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My daughter, Lydia, and I have zany redneck alter-egos who are called “Mona & Claudette”.  They were created out of thin air, really, after one of my other daughters began her (now) four year battle with suicide.  I guess we needed to lighten up a bit, and scripture does say a merry heart is like medicine for the soul.  In our case, it has been just that.

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At some point in time, we began documenting some of our favorite exchanges on YouTube and Facebook.  We’ve created, in the process, a bit of a loyal following.  Sometimes they want to visit us, other times to send us things, but yesterday we received a sweet email.  The message was from a person who has commented on nearly every video we’ve ever posted.  He teases us, banters back and forth with us, and generally, loves us.  Remarkably, our alter-egos have created a special friendship with him.

A portion of his email to us said this:

“Your videos are definitely a blessing. Your love for the Lord shows, making people happy and forget about their problems for a few minutes. I love the fact that you have love for the disabled. I have spina bifida and am paralyzed from the waist down since birth. It can be rough at times emotionally, but God has really blessed me in my 45 years.
Doctors told my parents I wouldn’t live to be an adult but here I am…. I’d love to make it a point to come visit y’all when I’m up there next. Well, I’ll go for now. God bless.”

Lydia and I are not comedians.  Heck, most of the time, to others, we probably aren’t even funny (even though it should be noted that we happen to think we’re absolutely hilarious).  But because we’ve chosen to scrape, fight, hook, and claw for joy through our sorrow, we’ve connected with others who are like us and who get us.  It’s been an incredibly fun journey so far.

Now, it appears Mona and Claudette may be taking another step.  We were recently contacted, out of the blue, by ABC producers who are creating a brand new Mark Burnett reality TV show that is sort of like Shark Tank.  Starring the amazing Steve Harvey, it will be filmed in front of a live audience and will SEED new ventures.  And it just so happens, Mona and Claudette have been working on a new venture.

It’s no secret that our heart and passion is for the special needs community.  At this moment, in America, 716,000 adults who have special needs are living with parents who are over the age of sixty.  Those parents are juggling a lot.  They need a break from time to time…to vacation, to relax, to tend to everyday business, and sometimes to address medical issues.  Respite care, however, is nearly non-existent.

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In addition, at this very hour, we have adult friends who have Autism who are battling depression and even suicidal thoughts because they lack community.  One, in particular, is being bullied, and as a result, has had to spend time in a mental facility.  You see?  These adults need a get-away sometimes too.

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Our vision is to create a private respite home/center that will provide short term entertainment and care for high-functioning, special needs adults.  Housing a game room, swimming pool, basketball court, and putt-putt course, this incredible space would offer a low-cost escape with plenty of fellowship and friendship.  The parents and caregivers, in turn, wouldn’t have to worry or be concerned about those they care for.

To accomplish raising the money for this venture, we have been in the process of creating a super cute product that will be partially manufactured by the adult special needs community,  which of course, will also provide paying jobs for them.  THIS product is aptly called:  “Mona’s MuuMuus” and will be rolled out in around 4-6 weeks.  And in October (drumroll please), it looks as if Mona’s MuuMuus will be showcased on ABC by none other than Mona & Claudette.  (God help us all).

We are so excited about this opportunity, but are even more ecstatic over seeing the possibility of our vision becoming a reality.  If you’d like to be a part of this, you can:

  • Follow Mona & Claudette on Facebook here:  Mona & Claudette Facebook
  • Share your favorite Mona & Claudette video
  • Offer your creative thoughts and ideas
  • Volunteer your talents and skills
  • Pray for this vision to become a reality

Lydia and I are so grateful for your friendship, your acceptance, and your support.  For those of you who “get us” and who understand that nothing we do is about us, but about our special friends who we love more than fried okra, sweet tea, and Keith Urban…well, a big old bear hug of love goes out to you.

We will post updates as we have them.  Until then, we love, we serve, and we believe!

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