Author Archives: melissa

Entry to Janet Huckabee Nature Center.

Mini-Vacation in Ft. Smith, Arkansas

Remember the days of old; consider the generations long past. Ask your father and he will tell you, your elders, and they will explain to you. Deuteronomy 32:7

By: Melissa Pope

This summer our family couldn’t get away for a long trip, but we were able to enjoy a few short excursions. Click here to take a look at our 2013 summer fun. For one last summer fling we decided on a two day, one night stay in Fort Smith, Arkansas. While doing research on what family activities were available, I was pleasantly surprised to find a good list of things I thought my family would enjoy. Continue reading


Finding Time

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10

By: Melissa Pope

Do you find it hard to make time for Bible reading and prayer since school is back in swing? I sure do. We are busy from the time our feet hit the floor until our heads find the pillow at night.

Finding time to pray and read God’s Word is important for many reasons. I find power and strength when I am spending time with God. I am a better mom when I make my spiritual life a priority.

Here are some things that help me when time runs short:

  • Keep it simple. No time for in-depth study? Read one Proverb each day.  There are thirty-one Proverbs, so read the one that corresponds with the day of the month.
  • Listen. Listen to Christian music during the day.
  • Unplug! Don’t fill all your time with mindless television or radio. Turn it off and listen for God’s still small voice.

Take time today to seek the LORD.  You will find Him if you seek Him with all of your heart.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

Melissa’s Summer Fun

This entry is part 5 of 7 in the series Summer Highlights

I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you.” Genesis17:7

By: Melissa Pope

Mark and I took a quick trip to Las Vegas. My favorite thing was our visit to Hoover Dam. It was great to spend time together as a couple with no kids.

Hoover Dam from the O'Callaghan - Tillman bridge.

Hoover Dam from the O’Callaghan – Tillman bridge.

I’m thankful for the Christian heritage that has been passed down through generations of my family. One of our summer trips was to the farmlands where my parents grew up. We want our children to know their “roots”. My girls and I took a short trip to Kansas with my parents and my niece and nephew. Continue reading

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