Posts Tagged ‘Joy’s House’

The Truffula Tree

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to participate in an art therapy class designed for the employees of Joy’s House. We recently started an art therapy program with a licensed therapist, inviting caregivers and their loved ones to explore communication through art projects. In an effort to better understand the process and be able to answer questions about the program, our therapist offered a session for small groups of Joy’s House staff members.

The first task was to use whatever medium we wanted to create a representation of ourselves. I grabbed a few pipecleaners because, gosh, I hadn’t played with those in forever. Also grabbing some sheets of torn green and yellow paper, I started creating what ended up looking like a tree. It was wobbley and unstable, so I added a few more pipecleaners to the base of the tree, though I couldn’t find exactly the right matching color. In the end, my finished product resembled a Truffula Tree. You know, the kind found in The Lorax by Dr. Seuss.


My leaves ended up having two different colors – and after I sat back and looked at it, it seemed fitting. My tree was going through a seasonal change.

That morning, I had had a second interview with the Alzheimer’s Association and was pretty confident I would be offered a position the following week. Sounds great and wonderful, right? Sure, it was – it IS, but with all “seasons,” you do need to shed a layer in order to grow. In my case, shedding my skin – my comfort zone within my job at Joy’s House – would be tough.

It’s so much easier to leave a job that you’re not happy with. A job that you dread, or a boss that drives you crazy. Or maybe it’s just a blah environment. At Joy’s House, I don’t have any of those things. It’s a fitting name, really, because the definition of “joy” isn’t necessarily happiness-all-the-time-oh-life-is-grand. Joy is associated with contentedness and gladness. The people are joyful people. The families served, the volunteered involved and the dedicated staff – these people are my “peeps.” My family.

You know what, though? The reason these people are so great is because of the mission. Everyone is a team player and wants the best for the future and the community. When I reflect back to my Truffula Tree, I consider my own mission-driven personality to be my career “foundation,” with my roots running deep. Perhaps the branches of my tree are the ways in which I can serve, wherever life takes me.

On August 12, I will be “branching out” and will be the new Communications Director at the Alzheimer’s Association of Greater Indiana. I am excited about the possibilities before me and thrilled to share my talents with such a strong and mission-driven organization. Their foundation is the same foundation I have rooted in – to equip caregivers with the best tools available in order to care for their loved ones. And, to educate the public on dementia and other diagnoses. The unfortunate truth is that my generation is not aware or prepared to take care of our future populations as they continue to age.

The people I’ve met – my new coworkers – are embracing, dedicated and all-around great. I really feel like I’ll fit in well. It’s taken me a minute to adjust and think of myself outside of Joy’s House, but I know my relationships there won’t ever change. Everyone in the know of my career shift has been nothing but supportive and exited for me. So naturally, I’m getting excited, too!

I’m learning to embrace change. It’s not my favorite part of life, but it can be exciting. Suddenly I’m reminded of one of Wesley’s favorite songs from a potty training DVD:

It’s different, and it’s wonderful
Change is good
Look at you grow!

(Look At You Grow, Potty Time, Two Little Hands Productions)

Posted: August 1st, 2013
Categories: Leah
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Comments: 1 Comment.

Surprise Visit

Picture 001Some people never leave you, regardless of where they are on the planet (or not on this world). They leave a lasting legacy for you. Their experiences, advice and modeling behavior shape you to be who you become.

Today was one of those mornings that was impossible to get out of bed. I skipped over washing my hair for the 4th day in a row (gross), and picked out a decent looking “fat” shirt to match my mood, but still look somewhat presentable. Pony tail day. You know those.

Not that it was a bad morning, but it was blah, and I developed a headache that wouldn’t go away. My projects at work were taking forever to complete. I started thinking about rounding up a lunch of some sort from the random, dwindling food of mine in the kitchenette when I got a call from our receptionist, “Leah, there’s a Kara Pabon sitting across from me that says she has a hug for you if you’ll accept it.”

Rewind 10 years. An insecure senior in high school. I spent most of my free time in either the “senior lounge” or in Miss Pabon’s office. She taught me to play guitar. She listened to my teenage angst and troubles of life and concerns about my future. My broken heart from a past boyfriend. My wavering faith and my recent trip to Southeast Asia that left me feeling empty and black inside. She gave me a voice through music as my band teacher and impromptu guitar instructor.

My heart grew a million times with her encouragement, and I knew I could face college with her advice and my newly achieved life skills. I owe a lot to Kara Pabon, who was younger than my age now during my high school days. Could I have been a mentor for a young girl at 25? I don’t know. But I should strive to be one now.

Fast forward back to this afternoon. I quickly glanced in the mirror to make sure I look not-dead before heading downstairs to greet my old confidante, Miss Kara Pabon. She looks the same since I last saw her at least six years ago. Same warm smile with eyes that see the best qualities in every single person. Kara is just in town today as she is heading back to China tomorrow where she has lived for the last several years. She just happened to see Joy’s House on her way to lunch with a friend and recognized it from my posts on Facebook. On a whim, she stopped in to see me.

So touched. Suddenly my dirty hair and headache don’t seem to matter. I just got transported back to my happy, go-get-em memories as a 19-year-old.

Kara is a living example of what I hope to become. What a fantastic surprise to my day, and a gentle reminder to reach out to those you care about. Keep in touch.

Posted: February 6th, 2013
Categories: Leah
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Comments: 2 Comments.

Autumn News

Joy’s House 13th Annual Gala

(Early) fall is the busiest time of year for our family. October, specifically. Here’s a run down of what’s up with the Shattucks.

Leah – Planning my fourth annual Gala for Joy’s House was a huge success! We raised $120,000 and had 320 people in attendance. Crazy awesome. I also completed my first ever 5K. Perhaps it was too easy walking the 3 miles, but it was really fun. It’s going to be an annual tradition as a fundraiser for Joy’s House, so we’ll see if I actually push myself to train and run/jog it next year! As if I didn’t have enough going on, I’m now a consultant for Usborne Books. I will have a separate post about this later,  but in the meantime, come find me at or host your own show for free books!

Steven – The Historic Irvington Halloween Festival was a smash. Steven made several media appearances, coordinated all marketing aspects and set a huge record of 23,000 people in attendance the day of the street fair. Since he’s been a part of the Festival in 2009, he’s seen a 230% attendance increase. I’m pretty proud of him. And I’m still dumbfounded.

Wes – He’s making leaps and bounds of improvements through First Steps. His balance gets better every day, and he’s actually “standing” for up to 3 seconds at a time! He loves to “walk” between two people by himself – which consists of one or two steps and then a giant lunge into one of said persons. His words are increasing, and he’s demonstrating more signs. He’s definitely looking more like a toddler these days… and acting like one, too. Small fits and tantrums are happening on a nearly daily basis. I’m sure it’s because of the frustration that 1) he can’t make x y or z work or 2) he can’t communicate his needs. Wes is a good kid – does well at daycare, loves books and enjoys adult attention.

Here he is “yelling” at the dogs. Just mimicking what I do every day.

Jake & Lucy – FLEAS. Yuck. Thankfully, I think we’d rid of them. Disgusting.

More news – Our newest nephew was born! Little Josiah is the sweetest guy in town. I’m pretty smitten, as are his big siblings Elli and Jeremiah.


Posted: November 4th, 2012
Categories: Leah
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Mid-Year Updates

Leah – Been working full time since Janaury as Outreach Manager at Joy’s House. She is still singing on the praise team at church, though not as often as before, which has allowed for nice, non-rushed Sunday mornings with a baby. She still enjoys painting as a hobby, though the Year 4 Collage Painting is still unfinished since last August, so she better get on that before too long.

Steven – Has been working for Slingshot SEO since February as Community Manager. He’s since been knighted as employee of the month (got to wear a cape, too!) was on a panel for a social media conference and asked to join a council of employees. Steven has done really well and I’m proud of his achievements over these few months. He’s also gearing up to be the VBS “mascot” at church again this year – now as Rocketman.

Wes – At 10 months old & some change, he’s eating finger foods really well – especially bread, bananas and crackers. He can drink from his sippy cup and hold a bottle by himself. He’s scooting backwards and turning in circles on his stomach! Sometimes he gets stuck under the couch or between furniture legs. He’s sporting 5 adorable teeth and working on 3 more. He’s 24 lbs and fits into 9-18 month clothes. He loves to talk and laugh to himself, especially at bed and nap time in his crib. Jake and Lucy, the dogs, are his best friends. He’s so serious and studious (see video below), even though he’s a pleasant, happy baby. He can spend nearly an hour looking at, feeling and discovering the properties of a rug. Splashing in a tub is an educational time, trying to figure out how the water gets in the air. And yet he loves to clap, dance and sing along to familiar songs. He has one long, slightly curly lock of hair behind his right ear. (You can view his 10 Month photos here.)

Jake – The Italian Greyhound is 6 years old. He’s getting gray and white all over his head and back. He’s the dominate dog in the house at 12 lbs, but he’d prefer to be king of the family. He prances around the back yard and has trained Lucy to wait until he’s finished eating before she can get a bite to eat.

Lucy – Our beloved, sweet natured stray girl is 2 years old. She likely has developed some of her bad habits from Jake (begging for food, stealing said food off your plate, walking all over the couch and burying within a blanket). She keeps her eye on Wes all the time. If he cries or falls, she instantly finds me – either literally or with her eyes – to make sure he’s been attended to.

House – The neighbors to the south of us sold their house within a week of listing it. We’ll miss them. It’s stirred up the curiousity of moving ourselves to another house within my crazy brain. At some point, Steven and I may purchase my parent’s house, but the timing isn’t right. Given the extent of our busy year, we’ll see if this is a possibility in the future.

Vacation – Labor Day can’t come soon enough! We’re headed to Hilton Head for a week in September. Can’t wait to bike all over the island and lounge in the sand with Wes. I know he’ll love feeling, touching and examining the sand between his toes.

Family – I’m thrilled to announce that we’ll have another niece or nephew this October! My sister is pregnant with her third baby, healthy and thriving, yet stubborn enough to hide his or her gender from the ultrasound tech. I’m excited because Wes will have the chance to be around a little baby cousin, and I love that all of his cousins on both sides will be able to grow up together. I love being so close in age with all of my first cousins, and getting together with them is always a great time. Thankful that Wes has this opportunity as well.

This video captures Wes on a daily basis. He spends minutes at a time discovering the world with his hands. Who knew a register could emit such interesting music?

Posted: June 2nd, 2012
Categories: Leah
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Comments: 1 Comment.

Back to the grind

It’s been nearly 6 weeks. These last few days, I’ve tried to make every minute longer than the next. Staring into your baby’s precious face makes time want to speed up, however. Time and I do not see eye-to-eye right now.

So, what have I done the last few weeks? Well, I’ve TRIED to stay productive but still make sure to cherish these fleeting moments. Needless to say, I have not cleaned the house well. Thankfully, Steven and I are a great team, and we keep our house fairly tidy, but it’s my job to remove the dirt, dog hair and grime from surfaces. I got it really good and clean during my 4 days of waiting for Wes to show up, but now it’s getting bad again. I meant to clean today, and really, I should have because the babe is currently in the middle of a 2-hour-thus-far nap. But, sometimes snuggling with him and the dogs is just better. Anyway – I’ve read several juvenile sci-fi books, my favorite genre (The Underland Chronicles, Suzanne Collins – yes, the same author of The Hunger Games), gone on several walks to Ellenberger Park, spent time with my sister, her kids and my mom, visited with in-town and out-of-town friends and finally started on the Year 4 Anniversary Collage Painting. I also meant to paint today, but alas. Who cares if it doesn’t get done this week?

I have a few more days to enjoy before heading back in to work. Mixed emotions about this. I can understand why some women desire to stay home and not return. I don’t want to miss any developmental change or new discovery. Days seem to pass quickly, and it’s amazing what you DON’T accomplish around the house. But, at this point, I still suffer from cabin fever and extreme antsiness if I’m not seeing any productivity around me. I crave having projects to keep my mind and hands busy. I need an occasional challenge. Come Monday, I will be working full time again, but making my office at home two days out of the week. I certainly hope this will allow me to have the best of both worlds – at least for a time. Joy’s House is a wonderful organization, and I couldn’t find a better position for myself. I absolutely love the staff, the Guests, the projects and the wonderful volunteers & supporters I have the opportunity to meet and work alongside. I’ll be hitting the ground running, as our annual Gala is just around the corner – and my devoted planning committee is anxious to have me back to the grind!

Yesterday I met with the gal who will be watching my sweet boy two days a week. The situation is definitely an answer to prayer! She already cares for a precious girl of her own and identical twin boys all under 8 months old, and she lives so close to my workplace. All three of those kids are in cloth diapers, too, so I don’t have to deal with the “you’re weird” looks & talks! 🙂 She and I attended the same elementary and middle school, and we have lots of mutual friends as well. Seriously, I couldn’t be happier or more pleased, as I know Wes is in terrific hands. Thank you, Jillian!

The plan is to fully enjoy the next few days. Dinner with friends tonight, a trip to the zoo tomorrow with Mom, Sister & the Niece/Nephew, Feast of Lanterns & birthday party Saturday and a day of rest after church on Sunday. I will not, I repeat, will not be that frantic, worrying mother at work. I don’t claim to be SuperMom, either. God has blessed us with a beautiful son, and I’m going to do what’s best for us and take each day at a time. Nice knowing you, Maternity Leave.

Posted: August 25th, 2011
Categories: Leah
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Comments: 1 Comment.

2010 Recap and an Announcement

So much has happened this year, and more is going to happen in 2011. LOTS of changes, in fact, we’ll be adding a member of the family come July. No, not another furry friend. This is the kind that walks, talks and takes your last name:

Briefly, let me fill you in on what’s happened in the last year. We have a new dog: Lucy, who is a total 65-lbs of sweetheart. She was found as a stray in Ellenberger Park in April, and since we couldn’t locate the owners of the cute little 5-month-old puppy, we kept her. She loves Jake, but Jake doesn’t care so much for her.

I (Leah) am still working at Joy’s House, an adult day center in Broad Ripple for older adults and those living with physical and mental challenges like Alzheimer’s and dementia. I design, create, promote, fundraise, plan events and all kinds of fun in my position as Outreach Coordinator. I’m in love with my job, and I couldn’t be happier or more stretched in my abilities. I’m always learning and surprising myself! What more could you ask for?

Steven worked as the General Manager for CMC Media Group until November. He is now recently employed with BCFoward, an IT recruiting and consulting firm in Indianapolis and several other locations. He’s responsible for marketing, promotions and social media, which is basically what my job entails! So funny. I’m still figuring out exactly what he does, so I may be wrong and will be later corrected. 🙂

We’re still serving and attending at Castleton Christian Church on the NE side of Indy. I’m on the praise team and Steven helps with the multimedia obligations during the service. He also occasionally makes feature videos for sermon series and events around the congregation.

Steven has been heavily involved in community organizations this year. He has been producing short videos for feature speakers at various community events, helping with the marketing and promotions for Irvington festivities and attending so many different meetings that I can’t keep track of them all. We’re both really proud that he has been able to meet so many wonderful people in the community. We absolutely love the East side, and I highly expect us to be here for a very long time.

Our house has been up for sale since September. We’re not actively trying to sell it – just feeling the waters and seeing if something would happen. Granted, we decided to do this before we knew we would be expecting, so if it doesn’t sell come March, we’ll reevaluate what to do & what makes sense. I’m always finding “dream homes” that I would love to live in or fix up, but I’ve been careful not to fall too much in love in case something doesn’t work out.

So now that you’re up to date, you really just want more details about Baby Shattuck. This is what we know: I’m about 15 weeks along, I’m due in mid July and we WILL find out the gender at some point. (In fact, we have a pretty good guess based on last week’s ultrasound.) No, it’s not something that was in our immediate plans, but God has a way of doing HIS thing on HIS timing. Based on the amount of doors being opened the last few weeks, we fully understand this. We’re excited, and it will be a brand new adventure to explore and discover. Wish us luck, pray for us, and keep in touch!

Here’s to an adventurous 2011!

The Shattucks

Posted: January 17th, 2011
Categories: Leah
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Comments: 2 Comments.

Christmas Card 2009 Update

Christmas Card 2009

Hi everyone! This post is in replacement of a Christmas letter that we were thinking we would include with our cool card.

The photos on the card were taken at the Joy’s House 10th Annual Black Tie Gala in October (yes, in an old-fashioned photo booth!). Leah became Outreach Coordinator at Joy’s House in May, a not-for-profit adult day service that provides care for adults living with physical and mental challenges while providing respite for caregivers. She absolutely loves her new position, and gets to dabble in graphic design, marketing and event planning!

Steven is continually producing successful short videos for organizations and local businesses at CMC Media Group. He has made many great relationships with churches, small businesses and hospitals this past year. We are both very blessed to work for such wonderful companies filled with amazing people!

Leah is still singing on the praise team at Castleton Christian Church, and Steven has helped develop the web site and coordinate technical aspects of the Sunday service.

This fall we’ve had the opportunity to house Leah’s cousin, Chris Ashbaugh (son of Keith & Dee), while he enters his first semester of grad school in music composition at Butler University. Leah has gotten used to have all boys in the house (including the animals!) – and it’s been fun to listen to his pieces of work come together into a beautiful arrangement.

Jake, the Italian Greyhound, turns 4 this month. He is still getting used to having a brother, Desmond (aka Jack, aka “Kitty”), a 12-year-old white medium hair cat we adopted in February. They argue over who gets whose lap to snuggle in.

Jake & Kitty

This has been a growing year in many aspects. We have met many new, wonderful people in 2009, and it’s exciting to see our relationships grow and form. God has provided for us in ways we cannot begin to appropriately thank Him for!

We hope all is well with you, and please continue to come back to our blog to check for updates in 2010. Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Posted: December 7th, 2009
Categories: Leah
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Wii are fit to be had

So my birthday was yesterday (yes, also Mother’s Day), and I’ve decided that I want to spend my birthday earnings on a Wii Fit. I’ve scoured ebay, and craigslist for the past couple days and it’s a ridiculous commodity! People are wanting your own arm and leg for USED pieces of equipment!

New (and in-store), the game and board is about $89, but some of these listings are way above and beyond $100. And then, of course, they are “slightly used.”

I keep hoping I’ll find a good deal for about $60 or so, but it’s not really a hopeful thought. It’s amazing to me that the game – and even the Wii consule itself! – is still so highly sought after, even a year into the beginning retail sales. I’m a terrible ebay-er, so I guess I’ll  have to just put my name on a waiting list at my local Best Buy…

In other news, Steven and I went to paint pottery with the folks at Joy’s House. I had a great time painting a water pitcher and conversing with my new fellow employees. I’ve loving every aspect of my new job right now, and apparently it shows. Steven laughs at my beaming personality these days.

Posted: May 11th, 2009
Categories: Leah
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Spring blooms

Leah is now Outreach Coordinator at Joy’s House in Broadripple, Indianapolis. I am responsible for marketing/design and event planning for several major fundraising events throughout the year. I’m thrilled to be part of the non-profit world, and the organization for adults with dementia and Alzheimer’s is wonderful and highly uplifting. They have touched so many lives in the 10 years of its founding.

Similarly, Steven has been nominated to be on the marketing and communications board for CICOA. He is happily and successfully producing quality videos for large and national as well as small and local businesses with CMC Media Group. His new endeavour includes affordable web site video production through

We are very blessed to be working in fields in which we love and have great concern.

Posted: May 7th, 2009
Categories: Leah
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