Monday, October 31, 2011

Book Giveaway

Today is the last day of the month and the last day to enter my contest to win a copy of my book The Upside of Down. It's easy to enter. The rules are here. You might want to enter to win a copy for yourself or maybe as a gift for someone for a birthday or Christmas.

October is Down Syndrome Awareness month. I've discovered there are still so many misconceptions about DS. People are still so fearful of DS and that tends to breed prejudice. My son does have some challenges, but he also has talents and strengths. He is currently in speech therapy so he can learn to better communicate verbally. He is also still working on potty training. But, he is also doing well learning his letters and he's reading words from flashcards. He's also a whiz on the computer and can use the DVR remote better  than I can.

He signed his part in the Primary program yesterday and it was very sweet. He also stood proudly with all the boys while they sang, I Hope They Call Me on a Mission. He wore a suit, white shirt, tie, and "future missionary" name tag. He was adorable.

He has such a funny sense of humor and loves to make others laugh. He loves to jump on the trampoline. He loves to eat pudding, string cheese, and apple sauce. His favorite cartoon is SpongeBob (I think it makes his brains fall out his ears, but he loves it and can even say SpongeBob). His laugh is infectious and he has the brightest eyes.

Would I wish a child with DS on anyone? Absolutely not. I would only wish a child with DS on someone who would be thankful for such a blessing. I would only wish a child with DS on someone who could see beyond the challenges and see the child the same way that Heavenly Father sees him/her. I would only wish a child with DS on someone who would value that child and do his/her best to allow that child to reach his/her potential. Not everyone is cut out to raise a child with DS--many of us, like me, never knew we had it in us. Having a child with DS does bring challenges, but those challenges are so minor compared to the tremendous blessings.

I may not have planned to have a child with DS, but I am ever so grateful that Heavenly Father entrusted my son to me. I have learned far more from him than he will ever learn from me.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Those with Special Needs Are Not Burdens

My daughter's high school English class had a discussion about people with special needs after reading, "Of Mice and Men." The question posed to the class was whether or not people with disabilities are burdens.

My very tender-hearted daughter, who spent 2 years in middle school working with kids with special needs, was astonished to find so many in her class who believe those with disabilites really don't deserve to live. One girl was adamant that people with disabilites are like animals. Another girl believed they shouldn't be cared for. Others agreed that people with disabilites are complete burdens on everyone. My daughter was relieved that one young man pointed out that everyone in that room was a burden.

My guess is that none of those kids have ever worked with nor been around someone with special needs. How sad to have such a narrow view.

Are we raising our kids to see those who have challenges as nothing more than animals? Are we so focused on perfection that we relegate those who are "imperfect" to sub-human status? Do we consider those with challenges as burdens?

We like to think we've come so far when it comes to discrimination, but the truth is, there's still plenty of prejudice and ignorance to go around when it comes to people with special needs.

Let's teach our children the truth. We all have challenges. Some may be more visible than others, but we all have them. Let us be kind and and merciful when we encounter those who have disabilites. After all, however merciful we are to others, for whatever reason, is how merciful God will be with us.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Book of Mormon Combats Evil

We have a history teacher in our school district who is teaching her students that there are no heroes or villains in history, no right or wrong, no good or bad. She says it's a matter of perception.


We haven't had people commit horrible acts of violence throughout history? Hitler or Stalin or Hussein? If we don't admit these men committed heinous acts against millions of people how will we learn and prevent such things from happening again?

No heroes? What about the men and women who have lost their lives protecting our freedom? The founding fathers? Ghandi? Florence Nightingale? Mother Theresa? If we don't recognize heroes how can we emulate and model heroic behavior?

Last year, my middle school daughter had a teacher who told her she needed to stop listening to her parents and form her own opinions. Interestingly enough, he never told the other students this--you know, the ones that agreed with him. He only focused on my daughter because she disagreed with him on social issues and took a strong stand that right and wrong do exist. He unsuccessfully tried to sway her thinking to embrace the idea that morality is relative.

I used to scratch my head when people would say that the Book of Mormon was written for our day because it was written so long ago--how could it be for today? As I was thinking about these teachers and the false ideas they are attempting to plant in the minds of students I started reading in Alma when Korihor came to town. He taught the people similar things as these teachers. He told them to stop believing the "foolish traditions of their fathers" and to not worry about what they were doing because there was no God.

Korihor demanded a sign before he would believe and when he was struck dumb as that sign, he begged for the curse to be lifted and said he now believed. Too late. He ended up begging for food and was trampled to death. He'd been deceived by the devil who had appeared to him as an angel.

Many are being deceived today and seek to further that deception in our society and in our schools. If we read and study the Book of Mormon we will know how to spot and combat ideas that will lead us away from truth and away from God.

The Book of Mormon is our defense to combat Satan and his attempts to carefully lead us down to hell.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Trip to Utah

We spent this last weekend visiting our kids in Utah. My son and his wife are trying to purchase a home in Payson and we wanted to see it. We had a lot of fun together. We drove up Payson canyon and took some photos I wanted to share. The canyon is an explosion of colors. I've never seen such vibrant, magnificent colors. If you live anywhere near Payson, UT you need to take a drive up this canyon. It's breathtaking. These photos don't do justice to the spectacular show of colors, but they do showcase my rather awesome family!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Homecoming Queen

This story warms my heart and gives me hope that kids with Down syndrome can enjoy the same things as kids without DS. I love the expression on this beautiful young woman's face when her name is announced. They say everything is bigger in Texas--apparently so are the hearts of the voting student body in this high school.

I hope we can all see people with DS as people, not as chromosome counts.

Thanks to Elodia Strain for posting the link on the Writing Fortress blog.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Down Syndrome Awareness Month: Book Giveaway

In recognition of Down Syndrome Awareness Month I am going to give away a copy of my novel, The Upside of Down. While my book does have a sub-plot about DS, it is not about DS. The story is about an LDS woman who thinks she has indestructible faith until her life is turned upside down and she must decide whether or not she still has faith. The title is a play on words.

Too many people still have misconceptions about Down syndrome. I didn't know much about it until I had to learn. Since then, I've realized that people with DS are much more like those of us without it than not. They have distinct personalities, likes and dislikes, strengths, weaknesses, talents, dreams, struggles, etc. Because their struggles are more visible, they tend to be targets of ridicule and name-calling. Many people in our society are still ignorant of what people with DS can do and how people with DS can make the world a better place.

We become so focused on perfection we fail to see the blessings of imperfections. Currently, the medical profession is working to eliminate DS from our society. Not by curing it, but by preventing it through abortion.  Specialized testing is now available earlier in pregnancy so more pregnancies diagnosed with DS can be terminated thereby practicing selective birthing.

The message: those with DS are sub-human and should not be allowed to live simply because they have an extra chromosome. Sounds Hitleresque to me.

I want to make people aware that while parenting a child with DS has its unique challenges, it also has great and wonderful blessings. I can't imagine my life without my son. I have found great joy in the simple things I took for granted with my other kids. I have learned patience and acceptance and total reliance on my Heavenly Father to guide me in how to best serve my son. I've learned things I did not learn with my previous nine children. My son's life has been a gift to me.

So, my gift to you is a chance to win a copy of my book. The contest will run through midnight, October 31st.  I will use to choose a winner on November 1st. If you'd like to enter:

1. Become a follower--1 entry
2. Tell 3 friends about my book--1 entry
3. email me at talleyrl(AT)yahoo(DOT)com or leave a comment here to let me know what you did.

Thanks for your interest!