Friday, April 17, 2015

Lesson 356: In Circulation

Spring has spring in Erie, 
and for Eloise, tonight it finally feels like it.

We went out to Eaton Reservoir, 
known to locals as Bull Dam in North East this evening.

It's a really pretty place if you haven't wandered there yet.

The kids played catch,
Mr. Lamp Post caught a stringer full of fish,

and Eloise ran around the damn dam with some friends.
It felt great to be back in circulation with nature.

Eloise is like a plant.
If she doesn't get enough water, sunshine, and soil
(evident from the muddy blotch on my forehead),
I wilt.

The color is creeping back to nature.
I love spring green in the environment.

I hate it on clothing.
Every time I wear a spring green shirt, 
the kids ask me all day long if I am sick.

The animals are out and about.

They make for some great photo/word pairings,
and this blog a bit more interesting to read.

The Lamp Post inhabitants are getting the blood circulating, too
It feels so good!

One of us still has to practice piano inside,
before she goes outside though.

The flip side to all that extra fresh air and sunshine is that we are pooped out.
We aren't built up yet to all that moving around!

Here is Sam at Field and Stream last Saturday.

Here's Ellen after she realized he drooled on the chair.

'Tis the season for political races.
I have a sign in the Lamp Post front yard from this young man--
a former student!

Bowling season is coming to a close,

and it's time to collect the trophies.

Natalie has learned to put mail into circulation.
Grandpa got this friendly letter this week!

Watch for something to show up in your mailbox.
Natalie is going to be doing the Barber Beast on the Bay Adapted Course this year.
She's looking for some cheerleaders.
Fluff up your green pom poms.
She is going to need your support this September.

Eloise is scrambling around school, 
attempting to collect overdue library books.
I sign them out in my name for my students all the time--
because they have a limit and teachers don't.
Then, I forget who has what book,
and I dodge the librarians like a teenager dodges household chores.

Eloise is about to put her bookshelf into circulation.
I've read a million books, but save only my favorites.
I reevaluated this practice recently.
What am I saving them for?
They've just been sitting there collecting dust.

You can learn a lot about a person 
by looking at what they have displayed on their bookshelves.

Carved, wooden boxes,
and photos of Besties.

Armadillos and a signed copy of a perfect ACT score.

Sorry Tracy Northern!
I'll get that one back to you!

Eloise always makes plenty of room for God's Word,

and faith in action books.

And of course I have the perfect piece of driftwood that looks like a giraffe,

and the Travelocity gnome.

Soon, I will put these books into circulation.
They are the ones awarded to me by Wellness Coach Jennifer Taylor.

The information between the covers is just too good to hoard.

If you get one of my books,
Eloise only asks that you bitch up the book.
That is my own term for writing all over it.
Don't just read it.
React to it!
How better to do that than write all over the pages?  
Then it's your job to pass it on to someone else--
and take a photo of you doing so, of course.

My friend Tracy Southern and I do this all the time.

I buy a book, 
read it,
write in it,
and then mail it to her.
She writes back.

Well, actually,
she's ultra neat.
Most of the time she uses post-its and sticky tabs,
not to mark up the pages.

My friend Patty at work gave me this one.
I struggled with it,
read part of it,
and mailed it off to Tracy Southern.
When she mailed it back, it looked like this.

It encouraged me to give it another whirl,
looking at the characters and plot from her perspective,
and I LOVED it!

You may be the lucky recipient of this book that I fished out of a book bin.
If it winds up mysteriously on your doorstep,
consider it a gentle reminder that your personality
needs a bit of buffing up.
After all, you have to learn how to BE a friend,
before you can have them.

Get out there in circulation, Readers,
because we are DONE with hibernation.

Enjoy the new found freedoms of SPRING!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Lesson 355: Bang for the Buck

For the locals:

Team Adrenaline workouts are free until through the end of the month of April.  This alone is worth the bonus blog post.  And a bonus this is, at that!

Eloise has been cheerleading for this wellness program run by Erie chiropractor, Dr. Steven Krauza for a couple of years now.  Many of you have inquired about it, and the quickest way to address all of your questions is here on my blog, Lessons From the Lamp Post. 

The largest lesson I’ve learned from being a participant in Dr. Krauza’s many programs is that wellness encompasses much more than workouts or weight loss.  Wellness is a whole body state of being.  His programs such as Team Adrenaline, Challenge Erie, Doc’s Detox, and The 58 Day Challenge encourage wellness from a natural, chiropractic standpoint.

Sign ups for Challenge Erie 6, a program designed to summon the citizens of my city to get healthy, are going on now.  Team building events, healthy eating guidelines to follow, a cooking class, and much more are part of the package that runs from May 2nd through the summer.  There are still spots available.  If you are interested, contact his office for more information—898-2346, or check out his webpage here:  Website Here

This program has lots of bang for the buck.  You would be hard pressed to find anything more affordable.  That is why I chose the song Bills by Lunch Money Lewis to set tonight’s workout photos to.  For the curious, this is the perfect time to check out this flavorful funbunch of wellness junkies.   Here’s a peek into the workout from this evening, as well as some of the others throughout the year.  Find a face similar to yours in the crowd—from the newbie to the seasoned athlete, the elementary schooler to the grandparents, to the fully functioning to those with handicapping conditions.  You are already one of the crowd.

I’ll be looking forward to seeing you at one of these cool locations in my hometown:
Mondays, 4:00 pm---Rolling Ridge Elementary School--meet at the playground
Tuesdays, 6:00 pm—Iroquois High School—meet behind the school in the back parking lot
Thursdays, 6:00 pm—Liberty Park---meet at the playground
Saturdays, 7:30 am—Shades Beach, Harborcreek—meet in the parking lot

Why not?  It’s FREE!  


Friday, April 10, 2015

Lesson 354: Into the Wild Blue

Happy Friday, Readers.
It's time to fly out of the work week and into the wild, blue weekend.

Welcome to the Lamp Post's annual April Autism edition.
Keep reading, even if you think autism doesn't impact you.
Eloise is telling you it does.

Natalie, my oldest daughter was diagnosed as a child with autism fifteen years ago,

my nephew Erik, sixteen years ago.

In the time that has gone by,
what has changed?
What has stayed the same?

To start off on a positive note,
Awareness is growing.
autism | Puzzle Tree Autism Awareness Poster

I don't know of a single person who is unaware of what autism is.
How couldn't you?
It touches it's ugly hand to one in every 68 children.

My daughter.
My nephew.
And a whole lot of others.
Especially boys.

The stats aren't good.

The costs of autism are staggering.
This is the latest posting from the CDC:

Economic Costs

  • It is estimated to cost at least $17,000 more per year to care for a child with ASD compared to a child without ASD. Costs include health care, education, ASD-related therapy, family-coordinated services, and caregiver time. For a child with more severe ASD, costs per year increase to over $21,000. Taken together, it is estimated that total societal costs of caring for children with ASD were over $9 billion in 2011. [Read article]
  • Children and adolescents with ASD had average medical expenditures that exceeded those without ASD by $4,110–$6,200 per year. On average, medical expenditures for children and adolescents with ASD were 4.1–6.2 times greater than for those without ASD. Differences in median expenditures ranged from $2,240 to $3,360 per year with median expenditures 8.4–9.5 times greater. [Read article]
  • In 2005, the average annual medical costs for Medicaid-enrolled children with ASD were $10,709 per child, which was about six times higher than costs for children without ASD ($1,812). [Read summary]
  • In addition to medical costs, intensive behavioral interventions for children with ASD cost $40,000 to $60,000 per child per year.[11]

You've heard my voice over this last decade,
especially the last four years as your Friday night blogger.

In 2015, the voices have combined.
Autism is speaking.

Can you hear us?
We're shouting.
All across the world.

Light it up Blue is the movement that is sweeping the world.
Sparked by the Autism Speaks network,
April 2nd is recognized as World Autism Day.
The US, joined with nations spanning the globe,
light up homes, work spaces, and national landmarks
with blue lights to recognize autism.

Autism Speaks has emerged as the most powerful force in Autism advocacy.

The organization produced the documentary Sounding the Alarm in 2014.
Please click the link below to view the 1 minute and 27 second trailer,
even if you aren't interested in viewing the entire documentary.
You'll get the gist,
plus you owe it to me.
You get to read this blog for free--
absent of annoying ads--
because I don't earn a dime from my writing.

Autism Speaks.
Oh, the power behind some money!
I'm not snubbing my nose at them, by any means.
However, this nose can smell Corporate Autism if there ever was such a thing.

They've branded it.
Streamlined it.
Focused it.

Autism speaks has kept the puzzle piece

but has moved away from the busy, primary colored original design.

They've changed the blue from royal to sky,
and have come up with a clever slogan.

The blue theme works well for the Light It Up Blue movement,
now in it's fifth year.

The founder Bob Wright was the former chairman of General Electric
and CEO of NBC and NBC Universal.

The Wrights know how to do things up right.
they are grandparents of a child with autism.

Here is more from the Autism Speaks website:

About Autism Speaks
Autism Speaks is the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization. It is dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. Autism Speaks was founded in February 2005 by Suzanne and Bob Wright, the grandparents of a child with autism. Mr. Wright is the former vice chairman of General Electric and chief executive officer of NBC and NBC Universal. Since its inception, Autism Speaks has committed nearly $200 million to research and developing innovative resources for families. Each year Walk Now for Autism Speaks events are held in more than 100 cities across North America. On the global front, Autism Speaks has established partnerships in more than 40 countries on five continents to foster international research, services and awareness. To learn more about Autism Speaks, please visit
Light It Up Blue T Shirts

Get your
rubber wrist bands,
cookie cutters,

Autism Awareness Products

water bottles,

Last Chance Sale

reusable shopping bags,
coffee cups,

Happy Earth Day - Reuse with Autism Speaks

and my personal favorite--
Hero Capes.
(They are only $7)

Autism Speaks Hero Cape

The Light It Up Blue movement really has people talking.
Eloise gives it a big, blue thumbs up.

On a side note---
while searching for Light It Up Blue images on Pinterest,
I came across this.

Bioluminescense on the shores of the islands of Maldives.
Just awesome.

MAGIC SEA! Glowing blue water washes up on a beach in Vaadhoo, one of the Raa Atoll islands in the Maldives makes for such cool pictures. The result of a chemical reaction called bioluminescence, it occurs when a micro-organism in sea water is disturbed by oxygen.

While trolling Pinterest,
I chose some notable pins to share with you.

Some are great:

Clever phrases,

My Family Ties: Bureaucracy at it's best... - My Family Ties, All help very, very gratefully received! xx

autism is one word trying to describe millions of stories. Offer support...not judgement. #autism

Interesting visuals,

Autism Awareness Inside and Out of the Classroom

Jamberry has Autism support nail decals:

Links to great information--
(No, Lessons From the Lamp Post was not one of the Top 10)

Happy reading! Best Blogs by Parents of kids with Autism

Some, not so great:
Annoying, overused WW2 signs - Autism awareness....Supporting Autism 100%

and of course, you always have to have your token image of Einstein.

List of famous or highly successful people with autism.  Darryl Hannah is autistic, Dan Akroyd has asperger's, and Bill Gates and Warren Buffet are suspected to have ASD.  I gave this lesson to my kids today, then had them write down one thing they were amazing at. It was a great lesson :)

My favorite word and photo pairing for 2015 is this one.
It was shared to my facebook wall
from a dear old friend of mine, 
Jeanne Peters.
This image has been printed and I'm searching for the perfect frame
so it can be displayed in my Lamp Post Writing Station.

Autism has an impact on my family,
but we've made it work.

Siblings take on different roles.

Brothers and sisters are one part relative,
one part friend,
and one part caregiver.

We work them into the fabric of our lives.
They are productive.
Natalie made shrimp tacos for dinner the other night.
She loves to cook!

We support the places who have helped Natalie and Erik grow and learn.

And these found their way into our Easter baskets this year.


Natalie was excited about Easter this year.
Her artwork from Mr. Rocky's Seneca High School art class, showed this.
Natalie is included in his class with typical high school students.
She has learned a great deal from them,
and I bet they have learned even more valuable life lessons from Natalie.

Yes, it's strange that Natalie loves binkies.
She works to earn money for jobs around the house,
then wants to go to Walmart to purchase binkies with her hard earned cash.
She doesn't put them in her mouth.
She never did, even as an infant--
-she had a highly sensitive gag reflex and never could tolerate any type of pacifier.
Instead, Natalie lines them up on her bedroom windowsill by color order.

Is this a problem, or something that just makes Natalie unique?
I choose to see it as the latter.
God reminded me of that in a bedtime reading from Sam's book.

The fact that my 16 year old has no hopes of driving a car,
and instead likes binkies---
that is a problem we choose not to rehearse.

Autism--it's a wild ride,
so why not expose her to a group of wild, wellness junkies?

Eccentric welcomes eccentricity.

We have lots more living into the Wild Blue here at the Lamp Post.
We are excited for things to come.

The Erie Walk for Autism is Saturday, April 25th,
on Presque Isle at 11:00.
Please join us.

If you have a loved one struggling with autism,
make every effort to lay your thoughts of negativity to rest.

More than a decade and a half into this world,
Eloise and Kenyan can tell you that life goes on.
No matter how challenging today was,
tomorrow starts a new day.

You can find joy in every single day.
Sometimes you have to change your focus in order to find it,
but a song is always there for you to sing,

a small joy for you to celebrate.

Instead of my own video this week, I will repost one of my favorites.  "Fixing Autism" is a few years old, and truthfully, the numbers are worse than the video makes mention of--but this one is really terrific.  Don't miss it.

Be patient.
Be tolerant.
Be kind.