JONATHAN’S WAY – HIGH SCHOOL!

Hi All,

It’s been more than a year since I last shared with you about Jonathan, my grandson and his challenges growing up on the spectrum.  A lot has happened since those days.

First of all my virtual online business has grown by leaps and bounds, literally. I am thankful and grateful for that. In 3 months, God willing, my husband and I will celebrate 33 years of marriage.  Jonathan’s dad got married to a lovely woman.  His three doting Aunts have never stopped doting on him, either. 

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Johanna, Jennifer, Erika

The last time I let you know that Jonathan  was going into middle school.  Well, in September this year, he will be going into high school.  He turned 14 this past January. But that ain’t all. He was always a tall boy for his age.  Now he stands 6’1″ tall and wears a size 13-1/2″ wide shoe. HELP! He has grown up as a teen and the girls like him.  HELP!

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With daddy at school concert

Not only that, his aunts have taught him how to drive and we are preparing for him to get a permit.  He drives good, too.  His grades are all above average and he seems to like science.  He can’t stand Social Studies.  No matter, I am grateful for how far he’s come.  One place that helped him go even farther is the Boys and Girls Club in our area. He is loved by the people there, and he has learned to play basketball.  He tried out for the school basketball team last year, but didn’t make it.  I think he couldn’t take the exercises they were forced to do for a week.  I am proud of him!

One thing he did for the very first time was done on Martin Luther King Jr, holiday on January 21, 2019.  He stood up in front of a couple of hundred people and gave a short speech on education. He was nervous and prayed a lot before the big day came. But he did a wonderful job. He made mama proud.  #mademamaproud

Jonathan giving speech on MLK Holiday January 21, 2019

Jonathan giving speech at MLK Holiday breakfast on January 21, 2019

So, here we go again. It’s Jonathan’s way and there’s never a dull moment.  I’ll keep you posted!

Rosa

 

REALLY?

Hello all,

The way I see it is, are the most ‘popular’ or well-known issues of our lives worse because of what “experts” and “celebrities” say and how they feel about it? Can it be that for the sake of being with the “in crowd” (old expression) I sacrifice my own convictions, whether popular or not?

Does it really matter what this professional says about what I ought to do? Does it really matter about what ‘superstar someone’ says publicly. Am I to change how I feel or become intimidated about how I really feel, just to be counted with these people, people who don’t even know I exist? I DON’T THINK SO. If you had the good teachings of your parents that’s advice you can take.

The old widow woman down the street in your neighborhood, who still plants her flowers ever year, who has raised all of her children successfully, and has a lot of grandchildren who come by and love her is better able to give me advice for my life regarding the issues that come up, than anyone who doesn’t even know me.

That man who lost his family because of an addition and made up his mind he wasn’t going to live any longer captive to it, who went into rehab and with the support of professionals who knew what to do to help him, can better tell me about my struggles than well-known strangers in the news.

Trials and troubles are kindred in this world, they happen to everyone. No one is exempt. But I value the advise of those who have endured and come out the better for what they endured than the three words coming from notoriety: LIGHT, CAMERA, ACTION! That’s how I see it.

Rosa

WE’RE CONNECTED TO OUR LOVED ONES

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This is the face of a young woman who is taking her last round of Chemotherapy, yesterday, Tuesday, January 24, 2017. I am grateful to God for all of His mercy. 

Guess what? I didn’t realize until yesterday how much my daughter’s illness had taken a toll on me, too. But when I knew that she wouldn’t have to be extremely sick for days on end; when I realized that she wouldn’t blow up any more (she got bigger from the 3 different chemo medicines they were giving her), when I knew that I wouldn’t have to hold back my own emotions when she would say to me, “Mom, I’m just sick, so sick,” after she took those treatments; when I saw that she smiled genuinely in this photo; when she called me and said, “Mom, in two weeks we are all going to Red Lobster, and I am going to eat and enjoy it,” (she didn’t enjoy eating for months because she said that all she could taste was the medicines they gave her). When I could see that she wouldn’t spend hours just lying in the bed trying to rest from those treatments; when I knew that eventually her hair would grow back; when I knew that my youngest daughter had changed tremendously during this ordeal and that she’d never be the same; she had grown up that much more; when I knew that she was planning for the future when she said to me, “Mom, I want to move to another state…” When I weighed all of these items, I realized that I was weak with relief. I really couldn’t do much yesterday except thank God. 

Friends, we’re connected to those we love and what happens to them affects us. You may say, “I know that.” But when you have to stand by and helplessly watch as the one you love suffers, whatever the issue, be it physically, mentally, emotionally, financially, or spiritually; you’ll see even more clearly that you suffer along with them. 

For the first time in months I am focusing on myself. But if I am to be honest, I still have one eye on her. She will still have rounds of tests to do and blood to be drawn from time to time, but on a whole I have to say WE have come a long, long way.  

 

Rosa

BREATHING EASIER EACH DAY NOW!

Well, it has been a while but I am able to say that my daughter  Johanna, has taken her last Chemotherapy treatments and just a few more tests and then a CAT Scan and I believe she will be in good health. 

I have to share with you that she has changed since last year. The baby-like daughter that made me laugh because she loved to be babied, has gone. In her place is a young woman who told me just today, “Mom, I’m alright.” I smiled at her and thanked God for His mercy to her and to all of us, her family. She wants to move to another state now. I can see in her eyes she wants a different future, and I can tell she isn’t afraid of it either.  She still has to be checked out every three months for the next five  years to ensure her health remains, but we’ve all come this far and we’ll go even further. Her journey isn’t completely over, but the road isn’t so rocky now. Praise God!

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5-year old Johanna

5-year old Johanna

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To Johanna and all others who have battled cancer of various types, and their loved ones who supported them the best they knew how…

To everyone who whispered a prayer for my daughter, Johanna, and rooted for her…

To everyone who said a comforting word to my blogs and gave words of encouragement…

THANK YOU AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Rosa

JOHANNA’S JOURNEY PART 5

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Johanna and her older sister Erika brighter and happier days

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Johanna and her sister Erika difficult days

 

You  may or may not know that Johanna is a writer and has published two books. She has publishing contract for 3 books. The problem with the 3rd book isn’t that she cannot write it. The problem is getting the strength and stamina to write it. I said that because when I saw how sick she was last week, I really thought she was going to have to go back into the hospital. Not only that, but twice she said to me, “Ma, I can’t think straight. I can’t think.” I was so concerned about it when she said that. We both found out that her not being able to think clearly is what the Chemo nurse called “Chemo Brain.” Have you ever heard such a thing?! The treatment makes her fuzzy for a time. I have been totally helpless as to what to do. But after about 2 days, she’s sharp as ever. When she’s clear-headed, she can think once again. 

I confess that her illness has taken its toll on me, too. But, my own feelings aside, I’ve seen my youngest daughter blossom under this affliction of cancer into a much more mature  young woman who is already thinking about relocating to begin her life anew after she wins this battle with cancer. I love the human spirit that God gave. It never gives up. It may get down at times, but it never gives up.  

More tomorrow.

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Johanna at Chemo clinic for her treatment – sad days

 

JOHANNA’S JOURNEY – PART 4

I CAN FINALLY TAKE A BREATH!

Late last night, Sunday the 11th of December, I spoke with Johanna before she retired for the night and I could tell that she wasn’t so strained. I asked as I always do, “Johanna, how are you feeling?” When she spoke I could immediately tell that her voice was a bit stronger. She said, “I am a little better, Ma.” When she said that, I took a long deep breath. I smile as I think about it now. I really didn’t realize that when she and I spoke I was holding my breath. Most of last week and the weekend she was terribly sad and sick and she had little to no strength. When she would cry a bit, I wouldn’t really know what to say. It’s normally easy to speak when not sitting in the hot seat. But it wasn’t easy for me, so I just sat quiet and she began talking. That did my heart good. I just listened. I think the short talk was therapeutic for me, too. 

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I can breathe easily for a few days as she is stronger than she was all last week. When you love someone, especially your child, and they are going through difficulties and illnesses that you can’t take away or cure, you’ll find that everything gets in perspective. All of those “other” things that were so important before are quite unimportant. In fact they are an insult to the present circumstances. My desires fade away into one request: “God please let her get a little rest tonight.” That has been my one desire and the Lord granted my request. She is even laughing and talking more. I can finally take a breath.

More tomorrow.

 

Rosa

JOHANNA’S JOURNEY PART 3

This past week of intense Chemotherapy has left Johanna, in her own words: ‘SICK.’ She has been heaving every day. When she gets up she up-chucks, during the day she is throwing up. At night she can’t even take the medicine to help her stop heaving because she can’t get anything in or keep it down. It’s been a long week for her.

Johanna has an angelic voice. She writes music and sings it. She wrote a song some years ago and she sang it in church once, too. Here are the lyrics. I hope you are encouraged and inspired by them as you go throughout your day.

 

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LIFE WILL BE BETTER

Verse 1

So you’ve got problems, I’ve got some, too.

Feels like the whole world is against you

Like there is no one who knows what you’re going through

Well, I’ve been there and I can tell you.

Chorus

When you learn to trust in Jesus

When you give Him your all

When you show your faith won’t waver

Then life will be better. Then life will be better.

Verse 2

Feels like there’s no hope. I’ve felt that too.

Pain is your present, your future, too.

Just want a day when your heart’s not in two.

Well, I’ve been there, and I can tell you…

Chorus

 

Verse 3

Cried through some long nights, I’ve cried some, too.

Praying for the moment when dreams will come true

Life ain’t so easy. It’s harder on you

So just do as I tell you to do.

Special Chorus

Life ain’t the best and you’re just living

Things can’t get worse but then it is

How can you see the forest for the trees

Well, I know just what you mean

Chorus

But it’s when you learn to trust in Jesus

It’s when you give Him your all

When you show your faith won’t waver

Then life will be better. Then life will be better

(Written by Johanna Parker, who lovingly gave me permission to reprint it.)

More tomorrow.

Rosa