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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Christmas in 1920: Vintage Holiday Photos

The Christmas season is my favorite time of year. I love decorating the house and listening to holiday music. And by golly, there’s just something magical about it.

I look back on these vintage holiday photos, and I know, Christmas is a timeless treasure.

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Hanging the Stockings with Care

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All tired out after unwrapping gifts

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Window Shopping

 

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Children picking out the tree.

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Picture References: https://www.cardboardchristmas.com/papateds/Christmas1920s.htm smithsonianmag.com
A 1920s Traditional Christmas
http://censoredrickreuben.blogspot.com/2010/12/christmas-images-from-1920s-america.html
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If you can be anything be a peacemaker

This is an awesome poem by Susie Finkbeiner on being a peacemaker.

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its-just-7I spent the weekend deep in fever and soaked in herbal tea. What resulted was a small thought about making peace. After several attempts at writing them down, the best I could do was this feeble effort at a poem. Still, it’s a look into my heart for this uneven and heated election season. This is a sort of love poem for those who claim Jesus. I hope you feel my love and hope in these small thoughts.

If you can be anything
Be a peacemaker.

Make peace
The way your great-aunt
Made chocolate pies.
Light and sweet.

Make peace
The way your grandpa
Made rocking horses.
Strong and sturdy.

Make peace
The way your child
Makes birthday cards.
Shiny and pure.

Make peace
The way your God
Makes each day.
New and lovely.

If you can be anything
Be a peacemaker.
And you will be called
Children of God.

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Port-O-Captive: One of My Embarrassing Moments

Per request, I am reposting this blog. I have had many embarrassing moments, but this one really did deserve an award. (And to spice it up, I’ve included some blast-from-my-past cheerleading photos)

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It was Friday night, junior year of high school. I was a cheerleader for Hamilton High, and we were at an “away” football game. Fourth quarter came to a close with our boys taking the win. It was time to pack up and load the buses for home. I knew it was a distance and should use the restroom before we left. But they didn’t have proper toilet facilities.

They had Port-O-Johns.

Stepping inside, two things automatically greeted me. Stench and Darkness. Only a little ray of moonlight peeked through a vent at the top. I plugged my nose, got the job done, and hurried to get out. Turning the lever to unlock, I pushed the door. It didn’t open. I shoved harder. Still, it didn’t budge.

I turned the lock the other way, wondering if I had done it wrong. Giving the door the old heave ho, I slammed my hip into it. It didn’t open…not even a crack. Sweat formed on my brow, and my heart increased its beats per minute.

I listened to see if anyone was around. I didn’t hear voices. Everyone would be loading the buses and what if they didn’t notice me missing? Between the horrid smell and the fear of captivity, a wire tripped inside my brain and the craziness kicked on. At the top of my lungs, I yelled, “Help! Help Me! I’m stuck in here! Please, help me!” I listened for an answer, but didn’t hear any response. I kicked the door, pounded it with my fists, and screamed for help again.  Still no one came.

My eyes darted around the John, looking for another way out. I studied the vent. It was small, but maybe I could push it out and stick my head through it. Then, I could see if anyone was still here. Standing on the toilet lid, I prepared to punch the screen when the door clicked and swung open. There stood Angie, a fellow cheerleader along with other members of my cheer squad. I rushed out of the potty prison. “Oh Angie, thank you for helping me. I can’t believe you got the door open.”

“It wasn’t hard.” She crossed her arms and grinned. “How did you manage to lock yourself in there?”

“I don’t know.” My eyes were wide from the horror.  “It wouldn’t budge, and I thought you guys were going to leave me.”

The girls broke out into heaps of laughter. “No, we didn’t leave. Everyone heard you screaming.”

I didn’t find it amusing.

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The Benefits of Discomfort

It’s uncanny how going stag to a conference can revert me into an insecure high school student.

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I fretted over whom I would talk to, whom I would sit with, and whom I would have lunch with. My mind hustled to remedy a plan. The morning of the conference, I prepared to text a friend when I felt a soft nudge in my spirit telling me, no. “No, Catie you don’t need a safety net. Go and meet new people. Be open and see what happens.”

Though it made me anxious, I listened to that subtle voice inside. Entering the building for the Breathe Writer’s Conference, I determined to make it memorable. At times, I felt uncomfortable and shy, but I pushed past those feelings, introduced myself, and met many great and inspiring people. If not for the discomfort of being alone, I wouldn’t have been forced to make friends.

If I had arranged to hang out with people I already knew in attendance, I wouldn’t have met such a wide array of amazing, vibrant, and creative individuals. I wouldn’t have met Pearl, a writer of inspiring blogs called “LookUpSometimes.” I wouldn’t have met Alyssa whose posts bring awareness to mission work in South Africa. I wouldn’t have met the adorable illustrator, Cathryn. I wouldn’t have met writers: George, Donald, Christina, Marianna, Kelli or sci-fi Sam.

I walked away not only enriched by the conference sessions, but by the extraordinary people I met while I was there. The initial discomfort produced the benefits of lasting memories, encouragement, and inspiration.

This principle applies to more than just conferences. We need to be okay with getting uncomfortable. We need to push ourselves out of our normal social spheres, beyond our same cultures, past our same skin colors, even outside of our beliefs and meet people different than ourselves.  Because when we do, amazing things can happen, and I believe we become better versions of ourselves.

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Pearl and I at Breathe

My Own”Marvel” Comic Character: Meet Magnificent Mom

I thoroughly enjoy the DC Marvel shows and comic characters. They are weird and interesting and most are just plain cool. The designer’s creativity is incredibly inspiring. So inspiring that I decided to make my own comic character. She is one that the world cannot live without. Who is this masterful woman? MAGNIFICENT MOM.

Magnificent Mom is on the ready for whatever the day throws her way.
Dirty hands? She has wet wipes in her cargo pants.
Child feeling warm? Check it with the bracelet thermometer.
Junior fell and busted his knee-Bam! Bracelet band-aid dispenser.
Creep is getting too close? Taser belt.
She doesn’t need Harley Quinn’s bat, she has a kung-fu feather duster.
Timmy forgot to brush his teeth again? Take a breath mint.
No spider is too big, no ant is too small for her large and in charge black boots.
And while she busy helping others keep it all together, her fabulous corset and push-up bra helps her stay tight and all right too.

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