Thank you Mrs. Julie Gillespie and the Harbor Creek Debate Team for organizing this evening for my daughter and many like her.
Natalie got the attention of my lens tonight, and it all began in the bathroom.
Ellen, Natalie's other mother, fixed and flounced her for two hours after school. Ellen was never sad to give up playing with dolls because she has a living, breathing one to dress up and play with every day.
Natalie's hair turned out pretty!
It was fashioned with a sparkly flower.
My live in artist put the finishing touches on Natalie's face, and we were all set to go,
though a snowstorm to get to the pageant.
All of these spaces were filled tonight.
Sam was well behaved.
Lots of people came and paid no mind to the weather.
Family and friends.
You volunteered your time.
Some even put on suits and ties to escort these lovely ladies across the stage.
This shows me that you care, and I can't thank you enough. I will thank you with a weekend homework question for you, though.
The girls got flowers, crowns, and sashes, but who were the real winners?
If you answered YOU, you are correct. If you sat in the audience tonight, you left a better person.
Ask yourself this:
Would you be brave enough to stand in front of an audience and sing on a microphone?
How about the Star Spangled Banner a capella?
But she didn't.
Most people are afraid to risk a screw up (me included). Sitting there tonight put all those worries in perspective.
like nobody's business.
like all get out.
If you're too shy to go it alone, ask your family to come on stage with you.
And if you don't have the ability to make sounds,
have someone play Lord Lift Your Name on High and help you shake maracas.
That always works.
Times have changed for people who were once institutionalized. People with handicapping conditions are out in your communities. They shop. They visit. They play. They socialize because that is what people do, and they are people just like you and me. Don't forget that.
We can change laws. Inclusion works. We can change the way we think about these people. Tolerance is good. But real change can only take place when you have a change of heart. That is when your heart is so moved with emotion, that it is impossible to go back to the way you were before.
One audience member was touched enough to post this on facebook shortly after the show was over:
Went to pageant tonight called Miss Shining Star. It's a pageant for special needs girls. I have a few close friends who had relatives in it. I am glad i went. It was a great experience to see those special ladies up on stage feeling proud of themselves. They all sang and danced better than i could even think of, hard to believe i know. I clapped longer and harder tonight than any concert I've ever been to, even Metallica. You were right,it did do my heart some good and i needed it.
When you see someone in your school or community who has a disability, smile at them. Say hello. Take a minute to talk with them. If you don't know what to say, talk about music. If you were in the audience tonight, you were reminded that music is universal.
Everyone sings, even though sometimes it is only a noise.
Everyone dances, but sometimes you do your spins on wheels.
Everyone has a song.
Some just need a little help setting it to music.
Enjoy the video. It is the theme song from Narnia titled There's a Place for Us. It is performed by Carrie Underwood who just happens to be Natalie's favorite.
And that about sums this blog up quite perfectly.
Until next time,