Posted by: sarahjanedoohan | July 19, 2015

Randy Alcorn Quote

Randy Alcorn

Posted by: sarahjanedoohan | July 14, 2015

Pet Loss and Grief

Billy-Graham-Quote-Dogs-in-Heaven

What a beautiful quote by Billy Graham about his pet dog.  I can easily identify with this because pets really do become part of our family.  Saying goodbye is more difficult then I had ever imagined.  It just seems so unfair that their lives are far shorter then ours.  Animals can bring us so much happiness, which I’m sure was all in God’s planning when he created them.

Growing up on a farm I connected better with the animals then people most of the time.  They were all around nicer, and accepted me just the way I was.   Animals don’t criticize, manipulate, judge or have unrealistic expectations of you.  We are their world.  It’s hard to understand people who don’t like animals and won’t own them at all.  Really?  You never want to adopt a dog or cat?

Losing any kind of pet you’ve bonded with is very difficult.  When I was a child in elementary school my mother’s heart broke when we had to put down our childhood pony named Lady.  I remember her coming to the school to tell us the news rather then hear it from someone else – word had gotten out fast.  From that day forward my mother guarded herself from ever bonding with another pet to prevent the deep pain it had caused.  We dread it, postpone the inevitable for as long as possible.

Learning to let go can take a long time.  Burying your feelings and trying to minimize the loss can be a major mistake.  I did this and ended up in a depression.  I tried to shake it off, keep busy, and tell myself to get over it.

Time passed and I knew things had taken a turn for the worse and had to seek counseling.  Grief counselling taught me the importance of allowing yourself time to be sad.  Give yourself permission to cry specifically for your beloved pet for an allotted amount of time.  For myself this was 30 mins one time a week, where I would go there to that raw place.  Write in a journal your feelings throughout the process.  I focused on all the happier times and went back to it remembering those to write about.

As soon as my beloved pet died I went out and developed a photo album of his better days.  During my moments of sadness I would look at his variety of pictures and only be focusing on him.  It was the smartest advice I had ever received from a professional.  What you basically are doing is desensitizing yourself to the pain and accepting it.  Overtime the tears eventually dried up and I just sat there for the  30 mins.  The sadness had lifted little by little to the point that I had only beautiful memories that made me smile when I thought of him rather than cry.

What also helped tremendously is believing I would see him again one day.   This just can’t be the end as that was unacceptable to me.  I just knew it deep in my heart at one incredible moment we would meet again.  I was sitting pitifully alone bawling my eyes out and unable to function.  The Lord found a way to let me know in that horribly depressing state that I was never alone, and most importantly – that He cared deeply for me.

Immediate comfort flooded my mind.  Either His presence or an angel’s lifted me out of my misery in those precious moments.  This was really the only time in my life where I felt this indescribable feelings of peace and love.  I never saw a thing in my living room, but without a doubt my soul knew instinctively a spiritual being had just given me what no one else could.  Assurance that Jack was OK, and that we would be reunited someday when my journey here came to an end.

There is no doubt in my mind that this is the unspoken rewards in heaven God speaks about in the Bible.  We all know God’s Word has far more to say about the bad place rather then Heaven.

In another article I wrote years ago there was even more to this story.  I will briefly say that just moments after the pain was lifted from that heavenly presence my mother in law arrived banging on my back door.  God had sent her to me as He didn’t want me alone any longer.  She lived 90 mins away and had no idea she was in town.  And the other pretty amazing tidbit of information is that Jack’s passing March. 23, 2006, well our dog we adopted 2 years ago whom I love deeply – his birthday is March.23, 2013.  At the 7 year mark God gave me another precious pet to love.  Coincidence?  I think not.

Psalm 56:8 (NIV) Record my lament;  list my tears on your scroll are they not in your record?

You keep track of all my sorrows.[a]
    You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
    You have recorded each one in your book.  (NLT)

Pet Loss

Posted by: sarahjanedoohan | June 22, 2015

Autism and “Blending in”

Our son Silas is getting older and turns 5 the end of this year.   We are fortunate to be able to allow him another year at home before entering Kindergarten.

One thing that has become abundantly clear is that the goal placed by our child’s clinical supervisor will not be fulfilled.    Initially what they had hoped to accomplish is to have Si blend in with other children in a school classroom setting.

Expectations set early on to ease a parent’s concerns I suppose they try and be optimistic.  We have gone through a number of ASW’s that are overworked, unappreciated, and grossly underpaid – hence leading to burn outs.  The program is government funded and we are thankful for where we live to receive what we do.  It’s hard to imagine living anywhere else because these early intervention programs are costly elsewhere.  The other provinces encourage you to do private care which cost thousands.

In order to function positively as a family unit we’ve had to modify our lives everywhere.  We’ve learned what works and what doesn’t.  Unless you have a child yourself that is autistic you don’t grasp this.  Church life has been the hardest to accept because we are just so loud and distracting.  We are now attempting to attend the music side of the service (beginning) rather then participate in the children’s church.  Thankful that we can still run our community playgroup (non structured).  This fall marks our 4th year operating it.

Feelings of both encouragement and discouragement I seem to experience all in a run of day.  Sometimes I get my hopes up in one area, to have a door close.  He hasn’t shown any signs of awareness of bodily functions.  We are going to attempt to have him train now regardless and we are building a program around this. Having goals is healthy, and communication was and is always going to be at the top of our list.  The saying “Autism Speaks” has received a lot of heat because the reality is not all autistic children will learn to speak.   For now we fit into this category.

We continue to focus mainly on PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System), and are remaining in the middle phases of adapting this skill.  Eventually in elementary school Silas will likely transition to a great program building sentences on a tablet.  This sounds great to us!  We would love to know what Silas wants and needs are.  Guessing has led to an outpouring of frustration from him.

As usual my blog is the only place I can safely write.  It boggles my mind how judgmental a few can be.  It makes me uncomfortable to sometimes even acknowledge or speak about our son with people who I fear may interpret me as whining.  The last thing I want is to complain about him, as he deserves to be praised for his accomplishments.  He has worked so hard this past 1.5yr.  Not a typical childhood for him at all.  Life is challenging, but good.  We have a great life!  When this all developed though I was in a shock state and completely confused.  It was not a good mindset and I’m thankful the Lord has opened my eyes to all sorts of possibilities.

Silas is one happy little boy lately.  He is finally seeing clearer for the first time.  We have had our moments keeping his glasses on.  I went back to the park yesterday in the pouring rain hoping to find them.  After searching high and low all over our property, turned our home upside down, God led our daughter to a place they were tucked away.

Lydia literally just stumbled upon them hidden away in a drawer where somehow they ended up?  Funny how I had already checked there more then once.  God works in mysterious ways, and clearly answered my prayer!  We didn’t have coverage for his eye glasses due to my husband changing jobs.  Those are pricey and we only have the one pair.  I’m taking our daughter out this afternoon for a reward.  Naturally it involves sweets :)  She is one incredible sister to her brother Si.  Both of our children are enormous blessings.

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Psalm 37:4  Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Posted by: sarahjanedoohan | June 13, 2015

The Ripple Effect

James 4:12  There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy.  But you – who are you to judge your neighbor?

Life is full of us making a series of mistakes.  It’s just plain and simple when it comes down to it.  Albert Einstein’s philosophy of “insanity” was doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.  I’m totally guilty of falling into this category.

Recognizing life’s little instigators and triggers is crucial to stopping our repetitive behaviors and errors in judgment.  Ultimately this usually is a chain of events that lead up to those regretful moments.  Words you can’t take back once they are out.

Each person makes both conscious and unconscious decisions every single day of their lives.  Unconscious decisions are things that come naturally to us like getting out of bed in the morning.  And of course the rest of our decisions are really choices we make.  Do I want to eat white bread or whole wheat for lunch?

Anyone is capable of change if they never stop pursuing it.  Over and over I’ve heard sayings like “People don’t change.” and “A leopard doesn’t change their spots.” etc.  Well maybe so, but if people truly want to change I believe it is absolutely possible.

We can hurt others unintentionally by not placing ourselves in their situation.  It’s impossible to grasp what someone is actually feeling if we have never gone through it personally. It’s a large range of traumatic events people go through in life, and we need to be compassionate to those who have undergone painful things. A few examples would be the grieving process, divorce, recovering addict, been dumped, failure, been to war, job burn out, homeless, abused, etc, Saying “I know how you feel.” to someone going through these sort of things is meaningless. If you haven’t walked in their shoes, than no, you don’t.  Generally when we know better we do better.

People on social media fishing for compliments claim they want honesty when posting online surveys like “Describe me in one word.”   Ah huh, yeah right.  Nobody dares put the first adjectives that initially pop in their heads because they don’t want to offend the person.  Imagine typing in actual truthful characteristics that we’ve experienced first hand such as “noncommittal”, “demanding”, “paranoid”, “petty”, or “intimidating”.  That would go over well!

If you have a pulse, you have both negative and positive traits.  Hopefully your positives far outweigh the not so nice ones.  Be great if the first words that did come to mind when others think of you are in a better light.

But seriously we all wonder and hope people respect us as a person and have faith in us.  Reputations can be destroyed by the choices we make.   They can also be restored, but never to the original.  It amazes me how quickly reputations can be ripped to shreds by a few careless words in passing.  Hurting people hurt others out of their own pain.  Lots of us have unresolved issues that plague us.

Romans 12:12  Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

Making logical and rational decisions usually happens after we’ve consulted with our Lord.  Negative instinctual reactions that go on impulse can be curbed with God’s help primarily.  Out of the mouth the heart most definitely speaks eventually.  We have to work on heart issues.  I know from first hand experience that dropping your guard even for a moment can reek havoc.  The good news is life goes on and we do not stay stagnant.

Growth and maturity comes from exposure to all forms of sin.  Sinful acts done to us have far reaching damaging consequences.  You know the ripple effect taps into all aspects of your life.  Stay the course and overcome with constant communication with God.  Keep learning those tough lessons and strive to make less mistakes.  It’s a good clear goal.

Here’s what I know for sure, I give everyone I meet the benefit of the doubt.  Unless you are directly involved in a situation, don’t believe everything you read and hear about unless you know the facts for certain.  It really is sad how others build themselves up by bringing others down.   Society is filled with plenty of insecure people.  See it for what it is, and rise above it.

James 1:19,20  My dear brothers, take note of this:  Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for a man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.

The-Ripple-Effect-5

Posted by: sarahjanedoohan | May 14, 2015

I Never Dreamed

Proverbs 17:17  A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.

When I was little I truly felt like I never fit in anywhere.  I looked the same on the outside as the other children, but inside I felt different from the rest.  I wasn’t dreaming about who I’d marry someday, or what kind of wedding we could plan.  As a kid I never imagined what form of career path I’d someday choose.   I never even dreamed of becoming a mother.  I wasn’t one of those girls pretending to be pregnant with a basket ball under her shirt!  In my youth I wasn’t a dreamer.

As a kid, hours upon hours were spent in our barn with horses, calves, goats, rabbits, cats, and the dogs.  I learned a long time ago not bond with the chickens or pigs as the autumn meant their time was up.  So many good memories  taking care of all of these critters in the evenings after school, and all my free time.   God knew how much I needed animals, and it was by no accident my family moved to a farm when I was 6.  Never was there a moment wasted with my furry friends.  They were therapeutic to a very mixed up child.

I cannot speak opening about my past.  The only freeing moment I’ve had is the decision to take my life back by seeking help.  Counselling was long overdue.

Since then I’ve learned that I’m the only one responsible for my actions.  I cannot express and criticize others on how I believe they should respond or react to the knowledge.   Discovering this came later in life then it should have.  This would have saved me a whole lot of heartache.  Betrayal has crippled relationships.  I felt first and foremost betrayed by God.  I was so especially angry with Him.  It kept me from getting too close to Him over the years, and growing in my faith.

Everyone has to hit rock bottom as some point in their lives.  This likely is the way our Father goes about getting our attention.  Usually painful, but obviously effective and necessary.  Thankfully for me it happened before I had my children in my early 30’s.  I had to really get it together and stop relying on others to fulfill my happiness.  No one can measure up against God.  The Lord never disappoints us because He always has a reason behind what He does.

Psalm 120:1  I call on the Lord in my distress, and he answers me.

Fundamentally at heart I tend to be overly serious.  I was diagnosed with a learning disability in high school which held me back from many things during the school years.  I had to work incredibly hard and dealt with failure as best as one can.  Finding my strengths in speeches, projects, creativity, and essays is what kept me passing.   I had developed coping skills to hide many things, and school was just another giant hurdle.

But how do you get people to like you I had wondered as a kid?  Ah, the learning curb of being a puppet and doing anything and everything they asked.  My standards for friendships were pretty low.  Reflecting back, it does actually sadden me to think of the wasted energy I put out for people who generally had agendas.  Knowing you’ve been manipulated makes it only harder to risk trusting again.

It may appear that I am popular to many.  I genuinely love and care about all people.  It was a liberating feeling when I finally discovered Jesus was and always has been my best friend.  No one understands our pain like Jesus.  Period.  It’s just bonus that I do not have to entertain Him.  I can just be me, and that’s enough.  That’s a pretty amazing feeling.

Nehemiah 8:10 The joy of the Lord is your strength.

This month is my 37th year alive and healthy.  Now I find myself dreaming of what the Lord has in store for me in the next 37 years.   Everyday of life is a precious gift that the majority of us take for granted.

Today I watched my aunt Shirley say goodbye to her son.  He left behind a lovely wife and 7 year old son.  They put on brave smiles for the funeral attenders.  Usually we are unprepared for deaths final call.  It really was heartbreaking, and a wake up call to keep on doing what we are called to do.  Get the Word out. Each of us has the privilege to help lead others to Christ. Knowing this isn’t the final goodbye helps immensely.

2 Corinthians 5:20  We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.

Each human soul needs purpose, goals and clear direction.  If you lack this like I did for so long, it’s a hopeless feeling.  The enemy stole a lot of years from me keeping me angry and fearful.

Gratefulness to Jesus is what I feel for intervening on my behalf.  He gave me something to dream about.  There is so much more to life when you can see clearly for the first time.  Wrapped up in yourself always will give you a sad ending.  The “self” movement is polar opposite to where our heads should be at.  Die to self.  Romans Chapters 6-8.

Hebrews 12:2   Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

I began to dream about heaven.  Why didn’t this place ever matter to me before?  All I knew was I didn’t want to go to hell, so anything besides that would be acceptable.

There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t dream about that incredible place that someday will be our reality.  My dream is to have as many people there as possible.  Have I been a positive light in someones life?  Can they now see Jesus in me?   When I was blinded by anger, I know Jesus was not shining through.  He was very dim hidden behind my grievances.

Matthew 5:14-16  14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Light of the World

 

 

 

 

Posted by: sarahjanedoohan | February 6, 2015

Treasure In Heaven

This is a video that I found very helpful.  Really explains Heaven from the Jewish perspective.  This video is done by “First Fruits of Zion”. Have a look.

http://tv.ffoz.org/episodes/treasure-in-heaven.html?utm_content=bufferdd2ff&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer#.VNUAsubF-n8

Posted by: sarahjanedoohan | February 6, 2015

Keeping It Real

Silent

Posted by: sarahjanedoohan | January 8, 2015

“Extreme Love: Autism Documentary” Review

Psalm 139:13-16  For you created my inmost being;  you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;  your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.  When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body.  All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

It was 2 days before Christmas and I made the mistake of watching a video called “Extreme Love: Autism” documented by the BBC’s Louis Theroux.  This was definitely not something that gave me Christmas Spirit.  The whole thing left a dark cloud over my head for days.

The purposes of making documentaries is to educate the public and make them more aware.  This does not show the broad spectrum of autism, but extreme cases (severely affected by autism).  This would seem like shocking behavior to people who do not understand some of these negative behavior traits of ASD Autism Spectrum Disorder.  Nothing positive can come from this program other then frightening people.

What my biggest concern is eventually they’ll be genetic testing for autism and this is not something people should see due to it not being a fair balance.  Reports of 98% of pregnancies are ended if they are found to have Down Syndrome.  Other genetic testings are done to weed out these (non perfect fetuses).  They told me knowledge is power so you would be prepared – no surprises.  I agreed and had the testing done like everyone else is encouraged.   It’s not far off with the startling numbers of children with Autism that researchers will soon have the answers and will begin testing for this during pregnancy.

The title alone is very telling “Extreme Love”.  What does that even mean?  Oh, if you have a child like these demonstrated you’d have to try extra hard to love them?   It upsetting me and I cried throughout watching at the obvious pain and frustration these children were going through.

Our son Silas is also considered special needs being diagnosed severely autistic.  I can safely say our love for him knows no bounds.  The thought of it being difficult to love him is absolutely ridiculous.  It’s not an easy life but trouble loving them enough?  Are we any different from the next person?  Nope.  It makes no difference whether your child has mild, moderate or severe autism, or whatever disability.  Ask any parent who has a child that is different from others and you’ll see very quickly they have no regrets about having their child, and love them just as much as their other children.  We don’t love them less because they are different.

Educating the public about the realities of these children’s special needs is totally fine.  I have zero problem with that.  All this mother would like to see is the whole story rather then distorted version of how bad it can get.  People need to be more open minded about the possibilities these children’s futures have.  Many autistic children lead productive lives and contribute/offer much to society.  

This documentary lacked balance and showed mostly older children that have become a true problem for the parents. Parents crying and about how difficult their lives serves no purpose.  The video ends on the note of what will we do with these burdens once they turn 18?  Group homes?  Bagging groceries the rest of their lives?  Sounds promising right?  I will say this, most of the parents showed immense love for their children, but were at their wits end.  From one parent to another I get it.  It is hard, but there is always the good moments.  These needed to be shown.  It left Louis Theroux (man conducting interviews for his documentary), simply astounded by the parents determination.

All I know for sure is this…Silas knows authentic love from us and we do not consider him a burden of any kind.  Real genuine parent child love.  The Lord blessed us with an amazing child who has changed our lives for the better.  I thank God for blessing us with two beautiful children.

Psalm 127:3  Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him.

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Posted by: sarahjanedoohan | December 10, 2014

Illusions

Galatians 6:2  Carry each others burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

As I sit here and ponder thoughts of the happenings this past year has encompassed, I find myself dealing with an internal struggle of conflicting emotions.  By nature I feel as though my mind goes to the negative before it considers the positives.  Back and forth I go being pleased in one moment and worrying the next.

A big draft is coming in my window and need to put a sweater on.  I think “Wow, we really need to put some sort of seal over this window.”  Not “Better order some new windows for this older drafty home.”  That’s not going to happen, so I don’t even consider it.  That is so down on the list of needs of necessities.

We live in a world of illusions.  It’s so easy to assume things these days by what we see and hear on social media.  

What people don’t know is that my husband works 2 full time jobs, and has for the past couple years.  When we hear so and so owns/runs their own business, many jump to the conclusion that they must be successful.  Not necessarily.  It usually means the person is hard working because they are following their passion.  Who wouldn’t want to be their own boss?  The payoff is fantastic.  Is it the almighty dollar they are striving for?  Sure, most are, but not us.

How do you measure success?  Is it the actual amount deposited every month?  If that’s the case then we are a far cry from what most would consider successful.  But the message sometimes we send out to our friends and family is that we are doing great, or in other words, no struggling. Life is messy.

Here is what I know for sure.  The Lord is always faithful.  He knows our needs before we ask.  But He wants us to remain humble and truly learn to depend on Him.  My faith that everything is going to be OK is strong.  That’s why I just keep smiling despite the realities of our ongoing financial stresses.  I have this joy in my heart that never leaves me, because I know this life is temporary.  God has gotten us out of some mighty sticky situations in the past, and He’ll do so again when the need arises.

“Faith sees the invisible, believes the unbelievable, and receives the impossible.”  Corrie Ten Boom

Posted by: sarahjanedoohan | November 8, 2014

Our Weak Attempts & Approaches to Prayer

I think we can all identify with some of these all too human approaches to prayer.  This is one of my favorites.

The Skinny on Prayerhttps://skitguys.com/videos/item/the-skinny-on-prayer

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