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Who I Am (not necessarily listed in any particular order or priority)

October 2011

-a widow since my youngest child was 4 months old
-a mother of three children with mild to moderate disabilities
-someone who greatly enjoys music and wishes she had more time to develop her talents
-a volunteer for Boy Scouts, particularly in the area of including scouts with disAbilities in their mainstream units, and founding committee chair of Venture Crew 321, a fully-inclusive Abilities Awareness unit in Scouting
-a Wood Badge recipient from Course NE4-497-12, Bobwhite Patrol, beads awarded in Spring 2014
-a missionary in my own home
-a graduate of Old Dominion University ('04 - MS Special Ed.)
-a graduate of Penn State University ('82 - BS Health Admin.)
-a co-moderator for an online support group of over 1400 parents from all over the world who have children with microcephaly
-residing again for the past 6 years in my hometown in PA
-a former 18-year resident of N. Virginia
-a special education teacher, underemployed for a season as an IT para for our school district in order to best meet our family's needs
-a fan of good books and music
-a great cook and a total "foodie"
-a person who is always working on being a better witness for Christ and on deepening her relationship with God
-a disAbility advocate/case manager/therapist/medical liaison/chauffeur/teacher all rolled into one
-parent mentor for Parent to Parent of PA
-and more, mostly advocacy or faith-related

Favorite Quotes/Sayings:

"Don't let your happiness depend upon your happenings."
"Courage .... is fear that has said its prayers."
"It's never boring around here (our house). Not always happy, but NEVER boring!"
"We're doing our best to be a functional family under dysfunctional circumstances."
"It's always a brain thing with us."
"Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are Mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze."

Gifts from God

All children, even those whom people would view as less than perfect, are a gift from God. Sometimes it takes the presence of a child with special needs to help us to re-order our priorities according to His design. We learn to be thankful for all the things we previously took for granted. We begin to celebrate the little miracles of everyday life and we learn to live with child-like faith. Life is richer and more meaningful.

No matter what happens in life - death of a spouse, finding out your children have disabilities, ending up in a career path that was completely unforeseen, nearly dying, almost losing everything one owns - one can still have JOY. Why? Because God is in control, he can overcome anything or any set of circumstances in our lives and use it for his purposes and glory. He is the creator of our galaxy, our universe! Is anything too difficult for Him?

It has been my great privilege to see Him work through what appears as the most difficult of circumstances and bring abundant blessings, despite painful circumstances. He is faithful and never late in His timing. So often we have seen the body of Christ (literally, Christ with "flesh on") heed His call and minister to our family the same as one reads in Deuteronomy 24:19-21, Psalms 68:4-6, and 1 Corinthians 12.

Thanks be to God, our Father, for the gift of His son, Jesus Christ, and for the gifts of each of our own children!

My Children:

Timothy, age 21, former PSU student, Life Scout, an expert on WWII, played ice hockey (Go NOVA Cool Cats!), skis, plays chess, enjoys all sorts of MMPORG games, and avid collector of MTG cards.
 He wants to be a scientist or engineer someday. Tim is gifted and has mood & anxiety disorders, Asperger's, dysgraphia, and ADD. He is currently living in a community-based therapeutic setting.

Christopher, age 18, a Star Scout in Troop 339 and Venture Crew 321's Vice President, is an enthusiastic young man who lives with great zeal for all the blessings in life. He has gotten several gold medals at state level competition in Special Olympics, and has played Challenger Baseball for 10 seasons. He is an active member of the Best Buddies club at school. Chris loves cooking and baking (and eating!), race cars, anything with lights and sirens, and airplanes. He enjoys googling his latest interests, including hot tubs, recumbent bikes, carpet/floor cleaners, automatic toilets, and more. His favorite music is anything with a good beat and he can often be overheard singing Bon Jovi in the shower. He has microcephaly (by history) with Dandy Walker Variant, Autism, Eosinophilic Esophagitis, cognitive disabilities, mild cerebral palsy, a disorder of the hypothalamus, severe ADHD, multiple severe food allergies, and more.

Rachel, age 16, is our energetic and enthusiastic young lady. She plays percussion in the high school marching band, enjoys movies and Angry Birds, and enjoys spending time with good friends. She also played ice hockey with the Cool Cats, earned several medals in state level competition through Special Olympics in Athletics, Alpine Skiing, Softball, and Tennis. Like Chris, Rachel has microcephaly, cognitive disabilities, mild CP, mild sensory integration dysfunction, ADHD, but also has scoliosis, slight hearing and vision impairments, PCOS, migraines, and more. She plays Challenger Baseball with Chris, and is the Secretary for Venturing Crew 321.

Furry Family Members:

Yin and Yang playing ... AKA Sampson and Onyx. Onyx and Sampson, both Goldendoodles and total loves!

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