Down Syndrome Awareness Month: About Amanda

October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month, and if you know me, you know why I care about this month.

Because if you know me, you know Amanda.

Over the next few weeks, I will share stories, encouragements, and exhortations fueled by my love and care for those with Down Syndrome. Before I start that, though, I want to give you the why.

My sister, Amanda, is three years younger than me, and she has Down Syndrome. Through my forthcoming posts, I’ll weave her in often because any knowledge, passion, or experience I have related to Down Syndrome is entirely because of her existence.

Today, I just want to tell you about her, primarily because she’s awesome. If you ever get the chance, you should be her friend.

First, Amanda has the best laugh in the world. She will start with a higher pitched giggle if she thinks you’re amusing. But then, if the circumstances are extra funny, her laugh will evolve into an uncontrollable cackle. Her whole body is involved when you really get her going, and it is a joy to watch her laugh.

She also enjoys the most simple things in life. Coloring books, writing stories in journals, reading fiction, watching movies (especially ones with superheroes), music, Starbucks, pizza, cheeseburgers, and ice cream. She isn’t difficult to please, and when you do any of these things with her, she won’t forget it.

Amanda loves people. I mean really loves them. If you are nice or take an interest in her, she will be a most loyal friend. Every time I talk to her, she asks how my friends are doing, and eventually they become her friends too. Do you need a friend who will always be excited to see you? Amanda is your girl.

She is the most consistently encouraging person that I know. Every time I take a trip, post an article, or share anything on social media, Amanda is there to tell me that she likes the picture, my trip looked so cool, or that I did great writing an article. She will tell you how cute your baby is, how beautiful she thinks you are, and how everything you do is awesome! Boundless and consistent encouragement – no one I know is better at it!

I could spend all day telling you all the reasons she’s wonderful, so I’ll cut myself off for now.

The most important thing you need to know about Amanda, though, is this:

She is a child of God, a daughter of the Most High, created in His image.

She is a person, and that makes her worthy of love.

This is what her name means, and this is who she is.

Amanda is worthy of love.

A Poem for Juneteenth

Courage to stand and speak truth

To power that has the power to speak lies

Lies within a heart of love for neighbor over self

 

All those who speak have God’s image

And God with the most power

Speaks truth to those he calls his neighbors

To those he died for

 

So we speak like a man with a dream

Not one that passes when we

Rub the sleep out of our eyes

But one eternal dream

 

A never-fading, always real dream

That all men are created equal

Not by man’s spoken word

But by God’s*

 

This day sings a freedom song

Muted by ears not hearing

Let us see and hear

The forgotten song

 

Broken are the chains

Though hearts still remain

Unbroken, unable to love,

Unwilling to sing

 

Closer now we stand to abolition

Of division and opression

If we sing with amplification

“God heal us!”

 

*This poem includes additional stanzas added for Juneteenth. It was originally published for MLK Day, 2020 at For The Church. You can read the original here.

Micro Poem Monday: Rain

In the moment before rain writes

its story on the pavement

Tension, tight with yearning in the

air

Like a friend with a secret to

share.

A breeze, a breath,

Colder than before, yet somehow warm.

And then — release.

Tears of truth wet the ground

beneath.

Micro Poem Monday: Chasing Feelings

Behold your apathy

Your jealousy

Your anxiety

Stare deep and you will find

A twinkle of truth in their eyes

Look too long and you will become what you behold

But chase them into the rabbit hole

You will find them seated

At the Throne

Ready to tell the real story

Of what you fear most

The King created them

To magnify our longing

So we can turn

And magnify Him