Faith and Sharing Retreat

Jean Vanier, founder of L’Arche, felt everyone, regardless of ability, should be given an opportunity for spiritual growth and expression. Out of that conviction came a retreat and small group experience called Faith and Sharing. In many cities in which … Continue reading

Men For Others

Monica is so excited that St. Ignatius High School is hosting a Dress Down for Downs Day again this year! The students are donating money to the Upside of Downs to help families that have a family member with Down Syndrome.

St. Ignatius HS Cleveland Dress Down for Downs October 30, 2015

St. Ignatius HS Cleveland Dress Down for Downs October 30, 2015

We started this blog to give encouragement to families who are new to Down Syndrome. It should give hope to see what a great life Monica has!

At St. Ignatius, the students live a motto of Men For Others. Like her brothers, Monica also gives service in many ways. She is also donating to the Upside of Downs. She will contribute one dollar for every person who views her blog the same day St. Ignatius has the Dress Down, October 30th.

Monica is also busily knitting baby hats as part of our St. Angela parish-wide day of service FIAT “Faith In Action Together.” Handmade baby items will be donated to Womankind, a maternal and prenatal care center. She continues to collect tabs from soda cans for Ronald McDonald House.

Thanks for reading!

Baby Hats

Baby Hats

Collecting tabs

Collecting tabs

Gratefulness for a Life

When we say our evening prayers, each person in the family says what they are thankful for that day. We are always thankful for each other and a roof over our heads and food on the table. Sometimes we get bogged down with other concerns and forget how much there is to be happy about.  If you listen to the news items today, it could all seem so sad. Physician-assisted suicide, abortion, challenges to marriage and family, quality of life debating, corruption in public figures are all serious concerns. Listening to Monica’s nighttime gratefulness puts everything where it should be. Yesterday was Monica’s birthday, so she had extra items to be thankful for, but nearly every day her list is this long.

Last night Monica said:

“I am thankful that I was born. I am thankful that I went to Mass. I am thankful that the waitresses sang Happy Birthday and brought me cake. I am thankful that I took muffins to my co-workers. I am thankful that I got to give the blanket to Hillary. I am thankful that Danny came to dinner. I am thankful for the balloons and everyone texting me and calling me and emailing me to say Happy Birthday.”

Cake from the waitresses at special breakfast out

Cake from the waitresses at special breakfast out

Blanket Monica made for her friend's new baby

Blanket Monica made for her friend’s new baby

Birthday dinner at home

Birthday dinner at home

A lot of birthday gifts!

A lot of birthday gifts!

I don’t think anyone in the family receives the kind of attention that Monica receives on her birthday, but it is clearly because it is reciprocal! The rest of us are so much more reserved in our own expressions of kindness. Monica really does remember to send cards and call and text other people, not just for their birthdays, but if they are sick or to express sympathy for a loss or to congratulate for an accomplishment. She is always making gifts and going out of her way to show love to others.

 

2009 – Monica Age 17 – #1 Fan

An excerpt from Christmas Letter 2009

Monica was thrilled to be designated Fairview’s #1 Fan by the school principal at a pep rally this fall. She continues to love high school and all its activities. This fall she helped as a ball-return girl with the JV volleyball team until she had surgery on her hand for a trigger finger. Her classroom now consists entirely of special needs children. So while her academics are now at the right level for her, she misses socializing with her former peers, but she manages, and has a good group of friends throughout the school. This year she and Greg joined our parish youth group and they are both enjoying the activities there. During the summer Monica began to click with the piano after years of random attacks. It is amazing, she now smartly plays some simple classics with great enthusiasm. Another first for Monica was her participating in a special needs dance class. She loves the lessons and the friends.

Fairview Fan

Fairview Fan


Dance Recital

Dance Recital

This year Mary Ellen, Rebecca and Monica went to Florida for our goddaughter, Sarah’s wedding shower. She is Tim’s niece. Later the whole family went down for the wedding. It was beautiful and a great family gathering. The kids were all seated with cousins at the reception and we really enjoyed sitting with Tim’s siblings. We also took time to explore some remote sites in Florida.

Tug of War Team

Tug of War Team