New Site

Hulloo.

I suppose some of you may be wondering where I’ve been since Valentines Day. I’ve been working on a new project. It’s called Living Life by the Handful, and it’s really just a reboot of Mommyhood. Or more like an expansion, really, with a staff of contributors who are volunteering their time to bring you meaningful content. Check it out!

Have a blessed day!

It’s all about love.

Today’s post is all about love. And not just because it’s Valentine’s Day. This world we live in was created for love. The birds and the bees, the flowers and the trees… all made because of love.

You see, we have this great God who, though accompanied by His Son and His Spirit (who I like to think of as the woman/wife in the picture) and attended by all the hosts of angels which He made to serve Him, realized He had too much love to give and not enough “people” to give it to. So He decided to make something.

“Wisdom,” He said to His wife, “I think I’ll put a fountain in My garden today.” It was a sea of black with a big round ball floating at its center.

How often do we get to feeling like we need something more? Everything’s fine, but there’s just this energy inside of us that needs to be let out. Some of us bake. Others take up scrapbooking or painting or join the PTO. But God, He’s a craftsman.

He looked out at His kingdom and found the perfect spot for His new masterpiece; and then He got to work. He motioned with His finger for the globe to spin.

“Hmm. Looks too dark. I want to make something bright and cheery. How about some light?” But as the light shown on His fountain, God noticed the water was getting caught up in itself in some places.

“Looks like I need to separate the waters somehow. All right, sky, do your thing,” and fluffy clouds began to form all around the ball of water.

At this point His wife Wisdom came up (the Spirit, that is). And you know how we women are… “That’s a nice fountain, Dear.” A pause. “But, I don’t know, I think it’s missing something.”

So God stood there for a moment, contemplating what details He might add.

“Aha!” With His hands, He pulled all the water to one spot and ordered dry ground to appear. Then He stepped back and smiled as a new idea crept into His mind.

“What this thing needs is some color. Land, produce vegetation. I want some roses here, a big oak tree over there. Now, plants, be fruitful. Very good.” And then He got a little carried away.

He made lights of various sizes and created time. He brought life to the sea, sent birds flying through the air, told the land to make animals. He made a mate for every creature and ordered them to multiply.

“What do you think, Son?” He asked as His only child approached.

“Mother wants to know when You’re coming to dinn- Whoa! That’s neat!”

“Come on, Son, there’s one last thing I want to do before the banquet. You can help me.”

“What is it, Father?”

“Let’s make a man that looks like one of us. Then he can watch over everything while we’re away. Grab a handful of that dirt right there. Good. Now sprinkle some water on so we can mold it.” He played with the clay for a moment. “All right. What do you think?”

“He looks just like You, Father! But… Why isn’t he moving?”

The sculptor scooped up his doll, bent down slightly, and blew His breath into the little man’s nostrils. Just then Wisdom called from the dining hall, “Yahweh!”

“Coming, Dear.” He gently placed the man in a beautiful garden, gave him some quick instructions put His Son up on His shoulders, and ran to the banquet hall laughing.

After dinner, God decided to check on His masterpiece. “Adam must be having such a good time,” He thought, “naming all the animals and sampling all the delicious fruits I made for him!”

But when He got to the fountain, the man looked unhappy.

“Adam, what’s wrong?”

“Oh, Master, this world You’ve made is just beautiful, and the creatures are amazing! But I feel…empty…like I’m all alone,”  Adam replied.

“Have you spoken with the apes?”

“Yes, Sir. They’re a comedic bunch.”

“The lion?”

“Great wrestler!”

“And still you feel alone?”

Adam nodded, and God frowned.

“I’m sorry, Your Majesty, I know I should be grateful. I never should have said anything. I -”

“Hush, child. I’m glad you did. I wouldn’t want my greatest masterpiece to be downtrodden. Besides, I know just what to do!” The King’s excitement began to grow as He spoke of His plan.

“You say you’re lonely, and I know why: You are the only one of your kind. Here I Am, with a wife and child, fulfilled beyond belief, and I made you as a solitary man. Your joy can never be complete that way.

“So here is what I’m going to do: You’re going to take a nap, and while you’re sleeping, I’ll take a part of your side and form around it some more clay. I’ll seal up the wound in your body, and when you awake there will be a marvelous surprise waiting for you!” The Maker’s eyes twinkled as He prepared a bed of soft leaves for the man.

“All right, Adam, it’s time to lay down.”

Slowly the man climbed onto the mound of leaves. He laid down, made himself comfortable, then sat straight up. “Will it… hurt?” he asked sheepishly.

“Nonsense,” God replied lovingly. “Go to sleep.”

How many of us, as parents, can identify with the Maker’s role at this point? The author of Genesis states matter-of-factly that, “God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep.” Now, we all know it can’t have been that easy. Here’s a man less than a day old – an emotional toddler. And we all know what it’s like to put a toddler to bed. How often can you tell him to go to bed and he just does? Next to never. And since we know that God doesn’t impose His will on men, I’m guessing it was the same way with Adam. Sure, he was obedient, but the guy wanted a bedtime story to ease his fears!

So God got the man to sleep and grabbed a chunk out of his side. He set aside the rib, closed up the empty space with flesh, and formed another human around the piece of Adams side. Only this time He did things a little differently. instead of giving the doll hard, strong muscles, He made her soft and curvy. Then He took her to the man and woke him up.

“Adam, meet your mate.”

Adam was dumbstruck. His jaw gaping, he looked the gorgeous creature up and down. He circled her slowly, noting a sensation he never could have imagined, which effected both his mind and his body. When he was finally able to speak, Adam said, “I’ll call you ‘woman’, since we were made from the same flesh.”

She smiled, knowing without a doubt that this man was indeed the reason she lived, and replied with, “And I’ll call you ‘my man’.”

The two embraced, kissed deeply, and reunited their flesh.

The Maker chuckled with pleasure at the sight of his completed work of art. He pulled Wisdom and the Son closer to Himself, and His heart swelled.

Love. The world we live in was created for love. The very last step God took to complete His work was to bestow the gift of romance on the first man and woman. He wanted them to know what it felt like to love unconditionally. He even designed them with the right equipment to be able to create their own children, so that they could experience the ultimate form of love and understand how their Father felt about them.

And when they later disobeyed Him, their punishment pained Him so much that He arranged for His own Son to pay the price for all future sin. What greater love could there possibly be?

Say NO to drugging your kids.

We live in a nation that has declared a war on the use of certain drugs by even the most well-informed adults yet encourages -and often REQUIRES- the administration of psychotropic drugs to young children.

A single mother works two part-time jobs and attends college full-time in an attempt to better support her children after their father abandoned them to be with his new girlfriend. One day, she is found to be in possession of a minuscule amount of marijuana. Perhaps she self-medicates for a chronic condition because she cannot afford health insurance, or perhaps it belongs to the coworker that she drove to work the other day. Either way, she is guilty. She is sent to prison and her children, separated from one another, become wards of the state. Their mother does her time, secures a new (albeit crappy) job, gets the only apartment that anyone will rent to an ex-con, and fights to get them back. But she can’t afford a good lawyer and loses appeal after appeal. Meanwhile, the children continue to be passed around from foster home to foster home until they “age out” of the system and are left to fend for themselves. Because illegal drugs are bad.

Another mother refuses to medicate her depressed child who has been diagnosed by the school psychologist as having ADHD, because she’s done enough research to know that Ritalin and its cousins are in the same category as cocaine and that antidepressants often have harsh, life-altering side-effects. The depression is related to the bullying about which the child’s school will do nothing, so she withdraws her son and begins a home education program that relies very little on written work and very much on hands-on activities. Her son’s symptoms are managed fairly easily with diet and exercise. She, too, is sent to prison, and her child is committed to a home for the mentally disabled, where he undergoes harsh treatment and overmedication. She tries to free her son from the system, but her rights have been revoked due to medical neglect. By the time her son is a legal adult, and the mother is finally able to see him again, he has already become addicted to amphetamines. He lives out his life on the streets, doing odd jobs to pay for his next fix.

Can someone please tell me what is wrong with this picture?

I don’t mean to minimize the potential dangers of certain illegal substances. Some of them are extremely harmful. Others, like marijuana, are relatively harmless when compared with alcohol, modern-day cigarettes,  and some OTC medications.

I also don’t mean to debase every use of prescription medications. There are situations that absolutely call for the administration of an antibiotic, or chemotherapy, or even (maybe) some psychotropic drugs. But there are so many, many more instances when simple nutrition or exercise or lifestyle changes can, quite literally, change lives!

So what? Why am I writing this?

The hot Peruvian and I have been discussing and praying about getting the kids off their meds for months, ever since my research led us to the gruesome facts that had been withheld from us by their care providers. We’ve been working toward eliminating processed foods and all things artificial from our diet, while adding more healthy stuff. We are beyond frustrated with the minimal positive effects and the plentiful side-effects. (Between the three boys, we were handing out 12 pills a day. This is the first time I’ve added it up, and I am appalled at myself for allowing it).

 

Recently, my 6 year old son, Eli, ran out of his medication. It was the day right before a big snowstorm hit, and we were unable to get his prescription filled within the usual withdrawal period of 3-4 days. (It is impossible to get this type of medication even one day early.) So it seemed like a good time to jump into our drug-free life decision. Ideally, we would have liked to wean him off gently, but that simply was not an option while we were snowed in.

Fast-forward a bit.

Thursday, January 3, the three public-school-going kids got home at 4pm as usual. Eli, as usual, had a story to tell about a verbal altercation he had had with another student (let’s call him Manny) on the bus ride home. I handled it, as usual, by loving on him as much as he would allow, and trying to distract them all with a snack. As usual, Eli went outside to play, reluctantly donning his shoes and coat after several minutes of trying to argue his way out of them. His brother went out a few minutes later to make sure that he wasn’t going to Manny’s house to turn the verbal fight into a physical one. As far as I know, everything outside was fine, and they came back in smiling just before dinner was ready.

 

But before I could get the food on the table, Eli was in a rage. Nobody, including him, could tell me why. This is, sadly, not unusual for a child with RAD or autism, and the hot Peruvian and I know how to handle it. After cleaning up the shattered glass of a light bulb from every inch of the kitchen, I left the man to handle Eli so that I could fill plates. Somehow, we convinced him to calm down long enough to eat supper. He seemed okay. He ate seconds.

It started again shortly after he’d taken his last bite. And, as usual, we simply did our best to keep everyone out of harm’s way, offering suggestions of right choices as often as Eli would hear them. When he became injurious and destructive, he was restrained as gently as possible, the way we were taught by mental health workers. I lost my temper once or twice and yelled at him when something he threw hit the baby. We spanked him once, hoping the shock of minor physical pain would wake him up. It only made him worse.

At bedtime, we offered countless options for sleeping arrangements, diversions, et cetera, in hopes of allowing the other kids to get to sleep. Tables were flipped. Toys were thrown. Crackers were crushed.

We finally put him in the bedroom that the three boys share almost two hours after bedtime. We had work to do. But when he wouldn’t calm down, his big brother punched him, more than once. So I left the computer, where I had been trying to work on an overdue assignment, and the hot Peruvian left the kitchen, where he had been trying to wash dishes, and we started over with the attempts at calming him, which, as usual, led to restraints.

Finally, at 10:30pm, Eli agreed that he would stop if I slept with him on the couch. Sure, there was no chance of getting my school work done this way, but at least the household would finally get some peace!

Until the next morning.

The kids have to leave the house by 8:32am to avoid missing the bus. At 8:00, they were all still asleep. As much as I would have loved to leave them that way, I couldn’t not send them to school: We received letters a few weeks ago stating that the kids have missed too many days already. So we woke them up, one by one, Eli last.

He was still angry. He was NOT going to go to school. He was NOT going to get dressed. He was NOT going to eat breakfast. He was NOT GOING! Except that he had to.

So I dressed him, as he flailed like a newborn baby that weighs close to 70 pounds and kicks with the force of a grown man.

I dressed him, because we could be in trouble if he misses any more school without a valid reason. Stubbornness is not a valid reason. And, apparently, elementary students aren’t entitled to mental health days.

I dressed him, because I was afraid of how the day might turn out if he were to stay home. Would I be able to protect the little ones from his rage, while tending to their needs, alone? Would I be able to prevent Zeke from injuring him when the stress of Eli’s tantrum became more than his senses could handle? Would I be able to survive another 6+ hour fit without saying something really mean, or -worse- hitting back?

I dressed him, while the man held him down, because he had kicked me so hard that I was afraid another such blow might break my ribs. We got his coat on him. We got his shoes on him. He was carried to the car. He ran away. He was carried to the car again. He was put as gently as possible into a seat and buckled.

At that point, I called the school to let them know he was on his way. I let them know that he had threatened to take all his clothes off, and that I could not guarantee what might happen between that moment and when he arrived at the school 10 or so minutes later. They said not to worry, that they would take care of him when he got there.

And he got there. After having tried to leap from the moving vehicle, he got there. After having to be held in place with one hand, while the hot Peruvian drove with the other, he got there.

And then he lied. He said that he had been slammed against the car window so hard that it chipped. (There are no chips on any of the car windows.) He said that he had been held down by the neck. (He was held down for part of the drive – it was that or have him jump from the van, that or have him cause an accident. But he was not held by the neck.) He showed them bruises that he’s gotten from his brothers over the last few days of picking fights with them, and he said that we caused them. (Yes, we do occasionally spank the children. We have never left a mark.) And the school called Children and Youth Services.

Honestly, I am glad that the schools here are so caring, so concerned for the welfare of the children that they will report suspected incidents of abuse. I am glad that they are required by law to notify the authorities when they have any reason to suspect a child is being hurt at home. I really, really am. And, as my long-time readers know, I have had mostly good things to say about our relationship with CYS in the past.

But I don’t like having my toddler woken up from his afternoon nap by a knock on the door. I don’t like the moment of the day in which I had planned to recover the house from the previous chaos being stolen by a woman who has no desire to hear the honest answers I give to her questions. I don’t like being treated like a liar or a lesser being by anyone. Especially in front of my children.

I really, really, don’t like having an uninvited CYS worker demand in the form of an aspartame [read: fake-sugary] question to see the kids’ bedrooms, then tell me IN FRONT OF MY CHILDREN that it’s wrong for my toddler to sleep in my bed, that he’s too old, or that I should have asked a previous worker about the safety requirements for bed-sharing. (Imagine if they knew he was still breastfeeding on demand!)

I really, really don’t like having her ask me, in a derogatory tone, IN FRONT OF MY CHILDREN what my reasoning was behind taking my son off of his medication, then tell me that he absolutely needs something, and have I thought about putting him in inpatient care? Why, yes, he’s been to the hospital, and as you should know, Miss Clueless Youth Worker, all they do is change their meds and send them home with a wish of good luck. I don’t want luck or drugs. I want to help my baby heal.

I don’t like answering personal healthcare questions like a mindless robot and then mentally kicking myself later for not standing up for my rights as the sole legal custodian of my children, the only one responsible for making choices concerning their well-being, the person who knows and loves them best.

I don’t like knowing that a stranger went into my kids’ school without my knowledge and spoke to my son about my parenting skills. (My mentally ill son, who they’re trying to convince me to keep drugged up – they interrogate him without notifying me first? Hmm…)

And you know what else I don’t like? I really, really, really don’t like said caseworker asking for information about my abusive ex-husband by name IN FRONT OF THE CHILD HE DID THE MOST DAMAGE TO and insisting that she has to notify him of the alleged incident, even after I’ve explained to her the harm that just the sound of his name can do to my family, let alone the chance of him locating us. “You want his contact information? Look him up on the Megan’s Law website. If you tell him anything about us, you will be putting my family in danger. If you notify him, I will take legal action against you.” Please, God, don’t let this fiasco put us in actual, physical danger.

 

***Since I first wrote this, I have managed to convince CYS not to contact jerkface the ex. Thankfully, the supervisor of the caseworker who came to my home is familiar with our family and understands my concern. Thank you, Ms. T—-!***

To get back to the little anecdotes at the beginning of this very long post and why I’m writing about the drug issue…

I truly believe that, if my family had gotten the help we needed when we needed it (years before our abuser was  arrested), things would never have gotten to this point.

I believe that, if we had gotten appropriate help when help finally did come – counseling and shelter, instead of being left to rot, homeless and emotionally shattered, after he was arrested – this never would have happened.

I believe that, if even one of the many mental health care providers we have worked with since my oldest son had his first nervous breakdown nearly three years ago had ever told me about the non-medicinal ways to help my children, our current situation never would have happened.

If, instead of pushing pills as the magical cure, instead of sending us away because my children’s emotional damage was “more than [they were] equipped to handle,” instead of trying to get the kids to relive the torture they endured by acting it out and discussing it in artificial settings, instead of suggesting I go to parenting classes (in which I excelled, by the way), instead of trying to force my children to conform to societal standards of how a “normal” person should behave, instead of setting the bar so high and suggesting that encapsulated chemicals are the only way to reach it…. if anyone had actually tried to help us find real, life-changing answers (like nutrition as the basis for life or letting the small things go or having faith in God rather than in doctors…), we never would have gotten to this point.

I never would have put my sweet babies on drugs if I hadn’t been convinced that it was the only solution. And they wouldn’t have to suffer through years of emotional hell after the physical hell we escaped, because we all would have healed by now.

I don’t like having it rubbed in my face by people who have no idea what it’s like to raise a child, let alone more than one, with severe emotional damage and/or mental health diagnoses.

I really don’t like knowing that so many other kids out there will stay drugged forever because their parents are convinced that they have no choice.

I thank God that I’ve been able to find the truth about the long-term damage that pharmaceutical “remedies” can cause to a developing brain. I pray that it isn’t too late for complete healing for my boys. I also pray that more people will learn the truth and say no to drugging their kids, even if the system tells them they should.

Please pray for us as we trust in God instead of man to heal our troubles. I know with all my heart that it is time for us to be set free from the bondage of mental illness. My precious children do not deserve to suffer through insomnia, fear, uncontrollable anger, and flashbacks of the abuse. They also do not deserve to suffer through the effects of drugs that are known to cause heart attack, brain shrinkage, hallucinations, addictions, obesity, extreme weight loss, paranoia, and suicidal thoughts. There’s a chance that my decision to de-medicate my kids will become a legal battle in the near future. I ask that those of you who know my family prayerfully consider supporting us with kind and honest words should that occur.

And, please, please, please do your own research before agreeing to administer any drugs to your children for the sake of compliance or performance. Today’s kids really are tomorrow’s future. Can you imagine a living in a nation run by prescription drug-addicted men and women who know only how to comply and conform but never how to think for themselves?

An update on Eli for those following me on Facebook

No meltdowns so far today!

Instead, he has spent the last hour doing a combined english/art assignment and is now on a self-prescribed recess, after which he plans to return and complete his assignment.

What changed?

We told him he didn’t have to go to school, but that not going today means he’ll be homeschooled. We said he could go if he wanted to say goodbye to friends and still be able to be homeschooled.

He chose to stay home.

Apparently, this isn’t withdrawal so much as it is the anxiety of constant bullying, which the drugs he was on succeeded at masking. An anxiety so strong that he would rather never see his beloved teacher or best friend again than have to go back even for one day. (We’ll arrange for him to see them again anyway, but without the stress of having to stay a whole day.) An anxiety that he couldn’t tell us about because he was convinced that it was just a symptom of his mental illness, and since the medicine helped, his feelings must have been invalid.

This is why we have taken them off their meds. This is why we will continue to educate and raise them according to our convictions, rather than according to society’s ideals.

I’m getting my babies back. =)

There’s nothing like the smell of charred plastic in the morning

He looks innocent, but don’t let that fool you!

Sam (almost 4) decided to reheat a piece of pizza this morning. I was at the other end of the house, helping Vicki pick out clothes. When I got back to the kitchen, it was full of smoke and the smell of burnt plastic!

Apparently, Sam heard me tell Eli to put his in the mic for “15 seconds: one-five-start”. So Sam put his slice on a plastic plate and pushed, “a 5 and a 1,” the problem being that our ones digit doesn’t show, so in order for him to have seen a 5 and a 1, the clock actually had to read “5:1X”. The pizza turned to charcoal, the plate is ruined, and the hard-boiled egg yolk that was on there is gone – vanished – disintegrated?

It’s been almost 2 hours since I used the back door as a fan to work the smoke out, and the whole place STILL stinks of burnt pizza and melted plastic!

Have your kids ever come close to burning the house down?

Overhauling My Life by the Handful

As the new year approaches (all too quickly, I might add) I am in the process of a pretty major overhaul – the house is getting rearranged, the schedule is being made new, our family goals have changed, I’ve gotten a pretty clear word on how exactly I am meant to serve the Lord (through writing), and I’m striving to get healthier again (despite my newly-discovered esophageal condition and our current lack of grocery money)… Lots of changes in the works!

But, while I know I want/need to be writing more and blogging at least weekly, I’m having trouble determining how to best overhaul the blog and its facebook page. So I’m asking for feedback.

  • Is there a topic you’d like me to post about?
  • Should I begin a daily discussion on fb?
  • How many of you would be interested in an advice-column-styled series? And would you be willing to submit anonymous questions?
  • I’ve found I can’t just blog about mommyhood. So should I rename the page something like “Life by the Handful” or run separate blogs for family life, weightloss, special needs, etc? (That sounds like a lot of work!)
  • Are there any blog hops that you think I should join in on, either to get the word out more about your own page or just because you’d like to hear my input?
  • Should I just give up the blog completely?

As you can see, my mind is mush about all this, so any ideas/answers/advice/criticism/virtual hugs are more than welcome!

Have a happy day =)