Monday, August 30, 2010

Autism's Hero Honored in 2010 Emmy's

If only the sun-drenched celebrities are being noticed and worshiped, then our children are going to have a tough time seeing the value in the shadows, where the thinkers, probers and scientists are keeping society together.

Who watched the Emmy's last night? An HBO movie, a true story drama about a young woman's determination to follow her true path in life, beat out several others in the various categories where more glitz, glammor, and humor was depicted. The movie "Temple Grandin",  is the story about a woman who didn't let the social, physical or emotional barriers imposed by Autism keep her from achieving her full potential.

The movie was honored with Emmy's for Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, Best Suporting Actor and Best Directing in the :Made for TV Movie categories." The subject of the movie, Temple Grandin, was  acknowledged as each award was presented.  She came up on stage with the cast when the film's director, who announced that she was the mother of an Autistic son,  received the award for Best Directing. Each awardee commented on what a privilege is had been to play their role, Temple, Temple's supportive mother and the teacher who believed in her, encouraged and supporter her efforts.

Temple has a PhD in Animal Husbandry and has developed a wide range of equipment that has made it easier for the cattle and cattlemen to do their jobs through her uncanny ability to visualize. She is a college professor and speaks to a variety of groups on animal husbandry and Autism. I describe her as a celebritiy who is a genuine human being. 

So much emphasis was placed on the attire worn by the celebrities at the awards. Yet, Temple was not dressed in a popular designer original gown. She wore a  Western dress shirt and jeans, a symbol of her profession and lifestyle. I believe she definitely represents one of those thinker, prober, scientist described in Rita Dove's quote.

Why did this impress me so much? My eight year old grandson is Autistic. I know the sacrifices his parents and sisters have made to help him achieve his full potential. The night I watched the movie on HBO, I cried the first real tears for my grandson. I acknowleged the struggles his future may hold and realized what he and his family would be facing. But I was given hope. My grandson had the lack of speech that was the first sign that Temple had a problem. He has had years of early childhood therapy that was not avaiable to her. We are so blessed by the work of the thinker, probers and scientists who are devoted to better diagnosis and treatment for this devasting development disorder. I'm grateful for Temple's openness and extraordinary work in this area that is affecting so many children today.

Dallas is hosting a large conference on Future Horizons in Autism/Aspagers October 28-29. I am grateful for the researchers who are looking for answers. But I know that God made my grandson for his glory and that he is "perfectly and wonderfully made." His future is in God's hands and Temple's story and modern findings encourages us that his "future horizons" are open to a lot of potential and possibilities.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

His Grace My Faith: How Long is your Hose?

His Grace My Faith: How Long is your Hose?: "'To a gardener there is nothing more exasperating than a hose that just isn't long enough.'(Cecil Roberts) But what about a Christian or a..."

How Long is your Hose?

"To a gardener there is nothing more exasperating than a hose that just isn't long enough."(Cecil Roberts)

But what about a Christian or a writer? How long is your hose? Is it reaching those places off in the corner that need watering?

Early morning is my time to "go to the garden alone." It's quiet except when the birds come to sing me a song. As Dorothy Frances Gurney once said: "You're closer to God's heart in a garden than any place else on earth." And this is so true for me. 

In summer, when the days are longer and the Texas heat is beating down on my tender plants, I'm up at 6 AM to water them. They are my children, my charges, my lives that need to be cared for. I have a hose that reaches to all but a couple spots in the back yard. To reach those difficult places, I have to carry a watering to them, or just let them die. I can't depend on rain to nourish them because I live in a dry summer climate.

God has placed us in a larger garden, his world, planted with his people. What about the ones in those difficult places who need his living water to give them strength?  What about those carrying heavy burdens and need to know there is a savior who carries our burdens? What about the sick or injured who need a prayer partner? What about those souls who need to know about the gospel? Is my hose reaching those folks who are being beaten down by satan's heat. Is it long enough to reach out to them all? Is it sending out the living water that only Jesus can bring into the heart? 

"Whoever believes in me, as the scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him." (JN 7:38"

Gracious Lord fill my heart daily with your precious living water so that it will flow from me to others who need your living water. Give me a long enough hose to reach to farthest places as well as those who are nearer to me. When I'm in your garden, I want to be among your "master gardeners."

Friday, August 27, 2010

In the Midst of Chaos

"There is no situation so chaotic that God cannot, from that situation, create something that is surpassingly good. He did it at the creation. He did it at the cross. He is doing it today." (Bishop Moule)

For years, chaos was normal for me. I not only lived in a world of chaos, but my life was close to a mini representation of it. If things were quiet, I'd somehow get it stirred up. When I began to realize that peace, not just in the world, but in the home, was aspired to by most people, I began questioning where my need for chaos came from.

As I learned about the effects of alcholism on families, a picture was emerging. My father was an alcoholic. But I could not admit that he was less than perfect. As the child of an alcoholic, it was my role to be perfect and a perfect child had to have perfect parents. So I continued to wear the mask and play the role, even though it drove me crazy living the lie. Then I chose to marry an alcoholic, believing that I was strong enough to deal with it. I thought my childhood was chaotic, but nothing like being committed to a continual daily dose. But I loved both of my alcoholics.

Although I'd been a church goer since childhood, it was not until I began working the 12 Steps in Al-Anon that I began to understand the chaos in my life, accept it, and truly place it in the Lord's hands. I had to admit my powerlessness over alcohol and turn my life totally over to him. As a nearly life long Christian, I thought I'd done that years ago. I guess I had been fooled again, by our enemy, satan.

I've been on an unbelievable journey with God this past year. He has given me a new group of friends who, by His grace, are accepting, loving and encouraging. Instead of fueling the chaos, I'm letting Him take over and life is much calmer. I am so grateful for this new journey I am on and excited to see where He is leading me.

In I Thessalonians 5:16 we are encouraged to: "Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." Gracious God, creator of all universe, thank you for walking beside me on this journey. Help me to stay calm in the midst of chaos. Help me stay focused on the meaning of the cross and joyful for Christ's role in bringing peace to my chaotic life and to our chaotic world.

His Grace My Faith: His Grace, My Faith

His Grace My Faith: His Grace, My Faith: "Here I am Lord. Everything I have ever accomplished in my life is by your grace. Yes, it is I Lord and I have heard you calling in the night..."

His Grace My Faith: The "C" Word

His Grace My Faith: The "C" Word: "“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.' (Proverbs 16:3) I should no longer be amazed when the Lord brings all t..."

His Grace My Faith: Another "C" Word to Consider

His Grace My Faith: Another "C" Word to Consider: "'Because they have no changes, therefore they fear not God' (Ps.55:19). I have finally learned that we can't get away from change, nor can..."

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Another "C" Word to Consider

"Because they have no changes, therefore they fear not God" (Ps.55:19).

I have finally learned that we can't get away from change, nor can we control most of the change that comes our way. Change that is slow and gradual is more easily adjusted to. It's those sudden changes that knock us for a loop. So the key to change is learning how to accept it.

When we do accept change and embrace it rather than fight it. Interesting things happen. A popular psychologist of the 70's used to tie ropes around a group of people representing a system or family. When the circle was broken by someone leaving or entering the system, all had to adjust. The system was changed. Fighting the change brought upheaval and frustration. Acceptance brought peace.

"We cannot change our past. We can not change the fact that people act in a certain way. We can not change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is attitude." (Charles R. Swindol)

Attitudes are hard to change when they've built up over time. But according to psychologist William James, behavioral change follows attitude change. When we change our attitude to acceptance, we no longer have to kick and scream, fight and bite, or whatever we do to resist the inevitable.

Our Bible passage is referring to those "others" in our lives who don't want to change themselves because they do not fear God. These are those stubborn folks who hang on to addictions, false beliefs and opinions, judgementalness and antiquated ideas. But we don't have to limit our lives because they've limited theirs. All we can change is ourselves and you'd be surprised how that can effect change in others. Put them in God's hands and offer up the following "Serenity Prayer:"

"God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference." (Reinhold Niebuhr)

As this passage implies, 

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The "C" Word

“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed." (Proverbs 16:3)

I should no longer be amazed when the Lord brings all things together for me, once I commit my thoughts and work over to Him. But the "C" word is a difficult one for many of us because giving up control, another "C" word, is scary. I know because both of these words have disabled me.

Last night at our crit group, I really saw the power in giving up control and commiting my work to the Lord. I've been in a desert as far as my writing was concerned. I had decided to stay with non-fiction, but while sitting at the computer, a fiction chapter began to form. I read it last night and was greatly encouraged to continue with the idea.

One chapter is all I have plus a lot of personal experience.  Yet, God is speaking to me through this group. I had only met with them a couple of times, although I've known them for several years. I had procrastinated actually joining them, yet from the first meeting, I knew I needed to be there and it was affirmed last night.

My "dry season" in my writing definitely resulted from lack of full commitment. As I shared with the group, for the past
few years I had been 'flitting" around. When I finallly took my seat in the group, I received not only affirmation, but a kindred soul who had asked God to plant the seed in someone to write on the subject.  And there I sat, by His grace alone.

God does not make mistakes. Once we commit our work to him, he works right beside us, guides us and sends His angels to encourage and support us.

Thanks be to you, Lord, for planting the seed in me to tackle the subject of alcholism from Your perspective and planting me in a garden where it can be watered. May the increase be for Your glory.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

His Grace, My Faith

Here I am Lord. Everything I have ever accomplished in my life is by your grace. Yes, it is I Lord and I have heard you calling in the night. I will go, Lord, as you lead me.....

By His grace, I've been given many gifts, one of which is writing. Oh how the "enemy" dances around in my life and before long my faith had been weakened and replaced with discouragement and finally fear. Then "writer's block" settled in and the dust accumulated on all those fantastic ideas for the Great American Novel as well as my first blog.

By His grace, I'm finally hearing the voices of the encouragers He has placed in my life. My name and devotions, written a couple years ago, are in print, thanks to Standard Publishing. I'm shaking off the dusty idea board, taking more seat time and getting to work. I've put a "stop losss" order on Satan's investment in my life and holding on to His grace. Tonight, I'm taking a first chapter to "Brain Knockers," my crit group.

So here I am, launching my first ever blog. I know it's going to be fun. It's in His hands, by His grace and by my faith in His will for my life. Thanks for being here.