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Parents Create Memories for Siblings of Special Needs Kids

posted Apr 29, 2012, 10:42 PM by Elizabeth Batson   [ updated Apr 29, 2012, 10:51 PM ]

In a recent workshop on juggling the needs of your family, I put up a slide that said,
 "Create Memories of Good Times".

Every part of that message is important.

Create Good Times: Sometimes the good times just happen, but more often someone has to do some planning, organizing or juggling to create the opportunity for something good to happen.

Create Memories: Thousands of events happen to us every day but we only remember a few. For a memory to be created, we first have to notice what is happening. When you see people in your family having a good time, call it to their attention, help them to take notice so that the event is recorded in their long term memory.

(Remember) Memories: For memories to have existence, they have to be recalled or remembered. Each time a memory is recalled, it becomes stronger and easier to remember next time.
Make it a habit to remind your family of the good times


Finding the invincible summer within

posted Aug 6, 2011, 4:04 PM by Elizabeth Batson

This essay captures my own feelings about living through difficult times.

From Invincible Summer by Reverend Bruce Clear

In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer. - Albert Camus

Like the winter season, the wintry times of life make great demands upon us. Like the season, winter time in the heart impresses itself upon us, and reminds us of our fragility, our subjugation to conditions beyond our control; it reminds us of our mortality.

A wintry faith can be committed to accepting the tragic dimensions of life. It does not seek to transform sorrow into joy, but instead to confront sorrow on its own terms, and find some meaning within it. There is hope in a wintry faith, but it is the kind of hope that comes from strength, not by defeating pain, but by learning from it, and learning to live with it, learning to live in spite of it, and learning to live after it has left its mark. It makes us ready to accept summer, when summer comes.

But winter is just one season, and very few people can live in winter continually. Eventually, there comes the Spring thaw, and the promise of summer is felt. In the darkest nights of winter, we know that summer will come. Eventually, the coldness of winter in the heart begins to fade, and a new season emerges. Those who appreciate winter, who are strengthened by the cold absence felt in the heart, are also capable of appreciating summer, when it is summer's turn to come. But winter is never forgotten. The memory of a bitter furious cold will linger, sometimes close at hand and sometimes far away, but the memory never fades completely for those who appreciate a wintry faith.

From a sermon given by Rev. Bruce Clear on January 11, 2004 at All Souls Unitarian Church, Indianapolis, Indiana. The full sermon is at

Learning to Worry

posted Apr 20, 2011, 3:23 PM by Elizabeth Batson   [ updated May 29, 2011, 11:27 PM ]

When I was in high school, a friend told me, "Worry is like a rocking chair. You spend a lot of energy going back and forth but you never get anywhere." In the years since then, I have had plenty of practice with worry and have learned how to do it (and not do it) better.

For some problems, worry can be useful. Worry helps me plan ahead. Not only does worry help me create an action plan but also a plan B and plan C, just in case. However, eventually I reach a dead end where the worry ties me in knots without generating any productive results. That's when it is time to trot out the serenity prayer: Grant me the courage to change the things I can, the serenity to accept the things I can't and the wisdom to know the difference. (And yes, this is easier said than done!)

Over the years, I have encountered more and more situations that I don't like but can't change. Eventually, I saw the wisdom in accepting reality. No matter what I want, some things are beyond my control. My only choice is how I respond - worry, anger, or acceptance. The universe continues in its path no matter which one I choose, the only difference is how I feel inside. When I get tired of banging my head against reality, I am ready to accept that some things are beyond my control.

Recently I discovered a third option - to accept that sometimes I just need to worry. Acceptance is a nice concept (and easier on the nerves) but if I'm not there, I'm not there. Worrying about my worry is even less productive than just plain worrying. Instead, I try to relax, accept the worry and realize that this too will pass.

If you want help managing your worry, check out the resource page on Worry and Stress.

Counseling: The gift of a job I love

posted Mar 19, 2011, 9:42 PM by Elizabeth Batson   [ updated May 29, 2011, 11:28 PM ]

It is so amazing to go to work. I spend the day listening to people and helping them discover their preferred path through life. I used to say that I was lucky to work with such amazing people. Then I realized that my supervisor was not just picking the best clients to give to me. Rather, there is something about the counseling relationship that allows us to see what is special and unique in each person. 

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