Wednesday, June 29, 2011

That R Word

I know I used to use it.  I know I am extra sensitive about how harsh it sounds now.  I read a lot of comments on facebook that use the word retarded and I cringe.  Somehow it hurts me to read it, to hear it.  I have heard my kids say it.  I read a lot of posts on facebook that use that word in their status updates.  Sometimes I want to respond, but I usually don't...until the other day.

A couple of days ago, a teenager that I know used it.  He was comparing something that he didn't think was very good to someone who was retarded.  I thought and decided to write something.  I simply said that the item he was talking about must be amazing and wonderful.  He got it.

Very shortly after I left the comment, the post was totally deleted and I had a sweet message in my inbox.  He said he was very sorry for insulting me and Davin and that he was glad I had said something and that it helped him to grow.  What a sweet boy.  He would NEVER have hurt Davin on purpose.  Never.  I told him that I knew that. 

So, maybe that is how we make a person at a time:-)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

His First Baby Girl

My girls have always adored their Daddy.  Our Ashleigh and her Daddy fell in love the moment they met.  Alan was not present for her actual birth, but met her when she was about 9 hours old.  It was love at first sight....on both sides. 

When Ashleigh was little, Alan was away a lot since he was in the Navy.  She had such a hard time handling long periods of time without her Daddy.  When Alan was gone on a med-cruise for 6 months, she carried around a picture of Alan holding her when she was a newborn and she would not just cry...she would sob....she would wail.  It broke my heart. 

Alan and Ashleigh are alike in so many ways and that always gave them a bond while Ashleigh was growing up.  She always felt like her Dad handled her much better than I did during some difficult times in her life.  I don't necessarily agree with that statement, but I am glad she sees things that way;-)

Now that Ashleigh is married, she doesn't spend as much time with her Dad, but she loves him just the same.  Alan just got the sweetest note from her for Father's Day and it meant so much to him.  There is just something special about a Daddy and his girl.

Monday, June 27, 2011


After a week at camp and a super early morning today with Davin's golf tournament, Davin is exhausted!! 

By the way, camp was a huge success.  If only I could get some information out of Davin, though.  I guess what happens at Handi-camp stays at Handi-camp:-)

Monday, June 20, 2011

He is There.....

We spent all weekend packing up and making sure Davin had everything he needed for camp.  It was all a bit overwhelming to try to write down everything that his counselor needed to know, but thankfully I have a bossy boy and Davin will help his counselor out if needed:-) 

This morning, Davin, Ashleigh and I headed out and drove an hour to Camp Malaga.  Davin was checked out (he offered to show his stomach, of course, but they did not find that necessary), checked in, and got a new camp t-shirt.  (Of course we put it on right away!)  I stayed for a little while and showed Sam (Davin's counselor) where I had put things in his bag and then showed how I feed him. 

Then, it was time....I wasn't sure how I would feel leaving him, but I just knew.  I knew it was time.  He was ready to start the camp experience and he couldn't do that while I was there.  God was gracious and gave me enough time to feel comfortable that Davin was in great hands.  It also helped that his counselor has been doing this for 20 years. God so knows I am a baby step kind of girl. 

Here is a picture of Davin and Sam:-)

P.S.  I have already received a phone call from the camp nurse.  Just Davin up to his old tricks:-)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Big Kids

I have been the mom of big kids for quite a while now.  It is not the same as being a mom to younger children.  It is an amazing time, but it is very different.  There are a few things that I have learned so far and have been pondering...

Be a cheerleader!  The bigger my kids got, the more I saw a need for a lot of positive reinforcement and less correcting.  This is a hard one for me to work on.  When I see things that need work, I want to address them, but have found it better to bite my tongue a  lot more.  (At times to the point of it bleeding!)  It is also very difficult because the bigger the kids, the bigger the problems can be, but I want to be that Mom that my kids know is in their corner and believes in them.  The training has been done (well, most of it;-) and now it is time for them to use what they have learned.

Put your hands on them!  Especially when my kids started getting into their teenage years, they would not always want me to touch them anymore.  I did not let that stop me.  I continued to love on them, hug them, and touch them when I was talking with them.  I am convinced this continues to show love to them.  Even now, when I put my arm around my 20 year-old Cheney during church, he doesn't get upset with me.  I think he still sees it as love.  (Maybe inside he doesn't;-)

Be Dear Abby!  Although I try not to address every issue I see in my children's lives, I try to be available for those times when they want advice or to talk something through.  I try to make that a priority, even over the other important things in my day.  Just yesterday, my biggest girl called me and I was in a store.  I usually hate to answer the phone when I am in a store, but I just slid into an aisle where there weren't other people and we had a great conversation about a big decision she was making.  I try to be better about listening and helping them sort things out. 

I still have so much to figure out, but I am thankful for this time of life...a time when I look forward to being with them, talking with them and enjoying their company.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

I Know the Look

This is my fourth time around having an 18-year-old in my house and all that comes along with that.  I have raised at least one very verbal child, at least one medium verbal child and one non-verbal child.  All of them, no matter how verbal, had the look to go with the saying "I am 18 years old and I will do what I want."  It has become kind of a joke in our house.  I am guessing since the world says that at 18, you are officially grown, that my kids have bought into that big time and we spent a lot of their 18th year hearing that familiar phrase and seeing the look that goes along with it.  Just because Davin is non-verbal, don't think I don't see the same look and I KNOW what he is thinking. 

This morning was one of those mornings.  I had to remind him over and over again what our purpose was during breakfast.  He knows we have a strict schedule in the mornings and I am pretty sure he is familiar with the routine by now!  It seemed that he had other plans for today, though.  After a rather frustrating breakfast time, Davin looked at me rather pleased with himself and I saw it.....the look.  It was as if I could read his mind.  I know.  I know.  You are 18 and you will do what you want. 

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Quite a Difference

I find it so interesting that in order for me to welcome an adopted child into my home, I am asked if I have screens in all of my windows, what my childhood was like and how I dealt with my grandmothers passing away.  To welcome a biological child into my home, I only needed to produce a satisfactory car seat.  To raise a child that has a severe disability, I was simply sent on my way with a list of tests to further overwhelm me. 

Of course, I will do it, because it is so worth it, but what a difference. 

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Mercies in Disguise

We pray for blessings

We pray for peace

Comfort for family, protection while we sleep

We pray for healing, for prosperity

We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things

Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights

Are what it takes to know You’re near

What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise  - by Laura Story

I have heard this song before.  I love the words.  I heard it in the car twice yesterday and it spoke to me differently this time.  I found myself looking back.  Looking back at those times in my life where the bottom seemed to have fallen out and I was lying in a heap with no hope in sight.  Dark days.  Days where my very soul seemed to have been crushed and I could not catch my breath. 

I can look back on those times and see God's hand in my life during those times in such a huge way.  The devastating thing that was happening at the time was God's very best for me.  It did not feel like it was at the time.  It did not feel gracious.  It did not feel loving.  It did not feel kind, but it was.  That is the kind of God I serve.  He is the kind of God who blesses me above what I deserve. 

I immediately thought back to that day on June 11, 1993.  "He has cerebral palsy.  Any questions?" My "perfect" world was rocked to its core.  How in the world could that be what God wanted for me??  It was.  For many years, I compared. It seemed like God had given me "less" than what he had given other people.  Not who Davin was, but what he could do v. what I thought he should be doing.  It was hard to sit in the nursery.  It was hard to have a bunch of kids over to play.  Hard to go to the park.  I just thought about how "different" everything was.  I can honestly say that taking Davin to his dinner/dance last night, I felt none of that.  No regrets with what Davin can do or who he is.  Maybe it once was a blessing in disguise, but not any longer. 
God allowed my world to rock when my Daddy had a traumatic brain injury combined with a staff infection in his heart.  Life would never go back to the exact way it was.  However, in the last 8 years, I have spent a day a week with my Dad almost every single week up until moving a few months ago.  As difficult as that was, there were so many blessings. 

Sometimes it is almost as if I have in my mind where God "should" take my life and I am on my way there.  Then, he lovingly changes MY course to be his course. 

Tears...yup, I cried buckets full.  Sleepless nights....absolutely.  I am thankful that God loves me too much to give me lesser things.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

A Little Dinner, A Lot of Dancing!

Yesterday when Davin got home from school, the preparations began.  I had his pants and shirt ironed.  His tie was out.  His dress shoes were ready.  He was going to his school's dinner/dance to celebrate the graduates!!  Davin could not like dancing anymore than he does!!  (I wish I had some pictures of the dance, but I was strongly encouraged not to stay.  Hmph!!)

When we picked him up he was hot and sweaty from all of the grooving he did!!

This is what Davin is doing tonight after his big night out last night!!

Sunday, June 05, 2011

A Favorite Trick

Each of our Pastors over the years has been "blessed" by a different trick of Davin's.  I like to think of them as a little test for the pastor.  Frankly, it helps us to know if that is a church for us if the pastor can work through that.  If a pastor can't deal with Davin's special little tricks during the sermon, and if it makes him too distracted, then we probably shouldn't be there. 

Let's see, Pastor Vansant dealt with a lot of tricky things.  I guess one of the biggest tests was Davin bursting into tears any time there was a skit or something he thought might be scary.  We caused our share of scenes there:-)  Pastor Green put up with a lot of shouting!!!  Davin was just shy of being a teenager when we started going to Pastor Green's church and for some reason, Davin really liked people to know he was there.  We would remind him over and over again, but there was a time where we had to just stick it out and deal with his loudness.  He was taken out of a lot of services, but eventually that became the trick, so we stuck it out and things eventually got better.  Pastor Green was a trooper and never seemed to be distracted and we even joked about Davin's test for him:-)  Our new church is blessed by a trick that has been used for a long time, but sparingly.  Now, this trick has been brought to the top of the favorite list and the very best place to perform it is during the morning service at church.  (Okay, also small group:-) 

Davin's new favorite is that he loves to lift his shirt and show you his stomach.  Not just a little, either.  Now this is a quiet trick, so that is a bonus.   It is not just a shirt lift, but he also looks around to see who might be watching.  Hmm, not sure he is paying enough attention to the sermon. 

I know that he has worked very hard for his abs with all of his exercises and so I don't really blame him.  This trick is not exclusive to church, but it is used most often there.  If you come to our house, he will show you (especially if you are visiting us for the first time), when we go to doctor appointments, he likes to show the doctor.  I know what you are thinking.  What kind of mother does he have who lets him lift his shirt all during church and regularly smiles when I see it? 

Today we visited a church in York, PA.  Davin probably had his shirt up for at least half of the service.  I tried to keep on a handle on things and pull it back down, but he had a pretty tight grip, had it hiked up as far as he possibly could and felt really strongly that he should be doing that.  Oh dear;-)

Friday, June 03, 2011

My Struggle

I have been mulling this over for a while now, but lately, I feel it's grip has a much stronger hold on me than before and it is time to make a change. 

I have a lot of "free" time.  For the first time in a very long time, my days are not planned out for me by children or ministries or a job.  I can choose what I want to do.  Since finding all of this free time, the computer has kept me connecting with friends and family and I am grateful for that.  However, it has become a huge time-waster for me.  Instead of taking out a project or reading a book, I grab the computer to just check my blog or facebook or email one more time.  I am spending more and more time on it and I have not too much to show for it.  I do not want to give it up altogether (although am considering that, too), but I need to make a change. 

A friend offered to do an intervention for me:-), but I am thinking more along the lines of limiting my daily time on the computer.  I am also thinking about going off of facebook for a while, at least.  There are so many good and worthwhile things to do with my time.  Certainly one of them is to stay connected with my family and friends, but when it starts to overwhelm me, it is time for a change. 

Thursday, June 02, 2011

The Next Best Thing

I think the next best thing to having my girls here is to spend time with Bethany Ann.  Some of you may recognize her:-)  Bethany and her son Josh came over for dinner tonight.  I made Josh some cookies special for him and sent him a bag full to take home and share with his Daddy.

Josh had a great time checking out Davin's wheelchair and playing with Buzz Lightyear.  Alan, Davin and Josh wrestled for a while, but Josh did not care for it when Alan was winning.  They tried thumb wrestling and that went a bit better.  Come again Josh and I will have the cookies ready for you!!  (You, too, Bethany Ann:-)