This blog is about a family of two loving parents, two sister schnauzers, a persian, and a very loved young man who faces severe autism daily, sometimes better than others. We will relive the lows, laughs, and joys of our "normal" life. Always under the hand of God.


Cough This Way

Last week I came home from my nightly walk with the dogs. The house was quiet and I slowly realized that no one was at home. How could I not have seen that the car was out of the driveway? Since Madison has autism, I never know what to expect. We live in fear of him just disappearing.

I called Vickie and she had called the doctor about Madison. They told her if she could come in the next ten minutes, they would see Madison. It would have been nice if she had left a note.

Madison had been having problems swallowing on and off for a few days. He would struggle and shake his head up and down like a horse does and then look like he was trying to swallow that large pill that used to be the antibiotic. We were not sure what was going on. We’ve heard about side effects from drugs and twenty other scary stories, so we were a little nervous.

When I got there, they had already taken Madison and Vickie back, and had just started to do his temperature and blood pressure. We like to both go when we take Madison. Sometimes he is great like this time. Other times it takes both of us. With all the doctor visits, blood sucking and tests that he has undergone, he does really well.

It was a different doctor we had this time and she did not know what Madison would let her do. She was very pleased that Vickie could persuade him to let her look in his ears and down his throat. The doctor said he is very easy to work with given his condition. Vickie liked to have shouted when we were told it was not strep. But what was it? Madison was still going through his contortions.

“Well, does he know how to cough?” the doctor said.

Vickie and I looked at each other. What a ridiculous question.

But…you know, we never have heard him cough. We have heard him sneeze and clear his throat, but not cough.

Of course, with Madison the unheard of is not anything new. He was not able to smell until he did therapy through Brain Balance. And we know that we had good results from that because he is quick to tell us when Wilson (our Persian) has used his litter box.

So, it seems, this was his way of handling the drainage in his throat from his allergies.

So, where do you learn how to cough? I did not go to kindergarten so it must be in there. So my teaching friends, if you have some training materials on coughing, or have seen a YouTube video that can help, please add a comment.

And to everyone, I hope you have a very happy, and thankful, Thanksgiving.


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Finishing Strong

From Jerry Jenkins’ book, Writing For The Soul. In it, he has an article about writing Just As I Am with Billy Graham. He ends his article with a visit he and his wife takes to see Dr. Graham around his sixtieth wedding anniversary.

I found him in bed with a broken pelvis. Regardless, he looked majestic, with those piercing blue eyes and that mane of white hair. He told us that his doctor has come the day before to gove him an injection directly into the pelvic bone, and that the man had warned him it would be painful.

“The doctor told me to imagine the one place I’d rather be than this, a Shangri-la of some sort. And concentrate on that. I told him, ‘There’s nowhere I’d rather be than right here, right now.’ The doctor said, ‘Why in the world would you say that? I told you, this is really going to hurt.’

“I told him, ’Because I believe I’m in the center of God’s will, and if this is where He wants me, this is where I want to be.’”

There’s a lesson for everybody, especially inspirational writers.

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Jerry Jenkins Interview With Billy Graham

An excerpt from Writing for the Soul by Jerry Jenkins.

I wanted to leave the reader with nuggets of wisdom from this man, who seems to have his spiritual life in order, but I went about asking for them entirely the wrong way. I said that many people, especially evangelicals, see him as the epitome of the consistent Christian life. Before I could even get to my question of how he does it, he began to wave me off.

“Oh, they mustn’t,” he said.

More of that humility, I decided.

He was still waving me off. “No, they really shouldn’t. When I think of the number of times I’ve failed the Lord, I feel this low.” And he leaned over the side of his chair and pressed his palm flat of the floor.

Now this was too much. Billy Graham? The man who has spoken to more people in live audiences than anyone else in history? The man who has spent nearly his entire life pointing people to God? The man whose life and ministry has been under press scrutiny for nearly sixty years and who has always emerged squeaky clean?

I said, “But you’re seen as almost the Protestant Pope. Surely there are secrets, hints you can offer laypeople on how to maintain their walk with God…”

“They shouldn’t look to me.”

“But they do.”

He wouldn’t budge, but finally I hit upon the approached that worked. “Tell me, at least, how you maintain your own spiritual disciplines.”

His eyes lit up. “There’s no secret to that,” he said. “God doesn’t hide the key from us. The Bible says to pray without ceasing and to search the Scriptures. And I do that.”

I flinched. I had always hopes the Apostle Paul’s New Testament admonition to “pray without ceasing” was somehow figurative. After two or three minutes of prayer, my mind tends to wander, and I find myself wondering whether the Cubs will ever see another World Series. (Talk about a miracle.)

“You pray without ceasing?” I said.

“I do,” Mr. Graham said, still with that air of pure humility. “And I have, every waking moment since I received Christ as a teenager.” He had to have seen the doubt on my face. “I’m praying right now as I’m talking to you,” he said. “Praying that God will use this book, that it will be clear that it’s more about Him than about me, praying that we’ll both do our jobs well and that He will get the glory.”

I was nearly speechless. “And your searching the Scripture,” I managed. “how does that work?”

“Wherever I am,” he said,”At home, in my office, or in the hotel room in some other country, the first thing I do in the morning is to leave my Bible open somewhere where I will notice it during the day. I pick it up at odd moments and read a verse or two or a chapter or two or for an hour or two. And this is not for study or sermon preparation. This is just for my own spiritual nourishment.”

Now we were going somewhere. Everyone I know who is serious about his spiritual life would love to have a more consistent devotional life of prayer and Bible reading. Perhaps I was on the edge of real takeaway value.

“Say you miss a day or two,” I said. “How do you get back to your routine?”

“Miss a day or two?” he said. “I don’t think I’ve ever done that.”

“You never miss?”

He shook his head. “I told you. This is my spiritual food. I would no more miss this than a regular meal.”

I went back to my hotel that day despairing that perhaps no reader could really identify with a man so sold out to God and so disciplined in his inner life. But then it hit me. As he said, it’s no secret, no hidden key––God doesn’t make it hard or a mystery. When people wonder why Billy Graham, among all those claiming the same passions, seems infinitely more blessed, more successful (for lack of a better term) in his ministry efforts, they need to realize there is a difference between and others: We all know we’re to pray and read our Bibles. The difference is, he does it.

–Excerpted from Writing for Your Soul by Jerry Jenkins, p66-69.