Saturday, October 27, 2012

Buddy Walk Billboards

This year I volunteered to design the year's Buddy Walk billboards for our local Ds association, which included taking the photos of the sweethearts who were featured this year. Two children are chosen each year to be on the billboards, the child with the most walkers on his or her Buddy Walk team and the team that raised the most money.

Last year, there was an especially cute child chosen...
Our sweet little Levi (for having raised $6,500 the previous year, when he was only 4 months old)!

Here are some of the photos I took of this year's billboard models, Jordan...

and Will...
Their billboards were up for the month of Sept. to advertise our Oct. 6 Buddy Walk.
I feel honored to be a part of our local Down syndrome association and the work being done in our area. Thanks to everyone that has been a part of supporting us.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

I'm Guest Posting Today

Today I am guest posting at The Bates Motel blog. I wrote about how my past experiences with Down syndrome have influenced me as a parent.

Becca, at The Bates Motel, is doing the 31 for 21 challenge and is doing a post every day this month, which is Down Syndrome Awareness Month (31 days of writing in honor of that 21st chromosome, in case you're wondering). She has done some great question and answer posts this month. I hope you'll visit her blog and that you'll enjoy her writing as much as I do. It has been a wonderful blessing to connect with other parents through their blogs, and I'm so glad to walk this road with Becca and many others.

Have a great week!

Monday, October 22, 2012

My Little Bible Scholar, Adam

At home, we talk about encouraging others, going the extra mile, and other practical Bible-based actions. I bring up verses and read them to Adam when applicable, like when we talked about treating others the way we want to be treated, but I wouldn't consider anything I teach to be a formal Bible education by any stretch of the imagination. It isn't anything we spend a great deal of time on but has become part of our morning routine during breakfast conversation. I am trying to use that time of day to do my own Bible reading, and hope that it positively influences my children to see me in God's Word every morning.

In Bible class, Adam is learning to sing the books of the New Testament. He totally shocked me the other day by singing them so well with very little help. I didn't even know they were teaching that! He enjoys retelling the things he learns and loves being in class, but I did not know they were teaching something that even adults have trouble remembering!

Yesterday, during the Sunday morning sermon, Adam heard the preacher talk about Jesus, looked up at me, and said, "Jesus said, 'Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.'" I told him he was right and was impressed that he had been paying attention in Bible class (because I did not teach him that verse).

Today I was telling a friend about Adam quoting that verse and asked Adam, "Were did you hear that?" (thinking that he'd tell me he heard it in Bible class)

He said, "It's in John 14."

I laughed and looked it up just to see if he was right...HE WAS!! John 14:9


Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I know it seems strange that an Andy Williams song is stuck in my head in October, but that is how I feel about the fall. In my opinion, it really is "the most wonderful time of the year."

My favorite thing about this October? Last weekend.
photo by Jill Meador
I got to spend the weekend with these ladies at a retreat at Camp Tejas. These are women from the church in Rosenberg, where we used to live. They invited me to speak on friendship and unity in the church. I had a wonderful time and especially enjoyed the singing. Being with old friends was great, and I made some new friends, too.

One friend I was especially excited to see was my Amy. You know those friends with whom you always pick up where you left off? Well, Amy is NOT one of those friends...because we never "leave off" in the first place! I treasure this friend like no other and really appreciated deep, Christ-centered conversation mixed with deep belly laughs and fun all weekend. We even went to a haunted house on the way to the retreat!

Camp Tejas is like nothing I've ever seen. I didn't feel like I was camping. I felt like I was inside a Southern Living magazine! Here are a few pictures from the cabins.
We stayed in the "4 Seasons" area of the campgrounds. Each cabin was named after a month of the year and decorated accordingly.
June (there were a lot of quotes about marriage around the room)
Our free time activities were very exciting!
Oh, yeah! Made it to the top!
That's me on the left. Yipes!

I had delayed flights and lost luggage and ended up getting home at 3:30 in the morning, but I came home to a wonderful surprise...
My brother-in-law and hubby transformed the shower and tub I have loathed for the past 10 years into a brand-spankin' new Jacuzzi tub! Whoo hoo! Calgon take me away!

After getting home at 3:30am, I awoke to this guy, who was ready for breakfast 2 hrs. later.
That face! He had to make that face! So hilarious!
This one was up just a few minutes later.
You know, there is one drawback to this fall. When we set our clocks back, I will be waking up around FOUR THIRTY every morning! Wow. Maybe it isn't "the most wonderful time of the year" after all!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Buddy Walk Slide Show

The Buddy Walk means a lot to me. It is a very literal reminder that our friends & family members are by our sides, walking this unexpected journey with us. When Levi was a newborn, I was so afraid people would be uncomfortable around him and that we would lose our friends. I know it sounds silly now, but that is a big reason why the Buddy Walk is so significant to me. Thanks to all of you that contributed in one way or another to make our day special.

I hope as you look at the photos, you can also focus on the words of the song, Empathy, by Alanis Morissette.

"Thank you for seeing me.
  I feel so less lonely.
  Thank you for getting me.
  I'm healed by your empathy."

Friday, October 5, 2012

Life is Full

Anyone that asks, "How are you?" is likely to hear me simply say, "Busy." If I were to rattle off my schedule for this week and next, you might think I was out-of-my mind for having so much on my plate. Most days are jam-packed from beginning to end. I was starting to feel stressed earlier this week but really took time today to consider how blessed I am to be giving time to my priorities.

Busy sounds negative, but all the activity in my life right now is positive. So life isn't just busy. Life is full.

Socrates said, "Beware the barrenness of a busy life." I have had that kind of busy in my life. I have had days that I got all the items checked off my to-do list but didn't do anything that was important to me. We feel most empty when we aren't devoting time to the things we value. My current kind of busy is such a blessing because I am busy doing things that I think matter.

Ecclesiastes 4:5 says, "Fools fold their hands and ruin themselves." When we are not busy, we can live to regret it. (1 Tim. 5:13, Ecc. 10:18) With all that is going on, I am not wishing for a slow day. I am not yearning to be alone or to have a day off. I just want all my activities to have a pay-off in God's kingdom. Part of what I am working to do is bring up two boys that will serve Him.

This week, I have been talking to Adam about going the "extra mile." I asked him to take three more bites of his dinner the other night. He ate five bites and winked at me. It melted my heart and made me so thankful to be his "preschool teacher." Levi's speech therapist told me today that he couldn't be doing any better and that she was so pleased with what is going on at home to further his progress. Can you imagine how that made my heart swell?

Today we went back to the university to interact with the physical therapy students. I brought Adam along and feel so incredibly thankful that he is the kind of boy I can take just about anywhere.

Adam was fascinated with the air blowing his shirt up!
One of my favorite pictures of him ever taken
Did you notice that I was too tired to put my watermark on any of these?
This fence looked like the top of a castle. Adam innocently asked, "Do you know where the moat is?"
In his song, "Beautiful Boy," John Lennon sang, "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans." Make some plans today to do something that matters to you. I hope you will find yourself feeling full, instead of just busy.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Touching Video

Grab a box of tissue and take a minute to watch this video in honor of Down Syndrome Awareness Month.

The Buddy Walk is this weekend!! If you still want to walk with us or donate to Levi's 321 Genes, click here.