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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Hello!

It's been a busy, busy November for my business, Dolly Outfitters. I have been sewing doll carriers non-stop and am currently listing my last batch for Christmas delivery.

This is my second year of awesome-ness (Is that a word?) at holiday time. Last year, I was busy all the way up to the shipping deadline and was very pleased. This month I will surpass the volume of both November and December of last year. WOWSERS!!!!

So, I am going to try to post on here more often. I haven't fallen off the face of the earth. I've buried myself in my sewing room, LOL! No - It's not that clean anymore either :(

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Scribblish Winner!

I almost forgot to announce the winner of the Scribblish! game winner from Halloween weekend.

The winner is: Deb Postma!


Congratulations! E-mail me your mailing address and I'll get you registered for your free Scribblish! game.

You can view a demonstration of how the game is played here.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Halloween crafty-ness

For my second posting for the Halloween Party to win this awesome camera on the SITS girls blog is to show a craft you've made for the holiday. I have two crafts to share.

A few years ago, I made my daughter and another friend mermaid dresses to wear trick-or-treating together. I was really into making costumes and this was the third year in a row. I waited until the last minute so that the girls could put them on right after they got back from school. The skirts were too long. The girls had to hold them up to walk everywhere. One of them came back from trick-or-treating without a hem because it tore when she tripped on it. So, a word to the wise -- make sure to give yourself enough time to measure the proper length (or at least fix the length) of a skirt before it's use is needed. Sigh.


The second project is also a large glass of lemonade. I was going to make my husband this gorgeous Halloween scrub shirt for work. He likes to wear printed shirts at work and there aren't any masculine printed shirts at the scrub shop. This was the second scrub shirt I was making since starting my sewing classes.

I decided to save some class time and cut the pattern pieces ahead of time. When I got to sewing class and showed my instructor what I had done. She was both surprised and a little disappointed. I had perfectly cut the pattern just like I was supposed to with one little detail left out. I had cut all my pattern pieces from the fabric with the gorgeous print UPSIDE DOWN!

So, instead we decided to make this great drawstring candy bag. My daughter has used it to trick-or-treat every year since. Did you notice it in the photo of the girls above too?




Saturday, October 30, 2010

Last Halloween...

Monica was Ariel. This is a picture of her and a friend. They dressed alike for the Trunk 'N Treat held at the school's parking lot.



This year, she is excited to be another Princess, of course. I'll tell in another post!

This post is being linked to the SITS girls blog for an AWESOME giveaway prize. Join us and find out what it is!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Do you play games?

This giveaway is now closed!

I have a fun holiday weekend giveaway to start today! My Blog Spark and Hasbro have teamed up to provide a lucky reader with the game Scribblish!



It's kind of a cross between the historic "telephone game" and pictionary. The players are each given a phrase to draw. Then, they switch drawing papers and have to guess the phrase based on the drawing from the person who handed them the paper. Then, they switch again, and the next round has to give a new phrase to the drawing. At the end, players vote on which final drawing and phrase was the one they started with and which one turned out to be the funniest transition from the original phrase.

I hope this makes sense. I'll post game play pictures after the long weekend so you can get a better understanding of what the game is about. If you want to enter to win your own Scribblish! game, just tell me in the comments what your favorite game was growing up or what your favorite game is now!



The fine print: Hasbro provided me with a free game, information, and the prize pack to the winner through MyBlogSpark.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Water and Diet Coke don't taste the same!

I know. I know. We already knew that, right?

My taste buds have definitely been shell shocked because I took some of the greatly needed advice that you guys left me last week. Thank you all so much for your comments and suggestions.

I don't have Diet Coke in my house anymore. I had my last one last night.

I have only had ONE 12-pack since my last post on Wednesday.

I have been drinking more water in between my caffeinated beverages, coffee and diet coke - which I no longer own stock in, LOL!

I do have some coffee left. I have only been drinking about half a pot of that a day though.

My taste buds don't like water as much as diet coke.

On the bright side, I think I saved an extra roll of toilet paper over the weekend with my lessened intake of liquids.

What did you do this weekend?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I'm an addict

It began as a light desire for what tasted good.

Yes, I admit that I just "liked" coffee and Diet Coke.



It's not such a problem when you have a regular schedule to keep and you can't have one of those two items on you at all times. You just enjoy it while you can.

That changes, though, when you don't keep a schedule and you are able to have one of those two with you at all times.

It starts off all innocent. Oh, I finished my last one? Better get another.

Then, it became a part of me. It went from being on the table next to me, to my hand, to an attachment on my purse that goes everywhere I do.



When I put it somewhere and I couldn't find it, I got another one out. When I finished that, I got another one out. When I found one I left somewhere and didn't know where it went, I combined it with the one I was currently drinking. (Notice the container size difference?)

It's a big joke when you finally realize just how much you consume. It doesn't affect you personally. And, it's a very socially acceptable addiction. After all, I'm not smoking or doing something really bad for me or anyone else.

It isn't a joke, though, when you realize that Diet Coke has become half of your grocery budget and you only buy it when it's on sale. You say to yourself, I should stop consuming so much of it, right?

So, I bought more coffee. After all, it's cheaper to make yourself.

I was talking with my husband recently. I asked him what I should do. He said, "You should just start weaning yourself off of it." Then, I asked him how I should go about doing that. He said, "You should just limit yourself to, like, one a day."

"Um, Honey, I don't know if you've really been paying attention to what I am telling you. But, when you (I can't believe I'm typing this!) consume a 12-pack a day, only having ONE is like going COLD TURKEY!"

What am I going to drink the rest of the day? I always have something with me. Stitch a seam. Take a drink. Stitch another. Take a drink. Make a blog post. Take a drink after each paragraph. Um, does anyone know how many paragraphs are in my blog posts? A lot. (And all you readers thought I just know that breaking up long posts is easier to read on a computer screen - insert scary, sarcastic laugh here.)

Have you noticed the tension I have in writing about this subject today? It's taken a lot of anxious energy to write this one, LOL! (Just count the number of paragraphs here.) A whole giant cup of coffee has been consumed already in the time I have written this. I am currently out of Diet Coke. Coffee is my back-up caffeine.

Yes, this is a real addiction. It has taken years of habit formation. I have real symptoms when I don't consume any for a few hours - really.

In light of the subject of my last post about eye twitching, I have decided that I need to do something about this addiction. I am starting to wonder if this addiction is part of the cause of my brain not being able to settle down at night to sleep. Although my sleeping issues started last year, for obvious reasons I hope, I can't help but wonder if the caffeine is compounding the problem. Both of these symptoms are causes of eye twitching - fatigue or lack of sleep and the over consumption of caffeine. I can't help but wonder - is this my wake up call?

I do have a doctor's appointment in early November and will be discussing this issue there as well.

Until then, I am asking you lovely readers, what would you do in this situation? How do I go about weaning my caffeine consumption? Do you know anyone who has been in this situation before?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Why is my eye twitching?

Or, better yet, why won't my eye stop twitching? That's the question that's been bugging me the most. It hasn't seemed important so I've been trying to ignore it the last few weeks.

Then, I caught this thread on MckMama's forum. She was wondering why her eye was twitching too. Then I realized there were, like, 5 pages of responses from people who had the same problems and links to common sources to the eye twitching problem.

Here are the most common sources of the problem according to Eye Care Basics.com.

Why Does My Eye Twitch?
Eye twitches can be triggered by a variety of different factors. Some of the conditions that cause eye twitches are environmental, some are physiological, and some are psychological in nature. Below is a list of some of the more common causes of eye twitch:

* Fatigue or lack of sleep
* Over consumption of caffeine
* Physical or emotional stress
* Anxiety or phobias
* Brain damage or other neurological disorders
* Associated with temper tantrums (especially in children)
* Eye stress associated with extended viewing of the computer screen
* Epilepsy

The only two I can't really identify with are neurological disorders and epilepsy (in myself, that is, because I have extensive experience in this area of physical ailments). Of the other 6 reasons, I deal with one of them daily from my daughter and the rest pretty much have. me. pegged. That must be the reason BOTH my eyes have been twitching this week!

(Plus, maybe the fact that I tried to post this on my business blog rather than this one. I hope I got it deleted before anyone saw it!)

Friday, October 8, 2010

Today is a special day!

First of all, today is Megan's birthday. Happy Birthday, Meggie Meg! Mommy loves you!

Next, today I am officially announcing that a portion of my new e-book, Creating a Back-to-School Handbook for Your Special Needs Child, is available. I wrote this book because when I think about sending a special needs child to school, there is a lot of preparation that's necessary for a smooth transition. When I wrote this post with tips for starting the school year off right, I thought the main thing I could do to help people prepare is tell them what I did every year when Megan started a new school year. Then, I got an even bigger idea. And, my thoughts turned into writing a book. I wrote most of the text for this guide on Megan's first eternal birthday, October 1, 2010.

Creating a Back-to-School Handbook for Your Special Needs Child tells parents of special needs children how to organize the information that the school needs to know about their child. It tells parents what information to write about their child's personality, their medical needs, their daily schedule, and also what the school should do in the event of an emergency. This book is written so that no instructions to the school are left out. The teachers and aids know exactly where to turn when they have a question before they pick up the phone. And, they know which phone numbers to call depending on where the parent may be during the day when it is truly necessary.

Having this tool for your child and the school creates a "win-win" situation. The teachers and aids know exactly what your child needs. They are trained to work with your child specifically. And, you and your child are more comfortable (and less anxious) with the care he or she receives while at school.

This guide is for you if:
1) You are a parent looking for a way to help you organize the information you have to send your child to school.
2) You know a family who could benefit from this guide.
3) You work with a special needs student and their family and want to help them make the best transition to school as possible.
4) You are a school system looking for information to help your staff members learn how to care for special needs children.

To download a copy of Creating a Back-to-School Handbook for Your Special Needs Child, just fill out the form on the left sidebar of this blog and you will receive a link to download Part 1 of the e-book in your welcome e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be shared with anyone. I will only be letting you know when Part 2 of the e-book is available and when other great e-books are ready. (I have several ideas in mind to be written over the next few months. They all pertain to helping parents with special needs children.)

Part 1 details everything a parent needs to know to write their own handbook for their child's care. It is 11 pages full of helpful content!

Part 2 of the e-book is a sample handbook. And, it isn't just a bunch of words. It is the actual handbook for the care of my Megan that we used when we sent her off to school for the day. And, in case you're wondering, it talks about her personality and social needs, her medication and changing schedule, operation instructions for her medical supplies and equipment, and what to do when a piece of equipment isn't working right. This sample handbook is a lot more than 11 pages and may even save a parent some work if they use any of the same equipment that Megan needed. Because of the extent of the personal information and time-saving value shared, Part 2 will not be a free resource. However, it will totally be worth the price!

So, please sign up to receive Part 1 of this awesome tool! If you don't think you can personally use the guide, please Tweet or "like" this post on Facebook using the buttons below to let everyone know that this resource is available. This resource is awesome and could help parents, special needs children, and school officials start a strong relationship with one another.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

In case you noticed the form

There is a new form in my left sidebar. It is for receiving free resources, tips, and advance notice of events that are sponsored on Our Special Needs Life. It is also the mode of delivery I have chosen to offer the free portion of my new ebook, "Creating a Back-to-School Handbook for Your Special Needs Child."

I am not quite finished with all the details. However, if you want to know what I've been up to before the "official" post - you can sign up to receive the information and get the link to the ebook now. There may or may not be an attachment showing on the e-mail system emails. You don't have to click it - I'm trying to figure out how it got in there in the first place, LOL! The link to the ebook file is in the body of the "Welcome Email" and not in the header where the paper clip shows. I've spent a lot of time on this today and it's late now. I'm headed to bed. Maybe I'll dream about how all this is going to work in the future and my problem will be solved by morning - a girl can dream, right?

Friday, October 1, 2010

Today is day 365!

If you look down to the left sidebar at the Twitter feed you'll see that it has been 365 days since my Megan went Home! She was rare! treasured! priceless! I have been getting by emotionally lately by not thinking about the fact that today was coming. But, the last couple of days I have been thinking about how I can make today turn into the best that it can for our whole family.


Ken is working today and Monica is attending school. I have been here in my studio working. The only project I have been working on today has been to finish writing the Back-to-School Handbook for Special Needs Children. This handbook is turning out to be really awesome. I haven't released it yet because its a bit more than I was expecting it to be. I think it is really going to help people who have a special needs and/or medically fragile child start an awesome conversation with the school and keep the lines of communication open, honest, and enjoyable.

I am using today to start contributing to my daughter's legacy rather than choosing to succumb to the personal stagnation that grief can create if we allow ourselves to be overcome by it. I am choosing to take each step as I feel led to offer inspiration, help, and hope to those who are living the amazing struggle of caring for their children in unfathomable ways. I can't wait to show you what I've been up to!

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!"
Philippians 4:13

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Awesome!

This is a really powerful video. The speaker is an abortion survivor and tells what happened to her. But, she also has something to say about the beauty of people with special needs and a call to action for men and women to do what is right in the name of Jesus.

Gianna Jessen, abortion survivor | Gianna Jessen, supravieĊ£uitoare a avortului from provita on Vimeo.



Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I am working...

I am working on some printable guides for making sure you have all of your paperwork and medical information in order when your special needs child (or medically fragile child) begins school for the first time or just begins a new school year. It has taken me longer than I thought it would. But, I am steadily reaching that goal! My next blog post will be the presentation of this guide. I am hoping that it will be available on Friday - but it might be Monday (I hope not, LOL!)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Totino's Prize Pack Winner!

The winner of the Totino's back to school prize pack with bonus Box Tops and free pizza coupons is.......


Jenna Wood!


I will be contacting you shortly for your mailing information so you can get your prize.

Now, look at all these ideas for things to do while snacking on Totino's Pizza...

1) Watch TV.

2) Have Family Talk Time.

3) Color.

4) Sort through school papers and place the ones that go back to school in a special spot to grab quickly when packing the school bag for the next day.

5) Have a sock puppet show.

6) Share with the neighbors - AWESOME!

7) Read a book.

and, lastly,

8) Surf the web and read e-mail and/or blogs!

All of these sound really fun! Thanks for sharing everybody :)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Starting School with a Special Needs Child

I promised last night that there would be a post with tips on starting the school year off when you have a special needs child. My daughter not only had special needs but was medically fragile. There may be some items that you do not need to do. I hope that is the case for many of you reading this post. These are all things I have done for Megan to get ready for a new school year to start.

1. Pick up all forms for medical needs about 10 days before school begins. These include, but are not limited to: general health questionnaires, medication administration sheets, permissions for procedures at school, and whatever else the school needs in documentation to care for your child..

2. Fill out said forms and take them to the doctor's office to be signed. I usually made an appointment because it does take the doctor quite a while to sign them all. Then, I didn't spend so much time on the phone faxing and then calling to remind the office that I still needed them.

3. Go to the pharmacy and get mini-bottles with the current prescription information on them for each medication to be given at school. Then, you can pour the liquid (or otherwise) medication into them to keep at school and just send home when refills are needed.

4. Remember to ask the pharmacist for extra syringes for the school bottles for the liquid medications. Go when the nicest one is there so that they give you at least one for each mini bottle you need.

5. Write out a schedule for everything your child needs throughout the school day with the corresponding time it should be done. Include the medications and dosages on this too - the separate sheets the doctor signed for you should correspond with this schedule.

6. Write out a procedure page for each piece of equipment your child has that needs to be used by the school staff. (For example, the nebulizer, suction machine, feeding tubes, feeding pumps, etc.) This tells step by step how to use the equipment. Yes, I still had to go in for a couple of days and show them how and then watch them do it too. But, each year, the number of days I had to go at the beginning of the year lessened as the staff was more comfortable with everything that needed to be done.

7. Write a page regarding any emergent needs your child has and what should be done if any of them happen. For example, how should the school treat your child if they have a seizure, their g-tube malfunctions or comes out, they act out of character for themselves, they have trouble breathing, etc. Also include if they should just jot you a note to read, contact you, or call 911.

8. Ask the teacher to inform you if anyone is coming to school sick so that you can keep your child home, if needed.

9. Pack a bottle of hand sanitizer to have for the classroom and have other people/students wash their hands or use the sanitizer before touching your child.

10. Pray for your child, their teachers and aides, and yourself. You are all going to need it!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Is pizza your child's favorite after-school snack?

Preparing your child’s back-to-school shopping list can be hectic but choosing the perfect after-school snack should be effortless. (Especially, with the invention of the microwave and frozen entrees and snacks. It's no secret around this blog that I love candy and junk food food that can be easily prepared.)

This fall, Totino’s is also helping to support your child’s school. Totino’s Party Pizzas will now carry Box Tops for Education! Now through September 15, Totino’s is offering two Box Tops for Education on every Totino’s product.

To celebrate this event, General Mills (Totino's) has teamed up with My Blog Spark to offer a great prize pack consisting of a backpack and school supplies, a coupon for free packages of Totino’s® Party Pizza® and Pizza Rolls® Snacks, as well as 25 Bonus Box Tops. (Yup, I already got mine.)


Now, here's how you can win one of these awesome prize packs as well.

Leave a comment on this post telling us what your child’s favorite thing to do is while snacking on Totino’s after school.

Or, tell us any tips you have to make surviving the back to school season easier - now that we've all just begun a new school year.

This giveaway will be open until Friday morning, September 17, 2010! Good luck!

Tomorrow, I will be sharing tips for starting the school year with a special needs student.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Yoplait Giveaway Winner!

The winner of the Yoplait Splitz prize pack for free coupons for Yoplait Splitz yogurt and this cool picnic tote is:


"I would really like to try the banana split one. I think that would be an interesting yogart flavor. Cool giveaway!
Dee Dee Gerber"

OK - Dee Dee, e-mail your address to me by Tuesday so I can turn your info in to the prize pack patrol! You can use the e-mail link on the left hand side bar.

To answer your comment, yes the banana split one is good. That's the one I got.

Also, I agree with Karen who said she'd like the yogurt to be peanut butter flavored. Great Suggestion! Since there's more than one flavor in the Splitz pack, I might add chocolate to it too!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! I have another giveaway lined up for next week! What is your favorite kind of pizza?

Monday, September 6, 2010

Yoplait Splitz Review and Giveaway!

My Blog Spark, a company who helps bloggers promote new products for companies, sent me and all my readers a coupon for $.75 off a package of Yoplait Splitz, a new tasty yogurt.


Yoplait Splitz combines flavors in the same cup to provide maximum enjoyment for your taste buds. Ken, Monica, and I tried the Strawberry Banana Split flavor and it was indeed a treat to our taste buds - very creamy too. They also have Rainbow Sherbet and Strawberry Sundae flavors. A four-pack was regularly priced at $2.69 at our local Meijer store, less with the coupon. Download it today for your discount too!

Yoplait Splitz is also great to freeze and then include in your lunch box. Monica loves to do this!

My Blog Spark and Yoplait also sent me this prize for trying Yoplait Splitz and telling you all about it - Awesome!


This insulated picnic time tote is really nice. When it came in the mail, I was thinking about who I could gift this awesome prize to. Then, when Ken saw it, he said I was gifting it to him so he could replace his cheap grocery store reusable tote. I guess it would be an upgrade for him.

Guess what? They are also sending one of you guys this prize pack as well (as long as you comment on this post). I am not paying for this giveaway - so all of you who won't enter a giveaway from me knows that the only one who loses out on this is you if you don't enter.

For one entry - leave a comment on this post saying which flavor you would like to try or suggest that they make.

For 2 extra entries leave a comment saying that you followed Yoplait on Facebook or Twitter. (Leave a separate comment for each.)

The winner will be announced on Friday morning, September 10, 2010!


Fine print: *This coupon offer for a free pack of Yoplait Splitz is not valid in some states, including California, Idaho, Louisiana, Minnesota, New Jersey, Nevada, North Dakota and Tennessee.

(Please note that it is very important that you disclose that the Yoplait Splitz, the prize pack, information and the prize package for giveaway were all provided by Yoplait through MyBlogSpark.)

Friday, September 3, 2010

Beautiful on the inside too!

Monica, the beautiful, is attending a new school this year. We thought it would be a better fit for her and a fresh start. Monica is in the fourth grade and really loves her new teacher.

This afternoon, after school, Monica was talking with the teacher of the other fourth grade class because she has a very special student in her room. Monica told her, "If you need any help with your very special student this year, you could let me know."

"Oh really?" the teacher replied.

"Yes, I know what she likes. She needs someone to talk to her, read to her, and touch her. She would really love it."

The teacher said, "You know what? You're right. She does love all of those things."

To which Monica replied, "she's like my sister."

What a great gift she has to be able to see the needs of others.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The edge

I've been staring at it for a while now. I've been looking back at it, wishing and dreaming it didn't happen. But, it has. Every time I try to turn myself around, little things come along beside me and I am reminded that the edge is there.

I've always been kind of a "glass half empty" kind of girl. That's just how I roll! The edge to me has been the imagery of being at a cliff, walking up to the edge, looking down towards the doom looming down there. I didn't want to have anything to do with it.

Then, my wonderful "glass half empty" personality changed the imagery. As the situations in my life changed, I think I actually felt myself falling down the cliff for a while. Then, I turned those feelings off - because they don't feel good. You can cope with them off.

But, I was still at the bottom of my cliff looking back up at the edge. I scrambled for a while trying to think of all the ways that I could get out of the situation. None of them were viable ways and, luckily, I recognized that truth and dismissed those notions. I leaned heartily on the support system I had left that I hadn't isolated myself from.

Last year, interestingly, through my efforts of trying to build my business on Twitter of all places, I found some blogs and thought, "I can do that!" So I did. I started this blog and off I went. But, something happened. I started thinking about the feelings I had shut off.

At the same time, I was able to reconnect with people I had isolated from. I even made some new connections with new people - imagine that! I am, always have been, and always will be - an introvert! I don't make friends easily and then when I do, I am always trying to find the reason that people are going to stop liking me. Or, use my negative circumstances as a reason that "my stuff is too heavy for others to want to bother with." (I know, I know - negative and pessimistic!)

Over the last year, I have been trying really hard to keep up the new connections I have made. I actually accepted an invitation and got out of the house to get coffee with someone. I went shopping and out to dinner with a friend. I went to a girl's night out get together at another friend's house. And, to top it all off, I did something really major! I went to a large 2-day womens conference and roomed with someone who wasn't another family member!

It was at this conference where I heard and learned a new definition of my "edge." The speaker defined the edge as "the point at which something is likely to begin." I bought her book to read more about it. Although the story is about her journey with weight loss and other issues unrelated to my circumstances, this simple principle is something that resonated with me.

The speaker wrote in her book, "How many times do we beseech God for something, sure that we know what's best for us? Oh-please-oh-please-oh-please, God! God is our all-knowing Creator, and we're the ones duped by our own self-centered and narrow-focused pleas. We think we know what's best for ourselves, and we beg God to give it to us. But sometimes God does what He knows is best for us, even while we're begging Him to do something different. Even when the divine thing he's doing looks like devastation through our limited earthly eyes."

I've been reading, "The Edge of the Divine" by Sandi Patty. It's helping me to redefine the edge in a positive way instead of doom. The edge is simply a place where something is likely to begin. A place where God can show me His divine nature and will for my next steps so that I am not continuously turning around to look for what I have lost. Hmmmm.

Monday, August 9, 2010

I recruited...

another model. Look how excited she is!


She wasn't sure what was happening. The ponytails in the dolly's hair were replaced countless times. Boy, did we learn a lot more about multiple young children and photo shoots.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Counting the days!

11 days from today, my girl will be a fourth grader! Where has all the time gone? I thought the last day of school was yesterday!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Stream of consciousness

I am going to try this blogging method today because I don't have a ready topic right now but want to say something to my lovely readers. I don't like it when I don't say anything for a week or longer.

I have been pretty busy. Running an online store, attending the flea market 2 days a week, keeping up with inventory for both, trying to design a new line of girl/doll clothes, and redesigning my website are HUGE time swallowers!

We did have a chance to take Monica to the fair on Thursday and had a lot of fun. She rode her first non-kid sized ferris wheel, had her hair sprayed pink like Pinky Dinky Doo, and won a gold fish at one of the games.

Me? I found a sewing store vendor at the exhibition booth and fell in love with the serger I have only heard about and think about in my dreams. It did not disappoint! Now, I am completely re-prioritizing my business cash flow to include this machine much sooner so that I can start designing new, more professionally looking KNITWEAR myself and not buying them from other vendors to re-sell. Yes, I know I am crazy about this. I also know knitwear is not known for being an easy medium for sewists. I can't wait to tackle it though, LOL!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Dear Megan,

I miss you, girlie! Whenever I start to think about you, my heart smiles...then I think about what you must be doing right now. I can't wrap my mind around the place where you are, what that place looks like, how differently you look, what you are thinking about, and if you are thinking of Daddy, Monica, and I waiting to see you again.

When I hear someone speak of Heaven, I think of you. When I hear songs about praising Jesus, I wonder what it feels like to you to actually be there. I can't fathom the emotions that you must feel surrounded by everyone there. It makes my heart smile, and glad that Jesus made a way for us to know and see one another again when I get there too.

Then, I start to think about how long it may be before that takes place and I feel my eyes getting moist and start to wipe the tears. I am not sorry that you don't have to live in a body that doesn't work anymore. I don't know how you did it with such a pleasant attitude - I don't think I could have lived in your body and still smiled most days.

I just want you to know that I miss you and can't wait to see you again. You are in my thoughts every. single. day.

Love,
Mommy

Friday, July 16, 2010

Praying for Peace and Health

I have a close friend who is expecting her third baby in early August. Her baby is very active and appears healthy. However, she is worried about the baby's position while preparing for the labor process.

She has prayed for me unceasingly and I would like to offer the same back to her as well as make everyone aware that she needs peace and continued health for both of them as the delivery approaches.

"Lord, touch my friend and her baby. Calm the nerves and bring your peace to her home so that her family may enjoy one another as they await their newest family member's arrival to their arms. Amen."

Monday, July 12, 2010

Application

Our youth ministries pastor spoke yesterday's message at church. His message centered around this verse:

Hebrews 13:5 (NIV)
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,
"Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you."


Even in the midst of circumstances we don't understand, He has not left us. We can choose to let our feelings get the better of us. Or, we can run and jump into the arms of the One who can carry us.

What circumstances in your life make you want to run to Jesus arms and stay there?

Are they the ones for which you are waiting?

Friday, July 9, 2010

Are you waiting?

Going through a season of waiting is really hard. I remember waiting for an answer I just knew I was going to get from God. But, it seemed like He had forgotten that I was still there asking. It felt, at times, like He just left me hanging there.

When we got married in 1996, Ken and I had a plan for our careers, how to raise our children, and live our life together. However, we were handed a different plan. We weren't given all the pieces to the plan at once either. We weren't sure where exactly the plan would lead us or what the outcome was going to be.

When you are given a new plan with no real details, there's the temptation to start to "fix" situations yourself when you are waiting for the details to be revealed. I have thought to myself many times, "Maybe it is something I am supposed to be doing that will help." However, many times, the more I tried to "fix" things myself, I found myself in a deeper mess.

I remember praying so many times, "God, just help me find the lesson here so I can learn it and my problem(s) will go away!" Throughout my waiting process, I learned something about looking for answers.

Sometimes God is preparing someone else to be involved in our plan.
God knows we need help and sometimes He is lining up the important players to be involved in our life or situation. This takes time and we can't always see what is going on until the day the door opens. Then, more details of the plan are revealed in a way that is practical and makes sense.

Sometimes God is working in us to change our motives.
Have you ever thought about why you are asking for what you want? Are there any other people involved? Are you asking about something only for yourself? Are you asking for your pleasure or convenience? Are you giving God a deadline? Are you asking to be rescued from your situation? What is at the root of your request? James 4:3 says, "When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures."

Sometimes God is waiting on us to figure out that we want something totally different instead - something better.
Have you ever waited for something long enough to change your mind? You aren't even interested in that request any more. Or, you may find a way of fine tuning that request and found that you hadn't thought through the first request well enough. Is the request a real need?

Sometimes our problem is not totally about us!
You may be going through your circumstance so that others around you may benefit from the way you handle things. Is there anything you have finished where sharing the process might be helpful to others? Can you encourage them?

Sometimes God is asking us to trust Him.
When our request really is worthy, waiting enhances the gift of the request being answered! God wants to give us the desires of our hearts. Are we trusting Him to come through for us at His perfect time in our lives? Are we trusting Him to show us another way that is better than we originally planned?

Sometimes God just wants to see us persevere.
You know, a character building thing. Romans 5:3b-4 says, "because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope."

What is the hope for? I am glad you asked!

James 1:12 says "Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him."

My Hope is in this promise. So, then, God, can my crown be made solely of diamonds? Unless, of course, You have something better than diamonds in Heaven!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Welcome to "Our Special Needs Life"

Update: I have decided to re-post this welcome message because it says so much about what the purpose of starting this blog was in the first place.

Original Post:
Our family life began with Ken and Lori. We were married and started our journey together in August 1996. Our first daughter, Megan was born in October 1999 weighing in at 7 lbs. 5 1/2 oz. Our second daughter, Monica, was born in May 2001 weighing in at 8 lbs. 9 oz. We were excited to have our two girls born close together so that they could become close friends and enjoy one another throughout their lives. However, shortly after our second daughter Monica was born, we began to realize that some red flags that we raised concerning Megan's development would highly impact our family's daily life as well as how we each relate to each other, the world, and to God.

Our plans for living our lives "the right way" with two amazingly well-behaved girls (effortlessly, of course), loving our jobs, providing a nice home, and seamlessly pacing through all the major stages of life together - CHANGED FOREVER!

The more we learned about our daughter's condition, the more our lives instantly changed until we had no choice to simply put everything we trusted in completely over to God. It seemed that no aspects of our lives were safe from the effects of our daughter's illness. When you have a child with a serious illness, the whole way you think, live, and breathe is different. You view the world from a completely different perspective. And, some days, it feels like the world also views your family from a completely different perspective.

Our prayer is for that everyone who reads the words on our site may be encouraged, uplifted, amused, informed, and delighted all to the Glory of God who made us, with no mistakes! It is only by His grace that we all get up every day, face the challenges that come with pride, and live as a steward of His love to the rest of the world. For our success is not in what we accomplish throughout our lives but how we go about our lives being thankful for everything we are given and teaching others to praise amidst whatever circumstances may present.

Please enjoy our thoughts, antics, advice, information, and family history knowing that we are taking this journey together, one step at a time. We LOVE to hear comments, stories, suggestions, clarifications, and situational humor from our readers who consider themselves "Special Needs Families" as well.

Reflection:
When I was a young girl and we would go to my Grandparents house, there was quite a lot of "Jesus" and "church" talk. My Dad was a minister and my Grandparents were mature Christians. I would remember listening to them talk about concepts, religion in general, or songs that they loved. I can still hear my Grandfather's voice saying, "That's a hard one!" I always thought, "it's just a song!"

Now, I get it. It's not just a song, verse, saying, or quote. It's so much more. It's a feeling that creates so many thoughts and ways to analyze how to bring glory to the God who made us and gave so much for us so that the things that we go through in our lives don't have to be so painful forever!

When I wrote this paragraph on May 7, 2009, I had no idea that this blog would become the documentation of the end of a wonderful life as well as a great source of encouragement and support for our family.

"Our prayer is for that everyone who reads the words on our site may be encouraged, uplifted, amused, informed, and delighted all to the Glory of God who made us, with no mistakes! It is only by His grace that we all get up every day, face the challenges that come with pride, and live as a steward of His love to the rest of the world. For our success is not in what we accomplish throughout our lives but how we go about our lives being thankful for everything we are given and teaching others to praise amidst whatever circumstances may present."

(Now, that's a hard one to live by, especially considering what has transpired with our family since then. But still very true. We are doing our best to believe that there was no mistake and to keep praising in the midst of these very emotional times.)

I have decided to continue the initial purpose of this blog by telling more of Megan's story in an effort to encourage those going through similar journeys.

Friday, June 25, 2010

I almost....

decided to delete this blog. I have had a MAJOR case of blogger's block. I could think of things to say. But when I started typing - I didn't like how I did it, the words I used, my thoughts about the topic, etc. So, I never saved or published them.

I almost let my internal negative self-talk beat me down into thinking, "why bother?" anymore. The point in the beginning was to journal our life with a special needs child. But, what happened was, that life ended. Our daily lives look nothing like they did before.

Instead of deleting this blog - I started doing some reading. I got a grasp on thinking things through rationally. I learned a way of planning which direction I want to go.

Initially, I wanted to help others through my experiences when I started this blog. And, because I was just posting with my instincts and not really planning the direction I was headed, I stalled when I internally told myself that having this blog didn't make sense anymore - especially when I started reading through my blog. I hadn't read many of the posts since I published them.

I am trying to shut that thinking down. It has been a huge process for me. I have had a lot of thoughts while I have been working lately, trying to make sense of applying the information I learned to who I am and how I want to portray living a "special needs life". I am still planning and trying to make sense of everything going on in my head so that it comes out coherently.

I still want this to be a place to celebrate the special lives that have touched us, to find resources for living, and keep hoping for our future.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Take me out...

to the ball game.



Take me out with the crowd.



Buy me some peanuts



and cracker jacks.



Monica didn't care if she ever got back, but I caught her root, root, rooting for the Cubbies! (between her bites of this)




If they didn't win, it (our view) would be a shame.




But it was 1, 2, 3 strikes they were out


- at this great ball game YEAAAA!!!!!


Thursday, June 17, 2010

We're here today! YAY!!!!!



We are so excited - except for Monica, but she doesn't know just how fun it is going to be!

We are praying for a nice day to sit at the ball park and enjoy the company of thousands of people all hoping for the same outcome!

I'll let you all know how much fun it really was tomorrow!