Friday, November 5, 2010

This Blog Has Moved

This blog has a new name and address! Please save the following link and visit us on our new and improved blog.

Hope to see you there.

Photo: Robert Pio Hajjar


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Who Changed Your Life?

In August, Best Buddies held a contest - "What was your favorite 2010 Leadership Conference moment?". Buddies from all over the world voted for their favourite. Tori's entry received the #2 spot:

Robert Pio Hajjar Changed My life
by Tori Flather

"During the Saturday morning session, Robert spoke about how God helped him grow into the person he is today. I remember he said that he may never be a doctor, but he can be your best friend. He also said he has a disability, but it does not have him. That night I was able to meet him and his aunt at the dance contest. Singing Taylor Swift all night with him was pretty sweet! Robert is my inspiration for my chapter this year. It’s my first year being in Best Buddies but I will “keep the faith” as he would say and press forth to make Best Buddies known, accepted, and growing in my school and community!"

Who changed your life?

Robert and Best Buddies.

To see Robert in action, check out Christina Marsh's video:


Monday, September 13, 2010

Indulge a Bit: In Yourself

"Reprinted from "OUR Journey THRU Autism," a blog featuring professional experts and warrior parents to help you on your journey thru autism. Subscribe today at"

I have been offering posts that focus more on taking care of you. This is the nurse in me with the mental health nursing background shining through. I cannot understate is extremely important to take care of yourself. Think of yourself as a bank. The demands and challenges of life and raising our children are withdrawals. If we do not have any deposits, then our account will be empty and nothing can happen with an empty account.

We are of no good to our family if we do not take care of ourselves. Most of us do not have a plethora of support, so there is no point sitting around hoping that someone will make a deposit into our emotional bank. We need to create our own deposits.

Personally, I am already planning ahead for the fall as my own emotional bank account is running low on funds. My oldest will be off to his new college, my second teen will be back to school, my 5 year old will start kindergarten and my younger one will be in Preschool. In addition, Autumn is my all time favorite season. I love the Indian Summer, warm weather with minimal humidity. So, in addition to getting to all the incomplete projects around the house, I plan on indulging a bit in me...something I have not done since the little ones were born.

Join me as I explore some low cost self indulgent options...

Mini makeover... I plan on freshening my look and boosting my confidence. I am shooting for a new hairstyle and color that washes away the gray while adding some highlights. I am going to schedule a manicure and a pedicure. I am going to buy a new outfit and maybe even start wearing lipstick again! I will not be visiting a high-end salon...but will be seeking out budget friendly options.

Cook gourmet, well, sort of...I remember a time when my husband and I would work side by side in the kitchen cooking together. I really miss that. I love to create great meals. Sure, we still cook. Hubby is usually out at the grill and I am making the side dishes inside. But I plan to find a good recipe that is very healthy to boot low in carbs and cholesterol. I am going to see if my mom can take the boys so my husband and I can open a bottle of wine, turn on some relaxing music and see if he and I can recapture the art of preparing a meal together. Silly, I know, but it is something that I really do miss. Hey mom, hint, hint!

Love Learning. Did you know that continuing to learn throughout your life can keep you young and vital...the key to longevity? I have been thinking about a hobby or two that I enjoyed in the distant past as well as a few that I might be interested in. I am going to keep this one simple, but I may get back into my crafty side and take a few craft classes. I have been looking into photography classes too. Maybe you would like to learn how to play an instrument or dabble in a fine art?

Vacations? A thing of the past? For us it really has been. So, with my oldest boy transferring to a college nearly 10 hours away, we have a road trip coming up. We are going to take full advantage of it and add a couple of days to the adventure. After we move him in...we have the road home to ourselves and will be stopping off at some places we have never seen together. Much needed, not overly killing our tight budget and we will see if my husband's parents can keep the little ones. Just the anticipation of planning this adventure lifts my spirits!

Really Indulge...if our budget allows, I think I am going to check out some local spas and create a spa day for myself. For goodness sake, my dog recently had one after she was skunked. I am going to look for express services which offer a shorter version of massage or facial to be friendly to our tight purse strings. When I was working full time before the little ones came along, I treated myself to a one hour massage every other week to rejuvenate and work on all those tight muscles. We cannot afford to get back into that routine, but a budget friendlier version is certainly much needed.

Read a great fiction! I used to escape into a good book. I would excitedly wake up and read in the morning before the day began. Reading a great fiction is a wonderful way to ignite the imagination and mentally escape from the everyday demands. Any good recommendations?
Exercise! Fitness offers so many rewards. This oppressive heat has kept me indoors and I certainly have cabin fever. We have a wonderful park nearby with a bike path. I used to walk it or ride my bike and zone out leaving all the worries behind me. I would return home feeling energized and ready to begin the day. Once the heat of the summer subsides and the suffocating humidity wanes, I will be hitting the bike path once again. Depending on our finances, I may even join the local community center that offers a weight room, cardio room and a pool. I was a competitive swimmer back in the day and would love to do some serious laps once again.

What are you going to do to recharge your batteries and make deposits into your emotional bank account? Start planning to take care of you today!

Tiffani Lawton, OJTA


Thursday, September 9, 2010

2010 International Day of People with Disabilities

"Mark December 3 on your calendar to celebrate the 2010 International Day of People with Disabilities.

The City of Toronto, its community and business partners invite you to contribute to the event.

1. nominate local unsung heroes
2. submit your poems to the Invitation to Poetry
3. display your artwork at the Invitation to Art

The deadline for unsung heroes nominations, poetry and art submissions is Thursday, September 30, 2010.

Watch the video and find out what International Day of People with Disabilities means to participants, past recipients of the Unsung Heroes award, the poets and artists." (From

[Watch for Robert Pio Hajjar, Founder of IDEAL-WAY, in the video.]


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - "A Story of Hope"

"Diagnosed with autism at age two, and unable to speak until age three, Gina Marie Incandela is an example of hope and the embodiment of what it means to overcome obstacles."

"Gina is the amazing little girl that rose to fame performing the National Anthem at events throughout the country including the 2009 NBA Finals. Her story is nothing short of amazing. Join Gina on Facebook at Incandela
For more information visit"


Monday, June 28, 2010

My Life In Pictures

Meet Taylor Morris: "I was diagnosed at age two as being on the Autism spectrum. Today, at 17, I'm creating videos to support awareness. This is my story, with the song "Trying To Get Through To You", by Autistic singer/songwriter Michael Moon. See all my videos at"


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Gifts

"Gifts: Mothers Reflect on How Children With Down Syndrome Enrich Their Lives." For more information on the book, visit

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