“Rather light a candle than complain about darkness” Chinese Proverb
Mark won a gift card to Barnes and Noble and we weren’t really sure what we wanted to buy with it, so we decided to just go relax and look. After getting a cup of coffee, we decided to walk the whole store and see what we could find. We found an awesome adult color by number book for Peyton. He is really into doing stop motion videos, and wants to learn how to use color better etc….plus coloring is calming for him. Mark suggested I get a journal. I am a journal fanatic, I love to write down everything in journals. It helps me not only remember things, and be more organized, but it has a calming effect for me as well. I ended up finding an awesome journal that promotes inspiration. I love being creative and recently have started doing inspirational pictures. This journal is the perfect item for me to get inspired on those days I just don’t feel like doing anything, as well as write down thoughts, ideas etc….
Peyton shows a lot of interest in trying creative projects…I love this. We encourage him to be creative… I firmly believe it is helping him find himself, be more confident and relaxes him. He seems to have a good eye for color and now we are working on other aspects, such as depth, shadows, how to add music etc….he has taken some awesome classes on LinkedIn…yes he is even on LinkedIn! We are really trying to encourage him to find things he loves doing as well as is good at. It’s easy to find someone’s “weaknesses”, and too many dwell on what their autistic kids can’t do….we are trying to find Peyton’s strengths and encourage him to direct his energy to them. He loves making stop motion videos and we encourage him to. Anything we can do to help him excel at something, we do. Peyton is almost 18 and a new set of challenges are approaching for him. I truly stress about we will be facing as he becomes an adult. I also know that I can only help prepare him just so much. Peyton is aware that there are many changes coming , as he becomes an adult. He and I have discussed some of the types of “changes” he will be facing . He also has the advantage and disadvantage of having older siblings and he has seen them grow up. He does realize that some of the changes they experienced, he may not. Such as moving out, having a career etc… It hurts my heart that he won’t be able to do many of the things his older siblings do. He is such a sweet kid and I know he wants to “have a life” when he gets older. For now I know we have to take each day at a time and focus on the positives, not the negatives. We will have “dark days” ahead but as long as we continue to focus on the brightness of the day, not the darkness, we will be fine.
A few weeks ago Mark and I met with a couple who have a coffee business. I am doing an inspirational book for autism families and wanted to highlight a small independent coffee company in it. After a few minutes I realized this wasn’t the right fit for us or the book. They were very nice people and clearly passionate about both their coffee and their business. The only thing was I I wasn’t looking for the perfect “brew” I was looking for someone who understood that it wasn’t the coffee, it was about the “coffee break”–The down time, stress relief etc….I loved their coffee, but to be honest…as much as I enjoy a great cup of coffee…its taste isn’t what is important to me. This situation highlighted to me once again how important it is that people understand just how much autism families need support, understanding and even help, sometimes. They told us all about what we were doing wrong in making our coffee, and how we had to buy all this special coffee equipment to make it perfect. I thought to myself there are parents who struggle to cover necessities for their kids….and even though others can afford it, many truly just need that break from stress, not the “perfect cup”
I know how difficult it was for me when Peyton was young and I was a single Mom. As I have written many times, I was very fortunate to have a support system, not everyone has one of those. To me, the “cup of coffee” represents the commitment to taking “me time” by allowing myself to relax and unwind. I know for a fact that when I am stressed it really affects Peyton. I realize parenting is tough in general, but I also know I have four kids and I know the extra time it takes with Peyton. I need that down time to reinvigorate myself to face the rest of the day. It may not even be a “coffee break” it may just be sitting on my bed and listening to music. Stress is a very powerful negative on us in so many ways. We need to counter this with positive time and energy. Back to my original point, it isn’t the coffee it’s the break. I hope as each of you read this blog, as well as my other blogs you realize this. I get positive feedback from so many about how I “relate” our every day experiences to others lives. I am deeply touched by this, and very thankful. My biggest goal and reason for starting AwesomismMom is to help others and be an inspiration. Many times I have felt overwhelmed and know that sometimes just encouraging words from someone else can help. While we all face our daily battles and stress, some need that extra support. They may not ask you or tell you, so take the time to ask…at the very least they will know you care. So as you drink your morning coffee I hope you stop, pause and realize….it isn’t the coffee others need…it’s the break.
Pillows Pillows everywhere! Ever see an ad for a furniture store and there are a ton of pillows on the beds? Well, I am one of those people who really loves pillows…I can never have enough pillows. I honestly would have 20 pillows on our bed. I am not sure why that is, but I have always loved pillows. When Peyton was young he was obsessed with stuffed animals, and it honesty didn’t bother me that he had so many. Stuffed animals were his go to “safety net” and I think pillows are mine. I love a “cozy home” I can’t have enough candles, throws and pillows. My kids have always teased me about my love of candles and pillows. Now that my older kids all have their own homes they always say how much they love coming home..because of how “comfortable” our home is. They relax and feel like they are at a bed and breakfast…I take this as a compliment.
I think each of us have that “safety net” in our lives, we all deal with stress differently, but the key is to deal with it. We all have stress in our lives and it seems these days, some people use their “stress” as an excuse for bad behavior. I have seen more name calling and disrespectful behavior by some people in the last year, than I think I ever have. It especially bothers me seeing people who are supposed to be examples to kids, behave in such a bad way. Stress isn’t good for so many reasons, physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. We need to recognize our stress, admit it and deal with it. Lashing at others isn’t a solution in fact it’s adding to the issue. I am very sensitive to this as I see Peyton not always handle stress well. He sees people being outright ugly to others because they disagree with them, it upsets him,this is sad for many reasons. I wish many adults would stop, and think. They need to set positive examples not encourage bad behavior. We all have seen the saying “don’t judge others, because you don’t know what another person is going through” I really wish people would not just say this….but live it. Life is difficult and for autism families it can really be especially tough. I have discussed in previous blogs how I needed my “coffee break” when Peyton was young, even though it was tough at times. I needed a stress free time then and still do to this day. I have been lucky as I have had a support network that has helped. I have had autism parents tell me they really feel overwhelmed and not quite sure how to get a quiet moment. This is sad,as they really do need to have one to help cope with their daily stresses. Before Peyton my stress free time was easier, but I knew I needed to destress even more when he was young. No matter what works for each of us…pillows, cup of coffee etc… We need to have that quiet, stress free zone that is our “safety net”
I love this time of the year..Spring is showing its beauty and days are longer and prettier. Flowers and trees are blooming and the birds are singing. With Spring also comes the greatest of the golf tournaments. I really Love watching The Masters, there is something so magical and calming about it. I remember watching it as a kid, and being in awe of how beautiful the golf course was, it’s still that way today. The Masters brings out the best and the worst in the Worlds top golfers. It’s always amazing to me how excited and nervous they each get trying to win that coveted “Green Jacket”. It’s the pinnacle of the golf season. We love golf in our home and if you know Peyton’s legal first name (he has a hyphenated first name) you would realize who is our favorite golfer of all time. Peyton was named after a golf legend, who is a personal friend. A man of integrity, class and strength.
I encouraged all my kids to play golf. They went to many PGA golf tournaments as kids as well. They learned how to behave in the clubhouse and knew what was expected of them.They all played at one point or another and I am working with Peyton to try and learn the basics, as well. I love so many aspects of the game, especially the focus on manners and respect. I love golf because it teaches both kids and adults to be self reliant and to be your best as well as patience and focus. While it is an individual sport, it is also a “team sport”, though many think golf isn’t a team sport, and in the purest of definitions it probably isn’t. There is definitely a team aspect to it though. There are college and high school golf teams, while they play individually, they depend on each other to each do well. Of course we all know many a business deal has been done on a golf course, as there is plenty of time for people to talk in between holes. While this isn’t really a team…there is bonding that can be both personal and professional. Of course there also is the special relationship a caddie and a golfer have. I really want Peyton to get more into golf as I think it would be good for him in many ways. There are so many lessons golf can teach autistic kids, teens and adults. It’s calming effect, it teaches humility, respect, manners, focus and problem solving among other things. Golf courses are quiet and very peaceful and that has a very positive side to it as well. As a sport, I also think the individuality and team aspects of it are very positive. My approach with Peyton and golf is different than that of my older kids, but I firmly believe it has and will be beneficial to him as well. I look forward to getting Peyton more involved in this wonderful sport and watch it’s positive impact in his life.
“Your playing small doesn’t serve the World” Marianne Williamson
I saw this quote the other day in my “Be inspired” journal and immediately loved it! This pretty much has been my motto my whole life….many in my life have played life so safe. Which is their choice, but at the same time they think my not playing safe, is a bad thing. It’s sad that people who don’t want to dream big, try to discredit those who do. To many people live a complacent life, never really challenge themselves. It’s easier that way, but it doesn’t always result in true happiness. I have heard people say “haven’t found themselves” about entrepreneurs who pursue passions and dreams. I smile to myself and realize they live on “safe street” I can’t imagine where we would be if some hadn’t “played big”. Just about every modern convenience we have is because someone dared to “play big” When I read this quote it got me thinking about what “big things” I want to accomplish with AwesomismMom….My goals aren’t just for Peyton, my goals are for others who can’t, for whatever reason, or won’t “play it big”
I have some very “big goals” for AwesomismMom……most of which I keep to myself. I know I need to crawl before I walk..before I run….this isn’t easy for me, as I tend to be a bull in a china shop and go full speed ahead. I am staying focused, Well at least trying to stay focused. I know what my goals are and how I WANT to get there, but I also know I have to be open to “changes on the path” My driving force is my passion to help other autism families. Almost daily I speak to someone or read something that touches my heart and opens my eyes to yet another need within the autism community. I try to not get sidetracked and stay on my path! There are so many needs and I know many people are working to find solutions, so I know I need to stay focused on my goals. Life for many autistic parents isn’t easy, and many times the caregivers…parents, grandparents, siblings etc… are forgotten. I have written several blogs about the support needed for parents, especially single parents. I was a single parent for many years, I know how overwhelming each day can be. I also know how much small acts of kindness meant to me. Life as a whole can be tough. Add to that being a single parent of an autistic child and it becomes overwhelming. I know several parents who want to make a difference but don’t know where to start and become stressed and give up. I have an amazing husband who is my rock and is there for me. I also have a great network and am devoted to doing what I can to help others. Some very exciting projects are in the works and I hope each of you stay tuned, to see what is coming…..I am a firm believer that thinking and playing small isn’t going to make some of the major changes that are needed. I am going to do my best to succeed and help others….my “dreams” may be big but my passion is bigger!