"God doesn't give children with special needs to strong people; He gives children with special needs to ordinary, weak people and then gives them strength. Raising a child with special needs doesn't take a special family, it makes a special family."
" Faith makes life possible. Hope makes life workable. Love makes life beautiful."

The Winwards

The Winwards

Friday, August 16, 2013

Remembering my Dad

Really missing my Dad today. It's been over 3 years since he went back to heaven, but I miss him just the same. Watching this video of pictures brings back so many memories. I


Friday, July 19, 2013

The Invisible Mother

t all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I’m on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I’m thinking, ‘Can’t you see I’m on the phone?’
Obviously not; no one can see if I’m on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I’m invisible. The invisible Mom. Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more! Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this?? 
Some days I’m not a pair of hands; I’m not even a human being. I’m a clock to ask, ‘What time is it?’ I’m a satellite guide to answer, ‘What number is the Disney Channel?’ I’m a car to order, ‘Right around 5:30, please.’
Some days I’m a crystal ball; ‘Where’s my other sock? Where’s my phone?, What’s for dinner?’
I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history, music and literature -but now, they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She’s going, she’s going, and she’s gone!
One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England . She had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when she turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, ‘I brought you this.’ It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn’t exactly sure why she’d given it to me until I read her inscription: ‘With admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.’
In the days ahead I would read – no, devour – the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: 1) No one can say who built the great cathedrals – we have no record of their names. 2) These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. 3) They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. 4) The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything. 
A story of legend in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, ‘Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof, No one will ever see it And the workman replied, ‘Because God sees.’ 
I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was Almost as if I heard God whispering to me, ‘I see you. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does.
No act of kindness you’ve done, no sequin you’ve sewn on, no cupcake you’ve baked, no Cub Scout meeting, no last minute errand is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can’t see right now what it will become.
I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree. 
When I really think about it, I don’t want my son to tell the friend he’s bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, ‘My Mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for 3 hours and presses all the linens for the table.’ That would mean I’d built a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, he’d say, ‘You’re gonna love it there…’ 
As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we’re doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible mothers.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Just Because

For me, having a child with disabilities has been tough. The extra stress that comes along with it, and the worry is almost too much to handle at times.  It's racked our marriage to the point of breaking, and me as a person to the point that I wonder how I'll ever make it through. 
I get asked all too often how I handle it, or how I do it. I don't do it because I have too, I do it because I can. Because I love him! Because he has helped shape me into the person I am today.
Some days it takes all my strength just to smile and keep going.  Knowing that one day, what I'm doing will make a difference. I've been told that i'm such a strong woman. But its hard to feel that way, when I'm screaming on the inside for some normalcy. But what is normalcy, really? Society has painted normal to be something magnificent. Something practically impossible to obtain, especially for someone with "extras". 
I find myself getting bitter and angry because I didn't ask to be a special needs mom, it just happened.  Why me?  Why him? Why our family?  

One of the hardest things to deal with are the constant looks, stares, comments, and just plain ignorance from other people.  We get it everywhere that we go.  Yes, my son is in a wheelchair, but he is still my son. That is what matters most. It saddens me deeply how some people choose to treat others that are different.  Tanner's wheelchair has caster wheels that light up, and ironically that is the first thing and sometimes the only thing that people notice.  I wish more people in this world could see the person, and not just the wheelchair.  

A little reminder to please treat others as you would have others treat you and/or your child.

Thought of the month, August 2012 from You and Your Disabled Child page - 

"It's very easy to hurt the parents of a child with disabilities by ignoring or excluding the child, staring in disbelief, snickering, or looking away. On the other hand it's just as easy to make their heart swell with pride by responding to a smile, recognizing an achievement, offering inclusion or simply acknowledging the presence of the child. All parents - quite frankly - think their own children are wonderful, and those fortunate enough not to have to watch theirs struggle to cope with a disability should take a moment to think of the impact their reaction can have on those who do."

Friday, September 7, 2012

Scentsy & Me

I would like to announce that I am now a proud, new member of the Scentsy family and I am super excited about this!
I joined Scentsy because finances in our household are really tight.  I really want to have the option of staying home with my 2 beautiful boys, instead of getting a job. I also joined so I can feel like I'm accomplishing something, doing something for myself, and feel like I am contributing to the household. And I can have fun while I'm at it!  

I've never done anything like this ever before. So this is a new adventure for me. 

I love Scentsy products and you will too!  Have a look around my website, you'll be glad you did!

I am having a Go Get Em Launch Party

Help me reach my goal of $500 for my very first party! It's going on right now through September 22nd! Get that holiday shopping out of the way!

Take a look and click, click, click. We have some awesome stuff that anyone would love!! Remember to order online from the party and it ships right to your door...easy as pie. SO help me out to reach my very first goal! Just click on the link below and it pulls up my web page. You know you want to do it! The holidays are quickly approaching!


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Update on Us

Wow... it has really been a long time since I've posted anything.  I know I've said in the past that I would try to keep this up to date, and I do try.  It just doesn't seem to be happening.  Life sure does get busy and then I forget.

So here is an update on us....

Ray is doing well, works a lot, helps out as much as he can, and is a great father.  He always takes time to spend with the boys, even if its just a few minutes (even if its sleeping ) :)  He also shows our boys what its like to serve others, and is a great example to them.  He is still in scouting at church, and loves to go camping when he has the opportunity.

Star - I am still a stay at home mom and loving it. Some days are harder than others, but that's how life is. I find it hard some days to keep both my boys busy. Due to it being summer right now, it is too hot for Tanner to be crawling around outside. So we spend a LOT of time indoors.  I love watching my boys interact with each other, and watching them grow. I keep myself busy doing all the typical "mommy" things. I also help out in the library at church. While at home, when I have time, I still try to read. That is my "me" time.
This is the current "stack" of books that I want to read.

Tanner is now over 3 1/2.  He will be 4 in December, and I can hardly believe that he's that old already.  He will be attending preschool for 3-4 days a week, for 3 hours a day starting August 6th.  Although he currently is not standing or walking, he is getting quite efficient in his wheelchair.  He can go as fast as I can walk, and at times I find myself running after him. He loves his wheelchair, and I'm glad that he has it. It has given him so much independence and confidence. And for that I am so thankful. Tanner is totally into Marvel Hero's.  Although his absolute favorite is Superman.  He got new braces and picked red with superman decals on the back. To say he loves them would be an understatement.  Tanner loves being a big brother, and he is so good at it.  He can make Connor laugh so easily, and he loves to try to help.

Connor is now 8 months old and getting bigger everyday.  He can roll, sit, scoot backwards, army crawl, and is going to be crawling any day now.  He is so close, and I am so not ready!  It is amazing to me to watch the "typical" milestones after having a child with special needs.  Connor has such a big personality, and loves to make lots of noises.  He loves his brother, and is always trying to get in the "middle" of whatever Tanner is doing. He moves non-stop, so I know I've got my hands full with this one!!  The only time he is not moving is when he is asleep. Such a little ball of energy and amazement at the world around him.

Well, that just about sums it up.  Hopefully I can keep doing this, and catch up on our adventures between March and now.  :)
Over and out!  ~ Star

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


Tanner and Connor

Tanner loved Connor from the very first moment, and their relationship has gotten better and better as the days have gone by.  It is so fun for me as a mom to watch them grow together!  Tanner is such a great big brother, always wanting to hold and/or touch Connor.  Connor puts up with a lot.  He doesn't always stay happy, but he tolerates Tanner well.  Tanner can get him to smile so easily!  It's so cute!

Tanner holding Connor when we brought him home. 

Leaning in for a kiss

Trying to play and entertain

Showing the LOVE

Tanner sharing his trains with Connor

Talking to Connor

Holding Connor while he sleeps.  Tanner would hold him forever if I would let him!

Hanging out with each other

Helping brother sit up!  Notice how big Tanner looks compared to Connor!

Needless to say.... Mom sure loves her boys!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Tanner is THREE

Tanner is 3!!  

As I sit here reflecting on how much I love Tanner, my heart is filled with emotion!  He has changed me so much, and I think I've learned more from him than I could ever teach him! 

Tanner is now 3 and I really wonder where all the time has gone!  He is 39 inches tall and weighs approximately 35lbs.  He is getting so big and getting so independent.  He is usually smiling and has the best personality ever!  He loves to tease, sing, and talk.  When he was little I remember saying one time, "I can't wait until he can talk".  Well, he talks now and he talks a lot!  There are times now I wish I would have never said that! :)  Tanner knows his ABC's, and can count to 13. Why 13 I don't know... but he's so cute about it.  He gets to 13 and then he pauses and yells 20!!  He knows 7 colors and all the simple shapes.  He will be starting preschool in January, and I'm so excited for him!
His favorite toys currently are Thomas the train engines.  I was able to find some cheap off of craig's list.  Best purchase ever!  He plays with those trains nonstop. His favorite food is chicken nuggets with ranch & macaroni and cheese. He eats all the typical toddler finger foods.  His favorite snack is chips and dip.  He is a dipper.... if the food is dip-able, he will dip it!  He tells me all the time that he is a "Ranch Boy".  I think he's just a silly boy!

I found this poem online, and it reminded me so much of Tanner......

You weren't like other children,
And God was well aware,
You’d need a caring family,
With love enough to share.
And so He sent you to us,
And much to our surprise,
You haven’t been a challenge,
But a blessing in disguise.
Your winning smiles and laughter,
The pleasures you impart,
Far outweigh your special needs,
And melt the coldest heart.
We’re proud that we've been chosen,
To help you learn and grow,
The job that you have brought us,
Is more than you can know.
A precious gift from Heaven,
A treasure from above,
A child who’s taught us many things,
But most of all- “Real Love”

Tanner is now a big brother!  His brother Connor was born on 11/17/2011.  Tanner loves him to pieces.  He is always wanting to hold him, hug him, and kiss him.  There was a point about 2 weeks after we brought Connor home that Tanner was probably really jealous.  The conversation went like this.....
Tanner - "Mom, take Connor back"
Me - "Take Connor back where?"
Tanner - "To the hockpickle (hospital)
Me - "Why would I take him back to the hospital?"
Tanner - "He too noisy Mom."
Me - "But Mom loves Connor"
Tanner - "Sigh" "Ok, he can stay"

With each day Tanner is getting better and better about Connor being around.  He does have his days where he cries more easily or gets mad easier than other days. But he actually has done way better than I ever imagined he would.  And for that I am very proud of him. :)

This is another poem that I found on facebook that when I read it , it reminded me of how I feel about my Tanner. 

I Still would have chosen you 
- By Terri Banish 

If before you were born, 
I could have gone to heaven and saw all the beautiful souls, 
I still would have chosen you... ... ... 
If God had told me, 
"This soul would one day need extra care and needs", 
I still would have chosen you.
If He had told me, 
"This soul may make your heart bleed", 
I still would have chosen you.
If He had told me,
 "This soul would make you question the depth of your faith", 
I still would have chosen you.
If He had told me,
 "This soul would make tears flow from your eyes that could fill a river", 
I still would have chosen you.
If He had told me,
 "This soul may one day make you witness overbearing suffering", 
I still would have chosen you.
If He had told me,
 "All that you know to be normal would drastically change", 
I still would have chosen you.
Of course, even though I would have chosen you, 
I know it was God who chose me for you.

Mom loves you Tanner & I couldn't be prouder to be your Mom.