Tell Us About Your Company
Lemon began as a quest for me to share techniques and methodologies from a holistic and social emotional perspective to support and broaden the understanding in raising a child with special needs to parents, educators, therapists, and doctors.
As a mother to a daughter with a communication disorder, apraxia, it has been important for me to turn over every stone I could, and continue to.
My book was published in May 2019. I created Lemon LLC to support parents who have special needs children with art therapy techniques as a tool for self growth and understanding in a safe place with like-minded individuals. It is also to raise awareness for auto-immune induced autism and co-existing disorders.
I have always been an expressive artist whether through writing or the visual arts.
As I sat down one morning, looking out my window, breathing in what was pure and true, I saw the vacant spaces between the branches of the trees. I knew there were openings through merely surviving past the pain and through the forest into the light.
My way through it was by typing the mood and sensations I felt and to integrate and make sense out of a not so easy path. I realized the gifts within me, as the words funneled through me, and I could share with others a more forgiving and honest place. Nothing was set in stone. Life was fluid. Eating lemons was something my daughter ate, quite often. She'd devour not only the inside but bite through the outer skin. She was finding her own balance and I was, too. Watching my daughter get the sustenance she needed, was something to smile about. Hence, the cover of my book, Lemon. A picture of Sierra, holding half a lemon. On her shirt, is a yoga mudra symbol. I hadn't intentionally put this shirt on her. That was a sporadic moment, in time. Yoga is an art that offered me peace and solace, a place of reassurance that all would be okay. Better than okay:). Life was raw, and tough on the outside, but when you get to the inside it was somewhat tart, but juicy.. and each day there was a freshness, just like a lemon.
My initial goals were to simply, share my story. For parents and caregivers to know they are not alone. That this is our normal. That there is no "normal". That we can fight this together, and also let down our guard, and not battle ourselves, when we walk into a store to buy groceries, with rolling eyes from another or a turned head gaping at the scream or cry or jumping of our child. That we are not bad or unskilled parents. That we are doing our best.
Tell Us About Yourself
My immediate family is an intimate one of three. Four including my sweet Jack Russell, Maggie. So yes, the answer is four. My daughter Sierra, is turning ten on April 8th, my husband Andrew, and myself.
My background is as a Creative Arts Therapist and Special Educator. I have certification as a Kripalu Yoga Teacher, and I have a background in metaphysical studies, including mediumship. I have written several other stories, one titled, "What Kind of Bagel Am I?" It was about bagels and personality types. It sold in Whole Foods Stores throughout the country. I have several in the works.
Years ago, after I graduated with my masters in art therapy from Hofstra University, I started an Art Therapy Program in a public school district in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn. I was responsible for bringing the arts in a therapeutic way to the special needs students in the six schools I rotated within. I wrote a booklet on art therapy techniques for the parents and educators throughout the district. It was my goal to bring the program to other districts in and surrounding my home town. Funding and time constraints within the school day posed a problem for its approval.
I continued to work with special needs children in a variety of settings, including early childhood with developmental challenges in their homes. I also, worked for a grant funded program with domestic violence with families, and afterwards developed a small private practice.
This all prepared me for a solid foundation in motherhood. Little did I know, it was preparing me for something even bigger. My beautiful child, Sierra Brooke. Sierra means jagged edge of a mountain, and Brooke, means leading into a small stream.
This was the metaphor for our life, the challenges, and all through these past years, Sierra has shown me such bravery, boldness, fierceness and an endurance that surpasses the challenges she faces.
The test of the quality of my book and it's impact upon others was a process for me.
I had two editors who helped support me in understanding the flow of my story with greater ease, as I was up hours during the night, deciding where to cut and paste and move pertinent information, or to simply, part with it. It was like cleaning house, and parting with that which was unnecessary and in clarifying the essentials.
This was the hardest part in my story's development. What are the important details, and will it impact the story, and how much so. I weeded out what wasn't necessary and my endless commas, in my pausing throughout became evident.
Life was a series of pausing, but also there was a divine flow of energy.
Lemon came about.
I presented my book to a college, that "expressed interest" in using it as a book study for the special education and psychology department. I have received positive feedback from speech therapists who see the value in the ideas expressed by simple engagement, from more concrete to abstract principles taking into account the personality and overall development of the child. It has a social emotional emphasis, that is much more integral to development than task related analysis. Goals are important, the ability to express oneself happens when there is natural urge to communicate through using the body and one's breath, when one slows down, and sees the connectedness between two people, and their their energies, and what truly matters in life.
That spark that I am heard, I am valued, and I can take a breath and my nervous system can allow itself to balance and my brain can then be the tool for gaining greater knowledge and awareness.
Lemon is sold on Amazon through KDP Amazon Services. Currently, it is produced in a paper and book format. Touching my book for the first time, and seeing it come to fruition, was an amazing process. It was truly cathartic and uplifting. I have participated in workshops and book signings at local places, and plan on continuing with possibilities of some exciting venues upcoming.
My source of inspiration has been my daughter Sierra. My other source that I am thankful for is my grandfather Zach, who was a fine artist. My grandmother Miriam has been a positive role model in my life. She passed a few years ago. She had such zest and passion for life, and a sheer appreciation for the arts, especially theater. She would sometimes look at my hands, and tell me they were like my grandfather's. She had such wisdom and grace, and a youthful voice.
Next 3 - 5 Years
In the next three to five years, I can see myself flourishing with my daughter, and building upon our creativity. I continue to support Sierra's artistic gifts in her understanding and application of color using paints, mixed media, and collage materials. I have books in the making. One a metaphysical novel of good vs. evil and emerging into a higher consciousness. I have children's books, I've written, and some have illustrated, and in the process. It is always to support love and kindness, and a more understanding world.
I developed Lemon LLC, to raise awareness. Proceeds for my book, Lemon go to providing our daughter with treatment and therapies to help her lead the most fulfilling and independent life we can. Support Groups for Lemon are available to the public.
We are grateful to all who are open to sharing our story. My goal is to support our daughter, to educate the public, and to provide help to those in need.
Marni Leigh Greenwald, Creative Arts Therapist + Author of Lemon
Where to Buy: Lemon on Amazon