Where is Avonte?

National Center for Missing & Exploited Children

National Center for Missing & Exploited Children

While the news focuses on the nightmare of Obamacare, there’s a much more urgent story that isn’t being told.

Avonte Oquendo, a 14-year-old autistic child is missing. He walked out of his school in Queens, New York 23 days ago and hasn’t been seen since.

His disappearance highlights several disturbing trends for families with autism in this country.

1. Public schools are often ill-equipped to truly understand the keen attention these children need.
autism ribbon
2. Public schools sometimes do a poor job of training and informing staff of the great importance of constant supervision of children with autism and other disabilities. Because these students often have trouble communicating verbally, every single person on staff of that school should have been informed or at the very least trained on how kids with autism do or do not communicate. One in 88 children in the U.S. have autism. 40% of them are non-verbal (National Autism Association).

3. Kids with autism are curious and prone to wandering. Why was Avonte not supervised more closely? According to the Interactive Autism Network and the Kennedy Krieger Institute, children with autism wander off at a rate four times higher than siblings without autism. As they grow older, they are at an increased risk for wandering off.

pastorswifeIn my book, The Pastor’s Wife Wears Biker Boots, one of the characters who has autism, Timmy, wanders off and gets lost. When I wrote about that, I had no idea how prevalent this habit is among children with autism.

That’s not to say I didn’t know they would wander. I have twins of my own, age 18, with autism. I’ve been blessed that their wandering hasn’t been too far. But they are insatiably curious, and I can find them in odd places sometimes.

My second son who has autistic characteristics wandered a lot as a toddler. He had no fear of anything. I had to put a bell on the door to keep him safe because he’d wander down the road and walk into people’s houses. One lady brought him home from the cemetery. Another saved him from getting lost in a corn field and crossing a busy highway.

5033250Please go to the Facebook page and share this flyer with your Facebook friends. Tweet about it.

And most of all, pray for this young man and his family.

Click to tweet:

Pray for missing child with autism: Avonte Oquendo.

Help find Avonte. Retweet.

Help find non-verbal missing child Avonte!

Silent Sunday

hallway

A to Z Meme: N is for NaNoWriMo!

nanowrimoI actually got my start writing full-length novels via National Novel Writing Month! I was a participant way back in 2005. Chris Baty even loaned me a laptop that year so I could participate. I’ve never, ever forgotten that generosity. A laptop at that time in my life was simply not something I ever thought I would own. But as I showed myself faithful to the gift, God provided later on.

I actually wrote my newly released novel, The Pastor’s Wife Wears Biker Boots during NaNoWriMo 2009! (The rough draft, people, the very primitive rough draft.)

typingI’m going to participate this year in order to finish my work in progress. September and October have been insane schedule-wise. And since I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo in the past, my husband and kids are used to Mom’s grueling word count schedule in November.

NaNoWriMo taught me how to keep writing even when I didn’t feel like it, when I wasn’t inspired, when I was bored and when the tedium was overwhelming. It taught me a lot, and I highly recommend the experience for anyone who has ever thought about writing a book.

plotNaNoWriMo founder, Christ Baty, actually quotes me several times in his book, No Plot? No Problem! The book is great, but the quotes he used are a little embarrassing…something about me being inspired in the bathroom or some such thing.

Can’t imagine that about me, can you?

helloSo why not join me and be my writing buddy atNaNoWriMo? Who knows if we get to 50,000, words?

We won’t know if we don’t try, right?

Here’s your supply list for our noveling marathon:

1. Caffeine
2. Chocolate
3. Favorite sound tracks
4. Chocolate
5. Comfy jammies
6. Chocolate

I know it will be tough gathering up all those supplies, but I promise they’re necessary for keeping writer’s block at bay.

Leave me a comment below and let me know if you’ll join me in November! Write on, dear friends! The world needs your novel!

A Father’s Love

The following video needs little explanation. But I do want to make a correlation between the father in the video and our Heavenly Father.

Oh, how very much we are loved.

Oh, what a happy day it will be when he embraces us and says “well done.”

The depth of the father’s love and pride in this video touched me deeply. Especially the way he stared at the report card like it was a dream.

We are God’s dream come true. Never forget how very much you are loved. Never forget how much God is pulling for you and dreams for your success.

Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread,

will he give him a stone?

Matthew 7:9

 

tweeterClick to tweet:

Did you know that God dreams for your success?

If an earthly father wants his child to succeed, how much more God yearns for your success!

Scare away hunger this Halloween

halloweenOne of my passions is feeding and clothing the Native American children of Pine Ridge Reservation. The poorest area of the United States. That people live in such squalor in this land of plenty, is an American shame. So my post today is about how you can help feed the babies of Pine Ridge and the many elderly that are raising them.

Our church sponsored a family via this organization so I can vouch for their legitimacy. They aren’t a Christian organization, but they do the work of Christ if you ask me. They work hard to help keep food and clothes and wood for fuel and heat in homes that desperately need them.

I personally don’t “celebrate” Halloween, but I do use it as a day to spread the Gospel via flyers and tracts and as an opportunity to invite people to church. Why not use it to feed the hungry of Pine Ridge, too?

What follows is taken from their website:

This Halloween, children will go door-to-door collecting treats. Many will come to your door. This Halloween, think of the children who may have nothing at all to eat.

hunger2Participate in ONE Spirit’s Scare Away Hunger Halloween Drive, and help feed needy families. It’s a fun, easy way to contribute to the End Hunger program!
As you buy your candy, set aside $5 (about the cost of one bag) to donate to our End Hunger program. At the door, put a basket with our printable flyer, for parents who may wish to make a donation. You may also wish to put a basket out at your church or school party.

kidsinvlovedGet the kids involved!
Are your kids going trick-or-treating? Send them out with an extra bag for donations and our print and cut slips (click on the picture at left). After they get their treat, they can give a slip, and collect any donations that people may wish to give. Spare change and dollar bills add up!

When the night is over, send the donations to us here:

One Spirit PO Box 3209 Rapid City, SD 57709

Pine Ridge Facts:

  • The eighth-largest reservation in the United States
  • The poorest reservation in the United States
  • The population of Pine Ridge suffers health conditions commonly found in Third World countries: high mortality rates, depression, alcoholism, drug abuse, malnutrition , diabetes and more
  • Reservation access to health care is limited and insufficient
  • Unemployment rates are between 80% and 85%
  • 49% of the population live below the federal poverty level
  • Many families have no electricity, telephone, running water, or sewage systems; and use wood stoves to heat their homes, depleting limited wood resources
  • The shortest life expectancies of any group in the Western Hemisphere: approximately 47 years for males and 52 years for females
  • The infant mortality rate is five times the United States national average
  • Adolescent suicide rate is four times the United States national average

tweeterClick to Tweet:
Help feed the hungry children and elderly on Pine Ridge.

Scare away hunger this Halloween

Participate in ONE Spirit’s Scare Away Hunger Halloween Drive, and help feed needy families.

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