Childhood Sweethearts With Down Syndrome To Finally Tie The Knot 30 Years After They Met

#truelove #allowing #dating

GPS for the Soul – The Huffington Post
Childhood Sweethearts With Down Syndrome To Finally Tie The Knot 30 Years After They Met
Austin Wayne Underwood and Jessica Smith, from Fort Worth, Texas, are both in their mid-30s and both have Down syndrome — in fact, that’s what brought them together in the first place.

Underwood’s mom, Jan, has spent much of her life advocating for fair treatment to children with Down syndrome. She became a resource for other moms who have kids with Down syndrome to turn to for advice, Fort Worth Texas Magazine reported.

When Underwood and Smith were 3 years old, Smith’s mom reached out to Jan and they’ve been close friends ever since. According to the outlet, the families have spent every Christmas together for the past 30 years, but in 2012, Underwood decided to break the tradition.

Fortunately, he had a legitimate excuse.

Underwood took Smith, who he has loved since childhood, for a drive in a limo to look at the Christmas lights. When he stepped out of the car, he got down on one knee and proposed.

Read the entire story at Fort Worth Texas Magazine.

The childhood sweethearts, who’ve decided they wanted a Western-themed wedding, are set to marry this summer.

“For me, it is about being a part of Jessica’s life and always being together,” Underwood told Fort Worth Texas Magazine about their upcoming nuptials.

The Incredible Power of a Compliment
Receiving a sincere compliment can have a huge impact on your outlook. The message may surprise you, touch your heart, or catapult you forward into a new career path. The most powerful compliment communicates the message, “I value you.” Here are my tips on delivering an authentic compliment:

Be specific. I was recently walking out of the grocery store and complimented a well-dressed elderly woman on her colorful blouse. She stopped in her tracks and excitedly said, “Oh, thank you! I recently lost my husband and I was just praying for a sign on whether I should stay in this neighborhood, or move to another city to be closer to my daughter. Your smile caught my attention and when you mentioned my favorite orange blouse, I got my answer.” While I’m not sure of her final decision to stay or leave, our friendly exchange was exactly what she needed at that particular moment in time. Mentioning her orange blouse was the key. Had I not been specific, the experience, and outcome, may have been different.

A single compliment may be all it takes. One simple act can make a difference. I recently overheard a story about a person who was interested in helping out a man in need. Willing to offer assistance financially, he asked the man what he truly needed. The disadvantaged man replied, “I’d really like a handshake.” Sometimes the greatest compliment you can give another human being is to acknowledge them and let them know they are significant.

Wear your compliment like a badge of honor. When nothing seems to be going right, dig deep into your emotional pocket and pull out a past compliment that has helped define who you are today. One that made a significant difference in my life was a compliment I received when I was much younger, working at a “beeper store.” I was an underpaid, overworked counter girl, in charge of “trouble shooting technology,” aka replacing old batteries from business people’s beepers. I was unhappy at my new job, but afraid to make a change. One day my boss aggressively walked up to the counter, and in front of three businessmen barked, “You are not what this pager company needs.” One of the men standing at the counter firmly spoke up, “He’s right, Diane… you are meant for much more than this.” I was struck by his kindness and his positive support in the face of my public humiliation. Instantly, I felt empowered. I hugged a perfect stranger, got my purse, walked out and never looked back. A strong compliment can last a lifetime.

Be impeccable with your words and generous with your praise. There is an obvious difference between a genuine remark and a thoughtless statement meant to patronize or falsely elevate. While you may want to say something nice to another person, find something that is genuine to comment on. When your colleague does a great job on an important project, compliment them on their success. If your competitor got the job over you, send a note of congratulations. Drop your guard, put down your competitive armor, and give yourself permission to revel in someone else’s success. Make your words strong and reliable.

A compliment is good manners. Your mother taught you if you don’t have something nice to say, say nothing at all. But, why not find something positive in every situation and give kudos to those that made the experience possible? Looking at the glass half empty isn’t as rewarding as looking at the glass half full.

Don’t miss an opportunity. While working on my master’s degree, I interned at an Alzheimer’s Day Center. I was in charge of attending to a particular client, his name was LC, and most of the time he was not lucid. But, occasionally, he was alert and able to communicate fascinating stories with amazing details from his youth. I was particularly struck by LC’s gentle eyes and kind smile. Even though I wasn’t sure he would understand, I often thought of thanking him for sharing his life with me. Unfortunately, I always second-guessed myself and felt awkward or embarrassed. One day I decided to say, “LC, you have made an impact on my life by sharing your stories with me.” To which he promptly and clearly replied, “Thank you. I am doing the best I can.” His eyes filled with tears as he grabbed my hand, held on tight, and smiled the most beautiful smile I have ever seen. He understood. That experience changed my world. Whose world could you change if you seized the occasion?

A compliment wields great possibility. It shows respect, admiration, approval, gratitude, trust, appreciation, and hope. One of the most generous things you can do in your life is to give someone else a true and meaningful compliment. I encourage you to start with the next person you encounter.

For more of Diane’s tips on the art of the compliment, you may also like: Mannerly Tips on How to Receive a Compliment. Visit Diane’s blog, connect with her here on the Huffington Post, follow her on Pinterest and “like” The Protocol School of Texas on Facebook.

Masters of Habit: Rituals, Lessons and Quotes From Marcus Aurelius
Masters of Habit is a series of mini-biographies on the daily rituals and routines of great athletes, artists, and leaders.

Marcus Aurelius was Roman Emperor from 161 to 180. Known as the last of the “Five Good Emperors,” Aurelius was not born into power, but rather was adopted (his biological father died when he was three years old). Historians refer to him as a kind ruler who was incredibly loyal to his duty to serve the Roman Empire. [1]

As a boy, Aurelius was taught by various private tutors and he became particularly interested in philosophy. It is even said that he went so far as to take on the dress and behavior of a philosopher by sleeping on the floor at night. (Which, apparently, made his mother rather unhappy.)

We’ll never know for certain, but the story of his sleeping on the floor gives the impression that Aurelius had a natural curiosity and a desire to be a self-experimenter. If you told him, “Real philosophers sleep on the floor,” he wanted to try it out for himself.

This same thought process is evident in many of his later writings. Aurelius believed that philosophy wasn’t merely something to think about, but that it should also be practiced.

Today, Aurelius is perhaps best known for his collection of essays called “Meditations.” Although we don’t know many details about Marcus’ day-to-day life, “Meditations” offers a glimpse into his mind, his habits, and his approach to life. The very act of writing “Meditations,” which took him at least 10 years, is evidence to his commitment to habit, consistency, and improvement.

Many historians believe that Aurelius practiced writing as a daily habit, regardless of the circumstances. Some of his most famous passages were written from outposts and battlefields as he sought to expand the Roman Empire. It was through these essays that he shared his thoughts on how to balance the conflict of real life with the values of philosophy.

Below, you’ll find a range of quotes from Marcus Aurelius on philosophy, habits, and life.

Quotes from Marcus Aurelius

On fulfilling your duty…

“Everything, a horse, a vine, is created for some duty. For what task, then, were you yourself created? A man’s true delight is to do the things he was made for.”

On dealing with criticism…

“You have power over your mind — not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”

“Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.”

“You don’t have to turn this into something. It doesn’t have to upset you. Things can’t shape our decisions by themselves.”

“I have often wondered how it is that every man loves himself more than all the rest of men, but yet sets less value on his own opinion of himself than on the opinion of others.”

On taking action…

“It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.”

“Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one.”

On asking for help…

“Don’t be ashamed to need help. Like a soldier storming a wall, you have a mission to accomplish. And if you’ve been wounded and you need a comrade to pull you up? So what?”

On living a good life…

“Your mind will be like its habitual thoughts; for the soul becomes dyed with the color of its thoughts. Soak it then in such trains of thoughts as, for example: Where life is possible at all, a right life is possible.”

“When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive, to think, to enjoy, to love…”

“Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.”

Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

For more ideas, quotes, and musings from Marcus Aurelius, I highly recommend reading his book, “Meditations.” As far as we know, it was written mostly for his own self-improvement, so it doesn’t follow a rigid structure of any type. That said, the book is widely regarded as one of the greatest texts on Stoic philosophy and I think any reader would find something useful to take away from it.

Link: Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

Notes:

I’m not a historian, but I have tried my best to deliver the facts correctly. (Which can be difficult when you’re talking about someone who lived thousands of years ago.) Much of the information in this article came from Aurelius’ own book, “Meditations.” Other sources include Stanford University’s Encyclopedia of Philosophy and the European Graduate School.

James Clear writes at JamesClear.com, where he shares strategies that make it easier to live a healthy life – both mentally and physically. For fresh ideas on how to boost your productivity, improve your health, and master your habits, join his free newsletter.

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