Saturday, April 7, 2012


Marion Pellicano Ambrose

These cookies are great to do with the kids. They are to be prepared the night before Easter. The spiritual preparation goes along with the physical preparation of the cookies."

 1 cup pecan halves

 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar

3 egg whites

1 pinch salt

1 cup white sugar


1.Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C).

 2.Place pecans in a resealable plastic baggie. Crush the pecans into small bits. Read John 19:1-3

3.Put 1 teaspoon vinegar into a medium bowl. Read John 19:28-30

4.Add egg whites to the vinegar. Read John 10:10-11

5.Sprinkle salt into the egg whites. Read Luke 23:27

6.So far, the mixture isn't very appetizing. Add 1cup sugar. Read Psalm 34:8 and John 3:16. Beat with mixer on high speed for 12 to 15 minutes until stiff peaks are formed. Read Isaiah 1:18 and John 3:1-3.

7.Fold in broken nuts. Drop by teaspoons onto parchment paper lined baking sheet. Read Matthew 27:57-60.

8.Place cookies in the oven close the door and turn the oven off. Read Matthew 27:65-66.

9.Go to bed. Read John 16:20 and 22.

10. In the morning open the oven and take out the cookies. Read Matthew 28:1-9.


Holy Saturday

Holy Saturday commemorates the day that Jesus Christ lay in the tomb after his death, according to the Christian bible. It is the day after Good Friday and the day before Easter Sunday. It is also known as Easter Eve, Easter Even, Black Saturday, or the Saturday before Easter.

What do people do?

Many Christians worldwide observe Holy Saturday by remembering it as the day when Jesus lay in the tomb. It is a day of both sadness and joy among Christians in many cultures. Many churches hold an Easter vigil (watch) service. Discussions about the meaning behind the rituals, prayer and symbols that are all part of the Easter vigil occur during these services. Some churches also hold large baptism services on this day.

Holy Saturday is known as Judas Day in Mexico, where people burn effigies of Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. Street vendors sell the effigies, which range in height, and make Judas look as ugly as possible. Effigies designed for children are stuffed with candy and hung in patios at people’s homes. Other effigies are seen on the streets or hung on lamp posts. Firecrackers are attached to many of these effigies and are ignited as soon as the Mass of Glory is over. Children scramble for the candy inside the effigies after they explode.

A Czech custom, known as White Saturday, is to rattle keys and burn out Judas by burning the last of the holy oil before the church door. Holy Saturday is observed by the blessing of food and Easter baskets in Poland. Children in many countries spend time decorating and coloring eggs on the Saturday before Easter Sunday.

Many Christians in the United States attend an Easter vigil service on Holy Saturday. They remember Holy Saturday as the day when Jesus lay in his tomb. An Easter candle is lit in some homes, particularly among families who cannot attend the Easter vigil services. Easter vigil prayers are also made on this day. Baptisms are held during some church services on Holy Saturday.

Many American families prepare for Easter Sunday celebrations on the Saturday before Easter. Children decorate eggs with paint, crayon, water colors, stickers and other material. These eggs are often placed in Easter baskets. Some people buy chocolate eggs to eat around this time of the year. Many people of Mexican descent who live in Los Angeles in California celebrate Holy Saturday with a colorful ceremony known as the Blessing of the Animals.

Holy Saturday is the last day of Holy Week and ends the season of Lent. It is also known as the Vigil of Easter. The day is traditionally a time of reflection and waiting. The vigil stems back to when Jesus’ followers spent this day waiting after his crucifixion on Good Friday. It is also known as the day when Roman governor Pontius Pilate instructed guards to be posted at the tomb to prevent Jesus’ followers from removing the body to claim that he had risen from the dead.

Holy Saturday was also known as Great or Grand Saturday, as well as the Angelic Night. It was the only Saturday on which fasting was permitted in the early days of the Christian church. According to some sources, fasting occurred during the entire day or lasted for 40 hours before the Easter Sunday sunrise during the first century CE. This day was a major day for baptisms in the early church. Many churches still hold large services for baptisms on Holy Saturday.

Some people refer to Holy Saturday as Easter Saturday but this is a misnomer, as Holy Saturday is the last day of Lent and the eve of Easter. The Saturday after Easter Sunday is known as Easter Saturday, or Bright Saturday. It is important to note, however, that Holy Saturday is often referred to as Easter Saturday by some government sources in countries such as Australia.


The Paschal candle, which is made of white wax, symbolizes leading people out of the darkness into the celebration of the Easter vigil. The candle is marked with a cross, an alpha and an omega (the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet). This symbolizes that Jesus Christ has, and always will be with humanity, and is with humanity now, according to Christian belief.

Friday, April 6, 2012


Marion Pellicano Ambrose

To me, the picture of Easter is little girls in frilly pastel dresses and shiny new shoes, and of course, cute little hats to match. It’s cute downy chicks, fluffy baby bunnies, and fragrant budding tulips, daffodils and sweet smelling hyacinths. Easter brings to mind straw baskets filled with green artificial grass, colored eggs and best of all, lots and lots of chocolate! For Christians around the world it’s the season of hope and new life, because of the Resurrection of Jesus.

 People celebrate this special holiday in a variety of ways. One common tradition of many cultures is making Easter Bread. After the strict fasting of Lent, slightly sweet, rich breads filled with eggs, butter, sugar and flour are just the thing to serve!  Eggs symbolize rebirth, fertility, spring and the Resurrection and are found in abundance in these breads.

The following recipe includes placing raw eggs in the dough (color them first) and makes a beautiful centerpiece for your Easter table!

Easter Bread


  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 5 whole eggs, dyed if desired
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted

Directions: Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

In a large bowl, combine 1 cup flour, sugar, salt and yeast; stir well. Combine milk and butter in a small saucepan; heat until milk is warm and butter is softened but not melted.

Gradually add the milk and butter to the flour mixture; stirring constantly. Add two eggs and 1/2 cup flour; beat well. Add the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring well after each addition. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes.

Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.

Punch down the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into two equal size rounds; cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Roll each round into a long log about 36 inches long and 1 1/2 inches thick. Using the two long pieces of dough, form a loosely braided ring, leaving spaces for the five colored eggs. Seal the ends of the ring together and slide the eggs between the braids of dough.

 Place loaf on a buttered baking sheet and cover loosely with a damp towel. Place loaf in a warm place and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes. Brush risen loaf with melted butter.

Bake in preheated oven for 50 to 55 minutes, or until golden.

Enjoy and have a happy and blessed Easter!


You will need a basket full of questions and answers about Passover on individual index cards or paper.Get your kids ahead of time to prepare as many questions and answers as they can from the Haggadah and write the questions and answers down. Here are some suggestions to get you started.
  • Why do we eat Matzah on Passover? To remind us of the dough that didn’t have time to rise as our forefathers were rushed out of Egypt.
  • Name the Four Sons? The wise, the wicked, the simple, and the one who doesn’t know how to ask.
  • How many cups of wine do we drink at the Seder? Four.
  • What things connected with Seder night are associated with the number four? Four sons, four cups of wine, four questions.
  • Why four cups of wine? To celebrate our freedom.
  • What is the second plague? Frogs.
  • Why do we dip in the Charoset? The Charoset represents the cement that the Jews used to cement the bricks together in their slavery. Today we dip as a sign of freedom.
  • What does the shank bone remind us of? The Passover lamb which our forefathers sacrificed to God when they came out of Egypt.
  • Can you say all ten plagues in order? Blood, frogs, vermin, wild beasts, pestilence, boils, hail, locusts, darkness, plague of the firstborn.
  • Can you say the ten plagues backwards? Plague of the firsborn, darkness, locusts, hail, boils, pestilence, wild beasts, vermin, frogs, blood.
  • Who am I? I am the last thing you eat before you bensch, say the blessing after the meal. There are often lots of fights over who hides me and who finds me. Who am I? The Afikoman.
  • Who am I? I am one of the key figures in the story of the going out of Egypt. I lost my whole army and half my country in my stubbornness. Who am I? Pharoah.
  • Who am I? I am one of the plagues. I made the Egyptians itch like crazy all over. Who am I? Lice.
  • Who am I? My name does not appear once in the Haggadah, but I went several times to Pharoah with my brother to try and persuade him to let the Jewish people go. Who am I? Moses.
  • Who do we fill a cup for on the Seder table and hope he comes and joins our Seder? Elijah.
After the Mah Nishtana, you ask one of the kids to blindfold one of the guests or another family member. Then the blindfolded one has to pick a card out of a box or hat.
Someone is chosen to read the question. If the blindfolded one answers correctly he or she gets a point/sweet/nut/small prize.
The game can be played at different intervals during the evening.


Good Friday occurs two days before Easter Sunday in the United States. It is the day when Christians commemorate Jesus Christ's crucifixion, which plays an important part in the Christian faith. It is not a federal holiday in the United States, although it is a state holiday in some states.

What do people do?

Some Christians may attend special church services or prayer vigils. Good Friday is a day of mourning and quiet prayer for many Christians. The candles are often extinguished and statues, paintings and crosses may be draped in black, purple or gray cloth. Some Catholics treat Good Friday as a day of fasting, while others observe a partial fast involving the exclusion of meat.

Some homes keep a quiet atmosphere, with little or no outside activities and limited television, radio, and computer use, in observing Good Friday. Others choose to play music such as JS Bach's St. Matthew's Passion. Some people bake hot cross buns, a traditional Good Friday sweet.

Good Friday is another day at work for many Americans, as it is not a national holiday. Some people may choose to take a day off work and have a long “Spring Break” weekend. In some states, employees are given a day off on Good Friday.

Public life

Good Friday is not an official holiday in the United States. Regular services will continue according the schedule in some areas, including Toledo, Ohio, where the city’s refuse will be collected during its regular schedule. However, many financial markets and some businesses are closed on Good Friday.

Good Friday is a state holiday in some states such as Hawaii, where city and state offices are closed and some forms of public transport (eg. buses) run on the state holiday schedule. In some areas, such as Perry County in Tennessee, Good Friday is a school holiday. Good Friday is a holiday designated by the governor as a day of fasting and prayer in Connecticut.

In accordance with state law, Indiana state employees are given a day off on Good Friday, a religious holiday. In 1999, in the case of Bridenbaugh v O'Bannon, an Indiana state employee sued the governor for giving state employees Good Friday as a day off. The US Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the plaintiff, stating that the government could give state employees a paid day off when that day is a religious holiday, including Good Friday, but only so long as the state can provide a valid secular purpose that coincides with the obvious religious purpose of the holiday.


Good Friday is the day when Christians commemorate the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ. The Easter date depends on the ecclesiastical approximation of the March equinox.

This is an important event in Christianity, as it represents the sacrifices and suffering in Jesus' life. The crucifixion was the culmination of a number of events in Holy Week, including: the triumphal return of Jesus to Jerusalem on Palm Sunday; the washing of the disciples' feet by Jesus; and the Last Supper on Maundy Thursday. Some churches organize a prayer vigil on Good Friday for various causes, such as for cancer patients or for the American troops who have been sent to the middle-east.


The crucifix, or cross, which represents the way Jesus died, is an important symbol seen on Good Friday. Some crosses bear a figure of Christ. Other symbols of Good Friday include black cloth used to cover the cross, paintings and statues in churches and some homes to signify mourning.

About Good Friday in other countries

Many people in different countries celebrate the anniversary of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion and death on the Friday before Easter Sunday. This is an observance that involves people fasting and praying. Many church services are held in the afternoon, usually around noon or midday to 3pm, to remember the hours when Jesus hung on the cross. Many churches also observe the day by re-enacting the procession of the cross as in the ritual of the Stations of the Cross, which depicts the final hours of Jesus’ life. Processions are held in many countries such as India, Italy, Mata, the Philippines, and Spain.

Kites that are often handmade are flown in Bermuda on Good Friday to symbolize the cross that Jesus died on, as well as his ascension into heaven. This custom dates back to the 19th century. Churches in countries, such as Belgium and Mexico, are draped in black on Good Friday in memory of Jesus’ suffering on the cross. The day is solemn and a general air of sadness is felt in many towns and villages. Many Christians in Poland fast on dry bread and roasted potatoes. Egg decorating is also part of the Easter preparations in Poland and many other countries.

Wishing you a blessed, holy, Good Friday.

Thursday, April 5, 2012


Medium size roast beef or beef roll
5 onions cut into quarters
5 cloves of garlic, whole
2-4 bay leaves
1/2 cup vegetable stock, chicken stock or water
2 tbsps. vinegar, or juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 cup red wine
dash of salt
3 tbsps. ketchup
1/2 cup raisins
8 potatoes, cut into 1/8'ths
Brown meat, then add and brown onions and garlic. Add bay leaves and 1/2 cup vegetable or chicken stock (or soup mix & water) or water to cover the bottom of the pot. Cover and simmer (low heat) for 1 hour. (Turn now and then).
Add cut-up potatoes. Add 2 tbsps. vinegar or juice of 1 lemon, 1 tbsp. brown sugar, and 1/2 cup red wine. Cook for 1 hour.
Add a little salt, 3 tbsps. ketchup, 1/2 cup raisins. Cook for 1/2 hour or until tender beyond a doubt.
Serving Suggestions:
Remove meat from sauce when it becomes cold the next day. Slice to individual portions. When sauce cools, remove the fat and heat before serving


Marion Pellicano Ambrose

All little girls want to believe in “A perfect marriage” and “happily ever after” . Luckily, there is no such thing. I say luckily because, how boring would that be? Picture you and your spouse being compatible in every way and never disagreeing on any point. What fun you would miss! (Not only in the challenge of disagreeing but in the passion of making up!)

A good marriage takes a lot of effort and hard work on the part of both partners. There will always be difficulties, points of disagreement, and differences of opinion. The real question is, how will you handle them?

My personal feeling is that the most important thing is that the couple cling first to each other. Each must put the other first in their lives. This means not involving friends or family members in the problems or personal situations that might be causing discord. These people cannot be impartial and often side with one of the other rather than helping to find a solution. One of the biggest mistakes one can make is to tell a friend or family member every little fight, unkind word or hurt within a marriage. The spouse feels betrayed and belittled and the friend or family member holds it against the spouse even after the couple resolves the issue between themselves.

I find it hard to verbalize it when I feel hurt, neglected or wronged, yet I know how important it is for the health of my marriage to communicate. I wait until I’m no longer angry or overly upset and I sit down and write a long letter to my spouse. He reads it, takes some time to process, and he’ll talk to me. (Writing isn’t his thing, but he verbalizes well). This has worked well for us over the years.

We have found that there are several “Must Haves” in our marriage. Remembering to foster each one keeps us close and better to handle life’s ups and downs together. Don’t get me wrong, we have our moments like every other couple on the planet, but we let the anger fade before we deal with the problem and then we work together to find a solution.

Here are our “Marriage Must Haves”

1.     Respect: Recognizing your spouse as an individual with his or her own feelings, intelligence, opinions, experiences, beliefs, fears, strengths and weaknesses and allowing them these things without ridicule, judgement, or belittling them in any way.

2.     Loyalty: Being true not only in the flesh, but emotionally and spiritually. This means standing up for, standing behind, standing with your spouse before all others. When the kids come along, let them know that you are a united front. If mom says no, don’t even think of asking dad. Make decisions, family policies, traditions and everything else as a team, just the 2 of you.

3.     Communication: One of the most important features of a good marriage. It requires openness, honesty and clarity. Each partner must find the best way to keep those lines of communication open. Love, fear, anxiety, lonliness, frustration, joy, anticipation, excitement…. Write it, sing it, speak it, paint it, act it out if you must, but communicate it to your spouse.

4.     Trust: Your spouse should feel confident that you would never do anything to hurt, embarrass, belittle, or betray him or her. He or she must feel that you will indeed put him or her above all others.

5.     Tolerance: Allow your partner his or her “idiosyncricies” and expect him or her to allow you yours. If you feel there are things you need to change in a person once you are married, forget it! If you can’t live with it, don’t marry that person. There is no place for intolerance in a marriage.

6.     Living in the Real World: Don’t try to make your life and your marriage a “fairy tale” one. Don’t put undue stress and unrealistic expectations on a marriage. There is tragedy and sadness in the real world, but there is also great hope and joy. Grab it with both hands and LIVE.

7.     A Separate Peace: There should be a great deal of togetherness in a good marriage, but there must also be alone time for each partner. Each spouse must honor the individuality and separateness of the other, giving time or space when needed. Pursuing interests together is wonderful but you must also pursue individual interests as well. If you don’t, one might begin to feel stifled, trapped, even resentful. Let him play softball or hit a few golf balls with the guys, let her take a class or go to a chick flick with the girls. If there is trust and communication, you should be able to have the freedom to pursue some of your own interests and allow him the same.

8.     Compromise: One must consider the opinion, feelings, needs and wishes of the other and be willing to bend to different degrees. It may not always be meeting “in the middle” but it should be each giving as well as getting in a way that eventually pleases both. There will be times when you bend completely, giving in fully to the wants or desires of the other because that’s what they need at the time. But it must not always be the same partner making the sacrifice. Marriage is give and take, but mostly give.

9.     Forgive and Forget: I know, easier said than done. We usually find it fairly easy to forgive, especially small hurts, but it’s quite another thing to be able to forget. One should never refer to past events when arguing with a spouse. Once a wrong is committed and forgiven, it should not rear its ugly head again. If it does, it was never really forgiven. I know how hard this is. Some hurts seem unforgivable, adultery, lying, keeping secrets, all these things can hurt deeply, but we must learn that if our spouse is truly sorry and repentant, we must not only forgive, but we must be willing to forget and never bring it up again.

10. A Sense of Humor: Life can be a real bummer at times, but it can also be filled with love, joy and laughter. Couples must try to find the rainbow in the storm, the silver lining of each dark cloud, and a reason to laugh and smile each and every day. There’s something about laughing with another that brings you closer and makes life brighter.

Let me emphatically state that I am not a psychiatrist, psychologist, counselor, therapist or even a Psych major. I’m just a lucky woman who married my best friend and lived happily and unhappily, through good times and bad, ever after.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


Marion Pellicano-Ambrose

My husband finally consented to see a movie I wanted , so last night we went to see Mirror, Mirror. I’m sure the only reason he agreed is because he’s enamored with Julia Roberts and her big lips, but that’s OK, as long as I got to see a movie without gratuitous sex and violence.

The story of Snow White is in there somewhere, but it’s very different from the traditional version immortalized by Disney. In this version, Snow White becomes more of a modern woman who doesn’t really need a prince to come along and save her. The prince (played by Armie Hammer), by the way, reminded me in looks, speech, and manner, of Brendan Frasier in The Mummy!  I know it’s ridiculous, but his name is just too close to the baking soda!

 For me, the best part of the movie was Julia Robert’s wardrobe. I SO want her ball costume for Halloween! Her performance was as good as the part could allow. Her  vibrancy and spunk didn’t really shine through as it has in previous roles.  Lily Collins, who played Snow White was lovely. She reminded me of Ann Hathaway, who I adore. I think she did a wonderful job portraying the “coming of age” of young Snow White. The sweet, shy girl became a spunky, brave warrior for her kingdom.

Possibly the best performance was that of Nathan Lane as Brighton, the Queens flunky. He was likable, even as he carried out the Queens evil commands. As always, he injected comedy and satire into his performance. To my husband’s dismay, and my delight, a group of little girls celebrating a birthday, sat 2 rows in front of us. They absolutely loved the movie. There was laughter, giggling, oohing and aahing throughout the film. Of course, there was all those things throughout the advertisements and coming attractions, but the point is, they really enjoyed the film.

 All in all, I’d give Mirror 4 out of 5 stars. It was enjoyable and entertaining, but not quite what I expected. Still, I think it’s worth seeing.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


  • 6-inch Styrofoam Ball
  • Foot-long Wooden Dowel
  • Glue
  • 6-inch Terra-Cotta Pot
  • Plaster
  • Easter Grass
  • 2 Layers of Tulle (1 purple, 1 yellow) or Acrylic Paint
  • Ribbons
  • Round Toothpicks
  • Round, Foil-Wrapped Chocolates

  1. Poke a 6-inch Styrofoam ball onto a foot-long wooden dowel and glue the ball in place.
  2. Fill a decorated 6-inch terra-cotta pot with plaster--first glue a piece of Styrofoam over the hole at the bottom--and push the dowel into the still-wet plaster. After the plaster sets, glue Easter grass on its surface.
  3. So the Styrofoam doesn't show through, cover the ball in 2 layers of tulle (1 purple, 1 yellow), which you can gather tightly around the dowel with ribbons (you could also just paint the ball with acrylic paint).
  4. Use round toothpicks to cover the ball with chocolates, poking one end into the chocolate and the other into the ball.
  5. ENJOY!

Monday, April 2, 2012


Originally Posted Friday April 1, 2011
A Reprise in honor of Light It Up Blue & National Autism Awareness Month
Barbara Ward-Finneran
Today begins National Autism Awareness Month.  I remember a time when my only reference to this word conjured images from the movies; Son Rise and Rainman. My how that changed for me after the birth of my first son, Shawn.  
My first child.  My beautiful baby boy.  The light of my life who I had longed and prayed for for years.  Who made me love to the limitless levels that I hadn’t even known existed.  He was perfect in every way, especially to my husband & I and our families.  His smile lit up the room as much as it filled up my heart.  He giggled, loved and played just like most babies.  As he aged towards becoming a toddler each milestones achievement along the journey wasn’t on schedule.  I also noticed differences that I couldn’t quite nail down, but just knew, something was “off”, “different”, my friends had babies the same age and my heart ached to hear him say Mama.  The months went by and Mama never came...
Doctors told me, "boys just talk late". I fought to get services. I was expecting my second child and wanted base line tests before the regressions that are natural with the arrival of a sibling.  I fought and fought and fought.  With my husband, Steve, we fought, and fought and fought. None of it ever coming easy.  Medical tests. Genetic testing. Hearing tests. MRI’s. Endless paperwork with torturing fill ins where you choose; “always, frequently, sometimes, never”. Doctors, doctors, doctors. Evaluations. Observations. Neurologist visits. Speech Pathologists.  Occupational therapist.  The list could go on and on.  

Then there was Terry, who I first met at a support group for Moms who had children with developmental delays.  After about five minutes, with my then toddled she questioned, “Has he been diagnosed with Autism?”  Autism. The word had entered my head a “million” times.  (Often enough that I had researched it and questioned the pediatrician, who again disregarded my concerns, “Boys are slower, sometimes”.)  This was the first time someone else had dared to speak the word I feared.  Terry was the angel dared me to look at the darkness and also shined hope on the path to light and knowledge.  She was (and is, and forever will be) my first HERO in the journey through the silence.
In the weeks and months that followed, I fought tooth and nail for help and answers.  Knowing it would break my heart as much as it healed it.  I fought because my son needed and deserved every service and help that I could find for him and it was my job to be his advocate.  
Once you hear, “Your child has Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)”, your journey has changed.  It's  journey through the silence, that begins with running from the jagged edges of a broken heart. A walk you can only understand if you've waited 34 months to hear "Mama" (or have never heard it at all), or you've been told "your child will never attend a "real" school because his IQ is 67".  (Yet at three, my son could read books but not "talk".) 
There is so much more to be said and told of this journey with Shawn - enough to fill endless blogs.  To be said and told of the journeys of those whose lives have been touch by Autism Spectrum Disorder. Autism affects one in 110 children.  One in 70 boys.  Although some would argue it is not an epidemic, you cannot convince me otherwise. Autism is not a disease - our kids just think differently. It is a processing disorder.  One that can change everything.  It can tear families apart.  Financially destroy them.  Sever friendships.  I’m not sure you can find a person today who does not know someone whose life has been touched by and or changed by Autism.  
In many ways, ASD changed everything in my life.  Autism expanded my views of compassion, tolerance, and advocacy as well as making me a better person in the process.  I am incredibly blest and lucky.  My eleven year old son is an incredibly happy, smart, and “high functioning” little man. In addition to all the challenges that came with ASD, Autism also  made me acutely aware of the angels in my life.  I have friends and family who never turned away.  Who went to support groups with me even though their kids were “normal”.  Who taught me how to be an advocate.  Who shut gates for me at playgrounds - because Shawn was a “runner” who didn’t answer to his name.  Who would stay with me into the darkness of the night at the park because Shawn “needed” to swing.  Who would still invite me to play groups even though Shawn didn’t “play” but would create endless lines of matchbox cars and horde magnet letters.  Who watched him draw chalk portraits again & again, then listened with love as he repetitively "labeled" the names of the people drawn.  Who spent countless hours with me, at places with ball pits, because despite their lack of "perfect cleanliness" they provided good sensory play. Who would help their kids understand.  Who understood because their kids were “spectrum” too. Who would be angry and grieve with me. Who held me when I wept.  And, cried with me when he spoke.  
Everyone should be so blest!  You know who you are.  
I thank you one and all - From the depths of my heart, 
Today & tomorrow I will wear blue.  For Awareness.  For Shawn. For the friends in my life who walk this journey in similar shoes and their children (I'd love to name you all).  For all of those who live in a world with Autism. For a world that needs more understanding and awareness. Won’t you join me? How will you light it up blue? 


On April 2nd join Autism Speaks in celebrating World Autism Day and help shine a light on Autism by participating in Light It Up Blue.  Wear blue, light up your house, your porch light, change your Facebook profile picture to a blue puzzle piece or another Autism Awareness image- - - anything at all that shows your support of creating awareness for this global and growing public health concern.  Light it up blue is in it's third year of this initiative to help raise awareness by having supporters wear blue and having iconic landmarks and more then 200 buildings around the world Light It Up Blue to show their support.  

For more information and to see a slide show of the beautiful displays of awareness involved in Light It Up Blue go to:


Dawn Boyle

Even though we are only days into Spring 2012, there is no time like the present to start thinking of your summer plans...while my person favorite beaches are close to me, here on Long Island, below is a list of great places to visit as per the Family Vacation Critic. The sun, the surf, the sand... there is joy in any family vacation on the beach.

1. Walmanalo Bay Beach Park, Oahu, Hawaii

Ask any local on Oahu what the best beach is, and they will tell you Walmanalo Bay is not only their best beach, but the best beach in the entire state. Also ranked as one of the cleanest beaches in the country, Walmanalo is tricky to get to, and far removed from the crowded beaches of Waikiki, but worth the jaw-dropping scenic drive to get to. The sand is sugar soft, the cove offers calm waters for tiny swimmers, and the waves down the beach are more manageable for new surfers.

2. Outer Beach, Cape Cod, Massachusetts

John F. Kennedy loved this stretch of sand dunes, salt ponds and soft-sand beaches so much he turned it into a national treasure: the Cape Cod National Seashore. He's not the only one who waxed on about the beauty of these shores: Thoreau devoted time and pen to the Outer Beach. While summering on Cape Cod, I've found no beaches as beautiful as those on the "forearm" facing the Atlantic Ocean stretching from Orleans, Eastham and Wellfleet. Marshes, ponds and 40 miles of untouched beaches beckon to be explored, so what are you waiting for?

3. Deerfield Beach, Near Fort Lauderdale, Florida

I'm not surprised Deerfield Beach remains on the Clean Beaches Coalition's best beaches list. I grew up in South Florida and my favorite beach by far was Deerfield Beach -- I'd drive the extra half hour from my Fort Lauderdale beach to visit it. This surfer's haunt features more waves than other nearby beaches, and the stretches of sand are dotted with oversized boulders, creating private pockets for beachgoers. Great restaurants and shops line the beach's boardwalk.

4. Sand Beach, Acadia National Park, Maine

Acadia is known for its breathtaking and unspoiled beauty, and its beaches are also some of the cleanest in the country. Sand Beach appears on Clean Beaches Coalition's cleanest beaches, but we also like this beaches because Coastal Maine is filled with charming New England villages and old-fashioned charm. Acadia National Park also provides plenty to do when sand in the toes becomes a bore (does it ever?).

5. Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Outer Banks, North Carolina

The barrier islands off the coast of North Carolina provide 70 miles of dune-laced beaches running from South Nags Head to Ocracoke Island. The wide and uncluttered beaches line warm waters and plenty of places for families stake out a private day in the sun. As a preserved area, wildlife refuges, lighthouses and camping areas are also located along these beaches, providing more fun under the sun.

6. Shell Beaches, Corpus Christi, Texas

Be it Big Shell Beach or Little Shell Beach on Padre Island National Seashore in Texas, your family is sure to love these expansive beaches on the island's national seashore. The hard-packed beaches make driving on the beach easy, so families often drive up with picnics and a day's worth of activities in tow. Both beaches, like their names indicate, are shell littered for shell-seeking walks, and both are found on the Clean Beaches list.

7. Coronado Beach, San Diego, California

While Coronado may be more famous for its red-roofed grand dame hotel where Marilyn Monroe walked, ate and slept while filming the classic, "Some Like It Hot," the stretch of beach on this island just opposite San Diego that truly is memorable. With a long sandbar and fantastic waves to stoke any one of your little surfers, the large expanse of beach is family friendly and even has a nearby bike trail that runs to Imperial Beach. If you visit January through March, you may even see the migrating whales en route to Baja.

8. Siesta Beach, Sarasota, Florida

Dr. Beach named Siesta Beach the nation's best beach last year, and it's easy to see why: not only is it super clean, but it features sugar-soft sand and perfect shell-seeking stretches to excite the kids. Located near Sarasota, the Gulf's calm waters won't intimate young children, and may even provide a glimpse at playful dolphins swimming just off the coast. Not only is the sand super soft, it borders the most gorgeous emerald green water you've ever seen.

9. Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

This sand-duned beach stretches the expanse of the quaint, small town of Rehoboth, and offers a quieter alternative to the more crowded beach across the bay that make up the Jersey Shore. The beach's boardwalk is filled with family fun, and kids will enjoy playing at the family-run Funland amusement center, as well as riding in the Jolly Trolley. Nestled nearby is Dewey Beach, a growing small town with its own charm. Both beaches are featured on Delaware's "Gold Coast" and rank as some of the cleanest beaches in the nation.

10. Sunset Beach, Cape May, New Jersey

Forget the bad images that just popped into your head when you thought "Jersey Shore." Cape May's Sunset Beach, located at the southern tip of the Jersey Shore, is a gorgeous area of Victorian mansions and cute shopping and dining. White-sand beaches feature gentle waves and in Cape May Point, kids can check out the remains of the U.S.S. Atlantus, which sank offshore during a storm in the 1920s.

Sunday, April 1, 2012


Puerto Rico, which has been under U.S. sovereignty for over a century, has been accepted into the United States as the 51st state. The 112 Congress passed legislation providing for the admission of Puerto Rico as a State of the Union.

Facts on Puerto Rico:

Official Statehood: April 1, 2012.

Legal Requirements: Article IV, Section Three of the United States Constitution conditions have been met. Admitted into the union by the 112th Congress.

Population: 3,751,351 (ranks 29th among the other 50 states).

Representation: Puerto Rico will have five seats in the House of Representatives.

GDP: Puerto Rico has a GDP per capita approximately 25% lower than the lowest state.

Initially Proposed Statehood: President Gerald R. Ford proposed statehood in 1976, Ronald Reagan also favored statehood.

Join DRL in celebrating – APRIL FOOL’S DAY!