Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Do Your Dooty- Curb Your Dog!

What a joy it is to be walking through a park or open field these days. The trees! The blue sky! The scenery! THE POOP? Oh yah! You know what I mean!

While urban sprawl continues to expand, the actual space we have to roam freely in the woods gets smaller and smaller. Many of us still love to enjoy the outdoors and feel a certain kinship with the outdoors. We love to bring along our dogs for a romp in the park or a game of Frisbee. And then it happens! We step in an unsightly mess of.. DOG POOPY!!

Nothing stops a person in their tracks quicker than that!

I especially love it when my little boy has been in the park and tracks home this wonderful scent right into my living room floor. I can only imagine the bacteria which is being spread across American homes when they drag in the crap with them. Leave it to the mommies of America to clean up their carpets, the crusted and caked shoes, and wherever else the trail leads.
I am ANGRY about the selfish dog owners who don’t “Curb their dog”, as we say in New York! I’m a dog owner, and my dog poops between 2-4 times a day, and we have a plastic bag ready to go at all times! The grocery store provides FREE ones when you buy groceries! There is no excuse!

Yes, it’s disgusting! Yes, it’s warm and mushy and stinky! (I always make sure there are no holes in the bag first of course! If there are leaves around, I also pick those up first to protect me from any leakage!) But…SO WHAT! IT’s YOUR DOG. And if you don’t pick it up, someone else is going to experience your dog’s CRAP and it ain’t going to be pretty then either! Think about it… people have toilets, but dogs only have.. YOU!

My husband and I live in Baldwin Park in Orlando Florida. It’s a beautiful community with million dollar homes, beautiful town homes, a down town area, and unfortunately, a few selfish dog owners. We’ve spotted one young woman with two large dogs including a German Shephard, who lets the dog off the leash to play every day. We’ve approached her a few times about picking up the CRAP after her dog and her excuse is really great… “I only had one bag”. Then my husband said: “but you have TWO DOGS”. We later watched her dog walker who also didn’t pay any attention after the dogs left two enormous piles behind.

We’ve complained to the home owners association and we’ve complained to the rental offices. We are requesting that a fine be enforced for any dog owner who doesn’t clean up after their dog. We also want to have signs put up and plastic bags available so there is no excuse for “only having one bag”.

I suggest to those of us who are angry enough to do something about it to REVOLT! If the traditional way of politely asking people to clean up doesn’t work, or getting the community to add signs and bags doesn’t work, then I suggest we follow the unsuspecting dog owners home and later deliver a package that they WON”T forget!!

After all, it is theirs… and as good citizens we don’t want people to forget packages that they left behind! Once that starts happening, the people who left the packages behind will either complain to management, try to retaliate but will never find out who did it, and ultimately, know that people are watching and start cleaning up after their pets.

So watch out people! A revolt is coming and if you’re one of the few guilty people out there, we’re going to retaliate so you learn to clean up after your pet!

Just be sure and watch your step when you come out your front door!

Monday, January 30, 2006

Saying the Wrong thing at the Wrong Time

Tonight in the shower it hit me!!! Earlier in the day, I complained about the drunken college students who woke me up at 3am to my friend’s mom who is taking care of her daughter.. who just had a double mastectomy! When it hit me that I had said such a selfish thing when she is sitting in front of her daughter that now has no breasts, I thought to myself, “oh no.. she must think I’m so selfish and how could I have DONE a thing like that? Oh my gosh, how DID that happen? I’m usually so sensitive!”

I’m mortified. I feel sick that I could be so insensitive. I feel like I should do something special for her because SHE is the hero. And to top it off? She got on the phone with me to help ME!!! My mom told her today about my son’s issues and that we’re now deciding about where to put him in school next year due to the Sensory Integration Issues, and she offered to help! And again, she is taking care of her daughter who just got out of the hospital!

I reviewed how the conversation started, and how it got to that point, where I was being selfish and not asking about her and about my friend and whether there was anything I could do to help. I realized that my mom called me in an excited tone and was thrilled that my friend’s mom had some inside contacts at some of the area schools because of her lifelong career as a substitute teacher. She got on the phone with me and discussed some of the options that the county may offer us and offered to look into it for us. I threw out a “hello” to my friend who is lying in bed all bandaged up and said I’d visit soon. When her mom got on the phone, I told her I was coming down with a cold and only had 3 hours of sleep last night due to some drunken kids across the street that find it amusing to have parties at 2 and 3am. She said that she didn’t want anyone over that wasn’t 100% healthy and I agreed. Somehow, I threw in that statement about the drunk kids. Her response was, “well, everyone has something”. I agreed. I often say that to people who are complaining and there is nothing I can do about it. There was basically no point in me even saying it, except it has been on my mind today because I’m convinced I’m coming down with a cold due to the lack of sleep on top of my already stressful week!

She handled me well. We agreed to speak later and I told her that I’d visit her daughter when I got better. I’m sure she is too busy to even give it a second thought but then again, maybe she did think about it!

How many times have we looked at others and thought, “well that wasn’t that appropriate!” or, “couldn’t you have thought of SOMETHING better to say?” There are plenty of times of course! I recently thought that about a relative who recently offended me with her tirade of opinions about my life. She later called and apologized and defended her actions by saying she was on very little sleep and was completely stressed. She did realize that her opinions where not being supportive of me and she apologized. I accepted her apologies and now have experienced the same “open mouth – insert foot” syndrome!

I think I’m going to call my relative who offended me and tell her it was big of her to apologize and that I too, had possibly offended someone with my callousness. I was ALSO on little sleep and just plain didn’t have all of my brains working upstairs.

I decided that I should look at whether the offense is a regular occurrence or an isolated incident. Then, determine whether or not the offender just had an off day, or whether the person had malicious intent. If it was an isolated incident, then the offender should be forgiven and it should be forgotten.

I’m guessing that my friend’s mom has already forgiven or possibly didn’t even notice my indiscretion. And, now, I own a certain someone a call… just to catch up. But this time I’ll make sure that we’ve both had enough sleep before we talk!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Championing the Child That Has Challenges

The world is screaming for our attention! Every single one of us has more information trying to enter our brains on any given day that at some point we have to just tune it out and say: NO! I’m full for now and I can’t take any more! I feel like that a lot, but its hard to ignore it when others show their own ignorance.

Today, I was wishing that someone at my child’s school had taken a few extra minutes before today to learn about Sensory Integration Disorder and the treatment that comes with it. Because when I entered the nurses offices with my 5 year old son, to request a bit of quiet time to “brush” him with the occupational brush; this certain “someone” asked if he had something contagious in his head.”

Oh my gosh! I was hoping against hope that my beautiful, yet challenging, son didn’t hear a word she said. I looked at her dead pan and said, ‘uh, no. This is an occupational therapy brush and it is used to help kids calm themselves.” I stared her down and didn’t smile. I just looked at her, and felt sorry for her ignorance.

I have to admit; I’ve heard of this “brushing” technique many times but hadn’t been introduced to it until this past week in occupational therapy. I’ve heard many times how brushing calms babies and children and helps them not to fidget so much.

The therapist gave me a small white brush about 2x3 in size that is made of soft plastic. She showed me how to brush the arms, legs and back of my child and it’s wild how he actually loves the feel of it. She explained to me that if it tickles him, then I need to apply more pressure. She showed me that 3 long strokes on the bottom of his feet help with the feet and when socks and shoes don’t fit or feel good on him. Then she showed me the joint compression which is pushing the joints of the elbows and wrists together, shoulders to elbows, and also the joints of the legs. My son knows that he needs to get “brushed” a lot during the next few weeks and goes along with it happily.

The clincher is that the occupational therapist told me that in order to get the optimum amount of benefit from these exercises, then I need to do it every 2 hours during waking hours. I’m now trying to get an appointment with the constantly booked counselor of the school. She’s incredibly supportive of the alternative therapies that we have chosen to do and I know this because she isn’t only dealing with us. She’s dealing with several of my friends who have challenges with their own kids.

When I meet with the counselor, I’m going to ask her to help me educate some of the staff so we’re not looked at like we’re weird or something. I think someone tried to make me feel like I was intruding on their day in the office by slipping into the nurse’s office for 3 minutes of “brushing” the skin of my son. However, I refused to succumb to her ignorance and her intolerance of me and my son. I refused to feel bad for doing something positive for my son and I refused to tip toe around her and her obvious disgust with me taking my son out of class to do something non traditional in her mind. I politely said, “thank you!” and we went and did our thing! I think I even waited for her “polite” reply when I told her to “have a great day!”

If I’m being honest, it is an incredible challenge to keep a great mental outlook when I’m being challenged as a parent like this. It’s difficult to be at the school every 2 hours for the next 3 weeks to do this therapy. I’m going to be there more than anywhere else and going to have to forego meetings and work opportunities so I can help my son. I have no way of knowing whether or not this really will help, but I’m bound and determined to find a way to help him if possible. I’m dealing with this by asking for support from my friends and family during this time and meanwhile, putting on a brave face when I face the people who find me and the whole situation odd. It’s down right difficult to champion my child when I find the whole process incredibly challenging. I’m defending his behavior and my actions instead of making excuses and apologizing. But I refuse to do that, because I don’t want to ever apologize for him being different. That is what makes him unique and special, no matter how frustrating it is. And as frustrating as he can be for me and for others, I will do whatever it takes so he can one day learn to control his own behavior. I do make him apologize to others if he acts out of turn or does or says something wrong, but I will NOT apologize when we are in the process of trying to correct the situation. Alternative therapies should be the norm in school and I’m going to keep pushing the envelope and bring every suggestion to the school and ask them to accept it. Even if they’re rolling their eyes behind my back, I’m going to educate them on what we’re attempting to do. Hopefully, I’ll pave the way for others who will also face the challenge of a child with Sensory Integration Disorder.

In the mean time, I have to find the great things he does and share them with his teachers. I have to let them know that I’m working hard with the therapists and at home to help my son deal with the issues he faces. I have to educate his teachers, the counselors and other bystanders about an issue that we deal with on a daily basis. And I have to champion my son even when I don’t feel like it.

It’s a day by day process and I’m thankful that today was better than yesterday and that tomorrow will even be better. I have to keep that faith because after all, he’s my son, and I love him; and as any mother knows, THAT fact will NEVER change.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Parenting a Child with Sensory Integration

After suffering another incredibly stressful morning trying to get my 5 ½ year old son dressed, I’ve come to the conclusion that there must be other families who go through the same frustration every morning. Most just wouldn’t believe that we have it different than anyone else who has young kids. When I’m talking to someone about Jeremy, my stress shows but the explanation is too long so I don’t usually elaborate. Their usual answer is “sounds like a typical 5 year old”. I guess I’ve grown used to that. What is harder is to hear from other people who are trying to be helpful that we have a “discipline problem.” They offer their typical advice of how to reign a child in and get them to behave.

The fact of the matter is, is that he is NOT a typical 5 year old! Oh, Jeremy loves to play instead of work, throw rocks and finds an empty box utterly fascinating, but the day to day events of our lives, the usually mundane things, are stressful and incredibly different.

This morning was supposed to be a lot of fun. We all woke up early to take a trip to Miami to see my husband’s family. It’s a 3 day weekend so we wanted to get an early start on Saturday morning so we could enjoy the afternoon in Miami. My husband got up and made coffee, I wrapped about 6 gifts that we’re bringing and Jeremy started pulling out clothes and toys he wanted to bring.

I encouraged him to bring the clothes and toys into his room but instead more and more toys got dragged into our living room. When it was time to sit down and eat his breakfast, his favorite of ‘waffles and cream’, the battle started. Normally, a good tactic is to put a clock in front of him so he can see how much time he has. Today we didn’t do that because we were not thinking about the exact moment we had to leave like we do every day for school. That was a BAD CHOICE on my part. I should have showed him the exact time he needed to have eaten and gotten dressed by. Then we should have marched out the door. Unfortunately, we had to pack our suitcases and pack the car.

When Jeremy got to the table ate a few strawberries and milk and got up. My insistence of him sitting and eating finally got ugly after about 15 minutes. While I was running around trying to get everyone ready to go out of town; I continued to put him back in his seat and demand that he eat. I sat with him for about 5 minutes and he didn’t eat. I told him he could get a star for his chart if he ate, and got dressed. He started whining and crying so I took a star away from his chart that we’ve created. On one trip to the bedroom he started playing with a tractor. When I found him again ( I was now taking a shower) he wanted to bring the tractor to the table. I told him NO and to get back to eat. He was screaming and crying because now he wanted the tractor and then he said that “you are the only mommy in the world who is mean to me every day”. That is when I told him that if he said that one more time he would get his mouth washed out with soap. (This works wonders for those awful things that kids tend to say sometimes!) (If I could live without ever doing anything drastic like this, I would!!!)

That stopped the complaining about how “mean” I am but the whining continued. I had to finish feeding him myself in between his tears. He finally finished eating after about 45 minutes.

Next, getting him dressed was no easy feat. The first shirt I put on didn’t feel comfortable. This was a brand new pre washed long sleeve t-shirt from Osh Kosh. It’s darling, but unfortunately, new clothes rarely stay on my son. He prefers old and soft. Many of his very favorite clothes and shoes have spots and tears, but they are the only ones that I can get him to stay in. This morning was no different. I put on Gap underwear, Osh Kosh Jeans and the Osh Kosh t-shirt. After he was completely dressed, he started screaming and wailing about the shirt being too small and the pants being too big. So, off the clothes came! And it wasn’t just a calm, “mommy I’m taking off these clothes”, it was a screaming crying whining fit accompanied by throwing his clothes across the room which landed on my husband’s face as he was walking across the room. At least today he didn’t RUN when it was time to get him dressed. That is the typical scenario. He races across the room when it’s time to take off his pajamas or time to get changed any time. I can’t figure out why! I don’t know if that is his body having an automatic reaction to change, or if it’s a behavior issue. But it’s something that we want to work on in occupational therapy.

Because I already know the drill, that nothing I can say or do will make him keep clothes on when he doesn’t want to wear something, I went to the drawer and brought out the old favorites. The yellow long sleeve t-shirt with the #63 and the army looking pants that are soft and comfy. If you see Jeremy out of his school uniform, this is more than likely the outfit he’ll be in.

I think of all of the hundreds of dollars that I’ve wasted by buying clothes that don’t quite feel right. I think of the dozens of pairs of shoes that he has kicked and screamed about. I have thrown out piles of socks that just didn’t have the seam in the right place. Getting Jeremy dressed to go anywhere, is a struggle nearly every single day.

Recently, the school had a second hand sale on uniforms. I felt like I struck gold by finding the oldest shirts in the school. To me, that means, the SOFTEST and that is perfect for my kid! He is 5 years old, and he wants to wear size 12 shirts. They are big and don’t cling to him. Also, discovering the GAP undershirts has been a miracle in our lives. My friend Diane has a red head boy (I believe red heads are more sensitive) and they recommended the GAP undershirts.

I remember trying to get Jeremy dressed at age 2 was no different than now. He went to the Montessori school and because it was pre-school, they weren’t particular on the time we arrived. Many, many mornings Jeremy would fight and scream when I had to get him dressed. He would have been perfectly happy staying at home watching TV all day. He would be completely happy just doing that every day of his life. But, fortunately for him, he has two incredibly active parents who rarely ever sit around and watch TV. We have our traditional “Friday night movie night” but we don’t watch TV much during the week.

Jeremy does get to go to After Care at school if he’s had good behavior the day before. There, they run around the fields, play ball, climb on the jungle gym, have snacks and play with their friends. He loves it! I find that it’s the best place for him since he races the kids and exerts more energy there than anywhere else. The hardest part is when it’s time to go. What else? He runs away! My mom has found it completely embarrassing because he doesn’t pay attention when it’s time to come. He just continues playing and then runs to the other side of the field where he can’t even hear us yell for him.

By reading books like “The Out of Sync Child” and talking with other mom’s I’ve found a few things that work in this situation. First of all, when you get there, allow the child 5 minutes or 10 minutes to play. Tell him/her that he has 5 minutes and then it’s time to go. For Jeremy, he then gets time to transition to the next activity. And the expectation is set. Our new rule is that he is able to achieve a star for his chart at this point. If he comes immediately after the 5 minutes is up, he can get a star for that which when added up every day can determine whether or not he gets to go to after care the next day. He needs to get 5 stars a day – for getting out of bed quickly, for eating and taking his plate to the sink, for making his bed, for getting dressed (almost) by himself, brushing his teeth and hair, etc. He has the chance to earn 3 stars in the morning. Several of the above list is combined into one section for instance: putting dishes in sink and making bed = one star.

The chart system is working for us pretty well. He gets stars taken away for negative attitudes or whining. One day he ripped all of the bad and the good extra stars down. He didn’t realize he also ripped the good ones down. Jeremy can earn EXTRA stars for having excellent behavior like the day he had such a great attitude one morning. I was so pleased and so proud of him that he got to go to After Care that day even though he didn’t have enough stars the day before. The extra stars can accumulate to 20 and then he gets to go to Toys R Us to buy a toy. So far, he has only a couple of extra stars for good behavior.. and believe me.. I’m looking!

It’s hard for Jeremy’s self esteem to have these problems. He’s gotten in trouble nearly every single day at school. He’s come home many times saying, “I’m a bad kid, I’m a bad kid”, which really rips out my heart! The system of putting their “apple or acorn” in the yellow, or red basket brings a reputation of “bad behavior”. Jeremy has also had his apple on the teachers’ desk many times. If he gets bad behavior like this, they take him out of recess. They’ll take him out for 5-10 minutes or even the whole time! When I learned this, I freaked out! Jeremy NEEDS activity in order for his brain to FUNCTION correctly. By taking him out of free time outside, they’re just hurting the situation. I caused a stink about that at the school and I think they’ve made some adjustments. The school counselor is now involved and helping to guide the teachers in working with Jeremy. It’s truly been a collaborative effort.

Jeremy has also been slow to finish his work. We had him professionally evaluated and it was also discovered that he has auditory processing disorder. This doesn’t allow him to process more than one thing at a time. He can hear well, but he can’t focus on more than one thing at a time. It doesn’t allow him to hear people calling his name if he is immersed in another activity. Next summer, he’ll be doing a 10 day intensive program for auditory processing which includes 2 hours in the morning and 3 hours in the afternoon. He’ll be listening to headphones which somehow reprogram his brain to hear more than one thing at a time. I am really looking forward to this time to see if we can correct some of the behavior that he has.

We’ve found a few things that can work for Jeremy in regards to his behavior at school. First of all, Jeremy is OFF of all sugar. He used to have waffles with syrup every morning and all of the sugar gave him too much energy and he was bouncing off the walls! We finally realized that sugar has adverse effects so he now gets little if any sugar in the morning. We even prefer milk over orange juice since fruit has sugar in it.

Next, Jeremy has to take time to exercise in the morning. We put a mini trampoline in our living room and he bounces a few hundred times in the morning before school. If we have time, my husband will take him out to ride his bike before school or run around the field and play Frisbee. On mornings that he doesn’t get to exercise, we do see a difference.

I’ve explained to Jeremy that sugar is “poison” to his brain. It makes him react in such a negative way where he throws fits and disobeys. I seem to automatically know when he’s had sugar! When he acts like this and I know he’s not overtired, I automatically ask if he’s had sugar!? Usually, the answer is yes and so then I require him to start bouncing on the trampoline to get the energy out.

Jeremy might also have ADHD, which is a possibility since he was a preemie and upwards of 40% of preemies have ADHD. I went to one doctor and within about 1 minute he was telling me that Jeremy had ADHD and would require medicine! That appalled my husband and I was quite put off myself. Even if Jeremy does have ADHD, we’re not going to put him on medication without trying to find every other way to manage it first. Besides occupational therapy, we’ve heard of other therapies that families have used and have had great success. Besides monitoring diet, they’ve used biofeedback and also some sort of testing of the electrodes in the body to eliminate toxins. I may have those details wrong, but we haven’t gone down that road yet. Right now, Jeremy is in Tae Kwan Do 2 times a week. There, they teach self discipline, self esteem, leadership and focus. These are all qualities that I want for Jeremy.

If anyone could have told us where we’d end up even 6 months after we started down this path, I wouldn’t have been able to handle it all at once. When we first discovered it, people came out of the woodwork to tell us their discoveries and what they went through. A friend from high school confided in me about her family situation and how they dealt with it. It was hard on her husband to imagine that their kid, coming from two “over achiever " parents, would have developmental problems. I could relate to that of course, but when she started telling me that her child couldn’t stand loud noises and would cover his ears and cry and scream, I couldn’t relate to THAT. She also told me that it’d be best for Jeremy to repeat kindergarten and at the time, it was a thought that I couldn’t bear. We’ve since determined that Jeremy will repeat kindergarten next year. Coming to that conclusion took a lot of time and was a result of visiting numerous pre schools, talking with our own principal, vice principal, other parents, his teacher and the counselor. It was our principal who encouraged us not to do anything rash. I trusted her and I kept him in school and made the decision early on to repeat next year.

Other parents of kids of SID children had other stories. One parent’s child had low motor skills and didn’t want to swing or play with other kids. That was completely OPPOSITE of Jeremy. I did meet one mom at a workshop for parents with kids of SID who is very similar to Jeremy. He’s a “crasher” and needs just as much physical stimulation as Jeremy. We laugh over the fact that we TELL our kids to jump on the couch… instead of getting off of them. So, little by little, with more reading and more talking, I found we all had one thing in common: MAJOR FRUSTRATION!

My friend from high school also had some of the same issues I was facing at home. My husband, who is a complete overachiever, couldn’t deal with the fact that it was recommended that Jeremy go on medication. He absolutely REFUSED to even consider the possibility and so this would create lots of tension. My resolve was to find a solution, whatever that was. I was dealing with the teachers and with Jeremy every day, not just in the morning or at bed time. When I took Jeremy to school, the stress stopped for my husband, but not for me or his teachers. After speaking with numerous wives, I’ve discovered that the husbands don’t believe it, or WANT to believe it. It appears that because men feel that they must be strong in every situation and must handle many obstacles in life, and that having a son that is facing problems is just too much to bear. Most of the dads of the boys with SID are in denial at first. The wives tend to have to deal with finding out what the issues are all by themselves by researching, talking and finding solutions. Many of the husbands fight the wives to the end until the wife finally convinces her mate to “just speak with an expert”. In one case I know, the father uses the excuse, “he’s just like I was” so he assumes it is okay. Meanwhile, everyone including his wife is going crazy having to deal with his child. My friend is of the mindset that if there IS help available, then she’s going to get it! In reality, many of these men are right, because the kid IS just like them… and if there would have been help for their own mothers way back when, then the moms more than likely would have taken it instead of suffering through it and of course it would have made everything easier on the child. They could have learned tactics that would have helped them manage their actions, their bodies and their behavior.

My husband finally came around when he was able to speak with the Occupational Therapist where we got Jeremy evaluated. They promised to do whatever possible to work with Jeremy to correct many of these issues. The whole topic of using medication to help Jeremy hasn’t come around for a while, but I know that my husband will be open to it if we have to do it. He’s had to deal with Jeremy while I’ve been out of town and it nearly put him over the edge.

A few times at school, Jeremy had major tantrums where he completely lost control. Even at 5 he is a very strong kid and it’s taken 2 adults to hold him back so he doesn’t run out into the street after me. He’s had to sit in the principal’s office a few times when he had these tantrums and he doesn’t like that at all. Recently, when I had to pick up Jeremy right after school and he thought he was going to aftercare it completely shook him to his core. Keeping in mind that transitions are hard for him, I knew that it would be a shock that he didn’t get to go to aftercare. He ran away crying from me and from the car. No amount of coaxing could get Jeremy in or around the car. Judy, the counselor tried to get him to come with no luck. Taylor, the 8th grader who rides to school with us in the morning couldn’t get him in the car either. Judy was concerned for his safety of course because cars were still coming in and out of the parking lot. Finally, she just came to me and told me to ignore him. Eventually, Jeremy got close to us and Judy wanted to talk with him. Jeremy refused and tried to dodge her and ran inside the car. We were both holding him down and he was kicking and screaming. She looked at me with amazement and asked, “what do you do at a moment like this?” and I said: “ I have to use physical force.” And she said: “then go for it”.

I usually warn Jeremy before I’m going to use “THE SHOULDER” as I call it. It’s a technique I got out of the book by Dr. James Dobson who wrote the best seller “Growing up Boys”. The technique works well in the store or anywhere where people are watching and spanking them would not be appropriate. It’s a quick and hard squeeze in the muscle of the shoulder. It is painful and there is no fighting back but it’s not dangerous in the least. So, I used “the shoulder” technique on him and he crumbled to the ground. At that point we could talk with him and then he got in the car. The ride home he screamed the whole time “I don’t want to take Taylor home with us”. Taylor and I did our best to ignore Jeremy and we chatted the whole way home. Later that night, Jeremy went to Taylor’s house without putting up a fight and apologized to Taylor and gave him a hug. Taylor forgave him and gave him a hug back. It was a good ending to a perfectly difficult day.

We’re really just starting on this journey to getting the help we need. I’ve discovered many successes through trial and error. I’ve found that having a chart that rewards Jeremy for his chores and responsibilities for the day motivates him better than punishment. Tae Kwan Do has been fantastic to improve his self esteem. Talking with the teacher on an almost daily basis alerting her with new research I’ve found or discoveries that have happened has really helped. Daily massages on his feet, legs, back and hands are helping the stimulation of his skin so he doesn’t freak out quite as bad when putting on socks and shoes. Teaching him to breathe himself through frustrations is an ongoing process and educating him about what to feed his body to it works correctly has helped me just as much!

Had I known what it would take to parent a child with Sensory Integration Disorder, then I would have said that I didn’t have what it took. And I probably would have been right. My stress level has been through the roof ever since I had Jeremy but in reality finding out that he had something that was actually diagnosed gave me the power back! I knew that if I educated myself, our situation would improve and indeed it has.

I’m now able to understand that I need to implement complete structure in order for him to function at his best. That structure does include plenty of free or down time, but when it’s time to do something or go some where, I put on my “drill sergeant” hat to get him to perform. It goes against my nature to be that firm, but I’ve learned that in order for our family to function, then I have to do what I have to do.

Please feel free to share your stories with me or to reach out for support. Perhaps if several of us can reach out to others to help, then others will be able to educate their spouses, their teachers and their friends.

Letters from other mom(s) -names have been changed

Hi my name is Lynn and I have a very beautiful little boy named Jason.(He looks like the little blonde boy from Jerry Maguire). My son has had developmental, speech and language delays. He is in a special day class for pre-school and he has what I feel are severe behavior problems. He will be 5 this April. I can understand his speech only 50% of the time and that is an improvement. I think he may have SID but, the O.T. I took him to said he does not have that but has mild sensory problems. He doesn't like his hair washed or combed. Doesn't like to wear shoes and socks. I cant take him anywhere out in public alone because I have a baby and 7 yr. old to watch over. Jared is like a land mine and the whole family has to walk on egg shells or the land mine explodes. When he is angry I have to restrain him no matter where I am. He spits, hits, and bites. I have several bruises on my body and 2 bite marks. He bangs his head into the wall repeatedly and has put holes in our walls with his head. He pulls at his eyelashes, scrapes the inside of his mouth and draws blood and bites his own hands. He is very strong but yet he falls a lot and doesn't stop himself. His tantrums last for an hour and they are awful. Like you, I too have ignored people when they say,"that's typical for his age, my kids throw tantrums too". Every little thing is a huge ordeal and it makes life difficult. Do you have any suggestions? We had a behavior analyst work with him to no avail. I just don't know what to do. We have been trying to get him diagnosed and help since he was 2.


Dear Lisa!
Thank you so much for writing!!! My heart goes out to you and I completely understand what a frustration it is to live with a child like this.

First of all.. you’re on the right track. Forever I’d talk with doctors and they’d say.. oh.. he’s normal. He looks fine to me.. but they didn’t have to live with my boy!!!

Where do you live? It sounds like your boy has similar issues to my boy. I’d do a few things.. I’d buy the Book, The Out of Sync Child. I’d get the work book that goes with it too. Then.. I’d get him evaluated professionally… we payed a few hundred $ for that.. but you can do it thru the school system. I went to a separate place that worked with kids with SID. Even tho one person “evalutated” him.. that’s not good enough. They asked ME what his behavior was like.. FIRST.. and we worked from that. It sounds like you need a different OT specialist. Your kid is NOT normal.. but the thing is.. is that he’s MISERABLE.. and HE CAN”T help it!!!

The brushing has worked WONDERS for us.. AMAZING difference!!! It’s a small light brush and you stoke up and down the legs arms and back and the feet. Every day.. morning and night.. it feels like a massage.. also a massage with lotion was really good too.. Jeremy loved that.

We also pray.. a lot!!! I’m sure you do too..b/c you can get so desperate!!! I sure did.

The occupational therapist has been giving me suggestions every week.. the biting thing.. she gave me the suggestion of sugar free gum.. THIS WORKS.. and also something to chew on .. he needs to bite.. so give him something to bite on. He needs a trampoline to jump on .. and to jump on the couches .. all the time. Take him off of all sugar and use sugar free bubble gum as a reward for doing things.. like good behavior.. then start a chart system that names everything like making bed, getting shoes, socks on by self, brushing teeth.. if he gets 5 stars a day.. give him a reward.

Exercise your kid AS much as possible!! WE got Jeremy in Tae kwan do and that is helping a ton. I told him he will be a life long athlete.. and days that he won’t get dressed.. I drag him in an hour late.. I don’t care.. HE IS GOING TO HIS SPORT. I push him now.. b/c I know he NEEDS it. He’s learning NOT to eat red dye, chemicals in his food.. and loves spinach b/c of Popeye..

It’s a slow progression.. but you’ll start seeing the changes if you do some of these things. I had my husband leave the house for a few days while I implemented these changes b/c there were holy wars going on and it was stressful for all of us but that was what made the difference. Complete structure.. I put the clock in front of him so he knows how long he can eat.. etc.. I’m firm.. but not brutal b/c he knows the rules..

I hope this helps Lisa! God bless you and FIND a NEW occupational therapist who can HELP! Warmly, Mary

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Forgiving yourself is often the Hardest

Today I flubbed up. Oh, it could have been anything… saying something mean, something unintentional, or doing something or not doing something. The bottom line is that I felt horrible afterwards. And even now, at the end of the day, when I’d like to be recapping my day in my journal with a nice glass of tea and happy with how the day went, instead I still feel awful.

What has gone on inside my head is the worst! I’m mentally beating myself up over this thing I said and can’t seem to shake it. Luckily, tonight I was completely aware that what I was feeling was NOT logical, and so I didn’t let it interfere with my relationships with my family. On days where I’m NOT “processing” the reason for my being upset, I’d likely snap at my child or my husband. Then, I’d possibly have a glass of wine to help me numb my feelings or I’d flip on the TV so I could mentally drop off the face of the earth and slip into the fantasy world on the “boob tube”.

But, tonight I forced myself to admit my mistake and have now written an apology note to the person that I said this to and will deliver it tomorrow. Just writing this note has allowed me to accept my mistake and it helped to release some of the mental anguish I was feeling.

I believe that all of us must go through these human emotions at times. We have to admit that we’re not all that pretty on the insides all of the time, regardless of how great we may or may not look on the outside. We may fool a lot of the people some of the time, but we’re not going to fool all of the people all of the time.

Mostly, it’s our family who sees us at our worst. They’re the ones who see us not being able to “hold it all together” all of the time. They’re the ones who bear the brunt of our mental or emotional lapses of judgment. And they are the ones who often get treated the worst. I’ve heard it said that “we should treat our friends like family and our family like friends”… meaning, save the best for the people you love the most. This could also include anyone who knows us well, and for some of us, that means the people we work with on a daily basis. I learned that sometimes saying nothing is better than saying anything at all. I knew that already but I learned the lesson again today.

Writing about this incident is also proving to be helpful. I know that often we internalize our negativity about ourselves and then punish ourselves by over eating, over drinking or by self sabotaging in another way. Perhaps if we learn to stop ourselves FIRST before reaching for that glass of wine or that extra piece of candy, and write about what we’re feeling, we may save ourselves even MORE negativity when we step on the scale in the morning!!!! (“I weigh WHAT???? How did THAT happen????”)

I’m glad I took the time to write this. I also requested and RECEIVED a shoulder massage from my husband (who happened to be walking behind my desk) and that certainly relaxed my muscles. If I had the time and energy, I might head to the gym for a work out or a swim to get rid of the tension that built up in my body over this lapse of judgment today. So tonight, I’ve asked God for forgiveness. I’ve asked the person for forgiveness and now, finally, I have forgiven myself. And now, I’m ready to have my cup of tea and to relax and enjoy the rest of the evening!

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Getting over the Guilt of Putting Children in After Care

Today I had the most amazing revelation. I was having a conversation with my sister and she relieved my mind of something that has been plaguing me all year. Up until now, I’ve put my son in after care for a few days a week. When I’m out of town he goes to aftercare every single day that I’m out of town.

Often times my mom would pick him up early. She believes that a 5 year old being in aftercare creates a very long day for a little kid. She firmly believes that having a mom at home with her kids is the absolute best alternative if at all possible. She was home with us the whole time growing up and she and my dad sacrificed a lot so she could stay home with us kids.

I remember having her at home. After school we’d get some fresh baked cookies, some cut up apples and then head out to see who was around. I remember playing kickball with the neighborhood kids, pickle, Batman and Robin and good old fashioned hide and seek. We also played “Mother May I”, “Simon Says”, and “Barbie’s” for hours on end. There were made up games in the backyard with my best friend Leda, and swim parties at Meg’s. It was a great way to grow up and always lots of fun.

Fast forward 30+ years and what do you have? Today we have Moms and Dads working, and kids coming home to empty houses and turning on the TV or video games for hours. The kids aren’t allowed to go outside without parental guidance most of the time because why? It’s not SAFE! We’ve all heard of the kids who have been swept away from middle town America by the freaks who prey on children. We all swear that it won’t be our kids, so we do whatever we can to protect them:

We keep them indoors!
We send them to a neighbors or babysitters!
We put them in every sport or activity imaginable!
Or, we send them to AFTERCARE!!!

When it hit me that the fun that we had playing after school growing up can really only be repeated at AFTER CARE; that is when I loosened up and lost the guilt. First of all on days that I’m not working full time, we’ve learned to use “after care” as a reward that has to be earned. Our son gets to go to after care if he’s had a good day with good behavior. No wonder he loves it so! They run, they climb and they kick the ball with their friends. They get lots of exercise, have a healthy snack and get to play without being inside watching TV. On rainy days they go to the gymnasium and play basketball or football and run after each other. The older kids do homework together. There is real camaraderie even among the older kids. They LOVE it!

So why did I feel so guilty? I guess I’m living with a very old set of rules. I’m remembering what it was like for ME growing up and playing in front of my house. I knew that my mom was steps away and there was a certain peace in that. But how much did I actually SEE her? Besides having the snacks, it was GOOD BYE MOM until dinner time!
If I were to allow my son to ride his bike around or play outside with all the other kids at age 5, you better believe that I’d be there watching every move that he made. I would be making sure cars didn’t drive too fast, or that teenagers didn’t pick on him. I’d be sitting in the front yard yapping on the phone or with reading materials or with my laptop, but there I’d be… in the front yard watching him and the other kids.

Working moms often accept having guilt as part of their life. If they work full time they want more time with their kids. If they are “stay at home moms” then there is often guilt with not bringing home any income. Part time is usually a great alternative but it isn’t available to everyone all of the time.

But I threw out the guilt today! I’m celebrating my new found sense of giving my child the best possible scenario for the way we live our lives today. I’m giving him the opportunity to play freely without a mom hovering over him watching his every move. I know he’s safe. I know who is watching him and I know who he’s playing with.

And now, I know that I can work comfortably with the peace of mind that I longed for… and at 5PM, I’ll race over and pick up my child and make him dinner, tuck him into bed, and know that I’ve done the best thing for him … by sending him to after care!

Saturday, January 07, 2006

All a Man Wants

They say they like a challenge, and they say they like a strong woman. So why is it that many of the challenging and strong women… dine alone?

It doesn’t seem fair. The women who are competitive, strong, and worthy of the same income that men receive often times lose at love. They hide themselves in their work, and wonder what they are doing wrong?

I saw a Dr. Phil episode yesterday that had a female helicopter fighter pilot on who was 33 and had never worn a dress. She was single and looking but didn’t know why she wasn’t landing a man. She was darling and open and guess what they gave her with Dr. Phil’s co-host for the day? Ms. Star Jones Reynolds treated her to A MAKE OVER!

They put that lady in a dress for the first time in her life! They put her in heels! And even though she had never dressed up, she admitted that she loved grabbing back her femininity and feeling like a LADY!!!

It was such a great lesson to see right there on TV. They showed a strong, successful and confidant woman in her professional life, become a lady right before our eyes. They cut and color treated her hair, they put on make up, and they went shopping to find outfits that were flattering and feminine. The smile on her face told it all… she LOVED the new HER! And who wouldn’t be attracted to that? Her face lit up the whole TV. She also admitted to Dr. Phil that she dressed that way to reject men BEFORE they rejected HER. She constantly had her guard up, and that was what was intimidating to men! It was DEFINITELY good TV that day!

I remember going through a similar transformation. I was in my freshman year in college and hung out with all of the boys. They were my buds! But when it came time to go to a dance or event, I was sitting on the sidelines. I remember when one guy said some mean things to me that hurt my feelings and I knew… He doesn’t respect me. I knew then that I needed to take back the power and present myself as WHO I was on the inside, but not showing on the outside.

I disappeared and stopped “hanging out” with the boys. I ate at other dining halls and hit the gym. I lost some weight, gave myself my own makeover and showed up about a month later as the NEW ME! And what happened?

The boys FAWNED all over me! They asked me out for ice cream! They asked me out to the movies! They didn’t want to just hang OUT with me anymore, they now wanted to DATE me. For the first time in my life, I was treated like a QUEEN… and it felt great!

I’ve had to go through transformation many times since. There are times where it’s good to be “one of the boys” in business, and definitely times where it’s good to be “all girl”. When I’m traveling on my TV tours with two 50lb suitcases, it’s GOOD to be all GIRL! I get help wherever I go and am gracious and appreciative and make all of the men who help me feel glad that they did.

That is the secret! Men want to HELP women! They want to help take CARE of them. It’s not so hard when you understand that most men want a woman who needs THEM!

I spent an hour talking with a guy name Kyle on the treadmill yesterday at the YMCA. He is a “house husband” after working 20 years in TV. His wife is a very successful financial consultant who takes care of the finances. But he takes care of THEM. While she’s smart at business, she’s still his wife who he considers to be a “sweet, dizzy little red head”. And it was obvious that he completely ADORES her. It appears that his wife has learned the secret of making her man feel NEEDED. He dotes on her and takes care of her. So obviously, their relationship works.

I’m not saying that all of us who are strong and secure and confident need to become “dizzy women”. Not at all! That’s only a PART of our personalities!!! No, but I am suggesting that we tell the men in our lives that they’re great… and thank them for the things that they do for us and PRAISE them when they go the extra mile. Everyone wants to be appreciated … and it’s not a hard thing to do: Just look for the good in a person and acknowledge it!

My new friend Kyle told me this: Men are superficial. They’re easy to figure out. They’re not that deep. They want 3 things: Food, Sex, and Sports; and not necessarily in that order. If they have the slightest bit of thought that they might get one of those things out of a woman, they’ll do anything for her!

I thought it was a little simplistic, but well worth thinking about. Of course my own husband disagreed and explained to me how he loves our whole life, our child, family and what we have together. I have to admit, I liked that analogy a lot better! But Kyle does speak for a majority of men and it’s worth keeping in the back of your mind if you’re single and looking for a relationship!

So if you’re starting the New Year with the hopes of adding a terrific someone to your life, then think about doing a few simple things: 1. Get a “make over” so you feel terrific! 2. Next focus on others and let people know they’re special, and 3. Let your guard down to take a chance at love. If you give them a chance to see the beautiful and feminine creature that you are inside, just how are they going to be able to resist you?

My bet is that they WON’T!!

Friday, January 06, 2006

How to Handle having Wealthy Friends

Several of my friends are multi-millionaires. On the flip side, several of my friends don’t have two dimes to rub together. I fall somewhere in between. Here are a few things I’ve learned about hanging out with the wealthy.

First of all, finding out that someone has money can do something to you in the inside. Sometimes, you imagine, “oh, I wonder what their house looks like.” Or you start to wonder, “do they have a boat?” or “maybe they’ll contribute money to a cause I’m working for…” or even, “are they going to judge me because I don’t have as much?”

That’s when you have to stop yourself mentally and focus in on the person. Are they a good person? Are they someone who shares the same values as me? Do I like hanging out with this person?

There are so many benefits to having rich friends. I’ve been invited to many fundraisers as a guest just to hang out. I’ve been invited to many private clubs and country clubs for lunches, dinners or events. I’ve ridden in private jets to NYC and have stayed in ritzy hotels with them. I’ve been given jobs by them and hung with them at their swanky parties that are glittered with celebrities. I’ve gotten to sit in the “owners box” at sporting events because of them, and I’ve gotten to even sit in the Directors’ box at some of the most prestigious cultural events in NY.

But the question is always: “how do you pay them back?” That’s the hard part. Because if you are a mooch, or someone who loves hanging with the wealthy just because they can GIVE you things, then that is the reputation that you’ll have and no one will want you around. My friend Suzy told me that in Naples there was a guy who hung out with all of the men just to GET stuff. He was ALWAYS around the family and finally she had to tell him this: “Charles, you don’t belong here. You don’t have a family. You’re not in OUR family. I don’t want you hanging out with my husband and I don’t want you hanging out with my kids. Go find someone else to hang out with, because you are not welcome in my family anymore.”

But even if it’s not that severe, there still has to be give and take in a relationship. Most of my wealthy friends have husbands who are wealthy and I’m good friends with both the husband and the wife. I am a friend, coach, and supporter to my friends, to their husbands, and in them raising a healthy family. I try not to focus on the wealth but what happens when it comes up?

I ignore it. I appreciate it. I thank them for it, and I pay my own way if I possibly can. On many occasions I’ve had to tell my friends that I couldn’t go out because I just couldn’t afford it, or that my husband had a growing business and I just cant’ “swing it” right now. Even going out for drinks with the girls is usually a $75 night and sometimes that just isn’t in the budget.

I take the time to spend with them, and getting to know them, and we share our struggles with each other and we support each other. We all have the same issues when you get past money… husbands, wives, children, school, work, etc. If you connect with a person on these levels then the bottom line is not to let the money change you, or your friendship.

Hanging with my friends with no money has other challenges. You don’t want to flaunt your money or trips or new clothes in front of them. You don’t want to criticize them shopping at Walmart instead of Macy’s. You encourage them and you share your successes, but it’s prudent to be sensitive.

As a person who has had money at certain times in my life, and other times has been strapped financially, I’ve learned a few things. As a person who has also done or said all of the wrong things, like telling someone that I’d NEVER shop at Walmart (which I do now all of the time), or I’d NEVER shop at thrift stores, (which I now love!), I’ve learned that we are all in stages in our lives. I’ve learned now that being able to go to the Good Will to pick up a few things is just as valuable to me as going to Tiffanys and getting my dream necklace. Being able to handle both with grace is the challenge, and that’s what I hope that I’m learning.

I have a gift that I’ve had at my house for about 6 months that I have to send to a very wealthy friend up north. When I told her that I picked it up at a store that it was “pure Lisa”, she was thrilled! She was completely blown away that I got her a gift and wondered what it could be since she always wonders WHAT people think of her.” To hear her say that she WONDERS what people think of HER.. when she practically owns the town she lives in, speaks volumes!

I’m going to send it this week and stop putting it off. I think my all of my friends deserve to know that they are special, in spite of having money... or NOT!

Thursday, January 05, 2006

God Ordains our Steps: The Spiritual Side of American Flight 924

I had been on a 10 city tour promoting my ideas for holiday gifts when I landed in Miami late the night of December 6. The travel day started early in the morning in Seattle. I was in Seattle for about 8 hours total, including sleep time and getting to the airport. I was running on about 3-4 hours of sleep, did the TV show early on Dec. 6 and headed to the airport.

When I arrived to the Seattle airport it appeared that several of the airlines had mixups. I was scheduled to go on United but when I got to the counter, they didn’t have any reservation for me. Apparently, the online reservation company we used messed up. I was forced to buy a one way ticket to Miami, which ultimately got me in about 5 hours later than scheduled. Earlier in the week I had a conversation with a pastor’s wife, Rhonda, while on the plane to St. Louis. She told me about the scripture that “God ordains our steps” so I kept that thought in mind as I faced the hardships while traveling.

So I flew all day with a change of planes in Chicago and arrived to the hotel in Miami about midnight. I was exhausted but only one more show early in the morning and then I would be able to fly back to Orlando and see my family! I was scheduled to be home the next day by 4PM.

The show at the NBC Station in Miami was a blast! They had several fun guests and the hosts are incredibly charming. I enjoyed my time there and headed for the airport. I arrived at my gate about an hour early and got seated in the terminal. The past two days of travel had been horrible but I was bound and determined to understand that it was just the way it was supposed to be.

While in the terminal, I overheard a conversation between the gate attendant and a former American employee who was visiting her. Illiana, the gate attendant was telling her former associate, Mike, that God must have other plans for him and he needed to have the faith that another great job would come along. She told him that we don’t always understand how God works, but we just have to have faith that He is in control.

Since I was sitting right next to the gate counter, I told her after he left that she was really nice to encourage her friend like that, and that I believed the same thing. I shared with her my travel woes and she in turn shared some personal struggles that were happening in her life. I shared with her the conversation that I had had with Rhonda about God ordaining our steps. We both agreed that God was still in control and that we loved meeting other people like each other to encourage us along our paths. We then actually hugged goodbye and I got in line to board the plane!

Within minutes I heard Illiana call a lady to the front desk who was receiving a phone call. The blonde haired lady was stressed taking the call and told the caller she couldn’t take the call at that moment. I later saw the blonde lady enter the plane after I was seated near first class.

I introduced myself to Ron, who was seated next to me. He was a former airline pilot who quickly identified an airline marshal on board. We both noticed that there was some sort of problem on board but the marshal had jumped up quickly so Ron pointed him out to me. I shared that with some of the passengers behind us and we were all looking in the first class cabin.

All of a sudden, a man came running from the back of the plane as fast as a bullet. My initial thought was that he was having a panic attack and needed to get off the plane. Other passengers thought he boarded the wrong plane but those in back heard the man’s wife try to coax him on the plane. Next, the blonde woman ran up through the cabin after her husband calling after him. She then doubled back to run to get her bag. At that point, the marshals ordered the man to surrender and to stop running. Apparently, according to passengers in first class, the man at that point said, “I have a bomb and I’ll use it”. With that, the marshals shot him while running off the plane.

Everyone on the plane heard the shots. Yelling immediately followed ordering everyone to “Get Down! Get down!” At that point everyone frantically unbuckled their seat buckles and hid as best as they could under the seat. There was a certain peace on the plane and everyone seemed relatively calm with the exception of the poor dear wife who tried to get to her husband. The flight attendants and the passengers held her back and convinced her to stay put. Within minutes she was composed and stood up. She explained that her husband was bi-polar and not on his meds.

We didn’t know at that point who was shot. But I remembered the fact that “God ordains our steps and I was supposed to be there at that moment. While under the seat, I was praying like crazy, but knew that God was in control. When we were able to get up, I started asking other passengers if they were praying and in every case, the answer was YES. At the moment of the shooting, we didn’t know if someone was shooting the passengers or what had happened.

The air tourists police then entered the plane to retrieve the ladies’ bag. She was taken away, as well as everyone in first class to be questioned by the FBI.

We had about 20 minutes to chat with the other passengers before we were all ushered off the plane. I was fortunate enough to get the wise advice of the pilot who told me to get my ID and ticket and put it in my pockets. He said “this is going to take a while.” I shared that with some of the other passengers. Then the SWAT team entered the plane. They pointed their guns at all of us and demanded that we keep our hands on top of our heads. They were intimidating to look at with big tattoos all over their arms and full gear over their whole body. They pointed the guns in all of our directions and the guy in the front yelled orders to evacuate the plane one row at a time from the back. We were not allowed to remove, or to touch our belongings.

It seemed that there was an uncanny peace on the plane at that point. Even though we had our hands on top of our heads, we were all calm and no one was frantic. For the next several hours, we sat around in a room and waited to be questioned by the FBI.

The next day, Illiana found my number and called me. Her experience had been scary too! When she heard the shots she ran towards them and found herself looking down the nose of a gun with a man shouting at her “GET DOWN, NOW”. She turned around and ran the other way, not knowing who the man was. She ran out and yelled for the staff to call the police because someone had a gun! She admitted to me that while she was terrified at that moment, she also recalled our conversation that “God orders our steps” and that she was going to be okay.

Today, I pray for the widow of the man who was shot. I pray for his family and for recognition to be brought to the medical condition of bi-polar. This family lives in my community and I think of them daily. I wonder too, if God hadn’t been there in our midst, of whether or not the man would have said those things in the back of the plane? Had he said that where all of the passengers were, could many lives have been lost?

Going through a traumatic experience like that helps me understand how God can use us in little ways every day. The fact that I was able to speak with Rhonda who gave me that bit of wisdom helped me and numerous others on the plane that day. Understanding that God wants us RIGHT where we are at this EXACT minute, even when things don’t go our way is a good reminder and can bring us peace. And peace is something that we all want and need.

“The steps of a man are established by the Lord, and He delights in his way. When he falls, he shall not be hurled headlong, because the Lord is the One who holds his hand.” (Ps 37:23-24)