Monday, October 31, 2016

DW Awareness: What I Know For Sure

First of all, I want to thank everyone for the support and encouragement you've shown us this month. Some posts were so very hard to write, but y'all were so kind. 

I feel like whatever we do: write, preach, teach, sing, minister, work, parent, volunteer, love...we need to remember that while it might affect others, our goal is to please an audience of ONE. I pray God was glorified, because what I need more than anything in this world...is more of Him, and less of me. 

I'm a pretty private person, so sharing such intimate parts of our lives on social media has been a huuuuge stretch for me. But y'all kept me going...and now, on this last day of the month...Mommy needs a nice, long nap. Ha. 

This whole month has been about Down Syndrome awareness...which will hopefully lead to acceptance for individuals who have Down Syndrome, and for the ones who love them. 

I don't know what our lives would look like without Down Syndrome. I can't even imagine. I don't want to imagine. 

For us...for our family...it's brown, almond-shaped eyes and a big grin. It's hair that he flattens down every day but Thursday (he "spikes" on Thursdays). It's singing #onthesamenote in every song. It's hearing "you're pretty," and "you're a good cook," and "my dad is a furious protector..." pretty much every day. 

It's help setting the table and unloading the dishwasher and straightening up around the house. It's him taking my hand, and saying, "let's pray" when he hears of a need. It's sheer determination, day after day, that makes his hand hold a pencil, so he can write letters on a page. It's overcoming a hearing deficit by using intense concentration. It's walking past his room to see him on the floor...in prayer. 

It's strength beyond his physical appearance that enables him to lift a bar and metal discs nearly twice his body weight. It's the way small feet wearing Crocs sound walking across the floor, or going up the stairs. It's the matter-of-fact way he accepts the truths of God in childlike faith. 

I don't pretend to understand the mind of God. All of these kids...these adults...God created them. And "God don't make no junk." He created them just the way they are...or He has allowed their circumstances...for His purpose, and for His glory, and for our good. 

I don't always see it...because with some people? Their lives are HARD and their challenges are great. But sometimes, God peels back a layer and allows me to see a glimpse of His purpose in all of this. 

For sure God has enlarged our territory. 

On March 28, 1986, our lives changed in an instant...and the focus of our family, and our ministry as a family, was made clear. Joshua has opened many doors for us to tell our story...which, really, is not our story at all...but the story God is writing in our lives. 

For sure God has enlarged our hearts. He has shown us more grace than we could have ever imagined. He's given us way more than we deserve. 

"Oh to grace how great a debtor, daily I'm constrained to be..." 

The goodness that has come into our lives because of God...because of Joshua, and the world his life has opened up to us...has enhanced and enriched our lives beyond anything I could have ever dreamed. 

"Let Thy goodness, like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to Thee." 

Fetter: "a chain used to restrain a prisoner." 

YES, Lord. Shackle our hearts to Yours. 

For sure God has opened our eyes. I wonder...if our hearts would've wandered if God hadn't given us Joshua. If pride and the pleasures of this world would've overtaken our lives, and pulled us away from what is truly important. Because, our hearts are weak, y'all. 

"Prone to wander, Lord I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love..." 

For sure God has stayed close...and kept us close to Him. 

In God's goodness, He chose Joshua for our family. Or our family for Joshua. And His goodness binds our wandering hearts to Him. 

"Here's my heart, Lord, take and seal it, seal it for Thy courts above." 

Joshua Garland, I choose you. Every.single.day. 

“Before I formed you in your mother’s womb I chose you. Before you were born I set you apart. I appointed you to speak to the nations for Me.” Jeremiah 1:5

Sunday, October 30, 2016

A World Without Down Syndrome

First of all, thank you all for the love and encouragement you gave to our daughter, Holly, on her post from the other day. :) She and Joshua have a very special bond, and she has a unique perspective, as his sister.

Well, we are about at the end of October, and all of these posts on Down Syndrome Awareness. Hopefully, things are changing for individuals with Down Syndrome. 

I feel like if we could put ourselves in someone else's shoes...in their situation...then maybe we wouldn't be so quick to judge them, so quick to dismiss them, so quick to segregate them...even more than they already are. 

Because, life is tough...can I get an "Amen?" 

And, even in the best of circumstances, there are things that God allows, and things that we choose, and consequences we face from the actions of others...that can make life hard. 

In the case of Down Syndrome, these individuals didn't have a choice. They are either like Joshua: wanted, chosen and accepted...or they are neglected, abandoned, or aborted. Any way you look at it...it's not their choice. 

The other day, I watched a documentary called, "A World Without Down Syndrome." 

I watched it with tears streaming down my face. It was heartbreaking. 

I learned that countries like Iceland, have a 100% termination rate after a prenatal diagnosis of Down Syndrome, and the UK is way up there, too, at 96% or something outrageous like that. 

Here in America, up to 90% of parents who receive a prenatal diagnosis of Down Syndrome, choose to abort their child. 

This about tears my heart out. 

Is this how we want to live? 

Is this what we want to do? 

To completely eliminate lives we deem to be unworthy? 

The anchor on this documentary interviewed a woman who had had a late-term abortion after a prenatal diagnosis of Down Syndrome. She was 25 weeks pregnant. 

TWENTY-FIVE WEEKS. 

To put this in perspective, those of y'all who know us...my Clark was just 2 weeks further than that when he was born. 

She said she was given a shot to stop the baby's heart, and that it was "strange to feel him moving and kicking around one minute, and then nothing after that." 

ARE YOU KIDDING ME? 

We should not have this power, y'all, and any presidential candidate, from any political party, who says this is okay is wrong. This is NOT okay 

(Okay...breathe, Marty)

The rest of us...the ones who did not have a prenatal diagnosis, got to be surprised with this extra-special news at delivery! And we have spent our lives trying to figure things out...school, work, therapy, health concerns, relationships, independence. Lots of trial and error...lots of hit-and-miss. 

It's like someone giving you material, and telling you to make something without a pattern or instructions. 

Raising a child with special needs, without the support of family, friends and the church community, is like telling you to make something without a pattern or instructions...in the dark...in a storm...while hanging off a cliff. 

It can be very isolating...but it doesn't have to be. 

I don't have a lot of answers. I'm just here to talk about awareness...which I hope will lead to acceptance...which I hope will lead to us realizing that it's not good for anyone to do life alone. 

Did you know that the divorce rate in families who have a child with special needs is between 80-90%? 

Instead of making things easier on these families, we sometimes make it even harder. 

In order to know how to support them, we have to get to know them. It's time-consuming and messy to jump into anyone else's life, especially into one where we have no knowledge of how to help. But we can learn, right? And, if we don't know what to do for a specific child, maybe we can support the parents? 

I realize that we can't make every situation "okay" for every family, but maybe we can do something. Because, you know...it might be you one day. Or me. We are all a fall...or a heart attack, aneurysm, amputation, car accident, disease, brain injury...away from losing our mental or physical abilities, of needing lots of assistance...of being labeled, "special needs."

I guarantee we all have ideas of how WE would want to be treated, right? 

I wonder what would happen if each of us reached out to one person or family in our own little corner of life...single moms, foster parents, families dealing with illness, special needs, job loss, etc. 

It's almost like all of us, coming together, could be a kind of net. And then, if life got hard, for any of us, we could hold each other together. 

"...live worthily of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love..." Ephesians 4:1-2

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Blemished and Imperfect: Choosing Shells on the Beach

Our family likes to go to the beach over Spring Break if we can. Rain or shine, it's a nice way to relax and unwind with the family. The weather in March is unpredictable. Some days are really warm, some are cool.

So, on one of our cool days, we decided to go on a family walk. Joshua was not a fan. In this case, I didn't really blame him. For one thing, it was sprinkling...and I know we were at the ocean, so a little rain on our heads shouldn't matter...but ain't nobody got time for THAT.

For another thing, Jim and the boys were acting like we were filming a segment for the Amazing Race. Seriously.WHERE'S THE FIRE? 

It's hard for some of us to walk on the sand.

So Holly and I decided to hang back with Joshua, and look for shells. He is not really a huge fan of that, either...but the walking and the looking and the choosing and the PICKING IT UP FROM THE SAND? All really good for Joshua.

So, I held the baggie as we walked. If I saw a pretty shell, I'd pick it up and put it in the bag.

It didn't take long to see a BIG difference in the way Joshua and I chose our shells. I was looking for the perfect shells. You know, the ones that weren't chipped, that didn't have one of those fossil-looking lines on it...the ones that had a pretty color.

But Joshua? I would see him, bent over a bed of shells. He would look and look, and then pick up one to put in the bag. Every shell he chose was broken, chipped...worthless, really. TO ME.

Joshua would pick up little pieces, and not care if they were whole or unblemished. In his eyes, each piece had value.

This had such an impact on me, because this is the very thing I preach: awareness and acceptance; how people are more than a diagnosis...and more than how they look on the outside.

I don't know if it's human nature to choose the perfect and beautiful...but this day was a huge reminder of how there is beauty in the broken...in the imperfect...in the missing pieces.

And I, of all people, should know that...God has been making beauty out of my broken...for my whole life.

"The LORD has made all things for Himself..." Proverbs 16:4

Friday, October 28, 2016

Down Syndrome: A Sister's View

At the beginning of the month, I asked Holly if she would write something about Down Syndrome I could share on Facebook, IG and the blog. She said, "I don't think so," I wouldn't know what to say," "I'm not good at writing," "I can't..."

Well, she sent this to me this morning...and I think it's great! Thank you, Holly! :)

Here is her perspective on life with Joshua:

Growing up, I guess I always knew he was different. I mean, just look at me and my siblings: Three are tall, blonde-haired, blue-eyed kids...the other one is "travel-sized," with brown hair and brown eyes. He stuck out like a sore thumb! What a nerd! (I kid!)

I don't really remember if or when my parents told me about Joshua having Down Syndrome. I'm sure they did, but I just don't remember.

Growing up with a family member who is "chromosomally enhanced," you have a different way of viewing the world...and it isn't the mouth-wide-open, staring, whispering-and-pointing way that the rest of the world sees it.

It probably helped that my parents didn't baby him, or treat him any different than the rest of us. Neither did me or my two younger brothers. We fought hard and loved hard (my poor parents!).

Actually, I'm sure that made a huge difference in how I view people with Down Syndrome, because Joshua's not a baby. He's just a person. He struggles with the same things we all struggle with, except he's handled it with a little more grace.

Maybe that's due to the extra chromosome.

Now, being the only girl, and having three brothers, I like to think I'm tougher than the average bear. Still, it's always nice to have someone in your corner. That's Joshua.

He's my biggest supporter. He is always encouraging...and he never fails to tell me how beautiful I look, even when I was 40 weeks pregnant, and OVER IT.

When my Mom asked if I wanted to write a post this month, I was hesitant. She's the writer of the family. She's the funny one. She is the one that everyone says should write a book. I think those genes skipped me.

Or maybe Joshua stole those, too?

Did you know he writes?

He has an endless supply of notebooks. They are FULL or stories. Granted, most of them would probably infringe on some copyright laws...

But I digress.

I had learned about Down Syndrome before, in school...but, obviously, a lot of my knowledge was based on my experiences with Joshua. I remember being in nursing school, and learning about things from a medical perspective. This was the first time I realized that the way much of the medical community thinks about Down Syndrome...is A LOT different than what I think about Down Syndrome.

And a lot different than what my family thinks about Down Syndrome...and a lot different than how the community of Joshua's FRIENDS think about Down Syndrome.

It was heartbreaking.

The professor for that lecture was horrible. She spoke in a heartless tone about how sad and unfortunate Down Syndrome was. I'm pretty sure my eyes saw red that day, and I'm pretty sure I (along with many others) did not give that professor a good review (for many reasons, not just that lecture). All the politically correct terminology we are told we "should use" is being shoved down our throats these days, but we still think the "R" word is okay?

Come ON, people.

But that's a different rant for another day.

Working in the NICU, I've seen several babies who were born with Down Syndrome. I've heard the negative comments, and I've heard a few positive ones.

Obviously, I do not have a child who has Down Syndrome, but I have Joshua. I know that Down Syndrome is not a prison sentence. I "get" that the situation is hard (some are harder than others)...that it will be trying...and that it will push some to the brink.

My brothers and I have all been "trying" for my parents, just in different ways. That's just part of growing up. BUT, I can see the blessings that Joshua and his FRIENDS bring to their families, each other, and their communities.

The one thing I want people to know, is that Joshua is just a person. He and his FRIENDS may look a little different (I've seen weirder folks walking around the mall, so, no need to stare). They may communicate in a different way. They have to overcome different obstacles in their lives, but that's it.

They are just...different. Not less.

They have the same emotions. They have dreams. They have friends. They can learn. They can achieve.

And, most importantly, they have worth.

And if you have a problem with that, I'll fight you.

(Again, I kid)

(Kind of)

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Sermon Notes: Onesimus and JOY

Joshua loves church...always has. 

Unless it goes past noon...then all bets are off

I believe his exact words on the subject were: "I love Jesus...but it's time for lunch." 

Joshua has difficulty hearing in certain situations in life, but thanks to the sound quality in our new worship center, he hears pretty well in there. The Jumbotron is his best friend, because it makes it easier for him to keep up with all the words. 

Back in July, we sang the song, "You Are Holy." If you are familiar with the song, the men and women take turns singing, and there is a part in the chorus where the men and women are singing different words AT THE SAME TIME. Usually, this is highlighted in some way on the screen. This particular time, it was not. I don't know that it would've made a difference with Joshua. Most people figured it out. Joshua was not one of those people 

We're talkin' jaw set, bottom lip out, arms folded. There may or may not have also been some muttering of all the Downsy bad words he could think of. 

So, the guest pastor was preaching on "Understanding the True Meaning of Freedom." He was talking about the slave-turned-brother-in-Christ, Onesimus...from the books of Colossians and Philemon. 

Joshua likes to fill-in-the-blank on the sermon notes, and Onesimus was one of the answers. Joshua would look up at the screen, write a couple of letters, look up at the screen, write a couple more letters. So he started "o-n-e..." and scratched it out. Then, "o-n-e-i..." and scratched it out. Then, "o-n-e-s-i..." and as he looked up at the screen to get the next letters, the screen changed to the next point. And there was a repeat of the whole jaw...lip...folded arms thing

The only thing that would've made it worse for him, is if the preacher had posted a Hebrew or Greek word on the screen, and then expounded on it's original meaning. This happened one Sunday...and Joshua? Head.blew.straight.off. 

Jim always shares his notes with Joshua, so no worries...he got it all written down that day. 

There have been times, tho, when Joshua has had to take matters into his own hands. 

A couple of years ago, one of the fill-in-the-blank answers was "enthusiasm." I watched Joshua struggle with the spelling, and then put his pen down in frustration. I was just about to nudge Jim to help him, when Joshua picked up his pen. I watched as he slowly wrote, "J-O-Y" in the blank...and then looked up at us with his proud face. 

Enthusiasm = Joy. Yep. That'll do. 

It got me thinking about how we don't know the struggles going on with the people right around us. Big struggles, small struggles, little annoyances. Like the quote, "everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about."  

Everyone. 

Big, small, young, old, talented, struggling; black, white, red, brown, yellow; strong, weak, agile, feeble, deaf, blind, mute; healthy, jovial, challenged, athletic, smelly, LOUD; troubled, saved, sickly; beautiful, "ordinary," dirty, clean. 

I love this quote from Kelly Minter in "Wherever The River Runs," a wonderful book about bringing the Gospel to the forgotten people of the Amazon: "The least of these have the most to give." 

Yes, Lord. Give us eyes to see. 

"In fact, some of the parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary." 1 Corinthians 12:22

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Joshua's 7 Qualities For A Pastor

A couple of years ago, our pastor resigned, and our church started the process of seeking the man who would lead our church. 

One of the first things was to form a "pastor search team." 

Our staff talked to us about what the process would entail, and asked us to pray about and submit 7 names from the men and women in our church. Once the ballots were collected, the top 7 would be voted on by the church...and they would be our search team. 

I talked to Joshua about all of this at home, and we prayed for our church, and for the people who would be on the search team. I felt like he had a pretty good grasp of the process. 

When the day came to fill out our ballets, I asked Joshua if he wanted one, and he said, "yes." I pulled up my list of 7...I had saved it on my phone...and glanced over at Joshua. His head was down and he was writing furiously. 

Not gonna lie...I had a twinge of pride. I thought, "TAKE THAT, people who think he doesn't know what he's doing. 

When he was done, he showed me his list. Instead of listing the names of 7 PEOPLE, he had listed 7 qualities or characteristics he wanted in our new pastor: 

*faithful
*honest
*bold
*patient
*wise
*understanding
*has a heart for kids. 

That last one about did me in. 

Some people might say Joshua did it wrong...DID HE?

After 10 months or so, we found our new pastor. He's been here a year now. Best I can tell, he has every one of these qualities. That last one? He and his wife have 6 kids. :) 

To quote a line from the movie, Babe, "that'll do, pig...that'll do." 

"Pray without ceasing." (1 Thessalonians 5:17)

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The Power of a Word

A few years ago, the lesson in our small group was from the book of James...on the power of the tongue. Our teacher asked, "what are some words we should never say?" 

Someone piped up first thing, and mentioned a certain racial slur. They didn't say the word...we all just knew. We all agreed that we should never use ANY racial slurs. The teacher asked, "what else?" 

One class member said, "well, I'll tell you one we can't use, and it just burns me up..." and then she said it. She said the word. I'm not gonna write it out. I can't. I won't. It's an intellectual slur directed at people like my son. We call it the R-word.  

She said, "I am so sick of the PC police telling us what we can and cannot say. I believe IN CALLING A SPADE A SPADE." 

I felt all the eyes on us. 

And here's the thing: we had been in this class for 2 years. They knew us...they knew the make-up of our family. 

She went on, "it's a 'medical term,' ya know. We tell our kids not to say it, and when they do...they get in trouble in class. A teacher can get in BIG trouble for saying it...people can lose their friends, jobs and reputations for saying this word, and it's just ridiculous." 

My heart was about to beat out of my chest. I knew my face was red. Jim was looking down. 

She continued..."the reason this word is upsetting to some people, is that we've given it too much power. By making it taboo, we've created this big 'thing' about it, so that now kids want to say it, just like they want to say all the cuss words." 

(WHAT?) 

She said that people have t-shirts saying we should get rid of this word (I have one)...and stickers and rubber bracelets saying we should get rid of this word (yep, have those, too)...and that women get on their "mommy blogs' and write about it (well, now she's just gone too far!). 

She said she is "so thankful" when she hears kids call each other this word...because it "lessens the power of it." 

(ummm...no it doesn't). 

I thought I was going to jump out of my skin. My face was flushed and I was shaking. Everyone was nervously looking around at each other, and at us. I think I asked Jim if I could respond, not because I needed his permission...but because I wanted to make sure I wasn't dreaming. 

I wasn't

See, when you have a son like mine and he comes home from school saying that someone called him that word, and told him that he had a "messed up brain"...I mean, don't even talk to me about the power of a word, unless you've experienced something like that with one of your own kids. 

Because experiences like that either cloud my judgment...or enhance it. 

Take.your.pick. 

I would like to say that others in our class spoke up in defense of the defenseless...except no one did. 

I'm sure they didn't know what to say. I just feel like there had to have been a way that others could've spoken up, and it would not have been judgmental on this lady, and her husband...but, at the same time, it would've been encouraging to us. I don't know. 

I pray that if I'm ever in that situation again...that I'm never in that situation again.

KIDDING.

But, really.

I pray that if I'm ever in a similar situation again, God would give me boldness to speak LIFE...and the tenderness to speak it in love. 

There are millions of words in the English language. Why would we choose to use hurtful and divisive words when we can choose words that can encourage and heal? 

This whole thing was more than a little disheartening. It was a lesson to me that sometimes we will stand alone, and that's okay. And that there are times when we should speak up ("speak up for those who have no voice..." Proverbs 31:8), and times when we should hold our tongues. 

So I told the lady, "I completely disagree with everything you just said." 

I stated my thoughts in a (relatively) calm and restrained way, even tho I was about to have a nervous breakdown. It was one of the hardest things I've ever done, because MARTY DOESN'T LIKE CONFRONTATION. 

Jim and I walked out of that class feeling discouraged...and burdened. I begged him to let us leave that class, and go to a different one. He said, "no." And every day leading up to the next Sunday, I would ask again, "pleeeeeease can we go to a different class?" And, like Tom Cruise in "Top Gun," he'd emphatically say, "I'm.not.leaving.my.wing-man." Ha! 

Actually, he said, "we are not leaving this class this way." 

In the end, it was all...okay. She came to our home, and apologized if she had hurt our feelings. I will never agree with her point of view. Like, ever. She will likely never agree with mine. But I forgave her, and neither one of us harbored ill-will toward each other. 

Seven months later, Jim and I had to switch to a different class because of a scheduling issue with Joshua's small group, but that move was on God's timing, not ours. 

I would never post this if there was a chance it would hurt anyone from this class. The couple in this story now live in another state, and while I am real-life friends with some of the people from this class, I'm not Facebook friends with them. 

My intention is not to bash anyone or any church. I love church. I love my church. I think Christians should be in church. But just because we're in church doesn't mean we are perfect. In fact, far from it. 

Church is a place where we go to worship God with others. It's where we go when we realize we can't do life on our own...that we need the support of a community of believers. It's where we go to learn more about Jesus...and to develop our relationship with Him; where we go to prepare ourselves for the trials that come our way...and to learn ways to share our faith. 

I just wanted to share how one negative comment can overshadow 10 positive ones. And to show that, even in the one place we hope to find hope and support...we sometimes don't. Christians aren't happy all the time, and churches are full of hurting people. Many times, we don't know the burdens they carry, or the ones placed on them by others. 

A church can be full of many wonderful people, and yet a few negative words from one person can be so hurtful. They remind me that we are gonna fail each other...we are. But God never fails.

"Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His faithful love endures forever." 1 Chronicles 16:34

Monday, October 24, 2016

The Treat Bags of Life

Years ago, after we got home from Clark's very first 9th grade football game, he casually mentioned that he didn't get a "treat bag" that day. I had just spent 3 years helping with the Mom Squad for the Varsity boys, and we made sure every player, manager and coach got a treat bag for every game. 

The kids at the elementary schools would decorate the bags, and then we would fill the bags with peanut butter crackers, granola bars, cookies, candy, roll-ups, etc...things they could have for a quick snack after the game. 

Clark said there were a few others who didn't get a bag that day, but that didn't make it okay with me. He said, "Mom, CHILL...don't make a thing about it." 

Like I would

Enter: Joshua

He had overheard the conversation, and quietly slipped upstairs. Later, he came down with a big grin on his face. He was holding a white lunch bag that he had decorated for Clark. He whispered, "for his next game." Because, y'all...his brother was NOT going without a treat bag. No, ma'am. 

Not on his watch. 

So, for the rest of the season, Joshua would get a lunch bag out of our pantry, and he would go up to his room to decorate it. He started out writing things like, "we love you," or "go for a win." But, as time went on, he got more creative. He'd use quotes from football movies, like, "you blitz all night," "make sure they remember the night they played the Hornets," and "Stonewall defense" (whatever that is). 

There was also our personal favorite, "spank them like a 4 year old at K-Mart."

WHAAAAT? 

Later, he'd bring the bag downstairs, I'd fill it with goodies...and we'd "hide" it in Clark's football bag. Every.single.week. Clark always knew it was in there

I love that Joshua loves his brother...both of his brothers, and his sister. He's their biggest fan. 

You know, people throw words around like "burden" and "quality of life" and they have NO IDEA about our lives...of the JOY this brown-eyed man-child has brought to our family...and how much our lives have been BLESSED (yep, I said it) by Down Syndrome, and the community of FRIENDS who support and encourage us on this walk. 

I think that we, our family, have always thought that WE were the ones encouraging Joshua through life...but then he shows up, and encourages us right back. 

You know, we all want a cheerleader in our lives. Someone who will tell us to keep going...who will pray for us, who will hold us up when we think we can't go on...who says, "hang in there...you can do it...I'm here for you." 

Who cheers for you? Who do YOU cheer for? 

I love the "faith" chapter of Hebrews. In Chapter 11, the author lists some men and women of the Bible, who lived out their faith during trying times in their lives. Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham...Isaac, Jacob, Moses...Joshua, Rahab, Gideon, David...and more. If you're a Christian, this is your heritage of faith, too! 

I can just picture them standing in Heaven, along with Jesus, God, the angels...and our family and friends who have gone before us...cheering us on. Isn't that awesome? It's like our very own treat bag from God! 

And guess what? 

No one is overlooked! 

"Therefore encourage one another and build up one another." 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Joshua and the Sticky Notes

Joshua was kind of a little stinker during his elementary school years. He was just trying to learn the "rooahs" (rules).

I think it's Dr. Phil who says that every kid has their own "currency..." that one thing that really matters to them and motivates them to do/not do something...or to work harder; that one thing they would not want taken away.

Joshua's currency was recess.

If he did well in his "regular" class in the morning, then he would get an afternoon recess in his "Special Fred" class. And if he didn't behave well in his regular class, he had to stay inside with the special-ed teacher and do class work.

Which, I totally see the reason and point to this, but you just try containing him all morning...and then keeping him inside all afternoon.

Pick your poison, people...you're only hurting yourselves!

I'M KIDDING!

So, the idea was that his "regular" teacher would use a sticky-note to write whether Joshua behaved well enough to get an afternoon recess, or not, and then Joshua was supposed to take this note to his Special Fred teacher.

Now, Joshua might "just have a touch" of Down Syndrome, but mama didn't raise no fool.

He figured out pretty quickly that 8.5 times out of 10...what was on that note meant he wasn't getting an afternoon recess. So, Joshua took matters into his own hands. On the way to his Special Fred class, he would just stick the notes on the walls, metal poles, trash cans, windows, etc. And I guess they'd just assume that no note meant "good day..." and they would let him go out and play.

This system worked out GREAT for Joshua until one day, his "regular" teacher saw him outside, having a big, ol' time on the playground...when clearly he wasn't supposed to be there. I mean, she had written a note and everything! She took off to have a word with his Special Ed teacher...and, on her way, she found all of the notes! 

Oopsie!

BUSTED!

We are so thankful for everyone who kept a close eye on Joshua when he was in school, and for everyone who had his best interests at heart.

He's a pretty cool young man, so y'all did a pretty cool job. :)

"Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls and will give an account for their work..." Hebrews 13:17