Tag Archives: gifts

G is for Gifts


by Lillian Csernica on April 8, 2016

Today I have some stories to tell that come from the United States of America.  My homeland is a big country.  You can do a lot of traveling without needing your passport!  Along the way I’ve had the pleasure of giving and receiving some wonderful gifts.

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San Francisco, California — I was at the San Francisco International Airport when I met a Buddhist monk with a heavy French accent.  We got to talking.  Like most holy men in public places, the monk was probably accustomed to people gravitating to him.  He seemed to understand a whole lot more about me than what little personal information came up in the conversation.  His gift to me took the form of sincere compassion and some encouraging words.  As a token of my gratitude I gave him a pewter sunflower with “Believe” engraved on it.  This is why I love to travel.  You never know who you might meet, or what might happen when you do.

Maui, Hawaii — The Hawaiian Lei Greeting has been a part of Polynesian culture for several centuries.  Many tour packages allow you to choose just how luxuriant you’d like your lei greeting to be.  Before the boys came along, I took a trip to Maui with my mother.  It was quite an adventure, including a luau and a submarine ride.  Magpie that I am, I got all excited about the leis made not from flowers but seashells.  Ever since I was little I’ve had a great fondness for seashells.  Mom has been to Hawaii more than once, so she had quite a few shell leis.  She has given them all to me, along with the kukui nut bracelet and earrings belonging to my great-grandmother.

Las Vegas, Nevada — Many years ago my husband and I stayed at the Excalibur.  My father and stepmother lived in Ohio at that time.  My stepsister lived in Vegas, so we decided to meet in the middle for Christmas at her house.  (I have several stories from that trip!)   In the Excalibur there was the usual casino floor with card tables and slot machines.  Downstairs, I found a whole floor for kids full of carnival games such as Skee Ball, the Ring Toss, the Dime Toss.  There were also a few games where you used what amounted to a small catapult to shoot a frog onto a lily pad or a witch doll into a cauldron.  I know how to play poker, blackjack, and even whist, but I’m not much for gambling.  On the other hand, I love to win prizes.  I must have won close to a dozen, most of them some type of stuffed toy.  I did not have room in my luggage for all of them.  Besides, it was really more about winning them than actually keeping all those toys.  So what did I do with them?  Remember, this was Christmastime.  I wandered around the hotel, giving the toys away to little kids (with their parents’ permission).

 

Seattle, Washington –I had gone up to Vashon Island with a friend to visit the All Merciful Saviour Russian Orthodox Monastery.  I’ve been blessed to know Abbot Tryphon and Hierodeacon Paul for more than 20 years.  That visit deserves its own post.  Right now I want to mention yet another meeting in yet another airport.  In the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, I was waiting for my flight to be called.  My friend and I got into conversation with two ladies who admired my friend’s earrings, which I had made.  As it turns out, one of the ladies also made her own jewelry, including the pair of earrings she was wearing.  I don’t know what prompted her to do it, but my fellow jeweler took off her earrings and gave them to me right then and there!  People are so kind.  We forget that, with all the conflict and grief in the world.  I will always treasure those earrings as a reminder of that trip and a reminder of the difference an generous impulse can make.

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Filed under artists, Awards, Blog challenges, Christmas, creativity, Eastern Orthodox Christianity, Family, family tradition, history, Lillian Csernica, memoirs, mother, travel, Writing

Where To Find Holiday Gifts for Your Special Needs Teenager


by Lillian Csernica on December 12, 2015

The holiday season is here and we’re all out there in the stores or at home shopping online.  The grandparents, aunts, and uncles all want to know what they should get for that special needs child.

The key word there is child.

 

I’ve been browsing through various holiday shopping guides for special needs children.  Most of them address the needs of children in preschool through elementary.  I spent considerable time rephrasing my search keywords until I started to find guides that are useful for teenagers and the kids who are on the edge of becoming adults.

As the mother of two teenage boys with very different sets of special needs, one of the toughest questions I have to answer is, “What should we get for him?”  Our extended family looks to me to know what subjects the boys are interested in, which specific items the boys want, and of those which ones the boys will really get some use out of.

 

Michael’s physical limitations are a key factor.  Fortunately, he’s become fond of fashionable clothing and keeping his hair in a good cut.  He also likes classic rock and roll along with some country and western music.  Audiobooks are now a good option for him.  He’s always up for new art supplies.

Some people think it’s strange when I say it’s so much harder to shop for John.  He’s verbal, he has the same physical skills other teenage boys have, and he loves electronics.  No problem, right?  John has a closet full of toys he never plays with.  He’ll get fixated on a particular subject for a month or two, then abandon it and move on to something else.  Then, a year or two later, he’ll come back to that first subject and get fixated on it again, but at a different level of cognition and application.

I know how hard this can be.  I know the frustration of seeing what your child can’t have because of what he or she can’t do.

Here’s a list of links that will take you to the holiday guides where I’ve been looking for gifts for my boys.  I hope this information helps you make your kids’ holiday wishes come true!

Special Needs Toys

8 Great Gift Ideas

Special Needs Gift Giving Guide

National Autism Resources Gift Guide

Therapy Shoppe gift ideas

T shirts, jewelry, tote bags, etc. with special needs-related themes

5 Ways to Get a Free iPad for Your Special Needs Child

 

EDIT:  I’m very happy to say I just found two excellent gifts for Michael at Fat Brain Toys.  The site is well-organized, the prices are reasonable, and the shipping is a bargain!

 

 

 

 

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Filed under autism, Christmas, creativity, Depression, doctors, dreams, Family, frustration, Goals, mother, neurodiversity, parenting, special education, Special needs, Uncategorized, worry, Writing

H is for High Heels


by Lillian Csernica on April 9, 2014

 

 

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Earlier in the Challenge I showed you some spiffy clothing made out of chocolate.  What’s a nice outfit without the right pair of shoes?  Take a look at these wonders of the footwear world:

Kevin Wray, owner of Peterbooke Chocolatier near Orlando, Florida, makes beautiful pairs of chocolate Jami Shoos. Named after his wife, Jami, “it’s kind of a play on Jimmy Choo,” Wray told HLN affiliate Central Florida News 13.

 

They say presentation is everything.  That’s certainly true in this chocolate shoe filled with Lindt truffles:

 

Looking for something dainty for that special little lady in your life?  These are a ballerina’s dream:

8 oz. of chocolate ballet shoes filled with foil wrapped chocolate hearts. This detailed slipper is 9″ long and laced with pretty ribbons – perfect for the “ballerina” in your life. http://www.phillipschocolate.com/prodinfo.asp?number=CHBS

 

And now, my personal favorites.  I look at these and Dr. Hook’s “Pina Colada Song” starts playing in my mind:

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Filed under Blog challenges, chocolate, fantasy, love, romance, Writing

B is for Bouquet


by Lillian Csernica on April 2, 2014

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Today I have for you a bouquet of flowers constructed entirely from Belgian chocolate:

When faced with a choice between flowers and candy, why not go for both?  Better yet, throw another favorite into the mix!

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There is, of course, the more conventional approach that is no less delightful for the chocolate lover:

For your next celebration or “sweet occasion,” a chocolate bouquet might be a fresh new delight!

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Filed under birthday, Blog challenges, chocolate, Family, fantasy, Humor, love, romance