Emily’s Amazing Dream Team

Ann H Gabhart Ann's Posts, One Writer's Journal 32 Comments

Emily Shanahan In Front Team as Triangle 2013

Today I have a special guest on One Writer’s Journal. Emily Shanahan. Feel free to check out Emily’s website to read more of her amazing story. I met Emily via the internet after she had read some of my books. She wanted to give her Dream Team a copy of my book, Angel Sister, in their Christmas packages last year. With the help of Revell Books, we were able to make that happen and in the process I gained a great internet friend.

As you may be able to tell from the picture, Emily (in the wheelchair) in the middle of those great friends and team members has cerebral palsy. But look at that million dollar 12 07 2015 Tracey and Amanda Keith Angel Sister Book by Ann Gabhartsmile. She doesn’t let anything slow her down as you will discover when you read her story below. Let Emily know you enjoyed reading about her and since Angel Sister started Emily’s and my online friendship, I’ll give a copy of Angel Sister to one of you who leaves a comment. If you already have the book or have read it, keep in mind, the way Emily did, that books make a wonderful gift for a friend. So if you win the book, you can pass it along. Now to Emily’s story about her amazing dream team.

EMILY SHANAHAN’S AMAZING DREAM TEAM by Emily Shanahan

“TEAM WORK MAKES A DREAM WORK”

What is the Dream Team?

The Dream Team is comprised of a group of servant heart leaders who have big dreams, goals and aspirations to change the world around them.  Many of the members on the Dream Team are students themselves studying to be nurses, physical therapists, physician assistants, teachers and doctors. The Dream Team helps me with my daily personal care needs (helping me with meals, bathing, restroom trips), academic work, driving the VAN4EM and office administration.

When did the Dream Team start and why?

At the age of 9, God gave me the vision to attend Cedarville University as residential student.  At the age of 11, only a few weeks into my sixth grade year, I asked my parents to join me in the living room for a family talk.  It was during this talk, that I informed my parents that I was going to attend Cedarville University and live on campus independently.  I asked to have people start coming in to care for my daily needs so that by the time I turned 18 and moved on to Cedarville’s campus, I would know how to manage my care in love and grace.

What is the history of the Dream Team?

Emily - Fried Francis 08 27 2002It has been a learning adventure.  Life is relationships so through the formation of the Dream Team under God’s leadership and direction.  I have learned a lot about people management, healthy boundaries and having expectations of God alone.   It really leads to freedom and pure JOY.   At the beginning of the personal care journey, I started out with “Fried Francis.” Francis would arrive at 6am – seven days a week.  I fried her in the process 😉

Emily Fabulous Four Dream Team FEB 2007By my junior year in high school, I had the “Fabulous Four.” During the Fabulous Four season, my Mom was driving down the interstate one day and God very keenly laid on her heart to name the group of women caring for me the “Dream Team.” Mom actually had to pull over to write the name down as it was a very powerful encounter with God.

Emily Eight is not enoughSo, when I thought of how many Dream Team members I would need for life on campus at Cedarville University, I thought “Eight Would Be Enough.” I quickly found out within a week of life on campus that “Eight Was Not Enough.” One evening when I was wondering how in the world I was going navigate campus life, independently two upper classmen knocked on my dorm door. Amy and Lauren. These two had talked and prayed and came up with a plan that was simply amazing! The Dream Team bench was about to go deep and beautiful.

Amy and Lauren, tasked my Mom to follow me around on campus on a daily basis for a week. At the end of each day, Mom was to document when I would need assistance. My Dad then took that information and created a spreadsheet schedule with time slots for students to sign up and help.  The following week, we plugged in volunteers and began training so that my Mom could move back home. J Amy and Lauren spread the word with their friends and soon the Dream Team grew from 8 to 36 within 10 days.  Most of these individuals gave of their time on a volunteer basis. During my freshman year, my Mom applied for a new Personal Care Assistance program so that the volunteers could receive payment.  The amazing thing is that most of the students were not interested in the pay and most checks were saved to go on Missions Trips.  By the time I graduated from Cedarville University, on May 7, 2011, 145 students had served on the Dream Team. Presently, I am finishing my master’s degree on line through Anderson University of Anderson, Indiana.  The Dream Team is a mix of students from Kettering College, Cedarville University and Miami University, most of whom are majoring in people helping professions.

What is the Dream Team’s Motto?

“Team Works Makes A Dream Work.” There is strength in numbers and flexibility, which fosters an environment of team work and trust. This way of doing life together allows for new ideas to flourish and stream line routines.

What is the Dream Team’s governing verse?

“Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” (Ephesians 6:7, NLT)

What is the Dream Team’s Core Values?

  1. Honor God in everything we do.
  2. Build relationships based on trust and respect.
  3. Maintain integrity and excellence in everyday living.
  4. Practice responsible stewardship both relationally and financially.

 What is inspiring about the Dream Team?
The Dream Team are students themselves yet they step outside of themselves to help me complete my master’s degree course work, keeping my day rolling forward in God’s grace and excellence.  One Dream Team member arrives at 7am to start my day and another leaves at 10pm closing my day out.  They bring their faithful feet and laughter in the rafters into my home; faithfully choosing to serve with joy in the face daily unrelenting needs. These women are truly passionate, servant-hearted leaders who teach me about what it means to be others focused and live life to the fullest for God’s Glory.

Emily Shanahan Dream Team May 2011Closing Thoughts:

My family has raised me in a Christ centered home and Jesus Christ is my personal Lord and savior, God is the one who provides for my needs which, in turn, releases individual Dream Team members from carrying the responsibility of meeting my needs.  This perspective has created a foundation and spring board to a whole new community for the Dream Team alumni.  Thanks to social media, I can stay in touch with Dream Team alumni, attend their weddings, celebrate pregnancies, meet their children who call me, “Aunt EmShan” and continue to watch our friendships grow.

Thanks, Emily

Thanks, Emily, for sharing the story of your Dream Team. And remember, everybody, if you leave a comment for Emily, that will get you in a drawing for a copy of my book, Angel Sister. Emily enjoyed “visiting” Rosey Corner and some of her Dream Team did too. (And happy birthday, Aunt Patty!)

Thanks for reading!

 

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Comments 32

  1. Patty Rogers

    So, I was slow in actually taking the time to read this blog, but I loved it! My summer was very unusual and I found myself away from my home in Indiana for almost two months. That put me way behind in answering and responding to emails. Ann, I DID have a happy birthday. Thank you! Life is full and rich being a part of my loving family, and one of my favorites is being an aunt to Emily!

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      Ann H Gabhart

      Glad you stopped by to read about Emily’s team. And very glad to hear you had a happy birthday, Patty. Emily wanted to remember you on that day and that’s why she picked that day for me to post her Dream Team article. I’m so glad to have met Emily via the internet. Her determination to keep learning and doing in the face of health difficulties is inspiring. Her team is great.

  2. Emily Shanahan

    Wow! Thank you so much, everyone for your inspiring yet humbling words of encouragement for the Dream Team and I. The Dream Team is such a sweet blessing from the Lord! I am so thankful the Lord used Ann’s post to encourage those who read this blog post. The Dream Team and I have enjoyed reading and been blessed by your sweet words this week. Thanks so much again, everyone, and have a great fourth of July weekend. Ann, thanks for sharing the Dream Team story on your blog! All the glory goes to God! ~Ephesians 6:7; John 9:1-3; Psalm 146~

  3. hanna shelley

    Emily,
    Your story is amazing and so inspiring. This scripture that you selected is a great one and very powerful! Thanks for sharing this with us.
    “Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” (Ephesians 6:7, NLT)

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      Ann H Gabhart

      That is a wonderful Scripture verse, Hanna. That one would serve us well to remember no matter what job we’re doing. Enthusiasm can make a difference in our lives.

  4. Dian Nanansingh

    Well said! It is my prayer that this message touch the hearts of people thus side of heaven. I so need a dream team myself. God bless!

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      Ann H Gabhart

      So glad you enjoyed reading Emily’s story about her Dream Team, Dian. May the Lord bless you with the people you need to help you too.

  5. Janet Fager

    Truly appreciated this as I have struggled with the depravity of our nation. This inspires me to know that some of the next generation gets what it means to have a servants heart. Also amazed at the Shanahan family resolve. Thank you Ann for your contribution in their journey.

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      Ann H Gabhart

      It is an inspiring story, Janet, and does remind us of how many wonderful young people there are out there that we don’t often hear about. I couldn’t get one of Emily’s pictures to load that showed a panoramic view of her dream team that included dozens of helpers. So many young women with servant hearts. What a blessing for Emily and I know she was a blessing to her Dream Team too. Thanks for reading her story.

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      Ann H Gabhart

      Maybe we all have our own dream teams in different ways, Sandi. I’m thankful for my health and that I don’t need the kind of dream team Emily does, but I’m also thankful for my friends and family that I can think of as my dream team.

  6. Elizabeth Jacoby

    My daughter spent over 5 years on Emily’s dream team. Not much else could get her out of bed that early – I know she wasn’t always punctual, 😊 But she loved being part of the Dream Team!!

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      Ann H Gabhart

      Thanks so much, Elizabeth, for chiming in for one of the Dream Team. It’s good to hear about the Dream Team from a participant’s mom. So good to know that your daughter found it such a positive experience. It must have made you very proud to see her servant’s heart.

  7. Barbara Shanahan

    Ann:

    Thank you for quickly noticing the depth and beauty of Emily’s amazing Dream Team!

    The Dream Team’s faithful feet and laughter in the rafters in our home is priceless.

    Tom and I can be enjoying our morning coffee and at 7am the enjoyment just gets richer as the Dream Team arrives to start Emily’s day.

    They are a group of servant heart leaders that are other’s focused; they inspire me!

    Psalm 34:8 at it’s finest. Barb Shanahan – Lucky to be called Emily’s Mom

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      Ann H Gabhart

      Thanks so much for stopping by, Barb. I know you have always been a part of Emily’s team, but how wonderful to see the way Emily has touched so many lives in such a positive way. I’m sure Emily is blessed to have you as her mom too. People with servant hearts are an inspiration.

  8. Sharon

    As in the book, Angel Sister, and with the Dream Team; we never know when God will put someone in our path for a season to walk along side of them. I know I have had several individuals that walked with me in life’s journey that were there for support and inspiration – my angels, my dream team.
    Emily, your story is a great testimony that we are all here for each other IF we put God first.

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      Ann H Gabhart

      You are so right, Sharon. We are all blessed with the people who come into our lives at just the right time and also those who are with us most of the way. As you say, our own dream team and then sometimes we get to be somebody else’s dream team. I hadn’t thought about that being a big part of my Rosey Corner books, but it definitely is with Kate being Lorena’s angel sister. Thanks for pointing that out.

  9. Mary Sporer Koss

    Wow! I am a cousin of Emily’s grandfather, Tom. I live in Wisconsin so didn’t get to see much of Emily but I remember my Aunt Mary talking about her and how her mother was helping her go to college. Emily’s story is amazing and so are her dream team members. She is an inspiration to all who are afflicted by this terrible disease. Congratulations to you, and the story was well written. I will share this with my family and friends.

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      Ann H Gabhart

      Hi, Mary. Thanks so much for dropping by to read Emily’s story of her Dream Team. It’s fun to have Emily’s family making comments. I know she appreciates you all.

  10. Karen Jones

    What a selfless life these Dream Team members lead! I am totally impressed with them AND with Emily! An amazing sixth grader who was able to look to the future, have a vision and plan to make it happen. God bless each one of the Dream Team members! 😊

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      Ann H Gabhart

      So glad you read Emily’s inspiring story, Karen. Check out her website. She has had some amazing experiences along with that amazing dream team.

  11. Dian Nanansingh

    There are no better words than those of Jeremiah 29:11 to express how God has used our daughters’ encounter at GYLC to connect the hearts of two mothers with similar needs.

    Thank you, Barb, Tom and Emily for your love prayers and support through the last 10 years.

    God’s richest blessings to you, Emily, your family, and your amazing Dream Team in all your endeavors!

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      Ann H Gabhart

      Glad you stopped by to read Emily’s post about her Dream Team. Sounds as if you already know what an amazing person Emily is, Dian. Heart friends are the best!

  12. Beth Ruck

    Wonderfully written piece about Emily.
    My daughter became friends with Emily at Cedarville.
    It is a privilege to know Emily and her parents.
    The whole family love Jesus and let his light shine through all that they do.

    1. Tom Shanahan

      Your daughter, Caroline, has been, and continues to be, a delightful friend to my daughter, Emily. They are their own people, unique from birth, but I’m sure there is more than a little bit of you and your influence in her.

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      Ann H Gabhart

      It’s such a joy when you meet someone that loves Christ and does let their light shine, Beth. Emily wrote the piece about her Dream Team and was gracious enough to share it with me and my readers here. Thanks for stopping by to read it.

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      Ann H Gabhart

      As I told Beth, the piece about her Dream Team is all Emily. She’s a talented girl and I know you are proud of her, Tom.

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      Ann H Gabhart

      So glad you enjoyed reading about Emily and her Dream Team, Margaret. It’s inspiring to read about young women with hearts for service. What a blessing the team has been to Emily and Emily to them.

  13. Paula

    Thanks, Ann, for showcasing Emily. She is an inspiration ! Those helpers truly have a servant’s heart. And are Christlike. So rare in today’s “ME generation” ! They will be blessed by helping and it will benefit them their whole lives!
    God bless you all.

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      Ann H Gabhart

      How very true, Paula. It is inspiring to read about those so ready to give of their time in a Christlike way.

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