Thursday, August 29, 2013

Let's swap shoes.

Dear Teenagers,

 When I was little, I really struggled with making friends. Actually, I still struggle with making friends. But when I was little I would often get reduced to tears, asking my mom why I couldn't find good friends.

I know you've been there, too. People make careless comments that hurt. For some very sad reason, teenagers make a lot of careless comments.

For another reason unknown to me, teenagers like to make a lot of jokes about people with disabilities. My honest, totally ungrace-filled reaction is a combination of wanting to burst into tears and scream that person's head off.  I want to shove them in the shoes of someone with a disability so they realize it is not something to make jokes about. I want to force them to feel compassion.

Why do you feel the need to laugh about that kid walking down the hallway with a gait that might be different than yours?

Why do you make jokes about serious illnesses?

Why do you make careless Facebook statuses about disabilities?

And why do you "like" those Facebook statues that are belittling another person?

I don't understand. But I've tried to put myself in your shoes. Can I try to understand you, and then try to help you understand me? Okay.

I think you may laugh because you are uncomfortable. You don't know what to do with your classmate, and so you make a joke to cover the awkwardness.

Maybe you don't know the meaning of the word "epilepsy" you use it as a teasing nickname unaware of what it really means, and how it affects people's lives.

Maybe you've never known anyone with a special need before, and so when you make these comments  you aren't doing them out of malice, but purely out of a desire to be funny...just not realizing the entirety of your statements.

Or maybe you really are trying to be hurtful.

I just don't know.

Let me try to explain how I feel to you, because I'm sure you are thinking that I am a crazy over-sensitive girl at this point.

 If you're making a joke about disabilities, I'm pretty sure you don't have a disability yourself. So you can't possibly imagine what it is like to have one.
You can't imagine what it is like for a Deaf person to spend years in therapy learning to speak.

You can't imagine what it is like to learn your way around your world without your sight to guide you.

I know you can't imagine what it is like to be in a wheelchair all the time.

You don't know how it feels to go into an operation unsure if you will live through it.

Can you imagine going through these things, and then having to hear people make cruel jokes? I can't.

Look, I am a teenager, too. So I understand how it is to goof off with your friends and not even notice who's listening. I realize, too, that this probably accounts for 80% of the rude comments teenagers make about disabilities.

But there may be a mom whose child was recently diagnosed with a disability sitting right next to you as you laugh about that kid in your school. And you, in that one, careless moment, have confirmed all of the fears she has for her precious little child.

Our words have consequences.

I'm writing this post out of a deep pain in my heart from so many comments that have been made around me even just over the past six months.

Please think through your words before you post them to Facebook. Don't make a joke merely because you don't understand. Think about how it might look to someone who is walking that journey.

Thumper from the Disney movie Bambi gives the greatest advice ever..."If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all!"

Your Blogger,


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Fa-la-la-la-la FALL!

Keep calm and enjoy FALL!

Dear Readers,
   As you can most likely tell from the picture...and my new blog background...I am so excited that fall is practically here! It is still very hot in our home state, but I have been wearing fall-colored shirts for the past three days. :) It is my absolute favorite time of year. 
    I love everything about fall. The colors, perfect weather, all things pumpkin, our annual trip to the pumpkin patch, Mississippi State football, soup, the anticipation of Christmas...plainly put, fall puts me in a good mood. :) 
    I haven't written a blogpost just about what's going on in our little corner of the world for a while, so I'll fill you in with a few of the happenings for us this fall. 
    School started this Monday. My favorite part, you ask? Most definitely Spanish. Me encanta español! My least favorite part: a tie between pre-calculus and American Government. We're taking Government and Economics this year. I am fascinated by Economics...but before we can take that, we have to do a semester  of Government. Bleh. We are starting to look at colleges. In fact, our first college visit is in September to a local Christian University. 

     My hair became nine inches shorter. I'm still getting used to it, but so so excited for those nine inches to be given to a much deserving woman or girl!  (note: see the fall colored shirt? ha!)

     I never posted about this one, either! We went to D-land for a couple of days before school started. Here we are after our tradition of riding River Rapids at night; returning to our room shivering! So fun.  
      Being that we are heading into a time of transition with college coming up, I'm finding that I'm just really content with where I am right now. Yes, I would love love love to be done with pre-calculus...but I'm really thankful to be here right now. A junior in high school. Homeschooled. It's a good place to be. I don't know where God will take me in the next few years, but I think for now I am going to cherish every minute here

I hope you all have a wonderful fall, and that you are content with where you are; because we're right where God needs us to be.

Your Blogger,



Wednesday, August 21, 2013

For Kyle.

Sweet baby Kyle. Look at those eyes! They seem to pierce your soul, don't they? 
This picture was taken several years ago when Kyle was still living in his baby house.

Since then, he has been transferred to a mental institution. 

Do you recognize this boy? Still the same soulful, beautiful eyes...
Only in this picture his face is marred with gashes. 

These pictures hurt my heart, and I almost didn't share them because it is just too sad. It is all too sad. 

Please pray for Kyle. I urgently ask you to pray for this precious little boy. 

Isaiah 54:10

Nothing I say will ever make this situation better. Kyle's country is closed to Americans, and so my family can't adopt him. Chances are yours probably can't either. (But if you are Canadian then by all means go rescue this boy!) But we can all pray. We can pray for comfort and peace for Kyle...we can pray for his caregivers to be moved to not just meet his most basic needs, but to love him. We can pray for him to palpably feel the Lord's love for him. 

Because that verse is true. Though the mountains shake...though life is ripped apart at the seams...the Lord's love is still with us. Nothing can remove His covenant of peace with us. He is moved to compassion for Kyle, for you. He doesn't sit by passively and watch us suffer--He cries with us when we cry and  counts our tears in His bottle. (Psalm 56:8) 

My dad once told me something that really impacted me. What if we look at life as merely five minutes. Yeah, sometimes those five minutes are excruciatingly painful. But they are only five minutes. We have an eternity of pure joy stretching before us...but first we have to get through these five minutes. 
Please pray for Kyle as he goes through these five minutes. 

Your Blogger,

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Orphan Care

She laughed as I pulled her hair up into a ponytail for the third time. She wanted it to match her friend's hair, but I just couldn't get it high enough. Or smooth enough. After finally getting it right, she pulled it out. Ha!

We just started walking around the orphanage that is home to so many precious kids. On seeing a ball, I  grabbed it and asked if she wanted to play. Of course she did. :) Soon we had a little group of four children playing, and she was laughing so hard she missed the ball almost every time. 

After a while a couple of girls wandered off, and soon Ana found the swings to be much more interesting than our three-person game of fútbol. I pushed her and her little friend for a while, before they decided to take me on a tour of their home. (Ah, the attention span of little kiddos)...

They pointed everything out to me, including the multiple video cameras stationed, and the gate that they pointedly showed me they were not allowed to go out of.  

Look at those pictures. See the adorable gap in her teeth? She is growing up, reaching milestones, learning new things--all without a family. 

I still can't believe I got to hold her in my arms. I'm so thankful for the opportunity to show those precious ones love...and so thankful for the love that they filled me with. I'll always cherish memories of my time with Ana, and the other sweet kiddos there.

Angelina is another precious little girl growing up without the love of a family. Look at this picture from 2011, and look at the below one from this year...

She is in the same exact bed. She has been living in that bed, waiting for her family, for six years. I have never met Angelina, but judging by her precious smile I would say she has the same spirit as little Ana (their names have been changed for privacy)

"How precious is your steadfast love, O God!
    The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings." ~Psalm 36:7

These pictures raise a lot of questions. Where are their families? Why are they living there? Why on earth haven't these beautiful girls been adopted yet? 

I don't have the answers to those questions, but I find comfort in that verse and the fact that I know God has a beautiful plan for their lives. I know He is holding them in the shadow of His wings. 

You don't have to travel the world over to show these children the love and comfort of the Father. Pray for these dear girls and the thousands of others like them around the world as they live out their days in government institutions. Pray for the families who are working to bring their child(ren) home through adoption. Pray for the ministries and their workers who are being Jesus' hands and feet and meeting these children! 

Thank you for reading. 
Your Blogger,