Monday, February 28, 2011


Lots a happenin' here...Saturday Rick and I attended Imagine the PossABILITIES a conference that focused on the abilities of four amazing self-advocates.
Karen Gaffney, Brad Hennefer, David Eagen and Sujeet Dusai...All four of these people have gifts that I could only dream of. That most of us could only dream of. So when I think for a moment that Kayla may not be able to do something...or question the future...and our journey...I will think back to this day. Within one day I learned the most powerful life lesson...never allow an obstacle to become a barrier. Never allow an obstacle to become a barrier...powerful words...powerful meaning. We all have obstacles in our lives. We all have challenges. As the mom of a child with Down syndrome, this lesson will stay with me everyday. I will never let anyone tell me that Kayla can't do something...because we will find a way for her to do anything and everything that she wants to do. There will be no barriers in this barriers in our journey.

The presenters, all self advocates, delivered their powerful messages to a crowd of parents at Citizens Bank Park...
...home of the Philadelphia Phillies...Rick was in heaven! How does one leave a conference feeling like an underachiever? People often focus on things people with Down syndrome can't do. These people, their parents, their advocates, their teachers and their friends never focused on what can't be done...they focused on what can be done.

Can you swim the width of Lake Tahoe? From San Fransisco around Alcatraz and back? The English Channel in a relay? Karen Gaffney can.

Karen is a young woman with Down syndrome. She had numerous hip surgeries and walks with a limp...but she doesn't focus on's just an observation that one can make...and she jokingly advised us "don't worry, I swim much faster than I can walk"...Read more about Karen here.

Can you play 7 instruments? Saxophone, Violin, and Clarinet, just to name a few. Sujeet Dusai can.

Sujeet is a young man with Down syndrome. He has traveled around the world sharing his amazing talents with dignitaries, world leaders and actors. I witnessed his amazing musical talents...and was truly inspired.

Have you ever sunk a 3 pointer as a member of a Varsity basketball team? Brad Hennefer has.

Brad is a young man with Down syndrome. He sunk 3 pointers as a Varsity basketball player, a part of the team. He was valued, honored and was just another teammate. He was just Brad...or B-Rad, as they called him. Brad was the only person with Down syndrome to play two Varsity sports for Cherry Hill High School. While Brad loved basketball, he is even more skilled in golf. The Hennefer family started the Golf For Life program, teaching children with Down syndrome how to golf. Learn more here.

Have you ever dreamed of loving your career? Wished you had more self confidence? Wished you could focus on the positive? David Eagen does everyday of his life.
He works...full time...and loves what he does. He loves living and loves himself...this guy has amazing self confidence. He exudes self confidence that I wish I had.

Four people. Four amazing journeys. Four individuals. Living with Down syndrome.

Each of these four amazing people had dreams. They followed their dreams with passion and desire and pure heart. Did they have obstacles? Absolutely...but they never allowed those obstacles to become barriers.

I was fortunate to be able to end my weekend photographing 5 beautiful kiddos {3 families}. Thank you, Carolyn and Wick, for opening your home to me. I so enjoyed capturing images of beautiful Emerson one year later. Here are a few moments that I captured through my lens...

Murphy, the dog, made his way into the family picture...he is family, after all.

Note to self: A Wii controller makes an unwilling 2 year old smile.
And so my weekend left me feeling, an underachiever. I can't swim the English Channel...I can't play one single instrument...I can't dribble a basketball {forget about a 3-pointer}...feeling like an underachiever because of four people with Down syndrome. Imagine that. Four people that most would say can't do what we can. Four people that have "disabilities". Four people living their best lives. Living and loving their perfect journey.

Feeling inspired and filled with hope. For Kayla. For us. For our journey as a family. Knowing that anything is possible with love, support and encouragement. Believing that obstacles are just that...obstacles. They are only barriers if we don't seek out alternative ways to achieving our goal. Feeling live life without barriers...


  1. I so very much needed this post...thank you. I am feeling very inspired! I wish I could have gone to the conference, but Steve is away on business and I have been a single Mom for 2 weeks!

  2. Amy...LOVE the header. Beautiful. You are such a wonderful advocate and supporter. Thank you. Cannot WAIT to see you in April!

  3. Another great post. First an amazing day at Citizens Bank Park (a dream in itself). Then meeting some amazing self advocates. Also add all the new contacts with parents who are at different stages of this powerful journey. I think you said it perfectly: overcoming obstacles. Each obstacle we overcome we become that much stronger and are able to share that much more with those around us in a similar situation. And the kids pictures are amazing!

  4. I just came across your blog and I wanted to tell you how much I loved this post! I dont think I have ever come across one quite like this. It left me feeling really good :)