Saturday, October 18, 2014

Broken Doughnuts and the LOVE of Krispy Kreme

I first posted it on Facebook in 2013.  It was a sweet, precious, defining moment on my Mommy journey.  It was an incredible learning moment for my kids.  It was shared around the world as autism families said, "I get it", and those who didn't understand autism got a glimpse of what it's like.

I noticed today, though, that I never gave it a place at .  We were busy dodging autism meltdowns in that season and learning how to do life in a way that complimented the beautiful creation that is my little buddy. :)  I'm not sure that much blogging was going on back then as a result.  We were busy, busy folks on a mission for simplicity.

The mission for simplicity still exists; however, it's a new autism day.

Walk with me back to 2013...

By now you have most likely read the "broken cheeseburger" story.

Our hearts were collectively touched this year as we read of a precious child on the autism spectrum, the family that loves her, and a waitress/restaurant franchise that learned of the intricacies of autism.  They not only responded, but responded instantly with something that far exceeds customer service.  They responded in love and the world, in turn, responded to Chile's with the same. 

Once you've read that story, you can never look at a cheeseburger in the same way.  Every time you go to take a bite, the picture of that sweet baby kissing her "healed" cheeseburger will cross your mind... and it's wonderful.

I relate to the story even more because I'm the parent of a child on the Autism spectrum... and tonight our version of a "broken cheeseburger" was a "ruined doughnut."

You see, as a modification to the dining in experience, we've learned the value of the Krispy Kreme drive-thru.  I mean, come on... doughnuts without ever leaving the car?  I think so! :) And so, we partake in the experience of what Louie Giglio calls "the Kreme" about once a month.

I was particularly impressed that my son asked for a "doughnut with custard-- not creme" tonight.  That's some big strides in the language department and specificity that would make every OT and speech therapist in the world smile for days.  It definitely made this Mama smile as I placed our order.  

We bought our doughnuts.  One for each child.  Pulled out of the drive-thru and passed them out immediately.  (Because WHO waits for doughnuts! Right?)

The smiles were all over the place... that is, until the tears began.

And the tears turned to sobs...

And the sobs turned into the most panicked look I have ever seen on my child's face.

"You RUINED my doughnut.  It's ruined! It's ruined! It's ruined!"  <insert the saddest sobbing ever here>

I had NO idea what was wrong and I must be honest when I say that I was frustrated at first.  Autism is like a great mystery and even the most well read and pro-actively educated parents must play detective to some degree to find what works for their child's place on the spectrum.

The pieces were just not fitting in this moment.  I could SEE the anxiety in his face.  This was not bad behavior.  It was not a tantrum.  It was a child locked inside his own language parameters who was clearly trying to tell me something... and I didn't have the key to unlock that moment for him.

And then I saw it.  The doughnut's chocolate covered top had a blemish in the icing.  To this girl, that little break in the icing would have meant nothing... but to my little guy?  It was "broken"... completely ruined.  All that he could see is that this doughnut would not work the way a proper doughnut would work.  He just could not "unsee" everything that was wrong with this custard filled piece of heaven.

So, what do you do?  Well,  I figured out what to do all because another parent was brave enough to share their story.  I remembered the cheeseburger story referenced above and that the little girl's family had been willing to order and pay for another cheeseburger because the moment she was having was not by choice, but rather a signature of her autism. 

Their example gave me one to follow tonight and I was delighted to drive back through the drive through to see our server, Ms. Chan, and order the "not ruined" custard doughnut again.

My little fella's tears dried up in an instant and he managed to get out a "thank you" to our new friend through trembling little lips.  His tear stained little face managed a teeny smile at Ms. Chan, too... and she warmly smiled back at him as she handed him a Krispy Kreme hat and ensured that my oldest son received one, also.  Finally, she looked at me and promptly said with a smile, "No charge."  (So much for the dry eyes, huh?)  

To some this is just a $1.50 doughnut.  No big deal at all. Customer service is a "should" and this woman did a fine job at doing what she "should" do.

To this Mommy, though, tonight was compassion, love, awareness, and community all rolled into one.  Tonight was not a "should" of customer service... it was a choice well made by a woman who is changing lives with her heart for people.

See, here's the even bigger story, folks...

When we share our stories, the world gets to love with us.  

As we relate our life experiences, we give the next parent another way to handle a situation that might otherwise baffle them.  When YOU reach out and say, "This is what my world really looks like" and don't lean to only the highlight reel, you have a part in changing the world. 

Our stories spread far beyond our moments and the places that sometimes look broken or frantic in our lives.  God uses the broken moments for healing each time our story is told... and it's contagious.  So share.  Share this story.  Share your story.  For the love of all that is wonderful, SHARE.

In celebration of OUR moment this evening, I dedicate this post to Krispy Kreme in Montgomery, AL and to our new friend, "Ms. Chan", at the drive-thru there.   Her manager has already been called and her corporate office will most definitely know that she's an asset to the Krispy Kreme name.  If you're ever in town, go pay them a visit and thank them for being love in action... one doughnut at a time., 2013
Twitter: @ChristieAitken
Google+: +Christie Aitken

Monday, October 13, 2014

Officially Red- How To Be It - World Dyslexia Day

So, you've heard about people using RED for dyslexia awareness and you want to be legit.

We understand.  We understand.  (If you don't get the reference, go talk to your parents.)

Anyway, we get it. We want you to know the roots of this campaign and be #OfficiallyRed, too!

You can join businesses, states, cities, and other countries around the world in the OFFICIAL campaign for all things red.

We did THIS in 2014.  It was a crazy cool way to show your heart for the 1 in 5 who have dyslexia.  

Pretty cool, eh? :)

We think so, too.

So what about 2015?  HOW DO YOU JOIN THE TEAM?

Well, truth be told, there's a lot of ways to go red, but only ONE way to be #OfficiallyRed.
Here's the scoop...

1. READ THE STORY.  The Original Red Story- From Seeing Red to Redeeming Red

2. REGISTER.  CLICK HERE TO GO OFFICIALLY RED (group or individual listing).  We will plug you into a place that you will LOVE being involved!  Locally, globally, online... whatever works BEST for you!

3. SHARE THE EVENT.  Hit FB, Twitter and beyond with your logo to declare that you are #OfficiallyRed by sharing THIS link:


HASHTAGS TO USE (just type in your post)
: #RoundtableSolutions           #DyslexiaRed
                                                                                #RedeemingRed                    #WorldDyslexiaDay


* Wear Red                           * Rockin' Red Shoes              * Red Hats
* Light Up Red                     * Red Silly String Fights        * Red Fire Trucks
* Red Face Paint                   * Red Costumes                     * Red Ribbons
* Red Pep Rallies                  * Red Banners                        * Red Balloons
* Red Themed Parties           * Drive a Red Vehicle            * Red Artwork
* Red Silly Socks                  * Red Jerseys                          *Go Red YOUR Way!

YOU can be the change for the #1in5 and beyond.  Are you ready to be Officially Red?  We are!

CHECK OUT 2014's FLASH MOB  The 2015 UPDATE will be posted VERY soon!

You can perform ONLINE via video OR LIVE with our Official Tower and Capitol Lighting in Montgomery, AL.

AMBASSADORS OF HOPE- Applications COMING SOON for the Roundtable Solutions Dyslexia Ambassadors of Hope (Dyslexia) VERY soon! 

What a GREAT adventure with wonderful friends by our side!

May the lives of the 1 in 5 and beyond be forever changed because God trusted us with this piece of the puzzle. This time next year?  There will be stories of tutoring, volunteers, speaking engagements, and so much more.  World changers live within the heart of Roundtable Solutions... and we're looking for others.  Will you join us?

Love, Christie, Beau, and "D"
Roundtable Solutions

©Christie Aitken, 2014, 2015
Twitter: @ChristieAitken 
Google+: +Christie Aitken 


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Confession... I'm looking for "the 1"

Single gal confession?  I'm looking for "the 1."  

{{Oh wow.  She just said that.  

On the internet.  For the WORLD to see.  

Bless her sweet little heart.}}

Yes.  I'm going there.  I'm looking for "the 1" and I need your help.

{{Well, isn't SHE quite the brassy one! Goodness gracious. She's either bold or desperate.  Either way, this sister is one hot mess.}}

Okay, okay.  

I give.

I AM looking for "the 1", but it's not exactly what I might have lead you to believe. 

Ulterior Motive, meet my friend, Good Cause.

First, I think we can all agree that if I were "lookin' for love" that a blog post would certainly define looking in "all the wrong places".  Agreed? 

So, if I'm not looking for someone to put a ring on it (future hubby, please take note, this is a CRAZY GORGEOUS one that would not make me sad at all when God says it's time :) )...

Then what in the world am I babbling about?

Today I took a step back and looked at WHY I do what I do... 

and it brought me to this post.

Why did my kids and I ever take on something as grand as World Dyslexia Day or Roundtable Solutions or the #RedeemingRed campaign?

Why do I have this drive to get out of the box learners to accommodations?  

Why is it like AIR to know that students are finding their God-given purpose because teachers and parents are working with them in the way they are hardwired to learn? 

And my answer was the same as it was the first day this crossed my mind....the 1.  I am desperate to find "the 1"... over and over again.

The "1" on that day was a boy sitting in front of me who had no idea how brilliant he really was.  He had no idea that God created Him with purpose and passion.  

And then there was another "1"... and he didn't speak understandably until he was 3 years old... but he said his first sentence in a therapy swing... and he made the OT and I cry as we watched God's plan unfold in his little life.

Then there was the "1" who had surgery and rocked a wheelchair, and later crutches, at the beginning of a school year.  But instead of worrying about what was or what mind be scary later on, he makes plans for his own pizza parlor and will readily tell you that he's a superstar. :)  I agree.

There are more "1's" out there, though.

I'm looking for them now.  I'm looking for the 1 that's still without accommodations in school, making it painfully difficult to meet their God-given potential.

I'm searching for the 1 out there who can't afford tutoring, but needs it as much as anyone else.  The parent that sits there wondering how they can help when there is more month left than money, but the learning needs are screaming for more than what a school day can cover.

I'm desperate to find the 1 who has heard they are less than what God created them to be... and to love them as they dive in and discover that Jeremiah 29:11 was written about THEM.  That God had them in mind when he wrote it and that He thinks they are one of His best ideas ever.

I want to find the 1 with dyslexia. The 1 with autism. The 1 with langer giedion syndrome. I want to find as many of the 1's out there as God will bless me to find.

But I can't do it alone.  A search of this magnitude needs more "1's" searching for the 1.

It will take our hearts.  It will take a lot of 1 dollar bills.  It will take all of us together  in pursuit of the 1.

My search follows the example set so beautifully in Luke 15 in the bible.  God goes after "the 1." He doesn't count how many have made it to where they need to be and then say, "Whew. That's some good numbers we've got going. Let's rest now.  Our stats are pretty good.  This is a good "win" ratio."

No. No. No. He ALWAYS goes after the 1 that is still in need.
Here's how you can join our search for the 1:

1- Give $1 dollar for the 1.

2- LIKE us on Facebook and tell a friend!

3- Contact us about volunteering your gifts, talents, and passions. 

I'm looking for the 1.  Every.  Single.  Day.

Join me.  I dare you. :)  

©Christie Aitken, 2014
Twitter: @ChristieAitken 
Google+: +Christie Aitken