Thursday, March 14, 2013

Climbing Mt. Everest

 Sometimes life presents situations which seem insurmountable.  To a person with disabilities, even small molehills can become as daunting as climbing Mt. Everest.
Do you have a Mt. Everest in your life?
Is there a challenge surrounding the disabilities of someone you love that make it seem almost impossible to overcome?

Today I write to brag a little about an energetic teen boy I am honored to know. A boy who loves football. A boy who loves to laugh. A boy who loves his siblings. A boy, almost 16. A boy who was born with Down Syndrome.  

This teenager is amazing in so many unique ways, but he accomplished what many healthy, average people will never do (myself included!).  Today this boy reached Mt. Everest Base Camp! 

Yes, THE Mt. Everest. In Nepal. Covered in snow.
Yes! Eli, a boy with Down Syndrome. 

Why this incredible, heartwarming story isn't on the front page of every newspaper and every morning talk show, I don't know.  They are all missing the greatest gem of a story!

In this world of shootings & looting's and gloom & doom, it sure seems like a little dose of positive, upbeat, encouraging news would be an AMAZING headline for any talk show.  Trekking all the way to Mt. Everest Base Camp is a phenomenal feat for a boy with Down Syndrome!

Still the story gets even better: Eli made this trek to raise money for The Elisha Foundation (TEF) to reach out to more families with disabilities.  You can read more about Trek4Tef and The Elisha Foundation by clicking these links and going to their websites. (BTW, it's not too late for anyone to make a donation.)

TEF has personally blessed my family by hosting a Respite Care weekend which included 1:1 care for my son, fun activities for siblings, time alone for me and my hubby, and times of encouragement with other families who are raising children with disabilities, lodging and meals.  If you are reading this blog because you are a caretaker of a dear person with disabilities, then I need not even explain how utterly priceless a weekend like this can be!

TEF has a desire to hold retreats such as this across the country. TEF desires to show that those with disabilities have been created in the image of God, just as those without. If you want to learn more about TEF and the family behind it, please read their blogs, follow them on facebook, twitter or instagram.

Eli trekking to Mt. Everest Base Camp challenges me to never give up on dreaming for my child in spite of his disabilities. I hope his story encourages you too!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Fingerprints of God

We had another one of those days: days when frustration and anger fill my child with rage at a disability he doesn’t understand.
Another day when he screams at me, “why do I have to have this disability?”.

The words quickly swell in my head… because a woman chose to drink while she was pregnant…because sin is rampant in this world…because we are living in a world that is not heaven.
But he’s too young for any of those logical, truthful answers.
My heart grieves for him. I don’t always understand the Fetal Alcohol either.

I know at this moment what he’s longing for is comfort for solace, for acceptance, for love.
So I hold him. I rock him close.
I cry with him and tell him I am so, so sorry.
I tell him I am on his team and we will fight through this unknown together.
And I whisper to him words from a song I love….

“Never has there been and never again
Will there be another you
Fashioned by God's hand
And perfectly planned
To be just who you are
And what He's been creating
Since the first beat of your heart
Is a living breathing priceless work of art and...

Just look at you
You're a wonder in the making
Oh, and God's not through, no
In fact, He's just getting started and…

I can see the fingerprints of God
When I look at you
I can see the fingerprints of God
And I know it's true
You're a masterpiece
That all creation quietly applauds
And you're covered with the fingerprints of God”

Thank you Steven Curtis Chapman for penning the words to Fingerprints of God from your heart so many years ago. My son finds solace through this music and for that, I am ever grateful.