Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

I was standing in line at Hobby Lobby tonight with 3 packs of cello bags and 2 packs of twist ties. I use those to bag cookies for the market. The lines were long and slow... I noticed a woman in one of those motorized carts and another woman helping her get around with it. They made their purchases and went out toward the doors. The woman sitting stood very carefully to her feet and was quite unsteady. Her helper was hesitant to leave her standing alone to go and get her car. I was trying to find a place to lay my bags and ties down. The only place I could find was the corner of the checkout counter. I reached around the girl in front of me and explained to her I was just going to leave my stuff there and deal with the line when I got back in and that I was going to see if I could help those ladies out. She said okay and I walked off. I assured the helper that her friend could lean on me until she brought the car around. We chatted for a few minutes as she held on to my arm and leaned against me. We got her settled into the car and on their way. I was about to walk back into the store when I heard, "lady, lady." I looked up and saw the girl that was in line in front of me earlier. She handed me a shopping bag with my items in it and told me she took care of it for me, that it really wasn't all that much and that the lines were really long. She wouldn't take any money for it.

This was a woman, probably no older than her mid to late 20's.

We sometimes complain that there is a generation of people who feel they are "entitled" to receive without effort. This young woman showed me how it is not always true. My husband and I both choked up as I was telling him what had happened. I don't know the names of any of the women I interacted with tonight. I may not even recognize them if I were to see them again, but I will remember how they made me feel....

Monday, May 20, 2013

Good vs Evil.... There IS a Difference

A friend of mine went to her child's school administration this morning with the goal of informing them of acts of bullying going on involving students there. Her approach, I'm sure, was one of concern for the victims and how to get the point across that bullying never leads to anything good. It is senseless, reckless, and oftentimes leads to death. She invited all parents to join her in the meeting; not just parents of bullied children, but ALL parents of students at the school. She went in alone. Even the TV station crew that was invited didn't show up. She went in alone to represent all parents AND children associated with the school. Did the administration take her efforts seriously. No, they did not. Even though there may be strength in numbers, no one can underestimate the power of one mother. I have a feeling we will see some results of that mother's determination to alert authorities of the dangers of what is happening to the children they have responsibilities over.

I just hope it will not be too late for any more of those young souls who are the victims of unnecessary and preventable abuse.

Thankful for this good mother who set an example of standing up for those who needed her to do so. You did your best. Keep fighting. You have made a difference and will continue to do so. I just know it.

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." (Edmund Burke)

Monday, April 15, 2013

God Bless America, Land That I Love!

Today was filled with tragedy. It was the day of the Boston Marathon. Runners had crossed the finish line, some were still making their way there. Two bombs filled with ball bearings were placed in trash cans alongside the last few yards of the race. They exploded a few seconds apart, killing 3 people (one was an 8 year old) and injuring at least 100 people. Last count was 144. I'm trying not to be angry--it won't help a thing to be. Why would anyone do such a thing is beyond my comprehension. It makes no sense at all. The media is giving the unknown "suspect(s)" so much attention that I fear it will only encourage more senseless acts of terrorism from others seeking to be "famous," in the same sort of way.

What has happened to this great country of ours?

Monday, March 11, 2013

Time Flies When You're Havin' Fun!

Wow! I can't believe how long it's been since I posted ANYTHING here! I have so much to tell you!! It may have to be in segments since I only have a few minutes at the time these days....

I've been having a blast with my baking business. It's called Darlene's Kitchen, in case I haven't annoyed you enough with my facebook posts to make it stick in your head :) I've been attending farmers markets, appearing on live TV, and as a guest on the cooking stage at the Birmingham Home and Garden Show. I have also been baking "add-ons" for a produce co-op business a friend of mine runs. It's been a busy life for the past couple of years!

When my mother passed away almost 3 years ago, I found myself wallowing around in self-pity. A lot of other stressful events occurred around the same time, so it was easy to rationalize my actions (crying--a lot, staying home--a lot, complaining--a lot...get the picture? now let it go. it's not a pretty sight). Instead of staying in the muck, I slowly pulled out of it and began to immerse myself in my baking business. Not only has it helped to give me another good reason to get out of bed each day, but it has also helped clarify some things I had been trying to figure out. Lots of praying will do that for a person. Trust me on that one.

About 6 years ago (or so) my son Will gradually stopped talking, not just to others, but to me, too. I never thought that would happen. He had always talked, especially to me. We had a hard time getting him to quiet down sometimes, especially at bedtime. So, this has been heartbreaking for him to verbally shut down.

For years I've been praying for specific help for Will. A couple of months ago, I decided to start calling around for a speech therapist (again). I'd done it several times before, got frustrated and let it drop (many times). This time, I was determined. Feeling bolder and more focused (refer back to "lots of praying"), I sat down with several phone numbers I had retrieved from the phone book and Internet searches and punched in the first number. After an afternoon of calling, getting referrals for other professionals ("sorry, we don't have anyone trained/qualified to work with your son, but let me give you another number to try" was a common phrase... for hours). I put the lists aside for a while, had a good long cry and went to bed. Will needed help "finding" his voice again. Plain and simple, right? Not really. I got back up the next morning with a goal. Get Will some help TODAY! I wasn't going to stop until I had at least an appointment with someone familiar with Down Syndrome and Autism. Both of them. In the same person. I found her in the most obvious place to look- at the Adult Down Syndrome Clinic at UAB. I had called there a few years ago, right after it first opened and they were not staffed with anyone we needed services from. Now they are. I don't even remember anymore what made me try them again. It just happened.

In January, Will and I met with an amazing psychologist (very familiar with what is going on with Will's lack of communication now) and a Speech and Language Pathologist (not as helpful, but not all her fault). Will immediately bonded with the Doc. She has a British accent which Will must have thought was pretty darn cool. I learned that what has happened to Will's verbal skills lately is common for adults with Down's and with Autism. He has both. Letting him continue to live in silence is not an option though. So, we are learning other ways to communicate that don't require Will to have to "talk", until he is ready again. It has been so motivating for all of us, including Will. He's still not using his "voice," but we are hearing him now, loud and clear.

"Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great."