Wednesday, October 30, 2019

A Hodgepodge

Happy Wednesday!

What's up for today?  

A hodgepodge.

I shared this on Facebook today.  I've been seeing these facts  -- one for each day of October -- on a friend's timeline who also has a son with Down syndrome.  This one just hit me enough to share.

It's so true for me.  But I can also see how it has affected the rest of Brady P's family, his friends, his classmates and our community.

His extra chromosome brings that acceptance and love we are trying to share with the world.

Brady P. and I have been taking walks around town in the sunshine.  I just laugh because he takes the same route each time unless I can convince (or trick) him into going a different way.

A creature of habit to the max, I tell ya.

Looking through Third Street Dock

Tomorrow is Halloween.  The kids have a party at school, then Trick-or-Treating ensues in the evening.  I'm excited about it!

Wee Man picked our costumes this year.  He is going to be a ghost, however, he doesn't like wearing his costume... and I am supposed to be a zombie.  When I cut up my clothes for my costume, tried them on and walked out of my room like a zombie to see Braeden, he shook his head and said "no!" and ran to the front door.  Trapped.

So I had to turn back into mom and ask if he liked my costume.  "Yes!" he said.

We should have some pics of being all dressed up for next time.

And now we'll end it with a video that I cropped a bit too much.  Sorry.  

It starts with me saying "Johnny Johnny," but I think there's only one Johnny in there.  

I'm so proud of how he is coming along with his words.  We will often reverse roles on the parts.  He can do them both.  And if there is a crowd, he recites it with arm motions and expression so grand that you'd think he was reenacting a Shakespeare play!

Get it, boyeee!

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

The Meaning of Life

October is Down syndrome awareness month.

If you would like to read some run-of-the-mill facts about it, please click here.

If you would like to read my personal, in-depth experience as I learned about Down syndrome from Brady P, you can purchase a copy of my memoir, Digging for Light, here. (Use coupon code "friends" to save 30% on all items.  All orders over $20 ship for free!).

But this is not a commercial, and I am not just trying to promote awareness about Down syndrome.

I am writing to you, right now, to promote love and acceptance for EVERY SINGLE PERSON ON THIS PLANET!!!

Yes, people with Down syndrome are extraordinary.  I've learned so much from my son that I would never trade my life before him (or life with an "ordinary" child) for my life now.

But do you know who else has great qualities?


Your best friend.  The people in your family, even if you don't like them.  The lady with funny glasses who walks through the cafeteria humming the same song everyday.  People with skin of a different color who live across the globe.  The guy driving the taxi cab who almost hit you this morning.  The kids at the school near you.  

Every single person on this planet has something good in them.  Something worth nurturing because growing the good is better than growing the bad.  And what we focus on is what we get.  


Everybody is different, but everybody has a gift to share.

It's easy to see the good in people you already love.  Not the people you might say you "hate."  Hate is a strong word.  Even though I have had some horrifying experiences with other people in the last couple years, I can still say that I don't "hate" the people who treated me that way.  I don't even wish them ill will.  I actually wish them the best!  Because, dag nabbit, there is something good in them, or I never would have gotten involved in the fist place!

Don't think I am an instant angel.  It took time, forgiveness,  meditation, prayers, lots of journaling and buckets of tears to get to the point where I can honestly say that I wish those people the best.  I just choose not to be around them.  We have gone our separate ways, and I can breathe fully.


Okay.  Your turn!

Think of someone you feel an extreme dislike towards.  
  • Maybe they harmed you or your family.  That is unacceptable, but not a reason to hate them.  They probably had a rough upbringing that they never got over, so they took it out on innocent people.  It happens all the time.  I'm not trying to minimize any hurt that you feel, but taking back your power and realizing that you are no longer a victim is going to help move things forward.  I did it, too.

  • Maybe the person you dislike has a position over you at work or in society, and they are always putting you down.  That is also unacceptable behavior.  So why would they do that?  (You can call them names, but then you are using the same tactic as they are.)  They are in a delusional position of authority which makes them think it's normal to feel separate from you or better than you.  Somewhere they lost the importance of respect.  That is not okay.  You should never let someone treat you as less than the amazing person you are.  How would you fix it?  Tell them!  Tell them you do not feel respected (and chances are that most other people around you feel the same way, so use that to your advantage!).  And do it with respect to show them what is possible.  If you lose your job/position because of it, then good.  That gives you a chance to start over some place you are respected and appreciated.  Your whole life will improve.  I did this, too!
  • Maybe you don't even personally know the person in real life.  Perhaps you only see them on TV or the news.  Well, then, how can you really hate them???  You don't even know them!  Yes, they might make selfish decisions and say horrible things about other people, but why do they do that?  How do they really feel about themself?  Is it all for show?  To pretend they're in control?  Lack of their own self-esteem?  What childhood scars do they need to work through?  Perhaps they should do work on themself before they try to be a leader or a role model.  I completely agree with that.  But does hating them help?  No!
Right now you either think I'm a wacko or that I have a really big, squishy heart.  I'll let you decide.  Either way, that doesn't change how I feel about you.

I will still send you love.

We all must send love.  

Let me just stand on top of the pulpit here and throw my fists in the air when I shout this:


Look at this world!  How did we get into this mess???  

We divided ourselves into groups.  Us vs. them.  But that's not the truth.  We are all in this together.  If one part of the earth goes under, we all go under!  We are all on the same sphere floating and spinning through the galaxies!!!  How can we separate ourselves from that fact???

Doing that is our greatest flaw.  We simply have to change our mindset.

This will be easier for some people than others, but we have to try.  Not just everyday but in every moment.  It's a journey we all have to take, and it will take constant practice.  

Not only do we need to love an accept ourselves for who we are and where we're at, we need to grow.  We need to get through our own pain, so we can recognize other people's pain and show them compassion.  Then they can grow and recognize somebody else's pain and show them compassion and on and on and on until we are able to put our own egos aside and realize that we all want to be loved and accepted.

When we get down to brass tacks, what else is there?

We are made from love, my friend, and love will sustain us.  It is the only way we are going to save ourselves.

Now let me get off this soap box, and say, Happy Down Syndrome Awareness Month.  Because a little boy with Down syndrome taught me the meaning of life.

Brady P. says, "You're welcome!"

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Birthday Boy!

So there's this cute little boy who just turned 5.


Yup.  We got ourselves a five year old.  And he is cool as heck.

So cool that his grandparents, dad and I threw him a big party and invited the whole town!

My main goal in inviting the whole town was to say thank you to this wonderful community for always supporting us.  Brady P. and I couldn't live here year-round if it wasn't for all the help we get from friends and neighbors.

So cheers to you!

Brady P. had a blast, and so did the other kids who came!  Between the score-keeping arcade basketball shooting game, dance ribbons at the top of the stairs, balloons, bubbles amongst the snowflakes, apple pressing in the park and cake and ice cream, I never heard one kid say they were bored.


And Braeden got lots of presents.  People sure love him!  Here is a picture of his typical face when he opened them.  What a ham!


Well, back to life as we know it.  Now I just have to reorganize all the toys in this place!

We are truly blessed.  In all the ways.

Have a wonderful night!

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

A Skipper

It looks like I will have to skip this week. 

But here is a picture of the leaves in Brockway Mountain valley!  There is still time to come up and gaze upon the fall splendor.  It's amazing right now!

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Family Expansion Pack

I'm going to get a little personal here.  

A little sappy even.  

I cried a few times when I wrote this one.  Perhaps we really have to feel our wounds in order to find deep gratitude.

I am grateful for my family.

Whether you know Brady P. and me personally, have been following our journey for years or are just joining, let me explain something about our family.

Aaron (Braeden's dad) and I separated two years ago.  Wow.  It's been two years?  We did the divorce and the whole thing.  

Brady P. lives with me pretty much full time.  He hangs out with his dad on weekends in the summertime while Aaron is  in Copper Harbor.  In the winter, they get to see each other during holidays, when weather travel permits or when we go for our annual Arkansas visit.

I just spoke about three people.  Only three.  Aaron, Braeden and me.

But our family is bigger than that.  And when people get divorced, it's like the families get divorced.  I can honestly say that I love the people in Aaron's family.  The Rogers side and the Zimmer side.  They are wonderful people, and we have had so much fun together!

I haven't seen most of them for that two years, and I miss them a lot.  Luckily, Brady P. gets to be a part of their family, so they can watch him grow up, and he can melt their hearts.

One of these days, I hope to show up at their Thanksgiving, though, because we always have a grand time!

Now here are the parts that I am really, truly grateful for.  With every cell of my being.

  • Aaron and I are very civil with each other.
  • Aaron's mom is still one of my very bestest friends!!!
  • My parents and Aaron's parents still enjoy spending time together.
  • Aaron's fiancĂ© and I get along really well!
  • Brady P. gets to watch us all share love and friendship.

Braeden with both Grammies!

Doesn't that make your heart smile?  It does mine!

I am so grateful for the little boy who came into our lives, full of unconditional love, to show us what really is important in this life.  We are all better because of it.

And do you want to know a beautiful thing?  Brady P. gets to be a big brother!!!

I am so excited that he gets to have a sibling!  I always wanted him to be a big brother, but I certainly didn't want it to come from me.  I'm so over it!

So, congratulations and thank you to Aaron and Kelsi for making Braeden into a big brother (coming this winter!).  Brady P. and Kelsi both think it's a girl.  I love it when Braeden says, "sister," when I ask him who's in Kelsi's belly.  

That little sister is a HUGE gift to Braeden.  I cried for a solid hour after I found out.  He deserves it so much!

Not only is this family, ever-expanding as it will be, always there for us when we need them and supportive in the ways they know how to be best, they still love and respect each other.

That is a gift as wonderful as a little sister.

Thank you to all my family, near and far.  You have helped to make us who we are.