They’re watching.

8 Jul

This morning I woke up, and my son was smiling in his sleep.

He doesn’t know what is going on in our world right now.
He’s oblivious to it. For that, I’m thankful.

But then, I began to think about all the children who DO know what’s going on.
What this means to them, how it affects them, and what they are thinking.
While we are all caught up in our own agendas, our thoughts, our actions;

Our children are watching.

So what will we do?

We will stand up for what’s right, but do it with respect.

We will share truth, as raw and as real as it is.

We will take action, but we will not support violence of ANY kind from ANYONE.
You cannot support the Black Lives Matter movement, by taking the lives of innocent officers who truly believe in protecting and serving.

We will be honest, We will be real, We will be authentic.

We won’t excuse our emotions, but we won’t let them control us nor make us lose control.

I’ve heard children asking, am I doomed because I am black? I’ve seen kids wonder and even question if they’re “black was even beautiful” because society keeps telling them that it’s bad. It’s wrong.

Working in Outreach, I see so many children from various backgrounds just trying to fight poverty, not even knowing the fight that stands before them due to their sex or color of their skin. It’s a completely different kind of war.

We must teach our children that LOVE is the greatest gift on Earth, and that God loved us so much, he made us all very different and beautiful like that colors of a rainbow.

We must teach them that not everyone has gotten the memo, and that YES, in this world you may be treated differently because of your skin color, your academic level, or whatever fill in the blank hate chooses.

We must teach them and PREPARE them to deal with whatever situations they may find themselves in due to them being who they are.

We must teach them that not ALL of one group is bad, and that hate can come in any form.

We must teach them that despite what history has shown, Black Lives Matter. Latinos Lives Matter. White Lives Matter. THEIR LIVES Matter.

So as I watch my son sleep, I want to remind you to stay encouraged, hold on to hope, and remember, They’re watching.

Until Next Time, Much Love,
MRSSPJ

Dear Perfect Parent,

25 Apr

Or shall I say, to the parents I see out and about staring at me, sometimes pointing,  and piercing me with their eyes while my child is having a moment.

I see your eye rolls.  I see your glares.

I see you mouth the variety of statements from the following choices of:

“she has no control over her child”
“my child never acted like that”
or my favorite
“she needs to give him a good spanking”

Yep. I see it all right along with my fellow parents of children  deemed “different” “special” or “misbehaved”.

We see everything. But what is sad is, that you don’t.

You don’t see how desperately we want our children to be on their best behavior.
You don’t see how we want them to enjoy the same activities that your children do.
You don’t see the constant appointments that turn into disappointments, the desire to do what’s best for your child but at times not knowing what that is or even means, and you don’t see the pain that YOU cause, by  your actions.

I can’t tell you how many times YOUR actions have caused me to second guess mine.
How I have sat at a table holding my child with severe anxiety in my hands and tears rolling down my face because at times I don’t know what to do or  how to keep the world from spinning around me in slow motion, to only look at you staring across the way, judging me.

I try to be strong, I need to be strong, for my child, but your judgement, your ridicule, your disgusting lack of respect for my child and situation, make a difficult situation even worse at times. When you have a child that is already labeled “different” and reacts to life on edge at times, you simply want to crawl in a hole somewhere, and there you are, ready to throw dirt on top and bury me.

Perfect parents, I’m sorry my child is keeping you from enjoying your perfect little world. Perfect teachers, I’m sorry my child doesn’t learn the way you teach. Perfect family members & friends, I’m sorry the way I’m raising my child doesn’t line up with what you all did “back in the day”.

I’m raising my child, I’m loving him, and I’m fighting for him along with a large majority of parents out there still learning how to find the right resources for their children and fight for their needs. At times, all I can do is pray because I’m trying so hard to “love like Jesus” when your actions make me want to go off on you in public and say things which Jesus would definitely not approve of. But I leave you with this-

When you see a child having a moment in public, think long and hard about how you respond. Before judging them, before putting them in categories, and deeming  my parenting “unfit” in your eyes, just stop and think- there’s a chance it couldn’t be what you think. The child having a moment could be struggling with a disorder, disability, etc.
Everything can’t be seen with the naked eye.

To those people who are supportive- I’m not talking to you. I love you. I thank you. You give the “high fives” when moments are rough.

To my fellow mamas and papas of these special children God has blessed you with, don’t lose hope. I get it. I know it’s tough and people are mean. But we can do this. God gave us these awesome children for a reason.

Until Next Time, Much Love

SPD MOM- Steph

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The Black Post

18 Feb

Guess what?

I’m Black.
(as if you couldn’t tell with the picture to the right of this post)

But I am.

Which means…. The current state of race relations in America and the things people say about my  brothers, sisters, friends,etc sometimes frustrate me to no end, and at other times they make me sad. So in lieu of Black History month, and well, me, being black, there are just some things on my mind I just have to express.

You see, you can’t understand certain experiences unless you have them.

You don’t know what it’s like to have people stare at you when you go in the store like you are going to steal something, just because you are black.

You don’t know what it’s like for people to express “how smart you are” or “how proper you speak” as if a black woman who is intelligent is something unheard of. (GASP)

You don’t know what it’s like to have people constantly accuse you of only caring about current politics because our president is black. (Come on people, really?)

You don’t know what it’s like to witness an African American man, who COMPLETELY deserved the sports honors he received  get called “thug” and the one that makes my skin cringe the most, “boy”.

You don’t know what it’s like to see your people in the streets fighting for justice and equality be called “thugs”, while white men do the same and are called “armed militia”

Yep. This is the world we live in.

So because of the melanin in my skin and because I have this burning desire to do so, I have to say something! I just have too. These are the things, my blackness wants to scream from the rooftops:

Number 1 : When you say, Love sees no color, you are right. But guess what? Racists do.

Number 2. Black Lives Matter, isn’t saying that the lives of others don’t. Every time you see #blacklivesmatter just add the adverb “too” on the end, k?

Number 3: We don’t care how many black friends you have. The number of black friends you have doesn’t qualify you for some type of program, badge, etc..
(I still don’t get this one)

Number 4: My hair, is my hair, because it’s the hair God gave me. Rather it’s straight, curly, kinky, relaxed, or natural it’s mine and I can do all kinds of things to it. Oh and no, I didn’t magically grow braids over night, they are extensions.

Number 5: There is nothing you can say to me, that will convince me that Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Walter Scott, Sandra Bland, and the list continues that these people should be dead. NOTHING.

Number 6: Refers back to Number 5, don’t tell me that race didn’t play a part when you have people like Dylann Roof getting burger king after killing 9 people.

Number 7: No, I don’t have a baby’s daddy, yes my husband and I are married, and yes we are doing fine. It does happen. Don’t believe everything you see.

Number 8: Black Panthers were NOT terrorists. They were PROTECTORS. They ran free breakfast programs, sickle cell anemia screenings, and so much more. They wanted to show love for a people at a time where black people were forgotten most. They EMPOWERED black people and stressed that “black was beautiful” when the world said it was NOT.

Number 9: Saying I LOVE black people, and I LOVE being black, doesn’t mean I hate everything else. We should all love ourselves. Stop trying to turn Self Love, into <INSERT GROUP HERE> hate.

Number 10: God is love, he loves you, he made us all different and that’s okay. But don’t disregard my blackness.

This my friends, is my black post. Things I’ve been screaming to say on the inside, but maybe haven’t.

I still love you’ll!

Oh yeah, and #blacklivesmatter (too)

Until Next Time, Much Love,

Stephanie🙂

P.S. – I love you’ll.. I hope you (STILL) love me🙂

 

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When you Look At Me…

19 Jan

DSC_0721.jpgThere’s so much I want you to see.

The Joy.
The Journey.
My Life.
A girl who once hated being so short (but now embraces it)
Who always rocked the FIVEhead but is convinced my brain is so full that it shows!
A woman who loves God FIERCELY and so SERIOUSLY.
Someone who gets up everyday (although sometimes I just want to lay in the bed),
to be a wife, a mother, and someone there for my family and friends.
I’m also committed to loving people, especially those who sometimes feel unloved.
I desire to always be authentic and kind, but to not be afraid of expressing my TRUE thoughts.

When you look at me..
I want you to see someone who God loves, faults and all,
and I want you to know he loves you too.

I welcome 2016, and all that it brings.
When you look at me, I hope you see me for who I really am.

Until Next Time, Mrs. SPJ🙂

My Sensational Little Boy

12 Oct

DSC_0896Welp (takes deep breath in), here we go.

Recently, I know many people have wondered about some of my posts on social media and just because I believe in being open and educating others, I’ve decided to write this post.

You know, I always knew there was something a little different about my Christian. One day I came into his  classroom at daycare and asked, “Where is CJ?” They pointed over to a corner, where he played quietly and ran around in circles and the teacher said, “Oh, he’s over there….You know Cj”, she said, “Always away from everyone else in his own little world.”

After that day I started really noticing things a little more  than what people call typical toddler behavior. We would go on play dates and he wouldn’t interact with and almost seemed to fear other children.There was a significant decline in his speech. My greedy child, began refusing several foods. He would obsess over bright lights,movement, the TV .
I’d watch him run back and forth for an extended amount of time then crash into the walls, or stairs, etc.
Bedtime which use to be a breeze, turned into my child getting up hysterical MULTIPLE times at night, sometimes wandering in the dark in tears. My child seemed to not only be super sensitive but completely devastated when he couldn’t communicate, or when he didn’t understand, which would cause him to bang his head on the wall, the floors, etc.
I remember becoming the google freak and trying to figure out what was going on with him, and yet I found nothing. It wasn’t until Christian’s 2 year appointment where the doctor started asking me those key milestone questions. I found myself saying, “Well yes he does that, well wait, no, well wait…” And I remember eventually saying, “Doc, I’m not sure what’s going on but I have some concerns”, only to find out he had similar ones.

I was given this ridiculous test (yes I find it ridiculous, that’s another whole rant), where my son’s scores showed some red flags, and the “A” word was brought up which left me as a flustered mom,  but still with no answers.

Then I was referred to a Pediatric Therapy Center (What a Godsend!), and they gave me the answers I was looking for. They were so sweet with him, so patient, and after several evaluations, etc…, all the therapists had the same diagnosis.

You see, my boy is Sensational (of course!) but to put it more blatantly, My son has Sensory Processing Disorder.

So what does that mean?

Well, kids with SPD have trouble organizing and interpreting information received by their senses, which means they have extreme reactions to various sensations. Sometimes his reaction, although it makes no sense, is the reaction his brain is telling him to make. We are all constantly processing sensory everyday, but that’s just a little different for my little one. Christian, is what they call, a “seeker” which means he craves sensory interactions, and it is through those interactions he may be able to calm down and focus. I find the scary thing about having a seeker is that they will sometimes push the limit and do things that often seem dangerous to other children.

“Just as we need a foundation to build a house we need effective sensory processing for the development of our skills. If we are unable to process information on this foundation level we are required to pull in higher cognitive functions to help make sense of our world…(Sensational Kids

Let me tell you this right here: You don’t realize the role and how your brain interprets your senses  in everyday living, until you have a child with SPD. You don’t realize how much your life is affected by simple things, things like lighting, when your child freaks out because the lights are too low or not high enough at a restaurant or when your child refuses to eat certain foods because the feeling of them is causing problems. You also  don’t realize how sweet the word “Mommy” is, until your child can’t say it even if they know that’s who you are.

As his mother, I love him for who he is. I love him even if he freaks out over little things.
I love him even when he refuses a new food and takes his socks and shoes off within seconds of having them on.
I celebrate him for who he is as well as every accomplishment!

Which means, I urge you strongly not to question my parenting skills when it comes to my child because I’m doing the very best that I can. I will let him run wild in a field where he feels free if that’s what he needs. If we walk in a room and there are too many people and he feels the need to lay on the floor, I will not only allow it, but I may even get on the floor with him. His father and I have decided to embrace the situation, and we will expose him to things so he can learn and grow.
I’m sorry if that means sometimes his outbursts or ways of coping, disturb you. Actually no, I’m not sorry. This is MY child, and while it may be difficult in knowing what his triggers are, I’m not going to not expose him, just so you can be comfortable. (Sorry, I’m not sorry)

October is Sensory Awareness Month so I want to not only celebrate my precious little one, but all the other children out there dealing with SPD! Cj is currently in speech Therapy, and will be starting Occupational Therapy soon to help him learn how to self regulate. We are also looking to get him into a program where he will really get even more of the help he needs which has this mama super excited!!! I’m just trying to read and learn all I can about SPD and Christian’s father and I are doing everything we can to help our son!

So that’s what we’ve been dealing with for the last few months.My heart goes out to the other parents of SPD kids. I know sometimes it gets hard, and you don’t know what to do, or you wonder if you are strong enough to do this, but guess what? You can do this. And you will. We are all in this together.

I’m thankful for my loving friends and family who have been so supportive and caring during all of this! You know who you are! I’m also grateful for the support of a Private SPD Facebook Group and the other organizations out there working to find out more information on SPD!!!

For more information, check this book out: Out of Sync Child

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                                                                   My Sensational 2 year old, Christian                                            

Note: Christian is wearing a shirt from Imperishable Clothing Co; Jeans: AllDukedUp Beanie: N.A.E. Creations
(because someone always ask me where his clothes came from! )

P.S.- If you see someone out with a child who seems to be what you call “bad”  or “hyperactive” THINK before you give evil looks, etc.. This child may have SPD.

Until Next Time, Much Love, Mrs. SPJ

I MET a man.

6 Oct

I met a man yesterday.

20151005_131440You see, I had seen this man a few times before kinda hanging out around this local Chinese food spot.

One of our CI Babies (what we call kids in our program) who went through the program years ago, needed a ride to meet this tow truck company. She had been waiting for months to get her car and today was the day. She finally got her keys back from a relative, and I told her I’d take her to get her car!

When we pulled up, this man (who is always friendly I might add) came over with joy,
“You are finally getting your car!”, he said to the young lady.

She was eager and he was so happy for her. Her car had sat in that parking lot for months and now she was going to be able to have it moved to a safer location, until the proper work was done on her car.

When the tow truck company arrived, this man offered some advice, and helped get her car safely onto the truck.
He then walked over to me, “Do you have a quarter?”

He asked me this the last time I saw him and I smiled.

“What are you going to do with a quarter?”

I wasn’t asking out of pure nosiness, but trying to figure out what this man would do with $0.25.

He responded, “Well If you give me a quarter, and others give me a quarter, Ill have just enough to go grab me a burger from McDonalds.”

I then said, “What is your name?”

He said, “Ronnie!”

“Ronnie, I don’t have a quarter-”

He simply thanked me anyway, but I wasn’t finished.

“I don’t have a quarter, but here’s what I can do. If you stay and keep V company, Ill run and go get you that burger from McDonalds”.
He smiled and said, “Okay, I can do that!”
I said, “What else?”

He looked shocked, and said “How about a Coke?”
“Well Ronnie, I can do that!”

I came back shortly, and handed Ronnie 2 cheeseburgers, fries, and a medium Coke.

He smiled and said, “I really appreciate that, I owe you one,” I simply replied,  you don’t owe me anything.

Jesus paid it all anyways right?

V hugged him and told him she would see him around. I asked her how she knew him, “He’s homeless but he’s a good man”.
I’ve always admired V’s determination to work hard to excel in life despite her circumstances, and her willingness to accept any and everyone.
I had seen this man before, but yesterday I MET him. He had a name. He knew cars because he worked on them before he became homeless.

You see, these people may be HOMELESS, but they had lives before (AND AFTER).
They are just like you and I with dreams, aspirations,etc.
If you peel back the heaviness and grunginess of homelessness, you will see that they aren’t just the annoying person on the corner hounding you for money. If you got the chance for a second to ask them their name, send them a God Bless you, and got to know them, you may find yourselves and God tucked away on the inside.

I’m saying alll of this to say, EVERYONE needs a little Sunshine in their life. There are people in this world that need to know that when they feel all hope is gone, there are rays like us, filled with God’s love, ready to spread it and shine down on the darkness an
d harsh realities the world throws our way.

Until Next Time, Much Love,

Mrs. SPJ🙂

A $10 and an I love you

30 Sep

So after the initial interruption in my last post where I blessed a mom with a mere $10, I went to Bible Study last Wednesday and something remarkable happened.
At the end of Bible Study, a woman handed me $10 to bless someone else. REALLY!??!?
I sat there literally in shock, and called the Women’s Ministry Director, Shannon, over at Rock Creek.
We both just held our mouths open, and when I finally got home, I said to myself, “Okay God, I see where you are going with this. I will save this $10 and bless someone else with it.”
I let the hustle and bustle of life, being a mom, and the weekend, occupy me, but I never forgot that $10.
I knew from the minute I was given the $10 who I was going to bless with it.

Ms. Oliver.
She’s a 53 year old amazing woman who took in 6 kids in her house to give them a place called home.
She’s such an amazing person, and I can’t imagine how big her heart is to take on a task that huge.
She gives these kids love, gets them to school and church faithfully, and gives everything she has to these kids.
The thing is though, it takes a lot out of her, and she struggles to do so. I called her on Monday and asked her what she needed and she said whatever I could bring. She had just got out of the hospital after being there for a few days and she wanted the kids to have the food. I began asking her what kind of food the kids ate and I just started creating a list. When I got to the grocery store, I realized my $10 and her list didn’t add up, but I was determined that I was going to get what was on her list, and not be guided by this $10 although that’s what prompted it.

I began placing in my cart, chicken nuggets, cereal, Crystal Light, Sandwich Meat, Cheese, etc. I was determined to get everything on her list regardless of the cost. I added quite a bit to the $10 and was thankful for the seed placed in my heart but was more happy that I’d be able to put a dent in what this family needed.

When I got to their home, Ms. Oliver was so thankful, and so was the youngest! I captured this cute photo of him in the kitchen while I put away the groceries!
20150928_134611She was so grateful, and as I filled her refrigerator I was completely humbled. She barely had anything in her refrigerator and in her pantry. I still think we can do more!!!

I share this with you, not for the “go stephs” or “bless your heart”, but I share this with you so that you can be encouraged to be a vessel, help others, and see people around you who may be struggling. Last night, as I left a work dinner, I met a homeless man in the middle of the street. He could barely be seen, but there he was just standing, looking for food, money, etc.After giving him some money I asked him his name. His name was Johnny and he was just really trying to find something eat. I assumed by the looks of it, he wasn’t a stranger to the streets and had been just wandering around downtown. I told Johnny I had to get home, but that I’d be praying for him and that I loved him. He looked at me rather shocked, and said well I appreciate that, I love you back, and you don’t know how much your smile alone, means to me.

This is what Jesus was about people! It’s not about doing good a few times of year and then going back to your cozy homes and lifestyles! It’s about loving on people, sharing with people, and being a friend to those, that others may turn the cheek to. It’s about loving people regardless of their past, their political party, their failures, and their horrible decisions. Last night I stopped in the middle of the street, and the light was green. Some people may call that crazy, I call it trusting God and KNOWING that he puts people in my path and me in places for a reason.

So I encourage you today, do something nice for someone else. Really SEE people, instead of just passing them by like so many other people in this world do. A great message from one of my favorite people (although he probably doesn’t know it), Greg Kirskey, encourages us to get back to the place where we see people as opportunities other than opponents. To hear the full message you can go here,


I’m still learning and growing, and trying to live my life more like Jesus!
Don’t worry, I’m always safe. I go with God.  I want you to just look around you and really SEE people and
the difference you can make.
To think, this week I’ve simple done it with a $10 and I love you.

Let’s make our lives missional people, instead of simply going on missions.

Until Next time, Much Love,

Mrs. Spj🙂

P.S.- If you aren’t ready to make a difference, or you aren’t sure how to begin, please pick my brain for ideas! At my job we work with over 3200 children and youth in poverty so I’m pretty sure I can find a way for you to give back and help.🙂

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