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.

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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Stay safe, everyone!

Current Inventory of Youth Shirts On Sale!

The New Stress in the Time of Social Distancing

Is grocery shopping more stressful than ever?

Grocery shopping is a new stress in the time of social distancing. Especially if you are actually trying to practice social distancing. I start my social distancing in the parking lot. When I can, I park where no one is parking directly beside me. I walk into the store with a few of cleaning wipes and a bottle of hand sanitizer.

I am using the wipes to clean the grocery cart, to open doors and pick up items. When someone is in front of me, I keep a good distance from them. If they stop, I stop or I redirect. When I see someone coming toward me that is obviously not planning to follow the Social Distancing guidelines, I try to move in a direction as to not pass each other directly. Grocery shopping would be a lot less stressful if people would be more patient and make sure to leave at least three, preferably six, feet between themselves and others.

Read: Who Knew Grocery Shopping Could Be So Stressful?

Safe Grocery Shopping in COVID-19 Pandemic

Safe Grocery Shopping Tips

If you are responsible for grocery shopping, carrying or putting away grocery, please give this a watch. We all must go the extra mile to keep ourselves and each other safe.

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We invite you to support Not Mad. Motivated. by purchasing a t-shirt or tote from our shop.  Our current inventory of youth t-shirts is on sale for $10. 

Starting today, we also have t-shirts and totes with the Essential Employee design below.  So many Essential Employees, like my mother, are placing themselves in harms way because of their commitment to the health and well-beings of others.  They also continue to work because of their commitment to themselves and their families.  No Essential Employee should have to fight for a livable wage. Essential Employees should be paid for their Essential work.       

Buy the essential worker in your life this special t-shirt and we will make a donation to help other essential workers. Place your order and we will email you to see if you have a specific fundraiser/organization/person that you would like the donation to go toward!

Until next time, be safe!

Celebrate Often – Even Now

We are officially in week two of no school. Assignments for my middle schooler are piling up. I am behind on lessons with my second grade, special needs son. Even more, my middle schooler and forth grader have already had to be separate. However, I can still find ways to celebrate often – even now!

Celebrate Often - Even Now
Make sure to celebrate often, even during times of uncertainty!

Stuck at Home

Having three sons – ages 12(E), 9(S), and 8(H) – in a three bedroom home means someone is sharing. Although I am grateful for the space we have, figuring out the best rooming arrangement has been difficult. For most of the time, E had his own room; while S and H shared a room. Last year, S was done with this arrangement! Since H is Autistic, his sleep pattern can unexpectedly become unpredictable. He might be up laughing or turning on lights at midnight. He would even climb up the bunk bed steps and bounce S awake, that is if he made it to sleep.

Eventually, we decided to move S into the room with E. It has “worked” for some month, although every couple of weeks or so they are fighting about something. But after last week’s pushing and hitting, E and S are in separate rooms. H is with me for now. H doesn’t seem to care about what changes we have going on. He keeps running to “his room” every night. So we are working on a few big adjustments right now. Regardless of the challenges, we can still celebrate!

Celebrate Often: Opportunities to Learn

Although I feel like my “home-schooling” abilities are lacking, I appreciated that this crisis has forced me to be even more hands-on with my sons’ education. It has been somewhat stressful, on top of my full time job, but it is also rewarding. E has lots of homework, but at least I know that he is turning it in . . . and not losing or forgetting it! As far as S, he has been more self-sufficient, but it has been nice to have a physical book to “teach” out of versus just going over homework.

H’s teacher gave me a Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) manual and H’s binder of pictures so I can work with him at home. I am very much excited to learn more in hopes to help his ability to communicate more effectively.

Furthermore, I started a free online course, The Science of Well-Being through Coursera.

Celebrate Often: Opportunities to Explore

Being stuck at home does not mean we cannot explore. Check out this list of virtual field trips, which also includes “lesson ideas, activities and book suggestions to extend the learning for each type of destination.” We have also used YouTube to explore one of my favorite aquariums, the Monterey Bay Aquarium (Monterey, CA), our favorite local museum, the Museum of Life and Science (Durham, NC), and our to-visit-once-we-can-travel-again, Stone Mountain State Park (Roaring Gap, NC).

Exploring does not have to be all about places. Explore your talents! Do you like to sketch, or up for a sketching challenge? Check out author/illustrator Remy Lai on Twitter (@Remy_Lai) for the #sketchwithremy theme of the day. You do not have to be a professional illustrator to participate, just have fun!

Further explore your creativity with downloadable activities from writer/illustrator Jarrett Lerner. You will find a variety of blank comic book pages, “Finish This Comic!” comics, and drawing/writing prompts. There is plenty to explore on this website!

Celebrate Often: Being Apart Brings Us Together

As we all experience this world-wide pandemic, we are able to witness people all over the world giving support in ways that may be unique to their regular lives. Authors are having online book readings to help bring comfort to us in our new reality. Neighborhoods are organizing bear and scavenger hunts to indirectly connect with and support each other.

One huge way that I witnessed people come together, in terms of numbers alone, was on Instagram. This weekend, DJ dnice hosted a nine hour ‘party’ for more than 100,000 of his “closest friends”! People from all over the world came together to dance, sing, or just listen together! It was a wonderful experience within a difficult time. I can imagine the people who got dressed up to “go to Club Quarantine”!

Support Not Mad. Motivated.

Times are difficult for so many people all around the world. We are Praying for everyone’s safety and well-being. You are not alone. Stay in contact with people. Check on each other. Everyone is in need of some type of support. Hopefully, this post have added a little something positive to your day. If so, leave a comment, subscribe to our newsletter and blog, or visit our shop to purchase Not Mad. Motivated. merchandise.