Today is the birthday of my great nephew Scott James Ford, and my great niece Josie Rae Fortune.
The handsome and talented Scott is the son of my nephew Jim Ford. Scott lives in Eagle Point, Oregon and works for Safeway there. I haven’t seen him for many years but if he’s as cute as he was as a little guy, they should put him through the American Idol auditions on looks and personality alone.
According to Scott’s Facebook . . . ”I have a cat named Jezzabell, and I drive a 2008 Pontiac. I spend most days trying to have fun in whatever I do. i currently work at Safeway, My favorite color is Black even though it’s a shade. I have a lot of people in my family. I have Epilepsy but nothing can hold me back.”
Cousins in our family sharing Scott’s birth year are Alexander Lee Ford from Korea; Andrew Ford from Austin, Texas; Jacob (Jake) Ward (Jenny Ford Ward’s son) from Mankato, Minnesota; Joshua Melchior from Fayetteville, Tennessee; and my granddaughter Arden Tenjou (Gwen Taylor) from Seattle, Washington. No current photos available for Alexander or Andrew, but here’s Arden, Joshua, and Jake.
Break a leg, and sing like a bird!
And have a happy 24th birthday!
“…The child who is born on the Sabbath Day
Is bonny and blithe and good and gay.”
The official meaning of ‘blithe’ is: “of a happy lighthearted character or disposition.”
Josie Rae Fortune came into our lives on Sunday July 2, 1995. A day that according to doctors was never to have happened. In February of 1995, we were informed that Josie had an in utero stroke. We were told time and again that she wouldn’t make it to be any older than a month old and that was only IF she made it to the day of her birth at all.
Their first mistake, of course, was in forgetting to tell Josie all of the dreary details. ‘Blithe’ also means, “lacking due thought or consideration. Casual. Heedless.” And so, heedlessly she arrived, in spite of the doctor’s clumsy bedside manner.
She is officially diagnosed with cerebral palsy, and as a result of the brain damage due to her stroke, she is also an epileptic. It should be noted that she is a southpaw, by default. Her medical needs and list of surgeries are as long as my arm, but she doesn’t like to complain or dwell on the negative things.
All things are made new again when the sun rises for Josie, and each day is always greeted with a ‘happy lighthearted’ spirit. A hundred times in a hundred ways she tells the world that impossible is a mistake, rather it’s ‘I’m possible’.
Josie really is the perfect daughter. Every football Saturday she can be found watching the Iowa Hawkeyes with her Dad, and they can be found in the exact same place in the living room when the Green Bay Packers play. Not just football for Josie, though, she’ll watch or play pretty much any kind of game you throw at her (punny). If there’s a ball involved, she’s hooked.
When we lived in Iowa, she was a gold medal bowler with the Special Olympics and since moving to Wisconsin in 2008, she received a gold medal on a walk for a charity event at Geneva National Golf course. When receiving this unexpected award, she looked up at her Dad and said with a dreamy look, “I’m a winner.” And a ‘bonny’ one at that you are, Josie.
On the other hand, she’s always willing to get all dolled up, play with make-up, go shopping or do crafts, at the drop of a hat with Mom. I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone that meets life with as much excitement and joy as she does. Josie lives life to the fullest.
Josie attends a special needs school in Elkhorn, WI. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_5gLrlBlRoc After being mainstreamed through 6th grade, we found that the public school system was unable to meet Josie’s needs, so we moved from Illinois to Wisconsin for opening day of the newly constructed school building in Sept. 2008. For the first time in her life she has girlfriends and looks forward to going to school in the morning. On her third day, as all of the kids were walking out to their buses Josie said, “Mom, see my kids!” For the first time ever, she had taken possession of something. At that moment we knew that this school was the right choice for Josie.
During her younger years we had always struggled with wondering if we were teaching her about Jesus in the right way/s that she would understand and be able to grasp. The concept is such an abstract thing, and it was difficult for us to know for sure if she really understood.
We now know special needs kids are smarter than us in the God department. One night, she was making some noises in her room at about 3am, so I shook Craig and yelled, “Seizure!”, he hopped out of bed (because he moves faster than a Fitz at 3am). As he got halfway across the room, I said, ‘that’s not a seizure, she’s laughing!’. So he went in there, and she rolled over (WIDE awake) and she said to him, ‘What’re you doin’?’ and Craig said, ‘Ummm…nothing. What are YOU doing?’ And her answer was, “Talkin’ to Jesus.” She was laughingand having a great time in there, so now I know why she tellsus to “Dream about Jesus!” before bedtime every night. I suppose all along she too has been wondering if we are able to grasp the concept of Him.
We can’t count the number of people in Josie’s life that upon meeting her believed that they could teach her something or help her in some way, and while many have done that, the majority have walked away having received more than they gave.
With that I’ll share one last definition with you. And that is her name. A name that I hold dearly in my heart as my maternal grandmother’s, and that is, Josie, which means ‘God shall add’ or ‘will increase’. The real question is—is it us that add to her life, or is it her that adds to ours? We think it’s the latter.
Same here, Josie! Happy birthday! I love you, too!