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Coffee With Caregivers

Coffee With Caregivers

By Jessica E Ronne
Join Jess Ronne, author, speaker, and caregiver advocate as she chats with caregivers about the joys and trials of raising a child with complex needs. Jess is also the founder and executive director of The Lucas Project—a non-profit which provides recognition, resources, and respite for special needs families. She and her husband Ryan live in Tennessee with their 8 children, including their son Lucas who has profound special needs. Her story of beauty from ashes is detailed in her memoir Sunlight Burning at Midnight. To follow the ongoing saga she can be found at www.jessplusthemess.com
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Kate Swenson - Blogger at Finding Cooper’s Voice & Author of Forever Boy
Kate Swenson is the founder of Finding Cooper's Voice, a mother to four kids, a wife, and a proud Minnesotan. She writes and creates videos regularly about her life as a mother and an autism advocate for Facebook, Instagram, and her website, Finding Cooper's Voice. Her book, Forever Boy, A Mother's Memoir of Autism and Finding Joy, is available now and highlights the transformation that she went through after her son's diagnosis. You can purchase Kate's book, Forever Boy on Amazon.  To stay connected with Jess, head to www.jessplusthemess.com.  If you are interested in being a guest please contact me at jess@thelucasproject.org. I'd love to hear what you think, so please rate and review!
32:59
April 15, 2022
Lindsay San - CEO of The Pampered Parent
Lindsay is the founder and owner of The Pampered Parent, a monthly self-care subscription box and supportive online community for moms of children with special needs. In addition to The Pampered Parent, Lindsay is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). As a BCBA, she works with individuals with a variety of developmental disabilities, as well as with their caregivers and families, to improve communication and social skills, foster independence, and reduce challenging behaviors. In Lindsay's free time, she enjoys exercising, traveling, watching TV with her husband, and playing with her dog, Shockey. To stay connected with Jess, head to www.jessplusthemess.com.  If you are interested in being a guest please contact me at jess@thelucasproject.org. I'd love to hear what you think, so please rate and review!
14:53
April 01, 2022
Fred Marvel - shaken baby syndrome, autism father & seeking answers.
Fred Marvel is 40 years old, has been married close to 16 years and is the father of three boys.  He was born and raised in Philadelphia where he works as a paralegal.  His oldest son Aleks (11) was diagnosed with Autism, ADHD and sensory processing disorder.  Fred started a podcast called the Spectrum Dad Podcast late last year because he wanted to help bring awareness to autism. Connect with Fred on IG: @thespectrumdadpod To stay connected with Jess, head to www.jessplusthemess.com.  If you are interested in being a guest please contact me at jess@thelucasproject.org. I'd love to hear what you think, so please rate and review!
35:31
March 18, 2022
Katie Miniel: Thinking outside of the box with homeschooling autism, soap making & trying to find happiness in the middle of the struggles.
Katie Miniel is a mom/24 hour caregiver to her daughter who is 17 years old. Her daughter has Autism, developmental delays and a seizure disorder. She is mentally between 4-7 years old and needs constant care due to impulsive repetitive aggressive behaviors. Katie and her husband started a soap making business for her 3 years ago to help build skills while she was not learning at school. This also became a way for the family to make extra money since Katie can not work and her daughter is no longer in school. They still struggle every day with meltdowns but try to help their child find happiness in life. Katie's goal is to keep advocating through Texas Made Soap until families like hers will be heard and our children/ adults will have the care they need and deserve. To stay connected with Jess, head to www.jessplusthemess.com.  If you are interested in being a guest please contact me at jess@thelucasproject.org. I'd love to hear what you think, so please rate and review!
38:03
March 04, 2022
Kim Albrecht: planning for the future & helping our children learn to live without us.
Kim Albrecht is a southerner transplanted to California via the Midwest along with her husband and 2 teenage daughters, the oldest of which has level 3 non speaking autism. She hosts the award winning LOMAH Disability Podcast, where over 100 expert guests  have been interviewed on topics relevant to planning the future for teens and young adults with disabilities.  The show deep dives into a single issue for 12 episodes and has covered disability housing, transitioning from school to adult services, financial planning, safety, technology, health, and more. When not in the trenches of parenting, you can find her hunting sea glass, hiking a trail, or on instagram as journey2lomah.  To stay connected with Jess, head to www.jessplusthemess.com.  If you are interested in being a guest please contact me at jess@thelucasproject.org. I'd love to hear what you think, so please rate and review!
58:58
February 11, 2022
Angela Lofton: In utero diagnosis, the importance of real life community & why self care includes learning to say yes to help.
"Sometimes good enough is good enough"  Angela Lofton has over thirty years experience helping others find the best in themselves. From her days in college tutoring students with disabilities, corporate training and educating young people, she has always sought to help others discover the gifts and talents within themselves. She believes in lifelong learning and that through observations, engaging our senses and by being open to new experiences and people, we build social connections that support each of us to learn, grow and support one another. It is this passion that has driven her to create the & friends online community, https://andfriendscommunity.com/, where you will find freedom from isolation, coaching strategies, encouragement, social outreach and strategy workshops. These ideals also come together with vivid characters in her delightful children’s book, Constance the Cowlet. Inspired by the illustrations of her youngest son, Andrew, Angela’s passion for children’s literature, reading aloud, and working with children culminated in their first book. Andrew was born with a debilitating birth defect and has undergone 15 surgeries.  Early on, artwork was a way help him reach out and share a part of himself with peers, doctors and others. His sketches are a window into his intelligence and sensitivity that wasn’t always obvious by first impressions. Read more about the book at https://constancethecowlet.com/. To stay connected with Jess, head to www.jessplusthemess.com.  If you are interested in being a guest please contact me at jess@thelucasproject.org. I'd love to hear what you think, so please rate and review!
54:28
January 28, 2022
Michele Thorne: Siblings on the spectrum, ABA, and permission to say you don't have to do it all.
After both of her children were diagnosed with autism and she saw the need to provide parents with emotional, physical, and educational support, Michele Knowlton-Thorne founded DAMES LLC, which became Care for the Caregivers. As President of Care for the Caregivers, Michele plans to continue creating programs, apps, events, and support groups to help parents who are raising children with different health care needs. Before founding D.A.M.E.S and Care 4 the Caregivers Michele worked as a geneticist at TGen and has an undergraduate degree in Molecular Biosciences and Biotechnology and a Master of Science Degree from Arizona State University. She also worked as an adjunct professor, re-wrote biological manuals for ASU, published in peer-reviewed journal articles, and is the author of a STEM picture book series. She is a Certified Autism Specialist and a graduate of the Pilot Parents of Southern Arizona Partners in the Leadership program. She has been trained as a Flourishing Families Practitioner, a Protective Factors Trainer, and a Triple P Stepping Stones Practitioner. Michele also sits on the ALTCS Advisory Council as a parent representative and the ICC Financial Committee. To stay connected with Jess, head to www.jessplusthemess.com.  If you are interested in being a guest please contact me at jess@thelucasproject.org. I'd love to hear what you think, so please rate and review!
58:08
January 14, 2022
Katie Emde - Raising Siblings on the Spectrum, Canada vs the U.S. for Resources, and a No Nonsense Approach to Advocacy.
"You shouldn't have to uproot your entire family because there isn't enough." Katie Emde.  What a great chat with Katie Emde.  Katie lives in Saskatchewan with her husband and three beautiful kids and spends her days advocating for those on the autism spectrum. Her oldest son Avery was diagnosed with severe non-verbal autism and her youngest son Jackson was recently diagnosed on the spectrum. When getting Avery diagnosed, she found everything to be extremely overwhelming & difficult to navigate and started advocating provincially for hundreds of families. She blogs online on Facebook & shares her family's journey at " A Journey For Avery." To stay connected with Jess, head to www.jessplusthemess.com.  If you are interested in being a guest please contact me at jess@thelucasproject.org. I'd love to hear what you think, so please rate and review!
01:06:50
December 17, 2021
Lisa Dempsey - Group home placement, non profit work, & finding time to advocate for your child.
Lisa Dempsey is the founder and CEO of the Forgotten Wishes Foundation, whose mission is to inspire a sense of belonging and be a source of joy for people with disabilities. Lisa belongs to a society of women who share the delights and dilemmas of raising children and caring for adults with special needs. She is a creator, explorer, and advocate and writes a blog about her experiences called Cluck Howl Crow. Lisa is happiest when she and her husband, Robert, are gathered around the kitchen table with their family. To refuel her mind and body, Lisa travels in her trailer named Rosemary von Wunder, takes walks on the beach searching for shells, or heads to New York City to binge-watch Broadway Musicals in person and eat Junior's Cheesecake. Lisa and her husband Robert have been married for 18 years and have four children. They live in Houston, Texas, with their teenage son and two Cardigan Welsh Corgis, Zeus and Mick. They are Momsie and Popsicle to their two granddaughters. Lisa is grateful to have a circle of extraordinary moms christened "special friends" whose presence adds a copious treasure to her life. Head to www.forgottenwishes.org to see how you can help with Lisa's mission to help those with disabilities.  To stay connected with Jess, head to www.jessplusthemess.com.  If you are interested in being a guest please contact me at jess@thelucasproject.org. I'd love to hear what you think, so please rate and review!
01:05:14
November 26, 2021
"Doc" Hunsley - A terminal diagnosis, the death of a child, & new beginnings.
Stephen “Doc” Hunsley, M.D. is the Executive Director and founder of SOAR Special Needs in Overland Park, Kansas. SOAR (Special Opportunities, Abilities, and Relationships) serves over 900 individuals with special needs through regular respite events and a Special Needs Day Camp.  Doc is currently assisting over 400 churches locally, nationally, and globally in starting a Disability Ministry. Doc also organizes the Wonderfully Made Conference held annually every October in Kansas City. Doc is a retired pediatrician while his wife, Kay, continues practicing pediatrics. They are proud parents to three beautiful children: Luke, Mark and Sarah. The Hunsley’s middle child, Mark, is presently running the halls of heaven. During Mark’s five-year earthly stay, he gave his family the opportunity to learn from and love a child with autism. You can follow SOAR on Facebook or Connect at https://soarspecialneeds.org/ To stay connected with Jess, head to www.jessplusthemess.com.  If you are interested in being a guest please contact me at jess@thelucasproject.org. I'd love to hear what you think, so please rate and review!
53:22
November 05, 2021
Liza Blas - Radical Self Care Guru.
Join me as I chat with Liza Blas, a storyteller and the host of the Very Happy Stories podcast. She brings hope, empowerment, and validation to parents raising kids with unique challenges. Liza delivers inspiring stories and shares her best practices through her podcast, speaking engagements, and personal transformational coaching. Her stories are inspired by her personal experience navigating the complex conditions of her two children, including depression, anxiety, ADHD, OCD, ASD, Tourette’s Syndrome, and Lyme disease. We chat about what it means to practice radical self-care, how to flip your mindset to one of empowerment and the benefits of rituals and mushrooms.  You'll love to learn practical tips on how to care for yourself while caring for your child.   To stay connected with Jess, head to www.jessplusthemess.com.  If you are interested in being a guest please contact me at jess@thelucasproject.org I'd love to hear what you think, so please rate and review!
46:46
October 22, 2021
Lisa Candara - Sanity Management, Labels, and Cycles of Grief and Joy.
"We have more power than we think"  Join me as I chat with Lisa Candera, a single mother to a teenage son with Autism, OCD and DMDD, a lawyer, and certified life coach for moms raising kids with autism. Lisa teaches moms raising kids with Autism how to keep their cool while their child is melting down.  To learn more about Lisa's coaching program and get on her email list for some upcoming FREE resources, visit her website at www.bethesolidobject.com. You can also follow Lisa on Instagram @theautismmomcoach. To stay connected with Jess, head to www.jessplusthemess.com.  If you are interested in being a guest please contact me at jess@thelucasproject.org I'd love to hear what you think, so please rate and review!
45:34
October 08, 2021
Misty Phillip - Author, Speaker, Podcaster, & Special Needs Mama
Misty Phillip is a dreamer and a doer passionate about helping spark your soul message. She encourages people to use their story to give God glory. The Founder of Spark Media, Misty equips Christian Communicators and podcasters through virtual and live events, podcast network, magazine, and a thriving membership community. She is the host of the By His Grace Podcast ranked in the top 1.5 percent of all podcasts. Sought-after inspirational speaker and the author of the award-winning #1 Amazon New Release Bible Study, The Struggle is Real: But so is God, and the Spark Podcast Planner. Website: MistyPhillip.com and SparkMedia.Ventures To stay connected with Jess, head to www.jessplusthemess.com.  If you are interested in being a guest please contact me at jess@thelucasproject.org I'd love to hear what you think, so please rate and review!
41:54
September 24, 2021
Me, Myself & I - An update on life
Host, advocate & author Jess Ronne gives an update since the move from TN to MI on her personal life as a mom to 8 and parent caregiver to Lucas, her 17 year old son with profound disabilities. It’s been quite the journey over the past 10 years as she has moved 5 times in search of resources for him and her family. Have they found what they need? Tune in to find out.
21:14
September 10, 2021
Brittany Vance - Brand Ambassador & Autism Awareness
Brittany Vance is a music journalist and both of her boys have special needs. Her youngest son Amari is a IG influencer and they work with national and local brands to help them become more Autism friendly. @lifeofamari2 She’s originally from Appalachia & believes that acceptance is the magic touch.
36:39
June 25, 2021
Jessica Patay: Prader-Willi Syndrome, Non Profit Work, & Being Honest About the Future.
Jessica Patay is a mother, wife, and advocate/cheerleader for Special Needs Mothers.  She has been married to her husband, Chris, for 23 years and they reside in the Palos Verdes area in Southern California. They have two sons and a daughter, all teenagers.  Their second son, age 17, was born with a rare, medically complex genetic disorder, called Prader-Willi syndrome. Because Jessica is passionate about serving, mentoring, and inspiring other Special Needs Moms, she launched and leads a non-profit organization called We Are Brave Together.  WABT provides resources, respite, support groups, mentoring and inspiration for moms caring for children or adult children, any age, with any diagnosis, disability or challenge. She believes in the power of gathering to empower, strengthen and uplift moms in their unique, diverse and difficult journeys. WABT offers support groups, workshops, retreats and inspirational events.  You can find out more at wearebravetogether.com and see their resourceful and inspirational posts on Instagram @wearebravetogether. To stay connected with Jess, head to www.jessplusthemess.com.  If you are interested in being a guest please contact me at jess@thelucasproject.org I'd love to hear what you think, so please rate and review!
48:18
June 11, 2021
Lisa Peña - Demanding accountability in our classrooms by building radical empathy.
Dr. Lisa Peña is a coach’s wife and busy mom of three, including a daughter who has a unique subset of autism. Dr. Peña is from the Rio Grande Valley where she has served our country’s veterans as a clinical pharmacist for over ten years. She is a powerful public speaker and shows a particular passion in building radical empathy within the public school system. Dr. Peña is the co-founder of the nonprofit Labeled & Loved where she serves as Vice-President. She is an author and blogger and believes that impactful storytelling has the potential to change the world. If Dr. Peña is not sitting at her desk in her barn house dreaming of ways to better serve her community, you can find her on a football field or arm in arm with the guy she has loved since she was fifteen. www.drlisapena.com www.labeledandloved.org
51:45
May 28, 2021
Lauren Lowery : Rancher, Aicardi-Goutieres, & Coach
"Sometimes you stand up and say this is how can can help. This is what we need. And this looks different for every caregiver."  Lauren and her husband live in Stillwater, Oklahoma with their 5 year old son Leo and 4 year old foster daughter. They run a cattle operation, and she serves as a life coach for special needs moms. Their son Leo has a rare genetic disorder called Aicardi-goutieres syndrome, which affects the brain, spinal cord, and immune system. To learn more about Lauren's coaching, find her at www.lowerylifecoaching.com.  To stay connected with Jess, head to www.jessplusthemess.com.  If you are interested in being a guest please contact me at jess@thelucasproject.org I'd love to hear what you think, so please rate and review!
33:25
May 14, 2021
Stephanie Simoes: PANS, Clean Food, & Wine Consultant
Stephanie Simoes is a wife & mother to four beautiful children from Pennsylvania and enjoys being a Cause Entrepreneur with ONEHOPE.  She hosts private wine events to raise awareness and donations for different causes. Supporting medical research and support for special needs families is really important to her because she has three children who have been diagnosed with PANS. She is extremely passionate about raising awareness and believes that if her journey with PANDAS/PANS can help even just one other family, it is worth it.  To learn more about One Hope Wine check out - Onehopewine.com/myshop/winewsteph To support The Lucas Project with a purchase head to - onehopewine.com/event/97722 To stay connected with Jess, head to www.jessplusthemess.com.  If you are interested in being a guest please contact me at jess@thelucasproject.org I'd love to hear what you think, so please rate and review! 
41:08
April 30, 2021
Amy Brown: Adoption, RAD, & Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
"They (children with RAD) cannot trust the main caregiver."  Amy J. Brown is a wife,mom,writer, mentor and podcast host. She writes to encourage special needs moms. She shares honestly about her adoption story and parenting a child with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).Amy mentors moms and believes that when we honestly share our stories we learn from each other, gather strength,and come away encouraged. But most importantly, we feel less alone.She lives in Michigan and is married to her high school sweetheart. She is the  mother of six kids, who are all in different phases of life—from adults to middle schoolers. She loves quiet mornings, strong English breakfast tea, and a good book. You can connect with   Amy and read more of her writing at:https://www.amyjbrown.com/ Or follow her on Instagram:https://www.instagram.com/amyjbrown_writer/ To purchase my book Sunlight Burning at Midnight https://amzn.to/37oRyop To stay connected with Jess head to www.jessplusthemess.com. I'd love to hear what you think, so please rate and review! If you are interested in being a guest please contact me at jess@thelucasproject.org
42:07
April 15, 2021
Laurie Hellmann - Author, Dating after Divorce, & Desperate for Respite
"Let go and let God."  For years, Laurie Hellmann has fiercely navigated therapies, medications and countless medical and personal challenges with her 17-year-old, autistic son, Skyler. While continuing to fight for her son’s ongoing needs, she has become the voice for other families with a loved one on the autism spectrum. From sharing insights on how autism impacts an entire family – its influence on a marriage, neurotypical siblings, and life as a whole – Laurie invites others into her whirlwind life with the hopes of raising awareness about a cause near and dear to her heart. She is the author of Welcome to My Life: A Personal Parenting Journey Through Autism and also host of the podcast Living the Sky Life – Our Autism Journey both of which empower individuals faced with an autism diagnosis as well as those who are open to learning more with insights, tools and resources to do so. Learn more about Laurie Hellmann by visiting www.lauriehellmann.com. To purchase my book Sunlight Burning at Midnight https://amzn.to/37oRyop To stay connected with Jess head to www.jessplusthemess.com. I'd love to hear what you think, so please rate and review! If you are interested in being a guest please contact me at jess@thelucasproject.org
40:56
April 02, 2021
Kelli TenHaken: International Adoption, Being Proactive About Finding Care, & Releasing Guilt
“We have to figure out how to thrive and not just survive.” Kelli Kelli and her husband Mark have four kids-- Ruby, 12, Charlie, 11, Tabatha, 9 and Mona, 6.  Through various circumstances, God placed adoption on their hearts and they chose to adopt their first child. They didn't know about Ruby’s special needs at the time, so the first couple of years with Ruby was quite a journey!  Ruby has massive brain scarring on her brain, probably from a rough birth. Because of that brain damage, she has a cerebral palsy and a seizure disorder diagnoses. Cognitively, she functions like a 3-4 month old. She has trouble with head control, she isn't able to sit or roll over and is tube fed. She loves music and can often be found listening to Raffi on Pandora radio. She also enjoys swimming, being tickled, going on walks and listening to the chaotic noise of her siblings. This definitely wasn’t the life Kelli had expected, but she has a lot of peace and joy. It takes a village and she is thankful for those who have supported them along the way.
34:50
March 19, 2021
Carly Laabs - Attainable Self Care for the Weary Caregiver
"I didn't expect it to take a couple of years to [switch from] living in a constant state of crisis to re acclimate to normal life."  Carly is a Midwestern, wife and mother of four children, one of whom is a life-long survivor of chronic, pediatric, brain cancer. Over the last 10 years, she has experienced, first hand, what it means to raise a child with a critical, chronic illness and multiple, complex, special needs. She has also recognized a great need for resources that support parent caregivers, in their own self-care, as they navigate their child’s day to day needs. It is her mission to change that. On her blog “The Parachute Project™”, Carly teaches parent caregivers the principles and strategies they need, to make effective self-care realistic and attainable, even under the most difficult circumstances. Website: https://theparachuteproject.com/ Online Community: https://facebook.com/groups/self-care-is-fuel/ Social Media: Facebook.com/parachuteproject Instagram.com/parachuteproject Twitter.com/parachuteprojec To purchase my book Sunlight Burning at Midnight https://amzn.to/37oRyop To stay connected with Jess head to www.jessplusthemess.com. I'd love to hear what you think, so please rate and review! If you are interested in being a guest please contact me at jess@thelucasproject.org
52:07
March 05, 2021
Sarah Blunkosky - Yogi, Learning Advocate, & Homeschooling Mom
"Pity is the worst feeling for me as a caregiver."  Jess chats with Sarah Blunkosky, M.A., an integrative education consultant, certified peer-breastfeeding counselor, and registered Accessible yoga instructor specializing in family, children’s, special-needs, and prenatal/postpartum movement/embodiment. Her learning life spanned teaching high school social studies at Open High School in Richmond, Virginia to studying slavery and social history on a graduate school path that pivoted when her eldest daughter's intellectual disabilities and medical needs required an intensive lifestyle shift.  She started Learning Heroine LLC in 2015. You can find her on Instagram and Facebook sharing her dharma/mission: Set learning free.  When she isn’t homeschooling her kids or teaching yoga, you can find her writing articles and working on a book.  A forever student of yoga, she is also studying to become a certified yoga therapist.  Then one day, she hopes to open a group home for her eldest daughter to live in. Website: http://learningheroine.com/ To purchase my book Sunlight Burning at Midnight https://amzn.to/37oRyop To stay connected with Jess head to www.jessplusthemess.com. I'd love to hear what you think, so please rate and review! If you are interested in being a guest please contact me at jess@thelucasproject.org
41:42
February 19, 2021
Rachel Kang - Creator, Sibling Caregiver, & Truth Teller.
"I held on to that word "normal" and waited for it to happen."  Jess sits down to chat with her friend Rachel Kang, a New York native, born and raised just outside of New York City. Rachel is a mixed woman of African American, Native American, Dutch, and Irish descent, she writes prose, poems, and other pieces that whisper into the thin tension between faith and life. She is a graduate of Nyack College in New York where she obtained a degree in English with Creative Writing, and she is the creator of Indelible Ink Writers. Jess and Rachel talk about how a vaccine injury led to Rachel's brother's profound special needs, how the experience as a sibling caregiver has shaped Rachel's life, and the impact of the KETO diet on her brother's symptoms.  To continue to connect with Rachel, find her at www.rachelmariekang.com and follow her on Twitter & Instagram @rachelmariekang.   To purchase my book Sunlight Burning at Midnight https://amzn.to/37oRyop To stay connected with Jess head to www.jessplusthemess.com. I'd love to hear what you think, so please rate and review! If you are interested in being a guest please contact me at jess@thelucasproject.org
40:29
February 05, 2021
Annie Morgan - Angelman Syndrome & Showing up for Yourself.
"You matter just as much as your child."  Jess chats with Annie, aka “blessedforthismess” a mom to two kids, Ava & Brody. Her daughter Ava was diagnosed with Angelman syndrome in 2014 which led to Annie’s belief that we need to teach our kids that they are undefined by their circumstances.  Annie is also passionate about advocating for the advocators & sharing the depths of her heart through her own journey as a mother to a child with a disability. Her motto is that “you are more than the circumstances that surround you.” To learn more, find Annie at www.blessedforthismess.com. To purchase my book Sunlight Burning at Midnight https://amzn.to/37oRyop To stay connected with Jess head to www.jessplusthemess.com. I'd love to hear what you think, so please rate and review! If you are interested in being a guest please contact me at jess@thelucasproject.org
39:37
January 22, 2021
Noelle Walker : Adoption, Cerebral Palsy, Cancer & Covid
Jess sits down in this episode with Noelle Walker who is a wife, mom, step mom, grandmother, and business owner. Her daughter Layla is 14 years old, has quadriplegic cerebral palsy, a seizure disorder, and is nonverbal. Layla is also an artist who paints with her eyes. Noelle stepped away from her graphic design career when her Layla was about four years old and now she’s a full time caregiver to Layla and also runs a skincare business from her home. To learn more about Noelle, find her on Instagram/specialneedsmamabear.  To purchase my book Sunlight Burning at Midnight https://amzn.to/37oRyop To stay connected with Jess head to www.jessplusthemess.com.  I'd love to hear what you think, so please rate and review! If you are interested in being a guest please contact me at jess@thelucasproject.org
33:45
January 08, 2021
Jolene Philo : Caring For a Father and a Son
“When caregivers say they’re fine, they’re not telling the truth.” Jolene Jess sits down in this episode and chats with Jolene Philo, the parent and daughter of loved ones with special needs and disabilities. Jolene is a former educator who created inclusive classrooms for all learners for 25 years. She’s also the author of several books about caregiving, special needs parenting, and childhood PTSD, including Sharing Love Abundantly with Special Needs Families: The 5 Love Languages® for Parents Raising Children with Disabilities, which she co-authored with Dr. Gary Chapman. Her award winning blog, www.DifferentDream.com, provides encouragement and resources for caregiving families. Jolene and her husband live in central Iowa. #caregiver #specialneeds  To purchase my book Sunlight Burning at Midnight https://amzn.to/37oRyop To stay connected with Jess head to www.jessplusthemess.com. I'd love to hear what you think, so please rate and review! If you are interested in being a guest please contact me at jess@thelucasproject.org
38:60
December 11, 2020
Carrie Prater : Advocating for Dignity
“Everyone deserves to use the restroom with dignity.”    Carrie In this episode, Jess chats with Carrie Prater, a mother of 4 children ages 12 to 25 years old and special needs advocate. Her son Gibson was born with Mowat-Wilson syndrome with a secondary diagnosis of Autism.  This syndrome includes impairments ranging from mild to severe with Gibson falling in the moderate to severe range. Jess and Carrie talk about how important community is for the caregiver, some of the more challenging behaviors they’ve both experienced with their sons and Carrie’s groundbreaking initiative throughout superstores in the Midwest. To purchase my book Sunlight Burning at Midnight https://amzn.to/37oRyop To stay connected with Jess head to www.jessplusthemess.com. I'd love to hear what you think, so please rate and review! If you are interested in being a guest please contact me at jess@thelucasproject.org
54:06
November 27, 2020
Becky Davidson: Founder of Rising Above Ministries; A Safe Haven for Special Needs Families
“(Caring for my son) has directed my life’s work.” Becky In this episode, Jess chats with Becky Davidson who is the Co-founder and President of Rising Above Ministries, a multi-dimensional outreach to families impacted by disabilities. She is passionate about supporting and encouraging special needs families around the world. She co-authored Common Man, Extraordinary Call with her late husband, Jeff Davidson. Becky and her adult son with special needs, Jon Alex, live in Cookeville, Tennessee. Jess and Becky discussed their numerous similarities in life including both having lost their husbands to cancer and the joys and trials of raising a child with profound special needs. To purchase my book Sunlight Burning at Midnight https://amzn.to/37oRyop To stay connected with Jess head to www.jessplusthemess.com. I'd love to hear what you think, so please rate and review! If you are interested in being a guest please contact me at jess@thelucasproject.org
38:06
November 13, 2020
Shannon Guerra: RAD - Reactive Attachment Disorder in Adopted Children
"It is important for a child to have lots of healthy relationships with adults but a child with [attachment issues] they need to get the relationship with their primary caregivers down first.”   In this episode of Coffee with Caregivers, Jess sits down with author Shannon Guerra, an Alaskan, homeschooling mama of 8 kids via birth and adoption. She is the author of  Upside Down: Understanding and Supporting Attachment in Adoptive Families, Oh My Soul: Encountering God in Unconventional, Honest (and Sometimes Messy) Prayer, and the Work That God Sees series. Jess and Shannon discuss what attachment disorder looks like in children and how it often presents in adoption. They also discuss how important it is for people to understand that the attachment must occur with the primary caregivers before all other attachments. This was a raw, vulnerable conversation as both mamas shared their experiences with adoption and how the church needs to step it up and see adoption and foster care as mission fields right in their own backyards. To learn more about Shannon and her story visit copperlightwood.com.   #RAD #attachmentdisorder #adoption #specialneeds  To purchase my book Sunlight Burning at Midnight https://amzn.to/37oRyop To stay connected with me, head to www.jessplusthemess.com. I'd love to hear what you think, so please rate and review! If you are interested in being a guest please contact me at jess@thelucasproject.org
57:05
October 23, 2020
Callie Daruk: Extreme medical needs after birth
“I would feel like my son represented the pain.” Callie “I’m supposed to love you and nurture you but right now when I am elbow deep in diarrhea, I am full of rage.” Callie “Praise Jesus my baby lived so I’m not allowed to speak about the difficulties.” Jess “Moms need to speak the truth so that we can see change.” Jess “Somehow in my mind I was supposed to muscle through this.” Callie “ I wish I would have raised my hand and said, I need help.” Callie “You are just in a state of existence.” Callie [I thought] “Yes, I’m glad he’s home, but I’m also terrified that he’s home.” Callie “I had three different doctors diagnose me with PTSD in those days.” Callie. In this episode of Coffee with Caregivers, Jess sits down with her friend Callie Daruk, an award-winning author and speaker. She is also a hands-on mother of three spirited boys. After nearly a year-long stay in the NICU with one of her twins who was diagnosed with necrotizing enterocolitis, her rose-colored glasses shattered. Her new book, What Does God Want You to do Before You Die, details her traumatic but hopeful story. She also serves as the Chapter President of Word Weavers Int., and her writing has appeared in Guideposts, The Upper Room, Focus on the Family, Kids Clubhouse, Charisma, Just 18 Summers and Nashville Christian Voice magazines. Jess and Callie go deep in this conversation, discussing symptoms of PTSD that they each experienced after the birth of their children, the “miracle baby” syndrome, and how desperately they needed help during the earliest days as special needs moms.
36:52
October 09, 2020
Sarah Broady: Dealing with Invisible Needs
“We hear a lot – he doesn’t look like he has autism.”  In this episode of Coffee with Caregivers, Jess sits down with her friend Sarah Broady, a wife and mom to three boys including Sam who has autism. They chat (and laugh a lot!) about how they each crave community, how people often misunderstand her son Sam because he is high functioning, and how people can better accommodate caregivers like herself. Sarah is also a writer, advocate, speaker, and podcast host of A Special Hope. Her greatest passion is encouraging weary hearts. You can find her at www.hopeinautism.com.
01:02:11
September 25, 2020
Vance and Kristy Goforth: When Autism Is Severe
“People need to understand the pain and the suffering before we’ll see change.”  In this episode of Coffee with Caregivers, Jess chats with Vance and Kristy Goforth in an extremely vulnerable and honest conversation about life as a caregiver to Joshua, their son with profound special needs.  They discuss the details from Joshua’s aggressive behavior to their mental health struggles as his caregivers and Vance’s eventual health problems which were stress induced. They also discuss why we need to desperately raise awareness for caregivers in order to gain the resources that are needed.  To learn more about the Goforths, please follow them at Facebook/A Voice for Joshua Instagram/ A Voice for Joshua   #severeautism #caregiver #coffeewithcaregivers #autism
47:32
September 14, 2020
Ryan Ronne: An Adopted Father’s Special Needs Story
 “Don’t be afraid of THAT kid…Their needs are actually pretty simple.”  In this episode of Coffee with Caregivers, Jess sits down with Ryan, her husband and Lucas’s adopted dad. They talk about how Ryan felt the first time he met Lucas, his past, present, and future worries about caring for him and what stresses him out and how he tries to relieve that stress. In addition to caring for Lucas, Ryan is dad to 7 other children and enjoys flipping houses and fishing.
26:06
September 14, 2020
Jess and Lindsay : Jess’s Story.
"The average person really has no idea how to help caregivers.” Lindsay Spitler  In this debut episode of Coffee with Caregivers, Jess sits down with one of her oldest and dearest friends Lindsay Spitler to discuss life as a caregiver to her 16 year old son Lucas who has profound special needs. In addition to caring for the Lucas, Jess has 7 other children, is married to her husband Ryan, is a published author, speaker, founder of the non-profit The Lucas Project and now podcast host. During this episode, Jess and Lindsay talk about the details of Lucas’s needs, what a daily routine looks like for him, and some common misconceptions that others may have about her life as a caregiver.  They also dive into one of Jess’s favorite subjects – self-care and how she manages to prioritize pockets of time for herself in the midst of the chaos.  Jess can be found at www.jessplusthemess.com.
33:53
September 14, 2020
Trailer
An introduction to Coffee with Caregivers.
01:10
June 17, 2020