Archive for October, 2013|Monthly archive page

Maggie’s Month 2013

In Uncategorized on October 16, 2013 at 12:39 am
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TheJoyfulPalmers 2013

Simplicity is the Palmer motto for 2013. Simple joy, simple love, simple work.

And, we’re keeping Maggie’s Month 2013 true to the theme. We’d like to  invite your family to discover the power of small and simple service, done as a family.

Whether you’re a long-time Maggie’s Month supporter, or a new friend we’d like to challenge your family to consider a simple project you can do together to support Maggie this year. Don’t forget to savor how sweet simplicity can be–together.

Our family is wrapping up yours in a warm embrace. Our gratitude runs deep with the knowledge that by “small and simple things, great things come to pass.”

If you’re a new friend to Maggie’s Month get started HERE.

Happy Simple & Sweet Maggie’s Month 2013!


Maggie’s Mom & Dad


Two Little We Sherpas

In Uncategorized on October 16, 2013 at 12:37 am

birthday party

Last year I had a first hurt. I found a picture on Facebook of all Maggie’s friends at a birthday party she hadn’t been invited to. Cry!

rocksSometimes the depth of my grief over what seems to be a pebble in “the road of life with a special needs child” surprises me. How could stepping on such a little thing hurt so badly? I shake my head in wonder as the tears flow.

Just the other day one of Maggie’s little next-door friends said to me, in her frustration of not being able to play with Maggie in ways that she wanted to, “I wish Maggie didn’t have cerebral palsy.” Her comment sucked the air out of my lungs, and I was speechless. What should I think about this, about her? I didn’t know.

We’ve always homeschooled Maggie. Soon she’ll be going to public school for the first time in her life. In fact, she’ll go to a school that currently doesn’t have a child with her sort of disability. I’m expecting that we’ll be stepping on lots of those painful little pebbles in this part of our path. Maybe there will be some rocks I crack my shins against, or a boulder that crushes me.

For this reason I’ve been considering this strange land we all have to tread when the “typical” and the “special” intersect.

wheelchair barbie

There was a time when I was one of “them” and lived in the “typical world”—when I didn’t have a special needs child, when I didn’t even know any special needs people. If I crossed the path of someone different I stared, I stumbled, I felt unsure and didn’t know what the heck to do with him. Should I ask what was wrong with him? Should I talk to her, or should I talk to her caregiver? Should I just pretend that I didn’t notice anything different? What would be the wrong thing to say? What if I couldn’t understand what he said back to me? Might they hurt me? Might I hurt them? Could I catch what they had? I felt afraid, I felt awkward, I felt stupid.

I have a lot of compassion for “them.”

sherpaAs we prepare to enter this place of intersection in earnest, I’ve come to the conclusion that Maggie and I are going to be We Sherpas. What’s a We Sherpa, you ask?

A Sherpa has come to be known as someone who guides another along a challenging journey. A Sherpa takes upon themselves the heaviest burdens of the expedition. A Sherpa understands their traveling companion may be inexperienced, awkward, and fearful as they walk through territory that is not their native country, and they are patient with that.

The “We” part of the equation is a conscious decision about how we are going to walk in this world. A world of only “us” (those who get it) and “them,” (those who don’t) is really only a world of ME. The “We” means we’re going to leave the path of ME, and walk the path of WE. (see Anasazi’s, The Seven Paths: Changing One’s Way of Walking in the World)

When it comes to people’s insensitivities, or ignorance about our special kids, here’s why choosing to be a We Sherpa matters so much.

If we want inclusion and compassion for our children, we have to be willing to pick up the other end of that stick.

Walking_this_path_together(2)When someone speaks insensitively or ignorantly, when they stare, when they don’t include, or worse, exclude, the We Sherpa simply sees them as a traveler who needs a guide to help them walk this uncharted territory. The We Sherpa bears the larger burden of reaching out, of inviting, of educating, of creating opportunity, of giving the benefit of the doubt, and of forgiving. The We Sherpa puts an arm around their shoulder and invites them onto the path. They may decline. And, for those who accept there will be the inevitable stepping on toes as we learn to walk together. We Sherpas accept that.

Seth Godin said it best. “The easiest thing is to react. The second easiest is to respond. But the hardest thing is to initiate.”

I’ll keep having these painful “firsts.” And, I’m learning to own my own grief. But, I’m going to choose to walk a path of WE.

When someone clumsily stumbles into us with insensitivity or ignorance, Maggie and I are going to scoot over, invite them to walk with us, and help them over the rocky places of fear, awkwardness, and unfamiliarity.

It’s true. We’re better, together.


By the way, if you’d like to see our latest effort to We Sherpa, check out Maggie’s introductory video HERE, or on YouTube by searching “My New Friend Maggie.”

My New Friend Maggie: A Family Lesson

In Uncategorized on October 15, 2013 at 11:59 pm

Red Arbour

I purchased Red Arbour as a single woman. It was a crazy idea, buying this house. I hadn’t ever owned anything larger than an old used Subaru and a suitcase. But, I heard her call out to me the first day I drove by. I didn’t understand the words she whispered to me then, but I understand them now. She said, “Your family is waiting to be born here. This is home. Come home!”

Doug and I met for the very first time on the door step of Red Arbour. We spent our honeymoon here. All of our children were conceived, and born within these walls. Each of their placentas are buried in the yard under their own honeysuckle vines (don’t tell the renters!).

These walls have seen loads of joy, laughter and celebration, along with grief, suffering and sickness.

It goes without saying that leaving the birthplace of our family was difficult to consider. But as Anais Nin said, “and the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

And blossom we have! Just look what we grew in our new garden plot! A blue eyed boy! So lovely. ben in mud

As our children have only known the community that they’ve grown up in, Doug and I wanted to make our move as warm as possible for them. We made a new video designed to introduce Maggie and her siblings to new neighborhood friends. We’d love to share it with you HERE. In the “About” section below the video on YouTube you’ll see a lesson outline to help introduce children to “special needs,” and increase their comfort with and understanding of others living with these challenges. We hope you’ll share it with others.


We’re so happy in our new space. There is room to grow, in so many ways. We pray that new space will open up for you as well so that your own life can grow deeper, wider and more lovely.


Maggie’s Mom & Dad