Way off topic

This post has a content I don’t usually write about…

This post isn’t about Jesus – though He certainly is a part of the healing process.

what-is-dyscalculia.jpg

This post is about awareness of a condition known as “DYSCALCULIA” and the effects it is likely to have on children in and outside of school. 

 

 

It’s not just about math and not understanding numbers though that is always the main focus. This is about how dyscalculia flows into all areas of a child’s life, how it can create anxiety issues and social issues and the feeling of never being good enough… to even simply “cope”.

numbers_game_numbers.jpgHow a child with dyscalculia will feel too “shy” to trust her/himself enough to go buy a small thing in a shop simply because the concepts of numbers/money are off.

 

This article is from a website called UNDERSTOOD.org and this particular article addresses most of the issues that my daughter struggles with in daily life – despite not yet having reached her tween years. 

I urge you to click the link and give yourself a chance to understand that dyscalculia is a big deal – and if not found and tested in the early stages it will likely affect a child throughout life and not just in school related situations.

back-to-school.jpg

Dyscalculia isn’t as known as dyslexia. Perhaps because the school system places a lot of emphasis on the language arts – but more and more kids will experience dyscalculia in years to come, though I have no way of backing up that statement, I urge any parent – AND school system – to pay close attention.

Thank you.

Wine

It took me many years, but I finally get it. ashamed_face_4053.jpg

I’m ashamed. Sad.

“Hello, my name is Lene and my mom was an alcoholic”. I’m not. I can’t even stand the smell of beer – or blood – … for good reason.

I never before understood why she drank. Sure, have a nightcap or a glass now and then. But she drank daily and… now I understand.

The other day I took a glass of white wine. I don’t normally drink… The past week has been a really bad week. So I turned on the tv and had my glass of wine. I don’t know what I thought it would do, but Jesus opened up my eyes to something.

images.jpeg
It tasted fine. Actually very nice.

I found relief in the bottom of that glass. The pain of my heart – the overwhelming overtaking pain of helplessness went away and I actually laughed at something ridiculous on the tv.

Alcohol numbs the senses.

It made me “not care” so much. It was such a relief.

It wore off and I felt ashamed.

Not that I had taken a glass of wine. But that it had taken me so many years to figure out why my mom kept drinking. Daily. Too much. And paid the highest price possible: Her life.

When she drank she didn’t care so much. She didn’t feel the hurt and pain inside her or around her.

I finally understand.

intensive-care-unit-clip-art-1383980.jpgThe only reason why I’m sharing this with you, my fellow bloggers, is because I want to tell you – whisper in your ears – that I’m not an alcoholic and I won’t ever be. But now I understand why people, especially the sensitive types, feels such a need to “drown the sorrows in the bottle”.

But it leads… no place good. 10273974088957968_1357953156.jpg

I’m thankful I know Jesus and the tug in my heart will prevent me from drowning my sadness.

 

The story of my mom can be found here : How my mom passed away

 

 

 

The hidden part of grief

Okay, maybe it’s not so much hidden as it’s me just now realizing it… 

Sometimes a year seems like a very long time. Sometimes it just flies by. The past year has done both.
When I think of my daughter’s anxiety, depression, psychiatrist, psychologist, counseling, medication, fears and experiences, the year has passed by like a snail on the German autobahn!

But when I think of my dad and last summers long hard walk from hospital to hospice, watching him in agonizing pain despite extremely high dosages of morphine, to the phone call the morning of august 16th that it was over, to the funeral and the immediate grief that takes a hold of the heart when loosing a loved one – this past year has flown by faster than a Star Trek warp drive!

image1.jpg

It feels like it was just the other day that my brother and I went with the pine tree coffin, because dad loved nature so much and I simply couldn’t imagine him in the usual white one. We selected a natural stone and picked the duck, the fish and the stag for decorations on the stone for his burial site.IMG_3201.jpg

 

The grief has come in tidal waves. Some weeks were a lot harder than others. But after a year; grief is still here. I don’t believe we ever get over the loss of a loved on. But in time we learn to live with them being gone. I’m still learning. Every day it gets a teeny tiny bit easier.

There are different kinds of grief. We grieve when losing a loved one, but we also grieve when we learn that our child has anxieties/depression or some other debilitating issue.

That is a devastating grief too and anyone who has lived it, will know it.child-sad.png

I have help from above because I know Jesus is with me. But being a believer does not by any means except anyone from experiencing pain, sorrow, grief and sadness. Jesus experienced all of that too, so that we could have a high priest who understands our weaknesses.

Hebrews 4:14-16 (NLT)
So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.

Grief isn’t an illness. It’s a condition of the heart in which weakness is present for the time it takes to process the grief. 

A weakness I can’t handle without the Lord’s help and here’s why: This past year has taught me that grief leaves me vulnerable to temptations, fear, anger, irritability, indulging etc. In other words; It leaves me weak. In the natural process of grieving, I actually sin or do/feel things that can lead to sin.

No’b, I’m not proud of it… But I now understand that Jesus indeed knows every one of my weaknesses. So I can come boldly before His throne and find Grace to help me when I need it the most and that is the light in the middle of dark grief.

d183443d971e8caa8d04a20e55c54d5d.jpg

The Greatness of God

Igiveupkitty.jpg

To continue without fear and to keep going despite the forces of evil, feels like an impossible task to undertake.

The father of lies will tell me: “you’ll never make it”, “sadness will never go away” or he will use the more cunning one; The temptation to “give up and give in”!

I’m inclined to make a bold statement here and I know some may disagree, but I’m going to say it anyway, because I believe that I as well as my child and surely others too, have fallen prey to the evil one’s lie when he says “”you must keep going and not doubt“. Because it sounds very biblical I easily believe it.

stress-depression-girl-full.jpgBut I have found that it’s used to cause stress and anxiety. Those are not from the Lord!! – so if you encounter that or something similar, please run it by the Book before you keep going!

Lies are easily believed simply because the road ahead is too hard to manage and fear sneaks in – and the evil one knows exactly what buttons to push in each and every person. But…

Nothing is impossible with God!

Hebrews 11:27 “the Voice”:
By faith Moses left Egypt, unafraid of Pharaoh’s wrath and
moving forward as though he could see the invisible God.

Or NIV if you prefer:
By faith Moses left Egypt, not fearing pharao’s anger;
he persevered because he saw him who is invisible.

Or my personal favorite, the GNT;
It was faith that made Moses leave Egypt without being afraid of the king’s anger. As though he saw the invisible God, he refused to turn back.

BzCCNrn.jpgThere’s such hope in these words.
Fear takes a backseat when Faith is driving the Lamborghini!

I have no idea how Moses navigated his way “as though he saw the invisible God”, but Moses refused to turn back. He kept going. He persevered. He somehow knew he was on the right track!

I can’t see my invisible God. But I know that I’m still Blessed;

John 20:29 “The Voice” 
Thomas, you have faith because you have seen Me.
Blessed are all those who never see Me and yet they still believe.

nevergiveup.jpg

How can I see the Lord so I know I’m on the right path and can keep going and not give up or give in?

(seriously, you have to love this dog’s determination!!)

 

 

Philippians 4:6-7 “the Voice”

Don’t be anxious about things; instead, pray. Pray about everything. He longs to hear your requests,so talk to God about your needs and be thankful for what has come. And know that the peace of God (a peace that is beyond any and all of our human understanding) will stand watch over your hearts and minds in Jesus, the Anointed One.

Trust and fear has an ongoing battle. But only the Lord can bring hope and peace to any mind. Though satan can wrap himself in light and make me believe many things, he can’t give me the peace of God. God’s greatness is far beyond the strength of evil. It’s possible to delight in the Lord, to run to Him when fear comes knocking. 1418052245694.jpeg

 

How?

Maybe begin to list God’s many promises found in His Word!

May we all see the greatness of God and keep going.

 

God still loves me!

Oh the pride in me! I wish I could cut it out and throw it away or go see a doctor and have it removed. Unfortunately, it ain’t that easy. Pride is one of the sins in my life I have become increasingly aware of and I dislike that, possibly as much as I dislike having the pride in me in the first place. Yuck!

I want my own way or God’s way. Okay, mainly my own way but definitely not other people’s way. I often forget that God speaks through “other people” too and instead of listening and bproud-circle.pngeing concerned about What is right, I often am more concerned about Who is right…

But this morning He spoke through His Word. In Habakkuk 1:7 it says “…and in their pride they are a law to themselves.” 

There washumble-circle.png no tingling in my soul there, but rather a piercing yet gentle swoosh sound through my heart. Looking through a variety of translations, it all boils down to “pride” and making up own rules to follow. It’s a tempting yet dangerous road for every believer and I realized that God wants to take this pride out of me, so I can stand up and be around other people without that feeling of inferiority which comes with social anxiety.

Now that was humbling, but what’s even more humbling is this: Jesus goes through the trouble of telling me this, because despite all the yucky stuff inside me, He still loves me! 

Wait… I need a tissue…crying once a day.jpg

Perhaps it makes no sense to you – the inferiority and anxiety I mentioned: In a simple way; My pride makes me want only my own way/rules. When someone looks at it in a different light I can become stubborn (no way – it’s my way!) or, most of the time, feel inferior (why are they all so much better and more Godly than me! I can’t deal with this, I must get away from this, They are all so perfect and I’m not Godly enough to be here etc. I run, I hide, I pray and I cry). If I could be humble around other people, I wouldn’t be so easily intimidated – especially by other “proud-type” human beings.

temple.jpg

Habakkuk.jpgOne thing I really love about Habakkuk is that this minor prophet questioned God – asking the same questions we often ask today “why, Lord, why?!”. It’s clear that the world today is no better (though different) than it was back then and both in world view as well as in my own life, I often want to ask that “why” question; “Why is it like this? Why are some people sex-trafficking little girls? Why are babies left in alleys in some countries? Why are people so hung up on themselves they can’t see this big God who loves them? Why, why, why…” Habakkuk asked God questions like these… and it isn’t irreverent! Nor is it irrelevant!

God answers when He is asked from a heart who wants Him.

God is close because He comes to us. Granted, we sometimes do not get the answer we hope for… but we get one. If we listen.

Godiscloser.jpg

But even if I do not get the answer I hoped for, He still somehow manages to speak hope into my heart and that makes me joyful and it makes me want to love Him even more… So I praise Him. Just like Habakkuk did.

Remain Blessed in His love.

deer.jpg

 

 

Yes… and…

If I had a dollar – or 10 yen – for every time I had said “No”, I’d be one rich mamma!

Unfortunately the “no” never came with a money bank… or the incentive to put a 10 yen coin aside for more positive days.

As I’m learning about stress and my child from various books, I’m also learning about conversations and one book simply stated that a “no” always end the conversation. I may look at that slightly different than the author as my no has often been followed by the “why not” and “but I just want to…”, but anyway; I do get the point – A no does end a conversation (or puts it in a negative trajectory). So I try to learn how to not say “no”… let me be quite honest and straight forward with you: That is NOT an easy thing to do.

My “no’s” are so embedded into my own childhood and so far 9 years of being a parent and oh dear, is it ever difficult to zip the lip, stop and think and then go “Yes… and…” – Like this evening she called out from her room “mom, do you know how to catch a cockroach?”…”eh… no…. what??” to which she answered “then you’re not the one I’m calling!”. Couldn’t really come up with any “yes… and…” reply to that one!

But when I do manage to do it, and also come up with whatever has to follow the “and” part (trust me, that takes imagination!), it does work and my little darling daughter gets the positive vibe and so do I… it’s so positive it’s almost entirely unbelievable.

What it hasn’t done much for – yet anyway – is her anxiety. I was told that the positive vibe would reduce the stress and I’m sure it does, but so far the results hasn’t been seen. Last week she panicked in school and I was called to pick her up. It has reduced the stress in me and there is less strain between us… wrong – there is no less strain between us, it’s just of a more productive kind. Hmm; e.g. we have some tensions when she decides to follow her friends and play after school when I specifically told her to go home straight after because she has a playdate. E.g. more productive arguments. For me, it’s less stress. For her, it’s just another tense moment.

By the way – I did manage to catch and carry out the before mentioned cockroach!

FullSizeRender.jpg

God is good – All the time

He is good. He is God. He is Almighty. He can do anything.

God is the great I AM

He is good when you can’t face another day.

He is good when your heart cries and your mind is overwhelmed.

He is good when you are not.

He is good when you fell or failed and feel lousy.

He is still good when you think you are not worth being loved.

He loves the best and He loves the worst.

Never give up. Because God IS good all the time.

FullSizeRender.jpg

 

Embracing a soap bubble

Ever thought of teaching your kid how to be bored??
I have learned a great deal from watching my own kid and reading books and seeing counselors, psychologist and we are now on our way to see a psychiatrist and obviously, I’m far from an expert on the subject. But just a warning to you, the following may be a controversial subject to some.

My child doesn’t want to blow soap bubbles on her own, because it’s boring.
My child can’t blow soap bubbles with someone else, without turning it into some kind of competition.
This in itself may not appear to be a bad thing, but competition releases adrenalin into the blood. Too much adrenalin on a frequent basis is known as stress. Boring – or being bored is defined in the “Wiktionary” as “uninterested and without attention”. I may understand why it would be difficult to marvel over a soap bubble, when you can speed race a multiple-lives racecar-driver down winding mountains on your iPad… and it’s about the adrenalin again.

An adrenalin-kick can become addictive and most often without anyone realizing it, until it’s called anxiety.
My kid live in a world where everything is fast pace, high pressure, peer pressure, fierce competition with so many stimulating things kids “should” do and learn earlier than ever before. Here in Japan there are 2 year old kids who are learning to “read” kanji signs and hearing english sounds. Of course we want our kids to be the best they can be, but here is what I have learned about stress in kids during the past months while dealing with my daughters anxiety issues:
– Depression can stem from anxiety (most of the time though not always).
– Anxiety can be brought on by stress.
– Stress is – in short – what we feel when adrenalin and other hormones are released into our blood.
– Adrenalin is released when we are stimulated by anything that makes our “blood pump”. Have you ever watched a toddler going to some daycare place and the tears streaming when the kid has to be parted from its mom? yes, that’s separation anxiety and perfectly normal… but it’s also an adrenalin release stemming from fear and witnessed in full view (and even gently laughed at or found to be cute). Other examples may be watching or playing sports, videogames, tv, school test “I have to ace that test for school!”, “can’t live up to parents expectations”, halloween pranks, traumatic memories, saying goodbye to a loved one, watching someone in pain etc…
These are only examples. The list I’m sure could continue, but I’m not writing a thesis.

Adrenalin can help us get away from danger and it puts us on high alert and thus, our bodies in alarm mode. So adrenalin is designed to help us overcome and it will naturally wear off. But if adrenalin is released too frequent it becomes “just too much!”. People who suffer from PTS(D) have a very frequent dose of adrenalin released, due to whatever will trigger the memories of their trauma.

Every waking moment is filled with something in a child’s life today to the extend that kids aren’t bored and for some reason, kids “shouldn’t be bored” in today’s world. E.g. being bored means they aren’t doing anything educational, physical, academical or emotional. In essence kids may be on a constant “high” alert mode which isn’t healthy and just actually might explain the dramatic rise of kids who suffers from anxiety.

Have you ever wondered why watching tv makes you tired?
And have you ever wondered why being in God’s creation marveling at it doesn’t?
Sure, if you hike in the mountains you will get tired from the exercise, but just looking at the vast array of green colors the Lord gave a forest, will not put your brain in alert mode. We were not designed to constantly compete, learn, keep up and stay on top. Actually, Jesus took His disciples and withdrew from the crowds and often alone as well (Luke 5:16). He withdrew to pray and when we pray, we get so-called “down-time”. It’s a time when we pour out our hearts and stop our thinking. If you want to live a fearless life – a life without fear or a life without having a mind in constant alert mode – “withdrawing to solitary places to pray” might just be what you need.

For kids, or for my kid anyway, learning to be bored and enjoy those things that does not give her any adrenalin that will put her body into alert mode, is essential. This is where the soap bubble comes in…

Have you ever marveled at a soap bubble?

Have you ever been surrounded by plenty of small bubbles?

Have you ever stopped by a water stream, closed your eyes and just listened to the soothing sound of water flowing?

IMG_3882IMG_3879IMG_3883

 

I’m sorry this post got to be so long. I hope you made it all the way down here.
I have lots to learn yet about stress and my child, but I’m beginning to understand it.

 

Japan… will rise again.

I wasn’t going to write anything about Japan’s latest many, many, many… many earthquakes in the Kumamoto prefecture.
But then I watched the news and saw the photos and like a case of PTSD it all came back to me: 3.11.2011 the great eastern triple disaster.

Scrolling through tags in blogs I follow, I came across “earthquake” and I decided to jot down a few words:

Kumamoto is the prefecture on the most western island of Japan named Kyushu (and opposite of the Tokyo region in the east).
It was struck by a 6,5 M earthquake Thursday night and again on Saturday in the middle of the night a 7,3 M hits. For the next 7 days earthquakes of various sizes will continue relentlessly, experts say. Roads are broken, houses fallen down in ruins, landslides etc.
People were killed. Many have left their homes for shelter at local schools and community centers.

Kyushu does have an atomic powerplant, but it’s located on the southern tip of Kyushu island. It may be affected though so far we are told it has not. Mt. Aso is a volcano and a small eruption was observed. We can’t know if an eruption will come. Experts says no, but we also know that there are connections between earthquakes and volcanic activity.

But this is what the Lord had for me this morning, in light of the stress that followed 3.11 and I ask you to whisper this prayer with me for all the people of Kumamoto:

Lamentations 3:20-26 (GNT)

… – my spirit is depressed.

Yet hope returns when I remember this one thing: 

The Lord‘s unfailing love and mercy still continue,

Fresh as the morning, as sure as the sunrise.

The Lord is all I have, and so in him I put my hope.

160415090321-02-japan-earthquake-0415-super-169.jpg

The sketch – and the result

A while back my daughter was struggling greatly with a particular relationship in her class. At first I was fumbling blindly finding something to say that would help. But the Word of the Lord is always best! 

Proverbs 3:7-8 in the Good News translation told my girl that SHE was doing the right thing… 

So I thought I would be creative. 

The sketch: 
The poster that will go on her wall:  

She is every bit as creative as I like to think I am, so she told me which words to highlight in the verse and maybe I have to put more swirly flowers on, but in essence. 

Do the right thing and it will make you strong. 

Thank you Jesus!