Legacy: Are you leaving the one you want?

What are some words that OTHERS use to describe you?

she-is-clothed-proverbs-31-25-taylan-soyturkHow do you want to be remembered? Does it matter to you? As a wife, mother and grandmother, the legacy I leave my family is very important to me.

In different stages of life, we think about what is urgent at the time. In my 20s, it was work, school and raising my son and daughter. In my 30s, I had a career, teens and a parent who needed me. I started over again and had a son at 38, imagine that. Oh yes, my 40s, a time of preparation. Now, I’m in my 50s (51 to be exact) and this is the best time of my life!!

I did gloss over an abusive relationship with the father of my children which lasted a lifetime. During that time, I did manage to obtain 3 college degrees and raise wonderful children who continue to bless me every day.

In 2014, I changed my story and moved an hour away from where I was born and raised. That decision changed my life.  It allowed me to discover who I was as a person; not a mother or employee. The two roles that defined me as a person my entire life. In 2015, I added a new role that I am loving: wife.

Today, I want to be remembered as loving wife committed to my husband; a mother who stood on principles and was able to survive the worst of times while shining my light preparing for the best to come. I want my grandbabies to remember the blankets I crochet, popsicles and all-nighters, and the special notes we share.

In the end, life is truly about relationships and I hope to add value to each person I come in contact with.

Make Today Count

Chat with you soon,

Renee

Free To Choose

Greetings, I hope all is well in your world. I’ve been supper busy!

The school year started with my son going to back to the school building. He was doing well for a moment, but, the stimulus and anxiety was too much for him to manage. He had great days and stressful days. He is managing mental health and physical health challenges. I’ve picked up my Learning Coach hat once again so that we can complete 8th grade.

As if being a teen isn’t enough to cause anxiety, children on the ASD spectrum struggle with an heighten sensibility. My son will be  participating in group sessions 30 minutes a day with a teacher and 3- 5 other students. Even though he is in the comfort of his home, the anxiety of being in a study setting with other students causes anxiety. His teacher told me that the groups are always small because, of course, all of the students are suffering from the same anxiety.

We are grateful for the freedom to choose this educational option.

What freedoms are you choosing in  your life? Sometimes it may feel like we have no choices. It is easy to get trapped in life patterns; making choices based on society and culture. In order to see the freedoms you have and the unique choices you can make, you must make an effort to investigate your desires, dreams and distant hopes.

Make today count! Explore your freedom and choices.

Chat with you soon,

Renee

 

An Apple a Day Will Not Keep This Doctor Away

Logo of the National Institute of Mental Health.
Logo of the National Institute of Mental Health. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When you are suffering from a bad cough or back pains you seek out a doctor’s opinion in order to regain your strength, lower your temperature, or stop coughing.  If you are like some people I know, you will go to the pharmacy and purchase an over-the-counter medication to feel comfortable.  Just as we take the time to tend to our physical health, we must also invest the time it takes to ensure our mental health is functioning at its best.

Imagine a child who depends on you for their mental health.  Although somewhat dated, the 1999 Mental Health Report from the Surgeon General indicates that “Four million children and adolescents in this country suffer from a serious mental disorder that causes significant functional impairments at home, at school and with peers. Of children ages 9 to 17, 21 percent have a diagnosable mental or addictive disorder that causes at least minimal impairment” (Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General, 1999).

In this wonderful journey of life, eight years ago I was blessed to care for a child that has developmental disabilities and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).  His mental health is a priority every day.   The latest research from the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network finds that “1 in every 110 eight-year old children were diagnosable for an ASD” (Autism, 2012). If he had a cold, I would make sure to serve him orange juice, hot soup and other remedies to comfort and restore his health.  In a week, life would go back to its usual routine.

Not so with his mental health.  I cannot take anything for granted.  If you are a parent of a child who looks normal and most times acts normal except for the occasional head banging, refusal to use the toilet and is content in his own fictional world, then I have a few tips to make your life easier.

  • TIP1:  Make sure your child’s teacher, principal, social worker, and special education team are on your team.  You are your child’s number one advocate and he or she needs you to reflect that when you communicate with the team.
  • TIP2: Educate your family about your child’s diagnosis.  Sometimes an unformed family member’s perspective of the actions of your child  can create the wrong idea about your child’s behavior.
  • TIP3:  Be prepared for what you will need to say when there is a public outburst.  Choose the words you use with your child and any adults who will have a comment or two.
  • TIP4: Remember you are not alone.  Use the resources available to you and your child.  In the state of Michigan, contact your local county mental health agency.  In Oakland County a good resource is the Community Living Services (http://www.comlivserv.com/oaklandcty.htm).  Mental Health America( http://www.nmha.org/) is a national organization with valuable information as well.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General. Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Mental Health, 1999.

National Institute of Mental Health.  Autism, 2012

The Journey of Freelance Writing

Cover of "The Journey"
Cover of The Journey

Writing has always been who I am as far back as I can remember.  As a child I had several diaries  with exciting stories of what I hoped to accomplished; accounts of reoccurring nightmares that plagued me for years;  blow-by-blow details of how I felt and viewed situations that were happening in my life and around me.   I discovered there is always something to write about.  When I opened my eyes, I discovered words in magazines, newspapers, sales papers, advertisements, websites, and the list goes on.  I began to see how I could become a part of this world were words are used to inform, delight, analyze, create, research and present.

In the blogs to follow you will see me focus more on my passions in life.  I will share tips on how to parent a child with autism spectrum disorder and how to use writing as a tool to heal from past hurts. In collaboration with my partner, my sister, Tisha we will also blog about tips to prepare students for their educational journey.  Finally, we will dive into life for women behind bars; what it means to be separated from children and love ones; and life after incarcerated.   Your feedback is always welcome and we look forward to future conversations with you.

Celebrating Life,

Renee

Why Do You Choose to Write?

Pencil
Pencil (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There is a story to be told.  It has been building over the last few months . . . the characters are coming to life and the plot is unfolding.

I have a wonderful recipe for dinner rolls to share.  It was handed down by my grandmother.  Perhaps a book of recipes is in my future.

My writers’ group met last Saturday and wow what a session it was.  The opportunity to build relationships with other writers is so important because of the support received.  I never feel alone being a part of this community.

When my son was diagnosed with autism, I decided to learn all I can.  I wrote an article, “Autism and Animation:  3 Tips to Engage Your Child” (http://voices.yahoo.com/autism-animation-3-tips-engage-10192509.html?cat=70 .)  A writer must be willing to learn.

Reading and writing in a quiet space . . . with jazz softly streaming through the room . . . releases stress, makes me happy, and fulfills my creative need.   Every day I strive toward my goal of healthy living.  It is important to develop a ritual, something that makes a writer feel comfortable or safe while writing.

Why do I choose to write?  I choose to write to tell stories, share information, build relationships, acquire new knowledge, and to meet my goal of health living!

Why do you choose to write?  Please leave a comment.