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Saturday, June 25, 2011

Gluten and Casein Free: Does It Really Matter?

I keep receiving e-mails about diet, as well as seeing many comments online about the Gluten Free-Casein Free (GFCF) diet.  So many people want to know my opinion on it.  I avoided addressing this topic because of one reason: eating properly is not a topic in which I excel.  Don't get me wrong, I know plenty.  I just choose not to do it, unless I am caring for child on the diet.  But that is something I see often, especially in mothers.  They will do for their families what they won't do for themselves.  

Anyhow, back to the point.  I have many friends whose children are GFCF and have seen many wonderful results.  I also know people who have not been good at maintaining it and they say the benefit is not really that great or not stable.  (I usually point out to them that the benefit is in direct proportion to the adherence they give to the diet...but no one wants to hear that because it means more work.)  The main thing I want to address is the issue I have heard, read, and seen the most.  It is something to the effect that after being on the diet for 1-3 years successfully they decide to try to reintroduce gluten and/or dairy into the child's system.  A couple of weeks later the behavior shifts - anything from severe anger to going to the bathroom in his pants to uncontrolled spitting.  You name it, I've heard of a child doing it.  He is quickly put back on the diet and things don't seem to be helping.  Then there are doctor visits, an up-dose in the medication, perhaps antibiotics or a shot.  Or, the parents try to figure it out on their own and then are relieved in 2-3 weeks when life begins to get back to normal.

Well, here's my take on all of this.  A GFCF diet is for a couple of reasons.  First and most important, allergies.  Second, the medical world will say it is a necessary component, with or without allergies, for "behavior modification with your special needs child."  But really they are the same thing.  Even if he does not test positive for an allergy, chances are he has an adverse reaction to it - which constitutes an allergy.  

Casein is found in milk products that have been pasteurized.  It is a protein that coagulates during the process of pasteurization (which is often done by radiation).  It coagulates just enough to make it nearly impossible for our bodies to digest it.  So, families either add digestive enzymes, or cut out dairy.

My feeling about adding enzymes so you can keep the dairy in is not very good.  But again, I feel like such a hypocrite here that it is hard for me to say anything.  So here is my disclaimer.  I am giving you information and the understanding I have about these topics in this post.  AND I am also going to do better with my own diet after writing this.  

So.  About dairy.  The problem is that even though enzymes are natural and good for you, they don't take care of all the problems caused by having casein in your diet.  After I explain about the gluten, we'll talk about this as a whole.

Gluten in wheat is a naturally occurring substance.  Over the process of time, however, different strains of wheat were brought about through intentional hybridization or through natural selection.  It really doesn't matter how it happened.  The point is that some strains are worse than others.  Over time, however, this mix has caused a mutation of the gluten in the wheat.  The protein that was once useful and absorbed easily by our bodies has become a catalyst for all manner of diseases and body-function issues.  The biggest problem, that I see is the mutation of the gliadin found in gluten.  Gliadin, in it's original form (γ-gliadins) was completely useful and digestible by our bodies.  But the mutation has become something of a gross problem.

Today's forms of gliadin is only soluble in alcohol.  Because gliadin is indigestible the greatest problem starts when the gluten is broken down in the stomach.  Gliadin is able to pass through the immunity filters in the body.  Once through the defenses, the gliadin (there are many different strains of gliadin, but I don't know of any that don't cause this reaction) can "wake-up" immune cells that are similar and cause inflammatory issues as the cells multiply.  Gliadin, by causing the immune cells to multiply, vicariously causes other problems.  Most notable of these is the disturbance of the membrane seal that covers the gap between cells.  When the membrane seal is stressed, if there is not enough liquid in the body, those cells actually break apart. This causes any number of illnesses and aches and pains.  Because gluten is so absorbent, most people who have a high intake of gluten are usually in some level of dehydration.  

In a person with normal hydration levels, it just allows a loosening of the tight junctions which then allow larger solutes through the border membrane cells.  The gliadin absorbs the water and stomach acids and then it begins to produce gasses in the body.  So on top of the eventual cellular breakdown that gliadin can cause, we also have the release of gasses that are not dissimilar from opiates.   

There is an abundance of problems caused in the body by gliadin's many strains.  It would take much more than one post to go over the chemistry of it all and give the official names of all of the strains and the myriad of problems each strain can cause.  Let's just say that gliadin's form today is evil, and leave it at that.  :)

Back to our major problem though.  Some people take enzymes instead of going on the diet.  It seems okay, but here is what you are not told usually.  The enzymes needed to help your body deal with casein are also the enzymes that bond best with gliadin.  When this bonding takes place, it's like giving the gliadin a shot of "super-hero" juice.  The once bad guy becomes a master villain. 

This is no joking matter.  Let's use an analogy.  There is a war going on in our bodies.  The border membrane cells are our first line of defense.  They trigger T-cell production and govern the receptors which attract the T-cells among other things.  T-cells can be our bomb squad.  For the sake of our analogy, although it goes against every grain of my body, we are going to make Iron Man our master villain.
 
So, the enemy (hybrid foods) comes into our body.  It bumps up against the border of our territory (border membrane cells).  The message sent is that the enemy is present, and we send in our infantry (immune defense sensors as well as digestive fluids).  But, this particular enemy (gluten) has a Trojan Horse.  Each molecule of gluten contains an Iron Man inside of it.  The membrane border has no defense against Iron Man.  So it immediately begins to proliferate, in hopes that numbers will overcome the strength.  This doesn't work.  Iron Man blasts right through, no matter the number of cells.  Then the immune system goes into overload.  The enemy has penetrated our territory and is headed for the capital city (central nervous system).  We need our bombers in here quick!

Problem.  Iron Man knows where the navigation systems for our bombers (T-cells) are housed, and has already taken it out.  Iron Man deploys a troop whose specific mission is to take out the communications tower (receptors [I-TAC] needed to attract the T-cells), making it impossible for the bombers to find the target.  Our defenses panic and begin to send in more and more communications (which are CXCR3 receptors on our side of the lines).  This stimulates a "code red" and we begin to suspect our own men as the traitors (overproduction of MyD88 and Zonulin - which are suspected to be involved in causing Type-I diabetes and many other childhood diseases). 

So, now that total panic and chaos has ensued on our front lines, our internal defenses are blind, and our own men are fighting, Iron man really goes to work.  The "code red" has caused distrust among the men and they begin to keep a safe distance from each other, for fear of being stabbed in the back (loosens the tight junction between cells).  This is the victory for Iron Man.  He sends word back, and suddenly all of the little guys are getting through the front lines.  With the bombers already out flying around and no guidance system online, they aren't sure what to do.  Sometimes they just start dropping bombs on masses that seem to be fighting, hoping to get at least as many of the enemy as they do of their own guys.  Sometimes they just circle and circle, doing nothing in a panic, allowing the enemy to continue the slaughter. 

Okay.  Enough with the analogy, I'm sure you get the picture.  Bottom line?  Gluten in it's orginal form = good.  Gluten with Iron Man inside = mass destruction.  Casein is an unnatural reaction due to processing, therefore our bodies are not born with the enzymes to digest it.  Enzymes to digest the casein = good.  Enzymes to digest casein with the presence of gluten = Iron Man's suit. 

Now, all of this being understood, I hope the mother's who have asked about this diet understand why the chemistry lesson is here.  Many mother's have written and asked about their children who have been on the diet for a year or so and take them off.  Once off, things seem to be fine for a couple of weeks or even a month.  But eventually her child becomes aggressive, angry, begins hitting a lot or biting or throwing things.  He starts being very obstinate where he was sweet tempered before.

The reason for the aggression is he feels so horrible.  He has no way to express that his body just doesn't feel right.  It's like a woman on her cycle with severe cramping....you just don't feel good and so you are more irritable and quick to lose your temper, etc.  As with a cycle, his body has a constant feeling of being in slight pain, feeling sluggish because he's trying to release the toxins in his body but may be a bit constipated, etc.  

I would first get him back onto that diet immediately.  This is a life-long thing, not something that can be back and forth every couple of years.  During the next couple of weeks make sure he gets more water than normal.  If he is taking any sort of nutritional supplement (I hope he is), I would make certain it is taken as far from food as possible for a more potent effect.  Then just have patience with him and remember how you feel when you're having cramps and add to that having too much energy to sit still and let your body do it's thing.  His body is trying to clean up a war zone, and it won't happen overnight.  There's a big mess that has to be cleared before he can function on normal levels again.

He will become the sweet-tempered, loving child you know once again.  But, as his protector, it is your job to be sure that the enemy is not allowed in until he is old enough physically and/or neurologically to make the decision for himself.  Then he may be wise and listen to the warnings you give, or he may be foolish as I have been and decide the ice cream was just too much fun to give up.  But either way, until he is able to make a decision for himself, as the guardian of his body it is your job to protect him.  It's work, it's annoying, it's a hassle, and it's time consuming...but he's worth it.  Right?





*This is a blog about my own life and my own experience.  If you choose to follow anything written here, you do so without any claim on me for problems or complications that may arise.  I am not a doctor.  I have no degree.  I am not a professional.  This is my perspective and experience, that's all.  If you don't think you should do something on here, then don't.*

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Curiosity and Children

As a result of a conversation with a good friend and an online interaction with a somewhat short-sighted person, I am connecting the dots in a couple of these posts.  This post will be about the reasons all of us need to learn to ask "why" as well as the way to help your children learn to grow into maturity emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.

First, a little more on the importance of the word "why."  My last post touched on some of the things I have learned and on the spiritual gains from asking this question.  It is important to understand that literally everything has a spiritual ramification.  You may be an atheist, but everything around you, everything you do, everything you think, and everything you feel still affects your spirit - who you are internally.  Asking "why" of everything you think and everything you believe may be the single-most important exercise you can do.

Ask why of every habit, every thought, every feeling, and most especially of every fear.  If we will do this two things can happen.  One, we learn to live life on purpose.  Two, we learn to accept that there are other avenues, other views, other beliefs that surround topics that we may not yet be aware of.  It will help you understand so much of who you are, and will help you discover your true self more quickly than anything short of direct revelation from God.

I understand the reasons for things that go on inside of me because I ask "why?".  When I felt like hitting my head, instead of just accepting it, I asked questions of it.  When I felt like I was going crazy in my bedroom, I asked questions of it instead of settling for a fate of fitful nights.  If I had never asked "why", this blog would not exist - I would have no answers or reasons for anything that I do.

We are, in the words of my friend, "conditioned to be afraid of questions."  As we talked there was a clear difference once again between what I saw and what he saw.  Yet another reason that communication between two opposing viewpoints is important.  His stance: fear of asking and searching for truth stems all the way back to Cain, the son of Adam and Eve.  My stance: the fear of questioning began around the time of the dark ages.

From my perspective, I saw many people throughout history who did ask questions....the Bible is full of them as is Chinese history, Indian history, and the histories of many ancient civilizations.  It is a tradition of Judaism to ask and seek and dig deeper and deeper into everything. 

I was only thinking, however of the many examples of those who did ask questions.  My black and white brain could only see those who did ask questions, while he had a more rounded picture of those who did not among those who did.  After about 2 minutes of discussion I realized how closed my view was and the perspective it was lacking.

As we talked, I realized that once again a view that was completely clear to me was being missed.  In the middle of the conversation he said, "You have to blog about this."

So here, in a nutshell, is what became clear to me that seems to be being missed.

No matter where the culture of fear started, it is still perpetuated in a few simple ways that could be corrected in our homes.  Spiritually, we have to feel a sacred responsibility to seek truth above anything else.  We must be willing to put aside our personal beliefs and look at those beliefs objectively.  Some of them may stand the test and others may not.

There are some beliefs I was taught as a child that were more family tradition or cultural tradition rather than doctrine.  When I asked myself why I did certain things, the false quickly began to stand out like a 200 square foot, lit-up neon sign in the middle of the barren plains of Texas at midnight.  When you see things that clearly, you are really only left with two options: you can act on them, or you can quit living life and close back down to auto pilot.  As I referenced in one of my earliest posts, it is very similar to the movie "The Matrix."  Either we accept the truth once we have seen it, or we betray ourselves and those around us because of the fear of such a view.

Intellectually, if we do not ask questions then we are left with one oar in a rowboat that is spot welded into it's mooring.  Information without questions and application just becomes noise clouding our minds and our vision.

Emotionally, to decide that there is no room for asking myself why I feel the way I feel, would be like resigning myself to being subject to all things around me.  Anything and everything can affect me.  What another person feels becomes my junk as well.  But questions paint a picture of truth with the words that come out.  At the base of those questions we find the lie, expertly hidden underneath layer after layer of emotions that masquerade as fact.

I mentioned above that things can be done in our homes to change this belief system, in one generation.  It takes parents nurturing their children, the mother being in the home and working with her children as she accomplishes her daily tasks.  I think the best way to explain what I mean is in an example.  Please forgive the tedium in the example below.  The detail is for a purpose, I promise.

Yesterday I was in the kitchen, preparing dinner for the family I work with.  Usually the older daughter helps me, as she and her mother both want her to learn how to cook.  With Elena's older sister gone swimming, Elena was wandering around the house looking for something to do.  She walked up to the vegetables that were sitting on the stove and began trying to poke her finger through the plastic wrap.  I asked her if she wanted to help me get dinner ready and she smiled up at me.

Her mother, in the next room seemed nervous at this.  She came into the kitchen, but didn't say anything.  I let Elena know that if she put her stool in a particular place it would make it easier for her to help.  Then I handed her the vegetables and asked her if she would open them and put them onto the pan I was going to use to roast them.

She began digging her fingers into the plastic and eventually ripped a hole into the plastic and then tried to pull out some of the vegetables.  They were on a kabob stick, so she couldn't just pull anything out of the package.  She was frustrated for a moment, so I showed her the stick and helped her see that she would have to get the plastic open far enough to pull it out.

Elena continued to work as I was cutting up sweet potatoes.  Finally she was able to pull some of the vegetables out.  She picked up one of the kabobs and didn't realize how heavy it would be.  It dropped, but was caught between her chest and the counter.  I grabbed it and set it back up on the packaging.  She then continued to put each vegetable, one by one onto the pan.  A mushroom caught her interest.  She looked at me and then looked at it with curiosity.  I said, "Go ahead."  She put it to her mouth and took a bite.

After discovering she liked the mushroom she picked up a piece of sweet potato and ate it.  Then a green bell pepper, then a red bell pepper, then she picked up a piece of a raw onion.  After about three bites into the onion she started to spit it back out.  Her fingers came up to her mouth to dig the onion out.  Then her fingers went to her eyes as she tried to rub the stinging from the onion out of her eyes.

Naturally Elena's eyes began to water more, and she looked up at me, her eyes excited and a great big smile on her face.  She laughed as I told her my memory of my first experience of doing almost exactly as she had done.  I told Elena about being a little girl, probably very close to her age and helping my mom in the kitchen.

Next she became very curious about the knife.  Instead of "no," I began to show her what the knife was used for.  I handed her a potato and picked one up in my own hands.  I tried to break it into pieces and indicated to her to try to do the same.  I explained that we needed the potato to be in smaller pieces so we could roast it in the oven with the rest of the vegetables.  I asked Elena, "How do you think we could get the potatoes into small pieces like I have on this pan?" while I pointed at the smaller pieces I had already cut.  She looked at the potato and tried to dig her fingers into it.  Then she tried to bite it.

I explained to her that she couldn't put it in her mouth because we all needed to be able to eat it and that wasn't very sanitary.  We talked about how she doesn't mind food that someone else has slobbered on, but generally most people don't really like that.

Elena then looked at me with a look of, "well, then how did you get those little pieces on the pan?"  I picked back up the knife and stepped over to the cutting board.  I angled my body so she could see my hands clearly from her stool on the other side of the stove.  I cut the potato in half.  She looked a little puzzled and blinked several times.  I showed her that the knife had a very "dangerous edge" that we had to be careful not to touch.  I picked up the potato and showed her that it couldn't go back together once I cut it, and told her to be careful around knives because you can't put something back together once it has been cut.

I continued to slice the potatoes into smaller pieces.  She watched in awe and began to understand.  Soon enough her curiosity concerning the knife was satiated.  Elena turned her attention back to the vegetables in the packaging while I finished preparing them to roast with olive oil and sea salt.  Then I remembered I had forgotten to dice up some garlic.

Elena was curious about the new food I was working with.  I diced a few pieces and then she looked at me, wanting to try what I had just cut.  I picked up a tiny piece and told her it might be really spicy to her.  I took a larger piece of the clove and put it in my own mouth.  It had a very quick bite, followed by strong flavor.  Elena's smile slowly spread over her face and her eyes got brighter and brighter.  She made the sign for more.  I gave her another piece, with the same reaction from her.  Then I told her that bigger pieces would burn more in the beginning and would have a stronger flavor after.  I asked her if she wanted to try a bigger piece and she made her sign for "no".

I turned the oven on, explaining about heat and how the oven comes on and uses electricity to create heat.  I told Elena that when I open the oven door heat is going to come up out and could burn her, so it's important to stay back.  I also told her that everything inside of the oven is hot and she has to be careful not to touch it or it will burn her hands.  Her look of confusion reminded me that she needed what the oven was defined for her, which I promptly did.

I knew Elena had never been shown around the kitchen before.  I learned this a few weeks ago by asking her to carry her drink to the fridge.  She walked right past it, a little confused as to where exactly she was supposed to put her cup.  I pointed to the fridge and told her "This is the refrigerator, usually we call it a fridge."  She walked over to it but couldn't figure how to open the door with both hands in use to hold her cup.

I suggested she could put her cup on the floor and then open the fridge and then pick her juice up.  She didn't want to.  I asked if she would like my help.  She made a sign that meant she did.  I opened the fridge and showed her where her cup belonged.  Elena was only too happy to put the cup away.  From this experience I figured she probably didn't know what much, if anything, in the house was called.

Anyhow, as I went to open the oven, she took three steps backward.  She understood and she knew.  Our experience continued with cooking chicken and a couple more encounters with the knife and her curiosity about the pan, the stove, the burner, the knobs on the stove, etc.  But I will stop with the explanation here.

From our kitchen experience that lasted about 20 minutes, Elena gained a great deal of knowledge, mental stimulation, and physical and occupational therapy.  She used both of her hands repeatedly, as well as gripping the pieces of food with forefinger and thumb only.  Elena was able to do that with both right and left hands.

There were repeated steps up and down her stool with things in her hands which prevented her from balancing using the counter or anything else around to steady herself.  She practiced using both hands as we worked to arrange the food on the tray - each different vegetable acting as tactile therapy and stimulating her olfactory senses.

Then of course there was the very important taste testing.  Mentally Elena's ability to understand the world around her is somewhere around 10-14 months, depending on which ability we are speaking of.  A neuro-typical child of that age would be doing just what Elena does: putting everything in her mouth, wanting to understand it and smell it and feel it.

There were the social understandings that were gained, the conversation that took place between us, the added words to her vocabulary....the list goes on and on.

Much more could be said about that very short time together.  Enough has been said, however, to express my point.  What would have happened to that fabulous teaching opportunity if I had said, "No Elena, don't touch.  I'm trying to make dinner.  Go play in the other room."?  Her natural, healthy curiosity would have been stifled and she would have learned, subconsciously, that curiosity is a bad thing.

Another time she was curious about my iPhone.  I turned it toward Elena so she could see and I pressed several buttons, doing different functions.  As I pressed the buttons I talked with her about the simple basics of electric currents and loops.  We talked a little about radio waves and how light travels and got into the basics of physics a little bit.  She was mesmerized by the phone.

I told her that I touch the screen gently because it just needs a little touch to make it do what I want it to do.   Then Elena climbed onto my lap.  I held my phone while she pushed buttons.  I sat there with her until her curiosity was, once again, satisfied.  Shortly Elena climbed off my lap and went to discover something else.

Once again, what kind of a learning opportunity would have been lost if I had stifled that curiosity by telling her not to touch, it's expensive and she isn't allowed to touch......

We create the fear of questioning, the fear of curiosity in our children long before they are able to process anything truthfully.  They learn that when they are curious about something and try to understand it they will be yelled at, run to and pulled away from, or even punished.  No wonder we are all so mortally afraid of questioning the things which those around us seem to know!

We need to encourage curiosity.  If it is something they are curious about, we should let them explore...not on their own.  But by their side, showing them what it does, why it does, how it does.  Let them handle things, taste things, smell things.  Children need to learn and if we stifle that process then we are preventing growth in their youth and maturity in adulthood.  If something is expensive or dangerous explain it to them, show it to them, let them see it handled and used properly.  Don't just tell them "no, no, no, NO, NO, NO!"  The panic you feel because the thing they are curious about is dangerous is mistaken for panic toward their curiosity.  They learn to be afraid of curiosity because of your reaction.

So much of how we handle and process the world around us depends upon how we learn to process information in our very young years.  Is it any wonder we live in a world that is generally closed-minded, short-sighted, and fearful?  We can change our world just by changing the way we raise our children and interact with the children around us.  

I'll end here with a comment that was made by my friend near the end of our conversation.  He is, by the way, a father of two children - one is on the spectrum. 

"We claim it is because of our experience that we stop our children.  When in reality it is our fear that is stopping them, not our experience."

Friday, June 17, 2011

Why? Oh. Okay. Why?

Do you ever get overwhelmed with the questions from your verbal child?  Do the questions come in endless spurts of curiosity?  Do you hear "why" more than any other word from your child?

I am, to this day, endlessly curious.  If someone says something, I always have some sort of "why" question.  It always starts out because I'm not sure I understand what the person is saying to me.  Then it becomes trying to understand their perspective and motive.  Then it develops into a desire to understand the deeper things hidden underneath that perspective and motive.  And it eventually ends at a desire to understand the core truth, all of the "doctrine of man" stripped away until I am just left with basic truth.


This level of questioning is not usually something I can do with other people.  I usually hit the tolerance button at about the 4th or 5th why.  People start to assume I am just being ornery or malicious.  Even when I express to them that I am in complete earnest, it seems to come across as a jest.  I'm not sure why.  Maybe society in general is so used to people hinting at what they really think rather than outright saying it.  This makes it rather frustrating for someone like me. 


I am often accused of being judgmental because of asking a question.  But I think it is because people are reading into it, even when I try to make it clear that I mean things at face value.  Sometimes there is this long pause as people look at me and try to see where the joke is coming from or where the trap is set.  They get offended by my genuine return of eye contact and my patience in waiting for their answer.

I ask questions because I have a problem or something I don't understand and I want an answer that not only satisfies, but helps me find the solutions I seek.

I assume that if someone is silent after I've asked a question, it is because they are thinking about it, weighing it out so as to give the best answer they are able.  So, when others ask me questions I don't think about whether or not they are waiting, I just think.  Many times they get impatient.  I can feel this impatience coming from them and find myself rushing to give an answer and my anxiety levels go up dramatically.  Then I frantically search for an answer and blurt one out.  Then I find myself stressed because I think about it and I want to change my answer, but it's too late and the topic has moved on and now do I interrupt them and tell them what I really think or do I just let it go by and let them think that I think something I really don't think......

(The run-on sentence was intentional to show you how my brain freaks out.  Hope it came across.)

And all of this may be over a question like, "Do you prefer fried or scrambled eggs in the morning?"  Every question paralyzes me because I have to be honest about it.  I have to consider all of the variables and all of the parameters that come within that question - and yes, there are many of them.  Literally, just typing the question my mind started going "But I can't really answer that question because I don't know how I will feel on any given morning.  Some mornings I get up and I can't eat any breakfast because I am too nauseated to eat.  Other mornings I feel fine until I eat eggs and then I get sick.  Some days I'm in too much of a hurry..."

Now you may be saying to yourself that those things have nothing to do with the preference of eggs, but it all does.  If I'm in a hurry I prefer scrambled because I can cook more of them faster and get my veggies in with them and then eat as I run.  If I don't have any bread, scrambled is preferred.  If my stomach is upset I prefer neither.  If I know I'm going to have a stressful day I prefer fried, but only if I have the time to fry several eggs because I can't fry more than one and make them come out right....which brings on a whole new line of things to consider.  Are they organic, range-free eggs?  If they are that changes all of the above considerations.  Are they made at home or am I eating out?  If eating out, have to be fried...I can't stand restaurant scrambled eggs.  If they are made at home am I making them or is someone else?

Now, how long did it take you to read those two paragraphs?  And that is not 1/100 of the considerations and thoughts that immediately ran through my head as I began thinking about which type of egg I prefer.  And, I sit here, my brain paralyzed, thinking "I have no idea, I'd have to really think about it for a minute and get back to you on that."  By then, the person who asked the question as a conversation starter as we were sitting in a diner across from each other is freaked out by such a serious answer to such a "simple" question.

To me there is no such thing as a simple question.  That is a myth.  Every question has a thousand variables and each variable has a million side qualifications.  Now I can stop myself from doing that.  I can remind myself that this person couldn't care less about what kind of eggs I really like....but then I get into the ever-present quandary of "Well, if they don't care, why do they ask?  That's ridiculous!  What kind of a person begins a conversation with something they don't care about?  Isn't that setting up the conversation to be one that is filled with tedium and watch-watching?"

See, when I ask a question, it's because I want to know the answer.  Yes, that is correct.  I WANT TO KNOW THE ANSWER, THE HONEST ANSWER.  There is no hidden agenda.  There is not subtle trickery.  There is no asking to trap you and make you think I'm leading you down a slippery slope.  I'm asking what I want to know.  It's truly that simple. 

So now we are brought back to the why.  Maybe you can clear something up for me.  Why do people ask things they don't care about?  Why do people spend SO much time on things that are pointless and meaningless to them?  It seems a waste of good time.  It seems like they value themselves so little and everyone else so much that they are willing to do whatever just to have a conversation with a total stranger who means very little to them and will mean just as little, if not less, when the conversation is over.  It's like they are just practicing their English (or whatever language) on each other, just to make sure that they can still use the language properly.

I cannot answer questions quickly because my answers are honest.  As I started to say above, I could do as everyone else does, but it causes so much stress.  I have to bottle in who I am and I have to pretend like I don't care and it doesn't matter when I do care and it does matter.  So there is stress either way, the only question is, will I be me, or will I supplant me for the fake shell of nothing that everyone expects me to be.  Since I live in my world alone anyway,  I'll take me, thanks.  If shallow is all your reality has to offer, I prefer the solitude in the vast expanse of truths that go deeper and higher than imagination can fathom.  No offense, but thanks all the same.  I prefer to be me.  If me is too tedious or too detailed or too....whatever for you, then I wish you the best all the same.

I have been studying Ancient Biblical Hebrew in my recreational reading time.  I have made a study of the word "why" in Hebrew over the last few weeks.  It is a fascinating word and is full of so much meaning.  In Hebrew each letter has 7 layers of meaning, so words have so many more things in them besides what the word actually represents.

Here is a very brief, very, very, very, very condensed paragraph about what the word "why" means in Hebrew...on just one level.  What I have written about the word as I have studied it is nearly 40 pages, single spaced and a size 10 print.  So yeah, it's a lot.  But I'm only putting in one short paragraph here, that I feel will give a small level of meaning to you about what the word "why" means to me, and to those who are similarly disposed.



So we learn from all of this the purpose of this word.  “Why?” is not an inappropriate or wrong thing to ask, when asked with a desire to understand.  It is a heart that understands and yearns for wisdom that then seeks understanding at the source and is rewarded with 3 levels of wisdom (meaning the three levels of creation i.e. Spirit, Physical, Spiritual) and the ability to “behold” God.  It is the means appointed to seek the highest form of charity – the expression of one’s thoughts and emotions to another.  What greater evidence of God’s love is there than His eagerness to share with His children all that He is the moment we seek?  He shares how He feels about those things we are seeking (Isaiah 29:24) and then we come to know Him because He shares His innermost thoughts and feelings with us. 

What do we learn from asking למה?  We learn the nature of God, our relationship with Him, His plan for His children (both general and specific) and His desire for each of us to let Him tell us who He is for Himself (Isaiah 24:13).
 


In the end, I prize understanding more than just about anything.  Which means I prize questions.  Which means, above all, the most wonderful word in the world to me is "why?". 




*This is a blog about my own life and my own experience.  If you choose to follow anything written here, you do so without any claim on me for problems or complications that may arise.  I am not a doctor.  I have no degree.  I am not a professional.  This is my perspective and experience, that's all.  If you don't think you should do something on here, then don't.*

Saturday, June 11, 2011

****WARNING!!! TARA IS NOW GETTING ON HER SOAPBOX, SCRIPTURES IN HAND!!!****

We don't long for vengeance.  We long for love and peace.  We would rather energy be spent on healing than on fighting.  We get frustrated when you are too tired to heal because you have been spent in the fight.  There is only one battle, at least only one we recognize.   It is the battle between God and Satan.  For us, nothing else exists.  The battle ground is your heart.  The weapon of choice for God?  Love.   Anything other than that will lead away from Him eventually, and the ground will be lost.   It is not because it affects me so much that I hate and abhor violence and contention.  It is because I know the battle is being fought at every moment of the day and when there is not love, then we are losing the war.   I don't want...no, I can't lose this war.  It is the only thing that matters to me, the only thing I truly worry about.  All of the other things are silly prattle.  They truly do not matter. 

We need to give a call to arms, but not to the tools of war...that will just lead more astray and to more pain and devastation.  As is stated in Fiddler on the Roof, "An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind."  We are tired of fighting.  It is a distraction.  It is pointless.   It is Satan's way of keeping you stomping on embers when the fire is blazing behind your back, consuming all that truly matters. DON'T BE FOOLED.  There is nothing, NOTHING that can make things right, but the power of God.  And that will never be found by fighting, contention, war, anger, hatred, malice, etc.

Just as I cringe every time I hear someone call what I have a "disease," I also cringe whenever I hear people speaking of justice, vengeance, and retribution.   It is not what I want, it is not how I feel.  I want peace, I don't care about how others see me.  Yes, it may hurt, but that is nothing.  It doesn't matter to me.  Really and truly it doesn't.   It only matters because it keeps you away.   I DON'T CARE if a single doctor ever sees me.  If the administrations don't want to help me, then God will provide another way.  Moses...yep. It's definitely like Moses. 


Moses was a prince of Egypt.  He was powerful.  He was influential.  He would have always held a position of importance.  We don't know for certain, because there have not been clear records found (at least non that I am aware of) which state Moses' place in Egypt.  But he may have even been Pharoah someday.  Now, as a person, Moses could have made two choices when he discovered the truth about his bloodline.  He could have kept his mouth shut and when he was finally in a position of power, he could free the slaves himself.  Or, he could do what was right to do, have integrity, and choose to be true to who he knew himself to be.  Thank goodness he did!  


The point I am trying to make is this.  Moses could have relied on himself to get the job done.  But he trusted that integrity was an eternal principle and should not be compromised, ever.  So he did what he felt compelled to do.  After years as a shepherd and learning from trial and error, he had a miraculous experience in the mount and learned that man is nothing, and we are all equal before God.  He learned many other things and was given instruction.  Then he became the amazing leader we have record of today.  And now, we have a life-long list of miracles done by the hand of God.  


Moses, doing things his way would mean no record, no one would even know his name....where are the Egypt records?  No one would know who he was.  There would be no great testimony of God and His miracles.  Instead, if there were anything, it would be attributed to man.


So out of the analogy.... I can work hard to accomplish something my way, or I can trust God and be an instrument through which His miracles can be manifest.  Or, as someone said, "If you believe you can move a mountain, get a shovel and start digging.  If you believe God can move a mountain, get out of the way."  Too often I find myself in the way when God would have shown His power.  I stepped in because I thought I knew better.   Turns out (I know this will come as a shock to some of you), I don't really know better than God!  Imagine that!  I know I'm being a bit sarcastic, but it is really the truth.  Sometimes we don't realize how audacious we are being and in a very real way we get in the way of God.  Let's get out of His way (meaning let's ask Him what course of action is best to take, and then take it without defining the next ten steps).   Let's speak truth.  Let's heal.  Let's follow our eternal destinies.  Let's be engaged in causes that encourage the love of God to abound in the hearts of the children of men.  


“And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature, and in favour with God and man.” (Luke 2:52)  Like all of us, Jesus himself had to learn and progress in His understanding.  He had to discover who He was and the nature of His mission on this earth.  Only after the Savior fully understood who He was did His ministry begin.  

In addition to the Savior, there are other great examples of those who have come before us in this struggle.  It was not until after Moses learned his identity and mission that he lead the children of Israel out of Egypt.  Every person who has done the Lord’s will had to first know who they were in the Lord’s plan and the mission He intended for them.  Through prayer and study of the scriptures, you will begin to see yourself and your participation in the great plan of the Lord the way He sees you. 



Don't let life turn your head from side to side, spinning and trying desperately to find the direction you ought to head in.  God knows the end from the beginning, all is as one before Him.  There is nothing that is a surprise to Him, nothing that can catch Him off guard.  If you will follow each step, magnifying it as best you can, and then staying on that path until He gives you the next step, then you will have peace and you will know where you ought to be.  The point will be abundantly clear...




"For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors.  
Yea, and I also exhort you, my brethren, that ye be watchful unto prayer continually, that ye may not be led away by the temptations of the devil, that he may not overpower you, that ye may not become his subjects at the last day; for behold, he rewardeth you no good thing.   
And now my beloved brethren, I would exhort you to have patience, and that ye bear with all manner of afflictions; that ye do not revile against those who do cast you out.....lest ye become sinners like unto them;  
But that ye have patience, and bear with those afflictions, with a firm hope that ye shall one day rest from all your afflictions.

The Book of Mormon; Another Testament of Jesus Christ, The Book of Alma 34:32, 39-41





*This is a blog about my own life and my own experience.  If you choose to follow anything written here, you do so without any claim on me for problems or complications that may arise.  I am not a doctor.  I have no degree.  I am not a professional.  This is my perspective and experience, that's all.  If you don't think you should do something on here, then don't.*

Friday, June 10, 2011

When the Therapist and the Parents are the Problem.

Hey everyone.  Today I had an issue.  there was a reader who sent me some information and asked for my advice.  Their child has really been struggling with some issues, but not always.  Sometimes he does just fine, and other times nothing seems to work.  After thinking on the problem and feeling out the situation, it seemed very clear to me.  He is reacting to his therapist.

This was a hard thing for me to discuss with the family.  I know that therapists are not a dime a dozen, and finding one who can teach your child essential skills, while still submitting to the abuse given to them is very rare.  Yet, what to do when the therapist is the problem?

My first suggestion is to be open and frank about the whole situation.  I had a position where the family I was working with was a great family.  I had some personal issues with the mother and with the way some of the things in the home were going.  I became the problem for the child's development.  My own issues, which had nothing to do with the child, became the catalyst for meltdowns, stress, tantrums, and many other things.  Finally, I knew I either had to speak with the mother, or find another position - I was causing too much harm to this child that I had already grown so attached to.

I spoke with the mother one day and just told her what I was feeling, and why.  She was so anxious to help her child, that she was willing to hear me out and hear about what I was concerned about.  We spoke about things, about her desires for progression and to see her child achieve the things she new her child to be capable.  I talked with her about her child's need for a different approach to the therapies we were doing.  It was not an easy talk for either of us, and I was very emotional.  But in the end, it was a very good talk and we were able to discover ways to work around our differences.

Now, does that mean every situation will be that way?  No.  But I do know this: A therapist who has emotional baggage that is affecting your child will not be able to truly help your child.  There may be temporary improvements, or even life-long learned skills, but your child will carry with him the feeling that what he does is more important than who he is.  He will forever associate his outward accomplishments as his measuring stick for whether or not he is able to be loved or cared for.

Do not let yourself feel overwhelmed.  I believe that most of the things that are issues can be taken care of with an open discussion and conversation with the therapist.  Your child needs to be the one calling the shots.  Most children, especially the non-verbal ones, are so anxious and eager to grow that they push themselves far more than any therapist ever would.

I wrote on here before about my experience in my piano lessons.  I learned to read music, I learned to make my fingers do what I wanted them to do, I learned the keyboard so well that I could sit down and close my eyes and put my finger on the correct note without feeling around or guessing.  But I was doing what was required of me and nothing more.  At 6, when I was able to quit my lessons, I kept playing the piano at home - but I played what I wanted to play.

When I was 9 years old I heard Beethoven's Piano Sonata in A flat, Opus 110, 1st movement.  I listened to it.  Then I listened again.  And again.  And again.  I couldn't get enough of it.  I told my mother I wanted to learn the piece.  She called a sheet music company and ordered the music.  The lady on the phone asked if the music was for my mother, she told her "no, it's for my daughter."  The sales clerk began to comment about the rigors of college as a piano major, and my mother stopped her and said, "Oh, no.  My daughter is 9."  Then the clerk tried to talk my mother into buying a more simple piece, this piece is too hard for a 9 year old.  She will never be able to play it.

My mother was insistent that she wanted the music.  So the woman shipped it out to us.  It arrived about 2 weeks later.  I took it and sat down at the piano instantly.  By the end of the week I had the first page memorized, and it just went on from there.  This piece was a never-ending source of comfort and strength for me.

My old piano teacher heard me play some of this piece once and remarked at how she had never been able to get me to play and practice like that.  She then commented that I must have an incredible teacher to be able to bring those things out in me.  My mother told her that I was my own teacher.  She was in disbelief.  There was no way I had taught myself that piece, and had learned to play it with so much passion and feeling.

I do not remember how to play all of that piece anymore, my fingers are so out of shape after 13 years without regular piano use, that I doubt I could even make it through the second page (where the runs start).  I do remember how it made me feel then, and how it continues to make me feel today.  I remember the feeling of being able to pursue music the way I knew would be best for me.

My path did not look like the path my mother had outlined.  It did not look like the path my teacher thought I ought to be on.  But that is okay, because it is my path.  They got to outline their own paths.  I should be able to outline mine, right?  Or, as I grew, I came to learn that I should let God outline my path.  Either way, my point is that I could not grow into the pianist I longed to be with the strict arm of Mrs. R*** guiding my musical education.  She and I did not work well together and the progress I may have made with a teacher who did work well with me would have been wonderful.

With or without a teacher, I was able to do what I wanted to do.  I didn't need a teacher to tell me how to play what I could feel.  I needed a teacher who could guide and strengthen and help me find ways of channeling the talent I already had.

The same holds true with therapy.  You might find a therapist who is able to get your child to tie his shoes, and that is wonderful.  But what if he is wanting to focus on learning to speak?  Which would you rather have?  If your child is able to be in charge of his own therapy, it will go much faster and the rate of growth will astound you.

I have been working with my current family since May 9th of this year.  In one month's time the little girl I care for has begun to undress herself, climb in and out of her booster seat at the table and her car seat, making more complicated sounds with her mouth and even babbling when interacting with us, she has begun to show signs of physical strength and coordination at a rapid rate, she is able to communicate rather well with basic signs and gestures now.  She is interacting almost the entire day with her family and with myself.

All of those things are new since I have been here.  She has progressed more in the last month than she did with all of the therapies and doctors and medication over the last 3 years combined.  I am not touting myself here.  What I am saying is that if we will let these children do the things that they are trying to tell us they want to do, they will grow at astronomical rates.

This family has watched amazing growth.  It would not surprise me if she were able to form basic words in a matter of 4-6 months, maybe less....this is something the doctors told her mother would never happen.  But this little girl wants to speak so badly.  She is working so hard, sometimes pushing herself so hard that she is about to collapse from exhaustion.  But she doesn't care, she just wants the silence, that acts as her captor, to be broken.  She wants freedom to express the millions of things that are swimming around in her brain.  And all of the other therapies take twice as much energy from her, because she is so excited about learning to communicate.

Instead of expending energy on learning the things she is excited to learn, she was expending energy on the physical things she was told to do, the things which took twice as much energy from her because it was working toward the wrong goal - at least in her mind - and she didn't have the drive and the heart for it.  As soon as we focused on her mental development, her physical happened automatically.  She does the things she should do with her therapy when we are playing - they just occur naturally rather than forced.  It has become a place of learning and growth.

Your child needs more than tools, he needs the right therapist who sees his potential and can listen to him as he tries to do the thing that is the most important to him.  Are therapists like this easy to find?  No.  But they do exist.  Keep looking and praying.  Always the way is opened when we ask for it to be so.  Maybe you needed this information first.

I hope this helps.  It is a very touchy topic and I know some of you are just grateful to have anyone, anyone be willing to work with your children.  The idea that the therapist is not good for your child would be one I would not be able to face, at least immediately.  There may be other avenues you can embrace that will help you find the way to help your child.

All I know is that I did not want to play piano while taking lessons.  But once the force and external control ceased, once I was able to choose my own music and work on it, the piano became my best friend again.  I may not have learned to play the things my teacher or my mother thought I ought to learn.  I learned far more and played far better than my mother ever expected me to.  I knew what I was capable of, but I couldn't just tell them.  No one would believe me that I knew what I needed to do.

Sometimes the therapist is wonderful and does things exactly right.  Sometimes the therapist is more harmful than good.  Sometimes the therapist is nothing but harmful.  Sometimes the teacher really is the problem, not the student.


I am adding an update as I have recently had a very lively conversation with two women I respect deeply.  One is a new friend who has shared quite a lot with me over the last little while.  The other is a very dear, old friend who I have known since we were in orchestra together in the 7th grade.  Both have valid views, and I did leave quite a bit out of this post as I was speaking with a specific few problems in mind...namely mothers who felt trapped with some rather abusive therapists.  They didn't think there was any other option to help their children except to put up with the cruelty of these therapists.  They all expressed the thought that the therapist must know more than they do and it must be okay.

Therapist: WEll, as a therapist who works for many different schools, for many years, I work for the children. I do my best for them, I see them as individuals and what can help them most. In my experience, most of the time it is the Parent that is the problem. Like you said, "She was so anxious to help her child", because of this many many many parents through out the years will baby their child with needs, they will indulge, coddle, accommodate, and reinforce bad behaviors. There are always two sides to the stories, but it is best to have meetings go to meetings and always communicate with the team. Yes observe and yes learn, from each other, so good things can be reinforced at home and at the schools. I think the title of the blog should state when Parents and Therapist communicate and become a team.

Mother: Team efforts are important and you may be a more reasonable therapist. We are not saying ALL therapists are problematic. Some are amazing. But I see you're perhaps not imagining what it is like for some of these families who live it every day. Therapists can have a tendency towards arrogance and a lack of respect for the family as a whole. I've been stating for years that families with the most challenging issues need way more help...not way more criticism. Start imagining your world becoming as a living prison and be more understanding towards some of these parents. Some parents may not do very well, true, but they are perhaps completely overwhelmed. If you, the therapist, does not live with more affected child yourself...should you really be judging the parents? Maybe it's time for looking at how the entire family dynamic is being harmed by terrible pressures. I am really of the mind set that it is time to start helping the kids and the families. It will be no point arguing with me...I live it and intimately know too many loving families stretched beyond human capacity. I will not tolerate parents being made scapegoats. Arrogance is a big problem in the system. Don't judge people who are living with persons with autism, if you do not live with a more affected person. It is outrageous. Support and understand. These people are doing the best they can. Disclaimer...there are always unreasonable parents...but parent intolerance will get all of us nowhere. Bottom line...they need support too.

Therapist: Would any therapists be working in schools if they did not support and understand. AND YES, most therapists (including me) work in schools because family and or friends have special needs. And YES everyone is doing the best they can. And maybe people also need to be kind and support the therapists also as much as the team supports the parents because they do understand and do live with it also in many cases. Maybe look to see what the therapist knows and who they have in their lives. That is why it is about communication on both parties not to just understand the parents or just understand the therapists, IT IS to become a team become a united.    Along with what was said above, most therapists are therapists not only because of children they have with disabilities or family members, but also (including me) have had to go to therapy (speech, occupational, physical) and overcome many challenges.  
 Let us not forget Helen Keller. If it weren't for Anne Sullivan who taught her correct behaviors and how to communicate she would not have learned. Anne Sullivan was truly the miracle worker, she was the teacher and therapist. She was there for HELEN! It is not about arrogance it is more about Gratitude for both parties. 

Me:  You both make very good points, and I'm sorry I left out perspectives of both parents and teachers.  I was writing this from the perspective of the child and thinking that I know I am unable to work with a family if I don't work well in the family dynamic - as a therapist-ish person, I am expendable, but mom is not. I think I wrote in there what I did to sort out the issues of one of my families, but if not I was certainly thinking it and will go in and revise. ALL sides of this are important - the child who has no escape until given tools, the parents who are daily praying and crying for their children, and the therapists who submit themselves to the abuse of the children and even the abuse of the parents when things aren't going as they would like them to go. There are many WONDERFUL, heart-filled, sweet, constructive therapists out there and you, [Person1], I'm sure are in the lead of the best of them. I don't know you as a therapist but we have been in each others lives for what, close to 20 years? I have the greatest respect for therapists. This was in response to mothers who have written to me, described shocking behavior from their therapists and then asked what they were to do because they felt this particular therapist, while horrible, was their only option. I was just trying to let them know that their hands are not tied unless they want them to be.

Therapist: Yes Tara, yes there are absolutely options. That is why, in the school system, parents are given Parental Safeguards. This is to help them and help them know that if there is a particular therapist that is horrible they do have options. I do believe every state has the Division of Developmentally Disabled (DDD) and they can service the children in the homes for any of the therapies, and I know schools can also work many things out. But the main point is that the parents, teachers, and therapist need to be a TEAM, they need to work together in unity for home and the schools. The IEP Team, or family plan team must communicate concerns, they need to treat each other with kindness and gratitude. I do feel sad when team members, who are there for the same reason, aren't seeing eye to eye but it is good things are brought to light. It's good to share thoughts and opinions because we can learn from it all and gain loads from communication, visiting, and gratitude.

Me:  Both of you women, are on two sides of the same coin with the special needs child locked in the middle.  Below is my general response to mothers and therapists everywhere...not just you two women.  Some of what is below both of these women do recognize and apply very well already.

As I stated in my blog, open and honest communication is really the only solution.  If that can't be there - whether it is the parents or the therapists fault really doesn't matter.  Who is to blame is irrelevant.  The point is, are we caring more about whether our own perspective is seen as the correct one, or about the person in the middle who has no voice to give his perspective?

When I have a problem with a family, I speak openly with them.  If there can be no consideration from them, then I remove myself from the situation - not because I am right and they are wrong, but because a rift between mom or dad and therapist is damaging and progression is stopped or damaged. The child is the important person and, as much as this may feel like a kick in the gut to some parents, if they would release and forget their pain then there could really be some progress as (both the above therapist and myself agree) parents and therapists work in tandem following the lead of the child's spirit...not his childish behaviors, but the eternal being in him that is inherently endowed with the wisdom he needs to know how to become who God intended him to be.

Therapists should have support groups - I'm covered in bruises and do the dirty work that mom doesn't want to do.  From a therapist perspective, many times mothers are wanting miracles worked with their children, but want someone else to do the work while they reap the benefits.  This is against the law of the harvest, we do not reap what we do not sow.  In my opinion, if mom is not in the trenches then when she begins to complain about the problems she see with the trenches, she really only has two options - get in them and go to work yourself, or be open to the idea that there is more than one way to skin a cat.

As the mother, when working with a therapist I have to either respect that therapist or find someone else if issues cannot be resolved.  Both side are at odds and fighting each other.  Once again we are brought back to the question of, "Who's the real enemy here?"

The enemy is not tangible. It is not a person and it is not a specific therapy. The enemy is an idea, neuroses, and pride.  Watch out, or between the two sides of the coin they may just rip each other apart and break into pieces the very one they are trying to save.

MOM YOUR ENEMY IS YOUR PAIN AND YOUR PRIDE AND IGNORANCE. 

THERAPISTS YOUR ENEMY IS YOUR PRIDE, YOUR APATHETIC ATTITUDES TOWARDS HOW HARD PARENTS ARE TRYING, AND TIME.  

FOR BOTH OF YOU THE ENEMY IS THE IDEA THAT "I HAVE THE BEST INTEREST OF THIS CHILD AT HEART AND YOU DON'T."

True communication is the only way to heal these rifts. If we are busy fighting each other, who is fighting for the child?  You say you are mom, but underneath all the fighting, you are only fighting your fear, not championing your child.

And you say you are therapist, but underneath it all you are only fighting for acknowledgement that you are doing all you can and the parents should not criticize one who is working so hard for their child and doing the things that they, themselves refuse to do.  Our greatest enemies are intolerance, ignorance, blame, and blindness.  Let us instead be open, educated, empathetic, and visionary - for if we want these silent ones to open, this is what is required.

I just saw a bunch of posts from "Mother" on FaceBook.  Most of it is below in the comments section.  Then I found this and though it the appropriate finish to this conversation.


Mother:  After getting out all I had to say, I'm ready to say that I am sorry that your friend and I misunderstood one another. We are both passionate about our parts in the hope for children. Please put this on the blog, Tara. It is not often that I say I'm sorry. I stand by my thoughts but I'm sorry that perhaps two people on the same side came at it wrong. But...debate is cleansing. I made assumptions, though, that I shouldn't have. That I'm sorry for.

"Mother" I couldn't agree with you more.  I have spent many hours with both of you...you more recently (giggle, giggle), and I know you are both on the same side, fighting the same fight I am.  Each of us feels a desire to help and serve and protect these wonderful people.  My friend by being a wonderfully trained, educated therapist with a heart of gold.  You by being a protective, gigantic redwood that we can not only hide behind when the world is too much, but come and rest and find shade and peace under.  Me, by giving a voice to those who are unable to speak.

We all want the same thing, to have those we love treated with the dignity and respect they deserve as children of God.  I will, in the future, try not to let my ability to pick up on all the emotions gushing out overwhelm me.  I will also try to remember that when speaking generally, you are not speaking of me specifically.  I will also try to remember that truth has many shades and the goal is to dig down deep underneath it all to discover the real truth - God's eternal truths - by stripping away all that man has layered on top of it; be they layers of prejudice, ignorance, apathy, greed, intolerance, or whatever form it may come in.  Truth is the goal.  And the truth is, we all love these precious people and willing to give all that we have and are to help them in any way.  The truth is that we three, we love...we love deeply.



*This is a blog about my own life and my own experience.  If you choose to follow anything written here, you do so without any claim on me for problems or complications that may arise.  I am not a doctor.  I have no degree.  I am not a professional.  This is my perspective and experience, that's all.  If you don't think you should do something on here, then don't.*