Kindness in a Time of Uncertainty

A few weeks ago, a stranger paid for my lunch. This random act of unexpected kindness was shocking. Had it not been for my temporary state of disbelief, I may had “paid it forward” immediately. However, this weekend, I saw the perfect opportunity for kindness in this current time of uncertainty.

Let's make a world of kindness in a time of uncertainty
At any time in this world, someone is dealing with uncertainty. Always find kindness in your words, actions, and thoughts!

I went to a store to buy a couple of items. During checkout, I noticed some bagged items had been left. I brought the bags to the attention of the cashier, hoping that no one left them accidentally. Afterwards, the cashier motioned toward the near-by customer using the phone. Then the cashier realized that the customer was attempting to use an EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer/ Food Stamp) card, which the store did not accept. As I finished my transaction, I quietly asked the balance of the other customer’s purchases and paid for it before they had the chance to leave the building.

Kindness is Contagious

Kindness is contagious! Although we will witness some ‘ugly’ acts such as hoarding needed supplies, we often see very beautiful acts of kindness during our most difficult times. We could never predict the exact affect of such actions. We cannot know with certainty how many lives a seemingly small act can touch. The recipient may pay-it-forward with kind words to a friend or an unexpected call to family member. Perhaps they will be encouraged to help an elderly or physically challenged person with a difficult task. Or just maybe, they become a little less bias because of receiving kindness from someone they normally would judge as ‘bad’.

We do know, however, that we all can greatly benefit from kindness. Check out these Kindness Health Facts! And if you have never visited the Random Acts of Kindness website, please check out their wonderful resources!

Kindness in a Time of Uncertainty

Many of us are currently connected through the unprecedented times that we are currently in, but please remember that people all around the world are in crises and are suffering everyday. When new cases plateau and the threat level has receded, don’t forget to be kind to the man, woman, or child fleeing from extremely impoverished and/or war-torn countries. Do not forget to be kind to the activist fighting to improve the community of children who live in uncertainty everyday. Be kind to the homeless, even if it is just an acknowledging smile. Kindness is always needed!

Kindness in Action

I would love to hear from you! What are some acts of kindness that you have experienced?

Many of us are staying home more then usual. What are you watching, reading, or listening to in order to stay busy or entertained? What hobbies are you picking up? Which interests are you building upon?

A lot of us parents are overseeing school assignments that are usually completely at school. Teachers, what advice to you have for parents? What resources do you suggest? What special accommodations are you making for your students?

Some of us are cooking at home more. Are you trying any new meals? Do you have tips or recipes to share?

Let’s share and spread kindness!

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Tennessee Orange Youth Size XS

As always, we invite you to support Not Mad. Motivated. Please leave a comment, subscribe to our blog and/or newsletter. Visit our shop and help us spread the Not Mad. Motivated. mindset with every purchase of a t-shirt or tote. Our current inventory of youth size t-shirt are $10 online until they are gone. We only have six shirts in our smallest size, XS. Show your support by purchasing one today!

Celebrate Often: The Heroes We Know Collection

This month’s Celebrate Often post is about Author Kira Parris-Moore and her The Heroes We Know Collection. In addition to her first book, Trey, the Chef, which was published in 2019, Kira Parris-Moore’s second book, Suzy, the Dressmaker, is available now!

Mental illness or developmental disabilities are nothing that ANYONE should be ashamed of and anyone who has these challenges and still manages to make it through their day to day should be celebrated!

Author Kira Parris-Moore

Inspiration Behind The Collection

So what is the inspiration behind the Heroes We Know Collection? The author has three very clear goals to fulfill with her collection:

  • present mental health and developmental awareness in a way children could understand
  • increase cultural diversity by having each character be a different race
  • provide inspiration by showing children that they can succeed and accomplish their goals no matter what developmental/mental health barriers they face

Meet The Heroes We Know

The main character of the first Heroes We Know book is inspired by Kira Parris-Moore’s oldest son. Trey is Autistic and in Trey, the Chef, he uses is passion for cooking to speak beyond words. Visit our previous post to read more about Trey, the Chef.

Anxiety is the focus in Suzy, the Dressmaker. Anxiety is a common issue faced by people of all ages. What is great about Suzy, the Dressmaker is that it introduces anxiety in simple way. A young child might not know the word anxiety, but the books allows them to relate to the “feeling” of anxiety. Therefore, giving children a better way to talk about what they are going through.

Similarly to Trey, the Chef, Suzy is full of passion and creativity! Although we see Suzy worry, we also see Suzy practice techniques to help her calm down. Above all, these techniques can help readers work through their worries, too!

In addition to the story, each Heroes We Know book includes an interactive activity that makes each book a touch more special!

To purchase either book or learn more about the author, visit books2inspire.com. Every person that purchases Trey, the Chef gets a 15% discount off the purchase of Avaz AAC, an augmented alternative communication app that allows nonverbal children/adults to communicate with the outside world through technology. Trey, the Chef will also be featured in the Just Like Me Box for Autism Awareness Month in April.

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Do you know a hero that should be celebrated? I do! My seven year old Autistic son! He is non-verbal and has global developmental delays. I cannot imagine his daily frustrations of wanting to communicate his needs, wants, and discomforts. There are times when his behavior reflects that he is going through something unpleasant. However, you are more likely to find him happily laughing and smile. Even when I know he is uncomfortable, he finds many beautiful smiles to share with his family and community! Leave a comment about the heroes you know!

Sometimes, we go through difficulties! Some people decide to give up amidst struggles. Some believe that their success is limited by what other people say or expect. However, at Not Mad. Motivated., we believe that our biggest barriers and obstacles can fuel our success. My Autistic son’s global developmental delays inspires me to say “I’m Not Mad. I’m Motivated.”

Let life’s obstacles inspire you and help remind others to choose motivation and not anger by supporting Not Mad. Motivated. with the purchase of a shirt and/or a tote. And don’t forget to subscribe to our Newsletter and Blog!

Thanks for your support!

Pizza, Cars, and Confederate Flags

Tickets and passes from the Bank of America 500 NASCAR race held at Charlotte Motor Speedway in October 2017.
Bank of America 500 tickets and passes from 2017.

Are you are wondering how pizza, cars, and confederate flags go together? Read how these three thing aligned within my world one day in 2017.

A Finalist

On Thursday, October 5, 2017, I got a voicemail that I could not believe! The follow-up email stated:

You entered into our contest to win an all-new Toyota Camry last month and you have been chosen as a finalist!
You are one of three finalists who have the opportunity to win the car. The final part of the contest will happen this Sunday, 10/8, at Charlotte Motor Speedway before the Bank of America race.

Digital Strategy for Papa John’s of the Carolinas

Can you imagine? I did enter the contest. I used promotional code PAPAWHEELS when I ordered a $9.99 Papa John’s pizza. That’s it! I had some doubts about the whole thing, but I was assured that someone would leave a winner. With a 1 out of 3 chance of winning, I could not resist confirming my intentions to make the two hour drive. My family was invited, and win or lose, it was a new experience for everyone.

Pre-race Show Excitement

We were up and out early Sunday morning in order to make it to the track by 9:45am. Our VIP treatment started with a golf cart meeting us in the parking lot and driving us to the infield. The Pre-race show was already going strong. Fans were everywhere! Giveaways, celebrity NASCAR guests, all going on as the Papa John’s team prepared the three finalist for the contest.

The time came for our part of the show. The hosts moved from the main stage to the stage featuring a 2018 Toyota Camry and started introducing the contest and the finalists. They called me Margaret Brown. My name is not Margaret Brown. I immediately wondered if that “slip up” was a reference to my Brown skin, but then my thoughts were right back to winning my car – I was claiming it!

The contest was simple. A trunk full of single pizza boxes with a few of them colored gold. The finalists takes turn finding a gold one until they find one with a code. The code in the box matches a code on a key. If your key starts the car, you win. And guess who won!

The 2018 Toyota Camry SE in Galactic Aqua won from Papa John’s of the Carolinas at the Bank of America 500

Pizza, Cars, and Confederate Flags

We had a great time at our first NASCAR events! After the rock climbing wall, bouncing obstacle course, and some lunch, we headed to the grandstand to watch some of the race. Like a bunch of amateurs, we sat in the first row as if they were the most sought after seats. But when those cars came around, we realized that they were NOT popular seats for a real good reason. I did learn something priceless though. My youngest son, who was diagnosed with Autism months earlier, seemed to be soothed by the noise or vibrations.

It was such a fun outing and an amazing experience. Although, all the confederate flags in the infield were very distracting to me.

Photos displaying confederate flags at the Bank of America 500
Confederate flags at NASCAR race in North Carolina.

Had I paid attention to NASCAR, and its history, these flags would have not caught me of guard. However, seeing the flags did trigger a subconscious knowledge of such relationship.

The confederate flag once was as much a part of the NASCAR landscape as the green, yellow and checkered.

Confederate emblems decorated race souvenir programs, and a man dressed as a rebel soldier was a regular in victory lane celebrations at Darlington Raceway in South Carolina.

NASCAR fans: Confederate flag still important symbol
USA TODAY

Remove the “Offensive Symbol”?

Formal NASCAR chairman, Brian France, eventually called for, but did not require, the removal of the “offensive symbol” in 2015. Some tracks even offering to exchange the controversial flag with an American flag. France, grandson of NASCAR co-founder Bill France Sr., later went on to endorse Trump in 2016, proclaiming:

If the people that like and watch NASCAR vote for Donald Trump, they can cancel the election right now. Nobody else can win. Nobody.

NASCAR fans: Confederate flag still important symbol
USA TODAY

He also went on to plead guilty for DUI after an 2018 DUI and possession of Oxycodone (a controlled substance) arrest. Jim France, uncle to Brian France and son of Bill France Sr., is the new NASCAR Chairman and CEO. Will ideas about the confederate flag, and its role within NASCAR, change under his leadership? I don’t know, but I do know that Trump is the Grand Marshall of this week’s Dayton 500.

A Not Mad. Motivated. Point of View

There you have it! This is how pizza, cars and confederate flags have intersected in my life. Being called Margaret Brown in this environment was a bit frustrating. However, I used the car that I won to help start Not Mad. Motivated.!

Seeing those flags caused all sort of feelings, but outside of my own family’s enjoyment, I saw something else that made me extremely happy! Another Black family! What made this family special is not that they were Black; it is that they were being themselves.

It was before the race and a NASCAR driver was being driven through the crowd. The dad urged the son, who was dressed down in NASCAR appeal, to get an autograph. With the son’s hesitation, the dad grabbed the son’s hat, ran aside the golf cart next to the NASCAR driver, and got the autograph that he knew his son desired. The son displayed an undeniable reaction of a true fan!

Don’t get me wrong, I did not experience any hatred from any person that I interacted with that day. Everyone was actually very pleasant and welcoming. It was just those flags and beliefs that they symbolize to me and to many.

We have ‘symbols’ that can trigger the worst of our feelings and behaviors, but we win when we find the motivation to thrive beyond those negative feelings. We would love your help in spreading the Not Mad. Motivated. mindset! Let’s turn failures into fuel, obstacles into opportunities, and mistreatment into movements! Shop Not Mad. Motivated.

Celebrate Often and Be Peppered with Possibilities!

Many parents experience difficulties with children having ‘picky’ eating habits. This challenge is often magnified for Autistic children because of the increased probability of sensory processing complications. Whether the food overstimulates or underwhelms the senses, it can be a quick and easy refusal of food on sight or smell alone!

Of course there are Autistic children who enjoy a variety of vegetables and fruits. However, many parents – including myself – find it difficult to persuade our Autistic child to voluntarily and consistently consume the most healthiest of foods.

One minor solution to help increase vegetables/fruit intake is to hide these items among food that your child already enjoys. For example, try adding a purée of carrots to spaghetti sauce if your picky eater loves spaghetti. One may conclude that ‘hiding’ fruits and vegetables is a good start. However, the ultimate goal is finding the right healthy foods that your child will be eager to eat!

For more ideas about boosting meals with purées, check out this book.

The Right Super Food Made it to the Table

I admit that I have not been the best at preparing and eating vegetables. I recognized that changing my eating habits could directly influence the habits of my son. This thought, along with some unexpected weight gain, helped guide my decision to participate in a Reset and Rebalance Program. The “Reset” included a week of all the vegetables that I could stand. So when it was time to dice all those vegetables to make some easy and filling soup, I had my seven year old son sitting at the table with me. To my surprise, he picked up a piece of a bell pepper and took several bites!

I must admit that when he first tried bell peppers, he only chewed then (which got messy). But my “Celebrate Often” excitement of knowing that he chose to opened his mouth and try peppers overruled my concerns over the mess. Now, whenever I chop and dice vegetables, I try to have my youngest son sitting with me, leaving every type of vegetable within his reach.

Small Change, Great Reward

You might think that adding bell peppers to a diet is not much to celebrate, but you would be wrong. There are many amazing benefits of bell peppers. They are high in vitamin A, supporting eye health. They are a great source of vitamin C, which supports tissue health and immunity. The folate in peppers supports the functioning of red blood cells. The lycopene, in red bell peppers fight free radicals that are acquired from natural exposure to environmental toxins. Are you celebrating yet? All these benefits are great, but there are a couple more benefits, or possible benefits, that really causes me to celebrate!

The high sources of potassium and the good source of fiber helps keep fluids and minerals balanced and can help regulate digestion. Since my son regularly suffers from constipation, these combined benefits are greatly reflective of his nutritional needs. Lastly, and perhaps more importantly, consumption of bell peppers may help lower the risk of certain cancers, such as colorectal, breast, and prostate. Although my son is only a young seven, his Autism is thought to be a symptom for a rare disease, PTEN Hamartomous Tumor Syndrome (PHTS), which can increase the risk of cancers such as colorectal, breast, and prostate. Amazing, right?!

The Not Mad. Motivated. Mindset

When it comes to a picky eater, just like in life, it is important to create new paths and possibilities to success. We all come across difficult situations, some more difficult and more traumatic than others. These situations are ours to overcome! Whether we have the support of a community, or we are in our “corner” alone, it is ultimately our decision to use all the strength within and around us to survive and seek success.

Not Mad. Motivated. was created to be a reminder to use current and past difficulties and challenges as motivation for forward movement toward positive change. Help us spread the Not Mad. Motivated. mindset by purchasing your Not Mad. Motivated. shirt today!

Not Mad. Motivated. short sleeved t-shirt in Royal Blue with white print.

Coming this week: New Not Mad. Motivated. merchandise!

The Mindset of Motivation

Your attitude,  not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.

When I was younger, I remember seeing a motivational poster with an eagle soaring in the sky. The poster featured the phrase “Dream Big” along with the above Zig Zigler quotation. Throughout my life, I thought about that eagle and the freedom that it represented. With the right mindset, I was able to use that visual input as motivation to achievement goals.

The Tales of Two Mindsets

Do you realize that there are two main mindsets that helps determine our personal drive? Someone with a fixed mindset believes that aspects such as intelligence, characteristics and skills, and perhaps circumstances, are unchangeable or static. According to Carol Dweck, psychologist and author of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, a fixed mindset “leads to the desire to look smart and therefore a tendency to”:

  • Avoid challenges
  • Give up easily due to obstacles
  • See effort as fruitless
  • Ignore useful feedback
  • Be threatened by the success of others

This type of mindset can be extremely danger to not only the individual and their family, but also to society in general.

Conversely, someone with a growth mindset believes that they can develop their intelligence, characteristics, skills, and circumstances. A growth mindset “leads to a desire to learn and therefore a tendency to”:

  • Embrace challenges
  • Persist despite obstacles
  • See effort as a path to mastery
  • Learn from criticism
  • Be inspired by others’ success

Encouraging a Growth Mindset

If you have a growth mindset and you are a person of influence, such as a parent, teacher, caregiver, or other type of leader, make the effort to encourage others, especially children, to embrace their ability to grow and develop themselves with hard work, planning & goal setting, and accepting help from others. Be an example by asking them to critique how YOU are doing as a person of influence in their life, and use their comments to demonstrate positive change. Teach others to discuss their challenges using positive, reaffirming statements instead words of defeat and discouragement. Also, use visual input as reminders of what they can achieve, and that which they have already achieved!

See 10 Ways to Teach Kids to Have a Growth Mindset, which includes suggested books and additional resources!

Check out the Ultimate Guide to a Growth Mindset (Plus FAQ!).

Embracing Visual Input to Increase Motivation

With a growth mindset, the concept of dreaming big is completely rational since there is an acceptance that one’s abilities and situations are not limited by what one is experiencing today. Seeing hard working parents or leaders creates a visual example which can help inspire the work ethics of a younger generation. When you plan your day, or week, and you are able to check off tasks, you can established a visual that is encouraging you to recognize your efforts and your successes, while motivating you to continue toward additional goals. Get out into nature and be inspired the always changing world that sustains us all! Create a vision board using pictures that reflect your goals and words to elevate your passion and commitment! Make time to be creative and remind yourself that your success is for you to develop and foster!

The Not Mad. Motivated. Mindset

The Not Mad. Motivated. brand was conceptualized from a growth mindset! Being Not Mad. Motivated. represents the decision to grow and succeed despite challenges and obstacles. Living among negative elements with a fixed mindset of hopelessness and anger is a quick way to a life of misery and pain. Not Mad. Motivated. wants to be a reminder of the fact that current difficulties are only temporary if you use them to motivate you into the necessary movement toward positive change. To help us spread the mindset of Motivation, purchase your Not Mad. Motivated. t-shirt today!

Coming soon: New Not Mad. Motivated. merchandise!