On being forged into a warrior mom

If I could summarize our journey from Hell to HOPEISM, it would be in my faith, which I call HOPEISM. It has been my weapon of choice to get me through each battle I have had to fight in my mission to win our war called life with autism and seizures. Vaccine injury to be more specific. It would also be in committing to heart, soul, & mind the words and motto's from Forged, NDCQ, the Lone Survivor, and Levi Lusko in his book, "Through the Eyes of a Lion." I will be forever grateful to the inspiration, encouragement, and mental fortitude found through all of them collectively. Because of that, I am not allowing this tragedy of vaccine injury that has come into our lives to be an obstacle to being used by God. I am instead turning it into an opportunity to be used like never before!

This blog is dedicated to Brandon. His life has been forged by difficulty, obstacles, & all too often because of seizures - pain, blood, broken teeth, & broken bones. Yet through all that he has shown such fortitude. The bravery, strength, & resilience of a true warrior. He taught me that having strength through adversity means that even if you lose every battle, like the Lone Survivor, you never quit fighting until you win the war. That in the words of "NDCQ," you keep "dreaming," keep "daring," & keep "doing." As Team Guppy has yet to be able to escape vaccine injury, we have no choice but to as Levi Lusko writes, "Run toward the Roar." God has indeed given us such incredible power in enduring such impossible pain.

Some days the HOPEISM in that simply takes my breath away.

December 28, 2012

Of Planes, Prayers, & Perfect Smiles

This Christmas will definitely be one that is most remembered.

Though perhaps not by the world's standards of the perfect Christmas party, the perfectly color-coordinated Christmas decorations, or even the perfect Christmas gifts.

But simply by "The Commercialism that didn't steal our Christmas."

Of Planes....
We didn't get to have Christmas on Christmas Day with our Navy-son once again, due to.... him being in the Navy and not getting to come home Christmas Day.  But rather a week later.  And thanks to the teamwork of some airline ticket clerks, we did get to see him a day earlier than expected.  As any Military mom knows -- that's to 'infinity and beyond' priceless extra time.  My son had volunteered above and beyond at work, and so his command officer gave whoever did that an extra day leave.  So bright and early the day before their original take-off date, he and his Navy-wife show up at the airport to hopefully get a stand-by ticket on a flight.  It's not policy to issue stand-by tickets on a flight that's not the same day as the ticket you bought -- but who can resist a handsome man in Navy Camo, right?   The clerk said she could get them on the 4pm flight.  He said, "Ma'am, we'd really like to try and make that 1pm flight...."  She said there was no way, it was already boarding...

She obviously did not know the kind of life my son grew up in.  Where the impossible was made possible each and every day.  In what training path he pursues in the Navy, the times he had to defy the impossible each and every day.  In having a little brother defy the potential of death with each fall from seizures.  In having parents who have defied the odds of divorce from the stress of caring for a child with a disability with each Anniversary celebrated.  In having a mother who never accepted "He can't" - "He won't ever" - "We can't cover that" - "We can't provide that..."  In having a father who exemplifies that "Never Quit" spirit in doing the best he can in a very demanding and at times trying career.

Needless to say, as the gate door was closing, my son and his wife boarded that 1pm "No way you'll make it" flight.

Our first Christmas blessing is to those who go a bit above and stretch policies a bit beyond in helping those in uniform get home to their families for Christmas.  No matter how belated that must be.  And to my son who will forever and with all he has, defy the "No Way's" of life.

Of Prayers...

We are blessed to have three generations of "Team Guppy" here with us for our Christmas celebration.  My husband's parents, Gary & Mary Ann Guppy make up "Team Guppy 1.0".  Todd & I are "Team Guppy 2.0".  Matt & Tiff are the newlywed "Team Guppy 3.0".   In the mornings Todd's parents read a devotional and pray together.  One morning I was upstairs having my coffee while I wake up, Todd was in his office checking on things at work since he's been on vacation, and I heard "Team Guppy 1.0" reading out loud.  I stopped what I was doing and listened to them taking turns reading from Oswald Chambers.  Something about the moment drew me to join them. I stopped by Todd's office and we both went in to where they were reading and just stood there watching them, listening to them reading out loud God's word.  While they were reading and we were listening, I was thinking about how that is the stuff legacies are made of.  What families should be made of.  All together, all drawn to God.  In prayer.  I thought how so very many things that ail the family in this day and age, could be healed by this very act of togetherness in God's word.  It felt wrong, but I knew I had to take a picture to capture the moment.

When they were done reading they looked up and saw us standing there.  They explained that they do that each morning with few exceptions.  And that they pray together after that.  And they asked us to join them.  And we did.  And we will for the rest of the time they are here....

Our second Christmas blessing is for their example of "The Family that Prays together, stays together."

And thus can get through anything.

Of Perfect Smiles....
Christmas Eve Brandon had a seizure...  We had plans to go to my brothers Christmas Day and thought all would be lost because of that seizure.  But Christmas Day came and while wobbly, Brandon could still walk and so off to his house we went for our traditional Christmas breakfast and opening of Santa gifts there.  Brandon laid down on the couch most of the time and then in the sweetest of moments in the middle of gifts being opened, wrapping paper thrown about, -- the biggest smile erupted from Brandon's solemn, expressionless face.  One of the biggest smiles I've seen in such a long time. 

It's not lost on me that all this occurred in the middle of a mound of worldly gifts where watching the madness I was feeling like 'Cindy Lou Who' in The Grinch Who Stole Christmas wondering if this is what Christmas is all about --- opening things, things, and more things.  Pouting because you didn't get as many things as someone else.  Complaining because you got the wrong things.  And then that answer from God.  That smile that reminded me what Christmas is all about.  Something that can't be bought.  Wrapped.  Opened.  But rather, Given.  Experienced.  Accepted.  Brandon's smile outshone everything in that room that symbolized Christmas.  It was more perfect than the most perfect of gifts.  That fleeting moment was my "Mary & the Manger" moment.  His smile the Christmas Star that answered for me the question of what Christmas is all about.  The simple humbleness of a special moment that reminded me of another special moment so very long ago on that first Christmas Day.  Those moments, those memories, that love, -- is what Christmas is all about.

It was also not lost on me the shirt he is wearing in that picture.  Our family's new motto:  NDCQ.  Not Dead Can't Quit.  Where in our "Life with Autism" that has brought us such darkness of defeat -- those fleeting, momentary smiles that bring such light and help us refocus and find our way to renewed faith time and time again.

Our third Christmas blessing is simply the thankfulness of Brandon and how he reminds me each and every Christmas season to do my best to make Christmas more about the "Manger Moments" than the gifts.