Sunday, September 14, 2014

My boy

This is my boy, my joy, my heart, my reason to smile and my greatest accomplishment. 

I am so proud of him. We have been doing brain mapping and have just started neurofeedback. Wow! You sure learn a lot about someone by brain mapping. They hooked Hayden up to an EEG and tested his brain waves, areas of delta, beta, alpha and theta. Like his momma, he has high levels of theta (electricity) and low beta (blood flow). We both have severe brain trauma but from different events. Both of us went without oxygen and blood and both of our brains reacted on similar areas. 

This boy of mine is dealing with so much. I knew he was a survivor and a conquerer. I knew he tried hard but I had no idea how much he has truly overcome and how many obstacles still lie in front of him. 

Hayden has severe auditory processing issues, along with autism, dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, dyspraxia, ADHD, anxiety disorder, sensory processing and integration disorder and severe brain trauma to the learning centers of the brain. 

As the brain mapping was complete and areas of concern were identified, the doctor was very somber as he spoke of the outlook for Bubba. However, as Hayden started his neurofeedback sessions the past two days, the doctors opinion of Hayden changed. He was in awe of my boy he said that for how severe Hayden's disabilities and trauma are, he is performing at a much higher level than he should be. He watched Hayden try to conquer the neurofeedback and control his brain. He told me that he was in awe of Hayden and his work ethic. He said that whT he is asking Hayden to do is extremely hard, very tiring and difficult to figure out. He warned me that with the severity of his ailments, he would be miserable and complain at the difficulty level. He said we would have to encourage and bribe him to get him to do what needed to be done. But he hadn't met Hayden. Instead, Hayden faced the challenges head on. He was positive. He asked what this would do to help him. The doctor explained the possibilities for improvement. Hayden bought in. He asked the doctor to give him the highest level of difficulty that he could do. He would give his all. 

As promised, Hayden was positive and gave his all. He was optimistic. He tried hard. He didn't complain. He focused beyond his ability and gave his all. The dr was in awe. He aid that Hayden had every reason to complain. But he chose to thank the doctor instead. He was polite and kind. He gave his all and just looked at this as a trial to overcome not an obstacle to hold him back. The doctor asked how we instilled such a great attitude and work ethic in him. 

I thought about it. Hayden has had many trials and challenges to overcome in his life. From open heart surgeries to seizures and illness and my illness and struggles. He has learned that trials do not define us. We have the ability to define and chose for ourselves. Life happens. Trials come. Attitude is a choice. 

So proud of my boy and the way he chooses to live his life and overcome challenges. He is definitely one of my heroes. 

Workday or Saturday

Saturday was the ultimate of work day's for Thomas. He called Chad early in the morning to see if he could get his help. Chad came down and helped Thomas all day. They hung storage racks in the garage on the ceiling. Then they moved into my laundry room creating extra shelving for food storage. They worked from sun up to sun down. And finished about half of the laundry room, as well as the garage. 

After they were beat for the day, Robert and Josh came down for games. We laughed hilariously at how the three boys are predictable but so different in their game play. Josh just wants a good laugh. He is random and chooses what makes him laugh. Chad is so logical and his precision in meaning is very methodical in the cards he chooses. And Hayden, well if it says Master Chief or Superhoeroes or is something he finds applicable to his life, that is the card he chooses. Robert goes for funny and Thomas is just random in his selections. 

Josh laughed that I was killing them with cards and ended up taking them all. He asked if I just had great cards. Yes. I had good cards. However, I played more to the person choosing the card than worrying about the actually card itself. I think I won every single round when Hayden was selecting. I know how that boy thinks. (Biggest scandal:Microsoft he's worried about his precious Minecraft being messed with. Smartest: Einstein, his hero. Virtuous:telling the truth. Greatest invention: Kaiju from Pacific Rim. Coolest animal: black mamba snake. And always, his response is Obama for phony or misrepresentation. And best invention: video games) 

I love watching Hayden interact and seeing how he responds in real life situations and how that brain of his works. He thinks. He lives in his own world he has created in his head. I love when I can get inside his head and get a glimpse of how his gears and mechanisms turn. And how I can be  a spectator of his thoughts. 

After they all left, Thomas, Hayden and I all cuddled up on the couch with the pups on our laps. I love snuggling my guys. I love my family. I love just soaking in all the love and joy that we have when we stop and just be together. It makes me smile. It warms my heart. 

And before going to bed, yep, I walked outside and in the laundry room and admired my new shelves and storage so lovingly put up by my husband and Chad. I'm grateful.. I am so blessed. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Game night

We absolutely LOVE the Etherington's living right down the street. 

Sunday morning, before church, we eat breakfast together, rotating between our homes. We make different foods but always have bacon and sausages for the boys. This week we had waffles and pancakes and cinnamon rolls to go with the meat. We then play games. This week we played Apples to Apples but usually it is Mexican Train with dominoes. But, it was Hayden's turn to pick. Robert was out of town but Lisa, Katie, Josh and Chad came. We had a great time. 

Tuesday, Chad came over to help Hayden with homeschooling. He stayed and talked with me while Suzi took Hayden to the dentist. He stayed for a yummy dinner that Suzi brought back from Olive Garden. So yummy! Then we played games. I love playing Apples to Apples. Especially with these boys. They are hilarious and laugh and giggle at the random answers they pick. I love it. 

Wednesday, Lisa and Katie left for Denver and Bob hadn't come back from Denver yet. In the late afternoon, Josh and Chad came down. We talked for a little bit and then watched Godzilla. Josh hadn't seen it, so although we had watched it the night before, we watched it again. When Thomas got home, he took the guys to Dave's Original Hamburgers for dinner. Excellent burgers at a cheap price. $5 for a huge double cheeseburger and fries. So for all five of us to eat under $20, stuffed, at a restaurant, not bad. We loved having them over. 

Today, Hayden had left for a movie with Grandma Julie. I had a Q96 meeting. Chad knocked on the door at about 1pm. The people I was meeting with didn't end up showing up until after 4. Chad and I laughed and talked, made plans, talked of goals and figured out life. He is so fun to talk to. He is such a great kid. He is so good to me and Hayden and Thomas. He asked how he could help... With Hayden and homeschool or babysitting or he would help Thomas clean the garage or out up shelving. He told me he would do anything I needed. I love talking to him. He is such a great kid. 

I am so glad they moved close. I knew I would love them being here. I knew I would have fun with Lisa. I knew Thomas and Robert would be great friends. I knew how much Hayden adores Chad. I just didn't realize how much I truly would love having Lisa's kids coming down randomly. I love them so much. And I love that they are willing to just come hang out with us. They make my heart smile. 

Tomorrow- game night for Thomas and Hayden with Robert, Josh and Chad. They are starting a new game night with Munchkin and Settlers of Catan. I see many happy game nights in our future. 

Life is fun with the Etherington game. 

And we sleep

My pups are my babies. I admit it. I'm proud to admit it. 

They need me. And I am enough for them. And that is a wonderful feeling. 

For most, my illness requires work from others. Work for my husband and son. Work for loved ones. But, the pups, they benefit from my illness. I have more time to hold them. More time to cuddle them. More time to baby them. 

They love it and honestly so do I. I'm needed. I'm wanted. And that is an amazing feeling. One that I cherish. And my loving Savior knew I needed love and gave me the gifts of these sweet loving pups. 

So my cuddling them and my loving them. Yep. I'm going to continue. Yes. They are spoiled. They have a great life. And my life is wonderful because of my little babies. 


The rain came down last week. It rained and it poured. It lightening and thundered. The heavens were opened and poured out. 

Many many people had been praying and fasting and pleading for rain. Arizona was so dry. So in a drought. We desperately needed the rain. 

I awoke in the middle of night with rain. It was raining hard but I love the smell. Me and Maya went and sat on the rocking chair. We rocked and sang at 2 am in the rain. It was heavenly. We came on and went back to bed. At 4 am I was jolted out of bed by the loudest noise and a shaking home. I was freaked out. I thought for sure our house has been hit by lightening. Crazy. I was so scared. Of course, while Thomas and I bolted out of bed and the dogs were barking like crazy, Hayden continued to saw logs. He didn't even flinch. Man he is a hard core sleeper. 

The next day it continued to rain. The smell was delightful. The weather was better than a dream. It was even a but cold. Hayden and I bundled and read in the rocking chair. The rain behind me continue to just pour from the heavens. Hayden and I took full advantage and studied as much as we could outside. 

To me, rain is refreshing. It is cleansing. It soothes and renews. As I sat and rocked, I got lost in my own thoughts. I thought of my life. My life is like a good rain storm. When I pray for help and blessings, the Savior doesn't just answer my prayers with a light sprinkle. When I ask for blessings, my Savior gives me a downpour. More blessings than I need and answers so I have no question that He is in control. 

He sends his signature tender mercies. Gifts so specialized and so perfect that it's as if he signs his name to them. This rainstorm, just like the blessings in my life, had God's signature. 

When the rain finally stopped in the evening, it is like God signed his name to the sky, signing Love, God, to make sure I realized this gift of rain and comfort. 

I am his. He loves me. And today, He sent me a beautiful gift of his love. 

Puppies hideout

Their hangout: Hayden's bed. Oh how they love their boy! If his bedroom door is left open, these two make themselves at home. They sleep on his bed, cuddled on his blanket or in a ball on his pillow. Anything they can do to get close to their boy. 

Hugs from Above

It is always interesting to me to receive "news" from doctors. Doctors, new doctors, unknown appointments and testing, absolutely makes me nervous. I think I have been poked at so much in the past several years that I'm nervous of what they are going to do to me. More than the physical pain I must endure is the emotional pain some of these doctors have inflicted. Because of that, I am so hesitant for each doctor and appointment. 

To overcome my complete fear of these appointments, I have developed some coping skills. First and foremost, I pray. I specifically pray that the words spoken by doctors will not penetrate my heart and cause me to question myself and what I know is happening. The second, when huge testing or major results are involved, I receive a priesthood blessing for guidance and understanding, that the doctors will figure out and see the complications beyond their own natural abilities, that they will be led thru the Spirit to know where to turn and that I will be given strength and courage and peace to endure whatever is asked. 

For me, I could not have survived without the help I have received from above. 

The emotional toll it takes to hear all of the new diagnosis, complications, prognosis and complications is emotionally trying. No one wants to hear that it is lifelong, no possibility of recovery. Even more frustrating is when doctors cannot find the cause or problem and suggest it is mental. I have questioned myself so many times. 

Yesterday, as I have on multiple occasions, I felt wrapped in the arms of love and peace. It was as if I was receiving my own hugs from above. As the brain mapping doctor discussed complications and problems with my brain, I felt overwhelming peace and comfort. I realized how blessed I have been. How much the Savior has taken care of me and blessed me. 

Most of all, as I was told how severe these problems were and what effect they are having on my body, I felt the promises in prior blessings till my heart. "I promise protection....I give you healing....I grant you added strength.....I will spare your life...I will cause your body to realign". 

I realized how much I have been protected. How much healing I have received. I realized that without the life saving protection and intervention of my Savior, I wouldn't have survived. And I was reassured that every promise of healing and protection was received. I have received many many miracles in my behalf. 

I felt so loved. I felt heavenly hugs embrace me. 

I no longer questioned if my faith was sufficent. If I held back blessings from Heaven due to my lack of belief or faith. No. The blessings had come. Every one. Not in the way I thought it should, but they came. I am alive due to the healing and divine miracles of my Savior, Jesus Christ. He has shown me that His miracles, his healing is still very real today, as it was when He walked this earth. 

I matter to my Savior. He knows me, Jerlyn. He knows my trials. He knows my struggles. He knows my deepest feelings, fears and heartache. He knows what I need. Most of all, He grants me the desires of my heart. I am His. And I am loved. 

I felt it. Those were not just words but true living emotions. I have been strengthened by the One on High. I an loved by the divine Son of God. My needs and actions, my weaknesses and strengths, my heartache and joy, are all known by my Savior. Because He knows me, He can comfort me like no other. His oeace is enough. His love beyond any imaginable. 

Yes, it is good to find answers and understanding. It is even more comforting to realize how protected and loved I have neem by Savior. Heavenly is my truest of tender mercies.