$37,000 To Help Change The World....


I started Happy Soul Project, simply as a way to tell the world my daughter had Down syndrome. What I thought would be an outlet of sorts for me and a space I thought my mom & girlfriends would read has instead turned into my purpose.


A purpose that I'm so passionate about, but still so surprised by. 


I still always assume that Happy Soul Project only reaches those on a similar journey to mine. So, when I hear that its influenced in any way, others on a different path, I'm taken aback. When a little girl in elementary school decides to write her speech on Pip & Down syndrome, when a family decides to adopt a child with special needs because of videos of Pip or when a group of over 100 Queen's University students "vote to choose a charity to fundraise for, & The Happy Soul Project wins by a landslide" - I'm seriously beyond humbled. 


I mean knowing people are out there believing in what you are trying to do, validating your ideas & helping make what you hope a reality, is such an unreal feeling. It's empowering really, it makes you believe in you and what you want to accomplish even more. 



For close to a year now, I've been working with the Vogue Charity Fashion Show & I've been amazed by the talent, creativity and time they've put into the show & fundraising efforts. And while raising $37,000 for Happy Soul Project Non-Profit Organization is RIDICULOUSLY, OUTRAGEOUSLY, AWESOME, it was hearing how passionate they were about the cause that moved me. 


The money is fantastic - I mean come on, I can't tell y'all how needed & appreciated it is. 
Through small donations & proceeds from my shirt & calendar sales, I've been able to send close to 5,000 Kick-It-Capes worldwide. But a few weeks ago our Non-Profit account held $68 - so with kids on our waiting list, material to be bought & capes to be mailed, this moula couldn't have come at a better time.


However, hearing about how working with Happy Soul Project has influenced students, hearing about how everyone on the crew was so in love with our work, hearing about how it spread positivity & inspired change - That's what I'm gonna walk away with ...


Well that & this gorgeous origami cape they made & this big fat cheque. Now let's get going on changing the world a wee bit more...


No doctor, no disability, no diagnosis...


Today I distracted my little girl as she saw specialist after specialist.
Today I held my little girl down as they tried to take blood & kept losing a vein.
Today I wiped away my little girl's tears & kissed her bruised up arms over & over.


Today I wanted to cry, scream & pack 'er in. Today was hard. 


However,


Tonight I preached to medical students the joy in having a child with special needs.
Tonight I proclaimed to medical students the value in ALL life. 
Tonight I challenged some medical students perspectives on disabilities & I got to be the voice for the unnecessarily negative outlook on a Down syndrome diagnosis.


Tonight despite today being so hard, I got to share our story & hopefully inspire a wee bit of change.


Because no doctor, no disability, no diagnosis can predict the extraordinary love someone will have for their child. 



No doctor, no disability, no diagnosis should define who a person will or can be. 



And no doctor, no disability, no diagnosis should ever, Ever, EVer, EVEr, EVER, {that's me meaning it} determine the value or purpose of somebody else's life. 




This is how I preach...So, Amen.

35 Ways to Have a Happy Life...


I'm 35 today...35

*Actually I'm 34 in this photo but thought it looked better then my yoga pants, baby-spit-up-sweatshirt, post-partum-breastfeeding-balding hair & no energy to wear makeup look I'm actually sporting as I turn the big 35* 


While each birthday brings with it reflection, for some reason this number, unlike the other's in my 30's, seems like a big deal. Like it's closure on one phase of my life & onward & upward to the next. In 35 years I've had some pretty outrageous moments, like skydiving, travelling the world, making a fake press pass & sneaking back stage to meet Ricky Martin, giving a Ted Talk & of course, becoming a momma to 3 hooligans. But like anyone, I've also experienced some heartbreaksnicker-induced-stressed-up-moments & challenges



But through it all, the tears & the laughter, one thing remains, I'm beyond grateful for my life, my story, what I've been given. So, I thought I'd share some things I do, that I truly think have made my life what it is...

  1. Be honest. With others & with yourself.
  2. Kiss your babies every night and as much as you can...Even though by bedtime they are driving you mad, snug them, love them, just be with them.
  3. Say thank you - It means a lot to people and you should appreciate what others do. Even if that is passing you a coffee in a drive-thru window - Thank people.
  4. Cherish those you love - Maintain friendships that are important, call your parents, love your siblings.
  5. Have an open mind to ALL things...Trust me, life is so much more interesting that way.
  6. Be silly - If riding the grocery cart like a skateboard to your van makes your kid giggle, who cares what the woman parked next to you thinks.
  7. Make things happen - Take risk - You only have one life to try.
  8. Read novels - Get lost in a book, it's good for your soul.
  9. Be interested in people...Really interested - Barbara Walter's the crap outta them, because everyone has a story to share.
  10. Apologize if you need to - If you're a twonk, recognize it and fix it. 
  11. Drink wine, beer or gin. Something - Have a good go to drink! 
  12. Flirt...Not in a sexual way but in a charming way.
  13. Realize life is never going to be what you pictured it and that's a good thing, a really good thing.
  14. Get angry, mad, sad or whatever at God/Fate/Karma or Whomever. Shout if you have to, cry if it helps. It's okay to grieve things before moving on.
  15. Help others - Do things for other people. Try to be the change the world needs in simple ways.
  16. Eat dessert...ALWAYS!
  17. Be genuine and real.
  18. Realize you're body, those wrinkles, that baby ponch is all a part of you now. It's not going away so learn to embrace every wrinkle as a laugh line, dress to fit your body so that you feel good & if ya can, do a crunch here and there.
  19. Do things that you normally wouldn't or that make you uncomfortable - Live abroad, join a new group, do something creative - Sometimes the very best of things come when painting outside the lines.
  20. Embrace, recognize and celebrate the differences within yourself and in others.
  21. Believe....Whether that's in God, Miracles, People, the goodness and hope that's out there - Whatever it may be just believe in something greater than yourself.
  22. Trust your momma gut when it comes to your babes...From how you parent them to how you fight for them.
  23. No Judging - EVER- literally...Who cares what other people do, love, believe, etc? Focus on living your life and that alone.
  24. Find your purpose...It's life changing when you do.
  25. Love your Home Team more than anything else on the planet...Work to always be the best Home Team you can be.
  26. Realize life can change instantly - so chillax, take each day, each moment one step at a time.
  27. Fight for something - stand up for something you believe in, advocate for people who need it or join others in a cause that's dear to your heart.
  28. Work hard at whatever you are working at.
  29. Let go sometimes and just be.
  30. Laugh...Laugh...Laugh...At yourself, others, anyway and time you can.
  31. Dream Big....Why not? Strive for things outta reach - A book, Ellen, more projects why not?
  32. Be the type of person you'd like to be friends with.
  33. Ask for help when you need it. I know it's hard, trust me, but let others use their time, creativity & talents to help you.
  34. Dance...At least once a day, in the van driving with your kids around, in the kitchen slow dancing with your husband, or have a little sway while you make dinner. Music, even if it's Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, is good for your soul.
  35. And finally think of one thing a day to be grateful for.







Home Is Where The Heart Is - Or something like that....


This house feels different.


Last year when I was 7mths pregnant, we sold our house & had to be out in 20 days - On top of that madness, the house we had an offer on didn't work out. So scrambling to find something we ended up renting a fan-freaking-tastic house, designed by a momma who not only put a shoe closet in a mudroom off the garage but thought to build a secret passageway between the kids rooms. 

*Pip pissed cause she wanted to sit by Theo*

Today I got to use permanent marker to add my 3 kids heights to a door frame, because today that house is now officially ours...


This house just feels different, because this house is the one that will hold all the memories we'll make as us - As our hometeam...All my babies will grow up here, Noal started school here, Theo was born here & Pip couldn't love it here more if she tried. 


This house is the one, that will hold all the stories that we'll remember later in our lives. This house is the one, that will get to feel all our laughter, shake because we dance way too damn much & see us in the ups & down & challenges of life.


This house is different & it is now ours. Y'all ready to see me get my inner-wanna-be-think-I'am-an-interior-designer on?

God is - Different Wins Again


I don't know if it's because I was brought up in a Christian home, a lot of my Facebook friends have "Jesus saved me type" posts with pictures of crosses or it's just a natural stirring to acknowledge what I once strongly believed. 


But Good Friday, always tugs at my heart. 


Today use to mean a lot to me and if you grew up in the 80's & 90's in a Born-Again-Christian-kinda-way, y'all know what I mean. 


Good Friday, Easter, He's ALIVE was a big deal - I mean I grew up with Crusaders, Carmen, DC Talk, WWJD bracelets & Jars of Clay. At one point I would have been in an Easter play at my gigantic-stadium-of-a-church or I would have been truly celebrating the hope, believing in what this weekend means to a Christian. 


Trust me, I get it. I do. I get feeling the passion having a faith can bring. 


But today, to me, God feels so different...

Now:

Today, I believe so differently.


"I believe that there is a God and I believe "God" is different for every single person on the planet. What a Catholic Nun feels as God, is different than what the old lady weeping in the pew feels. What a Jewish mother believes is God, is different than what a Muslim Father believes. What a Baptist Pastor knows as God, is different than what a Buddhist monk feels. What I feel, think, know as "my God" is beautiful to me because it is mine. What God is to my mother is just as beautiful because it is hers. So, maybe you find "God" in the beauty of nature, or in a song that touches you beyond words. Or maybe you feel a stirring in your heart seeing your life through your children or sitting in a pew hearing words that resonate within. Maybe you find peace in knowing yourself, being connected to something greater than yourself or in seeking out help in others. For each and every person finding "God"- that love, peace, refuge is different and I for one, love the beauty in that..."


The Pentecostal in me wants to end this post with a "He's ALIVE-all-tambourines-and-Maranatha-Music-style".


But, I'll keep it simple, and end instead with Amen.








Disclaimer because I know this subject gets personal - And gets personal real-damn-FAST!!! This is strictly my opinion on what God is to me. It's in no means any disrespect to whatever God, religion or faith you live by. It's strictly my thoughts, on my life, in my journey thus far...