My Gifts from Disability 

It hurts a little, maybe more than a little, when I see new parents saddened by the news their new bundle of joy has a disability. When new parents find this news before their baby is born and they send out the ‘bad news’ — it breaks me a little. Maybe I would have done the same had I known of our journey before our guy was born. The wisdom from time and experience in our special needs driven life has given that 20/20 hindsight. This Christmas, I’m seeing more clearly now my gifts from disability.

Man, do I remember walking out of the hospital after delivering my guy … without him. Walking out of the NICU and leaving him behind can feel like yesterday; it’s a pain I never expected. The last thing I was thinking about was the gifts to come. I relied on my own strength, or what little was left in me, and I wish someone had told me this:

"When troubles seem near, God is nearer, and He's ready to help. So why run and hide? No fear, no pacing, no biting fingernails. When the earth spins out of control, we are sure and fearless." (Psalm 46:1-2)

Years later, I wish I could write one of those letters to my younger self. If not to myself, to those new parents just now experiencing that new diagnosis of special needs. Yeah, your own dreams just got rearranged. But, God dreams so much bigger. Right now I’m listening to that very man/boy play with his brother in a way that back then I would have never dreamed possible. The gift of laughter is in our house. The gift of joy is here after a season of hard days. These little giggles are more than a mom could ask for right now.

"But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them shout for joy forever. May you shelter them, and may those who love your name boast about you. For you, Lord, bless the righteous one; you surround him with favor like a shield." ( Psalms 5:11-12)

I’ve been told I’m a bit of a worrier. Relax? I’m sorry, I don’t understand? Sure, I can give it to God … and then take it back again. What about you, new parents, are you worrying right now? For years (and years) one of the things I worried about was where my boy would live when he reached the age when he would need to move from our home. I researched and visited and laid awake at night stewing over the options. One day, it suddenly seemed he was already home, right where he needed to be. Now, I can’t imagine him living anywhere but here. Why did I waste so much of my days, so many nights, worrying about a plan he had all along? I finally have the gift of peace knowing God has a plan for us. All I have to do is rest in it. (Remind me I wrote this when I start worrying about something, deal?)

"... even at night when my thoughts trouble me. I always let the Lord guide me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken ... in your presence in abundant joy; at your right hand are eternal pleasures" (Psalms 16:7-8;11)

Evan loves prizes for any and all of his achievements. We may have created a monster. Like eating a cookie. Since being sick this past year he doesn’t eat much at all. Eating a cookie is a huge achievement. I, on the other hand, do not need much convincing to eat cookies. But Evan, he gets gifts. And just for eating that cookie he wanted a prize. Evan is excited for the smallest of gifts. Just a small token of his achievement is all he wanted. Evan has the gift of contentment. We are blessed with his happiness in the little things.

"Those who walk in the fields to sow, casting their seeds in tears, will one day tread those same long rows, amazed by what's appeared. Those who weep as they walk and plant with sighs will return singing with joy, when they bring home the harvest." (Psalms 126)

Evan loves all things Christmas; the music, the decorations, the lights, and duh, the gifts! He brings an extra excitement to the holiday and reminds us that Christmas brings us a hope, a joy. His contagious joy is a gift. Christ’s presence is new again at Christmas. It’s tangible. Evan reminds us (all day) of the gift of Jesus. This Christmas I am re-remembering: “For behold, I bring you good news of great JOY which shall be to all people!”

I’m not gonna tell you there won’t be hard days within disability. But, what the younger me didn’t know was there would be so many gifts hidden among those days. The difficult days would bring a gift of drawing me closer to God, and this simple life would be so much sweeter than anything I could have dreamed. So, new parents, send out those announcements of joy, not disappointment and fear. You just received a gift.

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A Special Needs City on a Hill

There’s a post going around Facebook; it’s the “Have You Ever …” version for special needs parents. It’s a mixed list of “Have you ever … Diffused a Meltdown or had to <insert whatever> for your child.” I reposted it because I thought there was a little community in it. Some, “Hey, you aren’t alone!” Most people responded by saying they had done all but three, maybe two. We’ve done them all. All nineteen on the list we have experienced to some extent. My husband said, “WE WIN! What’s our prize?!” Special needs and all that comes with it gives us community, the ‘I get it’ with each other. But ‘have you ever’ considered just maybe we are not only our own little community but a special needs city, a Special Needs City on a Hill?

I posted this list after a night of sickness in our house. Sickness from our guy who has special needs and an ongoing disease that’s causing side effects of daily sickness. All day, every day. One of our other children has had that run of the mill stomach virus that just won’t leave. Just when we, and he, thought it was gone, nope. He took a flying run down the hallway to get to the bathroom and almost made it there. Almost. And then there is the dog. Yes, the dog. Even she is now in on the fun. Aging doggies who leave piles of ick? Makes you want to run right over and visit us, right? Bring your hazmat suit.

There is community in our special needs world that others may not ever understand. We go to bed nights whooped with the thoughts that others, even those closest to us, have absolutely no idea what goes on in between these walls. We rarely venture out of them because who wants clean up on aisle five?

We aren’t pretty when we go out. It takes planning. Do you have the medical bag, extra IV fluids, things for those emergency bathroom moments? Extra everything, actually. Just getting in and out of the car takes planning, more than one person to help, making sure all the tubes and cords aren’t caught on anything. It’s an orchestrated event. After all this planning, my introverted self would stay home nine times out of ten if given the choice. Community is hard. This little light of mine? Hide my light under a bushel, please.

But what happens when we do go out? What happens when we leave the comfort zone of our little world? What about the community of people who aren’t on the list of “Have you Evers?” What are we, and they, missing when we don’t shove ourselves out there? We’ve been called to be a city on a hill, a light that cannot be hidden. I don’t know about you, but when we go out, there is no hiding us. We are ob-vi-ous.

I will tell anyone and everyone, “I’m fine.” Even when everyone and the dog is puking their guts up. Maybe what the community needs to know is we aren’t fine. We are struggling over here. We have done every single thing on the “Have You Ever?” list and we need you to come to us. We can’t go anywhere. Please come here. And just know it isn’t pretty. Hold a puke bucket. Get messy with us.

Matthew 5:14-16 is the verse about being a city on a hill, a light that brightens the whole house. I love how The Voice’s version goes on to say, ” so men and women … may see creation at its fullest, may see your devotion to me, and may turn and praise your Father in Heaven because of it.”

Maybe we go there. Maybe they come here. Either way, we are a City. We have a special needs community with each other already. We know what each other is going through. We get it. I see you on that “Have You Ever?” list. But do they? I’m becoming okay with being different. (Finally, it’s only been how many years?) We’ve been made different, a Special Needs City, and we shine bright. Shine so others may see creation at its fullest. Shine so others may see our devotion to our Father in Heaven. Shine so others may turn and give praise to Him because of it.

Don’t worry, we will make sure the stomach virus is well gone before we come your way, World.

Adoption Month. We Live it Everyday.

It’s National Adoption Month. Normally, this month’s celebration goes by with little hoorah. Only those who have adopted bring it to the attention of others. We change our Facebook profiles to show we are pro-adoption. We tweet to the masses all the adoption blogposts. We retweet, repost and tell anyone who will listen about what the Chapman’s are doing. You know, THE Chapman’s. Steven Curtis and Mary Beth. Anyone who is a Christian and who has adopted is in the know about the Chapman’s. Just me? This month. It’s our little way of reminding everyone that adoption may have been a one time thing for most of us. But adoption, we live it everyday in our house.

Adoption isn’t a one time thing and life goes on normally. Adoption happens everyday in our house. It comes back in questions, in trauma, in the giggles, interests, and in the face of our child and in our lives everyday. We are reminded of this responsibility that we begged God to have. We are reminded when we meet the eyes of people who do not understand trauma one bit. And I don’t mean the everyday person; I’m talking about educators, physicians, people who we expected to support this journey yet are so blind to the needs of adoption. Adoption is an everyday battle to be won for our child.

But isn’t that just how Jesus does adoption? It’s how he adopted all of us into his fold. He sees us at the heart just like we see our child. We continue to question him daily about this road he had adopted us into. He sees all of our trauma and baggage we brought along with us and did not leave at the alter when we said yes to him. When we say, ‘No one understands me and what I am going through.’ He does. When everyone, even the most educated do not understand our hurts, our needs, the one who adopted us sees. Jesus didn’t just adopt us on day one and leave us to the wolves. He sees us and fights for us everyday. And he sees the needs of our children.

National Adoption Month. It’s in the news this year because of congress and the cuts that may or may not be made. You can bet I am on the side of keeping those tax benefits because this adoption stuff isn’t a one time thing. Yay, it’s Gotcha Day and it’s done! Nope. Gotcha Day happens everyday. We gotcha every single day and all that comes with this adoption. The joy (Oh, the joy!). The trauma (Yeah, trauma.). Adoption means one of us now; to make one’s own. Jesus made us one of his, everyday. And our child’s adoption is no different: this month, every month, everyday is Adoption Month in our house.

Lipstick Review is Backkk!

I could hear the people chanting, “Bring back the Lipstick review!” Or maybe it was just the voices in my head. Either way. The long wait is over. Basically, a much younger friend told me my lipstick was “spot on.” (Young people lingo. This is good, right?) I took it as a compliment. And the inner-chanting for the lipstick review began.

Plus, I’m tiring of writing of the hard days. We had a good night last night. We actually left the house as a family for the first time in months. And by ‘left the house’ I mean we went somewhere fun. No hospital, ER, doctor appointments, just family fun. And there was lipstick. Not that chapstick lipstick I normally wear. Which is great and amazing and deserves its own review. But real lipstick.


I’ll stop the suspense. My go to lipstick of the moment is — Lorac PRO Matte Lip Color. I got sucked in to one of those last-minute checkout counter displays at Ulta one weak moment during the hard days. I was shopping my feelings and bought four. They were on sale, okay! Half off was my excuse. Little did I know these would become my favorites and most complimented (two compliments) lipsticks.

Number 1 — EASY. This is my requirement for all lipstick. I have to be able to put it on without looking at myself, rub it in, go. And then not look at myself later and think, “Dear God, what was I thinking and where is my reliable chapstick?”

Number 2 — It lasts. It lasts and doesn’t give me flaky chapped lips that I just have to dig for ole’ reliable again.

Number 3 — EASY. I know I mentioned this already. But I want a lipstick to be not just easy to put on and wear. I want it to be easy to carry around. In a pocket, my purse, the car cup holder, wherever. I don’t want it to melt in the summer or be rock hard in the winter. I don’t want to sharpen it. I don’t want those pencil slivers poking me when it gets down too far and I need to sharpen but don’t have a sharpener. You know? I want the same thing all the time. EASY.

Yes, I bought four. Remember, I got them HALF off. Bargain city. And the colors were amazing. So many of them looked good on my skin I couldn’t decide. So, four. I have Greige. Apparently, greige looks good on walls, fingernails, and lips. Dusty Plum is light lavenderish, pinkish, taupe-ish: one of the compliments was, “I love that! But, I could never wear purple lipstick!” Thanks, I think. I didn’t think it was that purple, but maybe? Cabernet sounds like red wine, of course, but is really just a brown. And it was the color that was “Spot on!” And my favorite, but least worn so far, Aubergine. Not many chances while in the hospital to wear dark eggplant lipstick. But, I’m ready now that fall is here. It’s coming out.

I love Lorac cosmetics (Obviously, I bought four lipsticks.) because they are made for those of us with sensitive skin. And my skin can be a bit persnickety. This lipstick comes in a satin formula, but I love the matte. And as I’ve said before, it lasts. One and done. You get what you get for the day. Except maybe a swipe of that ole’ reliable chapstick. Maybe that will be the next review …

Is God Still Good When The News Isn’t?


I read someone else’s good news with a little bit of sting in my heart. All of the responses were filled with joy. (As they should have been.) More than a few read, “God is so good.” Yeah, God is good when the news is good. But what about when the news isn’t all we had hoped it would be? Is God still good when the news isn’t?

I hope people aren’t thinking God isn’t as good here because things are hard these days? I don’t have as many “God is so good!” comments coming my way. I get more prayer emojis on my end. But the truth is, I’m not living in a world where I think God is only good when the good things happen. Just because we haven’t been able to ring that final bell resounding the end of our difficult journey doesn’t mean God suddenly went bad. Actually, I believe something quite different.

Even thought our journey has been pain filled, it’s dang hard if I’m honest, I still get to see more of God’s goodness than you might imagine.

When I read Psalm 31:19 it tells me to take refuge in him and I will find his goodness. I don’t know about you, but I seek refuge in God in the hard times much more often than the good. During those good days I’m rolling along, windows down, without much need for refuge. But those rocky days? Duck and cover. God’s refuge, here I come. Psalm 31 says, “How great is your goodness … for those who take refuge in you.” I’ll find God’s goodness during the rough stuff way more often than the easy days, right?

God’s goodness doesn’t change according to our circumstances. Remember, that thing about him being an unchanging God? Just because I am wavering and scared and anxious in this fire does not mean God is feeling the same. He is where my refuge is found. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego found God’s goodness in their fire, didn’t they? (Daniel 3:8-30) They sought refuge in God in that furnace. And that’s exactly where they found his goodness. Not before they got in it, God didn’t save them from their troubles before they were tied up and thrown into that fire. But, right in the middle of that fire is where the goodness showed up. “…there is no other god who is able to deliver like this.” (vs.29)

My news isn’t the resounding congratulations I would have planned for this ending. There was no bell ringing announcing our finish line like we expected. But, that’s okay. I’m not much on public ugly crying anyway. Which is exactly how that scene would have played out for me. I can find my refuge in God. It feels good there. In his presence is where my hope and his goodness is found (credit: Francesca Battistelli). He knows our plan. What’s that Proverb again about me planning and God establishing? (Proverbs 16:9) I’m resting in this plan. God’s goodness is here.

Favorite song today: