Monday, May 21, 2012

Mindless Monday

Good Monday morning!

Are y'all ready for a whirlwind week? No? Me, either. But ready or not, a whirlwind week we are going to have!

Graduation... here we come!

But in other news...

RANDOMNESS #1 - I was gifted this weekend with my Mother's Day Loot! That's right. (ALL CAPS, BABY!) You can see for yourself all of my goodies below:

I now am the proud owner of three hanging baskets. Petunias!

Grandmother took Roxie to a photo studio, and I received beautiful portraits. (A perfect gift for me!)

Not pictured... A gift certificate for ZIP-LINING! That's right. I'll be marking that off my "List" in just a few weekends. I cannot wait!

It was a great Mother's Day!

RANDOMNESS #2 - Our church honored our High School and College Graduates during Sunday morning's service. Josh and 43 other high school graduates were recognized and given a new Bible. They wore their gowns, but not their caps.

I think seeing them march in their gowns helps the "mommas" process the Big Event coming up Thursday night. Or maybe it just helps me.

They don't wear their cap until Thursday night.

Josh and Will.

Sad Josh and Sad Will. NOT!

Roxie and Josh.

Josh, Amy and Austin. (Photobombers Mikie and Roxie.)

Taylor and Josh.

Gracie and Josh.

RANDOMNESS #3 - I was able to post Saturday, but because of life events and extreme disorganization, Sunday's post was nonexistent. Sorry!

I'll be posting the rest of Josh's Journey (past to present) Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.

RANDOMNESS #4 - Josh's Journey - Part Five - The Journey continues...

The remainder of my posting on Josh will be a timeline for his 8th grade year.

1. Josh wanted to play football (his obsession) in 8th grade. I sat in the van for every practice in 100+ heat while he practiced. He missed a few practices due to weather.

2. Josh started 8th grade and arrived at school at 7:45 and stayed until football practice was over at 5:00 or 6:00. We now know this was too much, and he was already beginning to "break down."

3. Josh attended all the games but the last two. A friend's broken bone during a practice, a thunderstorm that came up too quickly for Mike to get to him on the field (he had to ride the bus home in the storm without Mike), another teammate's seizure during the same game, the stress of school and the long hours of practice became too much to bear.

4. Instead of going into the Home Bound Program again, I homeschooled Josh the second part of his 8th grade year. He continued to make all As. Homeschooling had a very heavy workload, but he completed it well and when 9th grade rolled around, he was more than prepared.

5. Josh attended Sunday School, the music service and worship, but still continued to leave during the invitation.

6. Josh was able to stay home alone while I picked Roxie up from school or took her to other activities.

7. Austin began taking Josh with him wherever he went.

8. Austin and Josh started a lucrative lawn care business (6 lawns total), and worked well together.

9. Josh earned the money to buy a guitar and wanted to take lessons. We made him wait over three months to make sure it wasn't just an obsession. He took lessons for a year, and he is very talented.

10. During the 8th grade, there was only one time we thought he might have to be hospitalized, but again, God intervened and we were able to handle the problem at home.

11. Travel was still difficult for him. By the second night away, he would get increasingly anxious and agitated, so any travel we did was close to home.

12. Josh still struggled daily with scrupulosity. He washed certain times each day, but not to excess, and he had other rituals he performs before and after school.

13. Josh attended 9th grade, took Honors Classes and made As. We learned the hard way to start slowly and build up. Josh took all of his academics, and I picked him up at 1:15. This was the only year he had the option to take six classes and still obtain an Honors Diploma.

14. Josh was knocked unconscious in school by a boy he didn't even know, and spent the day in the emergency room with a concussion. We thought he would not be able to go back. He went to school the next day.

15. He missed two days because of hurricanes and bad weather the first half of the 9th grade school year. We thought he would not be able to go back. He went to school after the severe weather passed.

To have an illness based on fear and irrational thoughts and behaviors, Joshua Faulkner is the bravest person I have ever met. What it takes for him to go through a day, and accomplish what he does, is truly an amazing thing to watch. I'm not just saying that because I'm his mother. He is an exceptional person. (Keep in mind... he is still an 18 year-old with all that entails. "Exceptional" does not mean "perfect.")

I promised a Top Ten List to help those of you who might not know what to say to a family going through a similar struggle. These are things that were actually said to me or Mike not once, but on numerous occasions.

Ten Things You NEVER Say to a Parent With a Child Suffering From Mental Illness

10. I hate you decided to put him on medication.
9. All teenage boys are obsessed with something.
8. Why do you think Satan is attacking your family?
7. How many grades has Josh been held back?
6. Maybe you just need to tell him to stop.
5. Do you think you are being punished for something you did?
4. Did you check with the doctor before you tried that?
3. What are Roxie and Austin up to now? (Never mentioning the sick child.)
2. He looks just fine to me.



Always, always, always say something... even if it is nothing more than a hug, or a prayer, or a "How are you?" The most important thing you can ever do for a family with a sick child is to speak to them.

Also, think of creative ways you might be able to help. I couldn't go out to breakfast or lunch or dinner. I couldn't get manicures. But I could have talked on the phone. And in my particular situation, the days, weeks and months I sat in the van for hours on end, I would have loved to have had someone crawl in the passenger seat with me and spend a little time. Not every day, but just every now and then. It would have meant everything to me.

I am not ashamed Josh has a mental illness. I would really like to shout I AM NOT ASHAMED JOSH HAS OCD from the mountaintop. I am not ashamed my grandmother recently had knee-replacement surgery... I am not ashamed Roxie has croup once or twice a year... I am not ashamed I have Type 2 Diabetes and arthritis... I am not ashamed Mike has a bad knee that bothers him on occasion. It is what it is. It must be talked about to be accepted and not feared.

On the few occasions when someone asked me about Josh, I would always say, "We are going to talk about it. We've made a decision to be open about his illness." That has not changed in the least.

We are the Faulkner Five, and we are not embarrassed or ashamed. We are what we are, and we're stronger for it. Josh's Journey is really just beginning in many ways... and we are all willingly going along for the ride.

I didn't know what the next three years would hold for Josh and the rest of us. Every day has been different. He has had really good days and really horribly bad days.

But when it gets right down to it, I never knew what tomorrow was going to bring anyway... for any of us. All we have is this very moment. And we have a decision to make. Are we going to reach out to others? Are we going to spend time with our families? Are we going to make THIS moment count? I know my eyes have been opened a little bit these past six years, and I hope my choices reflect that each and every day God gives me.

"Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." Galatians 6:2.

Have a most wonderful Monday! I'll be back tomorrow with yet another easy and delicious recipe and more pics. I'll also talk a little about the past three years of Josh's Journey. This will be a new post.

Take care, and I'll talk to you in the morning.


The Enchanting Belinda

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