Happy Thanksgiving 2017: Things I’m Thankful For This Year

It’s been a rough month, but after taking a bit of a vacation, I can finally conclude my holiday with an encouraging post wishing all my readers and followers a Happy Thanksgiving!

While many times I constantly cry out for miracles in solitude, I try to thank the Lord for the blessing of each day as I take on life one day at a time. Thanksgiving is a time to take things down a notch, breathe in and out slowly, and meditate on all the things I am grateful for.

Cookies

Cookies are tasty, whether homemade or from Dollarama. I’m addicted to cookies. They’re sweet and give me a sense of everything making sense in the world after one or two bites into one. My favourite cookies are the chocolate ones that our roommate renting our basement makes that are soft and melt in your mouth. On a humorous note, I’m thankful I haven’t gone crazy yet during times I’m watching my sugar in-take or my weight and can’t eat as many cookies as I’ve wanted to in the past.

Buses

Sometimes I get really irate with Winnipeg’s local bus system. The buses are usually late, the satellite tracking app is constantly off, and many many times I can outsmart the automated transit route. Despite those obstacles, I’m at least thankful that I can get from one place to another in the city within an hour. Winnipeg is small enough to travel from place to place and large enough to house great restaurants, shopping areas, and coffee shops along the way.

Places to Walk Through in Winnipeg

When I’m not taking the bus, there’s a lot of things to see in Winnipeg. Great parks like St Vital and Assiniboine Park are filled with beautiful trees, duck ponds, a zoo, and great places to have a picnic and just enjoy nature. There are many places for people to ride their bikes and take a jog to exercise and lose some weight. I even walk around my own neighbourhood outside when it isn’t raining. Because of that, my doctor noticed I lost 10 pounds since the last time I visited him. That’s actually pretty awesome and I’m thankful I’m healthy.

Music

I’m particularly thankful for the invention of house, dance, trance, techno, and chiptune music. During hard times and lonliness in the early 2000s and in Brandon Manitoba when I lived out there, these overlooked genres of early EDM kept my spirits high, made me smile, and gave me energy to keep going through life with a tenacity that can’t be matched by obstacles such as credit card debt, friends that let me down, comments from haters in forums or social media, and situations in life that I just don’t like. My particular favourite artists to listen to are Daft Punk, Deadmau5, Avicii, and a whole slew of chiptune and demoscene artists that everyone reading this has never even heard of.

Musical Performances

I compose 8-bit music on a Gameboy. That may seem strange to some people, but I’ve had at least 5 performances sequencing music live with a couple of these little machines and a DJ mixer. So thank you to places like the Fringe, Canada Games, and my local open mic I visit for letting me share my unorthodox work openly. I hope I can encounter some new fans with those of you who enjoy what I do.

Survival

I’m thankful I actually live in a house with a heater and central air conditioning and not on the street going from hostel to hostel and asking for food. I’m thankful I have food I can eat even though it’s not in an abundance (we only spend $70 on groceries and eating out in a week). My wife is also thankful we now have a decent fully-repaired working shower. Otherwise, I’d smell like yesterday’s chilli.

Community

I’m thankful that I’m able to be a part of something bigger in places around Winnipeg like geek conventions where I can take pictures of people cosplaying, where other chiptune artists can hang out with me at FanQuest, where video game enthusiasts can bond and compete against each other over HALO or Super Smash Bros. I’m also thankful for small groups both at church and GeekdomHouse.com where we can discuss life and our favourite TV shows with theological and philosophical observations and without judgement (of the media we consume as well as eachother). I’m thankful I can be part of an acapella group. Even though my singing is nasty, I’m thankful God’s given me the ability to write music, and share it with them along with my minor role as a beat-boxer! Thank you all for including me! I am truly grateful!

Freedom

Of course I’m thankful for democracy, the right to vote, and an environment where I can respectfully disagree with leaders and still honour them. But after the events of November last year in the USA, I’m even more thankful that as a Canadian, I can express my opinions, blog about autism and Aspergers, and talk about my struggles without fear and in a fashion that my friend calls “no holds bar” or not holding anything back. I’m thankful that there are safe places to be myself and not to be judged. I’m scared to be 100% real, but I’m thankful I have the freedom to improve my communication skills.  Many people died or were beaten to a pulp to earn this freedom or to advocate for it. Being half white/half Filipino and struggling with a disability would have costed me a lot before I was born. I’m fortunate I never had to go through any of the physical pain just to be free.

My Wife

(sorry no image; she doesn’t want her face posted on my blog)

Over four years ago, I married a wonderful beautiful woman. She has constantly been there for me through the thick and thin. She has seen my struggles with Aspergers first-hand and treated me with respect and loyalty ever since we started dating in 2011. She’s honest, hardworking, non-judgemental, passionate, and probably one of the smartest people I know. She has set me completely free from having a “Christian us vs them” mentality towards other people and has helped me to love and accept the unlovable. We’ve had our differences, fights, and emotion and spiritual struggles. Yet we’re still together. I haven’t always loved her the way I should have, but I’m thankful that she still does things to make me smile and work towards another day. She’s the best thing that’s even happened to me and I couldn’t ask for a better companion, helper, and lover of my soul. I love you, darling.

And Oddly Enough, Aspergers Itself

I’ve said it many times. Autism is just the fact that a brain is wired differently. Even with meltdowns and not being about to handle certain senses, my strengths also stem from the way my brain is wired. My programming skills come from easily being able to implement patterns and systems (and that’s not just in math). I can be honest without hesitation I can remember things long term, recite critical portions of conversation back, and notice small details that slide right past my wife and a few of my friends. I may not remember exactly how Bible verses are worded, but I can definitely recall contexts from what God has shown me through revelation. My so-called disablity is not scary nor does it need to be healed. It is a part of who I am. God made me this way, and I’m thankful for how he uses Aspergers to show Himself to others. I may not understand how God does it (maybe sometimes I even don’t want to know). I’m just thankful I can make a difference in the world around me, as quirky and as crazy as I can be sometimes.

Music: An Ideal Match with a Neuro-diverse Brain

Musical therapy is a generally misunderstood treatment method for an individual struggling with autism, yet it shouldn’t be dismissed while talking about alternatives. Strugglers with autism, who receive musical therapy, have the potential to change in personality and learning aptitude. Music associates with the non-verbal piece of our brains, making it an ideal match with a neuro-diverse brain. Look into this method of therapy if you’re searching for some assistance with autism and haven’t had luck with other methods of assistance.

Musical therapy is successful because it can be combined with learning social abilities. Music is an extremely non-debilitating medium for strugglers with autism, and many fun music lessons or exercises can be played to help enhance social and behavioural abilities. By encouraging eye contact while singing or playing the guitar, musical therapy can encourage those struggling with autism to excel in social skills.

The main way that musical therapy can help children for example, and more established autistic strugglers, is by assisting with the advancement of conversation-based aptitudes. Music is an approach to combine the verbal and non-verbal functions of the mind. Individuals struggling with autism or Aspergers may have different types of issues with socializing. Some non-verbal strugglers with autism can mumble, snort, or make other non-word sounds, while others belt out illogical expressions or cries. Still others pick up the ability to assemble expressions and sentences to speak, in spite of the fact that these ordinarily need feeling or clear vocal tones. This is true as I’m known for sometimes having a monotone voice like other verbal autism strugglers. Regardless of how talented an individual is with social skills, he or she can take an interest in musical therapy by applauding rhythms, mumbling along, or doing basic resounding of riffs or melody lines.

One thing many who know me have noticed is that autistic people are usually observed to excel at music (my usual humility just disappeared for a moment). A few, for example, have perfect pitch when singing. Others can play a specific instrument exceptionally well without need for guidance. Regardless of the possibility that he or she demonstrates no virtuoso musical skills by typical benchmarks, you may find that a person who severely struggles with autism has capacities in music that surpass his or her other abilities. A musical advisor can utilize music as an approach to implement this sort of learning with other education, not just as discourse improvement and social behavioural advancement as outlined before. Music can be used in addition to education as an approach to imparting feelings and create memory.

By utilizing these methods in conjunction with each other, musical therapy can work wonders with individuals who are autistic. Prepared experts can make use of music to show children struggling with autism and other audio nerds how to communicate in nonverbal ways, making it simpler for those struggling with autism or Aspergers to learn. Research the musical therapy choice to give yourself or your children with another decision while working with the strengths and quirks found in autism.