Category Archives: The Network

My Big Why

Behind all this blogging and writing stuff there has to be a reason, right? Sure there is, and today, while I was doing my morning devotion and getting my daily dose of wisdom from the 31st Proverb, I happened upon it in verses 8 and 9.

Oh, this is not the first time I have seen these verses or claimed them as my “Big Why.” Admittedly, I knew why I was blogging and doing advocacy work long before this day ever arrived. I’ve known for at least a year now; I’ve written it out in my notes for the book and on important papers, but I never thought to share it here…until today.

So if you are wondering, why this nerdy, wordy girl writes this blog, and you haven’t taken the time to read the About page, then here is the skinny –

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves;

ensure justice for those being crushed.

Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless,

and see that they get justice.”

That’s Reallyleah.com in a nutshell. My advocacy work and book in progress, For Those Like Us Who Care centers on these words of wisdom which are a mandate for all humanity.

I hope you will join my crusade, if not, be bold and share how you are living out these verses in your own life; maybe we can work together.

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.

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.

It’s time to SHINE!

diego-ph-254975-unsplashHear ye, hear ye! Fellow caregivers and earthshakers around north central Florida will now have something to shout about, and it is all because of those beautiful special needs people you and I have the privilege of caring for.

The opportunity that we possess to be able to help someone who cannot independently help themselves is a beautiful privilege and a blessing and should be celebrated.

So, a caring team made up of a caregiver, a sibling of a special needs person, and a care-professional connected together to form this Community Life Group called Shining Lights.

I’m the sibling (and the scribe), and it is my pleasure to invite you on the group’s behalf to come, cast your cares and celebrate!

“Celebrate what?.” I hear you asking. “Celebrate that as a caregiver you feel underpaid and unappreciated?”

Well, I agree you may be underpaid and underappreciated, but those are only the temporal time and energy stealing thoughts and realities.

We will recognize those things, but we won’t be celebrating them.

No, Celebration means to honor (an occasion, such as a holiday) especially by refraining from ordinary business” and that is what we intend to do: Honor caregivers, while they abstain from their busy lives.

Too often because the earth is constantly turning on its axis we feel that we have to turn as well.  And in our turning, we see others doing things we wish we could do. Comparing.

And in our turning, we feel that time is running away from us and we become desperate to beat it. Competing.

And in our turning, we hear ourselves discussing all that is wrong in our lives. Complaining.

When we were designed to rest from all that madness, allow the earth to do its thing, and celebrate the beautifulness around us.

Like the way extraordinary daylight hits the top of green hedges outside our windows; the feeling we get when a loved one gives us a super-sized hug or a gentle smile; or the sound of our favorite song repeatedly playing in our head.  Those are mine for this morning, and there are so many more things to Celebrate.

I hope you will think of your own and share them.

So that is what we will be celebrating. The 1,001 things that make us happy or that have brought joy into our lives! Starting with you…

“Shining Lights” exists, as a Community Life Group to give our friends and fellow caregivers a time to “breathe,” in the words of a friend who worked many years in this field.

Ahhh… to breathe and relax and to rest…Yes, to take a selah and celebrate life and your caregiving, muscle-toned strength!

And, it all begins Thursday, September 6, 2018, in a real building (not online, yet). The celebratory event is only for an hour a week; no longer than your 12:30 to 1:30 lunch break.

It will be our time to Lunch, Laugh and Learn new things, like how to support one another through those non-celebratory moments that turn us on our axis.

And it’s okay to turn for a moment, but as a part of this group, we will be there to set you upright again.

Hey, let’s all take a pause to celebrate that… Ahhh..feels good to know we are never alone.

Comment if you are interested in attending or you have a piece of gladness for the rest of the readers. I’ll start.

I’ll be there!!!

“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.              Prov 17:22

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” – Lao Tzu.

A simple celebration, a gathering of friends; here is wishing you great happiness, a joy that never ends. – Zahid Abas

Loving life and you, 

ReallyLeah