Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Make time!

Time. It’s so hard to find time these days. Or is it?
I think we come up with the “too busy” excuse more and more often. Sometimes we even push our kids and other things aside, as if they are not important enough at that time. We dive like we are in a hurry and rush around, not taking time for anything off our list or schedule. We hear the term “make time” and just laugh. There aren’t enough hours in the day to begin with, how can I make time?
Between work, kids, sleeping, shopping, eating, me time, exercise, checking facebook and church what else do we have time for, right? We surround ourselves with things that we have to do. Let me ask you something… Are the things you have to do really that important? To some, yes. And to others, they don’t stop to think how important, or unimportant, it is.
A few weeks back my family and I went for a walk to the park. My husband pushed our 1 year old in the umbrella stroller while I took care of our 3 and 4 year old making sure they stayed out of the street. Michael did a good job of listening but Emily turned a deaf ear to my voice. More than once I had to grab her shirt or arm before she ran into on-coming traffic. I'm sure you can imagine my frustration with her. On the way home she would stop every few minutes to pick flowers, watch an ant on the sidewalk or look at a leaf floating by. After her 12th time stopping I could hear the tension in my husband’s voice, “Emily, come one!” We were on the same block for 5 minutes… I turned to aide my husband and help Emily move a little faster as I was getting tired of waiting as well. This is when I saw her doing something that made me stop. She gently laid a flower down she had picked a few feet down the block, talking to it as she adjusted it, then waved goodbye. I could help but smile. We went on and again had to stop for her. I told my husband to keep going and we’ll catch up. I watched again as Emily placed another flower just right and waved goodbye. As much as I wanted to get home, I couldn’t stop her from leaving flowers behind. This sweet and simple gesture touched me. I couldn’t help but think, what if someone walked by and saw this flower and it brought a smile to their face? My little girl was blessing others! I just stood there a watched my 3 year old daughter leaving little blessings down the sidewalk. The walk home should have taken no longer than 15 minutes, but in that 30 minutes of stop and go, my little Emily left 6 blessings on the sidewalk. I took that moment to thank God for my daughter, who willingly left her beautiful flowers behind that they might bring a smile to someone's face and even spread Gods light in this dim world.
one of the flowers she left

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Activity Jar

My kids and I did a fun craft I found on Pinterest. They called it a “bored jar” but I prefer “activity jar”.

Things you’ll need:
~A mason jar (I used smaller ones)
~Elmer’s glue
~Acrylic paint
~Paint brushes
~Popsicle sticks
~Fine point sharpie
~Newspaper or other paper (to protect your table)

For jar~
Cover table with paper. In clean mason jar squeeze about a tablespoon of glue, let child brush the glue all around the inside of jar. Dump child’s choice of color glitter in and have you kid shake the jar to spread glitter all over. Let dry. Once glue is dry, squeeze child’s choice of paint color into jar. Depending on age they can use a paint brush or turn the jar until the inside is covered. Pour out extra paint. Let dry.

For “activity” sticks~
Have child paint the Popsicle sticks in their choice of color(s). Let dry. With sharpie write on each stick a task, chore, activity, etc. I wrote something fun on one side and a chore on the other (they have to do the chore first).

Activity suggestions~
I know how hard it can be to think of things to write so here are a few ideas: (My kids are 3 and 4, make sure the activity/chore is age appropriate for your kids)

~Help pick up living room
~Wipe table
~Help unload the dishwasher
~Clean room
~Make bed
~Help vacuum
~Pick up toys and clothes
~Help put clothes in washer and dryer

~Make fort
~Play outside
~Paint or color
~Read 2 books
~Play with toys (that they don’t play with very often)
~Play pretend (dinosaurs, house, etc.)
~Play with the dog
~Sing and dance
~Make cookies

Every day I have the kids blindly pick a stick and do the chore and activity. I keep the finished stick in a “done jar” until they do them all. Then we start over again.


I also made myself one. With things like:
~Do yoga
~Paint nails
~Organize computer desk
~Clean toilet
~Do craft on Pinterest
~Lift weights
~Wash windows (inside)
~Organize junk drawer

I hope you get to enjoy doing this with your kiddos (and/or for yourself)! Have fun and God bless!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

A Life With Joy!

Joy - noun
1. Intense and especially ecstatic or exultant happiness.
2. The expression or manifestation of such feeling.
3. A source or an object of pleasure or satisfaction: their only child, their pride and joy.
4. To take great pleasure; rejoice.
5. To fill with ecstatic happiness, pleasure, or satisfaction.
6. To enjoy
(info from

A few short weeks after my first birthday we welcomed a new addition to the family. Her name was Joy. Born like other babies, she cried, she slept and messed her diaper. Little did my parents know that her brain was not like other babies. At age 2, Joy was still not walking or talking. After a lot of testing, doctors said she may never walk or talk, she would be a burden.

At age 5 Joy walked just fine and did what she could to communicate. We all learned basic sign language, which helped but only a little bit. She did a lot of grunting, pointing and crying. We all got frustrated trying to communicate. But I think it was hardest on Joy.

Doctors told my parents that Joy will not have the mental capability beyond a toddler. This, of course, was hard for my parents to absorb. And my mom fell into a depression. She slept a lot and “hid” in books.

Joy has Mental Retardation, Tourette Syndrome (TS) and is slightly autistic. She can read simple children books, write her name and other small words, and talks like a 3 year old. It took her longer to do simple things us parents take for granted. Like walking (2 ½ years old), potty training (9 years old), talking full sentences (7 years old)… How hard would that be as a parent?

Disneyland 2004

Things that we long for and cherish, she will never get to enjoy. Joy watched me learn to drive and get my license, she watched me fall in love and get married, and she intensely watched my belly grow all 3 times I was pregnant. When I was learning how to drive I remember her always asking “My turn?” and “Can I drive next?” When I was planning my wedding she asked “I get married too?” And when we told her I was pregnant her eyes went from my belly to hers and back to mine again.
 Growing up with a mentally disabled sister was hard. Most of the attention went to her. My parents spent a lot of time helping and teaching her things that I grasped very easily. My parents did not neglect me, although it felt like that at times. My parents went to all my school plays, dance concerts and ceremony’s I was involved in. There were times I didn’t understand why I was in trouble and wondered why I was always “second” at home when I was first born. Looking back, I believe my parents did their best to give me the attention I craved.

Joy and I at Grandmas
Joy and I were very close growing up. We were born 12 months and 2 weeks apart, how could we not be close. I had friends that would have sleep overs and it was hard on Joy watching me go places she could not. But when I had sleep overs Joy was welcome to get her sleeping bag and join… until middle school came along. I think we can all agree that middle school was not the best years of our lives. Sadly, Joy was no longer welcome. We wanted to talk about “grown up” things, like boys, make up, clothes and hair, and I knew Joy would not only be bored but she would rather watch her favorite Disney movie anyway. It never had anything to do with her being “different”, it had to do with different interests.

As time went on, high school came and went. I got engaged at age 22 and was married 6 months later. 2 months after that I found out I was pregnant. When Michael arrived I was surprisingly not nervous about Joy holding him. She did better than I expected! When she held him for the first time I remember her saying “Hi Michael. It’s me, your auntie Joy. I love you.” It brought tears to my eyes.

Holding Michael
Holding Emily
Holding Sam

A little over a year now Joy has been having problems with her medication. A switch in the medication landed her in the hospital. It was a VERY hard time for my family. It has taken about 6 months, but we are slowly getting our Joy back.
She loves to feed the ducks

Joy has lived up to her name most of her life. She spreads joy everywhere and brings a smile to faces who’ve never met her before. When she first grabs you and kisses your hand it scares most people, at first, but most of the time they start a conversation with her “Hello, what’s your name?” My family has had moments of frustration, embarrassment, fear, even bitterness, but we have had many more moments of happiness, laughter, love, joy and selflessness. Joy has taught us many things; patience, the true meaning of joy, love, to put our faith in God, and the true meaning of family. Joy is an inspiration. I believe, if I didn’t have her in my life I would not be who I am today.

Thanks Joy! 
My favorite picture