Sunday, November 30, 2008

Cool Things I Learned From A Child With Autism

It doesn't matter if the chimpanzee signs back, it's
fun to sign "tree" and "ball" to him anyway!

The sound of a golf ball rolling from the front seat of the van to the back seat is hysterically funny.

Everyone laughs when kids say
"Oh Sh-t!"

Play-doh..Poop. Who decided why one is acceptable to play with and not the other?

Little victories are huge.

Kicking the cushions off of the sofa makes a fabulous trampoline.

Ball pits aren't just for kids. Teen-aged cousins and "grown-ups" like them, too!

Beagles are loud and obnoxious. The big fuzzy dog is a much better pillow anyway.

Watching the tires of a hot-wheels car roll is cool.

Grown-ups cry when hearing their name for the first time from a four-year old.

The sound of a cat hissing is awesome.

Different is OK.

People with Autism don't have a disability, they have a DIFFERENT ability:

"I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world."

"Once we accept our limits, we go beyond them."

~Albert Einstein
Autism didn't stop him!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Angels above, Miracles below...

I tell people that I have the world's best job. For me, working in a tiny municipality, driving senior citizens to their doctor appointments, delivering meals on wheels, and heading up a small non-profit charity that was originally started up by a lady that was a councilwoman there, a lunchroom lady by day, and a miracle worker other times, stealthy in her way of making sure every kid had a lunch, every family had food, clothing, dishes, whatever was needed.
She passed away far too young, after a brief and terrible fight with cancer. Our department was charged with taking her mission forward, which we do with as much gusto as we can muster in difficult economic times. We believe that she still watches over our efforts from above, making sure "her families" are taken care of through us.
Each year since I started with the department four years ago, the times have been more difficult for families struggling with illness, financial problems, substance abuse problems and more difficulties than not. We began a food pantry where moms can come "shop" for free when things are tough, subsisting on grant money we earn from taking classes at our local food bank, an anonymous donation of $100 per month, and most recently, my wonderful young cousin and his wife, who have made it their personal missions to help us by showing up weekly with food for our pantry room.
We toss ourselves out to the universe daily hoping for miracles, and amazingly, they happen over and over again.
This year is a shining example of the miracles that we see daily.
We had thirteen families that were in need of Thanksgiving meals. No money to do the job. Down to our last cans of vegetables..our food drive still two weeks away.
Into our office comes a fellow employee, from a different department. He hands us $40 in cash towards whatever we need.
Our $100 anonymous donation comes in.
Another co-worker arrives with marshmallows and stuffing mixes.
My cousin walks in with a turkey, enough fruit juice to cover our families for a month, and ten jars of turkey gravy. (we had three jars in the pantry!)
Within fifteen minutes of my cousin's departure, a business in the village that hadn't ever donated anything to our efforts before called, wanting our address. They're bringing TWELVE TURKEYS.
Fifteen minutes after that, my sister called from the store, wanting to know what else we need.
Now, if this kind of thing happened just once, one would be able to call it a really nice coincidence.
However, I strongly envision our Angel above, pulling the cosmic strings and orchestrating these small miracles, one at a time..not only to take care of our families, but to help remind me that the universe will take care of it. Everything will be OK.
Job well done, Jean. Thank you for the reminder that faith is all we need.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Drop Kick Me Jesus....

Through the goalposts of life. Cool song, cooler thought. I'm sure whoever the person was that wrote those lyrics was serious as a heart attack, but I can't help giggling every time I envision Jesus removing his sandals and drop kicking me (good luck, Jesus) through great big goalposts.
The thought intrigues me, though. The sentiment. I guess with my mood disorder, maybe instead of the lineup of fancy medications with all of their fine side-effects.. just maybe what I really need is for Jesus to give me a good swift kick in my tookus. (sp?)
Ok, not a great day in the depression department, but not the worst. Progress?
Tomorrow will be stressful. Have a lot to accomplish before Thanksgiving and Christmas for Project Hope. Thank God for Cathe, who's been in the department longer than me and has a heart of gold, and Mary, a.k.a. "Biscuit" who at times carries her load and mine. Poor girl is really earning her spot in heaven, as if she needs to earn it. Some people are just born lit up from their Creator, she's one of them, as is my sweet daughter, Ang.
As for me, today I will congratulate myself for sticking it out at work till 2:30 and surviving a dark mood day. Have to start trying to see the good things around me. The snow was pretty. Nobody peed in the van today. Not a bad day after all.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Progress...of a sort

The roller-coaster ride of Election 2008 is finally over. Like millions of other people ready for a change in our country, our family became very involved and wrapped up in the excitement over Barack Obama.
In the heels of that excitement was the passing of Prop 8 in California, which of course has the reputation of being "progressive" and we seriously thought that it would fail.
It did not, and California joins the other 30-odd states in the US that have now written into their Constitutions bans on gay marriage.
Writing discrimination into Constitutions. Making it illegal for gay people to foster, adopt, visit their partner in the hospital. What's wrong with these people? Why is my family so scary?
My family. Started in high school when I spotted that pretty girl through the art room window.
Not really a pursuit to be honest, more of a friendship turned to relationship, morphed into parenthood and continued from the late 70's through today.
A regular life. Soccer moms, bills to pay. Work to do. Church, Sunday school. Charity work that we believe in strongly. A child that said last week that if giving her life peace could happen in the world, she'd do it. An amazing, bright and happy (and straight! take that, naysayers!) child, raised by two Moms. Pets, a house, a life pretty much like everyone else's life. Except we can't marry.
If I kick the bucket tomorrow, my Social Security evaporates instead of going to help raise the child I helped plan for..the child that I WANT to provide for in the event of my departure from this life.
It's not about anything more than that for me. If we haven't been "Married" for all of these years I don't know what to call it. Partner doesn't seem quite right when two people have made the kind of commitment that we have, endured and changed with each other and supported each other. I see straight counterparts give it up after a few years and wonder. I hear that certain churches, people that have been discriminated against in their own lives, have helped fund Prop 8 and I simply can't fathom why.
Is it because they are now on the "inside" and need inherently to keep someone else out, subconsciously thinking that if everyone is included that they somehow lose their position?
Isn't there room for everyone?
That's how I always thought. I know for a fact that a good portion of the young, white, idealistic nerdy types that went to the south during the Civil Rights era were GAY.
There because they believed that discrimination against one group equals discrimination against EVERYONE that is different.
I don't like being on the outside. It hurts to be told your relationship is wrong. It's sad to think that we can elect a black President and still believe that discrimination is ok.
Back to baby steps, only I think this one may have been backward, for my little family at least.

Baby Steps

Blogging. I hear that it's therapeutic, and therapy that takes place in the privacy of my own office with my computer to listen instead of some highly paid head-shrinker that really doesn't care what's wrong with me is much more appealing.
My life. Nearly thirty years with the same person, teenaged daughter. Job that revolves around helping others. I have it all, and then some. So why do I need therapy of any kind?
Haven't a clue.
Meds, meds and more meds. Baby steps toward a possible future life of not always being afraid that the next bad thing is going to happen. Baby steps. One wobbly foot in front of the other.