Just to give you a little background on myself: I am married and have three children. I am a full-time caregiver right now and my days are very full. I do not have a lot of down time, but I do like to read and write in my spare time. If you like mystery and suspense stories that are clean, you can find my books on Amazon. I have also written a book called Care for the Caregiver, where I tried to encourage other caregivers, sharing some of the lessons I’ve learned about self-care while caring for others, as well as Bible verses that are special to me. I have an author page on Facebook and a website listing my books. Visit www.stephaniehutchins.com for more information.
My husband and I also do our best to maintain the informational website www.Southtexasautism.org. It is awfully hard to keep things current while caregiving, but we do what we can. We also have a Facebook page for South Texas Autism, where we do try to share things frequently. We wanted to find a way to help others with their Autism journey, so this was what we decided to do.
I homeschool my two children left at home and, while my daughter takes classes online, I am tailoring my son’s schooling to fit his educational needs and pace. I do have a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education, which comes in handy, but my degree did not fully prepare me for the challenges in planning and implementing curriculum for a special-needs child. I have learned to be very flexible when it comes to his schoolwork, as well as just about any other aspect of our daily lives in regard to routines.
My son has occupational, speech, and physical therapies every week and one of the goals we are working on in Occupational Therapy pertains to my son’s fine motor skills, specifically cutting out things with safety scissors and pasting them. We are also trying to encourage my son’s ability to work independently, so while my son was happily cutting away on his paper, I left the room for a couple of minutes. I returned to find my son had abandoned the paper completely and had proceeded to cut the hair on the top of his head down to his scalp. This was not the first time he had done this, but it had been long enough since his last foray into barbering that I thought he had moved past the desire to cut his own hair. I was wrong.
Later, after I’d improved upon his haircut and he’d showered, my son told me he wouldn’t have cut his hair if I hadn’t left him alone with the scissors and that it was my fault it had happened. I informed him that he made the choice to cut his hair, so he was responsible for his actions. I can laugh about it now, but I really was not looking to cut someone’s hair the day he did it and I was a bit frustrated over it.
That incident personally illustrated how our choices effect our lives. I have been teaching my children about choices and consequences for nineteen years and I find I am still learning some of the lessons I am trying to teach. The main one I struggle with is the choice of my attitude.
Attitude is huge when I am facing hard days and sleepless nights. It is a struggle to look for the positive when, on some days, I have so much negative coming my way. I must say that I would not make it through each day if it was not for God and my relationship with Him.
He carries me when I cannot take another step. He guides me when I have no idea what to do or what choice to make. I have become such a prayer warrior in the last ten years, not because I’m some spiritual giant, but because I come to the end of myself almost daily and I’m desperately crying out to God for help, strength, and guidance. And He is there for me, every time. My choice of depending on God brings the wonderful consequence of His peace, grace, and mercy. I am never alone in my struggles.
If you are out there facing struggles today, know that you are not alone. We each face different giants during our days and nights. We each struggle with something seemingly impossible; with a situation where hope is dim. Family and friends are wonderful, and I hope each one of you has a support group to help you. Sometimes, though, it is only you there in the middle of the night, or for a few minutes during the day, and it is those times of solitude that can get really lonely. During those times I encourage you to breathe, vent your emotions, and call out to Almighty God. He will be there when no one else is and He will never leave you or turn His back on you.
My tip for today is never leave your child alone with scissors! I am only half serious. I encourage you to choose to have a good attitude today. It is a seemingly simple choice that has unbelievable benefits. Search for positive things. Look for the good. Seek the happy in your day.
Some days I feel that there is not much good, but, if I look for it, I always find something positive. It seems on the days I determine to have a good attitude Murphy’s Law goes into effect and things quickly spin out of control, making it so much harder to stay positive. I am a work in progress and this a huge challenge for me, so I am challenging myself as much as I am everyone else.
Speaking of challenges, I have put forth a challenge one of my children who tends to see the negative in everything. For every negative observation or comment they make, they must find something positive as well. This is pretty new, and I do not have definitive proof yet, but I think it is working. Since I believe in leading by example, I am also participating in this exercise internally. (I am not one who normally complains out loud.) Focusing on the positive does seem to curb my negativism. There are Bible verses that speak to this, but I will save them for another time.
I do have a verse of encouragement I would like to leave with you today. It’s Jeremiah 32:17, which says, “Ah, Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You.
Thank you for joining me for a few minutes today and allowing me to speak to you from my heart. I hope you have a wonderful day!