Mother’s Day 2016

Good morning, and Happy Mother’s Day.

Holidays and parties are HARD for our family. We need to prepare by doing a lot of resting prior, and then we must prepare for the inevitable meltdowns and struggles that will follow. Beth and Anne can usually “hold it together” while we are there, because they truly WANT to be there. The problem is that it is too much for their systems, especially Beth. The one thing our loved ones will never understand is the “happy meltdown.” The “happy meltdown” is the fallout as Beth’s system tries to process all the excitement and happy she experienced at the gathering.

After many PAINFUL holidays this past year, we are doing things differently. It is upsetting to people that want to see the girls at parties, but I cannot please everyone and my girls’ mental health cones first. So today, I will spend the morning with my amazing daughters, then this afternoon I will go visit with my family (mom, gram, aunt, etc…) to celebrate Mother’s Day. Our decision was not popular, but I must admit that once it was made, I felt like the weight of the world had been lifted from my shoulders.

Today is Mother’s Day, and EVERY Mother should celebrate in a way that puts a happy in HER heart. We should not celebrate in ways that only make others happy. We must put ourselves first sometimes, and today is the perfect day to do that.  Remember Different is just different; it is not better or worse, and you need not justify your choices to anyone. May your day be filled with laughter and love; may it also be meltdown free and relaxing.

 

Have a blessed day everyone, and don’t forget to smile. ♥

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World Autism Day 2016 ~ I Can’t. She Can. I Think I’ll Let Her.

In Al-Anon the first three steps (from the 12 steps) are the foundation of our program. We tend to shorten those steps to: “I can’t. He can. I think I’ll let Him.” The actual steps read as:

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

I look at it like this… I am powerless over people, places and things. My Higher Power, whom I call God, will help them on their path, just as He is always with me on my journey. The only person I have control over is myself, and I must use that control to always conduct myself like the woman God knows I can be.

Today as I prepare for another April, where I inevitably spend most of my time cringing at many of the posts, I am seeing the world through my program eyes. I understand that I cannot control what other people believe, or what they choose to share. I accept that we are all just trying to do the best we can for our families, and we don’t have to agree to treat each other with respect and kindness. I am praying for Autistics everywhere to know that their value is not tied to the opinions of others, but is rooted in themselves. I am praying for a better world, where everyone treats each other with Love and Respect, while celebrating and embracing diversity.

My “Three Steps” for treating my daughter with the respect she deserves:

  1. I Can’t…

I can’t live life for Beth, because I can never fully understand what occurs in her beautiful mind/body from day to day. I must always respect her boundaries and space, because I do not experience the world in the same way she does. My job as her parent is to support her in any way possible, but I should NEVER try to control her.  I can’t think for her, and therefore should not speak for her either.

      1. She Can…

She can, and does, live a pretty awesome life. As she learns to navigate this overwhelming world, she tries to share her experiences with us. She can tell (or show) us what she feels, and how certain things affect her. All we need to do is “listen” with our ears, eyes and most importantly our hearts. She can speak for herself, and reminds us of that when we forget.

        1. I Think I’ll Let Her…

I think I’ll let her live life on her terms. She is constantly helping us see the world in a different way. She helps us, and people who meet her, see the struggles and blessings of Autism. She has an amazing voice, which she uses to spread love and light everywhere she ventures. By letting her share her message, how she chooses, we are changing the world for the better, one person at a time.

World Autism Day 3 Steps

Today is World Autism Day; this month is Autism Awareness/Acceptance Month. By the end of April, you will see a LOT of information shared in various forms. You may find yourself with more questions than answers. If you have questions about Autism, the best place to go is an Autistic person. As a parent, I cannot express the level of my gratitude for the Autistic Adults, who are willing to share their journey in order to help the next generation. There are many wonderful pages/sites that can address your questions, and help you see Autism for what it is… A neurological difference; It is NOT less, neither is it more, it is simply a different way of processing the world.

Have a blessed day everyone, and don’t forget to smile. ♥

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#SeeAmazing is actually AMAZING

I have been digging into the Sesame Street #‎seeamazing‬ initiative the past few days. I must admit, I was extremely nervous about #‎SesameStreetandAutism‬, because Autism Speaks was involved (I detest the way they present Autism as a tragedy). I went into my research praying that there would be limited negativity, and was pleasantly surprised to find it all VERY positive.

I think I have gone through everything on the site, and now Beth is going through it all. She absolutely LOVES the We’re Amazing 1, 2, 3! book and has read it several times. She also really enjoys watching all the video stories of different children with Autism. With each one, she happily flaps away singing: “Look Mommy, they’re autistic like me!”

It is wonderful to see one of my favorite childhood shows, now becoming a favorite of my girls. I cannot thank Sesame Street enough for including differently-abled children in their show. Over the years, I have seen (and loved) many differently-abled individuals on the show. I cannot even express how much I LOVE Julia, the first autistic Sesame Street character. Hopefully this is the first step among many to help our children (and the autistic adults in the world) be treated with the Respect and Kindness they deserve.

I leave you with The Amazing Song, it has become a household favorite. ❤

Have a blessed day everyone, and don’t forget to smile. ♥

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Dorothy

Do you believe in Spirit Guides, or perhaps Guardian Angels? Do you ever put a name to that inner voice that whispers to you? I have always believed in both, but until recently I did not have the name of my Muse. Now, I know her name is Dorothy, and is it wonderful to be able to put a name to the voice.

My husband and I recently visited a lovely shop in Paducah (Kentucky), called Wildhair Studios’ Rock Shop. As soon as I walked into the shop, I was drawn to the rack of pendulums. My friend, who does Healing Touch uses one, and although I did not know what I (personally) would use one for, I knew I wanted (or perhaps needed) one. There were so many beautiful pendulums, it was hard to decide which to purchase. I picked up one, which I thought particularly dainty and pretty. It began to spin counter-clockwise. I read the information posted next to the stand, and realized that meant “No.” I asked my husband to hold it, and it spun clockwise, which meant “Yes.” I told one of the employees that the pendulum appeared to not like me, so he offered advice on how to center myself and suggestions I try again. This time, it practically screamed: “NO!” I tried a few other pendulums, and all had the same answer of “No.” Finally, I picked up one that began spinning immediately, shouting: “YES!” Of course I bought it, and tucked it away in my purse. In all honesty, I do not know much about pendulums, but I look forward to learning.

Upon returning home, I had a “Getting to know your pendulum” session. I still don’t know why, but  I asked if it had a name, even though that was not suggested in any of the readings I did.  A few minutes into our session, the question came out of my mouth:  “Do you have a name?” The answer was: “Yes.” So then I started asking: “Is ______ your name?”  It took several names before I found the right one. The only name, I received a “Yes” to was Dorothy. When I chose my pen-name to write under, I always thought it was in honor of my great-grandmother, and in some ways it was; however, now I realize that it was also my Inner Voice (aka Spirit Guide/Angel/Muse) wanting to be heard.

I love that I found my pendulum, and have a new tool to use on my spiritual journey. I love that we have fluid conversations (my talking, her moving), which often include spiritual messages I need to hear (whether I want to or not). I REALLY love that I have a name to use when talking to my friend. This is Dorothy, isn’t she beautiful?

Dorothy

Have a blessed day everyone, and don’t forget to smile. ♥

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Stronglove Family Garden

Have I mentioned just how AWESOME Beth’s Occupational Therapist (OT) is? Well, in case I have not, she is beyond awesome! Ms. S has been with us since Beth was 2.5years old, and has become part of the family. She has been such a blessing to our family, but this year she gave us a special gift, she gave us part of her gardening space to use.

For the first time ever, our family has a garden! Beth is VERY excited about having a garden, and getting to visit Ms. S (and her family) a LOT this summer. I am praying that Ms. S is not tired of us come August, because my girls never want to leave.

We planted our garden yesterday, and only had one rain delay during the process. Unfortunately, my back is acting up, so I did not get to plant, but I did get to take pictures of the girls working with Henry. I am so thankful to have a husband that doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty. He knows a lot about gardens, even though he has never had one, because he talked to the horticulture teacher at his school quite a bit. During the weeding and planting, he tried to teach the girls things, but there was too much excitement and too little focus.

I am greatly looking forward to the coming weeks, as our garden becomes a large portion of our school day. This quote, by Helen Mirren, says it all: “Gardening is learning, learning, learning. That’s the fun of them. You’re always learning.While, I do have trouble “thinking outside box” when it comes to education, I know for sure the garden will be (at the very least) science and math; I am thinking I can also get some language arts in there too. For those of you more creative than myself, what else could I teach my girls (4 and 6) using our garden?

Here is a picture of the Stronglove Family Garden, which consists of 3 different Tomato plants (4th of July, Early Girls, and Super Steak Hybrid), 3 Sweet Pepper hybrid plants and lots of Cucumber plants (because I thought I was buying 2, but there were at least 4 in each tray).  I am praying that my “black thumb” does not ruin this wonderful experience for us, but even if it does cause trouble, we will have a wonderful summer filled with learning fun. ❤

Stronglove Family Garden

 

Have a blessed day everyone, and don’t forget to smile. ♥

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Hard Lesson

Today my baby learned a hard lesson. She learned that the world is filled with dishonest people. At the age of 6, she learned that people will steal from others, simply because they can. She learned this, because it happened to her today.

We went grocery shopping, and she brought her friend Bessie (aka her purse). She still had birthday money left, and she takes it everywhere in case she wants to buy something (usually for sister or daddy), or donate a dollar or two. She cannot open her purse fast enough, when she sees people collecting for a cause.

Toward the end of our shopping trip, she dropped Bessie. When we realized it was gone we went in search of it. A woman we had seen several times throughout the store saw Beth sobbing and yelling; she asked what was wrong. I told her that she dropped her purse. She said I just saw her bear over by the chicken, which was where I thought she left it, but it was not there.

We walked around the store for 45 minutes hoping to find it elsewhere. We asked almost everyone we encountered if they had seen it. I left my number with the service desk, in case someone turned it in. We did all this with my daughter in a full-blown meltdown, refusing to leave the store without her purse. It was heartbreaking! When we finally left the store, we were both in tears.

Beth is persevating on this, and we talked a LOT about it. I told her that perhaps God thought the person who found it needed it more than we did. She finally started saying she wanted to share her purse/money so the people could buy food, clothes, underwear, socks or toys. Although she tried to sound happy about it, I could tell how sad she still was. Henry even went back to the store to check the garbage cans, but it was not there. Beth had $25 in her purse, and he suspected whoever took it, pocketed the cash and never gave a second thought to the cute unicorn purse.

Thankfully a friend of mine found the purse on ebay and bought it for Beth. I am overwhelmed with her kindness, and cannot thank her enough. I told Beth what this woman had done, and she told me that my friend got her a new Bessie, so she would not be sad. I told her that was exactly right, and that we were blessed to have such wonderful people in our life. She is still sad, and will be for some time, but she is also VERY excited to meet her new friend.

Today was horrible, but even on the bad days, I am reminded of how truly blessed we are. Today Beth learned a hard lesson, one that I do not think a 6yr old should have to learn, but it what it is. She is an amazing child, and this is just one more building block toward the adult she will become.  I cannot wait to see this extraordinary young lady change the world.

 

Have a blessed day everyone, and don’t forget to smile. ♥

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Sad, Not Mad

The girls learned (or more accurately relearned) a tough lesson today. They learned that Mommy follows through on her promises.

I have been very disturbed by the recent lack of respect, and diminishing kindness, with which they treat each other. The root of almost all of their issues are toys, books, dress-up clothes, etc.. The fact that my children cannot treat each other with respect and kindness because of material things, is extremely upsetting to me.

They have also started to speak to me with words and tones that are unacceptable. To be honest, they are often using the words or tone I previously used with them, and that is a BIG problem.  Often times my reaction is based on my expectations, not their actions. As we say in program: “Expectations are predetermined resentments.” Regardless of the situation, it is NEVER okay for me to talk to them without respect, and I know I have been remiss in this area; hence their new-found level of disrespect.

I sat them down the other day, and explained that yelling makes me sad. That I do NOT want to be a Mommy who has to yell, in order for them to listen, and behave with respect. I reminded them that we homeschool, so they are not bullied, but treated with kindness. I told them that since they are always fighting over objects, that any object they cannot share, will go in the garbage. I further explained that any object that seemed to be the root of any disrespect, or lack of kindness, would also go in the garbage. I reminded them that we must always use RESPECT and KINDNESS with our words, hands and actions.

Today, while down in the laundry room, I heard the screams and crying up here. I came up to find Anne sobbing and Beth very upset. I ordered them both to the table, where they had to put their heads down until they calmed down. Once they calmed down, I asked what happened, and why they were fighting instead of cleaning the room. The answer was basically that they were fighting over toys; Anne was teasing Beth, and she put her hands on Anne. They remained at the table (crying and screaming), while I “cleaned” their room.

I threw out almost a full garbage bag of items from the bins in their room. I chose things they no longer played with, things that were not working right, etc… I did not throw away any of their favorite items, but the point was made. After I went outside and put the bag in the dumpster, I came upstairs and cried with them. I now FULLY understand all those times my father told me he was sad (or disappointed) and not mad.

Although the rest of the day went very well, we rehashed the incident MANY times. Anne wanted me to promise not to throw out anymore dresses. Beth wanted to talk about the kids who don’t have food or toys. I explained to Anne that I could not promise her anything in regards to the dresses, because whether they stayed or went, was up to her and her sister. I explained to Beth that there are many children that can only dream of having what they have. I told her that countless children go to bed hungry and have no toys to play with. I told her that she and her sister need to start being more grateful for what they have, and acting the way God knows they can.

I felt horrible most of the day, in all honesty I still feel bad. THIS is not the mom I want to be either. I want to be a mom who inspires her children to act with respect and kindness, because they are following my example. I find that I am repeating patterns, which I had thought I was breaking. As I work my Fourth Step, I see deeper inside myself, and KNOW that I can do better (MUCH better).

Tomorrow is a new day, and although today was FAR from perfection, there was a bit of progress, and that is how the girls and I will continue to grow into the women God knows we can be.

 

Have a blessed day everyone, and don’t forget to smile. ♥

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