As Long As

How can three little words have so much significance?  It might sound something like this, "As long as my child is healthy, I will be okay." Or,  "As long as my son or daughter is healed, everything will be fine."  How about this one-"We would adopt, as long as we knew everything would be okay with the baby...I mean, what if something was wrong with it and it disrupted our lives?" And, one time I actually heard these words, "I don't really care it it's a boy or a girl... just as long as it's not retarded." That was a first for me...granted, I have heard "just as long as it's healthy" quite a lot (and even said it myself), but for some reason, these words grieved me so deeply.  Maybe it was just the fact that it was such an honest response.  

Currently there are ultrasounds that indicate whether or not you will have a boy or a girl.  And, you can have further testing to determine if the baby has a chance of having certain special needs like Down Syndrome, or Spina Bifida.  And, although most will say they just want to know "what they're looking at", statistically in these cases, the child will NOT live. The child will be killed because of a found disability before birth.  There is also new genetic testing being reported that allows parents to find out the complete DNA sequence of their child long before he/she is born into the world.  Some believe this is just the start to even more testing and preferences, such as, being able to identify if you will have a child who is "athletic", "smart", or "good looking".  It is only the beginning and it sounds very scary.  

It's like we want to question God's plan, or his ways and have things our way.   It might be hard to imagine having a child with special needs and it definitely is not what you would ever want for them...but we are not God and often we do not see the full picture as He does.  But, I can tell you that I get glimpses of why God has made Jack as he is...and in those moments, it all makes sense somehow.  All of the heartache, worry, fear, and sadness is gone and is replaced with hope, peace, purpose, and indescribable joy...a joy that I have never experienced before.  I am confident that when we surrender to the Lords plan and allow him to lead our lives, the blessings we receive are far greater than anything we could plan or do on our own.  

So, what do we do when "as long as" doesn't happen the way we wanted?  

What do we do when there isn't a surgery to be had, a pill to take, or a treatment to completely heal?  

What do we do when we find out our "healthy" and typical 9 month old has a life-long, incurable condition?  

What do we do when our teenager suddenly has MS and our lives are turned upside down?  

We turn to Jesus and call on him day and night...and we trust the Word which tells us that God works for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28).  There is so much comfort in these words, right?  

Father, help me to be obedient to Your plan and be someone who says, "I know I will have suffering and go through difficult things in life, but as long as I am grounded in You, I will not be shaken."  

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Phil 4:13

"Neither this man nor his parents sinned", said Jesus, "but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life." John 9:3

Not only so, but we rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character, and character, hope.  Romans 5:3


Special Needs Shout-Outs!

Jack was featured on This Little Miggy's Special Needs Spotlight last Friday!  (I wanted to post on Friday, but we didn't have Wifi or phone service for about 9 days...gotta love the "island life"!)  You can check it out at: www.thislittlemiggy.com.  Miggy is also a special needs mom and has 2 darling little girls...it is always so comforting to find other moms who can understand your struggles and rejoice over your victories.  So thankful to my dear friend Jacque who introduced us to Miggy!  

We used this picture of Jack as the headline for the spotlight.  It's one of my favorites of him...it's like he's telling us to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and everything will be okay.  Thank you, son.  

Also, we want to start Special Needs Shout-Outs at Common Threads!!  If you know of someone who might be interested in being featured on our blog, please send them our way or have them email us at: tiffany@thecommonthreads.org.  

Be blessed!



We are so excited!!  It is time to get your ROCK WHAT YOU GOT tees!  

Here is how to pre-order:

1.  Email sales@thecommonthreads.org with your size and color (if ordering a children's tee)
2.  Provide us with your name and home address
3.  Send a check payable to Common Threads Apparel (you will receive an invoice thru email with our address) or we can send you a statement thru PayPal to pay with a card.
4.  Orders will be processed within 2 weeks of ordering and will ship 3-5 days once we receive the shipment

**All shirts are the Next Level brand; a high-end jersey blend from Next Level with a slight heathered appearance for gorgeous printing with 60% combined cotton and 40% polyester jersey, extreme softness, and TearAway label.

Girls' Tee in Navy/Fushcia (the fit will be different, this is for color purposes only)
Sizes: XS, S, M, L

Boys/Unisex Tee in Navy/Lime Green
Sizes: XS, S, M, L

XXL $21
Women's Sizes: S, M, L, XL, XXL (women's sizes run about 2 sizes smaller than normal)
Girls' Tee in Gray/Fushcia (the fit will be different, this is for color purposes only)
Sizes: XS, S, M, L

 XXL $21
Men's/Unisex and Women's in Gray/Yellow
Men's Sizes: M, L,XL, XXL
Women's Sizes: S, M, L, XL, XXL (women's sizes run about 2 sizes smaller than normal)


The Definition of Inclusion

Today's post is by John Quinn.  John is an encouragement to our family and so many others for his advocacy and support of those with CP.  When we met him last year, he told us to never give up hope and always treat Jack like he is normal...because Jack will never feel different if he is treated like everyone else.    We are still full of hope today and have treasured his valuable words because he can relate to Jack and other special children so children so well.  Visit his website at: www.johnwquinn.com to learn more about his story of challenge and triumph over cerebral palsy.

The definition of inclusion: noun; the act of including; the state of being included.

The above definition of inclusion is from the Merriam-Webster dictionary.  Let me give you my definition of the word inclusion- the one straight from the John Quinn Dictionary of Experience:

Inclusion: Equal opportunity for all.

I believe people, if given the opportunity, can achieve great things.  But they must have a the chance to do so.  Take my career in the military as an example. 

I was born with cerebral palsy, could not walk until the age of four, and kept my condition a secret in order to join the United States Navy.  In fact, I maintained that secret during my entire 20-year military career.  Many people ask me why I choose to keep my cerebral palsy secret.  The answer is this- I wanted inclusion into the military and keeping my handicap secret was the only way I thought I could achieve it.  If my recruiter knew about my CP, he wouldn't have even allowed me to try and take the entrance physical.

Once in the Navy, I achieved some pretty great things, sailing around the world on aircraft carriers, battleships and destroyers.  I had a wonderful career, retiring in 2002 as a Senior Chief Petty Officer- the second highest enlisted rank  you can hold- but I needed the initial opportunity to show what I could do.

I use the military as an example, but inclusion is an issue that cuts across many areas of society, especially for those with disabilities.  People see someone in a wheelchair, wearing a prosthetic limb or using a breathing device and often the first thing that comes to mind is that this person is less capable than an abled-bodied individual.  When someone is looked at in this manner, what happens?  They don't get asked in for that job interview, granted access to mainstream schools or allowed to serve their country.

Please understand, I'm not asking for a lowering of standards to make everyone feel good.  In fact, I say keep your standards high.  I expect nothing less.  What I'm asking for is equal opportunity-that same chance- to hit that standard you have set.  If I can do so - then I have the chance to do great things for society and myself.

And a chance is all anyone desires.

John W. Quinn is the author of Someone Like Me - An Unlikely Story of Challenge and Triumph over Cerebral Palsy.  He is also a navy veteran and disability advocate.


"I Did It!"

...though he may stumble, he will not fall, 
for the Lord upholds him with his hand. Psalm 37:24


Walk by Faith BOGO!

We need to make room for our new inventory coming in (Rock What You Got Tees!) so we are offering a special from Thursday, January 10th to Friday, January 11th.  For every tee purchased, you will receive another tee for FREE!!  All orders must be received by midnight on 1/11 to receive the BOGO!  

Listed below are the sizes and colors we currently have available.  To place your order, email sales@thecommonthreads.org with your information and the size and color you would like. We will process orders in the order they are received; we will let you know if your size and color are available ASAP along with your invoice.   

Thank you so much for your continued support of our family and other families in similar situations.  Every time you wear your tee, you are helping us accomplish our mission...to educate, unify, and foster acceptance for those with special needs.  And, you never know how God might use you to encourage someone- just by wearing your Common Threads tee :)

Men's/Unisex $21
Medium: (2)Heather Gray, (1) Turquoise
XL: (1) Turquoise (1) Red

Women's $21 (These shirts are fitted and run 1-2 sizes smaller than a normal t-shirt...so, if you normally wear a small, order an L)
Small: (2) Olive Green (1) Red (1) Turquoise
Medium: (2) Turquoise (1) Olive Green (1) Red (1) Heather Gray
Large: (2) Turquoise (1) Red (2) Heather Gray (2) Kelly Green

Boy's/Unisex $17
XS: (1) Lime Green, (1) Carolina Blue
Small: (1) Carolina Blue (1) Red
Medium: (1) Orange
Large: (1) Carolina Blue (1) Red

Girl's $17
XS: (1) Pink (2) Turquoise
Small:  (1) Turquoise (1) Yellow
Medium: (1) Pink (1) Yellow
Large: (1) Turquoise (1) Pink

Some of my favorite colors still available...

Men's/Unisex Red

Women's Kelly Green

Girl's Pink

Men's/Unisex Heather Gray

Girl's Yellow

Boy's/Unisex Lime Green

Boy's/Unisex Orange

**Laundering Instructions**

Please wash all shirts inside out in cold water and air dry!!


Trust in God!

A good reminder for me this evening...and a good laugh :)

Trust in the Lord with all of you heart, and lean not on your own understanding; 
in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.  
Proverbs 3:5-6


The Living Word

I met with a precious friend about a year ago and she handed me something...a few sheets of paper that she had typed on.  I did not realize at the time how special 4 sheets of paper would become to me.  However, at this time in my life, SHE knew how much I would need them...and boy, was she right.  I especially need them on those days where I feel the attack of the enemy so strongly.  I might feel attacked personally, or it might be someone in my family, or a friend that I feel the urgency to lift up.  Or, it might be one of those very heavy days that come along every now and then when I just hurt for Jack, wanting so much for him to be accepted and treated like a typical child.  And, for me to give grace to others, lots and lots of grace...because after the 100th person has whispered & stared at him walking through the mall in his K-Walker, my grace sure starts to run a little low.  On days like this, I just start speaking life into his life through this sheet a friend gave me.  I am sharing some of this with you, so that you might also have this to build your faith. The Word is so powerful, active, and alive!!  

**I am plugging in the names in my family- you will just take theirs out and plug in the names you would like.  You can also add to the list when a certain verse speaks to you...I have added quite a few to my list and I will sometimes write to the side, the date and a little description about what might be taking place at the time so I can look back and see the Lord's faithfulness**

I pray this will bless you and yours in 2013 and for generations to come...


Will does not fear, for God has given Will a spirit of power, of love, and of a sound mind.  God is on Will's side.  II Tim. 1:17, Rom. 8:31

Greater is He that is in Andrew than he that is in the world. I John 4:4

Tiffany is Your woman for this time at this job.  Please give her wisdom, discernment, and boldness.  May she find favor with God and with man.  

Will will lie down and sleep in peace, for You alone, O Lord, make Will dwell in safety.  Ps. 4:8

Though Jack may fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the Lord upholds him with His hand.  Ps. 37:24

Tiffany is bringing every thought into captivity.  II Cor. 10:5

Jack's help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.  Ps. 121:2

Andrew is being transformed by a renewed mind.  Rom. 12:1-2

No weapon formed against Jack shall prosper, for Jack's righteousness is of the Lord.  Is. 54:17

Wait for the Lord, Tiffany; be strong and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the Lord.  Ps. 27:14

The steps of Will are ordered by the Lord and Will delights in His ways.  Ps. 37:23

Jack and Will are children of the MOST HIGH GOD!!!  Rom. 8:16

Andrew can do all things through Christ who strengthens him.  Phil. 4:13

Jack is getting all of his needs met by Jesus. Phil. 4:19

Will, nothing can separate you from the love of God.  Rom. 8:39

Andrew is led by the Spirit.  Rom. 8:14

Our family walks by faith and not by sight.  II Cor 5:7

I love these guys.