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Thursday, May 28, 2015

My Testimony of Salvation

The Asperger's traits addressed in this post include:
*Anxiety and depression
*Loneliness and isolation

I am 31, and I have been a believer in Jesus for 29 years. Yes, I prayed for salvation, at my mother's prompting. when I was 2-1/2 years old. I was very verbal for a 2-year-old (as my daughter now is), and my mom had taught me at least 12 Bible verses by memory. My favorite Bible verse was: "My sheep hear my voice" (John 10:27). My mom says that my attitude and obedience changed after I prayed to Jesus and trusted that He would forgive me.

My parents read me many Christian stories and Bible events from the time I was very small. They recorded many books on cassette, so that I could listen to them over and over again. My favorite book was (and still is) The Tanglewoods' Secret, because the little girl telling the story helps a shepherd find a lost sheep.

When I was nearly 6 years old, I heard an invitation where the preacher said, "If you can remember a certain time when you asked the Lord into your heart, then raise your hand."

I whispered to my mom, "I don't remember it." That was when I decided to go forward and pray for salvation, this time led by a missionary lady who was a friend of our family.

Years passed, and leading up to my 13th birthday, I was struggling with doubts about the Bible and religion. I'd been studying world history, and I wondered why I believed the Bible was true. Was it just because of my parents? Or did I really know for myself that the Bible is true?

I could sense an enemy attacking my thought life, so I looked up the passage in Ephesians 6, regarding the full armor of God. I drew pictures of the armor of God, with labels, and taped them over my picture, to help myself visualize this truth - or WAS it the truth? I still wasn't sure.

The night after I turned 13, I again felt doubts washing over me. I turned on the light, picked up my Bible, and turned the pages. The Lord led me to John chapter 10, the chapter in which Jesus gently explains, "I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd giveth his life for the sheep" (John 10:10). He goes on, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me" (John 10:27).

Suddenly, it all made sense. Jesus IS real! I had been listening to Him and following His leading for so long that it seemed natural to me. But I knew other people did not live that way. So why was I different? Why would I even care about doing what was right and apologizing when I was wrong, unless I could hear the voice of my Savior - my Shepherd - my Jesus.

He is my all in all. He loves me - and He loves you. Won't you lean against the shoulder of that Shepherd who went out of His way to find you through this blog post? Won't you put your faith in Him. He died for you. He rose again for you.

I love my Shepherd, and I believe His Holy Word.

How about you?

P.S. After typing this article, which God had laid on my heart, I went up to my bedroom and flipped my Names of God calendar. The name for today was: "I AM the Good Shepherd."

How this topic applies to Christian living:

Luke 15:4-7
What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Natural Products Tool Kit Part Two

Doctors come up with some of the strangest solutions to pain. I've been told by doctors:

Exercise more, and you won't hurt so much.

Drink your water room temp instead of cold, so you won't hurt so much.

Let me stick needles in you, so you won't hurt so much.

Let me pump you full of steroids and then send the nurse in to give you a suppository.

Let me take your X-ray so I can figure out how to help you not hurt so much.

Let me give you a colonoscopy, MRI, CAT scan, and ultrasound so we can figure out why you hurt so much.

Let me run tests on you so we can confirm that you're hurting for other reasons.

Let me inject your gums with Novocaine so the drill won't hurt.

And the only one I really liked: Let the anesthesiologist give you an epidural so giving birth won't hurt so much.

So, aside from having Asperger's Syndrome and bipolar disorder, I also have had fibromyalgia for at least 13 years. That kind of chronic pain and fatigue sent me into a search that spiraled from primary care to sleep study to CPAP to tonsillectomy to treatment for Irritable Bowel Syndrome to acupuncture to chiropractic to Oriental medicine, to special diets and on and on.

So what works? First of all, for my manic-depressive symptoms (which come and go) I am on two antipsychotic mood-stablizing prescriptions, as well as a prescription to alleviate symptoms (named drowsiness) from the other drugs, and an antidepressant which I take as needed.

I also take numerous vitamins and minerals, especially those that have showed up on blood tests as being in insufficient quantities.

What I am going to give you now is a list of ways I cope with physical and emotional pain. Please understand that not all of these products will work for you, but the prices are generally low enough for you to give them a try if you are suffering from pain.

  • Stopain (from the pharmacy) is a spray containing menthol, eucalyptus oil, and peppermint oil. I carry it with me at home and out of the home. I can slip into a handicap-sized bathroom stall and raise my shirt to spray Stopain on my back and to stretch alone. 
  • T-Relief (formerly named Traumeel) (purchased at Vitamin Shoppe) is a homeopathic pain remedy in which the active ingredient is arnica. I just stick a tablet of T-Relief under my tongue and let it dissolve. 
  • Emu oil (from treats burns and insect bites. This stuff works better than calamine lotion, better than aloe, and better than hydrocortisone. 
  • Triple antibiotic for cuts and scrapes? I still keep that around.
  • Sometimes what I really need is a warm bath in which I dissolve epsom salts with fragrant essential oils that are safe to apply to skin. I currently like peppermint and eucalyptus essential oils for bathtime. Dr. Teal makes an amazing Himalayan pink salt with added oils that makes me feel wonderful, even though I have to drive to my parents' house to use their bathtub first!
  • My favorite essential oil fragrances for emotional distress are honeysuckle and sandalwood / cinnamon. Also, have you ever tried cedarwood oil? The aroma is very soothing.
  • Sunflower oil and safflower oil make great carrier oils, and you can buy huge bottles from Wal-Mart. Ours is a gallon jug, and it's so much healthier than canola oil, which is usually GMO. 
  • I currently DISLIKE lemongrass essential oil. It smells and tastes like soap.
  • I add 3 drops orange or peppermint essential oil (one or the other) to a jug of apple juice, just for fun. The kids love it!
  • I make orange syrup from brown sugar, hot water, and orange oil. Delicious and just as healthy as 100% maple - much cheaper.
  • Hyland's #8 magnesium phosphate (purchased at the health food store) works great for menstrual cramps. 
  • For tummy aches, I used to have a warm pac that is filled with clay (bought at Wal-Mart, I think). It is called a ThermiPaq. Since we don't have a microwave, I set the oven to 170 degrees F, and heat it for about 10 minutes. 
  • It's important to put heat only on soft places of your body. The spine and neck should be treated with cold only. I use an All-Temp Comfort Pack (bought at a chiropractor's office), which I keep in the refrigerator and pull out almost every day for about 20 minutes on low back and another 20 on neck / shoulders. 
  • My husband and I exchange back rubs, and we use Nubian Shea Butter Body Lotion with myrrh and frankincense (from Vitamin Shoppe). There is also a similar, thinner lotion by Shea Moisture. It goes on as smooth as butter and smells heavenly! 
  • Lastly, I have a Conair handheld massager that I use on myself (from Bealls Outlet for $9.99). 

I hope these recommendations will help my readers. Please share this post to those of your friends who suffer from chronic pain.

Lots of love and best wishes to you all!
Sharon Rose

P.S. I almost forgot! To alleviate pain, I do some really thorough stretching of the specific places that hurt the most at any given moment. I hold stretches for a quick count to 40, instead of doing lots of reps. Stretching is a powerful tool, as are walking, swimming, and drinking lots of cold water.


Monday, May 18, 2015

Natural Products Tool Kit Part One

It seems these days, we are all poking into corners and down aisles and through websites just to find products that are not only natural (with no added chemicals, fragrances, or dyes) but also reasonably priced. I have been on a search for natural toiletries, home remedies, and cleaning products since 2010. Here are my finds: 
  • For Sensory Integration Dysfunction (AKA Sensory Processing Disorder), I put in silicone ear plugs (from the pharmacy) when I go into large groups of people. 
  • Sunglasses (from the optometrist) whenever I go into bright, sunny places. 
  • For toiletries, I use Yes to Carrots cleanser and Yes to Coconut shampoo and conditioner (from Target). 
  • I use Aveeno Baby Eczema Cream (from the pharmacy) as a moisturizer that keeps my skin hydrated all day. 
  • I use Nubian Black African body wash (from Vitamin Shoppe). It works great on my toddler, too - no tears, and the silkiest hair you've ever felt. I also use it to make a water-soap mixture to pour over the baby wipes that I cut from flannel receiving blankets. The wipes stay fresh in a wipes container, and the dirty wipes go into another wipes container, to be washed in hot water and reused. 
  • Castile soap bar (from Cracker Barrel's gift store) - a good Christmas present - great for washing hands at the sink.
  • Aquafor by Eucerin (from the pharmacy) for red, rough hands. Feels great - works great. 
  • ACT Toothpaste (from the pharmacy) helps my dry mouth amazingly. It also inspires me to brush teeth three times a day, instead of once. 
  • It seems simple, but I now do not use a brush on my hair. Brushes tend to pull and break the hair. My hair is wavy, and I finally figured out that a comb would do as well and better than a brush. So I don't have as many feathery fluffy pieces on top of my head, trying to grow long again. 
  • Tom's of Maine deodorant (from the pharmacy) is the only brand that leaves out aluminum. Aluminum should not be ingested or absorbed through the skin. It is a metal that should not be part of our bodies' makeup. (This is why it would be good to swap out your Teflon-coated frying pans for stainless steel or ceramic-lined pans, which wash up much more easily than Teflon.) Aluminum is generally supposed to be the only ingredient used as an antiperspirant. However, I've been using Tom's of Maine deodorant for years, and though it does not claim to be an antiperspirant, when I'm wearing it, I almost never sweat . . . and I live in Florida. If you still sweat, then use Arm & Hammer aluminum-free deodorant with added baking soda from Wal-Mart. 
  • By the way, I am growing my armpit hair out and keeping it trimmed to a quarter inch long, to boost my lymphatic system, which cleans the blood and relies on body movement and hair (in strategic places where the lymph nodes are) to secrete toxins.
  • For seasonal allergies or sinus headaches, I recommend Ayr Nasal Rinse (from the pharmacy) and Dr. King's Homeopathic Allergy and Hayfever Spray (from Vitamin Shoppe). I spray Dr. King's on my tongue after sneezing. Sometimes it clears up the stuffy nose, scratchy throat, etc. without a hitch. Other times, I have to use it in combo with Ayr Nasal Rinse. To get the right temp for the nasal rinse, I fill it 3/4 full with lukewarm water, and 1/4 full with hot or boiling water from the teakettle. Then I add 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and then rinse my nose according to the directions. 
  • We recently had the privilege of having the carpet in our downstairs living room, hallway, and hall closet replaced with quality laminate by Empire Today Flooring at a 50% off discount on parts and labor. My kids don't need Zyrtec anymore! Wow! Thank you, parents / landlords for paying 100%!
  • As far as food allergies go, I have had terrible Irritable Bowel Syndrome for years, and finally linked the symptoms to the meat I have always eaten. I am now a vegetarian, for the sake of my health. I like the freedom of not having to cook meat, which is the most difficult and time-consuming part of cooking. 
  • For better sleep, which to me, seems at the root of my various other symptoms, I have discovered a solution! Tranquil Sleep chewable tablets by Stress-Relax (from Vitamin Shoppe). These tablets contain 5-HTP, Suntheanine, and Melatonin. They get me to sleep on schedule, about an hour after I eat two tablets, and I wake up early and have sustained energy throughout the day. Praise God! 


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Flashback 2014 - Holy Spirit on the Job

The Asperger's traits addressed in this post include:
*Anxiety and depression
*Difficulty expressing emotions appropriately

When I first started dating my husband, we got engaged early on, and suddenly I was very upset. I used to dislike change, and I could see with this marriage, all the dominoes I had placed carefully around myself were tumbling over and getting knocked down!

My fiance told my mom, "Sharon Rose not only worries, but she wants me to worry with her!"

No more. I love change now, and I throw worries out the window. That's what being a wife and mom has done for me. I have learned to trust God much more than ever before. Let me tell you a story about the Holy Spirit's voice of Scripture in my mind at a time when I decided NOT to worry.

Flashback 2014

Yesterday, I took Annika to the doctor. She turned out to be fine, but it was a long, stressful drive through traffic. As I got close to home, I came to a stop at a red light. I decided to wait for the light to turn green, even though I could have turned right on red.

When the light changed, I began my turn. I heard a honk from a car behind me and quickly turned my head. There, beside my car in the twilight was a bicyclist!

I felt my face turn pale realizing how close I had come to running him over. My first reaction was thankfulness for the narrow escape, but by the time I reached home and carried my baby inside, I was in tears.

Besides the obvious thought: "What if I had run over that bicyclist?" I immediately struggled with further implications. That is the route my husband often rides on his bike. I thought, "What if a car runs over my husband some day?" Horribly worse yet, "What if I run over my husband on his bike?"

I beat down my emotions as though beating down water in the deep end of the pool. How could I keep my head above water?

"Fear not," I began to recite. "Fear not, for I am with thee. Be not dismayed, for I am thy God. I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness" (Isaiah 41:10).

The next thought following this quotation was; "Do you believe that?"

Yes, I do.

How this post applies to Christian Living:

Hebrews 13:5b
For he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Forgetful Tooth Fairy

The Asperger's traits addressed in this post include:
*Prefer routines and structure
*Boredom with small talk
*Much time spent on introspection

I had another loose tooth. I was excited, because a loose tooth always fell out sooner or later, and then I would get a visit from the Tooth Fairy! Of course, I didn't believe in the Tooth Fairy - not really. I just pretended to believe, and so did everyone else in my house.

I lived in a large, large house. "My house has three stories, an attic, and a basement," I told my friends at school. “My bedroom is on the third floor, and my mom calls to me through the air vent from downstairs, and I can hear her. But we have to be careful not to close the door to the stairway because the doorknob is broken. Once I got stuck behind the door and I had to wait until Mimi heard me yelling and let me out. Our house has FIVE bedrooms!”

My friends weren’t listening anymore. They were talking about peanut butter instead. So I wiggled my tooth with my tongue, twisted my brown braid around my finger, and wondered what the Tooth Fairy would do this time.

My Tooth Fairy tended to be forgetful and confused. More than once, she had left money under Pop-pop’s pillow by mistake. Another time, I had to run round the house finding nickels under every pillow. And then, last December, I had found a note under my pillow in place of the tooth. “Look for your money under the smallest pillow in the house,” the note said. I picked up all the small pillows, and still I found no money. Finally, I knew where to look - the nativity scene, on the coffee table in the living room. Tucked under Baby Jesus’ head was a quarter.

As I smiled, remembering Baby Jesus in the manger, my tooth fell out! Break time had ended half an hour ago, and my teacher was writing “Insect reports due Friday” on the chalkboard. I tasted blood. I raised my hand, and the teacher called my name: "Yes, Sharon Rose?"

“My tooth just fell out. May I get a tissue?” I said.

“Yes, you may. Would you like to go to the water fountain to rinse your mouth?” said my fourth-grade teacher.

“Yes, please,” I said. I quietly left the room. My teacher understood about loose teeth and forgotten milk money and drawing pictures on your desk. I used be scared of her, because last year, when I was in third grade, this teacher had caught me skipping in the hall. She thought I was running, but I was really skipping and singing, “See you later, alligator. After a while, crocodile,” in a very soft voice.

But this teacher had scolded me and told me to go tell my third-grade teacher I had been running in the hall. I did tell my teacher, and she just nodded her head. With 29 kids in that class, I was the least of her worries. But I never skipped inside the school again.

When I came back to the classroom after drinking from the water fountain, my fourth-grade teacher was sitting behind her desk and the class was doing seatwork. I slid into my seat, which was near the teacher’s desk. My teacher raised her eyebrows and said, "You didn’t tell me you had a loose tooth."

I whispered back, “I didn’t, until right after lunch. All of a sudden it was loose, and then it fell right out!”

“Your mom will be surprised, “ said my teacher with a grin.

“So will the Tooth Fairy,” I said to myself. I didn’t say it out loud, because I didn’t want my classmates to know I believed in the Tooth Fairy.

That afternoon, when I got off the bus, I walked into the house just beaming. “How’s my bad little kid?” said Pop-pop. “Did you get any more zeros on your worksheets?”

“Yes,” I said, and showed him my test on the Civil War. The teacher had written “100” at the top in red ink, with eyes in the zeros and a smile below.

“Got any kisses for me?” said Pop-pop, and he puffed his cheek in and out. I gave my grandpa a kiss. I could smell his coffee breath and feel his scratchy whiskers.

Then Mimi called out from the kitchen, “Is that my Sharon Rose?”

“Look, Mimi!” I said, dropping my book bag and running through the dining room. I smiled big and pointed to the empty spot in my mouth.

“You lost a tooth!” said Mimi. And she gave me a soft, warm hug. “I hope you still have it. The Tooth Fairy will want it, you know.”

“It’s wrapped in paper in this pocket of my bookbag.”


That night, up on the third floor, Mama read to me from Little Women. I fell asleep listening to the way Jo made friends with Laurie by coming over to cheer him up when he had a cold.

“Sharon Rose, it’s time to get up!” Mama called. I rolled over in bed. I hated waking up. It was my least favorite thing to do. But as I ran my tongue over my teeth, I felt as though something were different, and then I remembered!

I sat up quickly and flipped my pillow over. Nothing! Not a note, not a coin, not even the tooth I had put there before going to bed. What a disappointment!

“Mama, you remember I lost my tooth yesterday, right?” I said.

“Yes. Why?” Mama was in a hurry, like every morning.

“The Tooth Fairy took my tooth, but she didn’t leave anything for me.”

“Just keep getting ready for school, Sharon Rose. I’m sure the Tooth Fairy just made a mistake. Maybe she’ll be back tomorrow night.”

Slowly, I pulled on my shirt, skirt, socks, and shoes. I couldn’t understand it. This had never happened before. What was wrong with this Tooth Fairy? Why couldn’t she just play by the rules? She always wanted to pull my leg. Maybe she was still mad at me for swallowing the second tooth that ever fell out. Luckily, that happened on the same day as the first tooth, so I had still put one tooth under my pillow that night. But did fairies hold grudges? Judging by Tinker Bell in the Peter Pan story, I guessed they did.

Oh, what nonsense. The Tooth Fairy was just Mama - or Mimi - or maybe Pop-pop. Between the three of them, you’d think they’d get it right, I mused.

I silently ate my breakfast oatmeal and then trudged back to the second floor bathroom to brush my teeth - the ones that were left. I picked up the toothpaste tube and reached for my toothbrush. My eyes widened, and a smile lit up my face. Tied around my toothbrush with a rubber band, was a dollar bill.

Thank you, Tooth Fairy.

How this topic applies to Christian Living:

Exodus 20:12
Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Are You Still Mad at Me?

The Asperger's traits addressed in this post include:
*Rule-bound behavior
* Difficulty expressing emotions appropriately
*Getting misunderstood

I'm going to head back in my imagination to the Christian elementary school I attended in Pennsylvania. The rules were strict, but I loved school and seldom got into trouble. Until . . .

One day at school after gym class, we waited in line in the hallway for our teacher to lead us back to our classroom. There was a lot of whispering and talking going on, which we all knew was against the rules when standing or walking in line. I knew those kids who were talking were going to get in trouble.

One of the ways we communicated without talking was to finger spell using the sign language alphabet. I decide to get the attention of my best friend, in line behind me. She was one of the few who were NOT talking. I finger spelled "Q-U-I-E-T," but she just shook her head at me, so I spelled it again. She still didn't get it,

Along came our teacher, and she was determined to call out those who had been talking. She started at the front, pointed to one child after another, looking them in the eye, and telling the culprits, "Go back to the classroom and hide your head in your arms at your desk."

The teacher came up to me and demanded, "Were you talking?" I solemnly shook my head no.

Then she came to my best friend, who feel she needed to mention: "Sharon Rose was using sign language."

The teacher whipped around and told me, "Go bury your head!"

My eyes widened, my eyebrows rose, and I spun on my heel and flounced off. To me, the unfairness was tense with irony. I thought the rule was to be quiet - not to refrain from communicating! I had misunderstood the rule - and I loved going by the rules - even when others did not.

I didn't speak to my best friend for the rest of the day, which was almost over anyway.

The following morning at school, my friend lost no time in asking me, "Are you still mad at me?"

I shook my head, then smiled.

That was when in dawned on me - I had been mad! Is THAT why I hadn't been behaving like my usual self? Being mad was not something I experienced very often, probably because of being an only child. I had used non-verbal communication to let my friend know I was mad at her - and I hadn't even had any practice.

These kind of stories make me "mad" at those who insist that all those on the autism spectrum should be in therapy. We sometimes do express our emotions appropriately, even naturally. It's something we can definitely overthink. Sometimes life experiences are simply something we learn from and decide from a new viewpoint how we'd like to express ourlselves, verbally and non-verbally in similar situations in the future.

How this topic applies to Christian living:

Psalm 145:8
The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy.