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.

November 24, 2014

Thankful for challenges...

Ten days.  Ten whole days seizure-free.  Not since May 11, 2014 has he gone that long without a seizure.  It's hard to describe how wonderful it has been to have him not down for the count because of seizures.  It's hard to describe how wonderful it's been seeing him eat those precious calories seizures starve him of so very often.  It's hard to describe the smile that's been on my face, though I've tried to temper it with the caution of what might happen in the next moment.  Reflecting on that now, I do regret that.  I allowed myself to not fully feel the joy of our seizure-free moments, lest that joy piss off satan and jinx the streak.  I allowed myself to breathe more freely, but not fully exhale.  I'm sure that's just the unfortunate "Life with Autism and Seizures" conditioning I've been an unwilling participant of.  When you've lived in crisis mode so long, it's hard for your body to adjust to the normalcy everyone lives with daily with only a few temporary exceptions.

Then this morning.

Our streak abruptly broken. 

The seizure-free counter reset.

But I remain thankful.  Hence the title of this blog.  It comes from our sermon yesterday in light of the upcoming Thanksgiving Day.  Psalm 118 says to "Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever."  And it's true.  Because His love for me endures no matter what, I can have the strength to endure no matter what I must.  Because His love endures, my HOPEISM can overcome. I don't learn that in being thankful for seizure-free days.  I learn that from seizure-filled days.  As our Pastor was sharing his message about being thankful for hardships, I felt like perhaps in all the things I do wrong, I might have been doing something right in sharing the struggles of our journey not to showcase our scars, but to highlight who has helped us endure the pain of them.  I don't want autism or seizures in my life.  Make no mistake about that.  The thankfulness for the things I've learned because of its intrusion in my life, I do cherish.  Only in my agony have I learned true faith.  Only through my deep sorrow have I learned true joy.  Only in the deepest pit of despair have I seen the brightest light of HOPEISM.  Yes, I can truly say I am thankful for the challenges in my life. 

Our Pastor shared these verses, those verses that I have depended on for my own HOPEISM.

James 1:2
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

1 Peter 1:6
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.  These have come so that your faith --of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire --may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

James 1:12
Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.

Even before the message, during the worship service as the song Amazing Grace was sung I was so overcome by the thankfulness of our ten days seizure free, that I found myself grabbing my husbands hand and walking to the altar.  So unlike my introverted self, but I could find no other outlet for the thankfulness than to be as close to God as I could get in that moment.  I'm not sure why I was suddenly overcome by that, we've been through hard times many times.  I guess like what the Pastor would later share, it was the pure thankfulness in those seizure-free days that were born from the challenges so many weeks and months brought.  It just meant more.  You can never fully experience how amazing grace really is until you've wept endlessly in begging God for mercy.  I knelt there with my husband with tears of thankfulness for those ten days Brandon's seizure chains were gone.  That burden for him lifted.  For how during those ten days he was set free.  My God, my Savior had ransomed him. Like a flood His mercy reigned.  Reminding me of His unending love, His amazing grace.

How again in Psalm 118 -- He is good and His love endures forever...
I cried in thankfulness for how the Lord has indeed promised good to me, and Brandon.  His word my HOPEISM secures.  How He will my shield and portion be, as long as life endures...

Our Pastor's message Sunday was nothing new for those of us in the autism community.  I think that's one thing for certain that we "get" -- being thankful for the little things.  Most days, that's all we get, the little things. If that some days!  A day with no meltdown.  No crapisodes.  A few precious hours to sleep after weeks living in sleep-deprived delirium.  The sweetness of the tiniest victory after the bitterness of so many gigantic defeats. Make no mistake, where I may have inspired those whose challenges may not be as intense as mine, I am greatly inspired by those whose challenges are far more significant than mine.

My Pastor's message was put to the test this morning.

In being thankful for challenges.

My husband will be out of town for the entire week.  Brandon hardly made it to school last week, and will be out all this week.  He not only had two Grand Mal's this morning - but after the first one, I was met with having to clean him up after a bowel accident.  To have to assist with that aspect of toileting in your adult son on a good day is bad enough.  But to have clean that up where he is out cold and a brick of jello on his bed is quite another thing.  That will test your thankfulness resolve for sure.  Thank goodness my husband was still home to help, and as he lifted him to mat on the floor so I could change sheets, I found myself standing in a pool of warm pee.  Brandon had another accident.  It's as if God was giving me an extra credit opportunity on the thankfulness in challenges.  I like to think I passed.  We passed.  All we could do was laugh.  I had poop on my hands and was standing in a puddle of warm pee.  In my socks, to really soak it all in.  Todd was trying to dry him off enough to be able to even lift him out of it so we could clean him up.  In our "Life with Autism" hilarity, that was what we call a "non-recoverable" incident.

I think more than the thankfulness we have in our challenges, in how we are most thankful that we can see them for what they are -- opportunities to draw closer to God -- we are thankful for the humor which sees us through them.  The amazing grace that gives us reprieve in them.

There will be seizure-free streaks - hopefully one day as in the song those seizures will dissolve like snow.  One day, please no God, Brandon's light could forbear to shine and God could call him home.  Us home.  I can't know what tomorrow will bring.  All I can do is be thankful for the victory of today or the comfort of God in any defeat of today.

And simply be thankful that no matter what, God is forever mine.

Our challenges are but for a season.

His love for us endures forever.

Before "Life with Autism and Seizures" I was blind to that.

But now I see.


September 14, 2014

The Woman who Swings

Now and then people will ask me for an update on "The Woman who Swings" ---

A long while back I started sharing on my Facebook page about "The Woman Who Swings."  My house backs up to a park. Behind my fence is a row of trees, and then off to the side is the park swing set.  I don't remember when her story first started, but for me, my story about her began a few years ago when our "Log Cabin" was built.  We had no shade in our back yard, and no porch, so we hardly spent any time outside.  When we had finally saved enough money, we had a covered porch built so that Brandon could be outside during the day and have some shade when he got overheated, and at night we could have a place to sit and listen to the rain or just be outside.  We called it our "Log Cabin" so that when we would get a few moments of escape, it was like we were actually going somewhere, even if we were really just stuck at home.  Our "Life with Autism" isolates us so very much -- it has been such great joy to escape to our Log Cabin to sit by the fire, have a BBQ with friends, or just be able to be outside during a storm and listen to the rain.  My husband built a couch out there for Brandon to lay on when he was having seizures or just tired, so that he could be outside too and not just stuck in the house.

At night, for my own little escape after everyone would go to bed, and especially for those nights when autism doesn't sleep and instead stomps and hums, I would go to the "Log Cabin" and just sit and read by candlelight or lay on the couch during the holidays and watch the lights on the Christmas Tree I have out there.  Sometimes on a clear night or during a full moon, I would lay on the trampoline and look at the stars while talking to God. The sound of the breeze blowing through the row of trees by the fence is so mesmerizing.  The shadows of branches dancing with the breeze incredibly soothing. Those times outside were always such peaceful times during such turmoil.  My son who has autism has been in such a long downward spiral with regard to seizure frequency and health in general.  It's been a time of disappointment and discouragement.  My time outside late at night true therapy...

I remember so very many times out there being somewhat angry with God.  Ok, very angry.  I had so many questions about why....why the constant downward spiral......what to do for my son.........where are you God...........   I remember crying so often out there because I felt God was so distant.  I have always joked that I need a text from God to spell things out to me.  I am not very good at discerning what his plan or purpose is.  If he would just spell it out I could accept it, whatever it was.  Is.  But to just "do" something. Give me a sign.  "Say" something to me.  I would beg God to not be as silent to me as my son was.   It was hard enough trying to read his mind, I was tired of trying to read "His" mind as well.

I'm not sure how long the woman who swings has been swinging out there, but it wasn't until our Log Cabin was built and I started spending evenings outside that I heard the first squeaking of the swing.  Every night, if we were outside, we would hear the familiar squeak of the swing.  We joked about oiling it, and eventually my husband did just that.  Every couple of weeks he would go to the park and oil the swing.  Her swing.  She became known only as "The Woman who Swings."   A silhouette sitting on the same swing, at nearly the same time each night unless it rained.  She parked her black car in the same parking spot.  We know this because we would often peek over the fence just to confirm.  Yep.  It's her.  Same woman, same time, same swing, same car, parked in the same spot.  She even swings the exact same cadence the entire time she swings.  On a really quiet night you can hear her faintly singing.  We've talked about her to family, then when they come visit, we go out there at night so they can see for themselves.  And she has indeed been confirmed by others!  You ask our neighbor about "The Woman who Swings" and he knows exactly what and who you are talking about.

The only thing we don't know, is who she is or why she swings late at night.  I love that mystery about her.  I have my own story about her....  I think she's a mom of young children who cares for them all day.  At night after husband comes home, dinner made, homework done, and kids in bed, she escapes for her own precious moments of childhood freedom.  I know she's not an autism mom because of the fact that she can get in her car and escape!

When I have shared about her, people have suggested I go and see who she is.  Tell her where I am when she's out there, and how we call her "The Woman who Swings" -- and most importantly, ask her why she swings.....   One night, I even made it halfway to the park, in my nightgown and robe, to do just that.  See who she was.   But I stopped, and turned back.  I don't want to know.  I want to know everything there is to know about Brandon, his autism, his seizures.... If it were God over there on the swing I would be there in a heartbeat asking him an infinite amount of questions....  But the woman who swings, --no.  I want that to remain mysterious.  She is one mystery I don't want to solve.  I love the mystique of her.  She is like what autism took from my son -- imaginary, pretend, carefree, make believe, childhood....  All those things and more.

To me, she has been my Angel.

One particularly rough night when I was desperate to hear from God, I heard the familiar squeaking. It was time to oil the swing but no one had.  So while I was laying on the trampoline trying to hear from God, all I could hear was her swing.  I think it was then that I felt she was more than just "The Woman who Swings" -- she was God's answer to my desperate need to hear from him.  I know God is there, I have HOPEISM in knowing that he is always there, but I needed to hear from God.  The squeaking of that swing was that answer.  Every time I was outside needing God most, she was over the fence swinging.   Sometimes when I couldn't hear the swing, I would look over the fence to see if she was there.  And she was.  Nearly every time I was out there, for as long as I was out there, so was she.  It was so uncanny that at times I even wondered if indeed I had made her up, so I would get my camera and take a picture of her in the dead of night.  If I was out there at 8pm, so was she.  If I was out there at 10pm, so was she.  One night I was out there from 11pm until 2am.  That entire time, she was there swinging.  Same woman, same swing, same car, parked in same spot.  Swinging with the same cadence the entire time.  Never slowing down, never speeding up.  How in the world was it that every time I was out there needing to see or hear from God -- she was over there swinging?  When I couldn't hear the squeaking of the swing, I would look over the fence and see her shadowy silhouette.

She'll never know what her presence there has done for my HOPEISM.  No, I still don't have the answers to all the questions I would ask God late at night.  I still don't feel I have heard from him in terms of if I'm on the right track, if I'm doing what he wants, what I need to do for my Brandon, if it all will work out....   But I don't feel so distant from him anymore.  The Woman who Swings is I guess like my own "Footprints in the Sand" real life poem.  Whether I'm out there to reflect on thankfulness or blessings of a good day, or trying to wash away a bad one and need to see or hear from God -- she is there.   My own personal Angel.  Whenever I'm laying on the trampoline, sitting at the table reading, or laying cuddled on the couch --- and hear that familiar squeaking or peek over to see the familiar shadowy silhouette, I smile.  I smile because I'm reminded that God is, and always has been, there listening.

And always will be.

Whether I see or hear him --or not.

No matter how long it's been that I've been outside for whatever reason, often before I go to bed, I will look out the upstairs window that has a view of the swings.  And I smile.  There she is....

The Woman who Swings.

The Angel who listens as I talk to God.

June 20, 2014

The fabric of life...

  I have a whole notebook of letters I wrote to Matt when he was a baby.  I would be feeding him in the middle of the night, and with the other hand would jot down messages to him about what I was thinking in those moments.  My hopes for him, dreams for him, and simply expressing my deep Mother's love for him.  My little baby boy...

Now that he's an adult, starting when he was in Boot Camp, I've been writing letters to him...  Mostly what happened in the interim of those years was "Life with Autism" which stole any spare moments to keep up such a journal....  But once the crazy slowed down to a manageable chaotic pace, I resolved to pick up where I left off.  Still sharing the same things...but with more life meaning...not so much sharing with him my hopes and dreams for him, but rather sharing the faith I have in God's will for him, God's plan and purpose to prosper him, and simply how proud this Mother is of him.  Of the man he has become.  Though always still my little boy...

One of the things I desire to share with him through those letters, is how I pray he never totally abandons the boy in him that makes him who he is.  That fun-loving spirit.  That laughter.  That brightest of colors he has filled our home with. 

Like us, he has experienced some hardships...stress like few others his age because of having a younger brother who has autism and seizures.  I remember a few times he left for school in the morning as an ambulance was pulling up for his brother.  I remember a few other times when he was the one calling the ambulance for his brother.  Like us, he has experienced a season of great challenge.  Things out of his control, beyond our human understanding, and not fair at all.  He's experienced like we have, doing the best you can possibly do, and it not being good enough.  Like us, he's been through hell.

But through it all he has kept that smile.  That sense of humor that has helped Team Guppy survive the unsurvivable.  Laugh at the unlaughable.  Shake our head at the reality of the unthinkable.  Of all the things I love about this son, perhaps that is the greatest thing.  His indomitable resilience.  It's a priceless gift that few have either from total irrevocable insanity or a supernatural sanity.  I'm not sure which, though at times I think equal parts of both.


And so my son, I pray that as you grow older as an adult, you keep that ageless quality of laughter and at times downright silliness.  I pray you always do your best and be as serious and the situation calls for, but also, as in the movie Pretty Woman; I pray you are never to busy or too serious to take your shoes and socks off and enjoy the simple pleasures of walking through the grass barefoot.  I pray you are never too grown up to dress up at Halloween and that you don your scuba mask and scare your mother to death by rolling a bottle of firecrackers in her office.  I pray you always grab life by the tail like you did on the horse in that carousel and enjoy the ride while hanging on for dear life.  I pray that as you did in the Bamboo Forest in multiple attempts to climb the Bamboo stalks, you never quit in your pursuit of your dreams, no matter how many times you fall and must start over.  Because as you found out on the last try when you finally conquered them, the view of achievement is breathtaking and worth every repeated effort. 

And though I shake my head laughing in disbelief that you actually did this, I pray that you always have the courage as in the video clip below, to go against the flow in snow skiing in your Camo-speedo that your mother bought you.   And when people gawk or stare, you just smile that smile of yours and wave as you pass them by.

Because truly, if you retain that fiber of your being in the fabric of what makes you who you are in this life, no matter how ragged and worn it gets by life, you will truly pass them by...... 

You will have achieved what few others do in this life....


May 8, 2014

On being Forged into a warrior mom...

Brandon wearing a "Forged" t-shirt.

Mother's Day to me has typically been as dreaded as April, Autism Awareness Month. I don't begrudge those typical moms who can go out to eat at a fancy restaurant with their spouse and their typical children who will actually sit and can eat the food served -- I don't begrudge them their handmade gifts or their store bought cards.  (I do begrudge them their day of getting to do nothing though.) I just can't relate to the commercialism of Mother's Day any more than I can relate to the celebration of Autism Awareness Month.

My son doesn't even fully understand who I am, let alone what that day means in how he should cater to me, so how in the world could I ever feel all squishy inside by store bought or assisted hand-made anything "from" him?  With that said, I have so appreciated the efforts of Brandon's therapists over the years who have made sure that on Mother's Day and Father's Day, we get something from Brandon.  It is a very sweet gesture, one that I do cherish...

But, for me to survive how crushing Mother's Day actually is for me, to have never, ever heard a word from him, let alone an "I love you, Mom!" -- much like April and Autism Awareness month; May, and Mother's Day must mean something more than words or gifts.

And it does. 

The shirt he's wearing is from Forged.  I first learned of that brand of clothing from my Navy-son.  He absolutely loves their t-shirts and shorts.  So of course I keep him stocked with their latest and greatest and tried and true regulars.  One day I decided to read about what this "Forged" means.  And I was duly humbled.  I fell in love with what they stand for.  Who they stand for.  

From their website:
Click here for Forged website

What is Forged?

As the hardest steel is Forged® in the hottest fires we too are Forged® by our own struggles and triumphs.

is the relentless fighting spirit of those who conquer adversity through life's everyday battles. FORGED® is the military Man and Woman, the Firefighter, the Law Enforcement, and the Volunteer who sacrifices everything that they have to safeguard the nation that they Love. FORGED® is the Entrepreneur, the Inventor, and the Political leader who risks it all for an idea that everyone tells them is impossible. FORGED® is the Architect, the Builder, and the Educator who strives to lay the foundation for their great country. FORGED® is the Warrior, the Athlete, and the Professional who dedicates their life to a discipline that brings great pride and happiness to their families or nation. FORGED® is the everyday Man and Woman who refuses to accept defeat and aspires to make a better life for others before themselves.

YOU are Forged®.


I like that last part, "the everyday Man and Woman who refuses to accept defeat and aspires to make a better life for others before themselves."

I think that describes the warrior moms I know.  Especially those like me who have severely affected children who haven't been "recovered" or "cured" - but who have come so very far from where they first began.

Struggles... Triumphs... Fighting spirit... Everyday battles... Conquering adversity.

Yep, I am forged.

We all in the autism community are.

I guess that's why I'm drawn to everything warrior.  Camo, Combat Boots, their inspirational quotes and clothing.  I need a warrior mentality to survive this "Life with Autism and Seizures" and they help to provide it.  Each and every day it is a battle against something or for something.  It is me David versus them Goliath and most often I feel I don't even have a stone or a slingshot.  It is those days looking back, those hottest of fires, that have forged me into not only the person I am, but the brave warrior mom I never thought I would have to be.

And on Mother's Day while typical moms are getting gifts and cards and dinners and the pampering I can only dream of from their children, I'll simply know that the gift Brandon has given me could never be bought or made.  It had to be forged.  He forced me to face autism when all I wanted to do was hide under a rock and pretend it didn't exist.  Yes, I wanted to do all I could to change his stars, but more than that my desire was to run so fast and far away that the reality could never catch nor find me.  Over the years his autism and his seizures and his bowel disease and his immune issues and all the myraid of things to deal with, have slowly forged a faith that has been tested over and over again by the hottest fires of doubt, discouragement, and disappointment.  Not to mention the many, many, many defeats.  But the world doesn't teach you to value those things.  Mother's Day doesn't celebrate those things.  Hallmark doesn't make a card for those things... 

So yes, on a day when many will be reflecting on the accomplishments and the good in their children, enjoying the things their kids can make for them that mine can't, I will know in my heart of hearts that I am who I am not because of those things, but because of how I have been forged from those other things that aren't glamorous nor graceful.  Because of Brandon I have dared and defied.  I have stood up and I have spoken out.  I have found courage while drowning in a sea of fear. I have learned that bravery isn't always running forward and being a hero, it is sometimes simply refusing to take a step backward or give in.

I learned how to live because of how Brandon survives.  Each obstacle, challenge, adversity, and battle.  He has endured.  He has overcome.  And in the process he has forged a strength in me to do the same.  I never thought I would challenge a medical system.  And I did.  I never thought I would be an advocate.  And I am.  I never thought I would go to Washington, D.C. to speak out for him and others.  And I have.  Three times now.  I never thought I would have to clean up the unthinkable, yet I have.  For an unfathomable amount of time.  Perhaps that's one of the best things Brandon has forged in me -- a sense of humor through it all.

I have had nothing left to give at times, but I have never quit.  I may have been forged from the adversity of autism, but in the process I have found faith, unconditional love, and a HOPEISM not even the fires of hell could consume.

And believe me, hell has tried.

Brandon has forged me into the warrior mom I am today.

He inspires me to do all I can for as long as I can to make a difference for him, and for others.

I am forged.

And I can't think of a better Mother's Day gift than that.

To all my warrior mom friends who didn't volunteer for autism but were forged into it ---
Happy "Ain't-No-Warrior-Mom-Gonna-Get-No-Time-To-Rest" Day!

April 8, 2014

Perfect love and the fear that opposes it.

The date was April 8, 2000.  The event was the 1st ever Rally for National Autism Awareness and the first ever Congressional Hearings on Autism.  There are a few things that stand out from that day that I'll never forget....

But first, the present.  April.  Autism Awareness Month.  With all it's hatred and division.  All the hideous posts from those who fear our message, causing those who want to help, to be fearful of helping.  And I have to ask myself why....  But I know their motive...  Fear.  In 1 John 4:18 it says, "There is no fear in love.  But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.  The one who fears is not made perfect in love."  The Message Bible states it this way:  "There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love."  

It is fear that drives those who don't want to be cured, to prevent us from wanting to treat our severely affected children.  It is fear of those parents who have been indoctrinated with the lies that without their child being fully vaccinated they will die.  It is the fear of crippling loss of profits that drive Pharma and the Vaccine Industry to perpetuate lies of safety.  It is fear of losing jobs, elections, prestige, credibility that drives agency directors and Congressmen to side with them each and every time.

But the parents...  Me as a mother of a son who is severely affected by autism...  All we have to drive us is that perfect love for our child.  Not fear of losing money, our job, or our reputation.  Just love.  Nothing else would drive a parent to endure all that we have been made to endure, when we could all just hunker down and shelter in place and not give a rats-ass about anyone else's kid.  Our motive is that perfect love we have for our children and our future grandchildren, that love that drives out any and all fear. 

Back to the events of fourteen years ago and that perfect love.  I sat in the Congressional Hearing room in the audience.  Raymond Gallup was giving testimony about his son Eric who regressed into autism from the MMR.  I remember a part of his story that haunts me to this day.  How when Eric would get agitated, they would all run and lock themselves in a  bedroom.  Living that kind of life, I wouldn't have the energy to be in Washington testifying at a hearing, but he was.  Out of that perfect love for his son, he was there to beg and plead for help.  He was there to give facts on behalf of the organization he founded and the research they were doing.  He was there to give warning to prevent others having to live the kind of life he had to.  And in reply, one of the other panelists or a Congressman, not sure who, but someone asked him what his profit margin was, something about a stock market something.  Something totally ridiculous and absurd.  He had no money.  He was a parent first.  He did what he did out of love, not for profit.

Another parent on that panel was Scott Bono.  I remember his opening words of how he was there before them wearing the only suit he had.  And I have no doubt that was true.  None of us had any money, all the money we had, and more, went to our children.  Traveling cross-country to get help for them, and paying for therapies for them that insurance wouldn't.  We all sacrificed greatly to even be there that day.  We begged and borrowed and pinched every last penny to get there.  Not for what we would gain, but for what we were tired of losing.  Our children.

It was perfect love that motivated the women to stitch hundreds upon hundreds of quilt squares together for that day.  Finding time where none was to be found because of the full-time job of caring for their own children with autism.  It was perfect love that motivated Unlocking Autism to collect and organize and scan in thousands of pictures for the "Open Your Eyes to Autism" picture boards.
Those projects cost them all time they didn't have, and money they sure as hell didn't have. Money that could have been spent on helping their own children, not anyone else's.  Yet again, because of that love, they put aside fear of backlash.  Fear that no one would show up.  Fear of failure.  They instead pressed forward and did what it took to make that event happen.  That event that would bring about help, HOPEISM, and change.  Not just for their child, but for all children.  The only motivation being to halt the epidemic before it got further out of hand.  To tell the truth before the lies could be further entrenched.

That is why it is incredulously insulting to read such hatred and opposition toward us.  But I better understand it.  It is fear.  They aren't driven by the perfect love a parent has for their child and how that drives out any fear.  They just know the fear of the punishment if it ever is actually acknowledged that they caused our children's autism.  Those with high functioning autism who can speak for themselves, are driven by a fear that perhaps if we want to cure our children, their life might be one we want to cure or wipe out too.  I don't know.  I don't know what would possess them to not want to help us help our children possibly be able to speak for themselves one day like they can speak for themselves.  Parents who have children without autism who oppose us, again do so out of fear.  They have been told for so long that vaccines save lives, that they fear their child will die without one.  Little do they know that quite possibly, their child could die very slowly for the rest of their life if they do indeed, get one.  That in preventing a death that might never come, they have instead prevented them from fully living.

And I think what signifies that perfect love that motivates us, is "the incident" of that day.  Those who were there know what I'm talking about.  In the middle of someone speaking, someone went up on stage to the microphone to announce that a child was missing and to please help look.  Without question everyone did just that. Nothing else mattered at that moment.  Everyone who heard the announcement, looked.

Just like it is today with autism.  Our lives have been interrupted.  Nothing else matters but looking, searching, reclaiming.  For truth.  For help.  For change.  Because of the love of our child, and for all the children like that boy who was briefly lost that day.  We would have looked until we found him that day.  No one would have quit looking.  Just like we will never quit sharing the truth so that we might prevent another child's health from being lost to autism. To seizures.  To GI Disease.  To wandering.  To drowning.  To death.

And those of you on the sidelines and even to those in opposition to us, please take note as to just whom it is who is searching for the truth.  It isn't Pharma.  They have no motivation to.  It isn't the Government, it would ruin their credibility to.  And as we have found out, and you will too when autism hits your child, it won't be the doctor you can turn to for help in searching for your child to get them safely back.   

It will be us. 

Those you opposed.

The vilified.  The criticized.  The quacks.  The written-off.  The fearless.

Those of us who have given everything.  And I mean everything.  In a core group of women I was part of on that day long ago, out of five of us who were married at that time, four of them are divorced.  I am not, but make no mistake, we don't have a typical marriage.  We get no regular conversation time, let alone regular date nights.  We have a tag team marriage.  I would say despite that we have a great marriage, but it is definitely a different kind of marriage.  Much has been sacrificed from all of us.  Yet we press on.  That perfect love for our children the driving force that keeps us battling on, even when we lose so very many of those battles. 

And that's the perfect love those who fear us and oppose us will never understand.  They will continue to not help us, yet we are fighting so that nothing ever hinders their children's or Grandchildren's health.  We were supporting programs to fund wandering prevention.  So that if their children became one of ours, there would be resources for them.  Those who trashed Chili's wall against us, did so out of fear of what we represent.  The greater the truth we share, the greater the opposition to counter that truth.  Chili's caved into that pressure out of fear of lost profit.  We have nothing to lose.

I guess the only thing good about this month is that we aren't the only ones whose truth has been mocked and heckled with such ferocity. 

Where we only feel battered, beaten, and bruised, he was all those things.

Where our cause is being crucified, he was crucified. 

The HOPEISM I find in all of this, this month of autism and Easter, is that no matter whether truth is a person such as He is, or a cause such as what we warrior moms and dads advocate for, while it can be temporarily killed and buried...

It can never be permanently defeated.

It will rise again.

We will never quit.

That is the beauty and the HOPEISM that I will cling to the remainder of April.

April 1, 2014

No Way...

April 2000:

A poem about  Autism Awareness

By Michelle Guppy and Carol Fruscella – original idea - Carol J. Fruscella

April 8, 2000

It is a bright…. Clear…… spring day.  There is a gentle breeze in the air…..  As you walk toward the mall area in Washington, D.C., you see the Cherry Trees in Bloom……………………you stop and pick a flower……..and it reminds you why you are there…

For the day that your child would be freed  from the limitations of Autism – to  be able to

Touch…….  Smell………  Explore ………

For the day that his black and white world………. would have color………

The birds are singing, and the sunshine feels so good on your skin.  The preparation for this day has been trying  and hard.  It was a long and  cold winter in many ways………….  Many times there was doubt that this day would happen……..   This day is a Miracle in so many ways. A day where  all of our efforts have come full circle.  A sense of achievement overwhelms you……….

As you enter the mall area…………. your breath is taken away by the sight of  thousands of pictures.  You stand still at the power of what they say……..each child’s face silently telling  their story………. each one waiting, deserving of only the best.

You see Grandma and Grandpa scanning the  boards, trying to find their  Angel’s picture.  You hear a small voice go “EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE… .”  You see  another child point,  “Daddy, that’s ME!”

The Autism Awareness Quilt is on display……………..but it’s so huge – you will never find your child’s square!  “Cure Autism Now,” one says – “ Save my brother,” says another….   .Oh, there it is over there, your child’s colorful scribbles on fabric that bring tears of joy and pride………

In the background, you hear speakers, telling the Nation of the need to help these children – and for the first time in a long time…….. you have Hope that this is the event that will  make it  so.

That there would be unity and awareness…..

That there would be a cure…..There are so many people………….who have traveled so far for this rally……..so many new friends……..so many stories to share………………we lean on each other for support………knowing that this is just the beginning…… of a journey that  will continue on……..  to raise Awareness……….to get answers……………..to get the help and support  we all need.
Close your eyes…….. imagine being  there…………Hearing the silence of  those who can’t speak………Hearing the voices of those who can…………

Dusk  came over Washington, D.C. …………..

A dropped Awareness Ribbon is all that is left of that day…...

Now open your eyes………..
Be there to make history and help keep the dream alive.

April 2014:

The title of that poem was "A Dream Come True" -- I think now, on the verge of April 8, 2014 -- it seems like it would be best titled, "The Nightmare Continues."

It breaks my heart to think that. 

To write that. 

Never, ever, back in the 1 in 500 rookie autism parent days would we have ever fathomed numbers of today, 1 in 68.  Never would we have fathomed we would be veteran parents.  No, not us, our children would be cured by then.

Not ever would I have fathomed reading blogs from folks sharing things as if for the first time when we veterans experienced them over a decade ago.  New revelations that are actually old news for us.  Same ol', same ol'.  New autism organizations formed to take yet more money from the established ones who need the money to be even more effective. 

People hindering instead of helping.

The things that are new in terms of treatments and opportunities are still not accessible to those without the means to obtain them.

It's hard to bear at times. 

For that rally, for those Congressional Hearings, we worked so hard.  We gave everything, and more.  And we have continued to do just that.  I hear so often people sprinting out of the starting blocks with new ideas and new goals, only to peter out in the name of having to take a break to focus on their own children.  All the while, us veteran parents have had no choice but to do both. Find a way to do more, sacrifice more.  Heal our own children while saving the world from autism.  No break.  Who would then pick up the slack?

I sit here still stunned by the sheer numbers now vs then.  But I can't help but smile too.  I don't feel we failed, I feel we just haven't won yet, and so must keep fighting.  No, the only ones who failed, are those doctors and agencies who we have reached out to for help, but who have instead turned their backs.  They must live with the realization that they could have stopped this epidemic, but didn't.

We who forged paths when there were none haven't failed.  We worked.  We followed the truth no matter where it lead because we had nothing to lose.  We didn't merely light things up blue and think we were actually changing anything.  We listened to the truth, and we acted on it.  And we did it from our own homes, with no pay.  No one in a fancy office receiving a salary has even come close to those achievements.

No, we haven't failed.  Not us who were there from the beginning on the message boards late at night, all night.  Not us who called, faxed, rallied, wrote, and researched.  Not us who endured scorn, humiliation, threats.  Not us who spoke truth in an ocean of lies.

Not us who saved pennies to be at rallies and Congressional hearings because it was that important.

Not us who made history by standing up and speaking out.

Not us who will NEVER QUIT in helping to keep that dream of so long ago, alive.

In that poem above it speaks of thousands of pictures.  That's what it was then.

Today, it would be 1.2 million pictures on those boards.

I have the dream now that I did then.

When will anyone hear that silence?
The "A Call to Action" Autism Awareness Quilt stitched together in 4x6 panels by Nancy LeGendre.
Bernard Rimland.  I wonder what his thoughts of today would be.
The "Open Your Eyes to Autism" picture boards by Unlocking Autism.
Brandon.  The reason I went there...
Kyle Walsh at our prayer meeting before the rally.
Brandon's quilt square.

This picture below...  This mom represents my thoughts today. 

No Way. 

No way this epidemic of autism can be worse now than when we began our fight.

No Way.

No way those agencies designed to protect our children's health are still turning a blind eye to researching the obvious, vaccinations, toxins, etc.

No way there's not an appropriate, community-based program in place to care for my son long after I'm gone.

There's just.....no way this amount of devastation could be real.


It is.


March 4, 2014

Lark Rise to Candleford

I was born in the wrong era in a way.  I love the simplicity of shows like Little House on the Prairie, Christy, Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman, and any of them set back in those early days...... 

The latest show I've been recording to watch, is Lark Rise to Candleford.  I watched an episode last night, Sunday night, the eve of the Lenten Season.  Though I don't claim any particular religion, I do love the meaning of Lent. The focus on the Lord.  A time to truly make Jesus' journey to the cross, to death, and resurrection, the center of my thoughts.  

The drama of that show centers around the Post Office.  They were to have an annual inspection by the Inspector General.  In doing the audit, it was found that when a directive was sent out to have Sunday hours, they were not in compliance.  When asked about it, the Post Master said that their carrier was a devout Christian and did not wish to work on Sunday.  They were told they must do those hours on Sunday or be reprimanded and the person who refused replaced by someone who would.

As it turns out, that next Sunday, the devout Christian postal carrier had been asked to deliver the sermon at his church.  He was so excited about the opportunity! But now he was faced with having to choose between two masters:  his work, and his God.  Sunday morning came and found the man sitting in the Post Office in his postal carrier uniform in obvious distress.  In agonizing over what to do, fear had won.  He was at work.  The church members in church a few blocks away shifted in their seats as it was 10:10am, and there was no one in the pulpit to deliver the sermon.  Then suddenly the doors of the church opened, and in walked that carrier wearing his Sunday best.  Complete with the stress and sweat of the decision he had made. 

He would serve his God no matter what the cost.

He nervously spoke to the congregation these words:

.....six days you shall labor, but the seventh day is a Holy Day.  A man cannot claim to serve God unless he overcomes all of his petty fears and selfish desires.  I copy these sentiments from the book.  The book I do love.  But what are those fears... Don't feel petty, now, here, today or then.  What if a mans desire is to do his work, take his rest, and then use that day to do whatever he choosesI choose this place.  But I know that I go about preaching about devotion and sacrifice, but perhaps God saw fit to put me to the test.  But my heart tells me that I have failed.  My courage snapped in the night and I couldn't put it back together.  But I stand here now because I want my devotion back.  If we believe then we must live by that belief no matter what the cost.  Today, is the Sabbath Day, and what I see before me is your faith.  You give me strength.  And I thank you.

Those words were what I needed to hear as I begin my own Lent focus.  In a way I feel like that postal carrier.  I feel like I've been put to a test.  Who will I serve daily? Autism's fears or God's faithfulness?  I feel like in some ways I have failed that test.  Some days the disappointments overshadowed my faith.  Many days they did.  Not just autism's trials, but life's as well.  But his words, "If we believe, then we must live by that belief no matter what the cost" remind me that I must do a better job of conquering those petty fears that bombard me daily and those selfish desires where all things happen as I feel they should, not as God has purposed or planned.

No one knows more about "no matter the cost" than Jesus.  40 days of fasting in the garden.  Taunted.  Tempted.  Tired.   His journey even harder.  Belittled.  Betrayed.  Beaten. 

He certainly served his God no matter the cost.

And for him, the cost was his very life.

I stand here now on this first day of Lent, much like that postal carrier, wanting my devotion back.  I am tired of anguishing over things that disappoint.  Anguishing over things I fear that will once again disappoint!  I do not want my courage to snap in the face of all the trials I must face.  I want to live by HOPEISM and Never Quit no matter what  more it may cost when I feel that I've already given all I have.  The one I choose to serve, who will provide for all other needs.  He will sustain.

I'm glad I stumbled upon that show.  Glad I watched that episode on the night I did.  And I'm glad for this new opportunity that this new season of Lent brings.  For a new journey.  A new beginning.  A new series.....

To Rise again and again and again with HOPEISM.
Like that mail carrier, we all have a choice to make. 

Each and every day we wake up, we choose to defeat, or be defeated.

I choose to serve God.
I choose HOPEISM.

I choose to be Happy.
I choose to live Joyfully.
I choose to follow Christ.

(and of course, I choose to wear Camo!)

I choose NDCQ!


Life with Autism is a hard journey. An isolating one.  A humbling one.  One filled with more tears of sorrow than tears of joy.  But it's a blessed one.  It's a meaningful one.  A purposeful one.  And because it is orchestrated by the most loving one, I know above all that it will be a fair one.  Even on the days like today where it seems oh so very unfair. 

Like that postal carrier, above all what I know and see about this journey is the thankfulness that it is not a lonely one.  Before me is a community of warriors, friends, and prayer partners.  Each of you give me strength. And I thank you.

February 4, 2014

When HOPEISM hurts...

Blessed are the tears that fall
Clean the windows of the soul
And usher in a change of heart
And bring a joy that angels know

I thought about those lyrics in that song during the wee hours of the morning as my own tears were flowing.  The silent, sobbing tears of a mother for her child.  Her child with autism, seizures, immune dysfunction, and a whole other buffet of adverse reactions to vaccinations.  When I heard my son cry out in frustration at nearly 3am, I trudged into his room.  I saw that he was still in bed.  Wanting to sleep.  Trying to sleep.  But simply could not.  So I laid down beside him.  He settled down after a bit.  As he tried to go to sleep, I could hear he kept swallowing. Over and over.  And I wondered, "What now?" What is this new thing?  This thing that is keeping this sweet boy who wants to sleep, from sleeping.  Allergies?  Some throat issue?  Reflux?  What is making him swallow over and over...  And I went through all the scenario's of how I would even check that out.  Upper Endoscopy?  It would take months to find someone to agree swallowing over and over isn't just a "behavior" or isn't simply "just autism" to then jump through all the hoops of having that done under anesthesia.  As in no lifetime of ours, would he allow that as an office procedure with mild sedation.  Does he have fluid in his lungs or something from seizures, a cold, and how on earth would I get him to sit still for an x-ray?  His bed is raised, I made sure he was propped up even more on pillows in case it was allergy drainage...  He seemed still for a few moments so I tried to sneak out and go back to bed.  Before I got there I heard him doing that swallowing sound again and then his familiar crying out in frustration.  He wanted to sleep.  Oh how rare that is sometimes in "Life with Autism" and how cruel that is how when he wants to, he can't. 

I laid beside him again, helpless to do anything else but be there and go through it together.  I love that about Team Guppy.  Todd and I have always tried to be there with our children and go through any hell they are going through.  Right there with them.  Helpless to help them through it, but right there with them through it.  And as I laid there thinking about the cruelty of Brandon actually wanting to sleep but couldn't, I couldn't help but start silently sobbing out to God.   Asking him how he could be so cruel to Brandon like that.  Telling him how I have experienced God through Brandon's autism and how it has changed me, all of us, but how for once in a very specific way, I would like Brandon to experience God in some aspect of healing.  Every ounce of weight is a struggle for Brandon to keep.  Every day seizure-free is a struggle for him to get.  Every seizure is a struggle for him to even survive.  Every everything is a struggle for him.  Why does simply sleeping have to be one too?  Why God, why can't you heal that one thing that is causing him to do that?  Why can't you give me divine wisdom to even know what that one thing is and how I can fix it?  Every time Brandon made that swallowing sound, I sobbed and asked God why he couldn't just heal that.  And then Brandon would do it again.  And I would be reminded of how cruel I thought that was.  And then I sobbed some more.  And it made me angry.  Angry at how I was laying there angry over acute prayer issues I hear about.  People having a one time surgery, people with illnesses they can and will fully recover from.  These are people who have all lived full, typical lives.  And who will again afterwards, with a few modifications perhaps, but still a fully functioning life.  And then I think of the sweet chronically ill boy laying beside me who has so many medical dysfunctions, and who has had them for so very long, and who wants to sleep but can't.  Who can't even tell me where it hurts.  I'm not sure which I was most hurt by, those ugly thoughts I was thinking, or how cruel I felt God was in seeing my son simply struggle to get the sleep his body so desperately needs.

Oh how I wanted Brandon to experience answered prayer in some of, one of, those specific prayer requests.  We have so many a'la'carte' blessings, but last night in those wee hours of the morning, I wanted the main course answer to prayer for once. And as I those silently sobbing tears ran down my cheeks, I let God know just how cruel I thought that was that this sweet little boy didn't at least deserve that.  All he wanted to do is sleep.  And he couldn't.  And I had no clue how to help him except to keep crying out to God for him.  Yes, even in anger.

Sometimes HOPEISM hurts.  Mary knew that.  The only thing comforting me last night was knowing I wasn't alone.  Mary had to watch her son being beaten.  Humiliated.  Hung on a cross to die.   Jesus must have had some of the thoughts maybe that I did as he was in a desert fasting or days on end and being temped by satan to the point of sweating blood.

You need to know you've got a friend in Jesus
You need to know he felt rejected too
Humiliating pain and unjust treatment
He's been there so he knows what you've been through

HOPEISM simply hurt last night.  For my son, for me, for his future.  When I'm gone one day, who will hear him cry out and get up in the wee hours of the morning to trudge down the hall to lay beside this sweet boy and comfort him, stroke his arm, cry out to God for him?

Who will weep for him?

And God will send a merciful Peacemaker
Comforter of all of those who mourn

It's a personal faith crisis I had to deal with last night, and it's a very real societal crisis that has yet to be dealt with.  They are thousands of Brandon's out there who need medical help now, who will need such lifelong care.  But as for me and this new day where the rain is softly falling and at 10:30am Brandon is finally sleeping, I have to simply acknowledge and accept that sometimes HOPEISM is going to hurt.  But always know in my heart of hearts, as I do, that HOPEISM heals in its own way, in its own time.  And that hanging on to the hope in HOPEISM will always be worth it.  Will always be better than the alternative of living a life seeing no hope.  Finding no joy.  I'll probably never understand HOPEISM, but I'll always have have faith and believe in it.  Even during nights like last night, when I never saw it, or even felt it.

Blessed are the tears that fall
Clean the windows of the soul
And usher in a change of heart
And bring a joy that angels know
Psalm 30:5
".....weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning."

Indeed it does....

To the NDCQ of HOPEISM of that...


January 29, 2014

A Rainbow of HOPEISM...

I love how God knows me.  I want to know the ending before the beginning.  On most things I have written, I did it from the bottom up.  I wrote the ending, then filled in from the top down.  I've never been one to go with the flow.  I've never met anyone close to that until I met my daughter-in-law.  She came over one day wearing two different colored socks.  I thought that odd.  Then I smiled.

It was a chilly walk at the Nature Trail this morning.  In more than one way at that.  January is supposed to be a "New Beginning" -- a time to look forward with anticipation of the year ahead.  And it is.  It is a new beginning.  I do have such anticipation of answered prayer in the year ahead. But still it's only January, and January has been hard.  I've been reminded of so many unanswered prayers of the past few years with regard to Team Guppy.  In my "Life with Autism" is it also a "Journey Closer to God" in that I can't survive one without drawing closer to the other.  The harder life with autism gets, the more I must draw closer to God.  Even though at times the closer I try to get to Him, the farther away He feels. But still, I press on in faith.  And in doing that, is the realization that goes against most popular schools of preaching-style thought.  In that sometimes being good doesn't mean bad things will not happen. That working hard doesn't always equate to having it easy.  That if you say a prayer, it will be immediately answered.  One thing that I am better understanding through the journey, is that a Sovereign God is one whose sovereignty you may not understand, but must accept if you are to find any joy at all in the journey.

That's where the rainbow comes in.  I saw it at the beginning of the trail.  I took a picture so once home I would be able to see if it really was one right there beside me or if my sleep deprivation was catching up to me. I've walked that trail dozens of times and have never seen something like that.  I knew what all I wanted to share with God, ask God.  God knew too.  I guess that's why he placed that rainbow right there before I could begin so that throughout my walk I would be reminded of His promises. Be reminded that though at times I feel like I'm alone, I'm not.  He will always be there to wrap me in a rainbow of His HOPEISM.  I like that about God.  He knew I would know that I will most likely not get the answers I seek any time soon, but he wanted me to simply know that He is the answer.  That rainbow....   His reminder of HOPEISM.  His comfort for my fears.

I walk the Nature Trail alone because that is my time with God.  To listen to my worship songs and just sing them to Him.  In thanks.  In blessing.  In awe.  In total humility.  I have to be out and away and have that undistracted time where there's no facebook, no laundry, no trying to drown out the making of my grocery list so I can focus on the reading of my prayer list.   When songs come on that invite prayer, as in the song "Lay Em Down" -- I do just that.  I did just that this morning.  And boy was there a lot of laying down to do.  Oh how I 'slammed down' with tears a few things that have been such bamboozlements in my life lately.  Things where I know God has a plan, but I am so discouraged and confused in that what is going on right now cannot possibly be that plan.  Oh how I'm praying those setbacks and disappointments are merely but a growing process portion of that plan. And then there's the realization that what if the plan and desires we have, are not God's plan at all?  How could I possibly ever accept if His plan is different than ours, that whatever that plan is, will be more perfect than the thing we most wanted?  How can God have something better in mind than the thing you most want with all your heart, soul, and mind?  I laid that all down to God.  I continued to walk.  Continued to smile at the rogue rainbow I saw, and continued asking the questions I know that I will not immediately get an answer to.  If ever.  How.... How can where we are now be that plan to prosper us...  We were created for more.  We want to do more.  We can do more.  I prayed that for each of us in Team Guppy.  I prayed that for an entire autism community.

And I do leave those things at His feet.  But I think what people outside of "Life with Autism" do not get, is that there is still a cross to bear in that.  Laying something down at God's feet means that you know only God has the power to deliver that prayer.  Relieve that burden.  Heal that illness.  But in believing that, there is still doing to be done.  I read a blog recently from NDCQ where he is sharing how positive thinking is a big part of success, but that positive doing is what allows you to succeed.  You can sit in a dark room all day long and think positively about the light being turned on.  But until you get up off that chair and turn it on, it will still be dark.  I think in the Christian community there is way more thinking about the light than actually turning on the light.  We're lit up pretty brightly from our Bible Studies and our fellowships and we help light the darkness thousands of miles away, but what about our brothers and sisters around us in our communities who are suffering from chronic illness, isolation, and fatigue.  Are we only sitting in our churches praying for the light to turn on for them, or are we actually getting up and turning it on by helping to be that light for them?  And I think in the autism organization community, there's way too much changing the light bulbs to blue to distract from the fact that they've never even turned on the light to directly help any of us in our dark.  I don't mean any negativity or condemnation in those words, only to share the stark reality of those words.  I have more e-mails of parents in my community needing help, than our community is helping with. And then there's the warrior mom's and dad's -- faithfully fighting, faithfully doing.  Always...

I think what has totally caught up with me, is how Life with Autism is an unbearable weight carried by many, relieved by only a few.   It's an unthinkable amount of doing, no matter how much positive thinking or warrior mentality we are doing it with.  And doing it with no breaks, no weekends off, and for so many, no, or too few and far between, -- vacations to get away.  For many, they do it with no sleep.  Advocacy in life with autism is an even more unbearable weight.  One where you just can't sit in the room and wish the ugly away.  One where you must get up, put on your war paint, and battle it until you obliterate it.  There is such sacrifice in that, a toll that can't be quantified.  I just don't know how people do it without believing in the power of a God who makes that unbearable weight, bearable.

That night and day difference between chronic and acute illnesses has just astounded me this month.  How so misunderstood it is.  And I know there are many kinds of chronic illnesses, but I can not think of any more inclusive than autism.  True autism, not celebrity or neuro-diverse or self-advocate Asperger syndrome.  The kind of autism my son has where he cannot read, write, or speak.  Where he is in pain and can't express it in any other way but self-injury.  Where he has seizure upon seizure and because what he has is so complex and controversial that traditional medicine tries to revise it away because the reality of what "it" is, is something they aren't willing to even acknowledge.  The kind of autism where he is in constant motion and in need of constant supervision because he is a constant flight risk.

And yet as I walked the Nature Trail this morning, I was reminded in that even though we lay down those prayers and those burdens, and even as we carry the cross of healing and advocating for our children, there is such purpose in it all.  Trust me, each in their own way, we parents who have children, youth, and adults who are severely affected by autism, know the good.  We see the blessings in things they have taught us versus what we've tried to teach them.  How else do you think we can survive?  One of the worse things you can say to such a parent when they are overwhelmed, is "think of the blessings.....".    How else do you think we survive such isolation, such expense, such setbacks, such enormity of how autism affects each aspect of our life, our marriage, their life, their future?  It is only those things, and the HOPEISM of good things to come, that keep us going.  I guess that's why when walking I find myself saying out loud, "I went to Hawaii last year!  I climbed down a volcano crater and then back up to the summit of the volcano to watch the sun set through the clouds..."   In all the prayers that weren't answered, in all the disappointments, I had that.  I had many little things, but they are sometimes dwarfed by the very big things of "Life with Autism."  Hawaii didn't cure my son's autism.  Didn't make me any richer to afford new and better treatments.  Didn't take away the daily stress or fear of the future.  It simply allowed me to escape autism.  It allowed me to experience my unimaginable.  It was something I would have never imagined, it was something I really did do.  I still marvel at that. It was my rainbow at a time I needed one.  Just like today's rainbow was.

I still have the same yet-to-be-answered prayers for those in Team Guppy.  I still have the same frustration in not understanding the interim of what we hope and work for, and what God's will in all this will be.  And I still bear the incredible weight that many of us in the autism community bear -- in trying to right a very big wrong in what has created the most horrific epidemic in my lifetime.  In trying to overcome with truth, some very deeply rooted lies.  And still no one but us, will ever fully understand any of that.  What NDCQ is, what Never Quit means.  How chronic, chronic really is.  How we can keep dreaming and daring and doing.  Others will read things such as this and assume we're depressed or are having a self-pity party.  They will tell us to "count our blessings" and shallowly, yet in all sincerity, say that they're praying for us.  But much like the story about positive thinking, for those of us living with chronic, lifelong situations such as "Life with Autism" -- what we really need in addition to prayer, is more people getting up off the chair to help turn on the light switch.  More people trying to imagine a day in our shoes and thanking us for helping to prevent them from having to lace their own up when autism comes knocking at their door and snatches their child.  More people asking specifically how they can pray for us, our children.  Asking what they can do for us like what Hawaii was to our family.  A chance to get away.  A chance to see a dream come true.   An opportunity to do what has been unthinkable so that we can come back with fresh wind and fresh fire to tackle our seemingly impossible with the renewed HOPEISM of possible.

I had so many questions this morning, such heartache for all who are hurting around me.  I needed encouragement from the One who encourages.  I needed it for me, and to give to those like me who are hurting and who are tired of the chronic-ness of autism.

I guess that's why God sent that rainbow as an answer before I could even get to my many questions. 

And why He sent a Savior before we ever knew we needed one.

I just love how God works like that.


Life with Autism is black, white, and gray.  The chronic nature of the illnesses our children, youth, and adults bear is not neat and tidy as we tend to want everything to be.  It is hard and it is messy and it is tiring.  To those friends of mine living that life, I pray for you a rainbow of HOPEISM to encourage you through it.  To be that answer to the questions and the comfort to that fear.  To those around me and around those friends, who aren't living life with autism, I ask of you to pray for how you can be someone who gets up and helps turn the light on for them, in whatever way you can, with whatever gift you've been blessed to help with.

To those who have not just prayed, but who got up and helped turn on the light for my family, I thank you so very much.