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[31 for 21] ~ A Lot Can Happen In a Year…

A lot can happen in a year.

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Just one of the unforgettable kiddos I had the pleasure of meeting in Guatemala.

Last year in October I wrote a two-part post series.

The first post (which was titled “Begging For Dignity”) was about a school for children with disabilities, located in Guatemala. In this post, I talked about how I have visited this school, how I have wept at the plight of those with disabilities in Guatemala, and how I left a piece of my heart with the students and teachers there when I visited 2 1/2 years ago (Just as an update, I had the opportunity to go back there this past March and spend a week working in the school, and once again, it was inspiring, heartbreaking, passion-renewing, and life-changing).

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One of the first two items I ever sold in my store, “321 Joy”!

The second post (which was titled “Here’s Me, Leaping!!”) was about what I hoped to contribute to this school. In this post, I explained that I had started an Etsy store, and at the time of the post, I had 2 items for sale in my store! They were “321” shirts, in honor of Down syndrome awareness (3 copies of the 21st chromosome), and I was planning on donating a portion of the proceeds from the shirts to the school in rural Guatemala.

I remember distinctly writing this phrase in that post:

“This could flop. I am well aware of it. I mean, I think the shirts are adorbs, but come on, I made them for heaven’s sake, so I am a wee bit biased! Regardless of the outcome, however, I really felt as though this was something I needed to do, to step out of my comfort zone and take a leap of faith. So, here’s me, leaping!!”

A year later, I am so pleased to let you all know that it has not been a flop!

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In fact, my Etsy store, which I have named “321 Joy” (click HERE for the link to the store or HERE for a link to 321 Joy’s Facebook page) has been a great success (at least in my books!)
I have sold close to 150 items. I have had 73 different items go through my shop, and currently have 49 items for sale. I am getting the chance to use some of my creative abilities, and am really enjoying the outlet (and the change of pace from changing diapers and cleaning up messes all day!). And most importantly, I am donating 10% of every order I get right back into the school in Guatemala. Some days it doesn’t feel like much of a contribution, but I am doing what I can with what I have been given, and I know that for the kiddos in the school who are on the receiving end, even a little bit is better than nothing.

So here’s my shameless plug…I am sorry for it, but kind of not at the same time:)

Buy my stuff!
Support this school in Guatemala, and these precious kiddos, who so desperately need more than they will ever be afforded the opportunity to have, solely because of the system they happened to be born into.
Get your friends on board.
Support not only this school for kiddos with disabilities, but also raise awareness of Down syndrome with the “321” shirts.
“Like” my Facebook page (“321 Joy”) for more updates, new listings, and better communication!

*These are just a few pics of some items I am selling right now*

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It sure is true that a lot can happen in a year:)

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Posted by on October 27, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Happy World Down Syndrome Day 2015!…

Happy World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD)!

We celebrated in our own little corner of the world this morning, as our family of 5.

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Then we drove to the airport, and celebrated with a larger slice of our family and friends.

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After that, I kissed my kiddos goodbye, cried over their sweet heads, wrapped my arms tightly around their little necks and showered enough love on them to last for the next 10 days.

And now I am off to Guatemala, decked out in my “321” shirt, excited and full of anxious anticipation for what this week has in store.

The image in my head today is represented so well by this photo:

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Isn’t this the greatest picture?
Love. Security. Community. Family. Solidarity.
We are so blessed by our family and friends. The outpouring of love for Jake and for our family is amazing, and we do not take that for granted.

And that’s part of why I am going to Guatemala.

This picture stands in stark contrast to the lives of many people with disabilities in other countries; people who are not treated with dignity, respect, or equality in any way.

I have a vision.
A vision to bring reconciliation.
A vision to instill dignity.
A vision to see an outpouring of love and a new cultural perspective towards people with disabilities.
In Canada. In Guatemala. Worldwide.

One. Person. At. A. Time.
Won’t you join me?!

 
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Posted by on March 21, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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A Perfect Fit…

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Do you ever have those moments in your life?
You know, the ones that seem as though everything is coming together in a perfect fit?

Oh that we could have more of those moments in our lives! I recognize that they are often few and far between, but I have to say that I have been blessed to find myself living in one of those moments recently, and it has been such a joy to watch it unfold. Let me explain…

The Facts:

1. I will forever be an advocate for my son, and for all individuals with a diagnosis of Down syndrome, calling for respect and dignity for all.
2. I have a heart for social justice. My soul burns against injustice in the world, and I want to do whatever I can to bring justice.
3. People with disabilities in other parts of the world, specifically children, live a very marginalized life, with little hope.
4. I love travel, other cultures, different languages, multicultural experiences, and new experiences.

The Fit:

All of these facts have converged recently in my life, allowing me an opportunity to do something that I think is a perfect fit for this stage of my life. In March of this year, I am going to be leading a team of people down to San Cristobal, Guatemala. We are going to be meeting up with an amazing family who lives and works among the people there, and we are going to be working with them in a school for children with special needs. I’ve talked about this school a lot on my blog. I visited the school a couple of years ago, spending only a day with them, and my heart was forever changed. This time around, we get to spend a week with them and help with some projects that they are working on to be able to create vocational training programs for their students. These training programs have as a goal to teach the students life skills that may help them in the future work towards a higher level of self-sufficiency, and help them to survive in a country in which people with disabilities are marginalized, mistreated, and disenfranchised.

The Formula:

Okay, so here’s my plug!
I am currently selling items on my Etsy store, called 321Joy.
10% of the proceeds from everything I sell in my store is going to go directly back to this school in San Cristobal, Guatemala. This is my small way of contributing back to something bigger than myself, and attempting to do my part at fighting injustice. So, check it out! And maybe buy something!

And one more plug…World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD) is coming up!
So if you are an individual with Down syndrome, know an individual with Down syndrome, love an individual with Down syndrome, or just want to help out and raise awareness, my “321” shirts are a great way to do that!

Seems like the perfect fit to me…!

 
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Posted by on January 29, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Juxtaposition…

Ask me what’s new. Go on, ask me!

I mean, after all, it has been an incredibly long time since I’ve written anything, since I’ve expressed any thoughts, emotions, feelings, or ideas through the medium of the written word. And as I lie here on my bed, contemplating what to write about, thinking about “what’s new”, one word comes to mind:

Juxtaposition.

Nothing is new. Yet so many things are new.
Juxtaposition.

On the one hand, life goes on! Routines are followed, timelines evolve, day-to-day schedules occur. At the end of each day, it does not seem as though there is much to report. Life is good! Family is amazing, my kids are growing and thriving, we are having fun together (and sometimes we are at each others’ throats!), and not much is new.

On the other hand, however, so much has changed since the end of October (which those of you who actually read this consistently will know that the last time I updated my blog was at the end of October). Milestones are being met for all three of my kiddos. Jake has made incredible strides in many areas, especially in the area of communication. I have entered into the realm of “Etsy”, unlocking another creative side of myself by doing some sewing. (“321Joy“).

In the spirit of brevity, I will just say this: it’s good to be back!
I have missed writing, expressing myself in this form, and allowing myself the opportunity to unpack thoughts, ideas, and opinions. I have some topics that have been rattling around in my brain for a while now, which I will share in the coming days and weeks. But for now, thanks for having me back!

I’ll leave you with the promise of more, and a few cute pics of my kiddos from our Christmas decorating day (which for those of you who know me, was way back in mid-November!). Enjoy!

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Cole climbed right into the Christmas tree box…

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…and then so did all our kids! (okay, Noah had some help..!)

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This snow globe plays Christmas songs and shoots out “snow” on top of Santa and his reindeer. Very. Loudly. And my kids adore it!

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Noah just tried to eat them the whole time!

 

 
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Posted by on December 18, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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[31 for 21] ~ Here’s me, Leaping!!…

Hope.

Today’s word is hope.

Yesterday I wrote this post about something near and dear to my heart: a tiny little school, deep in rural Guatemala, dedicated to providing an education to children with special needs, children who have been deemed unworthy by a large part of Guatemalan society.

I desperately want them to have hope. Hope in a future that has potential. The kind of hope that I have for Jake.

The amazing family that I wrote about in yesterday’s post has ideas. They have brilliant ideas of ways to help this school. And not only do they have ideas, but they have a plan. It’s amazing ~ I’ve seen it! They have it all worked out, what could be done, what could be upgraded, what could be purchased, and learned, and taught, and provided, in order to realize this dream of hope.

The objectives that they’ve written down (and I am taking this straight from their proposal!) are:

1. Expose students to different vocational opportunities
2. Teach some of the basic principles of micro-enterprise
3. Help develop physical, intellectual and social skills
4. Cultivate dignity and self-esteem
5. Generate a small amount of revenue to reinvest in the projects and/or other school programs

Ummmm, yes please! This is something I want to get behind. This is something that will provide that elusive hope for the future for these children. This. Is. Good. Stuff. People.

So here is what I am going to do about it. Here is my small part. Hopefully it will amount to something bigger in the future, but you gotta start small, right?

I am opening an Etsy shop. It is called “321Joy” (more on that later…). You can look it up on Etsy, or follow this link to find it.
I have been planning this for a long time, and I am really excited! This is a great way for me to be creative, and have a much-needed outlet.

It will have more items in it as I continue building it. But so far all there is in my store is a line of shirts in my shop entitled “321”. These shirts serve a dual purpose. They are about Down syndrome awareness, which I am all about! But 47% of the proceeds from this “321” line of shirts will go directly towards the project for this Special Needs School in Guatemala.

Why 47%, you ask? Well, because individuals with Down syndrome possess 47 chromosomes, instead of the typical 46. So again, Down syndrome awareness, plus doing something to raise money for these students who have captured my heart.

This could flop. I am well aware of it. I mean, I think the shirts are adorbs, but come on, I made them for heaven’s sake, so I am a wee bit biased!
Regardless of the outcome, however, I really felt as though this was something I needed to do, to step out of my comfort zone and take a leap of faith. So, here’s me, leaping!!

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**If you are interested in ordering a shirt and live near me, let me know and I can just get it to you without shipping! Also, so far I’ve just got baby and toddler sizes on my Etsy shop, but if you’d like a shirt in a bigger size, leave me a comment, shoot me an email, or get in touch with me some other way, and I will be sure to make that happen too:)**

 
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Posted by on October 21, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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