Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Dance

Naples Civitan Club Annual Valentine's Day Dance

There were red balloons tied to every table, festive garland stretched across the walls of the gymnasium and a DJ spinning Lady Gaga, Elvis Presley, and Chubby Checker from the center of the stage.

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"They look forward to this night all year," my friend tells me. "It's a really big deal."

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I can tell it's a really big deal. There are fancy dresses. Suit jackets and ties. A medley of cologne scents and silk flower boutonnières.

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We danced. Oh, did we dance.

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And I made note of so many things. How nobody cared about the things that didn't matter and everybody cared about the things that did. Like having fun, making people feel special, stopping to listen. Dancing.

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I cried because I was happy, I cried because I am still learning, I cried because my emotions can't contain that kind of awesome and yes, I cried because there were short moments when I felt sad, and it is important to me to let myself feel those moments when they come. They fuel the passion to be proactive. They fuel growth.

I danced with a young man who told me I was pretty. He held my hand and smiled. He was a good dancer. And when he dipped me at the end of the song, he didn't let me fall. I felt so much kindness from him and when I finally sat down after we danced, I cried because I knew that he felt we were different. And I wanted to tell him we really weren't.

There was pure love in the room. The kind that made me sit and watch and take it in.

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The amazing thing about feelings is that we possess the reins to our perspective. It is a powerful thing--more powerful than the fate of being differently abled itself--to steer our minds and actions toward where we want them to go. I cannot change the fact that sometimes life is hard, that minds don't always work like they are supposed to, that accidents happen, that bodies fail us, or that an extra chromosome happens to be present on my daughter's DNA.

What am I going to do about it? I'm going to rock it. I'm going to raise the roof.

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I'm going to find more ways to be kind and to teach my children to be kind, and I am going to ask others to help me do it. I'm going to fight for my kids equally, and I'm going to stop and take time to teach them to have fun. To never stop dancing and loving life, no matter what the rest of the world does around them.

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I urge you to find ways to get involved in your community's programs for differently abled adults. There are numerous programs, support groups and fundraisers for babies and children with special needs, but adult programs are often challenged in finding support. After being present last night, I want to help change this.

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And let me tell you something else. That extra chromosome? There are dance genes on it, I am sure of it.

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"That will be Nella," someone said, nodding to this beautiful girl on the dance floor. And it made me smile because this girl was vivacious, happy and, Lord have mercy, could she ever dance.

Someday I want THIS to happen in our community. Regardless of your religious views, it's an amazing video to watch.

We are all different, but we all deserve the same opportunities to be respected, to be treated kindly and fairly, and to party with the best of them. I was reminded of that last night, and I am so glad my friend invited me to come. It is a night that won't be forgotten.

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For more information on opportunities like this Valentine's dance, contact your local Civitan organization.

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Friday Photo Dump:

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Friday Phone Dump photos are taken on the Instagram iPhone app (free) and dropped into a 12x12 collage using a photo editing software (Photoshop Elements works). I am @etst (enjoying the small things) on Instagram if you want to follow the feed.


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Introducing new sponsor, Melody Joy of Melody Joy 1983, a fun shop full of funky knits, paintings and hand made jewelry.

You may have noticed my favorite chunky bird's nest ring I've worn in several posts the last couple weeks. It's a fun conversation piece and a great way to show some mama pride.

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Freshwater pearls are carefully woven from your choice of silver or antique brass wire to make this ring, or you can choose it in necklace form.

Melody's shop is also stocked with paintings and a fine collection of beautiful handmade cowls and legwarmers.

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Tell me those cedar branch buttons aren't fabulous?

Melody is offering a generous discount. Use Code 2for2 for free shipping, and for the rest of the month, Melody will be donating 25% of her profits to continue Nella's 2 for 2 Fund.

All mama bird's nest necklaces and rings are buy two, get one free for the month of February as well.

One comment will be randomly chosen from this post to win a $75 gift certificate to Melody's shop.

*****

This was my favorite photo this week. It makes my heart hurt so good.

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441 comments:

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Jules said...

that last picture...you and nella, totally made me cry. beautiful. i love how in love with your kids you are...and they you. i'm a mental health therapist for children...wish more kids had a mom like you!

swonch said...

wow that last picture is absolutely incredible. shows the beautiful relationship you have with your girls!

Darcee said...

I could feel the love beaming out of my laptop and into my living room looking at the pictures from that dance. Such beauty.

Kate Giovinco Photography said...

That picture of you and Nella definitely melts the heart.

k said...

I volunteered with the Utah Special Olympics for 5 years. Loved every second. At each event they have a dance, and I agree, adults with disabilities DO know how to dance! There is nothing that touches my heart more than the Special Olympics programs and how they foster self-confidence and pride :)

Joelle said...

That video and your photos just gave me chills, the good chills that actually warm you from the inside out

Laura said...

Once again, your post made me smile and cry at the same time. Beautiful.

Cynthia said...

I cannot put to words my feelings...I am filled with joy that is spilling from your photos. The happiness you captured in EVERY SINGLE PICTURE. The love. Thank you so much.

Your have picture of the week MELTS MY HEART!

Jannice said...

beautiful :)

LeiShell said...

That photo with you and Nella brought tears to my eyes! SO much love! What a beautiful post and how eye opening to see that the differences are beautiful and to be admired.

{andthisiswhatshesaid} said...

This is just pure beauty...I love the fulness in their eyes, the warmth, the love. xox

Nicole said...

I loved this post. With you as Nella's momma, teaching her to strut her stuff and love herself, she will no doubt be with sweet girl on the dance floor getting down with her bad self.

Melissa said...

I really love this post . . . and it's a truly gorgeous photo!

April Vernon said...

I cannot imagine the emotion surging through your body while you were on that dance floor. I am NOT much of a crier and started welling up as soon as I saw that first picture of you in it because I knew. I knew the mixture of happy and sad that must've been so strong at that moment. I. LOVE. YOU. I love you for rocking this. I love you for making me feel like I can rock this. And I love your way of expressing yourself through your canvas, your blog.

sara said...

Hmmm...a dance is special no matter the age or person... Your photos remind me of that. Wish we had more dances scheduled as married adults.
I follow you on IG and that is, by far, my favorite of you and Nella. A perfect depiction of love.
G'night.

Mama C said...

What a perfect post. The little things are the big things, aren't they. :)

MsPIsMe said...

No matter what you write, I always, always seem to find myself shedding a few tears - be they from something positive or b/c you've hit upon something sad for me - I love your words, but gosh woman, could you please stop making me cry!! :) I work in the field of exceptional education & how I wish more people used the term "differently abled" - it's such a better description than "disabled" & it frames everything in a much more productive light. Keep fighting the good fight so those of us in the field have a champion. & that picture of you & Nella, your favorite - melts my heart ... she's such a beauty!

Sandryte said...

What a great video! I so hope my child will live in such a world one day!

erin rae mac said...

This is the first I've checked Nella's fund in a bit. Congratulations on meeting your goal! A great friend of mine has a sister in her 30's with DS and this post made me think of how much she would have LOVED to be able to be a part of this event. She's quite the dancer herself! Great pictures/post! Thanks for sharing!! :o)

Laura said...

The video made me cry and smile at the same time! It was amazing.

Princesspillar said...

oh man, that last photo? deserves a frame! I have already added so many of melody's cowls and other wonderful things to my favourites list. Might be the perfect opportunity to splurge! What an amazing post! Never disappointed in this corner of the www!

Tammy@Simple Southern Happiness said...

God put these blessed one's on this earth to show us how GOD loves us, unconditionally and to show us just what is important.

What a blessing!!!

Highview Community Church said...

Loving the awareness you are bringing to all people with special needs. Thank you.

Paula

amypins said...

As i saw the pictures of that beautiful girl in the coral shirt and blue skirt i thought that same thing "that will be nella" all beautiful, happy and smiling. even just through pictures she captivated me quickly.

I hope everyone finds a cause and takes time and effort into supporting it, encouraging it, moving it forward. For me it is similar to yours, only for individuals with mental illness. I battle it in my work (as a social worker) and in my personal life. Trying to break down stereotypes and long held (negative) perceptions that people have when they hear the words "BiPolar Disorder" or "Schizophrenia"

Debbie T. said...

Love it! You and your girls are inspiring!

The Popes said...

That last shot s INSANE!! What a treasure.
You inspire me in so many ways but I'm most thankful for you letting us see you IN pictures with your kids and having fun WITH them. I'm good at creating fun for my kids but seldom slow down e nough to get in there and enjoy with them.
I love when women let God turn their pain into passion. We tried forever to get pregnant. I spent years devastated and crying. Then god gave me a random interaction with a child in foster care and I physically felt the spark of my passion for them. Thank you for calling people to act on what's snide of them.

Lia said...

I work with kids with disabilities. Thank you for reminding me to keep the big pictures in mind.

Love that last shot, perfection.

Sheila said...

My cousin was instrumental in getting this video made, Spread the word, Stop the R word. I hope you enjoy:)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZ5oIdSduh4

Amy said...

Pure love, that last picture is.

Gretchen A. McNally said...

Absolutely LOVE this post AND the photo of you & Nella at the end. ♥

HollyF said...

I've been religiously reading your blog for several months now and have yet to leave a comment!!
Today's the day!
This post was beautiful. As I was scrolling down the page and saw the first picture of the beautiful girl in the coral tank, I stopped to just look at her face and thought to myself, "oh my gosh, that looks like Nella." Then I scrolled down a bit more and saw the caption: "That will be Nella." I guess I wasn't the only one that saw it :-)

Your blog has inspired me in more ways than one. First, I bought me a real camera!! I want to capture beautiful (non-blurry) pictures of my almost 8 month old son! Second, I've started a photo book of his first year and I LOVE IT. Thirdly, I'm striving to spend time with him creatively, in ways that make memories last. Fourthly, to be grateful for life! And spice up the everyday!

Thank you so much for blogging!! I've started a blog as well...check it out if you'd like (the little boy with chubby cheeks in every post will make you smile, promise) :-)

www.myeverydayadventure.com

nicole said...

I'm jealous of Nana Kate. Nella never fails to melt my heart!

heather said...

ive been apart of the moment "when they knew we were different" too. in high school a girl in my class smarted off and then informed the whole room that she wasn't staying in a room with(im going to use her word) and pointed to the children with the extra chromosome. the look on their face broke my heart, they knew right then and there they were different and i hated it. i stood up in a room full of people and informed her that we are all the same, they have more love for life then we do. we left with a teacher for the outburst and both got in school detention for a class prd for causing a scene. lets just say i had several people come up and thank me for that b/c they, like me , had someone like them in their family and they understand just how special they are. however i didn't do it to be thanked, i did it b/c thats what's right. they aren't different if anything they are better. i see lainey standing up and saying that no matter what people might say. she is a great big sister and she loves nella more then anything. you can just tell in all your pictures.

as i totally agree that will be nella on the dance floor like that other little girl. i can just see it. i just hope you will still have this blog to show the world her amazing dance moves.

acornmanphotography said...

Two of my favorite work days throughout the year are our annual client Christmas Party and Summer Picnic. Seeing people come together from all walks of life under one roof to have fun and not giving a damn what others think puts a smile on my face at each party. What a nice reminder to take life less serious and to PARTY!

Julia said...

I saw the beautiful blond dancing and I thought the same thing before I read the caption. I thought, THAT will be Nella when she's grown! Beautiful and smiles and full of life.

I never post comments but I've followed for a long time.

HollyF said...

I've been reading your blog religiously for a few months now and I have yet to leave a comment!
Today is the day!

This post was beautiful. As I was scrolling down I saw the picture of the beautiful girl in the coral tank. I stopped scrolling, just looking at her face, and thought to myself, 'Oh my gosh. That's what Nella will look like in 15 years!' Then I kept scrolling and saw the caption, "That will be Nella." I guess I wasn't the only one that thought that!

Your blog has inspired me in so many ways!! I've started my own blog (www.myeverydayadventure.com)! I bought myself a good camera - so I can take beautiful (non-blurry) pictures of my 8 month old son! I started a photo book of his first year and I LOVE IT! I try to spend time with him creatively, making memories that last. And I'm trying to enjoy life more, seeing the beauty in it all and spicing up the everyday!
Thanks so much for blogging!! Can't wait to read your book too!

p.s. if you check out my blog, the chubby cheeked baby boy will make you smile...promise. :-)

Also, if this comment shows up twice, I'm sorry!

Anna {dear friend} said...

Thank you for this today.

I loved reading this and smiling and feeling that music and wanting to dance.

It was beautiful.

This night looks so fun and wonderful.

Thank you for sharing!

Kristin said...

This dance is so sweet. It pulls at my heart strings.

Elizabeth said...

The last picture of you and Nella is beautiful! This post is beautiful! I was involved in so much in high school, and since having kids I know that I need to get involved a bit more. We've done walks, but I would love to be involved elsewhere.

Thank you for raising the awareness of groups like these that not only support children but adults as well.

Hannah O said...

I worked as a nurse at a facility for adults with physical and mental disabilities.. and I totally agree with you, more people need to see that. See the fun they have, see how They don't care what eachother can and can't do. And those extra chromosomes are definitely dance chromosomes!

Laura said...

Lord have mercy--the joy-filled tears be flowin'.
Words always escape me when it comes time to write my comment, & so I end up propelling out some banter that does not reflect the joy in my heart & the quenching of my spirit that your posts can often provide. But this post? So very many joy-filled tears. Lord have mercy, could she ever dance. Nella's little hands cupping your face.
The tears!
Beautiful. Bless you.

Debbie said...

That? Was a beautiful memory. It is so nice to see such happiness in the world. Thank you so much for sharing.

And that photo of you and Nella? My heart was tugged...love it!

EmilyLorin said...

Your perspective is beautiful...

Molly said...

What a wonderful night and event! They were rockin' it!

We have an organization here called Heart Strings. It is for developmentally disabled adults to have the opportunity to be helpful in society. One of the programs is to sell goodies in office buildings. They come every Monday and sell me breakfast on a cart! It really brightens up my Monday! And I love knowing that I'm contributing to a great organization.

Leslie said...

My sister and brother-in-law are really involved in the Special Olympics in Michigan. My husband and I went up to Traverse City last weekend to take part in the festivities, and it was so inspiring and fun. And your comment about that extra chromosome holding dance skills? So right on - the closing ceremonies ended with a giant dance party and we were blown away by the moves we saw! As always, love your pictures and your blog!

Mrs. Jorgensen said...

Your posts always have this wonderful effect of crying and laughing at the same time. Love this one!

Maybe Another Time said...

I read your blog daily, wow what a post!!
You go girl, everyone looked so so happy, inspiration to everyone.
I hope you have that last photo blown up on a canvas in your home?
Gill in UK :)

Debby said...

LOve that picture of you and Nella. It's one of those moments that you aren't sure what she is going to do. So much happiness in that little girl of yours.
Sweet post. I can see why you would cry and be happy at the same time.
The Nella girl is adorable. I can see that will be Nella someday.
My son is challenged. These kids/adults are so loving and just seem to enjoy life. It is so much fun seeing the pictures of them having fun.

Bikini By 30 said...

Nella's already got mad dance skills. She'll be the life of the party!

Jeanie said...

I'm new to your blog, Kelle, coming from Beth's after watching your video and book trailer. I am thrilled and inspired by your posts.

I'm sure you probably are familiar with special needs blogger and writer Judy Winter (judywinter.com) whose book Breakthrough Parenting with Special Needs chronicles her life with her son Eric and founder of a music camp for kids with special needs at Michigan State University. Her blog highlights the wonderful achievements of special needs families. You two sound made for each other, with a similar mission based on a life filled with both great change and great joy.

Laura Harfield said...

Oh dear lord, that last picture is sheer perfection. My heart is smiling.

Olivia : I am still learning said...

My husband's mother use to volunteer at dances just like this when he was younger and she use to bring him along, and he loved LOVED dancing there. He's told me about it a few times since we've married and they were all fond memories. Maybe when Lanie is older she can go too, I know she will have an amazing time!

And that last photo? So absolutely precious :)

Inspiração Inesperada said...

We're always learning right? :)

Lesli Temple said...

Love your favorite photo at the end! Pure, unstoppable love!

Sarah said...

I love your blog! Yesterdays post on letting your kids be themselves...that spoke to me right when I needed it. You are inspiring...thank you!

Alisha said...

beautiful post. brought a smile to my face.

Jaclyn Hicks said...

I just gave birth to my son on Valentine's Day, and I've got to say, I love your posts.....they make this Mama's heart swell. Hope you have a wonderful weekend.

Vonda said...

I have to say that out of everthing you've ever posted, this is my favorite. I'm smiling and crying at the same time and that's my favorite emotion.

Kristin said...

What a great post! You capture such precious moments in your photos...I LOVE them all!

MaryMyles said...

love this post. Some of your posts really stand out. This is one of them! Thanks for sharing!! WE will be paying it forward!

Melissa said...

that was wonderful. thank you for sharing the dance! Pure fun and joy on everyone's faces.
Oh my those cowls are just yummy. Big buttons with big knits. YUMMMO!

My Secret Rooms said...

Looks like a fantastic Valentine's dance - full of happiness and joy.

Yes, that photo of Nella and you is so so so special. One of the cutest photos ever, that I have ever seen. It contains so much love.

Stacy said...

SHINE looks like an amazing event! Brought tears to my eyes, but good tears.

Amanda said...

You are such an inspiration, thank you for sharing anything and everything!

Love is all you need said...

I love things that hurt so good. Like this post. So special and beautiful!

Summer said...

I love reading your posts each week and the pics just make my day. I made it all the way through this post without shedding a tear and then the last pic just had tears streaming down my face. That pic doesn't need words. Beautiful :)

Megan said...

LOVED this post! I worked w/older adults w/drastically different abilities for several years and some of my favorite memories are the dances- those folks could dance like no other! So much fun!! Thanks for this!

Jessica said...

This post is beautiful. Love it.

Shelby H. said...

Another absolutely uplifting post from you! Although I need to stop looking at all of the neat sponsors blogs, I'm spending way too much money!

Pray~and~Wait said...

Shine 2010 is INCREDIBLE! I love what they have done for their community. I also love that there are some churches willing to step out of what is "normal" to take a stand for Christ who loves all people! What a ministry that are having for that community! Thanks for sharing!

OnCallMom said...

That video made me cry like a baby. And want to get involved. Thanks for sharing your message. And, yes, that last picture is perfection!

Sharmaine said...

that last picture is amazing. so precious! and those bird nests are to die for!

Katie said...

The photos at the dance are incredible!!! I love that you said that extra chromosome comes with a lot of dancing skills :)

The Southern Girl said...

This was such a sweet and inspirational post. I love this!

-Abby Ammons

Joyful1 said...

Kelle- I am SUCH A fan of that video! As a member of a local church who feels the same way about making ALL feel SPECIAL as God intended it to be, i am taking this to the board with HIGH hopes of pulling off an INCREDIBLE NIGHT sometime soon in our community! Thankful for you & your words!

heather said...

I had the hardest time at adult special needs functions when Morgan was younger. It was too hard of a reality for me. I appreciated your honesty in this post.

Grace like Rain said...

Dancing is such a universal language. Words don't need to be spoken to see the joy in their eyes!

Jamie said...

love this. i'm so glad you found joy. xo. thank you. your family is such an inspiration.

Monalisa said...

I love to walk your photos, wonderful feelings are expressed in them.

Kisses to you and your beautiful daughters


Monalisa.

Marissa said...

Beautiful post, Kelle! I love all of those pictures what contain so much joy and happiness! You are right, that last picture is pretty precious. Hope you have had a fabulous weekend!

Josh_n_Connie said...

I love that photo too! Beautiful!

Lucy said...

Breathtaking! I love that last photo. And another great post.

MaryanneChristine said...

That final picture of you and Bella Nella is precious. What a lovely post. :)

Monique said...

I love what you do Kelle Hampton- your passion and LOVE for life and making us aware of the beauty that lies in corners of our world that are too often forgotten. What a beautiful, pure and magical post. I read it out loud to my boys...and listening to my voice speak your words for my children to hear, brought your message to a deeper part in my heart & soul. (Your next book must be a children's book!!!)
I admire that you speak so raw, so honest. I know that you will continue to ROCK this out...you are raising the roof to new heights. I pray that you continue to fuel the passion in all of us to raise roofs everywhere!!
The Shine video was incredible. I will quote you here because it is exactly how I felt watching it: "I cried because I was happy, I cried because I am still learning, I cried because my emotions can't contain that kind of awesome..." there is such beauty in the corners of our world that we need to celebrate!!!

God Bless you Kelle
...oh yes - that last photo - Little Ms. Nella is gulping up your love- I can feel how it makes your heart hurt so good!! A heaven moment!!

Jen said...

I wouldn't be surprised if someone mentioned this already, but this (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vj9JuAHYaig)video is definitely worth watching too (God's prom). I touches my heart so, I always feel so honored to be in the presence of people whose hearts are so true.

cjc said...

tears, tears, tears!

loved!

Nic said...

Everything about this post made me smile... But that last picture? Whoa. Holy unicorns baby!!

Nic said...

Everything about this post made me smile... But that last picture? Whoa. Holy unicorns baby!!

Jada said...

What a great post! Also LOVE the last photo:)

Alsgal aka Kristy said...

Kelle, When I first saw the gorgeous blond girl in the red shirt, I said "that will be Nella", I cried when I saw the picture too because she looks so, perfect, happy and as you said, VIVACIOUS!

gayle said...

oh, my word...again and again you amaze, surprise me, tickle me with joy and show me the best we can be. I am going to look for opportunities when I get back to Miami. I am in Va. visiting grand girls who will accompany me to dance with many people!

My World - My Life said...

What a beautiful post. Looks like everyone had a great time! And wow that picture of the girl with the orange shirt and black skirt...i was looking at her thinking that's gonna be Nella and I looked down and read it and it said the same thing. It's like a glimps into the future for her!

Michelle said...

Absolutely beautiful post and photos. Thank you for making my day better with these thoughts and inspirations.

formymadeline said...

Beautiful. This post made me cry happy (and sad) tears. My brother works with One Step Beyond in Phoenix, AZ and absolutely adores his job with the adults in the program. Makes me feel so proud and also makes me want to get involved in some way, myself. Thansk for sharing your beautiful life - I love your blog!

formymadeline said...

Beautiful. This post made me cry happy (and sad) tears. My brother works with One Step Beyond in Phoenix, AZ and absolutely adores his job with the adults in the program. Makes me feel so proud and also makes me want to get involved in some way, myself. Thansk for sharing your beautiful life - I love your blog!

earlynovemberlove said...

Absolutely beautiful. That's all I have to say.

Carrie R. said...

As I was looking at the pictures and before I read your words, the girl in the peach shirt and black skirt stood out to me. I stopped and took a little longer to look at her. She looked happy and so beautiful. My thoughts were, "That's going to be Nella one day." And then I read your words. It made my heart smile. <3

becky v said...

Amazing. Just amazing.

Ali's Mom said...

Those dances are so fun - so filled with joy!! That last picture in a word: Priceless!!

Smiley said...

Nella will for sure be a dancer...she already is as she taps and twirls into the hearts of every reader of this blog. Thank you for sharing her...
Paula <3

Tess said...

As I read through this post, I kept thinking about an event my church had a few years back, and then there you go and put a link to it! I grew up going to Flatirons, and Shine completely changed our community. I am glad your community recognizes what joy there is in dancing with some of the best dancers there are! Positively beautiful, Kelle.

Rylee Field said...

Dancing...I love it. I love the idea that anyone can dance, and dance well, extra chromosome or not.

And the cowls! Oh, the cowls! I die.

That photo is too much. I love it. One that probably ought to be framed. Just so precious.

wahm said...

I have no connection to DS, but am SO inspired by your amazing positive views on life and your blog. Thank you for reminding me to be positive even on the days its so tough!

Susanne said...

what a wonderful evening--filled with such love and fun!

Hazel said...

What a wonderful event. I think you're right, support groups for adults with special needs are fairly thin on the ground, if anything they may need more support then.
I know with your heart to see not only your Nella given all the same opportunities as other children, but other special needs children as well, that the drive to make people look past our perceived differences will follow you through your whole life.

Dee said...

The photos of you dancing brought such a smile to my face, and as always your words are poetic and poignant.

Farhana said...

Thank you for sharing the pics and the love.

Britnie said...

How fun! My mother in law works at a school for special needs children. On Valentines Day I took my girls (ages 5 and 2) to the school she works at, they were having a Valentines dance. My girls had soo much fun and I love being able to teach them that although everyone looks different, we all love the same things, like dancing, singing and having fun! It's a great opportunity :)

lins said...

The last photo is beyond beautiful.

Miss Molly said...

You never cease to amaze me or make me cry. I love that you are so honest on what you write. You deal with an unknown of your beautiful daugther. I deal with an unknown of a husband who is a soldier. I know that they are two different things, but all together we are in the same boat. My heart has now been pushed to do something. I want to thank you very much for that push. You are awesome.

Sparkle in my eye.... said...

This post was especially near & dear to my heart! I work for a company who, among the many services they offer have group homes in 13 counties in PA. I've worked for them since I was 18 and am now 25 :) The one thing that the particular ladies I work with always look forward to is "Coffee house" now another agency hosts this event every 1st and 3rd Thursday every month and while there is NO coffee actually involved there is a DJ, a disco ball and lite snacks. This dance lasts an hour and a half and to see everyone mingle and dance and just have a FANTASTIC time always makes me smile. No one cares how you dance or judges your style it's all about the fun!

Elsa said...

This post borught so many tears to my eyes!!! Happy tears!! Thank you, thank you for always reminding that life is what you make of it. To appreciate the little things and to be kind to each other!!! I will for sure be looking into what things we can volunteer and I say we because I would like to teach my boys the importance of volunteering.

nicole said...

Kelle
What a beautiful post all the pictures made me smile thinking that my little guy is going to rock it out one day too with a beautiful blonde!

The last picture of you and the princess so gorgeous!

Nicole
Nmills25@verizon.net

Lisa said...

This post made me tear up...and maybe more than tear up at the end with that beautiful picture of you and Nella. What a lucky, lucky girl. (Well, what lucky girlS, of course.)

greilotus said...

Tears!! Beautiful post. And yes, that last photo is gorgeous.

1f2e747e-5b63-11e1-993a-000bcdca4d7a said...

That will definitely be Nella.

Gina said...

I adore your blog. Never thought I'd be able to choose a favorite post.

Until now.

Namaste, sister.

Janet said...

I love how big your heart is!! You are so inspiring, and you make me want to be a better person! Thanks for reminding us about what really matters!!

The Sanchez Family said...

Oh Kelle...beautiful post and beautiful honest words and thoughts. Everything you said rings so much truth to me...I know exactly what you felt. I felt the same way I attended an event for adults with different abilities- so much to learn and celebrate but still those short moments of sadness- I understand. Thank you for this post. xo

cejer said...

My friend and her husband are considering adopting the most precious little boy who happens to have that chromosome with extra magic dancing powers:) I sent her the link to your blog and she was encouraged by it. Keep doing what you do Kelle; you are changing perspectives and enriching lives through your blog!

Aimee Hain said...

Simply amazing. I am looking at opportunities in my community right this minute. Thank you, Kelle. You are such an inspiration :)

thb said...

i love that girl's shirt!

Esther said...

Oh Me Gah! These photos had me in tears. Good tears. Host of emotions. :)

Heather said...

Love, love, love this post! Having attended numerous dances for adults with a whole range of abilities, I can attest there is a dance gene there, and I think it starts with the truest of joys. It's something I am continually humbled by and trying to learn. Keep dancing...

Meghan said...

Just when I can't think your blog can't possibly get any better! Yes. You will rock it... And I'm going to rock it with my daughter too.

The Lindsey Family said...

What a beautiful night! Thank you for sharing.

Tara Newhole said...

Welcome to my world...it's a good place when people with DS are around, isn't it?
as of yesterday's date (2/18/12), I've been a Vocational Rehab counselor for 14 years - more than 1/3 of my life - and I wish ALL of my Clients had DS because they are the BEST people to be around. that dance looked like a BLAST and I can't wait to see what Nella does for the world when she grows up. never doubt for a SECOND that you were meant to be her Mom, because you WERE. and ARE. love ya lots, thanks always for your great posts. While you're at it, look up "The Kids of Widney High" and be a groupie like me! :)

Renee' said...

The entire post made me so happy! I loved your dancing and comments about how much fun you had! The photo of you and Nella is definitely a keeper.

ama de casa said...

Love. It.

6512 and growing said...

So beautiful. I worked with differently abled adults for many years, went to many dances and parties and I totally hear what you're saying here. The joy and the sadness. But mostly the joy.
I appreciate your honesty in this post and loved it all the way through.

juli (sweetpz) said...

Love this post. Very sweet and endearing.

B's Mommy said...

My heart is skipping and dancing... my eyes are full of joyful tears... I can't wait for next year!
Your photographs captured the purity of the magical evening... Inspiring...

mary @ figwittage said...

How AWESOME is that dance?! Going to check out more programs... my brother is 30 with a FABULOUS extra chromosome! He thinks grooving is alright, but he would rather sing! xx

CLeigh said...

I absolutely adore that picture of you and Nella. What a beauty. How lucky can you be to find a love like that? You are blessed.

Laura said...

Oh this made me smile. I am part of a band that has a regular booking for the Idea Services (New Zealand Organsiation for people with wide ranging ability issues) ball. We play covers, teach different dances and have the time of our lives. It is hands down the best night of our year, we laugh together, cry together and enjoy music together. I have learnt the best dance moves, all about love that breaches all differences and how music brings everyone on to the dance floor. counting down the days till the ball, and your post makes me so excited for it! Gorgeous photo of you and nella at the end.

Joshua and Jamie said...

Kelle that video was beautiful! I agree that we all need to do a more to love others for who they are. To make people feel special, accepted and cared about!

Katie Driscoll said...

Thank you thank you thank you Kelle! For feeling and sharing because these moments happen and they are important to all of us! Love love love! and you rock it girl! I plan to do the same damn thing! Rock it out!!!!
Love Katie
5boysand1girlmake6.blogspot.com

Lynne said...

that last photo is so beautiful! Love the look on Nella's face - her smile is priceless!

Ellen said...

this post made me cry. and smile. love that last picture so much.

Brittany Williams said...

I absolutely love the picture of Nella in the beanie! She is so gorgeous! Love the egg ring! What a great idea!

Ellen said...

also, love that video. flatirons is a really cool church. what an incredible and important thing that Jesus calls us to!!

Katie said...

Thank you for this post. We need to spread the word about adult programs and this post summed up why beautifully. May we all live equally and happily!

Multiple Blessings Photography said...

glad to hear you want to help raise funds for groups like these. Often these are the groups that suffer with funding , all the money raised for these groups goes straight to the people that participate in the groups. you will certainly help make more fun things happen for this group..you go kelle... you brightened my day with this post=) God bless you..

Heather B (HomemadeMom) said...

That video you linked to was amazing! Brought tears to my eyes. I know a local church that could totally pull this off! I'm sharing the video with them. Thanks!

amy/jojo said...

Your blog: Warms my heart, makes me cry tears of hope, and creates great thoughts in my mind. Thank you! Your an inspiration.

Nikki Crockett said...

Amaaaazing last picture. GIves me warm fuzzies.

Heidi said...

Oh! That last pic of you and Miss Nella just MELTED my heart. So precious. What a sweetheart, smiling at her Mama with so much love. Beautiful.

Abbie Johnson said...

This whole post made my heart melt! The beautiful woman that you said could dance had the cutest outfit on. Seriously... where did she get that skirt? Your posts always remind me to count my blessings. You have such an incredible and inspiring story! We all meed an attitude like yours. Loved this.

Christie said...

Oh Kelle I just love your blog. You are the #1 inspirational blog I read. I so appreciate your insights on so many things. I think you are wonderful. Thank you for sharing what you do!!!!

SuperMilf said...

Such a touching post.
I saw that last picture when you posted it on Instagram earlier in the week, it's even more amazing blown up to a bigger size. Brought tears to my eyes. SO beautiful!

*Jazzmine*

Tara said...

Kelle,
I absolutely love your blog. I've shared it with so many since stumbling upon it. What you are doing is amazing. You open my eyes wider every time I read your entries. I adore you as a mother, a writer and a photographer. If I were to win, use my gift certificate at the center where the dance was held. I would love for that to happen xo

Lisa Hewlett said...

So beautiful, Kelle. Thank you for the inspiration.

tialee said...

Beautiful post, when I saw that girl I thought in my head that will be Nella and then I scrolled down and read your comment.
That last picture is so beautiful, you should frame it in a double frame along with the birth picture of you toasting and add the words "How you tought me so much!"

April said...

{love & hugs}!!

amycarpenter said...

gosh, that last photo is so beautiful. so is your writing and your family! I enjoy your blog so much :)

~*Nicole*~ said...

This post totally grabbed hold of my heart. What beautiful things you are doing. Your children are so blessed to have you as their Momma!

Seelife3d said...

shake your tail feather
shake your money maker
shake what your momma gave ya

I dont know but looking at these dance pictures makes me what to have a dance party here with my babies =)

Beans said...

LOVE THIS POST!!!!!!! My goodness....totally tearing up the whole time.
And that picture at the end should be blown up life size, at least! AMAZING SHOT.

Lori Wilson said...

I just had to comment. I work in South Arkansas at a nonprofit sheltered workshop. We have a valentine's dance; just like this one; that we sponsor and other centers attend. Hands down the BEST! Working with dev. delayed people is AMAZING!! I can't wait for the day that others see that we all ARE different. Thank you for this post!!

Tiffany said...

Oh, that last pic got me. Perfect picture of pure love. The whole post had me crying like a baby. Thank you. I needed that.

beth said...

Kelle,

(great post but what I wanted to say...) I *melted* with jubilation (is that possible?) over that photo the last time you posted it. How incredibly much a slice of your life right now. It is absolutely precious!

Shannon said...

I love the pictures! You captured the joy and pure emotion perfectly. Thank you for sharing.

E said...

What a wonderful post to start my week! Thank you again, Kelle, for sharing your adventures with amazing individuals.

Christi said...

I just love reading your blog posts! I always know they will contain beauty and sincerity in equal measures. As usual, this post didn't disappoint. Thanks so much!

Ryan's Mommy said...

Love it!

Amy said...

This post made me a little sad... not sure why. I hope Nella is as vibrant as that young girl!
Love that last photo also... such love!

KK said...

Beautiful feature. Loving the Friday photo dump. Nella is more stylish at the age of 2 than I have ever been! That last photo of the 2 of you together is nothing next to pure awesomeness! The love is palpable.

Anna Ruth said...

Oh, I've missed seeing pictures of the girls and you. So glad everyone is doing well. Miss you!

Andrea said...

What a beautiful post Kelle. I wish more people in this world would open their hearts like you do.

That last pic of you and Nella is amazingly beautiful and adorable!

Nicole Elliott said...

Love that last photo! Heart-melting!

Molly said...

I'll never forget the first time I went to Camp Daniel, a camp for people with disabilities. I walked away from that week with acceptance and love, in it's truest and purest form. It was life changing. That was 9 years ago. I have been involved ever since. I have been living at Camp Daniel for the last 2 1/2 yrs because it was so right.

We put on a big dance last May for people with disabilities up here in Green Bay, WI. It was awesome! You're right, dancing is a part of their DNA. Dancing is a part of their culture. I can't wait for the next one!

Jeska said...

I had chills throughout. Your statement "I cried because I knew that he felt we were different. And I wanted to tell him we really weren't" is really touching. Everyone looked like they were having a wonderful time, that's so awesome. And that last photo of you and Nella, oh my gosh- my heart melted. It could not be any more perfect.

NeeNee said...

What a great dance! And yes, that last picture of you and Nella is just amazing, you can FEEL the love just by looking at the picture.

Megan said...

LOVE that video...what an awesome idea. Thank you for sharing! :-)

Keely D said...

i love Melody Joy. i also love this blog.

Lindsey said...

LOVE the video. and the dance, but that was a given.

nikkib said...

The dance looks so awesome! Thanks for the information and inspiration to work with differently abled adults... something I haven't done in a while and now realize I miss terribly!

Griz said...

"I cried because my emotions can't contain that kind of awesome..."

That is easily one of the best lines I have ever read. I had the pleasure of working with "Best Buddies" and the parties were very similar to the one you described. Great photos too. And that last one of Nella is awesome.

cade said...

I somehow missed this post Friday, and I never miss your posts. I really needed to read this today, so it must have been for good reason that I missed it Friday. I cried happy and sad tears. Thank you for the sweet post!

kcolquitt said...

Penelope has that same "fat unicorn eating the rainbow" tee. It's so funny!

Leisa said...

Love abounds! The photo of you and Nella ... makes my heart happy!

Annie said...

Different, yet the same. Aren't we all?

Melina said...

Kelle, I love you. This post gave me shivers the ENTIRE time I read it. I am so proud of you. I really am.

Much much love,
Melina

Angie Kroeker said...

Thank you for this post. It was lovely to see the love. I can't comprehend how the feelings of mothers like yourself and so many others, would swing. Mine travel many a mile when thinking about the future for my girls and they would be considered "normal". I am so thankful to see the love and to learn from it. Thank you for your honesty, for opening your heart to us.

lexibucz said...

I'll say it again, Kelle, You are such an inspiration in my life, to be a better mother, wife, daughter and friend to all. Thank you for this blog, a true eye opener to be grateful for what we have, no matter what it is - that our children are blessings despite thier differences and that life is what you make of it, and we need to make it fun, full of love, compassion and DANCING!! I surely will be following your blog FOREVER, as long as you will allow us to. Wish I could pre-order 1000 copies of 'bloom' so that I could spread your word to everyone I know, and get the opportunity to meet you. While the photo session itself is luring, time with you seems what is the best win in that situation. xo Alexa Bucz

Katie said...

Just wanted to say I don't read many blogs but I absolutely LOVE coming to your blog. I can relate so much to you about loving life and soaking it up and 'enjoying the small things'. Every. Single. Time. I come to your blog I'm reminded of the beauty of life and ALWAYS walk away feeling like I got a breath of fresh air. So thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

Cheryl said...

The last picture is amazing. I love it. I never went to prom , it is hard to be left out of an experience like that, I loved the video and thing it is a great thing. Everyone deserves to have these great memories and to experience things we are all humans and we all unique in our own ways. It is great to celebrate everyone.

Gage said...

Love it. I have been to a dance like that and it was great and sad and happy and amazing. Thanks.

Vanessa Washburn said...

beautiful photos of the dance. But the one of you and Nella is just breathtaking.

Tricia said...

This is a wonderfully strong post! You tackled the issue of acceptance of differently abled adults with the same zest and enthusiasm that you approach all of the fun and beautiful things in your life. You are doing so much for the special needs community. Thanks.

Furry Bottoms said...

I cannot get over the photos. You have captured the spirit... SPIRIT... of those with downs syndrome so well. They are just plain happy!

I just wanted to share with you that my cousin with DS has had a MUCH MORE fulfilling life than I ever could dream of. She has been travelling around the world... she has sat with the senate to pass a bill against the use of the word "retard" she has given talks, she has had jobs and her own apartments. She has basically lived a very good full life that I am envious of. But my envy disappears the second she looks at me and smiles and gives me a hug. She so deserves the best in the world... simply because of her spirit.

silverluvingcup said...

Simply beautiful!

City Sweet said...

A beautiful post - I read with a lump in my throat. Thank you for showing us so many beautiful things through your writing.

And the last shot between mama and daughter is stunning!

PradaPrincipal said...

I like this post. I like you. Thank you.

Annie said...

Love it! i have been to many dances with adults with different abilities, they are memories that will always remain precious in my heart.

kellimonterroso said...

The last picture is breathtaking! That you for sharing the video - very inspiring!

Roksalanna said...

Wonderful dancers! Looks like a very happy time of carving up the dance floor!
xo

Adri Hunt said...

I loooooove that ring! I have to have it! The dance party looks like fun!!!

C Leebrick said...

your words are challenging and inspiring. thank you for sharing your beautiful family with us!

Jaime said...

Thank you for linking to the Shine video. I was close to sobbing. It reminded me that there is so much love in the world.

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