Raising an Autistic Child

I’m currently updating my first published book, an autobiography as a mother with an autistic child. My son, Benjamin, was non-verbal as a small child and was later identified as having High-Functioning Autism. He is now a published author and speaks at churches and schools about his experience growing up with autism. You can still get a copy of the first edition but some of the links in the resources are outdated. Here’s an excerpt from the introduction of the book.

Raising Benjamin Frog--A Mother's Journey with her Autistic Son, by Lynne Collier
Raising Benjamin Frog–A Mother’s Journey with her Autistic Son, by Lynne Collier

 

Where do you go to, My Sunshine? 

“You have the most beautiful blue eyes, my handsome baby boy. Why can’t I see you behind them? Where do you go when your eyes wander away from me?

I hold you in my arms and stroke your tiny face, run my fingers through the yellow strands falling across your brow and I search for a glimpse of soul connection, but you are nowhere to be found.

If I let go of your small hand you’ll run away or you’ll walk in an endless straight line and not care where you’re going. You won’t see the people on the path in front of you or the tree that blocks your way. You won’t run excited to play with the other children on the swings because they’re not there in your world.

We walk by the lake. I point at the birds, gracefully gliding, skimming over the lapping waves. A young puppy barks and, for an instant, I see a puzzled frown on your tiny forehead, then it’s gone.

I show you the delicate, colourful blue petals of the Forget-Me-Not and we stop for a while to listen to the rustling of the birch. But you walk where I walk and stop when I stop only because I hold on tightly to your little fingers so you don’t slide down the bank and disappear. You have no response to these wonders around you.

I tell you how God made all these things. How He loves you and created you as part of His masterpiece too. How you have a purpose in this life and how I’ll do my best as your Mummy to help you find that purpose He has planned for you. But you don’t seem to hear a word. You just stare into the distance.

We walk back on the path and I sing to you “Forever Young.” You don’t sing along or dance in circles around me giggling. But oh how I love you my Sunshine.

Where do you go to, my sweet baby boy, when your eyes wander away from me and you’re lost in your autistic world.”

Buy the First Edition

Get updates on the second edition and other work 

For a closer look at autism from Benjamin’s perspective and to see what he’s up to now, visit his blog benjaminfrog.wordpress.com

https://benjaminfrog.wordpress.com/about/
Benjamin T. Collier/Author & Speaker
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What On Earth Are You Doing Here?

What On Earth Are You Doing Here?

Kingdom Purpose – What On Earth Are You Doing Here?

We’re not content to merely exist – we want to matter in this world. So how do we figure out what our own life means? If we’re not a famous evangelist or humanitarian, what’s our purpose for being here?

“It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.” – (Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, 1:11-12 MSG).

We are all unique individuals, with our own unique qualities and our own unique assignment from God.  He gave us all the attributes we’d need to do His work here and feel His pleasure in our completed assignment. Take a look at a picture of space.

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The God who created the earth and all those amazing nebulas and supernova, dark matter and pulsars, created you and me unique and in His image to be family in His name!

“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago”. – (Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, 2:10 NIV).

Whatever God has laid on your heart He has given you the ability to do. What has your heavenly Father asked you to undertake on His behalf in this kingdom on earth?

You can find my 22-page mini-course, Your Write Voice For His Kingdom, on the sidebar of the Homepage.

NaNoWriMo – Dec 4

 

Dec 4th Well, here I am with my NaNoWriMo winner’s certificate! I started out on November 1st with a rough idea for a story, but I hadn’t done the outline or decided on character names or anything. When they said, ‘Write an entire novel in a month”, I took it rather too literally and hadn’t prepared anything! Along the way I discovered I needed an outline. All I had was a beginning idea and an ending. I had no middle. The middle is the entire story – what was I thinking?! But I read a very important coaching tip and decided to just keep that front and centre as I plodded on; Just Write. I tried to ignore the editor in me who sounded a lot like my English grammar school teacher, and I wrote, and wrote, and wrote… The final day I was so tired, but as I neared the finish line I was super excited to see the prize so close. I watched the word count click 49, 999 – 50,000. I felt like I’d run a marathon, but I stayed awake long enough to print out my certificate. It’s a great feeling, to reach the finish line in whatever you set out to accomplish, whether it’s a novel or a new recipe for chocolate brownies.

When I got to the middle part of the novel I just kept going. I started researching names at first, for my main characters, but the rest of them in the middle got the first name that came to mind – just write! Some of them will need to have a name change as I revise, or I’ll find myself in trouble with the first name of an antagonist being someone I know! It’s funny how that works. As they say, “Don’t tick me off. I’m a writer and you may end up in my next novel – and I may just kill you”. The plot unfolded all on its own and my characters became real. For my first try at fiction, I am actually proud of my attempt. It will have to wait for now, though.

The novel I wrote for NaNoWriMo is one of a series of novels I’ll be publishing starting in Spring 2016. Before this book is published, I hope to have two more short non-fiction works published and a fantasy. So maybe, if God has this in His plan as I see it in mine; I’ll have this novel published just in time for the next NaNoWriMo.

Thank you to all who supported me through this endeavor, especially my family who ate goodness-knows-what some nights, lots of fast ‘food’, had to put up with dirty dishes in the sink all month, and me endlessly talking about NaNo. You’re all the bestests!

Signing off on my NaNoWriMo posts till next year. God Bless,

Lynne

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My first NaNoWriMo winner’s certificate

NaNoWriMo Day 30 – I DID IT!

NaNoWriMo Winner!
NaNoWriMo Winner!

 

I made it! I wrote 50,000 words in thirty days and validated my novel at 5pm. I am officially pooped and I’m going to make a cup of orange tea, and pet my cat – and also watch The Walking Dead again because I don’t remember half of what happened last night I was so exhausted!

I will give you the run-down on my last day tomorrow. Thank you all for the words of encouragement here and on Facebook and Twitter.

Have a great night. Word count to date – 50, 075

Lynne

NaNoWriMo Day 29!!!

NaNoWriMo Day 29!!!
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I can do it – I can do it – I can do it!

Day 29 Sorry I’ve been MIA for a few days. As I posted in an earlier blog, I had to take Friday off to go out of town for an appointment. Yesterday I just wrote like crazy, trying to get my word count up to at least 45,000 so I wouldn’t have too much still to do tomorrow. Today is my Sabbath day, so I took it off for church and family and didn’t write. (That took a lot of discipline!) I hope to get to bed on time for a change and start tomorrow early. I have a lot of words still to write!!!!!! Thanks to Sandy Hall and others in the NaNoCoach forum, I know it doesn’t have to be pretty – it just has to be. I will take a half hour for breakfast and a half hour for lunch, but I will probably not break for dinner until I’ve verified my novel and won this challenge. I’ll let you know on Tuesday how I did and what time I finished.

So, I promised you more tips on this blog. Here goes;

Writing an Outline for Your Novel

This is the outline I found easiest to follow, taken from several writer’s magazines.

Act 1    The Status Quo. Your hero’s everyday life.

The Catalyst. A call to action.

Denial. Hero rejects the opportunity.

Guru. The hero gets a mentor.

Acceptance & Action. First threshold of change.

Act 2   Trials. Finding friends and foes.

Edge of the Abyss. Decision of second threshold.

The Plunge. Faces the greatest fear.

The Pay-Off. Hero gets a reward of some sort.

Act 3    The Way Through. On the way home. Maybe being chased.

True Test. Hero proves they learned their lesson.

The New Normal. Returns home, transformed.

I hope that helps some of you who are like me and just starting out on the fiction journey. There are a lot of good magazines available for writers. I usually find mine at Chapters. I love flipping through the magazines and deciding which to buy – don’t you?

Well, tomorrow’s the day. I’m at word count 43,950. Just over 6,000 words to write tomorrow before the verification deadline! (Must remember to stop to eat, and pet the cat. Wait – no, she’ll remind me).

Lynne out till Tuesday.

 

Finding Love in Unexpected Places

Finding Love in Unexpected Places

Ben and new friend. using as blog post for HACwC scavenger hunt

Ben with a new friend at the Toronto Zoo

Dancing on the Bus, a short story I wrote about finding love in unexpected places, was accepted to be included in a recently published book called, Hot Apple Cider with Cinnamon, the third in a series of short stories and poems.

My story is about being accepted and loved as a child, by total strangers. Later, as a mother, I saw that same love and acceptance for my own children. (Side note here; the picture is of my son from the story, showing love and acceptance to another child he met that day for the frist time. Paying love forward never fails).

On Nov 27th, 2015, I will be one of the hosts for the Virtual Book Launch of Hot Apple Cider with Cinnamon. If you read this post in time and can join us, the launch is from 12-11pm, Ontario time. I will be ‘live’ from 8.30-9.

Secret Word for the scavenger hunt is: FAILS

Lynne

PS – Although the launch has passed, you can still view it on Facebook using this link.

NaNoWriMo Days 23 & 24

Battle Day for my Superheroes!
Battle Day for my Superheroes!

 

Day 23 How do you organize your outline? I asked a few colleagues that question and received several different responses from them all. I didn’t organize my outline before I started writing (Pantser) and that slowed my writing quite a bit. As I mentioned earlier, I had to go back over some segments to cut and paste so I could keep track of who was where and doing what. So the suggestions I received were very helpful in trying to help me do just that. Sticky notes seems to be the favourite, with spreadsheet close behind. But my favourite, and the one I’m now using, is to list my chapters in order with titles before I start writing. This tip was given to me by my NaNoWriMo writing buddy. Thanks, Melanie! I admit I’m a little late doing this, but since I gave my chapters headings, I’ve been able to stay on track with my story. I also wrote out my characters’ names and pertinent information on file cards and stuck them on the office bulletin board. If you haven’t started your novel yet, I’d like to suggest you at least put your outline somewhere handy where it’s easily accessible. I wasted a lot of time rummaging through my manuscript to find out where my supportive characters live! Do you have a tried and true method to organizing your writing?

Lynne

Day 24 I just finished writing my final battle scene – phew! I’m exhausted and I didn’t lift a single sword. I basically wrote about fighting ALL day. I fed the cat, made a conference call to one of my pastors, fed the birds, talked to my son for a bit then wrote about blood and guts the rest of the day (and into part of dinner time). Once my husband went to bed I took up the final battle scene once more (my writing that is) to get it finished. Total word count to date: 35,816. That means if I still take Sunday off, and I have to take Friday off to go out of town with my daughter all day and do a virtual book launch in the evening, I’ll need to write at least 3,500 words each day including the final day on Monday! I know from recent experience I need 7-8 hours of sleep to work at peak performance. Trust me – your brain won’t work well if it doesn’t get enough sleep and people will think you’re a zombie – not good. Tomorrow is the part referred to as The Payoff part of the novel. A nice change from today. Sleep well and long.

Lynne