Lindsay Franklin shares her story of becoming a teen mom, and she gives some fantastic advice for teen parents, their parents, and their friends. #teenmom #parenting

 

In early 2000, Lindsay Franklin was about to graduate from high school. She had big plans to go to college, get a Master’s degree, and have an amazing career. But all of that anticipation came crashing to a halt when she learned she was pregnant.

Her first instinct was to research abortion, because she had been pro-choice up to that point, and being a teen mom was not in her plan. She got on her boyfriend’s parents’ computer and searched for a nearby clinic. The first thing that popped up on the screen was images of aborted fetuses, and in an instant, Lindsay knew abortion was not an option for her anymore. She was going to keep her baby.

But what was she going to do? She had always been a bit rebellious, but she had started going to church a few months earlier, which is where she had met her 19-year-old boyfriend. He was an upstanding church boy with a good reputation. This would ruin everything for him. So she turned away from the computer screen and told him she would disappear and be a single mom and it wouldn’t affect his life at all. He could stay in college and continue on with his plans for his life.

Dave chose a different plan. He immediately grabbed her hands and got down on his knees. He told her he loved her, this baby was both of theirs, and they were going to be a family.

Continue reading “Lindsay Franklin: From Teen Mom to Mom of Teens”

Staci Grosser: Parenting a Child with Autism // A mom shares her story of learning her son has autism and all of the hurdles their family has had to jump in the process. // #autism #parenting #kids #specialneeds #story #inspirational

 

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An Autism Mom Shares Her Story // #autism #specialneeds #parenting #kids

When Staci Grosser gave birth to her first child 10 years ago, she was expecting a four-pound baby due to growth retardation in the womb. However, Renner’s birth weight was a full five pounds. Staci and her husband, Ainslie, were extremely relieved that their baby boy would not need a stay in the NICU and could immediately go home to their house in Franklin, Tennessee.

Renner was a gentle baby, and his parents’ only initial concern was that his mouth muscles weren’t developed enough to suck well. However, the issue was soon resolved, and Staci and her husband, Ainslie, thought everything was fine.

By the time Renner was a year old, Staci and Ainslie noticed that he wasn’t very interactive. He had no interest in playing with them. He also wasn’t doing some basic physical movements that most one-year-old children are able to do, such as pointing and clapping. Staci would take his hands and manipulate them to do the actions but, as she says,

“It’s like his brain just didn’t understand it at all.”

Continue reading “Staci Grosser: Parenting a Child with Autism”

Emily Roig: Finding a Refuge in Music

 

When Emily Roig moved from St. Louis to Nashville to pursue a music career in 2014, she wasn’t looking to make it big. She wanted to see if she could make an honest living with her music, and she wanted to learn. When she left everything she knew and a steady job for the unknown, she did it with a hope and more than one prayer.

Many people take off for Nashville to start pursuing music as a career when they’re just out of high school or college, but that wasn’t the path Emily took. In fact, it didn’t even occur to her to move there until she was nearly 30 years old. But Emily has never taken the normal route when it comes to pursuing music.

Emily and her brothers grew up in a home where it was impossible not to be musical. Her parents met while studying at a conservatory of music, and they’ve been highly involved in musical pursuits ever since. Her mom is an elementary music teacher, and her dad is the music director at a church. Emily says her dad is more of an artistic, creative musician and songwriter, while her mom has always been the interpreter of other people’s songs. Continue reading “Emily Roig: Finding a Refuge in Music”

Videographer Scott Schaefer works with military veterans through his job and via his volunteer efforts with the Central Missouri Honor Flight and other organizations. Read the post to find out more about the ways he serves the people who have served our country, and discover how you can do the same. #veterans #military

 

If you live in mid-Missouri and own a TV, you’ve likely seen Scott Schaefer’s work. But chances are, you had no idea he was involved in what you were watching. Why? Because he’s the man behind the video camera.

Scott, a graduate of the renowned University of Missouri School of Journalism and 15-time winner at the Mid-America Region Emmy® Awards of the National Academy of Television Arts and Science, lives in Columbia, MO, with his wife, Shannon, and daughter, Lillian. He currently works in the marketing department of Veterans United Home Loans as a videographer, and he and Shannon run a photography business.

But where you’ve likely seen his videography skills is on KOMU 8, NBC’s affiliate in Columbia, MO, where he worked for several years after graduating from Mizzou. Among other tasks, he worked alongside Sarah Hill on her popular “Sarah’s Stories” segments that aired once a week.

Continue reading “Scott Schaefer: Serving Those Who Served Our Country”

Photo of Andrew and Kaylee Paredes: Smiling Through Life with a Cleft Lip and Palate

“There’s something we need to tell you.”

When Laura Lee Rose heard these words shortly after giving birth to her first child, she didn’t know what to expect. By her own admission, she was “out of it” after the birth, but she clearly remembers that before she saw her daughter for the first time, the nurses wanted to prepare her for something. Kaylee had been born with a cleft lip and cleft palate.

Fortunately for Kaylee’s parents, one of the nurses had a daughter with the same condition. She quickly showed Laura Lee pictures of her five-year-old’s winning smile, which allayed some of Laura Lee’s fears. So she knew it was a correctable birth defect, but she was also well aware that it would be a long road ahead for Kaylee.

So what is a cleft lip and palate? According to the Mayo Clinic’s website, “A cleft palate is an opening or split in the roof of the mouth that occurs when the tissue doesn’t fuse together during development in the womb. A cleft palate often includes a split (cleft) in the upper lip (cleft lip) but can occur without affecting the lip.”

In Kaylee’s words, “There’s basically a hole from the back of my throat up through my nose. It wasn’t closed, so there was just a big opening.”

The birth defect is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors that cannot be predicted or prevented, based on current research. Currently, most parents are aware of this condition before their child is born. However, when Kaylee was born in the 1980s, ultrasounds weren’t as sophisticated or as widespread as they are today, so her parents and doctor weren’t aware she had a cleft lip and palate until she was born.

  Continue reading “Kaylee Paredes: Smiling Through Life with a Cleft Lip and Palate”

Amy Simpson: Advocating for Mental Health

 

When Amy Simpson was four years old, her mom would often lock herself into her bedroom for hours at a time. While that’s not an ideal situation at any time, the bigger issue is that this would happen while Amy’s dad was at work and her older siblings were at school. So that left Amy and her two-year-old sister on their own.

How a Parents Mental Illness Can Affect Children // Read Amy Simpsons story to discover how kids are affected by mental illness in their home. Find tips for how to help them. // #mentalillness #mentalhealth #kids #family #parenting #kindness

More than a decade would pass before Amy’s mom was diagnosed with schizophrenia, though she’d been showing symptoms—some quite concerning—since she was in her late teens. This was the 70s, after all, and mental illness carried much more of a stigma than it does today. And it was never discussed in the church, which was a major problem because Amy’s dad was a pastor.

Amy recalls that her mom didn’t have any friends. She knew plenty of people an interacted with them on a regular basis at church, but she socially struggled, and she was very withdrawn and disengaged. She often couldn’t explain her thoughts or emotions.

In many families that have a family member with a mental illness, it’s very similar to households where someone has an addiction. Everything centers around that person. Everyone does what they can to make adaptations to protect, avoid, or keep from upsetting that person. This is what happened with Amy’s family, without anyone acknowledging it. She also can’t remember a time when things felt “right” with her mom.

“From as far back as I can remember, I lived with the conviction that I was stronger than my mom.”

“She needed my help and protection. … That awareness was always with me, but it wasn’t something that I processed. The whole family functioned that way without talking about it.”

Continue reading “Amy Simpson: Advocating for Mental Health”

Jeanette Hanscome's story brings hope and encouragement to single parents and offers insights for the people in their lives. She also provides tips for how to be an excellent friend to single parents and how best to help their children. #singlemom #singleparent

Note: This is part two of a two-part post about Jeanette Hanscome. Click here to read part one about her early life, writing career, and how she lives a full life with a visual impairment.

Jeanette Hanscome was in a hotel room on vacation when she received the email from her husband. Subject line: “Moving.”

After 22 years of marriage, the two had been separated for a few months. Jeanette had been hoping they would be able to work through their issues, reconcile, and life would go back to normal. But it was not to be. Her husband was moving to a town four hours away from their home in Reno, and he wanted a divorce. She sat in that hotel room and thought, “Life is never going to be the same.”

She said to herself, “I’m going to be a single mom. I’m going to be divorced. And I can’t drive. How am I going to do this?” She saw the possibility of losing absolutely everything, including her writing career.

Jeanette had the perfect job for someone who is unable to drive due to vision limitations: freelance writing and editing from home. But now she might need to find a regular job in order to make enough money as a single mom. She had no idea what would be in store for her and her sons. How would she manage it? It didn’t take long to find out.

Continue reading “Jeanette Hanscome: A Suddenly Single Mom”