Category Archives: Our Life

See the Miracles

By Melody Kraemer

Do you ever wish for a miracle? Do you ever hope things would change? Do you dream about how things could be better? I use to. Every day I would pray for a miracle that my child with autism would understand and have a full conversation with me. When I asked about his day he just repeats my words back. I have an idea how his days go at school yet I have no clue if he was happy, sad or even cried during the day.

Some days I wish, with every ounce of my being, he would express something to me. I have hoped for a miracle on many occasions for him to please share with me and talk to me. When he cries, I hurt because I know he can’t express himself fully and tell me why. I kept thinking one day a miracle will happen and he will walk up to me and say, hey mommy, guess what we did at school today or mommy I made a friend today.

Sometimes it makes me cry to think about him locked in his world. I hold onto that miracle that one day he will converse with me. The only conversation we do have is, first that then this. “Yes honey, I find myself saying every morning as he repeats himself, first school then home.”

Every day I search for that miracle and hold onto that glimmer of hope. Then one day as I was looking into his little face, seeing those beautiful little eyes it dawned on me. I shouldn’t be looking for a miracle when one was standing right in front of me. I have my miracle, in fact, I have four miracles.

Melody Kraemer is the Editor and Publisher of Macaroni Kid- Jurupa Valley- Eastvale as well as Macaroni Kid- Riverside. Visit her on the web at https://jurupavalley.macaronikid.com/ or https://riversideca.macaronikid.com/. For information or general encouragement feel free to email her at: autismmomofboys@gmail.com.

Bullying

Melody Kraemer-Autism Mom

The other day I woke up with a heavy heart. My son got bullied while he was at school. No matter how much we try to protect our children we just can’t always be there with them.

Now my son is not one to sit back and take someone beating him up or kicking him while he is down, he will try and defend himself. On this particular day, he spits on a kid to protect himself from being bully.

He got in trouble, not in a lot of trouble, but he did get in trouble.  He used “bodily fluid” to defend himself.

He was angry over this; more than angry he was livid. He did not understand how in self-defense he was the one in trouble. Explaining to my autism child sometimes is like talking to a brick wall, his mind is black and white with no grey area.

The “bully” to my understanding got sent to the office, sent home with a note, and a phone call to the parents. He was also not allowed to play on the same playground as the class during recess.

When I picked up my son that day he broke down in front of me and just cried hard, as a mom my heart broke for him. I calmly listened to him; his hurt and anger were off the charts. I talked to him and tried my best to calm him down. All he could think about was how he was going to get revenge.

Autism thinking can be so perplexing at times and can be narrow-minded with no room for understanding.

It took me most of the day to explain that we don’t get revenge on people.

Though his anger grew and he still didn’t understand the concept why he got in trouble for defending himself.  Honestly, I still have a small issue understating it myself.

He was told by the school any time that anyone attempts to bully him or anyone he needs to go to an adult. I told him if there is no way he could get out of the situation and get to an adult he has every right to defend himself even if it meant spitting. He may get in trouble but I said if he felt that was the only way out of his situation he has to do what he has to do.

I have a 0% tolerance for bullying I will not tolerate my son or any other child to be bullied.

I can’t talk to every child, I can’t speak to every child who bullies, but I can and will talk to my child about bullying.

Choices

By Melody Kraemer

We all have choices. We all have options. When we wake up in the morning, we can decide to be happy, sad, frustrated even angry or whatever emotion we choose.

We can plan our day and make the choice of how we want it to go. It may not always go the way we want, but at least we have that choice in hopes, it goes the way we planned.

There are a few things that we can’t and don’t have choices for.  One thing is we didn’t have a choice when we were born, or the family we were born into.  We also are not to choose when we die.  Everything in between is an option or a choice for the most part.  My boys were born with autism that was not my choice or an option I would have chosen. I do though have the option and the choices to do what is the very best for them.  What school I put them in, the classes they have even the extra help they get after school.

The worst thing one can say is I don’t have an option. According to Merriam Dictionary, an option is “the power or right to choose.” I hope the choices I make for my boys are the right ones. I always have their best interest at heart. Yes, it can get tiresome from appointments to IEP meetings but I choose all of that because of the love I have for my boys and always want the best for them. I would never do anything in my life that made myself or my boys miserable and say, I have no other option but to do this. Life is about choices and options. Why choose something to make one miserable. Make the choices in life that bring joy, happiness and what is best for oneself and for the family. Remember there’s always an option.

Melody Kraemer

Editor and Publisher Macaroni Kid Jurupa Valley- Eastvale

and Macaroni Kid Riverside (autismmomofboys@gmail.com)

 

We Grow Flowers Not People

Melody Kramer – Autism Mom

School has started, and the homework has started to come home. For my eight-year-old autistic son, he had a paper to fill out titled “about me.”

I tried asking him these questions that were on this paper, but he didn’t quite understand. Usually, I have to do a lot of prompting.   One of the questions was, “what are some of my favorite things?”  He doesn’t grasp the word favorite, so I asked, do you like pizza? He replied yes. And it went from there.

Another question was, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” He answered, “A flower.”  I was surprised he said a flower. So I asked again.  The same answer. I asked are you sure that you don’t want to be a teacher or maybe a police officer when you grow up? He still wanted to be a flower.

It was a cute answer, and funny. I said if you want to be a flower, you can be a flower. Then I started thinking. The question I asked, when you “grow” up what do you want to be.  The way his mind may think it was the most logical answer. A flower grows.  So when I asked if he wanted to be a teacher or police officer and he gave me that strange look I got an understanding of how he was thinking. You don’t grow a teacher you grow a flower.

We are so used to our way of thinking, speaking and understanding a simple phrase, such as “what do you want to be when you grow up.” His autistic mind is so analytical and logical it just doesn’t make sense to him, we don’t grow people.

Now if I ask what do want to be for Halloween? Spiderman is the answer.

I guess we will leave that answer blank for now.  Just a thought, raising children is like growing a flower. We take care of them, feed them, protect them, we do everything to help them bloom.  He may not realize it now, but he’s already a flower in the garden of life.

 

Stress Makes a Mess

Melody Kramer – Autism Mom

All my life I have been an emotional eater. I eat when I’m happy, sad, grieving, angry,  and mostly when stressed.

Stress plays a huge part in my life.  Which in turn stress eating plays a more prominent role.  My stress levels of each day can rise to full capacity. How do I control my stress, I eat.

 

What is emotional eating?

“Emotional eating (or stress eating) is using food to make yourself feel better—eating to satisfy emotional needs, rather than to satisfy physical hunger. … Emotional hunger can’t be filled with food. Eating may feel good in the moment, but the feelings that triggered the eating are still there.

(www.helpguide.org/articles/diets/emotional-eating.htm)”

 

Raising two autistic boys, my level of stress can get to a high point during the day, but I am learning now, through a health coach, to not reach for unhealthy food while stressed.

We all know stress eating is not healthy.   When I am at the limit of my stress, I reach for that comfort food, it tastes so good, for that “moment.”  After that “moment” I’m still stressed. Even more so because now I feel tired and/or sluggish and my head is cloudy all filled up with the sugary and/or salty item I just ate.

So why eat when stressed?  For me, at that moment of stress, it’s an automatic trigger to go binge, for an “instant” rush of satisfaction.

 

Thank goodness for my health coach, he is teaching me how to change my lifestyle of eating and get on the right track to healthy living and to make better choices and not emotional eating.

I am sure many of you are living a healthy lifestyle, but for the ones that need that extra help of getting on the road to healthy eating, email me I’ll put you in contact with my health coach. Let’s get healthy together. I would love to hear from you, and my coach would like to help you.

autismmomofboys@gmail.com

 

Before the Morning

By Melody Kraemer

As I sit here in front of my laptop, with a cup of hot coffee to the right of me and next to that a notebook filled with the many things I need to accomplish.  The thought, “Oh Lord, help me make it through the day,” crosses my mind. The house is quiet, and I wonder how much longer before my boys (autistic boys) wake up.  How much time do I have to accomplish anything on that list next to me?

Once my boys are awake anything on that list is now pushed to another day.  I might be able to squeeze in a  few minutes to throw in some laundry, but I couldn’t tell you when it will come out of the dryer and get folded.

Having children, autism or not is a full-time job by its self.  Living in the autism world is a world where it’s no longer about oneself it’s about watching almost every moment of what they do.

My eight year old now has a thing about eating the top of pencils, almost every pencil in the house has no eraser.  Every paper clip, a piece of thread, Lego,

Basically any small object will find its way into my child’s mouth.

He is a curious one and will take apart things. He has no fear of heights and will climb and climb. He loves to explore the outside, but be always reminded, no bugs in the mouth, no snails in the mouth and no plants in the mouth.  Though those are just words and if I don’t constantly watch him he will have something in his mouth. There have been times where I’ve been grossed out.

We have high locks on the doors, and we have a front gate, we also have the backdoor strapped because when I take a chance on throwing that laundry in the washing machine I know, he can’t escape for that moment.

As I sit here and pick up that coffee cup on the right side of me, I hold it with two hands; I take in a deep breath and let it out, as I do every morning.  Will the day run smooth, or will I be finding something gross in the hands or mouth of my child?  Whatever the day may bring I will embrace it to the fullest, there is never a dull moment in this house.

 

Beautiful Challenges

By Melody Kramer – Autism Mom

My children are autistic

You may not see it from the start.

If you only knew the challenges

you would understand my heart.

I try my best from when they wake

to when they sleep,

Most nights I go to bed and weep.

I’m exhausted to no end

and coffee gets me through the day,

but nothing compares to the love that my boys give away.

 

They have their moments

Oh and are they tough

I ask God for patience

cause it can get rough.

If you only knew what I go through daily

from their tantrums to them losing control.

You wouldn’t be so quick to judge

and more acceptable to console.

 

It isn’t always easy raising kids,

especially one or two who’s autistic.

So forgive me please if at times I seem distant or cold

I’m just trying to hold it together, so I don’t lose control.

I love my boys with all my heart,

The lessons they teach me, the joy they bring,

the love they share, the smiles they give, the songs they sing.

God blessed me more then I could ever imagine

And yes they are a challenge what more can I say

I am so thankful I am their mommy every day.

Melody Kramer is the publisher of Macaroni Kid in Jurupa Valley and Riverside. Macaroni Kid is an online newsletter for family events. Check out the link below for more information about fun, exciting and educational events in your area.

https://jurupavalley.macaronikid.com/

Connecting With Your Spouse

Courtesy: Google Images

By Melody Kraemer-Stillwell

 

I looked at my husband sitting on the couch and wondered to myself, who is that man? He almost felt like a stranger living in our house. Then it dawned on me,  when was the last time we had a meal together that didn’t involve picky eaters, feeding a child, cutting up meals, and more?  When was the last time we had a conversation that didn’t include a million interruptions? When was the last time it was just him and I? It had been so long, I couldn’t remember when it was just us. I started to feel the distance between my husband and me, and I realized we were co-parenting in the house and that was it.  What happened to us? Kids and life!

Having an autistic child who is almost nine but is still, mentally, around the age of four can be challenging and exhausting.

We as parents need each other. It’s vital we stay connected. We can go out for a date night, but it’s not that easy. Having two autistic children, we can’t just hire a babysitter and head out the door. We came up with some ways we stay connected that what works for us:

  1. Say I love you daily to each other
  2. Smile at each other
  3. Text each other (and yes sometimes it is when we are in the house together)
  4. When we pass each other, in the house, make it a point to reach out and touch the other one.
  5. Random hugs
  6. Make it a point to get up early with your spouse and spend a few quiet moments together before they leave for work.
  7. Complement each other.
  8. Say thank you to each other (Thank you, honey, for doing the dishes..)
  9. Try and stay humble and never assume you know what the other is thinking (ok this is a hard one)
  10. Discuss things and try not to argue, and be honest with each other.

Though life can be challenging and daily living will get in the way, we have to stay connected as a couple and not just as co-parents. There will be times you may still feel distant from your spouse then look over to them and smile they will smile back all is right in our world.

Melody is the publisher of Macaroni Kid in Eastvale and Riverside.  Check out her online newsletter for fun family things to do at: http://www.jurupavalley.macaronikid.com

 

Meltdowns Happen – Autism Mom

By Melody Kraemer

Meltdowns are ok.  Oh wait, maybe you think I’m referring to children. I’m not! I am talking about a mommy meltdown.  In fact, today was that day that my patience ran out, and my autistic boys were in full form of being “needy.”  Have you ever heard someone say “I just can’t adult today!”  My saying is, “I just can’t autism today!” That’s right this mommy of two autism boys just had a complete meltdown.

Of course, no one saw me on the floor throwing a tantrum, nor did I scream and run away, or give up, even though I felt like it. I quietly had an emotional breakdown with tears running down my face.  I thought to myself, “Now I can’t be the only mom out there that wants to run away, go lock myself in the bathroom, open a bottle of wine, or just go to bed with the covers over my head.”

Parenting is tough, and we as moms aren’t perfect.  We lose our cool, and then the mommy guilt factors come in.  We all have experienced that mommy guilt. No matter how hard things get, how much mom guilt we put upon ourselves, we have to remember that we are not alone, every mom experiences these feelings.  We all have that mommy meltdown some time or another.  I said to my son today, “Mommy is doing the best she can, but it seems like her best isn’t good enough.” After  I  thought about what I said I realized my best for today is good enough because I’m giving my best and I’m not giving up. It also helped that my son saw my tears and said, “You are the most beautiful mom.”  Even during my meltdown, tears running down my face, feeling like the worst mom with the mommy guilt,  my children love me unconditionally.  We as moms have to remember our kids don’t expect perfection just a mom who is doing her best and loving her kids.

 

Autism MOM

By Melody Kraemer

Living with autism isn’t just part of my life. It’s my world. I don’t think much about it, it’ just what I do. I am a mother of 2 autistic boys.  I sometimes forget that people are not aware of what autism is. I have been asked many questions throughout the years regarding “autism.”

I would like to share the most asked questions and statements I have experienced over the years. These are just a the most asked out of the many questions I have been asked.

  1. Will they outgrow it?

Answer: No. But I can do everything in my power to help them to have a fulfilling life.

  1. Why is he flapping/spinning like that, how much sugar have you given him today?

Answer: Not much, he has autism, its part of his autism. He’s expressing himself.

  1. My sister’s nephew’s cousin has a boy with autism, so I know all about autism and what you are going through.

Answer: No, you really don’t because every autistic child is unique just like all children are unique.

  1. Are you sure he has autism, he looks normal?

Answer: What is normal? Is he supposed to have a tail?

  1. How did you know he had autism?

Answer: The Doctor told me

What made you take him to the Doctors in the first place?

Answer: Concerns. His nonverbal, nonsocial behavior, sensitivity to noise, food, and touch.

  1. Did you know before he was born that he had autism?

Answer: No, autism was not detected in the womb.

  1. What do you think happened that caused him to have autism?

Answer: I can’t answer that, nobody really can. I don’t know. According to austimspeaks.org. 1 out of 59 kids has autism.

  1. Is autism contagious?

Answer: No, it’s not. Your child will not catch autism from my child.

  1. Does he go to a special school for kids like him?

Answer: He’s in a public school, in the autism program.

  1. Where does the autism come from? Does it run in the family?

Answer: No, it does not run in our family.

This is just a handful of the questions an autism parent will be asked at least one time if not many times. I try and smile through the many questions I get on a daily basis. All I hope for is my children to be accepted and others to have the understanding and awareness of autism. If others become more aware of autism these questions would get asked less and less.

Melody is a mother, wife and small business owner. You can find her and community events on her online newsletters: Macaroni Kid Eastvale and Riverside.

Just A Little Girl

Photo Courtesy: Skitterphoto.com

By Anthony Saude

She wasn’t from around here, here she didn’t know anybody or even speak the language, but here is where she was to stay. Her feelings or opinion about the situation were negligible at best, after all she was just a little girl and kids get over it.

Life hadn’t been easy for her; it had been a very long 11 years. Not to worry, she is resilient; after all she is just a little girl. She had grown up without her father; he took his own life when she was very young. It is a good thing that she was just a little girl, she will get over it. The grown- ups make promises of a better life, in a better place, it will be fine she is just a little girl.

She has a new father now and things seem to be moving towards the promises the grown-ups made, hope is something she can believe in now. Tragedy strikes again and she loses another father in her life to death. She is young still, practically a little girl; she has her whole life ahead of her, she will be fine. The story is much longer but she was never the same and she isn’t a little girl anymore.

She was born in a land she knew, had a lot of friends and family loving on her since the day she was born. Life hadn’t been hard for her but her parents did divorce when she was young, not to worry though she was still just a little girl, it would be fine. Her mother remarried, not to worry she will get used to him, after all she is just a little girl. She isn’t fine, they aren’t fine, and they are no longer just little girls.

Life isn’t perfect they know this but does it have to be so overwhelming at times. How did she get here they sometimes wonder together silently in their own heads. The little girl from the distant land looks at the little girl from this land and gives thanks to the heavens for her daughter and her life. The little girl from this land is just thankful that the little girl from another land is her Mommy.

 

Family Troubles

By Anthony Saude

Marriage will always be something different than what was imagined, no matter how “ready” we are. The family is the latest addition to a long list of manmade endangered species. This has been happening for decades now, slowly sneaking up on us like a black cloud. Telling us that things just weren’t made to last forever, love and happiness are the same. You can’t have one without the other so make sure you have that escape hatch in your sight at all times.

Isn’t it interesting that less people are getting married these days because of they have been enlightened and educated in the field of happiness. Even though all of this “new” information has come to light in society today, divorce rates don’t change. The effort from men and organizations of men it will take to save the family in this environment will have to be monumental and all encompassing.

We save trees, whales, seals and bears. We protect fish, mice, birds and speech with a vengeance, as though our life depended on it but we bail on our families because we are “unhappy”. It seems we are more concerned about our own selfish feelings than the people that we are sitting across the table from. These are the very same people that we chose, of our own free will, to be the people sitting across the table from us.

Marriage will be something different, it will be something new and it can be a great adventure, if you let it. It will be a great teacher about the important things in life if you decide to be a great student. Of course you can always take the easy way out nobody can stop you. Life is choices.

 

There Are Many Things

By Anthony Saude

There are many things in this country and the world that will make you scratch you head and wonder, “what the heck is wrong with people.”

There are many things that start working on our mind the minute we wake up every morning.

There are many things that could continue to work on your mind all day and all night until you go to sleep, if you can sleep that is.

There are many things that can and can make us sad, mad, bitter, and anxious and a host of other thoughts or feelings that can confirm how ugly we feel about life or ourselves.

There are many things in this beautiful country and world that will make you scratch your head and wonder, “how are these people so positive and happy all the time” (what the heck is wrong with people)

There are many things, to be thankful for that can start working on our minds the minute we wake up every morning. (waking up at all)

There are many things that could continue to work on our minds all day and all night until we go to sleep. (how beautiful our country and world are, God made another day etc…)

There are many things that can make us happy, loving, compassionate and encouraging to others today and the days ahead.

THERE ARE MANY THINGS to chose from both positive and negative in this beautiful thing we call life. What day will you chose to for yourself to have today?

The Mexican Fisherman

By Michael Armijo

 

I’m convinced that deep inside our hearts we all possess the ability to be successful. I rely on a simple formula: “Confidence + Desire = Ability.” I believe that when we have confidence, and then add our desire, we find the path to ability. And I believe that each and every one of us can accomplish whatever we want, just as long as we have desire. But it has to come deep from within.

What I’ve also learned is that not everyone shares the same definition of success that I do, and I’ve learned that what’s important to me is not important to others.

As a motivator, I want the entire world to apply themselves and work hard to be on top. I want to encourage everyone to do their best and step up to their inner ability. But I’ve come to the realization that sometimes we have to really look clearly at the big picture, because sometimes our goals are the same. It all depends on how you look at it.

This brings me to a story I’d like to share, a story called:

The Mexican Fisherman

An American investment banker was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked.

Inside the small boat were several large yellow fin tuna. The American complimented the fisherman on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them. The fisherman replied, “Only a little while.” The American then asked, “Why didn’t you stay out longer and catch more fish?” The fisherman said, “With this I have more than enough to support my family’s needs.” The American then asked, “But what do you do with the rest of your time?” To which the fisherman replied; “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take a siesta with my wife, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life.”

The American scoffed; “I’m a Harvard MBA and I could help you. You should spend more time fishing; and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats. Eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman, you would sell directly to the processor; eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing, and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then Los Angeles, and eventually New York where you will run your ever-expanding enterprise.”

“But what then?” asked the fisherman. The American laughed and said: “That’s the best part. When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich. You would make millions.”

“Millions?…Then what?” the fisherman asked.

The American said, “Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”

What this story reminds me is when you’re searching for success in life, you need to determine what success means. Just as the fisherman believed in his simple life, we need to look at the simplicity of what we really want. At times, we may find, we don’t need to look too far for success because sometimes we’re already successful. Some of us, deep inside, are simple, happy, already successful Mexican Fishermen.

Fear is Funny

Fear is such a strong emotion that it can actually take over our lives, until we die if we let it. Fear is funny even to talk about because we don’t really think about how many levels there are. That is why it goes undetected in our lives.

Fear is funny; think about it, people can fear both failure and success. The same person can fear both without even being aware that is what is going on inside of their minds.

Fear is funny; we fear abandonment then we get married, have children and increase our odds of it happening.

Fear is funny; we can become addicted to substances due to fear of our reality and also fear of the pain getting healthy enough to deal with reality.

Fear is funny; we don’t tell our spouse something out of fear they will get angry or worse and then yell at them for doing the same thing.

Fear keeps us from becoming the person God intended us to be. We are born with a spirit of courage and boldness. The world will always do it’s best to replace that with fear and intimidation. We have to stand tall in the face of fear so that our sons and daughters know what standing tall looks like. Then when fear inevitably enters their mind they will know how to push through the pain and turn their fear into positive energy. I have always said fear and excitement both produce adrenaline how we use that energy is up to us.

Fear is funny; we fear facing our fears as well as we are told don’t run from your fears. Overcoming fears is never an overnight process and it takes practice, intentionality and perseverance. Of course life would be easier if we just played it safe everyday in our professional, personal and marriage relationships but what fun would that be. Do something completely terrifying every day.

Train Wreck?

By Anthony Saude

My job is a wreck, my marriage is a wreck, my relationship with my family is a wreck, wow I guess my entire life is a wreck. How many people are thinking one or more of those things right now? Daily? That is a lot of pressure for anybody even though it is never all unwarranted. Our answers? If only I made more money, or I had a better boss. If only my spouse treated me better, my family are a bunch of wackos anyway.

This is where joy has to come into play in our lives. How do we get joy? Well Jesus is the easy answer but we still have to think about the positive effect He has had on our lives. Not always easy based on our circumstances.

Think about these answers for those very same questions; I have a job and endless resources to find one I like better while I am working here. My spouse seems unhappy; I wonder what I could do to make their life a little easier today. I have a family, a lot of people don’t, and they love me. Are we not all our own little special kind of crazy anyway?

Is our life really a wreck or is it us that is the wreck? If so what can we do today to start moving in the right direction? It will take practice but you can start with this thought; if our lives are a wreck then the world we live in is a train wreck. Get off the train and work harder on the positive than you do on the negative. One step at a time, run only after you are able to run. What decisions we make today fuels the life we have tomorrow.

I Can’t Wait!!!

By Anthony Saude

I can’t wait until I am a grown up, then I will be able to do whatever I want to. What parent hasn’t spoken or heard those words multiple times in their lives. The super special secret that only the grownups are privileged enough to know that most baloney filled statement ever made.

Grownups long for the days when we were kids, except of course when we were kids. I wonder if this is where the human condition of “wanting what you can’t have” started. We try to tell our kids that they have it easy now that they are kids and then we kill ourselves to make it even easier.

What happens during that time that we are waiting that gives grownups amnesia? We forget the reality is that our kids on a whole in America don’t have it tough. Of course some do, there are always exceptions. Physical, emotional and sexual abuse are real things and we need to be on the lookout for signs. But, that is a story for a different day.

I wish for the days when I could do whatever I wanted. I would trade a cooking dinner for a bedtime. I would trade a mortgage for cleaning my room. I would trade an electricity bill for washing the dishes. I would trade the grocery bill for my meals being chosen for me, I could go on all day.

So young people while you wait enjoy yourself, older folks we don’t get to go back so enjoy yourself. You are where the youngsters want to be.

Take That, Cancer

By Sarah Sanchez

My best friend of 20 years was recently diagnosed with breast cancer.  This was a huge shock to us as she is only 26-years-old and there is no history of breast cancer in her family.  She is a beautiful young woman who does not have kids yet, and has her whole life ahead of her.  However, life took an unexpected turn.

Finding out she had breast cancer was hard for her to hear, but she has been nothing but positive.  Her strength and persistence is truly inspiring.  She has researched treatment plans, asked questions, and scheduled several appointments with the help of her family.

When she met with medical professionals at City of Hope to go over her treatment plan, it was recommended that she obtained chemotherapy first and then go in for surgery.  But chemotherapy is known to damage a woman’s eggs, which may cause infertility when she is ready to have kids in the future.  This news was devastating to her because she has dreamed of being a mother one day.  So her doctor recommended she freeze her eggs before she starts chemotherapy that way she’d have a better chance of having children when she is ready to.  This treatment plan is not fully covered by her insurance so we are attempting to raise $10,000 to help with the upfront costs she needs to get her treatment started.

If you would like to help, there are a few ways you can do so:

  • If you are financially able to give ANY amount, we would appreciate it! You can give a few different ways:
    1. You can visit her GoFundMe account: gofundme.com/eh8r8-hope-for-the-future.
    2. You can give via Paypal by sending money to: TakeThatCancer@hotmail.com.
    3. If you have a Venmo account, you can send funds to @TakeThatCancer
  • You can share her story by sharing this article. Getting the word out will help so much!
  • You can pray for her! Even though she is being so strong, she will have days of weakness during treatment.  Please pray for her journey while she is beating this cancer.
  • Send her an encouraging thought. Send any uplifting scripture or encouraging thoughts to TakeThatCancer@hotmail.com.  We will forward them to her and I know she will love the support!

This woman is truly amazing and she grew up right here in this community, in addition to attending schools in the Walnut Valley Unified School District.  She also currently works for the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.  However, for personal reasons, she wishes to keep her identity private via social media.  We have respected her wishes, but we are hoping the community members can provide the support she needs!  Let’s stand together to support this woman of strength and help her fight this deadly disease.  With your help, she will be able to say, “Take that cancer!”

Who Determines Our Path?

By Michael Armijo

 

While driving one day, I noticed a young man sitting on a park bench. You could tell he was in despair, the way he was just sitting there, staring at the ground.  He looked like he had given up.

The man was wearing a muddy shirt, dirty tan pants, a large trash bag that he used as a backpack, and a pair of almost unrecognizable tennis shoes. His hair was filthy and matted, and he sported an untrimmed beard that looked as though it had been chopped in sections with a dull pair of scissors.

He sat there as though he had no place to go.  His head hung down; his eyes seemingly entranced on the ground. The scene reminded me of a small child, bored, thinking he didn’t have a friend in the world.  I could see hopelessness and sadness in this man’s demeanor.

As the cars sped by on the street, the man got up and walked in a slow-paced journey to nowhere. Had he stepped into oncoming traffic, I would have been horror-struck, but not surprised.  It would have appeared as though another tragic life had ended without a cause, without a clue, and without a care.

He didn’t look angry, but had he been I could have imagined him attacking.  Why not lash out at society if you don’t care what happens to you?  Why not “get even?” This is a sad logic, but as one who watches the news, its today’s reality.

As I looked at the man, I wondered if society had failed him; but how much truth does that hold? How responsible is society for the ones that are lost? I believe we have to ask ourselves, who determines our path?  Who maps out our life? We’ve heard so many excuses about responsibility through blame and denial that we allow ourselves to label our lives as dysfunctional.  And then we wonder why we turn out differently than others.

After the experiences I’ve had in life, I now believe we are the creators of our own destiny. We determine where we go, who we are, and who we become. After pointing the finger at society for too long, we need to take responsibility for ourselves. HOWEVER, I will add that as parents, we ARE responsible for providing an honest and fair life, a loving and caring environment, a responsible and healthy example, and a thorough and extensive education for our children. Of course, we shouldn’t condemn ourselves if our children do not turn out the way we had hoped.  As human beings, there comes a point in time where we need to look ourselves in our own eyes and say; “I honestly did the best I could, with no regrets.”  Why wish for the chance to do things over, when that is not a possibility?  You can only change who you are right now, and move forward doing your best.

I believe that there will be a day of judgment. And on that day we will be forced to look into our own souls and really see who determined our path.  So to that young man on the park bench, I hope you are happy with your path.

 

When I Wake Up

By Anthony Saude

Every day when we wake up, thoughts rush into our minds at an almost frightening pace. For some, those thoughts are sadly centered on the negative circumstances they may be experiencing in their lives. Still, for others it is quite the opposite; their thoughts are centered on the positive things happening in their lives. If we were to look at the state of our country we would have to assume that most are doing the negative thing.

I am not going to lie, when I wake up in the morning their is about a 50/50 chance that I will be doing the positive thing. (See how I just did the positive thing there) I am working on it but my first thoughts can be focused on the negative stuff. Even though I know for certain, that is not a productive way to start my day. I have been known to tell my kids that you can have a good day or a bad day it is your choice, which one do you want.

The goal I am after is that when I wake up, I would have my first thought to be: I am just glad I got to wake up again today. If we can accomplish that, it seems that positive thoughts should more easily follow throughout our day. Every day is a new day that the Lord has made for us; what we do with that day is a choice that we need to make. This type of thinking will take practice but like I always tell my kids “practice makes perfect”. It will take time, energy and intentionality to change negativity to positivity.

When we wake up we get to go out and see if we can’t figure out a way to make somebody’s negative day a positive day. With the state our country is in today, chances are that person could very well be a person or persons that are living in the very house you call home. Let’s start there tomorrow and see where that takes us.