After Ben's diagnosis I was reeling with many different and conflicting emotions. Fear has always been my biggest struggle and the unknown that lay ahead was daunting. My sister-in-law Debbie bought me a journal and encouraged me to write. Here are 2 actual journal entries from 2001.
January 1, 2001
The start of a new year. It seems hard to believe, 2000 went by so fast. The verse Jeremiah 29:11 embossed on this journal "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you, and not to harm you, to give you a future and a hope" speak volumes to me. The whole story of Benjamin is not out of His plan.
Ben was singing today a little song he learned from a music video
"God made me, God made me,
In my Bible book it says that God made me"
It's true, God made Benjamin, God chose Ben to be here, now, in this family. My prayer is that we will help Ben to reach his highest potential, whatever that might be.
I'd like to keep this journal to tell his story, to track his progress, and to see God's hand working in each circumstance.
One of the hardest things about dealing with Ben has been the safety issues. If he is not close by or being to quiet, you better go find him. Here are a few of the more memorable events this past year:
Ben teething on a plugged in lit Christmas candle
Getting on the treadmill and turning the button to aerobic (he flew off the end -thankfully not hurt!)
Swinging on the chandelier
Emptying the salt and pepper shakers
Cleaning the toilet with my round hair brush
Found eating a stick of butter
Emptying the Brita water 1 gallon container all over the kitchen floor
And we won't even talk about the feces smearing
That journal turned out to be one of the biggest blessings through the years. During the really dark and hard times I poured out my thoughts and worries. During the bright times I documented God's faithfulness and provision each step of the way. He always brought just the right person into our lives at just the right time. When I struggled with doubts, rereading the journal reminded me of how far we had come and allowed me to trust again.
The journal then became the framework for a book. When Ben was about 4 years old, I found him standing on the dining room table stimming on the chandelier lights. Ben was always hyposensitive and it took so much more input into his nervous system to register what would be overload for someone neurotypical. Others with autism are hypersensitive and bright lights or slight touch could cause physical pain. But not Ben! As I gently removed Ben from the middle of the table I said to myself, "If I ever write a book, I have my title - Swinging from the Chandelier"
We are excited to announce that the book is finished and heading to print! It will be available for shipping (hopefully) by September 1st, 2022. We are taking pre-orders now (which comes with Ben's autograph as a thank you for your purchase). Our hope is that the book will bring hope and encouragement to others along with useful information and a few laughs.
Love you more,