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 22, 2010

Christmas through Brandon's Eyes

I thought I knew Christmas.

As a child it meant Santa, Rudolph, and gifts galore.

It was a winter wonderland perhaps not always of snow, but always of the magic of it all.
Christmas as a child was a carefree time with no worries.

When my husband and I became Santa & Mrs. Claus with the birth of our first son Matthew, Christmas was all those things and more, but perhaps with deeper sentiment.
In knowing we were making these memories for our son, to be his Christmas memories one day, to pass on to his son, and so on.

As it should be.

During Matt’s childhood, I could not imagine Christmas meaning any more than it did then.
We had the best of both Christmases.

Both real and make-believe.
The bribery of Santa’s ‘naughty’ or ‘nice’ list.
The truth that Christmas was about Baby Jesus’ Birthday, who was born for us to be put on His eternal-life list.

Cuddling on the couch with him each night, watching Charlie Brown, Rudolph, or Santa Claus Comes to Town.

Christmas Eve Candlelight service, singing about our Savior.

And then the look on his face Christmas morning in finding all the toys Santa left him under the tree…

I thought that was Christmas.

Until Brandon.

And his autism.

What would Christmas be then?

Can a Christmas, without Christmas things, still be Christmas?
Without Santa?

Without the understanding of his own Birthday, let alone Jesus’?

What memories do I make for him, who might never have a son to pass them on to?
I now know the answer.
It would still be Christmas.
Christmas through Brandon’s eyes.

You see, once you strip everything from Christmas that is autism… the magic, the pretend, the imagination, those things that my son can’t comprehend.
The crowds, the Christmas goodies, & the parties that my son can’t have or handle.
And the perfect gifts, that I can’t buy, from a list that he can’t write…

If you take away all that – all you have for Christmas is a mom, a dad, and a precious child.
Sound familiar?
If not, look at any Nativity scene.
What do you see?
What don’t you see?
And when I look at it that way, I can see why many do not like this time of year.

And I’m even more dazzled by how much I love this time of year.

They see a perfect Christmas as one in a clean, full house, decorated exceptionally.
I see it as an essentially homeless couple forced to have a baby alone in a dirty barn.

They see the only point of Christmas in being if you have a job and can put gifts under the tree.
I see it as a poor Shepherd Boy who had no gift to bring except for himself.

They think you can’t have a Merry Christmas if you are burdened by challenges, disappointments, or poor health.
I see the joy of Three Wise Men who wouldn’t have missed that journey, that Holy Night, and all the hardship & challenges they had to endure to get there - for all the Frankincense, Myrrh, and Gold in the world.

And sometimes when the world tries to make it so complicated and hurried, I think it is good to just sit back and think as simply as the animals did in that barn long ago, - simply staring in awe at a baby asleep in their hay.

It’s because I now must look at Christmas that way, that it has become the most wonderful time of my year.

It’s the time of the year that I look back on the journey and how far I have come in following that Star, my God, who is up in the heavens guiding me.

It’s that time of year when I can look back at all the Herod’s in my son’s life who would want to harm him, but didn’t because I would go to the ends of the earth to protect him.

It’s that time of year when I take time for renewal, in preparation for the New Year and a new journey, as challenging as it too may be.

It’s that time of year when I can truly smile that in my own plain-ness, I am highly favored.
I have given birth to a most special child.
No, not one who would save the world from sin…
But rather one who has saved me from myself.

Yes, I can look at what the world has done to Christmas, and what it has told me Christmas can only be about – and I can see how I too would want it to just go away as quickly as possible.

But when I look at Christmas through my son’s eyes, and through Mary’s imperfect journey in getting to that first Christmas night so long ago, I can only see joy, peace, and a most perfect love.

I can only be joyful.

I can only wish for it not to end!

I think that’s God’s personal confirmation to me, that He knew what he was doing with autism in my life.

His personal illustration to me, that Christmas is not what the world has taken away in my son, but rather what God has given me through the gift that is His son, my son.

Christmas through Brandon's eyes, is my son’s gift to me.

His sacrifice, my gain.

Those lines sound familiar too…

And it humbles me to no end.

Just like I’m sure it did to Mary.

As she saw Christmas through Baby Jesus’ eyes...

On that first Holy Night, many Christmases ago.


Merry Christmas Brandon…..

I love you .

December 17, 2010

.....our Christmas journey

Dear Todd,

I know you didn't want to be late to work this morning, or have to haul your son out of the tub yet again from another seizure.

I know I didn't want to have to take the dog to the vet, nor have my plans changed or made more difficult to complete yet again by Brandon having to miss school...

Yet again.

That seems to be the key word of late!
You and I remind me of Joseph and Mary.

Their journey to the birth of Christ.

No, not that we are as holy or as chosen as they were.

But that really in God's plans and purposes for our lives, we are.

Their life together was not as they planned.

Many detours.

Many pitfalls, challenges, tests of faith.

Sound familiar?

I have to know that during all that - they were focused on the destination.  On the overwhelming joy of what would come to be - overshadowing all that they would face simply to get there.

And so I simply thank you this Christmas.

For listening to that voice of God that tells you in prayer that all will be well if you remain steadfast and focused and do not jump ship no matter how hard it may shake.

For living that quiet, simple life of focusing on only what matters and helping us to shut out all that doesn't for self-preservation of our sanity.

For loving the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind.

Those things being the key to our survival of  "Life with Autism".

Our journey lately has been a hard one.
It's tested our patience and endurance.
But I can't help but smile in how it so reflects all that Christmas is meant to be about.

And I know that come Christmas Eve and Christmas Day - if we have never left our house to do anything "Christmas'y", if we have not a Christmas gift bought, not a Christmas card sent, not a Christmas program or party attended, - we will have celebrated the true gift of Christmas in the way it was meant to be celebrated.



And the ever present...


You'll want to focus on that last one when you get the $515.00 vet bill from this morning.

I love you Todd....

Thank you for all that you do....

December 3, 2010

The Gift of Peace

(originally written in 2004)

I want to share a very personal story about an answer to a prayer about what my son thinks; and about what that taught me about how to find peace….
I especially want to share about  finding peace;  --- because especially at this time of year,  many people are frantically looking for it as they dash from mall to mall and party to party.  Peace seems to be everywhere – it’s on just about every Christmas card I have received, and in just about every Christmas song I have heard.  In my Bible – there are dozens and dozens of references and scriptures on peace!  So even though peace seems to be everywhere around me – I have often found it to be just out of my reach.  Especially since my life is sometimes anything but peaceful! 

Many hundreds of times over the last several years when I have seen Brandon stare up at the sky, I would secretly wonder how he could look so peaceful.  I would imagine that it’s because he is looking at Jesus or his Guardian Angels – (of which I’m sure he must have many considering the predicaments I’ve found him in…).  I believed that he is truly seeing something or someone in the heavens that I cannot.  While I may have God’s telephone number and can call him ANYTIME,  I believe Brandon has his direct line and talks to him ALL the time.   

That’s probably why he looks peaceful.  I have no doubt about that.

I also have no doubt that the things I have written that have found their way in books and magazines over the years, - have been inspired by God through Brandon.  The words  are my interpretations of my son’s silent world and how he has impacted my thoughts, my beliefs, and my life.  In essence – I use my words to speak for his silence….

But there has always been something missing…. 

I want to know Brandon’s words.  Brandon’s thoughts, Brandon’s feelings, ….  I want to know how Brandon views the world from his standpoint.  I have prayed about that more over the last several years than anything else.  “What does Brandon think about?”  “What does he see?”  “Does he know God?”  Of course I know from the miracles I’ve seen in his life and how he has impacted mine and others – that God IS a part of Brandon’s life and that in his own way he does at least feel God and see God.  But still the question…. “What are his thoughts of God?”    

“What does God say to him?”

Well, God had mercy on me and my constant nagging to him about that….and gave me an early Christmas present this year.  He did that through introducing me to Marshall Ball a couple of months ago.  Every question about what my son’s relationship to God must be like was answered by reading Marshall’s writings as if God was explaining it to me himself.      

Who is Marshall Ball?  He is a child much like my own son in many ways.  He depends on others for his every need – he cannot write or speak.  Marshall’s story is one that will give you peace, no matter what situation you are in, no matter how young or old you are.   Whether you  are touched by disability or not.  Marshall has a connection with God that few can match – and from the age of 5 he has known that his purpose in life is to teach others about God’s love.

He does that with poetry.  Through a painstaking, tedious process described by his mother in the books.  Marshall mainly uses simple short words or sentences, but with such profound meaning.  He has complex thoughts, yet they sometimes come across so simple that they leave you wondering why you ever let anything stress you in the first place!

Simply put – God placed Marshall Ball’s books, “A Good Kiss,” and “Kiss of God,”  in my lap to answer the questions I often asked about my son’s thoughts and why he can be so peaceful despite his situations or limitations.  And by doing so, I have received the greatest Christmas present  - (aside from my savior and salvation)  – the gift of understanding the kind of peace my son knows that allows him to look to God in the heavens, listen for Him, and hear Him – despite what’s going on around or within him.  That’s the kind of peace I’ve needed for a long time!

Reading Marshall’s books, I learned that peace is not really a word, it’s rather a freedom.  It’s a place in your heart and mind;  it’s finding a new  perspective of life that allows you to be peaceful in the midst of turmoil; and most importantly,  it’s feeling, hearing, and listening to - God.   Peace is allowing yourself to be filled with the presence of God. Peace to me is what Marshall views as a “kiss” of God.  He uses the word “kiss” to describe thoughts of God and thoughts from God.  I’ve learned that the reason my son is so peaceful in the midst of what I would consider despair in not being able to do what most typical children do – is because he is filled with the peace of God by constant “kisses” from God.   

My child, like Marshall,  has pain, frustration, and fears – but he also has the freedom to put those things into perspective and not let them rule his life.  His body may have limitations – but his mind does not.  He is therefore free to be filled with the presence of God, and to feel the peace from God.    Many of us would be wise to grasp that….  To me  that is the essence of peace.  You can’t go find peace, and it’s not a place you come to in life where you automatically get it.  In order to have peace,  you have to change your perspective and free your mind of any limitations or barriers,  so that you can allow the presence of peace to fill you.  Anytime, anywhere…   

In any circumstance.

Marshall knows that well…   

He defines peace this way: 


The sweet angels take us to peace.

Never fear



The angels come.

By Marshall Ball - “A Good Kiss”

May the peace of Christmas be with you today, tomorrow, always...

By MichelleMGuppy@yahoo.com

December 2, 2010

The Gift of Timelessness

It's no secret to those who know me well, that I'm a "Hallmark Channel" gal.  More specifically, a "Little House on the Prairie" gal.

There's a scene in one of the episodes where Charles & Caroline had just lost a baby boy.  Caroline was in a strange town where they had taken their son to get better help, and it was there where he died.  She stood staring out the window at the busy street down below and simply said, "Where is everyone in such a hurry to get to..."

Her son had just died and she could not imagine anything else in that moment.

Time for her, simply stood still.

Being no stranger to travesties with my own son who has epilepsy, I often find myself  thinking of that line in that episode.

Something Life with Autism brings to me, is an appreciation of timelessness.

In Brandon's world, there is no time.

There's never not enough of it, never too much of it.  He doesn't even know what time is, and is therefore, never stressed by it.

He never has too much to do where he would need more of it, and he's never been bored and wished he had less of it.

He simply lives each moment, as that moment.

Once that moment is gone, no regrets if he made a mistake or lived it wrong.

Never thinking about moments yet to come, nor the worries or stress of what those moments might, or might not, bring.

His world is a timeless world - and the kind of world I try to live in as much as possible.

Where all that matters is this moment right here, right now.

Where all that matters is if you are truly living in this one moment that you are guaranteed.

Each seizure my son has, reminds me of that.

Today he had one and fell backwards down our wood stairs, landing head first on the tile floor.

He survived that praise the Lord, but it once again reminded me how timeless time is.  In the moments that followed that incident, it didn't matter what time it was, what appointment I was missing, what I could or couldn't now get done.

It didn't matter if that put Christmas behind - or at least my self-imposed thinking of what schedule should be kept in the warp-speed pace that Christmas has become.

Nothing mattered except each moment that I could sit with or lay beside my son, simply being thankful for each breath he took.

Christmas -- the stuff of it could have come and gone and I wouldn't have cared or really missed it.

Because Christmas -- the spirit of it, was being lived right there and right then in the simplicity of a moment.

Of each moment filled with thoughts and things that truly mattered.

Surprisingly not one of those thoughts or things included gifts still to get or parties to plan or attend.

Much like the simplicity of the moment on that Christmas long ago when all Mary and Joseph could do, was sit with the newborn Savior-King and keep him warm and safe.

Not complaining about or regretting the hardship of getting there, not worrying about the hardships that would face them in the days ahead.

Just simply savoring that timeless moment of Christ's birth...

That's the kind of timelessness that my son celebrates each day.

And the kind that I vow to this Christmas.

As I look out my window each day wondering where all the people are in such a hurry to go, I'll be thankful that because of my son, I'm not going to be one of them...

By MichelleMGuppy@yahoo.com

The Gift of Unconditional Love

Christ gave to me unconditional love.

I never really understood what "unconditional love" meant, until my son Brandon brought "Life with Autism" into my life.

Here is a child who by the world's standards, can give me nothing.  He cannot show his love for me by searching for or making me the perfect gift.  He cannot tell me he loves me.  Most days I wonder if he even knows me, let alone loves me!

But I know that he does.

And I know that I love him whether he can buy me something to show his love, make me something to show his love, write to me that he loves me, or tell me that he loves me.

I love him when I get a rare hug, a sweet smile, when he's pinched, punched, or puked on me.

I love him whether he knows me or loves me!

That is unconditional love.

To give everything for someone who can give you nothing.

That's God's love for us.

That He gave everything for us.

For me.

For us who can truly give Him nothing.

He loved me when I didn't yet know Him.  He loved me when I did know Him but rejected him.  He loved me when I finally accepted Him and then hurt him.

He. Simply. Loves. Me. Unconditionally.

No. Matter. What.

What a perfect gift to know and receive this Christmas --- Christ's unconditional love!

Thank you God for the unconditional love whose cheek Mary kissed when he was born on that Christmas Day long, long ago...

Thank you God for the unconditional love whose cheek I kiss each night...

By MichelleMGuppy@yahoo.com