Thursday, March 20, 2014

6 Mamas That Will Inspire You

I think the more we open our minds and our hearts... the more we become inspired.  I have never felt that fire in me as I have in the past year and a half.  But to get there, I have to strip it all down and start from the beginning.  I had to learn how to open my mind.  The process was grueling and lots of self-checks asking the real tough questions regarding "priorities, faith, character."  Now, I burn for so many things that have taken over my heart... my compassion is different.  It is altogether encompassing.  And I love to feel the heat of that fire.

In a world where we are bombarded by information, advice, stories, advertisements and the details of what everyone is doing at that given moment... it can be overwhelming.  And with social media literally at our fingertips... anything you want to fill your mind with is possible in a matter of seconds.  Social media can get a bad rep but for me it is this simple: it can be whatever you make it out to be.  And I want to inspire others.  But, what I have found is inspiration... everywhere.  And true friends.

I want to share some mamas with you that inspire me on a daily basis. And these are just a handful of women that inspire me... there are many more! Their stories are real and raw and moving. They have also had a few words change their lives.  They have been faced with difficult decisions. They have had heartbreaks... and they also have triumphs.  They are survivors and in my eyes... they are heroes.  The one thing they all have in common, they have found happiness and joy regardless of their situation.  

They have stepped out into the public eye to share their stories with all of us. That's not easy to do... and they do it to encourage, inspire and open minds. And I thank God for all of these women setting a wonderful example of poise, grace and faith.  Meet my friends...     


I want to start with this mama because she is in the middle of a fight.  She is fighting to raise money to take her son several states away to see a specialist that has agreed help her son.  Cooper was born with achondroplasia (like Lilah) and is currently measuring in the top 95% for head growth on the achondroplasia charts.  There is a legitimate concern for hydrocephalus (water on the brain) and the need to see this particular doctor is paramount.  She has set up a "go-fund-me" website where anyone can donate to help this cause. If you only read about one of these mamas (no! keep reading!), I wanted it to be this story because they need your help.

In her own words:

Cooper's Go-Fund-Me website

Heather's Blog
Cooper's Crusade Facebook Page
Instagram: heatheryv76


I haven't known this mama for very long but I feel like our souls have always been connected. This mama is wise beyond her years and has such a calm persona, a nurturing way about her and is such a ray of light-- she brings happiness to all of those around her.  She is doing amazing things in the world of advocacy in such a short amount of time!  I am so proud of her for teaching others all about dwarfism in the best way possible... by leading with love... not only in her homeland of Australia, but all around the world.

In her own words:

Jade's Website
Floyd-Henry Facebook Page
Women's Weekly Feature
Floyd-Henry's VIDEO
Instagram: jade_audrey_love


This mama I met via Instagram, but now are lifelong friends.  I saw a prayer request sent out by one of my friends in San Diego... turns out this mama is a friend of a friend of a friend. And miraculously... we live an hour away from each other.  Let me just say... she has the most incredible, unwavering and real examples of faith that I have ever witnessed.  She taught me "you come as you are."  She uses her whole self to fulfill His word and purpose for her.  I love to watch this mama in action... she's a dreamer like me and she goes after those dreams in full force.

In her own words:

Abra's Blog

Praying For Naomi Facebook Page
Instagram: thegiftoftoday


This mama is such a go-getter.  I mean, I think I don't sleep much... but there is no way she sleeps.  She is relentless (in such a good way) in the advocacy that she spreads in Canada and around the world for Down syndrome and for the love of her daughter Pip.  I love how she dreams big-- the next thing you know she is on a mission to have Pip on the Ellen Show, she's got a t-shirt line and she's on the news.  Oh, that was all within the last few weeks.  Last year her daughter was in heart failure.  This year, we are in celebration mode over the joy that Pip brings to everyone.  I dare you to try not to smile when you look at her picture.  Impossible.  

In her own words:

Tara's Website

Happy Soul Project Facebook Page
Instagram: happysoulproject


Chelley has been a driving force in my journey with dwarfism awareness and education.  She is often the words I wish I could say, the determination I wish I had and a huge influence in this movement of equal rights for those of short-stature.  She is so passionate about reaching people, raising thought-provoking conversations and standing up for what is right.  She is not afraid to show her weaknesses and vulnerability but she is strong as an ox.  I am grateful for her.

In her own words:

Chelley's website

A is for Adalaide
Instagram: martinkadeluxe


I first learned about Beth and two of her beautiful children about a year ago... And I don't know how on Instagram we found each other but I will never forget she said, "I feel like I hit the Instagram jackpot when I found Lilah!"  And the thing is... it was me that hit the jackpot by being invited into their lives.  I love to watch Coco & Livvy in their everyday happiness.  Such joy!  So proud of this mama for all she has been through and all she does for those with special needs (and their mamas.)

In her own words:

Beth's Website

Parents Magazine Article
Instagram: lilcocobea

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Dear Hollywood...

Do you ever get caught up in the world and you just go along on what seems like a merry-go-round... and every now and again, you see or hear about something that doesn't sit well with your soul... but the ride keeps spinning and you are nervous to jump off?

Yes, it is easier to go along with everyone on the ride and do what they are doing... it takes so much courage to jump.  Which is why I think more often than not, we stay on that ride.

That ride is Hollywood.  It is the movies we watch, the shows that are in our living rooms every night, the stars we know everything about, the magazines telling us who to look like and what to wear, the musicians filling our heads with words.  It is everywhere.

I am stepping off that ride and I have an open letter to read... ahem...

Dear Hollywood,

I want to tell you something... something is not sitting well with my soul.  I would like for you, Hollywood, to take one moment and step outside of your bubble and step into mine.  Sometimes, it is just easier to understand if you look at someone else's perspective.  And that is what I am kindly asking you to do.

I am not here to be rude or put up a fight.  I just want to share something that make my heart hurt... and when the world is agreeing with you by supporting your movies, your stars, your magazines, your musicians... I am saying, "Stop for just a moment... I have something that needs to be heard."

I know you are so busy with the Oscars this weekend... but let's talk about that.  The movie, Wolf on Wall Street, that you have nominated for Best Picture... there is a scene in this movie where "dwarf tossing" occurs.  Little people are used as darts and thrown onto a dartboard for the amusement of others.

Let's let that last sentence sink in.  Little people are used as darts and thrown onto a dartboard for the amusement of others.

Even the writer of the film admitted to how awful this scene is and how it reinforces the preexisting societal stereotypes of little people... but yet he still went forward with this unnecessary scene.  (See his interview here.)  The Little People of America pleaded with the director to take out this scene, but they ignored them. You ignored them Hollywood.

So, Hollywood... I know what you are thinking... so what?  It's a movie.  Just because it happens in a movie doesn't mean anything.  And, I can do whatever I want.

I understand where you are coming from, and before I had my daughter, born with dwarfism, I would have perhaps thought the same way.  And while you are entitled to do what you want... you are sending messages to millions.

Here's the thing.  A scene in a movie with little people is very influential for our society and the treatment and views towards little people.  Why?  Because, dwarfism is rare.  (1-25,000 to 40,000 people are born with this genetic condition.  80% to parents that are average height.)  It is unlikely that the average person will have many experiences with a little person in their lifetime.  And so, what is portrayed on TV may be their only exposure to people with dwarfism. And aside from the two reality TV shows featuring little people and Peter Dinklage... Wizard of Oz, seven dwarves and a Miley Cyrus performance may be it.  Oh yeah, and The Wolf of Wall Street.

As a mama, I want my daughter to have equal opportunities in her life.  Of course... don't we all want our children to be treated equally?  What if, someday, the person interviewing her for a job has only seen a little person in a dwarf tossing scene?  Will she be taken seriously?  Or worse, what if someday she is mistreated because of her genetic condition?  What if she is ridiculed, singled out or patronized?

I understand that I cannot prevent these things from happening and I know in my heart that they will happen. I also know I need to raise her so she has confidence in herself and knows how much she is loved.  And that-- we will do.  But I also believe that you have to stand up for what is right and wrong and it is in those moments of the craziness of that merry-go-round we call life when something hits a nerve and you realize... it just isn't right. And as her mama, I will stand up for her because that's what we all do as mamas.  We love and we love and we love... and we also try to make the world a better place for all of our children when we see an opportunity to do so.

Hollywood, we really do have a long way to go before those with dwarfism are treated equally in our society.  It makes me sad when you produce something that so many people will see and perhaps laugh at.  Or not think twice. I wish for every negative exposure you would provide at least ten positive exposures.  Little people need to be seen as they are... as doctors and lawyers and teachers and mamas and friends. Not as silly characters.  Or play things or anything less than human beings. And yes, it also takes little people to stop taking condescending roles... absolutely.

And your Oscars night will go on with the glitz and the glam and the celebrities patting themselves on the back for another "great" year in movies... But... if this letter doesn't make it to you Hollywood or if it gets ignored again... I hope someone somewhere between me and you reads this and thinks twice about supporting your film.  Wolf on Wallstreet is not the Best Picture.  It is a shame.  And it is ok to say, "No, thank you."  Not anymore.

Just an average mama 2,000 miles away from Hollywood

Here's my family...