An Outward Expression of an Inward Decision.

9-11-22 Baptized in the gulf.

In 2019 I started a spiritual journey. I was in Puerto Morelos, a small fishing town in Mexico at a retreat to dream. The REAL reason I was there (I see now) was to be in the company of people who let me ask the hard questions without getting defensive.

  • How do you know that your daughters’ faith isn’t inherited?
  • Who the heck would sacrifice their child for the “free pass” of mankind’s sins? That’s just crazy pants!
  • The “church people” I know are some of the most judging people that exist, how can I be expected to follow hate?

I listened to personal testimonies and felt a yearning in my gut to be “chased” by Jesus, but still wasn’t ready to commit to anything. My entire life I had watched my Mother travel the world in search of truth. I was exposed to many religions, beliefs, & spiritual practices. Even to this day, she encourages me to find my own truth within my own journey.

For the next 3 years, I dug into the Word. I was given people who lived and breathed ministry to ask all of my questions. I questioned EVERYTHING. (Even today, I am STILL asking questions.) I also looked into who Jesus was in many different religions. There became no doubt in my mind that He walked the Earth, the question was “as who”?

I then started listening for the Holy Spirit. And boy oh boy I was led! Led to people, led to opportunities, led into abundance, and led back to the Lord. I was introduced to others in seasons of wanting to dig deeper into the Word and when that season passed, I was led to a new group of people digging in a different direction. God never left me alone with nobody to ask my questions to.

In August 2021, I started thinking about baptism. I have read many conflicting opinions if you needed to be baptized to get into heaven. For me, it was a difficult decision because I never want to commit or be locked into anything without full knowledge of what I am signing up for. I’ve seen many jump into faith because they needed something it offered, only to leave it later on. I am not judging their journey, I just like to be sure and by that time in my life, I realized the depth of what I was thinking of doing.

Up until this point, I had been reading my Bible daily. Completing Bible Study after Bible Study. I Tried a few churches only to feel “unqualified”. I even attended the children’s Bible study classes when I first started because I knew NOTHING. Covid hitting was probably a blessing because so many churches went online. I was able to start my own relationship with the Lord. I was able to watch many different sermons and expand my knowledge via many sources.

I started praying. We’ve always said what we were thankful for at dinner and if I was worried about something I would pray, but this was a serious “Let’s have a cup of coffee & get to know each other” kind of praying. I shared what I loved, what I didn’t understand, and what I was excited about or wrestling with. I thanked the Lord for every single thing and reminisced or reminded myself of all the ways He already showed up in my life. I often remember the bad things people say/do, yet am very forgetful of the good and so I wanted to make sure that good was always in front of my face.

He made me laugh. Yes, our Lord above has a sense of humor.

In September 2022 I was heading back to Mexico for another dream retreat, and looking at how far I had come in 3 years was astonishing. I had been tossing around how being baptized where it all began would be poetic, yet I was still leary. The devil was chasing me and doing everything he could to prevent it from happening.

My doubts:

  • This is a different path from my Mother~ who is the human I most respect. She spent years searching for her truth and found it, why wouldn’t I just start where she ended? She literally traveled the Earth and saw with her own eyes the representation of many spiritual practices.
  • What if I change my mind. What if, like so many before me, I start to doubt and walk away.
  • What about all the “Believers” who hate as much as they believe? How could I ever put myself in a situation to be associated with them? – This one stung badly.
  • I had the guilt for past sins. I wasn’t worthy. (I actually confessed these out loud for the first time in my life to 4 incredible women. They didn’t run, they got closer and shared with me their pasts. This moment I will treasure forever. Thank you, ladies)

My truths:

  • I have researched more than most.
  • I know within the love I crave and it is from HIM.
  • I am whole, alone. He will never forsake me & will use my life for good.
  • I have surrendered myself, the well-being of my children, and where I am placed in this world to Him.

Then I prayed. I shared my desire to get baptized, but I needed it to be okay in my head – away from hate, judgment, and the ignorance that so many claim as their faith.

God showed up.

I was talking to the man at the retreat who was ordained about what I was wrestling with & I find out a woman at the retreat was also ordained.

She loves Jesus. She loved hearing what each person at the retreat had to say as if they were the only other person in the room. She validated and empowered. She reminded me so much of my Momma. She was love. She is love, and she LOVES the Lord. She also is a lesbian. Although that is an irrelevant fact to me, it is important because it brings my spiritual journey full circle. It was the final gift from the Lord above to say:

“It’s okay Tiffany, you can do this now. Here is the last piece of my “all-acceptance” you needed to bring it all together and I welcome you into my family.”

It had nothing at all to do with her, but with me… being so wrapped up in the hate I see out there. I’m not writing for a debate of what is right or wrong, just testifying that in order for me to “sign up” I didn’t want to have to hate. Non-negotiable.

I walk into my newfound relationship with the Lord with pure LOVE. He is LOVE. We are Love. We are all his children and I chose love.

I’ve been internally struggling with sharing this because I know so many of you will disagree. But I am not here to fight. I am here to love. I am here to share. I give my battles to the Lord. He fights for me now. I just pray. (Watch the movie “War room“) and you will see what I mean).

This is my story. My Spiritual Journey.

Bubbles under the water are from me 🌊💛

What are you willing to endure to find the peace you long for?

Deep thoughts while dreaming in Mexico.

I’m Sorry, really.

With growth, comes remorse.

Over the past two years, I have slowly eliminated people, places, things, habits, hobbies, & jobs from my life. I’ve created space that I am in no hurry to fill back up. I find as I become older, with my spiritual journey as a prime focus, my circle keeps getting smaller and smaller. Not because I don’t love people, places, jobs, habits, etc… But because they keep me complacent. I’ve also noticed my awareness is extremely enhanced and I start to see words, actions, and behaviors I had said/done in the past that wasn’t the very best version of myself. My brokenness prompted behaviors that were hurtful.

“Hurt people hurt people”.
If I ever hurt you, I’m sorry.

I also am able to see more clearly, at times when I was hurt and I took it personally – when it was instead somebody else’s brokenness projected onto me.
If you hurt me, all is forgiven.

This isn’t a blame game blog… This is me fully owning my shit and feeling the disappointment I have within – even though I didn’t know any better at the time – that I can see clearly that I may have been hurtful in the past. Hurtful to family, friends, coworkers, neighbors, random people in the public, etc.

However, let’s talk about the thing that has come up over a dozen times in the last week. The icky grey area where you know people, jobs, etc aren’t bringing out the best in you, but you don’t want to “hurt feelings” by letting them go.

I have no idea why it took me so long to “draw that line in the sand” and “put up those river banks so I’m not swampy” and finally CREATE boundaries!

  • Why, as humans are we SO AFRAID of the response or opinions of others, that we continue to stay miserable or content as we are.
  • Why aren’t we fighting for who we were created to be?
  • Why is it a negative thing to rid of toxicity and control the space around you?


It’s like we are so afraid to offend those who are destroying us, that we stay put. (Read that again…)
In what world does that even make sense!?

Defending your space is NOT stirring the pot or causing drama. Wanting to be happy is NOT a guilty or gluttonous desire. Yes, change is scary. Walking away from friendships, jobs, and a way of life you’ve known for too long can trigger moments of doubt and disappointment
BUT
I guarantee once you get over that bridge, you will be asking yourself what took you so long. Maybe not right away, but as the stress fades, the habits die, and the feeling you owe anyone anything (besides yourself) diminishes… You will be walking in peace. A calm you haven’t known – or forgot even existed.

If you were brave enough to create those boundaries and let go of what no longer serves you with the possibility of residual negative feedback, I am so stinkin’ proud of you! I am proud of your desire to control what is in your space and what takes up your time. I am proud of you for loving yourself more than the hate you may receive for choosing YOU!

🎇🎉YOU are the ONLY person who has to live with YOU for the rest of your life! Don’t give others the POWER over your happiness! Reclaim that power and LOVE the Life you Live! ✨🌼🌞

My Autism Story, Part 8 – The Ugly Nobody Talks About.

They understood each other.

Today I want to share a passage I wrote while I was in the trenches. Please know I would not change my children for the world. They are EXACTLY who God created them to be. This was a time in my life that I was struggling and lost and felt so very alone. While the rest of my friends and cousins my age were out building empires and getting degrees, I was trying to find my footing in a world that didn’t know how to help. I wasn’t able to get a babysitter, go out with friends, or leave the house. I don’t want you to feel sorry for me. I am just trying to bring awareness. Maybe you have been here. Maybe you have felt guilty for having feelings like these. It’s okay, friend. I’ve been there too.

~~~~~~~~~~ You may want tissues, I cried while typing.

Autism SUCKS! It is inconvenient, socially inappropriate, and INTENSE. As a parent, it was heartbreaking to me at first. It put a HUGE toll on & ended my already broken marriage.

Now, being a “parent” meant more than putting your kids first. It meant stopping your whole “YOU” to dedicate every single second, yes second… to a person who won’t look at you, can’t talk to you, and has no awareness of anything around them. A person YOU CREATED – with no acknowledgment of your hard work. No progress to “report”. Nobody around you understands. There is no way for anyone to even comprehend. Unless you are physically “in the trenches”, pouring your soul into that what you love most & seeing almost no results.

I am mad. I am bitter and angry and have resentment towards EVERY SINGLE PERSON who isn’t in my shoes.

  • I am mad that Dad gets to leave the house and go to work. Or skip out on most of his “visitation days” to start dating again, while I am locked in my damn apartment trying to stay sane.
  • I am bitter that my friends have vanished. They are busy with playgroups and swim lessons and all the things we can’t effin’ do because just leaving the house puts my kids into a frenzied whirl that will affect us for days.
  • I am furious that “family” cannot handle my children or who I’ve become while in the trenches. “It’s a culture shock” “It’s too much” “You are mentally unstable.”
  • I am jealous (REALLY REALLY JEALOUS) that relatives are all having kids too, and they are all healthy ~ Reaching milestones, and getting to enjoy all the “firsts” that I don’t even know will ever come for me.

I feel like I am being punished. Why me?! Why not her? Her family has money to get more support than I have. Why not him? He did all sorts of crazy shit growing up that may inflict bad genes.

What did I do so wrong to have my life’s freedom stripped away so intensely that I cannot even go get a cup of coffee? Why do I have to watch my son scream with anger and hold him down so he doesn’t hurt himself or us – just because he couldn’t get toys to stack the way he wanted? Why does this feel like a life sentence?? I love my children with my entire being and my love isn’t enough. I cannot make the anger stop. I cannot get the screaming to stop. I cannot get the … Autism… to stop.

So on top of all this loathing – let’s bring on the judgment of the “Experts”.

Every single Autistic person is different, and the world does not even know what causes autism or the best way to “handle it.” ( I say that rolling my eyes). Our house was Grand Central Station with therapists, case workers, etc… All wanting to try things that “might work”. Me saying: “Yes, we will try anything.” because I had fear within that the one thing I didn’t try would be the “cure” to it all. Pretty soon you’ve got an exhausted Momma on anti-depressants who cried alone regularly.

One day I was sitting at the dining room table looking at the list of people who were supposed to come that day for the kids and I just closed my eyes. I was at the end. I was way past overwhelmed and struggling to maintain. This wasn’t me being a good Mom. This was me doing what society says I should, at all costs for my children. But was it worth us being rundown and weak? Why would my kids want to interact with anyone who was trying to change them? Isn’t there a better way to help them grow and find themselves? I then started crossing people off my list.

  • Is this working for either of my kids?
  • Have I seen improvements, even small ones?
  • Are they happy while doing it?
  • What areas did they enjoy that brought them into our world?
  • What was I doing just because “someone” said it worked for “someone” somewhere out in the world and they wanted to use my kids as guinea pigs to see if they could get it to work too?
  • Whose best interest was a priority? My children or the “experience” this would give someone with this Autism thing.

Don’t get me wrong, I know it is trial and error for each child, but how long do you keep trying? How many months/years can they scream in protest with me just watching? I was shamed for this. I was told I was making a mistake of a lifetime. I was “that Mom” when talking to therapists. The one who didn’t know… didn’t love enough … and was being selfish. Hindsight, I think they were upset they lost a client more than the well-being of my children that they claimed.

It is normal to have a limit on what we are able to endure. No matter what anyone EVER tells you… You as the parent know what is best for YOUR child. I am not a bad parent or weak for stopping half of the therapies. I am not a bad parent for wanting them to learn through play, even if it is parallel play. I do believe early intervention is the most important time. I gave two years of my life slaving away at it because I love my children more than ANYTHING in this world. As much as my family calls me “Super Mom”, “Warrior Mom” or “Wonder Woman”, as many capes as I have in my closet, I am still human.

#ThursdayAutismAwareness
I will be sharing Autism testimony every Thursday.
I have 21 years of experience.

September 7th, 1946 ~ Love was in the Air

June 1956, Neenah, Wisconsin.

Marriage: a legally and socially sanctioned union.

I’ve been married twice. The first time, I was young and it was alright until I realized it wasn’t. I did get my two older kids though and that made it all worthwhile. After that, I never wanted to get married again. It was like a checklist.

Marriage ✅

Boxed checked, no need to revisit that. I dated a bit and always stumbled when we got the part about my 2 autistic kids. Honestly, I blame nobody for that. That is a serious amount of baggage. I may have steered clear myself if roles were reversed.

When I started seeing my current husband, it was more about sharing life together, kids included. He traveled a lot for work and we would hop in the van during the summer and drive to wherever he was. He took us to Dino cafes & dig sites, Build-a-Bear, Mini Golf, alligator feedings, and whatever fun attractions were nearby. He played with them and valued who they are. We talked about marriage and it was never really a priority for me. A couple years later, I found myself pregnant. I was happy. He was a good man and would be an amazing Father, but I still didn’t need to get married. In fact, now I didn’t want to because I didn’t want him to think he HAD to because of the baby. Yes, he wanted to marry me before I was pregnant, I just didn’t want to risk divorce again.

The summer before Xander turned one, I finally agreed. It was important to him. He wanted a full family. He even wanted to adopt my older children. Since then we’ve had some serious highs and lows. He has never faltered. His unwavering love reminds me of my Grandparents.

My Grandfather loved my Grandmother unconditionally through all of her trials. He supported her creativity and they spent so much time together bird watching all over the country, gardening, and attending concerts. They spent many summers in Michigan at the very cottage that revives my soul each year.

He loved her deeply. My husband loves me deeply. That kind of deeply. Through all my brokenness. He is here encouraging me to write, paint, read, & evolve into the person that the Lord needs me to be. I share this today because today is my Grandparents’ wedding anniversary. A true example of love. I hope they are slow dancing in Heaven.

September 7th, 1946 – The wedding anniversary of an incredible couple.

What Are You Reading This Week?

This week I have been painting more & reading less, but I still made time for a couple of books!

The Woman in the Library ~ I loved how this was cleverly written! Halfway through the book, I was distracted by a BIG event, and I wasn’t able to figure out who did it until the last second. I enjoyed it.

That Holiday Feeling / Under the Christmas Tree (Nate & Annie) Christmas, Snow and Puppies!! A cute short story by Robynn Carr – Book 7.5/8 of the series.

Forbidden Falls – (Noah & Ellie) A Reverand buys a church off of eBay!?!? Then hires an ex-exotic dancer to help! This story (and Ellie’s Grandmothers sayings) was a breath of fresh air. Book #9 of the Virgin River Series.

What’s up next?!

What are YOU Reading!?

My Magnificent ‘Paint By Numbers’ Painting of Rainy London at Night! ~ Just because I need someone to tell me where the colors go doesn’t make it less fun or Artsy LOL!

Soup Season

It’s 7:30am and the entire house smells like Easter ham 🥰

I have been making soup the past few weeks despite it still being in the High 80s and 90s. I started making soup years ago because it was a great way to feed the kids and me on a very low budget.

I often say I was born in the wrong generation. I think because I went without for so long, I have become a person who doesn’t like to waste anything. It’s similar to the years of the great depression when your coffee is weaker, you add more water to the soup to make it last a little longer, leftovers are thrown together to create a casserole or pot of soup~ or we freeze it to use in something later on. I still live like this today. My husband often reminds me that it is no longer necessary for me to keep the 1.5 cups of shredded chicken from taco night – but I do. For Taco Soup or Dorito casserole in the future. (Ziplock Company will stay in business because of me and my addiction to their freezer bags.) During the pandemic, my friends often joked that they would be staying at my house if things got really bad because of how I am with things like this.

Today I am simmering the ham bone from our 2022 Easter Ham in a pot of beans. It will make about 2 gallons of Bean and Ham soup. I will keep some out to eat for the next few days and freeze the rest for the winter months. I don’t really use recipes. I also REALLY like to know what is in my food and so I try to keep it to basic ingredients. Stray away from preservatives. (Not looking for a debate, just very aware of what goes into my family’s bodies) We also make homemade bread in our bread machine 5 days a week. (Xander is on a toast kick right now) ~ the same thing, with ingredients I can pronounce. Those recipes I will share later on. 🍞🥯🥨🥐

Here’s the core of the ingredients for three of our favorites:

Bean & Ham Soup ~ Ham Bone, Dried 15 beans, Onion, Garlic, Salt, Pepper, Water.

Baked Potato Soup ~ Baked Potatoes – scoop out the inside. *Baked potatoes taste different than boiled potatoes… fight me LOL*, butter & flour for a roux, onion, bacon, garlic, milk, whipping cream, salt & pepper. ~ Sometimes we add cheese too!

Veggie Beef Soup ~ Veggies you have in your fridge or canned veggies, a gallon of V-8, taco seasoning, water & whatever beef you have frozen or in your fridge from leftovers.

You don’t have to be a chef or culinary pro to be able to make a delicious soup. There is something satisfying about creating something from raw ingredients. Maybe these three will inspire you to give it a whirl. ~Perhaps research recipes with actual amounts until you get the hang of what your flavor palette enjoys.

If you are already a master in the kitchen and looking for a new soup to try, here are some of my friends’ favorite recipes.

Sausage Tortellini Soup

Cabbage Roll Soup

Slow Cooker Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Have a favorite soup recipe?! I’d love to try it!

Galactic Birthday

Giving me ALL the feels!

14,197 days ago, my Husband was born. I talked about his awesomeness last week, but last night as I was reading through an old journal of my Grandmothers’ (Which I’ve been slowly reading chronologically) I realize the page I’m reading, was written on the exact day he was born. Friday, September 2nd, 1983.

These little “God Winks” or “signs” always make me warm and fuzzy inside. Almost like a gift from the universe.

“I see you, Tiffany.”

“You are exactly where you are supposed to be.”

On this particular day, My Grandmother played the organ for a wedding that morning. She said “Hearing the exact words that were spoken at our (Her and my Grandfathers’) wedding made me realize what we had promised to “be” for each other ~ “Cherishing” in sickness & health ~ For better or worse ~ That’s the name of the game alright!”

Ironic it all happened the day my husband came earthside? I won’t be offended if this puts me in the cuckoo column, but things like this, to me, are like being hugged by something far bigger than I could ever comprehend.

But there’s more.

My Grandmother went on to share details about her day, and at the end of her entry she says ” We had smelt & salad for supper ~ Played the recorder til late ~ then went out in the yard to see if I could see any falling stars ~ I didn’t, but I did see Cassiopeia and the Big Dipper ~ It’s a lovely still balmy evening.”

If you know anything about my husband & me ~ it’s that we started off conquering the galaxy together. So to read about her reflecting on a marriage that lasted over 59 years, while she also is finding solace in the stars… It invoked a really great feeling.

Here is her short poem from that night:

“To make the stars “home”

we pattern their shining

in the huge darkened dome

of the sky.

There’s the Big Dipper

and Cassiopeia

from her chair

is gazing nearby.

Making meaning by naming

the patterns of the stars

gives a sense of belonging

in this odd world of ours.”

Poem by Faith L. Sanders

My Autism Story, Part 7 – And Then There Were Two.

My whole world.

I remember taking Preston to the pediatrician and voicing concerns about Preston also showing signs of Autism. Maybe I had a heightened sense of awareness, maybe I was looking for it since I felt I had failed my first child when I didn’t know something was wrong.

At the appointment, the doctor walked in and said “Hello, I hear we have concerns that Preston has delays as well. I have NEVER heard of any family having more than one autistic child in their family, but let’s see what we’ve got here”

8 months later we had a second diagnosis.

I would also like to share that about a year later that same pediatrician said to me “It’s not surprising at all, I read about many families with multiple children on the spectrum” This is when I knew, I was paving the way in more ways than one.

The beautiful and terrible thing about Autism is that each person is different. What works for one, might not for another. Where one struggles, the next may excel. I know many parents hate when there are “Rain Man” references, but that is what was said a LOT to describe his personality. Especially in my eyes, he was BRILLIANT – compared to everything I had experienced with my daughter.

But with the good came the bad. My son wasn’t happy. At least with Trinity, there was laughter and smiles within “Trinity World”. She had joy. Preston seemed uncomfortable within his own skin. He had a constant state of anxiety or rage bubbling. He was quick to anger – not just to others, but to himself.

He also was frickin’ Houdini! He would run faster than Speedy Gonzales. After my first marriage ended, I was living in an apartment. I had a deadbolt lock, chain lock, AND a keyed lock from the inside (I wore the key around my neck). I remember one winter day I had just brought stuff home from the store and had to use the bathroom right away. I locked the deadbolt and chain, but couldn’t wait to do the key. I ran to the bathroom and less than a minute later I hear the door slam. I RAN! That little stinker pulled a dining room chair to the door, unlocked the locks, and ran away in less than 60 seconds – HE WAS 4 years old!! And he was gone! In a diaper, in the winter cold. I looked for 3 minutes and called the police right away! He was found 15 minutes after the police came and that was the scariest thing I’ve ever been through in my life.

I have a lot to share about my experiences with Preston, but I think it’s best to spread them out. Behavioral health is tricky and resources were nonexistent. He has had a hard journey and it wasn’t because he was bad. It was just how he was made. **Spoiler ** He turns out just fine. I just like to focus on the positives. We all have our ish right?!

These two were my only priority. I lived and breathed FOR them. If not me, then who?

#ThursdayAutismAwareness
I will be sharing Autism testimony every Thursday.
I have 21 years of experience.

Oye! ST00Pid Weight

Weight journey documentation.

I feel like a broken record coming here AGAIN with my tail between my legs because I am uncomfortable within my skin. Why should any of my variables be the exception for grace? (Grace to myself, Grace from others ~ and I know, I know – The opinion of others doesn’t matter.) I have a MILLION excuses as to why I am no longer the 6-pack-ab wearing hottie I once was. Maybe for you, you never were. OR maybe you are exactly the same since high school? (I have compassion for WHATEVER your story is)

I haven’t seen that body since I was 33. (12 years ago)

It went something like this:

  • I am 5’9 and in 2010 I was 160 pounds. Perfect BMI range.
  • Then I moved from Arizona to Michigan. Less physical activity in the cold and more drinking and eating brought me to 185-ish.
  • In 2013 I had my 3rd child. Then I was 215 – Slowly it would rise and fall to 210-230.
  • Finally, menopause stuff starts up, and all of a sudden I am 240! 80 pounds in 10 years!
  • I go on weight watchers and lose 30 pounds! woo hoo~
  • Then I miss periods and start hormone therapy to help balance out depression stuff and boom! I see 250 pounds for the first time in my life.

I find myself discouraged. All my hard work is gone. I have no energy for anything more than my responsibilities. I have wished time and time again that reading, writing, painting, or anything having to do with one’s mind… somehow burned the same amount of calories as a cardio session.

I am now at a point in my life where I have so many factors swirling around me, that I don’t have the control of my weight as I may have had at one point. So “Way to go, Tiffany! You blew your shot while you were in your youth”. My family is a plethora of beautiful creatures. For real, they could be their own modeling company. They are also intelligent and successful. I have had this conversation with my Mom hundreds of times. “Their path is not my path. None of them have been dealt my hand or I theirs. Who knows how they would be now if they were parents of disabled children & single & broke.” – Oh look, more excuses. The evil voice in my head assures me, they would still be beautiful and a CEO of a major company.

The next thoughts this provokes in me are ~ I just left a job of 7 years and in hindsight wished I would have done it years earlier. I felt like I wasted so much time staying put instead of living my best life. So maybe I am here UNsilently suffering when I should be getting off my butt and doing something. I have so many friends who have tried bypass surgery, who work at health clubs, and who find how to be active and not feel miserable. I just cannot find anything that feels right. I walked on my treadmill yesterday and the whole thing was just stupid.

I should probably mention I am afraid. My hips and joints are now hurting, undoubtedly because of the extra weight. I am afraid I will die before I can get my older two set up for when I am gone. I am afraid that my organs are being smushed and I am slowly killing myself. You’d think with all this fear I could muster up the gumption to just stop eating as much & just start walking/running/swimming – ANYTHING.

But I’m sad. Maybe just feeling sorry for myself and feeling the “Failure” within. I have NO excuse. I am just tired. I am trying to hold it all together to do what needs to be done.

I share this with you because I know I’m not alone in this.

  • I see you too, exhausted from giving your all day after day.
  • I see you having an extra 30 minutes to do anything and you choose to sit.
  • I see you teaching, cooking, driving, working, paying bills, cleaning, and just trying to fit it all in.
  • I see you supporting all of those people around you and slowly sinking at the end of the day with not enough energy for yourself.

I see you.

I feel all of that.

You are not alone.

My Autism Story, Part Six.

Talking, No Talking, Talking.

When Trin was young, she said “Mum Mum”, “baa baa” and “Up”. Around 15 months of age, she stopped. No more words. She didn’t speak again until she was 4 & a half. We started using sign language. Simple things like “more” “all done” “yes” and “no”.

One of the therapies she took was Oral Motor. Definition: Oral-motor exercises are specialized exercises that aim to improve the strength, control, and coordination of the oral muscles (tongue, lips, vocal folds, and the jaw).  She would chew & bite on devices and there were sensory things like tiny sponges on a stick that we would dip in juice and rub on the side of her mouth. Honestly, the staff was amazing and the lady developing this 20 years ago was groundbreaking and determined to help.

During these therapies, we realized that Trin was unable to “blow”. She wasn’t able to control the breath escaping her mouth which was probably why she wasn’t talking. (Or we prayed it was that “easy”)

She must have been able to before if she spoke before, right? So much is unknown as to WHY this skill was lost.

We did 20-minute sessions twice a day. Our house was filled with bubbles, horns, and party blowers. We had milk with straws at every meal and would encourage her to try blowing bubbles in her milk. We would play “Happy UnBirthday” weekly to see if she would blow out the candles. This went on for almost 2 years.

Then one day I was in the living room and I hear a squeaking noise. I get up and start looking around the house and I remember stopping in the hallway and thinking “Oh My Goodness… Could it be?!!?” Sure enough, Trinity was sitting in her closet blowing a toy horn!!!

A week later, she called me “Mum Mum”. I never knew if I’d ever hear those words again. 💙💛💚

#ThursdayAutismAwareness
I will be sharing Autism testimony every Thursday.
I have 21 years of experience.

The One God Made For Me.

Today I write about a man I don’t ever want to live without. My husband.

In 2012, I played an MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role play game) video game on my computer (SWTOR- Star Wars the Old Republic). As a single mother of 2 autistic children, I needed a pastime that was in my home & also provided socialization. Going anywhere was a nightmare and respite & child care was a constant battle.

I spent years defending the galaxy with people all over the world. I was a healer. Shocking I know, taking care of others in the trenches. I participated in a LOT of PVP (player vs. player) battles and having a healer was essential. I didn’t suck and was asked to tag along all of the time. I found people I enjoyed. We all had our reasons for gaming. I actually met a lot of other parents of disabled kiddos. Then I met a man. We accomplished many things in the virtual world. We became household names on our server. (I wasn’t the best, but he may have been close LOL yolo) My name was Cuore. His name was Tae.

Inside an Imperial Destroyer

Finally one spring in April we decided to meet in person. He was in St. Louis for business and God himself threw together a dozen people to handle my kids for 5 days. It was bizarre meeting him LOL. It’s funny how you can talk with someone for hours each day and yet – being face to face is like starting from the beginning.

10 months later we decide to live together. The kids call him Mister Tae.

He was the first man to ever intentionally be a part of my children’s lives.

He was there:

  • When Trin was having MRIs for cysts in her brain.
  • When she got her period.
  • At EVERY SINGLE Special Olympic practice.
  • When Preston sang the National Anthem at multiple venues.
  • To teach them how to ride scooters.
  • Every Christmas he spent all the money he received as a gift, back on the kids – He wanted them to have everything they wanted.
  • To take Preston to the Movies and they played video games together.
  • To read to them at night and talked to them every evening at dinner about their day.
  • When the schools failed us.
  • At the ER/doctor when they got sick.
  • When they cried from frustration.
  • Dancing to Pikachu and Charlie the Unicorn Music.
  • Jumping waves in Lake Michigan.

And… a million other things. He was always there. He was there on the worst days when it would have been so much easier to leave. He chose us. He chose THEM. He chose to stay.

Find someone you can be silly with.

I am not the easiest person to love. I will be the first to admit this. I left my first marriage. I’m sure it was a relief for us both. I was different after having kids. The depression I had as a teen was amplified after childbirth. I am surprised we lasted as long as we did. I have baggage from childhood and I would rather have been alone the rest of my life than staying and making us both miserable. I will say, however – my first husband never asked me to stay. I’m not shaming him for that. Just noting a difference.

Mister Tae, James, Alex – He goes by many names in our home. He has seen me at my absolute worst. He has seen me ready to die. He has seen me fail, be ugly, & stuck in darkness. He also has been the one there to pull me out. He is loyal to a level I can only compare to God not forsaking us. My Husband loves me like I’ve never known love. He wants me to succeed, be happy & thrive. He wants me to have everything – lucky for him I am a minimalist LOL! He loves to travel as much as I do and will book us flights at a drop of a hat for a quick getaway. He is kind and takes care of me in a way I have been failed to by others, over and over again. I know God’s plan is perfect. I know I am exactly where I need to be to do His best work. I feel fully accepted, unfathomably loved & undeniably fortunate.

Allē Starlight Lounge on 66 – Las Vegas
Cancun, Mexico

Mister Tae asked me to marry him a million times. This story is for another time, but after a few years, I finally agreed. This Friday will be our 8th Wedding Anniversary. It’s been messy and wonderful and hard and adventurous. He still makes me laugh and I can still make him blush. Cheers to many more!

A Summer Breeze

Sketch by Faith L. Sanders, August 18th, 1973

A poem by Faith L. Sanders ~ Thursday, September 8, 1983

A southern breeze

through wide-open window

is ruffling the curtains tonight

It blows in my bedroom

fresh – fanning my face ~

a whispered caress of delight.

This summery breeze

on its fanciful fling

is fickle as fall evenings near.

And so I resolve

I will not think ahead

but bask in its warmth while it’s here.

NEW!

Question of the day!

My Autism Story, Part Five.

My Bathing Beauty

Me: “Hi Mom! The doctor just called and said the baby does not have down syndrome and she’s a GIRL!”

Mom: “Oh Tiffany I am so happy. Thank Goodness!”.

Me: “I am so excited! A baby Girl! YAY! Time to buy Pink tutus!! Will you let everyone up there know we have a healthy baby girl on the way please?”

Mom: “Yes, I will call Grandma first! This is such wonderful news!”

I think about this conversation often. I was one of the many women who had a false positive alpha-fetoprotein test. I had an amniocentesis to check the baby’s risk of birth defects and genetic disorders, such as neural tube defects or Down syndrome. I remember hanging magazine pictures of children and babies with down syndrome on my kitchen cabinets. I was ready to love my baby no matter how she was born & was processing it all in my head.

After the call, I thought the worst was over. I assumed I was in the clear.

How naive? Presumptuous? How wrong I was to think those were the only defects that were on the table. Maybe just inexperienced? Young? Maybe I just thought I was “Untouchable” because my entire family was healthy.

Looking back I see how insignificant I am. How limited my knowledge is. God trumps all of my plans. Life is never what we think it will be.

And yet, everything is perfect.

This was the first of many situations in that I began to realize we are all part of something bigger where anything is possible. Odds are bigger than they seem and I am not exempt from anything. But with each wave, I will flow with it all.

#ThursdayAutismAwareness
I will be sharing Autism testimony every Thursday.
I have 21 years of experience.

SOMETHING NEW! 👇

Question of the DAY!

What We’re Reading Wednesday

2022 Books read. ~ Not including digital and audio.

We are BIG readers in our home. Here is what we are reading now~

Virgin River – Whispering Rock ~ The 3rd book in the Virgin River Series. A love story with Brie and Mike. **SPOILER** (Different from the Netflix series that has Brie with Brady.) Tiffanys’ book!

Magnus Chase – and the Gods of Asgard ~ The 4th book in the series. Prestons’ Book!

Watership Down ~ Trinity is rereading this. One of her favorite characters “Big Wig” has been in “Trinity World” for years. Read about “Trinity World” HERE!

Skippyjon Jones – Lost in Spice ~ Preston gave his old books to Xander and he is loving the adventures of this cat that thinks he is a Chihuahua!

The Illusion of Money ~ James and I are reading this together a chapter at a time. I know I shared this before, but we are still working our way through it. He has been out of town and we only read when together. It isn’t about money really, but about false truths from your past preventing you from living in abundance. SO GOOD!

I’d love to know what you are reading.

Also, something new 👇👇

❓❔QUESTION OF THE DAY❔❓

My Forgiveness Journey, Part Six.

Floating in Peace.

As I heal, I find peace. I have fully embraced my past. Embraced the pain & let down, and felt all of the emotions. I have grieved and told the little girl within me that all her feelings are valid and she was safe to feel all of those feelings. To cry it out, to get mad, to go through the emotional scale.

Then there is calm and I am “floating”. The peace I have now was worth feeling all of the pain. This whole time I thought I had dealt with it, but I had unreleased deeply suppressed emotions within. I still get triggers sometimes, but it’s NOTHING compared to before. I sit in the trigger, feel out the pain and repeat the healing process.

Making space in my life, to deal with this head-on (crying for weeks) was the BEST thing I’ve ever done for my mental health. Removing myself from everything that chipped away at my self-worth, has saved my life. Literally! I know realistically, that most people cannot just walk away from their job. Most people don’t have the ability to STOP life to deal with past trauma.

When I look back though, I am overflowing with relief and I cannot even fathom living out my days the way I have the last 4 years. I even feel like I wasted so much time suffering. We get ONE LIFE. Why are we muddling through trying to survive instead of dealing with our ISH and reclaiming our joy? I am ashamed I even thought I wasn’t strong enough to get to the other side of forgiveness. That I thought I could push it aside and ignore the pain. Or half deal with it – until I was distracted from Life and stopped.

Until it is dealt with – in your face – until you have felt it all and worked through the healing process – It WILL keep resurfacing. To take a few months out of my life to ensure the REST of my life will be full of love and peace, was worth it! I wish I would have faced the music years ago, but I know God’s plan is always perfect timing.

For the past couple of weeks, I have been so full of love. I notice I have more patience. A calm listening ear. I am more gentle. I started writing letters of kindness to people who have touched my life. I feel that this is a second chance and I want to do my part to bring sunshine vibes and good into the world. I’ve even started a Facebook group that’s sole purpose is to lift people up! Feel free to seek it out when you have a case of the blues.

I love my life again. Every inch of it.

This doesn’t mean I am not frustrated with menopause stuff or Stupid IEPs for the kids or that my husband doesn’t drive me bananas, it means I am a walking being of love. My entire view of what surrounds me has shifted. I forgive those who’ve brought me pain. I can say their name out loud finally and not feel sick to my stomach. I wish them all well and abundant happiness. It’s been a journey for sure, and like I said above, I still get triggers. But the worst is over.

I’m not sure how much more I will write in this forgiveness series. Maybe I will share AHA’s I get from my many books or any “Tiffany Epiphanies” I have from triggers yet to surface. But I want to thank you for sharing this rough road and seeing me through it. Hopefully, all that is left is Smoooooth Sailing.

School, ugh. IEPs, merp.

It’s that time of year again…

One of the biggest challenges I’ve had in my adult life is the struggle it is to have open communication with schools. Throw in IEPs and teachers who get personally offended when I ask questions and you have an armageddon.

This isn’t an “Autism” post per se because my youngest was diagnosed with Pervasive Development Disorder – PDD. Diagnosis is different from 20 years ago – now there are a million labels under the umbrella of “Autism Spectrum Disorder”.

School stuff causes me extreme anxiety. I’ve been doing IEPs for 17 years (my daughter got her 1st one at 3 years old and she is now 20). I know the policies and procedures and rules and laws. You would be surprised how many people are placed in a position they know NOTHING about and expect the parents to just sign. “Just sign it, it’s fine.”

  • I was supposed to give you a 10-day notice invitation to discuss the IEP, but I gave you 24 hours. “Just sign it, it’s fine.”
  • Even though I am about to wave your rights and say you declined to show. “Just sign it, it’s fine”
  • And we are going to leave everything the same as it was last year since you aren’t here to talk about it and that is what is easiest for us. “Just sign it, it’s fine.”
  • I have 60 more of these to do – and even though it’s MY JOB – which I wouldn’t even have if it wasn’t for your children, let’s just move along to the next kid. “Just sign it, it’s fine”

Oye Oye Oye~ !!!

Xander is going into third grade and this is the first year he would be eligible to be “held back”. He also has more testing this year than he has ever had in his school career. He is not mainstream (grade level skills) ~ YET. I knew all of this coming into the year and it had a great influence on my decision to walk away from my job. Last year it was difficult to run my business while spending hours a day making sure he comprehended the daily lessons. I know firsthand that early intervention is EXTREMELY important and while he is young, it is the most crucial time to get him caught up. My kids will always be my #1 priority and I couldn’t do it all.

The whole reason I share this topic today is that I had a chaotic morning with school stuff. Xander was moved to a different school a few days ago by accident which spiraled into a whole mess of Speech/Occupational Therapy and regular classes tornado cluster. I reached out to the new teachers, praying I wasn’t the annoying “in their face” parent. Even I hate that parent. But I had no idea what to do and it is my responsibility to get Xander into his classes. The new teachers were so kind. (enneagram 2 or 9’s I think LOL) and figured it all out. And they gave me a small bit of news that the “Just sign it, it’s fine.” lady NO LONGER works at the school! PRAISE GOD!

I walk into each school year with kindness in my heart, wanting to get along and work as a team to get my kids the best education that works for them, and I was terrified this mess would ruin these brand new relationships for the rest of the year.

My point: Hey Autism parents, I see you. I know sometimes it’s easier to get along and to “Just sign it, it’s fine.” and let them read to you what they think is best. But I am giving you permission to ask questions if things don’t seem right. I am cheering you on if you think there is an error OR you have a better idea and you bring it up! It is NOT disrespectful to want to understand what the plan is for our children and honestly, WE ARE NOT THERE TO MAKE FRIENDS. No matter how much we want people to like us, our responsibility is to our children, and their education – that trumps all. The IEP laws are in place to PROTECT our kids. To give the parents an opportunity to have a voice! We all know our children better than anyone else claims to. It’s wicked uncomfortable and causes mass anxiety, but God gave us these kids to protect, defend and set them up for success. I believe in you!

Faith

I have had an enormous response to my forgiveness journey. Thank you for reaching out and feeling all the feels with me. Thank you for supporting my intentional search for “Who I am, What I believe, and Where I am headed next.”

My “Biblical Faith” is new. I was in a small fishing town in Mexico for a retreat and who knew that one conversation and many nudges had me three weeks later, buying my first bible.

I am thankful that I wasn’t raised in Traditional religion. (Any religion) I have seen many bouts of “Inherited Faith” and can’t really wrap my head around it.

In my house growing up, I watched my Mom explore the world in search of Truth. I am thankful for exposure to many beliefs and for constantly being encouraged to find my own Truth.

I am slowly working my way through the Bible. It is not an easy read and I may have a spiritual advisor or two that I trust to break it down. I have also found many books & apps that really explain it all in a “For Dummies” type of way.

I share all this because so many of you “know” your truth. I see you. I am watching and learning and taking notes. As an enneagram 5, I am trying to gain as much knowledge as I possibly can.

Making a final decision on what my Truth is, is still up in the air – BUT I do know I have a minuscule existence in this world. I know that I am fully provided for and never alone. I know that everything is perfect although may be extremely uncomfortable and inconvenient.

I have seen many just drink the Kool-Aid and jump in head first. “I’m getting baptized!”, “I have joined a coven!”, “Metaphysics is where I belong”. I am so proud of you for being so SURE!

As for me, I’ve seen a woman I trust with my entire being literally travel the world in search of her truth and it wasn’t something she took lightly, and neither will I. No matter what faith I end up choosing, this spiritual journey has been incredible. I respect everyone who believes in something & dedicates their life to it. I will never judge the truth you hold.

My Autism Story, Part 4

My Beautiful Daughter.

The show must go on.

Here we are post-diagnosis. In all honesty, it’s a blur. My mom constantly encouraged me to write things down to have later since I literally was “Paving the way” in the Autism World. I am glad I did too because as I read things I wrote before, I am like “Oh yeah! That happened!”

From here forward things may not be in order, but the knowledge from some may help with the understanding of others. ~ Just trust me ☺

Let’s talk about Trinity.

My daughter is in dual realities. Even to this day. There is a reality we all see and then there is a “Trinity World”. “Trinity World” is a constant theatrical with many voices, characters, songs, and dances. She is always on a stage performing. She hangs out there most of the time. To a random person, she looks like she is talking to herself, very dramatically though. She repeats her favorite parts over and over.

In “Trinity World” she takes her favorite parts from our reality and meshes them together with her happy place to make an adventure story. She is always coloring/drawing different people and places and at the age of 7, she wanted me to write words on her drawings to make a book. I encouraged her constantly to share what was going on in “Trinity World”. I would praise her creativity. I would always ask questions so I too could see what was going on in this duel reality.

Her first 30 books were made of stationary computer paper stuck together with old address labels my mom had given her to play with after she moved. This was her passion. It gave her so much worth seeing us all so interested and kept her creativity growing. The best part of all ~ now when she was talking to herself at the store or park or wherever, I knew what she was talking about.

——

I want to mention here that I was told REPEATEDLY by the “Experts” that encouraging her in ‘Trinity’s World” was the biggest mistake I could ever make as a parent and that I should not acknowledge ANYTHING from it if I ever wanted Trin to be able to co-exist in society. ~ This is a whole Other blog post, but it is important to know for what I am about to share.

One day she was swinging and talking and I was nearby reading on a bench & I hear her performing a book she had just written and so I started saying the words and making the voices and she stopped swinging, turned, and looked at me. I then said that that is my favorite part because that Mister Neilson is such a stinker. She started to laugh & then we laughed together. She carried on swinging repeating the funny part over and over.

Did that just happen? Did I just pull her into my world by acknowledging her world? The girl who ignores all around her & doesn’t always respond to her name, just stopped her swing when her Momma started to play in “Trinity World”. Yes, and it only got better from there.

#ThursdayAutismAwareness
I will be sharing Autism testimony every Thursday.
I have 21 years of experience.

What Does my Home Say?

A pre-painting sketch of a home by Faith L. Sanders, July 1973

After sharing a picture & having many conversations about the cozy corner that I paint in, it reminded me of a poem my Grandmother wrote. We all live in a way that works for us. I remember having a trampoline & slide in our living room & an outdoor intended tent inside. Autism formed “Our way”. Because we are human, our minds might wander to wonder as to what others “think” of our space. I stopped thinking about this long ago – since I knew NOBODY who had 2 autistic children and so our needs were different. We made our house OUR HOME. A comfortable place for us to be a family… That is all that matters.

A poem by Faith L. Sanders, Tuesday, September 13th, 1983

When you come where I do dwell,

What messages does my house tell?

Fastidiously neat and bare~

Precisely placed is every chair-

Books in order on the shelf~

What does that say of myself?

Dishes undone in the sink;

Garbage gives a gentle stink-

Dustballs rolling on the floor –

Did you notice at the door?

Among the clutter and the clear

spaces, do sure signs appear

saying. “Welcome ~ Come have FUN” ~

or would you rather turn and run?

Whisk Me Away

The Gulf of Mexico at the Mississippi Coast.

This past weekend my husband whisked me away to Biloxi, Mississippi for one final recharge before the kids went back to school. Hence why I didn’t post Saturday & Sunday. It was a lovely weekend.

  • I walked the beach with my husband & put my toes in the water which was so warm.
James wrote our names in the sand.
  • I read the book Virgin River, which is HUGELY different from the Netflix series! There was definitely more GOOD in the books and waaaay less drama.
  • We ate delicious food. My favorite place was TBT – The Blind Tiger ~ a tropical oasis on stilts overlooking the Gulf. I also had the best milkshake ever at a Whataburger that was “Banana Pudding” flavor. I think I gained 5 pounds. (I KNOW I gained 5 pounds)
  • We stayed at the Beautiful Beau Rivage Hotel. It is one huge butterfly atrium.
  • I took many naps & splurged on room service.

It was a really nice getaway. It was just super HOT! I am not cut out to be a southern girl. I crave the deep woods, snow, and wearing lots of layers.

It’s always good to come home. My generous mother-in-law gave me a table easel for my paint-by-number addiction and I have a cozy area in my sitting room now to paint. I am currently working on a scene in London.

My little corner of creativity.

My life has never looked like anyone I have ever known so I am used to doing what works for me. Piles of books – The ones on the mantel are what I have read this year. (not including audio or digital) The ones on the stoop of the fireplace are my TBR. IYKYK. Of course, I have twinkle lights, artwork, and furry friends all around me. What you don’t see is Frank Sinatra, Louie Armstrong & Ella Fitzgerald softly playing in the background. I hope your space gives you warm fuzzies as mine does for me.

Pippi and the Trip to New York, Part 2.

The image was drawn by Preston Wakeman. Pippi talking with Lumière.

(Cut to everyone hanging on pieces of wood while being drifted to a beach.)

Pippi: Is everyone alright?

Bigwig: (coughing) Barely!

(Cut to Mickey on the beach wringing out his hat.)

Mickey: Since everyone is alright do You know where we are?

(Mort throws up sand from his mouth as soon as he got up)

Mort: New (gags) York?

Bigwig: Does this look like New York to you? (Cut to the area which turns out to be a vast city with skyscrapers and billboards.)

Mort: Yes?

Fiver: It is lucky that we made it to our destination.

Pippi: You’re right Fiver!

Bigwig: Well, what are we standing here for? Let’s go already!

(Cut to Everyone staring in awe at the sights and buildings in the city.)

Ord: Look at all that food!

Mickey: The streets are cleaner than I thought they would be.

Fiver: OH MY GOSH!!

Bigwig: What is it fiver?! A vision?

Fiver: No! I saw a billboard that said diapers and baby wipes are fifty percent off! (Bigwig tried his best not to strangle Fiver)

Pippi: The sights are so beautiful!

Mort: THERE SHE IS! (Cut to the Statue of Liberty while Romeo and Juliet by Tchaikovsky play in the background. Mort imagines the Statue of Liberty winking at him and preparing to kiss him, But before that happens Bigwig slapped Mort to his senses.)

Mort: Sorry.

Ord: Gee there sure are a lot of buildings but no giant apples.

Pippi: Don’t worry Ord! As the person who brought us on this vacation, I am determined that all of our wishes will come true!

Bigwig: Well before that can we stop at a hotel to rest? My feet are killing me!

(Everyone went to a room in a hotel after Pippi gave the clerk a gold coin for payment. Mickey, Mort,

and Fiver are jumping on one of the beds while bigwig takes a shower.)

Mickey: Whoopee!

Mort: Wheeee!

Fiver: All this jumping is making me feel (gags) a bit nauseous… (Fiver threw up on the bed causing Mickey and Mort to hop off the bed. Bigwig with a towel around himself, a shower cap on his head, and a rubber ducky came out of the shower only to find the mess.)

Bigwig: Would you guys stop making so much noise?! It isn’t bad enough that Fiver had to puke on the bed but the constant screaming isn’t going to fix things!

Pippi: Mr. Nelson, could you take these sheets to the laundry room? Here’s some change…(Mr. Nelson grabbed the dirty sheets and headed to the laundry room only to use the change for snacks for himself instead.)

Pippi: While the sheets are being cleaned let’s watch some TV!

Newsman: We interrupted this program for some shocking news. A bad apple in the music industry is making his grand return right here in New York City for a concert after bribing the owner of the Big Apple Theater twenty bucks to host the show there. Stay tuned for more info.

Bigwig: This is boring! I wanna watch some war movies!

Mort: Well I want to watch The little ponies!

Fiver: It feels like there’s nothing on the television.

Ord: Say did you guys hear about the concert?

Bigwig: We already know that Einstein.

Ord: Well why don’t we go to that concert?

Pippi: That’s a great idea, Ord!

Fiver: Hold on Pippi I don’t think that’s a good idea.

Bigwig: For once Fivers right! Who knows if the singer in the concert would be a terrible person or a criminal?

Pippi: So what? We could still have a fun time once we get there today-

Mickey: Uhh guys you might want to see this… (Mickey showed that the date when the concert starts is tomorrow. Everyone except Bigwig and Fiver had a shocked expression on their faces.)

Everyone: WHAAAAAA?

Mickey: I’m just as disappointed as you guys are.

???: “Pssst hey you guys. Yes, you guys come here. (Everyone didn’t know what to do but Pippi not knowing the concept of stranger danger decided to look out the window to see who was calling them.)

** [P.S If someone you don’t know tells you to come here, tell them NO and run away to tell an adult you trust like a parent or a police officer about it!]

Pippi: Who are you?

Lumière: Bonjour my friends, it is I Lumière and I overhear you talking about a concert no?

Pippi: Well what a good coincidence! My friends and I want to go to a concert but the date says it will be coming out tomorrow and let’s just say some of my friends can’t wait for that long- (Cut to Mort chewing on the side of the bed, Mickey Scratching his face with foam in his mouth, and Ord huddled in a corner rocking back and forth sucking his thumb and having bloodshot eyes.) (Cut back to Pippi outside the window talking to Lumière.)

Pippi: -so let’s just say that waiting is very hard for us.

Lumière: Well then madam then you are in luck as I am inviting you to a totally legit not a scam or a trap of some kind early showing of The Kid from New Orleans!

Pippi: Wow sounds great! We’ll be there right now! Do you think you can toss a rope up here?

Lumière: Sure thing madam! (Lumière tosses up a long rope for the gang to climb down with. Pippi grabbed the rope and tied it to the side of the window. The gang climbed down one by one from smallest to biggest and once Ord got on to the rope, the rope snapped and Ord fell out of the window when Lumière wasn’t paying attention, Ord accidentally sat on top of Lumière splattering wax in the process. Luckily the gang remolded Lumière back together soon enough.)

Lumière: follow me to the show! (Bigwig hopped over to Pippi’s shoulder.)

Bigwig: I am very skeptical about the guy, I don’t know why but he seems suspicious- (Mort sings the Among us theme song.)

Bigwig: WILL YOU BE QUIET!!!!! (Mort zipped his lips as bigwig continued to talk to Pippi.)

Bigwig: What I mean is that it could be a trap.

Pippi: Oh nonsense Bigwig the walking candle knows where He’s going. (Bigwig hops off Pippi’s shoulder and follows them on foot.)

Bigwig: (sigh) (Pan over to the sign on the building saying Big Apple Theater.)

My Autism Story, Part Three.

Practically Perfect in every way.

The next 6 months were filled with intense early intervention.  This included speech therapy (individual and group), music therapy, behavioral health, occupational therapy, sensory integration, oral motor therapy, gluten-free diet, joint compression, brushing skin, the 3 days a week at school, and case management. 40+ hours a week inside and outside our home. I jumped in head first willing to do whatever it took to help my daughter beat the odds. 

October 18th, 2004  The day our lives changed, and yet nothing was different.

The 6th-month wait for the pediatric neurologist was over.  Trinity was diagnosed as severely autistic.  The appointment itself was a blur.  What I do remember is after it was over I sat on the curb of the parking lot of the clinic and cried my eyes out.  I focused on the curb as my mind raced.

 Why is this happening?  What did I do wrong?  What kind of life will she have?  Will she ever have her first dance? Kiss?  Are children and marriage for her completely out of the picture?  Will society ever be able to see the light inside her that shines the way I do?  Will she live with me forever?  Will she be happy?  Who will care for her when I am gone?  How can the sun be shining so bright and the day be so perfect?

I called my mom and she and I cried together.  She reminded me how much more will be available to her now with the diagnosis and that nothing has changed.  She is the same as she always has been.  Everyone’s initial reaction was sad, but then we all rolled up our sleeves and faced this new journey head-on.

#ThursdayAutismAwareness
I will be sharing Autism testimony every Thursday.
I have 21 years of experience.

My Forgiveness Journey Part Four ~ Loyalty & Betrayal

Unpacking the facts & finishing my part of the puzzle.

Loyalty: a strong feeling of support or allegiance.

Betrayal: violation of a person’s trust or confidence

I was going to make these two separate posts, for fear it would be too long, but I think I can keep it short. I respect your time as much as mine…

I have had betrayal issues for as long as I can remember. As a girl, a person I trusted read my diary, & lied to me – up to last month when I went full circle and saw people who were my “Friends” – apparently weren’t.

“Who needs enemies with friends like mine?”

I’ve slowly been unpacking and breaking down situations and sitting in the facts. There is a fine line between Loyalty & Betrayal.

  • If someone hurt you, should your bestie become their friend? What if they didn’t know you were hurt?
  • What if someone hated someone you are close to, and made it their mission to destroy you out of association?
  • What if your friend struggles with acceptance issues and just needs to belong so they “Protected” you by befriending them behind your back?

My point is (before I give a million more scenarios) that I am more loyal than anyone I know. Fiercely loyal. I will fight tigers, climb volcanos & donate organs – kind of loyal. But my entire life I’ve had a flaw. I expect, hope, and pray that someone would be that for me. And since 99% of the world has their own ish, that isn’t a viable expectation.

As an enneagram 5, I live for facts! Facts are my favorite thing in the world. They help me sort out truth from emotional perception and I am so thankful that the few who are loyal to me, can sit me down to discuss “facts” to process the emotional triggers I have.

Conclusion: My journey has not only been for me to grow into the person the Lord needs me to be BUT also, I am a puzzle piece to MANY other lessons for other people. So what people decide to do with my hurts & betrayals is none of my business. It SUCKS and is UNFAIR and I have been grieving the friendships that were an illusion, but that part is their lesson. I am already moving on to the next chapter. My part in that puzzle is over.

To have clarity and peace over how betrayal has been haunting me is liberating.

Lastly, I am aware that EVERYTHING above is all Ego and Mind.

According to Deepak Chopra,

“You stop being ruled by self-image when:

  • You feel what you feel
  • You are no longer offended by things
  • You stop appraising how a situation makes you look.
  • You don’t exclude people you feel superior or inferior to
  • You quit worrying about what others think about you
  • You no longer obsess over money, status, and possessions
  • You no longer feel the urge to defend your opinions

By eliminating myself from the puzzle that I have already put my pieces into, I am able to check off 5 things above that I was wrestling with.

How do you work through betrayal?

Tuesday, Twosday, Toosday.

I didn’t write yesterday. Well, actually that is a lie. I DID write, but it’s for the future as I’m still processing how I want to share a story. So the truthful statement would be that “I didn’t share yesterday.”

Today is Tuesday. For the past couple of years, I’ve had a love-hate relationship with Tuesdays. I know this is a false truth that is in my head because of the obligations that seem to fall on that day & maybe I’ve been fueling that fire with my unconscious mind to “prove” that Tuesdays are hard. (reticular activating system at its finest) Tuesdays usually consist of multiple therapies & errands. Hard errands. The type of errands you dread.

Tuesdays remind me of when I had to plan “grocery shopping” as a single mom with 2 autistic kids under 5. I legit had an “oh shit!” backpack for any possible scenario. The anxiety within to do this took all the energy I had. That’s probably a lie. It took more energy than I had to give. All three of us would be out of commission when we got home. It was so traumatic we would just make a blanket fort and hide the rest of the day. But this is a story for another day.

Today “Tuesday” I find myself tired. I may have stayed up too late watching Roswell, New Mexico on Netflix. However; my coffee is strong, my new cotton shorts are comfy and I’ve already done my Bible study so I feel I am ready.

I’m ready to pour kindness into those I meet. I am ready to smile with my eyes so BIG that even while wearing a mask, it makes others smile back. I am ready to remind a friend how valuable she is to her job and why it is OKAY to protect her space and stick up for herself. I am ready to cheer on another friend who is signing for a new house today and leaving memories of parents lost behind. I am ready to take my kids to the store to pick out new ice cream and soda for a party this weekend.

I am ready. Today is Tuesday. I am alive and have been given a chance to be the person that people need. A chance to do God’s work. Worst case scenario, I end up in a blanket fort tonight and that’s okay too!

P.S. there is a good thing about Tuesday: The newest episode of “Only Murderers in the Building” drops.

Don’t Forget to Laugh.

1955, My mother is 3 years old with something to laugh about.

A poem by Faith L. Sanders. Wednesday, September 7th, 1983

From January to November

and through the cold month of December,

there is one thing to remember:

Don’t forget to laugh~

When the morning light is breaking,

you from sleeping are awaking.

While at breakfast you’re partaking,

Don’t forget to laugh~

During rainy days and sunny

while you’re out there making money,

find some situation funny

that will make you laugh~

When the sun sets in its glory,

think of some hilarious story,

Add it to your repertoiry

That will make me laugh~

Pippi and the Trip to New York.

Preston Wakeman
A Short Script by Preston

My children are so creative. Trin is a published author and Pres is on his way! Autism won’t stop them from being incredibly talented. Here is a script Preston wrote including the characters they play with daily. He is funny and clever and so aware of the world around him. Enjoy! oxox

(We see a beautiful vibrant meadow filled with flowers of all colors only for a lot of big paw prints to rapidly trample over the meadow making it into a gloomy forest.) (We cut to another scene where we slowly get close to a nice vacation home in Russia.)

Pippi: ah~ this is a lovely vacation home.

Bigwig: Yeah, despite almost freezing my tail off this is a really nice and warm house. (Immediately cut to Ord slamming the door wide open with bags of food.)

Ord: Anybody in here want some Whoppers from Burger King?

Everyone: Yay!

(Suddenly the power went out of the house.) (Mickey lights a match to see in the dark.)

Mort: Uh..what just happened?

Fiver: AHHH! I’M SCARED OF THE DARK!!!

Bigwig: Fiver be quiet. I’m sure it’s just a power outage.

Mickey: Well Somebody has to fix the power outside. (Everyone looks at Mr. Nelson who’s busy picking his nose to not notice a thing)

(Cut to outside where they force Mr. Nelson to fix the power much to Mr. Nelson’s dismay.)

Mort: I hope mister monkey can fix the lights soon.

Fiver: Yeah, any longer we’re in the dark and I’ll pass out from panicking!

Bigwig: I TOLD YOU TO BE QUIET!

(Fiver zips his lips as everyone huddled towards Pippi.)

Pippi: I know this place isn’t the type of place you would expect from a normal vacation home but won’t it be nice after staying here for almost a week we’ll be taking a real vacation in the worldly acclaimed New York City!

Pippi: Just imagine all the fun things that we could do once we get there!

Mickey: Like go shopping!

Fiver: Going to see broadway productions!

Mickey: Don’t you mean musicals?

Fiver: Yes that’s what I meant!

Bigwig: I want to get in fights with everyone in the city!

Mort: Bigwig that’s terrible!

Bigwig: Well what was your wish? To marry the Statue of Liberty?

Mort: No!…………yes.

Ord: My wish is to see the big apple that everyone’s talking about in New York.

Bigwig: Should I tell him?

Fiver: No, just let him have his fun.

Mort: What about you’re dream Pippi?

Pippi: My dream is to make everyone happy on this vacation.

Everyone: AAAAWW (Just then the power went back on only for them to feel an earthquake just outside the house) (Pippi and the others looked outside the window only to find impossibly giant black cats trying to cook Mr. Nelson over a fire like a goose.)

Bigwig: Oh no the lazy monkey is being cooked alive!

Pippi: No one messes with my friends, even if some of my friends are more reliable than others. (Pippi crashed out of the window and lifted up the big black cats.)

Pippi: Looks like you two need a bath asap! (Pippi threw the cats into the cold water where they were soaking wet and were so scared of her they ran off without their dinner.) (Pippi noticed that the fire had already been put out due to Mr. Nelson being so scared that he wet himself.)

Pippi: Looks like it’s finally time to go to New York after I give you a new change of clothes. (Mr. Nelson felt guilty but at the same time happy that Pippi was disgusted.)

(Cut to a ship leaving for New York and a line of passengers lined up to be on it.)

Mort: Wow, are we going to ride in that big fat ship?

Mickey: Well we had limited options to travel since Fiver gets airsick-

Fiver: Hey! It was because of the peanuts they served on the plane!!

Bigwig: Yeah right.

Mickey: -and all of us can’t fit in a train at the same time, not to mention the incident that occurred there-

Bigwig: That one time Ord decided to eat Taco Bell for the first time, the whole train smelled like farts for days!

Ord: What?

Fiver: Nothing!

Mickey: -That’s why the boat is our only option.

Pippi: ahh~ sailing the seas, charting the world, and exploring to our hearts’ content, reminds me of sailing with my father out in the ocean. (after the gang got their tickets they decided to stay in a room down below for tonight.)

Bigwig: You know, it was the fifth time those cats showed up at our old place back in Russia.

Fiver: I’ve heard some rumors that the population of cats in New York is down to none!

Bigwig: Fiver the only people who believe in rumors like that are flea-infested rats!

Bigwig: No offense Mickey

Mickey: None taken hot head.

Bigwig: WHY YOU LITTLE!! (Fiver and Mort restrain Bigwig from trying to attack Mickey) (When everybody calmed down they all decided to take a well night’s sleep)

Fiver: Ahh~ these pillows are so comfy! I wonder what brand are these?

Ord: I think those pillows are created for this ship.

Fiver: Really? What’s the ship called?

Ord: Uhh the Titanic the second?

Fiver: Ahh~ Titanic the second….. (Fiver’s eyes are suddenly open wide.)

Fiver: TITANIC THE SECOND!?!!? (The ship suddenly started shaking causing everyone to wake up)

Fiver: The ship is going to sink!

Bigwig: Come on Fiver even though it is called the Titanic the second they must have learned from their mistakes and are safer than the last one.

Speaker: Attention passengers the captain was busy playing Angry birds on the toilet and crashed the ship into an iceberg. Please report to the top of the boat where you’ll depart on smaller boats. Have a nice trip! (Everyone started panicking except for Bigwig and Pippi.) (Pippi whistled for their attention)

Pippi: Don’t worry guys, when I was with my father we had sunk a lot of ships and luckily we made it to a small boat just in time. All we have to do is to listen to what the speaker said and go to a boat. (Pippi and the others went to the top of the boat where lots of people are getting on boats) (Mort was having a hard time catching up to them until he slipped in a puddle and started sliding into the storm.)

Mort: AAAAAAAHH! Help meeee!

Pippi: Oh no I shouldn’t leave a friend behind! Mr. Nelson, hold on to the backpack I’m going to save mort.

Ord: Pippi Nooo! (Pippi was trying to look for Mort in the storm until she saw mort tangled up in the ropes of the mast)

Mort: Heeeeelp!

Pippi: Don’t worry Mort I’ll save you! (Pippi climbed up the rope until she almost lost her grip until Ord and the others helped her up!) (Even Mr. Nelson was helping by dressing up like a cheerleader.) (Once they reached Mort at the top of the mast it was too late to go back down as a huge wave was about to wash them off the boat!)

Everyone: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAHH! SPLASH!!

to be continued…

My Autism Story, Part Two.

I made her this pillow and today, at 2o years old, she still sleeps with the fabric of it.

I called the pediatrician, who we had just seen at Trinity’s 2-year wellness check, and asked what I should do.  He had me schedule an immediate appointment to come in and discuss my concerns.   As we were talking I just felt pissed and mad at the world.  I had been to the doctor’s office with Trinity 7 or 8 times already and I was led to believe that everything was fine.  So when I called I said something like “Hi I was just there a couple weeks ago and everything was fine, but my family thinks something is wrong with my daughter.  Should she be talking yet?!” It made me angry and made me feel like I was already failing her.

The doctor referred us to a pediatric neurologist for an MRI and an EEG.  While we were there they asked if it appeared that she was having seizures and I wasn’t sure.  She was in her own world a lot of times and was “zoned out”.  The EEG was awful.  We brought her in sleep deprived and then they mildly sedated her, only there is no way to get anything in Trin’s mouth without a syringe AND that doesn’t mean it will stay in there.  They tried diluting the anesthesia with chocolate syrup and she still hated it.  It was over an hour of her thrashing and us trying until she finally fell asleep.  They put sensors all over her head and I remember just looking at her and thinking “it was just a week ago I thought she was a flawless little girl and now she looks like some terribly sad story you read in a magazine.”

The pediatric neurologist had a 9-month waiting list.  At the time, you could do almost nothing without a diagnosis from one.  Until we were able to get in I was guided to an early intervention program within our community.  They had a special-ed preschool for 2-4-year-olds.

 I went to the intake meeting with teachers and staff and was so lost.  It truly felt like it was me versus 5 people and I was there just to be told what was going to happen and what I was supposed to do.  The teacher said during this time “I find children your daughter’s age want to impress adults and we should have her on our schedule in no time.  We will listen to each other and grow.”  This is the first time I opened my mouth about my daughter in an IEP setting meeting and I said “that sounds lovely, but she doesn’t talk at all, so she may not understand what impresses you.”  The teacher looked me straight in the face and said “maybe I need to shut my big fat mouth until I hear what your daughter is all about first.”  I respected her so much for that.  

#ThursdayAutismAwareness
I will be sharing Autism testimony every Thursday.
I have 21 years of experience.

My Forgiveness Journey, Part Three.

Feel the pain.

I am on the other side of some rough days. Over the past few days, I have been shown many things about toxic positivity and avoiding pain. (I will share a link below to a fantastic article from another blogger), but I had another “Tiffany Ephiphany!”

I had the most “AH-HA!” moment while reading Lysa Terkeurst’s book “Forgive what you can’t forget.”

“At some point, we need to stop imagining the way things “should be” so much that we can’t acknowledge what it is. You can only heal what you are willing to acknowledge is real.”

And it dawned on me, that not only have I been denying myself from “feeling” for a super long time, I’ve been caught up in how things SHOULD HAVE BEEN. What SHOULD have happened. How I SHOULD have been treated. What they SHOULD have done.

Feeling the Feelings

Yes, I have my bad days – REALLY bad days, but then I suppress the feelings and move forward.

  • I’m fine, I’m moving on.
  • I don’t have time or energy to deal with this, I’m over it.
  • I forgive them, the pain will fade eventually
  • God will take care of it.
  • I am going to focus on all the things I am thankful for.

I had to, I have responsibilities, kids, work, friends, and people who look to me to “Be The Sunshine.” It reminded me of Robin Williams. He was so full of Joy, always smiling and the light for millions of people. Yet inside had vast amounts of pain.

I have never just sat in my pain and felt it without distractions or interruptions. As my mom says, there is a little girl inside me who just needs to hear that her feelings are valid and allow her to grieve and feel that pain inside my body as long as she needs, to get it out.

All of this is so messed up because I am the FIRST one to tell my friends to FEEL what they are going through! Let it out! Work through the Emotional Scale. Unpack that baggage, your ticket is refundable and you need to work through this!

My Husband & I sat down with the kids and told them that Momma had some bad things happen in her life a long time ago and in order for me to properly heal, I need to face that sadness/anger/fear. This means, that over the next few weeks I may be crying or lost in thought, but it has NOTHING to do with them and it won’t last forever.

What Should have happened

Well, It DIDN’T! Nothing more to say about it, or think about it, or get mad about it.

End. Of. Story.

So cheers to healing and keeping the tissue companies in business.

Here is the Toxic Positivity article that I loved

My Forgiveness Journey, Part Two.

I was challenged to try and separate the painful moments from the beautiful moments in each situation.

In the first cycle – I was young. I don’t remember much honestly and the things I do remember were shaming and alcohol-infused. Or trumped by a whole other war that was happening at the same time. I tried talking to my husband about this, but I ended up angry with lots crying. I felt robbed that I could NOT think of anything “good” during the first 13 years of my life with this person. A person I was supposed to be able to trust. A person who should have put me ahead of so many things. A person who SHOULD have chosen me. A person I could never be good enough for. A person who would meanly “tease” me and make me feel stupid. Who would laugh when others were cruel. A person who was so distracted by booze and being cool and material things – Who couldn’t be bothered by the emotions of a young girl.

In the second cycle, I remember striving for acceptance. Giving my all to make someone proud. Doing whatever I could to achieve the level that would help them rise and then a cloud of resentment or something engulfed me. Little things here and there that weren’t right. I was confused “Isn’t this what you wanted?” I finally decided to make space between us. Then I made the space bigger. Eventually, when the space became apparent I was outcasted on her end. Again, I don’t remember anything good. I remember a constant “was I a disappointment?” “What did I fail to do now?” I was a scapegoat for the most insane things. My best was wrong and always needed to be tweaked.

It’s like that song lyric “looking for love in all the wrong places”. I just wanted to belong. First, in a place where I should have been fully accepted and supported – and then in a group that I strived to make proud.

I clearly have issues with abandonment and betrayal. So many didn’t want me around. They wanted what I could do for them. I remember in 3rd grade there was a constant battle between 2 girls and all the rest of us would pick a side. I literally said outside during recess while sitting on a snowbank “You can use me so you have more people than her”.

Today, I have maybe 2 adult friendships where I don’t question their motives for friendship. I trust they won’t throw me under a bus or hide things from me. It’s a beautiful, broken, messy, honest journey we share. We can be the ugliest versions of ourselves without fear of being shamed or discarded. A friendship where we have nothing to gain but truthful confessions, honest sounding boards, and love. So much love. I know this is 2 more than most people have and I count my blessings I assure you.

“I”

Ruffed Grouse Sketch by Faith L. Sanders April 23rd, 1973

This poem is one of my favorites. There is so much unknown and I often wonder about these same thoughts nearly 40 years after this was written!

A poem by Faith L. Sanders July 16th, 1983

“I”

A poem about the concept of “I”

Is audacious of me to even try;

for if “I” eternal do only dwell

temporarily in this shell,

Where have “I” been; where shall “I” be

before & after the time I’m “me?”

A drop in the wave?

A part of the whole?

An innocent gleam in the oversoul?

Which Philosopher do I trust

in planning whether I boom or bust?

Who says I couldn’t be a cat

or sail through nights as a winged bat

or grow from roots a stem & flower?

Who sets limits to my power?

What I’d really like to know

{If I’m eternal in this show}

Why did I bestow on me

Such a lousy memory.

Why no recollection merry

of my lives as elf & fairy?

Why no glimmer from the past

of prowling slow or flying fast~

of hoping- hating- hurting or

of feeling “I’ve done this before?”

Perhaps each time the slate wipes clean

to give each “I” a brand-new scene

intriguing me to find the clue

of why I’m here & what to do.

To write this poem while I’m still me

is an exercise in futility~

For when I die & then do know,

The curtain’s down~ end of show.

Forgiveness Journey, Part One.

A healing Journey

Have you noticed when you don’t learn a lesson, it tends to repeat itself? Last month I had a HUGE revelation that within the job I left, I was actually repeating a lesson from my past. Like a HUGE, Painful, Life altering, Mess me up for decades afterward – life experience.

*I want to make it clear that this had nothing to do with my job itself. I loved my job, I loved my team, and I love the owners still. And who knows, maybe at some point the Lord will draw me back under different circumstances.

Moving on… You see, I forgave all of the people that this pain stems from.

(FYI: Forgiveness doesn’t mean reconciliation) The people who brought pain, betrayal, and shame into my life were only being who they were capable of being because of their own life experiences and traumas. But I still have triggers that bring that pain back to the surface and so it had me thinking that I did it wrong. Did I REALLY forgive them? Why can’t I let go enough to never experience that hurt, pain & darkness again?

Then, when that pain resurfaces I resort to bitterness. Replaying the situation in my head looking for proof I wasn’t a terrible human, or was I? Repenting to the Lord above if I ever made anyone feel the way I felt at that moment, I am truly sorry. Asking for mercy to take it all away. Next, I start to question everyone around me. To say I have trust issues is the understatement of the millennia. It has been my truth that EVERYONE around me is playing both sides. I can’t trust anyone and so I start to downward spiral, feeling alone and worthless and would be better off dead. I deserve this pain.

This has been the cycle since I was 13 years old. Here I am 45 and just replayed the ENTIRE cycle in a different situation with different people, but with ALL the same key factors.

ENOUGH!

People have been asking how I could just walk away while I was on top? My team was strong.

I am breaking the cycle. I am choosing to remove myself from something that has been internally destroying me.

The “End” is this:

The End of “staying” because if I leave I am weak.

The End of an abundance of shame and self-loathing because I am not who people want me to be or not to be ~ or I am not wanted when shining at my best or deep in my bad days.

The End of living a life in stagnant fear – A life God blessed me with that I should be doing so much more.

Friends, this is the beginning.

Snail Mail Evolution.

I love writing letters. I think that is why I loved my old job ~ Being able to jot a thank you note on a pretty piece of paper and pray over it that it will bring joy for a moment. I love stationary and fun colored pens and pencils. I love putting good out into the world!

One thing I’ve noticed this year is that I too am now getting a certain type of snail mail regularly. For Life insurance! AHH! with “Guaranteed Acceptance if ages 45-85” In bold print – ALL CAPITAL LETTERS. Maybe because I might be too frail and old to be able to see it OR because they really want me to know I’m in!

I am thankful they are looking out for my family and children, but –

I. Am. NOT. Ready.

This Momma is struggling with aging.

I continue reading this offer and it says “We have friendly representatives who’ll answer your questions” — As opposed to all the unfriendly representatives I’ve had to deal with prior to 45? Is there an unwritten rule that they must be kind to me because I’m old? I personally have always taught my children to respect their elders – but I thought most of the world was over that.

The last thing that made me ponder was …

“When you reach age 120, your insurance will end with payment of the FULL BENEFIT TO YOU”

So then I go to google – because REALLY!?!?

“Do people live to be 120 years old?”

Google tells me “The person with the longest lifespan on record was a French woman named Jeanne Calment; she lived to be 122 years and 164 days old. Today, the world’s oldest living person is 118-year-old Kane Tanaka of Japan.”

My husband is the poker player, but I don’t think those are very good odds.

My Autism Story, Part One.

My gift from the Lord himself.
My daughter Trinity was born on January 16th, 2002 at 12:34 pm.  As I held my daughter for the first time and saw a perfect little bundle of joy I couldn’t help, but imagine what it was going to be like as a first-time Mom.  I couldn’t wait to buy her a tutu and take her to dance class or to paint her nails and talk about love.  All I had ever wanted in life was to be a Mom and I was excited that it was about to begin.

Since Trinity was my first child it never occurred to me that she wasn’t acting “normal”.  I thought she was the best creation on earth, perfect in every way, and I did what I thought everyone was supposed to do.  I breastfed, made all of her baby food from scratch, read to her every day, took her to mentally stimulating places like the park and the zoo, and made sure she received all her immunizations.  I sat back and smiled as she learned to laugh, and even say “Mum Mum” and “ba ba” at six months of age.

 Then one day she changed.  She didn’t want to play “with” me.  She had nothing more to say, she was far away in another world.  She didn’t seem unhappy, just “somewhere” else.  At this point, I still wasn’t alarmed.  I just assumed it was another stage.  Maybe she was watching angels in the corner or while staring at the ceiling fan she was half in Heaven and half on earth.  I found it peaceful and majestic.  I thought she was taking in a great new world and absorbing all the minor details in wonderment.

Then one day my mother says to me “I think something is wrong.  I think you should ask her doctor about her milestones.”  It’s one of those moments in life when you remember exactly where you were and what you were doing, wearing, and eating.  I was in Arizona on the back patio of my parent’s winter getaway house.  Mom had bought a huge pot of Beautiful Geraniums.  It was what we were talking about before she brought it up.  Trinity was twirling in the grass nearby.

I sat in silence, tears running down my face.  I knew if my Mom was saying it, it had to be true. Later that week I found out my Mom isn’t’ the only one who thought something was wrong.  My mother-in-law had sent my husband at the time information regarding Aspergers.  I believe she wasn’t quite sure of how to bring it up to me I suppose.  I’m not sure how I felt about that exactly, but I do know a woman’s child is something she would fight tigers for, and in a situation like this, you don’t want to say  “I think your kid, that has become your whole world, is broken.”  Today I embrace her for trying to help gently by talking with her son.  Her heart is always in the right place, but at that time I was too overwhelmed with how my entire existence could possibly change.   

#ThursdayAutismAwareness
I will be sharing Autism testimony every Thursday.
I have 21 years of experience.

A long-haired Boy.

I have 2 sons, 8 & 18. When both were little I let their hair grow out. When each was around 3 years old, I gave them the traditional clean-cut boy cut, after that we let it grow again.

Xander hasn’t been around other children much except for one year in Kindergarten. He had longer hair than most and I think everyone was too young to think anything of it. Then in 1st grade, covid was in full force and we went to virtual school. He had a new class with new peers and often was referred to as “she” or “her” and he would say weekly “I am a boy!”. The worst was in IEP meetings and conferences when teachers said it while sitting there with his file.

Society wins.

Xander: Momma you need to cut it ALL OFF! I’m tired of being called a girl!

Me: Xander, if people call you a girl based on the length of your hair, that is a reflection of them, not you.

Xander: *has no idea what I mean

Me: You are Xander Williams. You are a boy. You are smart. You are brave. You are kind. You are my son. I love your long beautiful hair because it shows me that you’re healthy. Some children, very close to us, do not have the ability to grow hair so I look at your hair as a blessing from God. If you want to cut your hair, we can cut your hair. Just know that whatever length your hair is, you are the same person. Your hair does not define who you are. And if the world can’t see that, that is their lesson to learn.

Xander: I love my beautiful hair, but it is time for a change.

Me: I will get the scissors. ✂️

2 months later:

Xander: I want to grow my hair back, I miss it.

Me: I think that is a great idea.

Trump the Anger

Small but Mighty

I am a short storyteller. I like to invoke feelings and make people think. My stories aren’t life-changing, but blips in my life. If they inspire one to ponder or give warm fuzzies then my mission is complete!

Your mind is an incredible thing. I wholeheartedly believe WHAT we put in our minds can change our whole deminer that moment. ( I say this so often, please hear me out… again) For instance, watching a scary movie or any book/movie about anything that negatively affects a child, is going to mess me up for daaaaays. Yes, I know it is just a book/movie, but that negative energy just hangs with me. So I avoid it! Just another example of how I protect my space by controlling what’s in it.

So let me tell you a story.

My littlest little is struggling with anger issues. He’s at this life phase where he can’t do everything his older siblings do. He wants to be included and hasn’t had as much practice so doesn’t get the results they get and then ~ an Anger Tornado whisks him away to a land of frustration.

We attempt to talk it out with him and sometimes it works, but other times he is at the point of no return. So one day I sat him down and told him the next time he gets upset, instead of saying “I can’t control my anger!!” I want him to say “I CAN control my anger, I just need more practice!”

Being 8, he thought I was ridiculous! Why say that? I can’t control it yet?!? I told him that the funny thing about being a human is if we say something enough times, we start to believe it and our whole mindset will change. So even if he can’t now, he will soon!

So now I get a super angry 8-year-old screaming “I CAN control my Anger, I JUST NEED MORE PRACTICE!”

What is something you can start saying to yourself?

The Rose

Railway Arch over the Bark River. Picture gotten from foursquare.

In high school, I lived on the top floor of a house. The downstairs was used for a business, maybe an attorney?? I honestly don’t remember. Our floor was 4 rooms and a bathroom. Nothing fancy. The magical thing about this house was its location. The backyard was abut the Bark River and Nixon park was on the other side. One of the popular summer hangouts and because so many kids were out and about there, we had daily friend visits and many requests to use our bathroom.

Hanging on our bathroom wall, directly across from the toilet was a framed paper with handwritten lyrics of the song “The Rose”. A song sung by Bette Midler that was number 1 on the Billboard charts for 5 weeks straight in 1980. You couldn’t help but read it EVERY SINGLE TIME you were using the facilities at my house.

One night, a bunch of my girlfriends & I were swinging on the front porch singing and somebody suggested we sing “The Rose”. Next, I was like “Hey! I know that song, it’s in my bathroom!” and they all laughed uncontrollably and replied, ” We ALL know that song because it’s in your bathroom!”

Today as I type this, almost 30 years later, I am in awe of how what is placed before us is consumed by our minds. It is so important to surround yourself with SUNSHINE and positivity and love and giggles! I leave you with the lyrics of ‘The Rose”. I hope it fills your thoughts with hope.

The Rose, Bette Midler

Some say love, it is a river
That drowns the tender reed
Some say love, it is a razor
That leaves your soul to bleed
Some say love, it is a hunger
An endless aching need
I say love, it is a flower
And you, its only seed

It’s the heart, afraid of breaking
That never learns to dance
It’s the dream, afraid of waking
That never takes the chance
It’s the one who won’t be taken
Who cannot seem to give
And the soul, afraid of dying

That never learns to live

When the night has been too lonely
And the road has been too long
And you think that love is only
For the lucky and the strong
Just remember in the winter
Far beneath the bitter snows
Lies the seed that with the sun’s love
In the spring becomes the rose

Songwriters: Mc Broom Amanda

The Rose lyrics © Warner-tamerlane Publishing Corp., Third Story Music, Inc.”

I do not own the rights to this song**

Powerful words

One of Jen Fudge’s beautiful friends.

I remember in the ’90s watching a movie with Ann Margaret and how she said speaking to flowers will help them grow & thrive. I researched later and saw The Royal Horticultural Society did a study saying it indeed did help them grow faster. Then there were many articles about Prince Charles talking to his plants.

It makes sense to me. After all, plants are living things. It brings me peace when I talk to mine. Just putting good out into the universe.

There’s a quote that says “If speaking kindly to plants helps them grow, imagine what speaking kindly to humans can do!” ~~ Powerful stuff right there.

I am really intentional with my words and use them to lift people up. Acknowledging their hard work or a beautiful smile. It takes mere seconds for me and will stay with them much longer. AND it’s FREE!

Let’s make that a goal for the next 24 hours. Speak kindness over someone for no other reason than because it’s a good thing to do and will start a positive ripple effect! If you are looking for extra credit, say hello to a plant or hug a tree! Spread that appreciation vibration out into the universe!

Channeling my inner THOR!

Tools make me feel powerful.

I didn’t write yesterday. I was a bit bluesy and feeling uninspired It happens when living with depression. Maybe the pull from Wednesday’s full moon was also a factor. I am pretty good at extending myself grace when that happens and my only regret is ruining my blog streak. #IFYKYK lol!

Today I am starting to put together pieces of a project. Our back patio. We rent a house on a little patch of heaven in west Tennessee. Our Landlord is an amazing southern gentleman who recently was diagnosed with cancer. Our family is “low maintenance” renters. We pay our rent on time each month, take care of the yard, and fix the small things ourselves. We only contact him with something major… dishwasher breaking for a family of 5 etc.

Our back porch needs some love and probably a few new boards, but I am on a mission to make it into a Shangri-La. Thanks to Amazon Prime days I was able to scoop up some accessories! Until those arrive, today I hammered down all the nails that were popping up.

I know some people find relief in smashing stuff to release anger/stress. (Enneagram 1,9, & 8) I have never been that person. (Enneagram 5) I think and process and think some more. But let me tell you, Hammering the crap out of those nails was so rewarding. Yes, I got covered in dust and paint chips BUT it felt SO GOOD! I had something stored up inside me that needed to be released.

I will keep you posted on my progress. Have an amazing FriYAY!

Rhythm

2022 Facing the sun.

Rhythm. Even just that word is calming to me. In my past life (the last 7 years), people constantly talked about having systems in place. Then a mentor of mine said, “I prefer to call it ‘Rhythm’ instead of ‘System’.”

Now that I can get behind!  A current of wispy whimsical graceful ebbs and flows that take you along the path you’re on. Doesn’t that sound like a more pleasant way to get to your goals & dreams?

I’m kind of the rebellious one.  All the things one is “supposed to do” – yeah, I didn’t do that…  It’s not that I think anyone is wrong. I just need everything to make sense in my head.  My enneagram 5 is showing.

In March I went to a fancy resort with my favorite people. We had a cabana at a pool with a breathtaking fountain and all the pool chairs encompassed the fountain in a picturesque phenomenon. The only problem was that NONE of the pool chairs were facing the sun.  Don’t get me wrong – it was a marketing masterpiece – but it was March, and I was in search of a tan and unless I turned my chair around 180 degrees, that wasn’t happening.  I watched slowly as others came to the pool and everyone was perfectly content not facing the sun. Finally, after finishing a chapter in my book, I thought “this is crazy!” and you bet your bottom I rotated my chair to face the sun!

I promise, nobody got hurt with me doing so, and the fountain was still the main attraction. In fact, my small act inspired others to do the same. 

Maybe my way IS the masterpiece.  Being so comfortable in my space and wanting to enjoy every inch of it.

Find your Rhythm.

In a Different Time.

A sketch by Faith L. Sanders, April 24th, 1973

Allow me to share what my recent experiences have been so you can better place my mind frame to start something new. I don’t expect anyone to fully understand how I can just walk away from stability with no solid plans, just big dreams and abide-full listening to my heart/soul’s desires. AKA Holy Spirit Led.

Faith, my grandmother’s name was Faith. She was part of the generation when ladies were encouraged to learn to draw, play music & write poetry.   I connected with her on a deep level because we both struggled with depression.  She was an incredible composer, musician, writer, artist, & bird aficionado.

A few weeks ago, my Mom and I were looking through old picture albums and came across some journals of hers. They aren’t’ like a “spill all” diary, but a place where she went to share her days and write poetry about her thoughts.

I have never been more inspired than after reading half of the first journal. I want to share her cleverness with the world. She made me laugh out loud, ponder deeply and feel love~ All with words she randomly threw together during her day.

I love words.  I love making people feel, think & desire to grow to the next level of themselves. She did this with only a few rhyming lines. Here is a poem she wrote on a random afternoon, in the same spot I found my peace last month, 39 years ago.

Tuesday, July 5th, 1983

“When nature spreads her bountiful garment

Over warm waiting earth,

There’s a lush green growing glowing goodness

gradually giving birth,

To an attitude of praise and gladness-

a feeling of presence near,

Within, without, all round about

An unreasonable aura of cheer.

A glad-to-be-alive sensation,

Unfathomable sense of high elation

Of taking part in Love’s creation

In the blossoming time of the year. “

By Faith L. Sanders

The Next Chapter Begins

Today is the first day of the rest of my life. I ended a 7 year “Way of life” that I will miss tremendously, but it is time for something new.  I crave something that I control without outside interference.  A way to make my mark on the world without the “ish” of others hovering overhead. Something I can just put out into the cosmic void & trust God will bring to those who need it.

I’ve been contemplating this change since 2018 – but got caught up in the “Don’t be weak!” “Do you hear what they are saying?!?” – and I focused on the good. There really was so much good.

Then for a while, we NEEDED that way of life. & it supported us and gave us a quality of life we wouldn’t have gotten to without it.

But then, while I was in the woods & on the beautiful shores of Lake Michigan for 40 days and 40 nights (coincidence?), I felt at peace. It’s like the saying “when you die, the world will miss you as much as removing your hand from a bucket of water. It just fills the space and keeps being a bucket of water.”  I feel like I made a difference. It’s just time to find my way … a different way.

A mentor of mine said, “I don’t have space for that” when we were talking about life stuff. It made me look at life in a whole NEW way. I get to control what & who I fill my space with.  This is MY life and the only one I’ve got so I am determined to evaluate what is in my space.  Is it good? Does it serve me? Does it bring me JOY? Is it positive? Will it help me grow?

Today is Day 1 of the rest of my life. Let’s see what happens.

What We’ve Been Reading Wednesday!

These are a few of my favorite things.

I have been reading a LOT! My husband has been out of the country for work, my depression days have been floating over my head, and I found a REALLY good series to get lost in & escape!

Here’s What I’ve got!

A Virgin River Christmas A Novel A Virgin River Novel 4 – (Marcie & Ian)
The minimalist in me loved this story. A cabin in the redwoods with a bathroom outside. Serious roughing it.

Second Chance Pass, Virgin River Book 5 Spoilers – (Paul & Vannie) Ugh the Netflix “Charmaine” story showed up but with a different couple. I hated that story then and I didn’t like it now. There were a half dozen more stories within this book and Muriel made an appearance. ☀️ I love seeing Jack and Mel, Preacher & Paige, Ricky, Brie & Mike in them all.

Temptation Ridge: A Virgin River Novel Book 6 – (Shelby & Luke, Walt & Muriel, Cameron & Abby) So so sooo good. One of my favorites of them all! So many good stories and relationships! One VERY sad death (a person in the Netflix show 😭) I’m just in love with all of the humanity☀️💛

Paradise Valley: A Virgin River Novel Book 7 – ( Rick & Liz, Dan & Cheryl ), 😭😭😭 This book was amazing, but be warned of triggers for post-war themes. I LOVED this – maybe because I have been invested in all of these characters.

Sunrise on Half Moon Bay – I scooped up this book while waiting to get my next Virgin River book. It had a good review and the story was good … BUT I have issues with betrayal, liars, abuse, and cheaters and it’s not something I like to read about on purpose. I enjoyed the character transformations within the story. I however felt that one of the main characters dragged her feet – it reminded me of Bella from Twilight trying to decide between Jacob and Edward! JUST MAKE A DECISION ALREADY!

The Berenstain Bears Pirate Adventure – Xander and I cannot seem to return this book. It makes us laugh hard and has some of the best pirate phrases on this side of the equator.

What’s on deck?

What are YOU reading?!?