Friday, May 18, 2012

Weekend Happenings

Good Friday morning!

RANDOMNESS #1 - You probably think it is strange I have never prepared a shrimp dish before I turned 50. After last's night EASY and successful attempt, I think it's a little strange, too.

What can I say? Shrimp have been very intimidating to me.

Of course, I didn't peel or devein the shrimp. I am NOT Paula Deen, Sandra Lee or The Pioneer Woman.

I am NOT Martha Stewart who, if truth be told, probably goes out on a shrimping boat and hand picks only the best shrimp for her recipes.

I am NOT Oprah who has a professional chef peeling and deveining her shrimp as we speak.

I am just little ol' Enchanting Belinda... who can now make shrimp dishes.

I'm sorry. If you are not a shrimp eater (and I am NOT), this does not look appetizing.

It looks a little better cooked, but not enough for me to try it. Austin and Mikie LOVED it!

RANDOMNESS #2 - Josh's Journey - Part Three - Remember. I'll be posting more of Josh's Journey Saturday and Sunday (May 19 and 20). I NEVER post on Saturday and Sunday. NEVER. But I'm making an exception in this case. I've got a lot to cover between now and graduation!

We left off yesterday with a God-given plan. Mike and I sat down during the wee hours of the morning and talked about what had to be done that day to protect Joshua.

First, we had to get our files from the psychiatrist. Another psychiatrist would not be able to help us if we were under the treatment of another doctor.

Secondly, until we could find the doctor we were supposed to be with, we had to go to our pediatrician for the help we needed for the next one or two days as we searched.

Thirdly, once we had an appointment with our pediatrician, we would call Donnie who worked with the Children's Ministry at our church and have as many people on staff praying for the right outcome of our meeting with the doctor. The most important goal for our day was to keep Josh out of the Psychiatric Ward. It was the ONE thing we were sure of in a sea of uncertainties.

Mike took care of getting our files from the psychiatrist. He drove to the office himself, and was handed the file through a receptionist's window. No explanation as to why the doctor had not returned our emergency calls... no contact with him whatsoever.

As soon as the doctor's office opened, I had an appointment. It opened at 8:00 and we were to be there at 9:30. Josh was already in the bathroom washing, praying and crying, so I told him he had 90 minutes and to take his time. Rushing him would only slow him down.

At 8:01, I called the church office and spoke with Donnie's answering machine. I asked him and anyone else there to specifically pray that Josh would not be admitted into the hospital.

We arrived at the doctor's office on time, told him everything that had been going on and that we were looking for another psychiatrist. (We did not ask him for another name.) He told us Josh really needed to be in the Psychiatric Ward of Children's Hospital. We told him respectfully we knew he did not. When he asked what we wanted from him, we asked for mild sedatives for Josh for one or two days until we found the answer we were searching for. He complied, and Mike and I drove off at 9:45 having accomplished our task for the day.

During this entire time of little or no sleep, confusion and despair, a name kept coming to my mind. I had not told many people what was going on, because to be honest, we didn't know ourselves. But Jenny's name was in my mind constantly. I didn't really understand why. Jenny and I had been church friends for years and her son was Josh's age. They had gone to each other's birthday parties growing up, and Jenny and I had done some things socially, but not on a regular basis. However, her name above all the other people I knew stayed in my mind.

I didn't talk to her because it was so close to Christmas, and I didn't want to burden her with such a heavy problem, but the thought persisted... and I continually pushed it away.

The day after we had seen our doctor, Josh was mildly sedated and Mom and I tried to take him to a restaurant. It was miserable. He couldn't stop jerking, praying and crying, so we were getting our food to take home. Jenny walked up to our table and spoke to us. She looked at Josh questioningly, and then back at me. She squeezed my arm and we said our good-byes.

When we got home, the thought to call Jenny was prevalent. I dialed her number. While Mom watched Josh, I sat in the floor of my bathroom and told her everything that was going on. She listened carefully, and instead of just saying, "I'm so sorry," she said the most unbelievable thing to me. "Belinda, you need to call Laura. She works at Children's in the Psychiatric Ward and she'll know every child psychiatrist in Birmingham."

I thanked her and hung up the phone. I casually knew Laura. She was a wonderful, warm person with a beautiful little girl I spoke to on Sunday mornings. I immediately called her. I once again poured out everything that had happened. She listened without any interruptions. When I was finished, I'll never forget what she told me. "Belinda, I know exactly who you should see. He's a wonderful doctor, and he will be able to help Joshua. I worked with him several years ago at Children's. I'm going to call him right now, and I'll call you back. I love you. This is going to be okay."

She hung up and I continued to sit in the floor limp, unable to move or think. Within five minutes, the phone rang and it was Laura. She gave me the doctor's name and number and said he would like to talk to me. I asked her how long she had been working at Children's, and she said she had not been there for years and years. The doctor I was about to call had just recently started a private practice. "He's going to be able to help Joshua," she again reassured me.

I called the doctor's office and spoke with his wife, who was a pharmacist and his office manager. She was very kind. After a few minutes of talking to me, she spoke with her husband and he got on the phone with me. He asked me several questions, and then told me he was going to send me a questionnaire to fill out, and his wife was going to set up our appointment. That same week.

I called Jenny back and told her what had happened. And then I asked her, "Laura hasn't worked at Children's Hospital for a number of years. What made you think of her?"

"I don't know. It was just stuck in my head she had worked there. I didn't know she was working somewhere else."

"Are you and Laura best friends?"

"No. We're friends, but we don't talk all the time. I don't know why that was stuck in my head."

I hung up the phone. I knew exactly why it was "stuck in her head." I knew now why Jenny's name had been "stuck in my head" since Josh had gotten sick. I've said it the past two days, and I'll say it again... God WASN'T surprised and caught off guard by any of this. We didn't know it then, but Josh's Journey had begun, and we were just along for the ride. We could do things our way... or we could turn to God and do things His way. But you know me... there were many more control struggles ahead between Josh's Heavenly Father and Josh's earthly mother.

Sometimes, I think there aren't enough pigeons on this planet for God to throw at me to get me to listen... but I am learning. Slowly, but surely... I am learning.

To finish up today's Part Three of the story, I'm just going to give you a numbered time line of some of the other things that were going on before we met with our new psychiatrist.

1. Josh could not attend church. The music, the praying, the jerking was more than he could bear. The last service we attended together as a family was Christmas morning. Josh was unable to go to church for an entire year. The next time he was able to sit down in a service was the Christmas Eve Service, December 2006. After that, church attendance was still very sporadic, but we were hopeful.

2. I was unable to attend church for five months. Mike was serving on the Pastor Search Committee before all of this happened, so when he was in town, he needed to be in church. At least two or three Faulkners attended every service during that year. We knew it would be important to teach faithfulness to Austin and Roxie, plus it gave them a much needed break away from the house.

3. Josh was unable to go to school. He entered the Homebound Program where a liaison brought his assignments and tests to the house, and he worked on his school work at home. We didn't cut back any of his school work. He completed a full course load and made straight As the rest of his 6th grade year.

4. We took our annual family trip to the mountains in late April with my sister and her family and my Mom, but Josh didn't travel well, and being away from home was torture for him. It was a very difficult trip.

5. We were not able to go to movies as a family.

6. We were not able to eat out as a family.

7. Summer was difficult to say the least, but we tried to take things one day at a time. His band director gave him private tuba lessons so he could move up to intermediate band in 7th grade to be with friends.

8. We continued to practice every tradition we had ever had in our home. The Christmas Josh was so sick, we still went to family gatherings, baked cookies with Roxie's friends, and did anything and everything we had always done. However, we did whatever we needed to do to compensate for Josh's illness (leaving early, sitting with him in the bathroom for hours at a gathering, etc.).

9. Slowly, slowly, slowly, our new doctor was trying different medications with Josh. Sometimes we would have to wait four to six weeks to see the effects, if any, of a new medication. It became apparent to all of us that working with Josh with Cognitive Behavior Therapy was going to be the key.

10. We hoped he would be able to start 7th grade, but we braced ourselves for the worse.

That's it for today. Tomorrow, I'll talk about his 7th grade year in a time line. But, I'll also begin talking about the isolation that comes with mental illness... both for the person with the illness and the family. I'll also be sharing a little about three special young men who went the extra MILES with Josh, and how they could not only be examples to all middle school young men, but to adults as well... me included.

NOTE - As always, feel free to privately message me on Facebook or send me an e-mail ( if you would like to comment. Thanks!

RANDOMNESS #3 - I don't know about you, but I always have leftovers in the fridge on Friday. I also have leftover pics on my camera most Fridays. Here are just a few of them!

Laci helped Roxie and Hannah stretch Friday night before The Pink Ribbon Run. She's a giver.

Josh finished the MotherWalk Fun Run in his own subtle, discreet way... NOT!

You can never have too many Cracker Barrel photos. Am I right?

I've always found Mother's Day to be one of the more exhausting holidays.

Sassy times three! Roxie, Shelby and Kelci after they found out they made the volleyball team.

Weekend Happenings

Since today's post is SO long, I'm going to give you Weekend Happenings in "bullet" form.


Austin - The Chick, Melia and Battleship with Josh
Josh - Lazy day, trim the hedges (SURPRISE) and Battleship with Austin
Roxie - School, basketball tryouts, pass out on couch
Mike and Belinda - Dinner with whoever shows up (kid-wise), maybe a mini-date to Books-A-Million for coffee


Austin - Sleep late, the Chick
Josh - Sleep late, yard work, friend birthday party
Roxie - Sleep ALL day, watch movie with friend
Mike and Belinda - Breakfast date, work around house


Austin - Church, Sunday lunch with family
Josh - Church, march to front for Graduate Recognition, Sunday lunch with family
Roxie - Church, Sunday lunch with family
Mike and Belinda - See above

Could a Weekend Happenings post BE more boring?

I didn't think so.

I hope you have a BLAST this weekend. I'll be back tomorrow with Part Four of Josh's Journey and a couple of pics to brighten your Saturday... because that's just the kind of person I am!

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


The Enchanting (Albeit Boring) Belinda

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