Our Week In Pictures (1/6/14-1/12/14)

This past week Hailey went back to school and Skylar and I eased back into school here at home.

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I finally finished up a gift for Chris’ mom.  

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We had our weekly visits with the chiropractor.  We LOVE this office!  They are like family!

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I started sorting through my craft room to decide which supplies I am ready to send to new homes.

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We spent lots of time at the library, one of my favorite places!

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I had rehearsal for worship team.

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We attended the missions dinner at our church.

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Awoke on Saturday to find Hailey looking through my Project Life album from 2012.

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Sunday was a beautiful day of serving, rest, & family time!

Ready & raring to go for another week of school, therapy, doctor’s appointments, exercise, and family time!

So thankful for my sweet family!

Make it great!

JuJu

Oh, the Magic of Disney!

One of my favorite parts of taking Skylar to Disneyland is her absolute joy when she sees the characters!  She usually spots the characters and says “It’s (insert whatever character we happen to run into)! I need to ask him something!” or “I need to tell them a story!”.  She gets so excited and just can’t wait to ask whatever question is running through her head.  It is an absolute joy to watch!

This trip was no different!  After Peter Pan literally ran into Hailey by the teacups, he stopped to visit with our family.  Skylar was so excited.  She launched into a story about how he fought Captain Hook and how exciting it was.  She was so animated!  The best part was watching the two of them interact.  I was able to capture a bit of their interaction in photos.

It started out with “Um…Hi!  I’m Skylar.  I’m your biggest fan!” and just went from there.

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As we walked away Skylar said “That was AWESOME!  I love him!”

So thankful for the magic of Disney and the absolute joy that it brings my sweet girl!

And thank you Peter Pan!  You are doing it right!

Make it great my friends!

JuJu

If you missed the re-cap in pictures of our Christmas trip to Disneyland, you can see them HERE!

Do Not Fear!

Just had the most precious moment with Skylar as I was in the kitchen making meatballs. 

Sky: Mom, what are you afraid of?
Me: Heights & someone hurting the people that I love! (I also thought to myself that I am afraid that people will never see Skylar for the wonderful soul that she is & that sadly, there will be many people who will just not accept her.)
Sky: Well, you should conquer those fears mom!
Me: I have tried Skylar, but it still scares me!
Sky: Well mom, the Bible clearly says “Do not fear!” It also tells us that we need to trust God and that He will take care of us!
Me: (speechless)
Sky: So even though I am scared of sharks and snakes, I trust God & He takes care of me! You just have to have faith mom! He loves us!
Me: (still speechless, but now crying)

Sometimes I get discouraged because of the things that Skylar has tremendous difficulty doing & I cry out to God and ask Him for encouragement and to soothe my aching heart. I have absolutely NO doubt that God speaks to me and encourages me through sweet Skylar!

I hope that this encourages you today as well!

Make it great!

JuJu

Skylar’s 1st Swim Meet

Skylar swam in her 1st swim meet with her Special Olympics team this past Saturday.  I was so nervous as I had no idea what to expect.  Even though she practices each week with her team, I wasn’t sure how she would do when we were at the actual meet. I prayed fervently for her to just enjoy herself!  

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Shortly after we arrived, I snapped this picture of her next to the pool.  I could hear her talking to herself realized she was repeating the things that her coaches and I have been telling her the past few months:

“Don’t come off your back until you’ve touched the wall!”

“Make sure you don’t push off the lane line!”

At this moment, more than anything, I wished that “Have fun! I’m proud of you, no matter what!” would have been one of the phrases she kept repeating.  You see, in all of my nervousness and hoping that she would have a legal stroke and finish the race strong, I forgot to impart to her the most important advice of all:  Have fun! I’m proud of you, no matter what!

As her teammates began to arrive, I could see that she was relaxing a bit more. Getting excited for the day.  She was excited when they passed out her team t-shirts.

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Shortly before the meet began, one of her coaches walked over and Skylar blurted out “I’m going to FAIL!”  I held my breath as I waited for her coach’s response.

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“You aren’t going to fail!  You are going to do great!”  (Thank you Coach Patty!)

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Skylar was so quiet while waiting for her event.  I stayed close, but tried not to hover (I’m really working on that!).  She did a great job following the instructions of the group that was helping get them all lined up.  I did manage to capture a bit of a smile right before she got into the water.  

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And then it was time!  Into the water she went.

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Her first event was the 25M Freestyle.  I can’t even begin to describe to you the improvement we have seen in this stroke the past 4 months.  

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And you better believe that we screamed like fools!  

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As she reached for the wall, I said to Chris “I can’t believe it!  She’s going to get 2nd place!  How awesome is that?”

And then, when I didn’t think I could be any more emotional, I saw Coach Patty. She was clapping, encouraging her, giving her high-fives, and congratulating her on a great swim!

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Skylar got out of the water, huge smile on her face and went right back to the staging area where she got ready for her next swim.  She only had a matter of minutes between events and I was wondering how she would do with that little rest, but she did great!  She swam the 25M Backstroke, which is actually her favorite stroke.  She struggled with the sun being in her eyes so she was all over the lane, but thankfully everyone else had the same problem.  I’m pretty sure she swam the entire race with her eyes closed! And believe it or not, she came in 2nd place again!

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She got out of the water and said “Mom, I think I’m done swimming for the day. Can we go back to the timeshare?”  I laughed and told her we had to wait for the awards ceremony.  Right about that time, one of the workers walked by and said that they were having pizza delivered for the swimmers right after the meet.  Skylar whipped her head around and said “Excuse me!  Did you just say pizza?  Mom!  We are totally staying!”

As Skylar waited for her name to be called out during the awards ceremony, she had a little smirk on her face.  She fought back a huge smile.  You could tell that she was really proud of herself!  As she should be!

So proud of our girl!

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And Skylar’s favorite part of the day?  You guessed it!

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Thanks for celebrating our girl with us!  We think she is all kinds of awesome!

Make it great!

JuJu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Beginnings

IMG_6080-1Today is Hailey’s first day of the 7th grade.  After a lot of prayer and discussion, we decided to place Hailey in a private Christian school this year.   We truly feel that it is going to be a great fit for her.

We started praying about our school options for Hailey’s 7th grade year in January. We discussed homeschooling her another year, private schools, and placing her in our local public school.  Hailey was 1 of 30 students in her 5th grade class and she struggled tremendously with focus and staying on task, and that was with only having 1 teacher who was very aware of Hailey’s strengths and weaknesses.  So, it only took us about 2 minutes to eliminate the public middle school here due to the large class sizes.

I really enjoyed having Hailey at home last year, but I knew that she desired to be back in a classroom setting.  This is where knowing your child really comes into play. Although she learned well at home, I know that she loves the classroom.  She loves a more rigid schedule and she desires to be with other kids.  Hailey spent a day in May shadowing and absolutely loved it.  When she came out at the end of the day she said “Mom, I LOVED it!  I totally want to go here next year.  The teachers prayed, it was awesome!”

I could go on and on about this subject, but I won’t.  I know that this is an exciting new chapter for Hailey.  This morning when we dropped her off, I did so with both excitement and a bit of sadness.  The sadness is for me.  I will miss having her here at home with me every day.  I will miss hearing her whistle and hum throughout the day.  I will miss those days when she decided to speak in a British accent because we were studying the Revolutionary War.  But I am also excited!  I am excited to see how Hailey grows this year.  I am excited that she will attend a daily Bible class.  I am excited that her classes will start with prayer and that her teachers desire for her not only to grow in her knowledge of math, science, history, and language arts, but also to grow in her faith and her knowledge of Jesus Christ.  For that, I am excited and tremendously grateful!

Make it great!

JuJu

A Sweet Bond

Skylar and my niece, Sam have a really sweet bond!  They love to be together and no matter where we are, they love to watch Skylar’s iPad together.  

On our recent trip to New Mexico, my sister caught a great series of photos of Skylar and Sam while they were watching something on her iPad.  I loved how they turned out & was thrilled that she caught the genuine joy and love between them.

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So very thankful for this sweet relationship!  It makes this mamma’s heart very happy!

Make it a great day!

JuJu

 

 

 

 

Exploring Our State: BEARIZONA

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As a military family we have the wonderful opportunity to live in all sorts of amazing places. We try to get out and explore the area and support the local economy.  Some assignments we do better than others.  We have lived in Northern Arizona for a little over 2 years now and we only have 1 year left here before we are off on our next adventure.  

I was talking with Chris last week and I told him that I really felt like I had slacked off on exploring our state during this assignment.  I loved his response:  We have an entire year left here, so let’s get out and start exploring.  

So that is our plan!  Sometimes it is easier to just stick close to home as we never know how Skylar is going to respond to an outing, but we are really working hard at preparing her for changes in routine and helping her enjoy different places.  

Last week we had made arrangements to go and visit with my friend, Heather and her kids as they were stopping off in Flagstaff on their way to Vegas.  We made plans to meet in the afternoon, but with Chris taking the day off work, I suggested that we stop off at Bearizona, a drive-thru wildlife park on our way.  Chris was totally game.  We have literally passed this park a dozen or more times on our way to and from New Mexico, each time saying “We should really stop there sometime!”  I’m happy to report that we finally stopped talking about stopping and actually stopped.

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We stopped in Williams to grab a bite to eat.  We weren’t sure if there was food available at the park as their website didn’t mention anything.  

We arrived at the park shortly after lunch and there wasn’t a line at all.  It cost our family of 4 about $70 to drive through the park.  That included our military discount. The nice thing for larger families is that they don’t charge over $100 a vehicle, so if you have a gaggle of kids, you won’t pay over $100.  You can also purchase an annual pass that would cover everyone in the vehicle for $175.  My first thought was that the cost was a bit steep for a 2-mile drive thru wildlife park, but at the entrance we found out that the cost not only includes the drive thru part, but also a small zoo at the end, a High Country Raptors bird show, and an open bus tour.  

After receiving our instructions, we headed into the wildlife park.  Hailey was super excited, but Skylar was a bit anxious about the animals coming up to the vehicle after the stearn “windows up and vehicles locked” warning we received.  Chris, being the total goof that he is, got totally tickled by the “lock your car doors” warning and kept saying “Seriously!  These animals can’t open our doors!” which lead to huge amounts of giggling from me, Chris, and Hailey and lots of “Stop laughing!  They are going to get us!” from Skylar!

We saw quite a few different animals on our way through.  Our first was the mountain goats, who actually positioned themselves in front of our van, even resting their chins on the hood.  Hailey loved that!  Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get a picture of them as we were facing into the sun and there was a total glare through the windows.  I could have rolled down the windows in this section, but after trying to do so, we quickly rolled them back up after Skylar started shrieking & yelling “You are breaking the rules!  The goats are going to eat us!”  

After the goats we got to see: 

Big Horn Sheep (we were pretty sure this guy was laughing at us!)

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And Bison (not a whole lot of movement from these fellas)

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Then we came upon the wolf enclosure.  This sign cracked me up!  

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All the wolves were sleeping as we went through, but we enjoyed seeing them all sacked out while we drove through.  Some of them slept right in the middle of the woods, while others were under man-made shade structures.  As we drove out of the wolf enclosure there was a nice, young girl there to answer any questions.  Our only questions was:  How do they ensure that the wolves stay in the enclosures? We noticed that there were cattle guards at the entrance and exit, but we thought that the wolves could jump over them.  We were told that the wolves wouldn’t jump over the guards as they do not like unsteady ground, but that they also have electric pads before the guards to ensure they don’t try anything silly!  (Those are my words, not the Bearizona employees!  She was much more technical and professional!)

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As we drove through seeing a different type of bison, we remarked about the beauty of the mountain!  Nothing but beautiful hilltops and pine trees as far as you could see.  Northern Arizona is truly stunning!

After seeing some more sheep we finally made it to the bear enclosure.

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The pictures aren’t the greatest as I had to take them through the dirty windows. We were thankful that about half way through the bear enclosure that a couple of the bears were a bit more active.  The bear below was a good hundred yards from our car, but Skylar was not happy!  She kept encouraging us to keep moving.  Our favorite was “Remember the sign? Move along if they approach your car!”  She was not even messing around!  To her this bear might as well have been sitting on our car.  She wanted to get out of there!

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To Skylar’s delight, we finally came to the end of the drive-thru segment.  She wasn’t super excited about getting out of the car to go to the zoo section because she was anxious to get to Flagstaff to see our friends.  After explaining to her that they weren’t ready to meet us yet, she got out of the car.  As soon as we walked through the entrance she was happy to be there.

The girls’ loved this peacock that walked back and forth with these little babies following her. We weren’t actually sure if they were her babies or if they belonged to the chickens that also roamed about freely.

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They also had a really large enclosure for a bunch of bear cubs.  They were totally adorable and both the girls loved seeing them.  We also got to see a beaver, a porcupine, a badger, a lynx, racoons, a couple of foxes, and some pigs and various other farm animals.  We had to stop and take a break as we walked through because Skylar was warm and her feet hurt.  Thankful that they had cute benches all along the way.

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We just missed the bird show, but we heard some people talking about how neat it was.  Maybe next time we will try and time our visit better in order to see it.  Also, the zoo did have food and ice cream available so that is nice to know for our next visit.  

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We really had a good visit to Bearizona and would recommend that anyone visit there at least once.  We would do a couple of things differently if we were to visit again: (these are things that would help us with having Skylar, not anything that Bearizona could do differently!)

-allow Skylar to use her i-pad while we are in the wolf & bear enclosures (I think this would have cut down on her anxiety tremendously!)

-either pack a lunch or plan on having luch at the zoo portion;  (or at least ice cream)

-develop some type of learning activity with the animals in the zoo portion.  My thought was some type of scavenger hunt or tic tac toe that incorporated a question that is specific to the type of animal (i.e.  I am a nocturnal animal that likes to eat fish & plants and it sometimes looks like I’m wearing a mask.  Who am I?) Some of the questions the girls might know right away, but some would require them to read the information about the animals that are available outside the enclosures.  Just a thought! 

We are looking forward to exploring our state even more this coming year.  The places that we have down on our list to visit include:  Sedona, Jerome, the Grand Canyon,  and Tombstone.  We would love to hear of any suggestions you might have.  We are excited for a fun year of exploring Arizona!

Hope you all have a great day!  

Make it great!

JuJu

 

 

Totally Groovy

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This past Saturday we had the opportunity to attend a 60′s themed dance being held by a local program that puts on activities and events for individuals with special needs.  The program is called SNAP (special needs activity program).  It is really neat how the Lord orchestrated our learning about SNAP through the free swim at the Y and one of Chris’ cadets.  

Skylar was really excited to go and after I was asked to help serve dinner to the attendees, we decided to make it a family event.  Skylar actually went online and googled different 60′s themed outfits to get an idea of what to wear.  We got a suede vest at Goodwill and I made the headband out of some brown cord that I picked up at Hobby Lobby and a sunflower I had in my craft stash.  I knew that it would be important for Skylar to be comfortable or she wouldn’t want to stay long.  

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Before we left for the dance we took a bunch of portraits on the front porch.  The picture below was my absolute favorite!  It is a great picture of what it is like in our home.  Just complete silliness!  I told Chris that his glasses looked a bit more like Elton John than John Lennon!

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Oh how I love this crazy man!  

When we got to the dance, Skylar immediately got into line to get her food.  I loved having the opportunity to serve dinner to the other attendees.  It gave me a chance to say hello to everyone.  So many smiles, so many thanks!

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This was pretty much all Skylar cared about!  The food!  One of the guys she had met the week prior at bingo asked her if she wanted to dance and I heard her say “Nope!  I’m eating! I’ll dance later.”  

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It was fun to watch Hailey and Chris eat dinner and chat.  They truly enjoy each other’s company.  

Not long after dinner, people started making their way on to the dance floor.   As I watched them start dancing, some by themselves and some as couples, I remarked to Chris that I loved how there was no pretense.  No one looked worried about what other people were thinking.  There wasn’t anybody in the corner whispering about anyone dancing.  There were only smiles, complete joy!  My heart was overwhelmed as I watched everyone dancing and saw all the caregivers just beaming.  These were truly our people!

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Chris, Hailey, and I danced together for well over an hour.  Skylar didn’t want to be anywhere near us.  Total teenager!  While we were dancing, a sweet lady came up to me and shouted:

“Would you like to dance with me?  I am a FANTASTIC dancer!”

Well, how can you say no to that?

We danced for 3 or 4 songs and she sang her heart out the entire time.  It was awesome!  I loved hearing her sing all the 60′s music.  

One of my favorite parts of the night was watching Chris dance!  It was so funny. He had a blast.  He was definitely the guy all the ladies wanted to dance with.  He treated them all like princesses and they giggled with delight!  And just when I thought I couldn’t love this man any more than I already do, I watched as a lady in a wheelchair who was non-verbal reached out and grabbed his hand.  He took her hand, danced around her and just talked to her the whole time.  I fell more in love right there on the dancefloor!

The entire crowd errupted in cheering when the DJ played YMCA!  I told Chris that I was pretty sure that this was a 70′s song (it actually came out in 1978).  We figured that they must be playing a mix of 60′s and 70′s music.  That was until they played the Cha Cha slide, Celine Dion, and Taylor Swift.  That gave us a good laugh!  Not long after that, Skylar said her feet were tired and that she was hot!  These were both signals that she was done and ready to go home.

As we walked out to the car, both Hailey and Skylar remarked how much fun they had.  Chris and I definitely agreed that it was the most fun we’d had as a family in a long time.  One of the best comments of the evening came from Hailey. She said “I am so glad that I am a 21st century kid!  I could not have handled the clothes and the music of the 60′s!”  She is looking forward to the next dance, which is cowboy themed! (Can’t wait to see what Chris decides to wear to that one!)

We finished the night with a stop at our favorite frozen yogurt place and when Skylar walked out she said “This was the best night ever!”  I have to agree that it was pretty great!

And just to give you a little bit more of a glimpse into the silliness that is my family, I asked Chris and Skylar to look serious for a couple of pictures and this is what I got.

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Heaven help me!

Make it a great week!

JuJu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Attending Church with an Individual with Special Needs

Some days Skylar really struggles with going to church.  Yesterday, as I sat in worship, I got to thinking about why it is often difficult to take an individual with special needs to church.

It is difficult to explain the fears that many parents of special needs children have in taking their children into a worship service.  I hear from many families that they gave up going to church a long time ago!

Why is that?  Well, let me share with you my own thoughts on this matter.  Let me start off by saying that I am not speaking for all families that have a child with special needs, just MY family!  So here we go!

1)  PEOPLE STARE

This is a biggie!  I can’t even begin to tell you about the stares that we get.  You would think that it would be better in church, but nope..it isn’t!  This seriously saddens me!  I understand people’s curiosity, but for the love of all that’s holy, quit staring!  This wasn’t as much of an issue with us when Skylar was younger, but as she has grown into her teenage body, it has become more of an issue.  When you have a younger child in service who is a bit restless people don’t even think twice about it, but when you have a child who is taller than her mom and the age of a young high schooler, people are staring when she is hugging me tightly, holding my hand, rubbing her face against mine for that deep pressure input, or moving “a bit more than she should” during worship.  You know what?  If you can’t move during worship, when can you move?  One thing I won’t ever do is tell Skylar that she can’t dance during worship or tell her that she is singing too loud!  That is how she worships and I will never try to change that!  

2)  PEOPLE ARE JUDGEMENTAL

We do make Skylar stand and join us during the worship segment of church.  Some days she adamantly says “I am NOT singing with you today!” but we still ask her to stand and read the words on the screen.  

When it comes time for the message, we allow Skylar to use her i-pad (with the volume completely silenced). Some of you might think that is wrong and that is ok, but until you’ve walked a mile (or a quarter of a mile for that matter) in my shoes, then please keep your judgements and opinions to yourself!  This keeps Skylar happy and entertained so that Chris and I can listen to the sermon and be encouraged by God’s word!   My guess is that most people see Skylar on her i-pad, think that she is some teen that is bored, make a snap judgement about our parenting abilities, and then give us dirty looks, roll their eyes, or make comments loud enough for us to hear them.  Guess what?  When this happens, most people would be so hurt and angry that they wouldn’t darken the doorstep of your church ever again!  But oh no…not me!  I have been known to turn around and say “Just so you know, my child has autism!” which in turn usually leads to a horrified expression and something along the lines of “I’m so sorry!  I had no idea!”.  My point is not to shame people, even though that is often what they are trying to do to me, instead it is to educate people.  I hope that you will think twice before making snap judgements.  Church should be a safe place for people, instead many people feel more judged at church than any other place they go.  

 

3)  MOST CHURCHES DON’T HAVE PROGRAMS FOR INDIVIDUALS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS

When we meet other families with children who have autism and they find out we go to church, one of the first questions they ask is “Does your church have a special needs program?”  None of the churches that we have attended here in Prescott have had such a program.  This is something that we, as a church, need to step up and do something about.  This would be such an amazing ministry and blessing to families in our community!

Several months ago we were talking to some friends of ours that are church planters, who are very aware of Skylar’s needs.  The pastor said “Julie, as a church body, we are failing your family!”  I appreciated his candor.  He then went on to ask a question that I had never been asked in over 10 years of having a child with special needs.  “What can we do as a church to serve families and individuals with special needs?”  Here are my responses:

-Churches need a buddy system!  We need individuals who will step up and hang out 1 on 1 with our kiddos during service.  Most of the time, most churches only have childcare/Sunday School for children through 5th grade.  Even though Skylar is in 8th grade, she wants to be with children that age.  Why not let her attend those classes?  If she had a buddy, whether it be an adult or an older member of the youth group, she could enjoy their lesson and be happy in that classroom.  The buddy doesn’t have to be the same individual!  Imagine if 4 people stepped up and said “I’ll take one week a month and hang out with Skylar!”  That would be awesome and I can guarantee you that not only would they be a blessing to us, but Skylar would be a blessing to them.  What a great thing to be teaching our youth!

-Churches need to come alongside families that have individuals with special needs and get to know them!  Many of us have learned more about patience, love, forgiveness, mercy, and grace than we could have ever imagined by parenting a child with special needs.  I, for one, know that my faith has grown by leaps and bounds this past 11 years.

So there you have it!  These are the reasons that we often find it tough to take Skylar to church. I pray that you will be open to getting to know individuals with special needs at your church!  I am confident that they will bless you far beyond anything you ever imagined.  Their joy is contagious!

This past Sunday was just like most Sundays!   Skylar woke up in one of “those” moods.  She immediately started saying she didn’t want to go to church. Unfortunately, it set my mood for the morning and I was just dreading going into service.  As I stood during the first worship song, Skylar LOUDLY whispered “I’m NOT singing with you today mom!”  I tried to clear my mind of the stress and sadness and I immediately prayed that the Lord would comfort me.  I also asked Him to bless sweet Skylar through the music.  I remember questioning whether or not I was doing the right thing by continually forcing her to come to church and wondering if she gets anything out of it.  The third song we sang was a mix of an older worship song and the chorus to Hallelujah (Skylar calls it the Shrek song as it was sung in the first Shrek movie).  As I closed my eyes to focus on the chorus, I suddenly heard Skylar’s sweet soprano voice carry over most of the voices around us.  My heart was overwhelmed with joy at the sound of her praising God!  As a tear rolled down my cheek, I thanked God for such an immediate answer to prayer, for comforting me, and for Skylar, who is such an amazing blessing to our family!  I truly believe that the Lord gave me a glimpse of what hearing the angels singing will be like!  

Whatever you do today, make it great!

JuJu

 

 

 

The Antics of our Elf on the Shelf, Gracie!

Hello friends!  So excited to share the adventures of our Elf on the Shelf, Gracie with you today.  I need to give a shout out to my grandmother and Aunt Carol who shared the Elf on the Shelf craze with our family last Christmas.  I admit that I was originally against adding in this tradition, but I am really glad that we decided to do it!  The girls LOVED Gracie, but I’m pretty sure that Chris and I had even more fun with Gracie’s antics.

For those of you who are new to my blog, both of our girls are on the autism spectrum.  They are very literal and we usually know exactly what they are thinking, as it just spills out!  Hailey cracked me up with her almost daily comments about what Gracie had done.  I’ll add her thoughts below the pictures.

WHAT A “CUTIE”

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This was our first morning with Gracie and the girls thought she was pretty funny. Hailey jumped in on the fun and continued to take parts of the orange away during the day.

GOING FOR A SWIM

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“Good thing she didn’t eat all the Cheerios, Skylar would have been mad!”-Hailey

ENJOYING THE VIEW FROM ABOVE

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“That’s hilarious!  She must not be afraid of heights like you are mom!”-Hailey

HIDE AND SEEK

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TAKING A BUBBLE BATH

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We went down to Phoenix for an overnight trip and the girls didn’t want to take Gracie with us.  They wanted to see what she would do while we were out of town. This presented a challenge for Chris and me.  Gracie got all settled into her bubble bath right after the kids got in the car.  When we returned home the next day, the marshmallows were pretty stiff from sitting out for about 24 hours.  Hailey said, “Well that can’t be comfortable!  Why would she want to bathe in hard marshmallows?”

TAKING OVER

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“I can not believe that Gracie knocked the angel off the tree!  That should definitely put her on the naughty list!”-Hailey

SUCH A JOKER

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CELEBRATING SKYLAR’S BIRTHDAY

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“I can’t believe Gracie didn’t eat all of her cake!  It was SO good!  Can I have the rest?”-Hailey

JUST A SIP

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“Well that’s a waste of a perfectly good straw!”-Hailey

A LITTLE LIGHT READING

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This is a really blurry picture, but Hailey’s comments were some of my favorite.  She said, “Oh my word!  Why is she reading Twilight?  Who told her those books were good?”

MISSING SANTA

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REPLACING OUR STOCKINGS WITH UNDERWEAR

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“Wow!  I hope those are clean!!!”-Hailey

SUGAR HIGH

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GREEN MILK

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“EWWW!  How’d she do that?  That is really weird!”-Hailey

VANDALIZING

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“What a waste of toilet paper!  You’d better save that, I’m sure we’re going to need it!”-Hailey

Thanks for reading about our adventures with Gracie!  The girls were excited that she left a note saying goodbye and that she would be back next year.

Blessings for a great New Year for all of you!

Make it great!

JuJu