goshen

Autism 101: Effective Ways to Help Your Child Communicate and Thrive

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One of the most humbling parts about my job is getting to know people through their profession. A little before New Year’s Eve, I had the pleasure of chatting with Christine Guth of the Asperger Autism Group of Goshen for an assignment on autism. As someone who was not very familiar with the developmental disability prior to this interview, I was really blown away by Guth’s knowledge. The community leader with more than 10 years of experience not only lends support to parents and their children on the autism spectrum, but is a remarkable individual whose very insight derives from being a mother to two children diagnosed on the autism spectrum, in addition to being the wife to her husband also on the spectrum.

She is a testament to good character and as someone who gained quite a bit of knowledge on the subject, it is evident how appreciated she is when helping parents and children prosper through this condition. While I have had my fair share of thoroughly researched articles that broaden the dialogue on awareness, this is definitely one of my favorites. I was very pleased to see how this particular piece turned out as Guth shared tips with Womanista readers this past January to help make life a bit easier at home.

Womanista | Autism 101: Effective Ways to Help Your Child Communicate and Thrive

If you have a child on the autism spectrum, you might find yourself wondering how to effectively improve their communication and life skills. While early intervention is the key in treating autism, a condition that affects one in 68 children in the U.S., it’s hard to prepare yourself for what’s to come if you’re unsure on how best to help them.
Described as a “developmental disability” by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, autism causes substantial social, communication, and behavioral challenges, and is 4.5 times more common in boys than girls. But since the condition varies from person to person, it can be hard to get the “right” advice and relief. Thankfully, there are tried and tested tips to help make life easier thanks to support groups across the country.
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Bar Guide: Elkhart County, Indiana

There’s a lot to love about Indiana, but there’s even more to love about the heartiness and innovation of its northern regions. From small businesses making big waves with delicious restaurants and decadent dessert spots that capture our undivided attention, there’s no denying that with a fall chill in the air, it’s the perfect time to start warming up and hitting our favorite cocktail and bar spots.

Thanks to the beautiful charm of small towns like Goshen, Elkhart and Middlebury, it’s time to skip the metropolitan jungles of this beautiful state and tap into some of our favorite cities in northern Indiana that serve novel and classic drinks for those looking to indulge in a spot rich in history, arts and a vibrant foodie culture that is burgeoning.

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Reflections in the ‘Bend’

During a very serene and introspective moment last week in snowy old South Bend, I had the opportunity to reflect on my life in a quiet, barren city. As previously mentioned on his birthday, the winter season tends to be a hard one for me. Where do all the memories go when a relationship breaks? Why is it easier for some and not others? More importantly, how did he manage to forget in an instant? I wish he could tell me. Incessant thoughts worth six years are cast into words as nothing, yet become immense distractions that keep you wide awake wondering where it all went wrong.

This month has been interesting and in some ways, emotional. I don’t really know what to say except there are aching moments when I miss him still and it gets hard knowing in this great big place, he sleeps soundly without a single toss and turn. While I had been up north that week to meet up with family, I got a chance to walk the lone chilly sidewalks and really catch a glimpse of my place in this great big world—or in this case, state.

While watching It’s A Wonderful Life tonight (also known as, one of my all-time favorite films), I thought back to that moment in South Bend as I walked beautifully dusted sidewalks. If I never loved who I did and the way I did, I don’t think I could be who I am today, where I am today. In every understanding of my own life, I can proudly say now that I am content with myself and who I am because in every ounce of pain felt from these past six years and more so in these last two, I know who I am and my purpose in this world now. We don’t always get the dream house, but we get pretty close. And if I happen to tread a Kathleen Kelly kind of life sans Joe Fox (“I am a lone reed”), that’s alright because it’s better to be alone than in a relationship that makes you feel alone. Relationships have shown me that you don’t need a significant other to lead a significant life. As long as you are content with yourself and are true to that person you see in a window’s reflection, you are never completely alone.

Call it a holiday miracle or what you will, but those wintry streets opened my eyes and made me realize I have never felt more at home than I am when I am in Indiana. I have always loved this state and continue to, even though sometimes and especially in the past two years, memories sneak up and cast a shadow of doubt on my worth. These thoughts force you into a train of thinking falsified by fear and doubt, and make you think you don’t belong anywhere, especially where your heart feels more at peace. But those thoughts are nothing compared to what you truly feel deep down in your gut and the world you build for yourself. As I’ve lived my hardest in these past two years by working off my gut, living my truth and driving forth from passion, I don’t think I’ve ever belonged more in one place than I do today. Whether in Indy or South Bend, Goshen or Muncie, my soul in some odd way just feels a consistent concord no matter where I am in Indiana.

While work has given me immense strength and has been a helpful toll in fulfilling voids felt by loss, I have learned so much more about my heart and its honesty than I ever imagined. Every moment lived through this beating chest has taught me how important every step I take is to my life and the lives of others. I have been through rough patches along this path, but have learned every good thing you do with your whole heart, every ounce of love you put forth, it all makes a difference no matter how hard it is to see at first. While he might be moving on and is happier than can be, I have come to accept that nothing is ever conceived in vain even if things go awry. I have loved with my whole heart and still do, and I will not regret that even as I walk lonely sidewalks in a hushed city.

Tonight I count my blessings for that which I had, that which I have, that which I will receive and that which God has prepared me for. These past few years have proven to me that living an honest life built off love, passion and self-trust is a great way to understand your worth and reiterate that no heart is ever broken in vain. It might have been hard to understand during those months of crying to sleep and trying so hard to fathom why something so internal, so deep within you, a piece of your identity, could be shattered almost instantly as if there was no barrier to begin with. But over the course of time, if that broken heart was sincere and truthful, it grows stronger and allows you to see right through who you are to help you figure out your purpose and meaning.

I miss him. I love him. Some nights will be hard. Some days in northern Indiana will be harder, but I have come to accept that now because God doesn’t give you what you can’t handle.

“All you take with you is that which you’ve given away.”

Roman à Clef: September 2016

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With the heat soaking through the ceramic to her cold fingertips, she held the hot mug of black tea firmly in her hands. In some way, the warmth calmed her nerves as she watched him focus his gaze out the window. Though they had been meeting every month since what he shared with her in April, she was nervous to see him again. Especially after their argument during the peak of summer about his message.

He turned his head and smiled faintly. While she wouldn’t have known the other side of it, his visit that included pounding down her door in July was more for the painful void felt in his bones, than the arduous hunger he had for every part of her in May.

“You’re wearing the scarf,” he said softly.

She looked down at her chest, nervously adjusting the scarf as if to cover her breasts and smiled. “Yeah, it’s one of my favorites — Redneck Riviera,” she said through a scoff.

“Redneck Riviera,” he laughed. “Dangerous, but it was worth it. You look nice.”

She nodded her head as if to hurriedly agree. “Are you alright?”

“Did I ever tell you about that trip?” he asked.

“To the shores last year?” she replied. (more…)

Desserts Guide: Goshen, Indiana

Earlier this April, I made my first trip up to Goshen thanks in part to my dad’s work. Though my initial trip was short, it was incredibly sweet and very memorable. While I’ve had the chance to better explore it this summer, there is so much to see in this beautiful northern city and I absolutely love it! This past month, I had a chance to share some of my favorite restaurants from my visits over the last few months from a kind, warm place aptly called “Maple City” (Canadian connection, eh?) and one that shares my birthday digits—46528—boom, kismet! But today, I want to share some of my favorite dessert spots that I’ve been frequenting since the spring. Check them out at The Hudsucker!

The Hudsucker | Desserts Guide: Goshen, Indiana

Goshen, Indiana may be a vibrant and artsy city with a bustling foodie scene of delightful restaurants, but these Hoosiers are real dessert lovers at heart. Sure, three square meals packed with innovation in gorgeous entertainment hubs are an incredible asset in charming tourists and inhabitants, but dessert and an affinity to the sweet life is where it’s at in this Midwestern community nicknamed “The Maple City.”
With autumn fast approaching and the leaves changing, there’s no better way to celebrate these last dog days of summer than by indulging in our favorite desserts in this bright and beautiful city. Between brownies and homemade ice cream, to chocolate chip cookies and gorgeous sugar cream pies, there’s no denying that we absolutely love dessert because truthfully, it’s the best part of any meal.
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Le déni

location: elkhart, indiana

“Time takes all and gives all.”
Giordano Bruno

Denying the truth doesn’t change the facts about life and the circumstances we find ourselves in. You can learn a lot from your past and the choices you made when you aren’t so busy denying each and every one of them. But in life we have a horrible thing called “fear” and fear often permeates through every choice we make because of our incessant need to not be alone, to not live out a history, or live an ideal that promises happiness if we compromise ourselves. Yet, that is not how life works. Cowards always avoid difficulty and choose denial to steer through situations that are less than what they perceived for themselves. Such spineless attitudes that stem from a rose-colored perception is a sign of disbelief and broken faith. God help those who cannot help themselves.

Image Credit: Martinsky on Tumblr

Restaurant Guide: Goshen, Indiana

There’s a beautiful charm about small towns that captures the attention of everyone. With Indiana celebrating their bicentennial this year, it’s time to skip the urban jungles of this beautiful state and tap into what is one of the most “sweetest” cities in northern Indiana. Nicknamed “The Maple City” and known for its Amish country, Goshen, Indiana is rich in history, while booming with a vibrant arts and culture scene.

As one of my favorite cities and a spot I’ve been frequenting often, this central stop along the beautiful Heritage Trail is a magnet for creative minds who want a bit of wholesome Americana with a twist. From specialty boutiques to cozy cafés, Goshen is alive with a delicious restaurant scene that is not only one of a kind, but perfect for a night out on the town.

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Goshen Getaways

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With summer school over, I’ve had more time to explore a lot of the beauty around this great state. One place I’ve been finding myself visiting a lot more thanks to the places my father’s work sends him and a good friend who lives in the Terrace Park area recommends is Goshen’s Fidler Pond.

It’s seriously gorgeous and kind of reminds me of the pond by my parents’ house back home, except bigger and much cleaner. When I visit this quaint little city, I make it my goal to always park my car at this beautiful park that most people would have to drive about 20 miles out to get, and head out on a long, hearty run around its one-and-a-half-mile trail. This 80-acre pond has become my little oasis away from the hustle and bustle of a busy, metropolitan life. Plus, it’s an incredibly quiet area and I love that. While everyone I know is taking a weekend off and heading to Lake Wawasee and indulging in the sandbars, I’ve found in recent months this little gem introduced to me by a good friend is a spot that will forever be my own.

Originally a gravel pit, Fidler Pond with its gorgeous crystal clear waters and sweet swing benches opened just three years ago and has attracted the masses of the north for its alluring features like biking, canoeing and kayaking. But the trail is something I am most enamored by. With its scenic atmosphere and attractive crushed-stone surface that stretches around an amazingly deep pond, there’s nothing more exhilarating and fun than that speedy sprint, hearing the steady thump of my footsteps echoing amid the quiet routine of nature. Running has been my thing this summer, so much so that a friend has asked if I wanted to take part in a city marathon but we will see. I’ve been keeping fit, but not enough for a marathon–at least not just yet.

That said, running has really helped me feel better in terms of heartache, especially in these last few months and this location has been my favorite run path so far. Of course, I have plenty of run paths by my place down south that have been so helpful in sweating off the grief. But when up here and might I add more often now, I feel like I’ve not only had a chance to relax and enjoy nature in this immaculate mileau, but I have been able to process the pain more efficiently.

Might sound odd, but running in a similar way to writing, has helped me to really understand myself better as I get a chance to navigate through pain and hurt, and of course the heartache. To add to it, running at Fidler Pond in all its tranquility gives me a good break away from the sadness and void felt. It’s as if the sweat is another way for my body to cry as silly as that might sound. Running at this remarkable little pond has given me purpose and helped to restore an introspective equilibrium that provides a charge in my own life, while pitting my strengths against my hurt.

In addition to running, I also love eating! I guess you can call it a fine balance. In keeping with my love for this city and these Goshen getaways (see more here!) I have been charmed by in recent weeks, tune in on Monday at The Hudsucker for my restaurant guide to some of my favorite eateries in this sweet city’s downtown.