What a Difference a Bow Made

 Children, Inspirational  Comments Off on What a Difference a Bow Made
Dec 232015
 

A pick-up truck parked near the road had been for sale for a while, but I never looked twice at it until a red bow was added to the windshield.

I found myself imaging giving that truck to Bruce for Christmas, and what a nice present it would be. Wait a minute. We did not need that truck. What was it about that bow that changed my thoughts?

I have heard that packaging is everything, and it might be true. Look what a difference that bow made!

I recently shared the Christmas story in Luke with some teen girls. One had never heard it before, and seemed awed. Me, too, every time I read it. That time, I noted that Jesus’s “packaging” was swaddling clothes, which were far from grand. The greatest gift ever given didn’t adhere to the “packaging is everything” rule.

But then, maybe yes. Who doesn’t love a baby?

Merry Christmas! Love my readers, Nealie

Dec 102015
 

We all have routines that we like and seem to thrive on. Get up, drink coffee, pray, exercise, shower, eat breakfast, look at the news, begin work, etc. Chosen routines help you feel content and more peaceful. God help the person who might keep you from getting that java or shower!

Breaks in the familiar are magnified for special needs children and kids from trauma backgrounds. Holidays, vacations, parties, and illnesses can cause emotional upheaval and disruption similar to how you feel when your routine is fractured, only much worse.

Our special kids may not have the internal regulation or understanding that assures them that life will return to normal in time. Put yourself in their place when you think things through.

These kids need structure to feel safe. Parties and holiday breaks may sound fun, but the feelings that they generate may be scary. My advice:

1. Keep things simple in decorating and planning. And is your idea of a “terrific trip” suitable for what they can handle?

2. If you want to go all-out on something, make sure your child is insulated from it, or your all-out will result in fall-out. (Is it worth it?)

2. Gifts should be few and keyed specifically to the child.

3. The fewer multiple strangers around, the better.

4. Plan ahead. Have a “buddy” for your child. Make it someone the child knows, and who will stick with them during an event. A spouse or mature sibling could do it for thirty or forty-five minutes, then have the next person assigned relieve them so that there is a rotation, and nobody gets burned out.

5. Where/who is your backup? I remember writing in Chasing Lilly about a time that we took Lilly out of state, and almost didn’t get her back home, because she went completely ballistic at a rest stop. What would we have done if she had taken off and been picked up by a stranger before we could have found her?

6. Prep your special needs kids, but don’t talk about an event too much beforehand, as that increases anxiety.

7. Realize that there may be a fixed internal clock that is triggered by certain events and times of the year. If a child is new to your home, tip-toe through these until you know your child better. There is no trip or party worth tearing up your family.

8. And lastly, I might get some objections to this, but expect your verbal child to say thank you for gifts. One Christmas, Lilly received a very nice gift from a family member. When she opened it, she rudely said that she didn’t want it. They offered to return it and get something else, but I handed the gift to them and said, “No. She has been rude to you and is not thankful. Return it and go out to eat with the money.” Lilly realized her loss, and she was more appreciative of gifts given to her after that.

Peace and joy to you, Nealie

 

Dec 072015
 

Queen is queenWans upon a time there was quing. She was a nice quing. She helped eveyone. She was verey nice. Afer a fyoo days a Prins shode up and the Prins and the quing got marred. the end.

Travis gifted me with this lovely work. It is so wonderful to me. Love the part about getting marred. I will not correct spelling in a heartfelt gift. After all, I am the Quing, and it will be as I wish! -Nealie

Dec 032015
 

I find it amazing that Lilly , who has experienced atrocious abuse and hurt, generously gives people the benefit-of-the-doubt.

Yesterday, she and I were talking, and she expressed some annoyance toward the peer group that she is around everyday.

“I know Carl’s had it rough, and I shouldn’t get mad at him, and Mandy gets on my nerves, but she’s had a hard life. All these people have their problems. I try to stay cool, but it’s hard. (Pause) Hey . . .  I’ve had a hard life, too.”

Lilly said that like it had only just occurred to her. Isn’t it wonderful that she can see the needs and limitations of others, and express some patience and empathy?

Love that girl! -Nealie

Nov 302015
 

Want some pure religion? The Bible says that pure religion is taking care of widows and orphans in their distress. (James 1:27)

These days, in this country, it’s hard to find a truly distressed widow, but they are around if we look. So look. 🙂

And orphans are everywhere.

What? Yes.

There are permanent and temporary orphans in every city.

They are the children in foster care.

“Okay,” you say, “But what can I do? I don’t know any orphans personally.”

Give to foster agencies. They are constantly in need of funding to help these kids. “Giving Tuesday” is now, if you have to have a designated day!

Or be a foster parent. Some of you have never had your life touched by an orphan, but you feel like doing the right thing . . .

So get some true religion and do it.

Look in the phone directory for an agency, or donate through Amazon Smile, which gives 5% of your purchases to a charity of choice. Here are two great ones if you are so inspired: Pathway Caring for Children and Beyond Trauma and Attachment. (The latter is not a foster agency but helps families who are raising foster and adoptive children from trauma situations.)

May you be truly blessed as you bless the less fortunate around you!  😀 Nealie

 

 

Nov 222015
 

I was thinking about my reasons for not liking automatic dishwashers. Was it because of the bending required to load and unload? How about the time that I helped treat a woman who impaled her thigh on a steak knife when she fell across a dishwasher door? Because she forgot it was open.

No, those things give me pause, but after some thought, I decided that it’s because I hate organizing disgusting things. Lining up dirty little dishes here, and dirty big dishes there, and the stinky glasses, and the silverware . . .ugh!

Give me a pair of rubber gloves and some hot soapy water, and I actually like doing dishes. Therapeutic.

I like it even better when someone dries and we can talk. Last week, I decided that Tommy was old enough to help dry the dishes. I handed a towel to him, and told him to take his time and place each cup or dish that he dried on the big table behind me. I planned to put them all away later.

I washed. We talked. He kept placing the dry ones on the table, and he’d come back for another bowl or drinking glass until he was finished. He was done first, and ran off to play while I rinsed out the sink and shined things up. I loved it.

I threw my gloves under the sink and turned to gather up the clean dishes on the table. My mouth dropped open. Tommy had gone into the bathroom next to the kitchen and filled everything he’d dried with water! Every cup and bowl covering the table held water.

I didn’t say anything to him, but I dumped the water and re-dried the dishes. He didn’t know about drying dishes, and was simply making a new job fun. For him. But let me tell you, the next time I enlist his little cuteness to help me dry dishes, he will know the plan!

Happy Thanksgiving, and be blessed, Nealie

 

People Pleasers

 Bella  Comments Off on People Pleasers
Nov 182015
 

Bell-the-Dancing-Beetle-by-Nealie-RoseWe’ve all been there.  Well, maybe all of us.  This book is for the kids who sometimes wear themselves out trying to make everybody happy.

Bella does her happy-flappy dance because everyone just loves it. At first, the attention is fun, but then she begins to frazzle by doing what everyone wants.

While this was written for the general public, when you have a child with Reactive Attachment Disorder or Oppositional Defiance Disorder, (RAD and ODD), things get even more complicated, because it doesn’t seem like there is much that makes them happy.

This ebook is a cheery way to teach your kids that it’s okay to set limits!                                                                Bella, the Dancing Beetle , $1.99

Love my readers! -Nealie

Nov 122015
 

I have had all kinds of teachers.

I had one who pulled my hair when she caught me talking.

I had another teacher who “didn’t tell” when I had an accident, and all the class wondered who had.

There was Miss S., who was so beautiful that I wanted to look just like her when I grew up.

There was the social studies teacher who loved his job and sparked my interest in what was going on in the world.

A math teacher who didn’t care if you didn’t “get it,” and lived only for the kids who did.

I had a teacher who frequently came to work intoxicated, but I wasn’t able to put two-and-two together until reflecting years later.

And then there was the teacher who freed me. She took our home economics class and turned it into an exciting time of creative exploration. She didn’t just teach us to cook -she taught us how to cook foreign foods and helped us put on a real luau -pig and all!

She went beyond in everything that she did.

She had us bring in old pieces of furniture, and we actually used toxic chemicals (oh my) to strip the finish off before sanding and refinishing. I was blown away by this new skill and sense of accomplishment in turning something tired into something vibrant.

Vibrant. That best described her. I watched in amazement as she sparred with administration for permission to do things in our class, and I know she sometimes went ahead without asking.

She dated a man who lived in Washington DC. She said he photographed presidents. We were a country school far from everywhere. How could she do that?

I could finally see beyond where I was, and because she was free, I could be, too.

Thank you, Ms. Bradley. I still love you.

-Nealie Rose

Blooming in Adversity

 Chasing Lilly, Children, Foster children, Fostering  Comments Off on Blooming in Adversity
Nov 062015
 

bloom where you are plantedI was stepping into a friend’s home recently when I noticed this tiny violet sticking up through a welcome mat.

I couldn’t help but admire its singular beauty and resilience. After all, it was late in October, when most blooms are just pleasant memories.

Others must have stepped over it, too, because it was healthy and undamaged. The little flower made me think of overcoming adversity.

The flower couldn’t have been any bigger than a dime, but the smile and admiration it garnered from me was large.

Bloom where you’re planted. It’s that simple.

-Nealie