Friday, November 9, 2018

The Gift of Gratitude

     The gift of gratitude is sometimes hard to feel. How can a person be grateful for the lessons they are learning from an illness, homelessness or a horrible war situation? How can a child feel grateful if their mommy dies? How can a person feel grateful for the heartache caused when their companion no longer wants them? I’ve watched people overcome some of the hardest experiences in life when life has not been fair because they choose to be grateful. I’ve watched as some of my friends and family members have walked toward the end of their life with courage and joy in their hearts; I’ve also watched friends and loved ones walk toward the end of their lives feeling so dark, depressed and alone. Some can realize that suffering death is one of the last tests to help them learn patience and self-mastery and they can be grateful for the many joyous times they had.
     Life can be so difficult at times but personal growth usually comes from the most difficult situations we want to run from. Hard experiences can stimulate growth, understanding and compassion for others. Hard experiences are like the heat that melts metal into its final strength. Swords are made by heating and pounding on ore until it forms into a very strong weapon. Weapons are usually created with the purpose to protect our families and friends. Weapons are also used to hurt and kill; or they can be used to force many good people into lives of service to kings they don’t want to serve.
     Boys and girls of all ages, I’ve thought about the strengths we develop in life. We can use those strengths for good or bad. Our strengths are like the sword. We can move forward to protect and love the people around us during hard times or we can choose to go through life holding on to painful experiences and use them against our friends and families. If the strengthening heat grows too hot we may feel angry, hurt, dark and alone. It’s a choice to stand tall or slither away when we have bad times in life. Isn’t it great to understand we always have a choice? I hope we can choose to stand tall! I hope you wake up every morning with gratitude in your heart even if the dark clouds of life are gathering around you. Gratitude makes us stronger!

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

The Amazing Remarkable Brain

     The human brain is a wonderful mechanism and is made up of many connecting tissues. It sends messages to regulate body temperature, heart rate, breathing patterns, sight, smell, what we hear, feel and think.
     It is easier to diagnose when a person is suffering from a broken pancreas because they eventually start to show signs of dehydration and low responses to sugars in the body. It is easier to diagnose a heart condition when the heart starts to skip beats or sends signals of pain. The brain is such a complex unit of the body and can send its own unique signals to show signs of broken neuronal pathways. It is much harder to diagnose a broken brain or figure out how to help it. An unregulated brain can cause so much destruction to the body and release higher levels of chemicals to cause addictions and life-threatening behaviors. There are many in the scientific community trying to find answers for the broken brain.
     Adverse Childhood Experiences, and drug addicted birth parents, can cause the developing embryo problems as its tiny brain begins to form. The personality of a child struggles to form in its proper order as the neuronal pathways develop and it can cause a lifetime of problematic behaviors for the child. It can also cause gender problems not common for other neuro-typical people. Some neurons can actually develop into stronger or weaker parts of connection within the brain. If the connection is too strong in the body sensation area of the brain then the child will likely have sensations in their bodies they have a hard time controlling.
     When a child’s broken brain tries to make sense of the world it can become confused and react to situations differently than the neuro-typical brain. The child can spiral out of control toward self-destructive patterns of dangerous behaviors. The child can often be seen by others as an extremely bright charismatic and charming con artist or as a naughty uncontrollable entity, when in reality, the child is suffering from broken neuronal pathway damage.
     Insurance companies will pay if a tumor needs removal from brain tissue but they will not cover therapies created to reconnect broken neuronal pathways. There are new brain maps showing how electrical currents are flowing through brain tissue and it is helping physicians to see the different parts of the brain and how they are reacting to stimuli; hopefully in the near future we will find answers to help people with broken neuronal pathways.
     The United States is filling prisons with adults who have broken neuronal pathways. The streets are filling with homeless people who have broken brains. Gangs are created from children with broken brains. A neuro-typical person doesn’t feel a need to lie, steal, cheat, or hurt other people; but to a child dealing with broken neuronal pathways, those same behaviors toward society is their way of surviving. These children will fight, run or freeze at inappropriate times and it takes their brain longer to mature.
     The anxieties surrounding these children are extreme. They cope by cutting, piercing, tattooing, and rebelling in ways that are not seen as sane. It’s a very sad and hard situation for these children and their parents to live through. There is a high rate of suicides, drug overdoses and prison sentences among this group. Most of these children turn out to be victims or perpetrators and it’s hard for the parents to watch as their child spirals out of control. It becomes overwhelming to parents trying to raise these children to meet the expectations of their child and community; sadly, the only recourse the parents can take is to release these unprepared and confused eighteen-year-old children to the world to face the many obstacles in their lives they will surely bring to themselves. It is so hard for these children to stay on course after they have developed a lifelong pattern of sneaking, running, and destroying relationships because of their rebellious patterns. Committing to a task and staying committed is very hard for these people with neuronal pathway damage.
     We are searching for answers to help these most valuable and beautiful people. The extreme situations caused from brain injuries can cause many tragedies but if we can get these children the help they need we can build them a much better future. They are very hard workers in the right job because these are genius minded people. Once a person figures out they have a broken brain they can learn in different ways and move forward to become some of the best humanitarians our world has to offer. They just have to survive long enough to beat the odds and allow their brain tissue a few extra years to grow into place.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

There's a light at the end of the tunnel!

     Have you ever heard someone say, “There’s a light at the end of the tunnel?” I’ve heard the statement many times in my life and shared it with my husband during some of our trials.
     I remember when my husband had a few years left in college and was working two jobs to keep our small family fed. We were really low on money and had a third child in my belly. We could not see a way to finish his last year in college. We became so discouraged and were ready to quit trying for his graduation certificate, but miraculously the money appeared for the last year of his schooling! I remember how hard it was for him to keep going with all the stresses from his responsibilities at work and school. It was also really hard for me to parent three children by myself while he finished his last year but we knew we were almost to the finish line and we would say, “The light is at the end of the tunnel.”
     There have been many times in my life I’ve looked for that light at the end of the tunnel. When you think about a tunnel or cave it’s a pretty dark place if you walk through it alone. The farther you walk into the dark it becomes pitch black. The farther you get from the entrance it starts to get colder and colder. If you are alone in a deep cave or tunnel and feel the blackness surrounding you, the first idea you have is to find some source of light to guide you back toward the entrance of the cave or tunnel. It may scare you to feel around in the darkness with your eyes wide open to try finding a pinpoint of light to help guide you back. Once you start to walk in the direction of the tiny guiding light it starts to become brighter and before you know it you are stepping out of the cave into the light and you begin to enjoy the warmth of the sun on your face again.
     I’m not an adventurous person so I usually don’t like crawling around in dark places. Caves feel a little too cold and dark for me but there are people who love caves, climbing up cliffs and swimming in oceans next to sharks; they love the adventure of all things but they understand the dangers involved and are willing to take the risks to learn something they need to learn.
     Boys and girls of all ages, you are amazing and are in this world to learn so many wonderful things. You will walk into some tunnels along the way and feel there is no way out. If you get into a dark place in life and feel like there’s no way out… please call your friends and ask them to bring you a flashlight to help you find the entrance to your life again. The entrance is waiting for you but you have to believe it and walk in the right direction to get out of the tunnel. The light really is at the end of the tunnel. It’s been there for me many times and I know it’s there for you!

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Scars of Courage

     I remember watching sadly as my son had an extensive heart procedure done to save his life. It was a hard time for him and our family. He actually had to go back for a second surgery about five months later. The surgeries left some major scars on his chest. After a few more years we received a beautiful granddaughter to our family who has been challenged with the devastating disease of type one diabetes. A few years after she received the diagnosis she developed a flesh-eating bacteria on her ankle and it traveled up her leg to cause major damage to her skin. She could have lost her leg or her life to the threatening bacteria. The scars caused great concerns for these two young people. They were worried about what other people would think about their skin, but as time went by they realized they were wearing scars of courage and became comfortable with the new look they are wearing. The scars tell a story of how they passed very hard tests in life and they learned amazing lessons from their tests. Some people have scar damage on their feelings inside. They have had great amounts of emotional pain but their scars do not show on the outside.
     I remember the small pieces of bubble gum I would buy in my childhood years. The wrapper had these little papers with pictures on them. The paper had a sticky side to it so I could stick the picture on my hand. If I put water on the paper then the picture would transfer onto my hand and would be there for a few days. It was like magic! We called the picture a tattoo. It was fun for a few days but then I wanted to take it off. I started to notice people who wanted to keep the pictures on their skin for their whole life and it confused me? I asked myself, “Why would somebody want to wear pictures or words on their skin for their whole life?”
     I’ve thought about tattoos and the people who like to wear them. I’ve thought about the scars of courage my son and granddaughter wear and it makes me wonder if people who draw permanent pictures and words on their skin are showing themselves their scars of courage too? They carefully choose the pictures and colors of their tattoo to tell a story to the world. I’ve heard people tell me it hurts tremendously to poke the different colors into their skin. Maybe they have scars on their hearts and inside their thoughts that need to be released? Maybe they feel they need to wear their scars of courage where their stories can finally be seen?
     My husband has an Uncle Bill who decided to get some tattoos while he served in the Navy. His uncle was the most kind and gentle man I have ever met. He was a school teacher and taught many children throughout his life. Everybody loved Bill! He carefully picked the pictures, words and colors for his tattoos when he was young. The pictures and words he chose during his Navy years also included the name of a girl he dated while in the Navy; but they decided to take different paths in their lives and he was left wearing her name on his arm. He finally met the girl of his dreams and married her. His sweet wife realized she did not have her name printed on his arm because she knew her name was printed in his heart. Bill did regret the decision he had made to print the other girl’s name on his arm because of an impulsive moment during his dating years. He grew strong in character and eventually joined a church which taught the principle of keeping your body clean and unblemished from the world but he knew he could not get the tattoos removed from his skin. The other church members realized he was a great man and never judged him for his tattoos because they realized the tattoos were a part of the memories from his past. Bill had a wonderful wife and great memories he created with her. Some people would ask about Bill’s tattoos and he would tell them his story; he always appreciated those who listened and understood. Bill died a few years ago but his lessons of courage to overcome great obstacles in his life still live on in our hearts as we remember this great man. He no longer needs to wear or explain the tattoos because his story has been told.
     Maybe we can be kind to those who choose to wear stories on their bodies because they wear their stories for a reason and the reason could be worth listening to? Maybe the stories they wear from their past will become reminders of lessons learned and help them move forward to their future lives? It could be very interesting to ask about the stories behind the tattoos.
     Boys and girls of all ages, I’m not one to encourage people to permanently paint their skin or burn brands into their bodies and my kids know I discourage them from doing it; but if it is already there, I keep thinking about Bill and how he lived a perfectly great life along with his tattoos. It’s more important to love these most beautifully scarred emotions as they courageously surface to be seen. Have you ever asked somebody about their tattoos? They would probably be happy to explain their pictures to you, and if you listen with an open heart you may find something in the story to help you see life differently.

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