Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Day 12

I'm grateful for God ordained encounters that have impacted our lives.  I am thankful for DeDe Grogan and the impression that her and her son Seth Ross left on our lives.  

I met Dede right as I started my first year at ASU. I had sacrificed everything I knew to pursue higher education, which included leaving my job to attend school full time.  I did not know how I was going to provide for David and I, but I knew that I could not forfeit the opportunity to be the first person in my family to graduate from college.  I also knew that God would provide for all of our needs. 

Our first Christmas was rough and it was the first time I had no means to support David alone.  I was feeling helpless and wondering if I had made the right decision.  My first encounter with Dede was when she arranged for our family to be sponsored for Christmas.  Little did I know that our relationship would reach far greater than a Christmas sponsorship. Once Dede discovered that I also had a special needs child, with not hesitation she took me under her wing.  

Dede was the first person I had ever met that was living a similar situation as ours.  Up until that point I had very few people who understood the road we were traveling.  I lived a very lonely life, struggling silently.  I was young and still trying to figure life out when God blessed us with Dede and Seth’s friendhip. I have never had the opportunity to share with her how instrumental their friendship has been for us, but now is better than never.  

Dede you graciously taught me how to be David’s hands, feet, voice, and advocate.  You taught me that it was ok to take off my cape from time to time and that there were amazing support systems out there when the load was weighing me down.  On days that I did not have enough energy to seek those supports out on my own you sacrificed your own time to make those connections for me.  You lead by example and you held my hand throughout the way because that is the kind of friend you are!

I remember reaching out to you when David was becoming a teenager and I was struggling with the transition. You invited us to go to functions that Seth was introduced as a teenager. You exposed us to the fun and exciting events that came along with teenage years.  You were also the first person I reached out to when David was becoming an adult.  I knew no matter how long we went without contact you would always be there, and you have.  You have encouraged and cheered me on with private messages that no one but I saw.  Never did a desperate plea for prayers go with out a lovely note of encouragement from you.  You always went above and beyond.  

I just want you know that meeting you and Seth has absolutely changed our lives!  When people tell me what an amazing mom, advocate, or special educator I am, I can help but think of you and the others who helped me grow into who I am today.  You and Seth are both 1 in a zillion.   I hope one day I can be that person for you as well.  I LOVE YOU and I thought you might need to know how much today.
Today I found out that another angel warrior went home to be with Jesus.    DeDe Grogan was one of the first special-needs mom I met while I was getting my undergrad degree.  She took me under her wing and helped introduce me to the world of special needs. Seth Ross took David to his first dance and promised to teach David karate and take him to camp.  He was such an incredible young man!  

I know God has a purpose, but it's really hard to see that through the pain.  I want to believe that these kids are not losing their battle but winning the battle and getting to go our Lord and Savior, but it's a great loss to those they left behind.  Death is so real and close to home right now.  All I can do to cope right now is hold David in my arms and beg him to never leave me!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Day 10  
Life is all about perspective.   I'm grateful for the trials and tribulations in my life because they taught me empathy and grace.  We must trust that God knows what's best for us and sometimes trails are necessary in order for us to gain opportunities to grow.  

I'm just one of those people who can't see all the hurt in the world and not ache for other's souls. I truly hurt for those suffering and long to be a source of comfort in their lives . I desire to be that one person, a cheerleader for someone in need, the person who reminds them that it's going to be OK, GODS GOT THIS!  I would love to be part of helping others restore their hope. My desire to be that person was birthed only from my own pain and agony.  I know the importance of that role because so often those where the people who helped me hold my head up at times.

I know what those dark days feel like and I know how important it's been to have amazing people cheering me on. If could be granted the opportunity to accomplish one thing in my life, it would be paying it forward. The opportunity to  give good back for all the good that  David and I have been blessed with would make every struggle worth it.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Day 3 
I'm grateful for my classroom full of students who put a smile on my face.  Each and everyone of them has a piece of my heart. I know teaching can be challenging. Often times teaching requires additional work and effort behind the scenes, to ensure your student success. but at the end of the day I truly believe it's one of the most rewarding jobs anyone could ever have!. 

So at the end of my days, no matter how long those days can be, I get to reflect about the little lives that I've been blessed with the opportunity to be part of. I think about the unique little things each and everyone of them does, they're gains, and their astonishing families I'm also blessed to know.  On days I am feeling discouraged I think about our plans for their future and success, which makes me extremely proud.  On days that I am feeling overwhelmed I can focus on their amazing spirits and how much I love them and my heart smiles. 

It's not just the students either, it is  colleagues, staff, and the community.
Those relationships can be just as rewarding!  I've been claiming "best is yet to come" for many years and as far as my career goes, I finally feel like the best is here for me!  


Day 4
I am grateful for my amazing best friend Christina Hoyt and her courage.  Thanks for teaching me to always stay true to who I am by being a great example!

Day 5
I am grateful for my purpose!

Day 6
Today I am grateful for all the love and support that God has richly blessed David and I with. I am asking my amazing supporters to pray about helping out a family we love dearly. Every little bit will make a big difference for this family right now during their time of suffering. Sacrificing one meal out this week would help support this family in a time of need. I am so thankful that I have been blessed with an extraordinary support system and I am also thankful that I am in a position that I can pay our many blessings forward. Go TEAM JESS! We love you!

Today's gratitude post requires no explanation.

Day 8
Today I'm grateful for God's perspective.

Now days, I find myself having way more moments that I am able to celebrate the laughter in my life than moments I dwell on  the disappointments.   The same circumstance that once made me feel "less than", now make me feel privileged. I'm so grateful that God has given me the strength and perspective to see our life's purpose through his eyes.  I no longer feel sadness, anger, or resentment about the journey we have been called to travel, because now I clearly see what an incredible honor it is.   Not only did God specifically choose David and I for this journey, he gave us the strength to use our experiences to help others. For that I will forever be internally grateful.  How awesome is our God that he would provide me healing by allowing me to be part of helping others restore their hope!


Monday, August 3, 2015

In an effort to honor God for everyday he has blessed me with I am going to post a post of gratitude every day until my birthday.    I want to publicly acknowledge all the many blessings in my life, big and small.

Day 1
I just wanted to thank Erica and her friend who graciously donated  new activities and toys to my classroom. Sometimes the lack of resources in schools makes it challenging to create an environment that is fun and supportive for my students and there diverse needs.  I believe each and everyone of my students deserves an equal opportunity to thrive in their learning environment.  With the help and support of generous people my classroom is almost ready to greet each and everyone of my little ones tomorrow morning. Thank you all for supporting my passion!  It means the world to me to know that others care about my little ones success as much as I do.

Day 2

Today I am thankful for my friend Gina and her willingness to share her heart and profound thoughts with me.  We were 
remembering her daughter who recently passed away.  She mentioned people questioning how she had such strong faith even though her daughter was gone. someone asked her if she believes in God even in the mist of a trial like this and she said "of course I believe in God I watched Sedona walk with him every single day!  

What profound insight!  I've come to realize that although Jesus was the only sinless human being, our kids are as close to Jesus as it comes (sin free humans).  Despite the challenges they face they remain pure and untainted from the world. That in itself is a blessing from God!

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Oh these silly questions...

I normally don't post things like this. I guess I'm feeling bold/transparent and hope that being real about being a single parent, might offer a different perspective.

For the most part I don't even think about being a single parent because it really is all I've ever known. Even growing up as a child I never had the opportunity to experience having both parents raising children together. Every once in a while there's an ugly reminder that I really am the only parent David has. I try to rationalize in hopes that I could understand David's father's behavior. I try and offer grace because I know what an amazingly special gift he's missing out on.

Over the last two weeks I have had the opportunity to interact with families, children with both parents support, and then I realized that I have never had the opportunity to have that experience. I can't help but wonder if the reason David's father chose to parent his other child was because she was healthy.

How do you just walk away from your flesh and blood?
How could you understand that life was going to be "different than we expected ", challenging, and difficult and then walk away? Which meant I had to pick up the pieces all by myself at age 17.

You don't worry or care if he's healthy, having seizures, or has everything he needs. You don't inquire about his quality-of-life or demonstrate the slightest bit of effort to ensure that he has everything he deserves and more. David is an incredible human being. He was specially made by God to change lives.

Do you wonder who he is, who he has become, how hard it's been just the two of us all these years?

How do you live as if he does not exist?
He's beautiful and perfect in every way.

How could you not want to see his smile?

Do you ever wonder how hard it is on my body to lift his 95 pound body day in and day out?

Do you wonder if the journey alone ever takes an emotional toll on me?

Have you ever considered putting your own selfishness and pride aside to consider what a beautiful little boy you're missing out on?

I guess on the days I am reminded that I am parenting alone, there's tons of silly question that surface.

And although from time to time I still feel I have questions for David's father, I don't question God at all. We have an incredible life and for all the support we don't have God has given us sevenfold in other areas! So although I have raised David alone I know I was never really alone, David just didn't have his biological father