Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Lost Edens by Jamie Patterson

In Lost Edens , author Jamie Patterson struggles to save her marriage which may or may not be already over. Keeping her attempts a secret from her family, she attempts to mold herself into the wife her husband wants her to be.

And she really, really kept her attempts a secret from her family. Her story is familiar to so many others we read in fiction, watch on Lifetime movies, and hear other Moms talk about at playgrounds. It’s a timeless story told generation after generation. I know that in my family there are women who stayed in unhealthy marriages for a variety of reasons – culture, tradition, generation expectations, children, and financial. Probably in yours too. They become victims of so many things.

But each story has two sides. There is someone in the relationship doing the abuse. And one has to wonder how they got to that point. No one (in their right mind) raises their child to be the one giving the abuse in a relationship. In most cases, this person thinks its ok because they’ve been raised with this relationship modeled. Or because they have a mental illness of some kind that effects their ability to have positive and healthy relationships with significant others.

Traditionally, women are the victims and men the abusers. I don’t have a daughter. But that does not mean I’m off the hook on having certain conversations of what to look for and look out for in a relationship. I still have them with my son. But from a different perspective: as a male and as a person with a disability. My son is diagnosed with Aspergers, Anxiety, and ADHD. All which can lead to a social nightmare, from either end of a relationship. He’s at a higher risk for unhealthy relationships whether it be friends or significant others, and from both sides of a relationship. He’s doing very, very well right now.

But I can’t let my guard down. I never know when a bump in the road will happen, and his bumps can have really bumpy consequences. And more serious consequences the older he gets.

He’s in middle school and has FB and a cell phone. And yes, I do monitor these. He knows I do, but doesn’t see me doing so, so he has no idea how often. But if I see unhealthy conversations, or iffy conversations, we talk about it immediately. He is interested in girls. And I want him to have a healthy relationship with them. I want him to be able to read the nonverbal signals he gets. I want him to engage in a socially acceptable way.

In so many ways, this is a much more important curriculum for him than the core academics he learns in school. What do you do to facilitate healthy relationships that your children have?

As a member of From Left to Write book club, I received a copy of this book for review. You can read other members posts inspired by Lost Edens by Jamie Patterson on book club day,October 27 at **From Left to Write**

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Friday, July 15, 2011

Things I Like About Me!

My friend C. Mom gave her readers a challenge. To create a list about what we all like about ourselves. Why make a list about what we like about ourselves? Because we are often too hard on ourselves. We don’t give ourselves enough credit. Therefore, it’s past due time to celebrate ourselves. What we like about ourselves. Our strengths.

So, here goes. My list:

My relationship with my husband. He is my absolute best friend, and has been since we met 20 years ago.
My relationship with my son. So wanted and loved. I couldn’t imagine my life without him. He brings me endless joy. A common thing I’ve heard from several of his teachers is how well we are matched. We just get each other.
Motivation. I am definitely motivated. Well, when I’m not sleeping from CFS/POTS/FM. Before that diagnosis I was always on the go. I mean, who in their right mind decides to do their first year teaching, get a masters and gestate a baby all in the same year? Wait, maybe that’s not motivation, maybe that’s craziness…
Patient. I am. Not sure where this trait came from, but patience I definitely have. It’s kinda required for my job. But, the rewards for being patient in my field are so incredibly rewarding and big.
Positive thinker. I’m definitely a glass is half full vs. half empty kinda person. I simply find it’s easier to go thru life thinking positively. It makes you happier. It makes those around you happier. It takes less energy than thinking half empty.
• I’m starting to like my ability to relax. I used to consider this wasting time. Seriously. Why just sit on the couch and flip thru family sitcoms when you could be learning, communicating, doing something, anything! After my CRF/POTS/FM diagnosis I had no choice but to slow down. And I’m starting to like my ability to slow down and take some time to do nothing.
Getting paid for what I love to do. I mean really, how much better can it get? I job by my definition that’s a dream job, that I worked and trained hard for, that I wouldn’t trade for the world. And I get paid on top of this?!?
• I like (and hope others see this quality in me) my trustworthiness and ability to listen when a friend needs it.

What do you like about yourself? Go ahead. Make a list and link up to C.Mom!!

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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Beside Still Waters - Book Blog Tour

I grew up in a very religious household. Every Sunday we went to church. Mom was in the choir. Both Mom and Dad held various positions on the various committees, including Deacons and Treasurer. It didn’t matter whether use kids wanted to go or not – it simply wasn’t an option. We were to go every Sunday, all year long.

I’m not sure when exactly I started questioning religion, as probably most of us do at some point in our lives. I do remember being somewhat scared to question it though. What if I was stuck down?!? What if I was punished for doubting?!? What if I didn’t agree with my parents religious views?!?

It wasn’t until I was away at college that I stopped attending. Mom couldn’t ‘make’ me anymore. Nothing happened. Then I returned home for summer. My summer job was working at restaurant. Often on Saturday nights. Until 3ish in the morning. I didn’t make it to church much that summer. Despite my Mom’s obvious displeasure, nothing once again happened.

After I was convinced it was ok to not attend church, say the Lord’s Prayer each day and other religious traditions I was grew up expected to do daily or weekly, I started really thinking about religion. What it meant. What it meant to my family. And most of all, what it meant to me. As Sociology major I chose to take Sociology of Religion as an elective. I also babysat for a Hasidic Rabbi’s family all thru college, as well as several of the families in that community.

What I learned was that it was ok not to have the same exact religious views as my parents. It is OK if I am not as religious as them, just as it would be OK if I was more religious than them.
Sometimes realizing that the values and thoughts that we were raised on are OK to alter is a scaring and daunting task. In fact, it is even OK to alter them completly!

This is exactly what Marianna Sommers is going through in Beside Still Waters by Tricia Goyer. Questioning how her parents have raised her in her Amish community. Questioning her feelings towards what she thought she was expected to do when she grew up against possibly changing those plans and the outcome it may bring to her, her childhood crush, a new potential for a husband, and her family.

A huge fan of Amish fiction, it was easy for me to relate to Marianna’s dilemma. Goyer's writing style is easy to read and a perfect summer book to keep in your pool bag. This is one book you definitely want to add to your reading list, whether you are a fan of Amish fiction or not. I’ll be checking the book stores for the sequel to this book to see what Marianna decides to do!

I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of the Beside Still Waters Campaign and received a copy of the book and a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Each summer we bring out the sandals and show our feet. Which always makes me more observant of feet.

OK. You're probably thinking where I'm going with this.

When I started dating my husband 20 years ago, I noticed he could spread his toes apart and back - opening spaces inbetween his toes. I thought it was some kind of trick. I thought it was something unique to him. Because I can not do that with my toes. He thought I was being silly. But really. I can't.

So I started paying more attention to other peoples toes. Especially in the summer when they're more observable. Seems most people can stretch their toes. Move them up and down. Stretch them wide apart from each other. I still couldn't.

20 years later, I can slightly spread out my toes on my left foot. This is after TWENTY years of working on it. Yes. I actually work on this. Not like on a regular schedule, or something to put on my to do list. But I did work on it.

But my right foot? Nothing. I tell my toes to move apart. And nothing happens. They move up and down, but will.not.spread.apart.

And I've yet to meet anyone else who shares my predicament.
And each summer I once again become more aware of it.

Honestly, it doesn't bother me. I'm just more perplexed that my feet don't do this.
I also wonder how alone I am in this foot feature.....

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Monday, May 30, 2011

A Weekend Getaway

Yes we did. We got a way for the weekend. Well, half the weekend. But we went away without Adam.

We went away three years ago for a night. That's how long it took my parents to be willing to watch him again.

We didn't go far – actually just about 30 minutes away. But we went to a hotel that was somewhat fancy and more catered to adults. And we went to a restaurant that was somewhat fancy and more catered to adults. And we did lots of sitting around talking and sipping wine and eating good food. It was nice. It was more than nice. And we had a little more than 24 hours without Adam.

The first time we went away I'll admit it was a little hard to enjoy myself. All the 'how's Adam?' doing thoughts kept popping in my head. This time I definitely enjoyed myself. When a 'how's Adam?' thought came into my head it was quickly answered with a 'he's fine, and if he's not at the moment, he'll have to get over it'.

Which, unfortunately he waited until 24 hours after we got home to get over it. Seems he only got a few hours of sleep the night we were gone. He spent most of it sitting in our bed, watching TV, playing on FB, IPad and with the cat. To stressed out to sleep. And then a full day at the water park with his cousins and then a cookout yesterday and he crashed. And then this morning he melted big time. He was just angry and moody.

To which I responded by suggesting perhaps he needs more practice spending the night without Mommy and Daddy (on our terms, not his – a sleepover at the neighbors). He didn't like the idea. Hubby and I did.

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Where's The Balance?

Because seriously, I can't find it.

If I'm having a good week (ie - not in a flare), I work tons. Because I love my work. But then other things like exercise to to the wayside.

If I'm having a good week, I do lots of housework. Because I love a clean house.

If I'm having a good week, Adam is really organized, and has his HW in his bookbag the night before school to make the morning rush earlier. Because I have the energy to make sure he does.

If I'm having a good week, I get to talk with my husband. Really talk, not just who's picking Adam up, who's taking care of this and that. Because I have the energy to make sure we connect.

But I can't say I really have good weeks. Because a good week would mean all of this is getting done. And it's not. Even when I think I'm having a good week. By the end, the 'to do' list is still huge and family time has been cut short.

Let's not even talk about 'me' time. I don't even remember what that really is!

To make mattters worse, I have at least 3 major projects I want to get started. Really, truly wanted to get started, and they are going to all be time consuming, but I've been wanting to do them for years and the itch to do them is getting really itchy!

So, help me blogworld. How do you find balance to get everything to fit?

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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A New Begining

Please, - someone invent something to stop time!! Because seriously - MAY?!?

As you've noticed I've been gone again. Had some personal stuff going on that I won't be blogging about, but happy to report it's all cleared up and I'm back.

The focus of this blog will be changing some. I'm not exactly sure how yet though. I'm no longer comfortable blogging about Adam's Aspergers. He's in middle school, and now it's his story to tell if he wishes to. Which is going to make this blog, um, well, have to take a new turn since most of what I blogged about was parenting him. I'm sure he'll still be making some appearances here and there though.

So that leaves me a little speechless in what to write. Bear with me as I find my new voice here.

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Tuesday, March 8, 2011


I'm in the car quite a bit. And I'm always listening to music while I drive. And singing (because no one else can hear me – and this is a good thing – trust me). When you hear a song enough times you pick it up and most of the time I'm just singing along, not really thinking about it – just singing.

But every now and then a line or two really makes me think. Sometimes it's the tune, sometimes it's the way it fits with the music, and sometimes it's the lyrics themselves.

Lately there has been one song in particular that I can't stop singing along to. It's "Jar of Hearts" by Christina Perri. And I'm not sure why. I haven't gone through a break up recently. It doesn't remind me of a relationship in the past. But there is just something about her lyrics that get me each time.

And who do you think you are
Running 'round leaving scars
Collecting your jar of hearts
And tearing love apart
You're gonna catch a cold
From the ice inside your soul

This song was on the other day when Adam was in the car with me. He asked me to turn it up - he hadn't heard it yet, but it caught his interest. After it was over he comented on it too. "Wow Mom - there something about the way she says all that, collecting a jar of hearts? Catching a cold form the ice inside your soul? Who sings that?!?"

I'm not really sure what the point of all this was. Maye there was no point other than I like this song.

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Am I In Holland, Italy, or Somewhere Perfect?

I talk a lot about Adam, his Aspergers, and its challenges on this blog. Not to sound like a repeat of the inspirational poem "Welcome to Holland" by Emily Perl Kingsly, but do any of us really expect our journey of parenting to end up in Holland? But yet, here my family is. In the special needs category. In Holland.

But the thing is, Adam is and always has been perfect. He was perfect when I was a child and dreamed of being a Mom one day. He was perfect when hubby and I decided to become pregnant. He was perfect when I found out I was pregnant. He was perfect while I pregnant, when he was born, when he was an infant, toddler, preschooler, and in elementary school. He's now in middle school, and he's still perfect. Who he was before his diagnosis and who was the day after, and even today – he's the same person.

But then again, he's not the same. Or maybe I'm not the same? Aspergers has changed the way we parent. It's changed our plans for Adam. It's changed our expectations of him. It's changed a lot.

But has it?

Didn't I always want the best for my already perfect child? Wasn't I already going to enrich, expose, teach, nurture, and love my perfect child? Wasn't this regardless of his Asperger's diagnosis? Does Aspergers define my child and my parenting, or does my Adam define my child and my parenting?

So, am I really in Holland or am I in Italy?

Maybe there is no way to categorize this journey I'm on. Other than to say it's perfect despite its challenges. Because, when all is said and done, isn't that what parenting is all about? A journey that's perfect?

This post was inspired by the book, Mr. Rosenblum Dreams in English by Natasha Solomon. I received this book, along with some scrumptious shortbread cookies as a member of From Left to Write Book Club. Read how others in this book club were inspired by this book!


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Thursday, January 6, 2011

Can't Afford Lymphedema Sleeves?

You may have already seen this, but it's because we all love Toddler Planet so much that we're helping to spread the word. Please help us to spread the word too.

Cross-posted from Toddler Planet

Are you or do you know a breast cancer survivor? Please read today's post and pass it on. If you can't afford to purchase a lymphedema sleeve, gauntlet, and/or glove, and you can't manage your post-mastectomy swelling, Crickett's Answer and LympheDIVAs want to help.

Today, I am pleased to announce a NEW opportunity for breast cancer survivors who have had a mastectomy and/or axillary dissection of the lymph nodes due to breast cancer and have swelling of one or both arms but cannot afford the $200-$500+ cost for two sets of the compression sleeves and gauntlets that survivors with lymphedema must wear every day to keep the swelling in check.

Although lymphedema sleeves are medically necessary, they are not covered by Medicare OR most insurance plans under current law, and thousands of survivors go without the sleeves, needlessly suffering congestion, swelling, and pain that interferes with their normal activities.

Crickett's Answer, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization founded in memory of Crickett Julius, has just joined forces with LympheDIVAs to help other breast cancer survivors who fight not just the beast that is breast cancer but also the fallout of side effects that includes lymphedema, which may limit survivors' activities. By working together, they are now able to provide needed lymphedema sleeves and gauntlets to women who need them but cannot afford them out-of-pocket or convince their insurance companies to pay for them. They do this in honor and memory of their loved ones.


Crickett Julius survived breast cancer only four months, but her mother and cousin are dedicated to helping other women enjoy their life post-diagnosis through Crickett's Answer, a 501(c)3 organization that provides wigs, mastectomy products, oncology/mastectomy/ lymphedema massage, facials, and other pampering services as a way to help women feel feminine and beautiful after losing their hair and/or breasts.


LympheDIVAs was founded by Rachel Troxell and Robin Miller, friends and breast cancer survivors, who wanted to create a more elegant and comfortable compression sleeve. Rachel continued to build the company during her later recurrence. Even though she died two years ago, at the age of 37, her father, mother, and brother continue to grow the company in her honor and in the hope that LympheDIVAs’ compression apparel will continue to inspire breast cancer survivors everywhere to feel as beautiful, strong, and confident as Rachel was.

To ask for help, please download and complete the forms at Crickett's Answer, writing in "lymphedema sleeve and gauntlet" on page 2 of the application.

To help someone else, please copy and paste this post on your blog or email it to a friend (or your local cancer center!).

To donate, go here.

To help change the law so that this medical garment is covered by cancer survivors' insurance, stay tuned for more about the Lymphedema Treatment Act when it is reintroduced in the 2011 Congress.

Because of these women, these three thirty-something women who didn't ask to get breast cancer, and the men and women who love them, there is now help for women who can't afford lymphedema sleeves, a medically necessary garment not typically covered by insurance. Their legacy lives on.

Note: Cancer patients who are members of the National Lymphedema Network and who are treated by an NLN therapist can also apply to the NLN garment fund, set up in honor of Marilyn Westerbrook.

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