St Gabriel Windows

St Gabriel Windows
Photocopy c. 2013 Jamie Laubacher

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Motivation and the teen spirit

I have a teenage son who has not always had it easy growing up.  He suffers from anxiety (OCD) and has been in treatment for many years.  I could not have gotten this far with him without assistance -- professional assistance.  Our entire family was suffering from it and well...that's another story...

But for this moment, there is much success in regard to this bright young man.  He doesn't lack intelligence, that's for sure.  In fact, I don't quite know how to put the reigns on it at times....he wants to speed ahead and do this and do that....He is doing 2 sciences and 2 maths this year, because well...he wants to...and he's motivated to do so, so I'm allowing it.  He is half way through a very intense on line course of Jacob's Geometry and he added in Abeka Algebra 2 to do on the side.  He is three-quarters way through his Natural Science course (just has a project left to do when the weather gets better), and he added in his full course of Biology.  And he loves it.  All this on top of his other courses, his Latin, his Ancient History-Geography and Literature course, and his religion.   He did yet a third science for the first semester through our co-op which was very rigorous (instead of 120 hours, typical high school, it was 180-200); this proved to be far too much of a load, and because he didn't really need the credit, we dropped it for the second semester so he could move on to the courses he really needs for high school graduation.  Still, it was a good experience and he did learn quite a bit that semester.

He has a yearning to be a programmer and does an on line introductory programming course called Mod Design 1.  He wants to get into Java programming more -- but doesn't know where to begin, and I say, well, that is likely going to be a college course. We are looking at senior year of dual credits....but first things first, getting up and driving.

So, he has been practicing driving with his father which has been a wonderful thing for him -- helping him to feel more independent and in control.  Anxiety ridden people often feel they are at the mercy of everyone and everything else around them.  It helps to "enable" them (if they will move forward with it), and of course that has been our goal for him from day one of therapy -- enabling.  Disabling the disorder, and enabling the normalcy and developmental milestones and healthy way of thinking along the way. 

Really, I'm writing this for myself today as we have had a very difficult winter with this son.  Last year his medication was adjusted three times, and it takes weeks and weeks for the changes to occur.  He is finally into a med adjustment that is working and we are grateful.  I'm taking inventory with this piece,  journaling, really....and clearing my mind.  

On paper (or blog) it looks more hopeful to me, and I can see the distance we have traveled and the progress we have made.  Yes, we've taken many steps backwards at times....but all in all, we have moved forward in a positive manner.  I thank God for that.

For any of my readers who are raising special needs children, or those with mental health issues, disorders and every day disruptions....I pray for you;  I understand.  I know the heartache and the stress and the lack of understanding out there....I know how you wonder daily and lay awake at night....about how your son or daughter is going to make it in life...out there.  And know, I think and feel the same way.  Together, let us pray for one another...and pray that God in his almighty love and wisdom will come through for all of us.


God bless+

Autism and Hygiene

Where do I begin?  ...with a bar of soap and a nice warm shower?  What may seem common place to we neuro-typicals, may seem odd and annoying to those on the autism spectrum.

I hear things like:  the vent will blow air and make noise and it disturbs me in the bathroom!  or....the soap feels slimy and yukky....or WHY do I have to get washed up it make me cold!?

And so it goes with my 11 yr old spectrum son.  We scrub him (still) from head to toe and are awaiting the day where he doesn't have to be overseen quite as much.  But my, he is behind with these things.  He has no concern for hygiene even when his science book details its importance.

He is a bright boy...nevertheless....intellectually in the facts and information area, math and reading. Hyperlexic in fact, having decoded language very early and taught himself to read by the age of 4, when his speech finally emerged.  But it is so obvious to me how he is at least a couple years behind in maturity compared to his peers, and how unfortunately, they find that annoying....or view him as not cool.  Let's face it, kids getting ready to enter middle school, are all about acting more mature, and sports and cool tennis shoes, fashion and music.   Oh my little man isn't anywhere near any of that, and it may not ever happen for him.

I debate taking him away and out of activities because it breaks my heart (probably more than his, as we don't think he really notices) that other peers just ignore him, traipsing by him to run off and find a friend.

But today, after his nice long shower and shampoo that he mostly did on his own,  I just celebrate the fact of who he really is....who God has made him to be.  And today, that is enough.

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Downton Abbey English Rose Tea – 36 Tea Bags -

Downton Abbey English Rose Tea – 36 Tea Bags -

We LOVE Downton Abbey in this house (along with Doctor Who) -- wow, are those two different worlds or what?

Last year, I bought a friend some special Downton Abbey tea, and this year my darling daughter bought some for me.  The one she picked is the English Rose Tea, and it is marvelous indeed.  It smells a bouquet of lovely flowers.

At the link you will discover many other Downton Abbey teas....very tempting ....I may need to purchase a few to get me through to Springtime!  (disclaimer* no, I don't work for PBS)  :)  but maybe I should!

Thursday, January 01, 2015

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Exchange: Curriculum for 2014-15/ 2012-13

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Exchange: Curriculum for 2014-15/ 2012-13: I haven't updated curriculum for nearly two years! So, I'll start back at 2013-2014 and fast forward to 2014-15 This year: 10th ...

Seeking Tranquility in God's Presence

I share this, one of my first posts that brought my blog to life.  I began this blog in January of 2006 as a spiritual outlet, and now have been in the blogsphere for nearly 10 years.  I adore this wonderful excerpt from Dom Hubert van Zeller's "Holiness for Housewives"; may it bring you some insightful inspiration for the new year.

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Having considered prayer in activity, we must consider activity in prayer. This is all the more necessary because the tempo at which most people's lives are lived today is probably swifter than ever before. It has communicated something of its pace to the business of prayer. You would have thought that it might have made for a reaction, "at least I can relax and be still when I am before the Blessed Sacrament," but apparently it has not. "The wheels have been spinning since I got up," is more the prevailing attitude, "and they insist on keeping it up while I am trying to pray."

If there is tension outside prayer, there will be a corresponding tension inside prayer as well. The mind will run busily on. The thoughts may be holy, but they will be rushed. The atmosphere will vibrate. Prayer will rattle.

All this means that we start off at a disadvantage. We of this generation have to make much more of an effort to secure calmness in prayer. The practical question arises at to what is the best way to do it.

Someone has said that just as a man who is about to dive into the water waits until the surface disturbed by the previous diver is smooth again, so the man about to pray must wait until all the surface disturbances have ceased before he plunges into the presence of God. The only trouble about this is that he may have to wait all day. There is always something or someone: the surface does not remain smooth for long. A better idea would be, in this particular kind of diving, for the diver to get into the water in the quickest way possible and let it smooth him.

If tranquility is necessary for prayer, and it certainly is, then a way must be found not only of stemming the rush of images and distractions, but of quieting down the pieties as well. A distraction is a distraction even if it is about sanctity. Anxieties are no less anxieties because they happen to be about prayer. You will admit that you have spoiled your prayer by worrying about what you are going to wear to tomorrow's party; you forget that you can spoil your prayer just as much by wondering what you are doing to do for Lent. All these things can be arranged outside prayer time. When praying, get into the presence of God, and ask Him to shed your worries and wanderings for you.

So it would be a mistake to imagine that in prayer there must be a succession of either holy imaginations, holy reasonings, holy emotions, or holy words. If holy thoughts suggest themselves, follow them up. It is the perfect straightforward and simple act of desiring God and praising him for which you must aim in prayer. Anything that militates against this must be pushed aside - even if it means handling a good thing roughly. It is the overactivity, the misplaced emotion, and the ill-directed idea that must be corrected. The main thing is the desire for God's glory, and everything must be subordinated to that.

Forget about prayer being a recitation of sentiments suitable to a creature, and think of it as the kind of orientation of heart that must be gratifying for a Creator to see in His friends. This gives a wider idea than that which suggests that we pray only when we are saying things to God from a kneeling position. To keep up a flow of talk may be necessary when dealing with some of our friends (although goodness knows it should not be), but it can hardly be necessary when we are trying to get in touch with God.

Although prayer is a ceaseless output of praise, it is not a feverish output of it. And if prayer is thought of as output, it must be thought of as intake as well. In fact there can be no satisfactory output unless there is proportionately more intake going on at the same time. And for intake, there has to be serenity, silence of the noisier faculties, and receptivity. "Be it done unto me according to Thy word." "Be still and see the salvation of the Lord." "Let all flesh be silent at the presence of the Lord." Tranquility.

From: Holiness for Housewives, Dom Hubert van Zeller (1905-1984)
van Zeller was a prolific writer and talented sculptor, whose works grace many churches and monasteries in Britain and the United States. He described his own writing about the Faith as an effort to use "the idiom of every day to urge people of every day to embark upon the spirituality of every day."

And that's a wrap!

Good-bye to 2014....Hello to 2015

May God bless you with all you need but especially a grateful heart so you will know of your blessings!