Weekly Photo Challenge: Room(s) to Inspire Kindness and Compassion

I thought how unpleasant it is to be locked out; and I thought how it is worse, perhaps, to be locked in. — Virginia Wool

Both of my children have been fortunate to have some good teachers. I still believe the ones who made mistakes had good intentions; I just wish they had been more open in their thinking and less judgmental. I believe they can learn from their mistakes, and maybe one day they will.

Slogans like the ones on the outside of the classrooms above certainly indicate that teachers at least see the need for change. I can only hope that the changes really are happening in the classrooms and that no one feels locked in or locked out like we did.

This post is inspired by the weekly photo challenge at The Daily Post.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Split Second Story of Craft, Sorrow, and Healing 1


The AIDS Memorial Quilt is a tribute to lives loss during a troubling time in our nation’s response to a health crisis. It also is an amazing tribute to the craft of quilting.

A 2012 trip to Washington, D.C. coincided with the twenty-fifth anniversary of the quilt and with the thirty years of life with AIDS. I had wanted to see the quilt since I first heard about it in the late 1980s.

No, I do not directly know anyone with AIDS, but I was still a hospital nurse when the crisis started in the early 1980s. I still remember the first young man who died from it on my floor. I remember the fear some health care workers had when they had to care for him.

I am sad to also report that I remember a comment made by a respiratory therapist that the disease was God’s punishment. I responded that I don’t believe anyone deserves to die that way. Anyone dying a horrible death deserves compassion and kindness; not judgment. And, back then it really was a horrible way to die and there was little that helped. The medications are better now, but there is still no cure.

Yet, despite the sad reason for its creation, the quilt is beautiful and a joy to behold. I hope it helps those who experienced loss due to this illness to heal. I’m glad I finally had a chance to see it.

This post is inspired by The Daily Post weekly Photo Challenge where Shane Francescut asked us to capture an image that tells a full story in a single frame. I can’t think of anything that tells a full story better than this quilt. Can you?

Bidding You Aloha but Not Goodbye 6

Aloha Is More Than a Word

You hear it frequently in Hawaii, but it is so much more than just a word we use. People use it as a greeting or to say goodbye, but not when we talk about spreading aloha. Aloha is a way of life many strive to reach. It involves showing kindness, compassion, and empathy to others in big and small ways. It is about showing love and respect.

I believe in spreading aloha, and I cannot honestly say that my blogging has been an effective tool for doing so. That is why the focus of this blog has changed.

Located at the dock where visitors were greeted with Aloha prior to the airport opening.

Aloha Tower. Located at the dock where visitors were greeted with aloha prior to the airport opening.

Finding a Place for Aloha

I find I need to be present more in life. I have learned so much during my twenty-eight months of blogging, and I am grateful for my followers and the handful of people who have continued to read and share my posts. Yet, I know so many others who are more effective.

This is why I have decided to decrease my presence in the autism and anti-bullying on-line communities and concentrate on spreading more aloha. The blog will remain open for any who want to read prior posts including prior guest posts. I will use it for sharing photos and positive quotes and the occasional update on Cal’s story.

Showing Aloha to Others

I will continue to share Special-Ism.com posts on Twitter. I will no longer be writing for them, but I believe there is still a need for their on-line magazine, and I still support their work. Look for positive posts by others there too.

Hopefully, I will find time to finish my second novel, where Mia’s brother, Cal will be living aloha by helping others to change while supporting those with differences.

With aloha,


Emotional Intelligence, Empathy, Compassion: Terms Thrown Around These Days

What do they really mean and why are they important?

FDR Memorial July 2012 ©Delightfully Different Life

FDR Memorial July 2012 ©Delightfully Different Life

Psychology Today identifies emotional intelligence as the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others. I would argue that we are all responsible for our own emotions, but that there are some responses that are more socially acceptable when responding to others’ emotions. This is where some with special needs might need help. You can refer back to my post at Special-Ism.com about recognizing and teaching kindness for this.

The New Oxford Dictionary defines empathy as the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

Compassion is the keen awareness of the interdependence of all things. —–Thomas Merton

This is my final post for Special-Ism, so I leave you with the following ways you can be more compassionate and continue to help your children too.

Be kind to yourself. 

  • Allow yourself to have at least thirty minutes a day that are just yours even if you have to take the time in five to ten minutes increments.
  • Use this time for prayer, meditation, a nap, taking a walk, reading, or doing something else that makes your heart sing.
  • Acknowledge that you will make mistakes and forgive yourself when you do.
  • Congratulate yourself when you succeed.

Forgive those who do not understand you and/ or your children.

  • Take a deep breath. Then smile at the man who mutters under his breath when your child meltdowns in the store. Then ignore him and attend to your child. This is not the time to educate the world.
  • Calmly educate the teacher who fails to understand your child. Seek help from the school counselor, your child’s aide or another professional to get through to her if you need too, but remain calm throughout the process even if you have to step back or walk away briefly or call her back.
  • Decide in advance how much to share with your extended family, with  other parents and children. And share only on a need to know bases until your child is old enough to decide how much they want to share. Remember it is his life you are talking about and respect that future adult child.

Seek positive role models for your children.

  • When a person you admire does something that helps others, use their behavior as a positive example.
  • Find community mentors who you trust and who have a reputation of supporting all children.
  • Identify kind, older children with the help of teachers or school counselors and see if they are willing to be mentors.

Find positive and supportive friends for both yourself and for your children.

  • Make time for your friends even if it is only to call them during your thirty minutes of me time to touch base. Everyone needs friends.
  • Help your child to develop friendships when they are small by finding ways they can participate in activities even if they cannot tolerate a four-hour long birthday party. They might go for part of the party either at the beginning or the end.
  • Get to know the parents, so you can encourage these friendships for years to come and so you can verify the kind ones.

Give positive stories more power by sharing them instead of the negative stories.

  • We all get upset with misinformation in the media.
  • Give them less attention and instead share positive stories related to the same topic.
  • Start a campaign to get others to share the positives too.
  • One day we will get through to the media if we stop giving them views for the negatives.

Support other special needs parents. Remember everyone experiences life differently, so if you disagree with them please do so privately and with respect.

  • Support the ones you know in real life by calling them or inviting them for a cup of coffee.
  • Share posts of those you only know via the Internet.
  • Leave encouraging comments.
  • E-mail personal advice if you disagree with them and have a more positive solution to offer.
  • Above all please remember we are all in this together.


“Emotional Intelligence.” Psychology Today: Health, Help, Happiness Find a Therapist. Sussex Publishers, LLC, n.d. Web. 24 Dec. 2012.

Walker, D. S. “How Do You Know? Recognizing and Teaching Kindness.”Specialism. Special_Ism.com, 4 Nov. 2012. Web. 24 Dec. 2012.

Originally posted at Special-Ism.com, 4 Jan. 2013