As a special needs family, it’s important to make time for laughter. In fact, that’s one of my primary priorities every single day. That and dancing like a blooming cuckoo bird to Brother’s Osborne’s latest song, “It Ain’t My Fault” … but I digress. haha. So if you need a chuckle today…enjoy:
Proverbs 27:14 is a strange verse, isn’t it? “If a man loudly blesses his neighbor in the morning, it will be taken as a curse.” A curse? Really? Isn’t that a bit harsh?
At first glance, it might seem like God actually cares about whether we bless our neighbors in the morning or in the afternoon. haha. But alas, that is thankfully NOT the case.
My spiritual gift is encouragement. Blessing others and offering encouragement comes easy to me…sometimes too easy. I was a cheerleader in high school, a financial adviser after graduating from college, a women’s ministry leader in young adulthood, and I’m now a mom to two very cute special needs kiddos. It appears encouragement is my detail.
While God doesn’t care about how or when we encourage or bless others, He very much cares about the intent and heart behind it. I care too, don’t you? If in a large group, for instance, someone says out loud: “Melanie, you are a good mother” … those words don’t mean near as much to me as when I’m alone with someone and they same the very same thing. For my ears only. The exact words bear more weight when spoken privately. But why?
Sincerity is perhaps never more beautifully pronounced than when words are spoken in those quiet intentional moments, face to face, one on one. But those moments are uncomfortable, aren’t they? To look someone in the eyes and to express the truest part of your heart to them is difficult because it requires us to tear down our walls and be vulnerable. As prideful human beings, we don’t like that too much. We fear rejection, judgment, or even apathy. Give us a computer or cell phone, however, and we can type away:
- Your smile is beautiful!
- Great looking kids!
- I love you!
- I hope to see you soon!
- I remember all of our good times!
- You’re such a great person!
Put us face to face….all alone….and the words don’t come as easy. Intimacy, however, was created by God when He chose us for communion with Him. “You are My friends,” He tells us. Corporate prayers, while sometimes magnificent to hear, are probably put on pause or mute by our Father who wants to hear our hearts. Let it sink in for a minute. He has called us His friends.
My favorite people on earth, without exception, are part of the special needs community. Until I take my last breath, I will believe they were created to teach us all about this subject. With no desire to manipulate, to gain an advantage, or to impress, they speak from their hearts. Katie, she grabs my face with the most tender hands and says: “I think you’re a beautiful angel.” She means it, and every time, I tear up. The honesty is almost too much. Heather, hooking her arm around my neck the way she does, says: “You’re so good to me, and I love you, buddy,” before kissing me on the cheek. In response, I just want to burst. In that same way, just like Katie and Heather, we need to speak and listen to one another’s hearts…honestly and openly spreading love to a world that is starving for it. That, I believe, is the point of Proverbs 27:14.
Click here for a quick laugh and to see Mona & Claudette’s take on the subject:
With Blessings, The Truest of Hearts, & Laughter!
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.
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.
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.
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!