Thursday, December 24, 2009

2009 Year in Review

The Carter Family’s 2009 Year in Review

January was the beginning of a year of changes. Jason was working at US Synthetics and the job was very promising. Daniel was enrolled in preschool. Emily was still serving as a compassionate service leader for her local Church. Deborah and Stephen also came out for a nice visit.

February was a challenging month. Jason was laid off of his job and found a temporary job helping sell meat door to door. Emily was diagnosed with having ADHD and began the process of treatment options—the first medication did not work too well with me and I ended up going with a different prescription that had no generic, but it worked well. Emily also had the opportunity to make lunch and dinner for an elderly couple 7 days a week.

March was Daniel and Joseph’s birthdays. This year we had a combined birthday party with a Dora and Diego/Swiper theme. They loved it, but it was a lot of work. Also, we had a small family birthday party which was quite entertaining. Emily’s cooking job ended due to the couple moving into an assisted living facility. We also went to the zoo as a family.

April began with an outpatient surgery for Daniel. Shortly after which, Daniel decided he was ready to potty train! Emily was interviewing for some jobs while Jason was doing landscaping temporarily. Another zoo trip. Emily saw the play Thoroughly Modern Millie with a friend. And Jason began the process of assessment tests.

In May Emily attended a free career workshop to fine tune her interviewing skills. Shortly after the class she got two jobs and met some amazing friends—one at Platinum Protection, an alarm company; and one at Tuesday Morning, a retail store. Jason stayed at home to take care of the kids and make sure the house did not burn down. Jason also started to experiment with cooking and has since become very good at doing so. Emily started the process of training for a teen mentoring program as well. Daniel completed his first year of preschool.

June was an outdoor month. Jason started the summer off right with taking the boys swimming at the pool and another family zoo trip. Jason also took the boys to a summer movie series on Monday mornings. We purchased a different car—a 2003 Saturn L200—because our truck was getting a whopping 13 miles to the gallon. Our car gets at least twice that. Daniel and Joseph both had some more assessments done for school. Emily got her very 1st flat tire on the freeway.

July was pretty similar to June: swimming, movies, assessments...Emily and Jason spent a lot of time together learning to communicate in each other’s language and have since become much more patient with each other. Jason also decided that ITT tech was the best fit for him and that Computer Electronics would be his field of study. Emily was released as a Compassionate Service Leader and called as a Visiting Teaching Supervisor. Daniel and Joseph experienced live fireworks for the first time.

August was a busy month. Emily’s brother Daniel was married to Victoria on August 6th. August 9th was our 6th Anniversary. We enjoyed spending time with Emily’s family and extended family. Daniel and Joseph both started preschool. We attended our very fist demolition derby together as a family and loved it! That same weekend, Deborah, Stephen and Vincent came out for a visit. Emily attended a benefit concert for children in Africa.

In September Jason began taking some free courses on the DIR Floortime model for helping those with Autism become more engaged in the world around them from a local private school called Clear Horizons. We would love for Daniel to attend this school. Tony came out for a fun visit right around Jason’s 29th birthday. Emily was laid off from her job at Platinum Protection. Daniel began assessments at the BYU Comprehensive Clinic. And Emily attended the LDS General Relief Society Broadcast in Salt Lake at the conference center with some friends. Jason started his first courses at ITT tech and was called to serve as an Assistant Ward Clerk. Emily also experienced another 2 flat tires.

October brought a new job for Emily at ROI Solutions and shortly after another lay off. Jason began donating plasma. The boys had 3 days of Halloween fun, at school, at church, and in another neighborhood.

November rolled in with a new job for Emily at Humanvoice (FedEx Office Customer Relations). Our interviews for a genetic study by the University of North Carolina began. Thanksgiving was fantastic. Emily’s birthday turned out better than expected.

December, though it is not yet over, has been a long and quick month. We applied for SSI for Daniel so that we perhaps can afford to pay tuition for Daniel to go to Clear Horizons (it will be about 6 months before we get an answer). Jason completed his first quarter with straight A’s! And most recently, Daniel got staples in his head for a head injury.

The year has gone by extremely fast. Though we have had a lot of different jobs this year, and though we have made significantly less than other years, we have been able to stay afloat and pay our bills. The Lord has truly blessed us more than we could have imagined. Through our challenges and struggles we have formed deeper roots and have become stronger and more resilient. As for next year, we really have no idea what it has in store for us.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

TB or Not TB? That is the Question...

*Note: this is not my actual arm, though the picture closely resembles what my arm looks like.*
Well, in order for me to volunteer at Heritage I had to take a TB skin test. I got the shot Wednesday & the results were a possible positive on Saturday. My spot measured 13mm in diameter and has been quite itchy. I will be getting a phone call on Monday from someone to schedule a chest x-ray and I am most likely to take some kind of medication for 6 to 9 months.
What does all this mean? Well, I'm not quite sure really. I do know that if it is in fact a positive TB result that I was exposed to the TB virus somehow and my body recognizes it. I also am aware that there a "false positives" (which I'm hoping this is). I do have really sensitive skin and immune system. The other option is that I take another TB skin test (in the US they recommend doing so a week after the initial one, and the UK recommends 6 weeks later). There are varying opinions on the matter; and yet, I don't really get a say in it--it depends on what the doctor determines. What ever the decision, I'll follow it because I really want to do volunteer work there.
Here's the guidelines I found on Wikipedia for the Classification of tuberculin reaction:

The results of this test must be interpreted carefully. The person's medical risk factors determine at which increment (5 mm, 10 mm, or 15 mm) of induration the result is considered positive.[3] A positive result indicates TB exposure.

5 mm or more is positive in
HIV-positive person
Recent contacts of TB case
Persons with nodular or fibrotic changes on chest x-ray consistent with old healed TB
Patients with organ transplants and other immunosuppressed patients

10 mm or more is positive in (the category I'd be in)

  • Recent arrivals (less than 5 years) from high-prevalence countries
  • Injection drug users
  • Residents and employees of high-risk congregate settings (e.g., prisons, nursing homes, hospitals, homeless shelters, etc.)
  • Mycobacteriology lab personnel
  • Persons with clinical conditions that place them at high risk (e.g., diabetes, prolonged corticosteroid therapy, leukemia, end-stage renal disease, chronic malabsorption syndromes, low body weight, etc)
  • Children less than 4 years of age, or children and adolescents exposed to adults in high-risk categories
15 mm or more is positive in
Persons with no known risk factors for TB
So in my best opinion I'm not positive for TB. Let's see...I haven't been out of the country in over 10 years, I've never used any illegal drugs or injected myself, I haven't worked in a high risk area before, I don't work in a biology lab, I don't have any high-risk clinical conditions, and I'm definitely older than 4.
Hopefully the other consulting doctor agrees with me (I would hate to have 9 months of medication for something I didn't even have in the first place). Wish me luck!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Shifting Gears

So, as seen from the previous post, a lot has been going on in my life. A lot of things have changed and I am shifting gears. Currently, I am still a wife and mother (duh, right?). And then there is my two new jobs in addition to volunteer mentoring. Oh yeah, and there’s still…spending time with my family, going on dates with my wonderful husband, chores, visiting teaching, compassionate service leader, spending some time with friends, and somewhere in there there’s time for myself—I think. This probably sounds quite familiar to many of you. Thankfully I’m not the one back in school yet.

Somehow, in all this organized chaos is a new horizon, or perhaps an old one that I haven’t seen in a long time. For whatever reason, this is just the way my life has worked out. I never planned on being married already or having kids by now. But really, I couldn't have planned it any better myself. God works in mysterious ways…

Job # 1: Platinum Protection
Location: Provo
Job title: Data Entry & Customer Service
Description: Answer inbound calls from Sales & Service Representatives as well as Customers for an alarm monitoring company. Translates to=Sit on my petard all day answering phones and being happy.

Job # 2: Tuesday Morning
Location: Orem
Job Title: Part-time Store Associate
Description: Set up store displays, rotate and stock merchandise, and assist customers with purchases and questions. Translates to=Work my but off all day moving stuff and helping the occasional customer.

Unofficial Job # 3: Heritage School
Location: Provo
Job Title: Volunteer Mentor
Description: Model positive and appropriate behavior, establish a relationship of trust, while maintaining a mentor role. Translates to=What I would love to be doing for a living & will one day be doing in the distant future. My passion.

I’m busier than I’ve ever been before and plenty happy doing what I like and love for my God, family, and self. Not a bad deal if you ask me (even if I never planned on working while my kids were young).

Friday, April 10, 2009

Dusting off the shelves

Okay, so it's been a while, a long while, since the last post I wrote. Life has been utterly unpredictable and in a constant state of flux for me (and that really unnerves me). In the past three months alone my family and I have had a lot of "fun".

I found out the hard way that I could not handle my husband doing both full-time work and school at the same time--it was too much for me. Somewhere else, I found time to cook diabetic friendly meals for an elderly couple twice a day, six days a week, for six weeks (quite the challenge with kiddos).
Jason was laid off of his job. A short time later he found another temporary job, which he absolutely hated (knocking on doors & selling meat). We were also paid in meat once. He has finished that job and has done what he could to provide for us. Jason will also be returning to school in the fall to get into another career field. We are excited though to find out more about Jason's inherent strengths through some assessment tests.

I am currently dusting off my work-self and preparing once again to enter the working world for at least 3 to 5 years. It is not my favorite idea, but it is what will work as far as being more balanced while my husband attends school.

In the process, I have realized that a lot has happened in 5 years, since the last time I worked, and that I really need to be more polished in my approach to finding an adequate job. Let's just say I was told "no" in a few interviews and I can see why. It wasn't about who I am, it was about how I presented myself. So, I have resolved to have my resume kindly hacked to pieces by a trusted friend, and to attend a 2 day career workshop which will help me to identify and explain why someone would love to hire me.
Daniel has progressed greatly at preschool. His speech is coming along now & he is expressing his needs to us with words more often (there's a big change in his over all behavior from last year). Daniel also recently had some surgery done & is recovering just fine. Oh, and he decided to potty train by his own accord.

Joseph has been pretty good as well. He really likes, cars, trains, robots, bugs & anything else like it, and animals. He generally is quiet and observant.
As for the rest of what's currently going on, that will have to wait for another time soon to come (I hope)... I really need to go to sleep. So, here's to catching up--a little bit.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Faith-Obedience: An Inspirational Thought

This is in part the article which truly inspired the preceeding blog post about faith and obedience:
In this world in which we live, things are not always what they appear to be. We sometimes are unaware of the powerful forces pulling on us. Appearances can be very deceptive....

One of the sneaky ploys of the adversary is to have us believe that unquestioning obedience to the principles and commandments of God is blind obedience. His goal is to have us believe that we should be following our own worldly ways and selfish ambitions. This he does by persuading us that “blindly” following the prophets and obeying the commandments is not thinking for ourselves. He teaches that it is not intelligent to do something just because we are told to do so by a living prophet or by prophets who speak to us from the scriptures....

Our unquestioning obedience to the Lord’s commandments is not blind obedience. President Boyd K. Packer in the April conference of 1983 taught us about this: “Latter-day Saints are not obedient because they are compelled to be obedient. They are obedient because they know certain spiritual truths and have decided, as an expression of their own individual agency, to obey the commandments of God. … We are not obedient because we are blind, we are obedient because we can see” (“Agency and Control,” Ensign, May 1983, 66)....

“Faith obedience” is a matter of trust. The question is simple: Do we trust our Heavenly Father? Do we trust our prophets?...

Sometimes it is necessary to be obedient even when we do not understand the reason for the law. It takes faith to be obedient. The Prophet Joseph Smith, in teaching obedience, said that whatever God requires is right, though we may not know the reason until much later (see Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith [1976], 256).

From: R. Conrad Schultz, “Faith Obedience,” Ensign, May 2002, 29

Monday, February 2, 2009

Trying Times

I am a firm believer of Faith in Jesus Christ. Lately in the last month or two the themes of Faith and Obedience have been a common occurrence. I have often admired a friend of mine for her great faith in times of almost insurmountable difficulty. I honestly thought to myself, "I bet that there are people who think of me as an example of a woman of great faith amid adversity (like I do her)." Little did I suspect that I would soon have much more in common with her than I ever imagined.

I have learned along the way that obedience to the commandments of God bring happiness more than easiness. Often, the things we cherish most are those that require the most work, patience, and love--and most likely stretch us beyond what we are comfortable with. It is in these trying times that I truly must rely upon and lean upon my Savior for my greatest source of strength and unfailing support. Truly becoming a "saint through the Atonement of Christ" is a process of the refiners fire. It is difficult at times to feel comfort (other people are human after all), and yet have charity and compassion enough to still be a source of strength, comfort, and support to a loved one who is struggling spiritually. And still, I know that I am not alone and that there are many other people around me that can relate to my current situation.

It is in these trying times that I am tested and tried more than before. I have hope, for I know that "things will work out" as they always do somehow (though not always how I think it should) and that some day years from now I will see how it is that the Hand of God was in my current today's.

As I reflect upon the many difficulties I have experienced so far in this life, I realize that I am grateful for those trying times in my life: I would never want them to happen again in my life, nor on anyone else, but I would not nor could I take back the sweet lessons I have learned from them. Indeed the price of knowing and becoming like unto Jesus Christ is high and requires a sacrifice, consecration of all things in order that we may become sanctified. It is faith in Jesus Christ that allows me to stand strong and immovable in the gospel and in life.

Monday, January 5, 2009

The Difference a Day Makes

So, I have discovered some things about myself this past week--my humanity. I had a wonderful New Year's Eve (hot date & everything with an at home late night movie) until 12:30 am when I unexpectedly started throwing up for the next 10 hours. Consequently, there was no way that I could take my regular medication for ADHD. The next day I was still quite queasy and did not want to chance a relapse by eating or doing too much or taking medication (one of the side effects is nausea).

So, I had the opportunity to see how much my medication interacts with me on a daily basis. I was quite surprised at the results. Come to find out, being chemically imbalanced makes me a bit "quacky" and very obsessive-compulsive, highly anxious and hence "edgy" with a short fuse, not to mention having an inability to switch my brain off at the end of the day to fall asleep. All-in-all, NOT FUN!

My poor husband and kids had to deal with that and a physically exhausted woman recovering from the stomach flu. It has taken 4 days for me to recover, and not quite fully yet either. Because my medication has virtually no half-life, I have to readjust to it as well. I can feel myself slowly getting back to where I was.

The major benefits of me taking my two medications are: being able to handle stress better & cope with anxiety (think it through), getting something out of reading or conversations with other people, the ability to be more balanced and complete a task, and to be more engaged in my roles as wife, mother, and friend. Trust me, I feel more myself with the aide of medicine--I am A LOT NICER & MORE PATIENT.

With help I am better able to learn new coping skills and to reach my full potential. I really do not know how I have made it this far in life being imbalanced--I thank God for the miracle of medication and how much it has improved the quality of my life. Modern miracles happen everyday.

"You have to know where you have been to appreciate where you are today." I have progressed too far to forget where I have been and have come far enough to to see that I am growing.

Autism Awareness