Grammy Nominated Artist, Storyteller & Motivational Entertainer

Big News

Lately, I have been feeling quite…. crunchy. You know, crabby mixed with self-loathing and a touch of anger. So when this arrived today, it was just the thing I needed to remind me to stop whining and get moving.
I told a friend the other day that I’ve been trying to figure out which I should be doing,

“waiting patiently on God or making shit happen”.

When I got this in the mail today, I was reminded that it is BOTH at the SAME TIME. This is what God and the universe asks us to do. To live our lives filled with hopeful breath and expectation and faith that God is working His magic and arranging all the chess pieces, and at the same time we must stay busy sending out emails, creating things, dreaming and planning for the future.
The serendipity and God’s timing that the creation of this foundation has come to fruition – almost one year to the date of my experience in the Apple store – is not lost on me! The fact that I will now get to financially help other special needs families with things that insurance will not cover (iPads, jogging strollers, counseling or even a much needed dinner out) is so exciting to me.
I’ll be posting more about this in the weeks and months to come, but I couldn’t wait one more minute to share the good news!

Thank you James for showing me how to help others!

#TheJamesRinkFoundation #grateful #wrapyourheartaroundit
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I know I’ve talked a lot in this blog about how hard this year has been, and there have been many times that I felt helpless and that things were out of my control.

But watching your child be sick has got to be one of the hardest things ever!

Last night at a family gathering for my nephew Mark’s birthday, James was not wanting to participate. I pushed him and pushed him to be a part of the party, to sit at the table and sing Happy Birthday with his cousins Grady and Emily, and show my family how cute he can be003-2!!  He responded by crying and gagging to the point of throwing up. Couldn’t have been more opposite of cute. This alone is enough to make me feel horrible. But to realize the next day, that he truly was starting to be sick, makes me feel even worse. But I had no way of knowing that this “bug” had entered his system. I thought he was just being a crabby ten-year-old
boy and I wanted him to be “present” for the celebration. I demanded he be present.

I wanted him to perform.

It’s such a fine line 003-3between challenging him out of his comfort zone or not. But as I just typed that sentence I realize that when the motivation is about “me” I’ve gone too far. When will I finally get that almost everything is not about me?

Sometime around 2:30am, James woke and seemed happy. He sang songs and cuddled. But around 7am, things took a drastic turn. The fever arrived and by the way he is swallowing, I’m guessing a horrible sore throat. I don’t know. But he and Elmo were out for the count

He fell back to sleep this morning and I laid next to him and apologized. I apologized for pushing him yesterday. And I said that


I know that he came into this world in this form and body to teach me and others about how to let go of all that doesn’t matter in life.

I told him that I know that his presence on this planet is bigger than participating in a birthday dinner. And that it just took m003-4e a day to remember that if singing Happy Birthday to Uncle Mark makes him feel uncomfortable, then maybe that’s okay. Because the truth is that James is thankful for Uncle Mark every single minute of every single day and doesn’t need a cake to remind him to be.

I seem to need a cake or donut to remind me of everything!

We also had a long talk about medicine and how much it would help him, if he would only take it. Sigh So here’s a Christmas puzzle for you…. James eats five foods when he’s with me; yogurt, cheese sticks, pancakes, noodles and Auntie Kiki’s toast. Occasionally a fruit cup or applesauce. And of course, lots of milk.

If someone can tell me how to hide medicine in any of these that James will not discover, it will truly be a Christmas miracle.

(I’m confident also that is someone would manufacture odorless tasteless med’s they would make a fortune. At least off us!)

Once again, it comes down to acceptance of what is, of WHO James is. And today he is sick. So, we will cuddle and sleep and pray and read Cat In The Hat books 003-5and try to stay away from the dozen’s and dozen’s of cookies on Auntie Kiki’s table. (Okay, I may have already failed at that goal and it’s only 10:15am.)

I was listening to a great book last week called “The Obstacle IS the way” and heard this;

“We wrongly assume that moving forward is the only way to progress, the only way we can win. Sometimes, staying put, going sideways, or moving backward is actually the best way.”

So today I embrace my failures. I’ll embrace going sideways and I’ll be thankful for James’ illness, only because it may be the one thing and the only way that helps me approach this Christmas season reminded of what is truly important.

Happy Birthday Uncle Mark. We love you every day.003-6

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Say Thank You

James got a haircut yesterday. (Insert loud sigh!)

I always joke about selling tickets to this truly entertaining event. Jim is on his knees, holding James down in the chair. I am standing holding James’ head, so that Cassie can feverously cut while James squirms and squirms, trying desperately to get free. The good news is, Cassie is the fastest hair stylist on the planet. Seven minutes later, James is free. The bad news is, it only takes about six minutes for Jim’s knees to be bruised and my heart.

I hate this part of parenting a child with special needs.

When I got home, I turn on the news to see an update on the Chattanooga bus crash. I can still hardly watch. My heart breaks for those parents who lost their children and the other kids who survived, but are now emotionally wounded. And then the next story was about some Tweet our President-elect posted, and I screamed at the TV and God. “I just don’t get so many things! Why do kids have to die?

And can’t someone pleeeeeease do something with his hair? Cassie?”

The holidays can be tough. A friend texted that she was sad, missing a loved one, and another friend said she was having a kitchen sink plumbing problem on the biggest cooking day of the year!  And another was dreading going home because she would be forced to be in the same room with an estranged brother.

My “go to” response to them (and anyone struggling) has always been, “Well, look at it this way, no one is dead or injured, and if this Thanksgiving sucks – wait a year – I promise you’ll get another shot at it in 364 days.” But children did die and I have friends losing the battle with Cancer, and so many families with gather trying to be kind when all they want to do is poke someone’s eye-out with a fork over something that happened twenty-years ago! Thanksgiving does come every year, but what if it’s not much better than last year?”  And the list goes on and on and on.  So, I got to thinking this morning,

“what do you do (besides self-medicating with sugar or alcohol or binge watching Netflicks) when your ‘go to’ doesn’t get you there anymore?”

You breathe in and out and you find the smallest tiniest silliest thing to be grateful for. Are you warm? Do you have food to eat? Do you have shoes on your feet? Start there! Start with the extremely obvious and say thank you, even if you don’t feel it. Turn your heart and mind away from the anger and sadness and choose gratitude, instead of screaming at the TV.

So today I say quietly with just enough breath,

“Thank you, universe, for my shoes! Thank you, Cassie, for James’ adorable haircut. Thank you, God, that tomorrow I will get to eat salted-caramel pumpkin pie! Amen.”


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