illness, marriage

He Still Loves Me

I was moody, assertive, and difficult.

He loved me anyway.

I suffered from postpartum psychosis.

He loved me anyway.

I had episodes of hoarding behavior

He loved me anyway.

I suffered for multiple bleeding disorders.

He loved me anyway.

I got so sick I couldn’t cook and clean.

He loved me anyway.

I went from a size 8 to a size 28.

He loved me anyway.

I couldn’t take care of our family.

He loved me anyway.

Because of my health people threatened to take our children away.

He loved me anyway.

I couldn’t wear makeup or jewelry or even my wedding band anymore.

He loved me anyway.

When I couldn’t walk, couldn’t drive, couldn’t even get out of bed some days.

He loved me anyway.

I used up every bit of extra money we had on medical bills.

He loved me anyway.

People said unkind things about me.

He defended me.

When I couldn’t hold it all together anymore, he just held me, told me it would be okay, and let me cry.

While other men criticized their wives for being late or forgetful or less than perfect, he has stood by me, encouraged me, held my hand, and hoped with me.

I could say more, but he’s a pretty private person, and I don’t want to embarrass him.

Many men walk away when their wives are diagnosed with serious health conditions.

Not my man.

He stood by me.

In a world where promises and vows are really only “until the love runs out,” he took his promise to love me seriously and has stood by me regardless of what’s happened.

It hasn’t been all sunshine and roses.

We’ve definitely had our bumps along the road.

But, again and again, he reminds me of why I love him more with each day.

I would choose to love him even if he wasn’t loving to me because I take my vows before God seriously.

There have been times when each of us has behaved much less than loving.

I’m not going to misrepresent it like we always have 100% marital bliss.

But, I’m also aware –especially from the stories I’ve heard in the autoimmune community– how often spouses don’t stay for the long haul.

Especially with mysterious illnesses and an uncertain future.

This post is about the men who do stay.

Like my husband.

The ones who love and support.


My husband calls it loyalty, honor, and responsibility.

I call it unconditional love.

And I’m by no means unaware of how rare that is.

Of how blessed I am.

With all the man-bashing that goes on in women’s circles,  it seemed like this needed to be said: there are kind, godly (albeit not perfect) men out there.

Sometimes, I sit and stare at him in awe that the Lord saw fit to give me that man.

I’m so thankful God brought us together.

I hope to live a long life holding his hand,  walking beside him, growing old, going gray, and rocking our grandchildren on our knees.

But, if I don’t –because the odds are rather against us– I’m going to spend the time I do have making sure he knows how much I love him and how very thankful I am for everything he is and does.

One thought amazes me: through it all, he still loves me.


Sarah Forbes


Friday Night’s Date Night

Normally,  I post every day.  That’s the goal anyway. As I’m writing this it’s after 1am Saturday morning.

My sweet husband took me to dinner at the beach, on a scenic drive, and we’re now finally home.

And I have no blog post written for today.

But I had a wonderful evening with a very sweet man who loves me dearly.

I decided that was worth missing my goal of posting every day.

I’m really enjoying this date night thing!

I wish we had started years ago.

We’ll be back to regular posts tomorrow.


Sarah Forbes


A Message to the Healthy from the Chronically Ill

 Trying to explain to someone who’s perfectly healthy why I have to think through every commitment.

Why everything has to be weighed against the emotional, psychological, and physical cost.

Why things that don’t stress normal people stress me.

Has been very challenging.

The person I was dealing with today was not being very kind about it.

I know this person means well, but the impatience and lack of understanding had me in tears earlier.

If you don’t understand, give grace.

When in doubt, give grace.

A little kindness couldn’t hurt.

If you’re healthy, don’t just assume everyone’s life is as easy and healthy as yours is.

For me, every choice must be calculated and considered for the cost, for how much it takes.

From me.

From my family.

That means that if I actually make effort to spend time with you.

To help you with something.

To attend your gathering.

To reach out to you.

Then you’re very special.

And I esteemed you important and worth any potential stress associated with that situation.

I miss the days when my every move wasn’t considered.

If you can just go do what you want when you want, you’re very, very blessed.

And you probably take it for granted because you don’t even know how very blessed you are.

I didn’t understand this until my health problems got severe.

But you are blessed.

So thank God that you are healthy!

And, please, whisper a prayer for those of us who aren’t.


Sarah Forbes

illness, weight

From Immobile to Mobile: a 20-week Exercise Plan for the Obese and Chronically Ill

I’ve been pretty open on the blog about the seriousness of my health problems and my struggle with my weight. Most recently we are looking into a possible Lyme Disease diagnosis.

Among the plethora of my undiagnosed symptoms are disorientation and dizziness.

That, combined with weakness and anemia has made exercise of any kind very difficult.

The last three times I tried to start exercising regularly,  I injured myself.

The last time, I sprained my ankle and was laid up for two months.

Exercise and I have not been good companions.

I may have even had some not very nice thoughts about exercise, thoughts that included the word “hate.”

Even when I could exercise, I have never ever gotten the euphoria some people are so addicted to.

That being said, I have pushed myself until I was at the point of passing out and still gained weight.

That was probably 5 years ago now.

Between then and now my mobility has severely decreased.

At one point even walking a tenth of a mile would put me in bed for three or four days due to inflammation and pain.

I’m doing better than that right now.  I think it’s due to finding new ways to reduce my autoimmune inflammation.

I’m still struggling.

But, I’m determined to not give up.

Trepidatiously, I broach the topic of exercise again,  fully aware that nothing I have tried has worked,  but too stubborn and determined to give up.

That’s just the honest truth.

Exercising isn’t even about losing weight anymore: it’s about overall health.

A while ago,  I started looking into how to exercise without hurting yourself when you deal with obesity and autoimmunity.

Everything I read was simply too intense.

Their “low-impact” activities would have sent me straight to the hospital –or at very least I would have been in severe pain and unable to walk.

It was as if the people writing the articles thought people were overweight because they simply didn’t try hard enough or because they didn’t know how to exercise like normal people.

Here’s the problem: I can’t exercise like normal people.

It’s physically impossible because of my health conditions.

I asked a few physical therapists I know online for suggestions, and they honestly said that they were reluctant to give any advice given the severely of my condition.

For me, immobility is not an option.

But, how do you go from necessary immobility (when my health dictated it) to some semblance of mobility again?

I want to hike again.

I would someday like to ride a bike again.

I want to stroll through the park with my husband on date night without worrying about how much it will hurt.

I would like to park away from a store and not have to worry if I’ll be physically able to walk back again.

But how?

How do I do that?

At first, my doctor had suggested a one minute walk each day gradually increasing.

That didn’t work because we live on a very busy street, and I’m dealing with the above-mentioned disorientation.

I honestly worry about losing my balance into traffic, and within a moment or two –unless I’m holding onto something like a cart– I’m in pain.

I think someone needs to convert an old building into an exercise place for overweight people where we can push carts around for exercise.

I’m not sure why I the cart helps, but whatever works, right?

At my appointment last Monday,  my doctor suggested walking in place while holding onto a doorway.

I happen to have such a doorway readily available.

Once walking in place seems to be working,  we can try adding some arm movement in.

Because of how severely my body reacts when pushed too hard,  we’re going to have to be extremely cautious.

I’ll be honest with you: even writing this I have tears in my eyes.

All the years and years of trying to lose weight and not being able to no matter how hard I tried has weighed on me.

Exercise is a very difficult topic for me all the way back to when I was a young kid who struggled with asthma.

My whole life exercise has been something that was basically unobtainable.

It has not always been as far from me as it is now,  but it has felt very nemesis-like in the past.

It was one thing that I was supposed to do, that worked for everyone else but seemed to be just beyond my grasp.

Nevertheless,  I’m pushing forward past those I-hate-everything-about-exercise-because-it-failed-me feelings, and I’m going to try again.

Because giving up isn’t an option, and it’s not really the way I am.

I don’t give up.

I make things my own.

So, in an effort to make something that’s doable for me –and because there’s basically zero useful information online about going from immobile to mobile in a reasonable way– I created my own exercise chart.

This is actually low impact.

Like really actually.

Not starting out doing 10 minutes of exercising and working up to 1 hour.

That’s asinine.

I want to live through this with as few complications as possible.

Hopefully without visiting urgent care.

This plan is one minute of walking (holding onto a door frame) a day for a week.

If I swell from that, I’ll do it every other day.

If I can do that for a week, I’ll try two minutes a day the next week.

If that makes me swell, I’ll move back to one minute a day for another week.

Then I’ll try two minutes again.

Gradually, I’ll move up.

It may take a year –or more, but it’s important.

Download a PDF of the 20-week exercise plan here. I added a column to my chart just to let me keep track of what week I’m on once it may take me longer than a week to progress.

You have to start somewhere.

I’m posting about it today for two reasons:

1) Because I know I’m not the only person who has found themselves in this position where every bit of exercise advice is too extreme. So maybe this chart will help someone else.


2) To keep me from chickening out. I know this will not be pleasant. I’m still dealing with so much other stuff that the last thing I want to do is try to start exercising again,  but I believe that it can help my health so much if I can find a way to make it work (whether it causes weight loss or not).

So, I’m posting this here and promising an update in order to force myself to actually do the dreaded thing:  exercise.

Slow progress is better than no progress, right?

That’s what I tell my children.

So, if you think of me, say a prayer for my success.

If you know someone else who struggles with immobility and doesn’t know where to start, maybe the chart will help them, too.

I knew that childhood stubbornness would serve a purpose in my adulthood.

Tell me I can do this!


Sarah Forbes

featured, one-pot meals

Cowboy Casserole –One Pot Meal

I stumbled upon a version of this recipe almost two decades ago.

When I found out I was allergic to tomatoes,  I had to completely redo our meal rotation.

Nearly everything I served had tomatoes in it.

This was a meal that I altered to remove the foods I couldn’t have. I’ll include some notes about my pre-allergy version in case those reading this can have more foods than I can which given my limited diet is highly likely.



–2 lbs ground beef or less for lower protein; I have big boys with appetites. I use 5% or less fat ground beef from a local meat market.

–chili or taco seasoning. I use this gluten free one. Half of the seasoning pack is enough for us.

–precooked rice 

–1 can kidney beans, drained, like this one

–1 can whole corn, drained

–1 cups of water, divided


–1 can diced tomatoes, like this

–1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese, like this one which is gluten free

— 1 chopped onion

— 1 chopped green pepper

Brown ground beef in a large soup pan.

Add 1/2 cup water to avoid burning if necessary. (I find that this is necessary when using very lean beef.)

Once the beef is browned, add the second 1/2 cup of water and seasoning.

Mix thoroughly.

Add corn and beans.

Optional: add tomatoes, onions,  and green peppers.

The original recipe called for putting the mix in a 9×13 casserole pan, covering in cheese and baking at 350 degrees until the cheese is melted.

Since I am aiming for a single pan meal, I just hear it in the pan in which I cooked the ground beef.


Serve with corn chips and topped with salsa and sour cream.

It also makes a good filling for tortillas.DSCF2185

I found going tomato-free very challenging: I’m hoping some of these tomato-free recipes will help other people.


Sarah Forbes

one-pot meals

Quick Gluten Free Chicken Noodle Soup –Simple One Pot Version

Along with all my health problems came food sensitivities.

Yay me!

Finding simple and healthy things to eat has been very challenging.

I opted a while ago to focus on things I could make in a single pan or pot. This meant fewer dishes on the days when washing dishes hurts too much.

That mean the recipe needs to have simple ingredients and not have anything I am allergic to in it.

That is no small feat!  

It is particularly hard to find meals without tomato or vinegar products.

The list of things I cannot have is long, but this is one dish I can eat.

I am happy that I was recently able to add chicken back onto the okay list.

Quick Gluten Free Chicken Noodle SoupDSCF2175.JPG


–1 box gluten free noodles I used Barilla

–4 to 6 cups shredded or chopped cooked chicken (rotisserie works, too) I used Mary’s Organic from Natural Grocers

–32 oz chicken broth like this one from Pacific brand

-2 to 4 cups hot water combined with 1 T Better Than Bouillon chicken flavor

–1 tsp Italian seasoning OR 1/2 of each oregano and basil OR whatever seasoning you can have to taste

–Salt and pepper to taste

–1 can of green beans like this one

–1 can of corn like this one


Boil noodles in water until just al dente, drain and return to pan.

Add chicken broth and bouillon mixed with hot water.

Stir thoroughly.

Season to taste.

Add canned veggies and stir.

Reheat covered over medium-high heat, stirring as needed until heated through.

Do not overcook or the noodles will be too soft.

Serve with sliced gluten free bread.

I hope this will help someone else who needs simple allergy friendly recipes.


Sarah Forbes

ADHD, homeschooling

Should I Medicate My ADHD Child?

 A few days ago,  I wrote about whether or not you should diagnose and tell your ADHD child about their diagnosis.

That was a very easy answer for me compared to this highly more complex topic of medication.

In my opinion, it comes down to 4 factors:

1) Is ADHD something that’s “wrong” with the child?

2) Could something else be causing the ADHD symptoms?

3) Does the child have significant comorbidities?

4) Are the ADHD symptoms significant enough that they’re impacting the child’s quality of life?

plural noun: comorbidities
the simultaneous presence of two chronic diseases or conditions in a patient.

Question number one is a doozy.

Adult ADHDers and even researchers disagree on this issue.

ADHD is a developmental disorder.

It is a fact that the brain develops in a different way and at a different rate. (See more about this on this post about understanding ADHD.)

It is not a psychological disorder or a mental illness.  

It is a difference in how our brains develop.

ADHD has been researched and documented since the late 1700s, so contrary to popular belief it’s not a modern phenomenon.

It’s not a disease or an epidemic that needs to be cured either.

It’s just a difference.

Differences are good.

Although fashion and trends make it seem like we need to all be the same, the truth is that our value is in our differences.

I need and hire a plumber because I value the different skill he has. If I had that skill I wouldn’t value it as highly.

Differences make our world wonderful and beautiful!

It’s important to note here that many ADHDers from European and North American countries find that, upon visiting African or South American countries, the issues that cause so much stress in our fast-paced, type-A society disappear.

Because the expectations are so different, and it’s not socially unacceptable to be late, scattered-brained, or not detailed.

So, is ADHD a disease that needs to be cured?

A problem that needs to be fixed?

Or just a difference?

I’m on the fence on this topic.

On the one hand, in our society having ADHD can be a serious disadvantage; I’ve compared it to having a mental disability.

The fact is that an ADHD brain struggles to do what is required of it in our society.

But does that mean that there’s something wrong with the ADHD person?

Or something wrong with society?

I’m inclined to think the latter.

For practical purposes, I usually suggest that parents think of their child’s as having a disability.

This changes the way you address problems because then you don’t think the child is being willfully disobedient.

But, it’s not a disability.

Not really.

It’s a different way that the brain has developed.

Remember: different is good.

Diversity is good.

Autism and ADHD are both developmental differences.

They are the same category of disorders.

Some people believe that these are diseases that need to be eradicated –so much so that there are organizations out there seeking to identify genetic markers for ADHD and autism so that before a baby is born we can test for these disorders and abort the baby.

Imagine a world without ADHD or Autism.

You’ve just removed some of the greatest minds our world has ever seen.

We don’t know why, but giftedness is often coupled with developmental problems.

Imagine a world without Albert Einstein,  Agatha Christie, Beethoven, Hans Christian Anderson, Frank Lloyd Wright, Georg Frideric Handel, Jules Verne, Mark Twain, Vincent van Gogh, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Jimmy Stewart, Alexander Graham Bell, Galileo Galilei, Leonardo da Vinci, Sir Issac Newton, Henry Ford, and many others.

These people all had abnormal neurological functions  (there’s some debate over the diagnoses, but signs point to ADHD or autism).


I’m not saying that your child will end up successful or world-renowned because of his or her ADHD.

My point here is that if those who are anti-neurological diversity had their way none of these out-of-the-box thinkers would have been born with the “disease” of neurodiversity.

We would all be “normal,” and anyone who wasn’t neurologically normal would be aborted.

A world without ADHD or autism.

A world without disabilities.

Like the people who advocate for aborting those with other diseases and disorders like Down Syndrome.

Does this remind you of another group who tried to eliminate everyone who was different?

It takes my mind back to the Nazis of World War II.

So, while I use the term disability to describe ADHD for practicality, to explain the severity, it is not actually a disability and should not be viewed as an epidemic or a disease that needs to be cured.

If you or your child have ADHD, it’s not a disease.

Your or your child’s brain just operates differently –yes, delayed in some areas compared to your peers– but different is not necessarily a bad thing.

We tell our children to accept people’s differences, but I wonder how long it will be before neurodiversity is accepted?

Do you know the cure for ADHD and autism?


That’s the cure.

That’s why I endorse unconditional love as a huge factor in your child’s healthy development.

The answer to question number one –is ADHD something that’s “wrong” with the child?– is complicated and the answer varies depending on who you ask.

ADHD only became an issue and required a diagnosis when our society and its expectations changed to the point that neurodiversity was no longer acceptable.

So, while it may help you to think of your child as having a brain disability –30% behind in any other area would be considered a disability– please don’t think of your child as someone who needs to be cured.

That will not help anyone.

It will make your child feel unaccepted and resentful, and it will make your job of parenting miserable.

Do you accept your child?

It’s an honest question you have to answer for yourself.

Your answer will significantly affect your child’s life.

Question number two: Could something else be causing the ADHD symptoms?

There is all manner of conditions that mimic ADHD.

Traumatic brain injury.


Celiac disease.

And numerous others.

Your child could have been misdiagnosed with ADHD.

Your child could have of one of these in addition to ADHD.

ADHD by itself isn’t usually as severe as those who I know who have both ADHD plus one of these other conditions.

For instance, my oldest reacts to gluten with severely increased ADHD and anxiety symptoms.

So much so that he chooses to not have glutinous foods.

He simply doesn’t like how they make him feel.

There are six types of medically recognized gluten sensitivities plus autoimmune diseases that create gluten sensitivities.

See more about how gluten could affect your child in this article.

I think that the reason that so many ADHD patients react well to diet change is because these other undiagnosed conditions are complicating their ADHD by mimicking ADHD-like symptoms.

I’ve had symptoms of autoimmunity since I was a child.  

I sometimes wonder where the autoimmunity stops and the ADHD starts.

I believe that the extremity of my ADHD symptoms when I was young is a result of undiagnosed health problems in my childhood.

I don’t fault my parents for this: I had to fight for my diagnosis as an assertive adult; I understand that it would be even harder for me as a child to be accurately diagnosed with an autoimmune disease when the science is even now in its infancy.

It’s important to note here the connection between ADHD and autoimmunity.

Both are connected to leaky gut, and the brain-gut connection is one of the leading explanations of why both ADHD kids and people with autoimmunity respond well to diet change.

Newer science research just this year has found evidence to support a reason for the rise in both autoimmunity and ADHD.

The rise in autoimmunity is thought to be caused by added chemicals and toxins in our environment combined with genetic predisposition.

The person’s body then begins to attack itself (or rather the environmental toxins present in its organs and systems).

Then, when a woman gets pregnant, her body which is already attacking itself –according to research– attacks the inutero brain of her baby.  

Combined with a genetic predisposition to these disorders, it causes the baby to have delayed development or neurodiversity.

This explains the high occurrence of chronic and autoimmune illnesses in families with ADHD.

I actually cried when I first read this research.

I gave my children ADHD.

But then I realized that my mom who also has autoimmunity could say the same thing about me.

I would never blame her for her genetics or diseases.

So I refuse to blame myself for my children’s disorders.

It’s completely out of our control.

There’s no need to lay blame; let’s just deal with what is.

 The truth is that we’re all victims of our environment and our genetics.

What we can control, we should, and what we can’t, we need to not stress about.

In conclusion of this question, I recommend being aware of other things that could be making your child’s ADHD worse.

Diet, supplements, changed environment, destressing, exercise,  limiting media exposure, counseling, behavioral therapy,  etc.

These are more could impact your child.

As much as you’re able to, I recommend altering these things to see if your child will benefit.

Our family has benefited especially from diet and a slower paced life than most people.

These don’t help everyone, but if you could see improvement without adding chemical medications into your child’s life, why wouldn’t you at least try?

Some of the medications even for kids have serious side effects.

Question number three: does the child have significant comorbidities?

Comorbidities are ADHD’s ugly cousins.

By itself,  ADHD can be a handful but is usually manageable.

Add comorbidities, and it’s like the misbehaving cousin came to visit and the whole thing goes to pot.

I know many people who have only ADHD, and many of them seem to function okay even with the pressures of society.

Add comorbidities, and all bets are off.

Even if you don’t medicate the ADHD, most of the time the comorbidities need to be addressed.

I took a poll in an ADHD moms group.

Seventy-three women participated in the poll. We listed every possible ADHD comorbidity we could think of and asked the moms to select every comorbidity they had (self-diagnosed was okay).

Here are some known ADHD comorbidities which were not represented in our group: schizophrenia, narcissism, motor deficit disorder, and conduct disorder.

This is the result of the poll.20170423055326

This is just a small cross-section of women, but I think it fairly accurately represents what I know about ADHD comorbidities.

It is absolutely necessary as a parent to be aware of these potential issues and watch for them in your child’s life.

Particularly note the most common ADHD comorbidities: anxiety, depression, and Sensory Processing Disorder.

If you see a condition in that list and you don’t know what it is, I recommend that you do a Google search and familiarize yourself with the symptoms so that you can watch for that problem in your child’s life.

Unfortunately, most ADHDers do have comorbidities,  and often the comorbidities are more severe than the ADHD itself.

ADHD is so much more complicated than just attention.

In fact, ADHD isn’t even really about attention.

It was mislabeled.

ADHD would be better labeled as Regulation Deficit Disorder (RDD).

Not everyone who has ADHD is hyperactive,  but everyone who has ADHD has regulation problems as a result of the development problems in their brains.

Attention problems are merely a byproduct of poor regulation.

But someone who didn’t really grasp the issues chose the name, and we seem to be stuck with it.

The name is a disservice to those of us with ADHD because it misrepresents the actual issues and adds to the belief that the disorder is fake.

Every time a child has a problem focusing you hear, “Oh, he just has ADHD,” but what if his grandma just died and that’s the reason he’s not paying attention?

Not every distracted child has ADHD.

You have to figure out what’s causing the distraction.

It could be a regulation problem and be ADHD, or it could be a plethora of other disorders that also cause attention problems.

Nearly every childhood disorder includes attention problems.

This is why we need a better, more full understanding of the actual causes of ADHD.

Even if your child’s ADHD doesn’t need to be medicated or treated, more than likely the comorbidities will need treatment.

Anxiety, dyslexia, hair pulling, skin picking, and more — these will most likely need to be addressed in one way or another.

Question number four is this:  are the ADHD symptoms significant enough that they’re impacting the child’s quality of life?

If you needed to get a diagnosis,  it’s a fair guess that the symptoms are significantly impacting your child’s quality of life.

If your child’s symptoms are significantly diminishing their quality of life,  you need to do something.


Even if you don’t want a label and medication and stigmas, do what’s best for your kid.

You think parents of kids with Type 1 Diabetes wish needles and insulin on their child?

Of course not.

But you do what you gotta do.

I did not want my children medicated.

But when my child with ADHD and anxiety climbed a tree for the first time in his life because finally in his 9 almost 10 years he was finally not terrified of climbing a tree?

Yeah, you better believe I cried.

Children should not spend their childhood terrified of playing and being kids!

Medication improved his quality of life.  

He is a teen now and not taking medication anymore,  but it really helped him at the time.

I have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and require medication.

Without it, I risk diminished quality of life and even death.

I don’t want to take medication.

But I do anyway.

Because it’s necessary.

Science also shows us that ADHDers have diminished neurotransmitters compared to neurotypical people.

If you can’t make insulin, there’s no shame in supplementing it.

If your brain doesn’t make the neurotransmitters you need, there’s no shame is supplementing.

The shame should go to those who have the neurotransmitters they need but feel the need to shame others for buying the neurotransmitter to replace their missing ones.

Imagine the outcry if we treated Type 1 Diabetes kids like that.

That would be despicable.  

As I mentioned before, I’m a big advocate of trying other treatments before, instead of, or in addition to medication, because I firmly believe that other conditions either exasperate ADHD or mimic ADHD symptoms.

More than likely, finding a combination that works for your child will not be simple.

But it is so important!

You are your child’s advocate to the world around you.

Along with accepting him, you need to fight for his mental health and emotional security.

But most important: you need to do so without excusing actual issues in his life.

There’s a fine line between being a supportive parent and being an enabling parent.

I try to error on the side of assuming that the child is struggling and that it’s not willful.

If the child struggles, they will most likely be apologetic about the chaos it’s causing a feel bad about you having to make accommodations, grateful when you do accommodate.

If the child is being manipulative, they’ll act like they won if you accommodate and not be grateful.

Attitude is key.

This is more challenging to navigate when the child has certain disorders like Oppositional Defiance Disorder.

When in doubt,  pray for wisdom.

Basically, your choices when dealing with an ADHD child are as follows:

Change expectations.

Find support systems

Establish coping skills.


Or a combination.

If you choose not to medicate you absolutely, mandatorily, surely must accommodate.

Without some kind of support, you child will not thrive, and they absolutely will be damaged by your expectation that they be something that they cannot be.

It’s cruel.

Don’t do that to your kid.

That’s like scolding a child with no leg for not running.

He cannot do what he is not equipped to do.

Your child will hate you if you do that –and for good reason.

From one parent who lives with ADHD to another parent, I implore you not to damage your child in this way.

When in doubt, love them, accept them,  believe in them, help them, accommodate them.

Be the crutch they need, because no one faults a child with a broken foot for using a crutch.

Your child needs a crutch because to the world around him he is broken — even though we know it’s a difference, not a disease.

If your child is going to even remotely function in this type-A society, you’re going to have to be their crutch.

Or, if you dare, you can rewrite the rules and create your own micro-society with new rules that work for you and your child.

That’s what homeschooling is: it is a new micro-society in which accommodations are made so that the neurologically different child can thrive.

A homeschool group, when ran properly, can be that also.

This is why I endorse homeschooling especially for kids with ADHD and autism.

This is why these kids –like me– thrive in homeschooling and do not, for the most part, thrive in other forms of education.

So, to answer the original question that prompted this post — should I medicate my ADHD child? — maybe, maybe not.

But no matter, what medication isn’t all you should do.

Seek to understand what’s going on, try support and accommodation, and above all, make sure you love that child unconditionally.

That single choice to love your child unconditionally will affect your child more than any medication, treatment, coping mechanism, or accommodation ever could.

When in doubt, give love and grace.

Again,  I’ll say it in case you didn’t get it yet: your child needs unconditionally accepting love.

There’s nothing in the world like it, nothing can replace it, and there’s no damage like the damage of not having it.


Sarah Forbes

getting started homeschooling, homeschooling

Why I Homeschool

“I educate my kids because it’s not normal to me to send them away to learn from strangers that do not necessarily hold my same beliefs and certainly don’t care about my children’s future more than I do.

“I want to watch them grow up, and I don’t want to miss all those hours they would be away from me.

“I want to have and know their hearts.

“I teach them at home because I want them to grow up together as siblings, not segregated into groups according to their date of birth for a ridiculous amount of time every year only to learn to value friendships over their siblings and to question their parents’ authority and knowledge.

“I want them to know God and not be exposed to things before they are ready.

“I want them to learn at their own pace and not feel bad about it.

“I want them to follow their passions without a time constraint of having to complete a ridiculous amount of homework while crushing not only any time left they have to pursue their interests wholeheartedly but also their love of learning.

“I teach them because sending my kids away from home to learn makes the same amount of sense to me as sending my child to school to learn how to talk.”

[Used with the poster’s permission from a post on a national homeschool Facebook group.]


Sarah Forbes

faith, parenthood

Why I’m Not Sending My Child To Summer Camp

My husband and I met while working at a Christian day camp.

My dream in high school was to run my own camp, however, God had other plans for my life.

But, when the topic of summer camps comes up I get uncharacteristically quiet.

I’ve friend asked me point blank if I would send my child to any of the 5 or more camps I attended as a child or the 2 I worked at, and I had to answer her honestly that I would not.

Now,  don’t get me wrong, as far as camps go, these were for the most part excellent camps.

Here are some reasons I’ve chosen not to send my children back to camp.

1) It’s against my educational philosophy.

Camps are set up like public schools: no parents, age segregation, and very low teacher to student ratio.

All the problems present in the public school classroom are present in these groups, but now instead of an adult with a degree in education,  you’ve got a 19-year-old kid in charge.

These kids may be sweet and love the Lord, the deck is stacked against them.

(Or they could be unsaved and just knew the answers to the questions: true story.)

If I had my way, day camp would include the whole family.

I’m leery of this like I’m leery of Sunday school, youth group, and anything else that mimics our broken public education system.

I don’t believe the system is immoral: I’m just philosophically opposed to it.

2) The counselors aren’t prepared to deal with special needs kids.

It’s hard for me to get adults who are parents to understand my children’s issues.

It’s a whole nother ball of wax to try to get someone between the ages of 18 and 21 to understand.

Back when I worked at camp parental help with special needs kids was appreciated; now it’s viewed as helicopter parenting even if your child had a legitimate developmental delay and mental health problems.

3) I don’t trust the counselor’s bible knowledge.

False teaching is rampant in our churches.

I grew up in a church with false doctrine which left damage in its wake, damage that I don’t want to have to undo false teaching in their lives like I had to in my own.

For this reason, I’m cautious about who they sit under for spiritual guidance.

Most of their biblical education comes from their father and me, and hopefully, by the time they’re grown, they’ll have a full and healthy grasp one the truth of scripture so that they can identify that false teaching for themselves.

4) I want to protect them from sin.

Let’s be honest.

A bunch of just-barely-not-teens are not great caretakers even if they’ve got good intentions.

I saw a lot of stuff I shouldn’t have when I was at camps.

I once stumbled upon two teens having sex in a meadow at a Christian camp.


A Christian camp.

A girl snuck out of my cabin to meet her boyfriend in the middle of the night and our counselor was nowhere to be found.

I know of another camp where two of the counselors were having sex and the administration did nothing when they found out even though it violated the terms if the counselor’s contracts.

I was bullied at many camps I attended. If I was not bullied, I was ostracized.

I still wanted to go and be with my friends, but it was always a mixed experience.

Drugs, sex, bullying, smoking –wait, aren’t these some of the reasons my kids aren’t in public school?

They surely are.

5) I don’t want my children to associate spirituality with an emotional high.

You know the feeling.

You go to some event, have an emotional experience  (I used to call it a spiritual high), determined to change a hundred things about your life,  go home,  everything stays the same and nothing changes.

Am I right?

You know I am.

That’s because those experiences are emotional and not made with your mind.

We are to be renewed in our mind; we’re supposed to grow in knowledge.

That’s what matures us, not an emotional experience at a camp.

You know what had the most significant lasting impact on my life,  the stuff that stayed with me?

Me,  in my room, with my bible, reading the word and applying it to my life.

That has lasted the decades when the emotional, “spiritual” high is but a memory.

That’s what I want for my kids.

6) I don’t want my kids “pliable.”

Let me explain what I mean.

As camp counselors, we learned that the purpose of a camp was to get the kids out of their comfort zone,  shake them up a bit with the newness and differentness of the camp, and that makes them open to ideas.

I don’t want my kids open to ideas from those around them who I don’t know.

I answer to God for who these children are influenced by.

I take that very, very seriously.

If I thought my children were mature enough to not be influenced then I would send them,  but that defeats the purpose of the camp which is to shake things up so the kids are more responsive to the leader’s ideas.

If you get the kids to a place where they’re pliable, they could be influenced by all kinds of false teaching or even by other ungodly kids.

At some point, my children will be mature enough to face that, but I’ll have to prayerfully consider when that is.

Is it really worth the potential fun they’d have when considering the potential damage?

I also have to take into consideration that special needs kids develop at a different rate and are more easily traumatized than “normal” kids.

Of course, every family has to prayerfully decide for themselves if they want their children to go to camp. Parents should consider the child’s maturity first and foremost in my humble opinion.

When my friend asked me if I would send my children, I said no, listing some of the same things as above.

I also have a few stories I’m not at liberty to share.

I thought maybe I was overreacting,  so I asked my husband if we would send our children to camp or send our teen to be a counselor.

He gave me a look, a recognizing-what-I-was-thinking-about look.

I knew he was thinking of the same unmentionable situations I was.

Without me prompting him,  he said that our children could go to camp if we were with them, and he wouldn’t recommend camp based on what he’d seen.

He said that there was just too much opportunity for even a good kid to get into trouble.

That was confirmation that my intuition and response was spot on.

It’s hard to say these things because I want to endorse camp, but in good conscience, I cannot.

Sure, maybe the camp you’re sending your child to isn’t like the ones I was exposed to.

But what if it is?

I’m not fear mongering.

I’m calling for wise, prudent, and prayed-about choices.

While this is the decision we’ve made for our family, ultimately this falls into Christian stewardship.

Sarah Forbes


Why I Don’t Hate Facebook

There’s a lot of Facebook hate out there, let’s be honest.

Even people who use Facebook post about why they hate Facebook and everyone shouldn’t use it.

Usually, while they’re on Facebook.

But, for me, Facebook was a godsend.

It was an answer to prayer in a very lonely and low time in my life.

I joined Facebook because I was asked to help coordinate a 10-year college reunion which then morphed into a 10-year birthday party for the oldest children 6 or 7 families.

The parents had all gone to college together, got married, and a few years later had their first child within a few months of each other.

So, that’s how I ended up on Facebook.

I never had a MySpace account.

We didn’t even have a computer with anything but very slow dial-up until 2009. That’s just part of living rurally.

I joined in July of 2009, right after we moved into our current house which had high-speed internet.

Oh, the worlds that were suddenly open to me!

While I had actually blogged prior to 2009, anything done on dial-up is done with great pains.

By 2010, my illness took a turn.

We didn’t know what was wrong, but I was definitely getting worse.

That same year we left our church, and with our leaving came gaping holes of trauma left in its wake.

My entire support system fell apart as even family and friends who I thought would support me fell away over my perceived shortcomings that would eventually be labeled and diagnosed –but not for a few years yet.

In that moment Facebook began to fill a need that I didn’t even realize I had.

1) Spiritual encouragement via online devotions, posts, and memes.

The ability to see what others were going through and how they responded was inspiring!

Especially the ones who chose to be real and open about their lives.

It not only helped my spiritual walk but it motivated me towards the writing I’m doing now.

2) Medical advice and information.

Before the internet, the only way to find medical information outside of a clinic was medical journals and books.

Now, there are thousands of people in Facebook groups with similar symptoms all sharing, comparing notes, empowering and encouraging each other to find answers.

This was a huge step toward answers for me.

3) Friendships.

I have ADHD and a rare personality type (ENFJ if you’re familiar with Myers-Briggs temperaments).

The combination of those two things has made making and keeping friends challenging.  

This has been the case my entire life.

Even though I’m outgoing I don’t make and keep friends easily.

I have always struggled to find the kind of deep, kindred friendships my heart desired.

In fact, some people are so put off by my personality that they’re offended even if I have done nothing offensive and even if I try to get along with them.  

This has caused me grief since I was a child.

On Facebook, I started finding people like me: moms with ADHD who homeschool their kids and have chronic health problems and have similar personalities as I do.

Finally, people who understand me!  

I’ve never felt more loved and accepted by people outside my own family than I do with these friends I’ve made on Facebook.  

4) Homeschool.

Every last one of our local homeschooling friends and every activity we participate on is a product of Facebook interaction –usually in homeschool Facebook groups but not always.

My educational choices, my homeschooling philosophy, and much more was all I influenced by things I was exposed to on Facebook.

5) Ministry.

Years before I started this blog, I started writing on Facebook.

Notes, posts, comments, links –anything I could do to encourage others.  

I didn’t want anyone else to feel alone like I did.

I developed a circle of friends who are a support system like nothing I’ve had in my life before.  

It’s quite amazing and humbling.

But, it came at a price.

While I’m very grateful for the opportunities that Facebook has brought my way, I’m not unaware of the hazards of opening your mind and essentially your home to the entirety of mankind for their every whim and opinion.

This is why prudence is so vital.

While I don’t hate Facebook –by any means– I’m a big advocate of reigning in the influence of the online world.

On the one hand — the good hand — Facebook is much like pen pal letters that my friends and I were so fond of in the 80s and 90s.

You see a little glimpse into the person’s soul every time they write, and you have the potential to know them deeply and see parts of them that they wouldn’t always show in person.

On the other hand — the bad hand — you see a glimpse of the person’s soul every time they write, and that can be a scary thing when you’re exposed to dark souls.  

Not only that, but groups of people on Facebook can function like playground bullies.

Every evil imaginable is accessible via Facebook and represented by a group.

Case in point: I stumbled upon a group endorsing necrophilia once.

I’ve seen pornography and bestiality videos posted in mothering and homeschooling groups by people trolling.

People have been murdered on Facebook live streaming.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg.

It’s important to note here that Facebook is an inanimate object.

As such it is amoral.

It is neither good nor bad.  

It just is.

It becomes good or bad based on what we do with it.

Let me explain.

Duct tape is amoral, neither good nor bad.

If I use it to tie you up and kidnap you, I’ve used it for evil.

If I make duct tape wallets and give them to the neighbor children,  I’ve used it for good.

The duct tape just exists, and what I do with it is good or bad.

My choices are good or bad, not the duct tape.

This is an important thing to understand.

Just because something is used for evil doesn’t make the thing evil.

Because Facebook –and basically the entire internet– is opening our home up to the entire evil of the world, we must be vigilant and prudent in the choices we make.

This is the reason my children are not on Facebook.

 This is the reason I have so few Facebook friends and have limited my feed and notifications.

While I don’t hate Facebook, I do think we tend to overuse it, over expose ourselves, over stress ourselves, and generally not be prudent.

As believers, we should limit what’s coming into our minds and hearts to be only what would honor the Lord.

We should reject everything else and be intentional about our choices.

I pray that we will be.

While Facebook can be a blessing, it can also be a curse and a scourge.

How we use it makes the difference.


Sarah Forbes

Here is another post about how we should behave online.