“Not Mad. Motivated.” to Find Solutions

Life presents obstacles . . . daily. It is sometimes the smallest, most mundane difficulty which seems to multiple any other hardships you are experiencing. You know what I mean, right? You are juggling the ‘world’ while cooking dinner and making sure the kids are participating in virtual learning and then . . . you spill a cup a milk. The reality is that we sometimes cry over the [tip-of the-iceberg] ‘spilled milk’. After that “cry”, it’s time for a “Not Mad. Motivated. to find solutions” mindset.

This year, most of us have found ourselves at home more then usual. With schools closing in March and virtual school this fall, my youngest son has much more time and opportunity to get into things. He is quick and quiet when he wants to be. And he has proven that toothbrushes, toothpaste, and shampoo are not safe around him. Regardless of his special needs, I must teach him how to interact with household items. However, until that lesson is learned, solutions were needed to relieve some unnecessary stress.

More time home? More time for small hands to be busy!

1. Wall Mounted Adhesive Toothbrush Organizer Stand

Many toothbrushes – and a few tubes of toothpaste – have gone missing over the past few months. Some have been recovered, often behind beds and mostly in a bare state (without bristles). After buying yet another pack of toothbrushes, I decided to look into a solution to keep these valuable grooming tools safe.

I decided to give a wall mounted toothbrush organizer a try. The system should be sufficient for two people – I purchased one for each bathroom. It is easy to assemble and to secured with the included adhesive strip. After a month, there is been no issues with it moving or shifting, and no toothbrushes have gone missing. A win so far!

2. Door Monkey Door Lock & Pinch Guard

We recently had a room change in my house. My youngest son moved out of a room that was his for most of his eight year. I expected that he would continue to go to this room and treat it as his own, even though his brother’s belongings would now be in there.

I thought about adding a chain lock to the outside of the interior doors; although I did not like this idea. I was ecstatic to find a temporary solution that did not require drilling, plus every one who is suppose to open the doors could easily do so. It keeps the door slightly open, but can be pulled off with no problem when complete privacy is needed. However, it only works if it is on the door, so remembering to return it is important to our success!

3. Rustproof Suction Basket

Have you ever spent a little extra money for a good bottle of shampoo or conditioner – and then see it going down the drain? I had my new bottles of hair care items in the reach of my son while he was in the bathroom. What a mistake! I went to the next room, briefly, and I returned to see his bath water full of my investment. When I replaced my shampoo and conditioner, I also picked up an handy basket to keep items higher .

The suction on this basket has been 100 percent reliable so far. My son has not paid too much attention to it yet. If he started pulling at it, I will really see what it is made of. However, for now, it is serving it’s purpose – eliminating a small bit of unnecessary stress from my day!

Bonus Solution: A “It’s-Right-Here” Fanny Pack

I recently purchased a fanny pack in hopes that it would help me keep up with medicine, and small items that I may need at anytime. Here are some items I keep in my “It’s-Right-Here” fanny pack:

  • Nose Spray
  • Nail Kit (clippers, emery board, nail file. . .)
  • Box Cutter (for opening and breaking down boxes)
  • Eye glass screwdriver (mainly for tightening small screws)
  • Assortment of writing utensils (pen, pencil, Sharpie, Expo marker)

What would you keep in yours?

Not Mad. Motivated. to Find Solutions

Sometime, the smaller obstacles in our daily lives can feel tremendous when they are placed among other taxing problems. Look for solutions that can help ease those smaller obstacles. You will not only relieve a little stress but you could also build up confident and motivation to conquer bigger tasks! Your ability to problem-solve is infinite. Get creativity and find what works for you! And remember, do Not get Mad. Get Motivated. to find solutions!

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Hind’s Hands: A “Not Mad. Motivated.” Book Sharing

My collection of children’s books about Autism continues to grow! I am happy to share my latest addition, Hind’s Hands: A Story About Autism.

Hind's Hands: A Story About Autism by Umm Juwayriyah and Juwayriyah Ayed

When I saw that Author Umm Juwayriyah was planning to visit my hometown with “books in tow”, I could not pass up the opportunity to meet – and purchase a book directly from – an author that I follow on social media. I performed an online search to explore Umm Juwayriyah’s catalog of work and to get a better idea of which book I wanted to buy. To my great satisfaction, I found that she, along with her daughter, Juwayriyah, wrote a book about Autism!

Meet the Author

I have loved reading for fun since I was a child, and once aspired to have my own bookstore. Even now, I look forward to owning a home with a dedicated library room.

Of all the years of me enjoying books, I have only met a handful of the authors who are responsible for providing me with their unique gifts of reading. Umm Juwayriyah is the latest of authors that I had the pleasure of meeting!

We arranged to meet at a local Masjid on a bright Saturday afternoon. As a parent of three school-aged children, and as someone who works full-time from home, having a face-to-face conversation with another adult was a welcomed departure from my typical day. We spent a good amount of time chatting before the North Carolina heat became sweltering. Despite the heat, it was great to meet a sister in both Faith and in parenting an Autistic child.

Faith Helps Sibling Practice Patience

Hind’s Hands: A Story About Autism is a lovely book from the perspective of nine year old Juwayriyah. Juwayriyah is the big sister of Hind, who is Autistic.

She’s kinda rough on the outside, but once you get to know her and her ways, then you’ll see how sweet she is.

Hind’s Hands: A Story About Autism

Having an Autistic sibling can be challenging. But Juwayriyah learns that patience is an important characteristic of any big sister (or brother). When Juwayriyah was younger, she would sometimes yell at Hind, allowing her frustrations to get the best of her. This would result in both her and Hind crying. Their Ummi (Mommy) used these difficult situations to teach Juwayriyah to help Hind learn by showing her good examples.

After receiving Ummi’s words of advice, Juwayriyah tries hard to be a better big sister and she asks Allah (God) for more patience. Now, Juwayriyah reacts differently when Hind messes up a clean room or has an outburst. Instead of yelling, Juwayriyah says Bismillah (In the name of Allah) and softly rub Hind’s hands together for her. Juwayriyah knows that Hind’s hands are special and important. She uses this knowledge to help Hind feel calm. She even shows Hind some hand games!

A “Not Mad. Motivated.” Point of View

I love that this book is full of lessons and teachable moments! This Story About Autism is a true reflection of what “Not Mad. Motivated.” means – using moments of difficulty and growing from them! As the mother of three boys, the youngest being Autistic, I have witnessed many incidences leading to great frustrations. From messing up rooms, to taking food and drinks, to being loud all night, my oldest two sons can truly relate to Juwayriyah’s difficulties. However, reading Hind’s Hands is a reminder to them to practice patience and to seek Help from their Creator. It also reminds them of how important they are to the family and to their younger siblings.

This book is special to me because it depicts a Black Muslim family who loves and grows with someone with Autism. This is the first occasion that I have personally witness this depicted in a children’s book. I am happy to share it with my family because it reflect us in so many ways. I am happy to share it with others because it may also reflect them in many ways. Whether you are Muslim or not, and no matter your race, many of us are connected through our relationship with Autism. We are connected through our need for support and understanding. We are connected through our dreams, our hopes, our pain, our strengths, and our struggles.

Speaking of dreams. . .

Bonus Book Sharing: YASEEN’S BIG DREAM

Author Umm Juwayriyah has a book that came out earlier this year! Yaseen’s Big Dream is an exciting children’s book about a very ambitious young boy. This book is not specifically about Autism. But a story about dreaming big is really a story about most of us.

Yaseen's BIG Dream by Umm Juwayriyah

What I appreciate most about this book, is that Yaseen’s dream are never selfish. He is not dreaming to be rich or famous. He is dreaming to be helpful to others! Even though he is an important person in his biggest dream, he doing things like feeding the homeless (and feeding them well, may I add) and teaching communities how to start their own gardens. Yaseen is a true leader in his desire to make a difference in the lives of others.

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Happy Birthday – A “Not Mad. Motivated.” Giveaway

A GIF with Happy Birthday at center change colors.  A colorful firework displays repeats behind Happy Birthday.
Happy Birthday, Leos!

With us celebrating three birthdays in less than a month’s time, it is officially birthday season at Not Mad. Motivated.!

Twelve years ago, on July 25th, Elijah was born. He celebrated in style in his new suit, tie and hat. Three weeks and one day after Elijah’s birthday, I will celebrate a milestone as I leave my thirties behind! On August 16th, I will turn fabulous forty! I am looking forward to a new year of adventures and achievements! Three days after my birthday, on August 19th, Samir will be nine! Since our birthdays are so close, we plan to celebrate with a mini vacation. I hope to go somewhere with plenty of history for my little historian to explore.

Traditionally, the birthday person receives gifts but there is not rule against the birthday person giving a gift to someone else for their birthday! With that said, we at Not Mad. Motivated. are planning a giveaway for out birthday. We are in the process of deciding what that gift will be, but we are still very excited. It might be a “Not Mad. Motivated.” shirt or mug. It might be a donation to a DonorsChoose project. Once we decide, we will let you know in a new blog. If you are interested in the giveaway, make sure to subscribe to the Not Mad. Motivated. blog and getting the latest news from us.

Support “Not Mad. Motivated.”

Thank you for visiting Not Mad. Motivated. We appreciate your support! If you believe that difficulties are best utilized as opportunities of motivation, consider purchasing a Not Mad. Motivated. tee shirt from our online shop. Use our contact form to order specific sizes or colors.

If you are not a current subscriber, please subscribe to have future blog posts delivered directly to you – and to be eligible for giveaways!

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Trey, the Chef: A “Not Mad. Motivated.” Book Sharing

Trey, the Chef
Written by Kira Parris-Moore
Illustrations by Federica Fabbian
Newman Springs Publishing 2019

For over a year, I have been collecting children’s books about Autism. Some books have been added to our family library. Other books were donated to my son’s classroom. All of them have been wonderfully unique – similar to the Autistic children that each book represents. I am incredibly excited to share with you all one of the latest books added to our home collection. One of author Kira Parris-Moore’s inspiration for writing Trey, the Chef? Her son’s passion for cooking.

As the Creator of Books2Inspire, LLC., Kira Parris-Moore aims to “increase awareness of various developmental disabilities and mental health disorders” by showcasing children’s books “that recognize resiliency in children and their ability to overcome life’s challenges”. And indeed, Trey, the Chef, the first book featured on Books2Inspire.com, will help inspire many to widen their views about Autism.

Trey, the Chef is a fictional story that depicts the real possibilities for all children who have proper support and motivation. Kira Parris-Moore imagines her son as a renowned chef who uses his creativity and attention to details to communicate to the world. When the story introduces common tasks that are difficult for Trey, Kira Parris-Moore announces that Trey has AUTISM with a visual style that depicts a true celebration for EVERYTHING that he is! Although the story makes mention of them, Trey, the Chef is definitely not defined by his challenges. Kira Parris-Moore sends a clear message about allowing our children to pave their own beautiful path to success while utilizing their strengths versus dwelling on adversity.

Cooking Like Chef Trey

A bonus to owning this book are the included recipes. Both recipes, salmon croquettes and elephant ears, are easy to follow and delicious. We enjoyed the versatility of the salmon croquettes; each of us having them our our own way. I do not eat much fish but I was happy to have these, and look forward to my sons making them regularly! I think our croquettes (pictured below) turned out pretty good for our first try!

Our tasty salmon croquettes!

We had our elephant ears with cinnamon-sugar, and the first few moments of eating were composed of many satisfying mmms. Needless to say, I have some new food items to add to the “keep in-stock” list!

Our delicious elephant ears!

Trey, the Chef is a delightful book that has a place in all children’s lives. It can help inspire Autistic children to express themselves in what ever language works for them. It can also teach other children that being different should be celebrated, and that everyone has special gifts. The benefits of this book goes beyond its cover by connecting people through better understanding and good food.

You can buy your copy of Trey, the Chef on Amazon.com or at Books2Inspire.com.

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Visiting Falls Lake (NC) Brings New Awareness – A “Not Mad. Motivated.” Point of View

Last week, my family and I took an impromptu visit to a local lake. We first grabbed some lunch and then headed to the water. There are many lake access points and our adventure led us to one that we have visited many times in the past. We walked through some trees, with cups from lunch in hand, to have some family fun.

My oldest son followed their father’s lead and removed his shoes. After a short delay, I removed the shoes and socks of our youngest [and Autistic] son. My middle son was not immediately sold on getting into the water and instead requested to take a walk. So off him and I went.

We did not go very far before stopping to observe the environment – the smell, the tall grass growing in the water, the butterflies. When I looked over at the rest of the family, I panicked at the sight of my youngest son about knee deep in the lake. He started moving back toward the bank, likely in reaction to my outburst.

I realized that I was probably overreacting. I didn’t want to rob my middle son of his time, so I began to refocus on my interaction with him. But instead, he cut the walk short since I was, as he stated, ‘scared’. As we were walking to rejoin the others, I noticed our youngest son was now about chest deep in the lake. My panic returned and multiplied. Although his dad was calling for him to return, we could slowly see more and more of him disappearing into the water as he ignored the calls.

I did not want to rush toward him and risk him moving faster into deeper water, as he seemed to be moving in slow motion. He is usually very good at following instructions to ‘come here’. However, on this occasion and for reasons unknown, he was not interested in following directions.

I do not imagine that he understood how his act of defiance was actually placing his life in danger. His dad moved in to get him after a short time, although it felt like several minutes! He was safely returned to the bank of the lake with his clothes wet up to his shoulders and cup still in hand.

A “Not Mad. Motivated.” Point of View

It truly is a Blessing that we left the lake with all three of our sons being alive and well. Even though I had my eyes on him, the thought of him moving into deeper water and losing his ability to stand before someone got to him was frightening. In one moment, he was walking behind his dad. In the next moment, he forged his own path into deeper waters.

Ironically, an incident that I worried could have ended tragically actually now has revealed itself as a symbolism of life. Our children follow us to learn by our actions and our words. Eventually most of them will pave their own paths in this world. Some of them with stay on ‘bank’. Some of them will ‘get their feet wet’. While others will ‘dive right in’. What we must do as parents, caregivers, and supportive communities, is prepare them to the best of our ability, and keep our eyes open for them in case they need help.

There are many bumps in the road for someone that is responsible for the well being of a child. Try not to focus on the bumps. Instead, focus on letting every child know that they are worth the journey. And teach them skills that just might smooth out their road in the future. Time for swim lessons!

Support “Not Mad. Motivated.”

Thank you for visiting Not Mad. Motivated. We appreciate your support! If you believe that difficulties are best utilized as opportunities of motivation, consider purchasing a Not Mad. Motivated. tee shirt from our online shop.

If you are not a current subscriber, please subscribe to have future blog posts delivered directly to you!

Do you have thoughts to share about this blog? Your comments are welcomed!