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Change–Blast From the Past

This song just keeps popping in my head…check out the YouTube site for detailed info on the song & musicians if you’re interested here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QJMUugMQeIg&list=PL8Z7cWD-PWoDhiXoOJx3ypcSSW90YLyNO&index=7  

I couldn’t even remember the artists who did this song so looked up some of the lyrics online to find it was done by “The Archers“, a Christian group from “back in the day”.  I found this album, Fresh Surrender, at another family’s house, I was there babysitting their kids, & used to play it sometimes on their record player after the kids went to bed.  At that time I remember thinking that those parents were pretty cool to have some (seemingly) Christian Rock Music choices in their home.

This family has stayed pretty closely connected to my family over the years.  The parents & my parents have been part of a local “Prayer Group” of Christian couples that has been meeting regularly since the 1970s.  Several members of this Prayer Group have since gone on to their reward & the Prayer Warriors are now more likely to meet separately as a Men’s Group & a Women’s Group than their former Couples-focused Prayer Group.

Many of these Prayer Group Prayer Warriors have been an integral part of Prayer Support for my family over the years.  Jon & Judy, whose kids I was babysitting, were also heavily involved in praying for my son, Josiah, & our family during his Liver Transplant process over the years…What a Blessing!

It’s funny how a song from decades past can pop into your head & grab hold of you.  Here are the lyrics, from another site: http://greatgreatjoy.com/2014/11/19/change/

Change
Don’t come easy sometimes
I’m a stubborn girl
I just want to be alone
Sometimes

Maybe You’ve been showin’ me
Just how nowhere
My own will has been
As far as You’re concerned
And You really love me

Lord I need Your love, I need Your care

And I welcome Your change
Like I welcome the rain
After nothing’s grown in a long, long time

Sometimes
Any change is better
Than staying where you are
When you’ve been there too long
Already

All the changes you’ve been bringin’
Only seem to heal me deep inside
And I don’t wanna be alone
Without You

Lord I need Your love, I need Your care
I find my rest in knowing that You’re there

And I welcome Your change
Like I welcome the rain
After nothing’s grown in a long, long time

Ah, ah ah ah, ah ah ah

And I welcome Your change
Like I welcome the rain after a long, long time
Been a long, long time

La la la la
La la la la
La la la la
La la la

I’m so thankful for the ongoing fellowship of faith that is available to all of us.  The Lord is permeating the world around us & is calling to us always, if only we have eyes to see & ears to hear, we can connect on a deeply personal level with the Eternal God.  In encountering this song again the line “Only seem to heal me deep inside” is the one bringing those misty eyes.  I’m so thankful for the tender loving touch of the Master’s Hand!  Thank you, Lord, for showing forth Your Love & Grace to me, to us all, always.

Blessings,

Valerie

Image result for bible healing

from a Bing.com image search for Bible healing

If you are interested in learning about our experiences with Josiah’s Liver Transplant, I’ve “encapsulated” some of that journey here:

https://specialconnections.wordpress.com/2017/07/30/four-years-ago-today-a-transplant-tale/

I’ve also archived our journey (including messages, like those from Jon & Judy mentioned above), as recorded in my CarePages blog, JournalingForTheJazzman here:

https://jazzmanjournal.wordpress.com/about/

I’m still developing the JazzmanJournal site so it’s easiest to navigate from the About page currently, or to do a search.

If you might be interested in following along further on the journey with Josiah here is where I’m continuing to blog about his medical situation & prayer requests & happenings with him & the family, since CarePages is ending.  God Bless YOU!

https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/josiahcurren

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Stella’s Place Comments & Tom Thompson’s Obituary

I just wanted to copy/paste some material that I posted at another blog in case any of you might be interested in some of these things…& it saves me writing it up again!

Blessings to All,

Valerie

From the below site (well worth the visit & extended stay within & about!):

General Discussion, Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Here’s my stuff, obviously:

Hi, I’m pretty new around here but I wanted to share a “good report” about my son. Some of you have visited his new blog, JosiahsFreakShow.wordpress.com at the urging of Menagerie at the Conservative Tree House.

We’ve had a busy couple of days (following an extended 4th of July stay in Northern Michigan) seeing a surgical pre-op clinic Monday & “today” (actually Tuesday, but it never “feels” like it’s a new day until I actually/eventually sleep!) at the Liver Transplant Clinic AND the Brain Tumor Clinic. That’s a lot to process, even for us.

Anyway, the upshot is that there is no apparent (re)growth of his Brain Tumor since it’s removal back in 2010…and for the first time he will be allowed to go for FOUR Years before another Brain MRI & return to the Pituitary Clinic!

He is also almost exactly 4 years post-Liver Transplant now & looks like he may be able to begin the weaning off of anti-rejection meds following a (relatively minor, though 18th overall) surgery planned for later this month! This is almost a year sooner than they’d previously stated protocols would allow such attempted medication weaning–perhaps a sign of how well he’s doing…

These are all huge praise reports from our standpoint…& my son is quite relieved since he had been “gearing up with the Lord” to prepare for the possibility of more “bad news” & medical challenges, especially in the Neurosurgery arena. We are so thankful for good reports.

I wrote up many details about these visits, & previously about many medical & special education challenges for/about Josiah, at this blog, if anyone is interested in that type of material…

http://www.carepages.com/carepages/JournalingForTheJazzman

There are also details about our ongoing & historical journey, especially as relates to managing Josiah’s needs, at my wordpress blog here

SpecialConnections.wordpress.com

Some people have been blessed and encouraged by our experiences & faith-affirming approaches to the complex & difficult medical & advocacy battles we’ve faced…so all those links are by way of an FYI, if they might be beneficial, inspiring, or encouraging to others.

God Bless You ALL…& God Bless America (& restore Her to founding principles & values!)

(I wanted to post a photo of Josiah here, but don’t know how to do that…so here is a link to the photo I’d wanted to share, fyi)
http://www.carepages.com/carepages/JournalingForTheJazzman/photos/5672780

Blessings,
Valerie Curren

  • PS I really only began the wordpress blog as a form of an outlet to cope with the massive abuse/betrayal of the special education system (not that I in any way believe in the Nanny State)…in attempting to assert, protect, and redress issues related to my special needs son’s “rights” “guaranteed & protected” in Special Education law! I was/am an isolated parent dealing with extremely complex issues over many years who took advocacy “training” from WrightsLaw.com to heart & attempted to put it into practice in defense of my son…anyway some perspective on that whole debacle can be gained at this early blog posting…& the inspirational article cited is also well worth the read for anyone who struggles in these arenas…

    https://specialconnections.wordpress.com/2016/02/18/commenting-on-only-the-rich-will-have-rights-article/

    Thanks for providing a place where we can share things on our minds & hearts!

 

Eventually I’d like to take a page out of Stella’s “book” & perhaps have some guest posts and post even more things of wider ranging interest…but one step at a time…

If you’ve stopped by here for any reason, or even just by accident, thanks for taking the time to read a bit about our situation, to pray for our needs, to share an encouraging word, or even just a passing kindly thought.  We hope you are doing well, but if you struggle (as we all do from time to time) we would be happy to pray with/for you and encourage you as best we can.

In Christ,

Valerie

PS here’s that picture that I’d wanted to post at Stella’s site, and the associated comments, from the above noted link…

56765_100_3671_display

Josiah undergoing pre-op procedures before the Brain Tumor Surgery Summer 2010

Posted Jul 14, 2012 8:07pm

JOSIAH . . . the bravest young man we know. We love you and are keeping you in our prayers.
Cousins Tom and Julie

 

As an aside, this above comment on Josiah’s picture is especially meaningful to me since Tom has recently died & Julie has been in a nursing home for a number of years & no longer actively follows along with Josiah’s needs…& I really miss her wonderful input & encouragement…

Here is cousin Tom’s Obituary…he is officially Hugh Orr Thompson, II but has always been known as “Tom” within the family to distinguish between himself, his father, his son, and most recently his grandson–Hugh IV…

Obituaries & Words of Condolence

Thompson, Hugh, Jr. Obituary
03/19/2017

Hugh Orr Thompson, Jr., of Troy, Michigan and Gaylord, Michigan, passed away Sunday, March 19, 2017. He was 76.

Hugh Thompson was born to Dr. Hugh and Bernice Thompson on November 16, 1940. At the age of 22 he married Julianne Weiskotten and the two spent 53 years together at the time of his passing.

Hugh was active in the Boy Scouts with his children and was also a proud member of the Shriners. In his spare time, he liked snowmobiling, boating, flying, fishing, and even water-skiing in his youth.

Hugh is survived by his wife, Julianne; children Hugh Thompson III (and his wife, Hanh) and Bill Thompson (and his wife, Carrie); and grandchildren Halle Thompson, and Hugh Thompson IV. He was preceded in death by his parents Dr. Hugh and Bernice Thompson, and sister Karen.

There will be two funeral services. The first will be held on Friday, April 7th at the Church of the Nazarene in Troy, Michigan at 2pm with visitation beginning at 1pm. The second will be held on Saturday, April 8th at Nelson Funeral Home in Gaylord, Michigan at 3pm with visitation beginning at 2pm.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to The Alzheimer’s Association, or the Humane Society.

 

Condolence Messages

From: Don Walworth
Northport, MI
Contact
31-Mar-17

You will be missed my friend! We spent many a summer together on Otsego Lake together. May peace be with you

From: Bill and Elaine Stoddard
DEARBORN, MI
Contact
29-Mar-17

Tom has been not only a cousin but best friend to Bill since early childhood. His wife, Julianne is likewise a most prescious friend and cousin. We pray for God’s comfort to all who will miss the earthly presence of this honorable man of good character and integrity. He is much loved, by many.

http://nelsonsfuneralhome.com/obituary-view.cfm?obituaries_id=935

The condolence messages from Don Walworth & my dad Bill Stoddard are from the surviving “Bunns” of “The Three Bunns”…a nickname this trio of mischievous young men gave themselves during all of the many high-jinx of their youth (I do not know the meaning, origin, or purpose of that name).  There are many wonderful stories about their Summers at Otsego Lake that often get revisited with the newer generations as the years go by…& I love to instigate the telling of such tales!

Image result for telling tales campfire

One bit of a family history tidbit, Tom & Julie met at my parents’ wedding and married about a year later.  My dad recently said that Julie told him that she fell in love with Tom at first sight & knew she would marry him even when she first met him.  Julie’s mother and my dad’s mother were very close friends, I believe they were either school teachers or involved in church activities with each other.  They always wanted their husbands to meet, but neither of the men were interested, being too far apart in interests & lifestyle.  Tom Weiskotten, Julie’s dad, was some type of minister (I believe) & my Grandpa, E. M. (Elzine Munger aka El, Al, or Lefty) Stoddard was a self-made outdoorsman who ran his own Sunoco gas station in Detroit–Stoddard’s Superior Service!  Anyway the wives eventually got their husbands to meet & the guys became fast friends.  Tom W. died while his daughter was quite young so when it was time for her to get married it was my Grandpa Stoddard who walked her down the aisle to give her away to his nephew!  We actually called Julie’s mom Aunt Julia because she was family (by love) even before she was family by marriage!

Nelson’s Funeral Home in Gaylord, MI has handled many of the deaths in our extended family over the years, including Tom’s parents, Hugh & Bernice Thompson, his sister, Karen Hansen, my grandparents, Elzine & Vivian (Bernice’s sister) Stoddard, my great-grandparents, Rowland & Florabelle Thompson (Bernice, Vivian, & Thurman’s parents), and my great uncle & his wife, Thurman & Mary Thompson.

Image result for autism super power

In fact at Uncle Thurman’s funeral many years ago Josiah was able to meet some of Karen’s grandkids that were also autistic.  Josiah used to point out Nelson’s for many years whenever we went to Gaylord & remark about Thurman’s funeral that had been there, one of the early indicators of some of his unusual memory & location skills (he’d met Thurman maybe once briefly but recalled events for many years without promptings or reminders, even when passing Nelson’s less than once in a year–it wouldn’t surprise me if he still could spell out the Thurman/Nelsons details on a subsequent Gaylord trip–such is part of the miracle & mystery of autism, at least Josiah style!)

Image result for autism super power

Image result for pine beach, otsego lake, gaylord, michigan

bing.com image for Pine Beach, Otsego Lake, Gaylord, MI

The above picture is pretty close to the sunset view from Tom & Julie’s cottage on Pine Beach, just around the Pointe from my parents’ Cottage on Otsego Lake…

So I need to actually get some sleep & may be getting visually “slap happy” but I couldn’t resist copy/pasting a couple of autism super power images that likely could fit better in other posts I’ve done, but I want to be able to find them again so they are finding a “temporary” home here now!  Blessings, Valerie

I see my brother Curtis doing Chris Farley-esque “air quotes” based on my writing style & am basically cracking my own self up!

Image result for chris farley air quotes meme

Image result for autism super power

the images in this post were found using the Bing.com search engine…

Shorthand Hospital Run…

Image result for u of m hospital

from a Bing.com image search for “U of M Hospital”

So my son, Josiah, and I returned to the University of Michigan Hospital today because I’d rescheduled his MRI of the head (aka Brain Scan) from yesterday afternoon to this morning, so he could participate in a special needs social event last night.  We rarely have back to back hospital runs so this was kind of “fun”…

Image result for u of m hospital

from a Bing.com image search for “U of M Hospital”

Image result for who heals you of all your diseases scripture

from a Bing.com image search for “who heals you of all your diseases scripture”

  • Up late, running late, getting to the hospital “on time” cause we left a cushion!
  • No traffic “cops” at the parking structure entrance like yesterday (when a screaming motorist & screaming parking lot “enforcement” personnel made me think someone just might pull a weapon–it’s Detroit area, after-all–& for once Josiah decided to Not escalate an already tense situation!)
  • Doing loop-de-loops in the parking structure looking for a space…and Josiah feels some dizziness coming on (he’d already complained how he got dizzy at his recent Liver MRI & was concerned about dizziness from the procedure)
  • Offering to drop J off near the entrance we might use (depending on what level I actually get to park on) & he finally takes me up on the offer–so hoping he actually follows instructions & waits in the right place–praying all the way…
  • making our way through the various “buildings” (interconnected) of the hospital complex to the appropriate elevators & descending to sub-basement B-2
  • walking the halls to the Adult MRI department (his Liver MRI was in the Mott Pediatric part of the hospital the other day) with Josiah getting spooked (it looks older & less kid friendly here) and saying that it looks like we’re going to the morgue (where we’ve never been but maybe he has in video games or shows?)
  • filling out the “abbreviated” pre-procedure forms (3 pages)–thankfully they don’t ask about All Organ Systems, like the pre-op paperwork, for that level of recall is really exhausting
  • Josiah wants to fill out his own forms (which is great)–I finish page one & give him page 2 and he gets stumped right out of the gate when descriptions of prior heart surgeries/devices are needed–sigh–I want to support his independence, but I know these things better, can write in an adult hand (his printing is large & grade-schoolish), and he’s already said he doesn’t want talking so wouldn’t appreciate the amount of verbiage needed to “coach” him here…I complete p 2 & he refuses p 3…
  • no problems in changing, getting a locker (I keep the key for him), nor getting an IV–I’m not allowed back with him (he’d requested me to accompany him at the Liver MRI) and he actually goes along with the staff without issue!
  • I remind the technician that he got dizzy when they moved him in and out of the other MRI machine & she says she can accommodate him there…since he didn’t complain of dizziness afterward it appeared like things went OK!
  • sitting in the waiting room working on a book (I finished), a sudoku puzzle, and a word search…then perusing a number of photo based magazines where I’m bombarded with guilt-trips of the leftist agenda ad nauseum–sigh…no napping…a TV blasts out of sight while trying to sleep & I recognize Chip & Joanna Gaine’s voices from the Fixer Upper TV show…but too tired to attempt to watch this
  • he’s done & we depart without issues & decide to swing by the “interfaith” chapel that’s just outside the elevator on our return trip to the 2nd floor
  • We are alone in the “chapel” so we search for any signs that Christianity is even one of the faiths that might be represented in that room…there’s no cross visible, but prominent Islamic paraphernalia, slightly reserved Judaism items, and eventually a “New Testament with Psalms” Josiah unearths under one of the seats
  • Josiah reads a Psalm from the lectern (we’re in full view of some security camera–yikes, does it have audio?), I sing a version of the 23rd Psalm aloud.  Josiah and I both pray aloud for many things/people “in Jesus’ name”.  Josiah begins singing “How Great Thou Art”–a song that always reminds me of my father & the first church of my childhood–solo (he asks me to Not join in) when a swarthy looking young man enters & sits adjacent to the Islamic prayer rug; J voluntarily stops singing & we decide to leave to give the other person privacy
  • Traversing 3 different buildings to get to the Family Resource Center, where we use the computers & partake of complementary snacks/drinks
  • strike up a conversation with Cameron & his mom about Cameron’s medical needs (brain tumor found 4/30, two surgeries, stroke, etc)–he’s wearing some type of helmet to cover his missing skull…I offer to post his prayer needs on my CarePages medical blog & they agree…we give pointers about living at the hospital etc.
  • J & I both work on both CarePages.com and on WordPress.com blog accounts and attend to some email business at adjacent computers
  • I decide to use one of the consult rooms to call my husband (I don’t have a cell phone) & they are now locked, a new development since my last usage
  • get a staff person to let me in and complimenting her on her new hairstyle leads to an in-depth discussion about her recent Cancer & Heart Attack scare.  We share various stories about medical issues, hospital employment (in my former life), and dealing with overwhelming emotions.  We go on a bit about Transplant issues, me from the family perspective & her from working as staff in an organ procurement organization.  She tells of a family that she turned down as a transplant donor because they didn’t want any of their son’s organs going to any N-words–Wow!
  • we’re interrupted by a volunteer & later an MSW co-worker so we never “finish” our conversation…are those discussions ever really done?
  • Quick phone call with my husband, who’s still at work
  • J & I wrap up computer work & head up to the 12th floor for Skyline Cafe, the Thursday evening complementary meal & music offering sponsored by Delta Airlines & managed by Bob (musician) & Byron (social worker)
  • We assist two different families with in-patient kids on IVs in the elevator
  • We enjoy nearly an hour of acoustic guitar & vocal music as we eat pizza, etc
  • after the event wraps up we speak with Bob & his wife Tracy about my husband’s band, The Lively Pelts, possibly participating musically sometime–I’d cleared this planned discussion with my husband previously–(Bob says Skyline happens Every Thursday of the year, except Thanksgiving)…
  • discover that Tracy & I met before as she’s actually the Pastor at the church kitty-corner from our own church–wow–small world (& I’d almost applied for a recent job opening there)…
  • Josiah tells some tales from transplant & beyond & several eyes tear up…
  • we finally head home during a rainstorm with just enough time to spare to take care of one errand before that business’ closing time; I get soaked to the skin…
  • I send Bob the promised email about the Pelts…and we await to see if God might open yet another door in our lives…

As you can see, even a “simple” day at the hospital can get pretty involved…and exhausting.  Josiah & I both did decently and had an overall good time, which was capped off by the blessing of Skyline Cafe, a pretty rare treat for us nowadays…

Well thanks for stopping by and sharing a bit of our experiences.  Blessings, Valerie

Image result for who heals you of all your diseases scripture

from a Bing.com image search for “who heals you of all your diseases scripture”

PS Please consider keeping Cameron & his family in your prayers as they travel a new special needs pathway…I’ve written more about their situation here if you’d like more details:

http://www.carepages.com/carepages/JournalingForTheJazzman/updates/3856615

Image result for gently leads those with young scripture

from a Bing.com image search for “gently leads those with young scripture”

Comments on Pensive Aspie blog post

Here is a convoluted cross posting (not sure if that’s the right term) from my CarePage about my special needs son.  It contains the body of what I was attempting to send in reply to an article at the Pensive Aspie blog, but for some reason wasn’t posting…

This is so those thoughts aren’t just entirely lost to the ether…hopefully I can figure out what is stalling the comment posting at Pensive Aspie, but if not I can always refer her here…if it’s possible to discover another way to interact with her.

Trying to keep track of way too many threads in my mind!

[JournalingForTheJazzman care page post starts here]

I’m in the process of developing a Blog as an outlet and focus shift after the fallout from our recent special education/legal system battles. In the course of being more “engaged” in that particular WordPress blogging community I have been searching for writings by others that can be inspiring, informative, and edifying. To that end I shared (the bulk of, he was getting restless) a posting by a Christian woman who also has Asperger’s Syndrome. This is in hopes of eventually getting Josiah to expand his voice, and reach, online…and to give him a forum to expound on other topics of interest to him that don’t usually get into his JosiahTheOvercomer page.

Here’s a link to the article to which my reply below refers:
https://pensiveaspie.wordpress.com/2014/04/19/you-make-me-feel-disabled-yes-you

She has some great insights here from within Autism that can be of help to any of us who love, know, or interface with people on the Spectrum…Please consider reading the original posting.

Blessings to you all, and thank you so much for your ongoing prayers for our family. We really appreciate this loving support!

In Christ,

Valerie

[Comment to Pensive Aspie article starts here, which was also incorporated into the JournalingForTheJazzman care page post]

Dear Pensive Sherri,

Thank you so much for sharing this detailed and insightful post. I just shared it with my 20 year old PDD-NOS (atypical autism) son as an example of a blog written by someone on the Spectrum. Even though he wasn’t prepared to partake of every word, like I was, it appeared to be inspiring and to crack the door just a bit for him in the concept of creating a blog where he can speak in his own voice.

We are also a Christian family and my son has had many challenges that go well beyond the Spectrum “aspect” of his persona. I’ve been writing a CarePage blog about many of his needs (primarily) for several years now. That labor was begun when he was diagnosed with a Brain Tumor and Liver Masses/Tumors nearly simultaneously. Thankfully we have gotten through Brain Surgery (Pituitary Adenoma resected/removed Transphenoidally/through the nose) and a Whole Liver Transplant…

Most recently we’ve been facing numerous uphill battles in relation to FAPE (Free Appropriate Public Education)…or in our case, the lack thereof! We are currently in the process of seeking Transition support since this aspect of his IDEA mandated education was completely disregarded by our local school district…and he has “graduated” even though he cannot even do 3rd grade math! His primary care physician has told me that “high functioning autistic kids” are the ones who really don’t get their needs met from the school system, especially in the area of Transition (preparation for post High School education, employment, & independent living). Did you run into challenges in that arena, if you don’t mind me asking?

I don’t know if your Spectrum issues meant the need for Special Education Services during your earlier education…but I would truly value your feedback (as a wife, mother, person on the Spectrum, medical professional, someone with a heart for educating parents of Autistic Spectrum kids) about some of the issues we face…so here’s an invite to the Care Page about my son:
http://www.carepages.com/carepages/JournalingForTheJazzman
and one for the page he writes (mostly praises of the Lord) & some personal sharing:
http://www.carepages.com/carepages/JosiahTheOvercomer
finally, here’s a link to my recently acquired and in development WordPress blog:
https://specialconnections.wordpress.com/

I would absolutely treasure any insights you might be willing to share as I continue my own journey of trying to better understand, advocate on behalf of, prepare, inspire, pray for, and ultimately release into to God’s infinite and personal care my very unique, special, complex, and blessed son.

Thank you for sharing so much of yourself and some of the inside workings of the Autistic Spectrum mind. May God continue to Bless YOU and your family as you go forth in truth, strength, and grounded on the Rock love. You have inspired me so much!

Blessings,

Valerie Curren
wife, mother, counselor, sojourner…
4 kids (3 w/ADHD–one of whom has autism)

PS I have found significant comfort in many of the postings here, Christian parenting & special needs:
http://specialneedsparenting.net
That website could potentially benefit from an article from your extremely unique perspective!