I Left My Liver In Italy and His Smile Melted My Lung

“Do you believe in LOVE at first sight or shall I walk by again?”

We have all been in love before and said “I left my heart in…..”(you fill in the blanks) and his/her smile melted my heart.

Have you ever seen a real heart? It’s a rather unattractive organ.

Real Human Heart

Real Human Heart

Yet it is used to represent love, romance, compassion, and feelings. We wouldn’t possibly say “he wears his kidney on his sleeve.”

But since our society puts way too much emphasis on outside appearances and first impressions, the “ugly” heart had to be transformed into a stylish and beautiful image.

Pretty Heart made up by society

Pretty Heart made up by society

First impressions are not always fair or what they appear to be. We publish Before and After pictures, and realize quickly that without the bling and accessories, we are all just “normal” people with scars and imperfections. We hide behind our masks of make-up and dress in matched and stylish clothes. We even notice, that when we have our “bling” on, we get treated differently somehow: with more respect and attention.

To read the rest of this article, and find out what a WYSIWYG (pronounced “wizzywig”) is, go HERE

 

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Published in: on November 11, 2015 at 6:56 pm  Leave a Comment  

Happy World Down syndrome Day!

I uploaded a super cool video at the end of my article. To read the entire article and watch this amazing video, click HERE

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Christina's Open Heart Surgery at 5 months old

Christina’s Open Heart Surgery at 5 months old

When Christina was born, and the doctor told me that she has Down syndrome, my world fell off it’s axis, and I felt like I had been swallowed up by darkness with no exit.

Fear and sadness took over, and all I could do was cry. I cried for 5 years, and every day grief knocked on my door.

I wanted Christina to be “normal.” But what is “normal” and where are we getting our standards from? Hollywood? The media? Family, friends, teachers?

I wanted to change Christina because of my own ignorance, because of my belief that only intelligent and beautiful people are deserving of love and acceptance. I thought that her defect was some kind of cosmic mistake or a sign of a sinful world…..how stupid I was! The only sin here is, how we respond to someone who is different from us and how we treat them.

The years went by and…..

Christina

Christina

To read the rest of this article and to watch a really really cool video, click HERE 
Published in: on March 22, 2015 at 9:15 pm  Leave a Comment  

A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words! Is It Really?

Don’t you just love taking thousands of pictures of your children?

Christina Clapp

Christina Clapp

I do! During piano-recitals, concerts, at the park, during holidays and vacations…

But do those pictures truly reflect the awesome people they are, or just verify a diagnosis? Do they show the blessings and beauty they bring into other people’s lives? Christina for example will tell me that she loves me, even after I was short-tempered and down-right mean to her.

To enjoy the rest of this article, please click HERE

Deadly Shooting at Marysville High School

Here we go again, another lunatic shoots innocent High School kids at Marysville High School! This time it’s one of their own, a student who is obviously mentally ill somehow and has a few screws loose in his head!

We are entering the Christmas Season, and not that this makes this story any worse, but it reminds me of the evil King Herod and how with the joyous and beautiful story of Jesus’ birth comes a story of violence and death. King Herod sent soldiers to kill all the baby boys in and around Bethlehem in an attempt to eliminate the infant Jesus. King Herod, also known as King of the Jews, was afraid that this baby Jesus would grow up to take his throne and be the new King of the Jews. ”A cry was heard in Ramah—-weeping and great mourning. Rachel weeps for her children, for they are dead,” the prophet Jeremiah writes.

Another slaughter happened this week at Marysville High School in Washington, where a crazy person, much like King Herod, murdered 2 innocent students and four are critically injured. A heartbreaking and most horrific event, which brings us face to face with evil.

In order for evil to exist, something good must be violated…

To read the entire article, go HERE 
http://danielaclapp.com

“O little town of Bethlehem, in thy dark street shineth the everlasting light. The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.”

A True Story How Playing the Piano Saved a Boy’s Life

This is a true story about how playing the piano saved a young boy’s life, who was severally beaten and abused by his alcoholic father.

Music not only Transformed his Life, but Music Saved his Life!

No, I am not telling the story of Beethoven, but the story of Elijah, a young boy who is now a young man, who was once one of my former piano students.

I was a young College Freshman studying piano performance, living in a cheap apartment complex, and teaching piano to pay for my College Tuition and to pay the bills. Elijah and his parents lived next door, and his mom asked me about piano lessons for him. I agreed to teach him.

Elijah was 11 years old when he started studying piano with me. He came faithfully every week to his piano lesson, he was always well groomed, always prepared and eager to learn more.  He was a shy boy, very respectful and very well behaved. He always came dressed in long jeans and a long flannel shirt, even in the middle of the burning hot Arizona summers, and I always wondered if he was hot in those clothes? But I thought “maybe he likes to dress like this” and dismissed that thought and concentrated on our piano lesson.

Elijah took lessons for years, participated in my recitals, festivals, the Arizona Study Program and my weekend music workshops. He became quite good and fairly advanced, and I always wondered how he managed to accomplish this, because he didn’t have a piano, just a cheap little keyboard that wasn’t even big enough to practice with both hands!

But one day his mom called me and told me that she could no longer afford the piano lessons, so that’s the last time I heard from Elijah….

…until 20 years later!!!…the story of Elijah continues…

To read the entire article click HERE

The Cup Song For College Freshmen

How did it get late so soon?               

From Left to Right: Maria, Christina, Natasha

From Left to Right: Maria, Christina, Natasha

It’s night before it’s afternoon.

December is here before it’s June.

My goodness how the time has flewn.

How did it get so late so soon?

~ Dr. Seuss

…..and How did my child grow up so soon?

Next week approximately six million students will be starting College and about six million mothers will be in some stage of meltdown.

I am one of those six million moms: my oldest daughter Natasha just graduated from High School and will be leaving for College tomorrow. That is why we have invented new words to the famous Cup Song from Pitch Perfect as a Good Bye present for ALL College Freshmen and to comfort all those parents out there, who’s hearts are heavy tonight.

We made an incredible video. To watch the video, and to read the rest of this article, please go HERE

TED ED: How Playing a Musical Instrument Benefits Your Brain

Don’t take my word for it, but watch the video on TED ED!

When you go through my Easy Step by Step Piano Program, 90% of your brain is engaged. This does not happen during any other activity: not reading, not writing, not drawing or art, not playing chess, not listening to music, only active music-making does this!!! And I can show you HOW! Just ask me.

When you play the piano, you…

to read the rest of this article and watch the TED ED Video, go HERE

Playing Piano Benefits Your Brain

Music Transforms You

Daniela Clapp

Are You “In Tune” With the Song of Your Life?

We all want Happiness, yet most of us find it hard to achieve happiness and even harder to maintain it.

We’ve all gone through hard times. And we all get through them. However, some get through them better than others. So what is their secret?

Happiness is really dependent on perspective, and our outer world is a reflection of our inner world. Life will always remind you when you are In Tune with yourself. Have you ever noticed that you feel good when you are doing what harmonizes with the song of your life?!

But how do you find the song of your life? Actually, it’s your calling, and when you sing your song, you are sharing your special gift with the world.

Let me tell about the Himba tribe in Africa, where the birth of a child is counted from the day when the mother thinks of the child in her mind. She seeks a quiet place under a tree, and then she listens until she hears the song of the child. After she has heard the song of her child, she comes back to the man who will be the father, and she teaches him the song of their child.

Then, when the Himba women and her man make love to conceive their child,… they sing the song of the child some of the time. This song is then taught to all the villagers, so the entire tribe can welcome the child at the time of birth with his or her special song.  Tribe in Africa

This special song is then sung throughout the child’s life during any occasion whether good or bad. For example, if the child gets hurt, or does something extraordinary. During critical transitional points, like puberty. During their wedding, and for the last time the special song is sung when they are on their death-bed. The song is used to heal, honor and help the child.

Here is the beautiful thing about that special song: if a tribe member commits a crime or “loses his life’s calling” and wanders off the trail he is called to the center of the village where other villagers form a circle around them, and sing their song to them. The Himba tribe knows that correction is brought about through LOVE and by helping the person find their identity again, their life’s calling, their song. When that person recognizes his own song again, the need and desire to hurt another person is gone.

If you are reading this, most likely you are not part of some African tribe that nurtures and protects you and sings your special song to you at critical transitional points in your life. But…

…life will always remind you when you are In Tune with The Song of Your Life!

Keep singing, the world needs Your Song!

Music Transforms You

If you like more information or find out what we are all about, please visit our website at: http://danielaclapp.com

Sign up for my newsletter and we’ll contact you…Thanks

Daniela Clapp

 

Her Priceless Smile Reminds Us That Kindness and Inclusion Matter

The video speaks for itself! Just watch Christina’s priceless and proud SMILE, while she is receiving a well deserved roaring Standing Ovation and endless, cheerful Applause after her marvelous performance of Beethoven’s Ode to Joy that she played with the Phoenix Youth Symphony.

Christina Clapp plays with the Phoenix Youth Symphony

Christina Clapp plays with the Phoenix Youth Symphony

Children like Christina who have a cognitive challenge are often excluded, discriminated against, misunderstood and overlooked. But we are here to change that. We want the world to know that EVERYONE regardless of what their challenge or circumstance may be, has feelings and understands hate and love, exclusion and inclusion.

Christina played 2 concerts that morning for hundreds of school-children from 12 different school-districts in an educational concert-series that was sponsored by the Arizona Musicfest.

When Christina got done playing her piece with the Phoenix Youth Orchestra, the kids in the audience spontaneously and united stood up, and gave her a roaring standing ovation and an endless and cheerful applause.

Can you see her glowing face? Can you see her smile that comes from deep within her soul? Can you see how proud and yet humble she is about this rewarding applause? Can you see how important inclusion and kindness is towards ALL people, not just those we deem worthy? Worthy according to who’s standards??? Can you see that she has feelings, too, and knows when she is being included and cherished?

Watching her stand there like this, with her sweet and humble smile, and seeing her peers in the audience cheering her on like she is some kind of famous rock-star, makes me cry every time. Why? Because Christina and individuals like her are so often excluded, made fun of, misunderstood, discriminated against, left out…every time when others execute this inexcusable behavior of exclusion, she cries and I cry with her. She hurts because of it, and her heart aches, because others make fun of her and leave her out and my heart aches with hers.

But on that beautiful day she was cherished, loved and included, because the amazing Phoenix Youth Symphony, and its amazing directors, managers and the amazing conductor Dr. Temme took a stand for Christina and for individuals like her and included this young girl in their professional concert, showing the world that by modification, flexibility, willingness and a little change of plans, it is possible to include those who have a special need and make them FEEL SPECIAL!!!

“People may not remember what you said, and people may not remember what you did. But they will Always remember How you made the FEEL!!!”

Did you know that after every rehearsal she had with the Phoenix Youth Symphony, she said “Thank You” to everyone and to the conductor?! (without me asking or prompting her by the way!).

Did you know that after the concert she gave the conductor, Dr. Temme, a BIG bear-hug and thanked him profusely? What aspiring young pianist says a true “Thank You” to the orchestra or to the conductor?…aside from the formal, mandatory handshake or hug after a concert? I have never seen it. But someone like Christina knows how to appreciate the effort of others and values it.

No more words are necessary, the video speaks for itself.

Watch and enjoy Christina’s Performance of Beethoven’s Ode to Joy with the amazing Phoenix Youth Symphony and conductor Dr. Temme and please SHARE with ALL you know.

Watch the performance HERE

and please SHARE and sign up for my FREE weekly newsletter HERE

Music Transforms You

Daniela Clapp

 

5 Things Everyone Should Know About a Mom With a Special Needs Child

My little Christina and I

My little Christina and I

Chances are that you are a mom with a special needs child or you know a special needs parent.

Often I don’t share my feelings about this part of my life, because it seems to drain me even more than I already am.

About 6 million children in the USA alone are considered “special needs” and receive special needs education. This includes any cognitive, physical, or life-threatening illness.

My 14-year-old Christina is one of them. She was born with Down syndrome, which means she has an extra copy of chromosome 21. This causes her to have an intellectual impairment and some physical differences.

To help others understand what goes on in the life of a Mom with a special needs child, here are 5 things you should know – at least looking through my eyes:

  1. We are tired. Being a mom is already difficult and tiring, but parenting a child with special needs, adds a whole other level of fatigue and another dimension to the word “tired.” Even if I had a good night sleep or got some time away from my special needs child, there is a lingering level of emotional, spiritual and physical tiredness that I cannot explain and that is always there. It simply comes from tending to the never-ending needs, like the high amounts of doctor- and hospital-visits. The therapies, the time spent researching for better solutions, better teachers, better schools, better neighborhoods to live in, etc. Time spent advocating in the school-system and in the medical arena. We are always appreciative of small favors and acts of kindness, like arranging your schedule around ours, because our schedule is not very flexible, or like watching my daughter for a few minutes, so I can talk with   another mom or run an errand.
  2. We are scared. We always worry that we are not doing enough or not the right thing. We worry about our child’s future. Will they or can they or should they get married? Will they be independent one day? We are scared and worried about their physical safety. Like, when we are not around, who will hurt or bully our defenseless children? We worry, because our children cannot protect themselves like a typical child can. We worry about money and finances. How will we pay for the medical needs, especially if we don’t want our kids drugged up by crazy, money-hungry, ignorant doctors, but choose to go the natural route, which is not covered by insurance? We are scared of pain.
  3. We feel alone. Often we feel like outsiders and lonely in our journey. It’s hard to hear other parents brag about the accomplishments of their typical kids. It’s even hard to brag about the incredible accomplishments my other typical children have achieved, and I often ask: ”Why was my Christina left out and left behind? Why her?” Only a mom truly understands the uniqueness of her special child, that child’s challenges and strengths and with that comes solitude and loneliness.
  4. We are excluded and shunned. Whether you realize it or not, we are outsiders. People simply don’t or don’t want to understand our child with special needs. We have heard parents of typical children complain about how our special child is holding their typical boy or girl back from academic advancement or people complain that our child did something that they consider rude and unacceptable. But what they don’t realize is, that this very child they complained about, had to go through open heart surgery, kidney surgery, stomach surgery, every kind of surgery you can imagine, and not just once, but often numerous times. They had to and have to endure more pain, discrimination, bullying, and exclusion than any typical person will ever have to endure. Sometimes it is even too hard to get our own family to understand just how stressed we are. So please, extend us and our child an extra measure of grace.
  5. We are human. We do our best to make our family life look normal and act like everything is fine. But it’s a facade. We have been pushed and challenged beyond normal human limits. Conquering the very obstacles that come with raising a child with special needs, helped us grow into the soft-hearted, generous and empathetic women we have become. We could never be THAT without our child, whom the world has chosen to ostracize. But we are still like the mom of a typical child: we get cranky and unfair. We get irritated and angry. We love to go shopping and get away. We love good food, a hot cup of tea or coffee while sitting in a spa and getting pampered. We still have aspirations and dreams for ourselves. DSC_0180 Christina 7Aug07

I was raised in a country that values education and accomplishment above all else, so consequently I have judged myself and others through that harsh lens. But when my Christina was born with Down syndrome, that lens was broken, because her cognitive impairments make high-end achievements and even ordinary performance difficult or even impossible. I had to learn that we have to meet people where they are at, not where the world says they should be! Individuals with special needs shatter all the “should be’s” that we idolize and build our lives around. They teach us things that are most important: Patience, Understanding and Love!

Please know, that we moms who raise a child with special needs, appreciate the smallest efforts…like making us feel special and loved.

Please share this article with a friend or someone that could benefit from this information and write to me and tell me what your dreams and aspirations are.

Music Transforms You

Daniela