Archive for the ‘NepomuceNews’ Category

The Bad Boy Chair

Well, school seems to be going well for J.J..  The reports we get from the staff are very positive and Uncle Vince tells us that he seems to be the star of the class.  Apparently, he regularly has the staff in stitches, even to the point where some of them have actually had to leave the room to contain their laughter.  He does impressions of the different teacher’s aides and will even treat them to fully choreographed renditions of Veggie Tales silly songs (you should see him do “The Belly Button” song).  But we’ve learned that little Mr. Stand Up Comedian has a dark side, as well.

Sometimes, J.J. is just not in the mood to do school work.  It happens with “normal” kids, I know, but my J.J. has a way of making it clear that he doesn’t want to work.  He calls it fighting with his teacher.  We asked him what he does when he fights with his teacher.  J.J.’s honesty is usually quite refreshing.  He told us that he writes his “y”s upside down.  Or he’ll write his letters really big when he’s supposed to write them small.

“So what happens when you fight with your teacher?” I asked him.

“I have to sit in the bad boy chair.”

I wonder if that’s where he comes up with his funniest material.

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J.J.’s Journey

I know, internet safety first.  To this point, I’ve not used my children’s names on this here little blog (they’ve been affectionately labeled The BBQ Kids), but with my cyber-inactivity, it doesn’t appear that many strangers come by regularly anymore.  We get about 40 hits a day now here at the BarBeQuethMinistry! world-wide headquarters, which would be a tithe of the Famous Dave’s Campaign glory days (wow, I really miss my free BBQ).  Almost half of the hits are from search engines.  I get a few crazy ones (know what I mean, Jen?), but also a bunch of folks looking for ministry resources.  Well, why not add a few more helpful posts here and there?  And even a brand new category!

Our oldest son, J.J. (the offspring formerly known as BBQ Boy I), has autism.  He’ll be 14 this spring (doesn’t that make you alumni feel old?), loves Spam with rice (chip off the old block), tornadoes, Veggie Tales, Iron Chef America, and walks on the beach (really, he does).  Walking and fine motor skills were markedly delayed, but he learned to ride a bike in less than ten seconds (braking is still an issue, though).  He is just learning to read, but has a photographic memory that can often be described as amazing (he can recall with stunning detail places and events from when he was two years old!).

He communicates almost exclusively through questions.  He greets people with a question (but never with an unprompted “How are you?”), converses with a series of questions, and usually bids farewell with a question.  As is the case with most autistic children, J.J. doesn’t pick up on social cues that tell the rest of us when someone is uninterested, embarrassed or annoyed.  He normally dominates any social situation he’s in.  Not everyone is comfortable with this.  There are many who get quite frustrated with his persistence and repetition.  This has drastically changed our ministry.  How to minister with the added concern of raising a special needs child has been a definite challenge.  I’ll possibly address this in a future post.

Then there’s the challenge of educating J.J..  Early on, it was public school.  Then it was homeschooling through a satellite dish.  Soon after it was homeschooling on DVD.  Then it was homeschooling using the Lindamood-Bell learning system.  Brenna (the spouse formerly known as My BBQ Honey) has done a tremendous job with him.  She’s done literally thousands of pages of reading, attended many hours worth of seminars and workshops, and has even had lunch with Temple Grandin, arguably the most famous/influential autistic person in the world.

But smack dab in the middle of Trigonometry and English Literature, they kinda hit a wall.  Okay, it was actually more like basic shapes and the ABCs, but it was exciting progress, nonetheless.  Progress we actually never thought we’d see.  But it became clear that another change was necessary.  We struggled and prayed for some time as to what to do.  Then God began to reveal to us how He had been working to provide what we needed.

Turns out that there is a non-public school specializing in Autism education just three miles from where we live.  Though it’s on a major thorough-fare, we never drive by this area.  It is highly unlikely that we would have ever heard of it without God’s intervening care.  You see, we have a relative who works for the Leroy Haynes Center, which started and runs the Haynes Education Center School for Autism.

Isn’t God good?

J.J. started school just over a week ago.  Every morning he complains about how “different” the people are in his class and declares that he needs a day off or even a vacation.  But it’s a different song upon pick up in the afternoon.  Pretty much everyday he tells Brenna that he really likes his school and even thanks her for taking him there.  His uncle has had the chance to visit him in class and see how they’re working with him and how he’s reacting.  It’s such a blessing to be able to get eye-witness reports from someone who knows him and understands what we’re looking for.

Isn’t God good?

Then there’s the money issue.  Private education isn’t cheap.  And we’re not rich (comfortably taken care of by our blessed Lord, but there’s no private jet waiting on us).  You’ll never guess who’s paying J.J.’s tuition for this non-public school (which includes breakfast and lunch everyday).  Ready for this?  The public school system (our local district)!  You know how stingy they are with their money?  Especially the big bucks they get for special education?

Isn’t God good?

Can You Hook a Brothah Up?

Okay, this isn’t quite on the level of my infamous Famous Dave’s Campaign (I really miss my free BBQ), but I wouldn’t mind a trophy.  I’ve been feeding my food reviews (pun shamelessly intended) over to lunch.com, a community of regular people who like to write.  Well, no telling how regular some people are, but I don’t think anyone’s making a living as a writer over there.  Anywhizzle, one my reviews of Porto’s Bakery was nominated for a “Lunch Award”, which honors the best online reviews.  The top 1000 lunch.com users will provide the main votes, but nominees have been given the chance to campaign.  I have some experience with that.  And I’m not above begging….

Please, please, please, please, could you, could you, could you, c’mon, I’d do it for you!

Not the biggest deal, winners get a trophy called “The Golden Thumb”.  But it’s truly an honor to be nominated by an audience of my peers.  My understanding is that you don’t have to register with lunch.com to vote if you’re on Facebook.  If you have 30 seconds to head on over there and follow the instructions to vote for my review, you can change the course of this world.  Maybe the NFL will avoid a lock-out.  Maybe Mubarak will finally step down.  Maybe the BBQthDirector will stop exaggerating in a pitiful attempt to gain your support.  Don’t under-estimate the power of your vote.

So, please … click here.

Vocally Buff?

At the age of 36, when most tenor singers begin to go downhill, the BBQthDirector has found a way to get an edge.  Since I just made mention of the legendary Barry Bonds, why not go there again?  It is interesting to note that something drastic happened to Mr. Personality when he hit 36 as well.  At an age when every other big league slugger declines, he found a way to have an epic explosion of production.  In his late thirties he was making Hank Aaron and Babe Ruth look … normal.  His edge?  Good nutrition and a miracle clear cream.

I eat my share of veggies, but the only clear cream I have access to is ultra moisturizing lotion.  And it’s actually not clear.  It’s white.  So what’s an old-timer to do?  The Fundamentalist world of singing and preaching is rife with cut-throat competitiveness.  I must find a way to keep up.  The end will justify the means….

I’m taking steroids.

No kidding.  I’ve noticed a steady decline in my vocal quality and stamina since the early fall.  I chalked it up to coaching football.  I did a whole lot more screaming and yelling this year.  That’s a re-building year for ya.  Anywhizzle, I figured my voice would recover soon after the season ended.  But it never did.  About three weeks ago, it really took a turn for the worse.  On a Sunday evening, my song leading was such a struggle that one of our Asst. Pastors asked me during the opening prayer if I needed him to take over.  I limped my way through the rest of that service, trying to maintain some kind of vocal control and accuracy while also struggling to hit a D flat.

I figured it was time to go to the doctor.  The specialist our family doctor referred me to initially seemed skeptical, even suspicious.  He said my voice sounded fine to him but that he’d go ahead and take a look.  “Taking a look” was a little more complicated than the popsicle stick and say “Aaaaaaahhhhh!” treatment.  He sent a little scope down to take a look at my precious vocal chords … through my nostril.  It gave me a greater appreciation of the childhood saying, “Up your nose with a rubber hose!”  Still, stuff ought not be going that direction through your nasal passages.  It was quite uncomfortable, reminiscent of my experience at an Al Qaeda terrorist training camp that was disguised as a dentist’s office.

The good news: no polyps, nodules or cysts.  The below average news: chronic laryngitis.  The bummer news: it’s very likely to be a permanent condition that’s likely to get worse.  The culprit: my kidney condition, which causes me to puke quite a bit more often than normal humans (too much info?).  Those acids have been taking its toll.  The corticosteroid medication I’ve been prescribed is supposed to help ease the inflammation in my larynx (maybe help build up the biceps, too?).  I just started so we’ll see if it makes a difference this Sunday.  I’ll be singing, “God Wants to Hear You Sing”.  I’m not trying to be sarcastic, it just happens to be one of the few mellow songs in my repertoire.  It is humorously ironic, though.

Then there’s the issue of side effects.  This could be really fun, especially in my line of work.  The one that really stands out (and that I actually look forward to) is the possibility to experience, “inappropriate happiness”.  Now isn’t that much better than dizziness, drowsiness and upset stomach?  I can live with inappropriate happiness.  But it could be rather awkward for teens relying on me to be a compassionate mentor.

Teen: “My dad just lost his job.”  Juiced BBQthDirector: “Woo-hoo, let’s party!”

Teen: “I’m gonna start working on Sunday mornings.”  Juiced BBQthDirector: “Corporate greed, holla at ya boy!”

Teen: “My dog just died.”  Juiced BBQthDirector: “Yeah, yeah, throw it on the grill!”

Yeah, this could be fun.

The Year in Review

Well, 2011 is well on its way, but making these little videos of our year makes us feel like celebrities.  Here’s just a bit of what The BBQ Family experienced in 2010. Wow, time sure does fly when you’re having fun!