Category Archives: Ideas

An Exceptional Super Bowl Ad

Kudos to Microsoft for giving viewers one of the best Super Bowl commercials of 2019. You can also check out the video in the sidebar.

Two key thoughts:

  1. Physical differences should not deny anyone the opportunity to connect, grow, learn, and play, because when we connect, grow, learn, and play, “we all win.”
  2. No parent (caregiver) wants their child (no matter what age or level on the exceptional-needs spectrum) to feel like an outsider in this gift ( none of us earned it) of a world given to us all by God.

This reminds of the scripture, ‘On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary; and those members of the body which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our less presentable members become much more presentable, ‘ 1 Corinthians 12:22-23, New American Standard Bible (NASB)
https://my.bible.com/bible/100/1CO.12.22-23

Now back to the advertisement. I have to say what a way to endorse a product? If anyone has used it, please let me know. I’d like to share more than the commercial. For now, Microsoft wins in my book.

Artwork Credit

Time to Shine Again

Hello, Ocala/Marion County, I’m pleased to announce that Shining Lights will rise again for the 2019 Spring semester of Small Groups at the Meadowbrook Church. Last Summer, when I first initiated this group, it was my primary goal to bond with people like me – siblings of “exceptional people.”

However, the focus quickly changed to include people who are caregivers, of any kind. The reasoning behind their showing up didn’t matter, although it varied. Some came to find out about local resources in the area; others wanted to meet other parents and find friendships for their special needs children; still, others simply needed to get out of the house. And soon bonds were made.

Personally, I’ve learned so much from having this open door policy to other types of caregivers, and I have seen fantastic growth in our members. We have an ahhhhmazing time: breaking bread (if you chose to bring a lunch), learning new things that add to our lives, and how to avoid “caregiving syndrome.”

So if you’re in the area and you are a caregiver of any kind or YOU’D LIKE TO BE A CAREGIVER, please join us. Our only rule is that you leave your cares at the door because this is not a counseling group.

Registration (click the link) is open to the community (and you don’t have to be a member of MBCOcala) to join the Shining Lights Small Group. Our first meeting will take place on 2/7/19 at 12:30 PM.

Rainy day valet?

Rainy days can be the best days. Those wet afternoons when you don’t have anywhere to be, and you comfortably ball up on the couch and finish that novel you’ve been toting around for the last three months or binge watch that show everyone has been talking about. On those occasions, nothing beats a rainy day.

But when you do want to go somewhere as important as Church, a community event, or as simple as the grocery store; the rain can be a real drag, a darn right deterrent.  Well multiply that emotion times ten, and we might come close to knowing how a caregiver of a person with mobility challenges feels.

It takes a lot of planning to go somewhere when it rains. First, the caregiver has to prepare how to get their special person into the car, especially if she doesn’t have covered parking. In that case, she must plan how to do so without everyone getting soaking wet.

Such was the case for my family when we went to church this past Sunday. It was drizzling only a little when we left home, but by the time we were nearing the sanctuary, the sky had really opened up wide, and it was raining horses and cows. As discussed prior to our drive to church, I would let everyone out under the portico, park the car, and meet them inside the church. When church service was over, the rain was still coming down heavily, so my mother took a turn walking quite a distance to her parked car while I stood to wait with my wheelchair bound sister.

Well, how much more pleasant this scenario could have been had their been parkers for handicapped church attendees? Imagine, young, vibrant sneaker wearing, umbrella-toting, valet drivers who give you a ticket once you pull under the portico, then help you out of the car, takeout the wheelchair and assist your special needs person getting in the chair and inside the church without being drenched. Imagine how many more people might attend the service that day.

If you attend a large church as I do or if you are sponsoring an event of any kind and it happens to start pouring, perhaps you will consider offering valet parking for your handicapped guests. It’s a thought, and since all actions begin with one, I hope and pray this one thought will reach the powers that be.

Thank you, Dr. King

It is my heartfelt hope that this interview of Dr. Martin Luther King will answer the question for many who wonder why the civil rights fight remains relevant to most Black people. And if after watching the videos posted here, you still don’t understand, I pray you are courageous enough to ask one of your Black friends or associates; one who is also familiar with the struggle, to educate you, honestly, on how it feels to be born Black and to live in America. It’s worth the conversation if you genuinely desire to live peacefully.

Builders

“She considers a [new] field before she buys or accepts it [expanding prudently and not courting neglect of her present duties by assuming other duties]; with her savings [of time and strength] she plants fruitful vines in her vineyard.” Proverb 31:16 AMPC

Build anything without a firm foundation and whoops, the bottom eventually falls out.  And if that wasn’t bad enough, just imagine all of the things you have placed upon it crashing down and spilling over, because that is what happens. It all caves in and sometimes takes you with it.

Such is the case when we try to add something “else” to our busy lives without careful consideration of our current responsibilities. Our current responsibilities A.K.A. present realities or  “foundation” become weak and unsettled, and then, well, I won’t beat a dead horse. You get it.

And if you’re like me, you’ve been there done that more times than you care to admit. Laying brick upon layer of cemented block in all shapes and sizes and in the end reflecting on the mess constructed; daring to kick the whole thing down.

To rebuild.

How fortunate are we that the New Year is upon us when we can do just that? What an exceptional time to start again; to celebrate and build upon our triumphs, and forget the things that truly tanked. Each January 1 is our blessed universal do-over.

May, we use it well.

It’s a great time to let others know what we can and choose not to do for the upcoming months, too.  So if you are in dire need of approval, well, you don’t have to worry about feeling guilty about your decisions either, because this is also the time when everyone is making plans, setting goals, and starting afresh and anew. If Christmas is “the most wonderful time of the year.” New Year’s week has to be the most agreeable time of the year. Everyone, for the most part, is brimming with optimism.

As the scripture above posits, first, acknowledge your present duties and obligations, your talents, time, and strengths. Then, and only then, consider any opportunities in the new year as a means to build upon what already exists. Be honest about what your foundation can bear. Every good idea is not from God, so take your time with these decisions and do only what brings you peace. Finally, let this be your time to build the life you choose to live in for 2019 and then no one will be able to knock it down, and you won’t even dare to kick it out of place.

To your success in 2019,

L.A. Taylor

New Year’s Eve, 2018

FINAL NOTE:

If you’d like to share your personal testimonials of how you deal with new opportunities, please post a comment.  I’d really enjoy hearing your approach to staying on task and fulfilling your goals. Also note, that categories and tags on this site like “Peace of Mind” and “Ideas” and “The Network”  will yield references of tangible tools to help us build a happier and healthier life for all humankind.

@ least 10 things you might need to know as a friend

If you are a special needs parent, you probably have many needs, right? Well, Gillian Marchenko has shared ten of hers, and I thought they were worth re-sharing here.  As an advocate for caregivers, there are some real nuggets for folks who love parents of special needs people. I hope that is you! Be blessed and be a blessing,

L Taylor

10 Special Needs of Special Needs Parents:

  1. We need you to bring it up. Ask us our stories. Most parents of children with special needs would prefer that others ask them about their child directly, rather than avoiding the topic.
  2. We need our kids to have friends. We want you to invite our kids over for playdates. Simply call and ask, “How can we make this work?”
  3. We need you to share your concerns. If you are concerned about something regarding our child, tell us about it. We may not have an answer, but we appreciate the opportunity to have a conversation about it.
  4. We need you to make an effort. Effort goes a long way. Educate yourself about our child’s special needs.
  5. We need you to prepare your kids to hang out with our kids. Talk with your kids about it beforehand. Talk about behaviors and ways your child can play with our children.
  6. We need you to be considerate. Consider the age of the child with special needs. If it is a new baby or a younger kid, we may not be ready to talk about it.
  7. We need your tangible help. Offer to bring over a meal, or watch our child with special needs so we can take our other child to a matinee.
  8. We need you to treat us like other friends, too. Talk about other things with us besides our child with special needs.
  9. We need validation. Don’t dismiss our concerns. When we open up about a struggle, I want validation, not to be blown off.
  10. We need invitations. Don’t assume we’re too busy. Ask us out to eat or to a movie. We may not be able to get away as easily as others, but we’ll go if we can. Even if we can’t, your invitation will make our day.

During my own research, I have discovered these 10 things to be true. After interviewing a mother of a special needs daughter, she immediately shared concerns about people in her life not knowing her story, the lack of social engagements for her child, and the increasing need for tangible help.  It pained me to see her pain.  Then I ran across this list, and it was a confirmation that this message needs to get out.

So my special thanks to Gillian Marchenko for summing up some of their needs. May we all learn something from this article. Photo by Mert Talay on Unsplash

We Shine Brighter Together!

This new motto of mine keeps playing in my head, “We shine brighter together.” And I believe it is true.  What one person can do is great, but what two can do with the same strength becomes even greater. Even if the second person lacks as much strength, it is still better, greater, because of the two.

So imagine, more and more like-minded people getting together to believe they can accomplish…anything. Then take it a step further, and imagine that belief turning to action and finally, completion. Wow! It’s amazing what can happen when we work together.

If you’re in the area and you are a caregiver of a child or an adult, and you feel you need a little spiritual and mental support, please join us.  And if you are a “sibling,” like I am, of an exceptional human being, please join us. I’d personally like to meet you.  You can register by clicking here for Shining Lights Community Life Group.  You need not be a member of MBCOcala to join.