Friday, April 25, 2008

Laws of Life

Brilliant daughter Anna, was one of the winners of an essay contest called "Laws of Life". It is sponsored by the Dollars for Scholars organization for 7-12 grade students attending Mankato Schools. Anna's story is about a young girl who has inspired her. Her name is Emily Brose.

Here is the award winning essay and a couple of photos of Anna receiving her award.

Inspired by a Friendship
By Anna Nolan

When we think of someone that we admire we think of someone who is great, famous, or who has changed the life of thousands. When I think of someone I admire, I think a little closer to home. The person that I admire is strong, both of mind, and spirit, she is brave and selfless. Also, she is compassionate and she is a great friend. She is also different; different because she has Down syndrome. I have learned so much from her and I think that she is one of the greatest people I know.
Down syndrome is a genetic disorder. It is caused by the presence of all or part of an extra 21st chromosome. It is a form of mental retardation. People with Down syndrome usually have a distinct physical appearance. They also might not be able to talk. Despite all of this she is still absolutely amazing. I knew all of this from the moment I met her.

Before I met her I had not really ever spent time with a person who has a disability. I admit that before I met her, I became very nervous. My hands were sweaty, and I was extremely uncomfortable. When she came out, she said hello to me, normal as anything, and I said hello back. One of the first things I noticed was that she has an amazing personality. After that, I realized that just because she has Down syndrome, does not mean that I should not get to know her. This was the first of many things that she has taught me.

Afterwards, we started to hang out more, and this is when I learned many new things. For example, I learned to always get to know someone before you make false assumptions. Also, I learned to always persevere and not to give up. One of the most important things I have learned is that everyone has challenges in their life, some have more than others, so you should not give up no matter how hard it becomes. She is thoughtful and kind and she has a great spirit.

Being her friend is an honor. I would like to learn more from her. For now though, she has taught me some things that I am sure I will carry with me for the rest of my life. Yes, she is different, but that does not make me not want to be her friend. I think that if we all had the same outlook on life that she has, the world would be a better place, for everyone.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

It's Here

Spring is an interesting time of year. I remember when I was young girl, the calves on our farm would get themselves into a lot of trouble in spring. They would bash each other a good deal and get tangled up in places they didn’t belong. They bubbled with energy and their wobbly legs didn’t move in the ways they intended. They stumbled around a lot.

Teenage families are a lot like that. Spring brings out mischief and uncertainty and bashings. Teenagers, more than any other "agers", feel that intense craving for movement. They are using limbs, which have grown unweildy over the winter, in ways they haven’t in awhile. Lots of things get broken in the spring including windows and furniture and bones. Sometimes hearts too, but that's another blog entry altogether.

Teens are also feeling overwhelmed with deadlines at this time of the year. Most of their big projects are coming due next month. They are crabby.

Our house needs to be held upside down and shaken. It needs a spring cleaning of biblical proportions. It needs a hosing off and a blowing dry like never before. And lots of stuff needs fixing. We are crabby too.

I’m going to go sit out in the sunshine on the deck and ignore the mess a little longer. It will be there when I get back.

Monday, April 14, 2008

What's Next?

We have been home now for exactly as much time as we were away. I miss it desperately. I miss having something new to learn every day. I miss the hustle of moving my family across the planet. I miss meeting new people.

Earlier this week Anna came into my room. She was sad. She said she misses it too, misses the adventure and excitement, but mostly misses the closeness of our family crammed into some hotel room or airplane. She said that now everything is back to normal and it makes her lonely.

Everyone is filling their days and nights with friends and projects and work, and we don't focus so much on each other. She said she hates how fast the time is going and can't believe that Jack will be graduating from high school and leaving this time next year.

I couldn't agree more