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Sunday, December 26, 2010

It was my privilege...

A friend of mine, Laura, asked me if I would come shoot some pictures for her just before Christmas, Christmas Eve to be exact.  I talked about Laura here, and she is an super amazing person!  Of course I replied YES 'cause it involved a camera and me and photos so what's not to love!  And what started as merely picture taking, became my privilege.  My privilege to witness the smiles and see the joy, and see how all of God's work is truly perfect.

Lose The Training Wheels is a non-profit organization that helps children with disabilities learn how to ride bicycles.  Maybe that doesn't sound like much, but it is.  It really really is!  I don't remember the statistics, but the percentage of special need's kiddos with mental disabilities that learn to ride a bicycle is almost nill.  And besides the obvious joy the children get from learning to ride a bicycle, they come out of the experience with higher self esteems and self-confidence and a new found independence... things that don't come so easily to those with extra challenges.

So indeed it was my privilege to watch God's handiwork unfold and be able to document a little bit of it.

The bicycles are all customized with special seats and wheels and some safety features.  
Then every rider has two volunteers that stays with him or her the entire week.   Two volunteers right by there side the whole time.  To steer them on the right course, catch them if they fall, guide their path.  If you think the smiles on the rider's faces is good, be sure to look at the smiles on the volunteer's faces as you thumb through the pictures!  This gift of giving was the best one yet!
Let's start with the fact that sometimes, it's even hard to find the courage to even get on the bike!
 But eventually, almost an hour later, she makes it on...
 ...and tests out the pedals...
... and then she even gives way to a smile.  
Watching these children go from fear and uncertainty to joy was just amazing!  Many never actually made the jump to riding independently.  But it actually didn't matter all that much.  It was an accomplishment of something they may never have done otherwise.
This sweet young thing always had a smile on her face!  Every time she'd go around the gymnasium floor, she'd come by... grinning at every turn!
 And eventually, after days, she made the leap to two-wheeled bike all on her own.  Notice the volunteer whose hand is not supporting the bicycle!
This is N.  He is Laura's son.  He too made the huge transition to independently riding!
OK, here is a really really good part...
As a mama, this part makes me cry.  They are tears of joy and blessings and gratitude!
This is Laura, watching her only son, ride a bicycle for the first time.
 And here's N's papa.  Can't you just feel the love and the pride?  Just like all fathers and sons should be!
And when the rider gets good enough, they go outside.  Then the volunteers really get to burn some calories!
Laura is literally shouting with joy to N, "Look, I'm not holding on!"  It was really hard to tell who was having more fun!
This is M.  There was a storm that was clearing off and there is just something about these images that again makes me take a moment and breathe in the gratitude.  The storm giving way to light.  The drizzle giving way to empowerment.  Whatever it is, look at her go!
So here's the thing-  There were tears everyday that I was there.  Some from the participants from fear.  But most of the tears were from sheer joy, when one emotion is so very strong that it transitions to another.  Most of the tears were from the mamas and the volunteers that were also privileged to bare witness to these magical days.   I couldn't help myself either. 
 Every single one of the Lord's creations is so very perfect.
After my winy-complaining-mess-of-a-post yesterday, I think this is just what I needed!


  1. How beautifully you captured the joy of something most of us take for granted! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Love how God orchestrates opportunities for us to recognize Him at work, as well as how BLESSED we are by Him... ALL THE TIME!
    Fantastic pictures, I almost got teary myself :) What a great organization!
    Happy Sunday, Nancy!

  3. Wow...what a special experience! Love the way you captured it, too, in photos and words.

  4. Incredible!!!!! Thank you for sharing this experience and these beautiful children and their families!!! Beautiful!!!

  5. What an amazing ministry! This is so close to my heart because, while my daughter does not have special needs as significant as the ones most of these children face, she DOES have motor planning issues. Learning to ride a bike, swim, take doll clothes off and on... she struggles with them all. I love that you highlighted this ministry. It warmed my heart on such a snowy day. Thank you and happy Christmas!

  6. How wonderful!
    Thanks for sharing such an amazing ministry!

    Love the photos...
    Love the smiles!

    Merry Christmas!

  7. These are beautiful photographs... what a blessing! Thanks for sharing!

  8. What a blessing to be a part of such a special event. The joy in the children's and parent's faces was so evident in your pictures. Thank you for sharing.

  9. Now there's something to really love about Christmas! What a really cool thing. Thanks for sharing!

  10. just cried some tears ma self. thanks for sharing!!!

  11. Amazing, and what an amazing job you did capturing all of it. Wow.

  12. Nancy, what a beautiful post and the pictures are amazing. I just love the one of your friend; that picture really feels like it speaks a thousand words.

    thank you for blessing us with these photos and a glimpse into the lives of these precious children.

    wow. amazing. miraculous.


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