Sunday, November 30, 2014

Autism Answer: An Autumn Cup Of Joe!

I like coffee. 

Okay, I love coffee. 

Okay, I am obsessively in love with coffee!

So as we celebrate the season I thought it would be fun to share my sometimes autumn morning coffee ritual. As pumpkins grow in season, and stores pump images and smells of the healthy and delicious food at us at break neck speed, I've discovered my own way to celebrate the food without breaking the bank or ignoring my beliefs. 

A few of those beliefs: Organic fair trade is important, discovering and implementing habits that are healthy for both my body and soul is important, sharing those habits and beliefs with my family and friends is an important way to encourage new ideas while holding onto our most comfortable old ones. 

And though my Cup of Joe doesn't actually include the nutrition or taste of pumpkin, it does sneak into my soul the feel of pumpkin, due to my use of pumpkin pie type spices. 

So, without further ado, my autumn coffee recipe!

What You Need:
Organic Fair Trade Shade Grown Whole Bean Coffee
Coffee Grinder
Organic Ground Cinnamon
Organic Ground Ginger
Organic Whole or Ground Cloves
Coffee Press or Coffee Percolator

What You Do:
Sniff Coffee Beans
Grind Coffee Beans
Sniff Ground Coffee
Smile to Self (and Company!)
Dump Ground Coffee into Coffee Press or Percolator
Sprinkle Cinnamon
Sprinkle Ginger
Sprinkle or drop Cloves
Sashay to the Sound of Your Happy Humming
Pour almost Boiling Hot Filtered Water into Coffee Press (or Cold Filtered Water into Percolator and Turn on Medium-High Heat)
For Coffee Press: Stir with wooden spoon, and place the top on, without pressing.

While Waiting for Your Brew & To Taste: Sing a song, or dance while sweeping or vacuuming, or fold one load of laundry, or daydream while washing dishes. 
Do Not: Check email or phone messages or to-do list!

After approx two songs:
Press Coffee or Turn Down Percolator.
Pour into Huge Coffee Mug that Invites Hands to Wrap Around it.
Sniff, smile, sip, repeat!

I usually also add a touch of organic half n' half. But it's unnecessary and also potentially unkind when we take a moment to think about how so many of the animals that gift us with dairy products are treated, which takes a little bit of the pure joy away. But it does add a touch of creamy goodness, so treat yourself with open eyes!

*The thing about pressed coffee is the oils are retained. Which is healthier or less healthy, depending on each person. And the thing about whole bean is that it's healthier because some types of mold can grow on pre-ground coffee (or so I've read, but I can't remember where so it could well be crazy talk. But in my opinion it makes absolute sense, so I'm leaving it here for you to consider. I believe you're smart enough to think for yourself and discover your own belief!) so if you're like me and drink coffee daily, I definitely recommend whole bean, shade grown, and fair trade!*

You'll notice my lack of measurements and such. Ya, that's because I just play it all by ear! Most mornings I prefer a full bodied spice free cup of coffee. But some chilly fall mist covered mornings, when my heart and soul want to celebrate and be bold, I play with the spices. I simply sprinkle, or delicately dash, or selfishly scoop... which I absolutely encourage you to do too!

And for my friends who like a creamier less "coffee" flavored pumpkin coffee drink, please peak at my friend, Meryl Ann Butler's, article that sparked my own desire to recipe swap!!!! 

Oh, ya, and while we're talkin' about pumpkins, go ahead and check out my parenting and pancake posts, Pumpkin in the Pancakes Part 1 & Part 2.

Hugs, smiles, and love!!!!

Author's Note: But heck, it's not a bad thing to do a family Coffee Shop trip once in a while too!
This is me with my mom and sister and dad, sipping overpriced less than healthy lattes.
And loving it!!!

*I have comments turned off here on my blog, but always post a link to Facebook where I invite you with all of my heart to share your own ideas, thoughts, and delicious coffee recipes!!! Hugs!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Autism Answer: I Don't Know Why, but I Trust You Do

I have no idea why your child is screaming and kicking you, but I trust you do

I have no idea why you choose to ignore her while you shop happily, rather than scold and explain to her, but I trust you do.

Okay... perhaps I do know. Perhaps you'd rather show her love and happiness while not giving attention to her tantrum. Perhaps your happy demeanor is as much an act of strength and long term teaching as another parent's stopping the shopping to scold, explain, and leave.

I have no idea why you parent the way you do, or why your child behaves the way she does, but I love children and I love you. And I trust you do, too.

There is so much thinking and guessing and trying involved when we parent. I choose not to make it harder for everyone by judging others when they do it their way.

Besides, thinking without judgement about why your child is screaming while you happily shop is far more nourishing for me than the chocolate covered almonds I bought while I was behind you at the checkout!!

I applaud diversity in my grocery store!!!

I applaud you for parenting for your child and not for me!

Hugs, smiles, and love!!!

Autism Answers with Tsara Shelton (Facebook)

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Autism Answer: The Creativity Spectrum

"To be a screenwriter is to deal with an ongoing tug of war between breathtaking megalomania and insecurity so deep it takes years of therapy just to be able to say 'I'm a writer' out loud." ~Blake Snyder  (from his book, Save The Cat!)

I love this. It's so bloody spot on!

I believe this is true for most folks in the creative world. It's a spectrum, you see, and we live all over it from one day to the next, one moment to the next.

In truth, this is what it is to be human. It's just heightened for those who live often in the creative world. Writers, actors, painters, most entrepreneurs... and so many more. 

We need to learn to take advantage of these extremes rather than succumb to the overwhelming challenge of adjusting constantly to our moods. This spectrum offers so much insight and endless opportunities to see things on the edges. If we are accepted and strong, if we surround ourselves only with people who will offer the same, then it's a beautiful gift.

Being creative invites many moods.
Many moods is fantastical and alive.
And being alive is a spectrum.

We all live on a spectrum! 
I think it's useful to remember that.

Hugs, smiles, and love!!

Autism Answers with Tsara Shelton (Facebook)

I'm a Writer.
That's my disability.

It's a spectrum, so some days I'm more high functioning than others.
My kids really don't like my low functioning days, but in a way
they're my favorite. 

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Autism Answer: Step Up To The Challenge!

Okay, who likes a challenge?

The Flash Fiction Challenge on Chuck Wendig's blog yesterday was: Write a story in three sentences

Whaaaaatttt????? But I love lots and lots and lots of sentences!!!!! Haven't you seen my Facebook posts??? 
Oh, ya. No, he hasn't. Plus, it's supposed to be a challenge, so I guess if he had seen my page he'd certainly not choose to change it. Though, he'd likely rub his hands together while whispering with childish pleasure,"Excellent....."

Anyhooo, I went ahead and stepped up. Took on his challenging challenge. And--though it's not the greatest short story ever--it was fun! And peeking at most of the others, I've discovered that actually, you can write a story with three sentences! And it can be good!!

I'll share mine with you here, and I encourage you to check out his blog to read some of the others, and possibly step up to the challenge yourself! Not only will you get a kick out of it, you'll also be eligible to win a copy of his e-book, 30 Days in the Word Mines.

My Three Sentence Story
It’s not true that being autistic means I don’t want friends. I have ideas and thoughts that tumble around in my brain and when I catch them I want desperately to share them with someone; a friend would be nice. But my ideas won’t come out of my brain, and they never fit in with the people around me–though they would give them something to consider–and so with years and years of practice I learned to be my own friend, which is more than you can honestly say.

So, that's my three sentence story. And you know what? I kinda like it!!

As a matter of fact, I started liking it enough to call my brother, Dar, to see what he thought. You see, of everyone I know, he's the most like the character I imagined when writing my three sentence story, and I wanted to know what his opinion was. 

Besides, I miss him! 

So I called my son, Jory, who's staying with Dar while my mom travels for work. Asking him to hand the phone over to his uncle, I said a quick hi to my bro. "Hey Dar! How are you?"

"I miffff," he responded immediately. 

"I miss you too! Hey, I wrote a three sentence story today and I want to know what you think of it. Can I read it to you?"

"Yeff." His answer was quick, but then I waited while I heard my son reminding him to hold the phone on his ear. Once I felt his attention return, I began reading. 

After finishing, I asked with trepidation,"Sooooo.... do you like it?"

"Might." He answered.

"You might? You might like it?"

"Yeff. aaaaaa ummmm might."

I laughed and thanked him for listening. My son came back to the phone.

"I guess he might like it," my son was laughing. 

While saying goodbye to my boy and putting the phone in it's cradle, I was smiling to myself. 

Years ago I wouldn't have imagined that I could have a conversation with my brother on the phone. No way. Yet today I called him expecting to get an idea of his opinion. Wanting it and expecting it.

It seems that he was willing to step up to a challenge too! 

We all have challenges. Whether it's sharing our opinions, communicating in general, getting around town, accepting ourselves, or writing three sentence stories. And we all know that the best way to get beautiful things out of those challenges is to accept them and say "YES" to doing something proactive about them!  

So for those of you who are ready to accept a three sentence story challenge, go ahead and give it a try, HERE

As you can see, it's been an amazing and insightful gift for me. Getting to participate in a challenge, chat with my brother and learn that he's not as impressed with my story as I am. And then, share it all with you. 

And in only three sentences!!!
tee hee!!!

Hugs, smiles, and love!!!

Autism Answers with Tsara Shelton (Facebook)

My brother, Dar.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Autism Answer: Around Around We Go


ME: What's up Shay? You're looking very lost in thought lately.

SHAY: I keep thinking about how much fun it was to be a little kid, and how free I always felt and how my brothers were always near me. And then I wish we were little again. But then I think about how cool it's going to be to own a store and make movies and be a more on purpose part of the world, and I want that too. So then I wish I was grown up. But being a teenager just sucks, you know? Even though I keep trying to find something to like about who I am and what it's like now, I can't. I mean, I want to wish I was where I am. But it's hard.

ME: Some days are better than others though, right?

SHAY: Oh, ya! Lots of days are pretty good.

ME: Well, maybe think about how fun it is to still enjoy some of that freedom you felt as a kid while you on purpose get started on the stuff you're planning to do as a grown up. And then be glad that you are here, now.

SHAY: That might help sometimes, but not much.

ME: And remember that some days are better than others. And make it a habit to wake up believing that it's going to be a "better than others" day.

SHAY: You always say stuff like that mom. As if we can change the world with our attitude.

ME: Well, that's because I believe we can.


ME: Hurry up, Shay!!! Get up, get up, get up!! We've gotta be out of here in, like, ten minutes and you're still in bed.

SHAY: I'm thinking about how today is going to be one of my better days.

ME: Awesome!! Think about it while we get moving. Anyway, it's easier to imagine good stuff when you're moving and smiling and feeling pro-active. 

SHAY: Good point (grabs his glasses and sits up while singing to himself) I'll meet you in the car in a minute. I've just gotta brush my teeth.


Smiling and listening to the latest Framing Hanley CD--The Sum Of Who We Are-- I'm thinking about how we teach our kids, how they roll their eyes at us and consider our old-fogy ideas, then go ahead and make some of them their own. Meanwhile, the moment they do, we moms and dads add more lessons and old-fogy knowledge.

I turn up the music as Shay climbs in the car. In time for school and looking good.

Life is a lovely thing, and today is one of our better days!

Hugs, smiles, and love!!
Autism Answers with Tsara Shelton (Facebook)

My Sister, Jady, and my brother, Dar: circa 1994
Around and Around they go!
This living life thing is pretty fun!