Monthly Archives: September 2012

People First Language

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God He created them. Genesis 1:27

By: Melissa Pope

Let’s talk about People First Language. It’s pretty simple really. This is language that emphasizes the person NOT the disability.

I can’t tell you how many times, from well meaning people, I have heard the phrase “Down syndrome baby”. Honestly, it’s like fingernails on the chalkboard. She’s a “child with Down syndrome”. She doesn’t “suffer from” and isn’t “afflicted with” Down syndrome.

Similarly, we need to re-think the descriptive wording of any disability. People are not wheelchair bound, instead they use or need a wheelchair. A person is visually impaired not simply a “blind” man. Children or adults with learning disabilities have special needs. People who don’t have learning disabilities are “typical” (instead of “normal”).

And while I’ve got your ear let’s get rid of that “R” word (retarded). When I’ve used it in the past, it was a reference to something dumb, illogical or weird. People with Down syndrome can be classified as mentally retarded (MR). If you get to know and love them they are definitely not any of those descriptions.

The words we use shape the perceptions of our society. God doesn’t make mistakes. If all of us are truly made in His image, the words we use should be sensitive and fair.

Links I’ve found helpful:

-What is it like to raise a child with a disability?

Welcome to Holland by Emily Perl Kingsley

-National Down syndrome groups

National Down Syndrome Congress

-Support organization for families and children with special needs – NWA


Related Article by Melissa Pope: A Not-So-Typical Life

A Not-So-Typical Life

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”  Psalm 139:14

By: Melissa Pope

My youngest daughter, Chloe, has Down syndrome. Just as every typical child has differing abilities and needs, so does every child with Down syndrome.

Before she was born we knew there was a chance our baby would have Down syndrome. We chose not to have further testing. I was already about 20 weeks along.
The moment I looked at her newborn face, I knew she had Down syndrome. As we told people her diagnosis, I could tell that some felt sorry for us. There were others that were truly encouraging. I think God used two previous miscarriages to prepare us to be thankful for His gifts.

As an infant Chloe was healthy and growing. As with any child, decisions need to be made about what is best for each child. There are a few extra decisions to be made about therapies and medical treatments for children with disabilities. Chloe started occupational, physical and speech therapies at about 5 weeks. We continue to make decisions about what is best for her one day at a time – just like we do with her two older sisters.

Every year at preschool pre-registration, I agonized about what to do – full time at the special needs preschool or part-time at the preschool her sisters had attended. In the end we kept her at the preschool for typical children as she had kept up with her goals for self-care.

She has started kindergarten and attends a typical class with an aide. She spends time in a self-contained classroom to work on reading and math. The educational process is a whole post unto itself! Just remember that you are your child’s number one advocate. Your questions should be answered to your satisfaction. Ask other parents of children with special needs what they experienced and how it worked for them. Make the best informed choice possible for your child.

I have always felt that we are the most blessed family to have Chloe with us. We get to see the world through our Creator’s eyes. Chloe has an amazing gift of encouragement. The first time I realized this was before she was a year old. Chloe reached out to be held by a gentleman while we were at church. She wrapped her soft arms around his neck and squeezed him with a hug that only a person with Down syndrome has. As tears came to his eyes, I recalled that only a few months earlier he and his wife had lost their adult daughter to cancer. He really needed that hug!

If you have a friend or relative who has a child with a disability, my advice is to remember that every child is a blessing. God gave us all unique gifts and abilities. We are made in His image! It’s ok to ask heartfelt questions.

Sadly, ninety percent of all pregnancies involving Down syndrome are ended by abortion. As a society we have to stop rating people by their ability to be “normal” and the amount of “stuff” they can produce in the work place. I often think people with mental or physical challenges like Chloe are the ones who are truly perfect and we “typical” people are the ones who are missing the point of life.

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God He created them. Genesis 1:27

Related Article by Melissa Pope: People First Language

Practical Tips for Getting Rid of Sentimental “Stuff”

“Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him…. Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.  Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:8-9, 12-14

By: Kerri Young

My Sentimental Nature on Display

If you read my post on Monday, you know that I tend to be a tad bit sentimental and have a, perhaps unhealthy, attachment to “dead flowers” (as my husband so lovingly refers to them when he attempts to dust them). In the picture on the left you can see said flowers as well as all the pottery I made in college 15 years ago and have never used once…. If you haven’t read my Monday post about “Stuff” yet, I recommend you go there first. =)

Today I want to share with you some helpful tips for conquering the clutter of sentimental stuff collecting in your house. I’m addressing the stuff that is sitting around because of some kind of emotional attachment we might have to it. I’m not going to touch the amount of unnecessary stuff we Americans accumulate just because we can, in general. That could be an entirely different blog post.

So, the following ideas and thoughts are things I have been told, read about, or have just come up with through my own experience. Hopefully some of these will inspire you or enable you to take steps toward letting go of “stuff”. I’m sincerely hoping that typing these out will do just that for me. =)

1. Pray. Ask Jesus to give you strength and peace as you tackle the hard stuff. Also ask Him to give you the right perspective on how we are supposed to be living…for the future, not the past.

2. Repeat this to yourself, “It is just the stuff I am letting go of…not the people of whom or the memory of which the stuff reminds me.”

3. Take baby steps. Start with the things that pull your heart-strings the least. E.g. The Christmas bowl your Aunt Sally gave you five years ago that you have never used but have been afraid to get rid of lest you upset your mom.

4. Tackle one drawer, one box, one closet, one room at a time. Don’t overwhelm yourself with a task too large.

5. Set a max number ahead of time determining how many of various keepsakes you are going to save and stick to it no matter what. For example, I will keep no more than 5 papers, paintings, drawings, etc from each year of my child’s life.

6. Designate one box or set space that can be filled with sentimental paraphernalia for each family member.

7. If you are a numbers person, make up a “keep range” by setting numerical standards for what gets tossed and what gets to stay. 1-4 is toss. 5-7 is iffy. 8-10 is keep. As you go through keepsakes, give them a number. Stick to the range you set and toss it if it doesn’t measure up.

8. Allow yourself the time to walk down memory lane before you throw stuff out. Take the opportunity to laugh, cry or retell the great story surrounding the lime green bridesmaid dress or the plane ticket that makes you think of the crazy lady who sat next to you on the plane on the way to your honeymoon.

9. Take pictures of the items that might be special but need to be tossed. Store them digitally and get rid of the originals. Not only will they take up less space that way, but they will probably keep better.

10. If you can, take a picture of the item, the artwork, or whatever it is with the person who makes it special before giving it/throwing it away.

11. Let go of the guilt you might experience from getting rid of things that got passed down to you. If it is something you truly treasure, like a vase I received after my Granny passed away,—it used to be part of a matching set, but I actually broke the other one at her house when I was younger—display it proudly. But if it is something impractical that is hidden away and taking up valuable storage space, I fully believe your Grandma or your Mom would understand that you have no use for it. Give it away, and repeat this to yourself: “It is just the stuff I am letting go of…not the people of whom or the memory of which the stuff reminds me.”

12. Once you start, don’t put it off. Don’t prolong the agony. Touch everything only ONE time if you can and make a decision. Keep. Give away. Discard.

13. Ask for help from a friend or family member who can be more objective if you think it will be difficult.

14. If it is something special, but you know you can’t keep it, kiss it goodbye. Literally. Give it a kiss. Might sound crazy, but for some people it’s closure.

15. Once you have made the decision to give or throw away, do it as quickly as you can. Don’t let boxes or garbage bags full of sentimental items sit around.  Out of sight, out of mind.

16. I’ll end my list with one more thought:  If it has been packed away in a box for years—like all of my honeymoon paraphernalia—it’s not sentimental or serving a purpose anymore. It’s just stuff in a box. Hidden from the world in an attic or basement, it hasn’t helped me remember anything. So why not just get rid of it?

I hope this list has encouraged you or given you some inspiration to free yourself from the sentimental stuff taking up space in your home and your heart. I will be praying for you, co-keepers of “stuff”, and would appreciate your prayers for us as we face the DAUNTING task of going through all of our belongings. The give-away and discard pile have to be bigger than the keep pile for us, but I have a feeling in the end we’ll be that much healthier and happier for it!

Blessings to you on your journey to conquer your stuff! May it draw you ever closer to Christ as you are freed to take your eyes off yourself and focus more on Him. =)



by: Kerri Young

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal….”   Matthew 6:19 ESV

I’ve been thinking a lot about stuff this week. Literally. Maybe it’s because we are preparing to move out of the country and have to get rid of a good portion of our belongings. Maybe it’s because I’ve spent the last two weeks going through out-grown Fall/Winter clothes and old toys to get them ready for the Rhea Lana Consignment Sale going on here in my town. Maybe it’s because I just finished reading “Little House on the Prairie” with my daughter and was struck by how quickly they were able to gather up all their belongings in one morning and fit them in the back of a covered wagon. (It is NOT going that quickly for us. We’ve been working on paring down since March and I feel like we’ve haven’t even made a dent!)

Whatever the case may be, I’ve been thinking about stuff. Today I’m thinking about the sentimental stuff. Like all the cute clothes from each of my children that I have kept in plastic tubs “just in case” (No, I haven’t kept every item of clothing…but I did keep a lot). Like the hundreds of dried roses from special events or special people in my life collecting dust in vases that are collecting dust on top of my china cabinet. Like the brochures, plane tickets, show stubs, etc. I have kept from our honeymoon and other trips we’ve taken that are all piled in a box in a closet upstairs. Like every picture my oldest colored, every worksheet she brought home with a smiley face on it, and every card she has ever made. Like the business suits and bridesmaid dresses hanging in my closet that I will never wear again and have been saving for….who knows what?

I have SO MUCH STUFF lying around my house because I guess I tend to be kind of sentimental. (Am I the only one?) As we are faced with the daunting task of sorting through all our belongings and getting rid of most of them before we move overseas in the Spring, I find myself feeling a little anxious when I start to consider parting with some things. The thought of giving away the battered and torn — the cover has been ripped off – copy of “Goodnight Moon” that we used to read to my daughter every single night at bedtime from the time she was born until she was two seriously gives me the shakes and makes me feel sick to my stomach. But, why?

I had a great conversation with someone last week that really helped me put some perspective on this whole process of letting go of “stuff”. She and her husband moved to a new, smaller home last year after over 20+ years of raising a family in a larger home. In the process of moving, she actually touched each thing they owned before putting it in a box, throwing it out, or giving it away. She purposefully got rid of as much as she could, including items that belonged to her deceased mom, because they could not fit all their possessions into their new home. When she started the process she felt sick about it, but then someone encouraged her that just because you throw or give something away it does not mean you are erasing the memory or the person who goes with it.

I don’t know about you, but to me there is something tremendously freeing in that concept. Throwing the dried roses from my Granny’s memorial service away will not erase the memory of the celebration of her life that took place that day, or the hundreds of cherished memories of times we spent together. Getting rid of the plane tickets from our honeymoon will not make me forget the magical, fairy-tale moments of that sunset dinner on the beach in Kauai or the precious, giddy, newness of our married life together. And not keeping every single one of my daughter’s preschool hand-painted artwork masterpieces will not take away from the sweetness that she was at age three and still is today.

Whether you’re preparing to move or just feeling overwhelmed by the amount of stuff cluttering up your peace of mind and living space, I encourage you today to think through what things to which you might be unnecessarily clinging. Don’t wait until the task is so formidable that it seems better to just give up and every, single, possible space in your house is full of something. Give yourself permission to throw things out, and go for it. I’ll pray for you to have the strength to let go if you pray for me! =)

Be sure to check back on Wednesday when I will be posting some helpful tips on how to begin the process of letting go of “stuff”. In the meantime, if you have any suggestions or ideas please feel free to leave them in the comments section.



DIY: Tile Coasters

“…and works with her hands in delight.” Proverbs 31:13b

By: Sarah Smith

Believe it or not, Christmas is right around the corner!  I’m assuming I’m not the only one on a tight budget this year so I’d like to share a great gift idea that is fun to make, personal and inexpensive, too!

Items needed:

  • 4 inch tiles (as many as you’d like),
  •  Mod Podge,
  • small paintbrush,
  • photos or favorite paper,
  • felt circle pads.

Found these white glossy tiles for only 16 cents apiece!  The other ones shown here are only 33 cents apiece.

Photo Ideas – Grandchildren, children, favorite scenery, pets, activities or sports, initials, etc.  (Last year, I made a set of coasters using photos that my brother took on a recent trip to Italy – it was a great gift for a guy who has everything!)  Today, I’m making a tile as a gift for my Sunday school girls.  Each girl will get a coaster with their picture on it along with a Bible verse.  It can be used as a coaster or decorative tile.


  1.  After choosing your photo or paper, cut it to fit the tile.
  2. Coat coaster with Mod Podge and apply photo to the front.  Press in place.
  3. Cover photo and coaster with layer of Mod Podge.  Repeat at least 4 more times allowing glue to dry between layers – about 15 minutes.  Don’t panic when the glue goes on white because it will dry clear.  (once clear, apply the next coat)
  4. When completely dry, apply felt pads to the bottom.  This will prevent the tile coaster from scratching the surface.
  5. Wait at least 48 hours before using.

NOTES:  I have used a set of homemade coasters for over a year and they remain in great condition.  I have noticed that if we put a very cold glass with ice on the coaster for a length of time, it will leave a white ring.  I panicked the first time but then it disappeared and they have been fine.

The glossy white tiles are sharp on the edges…I wouldn’t recommend these where children are present.  (I plan to glue a ribbon around the ones I made)

Other sites will tell you to coat the final product with a sealer.  I did not do this on mine and have had no problems at all.

These make great gifts for any occasion!

Some of my projects:

Our favorite sports team!


(To order this set or more HOGS items from Sarah, go to her Facebook page.  Unique Razorback H.O.G.S. Photos and Prints.)

Italy photos used on a set of 4 coasters I made for my brother.

Grace Girls – 5th/6th grade Sunday school class
(no pictures were harmed in the making of this craft
…faces are blurred on purpose) 😉