Sunday, June 23, 2019

Weeping may Endure for a Night. Let's Hope Joy Arrives Soon

As a young girl, I loved Sunday School. The stories about Jesus feeding the thousands, turning water into wine, and calling the children to come to Him, filled me with joy. However, my favorite was Jesus finding the lost sheep. The powerful image of Him returning to the flock with the errant animal carried on His shoulders took my breath away, and remains one of my favorites.

I knew I loved Jesus forever. In that pocket of my world, the world that I knew, nothing could go wrong.

And then, I began to grow up. I left the soft padded seats of a stained glass church and began attending tent meetings where fire and brimstone, along with an angry God was the theme of the day. Fear of failing God entered turned my faith inside out.

My beloved Jesus of mercy suddenly became a God of anger and judgment. To fit in, I nurtured a critical spirit. I tried to pray. Apparently there were certain words I had to use in order for God to hear me. I was told I prayed wrong. No matter how I searched for the correct phrasing, they were always wrong. I didn't learn until later, that it wasn't the words of my mouth, but the attitude of my spirit.

And then finally I could take judging people any longer. Adrift at sea, I no longer connected with God and turned inward.

On social media I read words of anger and hatred toward certain sects of faith and people. "Wait!" I wanted to scream at these church goers. "Jesus died for these people." But now the Bible was being cherry picked.

 If someone was sick, I was told it was because they had committed a sin. Or, if your faith had only been enough, if you had prayed harder, this could have been avoided. Or, if you really gave your soul to God, your life would be better.

How had I come to this moment, allowing others to define what I believed?

As Christians, aren't we to show mercy and love? And yea, where did my faith go? It was here just a moment ago. Or 5 years ago? Or, 30 years ago.

I began to change. Many said I was no longer a Christian. I spent hours wondering the same. I read and reread the New Testament. I felt life within me. The excitement of loving God and His word.

Where am I today? Rediscovering my faith. The faith and Jesus of my childhood.

I don't have all the answers, nor will I. This I do know; Jesus does feel our pain and grief.  For He has delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, and my feet from falling, even when I went away, even when I couldn't pray. I still don't use a prayer formula, I just speak from a broken spirit, one who is willing to be His servant.

In this world we have tribulation, but be of good cheer for He has overcome this world. "The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it."

Weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning. Hold on to Him.

Be merciful. Be kind. Forgive. God hears your prayers. Its a heart condition. Words don't matter, our love toward Him and being His feet and hands on earth do.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

On the Street Where You Live & Mrs. Steffy *Chicago Life in 1950*

Maybe it comes with age. At least with my age it does.

When I am in a quiet state of mind, the past comes back on small running feet.

Thats what happened again this morning.

It was 1956 and I was 6 years old, living on Wellington Avenue, in Chicago, Illinois; just down from Wrigley Field, and blocks from Lake Michigan.

I really loved living on that street, among all the fashionable brownstones and greystones closed in by old iron Fleur de Lis fences, our house was the only tutor. We also had a backyard that was bigger than anyoe else's.

But the object of my attention was the green house with the wide front porch directly across the street. A two story cottage was the dwelling Mrs. Steffy called home.

I suppose her husband had passed. He wasn't around and it didn't seem peculair to me that he wasn't. She lived alone. On occassion one of her children would stop by for a visit.

Mainly I'd sit in a wicker rocker on her porch and we'd chat. Mrs. Steffy had long grey hair threaded with shades of brown which she wore in braids pinned together at the top of her head. She was a slight woman who always wore a simple cotton dress covered with a fresh apron.

Rarely was I granted entrance into the cottage where I ached to go to have a look around.

But on one particular occassion, Mrs. Steffy said I could come inside with her if I remained on the first floor and did not go up the steps to the second floor.

As I stepped into the dark, narrow hallway of the cottage, I was charmed by the steep steps and curve of the banister that led upstairs; the place I was forbidden to go. Tucked into the side of the stairs was a huge, old grandfather's clock. I remember reciting 'Hickory Dickery Dock' on the spot.

The living room was to the right, the dining room after that, and in back the kitchen. For some reason they held no interest for me, most likely because I had seen them before....but the upstairs was where I wanted to go. But I had agreed I wouldn't.

I knew I was faster that sweet, elderly Mrs. Steffy. And up I went on the steep steps and made it to the second floor within seconds. Mrs. Steffy ordered me back downstairs. I ignored her and opened door after door of the bedrooms to see what they looked like. I even pulled open each dresser drawer before my mother was called over to get me.

Yanked from the house by the arm, I was sent to bed soon after the dinner dishes were washed, dried, and put away.

Mrs. Steffy passed about the same time we moved to Delavan, Wisconsin, 8 years later. Sadly her house was knocked down in order to enlarge the street.

On the rare occassion I get to Chicago, I take a cab and walk down Wellington Avenue. After looking at my former childhood home, I turn about to see Mrs. Steffy's house. And for just a moment I am surprised to see it gone. I think of all the houses that are long gone along with the people we still love.

We have such treasured memories within us. In time we learn its more important what we have in our hearts than what we hold in our hands.

Do I regret racing upstairs to Mrs. Steffy's dismay?

I only wish I remembered the inside of Mrs. Steffy's house and those dresser drawers.

Monday, May 23, 2016


Welcome Ane Mulligan! 

Ane is with me today and we are chatting about her latest book. In order to be entered for a FREE book or e-book (winner's choice), please leave a comment at the bottom of this blog, or in the comment section on FB to be entered. 

Before we discuss your book, Ane, there is something we must know. What is your favorite dish that you enjoying serving to your family? Recipe please. 

Shepherd’s Pie, but I don’t cook that much anymore. I have a chef for a son, and he cooks a lot. But Hubs and Chef Son love my Shepherd’s Pie. I use been shanks, cross cut, instead of hamburger. 

Mulligan’s Best Shepherd's Pie
Ane Mulligan

Serves 4-6 but can be expanded easily

3-4 cross-cut beef shanks
1 small onion (or ½ large one), diced
olive oil
1 – 4 cloves of garlic (depends on tastes. Can one have too much garlic? Nay, say I.)
1 (14 oz) can of corn, drained
8 oz fresh mushrooms, scliced
1 C frozen peas, defrosted
1 (14 oz) can of tomatoes, drained and crushed (I use my hand & squeeze 'em to death)
3 – 4 potatoes, cooked and mashed

Pre-cook the cross-cut beef shanks in a crockpot all day, covered in water with a Tbls of Better Than Bullion brand Beef Base. 

About 45 minutes before you plan to eat, remove the meat from the crockpot, break into small pieces. Set aside. Peel and cut potatoes into 2” pieces and boil. When ready, mash and set aside.

Brown the onion and garlic in some olive oil. When it's slightly caramelized (5 minutes or so) add the mushrooms and cook till brown. Add the corn , mushrooms, peas, tomatoes, and cooked beef. Cook for 5 minutes.

Put the meat mixture in a baking dish, top with the mashed potatoes and bake for 20-25 minutes at 350°

This is an old family staple, a one-dish meal. It's also cheap. Serve it with bread rolls. It's the kind of thing you simply throw together. I guessed at the amounts. You can adjust them to your tastes.

I bet Hubs love it. Ah dear 'Hubs'. How did you two meet? 

We met on a blind date, and my date was the other fellow. We switched halfway through the evening, and the rest is history. We’ve been married for 45 years. I still can’t figure out the math on that since I’m only 35.

What fun! I bet he's a romantic, am I right?

You’re kidding, right? My hubs is a Brit. They’re not notoriously romantic. Which is pretty funny if you think about it. He married a writer! Poor guy. But perhaps the special thing he has done for me is paint the artwork used for my Chapel Springs series. He had to pull an imaginary town out of my head and get it on canvas, but he did it!

Do you have a piece of jewelry that is special to you? 

I had a heart shaped locket covered in seed pearls that was my adoptive grandmother’s baby locket. When I met my sisters, one of my nieces has a daughter whose name is the same as my grandmother’s, Anna. I gave the locked to my grand-niece. I love tying the two families together like that.

I bet you have a guilty pleasure. Do tell!

M&Ms. But they’re not a guilty one. Chocolate is one of the major food groups. Chocolate, Coffee, Protein, Bread and Pasta. Those are the 5 major food groups.

Let's get to what we all want to know. Tell us about your latest book.  

This is the book of my heart. It’s about a woman who gets connected with her birth sisters. Her story doesn’t go like mine. My birth sisters welcomed me with open arms. As for Claire, she’s up to her eyeballs in a contested election for mayor and finding out who or what is haunting the old theater.

What is the take-away message?

God is faithful with out dreams. He will make them come to pass if they will bring Him glory.

Now you have me wondering: Do you ever become your heroine? 

Oh my yes. Claire is a klutz. She got that from me. Just today, I was meeting a friend for lunch. It’s been raining, and I forgot I was wearing flip flops. I entered the restaurant, moving too fast, and my left foot hit the polished concrete and zipped out from under me. Down I went. What an entrance. So now you see where Claire gets her “move without thinking” MO.

And do you write about any real life problem from your own experiences?
(We won't tell)

Absotootinglutely! Chapel Springs Revival came from an overheard conversation about marriage. (Yes, I eavesdrop, so be careful what you say). Chapel Springs Survival was inspired by our eldest son getting himself a 21st Century mail order bride. And Home to Chapel Springs is from my own story of finding my birth sisters. Your readers can read that story on my website under My Adoption Story.

Home to Chapel Springs

A homeless author, a heartbroken daughter, and a theatre ghost. There’s trouble in Chapel Springs.

There’s always someone new in Chapel Spring, either coming home or stirring up trouble.

Bestselling author Carin Jardine’s latest book is a flop. While the reviewers are happily skewering her, her racecar-driver-husband walks out on her and she’s evicted, because he hasn’t paid the lease on their condo for the last three months. Then she discovers he also he drained their bank accounts. Homeless and broke, she and her little boy have no choice but to retreat to the house she inherited from her nana in Chapel Springs—the house that’s been gutted. Then, a stranger knocks on her door. One that will change the course of her life.

After the residents thwarted Howie Newlander’s plans for a Miami-style resort on Chapel Lake, he’s running for mayor and spreading rumors about diverted water and misused taxes. The Lakeside Players want to remodel the town’s old theater, but it’s rumored to be haunted. When Newlander and Mayor Riley go head-to-head, Claire gets caught in the middle.

Claire’s youngest daughter is in love with a young man whose daddy is none other than Mayor Felix Riley…the man who man who blames Claire for every wrong in Chapel Springs. Having him part of her family isn’t in Claire’s plan. The years of her heartache should warn her daughter off this boy. So far, her daughter’s heart isn’t hearing the warnings.

With hearts pulled in all directions, will they find a home in Chapel Springs?

Here is a lovely book review:

From Donna’s BookShelf, writer Donna Mynatt said:
Ane Mulligan has written a book that just can’t be denied! Once you pick it up and begin to read — you’re hooked — to the very end. And it’s not because aliens are taking over the planet . . . or super heroes are saving the planet. There are no time travelers, no vampires, no diseases. What there is — is a great story about normal people!

Well, Ane did have to throw in some really cool characters, like a racecar driver and a best-selling author. But here’s the catch. They really are normal people — with normal problems. The racecar driver walks out on his wife, taking all her money — and leaves her with nothing but heartache, bills, and their son. And that’s just a small part of the book!

I love reading books by Ane Mulligan, because she writes about life — the good, the bad, and the ugly. But even when I find myself identifying with her characters, I also find myself laughing at them. And my life — my problem — seems a bit easier to bear.

Thanks, Donna! Your check’s in the mail.

While a floppy straw hat is her favorite, novelist Ane Mulligan has worn many including pro-family lobbyist, drama director, playwright, humor columnist, and novelist. She firmly believes coffee and chocolate are two of the four major food groups. Ane writes her Southern-fried fiction in Sugar Hill, GA, where she resides with her artist husband, chef son, and a dog of Biblical proportion. You can find Ane on her Southern-fried Fiction website, her Amazon author page, Google+, Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Meet Geneen & Her 1920s Spanish California House

Would the original owner of my home ever have guessed that this place would still be so loved eighty-seven years later?

Life in my 1929 Spanish Style Cottage is bittersweet.

I was born in Los Angeles and spent my childhood in a Spanish home a lot like this one, but built in 1928.  I feel as if I've come full circle. There's not a day that I don't drive up to the house and get a little choked up. This home is my anchor. I wish my family could see it. The home has my heart.

 I walk through the rooms and I imagine the other lives that have lived here. I think about the meals cooked in the kitchen (my first meal cooked here was a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, although you cannot call it cooking. Ahem).

I think about the rockers on the porch and the people in them perhaps drinking lemonade and sharing a plate of sugar cookies as they visited. I think about the fire in the fireplace and the decorations that must have hung from it.

The original ironing board is still in the cabinet in the kitchen. I think about the families that have come through the doors. Those of us with old homes are merely caretakers until it's the next persons turn to add to the story.

Sounds romantic, eh? It is. However, there are never ending challenges that come with living in a vintage home. The plumbing, the wiring, the pipes; they are all vintage too and there is a pretty good chance at some point they will give you a nasty surprise. Last year my surprise occurred when my pipes disintegrated into the ground. My newest surprise is a gas leak. A gas leak the gas company couldn’t find which meant poking holes in the walls. So my place is in the process of having a face life for the gas leak and the electrical.

If you love perfect don't buy an old home. It's never going to be perfect. And that's OK with me. My kitchen cabinets are the original from 1929. If I had $100 for every single time someone told me that I need to redo the kitchen, I'd be on a vacation to England—maybe Paris too.  I don't have a dishwasher. I wash the dishes by hand and look out of the kitchen window and think about the children that may have played in that backyard. Was there once a swing set?

If I could live in any era it would be the 1920's and 30's. I've always been fascinated with the homes, the cars, the jewelry, and the movies. Every last bit of it. One of my brothers friends in Los Angeles and had a 1929 Roadster. I would ride in the rumble seat and eat cracker jacks. I remember our neighbor Hazel had a vanity from 1930. She would let me sit there and spray perfume on. While she told me stories of her dates and boyfriends and I use to love how they gave her boxes of chocolates. I was born in the wrong era.

I don't carry the theme with what I wear. I'm usually found in converse sneakers, jeans and a gingham blouse. But I do love vintage purses.

My favorite flower are sunflowers. I love an overgrown look. I go to roses, hydrangeas, ivy, sweat peas, lavender, Rosemary, lilacs, geranium, scented geraniums, mint, daisies, ferns, and iris. All kinds of ground cover and herbs. Lemon and orange and peach trees. I have no rhyme or reason. I plant it, cross my fingers and hope for the best.

I spend a lot of time working in my garden. It calms me and feeds my soul. I love digging in the earth and reading through garden books. Some days I drive through the country and dig up a roadside plant, or two, to bring home (Sssh. Our secret).

In my vast collections, one of my favorite objects is an autograph photo and guitar pick of Timothy B. Schmit of the Eagles. My brother Garey and I were 20 years apart. When he came home from Vietnam he bought my very first album for me. When Garey died in 2005 I sent Timothy an email and just told him what the music meant to my brother and me. About a week later a package came and there was an autograph with a message and a guitar pick taped to it. It's meant the world to me. If you walked into the antique store where my booth was located, you would know where my booth is because it looks a lot like my home...but cleaner. And more organized. And no dust bunny condos. The stuff you see here is what you would find there.

The piece that speaks to me most is the old plumbing sign in the dining room. I found it at an antique store. I bought it after begging for a really good deal because my Dad was a plumber. I trace my hands over the letters and think about the stories they could tell.

In 1997 I entered a design contest on a shopping channel and won. I designed a bracelet. I was on for several segments by phone. They showed pictures. My sketches. The making process of the piece. I don't think I told many people. Now you know.

Like this home, I am imperfect. I too have a vulnerability. Its people who are ignorant and have preconceived notions about mental disorders. What makes me vulnerable is ignorance. People and their preconceived notions.

Several times a week, I receive messages asking if I ever had a problem in my life—probably because my pictures are so light, and I act like a goof ball. 

Don’t be fooled. A lot is hidden behind a smile.

I'm an incest survivor from a very young age. We all have our issues. We all have our problems.  I'm not a victim. I'm a survivor. Each day offers a new wall to climb over, and there are times I land on my butt, but eventually I climb back up. It's the best I can do. It's all I can do.

As I work on this house, I am also working on me.

One never knows what or who is tucked behind that wall, or in that lovely garden.

In this case, it’s me, Geneen. 

Monday, May 16, 2016

Cleaning Out Drawers & Finding Gold

Now that I have an awesome desk (I have needed one for a decade), I spent the better part of yesterday cleaning out drawers of paperwork for the sake of sanity and needed organization. I found strange things like an envelope marked TAXES filled with advertising (that could explain a lot). Dump pile! Ten year old receipts were also dumped along with old calendars and recipes I have collected over the years and never once tried.

Bound neatly together were my teaching certificates for Wisconsin-Illinois-Texas, my transcripts, my college diploma from UW Whitewater, along with other educational paperwork.

What pleased me the most was unearthing certificates that my son had earned before mental illness changed him. First, his high school diploma. Basic, yes, but how many teens leave school without this?  Just ask me. Too many, I say. Its the jumping off point for the rest of your life.

Then there was his diploma from vocational school and also his state certificate from passing the state  exam to be a certified nurses aide. His Freshman English grade from NCTC. He earned a B.

A few awards he won from caring for elderly in residential settings.

Excitedly I shared these treasures with my son and told him that if he ever feels down about himself to pull all these out and look at his achievements.

There will be more achievements for him.

I am sure of it.

God will not be finished with me when I retire in a few more years.

 And he sure isn't finished with my son.

We have work to do.

Important work.

Life ebbs and flows. The only certainty is change. We think we are on one journey and suddenly we are on another path, heading in  a new direction.

Last year, Matthew was asked to speak to a group of mental health professionals at MHMR, including doctors and nurses, about his journey. I think there will be more of that.

Matthew has such a big heart for helping others. Somewhere along the road of life, there will be a time for that.

When we look into a person's eyes, no matter what their ability, God can and will and does use them.
One of the greatest gifts God offers is hope.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The Secret World of the Indigent

I grew up enjoying an affluent lifestyle. My dad was the owner of a popular Chicago nightclub. The house where I lived, along with two siblings and both my parents, boasted 10 large rooms with a finished basement. Summers, we vacationed at our lake house in Delavan, Wisconsin. During the school year, my parents sent us to an elite private school.

When I broke my collar bone (twice) I was rushed to ER in a cab where the situation was immediately tended to. When my sister came down with measles, the doctor came to our home to treat the condition.

Food, shelter, clothing, and medical needs were more than amply met. My world was safe. Needs and wants and greeds were at my fingertips.

Many years later, I was employed with a school district and I had insurance. When my  children came along, they were included on my medical care. Though we weren't wealthy (on a teacher's salary) we didn't lack for much.

And here I am, many years later, on the brink of retirement, caring for my adult son who is mentally ill and has been unable to work for 3 years. Thankfully, he is not on the street as so many are. Matthew lives in my home.

For three years we have applied for social security for him. I say 'we' because Matthew is unable to do this by himself. Finally we secured a lawyer to fight that ongoing situation.

Meanwhile, Matthew is with a wonderful Denton, Texas organization MHMR. I will forever be grateful and indebted to them for literally saving my son's life. Matthew is on a cocktail of ever changing meds, has a team of case workers, a full-time psychiatrist, and a nurse who comes to the house to treat him and check on him each week.

And then it happened. His anxiety rose to dangerous levels and his blood pressure went through the roof. He ended up in the ER twice. And then went back to the hospital two more times for sciatica, and experienced a very unsympathetic doctor who only handed him a list of exercises to do.

"Mom, where do I go if I have a medical need?" he asked. "I can't keep going to the ER."

Good question.

Not only am I now in the world of fighting for disability for my ill son, but he also is developing physical problems. Where to go? No insurance. I haven't money to pay out of pocket. I only knew a world of earning a paycheck for working, and paying a deductible for doctor visits.

I woke up. I had to find new ways to help my son meet his needs. Surely, my son was far from the only one with these problems. There had to be an underground network. How could I tap into that? Where should I go? Who to ask?

There is a world of people who are homeless; no shelter, a bag of questionable clothes, churches that provide lunch, but where is there help for medical needs? I had no idea.

Many suggested I ask for credit and then pay it off monthly bit by bit. When one is already financially stressed, its not really a possibility.

Last night Matthew and I went to Walgreen's to find something to help relieve tooth pain. Before we left, a friend suggested I ask the pharmacist about any charities (charities can be hard to find and they must be flooded with requests). The pharmacist suggested First Baptist Church of Denton, where I spoke last fall about one of my books. I felt right at home calling.

The church sponsors First Refuge. It's run by dentists who volunteer their time on certain days. The indigent must qualify. According to their guidelines, Matthew should qualify (fingers crossed, prayers said).

In these past months, I  learned that there is a secret world of the indigent. The people we sometimes do not notice, or care to notice, living on the fringes of society. Hungry, dirty, needing medical and perhaps psychiatric assistance.

I think back to my happy, lazy days of summer. How easy life was for me. How blessed I was.

Not everyone has had it easy. It makes me grateful for what I do have. But I need just a bit more for my son Matthew because he needs it....

just as millions of others need it; children, men, women, teens, vets. Please lets not forget.

Let's stop arguing about who is using the bathroom, what face is on our dollar, and tackle real life problems. Make a difference.. If we all pitch in, what a beautiful difference we can make. We are God's hands on earth. Let's use our hands and open our hearts.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Saturdays with Matthew and My New Normal Life

 I used to be afraid of those with mental illness. I didn't understand it.  It was spooky. Unknown. People with mental illness didn't act within the norm.

I glided through most of my life without giving it much thought until my adult son was diagnosed with Schizoeffective disorder, PTSD, anxiety disorder, and paranoid His life living skills, along with much of his personality, changed.

Neuron's in the brain can cause a lot of damage to one's perspective, and how one chooses to live life from that moment forward. It involves ongoing care with close psychiatric monitoring, an ever changing cocktail of medications, constant monitoring, and being there for someone 100%  24/7. I never knew what that really was like until my son's illness bloomed.

A new normal means setting aside your entire life, forever, to be at the whim of someones brain function. It's not only my new normal, but his new normal as well.

Many have suggested I put Matthew into a mental health community. First of all, there aren't any, unless you have millions to spend.

I want Matthew to relearn what its like to live a life as fully and as normally as possible. Part of that is education. Not just education for my son, but educating others, who like I once was, are afraid.

I will not isolate my son. If someone has cancer, we do not even consider  putting the cancer patients into a community, hiding them away. We envelope them with our love, acceptance, and make life for them as normal as we can.

I want to give you a peek into our typical Saturday.

"Matthew, I have errands to run. Want to come along?" I ask.
"Yes, let me get dressed."
Translation: I need to put on my clothes, take a handfull of pills, and sit on the backporch to gather my thoughts.

Thirty minutes later, we are in the car.
"Where are we going Mom?"
"I need to stop at Lowes. Will you be able to come inside with me today?"
"I will try."
Translation: I am really afraid of the unknown. I have to wait to see how many people are there before I decide.
We arrive at Lowes. My son swallows hard and looks around. "I will try."
He follows me inside and gets a cart. As we walk through the household plant section, he becomes mesmirized and wants to look at each plant. I, on the other hand, am in a hurry. "Why don't I leave you here with the cart? Stay right here. I need to pick up a paint brush. Give me 5 minutes. Stay here, okay? Matthew, do you hear me? Wait here?"

But, it takes me 10 minues, not 5. I return to the succulents, exactly where I left him. Matthew and the cart are gone. My heart beats hard. Where is he?

I walk back into the main part of the store and search. Finally I see him running toward me pushing the cart in front, screaming, "Mom! Mom!"

We leave the cart and return to the car. He works at getting himself together--measuring his breaths, trying to calm his heart rate. He heard voices taunting him from the vents.  He tells me that I am his anchor and I was gone.

We go home.  I finish the errands alone. Later he says he would like to try going out again.
"How about if we go for dinner somewhere?"
He picks a place he went a lot before the illness overtook him. He feels safe there. We sit in a booth. He puts on his headphones to block out voices that arent there; they are there for him. We make it through a meal. He is fine. We return to the car triumphant.

I remember I forgot something at the grocery store. Matthew decides to wait for me in the car. He refuses to go inside. Thats okay. I never push. I get the item and a few more. We go home.

He sits on the backporch.

The sky is dark now.

He feels safe.  

Do NOT feel sorry for me. Do NOT feel sorry for my son. Instead, seek to understand the mentally ill.  Understanding is the perfect gift.

I am far from the only one who goes through this with my son. My son is far from the only one who is cursed with this. You will make us both feel less alone by understanding and acceptance.

PS Today is Sunday. We went to the grocery store again. This time Matthew ventured inside with me. He clung onto the cart as though it was his life preserver. His hoody was draped over his head in a hiding manner. An elderly lady stopped him and sweetly commented, "I love your beard young man! Its a wonderful beard!"

Matthew lit up. He smiled, and pulled off his hood so she could get a better look at his face and the foot long red beard. "Thank you very much!"
He glowed.
I cried.
We both were ecstatically happy.