Monday, January 2, 2012

High Aspierations for the New Year & a plug for Autism Empowerment

Happy New Year, Aspierations Friends!

I am so excited to be in 2012. Not that 2011 was bad. In fact, a lot of meaningful accomplishments happened in my life during 2011.

It was probably one of the busiest years of my life and I've had many.  It was definitely one of the most spiritual.  But more on that later...

For those who have followed my blogging for any length of time, you may know that my husband John and I own an online retail business called Count Your Beans.  We sell dolls and bears online through our website, eBay and Amazon. The period from right before Thanksgiving until a couple days before Christmas is just crazy.  Shoppers on steroids... and it's not that they're buying so much more, it is that there are so many customer service questions and everything includes a real big sense of urgency. Instead of the regular collectors we have buying from us throughout the year, we have a lot of people coming to us for the first time looking for gifts for their loved ones.  We've been doing this over 12 years and we can always guarantee the last minute "gotta have it overnight Express" orders from men.  The 3rd week of December tends to have more males shopping with us than any other week in the year!  Love you, guys!

I'll admit, I'm ELATED to be out of the Christmas rush. The holidays provide a lot of sensory overload for me and my boys.  Having the kids off school for two weeks for "Winter Break" was anything but a break for Mom and Dad.  Love the kids... don't love going way off-routine during one of our busiest weeks of the year.  Arrrgh....  I know of two parents in this household who will be celebrating when the boys go back to school tomorrow.  Our hearts go out to the teachers!

One thing I wish I had more time to do during "Winter Break" is actually take more time to relax and enjoy the holidays. We enjoyed drives and walks to see the Christmas lights, spent some time playing family games and tried to keep the boys entertained while dozens of to-do items swirled around in our heads but it certainly wasn't rest and relaxation.

Do you have resolutions for the New Year?  I am so excited about Autism Empowerment, the 501(c)(3) public charity that John and I co-founded over the summer. We haven't had as much time to work on it as we hoped but we are making it a priority for 2012.  In fact, it is so much of a priority that by the end of the year, John and I hope to be doing Count Your Beans very part-time and Autism Empowerment very full-time.  We'll still take care of our customers and will still offer product for pre-order and sale, however we are putting our faith and focus into the foundation and funding of programs for Autism Empowerment.

I look forward to sharing some of those projects with you very soon.  We have an interview for grant funding for one of our projects later this month.  I'll share that shortly.

I am so jazzed to be blogging again. I missed writing to you very much!  I am not making many New Year's Resolutions but one is to schedule time to blog at Aspierations - Come As You Are, Let Your Light Shine at least twice a week.  I will also be blogging for Autism Empowerment and will be writing features and articles for programs we are developing.

Have you seen our Autism Empowerment website yet?  Please feel free to check us out: 

I love our new logo!

We have a very special project we are currently working on and that has come together in just the last few weeks.  John is the Unit Commissioner and I am the Committee Chair for the first ever Sensory Friendly Cub Scout Pack in Vancouver, Washington. We have an excellent Cubmaster, Deanna Pehrson and are all working hard to put together a terrific team!

If you know of boys in the area in the 1st - 5th grades with sensory issues, autism, Asperger's, SPD, PDD / NOS, ADD, ADHD, cerebral palsy, Down's Syndrome or any other special need, Cub Scout Pack 2 is dedicated to being an inclusive accepting, enriching, inspiring and empowering place where Scouts can Do Their Best!

Although Autism Empowerment is not affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America, John has been a volunteer for many years and I've helped out here and there as well. As part of Autism Empowerment's "Autism and Scouting" program, we have provided some seed money to the Pack and we are also volunteering our time and will be providing youth and adults with sensory training and support resources.  The Pack also plans to have a support group for adults.

Although Ryan is too young to join now, we are very excited to have our youngest son join this Pack as a Tiger Scout after he completes Kindergarten this school year.

Here is the Cub Scout Pack 2 website and Facebook page for more details.  Our son Justin who has achieved the rank of Star in Boy Scouts designed it for us.  He was thrilled to use his special interest for good and we think he did a VERY good job, especially considering he is 12! - Cub Scout Pack 2 Website - Cub Scout Pack 2 Facebook

Here is a blog that I recently did at Autism Empowerment looking for volunteers:

If you'd like to hear the story about how this Sensory Friendly Pack has come about in a 3 week period (one of our busiest personal times of the year), check out John Krejcha's Autism and Scouting blog, "Three Weeks in December - The formation of a Sensory Friendly Pack"

Okay, then!

Before I end my blogging for the night, I wanted to share with you that I look forward to sharing my personal experiences as a mom on the autism spectrum with two sons traveling the journey.  These past few months I haven't been blogging much but I have been storing up content and I believe I have gone through a lot of growth spiritually and emotionally.  I am so passionate about sharing my vision for Autism Empowerment with you.  I hope you'll enjoy the journey with me!

Happy New Year!

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