Five Servings of Strength- a column by Michael Casten

conferences, musical talents, dogs

Michael is married and a father of three, one being a child with SMA Type II (born in June, 2011). He is an educator who has worked directly with children and their families since 1994. He loves his family, writing, working with his hands, and taking road trips. Michael holds a bachelor’s in psychology (1994) and a master’s in education (2001).

After Loss, Life Goes on for the Castens

Life has settled down in the Casten household. We are still mourning the loss of Potter, one of our dogs. Needless to say, we are showering our other dog, Ginny, with affection. Ginny misses her big brother and tends to mope around the house a bit.

Ella Expresses Herself and Gains Confidence

Ella spends a lot of time in the breakfast room just off the kitchen. She does her homework at the table, where there are pencils, pens, rulers, scissors, and paper. She plays with her iPad, talks with her friends on FaceTime, and eats her snacks.

Ella’s Mom Goes to the Hospital

Ella’s mom, Lindsay, had a complete knee replacement on Jan. 8. She stayed in the hospital for two days before being discharged. We set her up in a pullout bed in the family room while she recovered. The first week went well: She did her exercises, iced and…

Ella Works Through Life’s Frustrations

The house is full of wheelchairs, walkers, and crutches. Soon to be added will be a cane. Ella’s mom, Lindsay, had a total left knee replacement. The knee replacement was necessary because she had compensated for her right leg for many years as she battled a nasty infection…

Ella and Daddy Have a Saturday Morning Date

This week was my daughter Ella’s turn to have a date with me. My wife, Lindsay, and I try to spend one-on-one time with each of our three kids on a rotating basis. It fosters relationships and gives them individual attention away from home. Ella…

Ella Sings After Disappointment Dissipates

The holidays are upon us. In our house, Christmas starts the day after Thanksgiving. The house gets decorated, winter candles are lit, and Christmas music fills the rooms. The kids are old enough to help decorate. The dogs even have Christmas bandanas around their necks. Our…

Ella Faces Disappointment with a Choir Solo Part

Life can be full of disappointments. They are opportunities for children to learn how to handle them, think about them, and react to them. Ella rolled into the Young Naperville Singers rehearsal full of excitement and anxiety. The week before, she had auditioned for…