Feed the Soul

You know when I was in High School or Middle School,  I didn’t understand kids that had a physical disability. TO me it was awkward, scary, and just felt weird. I fully admit I stared, I laughed, but I didn’t understand. Nobody had ever explained it to me, nor had I ever met someone to help me understand.
When I had Joe he was most beautiful baby I’ve ever seen. There wasn’t anything about him that wasn’t perfect. About 6 months later when my neighbor told me she thought I should bring him to the doctor I wasn’t worried. She was a physical therapist and volunteered at a center for the disabled. I still wasn’t scared. Because in my mind I knew he was perfect.

When the doctor said he had cerebral palsy I didn’t think any different. He’s still perfect. Sure I was scared, I didn’t understand, and I didn’t know what the future held.

Flash forward 13 years, Joe  is still perfect. Yes he does talk a little funny, his arm continues to get smaller or appear smaller as the rest of his body grows. He walks with a limp but he still perfect.

In the 13 years of his life he may have seen one person ad or on a TV show that looked just like him. We’ve seen a few hemiplegics in the store and he always lit up especially when he was young, and would say “mom, he looks just like me.”  We went to a camp one summer and all the kids where all the kids were hemiplegics, like Joe.  I never heard him talk louder, more confident, full of life as when he did when he was with the  kids. that weekend. There was no judging. There was no staring. There was no funny remarks or under the breath statements. Everyone was equal.

I think back to the years from when Joe was 4 till the time he was 13 and had he seen more kids like him in  print or advertising, would it have changed who he was. I don’t know. But what I do know is I think it’s time we find out. I think it’s time for all of us, including me & you, to see people just like us. To stand a little taller. Be a little more confident and love ourselves for exactly who we are.

I  think it is important to talk about it. Don’t freak out that you aren’t using “the right words.”   I get it.. ..  As I type this,  I’m constantly hoping I am not offending anyone. Constantly questioning myself.  As long as it is coming from the heart, it is good.


P.S. I know I haven’t blogged in a bit. But I am excited to start again and chat about Africa and Change the Face of Beauty. SO much great stuff to feed the soul.

Mama Hope

So … that was perfectly said!! And your Joe is the cutest thing ever. I didn’t notice that he talks funny …??? And he shook hands! And so confident. And so cute. So you have done it pretty perfectly, huh? But this campaign is ah-mazing … and so needed … just perfect!

Holly v

I am so happy that you are blogging again Denise! I really was missing it! Beautiful thoughts as usual 😉

Marla H.

Thanks for sharing your heart! I think it’s wonderful. 🙂 Our kids’ generation is going to be more sensitive and aware of how unique and amazing that God made each and every person!

Jen K

Love. I am endlessly inspired by your heart, Denise. Joe IS perfect….one of the kindest souls I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. The campaign turned out beautifully – can’t wait to hear more!


I was so sad to see you take a step back from Matilda Jane but to know that these are the projects you are working on fills my love cup again! Thank you for sharing a part of your journey so that others may open up and see that every child is beautiful and perfect!


Thank you for your touching words. I looked a bit different as a teen and always felt very self conscious. It has made me stronger in the long run, but I totally agree that we can support out young people by helping them see that everyone is beautiful! I love this campaign. Joe IS perfect!

Thank you thank you thank you. Beautiful words. Beautiful heart!

Karen Spillson

Joe is so lucky to have such wonderful parents! Some of my favorite old neighborhood memories was watching David playing ball with Joe in the front yard!
I raised two children with special needs. Sometimes it was challenging, trying to make sure they were given every opportunity to succeed in school. Hoping they weren’t being made fun of at school.
If you are blessed with healthy children please be thankful!
You do such wonderful things for so many people Denise!

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