Faith, Love and Respect for ALL

Archive for June, 2012

Terribly Terrific Tears

I have always detested crying. A very big influence in my life taught me at an early age that women who cried did so for one of two reasons: 1) Weakness or 2) Manipulation. Not to mention that any time there was ever a “fight” in the family, if someone cried they were seen as conceding their point and submitting to the others. So I learned she who cries loses and is weak, unless of course it is part of her master plan to force another to do something she wants. Is it any wonder that I do most of my crying in the shower where no one can see my tears or hear my sobs?

My first attempt at Al-Anon was back in the spring of 2010, and I can honestly say that I cried through the entire meeting. My life was in a state of chaos that I could not escape, my heart was heavy and my tongue was cruel. My views and subsequent actions had become skewed and unmanageable, which was causing me more stress and depression than I could endure. Although it was my first meeting I found the courage to speak and tell them why I was there, through my sobs. Amazingly enough no one viewed me as weak or a loser when I shed those tears. They assured me that letting the tears come would heal my soul as much as sharing my story. Really?!? Could tears actually be something that I did not have to apologize for, or feel ashamed of? Unfortunately that attempt at Al-Anon only lasted a few short months before “life” got in the way and I stopped attending meetings. I tried to work the program on my own, but it just is not the same without the fellowship, unconditional love, and support of other members. My full commitment to Al-Anon began on January 3, 2012. I am proud to say that I cried through most of that meeting as well, and left feeling lighter than I had in months. I know that when I need to cry, I can do it safely with my Al-Anon family and there will be no judgment only love, support and hugs.

Crying at home is still hard, but I am working on it. As with everything in my life it is One Day At A Time, or sometimes One Hour At A Time, depending on the day. My wonderful husband seems to always know when I need to cry to heal, and he will take me in his arms until I can cleanse my heart through my tears. I am always thankful when I am done that he still loves me, supports me and thinks that I am a strong person. He truly is a gift from God to help me conquer my demons and become the woman I know I can be. The amazing part is that whatever drove me to tears never seems so bad after I have dried my last one; maybe that is because I am no longer bottling up all my angst, fear, stress, disappointment, etc… “Perhaps our eyes need to be washed by our tears once in a while, so that we can see Life with a clearer view again.” – Alex Tan

As much as I realize that my tears are necessary for me to remain a reasonably sane and serene person, I have also come to the conclusion that our Autistic daughter’s meltdowns and tears are equally necessary for her. As much as it “kills” us to hear her cry and see her so distraught and sad, it is what she needs to feel better and release all that sensory information and energy her neurological system can’t process. Even when we have a great day, she may not be able to transition, or “come down” from our activities of the day and she will meltdown until she can calm her system enough to feel “right” again. We used to put so much energy into preventing the meltdowns, but now take a different approach. We know she needs that release to function and return to her usual happy, crazy, loveable, wild-child state. Therefore now we put our energy into keeping her safe and as comfortable as possible during her readjustment period. We try not to scold, but to speak softly and lovingly until she calms down and cuddles the rest of the episode out with us. Please Note that I said TRY, we are not perfect and some days we yell and scold because we are at the end of our rope, we are not proud of those days but we can use them as a teachable moment for her and us. Progress not Perfection is our motto, and she sees us make more than enough mistakes and apologies to know that perfection is never a requirement for love in Our family.

I will not say that we don’t consider the pros and cons of attending functions and such, because we must consider everything in our life and how it may affect her sensory system. Our goal is to create the most Sensory-Friendly paths as possible for Our journey. If we know she is having a bad day, then we may have to cancel all our plans and spend a quite day at home. Although we are learning and working on accepting the meltdown as a necessary part of life at this time, we can limit them or lessen their severity,  by not assaulting her sensory system with people, places or things that we know are going to possibly put her into an overwhelmed, overloaded, and over-stimulated state. We must always be vigilant and weigh our options when deciding how far outside of her comfort zone we want to nudge her. We must also be prepared for the consequences of those “pushes” into the unknown. Sometimes we will have amazing results and a terrifically happy, excited little girl; however other times we will have a terribly sad, distraught, hysterical little girl. It is those moments, our triumphs and our hindrances, which we share with Our family and friends. We are not bragging or complaining we are simply providing an insight into Our Autistic journey so that people understand our daughter and can have realistic expectations of her and Our family.

Our journey will be filled with countless emotions, ranging from downtrodden to ecstatic. Whether our emotions are happy or sad, tears are a natural part of life. We cry from joy as much as we cry from sorrow. We will not allow our children to grow up fearing their emotions, or worse being ashamed of them. We are slowly embracing tears in this house, because they provide us with the healing power of release.  Yet again I must thank my Al-Anon family for helping me create a healthier life for my Special family. One cannot have a rainbow without rain, and we love the rainbow spectrum. In the words of John Vance Cheney: “The soul would have no rainbow had the eyes no tears.”

 

Creative Commons License
Autism Proud – Journey With Us – by Jest Tu Positive by Dorothy Stronglove is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Advertisements

Autistic Pride Day 2012

Autistic Pride Day ~~ June 18, 2012

 

I had no idea today was Autistic Pride Day, but this is our FIRST one, and I am sure there will be plenty of other first events and learning experiences along Our journey. Although I don’t need a reason to share Our experiences, a day like today provides extra incentive to share part of Our life with the world.

We show Autistic Pride in almost all that we do, but I think the most important way is being honest and open about Our life with everyone. We do not live in fear of saying the “wrong” thing or not being politically-correct, because we are NOT trying to influence anyone else, we are simply sharing Our thoughts, feelings, and experiences in relation to Our family’s Autistic journey and what works for us. We feel that one of the most important parts of being honest is not trying to paint everything as rainbows and sunshine. We have more than our share of storms and darkness, but we refuse to let it keep us down. Please notice I said “Keep us down” because there are times that it is just too overwhelming and we do get down, but eventually we pick ourselves up and push forward because that is what our children need us to do. As my best friend told me when Beth was first diagnosed: “I know your upset and I know you are sad, but it’s not about you. You need to stop wallowing and get yourself in gear, because this is about Beth. What are you going to do to help your daughter?” Marie can always put things in perspective for me and inspire me to be a better person. I thank God every day for her presence in Our life.

There are days when it is good and I cannot stop thinking how smart, adorable and amazing my children are. Then there are days when it is bad and I wonder how they can be so cute one moment and so beastly the next. I honestly have to remind myself that they are not plotting against me and they are just young children, special needs or not. Then there are the days when it is horrendous, and all I can do is pray, because I am convinced that God has trusted me with a job that is too immense and important for me to handle. On those days I feel like I am not only failing as a mother, but as a human being as well. Those are the days when my Al-Anon program comes into play the most. Those are the days when I work my program as if my life depended on it, because in a way it does. Our children are our life, and if I fall short in my job as a mother, then I am damaging my life. This is why I fight to be positive and see the light in all situations. This is why I attempt to use my flaws and regretful moments to teach myself and our children that we are all human and make mistakes, but it is how we take responsibility for our actions that defines us. I show them that we all fall, but we must get back up and find the opportunity for growth. We must focus on the positive and face every situation with Faith, Love and Acceptance, so that we can be proud of ourselves and show the world bad things happen, but you can turn the bad into something amazing and beautiful. I remind all of us, that Our continued progress is more important than perfection. We persevere through love and hope, because we know we are not alone, we always have each other and God to walk beside us. Our family may not always be in sync, but at the end of the day we are together and grateful for another day filled with the kind of crazy, loud, busy, peaceful, loving, joy that makes Our path so very exciting and worth every step.

We are an Autistic family, we are Different, but we are NOT less or greater than any other family. This is Our family’s path and we are AUTISM PROUD. Our path is blessed with the best guides we could ever ask for, our children. Our children will show us the way and they will teach us what is truly important in this world, because in their innocent, unconditional love lays the key to happiness.  We show our Autistic Pride by letting the world see we embrace diversity and face a challenge with thankful and faithful hearts, because God blessed us with an Autistic Angel who colors our world with Au-Some rainbows and provides us with endless possibilities for an extraordinary journey and life. Happy June 18th, which is officially Autistic Pride Day; however Autistic Pride lives in our house and family EVERY day!

 
Creative Commons License
Autism Proud – Journey With Us – by Jest Tu Positive by Dorothy Stronglove is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Happy Father’s Day

Many times it appears that the “Dads” of the world do not receive the proper recognition they deserve for all that they do for their families. To celebrate all the wonderful and amazing “Dads” in the world, a poem of thanks for all the MEN who shape a child’s life. Father, Step-Father, Guardian, Grandfather, God-Father, Uncle, Brother, Cousin, Friend, etc… As we go through life we may hold many titles, but the children who we have touched do not care what we are called; they only know that they are loved by us, and they are our sunshine! Happy Father’s Day to all the Angels in the world who love and guide us!!!

Unfortunately, I am not very good at poetry; however, I did find a poem that encompasses the sentiment, which I feel Father’s Day is all about. I could not possibly say it any better, so I am sharing a poem by Helen Steiner Rice, which I found at: http://www.fathersdaycelebration.com/fathers-day-poems.html#fathers-are-wonderful

Fathers are Wonderful People
by Helen Steiner Rice

Fathers are wonderful people
Too little understood,
And we do not sing their praises
As often as we should…

For, somehow, Father seems to be
The man who pays the bills,
While Mother binds up little hurts
And nurses all our ills…

And Father struggles daily
To live up to “HIS IMAGE”
As protector and provider
And “hero or the scrimmage”…

And perhaps that is the reason
We sometimes get the notion,
That Fathers are not subject
To the thing we call emotion,

But if you look inside Dad’s heart,
Where no one else can see
You’ll find he’s sentimental
And as “soft” as he can be…

But he’s so busy every day
In the grueling race of life,
He leaves the sentimental stuff
To his partner and his wife…

But Fathers are just WONDERFUL
In a million different ways,
And they merit loving compliments
And accolade of praise,

For the only reason Dad aspires
To fortune and success
Is to make the family proud of him
And to bring them happiness…

And like OUR HEAVENLY FATHER,
He’s a guardian and a guide,
Someone that we can count on
To be ALWAYS ON OUR SIDE.

 

R is for Respect

R is for RESPECT

R is for RESPECT

Respect is defined as: “gives a positive feeling of esteem or deference for a person or other entity (such as a nation or a religion), and also specific actions and conduct representative of that esteem. Respect can be a specific feeling of regard for the actual qualities of the one respected (e.g., “I have great respect for her judgment”). It can also be conduct in accord with a specific ethic of respect…” – Wikipedia

Respect seems to be missing from our world today, and it saddens me greatly to feel its absence. Why does it appear that children are not being taught to respect themselves and others? Perhaps it is simply because the only stories that receive media coverage are the negative ones, but perhaps it is realistically an area our society is failing in. In a world that seems to have an “Its All About Me” mentality, the majority of what we see is negative, selfish, condescending behavior that leads to bullying and mistreatment of many. Is this the legacy we want to leave our children? No, at least I hope not! Our wish is for ALL children to grow in love, hope, faith and positivity so that they value themselves and all the diverse facets of our world. We must first teach our children to respect themselves, celebrate their differences and be proud of whom they are. Then we must teach them to respect others and their differences, so that they may learn compassion, acceptance and tolerance for everyone in the world. In the words of Laurence Sterne: “Respect for ourselves guides our morals; respect for others guides our manners.”

The old adage tells us “You have to give respect, to get respect” and I believe that is true. So many stomp around demanding respect, but refuse to give it, sometimes even to themselves. Respect is not something you can demand, there are times it can be earned, but I feel it is a gift that once given will be returned many times over. There is much in this world that confuses, angers, saddens, frightens, dismays, etc…, but ours is not to judge. This is especially true in the Special Needs Community, because there are infinite possibilities in how to approach every differing ability in our world. We have not walked in another person’s shoes, and therefore cannot judge what they deem the best course of action for their Unique Angels. We may not agree with each other; however, we should respect each family’s right to choose the right path for THEM, and pray that they do the same for us. Having a child with special needs is challenging enough, why fill life with unnecessary conflict by judging others?  In the end we are all just trying to do what is best for our children, while helping them achieve their God-given potential. We need to stop disrespecting each other and fighting amongst ourselves! How can we expect the world to love and accept our children and our families, if we in the Special Needs Community, cannot even show compassion, acceptance and support for each other? We need to find a way to look past our differences, respect each other and show the world that we are a force to be reckoned with. Only then can we start to build a legacy of Love, Hope, and Acceptance rooted in mutual Respect for our future generations. We must embrace all diversity and grow in love. In the words of John Gray: “When men and women are able to respect and accept their differences then love has a chance to blossom.”

Respect “Our Way” is defined as: “Thoughts, behaviors and actions that are the foundation of a serene life based in love and acceptance, which we give freely and pray to receive as well.”
Creative Commons License
Autism Proud – Journey With Us – by Jest Tu Positive by Dorothy Stronglove is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Believe in Yourself

As parents we tend to lose ourselves in our quest to do what is best for our family. When we have a child with Special Needs, we put everything we have into helping our children achieve their God-given potential. As beautiful and loving as our intentions are for our children, we forget to care for  ourselves.

Our Autistic daughter is ill, she is prone to respiratory infections, and has Croup again. As a result, our other daughter is spending a few days with Grandma and Grandpa until sister is healthy again. Although it kills me, and makes me feel like a failure, I must admit that I cannot meet both of their needs, while Beth is sick. She needs my undivided love and attention, and Anne deserves to be loved and played with too. So I must accept what is and follow the guidance of my Higher Power, no matter how many tears I may shed, because I am only human. It is better to admit my shortcomings and be realistic about my abilities, than to try to do it all and have my children suffer due to my preconceived notions and pride. As sad as I am that Anne needed to go away for a few days, I am equally thankful that we have a support system that allows us to meet both girls needs so well.

On a day when I am exhausted, and yearning for inspiration to help me work my program I wanted to share this touching poem with you. I believe God lead me to Al-Anon, not only to help me overcome my “sickness” from the “isms” I have faced in my life, but also to help me face life in the Special Needs Community. For there is nothing better than my program to help me face each day with a positive, faith that He will see us through. The tools I learn in Al-Anon to love myself and love others for who they are, will be passed down to my children so they too will love themselves, and be proud of the Au-Some individuals they are, while accepting others for who they are as well. The thoughts and feelings the author put into this poem are amazing, and they are all sentiments we try to live by, One Day at a Time.

Believe in Yourself

Don’t undermine your worth by comparing yourself to others.

You are unique and important part of the Higher Power’s creation.

Your special role in life cannot be filled by anyone else.

Don’t set your goals by what other people deem important.

Aim for your own star.

Don’t take for granted the things closest to your heart.

Cling to them as you would your life, for without them life is meaningless.

Don’t let life slip through your fingers by living in the past or future.

By living your life one day at a time, you will truly live all the days of your life.

Don’t be afraid to admit that you are less than perfect and don’t be afraid to encounter risks.

Don’t shut love out of your life.

The quickest way to receive love is to give it and the fastest way to lose it is to hold it too tightly.

Don’t dismiss your dreams.

To be without dreams is to be without hope,to be without hope is to be without purpose.

Don’t run through life too fast.

Life is not a race, but a miraculous journey to be savored every step of the way.

With Love, Anonymous

 

 

Creative Commons License
Autism Proud – Journey With Us – by Jest Tu Positive by Dorothy Stronglove is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Al-Anon Step One

Step One

We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.

I am very proud to share that I achieved Step One on May 11, 2012. Due to my past and present “isms sickness” I cannot limit the first step to just alcohol, for I am truly powerless over everything in this world, except myself. Here is my modified Step One, which I admit and embrace with all my being: “Today I know I am powerless over all the nouns and pronouns in my life — other persons, places and things. By process of elimination, I discovered what I am not powerless over — myself. I am responsible for me.”  – Paths To Recovery

Although I had been in Al-Anon for 4 months, I had not begun working the steps. I worked my program, shared with my Al-Anon family and used Conference Approved Literature to slowly prepare myself for the Twelve Steps. The first three steps are the foundation of our program, and they are a commitment that I could not take lightly. Although I have always considered myself a woman of faith, I also was always trying to control many things in life, which I simply had no control over, with my “I can do it all, and have all the answers” attitude. Eventually my illusion of control had to come to an end. Through the grace of the Al-Anon program I was able to receive the all important message, which we call the three C’s: “I didn’t Cause it, I can’t Control it, and I can’t Cure it.” – Hope for Today

On May 10th my Autistic 3yr old daughter was almost hit by a car. Although I normally consider myself very aware and in control of her environment, on this day my Higher Power, who I call God, showed me that I was powerless over people, places and things. No one was hurt, and she did not even realize the danger she was in; however, I spent the rest of the day in turmoil, berating myself for my stupidity and carelessness. I even called my sponsor, who attempted to put it in perspective for me. Sadly, I was not ready to hear the message and just wanted to punish myself. When I was lying in bed unable to sleep, listening to the committees in my head, I began saying The Serenity Prayer and The Lord’s Prayer over and over to drown out the horrible voices in my head. That is when God held me and said: “Let’s talk.”

After a wondrous, soul-searching conversation with God, I had an epiphany, which told me I had just achieved Step One of my program. I am powerless over all people, places and things.  When I try to control someone or something, which I am powerless over, my life becomes unmanageable. There are no words to properly describe the amazing feeling of relief that flowed over me with this realization. I was finally free of all my preconceived notions of perfection and control. I do not need to control anyone or anything; I simply need to focus on myself and be accountable for my actions. By achieving Step One, I am free to enjoy my family and friends for who they are, respect them enough to not interfere in their life, and concentrate on myself in an honest light that provides hope for a better, more serene tomorrow, One Day at A Time.


Creative Commons License
Autism Proud – Journey With Us – by Jest Tu Positive by Dorothy Stronglove is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Q is for Qualities

Q is for QUALITIES

Q is for QUALITIES

Qualities are defined as: “1. an essential or distinctive characteristic, property, or attribute…2. character or nature, as belonging to or distinguishing a thing…5. a personality or character trait (kindness is one of her many good qualities)…” – Dictionary.com

Qualities are the beautiful stones of variety that form our foundation. Some of our qualities shine bright like the sun and stars, while others are hidden down deep and are muted earth tones. “Many individuals have, like uncut diamonds, shining qualities beneath a rough exterior.” – Juvenal

Our children often have very rough exteriors, which make it hard for people to see them as the beautiful, shining, unique diamonds they truly are. People, who put forth the effort to connect with our children and look past their more challenging attributes, will discover Extraordinary, Au-some individuals who will bless their lives in endless ways. Our children have a vast assortment of qualities that not only make them unique, but also help them look at the world in a very different light. Sometimes it seems as though God blessed us with these Special Angels, so that we could slow down and enjoy the true beauty and wonder in life, rather than concentrating on the meaningless distractions.

We believe the key to helping our children lead happy, healthy lives is finding ways to teach them how to cultivate ALL their qualities. Even their qualities that are deemed “undesirable” by society serve a purpose to them on a physical, mental or emotional level. Although we may want to discourage certain behaviors, we will need to help our children strengthen a different quality that fulfills the same need, which the more challenging behavior currently serves. Over time we will try many approaches, therapies, life-style changes, etc… in our quest to assist our children in reaching their God-Given potential. In the end through love, acceptance, perseverance and unending patience our children will find their way; and they will enjoy lives filled with a sense of pride and quality through the hope, love and faith we provide them. “Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives.” – William A. Foster

Qualities “Our Way” are defined as: “characteristics, traits, behaviors, attitudes, etc… that comprise the beautifully unique people we each are.”

 

Creative Commons License
Autism Proud – Journey With Us – by Jest Tu Positive by Dorothy Stronglove is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Tag Cloud