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A Review…of Notes to Aspiring Writers

July 19, 2011

I received the pleasure of getting a sneak peek at this new e-book and let me tell you while it wasn’t exactly what I was expecting (a how-to write) it was exactly what I needed to hear (yes, when I read I hear the words in my mind, I don’t just see them on paper).  I highly recommend Notes to Aspiring Writers by Brooke L. McGlothlin.  Now I will tell you if you are anti-God or anti-Christian this book isn’t for you unless you can read it with an open mind, one open to hearing what God might just be saying to you through Brooke.

I also want to tell you that just because you aren’t an aspiring writer, don’t think this book isn’t for you…I truly believe this book could be titled Notes to Aspiring __________(you fill in the blank with your career choice).  Now, why do I say this?  Well, after reading the e-book I realized that we each have a dream and perhaps even a calling in this life and often we feel like we are struggling to fulfill that dream or calling.  This book makes some very valid points that no matter what your dream or calling you can apply those points.

During the early review process some felt Brooke was harsh when she mentioned sacrifices having to be made in this life.  Brooke was concerned enough to inquire if all of her reviewers felt the same way.  I quickly assured her, I did not.  No matter what career, dream or calling we have in this life there will be some sacrifices made whether we personally feel the results of those sacrifices is a different ball of wax altogether.  Often in today’s society women are told “You can have it all,” but can we really?  Does having it all mean that one part must suffer?  Yes, there are some women who feel they have to work to make ends meet, there are some women that feel they have to work to maintain their sanity — I’m not discounting them, but sacrifices are made on both sides of the working/non-working make that non-employed life.  Brooke examines how she realized that sometimes sacrifices must be made in this life in order to pursue the greater good and yet at the same time God may choose to bless those sacrifices with the realization of our dream just not exactly in the way we might have imagined.

For me, I grew up an avid reader with a strong desire to become a full-time mother (in fact, a friend once mentioned that I always said I’d have six kids — didn’t quite fulfill that part of the dream).  For years I felt like my dream was just that a far-off dream that wasn’t going to come true and yet, it has just not on the time-schedule I had imagined.  I’ve been the daughter (still am), the student (hopefully I still can say I’m learning), the single mom, the employed wife and currently the non-employed wife that stays home to raise her three boys to hopefully one day become productive, responsible, Godly men.   The one thing I can say without hesitation is Brooke is right there have been sacrifices through each of those times in my life and yet, as Brooke points out, God calls those He calls His to be willing to lay down their life for His righteousness.  I’ll admit all to often I find dying to self difficult and try to fight it; after reading Notes I hope that I can strive a little harder to not fight the dying to self quite as hard and just allow it to happen for the greater good.

Thanks Brooke for a great read!

Children and Parenting….

July 17, 2011

Lately it seems there are lots of articles about how bad children have gotten over the last say 20 years.  Their (children) disruptive behaviors have led some businesses to impose bans on their presence.  While I accept, and even to some extent totally understand, a business’s right to choose whether or not to allow children in their establishment I have to wonder if part of this is not directly related to parents not parenting effectively.

What do I mean?  Let me ask you, the reader, a question…How many times in the past week have you been in a business and witnessed an out-of-control child?  In each of these incidences, how many times did you notice the parent attempting to deal with the child?  I know often I see out-of-control children and their parents are acting totally oblivious to the situation while Junior proceeds to destroy or at the least disrupt the atmosphere of the location.

Now, before anyone gets all upset that I’m being unfair to the disabled population, keep in mind my oldest son just happens to have Down Syndrome and ADD, with some OCD and Autistic tendencies thrown in for fun (said totally tongue in cheek, the for fun part as believe me it isn’t all that fun).  I know what it is like to have a child melt-down for what appears to be no particular reason.  I know what it is like to have a child become disruptive (even if that isn’t really their intent).  However, I also make every effort to remove that child from the environment, some days that is harder than others.  I have also made every effort to train my child what is and is not socially acceptable behavior.  Now, where some disabilities are hidden my son’s disability really isn’t — one look can usually affirm “hey that kid’s disabled” what that one look doesn’t affirm is “hey, he doesn’t know any better so let it slide” because truthfully, he does know better he has just been trained (ooh there’s that word again) that society doesn’t expect him to know better and will allow him to get away with it.  (Makes my job as a parent that much harder.)

So, back to the original problem/question…Are kids really that much more unruly today than they were a generation ago or are parents not training their children to act appropriately in public?  I think both parts of that question are valid observations and are truthful.  The difficult part arising in how to train in public when so many people have bought into the psycho-babble that  discipline (or even, gasp, punishment) will harm a child’s psyche.  The number of parents who say they are afraid to discipline in public has grown exponentially within the last generation or two.  The current set of young parents were among the first groups of children raised by permissive parents versus disciplinary parents.  (How many of today’s parents {of the younger set} grew up hearing “it’s my house if you don’t like the rules once you’re 18 you’re free to get your own place and establish your own rules”?)  Also, growing up the entire neighborhood was often involved in the parenting the child.  How did they do that?  Well, if they saw Junior doing something that was socially unacceptable, they called Junior on it and often dealt with it prior to calling Junior’s parents who also dealt with it.  Oh, and if you got in trouble at school, you knew you’d get it twice as bad once you got home.  Today, Junior does something wrong at school and it isn’t Junior’s fault it is the school or the teacher or even his classmate’s fault.

Growing up if we played at the local construction site and got hurt, it was our fault we got hurt, not the contractor’s fault for creating an enticing nuisance (umm, what kid doesn’t like playing in dirt and around new construction?).  Our parents didn’t sue the contractor, oh no, our parents patched us up and tanned our hides and we quickly learned not to do it again.

As to dining out, used to be that was reserved for the grown-ups and for children who could behave in public (and it was a rare treat).  These days it seems like an everyday occurrence in some households and since Mom and Dad want dinner out then everyone will just have to deal with Junior (because we’d never dream of leaving him home with a sitter when we know he doesn’t do well in public).

Novel ideal parents — next time Junior acts up, deal with it and if he doesn’t straight up then excuse yourself (get the check, box your food to go if you’ve already ordered) and leave the establishment.    Word to the establishment’s clientele, if you see a parent attempting to parent their unruly child don’t interfere (unless the child is in imminent danger) unless you’re actually going to offer to help Mom or Dad with said unruly child.  Don’t jot their information down and call CPS calling it abuse, unless you’ve first inquired about the situation (to those involved), sometimes the child throwing the fit is doing so because of a disability and sometimes the child is throwing the fit because the child has been trained (by society) that if they throw a big enough fit Mom/Dad will back down (for fear someone will call CPS).

Lastly, parents regardless of the psycho-babble you’ve read, children are NOT miniature adults with full-rational thinking capabilities.  In fact, children are typically self-centered little beings who are after what they want (which isn’t always what they need).  Do yourself and your child a favor, learn the difference between a want and a need then train your little bundle of joy how to be a responsible, socially acceptable adult.  Trust me, some day they will thank you — probably not as teenagers but perhaps before they have their own little bundle of joy.  Oh, and by the way, their little bundle of joy is the one you can spoil rotten as it will be their job to train them to be responsible, socially acceptable adults — just don’t veer too far from their parents plans for them or you might find it hard to spend time with your grandchildren.

 

A Funny About The 3 R’s….

April 6, 2011

I’ve been reading a book (via Kindle app for iPod Touch) called “A Family of Value,” in it John Rosemond talks about how child rearing and parenting has changed since the advent of the so-called child psychology experts.  To be perfectly honest, I agree with pretty much everything I’ve read so far.

So, last night I inform our boys that Daddy and I are going back to the 3 R’s of Parenting.  To which all three boys look at me quizzically and say:  “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle?”  Which had me totally confused, then I realized the brainwashing techniques of what we call education has worked at least on this subject and I respond with a smile, “No the 3 R’s I”m referring to are:  Respect, Responsibility and Resourcefulness.”  Silence ensued.

Jeff catches me a few minutes later and tells me:  “Let’s drop the resourcefulness aspect or Nick will really get one over on us.  He’s resourceful enough when it comes to getting chocolate, cookies, cake or pop.”  Jeff has a point.  However, we will be working diligently on the respect and responsibility points.

 

Parenting in the trenches

February 22, 2011

Parenting a child with special needs is both a joyous blessing and a at times a heartbreaking task.  Yes, all parents experience these highs and lows but for some the highs and lows hit just a little harder.

What do I mean?  Let’s go back to the birth (assuming your child’s diagnosis didn’t come until after their birth), while the other new moms were rejoicing over their precious bundles (and receiving congratulations as well), the mom of a child with special needs often hears, “Oh, I’m so sorry.”  The air around them often develops almost a funeral like atmosphere.  The hospital staff is often more subdued than anything.  People tend to tip-toe around the new mom (and dad) not quite sure what to say.  As a mom of a child with specials needs, let me say, that congratulations on the birth of a new child is always in order (and so much more appropriate than the “Oh, I’m so sorry” comments).

Let’s assume you’ve gotten through those first few months and are trying to just enjoy being a mom to your newborn.  Unlike the other moms whose children didn’t come with a “diagnosis of doom and gloom,”  (yep, so much of the information parents of children with special needs receive is of the “doom and gloom” variety), you’re busy trekking off to the multitude of doctors appointments your newborn has scheduled.  This makes it difficult (but not impossible) to see the child for the diagnosis.  After all, if your days consists of getting to one doctor’s appointment after another when do you get to just sit and admire that new bundle of joy?

After a short time, you may start getting assistance from the Birth to Three (or Intervention Program by another name) where well-meaning professionals come to help you with your child.  The questions they ask just serve to remind you that your precious baby isn’t quite like the other babies out there and needs more help.  The focus is often on what the child can’t do and what they can do to help you help your child get to where they need to be (which may or may not happen).

At this point, you have probably come to see your precious bundle as yours and that he/she is unique in his/her own way and you love that little bundle and wouldn’t trade for another.  You start living and only occasionally think about the diagnosis — like when something goes wrong or when your girlfriend whose baby is the same age as yours reaches a milestone that your precious little bundle hasn’t reached and isn’t showing any signs of reaching in the next few weeks.

Gradually, the years past and you are now a mother (parent) of a pre-schooler but your precious pre-schooler isn’t walking or potty-trained or fill-in-the-blank, well you get the picture.  The funny thing is by this time you’re more of a veteran mom of a child with special needs so you don’t focus so much on what junior can’t do but on what he can do.  Then when you are just tickled pink because Junior took two steps without holding on to anything, your girlfriend mentions that her little one has started riding his trike all over the yard.  Yes, you’re happy for her but for a second that little voice in your head says, “What about Junior?  Why does she always rub this stuff in my face.”  Word to the wise, she isn’t intentionally rubbing it in your face, she just forgets that Junior isn’t as developmentally advance as her little one is and she is excited about her child’s progress.

What’s interesting is as the years progress, at least in my experience, the diagnosis becomes less important in the grand scheme of things and most of the time you tend to forget about it until something slams reality back down on your head.  It’s those times that the heartbreak can be excruciating.  It’s those times you wonder how you made it this far and you forget all that you and your precious bundle have accomplished.  For those of you just starting out, I would highly recommend that you take the time to document your child’s successes.  That way when reality strikes (and we all know it will) you can pull out your memory book(s) and say, “this too shall pass and when we reach the other side we will be victorious once again.”

Another bit of advice, if you know your child has a low immune system don’t be afraid to tell sick people to stay away.  Your child’s health is more important than that play-date.

My son with special needs is now 17 and our life hasn’t always gone the way I hoped and prayed it would, but I know it has proceeded in a way that it needed to proceed to fulfill God’s plan for the two of us.  To be honest, all three of my boys had a rocky start in life.  Mitchell spent 3.5 weeks in the NICU after being life-flighted to get there.  Zachary turned blue in the newborn nursery (yes, antiquated practices of a newborn nursery at the hospital) and came home with an apnea monitor which I do believe weighed more than he did and we lugged that thing around for 6 months.  So I know that even a child with the right amount of chromosomes sometimes becomes a special needs child if only for a little while.

My days that reality slaps me in the face have ebbed and flowed over the years.  Right now, I feel like I’m in the midst of one big reality wake-up call as my hopes and dreams for Nick aren’t exactly lining up with reality.  It’s hard too when the 9 year old seems more mature (at times) than the 17 year old.  (The 11 year old some days seems older than me.)

Hopefully, this post hasn’t made some expectant mom panic (especially if she has already gotten a doom and gloom prenatal diagnosis) because truthfully the good has outweighed the bad and I’m confident it will continue to do so.

 

Apologies on no new posts…

February 17, 2011

Last week on Tuesday my mom called and told me my grandmother had had a stroke on Monday night.  By Thursday, things weren’t looking good.  Turns out she had an allergic reaction to a new med and by Friday we thought she was improving.  Unfortunately, when we returned to visit her on Saturday we discovered she was having trouble breathing.  Sunday she was no better and I feared she was growing worse.  All the nursing staff would say is “well, she is 99 and her body is tired.”  People we are her family, we know how old she is and we know how tired she is — you aren’t telling us anything we didn’t already know.  My husband is a nurse so on our way back home I was talking to him about what I saw on Sunday morning.  He confirmed my thoughts that Grandma was dying.  On Monday morning Mom called to tell us Grandma had passed away.

This week has found us getting Jeff a new job.  Praise the Lord that didn’t take long and the two weeks he was unemployed can be viewed as a vacation (he had 3 weeks of vacation from his previous job due him so those two weeks were with pay).  We are still waiting on his mom’s estate to finish going through the probate process, hopefully that will finish up this week.  Nick had OT and Speech (Monday/Tuesday, respectively) and the boys have had school all week.  Mitchell turned 11 on Wednesday and we celebrated with the meal of his choice (Kielbasa Dogs w/Sour Kraut) and a movie (Beverly Hills Chihuahua II — his birthday present from us).

We’ve managed to survive 3 days of homework with Zachary — trust me it’s survival.  The poor kid has two older siblings that almost never have homework and thinks the world has plotted against him because he almost always has homework.  I think he spends more time fighting doing it than he actually spends doing it!

As far as my coupon adventure goes, it was put on hold during the past two weeks — too many other things have required my attention.  I hope to get back at it next week.  Since Savings Angel didn’t have my local Shop-n-Save in their system, I’ve been manually trying to compare the theirs to mine.  It’s a lot of work, hence the setting it aside while I deal with life.

Plans for the rest of the week include working on repairing a scrapbook of my Grandma’s and cutting the boys’ hair — they are starting to look like shaggy dogs.

First adventure with couponing….

February 1, 2011

This evening the younger two boys and I ventured to our local Shop-n-Save (well, we actually went to the bigger one where a branch of our bank is located) and decided to try our hand at using coupons (money is tight until payday this week).   The first coupon the boys stumbled across in the newly created coupon binder was a coupon for a free Bird’s Eye SteamFresh veggie with the purchase of either a Van de Camp’s fish product or a Mrs. Paul’s fish product.  Dinner was decided on the spot — fish sticks, free veggies (ended up with Brussel Sprouts, yes the boys like them) and Kraft Mac-n-Cheese (the blue box) as we had that at home.   Since Jeff is a big eater I ended up doubling that purchase (unfortunately, only had one coupon so only one of the veggies were free).

Tomorrow night we are going to have Spaghetti, since  I have everything to make that at home we just needed a salad (no coupon) and bread (had a coupon for Texas Toast fifty-cents off and S-n-S doubles coupons up to $1 so we got a $1 off that!).

Then we noticed that S-n-S had Manwich on sale 3 for $3 and we had a coupon where if we bought 3 we got one freeScore another freebie! Ended up with 4 cans for $1 and when Jeff asked Mitchell to tell him how much each can cost, Mitchell responded with, “less than $1” but Zachary piped up “$.75/each and under a $1 with tax!”  (No, Zachary isn’t a math whiz he just got lucky and even admitted that after we all teased Mitchell a little about Zachary beating him to the solution.)

All in all,we purchased $39.84 worth of items using $4.50 in coupons (including manufactured double ones), less another $1 for our rewards card bringing the grand total to $35.63 with tax!  Not bad for a first time and only using 4 coupons.

I’m 2 boxes of cereal away from a free gallon of milk (and I’ve got coupons for that cereal!).  I’m also $7.70 away from another $.20/off gallon gas coupon.  We recently earned a Big Game Coupon which saves us $10 on a $25 purchase — need to use that this week so we don’t lose it.

 

Savings Angel…

January 30, 2011

Well, I joined and I’ve perused the website and come up a little disappointed, not because I don’t believe you can save money because I do believe if you live in their home area you will save using the program.  Unfortunately, I live in WV and their home area seems to cover the following areas:  West Michigan, Eastern/Central Michigan, Illinois/Chicago, West Ohio, Minnesota, Missouri, Iowa, Arizona,  and Florida/Georgia.  They are still growing so there is always a change that WV will be added to their coverage area.  Until then my choice is to stick with them and use my grocery fliers and the coupon search feature to find my savings, utilize the national coverage store features (for the stores in our area) or quit.

I think I will attempt the first choice for a few weeks.  Seriously, the reason I jumped on this is I’m lazy when it comes to coupon use and truthfully while I’d love to save us a ton of money on groceries I seem to lack the willpower and gumption to actually do the work of locating coupons, tracking sales and matching them all up together to gain the biggest reward.

The times I’ve got segments of those coupon shows and the times I’ve read what online friends are saving (and getting for free or nearly free) I’m psyched.  I’m thinking I can do that, but then reality sets in and life happens and no coupons are clipped and no savings are found.  Perhaps I need to look at this as a game and get the boys involved.  They can cut coupons (they all love to cut stuff up), they can match sales ads to coupons (ooh, Nick could use the matching practice) — I could even make a deal with them — we put the money we save into my old pretzel container (big plastic jug) and the money can go towards a family trip.

I’ll let you know how it goes next week.  Got to tell them about this tomorrow.  This might just work after all.