Meeting Update

JOIN US!

We have a support group for moms in the Tulsa area!

Our group meets the first Thursday of every month from 7-9p.
We welcome all moms who are parenting children who have Asperger's Syndrome.
For locations and last minute updates about meetings, check here or (even better) check our Facebook page.
We are currently meeting in the back room at Mazzio's on 51st & Sheridan in Tulsa.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

You are CHOSEN you know!

All! I realize most of us fill in the sentence above with "chosen for WHAT?!!" on days that are not the best.  However, I am re-writing what I always do for the December post because we all need to hear it again and again. 

This was a writing that my Mom gave me several years ago, when I was struggling with the reality of all a "diagnosis" brought with it to our son and our family and his and our futures.  I love this and it is actually up in my closet so I can read it every day if I need to.  I hope you will love it too in this most precious season!!

Also wanted you to know that the Post Secondary effort is going strong.  I presented at several venues in October, November and then this week as well and continue to build educated parents as well as interested professionals and legislators.  Sooner Success and I also have met with Stand for Children as well as legislators working on funding options.  We will be in a full fledged effort to raise money to start the programs soon, so please keep talking about it, telling people and getting those you know to engage with the facebook page and register on the website as much as possible.  This will only happen if we all work together on it!

Don't ever forget that God has a plan for your child.  As one of the educators that is on a film I show in my presentations says: "There are no throw away people."  The fact that you are their parent also means your job may be more complex than most parents, but there is also a plan that you are a part of making happen that is much bigger than yourself!!  I hope this short writing is meaningful to you this season! 

Maybe God chose Mary because He knew she would be the one to fortify herself, to be embroiled in inner turmoil for the sake of this special child.  It wasn't easy raising the Son of God.  And Mary was the one who would sit at his bedside at night and look at this one who didn't look like a king and wonder "What am I supposed to do?"

"The Lord has blessed you and is with you.  Don't be afraid, Mary; God has shown you his grace."                        Luke 1:28, 30.

Christmas Blessings,
Julie



Wednesday, November 4, 2015

What's your Jordan?

Hi all you beautiful people out there!

How are things?  "Things" can be radically different for all of us on any given day, can't they?  We could be having a "sunny and 83 degree day" or a "last Spring, it will never dry up day" and everything in between.  Today I spoke to a friend who was leaving for a dream European trip, a friend with her Mom in critical condition and a friend dealing with some serious health stuff.  Today also, I had a great report for something our son stepped up to self advocate for at school, had good news about an event for the college effort we are working on and found an error at my "day job" that is not a great thing.  So there ya go!  You never know what a day will bring.

We can fill our days with "things" can't we?  They are good things, worthy things, and sticky things.  They are also sometimes things that get in the way of something we need to step out to do. We may have something we need to do, but it's a big thing to us, so we fill our time with lots of "things" and thereby, push off that "something" we need to do.

The Bible tells about Joshua - who took over leadership of his people after Moses - needing to move forward.  God told him in order to move forward he had to step in a river at flood stage - Jordan - and cross it.  What was the key to success?  Building a bridge with supernatural wood? Walking over the water like Jesus would walk on water? Building a mini ark?  No indeed.  It was to have the priests wade INTO the water.  Once the priests waded in ...the water would part and the riverbed would dry up.   It was rainy season and the river was full, moving fast and overflowing.  Why were the priests the first ones in?  Because they carried something called the "Ark of the Covenant", which was a chest of sorts that contained Holy items from God and represented God's presence with their people.  A visual reminder that if we put God first, he can do anything.  The people always went BEHIND the priests with the Ark.  That way, the people always had God in front to lead the way.  So what happened?  Just as God said...when the priests stepped in, the riverbed dried up and all others were able to cross onto dry ground.

So, what's your Jordan?  What is the "Thing" you need to step out and do, that only you can do?  Is it make that call to school and talk about how things might be tried in a different way to help your kid?  Is it to schedule a teacher conferene or IEP meeting to take care of an unpleasant subject that you would rather build a bridge than wade in for?  Is it schedule that councelor, psychologist, speech path, etc. etc. to try something new for your kid?  The inertia of being too busy with "things" to do the very task you need to tackle is a tool we may use to dodge what we know we should be doing, and what God may have in mind for us if we ever would actually wade in.  So!  I encourage you to take a look inside your heart and see if there's a Jordan you need to step into, and then know there is a mighty God that will go in front of you, if you let Him!

14 So when the people broke camp to cross the Jordan, the priests carrying the ark of the covenant went ahead of them. 15 Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest. Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water’s edge, 16 the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap a great distance away, at a town called Adam in the vicinity of Zarethan, while the water flowing down to the Sea of the Arabah (that is, the Dead Sea) was completely cut off. So the people crossed over opposite Jericho. 17 The priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord stopped in the middle of the Jordan and stood on dry ground, while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground.                           Joshua 3:14-17

I will miss Mom's group tomorrow night as I will be at the Owasso Transition Fair.  There is lot's going on for the college effort and I am speaking at the Oklahoma Autism Conference next weekend, so hope to see some of you there! 


Thanks so much for checking in!  

Blessings,
Julie

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Do you see it?

How did your day go today?  How did your kiddo's day go?
Did you see anything behind the good, bad or unusual, or did you just look at face value on the happenings of today?

There is so much more around all of us than what is obvious.  A kiddo's melt down over homework may be just about homework, but it may also mean that he or she is afraid to do the work because they are afraid they may get something wrong, or not do what you expect them to do.  They may also have misunderstood something that was said and think the very worst, when in fact, that "something that was said" was inconsequential.  
I have been reminded lately that what we see on the surface often is not at all what is going on.  We all need to be really mindful of what things are behind our kiddos actions at this point of a new school year as well as change of seasons.  Shorter days, less outside activity time and school work can really wear on our kids.

We might consider looking for reasons to give small, specific praises to our kids, as specificity is what they actually need.  Often, global compliments like "Great Job", does not make an impact, but "you did a great job having a good attitude about homework tonight", does compute!
We had marvelous quote by Einstein up for a long time in our sons room, and it is so very good to be reminded of this truth, by arguably the most brilliant scientist of all time (who definitely had aspergian tendencies btw:)  )  He said :  "Not everything that can be counted, counts; and not everything that counts can be counted."  
I still love this quote so very much.

In a world that gives worth to a person based on GPA's, rankings, popularity, and what accolades they may receive, it is a good thing to remember God doesn't care one bit about that stuff.  

            "So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."  
                                   2 Corinthians 4:18

Blessings!
Julie

                             


Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Be Still!

Yes, a new school year has started!  What does that mean to Mom's of kiddos that are wired differently?

  • Happier kid, because they have structure again!
  • Angry kid, because they hate homework!
  • Happier kid, because they are around a friend/friends!
  • Sad kid, because they don't feel like they have friends!
  • Happier kid, because they love music/recess/math/science, etc.!
  • Frustrated kid because they don't understand the world in general (Yet!)!
  • Happier Mom, because they kiddo is in school
  • Frustrated Mom, because their life is taken over by helping with homework for hours every day!
  • Happier Mom, because they know their kid needs to be in the world and learn to navigate social, even if it's painful, while they are still in a semi-protected environment!
  • Stressed out Mom, juggling all of the multiple assignments, due dates, activities, emotions
And so it goes.  You could just as easily put in "Dad" here as well, as we know!

So, any combination of the above;  home schooled, public school, private school, we all feel an increase in momentum at this time of year.  Things happen in our society beginning in about September that change the "feel" of life, and if we "feel" that change, our kiddos feel that at about the power of 10 - we must always remember that!  As the parent of a 17 year old who has navigated these waters for a while, I can tend to forget that.  Until.  Something brings that back into super sharp focus!   The wiring of our kids will always be there - and be different than the typical person, although those wires start to be lots more settled in the majority of our kids as they grow older.  However, they will always have a predisposition to whatever their particular weakness is when things overwhelm them.  Last week for instance, we had a rough day - with multiple things going on all at once, and we were racing around trying to get them all done, and we were all about to implode. The choice we can make at such a time is to continue to escalate along with our kid - which is not a good idea.  
Or, we can be still.  
At the moment when I really wanted to escalate along with my 17 year old, I told him to stay in the chair at his desk and not move, and I chose to walk out into the yard and sit on a zero gravity chair. Turns out that was a really good idea.  
As I sat there and breathed, and looked out at the technicolor of a summer evening, heard the locusts and sound of the breeze, I just breathed.  All the escalation emotion evaporated.  And, I heard in my soul "be still and know I am God."  If you look up the different translations of this power verse, it is pretty cool the different meanings that are given:  Be still, Cease striving, Stop your fighting, Be in awe, Return, Let go,  
Good Stuff.  If you have not been to a Wrights Law seminar (free every year in Oklahoma City in December) you need to go.  One of the principal thing this attorney teaches is when you get that call from school that something crazy has happened, DO NOT DO ANYTHING right away (unless your kids life is in danger of course).  He speaks that there are very few things that happen that actually demand immediate action, and that if you wait, and think and get council, etc., you will most likely have a much better outcome.  I think this is just restating what God already has in place for us. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves that the most powerful thing we can do is to actually not DO anything.  But instead Be Still and simply be aware that there is a God who loves us and our kids, who made them for a purpose, and although it may be difficult at times, if we will be still on occasion, He can help calm that storm and give us the breath to get up and go again.  
                                      "Be still, and know that I am God; ..."           Psalm 46:10
Blessings,
Julie

Monday, August 3, 2015

Back to IT!

All!

Well yes, it is back to school...and if you are a homeschooling Mom, you may not have ever been in "summer" hours.  But nevertheless, the world, when we have kids in school, seems to revolve around school years rather than calendar years.

So!  This Thursday, we will have the basic reminders we always go over for "back to school" "eat your Wheaties" talk, as well as check in with everyone as we do not meet in July.

Something to remember now though is give your kids LOTS and LOTS of Grace.  Our kids deal with stress very differently than most folks typically, and although they may either be off the charts visually stressed and talking about it all the time, or seem completely unfazed by new schedules, remember that they are dealing with yet another big change in their lives.  Mine now talks about how nervous he is, but that took years and frankly when I want to put him in a soundproofed room so I don't hear about the nervousness - I simply remember when we truly never knew how he was feeling, and it's all alight.  Keep this transition in perspective and keep that in mind also as our kids are very amplified conduits of OUR stress.  If we show stress when schedules are wrong, the teacher is wrong, they did not get copies of the IEP where they need to be, they won't allow us to get our handy cheat sheets of our kids to the teachers early...etc. etc., then that may just tip our kids into fall apart mode.  So ladies - get some chocolate, soothing music, deep breathing techniques, or whatever helps you chill, and keep it handy for the sake of your kiddos!  And, read this verse for a great way to deal with anxiety!!
            "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God."           Philippians 4:6

On another note - if you don't follow LeadLearnLive on Facebook - AMAZING things happening with the PSE College effort I've been working on.  There has been what is called a TPSID grant released that is due 8/10.  There are 2 schools I have been working with that are applying:  Connors State in Warner (a wonderful 2 year residential college), and East Central University in Ada.  These are superstar schools - I presented to them within days of the TPSID release at the end of June and they both marshaled their forces and have done amazing things to go for the program and write the grants in very short order.  That is indeed amazing as it typically takes many months for this to be put together, get the partners, write the program, etc. etc. etc. so - please pray for these schools to get funded.  I have always said this is a God sized task, and God sized it is.

Blessings, and stay calm!!!
Julie

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

"Treasures" in Change!

Ah Spring!

We have had all sorts of challenging "teenage attitude" moments lately.  End of the school year is always interesting with high stakes testing, block scheduling (a high school thing - made to torture kids who like routine!), and knowing the end of a lovely regular schedule of school is coming.  This always results in entertaining moments.  (Can I get an Amen on that??!!)
So what do we do when we experience these things?  On occasion, these fun times come about at the exact time we make our monthly visit to our Doc who deals with the anxiety piece of the gift of AS.
As we lamented on the unruliness of our son, and asked "What the Heck?" about some of his behaviors...our Doc started to smile and then happily told us he was SO happy to hear that, as the pain in the butt that our son has become at times is NORMAL...TYPICAL behavior.  He was so happy to know about his behavior, that he really didn't give us any magic strategy to deal with it....a part of yes, growing up. (GASP!)

What we do need to remind ourselves about our kiddos on the spectrum, is that (per our Doc) our kids are anywhere from 10% - 30% delayed in their neurotypical development.  So, take our crazed 17 year old, and I'll go with the 20% at times of stress lately, and that puts him at a whopping 13 and 1/2 years old chronologically speaking.  Truly, that is indeed his behavior to a "T" at times lately.
So!...be glad? be sad? be mad?  All 3, at various times.

 I try to think of our kids as not so much a puzzle but more of a treasure hunt.  They are amazing beings, created for a purpose, and even in the worst of times this is true.  So, we need to always look for that treasure within the Spectrum junk, because it most certainly is there.

                  "But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us".              2 Corinthians 4:7

I will be talking about some GF/CF basics on Thursday as well as some general nutrition info.  Hope to see you there!

Look for those treasures!
Blessings,
Julie



Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Absent for a while...but encouraged!

Well, well, well....where the HECK have I been?
It has been December since I've done a post, and that is ridiculous - but sometimes, life is also ridiculous!
I have had a bit of a season - 3 months actually - of some battles with health stuff.  Like many of us, "stuff" comes and goes out of our lives.  Let me tell you, it felt like a lifetime of challenge.  So...how about our kids?
It IS a lifetime of challenge!  So...once you think about others that REALLY deal with a lifetime of "stuff"...your stuff doesn't seem so bad, ya know?
The thing that encouraged me the most was this:
 
  "Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact your are doing."
                                                         1 Thessalonians 5:11
I have some major bad"butt" (as my son would say) prayer warriors in my life, and encouragers that could make anyone on their worst day think they were amazing.  We all have people in our lives that do that for us. Sometimes you may not see it, especially while you are in the middle of your "stuff", but those people are there.  What is our job?  To encourage right back.  Build others up.  Be there.

That goes for our kids as well.  As my son gets ever closer to the no man's land of college experience for most Asperger students in our state, I tend to get hyper focused on what the challenges are, rather than the strides forward.  Today was a good example of that.  We acquired a rescue lab after Christmas...a hulk actually...enormous creature...also a gift from God that adores our son.  Well, that lab got his first tick today. After painstakingly plying our furry hulk with treats, all the while trying to work the tick out of a sensitive fold inside his ear, I gave up and made a vet appt. to take him in after an errand I had to run, with instructions that when I got back...have the hulk ready to go, etc.  About 30 minutes later my husband called and said our son had called him to tell him he had removed the tick and put it in a plastic bag for further examination.  I about blew a fuse, thinking the tick was half in his ear and half out, our son was now exposed to who knows what disease, the other half of tick was in our carpet, etc. etc.  My husband reminded me what an accomplishment this was for our cautious kid to take the initiative and take care of his animal independently.  I listened, ignored the words and headed for home.  When I got there,  our kiddo calmly said he used the tick remover tool we had, didn't need treats, removed the tick with the tool, put it in a ziplock and all was well.  I looked at a confident young man in front of me amazed at my lack of trust in him and then encouraged and built him up in a big way.  This was one of those gateway moments we always need to be on guard for, and when they appear....jump on them and build our kids up and encourage like there is no tomorrow.  Those moments help our kids, and us, remember there is a plan for each of us, and we just need to be there and encourage them to find out what it is!
(Along those lines....LeadLearnLive has a facebook page now....please like and share, as we are continuing to move forward with the college effort!!)

Encourage one another!!!
Blessings,
Julie