Monthly Archives: December 2010

Autism in my life

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2002: I am 11 years old and my youngest brother is diagnosed with high-functioning autism. I have no idea what sort of an impact this will have on my life, and that of my family as well. I don’t remember most of what happened for the first few years. But I developed a desire to help those who were also affected by this same disorder. I began getting involved more and more. My first experience with autism not including my brother was through a family I met through my church’s respite event. Twins with varrying degrees of autism, so basically they were like my brother split into two little kids. I would babysit them whenever was needed. I learned alot from these boys and their sister…not only about autism and what it’s like for different families…but I learned alot about myself. How much I love kids, and how much I want to work with them for the rest of my life and be able to make a difference for them and their families.

Autism can’t be cured, it can’t be fixed with a magic pill. It is something that individuals and families live with and have to conquer each and every day. Each day is full of new struggles and new obstacles to overcome.

Like with many of these entries that I write, I don’t exactly know where I am going with this…so I will most likely be all over the place.

Although I, personally, am not affected by autism…my family is…through my brother. I am in a weird position at the moment; as I have been away at college for the past three and a half months and am now home for a short break. I have not by any means forgotten the daily struggles that accompany a child with autism, but I think that I had gotten used to not having it right there in my face. So coming home was a shock and reality check for me. For the next week and a half I am living back in the reality that has thus been my life for the past eight years.

I would not trade my brother for anything in the world, I love him with all of my heart and in many ways can thank him for helping me to figure out what I want to do with the rest of my life.

None the less, the past week has been an eye opener for me…I’m not exactly sure what to, but something. At first things were all good, it was just an abundance of excitement that I was home. But then as the “shininess of the new toy” wore off, as he began to realize that I’m here and going to be for a while….he started to become his old self again. There are little parts of this old self that I can only take so much of before I want to explode and break down. Today was that day…the constant sarcastic remarks, the constant defiance towards me, the remarks that he thinks to be funny…but are the farthest thing from. These are all things that I have not had to deal with on a daily basis since I left at the end of August.

I had a conversation with a friend yesterday that was one of the turning point in me being able to understand that what I’m doing is ok…For quite some time I felt alot of guilt about leaving to go to school…I have always felt like I have to take care of people, especially my brothers. and so leaving and going so far away seemed like a selfish thing for me to do. But yesterday I was reminded that this time is for me, I have been focusing on helping other people for so long…that now I need to just take some time and focus on me. Focus on growing, figuring out what I want to do, what I need to do.

Going 712 miles away to college has possibly been one of the best decisions that I have ever made in my life…although it was the hardest and was questioned many many times. but it has allowed to completely start over and define how I want people to see me. How I want to be known. People here in San Mateo, a majority of those in my life, have known me for a good portion of my life. They have views of me, that may not necessarly be who I am today. Some have known me since birth, some since elementary school. Some even as late as 2 years ago. But I am not the same person that I was then. I had the opportunity, and still do to choose how people in Oregon will see me. Will they know me as a party girl? No. Will they know me as the girl who does nothing but study? I hope not. Will they see my desire to grow in the Lord and make Him a part of my everyday life? This is my prayer. I am trying to reinvent myself as a person.

So as I said this is all over the place, but in some way…in my head all of these things connect.

Theres this weird little application on facebook that one of my friends sent me the other day and it randomly popped up today and this is what it said:

 “You’ve carried the guilt, the shame for long enough. You’ve kept your wounds open for long enough. The time has come to let go, to heal. Keep the lessons and let the pain heal. Yes, you know what we are talking about it.”

This is my time…to figure out who I am. “Part of knowing where I’m going, is knowing where I’ve come from.”

xoxo sarah

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standards aren’t always accurate

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all expectations do is lead to a let down.

I have been anxiously awaiting my grades since I submitted my last final almost a week ago. Today facebook was flooded with people making comments about grades being in and the classes that they will never have to take again. Thank God that I can say that I do not have to repeat any of my classes! But unfortunatley for myself, the expectations that I had of myself and how I did in these classes were higher than the reality. It burns when I see GPA: 3.075. The one grade that I cannot and willnot complain about getting is my B- in precalc because it’s my second time and I just wanted anything that would meet the passing requirement.

I have always been hard on myself when it comes to school…I was never the top of my class, always average. I never had one subject that I excelled in. But my hope going into college was that that would change. There have been some things that I have seen change already…and I am soooo thankful for those! Butin my mind anything that isn’t an A might as well be an F. I don’t know where this comes from, but it’s always been something that I stress over and will beat myself up over and over for.

I measure myself and my success through the wrong things, but it will be a long and hard road to break this. For everyone who tells me that I did good, and that there’s nothing wrong with where I’m at…thank you for the support. It is ok to accept that average is ok and not beat myself up for it(and I hope to be at this point soon)…but I never want to lose the drive to be better. To move forward and keep striving for what there is out there for me.

I’m home!

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It’s officially winter break, and I am back in San Mateo. I love being back, seeing everyone who I’ve missed for the past 3 months! Last night the excitement of being back and seeing people for the first time masked my extreme tiredness..but today there was nothing. Today was the first day in a long time where I did absolutely nothing but sleep and chill. But as the day went on and family came home the reality check that I had been warned would come, finally hit me.

I have had many conversations back in FG with people about this whole thing of coming home and how it’s going to be different, as I am different. But I never realized the extent of what this was going to be like…I have spent the past 3 months on my own, and to come back to living with my parents…is a challenge. Everything has been on my schedule, I do what I want when I want to. Well here, that’s not how it is…I live on the schedule of other people. This is probably one of the hardest parts to adjust to, I don’t like not being able to make plans whenever I want, come and go whenever I please…

The last few days in Forest Grove were especially special and eye opening for me. In these few days I was constantly reminded of the friends and family that I have made, as well as those that I have back here in San Mateo. My last Sunday before I left, I was given a very special birthday presentation 🙂 🙂 and after tons of laughs I was flooded with words of love and encouragement and hugs! A night of laughs, tears, people and conversations that I wouldn’t change for anything in the world! That was the first time I had wanted my time in FG to slow down. I wasn’t ready to leave yet, I was excited and anxious about coming home, because I did not know what would be waiting for me once I got there. I have found refuge in Forest Grove, not only did I find a church, but I found a place of refuge…a place for me to go when I feel like falling apart, a place of love and encouragement!

I am so happy to be back in San Mateo, but there is a part of me that is missing FG already, I am missing the comfort and family that I have there. I felt this more than anything last night when we went caroling, the way people embraced me when they saw me was just like the way I am greeted each time by people at my church in FG. It truly is God’s working in bringing me to Refuge, I couldn’t have found them by myself.

My prayer is this: that I would be the change that I want to see. I have been told that people can see God working in and with me, I do not want this to fade away and for me to go back to my old ways of doing things. I want to instead do them with and through God.

It is inevitable, I have 2 homes now, I have 2 lives. I have multiple families.

Hello California. See you later Forest Grove.

xoxo sarah

So close, yet so far away.

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I will be back in San Mateo 11 days from now!!!!!!:) soo excited! Like no one understand my excitement unless you are far away from home going to school….people try to simpathize and understand how I feel, and I appreciate that..but there is no way that you can truly understand unless you make this same journey yourself. There is a small part of me that is also very anxious to go home, not sure what I will find there. The people at home have changed, everyone does, as have I in the 3 months that I hve been here.

I won’t be the same person I was when I left San Mateo on August 27, 2010. and I won’t be the same person that I am today, December 4, 2010. People are constantly changing, each day that I am here I have new experiences.

The only thing that is standing in my way at this point is one day of class, 3 finals, 2 days of work, my birthday, and a plane flight!:) Once those are over with I will be on my way. I want this next week and a half to go by so fast so that I can just be home, but at the same time I want it to slow down so I can enjoy the time that I have left with the friends and family I have made here, and have enough time to be able to feel prepared and confident for these scary finals.

I will be flying by myself for the first time, so that will definelty add to the anxiety, but the idea of going home definetly outweighs all of the negatives and fears that I have.

California, see you in 11 days!:)

xoxo sarah