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Menschen the Movie as Art: A Brief Review

Menschen: a Work of Art Menschen is a live action short film that packs a complex story into under 30 minutes time. The story takes place at the end of WWII, the troops are weary and history is about to declare the victors. What we are not reminded of in textbooks: on both sides of […].. read more

Here Are Links to the Huffington Post Blogs

Hello Friends, Here we go!   What We’ve Lost Since Ethan Saylor’s Death Since Ethan Saylor, a young man with Down syndrome, died nearly two years ago at the hands of three off-duty police officers, we have lost much as a community, as parents and caregivers, and as a nation. On January 12th, 2013, Saylor […].. read more

The R Word Evolution

I’ve heard people use the term retarded, retard, or ‘tard in casual conversation and when I register it, it feels like a pinprick to my sensibilities. I try not to feel offended. One time, however I worked with someone who tossed the word retarded around anytime she made an error or became annoyed by someone else. I took it in stride as an idiosyncrasy of hers. One day, however, she made an error or forgot something and instead said “Call me Corey,” something something… Suddenly it was all different to me, when she spoke of retarded she meant a person with Down syndrome. Wait a minute. That’s not a casual disregard, that’s hurtful and wrong. That’s not cool. .. read more

Just a tiny window into compassion witnessed this week

On Marcus’ last birthday my Grandpa Cooper led the prayer before dinner. Grandpa had many valuable skills, one was that he could say a good prayer. When he prayed with the family, you always kind of felt like you were in the express line, a better, quicker connection. He began as he always did, with […].. read more

RIP Sr. Mary Evangeline

Words In the World Wednesday This last week I shared a tribute to a woman who made a difference in the lives of many families in my community. As my husband said, “She brought special needs education out of the Stone Age, and virtually single-handedly.” The founder of the Madonna School, Sister Mary Evangeline. I shared […].. read more


Mardra&MarcusAt 7 months pregnant, there came a night when I woke up in terrible pain. I climbed into our stick-shift car, which I did not know how to drive, and started down the road. It wasn’t pretty and probably didn’t sound too good, the car either, but we (the car and I) got to the hospital in time for me to pass out in a wheelchair just inside the emergency room doors. That was nearly 23 years ago.

Two months later I gave birth to a beautiful boy and I still find myself winging it.

My son has grown up to be an amazing young man. He loves his job, attends acting classes, hopes to put his own musical on Broadway, and doesn’t seem to mind that he has an extra chromosome in his DNA.

I didn’t know how to raise a child with Down syndrome any more than I knew how to drive a stick-shift. But we’ve cruised through the years, pushed over a few roadblocks and taken several detours. We’ve learned many lessons that have been more special than the needs.

The stories from the early years and the joys and challenges of today are featured in the Grown Ups & Downs blog. Check out some of the resources and on-line friends we’ve made. Wander back to the middle-ages and meet a special Prince from the forthcoming novel The Innocent Prince. And, of course, join the conversation on any of our social plugins.

See you soon,

Mardra Sikora

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Grown ups and downs

Grown ups and downs

Mother Nature gives, most of the time, about 9 months to prepare for a baby. Still, I had only a bassinet and a few baby blankets in preparation of my son’s birth.

The march of time gives us 21 years before our children are considered “adult.” My son is nearly 23 years old. He has Down syndrome and I may yet figure out “the system,” for better and worse.

For now we have 23 years of stories to tell and new lessons to learn every day. Join us out of curiosity, empathy, research. It’s all good.

We’re here to share and show that the lessons are more special than the more

The Innocent Prince

and other fiction...

Explore Carmus the Island Kingdom. Visit the Garden of Eden. Journey into the not –to-distant future where the value of life is predetermined by…

Sometimes there’s only time for something short, something you can read in a flash. Or poetry.

Enter the world of the fairies that, “…blossoms in green hues that begin as light as the daybreak and soon deepen to support the spectrum of color covering the land.”

Wait quietly under the willow tree anticipating the invisible storm, wait longingly to feel your pages turned, daydream a hero’s beginning and a hero’s end. Meet a story-teller, a healer, an orphan, a duke -

Words from all of these worlds come out from the shadows when you sign in to follow The Innocent Prince and other more