Thursday, November 27, 2014

The Unwavering Spirit Of Thanksgiving: Insights From Our Family To Yours

     "Blessed are those who give without remembering. And blessed are those who take without forgetting."    Bernard Meltzer

        I was reminded of the true meaning of Thanksgiving very early this morning. Long before sunrise, I was awakened by the all too familiar sound of my eldest son, Maurice, having a seizure. As I held him through it, I thought about how thankful I am to hold and nurture him through whatever obstacles come his way. After the convulsions passed, he was restless and unable to fall back asleep. I led him to the front room, turned on Dora the explorer, and we sat on the couch watching it at least four times in a row. Still lethargic from the seizure, Maurice looked at me sleepily a few times throughout the show. As I smiled lovingly at him, I was reminded of the song from 'Beaches', one of my favorite movies starring Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey: 'A beautiful smile to hide the pain, did you ever know that you're my hero, and everything I would like to be, I can fly higher than an eagle, for you are the wind beneath my wings....' I couldn't help but then think of one of my favorite Bible scriptures: 'For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.' (John 3:16) It is so comforting, especially in trying times, to know God loves each and every one of us this much! The truth is that no amount of suffering, no matter how tragic and heartbreaking it may be, can equal the ultimate sacrifice God made for us and the pain Jesus had to bear on the cross. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says: 'give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.'
      It's easy to get wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. After all there's the food, endless errands, and constant chaos. Sometimes we can struggle to just find a minute of peace for ourselves, and while I myself am no stranger to the deliciousness of pumpkin pie and juicy turkey, we must strive to remember the true spirit of giving. A lot of times giving is thought of with getting something back in return, but this is a misconstrued way of thinking.
       I can remember year after year, praying for God to make me a giver instead of a borrower. During the worst moments of our plight we went without so many times, and I longed to be a blessing to others. I am always looking for opportunities to instill the values of giving thanks and the importance of being a giver to my children. There are a few ways I try to teach them these valuable lessons. During the winter we go buy extra coats at Walmart. Sometimes in the mornings, on our way to school we might see a child sitting at the bus stop with very little on. We always stop and ask if they would like a coat. At first my children were embarrassed by this, but soon they came to understand the meaning of helping others. We have also paid a strangers bill before in a restaurant and offered to buy groceries for someone at the supermarket. I feel it is very meaningful to start faith filled traditions with children. You can do this on a tight budget as well. When money is low we find gently used items around the house to donate, visit an elderly neighbor, or maybe find a community service project we can participate in together. Not only do these things bring you closer together as a family, but ensure you are starting life long values that will span generations.
       I would like to share with you a viewpoint given by the well known author Stephen King. "A couple of years ago I found out what 'you can't take it with you' means. I found out while I was lying in a ditch at the side of a country road, covered with mud and blood and with the tibia of my right leg poking out the side of my jeans like a branch of a tree taken down in a thunderstorm. I had a MasterCard in my wallet, but when you're lying in a ditch with broken glass in your hair, no one accepts MasterCard." Do you have any giving stories or viewpoints you wish to share? I would love to hear them.
      I was driving home from the grocery store one day with my daughter and we saw a homeless man standing on a corner. While stopped at a red light she asked, "Mom can we please help him?" I didn't have any money with us and replied, "Sorry babe I wish we could." "But Mom we do have something to give, she interjected, we can give him some groceries." Realizing she was right, I rolled down the window and gave him some food. This showed me sometimes we might need to look further than our own usual way of thinking to really bless someone else. It is then we can tap into our full potential and use our God given talents in ways never imagined.
      I hope you all had a Blessed Thanksgiving and I will close this blog post with the scripture from Luke 6:38 (ESV)      'Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you."

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Overcoming Tragedy: A Mother's Fight To Save Her Son And Divine Lessons Learned Along The Way!!!

       "In times of great stress or adversity, it's always best to keep busy, to plow your anger and your energy into something positive"...Lee lacocca

     Hello and Happy Tuesday to all! Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Michelle Mouille....a mother to four beautiful children --- Maurice my fifteen year old angel, Malik my twelve year old basketball wiz, Mariah my ten year old pop princess, and Malani my nine year old vivacious gymnast--- I am president/founder of the Maurice Lamkin Jr. Brain Injury Foundation that grants wishes to brain injured children, and a new author.
     I have just completed a book, which is about to be published titled "Flu Shot Gone Wrong," where I give an unvarnished account of the most tragic and personal battle my family has ever known...and Overcome! There was no way of knowing that after my son received what seemed to be a simple vaccine at the tender age of five, our lives would be completely shattered and we would find ourselves tested in every way imaginable. My worst fears were coming to pass right before my first born would have to battle through forty days and nights on Life Support, a sea of surgeries, hospital stays and developmental set backs...but relentless faith would prove to surmount all!!!That's the thing about tragedy and can blindside us, trying to make sure we will never be able to get back up again. I have learned that our darkest hours are sometimes what brings about the greatest inspiration, hope, strength, faith, and love. The key is discovering how to make it through our tribulations, without letting them overtake us. I will talk more about the book and my son's story in future blog posts, exploring these questions and more in great detail. I believe the parable of the farmer who owned an old mule is a perfect example of overcoming adversity. The story tells that the mule fell into the farmer's well. The farmer heard the mule making noises. The farmer sympathized with the mule, but decided not to try and save him. Instead, he called his neighbors together and told them what had happened...and enlisted them to help haul dirt to bury the old mule in the well and put him out of his misery. Initially, the old mule was hysterical! But as the farmer and his neighbors continued shoveling and the dirt hit his back...a thought struck him! It suddenly dawned on him that every time a shovel load of dirt landed on his back, he should shake it off and step up! This he did, blow after blow. No matter how painful the blows, the old mule fought through 'panic' and just kept shaking it off! It wasn't long before the old mule, battered and bruised, stepped triumphantly over the wall of that well! What seemed like it would bury him, actually blessed him....all because of the manner in which he handled his adversity. I have found this to be very true in my own plight as well. The old saying "God never gives you more than you can handle" often rang in my ears as I found myself crying, curled up in a ball. Through the darkest hours, though, I came to see God's strength and peace at work!
      I am new to the world of blogging, so please bear with me while I figure out the specifics of "maintaining a proper blog." Rather than trying to conform my blog around the way I see others designing theirs...I will just promise to be sincere and try to use every post to reach, inform, and empower the lives of others.
      As mother's we all love our children, wanting them to be happy and healthy. We often put our own needs/wants to the side in order to make these goals realities. There's nothing we wouldn't do to keep them safe....but sometimes this great, unpredictable, yet beautiful mystery we call 'Life,' sends us a curve ball... which is exactly what happened to me and my family. It can somehow feel as if we are being tested in this life. I know I have felt this way many times before. Have you ever felt as if God is watching to see how you would handle a certain situation? I know that I have. I will be using this page to blog not only about the upcoming book and my son's story, but also as a means of letting out my innermost feelings on all kinds of topics that I feel will be helpful, such as: selfless acts of love, giving, trusting God, igniting our faith, relaxation techniques, living with fibroids, life after brain injury, holding on to your inner child, vaccine reform, finding our own 'super nanny' within ourselves, 'comfort foods', overcoming anxiety....and many many more. I believe God has equipped each of us, in our own special way to inspire and help our fellow mankind, and that's what I pray my blogs to accomplish. I welcome and will greatly appreciate any feedback, questions, or comments you might have on any blog posts or just our plight in general. I would love to hear any of your own inspiring stories or how you overcame a tragic situation.
        William Shakespeare said it best with his quote: "Sweet are the uses of adversity, Which like the toad, ugly and venomous, Wears yet a precious jewel in his head." I would like to share with you a couple of inspiring stories from well known people in history. Sir Winston Churchill had a speech impediment when he was a young boy and it took him three years to complete the eighth grade. He overcame all of that and became the British prime minister and recipient of the Nobel Prize for literature in 1953. Walt Disney also had his own share of tribulations to overcome. He had a great business idea when he was young, but found himself with no funding to start his business. He approached many banks for loans but they all turned him down. He didn't let that stop him and after visiting hundreds of banks finally found one to give him a start up loan. The well known Disney parks and brands were then brought into our lives. Adversity seems to strike all of us in this world. And when it does it knows no race, creed, or boundaries. We must dig down deep inside to a place we didn't even know existed, and muster up every amount of courage, faith, and strength possible. It is then, through our ignited faith in these darkest moments we will come to see our spiritual, physical, and mental being awaken and flourish like never before. I have seen so many miracles and learned so many divine lessons, along our own journey that I will share with you in future blogs.  These are miracles and lessons which wouldn't have been possible without our 'detour' and we have definitely grown in every way possible through our journey and trust that God always has a plan, even in the midst of tremendous suffering. I will close this blog with two Bible scriptures that have always soothed me in my roughest hours. "They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out it's roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit" Jeremiah 17:8 (NIV) ...This last scripture is very touching to me and I believe in wholeheartedly: "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives" Genesis 50:20