NEWS , THOUGHTS & BLOGs Post New Entry

Ponders from the Past

view:  full / summary

Aphasia Camp 2014

Posted by Frank Austin on October 10, 2014 at 8:05 AM Comments comments (0)

You need Adobe Flash Player to view this content.

When the Going Gets Tough, I call on my Best Friend, My Wife by Frank

Posted by Frank Austin on March 20, 2011 at 7:49 PM Comments comments (0)

As I care supporter, my best friend and wife, Jennifer as showed me what it means to be tough. As a survivor’s wife and mother, I appreciate her and wish that others know what in means for family be resilient. Resilience is a common word and many of us have a sense that being resilient is a good thing. But what does resilience really mean? And how can being resilient benefit families and individuals, especially when faced with challenges in life?

Resilience can be defined as the capacity to rebound from adversity stronger and more resourceful. It’simportant not to equate resilience with competent functioning. Resilience is more than just “getting through” or coping with a challenging situation. Resilience involves positive transformation and growth that enables one to deal effectively with challenges.

One way to think of resilience is to compare it to a rubber band. In order for a rubber band to move forward we need to pull it back first. The same thing happens in life. Something might happen that knocks us back for a while but, if we are resilient, we stretch ourselves and spring forward.

Make meaning of crisis and challenge Resilient families view crisis as a shared challenge, in contrast to a philosophy of the “tough,rugged individual” getting through adversity. Relationships are extremely important in these families. They believe that by joining together with family members and others who are significant to the family, they can strengthen their ability to meet challenges. Resilient families see adversity as manageable and meaningful, something that contributes to growth and change across the lifecycle of the family.

Maintain a positive outlook Resilient families hold an optimistic view of life. By affirming family strengths and potential in the midst of crisis, families encourage their members and reinforce a sense of confidence and a “can do” spirit. Resilient families “master the art of the possible,” taking stock of the crisis situation and focusing the family’s energies on making the best of available options. This also implies acceptance of things that are beyond the family’s control.

Value transcendence and spirituality Resilient families find meaning, purpose and connection to something beyond themselves, their members, and their immediate problems. This may be defined as the family’s moral and spiritual values that are their source of strength. Many families find strength, comfort and guidance in adversity through their connections with cultural and religious traditions. Families may also find spiritual nourishment through such things as a deep connection with nature, music or art. By seeing themselves as part of something bigger than themselves families are able to take a largerview of the crisis that they are experiencing, which can lead to a heightened sense of purpose intheir lives. In the area of family organization and resources, resilient families are:

Flexible Resilient families have a flexible structure that they can modify to fit their needs and challenges, rather than holding a rigid conception of family roles and rules. This allows the family to adapt to changes which may come about through crisis or adversity. While people often refer to “bouncing back” after a crisis, resilience might be seen as “bouncing forward.” Resilient families rebound and reorganize in the face of challenge, rather than returning to the way things were before the crisis. Strong leadership with a focus on security and some sense of predictability is neededwithin the family to help guide vulnerable family members through changes in the family.

Connected Resilient families know they can count on each other during times of crisis. At the same time,family resiliency is strengthened when members respect each others’ individual differences,separateness, and boundaries. Resilient families are able to balance connectedness and separateness among family members in order to respond to changing situations within the family.

Supported by social and economic resources resilient families have a network of people (family, friends, neighbors) and organizations that can serve as their lifelines during challenging times. This network provides practical assistance (information, concrete services), emotional support, and connection to the larger community. Resilient families are able to recognize when they need help and make use of their network to get the help they need. In the area of family communication, resilient families:

Share clear, consistent messages Resilient families “say what they mean and mean what they say.” Communication that is direct, clear, specific, consistent and honest helps all family members understand the crisis that the family is facing and encourages them to share their feelings and opinions with one another. This type of communication also sets the stage for a shared process of decision making about how the family will go forward in the face of crisis.

Openly express their emotions Resilient families are characterized by a climate of mutual trust and encourage their members to share a range of feelings, practice empathy, and comfort one another. Resilient families look for opportunities to enjoy humor and pleasurable interactions that can serve as respite during challenging times. Encouraging family members to laugh with one another or to enjoy a pleasurable activity together can revitalize families who are under stress.

Use collaborative problem solving Resilient families identify problems and the options available to deal with them and then make decisions as a team. Family members engage in creative brainstorming as a way to discover new possibilities for overcoming diversity, with ideas of all members respected and valued. Resilient families focus on achievable goals and concrete steps that can be taken to achieve those goals. Families build on their success as they pursue their goals and learn from things that don’t work.Through this process, families learn skills that can help them become proactive in preparing for future challenges.

My Note to March of Dimes for Camp

Posted by Frank Austin on September 28, 2010 at 2:46 PM Comments comments (2)




Recently I was given an opportunity to grow with a bunch of people to camp. I remember laughing with my wife about going to camp again this summer. At 44 years of age and I was being sent to camp. And you know what it was awesome.

 Unlike as a kid, this was not rustic, musty or damp. This was aphasia camp, and as far as I'm concerned it was better.


We had basically all the facilities of a chalet and activities and to be March of Dimes along with the others put together a great program.

What made it better with the people. The people that ran the, their support and attendants. And of course the residences, myself to made this event a pleasant and memorable events. So consider this a little report like giving in school about what you did in summer. I went to camp and I am not embarrassed by.


Dealing with aphasia, because of a stroke has been very difficult for myself emotionally. Like others, it is tiring and difficult to laugh. Since my stroke of two years ago I have not really laugh or really forgot how to have fun. Being too wrapped up in getting better, or getting too serious about therapy, getting a job, having your identity taken away people forget that laughter is the best medicine.

I made some friends that camp, but for me care was refreshing. I was exhausted when I got home, but it was a good exhaustion. For me to years is too long to start living again.

 The people that I met are real and genuine. And when I say laughter and having fun, it was not forced. Since my stroke yes I've had some chuckles forced a few laughs, but it has been difficult because with the aphasia to say the punch line comes way off. I miss the humor in my life. But now I am back. The March of Dimes and the organizations that helped put it together, I say thank you. I found my smile.

I'm proud to be part of the March of Dimes, Adult Recreation Therapy Centre ( ARTC) , SLP students, attendants coordinators and of course our sponsors. All of you I say kudos, thank you very much, and look forward to next camp or even helping. In my opinion, it was a success.


Frank Austin


Motivation: Winning The Battle In Your Head by Frank

Posted by Frank Austin on July 31, 2010 at 8:27 PM Comments comments (0)

Motivation is a funny, complex thing. The thing that motivates one person is always different from that of another even though they are working for the same thing. And while people can motivate other people, they can only do so to a certain degree. At the end of the day, you still have to work out a way to get yourself moving. But when everything looks bleak and all you want to do is to surrender, from where do you muster the will to go on?

Begin with winning the battle in your head.

The battle always starts in the head. One part of your brain tells you to move, work, and strive for what you are working for. The other part tells you that it is foolish. It is always easier to listen to the latter, because it is more convenient, less taxing, and easier to do. The former forces you to act and work. All things equal, people always choose the less inconvenient, easy way out. But this isn’t always the better choice. In fact, it is never a good choice.

What separates very effective people from those who are not is their ability to always make the right choices most of the time, even if these choices are the hardest to make. They know how the game works and they try to beat it every single time. Exhausting, yes, but it is also gratifying. There is always a sense of satisfaction in defeating your worst enemy – yourself.

But how do you win the battle that goes on inside your head?

Understand your thoughts and how they affect your emotions and your will power. Negative thoughts can easily kill your sense of purpose. It comes in many forms – lack of self-confidence, general negativity, lack of belief in others, procrastination and the list goes on. Each of these has the power to convince you to throw in the towel and accept that you can't carry on. Identifying each of your negative thoughts is the first step to winning yourself back from a defeatist attitude.

It is not simple feat, though. It takes time before one can shut out the voice in the head that says 'give up, give in'. And sometimes, even when you have already succeeded in neutralizing your negative thoughts, it is still easy to give up at the first sign of a speed bump. After all, it gives you time to rest from the unending struggle to achieve whatever it is you are pursuing, even for just a moment. But don’t buy that. That short period of rest can turn to days, weeks, months, years, ultimately paralyzing you from taking action and living a full life. That's the characteristic of discouragement. It offers you immediate gratification without securing anything in return.

Try to gain positive momentum every time, instead of succumbing back into a demoralized attitude. Every time, even if that means you have to start the battle in your head all over again.


Posted by Frank Austin on June 21, 2010 at 7:33 PM Comments comments (1)

The Donkey's Attitude

Sometimes when things get difficult it seems almost impossible

To go on; many would just give up, but not everyone.


One day a farmer's donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried

for hours. As the farmer tried to figure out what to do.


Finally, he decided the animal was old, the well needed to be

covered up.Anyway; it just wasn't worth it to retrieve the donkey.

He invited all his neighbours to come over and help him. They all

grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well.


At first, the donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly.

Then to everyone's amazement he quieted down. Few shovel loads

later, the farmer finally looked down the well. And he was astonished at what

he saw.

With each shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing

something Amazing. He would shake it off and take a step up.

Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the

edge of the well and happily trotted off!


The Moral Lesson:

Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. . . .

The trick to getting out of the well (of this problem-filled world),

Is to shake it off and take a step up.

Each of our troubles is a stepping stone. . .

We can get out of the deepest wells just by not stopping!

Never give up!

Shake it off & take a step up!


Remember the 5 Simple Rules to be Happy:


1) Free your Heart from Hatred---Forgive


2) Free your Mind from Worries---Most worries never happen


3) Live Simply and Appreciate what you have.


4) Give More and Expect Less.


and 5)


A True Friend is loving all the time!!!!