Challenged Hope

Grandmother raising Grandchildren with FASD in Hamilton Ontario Canada

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Letting Life’s Transitions Lead to Extraordinary Destiny

Guest post by Caleb Anderson of Recovery Hope

Todays post is written by Caleb Anderson of Recovery Hope. The purpose of Recovery Hope website is to … give hope to those facing recovery from unhealthy addictions. We bring together stories, advice, and resources to help others on their journeys. 

Given many individuals with FASD struggle with addiction, I decided Caleb’s post would be a great addition to this blog. 

Photo Credit: Unsplash

“Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an

extraordinary destiny.”  –C.S. Lewis

Transitions are an inevitable part of life, and each can feel magnificently positive or overwhelmingly painful, depending on the way we uniquely handle them. Whether you’re recently widowed or acclimating to an empty nest, expecting a baby or graduating college; all can seem daunting. Managing change will rely on your ability to be nimble and open to life’s new norms. Consider this…

Exercise and Meditation  

 Numerous studies link exercise to improved mental health. Consider incorporating:

  • Yoga – Licensed psychotherapist Ashley Turner says, “yoga is the key to psychological and emotional healing as well as resolving issues with self-confidence, relationships, and more.”
  • Aerobic Exercise – According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, exercise is critical for maintaining mental fitness and stress reduction. They report it works by, “reducing fatigue, improving alertness and concentration, and at enhancing overall cognitive function. This can be especially helpful when stress has depleted your energy or ability to concentrate.”

Find Positive, Wherever Possible

There are numerous ways to keep your focus on the good, versus the negative.

  • Surround yourself with positive people.
  • Focus on your attributes by practicing positive self-talk.
  • Be thankful for what you do have. It’s easy, in a transitional moment, to think of all we have lost. Instead, try remembering what positive things still exist.
  • Reframe your change, by thinking what positive will come from it. If you’ve lost a spouse, for example, consider how nice it will be to downsize to a smaller home, perhaps on the waterfront, where you’ve always wanted to be.

Be Your Own Best Friend

Stephen Richards, author of Think Your Way to Success: Let Your Dreams Run Free, said “Before you can successfully make friends with others, first you have to become your own friend.” Times of transition are a good time to reacquaint yourself with yourself; after all, no one will be getting you through your change period, but you. Discover new things about yourself, consider changing habits that weigh you down, and learn to love the new emerging you.

The Importance of Your Environment

 Your home is likely where you spend the majority of time, and it contributes greatly to your sense of well-being.

  • Keep your room bright with both natural and artificial light. Light can improve both depression and anxiety.
  • A cluttered home can add to your stress and impact further behavior. If you come home to a messy home, you’re less likely to be motivated to hang up your coat, or put away new purchases.
  • Watch for negative emotional anchors, or things that weigh you down mentally. If you’re recently widowed make sure you keep around things that create positive memories, and avoid holding onto things that are triggers for sadness.

As you work through your transition, whatever it may be, try to remember that in this process there is plenty of positive. In other words, when one door closes and you’re waiting for the other to open, there’s plenty of room for personal growth in the hallways.  Here are some positive spins on what you’re experiencing.

It can make you stronger – Life’s changes each work in their own way to help us build resilience and coping skills.

It can help you re-prioritize – Frequently, the pressures around change can help us to gain new perspective forcing us to focus on new and exciting opportunities.

It can help you be a better version of you – Change and its link to positive personal growth have been scientifically proven. Perhaps, the most important part of any personal metamorphosis, is your willingness to learn from it.

When entering any of life’s transitions, one thing is sure, you won’t be the same person you were before the change, and that’s okay. Learn to accept it, and let go. Be thankful for where you’ve been, and where you’re going. And, relax; life’s new path leads to an “extraordinary destiny.”



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Is Writing On Your Mind?

Stop thinking about it, and start writing!

Do you live in the Hamilton/Wentworth area? Is writing on your mind, or is it your passion, or simply something you would like to try? Come out to Turner Park Library’s Live Writing Workshop, hosted by Viga Boland, author of No Tears For My Father. Discover the poet, memoir-ist, blogger, or fiction-writer in YOU.

Is Writing On Your Mind?

This workshop is for all writers of all genres but, if you, like me, are caregiver to a child with FASD, then I know you have a lot to say. So, come to the session and write it out. It won’t hurt, and might even help. If you have not written anything before, then this is a great place to begin. It you write every day then you will have a lot to share. Either way, the session will offer interest and diversity.

I hope to see you there!

Where:  Turner Park Library, 352 Rymal Road East, Hamilton , ON L9B 1C2

When: Mondays, April 18th & April 25th

Time: 1:00 – 3:00 pm

Host: Viga Boland

To contact Viga for information, visit:

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Upcoming Events

Watch for these upcoming events!

  • Upcoming Event: Sunday, March 13th 2016. 7:00-8:00 pm

I will be speaking about my memoirs and FASD on ARTWAVES: a live radio broadcast from Mohawk College. ARTWAVES is an arts interview radio program which airs live every Sunday, from 7-8 pm, at 101.5 FM. Google “l0l5 The Hawk” to listen to the program in real time, or listen to podcasts at

  • Upcoming Event: Thursday, March 24th 2016, 7:00-8:30 pm

I will be hosting an FASD event evening at Turner Park Library, Hamilton, Ontario. Speakers will include Mark Courtepatte and Savanna Petriano from Hamilton FASD Caregivers Support Group, and Tim Groenewegen, a special needs educator with the HWDSB. Together we hope to bring information, guidance, and support to those interested in learning about FASD, its symptoms, challenges, and services. Event is free.

Download my two memoirs for FREE from my website

Two Decades Of Diapers

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: The Teen Years

Also see me on Youtube

Twitter: @barbarastudham


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Event: Eden Mills Writers’ Festival

Don’t Miss This Event: Eden Mills Writers’ Festival  — Sunday September 13th 2015!

I will be attending this event: Eden Mills Writers’ Festival, as publisher of my memoir: Two Decades Of Diapers, along with two friends and fellow authors, Viga Boland and Heather Lamb.

Come and meet us three, Barbara Studham, Viga Boland, and Heather Lamb at the event: Eden Mills Writers’ Festival on Sunday, September 13th from noon to 6:00pm. We love to talk about our books, so don’t be shy. We didn’t write our books to rot in cartons in our basements—we WANT to share our life experiences. My memoir describes the twenty years I spent raising four grandchildren with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Viga wants the world to know that incest is rampant and shares her own mind-blowing experience with incest at the hands of her father. Heather spent thirty-five years working as a bookkeeper in a Hamilton, Ontario, car dealership and writes humorously on the antics and escapades of her colleagues and the staff.

To learn more about the Eden Mills Writers’ Festival, visit:

Barbara Studham’s books are available from:

Viga Boland’s books are available from:

Heather Lamb’s new book, titled: This *#%$ing Car is a Lemon, will be available in 2016!


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FASD Marathon

Get Your Running Shoes On

Running An FASD Marathon!








I once heard it said that raising children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder is like running an FASD marathon. At the time, I wasn’t quite sure what the individual meant but, as my grandchildren with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome progress through their teenage years, I now know exactly what it means:

  • RUN one step ahead of them. Know their moods. Recognize the onset of a meltdown.
  • EXPECT setbacks, but FORGE AHEAD.
  • Know this takes STAMINA and FOCUS and diminishes ENERGY.
  • PLAN A STRATEGY to prevent losing to their defiance.
  • Stay ON TRACK.
  • STAY HEALTHY so you can cope with the behaviors waiting to TRIP YOU UP.
  • Don’t FALL, never FAIL, NEVER GIVE UP.
  • KEEP YOUR EYE ON THE FINISH LINE; only when night falls can you say you WON.

You see, it is a marathon. So get on those sneakers and start running! I’m sure many caregivers of teens with FASD can come up with more tips on winning the FASD marathon. So, let’s hear them. Please leave a comment.

Please check out my memoir: Two Decades of Diapers, and my other books at: