4/11/2015

National Pet Day - Salute Charley!



It is National Pet Day today.  So how could the day go by without me talking about my dog Charley?  115 lbs. of love bomb in the house. And honestly, our home, with all its charm, d├ęcor and home furnishings, would just not be the same without good ole lovable Charley in it!  He is like the child that my husband Jim and I never had together.  He is the one teenager that never rejected our love and was not afraid to ever been seen with us.  He is the one who will never go away and always want to stay except when he jumps our fence.  Funny, never had that issue with the kids!  Oh well, dogs are different even if Charley does think he is a person.

Well let’s hit on Charley’s weight.  He actually had dropped to 107 lbs. this past summer.  That occurred due to his passion for swimming in our pool in the backyard, fondly called Charley’s pool.  When he is in it, due to his size, he dominates it.  This is the case because whoever is in it, he prefers making a bee line swimming right at you.

Now labs have large paws with sharp claws, even when their nails are cut. These nails do not feel wonderful on bare skin. Hence, when in the swimming pool having Charley coming at you wanting to place them on your shoulders for leverage to stand and lick your face, it can be painful. So, it is frequent that he swims alone in the pool.

Our goal, last year at this time, was to get him off the 125 lb mark of weight.  And we did! Our vet said he wanted, one day, for us to be walking Charley and someone to stop us on the street and say “Why don’t you feed that dog?”  To date, that has never happened. We are not holding our breath for it to happen either!  Our dog likes to eat too much, what the heck is that vet thinking of! Plus, our neighbors are too nice to ever say such a thing to us.




With a rugged winter this year, there were far too many handouts of treats to Charley.This is probably why he added back on some of those unwanted unneeded pounds.  Charley is weighing in currently at 115.  Unfortunately, as soon as the pool cover 
comes off, he will be on the low treat, swim team diet.

Some of the weight gain could be attributed to depression though.  We have recently redecorated our bedroom. This entailed moving our furniture around.  Charley made it quite apparent he found this upsetting. For an entire day, he refused to come out of the walk-in closet except to eat and go outside to pee, even when he was called out.

See, in the process of moving things around, his doggie bed was moved to a new location.
No longer was it placed next to his daddy’s side of the bed or near the window where he could be like a real dog and watch the world and keep guard of the house. Now it resides at the foot of the bed, which to him, implies, he has moved down the totem pole and is a mere dog in the house.  And it does not offer nearly as good a view of the front yard which is inconceivable to him why we would mess with a good thing.

Charley use to love to jump up on our bed and spend hours on end lounging on it.   Most nights, he would sleep in bed, towards the base of the mattress. Because he has gotten older, he needs to take more of a running start to jump up and he had used steps made to get down to help lessen the blow to his legs. With the new room transition, the runway has been shortened. 

Somehow we overlooked Charley’s need for a running leap onto our bed and thus, he now finds himself often times, not even able to make it onto the bed. There is nowhere to put the steps anymore either. Thus, our beloved pet is found with his face smashed down on his doggie bed, where he feels he doesn't belong, pouting.   It is as if, in his old age, he is reverting back to childhood. And the sad part, at 115 lbs. he is too big to pick up and place on the bed also so that option is out!

We really have found Charley one of the best experiences we have had together as a couple. He has provided so many laughs. His lack of coordination has caused him to run
head on into walls, kids, our legs, and God knows what else.  We have seen Charley get kicked off of dog training classes for being so distracting when he acts up.  He has gotten me in trouble for sniffing too many other dogs’ butts.  Charley, at one time, jumped our fence and ran away so many times, the neighbors two blocks away across a busy street knew him by name.  It is as if Charley was a walking ball of drama but a story, a chapter in our life that we wouldn't trade for anything.


And perhaps that is why everyone today says Happy National Pet Day because pets truly are a joy.  If given love, discipline and respect, they are loyal, loving and friendly.  Hug your pet today, and every day!

4/10/2015

Healthcare Providers Phone Etiquette


There seems to be a lapse in customer service these days in healthcare providers. Often times, it is not with the doctors.  I have been hearing more friends complain about office staff than physicians’ bedside manner. Infact my last experience on the phone finally gave me an insight as to why so many feel that frustration.

After following up on a visit with a provider after close to week, I had spoken with front desk personnel. I hate bothering the nursing staff if not necessary as the backlog of calls they have to handle is immense on a daily basis. If it is not health-related, I have learned it is best not to bog them down with one more call!

My question as to why I had not received a callback after close to a week.  After asking what the call was concerning, I had told her I was waiting on an appointment with a specialist they were setting up. She informed me that the delay was probably due to trying to fit me in the specialist’s schedule.

Now, as a cancer survivor who has seen countless specialists 9 surgeries on my breast and many medical conditions due to chemo side effects on my body, I am well educated on scheduling appointments with specialists, unfortunately. It is imperative to get on their schedule quickly. Doctors can get appointments into specialists quicker than lay people. And if the appointment was made and they were merely trying to get a better date, why was I not informed of, at least, the initial date the appointment was made for?

I went on to explain I needed to see this specialist timely as I was going in for a consultation.  In May I was seeing my current specialist and felt it was only fair to give a window to a new doctor before seeing my current one in case I wanted to make a switch.  She then told me very matter-of-factly that won’t happen. It takes a minimum of 4-6 weeks to see a specialist.   

At this point, I was agitated. I told her that my friend that had relayed to me following up to find out when an appointment was scheduled. I let it go thinking it was a minor issue. And then I was pretty certain she had gotten in to see the specialist quicker than 4-6 weeks. In addition, if they were waiting to call the specialist any longer, the wait would be 4-6 weeks more. Of course, she was still not admitting to the fact a call had not been placed to the specialist sticking to the original they were probably working on getting me scheduled and then going on again to tell me my expectations are unreal.

I asked her then that I was confused as to why this physician had not told me this during our visit when I had made it apparent I needed in timely and why. No response to this statement was given. I suggested she tell the doctor so as he knew since he had given me false hope.   

The receptionist proceeded to tell me with a patronizing tone that everyone knows that it takes that long to get in to see specialists. I detest the word everyone as it is not definitive in business and is a cope out.  I told her normally when a doctor schedules appointments with a specialist; it takes less time which is why they schedule the appointments. If there is that long of a lag, patients schedule the visits themselves. In those times, I would agree with her statement in general, many times.  By now, though, I am wondering if she realizes how often I deal with healthcare providers or that my son is a doctor and my daughter a Nurse Practioner. I did not just walk down the hillside from my hut.


I then ask her how she knows all this for sure as she is speaking for everyone.  To my surprise, she proceeds to me the names of two of the specialists she sees, complete with the doctors names and how long it took her to see both of them. Okay, now, on my call to find out why I have not received a call back nor an appointment yet for my specialist after a day shy of a week, it has digressed to me getting the name of two specialists of the receptionist’s, doctors I don’t know, don’t care to know, and whom validate to her that all specialists require a 4-6 week minimum waiting period to get in to see them. And through this all, she has copped and attitude and mine matches her.

It becomes obvious, by now, this is not a match made in heaven.  I tell her that perhaps I have picked the wrong healthcare provider and should make a switch. She says nothing back.  I tell her to cancel the appointment they had currently set with the specialist, giving her and the office the benefit of the doubt. I said I want her to sit on my records and as soon as I pick a new healthcare provider I will give her the name to forward my records to.  I then ask for the doctor’s email so I can send him a letter of explanation.

The next response is her telling me that information needs to go through the nurses. Apparently I am not allowed to deliver this to the doctor.  As I am explaining to her I would rather talk or message the doctor directly and why, in mid-sentence, she transfers the call. No explanation, no forewarning the call is being transferred just click - I am on the transfer line.  Realizing my health is now on hold, I recognize my wait of one week to call delayed my own health needs. I now feel the fool for waiting and leaving my other healthcare provider for this new physician. I also recognize what some friends have told me, stress can be brought on by office staff.

When I get the voice mail of the nurse, I am choking back tears of frustration. I left my message saying no appointment was needed since the delay would be too long. I also stated I would eventually move my records to another doctor’s office. I apologized to the doctor for he probably was excellent but I can’t deal with the stress of staff patronizing me and pretending to know more than I about scheduling appointments. Once I hung up, my migraine only picked up in intensity.


Later that same day, I did receive a phone call back from the office. It was from a nurse, not the doctor’s nurse though. No mention of my voice message. She simply told me an appointment time and date for the specialist. I took it down and she said nothing more, nor did I. At this point, I just decided I got the appointment and will consider seeing him but will have to keep the appointment with my current one also as it is less than a week later.

However, I followed up the very next day by calling the specialist’s office.  I asked to be placed on a call back list for any cancellations.  They, in comparison, were extremely nice on the telephone.  I then found out they keep records of when doctor’s offices call in to place appointment requests. Guess?  Yep, the doctor’s office I had been dealing with called after I had placed my call to the receptionist! After I placed the call to the original doctor’s office!
________________________________________________


Doctors need to remember to talk to their staff, as my son does, about the importance of the person on the other end of the phone.  You have no idea what is going on with them, what degree of pain they are in and remember they are ‘your customer’.  They are the doctor’s livelihood and without them, the doctor loses business and the office workers are out of job. 

Having worked at all levels, a Director at the American Cancer Society to a sales clerk at Belks I respect all positions in an organization.  Having had cancer, also learned each role is so important. While vomiting a janitor can get you a trash can quicker than a physician so has all the power! The person answering the phone is the gate-keeper for healthcare providers and can make or break the impression created for a patient.

My thoughts are as follows:

  • ·        No one has the right to be patronizing over the telephone
  • ·        Give or get  answers when requested if a reasonable time period has lapsed
  • ·        There is no excuse for poor follow-up
  • ·        Apologize for errors and move on to rectify them
  • ·        Do not get argumentative with someone on the phone to diffuse a situation
  • ·        Maintain a positive upbeat attitude regardless of patient’s demeanor
  • ·        Be compassionate, you have no idea of the pain level of patient on the phone or conversation between physician and patient
  • ·        If unclear of proper response, take a message and don’t argue
  • ·        Don’t be rude and transfer calls without telling the caller first you are doing so
  • ·        Try to retain clients for the Doctor by satisfying their needs

  

I would love to hear others feedback on this topic. Feel free to make comments here or on my google+ account.





4/09/2015

Pace Yourself



Life comes at you with rapid speed.  And it is constantly changing not allowing you the freedom easily to reflect on the decision-making process. But many of us know quick decisions are often the worst ones we make.  Impulsivity can lead to rapid fire choices with dire consequences.  Society is full of them, people that pay for not taking a few extra moments of time to think before reacting.

 Right now, Twitter is a buzz with the case of the officer in South Carolina who got trigger happy.  He took a man’s life, callously and quickly.  He was trying to arrest a man and it seems apparent, because the man attempted to run and was black, the officer pulled his gun and shot him multiple times in the back, killing him.  Right there, in the field, the man lie dying from an impulsive act with no forethought for a man’s life.  Now that officer will pay with his.


 Impulse buying is another one of those knee-jerk decisions. If it is in the store, chances are it will be there the next day or something similar. But, so many shoppers simply can’t pass it up.  In 2014, there were over 43% of American households carrying credit card debt. The average debt was $7,200.According to a report on CBSNews.com; credit card debt will hit $60 billion this year. So, the good news, I suppose is, if you are spontaneously buying things, you are not alone!


 People who suffer from ADHD, both children and adults, have issues with impulsive actions. Perhaps it is from the overall anxiety levels they experience but it is much harder for them to hold back their enthusiasm.  Children tend to be disruptive in class with sudden outbursts without thinking of others or get into trouble for talking. The adults with ADHA are impulsive as well with their emotions and with creating relationships and can cross boundary lines easier and sometimes prematurely.  These individuals don’t always realize they needed to exercise better control and pull back the reins so to speak.


 When you look at a portrait that is truly beautiful, you know the masterpiece was created over some period of time, not on a dime.  When someone whispers and sings a love song to you, that song was written by someone who took a few moments to think up a melody, a lyric and put it all together. Smelling the sounds of nature is experiencing the growth cycle of our ecosystem. Season by season, the plant system rejuvenates itself so that we might experience it again and again. 


 Most things in life that are treasured are like that, experiences and items that took more than a second in time.  In a fast paced world, it is so easy to get carried with the current!  And then, when you do, the world doesn't ever really let you know you are losing your life to quantity of decisions and not quality. The officer Michael Thomas Slager may not see the light of day again except behind prison bars in South Carolina. He may not ever hold his upcoming baby as his wife is 8 months pregnant. Was it worth it? In shooting a man in cold blood with no provocation taking no time to think, he stole 4 children’s father, Walter Scott from the earth. What was he thinking?  Was he thinking? 
There are no do-overs.  If your impulsive actions are hurtful to others, stop. 


Don’t get caught up in the pace. Your life is worth more. 



4/06/2015

Faith Moved Full Circle in Our Family



Religion was something that was not a big part of my upbringing. But the idea of God was.  I remember as a small child seeing a picture hanging in the bedroom of a little girl praying with the prayer that began like this:

Now I lay me down to sleep.
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
If I should die before I wake, 
I pray to God my soul to take.
If I should live for other days, 
I pray the Lord to guide my ways.


Because that image seemed so real, I believed there was a God. When I was born, my parents were Catholic. Dad was Italian and I was told my mother converted but it seems hard to believe. She is not what I would call the religious time, by any stretch, then or now. I assumed she did it to please my dad and to raise us in his church.

My older sister, by two and a half years, was baptized Catholic and had her first communion.  I was baptized in New York at the Catholic Church they attended in Long Island, St. Joseph’s, but never made my First Communion. By then, they had split up and Mom was out of the picture.  Our father had custody of us and we were living back in Dayton, Ohio.  My dad was disillusioned with the Catholic Church for the shoddy annulment process which was really more of a payoff procedure than one in allowing Christians forgiveness for making mistakes. He never went back to participating as a member as to do so apparently entailed paying a huge sum of money for them to look the other way. It seemed to fall in line with the times of the Church in those days.  The process is unforgiving and highly judgmental.

Upon my father’s remarriage, our new step-mother was insistent my sister Terri and I reconnect with a church. I think I recall us being considered heathens if we didn’t have any proper church upbringing or understanding of God and religion. Hence, we were dutifully dropped off every Sunday at a church, possibly a Presbyterian church in an older neighborhood not all that far from where we lived. It was odd though because there was no one there we knew, none of our school friends or neighbors so we were surrounded by strangers.  We would be in our Sunday dresses and our Dad would drop us off at the corner of the street. We would get out of the car door, walking to the building where classes were held for classes on Bible studies.  It always felt strange walking in there because so many people were streaming in there as families and here we were, just two girls walking in by ourselves.  Sometimes we caught people looking at us like we were social misfits with no parents. Or worse, they gave us looks like they should feel sorry for us and we didn't want anyone’s pity. My sister just stuck her head up higher and told me not to pay any attention.

Once the classes were over, she would meet me out front and we would go to the church next door. When church let out, we would walk outside church and go wait on the corner until our Dad arrived to pick us back up. We did this week in and week out. As we stood out there on the corner, we would watch all the families leaving church together and feel kind of sad that we were there on the corner all by ourselves.  But, the lessons we were learning by being there made it worthwhile.  Gaining an understanding of God’s love, its unending power to heal and his ability to give us strength through everything in our lives.

At some point, those church visits stopped. I can’t recall why but I missed going.  I did not miss the awkwardness though of being there alone without family or the stares from other people.  Sometimes I went to Catholic Mass with my friend Claire down the street but that service was just plain foreign to me. But it had its good points. I always learned something just by being there.

 I got another opportunity to attend church routinely when I was in fifth grade and we were living in Westerville, Ohio.  I had a friend named Susan who religiously went to church every week. So thus began my attending church regularly with her family. I would either stay overnight at her house and go with them or they would pick me up to attend.  I don’t remember their religion but it was not either of the two previous religions but it didn't matter to me, it was still God’s house and I loved being there.  I felt like I was part of a loving family where I was 100% accepted and worshiping with people who believed in God even if not exactly like me. I could tell sometimes my parents didn't think I was getting the message quite right by their comments when I would leave for church or come home but I didn't care. I still enjoyed going and kept up the routine.  God was going to remain important in my life forever.

When we moved back to Dayton two years later, I began going to church with another friend, Roseanne Moore.  When I wasn't going with her, I was attending with a friend, Cindy Thomas, or a friend Eileen. I seemed to always have a friend that I could attend church with.  It seemed to be Baptist churches, evangelists I heard speak and loved, Protestants, it really didn't matter. In some ways, I saw them all the same. I just wanted to go there, be there. I knew I had sins that needed forgiven. I knew God loved me and I wanted to feel it more intently.  Church was where that feeling came over me.  I also wanted to grow in understanding and felt like I was more in his presence sitting in a holy house.

When I found myself young, married and pregnant with baby number two, I took Catechumenate classes. Being married to a catholic, I was committed to raising our children in that faith.  I wanted to understand the faith my children were going to participate in and I did not want my children to have that experience I had of walking into a faith community alone. Thus I began the classes in the fall of 1980.  Within months, I made the decision to convert and by Easter 1981, I was confirmed catholic at the Easter Vigil Mass.

Since that day, I have never looked back or regretted my decision to become fully committed to a church. I honored my commitment to my children’s father and to the priest that baptized them and raised them in the Catholic Church throughout their childhood so they both had a foundation of faith to build a future upon.

There are many gifts you can bestow on a child.  Your love is supremely important. Education, in today’s world can make or break financial success often times. But in my mind, faith can move mountains. Belief in God can instill hope in a better tomorrow. It can make today, no matter what befalls you, grateful you are here, even if it is to feel the rain on your face, receive communion, grab or hold a loved one for that last hug. 

Seeing my son and his family evolve on their faith journey ensures my own faith journey was steps towards the path God chose for me.  It shows me the destination was pre-planned, needed and that I was walking the right way. 

Yesterday, on Easter, I once again, attended my son’s church, Providence United Methodist Church in Mt. Juliet, TN. Hearing their preacher speak, Jacob Armstrong; I was awestruck, as I am every time I hear him speak. He has the ability to cut through the stress of the day, the turmoil that certainly must be on the minds and hearts of those in attendance and seize the congregation’s attention.  He literally is one of the best speakers I have heard of late in a holy place. His passion shows in his manner, his enthusiasm for preaching is non-verbally apparent to all and his message is always powerfully delivered. It is just the right mix of scripture, knowledge and down to earth food for thought to take and incorporate into your lives to become better servants of God.


Reflecting on this later, watching my son, my daughter-in-law and my three grandchildren, I could not help but remember my years as a child in the church, what it meant to me.  Yes, as Pastor Jacob said, "years go by quickly." Then, in a blink of an eye, I was a mom, and then my son was here and I was mentoring his faith, forcing him to go to church all the while he was resistant to attend.  My goal was to give him a true understanding of God, faith and appreciate God’s unending love.  And now, at all of my son’s 36 years, to see him and his wife giving this to his children, wow!  God is perfect, He has made the circle complete. I am so humbled and thankful to The Father for making me that child who always pursued walking into churches just to sit in His house and hear His word. 


My video is actually more of a celebration of the theme of Easter of my son’s family and also dedicated to the Autism Awareness Month April 2015  Click Here to View

3/29/2015

Autism Awareness Begins with You - Go Blue






Autism Awareness Month begins on April 1st and ends on April 30th.  Everyone around the country, in recognition of this are asked on April 1st to put a blue light on their front porch light. For those families affected by autism, there is no end or beginning date. They live and embrace the challenges of autism daily every day of the year.

This diagnosis is a on a spectrum so is not as clear cut as the news would have you believe. Autism is also not something fairly new. According to Bloomberg Business Report in 2014, it affects more than 3.5 million Americans, many of these are adults. The costs are monumental, creating a hardship for many families.  Some support givers are unable to get the needed treatment for their loved ones if their insurance plans won’t allow it and if their state laws won’t cover all of the needed services. And the individual costs of care and education are astronomical.  For an autistic child without any intellectual ability, the costs are estimated at 2.2 Million dollars and with the ability to function intellectually, the costs drop to 1.2 Million dollars per person.

There seems to be a misconception in society that autism only affects families that have an autistic child. Thus the issue has been continually disregarded by communities at large and not a popular political issue.   However, even back in 2012 a study done by Autism Speaks published findings that it was costing our country over $137 billion on autism.  Much of this cost was with adults with autism who are unable to get work or support themselves.  Current costs are $175-196 billion dollars. If that figure is not astounding, note that the Autism Society Organization has found, in recent research, it will be over $200-400 billion to our nation in the next ten years.

There is a proven method to reduce the overall costs over the lifespan/care of autism.   The critical key is early diagnosis and intervention (Autism Society Org.)  Estimates are showing the reduction to be as much as 2/3’s of the total projected costs per individual. But, the early intervention will only work if parents are educated by being informed about autism, are proactive in testing and have school systems willing to work with children and parents. It is also reliant on funding being made available to families be it through insurance companies and/or legislation so that those with diagnoses can use whatever methods they need to obtain the therapies that best progress them to optimum performance.

I have been on the side lines and watched a family grow in knowledge, spirit and faith in this world. I do step in when I can but as a grandparent my role is limited to support system/cheerleader. As my son and daughter-in-law have been involved in this special class of children, I have known a higher level of pride in each of them.

Many of my followers know their story so I will stick to the highlights.  Rebekah, my daughter-in-
law, immediately felt something was amiss first with her middle child Ty and at age 2 set him up for testing.  Her youngest child Jake, even though his development was going forward, she saw some signs that concerned her. Thus she set him up for the same testing at a hospital, those tests to determine if he had Autism. The two young boys had the diagnosis, different degrees, not identical but nonetheless, autism spectrum.  Never one to hang their heads in sorrow, they both jumped on the bandwagon immediately. 

Rebekah and my son Mike do what many of these families have to do, dig their feet into the ground and begin running.  I can’t speak for them and I won’t try. First with Ty and then with Jake, they got the best therapy, trying one after another until they were satisfied with the progress the boys were making.  This is a continual process for them, reviewing and evaluating that never stops. There is never time off, no vacation, no breaks.  These boys are constantly learning and on routines, thus Rebekah’s job is hands on deck pretty much all the time! 
In addition, both parents try to reach out and learn as much as they can in the field so they are abreast of all new information that is on the forefront.  They want both of their children to have the advantage of whatever is out there. If it means extra-long days at the office for my son, he does it without hesitation.  Sacrifice, large sacrifice, is what having autism in your household is about. 

 Rebekah continues networking with other mothers who have children on the spectrum.  She does this for multiple reasons. It provides a mutually supportive system for her and other women.  This also is a great learning tool for her and other moms.  Many newly diagnosed children have mothers who don’t know where to go, how to cope, what to do. Mothers like Rebekah can get them started on the right path and let them know there is a rich full life ahead of them!  She lets them know her boys are thriving. See, my grandsons are not missing out; she makes sure that their lives are full. They are the ‘American family’ with a few modifications.

However, the costs are great for autism to a household budget! Noone in their household complains but I have ran the numbers.  Costs of treatment are staggering.  Therapy is often one on one for autism thus, extremely expensive.  When a parent makes a good income, the assistance level goes down. Thus, since my son is a professional, his assistance is limited.  Out of pocket expenses add up quickly.   And the amount of time my daughter-in-law spends taking children to and from treatment and meeting with therapists is monumental too.  I hear parents complain about a parent-teacher conference.  Two times a year for fifteen minutes. Oh, if Rebekah only had it that easy!  She had to drop out of nursing school when attending on her GI Bill after serving in the Air Force because the children’s schedule was just too demanding for her to do anything but attend to the children. This is common place for autism. Many parents have only one parent working due to the demands of caring for a child and thus are limited to one income and one parent basically spending 24/7 providing around the clock care.




If you haven’t had children with autism you don’t know what it is like raising one.  You may think you understand, you may comprehend the spectrum, the common nuances but living with it day in and day out is totally different.  Ask the parents that have these children.  They can give you a reality check.  They are special too, make note of that.  Yes, the children are blessed children but the parents are hand-picked also. 


 Celebrations in these homes are over the smaller things in life.  Many of the accomplishments are the tasks mothers take for granted.  Examples are a child dressing himself, a child potty-trained, and a boy speaking.  Sometimes Ty ignores his birthday gifts preferring instead to simply jump on the trampoline in the backyard.  Rebekah went for years without hearing her son, Ty say her
name.  Finally one day she heard “Mommy.” Not long after she heard “I love you.”  And then it all comes together with a kiss preceding those words but her wait was long and hard to hear her little boy say something so little but yet something so special that every mother dreams of their little boy saying to them. Can you imagine waiting years to hear this?


When April rolls around, keep these children and adults in mind.  Autism matters. My grandsons, all of these children and adults deserve attention.  They were not asked to be born this way. God created them the way they are as he created you and I. Perhaps it was to test all of us to see if we would care. Can we go outside of ourselves and love other individuals who have a harder time dealing with the outside world than us?


If each of us could be more aware of any legislation that comes down the pike that promotes issues related to autism, it would make a difference.  We need, as a society, more early interventions so children are diagnosed sooner.  All children need coverage for the newest and greatest therapies that are out there and the means to obtain it.   Our communities stand to benefit from these improvements. It is the right thing to do, thus, will you turn your light on and go blue?   

3/27/2015

Party with Friends That Care

I have often wondered why it is hard to let go of a relationship when the pendulum only swings one way. So many of us find ourselves in relationships with people, be it friendships or family members where we are always feeling negative emotions inside and yet continue to reach out in the hope that something will change. 

I think there is this faith that with persistence there will be a different outcome.  Our culture has taught us hard work pays off. The only problem with this is that we are not capable of changing other people, only ourselves.  We can’t affect how other individuals react to us, the dynamics of a relationship. We can only affect our side of the paradigm. 

Thus, we can come at it different ways, try different methods of communication, and change ourselves. If the acceptance of self, our true identity is just not there by the other party, this relationship will be hard to savor. No matter what the tie is, the amount of effort that is put into the relationship should be minimized. The cost to one’s emotional well-being is too high to justify the interaction.  It is far better to spend energy on relationships that are healthy than expend energy on ones that are unfulfilling and leave you feeling as if you need a therapist. 

We have a tendency to also analyze the people who are somewhat rejecting of us, using us or just honestly, not givers in the relationship with us.  Some people will not want to love you, care about you or feel vested in you. This issue may have nothing to do with you. Even if it does, there may be nothing you can do about it so it is best to let it go as opposed to letting it tear you up inside.  Don’t take someone else’s inventory either trying to figure out their short comings or their perception of you. Simply let it go and make the relationship a lower priority and focus on the ones that are mutually rewarding.


Life is a gift.  The gift was given to each of us to be savored. You, the creation of you, was one of those gifts.  It is to be celebrated. If someone in your life does not find you worth celebrating, move on to someone who does find you worthy of a party. 

3/25/2015

Short Hair Means Nothin'

I will never forget the day I decided to cut all my hair off and go to short hair.  I did it without looking back even though, doing so, my face is so visible.  For so long, my hair has been long.  I think having long hair was a way of hiding my face from view.  I never really have liked the way I looked.  I have always been rather plain, seeing myself as ordinary. Oh, and I have detested my thin, lackluster hair. 

When I had cancer, I dreamed my hair would come in luscious and full.  Infact, I prayed God would bless me after that ugly battle and reward me with the hair of my dreams. Initially, it seemed he had granted me my wish but lo and behold, it eventually grew to its original state, limp, lifeless and fair. 

I began to see a connection between my hair, my face and my inner self.  I had spent most of my life trying to be as perfect as I could.  Perfect to me, included being as thin, as good-looking as I could be, smart at everything I attempted, the best at everything. I wanted to always have my father be pleased at everything I did. With a mother that had walked away from me as a child, I felt partially to blame.  I felt as if my stepmother saw me as a misfit and didn't care. My goal was to make my dad proud and somehow have my stepmother see me as someone to be proud of.

 In striving for perfection, I made top grades many times, even hitting a 4.0 a few times.  I was on drill team in high school, double majored in college as a non-traditional student, accelerated at various jobs, and raised two successful children giving it my all, making many sacrifices along the way. 

However, I also, on that course of trying to please had failed marriages, let myself down repeatedly, stressed myself out countless times trying to hit unrealistic benchmarks, let many of my unhappy memories get stuffed down inside of me instead of dealing with them in therapy and somewhere along the way, began to lose myself and become more what everyone wanted me to be.

Post cancer, post therapy, I had an ah-ha moment. Much prayer, much reflection and time away from working, it hit me.  I believe strongly the hair cut helped.  I decided it was time to quit hiding my face.

Whether I am beautiful or not, my face needs and deserves to be seen. I am who I am and I accept me for exactly who I am.  I am not beautiful anyways because of how I look on the outside, I am beautiful because of the same reasons my friends are gorgeous to me.  Beauty is because of how I treat those around me and how I live my life. I am free now, I am not living up to expectations of anyone anymore but the goals I set for myself and those are reachable. It may be disappointing to some but I am living in total reality, no longer hiding anything.  I no longer have to reach for the stars either, unreachable goal-setting. I can attempt to do things I feel I can and want to accomplish.   I can reach out and instead of trying to do the impossible I can now help others reach their dreams.


Age and time has its benefits, a wisdom all of its own.  Wow, I am so enjoying all the moments that come my way and seeing so much of God’s great creations and people he has made! And I am one of them, a work in progress, even still.   Hair is an object, nothing more. What I am is something so much more that hair I use to hide behind, there is depth behind my face.