Thursday, May 30, 2013

HELL, NAW Part 2

The Lord is still working on me about this discretion issue. It is still so hard for me to keep my mouth shut when I see inconsistencies and injustices. I feel it is my responsibility and duty to shed light on them even when it is not my battle. Somebody say, "Pray for Alison." Now somebody else, for real, pray for Alison. I'm serious.

Recently, I shared with a small group of people the details of a disagreement I had in the workplace. Remember back in middle school when two people would get in a fight and then these other people will suddenly appear on the sidelines egging them on? We called them instigators. Well, the instigators have followed me into adulthood and told me all about how they would have handled the situation and what they would not have let the other person get away with.

The Holy Spirit quickly brought to mind a PSA I saw on
YouTube where a girl's friend tells her what she would do (if she were in her shoes) to get back at her boyfriend. At the end of the night, the instigator was free while her friend got locked up for taking her advice. You can get messed up listening to other people's nonsense!

On another note, I used to feel guilty after I "corrected" or "read" people and became afraid of the possible negative consequences. Will I miss out on career opportunities? Will I ruin relationships and friendships?

I try not to be ruled by fear anymore but instead be more sensitive to the Holy Spirit. I try not to worry about what man may do to me but be concerned whether or not my behavior is pleasing to God and if I am being a good witness. My prayer is not to try to win the argument (even though that is very satisfying) or make the person feel low with my words but whether Christ is glorified.

Continue to pray for Alison. . .

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Reflections from a Single Mom of a Special Needs Child on Mother's Day

From time to time I invite fellow gleaners to share their gleaning experiences here at the gleanse. Today we have my co-worker and friend Kim Ketler. She is a strong, passionate, and compassionate supermom.


"Before you were conceived I wanted you. Before you were born I loved you. Before you were here an hour I would die for you. This is the miracle of life."  ~ Maureen Hawkins
"There is something wrong with your baby."
             When I heard those words spoken at 37 weeks of pregnancy, I did not realize how quickly my life was going to change forever.  Sixteen weeks after the birth of our disabled son, my husband decided he no longer wanted to be married and moved 75 miles away from me and our two boys. Grieving the loss of a healthy child, the end of my marriage, and entering my new "wait and see world" was almost too much to handle. Every doctors appointment ended with the same comment, "we will just have to wait and see." 
             Due to the stroke my son suffered in utero, he is missing a large portion of his brain. He also suffers from Hydrocephalus, Cerebral Palsy and numerous other conditions. Austin has had two brain surgeries, spinal cord surgery, placement of a feeding tube, orthopedic surgery, and has been in physical therapy since he was eight weeks old. He has experienced more pain and suffering than many people will ever experience in their lifetime.  
             The doctors thought he would never talk because he is missing the part of the brain that controls speech.  As I taught him and myself baby sign language, he started to make sounds you couldn't understand but you knew it had to be a word! Today Austin can tell me quite clearly, "I love you Mom." Words I thought I would never hear out of his mouth. It makes me cry just thinking about it. Watching him reach new milestones every day, which takes more effort than a typical child, is a true joy and a blessing from God! 
              Today, my son is five years old and my life is better than I imagined it ever would be. It's not an easy life and quite challenging most of the time. However, I can honestly take a look back at all the therapies, appointments, sleepless nights, tears, triumphs, milestones, fears and say with certainty that it is absolutely worth it! I love being his mother and thank God everyday for trusting me and allowing me to raise such a special child. God has shown his love for me by providing me daily strength, courage, and determination to continue this journey, which I consider to be a beautiful struggle. 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

"Regular People"

The Cosby Show was my favorite TV show growing up, that is, until A Different World premiered then it became my second favorite show. On Thursday nights, me, my mom, and my brothers would sit down together in my parent's room to watch (my dad worked late most of the time).

One Cosby episode that has always stood out in my mind is the one where Dr. Huxtable admonishes his only son, Theo for not applying himself in school. Do you remember that one? Where Dr. Huxtable tried to teach Theo life lessons with monopoly money? In that episode, Theo gives this moving speech about how everyone couldn’t be doctors and lawyers like his parents. He insisted that some would only be “regular people.” His speech was so heartfelt, I bought into the concept until Dr. Huxtable quickly dismissed Theo’s argument as pure B.S. His real problem was that he didn’t want to apply himself.
There was once a period of time that I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life and had little motivation. During that time I tried to convince myself I would be "regular people" like Theo. But one day, the Holy Spirit spoke to me (yes, He speaks to me. We are cool like that.) He said, “Now you know good and well you would never be satisfied with just being regular. I have given you aspirations and goals. I have good gifts in store for you. How dare you not take advantage of them!”

 I'm not sure what Theo meant by regular anyway. Are there really people who are meant to be just "regular"? What do regular people look like? Do they work 9 to 5 blue collar jobs and party on the weekend as their reward? Do they stay out of the spotlight just wanting to do their job and go home without worrying about impressing the boss to gain promotions and bonuses?

 Or do "regular people" look like Charles Ramsey who saw a woman in distress, stepped in and helped three kidnapped women in Ohio escape from their captors not knowing he was helping to solve three 10-year-old cold crime cases?

Monday, May 6, 2013

Breaking the Silence

 From time to time I invite other gleaners to share here at thegleanse.
Welcome back Jeralyn Powell as she bravely shares the second installment of her yet untitled series. . .

 "Silence is easy to misread. "

~A. A. Attansio

Some things are better left unsaid….right? But, truthfully, I wasn’t always comfortable or open about my depression. When I first thought this was really serious, I told people on a need to know basis. I was ashamed of not being able to control my emotions and felt solely responsible for feeling the way I did. More than anything, though, I couldn’t predict how the person would react. When I finally decided it was time to get some help, I didn’t know who to talk to or how to describe what I was feeling. All I knew was that something was wrong and the mask act wasn’t working anymore.

A month later, a physician officially diagnosed me, wrote me a couple of prescriptions, and told me to continue with my counseling sessions. What should have brought relief only brought a much heavier load. I had waited a month to be sure it wasn’t just a thing. Now, I had to face the truth. So I told the people I hoped would love me through anything, even this. I wish I could tell you that everybody was supportive, but I would be lying. Stigma is real and people generally are ignorant in what to say to a person going through depression. My friends and family (those who knew) and I all learned how to deal with the illness. In the end, my admission was the first step towards my healing.

In my silence, I would still probably be hurting. In my silence, I did more harm than good to myself and to other people around me. It’s true what they say - hurt people hurt people. Because I chose to be silent about my sickness, I lost friends, broke promises and missed opportunities. Now, I am making a different choice because too many people suffer in silence. I am choosing to break the silence so that you or your loved one no longer has to suffer.