Friday, April 08, 2022

We're Still Here!

I don't know if anyone is still out there. I can't believe its been five years since I've posted. We're hanging in there. I can't say that the last few years have been easy... but God is still good and we keep moving forward in our own way. 

Isaac and I just celebrated nineteen years of marriage. And he is getting ready to have his 40th birthday this spring. Despite the challenges we have faced we continue to grow closer to one another, bearing one another's burdens together.

Joe and Christine are active and keep us on our toes. Developmentally very little has changed since I posted last. Milestones are few and far between for us. We've continued to struggle to keep Joe's seizures under control. Sometimes we will have stretches of several months without any but for unknown reasons breakthrough seizures return and then we have to go through the tedious process of adjusting meds and trying to find a balance that works for Joe's seizures without turning him into a zombie or the Hulk. Christine's seizures have been under control for quite some time and for that we are very thankful. She continues to be a bright light and is a very happy girl much of the time. 

Nate is sixteen now and is nearly a man. He has flourished in the theatre and we have grown a lot of special friendships there including Nate's relationship with this lovely lady. She and her family are very special to us and we feel blessed to have them in our lives. 

I don't know what is next really but I know that we are in His hands and that He works everything for our good. I don't always feel that... but I know it. 

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. - Romans 8:28

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

A Dog's Purpose

For the purposes of this post (and giveaway) I was asked to share what dogs mean to me. Well, as a cat person I don't a lot of personal history with dogs to share. However, as a special needs mom, I have been looking into options for the future and one of them that has perked my interest is Autism therapy dogs.

According to Project Chance: "Autism assistance dogs are unique to the world of dogs helping people. Unlike the guide dog who helps with physical tasks, the autism assistance dog is there more for emotional support. By simply being there, a solid, sound and reassuring companion can help ease sensory overload, which is a common challenge for those with autism. People with autism are often unable to filter out sensory input – these folks hear, feel and smell everything – all at once – and are usually unable to ignore or redirect those stimuli. With a dog by one’s side, an autism assistance dog can help by giving them a focal point, or a way to ground their random, unceasing environmental experiences."

Other Autism therapy dog resources include (but are not limited to):

United States Dog Registry

Autism Service Dogs Association

Autism Assistance Dogs - Paws 4 Ability

I am not a dog lover, but I am a movie lover. And to my surprise I actually was really moved by the trailer for A Dog's Purpose. Almost made me cry! Based on the beloved bestselling novel by W. Bruce Cameron, A DOG’S PURPOSE, is a sweet and lovable family film that shares the soulful and surprising story of one devoted dog (voiced by Josh Gad) who finds the meaning of his own existence through the lives of the humans he teaches to laugh and love.  Told from the perspective of “everybody’s best friend” the film highlights the importance of familial bonds, and the unconditional love we have for our best friends.  The movie stars Dennis Quaid, Britt Robertson, K.J. Apa, and John Ortiz.

Doesn't it look great?? Well, I'm going to be giving away a $25 Fandango card to one lucky winner! So, please comment on this post sharing your dog story and I'll draw a winner on Jan27th - which is when the movie is released!

Monday, December 26, 2016

A Glimpse of 2016

I haven't been blogging much lately. We have been keeping busy and since I'm on Facebook and Instagram often I just haven't felt like I had that much to say here on the blog. But I figured it was about time for a little update. 

In truth I struggle every year when it comes to Christmas cards/letters. My mom was pretty good about sending family update letters every Christmas when I was a kid. Everyone likes getting those, right? A little blurb catching you up on whats going on with far away family, etc. Its sweet, right?

Well, for us, not much changes from year to year. And that itself is hard to say sometimes. Progress with Joe and Christine is painfully slow. Joe often exhibits behaviors that make us concerned about the future. Both J&C are getting bigger, and we worry about the difficulty of caring for them long-term as they grow up. Sometimes we go about life as usual and don't think about how different our life is from the rest of the world. And other times the thought of it is crippling. 

My big struggle is how transparent to be in our Christmas letter/card. I don't want to be one of those people that holds everything in and puts on a front instead of allowing myself to be vulnerable with my friends and family. But is our Christmas card really the right venue for sharing my deepest pain as a special needs mom? Not the ideal place to spill all.

So, my Christmas cards are on the cheery and surface-y side. Everything in them is true, I just leave out the hard stuff. But, I do allow myself to open up to my close friends and family about our life and the challenges that come with it. 

If you are interested in a more in-depth conversation about whats going on with us just give me a call and we can get coffee or something and I'd be happy to share more in person. But as for now, expect my Christmas cards to stay light and fluffy. As Christmas cards should be. 

Mark 10:14-15

But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Season of Giving

Proverbs 22:9 – "He who is generous will be blessed, for he gives some of his food to the poor."

A few years ago we started doing what we called "Sneaky Santa". We would make treats/goodie bags and drop them off at our friend's houses. Nate loves to "ring & run" trying not to get caught. 

Over the past couple years the outing has evolved into what we now call Random Acts of Christmas Kindness day. So, in addition to a few friends and family, we also take treats to our local first responders, widows in our church and even taking supplies to Ronald MacDonald House or Sheltering Wings.

While it seems to be a little more work each year as it has grown and changed, I love that we get to do this together every holiday season. It is so special seeing Nate get into the spirit of giving. 

Deuteronomy 15:10 – "Give generously to him and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to."

There are SO many ways that you and your family can do random acts of kindness in your own community. Here are a couple of links to help you and your kids do your own "Random Acts of Kindness" and help to instill the spirit of giving into your children while they're young!

AND.... in the spirit of giving... Grace Hill Media has sponsored another great giveaway! I have DVD copies of Greater and Hillsong.  

GREATER is a film about an unlikely young man who had all the odds stacked up against him when he tried out to play football at one of the most prestigious football programs in the country. Both films highlight the perseverance people can have when they lean on their faith and when they do that – God enables them to do extraordinary things in life.

HILLSONG – LET HOPE RISE was a phenomenon when it came out in theaters this past September and we’d love to continue the worship experience with everyone this holiday season. 

Both of these quality films release on DVD on Tuesday, December 20th. Please comment on this post with your idea of a Random Act of Kindness to be entered in the giveaway. I'll post the winner on Christmas Day!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Quick DIY Art - Bunting Frame

I have been wanting to create some simple artwork to replace the photo collage I have had hanging for awhile. I scoured Pinterest for ideas and was immediately drawn to this bunting frame. (click photo for pin)

 Sherwin Williams Agreeable Gray Bedroom  The bedding would look good in the guest room.:

 And then I saw this one and loved the combination of burlap and fabric hearts! (click photo for pin)
 Heartful Burlap Bunting - this would be easy to make with stars (instead of hearts) cut out of Christmas fabric.:
I rounded up some fabric scraps in my sewing stash and broke out my hot glue gun. It was seriously one of the fastest projects I have done. So simple!

I can't wait to see it up on the newly painted walls!!

Monday, February 29, 2016


Amazon is being dumb and won't let me post a review of my sister's new novel. Its like Amazon thinks I am bias or something...  which I might be, a little.  ;-)

My youngest sister was the winner of a writing contest and became a published author at the age of 16 years old. She ended up with a trilogy of books: The Journey to the Homeland series.

College life, married life, and her master program all kept her busy but she never completely stopped writing. She still had stories left that she wanted to tell and now we are getting to read them.

I had the pleasure of being a beta-reader of her new novel and I am excited to share it with you all! Here is the review I posted to Goodreads:

Wanderling by Hannah Stahlhut - My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really really enjoyed this clever adventure story. The characters drew me in and I loved watching each character grow and deepen throughout their journey. And the fantasy world that Hannah has created is magical! The landscape and the people who live there are so engaging.
I think this is a great YA book for anyone who loved Hunger Games or Game of Thrones. I am so looking forward to seeing what else is in store for these characters that I have come to love! And I am going to say right now that I am "Team Tobin"!! ;-)  View all my reviews

If you are interested in purchasing Wanderling you can find it on Amazon for Kindle or in paperback. Also, feel free to follow Hannah through her writing journey on Twitter, Facebook, and her website. Stay tuned! Wanderling is just the first in a series! There will be more adventures to come!

Monday, February 22, 2016

Grease Birthday Bash!

This past week I celebrated my birthday. Thanks to facebook I saw that the Booth Tarkington Theatre in Carmel was hosting a Grease Sing-a-long event. Check out the trailer below:

 Well, I had never heard of anyone doing an event like that and it seemed like such a fun idea. So, we rounded up a few gals and busted out our poodle skirts and saddle shoes!

What a fun night!!  SO thankful that I have such wonderful ladies to celebrate with!!  Love ya!