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.

February 22, 2020

On being "Locked in Love" ...

No, today wasn't Valentine's Day -- but thanks to a great group of "Brandon's Bunkhouse" volunteers and our church for allowing them the use of the JOY Ministry - we were able to have our "Locked in Love" Valentine's Day getaway today...

When I found out that we were to have this opportunity in February - I thought of what we could do in celebration of Valentine's Day...

A few weeks ago when Todd's parents and my mom were here visiting to help Todd with Brandon while I went to spend my Grandfishy's 1st Birthday with him in Cali - Todd & I were able to do a few quick outings together before I left...

One of them was walking the Buffalo Bayou in downtown Houston...

And on a pedestrian bridge there, we saw a "Love Locks" bridge.

Hundreds of padlocks locked to the fencing on the sides of the bridge as a display of love...

Every kind, color, shape of lock - all with names engraved or simply written on there with a sharpie!

I knew I wanted Team Guppy to do that!

So once back home, I searched for just the right locks to order to represent us and our....unique name!

As you can see in the picture - I think I did good.....

I loved this fish for what I had planned because well, it's a fish, and so are we, but also because the tail reminds me of my daughter-in-love, Tiffany.  It looks like a Mermaid tail, and Tiff does love Mermaids!  It represents her and Matt in this project perfectly to me - how a Mermaid fell in love with a fish....

(Someone should write a book about that...)

Now I know that the "Love Locks Bridge" that is most famous, is the one in Paris.  Locals & tourists have locked so many "Love Locks" on that bridge that they finally had to take it down because it was crumbling under the weight of all the metal.

Something about reading that made me snicker.  Warrior moms of "Life with Autism, Seizures, & a side of PANDAS" bear a weight so much greater - but crumbling is simply not an option.  For us, removing the weight in finding a way to heal our son of all that weighs him down (and us) hasn't been in our cards yet either......

But I digress.

No, it's not the Paris Love Locks Bridge I was thinking about when I had the thought to do this for Team Guppy, it was the bridge in Serbia, and I'll get back to that story in a minute.

Or two.

Call it the affects of "Life with Autism, Seizures, & a side of PANDAS" - but I didn't do one aspect of this project - and that is because I forgot the most important aspect of all...  Brandon.  In my mad-dash to sprint out of the house to drop Brandon off for the respite day, I didn't notice I was missing his lock.  His lock, the one pictured below, is the lock that holds us all together in HOPEISM.  Not that he is greater than God, but that his life locks us to God.  To the unconditional love of God.  To the Faith, HOPEISM, & Love of God.  To the Grace & Mercy of God!

Brandon's lock is the only red one on purpose.

The date inscribed on Brandon's lock - Valentine's Day - is the date Todd & I appeared before a Judge in Harris County to pledge our legal love for him in being his Guardians.   We never planned for that to be the date, when we were going through the guardianship process - that is the court date we were given.  I smile at God at that each year....  Because each year on Valentine's Day we have to renew the guardianship papers, and once again renew our unconditional love and fierce advocacy for and protection of our son.  To us, there is simply no better way to be reminded of what love truly means than that! 

When we signed those papers and swore on that Bible to be he guardians, we locked that lock and threw away the key.   We pledged to Never Quit on Brandon - and that is why I put the "NDCQ" on his lock.  We are not dead and we cannot quit on him.  On us.  We are a team.  Team Guppy.

After we locked us all to the fish in sybolism of "Team Guppy" - I was going to have Todd & I toss the keys in the bayou under the bridge....

But alas - that will be the next respite trip to complete the project....

It may seem like a silly thing, this Love Locks project - but as I thought about doing this, and researched the origin of it, it fit our life...

To me anyway...

There is a poem written about the story behind the bridge.  I have included the English translation at the end of this, right under the picture of the original Love Locks bridge in Serbia...

The story that inspired the poem, is about the legend of Nada, a school mistress who would meet her lover who was an army officer named Relja - on the bridge where they pledged their love in the days before World War I.  Relja went on to fight in the war, and while there he found a new love and married her.

Nada is said to have died of a broken heart....

Though that is not the story of Todd and I - it does bear an eerie resemblance to the heartache we feel each and every day that Autism, Seizures, & PANDAS steals from us.  How we fell totally, completely, irrevocably in love with Brandon when he was born - only to have his ability to reciprocate that love, or even say "I love you" to us ever since the part of him that allows him to even know such love was ripped from him - and us.  "Vaccination" has been the war that stole him from us.  Never to return.  Not yet anyway...   The reality of that breaks our heart over and over, each and every day.  Reading the poem was so haunting.  Yet so beautiful.  Much like my beloved Brandon who I shall never stop longing for.......

From heartache to HOPEISM is perhaps what they should have titled the legend of the Lock Bridge...

Because the HOPEISM found in the story - is again the HOPEISM I find in my life.

As fairytales are known for - this story too has a happy ending...

Nada's tale of grief inspired young couples determined not to abandon one another to begin writing their names on padlocks and chaining them to the fence of the bridge where Nada & Relja swore their love to each other.  Serbian couples would then toss the keys in the river below...

Their love for each other would never be unlocked.

Nor will ours.
Team Guppy 1.0, 2.0, & 3.0

(If you are ever in downtown Houston at Buffalo Bayou, go to the Rosemont Bridge and look for us!)

In so many ways the "Love Locks" story has touched me deeply.  Perhaps I'm sure for the very tragic nature of its beginning...  It is very much like our journey from hell to HOPEISM.  A journey of love, tragedy, and HOPEISM.

Though I would have liked our journey with these locks to be to the bridge below in Serbia where the tradition began - much like Nada & Relja - it is not to be.  For us, it will most likely never come to pass to be able to travel to such faraway places to take part in such fairytale adventures.

But on this Valentine's Day respite, thanks to the love of some very faithful servants at our church, we did get to make this journey today.
The ash of our isolation ignited into the passion of adventure.

Thanks to some amazing people in our life, in our church.

We are Thankful, Grateful, & Blessed.

The original Love Lock Bridge in Vrnjacka Banja Serbia

Pray for Love
by Desanka Maksimovic, Serb poet

Fast like short lasting flower petals
That in love will start to crumble and smash together
Thirsty for a forgotten dark whirlpool
Oh god others beg for happiness and peace
But me I will remember in my heart. And hold,
Yesterday like a tussock

I will close my sad soul like gold in a chest,

And make it a temple of love.
My soul does not pray for happiness, past joy, or
The belief she asked from me
Upon this terrible day, like a ship wreck,
It needs to be saved

Without help you’re withering fast

Like a poppy in ripe grain and flax
Oh god I’m not praying for happiness, joy, or relishment

I’m afraid this pain won’t die;

Like the holy ignited fire inside of me
But suddenly it dies and becomes ash
Although overnight I fear it will ignite again into passion