Be Aware of Autism

ProgtammingHopePosterI know April is Autism Awareness month, but I truly believe we should be aware of autism all year, in a positive and uplifting way. So this post I give you today will help everyone do just that. It includes a very personal video that I’m so happy to share with all of you.

You can go back and read any of the writings about my son, Kyle, in the archives of this blog. Just look over to the side or below for a menu of blog topics and click on AUTISM. Catch up a bit, if you haven’t already done so, that would be helpful. Even if you just read THIS ONE. You can also find that link near the autism ribbon under the archives list. It gives a good overview of our story.

Fast forward to today. Kyle, at age 28, is working at nonPareil Institute. The movie, Programming Hope, a documentary film about nP, finally premiered back in February 2015. nonPareil has also expanded and opened a second location in Houston! It’s an exciting time. They still need lots of support to make even more future growth possible, but they are working hard on all this. Please share this this story with everyone…we really need the word out there so everyone can be aware of autism in a future tense. It’s a business story as much as it’s an autism story. Anyone can benefit from hearing what is being done now to help adults on the spectrum and what’s on the horizon. It gets ideas and conversations started. It gets ideas and actions started, too.

Kyle’s Story

A little before the nP Houston location opened, I had the pleasure of hearing first hand, from several folks who were at their “open house” meeting, about my son’s “speech” which he made during that event. You see, he was asked to attend with Dan Selec and Gary Moore, the founders of nP…and that alone, was pretty exciting!

What many may not realize, was that Kyle actually was pretty nervous in the days leading up to traveling down there. He was going all by himself on a plane, since Dan and Gary were already down there attending an earlier event the night before. To Kyle, THIS trip was a big deal! He had flown before, but never alone. Having to navigate getting to and from places for the first time is always a topic of stress…add to that flying, and he just needed some reassurance. We discussed this by phone before he left. That’s typically how our relationship flows now that he’s an adult. He simply needs a little extra support and guidance, and we are his sounding board to help him make wise decisions…and of course, learn from his mistakes, which still can crop up.

After the Houston event was over I heard on Facebook about how well things went…he even posted wonderful pictures and updates during his short trip. Eventually, within a day or so, there were pictures posted on nonPareil – Houston’s Facebook page…and I was thrilled to learn that the documentary folks were down there, too, getting some final footage for the film…and luckily, Kyle’s speech was captured!

This makes us SO happy. He’s done something like this before, given a wonderful, moving testimony and we missed almost all of it. It was the evening of the final marching band competition his senior year of high school. Both my husband and I were busy doing band parent stuff, and I walked into the band hall at the tail end, heard his closing words, only to see kids and parents in tears and then applause. My husband missed it completely. Unfortunately, there was no good recording of it by anyone. We heard so much about it, though. We knew then that Kyle really had learned a sense of gratitude and that he valued his friends…and that he felt safe in band…and he really was worried about his future. It was scary to think he was going to leave his comfort behind after graduation, but we remained optimistic.

As expected, college was not the right fit for him, nor was working in food service. Neither made him happy or feel successful. Kyle learned to speak his emotions very well thanks to all the counseling and speech therapy we did with him through the years . He was taught to use his words once he gained a sufficient amount of them in his repertoire . Outbursts were not appropriate, not tolerated and we taught him other ways to let go of what he was feeling.

Years later, what you see here is the pay off. I never dreamed it would happen like this in a million years. Kids grow up. They learn what they are taught, over and over and over again. This is proof.

I decided to share this new video, which includes my son’s speech at that open house in Houston, in the hope that it helps those parents that are struggling right now. Our journey was long…and I cried a lot…and we were very scared…but we just kept doing the best we knew how to do. I simply can’t thank both Dan and Gary enough for helping to create this moment, now…and for believing in my son…and a big thank you to Jack Creamer, the director of Programming Hope, for sharing that meaningful film clip and the other pictures with me.

I want all of you reading this to take a moment and please watch…and share it with anyone who might need to hope and inspiration…

 

 

Autism Awareness is more than statistics. Be aware of what is possible. Know that a great future can and will happen. Children grow up and there are people out there right now working very hard to make sure training programs and jobs will be available to individuals on the autism spectrum. Stay aware and keep learning about it…because time will pass in the blink of an eye!

Years ago, we had to forget our fear and just take it one day at a time. It ends up that it’s been a wild ride, but a great lesson to share…life will take you places that you can’t even realize. You’ll meet people through the years that will help connect the dots. So don’t sweat it so much right now while the kids are little…just enjoy them…smile more often…lighten up! Teach them to be kind..teach them love. Teach them right from wrong as best as you can.

Seven years ago, during a hot Texas summer just like this one, our son was the first student in a program we knew nothing about…but we took a leap of faith. Meeting someone randomly led this to happen…it wasn’t planned and we were not looking for it. See? You just never know!

My Message To You

Keep your focus on the love…the consistency…and laugh…don’t forget to laugh. I think I mentioned that twice. It’s worth repeating. Build your village of support…the right people are all out there, walking around each day…you’ll know when you meet them…and the village grows as your child grows up, with each new experience. SO, make sure your children have a have a TON of experiences…both good and bad, because there’s something to be taken away and learned from each of them along the way.

Things have a way of falling into place…worry and fear just make the journey more difficult, so surrender to faith.

The Joy of Tieks = Happy Feet | My Tieks Review

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This is the first of what I hope to be MANY more reviews of my favorite things! I have been asked to do these type of posts quite frequently over the years, but have always stuck to mostly hooping information and tips on this blog. However, that stops today! I truly want to provide my readers with more useful information on a range of topics from now on, so let me start by telling you about how the joy of Tieks = happy feet!

Tieks are designer, hand made, high-end, top-quality Italian leather ballet flats, shoes only sold online, with an equally high price tag that has many asking the question, “Are they actually worth it?” I know that I sure was curious what all the hoopla was about before I invested in my first pair. Now, after several years and several pairs, I feel like I can share some useful information with you.

To make my honest review more enjoyable, I sat down in front of the camera the other day to make this video for you, even though I had a headache! That’s how passionate I am about singing the praises of Tieks. So, please excuse my low energy…and know that I’m speaking very truthful here, all this is straight from the heart!

 

 

You can link to many more videos on YouTube that give many more details. You’ll see more about the cute boxes that Tieks come in, the handwritten notes the company sends you and those adorable flowers that come with each pair, too. In those other videos, you’ll here tons of very wonderful reviews, SO many women loving Tieks. That speaks volumes. Seriously, research…and know it’s all true!

I’m also here to tell you, I feel the same as what you’ll find out in all the other glowing reviews…Tieks ballet flats are the REAL deal…

They make you feel special. They are comfy. They are luxurious. They are VERY well made, like no other shoe you’ve EVER had. You’ll start with one pair, but you’ll get more (I could just say you’ll WANT more, but you’ll skip past that to GET more as soon as you can, because they are just that comfortable). The price is high, but once you touch them, once you get your feet into a pair, you’ll know and understand why they cost what they do and you will find a way to save your money to buy more. Just being honest.

Toward the end of the video, you’ll hear me say that I probably won’t buy another pair, that I’m pretty set with my collection of Tieks. Well, LET’S just see how long that lasts! Right now, I feel like I have got a nice range of colors and patterns that go with most everything I wear. So, let that be my biggest tip for you. It’s the one thing I have tried to do – get colors of Tieks that go with my clothes really well. My advice is to start with a solid color that goes well with a lot of your wardrobe, and you’ll find yourself feeling better about your purchase because you’ll be able to wear them more frequently since they coordinate better than say, some random design or super-trendy color. A black or brown tone is a go-to, but some my like a more neutral tan or cream tone. Just consider your own clothing and style, what you like to wear most, then plan your first Tieks purchase from there. If you are trying to get the most wearability bang for your bucks, I think that’s a useful thing to do.

As we get older, we still want to be fashionable, but COMFORT becomes very important, too. I have come to accept that this might mean I have to spend a little more to get the quality that I want, as well. For me, Tieks are the answer when it comes to both casual & dress shoes. Research other REVIEWS on various blogs and YouTube videos by linking directly to more from the Tieks.com website. I promise you, all the positive love is spot on!

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Great little company. Intimate customer service.

Shoe joy! Happy feet!

 

 

 

 

aRound Anniversary JOY

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I didn’t always hoop. In fact,  I never even touched a hoop until I was 47 years old. Nevertheless, I have had abundant joy around me. With each passing year, each holiday, each birthday, each anniversary, each event, I reflect with more clarity. There is joy in my life. It’s a simple fact. Joy is there for the taking when we open our eyes.

After 32 years of marriage, I can REALLY see the joy everywhere in my life. Where it was hiding, how I tried to disguise it, when I let it slip away, who I felt it most with, what brought it around me the most and when I decided to let it take over. Joy became the most key element at some point and the rest, as they say, is history.

 

 

So, did the hoop have anything to do with this? Considering that I discovered hooping 23 years into my marriage, I can truthfully say “no”…I had lots of joy before I ever picked up a hoop. I think accepting the fact that I WAS around so much joy and being grateful actually allowed me to have my eyes more open to opportunities for more joy. Yes, you read that correctly. Joy led me to the hoop.

At some point after my youngest son graduated from high school, I just felt it was time to to not let the journey of “who I want to be” suddenly end. I knew feelings that were no where near joy. I had already experienced loss and many disappointments. So I decided to begin listening to those little happy feelings more deeply… and I would see what resonated with me most. What did I get a true sense of joy doing? That was how identified with hooping and knew I had to give it more than just a passing try. Sure glad I stuck with it. Did I have to seek outside my comfort zone, my family life and the day-to-day normalcy to embrace the hoop? Absolutely. Sometimes joy has a pull on your heart so strong. I knew this was something that would make me better in the long run, for my health and for my husband. It’s been a real blessing.

As I take a peek back into the past 32 years, however, I can say without question that I wasn’t always seeing the joy in each day. Marriage is always a work in progress. Raising children is THE HARDEST JOB in the world. I remember not being very happy on many days. Somehow, we made it through. Seeing the boys grow into real people, having their own way of doing things, being interesting individuals, THAT was when the bigger joy started happening. We taught them good morals and to care about others. We’ve accepted that it’s those two qualities that are the most important. I’m proud to keep modeling this to my family with my business. Our sons may be grown, but they still look at what we do and can learn by example. Seeing your grown children become successful is such a gift and joy! When you know they had to really struggle with ADHD and autism to get where they are in life, yet now are happy, productive adults, though? That makes the joy even sweeter, let me tell you!

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As for my husband and I, being a couple again, having time for each other…THAT brings me the most joy. The hoop helps me move and stay vital, so I can continue to be active in my life. I want to still FEEL younger, have that youthful, playful spirit well into our 40th and 50th years of marriage…and thankfully, hooping will allow that.  How do I know this? Well, I have students who are a walking testimony, hooping in retirement brings them such joy! I’m watching and learning, to be sure!

 

 

I Taught Ferris Bueller How To Hoop

Can you believe it? I taught Ferris Bueller how to hoop? It’s true!

Yeppers! I dreamed last night that I taught Ferris Bueller to hoop! (ok, ok…don’t be mad at me for the shameless hook! IT DID HAPPEN and it was SO real to me…nope, not even kidding!)

Of course, I have to look for the hidden meaning in this odd, random dream, right? Here’s what I think…

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As Ferris says, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

SO I REALLY MUST FEEL DEEPLY THAT EVERYONE SHOULD TAKE TIME TO LEARN A NEW SKILL LIKE HOOPNG!

I mean, Ferris did! (Well, in my dream, anyway!) He HAS that spirit I love to work with in hoop class! Just like in the movie, we see him  wanting to have fun and not caring what anyone thought. He was willing to take a chance, see where it led him on that particular day. Oh, sure, he got into a real mess, but he learned a lot in the process…most importantly, he gained a lot of insight about himself!

So, look at HOOPING IN THE SAME WAY!  You might get into some difficulty while practicing it, but you keep on going and eventually, it all works out if you stay persistent! The journey and transformation it takes you on is like a wonderful story worthy of a movie!  Yet, at the very basic level, it is just simple, not complicated fun. The attitude it takes to become a hooper goes hand-in-hand with the essence of Ferris!

Take a look at the summary of the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off :

“A high school wise guy is determined to have a day off from school, despite of what the principal thinks of that.”

Now, I ask you, wouldn’t you like a DAY OFF FROM LIFE?

Well then, my friends, you need to get yourself to a training and let me introduce you to the hoop and the wonderful aRoundJoy community.

When I ask you how you found me, just say Ferris sent you! If you already have been to class, but just need a refresher or want to get back “into” your hoop again, REMEMBER my DREAM and TAKE A DAY OFF to just come on!

Find out more on my FAQ’s page. Don’t be scared.

Do you have an inner Ferris? What do you to tap into it? I challenge you to just GO THERE! DO SOMETHING new!

Hoop like Ferris.

Be like Ferris.

 

I Bring THIS Into My Hoop Practice

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You know what inspires me? Any form of dance and creative expression…I bring this into my hoop practice…I think about the bliss, not the steps or the tricks…I let the fun that I feel come out in my hooping…and it is my sincere hope that you will do that, too.

Just sharing a video below that I hope will bring a smile to your face…and JOY to your heart, which I hope will give you a little bit to think about. Move in a way that makes you feel light and happy. It’s important to lighten up…both in your thoughts and physically, lighten your grip on that hoop! Just let it GO a little. Feel free.

I know many of my students express desires to get better with their hooping. I’m here to tell each and every one of you, YOU already ARE better! I have seen SO much growth in the individuals who came to my private sessions over the last year! All you need to do NOW is just ENJOY…and put your heart and soul into it…hoop like you mean it, like nobody’s watching…let’s dance…from the inside…because it makes no difference what’s on the outside. What you feel in your heart, what your intention is, when you REALLY let go…THAT’S what will shine through in your hooping!

Get ready to expand more on all this in upcoming offerings in 2016, both online and at The HoopShack. Specific small-group workshops, an exclusive online study mentorship and even a hoop retreat. With our new guest house almost ready, I truly am opening up my “home” to make clients feel very welcome. We’ll celebrate being with our hoops, playing like we were just kids and enjoying our time together. It’s truly a time to DANCE…