Apr 7, 2016

Glimpse of the Future

This article was put on the Facebook page for one of Larisa's job
sites ~ "The Pop Shop"  and I just loved it!!  A perfect picture of my girl and the Joy she brings!

The caption read:
Meet our ice cream slinging, milk shake spinning (and sipping) and candy topping experts. Larisa and Hannah - Soda jerk dream team!

Jun 8, 2015

New Adventures ahead!

My girl turns 20 today!!! It just doesn't seem possible. She's an official adult ~ good bye
teen years.  She can't tell me "Mom , I'm fine… I'm almost 20 years old" anymore!  She's there:)!
Yes Larisa  ~ you'll be fine ~ I know it!  As for me??  With tears in my eyes ~ you'll always
be my forever tween and I treasure every day I have with you.  God's blessed me with a
gift of hugs and friendship that most people will never experience in their lifetime.
I've loved blogging about her life ~ its been a joy sharing Larisa stories and our journey.  
After much thought and to respect her adulthood ~ this will be my last one:).  

Hopefully my blogs have somehow helped Moms/families in our same situation to be encouraged by seeing what it looks like to embrace their child dealing with down syndrome and the joy they bring to life!!  Twenty years ago, a mom's words encouraged my heart and it challenged my life and perspective. I'm hoping to do the same and create a small book of favorite blog posts for new moms starting their adventure of "When love comes down"!!

So as we celebrate today ~ Larisa turning 20 ~ we celebrate the next stage of her life as Aunt Larisa, sister, friend, community helper, and worshipper and servant of  Jesus!

Embrace the day ~ time is short ~ love God ~ and give lots of hugs!!!!!!!!!

Thanks for being our friends &  family!

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me"  Phillipians 4:13

Mar 20, 2015

The Truth of Life

Soooo~ we've been busy being "Grammy" and "Aunt" Larisa to our sweet Emma which is the main reason for lack of blogs!!!
It's been wonderful and we are loving this part of life right now!

We've also had to embrace news about quite a few friends experiencing suffering and that part of life has been sad and hard. Each seemed to come out of nowhere and halt life as we know it forcing everyone involved to a unwelcomed change of plans. One of the closest to Larisa's heart is her friend Lauren who is battling Leukemia.

I've watched my dear friends as they have lived this out for the last few months.  Lauren and her mom have been in our lives for the last 20 years and God's given us a special friendship.  We've spent many moments processing our girls, life and our future never even considering this.  I want desperately to fix it for them, spare Lauren and her mom from all the pain and I can't.

All I can do for my friends is share our love and support and encourage them to lean on the truth I know to be true ~  Truth which carried me when I found out Larisa had Down Syndrome ~ Truth I am learning to lean on day to day ~ Truth that sets us free from fear, doubt, worry, and despair when we embrace it ~ Truth that gives us strength, hope, comfort, joy, calm and a peace that's beyond our understanding when we surrender to it ~ Truth in the very words of our creator and God.
His words are powerful and here is His greatest promise:  He will never leave us or forsake us and His love endures forever.

 I have already walked through questioning God on "why" our  girls had to have down syndrome and then watching them be amazing blessings to everyone around them and to us as moms!!
Now come the questions again and the challenge that God has a plan we can't see yet ~ bigger than us and all our minds can understand.  Already the love and support Lauren's battle is bringing out has been overwhelming!!!
*The incredible support of their family, neighbors, schools, church and friends have carried them and given Lauren so much happiness ~ which is the best medicine!!  Please keep her in your prayers!!!


Jan 18, 2015

Just like me

So when Larisa and I were eating breakfast at Panera with Matt, Leah and Emma today
Larisa shares her thoughts ~ 

"So when you and Leah have another baby….. I think it should be a boy like me.  You know, he could be down syndrome!"  Said with a big smile on her face but as serious as can be!!

Matt and Leah smiled and said yeah…… and we all just smiled at each other.  All of our minds processing our response to her on that one!!!

She knows she's awesome ~ isn't that great!!!:) and that a baby boy with down syndrome 
would be something to be celebrated:)! 

Thats all I'll say! 

Jan 15, 2015

Just a spoonful of sugar

Preparing Larisa for her high school spring play all fell into place "in the most delightful way"!!!   We found out it was Mary Poppins and the fun began!
We made sure we saw her in Disney and took a picture

We watched the original movie  and "Saving Mr. Banks" which we hadn't seen before (excellent)!!, and after christmas  ~ her sister Lauren and I took Larisa to see the musical at the Walnut street theatre!

  It's been so much fun.  While at the theatre, Larisa and I met a sweet family.  The youngest sister has down syndrome and crazy!!!!!! ~ they live in our neighborhood!!  It was so fun to encourage them and then to top it off ~ one of the usherette's also had down syndrome! She connected right away with Larisa and I had a chance to talk to her mom:)! What an amazing adventure already and we are just getting started.  The show was fantastic and I'm sure our high school show will be too.   

 Embracing life as God directs it all!!!! ~ He's a creative, fun, and surprisingly wonderful God who loves us and promises to work all things for good to those who are called according to His purposes.  Life is never perfect and at times hard but In Him is life and hope.  

Dec 12, 2014

"Fear Not"

In the spirit of Christmas, I've been reading a book for advent "In The Manager" 
by Max Lucado.  I love the way Max writes and today reminded me of the day I had Larisa.  He referred to the shepherds and their lives ~ because of their profession ~ living pretty predictable lives, quiet, calm ~ and how God interrupted!!!  Actually how God interrupted humanity that night. 
The night I had Larisa I had similar feelings and thoughts ~ my life had been interrupted, changed for the rest of my days, challenged with something new and I was afraid.  I didn't hear angels and songs in the sky ~ I'm not sure what I would have done with that!!! Probably thought I was really losing my mind:)! Would I have run away? Stared in awe and fear?? Maybe that would have been better ~ I remember just looking out the window hearing nothing and just crying out "what do I do now?"  But I didn't feel alone so I didn't run away ~ I knew I could turn to God ~ I had learned to do that in life before.  As I did, He guided me to His words and they reassured me He was there ~ He had a plan and I needed to wait. Amazing how His presence calmed my heart.  
I'm not sure if the shepherds knew God that way? Maybe they did ~ I'm sure they spent a lot of time looking into the starry  skies  ~ they didn't run away either that night.  They stayed ~ even though they were afraid ~ they listened and believed.  
I love what Max writes about possibly why God came to the shepherds ~ "The announcement went first to them.  They didn't ask God if he was sure he knew what he was doing.  Had the angel gone to the theologians, they would have first consulted their commentaries.  Had he gone to the elite, they would have looked around to see if anyone was watching.  Had he gone to the successful, they would have first looked at their calendars!!!"

Their simple lives were changed for the rest of their days no doubt.  After it all sank in, I Wondered if they felt privileged to have been chosen to be apart of such a glorious night?  It took many years, but now I feel privileged that God chose us to raise our Larisa.  Yes, He brought change into my life.

Max writes " Change always brings fear before it brings faith.  We always assume the worst before we look for the best.  God interrupts our lives with something we've never seen, and rather than praise, we panic!! We interpret the presence of a problem as the absence of God and scoot!  Good thing the shepherds lingered. Otherwise they might have missed the second verse.  "Today your savior was born in the town of David.  He is Christ, the Lord." (Luke 2:11)
We all need a savior ~ if we are honest, we are all a mess.   We don't mean to be ~ some of the time, but none of us have it all together.  All it takes ~ is for us to fall on our knees and recognize we need Something bigger than ourselves ~ Jesus is our Hope.  He came to earth out of His great love for us,  for you!  Cry out to Him ~ He shows up!!  He "Gloriously intrudes" and just possibly, the scary thing you may be facing right now~ is God saying "Come to me" and your life will never be the same again.  For good!! Don't be afraid!!
As Max shares  "I hope you'll do what the shepherds did ~ Linger near the manager."

Dec 3, 2014

Funny Girl

                Larisa is in her 4th High School Play!!!! ~     

The fall the play is not a "musical" apart from a few songs and dance the director added in.  With over 100 kids trying out and 85 only chosen, it was a huge blessing that the director welcomed in Larisa.  
He told me he absolutely wanted her apart of it and she was thrilled.  She loves her "Charleston Dance" scene and she did a great job!!  She's had a lot of practice time these past two weeks and I sooo admire how much she loves it even though she's only on stage a few minutes.  She will mention to me that She would like a part ~ sometimes a main part:) but then tends to shy away during the auditions and I'm really hoping with all her experience that will change one day.  Of course the finale is her all time favorite part of the show.  
Watching the play this time was a little different for me.  The show itself was really great but I usually have a few scenes to look forward too "waiting to see my Larisa".  She always cracks me up as I watch her and see the little "add on's" she creates that only a mom and her family would know. (This usually makes the show for all of us:).  But this time, she wasn't in much so at the end of the play I was really looking forward to her "bow" and watching her thoroughly enjoy the clapping and the "fame".  As I watched her she prolonged her bow a bit and then threw out a kiss to the audience ~ if that wasn't enough, she put her hand to her ear ~ with finger and thumb extended and mouthed the words "Call Me"!!!!!!  Hilarious!!!!!  Even if it was only myself who enjoyed that one ~ it was worth the wait to see her in action.  When I asked her later who she was giving the sign to she said ~ "Oh that?! I don't know, I just did it!!
I'm soooo hoping someone sees her gift and talent of "improv" and uses it.  She'd definitely would add some laughter to the show!! 
In the meantime, we'll enjoy her being apart of it all ~ high fives and hugs to the cast, entertaining all who work with her and just letting Larisa be Larisa.  Her greatest gift!!

Here was her costume for the Charleston.  At first we did the "hat" but that didn't fair well in dress rehearsal ~ she was a bit concerned about it falling off and looked a little awkward sooo ~ no hat!!
And hair needed to be up so we put in a rose and off she went!!  

Nov 24, 2014

"Happy" Thanksgiving

I Found this quote on my Lindsay's pintrest:) and I just smiled!  I love That this inspired her and I think she'd agree
that as a family ~ we've watched Larisa live this one out:)

 It's who she is and its what she does.
I am so Thankful for her life ~ one that I questioned in the beginning ~ one that is both good and perfect even when the shadow of unbelief overwhelmed me.  God is good and His Love breaks through it all!!  

All of my girls inspire me to keep loving, show grace, and be blessed in the process.  Hope this can encourage you to look at your circumstances in the light of His Love!

Be the One this Thanksgiving!! Spread some happiness!!        

James 1:17  "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom can be no variation, neither shadow that is cast by turning."

Nov 13, 2014

Time together

Planning a trip to Disney has become quite an experience!!!!  Actually ~ if you haven't been in a few years~ that's the app you get for your phone to manage the whole thing. "My Disney Experience"!! Thank you Barbara Z!!!  I kind of felt bad for the visitors who were asking "what's a fast pass for"?!! at the park.  Woa ~ they were really in trouble!! It's a little nutty yet if you navigate the whole thing ahead of time ~ the craziness is manageable and can be a lot of fun.   Of course with Larisa ~ it's even better with her special pass and the fact that she's my forever kid.  Her Dad is almost as excited as she is to "see it all"!  Anthony at 14 however hung in there with some of the kid shows and character photo opts that Larisa needed to be apart of.  It's a good thing for him she loves most of the rides!!!!  Loves to "scream her head off" as she says.  I crack up at her on "test track" and the roller coasters where she freely puts up her arms holding on to nothing and just yells and laughs the entire ride.  
     Personally ~  I enjoy the memories of taking all the kids and watching the shows, parades and rides together but ~ the place can be overwhelming!!  

What made it all worth it to me was watching Anthony hold his sisters hand and take care of her all week!!! Brother sister bonding time was worth it all!  

 Making time for each other matters.  
As we all know, life can get hard and healthy relationships  will be what carry us through! 

"A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity."  Proverbs 17:17

Nov 11, 2014

It's a girl

It's been a while since I've blogged due to myself becoming a GRAMMY and Larisa an AUNT!!!!!   We are beyond excited and just love our little "Emma".

Here she is and Aunt Larisa holding her.  Larisa has been a little nervous with Emma being so small but we all know she'll be Emma's favorite playmate soon:)!  Now another generation begins to embrace their "Aunt" Larisa!  I will love watching how she impacts their little lives and teaches them as she has her siblings.  

In awe once again at the miracle of Life and how my heart just stretches to love another child ~ this time my Grand-baby!!  Amazing!