In These Three Years

As we celebrate Seth’s 3rd birthday, I have a very strong mix of emotions. There is a combination of happy, sad, emotional, nostalgic, and longing tears, but most importantly, of grateful tears.

I am so blessed that I have him. He truly is a gift from God. He has brought so much love and happiness not only to our immediate family personally, but to our broader church family, to the special needs community, and also to the whole world! You see, he is a delight. Everyone delights in him. They can’t help but smile when they see him.

2013 Spring 590I particularly remember walking the streets of downtown Seattle, pushing him in his stroller, and he was waving to everyone we passed. I watched their faces. Nine times out of ten, they couldn’t help but smile. I started counting. During our short little walk while Daddy was working, he made over 20 STRANGERS smile! I quit counting, and just enjoyed the fact that this little boy, this little sweetie that some people would deem “not compatible with life”, a life that some people would destroy, brings SO MUCH JOY to those around him. Just to the general public! Does he not make YOU smile?

Through this little boy, I have formed a bond with the special needs community as a whole. I have come to understand families with children who have a diagnosis that people don’t understand, that people don’t get, that people avoid. It isn’t easy to comprehend what they are going through, until you are there with them, in the trenches. I have learned SO much about not only Trisomy 21, but about so many other diagnoses. A family member said to me a year or so ago that “now all of your friends are people with a kid with Down syndrome. “ It hurt for them to say that. I hadn’t ABANDONED my friends and family. I had GROWN it. Why couldn’t this person see that? Why is it so “obnoxious” that I have these new friends?

These “new friends” understand what is going through my mind on a much deeper level. They are there themselves. It is a whole new world, that those outside of can’t fully comprehend. Don’t get me wrong, my family and friends have always been there for me, supporting me, and helping me, but they haven’t been in my shoes, yet. They haven’t faced this new life with all of its unknowns and doubts and fears. It would be like joining the military, or the ministry, and not being friends with other soldiers, or other ministers and people in other churches.

IMG_5812You connect with these people because you are in the same situation. Some of them have years of experience, lessons learned, heartaches felt, tears shed to share with me. I have gleaned so much from the special needs community, that I am glad that I am able to give back just a little when I share Seth’s triumphs and accomplishments. My family and older friends rejoice with me, but my special needs community sheds tears with me, because they GET IT! They KNOW how hard it is to REACH those milestones!

I have “new friends” who have children much older than Seth, who have helped pave the way for so many things that are SO important in Seth’s life. I am thankful for those science fanatics who have learned how to create vitamins specifically for kids with Trisomy 21, who have put together lists of supplements, who have learned how to redirect the brain to build new bridges so that he can accomplish new milestones, who have spent their lives trying to protect the unborn from being destroyed because of fear of the unknown. THESE are my “new friends”! Be glad that I have them in my life, that we are walking this path together! For the sake of my son.

One of the biggest blessings in my life is the fact that my family has always been involved in the church, since I was an infant. My dad went to Bible school when I was a tiny tot, and went on to be a full-time pastor when I was eleven years old. I was raised going to church and meeting new Christians from other churches. That’s how I met my husband! As I got older, I was blessed to meet people from churches around the United States, and in more recent years, I have been blessed to meet people from churches all over the world! I thank my dad for creating this love for other Christians in other countries!

I tell you this, because now, Seth is loved ALL OVER THE WORLD! He has moms camera 063families not just in every state in the United States (especially in Alaska and Oregon), but in Ukraine, Poland, Japan, Hungary, Bulgaria, Russia, Australia, United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, Philippines, India, Ireland, Germany, Brazil, Egypt, South Africa, Pakistan, Malaysia, Italy, Spain, Costa Rica, Chile, Indonesia, Portugal, Turkey, Mexico, Ecuador, Singapore, South Korea, Czech Republic, Argentina, France, Lebanon, Norway, Netherlands, Puerto Rico, Kenya, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Iran, Kosovo, Bangladesh, Panama, Kuwait, Bermuda, Sweden, and England who love him, are inspired by him, are challenged by him.

Finally, Seth has changed our family. He has opened our eyes to the needs of others. He has opened our eyes to the plight of a whole generation of unborn children who are killed because of the unknown, because their parents are scared of what they don’t understand. I now have a passion to help them understand, and to not fear it, but to embrace this new adventure that God has laid before them with their own precious gift.

Family members have asked me if it seems like there are more children born with Down syndrome now than there were a few generations ago. I think it is because social networking makes the world seem smaller and more connected. You hear of more stories, and meet more people. 2013 Spring 114Once your eyes are opened to something such as Trisomy 21, you see it everywhere. Also, my husband and I have talked about the sad fact that the reason that is seems like there are more instances of special needs in the Christian and homeschooling communities is because we are families not aborting our babies because of it.

Seth has opened our family’s eyes to the need for supporting those who are diagnosed both before and after birth as well. At the tender age of 11, my daughter spent a lot of her time creating a video to share withthose who were new to a diagnosis. She created this video in the hopes of it helping to change the way the world sees a Trisomy 21 diagnosis. You can watch her video here.

One of my sons remarked to me a few days ago that his understanding of Trisomy 21 has changed with the life of his little brother. He thought all kids with T21 were the same. He didn’t realize how different they all are, how smart they are, how fun they can be. This young manis going into the military. I look forward to seeing how God will use Seth in his life to go forth and change the world, and be able to connect with others in a new and different way.

Another one of my sons is going into the medical field. He already had a heart for helping others. He adores his baby brother and would give his life for him. God only knows the ways he will be able to be more compassionate, more endearing, more capable, and more knowledgeable when it comes to his work in the medical field with this newfound understanding of children and adults with special needs.

Band of brothersI also have four other sons who are more aware of their surroundings. They ask questions about others and are friendly and caring to those who may appear to be a little different. It seems as if every time we go to the park, other parents and grandparents compliment me on how nice, loving and accepting my children are toward others. They also have a bold understanding of special needs, and share with strangers that their little brother has special needs, but “he is learning REALLY FAST!” They get excited with each new word that Seth is able to say, and every new feat he is able to accomplish. They have learned to slow down and enjoy the little things. They will be better friends, neighbors and eventually fathers because of it.

Yes, Seth is making a difference, one smile, one milestone, one trial, one triumph at a time. And this is just the beginning.


Well, I am doing better with my studying, as well as going to bed earlier.  It figures that I start going to bed earlier and the kids get sick with the flu and I’m up several times a night, so I don’t really feel a lot more rested!  Everyone has finally gotten through it now though.

I have been teaching a Pizza Party unit study for the last 10 weeks at our homeschool co-op to 5 rowdy boys (yes, one of them is mine!) and a quiet girl.  It’s been a lot of fun.  We have learned all about Italian cities and famous people from Italy, as well as done several science experiments.  Last Friday was our big party, and everyone brought toppings to make yummy pizza!  I am made the sauce and pizza crusts and my God-sent friend, Natalie, made the dessert pizza crust.  The kids were all pretty excited when they saw the Brazilian pizza with chocolate syrup and strawberries on it, and decided we just HAD to have that for our party!  We had quite a few people join our “party” (they came flocking in when they smelled it!) and had a lot of compliments on the pizza.  Way to go, kids!

We have 14 chicks that I bought from my brother and niece!  Four of them were from my own eggs, and the rest were from his flock.  I can’t believe how quickly some of them are feathering out!  I also borrowed an incubator from a neighbor and I’m trying to learn how to use it.  I’m afraid that my first batch of eggs aren’t veining, so I’m trying to figure out why.  Another  friend loaned me a little incubator that holds three eggs.  I put three of my eggs in there too, and those have just hatched!

Other than that and homeschooling, we have been keeping busy with Boy Scouts as well as American Heritage Girls, a group I helped start that is a Christian version of Girl Scouts.  I am the Troop Coordinator of that, so it keeps me really busy.  Right now, the girls are working on their “Our Feathered Friends” badge, so that has been a lot of fun!  Last week we paid the Bird Treatment and Learning Center in Anchorage to come out and show the girls a Great Horned Owl!  She hooted quite a bit which was really neat!  We are planning a field trip up to Gunsight Mountain toward the end of April, which is where all of the raptors migrate through.

Before that though, we have the APHEA convention, our homeschool convention.  My dad founded the organization 25 years ago!  It’s hard to believe it has been that long ago that I was licking stamps and envelopes, and managing the database….We are now on the Board and Craig is the Vice-President.  Mostly the Secretary, Anne, does all of the work though.  She is a great friend and neighbor.  She’s the one who loaned me the big incubator!  Anyway, that is keeping us busy too.

Ben, our oldest, is going to Poland on a short-term missions trip at the end of June – the middle of July, so we are preparing for that.  He was the first one in our family to get his passport!  My dad is going with the six kids from our congregation, which includes my “little” brother Otto too, who just turned 20.  It should be quite a trip!  Aaron is hoping to go next year, since he wasn’t old enough to go this year.  Aaron will be doing NYLT (National Youth Leadership Training) with the Boy Scouts in June, and then he is hoping to take the Lifeguarding class once he turns 15 in July.  Ben took it last summer and is now a certified Lifeguard.  He has his application in at the local swimming pool, and is hoping to get a job there.

Well, that is all for now.  I hear Joey starting to stir, so I’d best get finished with my morning items!

No one reads this anyway, so here goes…

I have been really struggling with being the godly wife and mother that I know I should be.  I just want to cry about my sinfulness.  I am such a wicked person.  I do all the proper “things” to put a good face on, but in reality, I am as sinful as they come.  I am prideful, full of hypocrisy.  I want so badly to be a good example to my children, especially my daughter, of how a godly wife and mom should be, but I fail so miserably.  I know that is because I do not immerse myself in His holy Word.

There, it is out for all to see.  I don’t read the Scripture regularly, I don’t have personal devotions, I don’t meditate on His Word.  I push through every day going through the motions, cleaning house, reading emails, doing computer work (AHG, APHEA, Friday School, looking up recipes, learning new “tools” for cooking, gardening, etc.) instead of getting up and DOING something productive, justifying my time on the computer.

So, with that said, I am getting off the computer and going to DO.  I am going to try to make myself accountable on this blog, by posting what I have been reading in the Scripture, and what it means to me.

If anyone actually does read this, pray for me.  And thank you for bearing with me as I work through this struggle.