Want To Make Some Kids (and Adults, too) Really Happy?

Class Picture 09-12 - Cropped - 620 x395

Rebecca’s GOS Class Picture, 2012-13

Dear Friends and Family,

I know you are frequently asked for donations or to buy something for a fundraiser. We all know there are LOTS of really good causes. Because I know many of you already give to many community programs, it is likely you do not feel like giving even more to an unfamiliar or distant non-profit. However, I would like you to please just consider my request of you today. For some this request will seem small, while for others this is no small amount.

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Today (September 20), Green Oaks School is participating in North Texas Giving Day. Would you please consider making a donation of any amount to support this super school?

To donate, just go to: https://www.northtexasgivingday.org/green-oaks-school and make your donation. No donation is too small, and every donation helps support a wonderful group of people.

In addition to donating, will you please forward this to your friends and/or post on your Facebook page? 

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Please let me tell you why this school is so dear to our family’s hearts:

Green Oaks School and Green Oaks Adult Learning are very specialized, unique programs for people with Down syndrome and other intellectual disabilities.

Those of you who know us are already aware of what a ray of sunshine Rebecca has been in our lives.

Seventeen years ago, when Paul and I were still trying to wrap our heads around our “new normal”, one of the first things that we worried about (after her health, of course) was whether or not she would ever be able to learn. We also wondered if she would have friends as she got older.

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A Somber Remembrance – Thoughts on the Anniversary of 9/11

I suppose every generation has its share of “Where were you when….?” moments – those “somethings” that happen that are so big, so life-altering, and which affect so many people that the vast majority of them have a memory etched into their mind of where they were when they heard the news, how they felt when they heard the news, and how it changed their life forever.

I can still remember that morning – it started off like any other morning. Rachel had gotten up early and was already dressed and on her way to high school with her friends, Michelle and Sarah were getting ready for school, and Paul was getting ready for work. I was resting in bed, waiting for Rebecca – who had turned 2 months old the day before – to wake up for her morning bottle.

Paul came into the bedroom and said he had just heard on the radio that a plane had hit the World Trade Center and it was on fire.

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For Bev – “Again Someday”

(l to r) Bev and Me, 1964

(l to r) Me and Bev, 2004

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Today would have been my little sister’s 56th birthday.
Miss you like heck, Sis….
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(“Again Someday” by Blackmore’s Night – available on CD or MP3)

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One Year Later

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Paul got the call around 7 p.m. on Sunday, September 3rd.

For a few agonizing seconds, he was the only one who knew the terrible news.  We were with a bunch of friends celebrating Labor Day weekend; we were all enjoying ourselves.

Paul was told that our second daughter, Michelle, had attempted suicide, and that she was at a hospital in Bryan, Texas.  The police officer on the other end of the phone wouldn’t tell him anything more.

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“Over The Rainbow” (Eva Cassidy)

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This is one of my favorite arrangements of this beloved song –

It’s just a beautiful, soothing song, don’t you think?:
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This song gave us much peace while Michelle was in the hospital; it was also played at her funeral.
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(“Over The Rainbow” by the incomparable Eva Cassidy – available on CD or MP3)
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“Hallelujah” – k.d. lang

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There are so many wonderful versions of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” out there – originally covered by John Cale, the version performed by the late Jeff Buckley is perhaps the most well-known of them all (the song has also been covered by Bon Jovi).

I think the first time that I heard this song was on the movie “Shrek” (sung by Rufus Wainwright). There is an amazing 4-part arrangement out there by the Norwegian quartet Lind, Nilsen, Fuentes, and Holm.  Heck, it even sounds good in Italian when performed by Il Divo.

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“The Seal Lullaby” by Eric Whitacre

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In 2004, Eric Whitacre set Rudyard Kipling’s poem “The Seal Lullaby” to music:

Oh! Hush thee, my baby, the night is behind us,
And black are the waters that sparkled so green.
The moon, o’er the combers, looks downward to find us,
At rest in the hollows that rustle between.

Where billow meets billow, then soft be thy pillow,
Oh weary wee flipperling, curl at thy ease!
The storm shall not wake thee, nor shark overtake thee,
Asleep in the arms of the slow swinging seas!

Rudyard Kipling, 1865-1936

His arrangement is absolutely breathtaking:
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In hectic and chaotic times, music like this truly calms the soul.  This song gave us much peace while Michelle was in the hospital; it was also played at her funeral.

(“The Seal Lullaby” is available in CD and MP3 formats)
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