Last week I went to an incredible Jesus at the Core Retreat through Revelation Wellness and Holy Yoga. It included a wonderful blend of scripture, worship, devotions, stretches and fun filled workouts. I went with a group of precious ladies who are involved with REFIT (several are instructors). I learned so much! I am currently attending classes on Tuesday nights at 6:30 at Eagle Creek Church in Harrisonville. The classes are through donations and the workouts are so fun. If you are interested in joining us I am including the contact information. My plan is to be certified as an instructor in October. Remember, exercise is an essential part to overall wellness, so find what works best for you and keep moving!
Certified REFIT® Instructor
AFAA Group Fitness Certified
The main part of this post, I wanted you to hear from a dear friend of mine. Her name is Janice and she has three wonderful adult children. Kaleb is her oldest and he is autistic. She has been a driving force behind this website and we have been working together with nutrition and exercise for her family: especially Kaleb. Janice is very creative and artistic. She has totally remodeled their home (including tearing down walls and re-configuring rooms). She is an entrepreneur at her core. Pull all these things together and I am watching “magic” happen with Kaleb.
I wanted you to hear her story in her own words because I know she will inspire and encourage others. As I am involved in events and around larger groups in the public, I am hearing more and more from parents with adult special needs children. I know you will be blessed by this story.
Aspiration For One Young Adult With Austim
Kaleb is 26, is pretty much non-verbal, lives in a rural area where employment opportunities are extremely limited- sheltered or otherwise. As his mom, creative, but not a professional anything except maybe dabbling in various hobbies- I’ve always looked for ways to merge what has always been my breathing space with this unrelenting autism that is holding my beloved son captive.
During Kaleb’s teen years I began making birdhouses for our farm, and did a few small craft shows, always with Kaleb- he enjoyed the social aspects of going with me. With the mentality of a second grader it never occurred to me that he could do woodworking. Eventually we tried the local sheltered workshop, however- this did not last, he got fired because he wouldn’t stay in his seat, he obsessed over a kid that rejected his friendship – talk about a low point in parenting… Kaleb wants the world to like him, and is very sensitive. He picks up on my ‘annoyed’ tone every time- and I have to stop and deal with it.
One fall we went to our first ‘big’ craft show- over a hundred vendors, all handmade, re-purposed crafts… I talked to some of the vendors and the light came on. Kaleb and I can do this! So we set up my workshop to be all about Kaleb’s sheltered workshop. We name it “Horsefeathers Farm”. I cut the wood out, and tediously helped him glue. …sloppy and painfully slow for me. The saw was too loud, nail gun- too loud. (even with hearing protection) He could hand sand, fill holes and paint. Painting snag.. he wanted to control color… Then there was decorating and tin roofs… too hard for him.
So, we make 50 or so- takes me all summer, and they are a compromise of quality- even after I went back & redid some crooked glue-jobs. We did some small local shows. He wanted all of the cash people are handing me. We talked about percentage. Serious obsessing. Stressful. I can’t do this.
2016, New idea, I hire him as an employee. He can fill nail holes, sand and paint (my colors). This spring he earned $30 painting my deck furniture and the welcome posts. Then, one day I’m in Hobby Lobby & see these simple wooden trays for $40. I think “Kaleb could do that”. I had a small stash of lath from a friends’ remodel- so we tried one. I told him I’d cut the wood & the rest is yours. Diane (his aide) and I worked out the steps and she meticulously assisted him through learning the steps. I happily did my thing on ‘my side’ of the barn, and he took ownership of his side. He took a paintbrush and painted MS on my work table & KS on his. (Mom’ side and Kaleb’s side)
We had two months to complete our set up for Vintage Market Days from start to finish. I saw some of the sweetest changes through this process. He arranged and organized his work space. He listened to suggestions, allowed me to help him. I saw the pride of a young man using his own vice and drill with confidence. Complete enjoyment working together, listening to music. He showed up on his own and worked until he was at a stopping point of his choice. With 27 trays, there was a measure of ‘sticking to it’. We did the math and that big number $300 was as high as the moon to him. He priced them all, sorted colors and was excited (and validated) when his custom sacks arrived… So many small moments of joy.
When his brother wanted to buy one, Kaleb shows him the price tag. No discount. Jordan reassures him it’s fine, “It’s just business”. So when I went to buy one & asked if I got a ‘mom discount’ he uttered the words in his low, gruff voice (that is so rare & I love to hear)- “It’s just business” I’m thinking this kid is made for this.
During set up he took over carrying the big items- the posts and fence sections… (no argument here) I’m seeing him take initiative to be the strong man & love it!
I anticipated there would be some mixed purchases- (his items and mine), and credit cards, so I told him I’d divvy up the pay at the end of each day… what a fun time. He sold out and made his fortune on the second day! Complete success!
Like any kid, a parent has to expose them to activities, whether they ‘take to it’ or not. It’s true, success builds success. Several people asked me if Kaleb liked ‘woodworking’… I had to say not particularly, but he has discovered the feeling of accomplishment. Of earning real money on his own. Of self-empowerment. I think in time, he will come to love woodworking. He will grow in skill. I am curious to expose him to canvas art painting. I know there is some affinity with color. That’s a whole story in itself that goes way back to early childhood. I have the canvas and paint, so we will see.
Monday we drove in town and he opened his own checking account complete with debit card. Then we drove to this re-modeler friend’s house and loaded our truck up with more lath.
See more at horsefeathersfarm.net