Faith, Love and Respect for ALL

Archive for January, 2013

U is for Unique

U is for UNIQUE

U is for UNIQUE

Unique is defined as: “1. being the only one of a particular type; single; sole; 2. without equal or like; unparalleled…” – Dictionary.com

We are all unique, even identical twins differ on the inside, and this amazing gift should be a source of pride, not shame. Being unique is a blessing that should be treasured and explored. We should rejoice in our differences and embrace diversity in others. If we were all the same, the world would be quite boring; we would never grow, experience new things or find exciting adventures. Some where along the way, our society has started to frown upon people being different, and the new push to simply blend in, kind of baffles me. Instead of discouraging extraordinary people from shining, we should be celebrating their distinctive abilities and appreciating the new perspectives they provide in the world.

As a parent, I want my children to take pride in all that they are and all that they do. I want them to simply be themselves and truly know how amazing and special they are. Regardless of what abilities our children were born with, they all have a God-given potential that we should be careful not to limit. Our children can and will achieve their dreams, in their own way and own time, so we must be careful to ensure those dreams include celebrating their individuality.

When I read the following passage, I cried because it sums up perfectly my wish for all children:
“Each second we live is a new and unique moment of the universe, a moment that will never be again. And what do we teach our children? We teach them that two and two make four, and that Paris is the capital of France. When will we also teach them what they are?
We should say to each of them: Do you know what you are? You are a Marvel. You are Unique. In all the years that have passed, there has never been another child like you. Your legs, your arms, your clever fingers, the way you move. You may become a Shakespeare, a Michelangelo, a Beethoven. You have the capacity for anything.
If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.”  – Henry David Thoreau

Unique “Our Way” is defined as: “Everything we are, and the endless possibilities we have in the universe, as long as we follow our own path and proudly explore our originality in all that we do.”

 

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.

2013 Firkins

First of all, I really like the word Firkin, and never miss an opportunity to use it. It is one of those words my family has used, well, ever since I can remember. It is also one of those words, which my husband refers to as my family’s own made-up secret language.  Aaahhh, but I digress. I have 2 firkins for 2013 that my beautiful daughters decorated for me. The one panel, I directed which stickers I wanted, but all the others, were their unique designs. As you can see, the rainbows were Beth’s favorite sticker.

jars2

Over the years I have accepted the fact that I stink at New Year’s Resolutions. They are fresh in my mind at the beginning of the year, but as time goes by they start to fade and after a few months, they are no longer a priority. I decided this year I would not make any resolutions, because I tend to use my failure to follow-through on them as a way to abuse myself.  Since I am learning to be nicer to myself, this year I was looking for a new approach. As fate would have it, the two areas I really want to concentrate on, came to me on FaceBook. There are always signposts on our journey, and I am going to make it my goal to follow these 2 guides right through to the end of 2013.

The first area I want to focus on is spiritual. I want to consciously practice being thankful for the abundance of blessings in our life. Even the tough times can be a blessing, if they help you grow and learn something new. Part of my “sickness” is to always revert to the role of martyr. I tend to only focus on the negatives in situations, and often see myself as the victim of some cosmic plot. Once I board the darkside train, it is really hard to escape, and I end up stressed, depressed and cranky. This past year, in working my program, I have made great progress in this area; however, it is a constant struggle between the Angels and Devils in my mind. So when I saw the Blessing Jar photo on Just Feelin’ Good’s page, it was like a neon sign beckoning to me. Thus Firkin #1 is my Blessing Jar, and I look forward to New Year’s Eve, so I can review my year of spiritual treasures. I bought rainbow colored paper to write my notes on, and am making an effort to write one note per day. I write my note before bed, so that I may go to bed with a thankful heart. So far, I have 10 notes of thanks in my jar, I hope to have 365 when it comes time to open and reflect, so I can start 2014 on a cloud of gratitude, pride and joy.

The second area I want, and honestly need, to focus on is better planning and discipline in financial matters. We went through a bankruptcy 3 years ago. It was not our proudest moment, but it was truly our only option. Upon completing the process, we swore we would be better in the future, and not repeat our mistakes. Although we have improved in some areas, we have a long way to go in others. Currently we live paycheck-to-paycheck, have no savings, and carry considerably more debt than I am comfortable with. We get by well enough, and our kids never want for the basics, but there are not a whole lot of extras either. Every year, we say we have to get our act together and find a better way. Sometimes we make progress, and sometimes we stumble backward. As I try to plan my budgeting tools more effectively, I also really need for us to start saving money. I think we all need a nest egg to provide some peace of mind. Usually when we set a goal, we use the go-big-or-go-home motto, but this time again the fates showed me a more realistic approach. I was scrolling through my feed when I saw the 52 Week Money Challenge, which a friend had shared from another friend. I am not sure of its origin, but what a great idea for those of us who need to baby-step our way to a savings account.  Thus Firkin #2 is my Money Saving Jar. You start with $1 the first week, and increase your “deposit” by $1 every week, until the last week of the year, when you add $52. Currently, I have $3 in my jar, and I am optimistic for my ability to complete the challenge, and pray the Angels will keep me on track. I already know, being me, that around week 25 I will start to get squeamish, because things are usually pretty tight; However, God always provides, and I am putting this in His hands, with all my faith and gratitude for His blessings.

Here are my jars as of today, I look forward to seeing them both full of Hope, Faith and Accomplishment on December 31st.

jars6

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.

Golden Birthday

Friday was Beth’s Golden Birthday; she was FOUR on the FOURTH. We are in absolute amazement that she is 4 already. When did that happen? It seems like just yesterday I was finishing off 36 hours of labor, watching my husband swaddle OUR baby, and finally holding the miracle I had dreamed of my entire life. Henry and I both walked broken roads before finding each other, and we both feared we would never have the family we yearned for. After trying for a VERY long time to conceive we had given up hope, and started to consider adoption. As with most things in life, when I stopped trying to control everything, the Lord blessed us with a miracle, when it was the right time. Then we gave the BEST Mother’s Day gift to our moms; we told them they were going to Grandma’s come January. Beth was extremely loved by many, before she ever made her grand entrance into the world. She was our miracle and a blessing that still fills us with more Hope, Faith and Love than we could ever express. She was beautiful, perfect and full of personality from the very beginning. She has also always been different, and the typical rules simply will never apply to our life. Fortunately, Henry works hard to make it possible for me to be a stay-at-home mom; who can be there for every twist, turn, ascent, descent, and loopy-de-loop of the Au-Some roller-coaster ride.

Thus far, Our journey as Beth’s parents has seen many feeding issues, even more sleepless nights, tons of baffling behaviors, several hospitalizations, etc… Although it is not always easy to see at the time, there is always a lesson to learn from whatever hurdle appears in our path. Our journey has also seen unequaled love, strength, sweetness, will, intelligence, affection, ingenuity, joy, inspiration, pride, laughter, etc… Beth is generally thought of as a high-maintenance girl, and is easily judged by those who do not truly know her. Whether they are judging her for better or worse, telling them she is Autistic usually gives them pause to consider their words more carefully. We are very open about her diagnosis, and the fact that it is NOT a disability; nor is it something to be mourned, cured, or ashamed of. Those who make the effort to really understand her are blessed with a beautiful and magical view of the world, which only Beth can provide. We are Autism Proud, because our girl would not be the remarkable person she is without Autism, and our girl is one of the most fascinating people, I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. Her progress this past year alone has been nothing short of astounding. We make daily strides in helping her understand her system better, and then communicating her needs/wants with us. The more she learns, the more she blossoms and fills us with awe at her true abilities. Our crafty girl is destined for greatness, and she will be one of the many children of this generation who show the world exactly what Temple Grandin meant when she said: “I am different, not less.” We are thankful EVERY day that this extraordinary soul chose us to be her parents, and blessed us with more wonderful than either of us ever thought we would have, and we look to the future with childlike enchantment, because the possibilities are endless for our Unique, Intriguing, Au-Some girl.

♥ Happy Birthday Princess 
Round-custom-Birthday-buttons-1343149146♥ Thank You for choosing us ♥

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 One Year Anniversary

January 3rd is a BIG day for me, it is the day I committed to my Al-Anon program in 2012, which makes today my One Year Anniversary with Al-Anon. I am filled with pride, thankfulness, excitement, apprehension, love, curiosity, and most days, serenity.

In the first year of working my program, I achieved the first three steps, or at least as much as any of us do. I think the steps are a constant work in progress. We may complete them and move to the next, but we never know when we will need to revisit them again. Personally over the past year, I have done Step One at least three times. Steps Two and Three just kind of came to me, I cannot put a definite date of completion on them. I simply know in my heart, and by my outlook on life, that I have done them. It is amazing how my life has changed for the better as a result of working my program with the wonderful support of my Al-Anon family. Today I read one of the best ways to sum up the first three steps: “I can’t. God can. I think I’ll let Him.” in my Blueprint for Progress. My foundation has been laid through embracing the First, Second and Third Steps. Now it is time to build my house of serenity and love, by embarking on the Fourth Step.

This year my goal is to work on, and hopefully complete, the HUGE Step Four: “Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.” I will be utilizing many program tools in my journey this year, and one that will be by my side the entire way is the Blueprint for Progress.

ALP-91_6

I have been contemplating Step Four for some time now, and I must admit that it scares me; however, I feel that I am finally ready to begin taking a realistic and thorough look at myself. Through Step Four I hope to discover all my positives and negatives, so that I can work on building on my strengths to overcome my weaknesses. I have many years of hurt, anger, fear, resentment, sadness, disappointment, martyrdom, shame, guilt, etc… to examine and work through. Although it would be easy to simply blame others, I know through the grace of Al-Anon that we all play a part in every situation. By working Step Four, I am asking God to help me see my part in all the events of my life, so I can take responsibility and see what I may need to do differently in order to heal and be a better me in the future. As it states in Blueprint for Progress: “Being aware of what we did yesterday can help us understand and accept who we are today, so tomorrow we can become the people we want to be.”

Today I celebrate my One Year Anniversary with Al-Anon and look to the future with a hopeful heart. I give thanks everyday for the miracle of Al-Anon when I see and talk to my Al-Anon family, when I read Conference Approved Literature, when I read my Daily Thoughts and Meditations, and when I pay it forward by sharing my story with others. Thank you for letting me share my journey with you, I am far from perfect, but most days I make progress toward becoming the woman I know I was meant to be.

alanon 1 year bronze coin

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