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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Follow Up on Battling

You are SO NOT going to believe this…..

Wednesday we started a protein-packed diet for our boy. The change in him was remarkable! We had no issues whatsoever.

It was bacon and eggs for breakfast and a pepperoni stick just for good measure. Yah, show me a seven-year-old boy who wouldn't want one of those for breakfast. He takes a very balanced lunch with him, but I am at the point of doubling the protein in the lunch now. He used to be allowed to double up on grains--not anymore.

We even went to our oldest kids' choir concert that night. He SAT and LISTENED. There were no problems. In the past, he would have been jumping up, fidgeting, and talking during the entire performance.

It is clear that there are certain patterns of response that have built up over time that will need to be altered. The hope is that these will calm by themselves as he calms.

I honestly cannot believe the difference….There is finally some hope for our family.


Now, to yesterday…..

Again, we started out with high protein breakfast. The morning was smooth. He had everything he needed when he left for school and arrived five minutes early--no drama.

He, as far as I know, had a normal morning, ate his lunch at lunchtime, finished school, and returned home.

Oldest brother was home when they arrived from the elementary school, but I was not. I had a baby shower gift to make, so I was off purchasing fabric.

When I arrived home, I found him sitting at the table with a banana peel in front of him. OH NO!!! It was also shared that he had eaten some marshmallows. SO NOT GOOD!

I ran upstairs and grabbed some pistachios out of the locked box of treasures and put them in front of him.

Unfortunately, I soon found out that that wasn't enough. It worked for awhile but wore off, and the trouble began a few hours later. I could not get him to focus and he started bullying those around him.

I sent him to his room with the promise that as soon as he was there, I'd hand him a pepperoni stick. I wanted him to eat it and remain there for 20 minutes.

He emerged a much calmer child--not perfectly ready to focus--but better. As time went on, he was finally able to sit down in front of his homework and get things moving in the right direction.


This morning, eggs and ham. Smooth sailing all the way. The kids were late to school, but that's because of me--migraine morning. They had everything together and were sitting on the bench by the front door waiting for me when it was time to go.


Tonight, we see the counselor. We'll see what she can help us with as far as these patterns that we've formed and how we can better deal with changing them.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

A Repeat of Childhood--Battling this One Alone

I think I may be on to something…..

I have a child who struggles. He doesn't struggle in school or at church, but he definitely struggles at home.

For the past two-plus years, I've been begging our pediatrician to test his blood…..I have a suspicion.

Why his blood, you ask? Because this isn't the only boy I've known who struggles like this…..I was raised with a boy who dealt with similar issues.

Let me describe these "struggles….."

What I'm referring to is aggression, violence, and just downright meanness. Not all the time, mind you, but enough that it disrupts everyone and everything in the home.

This started for my son when he was about four or five (possibly younger). This is when I recall it becoming very noticeable. For my brother, I started to notice it when I was about six.

LDS missions are huge blessings in many ways. It's funny how often missionaries, during that time period, will find answers to some of the major obstacles from their earlier lives--I know I did. It's almost like God says, "Well, you're willing to serve me? I will reward you with this answer."

Such was the situation with my brother. I may have the facts wrong here because I'm going off my memory, but he was serving in an area and encountered a woman who noticed something about him. She recognized that he was struggling with something she had a lot of experience with. She took him aside and said, "I can help you." She pricked his finger, took a couple blood tests, and found that he had hypoglycemia. This would cause huge mood swings--Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde type behaviors.

With my son, I have waited for him to outgrow some of the behaviors he's shown. I just thought they were part of him and part of his growing up, but those behaviors haven't decreased, if anything, they've increased markedly.

Some of the things he did were very familiar to me….He was also Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde-like.

Like I said, I approached the pediatrician about this a few years ago. She refused. Why? I'm still not sure, but it seems that a diagnosis of hypoglycemia is somehow attached to diabetes and since my son has no other symptoms that might lead that diagnosis, it was ridiculous to do a blood test on him. I'm thinking hypoglycemia was over-diagnosed in the '80s, so they got rid of it as its own thing. Nowadays, they diagnose many with ADD or ADHD who might have originally had more of the symptoms of this other disorder.

I finally got a counselor. It was all I could do. The first counselor was HIDEOUSLY BAD!--maybe this will become a future post. When a counselor for your child asks to see you without your child for the first appointment, run the other direction as quickly as you can. Ugh! The new counselor is delightful! She has helped us deal with many of the behaviors, but the underlying cause remains. I think it's because we've been able to handle his outbursts better that we've noticed the pattern that seems to be taking shape.

What was happening was within 20 minutes of eating, this kid would become crazy--usually family clown or quite aggressive. Up until breakfast, things would be going great--sweet boy comes in, snuggles in bed, hugs, etc. Just your regular, everyday wonderful child, but within moments of breakfast, craziness would ensue. Without fail, he'd be late to school and would be only partially together--backpack? Left at home. Homework? Also, at home. Jacket? Guess where….Yup. At home. The leaving of things was only part of the battle. It was the meanness, the destroying of others' self-esteem that really HAD to stop.

This went on day after day. Time would pass, and he'd calm again. On weekdays, I don't see him after lunch, but he has a very balanced lunch, for the most part, and goes to recess immediately after, so I have received very few comments from anyone about him and his behavior. After dinner, though, on some nights, it would happen all over again. Some nights were WAY worse than others.

One day last week, it hit the lowest point EVER. This was IT!

What I finally decided was to tweak his diet. With this pattern coming into focus, this HAS to be related to something he's eating or something he's not.

Now, I'm not one of these new age food people--I have no desire to live THAT long, but if you've read other things I've written, you know that I steer far away from openly artificial ingredients. In short, my kids'd say that they were deprived. We don't do soda, most chips, a lot of junk, or even juice.

For my brother, with the hypoglycemia diagnosis came a change in diet--eat smaller meals more often (something you hear frequently these days anyway), more protein, less sugar.

I spoke with my mother by marriage yesterday to bounce these ideas off of her. As we talked, there were two ideas that came to light that I think we're going to try…..First, for three days, we're going to feed him as few carbs/sugars as humanly possible and go way heavy on the proteins and track what he's been fed and how he's behaved both before and after meals. Second, I'm going to set up an appointment with the pediatrician. I'm going to see if we can go in in his normal, everyday sweet-self state and meet with her for five minutes. At the end of that time, I'm going to feed him a candybar. I
Okay, maybe a bit extreme,
but you get the idea.
will ask the doctor to come back in 20 minutes later to see if there is any difference in this child. Will there be a difference? I don't know, but at least it might shed a little light on the current status of things for both of us.

This morning, we started the day with a high protein breakfast--
eggs and bacon. Oh, and just to be absolutely sure to throw as much protein as I could at him, I let him have a half of a pepperoni stick (the breakfast of champions, no?).

I am overwhelmingly happy to report that we had NO ISSUES this morning--not a one. He was at school on time with everything he needed.

Could I be on to something? I guess time and experience will tell.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

#1's Weekly Email: Week #39

Just keep swimming just keep swimming.... wait. I'm halfway done?! WHAAAA?!

Well... This week has been very interesting. As I've started to realize every week is in San Agustin. 

Monday: As you all know, we got the chance to go to Mt. Samat which was awesome.

Tuesday: We had our half kind of p-day and then got to go out and work. We went out and were soooooo punted. We only got to teach one appointment to D and that was fun and then we went and visited Brother D. And guess what?! He had stopped smoking on Saturday and hadn't smoked since! YES! He learned that if you really want to do something, it's not that hard to do it. And so yes, he is going to be baptized on the 29th. 

Wednesday: We decided that if we were going to be punted we were going to contact all the referrals we had received the week before (and there were lots of them). We first we contacted was Sister R and her friend E and E's 14 year old daughter M(1). They're awesome. We just did how to begin teaching to them and set up a return appointment and they were very receptive and I'm very excited to go back and teach them. After that we went and visited the S family and they're still doing good. They have 3 little orange kittens. The littlest one is like my best friend and I call her my baby. She sits on my lap during the lessons and just purrs :) After that lesson we went and contacted our other referral and she's awesome too. Her name is M(2) and she actually was taught by the elders back when she was 17 years old. She is now 29 and she really wants to find the truth. Good thing we're there, because we've got it :) Then we went to Balintabog and taught all the little kids there and then played some games with them. I love all those kids. They're all recent converts and they're all so strong in the church even though they're only 11-14 years old. They are the future of the church. 

Thursday: We had our cooking demo and mission president interviews. The cooking demo was good and fun and we got to do interviews with President Q and with Elder and Sister D. My first interview was with the D's and they asked a lot of really good questions and it was super cool because I got to see how much I've grown here in the mission. I've been out for 9 months and I'm now halfway done and even though that is such a short amount of time, it's amazing to see the improvement. My interview with President was good too. He just basically encouraged me to keep it up and keep doing my best.He's such a great guy. After that was over we went out and worked again. We were punted again though.... So we went and taught D about LOC. That was fun haha because we're 20 year old girls and he is only a 14 year old boy that is very shy haha And then we visited the Su girls who are less-active. They're coming back to church though so that's great :) They're sooooo funny. I love them and love visiting them.

Friday: We went and visited the S family again and I almost got to take my baby kitten home with me (it's not allowed... Dangit). Then we went and taught Sister M(2) again. She's so amazing and prepared. I extended a baptismal date to her and she accepted, no questions asked. And then we went and taught Brother D lesson 3. We ended up I2L-ing his older brother who likes to talk to us all the time and then we got him to let us set a return appointment to actually teach him. Woohoo! We're just convert their whole family, I think :)

Saturday: We went to the Adult Session of District conference which was awesome. One of the members of the quorum of the 70s was there and he spoke. It was great and we learned a lot. Afterwards we all went back out to work but our stomachs hurt really badly so we stayed at home for a little bit and then went back out. We taught Brother D's older brother JC and it was a lot of fun. I really like that family because they make me feel like I'm at home. They're all quirky and weird and hilarious. 

Sunday: We went to Liozon for District Conference. It was a lot of fun and all the youth in our branch had gotten a choir together. They were really good but they refused to smile because they were told to focus on the music. They looked so bored and even angry and because we were sitting in the front row, I spent the whole time trying to get them to smile. It was really fun and I succeeded with a few. YES. haha And then we went home, ate dinner and took a super quick nap and then went back out to work. We taught Sister B and she's fine. Happy like she always is and a little bit shy but she's warming up to us. And then we went and taught the Balintabog kids again. We also got to teach three of their little friends. Super fun. After that we went to Brother W's house and got to eat dinner. His mom is an amazing cook. I love Filipino food. 
So yeah. That was this week. Fun and successful and just fun. 

And now I would like to announce that I am officially halfway done with my mission. It's gone by so fast and I'm still super happy here. I love you all. Thank you for all your love and support and prayers. Have a great week!

Ingat kayo! Mahal ko kayo!
-Sister Hess

#1's Weekly Email: Week #38

This past week's email came in a day late, and here I am a week late in getting it posted. She threw off my groove. Anyway, here it is…..

A day late :)

Sooooo Hi :) How's everyone today? Everything's good over here. Just peachy :)

There's a reason why this is late and that would be because yesterday we got to go on another Zone Activity because we achieved the Standard of Excellence again for the month of February. And we just happened to be the only zone in the whole mission to achieve. Woohoo! So we got to go to Mt. Samat. If you don't know what that is it is a really big monument from world war 2. All about the Death March in Bataan. If you are at home, feel free to look it up. It's a really cool story about how the Filipinos and the Americans worked together against the Japanese. But the monument itself is amazing. It is a giant cross on the top of a hill. And you can go inside it and ride an elevator all the way to the
top. When you're at the top, there are windows on both sides and you can see from one side of the island (you can literally see the ocean) to the other (and then you can see the other ocean). It was pretty awesome. But the coolest part was the spiritual devotional thing we had afterwards. But yeah :) Yesterday was a good day.

But right now I'm supposed to tell you about this last week, so I guess I should get to that. 

Monday was fun. Support days are exhausting though. Support days are what you call the first p-day of the month and you go get your money. And then you shop and get everything you need to get done. And then we went out and worked. We didn't have an FHE planned to we went to our area and decided to do some finding. Brother C M worked with us. He's never worked with us before. We contacted a couple of referrals and I got to I2L a lady who wanted to talk to me because I'm white and speak English. The reason she wanted to do that is because her husband is Canadian and she needs someone to practice English on while he's gone. Works for me as long as I get to teach her. 

Tuesday: We had a district meeting and that was good and President Q attended our meeting. I got to give the Spiritual Instruction at the end and yup. That was it. Then we went out and taught. We taught Sister J who is an interesting old lady and also a member of Iglesia ni Cristo. That was an interesting lesson because she just wanted to compare our church with hers. Good luck with that. Then we went and taught D who is the cousin of some members here. He's a funny kid who is 14 years old and he's shy because we're girls haha. But it was a good lesson and now he has a baptismal date and we'll see what happens with that. And then we went and taught Brother D and Brother C worked with us again and he shared the scripture with him. Brother D has been discouraged a lot because he's trying to stop smoking. It was a good lesson and we've really been trying to encourage him. We'll see what happens there too.

Wednesday: Brother C M worked with us the whole day today. And we were punted. We still taught people and had a good day in that sense of the word but I haven't gone home that depressed or discouraged in a long time. Like since my training. I prayed so hard that night to figure out what I was supposed to do on Friday... And I refused to have a repeat of that day.

Thursday: Thursday was a very very good day compared to Wednesday. We got to teach another referral for the first time. Brother L, who is very smart and wants to be baptized too. And then we taught some less-actives and D and Brother D again too. And Brother W worked with us. I love it when he works with us. It was like a breath of fresh air. 

Friday: Brother C worked with us again. The day was good. We got to teach the lady that we contacted on Monday who only wanted to talk to me because I was white. She calls me Hess because she doesn't realize that that is my last name haha. She's a Baptist and we got to hear all about her life problems. It was very very interesting. Then we went and taught Tatay A who is one recent convert who recently suffered from a stroke. We got Brother C and Brother W to give him a priesthood blessing and the changes were dramatic. He sat up more and had more energy and we actually got to teach him. It was awesome. We also taught the S family again and Brother C taught them and he did it right this time :) And then we went and taught Brother D. He's really down on himself. We almost don't know how to help him. But we keep trying because we know that he can do it. So all-in-all the day was a really big success. 

Saturday: Happy Birthday, Dad! :) We had a meeting with our BML and we planned for a Mini MTC that we're gonna hold in two weeks. It's gonna be awesome!

And then our BML, Brother De worked with us. I love that guy. He's super funny. He's an RM that served in the Cebu mission and he's a really good missionary. We went and taught D again and it was a good lesson and then we went to teach Brother D. We were really hoping that Brother De could help him because they're best friends. And he did help him. Brother D was a bit more encouraged and willing to keep trying.

Sunday: Brother D's birthday. He worked with us all day and didn't smoke (because he couldn't). At the end of the day we went and dropped him off at his house and he told us that if it was last year he wouldn't have been working with the missionaries for his birthday. He would have been off drinking at one of his buddies houses. He told us that this birthday was a lot happier and then he said that he wasn't going to smoke anymore because he really wanted to quit and he knew he could. YES! Success :) 

So yeah. That was my week. It had it's ups and downs but that's just how missionary work is. I know that this is the only true church on earth and if we keep striving to be exactly obedient and never give up, the Lord will bless us in every aspect. I love you all and thank you so much for all the support and prayers. 
Have a great week. Talk to you next time. 

Mahal ko kayo!
-Sister Hess :)

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

#1's Weekly Email: Week #37

I have become so lax in my own blogging. I knew if I missed one day with my ten random minute streak that I'd be done for awhile. Well, it happened, and yup, I knew it. Ugh!

With #1's current email, she doesn't get too much into the explanation of the title. That might just be a good thing. She has finally complained about someone, but that will remain between #1 and me.

It's funny. She really loves people…all people, but there is one personality trait that she just cannot abide. It's also funny how a mission is somewhat like a mini version of life--such a concentrated amount of learning takes place in such a short period of time. It's like you run into the hardest things for your own personality and learn to rub off those rough edges while coming into contact with all of these difficult things. So far, her learning has been pretty smooth, but she is now getting some real "sand paper" experiences. I look forward to what she will learn from this and how she will deal with it. I know it will enrich the rest of her life and help her in the future when she deals with this again once home.

I love this young woman so much! Even if she wasn't my daughter, I'm sure we'd be best friends.

I have to share this week's tender mercy (Ah, the blessings of being mom to a missionary!)….

I'm working on sending a package to the brother of #1's last companion. He is also a missionary but in a mission WAY down south in the Philippines. I don't think they send foreigners to this particular mission. In order to send the package, I needed a contact phone number but couldn't find one on the mission website, so I found a Facebook page for the mission. The page specified that it was only for the years from 2011 to 2013, so I wasn't sure I'd get a response at all.

I went ahead and messaged asking for the mission phone number.

I received a reply the next morning with the phone number and inquiring which missionary I was sending the package to.

I replied and received another response. Here's what it said:

Sister Julie, are you the mother of Sister Hesss who was assigned in our branch in Lubao, Pampanga?. I came in that lovely branch, that's my homebranch. And I'm so grateful for the work of Sister Hess there and her companion….."

What are the chances that I'd just happen to contact this random mission and run into someone who knows my daughter from WAYYY far up north?! Craziness! He shared a few more things, and it just did my heart so good to hear it….Just what I needed.

I'm grateful for a Father who knows my needs and puts people in my path just when I need them. I love being a missionary mom!

Here's the email for the week.

Keep Calm and Don't Become a Nazi

haha this week has been super duper interesting. It was transfer week and guess what! None of us got transferred. We're still here in San Agustin. The only thing that changed in our zone is that one of our zone leaders became an assistant to the president and then we got two new ones. That's.... fun.

So yeah, crazy crazy crazy week over here.

Monday: We had a Family Home Evening at one of the members houses and it was super fun. We played a whole bunch of games and they all involved water :)

Tuesday: We went out and tracted and worked with the members and waited for the text announcing who was transferring. We were almost home and then Elder C called and said that no one was transferring. Not exactly the most exciting of transfer days.

Wednesday: We went around our area again and taught a bunch of people. Our last appointment was with Brother D. And he told us that he had relapsed and was super super discouraged. He told us that he wanted to give up. So we taught him a really encouraging lesson about David and Goliath and he got a priesthood blessing. That is some powerful stuff.

Thursday: We had a zone meeting where we met our new Zone Leaders. They're an interesting pair. This is gonna be an interesting transfer... Afterwards we taught J (who was getting baptized on Saturday) and that was super fun because we joke around with him a lot. We also went and taught one of our recently returned less-actives who is also a really big joker. And then he told us that we was going to work with us on Friday. Alright, that's good with us.We went and visited D again and he seemed to be doing a little bit better but he was still a bit discouraged.

Friday! We had MLC again and that was awesome. We went to the mission home and I got to see everyone I love because Sister C is now an STL as well! YAY! Reunions are sooooo happy. And I learned a lot too. And I'm definitely going to apply them to my calling as an STL. After the MLC, we went home. There I found out that all the branch missionaries had had a huge bunch of drama happen and while I was gone the other sisters here had fixed it. Ah I love these sisters... And then we had a baptism. Brother J got baptized and he was so happy. He says he wants to serve a mission. YES! After the baptism we went and taught all the recent converts that we have in Balintabog who are a bunch of kids that are awesome. We always play a really short game afterwards with them as a reward for listening to us. We played Hair Fight this time hehe

Saturday: This day was really successful. We got 3 new investigators and they were all referrals. We taught Sister B (16 years old) and gave her a baptism date but she says she can't come to church because she goes to church with her Grandma at the Catholic church. That's gonna change pretty soon. And then we went and found another referral and taught them too. Then we went and taught the S family who are recent converts. They're awesome and say they're gonna prepare a lot of referrals for us :)

Sunday: We went to church and it was good. We went and taught the O family again and Brother D worked with us along with Brother W and Brother Jo. It was a really fun time. And then we went and taught the kids in Balintabog again and then went to the Su family's house and had dinner. Nanay Su is awesome and she loves cooking for us. So yeah. This week was good and fun. I learned a lot and I plan on changing a lot. Thank you for all your prayers and support. I love you all. Have a great week! Until next time.

Mahal ko kayo!
-Sister Hess

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