Life sure is flying by. We took a week off in between Christmas and New Years and are working on some other projects!
Have you ever seen those photos that are making their way across the net … those “impossible” photos that are “a once in a lifetime shot”? As I tell my kids, when something looks too good to be true, it usually is!!!
You should see the stuff that my hubby is doing with Photo Shop. He took a photo of the kids at Disneyland on the river raft with lots of people crowded all around them and took out all the people and replaced it with scenery so that it looked like they were all alone on the raft! I took this picture of my cousin at her wedding, driving away in a really cool (rented) sports car. He changed the background and placed them driving along the beach! I think my favorite one is an old, old photo of my daddy. My daddy passed away almost 15 years ago and I’ve been missing him terribly. I found an old, old photo of him, when daddy was a little boy. It was all faded and crinkled and it had water damage on it. Davie fixed it for me. I get tears when I think of it.
He created a web site with some of his Fixed Photos in there. If you have any photos that need fixing, you should check it out. Even if you don’t have a photo that needs fixing,“ go there and check out what is possible!!! You will be amazed … I promise! Here’s the web address: http://fixmyphoto.gtlenterprises.com
Although we had a difficult delivery of our first born, we didn’t think much of it. We were so proud that we had a big baby boy! It wasn’t till Ian was about three years old that our world was turned upside down.
When Ian was about three years old, we tried to place him in a preschool. They took him for one day then told us that they could not accommodate his “disabilities”.Â Ummm, hello? Disabilities??? What were they talking about? They just didn’t know anything, that’s all there is to it. Then it all started to sink in and our world started falling apart.
By the time Ian was five, he was started on medicine … “to fix him”. (little did we realize that it was the adults that needed to be fixed, myself included) We held Ian back for a year so that he could “catch up” to the other kids mentally. When Ian was 7, he was in first grade in a Christian School that had a “Special Needs Department”. The teacher kept telling me (and sending notes to the Dr telling him) that we needed to increase the medication because it just wasn’t working. Ian was still “disrupting the class”. So, the meds just kept getting increased and increased. I listened to the teacher and the doctor … after all, they were the professionals, right??? Finally, Ian overdosed where he freaked out. He lost complete control of himself and couldn’t stop screaming or moving. They sent him to the office where he hid under a table and swatted at anyone who got near to him.
I had taken off work early … just because. I got there and the principal told me that she was ready to call the Police on him. Ok, wait, STOP. This is a 7 year old kid who is overdosing on the drugs that you and your teacher INSISTED that he take??? And YOU want to call the cops???
I found Ian in a corner, under a table rocking back and forth, mumbling unintelligibly. I gathered him into my arms and carried him off … Ian never went back to a “formal” school.
Our world came crashing down around us. Suddenly we had a different kind of “Normal”. All those hopes and dreams of a normal life with a kid who could go to a school, play on a team sport, be baby sat by a teenager … all those things that most people take for granted … all those dreams & expectations were lying at our feet in a crumpled mess.
The pain and heartache of the next few years is hard to put into words. We tried to put those pieces back together again. Unfortunately I wasn’t smart enough to get him completely off of the drugs that those fools had him on. That, I deeply regret. Because Ian has Aspergers Syndrome AND ADHD and ODD (along with other Learning Disabilities) the medication that he was on for 5 years was only making him worse. I so wanted him to be “normal”. I guess that’s why we hung on to the meds for so long … just trying to be “normal” like everyone else.
But “like everyone else” was not where God wants us. God is allowing us to learn and grow in ways that we never thought we would. We’re still learning and growing, but finally to a place where we can reach out to others. That’s what this web site is all about. A way we can reach out to others going through what we have been through and are still going through right now.
We aren’t Doctors or Psychologists, just fellow Special Moms and Dads who have been there and know that! We want you to know that you are not alone. There is a God out there with a Master Plan that includes you and your Special Child. That I know for sure. Another thing I know, my grandmother taught me when I was just a little girl. It’s summarized in a song … the song I still sing my daughter to sleep with: Jesus Loves Me, this I know. For the Bible tells me so. Little ones to Him belong. They are weak, but He is strong. Yes, Jesus loves me, yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me … the Bible tells me so. Sometimes, it’s all I can do to hang on to that one truth … but never let go … never.
Ever seen those pictures of moms with their kids all lined up in a row, standing patiently in a line, just waiting for mom to get done with what ever it is that she is doing? Well … don’t believe it! It’s fake!! Those aren’t real moms and they certainly DO NOT have Special Kids!!!
As moms and dads of Special Needs Kids, our life is harder than the “normal” that is all around us. Because of this, I think it’s important that I share the down times as well as the wonderful mountain top experiences that we have. So here’s one of my diary entries of late. This past summer has been extremely hard on our family. From the death of close family to me being laid up on bed rest for 6-8 weeks, life has been tough for us.
Down in the trenches, down in the dumps. Life is so hard right now. We are trying to do what God is asking us to, trying to homeschool, trying to make a go of it living out in the country, doing everything we can to give our kids a better life. Yet, we continually go backwards.
It’s not all wonderful and I’m not the best mom in the whole wide world! I’m broken and He is trying to fix me … daily.
I have Philippians 4:6-7 printed out above my computer. I try to read it every day. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
So Lord … You know everything. You know the finances (or lack there of), You know the structure / discipline (or lack there of) You know our hearts and our desires.
I’m drawn back to a song … one I wrote in Jr High.
When nobody seems to care
I’m all alone out there
With nobody at my side
I just want to run and hide.
But when I’m feeling down
You always come around
To show me a better way
To live my life everyday.
For You, You know what I want
You know what I need
You care about me
For You, show me the way
In every way
You know what I need
And You … You care about me
You’re always there.
Please come show me You are here Lord. I need You … we need You. Give us that peace that passes all understanding. The kind that only comes from You.
I started a new job, however there is still a core part of my business left that I pray will someday come back into life. My new job comes with a 3 hour commute which can be daunting but I cherish the income. As the “bread winner” in the family, I felt I had been letting my family down by not providing for them. As I re-enter my old line of work as a printer, I am reminded of how much we men (and some women) define who we are by our careers.
What is a career? We men almost always start a conversation with someone we just met with, “What kind of work do you do?”. We define who we are by what we do. We may take a pride in our careers and/or we give careers prestigious and glamorous names such as a “maintenance technician”. or “landscape contractor”. We may spend endless hours perusing a promotion or advancement in our careers and tell our spouse and children, we are doing this for them.
But who are we if we take away our careers. I have mulled this over a lot over the last few months. I have always taken a lot of pride in my career and would not miss an opportunity to tell you all about it. But when I leave this earthen vessel how important is this “career” of mine.
My priorities in life should be 1: God 2: My wife 3: My children 4: My ministry. We cloud this by telling ourselves without our careers we cannot tithe to God and we cannot support our wife and/or children. Then we tell ourselves, when we get where we to supposed to be in our careers, then we will help others with a ministry.
I am guilty of this, I tend to put the cart before the horse. I forget that without any personal time spent with God’s Word I cannot have a good relationship with my wife. Without a personal relationship with HIm, I cannot show my children the love that God has for them. Without prayer, I cannot know what God wants me do with my life. I am challenged by this as I re-enter my old trade. God has me there for a reason. To be a witness of God’s love. I’m not there to show others in my trade how great I am or even put my identity in this trade but to do my job in a way that brings glory to God by following his Word.
written by Dave McCormick
Daddy’s Little Girl
“I’m running away and that’s all there is to it!” she said with all the attitude that a 10 year old could as she swung her little suitcase to the other side. “That’s fine. Can I walk with you?” her daddy said. “Well … ok. But don’t think you’re gonna convince me that I’m goin’ back, cause I’m NOT! I’m not goin’ back to HER.” … “OK” he gently said.
Walking down the dirt path beside her he asked “Where are you going to sleep?”. “MMM. In my blackberry fort”. “Oh”, he nods his head. “What are you gonna eat?”. “MMMM … Blackberries!” “Oh” he nods again. “You know …” he stops. She stops and looks up at her daddy. “You know I”m gonna miss you terribly if you leave. What am I going to do?”
That was it. That was the straw that broke the camels back. She cried and cried and cried. “I know Daddy. I’m gonna miss you too.” She cried some more. “Come child, let’s go home” he said quietly.
She turned and walked back home, hand in hand, with her daddy. Her knight in shinning armor, her savior and always, her champion.
How many times have I come back to You Father? And yet, every time You welcome me, even chase after me to bring me back to You. Thank You. Thank you for never abandoning me … even when I abandon You. You rejoice when I come back. Your angles sing and celebrate! How I love You Father. I thank You for my daddy and for giving me 30 wonderful years with him. I”ll always remember his love for You and his love for me.
Robert W. Smith. Photographer, Film Master, Radio Announcer, my daddy! Oct 16, 1921 – March 1993
My son, Ian is a Special Needs kid. He has Aspergers Syndrome, ADHD and a multitude of learning disabilities . When our kids were small, we had them in Pre-School (while I worked full time) and then started them out in Christian Schools. When Ian was in 1st grade, his teacher kept telling me that his meds weren’t strong enough. So the Dr kept upping the dosage, per the teacher. Long story short: Ian overdosed. He TOTALLY freaked out. The principle called me and told me I needed to come pick up Ian. When I got there, Ian was sitting in a fetal position, rocking back and forth. It was heart wrenching. The principle told me that she was ready to call the Police due to Ian’s out burst. Ok, MAJOR wrong thing to say to me. I picked up my child (after I had calmed him down) and never looked back!
Just for kicks, I asked the local Public School Psychologist what would happen to Ian if I placed Ian in the public school. I was appalled at the answer: Ian would go into a Special Day Class where there would be 8 other students whom all only spoke spanish. Ian would be the mildest Special Needs kid and therefore would probably not receive much if any instruction in class. I’ll never forget his next comment, “The best thing you can do for your son is to Homeschool him.” I was floored!
So, I went into my boss and told him that I needed to put my two week notice in. (I was the first female manager in the Consolidation Dept of a major West Coast Warehouse – a VERY male dominated business) My boss gave me a leave of absence instead – he really wanted me back! Four years later…I’m still teaching my kids! I’ve had to take a part time job (funny how you still need $!), but I am homeschooling my two wonderful kids.
As I’ve often said, “It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done – but oh, so worth it!”
The Call of Moses – The Call of Me
In Exodus chapter three, we read of Moses calling, of Moses fears, of Moses self-doubts, of what Moses was holding and of God’s awesome answer: “Certainly I will be with you” (vs 12).
For Moses, his calling was to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. He was raised as Pharaoh’s daughter’s son. God had prepared the way for Moses from the time he was three months old!!! The first 40 years of his life was preparing Moses for his life mission – the reason he was born. Moses was full of fears and self-doubts. “What if … what if … what if they don’t believe me?”
The Lord asked Moses what was in his hand – a staff. God said to throw it down and it became a serpent and what did Moses do??? He fled. Not step back, not move a safe distance … no … he FLED!!! Then God said to Moses “grasp it by the tail” and then Moses had to go and grab the tail of the serpent. Can you imagine how scary that must have been for Moses? Oh my, I can. We have Rattle snakes around our property and each time that I’ve encountered them, I’ve been just terrified. Touch the tail of one? Are you nuts? But Moses gathered his wits and courage about him and “caught it, and it became a staff in his hand” (Ex 4:4)
“Not me Lord …I can’t talk so good. Send someone else Lord”. Finally, God got angry at Moses and said that Aaron, Moses brother, would speak for Him. Let me pause here and state a very interesting point: it really didn’t matter what Moses said or thought … God was going to have His way done, with or without Moses complete obedience and trust.
The rest of Exodus shows us that God did complete His mission and He did use Moses.
When I was in third grade, I realized that I just couldn’t seem to read books like other kids did. The stories made sense when the other children read them out loud, but the words were all jumbled up when I read them out loud. The sentences just didn’t make sense. I asked the teacher if I could stay inside and practice reading out loud. “Why bother?” came the cold reply, “you’re just stupid. No go out and play with the rest of the kids.”
Jump ahead eight years. I’m sitting in the “Girls Councilors” Office in a Christian High School, and she was telling me that I needed to find some kind of vocation, some kind of work that I could actually do. “You’ll never go to college … you’re just too stupid”.
These are only two of the comments from the “caring adults” in my early life. I won’t bore you with what all the kids had said to me those early years. To say my early years were tough is the understatement of the century. But why? Why were the teachers telling me I was stupid?
Let’s jump ahead to my college years (oh yes, I made it through college!!! ). My second semester I had this wonderful professor who taught me Marine Biology. I had him Monday/Wednesday (in Lecture) and then on Friday’s for lab at the beach (tidal pools). During the labs, he would walk around and ask questions. He soon realized that I could answer any question he asked of me. However, in the Class Room, I would get D’s and F’s on quizzes and tests. After about four weeks of school, he asked me to stay after class. You know where my mind went to … another teacher telling me to give up … I was just stupid. But to my surprise, he asked me if I’d ever been tested for Learning Disabilities. I told him, no, that I’d never heard of that.
Long story short: I was tested and then re-tested!!! Then I signed a release so that my test (and re-test) scores could be shared in the Researchers Doctorial Paper. You see, my brain is very unusual. I tested out at a “retarded level” for Verbal Learning (if you tell me 5 numbers, I could repeat one of them and sometimes it wasn’t even the first number!) However, I was “genus level” for Visual Learning (give me a puzzle and I could piece it together almost immediately)
My brain had compensated for its inabilities. While it’s rare that I could learn from someone verbally telling me things, I could always understand and comprehend diagrams or pictures. I was then placed in different Algebra class … one that specialized in teaching learning disabled students … and you know what??? I actually passed! Even more … I understood and could apply what I’d learned!
I also took a private class where a Professor taught me how to teach my brain so that I could learn “as others do”. It was very interesting – I wish I could find my notes from way back then!
When I look back on the early years of my life, I wonder how in the world our Lord could possibly use any of that mess for His glory. Those years were filled with heartache and failure. And yet, that is where I find myself right now … using all that mess. You see, I have a son who has Aspergers Syndrome, ADHD and a multitude of other learning disabilities. After trying ‘normal school”, we decided that I needed to leave the working world and teach our son (and daughter). Over the past five years, our hearts have cried out for other Special Needs Moms and Dads. I’ve written article upon article relating the heart break, the funny, and the mess of raising and teaching a Special Needs child. Yet still I cried out, “Not me Lord” and “Who am I?”.
Well, I know who I am … I’m a mom who has a Special Needs Child. A mom who’s already walked through the early years of raising a Special Needs Child. A mom who’s right there struggling with all the different …. and expensive – Special Needs Curriculum for teaching a Special Needs Child. A mom who has a heart for those who are going after me, those who are just starting out on their long journey.
While unpacking from our move to the mountains, I found a journal entry and then while I was going back over my BLOG, I found another two or three entries … all of which were centered around starting a ministry for Special Needs Moms and Dads. My years of crying, “Not me Lord” have ended – mostly!
“Oh! you missed one point” you say. Nope … where Moses had a staff, I have my Ian. My Special Needs Child. Sometimes he can turn and hiss at you and flat out terrify you, but when I follow Gods gentle guiding, my Ian becomes a strong, straight child again. No matter what, I will always love my Ian, my first born.
So on I venture with a ministry to Special Moms and Dads of Special Kids … my calling.