Thursday, May 27, 2010

Time to Love

I read a blog post the other day on ADHD that has gotten me thinking. One thing she said was that because she choose to medicate her child, people didn't resent her or her son for his behavior. I started thinking back over the years of raising Jesse and people reactions to him.So many times he has been treated poorly by others because of his actions. This is by both adults and children. It hasn't been just when he was on his medication or off, it hasn't really matter. He has been treated the same. He has kids call him names, adults roll their eyes at him when he wants to sit by him, adults who refuse or resent working with him, children who make fun of his siblings because of him, adults and children talk bad about him to others, and the list goes on and on.

My son is not a bad child. He is not a kid who will act out just to make you mad. He does not ignore you just because. He is not rude to you because he doesn't like you. He IS a boy with disabilities! He IS a boy who is struggling to make it in a world where he is looked down upon. He IS a boy with a heart of gold if you are willing to take the time to see it. He IS an amazing person with a sweet testimony of life and the gospel.Jesse has ADHD and Aspergers Syndrome. This means that his brain is wired differently than yours and mine resulting in him processing information differently. For example he does not connect the fact that he can't just say whatever is on his mind, especially if it is a rude thought. To him it doesn't seem wrong. For him he struggles greatly with impulse control, understanding consequences, hyperactivity, knowing how to appropriately interact with others, and many other facets of daily life. So often because it is not a readily visible disability, people think he is just a bad kid. Would you tell a child with a physical handicap the same thing? Of course not. People sympathize with them and love them despite the disability. The same should be true with children with mental disabilities.
I know more than anyone what Jesse is like. 95% of the time Jesse is with me or another member of the family. Many times we are asked to be present where ever Jesse is to take care of him. This is a double edged sword for me. I love my son and will always be there for him. But it also bothers me that when people don't take the time it takes to get to know Jesse to the point that they know how to best deal with him. It seems easier to just look at his problems and resent him for it than to take the extra time to get to know him. I can guarantee you that no one has seen his worst or his best other than me and yes that includes Robert and the other kids.
I am so very grateful for those who have taken the time to love and care for my son. There are some great friends who without question willing let Jesse come play or stay at their house for a few hours. That time means more to him than you can ever know. He truly loves and cherishes these people who let him into their heart, even if he is unable to tell them. These bright rays of sunshine light my sons life as well as my own.
It is my ever present hope that people will take the time to get to know my son. Yes it will be a rocky road, full of unpleasant times. But in the end it will be a tremendous blessing to him and others. He is growing and improving constantly. Having him home from school has been one of the best things we have ever done for him. He works a couple of times a week with an amazing PSR worker is strives to help him survive socially. He continues with counseling monthly to help us all find what is best for him. He tries to incorporate all he learns to be better and has come a long way. However he will most likely always have problems anytime there are changes, struggle with controlling his impulses, and get overstimulated easily in social situations causing him to act out. Thank you to everyone who helps Jesse to become the best person he can. Thank you for the dedication you have shown our son and your patience and love toward him. It is a blessing to us to have the privilege to raise him, and we are grateful for all the help you give to us.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Some Things To Think About

I met a friend of my mothers this past weekend and in the course of a very interesting conversation, she brought up a point that I wanted to share. We were talking about our thoughts, how they impact us, and where negative thoughts come from.

She said how she pictured a certain number of Satan's warriors assigned to each of us and that they can call in reinforcements when needed. These warriors lined up to tempt us and try us. the first in line comes forward and prompts us with thoughts such as "You are dumb." If we give in to that then they stay and continue to torment our thoughts. However if we tell those thought to shut up and go away, that warrior loses his power over us and has to move to the end of the line. That puts a little more space between us and the next warrior. He, however, learns from his predecessor and will tweak the thoughts such as "You are dumb and lazy." We must also then tell those thoughts to shut up and go away without giving in to them. If we continually cast out these negative thoughts then we are able to overcome Satan's grasp on us.

We are not alone in this battle though. Heavenly Fathers angels are ready and waiting to come to our aid. This difference though is that we must ask for their help. If they automatically step in whenever we have trouble, then we have no agency and are following Satan's plan. We must ask for their guidance to maintain our agency and to overcome our trials.

We also talked about trials. In school when you are given a test, you were first prepared for that test by being taught all you needed to know ahead of time. The same is true with our mortal existence. Heavenly Father prepared us for all things before we came to earth. He gave us every tool for every experience we will have. We were then sent us to earth with the veil lowered so we could have a true test of our knowledge. The knowledge to overcome every circumstance in our lives in within us, we just have to listen with our spiritual ears to remember what we were taught. That is why I could not have been a pioneer or handled someone elses trials, I was not prepared for them or given the tools to make it through their experiences. But I was given the one I needed for my life. What comfort that is to know that I can make it through all things given me because my Heavenly Father prepared me for them!

Saturday, March 13, 2010


So I wanted to get this story down before I forgot it. This past December I took Tyler and Britain to the temple to do some family baptisms. While we were waiting to get started Tyler said how she wanted to do this every year as a Christmas tradition and how she wanted to do the work for my biological fathers family. I was shocked because I didn't think I had ever told them I was adopted by my father and about my birth father. I put it out of my mind and went on with the day.

A few weeks later I was giving a lesson in Relief Society. I don't remember the lesson, but I was reading a part that said we needed to honor our parents even if they were not the best parents and have hurt us. They gave us life and for that reason alone we should honor them. As I was reading it I had the very distinct feeling that I needed to do the work for my birth father and to forgive him. I had a hard time putting it into words as it happened and dealing with what was happening at that moment. I have hated my birth father for so long. I have never wanted anything to do with him, even when he was married to my mother. Why was I suddenly getting this impression?

I went home feeling very unsettled in my heart. I called my mom and she was very upset by it all. I prayed that night asking if there was someone who was ready to accept the gospel in that line and waiting for their work to be done and was given that answer that there was. My biological father was not a member of the church nor was anyone in his family. Of my sisters who are his biological daughters one of the has made lifestyle choices that won't allow her to do the temple work needed, and one struggles more than I do with what he did. I guess that left me as the only person to do this work. It has not been easy though.

For the longest time I struggled with the idea of adding his name as a father in family search. I do not consider him a father to me and it took me quite a while to add him. I made sure that it still should my dad as my father and my biological father as an additional parent (my dad adopted us and we are sealed to him so in the eyes of the law and the church he is my father not my biological father. in fact our birth certificates were even changed to reflect that).

I then decided to try to do and Internet search for his parents so I didn't have to keep bothering my mother and digging up old ghosts for her. What I found came as another major shock. I found out that my birth father passed away about 16 months ago from being electrocuted in a work related accident. I was the one who had to inform my mother and sisters that he had passed. Finding this out brought on a whole new set of emotions that I struggled dealing with and I had a hard time getting him out of my mind. I put his death information into Family Search and it came up with his ordinances being ready to be done. It was so hard to see his name linked with those ordinances. I am still trying accept it and print the cards to begin his work. My children, who have not been tarnished with the past, are eager and willing to do the work for his family. I am struggling each step of the way. Britain in all his wisdom told me that maybe this was how I was going to be able to forgive him.

This next weekend I will be getting the genealogical records my mother has to try again to start some of this work. I am not sure if it is my birth father or one of his ancestors that is ready to receive this work. Tyler (the first to be prompted) and I (the second one to be prompted) received the promptings about a year and a month after his death. Maybe in that time he has changed and is anxiously awaiting for the ordinances of the gospel. Whoever is ready, I am sorry for my personal struggles and will try to overcome.

Mom and Dad

The last few months for my parents have been laced with medical problems and stress. My dad fell and broke both knee caps and after surgery was in a rehab facility for several weeks. During that time my mother ended up in the hospital with some heart problems. once my dad came home from rehab, he started having major problems with his blood sugar and ended up back in the hospital for a day.

Almost losing both of my parents in a month wasn't easy. I wanted to take the time to write down some of the things about my parents. First of all my dad. My dad may not have my biological father, but he chose to love my sisters and I and he has loved us as his one. He gave up so much to raise us after he had already raised his family. He lovingly took in and cared for us, giving us all he could. I got the opportunity to live alone with my dad for awhile while our family had to be geographically separated because of work while I was in elementary school. I remember laying on his bed with him watching tv at night and him playing his old country records like Patsy Cline. My dad has always loved what he calls "shoot 'em up westerns" and especially John Wayne. He did a great job caring for me (and for part of the time my sister) until our family could be reunited again. Most weekends we would drive the 4 hours to St. George where my mom and sister lived. Even then my dad liked to drive slow!

While we lived on the reservation I remember piling in the back of the pickup and driving around, sometimes with the camper shell on and sometimes without. My dad loved to take us out to a cafe (I think at 3rd Mesa) that served monstrous Navajo tacos that were amazing. Since he was a high school teacher, he would often get invited to some of the different celebrations on his students. I remember going to some of the different Navajo/Hopi villages so see the different dances.

My dad has such a love for science and would often take us out rock hunting through out Arizona. We would go look at petrified wood and go on picnics in the desert. My dad also built us several radios, in fact I think I was in high school before I had a radio that wasn't built by my dad. My dad loves to tease as well. He constantly has a joke to tell. My kids have come to rely on his suckers that he always has on hand to give them when we visit. My dad now loves to build things with rocks. He has his little rock shop in back of their house and he is always giving us little gifts he has made.

When Robert was in Korea and Colorado with the Army, we bought a house that was across the alley from my parents. My dad was always helping me out, fixing up the house and the yard when I needed it. If he couldn't physically handle the work, he would walk me through what I needed to do. He has always been there for us and I love you so much dad!!

My mom is an amazing woman. She divorced my birth father when I was very little and raised my sisters and I until she married my dad. She was never one to sit around, but was always working to better our lives. She went back to school a few years after marrying my dad to get a degree in accounting. At the time she worked for a law firm. We lived in a beautiful home my father built for us in St. George. After we all had reunited and were living in Arizona she again went back to school to finish her education. At that time she changed her major to education and had to work hard to get her degree as my dad's health was failing. We once again had to live apart while she went to school and my dad worked to support us. this time we were only and hour and a half away though and my dad came home each weekend. My mom graduated from college when I was a sophomore with a 4.0 GPA (this while raising 5 kids). She never gave up and went above and beyond what was necessary to get her degree. We then moved to where my mom got a teaching job which allowed my dad to retire. My mom continues to work hard teaching and supporting her family and has touching many hundreds of students lives.

My mom is also a wonderful musician. She plays the piano and organ. She tried to get us girls to play, although we didn't cooperate. There were many times when my mother accompanied me singing for different music festivals, in church, and for my auditions in college. She has also accompanied my sister in all her music. Even with all her skill, she decided a few years ago to go back to taking piano and organ lessons to improve her talents she was blessed with. In all she does she tries to be an example to her children of how to overcome trials and be better. She was the one who encouraged me to go back to school when Robert went overseas and to get my masters (she even found the program that was perfect for my situation)

One of the things that has been the most special for me has been the relationship we have had as adults. My mom is one of my very dear friends. We talk often on the phone and can share our deepest frustrations and successes. She has also raised a child with special needs and understands what I am going through. So many times we have comforted each other in our trials as mothers. I could not make it through all that I do with out my mother! I love you mom!!!


We are trying an experiment with Jesse and church tomorrow. After a particularly stressful Sunday last week Robert and I asked out Bishop for a blessing this week to help feel less overwhelmed. We never did get around to the blessings, but had a good talk and he came up a possible solution to help Jesse feel more comfortable in church.

Most Sundays, Jesse hates going to church it is a fight each week to get him dressed and ready. Then Sacrament meeting is another battle of trying to keep him sitting quietly for 70 minutes. It ends up being a torture session for him and me. So bishop suggested having him go to sacrament meeting at Annabelle House (a care facility) and then coming to primary when it is time. This will make it so that he only has to sit quietly for about 20-30 minutes, there is less people to overwhelm him, and he can potentially help out as needed with the meeting (Bishop suggested having him pass the mic for testimony meetings). He will be able to take the sacrament like he needs to without having to sit so long when he isn't getting anything out of the meeting.

Yesterday I talked with Jesse about it and he was so excited. He was talking about it today even. This is the first time ever that I have seen him excited to go to church. Brother Lowder (he is in charge of the meetings there) even told him he could help pass out hymn books if he was there a few minutes early which thrilled Jesse. It is so wonderful to see Jesse excited to go to church and hopefully it will be a great solution for this sweet boy!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Heavenly Fathers Blessings

So it is no secret that life around our house can be a struggle, financially, emotionally,etc. Robert works two jobs just so we can stay mostly afloat and I do what I can to supplement while still being home with the children. This year for the preschool has been rough. At the beginning of the year I had a lot of interested and registered students and things look good. I ordered my curriculum to cover all the students and then all but a few pulled out for various reasons. I was left with a lot of expense with not a lot of money coming in to cover it. A few months ago we were blessed with a few opportunities that came to us that have helped to make up the difference and set us more ahead of where we would be with just the preschool.

I am so grateful for the promise I felt when we made the decision 3 1/2 years ago when I quit teaching that if we went to the temple each week we would be ok financially. That has truly happened for us. With each major financial situation since then, we have been blessed to come through it relatively quickly and with help from above.

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Ups and Downs of Life

So this last week has been very challenging with Jesse. In many ways it isn't unexpected because he always struggled with school around the middle of the year, but it makes for some challenging days dealing with it all day, every day.

For example our day on Monday was horrid school wise. It took him 3 hours in the morning to do math, his best subject. He just was so unfocused and distracted. After that I got him through a few short lessons like spelling before lunch. He then left for a few hours with his PSR worker. When he came back it took him 7 hours to complete a reading test mainly because it had several short answer questions and a short essay and he HATES writing. We finally finished the test around 10 at night. I had had it and was very frustrated, but the rule is if he is being defiant he has to finish his school work that day no matter how late. We finally finished all his work at 11:45 at night, close to 15 hours after we first started in the morning. The good part about it was that in the past he would usually be belligerent in his defiance with school work, while that he he just sat and didn't work. I guess you take the good however small.

Several others days have been like that this week, just not the that extreme. Last week however, he did amazing every day in school. I guess so many days we could just find and even playing field so that I could know what to expect. I hate guessing what kind of a day it will be. I know this will never happen, but it is nice to dream I guess.