Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Worship Wednesday - God & Fashion

Fashion is about esteem, confidence, and sometimes, in ideal situations, artistic expression.  When God made Adam and Eve, they were created naked, and they remained naked, until they fell out of perfect relationship.  Then they built clothes out of leaves, what they had available.  Not because they were uncomfortable physically, but because they now needed masks.  That's what clothing, and fashion, is all about, mostly.  Create an image you want people to see you by, often create an image that manipulates people into acting a certain way towards you, which can affect how you live in public. 

Sometimes, very rarely, we use our clothes and our accessories to show the world parts of who we really are.  That's artistic expression.  Mostly, though, we show the world who we want to be, who we want others to see us as.  It helps us believe some of those things about ourselves when we can't do it in our own power.  This sounds sad, and it is a result of our living in a Fallen World(tm), but in some ways, it's a way we can fight some of the symptoms of living in a Fallen World(tm), too.  We are all of us, beautiful, brilliant, important.  To God, to each other, and to the Grand Scheme of Things(tm).  Otherwise, to be really honest, we wouldn't exist.  God is too meticulous for that.  Sometimes, we let ourselves, or others, or the Enemy, convince us otherwise.  That's where good fashion can sometimes come in.  We want to feel strong, we dress like a B.A.M.F (acronym for something I can share with you later, in private), whether that means like a biker for some of us guys, or a hot, boss chick for some of our ladies.  We want to feel beautiful, worthy, we try and get people's attention.  We want to feel loved and cuddled, sometimes we put on pajamas, or sweats, or something that will help us feel cozy.  That's a fashion choice, too.

The DiversAble Model Project, well, it recognizes that the fashion industry itself has become a tool for the devaluation of people.  Society, including ourselves, have created these images of what a perfect man and woman look like.  None of us look like them, and we all feel terrible for that.  People with DiversAbilities can get hit the hardest with this.  Others can work out, or diet, or have surgery, or change their clothes, and at least get closer to what they want to look like.  Most of the time people with DiversAbilities can't.  The DMP (DiversAble Model Project) tries to look away from the pretentious image we all hold to be the perfect man and woman, and tries to look towards the reality of all of our value in the eyes of God.  Then the DMP tries to remind people, models and allies and onlookers alike, that even if fashion is a mask to help us look like who we want to be, we really want to remember the beauty God sees in us, and that's why we celebrate the way he made us!

One day, we won't need fashion, as we'll be perfectly safe and welcomed.  Also, we'll probably be able to artistically express ourselves somehow else.  But, in the meantime, fashion is not bad, it's just a tool for coping with the fallen nature of our world.  Keep up the good fight. 

Support The DiversAble Model Project by placing an order at

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Tuesday Truth - #CutTheBull

Hey guys!

It's me, Curtis, and I wanted to talk with you guys about something that I think needs more limelight:  bullying.

First and second grades were the worst years of my academic career.  Schoolwork was never an issue for me, it was socialization.  I had always gotten on really well with adults, growing up.  It was the other children that were hard for me.  In first grade, I had found a small group of boys that I was fitting in with reasonably well.  I even pretended to really like the Power Rangers to fit in.  By the end of the year, and into the next one, something had gone horribly wrong. One of the boys was Guillermo and he was the ring-leader. His older sister was friends with my older sister.  There must have been some kind of falling out between the two, for Guillermo to wake up one day and say to himself, "I'm going to make Curtis' life a living nightmare!"  To be honest, I'm not one hundred percent sure what did happen, but I do know things became terrible for me.  They handcuffed me to a fence, with toy handcuffs, but when I tried to get away, they dragged me back.  Jason was still willing to be my friend, but only outside of school, so he wouldn't risk being ostracized with me.  I invited them to my seventh birthday, and Guillermo decided his time would be better spent elsewhere, so he left early, leaving me in tears over a birthday ruined.

Bullying is no joke!  Those early, formative years set the stage for the rest of my school career.  And to think, a child with Diverse Abilities is twice as likely to be bullied in school than a typically-abled child.  This is the motivation behind a movement that my wife and I truly believe in, and want to bring to the attention of all of you, out there.  #CuttheBull is a campaign, developed by Shriners Children's Hospital, meant to raise awareness of the bullying of DiversAble children, and bullying in general.  Check out their website and take the pledge at

Don't let bullies get away with this.  Join The #DiversAbleModel Project and #CuttheBull!

Support DiversAble people by placing an order on Mandi's CandI website:

Monday, April 27, 2015

Mandi's CandI Corner - Mandi CandI Stylebox

Do you know what I saw on the news the other day? It was a segment on the latest thing trending, particularly for women. It's the Surprise Stylebox! That's right, it is the thing to shop for this year.

As your personal Merchandiser and stylist, I've decided to help you get in on this latest trend. Beginning May 1st, I will be offering all of you a subscription to a Mandi CandI Surprise Stylebox!!+ This is a perfect way for you to stay in fashion + support The DiversAble Model Project*. Every box you receive will include at least one piece from our latest collection. If you live locally, or are willing to pick up your boxes, I may include extra goodies ;-)

Check out the image in this post to see all the great budget options I'm offering. Once you select your style, budget**, and frequency, or if you would like to discuss other Stylebox options, comment here, message me on Facebook, or email me at and I'll get you set up.

+This offer is EXCLUSIVELY offered by me; this is not a Chloe and Isabel wide opportunity
*A portion of all Stylebox proceeds will go towards upcoming events for The DiversAble Model Project
**Payment will be accepted via credit card on file, Paypal, or cash/money order (for locals)

Friday, April 24, 2015

Fashion Friday - Alicea Pratt Saldana

On August 2, 1992 a three year old little girl played near her tenth floor window in Brooklyn. Dad was out for breakfast, while mom awaited comfortably in her pajamas. Within seconds, the unthinkable happened. The window guard was loose and the little girl fell down ten stories! I am blessed to present the survivor of this horrific accident, Alicea Pratt Saldana:

She spent two years recovering from her fall and is paralyzed from the waist down. However, as you can see in the picture above, Alicea is no stranger to a good time! She will be 26 years old on May 20th and says her greatest accomplishment is the ability to live her life the way she's always wanted to. Alicea now lives in Freeport, Long Island and is very enthusiastic about The DiversAble Model Project. She joined the project because she believes it gives women with Diverse Abilities a chance to be seen as equals. The project allows women with Diverse Abilities to be just as fashionable as the next person!

Alicea, your joy in the face of all you've been through is encouraging! Your story is a reminder that anyone can become a person with Diverse Abilities. This is such an important reminder for people because the need for support and compassion is urgent. Thank you for being the feisty, fun, and strong woman you are!

Join the movement today by placing an order at

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Thankful Thursday - Angelica Tineo

Hey Everyone!

This is Angelica.  She's one of our son's Godmothers.  She and her husband Franklyn, they've been lifesavers for Amanda and I.  We've known them for a few years, but really, it feels like we've known them forever.  I thank God, often (probably like every week or so, give or take ;-), for these two, especially Angie.

As a lot of you may have read in my post on Tuesday, life can get a little hairy around here.  Since Little Bear was born, there are very few people that we've trust to take care of him, until more recently.  Angie is on that very short list.  She has done so much to support us in our everyday lives, that's almost enough to warrant calling her a DiversAble Ally with just that.  But there's more!

Even before Amanda started pursuing the DiversAble Model project, Angie has supported her jewelry business.  She has hosted parties, she has helped Amanda set up her displays, run events.  Now that Amanda's added the DiversAble dimension, Angie has been more on board than ever.  Even though the DiversAble Model Project is bigger than Angie, bigger than each of us individually, really, I don't think there would have been a DiversAble Model Project if it hadn't been for her.  So, on behalf of all of the models, and everyone who'll be inspired by them, thank you Angelica!

Support the project today by checking out Mandi's CandI Shop at

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Tuesday Truth - Spouse/CareGiver

"Oh, you're such a great guy!"  "She's just so lucky."  "She must love you very much."  "You did her makeup?"  "You did her hair?"  "You could work at a salon!" 

These are things people say when they get the five minute version of both how my wife and I met, or a general rundown of our lives.  I must be some kind of saint, right, to voluntarily take on the burden of a wife with a Diverse Ability, volunteering to take on the physical responsibilities of two parents in our family?  Wrong.  I'm kind of part husband, part home health aide, and whatever problems you can imagine occurring with either station, we've had them. 

What are some possible issues you could imagine having with a husband, all you wives out there?  Neglectful or forgetful behavior?  Not spending enough time with you, or not interested in what goes on in your life?  Too focused on his own stuff to want to focus on your stuff, too?  Spending too much time trying to spend time doing stuff with you, instead of spending time with you?  How about when he gets bored, or feels sad by your relationship, for any reason?  Maybe he looks at girls in ways you're not entirely comfortable with, or he doesn't realize, at least not consciously, when he sometimes sounds flirtatious.  Yeah, we've been there.

Now, how about all our DiversAble readers who've had aides at home?  Ever find that they can split hairs, about what they're supposed to help with and what they're not?  Or that they don't take initiative, they just sit in a corner until asked to do something, never seeing an opportunity to help before asked?  Or, maybe they never outright deny service, but have a kind of general attitude that while they do actually do what you ask them to, they seem reluctant, like they have better things to do with their time and you're a bother?  Or, maybe, they spend too much time on the phone, being disruptive, and in an effort to be less "bothersome", they leave the room, maybe find an isolated place they can continue their conversation, and don't return for hours.  Yeah, we've been there, too.

What I'm trying to say is that even though I volunteered for these positions, there are plenty of people who do.  All kinds of men get married.  All kinds of people become health aides.  Does that make every husband a good husband?  No.  Does that make every aide a good aide?  Oh, no.  This isn't one sided, either, just because I'm not a saint for volunteering for this, neither is she for putting up with this.

For all those husbands out there, what kinds of things would you consider to be frustrating?  You ever want to share something you think is awesome or incredible with your wives, and find she has little to no interest?  You ever feel like she demands so much of your emotions, you end up exhausted some times, but when she goes to someone else for emotional gratification, you feel slightly betrayed?  How about those husbands whose wives make more than they do?  I know you're out there.  You ever find that while out in the open, the money is "yours" plural, collectively, but when she wants to spend a little extra on something, there's not a second word, and when you do the same, you're not considering how hard it is to make that money?  You ever feel like arguments like "this is my house," or something like that, deflate when you most need them?  Yeah, we've been there.

I have often felt at odds with her aides, too.  Ever since my wife was pregnant, the only person who can transfer her has been me.  Earlier, it was because she got heavier with the baby.  Now, it's because having the baby severely hurt her hip, and her aides typically didn't transfer; they helped her transfer herself, which she can't do anymore because of that pain.  One of her transfer chairs is also broken, and can't support her.  So I do more of the physical work than I used to.  My wife, to her defense, has a strong sense of dignity, and modesty.  She prefers a small group of people to help her when she needs it, because she feels violated to be exposed to too many strangers.  Wouldn't all of us?  Also, her aides have been there for us in ways none need to be, officially, and she's grateful for that, as am I.  Finally, she finds that I take care of her the best in a lot of ways, so she thinks about me when she needs something, because I do it so well.  That's kind of a complement, and I'm grateful for it, but with the increased work load I mentioned above, that means I'm still doing things her aides could be doing. 

So, the final verdict, is that we love each other.  I bit off a lot to chew when I decided I wanted to live my life with a strong woman with physical Diverse Abilities.  She bit off a lot to chew when she decided to spend her life with a guy with some emotional Diverse Abilities and some character flaws.  We're both human, and we have enough problems individually not to have problems with each other.  But God has blessed this marriage, this shared life, and I am ever thankful for it.  I only see it as something worth celebrating.  So, am I a saint?  No, but neither is she.  We're just people, and in that way, we're just like everyone else.  And also just like everyone else, we're working on it. 


Friday, April 17, 2015

Fashion Friday - Jessica Tambor

For this week's Fashion Friday, I'm excited to introduce you to my friend Jessica Tambor! Jessica and I went to school together and she was one of the top students in our class. She continues to be very active and has accomplished so much already. Here is her story in her own words:

Jessica is wearing the Ocean Lace Flex Bracelet
"My name is Jessica Tambor. I live in Queens, NY and I have a Spinal Cord Injury. I have a trach to breathe and I use a power wheelchair to get around, but that doesn’t stop me. I am very active. I go out with my friends, volunteer, have a part time job, and have my teaching license in elementary education and special education.  
My greatest accomplishments so far are graduating with a Master’s Degree, dorming at college when I was going for my Undergraduate degree, and having a part-time job at the 'Y'. 
This project is important to me because people with Diverse Abilities are under-represented in media. Also, a lot of times able bodied actors play disabled characters on TV and in movies. I think that people with disabilities should be considered for those roles.  This project can help show what people with Diverse Abilities can do. I would like for people with Diverse Abilities to be models in magazine ads, newspaper ads, and in fashion commercials. I would also like to see them on fashion runways. Society has to see people with disabilities not just as “inspirational”, but as people who are very capable of working, having families, going out and having fun, having active lives, and adults that can make their own decisions!"

Jessica, you are a perfect example of being more than inspirational! Thank you for just being you and for joining the movement this project stands for. So proud to have you as a DiversAble Model!!


Order the Ocean Lace Flex Bracelet and matching Pendant Necklace (pictured below) and I'll give you $25 off! This offer is only valid for one order so comment below or message me for details ASAP...

Thankful Thursday (a day late) - Jessica Ford

See the woman pictured on the left?? I've never met her in person. She hardly knows me at all. In fact, we've only ever chatted online. So you can imagine my surprise when she messaged me to sponsor one of my DiversAble Models!

Jessica Ford is a fellow Chloe + Isabel Merchandiser and major supporter of The DiversAble Model Project. In the last few weeks, I've been blessed with the opportunity to chat with her on Facebook and get to know her a little better. She is proudly expecting another child, yet still finds time to run her business and make room to support her team. Jessica has truly inspired me to press forward with this project through her support and willingness to give.

Thanks so much girl, for being amazing! I look forward to our friendship growing and to meeting you face-to-face in the near future. You are changing lives by following our CandI motto, "Be confident. Be creative. Be you."

Step out of your daily routine and become a DiversAble Ally, like Jessica, today by placing an order on my boutique at!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Worship Wednesday - Where Do Diverse Abilities Come From?

Hi #DiversAbleFriends! On this Worship Wednesday, my hubby takes a very brief look at a great man of the Bible. From him, you should learn to not be afraid to go forth when God calls you because He will do wonders through you!! Enjoy

Be an "Aaron" for a DiversAble Model today by placing an order on my boutique at

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Tuesday Truth - I Don't Want To Be Inspiring

I often get asked questions like, "How do you type?", or "Can you travel alone?" People seem to be amazed at the basic things I do, especially when it goes against their idea of what it means to be "disabled."

When you look at our public assistance and welfare services, you will see that our government perpetuates the idea that "disabled people" are unable to be productive contributors to society. In fact, we are penalized by the rules whenever we behave "normally." When I was ready to begin college, I was told by my home care agency that my Home Attendant could not accompany me because I obviously didn't require services if I could go to school. I guess I was supposed to starve and not use the bathroom for the day until I got home. I am blessed in that my mom was a very strong advocate for me. My Medicaid health insurance was recently turned off (though they pay for my home care) because "I made too much money."

As a person with Diverse Abilities, it is frustrating to live in a society where you are fawned over for being able to master an activity of daily living, yet prohibited from achieving great success because, then you just can't actually be "disabled."

I do not ask for special treatment, but for the playing field to be level. I ask for a chance to be able to do inspiring things, instead of being inspiring for just living. My standard for myself is much greater than writing with my mouth or getting on public transportation. I don't want to stand out...I want to be outstanding!

Feeding my Little Bear his first solid meal
Carrying my Little Bear
Celebrate the great works of DiversAble Models like myself by placing and order on my CandI boutique at or check out my newest business venture at!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Mandi's CandI Corner - When Mandi CandI Met Mandicure

Please watch this whole video (not that long)


As promised, I have a brand new opportunity for you to get involved in The DiversAble Model Project!

Here are the links you'll need to GET INVOLVED:                  

Meridian Stackable Ring & Mother's Day Special Jams!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Sneak Peek Saturday - Charming

It's been yet another long, yet amazing week! This project has so much happening behind the scenes. Once some details are confirmed, I'll be sure to share the wonderful things about to take place. For now, enjoy this Sneak Peek Saturday (ok, early Sunday morning) post!

  Coming Up This Week:

Monday - I'll be introducing you to this "charming" piece on my Mandi's CandI Corner video + I'll be telling you about a new opportunity I have for you to get involved in supporting The DiversAble Model Project!
Tuesday - On this week's Tuesday Truth, our topic will be, "I Don't Want to Be an Inspiration!"
Wednesday - We'll be talking about a man with a possible speech impediment in the Bible on Worship Wednesday.
Thursday - You know what it is...Thankful Thursday! We'll shine the spotlight on a new DiversAble Ally.
Friday - It's all about Fashion Friday on this blog. I have a DiversAble Model you don't want to miss ;-)


Friday, April 10, 2015

Fashion Friday - Monica de la Cruz Mendoza

Today's DiversAble Model comes from sunny Orlando, Florida! We met in New York at a camp, where we spent many of our our summers. She has grown into a beautiful woman and mom. She has become a strong supporter of this project and boldly reached out to me asking for a DiversAble Ally. Here is her story in her own words:

"My name is Monica de la Cruz Mendoza. I am from Orlando Florida and I have Cerebral Palsy. I went to Children's Bible Fellowship for many years and that's where I met Amanda. She is an amazing friend and an inspiration to me!
One of my greatest accomplishments was becoming a mother because there were a lot of obstacles that I had to overcome for that miracle to happen. My other greatest accomplishment was moving to another state with my child and supporting my family on my own. Another accomplishment I am proud is having become a part of United Cerebral Palsy of New York City. This organization has taught me a lot about my own Diverse Ability and introduced me to people with many other Diverse Abilities. 
Being part of The DiversAble Model Project is important to me because it's time for society to have an open mind, particularly the fashion world. Beauty comes in different shapes, sizes and forms. I think it's time that society, including corporate America and the fashion world, see people with Diverse Abilities as a community that contributes, that does the same or equal amount of work as the average person, and that there is no difference between them and us. We are marketable people!
I am truly blessed and honored to be a part of this project, to be one of the many faces that will open the doors for the future and the present for people with Diverse Abilities. Thank you Amanda for inviting me to be a part of this project and I hope I can be an asset to many more to come!"

Thanks Monica, for your kind words and for being a leader in your community. We will do great things together!

Become a DiversAble Model or Ally today by placing an order on my CandI boutique and messaging me! Visit

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Thankful Thursday - Anonymous Allies

Do you normally sit through the credits at the end of a movie? Do you read the acknowledgment page in a book? I have to confess that I didn't used to (except in Marvel films when you know there's a little clip at the end!) I know that the reason I didn't watch the credits or pay much attention to the acknowledgments is because it took too long and I didn't feel personally connected to any of the people.

I started Thankful Thursday because I didn't just want to focus on people with visible Diverse Abilities. I want this project to unite people from around the world! I wanted to take the time to share the stories and faces of those who support the inclusion of people like me in society. This project has many DiversAble Allies and some have asked to remain anonymous.

I want you each to know that this project wouldn't exist without you! We appreciate the time you take to think of people who may be struggling because of their Diverse Abilities. I  personally appreciate the notes you send and comments you post to encourage and motivate me to go on. I also am so grateful for the support you have shown my CandI business, as are the women you have sponsored.

I now look at the credits in films a little more closely and I take time to read those acknowledgments in books. You may be behind the scenes in this project, but you are all very special to me!  

Ask me how you can help support the inclusion of people with Diverse Abilities today! Join this movement called The DiversAble Model Project by placing an order of any amount on my CandI boutique (plus you get gorgeous jewelry). Shop at

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Worship Wednesday - You're Invited

The honor of your presence is requested 
at the union of my Father,
Jesus Christ & YOU!

First Baptist Church of Tarrytown

This is an open invitation and, unlike most wedding invitations, this guest list has no limit. Throughout the Bible, Christ refers to the church as His Bride. This is so significant because the family unit, the basic building block of society, began with a groom and his bride.

Me & my groom
Prior to The Fall described in Genesis, the relationship Adam and Eve had with God is the perfect image of His desired relationship with us! God walked and talked with His creation on a daily basis. Adam and Eve lived in the beautiful Garden of Eden, where they unashamedly walked around naked, physically and spiritually. 

The Kiss

The intimacy this couple experienced with God and with each other illustrates the deep connection that we are vowing to work towards when we come believers and when we get married. This level of love was tainted when Satan tempted Eve and sin was brought into the world. It is our sin nature that causes us to feel distant from God (or to completely reject Him). That same sin nature is why so many marriages today end in divorce. 

BUT GOD made a way for you to return to this perfect, untainted, sin free relationship with Him! When you commit your life to honoring and loving Jesus, you enter into a "marriage" with someone who will not fail you, will not leave your side when times get tough, and who loved you when you didn't love Him. 

The love gaze

I'd love to chat with anyone who wants to know more about my faith and/or would like to know how to RSVP to Jesus' open invitiation! Feel free to Facebook message me or email me at 
Getting ready, physically and spiritually

My Hubby's fave pic

Look at my train!

Our theme was 'Christmas in July'

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Tuesday Truth - DiversAble Models in the Workplace

Let's face it, finding a job these days is quite a feat for everyone! Try adding a very visible, physical Diverse Ability and you've got a mountain to climb.

I want to run today's Tuesday Truth as a real Q & A session, so I will answer ALL your questions regarding my experience as a person with Diverse Abilities in the workplace until 11:59pm tonight!! No question is stupid and if you're thinking it, there are at least 100 other people wondering the same thing... If you are unable to post your question directly on the blog, then please post it in the comments on Facebook or email me at! I'll be re-posting your questions and my replies here for everyone to see!!

Every person who asks a question will be entered into a raffle to be drawn at Midnight!! The prize is unbeatable ;-)


Monday, April 6, 2015

Mandi's CandI Corner - Heritage Blossom

I hope everyone enjoyed their holiday weekend! I highly enjoyed my Easter, remembering what Jesus did for me and you all those years ago. It's amazing to know He loved me, even then!

Due to the holiday, I didn't get around to posting a Sneak Peek on Saturday, but check out my CandI Corner video for a live look at some Spring Must-Haves ;-) Did I mention a special offer?? Yeah, you want to watch this one:

This project is getting ready to do some BIG things that I'll be sharing soon!! Join the movement now by ordering these pieces and much more at

Friday, April 3, 2015

Fashion Friday - Kate Weglikowski

Happy Good Friday Everyone! 

We are back for another Fashion Friday. Today I'm revealing a DiversAble Model who I've known for many years. We went to school together and she was always a smart woman. She is very involved in supporting the inclusion of people with Diverse Abilities. Here is Kate Weglikowski and her story:

Kate is modeling the CandI Take Heart Bracelet
"My name is Kate Weglikowski. I am a 28 year old woman from Long Island, with Cerebral Palsy. At age six, I was diagnosed with a binaural hearing loss. In 2009, I graduated Magna Cum Laude from Hofstra University, with a BA in Public Relations. Currently, I am employed for the Town Board of the Town of Hempstead and I volunteer  for North Shore Hospital and The Games for the Physically Challenged. In 2014, I received a citation from Nassau County Executive, Ed Mangano,  for my fundraising efforts for the Games. By volunteering for the Games, I am able to give back to an organization that means so much to me and help keep the Games going for future athletes. 
This project is a wonderful opportunity for persons with disabilities to break down barriers and show people that we can do much of what others do, just maybe in a different way. We all have limitations/disabilities in some form or another. For some, it's just more visible. 
Changes that I believe the fashion industry would benefit from in order to grow and be better are having persons with disabilities model clothes and displayed in stores and catalogs. In addition, designers should seek advice and input from persons with disabilities. This can also be applied to other areas of life. Society has made some great strides towards equality, but more work remains, especially in the area of employment. Affirmative steps are needed to assist prospective employers in identifying our potential, not simply our disability. I believe that this project is a stepping stone towards getting there."

I love that Kate's vision for a more equal society aligns with the direction I want to take this project. Thanks Kate for all you do to support our equality!

Join our cause by placing an order on my online boutique today for yourself or a DiversAble Model! Shop at (I'm having a SALE this weekend!) 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Thankful Thursday - Leah Wimpfheimer

Today we are thanking my good friend, Leah Wimpfheimer! I met this super sweet woman when she was a counselor at a camp I worked at. She was very quiet and reserved, but I remember feeling like there was something special about her.

Over the years, my friendship with Leah has blossomed. I have gotten to witness her great sense of humor, prayed with her through trials, and celebrated successes. Every step of the way, Leah's compassion and love for other's always shined through!

Leah was one of our first DiversAble Allies. Even when she didn't have funds to spare, she managed to sponsor a DiversAble Model she doesn't even know yet! This woman is beautiful inside and out.

Thank you Leah for being such a loyal and true friend. Your good deeds don't go unnoticed. We appreciate you and are excited to have you be involved with this project. It may not always feel like it and it may not always look like it, but you are impacting and changing people's lives everyday!

Join Leah and the other DiversAble Allies. Contact me today for more information or place an order on my CandI boutique at

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Worship Wednesday - Blessings

A little late, but here is our Wednesday Worship post! I really love the song Blessings by Laura Story. As I thought about a song to present, I felt this song most closely relates to what this project stands for. I only sang the first verse and chorus as my Little Bear is fast asleep. Please note that this was done on my rinky dink laptop with the laptop's mic and speakers Lol. I strongly encourage you to listen to the full song here: Thanks!

Be sure to continue supporting this project by placing an order on my boutique at

Tuesday Truth (delayed) - Being a Parent with Diverse Abilities

Sorry for not getting to this yesterday guys, but it was "End of the Month Madness" around here. Luckily, I hit my March goal and you'll be getting 2 posts from me today!

Last week, we were blessed to read a bit of Ericka Hostler's story about raising a child with Diverse Abilities. Today I want to take you to the other side: Being a Parent with Diverse Abilities. There is so much that can be addressed around this topic, but I want to briefly share my personal experience.

I knew from an early age, like many girls, that I wanted to have a family. I didn't know, like many girls, what that truly entailed. I got married at a young age (3 weeks before my 21st birthday) and I knew I wasn't ready to have children then, but I began my research. Unfortunately, there isn't a lot of information on my Diverse Ability, and even less on parenting with a Diverse Ability. I searched hard for parenting prep classes that would specifically address some of the issues people with Diverse Abilities may face, but couldn't find one. One of the many challenges with Diverse Abilities is that people may have the same ones, but they manifest differently in each person. This made finding a parent with similar limitations as me very difficult. In short, I mostly went into my family planning on my faith that God would take care of me!

In 2013, My husband and I had overcome many personal obstacles and had recently renewed our wedding vows. We were ready to add another member to our family. We had a few "pregnancy scares" throughout our marriage, so we were both unmoved by my suggestion of taking a pregnancy test early one morning. I wish I had a picture of my hubby's face when that test came out positive! I went on to take about 7 more tests to be sure :-) I immediately called my physician and went in for a blood test, which also came back positive. I was 5 weeks pregnant!
6 months pregnant!

I want to share my first issue I faced that reflects an attitude that many people in our society hold today. I had to go for my first exam with an OB/GYN and chose a top name hospital, thinking I'd receive the best care. After a painful exam, where I felt more like a science project, I was told I needed to meet with a social worker. A male social worker visited me about an hour later and asked that everyone leave the room (mom, husband, and home attendant). He proceeded to ask me questions about whether I actually wanted my baby, which he asked several times, and if I considered "alternative options." At the time, I didn't register what was going on, but my awesome mom knew as soon as she left the room. There was doubt from the hospital staff that a woman with my limitations could consent to sex, furthermore care for a child! SHAME ON THEM!!

There is a lot I could share about my pregnancy journey and I'd love to address ANY questions in the comments below, but I want to fast forward to the birth of my Little Bear, Xavier! He was born a month early and weighed 7 pounds and was the most beautiful baby ever :-) I have struggled a lot emotionally with him being an infant because my instinct is to care for him in ways that my Diverse Ability doesn't allow. It is hard to hear your baby cry and to have to ask someone else to rock him. It is sometimes painful to know your baby wants you to play with them with their toys, but to not be able to. Raising my son this last year has been hard for me, but it has also been the greatest blessing in my life so far! I've loved watching him grow into the little man he's become. He is now able to communicate his needs more and understand my communication, which has truly strengthened our bond.
Just born

First solo pic
First Birthday (with Grandma)
I have written a lot already and could go on forever, but I want to open this up for Q & A. Please post ANY question you want an answer to and I'll do my best to answer. Consider sharing your own parenting stories too!

Mother's Day is just around the corner! Please consider getting your Mother's Day gift from my online boutique and supporting moms with Diverse Abilities today at