Category: Essentially Alicia

Dear “Special Needs” mom, you got it all wrong

Dear Special Needs Mom at the Grocery store, yesterday… Yes, you, the one I just called a “special needs mom”, even though it is clearly your child who has the special needs. I saw you.

You probably walked away from our millisecond encounter cursing people like me, the ones who stare at you. People like me who look really, superior and super judgmental at the way you’re managing your special needs child in a public place. People like me who you worry might possibly call Child Protective Services because you’re being really rough in “that moment” – when our lives collide across a bin of $1 Scooby Snacks. People like me who you can just feel looking disapprovingly at the tone you’re using, the death grip you have on your child’s coat, the way you yanked him roughly to make your point. Yes, people like me, at the store.

I saw you. I saw that look of defiance in your eye. The gritty determination of a mom who has already had enough of her “special needs child” by 9am and still has errands to run. I saw you dare me to to say ONE. THING. about what you were doing. You were fully prepared to say something mean if I dared open my mouth, I’m sure. I’m sure it wasn’t the first time you’ve had to brace yourself for the ignorance of the general public. You probably left the house with some phrases ready-to-go for idiots like me who stare. I know, because it’s what we do.

Yes, WE.

Although from the look in your eye, in the brief second in time our eyes met, I’m pretty certain you mistook the look on my face for judgment, disapproval and disgust, but nothing could have been further from the truth. You see, today was your day to wrestle at the store with a special needs teenager who is having a meltdown, but tomorrow it will probably be me.

I’m sorry I was staring, truly, because I know how it feels. I just couldn’t look away as my mind flooded with an understanding of what it’s like to say ONE stinking THING to your special needs child and have them react immediately by smashing/throwing/hitting/breaking something, screaming mean things and forcing you to manage the scene on the fly, at the store, with everyone staring and looking super judge-y, and superior, peeking into a moment of time they couldn’t possible fathom unless they’d been there. Like I have been.

Yes, I, too, the well dressed, very put together, full face of makeup and freshly done hair woman staring at you have an alter ego who is greasy-haired, pale, has a worn looking face, wears sweats 90% of the time and grabs her kids by the coat and yanks them while growling mean things under her breath, trying to SHUT. IT. DOWN at the store. You happened to see me in my Sunday clothes, the one day of the week I bother to put any effort into my appearance, but my real me, is you, gorgeous.

As you stomped away, head held high, defiant, protective, staring straight head, unblinking, still gripping the coat of a special needs teenager who was dragging his feet, clutching his Scooby Snacks and ranting about the change in his routine, I wish you could have known that the look in my eye wasn’t judgment. Really. It was shock. Mine was the look of someone who rarely, if ever, sees her own kind and is frozen in a moment of sheer awe that there are really more of us out there. We aren’t just an urban mom legend. I wanted to ask you: Did you get into the car and cry? That’s what I do.

It’s not every day that I see a “special needs mom” outside of her natural habitat. Probably because I am too busy managing my own chaos to do more than run in and out of places and get home before the drama ensues. The days when I could take leisurely stroll through any store are all but a memory, as you know, but yes, you are a special needs mom. You have a child who, for whatever his reasons may be, has special needs.

But did you know this? You have special needs too (although I highly doubt that you allow yourself to acknowledge them even for a moment). I know that you spend your days trying to find ways to avert a meltdown before it happens, finding a plethora of distractions and re-directions, utilizing endless negotiation techniques, choosing your battles, standing your ground, protecting your other children and keeping as much “normal” as possible in the house.

I won’t even mention the kind of fears and worries that occupy your mind – will he ever find friends who truly love him? Will he ever find love? Is he going to kill himself or harm someone else when his emotions overwhelm him and I’m not there to talk him down? How do I make him understand that everyone is a bully and that, yes, the joke is always on him, because he doesn’t get it. Will my other kids grow up to be emotionally healthy, normal people after growing up seeing this constant madness? Am I the one who did this? Will I have to do this for the rest of my life? Am I making it worse? I could go on, but you already know what occupies the mind of a special needs mom, as I do.

I knew you thought I was disapproving of the way you jerked your son angrily by his coat while hissing at him that you WOULD. NOT. put up with his tantrums, which, as you and I both know seem to come out in their full glory in public places. I could see it in your eyes and when you marched away, I felt terribly. I’ve been you. I AM you. It just so happens that today was  not my day to be you. Although I had no doubt in my mind that my turn was coming.

Is anyone taking care of YOUR special needs? That’s what I thought as I wandered down the aisle, lost in my thoughts. I know how often I feel alone in all of this, so I know you have those moments too. We should get coffee. Your greasy hair and pale face and sweatpants and the look of utter determination on your face hit so close to home that I could only stare, like one of those idiots we hate. Those “normal” people who make us dread going to the store because they call the cops when our kids decide to writhe around on the floor of Home Depot and scream like a swarm of bees is attacking. Those people who couldn’t handle one hour in our shoes, and yet blame US for having kids who just don’t get it, may never get it and need us to FORCE them to ACT like they get it, at the very least, and COMPLY, PLEASE, while everyone is staring. Don’t lump me in with them.

I hope someone is taking care of your special needs as you care for your son’s. I hope that this experience, raising a child with special needs, makes you stronger, braver and wiser person, more understanding person – as it has me.

So, dear, special needs mom at the grocery store, please accept my apology for the look on my face. It’s not often that I feel like there’s someone out there who really gets what it feel like to parent a special needs teenager and it was like a shock to my system, knocking me into dumbfounded speechlessness. I turned the corner and there you were, wrestling a teenage boy who was bigger than you, managing his drama and still getting the shopping done.

I wasn’t judging you. I think we could be friends.

When Making Your Kids’ Lunch Changes the World

August 27, 2015 — If your house is anything like ours, school mornings are somewhat chaotic. This morning’s weeping and gnashing of teeth was over school lunches. We can’t afford to buy school lunch right now, so we pack lunches (remember the good old days when people preferred homemade things??), which is much less exciting, apparently.

As our son stomped around in anger because “we never have any good food” my husband suggested scraping three dollars out of our spare change jar to let him buy lunch, but it turned out that we didn’t have enough, so I got up to find him something to eat for lunch (yes, he’s 15 and could, presumably make his own lunch, but it wasn’t in the cards today, I could already tell). You know how those days go.

As I scrambled around to scrape together something for lunch that wouldn’t end up being thrown away, our son threw some shade at me about how he hates peanut butter and jelly (which is all I could manage, as we need to shop, but haven’t gotten paid yet- you know how that goes), and that he fully intended to throw it away at school.

We went back and forth about the value of food and its cost, priorities and perspective, an appreciation for what we have even when it’s as humble as a PB&J and how not everyone can pay for school lunches and how that is OKAY. Of course, when I say “back and forth”, it was mostly me doing the talking as our son remained (mostly) silent and staring in a way that reminded me of the way people’s eyes would glaze over when looking at those magic pictures from the 1990’s that made images appear and float in front of your eyes.

After he left for school, I sat down to do my devotions and was reading in John 6, about the little boy with the five loaves and two fish. You know the story- Jesus had been teaching and everyone had come from far and wide, and apparently no one had thought to bring any food into the desert.

When Jesus suggested buying them food, Philip points out that they don’t have enough money to buy food for everyone (we didn’t even have $3, so I felt his pain), but they did have “five loaves of barely and two fish”, offered by a boy in the crowd.

Suddenly it struck me — someone had made that lunch for him, most likely the boy’s mother. My mind wandered as I thought about what that mother may have gone thought that morning as the boy headed out to see Jesus. Did he argue with her about how he hates fish? About how he’s sick of eating barley bread all the time? I wondered if he had complained that her fish always tasted funny and how all his friends were stopping at the vendors to pick up something better. I wondered if he told her he’d throw it away once he was away from her.

I thought- maybe after he’d left, holding his five loaves and two fish away from his body as though it were covered in spiders, if she’d sat down like I had and beat herself up for not being a better mother and for forgetting to pick up his favorite lunch foods. Maybe she’d sent him out of the house with resignation, imagining how he’d toss the food that the rest of the family would gladly have eaten without complaint and what a waste it would be. Maybe she’d just been glad he was gone for a few hours. (You know how that goes).

Then, I remembered Jesus. He’d taken those five loaves and two fish and had performed one of His greatest miracles ever recorded – feeding well over 5,000 people (the Bible only counts the men) with that humble, packed lunch that some mother, somewhere in time, had made that morning. Who knows what she went through, but if she were anything like me, she may have had a morning that made her think: Why do I bother to do this at all? Will it ever get any easier?

And yet, because of the faithfulness and, yes, even the “routine” of one mother, who had made a thousand thankless lunches before that and a thousand thankless lunches after that day and may have had a thousand other arguments with her son about how it’s never good enough- she got up and did it anyway. Why?

Did she know Jesus would perform one of His greatest miracles with her humble, packed lunch? No. In fact, it’s highly probably she never had any clue what the Lord had done with her thankless lunch, made on a morning when she felt especially frustrated with it all. She did it because that’s what loving mothers do – they keep moving ahead because they love, because they see things their kids do not, because they’re willing to invest in their children, even when it’s not gratefully accepted at the moment.

However that investment pays off someday isn’t the concern right now. We do what we know to be the right thing, our very best, in spite of the struggle, the monotony of the routine, in spite of how others around us accept the best we have to offer- we’ve given it to God, and who knows- maybe that one, frustrating morning where we did the same thing we do every day will become one of the greatest events ever recorded in history- because we got up and faced another day thinking all we were going to do was pack our kids a lunch.

Stay Blessed!

#LiveWellness

~Alicia

 

 

 

 

 

Setting the Tone for the Day

July 21, 2015 — My favorite part of every day? Waking up early before the noise begins, when everything is quiet and still, for prayer, devotions, coffee, discussion and reflection with my best friend. Sets a great tone for the day, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

How do you like to start your day?

Physically, if I had to pinpoint one, specific, daily regimen that we use for ourselves on our journey to maintain the wellness of our bodies, it would have to be Lemon essential oil. Each morning, we like to start the day by drinking about 500 mL (roughly 8 oz.) of water, right off the bat, with 3 drops of Lemon in it.

Lemon is great for digestion and helps awaken the body, not to mention the proven health benefits of Lemon over all for the immune system. Lemon is a powerful cleansing agent that purifies the air, disinfects surfaces, and can be used as a non-toxic cleaner throughout the home.

When added to water, Lemon provides a refreshing and healthy boost throughout the day and due to its high limonene content, Lemon is a powerful antioxidant that can help ward off free radicals. Taken internally, Lemon provides cleansing and digestive benefits, can soothe a sore throats, and supports healthy respiratory function.

Of course, it’s not safe to take Lemon essential oil internally unless you’re using the highest grade oil available, which is certified pure and rated as theraputic grade. Only one essential oil company in the world produces oils that are safe for internal use. Want to know more? CONTACT ME for information on how you can get the world’s highest grade Lemon essential oil into your hands.

Do your body well!

lemons

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If you want to book a class to learn more about the essential oils I use, CONTACT ME and we’ll set something up, even if we’re long distance. There are lots of perks and rewards available to all my class hosts, like free oils- just for hosting! It’s the perfect way to try the exact same essential oils we use in our home so you can see for yourself how amazing they are in just about every facet of life.

Remember, you can do it!

 

Live Wellness2

Put on a Happy Face!

clownface

July 20, 2015 — It’s grey and rainy here in Utah, and I couldn’t be happier- especially after weeks upon weeks of 100+ degree weather. It’s the little things with me.

If you’re not feeling completely like yourself today, make a conscious choice to find joy in something, even if it’s something that seems small or insignificant at the time. It’s good for your mental, emotional and physical well being.

“Put on a happy face!” Yes, sometimes you have to paint on your happy face- and that’s okay! Life moves along like the weather- there are sunny days, and rainy days, cloudy days, windy days, days when things are too hot or too cold- that’s life!

Do yourself a favor today and find a happy place, even if it’s only for a moment. Take a moment, find some solitude, and just breathe.

“You is kind. You is smart. You is important.” ~”The Help”

You know I’m a big believer in and user of essential oils, right? Well, after much research, I’ve found the best oils in the world to use for myself and my family and today, if you need a little something to get you over the hump, ASK ME about which essential oils we use on the grey, rainy days (Hint: Wild Orange is one!) and about a special little pick-me-up called “Joyful Blend”, sometimes referred to as the Biblical “oil of gladness.”

Essential oils are effective and yes, they can even help elevate your mood on those days when everything seems gray.

Isaiah 61:3 “…to preserve those who mourn in Zion, to give to them beauty for ashes, the oil of gladness for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness, that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified…“

Subscribe to EssentiallyAlicia.com so you never miss an update. 🙂

instagram  Hey!! Follow me on Instagram using the hashtag: #LiveWELLness  and my handle @WheezyPurdy for more. 🙂

facebookWant to be friends? Yippie! You can find me on Facebook too!

 

If you want to book a class to learn more about the essential oils I use, CONTACT ME and we’ll set something up, even if we’re long distance- and I have lots of perks and rewards available to all my class hosts, like free oils- just for hosting!

Remember, you can do it!

 

Live Wellness2

 

Bye, bye baby (#4)

(This post may be difficult for some to read, due to the expressions of healing amid a miscarriage, but I felt it necessary given that it’s something many women experience, and yet few are open to discussing. Through this difficult time, the Lord ministered to me in a new way through this situation and I wanted to share what He showed me in case it’s of any help to someone else going through the same thing. Blessings!)

I lost a baby recently – my fourth miscarriage. By now, you’d think it would just be another unfortunate experience that I just ‘get through’ because it’s become almost routine, and because we weren’t even trying for a baby, but nope – this one hit me just as hard as the ones we’d planned for. The surprise, unplanned pregnancy was no less devastating in the loss, but to compound my pain, I had to deal with the knowledge that this one was my final chance to have another child.

All my life I’d dreamed of having 5 children. I couldn’t tell you why – just a number that I have always felt was the perfect number of kids for me. I had my first one in college, before I was married. Then, I got married and two more children joined my life. Next, we had an “ours”, totaling four children, but I wanted five.

Growing up, it never occurred to me that I would struggle with fertility issues like this. Each time the bleeding started, I got that pit in my stomach, that heart-stopping fear, and then the grim sense of knowing – it’s over.

Each miscarriage that I have had has its own story – of what I experienced at the time, physically, spiritually and emotionally – and this one was no different, except that it had a greater sense of finality – and I struggled with that, a lot. I wasn’t ready to give up, but my body was.

I don’t bother asking questions like “why” anymore – and I don’t blame God for one second. We live in a fallen world where the choices of evil people affect the good, and where babies die before they take a breath because someone kills them or because they were not formed to the point where they can survive. It’s not God’s fault. It’s just life and it happens and we have to deal with it and move forward, and God, in His faithfulness, is there to walk through it with us. Oh, how I needed Him this time, maybe more than the others before.

However, last night I started cramping and I got worried, so I reached out for a time of prayer and crying and talking with my mom and a dear friend, I fell asleep and had a dream that impacted me deeply. You can say what you want about dreams, but I absolutely believe that some dreams are sent from the Lord, to serve a purpose and this is what happened in mine:

I walked into a bedroom and I heard the song “Once Upon a Dream” playing on an old record player, with that gritty, scratchy sound you remember hearing on old records. Specifically, this one by Lana Del Ray . Sitting on the bed was my grandmother. While, in real life she has passed onto glory, there she sat – a younger, happier version of herself – and she was holding a baby boy with bright blue eyes. He was about 6 months old. The baby turned and looked at me. I asked my grandmother if I could hold him. When I spoke, he reached out for me and said, “Mommy”. 

I took him and held him very close, to my breast as if to nurse him and for a split second, I got to look into his sweet, little face and I smiled.

I woke up to a rush of blood leaking from my body and I knew, in that place in your heart where your spirit just knows, I knew I was losing my baby. I tried to pray and stand in faith, but I knew he was leaving, especially in light of the dream I had just had. I felt that the Lord had sent me that dream to let me catch a glimpse of him – to validate that he was, indeed, a real person and that he had a place in heaven.

And so I grieved.

I prayed that this baby’s life would serve some purpose in the greater purposes of the Kingdom of God – and I was determined not to define what that purpose would be – even if I don’t personally get to witness that purpose during my time on earth. I will not ever say this little life served no purpose, because we know that God is a God of purpose and no life, no matter how small, isn’t breathed with His spirit and given a purpose.

We have to be careful not to define “purpose” with our own definitions, when God’s purposes are well beyond our ability to comprehend. He sees all things, and all times, everywhere, so it would be really narrow-minded to define the purpose of a life based on what we see. God exists in eternity, as do His purposes – they are eternal, which means that not even death can cause the purposes of God to cease. I felt like I could let my baby go if I knew that his little life would not be for nothing – that he was seen and known and made and existed for a purpose.

I was reading in the Psalms – my go-to for comfort in times of pain or trial – and I read several chapters before running into Psalm 139. I almost skipped it because I already knew it had a lot to do with unborn life and I didn’t want to comfort myself with a cliche. I told God I wanted a “fresh revelation” – but I read it anyway and I’m so thankful I did.

Isn’t it funny how we try to TELL God what we want and don’t want, and don’t just trust Him to know what we need?

As I read Psalm 139, the Holy Spirit quickened His Word to me from Psalm 139:46 which says, “Your eyes saw my substance being yet unformed, And in Your book they were all written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them…

That phrase jumped off the page to me: when as yet there were none of them

I knew in my heart that the Lord was speaking to me that although this little life may have no days here on earth, God not only saw my little baby, but had written out days for my tiny one. Not 6 weeks of days on earth, but days written into eternity. Perhaps in eternity is the only place my little one will live – and that’s okay – because I’ll get there and when I do, he’ll be there, living out the days the Lord has written for him.

How short sighted it is of me to think that life on earth is all there is. I know better than that! Just because someone passes into eternity, we have this sense of finality, but in Christ, we know that this life is only one part of what we were created for in the expanse of God’s time, not our own.

It gave me a tremendous sense of comfort to catch the revelation that this life DID have purpose, even though it has not fully unfolded yet, and even if he never has “days” as I understand them right now, on this earth.

So, I grieved, but “not as others who have no hope” (1 Thess 4:13-14), but as one who knows that my hope is in God.

I thank my Friend, the Holy Spirit for the dream that I had about my baby, right before he passed. I know that He used it to bring me a measure of comfort and to be faithful to His word in John 16:13 to tell us of things to come. I was also so comforted to know that my grandmother was there too and that she was happy, because she had died a slow, painful death, and because she loved to rock babies in a rocking chair. It was one of her favorite things in life and she used to volunteer at hospitals to rock very ill babies and sing to them and pray over them. So, to see her with my baby was a beautiful image I will always treasure.

All that to say – if you’ve experienced a miscarriage – there is hope in God. Remember that our limited understanding of eternity is not God’s eternity, and our idea of purpose and will, are not His. We cannot say His purposes didn’t not prevail or that His will was for someone to die and that their purpose ended with their death. That is NOT TRUE. God sees in all times, in all places and His Kingdom will advance through the unfolding of the purpose He has placed onto every, single life – whether or not we experience it in this life, in this time and place. Every life is one of destiny  and I am so excited to see how it all plays out.

In the meantime, I will move forward as a healed and whole person, happy to know that the Lord knows what He is doing and I rest in His unfailing love.