autismsunday01by Nate Truman

“Chaos is in fact just an illusion created by your inability to perceive the order in which things truly are.” Alyson Bradley, Autistic blogger.

As a father of a 15 year old son who suffers from severe autism, my family has taken a less traveled path.  As a pastor’s son who grew up with church being a central part of my spiritual and social life, the church has played an important role in my world.

When worlds collide there is always chaos.  However, out of that chaos, I believe great good can come about.   Daniel Dage wrote a blog that very easily could have been about my son Nicholas, and the road we have traveled trying to attend church with an autistic child. 

In many ways we are blessed that Nicky is “easy” compared to many other children. However, the stress, the judging eyes, and just giving up and not going to church are all things my wife and I have dealt with over the years.  As his childlike “cuteness” has faded and he is approaching 15, we know we have unknown challenges ahead.


This one quote from a mom sums up why our really great special needs Sunday school class called “Friends of Angels” is not overflowing with autistic kids:

 “Staying home is a more Holy, peaceful and rejuvenating experience for many families that have children with disabilities. Church is often a hostile, hellish experience where families are segregated or ostracized.”


Wow. The one place that should be a haven for these families, is often the place they are shown the least grace and compassion.  When we were “church shopping” after a move, unlike other families that would just check their kids into the appropriate classrooms, we did things differently.  The family would stay in the car and either my wife or I would go in and ask if they had any special needs teachers, for handicapped kids.  4 out of 5 times we would get a blank stare.   After asking a few other people if there was anyone who could help our “family by the side of the road,” we were often told “well, there’s a crying room.”  We would then drive to the next church.

With the help of another family with three autistic boys, we decided to build a class around our 4 kids.  Often the other father and I would be out in the playground during church when volunteers did not show up so our wives could at least get an hour of worship in.  Over time I have learned what the church needs to reach out to autistic families sucessfully. 

By listening with a differently trained ear over the years, one thing that stands out is that Autism truly is a “spectrum” disorder. Each child has to be included differently based on where they are in the spectrum. There needs to be an educated special needs volunteer or staff member at each church that is knowledgeable and listens to each parent.  That special teacher learns each child so one kid will be properly placed in with the “nurotypicals,” another in a separate class, and yet another in with the other kids, but with a helper.  

What many people don’t understand is the value and character building effect they will have on the whole church body.   Highschoolers who help out are forever changed into kinder people.  Selfishness falls away, and petty “chuch wars” disappear.  These special kids can activate sideline members to be included and find purpose in helping someone who’s problems are far more severe than their own.


Not every mom or dad can rise to the challenge and start a ministry – many are holding on by a thread and really need a lifetime of Christ like care from their church family.    Many churches all ready have classes for the disabled. In the past they were for either physical disabilities or Down syndrome. Autism is a whole new world of variables that won’t fit into a lesson plan.


At the very bottom of the comments one mom put it pretty clearly:
“I think if they (Church volunteers) complained to God about how hard it was that Sunday when my (autistic) son was there, God would have said “Find a way and minister to all my children. Not just the easy ones.” 


It’s not easy when being a Christian urges you to step out and minister to those who seemingly don’t appreciate it, or are not any “fun” to help.    However, I know what answer awaits all the helpers of autistic children and families:


‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’

 The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’



by Nate Truman

1151706_boy_sucking_fingers“All our talents increase in the using, and every faculty, both good and bad, strengthens by exercise.”

ANNE BRONTE, 1820-1849



If you are not in the place where you think you should be, stop and think about what you have practiced. If you are in great physical shape, I know it is because of your eating and exercising practices. If your relationships are strong, loving and trusting, I know what you practiced when you were interacting with others. If your finances are all in order, you have little or no debt, and you have a plan for future adventures and expenses, I know the kinds of habits you practice. There is one little problem with practice though, the opposite is true as well.

Your daily time is limited, and each choice you make on how to spend each moment, sends you on a specific set of outcomes. A nap or some exercise? Spending 2 hours scanning the internet or 2 hours interacting with your loved ones? “Zoning out” to the radio on your drive home, or listening to a recorded motivational or educational book? It is the small consistent decisions that will, over time, send you on a whole new life path.

You know that if you want progress, you have to take action. Also, if you take massive action in one area, the other areas of your life have to be put on hold for a while. But just as a crash starvation diet does help you lose a few pounds fast, we all know it’s temporary. It’s the consistent healthy eating combined with regular exercise that is the real answer to staying in good over all shape.

Take a look at how you are spending your days, hour by hour. If you want to move in a new and better direction in one area of your life, identify a habit that is not helping you achieve your goals, and decide today to replace it with a better habit. Do NOT decide to workout for 4 hours, or run 30 miles. Go for a short walk. You have to break the mental habit, and that will take 3-6 weeks of regularly doing something new.

Choose only one habit to replace. I say “replace” not break, or stop, because with nothing to replace it, you will be back doing your old habit in a short time. You will have to consciously tell yourself “no, I am not doing that old habit, I am now doing this” for a few weeks. Each time you sucessfully do the new action, try and think of all the reasons why the new habit is what you want to do, and all of the positive things that will happen because you are taking action.
At some point you will just do the new habit, because it feels “right.”  You will just pull on your running shorts, or not even think to open your video game or turn on the TV, because you like the new you better, the one that is improving, instead of ignoring. Once you have successfully replaced the old habit, you can concentrate on intensifying and improving it.

If most of your life is about being a mom and serving your family’s needs, or keeping up with a demanding job, (or both!) don’t beat yourself up about the areas of your life that are not 100% how you want them. Fitness takes time and money, family takes time and money, survival takes time and money. There are seasons of our lives that shift the focus of our priorities. But no matter your situation, I am sure you can find a few small bad habits that are working against your true desires and direction, and then choose to actively shift them to a better alternative. Knowing you are taking a small step in the right direction will leave you in a much better place than guilt or self flaggilation ever will.
For long time success of reforming your life in all areas, slow and steady really does win the race!

As Featured On EzineArticles


by Nate Truman

Don’t be fooled by the calendar. There are only as many days in the year as you make use of. One man gets only a week’s value out of a year while another man gets a full year’s value out of a week.
Charles Richards

We are all different, but the one great equalizer is time. From the richest to the poorest, we all get the same “infinite now” to use how we choose. In today’s internet world, however, there are more requests for our time than ever before. I have always had a “to-do” list handy for many years. On this list are the items I want to get done, and I can choose which ones to work on. Some are urgent, some important, but they are MY goals.

Slowly over the last few years, my list started becoming my inbox in my email account. Now, many of the emails DID have something to do with items that I had on my list, but many were forwarded chain mails, funny photos, internet hoax warnings that just asked for my brain power for “just a second or so!” I would open it, scan it, decide if it was worth any more time, delete it or if I thought it warranted a response, I would quickly hit “reply” and send a short answer.

I felt like I had accomplished something! I had dealt with an item, and crossed it off my list. There was only one problem: that email was never MY goal, it wasn’t on MY list, and I achieved nothing other than keeping a server busy, and wasting some of my life.

Add to that a MySpace or Facebook account, Twitter, my lotto winnings in Nigeria, and people with a lot of time on their hands forwarding on funny pictures of cats, and suddenly I was spending every free moment of my day trying to delete or cross off another email. I worked all day, never stopped typing or responding, and at the end of the day I had no real progress towards my goals. I did feel like I had put in a good days work, but when reviewing all that had been done; I had made little or no progress on my action items.

So here is my short list of ways to control the EMAIL MONSTER and get back to your goals:

1. Unsubscribe from everything! Just as you would not subscribe to 20 magazines that would pile up in your mail box, unless you have one or two info emails that you actually get info you use in your life or business on a regular basis, they are out.

2. If it says Fw.fw.fw.fw.fw.fwd at the top, delete it.

3. If it is a good friend that you want to stay in contact with, you can reply, but ask a specific question, to start a conversation.
“LOL” may be polite, but you are not closer friends because of that communication. Tell them you always will have time for them, just not junk mail.

4. Don’t open your email account when you sit down at work! This is the KEY, but I know it’s hard to do! Those emails are waiting for responses RIGHT NOW!
It’s OK. Take the first hour of your computer day, for your goals, your to-do items, your creative time. You may find you want two hours tomorrow!

5. Don’t fall into the trap of yo-yo emails! If you must deal with something, deal with it once, and if you don’t want to hear about it, don’t ask a question in your reply!
Otherwise, it will come right back to your “in box” tomorrow.

6. Choose ONE social networking site, and don’t allow yourself to spend key early time there, and limit it to 30 minutes. Even better, join, find your friends, and only respond to set up a time when you will actually see each other. Best? Just don’t.

7. Print out a large print version of YOUR to-do goals and tape them to the side of the computer. Work off of that list.

8. DELETED! As Strong Bad the cartoon would say, delete any emails you can after dealing with them. For the emails with info you may need later, put them in a folder and name it “info.” Do this sparingly, otherwise when you go looking for it, you have to spend too much time digging for it.

9. Don’t be part of the problem! If you are the one forwarding cute animal photos, or chain mails, that means you have nothing to say to the other person other than the real life “Hey.” If you just want to reach out and touch someone, take the time to write a short personal email. We have all seen the cute cats in the fishbowl.

10. Stay on target, by not opening more windows. If the amount of time wasted clicking from one link to another were added up, I think we would all be astounded by the amount of lost time and potential. Don’t follow the “shinny foil ball” of the pretty advertisement or tagline. Even one about “10 WAYS TO CONTROL THE EMAIL MONSTER!”
(Well, maybe that one!)

You have the same amount of time each day as the greatest people currently on Earth have, but I know they are creating, and doing. Remember, no one will say at your funeral, “his inbox in his email account was nearly empty!” Start today to put into action these few steps, and you can tame the EMAIL MONSTER. Who knows, you may be able to start skipping days, or weeks without checking! If you just freaked out a bit at that thought, you really need to start doing a few of these!

Now, email this to twenty friends in the next five minutes, and great things will happen to you! If you don’t your computer will crash. Just kidding. No really, do it.

As Featured On EzineArticles


by Nate Truman

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”  Anne Frank


A personal mission statement gives you clarity of purpose.  Most corporations have them, but unless they are the written down vision of a single person who started the company, they often become politically correct mumbo jumbo and that’s not what I am talking about here. You are going to create a short, clear sentence that defines who you are and who you want to be in the future.

To start you off, here are some short, clear examples of corporate statements.

3M – “To solve unsolved problems innovatively”
Mary Kay Cosmetics – “To give unlimited opportunity to women.”
Merck  – “To preserve and improve human life.”
Wal-Mart – “To give ordinary folk the chance to buy the same thing as rich people.”
Walt Disney – “To make people happy.”


Your mission should answer the following questions: Why are you here? What impact do you want to make when you get up every day?


You should also ponder your vision of your future, when composing your statement.  Where do you want to be in the future? 5 years, 10 years? Where do you see yourself at that time?  What changes can you see being made after years of your focus in a new direction?


The last item to include in your thinking is your values.  They are your rule book, so to make sure you don’t trample your core beliefs in your effort to move toward your vision, also keep those in front of you as you form your personal mission statement.


Then connect all three as a single message.  If you can make it as short as possible, it will be easier to keep in your head to redirect you when you wander off track during your day.   Don’t get stuck trying to write the “perfect” mission statement, it will change over your life’s journey. 

I think you will find that spending just a few minutes on creating a “slogan” for your life, you will gain a new clarity of purpose that you didn’t have before.   If you have a favorite quote that resonates with all of these elements, use it as your personal statement, or change it so it calls you to action.

  I have personalized a quote from Gandhi that keeps me more focused:

“I must be the change I want to see in the world.”

It calls me to action, it holds me accountable, and it applies in every aspect of my life.  Feel free to use it for yourself!  The quote from Anne Frank at the beginning has also been useful to me over the years.  It too keeps me focused on the positive change I can dedicate myself too and that I can start right now.   

Currently my personal mission statements are the following:

Today I have been given the gift of life; I will open it, enjoy it, and treasure it.

The longer one is “Spend each infinite now as best I can to leave the world a better, happier, love filled place.”

Enjoy the process of defining your personal mission statement.  Once you refine it so that each time you read it, it has the effect of correcting your life’s heading with renewed vigor, you will have found your “magic” words to keep you living out your dream life.