You Are Your Child’s Best Advocat!


Recently on a Facebook group I belong to a woman stated that it was not her job to tell people about her sons Autism because they want him to have the most normal life possible. This troubled me because it really is the exact opposite. It absolutely is our job to educate people about our children’s differences and difficulties. How are people supposed to know our child needs the aisle seat at the movies or the booth at the back corner of the restaurant, or even a little more understanding when dealing with certain social situations, or why the 13 year old has broken down in tears in the middle of the grocery store and dosnt really know why?

For 10 years we knew my daughter was different but never had her formally diagnosed because I really just didn’t care. Now don’t get me wrong, I absolutely 100% care about my baby I just didn’t care that she was different because she has always been an absolutely amazing and beautiful gift from God. As she has gotten older I realized how important it was to not only educate myself about ASD but how absolutely important it is to educate others do that she can have the most “normal” life possible.

My daughter is extremely smart, talented and full of life but there are times when she shuts down because her anxiety levels are through the roof and the world becomes to much for her. She becomes over stimulated or panicked and completely breaks down. Her interactions with others are not “normal” for a 13 year old and sometimes her mannerisms and behaviours resemble that of somebody much younger then her. People think she is “strange” and it usually becomes my job to educate them on why she acts the way she does because she doesn’t quite have the ability to do it herself, but she is getting better at helping her peers understand. When people understand they are more able to interact with her in a way that makes everyone comfortable and as a result she is becoming more outgoing and making wonderful friends because they don’t judge her when she’s acting “strangely”. 

She is not allowed to use her ASD as an excuse to be lazy or “entitled” but she is allowed to use it as a tool to help others understand what makes her unique and special.

 As parents with children who are “different” we are our children’s biggest ally, public educator and strongest adovacte

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Fire, Family, Faith and the Future!


Over the last week the entire layout of one community has drastically changed and over 80,000 people have been displaced feeling helpless in a country that is more used to helping refugees rather then being refugees.

In 2014 my mom announced her retirement and one of the first questions my dad asked was “How do you feel about retiring in Fort McMurray?” Her immediate response was “No” but my dad had an amazing job opportunity that would be less stressful on his ageing body. Although she was quite certain she wouldn’t like living in the town at the Center of Canada’s Oil Sands, my mom is a very supportive and devoted wife who followed my dad because she just wanted to be where he was. 

It is now 2016 and my parents have grown to love Fort McMurray. They have built a life up North, built friendships, and made a home for themselves in a place they never thought they would be. They have been happy and comfortable in their new life.

At the end of February we lost my Maternal Grandfather, the last of my Grandparents, and while our family has been dealing with this loss my mom has been back in BC tirelessly handling his estate, preparing his house for sale and missing my father who had to be in AB working. Many times my mom has said to me “I just want to go home. I just want to be in my own bed. I just want to see my Brown Sugar!” Her heart has longed to be with her husband. 

My dad was supposed to be meeting up with my mom in Cranbrook BC at the end of May and they were going to head over to Kamloops for my cousins Grad, take a trip down to the BC coast to spread my Grandfathers Ashes and then she was going to go home. She was talking about their plans almost daily. 

On May 2, 2016 a large forest fire was headed towards Fort McMurray. The smoke filled the air and several residents were placed on Evacuation Alert and Voluntary Evacuation Order. Businesses in the area shut down but for most of the town it was business as usual. My dads office was on alert but they were still working.

May 3, 2016 

The skies of Fort McMurray Cleared up and were a beautiful blue. Their air wasn’t so smokey and it seemed as though things were going to be OK. My dad headed to work after stopping to fill up his truck with gas and headed to his office. That afternoon the winds shifted and they sent everyone home as some areas were on mandatory evacuation while other areas were still on alert. Within minutes the fire had grown so much and became so out of control that the entire community was placed on evacuation order. The drive from his office to their home took 1.5 hours, a drive that normally takes 15mins. He loaded up what he could think of in his panic and left. 

80,000 people were all trying to flee at once. Men, women, children and pets all trying to escape the fires that were already destroying homes and business. Over 100 people had to be evacuated from the Hospital. Some people were able to head south before the fire caused the highway to be closed. Most headed further North to an area that was nothing but Oil Camps! People felt trapped. My dad had stopped at an area not far from their house because he felt it was at that point safer then trying to deal with the traffic that was gridlocked in some areas with panicked drivers trying to get themselves and their families out. Gas in the town was quickly gone and many people were stuck, out of fuel, on the side of the highway. Vehicles were being abandoned some of them bursting into flames from falling fire debris.

 My dad was one of the last people to leave their neighbourhood. He shared a video on Facebook that was almost eerily quiet. A neighbourhood with parks, schools, dogs, birds, and children was silent. The air was heavy with smoke and the sky was dark. By this time the rout south had been opened up again and my dad decided  to head towards Edmonton. He described a devistating scene of fire, smoke, ashes, burning businesses and homes and burnt out remnants of abandoned vehicles. “I think this is what the apocalypse will look like” he said in an interview.

The scene across from my dads office!



Trying to leave!

Edmonton in normally about a four or 5 hour drive from Fort McMurray. When my dad finally arrived at the hotel in Edmonton at about 2:30am, almost 10 hours after finally leaving Fort McMurray, he posted another video update on Facebook about what he saw and how tired he was. 

May 4th, 2016 

My dad headed into the head office of his company which was not far from the hotel. He had maybe an hour or 2 of sleep but he wanted to see what work he could do. The office set up space for their Fort McMurray staff to work but there was not much my dad could do and his boss told him that he should go be with his family.

May 5, 2016

My dad made the trip from Edmonton to be with family. He stopped for dinner in Calgary with my younger brother and his wife before joining my mom in Cranbrook. 

With him he had a few things that he had grabbed before leaving Fort McMurray, pictures of my grandparents, a few things from his office, my moms almost 200 year old blanket that has been passed down through the family, and a small duffle bag with very little clothing. Like many other evacuees he had some strange items as well, like a furry hat from Sweden, my brothers first hockey stick, half a bottle of Newfie Screetch and a pair of handcuffs from his days as a BC Corrctions Officer. We have found a little humor in the situation, a whole group on Facebook of Evacuees and the strange items the grabed in the panic (snow pants and cheese slices, doggy dodo bags by somebody who has no dog, half a blender and a watermelon, and many more)has formed. 

There has been such an overwhelming amount of support for the Evacuees from this amazing Country we live in. People from coast to coast are coming together and even supporters from other countries. So many lives are affected by the Acadian Oil sands. Many families have lost everything. The humble people of Canada feel bad when taking what’s being offered to them in help(clothing, gift cards, shelter) saying that somebody else might need it more. Fire fighters and others have brought flowers to the moms on Mother’s Day that have been in the evacuation centres. Plane and tuck loads of supplies have been donated to those in need. The people of Fort McMurray are greatful for all the love and support that has been pouring out for them and their community. The first responders will never know how greatful the community is for all they have done. 


In all this my family is keeping their faith. Remembering our heavenly father will provide what my parents need. Even though they are feeling lost they don’t feel loss. Even in all the uncertainty, will my dad have place to return to work, will they have a home to go back to, even if they can go home, what state will their home be in, when will they even get to go home if they can, they are staying strong. My parents are safe. Although two young lives were lost in a roll over while fleeing (a 15 year old and a 19 year old). Almost 80,000 people made it out and are safe. We have heard of three Evacuee moms to be giving birth and 2 couples that had their weddings happen through gifts of everything from dresses and suits to rings, cakes and food! 

The perfect bottle of wine for my parents from my Sister-in-law and older brother!

Although they are feeling lost, They are smiling and together. They are 2 of the kindest and humblest people I know. They are so quick to help others but usually the last people to ask for help when they need it themselves. They are more concerned about friends and coworkers getting what they need. They are inspiration of what it means to have a servants heart. They are God Fearing and unconditional loving parents. I am glad they are mine! 

When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. Psalms 34:17

Please pray for the people of Fort McMurray AB as well as the people of Fort St John BC, also having evacuated over a thousand people due to fire in the last couple days. Please pray for the first responders, some of them have also lost their homes but continue to battle the fires to save homes of friends family and complete strangers. Please pray for the government of AB and Canada as they try to figure what will happen next while assessing the damage. 

If you feel it in your heart to try and help you can make donations through the Candian Red Cross

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Trust In The Lord Always

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When the world I knew started crumbling around a few months ago I wanted to be angry with God. My heart was aching and I started to question why it is that when my world seems so wonderful something happens making me feel like a failure. I start to cry out to God “If you love me so much why do you allow such awful things to happen?” And then I remind myself to dig into his word, stop questioning his motives and pray consistently that he will lead me and that I will have faith and follow his lead not forge my own path.

I am human and I struggle sometimes in my faith but I still have faith and that is so important. I have to remind myself that his plan is so much greater then mine. I talk about this so much and that is because it reminds me to be faithful and trust in Him.

God is leading me somewhere and I am not 100% sure where that is but I am going willing where he leads and trying to remember to stay true to him.

There will be days of great trial and tribulation, but we must not be afraid for our God is Great and through him we can do anything!

Confidently Praying for God’s Will

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of him. ~1 John 5:14-15

Pray is like our own personal direct line to God. We can pick up the phone anytime 24/7 and know that he will be on the other end ready to talk or just listen. It is important to pray with confidence. this time of prayer shows God that we trust him. Being able to pray with confidence is easier if we know what God has revealed in his word. God is a father true to his word.

When we go to God we must first understand that his will may not be what we want and he may not give us an answer right away. the old saying goes “Father Knows Best” and we have the most amazing father who knows exactly what our hearts desires are. Having faith that God will provide for us is so important when we go to him with anything. Sometimes he will answer right away and sometimes it takes him awhile. Sometimes we get exactly what we asked for, sometimes its a variation and sometimes it is so completely different but he always answers (“Thy will be done”).

I have this terrible habit of praying without confidence. I go to God like a scared child afraid to ask in fear that I’m not going to like the answer. Sometimes I go to God like a spoiled brat making all kinds of demands and grand, selfish requests. I get upset, frustrated and even angry when I don’t get my way. When I go to God with confidence and remember that it’s his will not mine, I see great things. I don’t always like his response but I am ok because he truly does know what’s best.

When you are praying do it with confidence. Remember that we have the Greatest father a child could every want or need. Remember to Pray for his will not yours. Remember that you may not get the answer right away, but you will always get an answer. Remember that you may not like the answer but his answer but he truly does know what is best!

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Two Ears and One Tongue

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger. -James 1:19

While taking time to dwell in Gods word this morning the focus really hit close to heart. We live in a society where we do not take time to actually listen to others and are so quick to anger. We feel that most frustrations from others are an attack on ourselves when in reality their frustration is built up from a lack of communication… We are slow to listen and quick to anger.

We have two ears and one tongue. So we should listen more than we speak. 

Wow! Those words to me are so powerful. Why is it that nobody is listening to others but speaking so much? How can we hear if we do not listen? We need to go to God and ask him to help us listen to others. What are they trying to say? What are their needs and how can we be encouraging to them? When we take the time to listen we will be better able to communicate and frustrations can make way for better understanding creating more calm and less anger. 

When dealing with our partners and child we sometimes tend to listen with one ear closed and probably speak more than we should would cause chaos in the home and discord and we loose common ground with our partners and little things begin to irritate us and then we begin to take those frustrations out on our children and instead of approaching our partners and children with kindness and love we approach them with unrest and anger.

Take time thought the day to have a moment with God and ask him to continually guide your thoughts and help you to use your ears more and your tongue less!

Reflections of 2015

 
I’m sitting here having a morning coffee that could have been a no go… This morning I smashed the multi cup coffee pot (nothing like leaving the year with a bang, or in this case a crash and smash) but we have a Kurig so I’m good on the caffeine front. This who thing made me look back on my year and realize just how much I have changed as a person and the growth that has come with a year of highs and lows. Old Me would have got angry. Sure I was a little annoyed but New Me laughed with my best friend as we cleaned up glass and turned it into a joke.

I’ve felt some heart break very recently this year. It came right before Christmas and it kind of turned my world upside down. It affected several people. Old Me would have curled up in a ball and hid away from the world crying and being angry but New Me did shed some tears and have a moment of anger but didn’t dwell. New Me has gotten up, dusted herself off and see a future of new possibilities and adventures.

Old Me enjoyed gossip. Maybe it was because hearing others woes and miss doings makes us see our world isn’t so bad. New Me really doesn’t want to hear it. New Me wants to be completely and utterly surrounded by love and light and positive people who are trying to make z difference in our world.

Old Me was angry, ALOT. New me makes a conscious effort to see the positive in every situation. Sure it doesn’t always seem like there is one but it’s there! It takes more effort sometimes but when we look for the good in the bad with see the beauty in the darkness and get over the issue a whole lot quicker.

I am not the same person I was going into 2015. I leaving this year in the past where it belongs. I am looking forward to watching my business grow, going on adventures with whoever wants to tag along, spending more quality time with my daughter who is growing way to fast and building positive healthy relationships with people who are just as passionate about living and life as I am.

The New year is starting with a gathering of friends (old and new) saying “Good-bye” to 2015 and “Hello” to 2016 with laughs, and food and Celebration. We are celebrating a friends birthday as well because she deserves to be celebrated and know she is loved.

My daughter and I are heading into the New Year preparing for the Coldest Night Of the Year Walk for Homelessness and fundraising and you can totally help out by going to Coldest Night and clicking on my name (Dannielle Banting) and making a donation to help with homelessness projects and support.

I don’t know what 2016 has in store for any of us. I do know with each year end comes a new beginning full of possibilities. We can choose to love deeper, care harder, live fuller, be healthier, laugh more, and enjoy all that God gives us.

My Prayer for you is that you will feel great joy, less sorrow and an abundance of blessing!!

   

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