Gideon’s Homemade Wheelchair

This past Summer we attended an event put on by RISE Adaptive Sports. There we met some of the most amazing people and families. One of those was the Rose family.

Brian and Heather Rose have two children and their youngest Abel, has spina bifida. To say their sweet boy is an inspiration would be a huge understatement. You can’t help but be drawn in by his beautiful eyes and strong spirit. One look at him and you’ll forever question any doubt or complaint you’ve ever had about your own life or abilities.

We have been so encouraged by Abel and all that he’s accomplished in just 3 years of life. While Gideon’s diagnosis is completely different from Abel’s, the Rose family has reached out and loved us as if we were part of their family. They took it upon themselves to make Gideon a homemade wheelchair, just like the one they made for their own son. Talk about raw talent!!

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Laynie & Abel with Gideon’s new chair!

We met up with the Rose family last night and they presented us with Gideon’s homemade wheelchair, pictured above. Unfortunately Gideon was passed out  tired and we weren’t able to get him in the photo. Upon arriving home, Gideon was wide awake and so we decided to put him in his new chair.

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At first he seemed pretty content (he has a regular bumbo seat that he’s familiar with). But because it was so late, we were only able to work with Gideon for about 15 minutes before he had had enough. If you go to my Facebook Page you can watch a video from his first time in the chair. He only manipulated the wheels for a few seconds, but it was really heartwarming to watch.

We absolutely love the Rose family and are so grateful that Brian took the time to fashion this chair for our little man. It turns on a dime and I would put it up against anything the medical companies manufacture.

It just goes to show you that there are amazing people in our world willing to do so much for others. We are blessed to know so many of them, including Abel and his family.

If you’d like to know more about the Rose family and what sport Abel is doing this month, you can follow them on Facebook. Also, if you have an athlete with a disability, check out the Challenged Athletes Foundation.

Santa Photo: Why ours is the best

One week ago, I took the kids to the ECI Christmas Party and we had a really good time. Laynie decorated cookies and made cards. She even helped her brother get an elf tattoo and they both made ornaments.

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It was cool to see Gideon’s therapists and caseworker outside of our house! We absolutely love these ladies and appreciate everything they do for our little man.

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But the best part for me was the Santa photo below. And I think you’ll laugh too when I tell you why ours is the best.

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Just to clarify, our oldest has never been interested in Santa in years past. Mostly because she always seemed to be afraid of him; plus we’ve always emphasized the birth of Jesus as the reason for Christmas. So we made the decision last year to tell her that Santa isn’t real and that it is just something people pretend. We used the example of the princesses at Disney World and how those girls are just regular people dressed up like the story book characters.

I realize by admitting that, we may not be the popular pick for play dates around this time of year and that’s okay. I’ve been working with Laynie on the reasons why it’s not our job to tell others that Santa isn’t real. And so far she’s been really good. In fact, at this particular Christmas party she kept looking over at Santa. The first couple of times I asked her, “Do you want to take a picture with him?” she replied no. But then after a few minutes she said, “Mom, I think I do want to and don’t worry, I won’t tell the other kids in line that he’s not real.”

So with that, we headed over to the line for our first official Santa photo. Of course Gideon doesn’t always sit still and he has a tendency to pull on anything he can grab. So while my daughter may not reveal Santa’s true identity, I started to worry that my son would. I became concerned that Gideon would grab Santa’s beard (after all he loves beards!) and ruin Santa for all the children present. So with that horrifying scenario playing in my mind, I searched the diaper bag to see if we had any toys. Unfortunately for us, the z-vibe was dead…leaving only one option.  So I reluctantly handed over the only toy which is a 100% guarantee that Gideon will sit still AND keep his hands to himself.

Yup, the pink bath ball.

If you don’t know the story behind the bath ball, let me briefly explain. Gideon hits himself in the head because he’s blind and severely deaf; therefore, Gideon loves vibrating toys. Unfortunately, all toys that vibrate consistently (without manipulation) are hard and leave bruises on his head when he hits himself.

So, thanks to a dear friend (who shall remain nameless), we learned about the Bath Ball by Pure Romance and we quickly ordered one. It vibrates consistently…it’s soft…and it’s WAY cheaper than any adaptive toy I’ve ever found.

Have you put the pieces together yet?

An adult toy is part of our Santa photo.

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I can’t help but laugh! Never in a million years, would I have predicted a photo like this. And no, I’m not ashamed because after all, it’s completely innocent. I smile every time I see our Santa photo and it’s my hope that it makes you smile as well.

Merry Christmas from the Jolicoeurs!

 

PS: If this blog post offended you, please take a deep breath and remember this- With the exception of his daddy’s beard, that pink ball brings my son more joy than any other toy he possesses.  Blessings! :)

 

Music Monday: Just Be Held

I don’t know where you are today…but this song by Casting Crowns… someone besides me needs to hear it now!

Hold it all together
Everybody needs you strong
But life hits you out of nowhere
And barely leaves you holding on

And when youre tired of fighting
Chained by your control
Theres freedom in surrender
Lay it down and let it go

So when youre on your knees and answers seem so far away
Youre not alone, stop holding on and just be held
Your worlds not falling apart, its falling into place
Im on the throne, stop holding on and just be held
Just be held, just be held

If your eyes are on the storm
Youll wonder if I love you still
But if your eyes are on the cross
Youll know I always have and I always will

And not a tear is wasted
In time, youll understand
Im painting beauty with the ashes
Your life is in My hands

Lift your hands, lift your eyes
In the storm is where youll find Me
And where you are, Ill hold your heart
Ill hold your heart
Come to Me, find your rest
In the arms of the God who wont let go

What a blessing to be reminded that not a tear is wasted. If we’ll only fix our eyes on the cross, we’ll see that our world is not falling apart, it’s falling into place…. because we are loving held and will find rest in the arms of the God who won’t let go!!

I might need to listen to this song everyday.

God’s Handiwork

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. I can sum this one up with one…

Redeemed.

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This picture was taken 5 years ago today. If you know our story, then you know that Kevin and I truly hated each other in that photo. The only reason I asked him to pose for it is so that our daughter would have at least one photo with both of her parents on the day she was born.

It’s nothing short of God’s handiwork, that Kevin is now my husband and today we celebrated that little blessing as she turned five years old.

So quickly she went from this….

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To this.

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Ever child’s birthday is special, but this day will always be unique for us because God used this little girl to change the direction our lives had been going. When I found myself pregnant, un-wed, & alone, I couldn’t possibly see how God was going to use those circumstances for good. And so I considered all my options. After all, Kevin was dating other women while I was carrying his child. It’s scary to think I might have chosen differently simply because I thought it wasn’t fair for me. I’m so thankful I listened to Godly guidance from others… because by God’s grace, He took the ugliest of circumstances and worked them not only for His glory…but also for our good!

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This little girl, who was not planned, played her heart out today with a group of amazing kiddos at her Frozen party. As I watched the kids play and the parents visit, I couldn’t help but notice there were bonds and relationships established that would not exist today if not for Laynie. She’s a big part of God’s handiwork and what He’s doing through our lives.

So to my Laynie,

Happy 5th Birthday. I don’t know if you can ever understand how you’ve impacted my life. I want you to know, that even though I didn’t plan for your life, God did. He knew the sinful choices your father and I would make and yet He lovingly knit you together in my womb. Jesus saved my soul years ago, but you Laynie girl…you saved me from myself. Through you, God taught me (and your father) the meaning of selflessness. And one day, when you’re much much older, you’ll know our story. And I hope you’ll be proud. Not of how we messed up and hurt one another, but of how we humbly submitted and allowed God to redeem the mess we made of things. I hope you’ll see God’s handiwork every time you look in the mirror. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. Your life has a purpose, because God has great plans for you. Your father and I are so unworthy, and yet so incredibly thankful that we get to be a part of it.  

We love you more than words could ever say,

-Mom

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If you don’t know our story, we went from Jerry Springer to Life with a Happy Heart. But it didn’t happen over night because  we struggled to let go of our selfishness. Finally, we began to make intentional choices to see one another the way Jesus sees us. And that is when God had the freedom to move in big ways. I hope you’ll find time to watch.