Sunday, August 20, 2017

Birthday Boy

My beautiful baby boy is seven today. It seems just like yesterday, he was still growing in my belly. I loved being pregnant. He was an active baby in the womb, just like he is now.
If someone would have told me when I was pregnant how much my life was REALLY going to change, I would not have believed them.  Of course your life changes when you have kids but its a whole new level of change when you are raising a child with special needs.
From the moment they first placed him on my chest, I learned love on a whole new level. It was the beginning of truly understanding what sacrifice means. This was the first of many nights without sleep. It was the beginning of a whole new rollercoaster life. A life where I barely keep my head above water on most days. However, it's a life of many blessings and miracles. Not everyone gets the pleasure of raising a innocent angel from the Lord.

 
Even though the majority of our time was spent crying as a baby and toddler, I treasured the happy moments when they happened and took every opportunity for a good picture. I do the same now:)
Just like now, he loves to run around on the farm at Pop and Nana's farm.

I loved every line you have made and still make.
Trenton has such an amazing sense of humor. I have the pleasure of seeing that. I am sorry that most people don't know his silliness and love for life like he has. It is locked up inside of him most of the time. But, I get the pleasure of seeing it every day! I witness it and it makes my heart swell:)
I love how he can spell words and has since you were 2 1/2 years old! You are so smart, T-man!
Trenton enjoys to play in the snow, just like his Momma.
I will never forget all the nights I pushed him in his swing to calm him down. The nights were so long where he cried and meltdown. But, we made it through them together.
This was the first time he enjoyed people singing Happy Birthday. I will never forget when he turned four! The first birthday he didn't cry through!

Yes, we have autism but Mommy sure likes to take advantage of fun times when we get to have them!
Almost every night he used to just dropped and fall asleep wherever his body let him! Wow, we have came a long way T-man.
 I love to watch him play. I always have and always will. I learn so much from watching the way he interacts with his toys.

I always love to share a few pictures on his birthday of the T-man in action over the years:)

To My T-man



To my beautiful baby boy on his 7th birthday-

Trenton-
Where does time go? You are seven! Wow! Absolutely amazing.

You have done and accomplished so much the past seven years.  I can't help today to think of everything that we have been through. Your first seven years of life have not been easy. It hasn't been easy for me and I know it hasn't for you.

I think back to all the times I had to drive you all night long......to the times I tried over and over to get you to walk into a store without a meltdown.....to all the times when I had to drive for hours each day just to get you to therapy with you screaming and throwing items around the van......to the days where you would scream bloody murder when water touched you.......to all the days I pushed you in a swing to calm you down.....to all the times you dragged me around the house crying because you had something to say but couldn't.....to all the food mess....all the McDonalds's drive thru orders....Papa John pizza orders...there is way too much to even put down.....it gives me goosebumps and tears. You are one big fighter!

I will never forget the days where you had to pretty much take your bedroom with you before we could leave the house.  I will never forget all your lines, cries, tears, and frowns. However, you sure can make up for it with that big, beautiful smile you have.


With each kiss and hug that you gave, my heart melted. It still does because your willingness to give those are few and far between but the world stops when you give them to me. The world stops when your eyes meet mine! There is nothing else that I focus on in that moment, other than your touch and eyes.

I know you are in there T-man! I know that soul of yours is screaming to break away from your body because it keeps it locked up. I want you to know that I will never stop fighting for you. I will never stop fighting to help you find your voice and to release what is inside of you to the world!

Sacrifice is what it takes. You and I know the definition of sacrifice, strength, perseverance, and courage. We do it daily no matter what! We do it through the strength and love that we have for our Lord and savior. There is nothing else I would rather do in my life than to help you! We struggle in many ways to keep our head above water in many areas in life but we have each other and our life is built on Christ. He most certainly takes care of us!

We have fought together for seven years and I will keep fighting till the day I die. You have came such a long way! I am so proud of you and all of your hard work. Nothing makes me happier and prouder than to watch you and your successes in this life.

As always, on your birthday I want to thank you for being the best thing to ever happen to me! Thank you for teaching me what life is really all about.  Thank you for making me a better person. You are absolutely amazing Trenton. I am beyond honored that God gave me you. I am so blessed to be your Mommy and Andrew is so blessed to have you as his brother. The three of us make one awesome team together:) We never give up! We keep going and fighting no matter what else is happening in life.

Very few things are perfect in this world. However, one of the most perfect, beautiful things I witness in this world is when you want me and say my name. There is so much you are telling me when you want me and say, "Monie." For years I cried myself to sleep wanting to see some sign of affection and love from you. I wanted to hear you say my name and mean it. For years I was happy to hear you repeat my name back but now you say it! I am so beyond blessed! We have worked so hard for this and we have accomplished it! I am so proud of how you are growing and maturing. Since the beginning of  2016 till now, things just keep going up! Keep it up T-man!


Whatever it takes, whatever you need in this life, I am right here doing it with you and doing my best to make your life better. I am right here for you until the day I take my last breath. When that day comes, I look forward to seeing you in paradise free from all of your trials that you have went through in this world. Won't it be wonderful there, together:)

I love you so much T-man! Keep up the fight! I am right here with you always and forever.

Love you,
Monies

Saturday, August 19, 2017

T-man & His Pops

We had a great day celebrating these two's birthdays. Pops today and T-man tomorrow!

Cards

Thank you so much for all the birthday cards for Trenton this week. HE LOVED THEM!!!
I practice taking the boys across the street and to our mailbox and Trenton was thrilled each day to see he had mail with his name on it!! He loves to get mail!


Friday, August 18, 2017

Birthday at school

I brought cupcakes into Trenton's class today. He celebrated his birthday early with his classmates. He scarfed down his cupcake and then he wanted to go with Mommy.  


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

I love mom

During speech therapy today,  Trenton did the most amazing thing.  When his therapist asked him to tell her who he loved,  he told her on his device, " I love mom."

Homework

We just finished our first set of homework!

Monday, August 14, 2017

What is your giant?



It has been awhile since I have spoke about one of my favorite stories in the Bible. I have many stories in the Bible that are my favorite but the the Story of David and Goliath is one of my top five favorite stories.
It didn't use to be. However, since autism came into my life it has become a favorite.
If you are unfamiliar with the story let me tell you a brief account of the details.

David was a shepherd boy. Goliath was a huge 9 foot giant. Goliath was taunting the sovereign Lord of the universe. He was challenging God's people to stand up to him and demonstrate that their God was more powerful than he was. Until David came into the Israelite camp, there was no one who was willing to step out in faith and face the giant. However, David's faith was so strong that he was willing to believe that the Lord would go with him and enable him to defeat Goliath.

David's faith was from God's grace and mercy in his life up to that point. David had such amazing faith in God that he knew God would help him defeat Goliath.

If you were to look at the two individuals, no one would have ever dreamed about David defeating Goliath. However, he did. David took Goliath down. The giant that no one else had the courage to stand up against.

This story wasn't written for just pure history sake. It was wrote down for our good. We can learn from this story. We can learn that if we serve our God, put our trust and faith in him, he is capable of helping us through our giants in life.

What do you mean? We don't have 9 foot giants? No, but our giants are autism, cancer, sudden loss of a loved one, depression, mistakes in our lives that cost of us many things, financial trouble, doubts, worries, etc. Those are our giants.

The challenges and giants I have had in my life with autism are unthinkable to some people. The challenges and giants you face are unimaginable to me. We all face our own giants.  Some people run away, sadly some have taken their own life, and some have hid from their giants. Those individuals are not trusting God. They aren't putting their faith in God. They are not letting God lead them through it.

Our battles in life will always lead us to victory if we put our trust in God. It may not be the type of earthly victory that you want but it'll be an eternal victory. The Lord test many of us through trials and giants. He does this because he wants us to TRUST him. He wants us to lean on Him. He wants to see if we will respond to Him.

On some days, I question if I can get through my days. When the nights are long from the lack of sleep yet I still have therapy appointments to arrive to on time, insurance calls to make, while meeting the demands of a child with severe autism; I want to fall in doubt. I want to crawl in a hole and just cry! But, I don't. Instead, I speak to the Lord. I open up His word, and I recall many inspirational stories from the Bible, like David and Goliath. I am immediately back on track and ready to fight my giant.

What do you do to fight your giant? Are you a David? Or are you like everyone else and running away from the giant you face daily?

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Yummy

You can't beat making lemonade and s'mores at ABA therapy at Harsha Autism Center!




Thursday, August 10, 2017

Singing

I was singing the other morning while making Andrew breakfast. I can't think of what I was singing at the moment. Anyway, right in the middle of me singing, Andrew says,
"Oh Moochies. You are the best of the best singers I have ever heard."

I stopped dead in my tracks.

"Well, thank you Andrew but Mommy isn't really good. Trust me."

I started singing again.

"Moochies, you can be one of those people on  the radio who sing and make lots of money."

"Oh Andrew. Just wait till you get older and know what good singing really is."

"Moochies. You are the best of the best."

He Is My Heart




“You got this Trenton. Mommy’s heart is always with you.  God is watching over you. I know you can do this. I am so proud of you. I love you, always and forever.” I whispered as I clicked his seatbelt on the school bus for the very first time.

His eyes met mine for a final time; I kissed him and walked off the bus.  My legs felt like dead weight walking back up my driveway as I watched the bus take my son to his first day of school.

 The tears rolled down my face. I felt my breathing get heavy.  I just put my heart on a special bus that will place him in the hands of special people who will work with my special son.

But, he is my heart, my everything. My heart doesn’t beat without him.

I am his voice in this world. The loud, booming, powerful voice that he needs; that’s me, his mom.   The two of us make up one amazing, determined team.

With that said, it wasn’t easy to watch my heart leave me for his new, big adventure.

We have prepared for months for this big day. Even with all the preparation, nothing can prepare a mother for that moment.  Autism and change doesn’t always mix well. Most of the time it makes for a bad combination, especially when no one familiar is around.

The thoughts. The questions. They kept navigating through my mind.

They don’t know my son? They don’t know his noises and what they mean yet?

Will they know his signs and gestures that he does when he needs to potty?

Will they reassure him that it is going to be okay when his anxiety flares up?

They don’t know that when he gets anxious he scratches the back of his head, claps his hands, and squeals.

I hope they understand that he REALLY needs to pace and move.

Oh, I hope they don’t let him escape because he has that capability.

What if he is trying to communicate to them and they can’t understand what he is trying to say? I know all those gestures. His therapist knows them but they don’t and if they don’t he will get upset.

Andrew! I don’t even have time to worry about Andrew on his first day!

 It doesn’t matter what I did, my mind was on my heart and it wasn’t in the same place as I was. My heart was with a whole new team. A team that I am sure we will grow to love and work great with. However, with autism, it is always stressful until we reach that level.
I wanted to be looking in through the window making sure he was okay. I wanted to be a fly on the wall just so I knew he was being taken care of. He can't tell me things. When he is separated from me, he can't tell me the details of his life.

I paced the entire day. I cried. I was a mess until I was reunited with my heart. There is something powerful when the heart and voice are together. We know each other so well. My heart beats in order to be his voice in this world. My heart gives me life through being his advocate, his helper, his cheerleader in this world.

That night as he lay in bed trying to fall asleep, he kept reaching out and touching my hand. He would turn his head to look at me, touch my hand and pat it, and close his eyes while trying to fall asleep. After he finally fell asleep, I cried my final tears for the day. I felt so extra blessed to be his mom. We made it through our first day of school.






Tuesday, August 8, 2017

I want Mom. 3:30

Trenton has been extra clingy to me the past few weeks and especially this week. I think it is because the big change is tomorrow. I've been working with him on this. His team at HAC has been working with him on this. The big day is tomorrow and I know he knows and is scared. Therefore, he has been having some separation anxiety with me. It breaks my heart. However, on the good side of this he has said my name numerous times  and that always makes me feel good. It is a reassurance of his love!!

Today at HAC, he said..."I want mom 3:30" WOW!!!!! Holy Cow!!! He said that!!! This also tells me that he knows exactly what time I pick him up on Tuesdays and he wanted it to be that time! Today at HAC, he also said, "You go bye, Monies here." He told that to his coach. He also said,   "Mommy's here"
I can't believe it! It has broke my heart and reassured me of his love. Absolutely amazing but not at a good time for our big day tomorrow...

Monday, August 7, 2017

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Bathroom

Trenton is back in one of his sensory crazing phases. He goes into the bathroom and fills the sink up with water. He dunks his head in the water and splashes water all over my counter if I am not right by him. It is either that or he is standing in the sink!
He can't be left alone for one second! It is exhausting!!



Five Years Later

It has been five years! Five years since the day Trenton was diagnosed with autism. It was a very daunting day. I am sure if you have had anything significant and/or life changing happen in your life, you always remember the "anniversary" each year. Although I knew in my heart before the day he got the diagnosis,  it is just something about that day. It's the day of the official "stamp" of autism. The day that you know for sure that your life is forever changed.

I sometimes can't believe I have made it these five years. On one hand it has gone really fast and on the other hand it seems like it has been fifty years.
Five years ago I was so scared, sad, full of guilt, nervous, sleep deprived, confused, yet I was immediately determined, driven, courageous, and ready to get the ball going on our new life and the new things that we had to do. I have many of the same feelings now, five years later, however, the person I am today is a much better person than I was five years ago.
If I could go back in time and tell myself a few things five years ago, I would say this......

" I know you are tired and scared. I wish I could tell you that it will get better but it doesn't exactly get better. A few things get better but with each improvement in one area normally brings about a new challenge in another area.
Your life is going to be hard. You will lose your old self but you will find a whole new, amazing person inside you that you didn't know was there.
You will find the most remarkable strength. It's the type of strength that you had no idea that you had. You will be the definition of perseverance.  The kind of endurance that only certain people know about.
You will learn how to be a fighter and fight to the end. You will never give up. You will be up countless nights preparing for IEP meetings, preparing for insurance calls, and preparing for all different kinds of appeals that you will have to do in order to get your child the type of respect that he has a right to in the world.
You will be embarrassed by your child's meltdowns. You will be publically embarrassed and find yourself in some of the most unusual situations in public just trying to help your child and to give him a right to live in this world just like everyone else does.
You will be judged and hear the rudest comments from people.
Many won't understand you and they will judge your parenting skills simply because they don't understand your child's autism.
You will stand up for your child. You will put a few people in their place. You will be your child's voice and best advocate in this world!
You will find the most amazing therapist, teachers, and professionals that will go above and beyond to help your son and you will love them as if they are your family.
You will have days that you will do nothing but cry. You will feel lonely and isolated.
You live through the unimaginable.
Your marriage that has already fallen apart will be done for good shortly but it is a blessing in disguise because the man God wanted you with is going to enter your life in five years .
You will be left on your own. However, the man of your dreams will enter soon.
You will see the ugly of this world.
Yet, you will learn the most amazing type of love. A love that only certain people are blessed to know.
You will learn what it means to never take anything for granted.
You will laugh, smile, and cry all in the same minute.
You will have chills that run up and down your body when you witness a miracle from your child for the first time.
You will learn to know what it really means to live on faith, hope, and love.
You will go into battles and come out a winner!
Your relationship with family and friends will change-some for the better and some for the worse.
Your relationship with God will magnify to a whole new level.
You will understand what sacrifice really means and you will witness it from your loved ones.
You will see true kindness and generosity from others.
You will see and witness many  things that you would have never understood unless God put you on this path in life.
You will go from asking God why to thanking him for your beautiful life and seeing the beauty in everything!
You will see your son go through gut wrenching moments that will shatter your heart in a million pieces. It won't be easy to watch as his mother. You will beg God to take it away and for you to be the one to have the challenges not him.
You will experience some of the smallest steps of progress. However,  they are huge steps for you and your son. They are miracles! They are simply amazing!

Special needs (autism) is one of the most beautiful journeys. It is a journey of the beautiful innocence of the world. I am very honored to live this life and to be a part of this very, unique journey ever day. Even though our days are hard and they always will be, I choose to make the most of it. There is nothing I can do other than that! God blessed me with this life and I will do my best to live it like He would want me to and not waste it.

On the way home from St. Louis the day he got the diagnosis, I let him have one more ice cream cone before he went back on his strict diet.



Here is a blog post from the day of Trenton's diagnosis.

I am so happy and proud of how far Trenton has came five years post his diagnosis!Five

Sunday, July 30, 2017

AAC Device

I am so thankful for Trenton's AAC device! It sure took a long time but it was worth it! Overall he seems to be more vocal with his device. Several people who work with him have even noticed it. In the picture below he was at his favorite pizza restaurant. As soon as we sat down he told me on his device that he wanted, "pizza and salad."
In this picture he was typing out different words before speech therapy the other day.
Twice this week he said, "Nana and Pop". He has never spontaneously said their names together. Today at church he told the lady who takes care of him during the sermon, "see Mommy" and I believe he also typed it out.
Tonight when I said that it was bath time. He did the sign language for "bath". I haven't seen him do that in a long time.

One form of communication often brings out other forms of communication. Many times Trenton would be in my kitchen looking for food but he couldn't find the words to tell me. Now, he goes to his device and finds the picture and says the word!! I am SOOOOO HAPPY AND PROUD OF HIM!!!! He is one happy kid with his device!!!
All praise to the good Lord to making this happen for us!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

My Boys

My Boys! My World!


Lamp Words For Life

I have had a few questions about what system Trenton uses on his AAC device. His device has the LAMP Words for Life system. This system allows the vocabulary to grow and the communication skills to grow in way that doesn't require re-learning. It provides a consistent motor pattern for words and a systematic way to develop communication skills allowing for unlimited language growth opportunities.... Basically, how a keyboard is for us, this device will be that way for Trenton!

Trenton and I are both still learning this system and we will be for awhile. However, he just LOVES his AAC device and is growing with it each and every day!
In the picture below he is showing off his AAC device while out in the community with one of his ABA therapist!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Joy

A few weeks ago, my preacher mentioned in his sermon how it seems like in life that good things happen to bad people and bad things happen to good people all the time. I know we all have thought this before. I have thought it numerous times. I could list numerous bad, life changing things that have happened to some of the best people in this world. At times, we look at others and wonder why they get all good things and never go through any trials. It is life and it is human nature to think this way. However, my preacher mentioned in his sermon that good things happen to bad people because God loves them too! God loves everyone and he shows everyone his love. It just really hit home with me on how true that statement really is. God blesses us all with good things and sometimes it may seem that all the wrong people get the really great things in life but it is simply because God loves everyone!

At times it often seems like that some of the strongest, Godly people go through some of the hardest trials in life. Why? God loves us too just like he loves the lost.
I often think it is because God knows we are strong enough to battle the battle. He knows that we will find the joy and hope during our hard times.
Through the numerous difficult situations in my life, God knew I would still live a life of joy, even in the midst of all of the trials, including autism.  Joy isn't simply smiling at the world, its a state of being and the act of serving God.  Joy allows us to rise above our trials.
Joy is a gift.

Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith

We all have joy, if we have Christ. God wants us to have a life full of joy
We can have joy even in the midst of autism. If we have Christ in us, then we will have a life of joy and see the beauty that autism and/or any other trials you live with can bring to you.

Even though it is hard, I am very thankful for my trials in life because it has made me stronger. I live my life daily doing my best to find the joy in our daily life. The burden I carry....the hurt I feel daily knowing I will close my eyes in death leaving behind a child with  a severe disability is something I would not wish upon anyone. Its a life of hurt and guilt. We all want what is best for our children. We all want our children to grow up and live independent lives. However, many families aren't able to have that because we are raising  children with severe needs.
Yet, what good is my life if I dwell in my own self pity? It's not good at all. Therefore, we take our trials and tribulations and do the best we can with them and we can't do that without finding the joy in our lives.

Just as Christ laid down his life for us, parents of special needs children come very close to understanding the heart of Christ. Most special needs parents would lay down our lives to make our children's lives better.  There is nothing greater than that kind of joy and love!

Nehemiah 8:10
Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength

The joy of the Lord is my strength and He gives me all the strength I need to find my joy!!

It's hard one some days but I encourage you to find the joy in your trials. Ask God to help you with that and he will answer that prayer for you!

Special Education Post 1

In the spring of 2016 I did a special education series. I thought I would try my best to do another special education series since it is back to school time:)
I receive messages from time to time from parents asking me questions about their child and the special education program. Therefore, in this post I want to concentrate on some of the most basic principles of special education. Hopefully, if you have a child that is in special education or who will be evaluated for special education, you find something in here helpful.

Every school district hast he legal responsibility to identify, locate, and evaluate children who may be in need of special education.
Individuals with Disability Education Act (IDEA) was first enacted in 1975 because public schools were ignoring  children with disabilities or shunting them off to other programs.  IDEA has a list of disabilities that fall in the regulations and autism is one of them. For your child to qualify for special education services, your child needs more than a diagnosis.  There must be evidence that your child's disability adversely affects his or her education.  Therefore, your child has a right to an evaluation by a psychologist that works in the school district. An important note to make note of is that the school district will not take a diagnosis from outside sources. It has to be done specifically through the psychologist that works in the school district. If you are new and entering the school systems this year please know that if you child has an autism diagnosis from an outside source, it won't qualify your child for services. You have to go through the school district.

If your child is evaluated by the team of professions, a meeting will be held, called the IEP, to figure out the correct placement of your child and education program. IEP stands for Individualized Education Program. Every child who qualifies for this has a right to an individualized education plan that best meets their needs. No part of an IEP can be implemented without the parents approval.
A school district can not force anything on your child, the parents have the ultimate choice in your child's education process as to the type of classroom and how their education plan will go.


IDEA states that your child should be in regular classroom unless the child cannot be educated satisfactorily there, even with the use of supplements and aids and services.  Although it is recommended that every child be educated in a regular classroom, it is necessary that some children's disabilities are too severe and require to be in a self contained special education classroom.

Your child may just need some support services such as occupational, therapeutic, physical therapy, etc. The school districts provide various services in this area. You can also receives assistive technology and transition services for your child as well.

A great thing that IDEA provides is the right for your child to be placed in a nonprofit or private school if your school district cannot provide an appropriate program. This may be hard to fight and win through the school district. However, if you are proactive and have all of your documentations together, you can get your child in the correct private school somewhere that meets their needs more appropriately than the school district.

If you have a child who has severe needs, I would contact the school district before school even starts to get an evaluation done on your child and an IEP set in place to start the school year off right. I did this for Trenton and started on it the past spring and we had our final meeting this summer. His IEP is set and ready to go on his first day of school. Being a former special education teacher, you can betcha that I will make sure it gets followed to the T!! (A parents needs to be active in their child's education and ensure that their child's teacher is following the IEP and giving your child exactly what they need.) Children with disabilities have a right to an education that meets their needs just like a typical child does.

Stay tuned for more special education post. Please let me know if you have any questions or any suggestions that you would like a post on. There is a lot of information in the special education world and I know it can be very overwhelming at times.
   

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

dvds

Trenton is doing an amazing job lately carrying around his AAC device. (It's in the black bag that is around his shoulders.) I was nervous he would be really rough with it but he is doing much better than what I thought!
Today I went with him and his team of therapist to the library for story time. It was a rough time for him at the library today. He was fixated on the dvd section instead of story time with the librarian. Therefore, it lead to some upset noises and some maladaptive behaviors. At one time during story time he spelled "dvds" out on his AAC device to let us know that he wanted to go look at the dvd section. That was huge!!! I was so proud of him! For those of you that don't know, Trenton has a huge fetish with dvds.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Reassurance

There is a lot of doubt that goes into parenting a child like Trenton who is unable to communicate. Of course there is all kinds of other emotions as well. However, one that I struggle with daily is wondering what Trenton feels towards me. I know deep down that he loves me and loves me to the best of his ability. Yet, I find myself doubting that. I find myself wondering if he really does. After all, he does not come up to me like typical kids can and tells me he loves me. He rarely looks at me or acknowledges me around the house like typical kids do. There is not any, "Oh thank you mom, you are the best." moments like I get from Andrew. He lives in his bubble and I do my best to live in it with him. However, God made me the way I am and I long for those moments that most parents receive.

One of the top situations that is difficult to deal with daily is when Trenton is crying and I don't know what is wrong. However, there are moments when I am not around him that he cries his sad cry and says my name numerous times. Sometimes when I pick him up from Harsha Autism Center and they tell me that he had a day where he cried and said my name several times, of course I am saddened. However, there is a part of me that is jumping for joy because it shows me that he loves me and wants me! He misses me and needs me!!!That is the only time I am reassured that he needs me, wants me, and loves me is when he cries for me when I am not around.

He has had several of those moments the past few weeks. Some have been at therapy and some have been when he is with someone else when I am not around. It breaks my heart and makes my stomach turn because he is unable to communicate. I get a sick feeling when is upset because he has so many trials in this life I don't want to see or hear of him being like that. Yet, he wants me, his mom, and is saying my name and that makes my heart so happy!!! Him and I have been through everything together. I am the ONLY person who really knows what he has been through. I am the ONLY person who really knows him. To be truthful, I feel so blessed and honored that he wants me when times are hard because he can't tell me daily. He knows that it's been me that has been with him through every waking trial. He knows....yet I doubt that at times. So when he cries and says my name when I am not around, I do find some reassurance in it.


Sunday, July 16, 2017

Andrew & Alee

It didn't take these two long to form a great relationship. They are seriously like brother and sister!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Guest Post By Joel Yates

Below is a guest post from my boyfriend, Joel.

Autism, hmm.  That's those little puzzle pieces, right? I see a lot of autism stickers plastered on the back of minivan windows waiting in line at McDonald's or at a traffic light. A sister of a girl I know had a child born with autism and they participate in a walk every year for her to bring awareness to it. Yet, I was still visibly very unaware of it.
I install flooring for a living and sometimes customers would mention that they have a child with autism and that their child was fine until they received their shots.  Other than those rare occasions it was just something that wasn't even real to me.  Yet when I first heard that word it didn't have any significance or meaning to my life at all. I've never met a child with autism. So my first reaction was fear because I just didn't know what to expect.
What am I about to get myself into?
"Nothing will more effectually preserve us in a straight and undeviating course, than a firm persuasion that all events are in the hand of God."
John Calvin
This is the beginning of my journey with a loved one with autism.
I whole heartily believe that God is in total control. He's the sovereign over all of us.  My faith is very firm and my hope is embedded in His promises that are found in His holy word and His providence. Yet, when I first met Trenton, like any person lost or saved, I asked that looming question I believe everyone asks, "Why God?"  Why would this handsome little boy, who looks like any other healthy 6-year-old child live a life with his type of challenges?
The more I watched his mannerisms and his daily routines, the more I began to break inside. I literally felt my heart shattered into a thousand pieces the first few hours. I couldn't even imagine hearing this news from a doctor that my child would live a life with autism and the challenges that come with the diagnosis and this was coming from an outsider with nothing invested in this child, yet. I'm a man, we like to fix things, and I was totally helpless.
Next, I felt sorry for him. I am sure this is a common reaction from most people. I soon found myself saying three little words, "this isn't fair." Those words kept bouncing around in my head, over and over throughout my visit with him. After my first day with Trenton, as I knelt down beside my hotel bed before I retired for the night, I prayed for this young man. "Why God?" entered my mind again.   As I wiped the tears away from my eyes, the book of Job began to press upon my heart.

Job 38:4-7
4 Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.
5 Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line
upon it?

6 Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof;

7 When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
Like Job, I needed an attitude adjustment and I believe all of us in life come to this point.  We need to be put back in a right position of where we stand with God. We also do this at times with our own children as God did with Job, when they needed their attitudes adjusted as well. So we too ask them questions?
Where were you when the light bill needed to be paid. Or where were you when I spent 300 dollars on groceries this week? Where we you when your clothes needed to be washed?
Sometimes we forget how blessed we truly are and forget that everything we have from the air in our lungs to the clothes we wear is all created by a Creator, God, who takes pleasure in using His creation for His glory. It's all being worked out for our good to those who are called of God. I know that is not easy to see when facing a difficult situation in life in the present moment, but faith is trusting Him through all circumstances this life brings upon us. I know this doesn't answer why God makes some children different, but the book of Job is a great place to start if you feel God is being unfair.

Now, let me rewind my story back to the very start of all things where my journey first began with the “word” autism.
I was never a huge fan of online dating sites. That's not me. It will never work. I'm more old fashioned and believe in meeting in the ordinary daily routine of life. Yet, a friend suggested I join Christian Mingle and that is where I came across Angela Tackitt. When I first saw her pictures I was intrigued. She and her two boys looked just like any normal American family. Besides seeing her decked out in St Louis Cardinals apparel, as me being a Cincinnati Reds fan, it could have possibly been love at first sight. Just kidding☺
Her family looked like any other family until I read her bio and it said. "I have a son, who has Autism. At that time I just joined so I had many messages being a new subscriber. I  told myself I wasn't going to get a paid membership to be able to talk to someone. I wasn't going to do that unless I was blown away by someone. I read through tons of profiles but I kept coming back to hers and I'm still not sure why.  She wasn't the typical girl I would usually try to date, but I kept feeling an urge to try to talk to her. So I first sent her a smile which is the way off breaking the ice and never expected her to send me a message back. She wrote me. I wrote back and the rest is history.
We connected instantly and our faith in God helped make the transition much easier. It's really like I've known her my whole life now. She had mentioned she had written a book in one of our first conversation to one and another, Two Brothers One Journey. So I thought I do some reconnaissance on her and search her online. To my surprise, a lot of pages popped up and the one I clicked on was a YouTube video of her. She was sitting in her car crying over a tough day she had with Trenton, reading one of the chapters out of her book trying to remind others it's going to be ok. What selflessness, I thought. I have a 9-year-old daughter whose mother left her at 3 months and totally walked away for good at 13 months.  Needless to say, selflessness is definitely an attribute of hers that really tugged at my heartstrings. I could tell God was using this woman who had been put in a tough predicament in this life to help others who may be facing this all alone without God. Who may  need to hear a few simple words of encouragement like, it's going to be ok. I did it, so can you.
Then the man who said he'd be there through forever and worst didn't hold up his end of the bargain and left her to fight this battle alone. Even through all these trails, she is still praising God even when it's still so very hard, but through this life, God is conforming her more and more each passing moment into Jesus Christ…….. Into a strong Christian woman…….. Into the true definition of motherhood and its beautification……..Into a true and unshakable testimony
Angela and I had been talking for well over a month and I've yet to meet Trenton. She was so scared I was going to run for the hills as soon as I did.
Needless to say as soon as the opportunity arose for me to take a couple days off of work in order for me to  drive to Terre Haute and meet Trenton, I did. I arrived  around lunch time and Trenton was at his therapy. I  was a little on edge during the van ride to first pick Trenton up at the therapy center. When I get nervous I make jokes. So I tried my very best to keep Angela laughing. It's not that hard though when you have Andrew in the van because you just never know what he's going to say next. When we arrived at his therapy place, she went in to pick him up. As I waited for her to return with Trenton, I found myself fidgeting with anything around me. I was definitely nervous, but as soon as he got in and looked around the seat at me it was just like any other child without the ability to communicate.
I just didn't know what to expect or what his capabilities were. I know it took a ton of work to get Trenton where he is today. A large majority of my observations are coming as an outsider who couldn't hold a candle to what most families of children with autism have gone through to get to the point they are at today.
I personally just want to encourage other men or women that if you meet a person who is single and raising a child with autism, it doesn't have to be a burden. Instead, it can be a blessing because of how God is molding these individuals.
When we finally arrived back at Angela's house she warned me he'll probably be very distant at first towards me and Alee, my daughter. Yet, as soon as I walked in the door Trenton came straight up to me and put both of his arms on each of my shoulders. I felt like he was sizing me up, but Angela reassured me this was his way of saying hello. She was surprised at how well he first reacted around me and it made me feel like I belonged.  Trenton was now breaking the ice with his own smile. After our special moment,  he went 100 mph until bed time.
The next day he grabbed my hand and took me to the trampoline. We jumped for what seemed like hours and I soon realized how out of shape I was, but it was worth it. He grabbed both my hands, looked me in my eyes and smiled right at me while we were in the trampoline. I definitely noticed his lack of eye contact. I learned a lesson that day and it was not to take things for granted. My daughter tells me she "loves me" one million times a day. I value her saying it but there are times that I simply don’t say it back to her. After being around Trenton that day it made me realize that Angela would do anything just to hear that from him one time. Sadly, there I am taking moments like those for granted.
I found that I could handle most things on that first day. The only thing I had issues was when he had an accident in his pants and needed changed. At that moment, I tucked tail and ran screaming for Angela.
We had our fun times together. I chased him around the living room for about thirty minutes until I collapsed and then he jumped on my back and he rode around on me like a cowboy. Angela said he really enjoyed that.  All the other little things such as his eating routines and why he needs the certain medications that he takes is all new to me.

However, one small thing was so noticeable with him. He was a very smart young man. At one point in the day, he was digging through a tote of DVDs and he made sure that each DVD was in its right case. He happened upon a DVD that didn't have a case. He  immediately got up, went into his mother’s room, and reached under something and pulled the DVD case out. I was so shocked he could remember where that individual case was for that DVD that he left there. I’m not sure a typical 6-year-old kid  could remember that well?

We all have our challenges in certain areas and most of us have more challenges than Trenton. Trenton will never know what it’s like to feel the peer pressure of dressing in designer clothes or what it’s like to be addicted to alcohol or drugs and the devastation that can cause. He is pure in so many areas from sin that we can only dream to be. Sometimes our disabilities are more often accepted in society as normal and we say he isn't? Hmm, ponder on that for a while. After my first visit with Trenton, most of my fears were now long gone.
The unknown is yet still very scary and tomorrow isn't here yet, but with God, I know I can handle anything life throws at me. Will it always be easy? No that's what I told Angela one day in one of our personal emails; I told her
But didn't God give you an autistic kid for a reason? Not to be a burden, but a blessing in this life. You know first-hand life with an autistic kid is going to be very hard. It's always going to be a struggle and a battle. If I marry you I will be in the van just as much as you will be in the church with alee and Andrew.  What is a good life? Easy, comfortable, no problems?  No, a good life is being married and spending every day together through the good and the bad times. Praising God together even when everything seems to be caving in, but we got each other and it's always enough. We will learn from each other. Nothing is easy in life. You think losing a mother is easy? You think raising a 3-month girl on your own is easy? Yes, I had sleep deprivation also for the first 2 years not to your extent but guess what that made me the man, I am today. The man you have grown to love and that's the reason Alee is the way she is today because of my hard work, sacrifice, and commitment: the same that you have also made. It's tough to raise normal kids.  I won't even pretend to understand what you been through, but GUESS WHAT ANGELA I WANT TO GO THROUGH ALL THAT WITH YOU BECAUSE I FREAKING LOVE YOU. BRING ON ANYTHING LIFE CAN THROW AT US AS LONG AS WE CAN FACE IT TOGETHER!!!!!

Life at times can be unimaginably hard and seem unfair.  Life seems like this especially when you feel you're facing it all alone and carrying this burden all on your own, but God doesn't want us to face those burdens without Him.

Matthew 11:28-30
28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall
find rest unto your souls.

30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.


He wants to have a relationship with each of his children and that's why he established the family first, so we wouldn't be alone. We'd have each other to lean upon when at times God can feel so far away.
2 Corinthians 5:7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)


Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
We all know there are so many bad things that transpire in life. At least we label them bad because we simply can't understand with our finite minds in that present moment that they are for our good. God hasn't promised that everything that happens to us will be good, but has promised that everything that happens to us will work out for our good.

Jacob couldn't see the providence of God when he asked, "And Jacob their father said unto them, Me have ye bereaved of my children: Joseph is not, and Simeon is not, and ye will take Benjamin away: all these things are against me." But if you read on through scripture none of those things were against Jacob.
Here is our problem; most of us never look past today. We don't see the future or wish to see the future beyond our own measures of temporal success. We're more interested in these temporary feelings of pleasure in our present moment than the sweet by and by promised to those who are in Christ. We are not generational oriented like the men and women of scripture. We have to rest on one simple truth, if we are going to walk pleasing unto the Lord we must walk in faith. Walking in faith refers to God's promises and His Providence. We must believe whatever happens to us is going to ultimately manifest for our good and His glory.  Why? Because God is in control.  He's sovereign. He works everything out. It's our responsibility to trust in him. Submit to Him. To lean upon Him. To have confidence in Him. It's His part to work everything out.
"Duty is ours. Consequences are God's."
General Stonewall Jackson
Faith pleases God and we can't please him unless we believe in His person, His promises, and His providence.

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not
seen.
Our hope is in Him. Our evidence is in His Word and His providence. Beyond God, there is no other. This doesn't mean we will never have dark days or that there won't be difficult and tough times. It doesn't mean there will be times we won't be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel or face trails so difficult that we question if we even have the strength to push through. However, in those dark and tremulous times, we must still trust in God, His Promise, and His providence. Even when we break down and admit to our Lord that we don't understand. .....or that we can't see how He can work this out. Sometimes we don't see how this is going to manifest to our glory and to our good one day. However, we must trust the Lord. Even in this darkness and in my ignorance I'm going to lean upon you …and trust that you already have this worked out.  If we are going to ever walk with the Lord we must walk in faith because without faith it's impossible to please him.

I can't tell you why Trenton is the way he is. All I know it that God has a purpose for all this and he's working it out in the counsel of His own will for His glory and our good. All we can do is trust him and that's the root of faith.

This is the beginning of my journey to autism. Now I pray that by God's grace it may become a story of: Two
Families, One journey.


Trenton and I hanging out on the couch together on our first visit with each other.