Weekly Wrap and 5 Facts

Hope everyone has had a great week! Here are some highlights from our home and ministry…

  • Our Key Team is planning some fun JAM Sessions in 2012…stay tuned for scheduling to see if we’ll be in your area (or contact us if you’re interested in having us come and work in your city!)
  • Tomorrow, Rebecca Hamilton and I, along with Rebecca’s daughter, Abby and my daughter, Annie, will be teaching at JANUARY THAW (Cleveland Catholic Diocese.) The topic: Out of the Box Outreach.
  • The kids have begun a new semester…I think everyone likes a fresh start!
  • Listened to Margot Starbuck on Midday Connection this week…our family is reading Margot’s book, Small Things With Great Love: Adventures in Loving your Neighbor. HIGHLY recommend this!! (Margot and I went to the same camp when we were kids, and I was so happy to learn about what she is doing!)

And now…

5 Facts for Friday:

1. I did not win a Golden Globe this year. So disappointing.
2. Regarding regulations for network television, the Supreme Court commented, “One cannot tell what is indecent and what isn’t.” Really? Maybe we should get some kindergartners on the high court…I’m pretty sure they know the difference.
3. Pot roast on a snowy evening = pure comfort.
4. Congrats to my fabulous in-laws, Winslow and Barbara Wetherbee, who celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary this week!
5. Sometimes parenting requires heroic acts of trust and courage.

Have a warm weekend~

Peace in Parenting: Jolene Philo’s New Book!

During this Advent season, we’re going to be talking about peace… how to spread it, how to feel it and how to keep it! I can’t think of a better way to kick off this series than with my good friend, Jolene Philo. Jolene is a teacher, author, wife and mom…and she is one of the most peaceful people I’ve ever met!  

Jolene’s new book, Different Dream Parenting, gives practical wisdom and insight for parents who are raising children with disabilities. She tackles tough subjects with the wisdom of a mom who has been there, and offers comfort and encouragement with steady guidance. I asked Jolene a few questions about her book…here’s what she shared with me:

Katie Wetherbee: Why did you write this book?

Jolene Philo: I wrote Different Dream Parenting and my first book, A Different Dream for My Child, for one reason. Twenty-nine years after the birth of our son, the memories of his weeks in NICU are still fresh in my mind. I remember how alone we felt. We were 25 years old, 750 miles from home, clueless. If there’s anything I can do to help parents in similar circumstances know they are surrounded by people who care, I will do it. If I can make them understand they are God-appointed to advocate for their their children, I will do it. 

How can parents cope with the guilt and grieving that accompany a special needs diagnosis?

JP: First of all, they need to know their guilt and grief are not wrong, Those are normal emotions in the special needs parenting journey. But relentless, unending guilt is a form of spiritual warfare that sucks energy and leads to despair. So parents experiencing relentless guilt need to talk to someone about their thoughts and feelings. They need help sorting out whether their sense of guilt is founded (which is rare) or unfounded (much more likely) and deal with it accordingly. 
Parents of kids with special needs have lost their original dreams for their children. They must allow themselves to grieve their losses, no matter how small. I remember feeling so guilty for crying when our son was hospitalized on his first Halloween. Why was I crying because he didn’t get to wear his little costume when I should have been thankful he was alive? But losing that holiday was a loss. It was real. And it was okay for me to cry. I have tears in my eyes now, just thinking about it.

 Both of these issues are discussed in depth in Different Dream Parenting. The chapters include resources for parents and biblical perspective about guilt and grief. I think readers will find the advice given by other families and the biblical assurances are incredibly freeing for parents.

KW: Raising kids with special needs can be all-consuming. Sometimes parents feel that it defines them. How can parents move past this in order to survive…and thrive?

JP: Parents, even of typical kids, can easily fall into the trap of defining themselves by their parenting roles. That’s why many parents, moms especially, have such a hard time when their nest is empty. Their identity is so wrapped up in their kids they forget who they are. Now, multiply that several times for parents of kids with special needs, and it’s obvious why they have a hard time moving past that identity. So it’s really important for parents of kids with special needs to have some part of their life not associated with their child and care giving. 

Maybe that part of life is when you’re at work. (I loved leaving our tube-fed, techo-baby with his wonderful sitter while I was at school. Teaching kept my mind so busy I couldn’t worry obsessively about our son.) Or maybe it’s two hours every Saturday morning when your spouse takes over caregiving duties and you go for a run. Or maybe it’s a friend, family member, home health care worker, or someone from church who sits with your child and gives you a break.

 As the parent, you must give up a little control over your child’s life. You must allow others to partner with you in care giving – even if they do things differently than you do – and get away for a while. You are your child’s parent. You are not the God in control of their life.

 KW: You are on the “other side” of many of these experiences, because you are a parent of adult kids now. Many of us who are still “in the trenches” wonder how we’ll ever make it to that stage. Any advice for building endurance (and maybe not “sweating the small stuff?”)

 JP: Sometimes, I have a hard time believing how completely on the other side of special needs parenting we are. Sometimes I feel guilty (By the way, I am the queen of guilt. That particular tiara is polished and sparkling at all times.) knowing so many families will not see their children as healthy and whole as our son is. During our time in the trenches, I was also queen of sweating the small stuff. (Yes, my tiara collection in vast and stunning.) But several truths kept me from losing it completely in those days. Maybe they can help parents reading this blog, too.

1.  Take things one day at a time or parenting a child with special needs can be overwhelming.
2.  Find something to laugh about every day because if you don’t laugh, you’ll cry.
3.  Remember God has a purpose for the gift of your child’s life. Helping your child open that gift is part of the adventure of living.
4.  Remember God made you the parent of your child for a reason. Another part of the adventure of living is discovering what that purpose is.
5.  God is faithful, and his story for your life and your child’s is not over. The best is yet to come, in this life and the next. 


Thanks, Jolene!!!

I have a copy of Different Dream Parenting to give away…want to win it? Send me an email at katie@keyministry.org by Thursday night at 9 pm EST.  I’ll put names in a hat and draw a winner! If you want to order a copy of this book for yourself, a friend, or for your church’s library, click here...and enjoy!

Wishing you peace in  your parenting~

Twas the Night Before The Conference (A little poem for you…)

Twas the eve of INCLUSION FUSION and all through our team
Was a flurry of excitement as we worked at full steam.
The videos were loaded on the site with care
In hopes that our new friends soon would be there.

Jeremy was working at a feverish pace
A programming genius, he created this space.
And Steve on his I-Pad, and us on PC’s
Planning the details, the Lord to please.

We went through the classes and organized the days
Planning connections in multiple ways:
Online chatting with the speakers who care
And a Tweet Up on Thursday (you HAVE to be there!)

And all of a sudden, Steve’s I Phone rang
“MORE folks have registered!” he (almost) sang.
But to those who still want to, never fear:
There’s always a place for you to join in here.

Then Steve started clapping, his voice filled with glee
As he listed some speakers you’ll all get to see:
“There’s Amy and Cara and Rhonda, Jolene
And Barb has also come to the scene.

“We have Shannon, The Ferrinis,” Steve glanced from the list,
“These speakers are wonderful, not to be missed!
 And Don’t forget David, Marie and Bob West
There are SO many more…we lined up the best!

And still~ that’s not all! There are prizes to win!
Books and materials to help ministries begin.
And people might ask, well, what is the fee?
Inclusion Fusion is totally FREE.

We ended our meeting, excited yet weary
November clouds dark, but our mood was not dreary.
We’ve prepared and we’ve planned for this website displayed
Through every step, we’ve stopped and we’ve prayed….

For all of the people who will join us to learn
Methods of teaching and solutions, discern.
And we’ve prayed for the speakers, so accomplished and wise
That they know their investment is seen by God’s eyes.

But mostly we’ve prayed for the families who’ll gain
A church to call home, despite earthly pain.
And we pray God will bless us, meek and mild
As we seek for a Church for Every Child.