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Click the link below to order! Please make checks payable to Central Heights. Congratulations Mason!! Due to winter weather forecasted for tomorrow evening game times have been moved forward. Girls varsity will begin at and boys varsity to follow. Do you have a child who will be 4 years old before September 1? The fifth graders are sharing the personal narratives they wrote. The JV boys basketball game at Waverly scheduled today has been cancelled due to road conditions. Anderson dropped his first match of the day and finished his season with a record at regionals.

Great job of representing the Vikings this year! Stay home, stay warm, stay safe! See everyone on Tuesday! Toasting away our bad habits with break-up letters and sparkling white grape juice in Mrs. Smith's ELA classes today! A big shout out to our fans tonight! As the school principal I am incredibly proud of the support and encouragement for our athletes! At the end of the first quarter of the varsity boys game Vikings 14 Bulldogs Ag Mechanics students are working on residential wiring this week. Final results for varsity teams tonight, girls lose, boys win vs Waverly.

Thank you for participating in our clinic. We look forward to seeing you on Tuesday, February 12th, during the varsity boys halftime for their performances. Please plan on arriving around PM. Cheer pictures from the Spirit Clinic on Saturday, February 9th. Dance photos from the Spirit Clinic on Saturday, February 9th. We will work to reschedule it next week. What do you do when your season is complete? Enjoy a huge treat of coarse! Congrats Emily! We wanted to give a huge shout out to maintenance for always keeping our students and staff safe! Come support the baseball team!

Baseball parents we need you to bring a dessert please, and would like some volunteers to help as well! Please contact Coach Brown. No school tomorrow. The risk on the icy roads combined with the wind and cold temperatures is too great. Be safe please. We have been given notice of some official Road Closings in the district due to the poor road conditions.

Because of this, as well as the condition of the parking lots and sidewalks at the school, there are to be no activities at the school today. This includes all Rec and community events as well as school groups. Due to the forecast for tomorrow we are cancelling school tomorrow Thursday, February 7. Be safe and stay warm. Each fourth grader will be tested in either math or reading. Results are reported for groups of students with similar characteristics e. If you have any questions, please call Mrs. A little ice is no match for the CH Scrapers!

It's so cool to have the opportunity to watch students do amazing things. These are the County Spelling Bee participants. They all have SO much to be proud of. Hastings, Principal for the Day, was busy in the office on February 5, All CH candidates are eliminated after Round 5. Three finalists remain. One speller from another school tried for a championship word, but misspelled "morgue. Nash is the lone CH representative for Round 4. Seven candidates total.

Arabella and Ridge both were eliminated in Round 2. Luke and Nash continue to Round 3. Carson was eliminated on a tough word homonym. Check out the form below for details on placing an order. Celebrating days of school at CHES Students and staff had fun dressing as though they were years old! Staff members randomly picked students from their class lists and made contact with parents.

We hope you enjoyed hearing the positive contributions your child makes to CHES. The staff exceeded their goal of parent contacts! Thanks to all parents who share their children with us each and every day! The Vikings win over Marmaton Valley with a dominant second half! At the end of the first quarter is the Vikings 17 Wildcats Girls top Marmaton Valley Great job ladies!

He is pictured with his sons Payton and Willis. Spirit Week Thursday was "Dress as a Celebrity". Can you guess who they are? Moon made a fantastic Principal for the Day on January Viking Pride Winner Caelyn with her parents, Mr. Jamie Kinyon. Viking Pride Winner Kaylor with her parents, Mr. Kyle Matile. Ely Burroughs, 8th grade is the runner-up. So cool!! The 8th grade enrollment meeting scheduled for February 21st at PM is being postponed and we will let you know when it has been rescheduled.

Spirit Week Thursday- celebrity look alike day Friday- Blue and gold day. Due to school being cancelled today, the Middle School Quiz Bowl practice will be held tomorrow Thursday after school until Serving begins at P. The auction items will be displayed in the lobby outside the Ike Cearfoss gym doors. Due to anticipated extremely cold temperatures there will be no school in Central Heights tomorrow.

Smith and a student look on Tuesday's spirit day?? Tomorrow is Favorite Character Day! We can't wait to see what she comes up with next! Fourth grade "electrifying" hands-on circuit building! Principal's Honor Students enjoy lunch at Wendy's Nine 5th graders ate lunch at Wendy's in Ottawa on January 18 for their second quarter grades.

The scholars had a grade point average of 3. Lots of smiles and fun! Back row Aracely Crump - 5th grade, first place; Ben Wuertz - 3rd grade, third place; Reece Swartley - 5th grade, third place. Front row Dalainy Coble - 3rd grade, second place; Cruz Duran - 3rd grade, fourth place; George Chuber - 2nd grade, third place; Austyn Ferman - 2nd grade, first place The first place winners, Aracely and Austyn read their essays to the audience. The guest speaker for the event was the president of Ottawa University, Dr.

Reggies Wenyika. The first graders are enjoying reading time with Mrs. Smith in the library igloo. Please check out the article in the Ottawa Herald Weekender newspaper January Anderson finished the day , good for second place, Burroughs finished Vikings 42 Jayhawk Linn The Vikings head to the fourth quarter with a lead over Jayhawk Linn. The Vikings keep the momentum going and hold a lead at the half. The Vikings climb out of a hole in the final three minutes of the first quarter to take a lead into the second quarter. A tough third quarter is complete and the Vikings find themselves behind headed to the fourth.

Headed to halftime the girls are tied 13 all with Jayhawk Linn. Varsity girls trail Jayhawk Linn at the end of the first quarter. Here is the link to our January Newsletter! No school at Central Heights tomorrow! Be careful tomorrow. Come show your school spirit! Spirit Squad mini camp forms are due on Wednesday, January 30th. Great game! MV ball coming out of the timeout. CH 51 MV A strong start to the quarter. At the end of the third quarter Central Heights 39, Mission Valley CH leads Mission Valley at the end of the first quarter.

The middle school JV boys basketball tournament scheduled for this Saturday has been rescheduled for next Saturday, January 26th. The Reading Igloo in the Elementary Library is almost complete! We have enough jugs now, but we are still needing lids. So, save those lids and send them to school. Picture of it completed will be posted soon! The Lady Vikings will play West Franklin tomorrow at in the 7th place game. What's better than Principal for the Day - why its Principals for the Day! Great Job!!! Middle school boys lead at the half against Council Grove by the score of We compared snow ice cream to ice cream in a bag today in science lab!

Ice cream in a bag was the favorite. Middle school girls basketball down at halftime to West Franklin. Good luck to our middle school varsity basketball teams in your tournament today! Bring home a victory!! The Lady Vikings trail Northern Heights at the half. Making an afternoon snack out of our local resource, SNOW!!!!! Here is a copy of the interview with KCTV5 about the English 10 classes writing letters to Patrick Mahomes about not assimilating to the expectations he holds for himself and NFL players about eating ketchup on his steak and his mac and cheese.

When snow is sent, Mrs. Fangman and her students make snow ice cream! Final score Vikings 51, Chase County Next game for Central Heights is Friday at Low scoring third quarter. Headed to the forth Vikings lead the Bulldogs At the end of the first quarter or the first round matchup vs Chase County, the Viking men lead Please join us for breakfast Saturday, February 9th from to AM at the Lane Community Center for pancakes, sausage, french toast, and biscuits and gravy.

All proceeds go towards the Honor Flight program for veterans. This is sponsored by Pottawatomie Ruritans. Here are the updated middle school brackets for Wednesday. Congrats to wrestlers this evening, Burroughs and VanLieden finish , Anderson places third! The League Muddle School basketball tournament at Osage City scheduled or tomorrow has been postponed until Wednesday. We will post times when they are available. Here are the brackets and schedule for the middle school basketball games on Saturday.

Here is the updated brackets from last nights games after both our girls and boys won their games. The elementary spelling bee is off to a good start! Come join the cheerleaders and dancers for a Spirit Squad Camp on February 9th! Updated boys and girls FHJL basketball tournament brackets. Middle school boys basketball down at halftime to Mission Valley. They will play Thursday at VanLieden Burroughs Anderson 7th Place. Viking Boys BBall up heading into the 4th quarter. Central Heights Girls headed into the 4th quarter down to Chase County.

CHHS Var. Girls Basketball down at halftime to Chase County. Have you marked your calendars yet? It's definitely the place BEE!! Varsity middle school boys basketball beats North Lyon County. Varsity girls middle school basketball lose to North Lyon County. Jv girls middle school basketball lose vs North Lyon County. Jv boys and C team boys middle school basketball teams win vs North Lyon County. Nilges and I had a busy day at school, but we still need more gallon jugs! Please keep saving them for us! It is taking much longer to collect enough than I originally thought.

Middle school boys basketball varsity beats Council Grove Girls varsity middle school girls varsity basketball lose to Council Grove. Please keep collecting your gallon jugs for the indoor igloo! Nilges need more jugs. Remember to include the lids. On the Eleventh Day of Christmas - Christmas vacation is so very near. Wear your favorite vacation outfit. Gingerbread houses in Mrs. Fangman's second grade class! Dinner is ready at the Hometown Hoedown!

Come on in! Hometown Hoedown!!! Come eat chili and homemade cinnamon rolls, then dance the night away at the Central Heights Elementary Multipurpose Room. All ages welcome! Open to all community members! See you soon. Less than 5 hours until dancing, eating, bobbing for apples, pie eating contest, and fun with friends and family! Come join us tonight at the Hometown Hoedown in the elementary mulit-purpose room. To start the forth quarter we are all knotted up at Boys lead Mission Valley after one quarter of play.

An incredible night of honor! State Cross Country Celebration and ! The Varsity girls trail Mission Valley at the end of the first quarter. I scream, you scream, we all scream for Ice Cream! And Jerky! Come by the Honor Flight table to get yours at the BB game tonight! Did y'all hear about the crime scene in Mrs. Smith's room today?? So glad Mr.

Children's Bookwatch

Winkleman's CSI class was there to check it out! A first grader is collecting beverage tabs for the Ronald McDonald house! Middle school girls basketball wins against Osage City. The middle school basketball teams will have a make up game on December 18th at Central Heights starting at Pie Eating Contest? Bobbing for Apples? Music and Dancing?

That's right! We made it! This is from the Wells Overlook, which looks out over all of Lawrence. What a great day! Have you read it? You should! The Vikings take a lead into the start of the forth quarter. Varsity boys basketball up at half against Northern Heights. Varsity boys lead the Wildcats at home at the end of the first quarter Let the Building Begin! Want to help? Simply save your rinsed and capped milk jugs and drop them off at the Elementary Office.

Key Club students package donated school supplies to ship to elementary students in Brazil. Varsity middle school boys lose at Mission Valley Middle school girls varsity basketball lose at Mission Valley Middle school boys and girls jv basketball teams lose at Mission Valley.

Dust off the boots! Find your sweet tooth! Ages welcome!!! Will play West Franklin ain consolation game. The updated brackets for the Ike tournament is below. Middle school boys varsity basketball wins in double overtime!! C team boys win in middle school basketball at Council Grove. Varsity girls middle school basketball lose at Council Grove Jv Boys and girls middle school basketball lose at Council Grove.

Please save your milk jugs! Gallon and half gallon jugs needed for a project. Please wash and send to school with lids on them. Please drop off all milk jugs to Mrs. Smith in the Elementary Library. Thank you for your help! Outstanding job singing tonight. Thank you for a terrific Winter Concert!! It looks like the high school elves in Mr. Myers's class are building something special for Mrs.

Tyner's students! Hmmm, what could it be? English 11 students help third grade students write letter to Santa! Here are the updated brackets for the Ike Cearfoss Basketball Tournament. Middle school boys varsity basketball win at West Franklin Middle school C team girls basketball wins at West Franklin. Middle school girls varsity lose to West Franklin by the score of Jv boys and girls middle school basketball win at West Franklin. Our very first paint night was so much fun and these winter trees turned out so great!!

Thanks for everyone that joined us! Varsity middle school boys basketball lose to Chase County. Jv boys and c team boys middle school basketball win vs chase County. Here are the Ike Cearfoss Basketball Tournaments for next week. You can call to reserve your spot! Middle school boys basketball win at Northern Heights with a score of C team boys Middle school basketball wins vs NOrthern Heights. Middle school varsity girls basketball lose to Northern Heights Jv boys and girls basketball teams both lose at Northern Heights. If you did not get a phone call please send an email to kmatile usd Have a great snow day.

Lowry did this all in Spanish for the 3rd graders. Why in Spanish, you ask? A lesson in empathy pursued and each person left the classroom with a character lesson and a few new words in Spanish. STEAM is building insulators out of recycled materials. Can you guess what material will be the best for maintaining hot and cold temperatures?

How can Biology and Engineering help people?


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The students wrapped up an actitivy where they developed a story, plans, and prosthetic for Mrs. BioEngineering students are exploring small-scale circuitry today with Mrs. Middle school boys basketball loses at Osage City C team middle school boys win in basketball at Osage City.

Middle school girls varsity basketball lose to Osage City. Jv middle school girls basketball lose to Osage City Jv boys basketball middle school lose to Osage City. A salute to our Veterans! But it is in these times that I bloom. I am enough. I am blooming. She is perfectly Nella. She lights up our lives with her smile and raises the ceilings of our hopes with her wide, inquisitive eyes.

Just wanted to say. Second, I just finished the book today and I was wrecked by it. I know to some extent the emotions you were feeling that first night in the hospital. You see, I was in an abusive relationship for 5 years. From years old. Countless nights I spent alone in the dark facing demons of my own and just wishing sun would arrive again. I was beaten, raped, publicly humiliated … but I triumphed over those things to become the person I am today — a survivor. Kelle, your story and your precious children inspire me to adopt a special needs baby of my own someday.

Every one needs love. My mom passed away when I was twenty-two. Just two years prior, we were taking nightly walks, discussing what the future was going to look like. I was going to have a backyard big enough for my mom to build a separate house on. And that hurts. It hurts a lot. A month before my mom died, I was sitting in bed with her watching Hope Floats. At the time, I thought my mom was just thinking aloud, but now I can see that my mom was trying to tell me something.

She was making me a promise. It will always get better. A future of joy and laughter and goodness. Three years ago, in an effort to help raise money for cancer research, I agreed to have my head shaved. In all started with a little wager. Knowing this was a stretch goal, and also knowing there was enough people who would love to see me bald, I laid out this proposal fully aware of the inevitable outcome. I was also aware of the following:.

I would not look like Demi Moore. Do you ever feel like selfless acts are quit selfish in nature because you feel so euphoric afterwards? The human part of it? That nasty ego bit? I felt naked without my long, blonde hair. Different somehow. The way strangers looked at me, stared at my bald head, quickly looked away when I turned to catch their eye — it made me angry. Then it made me sad. Because those who have to struggle through life…those souls struggling with anything, they have enough fear. The fear, the weight of being treated differently by others, should never factor into the equation.

And yet it made me question how much emphasis I sometimes place on appearances, without digging deeper, much deeper, to find where real beauty lives. Above all, this is what I want to teach my children. We can let that crap stay on the surface, smelling badly, wafting nasty odors, giving us a foul disposition and tainting everything and everyone we come into contact with, or, we can use that same crap to act as fertilizer. Let it seep to our roots, become part of who we are and learn from it, grow from it and bloom because of it.

Flaws are beautiful — they make you raw, real, human. Rather, beauty stems from that inner light that burns brightly. Beauty comes from being real. This is what will make you unforgettable. I have suffered from paralyzing and painful social anxiety since toddlerhood. It was most pronounced during my high school years. I was homeschooled in sophomore and junior year and went through the paces of intense counseling.

My therapists challenged me in ways which made me hate them, which made me hurt more and which ultimately helped me to heal. After years of suffering in a world which celebrated extroverts and shunned the shy, I had validation and support. My life was coming into focus.

With diligence and guidance I was able to graduate from a private high school and eventually graduate college with honors and a degree in Art History. But I became pregnant in my junior year of college and embarked on a different path. I was terrified because the world I had finally grown accustomed to was about to tip and I knew I could not remain ensconced in my anxiety. I needed to push through that tangle in order to grow. My son would need stimulation from the outside world.

As he grew, I constantly battled my apprehension in order to develop partnerships with teachers, doctors, coaches, other parents.


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    As he flourished with trust and faith in others, I did too. This little person, now a teenager, had given me a sense of belonging and community I had never had the privilege of enjoying when I was a child. Anxiety is still excruciating, but I am forever grateful that my path diverted when I had Max because it allowed my strength and resolve to effloresce. When I was 26 weeks pregnant, I learned my baby girl had a cleft lip and palate.

    Those first days were brutal as I struggled to find my own peace and share this devastating news with people who had a lot of platitudes and good intentions but no real understanding of my heartache. A 4D ultrasound revealed the extent of the cleft. I remember thinking my daughter would be born with the Grand Canyon etched deep in to her face.

    The vulnerability of my unborn child was crippling to me but now I realize it was my own vulnerability that made it hard to breath. I worried about everything and that quest of worry became all consuming. Just how deeply wounded would her spirit be with judging looks peppered with surgery after surgery. Would I be a good enough momma to counter that? Then one day she was here. I saw her and my heart immediately exploded with too much love to contain in such a small space.

    The most beautiful baby girl was lying in my arms and she was mine. I kissed her lips and made a promise that her daddy and I would protect her and love her for always and forever. Now we are five years later in our journey and her faint scar is beautiful. It holds the secret to her strength, resiliency, and spirit. But now that the moment is here, I feel at peace with it. We are just a military family trying to do the best we can, trying to do everything right.

    We fell into a bad housing market when the military decided to move us. We exhausted our resources and fell into the unexpected. But I have my beautiful children; my son who is playing in the window, smiling at me as I type this. My daughter who is upstairs asleep; her breaths I can hear in the monitor. And my husband who is currently running, sleeping, and eating in a field training to be the best Marine he can be and providing for our family. And yes, we have a roof over our head. We sat everyday for over a month last fall praying with one of our prayer warriors.

    We prayed for peace, we prayed our house would sell, and we prayed for a miracle. That was around the same time our newborn daughter was in the hospital with pneumonia. I learned a lot about perspective that week. My beautiful family is what matters. Those desperate prayers in the fall taught me what to really pray for. I thank the Lord everyday that prayer was answered. Here is an excerpt from my recent blog post celebrating our daughter Bereket who has been home with us from Ethiopia for 4 years now.

    I love this girl. I LOVE this girl. When baby can do virtually nothing to piss you off, when all you know is that you love that tiny little sleeping sack of potatoes bundle and you would hold them and rock them all day and all night if they needed you to because there is just nothing else like it in the world. And when they get just a tiny bit bigger, just a couple months old….

    And I knew that going in. I had read all about it. But it was still really hard. But that was then and this is now. This true love, it takes time. This place is glorious. She and I both know it.

    Central Heights

    I am the solution when she is hurting and she brings me joy every day. My heart hurts with love for her! I thank God that He is allowing me be her second mother. How am I worthy? I marvel over this girl. My daughter, Lola was born in a Costa Rican hospital very early on a Tuesday morning. I had been told to anticipate that bonding moment when Lola and I would meet eyes for the very first time yet that moment never came. Lola never looked at me. A few months later, my thriving child began to regress.

    Her smile faded, she stopped eating and this strange tic began to appear. Her arms would jerk straight out, her legs would too and she would appear to be in a far off distance. This strange behavior went on for just over a week and then I began to panic. I endlessly searched the Internet and finally found a YouTube video of a little boy exhibiting the same signs.

    My daughter was having seizures. Lola was diagnosed with a rare and catastrophic form of epilepsy that is called West Syndrome or Infantile Spasms. We would later find out this was a result of a rare cell migration disorder that severely affects her vision. This explains why her vision never thrived and it certainly explains why we never shared that eye contact when she was laid on my chest.

    We went through a honeymoon period thinking our daughter was perfectly healthy only to have our hearts broken to learn about diagnosis after diagnosis. Lola is now 16 months old and is an amazingly strong individual. That baby was born sleeping. We named him Bennett, which means blessed little one.

    The morning before he was born, I knew it was his name. I had been planning on ordering a car seat and planning the theme for his nursery, but instead I was discussing caskets and obituaries. There were complications and the outcome was apparent as the nurses rushed me down the hall, into the room I delivered Bennett. After delivery, my temperature shot up to My pulse was racing and my respiration was high.

    My husband saw me start to leave him. I also started to appreciate all the blessings I had been given. I was motivated to live out my dreams, because no one is guaranteed tomorrow. Two years after that first pregnancy test, I delivered my micro-preemie son, Linus. He amazes me everyday. My sons have made me the person I am today. Because of them I walk a little taller, I have more confidence in my voice, and I am inspired to make my dreams come true. I had my first daughter Emersen, just a few short weeks before the arrival of your Nella.

    I remember reading your blog when I was home on maternity leave and just crying for you. I could not imagine finding out the perfect baby you had envisioned was not to be. Fast forward 9 months. I was 4. The 13 week ultrasound had been perfect, so when we were going for the anatomy scan at 19 weeks, we were confident we would see a perfect little baby. Boy, were we wrong. I pretty much knew something was wrong right away. Then when the genetic counselor popped her head in the room and said that the doctor wanted a few more images, I knew for sure.

    A few days later our girl was gone. Two months later I found myself pregnant again but it was not meant to be, I miscarried a week later. Within 2 weeks, I was pregnant again, very unexpectedly! Most moms ask if there are 10 fingers and 10 toes, I asked if she had arms and legs. I am grateful for each pregnancy and the strength it has given me and helped me become a much better momma two my two girls. Kelle, thank you for this opportunity to share and for you always sharing with us. While reading your book, I felt like I knew you, we were friends and I knew your girls.

    Please continue to share with us your stories, your photographs and your wonderful view on life. My story might be a little different than others. And I can now look back and say thank you for having to walk that road! I was married and infertile. I started moving up the corporate ladder and made friends with a male co-worker.

    Big fat fail. Fast forward a few years and God got a hold of me. I recommitted to my faith, I asked forgiveness from my first husband and many family and friends. It was a long hard road and still today there are days that memories come and I wonder how I was able to hurt so many people.

    My new husband who is now my husband of almost 10 years and who I love more than anything!! Big fat fail again. After numerous failed adoptions our miracle baby girl came home to us in December She was legally ours on December 17 — the same day that the baby my first husband and I were going to adopt was born. Three months later I got pregnant. Um, what?! Expect the unexpected that is how all my pregancy have been.

    Lost my first one at 12 weeks of being pregnant. At 32 weeks of my second pregnancy was not feeling well and end up having a seizure and died…Husband CPR back to life….. He came home before thanksgiving. As far as I can remember I have asked God what was my purpose in this life? How can I make a difference when I feel and see myself so weak…and then Amalia came…. I see that God has answer my prayer.. My husband and I have seven children. They are ages 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, and Our oldest would have been 17 on May 2nd if he were here.

    He died as a result of a car accident nine months ago. It was incredibly conflicting, celebrating the life of one of my children while grieving the death of another. For those who have suffered the loss of a loved one, grief is an instant bond. After 12 years of marriage and living in the land of infertility we decided that having our own child was not our reality.

    We talked about adoption. The problem was I was 41 and my husband was 44 and we felt that we had waited too long to start the adoption process. We gave it to God. One week after our 13th wedding anniversary we received a call from a family member that changed our lives. Another family member, a very young girl, was pregnant and wanted a good home for her child. What is there to think about? I had three doctors and a series of test that indicated that most likely I had cancer. My good friend told me that God had put Gracee in our hands and He would not take those hands away from her.

    I had two surgeries done at the same time. I wake each day so extremely grateful for another day. I did not become a mom in the way I had planned, by the way 13 is the love number in Hebrew, the year of our marriage that we got our girl. His plan was so much better than mine. My 5 year old son was born seemingly healthy but had his first seizure at 2 months old. By 9 months old he was having a day. He was diagnosed with Epilepsy and we began the long journey of finding a diagnosis.

    Two years later he was diagnosed with Mitochondrial Disease, an incurable, life threatening disease that affects the way your cells make energy. He has a long list of health conditions associated with his disease, one of which is an intellectual disability. And I was, for a long time. Through my son I have learned more lessons in the last 5 years than I have in my entire life. Thanks for including me in that. Thank you! So, I am thankful today. I lost my mom to cancer when I was 21, and was still grieving and trying to figure it all out seven years later when I met my now husband and his son, who at the time was 5 years old.

    Adoption was an obvious alternative for us we are currently waiting to be placed with our child in the next couple of months! Who defines it? And what makes a person a mom? On and on the questions went. I can tell you now with confidence that it is me; I am a mom. I define what it means. What it does mean is that you need to love and accept and embrace. And that is the beauty that I have found in the unexpected. That smile melts my heart! And then I had a choice, I could wait seven long months, or I could have invasive prenatal testing and find out the truth. Turns out, Ellie has Down syndrome.

    We got the testing, and had seven long months to wait. Seven long months to think about what matters, what we value, and how to love this child. She had our hearts from day one. The little girl who laughs easily, waves to everyone, hugs relentlessly, and smiles with her whole face brought us joy. So many beautiful and heart wrenching stories already shared. I am still on a journey, still waiting to fully bloom if you like, and awaiting the next chapter in our life, unexpected or not.

    Or maybe not. Life always seemed to work out for me. I have a great husband, good job, a dog, a house, and was pregnant with the first great grandson of my family. After an easy labor our son Donovan entered the world, legs and arms flailing and a tongue that was blowing bubbles and sticking out in a way that seemed odd to me.

    When our pediatrician said the words Down syndrome all I felt was shock, sadness, and shame. I blamed myself for his differences thinking that I had to have done something wrong. I had surely failed everyone. But then there was his first smile, the first time he clapped his hands, the overwhelming joy I felt when he sat up on his own or crawled like a sidewinder snake.

    He can pick up girlfriends wherever we go and watching people smile whenever he is around never gets old. My moment of change would have to be the loss of my son at 14 months. His fraternal twin brother is We lost his brother when they were toddlers, to the flu. This was 10 years ago.

    Flash forward, my marriage ended 4 years ago, and my son and I adopted 2 dogs and we live quite happily in an apt in NYC. I guess this is why — even though I claim to be a cynical New Yorker — I have a very glass-half-full outlook on life. I went to a psychiatrist and he said he had never met anyone who managed to wear such dark glasses with a rose color tint at the same time.

    I was kind of proud. I have things to work on; I developed some bad habits out of a desperate need for comfort; I have a chunk of weight to take off, some anxieties, and am probably way too comfortable being single. But your blog…and your book, have really woken me up. I want to embrace my life even more than I do now. I realize intellectually how great my life, my child are — but I want to go OUT there and grabe it by the horns unicorn horns? Thank you thank you. Our story started 3 years ago when our then 3 year old daughter was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder called Lebers Congenital Amaurosis.

    This diagnosis will cause her to go blind by the time she is a teenager without a cure. She has learned to use a cane and is learning braille. She is almost 6 years old, and the happiest kid. That was the day my dreams, my plans, life as I knew, came crashing into a realty I did not ever expect. Or a reality I ever wanted. And the pain, oh the pain, I can relate to that pain you talk about Kelle. My pain may have come in a package a little different than yours, but the excruciating pain was the same. More a like than different, as you beautifully put it.

    Many years passed until we were brought down a crazy road of adoption. For over a year I struggled with what people would think of this decision.. But in the end, we knew we were called to go down this unfamiliar road. And in less than 2 months, my adopted children will be placed in my womb. They are mine now and their waiting will soon be over. It has helped me embrace my pain and my unexpected. Thank you. At one time my picket fence too was white.

    Today it stands weathered with shades of lavender, hot pink, orange, splashes of neon, and a few deep gauges here and there. At a young age of 32 I unfortunately have quite the story to tell. He travelled for work tending to various other relations that he had along the way, while I stayed home to mother two little girls. We divorced and shortly there after I met the most beautiful man. He was damaged too at best. See he had just lost his 15 month old son who was killed when his ex-father-in-law ran over him in the drive way of his home. He leaned on me, I leaned on him, and it turns out we were soul mates.

    Together we had a little girl named Olivia. Our home seemed as complete as it could be. Living in a small town with two exes however, proved to be too much. My ex protested and the court was in his favor. He won custody of my two oldest daughters Natalie, 9 and Ellie Grace, 6. I had been a stay -at-home mom their entire lives. I nursed them, I gave birth to them, those were MY babies. The worst part, little Olivia, now 3, lost her sisters. She is lost. I am lost. Bloom hit me hard. It relates to me in the sense that even though this past year has held the most unexpected turn of events, and some days I struggle to find a smile I still have to find beauty in the worst of days to stay strong for Olivia.

    As I continue to fight the courts, I am finding out a whole lot about myself. As my husband knows from the loss of his son and I now too know, heartache changes you. It rips the soul out of you and then life forces you pick up the fragmented pieces off the ground. I hope that one day my flower will bloom again. Jennifer Dreblow.

    In November , I learned that my mother had stage IV lung cancer. I quit my job to care for her and I am so glad that I did. Despite countless medical procedures and appointments, mom never once complained. It was this same month that my brother and sister-in-law had their quadruplets. After five years of IVF treatments and seven miscarriages they finally found a surrogate. As soon the legal paperwork was completed my SIL became pregnant herself. She delivered a healthy little girl five days before her three brothers were born.

    Mom wanted to see the quads baptized so we arranged our minister to come and do a bedside baptism as home. Mom smiled and said I am now at peace and died two months later on July 30th, Sadly, we lost my father on February 22, He was scuba diving and died of sudden cardiac death on the beach. Suddenly, a hawk appeared above us and was then joined by another. They circled above us for a few moments. We looked at each and smiled and then they were both gone. These devastating losses have taught me that life still goes on. For some reason, I see things differently now. The sun shines brighter.

    The sea is more vibrant. Their legacy will live on and that to me is beautiful. The story of my life right now is one that, a year ago, I thought was going to leave me an empty shell for eternity. I was five months pregnant and had just moved back to my hometown with my husband and our two daughters — all so our kids could get to know their grandmother. The day the doctors gave the final prognosis, I was absolutely devastated.

    I was angry, hurt, in denial. I remember distinctly falling to my knees and begging God to spare her. I honestly thought that I was going to die along with her, my heart broke so badly. My mom died almost exactly 3 months to the day she was sentenced to six months maximum. The beauty I found in the unexpected was that found in precious time. Time is something we all have, yet most of us take it for granted.

    The final time I had with my mom was emotional, raw, and real. And even though I miss her terribly every single day, I am so grateful for the beautiful gift of time that we were given. Our story was written by the hands of our God…a story of perseverance, joy and painstaking heartbreak. After a marriage full of hate, control and adultery my husband and I found Jesus and our lives were turned around. We began living for others instead of for ourselves. We longed to love another and so began our journey to our daughter…Ellersley Grace.

    We tried to have a sweet baby for 3 years and finally with some fertility treatments we were pregnant. Our families were over the moon, we had all been waiting for what seemed like an eternity to us. Long story very short, after a beautiful, healthy pregnancy I had a placental abruption at 7 months 1 week and 1 day. Our sweet Elle lost too much blood and passed away after 22 minutes of life outside of my belly. She is ours and she is just gorgeous. Now, every day is full of learning how to live in the joy that she brought us for 7 months 1 week and 1 day. She has taught us how to trust in a God who has the greatest and best plan for our life.

    She taught us how to love with reckless abandon and we will continue to do so until that day that we take our last breath and simultaneously see her gorgeous little face again…. Thank you for allowing me to share my story…you can read more if you would like our blog…www. When my husband and I decided to go the route of domestic adoption after five years of unexplained infertility I was determined not to let our social worker talk me into an open adoption. I knew it was becoming the norm.

    We were going to have an open adoption. There was no way around it. She is your daughter. I learned all about cancer, saw many people with it and sat with my Mom thru each chemo treatment. Those three years were trying times for my Mom and our family. I am definitely a different person having gone thru the journey by her side. Good things always come out of bad circumstances. We are a much closer family and I never take any day for granted. Thanks for sharing your family with us. I feel somewhat inadequate posting, as the hardships that I have faced in my life have little to not comparison to yourself, or to those who have already posted.

    So, unlike many of you, my struggles to me feel somewhat insignificant, but for me they have been real. They have been learning to come to terms with being a mother, and recognizing that I have the power to make choices… and those choices can directly impact the life I live, and how I approach each day with my girls. Okay… I do share the same almond eyed precious gem that you have, but surprisingly, I am not writing about her.. This is about a very special moment I had with my father who was diagnosed and suffering from dementia. He was diagnosed with Lewy Body dementia which is a very aggressive and fast paced form of dementia.

    From the time he was diagnosed until he passed was only about seven years. I just remember praying to God for about a year for God to bring my dad back to me, even if it was only ten minutes, so I could tell him just one more time how much I loved him, and all things that I loved about him. This one particular day, I went to visit my dad in the assisted living; and at this point in his illness, it was pretty rare that he knew who I was. I felt this overwhelming feeling like I should grab his hand and start talking, start telling him all the things I needed to say one last time.

    Well, I began and my dad never took his eyes off of mine, his eyes began to fill with tears. He looked like he felt sorry for me, and when I finished, which was about ten minutes, he responded Thank you Cescee my name. I knew that God answered my prayers and granted my dad and I a very special moment together.

    I also knew I was supposed to share it, but was unsure when or where, until my mom and I were driving to prepare for his funeral arrangements about 3 years later.. It hit me like a hurricane, I had that same strong feeling that I was supposed to share it at his funeral. I knew it would not be the only time I was supposed to share it, maybe this is the next place I am supposed to. I learned two things through this, the love that God has and the power of prayer. Thanks Kelle for letting me have the opportunity to share this once again! My story is different in that I am finding beauty in the life expected instead of unexpected.

    I grew up with a happy childhood, parents still married, two great sisters who are still my best friends. I went to college and met my future husband and after deciding to put my plans of moving to a big city and transferring schools, ended up staying where I was to graduate. Shortly afte that we got married and I did get my chance to go try out some big city living , but we ended up right back where we started in my beautiful hometown.

    I get to stay home with them for the most part and I enjoy the beauty of our average, happy daily life. However, once I had babies I knew how much I loved being around my family, sisters, cousins and friends that are like family. We have talked of taking shaking it all up and moving someplace warmer and raising little beach babies…but at this point we are happy with our beautiful, simple life. I have loved hearing your story through your book and blog. Your positive energy and love for your girls continues to inspire me. I have always kept a journal of my life and after months of reading your blog, finally decided what the heck?

    In February , we gave birth to a daughter who was diagnosed in utero with Spina Bifida. Maybe we should rethink how we answer that question from now on? Would it make you love your child less? It just is. Basically, you live better. In me, my husband and 6 year old little boy decided to move into a 5th wheel so we could pursue building our dream home.

    As soon as we sold our home, and started packing, I found out I was pregnant. After 4 years of trying I got pregnant while on birth control. Go figure! We decided to still move into the 5th wheel and hope to get built before our daughter arrived. My husband then got and out of town job so we moved the 5th wheel there for several months. That put our home on hold. Then the building industry went to crap and jobs were harder to come by. It was better to take paid jobs then to work on our home. Long story short. What a blessing in disguise. I could spend all my attention on her and enjoying her as a baby I thought I would never have and not have to worry about keeping a home, building a home, just her as a baby.

    Almost 3 years later…2 of that without our own toilet and sometimes with no water due to freezing water lines in the winter…we built and moved into our home. That you get out and enjoy nature more, and that you need VERY little to live. Since my brother, Willie, has autism, his thoughts are a mystery. The film was an excellent way for him to learn about identifying emotion, since each dwarf is typecast, consistent in facial expression throughout the story.

    However, Bashful is a very thoughtful, kind dwarf.

    My father wears glasses, has a calm, direct way of expressing himself. There you have it. But what I can see is astonishing. I never thought I would have another baby…out of the blue, on birth control, I became pregnant. Such a shock, but joyous! She is three now, and on the Autism Spectrum. She is loving, sweet, and makes me learn things every single day. Every day we grow, and learn…I found beauty in the unexpected diagnosis of Autism.

    My Ava is beautiful. You have taught me so much, reading your words…makes me feel okay. Makes me feel like I am alright, and we are going to be alright. From this Army wife in Texas… Much love! I am a completely single mother for him, and from the get-go things were so much different and harder. Well, it turned out that he is anything but normal. He is a special needs child, with an abundance of medical issues, including the inability to eat and requirement of a gastronomy tube to be fed.

    He has muscle tone problems that prevent him from being active for very much of the day. He is delayed, and considered to be Autistic in some form; as well has plagued with Sensory Processing Disorder. The world can be scary for him without even trying. While that only skims the surface of his issues, it truly does not define him. He has the happiest demeanor for a child I have ever known. He loves completely and with his whole heart. He has taught, and continues to teach me and those around me so much about just enjoying life and being present.

    While life can be hard, I would never trade him or the experiences and joys for anything. As a not-first time mother, I was meant to be his mother, or most of his issues could have remained undiagnosed. I thank God every day. It was August of , and I was in my 3rd week of teaching high school. After a week of downward spiral, I ended up in a mental hospital. After four weeks, I was released and I continued to seek help from a psychiatrist who eventually found a combination of medicines that helped me.

    I have learned so much from this experience. Foremost I have learned how important it is to treat people with dignity. I also have learned about myself- how much strength is within me. I had to come back from tremendous hardship, and I am proud of how much I accomplished. I am also proud of being a mother. When I first came home, I thought I was an unfit mother. I was ready to give my daughter up to my parents. I love her so much and being her mom has truly helped me in my recovery.

    That, in a nutshell, is my story. I had a normal pregnancy and being pro-life, I had refused all pre-natal testing. My water broke 4 weeks early, and was told I needed an emergency c-section. When Ava was born, I clearly remember that nobody in the delivery room congratulated me. Instead, everything turned into hushed voices, whispers and nurses who were trying to act busy.

    When they wheeled me back to my recovery room, a doctor that I did not recognize came in and sat down. She said that they had suspected my baby girl had Down syndrome. I see everything so differently now…more clearly. She has enriched my life in so many ways. I now look at people with special needs in the eyes, approach them and try to talk to them instead of looking away like I once did.

    How did I not notice these beautiful souls before? I suppose God sent her to me not because I am anything special, but because He knew that I needed to be fixed. Your blog saved me at a very dark time, Kelle. And for that I will always be grateful to you. You are an inspiration for many mothers in the world. Thank you for allowing me to tell my story. Although I am not a mom, or have stories of littles, I do have a story of life changes, life unexpectedness. At the age of sixteen, I was flooded with previously blocked memories of my father sexually abusing me. When I went to my mom about it, to begin the process of healing and restoration, she told me instead that I was probably making it up, that sometimes people lie about things like this.

    In Colorado, DHS gets abuse cases a month. They only get to They shipped me to another state where I was away from anything I knew, unable to communicate with anyone I loved. After a lot of time, I came back home and it was a constant fight to keep y head above water. They eventually kicked me out, and I willingly left. At the age of 17, I am not informally emancipated, and fighting my way through adulthood.

    Fighting my way through healing. I have days I am desperate for restoration, dying for my family. But now is not the time. I have days of frustration and sadness and brokenness. But it is in these times that I bloom. I am enough. I am blooming. She is perfectly Nella. She lights up our lives with her smile and raises the ceilings of our hopes with her wide, inquisitive eyes.

    Just wanted to say. Second, I just finished the book today and I was wrecked by it. I know to some extent the emotions you were feeling that first night in the hospital. You see, I was in an abusive relationship for 5 years. From years old. Countless nights I spent alone in the dark facing demons of my own and just wishing sun would arrive again. I was beaten, raped, publicly humiliated … but I triumphed over those things to become the person I am today — a survivor.

    Kelle, your story and your precious children inspire me to adopt a special needs baby of my own someday. Every one needs love. My mom passed away when I was twenty-two. Just two years prior, we were taking nightly walks, discussing what the future was going to look like. I was going to have a backyard big enough for my mom to build a separate house on. And that hurts. It hurts a lot. A month before my mom died, I was sitting in bed with her watching Hope Floats.

    At the time, I thought my mom was just thinking aloud, but now I can see that my mom was trying to tell me something. She was making me a promise. It will always get better. A future of joy and laughter and goodness. Three years ago, in an effort to help raise money for cancer research, I agreed to have my head shaved. In all started with a little wager. Knowing this was a stretch goal, and also knowing there was enough people who would love to see me bald, I laid out this proposal fully aware of the inevitable outcome.

    I was also aware of the following:. I would not look like Demi Moore. Do you ever feel like selfless acts are quit selfish in nature because you feel so euphoric afterwards? The human part of it? That nasty ego bit? I felt naked without my long, blonde hair. Different somehow. The way strangers looked at me, stared at my bald head, quickly looked away when I turned to catch their eye — it made me angry.

    Then it made me sad.

    The Transition from Home to School

    Because those who have to struggle through life…those souls struggling with anything, they have enough fear. The fear, the weight of being treated differently by others, should never factor into the equation. And yet it made me question how much emphasis I sometimes place on appearances, without digging deeper, much deeper, to find where real beauty lives. Above all, this is what I want to teach my children.

    We can let that crap stay on the surface, smelling badly, wafting nasty odors, giving us a foul disposition and tainting everything and everyone we come into contact with, or, we can use that same crap to act as fertilizer. Let it seep to our roots, become part of who we are and learn from it, grow from it and bloom because of it.

    Flaws are beautiful — they make you raw, real, human. Rather, beauty stems from that inner light that burns brightly. Beauty comes from being real.


    • Christmas in Winter City;
    • Groups: An Introduction to Ideas and Methods of the Theory of Groups (UNITEXT)?
    • Phones & Addresses!
    • Language Practices of Indigenous Children and Youth.

    This is what will make you unforgettable. I have suffered from paralyzing and painful social anxiety since toddlerhood. It was most pronounced during my high school years. I was homeschooled in sophomore and junior year and went through the paces of intense counseling. My therapists challenged me in ways which made me hate them, which made me hurt more and which ultimately helped me to heal. After years of suffering in a world which celebrated extroverts and shunned the shy, I had validation and support.

    My life was coming into focus. With diligence and guidance I was able to graduate from a private high school and eventually graduate college with honors and a degree in Art History. But I became pregnant in my junior year of college and embarked on a different path. I was terrified because the world I had finally grown accustomed to was about to tip and I knew I could not remain ensconced in my anxiety.

    I needed to push through that tangle in order to grow. My son would need stimulation from the outside world. As he grew, I constantly battled my apprehension in order to develop partnerships with teachers, doctors, coaches, other parents. My son is vibrantly extroverted- drawing others to him- to us.

    As his circle grew- so did mine. As he flourished with trust and faith in others, I did too. This little person, now a teenager, had given me a sense of belonging and community I had never had the privilege of enjoying when I was a child. Anxiety is still excruciating, but I am forever grateful that my path diverted when I had Max because it allowed my strength and resolve to effloresce.

    When I was 26 weeks pregnant, I learned my baby girl had a cleft lip and palate. Those first days were brutal as I struggled to find my own peace and share this devastating news with people who had a lot of platitudes and good intentions but no real understanding of my heartache. A 4D ultrasound revealed the extent of the cleft.

    I remember thinking my daughter would be born with the Grand Canyon etched deep in to her face. The vulnerability of my unborn child was crippling to me but now I realize it was my own vulnerability that made it hard to breath. I worried about everything and that quest of worry became all consuming. Just how deeply wounded would her spirit be with judging looks peppered with surgery after surgery. Would I be a good enough momma to counter that? Then one day she was here. I saw her and my heart immediately exploded with too much love to contain in such a small space.

    The most beautiful baby girl was lying in my arms and she was mine. I kissed her lips and made a promise that her daddy and I would protect her and love her for always and forever. Now we are five years later in our journey and her faint scar is beautiful. It holds the secret to her strength, resiliency, and spirit. But now that the moment is here, I feel at peace with it. We are just a military family trying to do the best we can, trying to do everything right. We fell into a bad housing market when the military decided to move us. We exhausted our resources and fell into the unexpected.

    But I have my beautiful children; my son who is playing in the window, smiling at me as I type this. My daughter who is upstairs asleep; her breaths I can hear in the monitor. And my husband who is currently running, sleeping, and eating in a field training to be the best Marine he can be and providing for our family. And yes, we have a roof over our head.

    We sat everyday for over a month last fall praying with one of our prayer warriors. We prayed for peace, we prayed our house would sell, and we prayed for a miracle. That was around the same time our newborn daughter was in the hospital with pneumonia. I learned a lot about perspective that week. My beautiful family is what matters. Those desperate prayers in the fall taught me what to really pray for. I thank the Lord everyday that prayer was answered.

    Here is an excerpt from my recent blog post celebrating our daughter Bereket who has been home with us from Ethiopia for 4 years now. I love this girl. I LOVE this girl. When baby can do virtually nothing to piss you off, when all you know is that you love that tiny little sleeping sack of potatoes bundle and you would hold them and rock them all day and all night if they needed you to because there is just nothing else like it in the world.

    And when they get just a tiny bit bigger, just a couple months old….

    And I knew that going in. I had read all about it. But it was still really hard. But that was then and this is now. This true love, it takes time. This place is glorious. She and I both know it. I am the solution when she is hurting and she brings me joy every day. My heart hurts with love for her! I thank God that He is allowing me be her second mother.

    How am I worthy? I marvel over this girl. My daughter, Lola was born in a Costa Rican hospital very early on a Tuesday morning. I had been told to anticipate that bonding moment when Lola and I would meet eyes for the very first time yet that moment never came. Lola never looked at me. A few months later, my thriving child began to regress.

    Her smile faded, she stopped eating and this strange tic began to appear. Her arms would jerk straight out, her legs would too and she would appear to be in a far off distance. This strange behavior went on for just over a week and then I began to panic. I endlessly searched the Internet and finally found a YouTube video of a little boy exhibiting the same signs. My daughter was having seizures. Lola was diagnosed with a rare and catastrophic form of epilepsy that is called West Syndrome or Infantile Spasms. We would later find out this was a result of a rare cell migration disorder that severely affects her vision.

    This explains why her vision never thrived and it certainly explains why we never shared that eye contact when she was laid on my chest. We went through a honeymoon period thinking our daughter was perfectly healthy only to have our hearts broken to learn about diagnosis after diagnosis. Lola is now 16 months old and is an amazingly strong individual. That baby was born sleeping. We named him Bennett, which means blessed little one. The morning before he was born, I knew it was his name.

    I had been planning on ordering a car seat and planning the theme for his nursery, but instead I was discussing caskets and obituaries. There were complications and the outcome was apparent as the nurses rushed me down the hall, into the room I delivered Bennett. After delivery, my temperature shot up to My pulse was racing and my respiration was high.

    My husband saw me start to leave him. I also started to appreciate all the blessings I had been given. I was motivated to live out my dreams, because no one is guaranteed tomorrow. Two years after that first pregnancy test, I delivered my micro-preemie son, Linus. He amazes me everyday. My sons have made me the person I am today. Because of them I walk a little taller, I have more confidence in my voice, and I am inspired to make my dreams come true.

    I had my first daughter Emersen, just a few short weeks before the arrival of your Nella. I remember reading your blog when I was home on maternity leave and just crying for you. I could not imagine finding out the perfect baby you had envisioned was not to be. Fast forward 9 months. I was 4. The 13 week ultrasound had been perfect, so when we were going for the anatomy scan at 19 weeks, we were confident we would see a perfect little baby.

    Boy, were we wrong. I pretty much knew something was wrong right away. Then when the genetic counselor popped her head in the room and said that the doctor wanted a few more images, I knew for sure. A few days later our girl was gone. Two months later I found myself pregnant again but it was not meant to be, I miscarried a week later. Within 2 weeks, I was pregnant again, very unexpectedly! Most moms ask if there are 10 fingers and 10 toes, I asked if she had arms and legs.

    I am grateful for each pregnancy and the strength it has given me and helped me become a much better momma two my two girls. Kelle, thank you for this opportunity to share and for you always sharing with us. While reading your book, I felt like I knew you, we were friends and I knew your girls. Please continue to share with us your stories, your photographs and your wonderful view on life. My story might be a little different than others. And I can now look back and say thank you for having to walk that road! I was married and infertile. I started moving up the corporate ladder and made friends with a male co-worker.

    Big fat fail. Fast forward a few years and God got a hold of me. I recommitted to my faith, I asked forgiveness from my first husband and many family and friends. It was a long hard road and still today there are days that memories come and I wonder how I was able to hurt so many people. My new husband who is now my husband of almost 10 years and who I love more than anything!! Big fat fail again.

    After numerous failed adoptions our miracle baby girl came home to us in December She was legally ours on December 17 — the same day that the baby my first husband and I were going to adopt was born. Three months later I got pregnant. Um, what?! Expect the unexpected that is how all my pregancy have been.

    Lost my first one at 12 weeks of being pregnant. At 32 weeks of my second pregnancy was not feeling well and end up having a seizure and died…Husband CPR back to life….. He came home before thanksgiving. As far as I can remember I have asked God what was my purpose in this life?

    How can I make a difference when I feel and see myself so weak…and then Amalia came…. I see that God has answer my prayer.. My husband and I have seven children. They are ages 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, and Our oldest would have been 17 on May 2nd if he were here. He died as a result of a car accident nine months ago. It was incredibly conflicting, celebrating the life of one of my children while grieving the death of another. For those who have suffered the loss of a loved one, grief is an instant bond.

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    After 12 years of marriage and living in the land of infertility we decided that having our own child was not our reality. We talked about adoption. The problem was I was 41 and my husband was 44 and we felt that we had waited too long to start the adoption process. We gave it to God. One week after our 13th wedding anniversary we received a call from a family member that changed our lives. Another family member, a very young girl, was pregnant and wanted a good home for her child. What is there to think about? I had three doctors and a series of test that indicated that most likely I had cancer.

    My good friend told me that God had put Gracee in our hands and He would not take those hands away from her. I had two surgeries done at the same time. I wake each day so extremely grateful for another day. I did not become a mom in the way I had planned, by the way 13 is the love number in Hebrew, the year of our marriage that we got our girl. His plan was so much better than mine. My 5 year old son was born seemingly healthy but had his first seizure at 2 months old.

    By 9 months old he was having a day. He was diagnosed with Epilepsy and we began the long journey of finding a diagnosis. Two years later he was diagnosed with Mitochondrial Disease, an incurable, life threatening disease that affects the way your cells make energy. He has a long list of health conditions associated with his disease, one of which is an intellectual disability.

    And I was, for a long time. Through my son I have learned more lessons in the last 5 years than I have in my entire life. Thanks for including me in that. Thank you! So, I am thankful today. I lost my mom to cancer when I was 21, and was still grieving and trying to figure it all out seven years later when I met my now husband and his son, who at the time was 5 years old. Adoption was an obvious alternative for us we are currently waiting to be placed with our child in the next couple of months!

    Who defines it? And what makes a person a mom? On and on the questions went. I can tell you now with confidence that it is me; I am a mom. I define what it means. What it does mean is that you need to love and accept and embrace.