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 http://www.attentionmoms.com/

* 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.

Theme Songs

When I was pregnant with each of the children, I selected a song for each of them. I’m not sure what drove my decision to do this, but each song was personal to me at the time.  The interesting thing is that each song has turned out to represent them pretty well.

For LegoFan, I chose “Simple Man” by Lynyrd Skynyrd. There’s no way I could have known about his Asperger’s while pregnant; but I chose this song because I liked its message. I liked that it promoted keeping things simple; not chasing after the things of this world, and remembering God above. LegoFan is so simple in his love and his ways; and I don’t mean that to be a negative thing. He loves purely; and everything is matter-of-fact for him. He knows what he likes and that’s it; there’s no deterring him. He’s steadfast. He doesn’t care about dollar amounts or making things fair. He doesn’t seek out riches; and is not greedy. And his is a simple faith; yet it’s obviously there. He remembers the ‘rules’ and reminds us to pray. This is something I don’t take for granted. It is both a blessing and an accomplishment; and it makes this mother’s heart smile each time he reminds us that it’s time to pray.

Here’s the video:

And here are the lyrics:

Songwriters: VAN ZANT, RONNIE / ROSSINGTON, GARY ROBERT

 

(Gary Rossington – Ronnie VanZant)

Mama told me when I was young
Come sit beside me, my only son
And listen closely to what I say.
And if you do this
It’ll help you some sunny day. Oh Yah!
Oh, take your time… Don’t live too fast,
Troubles will come and they will pass.
You’ll find a woman, yea yea, you’ll find love,
And don’t forget son,
There is someone up above.

(Chorus)
And be a simple, kind of man.
Oh be something, you love and understand.
Baby be a simple, kind of man.
Oh, won’t you do this for me son,
If you can?

Forget your lust, for the rich man’s gold
All that you need, is in your soul,
And you can do this, oh baby, if you try.
All that I want for you my son,
Is to be satisfied.

(Chorus)

Boy, don’t you worry… you’ll find yourself.
Follow your heart, Lord, and nothing else.
And you can do this, oh baby, if you try.
All that I want for you my son,
Is to be satisfied.

(Chorus)

Baby be a simple, be a simple man.
Oh be something, you love and understand.
Baby be a simple, kind of man. (Fade out)

For Diva, I chose “I Hope You Dance” by Lee Ann Womack. I am amazed by her sense of wonder; and as the song says, I hope Diva never loses hers. She absolutely loves life and jumps right in. She smiles and asks questions. She sings and dances; and never seems to worry about what anyone else thinks. She loves God and the beautiful world He created.

Here’s the video – with lyrics:

 

I love how the children’s lives have reflected the songs chosen before their births – God is amazing!

AUTHORS & Artists {Review and Giveaway}

It’s that time of the month again – the time when I review another great product from Mrs. Lorrie Flem at Eternal Encouragement!

This month it’s a neat little book called AUTHORS & Artists: Learning Character Through Writing. I was pleasantly surprised when I opened my package – inside was a beautifully wrapped little book. This book was loving wrapped in pretty pink tissue paper and a simple tulle bow. I wish I had thought to take a picture because it was just such a sweet way to send a purchase.

But the other surprise was the size. I’m not quite sure what I was expecting, but inside that beautiful wrapping was a spiral-bound book that’s about 4″ x 5″ x 1″. This is a great size! It fits in your purse for Character Training On-the-Go. It’s also small enough to bring to the dinner table. This is great for anywhere, anytime!

As I looked through this book, I found all sorts of wonderful teaching and encouragement. I know this book was written for children, but I can also see benefits for adults too! Included are pages on Biblical Character Traits, The Commandments, and The Fruits of the Spirit. She also added pages for the holidays and the “author’s” birthday. There’s a space for the date at the bottom of each page, so this would make a great keepsake.

How does it work? Well, there’s a title at the top; such as Tattling or Listening, followed by several blank lines. To the right is a description of the trait, with some simple questions designed to stimulate the child’s thought process. The space for the date is at the bottom. I would recommend this book for stronger readers and writers; so perhaps ages 10 and up.

The only problem I had with this wonderful little book was that some of the descriptions were kind of long and the spiral holes went right through the text. It’s pretty simple to figure out; however, this could have been spaced a little better.

You can win a copy of this book, AUTHORS & Artists, as well as a copy of ARTISTS & Authors by going to the following posts on Lorrie’s blog:

AUTHORS & Artists

ARTISTS & Authors

Don’t forget to tell them you came from Behind the Scenes!

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the Authors & Artists book in exchange for my honest review as a part of the Gabby Moms program. All opinions are my own.

Untitled – On Purpose

Today was a rough day. I didn’t blog about it, but I had a second foot surgery in six months a couple of weeks ago. I had gone back to the doctor wondering why I was still experiencing pain after February’s surgery. At first, the doc thought that the muscles and tendons were just taking a little longer than usual to heal. But then he felt it – another, relatively large, cyst. In fact, he ended up finding two more. He looked at me and said since it’s giving you so much pain, you know what we have to do… So I scheduled the surgery.

It was different this time. This time I had no illusions of any spousal support. He was gone and I was alone. With two children too young to care for themselves. Fortunately, my mother was able to come and help. I was even able to employ some of Lorrie’s Freezer meal techniques to ensure that there was some food in the freezer for those days she wasn’t able to be there. So, while not ideal, it was ok. God provided for my children and myself.

I was officially cleared to walk, with caution, on Monday. He told me I still had to take it easy so I didn’t overdue it; and so that the inside could continue to heal. I was also told that I could drive IF I could get a regular shoe on my foot. Well, I can’t do it yet without pain.

And that’s where today’s difficulties come in. Today is the Feast of the Assumption of Mary in the Catholic Church. I know that there are some non-Catholic Christians who believe that we, as Catholics, worship Mary; especially with feasts like today. However, it really is as simple as this… Jesus grew up here on earth with the same commandments we were given; and following those commandments He honored His mother. And so, we follow His example and honor her too. It’s honor, not worship. But I don’t want to argue that point with anyone. The point is that I wanted to attend Mass with my children on this day that is special to us.

We had the option of attending Mass on Tuesday evening at our usual church a half hour away from the house; or tonight at our church or the church down the street. Going back to my doc’s rule, I tried to get a shoe on my foot. It wouldn’t go on. I was frustrated. Then my ex called and wanted to see the kids on Wednesday evening. I told him about church and the shoe not fitting; and he surprisingly said he was willing to to take us all to Mass and spend a little time with the kids afterwards. I was surprised, but hesitant.

So, if I wanted to attend Mass, I had to be humble and accept his help. I told him I’d accept, but I didn’t say ‘thank you’ fast enough and he yelled at me for my lack of gratitude. I immediately regretted accepting; but I had already told Diva, and she LOVES going to church. I was not going to disappoint her.

We went tonight; and it was difficult. The priest mentioned turning to your spouse for support during his homily. And here I was sitting near a man who is legally my husband, but who I know is going ‘home’ to another woman. I couldn’t stop the tears. I tried to wipe them before LegoFan saw them, but I was too late. It’s amazing to me that he seems completely out of touch with his and other people’s feelings; yet he is completely in touch with mine. He always knows. Always.

Breaks. My. Heart.

After Mass, he told the children that he was going to get them dessert and we went to Rita’s. They began to enjoy their dessert, but he rushed them and told them they could finish at home. As were getting out of the car, he took the kids up to the door and unlocked it. As I was getting my purse, his phone beeped. I looked at the screen. It. Was. Her.

So… He takes us to church and out for dessert. A strange, unsettling feeling.

Jesus, thank you for your love, and the strength to walk through this difficult time. I know you are by my side.

Last Day for Back-to-School Event

August 10th is the last day to join in the Back-to-School event from NotebookingPages.com. While I must tell you that I am an affiliate for them, I want to tell you that I personally use their products. And I am so excited about the new Notebooking Publisher feature that all members get to use for no charge!

You see LegoFan HATES to write; and that may be putting it mildly. But even he is looking forward to using Notebooking Publisher to help him this year. We’ve tried it out already and it really helps him to focus on the content and not worry about the writing aspect. Debra explains this feature better than I can, so I’m going to let you watch her demonstrate it in this video:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XHisp1ujJ-E?rel=0&w=560&h=315]
Visit NotebookingPages.com to learn more about their memberships
and their new web-app, The Notebooking Publisher™

Again, August 10th is the last day of the sale, and after that the membership price is going to increase. So, if you’re even a little interested, this is the time to do it. Oh, and one more great thing? The new member price is going up, but the annual renewal price stays the same! Gotta love that!

Molly’s Country Living

I have just finished reading the August 2012 edition of Molly Green Magazine. Boy did it make me homesick for a country home where I used to live. The whole issue brought back memories of living the country life: gardening, raising animals, cooking from scratch, and more. But the authors are quick to point out that you don’t have to live on “a 20 acre patch of land” in order to learn these skills and put them into practice.

http://econobusters.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/TOS-Molly-8-12-HobbyFrm273.jpg

For example, one skill I learned about in this issue is lotion-making. LegoFan has some serious allergies which result in eczema on occasion. It’s important for us to use a lotion that is mild on his skin. The recipe Molly provides is one that would great for him and is so easy to make.

And there are many more like this. I appreciate the fact that Molly’s Magazine promotes and recognizes what’s important in life and in the family. This issue also includes an article from a young man, a budding entrepreneur, who says, “Working with my family has taught me important life skills.” Isn’t that what we want from our kids? How about from ourselves?

Molly’s August issue contains helpful information on a variety of topics, so that no matter what stage of life you find yourself in, you can find something of interest. There are articles on decor, cooking ~ with recipes, farming, gardening, seasonal purchases, and more. It’s a comprehensive issue that doesn’t jump all over the place. All the articles are linked together by the central theme of country living (worthwhile even if you don’t live in the country). I also like that the ads are simple, and kept to a minimum. With its small price tag, minimal advertising, and informative articles, Molly Green Magazine is one magazine I’d like to keep receiving!

* I received an advance copy in exchange for my honest review. You can purchase Molly Green Magazine individually each month; or you can become a member and receive twelve month’s worth.

Summer Sketching

We are back to participating in Sketch Tuesday hosted by Barb McCoy over at Harmony Art Mom. We all took a break for the month of June, but the kids are drawing again and having fun!

First, we were given the task of sketching something to do with a bird…

 

LegoFan decided to sketch a feather. But it’s not just a feather – I love that he added the pieces of tape to show that he had added it to his collection. Even the tape has the jagged edges to make it look more realistic. Love it!

 

Diva’s favorite bird is a cardinal. She loves the male’s bright red color; and adores the male and female pairs we see frequently in our yard. I even like the fact that she added the sunglasses on the sun. She does a really good job at sketching, but she also has that whimsical side!
Next, we were given the assignment of something to do with a pond…

 

LegoFan was a little rushed this time. But, he did manage to sketch a frog and a lily pad.

As I mentioned, Diva really likes birds; and the Heron is another favorite. She and I looked them up online and found an outline of one with a description of their coloring. She sketched and colored this just by looking at the computer screen. It’s an amazing sketch!
I love that they are participating in this activity. It fits really well with our art plans for the upcoming year, as we will be focusing on the elements of drawing. I anticipate seeing changes in their Sketch Tuesday drawings as they progress through the year.

By the way, you do not have to home school or even be a child to participate. You can head to Barb’s site and submit your sketches each week – it’s fun! Why not give it a try?

Exciting News!

Awhile back I wrote a review of Lorrie Flem’s (of Eternal Encouragement) ebook entitled Yelling: The Cause, The Casualty, The Cure. It was something I had to review as my ‘audition’ for the Gabby Moms. Little did I know, not only how helpful this book would be, but also what an adventure the Gabby Moms would be!

Well, this book is back! When I reviewed it in December, I had just come out of a very angering experience, and it was very timely. Ironically, I am going through an even more frustrating experience now. You can read more about it here. There have been times during this past year that my nerves have been completely fried. I’ve hit rock bottom. There have been times I’ve yelled at my children; which does nothing but make things worse.

Even though I haven’t been perfect, I have been able to apply some of Lorrie’s tips and techniques to help both my children and me during this time. In addition, I am definitely praying more. That’s one of the things I really like about Lorrie’s book – it’s not something you read once and never revisit. “Yelling”  is a book that you can turn to again and again.

It’s more of a resource than a book.

Ok, the title of this post is “Exciting News” – Do you want to know what that means? I thought so. First, there’s going to be a party on facebook! Yay!

But wait ~ there’s more! The party is to celebrate the fact that “Yelling” is Lorrie’s first book available on Kindle!!! You can go ahead and purchase the book now (by clicking on the title or image) for $4.99 OR, and here’s the best part, you can get it for FREE on July 24th, 2012! For one day only, the 24th, Amazon will have the kindle version of “Yelling” for free! Isn’t that awesome?

So, pick up the ebook and join us for a party on Tuesday, July 24th – and, yes, you can YELL about it!

* I received a copy of “Yelling” in exchange for my honest review as part of the Gabby Moms program.