3 Truths That Can Calm Your Anxiety

This is a post from my friend and fellow author, Christie Thomas. It spoke to my heart this morning and I hope it will help you too. Enjoy.

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Snowflakes swirled around us as we said goodnight. He brushed accumulated snow off his car, then drove away, leaving deep tracks in the road. No one else wanted to drive tonight, but he had to get home. And home was 2 1/2 hours down a dark and slippery highway. It was a weekend like any…

via 3 truths to remember when the storm rages — Christie Thomas

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Celebrating Milestones and Miracles

Miracles still happen. I know it. I’ve seen it. My nephew is walking proof.

As a baby, Levi was diagnosed with a rare disorder MECP2 Duplication Syndrome, which causes  intellectual disabilities, developmental delays, speech abnormalities, seizures, low muscle tone, etc. The doctors didn’t know what milestones Levi would be able to accomplish.  Would he ever sit without support, crawl, play with toys, ever eat on his own, ever speak, ever walk?

At first, his little arms and legs were flimsy like wet noddles. Without a miracle, he wasn’t going to meet these developmental milestones. But…Oh Yes…BUT… we knew and believed in a wonderful, awesome God who could strengthen Levi’s muscles. AND HE DID. As Levi’s parents worked with Levi, as physical therapists worked with Levi, as occupational therapists worked with Levi, as his teachers, and day care workers worked with him, God moved through their helpful hands. Levi’s body grew stronger and stronger. And now…He sits. He crawls. He lifts a fork. He plays with his toys. He flips the pages of books. He communicates with his hands and noises. He walks, all by himself!

The Main Man, Levi.

To celebrate these accomplishments, Levi’s parents held a big party on Saturday. The amount of friends and family who flooded their lawn and barn moved me. The joy we all shared as we watched Levi stroll around was contagious.

Levi’s Therapists and Friends Along With Levi’s Mother and My Sister, Carmen (Second From the Right).

Levi and His Teacher

Bounce Houses and Outdoor Activities

Guests Inside the Barn

Face Painting

Levi and friend, Scott, from school

Friend, Emma, Showed her Support

My sister, Carmen, and Levi’s friend, Sirius

Levi’s Buddy, Cohen, and His Parents Came to Show Their Support.

Way to go, Levi. Keeping beating those odds.

Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

 Thank you to Everyone for Their Prayers and Support.

 

If Only I Could Step Through Time For Just a Day, Maybe Two

When I look at vintage photos in the 1920’s, I’m mesmerized. I wish I could enter a portal that would transport me into the picture so I could experience the day with the people in it. Oh the fun we’d have! Just imagine if you could step back in time to a picture you hold in your hand and spend one whole day, maybe two. What picture would you choose? Where would you go?

Music and dancing, a roaring good time.

 

 

A portrait of gals enjoying a day at the beach along the Potomac River. Washington, D.C. 1923. Looks like fun.

(Image References: www.thoughtco.com and http://www.etsystudio.com)

 

A Good Idea Gone Wrong: Raising Goldfish

It was the perfect day. First swimming and paddle boating at a friend’s pond. Buying goldfish at Meijer. Making homemade aquariums out of Ball Jars. Eating pizza and watching a movie. The kids fell asleep that night with smiles on their faces. I was going to win The Mother of Summer Award.

Then morning came.

The kids awoke ready to care for their new pet goldfish. But something was strange. The little fishies weren’t swimming like they had last night. Instead they all were floating, sideways, at the top of each jar.

Merciful heavens. I had no idea that fish needed air bubbles blown into the jars in order to breath the oxygen in the water. Maybe should have done some research before the project began.

I think my award has been revoked.

Family Fun Nights

 

Nothing screams family fun like nerf guns.

In our family nerf wars, there are plenty of laughs and squeals. Those darts can really sting, and I’m an easy target. Probably need to amp up my cardio.

Each week, we strive to have at least one family fun night, but oftentimes we have more than that. With media and technology trying to replace personal contact, my husband and I strive to set up boundaries and have dedicated family time. Children need to know they matter to us. We communicate their importance by having regular time together. Oftentimes our designated family fun night is Friday. Generally, it consists of pizza, games, and a movie. Our game of choice is typically Connect4. It might seem like a simple game but trust me, we have serious tournaments. After the blood, sweat, and tears shed during Connect4, we switch gears and eat pizza. We set up a table by the couch and watch a movie, while we eat. We look for a family movie that we can all enjoy. Oftentimes, we’ll rent something online or find a release on Netflix. There’s also another great Christian movies site called, Pure Flix. They offer a wide range of good family films too.

So what about you? What do your family fun nights look like? Do they consist of games, movies, or maybe even nerf guns?

 

11 Creative Activities to Combat Summer Boredom

Parents, Grandparents, Babysitters, etc: Summer Break is Around the Corner. Kids will be looking to you to help fill their days. So before boredom hits, here’s ELEVEN creative activities/ ideas to combat a pout fest.

#1 Dress a Cat Up Like a Woman

Tigger Is Looking Quite Fashionable in His Spunky Beret and Gown

#2 Take a Flower Smelling Tour

#3 Glue Googly Eyes on Pictures of Bugs, Then Cut Them out as Paper Dolls

You Can Draw the Bugs or Print Them From a Computer

# 4 Create Prehistoric Scenes Surrounding a Pet

Henry Whiskers Never Saw This Coming

# 5 Make Potato People

#6 Catch and Play with Frogs

 

# 7 Make a Starship Out of a Box

 

#8 Visit a Farm and Pet Animals
There are several farms that you can visit for free in Michigan. A couple we like the best are: Orchard Hill Farm and Critter Barn.

 

#9 Make an Animal Home out of a Shoe Box

#10 Develop a Runway Show With Your Own Clothing Line

We Call This Line: The Wanna Be Flappers

#11 Teach a Guinea Pig to Walk on a Leash

Spring Break DIY

DIY. Do it yourself. Sounds enticing, but be careful. Pick a project wisely or it might cost your fingers several pricks and your neck to feel like it’s kinked.

My daughter wanted a stuffed animal unicorn and asked if I could make her one. I said I’d try. After working on it for close to an hour, it didn’t look like it would turn out, so she told me not to bother finishing. In that moment, my competitive nature kicked in. Admit defeat? Never! Using old clothes and whatever else I could find in the house, I made that unicorn. She’s lopsided and a bit awkward. But I did it.



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She now loves her unicorn. Blemishes and all.

My Children’s Book For My Nephew: Superhero Levi

I wrote and illustrated a book for my nephew, Levi for his birthday. I entitled it, “Superhero Levi.” This book is in honor of Levi and all the other children who defy the odds regardless of their disabilities. (I illustrated all the pictures on watercolor paper and then my mother, Cindy, helped me paint them.)

Here is my book (I had it printed in hardcover). I hope you enjoy it.

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Hi, I’m Levi.
I might look like a regular boy,
But I’m actually a superhero.
How do I know?
Because people cheer for me wherever I go.
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I can climb mountains that mom calls the stairs.
It’s hard work getting way up there.
But when I reach the top, everyone claps.
I feel quite proud of that.
I smile at them and know…
They like watching this superhero.

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Day and night, I have a super appetite.
Bananas, chicken, pasta, or cookies
I’ll eat them up, thank you and please.
But green beans are no delight.
Because even heroes have a kryptonite.

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It’s hard work being a superhero.
People always want to take my photo.
At school and at home, I smile most polite.
Mom shares my poses on Facebook.
And I usually get a hundred Likes.

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I’ve learned a lot about my powers through exploring.
I can turn a bowl into a hat. Only a superhero could do that.

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When I press a button on the big box in the kitchen,
I can make water pour out.
Dad and Mom show up real quick,
And they let out an impressed shout!

 

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I can swim in big pools,
And push my wheels around the whole school.

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A big yellow bus,
chauffeurs me from my house.
The girls like to hold my hand.
What can I say?
They can’t resist a superman!

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No bars can hold me in.
My strength can even break the crib.
They try to fix it, but are unsuccessful.
Nothing can restrain my super muscle.

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I think my cousins might have powers too.
There are so many things that they can do.
Like run, flip, and jump, just to name a few.
We have lots of fun together…
Dancing, singing, and playing whatever.

 

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I’ve heard it said that I have a syndrome.
Maybe this is why I’m so special?
Maybe this is why I’m so strong?
I’m not actually sure what this word means.
But I know if I work hard, I can do anything.
I won’t ever give up.
I’m built super tough.
No matter what life may throw,
I can take it.
Because I’m a superhero!

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New Year, New Idea: Be Inspired

It’s a new year. I don’t have any big resolutions, but I have one goal: Be Inspired.

In 2017, I choose to dwell on the good, hopeful things and people in this world. I want to be inspired and motivated by them. Today, I want to introduce you to someone very special to me, who continually gives me inspiration. He is my four-year-old nephew, Levi.

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Levi has a duplication syndrome that affects his mind, body and development, but that doesn’t stop him. He pushes against the boundaries of his syndrome time and time again, proving that it cannot and will not confine him. 

Learning everyday gross-motor skills and patterns have not come easy, but due to his diligent parents, physical therapists, and skilled teachers, he continues to bloom. He graduated from crawling to using a walker and now has taken unaided steps on his own! He’s climbing stairs. He’s using a fork to feed himself. He’s using his “Levi” words to tell us what he wants, and boy can he be vocal when it comes to dinnertime. He laughs, plays, and exudes joy.

Even when it physically hurts and certain things are tough, Levi is not a quitter. I desire to have that kind of gusto. I want to be strong like him. I want to be persistent like him. I want to look at the world with wide eyes of wonder, like him.

Levi inspires me, and I hope his story will inspire you as well.

Have a Happy New Year and remember to look for inspiration around you. If you look, you will find it.

Blast From the Past: My First Christmas as a Mrs.

I have always loved Christmas! Luckily, I married a man who loves it just as much as me. On our first Christmas, we hunted for the perfect tree at Doumel Tree Farms. Then we cut it down and brought it back to our tiny home in Bay City, MI. Check out these photos from eleven years ago! We looked so young.

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Opening gifts at my parents’ house. My Dad always give his own”special” presents. Usually a lot of white elephant trinkets from the dollar store. It’s a blast!

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