Monthly Archives: November 2014

Purposefully Practice Remembering

Okay, stop what you’re doing, take a deep breath, slowly exhale, take another breath, exhale even more slowly.  Relaxed?  You’re welcome.

All of us know what we’re about to embark upon, the crazy busyness of the holiday season.  Who else, besides me, vows year after year to remember to not get too caught up in the hub-bub and slow down and enjoy the season?  We need to be reminded over and over again about what really is important.  What is important?  What do we focus on during the holidays?  Family?  Friends?  Food?  Parties?  Concerts?  Decorations?  Presents?  All good things, to be sure, but…

What should we focus on?

When I was a child Christmas was the most exciting time of the year.  The day after Thanksgiving was the kick-off for our Christmas celebration.  Our tree went up, and presents were laid out underneath, and I had more than a month to anticipate what I was going to get.  Christmas was all about my presents–what I was going to get.  My parents made an agreement that there should be no mention of Jesus and all the focus should be on Santa Claus and toys.  You see, my father was Jewish and my mother was raised being forced to go to church, and both were mad at God.  They played the Santa game, and I fully and unreservedly believed in Santa.  I completely trusted that my parents were telling me the truth.  Gullible?  Maybe.  I needed something to believe in.  As hard as my parents tried to eliminate God from our household, they couldn’t stop me from searching for God, and I found Him.

Now that I’m the parent of two young children, what does Christmas look like in my household?  We still get our tree the day after Thanksgiving, but presents are not laid out until Christmas Eve.  My children know who Santa Claus is, but he is not the focus of our celebration.  We now focus on the birth of Jesus.  I take every opportunity to recount the Nativity story and have Christmas music that focuses on Jesus playing on our stereo.  My husband and I do not exchange gifts with each other.  Our children each get two small gifts (one from us, and one from each other).  We reserve our most generous giving to the two children we sponsor through World Vision and other charities.

This year, I want to be even more purposeful to remember Jesus during this season by making time each day to walk through the Advent season hand-in-hand with Him by doing a 4-week study beginning on December 1st.  Each evening, my family and I will take 15-20 minutes to read Scripture, talk about it, and pray together.  My desire is that we cultivate a culture of thankfulness and giving, rather than the greed I grew up with.  I hope that my children will learn to think first about thanking God for His perfect Gift (Jesus), and desiring to bless people who are most in need at this time of year.

This year, my family and I will be using the Hello Mornings Advent Power Pack which includes the study guide “Then Came Jesus” and everything listed on the picture below for only $5.00.  I have been blessed by the simple Bible study guides produced by Hello Mornings.  They are truly guides with very little commentary that allows me to seek the LORD to reveal to me what He wants me to see.

If this is something you’re looking for, a way to purposefully practice remembering Jesus this Advent season, please consider purchasing this Power Pack.  Full disclosure–I do have an affiliation agreement, and I will financially benefit from any power packs sold through my affiliation link.  However, my promise to you is that 100% of any money I receive through these sales will be donated to the Salvation Army.

Please click on the picture below to order.  May Jesus reveal Himself in surprising ways to you this season.


Our Journey of Hope

Our journey of hope begins.  For the first time since we received our son’s diagnosis and started putting together the puzzle pieces, we have hope.  We have a compass and a map, and we have gas in our car and are ready to go.

Hearing that our son is on the autism spectrum was hard and painful, but even more painful was the resistance we encountered from our physicians and therapists who gave us no reason to hope that there could ever be a day when he wouldn’t carry the ASD label.  He may improve, but he would always be autistic.  Anything we wanted to try was shot down and not supported by the very people we were supposed to lean on for help.  Whenever we asked about a particular test or a nutrition protocol they seemed to condescendingly say to us, “Shut up.  We’re the experts!” because they thought there wasn’t enough scientific evidence to back it up though there were plenty of accounts of success that convinced us to at least try.

Up until now I feel like we’ve been wandering through a labyrinth and slamming into walls of resistance at every turn.  Our son met with a therapist over the summer, but she determined that he would be better served by going to speech therapy.  We got him going on that only to have his therapist quit and move to another city.  My husband wasn’t too impressed with the therapy anyway.  The local autism centers are overflowing, and there is a long waiting list.  We have been following the GAPS diet with some success, and the person who is coaching us through the diet told us about The Family Hope Center about a month ago.  We checked out their website and liked what we saw.  For me, I especially liked that their approach is to train the parents to do the therapy at home.  This is part of their philosophy:

Our clinical team and your family become partners in the strategic development of your child while keeping the family first.

Last week, my husband and I attended their three-day conference for Parents of Special Needs Children, which far exceeded our every expectation.  The staff at The Family Hope Center works from the premise that all kids can be made well, and they believe in the potential of the brain to heal.  You see, they don’t imprison kids into labeled cells.  They believe that kids can become whatever they want to be rather than what their deficiencies say they have to be.

Rather than assigning a diagnostic label like autism, ADD/ADHD, cerebral palsy, down syndrome, etc. they

evaluate your child’s development, pinpoint the location of the dysfunction in the brain, and design and develop a highly-individualized, tailored treatment plan—physical, physiological, emotional, social, and nutritional—that specifically targets the injured area. Then, we follow up with support, supervision and ongoing counseling.

The Family Hope Center developed an Integrative & Developmental Progression Chart which they use to calculate each child’s neurological age.  The neurological age compared with the child’s chronological age is used to calculate the percentage of the child’s functionality and whether the injury to the brain is mild, moderate, severe, or profound.  Their staff walked all of us participants through the chart and we calculated these numbers for our children.  My husband and I calculated that our son, chronologically 83 months (almost 7 years), is neurologically 63 months (5 years 3 months) and functioning at 73% with a moderate brain injury.  However, we did suspect that perhaps these numbers and percentage would be higher with more expert assessment.

My husband and son are at The Family Hope Center now, and the results of their expert assessment are that he is actually neurologically 45.4 months (3 years 9 months), resulting in functionality of 54% with a severe brain injury.  This is much worse than I suspected.  Hearing the explanation, I completely agree with their assessment though it feels like I was punched in the stomach.  But now we know.  We know where we are, and we know where we are going, and most importantly, with the therapy program they’re developing right now, we know how to get there.  We have hope.  We have that feeling that what is wanted can be had, and that everything will turn out for the best.

And we know that God causes everything to work together[a] for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.  (Romans 8:28)

What do we want?  We want our son to live the life God intended, to fulfill his every potential, and to be a blessing in the earth.

Before I felt like we kept slamming into walls.  Since we found out about The Family Hope Center I feel like a whole new world of opportunity and bright horizons have opened up for us.