Sunday, January 30, 2011

January Podcast: "Is it too much to ask?" with Sandi Anderson

Da da da da da da da! Drum roll please....

I'd like to present a new monthly feature: a brief on-the-street interview with someone I consider an inspiration in the autism community.

Miss January is Sandi Anderson, resource person extraordinaire!

Sandi and I share the same maiden name, faith in the same God, the same history of homeschooling, the same stubborn insistence on our kids' potential, and the same invisible tattoo. She is creative beyond all get out, resourceful, humble, accessible, and helpful. She has mentored countless moms-turned-professional-through-autism in San Diego county. If they don't know her, they know of her (and wish they did).

I first knew "of her" and was thrilled when she invited me to plan the Concert of Prayer for Special Needs in San Diego County. Now, I am honored to call her a friend. She has an idea a minute and is the one I call when I'm stuck or circling. I always hang up with a genius next step that feels easy to take.

Sandi repeatedly finds a way where none exists, whether to get Regional Center and the Dept of Rehab to fund a self-determination grant for her 21 year old son to have his own business or take the other to swim with dolphins in Hawaii. She is also hilarious! She was in usual jesting form, as we met for lunch at Rubio's to tape this. After she heard my line of questioning, she first asked how much I was paying her ($.00). Then, shot out a title for the new blog feature, "Is it too much to ask?" We all need a friend who makes us laugh.

In this picture, she is "tooting her own horn" at the Autism Tree Project Foundation's USD Football Mentor game day. Enjoy meeting her yourself on this audio podcast:Sandi Anderson.aiff
Note to Facebook readers: Click "View Original Post" to access the mp3 player.)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Sister Stud

The courteous Tuff Shed foreman arrived to correct two issues outstanding from our recently installed 10 x 12 room. Jim had left me to supervise--but of course I was the one who had missed them during the original install. It's one thing to be home all day; it's quite another to verify accuracy and craftsmanship.Glancing at his work order, the words "sister stud" caught my eye. "You're re-doing the floor right? ..and fixing the beam that's split?" What does that mean?

He explained, "oh yeah, that's what it's called. We sister the broken ceiling beam by laying a stronger one alongside it."

Epiphany! That's what God did for Reid in Allie. She happened to be home from school that day nursing cold symptoms. I ran upstairs, "Allie, you're not gonna believe this. You are a sister stud!" "Seriously, that's what it's called. Google it." She did and we read together from

When you've opened up a wall to make repairs, you may encounter a bad wall stud. Don't panic; this is par for the course in remodeling. Unless absolutely necessary, you don't want to rip out the entire stud. Doing so may cause problems with surrounding struct
ural elements. Instead, sister it.

Sistering is the process of repairing a deteriorated stud by nailing a "like" piece of material next to it.

By the time I got back out to watch how they do it, it was done. I could no longer see the blemish in the beam. Were it not for the paint, I would not have known which beam had been split. And neither will you in these pictures.

I confess in my own spiritual rebellion when they were 2 (pre-diagnosis), I complained to a mom's group how Reid would've been much better off as an only child. He was so much happier alone, bothered by noise, and inflexible. Sound familiar?

Forgive me, Lord for thinking I could ever know better than you. Praise Him that He does and also tolerates all my grumbling knowing full well what I see now. Allie has been critical to Reid's development in every way. We are just beginning to see how she holds the key to his healing and restoration too.

I wouldn't trade Tuff Shed's mistake for anything now. What a visual reminder it is of God's wisdom in making Reid a twin. His sister stud comes alongside strengthens, supports, makes good as new. God intended them to be a pair. He is working out a unique purpose in both of them through each other.

Where would he be without her? Where would she be without him?

Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,” and call understanding your nearest kin Proverbs 7:4

Not many of you have met me face-to-face, but that doesn't make any difference. Know that I'm on your side, right alongside you. You're not in this alone. Colossians 2:1-3

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: Ecclesiastes 4:8-10

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Do you have theme words in your life? Like a recurrent dream, the word "stronghold" shows up often for me.

First time, I really didn't know what it meant. However, when someone uses that kinda word in prayer over your infant children, you look it up.

Definition of STRONGHOLD

: a fortified place
a : a place of security or survival b : a place dominated by a particular group or marked by a particular characteristic
Initially, it seemed like some construct the enemy built to bog you down. A stronghold that enemy troops might have over an area.

Over the years through various Bible studies, I have learned that the Lord has strongholds of His own. Way more than the enemy.

Lately, I am learning that the Lord is a stronghold to whom we'd be wise to run to at lightning pace when we want protection. It is a safe refuge where we can be still and watch Him fight for us.

Currently, I am reading The Stronghold of God by Francis Frangipane and we completed this puzzle over Christmas. Oh how I love a good Unit Study with kinesthetic teaching!

Just today as I was walking with my Chris Rice, Peace Like a River cd, this stanza of grabbed me by the ears perhaps since I have tried so long in vain to save my son in my own strength:

Did we in our own strength confide,   
our striving would be losing,   
were not the right man on our side,   
the man of God's own choosing.  
Dost ask who that may be?    
Christ Jesus, it is he;   
Lord Sabaoth, his name,   
from age to age the same,   
and he must win the battle.

Sure enough, as I checked the's "A Mighty Fortress is Our God!" Synonym for stronghold.... "fortress." I love that God loves words.

Although we pridefully refer to autism as a new diagnosis and ourselves as pioneering crusaders in the fight against it, autism is not puzzling to God. Jesus is our Savior and Deliverer from every foe and has been since Martin Luther wrote this in the 1528. He describes the same outcome we seek today when we feel socked in by defeat, fatigue, insurmountable opposition, and unlikely odds. I am enjoying the truth this song proclaims and the instructions of all four stanzas of the lyrics. They deserve a modern rewrite by Eugene Petersen.

The Lord has been Mighty in battle since long before Luther, in the days of Moses, Aaron, and Joshua. Our God is the same, the Holy Spirit the same, our victory comes in Jesus. Only the name of the enemy seems to have changed. Why reinvent the wheel?

I'll include this video too since Chris Rice's is not on YouTube. Here is Christy Nockels of Watermark singing, "You are My Stronghold."

I told you it was a theme. Do you have one?

The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold
. Psalm 18:1-3

God is a safe place to hide, ready to help when we need him. We stand fearless at the cliff-edge of doom, courageous in seastorm and earthquake...Jacob-wrestling God fights for us, God-of-Angel-Armies protects us. Psalm 46:1-3 The Message

The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish stronghold
s. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Top 10 Tuesday

Top 10 Reasons to use Dignifying Language about those with Autism
(or any disability)

10. We are more alike than different

9. We are all disabled somehow

8. You likely love someone on the spectrum since it affects 1 in 95 children

7. You wouldn't want to offend someone in the room

6. We are all made in God's image

5. The Golden Rule is to love your neighbor as yourself; it's how you'd want to be treated

4. Words change our perception of others

3. People meet the expectations we set for them; your words impact another's identity

2. A person is a person; a soul is a soul

1. You have influence over others

Of course this begs the question: What is dignifying language? Kathie Snow at Disability is Natural has ammassed a wealth of articles here that define people-first language quite well.

John Tomkins work in developing Green Language is also excellent. Exploring his site for a couple minutes makes you mindful of your tongue in new ways. There are many ways to interact with his site, games for kids, and explanations of how our brains react to language and how words lead to behavior. We can all improve on this. And it's a matter of life or death according to the Bible.

Words are powerful; take them seriously. Words can be your salvation. Words can also be your damnation." Matthew 12:33-35 The Message

Words kill, words give life; they're either poison or fruit--you choose.
  1. Proverbs 18:20-22 The Message

Kind words heal and help; cutting words wound and maim.
  1. Proverbs 15:3-5 The Message

Sunday, January 16, 2011

New Reaction to an Old Circumstance

Reid knows his way around a library (and a Friends of the Library book sale room). In his zeal to scan their selection of outmoded, bargain VHS tapes yesterday, he bumped into one of the volunteer workers. And directed her to "Move."

Immediately on his heels, I prompted him with a more polite alternative,"Excuse me please. I can't see the videos on that shelf." Lest she think I was unfamiliar with current social mores, right?

Shifting her puzzled gaze from me to him and back to me she retorted, "Thank you mom." I simply smiled in love, resisting the urge to correct her with "I'm not your mother."

Reid, my quick study, was off to the workroom asking the rest of the staff for the particular episode of Between the Lions he came in search of. Only then after additional observation the woman declared, "Oh, I see he has problems."

There was a day when that would have made my blood absolutely boil in anger, embarrassment, and protest, but not today. I truthfully and outloud replied, "No, just opportunities."

Opportunities for all of us. Reid has opened more doors for us than I can count.

A huge door of opportunity for good work has opened up here. (There is also mushrooming opposition.) 1 Corinthians 16:4-6 The Message

God went for the jugular when he sent his own Son. He didn't deal with the problem as something remote and unimportant. In his Son Jesus, he personally took on the human condition to set it right once and for all...simply embrace what the Spirit is doing in us. Romans 8:2-4 The Message

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Taking Notes

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. 3 John 1:3-5

In God, whose word I praise, in the LORD, whose word I praise— Psalm 56:9-11

I have written before about how and why Reid sits in the sanctuary with us Sunday mornings. Nothing thrills my soul more than watching him diligently pen the key words from the sermon into his bulletin outline each week.

In a single glance down the pew, a series of images flash before my mind's eye:

...vestiges of his chubby little toddler hand...countless squatty golf pencils we collected to force a pincer grasp...hours of seemingly futile occupational therapy to correct the prehensile grasp...the vanquished hope that he would ever write his name...the introduction of an AlphaSmart keyboard goal to teach him typing instead...the accepting other approach of his private teacher Becky who simply suggested "it might be easier to hold it this way..."

...not to mention the treasure chest of rewards amassed (actually Panera cinnamon rolls) to "pay-off" staying in the pew for 2, 5, 15, then 20 minutes.......all those milestones and more that perhaps only another mother could appreciate (not to name names, but here's one).

But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. Luke 2:18-20

Victory comes in slow small strokes that, before you know it, spell a sentence.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Black is Back

If you don't already love Jack Black, here's another reason. He is one of a dozen celebrities participating in the Fly Into Autism benefit CD recording for Elaine Hall's Miracle Project in LA.

He cracks me up! I don't know who is cuter saying, "Dudes," him or Beth Moore. Victory comes in small steps, cramped sound rooms....and oh so often through music.