December 13, 2018

We’re at that stage of parenting now where most of our children are in late adolescence or young adulthood. Our close friends are right there with us as we guide our children toward greater independence and agency. We proudly announce graduations, engagements, a move to a new city and that first big job. But there’s been another noticeable shift in conversations with fellow mothers, particularly in the past year: it’s a collective concern for the mental health of our children…. Read more

December 11, 2018

“How are you?” No one really wants the answer to that question, at least the real answer. It’s the “Don’t ask/Don’t Tell” of our lives. I believe in answering truthfully. If you don’t want the real answer, don’t ask the question. “How are you?” is heavy. It isn’t a passing question to fill the quiet space for me. How am I? Well, everything is changed. I’ve been broken before. But not like this. I’ve had my joy stolen before. But not… Read more

December 6, 2018

I am grateful to my colleagues who taught me how to demystify special needs at school. A special education teacher in our building and the guidance counselor wanted to mainstream a child with developmental delays into my third classroom for subjects like handwriting and music. I was game, but unsure of how to start. “Tell your students what’s going on,” the special education teacher advised. “Help them get to know Kendra. I’ll talk to her parents after school about how… Read more

December 4, 2018

I finally watched the movie “Wonder” and I may or have may not have cried. Don’t get me wrong, the tears were manly tears. Each tear probably had its own little beard but they were tears none the less. What was it that hit me? Was it the hard times Auggie faced? The initial lack of social acceptance? Was it the fear and trepidation that his parents dealt with when they sent him to school or the conflict they had… Read more

November 27, 2018

It was recently Red Ribbon week at the boys’ school and each day had a different theme. One day the theme was to dress up like what you want to be when you grow up. My older (typical) son David had lots of ideas—preacher, traveling evangelist (he really wants to ride around in an RV), professional gamer and YouTuber, and my suggestion, a voice actor (he does lots of great accents). But I thought all week about what James would… Read more

November 20, 2018

Do you struggle to find hope in the reality of your day-to-day circumstances? When I sat down two years ago to start writing what would become Unexpected Blessings, I had a reader in mind. She’s a real life person. She’s married, has a daughter with disabilities, and works from home. Her day is a lot like mine. She wakes up with her husband beside her. She helps her daughter get ready for school. She works hard during the day to earn… Read more

November 13, 2018

Devoted… an important word, one which we often hear, and a word that we all probably think we fully understand; but do we? How truly deep a word is it? And what might it mean in the context of caring for a child or young person with special needs; whether as parent, carer, other family member, children’s/youth worker, etc? Dictionaries gives two very helpful definitions of the word ‘Devoted’: 1. Very loving or loyal; “He is a very devoted parent”(devoted to… Read more

November 8, 2018

Staying connected to the real world can be a challenge for caregivers, whether the loved one being cared for is a new baby, a child with special needs, a disabled spouse, or an elderly parent. I’ve been  primary caregiver in all those relationships and know the effort required to avoid becoming isolated. Along the way, other caregivers have shared their top strategies for staying connected to the real world. Five of those strategies can be found in a previous post,… Read more

November 6, 2018

Count it all joy. That’s what it says in James 1:2. But what about that part of the Bible where it tells us we will have seasons for everything; weeping and laughing, mourning and dancing? (Ecclesiastes 3) I am for sure in that weeping and mourning part. Sounds come out of the pain I did not know existed within my voice. Joy and pain. It can be really difficult to rectify counting this grief as joy. Yet, I am to count… Read more

November 1, 2018

It was 2012, South Sudan (a country in Africa) was only a year old at that point. I was in a refugee camp on the border of South Sudan and Sudan. Refuges were flooding into the camp daily by the thousands, as tanks were attacking only 8 km away. I met Beauty as I was helping lead a trauma healing program for the refugees. Beauty came to our workshop so she could be trained to help her family and tribe… Read more

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