My New Title: Plumber

In our family I have many many roles. I am not just a wife; I am a nurturer, doctor, nurse, teacher, cab driver, cook, house keeper, homework helper, clothing washer, cheerleader, coach and disciplinarian to my 2 young children. A new role just added to my list of titles -a plumber.

My 5 year old Austria was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and has many sensory issues. At one point, she was obsessed of playing with lotion, shampoo and any liquid type of make-up. She will squeeze a tube of toothpaste until the contents are gone or mixed with other stuff.

One day while she was taking a bath, she got hold of my expensive shampoo and poured the whole contents in the bath tub. Blame it to me. I forgot to place it back at the shampoo rack dispenser after I showered.

Countless times we have said “No!” and “We don’t do that!” Thank God through the help of her therapist, she was able to gradually eliminate that behavior. Oh well, it was a very short relief.

Once she was potty trained and became independent going to the toilet, our new nightmare began. Austria became fixated of getting rolls of tissue to wipe her private part after using the toilet. She dumps the tissue paper inside the toilet bowl that causes it to clog.

We used to call a plumber a lot and oh boy, it was draining our wallet! So we researched how to unclog a toilet bowl. We experimented with dish soap and hot water method, plunger method, wire coat method, plumbing snake method, vacuum method, enzymes method and baking soda and vinegar method. We became very good at it!. And if these methods don’t do its job, we just call the plumber again!

We did our best in monitoring her when she goes potty. We make sure that she uses just enough tissue paper. I have tons of chores at home and I really don’t get to watch her most of the time. Although we trained her to ‘ask mommy’, she still finds her way to go without letting me know.

There were several incidents she clogged the bowl and the water overflowed! Thank God it was just pee!!!! I had to dry the floor and sanitized it.

The clogging of the toilet bowl stopped for a while and I kinda knew she’ll move to another fixation of some sort.  As expected, this time she started playing with the tissue paper on the sink bowl! One afternoon as i was walking through the hallway, I wondered why the carpet is soaking wet. I opened the bathroom and to my horror, the whole bathroom was under water!!! Austria clogged the sink again! So I have to go through the whole ordeal of cleaning up and vacuuming the whole area. Most of the time, Moses is not around when it happens so I do the unclogging.

I used to easily get mad, irritated, and react when those events happen. We are getting tired and frustrated. This is not acceptable! We are doing an intensive unpleasant behavior intervention with the help of her therapist and we are seeing some progress.

Just to make sure that she does not do it again, we recently placed a hook to lock the door so she does not really have a choice but to ask mommy when she feels like going. It can be challenging at times but taking care of a special needs child is a blessing and a privilege at the same time.

9 Foods to Help You Lose Weight

Losing weight is a matter of simple math. To drop pounds, you need to eat fewer calories than you burn. There’s no way around that. But what you eat can have an impact.

“Certain foods can help you shed body weight,” says Heather Mangieri, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, “because they help you feel full longer and help curb cravings.”

Some even kick up your metabolism. So consider this list when you go to the supermarket:

1. Beans

Cheap, filling, and versatile, beans are a great source of protein. Beans are also high in fiber and slow to digest. That helps you feel full longer, which may stop you from eating more.

2. Soup

Start a meal with a cup of soup and you may end up eating less. It doesn’t matter if the soup is chunky or pureed, as long as its broth based. You want to keep the soup to 100 to 150 calories a serving. So skip the dollops of cream and butter.

3. Dark Chocolate

Want to enjoy chocolate between meals? Pick a square or two of dark over the milky version. In a Copenhagen study, chocolate lovers who were given dark chocolate ate 15% less pizza a few hours later than those who had eaten milk chocolate.

4. Pureed Vegetables

You can add more veggies to your diet, enjoy your “cheat” foods, and cut back on the calories you’re eating all at the same time. When Penn State researchers added pureed cauliflower and zucchini to mac and cheese, people seemed to like the dish just as much. But they ate 200 to 350 fewer calories. Those healthy vegetables added low-cal bulk to the tasty dish.

5. Oatmeal

Researchers gave one group of study subjects oatmeal for breakfast, while a second group was served a ready-to-eat oat-based breakfast cereal. Both breakfasts clocked in at 363 total calories. When asked to rate their appetite at regular intervals after finishing, the oatmeal eaters described themselves as significantly less hungry and more satisfied than the cereal eaters—even up to four hours following their meal. Researchers think it has to do with the fact that oatmeal is thicker and delivers more filling fiber than other cereals.

6. Nuts

For a healthy snack on the run, choose a small handful of almonds, peanuts, walnuts, or pecans. Research shows that when people munch on nuts they automatically eat less at later meals.

7. Apples

Skip the apple juice or the applesauce and opt instead for a crunchy apple.  Research shows that whole fruit blunts appetite in a way that fruit juices and sauces don’t. One reason is that raw fruit contains more fiber. Plus, chewing sends signals to our brain that we’ve eaten something substantial.

8. Yogurt

Yogurt can be good for your waistline. Yogurt, of all the foods that were tracked, was most closely linked to weight loss.Vegan yogurts come from alternative milk sources such as coconut milk, almond milk, soy milk, and a few other sources. There are so many vegan yogurts on the market.

9. Grapefruit

Yes, grapefruit really can help you shed pounds, especially if you are at risk fordiabetes. Researchers at the Scripps Clinic in San Diego found that when people ate half a grapefruit before each meal, they dropped an average of 3 1/2 pounds over 12 weeks. Drinking grapefruit juice had the same results. But be careful: You cannot have grapefruit or grapefruit juice if you are on certain medications, so check the label on all your prescriptions, or ask your pharmacist or doctor.

Shop Smart

Remember to load your shopping cart with lots of lean protein, fresh veggies, fruit, and whole grains, says food scientist Joy Dubost, PhD, RD. “The overall nutritional composition of your total diet remains the most important thing when it comes to lasting weight loss.”

 

The subtle ‘sin’

Do you know which sin is the subtle enemy of simple faith?

Materialism and greed? Anger? Lust? Hypocrisy? No. All of these sins are certainly our enemies, but none of them qualify as subtle enemies.

Stop and think. Once you decide to trust God in simple faith and allow Him complete freedom to carry out His plan and purpose in you, as well as through you, you need only to relax and count on Him to take care of things you once tried to keep under control.

From now on you won’t step in and take charge. “God is well able to handle this,” you tell yourself. Then, in a weak moment, the adversary of your soul whispers a doubt or two in your ear, like, “Hey, what if—?” If that doesn’t make you churn, he returns in the middle of the night and fertilizes your imagination with several quasi-extreme possibilities, leaving you mildly disturbed if not altogether panicked. No one can tell by looking (and you certainly wouldn’t think of telling anyone), but in place of your inward peace and simple faith, you are now immobilized by . . . what?

You guessed it, the most notorious faith killer in all of life: worry.

“For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” (Matthew 6:25)

Being something of a wordsmith, I find the term worry fascinating, though the reality of this in our lives can be downright maddening. To begin with, the word used by Matthew (translated here as “worried”) is the Greek term merimnao. It is a combination of two smaller words, merizo, meaning “to divide,” and nous, meaning “the mind.” In other words, a person who is anxious suffers from a divided mind, leaving him or her disquieted and distracted.

Of all the biblical stories illustrating worry, none is more practical or clear than the one recorded in the last five verses of Luke 10. Let’s briefly relive it.

Jesus dropped by His friends’ home in Bethany. He was, no doubt, tired after a full day, so nothing meant more to Him than having a quiet place to relax with friends who would understand. However, Martha, one of those friends, turned the occasion into a mild frenzy. To make matters worse, Martha’s sister, Mary, was so pleased to have the Lord visit their home that she sat with Him and evidenced little concern over her sister’s anxiety attack.

As Luke tells us, “Martha was distracted with all her preparations” (Luke 10:40). We can imagine her scurrying around the kitchen, kneading dough, basting the lamb, boiling the vegetables, trying to locate her best dishes, hoping to match tablecloth and napkins, ultimately needing help to get it all ready at the proper time. But Martha didn’t have help, and that was the final straw. Irritated, exasperated, and angry, she reached her boiling point; and her boiling point led to blame. “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me” (10:40).

But Jesus was neither impressed by her busyness nor intimidated by her command. Graciously, yet firmly, He said, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her” (10:41-42).

Worry occurs when we assume responsibility for things that are outside our control. And I love the Lord’s solution: “but only one thing is necessary.” What a classic example of simple faith!

Martha had complicated things by turning the meal into a holiday feast. Not Mary. All Mary wanted was time with Jesus . . . and He commended her for that. Mary’s simple faith, in contrast to her sister’s panic, won the Savior’s affirmation.

Originally posted by Charles Swindoll at Insight.org 

Becoming A ‘Parent’ To My Parent

adult helping senior in hospital

My mother was 84 years old when she passed away in March of last year. Everyone in our family mourned of her loss but at the same time was relieved that she now can finally rest in peace from her long suffering illness. We have prayed to God to extend her life, but we have also surrendered to His sovereignty; God has been in control of my mother’s life.

My parents live in the Philippines and I live in the United States with Moses and our 2 young children. We did our best to visit them every other year because they were getting old and I wanted our children to build memories with their grandparents while they are still able to walk and talk.

My mother was a strong woman but her years of smoking took its toll. In 2007, she broke her left hip and underwent  a successful hip replacement. After months of extensive physical therapy, she regained her strength and was able to walk around town again.

The following year, she broke her other right hip and a new replacement was needed for her to be able to walk again. Because her health was deteriorating, the surgeon advised to postpone the operation until her body gets stronger. After several months, her health was declining instead of getting better. She couldn’t walk at all and just relied from the assistance of her caregiver.  .

When my mother started getting seriously ill and was visiting the hospital more often, my husband and I decided to see her for a longer time in 2009.  My dad, my 2 other siblings and a caregiver were caring for her 24/7 and I wanted to personally care for her as well.

In the Philippines, there are no nursing homes for the sick and elderly. It is the immediate family who cares for them and for some who can afford it, they hire  a helper or a caregiver to assist them especially if they have full time jobs.

I love my mother dearly and i will do what it takes to make her feel she is loved and cared for. My mother did her best raising me up and made sacrifices to be a great parent to me. It is now my opportunity to serve her and my turn to be a ‘parent’ to my parent.

When I saw her again, I could feel her hopelessness. I cried seeing her physical condition. She was very frail and weak. The following days of my stay, I got to fully care for her. I prepared her food, fed her, bathe her, massaged her whole body and tucked her to bed. I read to her scriptures of hope and encouragement.

I brought home a special food blender so it’s easier for her to swallow the food. I also purchased a toilet and bath chair that is designed for elderly people which we don’t usually have in the Philippines. Because she was lying down on her bed most of the time, she developed bed sores. I had to clean them and apply the ointment every 6 hours until the flesh dried up. I could feel my mothers physical pain. I retired every night with a heavy heart and I allowed myself to cry until i fell asleep.

During my stay, I rearranged some of the furniture in her bedroom to accommodate her wheelchair so she can have easier access to everything she needed. I had our kitchen and dining room remodeled as well. It was a huge undertaking for a very short period of time but i had to do what is best for her.

Although my mother was barely talking, I could sense she was asking for help. She wanted to walk again. I asked her if she is ready to have another hip replacement and she nodded without hesitation. We went to see her doctor to check whether she is physically able to have another major operation.

After a week of testing, her surgeon said she can be operated but it is going to be risky. If she will go under the knife again, she may lose a lot of blood and may not make it. I took a deep breath and communicated clearly to my mother about the risks, that she may possibly die on the operating table.

She whispered to me “I am ready to take the risk.” I realized she was making a ‘matter of life and death’ decision because I was committed to see her get better. For her, as long as i am physically beside her, it is going to be okay. She has a deep faith in God and i knew she was praying for a successful operation but I also understood she was also drawing her strength from me.

So the date was set and we prepared for the big day. My dad was not 100% on board with my mother’s decision not because he didn’t care, he was just extremely scared of the possibility that she may not make it. I had to be the one to sign a Waiver of Responsibility. The surgeon and the hospital are not liable in any case something happens to my mother during the surgery.

On the day of her operation, I told my sister I didn’t have the courage to be at the hospital. Instead, i checked-in to a hotel and prayed overnight. I pleaded to God to help my mom’s weak body handle the operation. We were all praying for a successful surgery. He granted our prayers and praised Him for his faithfulness.

I wanted to stay longer to assist in her recovery but Moses and my two young kids are waiting for me in America. On my flight back home, I had the time to recollect my memories with my parents when i was younger. I was grateful God gave me the chance to care for my mother even for a very short time. There was peace and joy in my heart.

When did they start looking so old? You keep thinking of them being the same two people they were when you were in high school, but they’re not. One day you just looked up and your parents were older or had become ill. That’s when it hits you that you might have to take care of them, like they once have taken care of you. Now is the time to start making plans and restructuring your life in order to be able to take care of your parents.

The first thing you need to do if possible is talk with your parents to see what plans they have made for their future. No one wants to get older or sick where they can’t take care of themselves, but sometimes in life that will happen. When you realize that has happen to your parents, it’s time to talk to them about their future.

Have they provided a way for themselves to be taken care of from illness or if they have become too old to take care of themselves? Will you be totally responsible for their well being in the future? Have a family discussion about their future plans, so everyone will know where they stand.

Once the decision has been made that you will take care of them from old age or illness, you should start preparing your life for that right then. Taking care of your parents is going to be a big adjustment for you and your family.

The aging parent/child relationship cannot and must not supersede the relationship between husband and wife as first priority, as this goes against the marriage vows spoken before God and witnesses to “leave and cleave unto each other”, thereby creating needless stress and strain on the marital relationship. It is extremely important to understand the difference between caring for needs versus wants, as taking care of elderly parents can often lead adult children to become enablers of their own parents without realizing it.

Some elderly parents can be very difficult to deal with, perhaps even controlling and manipulative, in a selfish attempt to dictate the lives and activities of family members. Some may even claim they are unable to care for basic needs when in reality they are fully capable physically and mentally, but choose to expect family members to cater to their every want and whim.

Having your parents move into your house will mean changes for everyone. Once you feel they will be at an age where someone else will have to take care of them, start preparing your household now. Start putting into place right now their living arrangements, especially if they’re going to be living with you. Everyone in your household need to start adapting to this living arrangement before they actually move-in.

You might have to make changes to your household from reconstruction of your property for more space, to adapting to having extra people in your house. If possible try to have separate living quarters built for your parents so they can still have some privacy, along with you. If your parents have to go to a nursing home start looking around now for a place.

You want them to be somewhere, where you and they both can feel comfortable and it’s convenient for you to get to them. Start looking early for the right place that will meet all of their requirements. If your parents are going to live with you because of an illness, start setting up your household for whatever they might need to be comfortable through-out their illness.

If they need special equipment or a nurse, start arranging that in plenty of time and not at the last minute before they have to move-in. Having an area set-up with the right equipment for all of their medical needs will make their stay more comfortable and healthy.

Changes like that to your household don’t need to happen overnight, you and your family need time to prepare mentally and physically for these changes. Planning ahead for this is the best way for everyone to deal with this change that will affect everyone’s life. When the realization finally does happen that your parents can’t take care of themselves anymore, this will be hard for the both of you.

Watching my parents turn older or becoming ill is one of the hardest things I have to go through. In my eyes I want to always see my parents, young, active and alert, unfortunately that won’t happen. As time go on our parents will get older or sick with something and need us more than ever. That’s the one thing all of us want to do is to provide for the people we love, when they can’t provide for themselves.

Taking care of your parents will make you feel good and if you have children, it will be a good example for them. Who knows, one day they just might have to take care of you.

To the woman and child who sat at Table 9

motherdaughter

To the woman and child who sat at Table 9,

I did not introduce myself to you. My name is Tony Posnanski. I have been a restaurant manager for 15 years now. My day consists of making sure my restaurant runs well. That could mean washing dishes, cooking and sometimes even serving tables. I have also dealt with every guest complaint you can imagine.

A few weeks back you came into my restaurant. I was very busy that night. I was running around helping the kitchen cook food. I was asked to talk to a table close to yours. I did and they said your child was being very loud. I heard some yelling while I was talking to that table. I heard a very loud beep from a young girl.

I started to walk to your table. You knew what I was going to ask. You saw the table I just spoke to pointing at you. I got to your table and you looked at me. You wanted the first word. You said…

“Do you know what it is like to have a child with autism?”

You were not rude when you asked the question. In fact, you were quite sincere. Your daughter could not have been more than 5 years old. She was beautiful and looked scared that I was at the table. She looked like she thought she was in trouble.

In 15 years I do not have a lot of memorable moments as a restaurant manager. I remember some guests who were mad that their burgers were not the way they wanted them. I remember a woman who called corporate on me because she said I gave her a regular Coke instead of a Diet Coke. I remember having to cut people off from drinking alcohol and I remember having to tell tables to have their child be quieter.

However, I do remember everything about the day my son was born. How I cried when I heard him cry. How I stood there and told him I would do anything for him and be the best father possible. I remember the day I married my wife. How I cried and promised to be the best husband possible. I remember the day my daughter was born. I did not cry that day. I was just so relieved because I lost a child two years earlier.

I know what I was supposed to say when I went to your table. I was supposed to politely tell you to please not have your daughter yell. I was supposed to offer to move you to another area. I was supposed to offend you by not offending you…

I did not do any of that.

Instead I just told you I hoped your meal was awesome. I high-fived your daughter and then I told you that your meal was on us tonight. It was only $16. It meant more to me than that. I do not think the other guests I spoke to were happy about it. At that moment it did not matter to me.

I do not know how you reacted. I had to leave to go cook because the kitchen was not doing very well that night. When the server asked me why I bought the food I just said you did not enjoy your steak. I did not tell anyone what you said to me. I was thankful you did say it to me, though.

You asked me a question that I did not answer. The truth is I do not know what it is like to have a child with autism. I know what it is like to be a father. I know what it is like to be a husband. I know what it is like to not tell your wife how much you love her enough. I know what it is like to want to spend more time with your children.

You asked me the question right away. You have been through this before in other restaurants. I did not want to be like other managers for one moment. I did not want to tell you what you always heard.

Honestly, I wrote this to you and your beautiful daughter because I wanted to thank you both.

You have given me a great restaurant memory. One that I needed for the last 15 years.

You also taught me a valuable lesson…

Sometimes doing the right thing does not make everyone happy — just the people who need it the most.

Sincerely,

Tony Posnanski

This post originally appeared on The Anti-Jared.

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