Friday, May 31, 2013

Jesus is the Light of the World

Look at the picture above. How many things are in the picture? Your answer is probably like mine: 'one'...a candle. Now, look closer. There are actually three elements to the picture: the candle, the flame and the air that allows the flame to burn. I see the picture as an analogy for the Godhead. God the Father,  Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. The analogy does break down (analogies do that) at a certain point, but there's a visual for you to contemplate. Jesus is the Light of the World!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Family Photos

Today, before church, we tried to get a family photo. For those of you who don't know, my boys are autistic and it is obvious from the attempt above that it is nearly impossible to get a photo with everyone looking at the camera (my daughter, behind me, was doing her best to ignore the circus around her!). What we need is a miracle worker...!

But I love this picture anyway. It shows us for what we are: imperfect, dynamic and full of life! I admit, I do long for the perfect family photo (all happily enjoying the surf, perhaps, or enjoying some other scenic place). I see them all over.  You may have one of your family.

We are who we are... and we are happy and we love one another. What more can we ask for? What the picture doesn't show is the incredible spiritual sensitivity of the guys, or the amazing sharp wit of my daughter. They don't show the fact that I would fight a charging elephant to defend my kids.

What do your pictures say about your family? What is the hidden story behind the pictures?

Monday, March 18, 2013

It has been a long time since I posted here, but know that we are doing really well (other than financially and physically) and have a wonderful peace and joy in our home in the midst. Today, I got another great devotional email from TGIF (Os Hilman) and I want to share it with you. I think the words are wise ones:

Discerning the Work of God
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1, by Os Hillman

"Remember Tobiah and Sanballat, O my God, because of what they have done; remember also the prophetess Noadiah and the rest of the prophets who have been trying to intimidate me." - Nehemiah 6:14 

Nehemiah set out to rebuild the wall at Jerusalem that had been destroyed. Nehemiah held a position in the Persian Empire that would be comparable to Chief of Staff in our government. Nehemiah wept over the destruction of the city wall and repented for the sins of his generation and the generations before him that had led to the fall of Jerusalem. Nehemiah responded to the news by seeking approval from his superior to take time off to rebuild the wall. Tobiah and Sanballat met Nehemiah's action with resistance, as did Noadiah the prophetess and other prophets. These were the religious and political leaders of his day. They became distractions to his work and opposed him. 

Whenever God does a new work, it is often met with resistance by those in the established religious community, and sometimes among those from whom we would expect support. Jesus met the same resistance when He began His public ministry. This same phenomenon happens today. When God begins a new work that cannot be easily explained based upon prior experiences, many make the mistake of assuming it not to be of God. The very people who should embrace and encourage the work become the source of skepticism and opposition. God tells us that His ways are not our ways. He does things in ways beyond our limited understanding. 

Before you are tempted to criticize or oppose something that looks different from your past experience, ask God for wisdom and discernment. Examine why you might be tempted to oppose it. The Lord cannot be put in a box. He delights in doing things in ways that may not fit our former paradigms. 
God bless!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Genetics: Why Care?

(this blog post originally written as a guest for

I recently saw a post on Facebook that decried the amount of money spent on genetics research in autism. Across a picture of NIMH director Tom Insel's picture are the words "Admits that >80% of autism causes are environmental…wastes 700 million taxpayer dollars on genetic research" Was that money wasted?

As the mother of three children with autism with a known genetic cause I say NO the money wasn't wasted. "Of course", you say, "your children have a genetic syndrome (in our case, Fragile X) that is a known cause of autism…you wouldn't think it was wasted money." But hang in with me for a few more minutes and maybe you'll see why you should be happy there is money being spent on genetic research, even if your child's autism is not of genetic origin.

There is a medication that may well be a significant breakthrough in autism treatment  that was only conceived through the biochemical knowledge of Fragile X Syndrome. Your child may not have Fragile X but they may well benefit from the treatments aimed at FX simply due to the fact that researchers know some of the "whys" of FX. This is proven science.

Google "autism genetics" and "autism Randi Hagerman" and see what you find. There is significant reason to believe that as a direct result of the knowledge of the genetic underpinnings of a subset of cases of autism there will be some effective treatments -- possibly for all children with autism  -- soon.

Should we discount the fact that most cases of autism don't have a known genetic component? Certainly not! We have to look at all the pieces of the puzzle and not fixate on any one to the exclusion of the others.

The case for the study of the genetic causes of disorders primarily of "unknown cause" is not limited to autism. A good example is ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis/Lou Gehrig's Disease)…90 percent of ALS cases have no family history of ALS. Of the 10% that runs in families, only a fraction are attributable to a known genetic defect. Still, that known defect is being studied and an understanding of what goes haywire in that gene is leading to some promising research that could benefit everyone with ALS.

In both ALS and autism, there is likely an environmental insult that "trips the trigger" in a nervous system that is vulnerable.  Chances are that things like autism and ALS are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the damage being done by well-intentioned (at least at the outset) "advances" in modern society. By all means, keep looking to decrease the toxic load in your child…and in yourselves…but don't be so fixated on environmental causes that other useful research suffers.

Here's a recent article that emphasizes the connection between genetics (Fragile X, specifically) and autism: A striking link is found between the Fragile-X gene and mutations that cause autism.

For a taste of what it feels like, substitute "autism" for "Fragile X" in this article and see how it makes you feel: There is some small glimmer of hope!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Fighting Fear

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. ~ John 14:27

I've been struggling with fear. Not fear like you have when there's a gun pointed in your face, but that chronic, nagging, anxiety-producing fear that hangs over you like a fog. You can't really see where it begins or where it ends but it obscures your vision and you feel it to your bones. For me, I fear for the future. There isn't enough money to keep the house maintained...we need "extras" like clothes or shoes, gas for the emergency generator...Then there's the fear of my changing health and how that will impact us. What will life be like when I can't move my hands or feet? Will I mentally implode? The vision in my head is of being buried alive....confined to a small space where I can't move and can barely breathe, yet fully alert and aware. Yep. Fear. I feel it.

Jesus said that He leaves us peace. Sometimes I feel it....sometimes I let the fear get a grip and the peace leaves. I just opened an email devotional. I hope that some of the excerpt below inspires you (like it did me) to keep fighting your fear by clinging to God's promises:

"Your confidence in the God of peace declares that you are not falling for the lies of the devil. You see the first step toward having spiritual authority over the adversary is having peace in spite of our circumstances. When Jesus confronted the devil, he did not confront satan with His emotions or in fear. Knowing that the devil was a liar, He simply refused to be influenced by any voice other than God's. His peace overwhelmed satan; His authority then shattered the lie, which sent demons fleeing.

There is a place of walking with God where you simply fear no evil. David faced a lion, a bear, and a giant. In this Psalm he stood in the "shadow of death" itself, yet he "feared no evil." David's trust was in the Lord. He said, "...for Thou art with me." Because God is with you, every adversity you face will unfold in victory as you maintain your faith in God! David continued, "You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies" (Ps. 23:5a). The battle you are in will soon become a meal for you, an experience that will nourish and build you up spiritually. Only God's peace will quell your fleshly reactions in battle. The source of God's peace is God Himself. If fear has been knocking at your door, begin to face that fear with God's peace. It is God's secret weapon to destroy fear." (excerpt from Peace-A Weapon Against Satan, TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1, by Os Hillman)