Curious Creature Tales: Before Corona

                                  Before Corona, the Curious Creatures lived, cooperatively, in a very social state. Before Corona, they often squished into remarkably close quarters. Before Corona, they learned to be flexible, patient, forgiving, supportive, and congenial. Before Corona, they understood the concept of “needing one’s own space,” but … [Read more...]

Two Sides of the Same Bad Penny

Two hands held outward and full of pennies.

                        I live with a person who struggles with the next, or even the first, step. His pile of things he needs to get done keeps growing higher and higher, and now the messy tangle of to-dos is too daunting to even know where to begin. So he sits there in a very dark place, berating himself for his lack of progress. He calls it, “self loathing.” I am a person who can’t let things … [Read more...]

Gratitude

Gratitude

1-30-21 Sometimes I’m that kid in the photo: I go outside and twirl with my arms outstretched, in awe, and gratitude of a particular gorgeous day. It always raises a smile from my wife, Gina, so – job done. Sometimes I express my gratitude into a Gratitude Journal. It prompts: “What are you grateful for today?” and “What are you grateful for in your life?” To the first, the responses vary, though there are definite themes: the birds singing; the author who wrote this excellent book I’m … [Read more...]

A New Year

New Year

A New Year Goodbye 2020, and good riddance. We will not miss you, nor ever forget you. You are indelibly stamped on our psyches and through our losses, our dis-ease, our months upon months of isolation. Here comes our chance to have a better year, though the harsh realities of 2020 will not fade soon, or soon enough. I propose some New Year Resolutions. Realistic ones, like, I will endeavor to: Eat better and healthier foods Be more patient with my children, spouse, parents, … [Read more...]

Open to Gifts

two hands upheld, as if accepting a gift

  11/16/20 Many of us are willing to extend a helping hand, but we’re very reluctant to reach out for help when we need it ourselves. It’s as if we’ve divided the world into “those who offer help” and “those who need help.” The truth is that we are both. – Brené Brown, from The Gifts of Imperfection This year has not been the best of years. I think most would agree, even though most of us agreeing on something is pretty rare these days. But during this year of dis-ease and … [Read more...]

Leaning into the Pause

A picture of the world as a globe, and a hand next to it as if to say, stop.

Just pause. It sounds simple, but in many situations, it’s very hard to do. I am an implementer. If I’m asked to do something, I’m on it. Lickity-split. Pronto. Edit a document? Already doing it. Write a letter of recommendation? Give me an hour. Email in my inbox? Answer sent. Voicemail? “Hello, this is Ned Andrew, returning your call.” My natural anxiety has not allowed me to pause. To wait. To consider. To reflect. To look before leaping. To give the universe a chance to chime in. (My wife … [Read more...]

The Right Thing

PD: There is an image of a beautiful blue and black bird who has landed on a flat dish bird feeder in the middle of winter. The feeder is covered with snow and the bird has selected a peanut in its shell to eat holding it firmly in its beak.

  The birds in our backyard know the right thing when they see it, or feel it. Landing on the tube feeder filled with a blend of white millet, black oil sunflower, striped sunflower and safflower seeds, they select one, determine its weight, and decide whether its nutritious enough to ingest. If not, it gets tossed aside. But that’s okay too, because a different breed of bird, who scavenges primarily on the ground, will discover a treat waiting there. As I set out to write my … [Read more...]

Finding My Voice

Three baby birds in a nest, two with their beaks wide open, as if calling out for their needs to be met.

At 62 years old, I am, after three decades, trying to find my voice. That might sound like an odd statement for those who know me, and have “heard” my voice in articles I’ve written for magazines and newspapers, or as a presenter or meeting facilitator. And yes, I’ve been able to insert as much Ned-Andrew-ness as possible into the work I’ve done, but, because of circumstances, I have not been able to speak freely. For a very long time. That is slowly, incrementally, changing. I have been … [Read more...]

Raising the Bar, for the Sake of Our Children

A pelican stands at the top of a very tall pole, with clouds forming the background. In the distance there are pelicans standing atop other lower poles.

Face it: we parents with children with disabilities (my wife, Gina, and I have three) can be the worst when it comes to holding high enough expectations for our sons and daughters. Because of our desire to shield our loved ones from emotional pain, physical harm, or personal failure, we make choices which are sometimes not in the best interest of our kids – no matter what age these “kids” may be. Although we might say we want our sons and daughters to enjoy a meaningful and productive life, … [Read more...]

Lasts

A black and white photo of a bird flying solo and away from where he's been. There's water below him and a foggy sky around him.

I’ve been thinking a lot about “lasts” lately, here, seven calendar days from my retirement from the Council on Developmental Disabilities, and the State of Tennessee; from the job I’ve done for the last nineteen years. In the past two months I’ve attended my last TBI Advisory Council, Special Education Advisory Council, Youth in Transition Advisory Council, and State Family Support Council meetings in my current role. A little over a month ago was the last State Interagency Coordinating … [Read more...]