Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Do You Consider Down Syndrome to be a Blessing?

This post might be a little mixed up and not make much sense, but I'm just gonna think out loud here for a minute.

I believe that when the Lord blesses us, we should be a blessing to others. But how do we define a blessing?

I've recently felt He wants to do something at our church for people with disabilities. Our Special Connections Sunday school class is just the beginning, but I don't know what the whole picture looks like. (Isn't that just like the Lord? Showing you just one step at a time.)

Everything in my life seems to be funneling down into the world of special needs. Which I find interesting because when Beth was growing up it wasn't our focus at all. But now everything I do, everything I pray about, read about... seems to be about people with disabilities.

And leading others. But I'm not a leader so that part scares me. I grew up the youngest and don't ever remember a time in my life where I lead. Anyone or anything. A few times in my adult life I've had the opportunity but always felt like a failure. Our pastor on Sunday talked about how God used Deborah and she was a housewife. David was a shepherd... and the youngest in his family.

I'm willing, I just don't feel qualified. But I know that doesn't matter to God.

So all of this has got me thinking about Down Syndrome. If the Lord wants to use me and my perspective into the world of special needs to bless others, does that mean Down Syndrome is a blessing?

In what ways would you consider Down Syndrome - or any disability - a blessing?

And I really want to know. What are your thoughts on this?

Sunday, April 27, 2014

A Reason to Celebrate

This weekend was pretty special for us because it was the 1 year anniversary of Beth working at Little Caesars! It's the longest she's ever held a job.

Some jobs were too difficult for her to do, like cleaning the dining area at a McDonalds. I think she could have done it, but this was quite a few years ago and the only reason she wanted to work there was because she got to have french fries while on break. So that job didn't last long. :)

When she worked for Auntie Annes she had to stand in one place for over an hour and ask people if they wanted samples. She struggled to stand that long - without being able to move very much - and she was so shy it was hard for her to speak loud enough for people to hear her.

She did laundry at a group home for a while and did really well, but the manager began treating her unfairly, then wouldn't show up for meetings that she scheduled with me and the job coach. The last straw came when she accused Beth of taking a mop out of a bucket that was in a room Beth didn't even know existed. (Beth would go into the home, go to the laundry room and do laundry for a few hours. Why did the manager think she would go into a different room and take a mop?) That's when the job coach and I agreed to submit Beth's resignation.

But Little Caesars has been A.M.A.Z.I.N.G!! They love Beth, they stick up for her, they fight for her, they love having her there. Boy that does my heart good.

Beth decided she wanted to make some cooking to take to everyone at work. She said everyone loved them! I asked her job coach if her coworkers new it was her 1 year anniversary and she said that when Beth got there, 'C' announced to the crew and they all cheered and clapped! I just know Beth was beaming.

Then, at the last minute, we decided to drive up and surprise her! It's a 30 minute drive so we went over and picked up Sharaya and Allie and headed north. We walked in and one of the workers came over and asked if he could help up. When I told him we were Beth's family, he went to the back to get her. We could see her manager telling her it was okay, she could come say Hi and when she came out, there was a huge smile on her face and she yelled, "Bobbin!!" (That's her nickname for Sharaya, who was taking her picture.) :) Allie ran up and gave her a hug, it was awesome!
I'm SO thankful she has found a job that she likes and gets to work with people who like her and treat her well. One thing we noticed while we were there; the place was packed. So many customers, it was always full. And the crew was movin'! They were hustling and yelling orders and packing... there were probably 8 or 9 of them. And they were all guys. Beth was the only girl.
No WONDER she likes working there so much! :)  

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Driving Miss... Bethy

Monday is the only day Beth doesn't have somewhere to be. It's the one day of the week where she can stay in her jammies if she wants; watch movies all day, do laundry and just hang out. (I usually crave a day like that.)

But not Beth. Monday's the day she prefers to go shopping. She loves Mother-daughter shopping days. (And I have to admit, they are kinda fun!)

So for the last few months it seems, I get off work and her and I go out. Even if it's just grocery shopping, she wants to go!

This week it was Fred Meyer and Bartell Drugs. Her head phones died last week so she got a new set at Freddies. She has ear buds but prefers the bigger kind that cover her ears with the cushion.

After buying a few groceries at Fred Meyer as well, we then headed to Bartells for new markers. Since it was only a few dollars I let her use her debit card instead of her cash. She loves using that card. Too much, sometimes. It's gotten her into trouble in the past because she tries to get out more money than she has in the bank, but she's really matured over the last year or so and we haven't had any issues. She asked me to wait in the car, so I did. But she did let me take a picture when she came out! 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

He Calls Me Friend

Allie was here yesterday. We played outside, she rode her bike, we played Barbies and we colored Easter eggs.

There were a lot of stickers and Allie wanted to use every one! That girl loves her stickers. :)
The finished product.
I was able to talk with Allie a little bit about the real reason for Easter. Last week she came over and showed me her palm branch she had made at church. She told me the whole story, then I took her out to the backyard and showed her our palm tree. I told her that these were the real branches that they waved when Jesus rode in on the donkey. She was amazed! When she came yesterday, she ran out in the backyard and told me, "This is the real tree, Nana!"
We talked about how on Good Friday we remember that Jesus died on the cross for our sins. He did it so we could have a relationship with God the Father. Then... on Sunday we celebrate Jesus rising from the dead! He's alive and wants to be our friend!
What a blessing that simple message is. We can have hope because He loves us. We can have peace of mind because He is our Creator and knows us better than we know ourselves. We can have an anchor in the storm because He is our Rock. He's written every day of our lives and we can go to Him with things get tough.
Most of all, He calls me friend.
I pray you have a very blessed Easter.

Monday, April 14, 2014

A Quick Trip to the Store

Beth called me at work today and asked if we could go shopping. She needed to buy her lunchable for Wednesday. So after work we hopped in the car and went to Safeway.

First she picked out some yogurt. My camera makes a very loud click when I take a picture and she immediately spun around, "I heard that!" :) She also bought her lunchable (pizza!) a 7-Up, some fig newtons and ranch dressing. She puts ranch dressing on everything.

Then it was off to the cashier. Just as I snapped the picture, she turned and asked if she should get cash back. I said no because she has $40 in her pocket.
We checked out and were headed to the door when she reminded me, in a somewhat panicked voice, "My medicine!" One of the main reasons we went there was to get her refill of her thyroid medicine. She hung out with the cart while I ran to the back of the store to the pharmacy. Just before we walked out I asked if I could get one more picture.

Friday, April 11, 2014

A Few Pictures!

Yes, I'm learning more each day about how to upload, download and move pictures around on this computer. I took some of Beth the other day in our backyard wearing her new glasses. She really likes them and can see so much better.

She was flipping her hair back. :)

Here is a before photo. These were wire frames.
An update on the production of Grease. She has been rehearsing as... Frenchy, played by Didi Conn in the movie. I'll let you know if she gets the part!!

Friday, April 4, 2014

It Just Wasn't the Same for Beth

I'm working on Beth's scrapbook. It's one of her throughout school, a little late, I know. Eleven years late to be exact. But she'll definitely be surprised when she gets it! :) She was my first and I had no idea what pictures to take or mementos to save for a scrapbook but it's finally coming together.

As I'm doing it, I can't help but compare hers to Sharaya and Diana's books. (Those were done and given to them when they graduated.) Their books are filled with pictures from field trips and choir, basketball and yearbook staff.

Beth's is rather... boring. There were no field trips. No extra-curricular activities.

I'm realizing how much Beth actually missed out on at school. She was always in special ed classes, separated from the rest of the population (except for lunch) and I remember asking the teachers why the seniors in Beth's class never went to Senior Class assemblies. Or had their picture taken with the Senior class. Why they didn't take part in Spirit Week? I was never given a straight answer.

Now I realize the logistics of taking a group of high schoolers who have multiple special needs out to the zoo or a ball game can be overwhelming. Maybe they just didn't have the staff to do it, I get that, but why couldn't they have taken the 3 or 4 Seniors to the Senior Class photo? Or the special Senior Assemblies? Or taken the kids to their class events? I think that has all changed at the high school now but it kind of hurts when I think about the way it was for Beth and her friends.

I've always known Beth missed out on things in school but as I make her scrapbook, each page is a reminder of just how much she missed. And I'm sure it's bothering me more than it will ever bother Beth. She was very happy at school. One thing she did do was take her camera to school and I have lots of photos that she took of her friends and teachers. Lots of unfocused, uncentered pictures, but they're hers and I'm including every one!

Can I just say, keep fighting for your kids to have the same education as their peers. They will all experience it differently but I believe they should all have the experience.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

What Month is This??

It's been such a long time since I've posted anything. I remember I need to post when I'm in the shower, or riding in the car. Not very convenient places to pull out the laptop...

We're all doing fine. Beth continues to work, and go to karaoke and art and bowling. She is coming up on her 1 year anniversary at work! The longest she's ever held a job! We're so proud of her and are planning a surprise for her.

Her karaoke group is planning a production of Grease, one of Beth's favorite movies! She first wanted to try out for the part of Sandy but is now talking about Patti Simcox, the bouncy cheerleader. Not sure what roll Beth will get but the tryouts begin tomorrow.

I've been working a second job (part time) doing data entry for a friend's business. That's something I could do for hours without even blinking an eye. I LOVE data entry.

I'm still not comfortable with photos on this computer, or on my phone! I've taken pictures of Beth with her new glasses, but just the thought of getting them onto this blog terrifies me. I just don't want to take the time to figure out all the steps. I'm making a photo book for Chuck's sister and I must have spent 2 hours trying to get the photos from my thumb drive to Shutterfly. For the life of me I couldn't figure it out! Finally saved them to my desktop but even THAT didn't work. I was on the verge of tears when I just had to walk away. Chuck looked at it when he got home and figured out I had saved them as Shortcuts. Sigh. I deleted all of them and had to start again. Ugh!

Our basement is flooding, did I tell you? We have a daylight basement and I went down to the craft room to work on a scrapbook and the carpet is soaked. Had a friend come take a look and he couldn't find anything that might be causing it. He went under the house to check pipes but everything is bone dry under there. He suggested moving a downspout from next to the house and divert it so the water drains away from the house, but that was the only thing he saw. We're hoping and praying it's not a cracked foundation.

BUT, it's Spring in the great Northwest! The last couple of days have been sunny and in the high 50's. Flowers are starting to bloom, the air is drying out, it's really been glorious!

I think about you all more than you know! I hope you're doing well! Til next time...