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.

July 30, 2010

Living life on the crazy side of autism....

Why yes, that is my husband in that picture above, sitting on a statue of a lion. 
The lion that is sitting on a stadium roof. 
The stadium roof of his alma mater.
In the dark of night.

For security purposes, I won't say what university, and if that picture should fall into the hands of police/campus security, I will plead 'photo shop'.

While that picture does represent breaking & entering, (and, er, riding) it also represents our life with autism.

This life with autism that makes us do crazy things.

Things like making voo-doo dolls of politicians who vote against reducing waiting lists for services.

Things like packing up your child and driving 2.5 hours or more to another city, or state,  while giving them mirilax for an endoscopy the next day, not realizing what exactly you would do during that 2.5 hour drive if that laxative starts to take effect before you get to the hotel.

Things like traveling across the country with not a spare dime to your name, to Washington, D.C., to attend a rally because it's just that important for the cause to do so.

Things like taking a stand and challenging a decades-old flawed medical policy of vaccinations, and not backing down when the entire establishment, and a few of your friends, call you crazy.

Things like taking your severely affected child with autism to the grocery store with you, without calling the national guard for standby back-up should said child have a sensory meltdown in the middle of the main aisle; having flopped to the floor with you not being able to get him up...

Things like having the last name of 'Guppy' and having your house flooded five times due to the little guppy's autistic-affinity for turning on sink faucets and not turning them off.

Yes, if you're the mom of a child with autism who didn't start out crazy; have no fear, life with autism will ensure that you finish the journey crazy.

And that's not such a bad thing.

Actually it's been quite a blessing for our fishy family of four.  Er, five if you count the dog.

The craziness of our life with autism has made us realize what is truly sane in this world.


It's given our typical teenage son a maturity to handle things most of his peers will never experience.

Like the few times that Matt has had to call 911 during one of his brothers seizures where he stopped breathing for a bit.

It's also made him see life as anything but typical.

Like realizing he can win a bet when he's in line with his friends to get their class schedule, and the school nurse tells him that he's behind on vaccinations so he can't get his schedule until his mom brings proof of vaccination.

To which he replies to her politely, "Let's just call my mom about that"....

After which he has his class schedule and $5 to boot.

As I've said before, our typical son is one of the few people who was actually not lying when he told his teacher that his brother ate his homework.

The times we've gone out in public to escape the craziness of the confines of our four walls, we were a family so finely tuned to Brandon's high-pitched shrieks and humm's,  that we've never had to worry about losing Matt (or each other) in the mall when he was young. 

Like a fish to sonar, all we have to do is follow the humming of Brandon to find the home base.  Home base being whichever of us is with Brandon.

I've been to church with my shirt on inside out, to Wal-Mart with peanut butter hand prints on my butt, looked the other way at the grocery store when he launched a glass jar of grape jelly from the cart, and have chased a butt-naked boy down the street.  All in the name of living on the crazy side of autism.

When someone mentions a ski trip to Colorado, what we picture in our head is the time Todd came home from work and slipped on a pile of poop on the entryway tile.

(Poop that didn't come from the dog I might add.)

That's the only ski trip we have time to take around here....

As a beating-the-odds crazy, chaotic married couple raising two boys, one of which has autism, - my husband and I have survived the monotonous, lonely, suffocating entrapment that life with autism sometimes is when you have no respite opportunities.

So it's no wonder that when we're finally set free now and then, we well, -- go crazy.

Like my husband on vacation who climbed over a fence, onto a stadium roof, to sit on a statue of a lion in the middle of the night while his accomplice son took the picture.

Yes officer, that is my husband, - and son. 

Yes officer, they do plead insanity.

Yes officer, they do want to stay in jail, and if you don't mind, could I spend the night here too?

We don't get many opportunities to do things together, it'll be like a family vacation.

You see, we live life on the crazy side of autism...

And we wouldn't have it any other way.

July 29, 2010

The unwritten rules of autism-mommyhood...

I don't mind having a child with autism. 

I wouldn't have asked to be such a mommy, but then one rarely asks for anything unpleasant or hard in life.

Like an enema.

Ok not so much.

So while I marvel at the miraculous moments I've experienced on this journey with autism, -- I admit that I have shared with God now and then about some things he could have better provided for.

I'm sure he took notes...

For one, to allow me to have had an olfactory dysfunction.  Or in laymen's terms, that what would normally smell bad, would smell like roses to me.  That would have come in handy.  Often.   One would think that after sixteen years now of dealing with leaky-gut issues, I would have developed one naturally.  But alas, not.

That when your husband and only other male creature in the house are not in the house, no Texas-sized gargantuan cockroaches would ever come in the house.  That's just wrong.  It happened to me this week with all the rain outside while my husband and typical teenage son were 600 miles away.  The poor thing was seeking higher ground.  The only other male in the house other than my son with autism, was my labrador retriever.  The cockroach was crawling in the entryway.  I was following it, pointing at it, and quacking like a duck trying to get my labrador interested in the hunt and subsequent pouncing to death.  I mean really, the cockroach had to be the size of a baby duck as well.  But no.  He was not to be fooled.  All the blasted dog did was sniff at it, look at me like I've gone quackers myself, then jumped on the couch to lay down.

I suppose it would be out of the question to ask my son's school to do a social story about "See cockroach", "Step on cockroach", "Sanitarily dispose of cockroach...."

I know...

And truly, when a mommy of a child who has a disability is anywhere where there is no quick escape, they really should have the ability to only hear 'blah, blah, blah' when a mommy of a typical child is going on and on about how their children fight with each other, won't go to bed because they're giggling, won first place in the baseball tournament, or are complaining about a sick child with a cold and they had to stay home with them and miss work.  Things us mommy's would kill for.  I mean truly, that would cut down on alot of unsolved drive by shootings.  At least in terms of 'if looks could kill'....

And last in a list of things that could fill ten pages, is that we get one stress-free personal wish granted.  Whether it's stomach muscles as smooth & strong as steel, glutes of granite, or boobs like barbie.  Just one thing that's perfect & stress-free always.

For me, it would be my haircolor.

I've gone to three different places this week just to fix what the first one didn't do quite right.

Why is it that I can explain the methionine/glutathione transsulfuration pathway to a parent, but can't seem to make my haircolor person understand that I want blonde highlights to cover my gray, and not nuclear bomb explosion white.

I even bring pictures to illustrate.

Oh well, I guess the reason we must deal with all those things and so much more, is because simply being the mommy of a child with a disability -- means that we can handle that, and anything that goes with it.

It means we're strongest when we feel our weakest.
It means we stay and conquer when exhaustion makes us want to leave and surrender.
It means we laugh when we want to just cry.
It means we color our child's world beautiful faster than the world can paint it ugly.

It means that if you're ever lost in a dark tunnel, call me; the glow from my hair will guide you out.

And like in Isaiah 40:31, it means that 'but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.'

Ah yes, soaring on wings like eagles.

But for me, it will be a flight on Continential Airlines.

My husband comes home from a week of vacation soon, and right after that I will be running out the door to Georgia for my week of vacation....

Leaving him to find what pair of his shoes I smashed the cockroach with.

July 26, 2010

No Humans Allowed!

I'm not sure why this sign got my attention as it did --- maybe it's because each day that I walk this trail, a new human "rule" sign pops up.

I mean really....

Isn't it time that nature put up it's own sign for us that reads:  NO HUMANS ALLOWED!

Really, you don't know how much I want to make one and post it next to that.

It's a nature trail that I walk on daily, one where I've never even seen a horse. 
So what if one walks it?  I would love to pet one as it trotts by!
What's so threatening about horse poop?
The ingredients in vaccinations, the air, the water -- emit more toxins than having a pile of horse poop on a nature trail.

It'll degrade people!

Are we worried about crimes committed by horses on nature trails?

I would venture that more humans kill humans on nature trails.

I just don't get it.

Just where in nature, can you ride a horse these days?

It's almost as bad trying to find an open place to let your dog run.

Each week a new "all pets must be on leashes" sign appears omewhere on the trail.


I think it's the spoiled rotten bratty undisciplined kids let loose on the trail that nearly knock you over blaring past you on their skates, bikes, or skateboards -- that need to be on a leash; --- not the dogs that never bother anyone.

"Please pick up after your pet" -- stations all over as well.


Again, it degrades.

How long again does it take for those water bottles, fast food wrappers, and beer cans to degrade that I see more of along the trail than dog poop?

Instead of poop naturally degrading within a week or less if it rains, we have piles of poop in plastic bags sitting in metal cans taking years to degrade...

At a nature trail.

I guess I'm the only one who sees the humor in that.

I'm just sayin...

I'm not for a Kentucky Derby practice on my nature trail, nor would I be fond of a pit bull fight training session either.

But I just don't think the horses and dogs are the problem....

And it's not their waste that's unsightly.

I'm entirely bonkers...

I saw this tree in the picture above on one of my daily walks. 
It made me think of the movie I had just watched,  Johnny Depp in "Alice in Wonderland".
I love to get lost in my imagination sometimes!  I walked around that trail imagining going down that rabbit hole in the tree to a whole new world full of adventure!

An adventure other than autism I might add.
I think that's why I so look forward to my walks lately...truly a time for me to escape the sometimes sharp claws of the autism-bandersnatch!

So many lines in that movie I could so relate to!

I think one of my favorites was the Mad Hatter talking to Alice:

"Have I gone mad?"

"I'm afraid so.  You're entirely bonkers.  But I tell you a secret, the best people are."

I think as a Christian sometimes, you have to be bonkers! 

Let's see... 

I believe in a God who spoke a world into creation in 7 days.
I believe him, though I've never seen him, felt him, or audibly heard from him.
I believe he exists in 3 forms, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
I believe he died and rose from the dead, for my sins, so that I might live with him for eternity.

Yes, I have gone mad!

Entirely bonkers!

Mad for my Savior!

A 'gone-bonkers' Jesus-freak!

And I've never felt more sane!

And like Alice --- I choose to believe in as many as 6 impossible things before breakfast.

It's how I survive an insane world.

Except for me, it's 7...

(I'm rebellious like that)

1.  God's mercy can make my sins shrink.
2.  God's word can make me grow.
3.  The God I cannot see, touch, or audibly hear -- talks to me.
4.  Through prayer any diseases, troubles, illnesses, injustices, - can disappear.
5.  There is a place called heaven.
6.  Satan is an evil jabberwocky.
7.  I can slay him.

July 23, 2010

The magic of the moon at midnight...

I was restless the other night. 
Tired, but could not sleep.  So I went upstairs to the movie room and laid down on the couch.  Irritated because I knew that whether I had a good nights sleep or not, Brandon would still wake up the same time, for the same routine. An exhausting routine.  So, I lay there with my eyes closed, grumbling about another night of insomnia....

From where I was laying across the couch, I could see the window.  

I opened my eyes, and the picture above is what I saw.
You probably cannot see it as clearly as I did, but on the window is condensation from the cool air inside, and the stifling humidity outside.  The moon shining through the window illuminated each drop in a soft glow...
A heavenly glow. It was a breathtaking sight to lay there and behold.

So calm.

So peaceful.

So magical.

I just laid there motionless as if to not make a ripple in the moment.

Then I started thinking about things truly worth grumbling about. 
Things truly worth staying up for.
People truly worth praying all night for.

My son with autism is getting the medical help he needs to the best of my financial ability.  There is a mom somewhere up at this very moment, confused, bewildered, tormented, by symptoms, behaviors, and pain that she has no clue what to do about.

My son with autism is sleeping peacefully down the hall.  There is a mom somewhere up at this very moment, at her wits end with her child who has not slept in days.

My son with autism is safe in his room down the hall.  There is a mom somewhere who has had to put her son with autism  in a state school or institution; and at this very moment doesn't even know he is being abused, neglected, perhaps murdered.

It was sad to lay there thinking of all those things and more.  But empowering in the way that by sharing them with my God in the stillness of a moonlit night -- by lifting up each situation I know of, each family who I know is struggling, made me feel not so alone in my prayers.  Not so helpless because I cannot help everyone. 

Not so bothered by the interruption of insomnia.

In the book "Interrupted" that I've been reading -- it compels us to allow ourselves to be interrupted by God and for God.  To listen when he calls, do what he asks, be who he created us to be.

Sometimes that interruption comes in the middle of a sleepless night.
Reminding us that there are things greater than ourselves out there. 
Situations much more complicated than ours.

Not to make us feel helpless, but to draw us closer to the one who has the power to help.
The power to change the circumstances or to change the person going through the circumstances.
The power to comfort the innocent who must endure.

Pehaps that was the meaning behind the magic of the moon shining through my window at midnight.

God simply reminding me with a solemn soft smile that he is there...

That I am called to 'wake-up' and care.

God comforting me in that in any injustice that I cannot do anything about, no one is ever forgotten or forsaken.

Nothing happens that he doesn't notice.

That for anyone anywhere in this world who feels they're walking in the darkest of nights, --- we are never walking alone.

And especially for me - that for all the insecurities, hurts, fears, injustices, questions unanswered in my life with autism, his tears the condensation sliding down the window simply saying I am here...

I know...

The last thing I remember that night, is praying for my son who will soon be gone from my home, laying in a new bed somewhere far from the reach of my healing hug.

That if he is ever hurt, homesick, or feels helpless and can't sleep... 

To be comforted by the magic of the moon at midnight...

Which really isn't magic at all.

It's simply talking to God....

The God who will always hear our call.


Psalm 145:18
The LORD is near to all who call on him....

July 22, 2010

On the wild side....

I took this picture because for me it brought a smile to my face as I so related to it.

It seemed to represent so many struggles in my life as a person, a Christian, and a parent.

Which am I?

The perfectly mowed, manicured, conformist; or the imperfect, wild, non-conformist?

As a Christian do you have to be one or the other, or can you truly be both?

I laughed as I walked... 

Asking God his thoughts.

I think he laughed harder.

He knows my heart. 

I couldn't pretend to be the mowed side of that divide even if I tried!

He knows that while I'm totally unequivocally irrepressibly and insanely devoted to Him, I'm still a human child sometimes walking the wild side of life.

Even as it's thundering outside back home as I type this, God giggles knowing that while others may scoff at a storm, I savor it....

Sometimes I feel like the flowers you can't see. The ones that were mowed over because of someone's idea that grass all one length looks better, is more acceptable.

Is it?

I don't know.

But I do know that as I walked around that path, the mowed side never changed. 

It seemed stagnant, never-changing.

In places, burned out from having been chopped by the blade too severely!

But the wild side did change. 

It moved, it flowed, it had wildflowers that while still weeds, were beautiful. 

When we take a legalistic approach to our Christianity, thinking someone can't be as good a Christian as us because they live their life a bit differently, on the wild side we would say; we lose sight of the freedom that very Christianity is supposed to bring.

For me that means not the freedom to purposely sin, but the freedom to be who God made me to be...

A wild, wacky, worshipful, weed-filled, wonderful woman!

Who could perhaps learn to walk a wee bit closer to the divide...

           (quit laughing God!)

~ ~ ~

By Michelle M. Guppy

July 17, 2010

The Carousel...

His childhood a carousel
 laughter heard round and round
always busy always exploring
excited by new treasures he found 

His life carousel music
playfully glee
his soul so very tender
his spirit so free

Bright lights
and bright colors
his potential easy to see 
the wonder in his eyes
still fascinates me

His life a carousel horse
 strong, steady, and true
miracles, magic moments, & memories
and the day he devoted his life to you

Life's up & down like a carousel
childhood too fast a flow
Did I do everything to prepare him?
Did I teach him all he should know?

Parenting's like a carousel
a ride that at some point must end
where I once lifted him up as a child
he now eagerly jumps down as a friend

Like the pole on that carousel
my instinct to hold him tight
not wanting to let go
not wanting to lose my sunshine, my light

When he walks away from my carousel
embarking on his new Navy-ride
he'll see tears of saddness
behind them a floodgate of pride

My heart ships-off with him
praying happiness abounds
for his faith to stay focused 
for his feet to remain firmly planted   
(though I'd prefer on the ground!)

Make his enlistment like a carousel
Of Fair Winds and Following Seas
 Guide him and protect him...
Bring my sailor back 'round to me.

Written by Michelle M. Guppy
For his ship-off date to Navy Boot Camp on December 6, 2011

For my Matthew...
Still a silly-hearted boy embarking on a new journey as a serious Navy man.

July 14, 2010

his time, His path...

The world knows about my Brandon... the one whom most of my writings are inspired by. 

But I do have another son, Matthew.

He just turned 18 on July 6th.

And a Navy Recruiter just left my living room.

I sit here stunned by that. 

Not stunned in horror that he wants to join the Navy, or become a Navy Seal.

I'm quite proud of him for wanting to serve our country in one of the finest ways possible.
"Non Sibi Sed Patriae" --- Not for self but for country...

But stunned that for all practical purposes, my journey as Michelle his 'mommy' has ended; and his journey as Matthew the 'man' has begun.

Three things I know for sure about that:  1) He was never mine, always God's.  I was merely the caretaker.  2)  His destination in life was never for me to determine.  For me to dream about maybe, but not for me to determine.  I was merely the tour guide on a pre-destined path designed by God.  3)  His life with an autistic brother has prepared him better than I ever could, to face any twist and turn on any path he chooses to follow. 

Compared to most any teenagers his age, he's seen more, lived more, endured more, and has matured more.

"Yesterday was the only easy day" -- may be a Navy Seal motto, ---  but before I ever heard that saying, it's been how our family's life with autism has been.

So yeah, anything beyond that seems easy in comparison!

And so as in Ecclesiastes 3:1 when it talks about there being a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven, - I suppose it's implied that all those times listed there could apply to your first born son turning 18 and wanting to join the military.

And so as the Recruiter, my son, my husband, and myself sat there for a couple hours asking and answering and then asking again - question after question ---I felt a peace.

I know Matt can do and achieve anything he sets his mind to.

He's brilliant, he's practical, and he's a survivor.

Sure, there are things we don't know...

Sure, there are things I'm scared about for him...

But we have a God for that.

A God who will be with him every step he takes.

A God who knows the plans he has for him, plans to prosper him, give him hope, a future, during this time,

         his time...

A God who will never leave or forsake anyone who is His, seeking Him, along this path, 

               His path...

The unofficial Navy Motto is:

Non Sibi Sed Patriae

"Not for ourselves but for our Country"

But perhaps Matt, change that last part to "For God."

Country's, like man, can fail you or fall into the hands of evil.

But God can't, and never will.

Always remember that.

And this:

I'm so very proud of you son...



July 13, 2010

Come just as you are...

Life is sometimes like the trees in the picture above from the nature trail I walk on.  A seemingly tangled mess of obstacles you have to dodge as best you can -- only to be unexpectedly smacked in the face with a stray branch.

I was reflecting on that today... the events of the past few days of credit card fraud, decisions to be made about autism work, and the ugly argument with my husband about nothing really --- nothing more than stress.

In the past few days I've cursed thieves, my aching back from not being able to walk, even my husband.

And today, the first chance in over a week to 'walk it all out' -- I came to this tangled web of trees, and through the middle of them, the bright sun making it's way through...

It was as if God was inviting me there -- to just stand in that tiny ray of light and just bask in his glory. 

(Sure, I'll go stand in the sun, as if this fish wasn't already being poached by the heat!)

Why would a God who is nothing but good, invite me, a gawdy no-good sinner, to come bask in his glory?

I'll never know that.

Grace, I suppose would be the only answer.

What I do know from today's walk, is that no matter how much I screw up, he will always invite me back into HIS light, saying simply:

Come.....just as you are.

I will.

Leave your failures, foibles, faults, frowns,  and just come to me. 

I did.

Look to me for grace.

I am.