Yo soy La Lay

adventures in family, faith, and Down syndrome


This morning, with her little button nose smushed up as close to me as she could get, Tessa sang me a song.  I couldn’t understand the words, but her smile told me it was a sweet one.

My day has been filled with moments that I want to freeze in my memory.  Like for many around me, it is hard to digest all that has happened this week.  I find my breath catching in my chest as I soak in the calm breeze in my backyard, or my sweet five-year-old chattering with a robin outside her window.  

We have so much.

I did not wake to the news of Dallas this morning.  Before the national news, another devastating headline about a former student crossed my feed.  He, a troubled child, too adult before he was ready, sat in my study hall not too many years ago and dared me to attempt to control him.

I won him over, quickly, with patience and Jolly Ranchers.

I never found anger to be a useful tool, nor lectures.  I don’t know that either can help a person gain perspective or bring warring sides together.  But a show of love to the unkind, the hurt, the confused – that has seemed to build bridges, at least in my life.

Just a couple months ago, that student crossed my path again, sitting in the office of our building, inquiring about how he might be able to finish his high school degree.  

He had been through so much.  Made so many bad choices.  An adolescent with a brain that did not work like an adult’s, thrown into Big, Heavy situations long before his mind could control his body as he needed it to.

I do not know what chance he will have to finish now.  We could not save him.

Today I have soaked in every little privilege that my life circumstance has afforded me – the pile of books on the playroom floor, which my girls have been raised to love, the box of chocolate from my loving and devoted husband, fresh, clean clothes and our own laundry machine in the basement.  Clean water, clean home, stability, resources, safety, education, love.

We have so much.

I can’t imagine the lives of those who do not live as I do, but I understand that by pure chance, it has been different. And so I learn as much as I can.  I pray and try to be kind and gentle.  I don’t know what else to do.  I don’t know what words to say.  I don’t know how to stop the hurt.

This morning, Tessa sang me a song.  Her sweet words were incomprehensible, but beautiful nonetheless.

We have so much.

Someday I will understand.


How Great Thou Art

My faith has always been quiet.  

Please don’t mistake my quietness for weakness.  While I tend to be am bossy in most other aspects of my life, for me, my faith life is one of quiet example rather than outward and vocal evangelism.  I don’t prefer to reference my faith in conversations with friends or strangers.  It’s not uncomfortable for me… I could probably write a thousand words trying to explain my behavior.  Suffice it to say that it’s just not my style.

However, as I sit in the early morning light of a peaceful Holy Saturday morning, I feel the itch to share one of my favorite hymns.  How Great Thou Art was one of my grandma’s favorites also.  In my memory, she (the woman for whom Tessa was named) also lived a devout, but quiet, Christian life.  I vividly remember this song playing in her home, surely recorded onto one of her millions of cassette tapes, though by which artist I have no idea. Today, I’m feeling so very blessed for these memories.

O Lord my God, When I in awesome wonder,
Consider all the worlds Thy Hands have made;
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.

When through the woods, and forest glades I wander,
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees.
When I look down, from lofty mountain grandeur
And see the brook, and feel the gentle breeze.

I haven’t been on a nature walk lately, but in my own home, I can see all of the blessings that God has provided us.  Dusty picture frames with captured memories of loving, joyful times… dirty dishes with remnants of delicious meals shared with each other… the lingering sweet smell of a bonfire on the back patio.  Every rowdy visit from the tickle monster and every cuddle on the couch with a sleepy child… None of these moments are guaranteed to us and yet, our life is full.

Where my heart dwells today, on this Easter weekend, is here:

And when I think of God, His Son not sparing;
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in;
That on the Cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin.

When Christ shall come, with shout of acclamation,
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart.
Then I shall bow, in humble adoration,
And then proclaim: “My God, how great Thou art!”

I am overwhelmed today by the gift that God has given us.  To send His Son to die so that we may eternally live with Him in Heaven… what pain must have filled His heart to see His own sweet child suffer and die.  And still, what joy that we may all share in the bounty of His love!!  The blessings of my earthly home are countless and I cannot imagine what is in store for all of us when we are called home with Him. 

Then sings my soul, My Savior God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Savior God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!


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