Wednesday, March 27, 2013

What I Expected When I was Expecting

1994 - Pregnant with Ashley
It difficult to remember what I was thinking nearly 20 years ago when I was expecting our first child. However, visions of tiny toes, cute little onsies, and tights with lacy bottoms come to mind.

Sure, I expected sleepless nights of midnight feedings and worries over late night fevers. But, I also expected mornings with Cheerio-filled highchair trays, afternoons playing hide and seek in the park, and evenings snuggled up reading picture books carefully saved from own childhood. I expected  recitals, baseball games and gradautions. I expected pictures of first steps, first communion, prom, weddings and grandchildren.

Then I was told we might expect something very different...

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Happy Anniversary "Brielle & Me"!

A year ago, I "went public" with this blog. Although I started it six weeks before, I put this blog out there for the others to read and

Friday, March 22, 2013

Friday's Photos - Catching Up!

Been a while, so lots of pictures to share!

Ashley is home for Spring Break! :)

Great timing to be home for her 19th birthday!
My girls doing homework together!
Our 23rd Anniversary!
Our wedding day!
Hard to believe this was 23 years ago!

Brielle is ready for soccer!
She's trying out this new activity on a special needs team and loves it!
Is that snow on the roof?
Cold day in Atlanta!

A warm day in Atlanta with the windows open!
Signs of spring!
Playing outside on a warm day!
Practicing her soccer skills!
Visiting our friend, Cooper, who was affected by CMV as well.
He is such a cutie and THE BEST cuddler I know!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Next to Last Pew

Most people have "a spot" in church, a favorite place they always sit. We have one, too -- the next to the last pew on the far side.

To be honest, it's a lonely place.

Why so lonely?

Friday, March 15, 2013

Being Truly Creative AND Authentic

There's been a dry spell here. I haven't posted anything new in weeks. Sure, Ashley was in town for her spring break and I was busy doing things with her, especially celebrating her birthday. Bu then.... Well.... I just felt unmotivated.

The blahs? I actually have a bigger zest for life and more energy than I've had in a while. So that can't be it.

Tapped out as a writer -- aka Writer's Block? I've been a mad woman working on re-writes lately. So that can't be it.

Laziness? I've been a total busy beaver lately working on household projects, even yard work! So that can't be it.

For a few days, I rationalized my lack of blog writing as my "unofficial spring break". Everyone needs a break, right? Blogging isn't my job. I don't "have to" do this.

Then I realized something else was nagging at me.

With the end of re-writes in sight (less than half a dozen chapters left to go), I'm realizing there's so much in my head that doesn't naturally fit onto the pages of my book. My memoir is light on opinions, heavy on story telling; light on funny anecdotes, heavy on poignant moments; light on "how to's", heavy on "what I've learned"; light on breakthrough thinking, heavy on the basics. I think that's what my memoir is "supposed to do", not that there's any rules, but that's how it has evolved.

But, what about this "extra stuff"?

Unlike putting together a bookshelf from IKEA, I don't really want to just throw the extra screws and pegs in a junk drawer or into the bottom of the tool box. I want, maybe even need to get some of this extra stuff out.

So... what's all of that mean?


Changes here on my blog. Maybe changes with my book, too. Time to dig deep and let my creativity flow while still being authentic.

Excited for what comes next!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The "R-Word"....A Year Later

In honor of the National "R-Word" Awareness Day, I've copied the post I wrote last year.....

Retarded. It’s just a word. Right? Wrong. Words have power.

A well-known saying goes:
“Watch your thoughts, for they become words.
Watch your words, for they become actions.
Watch your actions, for they become habits.
Watch your habits, for they become character.
Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.” b
y Unknown

There has been a national campaign to encourage people to stop using the “R” word. There have been Public Service Announcements with famous actors.

I’d like to give you one more thing to think about. I’d like to share with you how the “R” word became more than just a word to our family.

I clearly remember getting the phone call at work when I was eight months pregnant with Brielle. The specialist called to give me the results from our amnio. I took notes as he told me about our unborn child. He told me she had CMV (cytomegalovirus – although I spelled it wrong the day I took notes from the specialist’s call).

The words “mental retardation” stung as he told me there was a 70% chance our baby would have it. “Still risk MR” jumps out from the notes I took. The words still sting as I read my notes 16 years later.

I clearly remember hearing the report when Brielle first received intelligence testing when she was entering school. “Mental retardation” was not on the report, but I could read between the lines of the report which told us her IQ scores were in the 70’s. My heart broke.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a law ensuring services to children with disabilities throughout the nation. Until President Obama signed Rosa’s Law into law in October 2010, IDEA used the term “mental retardation” instead of “intellectual disability.” Rosa’s Law changed the term to be used in future to “intellectual disability.”

Brielle has “mental retardation”. Rosa’s Law now terms it as “intellectual disability”, but Brielle is still the same.

If you hear someone use the “R” word or have used it yourself as a synonym for something stupid, meaningless and not useful, think again. Think about the parents who hear that word for the first time used to refer to their child. Think about me.
There is an “R” in Brielle’s name. Brielle has an intellectual disability. She is technically retarded. But, anyone who knows her knows that she is much more than that term. She is not stupid or meaningless or useless. She is a human being. She is beautiful. She is my daughter.