Monday, March 24, 2008

Seven Questions...Making Lemonade with Life's Lemons

What do you do when life just isn't following your masterplan?

Well, you can go hide in the basement with a box of Twinkies and some Laverne & Shirley reruns. OR you can take action, surround yourself with uplifting people, and start a hip, happenin' and very happy blog.

This is why I ADORE Mique.

Although we have never met, Mique (say "Mickey") and I made an instant connection when we realized that we share one of life's big lemons...dealing with autism in our beloved "J" boys. Finding a friend who is choosing to make lemonade instead of turning sour has been an inspiration for me. I am amazed at her energy, creativity and positive attitude. She is a ray of sunshine!

Here are her thoughts on living (even thriving!) with adversity...

1. What has been your life's biggest challenge? How has it changed you?
Over the past several years I’ve had quite a few challenges- stretching experiences for sure. I think my biggest challenge has been being able to adapt when my life doesn’t go as planned. Early on, Josh and I lost a pregnancy of twins. That was really hard. Then when Jonathan was barely two and Julia was 3 weeks old, we found out J had autism. Both situations shook me to my core. I didn’t feel like I was strong enough to handle either. It changed me in being more confident in my abilities and really understanding that there is a much bigger picture. I still struggle with this though- it’s a process.

2. When life gets you down, what are two or three things you do to pick yourself up?
Well, I have all kinds of things. Let’s see- I like to go on drives. Especially on the beach (it’s a shame that I live an hour away from the closest beach). I’m able to clear my head a little on drives. I do something creative- photography, digital stuff, sew, cook. And I also shop- which I posted about recently. I’m trying to scale down my shop therapy. I guess it all depends on what is getting me down. I feel so much better in general when I’m surrounded by my family and close friends.

3. You are one of the most creative people I know. How does creating something beautiful help you cope with the realities of life?
First, wow, thank you for the compliment (especially coming from you and knowing the family you come from). I have always enjoyed creating things. Being creative, allows me to kind of focus on something else for awhile. I usually feel better about myself and my circumstances after I’ve had a chance to get the creative juices flowing. I especially like creating stuff for other people- and I think the best way to get past something difficult in your own life is to focus on serving other people.

4. Surrounding yourself with good friends is so critical during the tough times. Who are your core people and how did you find them?
Very true- besides my family, my friends have been my biggest cheerleaders. My core people (love that term, btw) are a wide range. But I’d have to say I have one friend from each vital stage in my life that are like sisters to me.

My best friend from high school, Chrissy. She was the one in high school that everyone loved; genuine through and through. Still is.

Taryn from my BYU days. We lived through some crazy Taco Bell 2 am runs in the dorms. As well as dating dilemmas up to our weddings. She flew in from Africa to my wedding. I was with her stuck in a car during the one and only tornado of SLC while her groom waited in the temple for her on her wedding day. Even though we live on opposite coasts (and she is moving to China)! I still talk to her at least once a week. For sure a sister to me.

And in my adult life, Kristen has become that friend to me. We’ve experienced all the motherhood highs and lows. We’ve had crazy adventures like the So You Think You Can Dance finale tapings (times 2), taking hip hop classes together and now training for a half marathon.

With all these girls, I feel like I can just be me. And each of them are different from each other. They all bring something to my life. They all came right when I needed them.

5. What advice would you give to a mom whose child has recently been diagnosed with some type of disability?
Wow, this is a biggie. You know I could write on and on about this. But I think the biggest things are-

* Take time to grieve and go through your emotions.

* Learn as much as you can about the disability.

*Act on that info and be your child’s advocate.

*Always do what you (and your spouse) feel is right.

* Don’t get swayed by other peoples opinions- listen to advice, but-- ultimately-- you know what is best for your child.

* Surround yourself by uplifting people that not only love you but love your child.

* Love your child the same way you did the day before the diagnosis- s/he is still that same kiddo.

*And --for sanity’s sake- get good babysitters or friends to give you a break when needed.

6. If you were making a playlist of your favorite feel-good music, which would be your Top Three songs?
This is such a tough question. I LOVE music. And I love all types of music (except country; sorry country fans). For sure my favorite and very sentimental song, which seems SO SILLY now is The Middle by Jimmy Eat World. Also Ordinary Miracle by Sarah McLachlan from Charlotte’s Web Soundtrack. And the third would be For Good by Kristin Chenowith and Idina Menzel from the Wicked Soundtrack. Those are inspiring ones for me. But like I said, I have ALL kinds of music- everything from Sarah McLachlan to Jack Johnson and Josh Kelley with a lot of pop and hip-hop mixed in there too. And my new favorite find is Kate Walsh. Lovely voice.

7. What have been some of the silver linings in your storm clouds? What blessings have you received along with your trials?
It’s amazing how the silver lining always comes. May take some time, but there is always something good amongst the bad. It can be as simple as a call from a friend when I needed it most. A smile from a stranger. Someone asking how I’m doing and genuinely wanting to know. Or it has been as big as my J starting to talk (at 3 ½ years old).

As far as blessings amidst my trials- I’ve been blessed with an amazing support group like I already mentioned. I also have felt at peace even when everything seemed to be caving around me, which I think is a blessing. I have learned to appreciate ALL the small things. Having a special kiddo in my life has really made me take a step back and be grateful for every milestone.

I feel like our family has been able to be a little more empathetic to people that are different or that are going through tough times. Like that saying, “before you judge a man, walk a mile in his shoes”- I’m working hard on being less judgmental. I don’t think I would have the same perspective on life had I not been through some of the challenges.

Wow! Thanks, are one strong woman.

You MUST check out Mique's blog. Crafts, recipes, and daily inspiration. She's the best!


Jessica said...

Loved learning more about her. You both are inspirations.

Have I ever mentioned I LOVE this feature??

jess said...

what a fun surprise to see my sis all famous and stuff. thanks for being such a great friend to her! love that girl - isn't she amazing? lucky me.

Ilene said...

I like what Mique says about friends. You always think you have enough but then you meet another one who fits a different need and you couldn't imagine life without them.

Very inspirational, thanks for sharing.

Lauren said...

This was so great to read. I really think she is an amazing woman. Her advice was so encouraging and real. I really appreciate her honesty and openness. Especially all of her sage advice for a mom whose child had just been diagnosed with a disability.

As always, fabulous interview Gabi!

Bridget said...

I LOVE these interviews. She sounds like an amazing woman. THanks.

crystal said...

Hey! What's wrong with a box of Twinkies & Laverne and Shirley reruns???

I love Mique & this was a great interview. This is such a fun feature of the Gab blog :)

Mique (as in M-i-c-k-e-y) said...

Thanks again for letting me be a part of was fun! I LOVE this feature too- you have the best topics and questions.
You are the inspiring one btw.;)

Mique (as in M-i-c-k-e-y) said...

P.s. Thank you for choosing the picture where it looks like my daughter is picking her nose!! I guess it's my bad for posting it, huh?
NO MY DAUGHTER ISN'T PICKING HER NOSE (though she does do it on occasion, just being honest).

Mique (as in M-i-c-k-e-y) said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lindsey said...

Thanks Mique and Gab. You know you are my go to girls for all things Autism. I look up to you both and admire you immensley! Thank you! Oh, and I didn't realize all the boys were J's! MINE TOO! Weird. Funny coincidence!

TravelinOma said...

This is a fabulous feature on the gab blog. It's inspiring to meet such interesting people facing life's challenges, and encouraging one another. Thanks Mique!

Annie said...

I love that you do this, too. Love the glimpses into other peoples' lives and thoughts. Thanks to you both!

Christie said...

I LOVE and ADORE Mique. This was a great interview. She is so strong and giving. I admire her a ton!

calibosmom said...

What a great post. Mique seems like an amazing gal! I really do enjoy your interviews.

Lindsey said...

I know, those couples never stay together. I don't even consider that anymore. I just watch for the trainwreck...I would totally give Housewives of NYC a try if I had Bravo...

Laurie said...

I adore Mique and am so glad you choose to feature her. She truly is a strong and creative soul that loves lifting up others. She's so generous with her talents as well as herself. I love learning more about her - so thanks again!

Jenibelle said...

What I like about blogging is that you get a glimpse, just a measured glimpse of other peoples' lives. I find it amazing that there are truly a multitude of women out there being quietly heroic, it's nice when one of them gets kudos.
Great feature to a great blog.

Alaina said...

I'm another mom of a "J" with autism. Go us!!

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