Wednesday, September 19, 2012


I feel like I haven't talked much about Matthew on here in recent months. Ironic considering he was the reason I started blogging seven years ago. I still can't believe I have stuck with this blog for that long. Anyways, it has been interesting to read back on all of the posts about Matthew over the years. Usually the past posts spark memories I had long forgotten. Funny things he has done or said. Stages he has gone through. Seasons our family has been through. Lately though, some of the words, concerns I had, delays he has struggled with, have all added to my suspicion that he may have a mild case of Cerebral Palsy.
Most people that know me, know that Matthew's birth was anything but calm and relaxing. Well, anyone that knows me knows that is nearly impossible considering I hate pain and would have gladly gotten an epidural about six months along in pregnancy. I  wanted to try and have Matthew vaginally. Long and painful story short, I had a long labor, my epidural never did work and by the time they took me back for a c section, Matthew was deeply lodged in my pelvis. After much pulling, yanking, a midwife, a nurse and my OB on TOP of my body, my OB swearing like a sailor on leave, (HORRIFYING by the way), Matthew was finally dislodged from my pelvis. I remember seeing him briefly and then I passed out from all the drugs and probably from the shock of all that had just gone on. When I awoke, I was literally alone in what seemed like a hallway, no doctor, no baby, no husband. Someone finally came and took me to my room. I didn't see Matthew again for nearly six hours. I remember finally getting frantic at the end and saying something to effect of, "Get me my baby now! or ELSE". After that rocky start, it seemed that Matthew was fine. I kept him with me for the rest of our stay at the hospital and a few days later, we went home. Matthew had a horrible case of torticollis, he always had his head to the far right. In fact he did it so much that he got a flat spot and had to wear a helmet! He always slept in his swing. Being newbie parents we never even considered that perhaps something more than a neck strain happened during his traumatic delivery. Seven years later, I am not so sure.
First of all, let me be clear. For the most part, Matthew is a typical seven year old! He loves sports, playing outside with friends, Wii, Star Wars and war games in general. He is a good student, a great friend with a kind heart, an awesome big brother and a fabulous son. He can walk, talk, play, run, etc. But Matthew does struggle with several things. He constantly walks on his tippy toes, despite our best efforts to remind him to walk with his whole foot. He has always had sensory issues. Matthew can never be hugged tight enough, he loves to play hard, to wrestle and of course there is the snow boot story. When Matthew was three we were outside playing in the snow. We must have gotten 15 inches so I couldn't see his little feet in the snow. At some point his boot had fallen off, along with his sock, and he had no idea! That is when I knew for certain that there was something up with Matthew's sensory system. He did go to OT for about six months and it seemed to help. Matthew also flaps his hands and makes a grimacing face when he is overly stimulated or excited. He is aware that he does this and it doesn't seem to bother him when other kids ask him what he is doing. He simply states, "That's what I do when I am excited. " Matthew struggles with fine motor skills. Writing is very difficult for him and when he writes it looks like someone must younger did it. He struggles with putting on his clothes as well. He has issues with is balance too. All little things, but when I started putting them all together, I wondered if perhaps there was something more to it?
At his 7 year check up I discussed my concerns with his doctor. She brought up the possibility of mild cerebral palsy. We've started the process of obtaining a definitive diagnosis. Matthew had an occupational therapy evaluation yesterday. It was very interesting considering we do a lot of OT testing at my internship. To be the parent of the child being tested was hard. I knew when he was struggling and when he "failed" a task. The great thing is I know how wonderful occupational therapy is. It will help Matthew so much with the tasks he does struggle with!  Matthew will be going to OT once a week for an hour. We have an appointment with the pediatric neurologist in December too.
We realize in the grand scheme of things of ailments that can strike your child, this diagnosis certainly doesn't even come close to grim. In fact, most people wouldn't even notice half of his symptoms. Still, it is something to deal with and to make sure we're doing all we can to help Matthew be all he desires to be. We hate to see him struggle and to get teased.
Looking back, I wonder if this had happened with Caroline or Ellie if I would have done something differently in handling this? I certainly would have been more suspicious of how they treated him after he was born. I would have maybe asked more questions about his status of how he was doing immediately after delivery. But in this world of malpractice lawsuits, I probably wouldn't have gotten many truthful answers. One thing I do know for sure, we've always addressed any issues Matthew has had right away. Maybe that is why he doesn't significantly struggle with these cerebral palsy issues. I have never been one to bury my head in the sand. I am so grateful to have access to great medical professionals and therapists that can come along side Matthew and help him be all that he desires to be!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Back at it

School is back in session. It has been a weird semester thus far. I have two classes that I think will be relatively laid back. They are about individual and family therapy. I am excited to get into the "meat and potatoes" of the counseling aspects of social work. I never imagined myself as a counselor per se, although I always seem to be the person that friends and family talk to about their issues. I could also tell countless stories of the random strangers off the street that tell me the most personal details of their lives, in Meijer!
I have had two weeks of internship at the Child's trauma assessment center, CTAC. This past Friday I helped with an actual assessment. It was pretty intense. I knew it would be intense but the actuality of intense always seems, well, more intense. So far when I leave CTAC, I feel like really I have nothing left to give of myself emotionally and physically for a the rest of the day. I met a friend for dinner last night. I left CTAC and went directly to the restaurant. As I drove there I thought to myself, I am not sure if this was a good idea? Can I even participate in a conversation right now/ It's heavy stuff that I am hearing all day. I am invited into the very personal, very painful, very traumatic lives of these kids and that carries a burden of sorts. I am grateful to be on a team with people who get that and understand the importance of processing that, still you can't be completely unburdened in the very same day that it took place.
One skill I have been able to hone throughout the MSW program is self awareness skills. I know that what will best serve me on Friday nights is to be quiet, to draw in and just be with my thoughts of what I heard and saw that day. To feel sad, to be angry, to feel irritation , thankfulness, or any of the other million thoughts that run through my head on Friday nights. To be alone and quiet is so foreign to who I normally am. Jeff has even commented on the transformation that takes place in me on Fridays.
This morning I woke up at the ridiculously early hour of 5a.m. and the thoughts of the nameless persons I have worked with over the years flooded my brain. I was remembering many stories but could not, for the life of me, remember any names. For a moment I felt guilt  about this. How could I not remember these names? Did that mean I was less of a human, less of a social worker? I came to the conclusion, with some help from a friend, that it's probably self protection. The stories are painful enough and to always have names connected with it would be too much to bear. I think the next nine months will be a very intense experience. Taking care of myself and being able to recognize what is the best and most healthy way to  process it all will be probably one of the most important things I can learn at CTAC.
I know the stories, the grief and the healing I will experience at CTAC will have a profound and lasting impression on me both personally and professionally. I am eager to grow through it all but it is strange to embrace it fully because I know it will be so painful and sad on many days. My motto has always been to give 100%. I am determined to give 100% to the beautiful children I am privileged to serve during my internship. I am honored to hear their pain and hope I can help them to find some hope, whether it be in a game of catch, a conversation we have together, or a report I write that helps the system find a better tomorrow for them. 100% is the least I can do. 

Monday, September 10, 2012


I suck at it when it really matters. Woah. Hello, Monday raw blog post. I am great at apologizing and forgiving those who I like and those that I love. But if you happen to not fall into those categories I am afraid you tend to be out of luck when it comes to me forgiving you or apologizing to you. To be honest I felt in this last year that I was completely justified in feeling that way about certain people and situations in my life.
The thing is, no matter where I went, in regards to my spirituality, God was screaming at me, "STOP IT". Devotions, sermons, songs, mentors, conversations I have had all led me to screaming conviction. Last week I felt like God was saying, "You will get no where without dealing with this." Stop hating, it is never right, it is never justified and it certainly never represents me." You are ugly when you hate." OUCH again. Ouch seems to be my theme word lately, that is pretty sad.
So what have I been doing to deal with this revelation to be obedient to God? Well, that is still being worked out. Praying for the specific person God has brought to my mind that I need to forgive, is first and foremost. Every time I think something remotely negative, I turn it into a prayer. I The funny thing is, I already feel so much better just in letting go of the hate.  I am even enjoying praying for her and for God's will for how I should handle this to be revealed. My faith and ability to worship has been transformed with the release of this hatred. God has been laying out some other steps for me to deal with this and I am taking baby steps towards it all. I am even kind of excited to see how it all turns out. Whether it is wonderful or not, I am trying to honor my faith and more importantly my God and He always directs my paths to where I need to be.

Monday, September 03, 2012


I have read Angie Smith's blog for a long time. I love how honest and real she is. She is a gifted and annointed writer. A few weeks ago she wrote about how we all are in need of mending. We all have made mistakes, been hurt and let down. Thankfully, I serve a God who wants to mend me. He wants to make me beautiful from the inside out. I wrote about this a few weeks ago and am posting it again for a contest Angie is having. If you would like her book," Mended " it can be purchased here or here.” She is having a contest right now and I am reposting this entry because I very much feel like the broken jug on her book cover that was smashed to pieces and then put back together, piece by piece!
I can't wait to read her latest book!

Here is my post about the mending God is doing in my life..
 Offending and being offended have been on my mind this week. I realized that someone who I knew I offended a few years ago, was still offended by my Christian beliefs. I won't go into all the hairy details but basically this tends to happen a lot in our world of having  non-Christian friends. They simply do not believe what we believe. That can be very difficult to reconcile when difficult conversations come up. In this particular situation alcohol was involved which is never a good thing when discussing passionate topics. I regret that what I said came across in a offensve manner. I regret that I didn't make more of a concerted effort to talk it through after the fact.
But here's the thing, I felt very strongly that throughout this week of feeling bad about how what my friends have said and thought about me, that God was saying to me, " Why do you never care about offending me?" Ouch. It's so true. I care very much how I am perceived and what people think about me. But when it comes to God's perception, that often goes to the wayside. Why?
I met with a friend and mentor this week to discuss some of the recent struggles I have been having. We talked a lot about this subject and she said something that struck me deeply. My friend said that once we become a Christian we have the holy spirit living within us. When we choose to be sinful, we take along the spirit of God with us. When we speak hatred, when we drink too much, when we scream at our kids, when we're inpatient and angry toward our spouses, when we covet what others have, when we lust, when we watch t/v shows or read books that are inappropriate, the Spirit of God is taken along for all of it. Yuck. Talk about offensive.
I am ashamed that I have let my faith and relationship get so lack luster that I wasn't even recognizing the pain I was causing my God. I am ashamed that I care more about friendships than I do the God who sent His only Son to live a perfect blameless life and be beaten, berated and crucified for me.
Again I am in awe of the grace and redemption that God always offers, every single time that I mess up. I know he must think to himself, "Oh dear, sweet girl,will you ever see the errors of your ways and make it right once and for all?" The beauty and crux of this faith of mine ,that I am not ashamed of, is that He is always willing to help me mend it. He is always able to help me pick up the pieces of my brokenness and make it beautiful.