Immeasurably More

More Hope, More Joy . . . Embracing Life with Down Syndrome

Happy World Down Syndrome Day! March 21, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Linda Aalderink @ 2:06 pm


This is a day to celebrate who God made our kids to be. That little something extra – the 3rd 21st chromosome. Our kids are a source of unexpected blessing and joy, of great worth, and created in the image of God. Our family has been forever changed for the better because God chose to bless our family with Zach, extra chromosome and all! And we rejoice in the life God has given us. It is honestly a privilege to participate in this amazing journey. God has gone before us, and prepared the way for us, every day, every step.  As parents and family, God called us to things we didn’t imagine we were capable of, but He has proved himself faithful over and over again.

As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth.  His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned,this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. John 9:1-3

What the disciples are asking is: “Whose fault is this anyway?” and Jesus’ response is that it is so we may see the power of God.  That the power and majesty of our Creator may be made known.

Yes, that is what we’ve seen on this journey. God power. God’s amazing work. In Zach, in our family, in our community.

If you have a friend or family member with Down syndrome or know someone in your community, thank God for him/her today. Thank God for revealing His great works in unexpected places and unexpected ways.

I am always loving and learning from Zach’s zest for life. Happy 3.21 to you!

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March Madness March 1, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Linda Aalderink @ 10:18 pm

March Madness is beginning today. For our family, and specifically, Zach, tonight is a big night. It’s the beginning of the NCAA Division III Women’s Basketball tournament. Zach is the manager for the Hope College Women’s Basketball team.  And Hope is in the tournament and hosting Round 1.

From the beginning, we believed  Zach assisting the team would be a great opportunity for Zach. What we’ve learned, again, is that  this is also beneficial for the team. It’s a win/win — for Zach, the players, coaches and fans. So today, at the beginning of March Madness, I want to share with you an excerpt from Immeasurably More. It is a chapter written by Coach Morehouse, Hope College Women’s Basketball Head Coach:

My Man Zach and Coach Hayes

Zach has been a great addition to our team. He joined Rich Hayes (we call him Coach Hayes), who has some cognitive development challenges and is fifty-five years old. Together they form the dynamic duo. Rich has been with me for 16 years and really took Zach under his wing. To observe those two laugh, tease, and bicker is a thing to behold! They both have helped assist our team in breaking down the barriers between people with and without special needs. If you asked our players, they would tell you that Zach and Rich are just part of the team. They expect and love their involvement in our practices, so much so that when either is gone, the first question (as it would be with a coach or teammate) is “where’s Zach [Rich]?” And you talk about reliable! Both of these guys are at practice 30 minutes or more before we start, pumped up and ready!

Someone asked me last year how it was going with special needs individuals helping out with my program. My response: I can’t imagine going to practice without My Man, Zach and Coach Hayes. They make both me and my team better. In no way are they a burden; they’re a blessing!

Thank you, Coach Mo. Let’s GO HOPE!169