This weekend I got to witness one of the most roller coaster moments I have ever seen. As part of a very busy weekend that included the CIF state tournament among other wrestling related competitions, I got to see my best friend Lily Mills compete in our own home state tournament over the past two days in Houston. This season was different for Lily, who wasn’t one to back down from a challenge after wrestling in the state tournament the last two years. The season my friend Lily had was one that was destined to end her winning a state championship at 215 pounds after the last two years wrestling at 185 and coming up short. It was the glass ceiling effect. As the tournament progressed, I noticed the glass ceiling getting cracks in it as Lily’s undefeated season reached it’s climax. Lily made quick work of her opponents in the first two rounds including a 17 second pin in the quarterfinals. Turns out that’s what doomed her in the end. Yet again Lily came up short of the state championship as Corpus Christi Ray’s Brooklyn Moreno-Arispe served up a little bit of justice and scoring a fall of her own to win the title and end Lily’s High School career without the one thing that would have defined it. Honestly it’s not fair when that happens, and in the moment you are extra hard on yourself and frustrated and sad and angry. That’s just when sports don’t go right. Lily had an undefeated season going and it came to an abrupt halt. I believe wrestlers are the toughest people on Earth. We all can learn a little something from these people. When their sport doesn’t go right for them on that particular day they just pick up their bootstraps, dust them off, and turn around and face the next day with a spirit of I can do this. If we all could do what these people do, this world would be a much better place.
“My older sister was born with spina bifida October of 1987. Doctors did not believe she would survive birth and if she did, they did not believe she would live any kind of “meaningful life.” To this day, I still cringe and a piece of my heart breaks when I hear the word “retarded.” I can’t tell you how many times when I was growing up kids would tease me by making fun of my sister. I remember as a kid feeling so embarrassed at times because I didn’t fully understand the miracle of my sister’s life. I kick myself now for feeling that way because my sister is one of the most amazing people I know. She has overcome so much and has done so all with a radiant smile on her face and has done so while ignorant people have pointed and laughed and has done so with an incredible amount of poise, pride and grace.
The kind of courage and bravery I hope to have some day. My sister Toni is ,without a doubt, everything that is right with this world.”
– Kelsey Horton, Titan Games Season 1 Competitor
This just hits me right in the feels.
I had a very good friend of mine with Spina Bifida who was unable to walk, but she was exceptionally sweet and loving. She thought she had a crush on me, but I was too chicken to realize it. Sadly, my friend passed on year before last (2017). I miss her every day. Her smile. Her sweet spirit. Her mischievous way she won her way into my family’s heart.
Thank you Kelsey for articulating this about the #RWord. It means so much to me.
As a Christian, this issue unlocked a Bible verse that has helped me immensely with this: “No foul language should come from your mouth, but only what is good for building up someone in need, so that it gives grace to those who hear.” Ephesians 4:29 CSB
Yesterday started this year’s Down Syndrome Awareness Month (#DSAM2018). I thought of all of the kids and adults that I know personally with Down Syndrome, and I compiled a list of their names. I call this list “Kasey’s Tribe” because this group of individuals are all special and unique, just like me!
I also have been following a few families and Individuals with Down Syndrome on Instagram (Sarah Platt is one name that clearly comes to mind. Sarah is from Ohio, and has just recently started doing modeling in addition to her acting career. Sarah is so sweet and engaging.)
I have learned so much by sharing my life with these incredible individuals. I am so blessed and honored to know so many of God’s special people and I am going to tirelessly advocate for them. (to see my photos and learn more about Down Syndrome, follow me on insta @kaseysautistwonderings.)
We are closing in on the first of October, which means Down Syndrome awareness month is upon us once again. I have numerous friends of mine with Down Syndrome, and they are all sweet and beautifully made in God’s hands and in His image. In light of recent posts on Facebook regarding children with disabilities being disregarded, we as humanity must stand up and love these individuals just as Christ loves us.
I got to experience just how generous and warm hearted the cowboy community really is this weekend at ADVO’s benefit Team Roping Competition. I had the honor of getting to attend both days (Saturday and Sunday, helped all day Sunday). For those of you who have never attended a team roping competition, it is like a cross between a rodeo and a street fair. The venue becomes a small city; trailers, horse bound and foot bound traffic, and vehicles flow in and out of the venue at will. The dangers for the foot bound traffic is avoiding the horse track that seemingly appears out of nowhere (referred to by me at all times as occupational hazards). Anyway, This weekend was a incredible blessing. Saturday morning dawned bright and clear (an answered prayer, because the rain went away!). We had our Dummy Roping (cow head mounted on hay bale).
Some were successful, some (like me!!!) weren’t as successful. but fun was had by all, as we settled back and watched some of the action. We enjoyed a great lunch. The next day, selected ones (me included) came back for Cowboy Church (30 minutes, simple message). What a message it was! Then it was go go go time! We went non stop for close to 8 hours, selling raffle tickets and doing various other things to keep things flowing. I got to meet so many of the competitors, and got to be part of an amazing moment when one gentleman (name withheld) generously donated $200 (12 tickets).
MY EYES GOT BIG AND I SILENTLY THANKED GOD!!!
I really feel blessed to be a fan of team roping. The most favorite thing about the weekend was just seeing how generous everyone was.
(Repost- thanks to Dr. Stephanie Clayton, LPC)
If I could sum up my week – this pretty much describes it – llamas, cake, locked doors, and sad cookies. I always knew there was a reason I loved llamas. When googling the behavioral characteristics one will note they are stubborn, aloof, inquisitive, and territorial (probably the best description of my behavior in a few areas over the past few weeks/month)
It started Tuesday with cake. I’m about 100 percent certain this cake was delivered by Jesus – or a messenger there of. It was a large box of tiny bundt cakes – supposedly dropped off by an advertising rep – however, who advertises bundt cakes to a tiny single practitioner counseling office tucked in the back corner of a medical center? I seldom have a client that doesn’t have difficulty locating my office for the first time – much less a bundt cake rep. So I’m pretty sure it was a divine encounter of the bundt cake type.
Wednesday came with a llama journal delivered to my office from a dear friend. It brought tears to my eyes. Not because I love llamas – which I do – but because it meant the world to receive a gift so thoughtful for absolutely no reason other than they were thinking of me. We should never underestimate the power of doing something simple to help someone feel loved and special.
Thursday was ok…mostly consisting of me knocking repeatedly on a locked door. Why? Because I missed walking through it I guess. I desperately craved the felt safety once held behind it. But the thing was – the felt safety had been removed. Now it was nothing but a locked door – nothing behind it but an empty shallow once love filled room.
Friday I received not so subtle confirmation that the door would always remain locked and what was behind it would remain empty – or at least empty in regards to me. And no – I am not talking about an actual door – more of a relational door that I had grown to be comfortable walking in and out of over the past several years. And so I cried…a lot. Thus the entrance of the sad cookies…
Sad cookies because I have the best friend in the whole entire world who said – you are not going to sit in this sh** hole – at least not right here/right now – and drug my stubborn llama ass out on the porch to feed me cookies. I wanted to spit because llamas get a little territorial when people try to the pet them – but she knows how to soothe my heart. And I am so incredibly thankful.
I write all of this to say, I never cease to be amazed at how God walks in our very midst…even when we assure ourselves that we have never been more emotionally alone. As I laid in bed last night I came across a post about a Beth Moore study titled “The Quest”. I downloaded a preview and it asks you to consider God asking – where are you? (based off of the question in Genesis to Adam and Eve)
I sat quietly for a few minutes and it came to me – well God…I am camping out in front of that locked door. That way I can knock on it every now and then, try and look through it, leave gifts on the outside and cry loudly – hoping what I long for on the other side will suddenly appear and invite me in.
Is it working? – I hear God say…
No – I reply…
Alright then – God replies…and more silenece (the kind that speaks 1,000 words)…
In the vision now brightly displayed inside my mind I am very aware of what is behind me. It’s life. Good life. And lot’s of it. Yet there my stubborn llama ass sits (with a blanket and cookies because my friend didn’t want me to get cold and hungry) refusing to get up, turn around, and walk. As if somehow the door will unlock. The sad thing is – even if it did – what was once behind it has now disappeared. And it’s not coming back. That has been made quite clear.
I suppose that is the process of grief. The one I talk about in therapy sessions often – but have seldom had to experience. Denail, bargaining, depression, anger…and eventually some semblance of acceptance. Some realization that nothing but God is permanent and unconditional. Other things/places/people/circumstances/seasons come and go. And when they go, sometimes it hurts. Bad. And for a moment there is cake, and sad cookies, and people gather round while you spit and fluff up your fur in protest. But eventually you have make a decision.
Where are you Stephanie?
Will you keep sitting at the door I nailed shut for a reason – or get up – crawl out the open window of your grief – and move on. Where are you? And will you stay? Or will you get up – come with me and go? Because the sad cookies are almost gone…and llamas were made move.
And I choose to move…
I want to introduce you to my older brother, Kinsey. We are both 30 years old, but Kinsey has the tie breaker on age (60 seconds difference.) Kinsey prefers a silent place and books, while I can talk the ears off of my listener if I catch him/her in a good mood. Kinsey is ultra introverted (leave comments if you are introverted …) while I am the ultimate polar opposite. Let me use the below picture as an example.
Mario (Right) is me. I tend to be extroverted like Mario is, while Luigi (left) is Kinsey.
I am 6’4″ tall while Kinsey is 6’6″. (We both play sports through Special Olympics…)
I am a wrestler.
Although I wrestle on a team, I also wrestle alone, with no one to assist me. Now, I have a coach, but the only time I interact with him is between periods. I build relationships with my teammates off of the mat and we go into battle as one. I am unstoppable. I long to have my national anthem played, have an Olympic or World Championship medal placed around my neck, and have my arm raised after a big win. I love to wrestle. I train like a beast, diet to make sure that I make weight, and make sure my mindset is where it should be. I live for the big lights, but I also live for the small events too. I am aware that there is someone training harder than me, and that I am utterly capable of ending my opponent’s dreams and that my opponent is capable of ending my dreams.
I am ready. I step out of the dressing room, focused on the task ahead. I purposefully walk out to the mat, and step up on to the raised platform. My coach is waiting for me there. We go over the game plan. Meanwhile, my opponent is doing the same thing. Then it is go time. The referee blows her whistle and the match begins. We feel each other out and then I make my move. It doesn’t work, but I end up getting another chance when my opponent slips up. I literally pick my opponent up and throw him to the mat, where we clinch and I get the win!! My family watches me wrestle, and they go crazy when they see me win. My coach gives me a hug and congratulates me on a job well done.
Such is the life of a wrestler.
There is a groundswell of unpopular opinion surrounding the new Minor League Baseball (MiLB) team that is coming to Amarillo in 2019 from San Antonio (the team formerly known as the Missions). The groumdsweĺl comes from the selection of five finalist names:
- Sod Poodles (Prairie Dogs)
- Long Haulers
- Bronc Busters
- Boot Scooters
Now, here are the specifics of the team as we know it:
- Texas League (same league as Midland, Frisco,Corpus Christi, and El Paso);
- AA classification
I personally do not agree with the Sod Poodles name, but there are two names that I agree with (Long Haulers, Bronc Busters) but the other two…..NO!
To the people in charge:
YOU ARE FIGHTING A LOSING BATTLE ANYWAY WITH THIS TEAM. IF YOU WANT BASEBALL TO WORK, GET WITH THE PROGRAM! MiLB PROBABLY IS SITTING IN THEIR OFFICE LAUGHING AT YOU AND WONDERING IF THIS IDEA OF MINOR LEAGUE BASEBALL IN AMARILLO IS GOING TO WORK.
I am a Christian. I believe in the power of Prayer. If I hear of anyone who needs it, I will personally I’d the person in the situation onto my prayer list. They have been knows people tell me thank you for praying. I am grateful for all of that, but in all fairness I’m just obeying Jesus command to pray without ceasing. The power of Prayer is absolutely essential to any move of God. I am committed to pray. It is who I am. it is what I do