A Poem For My Mom

My mother wants to help everyone.

No matter how old. No matter how young.

She cares for family and those known for a while.

Even for a stranger, she’ll go an extra mile.

In times when there’s danger, she never backs down.

Not even when a scary virus is all around town.

She checks for fevers in case someone’s sick.

Being extremely careful and prayer is her helpful trick.

Her job is to help but she never stops there.

There is no limit on when or where she will care.

Exploring New Passions During This Difficult Time

Difficulties come and go for us all. Sometimes difficulties can be paralyzing. They can leave us feeling completely engulfed by a matter in a devastating way. However, these same obstacles can be empowering. They can allow us opportunities to grow stronger and think clearer. Our alternative life continues due to this worldwide emergency. Although many states in the U.S. are testing their “reopening”, many people are being cautious by continuing stay-at-home and social distancing efforts. How long will it take for us to feel safe to return to our “regular” routines? No one knows. As we wait, let’s take a look at ourselves and start exploring new passions during this difficult time.

What is your passion?  Why not start exploring new passions during this difficult time?

If you read our April 2020 newsletter, you know that the inspiration for this topic is a seventh grade English/Language Art assignment. The Passion Project is set up to help students learn about a topic that is most interesting or most important to them. We shouldn’t let our children/students have all the fun!

As adults, we have worries and responsibilities that often take us away from our wants as an individuals. What we thought was important or interesting last year or twenty years ago, may no longer satisfy who we are now. So why not take a closer look at who we are and what makes us happy!

Deciding on a Passion

The first assignment for the passion project is to make a list of your passions. This gets your mind going immediately. What do you like? What is important to you? Do you want to have fun? Do you want to grow as an individual? Are you looking to learn something that you can turn in to income. No matter your reason for wanting to explore the idea, include it in your list. My list would look some think like this:

  • Increasing Faith
  • Building Bridges Across Communities
  • Empowering Youth
  • Autism Awareness and Acceptance
  • Parenting
  • Domestic Violence
  • Mental Health

All of these topics are important to me. I appreciate this first step of the passion project for two reasons. It allows the individual to think about what is important for themselves. Alternatively, it gives others an opportunity to learn about the individual and find areas of commonality! Isn’t that what building bridges and communities all about?

What draws me most to Building Bridges Across Communities is that all my others passions can be connected by those bridges I build!

What’s Next?

After choosing a passion, brainstorm five questions that you want to answer while you research how to develop your passion into action. Until then, please share the new passions that you are exploring or would like to explore. Do our passions overlap any? Did you learn anything new about Not Mad. Motivated. based on the list above? We want to hear from you. Feel free to leave social media handle in case others are interested in the same passions!

Celebrate Often: Indestructible Books

Since the closing of school in March, I have thrown away several books that my young son, Hadith, destroyed. Hadith is big on hand fidgeting and it has become clearer in the last few weeks just how much he enjoys turning, flapping, and overall manipulating paper products with his hands. However, his paper play often ends up with torn pages and strips of paper littering the floor. Then I remembered. . . Indestructible Books!

It was last year, in 2019, when I first saw an indestructible books. We were at the local Special Olympics spring games and Hadith’s class was participating. This was a huge event since schools from the entire county attended. While waiting for schools to and getting ready for the opening parade, my son became a bit unsettled. That is when his teacher handed him an indestructible book that he happily played with for a time.

Unexpectedly, this memory flashed through my mind last week as I thought about his “relationship” with paper. I thought that maybe having indestructible books at home would fulfill his hand fidgeting need and reduce the incidence of other books and papers being destroyed. I immediately ordered several books, two of which were delivered this week.

What are Indestructible Books?

The books I purchased were published by Workman Publishing. They are advertised as chew-proof and rip-proof. The 100% nontoxic, paper-like material is even washable. They do seem to hold up pretty well. The one that my son plays with at school is over a year old and still in tact – which is really good! Most reviews on Amazon were also very positive.

Indestructible Books book set!
This book set should arrive next week!

The books are simple stories. They introduce concepts (such as counting, shapes, or numbers), nursery rhymes (such as Row, Row, Row Your Boat and the Itsy Bitsy Spider), places (such as the city, the farm, and the neighborhood), and more. These are great for story time with a young child. However, they are also great for an older child who may need the sensory input (without the mess).

Celebrate Often: Indestructible Books

Having an Autistic son with developmental and academic delays, who is also very curious, creative, and spontaneous can be quite the challenge and quite the adventure. When challenges occur, being able to find creative solutions are important. Chewed up, torn apart books have been a problem in our house. Will indestructible books be the solution to that problem? Maybe not completely, but I believe they will help drastically. We will let you know how it is going in a few months.

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Thank you for share your time with us. We hope you are well and staying safe.

The Responsible Book Keepers

If you are anything like me and my family, you may have a book or two, or fifty, on loan from your local library at any given time. However, on March 15, 2020, all Durham County Public Library [Durham, North Carolina] locations closed to the public until further notice. With the closing of even the drop boxes, my family became the responsible book keepers of a few books for an indefinite amount of time. Okay, 22 books to be exact! I thought it would be fun to share which ones!

The Responsible Book Keepers of 22 Library Books
Are you responsible for any borrowed library items until libraries open back up? What do you have?

What the Kids are Reading

Elijah’s Picks

Just under half the books we have were picked by my twelve and nine year old sons. My nine year old is the historian-in-the-making, so it was a complete surprise when my oldest son borrowed history books on one of our last trips to the library.

  • Frederick Douglass: Slave, Writer, Abolitionist by Brenda Haugen
  • Phillis Wheatley: Slave and Poet by Robin S. Doak
  • Lincoln and the Jews: A History by Jonathan D. Sarna and Benjamin Shapell
  • The Lincolns: A Scrapbook Look at Abraham and Mary

Graphic Novels

Graphic novels are very popular in my household. I am not the biggest fan of them. However, if graphic novels keep my boys interested in reading, I cannot complain too much. We are currently the responsible keepers of these four graphic novels.

  • Compass South by Hope Larson
  • The Graveyard Book, Volume 1 by Neil Gaiman
  • El Deafo by Cece Bell
  • Drama by Raina Telgemeier

Samir’s Picks

My nine year old decided on books related to classroom reading: a couple of retold ‘epic poems’.

  • Homer’s The Iliad retold by Gillian Cross
  • Homer’s The Odyssey retold by Gillian Cross

My Pick for Elijah (and Possibly Samir)

Ten books down. Twelve to go. Although I am responsible for picking the last twelve, I picked one with Elijah in mind.

  • Keyboarding Made Simple by Leigh E. Zeitz

When I was in middle (or high school), I took a typewriting class; during a time when being online was a novice idea. Typing, or keyboarding, is an much more important skill today than I could have imagined 25+ years ago. It is, therefore, surprising to not see more dedicated classes to enhance the skill.

The Books I Have More Time to Explore

My sons are much better that I am when I comes to reading borrowed library books. I am, however, deciding to embrace this unexpected time with these books as an opportunity to actually explore them.

Margaret’s Picks

  • Imam Bukhari’s Book of Muslim Morals and Manners compiles by Muhammad Ibn Ismail Al Bukhari
  • Little Victories: Perfect Rules for Imperfect Living by Jason Gay
  • At Home with Handmade Books by Erin Zamrzla
  • The Non-Designer’s Design Book by Robin Williams
  • Creative Lettering Edited by Jenny Doh
  • The 24-Hour Customer by Adrian C. Ott
  • Spark: How to Lead Yourself and Others to Greater Success by Angie Morgan, Courtney Lynch, and Sean Lynch
  • the zen of social media marketing by Shama Hyder Kabani
  • Pitch Perfect: How to Say it Right the First Time, Every Time by Bill McGowan and Alisa Bowman
  • this is social media: tweet, blog, link, and post your way to business success by Guy Clapperton
  • The Infographic Guide for Entrepreneurs by Carissa Lytle and Jara Kern

The Responsible Book Keepers

After a few weeks, we are still getting used to how different our lives are compared to just two months ago. Although there is a great deal of worry, anxiety, and fear right now, there is also room to explore benefits of our new reality. I am choosing to recognize our extended time with these library books as a positive consequence of this traumatic situation.

Would you like to hear more about any of these books? Have you read any of them? Do you have borrowed library books, CDs, or DVDs that you are the keeper of until libraries open back up to the public? Are there any books, CDs, or DVDs that you wish you still had from the library? Comment below – we would love to hear from you.

Note: Although libraries are closed, many still have online materials available. Durham County [North Carolina] residents can even get temporary library cards. Check out the website of your local library to see what they have available.

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Need Help Finding These Three Items?

Pinterest Pin: We Could Use These 3 Items. . .  Here's Some Help Getting Them!
You are probably looking for at least one of these items!

During this time of change, many desired items have suddenly become unavailable. My recent visits to stores have shown that most food and beverage have returned to the shelf. Plenty of water, eggs, bread, and milk are available again – with new purchasing limits to help keep it that way. However, cleaning supplies and hand sanitizer are still of low quantity or nonexistent. Now, with the CDC’s (Centers of Disease Control and Prevention) recommendation to wear face masks in public, we add an additional item to our hard to find list. Here is some advice and help for finding/making three of these important items.

1. Face Masks/Coverings

On or around April 3, 2020, the CDC officially recommended wearing cloth face coverings in public settings since other social distancing measures could be difficult to maintain. Due to the increase demand of face masks and coverings, many people are using a more accessible Do-It-Yourself (DIY) option. Check here for DIY instructions from the CDC.

According to a recent Business Insider article, CEO of Suay Sew Shop, Lindsay Medoff, says a cloth mask is not enough.

Medoff and two friends were appalled by the dozens of mask patterns calling for cotton, a highly breathable, permeable fabric, and became obsessed with finding a fabric better suited for the job.

Business Insider

After testing many materials, Medoff concluded that the ideal material is the stretchy blue shop towels. If you are going to use a cotton mask, insert one or two blue shop towels for filtration. You could also make mask out of the blue shop towels. The video below is shows how to make a No-Sew shop towel mask.

To increase effectiveness, insert an additional towel within this mask.

I altered my mask to use 4 rubber bands and 2 additional paperclips to secure the mask around my head versus around my ears. I will also insert an additional towel within the mask.

My Mask Supplies!
My Supplies: One Blue Shop Towel, Three #1 paper clips, four #32 rubber bands, scissors/shears, scotch tape.
My Final Product!
My final product.

2. Disinfecting Wipes

When is the last time you went to the store and saw disinfecting wipes for sell? It has likely been at least a month. Although I purchased a few containers before the panic began, my supply is running low. I, therefore, started looking for alternative solutions. Here is one useful recipe! It calls for “rags”, but you could also use high quality paper towels. *You may want to adjust the amount of mixture depending on the amount of “cloths” you have available.

Homemade Clorox Wipes

1 cup water
1/4 cup rubbing alcohol
1 tsp. Dawn dish soap (only use Dawn)
2 Tbsp. ammonia (optional)
24 rags – cut into squares. (I cut them to about 4×6 inches but whatever size you have available or whichever size you need will work. I also use old washrags that have seen better days.)

Mix the ingredients and pour over the rags.* Then, when you need to clean your bathroom, use them as you would the disposable Clorox wipes.

Note: This mixture does not include bleach. For anyone using bleach to clean, remember that bleach does not mix well with others, and is dangerous if ingested. Please be extra careful when cleaning with bleach.

3. Hand Sanitizer

I recently received an article about a few Black-owned companies selling hand sanitizer. I was ecstatic to see a hometown favorite of mine, Hairizon. Hairizon is beauty bar based out of Durham, North Carolina. Check out this article to find other companies who may be able to help with your hand sanitizer needs.

I found a homemade recipe for hand sanitizer, but it came with an warning. See the article for further information.

A word of warning

Hand sanitizer recipes, including the one below, are intended for use by professionals with the necessary expertise and resources for safe creation and proper utilization.

Only use homemade hand sanitizers in extreme situations when handwashing isn’t available for the foreseeable future.

Don’t use homemade hand sanitizers on children’s skin as they may be more prone to use them improperly, leading to a greater risk of injury.

How to Make Your Own Hand Sanitizer

Hand sanitizer recipe

What you’ll need:

  • 3/4 cup of isopropyl or rubbing alcohol (99 percent)
  • 1/4 cup of aloe vera gel (to help keep your hands smooth and to counteract the harshness of alcohol)
  • 10 drops of essential oil, such as lavender oil, or you can use lemon juice instead

Directions:

  • Pour all ingredients into a bowl, ideally one with a pouring spout like a glass measuring container.
  • Mix with a spoon and then beat with a whisk to turn the sanitizer into a gel.
  • Pour the ingredients into an empty bottle for easy use, and label it “hand sanitizer.”

Versus making your own hand sanitizers, try one of the companies above. If you are not an essential worker, stay home as much as possible and use good, “old-fashion” soap and water!

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