Wednesday, December 27, 2017

One Heart at a Time

It is possible that you, dear reader, are reading this as a friend or family member of mine.  It is also possible that you only know me through the font I choose and the words I type.  If only the latter, I want you to know who I am.

I want you to know what I stand for, and I want you to know why.

Before Braeden came into my life, I thought I had it all figured out.  Everything was seemingly perfect: my husband, my job, my location, my inspiration, my everything.  Perfect.

And then I found myself pregnant.  Although bringing a child into the world at that point wasn't really something I had dreamed of, the pregnancy went so well that it was seemingly perfect, too.

But Braeden was born with Down syndrome.  Was that perfect?  

Brady P. -- minutes after birth

If you would have asked me that question any moment before I locked eyes with my son, I would have said, "No.  That's not perfect.  That's not even okay."

But I never had that option.  I never had that knowledge.  And I never had to make that choice.

I fell in love with that soulful wonder of the universe just minutes before I learned of his condition.  I started to believe in the perfect bundle in my arms only a moment before I would never have believed in him at all.

That's a tough thing to admit.  But it's true.

And his presence has changed my life.

The unconditional love that pours out of him gives me hope for this world.  Yes, this world.  At this time.  On this planet.  

I have hope because I saw how he changed me.  How he took my judgement and disbelief in something that I would have deemed "less" and showed me how it is more.

How to rock a Mohawk hat

Love can win.  Do you believe that?

Acceptance can only be achieved in our own hearts.  Once you are able to accept one sort of situation or person or entity, you open your heart to be able to truly accept others.  Then maybe you will see that we aren't so different after all, and you can accept everyone.

That is my goal.

One heart at a time, Brady P. and I are showing this world how powerful love, acceptance, and Mother Nature are in order for us all to survive.  To co-exist.  To thrive.

So as 2018 approaches, I want you to ask yourself, "How can I make it better?" Not just for you, but for the entire world. What can you do to better someone else's life?  To help others? To advocate for a group of people?

"What can I do to help???" 

That's not always an easy question to answer, but pay attention to the feelings you get when you see others treated unfairly.  When you know others are suffering.  Pay attention to the feelings you get when you want to help, but you don't know what to do.  Because, if you truly want to help, you will be shown a way.

Extraordinary cuteness in effect

Hey.  I believe in you.

I am already working on my next book, and usually I don't talk about it publicly this early, but I am really excited about it.  It will teach people how to listen to their hearts.  It will foster personal development on a level that will ripple out to the rest of the world.  It's going to work, I just know it.  That is why I am here...

Just you wait and see.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Superman's Twin

There is no doubt in my mind that Brady P. is here for a BIG reason.  As his mama, I might be biased, but I am not the only person who thinks this.  Most people who know him would agree.

He's a superhero.  

He rescues sadness with a hug.  He brightens the day with his smile.  He promotes hope and acceptance with his pure genius, curiosity and zest for life.  He is super indeed.

So I thought I'd post the three pictures of him with Superman.  

If you have read Digging for Light ~ A Memoir to Inspire Humanity, you already know that Braeden went to Mott's Children's Hospital in Ann Arbor, Michigan for two surgeries and a check-up.  Each time we were there, we took his picture next to Superman.

I wrote about each of these experiences in the book, and, for some reason, the pictures piqued people's curiosity.  They wanted to see the pictures in the book, so I promised to put them on the blog.

I better deliver, eh?

Superboy #1

In this picture, Braeden was 4 1/2 months old.  He just endured open-heart surgery to correct his AVSD -- two holes in his heart.

My mom and I (pictured above) stayed with him for 10 days while he healed like a champ.  So far his heart is functioning nicely.

Superboy #2

At 10 1/2 months Braden had posterior urethral valve surgery to open his urethra to its full capacity, so he would not get anymore nasty urinary tract infections.  No infections to date after that one!

Superboy #3

At nearly two years old, he went back for a couple check-ups and an eye exam.  By that time he was standing and kind of walking.  I was so proud of him.  Tough as nails, I tell you.

He was even wearing his Superman T-shirt for the occasion.

If you were one of the people who wanted to see the Superman progression, there you go!  Maybe next time we go there, he will be flying through the air!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Winter Weather Advisory


I didn't forget about you.  I was just tricked.  My weather app told me that my 270 mile drive was going to be cloudy today, but it was wrong.

It snowed the whole way.  Nothing I'm not used to, but an extra hour added to my 5 hour drive was a bit of a stressful surprise.  So guess what. I don't really have a blog for you today.

I am home at Grammy and Grampy Wais' safe and sound with my little Brady P.  We are going to give kisses instead.

See you next Wednesday!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Deep Breath

B and I have been traveling for the holidays.  With travel comes people.  People I meet or people I see again for the first time in a while.  And when these people meet or hear of Braeden, they are curious.

One of the questions I've been getting a lot lately goes something like this: Is he really stubborn?  How does he behave for you?

Sure, there is some stereotype or just plain fact behind that question, but my answer always sets them at ease.

Now I want to say that, although Braeden is "different," the way I teach him how to cope with his emotions is not unique for children with Down syndrome or special needs. It can be used for any child -- or any adult, for that matter.

And it is so simple.  It's a basic part of life.

So when Brady P. works himself into a tizzy, from not getting to hear the stomping song every single time he asks or not being able to eat pizza for breakfast or whatever is prevalent at the moment, I know I have to calm him down, or he will just turn into a mess.

"Take a deep breath," I tell him as I dramatically inhale and exhale until he does too.

Huuuh huuuuhhhhh.

There.  That's better.

After he takes a deep breath, he is able to listen to my words and think clearly.  Then I can ask him, "What would you like, Braeden?"


He stomps his foot for the stomping song (or signs for whatever desire that cannot be fulfilled at that time).

"Braeden. We can't listen to the stomping song right now.  Would you like to play a puzzle with me?"


He hits himself on the side of the head to tell me yes.

"Okay!  Let's go play a puzzle!"

We are both happy.  The crisis is averted.

Do you see what happened there?  By forcing some fresh oxygen into his lungs, and exhaling the stress, he was able to relax.  His mind could think clearly.  It's a quick and easy transitional method.

Then, I redirected his energy from something that we couldn't do to something that we could do.

Deep breath.  Relax. Transition. Redirect.  Ahhh.

It works nearly every time.

Braeden is a really good kid.  He's at the point where I can take him places, and as long as he's not missing his nap, he is well behaved.  He understands his emotions because we talk about them as they arise.  He knows how to calm himself down with a little reminder from Mama.  He loves to sign his manners.

He is amazing.  And I am so grateful for this opportunity to get to learn with him.  To watch him grow into a wonderful little man.  And to know that I am doing my best to raise my extraordinary son in a way that he will be able to help change the world.