Aug 012017

Some time ago, a relative buried his mother. Not long after, he and his brother and father went to the gravesite to see the newly delivered gravestone. They took pictures, and he showed me a photo of the headstone on his cell phone.

It was an ornately carved, big, beautiful piece of marble. But something was wrong, and I noticed it right away.

“Your last name is spelled wrong,” I commented.

He thought I was joking, and I had to tell him to LOOK at the picture.

He was shocked. “I can’t believe it! How did we miss that?!”

I understood how three people could miss something so obvious. And it was their own last name, for Pete’s sake. It was because emotional turmoil blinded them.

That’s why those of us working with people who have mental health problems need a team of people to shape how we view things. I don’t know how we could have seen our way all these years with Lilly, without the different team member’s input and insight, because of the continual emotional upheaval and exhaustion. These team members have been guardians, social workers, doctors, medication RN’s, and therapists. And sometimes, it’s a friend who visits Lilly and notices something I don’t, because I am too close to the situation.

My advice is to take advice, as long as it goes with your gut feeling of what is right. Don’t try to be all and do all. You will need help along this journey.

<3 Nealie






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A Dirty Life Saver

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Jul 102017

I was cleaning out the console cubby in my car, and found a peppermint Life Saver in the bottom of the little pen cup. It had ink from the pens on it, and looked icky. If I hadn’t eaten it, I’d show you a picture of it -just kidding! The photos did not come out right, but I tried.

I couldn’t help seeing some similarities between that Life Saver, and the life-savers that I know who work or live with damaged children. They often get a little dirty trying to make a difference. You can’t always be picture-perfect or organized when you are saving a life. (Remember my swimming pool soak?)

So to all my friends who have fostered and adopted, or who work with kids like Lilly, Thank you for being a Life-Saver!


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Billy Bass Gets A Makeover

 Children, General Humor  Comments Off on Billy Bass Gets A Makeover
Jun 172017

Wow, It’s been a month since I posted here! What have I been doing? Making things fun for the kids and grandkids. We have an above ground pool, and we made a “changing room” for swimsuit dressing. I previously had Billy Bass in a bathroom, (much to Bruce’s chagrin -he doesn’t care much for him, lol), so I moved Billy Bass to a wall in the new room.

But not before he got a make-over! What do you think? More like a rainbow trout?

Humor can bring relief when things have been bad for a long while. I know the tenseness that can be in the air; the walking on eggshells around an explosive child. I know how it feels.

Do what you can to lighten up. For your own good. And remember, attitudes are contagious. It will rub off on others.

Billy Bass sings two songs. One says, “Take me to the river…throw me in the water,” and the other goes “Don’t worry; be happy…”

It’s difficult to keep a straight face when a fish sings funny songs while he’s looking you in the eye!



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May 132017

Taking Care of Children by Ari Kuzmik

Three-year-old Nick was whining about being hungry.

After hearing “I’m hungry” for the fifth time, his father said, “Well Buddy, what do you want?”

“I want hugs. I want hugs in my tummy.”

Nick found himself showered with hugs from everyone in the family!

I am proud of my son-in-law for asking Nick what he wanted, rather than throwing him a snack. And because he did, Nick had his true need met.

I think this speaks loudly to all of us.

Slow down.

Ask a question.

Listen for the answer.

And hug!

🙂 Nealie

PS The drawing is by Ari Kuzmik!


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May 012017

the green monster

Kind of a scary sculpture, but Tommy likes sharing his creations with people.  🙂

His mom, Joy, recently asked if I could get Tommy off his bus at the bus stop up the street from their house. After he put his book bag away, I asked him if he had a good day. He announced that he  had an “outstanding” rating from the teacher.  I also asked him who he played with at recess.

“Sergio,” he replied. “We played Diabetes!”

“Uh, what did you play?”

“We played Diabetes. The person who is Diabetes is “IT,” and he chases other people until he catches one, and then they are Diabetes.”

I explained that diabetes was  a health problem that some kids had, and he needed to go back to saying, “Tag! You’re it!”

After school is out for the day, we parents or grandparents need to find out a few things:

How was it? Give a 1-10 scale, or offer three words that help describe it, like great, awful, ordinary.

Who did you play with today? What did you play?

Mix the questions up  and don’t make them the same old after-school drill. Include something of your childhood recess or problems from time to time.

Boys will give shorter answers than girls, but try to engage them soon after they’re home, so if they have had a stressful day or a problem you can work through it.

And please see if your kid has homework. I volunteer at a school for an hour or so each week, and the kids that I work with are the kids who don’t have support with their homework at home. So sad!


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Over the Edge

 Chasing Lilly, Life's Difficulties  Comments Off on Over the Edge
Apr 112017

When Bruce and I were at the Grand Canyon, I honestly enjoyed the clouds more than the mile-deep craters that a person could fall into. I had no interest getting close to the edge of anything remotely high.

Nealie Rose

Bruce kept telling me there was nothing to worry about, while I stayed seated on park benches as he got closer to nature.

Later, we were in a Grand Canyon  restaurant and gift store, and I saw a book for sale. Guess what it was called?

Over the Edge: Death in the Grand Canyon by Michael Ghiglieri Wow! I didn’t read it, but the title confirmed a few things for me.

That brings me to what I want to mention.

This month is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. And sometime average people under severe stress (and without needed supports) go over the edge and become abusive to their children.

Here are four scenarios that demonstrate how that can happen, and interventions. If you are interested in preventing child abuse, see what you can learn from these scenarios.

Love my readers, Nealie

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Guess What I Bought?

 Fostering, General Humor  Comments Off on Guess What I Bought?
Mar 252017

Wonder Woman

I just bought my first Lego set -for me! When I saw this one, I had to have it. WHY?

Because all parents of special needs kids know that you have to put on the super hero suit to fight the “Doomsday” in our lives. My suit just happens to be Wonder Woman, like lots of other moms.

You dad’s have a lot more choices, lol! Superman, Batman, Captain America…

My Lego set is now all put together, in plain view in my office. Sometimes we need reminders of who we are, with God’s help.

If you need this, you can get it for about $10 at Amazon.

-Nealie 🙂

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Rice Kreepies

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Mar 202017

In Chasing Lilly, I told about a SUPER bad day that started when Lilly said she wouldn’t eat her “Rice Kreepies”for breakfast. She had a speech impairment, and that was the only way she could pronounce Rice Krispies.

I was reminded of that day this past weekend, when a visiting grandson asked where the Crummy Kibbles were. He was looking for a particular cereal, and he wasn’t trying to be funny. I asked him a couple times what the cereal was called, and he never backed off of “Crummy Kibbles.”

Okay then. -We’re all out!

This Saturday, I will be at an Author’s Fair at the main branch of The Canton Library on Market Avenue from 10-4:00.

April 15th, I will be at The Massillon Public Library, (with illustrator Arianna Kuzmik!), on Lincolnway. Hope to see you!

Nealie 😎



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Mar 102017

                                                                                                        Chasing Lilly

Chasing Lilly is meant to be a teaching tool for students in Psychiatry, Psychology, Counseling, and Intervention Specialties. That’s why there is a companion Discussion Workbook. Profs can use this true story as a case study. Students decide whether to confirm or disagree with Lilly’s diagnosis, talk over what could (or should) have been done in certain situations, medications, etc.

If you know a Professor or University Chair in any of these studies, please pass this on to them as they plan for the coming year. The books are available at Amazon or Barnes and Noble online.

Love my readers! Nealie

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Feb 122017

I have three grandsons who live near me, and they are all in the 8-9 age. For the past year I’ve been giving them information about how I want them to treat me when I’m old. I told them that since I always feed them either at a restaurant or at my house, (and drive them all over creation), that I want them to do that for me when I am old. Here’s the basic conversation…

Me: When I get old, you guys have to come see me, and you need to bring food, and sometimes take me out to lunch.

Sev: I know. I’ll do it.

Travis: What do you want to eat again?

Me: Mashed potatoes, BBQ chicken, and watermelon.

Tommy: I’m going to pick you up in a truck, not a car.

Me: That’s okay, I like trucks!

Sev: Uh, so you want watermelon? Do you have to have mashed potatoes, too?

Anyone could ask these boys about what’s going to happen when I get old, (as far as it concerns them), and they will tell you exactly what you’ve just read.

Not long after our fiftieth conversation about this, I was holding Tommy’s hand, and patted him on the head.  He commented, “You held my hand and patted me on the head.”

I replied, “I know. And when I get old, you’ll hold my hand and pat me on the head.”

He looked thoughtful and said, “And when you get old and die, we’ll put you in the cemetery.”

“Whoa, Tommy! That’s a looooong way away, though.”

“The cemetery?”

He had no clue why I couldn’t stop laughing! 🙂

And then I remembered Lilly telling me not to sell our house, because when we die, she wants to live here!

Seriously, I think we need to communicate our expectations to children, and be examples for them. I don’t believe that a child should be the center of the family universe, with everything and everyone rotating around that child so that his every wish is met. Instead, offer him the gift of beginning to think about how other people in his little universe have feelings and needs, as well.




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