Victorious Suffering: Streams In The Desert, August 31st, 2013

“Out of the spoils won in battle did they dedicate to maintain the house of the Lord” 1 Chronicles 26:27
Physical force is stored in the bowels of the earth, in the coal mines, which came from the fiery heat that burned up great forests in ancient ages; and so spiritual force is stored in the depths of our being, through the very pain which we cannot understand.
Some day we shall find that the spoils we have won from our trials were just preparing us to become true “Great Hearts” in the Pilgrim’s Progress, and to lead our fellow pilgrims triumphantly through trial to the city of the King.
But let us never forget that the source of helping other people must be victorious suffering. The whining, murmuring pang never does anybody any good.
Paul did not carry a cemetery with him, but a chorus of victorious praise; and the harder the trial, the more he trusted and rejoiced, shouting from the very altar of sacrifice. He said, “Yea, and if I be offered upon the service and sacrifice of your faith, I joy and rejoice with you all.” Lord, help me this day to draw strength from all that comes to me!  –Days of Heaven upon Earth
***
“He placed me in a little cage,
Away from gardens fair;
But I must sing the sweetest songs
Because He placed me there.
Not beat my wings against the cage
If it’s my Maker’s will,
But raise my voice to heaven’s gate
And sing the louder still!”

Praise & Worship: August 30th, 2013

Song List

1.  A Way To See In The Dark-  Jason Gray

2.  Give Me Jesus-  All Sons And Daughters

3.  Healer Of My Soul-  Diocese of St. Benedict – Old Catholic Church

4.  Sing My Love-  Kim Walker/Jesus Culture

5.  Oh Happy Day-  Tim Hughes

6.  Healer-  Kari Jobe

7.  Breath Of God-  Vineyard

8.  Sparrow-  Audrey Assad

9.  God Of My Fathers-  Andrew Peterson

10.  Saved-  Bob Dylan

11. Worn-  Tenth Avenue North

Do ADHD Kids Have “Dimmer Prospects” In Life?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between three and seven percent of school-aged children in the U.S. have ADHD. Child prescriptions for ADHD have climbed 50 percent in the last ten years. Many parents wonder, “If my child has this diagnosis today, will it affect him negatively as an adult?” While a new study points to the difficulties kids with ADHD might face in life, it doesn’t acknowledge the good news about treatment. I believe that the way we’re learning to manage our ADHD kids’ behavior — and teach them how to deal with their “brain difference” – will help them  be more successful in the future.

 

ADHD Diagnosis in Kids Infographic


The study, conducted by Professor Rachel Klein of NYU Langone Medical Center, followed the lives of 135 middle class white males who were designated as “hyperactive”  by their school teachers in the 1970s, and who, according to Klein and her colleagues, would have been diagnosed with ADHD today. (Worth noting: none of the boys displayed aggressive or antisocial behaviors.) The study found that, in comparison to their non-ADHD peers, the boys (now middle aged men) on average have less education and lower incomes as adults and higher rates of divorce and substance abuse. About a third of the group had spent time in jail — three times the number of their peers who did not have ADHD.

While ADHD itself may not be the cause of their problems, Klein said it’s likely a “slippery slope.” The impulsivity shown by many ADHD teens has been linked to drug use and other risky behaviors, for example.

So is the diagnosis of ADHD a prescription for failure?

Not according to Dr. Bob Myers, an ADHD expert who has worked with kids with the disorder for nearly 30 years, and who is also the father of an ADHD son. He believes that ADHD is a “brain difference” — a different way of learning and experiencing the world. “If we think of it as a brain difference, we could then say that a child with ADHD has some significant differences in his cognitive ability, emotional sensitivity and activity level when compared to other children.  His skill set is different from 95% of the children in his class. Unfortunately, the environment in which he spends most of his time is geared toward the other 95%.  However, we then could look at helping him to adapt successfully to this environment, using his own set of strengths rather than helping him to cope with this environment due to his weaknesses.”

Not better or worse — just different. While kids whose ADHD is not addressed have a harder time getting through school and feeling successful, those who are given the help they need achieve the same level of success — if not at times even greater success — than their peers.

Taken from   Empowering Parents  which can be found   HERE.

“It’s true that ADHD left untreated leads to a higher likelihood of depression and substance abuse later in life,” says Myers. ”But ADHD appropriately treated leads to a higher likelihood of success in life because it can help a child properly channel his increased sensitivity, creativity and high energy.”

Dr. Myers encourages parents not to be afraid of the diagnosis. “I believe we need to accept it as the first step in turning a difficult situation around to a positive direction. Helping your child with ADHD succeed requires a team approach that often needs to continue over many years.  That team includes your family, health professionals, teachers — and, of course, your child.”
I also can’t help but be reminded of all the high profile people who have ADHD and who are enormously successful, people like the late Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, David Neelemen, founder of Jetblue (who considers his ADHD to be an “asset”), Justin Timberlake, Will Smith, Karina Smirnoff, and on and on. I think it’s time we stop letting ADHD define our kids, and instead start thinking of how we can work with them to bring out the positive aspects of  that “brain difference” to help them achieve success in life.

What Is ‘Play’ To A Child With Autism?

Taken from   Yahoo   which can be found   HERE.

When free to choose, kids with autism pick games that engage their senses and avoid games that ask them to pretend, a new study finds.

Experts said the results are not surprising. It’s known, for instance, that when children do not show an interest in pretend play, such as “feeding” a doll, by about age 2, that is a potential sign of an autism spectrum disorder.

What is unique about the new study is that it went out into the real world, said lead researcher Kathy Ralabate Doody, an assistant professor of exceptional education at the State University of New York, Buffalo State.

Doody’s team spent six months observing children who attended a local museum’s Au-some Evenings, a monthly program designed for children with autism. The program offered 20 exhibits with different activities, including a train that children could climb on, arts and crafts and a make-believe farm where kids could pretend to pick vegetables and collect eggs.

The researchers found that children with autism were naturally drawn to activities that got them moving, or allowed them to watch moving objects. The biggest crowd pleaser was an exhibit in which kids climbed a short staircase and dropped a ball into a track to watch it travel over hills. Another favorite was a windmill that the children could spin.

On the other hand, arts and crafts, and exhibits that required pretending were the least popular, according to the findings, which were reported in a recent issue of the North American Journal of Medicine and Science.

“We know that kids on the spectrum have a fascination with things that move, and with repetition,” Doody said.

In contrast, she said, pretend play requires “putting yourself in someone’s shoes,” and talking and acting as if you were another person. That’s an ability with which children with autism spectrum disorders struggle.

The current findings are what you would expect, said Dana Levy, a clinical assistant professor of child and adolescent psychiatry at NYU Langone Medical Center, in New York City.

“I think it’s a really nice idea,” Levy said, referring to the museum’s autism spectrum disorders program.

“We do know that kids with autism are able to practice social skills when they’re doing something they enjoy,” Levy said. So if an activity gets your child around other kids — and talking or learning to take turns, for instance — it could benefit his or her development.

“If it becomes just a solitary thing, though, it’s not really helpful,” Levy said.

Plus, letting children do only the things they’re innately drawn to can be limiting. When young children with autism spectrum disorders are in therapy, pretend play is typically part of it, Levy said.

But if there is a social setting with activities a child with autism enjoys, parents can use that as a door, Levy said. If your child loves the museum’s stair-climbing exhibit, on your next visit tell him or her that you’re going to try one new thing first and then go to the stairs, Levy suggested.

It’s estimated that about one in 88 children has an autism spectrum disorder — a group of developmental disorders that hinder a person’s ability to communicate and interact socially. Autism spectrum disorders range widely in severity: Some children speak very little and have an intense preoccupation with just a few things, while other kids have normal or above-normal intelligence and milder problems with socializing.

For the current study, Doody’s team watched children during six Au-some Evenings events. An average of 31 children with autism spectrum disorders and 22 without (usually siblings) attended each night. One limitation of the research, Doody said, is that they had no medical information on the children, including the severity of their autism.

Doody, who has a child with an autism spectrum disorder, said it would be helpful if more public places had events like this, since parents can struggle to find activities the whole family enjoys — particularly if they also have kids without autism.

She said the current findings could help community programs develop inclusive activities so kids with autism have more chances to interact with typically developing children.

“Being in a social environment is great for them,” Levy said.

Even if your local museum doesn’t have a special program, she said, it might have something that would appeal to your child. If he or she likes to look at maps, for instance, a museum or park that has maps scattered throughout might be a good place to start.

Shame And Antiphychotics

 

Taken from Cultural Savage   which can be found   HERE.

Antipsychotic.

I am starting on an antipsychotic to help treat my bipolar.

There is a hole in my brain that I am trying to heal. It’s a hole serotonin, dopamine, and epinephrine should fill, but I guess my head just doesn’t want to produce enough to make a difference. I have too many highs and too many lows. I have good days and bad days. I am mentally ill.

That’s some hard shit to say right there. I know the stigmas that come with my diagnosis. I know the judgment, the “helpful” suggestions about what I should do to get better. I know that some of my family members may not even think that I have a real condition, that somehow I have been over diagnosed and am now playing with dangerous drugs. I know that some Christians are convinced that all I need is Jesus, not some f***ing antipsychotic.

I’m not well. I am not stable. I am ill and off-balance. The dips into reticulating thoughts of meaninglessness, the drops into the cold void of lifeless depression, the decent down the well of inability: these are bad; these are unhealthy. These are also only half my problem. As a proud member of club bipolar, I get to deal with the straight up crazy feelings and thoughts that come with mania. My mind races, jumping from topic to a new subject. I am irritable and agitated, so talkative and animated you would never know I truly am an introvert. My energy levels elevate, my need for sleep decreased, and over all I will tell you that I feel f***ing fantastic. The stupid choices I make with my money and my relationships will betray me though. I’m still not well; I am so far away from balanced.

The life of a bipolar is in the swing: the swing of mood from depressed to manic and back. The media always gets it wrong though. This isn’t a simple oscillation from happy to sad to happy in the course of a day or three. The transitions take weeks to happen, and even then I’m never sure where I’m going to end up. My major depressive episodes can last for months. My manic moods may spike for a couple of days, but the symptoms, the agitation, restlessness, racing thoughts, over stimulation, the sleeplessness… these things hang around in the in-between. Most of the time, especially these days, I feel like I am living in a manic depression. Or is it a depressed mania? Either way, the off-balance of my moods, the illness of my neural transmitters and brain chemistry is never an easy, clear-cut line between well and unwell. This is simply how I live.

Like I said, I am bipolar.

So why do I feel so uneasy at telling people about starting this new treatment?

I know how unwell I am. I know how much I *need * to find stability. Even with this reality known from my recent experiences, I feel some sort of shame for starting an antipsychotic. It’s not like this is out of the ordinary for my treatment or anything. It is a fairly standard step in the long-term treatment of manic-depressive mood disorders, aka bipolar. Antipsychotics aren’t just for institutionalized, clinically insane people. Yet, I feel like I have to defend my decision to agree with my medical doctor’s suggestion to use them to help treat my illness. I can hear the voices of people assuming I am part of some sort of over medicated generation who just need to nut up and deal with life. Or perhaps people will admit that there are times when some brain may get off kilter and a medication is a useful tool to help someone find balance again, with the expectation that you will stop taking the drugs once you are better. Or maybe I do need long-term medication, but antipsychotics? Really? Things like that are expected to screw your brain chemistry all up. Images of the Jack Nicholson at the end of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” or Brad Pitt in “12 Monkeys” begin entering the imagination at the utterance of  “antipsychotic”. All of my fears of public reaction to living bipolar and taking antipsychotics are amplified when I think about the way church people are going to react to my treatment.

There have been words upon words spilt over the church’s reaction to mental illness. Now more than ever, it is much more acceptable for someone to be taking a medicine to help with depression or anxiety. We applaud people’s honesty and vulnerability for admitting that they have a prescription to help with a condition… well as long as it’s not too severe. It’s ok to deal with a few depressive episodes or socially crippling anxiety, but someone living with the possibility of a psychotic break, the chance to see hallucinations and lose touch with reality, that is too much, too real. That kind of issue needs to be locked away, shut up, hidden from our Sunday mornings and home groups. My mental illness needs to be manageable, understandable, treatable with one medication that has a socially acceptable name. I may wrestle with depression, but dealing with the ongoing cycles of depression and mania must be something I do in secret, away from the communion table, away from the pulpit, away from your sight.

At least, that’s how church culture has made me feel.

Jesus hasn’t, but Church Culture Has.

I was recently asked if I’ve had someone pray for me and my bipolar condition. I’ve been told to never forget where my real help comes from, and that God will deliver me. I’ve been told that my mood swings are attacks from the devil, and I need to not accept them as the ultimate truth of my self.

Jesus didn’t say these things to me. People who love and care about me did. People who mean well, but simply reinforce the shame I feel for having to treat my mood disorder with an antipsychotic. People who want me to be healthy, but refuse to accept my diagnosis as something they don’t really know anything about. People who want me to grow in faith and health, who are proud of me and believe in me, who love me and my family. They said these things to me.

Jesus didn’t.

Jesus didn’t ask me what I am doing to try to get better. Jesus didn’t ask if my faith is good enough to be healed. Jesus didn’t doubt my condition or my understanding of what I go through. Jesus didn’t try to give me some pie-in-the-sky hope about being healed if I hold on to a bible verse as my promise from him.

Jesus sits with me in the anxiety of starting a new medication.

Jesus is proud of me for treating my illness, even with an antipsychotic.

When Jesus says “grace”, he means real live, in the mess and the crazy, no matter what grace. It’s not some sly jab to imply that I need to try harder, do the right things, get better so that the current struggle with my condition will somehow pay off.

Christians are supposed to be like Jesus. So why isn’t the church a safer place for us mentally ill and our freaky ass treatments?

Look, I get it. Being around someone who is unstable is uncomfortable. The idea that you may be sitting in the pew next to someone on an antipsychotic might weird you out. I understand that you may not know how to talk to or act around someone you know has a mental illness. You may even sincerely believe that we mentally ill are all just afflicted with some demonic plague and need an exorcism to “be normal.”

My illness isn’t about you though.

When you don’t act like Jesus, when you let your un-comfort and your prejudice shape how you interact with me, with the mentally ill in your life, you are telling us all that our problems are not acceptable. You are telling us nothing but shame.

Jesus doesn’t do that, so why should you?

When I tell you about my illness, my treatments, my struggles, my successes, and my relapses, if you love me, if you value me as a human being, if you want to embody Jesus to me, please let my story of mental health be my story. When I share it with you, sit in it with me. Don’t tell me how to fix it. You are not my doctor, my therapist, or my God. My broken humanity is manifest in a way that you don’t understand, but is that a reason to reiterate shame based upon the discomfort or misunderstanding you feel? Especially when I am seeking treatment. Even if that treatment is an antipsychotic.

Flowers In The Canyon: Streams In The Desert, August 24th, 2013

“For our profit”  Hebrews 12:10
In one of Ralph Connor’s books he tells a story of Gwen. Gwen was a wild, wilful lassie and one who had always been accustomed to having her own way. Then one day she met with a terrible accident which crippled her for life. She became very rebellious and in the murmuring state she was visited by the Sky Pilot, as the missionary among the mountaineers was termed.
He told her the parable of the canyon. “At first there were no canyons, but only the broad, open prairie. One day the Master of the Prairie, walking over his great lawns, where were only grasses, asked the Prairie, ‘Where are your flowers?’ and the Prairie said, ‘Master I have no seeds.’
“Then he spoke to the birds, and they carried seeds of every kind of flower and strewed them far and wide, and soon the prairie bloomed with crocuses and roses and buffalo beans and the yellow crowfoot and the wild sunflowers and the red lilies all summer long. Then the Master came and was well pleased; but he missed the flowers he loved best of all, and he said to the Prairie: ‘Where are the clematis and the columbine, the sweet violets and wind-flowers, and all the ferns and flowering shrubs?’
“And again he spoke to the birds, and again they carried all the seeds and scattered them far and wide. But, again, when the Master came he could not find the flowers he loved best of all, and he said:
“‘Where are those my sweetest flowers?’ and the Prairie cried sorrowfully:
“‘Oh, Master, I cannot keep the flowers, for the winds sweep fiercely, and the sun beats upon my breast, and they wither up and fly away.’
“Then the Master spoke to the Lightning, and with one swift blow the Lightning cleft the Prairie to the heart. And the Prairie rocked and groaned in agony, and for many a day moaned bitterly over the black, jagged, gaping wound.
“But the river poured its waters through the cleft, and carried down deep black mould, and once more the birds carried seeds and strewed them in the canyon. And after a long time the rough rocks were decked out with soft mosses and trailing vines, and all the nooks were hung with clematis and columbine, and great elms lifted their huge tops high up into the sunlight, and down about their feet clustered the low cedars and balsams, and everywhere the violets and wind-flower and maiden-hair grew and bloomed, till the canyon became the Master’s favorite place for rest and peace and joy.”
Then the Sky Pilot read to her: “The fruit–I’ll read ‘flowers’–of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness–and some of these grow only in the canyon.”
“Which are the canyon flowers?” asked Gwen softly, and the Pilot answered: “Gentleness, meekness, longsuffering; but though the others, love, joy, peace, bloom in the open, yet never with so rich a bloom and so sweet a perfume as in the canyon.”
For a long time Gwen lay quite still, and then said wistfully, while her lips trembled: “There are no flowers in my canyon, but only ragged rocks.”
“Some day they will bloom, Gwen dear; the Master will find them, and we, too, shall see them.”
Beloved, when you come to your canyon, remember!

Praise & Worship: August 23rd, 2013

Song List

1.  Love Divine-  New Life Worship

2.  Buried In The Grave-  All Sons & Daughters

3.  I’m Gonna See Jesus-  B.J. Thomas

4.  Nobody Knows Me Like You-  Benny Hester

5.  Glorious-  Bryan & Katie Torwalt

6.  The World Needs Jesus-  Malcolm & Alwyn

7.  When I Look At The Blood-  Godfrey Birtill

8.  Washed By The Water-  NeedToBreathe

9.  The Wedding Song-  Noel Paul Stookey

10.  Peace In The Valley-  Ruth Brown

11.  Forgiveness-  Matthew West