Tag Archive | TheConservativeTreeHouse.com

Be Careful What You Ask For!

Someone at another site asked me how I was doing…here’s what I shared:

“I’m sorry you are carrying such a heavy load.

I’m relatively OK.  I’m seemingly “stuck” in some type of quasi-PTSD hopelessness loop over not being able to get any positive traction on my son Josiah’s Special Education case.  I’m still furious about how they broke the law with impunity & how the legal protections for the vulnerable are twisted into butt-coverage for the bureaucrats…it makes one feel so helpless/hopeless.  I did Major work for like a year & a half on Josiah’s Special Education case & when we finally talked with an attorney (after some funding from a family member made such a conversation possible) he basically said “there’s nothing you can do for your son…but I’d really like you to go ahead & be an advocate for other kids”.

I’m not fully ready to concede defeat but am still so burdened by the pain & frustration of it all that it is Very Hard to move forward mentally or emotionally.

My husband wants me to speak with a Counselor but I am skeptical that there is really anyone out there (besides God) who can grasp the magnitude of what we’ve faced historically with our son, it’s ramifications in our lives & for me personally, & I can’t even muster the energy to attempt to contemplate having such (allegedly) therapeutic conversations.

I’m not (obviously) actually very good at “letting things go” & really need the Serenity Prayer conceptually to help with this process.  I hate to “give up” but I also hate to see the “system” escape unscathed & have Zero Accountability.  It’s also still too bitter & unapproachable to try to advocate for other people’s kids (even if I could muster the energy or find the appropriate avenue to do so) when there is still so much that needs attention in my own son’s life.

These are like those “first world problems” that lefties mock people for.  Not the basics of food, clothing, or shelter but more the apex of that Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Pyramids proverbial “Self-Actualization” BS arena, I think.

Sometimes I think I’m just too scarred from all the battles to even begin to know how to live in “regular” society.  I’m in pseudo-hibernation/cocooning in hope that (eventually) winter will end (my fat stores will melt off!) & I’ll emerge a beautiful butterfly with sufficient energy to pump those superfluous abdominal fluids into those nascent but hopefully beautifully majestic wings & somehow manage to soar above before my brief sojourn planet-side is over!

OK, so it’s very late & I’m expressing my self in verbose flights of fancy…Thanks for asking how I am…I hope you don’t mind my ridiculous reply!

If I may quote you here “I am an emotional basketcase and the pain is brutal and that’s the upside of my grief right now.”  I really do relate…”

Our conversation can be found here:

Prayer Requests – 9

Image result for butterfly scripture

from a Bing.com image search for “butterfly scripture”

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Son’s Surgery Stream-of-Consciousness

So I’m back in the University of Michigan Hospital for yet another surgery for my son, Josiah.  This is now his 18th surgery…but thankfully not one of the biggies (Open Heart, Brain Tumor, or Liver Transplant).  During the pre-op preparations he told one of the cute nurses “Surgeries are my hobby!”…& being autistic he wasn’t exactly joking…

This is the first time he is having the surgery In the New Mott Children’s portion of the hospital.  The last 2 surgeries were in the adult hospital even though the New Mott was available.  His Liver Transplant being done in the University Hospital was more of a challenge since we were told it would be done in Mott & he/we weren’t prepared for the lower key aspect of care on the adult side.  Being autistic, a Developmental Disability, means that my son is in many ways “younger” than his chronological age & he still appreciates at least some aspects of Pediatric medical care.

Today’s surgery involves the Pediatric Urologist, as these are birth related defects that require intervention.  I believe he may always need to see the Pediatric Urologist if he has further issues in this domain as an adult Urologist wouldn’t be familiar with the particular needs & concerns that go along with birth defect concerns…at least that’s the rationale why he will always be seen by Pediatric Cardiology for his Congenital Heart defects & cardiovascular management, so I’m assuming it may be similar with Uro.

Today I’m really tired from a lack of sleep for the last few days…& possibly additionally fatigued by some degree of emotional strain, just because surgery is still scary & dangerous even if it’s not being done on a vital organ, per se…I doubt that there will be much good sleep in his hospital room tonight either, but maybe he’ll be lower key in the post-op phase & both of us can get some naps in…

Being at U of M is fairly “routine” for Josiah & I so we may not be so cognizant of how many other people who are here for medical care are facing dire experiences.

The electronic computer screen in the Pediatric Waiting Area on the 2nd floor of New Mott has space for 78 cases…& 77 of these spaces were filled in–Wow!  I wonder if PCTU (Peds Cardio-Thoracic Unit) still has its own separate waiting room like it did back when Josiah experienced his 2 Open Heart Surgeries, if so there could be more than 80+ kids having surgery here today…Honestly that could be the case any way in that the 78 case space may only reflect the current cases.  Josiah’s surgeon had at least 3 surgeries today & certainly many of the other surgeons would have more than one surgical case/day.

Although J & I usually feel comfortable & safe here at U of M there are many others here that may be completely overwhelmed.  I know when I first came here when Josiah was an infant & transferred here from his birth hospital by ambulance the whole experience was surreal & intense.  I hope most of these kids & families are just briefly passing through & not looking at lifelong care in multiple arenas of intensity like with Josiah.

I went to Guest Assistance to get a new Parking Pass, & am glad that they have finally reverted to issuing them for 3 months, not just one.  It’s a blessing that they provide this service for people of limited means.  I’m also thankful for the possibility of getting some reimbursement from Josiah’s Insurance for meal costs.  It somewhat takes me back to those more intense days where I’d get those vouchers from Social Work & then go down to the Hospital Cashier on weekdays to get those funds…I’m also thankful for U of M’s financial assistance program that allowed me to personally get some medical without having further out of pocket costs beyond what our insurance provided!  If not for that assistance I likely wouldn’t have taken care of certain medical needs, at least not as quickly because the out-of-pocket costs would have been prohibitive…

I’m so thankful for the amazing quality of care Josiah has received at U of M for these 2+ decades!  This place & the people who work here are blessings!!!

This is the first surgery that had me issued with a pager that could display text messages.  Though that is quite convenient to get written updates it also reflects the diminishing of personal contact & care that a face to face with an OR nurse or student doctor could provide.  There are pros & cons with either approach…hmm.

This is the first surgery we’ve experienced with a group of people praying for us who are also checking in & communicating online to the degree the other blogs have been (CTH & Stella’s).  It’s bittersweet in that these are people we don’t personally know but they seem, in some respects, more interested & invested in what’s happening with Josiah than some of the family, friends, & church family we have…I wonder if I was “on Facebook” if there would be more of those type of interactions–but I doubt I’ll ever join & find out.

Tonight being the night for Skyline Café, the free food & music event that happens on Thursday evenings, I hope that I’ll be able to get a “real” meal there, since it’s only got a one hour window & it might just overlap when Josiah is getting out from under anesthesia.  I meant to pack up some type of lunch for our trip today, but my sleeplessness lead to even more forgetfulness than usual so I forgot!  At least there are some snacks in my collection of hospital trip crap to help tide me/him over.  I really hope the staff remember to give Josiah dextrose to help with blood sugar…

Gotta page to talk with the doctor so gotta run!…

Stella’s Place Comments & Tom Thompson’s Obituary

I just wanted to copy/paste some material that I posted at another blog in case any of you might be interested in some of these things…& it saves me writing it up again!

Blessings to All,

Valerie

From the below site (well worth the visit & extended stay within & about!):

General Discussion, Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Here’s my stuff, obviously:

Hi, I’m pretty new around here but I wanted to share a “good report” about my son. Some of you have visited his new blog, JosiahsFreakShow.wordpress.com at the urging of Menagerie at the Conservative Tree House.

We’ve had a busy couple of days (following an extended 4th of July stay in Northern Michigan) seeing a surgical pre-op clinic Monday & “today” (actually Tuesday, but it never “feels” like it’s a new day until I actually/eventually sleep!) at the Liver Transplant Clinic AND the Brain Tumor Clinic. That’s a lot to process, even for us.

Anyway, the upshot is that there is no apparent (re)growth of his Brain Tumor since it’s removal back in 2010…and for the first time he will be allowed to go for FOUR Years before another Brain MRI & return to the Pituitary Clinic!

He is also almost exactly 4 years post-Liver Transplant now & looks like he may be able to begin the weaning off of anti-rejection meds following a (relatively minor, though 18th overall) surgery planned for later this month! This is almost a year sooner than they’d previously stated protocols would allow such attempted medication weaning–perhaps a sign of how well he’s doing…

These are all huge praise reports from our standpoint…& my son is quite relieved since he had been “gearing up with the Lord” to prepare for the possibility of more “bad news” & medical challenges, especially in the Neurosurgery arena. We are so thankful for good reports.

I wrote up many details about these visits, & previously about many medical & special education challenges for/about Josiah, at this blog, if anyone is interested in that type of material…

http://www.carepages.com/carepages/JournalingForTheJazzman

There are also details about our ongoing & historical journey, especially as relates to managing Josiah’s needs, at my wordpress blog here

SpecialConnections.wordpress.com

Some people have been blessed and encouraged by our experiences & faith-affirming approaches to the complex & difficult medical & advocacy battles we’ve faced…so all those links are by way of an FYI, if they might be beneficial, inspiring, or encouraging to others.

God Bless You ALL…& God Bless America (& restore Her to founding principles & values!)

(I wanted to post a photo of Josiah here, but don’t know how to do that…so here is a link to the photo I’d wanted to share, fyi)
http://www.carepages.com/carepages/JournalingForTheJazzman/photos/5672780

Blessings,
Valerie Curren

  • PS I really only began the wordpress blog as a form of an outlet to cope with the massive abuse/betrayal of the special education system (not that I in any way believe in the Nanny State)…in attempting to assert, protect, and redress issues related to my special needs son’s “rights” “guaranteed & protected” in Special Education law! I was/am an isolated parent dealing with extremely complex issues over many years who took advocacy “training” from WrightsLaw.com to heart & attempted to put it into practice in defense of my son…anyway some perspective on that whole debacle can be gained at this early blog posting…& the inspirational article cited is also well worth the read for anyone who struggles in these arenas…

    https://specialconnections.wordpress.com/2016/02/18/commenting-on-only-the-rich-will-have-rights-article/

    Thanks for providing a place where we can share things on our minds & hearts!

 

Eventually I’d like to take a page out of Stella’s “book” & perhaps have some guest posts and post even more things of wider ranging interest…but one step at a time…

If you’ve stopped by here for any reason, or even just by accident, thanks for taking the time to read a bit about our situation, to pray for our needs, to share an encouraging word, or even just a passing kindly thought.  We hope you are doing well, but if you struggle (as we all do from time to time) we would be happy to pray with/for you and encourage you as best we can.

In Christ,

Valerie

PS here’s that picture that I’d wanted to post at Stella’s site, and the associated comments, from the above noted link…

56765_100_3671_display

Josiah undergoing pre-op procedures before the Brain Tumor Surgery Summer 2010

Posted Jul 14, 2012 8:07pm

JOSIAH . . . the bravest young man we know. We love you and are keeping you in our prayers.
Cousins Tom and Julie

 

As an aside, this above comment on Josiah’s picture is especially meaningful to me since Tom has recently died & Julie has been in a nursing home for a number of years & no longer actively follows along with Josiah’s needs…& I really miss her wonderful input & encouragement…

Here is cousin Tom’s Obituary…he is officially Hugh Orr Thompson, II but has always been known as “Tom” within the family to distinguish between himself, his father, his son, and most recently his grandson–Hugh IV…

Obituaries & Words of Condolence

Thompson, Hugh, Jr. Obituary
03/19/2017

Hugh Orr Thompson, Jr., of Troy, Michigan and Gaylord, Michigan, passed away Sunday, March 19, 2017. He was 76.

Hugh Thompson was born to Dr. Hugh and Bernice Thompson on November 16, 1940. At the age of 22 he married Julianne Weiskotten and the two spent 53 years together at the time of his passing.

Hugh was active in the Boy Scouts with his children and was also a proud member of the Shriners. In his spare time, he liked snowmobiling, boating, flying, fishing, and even water-skiing in his youth.

Hugh is survived by his wife, Julianne; children Hugh Thompson III (and his wife, Hanh) and Bill Thompson (and his wife, Carrie); and grandchildren Halle Thompson, and Hugh Thompson IV. He was preceded in death by his parents Dr. Hugh and Bernice Thompson, and sister Karen.

There will be two funeral services. The first will be held on Friday, April 7th at the Church of the Nazarene in Troy, Michigan at 2pm with visitation beginning at 1pm. The second will be held on Saturday, April 8th at Nelson Funeral Home in Gaylord, Michigan at 3pm with visitation beginning at 2pm.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to The Alzheimer’s Association, or the Humane Society.

 

Condolence Messages

From: Don Walworth
Northport, MI
Contact
31-Mar-17

You will be missed my friend! We spent many a summer together on Otsego Lake together. May peace be with you

From: Bill and Elaine Stoddard
DEARBORN, MI
Contact
29-Mar-17

Tom has been not only a cousin but best friend to Bill since early childhood. His wife, Julianne is likewise a most prescious friend and cousin. We pray for God’s comfort to all who will miss the earthly presence of this honorable man of good character and integrity. He is much loved, by many.

http://nelsonsfuneralhome.com/obituary-view.cfm?obituaries_id=935

The condolence messages from Don Walworth & my dad Bill Stoddard are from the surviving “Bunns” of “The Three Bunns”…a nickname this trio of mischievous young men gave themselves during all of the many high-jinx of their youth (I do not know the meaning, origin, or purpose of that name).  There are many wonderful stories about their Summers at Otsego Lake that often get revisited with the newer generations as the years go by…& I love to instigate the telling of such tales!

Image result for telling tales campfire

One bit of a family history tidbit, Tom & Julie met at my parents’ wedding and married about a year later.  My dad recently said that Julie told him that she fell in love with Tom at first sight & knew she would marry him even when she first met him.  Julie’s mother and my dad’s mother were very close friends, I believe they were either school teachers or involved in church activities with each other.  They always wanted their husbands to meet, but neither of the men were interested, being too far apart in interests & lifestyle.  Tom Weiskotten, Julie’s dad, was some type of minister (I believe) & my Grandpa, E. M. (Elzine Munger aka El, Al, or Lefty) Stoddard was a self-made outdoorsman who ran his own Sunoco gas station in Detroit–Stoddard’s Superior Service!  Anyway the wives eventually got their husbands to meet & the guys became fast friends.  Tom W. died while his daughter was quite young so when it was time for her to get married it was my Grandpa Stoddard who walked her down the aisle to give her away to his nephew!  We actually called Julie’s mom Aunt Julia because she was family (by love) even before she was family by marriage!

Nelson’s Funeral Home in Gaylord, MI has handled many of the deaths in our extended family over the years, including Tom’s parents, Hugh & Bernice Thompson, his sister, Karen Hansen, my grandparents, Elzine & Vivian (Bernice’s sister) Stoddard, my great-grandparents, Rowland & Florabelle Thompson (Bernice, Vivian, & Thurman’s parents), and my great uncle & his wife, Thurman & Mary Thompson.

Image result for autism super power

In fact at Uncle Thurman’s funeral many years ago Josiah was able to meet some of Karen’s grandkids that were also autistic.  Josiah used to point out Nelson’s for many years whenever we went to Gaylord & remark about Thurman’s funeral that had been there, one of the early indicators of some of his unusual memory & location skills (he’d met Thurman maybe once briefly but recalled events for many years without promptings or reminders, even when passing Nelson’s less than once in a year–it wouldn’t surprise me if he still could spell out the Thurman/Nelsons details on a subsequent Gaylord trip–such is part of the miracle & mystery of autism, at least Josiah style!)

Image result for autism super power

Image result for pine beach, otsego lake, gaylord, michigan

bing.com image for Pine Beach, Otsego Lake, Gaylord, MI

The above picture is pretty close to the sunset view from Tom & Julie’s cottage on Pine Beach, just around the Pointe from my parents’ Cottage on Otsego Lake…

So I need to actually get some sleep & may be getting visually “slap happy” but I couldn’t resist copy/pasting a couple of autism super power images that likely could fit better in other posts I’ve done, but I want to be able to find them again so they are finding a “temporary” home here now!  Blessings, Valerie

I see my brother Curtis doing Chris Farley-esque “air quotes” based on my writing style & am basically cracking my own self up!

Image result for chris farley air quotes meme

Image result for autism super power

the images in this post were found using the Bing.com search engine…

Sharing from 2015, Prayers For Conner

Source: Prayers For Conner

This is an older post but tells of some of the details of a young family experiencing their baby’s heart surgery.  The minutia are different from our experience, yet in many ways the story is the same.  I’m so thankful that other writers share from their hearts their experiences and their perspective.  This “Prayers” posting was written by Conner’s grandmother–and what a loving, godly heart she exhibits…

ConnerJune20174

 

“Added note. To all who were here with us when my grandson Conner had his heart surgery almost two years ago now, who have asked so frequently how he’s doing, I added his picture. Yep, he’s one of the next generation of fearless daredevil boys in the family. His favorite thing is climbing and jumping, which he’s in the process of doing here. Thank you all for remembering him.” 

This update on Connor, and his picture, is from his Grandma’s recent posting (that is also well worth the read) here:

Thank You God, For Men. Real Men.

Image result for heal your heart scripture

Image is from a Bing.com image search for “heal your heart scripture”

It is a blessing to me, and hopefully to you as well, to be reminded of the Lord’s faithfulness in delivering other people out of their challenging circumstances.  I know nothing of this family beyond the two posts referenced here…but I know the Joy of seeing a heart surgery child running, climbing, and in general just being a boy!!!

Blessings,

Valerie

 

Image result for heal your heart scripture

Image is from a Bing.com image search for “heal your heart scripture”

Update June 23, 2017

Please check this post at my son’s new blog for further info about Conner & his family in the Comments Section.  Thanks!

https://josiahsfreakshow.wordpress.com/2017/06/21/josiahs-first-post/

Here are those comments from Josiah’s site, as of 11-1-18…

20 thoughts on “Josiah’s First Post”

  1. Menagerie

    I’m looking forward to hearing more of your story Josiah. My four year old grandson has recently been diagnosed as autistic. He has been in speech therapy for several years and also has occupational and physical therapy. Next year he will attend pre school at a school for special needs children.

    Great job on your first post. Blogging can be a very rewarding outlet, and for some who work very hard at it, even an occupation.

    I wish you great success in your endeavors.

    Liked by you and 2 other people

    1. The Autism diagnosis can lead to quite a wild ride. We are quite familiar with the Therapies, Speech, PT, & OT, ones he still should be receiving. Josiah used to also receive a form of OT called “Sensory Integration Therapy” that helped with many of his sensory issues.

      Depending on the severity of your grandson’s needs there are quite intensive therapies (like ABA–Applied Behavioral Analysis) available that are theoretically Required to be provided by Special Education. I believe the Pre-School portion of IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) is called “Part C”. If your family hasn’t yet geared up for special needs advocacy I would strongly encourage you to arm yourselves for “battle” here. Of course my perspective is colored by years of illegal abuses of special ed law from our local school system…

      Here is a source of helpful advocacy info, a jumping off point, depending on how deep you want to engage the rabbit hole here:

      http://wrightslaw.com/

      http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/autism.index.htm

      http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/ei.index.htm

      Supports & Services vary widely by state. Where we live in Michigan there is an organization called Community Mental Health…Josiah used to receive the above therapies through them because of Developmental Disabilities (and still could if we could work out insurance issues). They also were involved in The Early On Program (then birth to age 5) and still provide Case Management services and Respite Care for our Family.

      It’s really important to get good/great information about Autism (from my perspective) and EARLY INTERVENTION IS CRUCIAL. We didn’t get Josiah’s Autism diagnosis early and dealt with a school system in complete denial of his spectrum issues so we have a lot of baggage in this arena. Anyway, having Great Professionals on board is vital, like Behavioral Pediatricians.

      Here’s some general overview of some necessary autism-related disciplines:
      Behavioralist/Behavioral Pediatrician
      Autism Waiver Program Center
      Neuro-Psychologist (Neuro-Psych Testing is Crucial too–way beyond scope of school testing)
      Communication Disorders Center (we never went due to funding/insurance probs)
      Specialty Learning Centers (ditto above note)
      Respite Care, in home & center based
      Therapies (PT, OT, Speech, Sensory Integration, Music, Art, Group, etc)
      Sensory Diet
      Social Work
      Counseling
      Psychology
      Medication Management
      Dietary issues (we never went this route, but some people swear by it)
      Tutoring
      Sib-Shops (a siblings of special needs program, normalizes experiences for families)

      We are blessed to have a local physician who is a strong Christian and has her entire practice dedicated to managing complex special needs children & their families. They try to provide a “Medical Home” there and are quite involved in medical, therapeutic, educational, & social interventions…perhaps there’s someone similar in your/their area?

      Well there is A Lot of info out there. It’s probably best to get connected to people going through similar experiences relatively close to home (something I never did). It’s also key to get some degree of Prayer Covering depending on what battles/issues you might face.

      May the Lord equip, encourage, empower, and establish you and your extended family as you enter into the fray in a completely different way. Autism is a universe unto itself, each child being incredibly unique and yet “fearfully & wonderfully made”. Enjoy the Journey…You are all Blessed Beyond Measure and now members of the exclusive & exhausting club of Families Impacted by Autism…

      May the Lord give Grace, Peace, & Joy to you and yours,

      Valerie

      I could give you the actual names & disciplines of people involved in Josiah’s Autism care (in MIchigan and often affiliated with the University of Michigan Hospital) so that your family could get referrals from their departments to high caliber people in your area, if you’d like. Please email me directly at
      ValerieCurren@sbcglobal.net
      if you’d like that type of detailed info.

      Liked by you and 1 other person

  2. Menagerie

    Conner is fine and healthy now, and he runs us ragged trying to keep up with him. Although it was a very scary experience for our family, and it is never a minor thing to have open heart surgery, we were.very fortunate that Conner’s problem was one that was easily repaired in one surgery. He had holes in the upper and lower chambers of his heart. One would have grown closed by itself eventually, but the other was too large, and the holes from one side to the other didn’t line up, so they had to do surgery.

    The doctors said Conner is now fine, and should have no further problems with his heart. He goes to see a cardiologist once a year to get checked out.

    Thanks for asking about him. There is a picture of him on the post your mother shared on her blog.

    Liked by you and 2 other people

    1. Sounds like Conner had a VSD (Ventricular Septal Defect) & an ASD (Atrial Septal Defect)…like Josiah did, among other things…right? Josiah’s first heart surgery at 2 months & 4 pounds was that VSD repair with a Gortex patch. Later when Josiah was 4 1/2 he had another open heart surgery with a “Sub-Aortic Stenosis Resection with Myomectomy”–basically they removed a hardening of the tissue and a small amount of heart muscle just below his malformed aortic valve. He has a Tri-Cuspid rather than the normal Bi-Cuspid Aortic Valve.

      His Aortic Valve is still being monitored as well as the Aortic Root/Arch which is somewhat dilated so will likely involve another Open Heart Surgery…eventually.

      Will Conner also have to be monitored by Pediatric Cardiology for the remainder of his life? If so, how frequent are the visits? Josiah’s never been less frequent than every 2 years…and when things were fairly dicey we were seeing Peds Cardiology every 3 months…

      Thanks for reading Josiah’s blog & communicating with him! This means so much to both of us!

      Blessings,

      Valerie, Josiah’s mom

      Liked by you and 3 other people

      1. Menagerie

        Conner sees the cardiologist once a year, in Chattanooga. The Vanderbilt doctors said there was no need for him to come back there unless something very unexpected happens. If I remember correctly, they are going to see Conner yearly at least until he is school age, and they may change that then.

        Liked by you and 2 other people

        1. Well hopefully things continue to improve in the Heart arena for your family. Since we were told Josiah would Always be followed by a Pediatric Cardiologist I guess I assumed that was a typical Heart Baby scenario. Maybe that depends on the nature of the Congenital Defects…some repairs are lifelong. Great that they can see doctors (presumably) closer to home…One of the reasons we moved to Metro Detroit from Northern Michigan was to be nearer to Josiah’s Specialty Care at U of M…

          Liked by 2 people

  3. Pingback: Sharing from 2015, Prayers For Conner | Special Connections
  4. Hi Josiah! I am a friend of Menagerie’s who also blogs at the Tree House. I grew up with a younger brother who was diagnosed with autism way back in 1956. Boy….things were a lot different back in those days as far as diagnosis and treatment. I am just amazed and delighted to hear about all the opportunities that are being offered today.

    I look forward to reading more and learning more about you.😀 (Yeah…I’m one of those people that like to use the happy faces.)

    Liked by you and 1 other person

      1. Hi Valerie! The happy faces are easy-peasy.
        1. Go to the Dashboard on your WordPress Administration page.
        2. Scroll down to “Settings”….it’s the second option from the bottom.
        3. Select “Settings”, then click on the second item, “Writing”.
        5. On the top of the page you’ll see “Formatting”…..click on the first box that says, “Convert emoticons like 🙂and 😛 to graphics on display.” This will allow you and your readers to type in the semicolon, dash, and right parenthesis that makes up the basic smilie.

        As for my perspectives on Autism, I don’t know how much I can contribute that would be of use. I’m thinking what I do have to say would probably be more appropriately said on your main blog. I’ll pop over in the morning.

        Liked by you and 1 other person

        1. I never did find “formatting” under item 4/5 from your instructions…so didn’t quite get to the emoticons option. Perhaps they’re not available when one is only using the “free” wordpress service? I do appreciate the suggestions here though…

          Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Josiah! I’m a friend of Ad rem and Menagerie. Will be interesting to follow your blog. I have two grandsons – one in high school and another in middle school in Illinois. I live in Michigan too.

    My older grandson had a malformation of the skull when he was a baby, but it fortunately didn’t require any intervention other than braces on his teeth a couple of years ago. Somehow, everything worked itself out as he grew.

    What is your favorite thing to do?

    Liked by you and 1 other person

    1. Hi Stella, this is Josiah’s mom, Valerie. Josiah has a Great-Aunt, my dad’s sister, in Illinois. She lives in the Chicago area, Naperville and usually comes to Michigan to see our family at my parents’ Cottage in Gaylord. We hope to see Aunt Pat near the 4th of July…hopefully she’ll get to watch the annual fireworks over Otsego Lake with us but we’ll see since this trip she’s staying with her late husband’s family a few miles from the Cottage.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. My family lives in Oak Park, IL. My daughter and SIL both grew up in the Detroit area, and I lived in Illinois myself for about ten years (my daughter was born there).

        We normally spend July 4 at St. Helen, not too far from you, at my SIL’s family’s cottage, although I won’t be there this year. My older GS’s birthday is July 3, and we always have his birthday party in St. Helen, but he is in Japan on an exchange program for six weeks.

        Liked by you and 1 other person

        1. Blessings on you & yours as you celebrate Independence Day perhaps further afield. I was out of the county for the 4th in the late ’80s on a Missions Trip in Liberia, West Africa and it was extremely strange to not be in America with celebrating Americans for that patriotic holiday. It does make you realize how we blessed we are in this country though…

          Liked by 2 people