Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Autism Answer: The Sunshine Award (or I Guess I'm a Blogger!)

Well, it turns out I'm a blogger, with a blog that's worthy of being nominated for The Sunshine Award. Who'd have thunk?? I'm surprised, thrilled, and honored!!

In truth, I haven't ever thought of myself as a "blogger". So, in responding to this award, I will be exploring and sharing this new label that I'm accepting with pride, while you--the reader--explore with me! I'm so happy that you're here to help me celebrate!!

“For the Sunshine Award, the blogger must:
  • Acknowledge the nominating blogger. (The beautiful, insightful, and fellow fan of the exclamation point: Words I Wheel By!! Thank-you so much!!!)
  • Share 11 random facts about yourself.
  • Answer 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you.
  • List 11 bloggers. They should be bloggers you believe deserve some recognition and a little blogging love!
  • Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer & let all the bloggers know they've been nominated. You cannot nominate the blogger that nominated you.”
Alright, so.... what are we waiting for?! Let's do this!!!

Eleven Random Facts About Me:

1) I eat entirely too much cheese, and drink copious amounts of soul nourishing coffee!  

2) I have four teenage sons: Jory, Tyran, Shay, and Declyn. I use everyone's real names in posts, articles and more. I grew-up in the public eye (my mom is international mental health therapist Lynette Louise aka THE BRAIN BROAD) and find it very comfortable. My sons are actors, writers, dancers etc, and not only enjoy, but appreciate, being credited and bragged about publicly. Also, I truly believe that it is safer to live out loud than to hide and protect, for the most part. If there is something my family or I don't want to share, then we don't! 

3) I was a single mom for many years. I never, ever, ever imagined I would be a married woman. However, my husband and I have now been happily married for thirteen years, and I freaking love it!!!

4) I'm very comfortable talking about sex. There is so much we can learn about ourselves and human nature when we are willing to explore the insecurities, joys, and questions that present themselves during that very vulnerable and beautiful act. I also think it's a dangerous habit in our society to teach uncomfortable quickness or assume inappropriateness when sex is the topic. Many people see themselves as monsters or broken when they begin to feel sexual, and without comfort exploring the issue, there is little they can do to learn otherwise.

5) I'm very uninterested in talking about sex just for the sake of talking about sex.

6) I love reading novels. I love dancing to rock music. I love singing real loud to myself. 

7) I really, really, really love my husband, but I live for my children.

8) I am the oldest of eight kids. We are four girls and four boys. All of my brothers (who were adopted) had many labels: autism, fetal alcohol syndrome, mental retardation, auditory processing issues, and more. My mom was also on the autism spectrum, so it wasn't really that weird to us when she solved a myriad of issues (school, neighborhood, business, family bonding) by putting together a North American Prison Tour, where our entire family traveled in a van, learned life skills and performed comedy and music for prisoners. Doesn't everyone do that?

9) I have two step daughters that are older than me, and step-grandchildren that are almost my age. 
 10) My mom offered to hire me as her personal assistant and I have been growing as a writer, individual, and advocate ever since. We are an amazing team!!! And I am not surprised!

11) I have a huge crush on Mark Ruffalo. And a little crush on my dentist! (He has an accent. I love accents!)

My Answers To The Eleven Questions Words I Wheel By Posed:  

What causes are you most passionate about?

Well, that's a fun one!! Obviously, I have an interest in autism, mental health, and equality. I am very passionate about parenting, and revealing it's important and beautiful role in society. I am passionate about revealing answers and hope in the world of sexual abuse. I love the environment, organic farming, healthy habits... however, I believe that the cause I am most passionate about is an open mind and flexibility for change. The specifics (autism, environment, sexual abuse) of where I put my passion shifts, but the underlying theme remains the same. We need to be willing to change course when we discover new truths. This sounds simple--and actually is!--however it requires learning when we were wrong and complicit, and listening with an open mind to those who have very different views and attitudes. This can be frightening and challenging, but it is also always revealing and enlightening!

What project is on your to-do list that you keep meaning to finish?

That's an easy one! I've been meaning to make a to-do list! tee hee! No, seriously, the only project I have on my to-do list that isn't getting done is the writing of my novels. I have completed one outline, and worked a bit on two others. The characters live patiently in my head, waiting until my sons have all moved out of the house. You see, it turns out that when I'm writing, I'm not very nice to the real world! I have an issue with transitioning. I love my real life when I'm in it, and I love my made up lives when I'm living them, but transitioning between the two is not my strong suit! 

What are you having for dinner tonight?

Yikes!! And now, a sad truth. I'm not sure what we'll have for dinner, but can promise you this. It'll be something simple. I don't really cook. So, I'm thinking fresh-water tuna, crackers, broccoli and carrots? Or maybe cheese, crackers, salami and peppers? There is the slight possibility that I'll make spaghetti  but my boys are kinda sick of that. Since it's the only real meal I make! 

Facebook or Twitter?

Simple! Facebook for sure!! I love to use lots and lots and lots of words!! Also, Twitter kind of confuses me. It's like, a bunch of people talking all at once, and I don't exactly know what more than half of them are saying.

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be?

For sure I would take my husband and all four of our boys to Toronto, Ontario, Canada, where I did most of my growing up. We would ride subways and visit coffee shops and used book stores and breath deep and enjoy crisp fall air! Oh, did I mention we would go in the fall? Well, we would!!! I often imagine winning the lottery, renewing our passports, buying a car and heading north!! Home is where my heart is, my heart is where my boys are, and Toronto is where I was discovering myself at their age... it just seems like it would be so bloody fun!!!

Apple cider or hot chocolate?

Absolutely hot chocolate. With mostly coffee. Not quite half and half.... more like coffee with a smidgen of hot chocolate. Or, just coffee!! tee hee!

Favorite cake flavor?

No, thank-you! I'm not a fan of cake. But pie! My mom's homemade rhubarb and strawberry pie, with a cup of coffee!! Ooohhhhh.... and with Mark Ruffalo chatting about how awesome my kids are!! That would be a kick-butt awesome piece of pie!!! 

Why did you start blogging?

Let's see... I've always wanted to be a writer. Ever since I was a little girl, I wanted to be a mom and a writer. I jumped on the mom train pretty early, but all of my attempts at writing left me feeling embarrassed.  I'd think, "This is fun!" and then I'd think,"Who the heck cares what I think? Who cares about these people I'm making up? Who the heck do I think I am??!" So, I just stopped. 

But, I want my boys to follow their dreams. So, giving up on mine felt like bad parenting. One day I was driving, had an idea for a movie, came home and stayed up all night typing it. Then, I forced myself to share it with others. I showed my family. They said they loved it, but I wasn't sure. What I did know was that I loved it! Not necessarily my story, but the act of writing it! So, I started writing the odd thing. However, I never had a real purpose until my mom offered me the job of personal assistant and PR chick. Then, she invested a bunch of money in me, sent me to a conference and more. Well, she gave my writing a purpose! Because my mom is a mental heath therapist and expert, and because she is an out-of-the-box thinker, she also gave me much to advocate for! Suddenly I was writing and sharing and publishing here and there. But when I needed to link to a piece, or share something I'd written, I could never find it. So... I created a blog! It's a place where I copy & paste all of my autism, parenting, life lesson type posts. I can also hyperlink to sites that have kindly offered me guest posts, or published my other styled articles and more. It's a way I can give back and share with volume!

And I have to admit, I love it!! 

Windows or Apple?

Hmmmmm.... I find windows better for gazing out of, and apples better for eating. Oh! You mean computer thingys! Well, I have Windows, so it's the one I know. However, I do not understand technology very well, and only use my tiny little computer for email, writing, and sharing on social media. That's all. Oh, wait, I also put a couple videos on YouTube! It made me feel very hip and computer savvy!!

Dogs or cats?

I was always more of a cat person. But, over the last ten years, I've discovered the dog person in me. We live on sixty-seven acres of wooded land, and dogs just kind of show up. We feed them and love them, but they are completely free to go anytime. There is something beautiful about being chosen. There is something important about watching them out our window. And my youngest son has learned to practice social skills by spending quality, comfortable time with them. He talks to them, shares his feelings with them, runs with them. There is something beautiful and important in that, too. It is precisely the relationship I had with cats growing up. 

Who would you most like to have dinner with, dead or alive?

Mahatma Ghandi's mom, Nelson Mandela's mom, Albert Einstein's mom, Max Frankel's mom... there are a few others. I have often craved conversation with moms of some of the men who have inspired me. Men who were in touch with their own beliefs, strong enough to insist on them, and comfortable enough to do so with consistent kindness. I wonder how their moms felt. How they encouraged such self reflection and confidence. I wonder so many things. 

But now that my own boys are becoming men, I can honestly say that I crave those conversations less and less. My sons inspire and surprise me consistently  And I'm beginning to believe that those moms would be as proud and uncertain, though full of educated guesses, of how their sons came to be such inspirations.  

Okay! Now for the fun of nominating some of my favorite blogs!!

Alright, I'm embarrassed to admit this. But, I don't actually read many blogs. I know, it sounds rude, doesn't it? I'm sorry!! It's just not the kind of reading I usually do. I have read gazillions of lovely, moving, funny, important, and insightful blog posts, but I rarely remember from where, or from what blog. So, I'm going to offer The Sunshine Award to bloggers that have been part of my life and have become my friends. Whether they've invited me to guest post, reached out as a friend, offered suggestions and/or opportunities... these blogs deserve recognition. What they write is wonderful. What they do changes lives. 

At least, they changed mine. And I owe them more than I can simply say.

Now, Eleven Questions I'd Like These Bloggers to Answer!

What do you enjoy most about writing?

Who are some of your biggest influences?

Are you a shower or bath person?

When someone asks,"What do you do?", what is your answer?

What is one fear you've gotten over in your life?

What is your favorite movie genre?

How do you usually react to stress?

Do you laugh often?

When people describe you, what word do you think is most often used? What word would you use?

What's a favorite comfort food?

Do you prefer to read fact or fiction? 

Okay, that was fun!!! Regardless of whether or not the other bloggers have time to play the game, I have to admit I have enjoyed it! And please, please, please, take a moment to check out their stuff!!! 

Once again, thanks to Words I Wheel By for nominating me for the award!!

Hugs, smiles and love!!!