shaft skin forward repeatedly over a long period of time. There are different devices that can be used as well to help restore the foreskin.

Conformity is the only argument left as to why circumcision is needed; as Penn and Teller state at the end of their unmannerly, but informative episode.

Boiled Eggs and Poopy Diapers: A Life Lesson in Jokes, Religion and War.

It’s Sunday morning, the day of our church primary program. Our family and many others are excited and anticipating how our children will do. There is a wonderful feeling children bring when they sing about Jesus. On the car drive over Ivy poops her diaper. There isn’t a clean one because I’m planning to leave early due to a head cold. Brainstorming synapsis fire away. I can make it work! Go to the bathroom inside the church, clean out the poop, fold lots of toilet paper inside the diaper. We are good-to-go, problem solved!

Directly turning into the crowded church parking lot, a car is parked in a non-designated stall; along a curb where everyone who enters can see! The trunk is opened. Just below, on the freshly tarred lot, are at least 10 white manikin limbs, each having a section of bloody red dye at the base! I’m not Ann Rice or Tom Clancy, but try to imagine in your own words a disturbing scene. Completely caught-off-guard lightly palpitates what my heart feels. Thoughts occur: this is supposed to be a place of refuge, a place to heal my spirit, a place to enjoy my child’s primary program-where they sing about Jesus and feel His love. Wow! That’s one way to kill the spirit of the Holy Ghost. Could this be a joke? No, it can’t be. It must have been an accident. Someone was trying to get something out of their car. Their career is giving seminars teaching First Aid and they have these props that coincidently fell out. Right? Fiction or Non Fiction, the initial reaction to the ‘stage’ has been felt and imprinted into the sinews of each person affected.

Luckily the awful scene leaves my mind during the few minutes of Ayzia and Eden’s parts. Eventually Ivy is too active during the program and people sitting nearby are trying to enjoy the performance so I leave. In the car, I exit the parking lot the same way I entered. Three men stand by the car of the incident. The trunk is still open, but no bloody limbs scatter the ground. I pull out onto the road without an episode, but my eggs are boiled and they need to be shelled! I turn around, back to the men. Our exchange goes something like, “Were your guys involved with the bloody limbs?” A man answers, “Yes, this is my car and my friend thought it would be a funny joke. We have thrown the parts away. In the service of the joke, my tire got popped.” To my calculations they are standing around, waiting for the tire to be repaired. I don’t know if it is him or I who spoke next, but an apology is made. My feelings are relayed, “I had kids in the car, it was a disturbing image and most likely the people walking out of the church with their kids were also disturbed.” He admits, “It was too graphic of a scene for young kids.” Then he turns to one of the men and says, “He shouldn’t have done that.” I can only assume this was the ‘friend’ who played the joke. The ‘friend’ hugs close to a tree, with his arms folded and head down. His body language portrays his remorse, but his snickering face says he enjoys my complaint because it fits perfectly along with his joke.

I love to laugh. Years ago, I was the one to play the April Fool’s joke too far! I have since then learned my lesson. This man was older than me. One would think being wise in years gives the knowledge as to where and when these kinds of jokes are played. I say to the group, “I’m all about playing jokes and having a good laugh, but this was the wrong place at the wrong time.” Driving away, more thoughts come to mind. The bloody limbs aren’t just obscene for young kids. Real crime scenes look like this that afflict trauma on family members and friends. What about the people who fight in war and come home struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder. Many of the members in our church congregation serve our country. Recently I was in possession of a graphic picture of a family member with an infection in their leg from a surgery. I am able to look subjectively at these kinds of medical photos. Unfortunately I tried showing a friend this picture, who incidentally fought in the war on terror. Shamefully I remembered his service too late. As I replay the scene over in my mind, I see on their face the trauma of war and will for the rest of their life. Of course, my phone-photo of an infected leg is real and the manikin legs aren’t. But it doesn’t matter whether it is fake or real, each person is affected differently with or without past trauma.

Reasons over shadow each other as to why this post is necessary. To the reader it is based upon their interpretation. Personally, some would be: repenting for what I did to my friend, to keep my kids innocent as long as possible, to be aware of my actions, respect people’s life story that isn’t similar to my own, to check myself before I think a joke ‘would be’ funny. One thing is certain, the reasons for war, an act of crime, and PTSD cannot be resolved simply by stuffing a diaper with toilet paper. When we share or re-share a video, a picture, a news clipping, a joke or display a dreadful scene; let’s ask ourselves, “Who’s hard boiled eggs do you really want to crack open?”

Youth At Any Age

While strollercizing Ivy on a track around a baseball field,  a slogan ran through my mind, Youth At Any Age. The first person I saw was a man past his peak of high metabolism. He was walking a little Yorkshire Terrier. The man’s pace allowed me to get a good look at his dog’s little visor that kept the sun out of his eyes. The second person I saw was another man, who wore a floral Hawaiian shirt and had settled into his creaky bones. He walked with a black lab mix. They looked to have arthritis problems because not only were they walking slow, it seemed difficult.The slogan came to mind when I saw the slow arthritic black lab step onto the grass of the baseball diamond. It was as though happiness pumped energy into his body. He skipped…if dogs can skip, and then he lay on his back with its mouth wide open and rolled around in pure delight.

Seeing the two men and there dogs at separate times, it’s likely they didn’t know each other. Since they were without another human, I imagine the probable causes as to why. I took comfort that whatever their circumstances were in life, they both chose to go out walking and had a companion to share their time with. Coincidently, as I was ending  my strollercizing, another man who had many good years left of playing ball, entered the track with his dog. Something in the Universe was definitely showing me, Youth At Any Age!