THE MAGIC SNOW GLOBE
In this vintage Christmas adventure, the twins, Willow and Wendell Potter journey to three magical lands. With each travel, they learn the secret to true Christmas magic.
This book is now on sale on Amazon!
Giving Tuesday is a global generosity movement unleashing the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and the world…24-hours of giving!
On this day, please consider supporting Family Hope Foundation and our Therapy Scholarship Program. What better gift can be given than Ability? Your donation this Giving Tuesday, in any amount, will be a priceless gift to families in need.
Here is a story one child we were able to help…
Like a little baby bird—skinny and cute—Aidan Wood said hello to the world. The only thing large on his tiny frame was his head, but since big brother had a good-sized noggin, no one was the wiser. It wasn’t until much later that the Wood’s discovered that Aidan’s head circumference at birth was in the hundredth percentile…for three year olds.
The baby years progressed with joyous bliss. Aidan slept great and rarely cried. He didn’t need to be held constantly, in fact, he preferred his swing. This too was an early indicator of things to come. Nearing nine months of age, the babyhood simplicity began to fade.
Delayed milestones weren’t near the forefront of the Wood’s minds until bronchitis became Aidan’s frequent, unwanted friend. An allergist surmised that he was likely aspirating on his formula, causing the respiratory distress. At the same time, she asked if his head size and disjunctive gaze had ever been discussed. Those questions led to CT scans, swallow studies, feeding therapy, thickened liquids, patching eyes, and then two eye surgeries. The Wood’s now knew they were in the elite club of being special needs parents.
Early-on services and Ken-O-Sha schooling helped Aidan move forward in his learning and development. While this season of schooling had it’s huge victories, it also came with its harsh challenges. Aidan’s behavior became more reactive and aggressive. His ability to control his bowel movements (Encopresis) caused bad episodes of soiling in his diapers. On top of that, he was still non-verbal, so he couldn’t communicate his needs.
Around age five, the Woods decided to try a different facility for Aidan’s PT and speech therapy. This is when they met their miracle worker René Manker at BRAINS. She used some of her Feldenkreis training with him in physical therapy, and his coordination and balance improved; and so did his toileting skills. However, when René left, they were worried. What would they do without her?
The following years brought more tests and evaluations. The diagnoses added up—Dysphagia and Reflux, malformation of cortical development, Strabismus (which led to the eye surgeries), Hypotonia/Hypotonic Cerebral Palsy (low or diminished muscle tone), Dysarthria (delayed or poor motor planning in the speech and articulation process), chronic constipation and Encopresis, Mood Regulation Disorder, and then at age seven came a new diagnosis—Sensory Processing Disorder, which was considered the culprit for Aidan’s up and down behaviors. Thankfully with help of occupational therapy, Aidan had more tools and coping skills.
By age ten, Aidan’s therapy services were being limited by insurance. The Woods were no longer seeing increasing results with therapies. Aidan’s behavior was growing more volatile at school and at home. Remembering how much progress they saw with René, Aidan’s mother, Amy, decided to try Google. And yes, Google proved helpful. Amy discovered Senses In Motion, a company in which René owned! Unfortunately, she noted that insurance wasn’t accepted there. She knew they couldn’t afford to pay out of pocket.
At this time, Amy had been volunteering for Family Hope Foundation for a couple of years at the Celebration Cinema sensory show times. She hadn’t applied for a scholarship before, but figured it was time to try. The Woods were thrilled when Aidan was awarded funds for ABM (Anat Baniel Method of Neuromovement) therapy with René. This form of therapy has been pivotal in helping Aidan with Dyspraxia. Aidan’s brain struggles to organize the information needed for his body to carry out even simple tasks. With his brain struggling to appropriate information, he finds himself oftentimes frustrated, triggering emotionally reactive behavior. But with ABM therapy, he is making strides in both conceptual and sensory processing and behavioral responses.
After one full year of ABM, Aidan has fewer meltdowns, aggressive behaviors are on the decline, his processing speed is growing, and he is able to learn easier. But most importantly, his silly personality is returning.
Through all the trials, hardships, and diagnoses, Aidan has pressed on. It hasn’t been easy for him or his family, but they have all chosen to see the glass full and not empty. They count their blessings, not misfortunes. If the Woods could be summed up in a word it would be—optimistic. It is because of this that Aidan is blooming, and his hilarious nature is shining once more.
Aidan is one of the amazing kids we have been able to support. Join with us in giving the Gift of Ability to more children.
Our Contact Information
Family Hope Foundation
7086 8th Avenue
Jenison, MI, 49428
If you had asked me last week, “Catie, are you well?” I would have told you no.
The weeks leading up to last week were not kind to me. Between a series of rejections, failings, and flare-up of my auto-immune disease, I emotionally collapsed. I did not feel well mentally, emotionally, and physically. I wanted to cave. I wanted to quit. I wanted to be sad. Not a great place to be. I was letting my outward journey determine my inward journey. I was letting disappointments dictate the wellness of my soul. Negative thoughts can be quite alluring in the valleys of life. But what does negative thinking achieve? Nothing. Does it make me feel better? No. But did I feel justified in my negative thoughts–yes. That’s the catch. That is what makes them alluring. I feel I have a right to think negatively and be sad and throw myself a this-isn’t-fair party. So I did. I dwelt in that space for a few weeks. It made me more depressed.
Then, God spoke to my heart and said, “Enough. It’s time to move on.” He, of course, was right. It was time to move on. I cleaned up my office space. I put my storyboard away. I filed all current books-in-progress. I have to stop striving to make things happen that just aren’t happening.
I can’t control my health. I can’t control my publishing career. I can’t control the unknown. But, I can rest in Jesus. I can let go. I have to let go.
In my last novel, Marvel and Mayhem, my main character, Mattie, wrestles with anger toward the song and belief, “It is Well With My Soul.” She feels that the song was a lie. Life hasn’t been good to her. Each character in Marvel and Mayhem is confronted with hardships on some level and must respond to it–either with resentment or surrender to God. My youngest character in the novel, Effie Emery, understands surrender. She knows that no matter how bad things may get, with the Lord holding our hand through it, we can still say, it is well with my soul.
As you can guess, I’m more like Mattie. Surrender doesn’t come natural to me. But God hasn’t given up on me. I see more clearly now that God called me to write Marvel and Mayhem because He knew I needed to process this journey with Mattie. We are connected, her and I. God has been leading to me a place of relinquishing control and placing my trust in Him.
The lyrics of the old hymn say, “When peace like a river, attendeth my way, When sorrows like sea billows roll, Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say, It is well, it is well, with my soul.”
I’m still working through this. It doesn’t come natural to me. BUT, I know one thing for sure, I am reaching out and God is reaching back. This is WELL. With Him holding my hand, I can be WELL.
If you are interested in my novel, here’s a quick link for more information:
No one ever expects to walk the road of loss. In our minds and hearts, we hope for better things, happier things, but sometimes life sets us on a detour.
My detour came in 2011 when my husband and I lost our first child, and then it happened again in 2012, when we lost a second baby. Heartbreak doesn’t begin to fully encompass the pain. It doesn’t describe the complete let down, ripped open, barrenness of dream, time, and life. I have wept and still weep many tears. It’s hard to describe the great depths of emptiness and grief. It’s a messy thing, this grieving. It rolls in and out. It is never once and done. Sometimes, it will catch you off-guard when something triggers a memory. Suddenly, I’m standing in an aisle at Meijer wanting to weep.
One thing I have learned about grief—it’s oftentimes lonely. I rested in a space of unyielding pain, feeling lost. The world continued to go on around me but I was cemented in place.
Every year, I encounter more and more friends that have grieved the loss of a child. It’s like a secret club that you only discover once you yourself have suffered loss. It’s a sad thing that most women don’t talk about, and yet, it’s so very common. So many women have suffered the death of a child. Many of us are in the club.
That’s why I decided to share my full story in a book form. Standing Lost is a collection of my journal entries, my pleas to God, and my grasping for ways to somehow go on. This small book is a way of saying- “You’re not alone. I’ve been there too.”
The book is currently available as an eBook on amazon
CLICK HERE: https://amzn.to/2HjjTPm
The paperback copy will be available on May 24th
“Seeing” isn’t easy in our fast-paced, self-focused society. Life goes by in a blur as we rush ahead from one task to the next.
I’m guilty of this. I’m a super-motivated-achiever type of personality, which can lend to blindness.
It has taken bumps in the road in order to force me to slow down. These bumps (deep hurts, miscarriages, illnesses, tragedies) have brought me a new awareness on life. An awareness that I needed because ultimately we’re all born with innate selfishness. Of course, the way we respond to the bumps of life will also determine our route—toward bitterness or betterment. I traveled bitterness highway for a season, luckily, God helped me find a detour back to betterment road.
What I have discovered along the way is that the hardships have produced an empathy and compassion inside of my heart that I wouldn’t have had otherwise. The pain I have experienced helped me recognize the pain in others and sympathize with them. My hardships gave me new sight.
The day my nephew, Levi, was diagnosed with a duplication syndrome, my sight was again, refocused. I became aware of the struggles and obstacles facing, not only a child with special needs, but also the family. I grew observant to those I came in contact with. My heart expanded, longing to celebrate the beauty of all our differences and how we are all uniquely fashioned by a God who does not make mistakes. My nephew might have MECP2 duplication syndrome, he might be non-verbal, and his development comes slow, but he is perfect. No one can take his place. The world needs Levi in it. The same way the world needs each one of us.
No one can replace you. You are uniquely crafted and designed by the hands of a loving God. Even if you do not believe in a Creator—to bad, He believes in You. He made you.
He made our beautifully diverse world with its beautifully diverse colors. Oh, how lovely it is.
Let’s open our eyes and SEE the wonder around us.
I’m glad it’s a new year. Just the thought of a new year is like a breath of fresh air. It’s a clean slate of months. More opportunities. New chances about to unfold.
And I’m ready.
2018 was hard. Very hard. It took its toll physically, mentally, and financially. If I could sum up the year in one word it would be—PAIN. I was in pain the whole year. The tests of 2017 led into 2018, searching for answers to the pain and the constant problems inside of my body. After exploratory surgery and a cystoscopy, we finally reached a verdict. The urologist diagnosed me with interstitial cystitis (a chronic bladder disease) and pelvic floor dysfunction.
Good, I finally had the reason. But now, what to do with that? The answer—a complete life change. My entire diet had to change in order for my bladder lining to repair itself. Everything that was acidic, citrus, or acid-forming had to be removed from the menu. Basically: no chocolate, no sugar, no soda, no alcohol, no gluten, no tomatoes, no fruit (other than blueberries, pear, papaya, watermelon), no regular coffee, no cultured milk (sour cream, etc), and no boxed foods with preservatives. The list is longer but you get the picture. Talk about a transformation. Suddenly, I had to cook everything from scratch and learn to be creative in cooking.
The next piece of the puzzle was physical therapy on my bladder and pelvic floor. When I began therapy in April 2018, I cried each time I went home. I knew the therapy was supposed to help, but it hurt. Advil and I became close friends. Nevertheless, I went, each week, for therapy, knowing the pain would lessen. And it did, over time.
Today is February 17, 2019. I sit at my desk writing this blog, and I’m not in pain. I attribute that to diet change, therapy, but also…To God. I cried out to Him at lot in the last year. I wept. I curled up with a hot pad and wept. I know He heard me. Interstitial Cystitis is an incurable disease, but I’m living proof that pain-free days can still be possible. I have flare-ups from time to time, but oh, to have days where I’m not plagued with pain is glorious! To be able to run with my kids again. To be able to have dance parties with them. To be able to clean my house without paying for it the next day. All these things tell me that God has had His hand on my life. He not only spoke comfort to my body, but He also spoke comfort to my heart.
2019, I’m ready. I’m ready for you and all the possibilities.
Looking for gift ideas for your kids, nieces or nephews, or co-workers children? Look no further. Give a book. Not just any book–a Christmas story filled with awe, wonder, and adventure. What book is this? THE MAGIC SNOW GLOBE.
In this story, you will join twins, Willow and Wendell Potter, on an exploration of magical worlds, transported through none other than an antique snow globe.
In each new land, the twins will discover secrets to real Christmas magic and the joy that fills the holiday season.
Here’s a few pictures from the book.
Superhero Levi teaches children about special needs and disabilities, emphasizing that all children are gifted and special no matter what their differences might be.
I wrote this children’s book based on my nephew, Levi Slenk. Superhero Levi is his story, told through his voice. Though Levi is actually non-verbal, his actions show his personality and through his mannerisms and noises, I hear his words. And so, I wrote them down, unfolding his world.
Now, I can share his story with you.
Hello, step closer, don’t be shy.
I’ll introduce myself; I’m Levi.
There is a secret you might not know.
I’m actually a superhero.
I climb mountains Mom calls the stairs.
It’s hard work getting way up there.
I reach the top feeling quite proud.
Mom claps her hands, cheering real loud.
Clearing my plate is no big feat.
I eat like a sturdy athlete.
But give me beans, I’ll put up a fight.
Every hero has a kryptonite.
Whenever I travel to various places,
I wear special shoes and ankle braces.
They help me stay strong and tall.
Because sometimes even heroes fall.
My hair cuts a wave like a surfing pro.
Adoring fans want to snap my photo.
I’m an expert with poses to strike.
My posts receive plenty of Likes.
I grow my powers through exploration.
It helps me use my imagination.
Lickety-split, this bowl is a hat.
Only a hero could do that.
I brighten the house with toilet paper,
And destroy a book like a bold crusader.
From the fridge, I make water pour out.
Mom arrives with an impressed shout.
Bars or boards cannot hold me back.
I open my bed with a Judo attack.
Dad tries to fix it in a hustle.
But nothing restrains me and my muscles.
When it’s school time, I wait for the bus.
A lift scoops me up without any fuss.
It’s a short drive with pals at my side.
We’d rather not stop; come on let’s ride!
I trek the halls with my sweet set of wheels.
My school friends follow, hot on my heels.
Our teacher directs us as we go.
She helps us to learn; I love her so.
Superheroes have archenemies.
Mine is called Physical Therapy.
I escape it through devious schemes.
Feet dragging, tears, and pretending daydreams.
To read the rest of the story visit: Superhero Levi