Helicopters and Huggers// How to be a friend.

I remember the day it happened.  I walked into her house like any other time (without knocking).. except this time my hands were full of flowers for her in one hand and my two youngest in my other. It wasn’t but two weeks after she had her third child and she was already cooking something yummy in her kitchen and offering me her famous iced tea. (well its famous to me at least)  She reads me well, and offers me a glass before I even get a chance to snuggle her new bundle.  Grady was so excited to see the baby as was June.  He hurried over to the couch and got right up, waiting to hold the little babe. His hands were raised above his lap and palms faced up and out as if he was welcoming his chance.  I hollered into the other room to my friend, is it Ok that Grady holds him… she said (without hesitation)  “of course” …

IT was then… I placed that sweet baby, not my own… into his arms… I wish I had a photo to share but my words will have to suffice.  His tiny hands and fingers gently touched his nose, and fingers… he leaned forward with the sweetest grin and gave him a kiss, and popped his head up and smiled from ear to ear. he gently ran his hands up and down his head for a few moments until he let me take him back….He was in baby heaven.

That moment right there, it replays in my mind and has brought me to  ugly cry tears this past few months time and time again.  It might seem like nothing big, but to this mamma, and her definition of friendship and trust… it was everything.

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It was in my early days of my prenatal diagnosis that I saw my friendships start changing, or maybe it was the way I viewed my friends or the way they viewed/reacted/responded to me and my journey.

Some put me on a pedestal as I if I was the second coming, bearing a child that was different, they praised me and it made me cringe…  I mean, it was nice and all but it was a constant reminder that what I had was different from what they had and c’mon do we always have to talk about it. Sometimes even what seemed to be of good intentions was really a red flag to avoid and retreat….  I was just a mom (a truly imperfect mom) with a child with a different set of needs from their child after all. It’s too much work to live up to any heightened level of admiration because of one extra chromosome. I will fail you, more than once… my humanness  was inevitable … they slowly disappeared or lingered for a good show.

Then to this day, when I bring Grady around some other friends  and family  acquaintances  they do one of two things, they comment on how cute he is  all the time then they constantly hover around their child when he is near or around as if he is going to lash out at any moment with a fit of rage.  He isn’t contagious and he doesn’t need a helicopter putting him on radar either.  I see it, when they don’t think I do, they pull their kid back as he walks toward them, they watch closely, their hands like a hovering tennis racket ready to ping away his next move…  Is he unpredictable? perhaps sometimes…. HE’S 4! But the parents be it whatever you want to call it…  their movements make me uncomfortable, uneasy and break my heart… they have made it clear…

And then their is friendships like my friend who had her baby… who trusted me enough to know I would watch Grady with her newborn, she never peaked in the other room just to check…

We rarely if ever talk about down syndrome… or harp on differences… we talked new baby, business and our next dinner shenanigans …she gave me a good hug goodbye that day and about sealed my heart with love with that experience (she was unaware of it’s impact till months later)….

It’s all about trust in one another. Not that our kids are always going to be perfect or well behaved… but that we trust one another to do the right thing should that happen but in the meantime… we deflect helicopters with hugs and call it a day.

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Restoration Home (Shadows and Light)

“I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in tune once more”- John Burroughs

I have to believe it was fate or perhaps destiny that we would settle down here.  My childhood home reclaimed 17 years after my parents sold it. (see video here) The storyline never gets old because each new day nostalgia finds me and provides a calming effect on my soul.  I was born and raised on these acres of wildlife, lakes and serenity in an 800 square foot cabin, it was perfect… my time here as a child was before the shadows found me….the shadows that before I knew it had me chasing the light  and heading back home.

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While this little slice of paradise has situated us off the beaten path a bit, it’s just the right distance away from it all to disconnect.   All of my babes are finding  a divine love for nature here as endless opportunities to chase light, skip rocks and catch salamanders fills hours.  I believe God meets us in Nature, beneath the rocks, on the tailspin of a fallen leaf and the shimmer across the lake at sunrise. He meets us right there and builds church walls out of tall tamarack trees and a roof of a million stars, the choir chirps a familiar tune of summer,  the song of acceptance.  The turtles pop their head out of the still lake, always  listening without judgement and  the tall grass being pushed side to side by scampering feet always welcomes you home ….time after time.

View More: http://wildflowersphotos.pass.us/witkowski

photocredit: Wildflowers Photography: Joy Prouty

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One thing I have learned is that the shadows can never kill  light.  They are temporary, shifting and disappearing as quickly as they come.  No matter the pretty picture I splash out there from time to time….the shadows are ever present in our life… the struggle on the outside is relentless.  They come in all forms from ourselves,  people, the systems or lack thereof and ignorance…  We get glimpses of Grace out there, safety nets and hope… but for the most part we retreat to the Light to replenish and restore.

I need this place, where I can lay down my own agenda and Let God shine his light into our life.  The ultimate Author of our story must have known, that my soul grows weary underneath my strong demeanor and confident outside layer, and that this place would begin to fill in the broken pieces.  It’s a warm hug on a bad day.  An inviting hello, revisiting a childhood long passed.

View More: http://wildflowersphotos.pass.us/witkowski

photo credit: Wildflowers Photography : Joy Prouty

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Oh seeing him here.

I see him thriving here. It’s a toss up for us, we trade conveniences of closer schools  for days upon days in a sensory wonderland. It has to add up to something at the end of the day. He started a school this past week that has him on the bust a total of 3 hours a day … 1.5 there and 1.5 home… that long bus rides to and from school brings him back to this.  He RUNS FREE, splashes in the water, digs in the dirt… feeds the ducks and paddles a boat all with no judgement.

Nature therapy should just be a thing, right next to PT, OT and Speech… immerse them all.

 

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View More: http://wildflowersphotos.pass.us/witkowski

photocredit: Wildflowers Photography: Joy Prouty

View More: http://wildflowersphotos.pass.us/witkowski

photocredit: Wildflowers Photography : Joy Prouty

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I’ve said it time and time again, our battle is not with a diagnosis it always seems to be with those who don’t take the time to think outside themselves and dig a little deeper.  The shadows.

Our home here in Cahoonzie, knows no diagnosis… the forest doesn’t discriminate as the leaves relentlessly waive hello back to his many waves to them … the fish stare back at his moments of gazing without  judgement… his occasional grunting since he still hasn’t found his unprompted voice is echoed back to him across the lake only to shift his frustration to laughter at the returning sound…..and he chases the shadows, oh yes he will chase those shifting shadows until the break of day with his light.

Grateful for this place. More than I can ever say.

View More: http://wildflowersphotos.pass.us/witkowski

A Safe Place to Land// Day One.

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(30 days of Acceptance) //  Day One Entry:

We welcomed a son in 2010. We named him Grady.

That same day the world named him, a cause.

The transition came after his arrival, as he grew and his needs/abilities were exposed. Well  for those who are willing to listen long enough to know that we need something, we are easily summed up to just that… a cause. It’s as honest as I can get here… I cannot do this alone…. the village is needed. Oh for the proud and strong, it takes a lot of work to even write this much. We are worn down after a long week  and find  our church to be last place we want to make a stink in or express our needs. Well, I’ll say it…I need a safe place to land once in a while…It’s stinkin’ hard out here.. Dr. appointments, therapists, struggles, IEP’s, evals and the day to day stuff that we often don’t talk about because we figure your tired of hearing it…. Oh and Grady and his friends they need to have a place like that too…warm, inviting where they too can learn about Jesus…but most of all inviting. Oh if you saw how hard he works during the week, he needs it even more so than me.

It’s an honest assessment from our journey traveled. 4.5 years in.  My heart before you, motivations true and clear.  Stirred to share.

The battle.

//It’s easier to stay home.

//”everyone has a cause they are pushing for” —-

On that gritty and dusty street in John 9:3 … Jesus proclaimed to the disciples in assurance as only HE can that the man’s disability in front of them (in this case blindness) wasn’t because of the sins of the father… “but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him”

Works of God! BEHOLD.

I pray for the same Church who rally’s alongside the pregnant, pleading for Life and to embrace a prenatal diagnosis, prayer over bellies to resist the urge to abort  to Rally once more … those babies you rallied for, the ones your bumper stickers fight for… Many of them make it through that battle… they arrive and some of them have needs.  Are you still there Church? The rally can’t stop there….

Behold!… the works of God are displayed in them. Rally for them still. Give them a soft place to land at the end of the week like you do for the typical kids.  Include them. Embrace them. Make a way, like you did for the crisis pregnancy.

A cultural shift inside the church starts with you…from the parking attendant to the top of the Chain… it’s  a beautiful song… one of acceptance, education and rallying for those. with different needs, if  people with disabilities are not at your church now (look around) they are often at home. because it’s just easier that way.

The world got it wrong.  He’s a boy, not a cause. He has needs worthy of acknowledgment, that just shouldn’t have to be fought for. It was a given for Jesus, so Rise up Church and BEHOLD

Rally once again.

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The dynamics of a changing “home”

Ever since Grady started pre-school full time at age three this past september, the feeling of home has been different.

He gets up at 6:30am, gets his synthroid pill, eats breakfast, we get him dressed and he is on the bus by 7:20. When he arrives home at 2:30, I typically get him off the bus sleeping, like out cold sleeping, drooling all over me until I carry him into the house where he then falls asleep on the couch for another hour or two. It’s the typical routine.

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Yes the free time away from in-home therapies has had its perks…with both boys being in school full time my schedule has opened up, but that time has also made a way to find a disconnect in our communication with Grady. Since he started school in september, he has not picked up one new word or new sign. He gets home tired, sleeps for a few hours, eats dinner, tub time and then bed.  And then we do it again the next day.  We are finding what we are doing isn’t working, and we are feeling desperate to figure it out. Is it worth it to send him to school?  Are we doing something wrong?  Do we need to find a new school? Do we need to go private? The questions go on and on…

“Home” has changed with this new dynamic, we have less play time/ communicating time and more hurry up and go time.

Home is also one of the only safe places anymore to bring Grady. We have found with age, and possibly new found independence since going to school… he has achieved full blow runner status…. without a fence outside, it’s high alert to be outdoors with him.  Playgrounds need gates, and if I have June with me, I need help.  Going to birthday parties, and other events over the past year seem impossible…He’s a flight risk, and I pray that this gets better and if it doesn’t then I find balance and boundaries that are manageable.

Home remains to be where we know he can giggle, splash, play and be SAFE. Even if its for  a few short hours a day while he is awake. Home is the place where we as a family have to dig deep to find out what works for Grady and us.  Home seems to be the one true place where we feel peace.  safety. and love.

We are navigating this world and hanging on to all that is “home”.

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Hold The Phone, I am back! :)

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I had to step away.  I wrote that last post almost two years ago… and just felt a tug at my heart that it was time.  I couldn’t even touch this blog. It was years of sharing and pouring out my heart and I was done.  It was in a moment of reflection that I realized I was doing a disservice to myself by only sharing a small part of my life. It created some very odd series of events around me & some people I was associating with only seemed to understand one side of my life. (well that was my fault). The result was the relationships around me were strained & lacking substance (perhaps superficial) and the second I let some in on a little more of my life, I saw the distance creep in and relationships wore out…. I felt as if I was holding back a whole different part of my world from everyone around me.

The question is, and remains to be… how much should be shared here in order to be authentic. Because Authenticity is in my opinion vital to not only relationships but also in the ability to connect to another person whole heartily.

As my business grew over the last two years into a full time gig, and my family grew from 2 kids to 3 (that was a huge leap for me btw)… life just got WOW busy.. the thought of blogging again seemed impossible… until recently…. I realized, I missed writing. So much. I missed digging deep. My faith, while steadfast, always benefited from the process of sharing and connecting.  I quite my personal facebook three days ago (that’s a whole different post), and already the freedom from that, is allowing to write again. I am back. No promised on how often, but I am back.

thanks for those who might still be here, and for those who are to come, welcome.

I’ve stayed pretty active over on Instagram … here are a few fav’s from 2014 so far! :)

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Nestled Within. {warning : Raw Emotions}

In the midst of what has become the longest and most challenging winter of my life… we have been withholding a tiny surprise nestled within me. We are excpecting our third baby mid-August. {16+ weeks and counting}

Life got complicated around December 20th when we first figured out why I wasn’t feeling well.. the myriad of reasons might sound crazy/irrational/ungrateful but learning I was expecting was the catalyst to a very tough two months for me. emotionally.

Taking these photos today would be the first time I have actually blow dried my hair in two months. {tiny accomplishments}

Early December I remember sitting at a dinner party with my girlfriends and saying that I was pretty certain I was done birthing my babies, and while I knew we were about to begin our adoption process in just weeks… I was even more confident in that statement. I thought the shop was closed. I had birthed two of the most precious children, and patted myself for a job well done…we make adorable 46 and 47 chromosome babies.  case closed. so I thought.

The first reaction was grief & guilt, over the child we thought we be ours in 2012. The child we had prayed for and had made bold decisions for this past year. Just two days before seeing those two pink lines, I sent our official inquiry letter into RR… I struggled within my mind with guilt that I didn’t do enough to prevent pregnancy and that somehow I have failed that little guy across the sea. Dare I say, I really thought I was in control. I am grateful for the unexpected email exchange that led me to this post by a friend of mine who once struggled with the same situation:

“And then it hit me: I was irritated with God for interrupting my plans to serve Him.

I realized that I had a decision to make. I could either continue in my misery and believe the lie that this pregnancy was a mistake. OR I could choose to follow Jesus. I could believe the truth that this child was chosen by God, that his/her days were planned at the creation of the world, and that he/she is a blessing.”

So I held onto Jesus by a thread { God forgive me} and trucked through my emotions while slowly processing what was happening inside of me. My theory of the immaculate conception and baby jesus just made me sound crazy… but did leave a good chuckle right before christmas within our home. My search for the bright shining star over our house  was comical to say the least.

With the crazy morning sickness that lasted 24 hours a day… I found myself in a funk. My photographywork was slipping behind, my kids ate more mac n cheese than humanly acceptable, my husband had become my personal servant every waking hour he was home from work and a part of me was pushing through a form of depression as a FLOOD of emotions hit me.

I didn’t need a psychologist to analyze me, it was pretty clear what was happening… unknowingly I suppressed a lot of emotions when I was pregnant with Grady. I wanted to be strong for him at the time and for everyone else sharing our journey so I forged through… upon learning of this new bundle…I started processing feelings I thought were long gone in regards to pregnancy…fear, anxiety and the abrupt realization that I no longer lived in this ideal pregnancy bubble world where sparkles and excitement beam from my eyes. Don’t get my wrong,  WE would be thrilled for another child with Down Syndrome, heck that was our goal with the adoption. But the emotional turmoil of pregnancy and the unknown again well it just racks my brain and psyche. Every trip to the bathroom became a routine check for miscarriage followed by more guilt for my lack of faith.

I live in the Truth, I have seen with my own eyes… His good and perfect Gift and Plan (no matter the circumstances). I need Jesus more than ever… I don’t need a sermon… I know the Truth… it forever lives in me like a sweet song…. I just needed to marinate over this and process it in my own timing… because I am still human, flawed and emotional {dare I say hormonal, eek I hate that word}.

So we waited to share the news until our excitement had finally reached everyone’s else’s excitement for us. A few weeks ago, with my cherished friend {Grady’s delivery nurse Jodi} by my side at my ultrasound at 13.5 weeks I saw tiny feet kicking, tiny hands moving around the mouth… a beautiful long spine and tiny nose. I saw a baby.  I was pregnant. {I needed an ultrasound to confirm what we had known since christmas}

Paul was excited as always…. and Jodi, the same woman who had held my hand through Grady’s birth was the emotional support I needed to start moving out of denial. I was moving towards…

excitement.

Today at 16+ weeks we are sharing the joy of a new journey with you. Today I have hope  and as the days go on a sense of peace has come over me. This is the Plan right now… and the journey across the sea, well that’s in HIS timing…when that day comes we will be ready.

It’s time to continue on to making Grady a big brother and Mason an even bigger brother ;)

With all that being said, I have much more to blog about regarding my decision about pre-natal testing and… Boy or Girl?… and a few other pregnant ladies and hoping to be pregnant ladies in my life and some exciting milestones for Grady.

****We want to throw in our full support for Sweet Simon in effort to help him find his forever family {whoever and where ever they might be} I am committed to seeing his adoption fund grow….giving him a better chance of coming home sooner than later. He just had his second birthday would you join me with donating $5, $10 or whatever you are led to or can at this moment! You are saving him with every dollar! CLICK HERE to make a tax deductable & safe donation.***

Let us know you helped with Simon so we can thank you!

one more thing…

VOTE FOR GRADY to be in the TOP 25 on Circle of Mom’s Blog Vote! We are holding steady at 30…..It takes a second and is super easy!

2nd Birthday: Disability Scripturally Debunked

I’ve recently felt the incredible power of Scripture. I’ve been meaning to share this with you for some time now and Grady’s 2nd Birthday seems to be perfect. In all honesty it sums up everything my heart has been trying to say and plead from day one. How it took me this long to find it {or it find me} in the Big Book, God only knows.

You see… If you Trust in Him…

Scripture has the ability to heal

Scripture can save

Scripture can convict us

teach us

speak to the heart and guide us

In my most recent experience, I found Scripture also can flat out Shatter chains of bondage all the while Shredding falsified beliefs and like a feather that falls slowly to the ground..it brings us softly back down to our knees with Grace. Free.

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It’s happened more than once since we received our prenatal diagnosis. It’s been said by professing Christians and most recently by a US Elected Official.  {click here}  

“Down Syndrome/ Disability is a form of punishment for the Sins of the Parents or Mankind.”

When powerful people, respected people, and even loved family members mutter these words even the most grounded Christian can shutter. My mind raced the day I first heard this. My child a punishment? God does such a thing? and the Enemy who knows our playbook carefully and meticulously slips self doubt into your mind and you race through your mind with all your wrong doings in the past… you pull up memory after memory where you totally screwed up, sinned, shamed yourself, drank too much in college, gave way too much of yourself here in this and that way, took too much there, a little lie back then, slander here and there, oh dear…the list goes on.

Oh how the Devil loves to see you squirm… but then in a moment of clarity you glance back at your child and you remember God is True…
Just… and his PLAN is ever revealing, ever satisfying and may I say ever so Perfect.

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These words below have become the anthem that sings to my soul …as disability finds reason and purpose in this life. And Grady’s little light shines as bright today as it did the day he was born two years ago….

John 9: 1-4

Jesus Heals a Man Born Blind
As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth.  His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.  As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me.”

And so it was said, and so it will be. Set me spirit free with these words, Crushing words once spoken to me and societal confusion. I pray these words find those who have spoken such lies and bring them to their knees. {conviction}

I know for certain the work of God that has been displayed through Grady’s life in just a mere 2 years… his testament and smile and our testimony has reached beyond our beyond. All because God took extra time the day he was conceived to bring forth in him characteristics that Yes, make him stand apart. But we Praise him for every part of that Good work amd extra chromosome…because the Works of God are outwardly apparent for all to see, and the light within shines brighter than I ever could have imagened.

He is our blessing.

Now the scripture in the book of John reads on to see Jesus wipe mud across the blind man’s face as he heals him. The blind man then is able to see for the first time and become a living testimony to the Good works of the Lord.

The day of a complication free body will come in Heaven when Grady meets his heavenily father someday, where Down Syndrome won’t be gone but his body will be free of any impediments. There his Speech will allow him to sing a sweet song and he will sit at the feet of Jesus and in the clearest voice, giving Thanks and Praise. Melodic faithfulness.

Every morning both Paul and I at somepoint during the morning look at eachother with complete and utter awe of God and give Thanks for Grady. Not one day goes by without that reality, thankfulness and richness of Joy that he is in our life.

Happy 2nd Birthday Little Man.

Let your Light Shine on…


“There’s a little flame inside us all
Some shine bright
Some shine small
The rains will come
And the waters rise
But don’t you ever lose your light

In this life you will know
Love and pain
Joy and sorrow
So when it hurts
When times get hard
Don’t forget who’s child you are

This little light of mine
I’m gonna let it shine
This little light of mine
I’m Gonna let it shine
Gonna let it shine

One day there will be no more pain
And we will finally see Jesus’ face
So until then I’m gonna try
To brave the dark
And let my little light shine”

Addison Road (awesome song)

Flasback, Grady’s Announcement Video:

The Healing Home : Goodbye January

It’s not a home with magical healing powers, that would be silly to think. But it’s a home that holds my most cherished childhood memories. Memories that flood back at any given moment these days. As I stand in the basement with that familiar smell, uncovering my handprints in our cubby space that reveal themselves behind old wallpaper, my tiny footprints in the concrete next to our furnace. ..

or like today, watching Mason and Grady climb the same stone wall we helped build with my father when I was young. I will never forget those summer nights, the trips to get the rocks in the back of his jeep and how hard my dad worked on it after a long day at work.

While the rocks aren’t as perfectly placed as time has taken to them, they now make the perfect stepping stones for our Grady to crawl up.

Nostalgia is good, healing, overwhelming and peaceful.

Today is the last day in one of the worst months of my life.  In celebration of the last day, I thought I would post on what has been going on around here and in my dear mind. God help us all.

January 14th…After a well fought battle with Cancer, our Oma went to be with Jesus.  She was prayed up and loved beyond measure the day she left us and It was with the greatest heartache and thankfulness I got to see her that last day. My eternal perspective is intensified and I have been humbled before the Lord. She loved our kids, and her connection with Grady was flourishing.  She will be missed, oh so missed, she is missed.

My memories of her and my Opa  in this home are wonderful. I hold those close.

Oma & Opa in front of our new/old house early 90's.

Things will never be the same without our Oma that is for sure.

The moments of nostalgia and the peacefulness of being in this home have certainly helped carry me this past month along with my wonderful husband and boys.

January has been filled with more than a dozen nights tossing and turning at night in anger and frustration in plans changed, re-directed. Rising in the morning with guilt that I am not trusting HIS plan. His Perfect Plan. I have been feeling a sense of loss {of control}. While I am sure the pain of losing a loved one and seeing your family broken in so many ways just has added to this rather crummy month. I am going to see to it that February is better, dangit no matter what I will make sure of it.

So as I say Goodbye to this month, a month I will never forget… I will forge ahead into february with excitement as we look towards Grady’s Second Birthday, Fresh Starts, Less facebook, more blogging… and digging deeper in His Word.

All the while, thanking God for giving me the opportunity to heal my brokeness with many reminders of sweet memories in the House that Built Me. All the while sharing it with my two boys….

I am not sure how Mason did it, but he captured these photos today as we basked outside in 50 degree weather here in NY.  They are probably some of my favorite pictures…. as I am on my original childhood swings. I am still in awe the owner kept them all those years.

I am grateful they are still here, because today I was at peace swinging away with my little one.

Psalm 42: 1-2

“As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for you, my God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. “

Life is Hard.

Life. is. Hard.

I thought I would take a moment to bring you this profound thought to start my blogging year of 2012. I know this rudimentary idea seems obvious to many or maybe not. It has taken me about 27 or so years to actually come to terms with this. As the words slipped out of my mouth on the phone yesterday with a dear friend a light bulb went off.

The absence from my blog is a culmination of many things, events and thoughts and none of them have anything to do with Down Syndrome. Many life events I wish I could share but cannot. But what I have realized while I endure this  particular season of my life is that Life is Hard {yes I said it again}…BUT… Down Syndrome is Easy

 and God is Good.

No really, sometimes I wish people would just realize that my Grady’s diagnosis is one of the easiest and most beautiful aspects of this life.  I’m not painting an unrealistic picture or throwing fairy dust at your screen…What I am saying is that when Life gets tough,  I take one look into Grady’s eyes and he brings me back “home” again. His jovial laughter puts santa to shame.

God has shown me Easy, to help me through the Tough.. .

“Don’t let your eyes get used to darkness
The light is coming soon
Don’t let your heart get used to sadness
Put your hope in what is true

No matter how the wind may blow
It cannot shake the sun
Lay your sorrows on the ground
It’s time to come back home

When the future seems uncertain
Like the coming of a storm
Your loving Father carries his children
When they can’t walk anymore”
– JJ Heller

 

BIG WHITE TENT : Run…

{A Plea} 

**It’s taken me months to post this, but something keeps showing up everywhere around our house…it has been a simple little reminder to share this story, reflection and experience.

There we were at our local fair, I was guzzling my root beer float and kettle corn, debating wether to get those awesome feathers put into my hair while Mason was becoming enthralled by the enticing invitations from the carnival workers. Grady checked out all the animals with a mesmerized look, while Paul and his Gyro bonded. It was one of those all american days with my all american family. Somebody get me a picket fence and make it white, now… please?

We stumbled upon a big white tent with pictures of children with Down Syndrome plastered all over the inside. Of course we ventured inside to see what was going on, yes what was going on?….. We entered like we already had the Grand Prize…one of those proud mommy moments where I was like “Hey look what we have!”

Seemingly unaware, we had just stepped inside the tent of “Pro-Life”. Here we go folks, strap yourself into your chairs because I am about to be brutally honest for the Glory of God and him Alone.

Have you ever gone to a haunted house around halloween… did you like it? or did you run? I can honestly say my personal comparison between the big white tent at the local fair and my experiences at haunted houses somehow faired eerily similar. I don’t like Haunted houses, I run…I learned that at an early stage in life.  As my relationship in Christ continues to grow and flourish, and as I take time to listen to what he is telling me…he is surely revealing to my child like heart that it’s also ok to Run from the big White Tent.  He is leading me to not just Run but to Share.

As we pushed our stroller and kids inside, we started looking at the brochures and pretty quickly realized where we were. A gentlemen approached us and welcomed us.  I’m not sure how the conversation got there but we shared with him that Grady had Down Syndrome, and he started talking. He continued to tell us {with an obvious underlying discontent/hate} how the Planned Parenthood group was two tents down. Follwing that he gave me an incredibly horrible impersonation of his friend’s adult child with down sydrome. His jagged hand movements and voice change tried to mimmick an adult with a disability. It made me sick. Blech. I started to get a bitter taste in my mouth.

I thought to myself, hold it together Erin, show Grace. Jerimiah 29:11 popped in my head after the gentlemen said God has a plan. He was dumbfounded by this never before heard scripture but then quickly changed the subject back to his “Pro-Life” rant….While our conversation lingered on, I stayed like a bottlenecker on the highway…..his words became white noise and somewhat blurred.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Mason “Fishing” with a little pole for something I couldn’t quite make out. I saw his big smile and let him continue. A few minutes later… I glanced over again at mason and this time saw him diving in the baby pool and pulling up about 20 baby fetuses. The look of horror in my eyes was unexplainable. ARE YOU SERIOUS?  Mason called out with the biggest clueless smile “Can I keep them mommy?”

{insert twighlight zone music}

The Spirit within me is haunted by the baby Fetus’s. One happened to make it home in Mason’s pocket. Ironically the name attached to him was “Christian”.  Irony.

Let me get to the real root of the issue…

Staunchly proclaiming you are Pro-Life, Pitching a big White Tent, plastering your car with bumper stickers won’t get your foot in the door in heaven, nor will it earn you a big pat on the back from the Big Guy upstairs. Quite possibly it may not even save a life. Nope.  I will tell you what it will do, it will exclude someone, it will push someone away, it will confuse someone and very possibly subliminally come off as passing judgment.  When your Strong position overpowers your ability to listen and love, you may have just lost a battle.  As the hands and feet of God you may have just lost the chance to do as Jesus did and extend the Love of Christ, unconditionally. Your bumper sticker isn’t going to save a life, it may get you a key scratch or at best yet a conversation/debate started where if your extremely lucky you may get a point across. But most of these battle lines are drawn in black, not grey.

The Love of Christ, his Word and his plan is as pure white as the whitest snow, it is the ONLY way to turn black battle lines into Grey… and hopefully eventually into the truth. flawless white.

{And the words of the LORD are flawless, like silver refined in a furnace of clay, purified seven times. -Psalm 12:6}

It’s so important to stand for something…. and when you stand for Jesus everything else falls into place as it should. As Christians we must be aware/vigil to the fact that we don’t know everyone’s situation, where they have been, what is going on at home behind closed doors… so before you start damming people to hell or speaking louder than your ability to listen…. Why don’t you love on them, humble yourself,  show Grace and help shine the truth the way Jesus would…. A much better way to save a life or {two}.

I’ll scratch the Pro-Life title, and take Pro-Jesus because with that comes pro-life but also forgiveness and love.

I think I’ll avoid Big White Tents that allow fishing for plastic babies from now on.

We are left with our tiny plastic fetus/baby  “Christian” as our friendly reminder to Pray.