"May the God of HOPE fill you with all joy and peace as you trust him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the holy spirit."

~Romans 15:13

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Happy. Confident. Teacher

We can all learn from Lilah.

Be happy.
Laugh often.
Laugh with an "evil" laugh just to throw people off.
Dance in public.
Enjoy each moment.
Wake up happy.
Sing your favorite song as loud as you can everywhere you go.

Try things that scare you.
Have people in your life who push you to do your best.
Love big.
Give lots of hugs and kisses.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Choosing Joy. Are you?

Today my partner in crime , my companion, and best friend went with me to some fun activities and preparations for her older siblings. Today was much more fun than yesterday's spending hours at the Courthouse and CSS.

We took Alex, Sammie, and Eli to school, then we went to Wal-mart to get drinks and snacks for her sisters field days.

At 9:30 Lilah had O&M and I went to the gym and hung out with Team Madagascar and this gorgeous beauty!

Then I rushed down to the other end of the school to give drinks and Snacks to Sammie's teacher for tomorrow.

I made it back to the office just in time to get Lilah from her O&M instructor. Then she and I made our way to the cafeteria to have lunch with Eli and then Sammie

 Then I made my way back to the gym and sat with Alex and her friends for a little bit.

Then it was time to come home and take care of some things here.

And I sat down for a few minutes...and guess what happened?

I fell asleep. I guess sometimes the Mama Bear needs a little re-charge. Now to get my babies from school and help them with their homework until their Dad comes for his weekly dinner visitation. Then to pour in to the oldest 4. Please pray for Ashley as she will be going to DC tomorrow with school.

We may stay busy, but we have therapy moments, and we just giggle throughout the day.

There are reasons to smile each day. Are you choosing joy today? I am.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

A hero

I often say that Lilah is my hero. That she is the strongest woman I know. I also say that she will change the world. Her.

The person who is the hero usually has to fight harder than others, demand more from themselves, and has an incredible support system behind them.

The heroes don't see it in themselves. They don't know their potential. They don't see that they are the light that will change history.

I believe that Lilah will change history. I believe she is doing that as we speak.

I know she is changing the way people view children with special needs. I believe that people are drawn to her. Drawn to know her, get to know her, help her, help her succeed.

People with disabilities are often looked down upon. People will sometimes only see the disability and not the person.

Here is an example...

Someone very close to Lilah admitted to being nervous to meeting her for the first time. Afraid of how to act, react, how she would be, etc. This person has said that the first time they met her, they were in love with her. This person has said many times over that Lilah is their best friend and that they could not imagine their life without her.

Fear can either motivate or debilitate. 

After seeing the movie "42" I was overcome with a massive "God wink." It was an intense feeling of "Go write Katie. Lay it out."

When Jackie Robinson first played baseball he was faced with so much. Racism, criticism, doubt, fear.

He faced many people who were ignorant. Now, before you get frustrated by my use of that word. Please read the definition...

Ignorance is a state of being uninformed (lack of knowledge).[1] The word ignorant is an adjective describing a person in the state of being unaware and is often used as an insult to describe individuals who deliberately ignore or disregard important information or facts. Ignoramus is commonly used in the US, the UK, and Ireland as a term for someone who is willfully ignorant.

Jackie Robinson faced many ignorant people. Some who wanted to hate him. Others who were taught that hate by their parents. He was also loved by many. But, his admiration was not immediate. He had to fight for the recognition. He had to fight for his spot in the Major Leagues. But, he had to control himself. How he responded to such hate. He had a choice to retaliate or he could do what he did...He worked harder and harder. He let his talent on the field speak for itself. He earned his right to play. And be in the hall of fame. To many, He is a hero.

Many are ignorant on how to treat people with special needs. So many people use the word "retarded" or "retard" in their everyday language. Many have no idea the negative impact that word has. Many are unaware of the pain that is associated. The tears that come with hearing that word. But, there are some who are "willfully ignorant." People who choose to use the word because it gets them some sort of attention, recognition, laughter, you name it. Please take the word RETARD and RETARDED out of your vocabulary. For Lilah.

Let's look at it like this...
We have a choice on how we treat people on this earth. We can judge them. All of them. Or we can love them. All of them.

We can open our eyes to the need to help, we can open our hearts to someone who may need you to be a tad more patient, listen as they try to speak. We can also choose to close our eyes to those who are differently-abled and ignore them.

What WE do, and how WE behave is up to us. We have the ability to change the world.

We have the ability to BE the hero.

Watching Lilah at therapy EVERY day, I see the fight my little bumblebee has in her. I see her determination. I see her fear that tries to keep her in her shell. I also see her potential. I choose to help her. I choose to love her. All of her. My hero is Lilah.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Last day...

Tomorrow will be Lilah's last day at Bloomingdale First Baptist Preschool. My heart will probably not be able to explain in words the gratitude I have to Penny, Amy J, Vickie, Amy D, and Brandy for giving my sweet miracle their love for the last 9 months. But, I will try.

I decided to post a few images from her school experience:

 How can I even begin to express my appreciation? Bloomingdale First Baptist gave Lilah a chance when other schools said "no." Even the church I was attending at the time was afraid of her "physical limitations." But, this school (that all 4 of my children have now attended) THEY saw something in her and that has helped her break open out of her cocoon and begin to fly.

Lilah has been loved, challenged, and accepted. There have been times that her disabilities have slowed down the class, the school, etc. I know that this was not easy. I know that at times they wanted to pull their hair out with her. Wait, and/or me. And I understand that. I know that as a child with special needs Lilah can be quite a little stinker. And as her Mother, advocate and Mama Bear...I can be even more of one.

I thank them for loving us, both, and for seeing the potential in the miracle that is Lilah.

When Lilah walked down the isle on Friday night for the graduation, I was beaming with pride.
 As she laughed, sang, and danced with her friends I was filled with so much emotion.
 Not only had Lilah come such a LONG way, but she was up on the stage with her typically functioning peers.
 When Amy called her name and said, "Come to Miss Amy" and Lilah side stepped between those chairs
 and walked confidently across the stage
 to receive her certificate... I LOST it. Tears streamed down my face.
The hard work, the therapies, the determination, looking and looking for schools, all the prayers, the being hated for pushing her as hard as I do, and knowing she deserves everything... has paid off. 

I am so blessed and grateful that Bloomingdale First Baptist gave Lilah this chance. They will forever and always be a part of a great story. One day when they read about some great accomplishment she has achieved, they will know that they were a part of it. They were the place that gave her a chance.

Now, to her teacher...
Where do I start? How do I even begin to thank you enough? For agreeing to give her a shot. For seeing her potential. For loving her. For making her laugh. For pushing her. For changing a ridiculous amount of nasty pull ups. For changing her dirty panties when she was potty training. For treating her JUST like the others. For including her therapists. For scooping Lilah up in your arms and giving her what she needed. Thank you for all that you have done for my girl. Thank you for taking a chance on her. Thank you! It will never be enough, but I promise I will always cherish you as her first teacher. The one who said, "YES!"
MUCH love and many thanks, 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

TEAM Lilah!

The first image was taken on 12/30/11. My miracle was 3 years old and couldn't walk unassisted. My Dad calls Lilah the Bumblebee because the bumblebee really shouldn't be able to fly, but it flies anyway. The second image was taken on 5/3/13. 16 months later. Walking independently, confidently across the stage to receive her certificate from her 3yr old class at preschool.

I cannot begin to tell you the emotions that are attached to this.

So much work. SO many therapies. DAILY.

Lilah IS the hardest working woman I know.
Hands down!

Yesterday Lilah had her IEP meeting to plan for her next year of school. Each time these meetings arrive I am overcome with emotions. Typically they will discuss what she cannot do, how much work needs to be done, how much time per week should be allowed per therapist. 

Each meeting I have attended alone. The only parent present.

The first few were intimidating and I really didn't know what to ask for, what I could say, how to act, etc. For many reasons. I hated going to these meetings alone. HATED it!!
But, that was the hand I was dealt and I had to learn to fight for my girl all by myself.

I now go to these meetings with a different perspective. I show up with chocolate and gum, ready to laugh about how hysterical she CAN be, and what she CAN do. Lilah's team is part of my family!
They have seen her grow. They have been there for me in the toughest times. They are amazing people who want nothing more than to see this bumblebee take off and fly on her own.

MANY thanks to her OT Debbie, PT Eric, ST Judy, PSI teacher Ann, TVI/O&M Sarah, new SPED teacher Angie and new pre-school teacher Leslie. Lilah will be in the pre-k inclusion class next year.
I cannot wait for what the new year will bring. Get ready to hear some more BUZZing from this amazing miracle!

Thank you, God, for sending ME the absolute best teacher in the world...Lilah!