Autism Awareness and Supporting Community

This Month – September 2018 – Not Mad. Motivated. has set an ambitious goal of selling 100 Not Mad. Motivated. shirts.  I know that reaching this goal will only take place with the support of community.  Most of us have been members of many communities throughout our lives, and there are often elements of support that allows us to successfully move from one stage to another.

My parents and family supported my math and reading interests, which allowed me to be confident when pursuing my education.  My friends and classmates, along with teachers and staff, at Farrell Area Schools (Farrell, PA), Bennett College (Greensboro, NC) and the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill, NC) provided me an environment to learn how to better “become me” and create lasting memories,  while preparing for the unknown future.

As a parent, I am now creating communities to help build support for my children.  Our Merrick-Moore community is amazing and makes me feel like I am back home in Farrell (minus the Olympics-size swimming pool and the planetarium – yes, my small home town school had both)!  We are new to middle school this year, so we are in the process of building a new and productive community at Neal.

My youngest son has inspired us to become a part if a much larger community.  He was diagnosed with autism, and this community of families encompasses an intersection of all people from all walks of life. Not Mad. Motivated. was, and continues to be, inspired by autism.  We are dedicated to increasing autism awareness, and once we sell our first 15 shirts in the month of September, we will purchase at less two copies of Noah and Logan – Children’s Book Series, written by Benjamin K.M Kellogg.

Mr. Kellogg is an adult with autism and he writes children’s book that focuses on social and life skills.  I am excited to read his stories, which includes “Noah and Logan Learn to Clean”, “Noah and Logan Learn to Share”, “Noah and Logan Learn to Tie Their Sneakers”, “Noah and Logan Learn to Care for Their Pets ”, and “Noah and Logan Learn to Make New Friends ”.  I am even more excited about gifting Mr. Kellogg’s book to my son’s exceptional children’s classroom.

If you are interested in learning more about Mr. Kellogg, go to or  Thank you, Mr. Kellogg, for using your experiences to help others navigate a path that can be full of challenges.

To purchase your Not Mad. Motivated. shirts, go to or email me at  Thank you for your support!

Be S.U.P.P.O.R.T. – Someone Uniquely Providing Proof of Relief To come

When my son was diagnosed with Autism last fall, I decided that I wanted to start paving a path that would help me be in better control of my time.  I decided to start a business with the idea that I could supplement a reduced work schedule while focusing more on my sons’ needs.  Months later, I see that starting a business is the easy part.  As I move forward into the process of business planning and development, I can better recognize the importance of a well-diverse support system. 

I was given a business planning assignment from my marketing consultant, Joy Mickle of Iveywood Consulting.  I needed to explore how people connected to the phrase Not Mad. Motivated.® (NMM).  I spoke with family and friends. I also asked for feedback from my Nextdoor group members, my LinkedIn network, people visiting the Raleigh Flea Market, and even a stranger at the park. I found so many people willing to share, relate, and give encouragement.   

I appreciate, Sheila C., my first Nextdoor customer.  She messaged me, wanting to support by purchasing a NMM t-shirt.  However, her support went far beyond that.  She gave me many words of optimism and guidance – words which provide effect far longer than the financial sale of any item. 

I appreciate my LinkedIn connection, Phyllis Coley, for taking time out of her busy schedule to get her NMM t-shirts last week.  I appreciate her willingness to introduce others to NMM.  I am also glad that she reminded me to document our meeting with a couple of pictures. 

I appreciate my Raleigh Flea Market AVON neighbors (Booth #307), for encouraging a two shirt NMM sale last week – if you are looking for AVON, I know some people. That day, I found myself purchasing the new generation of the AVON items that my mom bought when I was younger.  

I was inspired by Chariis F., a Paparazzi Accessories Consultant and motivator,  whom I met at the Raleigh Flea Market.  Chariis was out with her young cousin.  After she made her NMM purchased,  Chariis said to the young lady that we must support each other.  That is role-model talk right there!  Think about it, where would you be if you were without support.    

I am encouraged by the nameless guy who liked the NMM Autism-themed shirt, who connected his family story with our family’s story, and purchased multiple shirts with a generous tip.  His support of a stranger with different -yet the same – background brought tears to my eyes.

There are so many critical levels of support.  Support through passing along wisdom.  Support through lending your expertise.  Support through building communities of networks.  Support through financial investment.  Support through promoting others.  Support through letting go after all else fails.  With this in mind, remember that support is not a one-way street – you may not get it in the same manner that you give, and it may not be from the same person you gave it to.  However, it will make it back to you.  You deserve it.  We all do!  

I am going on the record to ask for your support.  If you have a shirt, post pictures on social media and let me know what your #NotMadMotivatedLife means.  If you can buy a shirt, please do!  We need a huge sale weekend to get ready for school. Plus we are celebrating two birthdays this week – Shout out to all us Leos!  This Saturday Morning and Afternoon – 18Aug2018 – we will be at the Raleigh Flea Market on the NC State Fairgrounds (Booth #309).  Saturday Evening (18Aug2018, 5pm-8pm) we will be at the Summer Bummer Vendor Market at 2013 Chapel Hill Rd, Durham, NC.  If neither of those options work, I can deliver local or mail for a small shipping charge.  Whether you have a shirt, purchase a shirt, or not, please sign up to receive my blog.  There may be a message of support for you exactly when you need it the most.

Thank you for being a part of the Not Mad. Motivated. community and being S.U.P.P.o.R.T! 







To come!


What does ‘Not Mad. Motivated.’ mean?

The phrase “Not Mad. Motivated.®” is very personal to me.  The phrase represents a phase in my life when I needed to dig deep and fight through some of my biggest tests and obstacles.  “Not Mad. Motivated.®” also represents the mind set that I desired to take on once my youngest son was diagnosed with autism.

Many negative feelings can disguise itself within a cloak of anger and madness.  I was never “mad” at autism. I am, however,  worried that my support as a parent would be inadequate for maximizing my son’s development. At times, I feel overwhelmed by the need to balance daily care of my children and self-care, all while nurturing a career and attempting to keep a house in order.  My responsibilities do not cause me to feel mad or angry.  It is the fear of failing at my responsibilities, and therefore failing myself, my children, family, and friends, that causes a self-critical mindset.

“Not Mad. Motivated.®”  is meant to inspire all of us who ever feels inadequate, overwhelmed, fearful, or self-critical.  “Not Mad. Motivated.®” is meant to remind all of us to climb above negativity through appreciation, awareness, thoughtfulness, and hopefulness.  What does “Not Mad. Motivated.®” mean to you?  Please leave your comments below or tweet us @notmadmotivated using #NotMadMotivatedLife.

“Not Mad. Motivated.®” – Inspiring Positive Thoughts to Encourage Positive Actions!

Happy Day, Mothers!

On the second Sunday of every May, many people in the United States, and around the world, take the day to celebrate mothers.  As Mother’s Day approached this year, I wanted to write something to commemorate this special occasion.  I sat down several times but could not find the proper sequence of thoughts and words to satisfy my desired message.  With time running out, and with severe writer’s block, I decided to wait.

Ironically, waiting to celebrate mothers on a day other than Mother’s Day became the very essence of this current expression of love and appreciation, since the importance of a mother could never be contained to just one day.  No matter your opinion of her, or your relationship with her, your mother shared her whole self for you to be in this exact moment reading this opinion.  Whether you view your mother as your best friend, whether you have never seen her face, or whether you two argue every time you speak, she has successfully fulfilled the unspoken promise for you to have this moment of time.

No mother is perfect.  Although some mothers make it look easier than others, being a mother is hard.  Being a good mother is even harder.  As children, we can impose unrealistic expectations on our mothers.  These expectations may be unrealistic because of lack of experience, lack of knowledge, lack of support, lack of mental capacity, lack of education, etc.  However, with compassion, forgiveness and unconditional respect, children may find themselves healthier and more productive adults.  Imagine a home, a community, a state, a nation, a world where children grow up to respect their mother for the gift of life, if for nothing else.  Since the Mother-Child relationship is our first relationship, imagine the lasting impact that this unconditional respect would have on our relationships with others.

Whether you think fondly of your mother, or not, please find the need to have respect for her – even if that respect comes with boundaries, which we should learn to expect in all healthy relationships.  So, celebrate each day by being your best self.  And honor the role that your mother played to get you here by excepting and learning from her best self.

Have a Happy Day, every day, Mothers! 

Amazing April and Autism Awareness – Awesome!

As another April comes to an end, I reflect on my first Autism Awareness Month “after the diagnosis”.  It was a month packed full of new adventures.  During spring break, our family celebrated World Autism Awareness & Acceptance Day at the Autism Society of North Carolina’s Camp Royall in Moncure, NC.  It was on a very warm North Carolina spring day, but the ‘hay ride’ provided a very comfortable breeze!   

We also had a quick getaway to our nation’s capital, the beautiful Washington, DC!  In DC, we were greeted by amazing cherry blossoms and SNOW!  We braved the surprisingly frigid weather long enough to walk onside the reflection pool up to the Lincoln Memorial.  This journey was especially symbolic as this visit took place the same week as so many celebrated the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, fifty years after his assassination. 

Another super awesome event that the family participated in was the “It’s Cool to Fly American” event at Raleigh-Durham International Airport.  This event, hosted by American Airlines, AT&T, and the HollyRod Foundation, provided individuals with autism, and other developmental disabilities, and their families with a mock flight!  We were given tickets, went through security and boarded the plane.  We were able to experience the acceleration of the plane – although we did not take off.  We were even served drinks.  It was a useful experience to get a glimpse of how air travel might be in the future. 

As this Amazing April and Autism Awareness Month comes to an end, I am looking forward to the many adventures to come!  I plan to organize a team for at least one run/walk for Autism in the 2018 – stay tune for an invite!  I am also in the planning process of proposing a school program to promote autism awareness year-round and to promote better acceptance of autistic children from the general student population.  This is all to say, I am “Not Mad”.  I am “Motivated”.  Wishing you all a #NotMadMotivatedLife!