Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Breaks and Thanks

This last month has been wonderful and refreshing.  I have to mention this because there are times I may disclose difficulty, in the blog or otherwise, without the mention, of the other… the magnificent!  I feel the need to tell you about some of the people in our life who have made a difference for us. 

It had been a very long time, since I/we had our last break, so I want to say thanks to some of the loveliest people in our life, as they helped us, and/or me, “break even” in the scheme of daily life.  It’s hard to explain daily life in our home, at times.  When you are caught up in all the moments, you can lose track of what is keeping you sustained, happy, healthy and thankful.  I can only say, all of you, everyone we know, you all ROCK!  As we approach Thanksgiving, it seems more than appropriate to make sure the “rocks” in our life know they have impacted us….. 

Last month my fabulous, sweet, friend, Hillary, who I love dearly, included me on a girl trip to Santa Fe, NM.  We had an incredible time.  This was a trip without kids, just moms.  I would never have had this opportunity if it wasn’t for Hillary.  I can only share my gratitude, as I really needed some down time; the break was golden.  My husband stayed home with Alyssa, so this could happen; so sweet!  The group of moms on this trip were the best EVER and I hope to be able to encounter them all again; they all made a difference in my life.  Great thanks from me, to all of you!

This last Friday, my husband and I scooted away for a night out, while Rachel, one of the most fantastic and wonderful friends in my life, came to my home and hung with Alyssa.  We had received a gift certificate for a one night stay at a local hotel from our friend, Cindy, who is a beautiful lady, with an amazing heart, one of the loveliest people.  It was beyond superb to take a bit of down time.  This break was only possible because of these two exceptional ladies!! 

Breaks can help put us back on top of our game, when everything else happening may feel overwhelming or difficult.  These breaks have helped me, personally, come to a better place.  When having a child with special needs, breaks can be rare, even extinct, making my appreciation that much greater.  As some of you know, I run a program for families who have children with special needs.  The kids who participate in this program come and play, while their parents scoot away.  I love this program even more now.  I have been reminded why I do this program and what a difference it can make to a family, to have a little break.  I am glad I can do this for others and I am extremely thankful for those who have extended their graciousness to us.

My feeling of thanks isn’t limited to those who have created opportunity for breaks for me and my family.  My feeling of thanks extends way beyond that.  This past year has been full of challenges and there are so many people who have helped us through the day, week and year.  My friend Sue is always there to check in and make sure I am not losing my noggin.  Sue has been there beyond the call of friends.  She has helped us through some of our most difficult challenges, without judgment, full of love.  Then, there is our family, who all live in other states, yet they do their best to check in with us, offering a sense of connection and a wishing they could be here more.  Our connections, near or far, make us more complete.

There are so many, so many, exceptional people in our lives.  Kristina and Brooke sustain my sanity and try to keep me healthy.  They both “fill me” with more than I can explain; I am loved and I love them.  Laura motivates me and nurtures our long friendship, a friendship that runs like a river… It’s deep, real, with life’s most wonderful and difficult moments, enchanting and ever flowing; Laura brings me into my own and reminds me how genuine and beautiful friendship is.  Joy lives thousands of miles away and doesn’t let space be a barrier to our friendship – she is fabulous.  Regina makes me laugh a ton and her experiences encourage me to want more.  Who else, who else?  Oh yes, all of you!  It’s hard doing a writing like this because I could go on and on.  Let me just say – YOU ALL COMPLETE ME!         

If you weren’t mentioned, by name, you are not left out, you are the best, for being here for me (us), then and now.  It’s not what you do!  It’s all about recognizing that you all have taken me (us) through, to here, to now, to a better place and I love you!  You all have kept us going and we are not the same without each and every one of you. 

I am reminded; we are all in this together.  Where would we be without each other?  For us… nowhere, without you!  We all have stuff – is that fair to say?  With the extraordinary people in our lives, “stuff” seems a bit easier.  Our love, our thanks!

Thank you for reading.  Have a great week.  Angie

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Wonderfully Different

First, check out this link.  Two minutes of fabulous!!!

I will be the first to admit, I have seen the above link many times.  I am sharing it today because the most beautiful message is shared in this clip.  It's short, but powerful.  Oh yes, it's definitely about autism, but it's about so much more than that to me.  Each time I watch the video, my eyes fill with tears and my excitement, my adrenaline, soar.  The young man in the video, Jason McElwain, has autism, but doesn’t stop a bit short, with his performance, on the basketball court.

The coach is awesome; from my perspective, he ROCKS!  The coach decides for the last game of the season to have Jason suit up for the game, so he can feel what it is like to be in a jersey.  Then, surprisingly, the coach takes things one step further and puts Jason in the game.  Listen to the coach.... "Dear God, let's just get him a basket."  The coach could have left Jason sitting on the sideline, but he took a leap of faith and he wanted Jason to have this experience.  I believe this coach changed Jason's life, lifting his spirit, just by giving him these four little minutes!

There is much to be said for this basketball team too.  Did you notice, after Jason missed two baskets, his teammates continued to give him the ball?  I believe, the imperfection created an opportunity and showed us the true character of the people, advancing Jason, while changing the lives of everyone there.  Jason's teammates and the crowd go completely wild.  Jason shares, “he is used to feeling different, but never this different, never this wonderful.”

Can you remember the last time you felt wonderful?  Often, I find myself so caught up in the mission of seeking solutions for Alyssa, I feel more stressed and tired, than wonderful.  I might be guilty of taking it all too seriously.  You see, the coach could have taken the score of the game so seriously that Jason may not have got this opportunity, this chance of a lifetime, to step into the game and score the way he did.  I admire the coach for setting aside all the possible reasons that could have held him back from taking the plunge and putting Jason in the game. We are all on teams, whether it be at our work place, a sport, or even being a family.  I would like to say, there might be something wonderful about passing out water bottles and cleaning up the sweat, of whatever team you are on, because later the reward could be something sensational and offer a new outlook on life!

In today's society, it seems we can easily get caught up in the details, while missing out on the experience.  Just think, by taking a leap, we may all be on the cusp of a "wonderfully different" day.  Furthermore, our leaps could change many lives, more than just our own.  I would like to use the experience from this video to encourage one another to work more towards lifting each others spirits!!  On the same note, I want to help Alyssa enjoy her experiences, while allowing her to be different.  I hope Alyssa will get many chances to feel "some kind of wonderful", offered up by the treasured people in her life, those who wish, like we do, for her experiences, and spirit, to blossom, much like the vibrant flower she is!  

Thank you for reading and have a great week!  Angie