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Wednesday, April 8, 2015

You can make a Difference: A Chance to do an act of Mercy

We have been doing some fundraising for the Panhandle Autism Society as their Walk for Autism Awareness is coming up on April 11th.  Due to my youngest son having autism, we know the struggles families face having a child on the Autism Spectrum.  In fact, we have been a beneficiary of a $500 grant in the past which we asked for the purchase of a Vitamix to help with food preparation for Joshua, my son.

I also have the privilege of working with children with autism and other developmental disabilities and know of the struggles families like ours have on a daily basis.  Simple things we all take for granted are huge challenges for a child with this diagnosis.  For example, many kids have huge sensory issues.  Joshua, for example, has a high need for deep joint compression and when he was little, would jump from heights that would make your heart stop.  Kids on the autism spectrum have highly arroused sensory issues and get overwhelmed easily.  We work with them to help them learn to manage and regulate their emotions, as well as learn to communicate their needs.

Families need support in helping their kids become their best selves and the journey is not easy. They need understanding and support as well as practical resources.  The Panhandle Autism Society provides education, resources via a lending library, support groups and grants.  They are trying to raise $5000 to start more support groups for kids and their families and need our help.

We set up a fundraising page and hope to do our part and raise $1000.  We are 4 days from the deadline and only need to raise a little more than $312 to meet our goal.  If you could help us achieve this goal, we would be forever grateful.  These kids are certainly made in God's Image and with autism rates now around 1/50 children, we all can do a little bit to help these kids.  Some of you may know of a child with ASD personally, and if you don't, you soon may as the numbers are only going up.  We need to raise awareness of the real struggles kids and families face of course, but this is a practical way you can help.  Please be as generous as you can and donate today by clicking on this link.  Thank you, so much and God bless you!


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Keeping it together when the kids are falling apart...

I've been quite the busy Momma these last few months.  Many of you know that when caring for your kids, life can get busy.  It certainly has been the case for me.  I'm a single mom of 4 kids and all 4 kids have weekly appointments with various therapies included, aside from lessons, church and school activities thrown in for good measure.

(I wish I was this organized! Some great ideas!)

Joshua, my son with autism, has speech therapy Mondays, Behavioral Therapy, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday after school at the Center and Wednesday at our home as well as at Church Wednesday evening.  He also has Occupational Therapy on Wednesday mornings and swimming lessons Saturday afternoon.  I'm fortunate to have a personal care worker for him, thanks to the Department of Developmental Discibiliaties 20 hours a week, which has been so invaluable.  I spend a lot of time after school in the car, which can really make keeping up with things at home and making meals, challenging.

An area of interest to many parents is, "How do I not only balance it all, but stay sane in the process?  It's so easy when focusing on your kids, especially when they have special needs, to forget or neglect yourself.  It can get overwhelming fast and so easy to make allowances that you don't normally do and would later regret, all in the name of seeking immediate relief from the chaos.  I have learned that when I am well rested and There are many days I burn the candle at both ends and stay up much later than I should.  I am learning the necessity of developing good self care habits and above all, keeping it simple because we all know life is too complicated enough and that K.I.S.S (Keep it Simple Sweetie) method works for a reason.

I once heard it described that to help balance things out in life, we really need to focus on what's going on in our "Play, Work and Worship" areas of our lives.  It also helps to have someone available who speaks truth in an encouraging way, while also holding you accountable so as to encourage growth.

Some vital things to keep in mind to find balance and encourage sanity:
  • Cherish having a good attitude and sense of humor.
  • When the kids are melting down around you, it helps so much to have something you can focus on to keep you calm so you can RESPOND and NOT REACT.  You may need to take some deep breathes and model what to do for your kids.  Now they don't need to know you are meditating on how good that glass of wine is going to taste later after things have settled down, especially pared with that piece of organic dark chocolate (which is, of course, good for you!).
  • Be patient with yourself just as much as others...change takes time and celebrate the changes, no matter how small they may be.
  • Get good reast
  • Eat healthy.
  • Continue to reach out to friends for support and perspective (It's easy to loose track as to what is "normal".)
  • Exercise and if at the least, do something physical with your kids.
  • See what you can cut out to make life as simple as possible.
  • Develop your own interests even if it's for a few minutes a day.
  • Don't forget to spend time in prayer.  Steal away for 15 minutes, at least, to get your spirit filled up and rest in the truth of how loved you are by God.  Reflect on the love you have for your children and then focus on how God loves you no less.
  • Be willing to be humble.  It's okay to say you need help.  There is a time to minister and a time to be ministered to and, believe it or not, it blesses others to help.  They just need to know how they can help in big or small ways.
  • Set boundaries for yourself.  
Remember that when your child is having a problem, as much as you'd like to fix it (or at the least, to simply have a return to some peace and tranquility), it's THEIR problem.  It's not a reflection on you. You can do what you can within your limits to provide what they need and help them solve their problem, but with kids with special needs, it will take longer for them to figure it out.  They WILL learn but you need to be patient with the process.  Their developmental stages are simply going to take longer than your average kid.  It's process not product...well, eventually, it will be product but don't compromise on helping them learn the "right way" rather than having to try to replace bad habbits if you happen to compromise your standards...just that one time.  Trust me, you will want to take the extra time for kids to learn how to do a task, whether it's tying their shoes, sipping from a cup, riding their bike or how to calm down when they are upset.  

A foster family I once worked with had a code word between the two parents which was "Israel!"  In so much as "Israel doesn't negotiate with terrorists and neither do we."  Our children can act like little terrorists sometimes, insisting on their own way.  Investing in teaching them social skills or what have you, is an investment in your peace of mind and their future happiness.

Monday, October 20, 2014

This Little Light of Mine

You may recall this song from your childhood:


This Little Light Of Mine Hymn

This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine.
This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

Won't let Satan blow it out.
I'm gonna let it shine.
Won't let Satan blow it out.
I'm gonna let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

Let it shine til Jesus comes.
I'm gonna let it shine.
Let it shine til Jesus comes.
I'm gonna let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

Hide it under a bushel - NO!
I'm gonna let it shine.
Hide it under a bushel - NO!
I'm gonna let it shine, Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

Let it shine over the whole wide world,
I'm gonna let it shine.
Let it shine over the whole wide world,
I'm gonna let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

This song had came to mind this morning as I was reflecting on the gospel reading of the day:

Gospel lk 12:13-21

Someone in the crowd said to Jesus,
“Teacher, tell my brother to share the inheritance with me.”
He replied to him,
“Friend, who appointed me as your judge and arbitrator?”
Then he said to the crowd,
“Take care to guard against all greed,
for though one may be rich,
one’s life does not consist of possessions.”

Then he told them a parable.
“There was a rich man whose land produced a bountiful harvest.
He asked himself, ‘What shall I do,
for I do not have space to store my harvest?’
And he said, ‘This is what I shall do:
I shall tear down my barns and build larger ones.
There I shall store all my grain and other goods
and I shall say to myself, “Now as for you,
you have so many good things stored up for many years,
rest, eat, drink, be merry!”’
But God said to him,
‘You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you;
and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?’
Thus will it be for the one who stores up treasure for himself
but is not rich in what matters to God.”


During my reflection, I was struck with how easy it is to be selfish, yet not with merely material items, but with our time.  I was blessed to have been able to stay home with my kids for 14 years, homeschooling for 9 of those years.  Circumstances changed and I had to get back into the workforce while managing four children, two of whom have special needs, one with autism.  It's understandable the need I have to want to be selfish with my time to help my children with their needs.  However, my experience with my children can't be stored up for myself or simply for my family's benefit.  I am amazed as I work with other families and with their children, simply sharing my experiences blesses them!  It is truly sharing the richness of God.  

In essence, God did not wish for me to hide "my little light under a bushel" but to let it shine!  My little light is reflecting His light, which is the light of the world. Oh, the wonders He can do through us all if we just allow Him to shine!  

Did you know that life coaching can give you that space to discover the ways you can let your own light shine?  Yes!  You have a light that was ignited within you and yearns to shine forth!  You are only limited by where your allow the light to reflect!  

Contact me and explore how you can let your own light shine!  Call 208-966-4338 or 208-449-9019 or email me at Sheilamh67@gmail.com.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Why is taking care of our selves so hard to do?

How many times do you say, "I need to take better care of myself"?  It could be eating better, exercising, getting a full night's sleep, taking time to refresh, or even getting yourself to the doctor for a check up!

As a parent of a special needs child, that seems to be magnified.  Yes, even parents of neurotypical kids struggle with balancing their time and making healthy choices, but it seems, with regards to the challenges some of our kids are facing, parents of special needs kids continually put their own needs off in order to make sure their kids' needs are taken care of first.  Some parents end up with some serious health issues, emotional or mental health problems, marital issues, social isolation, and the list goes on.  Additionally, single parenting, in whatever form it can take, (deployment of a spouse, over worked spouse, etc.) is itself a challenging situation, and when you add the complexities involved in caring for children with health issues or who are developmentally delayed, it can be quite worrisome trying to figure out what to do in those "What if" scenarios.

I am learning, along with the parents I coach, the importance of putting time aside to care for my own needs.  In fact, right now, I'm writing this blog all hooked up with wires as I'm getting a sleep study done.  The last one I did, I was pregnant with Michael, 10 years ago.  I'm in need of a new machine, so here I am, fulfilling the insurance requirements to get another, newer machine as my last one finally broke down.  I certainly can testify to the necessity to take some time for myself to get refreshed and in this case, to care for a medical need I have so I can take better care of my kids and have more energry for the various activities we want to be a part of.  Despite the teasing I was getting, falling asleep while reading to the kids or praying during devotions, I want to have more energy and clarity of mind, not only with my own kids, but with the kids I am privileged to be working with.  God has given me many opportunities and I have to do my part to make life more fulfilling, not only for myself, but to truly help others with the best of my abilities.  I can, in this case, do my best with the gifts I have been given, when I am well rested.


Here I am, living it up on a Friday night!

What area of your life are you wanting to improve upon?  Working with a coach can help get you where you want to be.

Contact me today and we can take that first step together toward making the changes you have been putting off.

Call or e-mail me and we can get started with your free inquiry call!

208-449-9019 or 208-966-4338
Sheilamh67@gmail.com

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Thinking Mom's Revolution's Mom needs our help

One benefit of having an online community is the ability to spread the word when someone is in need of help and support.  Truly, because of the fact that each of us is "Made in God's Image" we all can help in unique and wonderful ways when one member of our human family is in need.  On that note, I have been asked to pass along this message:

Melanie, aka:  TMR’s BK, Booty Kicker, is battling spine and liver cancer after having already beaten breast and bone cancer.
And on top of that she cares for her son with severe autism.
I can’t even imagine being in her shoes, as every autism mom knows, there are no sick days.
Help Melanie and her family out right now by donating here through Give Forward.Whether you can give, or if you can’t give, please share the link to this fundraiser.
You may think you can’t help, but you never know who will be reached if you share. One little click!
Be an active participant even if your bank account is empty :)Send your good thoughts, positive vibes, prayers and whatever you got.
Please do what you can to support this mother warrior in her battle.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

You don't realize the power of one little word

I was gifted the other night, with the opportunity to simply listen to a mom's story who has special needs children.  This mom has a child severely affected with autism as well as some other special needs children in her family and is doing a remarkable job with a husband who works primarily out of town much of a year.  Let there be no  mistake about it.  Parenting one special needs child is hard enough, but having two or more can be downright daunting for the average person who will remark, "I don't know how you do it!"  Believe me, we don't really know, either, you just do what needs to be done and it's simply the love for one's children that drives parents.

What I have discovered working with special needs children and their families, each need to not only feel valued, but be valued.  One mother said to me that her disabled child "saved my life" due to a tumor being discovered while pregnant with this child during a routine ultrasound. 

The majority of the parents who have disabled or special needs children are suffering, however.  Whether it's lack of sleep due to their children's health issues; lack of a social life for both the parents and their children; trying to get the proper treatment, in it's various forms for their children; struggling with the school system to provide a proper education for their children, which is federally mandated by law; or financially making it due to one parent often needing to stay home with their children due to the severity of the child's disability.  Parents of special needs kids have to fight and advocate for EVERYTHING that most folks take for granted.  Even simple childhood activities like teaching kids to swim or ride their bikes is a huge undertaking, not to mention being invited to a peer's birthday party or social activity put on at school.  Sadly, some parents also report being asked not to come back to church due to their child's disruptive behavior. Many have simply stopped going because it's simply a huge ordeal to attend in even the best of circumstances. Our kids tend to get over stimulated and highly reactive and for those who don't feel supported they end up simply staying at home instead.  

What we can't forget, however, is in order for parents of special needs kids to care the best for their kids, they need to be supported and refueled on a regular basis rather than what tends to happen; forgotten.  We all tend to be wrapped up in our own worlds.  Its all to easy to do.  

What was such a blessing, however, to both me and this mom, was simply having a sacred space to talk and allow for her to pour her heart out; sharing unfulfilled plans and simply starting to express to another person the "wondering" as to how things can start to turn around for not only her kids, but for her, personally.  Simply by asking questions and offering support, this mom was blessed and so much so, that she reported to me that she had later had the best sleep she had had in a long time.  Wow!  Makes me wonder what more the Lord wants to do through our talks.  

As my kids are learning in our evening devotions, there is something to be said about "Hope"
"[b]we exult in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but [c]we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us."  Romans 5:2b-5 NASB
You don't realize the power of just one little word.


Saturday, August 2, 2014

On the Move

On the move.  For the second time since moving to Northern Idaho, we have moved, once again.  Fortunately, it was a short move, only to the house next door.  Despite the hassle that comes with moving, it has been a blessing to our family.  As I'm sitting on my deck, which is a much better deck than the house we left, I'm struggling to focus on just one positive result of our new living situation.  This house, although slightly smaller, has air conditioning, cheaper rent and more energy efficient as well has a bigger yard and awesome landlords:  our former neighbors!

I came out to the quiet of the deck to work on this post on a beautiful summer evening and before long, have been followed by two of my four children.  I lamented at coming out where it was "quiet" and they both retorted, "You have 4 children.  There's no such thing as having a quiet place".  With this house being smaller than our other house, it will be challenging to find such a quiet place to work when the kids are awake, but we will adjust.  My children are such a blessing to me.  Despite the challenges and trials of single parenting, each of my children are such a gift and we certainly are learning the art of compromise.

As I think about explaining the benefits of coaching, I'm keenly aware of the lessons the Lord is teaching me and making me aware of.  It takes asking the right questions, being sensitive to focusing on what is truly important in life, what one's values are and taking steps for positive change once that awareness is realized. It takes action!

It's hard to get going sometimes, though,  and the tendency is complacency and adapting to the way things are, but yet not really living life to the fullest.  What comes with that, of course, is a lack of growth and feeling "stuck" leading to frustration.  Being in a sense, "compelled to move", can have various results depending on one's disposition despite the circumstances.  I really don't like the process of moving.  My mother still lives in the house I was raised in and the only time I moved was when I was about 20 and I moved north from our family home south of Seattle up to Bellingham, roughly 100 miles away, to go to college.  The moves as a single person were of my own initiation and exciting.  I moved quite a few times during college and after but it was not a big deal as a young, single woman.  Once my husband and I got married, we moved twice before we started our family and lived in the same house for 12 years, where all our children were born.

Since Joshua, our youngest, was born 8 years ago, we have moved now, six times.  It is so much harder moving with children!  The last 3 times, since moving to Northern Idaho, we have been so blessed by friends and family, helping with packing and moving.  Despite the trials that come with moving, not to mention the disappointment of being asked to move due to owners wanting to sell the rental house, there is a lot to be learned and many blessings, especially when you make yourself open to them, "creating awareness".  For example, I am learning, as I near the end of my 40's, that "Less is more", and God has a plan and I need to trust Him in what I will be learning through the experience, gratefully purging and focusing on what is most important.  I am grateful for all the wonderful people we have met along our journey these past 8 years in the various places we have lived.  I am also learning how to manage each of my children's special needs while also figuring out how to balance my own, to not only get re-charged, but to find that quiet time and space to enjoy the Presence of the Lord so as to seek His direction as a parent and with regards to how He wants to use me, flawed as I am.  I am learning to prioritize and discerning what is taking up space and robbing time from what is of utmost importance.  There is truth to the adage to "count one's blessings" for they are always there.

Our family has been through a lot of changes these last 8 years, some have been challenging but within these times of change and challenge, we have learned a lot, especially in regards to God's faithfulness.  Life is full of change.  Hopefully, we are making changes for the better and I can see of no better way to support one another on this journey than the talks we have during our re-instituted evening devotions.  We currently reading the lives of the saints from Amy Welborn's Loyola Kids Book of Heroes and Loyola Kids Book of Saints.  We need all the help we can get along this life's journey and learning of the faith of those who have gone before us and how their experiences relate to ours, today, is a blessing our entire family benefits from.

How has God been moving you and how have you responded to life's changes?