Focus on the Beauty


My backyard is a complete disaster right now. My husband is in the process of re-vamping the landscaping and patio. It’s a long, grueling process for him. While the weeds are continuing to grow and multiply, it is difficult for me to remain patient and focus on what’s to come…I have been only able to see the overgrowth and weeds.

Until yesterday.

I was outside with our dog and noticed a tree that had blossoms on it that I had never noticed before. We have lived in this house for 18 years and I have never noticed this little tree with dainty, beautiful white blossoms. In the midst of the mess and frustration, these delicate flowers were in bloom, and I don’t think I would’ve noticed them as much if the yard wasn’t such a mess right now. I loved them so much, I had to cut some and bring them inside to enjoy. I don’t want to take their beauty for granted; I want to soak them in.

These tiny flowers reminded me of what raising my daughter has been like for the past 14 years. In the beginning of my special parenting journey, it seemed as if our world was falling apart. For the majority of her first two years of life, I focused on all of the things she was unable to do, and couldn’t see any further. I was frustrated and depressed all at the same time. She was blossoming all the while…I just was so caught up in the process, I couldn’t imagine the outcome.

All I could see were the weeds.

But as time went on, the landscape of our lives was changing. With each accomplished goal and new skill, she taught me to see the blossoms along our path. My Olivia is the epitome of endurance and radiance. Her struggles and triumphs have allowed me the privilege of knowing that life truly is a journey–It is to be celebrated and cherished.

Her challenges and victories began to change the person that I once was; her amazing spirit and determination was molding me into the person I was meant to be. She has shown me and my entire family not to take anything for granted, and when you focus on the possibilities, there is beauty all around…


Maria Spencer

Maria Spencer is the wife of Michael and the mother of Jonah and Olivia; they reside in Poland, OH. Her daughter Olivia a person with hemiplegic cerebral palsy. Maria is an Education Supervisor at Alta Head Start. Maria writes a monthly column for the Mahoning Valley Parent Magazine and Mid-Ohio Valley Parent entitled, “Special Parents, Special Kids.” She has stories published in “Women of Passions: Ordinary Women Serving an Extraordinary God”, compiled by Janet Ross, and “A Patchwork of Freedom” compiled by Lori Wagner. Maria is an inspirational speaker, blogger, parent coach and disability consultant. Maria is passionate about spreading the word to other special parents that they were chosen for their journey, and they are not alone. She can be reached through her website