Monday, August 20, 2012

Monday's Making a Difference

Today's Making a Difference is Ashley, Brielle's big sister... Who else could it be after we took Ashley to college this past weekend?

Ashley and Brielle have had a "different" relationship than most sisters because Brielle is "different." It's just too complicated and special to put into words, so I'll just show you instead...

Meeting Brielle
February 1996

Summer 1996
Fall 1997?

Spring 1999?

Summer 1999?
At our garage sale in Illinois
Summer 2000?
Texas backyard

At Dad's softball game

At Grandma's house
Spring 2003

At a University of Texas volleyball game
Christmas Eve
In Panama City, FL
June 2009

In Washington, DC
September 2010
Clearwater, FL
September 2011

Christmas Eve 2011

February or March 2012

Ashley's graduation
May 2012

As we all start a new chapter in lives while Ashley is in college, I know we certainty that Ashley and Brielle will always have a special sisterly bond like no other.....

* Miss any previous "Making a Difference Monday's"? Just check them out here!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Monday's Making a Difference

Today's "Making a Difference" isn't a person, it's group of people!

TC Church
Our Praise Team

I am constantly amazed by the compassion and acceptance Brielle gets from our friends at church. Finding a new church is one of the most difficult things to do when we move. When we moved to the Atlanta area over four years ago, the girls and I visited 13 churches before we settled on one we liked. When we first visited TC Church four years ago (the 11th church we visited), I knew it was home. This modest church of about 120 Sunday attendees were welcoming and nonchalant about Brielle and her "differences". What a huge difference from some of the other churches we visited!

Signing at Christmas

Within three months, we became "partners" (members) and I was part of the Praise Team doing the sign language (in Signed Exact English) for the music portion of the service.

My Baptism
August 2009

Although I had been "sprinkled" as a child, I decided to renew my commitment to my faith by being baptized.

Brielle with "R"
September 2009
Ashley and Brielle joined the teen youth group. Although most of what they talked about at youth group was over Brielle's head, the other teens welcomed Brielle and Brielle made a special friend with "R", the pastor's daughter.

Our Youth Group at BigStuf Camp
June 2010
The youth group had a blast when we traveled to Panama City, FL in June of 2009 and 2010 to go to "BigStuf" camp. A week of "hip" messages about faith, loud Christian rock music, and time at the beach bonded the group together.

Children's Christmas Service
December 2011

In January of 2011, we decided to move Brielle from the teen youth group to the younger aged group where discussions about God and faith would be more at her level. Each Sunday, the small group of kids include her as their own and she's even made a special friend.

VBS June 2012

This summer, she attended Vacation Bible School with about 50 other kids as well as her best friend, "V". It was a wonderful experience for them and Brielle still speaks of it often.

More than just the children's programs for Brielle, TC Church has the most amazing people. It's the pastor who ALWAYS comes over to give Brielle a hug and talk with each Sunday morning before services. It's the children's leader that always greets Brielle with a huge greeting. It's the man who often does the greeting who asks her about cheerleading. It's her friend from children's group who gives her "high fives" and helps her write what she needs to in their lesson pages.

These people may not know it, but their small acts of kindness make a big difference for Brielle as well as for me! Thank you TC Church for giving us a home!

Miss any of my previous "Monday Making a Difference" posts? Just check them out here!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

First Day of School!

First Day of School! Yay!
August 1, 2012
How painful is the first day of school every year? Not painful at all for this kiddo! This crazy kid LOVES school... How is that possible? Must be her teacher, of course!
Some of our homeschooling supplies
This is the start of our third year homeschooling and we love it.

It is hard to now imagine sending her on a bus off to school like we used to. Instead, we make our own schedule, decide on what we'll study, and do a lot of it wearing our pajamas! Who can top that?

Starting off the day with handwriting
Finishing our day with math

Twenty-seven years ago....

Our first picture together
on our way up to Estes Park, CO
July 1985
....Brian and I had our first "official" date.

We went to the same high school. Although he was several grades ahead of me, I knew who he was since he was on the basketball team and I was in the prep band. I even had drivers education class with his little sister!

We truly met when his best friend invited him and another friend to go on our church's youth group trip to Denver. I thought it would be lame, so I refused to go despite my pastor's questioning. I finally relented when someone else backed out and the spot was already paid for by the women of the church.

I clearly remember walking around the corner of the church and seeing Brian standing there with his two friends. Love at first sight? Nah. But, it was definitely lust at first sight!

There were meetings for several weeks before the trip. By the time we left for the trip, we were basically a couple. But, it wasn't until we got back that he formally asked me out on our first date. Pizza and miniature golf!

Less than five years later, we got married and here we are 27 years after that first date! How can we be THAT old????

* Want to read more about our wedding day? Just read my March 10th post about our anniversary!