Sunday, February 4, 2024

Camp Cosmos March 2024


Join our friends at ConnectMed for their upcoming Camp Cosmos on Saturday, March 16th. The virtual portion of the day is open to any child with a facial difference with access to Zoom and the internet. Times are 9:30-11:00AM PST / 11:30AM - 1:00PM CT / 12:30-2:00PM ET

For residents of the San Diego area, there will be an in-person component at 15529 Sycamore Canyon Rd, Poway, CA 92064 from 12:30PM - 3:00PM PST

Register here

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Reframing Self-Care Activities


I'm a huge fan of this newsletter that I receive each day in my work inbox called The Good Trade's The Daily Good newsletter. They have mouthwatering recipes, incredible playlist and podcast suggestions, and sustainable goods suggestions that are out of my budget yet out of this world. A girl can dream.  Everything feels so elevated and modern, sensible, and sublime when you read the clean black text on the eggshell background, adorned with images of sliced lemons or an uncluttered bedroom. 

Since the beginning of the year, they began creating these list of 99 things. 99 words of self affirmation, 99 this and 99 that. In today's newsletter they shared a list of 99 Inexpensive self-care ideas for the new year. I loved the ideas, and many of them are free, like the first suggestion, wash your bedding, towels, robes, and curtains. Once you've re-fitted them in their proper places, breathe deeply. Remind yourself that stagnancy and sadness aren't permanent. We all just need a tumble-dry sometimes." If the task feels overwhelming, break it up across multiple days. Wash and dry the bedding one day, the towels, the next then the robe and the curtains on the third. 

The suggestions are not novel, but how they are so thoughtfully framed feels fresh. In reorganizing your closet, do it with the intention of "engaging your creativity in order to enjoy your daily routines more thoroughly." Wow! Focus your attention on the moment, mindfully. 

Self care is not all bubble baths and chocolate. It is doing the things we do not want to do, but we know are good for ourselves. For me that bedding suggestion rang so true, as did reorganizing my closet, or moving the furniture around a bit. First thing in the morning, nor the middle of the day, nor evening do I want to do these things. I do not want to do them in a hat, nor with my cat*. However when reframed as a positive for my world and my experience in it...well you've got me.

Try these on and let me know how they feel to you. Also subscribe to the Good Trade's The Daily Good. You will not be disappointed. 

*I do not have a cat. It just rhymed nicely.  

Monday, November 27, 2023

#GivingTuesday: Fund Intangible Moments That Last A Lifetime


Today is #GivingTuesday. 

BlackFriday, SmallBusinessSaturday, and CyberMonday are all about getting gifts for others or for ourselves. Over those three days of raucous retailing, we focus so much on having the things -- the tangibles. #GivingTuesday is all about, what my mother calls, the intangibles. Giving for the sake of giving, enriching someone else's life because you can. Enjoying small moments of joy with one another.

For instance, I watched my mother experience an intangible moment with her grandchildren on Thanksgiving. The three of them were playing a game, my creative Mom created, which involved putting everyday objects in old breadcrumb cans, and trying to identify the objects in the can without opening them. There was no cost to this adventure. Just whatever was laying around the house, and a bunch of giggles and guesses. Yes, we were in a warm house, after a big meal, and all of that costs money, but the unbridled joy that all three of them had in those moments together are something that will be remembered for the rest of their lives. 

At CCA, we create similar opportunities for individuals and families through our Annual Retreat and Educational Symposium. The Retreat, much like our thanksgiving feast, costs money, but the opportunities for moments, for memories that last a lifetime, are immeasurable. Running around the ballroom with a bunch of new friends that you will grow old with. Tittering in the corner of teen night with new girlfriends about the cute boy across the dance floor. Sharing a meal and an adventure out in the new city CCA descends on every year. These experiences are not quantifiable. Neither are the bonds created that endure across states, countries, and continents. You are never alone again. Never again! 

Friends and family frequently ask what I do for CCA, what is it, and why am I so passionate. I have my usual elevator pitch and personal story, but I thought it would far more meaningful to hear from others in the community this time around. Read and really look for those intangibles. 

"People should donate to CCA because people from all walks of life come together to find support and camaraderie in having a facial difference."

"Having a facial difference, you live every day in a world where you don't know how people will react to you. Nor how you feel about your appearance. Being a part of CCA, you discover the good to having a facial difference. If you never had the opportunity to experience life with a facial difference, then you wouldn't have had the chance to meet all these amazing people that are a part of CCA."

"CCA is such a blessing for me. Life hasn't always treated me well, but CCA is just so wonderful."

People should donate to CCA because it's a safe haven for so many families affected by facial differences. It provides us with a lifelong, ever-growing family that loves and supports one another through life's successes and challenges, especially those unique to living with a facial difference. Also, it's so important to donate to CCA so the organization can continue to do the important work of educating the world about differences and the importance of acceptance, kindness, and inclusion. 

Your donor dollars will last longer than any Apple Watch, or gaming system. Your donations represent hope, promise for a brighter tomorrow, and eradication of the dark clouds overhead. Bright skies and welcoming arms await. Children and individuals will be part of a community that will endure for decades to come. A donation today is an invest in inclusion, friendship, unconditional love, laughter, and a community that is simply second to none. Those are some of the greatest intangibles a human may be so lucky to experience. 

Thursday, September 28, 2023

Reflection: CCA Annual Retreat and Educational Symposium in Minneapolis

Editor's Note: Christine Clinton was kind enough to write a reflection on our 2023 Annual Retreat and Educational Symposium. This retreat is so very important to all our families, and adults like Christine, who wait all year for the last weekend in June when the CCA community comes together to relax and spend time with one another. Next year, we will be in Baltimore, MD, from June 28 - 30th, 2024. Keep an eye on our social media channels and website for more details.

By Christine Clinton

This year, the Children’s Craniofacial Association held their 33rd Annual Family Retreat and Educational Symposium in Minneapolis, MN from June 22nd - June 25th, 2023. I had never been to Minneapolis prior to the retreat, so I was very eager, and very excited, to be able to attend another retreat with CCA.

This was my eleventh retreat with CCA, so I was especially happy to be able to attend. Places of interest that I made sure to visit while I was there was the Minneapolis Queen River Boat Cruise, which my friend Bernice and I did on Friday afternoon, and the Basilica of St. Mary Church. I went to the Basilica on Sunday afternoon. We also went to the famed Mall of America too!

Some of the highlights of the retreat that I especially enjoyed was the educational symposiums. Bernice and I attended two of the symposiums, before I even got my retreat bag to see what special goodies CCA had for us. After a day of symposium sessions.Thursday night was the retreat kickoff and entertainment. We had fun watching the magician and enjoying some snacks.

On Friday, we had a welcome breakfast, and then Bernice and I went on the river cruise. After we got back to the hotel from the river cruise, we were able to enjoy the carnival celebration; that was fun, I was able to catch up with my friends from CCA, and meet new families who were there as well. Friday night was family night, with the hometown raffle baskets. It was so fun to see what everyone brought for their raffle baskets. The bag that Bernice and I put together, another friend had won, so that was awesome to see.

On Saturday we had breakfast again, and then there was a talent show, such great talent. After the talent show, we were able to relax a bit, before the dinner/dance. To me, the dinner/dance is a very fun night, but it is also a little sad, because it is the last night we are all together before everyone goes their own way to go home. I enjoyed great food, spending time with lots of my friends, awesome music, taking lots of pictures, and dancing the night away.

Sunday morning, we had our farewell breakfast, took more pictures, and said our goodbyes until next year. I always thoroughly enjoy every retreat with CCA, but for some reason, the retreat in Minneapolis was much more special for me. For me, the weekend of the retreats is the one weekend that I look forward to all year long, and the one weekend that I thoroughly and truly enjoy. I feel normal when I am on these retreats, and I feel like I can be myself. It is a true blessing to be able to be with others who understand the struggles of life.

Thank you to the Children’s Craniofacial Association for all that you do for families and individuals with craniofacial differences