Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Setting the record straight...

Hi everybody.
A few weeks ago I posted an account about my son Zach and a situation with one of his internship employers, the Red Lobster restaurant in Manassas, Va. I posted what I had been told had happened during his most recent visit there. Last weekend my husband Mike and I went to the restaurant and met with a manager at Red Lobster to discuss what happened. He had not been there that day but was very surprised to hear what had apparently transpired. In fact, Mike and I both had the immediate feeling that his shock and sadness was genuine and started to wonder whether this was some sort of horrible misunderstanding and questioned if we had been misinformed. Well, today we met with the manager of the restaurant, Jesse Green, as well as the Red Lobster employee who had been there at the time. It was immediately obvious to Mike and me that, contrary to what we had believed to be true just a few short weeks ago, Mr Green is in fact a huge supporter of programs like these. He has a tremendous heart that has guided him for many many years to support programs like these here and elsewhere in the country.

So many of you have been so supportive of my family and me, and the outpouring of emotion has been so humbling. That is why Mike and I want everyone to see this. The reputation of Red Lobster here in Manassas (and perhaps corporately) was wrongly tarnished in the account I posted earlier because I trusted the source and believed the information to be correct and we want to set the record straight. Much, much more importantly, the name and reputation of a fine man, Jesse Green, has been branded with what has turned out to be the opposite of the truth.  We were beyond sad to discover that we had been misinformed and we believe in making things right.

We had a wonderful meeting at the school this afternoon. While the restaurant may not have enough work for them to do everyday, for Mike and me it's enough that they open their doors as much as they are able. If more businesses were like the Red Lobster here and more managers were like Mr. Green, the world would be a wonderful place for Zach for the rest of his life.  It is a difficult road we walk in that our son cannot tell us what happens to him each day.  We are forced to trust those that he is with when he's not in our care to be honest, sensitive and advocates for him.  I honestly went with my "mama gut" after hearing the report from one of the staff who assists with the interns...called the internship director to confirm and was told that what I had heard was accurate.  Unfortunately, I was misinformed.
We pray constantly for his protection and for his happiness.

Please, please, if you forwarded my blog post to any of your friends, send them this to set the record straight. I know that good news doesn't always travel as fast as bad news, but all I can say is if you saw the look in the eyes of the manager, saw what we saw and felt what we felt, you would want to tell as many of your friends as you could. Whatever my blog led you to think about RL in Manassas, every time you drive by it, say a prayer of thanks to God for being in the hearts of people like Jesse Green.
Blessings to you,
Michelle and Mike

Monday, October 21, 2013

Turkey Time!

Hey there Stampers!

Happy Monday!  Whew!  When the weatherman says "frost warning" he's not kidding.  Time to bundle up today.  I'm sure there was a little frost on the pumpkin last night.

Speaking of pumpkins....  I went to a creative retreat with a group of stampers a couple of weeks ago and there were tons of pumpkins and fall ideas there.  One of the ones that I fell in love with was created by a stamper named Kirsteen.  She is SO talented!  She created something with our new Bow Die for the Big Shot that is SO awesome and I just had to try it out.  Wait til you see this!!!  Are you ready??

Ok....Here you go......

Isn't he just SO stinkin' CUTE??  I just LOVE him.  I can't decide how I will use him for this Thanksgiving.  It would be fun to have one at each place setting...or maybe make a fun centerpiece with him in the middle.  So many choices!!

Do you have the Bow Die?  I have to admit that I ordered it and hadn't even opened it yet.  I've had so much fun with all of my new stamps and I just hadn't gotten to it yet.  After seeing this little guy though I just had to get it open and use it.  Here's what the die cuts in just one pass...


Isn't that cool??  There are SO many things you can use this die for.....even to make a TURKEY!  Who knew!?  With Thanksgiving and Christmas quickly approaching, this will be one of those "must have" craft items.  To order yours just go to my Online Store by clicking  ----->  RIGHT HERE.
and get ready to have some serious crafting fun.

While you're there be sure to stop by the Clearance Rack.  There are lots of new items on there and you'll get some terrific deals.

Remember...you can still take advantage of the $25 to Join deal until midnight tonight!!  Better hurry!

Wishing you a wonderful Monday,



Sunday, October 20, 2013

It's Time!


Everybody know what day it is? 
It's the very last day to grab the best opportunity that Stampin' Up! has ever offered.  Whether you're looking to get your crafting supplies at a discount or maybe you'd like to start your very own small business and share what YOU love at the very same time.
Can you imagine doing just that for only $25?  Well, that's just what you can do.
You have until midnight Mountain Time tonight to join my Inkerbelles Stampers.
Just click ----->  Join the Fun Now
You will have not only the discount but you'll have a whole new group of friends and fellow Inkerbelles too.
You can take this opportunity out for a "test drive" and see how you like it.  There's absolutely NO pressure to do anything.  You will have until April 30th, 2014 to see what you'd like to do with it.
Order for you...add orders from your friends and share your discount if you'd like.  I LOVE HOBBY Demonstrators.  <3 nbsp="" p="">
You will also be invited to and Exclusive Inkerbelles Event....the Holiday Hoopla.
Come and meet the other members of the Inkerbelles...create some fun make and takes...see tons of samples and get new ideas to create...and LOTS more.
When you join you will choose $26.95 in product and it all will ship for FREE.

Hurry!  Time is running out!

I can't wait to welcome you to the Inkerbelles!
Have a magical day!
 


Thursday, October 17, 2013

New Classes Announced

Hey there, Peeps!  Do I have some exciting news for YOU!??

My calendar is filling up and there are some F-U-N stamp classes on there just waiting for YOU!
Here are the deets...

OCTOBER'S "SUITABLY SIMPLE" STAMP-A-STACK
Friday, October 25th - 7-9 p.m.
Come and create 10 QUICK AND EASY All Occasion Cards
You'll make TWO each of FIVE designs.  Theses designs will
be "quick" cards that will be easy for you to duplicate at home.
Class Fee:  $20
All supplies are included
Please RSVP no later than Tuesday, 10/22/13 to ensure your card kits will be waiting for you at class.

"SWEATER WEATHER" WREATH CLASS
Sunday, October 27th - 1-3 p.m. 
Come and create an adorable fall wreath using the "Sweater Weather" Designer Series Paper.  Here's what it looks like....

Class Fee is $25
All supplies are included
Please RSVP no later than Thursday, 10/24/13 to ensure your wreath making supplies will be prepped and ready for you at class.

NOVEMBER'S "JINGLE JANGLE" CHRISTMAS CARD CLASS
Saturday, November 2nd - 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
Come and create 8 lovely Christmas and Holiday cards with matching envelopes....You'll make two each of four different designs.
 Class Fee is $15
All supplies are included
Please RSVP no later than Wednesday, 10/30/13 to ensure your card kits and supplies will be prepped and ready for you at class.

So what are you waiting for?  Be sure to save YOUR spot.  Seats will be limited and you won't want to miss any of these fun events.

I can't wait to stamp with you!!

 


Saturday, October 12, 2013

Blast from the Past

Good Morning Stampers!

I just found a fun punch art tutorial video I created a couple of years ago and I'm creating a fun project with her today.  I thought I'd share "Miss Sassparilla" with you just in case you haven't met her yet.  :-)

Just click here to Meet Miss Sassparilla


Wishing you a wonderfully, creative Saturday,

Michelle

Thursday, October 10, 2013

New Punch Art Critter!

Happy Friday Eve!
That's what Linz says every Thursday here at our house.  :-)
Today I have a fun little addition to the
"Suitably Punched Critter Crew".  
Her name is "Trixie" and she's just the sweetest!  
Are you ready??

Here you go!


I absolutely LOVE her!  I think Trixie was the perfect critter to go along with the NEW "BITE ME" Photopolymer Stamp Set. 
Her one, little fang just cracks me up!
Here's a look at all of the images in the "Bite Me" set...

Bite Me Photopolymer Stamp Set
"Bite Me" Photopolymer Set  Item #134622  $13.95
 
I love Halloween and all things "FALL" so I know this fun stamp set will see LOTS of "ink time" in my studio.  Have you tried out the photopolymer sets yet?  You have to get them in your hands!  You will love them.  They are the perfect stamps for first time stampers and seasoned stampers alike.   I used three of the stamps from this set on the card with Trixie.  Can you find them?

Trixie was created using the Extra Large Oval punch - #119859 (body), Chevron Punch - #132154 (legs), Owl Builder Punch - #118074 (Eyes and Bow).  The mouth was drawn on with the new Chalk Marker - #132133.  Of course every girl needs a little "bling" to finish off her look.  I added one of the Basic Rhinestones to her bow.  #119246

Have you created any fun, fall projects yet?  I'd love to see what you're working on.  Send me your photos!

Wishing you a SPOOKTACULAR day!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Falling for Fall...


Happy Fall!  I know I've said that before but boy, oh boy does it feel like fall out there tonight.  I had a terrific time this past weekend with an amazingly talented group of friends and stampers at the RemARKables HOT Retreat up in PA.  I love getting to see my SU! friends and spend an entire weekend sharing laughs and creative time with them.  A huge "Thank You" to Janet Wakeland for spoiling us all rotten.

While we were there I created some fun, new projects and I'll be sharing them with you this week.  Today's share is a fun, fall card.  Check this out...


Isn't that so cool??  It's definitely a quick and easy card and there are tons of possible "themes" you could do with it.  I just cut out a couple of pieces of Designer Series Paper and adhered them to a card base of Chocolate Chip card stock.  Once the pieces were adhered, I ran the whole thing through the 
Big Shot in the "Square Lattice" embossing folder to add a little texture.  Then I added some wooden buttons with a little Baker's Twine tied through each one and adhered them with Glue Dots.  Isn't that fun??
What a great card for all occasions....masculine and feminine.  I just love it.

You'll be looking at your DSP in a whole new way when you go to pick out the pattern for YOUR Sweater Card.  :-)

Be sure to check out all of the latest specials that are online at my SU! webstore this week.  Here are just a few....




Wishing you a magical day,

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

EXCITING NEWS!


WOW!!  I tell you what....when Stampin' Up! celebrates their 25th Anniversary they sure do it right!
Check this out...
For just TWO WEEKS....  STARTING MONDAY, OCT. 7 AND ENDING MONDAY, OCT. 21, Stampin' Up! is offering this amazing special for just $25!!

This is the Stampin' Up! Starter Kit Special you have been waiting for!!! Mark Your Calendar! 
Stampin' Up! will be offering a special starter kit for just $25!  Now THAT'S what I call the PERFECT way to celebrate!
  • The $25 kit includes up to $26.95 of your choice of Stampin' Up! products (value must be more than $25, but not more than $26.95 before tax), a supply of annual and holiday catalogs and it all ships FREE.  Our regular $99 Starter Kit will not be available for purchase during this two-week period.
  • Try out all of the Stampin' Up! exclusive resources and discounts through April 30, 2014, with no obligation to purchase anything further.
  • Save!  Receive a 20% discount on every demonstrator order you place. No pesky coupons to take with you to the craft store...It's always available for you...24/7 once you join.
  • Receive 30% off your first demonstrator order of $150 or more (before shipping and tax).  Must be placed within 45 days of purchasing your kit.
  • Be first to know about new products and pre-order from new catalogs!
  • Reach $300 in sales by March 31, 2014 and renew an additional quarter (through June 30, 2014).  There's NO penalty to drop.
  • It's up to you!  Purchase the kit just for yourself and/or have fun and share Stampin' Up! with friends while making a little extra 
PURCHASE YOUR $25 KIT THROUGH ME and you'll become a member of my INKERBELLES STAMPERS.  You’ll get exclusive projects and ideas and you’ll get me as your team leader.
 
If you’re already spending your hard earned money on stampin’ supplies, don’t you want to get the most for your money?  Why not try it out and see how you like it?  You don’t have to do it as a business if you don’t want to.  Use this as a way to get more “bang for your buck”.  I’d love to share the details with you.
 
For more info, just CLICK HERE.  Get all the supplies you need for your upcoming Fall and holiday projects, Christmas cards and more and get it at a discount.  Order from home....NO pesky coupons needed.  YOU call the shots.  Now THAT’S what I call MAGICAL!
 
**BONUS**  Join Stampin’ Up! during this special and you will receive an invitation my EXCLUSIVE INKERBELLES HOLIDAY HOOPLA PARTY.  It’s going to be a fantastic time.  Don’t miss out!
 
Contact me today for more info or just head over to my Online Stampin' Website to check it out.
 
Stamped Blessings,
 
 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Constant Battle

**A non-stamping related post**

My heart is pounding and I can feel my blood pressure climbing through the roof.  I know I've posted about issues with autism and dealing with people who just don't get it but this honestly has ticked me off to a new record high.

I won't go into the entire background history of Linz and Zach's schooling and their internships provided by the school system.  Suffice it to say that they have been very well taken care of as far as having great teachers and assistants who have worked with them and helped them with skills and training for the "real world".  Linz interned at 4 different libraries before settling at one of our local public libraries where she now volunteers five days a week shelving books and helping out.  We have still been unable to find anyone willing to hire her.  Go figure.  She's far more organized and much more meticulous with paperwork and general office work than many "experienced" adults I've met.

Zach graduated from high school in 2010.  For those of you not familiar with special education, students with special needs can stay in school until they turn 22.  After graduation they return for more "life skills" classes and transition activities and hopefully internships with local businesses to help them find employment.
Zach worked two internships last year.  The first at the offices of the Amputee Coalition of America and the other at the Community Thrift Store.  At the ACA he stuffed envelopes and helped with general office tasks.  He was meticulous.  They were SO impressed.  Alas...no money to hire extra staff.
At Community Thrift Store he would help sort donations, collect hangers and sort them and help organize the book donations.  He rocked it.

So...when this school year began we found out that he was going to be doing an internship at our local Red Lobster restaurant.  We (along with his teacher) were very excited because in the past some of the students from the program were eventually hired at local restaurants and they were so successful.
Now....Zach is pretty non verbal so its not like he can come home and tell me all about his day....who said what....who was nice....who was a jerk etc.  It's absolutely TERRIFYING not knowing how people are treating my child.  Seriously...like "cold sweat" scary.  Most days when I ask, "How was your day, Zach?" he will respond with "Was it good?".  I know.  Makes no sense. Right?  It is what it is.
So I had signed the paperwork giving permission for him to start at Red Lobster.  There would be an instructional assistant accompanying him every time he went etc.  Well....a couple of weeks ago he started his "every other day" internship routine.  I would ask, "Did you go to internship today?" and he would usually say, "Yes.  Napkins and knife and forks."  Um...okay.

Now since I work in the school system I know most of the teachers and assistants at the other schools.  I see some of them regularly.  So today I happened to see an assistant who comes with 2 special ed students to intern at my school.  I knew that she had gone with Zach before and had told me how much she just "loves him".  I went over to her this morning and said, "Hello" and I told her that Zach came home yesterday and mentioned something about Community Thrift Store.  I told her I thought that was odd since his new internship is at Red Lobster.  She got a strange look on her face and said, "Did you hear what happened last week?".  Ok....my heart stopped.  I said, "Um.....nope".  She said, "The bus took them to internship (Zach and another sweet girl in his class) and they turned the bus away.  They wouldn't let them stay".  (She thought that this happened at Community Thrift but it turns out that it was at Red Lobster)
Ok...WHAT?

Fast forward to tonight when I talked with his teacher who told me what had happened.  (I'm FUMING!!!)
Apparently at Red Lobster he had been given the task of wrapping silverware and preparing it for customers.  Silverware wrapped in paper napkins for lunch time and cloth wrapped silverware for dinner time.  The assistant from school had been there with him the whole time/every time.  Last week, when their bus showed up at Red Lobster, the manager opened the front door and stood in the doorway, blocking the entrance and said, "You don't need to come in.  We don't need you here."  The assistant asked her what she was talking about.  The manager repeated herself and said, "We don't need THEM here.  I guess if you need to wait the two hours for your bus to come back and get you they can sit in the lobby."
(I'm nauseous as I even type that!)
So....they called transportation and the bus came back and took them back to school.  The teacher said that the internship coordinator found out that Red Lobster said that the silverware wrapped in cloth napkins was done perfectly but the ones in the paper napkins had the silverware peeking out of the top of the bundles and they needed to be "completely encased".  The assistant who had been with them since their first trip said they were NEVER told that.  Even so....why wouldn't they show them the correct way and let them continue???  Seriously???

All I want is a place for my kids to be happy and productive.  A place to feel they belong and are appreciated for the wonderful human beings they are.  They are BOTH so very sweet and happy and such hard workers.  I don't know about you but I've come in contact with some pretty useless, unhappy people in my shopping travels....eating out excursions etc.  Why won't anyone give them a chance???  I know God has a plan.  I KNOW IT.  I just wish He would reveal it.  I'm sitting here tonight feeling tired...bone tired.  I know there are millions of people who have way worse problems to deal with than ours.  I do.  I get it.  I'm not asking for anything for ME.  I want this for THEM.

For those of you who know my husband, you know how calm and low key he is.  He doesn't get mad often.  In fact, I'd really have to think hard to recall when he was mad last.  Well....guess what?  He's TICKED OFF tonight!!!  He's going to write a letter to the Red Lobster corporate offices.  Lord help the rude and hateful manager from the Manassas, VA Red Lobster.  They haven't heard the last from us.
We will NEVER, EVER set foot there again.  
Working in special education I keep one thing in the front of my head at all times.  No matter how hard a child is to deal with....no matter how frustrating they can be....no matter what....we ALL need to remember one thing....
They are ALL someone's child.  They are ALL someones prized possession.  We are entrusted with them for a few hours each day.  No matter how "hard" it may seem to deal with them...they are ALL someone's child.  For those people like the manager at Red Lobster....I pray God doesn't give you a child with special needs.  You obviously would have NO CLUE what to do with that precious gift. 
Thanks for letting me pour it all out here.  I appreciate it more than you know.
Blessings,
Michelle