Behind the Scenes of One Mama's Life

This Is Autism

I first read about Suzanne Wright’s op-ed when I read John Elder Robison’s resignation from Autism Speaks. I couldn’t believe what I was reading, and I applaud Mr. Robison’s strength of character.

Her words included: “despair” ~ “fear” ~ “depleted”

I read that my exhaustion is going to make me ill and become broken, leaving my child with no one to care for him.

That may be the way that Suzanne Wright feels about people with autism, but it’s not how I feel about my son. I feel Blessed!

Locket - Autism

And I’m a single mother. And I have a son on the Autism Spectrum.

LegoFan BDay

I may be tired at the end of each day, but I am far from ill and broken. I do not live in despair. I am not depleted.

Driving Range

But there was a time when I lived in fear… It was when I was reading all books written by so-called experts. Like Cammie over at A Woman’s Place, I now focus on my own experiences and that of actual mothers & adults who live with autism day-in and day-out. They paint a much more realistic picture. This is where I read about things like:

“Hope” ~ “Love” ~ “Delight” ~ “Laughter” ~ “Intelligence” ~ “Break Throughs” ~ “Accomplishments” ~ “Amazing”


When LegoFan was first diagnosed, I was told there was a possibility he would never leave home and probably never hold a job. I no longer believe that; however, even if it’s true I’d be happy to have him.


LegoFan is truly delightful! Our house is never dull. In fact it is the complete opposite! It is full of life, smiles, laughter, and activity.


Cammie mentions a cure in her post and it’s something I’ve thought about before. In fact, I told a friend shortly after LegoFan’s diagnosis, that if someone appeared on my doorstep with a magic pill that would “cure” his autism, I didn’t think I’d take it. The caveat to this is that if it would truly improve his quality of life, I might consider it. But at what cost? LegoFan’s contributions to our family are not something I’d like to live without. He is amazingly smart; he remembers things I forget, and he has an incredible way of making a room brighter just by entering it. His heart is huge; and his love is immeasurable.

Allergy - LegoFan

Ok, let me be real for you here. It’s not easy. It is challenging. I have my difficult days. In addition to being a single mom, I home school my children. So I am with LegoFan all day, every day. I am the only one who coordinates his meds and his appointments. I’m the only one who drives him to doctors and groups. So, yes, I am tired. But would I say I’m exhausted to the point of being ill or broken? Most certainly not.


Would I trade my LegoFan for anything? Hmmm…

Back To School 2013

What do you think?

Davidson Family Fundraiser

If you have not already heard, the Davidson family of Little Flowers Family Press lost everything recently in a devastating fire.  You can learn more about the details at the following links (the first is from Rita Davidson herself):

Little Flowers Family Press Blog

News Coverage

Local Story

Here is a facebook page that has been set up for their family – please ‘like’ it: Facebook Page

Three of the four Davidson boys are autistic, as is LegoFan. I know how difficult change is for children on the spectrum. This complete change in their way of life must be wreaking havoc in their young lives in ways many of us cannot understand.

I would like to help the Davidson family, but I am not in a financial position to do so. Last night I had an idea to use my direct sales businesses to help. While I admit it may not be much, I would like to donate 20% of my sales from Lilla Rose and Origami Owl so I have set up a party in each of them. If you are interested in helping in this way, please click on the links and follow the directions below. Most importantly, this family needs your prayers. Please join me in praying for them.

Origami Owl

Locket - AutismLocket - Forever FamilyLocket - FootprintsLocket - Grandma


To order Origami Owl Jewelry, please go to my website here. When your order is complete, proceed to check out. On that screen, there will be a section called “Party Information” where there will be a dropdown menu. Please select Little Flowers Family Press as your party then complete your order. What you order will be shipped shortly after payment.

Lilla Rose

FOTM Aug 2013 Tidepool Treasures 4Lilla Rose Accessories CollageLilla Rose Badge Clip CollageLilla Rose Collage


To order Lilla Rose Hair Accessories, please go to my website here and place your order. This is a party-specific link so your order will automatically be calculated toward the Davidsons’ total. Any order you place through this link will not ship until I close out the party (which I was planning to keep open until the end of September). However, if you would like your order to ship prior to that I have a way to do it, Please just leave me a comment and I will contact you.

Please feel free to ask questions in the comment section and I will answer them for you.  Also, please share this with anyone you think might want to help. Thank you, in advance, for helping this family and offering them a little hope.

for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me. Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these, you did it to me. Matthew 25:35-36, 40

Our Gluten Free Journey – Prologue

Today marks the end of a full month on a gluten free diet. We see the allergist tomorrow to find out where we go next. But it has been a very interesting month!

Why did we go gluten free? LegoFan was diagnosed with several food allergies and asthma in his early years, some life-threatening. So I guess it makes sense to go back to the prologue instead jumping right in to Chapter One.

Allergy - LegoFan

When LegoFan was a baby, he was nursed exclusively until he couldn’t get enough nourishment. I had to start adding cereal at a very early age. He, whether nursing or eating cereal, would develop these horrible rashes on his face and nothing would make them go away. The pediatrician suspected allergies but told us we couldn’t test him until he was a year old.

At one year, he was finally tested. We were blessed to get in to see one of the top allergy specialists in the country at the University of Maryland Medical Center. She was so thorough and asked the right questions. We left with the diagnosis that LegoFan was allergic to eggs, the deadly peanut, and garlic. Garlic was the one that shocked me. Don’t get me wrong, I was horrified over the other two and worried what his life would be like. But it was the garlic that seemed just weird; random. I mean LegoFan has some Italian blood in him; how can he be allergic to garlic? But it was the allergist asking the right questions regarding flare ups that led to her even testing for garlic.

Allergy - Eggs

That was the beginning of our journey with food and the challenges it has had for my son.

At age two, he was given a monitored food challenge to see what effects, if any, the egg would have on him. He “passed” and was cleared to eat foods with eggs in them. I have a great photo (before digital cameras) of him eating his first chocolate chip cookie and ending up with chocolate on his face! He loved it!

He would eventually be cleared of his garlic allergy, but new foods began to give him problems. He could eat red apples, apple sauce, and drink apple juice, but green and yellow apples made him break out in hives. He could eat green pears, but brown pears also gave him hives. Although he can now have brown pears, he still cannot have yellow and green apples.

Allergy - Apples

As he got older, he also developed allergies to grasses, trees, flowers, dogs, cats, horses, mice, and dust. His peanut numbers kept going up, and he started to develop allergies to all the other tree nuts. As you can imagine, grocery shopping has changed for us multiple times and can take forever!

Allergy to TreesAllergy to Grass

Well, we recently moved and saw a new allergist for the first time in ten years. He ran a complete set of tests – 56 skin pricks on his back! He was miserable by #10! He was reacting to almost everything. In the five columns of pricks, one of them had hives so big that they merged into one large hive. It was all I could do to keep him from scratching!

Allergy Skin TestAllergy skin Test - 1Allergy Skin Test - 2Allergy Skin Test - 3

He ended up testing positive to so many things with this test; and then he had to undergo the blood work! Between the two, we had several new things; so many that he would have very little to eat if we eliminated everything. He had been having some strange reactions lately, so we decided to do some sort of elimination diet. LegoFan tested positive to allergies to wheat, barley, rye, and oats. So we decided on a gluten free diet for a month…

This post is linked up with Our Simple Farm, Homemaker’s Challenge, Whole New Mom, Home Sanctuary, and Allergy Free Alaska – go check out what everyone else has this week!

Exciting Week!

Wow! My head is spinning!

I recently decided that I needed to start earning some of my own money if I’m going to continue to stay at home and educate my children. Being a stay-at-home, homeschooling, single mom without any income just isn’t going to cut it anymore. But entering the workforce isn’t an option if I’m determined to keep my children at home…

Dream Catcher

So a few months ago I put myself on the waiting list for a new direct selling company named Origami Owl. The wait list was long and I anticipated the wait would be longer than I wanted. And I wanted to start earning money as soon as I could… So I started trying to find other options. I liked the Flexi Clip that I got for Diva, so I thought about joining Lilla Rose. It took me a little while, but I found a consultant I liked and I signed up. I also started an etsy shop called MamaCre8s. I don’t have much in it right now, but I will be adding to it soon.

FB Timeline Cover 1

But here’s the crazy part… I started the etsy shop in the first week of January; a few days later I joined Lilla Rose. Then my number came up at Origami Owl! All of this happened within a few days of each other – Spinning Head, I tell ya!

Etched Cross

But I am excited! I really like all of these things and I am determined to earn some money to help me stay home with my babies. So, I know I don’t live near anyone who reads this little ole blog, but I’d be happy to do an online show for anyone’s who’s interested in either – or both – Origami Owl or Lilla Rose. Just let me know in the comments. You can also just go to my websites and take a look around without a show.

I am so grateful that there are options for moms like me! Let me know if you have any questions or if I can help you in any way.

A Cooking Extravaganza {Review}

Doesn’t that title sound like what we are all going to be doing over the next month? At least that’s what it’s usually like for me! I like to cook and bake; but from Thanksgiving until the end of January; I’m doing a lot more! Why January? In my immediate family, we have three birthdays during the month; with a week between each. It’s a very busy ten weeks!

So, when I got this month’s Gabby Moms review package from Lorrie Flem at Eternal Encouragement, it was perfect timing. And now you can get the same package for yourself and your holiday needs; or as a Christmas gift for that special cook in your life.  This set includes seven ebooks and a signed, printed copy of What’s for Dinner, Mom? (If you recall, I got to review that one a few months ago & loved it!)

Here are the ebooks you will get with this package:

  • Bulk Cooking Tips and Tricks
  • Fill Em Up
  • Healthy Sanity Saving Breakfasts
  • Lorrie’s Favorite Recipes from 2011
  • Pizza Primer
  • Sensational Salads
  • The Secrets of Chocolate Chip Cookies

Don’t those sound inviting? They did to me. With a few simple recipes in basic categories anyone can be a successful cook! Then add in the print copy of What’s for Dinner, Mom? and you’re armed with an amazing arsenal of skills.

I love the Healthy Breakfasts ebook – only 10 pages, but jam-packed with a variety of morning ideas (though, truth-be-told I’d serve some of them for dinner too!). I had to chuckle at the last recipe though that’s called “Not So Healthy Granola Bars.”

The Fill Em Up ebook is full of great ideas to help keep those bellies feeling full, while stretching the budget.

I love the photographs in Lorrie’s Favorite recipes! They are very helpful when making a new recipe. I think my daughter would absolutely love the Pepperoni Spaghetti Bake!

These books are short, but sweet. They are approximately 7-13 pages each – the perfect size for someone who’s just starting out – or even for seasoned veterans!

Lorrie’s having a giveaway over at her blog – one lucky winner will receive this entire package! But if you can’t wait or don’t win this giveaway, you can purchase this set here.  If you are considering this recipe package as a Christmas gift, please place your order by December 12 to ensure timely delivery of the print book (the ebooks will be an instant download).

Disclaimer: I was provided with electronic copies of all of these ebooks in exchange for my honest review – all opinions are solely mine.

100th Post – Thanksgiving

I find it very appropriate that my 100th post will be one of gratitude. I’ve seen a few people posting alphabetic gratitude lists on FB each day, so I would like to do that here as well.

I am grateful for:

A: Asperger’s Syndrome

B: Board Games

C: Creativity

D: Diva

E: Eternal Life

F: Faith, Family, & Friends

G: God

H: Homeschooling

I: Ice Cream

J: Jesus

K: Kisses

L: LegoFan & Love

M: My Mother

N: New Chapters

O: Open Air

P: Photos & Photography

Q: Quality Time with my children

R: Restoration

S: Sunsets & Sunrises

T: Tradition

U: United States of America

V: Victories; small, medium, & large

W: Wisteria & Weeping Willows

X: eXcitement


Z: Zestiness

Thank you for reading – for subscribing – for commenting!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Desire of My Heart

Something happened to me at Mass today…

…but it started last night.

I was talking with a friend who was describing a difficult situation. My heart cried a bit for this friend and all those involved. So I prayed.

There’s something I want. It is something extremely important to me. Have you ever wanted something so badly your heart ached for it? I’m not talking about something material. It’s not a new car or expensive jewelry. It’s not a new wardrobe or more furniture. Sure, I wouldn’t mind having these things, but they’re not a priority like this desire is.

But somewhere during mass today ~ I can’t pinpoint exactly when it happened ~ my focus shifted. While I would still benefit directly from obtaining this desire, for the first time in a long time, I realized that I truly wanted this desire for the benefit of at least three other people. My heart now ached for my friend and a couple others. I truly found myself thinking about how it would benefit each of them more than I considered what it would do for me.

It was an amazing feeling! I returned from Communion with tears in my eyes. I knelt there, as I usually do, and offered prayers of Thanksgiving. I have my standard list of gratitude, but this time It. Was. Different.

It all held deeper meaning ~ All because of a shift in perspective.

As we approach Thanksgiving this week, perhaps we could use a shift in perspective. We can look at the gifts in our lives and see how they can benefit others. I do not believe that God blesses us with gifts just to hear us say “Thank you.” I do not believe that He blesses us with gifts so that we can keep them to ourselves. I do believe that He gives us our gifts to share them and to directly effect others in our lives.

So, whether or not God blesses me with this particular desire of my heart, I know that my heart is in the right place. I know that I am blessed.

Thou dost show me the path of life; in thy presence there is fullness of joy, in thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. (Ps 16:11)

Autism Speaks Walk 2012

For anyone reading who does not know, my son is on the Autism Spectrum. Each year, for the past four years, we have participated in our annual Walk Now for Autism. This year we are blessed to be able to have the walk before Hurricane Sandy threatens the coast. It is supposed to be a beautiful fall day.

LegoFan is an incredible young man. Despite being born with, and developing more, food allergies; and having asthma, and Asperger’s and ADHD; he is the happiest kid I have ever met. He doesn’t let any of this get him down – he usually doesn’t use any of it as an excuse not to do something (ok, he sometimes uses his allergies as an excuse not to have to go outside and, instead, play the Wii…)

I homeschool him and Diva and I have seen him blossom over the last few years! Of course, there are challenges – he hates to write, rushes through his work, moves around constantly, and gets out massive amounts of Legos in between subjects. He even refuses to do certain things if they make him feel uncomfortable; but we work through those (and I usually end up with a little less hair…) and he tends to be successful in the end, no matter how long it takes to get there. He is incredibly smart – reads (when it’s something that interests him) at about a high school reading level, does math like a computer (when he slows down to pay attention), and understands scientific concepts that boggle my ancient mind. But he has to be interested in order to do this – sometimes I think that’s the most difficult part; finding a way to make something interesting to him.

So each day brings something new. I never know what’s going to happen on any given day; even if I have planned out the school day, the cleaning schedule, and the doctors’ appointments. I just never know when he’s going to find something interesting or uncomfortable. But thanks to efforts from groups like Autism Speaks, I am learning how to handle different situations as they arise. Autism Speaks provides so much help, research, and education to families like us all over the world.

I know things are tight all over the place right now, but if you want to help families affected by autism and you have the means, we would love for you to join our team with a donation directly to Autism Speaks – this link will take you to our Walk Now page. We hope you will take a moment to check it out and consider a donation.

Thank you from LegoFans and their families everywhere!

New Audio Series {Review}

For this month’s Gabby Moms post, we were blessed with the opportunity to review a brand new audio series that Mrs. Lorrie Flem is producing through her Eternal Encouragement site. I received a collection of audio recordings (mp3s) and a great pdf file that serves as a companion to them.

I loved having the companion. I used it as a way to reinforce what I was hearing through the audios. But I also thought that it would be something great to come back to after listening to the audios to make sure I had absorbed what I heard. I have found that I am a more visual person; listening to an audio, for me, doesn’t always cement the information into my brain. So I liked having the visual reminder of the pdf file to reinforce what I heard. For those people who are more auditory, using the pdf later can also serve as a great reminder.

Now on to the audios themselves… I liked hearing Lorrie’s voice on the audios. It made her more real; more like a friend offering advice and wisdom from personal experience. The titles I got to hear are titled: Centered and Sane (NEED that one!), Growing Gratitude, and How-Tos of Growing Gratitude. Before even listening to these I liked the fact that not only was Lorrie going to talk to me of the importance of gratitude; she was going to tell me how to do it. That’s important for me. I know that I sometimes read articles that tell me how to improve or enrich my life; and I like what they have to say, but they don’t tell me how to do it or how to get there.

Lorrie reminded me of the saying “if mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” Motherhood can be like a carousel ride – up and down; around and around. We need sanity and gratitude in our lives in order to get the craziness and chaos to stop.

I loved that these audios are short and succinct. They didn’t take up a lot of this busy mom’s time, but really delivered. Lorrie spoke in such a loving and conversational tone, I felt like I was sitting across the table from her. She gave many practical tips on how to attain sanity as well as an attitude of gratitude. That’s what I needed – this ‘old dog’ needs someone to say “try it this way and see what happens.”

These audios were really relevant to my life right now. The life of a single parent is never easy. There is a lot of chaos in my life; I sometimes find it difficult to be grateful because so much seems to be going wrong.  Lorrie reminded me that this time could be a lot less difficult if I focused on that which is good in my life andremembered from Whom those blessings came.

The above picture illustrates a few of the blessings in my life:

  • Two beautiful children
  • The ability to homeschool
  • A place to live
  • Dishes in the dish drainer reminding me that we had food to eat
  • Books and games in the background reminding me that we have fun together

These wonderful audios will be available, starting November 1, 2010, at

* I received an advanced copy of both the pdf file and the audios for this collection in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are strictly my own.

Managing My Minutes – A Review

This month’s Gabby Mom’s review was for Mrs. Lorrie Flem’s Managing My Minutes. Boy, this is something that hits home! I know this is an area of my life where I need some definite improvement!

There are days I end up at dinner time and wonder, “What did I get done today?” Now that doesn’t happen every day – thank goodness – but every once in a while is still too often. I need to learn how to better manage my time. Managing My Minutes just may help me to improve this part of my life – and maybe yours too!

Two things I loved about this was ‘asking for help’ and ‘giving God the glory’ – here’s where my sinful nature comes into play. I don’t like asking for help. I am getting better at asking for prayers; but asking for ~ and accepting ~ help is still very difficult for me. As for giving God the glory, I don’t have a problem with that; however, I am forgetful. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in what I’m doing that I forget where my help comes from in the first place; and then I forget to give credit where credit is due. I’m getting better, but Lorrie’s reminder is what I need sometimes.

I love how she weaves the story of Nehemiah through her book. It really helps to know that there’s someone else who’s traveled this road. I do not need to reinvent the wheel!  Being reminded of what Nehemiah did, and of his methods, helps to remind me that I am not alone in this – now that’s a good feeling!

Lorrie makes a really good case for implementing a schedule – even though it’s something I balk at using! I do have a basic home maintenance schedule; and I began making weekly schedules for the children’s schoolwork last year. Both are helpful. Perhaps it’s time to take the plunge and create a working schedule for the whole family.

How does your family plan or schedule its time?

“Managing My Minutes” is available here.

I was given an advanced copy as a member of the Gabby Moms team in exchange for my honest review.

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