Sunday, October 26, 2014


October is one of my favorite months out of the whole year.  In the last few days we have packed so much fall fun in.

Wednesday with our afterschool program at church, we visited the Conner's pumpkin patch.  They are so gracious and allow all of our preschool classes and afterschool program kiddos to visit their pumpkin patch.  Here is my sweet little pumpkin in the patch!

Thursday night I had a special time with Pops, Kyle and his good friend Tanner.  We went to the Va Tech/Miami game!  Lets don't talk about the final score and the fact that Tech kind of stunk it up, lets instead talk about how much fun it was to hang out with Kyle, my Dad and Tanner at the game:) Poor Hokies, I love them even when they break my heart. I love that Tech games are special times with my own Dad and my boys. 

Pre-game festivities.  We cheered our hearts out for them! 
Saturday morning Hope had her last soccer game.  It was chilly but this little love has loved Upward soccer season!

My pictures are out of order, but tonight at church we had a community outreach event with a worship service, hot dog dinner, and trunk or treat based on the book Where the Wild Things are by Maurice Sendak. Our preschool staff did a trunk based on Charlie Brown's Great Pumpkin! Here are Hope and Sydney in front of our amazing trunk that Christy Barr did! She is amazingly crafty.

My sweet three before church this morning.
This year David desperately wanted to be a ninja so we got on Pinterest and found an easy to make ninja costume using a roaster pan! We painted the pan, made a felt mask, and then tied it on his back for the turtle shell:) Thanks Pinterest-we had fun making it and the total costume was about $2.

Hope wanted to be Sophia the first which we already had a costume for, and David as a ninja! They were so excited to go to church tonight in their costumes:)

The night started with worship with a packed house. There were almost 350 folks at church for worship-it was beautiful chaos with kids in costumes worshipping. David of course had his normal seat on the front row! We are blessed with an amazing praise band at church.

Amber not only came tonight but she herself dressed as a ninja turtle. God has certaily brought some amazing people into David's life. We are blessed.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

God shows up and shows off

Yesterday was an awesome day.  I taught preschool, Mike went to work, the kids went to school and on the outside life looked pretty mundane.

But yesterday God showed off in a pretty big way.  I have been praying very hard for an acquaintance and yesterday out of the blue this sweet gal approached me and we had the best chat about her relationship with God.  She had no idea that I had been praying for her and her family and out of the blue and right there on an ordinary Tuesday we chatted about God.  Pretty remarkable stuff. 

I found this picture on my phone from our Winston-Salem trip this past weekend.  Hilarious! 

Another picture from our trip?  Where is my little girl??  She looks so grown up in this picture. 
Okay, back to my God shows off in an amazing way on an ordinary Tuesday story.  David has in the past had major sensory issues from his neck up.  He has hated anything that has had to do with his face, hair and neck like teeth brushing, hair cutting and combing, face washing, etc...
Just a week ago he conquered the haircut issue and for the first time in his life got a real haircut at a barber shop!! We were so excited and so proud of our dude.  He is so proud of how much of a big boy he is, that he now insists to wear layers of deodorant a day.  Ha!

Yesterday on a normal Tuesday, God was with us at the dentist with David and he allowed his teeth to be cleaned!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He loves Dr. Bill (Dr. Bill Thompson in Chilhowie for local folks) and he allowed Alice to clean his teeth, do a flouride treatment, and do a panoramic xray!  I love this picture because not only can you see how awesome he is doing, but check out Mike holding his hand.  My heart can barely contain the joy.....

During the cleaning, Mike and I kept grabbing each other's hand in shock and excitement that our David, who has fought us some on simple teeth brushing, was letting Dr. Bill and Alice get in his mouth!  It must be all that manly deodorant he is putting on, but our David is growing up!  We are so proud of him.

Here he is doing the panoramic xray!!  Mind blowing stuff that only our God could have accomplished on a boring Tuesday. 
Not only did he walk out with sparkling clean teeth, but Dr. Bill reported that David only has one tiny little cavity on the backside of a tooth.  It is a baby tooth so we may or may not have to have it filled.  David is going to go to the orthodontist for a consult for some teeth alignment issues.  Considering how much chemo David has had, how many mouth sores during chemo that kept us from brushing for weeks at a time while in the hospital, and how long it has been since a good cleaning, it is a miracle from God that he only has one teeny little cavity.  I wanted to shout praises from the rooftop when I left the dentist yesterday.  Only our God could have calmed David's sensory issues, blessed us with Dr. Bill and Alice, and protected David's teeth during cancer treatment. 
Yep, only our God would show off and bless us on a normal and boring Tuesday.  Amen.

Monday, October 20, 2014

2014 Buddy Walk!

Down Syndrome Creed
Author Unknown

My face may be different
But my feelings the same
I laugh and I cry
And I take pride in my gains

I was sent here among you
To teach you to love
As God in heaven
Looks down from above.

To Him I'm no different
His love knows no bounds
It's those here among you
 in cities in towns
That judge me by standards
That man has imparted
But this family I have chosen
Will help me get started

For I'm one of the children
So special and few
That came here to learn
That same lessons as you

That love is acceptance
It must come from the heart
We all have the same purpose
Though not the same start

The Lord gave me life
To live and embrace
And I'll do as you do
But at my own pace.

Thank you to the special and wonoderful souls who came to walk with us yesterday to celebrate our kids who are "fearfully and wonderfully" made by God. 

This is a wonderful community for our children because they are so loved, accepted, and valued for how God made them.  Thank you dear friends for loving our children like we do. 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

A Beautiful day at Wake Forest

Last year we got to experience a special game day experience at UVA called Special Spectators. It is an amazing non-profit group that offers seriously ill children a gameday experience. When we got to do experience Special Spectators at UVA, we visited the locker room, got to go on the field, etc... After seeing the joy from my children I knew that we as a family had to get involved. You can read about our day here:

After our experience at UVA with Special Spectators we were able to host other families at Virginia Tech. Read about that amazing day here

Today our family got to host four other families at nearby Wake Forest University for a wonderful day with children from Brenner's Children Hospital with serious medical issues. We left Marion before 7a.m. to get to our tailgate spot to meet our families.  It was a gorgeous day in Winstson-Salem and the kids with our group could have cared less that Wake Forest lost-they had a great day!!

Our first stop was for the Deacon walk.  Hope jumped up into her big brother's arms because she was scared of the Deacon mascot!  Ha!

Here are several of our families that we met today and got to spend a whole day with.  These families were amazing and so grateful for such a special day.  Red, Hot and Blue catered our tailgate and it was awesome kid-friendly food. 

The boys in our group were so excited when the team bus pulled up and the football players got off of the bus.  The band, cheerleaders, and fans line the walk that they walk through.  A Wake Forest official was so kind to make sure our kiddos got a good spot to see the team. 
Several of our families watching the team walk in. 

This was one of my favorite moments of the day.  The head football coach was walking in with the players.  He did not speak to any other fans, but he came right up to Joshua and spoke to him and loved on him a little bit.  It was precious and very sincere.  Well done coach! 

After the pep rally and Deacon walk, Wake Forest had several inflatables and such for the kids.  The boys in our group loved this inflatable football toss.  What fun!

Hope was petrified of the Deacon, but not David!  Ha!

This is Mike with Jace.  I looked down and saw my man holding a two year old so he could get a better view during the opening of the game, and I realized that God had given me a good man.  We both had a wonderful time with the kids and the families.  Jace and his brother J-mee are leaving Winston Salem next week to move to Florida so their Daddy can train for the 2016 Olympics!  Jace and his brother J-mee will be on our hearts for a long time.  Precious boys.

All the kids in our group loved the President of Wake Forest and the Deacon riding into the game on a motorcycle!  The stadium at Wake Forest is beautiful!!
What a wonderful day hosting and meeting families from Brenner's Children's Hospital.  As a Mom of a child that fought cancer and has special needs, I find kindred spirits when I volunteer with this amazing organizaiton.  It is our pleasure to help give other families a wonderful college game day experience like what we experienced at UVA.  We are all tired and a little sunburned, but our hearts are full!  Thanks Special Spectators for another wonderful day.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Week in a Flash

Where did this week go?  It went in a flash with a few moments captured on my camera:)

Tuesday Kyle was inducted into his middle school Honors Club because of his straight A's last year, SOL scores, and good citizenship.  Dressing up a little and being on stage, and having his name called is not his favorite thing, but we were there to cheer him on. 
 We were trying to take a serious picture, but this is what we came up with!  Ha!  I love my oldest and I am so thankful that he is comfortable marching to the beat of his own drum. 
 One of my previous preschool parents blessed me this week with this handcrafted bracelet with the words from the David Crowder Band "How He loves Us" which is so special to our family.  I love it so very much.  Brandi Dimit is crazy talented!!
 Yesterday I spent many hours with my Mom and dear friend Misty playing Bingo for Sabika jewelry.   After three hours of bingo, laughing over our daughters, and forced clapping for other women who yelled bingo when we were one number away, I did come away with one pretty pair of earrings.  I am very competitive and bingo for beautiful jewelry brought it out in me! 
 Mike was out of town for several days this week for work stuff, and I can tell that our kids are growing up because his absence was hard but it is getting easier now that we do not have babies and or toddlers in the house.  We limped through his absence and Friday night we went to the movies to see Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day at the theatres while we waited on him to come home.  Our kids are growing up and a night out on the town with just them is precious to me.
 Yesterday, Kyle hitched a ride to Concord College with the Pugh boys to watch Ethan Richardson, a former MSHS football player playing college football.  Kyle had such a fun day and Ethan even caused a fumble!  We are proud of you Ethan and thanks to the Pughs for letting Kyle tag along. 
Oh my these two before church this morning.  As most of you know, David has major sensory issues and haircuts have been a disaster the last decade of his life.  I have resorted to cutting it at night while he was asleep.  Blessedly the shaggy look has worked for David:)  Saturday morning Mike and Kyle went to the barber shop and I am not sure what went down, but David willingly jumped in the barber's chair and got. a. haircut!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  This is huge for our family and for David.  Our little buddy is growing up.  His insistence to dress like he wants (new outfit pictured above), his new obsession with wearing manly deodorant, and now a trip to the barber shop prove that he is growing up and maturing.  We are overwhelmed but so thankful. 
We are thankful for busy weeks but oh so thankful for quiet weekends like this where we can relax and recharge here together.  God is good. After a powerful worship service this morning at church and a fun gathering later with my UMW women's circle later,   I am also so thankful for church and the women that I am surrounded by at church.  Life is not easy ever, but life is good because God is good.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Robusto boy and get to church!

We have certainly had a fun weekend around here. We were suppose to be off camping together as a family, but sadly that plan fell through. Friday night I loaded up with Hope, David, and Amber on a serious mission to find some warm clothes for our kids. We laugh so hard at David now because he has gone from looking like a sick cancer kid, to a healthy and "robust" dude. He is now in size 10 HUSKY!!

I warned Amber about how hard it would be to take David shopping because he must try the clothes on. People with Down Syndrome have a hard time finding clothes to fit shorter limbs and thicker waists and I knew we had our work cut out for us. I promised the kids that if they cooperated and tried on everything then we would call our dear friends the Jonas' and see if they could meet us as Sweet Frog.

We took Misty and Sydney along with us and bless their hearts for agreeing to go on this mission with us. It was totally different than any of us ever expected, though. David adored picking out clothes and he was thrilled to try every stitch of it on and model it for Hope and Sydney.

You can see from this picture that Sydney was more interested in coloring than admiring David's new wardrobe, but this is the style that David wanted. We ended up having a total blast, running into our dear friends the Jonas and we ended our fun with Sweet Frogs.

Saturday morning Hope had soccer and I was asked to do the devotional for the parents at half time. I do not get nervous anymore to speak publically and I shared a few minutes about Luke 12:34 "for where your treasure is there your heart will be also."

I shared how God loves us just like we love those soccer players running around the field. It is hard to get to soccer and get those blasted shin guards on with the cleats by 8:50 each Saturday morning. I challenged us all to put the energy and effort that we used to get to an early soccer game on a cold, windy morning into our children's walk with the Lord.

My generation of raising children are so tempted by so many outside factors that compete with our devotion to God and our church attendance. When I was growing up (oh goodness this makes me sound old) there was nothing to do on Sunday but to go to church. Now, there is a list a mile long of things better to do on a Sunday morning than attend church and worship our Lord.

After doing my five minute devotional during soccer yesterday, a friend shared this tweet with me tonight that he found on twitter that I thought was so timely to what has been troubling my heart. "Even if God appeared and said "Dude, I am real and you need to go to church today," I would still be like yeah, it's been a long week."

Jesus endured a painful death on the cross so that we can live forever with him. Sadly many of us are so apathetic that we cannot even roll over in bed on a Sunday morning to get into his house to worship Him. I challenge us all to move God up to the top of our totem pole-he is a jealous God and wants our full hearts and lives. He has proven His faithfulness to me from taking my sick and skinny cancer boy and turning him into a robust, size ten husky!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Special Games Day 2014

Today is a beautiful day here in Virginia.  The leaves are gorgeous, the sun is shining, and today was Special Games day here for our county. 

Special Games is a day set aside each school year to celebrate all the awesome children in our school system that are "differently-abled."  David has been participating in this since he was two and he loves to compete. 

This morning it hit me how far the educational system has come for children with disabilities.  Decades ago children with special needs were shipped off to institutions never to grace the front door of a public school system.  Today not only are our kids welcomed with open arms into our schools but they are thriving. 

Here is David with his Special Ed teacher, Mr Shirey.  We have hands down one of the best special education programs in Virginia.  Smyth County is blessed with amazing special ed teachers and aides who make sure that each and every child succeeds.  These teachers are the unsung heroes of our school system.  Susan Kilby, a dear friend, organizes this day each and every year.  She rocks!

Amber is doing her observation hours at David's school for her education degree and she was there with some of her students.  David was so happy to see her! 

Sadly, last week a sweet little boy with special needs who attended David's school, passed away.  Lots of folks were sporting these Team Logan buttons.  Thankfully because of Jesus Logan is now happy and whole in heaven.  Red balloons were also released for him today. 

David Woody, FUMC pastor did the opening prayer for the day.  Mike is also in this picture cheering on our boy. 

David and the awesome Angie!!!!!!!!!!  Love this girl.

High school seniors come and volunteer with for Special Games each year.  Here is David with Riley Blevins.  He told him to score many touchdowns this Friday night.

David running!  Check out that determination all over his face.  Run, baby run!!

This might be the funniest part of the whole day.  David ran the 25 yard dash and came running back to his teacher.  He then fell on the ground with a terrible "cramp" and ask Mr. Shirey to help him.  Clearly we have watched way too much ESPN and sports in this house that he knows anything about leg cramps!  Ha! He is a dramatic nut.  Hollywood really needs David. 
Overall it was a wonderful day celebrating the amazing children in our school system that are "fearfully and wonderfully made."  Thank you God for our David and the blessings that he brings to our family.  Amen.