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Growth!

May 22, 2019
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Last day of 6th grade for Sidney Mikenna 💕

It’s easy to see from these pics that she experienced some physical growth this past year (wowza!)  But, what you can’t see here is the emotional, spiritual, and academic growth that she experienced.  So thankful for that.  She exceeded our expectations, in every way!  7th grade, here she comes…

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Ending on a High Note

May 17, 2019

A few nights ago, Sidney had her last 6th grade choir concert. 🎼💙🎼

She ended the year on a high note, and was chosen to be a soloist, a member of a girls ensemble, and a narrator. She also received a “Most Improved Soprano” award.

Proud of her for stepping up and being a leader during her first year at PCMS, despite the fact that she was the new kid in town. She’s had to find her way into new circles and make a name for herself, which isn’t always easy to do. She’s managed to make a lot of great new friends (many of whom are in choir with her), and she just seems to be far more confident than I was at her age. So thankful for that. Makes me so happy to see her bloom and grow where she’s been planted, right before my eyes!

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The Little Brown Blanket

May 14, 2019

Last Sunday was special for a couple of reasons.

~It was Mother’s Day.

~It was Haven’s Gotcha Day.

Five years ago – on May 12, 2014 – the sweetest little boy was handed over to me, and I got to become his mommy.   By far, the best Mother’s Day gift I’ve ever received!

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For his gift each year, I put together a short video for him.  As a family, we sit down and watch them together each year.  Usually, I cry more than anyone as we watch.

Not this year.

By the end, Haven was a sobbing mess of happy tears. 💙

He sure loves that little brown blanket of his…

The Unsung Hero

May 12, 2019

“How do you do it?” “I just don’t understand how you do it?” “How do you have time for all of it?” These are the questions I get from people when they find out that at any given point in the year, I’m coaching 3 teams at the same time. I’m going to tell you the little secret that I tell anyone that asks me that question: I don’t. The truth is, I couldn’t do any of it without the person who makes it all possible, my wife. Here’s the thing that you may not know about my wife: she was a phenomenal athlete in her own right and could easily coach herself. However, I’ll go ahead and say it. While she would be just as good as me at coaching, I wouldn’t come close to her as a mother/caregiver. I know every kid thinks their mother is the best, as they should, but with my kids it’s the truth. She’s the one who has the uniforms set out and a meal ready to go on those school nights when they play. She’s the one with the bat bag and cleats set out in the garage with their favorite drink to go with it. She’s the one that does their hair and the eye black. She’s the one that puts together the bows, ribbons, and socks for ALL the girls on my teams. She’s the one that takes pictures in the dugouts to make magnets and mementos for the teams. She’s the one that brings the other 5 kids to the ballpark after I leave with one. She’s the one that leaves notes on the table for the girls on those mornings where we leave before anyone else in the house is up, telling them good luck and how much she loves them and watching them play. She’s the one that will take care of the kitchen (after making the meal) so that the girls can go out back and get some pitching/hitting work with me. She watches the other kids while I’m gone for 2-4 hours at practices. When the games are over and I’m talking to the team, she’s the one packing up and loading the van. If I’m coaching one of my daughters, she’s watching our other 5 children. She’ll even leave me a potential lineup on the table alongside the notes to the kids (I love being married to an athlete by the way…).

She does all of this without a complaint. Maybe it’s because there was a time she didn’t think she was going to have kids. Personally, I think it’s because she loves being a mother more than anything else in the world and she loves her kids more than anything else in the world. She knows it’s an enormous responsibility and she takes it very seriously. When we had our first, she was a creative director and a very successful graphic designer. She made more money than I did, but she willingly gave up her career to be with her daughter and she hasn’t stopped sacrificing since. She’s in the background, working hard, planning hard, supporting, and sacrificing so everyone else gets to do what they do.

So to all you out there that ask me how I do it, now you know you have your answer. I can’t do anything without her and I wouldn’t want to. Thank you, Carly, for all you do for me and the kids. You’re the one that makes this family possible.

Happy Mother’s Day honey.

P.S.-

To all of you that follow this blog, I apologize for the quality of my writing. I’m not nearly as talented as she is. The real pro will be back to blogging soon.

Excellent.

May 9, 2019

Super proud of our little boy. ❤️

Last night, the Mill Creek School Board presented him with the “Excellence in Achievement Award” for being an excellent student and an excellent human being.

Such an honor.

His kindergarten teacher and his principal had some very touching words to share about the kind of person he is, and how he brightens the world, everywhere he goes. Those words were music to my ears.

Haven has ALWAYS been an inspiration to me. What a joy it is to now watch him go out into the world and inspire others.

As hard as it was to send him off to kindergarten this past year, we knew we had to do it because we needed to let his light reach as many people as possible.

Nights like last night reassure us that he was exactly where he was supposed to be this past year, doing exactly what he was supposed to do. God used him in beautiful ways throughout his first year of school, and I have no doubt that He will continue to do so in the years to come.

How blessed Bryan and I are to be able to call this “excellent” boy our son. ❤️

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The Game-Changers

May 1, 2019

As Autism Awareness Month draws to a close, I wanted to share something that I hope might serve as an important punctuation mark to an important month.

Not long ago, we started incorporating some different things into our son’s morning routine. It involves ten minutes of standing/squatting on a vibrating power plate to help his vestibular system, sensory processing, etc., as well as oral hemp oil and topical focus blend oil for mental clarity. After a few weeks of this new routine, I asked him if he thought it was helping him at all. His answer was an unexpected punch in my gut. He said, with a hint of sadness in his voice, “Yes. It’s helping my body feel better. But, it’s not helping other kids treat me better. And that’s what really matters.”

His comment really got to me. It opened my eyes to see a message that I think he – and all people on the autism spectrum – probably want us to hear. I think they want those around them to know that interventions are great. They can be helpful, and they can produce internal results. However, it’s the external factors around them that are the game-changers. How they are treated by others can either propel the internal progress forward, or bring it to a screeching halt. External factors like kindness, compassion, and understanding from their peers can make a world of difference in improving quality of life. External factors like impatience, apathy, and belittling comments from their peers can greatly decrease quality of life.

It is often said that those who fall on the autism spectrum are “suffering” from a neurological condition. I don’t necessarily think of it that way. I think our son was simply born with a beautiful mind that is wired in a different, interesting way. I honestly think that most of the “suffering” he has experienced in his life has NOT been due to a neurological condition itself. Rather, it is due to a lack of compassion, kindness, and/or understanding from those around him about that condition. The “suffering” is mostly caused by external factors, not internal ones.

I think that’s why Autism Awareness Month (and all awareness months) exist. I think they exist to try to improve those external factors by telling the world to be aware. Awareness breeds knowledge. Knowledge breeds understanding. Understanding breeds empathy. Empathy breeds compassion. Compassion changes the world.

As each new day begins, just remember that not everyone gets to begin right up at the starting line with loose muscles and clear minds. Some, through no fault of their own, have to start 50 yards behind…or 100…or more. Some have stiff muscles. Some have shoes that are untied. Some are unsure of which lane they need to be in. The race is easy for some, and quite hard for others. But, we all have to run it. And we’re all in it together.

My one request, as this month comes to an end, is that you simply look around yourself tomorrow. If you happen to be someone who finds yourself right up at the starting line, ready to go, with loose muscles and a clear mind, take a moment to look at those around you. Better yet, look behind. Find someone who starts each day several yards behind you. Find someone whose shoes are untied. Find someone who needs help loosening up their stiff muscles. Find someone who can’t find their lane. Realize that their need to be seen and understood is almost as strong as their need to be loved. Reach out to them. Help them. Befriend them. By doing so, you’ll become a game-changer. And I have no doubt that God will bless you for it. 💙

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“Those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed, and those who help others will be helped.” (Proverbs 11:25)

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Beautiful ♥

April 23, 2019

We had some beautiful weather!

And we have a beautiful Savior!

What a wonderful Easter weekend it was….

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