Take the Road to Dreams

No one else can live our dreams for us. To place what is in one’s heart, superimposing it on an another’s destiny, is a cowardly ambition. To allow people to use us in such a way is almost as bad.

Our dreams are our own. People will tell us that we are not good enough. They will say, “you are not an artist,” or “not educated enough,” or “the right kind,” and that they know better. They lie.

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You are beautifully and wonderfully made, complete with a destiny, a fire in the belly. It’s your job to stoke it, regardless of how many wet blankets come along oh-so-eager to smother.

Forget nurturing the tiny spark with gentleness, hiding from naysayers. Make the fire roar so they don’t have a chance to extinguish the flame.

[tweet_this]Forget nurturing the tiny spark with gentleness, hiding from naysayers. Make the fire roar.[/tweet_this]

Some people disrespect you because their eyes are too full of their own failures to see beyond the smallness of themselves. Don’t be them. Tend to your own vision. Do this and you will recognize the greatness in fellow travelers.

There is no need to push others aside, because the road prepared for you is your own. The obstacles there are your own as well. It is your job to take them on.

Do not go against what God has prepared for you. Figure out what you are here for and get to it. Dreams can be quiet and simple, but must be large to your own eyes. Dig around in your soul and find them. Understand the uniqueness of your calling. Understand the value of your deepest hopes and why they are imbedded in your being.

There are prizes you will never receive. Goals unreachable and impossible. They all look that way from where you are standing right now. No one can say with the slightest speck of certainty what dreams are within your reach.

[tweet_this] No one can say with the slightest speck of certainty what dreams are within your reach.[/tweet_this]

Passion and destiny collide. With all the tears and bloody bruising, it’s not always pretty. But it is always exquisite, your beautiful dream, big and gorgeously audacious in the middle of ambition and grit.

The joy is in the pursuit of destiny, not in trophies or glittery accolades.

This is how we live a dream.

What will you do with your dreams today?

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cat lion forget nuturing the tiny spark . . .make the fire roar donnajostone.com quote

Growing Weary?

Do not grow weary.

I get weary. Who doesn’t? But lately I have been pondering growing weary. Not being weary, but growing it.

To grow something you have to feed it. Good or bad, growing things must have a source of light, water, and food. Conditions have to be right. Shelter from predators and inclement conditions must be provided.

I never considered the concept of growing weary like I grow other things like faith and patience. I can see how a person could feed weariness. Negative thoughts, listening to wrong people, forgetting Who is really in charge here, neglecting to recharge and encourage ourselves; all of these things help weariness thrive.

Our souls will always filled by something. Even when we say we are empty we are speaking of a feeling of darkness, despondency, or negativity. Our world is designed with no gaps, the spaces filling up as soon as there is an inch of available space. Something pushes in. Something grows.

To raise something we want, we cultivate, preparing the soil and digging as deep as future roots require. No shallow scraping out of a handful of dirt, the shovel digs deep. If the earth resists, we dampen with water, forcing softness out of stubbornness. We do this without taking affront. It is the nature of things.

It is also the nature within us that prompts us to prepare for a large thing, a deep thing. This is faith.

We loosen the earth, raking, grabbing handfuls of dirt and squeezing, breaking, understanding that the goodness will not give itself up to those who refuse to work. You have to be willing to get your hands dirty. You have to be willing to have faith.

Your faith must be large enough that you feed and water the plants and protect them constantly. Unguarded and neglected, they rarely produce. Even the strong, well established plants are no match for a sudden frost, or hungry caterpillars.

Except of course, for the never ending weeds. This is the battle. Plants that give us life, and plants that choke out those that give us sustenance.

We choose what we will grow.

Death and life. Build or destroy.

It is very easy to grow weariness if we succumb. It is a natural thing, like weeds. Something is going to flourish in every gap we leave open. There is no empty space.

No one intends to propagate weeds. They creep in when attention is elsewhere, taking advantage of every opportunity. Before you know it, they are tall and strong, arrogantly taking over the place if we let them.

A garden needs regular tending. A calling needs feeding.

Do not grow weary.

 

Watering Can A garden ... Do not grow weary quote donnastone,me

 

Today I will feed my soul with Truth and not grow weary. If I keep my focus on the tending of my destiny, refusing negative thoughts, weariness will have a much harder time taking hold.

Time to get my hands grit-under-the-nails dirty.

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What Is Real? |Five Minute Friday

Five-Minute-Friday-4

Every week, bloggers from around the web come together and write for five minutes on one word. Join us!

Today’s Five Minute Friday prompt is Real.

 

 

The things that are the most real are the ones hardest to quantify. You can’t hold them in your hand, unless you count holding hands.

When I was young, if you had asked me what was real I would have said houses or land, money in the bank, but I would have been wrong.

The real things are quick silver wispy bits, of no physical substance even while they are the weightiest.

You cannot actually see sorrow or hold passion, but there are few things greater and more substantial.

There is an unbendable strength to what is real.

Real things are absolute and do not change. Nothing can erase them once they exist.

Real things are evident when the heart looks.

Isn’t it odd how the firm and solid things, the truest and most concrete things of all are not definable things at all?

Yet they couldn’t be any more real.

womanwithballoons

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Shall I Compare Thee

Recently, I went to a writer’s conference. Since I am having some trouble with my eyes and have not gotten my eyeglass prescription quite right yet, my eldest son drove me. He is not a writer. He writes computer code, but that’s about it. His reading selections tend toward technical nonfiction, the Bible, and a little Sci-Fi.

We were chatting with a writer and I asked her what she wrote. The boy had no idea what Rom Com meant. It kind of rhymes with Comic Con, but he knew they were not otherwise related.

Later he asked me, “What did she say she writes?”

“Romantic Comedy.”

“”Oh,” he says. “Like A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

Even though Shakespeare basically invented the genre, for some reason his answer tickled me to no end. Maybe I was fatigued, but for whatever reason it struck me funny.

“Well,” he said, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream is the only romantic comedy I can think of, except for The Taming of The Shrew.”

I promise, this guy has sat through some chick flicks, but apparently they didn’t cut the mustard.

Maybe all some guys need is Shakespeare. You know, a man could do worse than to borrow from The Bard. If your fella could sing Sonnet 18 to you at a key moment, it would impress.

Old fashioned is still romantic.

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Just Visiting

Every Friday bloggers and writers get together and write for five minutes on a one word prompt. Join us.

Today’s word

Visit

My boy finally got his paperwork on his first house in order yesterday. Soon he will pack the truck full and drive away to get settled in his new place. My house will not be his house anymore, but only mom’s. When he returns it will be for a visit and no longer the place he calls home.

Yesterday he told me, “I’m getting up in the morning and going to my house to shower.”

“No you are not,” I said. ”You will bathe before you leave. What if you get in a wreck?” He may be a homeowner now, but I am still mom.

He put new door locks on his house, and turned the water on. He needs a toolbox. I bought him tools years ago, but too many people in the house and not enough organization has rendered them community property.

He sent me pictures of the treasures the previous owner left behind. One picture of dogs and duck hunters, which he hung on the wall, several vinyl records, and some 33 cent stamps. He also sent me pics of his curtainless windows.

duck pics

I have a chair matching the one beside my bed. It’s out in the shed. I think I will gift it to him. For when I visit.

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Here and Now| When Five Minute Friday

Five minutes, no edits, one word.

 

When.

When is such a strange word. A nothing word. A word that looks both backwards and forwards but not at the here and now.

When I was younger, she says, I was so happy. I didn’t feel like I had to be someone I’m not. She mourns. Her eyes take in the old self of what she once was and no matter what I say, she cannot see the beauty of who she is. I say, you are still you, and she nods. There is no sparkle.

When I get in to my house, he says, and begins to tell of all the adventures and plans that will happen then. In his imagination of when he has already paid of a mortgage and saddled himself with more debt, buying things. In his future when there is not rust or rot. Then he will be happy, he thinks, when a shiny red pickup and a garden and fences and a hundred other things litter his paid for kingdom.

When school is done, the other one says, then I will get a job I like. His days will be spent on worthwhile pursuits and he will drink life and be satisfied, when that happens.

I used to dwell on the mountain top between the whens and never know it. Too busy looking backward and forwards I missed the view, the joy of being between the whens.

Today I do not think of the whens of the past or the future. Today I want to live in the now.

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What We Keep | Five Minute Friday

This is my  first Five Minute Friday post. We are given a one word prompt and five minutes of time. No edits. Scary.

Here we go.

KEEP

I keep many things

Old knick knacks from my grandmother’s shelf

Tiny dollhouse furniture

only to be looked at

Made of tin cans by a man she once knew

Its red velvet cushions not to be touched

doll funiture

A ceramic cat, curled up, unnatural yellow painted fur that doesn’t make me sneeze

The box my viewmaster used to be in

Other things collect themselves there now

Pictures and drawings

Cards from my children

Misshapen hearts constructed of red with flaky streaks of glue from a decade ago

Of all the things I keep I wish to keep a heart that loves

Full of forgiveness for the tattered bits and mismatched colors

the dust that clings to the corners

and sharp edges of all that is kept in my memory

Kept in my heart.

 

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Grownups Need Coasters

My son has been nudging me, poking at me with his behavior and mess.

Every day he leaves a greasy frying pan full of egg bits, knowing he’s breaking the rules. Dirty dishes and clutter on the counter. When he walks through my house he doesn’t walk, he tromps. Almost yelling, he talks too loud. Way too loud. He is getting on my last nerve.

I know what he’s doing. You can count on one hand the weeks he has left in this house.

It was exciting, buying his own home. Three bedrooms, two baths, and property lines marked by barbed wire. There are woods. He has already found the perfect spot for a someday fort. Not the usual first home.

He has stayed here, at my place, to help with things out of necessity. Meantime, he has saved his money, for the most part. As a momma I confess, anytime saving is brought up I tell him he could save more. He can.

It bewilders him that he can easily afford this home he has signed on.

He decided early what he wanted in a house and this one is it. It’s funny. The location is highly desired, the property in demand, and yet there it sat for six months. Waiting on him. I used to go to Bible study at that house. I told him, “That’s a good house. Plenty of praying’s been going on there for years.”

Everything worked out perfectly. Inspections, papers, appraisal, homeowner checklists, maintenance charts, budget. All that is left is the waiting.

Now he follows me into my room and sits in the chair across from mine, his form settling down into it with an odd deflation.

“It’s a big house,” he says.

“Yes, it is.”

He sighs.

He looks at me with those eyes. They are a bit too shiny. I do not tear up. Mother’s hearts are elastic and hold in things that are of no use at the time. I can mull this over later, take this emotion out of its gilded locked-tight box and hold it close.

 

I lift my head and firm my chin. In my packet of mother wisdom, I rummage around, searching for the words he needs to hear on this last leg of our present journey.

The heater kicks on, the warm air whooshing quiet dryness into the space between us.

“You know, your siblings will probably stay with you quite a bit.”

He nods.

I know this is not the same.

He sighs again. It will have to do. His spine bones straighten a bit, taller in the chair.

“I was online, reading a list of what I need to buy to set up house, and it said I need coasters.” He frowns. “I’m not sure I need coasters.”

By seven months of age he had commandeered my coasters. They ended up in his mouth, gummed, sloppy with baby drool. In his hands, my coasters did more harm to tabletops than good. A favorite thing he liked to do was use them to scrape back and forth on the varnished wood. He would bang, bang, bang them against the furniture. The lovely sound made him pause, cocking his head to one side and crowing before he began again, a wonderful endless game.

A blink later, coasters were used as mini Frisbees, flying through the living room. You could put an eye out with one of those missiles. Too busy trying to keep him off the counter tops, I had little time to worry about the damage small rings of water could do. The coasters went into a drawer somewhere a long time ago.

We generally use bits of junk mail or magazines that are lying about, maybe a potholder. More than a few times, a clean sock from the laundry pile conveniently located on the couch would do. Strange how family habits take over and proper niceties are forgotten.

“Yes.” I affirm. “Grownups need coasters.”

“I’ll use a towels.”

I grunt. “You don’t have any towels, either.”

“Yes I do,” he protests, pouting. “I have two.”

I laugh, missing him already, and take today.

We’ll think about coasters tomorrow.

 

 

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Homeschooling and Afterschooling High Functioning Kids on the Spectrum: Resources Part Two

Homeschooling and Afterschooling High Functioning Kids on the SpectrumIn part one I touched on parenting tips, behavioral issues, life skills and what I found to be the most useful character based curriculum for teaching my kids.

Support Groups for Parents of Kids with ASD

An invaluable resource, one you cannot do without, is asperger or autism support groups. Parents can provide you with much wisdom, insight, and encouragement. You may find various groups geared towards raising and teaching kids on the spectrum online and locally. I recommend finding both a local group that has meetings and an online group to take advantage of the wide variety of input. Most, if not all, local groups also have an online presence or an email group.

In regards to online groups, some prefer email groups to Facebook groups for privacy reasons. I have made use of both types of online groups. Parents who have been in the trenches can help you in more ways than you can imagine. Adults on the spectrum, especially adults who are now raising and teaching their own children with ASD, can give a unique perspective and provide effective problem solving strategies that may not typically be obvious to others.

I do not know how I would have navigated the difficult and confusing seasons without the wonderful moms and dads who were willing to share their knowledge and support. There is a reason I put this first here. You will need people. Don’t neglect to find your tribe.

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[tweet_this]You will need people. Don’t neglect to find your tribe.[/tweet_this]

*If home educating, you may also wish to take advantage of your local homeschool support groups and activities. These can be found by doing internet searches or asking local home educating families.

Brain Training

There are a plethora of different products and services out there that fall under the category of Brain Training. Some people say these work, and others say save your money. The very first brain training program I ever heard of was Audiblox  when I first began home schooling.

Beware of companies that offer brain training after they give you reduced cost testing. If the tests are not accepted by assistive agencies as legitimate, you may not be receiving an accurate assessment. Pay careful attention to the wording of the test descriptions and do your homework. Cheap, ineffective testing isn’t worth anything in the long run. It may do more harm than good, masking problems or misdirecting from the real issues and proper treatment.

We used a computer game called Earobics for auditory discrimination. One of my sons said it really helped him. This was the first edition computer software for older kids and adults I found many, many years ago. The company now makes more products in the line used in schools in addition to home versions.  You can get Earobics here.

Occupational Therapy-Sensory Integration Therapy

A program called Learning Breakthrough that seemed to have good results for my child who used it. We could not use the ball included due to latex allergy, but found an alternative. We used a plastic whiffle ball covered with a sock hung from a string! This program was easy to use and required no teacher prep. It is a structured occupational therapy program for sensory integration advertised as being useful for people and children with asperger’s, high functioning autism, ADD and learning difficulties.

The DVD speaks directly to the person using the program. The activities are actually quite fun and enjoyable. In my opinion, the product is quite sturdy and the instructions given on the DVD are clear and easy to understand. You can watch a video sample here.

Take A Swing Therapeutic Swing Sets

Here are some pretty cool swing sets for kids and adult sized people that are portable! These can be packed in your car trunk and can be used indoors.

TakeASwing

I hope some of these resources will be of use to you, helping you teach your asperger’s or high functioning child with autism.

What about you? What have you found that worked for you?

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Celebrate: My Word for 2015

My word for this year is CELEBRATE.

Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens! Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness! Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp! Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe! Praise him with sounding cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals! Psalm 150: 1-6 ESV

I’m fixing to get loud up in here.

I will celebrate the Lord’s goodness to me. His faithfulness and constant love. I will celebrate the results of pruning and pushing, until I can celebrate the actual thorn, keeping trust that He is faithful to work it out. One way or another. Knowing that He will provide me the faith to believe even when I don’t feel it at all and I say, “I just can’t even” not even able to complete articulating what it is I can’t.

Before, I have always earnestly chosen high sounding words that smacked of self-improvement. An action certainly commendable and always sorely needed in my case, but I do believe it is time for me to take a moment or a year to simply be. A time to celebrate.

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I will celebrate my existence on this earth, and the fact of my well-earned age. Healthy indulgences will not be denied. Naps will be taken. Songs will be sung. Loudly.

Citing the rights endowed me by experience of years; I will try to not let protocol keep me from expressing what I think. Already I sometimes say things that I am not sure I really meant to. They pop out of my mouth, thoughts leaping out of my cranial cavity to dance across my tongue before they gleefully escape into the open to cavort. And get this; they are words that only mildly surprise me. Did I say that out loud?  And instead of being embarrassed, I laugh.

I have become more fully me and this I will celebrate with extreme stubbornness.

I will celebrate milestones reached and hurdles overcome. There’s been a bunch. There’s more ahead. Might as well practice celebrating now.

I will not ignore or deny the hard and terrible days that pound against flesh and crease the soul, leaving worn places, but in the midst I will search out and celebrate things no one else notices. Things that those blinded by high clouds think are inconsequential. I will turn the glass around and upside down to get a clearer view of truth. The smallest hill is a mountain when you have to crawl on your hands and knees. Every step forward deserves recognition.

On the darkest of days and nights, I will determine to remember and celebrate that He celebrates me, imparting life where there was none, reviving and restoring what was lost.

And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate. Luke 15:23-24 ESV

I will celebrate all these gifts and more.

RedHatDonna

What about you? What will you celebrate?

 

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