Give Me My Thousand WORDS!

Am I the only one who misses
(Whatever happened to captions?)

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

Is the 21st Century Taking Us Backwards?

As I browse the web these days, I am appalled by the number of apologies for “long” comments that run to – horrors – an “overwhelming” two or three paragraphs!

Have we stopped teaching reading in our schools?
Or perhaps we have stopped requiring it.

Hatin’ on the rise of Pictorial Slideshows (ugh!)

I am doubly dismayed by the number of blogs that think a slideshow full of 80-gazillion “life-changing” click-upon-click SEO-building images passes for an article worthy of anybody’s time (with barely a word of comment from them and no place to gather comments from those who visit).

  • Perhaps they believe they already know why those of us who are literate will NOT be back, so think they don’t want to waste their precious photo-posting time reading our requests for a word or several? (surely anyone who blogs knows how to read, doncha’ think?)
  • Or perhaps some recently-graduated 20-year-old raised-on-comic-books, reading-averse art directors have convinced their “editorial” personnel that words are superfluous in this day and age, and that comments are an administrative nightmare that will only compete with their focus-debilating pop-ups and browser-slowing misbehaving adverts (don’t get me started!)
  • Since many of these disappointing article-pretenders are on sites sponsored by the decorating and women’s magazines I used to buy to READ, I can only wonder if the editors have all died or been fired, replaced by word-hating art directors who have been given their titles (Southern Living, Better Homes & Gardens, etc. – please note “used to buy to READ.”)

Or is it writing that is missing from the skill set of so many bloggers anymore?

It wasn’t lost on me that Pinterest – an image format – feels they must remind the users of their platform to context pinned images (and/or Boards) with captions!

Even if they’ve never personally resonated with the joy of “using their words,”  is it REALLY such a nuisance for Pinners to communicate why they’ve shared a particular image or collection of images?

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Medication Fears

Grumpy again today
– another addition to the languishing Series
Monday Grumpy Monday –

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

Discouraged, Weary and Worried

I started my day today on Pinterest, where I came across a pin with a picture of a little girl that brought back memories of myself as a child: sitting on the stairs after doing something “wrong,” head in hands, sad and worried – fearful of what my father’s reaction would be when he heard about it.

The words across the photo were, “Why Punishments Don’t Work for ADHD Kids (But What Works Better!).”

For readers who have not yet explored Pinterest, Pins are graphic snippets “pinned” to a virtual bulletin board, similar to cutting a picture out of a magazine and pinning it to an actual bulletin board.

The biggest difference – and what makes it useful – is that the graphic snippets are automatically linked to the source, which is frequently an article that turns out to be well worth reading.

I use “ADD” to include AD/HD etc. Check out What’s in a Name for why.

What an Excellent Idea for an Article!

Clicking this pin led me to a wonderful article on an extremely useful ADD/HD focused blog by The Distracted Mom.

I was smiling broadly as I read her description of a well-reasoned, learning-oriented approach to parenting her son through a melt-down – an approach that many of us who know ADD/EFD well agree is one of the best for ADD/EFD kids.

HUGE on attribution, I was especially pleased with her generous linking to other useful resources (for example, the Lives in Balance website of Dr. Ross Greene, author of The Explosive Child: A New Approach for Understanding and Parenting Easily Frustrated, Chronically Inflexible Children).

Having devoted over 25 years of my life to making a difference in this field, it is such a pleasure to read articles like hers, that allow me to believe that perhaps the world is finally changing its attitude toward what I like to call The Alphabet Disorders.

Only later, as I read through the MANY comments to her article, did my hopeful mood slowly to turn to dismay.

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Turning on the light in “darkened” brains

The Miracle of Neuroplasticity
You can’t take advantage of it
until you look at behaviors in a new light

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Why You Can’t – and How you CAN – Part 2

Turning on the brain-lights

In a prior article, Brain-Hacking: Moving Beyond the Brain you were Born With, I used the analogy of a lamp that wouldn’t light to loosely explain the complexity behind some of the troubling behaviors and challenges that parents, partners, psychologists and coaches frequently encounter and try to “fix.”

The most important message in that earlier article – for EVERYONE – is that these troubling behaviors and challenges are not confined to the population of individuals who have exhibited them from childhood.

These SAME behaviors and challenges are frequently seen after brain traumas of one sort or another, even following apparently “mild” head injuries.

MOST of them respond to the same or similar interventions — even as they continue to FAIL to respond to many of the interventions currently suggested or currently employed.

As I said in Part one of Why You Can’t – and How you CAN:

To experience relief, you have to scratch where it itches.  Unless you can figure out what’s involved in creating the problem, how in the world can you expect to UNcreate it?


“Figuring out” is Sherlocking – which means you have to LOOK

There are a number of ways to Sherlock kludgy functioning to help you scratch RIGHT where it itches (and STOP expecting results from techniques promoted to all, even though they were designed for brains that aren’t like yours).

Sherlock; sherlockingOne of the ADD Coaching Skills: examining the inner logic of your observations.

Looking through circumstances or behavior for clues to functioning the same way that Sherlock Holmes looks for clues to a crime — with no pre-drawn conclusions, setting aside all former suspicions and theories.

A term coined by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie for OFI.

© From my upcoming Coaching Glossary

I have written about many ways to go about Sherlocking in prior articles like Goals Drive Habit Creation and the entire TaskMaster Series.

We’ll explore functional glitches in future articles, with an eye toward rebuilding, overcoming and working around areas that are challenging to impossible — but in THIS article we are going to focus on Sherlocking by looking directly at the brain with brain scanning technology.

You Can Change Your Brain

The graphic above was used in an inspiring TED talk by Dr. Daniel Amen – inserted below for your edification and viewing pleasure.

Take the time to take a look — at the video AND at some of the related articles I inserted above and in the Related Links below.

Life doesn’t HAVE to be so hard!

As always, if you want notification of new articles in the Executive Functioning Series – or any new posts on this blog – give your email address to the nice form on the top of the skinny column to the right. (You only have to do this once, so if you’ve already asked for notification about a prior series, you’re covered for this one too). STRICT No Spam Policy.

Want to work directly with me? If you’d like some coaching help with anything that came up while you were reading this Series (one-on-one couples or group), click HERE for Brain-based Coaching with mgh, with a contact form at its end (or click the E-me link on the menubar at the top of every page). Fill out the form, submit, and an email SOS is on its way to me; we’ll schedule a call to talk about what you need. I’ll get back to you ASAP (accent on the “P”ossible!).


Related articles right here on
(in case you missed them above or below)

Related LinkLists to Series of Articles here

Related Articles ’round the ‘net


BY THE WAY: Since is an Evergreen site, I revisit all my content periodically to update links — when you link back, like, follow or comment, you STAY on the page. When you do not, you run a high risk of getting replaced by a site with a more generous come-from.

Downloadable ADD-ADHD/EFD Coachablity Index™

ABOUT ADD/EFD Coachability

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

In early 1994, to better suit the needs and reflect the brain-based realities of individuals with Attention Deficit Disorders, Madelyn Griffith-Haynie requested and received permission from Thomas J. Leonard to adapt the Coachability Index© that he developed for Coach-U.

The language of The ADDCoach Coachability Index™ reflects the impact of the challenges of Executive Functioning Disorders on learning and accomplishment: brain-based struggles with short-term memory deficits, focus & decision-making, planning & follow-through, sequencing & prioritizing; activation & motivation, mood lability, time-sense & transition-facility chief among them.

© Don’t forget: Adaptions and/or duplication must credit both parties

How Coachable are YOU?

Although it’s been referred to as “ADD Coaching” since I developed and delivered the world’s first ADD-specific coaching curriculum several decades ago, it’s much broader in scope.

This is a particular type of brain-based coaching that works best for anyone dealing with Executive Functioning challenges and attentional difficulties: TBI, ABI, EFD, PTSD, OCD, ODD, SPD, ASD, PDA, PDD, MDD, MS, APD, and MORE.

While the magic of ADD/EFD Coaching is a product of the coaching relationship and it’s ability to compensate for unreliable executive functioning, it only works if and when clients are ready, willing and able.

Are you READY and WILLING:

  • to take the actions that will be necessary?
  • to make the changes that will be necessary?
  • to step, with power and ownership, into the life you were destined to live?

Heck yeah! Seriously, who says no to that?
Certainly not those of us who are struggling!
We’re always ready (for that last one, anyway)

It’s that “able” part that’s the kicker!

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Medications vs. Non-Pharm Alternatives

Educated Opinions
Informing personal CHOICE

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from the Non-Pharm Alternatives Series

Expanding a Comment

The genesis for this article is my response to a comment left on an earlier article, my first on a recently new non-pharmaceutical alternative claiming wonderful improvements to the brain’s Executive Functioning: entitled  Neuroflexyn: BUYER BEWARE.

By the way, I’m still reserving judgment on the value of Neuroflexyn until I’ve been able to give it a solid one month trial, as promised. Life events interrupted my trial after two weeks, so I plan to begin anew before reporting my experience. Meanwhile, my jury’s still out.

Why expand a response to a comment on an earlier article?

Since my articles tend to be lengthy, I know that many of you seldom read the comments – especially since,  at times, some of my replies seem almost as long as the original posts.

I believe that the particular point I was making subtly in one particular response to a comment cannot be stressed too often, so I have decided to expand it into a blog post of its own, quite a bit more overtly.

Demonizing is Dumb

As I continue to affirm, I believe it is a big mistake to demonize pharmaceutical approaches OR non-pharmaceutical alternatives simply because they didn’t work for us personally.

People are different and brains are different – and each of us has the right and responsibility to decide for ourselves what we will or will not ingest.

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Brain-hacking – Moving Beyond the Brain you were Born With

Genes, Environment &
Brain-based Reframes

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

Turning on the light

What happens if you try to turn on a lamp before you plug it in?

Not much, right?

What happens if you try to turn on a lamp that is plugged into a dead outlet?

Still no light.

AND, unless there is a working bulb in the lamp (and the electricity hasn’t been disconnected for some reason), you won’t get light either – no matter how many different outlets you try.

In none of our “no light” examples is anything wrong with the lamp itself — but there is more to getting light into a dark house than simply having a working lamp.

Getting light into dark rooms includes having effective connections to other things that are working correctly — assuming, of course, that the lamp itself has been designed to work correctly and that it was put together the way it was designed.

Lamps, Brains and Bodies

If you think of your body as that lamp, the specs (design specifics) were set by your genes, passed on to you from each of your parents. You spent approximately nine months inside your mother being “put together” according to the specs.

There are a large number of things that have to go exactly right during that process, so even those of us who have disorders and disabilities are truly miracles of nature.

POWER to the People

NOW, if you think of your brain as the light bulb, the electricity might be loosely analogous to the neurotransmitters that facilitate the electro-chemical process of brain communication, to and from a brain cell to any other cell of your body.

Without that that communication
you wouldn’t be able to do anything at all (no light) –
consciously or unconsciously.

But just like getting light from a lamp, unless ALL of the connections are working correctly too, your body-lamp won’t work the way it is supposed to, including the part of it we call the brain.

Don’t forget that you can always check out the sidebar
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Life Success on YOUR Terms

You DON’T have to
Do  it their way
How does that change The Name of the Game for YOU???

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

Success Stoppers

It’s difficult for motivational coaches used to midwifing the success of client after client to believe that what works for so many doesn’t necessarily work for EVERYONE.

In particular, more than a few Success Gurus approach the subject of productivity and goal fulfillment from a paradigm that I believe does not work very well at all for citizens of Alphabet City.  In fact, it shuts many of us down.

These “experts” certainly don’t mean to shut anybody down – and many find it difficult to impossible to believe that they do.  Still, they speak in soundbites that encapsulate the cornerstones of their systems.

Get up Early … Give it your ALL … Bite the Bullet … Eat that Frog
Connect with the Pain … Exercise to FOCUS! … Clean out your Desk
Throw out the Clutter …  Accelerate your willingness . . .

They tend to promote techniques in alignment with the claim that increasing a commitment to change, demonstrated by “giving up your resistance” to what they are suggesting, is the single most important step that turns the tide for many of their clients, students and seminar attendees – and that it would work for you too, if you’d only give it a try.

What if you can’t?
– or –
(horror of horrors!)

What if you don’t WANT to? 

Don’t forget that you can always check out the sidebar
for a reminder of how links work on this site, they’re subtle ==>


We are doomed to a life of struggle and poverty unless we can somehow force ourselves to do something that feels like climbing a mountain in cement boots or taking steps out of the way rather than in the direction we want to travel?

Is our reluctance a clear sign of something else – like fear of failure (or success), lack of motivation, or a vision that is insufficiently compelling?

Oh, please!

I have observed – time and time again in my Boomer-Generation life – that the only things insufficiently compelling are all of the “in order to” steps that have now been set in concrete —  attached to the result as if they represented stepping stones along the one and only path to a successful life.

Different strokes for different folks

The connections that make up the networks in our brains determine how are brains operate in a manner similar to how the network of roads in a city determine how various people travel.

How you get to a particular location in your town, for example, depends upon a great many variables: where you are coming from, the amount of gas in your tank,  the time of day, what else you are trying to accomplish on the same trip — even the type of vehicle you are driving and the state of your tires.

My friend Jason recently provided an excellent example, the day after he failed to see one of Cincinnati’s abundant potholes until he drove right over it.  Oops.

He was forced to replace the resulting flat tire with his spare.  He learned the hard way that driving faster than a certain speed was a recipe for disaster until he had four regular tires.

Rushing to get to an appointment the very next day, his spare failed on the interstate. There went his entire morning. He missed his appointment entirely.

Even though the Interstate was the direct route for a great many people, it certainly wasn’t a route primed for success for Jason!

Probability of results – the standard bell curve

What does SCIENCE have to say about it?

With technical advances like functional brain scans, science has discovered more about the brain in the last twenty years than in the previous hundred. And yet they are decades away from understanding the mechanisms of consciousness – how we do what we do.

BellCurveMeanwhile, scientists have undertaken studies that have allowed them to compile aggregates that attempt to explain human beings and their behaviors in a sort-of bell curve fashion — even though they also know that, individually, we are unique.

The one thing they know for sure is that each of us struggle through life’s challenges with brains that work slightly differently – and that some of us are doing very well with brains that are a whole lot more different!

Ironically, scientists have made as many breakthroughs by studying the behavioral and functional exceptions at the tail ends of the bell curve as they have about the so-called “normally” functioning brains that make up the center portion.

The initial question driving the American research in the recently launched Human BRAIN Initiative do NOT center on sameness, in fact, but on differences.

Here’s what Wikipedia has to say by way of introduction to this immense project:

The BRAIN Initiative (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies, also referred to as the Brain Activity Map Project) is a proposed collaborative research initiative announced by the Obama administration on April 2, 2013, with the goal of mapping the activity of every neuron in the human brain.

Based upon the Human Genome Project, the initiative has been projected to cost more than $300 million per year for ten years.

Source: NIH BluePrint

Click to enlarge to read, but please do NOT comment on ANY illustration pages – comment below the articles themselves — Source: NIH BluePrint

Which Means . . .

BRAIN Initiative scientists are asking, essentially, the following questions:

“How do the differences in the wiring and firing of human brains translate to their behaviors, their emotions, their approaches to practical tasks, and the way that they think?”


We don’t have the cognitive bandwidth to process each of the inputs of the of our senses, piece by piece, every single time we need to make a decision or recombine information to learn something new.  So the way in which we approach much of anything at all is determined by what science has decided to call our connectome – the wiring and firing of brain cells that make up our cognitive maps.

And STILL we try to categorize

© Courtesy of Phillip Martin – artist/educator

It’s what our brains have evolved to do – beginning way back when only those who could quickly answer the following question survived to pass their genes along to us.

Do I eat it, or does it eat me?!

As the cerebral cortex evolved – that outer layer, the brain’s conscious thinking portion – there wasn’t a whole lot of room inside our skulls to allow for our brains to get much bigger, or our heads would have to grow so large our necks would snap.

So the “category method” was conserved for its efficient use of resources, which indicates that the brain is a pattern matching machine of sorts.

Similar to the way most of us store items in our silverware drawer (forks with forks, spoons with spoons), our brains store different inputs differently. When it comes time to retrieve information to be able to use it, the brain attempts to sift through the “drawer” where it usually keeps information of that type, rather than its entire “kitchen.”

Categories aren’t Constants

Based on a combination of genes, environment, experience, usage and personal preference, we each categorize according to our unique perceptions of our inputs.

Something as simple as an apple, for example, could be “filed” in any one of a great many categories:

  • Foods, healthy foods, foods I like (or don’t), or even “foods I can’t eat easily, now that I have dentures;”
  • Non-meats, non-protein diet items, fruits, Paleo-diet approved comestibles, fruits I can feed my dog without harming him;
  • Objects that are round, objects that are red, objects of a certain size;
  • and so on.

Thinking logically, given the vast number of connections we must make to explore intellectually (much less accomplish even a very simple task), one person’s cognitive map could not possibly be the same as his neighbor’s — even if we are comparing two so-called neurotypical maps from the fat portion of the bell curve.

Why ELSE would resources as great as $300 million per year for ten years have been dedicated to discovering how we DO what we do?

Also working against the logic of the reality of diversity is our brain’s addiction to certainty: we want to be able to size up our world and our fellow human beings quickly and once and for all!

Beyond the Meyers-Briggs, etc.

Productivity gurus and success coaches continue to invent methods that center on CATEGORIES.

  • They publish and market books, typing matrices, questionnaires or inventories that support their ideas about how humans operate – even though there are most certainly NOT millions of dollars worth of studies to support their ideas
  • And that’s fine.  Helpful, even.  Our brains like categories.

Not quite so helpful is what tends to happen next.

In an effort to be clear and concise, the gurus tend to communicate their “typing” in a manner that almost seems to insist that they are describing universal principles.

We’re encouraged to identify ourselves and our compatriots within one of their identified “types” — promoted to jumpstart understanding and communication, multiply sales, increase work-team or marital success — even to decide how best to educate our children.

The more people who find a particular chunking helpful, the more the ideas proliferate in a manner that seems to insist that there is something wrong with US if we can’t easily locate ourselves in one of them.

Hey – if the shoe doesn’t fit, don’t blame the FOOT!

Styles of Productivity

With apologies for seeming to attack any particular chunking as the article concludes, one of the more popular methods of late centers upon what is called The Four Styles of Productivity.

Carson Tate, founder of Working Simply, a North Carolina-based management consultancy and author of Work Simply: Embracing the Power of Your Personal Productivity Style has gotten quite a bit of press about the simplicity of her particular chunking system.  Less is more, I suppose.

According to Tate, each of us falls into one of four personal productivity styles. We have all four styles within us, she admits, but similar to whether we’re left- or right-handed, we have a strong preference.

Through her experience, reading and research, Tate claims to have identified four styles, each with distinct characteristics by which they can be identified: Prioritizers, Planners, Arrangers and Visualizers.

That method may well be useful as a place to begin – but four?
Really?  Only FOUR?

Come ON!

Doesn’t it seem a tad silly to base something as important as our own success productivity (or the success of our companies) on whether or not we (or they) “do it” in any manner that one or another system indicates is THE way it’s done?

Doesn’t it seem more logical for each of us to be encouraged to figure out how to drive the brain in our individual heads by examining the outputs of the brain in OUR heads – writing our very own User’s Manual to guide our actions and endeavors?

It does to me, in any case.

Throughout my adult life, I know that I have gotten into the most trouble when I doubted my own experience in response to the certainty of someone else promoting something else as the best way to go about this business of life.

Once I figure out what items that I, uniquely, need to have in place to function best, as long as I can set things up to keep those items in my life and use my own unique systems and strategies,  I do VERY well.

I have even been accused of not being able to relate to ADD/EFD because I am obviously not a member of the club.  Me – the ADD Poster Girl!

The extent to which any one or several of the items I need to function best are missing or unavailable is the extend to which I flounder and fail – when others comment that I seem to be little more than a stuttering wonder!

I would like to suggest that might be true for YOU as well.  Get in touch if you’d like to hire me for some coaching help identifying what you, uniquely, need to have on board, and to midwife the process of putting those items into place.

© 2015, all rights reserved
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IN ANY CASE, do stay tuned.
There’s a lot to know, a lot here already, and a lot more to come – in this Series and in others.
Get it here while it’s still free for the taking.

Want to work directly with me? If you’d like some coaching help with anything that came up while you were reading this Series (one-on-one couples or group), click HERE for Brain-based Coaching with mgh, with a contact form at its end (or click the E-me link on the menubar at the top of every page). Fill out the form, submit, and an email SOS is on its way to me; we’ll schedule a call to talk about what you need. I’ll get back to you ASAP (accent on the “P”ossible!)

You might also be interested in some of the following articles
available right now – on this site and elsewhere.

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Brain Injured from Birth?

Never “normal” —
and never understanding
why you can’t do what others CAN

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

Sort of, but not really

As awful as it is to lose functionality as a result of head injury, stroke, or some of the short-term memory deficits that cause “senior moments,” what if you had NEVER experienced the functionality you are mourning?

Those of us with Attentional Spectrum Disorders and Executive Functioning Deficits have been struggling with “TBI problems” and “senior moments” our entire lives, to undeserved and unkind public ridicule and general disbelief that what we report is a legitimate problem.

In an earlier article, Lessons from the TBI Community, developed initially for a brain-based talk to a professional conference for ADD Coaches, I attempted to compare the problems faced by individuals with challenges due to Traumatic Brain Injury to the struggles of the rest of us here in Alphabet City.

Broken Brains

I doubt that anyone who reads or watches television is unaware of the behavioral and cognitive changes that accompany dementias, strokes, and brain injuries due to accidents of one sort or another.

Most sensible individuals readily accept that those changes are a direct result of brain damage, leaving areas of the brain incapable of performing their role in the neural relay race, or doing so inefficiently or incompletely.

WHY IS IT SO DIFFICULT TO BELIEVE that that someone might be be born with parts of the brain that function inefficiently, or that brain development might not proceed in that so-called neurotypical fashion in a subset of individuals — and that there might be similar behavioral and cognitive differences as a result?

AFTER ALL, anyone who has had any reason to take a look at education in the last forty years surely must be aware of the meaning of the term “learning disorder” or “learning disability.”

If they’ve looked beyond the headlines, they may also be aware that the term does not refer to an intelligence-delimited inability to learn, but to a difference in the manner and speed in which the information must be presented for learning to take place.

Unrealistic Expectations

TBI advocates and sufferers frequently write about how painful and difficult it is for them that those around them expect that their functioning will mirror their appearance.

During the period where they look “banged up” in some fashion, loved ones and friends encourage them to be patient and take it easy. Once they look “okay,” the understanding that they are still healing seems to run out.

  • They are expected to BE okay as soon as they LOOK okay —
    to rapidly return to the “self” they were before their accident.
  • There seems to be little to no understanding that they are being asked, metaphorically, to walk on a broken leg with severed nerves.

Although the unrealistic expectations of others are maddening – and tough on the sufferer’s self-esteem – there is usually some awareness in his or her heart of the reason that they aren’t able to do what is expected of them.

They realize only too well that parts of their brain aren’t functioning “normally” yet, even though the underlying reason is “invisible” to others, so tough for them to believe.

What if they had NEVER experienced anything different? 

What if not being able to live up to expectations WAS “normal,” as far as they knew?  Then what?  How would that affect their view of themselves?

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When SHTF is a DAILY Occurrence!

Emergency Preparations
for lives that have A LOT of emergencies

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Introducing the Surviving EFDs Series

“Preparedness, when properly pursued, is a way of life,
not a sudden, spectacular program.” ~ Spencer W. Kimball

Lots to learn from the Survivalists

“SHTF” – for those new to the acronym – is a Survivalist abbreviation for Stuff Hits The Fan (with a 4-letter “S” word replacing the one I used to keep things acceptable to my ENTIRE readership).

As with any subgroup, Survivalists run the gamut from the extreme through the consumed by anxiety to the worried . . . all the way to the merely cautious.

At base, most of them are no different from savers and planners in any arena — except that they larder physical supplies and foodstuffs instead of cash reserves in more traditional savings formats.

They’ve lost faith in the system.

That’s something that many here in Alphabet City share with them.  Except the system we have a hard time trusting anymore is Mental Health Care, including the lawmakers charged with protecting the rights of the many in our society who have “invisible” disabilities.

It occurs to me that, like many of the Survivalists,
we ALL might be wise to expect the best,
but prepare for the worst.

Global catastrophe’s aside, the “worst” here in Alphabet City seems to happen A LOT more frequently than in the neurotypical population – and we can expect precious little help from the current state of the Mental Health [lack of an effective] System.

Let’s not spend time going over all of the ways in which the system desperately needs changing.  I’ve been ringing that bell for over 25 years now – along with a great many other Mental Health advocates – as things continue to worsen nonetheless.

Instead, let’s focus on what we might think about putting in place to BE PREPARED.

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for a reminder of how links work on this site, they’re subtle ==>

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ADDing to Subtract

How much change can you tolerate
before you STOP trying to cope?

©Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from the Intentionality Series

We HATE to give things up

Have you ever tried to convince a kid to give away a toy – even a toy s/he no longer plays with and, truth to tell, never cared much for in the first place?

Most kids will take quite a bit of convincing, and some will throw a fit and refuse.

Truly clever Moms and Dads replace the toy with something new – putting the emphasis on what their kids are getting rather than what they are giving up.

And most parents who follow the “one-in/one-out” rule figure out very quickly that the swap needs to be agreed upon UP FRONT.

If they can get the child to fork over the old toy before they receive the new one, so much the better.

An Overwhelmed Brain says NO!

Have you ever allowed yourself to get in over your head?  In your home, for example, have things ever gotten so messy that you begin to doubt your ability to ever clean it up?

I refer to it as being “over my limit.”  Finding myself over my limit happens to me regularly.

  • It happens every single time I move to a new home, for example, or the times I’ve been too sick to have the energy to do much beyond making it to the kitchen or the bathroom and back to bed.
  • It also happens during (and following) any period where the serious illness of a close friend or family member shifts my priorities.
  • Things seem to get worse every day.

Suddenly – or so it seems – I can’t cope any more.  EVERYTHING seems to be everywhere.  I can’t see the items for the clutter, and life becomes a scavenger hunt of epic proportions.

The professional organizers would probably tell me to start pitching things left and right to “clear out the clutter” – but which things?

What the neurotypical never seem to understand is that overwhelm shuts down our capacity to make effective decisions.

  • I don’t know about you, but the few times I’ve allowed myself to be pushed to toss against my better judgment have ended badly.
  • In a couple of cases, it took me months to jump through the hoops to replace something I’d tossed that I actually needed – and that’s after I’d spent a great deal of time looking for it.
  • As I grow older, I am less and less willing to throw those months under the neatness bus!  Especially since I’ve learned the hard way that “neat” and “organized” are two completely different things.  I’ll bet you have too.

Fear of Tossing?

No, I haven’t developed “fear of tossing” as a result, like some of my clients, but I HAVE learned not to jump in pitching when I’m overwhelmed.

And I’ll bet you have too – whether it is the result of a conscious decision or merely what looks like intractability to anyone watching.

  • What’s the worst thing that could happen? they ask, in their ignorance.
  • Are you kidding?  I’m barely hanging on NOW – my goose is cooked if things get worse.

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A thorn in the side of ADD/EFD-ignorance

The logic behind the language

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

I am committed to being a thorn in the side of ADD-ignorance in service of changing the way neurodiversity is thought about and treated – seeing “a world that works for everyone” in my lifetime. ~ from my gravatar profile

Below the radar make-wrong?

Well, probably.

I’m working on clearing all judgments before I die, but intractable ignorance may well turn out to be the last to go.

Intractible Ignorance

Although I understand intellectually that intractable ignorance is a fear-based reaction, I simply do not GET a refusal to check things out to test one’s assumptions.

It seems intellectually cowardly to me (another judgment I need to clear?)

What’s more, what they tend to say and do in response to their intractable ignorance are clear examples of BULLY behavior, I don’t care who you are!

SEE: What’s my beef with Sir Ken Robinson

Not on my watch

And so I strive to remain “a thorn in the side” of neurodiversity ignorance: bigger than a splinter – fairly impossible to ignore – and begging for removal.

Thorns scream, TAKE A LOOK!

It’s not that I’m hoping to, in the words of Thomas Campbell, “force a corn plant to become a potato.”

It’s because I sincerely believe that ALL human beings strive to live life according to their understanding of what’s right and good.

My stand for humanity is that we will continually expand our understanding on the way to reframing our ideas of what’s “right” and “good.”  In other words:

we grow UP!

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Our Brains, Crock Pots™ and Microwaves

Metaphors of Mind & Brain

Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

In our attempt to understand ourselves and our environment, we often end up talking about the brain — “that three pound lump of jelly you can hold in the palm of your hand” [~V.S. Ramachandran]

Even though science has learned to quantify a great many of the elements of the brain, most of us still search for metaphors and analogies as we attempt to describe our understanding and our experiences.

In my own mind, the way in which my brain is like either a microwave or a Crock Pot™ pops up frequently – and I use the terms as communication “short-cuts” in my coaching.


Most ADDers love microwaves — you know, “the ‘nuker.”  The rest seem to have a love/hate relationship with them.

“Want hot coffee now!” is a powerful incentive to consider the ‘nuker a necessity in my own life, in any case.

Microwaves work with ADD Brain Wiring.  

Crock Pots™

The concept of a Crock Pot™ is greeted less enthusiastically by almost everyone in the EFD crowd, ADD or not!

“Spend energy now, then wait 6 hours for food?
What moron dreamed THAT up?”

However, there are some dandy little benefits to a slow-cooker.

It is the ultimate procrastination permission-slip, for one thing.  It seems to me that I can forget about one of those things for days and still eat the meal whenever I remember that it’s waiting for me. (Just kidding – don’t try this at home!)

Click for Source:

I use my brain that way some times

I put some things in “slow-cook” mode, figuring that I’ll be better able to handle them later, and that they will still be “digestible” if I forget about them for a while.

By giving myself permission to do things my way on my timetable, my brain responds with a way to solve the issue that works for me.

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STOP Judging Purse-dogs!

Unless you also DRAG your little kids
(in which case, I have judgment about YOU!)

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

Tiny dogs have tiny legs (duh!)

It recently took a great deal of will-power to over-ride my impulse to smack a college student who [loudly] opined to his friends, as they passed me during a walk with my brand new teeny-tiny puppy, that “some people” needed to let their dogs out of their “purses” to walk for themselves.

I am full-grown, tall and have long legs.

My little Shih Tzu pup is about three months old, weighs less than five pounds, and has legs that are less than three inches long.

While he needs (and seems to adore) the exercise he gets trotting along beside me on our walks, the amount of time he is able to keep up without exhaustion is limited.

Humans can’t trot alongside horses for very long either!

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Neuroflexyn: Jury still out

Email reply bodes well
Responsive companies are usually
trustworthy companies

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from the Non-Pharm Alternatives Series

Not at all fearful of prescription medication when warranted, I have always been ALL FOR effective non-pharmaceutical alternatives when available.

The question in my mind was (and is) whether Neuroflexyn will be among them – and for what segment of the population (since nothing works across-the-board for everyone who struggles.)

FIRST instincts (a summary)

“Preliminary findings: short and not so sweet” is how I began my prior article entitled Neuroflexyn: BUYER BEWARE – Lack of information vs. marketing is suspicious — where I encouraged you, as always, to READ WITH YOUR BRAIN ENGAGED.

SINCE that time, I received an email from someone involved with the company.

As I indicated in a top-of-that-article update, I requested and received permission to share it with you.

I will continue with additional comments following their email.

(The image at left is from the Amazon site, where you will find additional reviews of the product.)

Quick Review for Context

My initial article began with the information below, which will help with context for their reply for any of you who don’t jump over to read that first (which, obviously, I strongly recommend).

Too good to be true?

A plethora of marketing-posing-as-information articles make some pretty amazing claims about the benefits of Neuroflexyn. I’ll admit that I was tempted to purchase as I read them – which is what launched me on the informational research trail.

Product marketing swears that Neuroflexyn has been “proven” to significantly increase IQ as it enhances memory, concentration, intentional focus — productivity practically across the board, in fact.

In addition, again according to their marketing, this new “supplement” dramatically increases cognition and intelligence with NO reported side effects — despite the reality that, as a supplement, this new product currently flies beneath FDA radar, so the manufacturers can pretty much claim anything they want.

Initial Concerns

My initial objection was to current “ask for the sale” marketing approaches that attempt to sweeten response rate by urging readers to take hasty action for fear of losing some advantage or opportunity if they take a day or more to think things over or investigate other options.

According to the email below, this is NOT what Neuroflexyn’s marketing game-plan endorses – actively opposing, it asserts.

My second concern was that there was little to be found from mainstream scientists, doctors, or the credible nootropic community leadership (at least, not that I was able to find in a couple of hours online).

Only time will tell which “experts” will respond — favorably or not — since Neuroflexyn is still a brand new product.

To be CLEAR: Silence doesn’t always indicate LACK of endorsement – but it certainly is a reason for caution and further investigation before jumping on the bandwagon ourselves.

My parting comments were that it will take more INFORMATION to change my mind and that I’d LOVE to be proven wrong about my initial assessment of this product.

It would seem, from the email below, that the folks at Neuroflexyn are willing to do what they can toward the same objective.

If it improves my own cognition substantially I’ll continue to take it – in addition to or instead of my current medication.

Read it for yourselves, immediately below.

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When did WordPress change?

When you make a mistake,
‘fess up and FIX it

Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

As regular readers know, I don’t like (or use) the WordPress reblog function because it doesn’t work for ADD/EFD readership, particularly in the manner in which multiple graphics are handled.

HOWEVER, I am making this exception as a show of support for a blogger who is now prohibited by WordPress from following any new blogs or bloggers – EVEN to the extent of hitting “like.”

None of his many followers can figure out WHY —
and others with similar statistics have recently received similar notices
(disclosed in the comments section of the blog that follows)

The response from the [used-to-be] good folks at WordPress is to dig in and defend, rather than ‘fess up and explain how it happened – OR disclose the specifics of the rules by which they sanction (read the comments on the blog of Opinionated Man – my own responses to the WordPress action are scathing!)


You don’t have to agree with what he says on his blog to defend his right to SAY it.

  • There will be many people who won’t agree with what YOU say on your blog.
  • Wouldn’t you want somebody defending your right to say it if WordPress responded to them by shutting you down?

AT THE VERY LEAST, click over to click like to indicate that you are aware of this truly crappy decision on the part of and find it appalling.

Links to more detail, including their missives to him,
available from the link immediately below:

WordPress Account Disabled

Making things EVEN worse

There seems to be NO redress for the original action.

From their response, it seems clear that the policy is that if somebody makes a decision on statistics alone, the folks at refuse to revisit – or even EXPLAIN their [apparently new] “rules” for interaction with other blogs with any specificity.

It’s a “circle the wagons” response designed to provoke fear of “over-stepping” undisclosed boundaries.

Didn’t work with ME

My response is WHITE-HOT FURY at the back-end disclosure sans specifics — AFTER we have spent money and a great many minutes of our lives helping to build usage of the platform.

If WordPress doesn’t have the server space to keep up with the community they’ve actively sought and attracted, then they need to say THAT – not this nonsense!

I hope your response is similar, and that you will (as they say in the theatre)
“Sing out, Louise!”

Most companies become suddenly more reasonable once they become aware of wide-spread disdain.

“An appeaser is one who feeds the crocodile
hoping it will eat him LAST.”
~ Winston Churchill

“It takes a village to transform a world!” ~ mgh

What kind of world do YOU want?

FYI – To get to the article, click on the name of the blog (immediately below) or on “View Original” at the bottom.

The longer link goes to a Forum discussion thread that one of the “Happiness Engineers” (their term, btw) has decided to close to additional comments in what appears to be their new black and white manner of avoiding having to comment toward clarification or issue resolution.

When you feel like you can’t bounce back

Down for the Count?
– RESILIENCY: Bouncing back from Setbacks –
NOT the usual rah-rah post

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

What IS Resiliency?

of says:

“Resiliency is the ability to overcome challenges of all kinds – trauma, tragedy, personal crises, plain ‘ole’ life problems – and bounce back stronger, wiser, and more personally powerful.”

While I don’t disagree with her, exactly, I would label her definition positive resiliency.”  Over twenty-five years working with the ADD/EFD community have taught me that making the distinction between rising like a phoenix and getting back up AT ALL is IMPORTANT.

hang-in-there-baby-you-ll-get-through-thisThose of us here in Alphabet City need to feel like we have a shot at mastering STEP ONE — bouncing back at all — before we can keep the faith that we can move forward (with or without increased power).

More than simply TIMING

  • Attempts to motivate of the “stronger/wiser” variety may be what’s called for in the neurotypical community and with folks whose lives have remained relatively on-track (although I am inclined to wonder if perhaps they merely tolerate them better).

I’m fairly sure that point of view is not particularly encouraging or effective with people whose lives have consisted of setback after setback.

They strike me as insensitive when said TO those for whom life seems little more than crawling out of one hole after another.

Those are words for them to invent (or not) as they begin to bounce back, not a concept for others to wave in front of their shell-shocked eyes like a red flag in front of a bull.

  • Said TO us as we flounder, those stronger/wiser words tend to hit our ears as they might if we were prize fighters over-matched in the ring, barely making it to the corner in a daze — only to hear our managers tell us that we’ll be better fighters as the result of being beaten to a bloody pulp.

Few of us are particularly motivated by the thought of getting “stronger and wiser” about about the ability to tolerate a continuation of life’s abuses!

We want to somehow be able to keep the faith that we can get through them THIS time!

If we hamstring the resiliency process with “stronger, wiser, and more personally powerful,” many too many of us are likely to stay on the mat (or out of the ring)!


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Hey! Grinch! Get off of my cloud!

MonGrumpHeadW-A-Y behind on
Grumpiness Dumps

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

Now that Christmas is behind us, back to business!

I have gotten a few comments from folks who have missed my grumpy side – happy to oblige.

So here’s what’s caught in my craw as today progresses – taking down all the Christmas decorations happens WAY too soon.

It’s just plain ole’ depressing to walk down the street and see still-green tree corpses kicked to the curb before Twelfth Night!  When they start hitting the streets before NEW YEARS I simply want to fall down next to them and weep.

Kicked to the curb so SOON?

Poor Christmas Trees!  Kicked to the curb so SOON?

Whatever happened to AFTERGLOW?

I mean, even if you are one of the lucky ones with a staff of elves to give you plenty of time before Christmas to drive around and see all the pretty decorations and visit all your friends to see what they’ve put together, are you really that eager to jump up and shower immediately afterwards?

As for the rest of us, if we don’t have time to see the sights while we’re busy getting ready for our own celebrations, we can pretty much forget about it until we try again next year.

Live and let live?

I suppose I could live with the idea that many folks want to take down their Christmas decorations before New Years, but what frosts my grapes is the attitude of the early denuders toward those of us who don’t want to rush the removal.

They are so snide – and so VOCAL – about the fact that the entire world doesn’t share their particular preference for getting rid of all evidence that Christmas exists practically the moment the last present is opened.

Who put the Grinches in charge of the timing?

What’s HAPPENING with our planet these days?

There is so much about our world that is, shall we say, less than uplifting.  Why would anybody campaign to remove the small bit of cheer that manages to survive?

Not that I let what Grinches prefer change what I decide to do one iota – I simply don’t want to have to tolerate their “superior” attitude and their make-wrong. 

Can’t they tut-tut-tut in private?

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YOU are Bigger than your To-Do List

Human BEINGS vs Human DOings

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

Edited “Reprint”

The following words were edited, inspired by an email I sent to a prospective client quite a few years ago now.

Having been referred by a colleague as someone deserving of a sliding-scale  coaching opportunity, the candidate was investigating coaching with me.

First, they wanted to make sure I would do it in the same manner touted by a coach they followed online.

My immediate reaction was, “Why are you calling me rather than investigating coaching with THEM?” 

The answer brought me up short: because you offer sliding scale and they don’t. 

Whoa! Budget shopping for a COACH?

FIT, not price

Whether or not that person believed me (or whether you do), you can’t shop for a coach on price.

There are coaches available at all price points. Brand new coaches charge at the bottom of the scale, and most experienced coaches reserve one or two “sliding-scale slots” for certain types of clients (or people in certain situations that mandate a lower fee).

I know because I trained a lot of them personally!

Paying top dollar won’t necessarily buy you better coaching – but attempting to pay the least amount possible just might buy you a lousy fit for what you’re up to – which will amount to lousy coaching.

I don’t know what ultimately happened with this individual, but I kept my email follow-up, knowing I would want to share it once enough time had passed.

Since I am offering private coaching once again, I thought that this would be an excellent time for a “reprint.”

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Happy Eve before Mardi Gras

I’m Finally Celebrating Christmas
as the Mardi Gras/Carnival Season begins

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

About Mardi Gras – and why here?

Since I went to grad school in New Orleans, I had three years to experience the celebrations of Mardi Gras – from King Cake parties to balls to parades and so-much-more.

I LOVE a chance to share my knowledge of Mardi Gras from my experience there.

Mardi Gras beads in the traditional colors: green, purple and gold – thrown from the floats by MANY different Krew members riding in the many, MANY parades they sponsor

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For a REALLY Happy New Year

2015 is breathing down our necks
(perhaps it might be wise to do more than a bit of thinking about it)

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

As I ready myself for my own Christmas celebration on Twelfth Night, let’s take a moment to focus on the other big end-of-year celebration: New Year’s Eve.

Nutshell New Years

We count backwards from ten as the clock chimes and the ball drops. We toast and kiss, and blow funny-sounding horns wearing funny-looking hats, often dressed in formal finery.  Many of us party on until dawn.

© Phillip Martin – artist/educator

Yep – that’s New Years Eve in a nutshell for many of us around the world – or at least the image in our minds.

And then what?

Regardless of how heartily we’ve partilied the night before, we awaken at some point on New Years Day, hoping for the best in the upcoming year.

Some of us even take the time to write down a few of those ubiquitous New Year’s Resolutions, without really expecting ourselves to follow through this year, anymore than the years before it.

Pinterest and the daily papers provide image upon image making fun of the practice – or at least of the people who don’t practice their practice.

And most of the plans of those who resolve and regret fail to materialize through lack of long-range planning.

To fail to plan is to plan to fail?

As I implied in a much earlier article about planning for the New Year, unless we want the upcoming year to be exactly like the one in our rear view mirror, it’s time to get busy with some change-management.

A therapist I know has this to say about change:

“Everybody wants things to be different, but nobody wants anything to change.”

He doesn’t add, “especially anything about THEM” – but I have always believed that’s what he was really talking about: the devil we know, and all that.

What IS it about change that makes us cringe?

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Gettin’ Ready for Twelfth Nite

Christmas Day is over . . .
Make Way for 12th Nite
(January 6th: the day when all sensible ADD Poster Girls
prefer to hold the present-fest)

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

Is Merry Christmas behind us now?

I hope your Christmas Day was everything you wanted it to be, and that all of your gifts were happily received in more than the spirit of that thought-that-counts manner.

As many people are now focused on celebrating the upcoming changing of the year, a few of us are still anticipating Christmas celebrations themselves – after a fashion.

We NEED a Little Christmas . . . TIME!


I know – for those of us who celebrate Christmas at all – ever since we were young enough to eagerly await the visit of Santa Claus, most of us have been accustomed to the idea that opening presents happens on the morning of December 25th.

But haven’t we ALREADY made some modifications to that particular plan?

It’s not unusual for families to pick a day where ALL family members will be able to attend.

Blended families frequently have more than ONE unwrapping ceremony – both on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day – and sometimes extending to other days and times as well.

Many of us have long-ago relocated the Christmas present unwrapping ceremony to Christmas Eve, either to make it easier to get out the door for the Christmas service at our places of worship, or to allow us to sleep in on Christmas Day.

I would like to suggest that is going the wrong way, Jose!

Good enough for THREE Wise Men = perfect for ADD/EFD

Legend has it that those three Wise Men following that star-so-bright did NOT arrive with their gifts of gold, frankincense and myhr bright and early on the morning of December 25th.

It took twelve more days and nights for them to get there with the presents: they arrived on January 6th (which marks the beginning of the Mardi Gras Season, for New Orleans aficionados).

Artist Patience Brewster’s Nativity Wise Men


Far be it from me to suggest that those Men had a sense of direction or time similar to my own (which is to say, NONE!), but I don’t recall anyone considering them late to the party, do you?

So, not only is there is some serious precedence for taking a bit more time, there are several substantially great reasons for delaying gift exchange.

Let’s take a look at a few of those reasons that is a bit more serious-minded than my last post on the topic.

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From Pinterest thru me to YOU


The Wisdom of those Three Kings

They didn’t RUSH to get it all done
by December 25th
(Arriving with THEIR Gifts 12 days later!)

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

Hey, if Twelfth Night was good enough for THREE separate men known throughout the world for their wisdom — so much so that they are simply referred to as the Three Wise Men — who are we to question the timing?

If you are struggling with one of the Alphabet Disorders, it only makes sense to adopt their extremely wise idea of moving your own celebration to January 6th as well — or at least to its Eve, the night of the 5th.

I have already, so I can attest to how much nicer it makes everything!

SOME of the benefits of celebrating on Twelfth Night:

  • It gives you an extra 12 days to get ready
  • It allows you to shop the after-Christmas sales
  • It “uncrowds” your holiday calendar, minimizing the conflicts that create so many of those “but I thought you were spending this Christmas with US” in-law hurt feelings, and
  • It still allows you to create your own family traditions free of most family-of-origin pressure.

For those who are concerned about The Reason for the Season getting lost in the commercialism of it all, celebrating the present-fest on Twelfth Night leaves time on Christmas Day for Church-related or charity events, as it gives you a perfect opportunity for some Bible-story education.

Did you catch the part about the extra 12 days to get ready?

Do not try to change the world

For reasons I will never understand, moving the gift-exchange into the future by almost two weeks seems to be as tough a sell as suggesting that adults forgo a gift exchange completely – believe me, I’ve tried.

No matter. In many ways it makes things easier.

When others give you their gifts on Christmas, smile sweetly, almost piously, and say simply, “You will have to wait until 12th Nite for my gift to you – when the Three Wise Men arrived with their gifts for the Baby Jesus.”

  • Reciprocation is ever so much easier than trying to figure everything out ahead of time.
  • Quickly make a mental note to run out to get something for your side of the gift exchange (though an ACTUAL note makes reciprocation a lot more likely to actually happen).  

Not only that, waiting until Twelfth Night helps stretch meager cash-stores, since you will be able to shop the best sales — after Christmas, remember.

How else do you think those “Twelve Days of Christmas” True Love Givers that everybody sings about were able to gift so much?  They shopped the 12 days AFTER Christmas, when golden rings go ON SALE (nobody can afford to pay retail for five of the darned things in today’s economy!)

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The best Christmas tip EVER!

To Reduce Visual Overwhelm
as you Deck your Halls

Store in Plain Sight with this clever trick

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

Decking, decking – still decking!

It’s a good thing I have switched to celebrating Twelfth Night – January 6th (12 more days to get it together than if my deadline were Christmas itself). There is NO WAY I’ll have everything ticked, tied and neatened by December 25 — my hall decking has faced a number of serious slowdowns.

  1. FIRST, I had to quickly move everything up off the floor to puppy-proof for the sudden good fortune of locating my wished-for Christmas puppy.
  2. Then, of course, came the day “off” to go get the little guy – and the day after that to recover from staying up all night puppy-proofing, followed by a car trip!
  3. And now that he’s here, I have to WATCH HIM LIKE A HAWK – this dog can find something verboten to put in his tiny mouth even if I’ve just swept or vacuumed.

The decking of halls has taken a decidedly back seat to puppy patrol. Oh well.  If that’s what it takes, that’s what it takes. This little guy is clearly worth it to me!

Celebrate Boxing Day early . . .

No, NOT the day-after-Christmas holiday celebrated by our English-speaking forefathers across the pond (along with, according to Wikipedia, Canada, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, Kenya, South Africa, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica and other Commonwealth nations, as well as Norway, the Netherlands and Sweden!)

I’m talking much bigger boxes for our Boxing Day than those used to gather alms.

Inundated by Shipping Boxes?

If you order anything online (and who doesn’t these days?), you probably hurry to break down the packing/shipping boxes to get them OUT of your house and into the recycling bin.


There’s a much better way to handle them – besides getting things out of the way of a puppy (you’re gonna’ love this!)

WRAP THEM!  (No I am not kidding)

But first, take down as many decorative tchotchkes as possible to clear the decks for Christmas decor.

Not only does Christmas decorating go so much more smoothly if you start with a relatively clean(ish) slate, it looks a lot better to the eye when there aren’t so many items competing for focus.

Pack the items you normally use to “merchandise” your space in a few of the medium to large-ish boxes that arrive carrying internet purchases.

It’s not too late to do it now, by the way – EVEN if your halls are primarily decked already.  Look around to see which non-Christmas items are distracting, and box them up.

NOW wrap those boxes – and tie them up with pretty ribbon and a big bow.

If you have the time, it is EVEN better if it is done in a manner that you can reuse them without rewrapping from year to year.

Even if you are someone who changes your theme or color scheme every Christmas, if you keep the wrapping paper relatively neutral you can always change the look with different ribbon.

Moving right along, you can ALSO use those wrapped boxes to pack up some of the ornaments and other artifacts of Christmas-soon-to-be-past until next year – sans bows, of course.

No mistaking what those boxes contain – even without the bows!

The MAIN thing, however, is to be able to
hide your storage solutions in plain sight.

Put your prettily wrapped boxes around your home to spread a bit of storage-secret Christmas glow from room to room.

Or mass them together in a couple of out of the way corners.  According to Apartment Therapy, “. . . a collection of otherwise basic gift-wrapped presents is made more dramatic and note-worthy when grouped and stacked all together.”

But WAIT – there’s more . . .


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What’s up with Twinkly Lights?

LightsWhy don’t they drive EVERYBODY Crazy?
(Searching for the quiet kind!)

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

Oh dear, it seems that a bit of Monday grumpiness is about to bleed through my Christmas Happy Christmas series.  But somebody has to stand up and be counted, and I’m up for the job!

Flickering Candlelight is lovely – artificial, not so much

I’m old enough to remember when lights were either ON or off – unless, of course, they were dying.  We replaced lights that flickered post haste.

BubbleLightIn my mind, bubble lights marked the beginning of the “lights that oscillate” fascination. They’re the earliest “moving” lights I can recall, in any case.

In yet another amazingly comprehensive entry, wonderful Wikipedia** says:

“As Christmas lights, bubble lights were very popular during the 1950s through the 1970s, before miniature ‘fairy’ lights became popular.”

Vintage Christmas collectors sometimes use them still, and I believe there is a new version back on the market  for fans of Mid-Century Modern — so it’s not necessary to have been around back in the Dark Ages to have seen bubble lights.  Many people absolutely adore them.

I find the buggers distracting and annoying myself.

**Wikipedia is currently fund-raising, by the way.

They say that if everyone using them donated three measly dollars, their fund raiser would be over in an hour.

Add them to your Christmas Giving list, skip a cup of Starbucks and go give them at least $3.00.

Even if you’ve never explored “the people’s encyclopedia,” think of it as your share of how much I backstop with Wikipedia as I write the articles I gift to you here.

If you click the link to their Bubble article (their name above), the link to their donate page will be at the top of that article until they’ve reached their goal – the minimum they need to run for another year.

If you’re reading this later, don’t think they no longer need the money! The link to their donate page is always available for you on the right sidebar here on – so go DO that, okay?

Craving warmth

I like a soft glow, and that’s what I try to create in my home — this holiday season and every holiday season. Year-round, in fact, unless I need bright light for a project of some sort. I wouldn’t care much for the flickering of old-fashioned wax candles either if they were as bright as even the dimmest of artificial lighting.

Even the graphic I placed at the top of the page to illustrate the twinkly concept quickly began to give me a headache. I was relieved when it finally scrolled off the page (Fear not, I don’t plan to repeat the experiment).

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ALL I want for Christmas is . . .

A Shih Tzu Puppy
I’ve been so lonely since my little Tabitha died

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

I guess Santa got my letter

Some of you were aware that I finally decided that, apartment ready or not, sharing my life with another Shih Tzu was exactly what the doctor ordered to turn this miserable year around.

I’d love to be able to rescue but, like almost everything else, it’s a bit more complicated in my case.  I am highly allergic to all cats and almost every other breed of dog, so if I am to remain breathing I must make sure the animal I live with is a purebred Shih Tzu.



The very idea of buying a dog activates my own black and white thinking – in spades!

After much investigation, I finally found a breeder I trusted, put a deposit down before making final payment on one of the most adorable little puppies I’ve ever seen.  I was just about to hop on a plane to go get the little guy when everything blew up in my face.

Won’t anything ever go right again? was my reaction,
tears of disappointment streaming down my face.

If you’ve been following along since the gang mugging, resulting medical drama, forced move, FOUR repeats of iPhone failure, the auction where everything in my rented storage space was sold after they couldn’t reach me by phone, etc. – this year alone – you’ll understand that was not quite the over-reaction it might otherwise seem to be.

Getting back on the horse

On the recommendation of Lynn Fontaine, the wonderful and spiritually generous original breeder, I spoke with Twana of Pe-Kae Treasures – a breeder she had known for quite a while (and only a day trip away by car).

SO . . . while this article auto-posts, Peggy Ramundo and I are in her car and on our way to pick up my little Christmas puppy.

Oh yes, there really IS a Santa Claus!

ShihTzu in car


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Wanna’ see a photo of HIM?

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Neuroflexyn: BUYER BEWARE

Lack of information vs. marketing is suspicious
Read with your brain engaged

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from the Non-Pharm Alternatives Series

UPDATE 1/9/15: VERY early this morning, I received an interesting email from a member of the Neuroflexin organization in response to this article.

I have replied, seeking their permission to post it online – so say tuned as I check them out further.

BY THE WAY:  It was respectful and seemingly concerned about the sensationalism around the web – which they say they do not condone or promote.  Bodes well, huh?

#2 UPDATE – 1/14/15: They have responded with permission – to be fair, I will put it in a new post with a new (and more hopeful) title, rather than adding it in a comment to a post that begins with “Buyer Beware.”
 — Link now at the bottom of this article in Related Content —

Preliminary findings: short and not so sweet

For those of us with Executive Functioning Dysregulation issues [EFD], a new product on the performance enhancement market touted as the Viagra for the Brain sounds like a nootropic answer to a prayer.

You may have heard about it as EVO, “the Limitless Pill” (E-Huperzine) – credited as the genesis of the idea for the film. The buzz about Neuroflexyn increased rapidly after Limitless became a Box Office smash hit and publicly referenced Neuroflexyn as its inspiration.

Here’s what the folks at smartSMARTER have to say about the product in their introduction to a clearly marked ADVERTISEMENT (designed nonetheless to look like something else):

We expose the truth behind a ground-breaking pill that has many experts furious. Studies have revealed it boosts brain power by up to 89.2%, sharpens your mind and sky-rockets your energy levels. With such overwhelming evidence and media mention, the question is not whether the pill works, but whether it should be legal.

EF_pieChart_brainToo good to be true?

A plethora of marketing-posing-as-information articles make some pretty amazing claims about the benefits of Neuroflexyn. I’ll admit that I was tempted to purchase as I read them – which is what launched me on the informational research trail.

Product marketing swears that Neuroflexyn has been “proven” to significantly increase IQ as it enhances memory, concentration, intentional focus — productivity practically across the board, in fact.

In addition, again according to their marketing, this new “supplement” dramatically increases cognition and intelligence with NO reported side effects.

Ahem! As you may already be aware, the FDA does not currently regulate supplements. Whether or not that is ultimately a good thing or turns out to be a lousy way to attempt to protect the public, it does mean that this new product currently flies beneath FDA radar.

The manufacturer can pretty much claim anything they want
in their attempt to sell their product.

It is up to us to determine how ethical they appear to be, in contrast to any eagerness to part us from our wallets by any means available, in service of corporate profitability.

Not to seem to have joined some Royal Society of Skeptics, my Boomer lifetime of experience has taught me that whenever something sounds too good to be true, it usually is (not true, that is).

NEXT year’s stocking stuffer, maybe


Before any of YOU put any of your hard-earned Christmas cash into a product trial – as a gift or for yourself – take a few moments to read what I have to say about why you might want to wait until more results are in.

In addition to other reasons I’m skeptical, I always advise caution any time product marketing attempts to manipulate us into buying — rather than enticing us into that action with information designed to help us to come to a decision.

I DO NOT Heart Scare Tactics

It seems to be a popular “ask for the sale” approach to attempt to sweeten response rate with text urging readers to take hasty action for fear of losing some advantage or opportunity if they take a day or more to think things over or investigate other options.

Neuroflexyn’s marketing game-plan seems to be to set up “Big Pharma” as the bogey-man, supposedly intent on shutting down Neuroflexyn production because it is “competition” for the profitability of their pharmaceutical products.

Uh-huh – so buy now or regret it when
Neuroflexyn is taken off the market?

I guess that implies that one must seriously stock up from the very beginning – just in case it really does work – to ensure access to a continued supply during the upcoming fight for manufacturing rights.  Let’s all go get right on it, then!

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ADD and Christmas too!

An Overwhelming Season for SO Many
(WAY too many To-dos in SO many categories for one short month)

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

How does ANYBODY fit everything in?

Even the neurotypical crowd gets a bit of a taste of ADD/EFD overwhelm as Christmas rapidly approaches — especially those who just went overboard on the Thanksgiving extravaganza.

But those of us who have brains that are ALREADY struggling to manage life’s ordinary details can easily go down with Santa’s ship – turning what could be a terrific break from the everyday struggles into the cluttered ADD/EFD version of The Nightmare Before Christmas.

So Much to Decorate – so little time!

The days when Christmas decor was limited, essentially, to hanging a few stockings and trimming a tree seem to have disappeared like Brigadoon.

NOT that I’m actually complaining about that, understand.
I would have invented “Deck the Halls” if somebody hadn’t beaten me to it.

But even if I had “start early” genes in my DNA, to avoid public censure one really must wait to start displaying Christmas-y items until the season-long summer heat wave has subsided and the autumn leaves have had their 15 minutes of fame (unless one runs a Christmas Shop, which I’ve actually considered – for exactly that reason!).

In the minds of most people, the day after Halloween seems to be an acceptable — albeit incredibly EARLY — start-date for decking  (though I can’t, for the life of me, understand their objections to a larger buffer as a running start!)

Pinterest helps, of course – sort of

Nobody seems to object or poke too much fun at Christmas PINS – even long before Halloween costumes have become the only vision in the heads of little kids everywhere.

I began pinning inspiration images quite early this year, hoping they would help me develop a realistic game plan for Christmas AS I organized my new digs following my recent move.

Oops – THAT little “assist” has now become part of the problem.
I mean, what ADDer needs help dreaming up new things to do?

A woman who already has FOUR full-sized trees with as many decorating themes (and several more table-tops and minis) has NO business trying to remember to look for a thrift-store colander to spray-paint red as stand for her “visions of sugarplums” kitchen tree.

She shows even less sanity pinning a link to a tutorial on how to make a Christmas tree from a tomato cage.

Does that matter?  NOT ONE WHIT. See the problem?


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Happy Belated Sinterklaas! December 5

Good Little Dutch Girls & Boys
found presents in their wooden shoes Friday night

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

click image for source

A bit of explanation

From the analysis of the Dutch tradition of Sinterklaas on the [mostly Dutch-language] blog of Samhildanach, a Dutch religious studies scholar says:

click image for source (in Dutch)

“Sinterklaas is the festival of St. Nicholas of Myra . . . [which is surrounded by] a lot of mythology . . . although little of that is commonly known.

This saint is portrayed as a venerable man in a red and gold bishop’s gown . . . Principally, the festival is meant for young children to around the age of eight.

The young . . . believe that Sinterklaas lives in Spain [and] visits the Netherlands every year in a steam ship, accompanied by his helpers, the dark-skinned Zwarte Pieten ‘Black Petes’, dressed in frivolous colours, to offer presents to all [well-behaved] children.

Those [who] have been naughty risk [being] caned by Zwarte Piet, or in extreme cases, [being] forced in the sack and taken back to Spain.”

The article goes on to explain that the period of Sinterklaas begins at some point in November every year – a national, televised event when St. Nicholas of Myra arrives at the dock, disembarking with his white horse and his attendant(s).

“From this moment on, the children [may] put down their shoes in front of the hearth. [. . .] The morning after, a small present will be in their shoes.

The festival is mainly celebrated in the Netherlands, but there are some local variations to be found in Belgium and Germany, encompassing differentiated local traditions.”

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Christmas Happy Christmas

Oh the weather outside’s not frightful
(But inside it’s about to get delightful)

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC


A Quick Reminder

From now until Twelfth Night – January 6th, when any sensible ADDer plans to celebrate the big present fest – I am going to replace the Monday Grumpy Monday series with Christmas Happy Christmas.

My regular Wednesday articles will all probably have a “getting ready for the upcoming holidays” theme as well.

This is Monday replacement #1.


Since I leave the trees up for so long (yes, trees – plural), there is no way any live tree would make it through the length of my particular holiday season.

Every single one would be a stick, long before I was ready to take it down — surrounded by a carpet of needles that I would track all over the house.

So I am especially grateful that artificial trees have become so realistic-looking in the last decade or so.  Not that it would really matter — eventually.

By the time I cover them with years and years of ornaments, it’s difficult to tell what’s underneath!

But I try to put my trees up very early and decorate as I find dribs and drabs of time — so I really like them to look as real as possible during the period they are comparatively naked.

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