Sunday, April 13, 2014

Ahoy Mateys! Day one of cruise

We got up way early to hurry to the airport.  5 am to be exact.  We got to the airport only to find that my bag weighed 55 pounds.  5 pounds over.  “I’ll just pay it”  “$125”….oh, hang on, we’ll put some in Lacey’s.  Instead of opening the whole suitcase, I just unzipped the top and ran my hand down inside to fish something out.  I came up with a tennis shoe and an empty water bottle.  2 oz.  Wheeee..   next I grabbed the Chi straightener and my computer cord.  10 oz.   “Oh, mom,” Lacey wailed, “Dig deeper!” I  bravely pulled my suitcase over and zipped it open and pulled out my Lifechurch hoodie.  Success!!!!  Who knew a hoodie weighed 3 pounds??   No one was mad in line because they were too busy laughing at us.  Great start.  

Waiting on plane and Lacey exclaimed to me, “Ooh, I hope no one coughs in the airplane, because it has no where to go, and it just gets in our pores”.   This coming from one of the worst germaphobe’s I know.  I laughed until I hurt.   WHO thinks of that??  I don’t even think that way at all. 
Ironically, we are about to be delayed 8 hours getting on our ship because it had an outbreak of Norovirus the prior week.  “Don’t become friends with ole Noro”, Tyler entreats as we bid him adieu.  

We were one of the first passengers to arrive in LA.  On the way, Lacey & I are plotting a trip to Disneyland, because we know we don’t get to board the ship until 7 pm and are arriving in LA at 8:30. 

The Princess cruise line lady freaks us out, warning us, if we miss our transfer, we are in a “boatload” of trouble.  We flush our Disneyland dreams down the toilet, and get on the shuttle to the hotel down the street, where we are to stay holed in a room for 8 hours.   The princess people have considerately left out pastries and a deck of cards.  ONE deck of cards.  Good thing I brought my own.

Lacey & I head out to Manhatten beach (a street shuttle takes us there) and forego the fun beach and boutique shops on the beach, in favor of Lacey getting to see her very first Container Store (on the 9th stop on the shuttle).   She walks into, what I call an OCD person’s version of heaven, and straight sings a little happy song.  I’m walking around going “I don’t get it”, and she has found her happy spot on earth.  

We eat some pizza and browse around, and head back to the holding room with an hour to kill.   You had to be freakishly tall to stand in the bus, because Lacey had her arms straight up in the air and could barely hold on to the railing!

We beat each other in Las Vegas Rummy, and because of our early arrival, we are one of the first people to get to transfer to the boat. 

When I say boat, I have to tell you, I had no idea.  It is bigger than anything I have ever seen, and it’s just stunning.  They have been cleaning the ship from top to bottom, ridding any lingering norovirus germs from the 5000 people about to board.  One friend described the boarding process as “Herding cattle”, and that is about right.

What I do notice is the age group of the group of people in our shuttle bus to the ship.  I think if you added Lacey & my ages up together, that might be the average age of the octogenarians on that bus.  I’m thinking “This is going to be sooo fun”…envisioning line dancing with the small Asian man with a walker and his oxygen. 

But when we get to the ship, all ages appear, lots of kids and younger people.  AND WE GOT TO BOARD!  Walking up that ramp, feeling overwhelmed at the sheer magnitude of the size of this boat.  WOW.

And yep, herding sheep.  We boarded at the front of the boat, and our room is just about as far in the back as you can possibly walk.  5 room behind us, MAN OVERBOARD.  We are in the butt of the ship.  On the 12th level (ALOHA!) with a balcony and twin beds, a shower for much smaller people than we are, but we have landed in our new HOME SWEET HOME for 7 days.

We find some food, a random smorgasbord of pasta and salad, a crab cake, some French fries and a roll.  I guess I was carb loading for sleep.  We head to our bunks almost delirious with exhaustion, have just settled down for a long winters nap, when the loud speaker comes on, and beckons us to Level 6, Club Fusion, with our life preservers and our room cards. We are NOT happy. We learn the ship emergency drills, and yawn our way through putting our life jackets on and off and manage to find our way back to our room.  I fall asleep in the process of Lacey filling out our form for fruit and breakfast in our room, and wake up in a full allergy meltdown, seems I’m sleeping with feathers.   After a quick exchange of pillows, and twenty seven Kleenexes later, we are sawing logs.

Wake up at 7:30 am to nothing but water.  The gentle lull of the boat is soothing to me, kind of urpy for my motion sickness girl, but we are armed in our sundresses (only looking for a high of 66 today, pretty disappointed in that), and heading to one of my only company functions this morning.  

Hoping it warms up so we can spend some quality time on this balcony!!!! And praying Lacey gets over her initial seasickness.  She's always been a motion sickness lightweight, and this is no different!

More tomorrow............BON VOYAGE!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Just a cruisin'

I have been dreaming about this next week for well over a year.  When I started at FDLIC last year (voted one of the 10 BEST companies to work for in Texas) (and as far as I'm concerned, one of the BEST companies to work for in OKLAHOMA too).... they had just announced the 2014 INCENTIVE trip.

A Cruise.

A 7 day cruise.

With stops in Cabo San Lucas, and Puerto Vallarta.

SEVEN, count them, SEVEN days.

I was going to win that no matter what it took.

And by golly, miss molly, I did.

I invited my Lacey along, because outside of our trip to Haiti (where she was all kinds of crazy sick), we really haven't gotten to travel together, alone, anywhere.

This was on my computer today.  4, four, 1..2..3..4 days I am flying on a plane to Los Angeles, getting on a very big boat, and hitting the seas with my firstborn.


No volleyball.  No work.  No vietnamese children.  No dog.  Just me, my eldest, and the wide open seas.


From what I understand, I can't make phone calls.  I did, of course, buy internet service, so I can keep up with everyone via email and facebook.  I will also be blogging about the whole cruise experience, since this is my VERY FIRST ONE EVER.   Yes, I am lame. 

Crown Princess.  7 Days.  Lacey and me, and a new white hat. 

And some new flipper floppers.    Now all I need is a good pedicure.

Mainly what we are going to do is finish Laynie's book.  We are finally together, with no interruptions (except for swimming and laying in the sun, and massages, and excursions, and...and...and..) and we are finally going to put the finishing touches on this book.  I have needed Lacey's critical eye on this, and together we will get it done by the end of this week.

FINALLY.  I have to tell you, reading through those last few weeks of Laynie's life, has always been really hard on me.  I was in a supernaturally powerful place with God during that time, able to write what was happening and really sitting in God's pocket, taking comfort from His strength, watching Lacey be the strongest I have ever seen's going to be a journey for Lacey & I.. spiritually and physically. 


It's time to bring it completely full circle, and share her story with the world.

Now if I just don't fall overboard, it should be the perfect vacation.  

Bon voyage!!! and I will be blogging the whole time!!!!!    Let the adventure begin!!!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Good Grief

I have 3000 things I need to do tonight, but I have something I've been thinking about a couple of weeks on my mind and I have to get it in writing. 

I work in the funeral business.  It's what I do.  It's who I am. 

I met a 48 year old man today.  four sons.  a wife.  He has cheated death since 2001.  "I'm living on borrowed time, but I am GOING to see my youngest son graduate high school".  He's Hal's age. 

I visited with a lady a few weeks ago, that I was stunned to find out she was 73.  I seriously thought she was about 60.  Just BEE-YOU-TEE-FULL, young face, energetic.  More OOmph than me, to tell you the truth.

She lost her son when he was just 24.  As we visited and I helped her arrange her and her husbands funerals, we visited about her son.  I asked all about him, and asked how he died, and how she recovered from it. 

She told me that she had a stroke, she had grieved so hard when he died.  "It literally BROKE my heart, Laura". 

Then I felt my heart kind of break too. 

The one thing that resonates with all the families that I work with, is how important is to everyone, that their loved one is remembered. 

I remember after Austin died, my cousin Shannon telling me, "I just want everyone to know him, and to remember him".  And when I talked to my beautiful 73 year old, she said she had visited a young friend in the hospital a week earlier, and that girl had told her a story about her son that she had never heard, and told that thankful mom, "I think about him all the time, what a good friend is was, and I miss him everyday".  She teared up telling me that story, because it meant so much to her. 

I talk about Laynie all the time.  No one that leaves me, doesn't hear how Laynie affected my life, in some way.  Her life was so significant.  It changed people.  I want to share it with everyone. 

Reading my facebook friend, Ryan's journey about her precious daughter, Ellie Kate, and how significant her life was...and how grief comes in waves... you never know what will set you off, and how even small gestures are significant when talking to someone about their lost loves. 

Another thing that is important, talk to us about our loved ones.  Don't think it will hurt us to talk about hurts more NOT to.    If it starts to hurt, we will tell you, but please, please, please, share your memories with us.   It makes us know that they weren't only significant to us, but they were to you, too. 

Share pictures with us on instagram, facebook, text messaging.  We may not have seen the pictures you have, and it's a gift to have those memories. 

But most importantly, cherish what you have.  I want to drop kick half of my kids, about 23 hours of the 24 hour days, but I wouldn't want to have to try to survive without them.  Let them feel your love and your gratitude for their mouthy, entitled selves.  :)  (We're having a day here in paradise). 

Send a text to someone that has lost a loved one, it'll make their day. 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Casting out Fear

As I listened to Craig preach today, I found myself nodding and saying, Amen, a lot.  Yep, I became one of those ridiculous people that just shout to the heavens, "Amen, Preach, brother!"

At first, I was distracted, first by missing our worship pastor, who recently moved to the Edmond campus, though I love one of his backup singers, it is just NOT the same.  So, I'm sitting in my chair, all disgruntled and unhappy, and the kid behind me rattled his potato chip bag, for 15 minutes at least, then whispered and whispered and moaned and whispered to his brother, to the point, I almost checked him into lifekids for his mom.

It was one of THOSE kinds of mornings.

But as Craig unpacked the message, I found my spirits starting to lift.

He talked about the disciples in the boat, and God snoozing in the stern, and the storm rolling in, and all the disciples, freaking out and waking him up and asking him to calm the storm.  He spoke and the storm stopped......then he looked those silly ole men in the face and said, "Why are you still afraid?? Don't you have faith in me??"

And, mercy, that resonated with me today.  I'm about to adopt three kids.  In that group is a 4 year old.  FOUR YEAR OLD.  That freaks me out if I even spend 5 minutes thinking about it.  FREAKS. Me. OUT.     "Why are you still afraid?"

There are so many problems, I just blogged about it the other day.   Friends fighting cancer, in the battle of their lives... young people dying in car wrecks, leaving their families desolate over the loss......friends having babies with Down Syndrome, having to start from scratch a new journey, totally different from the one they imagined, not a horrible, awful place, just a different one.

When we found out about Laynie, my faith was tested, but it started growing, each and every day, as God revealed miracle after miracle for me to witness and share.  Was I scared???? OF COURSE I was scared, but every single trial led me closer to Him.  He doesn't just want us to stay in" First Grade faith" our whole lives...... get baptized and say a prayer in the pew every weekend, He wants us to SEEK HIM in EVERYTHING we do.  And in trials, YOU SEEK him.

Remembering when I got stopped for a ticket (yes, I totally zipped through a yellowish/red light) and as the po-po pulled me over, the tension mounted in the backseat.  The trio was melting down, thinking that ole Lolly was going to jail.  He took my license, went back to his car half a minute, and trekked back to my window and informed me,  "It's your lucky day, there is a larceny in progress, and I have to go take care of that".   As he walked away, Lovely piped up from the backseat,   "I pray for that larceny!!!"  (not knowing what in the sam hill a "Larceny" even is).   But the point our time of need, the kid went straight to the source, HELP GET LOLLY OUT OF THIS MESS LORD, WHATEVER IT TAKES....even if it does mean some poor person is getting ROBBED right now.

I know firsthand, how much my faith grew, and how firm my foundation in trusting God became during our journey with Laynie.   The more you seek Him, and trust Him, the more calm you become in a storm.  If I don't hear  "How in the world do you do it?" at least 3 times a day, everyday, it's a slow day.  I can't just tell everyone  "God has all the details worked out, I just have to trust Him and let Him guide me through".   It's a wonderful, rewarding feeling, casting out fear.

I woke up in a cold sweat, bawling a few nights ago, because I dreamed Hallie died.  I've been gearing up for the run and thinking about Austin a ton this week.....He was such a huge fan and big supporter in the years past, and I miss him so much.  All those Team hope shirts, with the cowboy hat on the back hip....Seeing all those hats run past me, made me think about him so much.  So when I had that horrendous dream, something I fear so deep inside of me, something happening to my precious children, I woke up and immediately prayed.  I started with Lacey and worked my way through the whole family.  My heart stopped pumping so fast, and I calmed.   God's got this.... cast out the fear.   He brought me to it, He'll bring me through it.

Storm season is fast approaching.  We are supposed to have severe weather on Wednesday.  We could sit around with high anxiety and not get anything done between now and then.  Moore is just in the beginning stages of rebuilding from last year's devastating storms.  I am miserably unhappy about the thought of hours of Mike Morgan.  I miss my fake boyfriend, Rick Mitchell, more than ever these next couple of months.  But God says, Do NOT FEAR, I am there.  And I believe these words.  He will get us through the storms of life.  We all have chosen to live in a state that delivers tornadoes every year, just like Christmas.  And now earthquakes.  If we have both in one day it will be a "Quakenado".  

All I know is what has worked for me, and all I can tell you is, I've never been more surrendered to His will, and more at peace in my entire life.   Just trust Him, and He will never leave your side.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Running and Running and Running

Today was the Wings to Fly Run at Fort Reno, in El Reno, OK.  TEAM HOPE participated again (for the 4th year) and I am very proud to say, won a BUNCH of ribbons and shoes.

We had over 50 runners, and sold over 200 TEAM HOPE t's, and this year was able to donate over $2000 to Children's Hospital Foundation from Team Hope.

That's a bunch of cash for a worthy, incredible cause.

So many faces I loved there....

Especially these two.  Lacey helps coordinate the whole run, and does a fantastic job.  It's so organized, and such a great, fun time is always had by everyone there.  It's not so huge you get lost, but it's not so small that you don't feel like you're competing.  I was all set to run this year (cough), and I went and broke my toe, and hobbled around in a tennis shoe this morning and danced on one foot with the DJ and his rocking music.

The Cope Family has attended the run every year, and Blake (middle top row) has dominated in the 5k every year.  This year he ran it in 19 minutes.  He blew the competition away and ran away (literally) with 1st place overall.  I barely got to congratulate him and he and his dad were off to his soccer game.  I adore this family, they are just so special to me.

Speaking of my family, we were well represented this year.  Mom got her booty out of bed quite early and we parked her in a chair and she whistled from the sidelines and we made her "Base" and she held everyone's stuff.  She's not getting around great lately, really done something to her hip, so everyone be praying for my mama as she gets an MRI this week.  We have to get her in tip top shape to go trek around Yosemite in a couple of weeks for Kips wedding.
Lindsay and Tadd came, and brought my great niece Makayla, and she ran the miracle mile and took advantage of the face painter (as did all the kids) and was just Lacey's little sidekick all day.  She is a corker!
She checked out the clydesdales and was thoroughly impressed with them.  BB wasn't near as pumped about them as she was.  I just want to tell you, how much I love my family.  When we go to these big events like this, someone always keeps their eye on BB and I am so glad.  I am still getting broken into the fact that I have a 4 year old.  In fact, Lacey introduced him to someone at the run as her "Little brother", and the person just stared at me, slightly slack jawed.  "I look good for someone that just had a kid 4 years ago, eh?"   sigh.

Super duper proud of this Run like the Wind boy, LB took 1st in his age group in 28:41, and that isn't too shabby.
He got some cool Mike Tyson face painting and had #1 on his forehead.... Just a great day for this cat.

Hallie and her good friend Brad each ran the 5k.  Hal ran it in 33:26, only taking a break running around the corner to throw up her cookies (ewww, glad I didn't see that), giving the girl that ultimately won their age division,  time to sneak past her whilst she was yakking her goods on the sideline.  Talk about giving one for the team.   Brad had a bigger group of guys his age and took third with a time of 28:30.  He rolled in right in front of LB. 
It's always fun to watch this big ole goober get an award, she is so awkward, and I have no idea where she gets it.

Amy Astle won 1st in her age group, and when I texted her to tell her she told me she was doing the "ugly cry", she was so thrilled.  She and Laynie have always been birthday buddies, and Amy has always showed up for every run and blood drive, and this year she brought her hubs along too...
Super fun and so proud of both of them.. Amy set a personal best of 30:31 and won 1st and John won 2nd in his division.  Studs, both of them.

Speaking of studs, here's this.

Bubb did good for an old dude with a bum knee.  He told me today that his competitive juices started flowing and he wants to get 'er done in 30 minutes next year.  We'll see.

Back when I was a tweenie, I went to Junior Camp in Binger, OK and I met some fun chicks from Tulsa.  Facebook brought us all back together, and today I was surprised and delighted to find one of my old buddies..  Lori Phillips Huddleston.  She drove all the way from Owasso, and I was thrilled and pumped to see her again...
She placed 2nd in her age division too and that made me so proud. So great to see old friends.
Back when I had Lacey almost 30 years ago, that little gal on the right end was born about 12 hours after her, and from that day forward, her mama and I have been friends.  We shared a room at the hospital and enjoyed watching our babies grow up.  Now she brings friends and supports us and we just love us some Erin Rushing Young.

When I asked Crystal if she placed, she said "No, there are too many gals in my old category to win anything."... well the joke was on her, because she took 3rd in her age category in the 15k, mind you!  She is a "real" runner.  :)  Love our family, and sweet Hannah "Miracle child" helped Lacey hand out awards, and did a great job.

I love me some Haley Bordeaux and Lindsay Ramirez, they ran over the finish line in tandem and took 1st place in their age division in the 5k... I call them "Team Beautiful" and you can see why for yourselves...

Who looks THAT good when they run????????  I mean really.

Well this girl does...

And I cannot write about Wings to Fly without talking about this young lady.  Kelsey Wall.  She has participated every single year, through icicles, damp warmish fog, and freezing rain and finally the 4th year gave her the weather she loves to run in.  She took 1st overall in the women's 15k, and 1st in her age group.  Her b/f Grant is helping her carry all her goods.  She LOVES the shoe awards, and this year got about a size 15 decorated shoe (Lacey told her it was a Hallie-size shoe).  Kelsey, you are a supreme rock star, and you and Blake DOMINATED the 5k and 15k, and made TEAM HOPE big winners this year!!!
Now, someone who didn't get an award, and trailed in almost dead last, gets my final words.  Lovely is the big winner in my eyes.  This kid is a true miracle.  The fact that she has overcome everything that has been thrown at her, is kind to a fault, finds good in every thing she is faced with, and tries so hard at all the challenges, makes her my big winner.  I was just about to get in my car and go looking for her, when she finally turned the corner and headed in.  She had charley horses in her ankles, her collarbones were on fire, and tonight she is limping like a broken toy, but that smile and her "I did IT, Lolly" makes me remember what life is all about.   This kid made it past the finish line.  She kept on running and running and running.....and I couldn't be prouder.

You just got to do life one step at a time, and I know tonight that Laynie is beaming up in heaven, so proud of her TEAM HOPE.

Disclaimer:  There were oodles and gobs of people there today, and I am sorry if I did not include you in this are all well loved and I am thankful for you.  I am just really super old and tired this evening and can't think of everyone.  Truth hurts, people.

RUNNING AND RUNNING AND RUNNING.....  For Laynie... cause it's all about
                                               Loving a baby....

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Here's Mud in Your Eye

Church really rocked me today. 

This year seems to have been a blur of bad news.  Friends with cancer, friends with sick babies, money issues, depression, questions of the future....sometimes just overwhelming to the point of "I'm staying in bed and sitting today out."

And this past week, on a post on Facebook, a friend said, "I'm so mad today.  It's like God isn't showing up" (I'm paraphrasing here). 

I know I have felt that way 1,000 times.  At least.  Ok, God, you got me here...Now What?????

Today in our lesson at church, the example was made of  Jesus's first miracles.  He made water into wine, and he gave a blind man sight. 

No big deal, right?   In this world of make believe and special effects, that seems like a no big deal, easy peasy thing to do. 

But just think about it.  It so parallels our lives on earth.

Jesus could have spoke the words...."Heal this man" and he would have had sight.  He could have just thought "Fill these vessels with wine" and poof, it would have been. 

But, he never just hands us the answer.  I've always said, God isn't the good ship lollipop.  He isn't like Glenda the Good Witch, waiting for the prayer that you've spoken 200,000 times ... "Oh, ok, that is the one I will grant.".....  It's so much more than that. 

He took spit and dirt and rubbed it on a blind man's eyes.  Think about it.  Spit and Dirt.  Do you think that dude was overjoyed have Jesus's spittle all over his face?  I almost urp when I even think about spit in my OWN mouth.  But Jesus had a point to make here.  He made mud and put it on the man's eyes and told him to go wash in a specific Sea.  Not "go to the sink and wash it off", he told him exactly where to go. 

Now you think this guy was embarrassed?  Jesus's man made mud pies on his face?  Have you ever been embarrassed by something you've done?  Wondering, HOW IN THE WORLD could Jesus have put me here??    What did I do to deserve that???  I know I have.  Many many times.  And I wandered around with mud on my face, not listening to what he told me, trying to fix the problems, trying to figure out WHY?...when God simply says,  "Trust me, and seek me and wash the mud off where I tell you to go". 

Having the faith to trust God to send you where He wants you is the hardest thing you will ever do.  It's like jumping out of a plane without a parachute.  TRUST ME. 

Before Laynie, I assumed I trusted God....but I never really did.  I grabbed back that wheel, every single time I handed it to him.  Once He gave us Laynie, and put mud all over our faces, did we learn to trust Him, and believe we would get to the Sea.  And even our earthly prayers, of total healing for
our girl, were  not just heard, but given.  We had a baby that wasn't supposed to be born, 30 months.  THIRTY months of blessings, 30 months of lessons, 30 months of grace.  

It took me 47 years to get the mud out of my eyes and really see and trust and believe in God.  I read the miracles in the bible, and never had the full understanding of who God really is. 

I don't do anything anymore without praying it through.  I try to preface every move with a WWJD? and though I still have a long way to go.... I have come a long way too. 

Wash the mud from your own eyes and see God.  You will never be alone again.  He never promised to fix all the problems, but He sure promised to never leave our sides when they come. 

Thank you God, for making this blind woman see. 

Friday, March 21, 2014

World Down Syndrome Day

March 21 may mark the 4 days after St. Patrick's day, the ending of spring break, or the day after the first day of spring.

But to many families, it marks a very important day in their world..  "World Down Syndrome Day".

My first memory of someone with Down Syndrome was my friend Trey Davis' sister, Dana.  She cracked me up all sides of tomorrow, and wore more rings than Elizabeth Taylor.  She hugged everyone she met, and had a smile that would make anyone having a bad day, turn it on a dime.

Her mom was one of the first "advocates" I met in my young life.  She worked tirelessly to aid people with disabilities, and give them a voice and a place to go to school, work, have a life.

I didn't appreciate or understand the enormity of what she did at that time, and probably until today, as I muse over my life, I never told her or Trey how impressed I was by their love and compassion for people with disabilities.

I was scrolling through Facebook this morning, and Kip's very good friends, Erin and Drew Crain (the whole reason she decided to do the World race was because these crazies did it first) have just had their first son, Everett.  I have been stalking their page like crazy because I am a fan of tiny new humans, and I just love Erin to death.  He has a heart condition, so I've been making sure he is doing good, and this morning I read this post from Drew's page...

"Hey everyone! First, thank you all so much for your prayers and generosity; we have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support we’ve received. Here’s the latest update on Everett: Yesterday we received test results confirming that Everett has Trisomy 21, a type of Down Syndrome. His heart condition is very common in children with this diagnosis. We see God’s faithfulness as Everett makes improvements every day. He continues to amaze everyone and as he gets stronger our faith increases even more. He has changed our lives forever and we could not feel more blessed to be his parents! The most important thing we need right now is your continued prayers for the healing of Everett’s heart. Thank you for believing with us for this miracle. We will continue to keep you updated on his progress."
My very first reaction when I read this was, "Wow, God sure knows what He is doing to give that lucky boy those two for parents."   followed, with,  "Wow, those lucky parents"! 

There is so much misunderstanding of Down Syndrome and other disorders.  One thing to remember..... they're all just PEOPLE.   Some people have dimples, some have brown hair, some have moles on their toes, some have singing abilities, and some people have down syndrome.  Yep, I lump it in their with moles on the toes, because it's just people.

Linda Douglas Ehlinger and her husband Rick, have 1 daughter and 2 sons.  I've known Linda most of my life (her brother Kent was one of my bff's in High School).  Their youngest son, Doug, has Down Syndrome. I look forward every day to reading either Linda or Rick's posts on him.  He is a corker, and headstrong (that's a Douglas trait) and some of the antics he pulls just make me roll on the floor.

I remember when Lacey took dance from Jim Paul in Shawnee, there was a little girl that took dance with her, and she had DS.  She is a hugging, loving machine.  And the girl loves to dance.

I can't stress enough to you, if you start to feel sorry for these families, just stop.  Every family has stuff.  The one thing I know for certain, these families will never have to worry about their teenager taking drugs, or sneaking out at night.  They will have different focuses, they will most likely worry about heart issues, and flat feet, medical issues that most family with "normal" children don't have to worry about as much.

I love reading this blog Nella's blog.  This mommy got the gift of a lifetime in her second daughter, and she so eloquently describes life and ups and downs in this wonderful blog.

I've talked about Zi Ping on this blog before, but look at him, his adoptive parents moved heaven and earth to rescue a little Chinese boy with DS from his life in an orphanage in China, and now he lives here with his new family, and brings joy and love everywhere he goes.  (Yes, I stalk Katie and Josh (his parents) like a crazy person as well).   How do I have time to get anything done for stalking all these people, you ask?  I don't know.

What I do know is we all need to support and love each other, and never EVER EVER take one day for granted with your child that otherwise healthy.

My time working at Dale Rogers Training Center were my favorite days.  Working with the people in the workshop, all kinds of people...people with autism, some blind people, some people in wheelchairs, some short people, tall people.   What I loved most??  Walking over to their workspace and being greeted by them.  I felt like a rock star.  They have a way of making you feel like the most important person in the world.  I could never leave without fistbumping all 220 of them and getting a million hugs and I can't begin to tell you, how if I was ever having "a day", I'd go over and get "My fix" of happy.

There is no form of purer love on this earth than the love of these children/people.  I can't explain it to you....this is something you have to experience for yourself.

Celebrate with me, on this World Down Syndrome Day.  Honor them, love them, and pray for them.  It's a gift.