Redefining Disability Week 1

 

redefining-disability1

One of the benefits I enjoy most about writing and blogging is meeting other people who share my passions. One of my blog hop participants is Rose B. Fischer. Last year she started a Redefining Disability Challenge. This year she is continuing to invite people to join the challenge by blogging about a set of questions she developed. I’ve decided to join this challenge and most Mondays will be answering one of her questions.

 

Redefining Disability 1

My first up close and personal introduction to disability came sixteen years ago with the birth of my amazing niece, S. Due to complications at birth, she lives with Cerebral Palsy. She uses a computerized communication system similar to PECS, and has also learned how to send and receive text messages. She is dependent on help for all of her daily needs, but she now owns a motorized wheelchair she can control with movements of her head, and uses it whenever she can.

Her parents describe her as a disabled person with an able-bodied mind. Nothing is too challenging or difficult for her to at least try. She is a vivacious person who is limited only by her uncooperative body. If she can find a way to do something, she will.

Twelve years ago twin boys began educating me about the very personal challenges of special needs children and their families. L1 and L2 were born at 27 weeks gestation and spent the first four months of their lives in a neo-natal unit. A nurse who worked there at the time informed me the nurses took only four hour shifts with them because their needs required so much care. The doctors did not expect them to live. We met the boys months later when they were placed with us. We were told they had global developmental delays:

  • Crawled at 18 months
  • Learned to feed themselves at 24 months
  • First steps at 27 months
  • First words at 4 years of age

Several months after we adopted the boys, we learned they also have Trisomy 15. The first pediatrician who saw the twins predicted they would never be able to walk, talk, or feed themselves. We are grateful they have achieved all of those skills and more. However, we find we still have to work hard to advocate for their needs to be met.

L1 is very friendly and outspoken (even blurting out answers in church) and loves anything to do with animals. He constantly tells me I’m the best Mom in the whole world. L2 tends to be more of a loner, but is a real tease who loves to push his brother’s buttons until he gets a reaction. L2’s passion is vehicles – he knows all the makes and models, whether they are 2-wheel drive, 4-wheel drive, or all-wheel drive, etc. I’ve learned more about vehicles in the last few years than many guys 🙂

When the twins were five, we were able to adopt their brother. J also has Trisomy 15, but has fewer obvious challenges. His abilities are scattered, so sometimes people think he is capable of more than he is, which leads to frustration on both sides. He is passionate about hockey and has an amazing ability to remember facts.

Our youngest daughter was born with moderate hearing loss and is extremely near-sighted. A heart condition was diagnosed, but disappeared within the first year of her life. D is full of spunk, but very shy. She loves to help both Mom and Dad.


2015 Writers' Blog Hop

Blog Hops in 2015: Come join the fun!

Thank you to those who gave input into the type of blog hop you would be interested in participating in. I’ve taken the feedback I received and compiled it, deciding to run several shorter blog hops in 2015. Look over the topics and let me know which one(s) you will participate in by sending me an e-mail. I also need to know which day works best for everyone to post – leave a comment below. (Most posts will be made the same day, but the link will be live for a week.)

General Writers’ Blog HopWriters Blog Hop
#1 Writing Goals – share what you’re planning to work on this year (Week of Jan 5th)
#2 Writing sample – share a sample from your current Work in Progress (Week of Jan 19)
#3 Favourite character – this can be a real person or a character from one of your fiction stories (Week of Feb 2)
#4 Lifelong learner – Writers need to be continuously learning. What did you learn in 2014 that helped make you a better writer? (Week of Feb 16)

Social Media Blog HopSocial Media Blog Hop
#1 Favourite Social Media Site – Tell us where you spend most of your time/energy and why (Week of Mar 2)
#2 Graphics for social media – Share your favourite source/app (Week of Mar 16)
#3 Scheduling posts – How often? Do you use a program like Hootsuite? Other tips? (Week of Mar 30)
#4 Content of posts – What do you share? Where do you find content? Ratio of promotional/other? (Week of April 13)

Parenting Blog HopParenting Blog Hop
#1 What do you find most challenging about parenting? What helps you get through the tough days?(Week of May 4)
#2 What parenting tip would you give to new parents? (Week of May 18)
#3 Share a family tradition with us (Week of June 8)
#4 Share your favourite holiday destination and/or how you make long family trips more enjoyable (Week of June 22)

Bloggers’ Blog HopBloggers Blog Hop
#1 Share your goals/mission statement for your blog and why/when you started blogging (Week of July 6)
#2 How do you engage your readers? (Week of July 20)
#3 Where do you find your blog graphics? (Share your favourite sources/apps) (Week of Aug 3)
#4 Share some blogs you guest post on and why (Week of Aug 17)

Christian Writers’ Blog HopChristian Writers Blog Hop
#1 Share your testimony with us (Week of Sept 7)
#2 Tell us about your favourite writing conference and how it improved your writing (Week of Sep 21)
#3 Share how your world view affects your writing (Week of Oct 5)
#4 Share a book which impacted your spiritual life and writing (Week of Oct 19)

Writers’ Marketing Blog HopMarketing Blog Hop
#1 Share your most recent published book/article with us (Week of Nov 2)
#2 Share a marketing idea that has worked well for you (Week of Nov 16)
#3 What advice would you give to someone who is wanting to market a book or article? (Week of Nov 30)
#4 Which websites/groups/social media sites have you found helpful? In what ways? (Week of Dec 14)

If you have any concerns or questions, let me know. I’m looking forward to learning with you in 2015 🙂


Adoption Blog Tour: My fears, hopes and dreams for our children

Adoptive Parents

Adoption is a challenging journey. (You can read our family legacy story here.) An adoptive family experiences many joys and sorrows. Here are some things I celebrate as an adoptive parent:

  • The day we brought each of our children home
  • Hearing, “I love you!”
  • Holding adoption orders in my hand and knowing these are legally our children
  • Hearing, “Your daughter has your eyes.”
  • Watching our twins, who were never supposed to walk, talk, or feed themselves, run with carefree abandon and gulp down ever increasing amounts of food.
  • Hearing, “You’re the best cook in the whole world!”
  • Coming home and being met at the door with hugs, smiles, and “You’re home!”
  • Walking into a room and seeing all of my children reading by themselves.
  • Hearing, “Your son knows his Bible well.”

Like any parent, I also have fears, hopes, and dreams for my children.

I Fear:

  • Our children floundering with their identity.
  • Not having the answers or ability to meet our children’s unique needs.
  • People being distracted or distressed by our children’s special needs and refusing to take the time to get to know who they really are as people.
  • The future, wondering if our children have the skills and ability to be independent.
  • People taking advantage of our children.
  • What will happen to our children when we are no longer able to care for them?

I Hope:

  • Our children will find security and significance in a personal relationship with God.
  • Our children will lead lives that are privately happy and publicly useful.
  • Our children will know that we love them no matter what.
  • Our children will persevere through the difficulties they face.
  • Our children will have the support and encouragement they need.
  • Others will treat our children with respect.

I Dream:

  • That our children will be able to set goals that are meaningful to them and achieve them.
  • That others will be able to look beyond our children’s special needs and see the special gifts they bring to the world.
  • That our children will be able to have healthy relationships with their birth families.
  • That our community and the larger world will make a place for our children where they are accepted, nurtured, and productive.
  • That there will always be a safe place for our children.

Adoptive and foster parents need support and encouragement. I’m thankful for:

  • Extended family members who love and accept our children
  • Teachers who go the extra mile to include our children
  • Specialists who listen and give helpful advice
  • A church family who celebrates our children’s unique gifts and abilities
  • Friends who pray for me and listen when I just need to vent

What are your fears, hopes, and dreams for your children? Are they similar to or different than mine?

NOTE: For the month of December, I’m giving away a FREE copy of a Christmas short story – Hope for Jimmy, to everyone who follows my blog. (Fill in the form below)

Ruth L. Snyder and her husband, Kendall, have five adopted children ages six to seventeen. Besides looking after her family, Ruth enjoys teaching Music for Young Children and writing. She currently serves as the editor for In the Loop, a quarterly newsletter for foster, adoptive, and kinship families in northeastern Alberta, Canada. (Read more of their adoption journey: Our Family Legacy Story.)

Adoption Blog Tour

 

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Parenting: Motivating with Rewards

In August at my Music for Young Children professional development session, one of the presenters shared that she doesn’t offer practice incentives to her students. Instead she challenges parents to talk to their children and figure out what will motivate them. I remembered this piece of advice a few weeks later when I sat down to help my own six-year-old daughter practice piano. It seemed like she resisted practicing. There was always something more interesting to do; practicing was hard work.

A week or so later I bought a ceramic tea set for my daughter to take to a friend’s birthday party. My daughter told me she wanted one just like it. I knew that my daughter could save her allowance and purchase her own tea set. However, I decided to offer the tea set to her as a practice incentive. At first I thought we would track her practice for a month or so and then give her the tea set when she practiced five or more days for at least four weeks. However, I ended up with a different plan.

I purchased the tea set at Toys-R-Us. My daughter was with me when I purchased it, so I explained my plan. Every week she practiced five or more days, I would give her one piece of her tea set. She happily agreed, and it has made a huge difference in her practicing. Since we started this arrangement five weeks ago, she only had one week where she didn’t earn a piece from the tea set. (Sometimes children want to know if we will stick to our guns!) We still have at least seven more pieces of the tea set waiting to be earned.

Although I would rather have my daughter intrinsically motivated, she seems to need some extrinsic motivation right now. She does enjoy music, but piano lessons are my choice not hers. I’m hopeful that once I help her develop consistent practice habits, she’ll enjoy the thrill of music making and the pleasure it brings to herself and others enough to be self-motivated.

 

Tea Set


Parenting Checklist: Clean Your Room

I don’t know about you, but getting my children to clean their rooms AND understand when they are clean has been a challenge. Today I went looking for a checklist I could use with my children. I found one I liked at www.earlybirdmom.com, but it didn’t have everything I wanted and there were no graphics. So, I decided to make my own checklist using Canva. Here’s what I came up with:

Clean Your Room

I’ve printed out a copy for each of my younger children. I plan to laminate them, post them in the children’s bedrooms and supply an erasable marker. I’ll let you know how it goes :).

Click here to open a PDF file so that you can print your own copy to use with your children.


Uplifting Devotionals for Parents: #1 on Amazon and receiving great reviews

Uplifting Devotionals for Parents #1 on Amazon Hot New Releases

Thank you to everyone who has purchased my newest release, Uplifting Devotionals for Parents. You helped me hit #1 on the Amazon Hot New Releases list! Uplifting Devotionals for Parents also made the Amazon Bestseller list for devotionals in both the e-book (#7) and book (#33) categories. Here are some reviews for the e-book:

“To me, Ruth Snyder’s Uplifting Devotionals for Parents is something new in the way of devotionals – a mixture of autobiography and sheer good sense, tied in with appropriate quotations from Scripture. Ruth Snyder looks at her own life, recognizes her needs, understands that others have the same needs and shares the wisdom she has discovered in the Bible.
Particular takeaways:
• We should share our journey with other woman who will be brutally honest with us,
• Quiet time is important – nurturing our own walk equips us to nurture our children.
She writes with a light touch and a lot of humour about the chaos that reigns in her household. I enjoyed learning about the hectic, beautiful, spirit-filled life of this kind and loving woman of God.” (Bobbie Cole)
“Ruth Snyder writes of life with kids in a clear and conversational tone that is a pleasure to read. Her thoughts are sure to draw parents closer to God as they relate to her day-to-day experiences and ponder how she copes. Parenting isn’t easy. These stories will help.” (Marcia Laycock)
“Though it’s very short, there are many rich, life-changing lessons packed into “Uplifting Devotionals …” The author shares from personal experience and yet, the lessons are important for all Christian parents. I would love to have had these devotionals when my children were growing up. My #1 “complaint” is that this work too short. I would love to see an expanded version. It may be a quick read, but the lessons – if learned and applied – will last a lifetime.” (Steph Beth)
“If you think you’re the only parent whose kids …… you’ll want to read Ruth Snyder’s Uplifting Devotionals for Parents. Her honesty and humour in dealing with a rowdy, dynamic, and very normal family brings God’s love into perspective in a gentle, accepting, and most of all, believable way. Parents, grandparents, and anyone who knows anyone raising kids will enjoy this short, but, yes, uplifting book.” (Bobbi)
“I could not stop reading until I read the whole thing. I enjoyed very much reading it, because it brought back memories for me when my children were growing up. We had five children and many foster children.
You become very vulnerable when you have special needs children  and it was good to read how you are dealing with some of the situations. There is a need for instructions to parents of children who have special needs.” (Addy Oberlin)
You can purchase your copy from Amazon.ca or Amazon.com. If you prefer to hold a paperback in your hands, be patient – Uplifting Devotionals for Parents will be released in paperback format along with devotionals from four fellow Canadian authors soon.

New Release: Uplifting Devotionals for Parents

Uplifting Devotionals for Parents Cover

I’m happy to announce that Uplifting Devotionals for Parents is now available as an e-book. Have you ever wanted to resign from parenting? The responsibility is overwhelming some days. Thankfully, we don’t have to parent in our own strength. God walks with us each day, strengthening us, guiding us, and giving us wisdom – if we ask. As you’ll see in these readings, I’m still learning. My prayer is that God will use these devotionals to provide encouragement, help, and joy in your parenting journey.

Here are a few snippets:

  • Some of life’s greatest lessons are taught not by what happens but by how I respond in messy situations.Nurturing walk with God
  • People who parent children with special needs perform a delicate dance each day, taking into account the individual needs of each child while also making sure necessary tasks are accomplished.
  • I need to nurture my own walk with God in order to effectively teach my children to do the same.
  • When we accept God’s free gift of salvation, He provides His presence every day, an eternal home in heaven, perfect love, incredible hope, an advocate, an inheritance out of this world, and an amazing family.
  • When life is tough and parenting is a struggle, we need to choose to love anyway.
  • My top priority as a parent is teaching my children about God and preparing the soil of their hearts to have a personal relationship with Him.
  • Christmas is not about chocolate, or presents, or trees, or anything else. It’s about the King, Jesus Christ.

If you would like free graphics of the above quotes to enjoy personally or share on social media, please send me an email with “Devotional graphics” in the subject line.

Purchase in Canada: Amazon.ca

Purchase in the U.S.A.: Amazon.com

Uplifting Devotional Cover

If you prefer paperback, these devotionals will be included in a devotional bundle written by fellow Canadian authors: Murray Pura, Tracy Krauss, Marcia Lee Laycock, Janice L. Dick, and me. This book is scheduled to be released in the near future.

5 Minute Friday Post – Dare

“Dare to be a Daniel”

“Dare to be different”

“Dare to stand up for what you believe”

“I dare you.”

“How dare you?”

Dare involves some sort of challenge. Risk. Change. Uncertainty.

But with the possibility of fame, big or small. A chance to stand out. To be a leader.

Some dares are public. Like walking across Niagara Falls on a tightrope, pushing a wheelbarrow. Or taking a dare from people who call themselves friends, but really just want to get you in trouble. Or taking a stand for what you believe, even if you know it’s not popular. Like Daniel, who decided he was going to follow God and not eat the fancy food the king was serving. Daniel, who was basically a slave, a captive in a foreign land. Dared. Will I?

5 Minute Friday is a weekly challenge for bloggers to write for (you guessed it) 5 minutes on a given word. No editing. No deleting (it’s HARD!). If you would like to join me and other amazing 5 minute free writing friends, please visit Kate’s blog and linkup!


Canadian Thanksgiving 2014: The blessings of family and Nature

One choice I’ve been consciously making this past year is to find things to thank God for. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, not because of the food, but because it gives me an opportunity to really focus on the many blessings in my life.

This past weekend my husband and I decided to take our children to Three Hills to spend time with my parents and two of my nieces. The week before Thanksgiving was hectic for both of us. In fact, we planned to leave at 1 p.m. and finally made it out of our yard at 4 p.m. However, making the trip was well worth it. Here are some of the blessings enjoyed this weekend.

Rainbow
A rainbow – the first of many wonderful surprises I encountered over the weekend.
Cockatoo
A cockatoo at the Three Hills Guzoo delighted us with its clever sayings
Dandelion gone to seed
Another unexpected delight
Skunk
Holding a skunk? Don’t worry, this one was de-scented 🙂
Sunrise
This beautiful sunrise greeted me when I stepped out of our camper on Sunday morning.
Fall scenery
My dad and I enjoyed the fall scenery by taking a walk
Ruth's parents
We enjoyed conversations, food, singing, and laughter with my parents
Ruth's nieces
Although my sister is in Africa, her two oldest daughters are in Canada. It was good to spend time with them this weekend. We especially enjoyed singing together.
camp fire
What’s camping without a campfire. Yet another delight we were able to enjoy on Thanksgiving weekend.