Guest Post

Guest Post: The Love of books and reading ~ Teresa Kelly Jones

Happy Sunday! Today I am excited to say that I have a guest post by Teresa Kelly Jones:

The Love of Books and Reading

When we are children, our parents strive to instill within us the values and traits that they believe will help us the most along life’s journey, and while my mother did her best to teach me the basics that range from being courteous, to flossing your teeth daily, the trait I am most thankful for is the love of reading and books.

Yes you heard me correctly; I classified reading as a trait that is taught and not simply something that we acquire overtime. For me, reading is much more than something that I can do, or something that passes the time when I am bored. Reading is something that has defined me throughout my life that has molded my thoughts and opinions and most importantly, has given depth to my imagination.

Early in my life my mother started working with me and teaching me to read, but it was far past just being able to read the words off the page, no she wouldn’t have that, she wanted me to live the story. She wanted me to fall in love with each character, to find someone that I could relate to and build the described world around them so that as I was reading the words I could see the story coming to life and taking place in my mind.

By teaching me to fall into the story, my mother not only taught me that there are no limits on my imagination, but she also taught me that there is nowhere in the world that a book could not take me. My parents were far from wealthy, and our life in a small coal mining town was not one of luxury, but every week I got to go to the library and get new books, and those books became my greatest adventures.

Books have taken me on adventures that no money can buy and that no regular person can go on. Through books I have witnessed first-hand the greatest points of history, I have met the characters that shaped the countries of the world and have been taken away to worlds full of fantasy, myths and legends that can only exist in the imaginations of the writers and the readers.

My mother might not have been able to teach me everything she had hoped and she might not have been able to give me all the things she wanted to, but through books she gave me the world and for that I will never be able to repay her.

I hope that the next time you pick up a book, you take a moment and relish the smell of the pages and binding, and as you open it up to begin to read, I hope you don’t just read the words…I hope you fall into the world the author created and go on their adventure with them.

Happy Reading!

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Guest Post

Guest Post: Meet Debut Author Christi Corbett!

Today I have Christi Corbett, a talent author whose debut book Along the Way Home will come out this Tuesday.

First, I’d like to give a big thank you to Rose for allowing me to host her blog today! I truly appreciate her sharing her readers with me as I celebrate the release of my debut novel, Along the Way Home, on June 11th.

I am a historical romance author now, but before I loved writing I loved reading. I grew up on a steady word diet of Judy Blume, Nancy Drew, the entire boxed set of Little House on the Prairie books, Shel Silverstein’s The Light in the Attic and Where the Sidewalk Ends, and hundreds more. I distinctly recall at age ten approaching the library checkout counter with an armload of books piled so high I had to rest my chin upon the stack for fear it might topple to the floor.

I’d read them all in a week and beg my mom to take me back for more.

I enjoyed writing just as much, both for school assignments and for fun. But my ability to read fast and love of words got me in trouble in 9th grade English. I tended to finish my work quickly, leaving me ample time to distract other students with notes and talking. So, my teacher made me take a test to discover my reading and retention ability. (I think she thought I was a talkative goof-off who got lucky with answers.) Turned out I read about 1000 words per minute, which more than explained why I was able to finish my schoolwork so quickly.

When I graduated from college I took a job as a television commercial/show writer for a CBS affiliate in Minnesota. It never seemed like work to me because I got to play with words all day. While clients are normally only presented with one finalized script, I was known for giving three scripts to choose from because simply because I had so many ideas and couldn’t help but to write them down. My coworkers often rolled their eyes at this, but I know fellow writers will understand.

Nothing thrills me more than I’m deep within my own world, the hours slipping by unheeded as I write and create characters, settings, and storylines. To me, finding the perfect word to express what I’m thinking is pure bliss.

Now I’ll share some fun (and probably a bit weird) facts about my writing process:

  1. I often dress in character to write. (Long skirts, cowboy hats, etc…) It gives me a deeper understand of their lives, and I learn firsthand how annoying all that fabric would be while trying to walk or how HOT a metal cup gets when filled with fresh coffee!
  2. I write with countless props nearby, many of which appear in the book trailer for Along the Way Home.
  3. I use music, usually classical, for inspiration while I write particular scenes, and while revising I have been known to listen to one song on repeat for hours.
  4. My very first television commercial I ever wrote was for a funeral home. I slaved over it for hours only to be told, “That sounds like ass,” by my boss.
  5. As a result of the above, I can handle brutal critiques very easily! (By the way, my old boss and I have remained very close friends over the years and he is one of my biggest supporters).

What about you? If you’re a reader, what is your earliest memory of enjoying books? If you’re a writer, what do you enjoy most about the writing process?

Christi Corbett Picture for Bio

About Christi

I’m addicted to coffee, sticky notes, and the Oxford Comma. I live in a small town in Oregon with my husband and our twins. Our home’s location was especially inspiring as I wrote Along the Way Home because the view from the back door is a hill travelers looked upon years ago as they explored the Oregon Territory and beyond.

My debut novel, Along the Way Home, is a “sweet” historical romance about a family and their trail guide’s adventures on the 1843 Oregon Trail. It releases in ebook format on June 11, 2013 and in print sometime in July of 2013. It will be available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Astraea Press (my publisher) and wherever ebooks are sold.

Social Media Links:

When I’m not writing I love chatting with readers and writers alike. You can find me in one of the following locations:

Email: christicorbett@gmail.com

Blog: http://christicorbett.wordpress

Twitter: @ChristiCorbett

Facebook: Christi Corbett—Author

Along the Way Home Back Cover Copy:

Kate Davis is intrigued when her father reveals his dream of starting a horse ranch in Oregon Territory. Settlers out west value a strong woman, and though she manages the financials of her father’s mercantile her competence earns her ridicule, not respect, from Virginia’s elite society.

Jake Fitzpatrick, an experienced trail guide, wants land out west to raise cattle and crops. But dreams require money and he’s eating dandelion greens for dinner. So when a wealthy businessman offers double wages to guide his family across the Oregon Trail, Jake accepts with one stipulation—he is in complete control.

Departure day finds Kate clinging to her possessions as Jake demands she abandon all he deems frivolous, including her deceased mother’s heirlooms. Jake stands firm, refusing to let the whims of a headstrong woman jeopardize the wages he so desperately needs—even a beautiful one with fiery green eyes and a temper to match.

Trail life is a battle of wills between them until tragedy strikes, leaving Jake with an honor-bound promise to protect her from harm and Kate with a monumental choice—go back to everything she’s ever known or toward everything she’s ever wanted?

Along the Way Home Links

Book Trailer: http://christicorbett.wordpress.com/fellow-authors/

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/christicorbett/along-the-way-home/

I have several Pinterest pages, including ones about my inspirations behind Along the Way Home, Oregon Trail landmarks, horses, cowboys, writing funnies, and lots of fun ideas for EASY crafts with the kiddos.

Christi, thanks so much for sharing with us and best of luck with your debut!

Guest Post

Guest Post: Another Journey of Autism

For the last Sunday in Autism Awareness month, Angieleigh who recently became my publicist, has agreed to tell her story and perspective on Autistic children. 

Being the mother of an Autistic child is no picnic, but I’ve never wished my son to be anything but what he is. When my son was younger people would rudely ask me what was wrong with him and when I’d reply that he was Autistic, they’d shake their heads sadly while whispering they were sorry…all the while pulling their own children back so as not to “catch” Autism.

 

To this day I’m still amused by those reactions. You don’t catch Autism; it’s something one in eighty eight children are diagnosed with every single day. Though, if I am honest, I believe half of those diagnoses are made incorrectly by doctors who can’t – or don’t – spend more than ten minutes with a child while a frustrated parent sits nearby.

 

I have heard that Autism is a tragedy…something to be mourned. Bull. It is not a disease as TV commercials from celebrities implore you to believe. As my soon to be seventeen year old son will tell you, “Autistic kids aren’t much different from ‘normal’ kids; we just think and act a bit differently.”  He gets frustrated by these commercials and we’ve had to turn the channel this month when we see them coming on so as not to upset him.

 

My son has been in counseling since he was three. I disliked half of his counselors, but finally found a good set at a highly recommended office within twenty minutes from our home. He has been on all sorts of medication – Ritalyn nearly killed him as he didn’t eat or sleep for nearly a week – but we’ve finally found what works for him.

 

From the time I first felt him move until this morning, he still has a hard time sleeping. If he doesn’t take Melatonin he could stay up for a day or two, and has when he gets frustrated. We’ve moved from Pervasive Developmental Disorder & Oppositional Defiance Disorder to ADHD and Asperger’s Syndrome. He has been called a “high functioning” Autistic. Within the past year we added Bipolarism to his list.

 

Maybe I’m naive in just loving my child for the sake of loving him. I don’t crawl into bed and sob because my son is “different”. To me he is unique and is worth every tear we’ve both cried and every frustration we’ve had with each other. There are days when we both yell at each other from the tops of our lungs while he looks down at me and I try not to notice that my baby is no longer a baby and is about three inches taller than me. I’m still the only one who can calm him down when he “rages” and am still the first person he gets mad at when things don’t go his way…because he knows that no matter what, my love for him is unconditional.

 

I have an Autistic nephew who is considered “regressive”. He just started talking this year {he’s six} and is just the cutest. He can play video games better than my husband and set up my sister’s laptop within minutes of her bringing it home…though we have no idea how he managed to do that or get the internet working.

 

I don’t treat my son and nephew any different than I treat my youngest son and my niece. To me there’s no difference. I also don’t think that just one month should be recognized as an awareness month. Autism isn’t just in April, we live with it every day.

 

When I’m asked my advice about how to go about finding the right doctors or “dealing” with an Autistic child my advice is this: Go with your gut feeling when it comes to doctors and caregivers. Love your child with all of your heart. There are going to be days when you’re both so frustrated that you just sit there and cry together, but there are so many beautiful days.

 

Thank you, Rose, for letting me share my story.

A huge thank you to Heather, Sarah and now Angieleigh who were gracious enough to share their experiences, struggles, joys and information this month.

Guest Post

Guest Post: The Kiss… by Rachel Van Dyken

My first kiss wasn’t awful…I was one of the lucky ones. I mean I’ve heard terrible horror stories about first kisses. You know the types, teeth knocking, bad breath, misplaced hands, awkward nose touching…the list goes on! 

It’s amazing what your mind remembers or chooses to remember. For one thing, I remember that it was kind of cold outside. The tree I was standing next to smelled really good, and the guy who kissed me was super gentle and slow. 

Again I KNOW thats not the norm 😉

Okay so why is this crazy author talking about first kisses? 

Here it is….call me weird, but I’m always trying to re-life those first life experiences so that I can explain them in my books. 

A kiss is never just a kiss, a touch is never just a touch, a first caress of someones fingertips? It needs to be real. For the reader, it’s a huge moment. 

I’ve always been a fan of those authors that can get your heart to clench in your chest! Or possibly cause you to gasp for breath when something crazy hapens. 

I think my goal as an author is to be able to get people to sigh when they read a kissing scene. So many books this day and age skip the first touch or kiss and go straight to the sex, skipping the build up totally kills the entire scene for me. 

Everytime I write a kissing scene (okay so not everytime but close) I ask my husband to kiss me. He thinks its hilarious, but I’m dead serious! I need it to be fresh in my mind if I’m gong to explain it. 

Reading should always be an escape into a fantasy, whether it be a kiss, a dance in a ballroom, or something else. 

I used to be a teacher/school counselor so I’m all about giving homework 😉 Next time you kiss someone…I want you to actually think about it. Don’t let it be something habitual.

Make it last.

Make it real. 

And relish in the feeling.

Then perhaps next time you read a story, it will be not only real to you, but you’ll get those warm fuzzies. 

AUTHOR BIO:

Rachel Van Dyken is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of regency and contemporary romances. When she’s not writing you can find her drinking coffee at Starbucks and plotting her next book while watching The Bachelor. 

She keeps her home in Idaho with her Husband and their snoring Boxer, Sir Winston Churchill. She loves to hear from readers! You can follow her writing journey at www.rachelvandyken.com

Twitter: @RachVD, Facebook: Rachel Van Dyken Author

Guest Post

Guest Post: The Blessing of Autism

Today, I have another guest~Sarah~who will be sharing her family’s experience with Autism. Because I gave her a hard time that her post was one word short of the cut-off (1998 words), I won’t say anything further and let her tell you about her amazing experience with three Autistic boys.

Thank you, Rose, for asking me to write something about my life with my boys during Autism Awareness Month. As some of you may know from my comments on Rose’s blog I am the blessed mother of four wonderful boys, three of whom have been diagnosed with autism. My oldest boys, Matthew and Jonathan, are eleven and a half year old, identical twins who were diagnosed with autism at the age of three while I was pregnant with their now eight year old brother, Luke, who does not have autism, but does have a number of health issues including severe asthma, severe allergies and he is anaphylactic to all nuts. My youngest son, Seth, is three and a half and was just diagnosed with autism last September but had severe developmental delays before his diagnosis. He did not walk until a month before his second birthday. Life with my boys is never dull and has certainly had its share of painful, tearful and almost always stressful moments, but our journey with autism has also been amazingly blessed and full of daily laughter. So I thought I would share with you some of the blessings of autism and some of the amazing things about my boys.

First I should tell you that the twins are considered High Functioning. They are verbal and can sometimes have a little conversation with you. They are both highly intelligent but very slow in doing things. I have had people ask me if they perhaps have Aspergers instead of Autism and the answer is “no.” and the reason for this is the fact that , as Heather pointed out last week, people with aspergers can have “normal” conversations with people as long as it is a topic of interest to them. With autism there is hardly any social interaction at all. Unless the twins need something they will not initiate a conversation with anyone and even then they will hardly look at you when speaking to you. The twins also have a lot of odd behaviors like constantly humming or making noise, moving their hands or arms in repetitive ways and just very awkward movements. This makes for some very interesting outings of which I have numerous stories I could share but I’ll save that for another time.

From the time the twins started talking in sentences I noticed that their words were all things they had heard from television and videos. At the age of two and half they both could repeat entire episodes of Dora the Explorer and Blue’s Clues complete with inflection and sound effects. I cannot tell you how many mornings I was woken up, with the sun, to the sound of both the boys saying certain episodes in their entirety. It was really quite amazing. My son, Jonathan, at that age also knew all his shapes including trapezoid, octagon, etc. colors, numbers and letters. In fact if numbers were out of sequence he would go into a full blown meltdown. He could spend an hour looking at the face of a clock if it had numbers on it. Matthew was the quieter of the two and while he knew most of this stuff as well he didn’t go around saying it all day and fixating on it. Matthew liked anything with wheels and spent his time lining up cars and Thomas trains and always in the same order. You better watch out if you messed up that order.

At the age of four Jonathan stood at our refrigerator and spelled the word “adventure” using the letter magnets. He knew this from a Sesame Street video we had. He could also play songs on our xylophone just by sitting down and trying out the notes. He could memorize a song heard on the radio after hearing it one time and when he would sing it back he would repeat a part over and over again just to get the note right. Last year in fourth grade he started playing the viola in the school orchestra and is still playing this year in fifth grade. He refuses to practice at home, but when he is tested at school and when they have their concerts he has all his music memorized. He doesn’t have the best form but he loves to play. Jonathan also love to draw and he especially loves to draw using the Paint program on the computer. He mostly draws video game characters. He will pull up a youtube video of someone drawing a character set to music and he will open up the Paint window next to it and draw along with the video. One day two years ago I saw him with his favorite, younger childhood, book “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom” on his lap sitting at the computer. He was drawing the pictures from the book on the Paint program and had opened up the PowerPoint program and figured out how to paste the picture into Powerpoint and was recreating the whole book in a PowerPoint presentation. I still don’t know where he learned to do that. He simply amazes me on a daily basis.

Matthew, is not as showy with the stuff he does. I like to say he is more laid back than Jonathan but really I think it’s just laziness. He loves to play video games and he is very, very good at it. I love that his younger brother, Luke, will ask him to get past levels for him. Matthew’s favorite things to read are game guides and he loves to go on youtube and watch videos of other people playing the games. He is just as smart as Jonathan is but he really hates doing the work. He is one of those types of people that once he has shown you he can do something he doesn’t think he needs to keep doing it. As his math gets harder and the need for showing your work becomes greater the greater the challenge of getting him to do the work has become. He has the answer, why does he need to show how he got it? Matthew can also be quite funny with the things he does and says. Just thinking about him brings a smile to my face.

Both the twins are generally very happy boys and one of the greatest blessings of them having autism has been the fact that they have never acted like kids their age. They didn’t go through the Terrible Twos, they rarely talk back. When I am around other kids their age it sometimes makes me happy that they don’t act like a “normal” eleven year old and I have felt that way about most ages. They aren’t embarrassed by me and they still love to sit next to me and they love to have their arms scratched or their backs rubbed. Of course, they are still very dependent on me for a lot of daily things that most eleven year olds aren’t but you have to weigh the good with the bad. They also live very much in the present, which is something I think a lot of us could learn to do more of. They don’t care about what happened in the past and only in the last couple of years have they started thinking about future things or occasionally worrying about the fire drill that is supposed to happen at school the next day. Everyone is a friend to them, which again, can be good or bad, but mostly good. They do get irritated with their younger brothers sometimes but that makes me happy, most of the time, because that is a completely normal thing for brothers.

Seth, is still mostly non-verbal. He repeats a lot of what we say to him and we call him our “Little Parrot”. Where the twins repeated phrases from TV, Seth just repeats the things we say to him right after we say it. I walk around with an echoing shadow most days. Seth is one of the sweetest little guys you will ever meet and he has definitely been my happiest and easiest boy of the bunch. He is such a ray of light in our family. One of my favorite things about Seth is that whenever he sees me, not matter if I have been out of his sight for two minutes or most of the day, he greets me like he hasn’t seen me in years. He gets so excited and jumps around and smiles so big and it just melts my heart. One of the amazing things about Seth is that, although he doesn’t do any spontaneous talking, he does spontaneously burst into song. Like his brother, Jonathan, it only takes one or two times of hearing a song for him to memorize it. He sings anything from “Twinkle, Twinkle” to the songs he hears on the radio. He doesn’t sing too clearly and it’s sometimes hard to figure out what it is he is singing but once I figure it out and start singing along he gets so excited and we can sing the same song for an hour or until I get sick of it. He and I have so much fun together.

As for Luke, my “typical” child there really isn’t anything typical about him. He has actually been the hardest of the four boys for me to parent and it pretty much started from birth. I don’t know if it was because he is not autistic but he was my hardest baby (yes even more so than preemie twins). He didn’t sleep through the night until well after a year old and he was very demanding toddler. He started crawling at 6 months and walked at 9 months. He grew up way too fast in my book. The only thing that took him longer to do was talk, but once he started around 20 months he hardly ever stopped. He could pretty much always tell his older brothers apart and when they were younger he knew what worked to calm them down and would try to help them. Now he knows what gets them upset and he likes to bug them. He was thrilled to become and older brother and three years later he still loves his little brother to smothering proportions. Seth is starting to fight back to some of the smothering, though. One of the best things about Luke is his love for his family and of God. He attends a public school but whenever they are asked to write about things they are thankful for and what they like best about something he always includes God in his writings and so far no one has said anything bad about it. He also almost always writes something about his brothers, mainly Seth. He is definitely in a unique situation and it isn’t easy for him. I try to explain to people how he is basically the younger brother with the older brother role. In a lot of ways he is more mature than the twins and I am sure as they get older this will only become more apparent. My hope for him is that he doesn’t grow up to resent the role that life has given him.

If you are still reading this, thank you. I hope I haven’t bored everyone. I wasn’t really sure what to write about but I knew I wanted to share some of the good things about autism. My life has not been an easy one but I know there are so many other out there with worse situations than mine. I am so glad that my boys are happy and for the most part healthy and I try to thank God every day for all the blessings these four boys bring to my life on a daily basis. Thank you again for reading my story and thank you again to Rose for letting me share it.

No thanks necessary, thank you for sharing!

Guest Post

Guest Post: Autism Awareness Month ~ Asperger’s Syndrome

Today’s guest has actually been a reader of mine for quite some time now, she comments here from time to time and I had the privilege to meet here last year at the Romantic Times Convention where she first told me her son had Autism, more specifically Asperger’s Syndrome. Without me having to prod her into this, she emailed and asked if she could post about Asperger’s in April! So without anything more from me, here’s what she has to say:

April is Autism Awareness month and Rose has graciously allowed me to guest post on her blog to promote awareness to her audience. Thank you, Rose for giving me this opportunity to share my own experience and perhaps shed a little more light on the subject.

What is Autism/Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)/Asperger’s Syndrome? Essentially, these terms all describe complex disorders of brain development. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that 1 in 88 children have some type of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Each year in the United States, about 1 in 54 boys and 1 in 252 girls are diagnosed with ASD. Additionally, government statistics have shown that more children are diagnosed with Autism each year in the US than juvenile diabetes, cancer, or AIDS combined.

I have known since by son was 3 years old that something about him was “different.” He wouldn’t make or retain eye contact with me or anyone else. However, he was speaking in full, complex sentences. Adults found him charming and engaging because he could carry on a full conversation with them at such a young age. But other children could not relate to him. He was awkward in terms of his gross motor skills and coordination. Basically, he was clumsy. Anything that required hand/eye coordination was just not doable for him. He had issues with physical and social boundaries because he could not read facial expressions (thus, the lack of eye contact). At age 5 he was diagnosed with a Nonverbal Learning Disorder, which encompasses a lot of those things but it never felt “right” to me. I am by no means a professional– call it mother’s intuition or what you will, but I was sure from the beginning it was Asperger’s Syndrome. I had researched all his symptoms and behaviors and they all screamed Asperger’s to me. Sure enough, in January of 2012, he was formally diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome.

How is Asperger’s different than Autism or Autism Spectrum Disorder? Kids and adults with Asperger’s are usually considered “high-functioning.” They do not tend to have delays in language or cognitive development. In fact, my son tested above average in language development. He has an above average IQ. His memory and retention rate of information is astounding. You can verbally give him a list of facts and a week later he can recite those facts word for word. When he has an interest in something, he learns everything there is to know about that subject and can tell you all about it. So what are some of the signs? Of course, the only way to be sure is to obtain a formal diagnosis by a professional. Below are some behaviors that are common, but not present in all cases.

  • Struggling with social relationships, including limited social interaction with others
  • Inability to see things from another perspective or point of view other than their own
  • Inability to understand non-verbal communication (facial expressions, gestures) but are usually above average verbally
  • Having one-sided conversations; usually things that interest them personally
  • Lack of eye contact
  • Repetitive speech
  • Delayed motor skill development

Again, there are probably many other behaviors that are unique to individuals, but the ones listed above are some of the most common and my own son actually displays all of those. He has always had difficulty making friends, oftentimes because they don’t share the same interests. If they don’t play what he wants to he just doesn’t play. Many times in first and second grade, during recess he would go and sit with his teachers and have conversations with them instead of playing. He still doesn’t make eye contact, even if you specifically ask him to. At the age of 10, he still cannot tie his shoes, struggles with buttons and zippers and his handwriting, being brutally honest, is atrocious. I can barely read it at times. Thank goodness he has a wonderful support system at his school via teachers and counselors that let him type his work when he can.

We have been doing various types therapy on and off for several years now, since he was first diagnosed with the Nonverbal Learning Disorder. One thing that was very helpful for us was cognitive behavioral therapy. That has helped him tremendously in school. We also have the benefit of living in a city with an Autism center where he attended a camp last year to help him with social skills. And while you have to pick through information on the Internet, there are plenty of legitimate websites out there with tons of information on it.

There are so many things I don’t know about this disorder, but what I do know is that knowledge is power. I know there is no cure for this and I know that my son will have this for the rest of his life. It will challenge him in ways that I cannot possibly predict. But I am optimistic that through continued research, strides will be made. What I can do, as his parent, is to be as knowledgeable and supportive as possible so I can help him grow up to be as successful and productive as he can be. And I think that’s a commonality that all parents share—special needs children or not.

Note: A lot of the information I have shared has been obtained from Autism Speaks. To learn more about Autism, visit their site at www.autismspeaks.org.

Guest Post

Guest Post: A trip to the Special Olympics

A reader of mine, who is also a bit of a writer when time allows, recently skied (and medaled) in the Special Olympics. Not only is that impressive, but she was kind enough to write about her recent experience when I asked.  

I enjoyed myself at the special Olympics very much.  Sunday afternoon we checked in at the ski lodge and got out room assignments.  I was rooming with my parents even though I think I would have liked to room with a couple of other girls.  Sunday night was the opening ceremonies and we went into the town square which was only a block away from the lodge.  We stood outside and waited for our turn to parade around the square.  While we waited we noticed that just about every police car in New Hampshire drove by with their flashing lights.  The police are really into the Special Olympics especially the state troopers.  After we paraded around the square some people gave some speeches and then they snowmobiled the torch in and lit the torch.  We watched the fireworks shoot off symbolizing that the games have officially opened.

The next day Mom, Dad and I went down to the head coaches room for breakfast and had pancakes, sausage, bacon, eggs and juice. After we talked amongst each other my parents and I went back to our room and went to the mountain.  The first day of the competition is usually mayhem and chaos because its so unorganized.  I down hill ski by the way.  The morning was a time trial and a competition in the afternoon.  They set up flags that we had to ski between as fast as we could.  I did good in the afternoon competition I got a bronze medal.  Then we got to free ski the rest of the day or what was left of it.  Most of that day was spent waiting around and you really can’t tell some of these people that they have to wait.

Tuesday’s competitions went more smoothly and were more organized.  My group of athletes were the first ones to go down for the morning and afternoon competitions.  The flags didn’t really change positions except maybe in the afternoon’s competition and that’s usually when they have less flags but they are spread out enough so that not to many people could screw up.  I got a fourth place ribbon in the morning and a bronze medal in the afternoon.  In the evenings on Sunday and Monday we sat around the head coach’s room and talked.  Mom brought the cribbage board and I played some cribbage with one of the coaches.  Then me and a friend versed him and my father with partners we beat them both nights. 🙂

When asked how long she’d been skiing, she said said she’d been skiing since she was very young and had been competing in the Special Olympics for about three years now.

Congrats, on your two bronzes! And thanks so much for sharing a bit about your recent experience.