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Monday, September 26, 2016

I Forget...

Writing escapes me from time, to time. I forget how much it centers me. I forget how much it helps me feel at peace. I forget how much I get from putting words to problems down, instead of just letting them fester in my head. I forget how much I will appreciate remembering a small moment in our life, long after it's gone. I forget how sharing, may help others to learn. I forget that taking time for me helps my family. I forget that I enjoy writing.
So here I am, with not much & way too much swimming in my head.
Last week I shared "our story" with a class at Nazareth College. The class was made up of college kids pursuing Special Education. My friend, who teaches the class, had asked me to share some of our journey, as a family, raising a daughter with multiple special needs.
Trying to condense the journey would be tough. I would talk too long & leave, knowing I hadn't shared all I hoped to.
My note card quietly folded away in my purse. I had decided to just go with my heart. I've always believed sharing would help someone, somehow, someday... When we are open, we possibly help others to find the easier path. We help teach understanding & compassion. When we share our stories we bring people together & we don't feel so alone.
So to the "kids" at Naz, I want to thank you for listening. I hope someday when you are teaching a child like my daughter, you remember that behind that child, there is a family. There is a history of pain & joy that got them to where they are. There are people who probably didn't choose this path, but walk proudly anyway. Please walk with us, not against us. We need you to believe in our children and we need you to believe in us. 

Monday, March 7, 2016

Wegmans, Not Just a Grocery Store


Published in our local newspaper, The Democrat & Chronicle, in celebration of Wegman's 100th Anniversary




Several years ago I wrote a letter to the editor about an impatient shopper at Wegmans. The person had not been impatient with me, but with my multiply disabled daughter. My daughter, Teale, has many hidden and not so hidden issues from a severe birth injury. Wegmans is one of her most favorite places to go and can often help her turn her mood around. Back when I wrote the letter to the editor, Teale was about 5 years old and her disabilities were less obvious. Teale is now 17 years old, but she still loves Wegmans. Almost every Saturday morning you can see her and her best friend, my husband, her Dad, Mark, at Pittsford Wegmans. They are a sight to see. Mark is one of the sweetest, most patient Dad's there is. He works a full time job durning the day and many nights he can be seen playing his sax or singing in local bands. But even if he was out the night before playing music into the wee hours, Teale still gets him for her Saturday morning trip to Wegmans. She will wake up extra early on Saturday, excited to get her day going with her Dad. I've often joked that the regulars at Wegmans on a Saturday morning must think he is a weekend Dad. Maybe they think he is divorced and out with his daughter for his weekly visit but in reality, Mark is an everyday Dad. He is very present in our lives, maybe especially when it comes to Teale. Wegmans has been a huge part of their bonding, it is their thing, a special time our daughter counts on every week. Sometimes you will see her with an American Girl doll in hand, kinda a strange sight, as she is about 5'6" tall. Often, Mark tells me, they see many of the same people, who, with knowing smiles, nod Mark & Teale's way. Wegmans has many routine based people, who, like Mark & Teale, come every week about the same time. Most weeks they start the shopping trip with a bagel together upstairs before doing the grocery shopping. They even go to the same cashier, Corie, who Teale is very fond of. The weeks Corie isn't working, Teale is disappointed and comes home telling me, "No Corie today." Whether she knows it or not, Corie is part of our "circle." She a person who understands our Teale and treats her with care and respect. Then there are the pharmacists and staff at the pharmacy. There is truly not enough good I can say about them. They are kind, compassionate and extremely caring. They may not know Teale's whole story, but they know she is on a lot of medicine and that we struggle at times. Teale has had many not so pretty moments at Wegmans. She has raged in the aisles, in the produce, at the customer service desk and in the parking lot. Teale has also laughed, touched peoples hearts and brought complete strangers to say kind things to us. We have been judged and some have thought she was just a bratty kid in a rage, but as we live this life with Teale, we are far more often surrounded by love and Wegmans has given us some of the best stories, good and bad. One I hold onto many years after it happened involved Teale in a horrible rage, still small enough that Mark could scoop her up, but not without a huge scene. He had her on his shoulders just trying to get out as fast as he could. I was there also, with our youngest daughter, Gwenn in tow. It was like the buzz of Wegmans had stopped and all eyes were on us. I stepped away with Gwenn, just hoping to get out "alive." As I stood in the produce area, near the exit, Gwenn by my side, an older woman walked up to me. I held my breathe...This woman had kind eyes, full of understanding and compassion. All she said was "Hold your head high Dear, you are doing a wonderful job." To this day I wish I could find her, her kind words still bring tears to my eyes. Wegmans may just be a grocery store to some, but for our family, it has been a place where some of life's biggest lessons have been learned & maybe a few have been taught.  

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Soul Searching

I think I'm a very secure person in my relationship with my husband. He treats me well and I've never had cause for thinking he is not loyal to me. 
So my deep feelings around his removal of his Wedding bands for gigs has kinda shocked me. (Mark wears one on each hand. His right hand is his original, plain gold band from our Wedding. On his left hand is a ring I designed for him with a diamond from a friend. I gave it to him on our five year Wedding Anniversary. On our 25th Wedding Anniversary that ring was finally Blessed at our renewal of vows ceremony.)
Last night was not the first time he has removed his bands for a gig, saying it messes up his bongo/percussion playing. It also wasn't the first time I've wondered why it bothered me so. After all, I KNOW our marriage is strong and not based on wearing of rings or not. 
So when Mark questioned me and I had no logical response, I thought, I'm going to pray on this. Before I fell asleep last night I asked for understanding, for the "why" his taking off his Wedding bands bothered me deep within my core. When I woke this morning I had an answer. The answer rocked me, but made sense. I've had strong reactions like this before, in totally different situations, but again, the reason was the same. 
I was a young girl who adored her Father, some of the good memories are very clear; ice fishing, walks in parks, picnics, Honeoye Lake at my Grandparents place, Menlo Place and my Grandparents... Lots of memories flood my mind when I think of my Dad, but sadly one thing has challenged me the most, his affair on my Mom. 
I don't know the truth of that time, heck, I was just a kid and hardly know what their relationship was, the good or the bad.
I do know I was exposed to much a child probably should never have heard or seen. One of my most vivid memories has always caused me pause.
I was on a date with my Dad, just him and I going to a park for a picnic, or so I thought. We would "run into" a friend of his, a woman much younger than my Dad. She would be very sweet and as a young girl, I would enjoy the kindness and attention she showered on me. It wouldn't be until I told my Mom about the nice lady Dad and I saw at the playground that I would kinda catch on. 
I'm not sure if this will make sense to anyone, but in watching the demise of my parents relationship, I had a lot of guilt. As a little girl I thought somehow I had caused it, by telling my Mom about Dad's friend. One day far after the picnic my Dad married that "nice lady" from the park. 
I forever would juggle enjoying her company and not hurting my Mom's feelings, by pretending to not like her. It was very complicated... 
So back to my story, I believe my Dad's taking off of his Wedding ring to my Mom was a very traumatic event in my life. I think it was a deep, unresolved time when I realized my parents were breaking up. My Father's naked hand was the start of it all, at least to a little girl who didn't understand the complications of a marriage. 
Mark will tell you, I get very needy every time someone around us breaks up. I will ask him more than my usual for reassurance that we are ok and then eventually, with time and his patience, I go back to "my normal."
I have done much soul searching and I have gotten much counseling over these feelings. My Father died without Mark even meeting him. We had been married a few years when my Dad passed, but he had been struggling many years with mental illness and alcoholism, so for my own sake, I had stepped away. His death was hard on me though. I had much guilt that I should have helped him. I had to face those demons that had caused me to walk away from my Dad. I had to feel the pain that I wasn't going to ever get that "second chance" that I had counted on and I had to move forward. I worked hard at this, but obviously, I am not completely "cured" from this huge loss in my life or from the betrayal I witnessed.
Mark taking off his Wedding rings is not a big deal, but apparently it brings up a deep and sad memory for me, making it a big deal to me.

So for that, Mark, bear with me, I'm still trying to get used to the fact that you love me unconditionally, rings or not! XOXOXO

Saturday, January 2, 2016

The Lost Christmas Letters, 2012 - 2015




It's been since 2011 that we have done a year in review letter. So I decided to try and highlight some of the goings on since then.

Mark's Mom moved in with us the Fall of 2010 and in December of 2012, she continued to live with us. We were in a good routine by that year, coexisting at Bromley Road as a family of five, plus Nana. December 2012 was rough though, with a few different emergency room visits and situations that took much of my time, causing me to let go of our annual Christmas letter. Sadly Mom's needs were ever increasing and a sharp decline was ahead of us. By late Spring of 2013 it became apparent, I could no longer keep up with her care and the needs of our own family. So by Summer of 2013, Mom would move in with Sue and Jim. (Mark's sister and brother in law) There were many pluses having Mom with us and I will never regret those years. We gained a lot of respect for each other and a deeper love. My children learned much from that time with Nana, about compassion for the elderly and sticking by those we love. She, in turn learned a lot about Mark and I, our special family and how our love has been deepened by life with Teale. Before she lived with us, her understanding of our everyday living seemed a mystery. I believe she discovered that we have much more love and joy in our life than she had thought. I know she often saw Teale as a burden before moving in with us. I believe it was part of God's plan to have Mom really get to know our kids, but especially to have her understand the deep love and connection between all of us because of Teale.
On December 13, 2013, Eleanor Frances Valle Bradley passed from pneumonia complications. The increasing dementia from Parkinson's Mom had was heartbreaking in the end. It had become almost impossible for her to talk, much less carry on a conversation. Luckily music moved her soul and that never changed. The last days with Mom were spent with family, jamming in the hospital room. All of us crammed around her bed, the sax, a guitar, a trumpet & voices. It was a very Bradley tribute and I've said to Mark, I only hope I go the same, with his sweet voice singing to me. There are many fond memories from the years with Mom in our care, but because of dementia taking much of her, Mark & I were at peace when she passed. The image of her back together with the love of her life, Bill Bradley, brings us all much comfort. We held her memorial service on December 21, 2013 and again, our annual Christmas letter took a back seat, but the service was perfect and filled with love, music and memories.

Beau graduated from Pittsford Mendon High School in June of 2013 and was accepted into St John Fisher College Nursing Program. His moving out that Fall was tough on all our hearts, but especially on Teale, who missed him very much. Luckily SJFC is only about ten minutes from our home, so we saw him fairly often. By August of 2014, Beau decided moving back onto the campus was not for him and he has lived home ever since. He is doing remarkably well in college, nursing seems to be a true calling for him. I believe his life experiences have truly made him more knowledgeable and more compassionate. After all, he not only has lived through the many challenges and medical issues of Teale, but also the time with Mark's Mom in our home. Beau continues to play sax. In the last couple of years he has played in a club at college, pit bands and sat in with some of Mark's bands. Beau still enjoys sports and staying active, so he has played recreational sports since graduation from HS. He continued to work at Tom Wahls and doing varies lawn work through the Summer of 2015. He has been dating Hope, who he met at Tom Wahls, since about January of last year. Beau is still a very caring big brother and we have appreciated his help with Teale especially over the past few years.

Teale, well there is always too much to say about her. If you follow my blog and/or my Facebook page, you are most likely fairly up to date. The years with Mom here were very meaningful for Teale. She and Nana spent a lot of time together; looking at family pictures, watching movies, walking around the neighborhood with Mark, singing, swimming or just being outside. Our meals together were very lively & after dinner we often played games together. Mom and Teale spent a great deal of time looking at American Girl Doll catalogues. They were truly like best friends at times and I appreciated the company for Teale and visa versa, for Mom. We've had many highs with Teale over the last few years, she's matured much and most of the time her mood disorder is in pretty good control. I still hate the mental illnesses that plague her, but for the most part, she is about as mentally stable as we ever hoped her to be. We did hit a real medical crisis this last year when we discovered Teale's kidneys were failing because of Lithium. Taking her off the only BiPolar medicine she has ever been on (Started it at 6 years old.) was terrifying, but she has done really well. The medicine we replaced Lithium with has been good, with the exception of increased appetite. It is tough to control Teale's diet, as she is quite insistent and independent at home. I'm sure before Teale, I thought I could manage this better and maybe I will figure it out someday, but most days we just work hard to just keep her mentally stable. She was diagnosed with Chronic Kidney Disease and high blood pressure because of the kidney issues. We are hopeful we caught things early enough and she will stay stable now. The high blood pressure medicines seem to be helping her in more ways than "just" lowering her high blood pressure. Holy Childhood continues to be a Godsend and Teale LOVES going to school. She is working at The Sisters of Saint Joseph Motherhouse along with a job coach and other peers from Holy Childhood. Teale has many activities she is involved in after school and her social opportunities have greatly increased with her going to Holy Childhood. There are many "clubs" she loves being part of @ HC; basketball, cheer leading, Teen Social, Kidz Klub and Out and About. She attends "Respite Friends" after school & "Teen Night" once a month on Friday's @ Pieters Family Life Center, a Heritage Christian recreation center.  In addition to those activities she continues to go to Sunshine Camp & Pieters Day Camp every Summer, along with Summer School. Teale's life is filled with social opportunities since starting at Holy Childhood. She is very well liked and thought of as a young lady who follows rules, can be trusted and is respected by many. Our gratitude for Holy Childhood is immeasurable!!!

Side note: The Christmas letter of 2014 was lost to a very intense December with Teale's mania taking over much of our lives. Her bipolar often has predictable peaks and valleys. Fall and Spring are very typical manic times for Teale & the holidays just exasperate her Bipolar. So last year we let the Christmas letter go again, but this year I was determined to write it!

Gwenn has moved from our last child in elementary school to Barker Road Middle School since we last wrote. She has been taller than me since 4th or 5th grade and is now taller than her big sister. Gwenn is not interested in sports, so our schedule is nothing like it was when Beau was her age. She is a homebody for the most part and her interests are very similar to mine. Gwenn loves trying new recipes, although, Mark and I would both say her "failure rate" of recipes is well over 50%. I'm not saying she fails at following recipes, I'm just saying, more often than not, she does not like the things she tries to make. Gwenn also enjoys my flower gardens, although she rarely helps to maintain them, she loves to see the beautiful flowers and photograph them. Gwenn loves the family cats and is always vying for another one! We have three and for Mark & I, this is plenty! Gwenn plays sax also, but her drive is not there. She certainly has the musical talent, but at this point, she does not want to share her talents. With a voice that is developed well past her age, it breaks both Mark and my heart she will not share her gift. My hope is that someday she will... One of Gwenn's other gifts is photography, she has a great eye and has taken some very insightful pictures. Gwenn is also really good with little kids and enjoys them as much as Mark and I do. Her second cousin, Amariah (Jessica's daughter) and Gwenn have a very special bond. The last two Summers Gwenn has volunteered at Peacemakers, a program that brings city children and suburban children together at our church, but is not religious based. Amariah went to the program, which helped both she and Gwenn do something out of their comfort zones. Gwenn hasn't found her drive/calling in school, but she has many talents that are not academic. I see her as being very much like me in many ways, with the exceptions of not being as comfortable socially and being far more musically talented than I! Middle school years are tough, but I think she is finding her way.

My life has taken many twists and turns over the last few years. As caretaker for our family, I remain incredibly busy, especially with medical needs and appointments. Taking on my MIL made life even more challenging, but it was a very fulfilling job in many ways. Knowing Mom was safe and cared for helped me let go of a lot of the stress I felt when she was living at Red Fox Run. Mark, was of course, incredibly grateful to me for taking care of his Mom. So his support, encouragement and love often kept me going. Mom and I bonded and I know much pain of past hurts disappeared. I had never felt like she had truly embraced me up until the years she lived with us. Mark and I have a great partnership, especially in stressful times we seem to pull strength from one another. We became even closer in the years with Mom. After her moving out, I started working outside the home part time. Since June of 2013 I've done a variety of different things, from senior care, being an aid to 2 UPK boys diagnosed with special needs, subbing in Brighton Schools, subbing in a UPK/childcare and even doing gardening work outside my own home. I continue to volunteer for Dream Factory, Holy Childhood and I added the city school my grandniece is in this Fall. I still struggle with taking care of me and need to figure out how to do this better, so I can continue to care for my family well. The truth is, it's a long haul with Teale, we know she needs us for many years to come, so Mark & I need to work out the right balance as we live life as parents, partners and caregivers. For the most part, I believe we do this well, but as we age, I see health issues creep into our & the lives of those around us. This makes me realize the power of stress on health. Learning to find ways to release that stress through exercise, prayer, meditation, etc, is a goal of mine. Blogging is also a release for me, so finding the time to blog more is another a goal.

Mark, what can I say??? He is the BEST! He continues to love and care for each of us with strength, courage and humor. We are all so very Blessed to have him as our husband, Father and friend. Last February we took a leap of Faith and he left The Childcare Council for a job with NYS. His managerial position at CCC was better pay, but there was not as much hope for the future as there is in the state job. So, two steps back to take three steps forward, eventually. I believe it was the right move and Mark has been seen as a very valuable part of the team in his new position. There are a few more opportunities for personal growth at the state level, so in the end, I am sure he will be even more successful. His playing the sax out has increased a great deal in the last few years. Connections to the Rochester music scene are tight and Mark continues to gain respect by many. The biggest news besides the job change, is that Mark now owns his DREAM, a Selmer Mark VI sax. Thanks to his big brother Scott, who had the vision to start a fundraiser for Mark & the hundreds of friends and family who chipped in their hard earned dollars. Scott was able to raise over $6000 for Mark to buy his dream sax. If only I could put into words what this gift has meant to us. Mark has compared it to the movie It's a Wonderful Life, I have compared it to being at your own funeral. Morbid, but much truth, we as a couple really learned how loved and respected Mark is. As his brother, Scott said, at Mark's 50th un-Birthday party this last Summer, Mark is the richest man in town! Not only was it an unbelievable amount of money to be raised, but most of it was raised in less than 48 hours! I have said to Mark, it is really not about the money, it is about the number of people that believe in him. Thank you to Scott for having the idea and for all the many contributions! Last weekend Mark drove to the Albany area and bought his dream sax! We are all basking in the love and God's presence that made that purchase possible!

In August of 2014, Mark and I celebrated our 25th Wedding Anniversary. We had a renewal of vows ceremony at Mt Rise UCC, the church we have attended since shortly after our marriage in 1989. We then held a party at our home for family and friends. The event and the day was all I had hoped for. Mark and I are a very Blessed couple and the renewal of vows just affirmed our deep love and commitment to each other, our marriage and to God.

May I never have to do a catch up letter again! Merry Christmas and may your 2016 be as Blessed as we have been by you!
With love,
Ellie, Mark, Beau, Teale & Gwenn 

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Two Years Ago & the Dream is Coming True


Mark wrote this two years ago for his Mom's memorial service. I have thought much about the words I hi-lighted below, as the money has come pouring in. Mark spelled out his dream in this letter to his Mom and it is going to happen... It just seemed appropriate to share this letter on the morning of the two year Anniversary of MIL's passing. 
After all, the stars all seem to be aligning. Scott's vision has been a huge success & we have found a few Selmer Mark VI tenors right here in town for Mark to try out. Actually, he has one on loan right now & played it at a gig last night! There is so much to be thankful for in our life together, we have been Blessed by good friends and much love. But watching my sweet husband get something that he never saw as a possibility, well, that has been a true joy!  
Congrats my love, because, in the end, the money donated was given by many people who believe in you and that is the greatest gift of all. 



Dear Mom,

I will never have to look very far to see or realize the lasting effects of your life on mine.  From the car I now drive, to the saxophone I play, to the Christmas music I enjoy, and even to my wife’s name.  And though the Toyota will someday be traded in and I might move on, the good lord willing, to a Selmer Mark VI tenor, I will always have the music you put in my heart.
 
So many Saturday afternoons of my youth were spent listening to Will Moyle’s Essence of Jazz show on WXXI, during which you would inevitably hear a tune that inspired you to walk over to the piano, pick out the right key, sit right down and launch into the song, singing and playing, filling the entire home with a joyful noise.
 
Sunday mornings meant off to this very church, good old Mt. Rise, to worship God, and to sing with the choir.  Again, your beautiful voice would fill the sanctuary, and though shy, little Markie was often embarrassed by the fact that his mom was up there, seemingly singing above all the rest, I secretly was so very proud that you had such a beautiful, sweet, yet powerful and commanding set of pipes.

One might think that a young boy who had lost his father at such a young age, as I did, might have unpleasant memories of his youth.  And yet, I have none of that.  Our days on Red Fox Run were, in my memory, filled with happiness. And while I was well aware that the makeup of our family was different from almost everybody else’s in the neighborhood, I did not long for anything more than what we had; what you worked so hard to establish.

And perhaps the most meaningful lessons you taught me were in your last years.  When you first came to live with us, I thought to myself,  “this will be cool; Mom can hang out downstairs, do what she wants, we can visit with her and we’ll have a built in babysitter!” 
I soon came to realize that that wasn’t the case. Taking care of you was often difficult and time consuming.  But the experience was also rewarding and consequential to myself, Ellie jr., Beau, Teale and Gwenn.  We learned that families ought to stick together, we learned to give back and we saw the grace of God moving in countless others who would out of the kindness of their hearts pick you up and take you to choir, out for lunch or to a concert. 

Mom, I owe you so much.  And yet if you were here I know you would say, “don’t be silly.”  I will be eternally thankful for so many life lessons you passed on.  Until my dying days I will remember the good times: Our yearly camping trips, waking up Christmas morning with the sliding door shut, calling out to Scott downstairs through the heating vents to coordinate our joint convergence on the presents under the tree, seeing you in the hallways at Jeff Road, tap dancing to “Put on a Happy Face”.  God is good.  Thank you, Mom. I love you. 

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Thank You!

Two days ago my brother in law had a genius idea to raise funds for my sweet hubby to get the sax of his dreams. Neither Mark or I knew of this plan & if we had, I'm not sure we would have approved. After all, the world is full of people who truly need things. Mark's dream of owning a Selmer Mark VI tenor sax has always seemed frivolous in our life of many challenges. But as life has gotten somewhat more stable, Mark has had more time to play in more bands. His Yamaha tenor is a fine instrument & has earned Mark much respect, but Scott is right, Mark deserves better. He doesn't want for much in this world. He's one of the nicest men and this I can say with true conviction, because I'm the lucky woman who gets to share life with him. I know there are many needs that families have, heck, we basically live paycheck to paycheck, so there are times I'm not sure how we'll pay our living expenses. Mark's gigs aren't frivolous to our family, they are much needed income. There have been many expenses in our life with our special needs daughter, Teale. Some of which are tough to explain. Money that disappears before our eyes & sometimes I'm seriously just not sure where it has gone. The biggest loss has been a steady earning income. There have been many challenges & changes we've made to keep Teale home in our care. My being able to take her to all her appointments & be home for after school & school vacation care has not only been nice, but a necessary need. Mark has the abilities to make "extra" income by using his gift of music. The new horn will give Mark the power to compete for more gigs, which will equal more financial stability for our family. So in closing, it may appear crazy to own a $5000 sax, but it has more earning power. So my sincere thanks to Scott and the many contributions from all our friends, known & unknown! We are truly the most Blessed couple I know!

https://www.crowdrise.com/aninstrumentforahero

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Posts from Facebook, to quickly update our Blog followers



Update on Teale's kidney issues;

Kidney function is not returning to normal. Also there is thinning of one kidney wall. At this point we are unsure if it's all from Lithium damage?
Official diagnosis is Chronic Kidney Disease.
High blood pressure med starts ASAP...
Eco cardio gram to check heart b/c high blood pressure could have caused damage.

Teale is at respite for the weekend. The quiet of the house gave me time to reflect on the latest medical news.

Second morning with Teale at Respitewood, somehow life without her here is both peaceful & painful.
There's never a day that goes by that I don't have at least one fleeting thought, wondering what she would have been, without the brain damage occurring at birth. Many may think that such yearning is wrong. Many may think I should let it go. I'm open & honest about our life with Teale, so I'm sharing this very deep feeling about me. I may somewhat have let go of what Teale should have been, but I have also accepted that it doesn't make me a bad person to sometimes grieve what she should have been.
I wonder if she would have been musical, what her talent would have been? Would she have had a beautiful voice or played a mean sax? I wonder if she would have had many friends at PMHS, played sports, wanted to go to a college far away or nearby? I wonder what she would have become as an adult & if she would have been a wife or a mother?
I may never totally except my daughters fate in this world, but that doesn't make me not except her.
I've told the following story to some, but the latest medical issues have me thinking about this much again.
When I was pregnant with Teale we knew she'd be born with gastroschisis. A friend of ours did some healing massage & Reiki on me several times. Our friend was Native American Indian & invited me to a healing circle with other Native American Indians.
Mark & I went on a Sunday afternoon to a round house in Fishers. What happened there has never left us. There were ceremonies we watched & then I was asked if I was open to having a laying of hands. With the exception of the one friend, I had several "strangers" lay their hands on my pregnant belly. Some touching, some just hovering. After several minutes people shared what they felt the spirit of our baby was telling them.
Some of the statements have never left us; She had a strong, incredible spirit & much energy. She chose Mark & I as her parents. She chose her path. Her gastric issues would be a low priority of the many other issues that would surface.

Teale is the heart of our family. She both bonds us & divides us. She centers us & helps us to believe in our abilities to help her. She teaches us the most & tests our patience & our tenacity.
Remembering ~ "Teale chose her path" brings me the most peace. So even though I often wonder "the what if's." I also know we are living a life with a spirit who wanted to teach us & hopefully we are learning the lessons well.

Prayers are all we need. We don't know the path this will take us on, but to be surrounded by love & light will keep us strong.