Baby’s Got New Shoes, Sweet Friends, and Exciting Progress on the Horizon!

A few months ago I was talking to two adorable little sisters at church, one of whom is Melody’s age. These sweet sisters wanted to know if Melody had shoes. When I replied that she did not (as they were not all that necessary since she does not walk), they appeared a bit forlorn about this news. Immediately their tender hearts sprung forth, and they decided that they would pull their money together and buy Melody a pair of sandals. Apparently, these girls could not imagine life without shoes.

Since that time, unbeknownst to these little girls, Melody’s oldest sister purchased a pair of sandals for her. Since Melody is standing more and can take steps with help, these were definitely in order.

One day the sweet sisters, Abigail and Mary, were out shopping with their mom and siblings at a thrift store. Lo and behold, they found a pair of shoes that they deemed perfect for their buddy Melody, and they proceeded to purchase them with their own money.

When they presented their sweet gift to us, it brought such joy to our hearts. In fact, every time I look at those shoes, it brings me tremendous joy. The shoes are exactly the right size, although we never told them what size she was. They are not too wide even though Melody’s feet are quite narrow. They are especially cute and absolutely perfect for Melody.

We have experienced the purest of love and devotion from many little children in regards to Melody.  Melody has a treasure of a friend at our church in little Nellie. Nellie is three years old, and she is a healthy child, but has had some delays in her development. Trust me though, this adorable little girl more than compensates for it with her incredibly sweet smile and charming personality. Nellie was a little delayed in her ability to walk, but now she is a pro. She seems to be quite fascinated with Melody, and it is not uncommon for her to wander over to Melody after church. That works out well, since she is the mobile one in this friendship. Nellie is making significant progress with her verbal skills, but is limited in her repertoire of words. She and Melody have sweet interactions with each other. They seem to communicate in significant ways without words. Melody appears to understand that there is unique connection between them, as she gets excited when she sees Nellie and sometimes even reaches out to hug her.

“Hello, is Nellie available?”

We are grateful for all of Melody’s sweet little friends. They love and accept her just the way she is. In fact, it seems as if Melody’s friends do not merely accept her, but they highly value her. They deem her exceptional. So do we. We are thankful for her precious life and the sweet love she draws out of others. We feel privileged and honored to experience the tenderhearted love of so many sweet children in a way we would not have experienced without Melody in our lives.

Melody loves spending time with her mama!

Melody is not the only one who has sweet friends. Recently some dear friends of ours, the Powers, took Melody almost all day while the rest of us went for a hike. That is the first time Melody has been away from us in four and a half years. I told her to be a happy girl so they would invite her back. She complied. Apparently she was a perfect angel. We were able to thoroughly enjoy God’s beautiful creation, as we knew Melody was in such competent, loving, tender care with our dear and precious friends. If you ever have opportunity to give a family with a special needs child a break so they can participate in something they could not otherwise, I encourage to do it. It will be a gift they will likely remember for years.

God designed all of us to walk in community with others and to encourage one another through this life.  Fellowship is critical.  Isolation can be dangerous. (“A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire; He rages against all wise judgment.” Proverbs 18:1) We are ever so grateful for our church family and the precious love they have bestowed upon our little girl and us. Not only is the church family excellent for us, Melody is a blessing to them. I recently read an outstanding and insightful article about how beneficial special needs children are for the church. It encouraged me immensely, as I had not thought about things that way before. As our pastor’s wife Roxy expressed, “We ALL benefit from sweet Melody. She helps us appreciate God’s unconditional love for all of us and His perfect plan.”

Melody is being playful with her daddy.

Melody’s life truly is a beautiful illustration of God’s amazing grace, a free gift received by faith and not striving.  “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)  That is a concept worth meditating on.

I will never claim that the journey with Melody has been an easy one. Easy is not the end goal. Love is. Oh, the depth of love this mama has for her little high maintenance girl!

A friend of mine from church told me about an occupational therapist and speech therapist who are helping two of her sons tremendously. Both of these therapists just started coming to our home two times a week, and we have considerable hope that this could be an amazing turning point in Melody’s development.

We have four piano players in our home.  It looks like we now have a budding fifth one.

Does this remind you of Schroeder from Peanuts? Melody’s occupational therapist suggested this. Apparently it is remarkable for helping children make connections in their brain.  Here she is playing the piano with her hands…

…and here she is playing piano with her feet.

Melody has changed in a significant way, as her curiosity has increased. She reaches out for things more and wants to interact intentionally with books, toys, and the piano.

The significance of this is extraordinary. Melody’s speech therapist and occupational therapist want her to learn to sign.  Melody’s sister taught her to sign “more” in one day! We were stunned. We did not realize that she could learn that so effortlessly. Sometimes when I feed her she signs, “more” between bites. It is definitely intentional and not random. This can be a momentous stepping stone to speech.

While Melody was interacting with the speech therapist and the occupational therapist we realized she is cognitively more advanced than we thought. She was playing with these cups with Kay, the speech therapist, and she demonstrated that she understood the concept of object permanence (an object still exists even if it can not be seen). Kay had a little block under one of the cups. Melody picked up the cup and found it. When Kay set out two cups, Melody looked a little perplexed that one cup did not have a block under it.  Then to her great pleasure she picked up the other cup, found the block, and picked it up (demonstrating fine motor skills). She also immediately figured out how to work Kay’s spinning jack-in-the-box. Melody was able to spin the wheel and immediately looked up when the bear popped up.  She has a greater grasp of cause and effect than we supposed. Stay tuned for details on Melody’s progress with these amazing women in her life! We have only just begun.


Comments 20

  1. What a joy it is to see Melody’s progress! This sort of change does not happen without the dedication and love of a wonderful family and friends. You all are truly blessed. I am grateful to be included in your BLOG
    so that I can watch Melody’s story unfold.

  2. Jen, this is wonderful. I’ve been wondering how Melody is, but have kept forgetting to ask. You write so beautifully. How the Lord is using this in your lives, as well as so many others, has touched my heart. I’m so glad you’ve continued to take the time to share this and am thrilled at her progress!!
    Thanks be to God!!!

  3. Agreeing with what has already been shared, so thankful you take the time Jenn to post and share the blessings provided in the midst of some of the ‘hard’. Believing Melody is teaching us all. Love & prayers

  4. What a precious update. The shoe story was so endearing. As always, you have allowed us to be in awe of the wonderful gift of Melody. May the Lord continue to bless your family mightily. Great job, team Thenhauss!

  5. So proud of all you guys. For precious Melody – a blessing: Little spirit of Melody, I call you forward to receive a blessing, come to attention as Yeshua holds out His hands and would say to you “Come here My child, I long for your friendship, for you are beautiful, unique and one of a kind. I find you fascinating and exciting. You have ravished My heart with your hidden treasures. My love for you is full of exceeding riches, come forward and share them with Me, eat from My hand for out of My glorious riches I desire to strengthen you with power through My Spirit in your inner being. For have I not said, “You are My friend and a dear friend will love you no matter what, and a family sticks together through all kinds of trouble?’ Your Creator-Father intends for you to be nurtured, strong, and large in Him. You are meant to live life rejoicing in God with ears to hear from Him.” By the power of Yeshua living in me I loose within you a new hunger for His friendship and an unquenchable thirst to unpack your treasure chest that was placed in you at creation. Receive His Blessing of Friendship

  6. We know that we will see amazing progress changes in Melody since our visit together a year ago. We are looking forward to our visit starting on 9/14. Loved all the pictures and the adorable story of the shoes. We love you all!!!

  7. Whenever I read your post, it inspires me more than I am can describe. Thank you for helping me to gain God’s perspective as He sees us live our lives.
    The Thenhauss family is so inspiring! Thank you for every picture and every milestone that you’ve shared that Melody takes. You’ve made my day – even more than you realize.
    There are so many verses that apply to your family, but the one that came to my mind is Ephesians 3:20 & 21, and also the verses previous to these.
    You are appreciated!

  8. First…thank you for sharing the progress of Little Melody! She is making amazing progress. Love the ‘shoe’ story. A big “high 5” to your family and Melody for showing us all that all things are possible.

  9. What an encouragement! I love the shoe story and hearing how the hearts of tender children were moved in love for Melody. What a testimony! I am grateful for the way God has used your family to be a voice for those with special needs. Thank you, and I pray every need you have will be met in him. Love to all.

  10. Oh Jen! What a complete joy it is EVERY time I have the pleasure to read of Melody’s impact and progress. Thank you soooooo much for keeping up on the updates. May our Lord and Savior continue the good work He has begun in proclaiming His glory And goodness to and through your precious family.❤️❣️

  11. What a blessing to hear about Melody’s progress. Thank you for sending updates. It enables us to pray more specifically for her and her loving, giving family. Great wonderful things are in store for her and her family. The best is yet to be for all of you.

  12. Jenn,

    Thanks for sharing these beautiful stories about Melody and all the Thenhaus family–esp loved the one about Nellie and the new shoes for Melody.
    Each of you are a Blessing. May God continue to Bless all of you.

  13. We too, love the “Melody Updates”!!! God has given OUR family….a HUGE gift…..Melody Jean. Isn’t it amazing how much we are learning from her!!! God’s wisdom is so much better than ours. And I do love your honesty, Jen….it’s work….but what amazing rewards too!!! You were the perfect family for little Melody to thrive in!!! I love God’s charge to Joshua…..”be strong & courageous….for your Lord God is with you….wherever you go”!!!
    Keep up the great work…..she has so much more to accomplish in her sweet life!!! Love you ALL!!!!

  14. It is inspiring and delightful to realize the many ways in which Melody continues to develop and grow. How exciting! Thank you for sending updates on her wonderful progress. I can’t wait to see what she learns or does next.

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