Thursday, January 28, 2016

Our New Blog Location

Hi blog friends,

It's been a while, I know! I (Annie) finally finished my Masters in Special Education.  It kept me extremely busy so blogging was basically impossible.  I just started a new blog which can be followed at! I thank you for checking in with us and I would love for you to join me (Annie) as I embark on a journey through scripture to find the true source of joy in life and disability.... through Christ!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Bearded Man

I live in a town that really has no slums.  It's an upper to middle class utopia where the streets are squeaky clean and are filled with soccer-moms and suburbans.  There are shopping complexes and Starbucks every few miles so you will never be left wanting :)  Needless to say, the homeless population is low.  In fact, I can name the specific homeless people according to the outfits they wear and the streets where they reside.  I often wonder at these individuals. What happened to them that they roam these polished roads with their random belongings?  What misfortunes became them? Was it circumstance or choice that placed them there? I probably know the answer but it still intrigues me.

One of these individuals I lovingly call "the bearded man".  He wears brown from head to toe and his face is so covered in an unshaven beard that you can barely see his eyes.  He seems middle-aged but it's honestly hard to tell.  He never seems to be clean, never changes, and drags around a trash can.  I have mentioned him a few times to my husband because the bearded man seems extremely disconnected from reality (staring into the air, playing with sticks, mumbling ect.).

I have a weird obsession with the homeless.  I know money is often misused, so food is a great and sustainable resource I often try to give them. God spoke to me the other day through the bearded man, and I wanted share how...  I had always wanted to be able to give the bearded man food but had been nervous about it because he seemed a bit unstable face-to-face.  A couple weeks ago, I drove up to a grocery store and JACKPOT .... I saw the bearded man.  Side-note: You can now call me a homeless stalker. There he was, in all his hairy-dirtiness with his signature trashcan close behind him.  I ran into the store (which happened to be a high-end organic place) and got him the best sandwich with the most expensive fresh cuts of turkey and dressings. I strutted up to counter so proud of this gift I was about to give....a gift that was going to taste sooooo good....a gift that he didn't pay for but I gladly gave.....something he needed to help nourish himself.  I timed it out so that when he walked away, I set it on his trash can and hurried to hide in my car and stalk watch him.  I couldn't wait for him to see his gift.  A few minutes passed and he walked out, looked at the sandwich curiously then he did something that surprised me..... he tossed it onto the ground and walked away:(

Deep sigh.  In my head I was thinking "that was Boars Head meat, what a shame" :) I was so weirdly sad.  I wanted so badly for the bearded man to see it, rip it open, and inhale it. Instead he tossed it on the ground in all it's "expensive organic" glory.  I drove home feeling confused and a little hurt.  I don't know why I cared so much.  Then a thought creeped into my heart "Annie, you do it everyday".  God was speaking to me in the totally weird way he does.  God reminded me that every day he watches over me, ponders at my actions, and desires to provide for me.  He wants me to know him as this provider, comforter, giver of good and nourishing things.  He wants me to be thankful and partake of His goodness.  Yet there I was, going about my daily routine never thinking of Him, thanking Him, or asking Him for help. It must break God's heart. Then I had an even more profound thought......this same God, in all his mercy, offered his Son Jesus Christ on the cross for the sins of the world as a free gift-- a gift he gives to soccer moms and the bearded men alike.  A gift that you yourself may not have accepted.  He offers salvation to the dirtiest of sinners (one of them being me) and it is undeserved yet freely given.  I ask you today, have you every wondered at your source of nourishment?  Have you encountered God? Do you know how much he cares for you friend?  The source of nourishment God has to offer will quench your earthly desires and replace them with a pure heart....a heart so nourished it is constantly being filled with gifts of joy, patience, and love.

You've heard this one before but maybe have never taken it to heart? Do you believe?

16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
John 3:16-17

I know, I'm weird.  Either way.... I'm trying again bearded man, so consider yourself stalked.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Autism Mom: Why Vaccines Are a Tough Topic For Me

I hate conflict, I hate it so much. I'm a lover, not a fighter:)

When I got married my super-hot/outspoken/confrontational husband informed me that I will do just anything to NOT confront a problem and that I needed to stand up for my beliefs.  In fact, the thought of someone disagreeing with me literally causes me physical anxiety.  So, with that said, I am about to put my big girl panties on and touch on something extremely controversial.  It's a topic that promotes polarizing views and unfortunately a lot of name calling.  It's a topic that, for me, stirs up much, deep seeded emotion.  I want to talk about VACCINES...

Why? Well, as I scroll through social media and hear conversations I am prompted to share our story. Am I offended when I am referred to as "selfish"  "dumb" "retarded" or "stupid" because I am one of those families who struggle with vaccinating? Maybe a little but I get it, I get why you feel so passionate, and I still love you.  I want nothing more than all diseases to be eradicated and I do want you to vaccinate your child if you want to.  I don't want your child to get the measles. Oh, and for what it's worth, I do not consult Jenny McCarthy for medical advice.

Your story is not my story, but to stand in my shoes for a second you must read on:

OUR SIDE OF THE STORY at a glance:
-My daughter was premature and was delayed meeting milestones from birth forward
-My daughter showed signs of autism before vaccination (lack of eye contact, not meeting milestones, tantrums, sleep issues, stacking, spinning, food aversion/obsession ect)
-My daughter showed signs of gut issues/biomedical sensitivities from birth (food sensitivity/allergies and food aversions/cravings, butt/body rashes, diarrhea, fowl smelling fecal matter, gas, bags under eyes)
-My daughter did get her vaccines
-My daughter did have a strong reaction to her vaccines (fever, rash, lethargy, pause in development)
-My daughter has autism
-When I chose to vaccinate Bella it was a hard decision
-When I chose to NOT vaccinate our second child Addie, it was an even harder decision

MY OPINION simply stated:
-I believe vaccines work and are important for our society to thrive (not to mention the diseases that would come back without herd immunity)
-I don't think vaccines CAUSE autism *though many parents in the autism community do and I can see why as they watch their child disappear before their eyes* just not my experience
-I do think however that vaccines cannot be tolerated by children with the genetic/biological make-up autism presents as their systems are sent into a spiral when toxins are present
-I believe some children with autoimmune issues, gut issues, a family history of autism, illness ect should not get vaccines either at an early age or at all, because the are too strong/toxic for them
-I am informed. I do constant research, have talked to numerous doctors with varied opinions, and literally pray with tears about whether or not to continue to vaccinate my children

-My husband and I researched and prayed hard about whether or not we should have another child knowing the statistics on autism and genetics.  God gave us Bella and now Adeline and we will do everything to protect our girls (which may or may not include vaccines).
-NO ONE HAS FOUND THE CAUSE OF AUTISM!!!  Did you know that?  Its hard because my child has a life-long disability yet NO ONE has ever been able to tell me why.  I sometimes envy parents of children with other disabilities because at least they know the cause.  I am left to wonder ... which is the reason many autism parents (including myself) are willing to try a myriad of treatments, not because we are crazy, but because we are desperate!
-There have been many causes offered (none yet proven):  environmental-factors, genetics, brain issues, vaccines, prenatal development (the list goes on).  What is a parent to do with all of the varied opinions on this?  If there was even a remote chance that something you do or did caused autism, would you do it again? When every doctor I see has a differing opinion, it makes decisions on treatment hard.  Do you see? It's agonizing.

As you read above, I do believe in vaccines but, I struggle with them.  I have yet to vaccinate Adeline for fear she will respond the way Bella did, is that selfish?  Maybe.  Is it uninformed? Not at all.  Do I have to weigh the risk of the diseases she could contract or conversely the autism link that has been disproven (yet I see first hand as I talk to the autism parents all around me)?  Yes, and I lose sleep over it.  Will I vaccinate my second child in the future when she's older? Maybe.  Until then, I continue researching and agonizing as a parent.

Just know, for every article you post showing no link between autism and vaccines there are hundreds of articles that disagree and say otherwise.  This is why I struggle....

1. 30,000 reactions are reported every year by the CDC, and between 10 and 15% are serious (hospitalization, disability, death).

2. Almost 4,000 people have been court awarded over 3 billion dollars (yes, that's 3 billion) in damages from vaccines. 

3. This is an interview with Bella's doctor, Dr. Bob Sears who wrote The Vaccine Book and promotes the alternative schedule.  We actually saw him the same day he did this interview a couple days ago and I hate how the media portrays him and tries to say he's "anti-vax" whatever that is.  He tells his patients (us included) that vaccines work.  But, he also sees first hand how children with certain genetic factors respond to ANY toxin put in their body, vaccines, foods, ect.  He would caution those families on further vaccinations.

I am not a doctor
I am not anti-vax
I am not pro-vax
I am not friends with Jenny McCarthy
I love my kids
I hope you now see why I, as an autism mom, struggle with vaccines
Please stop the name calling, it stresses me out:)

With love and sweating palms due to confrontation,