Jsack's Mom's Blog

Welcome to my blog where I share my special needs parenting journey with my heart, truth, and love, one story at a time. ❤️

Irish in my heart

I’m fortunate as I grew up knowing and learning about my Irish heritage. I loved listening to the stories of my ancestors from my Gram and her sisters. Four of my Gram’s siblings came off the boat with their parents, for dreams of a better life. After the devastation of the Great Potato famine of 1845-1849 my Great Great Grandparents and their kin, survived and without them I wouldn’t be here today to tell this story.

Michael and Elizabeth left Scotland at the age of nineteen and traveled by ship to South Hampton, England. At the time, they had three daughters and a son in tow. With competition for jobs, financial security, and food being scarce with the population boom, they made their way to Canada and settled in British Columbia.

My Great Grandparents *image courtesy of my cousin*

My Great Grandfather Michael found work in the mines and was there for twenty-nine years. They hadn’t lived there in the community long when devastation ravaged the town with floods from 1848, to 1947, the mining disaster in May of 1908 that killed one hundred and three miners, and the Great Fire of August. 1 st of 1908 that destroyed the town.

My Great Grandma Elizabeth was pregnant with my Grandma Margaret and due to give birth that hot summer. There were ten lives lost and thousands of homes burnt to the ground. There was a lot of hardship and sadness that my ancestors had to encounter in the new land. I’m happy to report my Gram made it safely into the world as the hospital and the church were the few buildings that were left.

Time passed on with my Gram and her siblings growing up and their parents had added on to their family with four more daughters. More hardship would come to the family as the mine would be closed in order to investigate the fire of 1908. My Great Grandpa Michael had to find work elsewhere. All the daughters worked as well or helped look after the youngest children.

My Great aunts such lovely lasses. *image courtesy of my cousin*

That was the life back then, everyone had a strong work ethic and supported one another. I remember my sweet Gram Margaret telling me stories of her housekeeping days, collecting oranges at the train yard, and working as a caddy at the golf course. The sisters all went on to marry and have families of their own. They still remained close as they raised their children and visited each other when they were Grandparents.

My Gram and 3 of her 5 sisters *image courtesy of my cousin*

A tragic accident in 1917, took the life of the youngest family member Josephine and she died at the age of two, with severe burns to the chest and abdomen. Poor baby girl lighting up the world with her beauty and smile, and for her life to be snuffed out like a candle is so sad. Peter, the only son of nine children returned home from World War 1 and fell ill as well. He succumbed to cerebral meningitis at the age of twenty-six on March. 17th 1922.

He was to sing in the St. Patrick’s day concert that evening for the Knights of Columbus, and he sat up in bed and sang then died. The song that he sang was Danny Boy, a beautiful Irish melody that is dear to my heart to this day.

My Great uncle *image courtesy of my cousin*

After the youngest daughter and only son had passed just 5 years my Great Grandma Elizabeth became ill. My Grandparents were set to get married in the summer month of July and Elizabeth passed 9 days before the wedding. Instead of the church wedding that was planned they quietly got married in the priests rectory of the Holy Family Catholic Church.

My parents got married there as well and my middle sister followed suit and my husband and I proudly married there after. As a devout Irish Catholic family that attended mass every Sunday and invited the priest over for dinner after one of my Great aunts went into the sisterhood. She took the name Sister Michael and lived out her young life devoting herself in service to God.

She passed tragically in a car accident when I was a little girl and my Gram would tell me stories about her love of the family and of the church. There was always tears and hugs given when she spoke of her siblings that had passed on.

My Great aunt Elizabeth and her Father Michael *image courtesy of my cousin*

I celebrate my dearly departed loved ones memories and I carry on the namesake of my Great Grandma, my Great aunt, and my Mom. My Great Grandpa Michael lived on to see his daughters marry and meet his Grandchildren. My Mom had a special relationship with him and would speak of him with joy on her heart. He passed on well into his 80’s to be reunited with his lovely wife and daughters and son.

My Gram and my Mom *image courtesy of my cousin*

My Gram and Mom always said I had the gift of my Great uncle’s vocal talent. To this day when I sing the song of my ancestors homeland Oh Danny Boy I feel uplifted on their angel wings. St. Patrick’s day is celebrated in our family household as much as the joy of birthdays. Wishing you all Irish blessings and may the luck and love of the Irish be with you always. 💚☘️

An adapted version of this story originally appeared on The Wellness Universe titled Irish heritage.

*Special thanks to my cousin Maureen for the use of her family pictures. The late night chats of our family’s story helped me feel closer to my Irish clan.*

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It takes a village

I recently took a physical for life insurance purposes. My nurse was kind and polite and when I was asked why do I take an anti-depressant when your otherwise healthy? I simply replied “I’m a special needs parent who’s always advocating, teaching, learning, researching, and loving my family I have to cope somehow.”

The look of surprise that crossed his face was something that I’ve seen before. I’ve had people ask me how do you do it, deal with autism, ADHD, ODD, SPD, and a genetic neurological disorder that affects everything from motor skills, to recessive language delay, to selective eating issues due to textures, smells, and shapes of food.

I have no other answer other than I don’t think about it I just do it. All of it needs to be done always. I need to advocate for my children so that they can have access to resources, funding, and therapy inside the school system and outside within the community. I need to keep up with the latest research on my son’s genetic disorder so I know how to help him specifically and what other co-morbidities I need to be aware of. I also need to teach him about number and letter recognition so he can begin to print what he knows. I have to deal with regression as it’s the part of his brain that’s affected by his micro-duplication.

I need to check, double check and help my son re-learn when he’s lost his ability to process what he’s learning in school. He’s come a long way with his progress from screaming if I tried to help him hold a crayon in preschool to printing his name confidently in elementary school. Now his world’s growing bigger as he attempts to make sense of all those letters on the page and learn to read. I remember what joy I felt when my Mom introduced the magical world of books to me.

I long to see that light in my son’s eyes that I know appeared in mine. Yet I see him stumble on three and four letter words and in frustration throw the book across the room. At the moment we’re working on his reading comprehension so that he can create the story from what he sees illustrated on the page. As for the phonics and word recognition I’m using a multi-sensory approach as well as his special education resources teacher does in the classroom.

1. First I print the word then I get him to to tell me the letters and we sound it out and say it together.

2. Next I have him build it with his alphabet letters on the line below.

3. After he prints the word with his pencil.

4. Then we go over the word and use it in a sentence and repeat with the remaining words.

Sometimes he only has enough patience for three words but to me it’s quality over quantity. I learned the Write, build, print method from an amazing website called Understood. I love this website as I now have a resource that’s there to help us both on our learning journey.

When I see the furrow in my son’s brow as he concentrates to maintain his alligator grip on his pencil I marvel at his independence. He sings a little song as he does so. Alligator grip then my pencil doesn’t slip. Then when he’s completed his task his beautiful smile makes his whole face light up. I’m excited to incorporate building Lego into his learning as we work on math next.

I have five months to prepare him to catch up with his peers and continue onto the next grade. He has an excellent team at school who’ve been there to help with his frustrations, transitions with the use of visuals and successes. My son teaches me just as much as I’m teaching him this why I choose medication for myself and seeking the guidance of a therapist.

No parent is an island and it takes a village to raise a child. When it’s a child with special needs it takes strength, courage, and a bigger, non-judgemental village. I need to be able to cope with this roller coaster of a life we lead. I need to stay on task and ten steps ahead of a sensory overloaded meltdown. Most importantly I need to take care of myself and repair what I feel is broken. My mental health and the well being of my children depend on it.

Welcome to Voices of Special Needs Blog Hop — a monthly gathering of posts from special needs bloggers hosted by The Sensory Spectrum and The Jenny Evolution. Click on the links below to read stories from other bloggers about having a special needs kiddo — from Sensory Processing Disorder to ADHD, from Autism to Dyslexia! Want to join in on next month’s Voices of Special Needs Hop? Click here!

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The Tear

What is it about the passage of time? I’ve heard that time heals all wounds, time passes on and time is short. It’s that tear in the fabric of time that intrigues me the most. Where you can be another version of yourself-someone who is stronger and makes better decisions and takes a different path in life.

Like the actress Gweneth Paltrow played in the movie Sliding doors her character was on the subway platform deciding if she should or shouldn’t get on the train. The director portrayed what would happen with her life if she stepped on the subway and who she was and who she interacted with.

It really fascinated me with the twists and turns within the plot of the movie. It showed me that you do have to be careful what you wish for. As I’m watching this the character in my favourite TV show #Thisisus is replaying the memory track of what his life was like before when he was a high school football star and adored by everyone. Kevin had colleges scouting him, a girlfriend who loved him and a close relationship with his family. Then it all came to a crashing end when he was tackled in the big game and suffered a broken leg.

He still had the beautiful girlfriend (who he would later go on to marry and divorce), a strong bond with his fraternal twin sister Kate, an emerging relationship with his adopted brother Randall, and his parents Jack and Rebecca that were there to love and support him to this jagged tear to his football dreams. Yet Kevin can’t see past any of that as he sinks into a depression that goes on to shadow his life in his current phase.

What would’ve his life been like if he avoided that devastating hit that changed his path forever? Would he have gone on to football stardom and become the proud recipient of the Heisman trophy, married the girlfriend and lived happily ever after? Even though he’s a television character Kevin and his life story is enthralling to me that he went onto to what appeared to be a good life making a successful living as an actor while recovering from the death of his Father, the rock in his life.

How would his life be any different if he would’ve just thrown the football, avoided the tackle and never have to lose his Dad at such a young age? It’s the conundrum I’m sure most of us have encountered at some point on our path what if I would’ve taken that subway train, stayed with the ex or gotten that scholarship to college. It’s the tearing of the dream that we have for ourselves that can hurt the most where we feel the regrets of time we’ve lost and where the what if’s eat us up inside.

Is the grass always greener over on the other side of the fence? Not necessarily, should we all just be living the life of our dreams with no regrets or resentments? I’ve always intended to raise my sons to follow their dreams, reach for the stars and be kind and giving human beings. It’s the life that we live that shows us who are true character really is. Excepting the hand we’re dealt and taking the leap of faith and being who we’re really meant to be that matters the most.

I saw myself becoming a famous actress and singer entertaining the world with my talent. Unfortunately I didn’t have the courage to pursue those idealistic dreams and leave my parents and go off to the big city. I didn’t believe in myself as much as I should’ve and that tears at my heart still today. But who am I to say that my dreams shall just wither and die? I can still realize them just in a different way, by performing in theatre and pursuing my passion for storytelling.

It’s the gift of words that sets my heart aflutter now as I’m passing on that love of reading and writing to my sons. It fills my eyes with happy tears as I sit and listen to my youngest champion son reading about Pete the Cat and his buttons as he acts and sings out every page. When I thought his brain might not be able to make sense of the letters with his autism and mental processing speed. Then as my heart swells with pride when my oldest rock star son starts reading me an essay that he’s writing for school and telling me he wants to be a writer like me when he’s older.

I wish for them not to struggle with their identities or what direction they should go career wise like I’ve done. To be able to avoid the “hits” that happen in life the fair weather friends, bullies on the playground, and young love breakups. If I could I’d protect them from it all but then they wouldn’t be truly living and discovering the world for what it is. Their time shouldn’t be spent wondering what if but really experiencing all that life has to offer them from school, friendships, love, and beyond!

It’s in these moments that I know I found the right path and even though my mind can wonder about the what if’s of the world it’s the life that I’m living being the best me I can be that matters. Not the one who made her way to Hollywood to become the actress of her dreams who may have caved in to all the pressure that a lot of celebrities fall under and resorted to drugs and alcohol as a way to cope.

I would rather be my authentic self who loves who I see when I look in the mirror, that prays with my children every evening for a better world for them to grow up in, and loves my husband with everything in me. That’s the bond of family that dreams, pride, fantasies, or ego can never tear away.

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Release Blitz and Solis book review by L.B. Dunbar (writing as Elda Lore)

Title: Solis
Series: Modern Descendants #2
Author: Elda Lore (L.B. Dunbar writing as)
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Release Date: January 30, 2017
Blurb

Veva Matron is a feisty girl raging with suppressed anger and distrust of men.

Solis Cronus is a blindingly beautiful, Greek god of a guy, who likes to play women.

An electric hatred thunders through each of them about the other until one night, lightning strikes. A world of secrets reveals the destiny of two at odds with one another, and clouds the line between love and hate. Can a lively girl find calm in the stormy tension of a boy made of sunshine and sin?

The mythical tale of Zeus and Hera reignites in this modern interpretation of enemies to lovers. Full of flirty sexual angst and teasing temptation, Solis might be the one man who can extinguish Veva’s angry fire and ignite a different sort of flame: desire.

Purchase Links
AMAZON US / UK
Also Available
AMAZON US / UK
Author Bio

Elda Lore is the alter ego of L.B. Dunbar. A writer of mythical tales in the modern world.

Author Links
FACEBOOK
GOODREADS
AMAZON

Solis Book Review

I have to share my heart was captured when I first read Hades by LB writing as Elda Lore. She took my love of Greek Mythology and the supernatural and turned it into something magical for my eyes and ears to experience! I was eager to read the continuation in Solis and soon fell in love with the book’s new characters. I love a strong female character in whatever genre I’m reading. Seeing what made Viva tick and how her upbringing left her jaded towards men made me feel a kingship with her. Before I met and fell in love with my husband I felt this way myself. She always preferred to be the heartbreaker than being heartbroken. Then along comes Solis Cronus who’s a gorgeous blonde Greek God who exudes sexuality and confidence. She has no time for him as her main concern is enjoying her summer break with her best friend Persephone. Who’s heartbroken after her love Hades returns to the Underworld without her. The story of the Modern Descendants flows beautifully from the introduction of Solis and his family to the conclusion of who will fall in love, lust, or out of Zeke Cronus’ good graces.  Secrets, love affairs, mythology, and modern times mix together to entice the reader and leave them eagerly awaiting the next sequel to the Modern Descendants series. I loved this book and look forward to losing myself in the next adventure of Hephateus coming soon. 
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Krystal Blue book review

I love to read as much as I love to write so I feel such joy when I’m wrapped up in a good book. That is where my heart lies so I became a beta reader for the author Destiny Hawkins. Now this talented woman can spin a great story, and quickly too. As soon as I finish up a book she’s loading up my Kindle app with another! Not that I’m complaining though I really get wrapped up in her characters as she writes so vividly of their lives, loves, and stories.

Amazon Link:

Synopsis:

Krystal Blue is a young college student with the good looks of a Californian blonde beauty. Her life is far from perfect growing up in the foster system and afraid to get close to anyone since her life was struck by tragedy. The story weaves the tale into Krystal navigating college, finding employment, and saving enough money to stop living in her car.
The author Destiny makes you feel sympathetic to Krystal’s plight as a young woman just trying to make her way in the world. Then she throws in a super natural twist and a love triangle as I was reading my head was spinning from the excitement. I I stayed up late late night after night reading this book as the twists and turns piqued my interest and left me wanting more!

I received this ARC in exchange for my honest review and like all of Destiny’s books I loved it! I received it in instalments so I eagerly read them wanting more information as the mystery slowly unravelled to who and what Krystal Blue really is. This book was the first that I had read in a LGBTQ genre but the sexual orientation was written in such a way that that the love interests never overshadowed the driving plot line. This book had me on the edge of my seat with how much the story line evolved from Krystal Blue being weak and powerless to discovering an inner strength she never knew she possessed! 
The storyline had me at the introduction of Krystal and her brothers relationship growing up in foster care and having no one but each other for comfort and support. Next I was taken on this wild ride that the author Destiny Hawkins is well known for. There were some many twists and turns on a personal and paranormal level I found myself feeling anxious like I was the main character! I’m very excited to continue the next book as this is book one of the Blue Moon series I look forward to more adventures with Krystal Blue.

Author Information


Destiny Hawkins is the author of Krystal Blue Book one of the Blue Moon Series. She’s also written Caged, Caged 2, Angels Blade, Aveena City of Gold, and a children’s book Hide and Seek-the Okavango Delta. When she’s not writing she’s thinking about new characters and plot lines to devise. You can follow her on social media here.
Facebook
Amazon Author page

Stay tuned to a work in progress coming soon from Destiny Hawkins creative mind! 

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A Journey of Self Discovery Preorder Review Tour~East-A Novel by Peri Hoskins

East-A Novel

By Peri Hoskins

@PeriHoskins

Preorder Now

Amazon Link
End of August Release

I really enjoyed this book set in Australia in the style of Jack Kerouac On the Road. Peri paints a picture of a dissatisfied lawyer, named Vince who decides to pack up his car and head east for new adventures. He comes across many interesting characters each impacting his life in their own ways. He’s 30 years old and searching for his life’s purpose after leaving his promising career in law. He sets off on his soul searching journey to find himself and gets entwined in the lives of the supporting characters. Staying with friends, youth hostels, and camping he finds his nomadic journey to be come a spiritual quest and opens himself to whatever will meant to be. I would recommend the reader have a dictionary handy as I wasn’t familiar with the British or Australian slang. I appreciated learning something new though with the author Peri’s use of it. I became invested in the main character Vince and wanted him to find happiness and his purpose whatever direction that takes him in. I found him to be an open hearted beautiful man who is desperate for his soul to heal. Each night he scribbles away in his travel journal about his adventures intent on writing his book while finding meaning for his life.  I highly recommend this book to anyone who’s a traveller or has felt like they need to change up their world and start a new chapter in their life’s diary. Peri Hoskins has an excellent  writing style I didn’t want to stop reading. I look forward to reading and reviewing his first book Millenium-A Memoir next. 

It’s 1994. Junior lawyer, Vince Osbourne, leaves behind a small, mean and viciously circular life in the city representing petty criminals and takes to the road. He’s lived 30 years. The wide continent of Australia is out in front. He’s almost young. Where will the road lead?

 

East takes in sunsets; rain in the desert; a five-year-old girl on a bike; a battered former thief and jockey; old-timers; young lovers; beautiful women, and aboriginals in public bars. The open road connects many vignettes making a rich tapestry of human encounters.

 

East is poignant, gritty, funny, sad and above all: human. Hoskins’ laconic prose captures the harsh, arid country in all its big, empty beauty along with quirky exchanges with strangers, travel buddies, shop assistants, workmates, and friends old and new. A journey without and within, East taps into the spiritual realm that lies beneath this land and its people.

 

(#travel & Adventure, #Travel, #Aus, #RPBP, #preorder, #ebook, #NewRelease)
 

​A Journey of Self Discovery

This intriguing book is based on the author’s personal memoirs and although it is described as fiction it feels very, very real.

Vince has reached a stage at 30 when he wants to break free from a life that seems to be suffocating him. He has been working as a junior lawyer but needs to do something different and this book tells of his travels towards the East of Australia.

His journey draws you along with him as he discovers himself and realises that he can achieve so much more than he previously thought possible. He settles in places with people from his past that he sees in a new light, along with their prejudices.

Then there are the long and testing journeys across the deserts of Australia, meeting a fascinating mix of people along the way. Vince’s observations on the Aboriginal people, being of Maori origin himself, are extremely revealing. The back breaking work he takes on in a mine, to earn some extra money, couldn’t be further removed from his previous work as a lawyer.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys travel writing and journeys of self-discovery. ~Robert Fear 8.10.16

Leaving

The bonnet in front of me is big and white. Rain on the windscreen – the wipers sweep it away. The clouds are grey, the road is grey, the suburbs are grey and I am leaving. There is joy in that. I’m leaving it behind – a life – small, petty, viciously circular. Out in front is the road and I don’t know where it will end. I am free. I’m almost young.
A beginning. Renewal pulses in my blood, pumping out from my heart, through my veins, feeding me, making me new again, a keenly conscious being reaching out to the uncertainty. This road will lead me to places that I have not seen – to people I have not met. There’s no place I have to be and no time I have to be there.
I drive on and on leaving the city far behind. The rain clears. Sunlight glints on wet grass and trees. I see farmhouses, fences and cows. The gnawing in my belly eases as I’m gently enveloped by the freedom of the great mystery now upon me. The shackles of the old life fall away, for I’m shedding a skin – dry, worn, old and scaly. I found the courage to step into the dream. And the dream has become real.
The life of a suburban lawyer is behind me. Small decisions. Small repetitions. Which tie to wear today. Pay the electricity bill. Sunday – iron five shirts for the week ahead. See the same people. Say the same things. Hear the same things said. In that life I wondered whether I had it better than the petty criminals I represented in court. Some had no job and no home. They pleaded guilty and I said what I could say, for something had to be said. And then the court, that street-sweeper of humanity, tidied them away. For there must be a place – there must be somewhere for them to go: a prison, a halfway house, a drug rehab centre. There must be a place for everyone – somewhere. These people had fallen through cracks and become untidy. Did they envy my tidy life, those that I helped to tidy away? Did they see my life as I saw it – not a tidy life, but a tidy prison?
Tidiness. I had been taught to lead a tidy life. What was it they had said – the teachers, the headmasters? Work hard at school. Get a good job. Be a good employee. Pay your taxes. Mow your lawns. Be a good neighbour. Be a good citizen. Lead a tidy life. Not a full life, a varied life, a great life – no, a tidy life of small neat circles. I have lived thirty years.
As the trees and houses and petrol stations whistle by, the reasons for leaving once again crowd my mind. At thirty, life no longer stretches out before me like an uncharted great ocean. If I live to be eighty, more than one third of my life is spent. Where am I? At a time of life when I’m supposed to be somewhere – I’m nowhere I ever wanted to be. I’ll taste the last drops of youth before the cup passes from my lips, forever. The familiar yearning claws at my insides again – but it’s different now – it’s happy knowing I have been true to it – finally.
The yearning … a murmur in a corner of my soul … that’s how it started … a couple of years ago … I pushed it away. I was busy; there were things to do. It kept coming back, stronger and stronger: a growing gnawing that would not be denied. The day I turned thirty, I came to know what it was, finally. It was the feeling of having missed my destiny. At one of life’s important junctures, I don’t know when or where, I’d taken the wrong turn.
So maybe that’s what it is: a journey back down life’s highway to try and find the turn I missed. A journey to reconnect with who I am and what I should be doing here – in this life. Did I ever really want to be a lawyer? Maybe I did it because my father didn’t finish law school. Maybe I did it for him, and not for me. Didn’t have the courage to find my destiny and follow it … settled for safety and caution. 

And the small repetitions of the safe life had closed in and were suffocating me. Don’t know if that’s what it is … I had to go – I know that much … it was the most honest thing I could do. And now it’s real: this journey with no end and no decided route. It’s a big country. Yeah, I’ll head east … And in my travels maybe I’ll find something of the soul of this land and its people … 
I have been at the wheel for four hours. The muscular movements needed to keep the car on course have become automatic. My thoughts drift freely now, first to the future – new, pregnant with possibility – before anchoring in my childhood. I recall a long-buried idea – from a time of wonder at a world full of possibilities. As a child I thought I could see into people, a kind of second sight.
Memories flow into my mind – sharp, clear, focused. I see things now as I saw things then. I am a small boy sitting in the passenger seat of a car. My father is driving. We approach an intersection. A policeman is standing in the middle directing traffic. He signals the car in front to stop. The policeman fascinates me – his neat blue uniform, high black boots, long white gloves – his precise hand signals. He makes cars stop and go by moving his hands like the man who made the puppets move at the fairground. The gloved hands move and the cars obey, crossing the intersection, slowly and respectfully passing the uniformed man.
From above I hear the noise of a plane. In the eye of my mind as a child I see the silver wings and fuselage. The policeman’s eyes turn skyward to the plane I see clearly in the window of my imagination. The officer’s long-gloved hands slowly fall to rest at his heavy belt. Cars bank up at the intersection. The driver in front looks at him for directions but he gives none. Unconscious of the traffic, his attention is focused in the sky above. The face of the policeman loses form and I see into him. First I feel his discomfort in the hot uniform, the dryness in his throat and the tiredness behind his eyes. Gradually my perception deepens. I sense the numbed heart, the thwarted ambitions – the hopes and dreams unrealized and gone awry. He doesn’t want to be here, directing traffic. The past has cheated him. He is disconnected from the present and fearful of the future.
A car horn honks from behind. A driver doesn’t know why the traffic is not moving. The policeman’s eyes return to the traffic, his arms snapping up with military precision. As he waves us on, the look of purpose clothes his face once again and the moment of seeing into him has passed.
The second sight would come to me without warning and always just for a fleeting moment or two. I would see my mother trying to hide an emotion or catch my father unguarded, looking into the distance. In the moment of second sight the physical would melt – the body become transparent and amorphous. Instead of seeing the person I would see into the person – reach inside to the heart, sense the fears, touch the dreams – see the humanity, raw and struggling. 


  
Peri Hoskins is the author of ‘Millennium – A Memoir’, a travelogue memoir that has received many five star reader reviews. 


Christopher Moore of the New Zealand Listener had this to say about ‘Millennium – A Memoir’: 

‘Written with perhaps the merest of bows to Joseph Conrad and Robert Louis Stevenson, the book’s colourful cast of characters come together to greet the dawn of the 21st century. It’s a vigorously written sly-humoured account of human encounters in a small place lapped by the tides of change…It’s a genial well observed book that insinuates itself into the affections.’

~Christopher Moore, New Zealand Listener, 2 August 2014.
​Peri Hoskins was born in Wellington, New Zealand. He is the second son of a family of five children, four boys and a girl. He is of mixed Maori and Anglo-Celtic ancestry. Peri grew up in Whangarei, Northland, New Zealand, a provincial city then home to about 30,000 people. He was educated at Whangarei Boys’ High School where he twice won a national essay competition. After completing high school and winning the school prizes for English, History and Geography, Peri went to Auckland University where he studied law and the humanities, including history and English literature.
Peri was substantially based in Australia between 1985 and 2005. He completed his study of law and the humanities at the University of Sydney including several courses in philosophy. He worked as a lawyer in New South Wales before embarking on a 1994 five-month road trip all around Australia. This road trip comprises the material for his soon to be published second book, East. Peri subsequently worked as a lawyer in both New South Wales and Queensland, and developed his current specialisation in legal work – civil litigation. In December 1999 Peri travelled to the Kingdom of Tonga to be in the first country in the world to see in the new millennium. The diary of his three weeks in Tonga has become his first book, Millennium – A Memoir. In 2004 Peri completed a post graduate diploma in film and television production at Queensland University of Technology.

Peri now lives, writes and works as a barrister (being a self-employed lawyer) in Northland, New Zealand.

 

You can connect With Peri Hoskins here:

Website/ Facebook / Twitter / Linked In / Pinterest / Amazon Author Page

 

 Read an interview with author Peri Hoskins here:

Meet The Author


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Monday Musings A-Z challenge-Compassion


I was raised to have a compassionate heart. My Mom was a big believer in showing compassion instead of anger. She didn’t have an evil bone in her body and she believed that people judged others by what they saw in themselves. I still carry this belief and honour her memory by teaching my children the same. Some have called me naive because of this truth I hold to dearly. That’s one’s opinion but not my truth.
It will still baffle me as an adult when some members of society don’t show compassion. I see it in daily life when someone driving cuts off another car. I see it in a long lineup when someone throws their money at a cashier. I observe it in a restaurant when dining out with my family when my son becomes disruptive at the table.

The reason is he has autism, and he doesn’t sit still for long. Ten patrons can turn into twenty and he becomes visually overstimulated to his environment. He also “stims” when his body is seeking sensory input to regulate his central nervous system. He does this by jumping, rocking or dancing on the spot. I see the looks, overhear the whispers and take him outside to shake his wiggles out. I don’t attempt to try to shush him out of embarrassment because it can escalate matters quickly when he feels he’s not being understood.

This is why we eat at one restaurant in our town. The food’s amazing and we’ve become wonderful friends with the owners during our time here. They know my family and they know of my son’s autism. If things are loud and crowded in their establishment my husband will go in and order us take out. If we make a plan to phone ahead we put in our order so that it arrives when we walk in the door. I’ve been at this game changing strategy  for awhile now as he had a diagnosis of Sensory Processing Disorder first at the age of 3.

I had to prepare him for the world as it can be too loud, bright, and busy. I don’t feel that anyone owes my son any special favours all I would ask for is compassion. I recently shared on a Autism page of my son’s diagnosis. It was World Autism Awareness day and I felt brave sharing something so personal to our family. I made the mistake of not wearing my armour in sharing my son’s story. I had briefly discussed the judgements that we’ve received and even a personal attack on my parenting him through a sensory meltdown.

What I forgot in that moment of courage was that anything put out there on the Internet can be judged. That came to pass and I was stunned by the commenters lack of compassion. I thought to myself I don’t know this person’s story and yet she believes that she knows mine in one paragraph. I stayed in my #Mommitment mind, I may be judged on my words but I know my spirit. I didn’t reply and I was blessed that the admins of the page deleted the comment and left my story up.

It was liked and shared a few times and I felt relief that I wouldn’t be having to face that hurt again. It was such a strange feeling to be put on the spot like that from another parent. I will admit there’s a lot I still need to learn and not everyone wants to Light it up blue for autism awareness. Not all organizations are everyone’s cup of tea but I learn something from each of these groups and I gain support, understanding, compassion and that virtual hug of not feeling so alone. I just learned today from a amazing blogger friend  that autism by definiton means “to be alone.” This brought tears to my eyes and made me realize I never want that to happen to my sweet son.

My son has autism, but I don’t believe it defines him as a person. His precious giggle when playing hide and seek with his brother. His beautiful smile when he tells me he loves me with a sound, words, or a kiss. These things define him and when the world has gotten to loud and crowded for him and he reacts to his environment by melting down; he’s not being a brat, this is not a temper tantrum, all I ask is for a little compassion and understanding. It helps the eye of the society storm feel a little less scary to navigate.

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A-Z challenge Brave

I recently started the blog linkup challenge of all the letters of the alphabet. I started writing them and left them in a draft status. For the next few days I’ll be publishing them and I’m thinking I’m either brave or crazy for doing so.

Word prompts always get my writing creativity flowing and I tend to write whatever pops into my head. Sometimes that’s refreshing and other times it leaves me feeling vulnerable. I recently shared that my son was diagnosed with autism on World Autism Awareness day. I considered writing about it with the beginning A of the alphabet but I chickened out and I wrote about acting instead. It’s a very personal part of my family life to discuss but this is what it feels like to be brave in print.
We started out on this journey two years ago when I was aware of my son’s developmental challenges. He took his first steps early at ten months when we had just moved into a hotel. My husband had just got a job transfer to a new town while we were attempting to sell our house in the previous one. By the time our youngest son was twelve months he was running and had a small list of foods he would eat.
He also wouldn’t sleep for long periods of the night even after cutting out his first nap of the day. I was living on caffeine and Carnation instant breakfast shakes. He was on the move constantly and I would take him to his brother’s school to attend a play group, and there I noticed he wasn’t behaving typically like other children in his age group. I watched as he grabbed toys and played beside me while I participated in craft time and play dough making. He wouldn’t touch any of it nor interact with other children.
He would also have a difficult time with crowds if the classroom was too busy. I chalked it up to tiredness and I’d take him back to our room for nap time. The vacuum would scare him and he didn’t like surprises or things he couldn’t predict. I had always referred to him as my sensitive boy when he was born as he was quiet but could get his feathers ruffled quickly. It got to be exhausting keeping him calm, well fed, and happy as he was easily sensory overloaded.
He was tactile hypersensitive and never liked to touch his finger food, play dough or the rice table. I had at this time become good friends with the facilitator of the playgroup and I asked for her guidance. My son had turned two by this time and had finally started sleeping through the night as we had moved into a rental house when he was eighteen months old. It was an adjustment for our family but one I welcomed after living in a hotel for seven long months! The staff was incredible to us and thought of us like family. They made the long days of dark clouds and rain bearable.
I feel brave for having gone through that experience and yet I had this feeling that my son needed more interventions. With the help of my friend the children’s facilitator she referred me to a child development agency. Then came the next few months of evaluations and questionnaires regarding my son’s development. He was approaching the age of three and still was behind in his gross, fine motor skills, as well as speech delayed.
Those assessments led us to a developmental Pediatrician that diagnosed my son with Sensory Processing Disorder in particular Sensory Modulation Disorder. This is when the central nervous system is seeking out sensory input to deliver that message to the brain and the rest of the body. My son had no fear, he’d climb a six foot bookshelf and jump on to the couch below! He’d also empty every book out of that shelf and dump out toy boxes. I would be in tears trying to put my house back together daily.
In that time I did a lot of reading staying up late burning the midnight oil with learning everything I could about SPD.

My husband had gotten another job transfer out of the province and I was doing my best being a solo parent. The nights were long as my son had begun snoring which isn’t your normal behaviour of a toddler. We saw an ENT that diagnosed him with a sleep disorder but said he was unable to do anything about it.
It was a struggle for the next three months but I persevered found us a house, got us packed up and moved into another hotel while waiting to take possession of our new home. I hardly slept and luckily my son was still napping so I’d catch up on sleep with him.

My oldest son was also suffering with some anxiety and I had to keep reassuring him constantly that he would make friends and enjoy his new school. I got him involved in a summer camp and started moving and unpacking all our belongings.
The next few months I spent my every waking minute making our house a home. The school year started and with that brought some more anxiety in the form of my oldest son getting bullied. I had to deal with this issue for the next three months. The office administration got to know me well as I was always requesting a meeting.

Finally that worked out as I got some school counselling and his teacher to help out.
Meanwhile I was attempting to socialize my youngest son as his vocabulary was starting to increase. We met a sweet friend and we attended a play group. It was very busy, loud, and crowded and my son didn’t do well at all. Nap time was a Godsend as the environment left me feeling sensory overwhelmed as well. After that, we attended play dates with our new friend and her family. It was special to have picnics at the park and birthday party fun.
When my son turned four we started to think about preschool as he was almost fully potty trained. It had taken awhile but we worked all summer towards his accomplishment. We did all the assessments with a speech, physical, and occupational therapist who found out he was Globally Developmentally Delayed. Meaning he had a severe delay in one or more of his developmental skills.
We worked hard to obtain funding and now he attends a wonderful preschool and has funding for a therapy team. He just turned five and will be transitioning to Kindergraten in the fall. With knowing he has autism there’s been a push in the right direction to get him the funding and behavioural aid support he needs. My son has a lot of challenges in life but ones he’s always faced head on with his tenacity and strength. I see a future full of success, determination, and substantial support. He’s our family’s blessing and the sky’s limitless for him and what he will achieve.

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Love, Valentines Day, and the Walking Dead

My husband and I have been together for a long time. We have grown up together on this journey as a couple. I remember past Valentines days before kids and they included an expensive dinner, wine, chocolates, and time alone. Over these last few years intimate dinners gazing into each other’s eyes over seafood linguine have been few and far between.

 Securing a qualified sitter (able to handle the challenges of a special needs child) on the most expensive holiday of the year isn’t an easy task. Each family Valentine’s Day isn’t without a fancy meal, wine, and chocolate. Now they’re spent without the eye gazing, in my pajamas, and with two kids cuddled up watching Netflix. These moments are precious to me and I wouldn’t trade them for anything else because really it’s all about love. 

The love I have for my husband, my children, and the love I have for myself. When life is difficult and I find it hard to surf the waves of joy and disappointment I look towards them. My island of stability keeping me laughing, entertained, and loved. My husband and I are huge The Walking Dead fans and love all things zombie. So we’ve been having a count down on the calendar till tomorrow nights Season six premiere. When the show goes into its fall hiatus it’s a sad day in our house. 

  
We find ourselves watching previous seasons on Netflix and this week it’s been a marathon to get us caught up for the big day! My husband knows I have a über crush on Norman Reedus’character Daryl Dixon. He will tease when he sees him on talk shows and he’ll call me into the room and say “honey you’re boyfriend’s on tv.” I will giggle and come running so I can swoon over his loveliness. 

Why Daryl you may ask? Well I love a strong man with family values, able to live off the land, take care of himself in a conflict, offer a supportive ear to a friend in need, and cook a squirrel on a open fire and make it tasty. This may be a spoiler alert for a few so I’ll give you time to stop reading and you can hum TWD theme music…

Daryl has to face the most difficult task when his brother Merle returns to the governors compound and in turn gets bit by a zombie. Daryl storms in to rescue Merle, Andrea, and Mischonne and finds his brother’s blood thirsty gaze in his direction. In order to protection himself he then shoots his brother. The sadness that ensues is palpable as he holds him in his arms and cries out all his pain. 

I have always been a fan since the first season but that scene made me a believer in his character and a lover of all things Norman Reedus. I had first saw him in the Indie hit movie Boon Dock Saints 1 and 2 speaking in Irish accent and I found myself swooning. Tonight will be The Walking Dead Eve so that will mean a Valentine’s Day dinner feast lovingly prepared by my sweet husband. 

There will be wine, chocolate, and heart cookies we will watch Netflix and hang out in our pj’s and enjoy each other’s company.  Then tomorrow you’ll see us cuddled up watching our favourite show and over 1,3000 zombies on the screen in an episode director by Greg Nicotero the phenomenal makeup artist. There will be screams, hiding my face in my pillow at the most gruesome parts, and gazing into my loves eyes. That’s romance after ten years of marriage that’s how we roll. ❤️

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Writer’s Quotes Wednesday and Be Wow

When life can become a struggle it’s easy to give into the tears and fears. Yesterday I reached out and shared my story of being a special needs parent. I received an outpouring of love and emotional support that it was incredible and it uplifted my heart and spirit! I wrote this before I had opened up my heart and soul and I’m so glad that I was given the gift of compassion and the beauty of friendship. 

 
This has been my submission to Silver Threading for Writer’s Quotes Wednesday and Be Wow please check out all the talent that link up at this special place to be creative. ❤️

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