Jul 31, 2008

All I have within me...

This past Sunday we had the opportunity to worship with our friends at their church in Mt. Sterling, Ky. Unfortunately at this time the name of the church escapes me, but it is a great church!
Anyway, during the worship time we were singing "Lord I Give You My Heart!"

This is my desire
To honour You
Lord, with all my heart
I worship You
All I have within me
I give You praise
All that I adore
Is in You

Lord, I give You my heart
I give You my soul
I live for You alone
Every breath that I take
Every moment I'm awake
Lord, have Your way in me
© 1995 Hillsongs Australia

It is my all time favorite song. The worship leader took a few minutes in between singing the song to share what the Lord was impressing on his heart at the time. The basics of that message was this; "Even when all you have left is the breath that you breath, all that you have left is your heart, all you have left to give to God is as small as a mustard seed of faith, 'It's MORE than ENOUGH for God!" After he shared there was something that broke spiritually. I know for me, I realized that yes there are times that all I have to give is that last breath. God wants all of us, all of our time, all of our heart, all of our lives, every aspect - He wants to be apart of. Not just the parts of our lives we are willing to lay down. He is a HUGE God and He wants it all. So when at times I am at my weakest point He wants to be the strength I rely on. When I am at my darkest hour ~ He wants to be the Light that fills the darkness. When I am at my happiest ~ He wants to be part of that Joy.
Personally I have been struggling in a few areas. Physically with my knees and the lack of mobility that entails. Thankfully I can say I am getting better. I mean last week I went tubing with my kids! Oh let me tell you I am paying for it physically this week. But I haven't stopped. I can't I have 4 kids, a husband, a house to run and lets not forget my responsibilities at church.... SO yes if you ask me ~ I am hurting but I am not quiting. I have been battling depression but I am getting the victory over that too! You see, God is my strength and even when all I have left to give is as small as a grain of a mustard seed (Matt 17:20) I can tell this mountain that stands before me to move and it will. It may not move the way I want it to but if God is in charge I can trust Him for the outcome!

Jul 28, 2008

Good to be home!

Finally we are home. Honestly to go on vacation takes so much work before and after. Thankfully I was able to do some laundry while in TN so I only have a small load to do but I have all the suit cases to unpack...UGH!

Saturday we left TN traveled through the Smokey Mountains National Park, through Gaitlinburg and then headed back to KY with our friends. We stopped and got some fantastic pictures of the mountains before we left!

We visited our friends church on Sunday morning. It is so nice to be able to visit and enjoy Sunday morning worship without being responsible for what needs to be done. Don't get me wrong we love being in the ministry and we love to serve our church and people in general but sometimes you need a break to just "be"! Sunday morning we were able to just "be" and boy did God pour into us through the message.
Just taking a break with some nice cold cranberry juice! (I do not drink so no it's not wine!)
Actually we started our vacation, stressed, drained, and through the last few days God has released, refreshed, restored and rejuvenated both of us. It is good to go and take a break, get away and just be without any expectations placed on us.
After church yesterday we headed towards Lexington Ky and spent time with some other good friends. In fact was it not for Angie I would never have met Sean! 14 years ago I met Angie at the student center on Morehead State University campus. She was getting info. out about Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship and I was getting signed up for classes and taking care of financial stuff for college. She says God woke her up and told her to be there that morning so we both know God orchestrated that devine meeting that day. Thank you again Angie for being obedient to the Lord's wake up call! God used you to change my life in a dramatic way!

We spent the night with Angie, Will and their son Cameron. Cameron was just diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder so it was neat to see how he and Kris would get along. They did wonderfully! It was so nice to spend time with good friends. We played miniture golf (the kids and Sean-my knees are still recooping form the tubing trip).

Then we ate at a placed called Cici's Pizza. YUM! They had the best spinach pizza and the hot wings pizza was fantastic! I could have stuffed myself on those two pizzas alone. We had great food great conversation and just a great time with some wonderful friends!

Tubing pictures...

Jul 26, 2008

My Dad

Yesterday, while we were tubing and having a great time, we got a call from my mom and my sister and then a few emails from my sister-n-law that there had been an accident. It about flipped me out when I got the calls saying Dad is in the hospital and is going into surgery...call home!

My Dad who will be 61 this year was working as he always does (the man doesn't know how to take a real vacation...always working), was up on a ladder about 4 feet up and something let loose and he fell one way as the ladder fell another. He ended up landing full force on his knee and from the X-rays and C-Scan he shattered the lateral tibial horn. The surgeon had to piece is back together, do a bone graft and then put a plate in there to hold it all together. The poor guy is going to be off his leg for 8-12 weeks. I feel terrible for him becuase I know the type of pain he is in. Having screws placed in your bone is not fun. Although my knee surgery was different I know the pain is still the same...it hurts bad!

I talked to him this morning, I could tell he was on the verge of tears and my dad doesn't cry that often or at least he doesn't let us see it. I am so grateful that my Mom had my three brothers, their wives, my sister and her husband all there to support her during yesterday's events. Thank you guys, I know Mom really needed you guys...wish I could be there right now too!

My brothers - Bryan, Chris and Ron

Jeanette & her husband Neil

My Dad means the world to me. He has been a solid figure in my life! My parents married young (Dad was 21 and Mom was 14) and yes you read that right. I was a surprise and Mom always says, a nice surprise. They will be married 39 years this Oct. You go Mom and Dad!

So Dad who works even on his vacations (building a vacation home in West Liberty, KY) is going to be off his feet for a while. Not sure who is going to be more crazy, my Dad or my Mom! Mom hang in there if you have to wheel him into the garage and leave him there in his "workshop" it might be a good break for you! LOL!

Please keep my Dad and my Mom in prayer. He needs healing and she is going to need strength to deal with him being cooped up! Also pray for financial blessings. My Dad is self employed and there for does not have workman's comp and they have no insurace. Please pray for healing, financial blessings and stregnth for both. Thanks everyone!~

Jul 25, 2008

Tubing down Pigeon River

This is not our group!

AHHHHH! Today was a lazy day! We have had such a beautiful, relaxing day! This morning we woke up late, fixed our van...radiator was leaking....YIKES! ..... Fixed now though! Thank Goodness! Then we gathered our kids in the van and the Shorts and the Kelly's headed to River Romp Tubing. We were blessed with not having to pay for the twins, 4 and under were free but they had to sit on our laps. Which made it interesting to say the least! I had Sara on my lap and before we even got 5 feet into the river we were topsy turvy and flipped right out. That was it for Sara she did not want to do that again. But at that point there was NO turning back. We had 2.5 miles of river to take on!

I have to share that 4 months ago when we were invited to go with the Shorts on this wonderful vacation my hearts desire was to be able to go tubing down the river with the kids. Honestly 2 weeks ago, it wasn't going to happen. My knees were in NO SHAPE for what we did today! But something wonderful has happened. Not only did my orthopedic surgeon give me better anti-inflammatory meds but I also started synvisc injections into my left knee. With those meds, prayer and God reaching down and touching my knees, in the last two days I have given up the crutches, the cain and I WENT TUBING!!! HOW AWESOME IS MY GOD! He knew it was my hearts desire to experience this with my kids, I remember tubing in Cherokee, NC with my parents when I was younger and it was one of the best memories I have of our family vacations. God granted me my hearts desire today! Thank you Jesus!

SO the tubing experience was great. Jaron, Kris, Eli and Sean got to see a beaver. We floated by cows, birds bugs galore. Sara and I flipped our tube at least 4 times, once it was up to my neck. I don't even want to think about what was under my feet. It was a sludge mud and it was so smelly....But I have to say despite the flips and Sara holding on to me for dear life (it was such a lazy river 90% of the time, we had to use a stick in some places to get us moving), we had a fantastic time. Fun was had by all!

Jaron was in charge of our water proof camera so who knows what kind of pictures he got. I was able to take two pictures of him and Kris on their tubes. Once I have them developed I will be posting them, you better believe it!

How do you repay your friends for blessing you with a wonderful vacation???

Jul 24, 2008

Pictures say a thousand words...

Like promised here are a few pictures of our scenery and relaxing by the pool! Enjoy!

Here are those posters that are friends surprised us with!

Now some fun pool pictures. Doesn't Sean look relaxed in this nice hot tub!

The kids have enjoyed the pool! Here are two pictures of our friends, their kids and ours having a great time!

Tomorrow we will be tubing down a river. I am not sure if I will go or not we will see what tomorrow brings. I do have to say, I am feeling great! My knees although are not perfect are feeling pretty good! Thank goodness for better meds! God does work through medication! My knees are proof of that! Stay posted for more fun pictures!


Oh the beauty of the Tennessee Mountains....Just breath taking. So peaceful here. I can't tell you how blessed we are! Our best friends Mike and Marty have gone above and beyond in blessing us with this beautiful cottage they paid for, for our vacation! What a nice relaxing place to just soak in the air, sun and good times with great friends. I will be taking more pictures ad then will post later tonight. So much fun here! We so badly need this vacation. Our friends are such blessings to us. We arrived and as soon as we came in the door we saw posters with scriptures about refilling restoration and replenishing. Then our friends told Sean and I to sit down, they washed our feet. Never had that done before, very humbling! They then prayed for us to have a blessed and time of relaxing and restoration.

Here are a few pictures of the place we are staying at. But I will post pictures I took later tonight. Right now we are heading to the pool!!! and HOT TUB just what the doctor ordered!

This is what our cottage looks like. Ours is not on the side of a mountain but we do have a pretty nice view when the sun rises over the mountains.

This is the main buildings. Lots of places to stay all very nice! It's a time share place called Sunrise Ridge in Pigeon Forge, TN.
This morning, we here a knock at the door and Mike is standing there, "Crispy Creme Donut delivery." Dropped off a dozen donuts and disappeared! They were warm and creamy! YUMMY!

Jul 18, 2008

Results of Assessment

SO we went to SIU this morning. Kristofer was a very chatty boy today. Unfortunately the Child Development & Behavioral Specialist had a very difficult time understanding him. As did I. The results basically were inconclusive. Basically today's assessment was to see if he qualified for the next level of evaluations. The results are that Kris is in need of further evaluations. So sometime in Aug. we will get a call about the appointment time in the fall. Since it is a college research/treatment facility they schedule the evaluations by semester.
All in all we are very positive about the appointment today. We feel validated that there is something unique about Kristofer. It helps us know that we haven't been reading into his behavior and looking for something that isn't there.
We have been told so many times that "we are reading into things, that he is a normally developing child, he is fine, he's just a boy, he's just hyper, you need to discipline him more, you need to stop babying him." This just proves what we have always known that he is special! So we will go for the next level of evals and deal with what ever is found through the different assessments and observations. What ever the results it doesn't matter to us, Kristofer is the best kid in the world...as are the other 3 kiddos in this house!

Jul 17, 2008

Days of yesterday....hopeful for tomorrow!

So, lately I have been watching my kids...growing up right in front of me. I think it has really hit me that this school year will be the last one that I have kiddos at home even if it is only half the day. The twins will once again go to pre-K for half the day starting in Aug. I can't believe they are now 4 1/2 yrs old. Where has the time gone? I mean, I know it flies by but I honestly don't remember the first two years of their lives. It sure is a good thing I have lots and lots of pictures! Of which I have to share some baby bath pictures and pictures of today.

Eli & Sara 14 mo old.

Sara & Eli 4 1/2 yrs old

They just love each other so much! Soon they will be to old to play in the tub together. They are growing up fast! Sara was playing hair dresser on Eli's hair and I just had to take a picture. It's been a while since I took bath time pictures. I surely enjoyed this one. They were being so silly.

Hopeful for tomorrow...

Tomorrow we head to SIU for the initial interview and evaluations for autism. We will know that day whether the team of 8-10 people believe that more evaluations are warranted. Please pray that Kristofer is able to be himself. The Kristofer we see on a daily basis. So that we get an accurate decision about what he is dealing with and what his needs are. We have been waiting for this day for 3 years and 3 months to be honest. So please if you pray, just pray that the truth be shown and so we can rejoice either way. This week has been a very strange week for us. Things we have never paid much attention to have become very "in our face" so to speak. Some of the behavior issues we have been dealing with, with him, have been exaggerated this week. He has really been off so to speak.

I will definitely post tomorrow about our adventures tomorrow!

Jul 16, 2008

Conversations with Kristofer

The last few days have been interesting around our house. The kids are all ready in my opinion to head back to school. SO Kristofer and I have had some very interesting conversations lately. Let me share a few...

Last night I tried to high light my hair myself, yes I was being brave but I knew if it didn't look good I could cover it with color again. Well after the job was done, Kris came around the corner and stood there and said, "Where is my Mommy?" At least 10 times if not more. At first I thought he was joking it is something I say to him when he gets his hair cut because he gets his hair cut few and in between if you know what I mean. He HATES having his hair cut, sends him in to orbit so to speak. Ask my Mom or Sister Jeanette, they'll tell you what its like to cut his hair. Anyway, I told him I was right here. Later since Sean is working the late shift, Kris wanted to sleep in "Mommy's" bed. He laid there with the pillow and blanket over his head crying. I asked him what was wrong, "I don't remember what my Mommy looks like. I don't like your hair and I want my Mommy back!" It took me 30 mins if not longer to get him to calm down. He told me, "Your face is my Mommy's but your hair is not. I want my Mommy back." It broke my heart because he was serious he wasn't playing a game.
I promised I would fix my hair in the morning and that seemed to settle him. BTW I hated my hair too and proceeded to cover it up this morning. When he got up this morning, he said, "Now you're my Mommy again."
Kris really has a hard time with change. He had a hard time seeing me as his Mommy because my hair was different. It was the first time he has vocalized it this way. Guess I better not go get highlights when he is in school, he might think I ran away. (LOL) But seriously, this week has been interesting. It seems like God is allowing me to see a variety of things with him that I don't normally pay attention to. See on Friday we have our first initial eval. to determine if further testing is warranted for determination if Kristofer is autistic or has asbergers a form of autism.
Last night we also had game night. No computer, no tv, just card and board games. I have to say I was looking forward to playing the games with my kids. Even Candy Land Dora! But what was suppose to be fun turned into a screaming nightmare! I am not kidding there was a lot of screaming going on...all by Kristofer. There were situations where due to his sister moving her seated position it confused him and he took his turn out of turn. The others complained and he went screaming into and between our mattresses in our bedroom. Upset because "he broke the rules" and "I have to play by the rules" (his statements).
Then came the board games, he had to be in charge at all times, yelled if we didn't do as he said to and it got to where no one wanted to play anymore because he was being so bossy. I have never really paid much attention to it till now. But I realize now that when he is playing with his siblings he wants to be in control of what happens and can not handle it things do not go the way he has planned out in his head.
Then tonight...which has been a relatively calm night for him we were laying in bed, him, Eli and myself as I sang them their bedtime songs and said their prayers. Kris says to me, " Mommy God is not fair." I asked "why" and he says, " when it is super hot I have to come inside and when it is super cold I have to come inside." "That is not fair!" I was just dumb founded. I have no idea where that came from or what he had been thinking about. Most of the time this kid amazes me. Other times I just sit and wonder what God has in store for him.
Isn't it fun to be a part of something remarkable. To us our Kristofer is remarkable!

Jul 15, 2008

Excitement in the air....

at our house because we are counting down the days till we go on vacation. We are being blessed our best friends, Mike and Marty! They have a beautiful time-share place in Pigeon Forge, TN. They have saved/earned enough points up (which I have no idea how that works) and asked us to come with them on vacation for free! FREE! Yes, isn't that such a blessing in these hard and trying economic times!!! I mean how could we not go! First of all, we will spend 3 nights 4 days in a very nice and luxurious townhouse type of setting with some of our best friends in the whole world! Mike and Marty were both in our wedding 11 years ago. We have been there for each other through the happiest and toughest times in our lives. Marty is an inspiration to me. She has two special needs kiddos both struggle with Sensory Processing Disorder and her son has has been diagnosed with Autism. She is one tough cookie. She faces everything with a positive attitude. Now she will tell you she can not do so without God's grace and strength. They have been such a blessing to us and can never be replaced! This is a picture of Marty with our twins when they were 15 months old.

What also is exciting is that our kids love their kids. They get along so much. Jay their son calls our Kris, Kristofer Robin. Always has and probably always will. They are the best of buddies. Sara just loves Lucy Kate too.

Secondly, it's a gift from God through our friends. Not only are we being blessed we know they are too. When God releases things into our lives we need to release those things back into others lives.

We are so excited to be going away for a few days. We have decided to follow them back to their home in KY to be able to go to church on Sunday with them. It will be a nice change to be part of service and not be in charge of service. You see as pastors we don't just get to chose when we will or will not be at church. We can't just wake up on Sunday morning and say, "Hmmmm, today feels like a sleep in day, I'm not going!" No we can't do that we have been placed in leadership as the pastors of our church. If we were to not show up our congregation would wonder what happened. Honestly since the parsonage sits next to the church they probably would come knocking to find us. We spend time as pastors, not only teaching weekly and ministering into the lives of our congregation but we also go visit our church family at their homes and when they are in the hospital. Being pastors is NOT a 9-5 job even if you have to work outside the ministry. There is really no such thing as a part-time pastor! Being pastors is a 24 - 7 -365 day ministry. Being blessed in this fashion is fantastic. To be able to get away, lay near the pool for a few days and just rest physically, mentally and spiritually is such a FANTASTIC gift!
THANK YOU Micheal and Marty. You know how much you all mean to us and how much we appreciate what you are doing for us!

Jul 13, 2008

Telling some hard facts....

Listen to me, O house of Jacob, all you who remain of the house of Israel, you whom I have upheld since you were conceived, and have carried since your birth. Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. 
I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you. Isaiah 46:3-4

Earlier this week I received this scripture in a daily devotion from Internet Cafe Devotions. Have you ever needed to hear something that just sinks in and ministers to your soul? Well that is exactly what this scripture did for me this week. I so needed to hear God's word just reach deep, touch and encourage me. This week has been very difficult. Personally without wanting to admit it to myself or anyone else, I have been battling for a while with depression. Ok don't fall over or even say "OMG- you're a pastors wife you can't get depressed!" Or even the saying I have heard many times about others by those caring saints in church..."well she must not have enough faith in God" or "she just needs to repent and God will give her back her joy"!
Yes I have heard people say that about other people. So you can see my hesitancy to even admit that I have been struggling. But I really feel like I need to share what I am going through because there should be NO SHAME in admitting that you are struggling even if it is depression. Here is where I must say God used MySpace. I check my myspace page daily. It has been a great blessing to keep up with my siblings, in laws, nieces, nephews and cousins. You have the option of changing your mood and I found that I was using mostly depressing words to label how I was feeling. That was a real wake up call for me. Plus I have had other friends, family members and my PT tell me they were worried about me that I might be depressed. I have been to the alter many times privately and publicly for healing of this depression and for my knee pain.

In my case the depression just sorta over took me without me realizing it. It's not something I caused or wanted. Circumstances in my life in the last year have just gotten so overwhelming without realizing it. When your life goes from active, playing with your kids taking care of your home to not being able to function without pain meds. all within a year it is a bit life changing and overwhelming. So I decided to seek help. Went to my doctor and what was suppose to be a 1/2 hr appointment turned into an hour. He agrees with me and prescribe an antidepressant. Honestly I can't believe I am even posting here about it but I really feel I need to be honest with my readers and my family.

It has been a huge ordeal. I never wanted to admit that I might need something to make the chemicals in my brain function better. Knowing that all my lab tests show my body is hormonally fine should make me very relieved and it does. But it also made me feel like a mental case too. It's hard to face reality. It's hard to admit you need help in this area because for me it makes me feel even more like a failure. You know what, that is when satan likes to get in there and start speaking untruths to me. Saying things like, "you don't have enough faith", "God has turned His back on you," "you are worthless to God", and so on. Shamedly I began to believe those lies. LIES! That is exactly what they are. Because the Bible tells me, "Faith as small as a mustard seed can move mountains, that He will never leave me or forsake me," and most importantly, "even if I was the only person on earth God would have sent His Son Jesus to save me!"

But when in the depths of dispare you cry out to God, He does listen and He does answer! This week when I cried out and He answered me with ... (paraphrased for me)

"Listen to me, Melissa, you whom I have upheld since you were conceived, and have carried since your birth. Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you." Isaiah 46:3-4

So if today you are struggling and you need reassurance that God is there in the midst of your storm, hold fast to the rock and read this scripture verse as He is speaking it to you as well. So yes I am now taking medicine for my depresion. It doesn't deminish my faith or trust that God is going to lift me out of this time of trials and testing. I hold fast to the rock!

Jul 10, 2008

How Great is Our God!

PT... A good thing or a Bad thing....

Yesterday as I do everyone MWF I head to PT. Hoping every visit that I will see more improvement, more strength, more flexibility, more balance, more range of motion, more mobility, more of everything. For the last year I have been using crutches. Either for one or both knees. Now I have to admit that my weight has played a rather large part in my knee problems. But what started this spiral spin actually started a few years ago. You see a few years ago I tripped (no comments from the peanut gallery -my family) down a few stairs while holding the twins, they were in their car seats thankfully. Needless to say I thought I just sprained my knee. Waited almost 12 weeks before seeing a doctor just to be told the same thing. It slowly got better but now I know that what I actually did was tear the cartilage in my left knee.

Then last year, a week ago, I fell in a hidden mole trail and twisted my right knee and then 6 weeks later slipped on what is called a gumball from the gumball tree, yes that lovely spike nut to the right is the gumball. Needless to say when I slipped on that lovely nut which by the way when it is in bloom it is actually a very beautiful pink flower, I dislocated my knee cap, not fully but enough to create a ton of problems. Which led to major surgery in Jan and then due to the pain and tearing the cartilage in my left knee lead to another knee surgery revealing a lot of degenerative osteoarthritis that is so bad the doctor says I need a total knee replacement. Which I have to say I find interesting because after a 6 months I have more pain (need strong pain meds to walk) in my right knee than in the knee that is supposedly needing a knee replacement. I digress, I was talking about PT (physical therapy). So I go three days a week to what I have started to call physical torture. The pictures I have added here are just a few things I do each session. The above pic actually stretches every fiber in the back of your leg. It is VERY painful when the loss of extension causes your leg to not want to full extend, so stretching the leg in this fashion is just excruciating. I am seeing improvement but "oh the pain!" I can feel the pain from my hip down the back of the leg to the bottom of my foot and toes.

PT has helped strengthen my legs. It is a slow process to gain what is so easily lost. Every day is a struggle for me. Some days are better than others. I am happy that my left knee that just had surgery has improved to the point that I do not need medication or crutches to walk on it. What frustrates me to the point I just want to hit a punching bag is that 6 months later I am still in severe pain with my right knee. The knee that is not supposedly in terrible condition!

This whole experience has been life changing. I am not able to keep up with my kids let alone taking care of my house. Poor Sean not only has the ministry to tend to, works a second job but now has to do most of what I use to be able to take care of. I can stand no more than 10 minutes at a time and that time is painful. I am trying my best to get back to using a cane instead of the crutches. It is very hard to be an active mom with 4 very very active children. It is hard to be an active participant in the ministry and be able to do my best.

I AM NOT saying all this to get pity. That I do not want. I mean what is pity anyway. According to Merriam-Webster dictionary pity is sympathetic sorrow for one suffering, distressed, or unhappy. What I want is understanding.

With all this frustration and pain that I have been living with for over a year some would say, why are you still serving the Lord. He hasn't healed you, He hasn't eased your pain, He hasn't shown up. I will be completely honest, in my deepest moments of pain I have thought those thoughts. But what I really want to stress is that despite my pain, despite my lack of mobility I WILL NOT STOP praising my Saviour. He is the reason I live and He is the reason I am able to get up everyday. He does lift my soul. He has been there with me with every two steps forward and even more so with the steps backwards. Do I wonder why He hasn't healed me despite my faith sure, I am human you know. But you see I have placed my life in His hands. SO regardless what may come my way I trust Him, for His plan for my life is perfect! Eventually I will know the whys and if I never know that's ok too. I just know my life is in His hands and I can trust that He knows what is best for me.

Jul 8, 2008

The Phantom Menace - by Vivian Manning-Schaffel

This morning when I was checking my email one of mybest friends had sent me this wonderful article about SPD (Sensory Process Disorder) Now the article is long and unfortunately I do not know exactly where she got it from. But the article is so good that I could NOT not post it. I hope this will enlighten those that may be teachers with difficult children in their classrooms or parents that have children with behavioral problems they can't figure out. But mostly I hope my family is enlightened. We have two children in my family that has SPD. Our son Kristofer and my nephew who is just 8 months younger than Kris. When we first got the diagnosis we were in shock and unfortunately had family members that did not believe us or the diagnosis. It was simply bad parenting on our account....yes this was actually said. We also were told SPD is not a real disorder....well I beg to differ on that and if you have a child that has the disorder you would too! SO with that read this article....it will let you in a little more into our daily world with our son.

The Wonderful Article below:

Four — count 'em — four of my four-year-old son's friends are in occupational therapy for sensory processing disorder, a.k.a. SPD. Considering his inner circle tops out at about fifteen, this indicates an epidemic on our Brooklyn playground.

And it's not just New York. Based on studies at the Sensory Therapies and Research Center (STAR) in Denver, CO, at least one in every twenty children and adults has SPD — 3.5 million people in the U.S. alone, including one out of three gifted children, and eight in ten autistic children. So, where did this mysterious disorder come from? Are the numbers soaring because, like autism, more information about SPD is coming to light, or is SPD just a hot new way to classify the challenges of certain kids, like the "indigo children" popularized by the 1998 New Age book? Or is SPD, as Time magazine mused last year, the new ADD?

The SPD diagnosis isn't so new. Sensory Processing Disorder — or Sensory Integration Disorder — was first outlined in the early '70s by occupational therapist A. Jean Ayres. In her book, Sensory Integration and the Child, Ayres claimed that children with SPD are either over- or under- responsive to various sensory stimuli — be they touch, movement, smell, taste, vision or hearing. SPD indicates a breakdown in how input is processed. There are three major subgroups that fall under the umbrella of SPD: Sensory Modulation Disorder, Sensory-Based Motor Disorder and Sensory Discrimination Disorder, which manifest in the delayed development of a wide variety of social, emotional and motor skill sets.

But many SPD symptoms, like throwing tantrums and not holding a pen correctly, are typical of so many young children. In the face of all this grey area and controversy, how's a parent supposed to tell what's SPD and what's just part of being four years old?
Dr. Lucy Jane Miller, author of Sensational Kids: Hope and Help for Children with Sensory Processing Disorder, and Director of the STAR Center, has been working for more than thirty years to provide scientific evidence that SPD is not just quirky kid behavior but an actual, physiological condition.

One study at her center examined the brainwaves of children experiencing two sensory stimuli
simultaneously, like touch and smell. "When you put those two together and administer them at the same time, you should see an enhanced response — as you do in every type of living creature," Dr. Miller explains. "These children respond the same as they would to a single stimuli. They are not integrating at the neuron level the same way that typically developing living creatures do. It's as if they are caught in a constant fight-or-flight reaction."

She says medical professionals often misdiagnose SPD as ADHD and/or autism because the lines
between the disorders are slightly blurred. "It's not in the autism spectrum, but almost all children who have autism or Asperger's syndrome have sensory problems, sometimes very significantly. But the majority of kids who have sensory problems don't have autism," says Dr. Miller. The distinction gets even more confusing when it comes to ADHD. "We've found that about 40% of kids who have one, have the other, so there is overlap," says Dr. Miller. "But they are two separate diagnoses that coexist — they are not the same thing. A child with ADHD has an impulse control issue, and extra sensory information doesn't help. A sensory-seeking child calms down if you give them what their brain needs."

Here's an interesting finding: A study of 500 intellectually gifted kids over a two-year period revealed 35% had significant sensory processing issues. "I've heard many, many kids with SPD are very smart," says Carol Stock Kranowitz, M.A., reknowned SPD expert and author of The Out-Of-Sync Child: Recognizing and Coping with Sensory Processing Disorder. "Which is confounding to adults who think, 'If he's so smart, why can't he tie his shoes?'"
Kranowitz says each SPD child faces a unique composition of challenges. Sensory under-responders tend not to notice signals that protect them from danger, like people or cars coming at them. On the other end of the spectrum, a loud door slam can send an over-responsive kid scrambling for cover under the nearest table.

Fine and gross motor skill delays are common, and simple everyday skills, like learning to button a shirt, become an ordeal. "Dressing, eating, doing homework, sleeping . . . these are the things SPD kids have problems with. A lot of our kids are terrible sleepers and eaters," says Dr. Miller.
With such a vast variety of symptoms that younger kids may or may not grow out of, and the absence of a standard test (the Sensory Integration and Praxis Test only addresses Sensory-Based Motor Disorder and Sensory Discrimination Disorder) to confirm the diagnosis, the medical community has historically been somewhat dismissive of SPD.
But Kranowitz says parents who suspect their kids have sensory issues should ask themselves two questions: "Is the child's problem getting in his way? And if not, then is it getting in everyone else's way?"

Brooklyn mom Christine Evans answered yes to both, and felt vindicated when her son was diagnosed with SPD at eight. "I didn't know what it was," she says. "It manifested into a behavioral issue. He wouldn't wear underwear or socks, but we just thought that it was him being annoying. He'd hide under his desk to escape the way he was feeling, but couldn't articulate those feelings to anyone. It was a disaster." After getting many calls from school about his behavior, she visited a neurologist, which was for naught. "For an older child, these evaluations are a bunch of crap," she explains. "Most testing, whether done in
school or outside, is done in a very quiet setting. But what sets these kids off is school, with lots of kids, noise and people touching you."

A friend of Evans's advised her to have him tested for SPD. Today her son is in a special education class, receives OT and goes to a sensory gym once a week. In essence, the sensory gym is a playroom, with stuff like writing utensils, ball pits, ladders and sand
tables. How does such basic equipment help kids with fragile wiring? "Therapy doesn't promise to fix or cure a child, but makes permanent changes in their central nervous system that calm them if they are over-excited, or wow a child that isn't turned on enough," says
Kranowitz. "It also helps children participate in a social life and builds their self esteem, so they feel confident and competent."

One social challenge is presented by frequent tantrums, which aren't your run-of-the-mill meltdowns. Kranowitz says they come on fast, are disruptively intense and last quite a while.
"With most kids, you can diffuse a tantrum in a few minutes but with Maddie, it would go on for thirty minutes or longer," says Julia Davis from South Bend, IN, who got called into school on a regular basis to deal with her four-year-old daughter's self-regulation challenges. "She was really having a hard time functioning because of the noise levels, the lights and whatever else was going on," says Davis. Davis eventually took her daughter to the doctor. "She was a preemie and had a lot of medical complications up front," says Davis. "We went to the pediatrician and were told she's more immature emotionally and socially and that she'll catch up. It made sense."
As Maddie's tantrums got worse, Davis began to look elsewhere for answers. "I couldn't help but wonder what I was doing wrong as a parent. I didn't know how to help her. I took her to a child psychologist, who insisted she was fine. I started Googling her behavior. She didn't fit into autism, but the SPD checklist gave me an aha moment."

Eventually, Davis found an OT, who diagnosed her with SPD and took her to a two-week SPD intensive at Miller's STAR Center. She credits them with Maddie's progress. "During the holidays, she was singing on stage in front of 200 people, singing and performing like a little ham. She would have never done that before therapy. She would've melted down."
Tantrums aren't always part and parcel of SPD.

When Sheryl Braun adopted her son Sander from Hungary two years ago, she noticed her sensory seeker son's oral fixation was more intense than the average kid compulsions, and he was struggling with fine motor skills. "At night, he had one pacifier in his mouth, one in each hand and a spare, which is an alarm for a three year old," Braun explains. "He couldn't pick up a raisin and would cry out of frustration." She began in earnest to figure out what was going on. "We spoke to a neurologist who was dismissive, saying his EEG is normal," says Braun. "They knew what it wasn't, but they didn't know what it was." Upon receiving his diagnosis, Sander began seeing an OT who specializes in SPD twice a week, as well as a Special Education Itinerant Teacher (SEIT) who shadows him in his classroom.

In order to get financial support, Braun has to tap dance around the real issue. "The committee for Special Education does not recognize Sensory Processing Disorder as a diagnosis," says Braun. "I have to go through a whole certification process, and if I don't follow up in a certain amount of time, they deny it. It's frustrating because it's quite expensive. It's terrible because we are trying to help a child, and we aren't getting the help we need to help a child."
To help patients get insurance reimbursement, SPD-focused occupational therapists are accustomed to coding the symptoms without coming clean about the overall problem. "If we call it OT and diagnose it as a feeding disorder, ADHD or a coordination disorder, insurance will cover it half the time," confirms Dr. Miller. "If you call it SPD, it's the kiss of death. It's a total game."

Dr. Miller is spearheading an attempt to legitimize SPD with an entry into the psych bible, the next Diagnostic and Statistics Manual publication due in 2012. This would make insurance issues for families like Braun's a thing of the past. It would also help the STAR Center grow. "It's hard to get funding for research because it's not in the DSM, but we can't get in the DSM without the research," says Dr. Miller. "It's a catch-22." Meanwhile, there is a societal cost to increased attention to children's disabilities.

In the past few years, the number of children receiving special services has risen remarkably. During a recent SPD awareness meeting at my son's school, the guest occupational therapists casually mentioned that the number of kids receiving OT services in New York City has leapt from roughly 8,000 to 38,000 over the past decade. That trend is mirrored nationally. According to a U.S. Department of Education report, between 1991 and 2001, the number of five-year-olds receiving special services increased 30.7 percent; the number of
four-year-olds served increased 75.9 percent; and the number of three-year-olds receiving special services increased 93.6 percent.

That's a lot of ball pits. And according to a 2007 New York Times article on SPD, not all parents feel that OT helped their children any more than extra recess would have.
Many parents, like Evans, feel that the diagnosis and OT have made all the difference in their lives. "My biggest regret is that no one made me aware of SPD years ago," she says. "Dealing with this has been one of the most difficult things in my life. He's lost so much time in school because he refused to do any work and was having breakdowns. And there's no way to get that time back." Either way, if Dr. Miller's estimation holds true, taking your kids to the sensory gym may soon be as commonplace as taking them to the playground.

Jul 5, 2008

I Can only Imagine

July 4th Family Events

ok so I can't figure out why but for some reason I can't get my pictures down where I want them. I wrote my post first and then addedthe picture but the won't budge from being the first things you see. SO enjoy the pictures and then read my post. Hope you all had a wonderful 4th of July!
Kristofer, showing off his sparkler!
Jaron growing up so fast, still looks like my dad only with blond hair!
Eli showing of his home made tshirt and Sara was fixing her bike...not that it needed it!

Here is the guard of the feeder. Read my post below tp find out what I mean!

Sara wanted to put the sparklers in her hair to look beautiful,that about flipped momma out!

You can barely make out the bird in the leaves
but this was one of the chasing away events!

Today has been such a nice day. Despite the nasty thunderstorms we had earlier this morning. In fact our house was quiet till 10 am. Everyone but me slept in. Naturally when I could use the extra sleep I can't sleep. The reason I couldn't sleep is the same as it has been since Jan. Severe knee pain. In fact I haven't posted about my pain here but if you pray I could use some prayer for healing. I am in constant pain from my knee I had surgery on in Jan. Six months of nonstop pain that causes me to not be able to walk without crutches or prescription pain meds. I go to see my Orthopedic Surgeon on July 22 I am hoping for some answers and some relief. Please pray for healing.

So anyway I was up at 6 am posting the previous post and working on some fun business things for a friend of mine. One by one the kids woke up and after lunch it finally had stopped raining. I love rain when I get to sleep in or just snuggle in bed with a good book. But that was not what I got to do today. Which was fine! This evening Sean had to work and the kids and I enjoyed the evening sitting on our porch watching the hummingbirds coming to our feeder. At one point we had two come dive bomb us on the porch and we were laughing hysterically. I was like, what has gotten into these birds when I looked at Jaron. He had a nice bright red shirt on just like the feeder! In the house he ran to change his shirt!

DO you know how hard it is to catch a humming bird on film? I do! It is very difficult! But Jaron and I were able to get a few fantastic pictures. We had about 5 humming birds zipping by for about 3 hours. They tend to feed late afternoon right before and during sunset time. There was one bird that claimed the feeder as his own. He would hide in the tree leaves and any time another bird came to sip some nectar he would attack and chase them off. It became rather comical and the kids were starting to bet on how long it would take for him to chase off the others. We also enjoyed our neighbors fireworks which were being shot over our house! No kidding directly above our house from our back yard neighbors. Plus we had some neighbors down the street that were shooting them off as well. We did the norm around here and enjoyed sparklers. All in all today was a nice day with the kids!