Autism Tales: Reflecting on Holland

Originally posted on 4utu :

Happy 16 GC

We recently celebrated Gustavo’s 16th birthday.  He’s more than just a little taller than me—  it still seems impossible but you can’t deny the pictures.


When I first found out Gustavo had autism I was given the phone number to a program called Parent to Parent.  I never called.  Thankfully they were persistent and knew something I did not.  I needed to talk.  I had questions that the doctor could not answer.  Some questions no one could answer.  I wondered if I had done something wrong while pregnant.  I spent hours thinking about what I might have eaten or drank that could have caused autism.  There is a story on this blog that tells more about those early days– Autism Tales: He Gets It From Me.

Gustavo & me, a proud momma! This was several years ago.

Parent to Parent is a program that connects parents of children with special…

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Overnight success takes a long time!

You get a lot of questions when you work in Human Resources.  One of the most common has been about how to get better. People everywhere want to know how they can be better in their job, department, team and company.  I haven’t met anyone that doesn’t want that same success in their personal life, that’s really where it starts and matters most.

I’ll share a secret that’s not so secret–  all overnight successes start with 1,000 repetitions.  Doesn’t overnight success mean that it happens fast, overnight kind of fast?  What about natural talent and natural born leaders?  Yes, they are out there but most people who are good at anything do it many times– even if they were born with super talent.

If necessity is the mother of invention, repetition is the mother of learning.  Successful people will tell you they have a simple recipe for success:

  • They repeat but they don’t stop there.
  • They have a plan.
  • They don’t just repeat, they take the basic motions or mental operations they learned and practice them in new situations.

Great athletes, mathematicians that seem like they might be robots because they are so quick and even larger than life people like Michael Jordan and Steve Jobs use the same recipe.  They focus on what they want to accomplish and they work to excel at it regardless of the challenges.

Everyone wants to know the secret of success, and there is one.  It’s called:  Continuously learning to do what you don’t know how to do.  This isn’t a new idea and it’s far from being a secret.  Why does success continue to elude so many of us? If people that weren’t born with superhuman talent really have a chance at becoming the best of the best, why doesn’t it happen?  Ask anyone to list the failures of someone like Walt Disney, Ben Franklin or Steve Jobs and chances are they will have a hard time with the question.  Rejection, the fear of failure and the sting of actual failure are too much for some people.  Successful people find ways to move beyond these inevitable setbacks. Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor because he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas.”  Oprah Winfrey was fired from her first job as a newspaper anchor.  Today Oprah has a media empire worth more than $2 billion.  There are hundreds of true stories about successful people who failed and failed in a big way.

Don’t let fear stop you.  Your potential for success is largely up to you.  When the fear of making a mistake or failure have stopped you in your tracks, accept the fact that there will be failures.  You will make a mistake and the chances are you will make some big mistakes.  Accept that and move on.  There is a freedom waiting for you once you acknowledge what your family and friends could have told you…you’re not perfect and that’s ok.  You’re not perfect, you will make mistakes, people will tell you your idea will never work and others will tell you you are not good enough.  The great thing about letting go of the fear is that you won’t be standing around listening to all that negativity.  You will be busy learning, practicing and refining your skill until you are the best.

As a manager, I don’t want to hire the person with the highest IQ.  I want to hire, teach, develop, learn from and promote learners and repeaters!  As a parent, this is the secret I am passing on to my children.  As an individual, I freed myself from olDress-1d fears and no longer view a setback as a failure.  It’s a necessary step on the road I have chosen to take.amaya

It’s never too late.  Some of us are late bloomers in life.  Vera Wang became a billionaire as a famous designer but she didn’t start designing wedding dresses until she was 40 years old.  Maya Angelou was 41 when she published her memoir, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings.  She made history when it became the first non fiction best selling book by an African American woman.

Now you know the secret.  Pass it on.  Go forth and prosper and may the force be with you!

Telling Work by Estela Caballero

He was great

Yes he was

He earned it day by day

She was epic

So they say

Epic, the life

Lived over time

Too many believe

Epic and Great

Is born out of a day

The minutes and seconds

Time is telling

And time, it never lies

The epic

Know truth

The great

Know time

Both confirmed

In the by and by

Telling work

It stomps and shouts

It marches

Along with time

Telling work

Your works

Will tell

In you, great and epic reside

You complete me & circle of life stuff

You know how they say not to go grocery shopping when you’re hungry…well this is what happens when you are tired and stop at a gas station. I never wanted a lion hat but somehow when I saw it I couldn’t imagine living this long without it! Too little self control and well positioned merchandise near the cash register do me in every time….. 20141214_211729

Beauty & Me by Estela Caballero

How is it possible for two people to look at the same thing at the same time and when asked to describe what they are seeing, you might think they must be on opposite sides of the world?  It happens–  judges see it all the time with cases relying on multiple eye witnesses to the same crime.

It happened to me.  My sister and I have many shared memories.  We are only a year and a few weeks apart and growing up we were always together.  She was born with a small birthmark on her neck.  It was there since she was born so I didn’t think of it as different.  As we got older it took on a puffiness and became increasingly red.  It looked like a little strawberry.  One day at my great grandmother’s house, we were running around and around the little place.  We were nowhere near school age and it’s one of the few clear memories from a time few people can even recall anything.  My dear sister swears I pushed her and she fell forward on her stomach, breaking her fall with her little hands.  Somehow the little strawberry got pressed against something too hard and burst.  The little patch of skin healed and lost it’s color.  You can hardly notice it was anything other than perfectly beautiful skin.  My sister is perfectly beautiful– she was then and age has only refined her beauty.  I remember crying at the blood and thinking she was hurt.  I remember running but not the push–  the push she would tell anyone about who would listen for years and years.  She is beautiful but perhaps this experience exposed her flaw—  she was a liar.  I needed her to have a flaw.  I was toasty brown and freckled.  I had just started getting freckles at the time of the great strawberry popping.  I would rub my little hands over those dirty spots to try to make them go away.  My teeth were coming in with a space in between the front two.  I never really noticed it or the spots until people would compare me and the beauty.  I liked her strawberry.  It was normal to me but the same freckle spotters would call out the “weird thing on her neck”.

People would ask my mom if there had been and eclipse when she was pregnant with the beauty.  The gossipy neighbor would tell us the same story about how her mom looked at the moon during an eclipse and her brother was born with a nasty birthmark like the strawberry beauty had.  I sat up and thought maybe beauty had a curse like the fairytales.  Maybe she would get spots on her face too.  Maybe my mom had looked at the moon during an eclipse when she was pregnant with me too.  To this day she swears I pushed her.  To this day I swear I didn’t.  I liked her having the strawberry curse.  The neighbor lady came over a few days later.  She asked me if I was still sad.  I told her I was.  She said don’t worry, even if there is an eclipse you and your sister are safe.  Kids only get it if they are still in their moms stomach and their mom looks at the moon.  I had asked her if she thought the strawberry might grow back on beauty every time I saw her after the fall.  I was sad for many days that beauty was weird free.

animal tree


Originally posted on 4utu :


We’re getting close.  It’s not a nice round number and there aren’t any greeting cards to speak of celebrating this special day.  I’m good with that.  On that day I want to tell you how I feel in my own words– the words of someone who has never met us won’t do.

We will have been a part of each other’s lives longer than we have been without. That’s something worth celebrating.  Almost.  Almost there.  It’s almost today.  Te quiero mucho amor.


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