To Everything There Is a Season

Autumn Leaves

Edel T. Copeland

Published: November 1, 2016

Golden, crisp leaves falling softly from almost bare trees,

Lifting and falling in a hushed gentle breeze,

Slowly dropping to the soft cushioned ground,

Whispering and rustling a soothing sound.

 

Coppers, golds, and rusted tones,

Mother Nature’s way of letting go.

They fall and gather one by one,

Autumn is here, summer has gone.

 

Crunching as I walk through their warm fiery glow,

Nature’s carpet rich and pure that again shall grow,

To protect and shield its majestic tree,

Standing tall and strong for the world to see.

 

They rise and fall in the cool, crisp air.

It’s a time of change in this world we share,

Nature’s importance reflecting our own lives,

Letting go of our fears and again, too, we shall thrive.

 

 

I’m sure you’ve noticed pumpkin spice popping up everywhere, even on our market tables! Fall is coming. Winter is approaching. Our market season is coming to an end. Two more weeks for the summer markets. Squirrels and chipmunks are scurrying around making their winter stores, much like I am scurrying around preparing for my guys winter plan.

I really identify with the last stanza of this poem. Whether it’s Nature or God, the universe is telling us it is time to reflect and change so we can thrive. If I look back at the past summer, it is unbelievable what my guys have accomplished! By mid-July, they had hit every target I had for them for the next 18-24 months. They are media darlings. They had both local and national press. Their products are at not one market but three! Their products are making sure everyone is included at weddings, birthdays and baby showers.  They’ve become an incredible team. They make movie dates together. They see each other for bowling. My son has friends.

Going forward, we will be returning to the Carmel Winter Market, Oct 21 through February 24th, Saturdays 9 am to noon at 510 3rd Avenue SW. We will be available on www.Marketwagon.com  at  both Indianapolis and Laporte sites, where you are able to get weekly deliveries of our goods. We will not be returning to Fishers Winter Market. I know we have weekly customers. Just come see me at the Carmel Market. I never got a chance to meet any of you! I owe you all a hug for supporting us! There’s an incredible line up of vendors at the Carmel Winter Market.

Every second, I’m not in the kitchen or trying to hustle up more press, I am working on getting my team their own kitchen. I am getting closer daily. You all will be the first to know!!! Someone once asked J man how he was going to become a chef, his response was, “ do cooking.”  If it was just cooking, it would be so easy and fun! That’s where I want to be in the kitchen goofing off with my guys. I want you, the customers, to experience the fun and enthusiasm they have.  If they had their own kitchen, they can take wholesale, co packing, and mail order/online sales(out of state) orders! All of that would mean more hours for my current guys and more job openings.

A kitchen would mean we would be more able to provide people with autism an opportunity to build a career, achieve an independent lifestyle and create social change. Hopefully, No Label this summer has created change or shift in people’s mind set. My dream was that we would inspire the community to change their perception of the capabilities of people with autism. My employees work is of the same value of their non-disabled peers.

As I reflect on the summer, I feel so appreciative for the community that has embraced us. You follow my guys progress on Facebook and Instagram. I get emotional thinking about the customers who know the chefs by name! I still am astonished and very grateful when brides take a chance on my guys!

I look forward to our next steps. I feel blessed to be taking them with the community and my guys. I’ve got future actuaries, engineers, and Bobby Flays! I’ve told one of my guys he must thank me in his Oscar and Grammy acceptance speech and to hype our snickerdoodles before they start playing the music on him! The future going to big for us, just watch and see, we shall thrive!

Guest Blogger- Sam the bigger, little brother

This week J man’s brother heads back to school. Here are his reflections on our first months in the business. I’ll add I am super proud of the men my boys are becoming!!!

I know that my mom turns away a lot of people who offer to volunteer at No Label at the Table. For me, I was voluntold to do my part. I’ve worked both at the markets and in the kitchen to help this business grow, and there are a lot of lessons I think I will take away from this experience.

 

The first is to make sure to set a good example. The other day we had a bit of a mix-up with one of the recipes, and I got a little bit frustrated. All I did was sigh and put my head in my hands for a few seconds, but one of our employees could see my frustration and followed my example by becoming frustrated with their work. I had accidentally hurt our work environment and productivity. We managed to get through this one, but I can say that it did teach me a lesson about trying to set a good example. Counter to this, the employees have provided me with a good example. Plenty of times when I’ve been washing dishes, I look over to them and see their enthusiasm for what they’re doing, and it imbues me with a new energy for my work.

 

I also learned that there is a great deal of truth behind the saying, “don’t judge a book by its cover.”  One of our employees didn’t really speak or talk to the others. However, despite this they have proven to be probably our most productive employee. They take on an entire stage in our production process by themselves, and manage to do it with ease and efficiency. It’s amazingly impressive. Despite facing incredible challenges they manage to be one of our best and greatest employees. It’s most certainly been a great lesson in not underestimating anyone.

 

I could go on and on with different things I’ve learned from this experience, but this blog entry would be a thousand pages long. Suffice to say that it’s been an incredible experience. Our employees are some of the most amazing people I have ever met, and I know they will go on to do incredible things. I’m proud to be a part of this enterprise that will provide a dream-fulfilling future for my brother, and help so many other people like him. I thank all of you for your support, and I hope to see some of you at the markets one Saturday.

PRESS RELEASE

Contact

Shelly Henley

Telephone

317-607- 6233

Cell

317-607-7599

Email

jakensamsmom@yahoo.com

Website

www.nolabelatthetable.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 1, 2017

No Label At the table launching to provide job opportunities and job skills traing for people with autism

No Label at the Table is a gluten & dairy free food company staffed by people on the autistic spectrum

Carmel, IN , May 1, 2017–

No Label at the Table is pleased to announce they are taking their products to www.carmelfarmersmarkert.com and www.fishers.in.us/farmersmarket   beginning May 6th through September 30, 2017. Gluten and dairy free cookies, cupcakes, pizza crust and breads will be available.

No Label at the Table was founded by a set of parents when their autistic son was transitioning to adulthood and wanted to become a chef. The parents set out to make it a reality and provide training and employment opportunities for other adults on the spectrum. You can read more about the story and follow the company’s development at www.nolabelatthetable.com .

Two thirds of people with autism after HS graduation are unemployed. The statistics get worse the older a person on the spectrum is. No Label at the Table’s goal is to open a bakery/ quick service restaurant with a certified gluten free kitchen that can be proof to the community the value of employing people on the spectrum.

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Shelly Henley at 317-607- 6233 or email at jakensamsmom@yahoo.com.

How Do You Measure Success?

How do you measure success? In sports, there’s a winner and a loser. In a race, it’s whoever crosses the finish line first. For me and it’s always been this way, even before having a child with special needs, I set a goal, make a plan and complete it.  I make a lot of lists. I MEAN a lot of lists. There’s something so lovely about crossing things off. The reward center in my brain dings. When I’ve completed a list, and done things well, it’s like the I’ve hit the jack pot, lights flashing, sirens blaring and coins clinking. There’s a tangible reward or pay off. I can look at a crossed off completed list and go to bed at night knowing I accomplished something.

I don’t always get that same feeling with motherhood. Rewards keep you motivated and going. When you don’t have a particularly emotive son, it can be tough. Don’t get me wrong I adore my son!   I know the feeling is mutual. Smiles, giggles and novel speech are very special in our house. Our hearts break up when we hear novel speech. Don’t get me wrong my son can communicate and is verbal. A lot of his speech is very programmed. If you’re an educator or another special needs parent you can tell this guy had a lot of intervention and worked hard, but talking is still hard. Most of his spontaneous speech is still a couple words bunched together. We are fluent in J man so we get what he’s saying. It’s rare to get a full sentence or an actual question. Friends with teenage daughters say be thankful they never shut up. Friends with teenage sons say you get more than I do he just grunts.

Crispy, yet still raw cookies(FYI, we still ate them) Notice the J man’s smile

Last week we had our first real day in the kitchen. Of course, I had my list. We were testing times and temperatures for three recipes and checking on a few other things. I thought we’d be in and out in 2 hours of the rented kitchen space. We ended up spending close to three hours, FAIL. Here’s a list of the fails in the kitchen last Friday

Not quite figuring out, the 3 sink set up

Getting the 3 sink set up properly the first time– FAIL

Scooping cookies with an even and consistent size- FAIL

Getting a cooking time for cookies-FAIL (we produced crunchy on the outside, raw in the middle cookies)

Setting up a double boiler- FAIL– (we eventually got it, but took 20 minutes to turn on burner)

Cooking time for brownies- FAIL – (we produced muddy, more like fudge sorta, not suitable for sale)

Cooking time for Bread/BRICK- FAIL– (we produced a paving stone)

Inventory of pans needed-FAIL– (No Time, totally unrealistic timetable)

Inventory of packaging- FAIL– (NO Time)

Weighing brownie ingredients- FAIL– (could figure out where to plug in scale)

 

Jeff came to pick J up from the kitchen. He could tell I was totally discouraged. I was worried about what we got ourselves into! Not one recipe we tried came out well! Nothing was appropriate for resell. Jeff assured me that I wasn’t going to get everything perfect from the start. We were testing. That was the point of testing. I started to worry about the promises I made to the families of guys I hired. J and Jeff left for his next thing. I stayed waiting for the brick/bread to come out of the oven and thinking it was all an epic failure.

After about 20 minutes, I got a call from Jeff. He said your guy was all smiles. I asked him if he liked the kitchen, he said IT WAS AWESOME.  Not a programmed response! Totally his! And a full sentence!

SUCESSS!!!!! Bells were ringing and sirens were going off!! He loved it. I’d forgot about my big goal to make a place in the world for J as an adult. I did it. He was smiling and talking. He was happy. It was no failure. Failures do not move forward. We are going to learn from our mistakes. We are going to investigate and innovate! We’ll figure out the ovens and where everything is in the kitchen.

Big smile and super proud of himself! Happy to be in a real kitchen!

From J’s mouth to God’s ears! It was awesome. We are going to be awesome. We are awesome.

 

Confirmed Items on the Gluten and Dairy Free Menu

We’ve been hard at work tasting and testing our recipes

Here’s a list of confirmed Items for the markets thus far

GF/ DF White Sandwich Bread

GF/DF Pumpernickel Rolls

GF/DF Irish Brown Bread

GF/DF Brownies

GF/DF Chocolate Cupcakes

GF/DF Corn Bread

GF/DF Snicker doodles

GF/DF Chocolate buzz cookies

&

GF/DF Chocolate Chip cookies

More testing and tasting is happening this week

We’ll have more to come

Please let us know if there are any special requests!

 

 

Hope And Hustle

Our company began when my son was turning eighteen and transitioning to adulthood. He said he wanted to be a chef in restaurant. Initially, I giggled and told him, “No you like to eat at restaurants.” Then I realized, no of course, he’d want to cook. He started a gluten/casien free diet when he was a toddler. 18 years ago, no one knew what gluten free was, so I pulled him up on the kitchen island and we baked. Baking and cooking are process driven. You follow the steps and in the end, you get a yummy reward. It’s very satisfying work for him.

Being a chef would’ve been impossible. He wasn’t verbal enough to make it through an interview. If a restaurant would take a chance on him, he’d be relegated to the dishwasher.  He has an incredible palate and like most people on the spectrum amazing detail and process skills.  A dishwashing position would be a waste of his potential and most likely a disaster.

All parents want their children to grow to be happy fulfilled people.  My husband and I had to make career choices that paid the bills and supported the family.  When helping our children plan their futures, we stressed to want more than money. You want to do something interesting. You want to feel like you are doing is something useful. You want to feel like your work is needed, that need gives you a feeling that you are important. Your work adds to your self-worth. 

To live the life you want to, to enjoy your work and feel validated is important for everyone but especially for someone with special needs. Work has to be enjoyable, otherwise it’s another tedious task in a world that doesn’t always make sense. So, with a lot of hope and hustle we decided to make his dream of being a chef a reality and give other people’ s children an opportunity for meaningful work as well . In this process, I’ve gained a few pounds and realized I hate frosting , but I’ve found meaningful work.