Saturday, June 15, 2013

Family Update

An update Krista sent out a couple weeks ago that we wanted to post for those of you whose email addresses we didn't have, or who we haven't seen in person - 

Dear friends and family:

On behalf of our entire family, I would like to thank each and every one of you for your prayers and support throughout this past year following Amanda's stroke last May.  I cannot begin to express how much your support has meant to us.  Since moving here to help Ben and Amanda last summer, I have been continually amazed by each of you - by their support system and the people that God has strategically placed in their lives.  I have seen you be the body of Christ in a way that I have never seen the body function.  Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for walking this journey with us.  God has been good, he continues to show us his faithfulness, and he continually strengthens us through your support.     

Each one of you have walked alongside us at some point in this journey this past year, and although some of you are more up-to-date than others, we as a family wanted to take this opportunity to officially share a 'brief' (as brief as possible!!  :)) update with you regarding Amanda's recovery and our family's next steps.  For the past year, Amanda has been in extensive physical, occupational, and speech/cognitive therapy.  It has taken a significant amount of time and effort to find knowledgeable therapists who specialize in treating the specific areas that were affected by Amanda’s stroke.  In an effort to find the best quality treatment as possible, we have been attending therapy sessions at three different locations multiple times a week: Rehab Arizona, Banner Desert Outpatient Rehabilitation, and Arizona State University Speech and Hearing Clinic.  So many of you have helped out with childcare, transportation, meals, ETC. and we could not have made this schedule work without you.      

At the beginning of the year, Amanda had a significant amount of neurological testing to determine her progress and continued treatment recommendations.  Based on the results of her testing, her therapists recommended that she apply for a full-time comprehensive rehabilitation program.  In April, Amanda was accepted at the Center for Transitional Neurorehabilitation (CTN) at Barrow Neurological Institute.  Not only was she accepted to the program, but she received full government funding to cover this incredible expense.  These were both absolute answers to prayer, as we did not anticipate either her acceptance to the program, nor the resources to pay for it!  The last several weeks have consisted of extensive assessments at CTN; she formally began therapy last week with a nearly full-time schedule - Monday through Friday from 8-2.  Therapy will take place both at the rehab center and with therapists in our home, in order to help her return to the highest degree of independence.      

Most of you know how much homeschooling means to Ben and Amanda and how passionate they are about it.  This year has been difficult for Amanda as she has needed to redirect much of her time and energy toward her recovery.  As we began to move forward with applying to the rehab program at CTN, we also began praying for direction about the kids' schooling for the upcoming year.  

Within the last month, God has led us to a small, part-time Christian school  (I say He led us because the timing and the doors that have opened have been nothing short of incredible)!  The school is structured so that students attend three days a week and parents teach coordinating lesson plans on the other two home-instruction days.  As I'm sure most of you can imagine from knowing Amanda and her heart for homeschooling, she is thrilled about the possibility of the kids being in an environment where they feel comfortable and can continue learning while she is at therapy, yet where she can continue to be hands-on and actively involved in teaching them.     

Over the months, many of you have asked about ways in which you can continue providing support for Amanda and our family in this season.  As I said before, you have been the hands and feet of Jesus Christ, holding up our arms when we grow weary in the battle (Exodus 17:10-15), and we cannot say thank you enough.  As we've looked into payment and funding options for school, we have found out about a fantastic way for friends and family in Arizona to contribute to the kids’ school tuition through the donation of income tax dollars.  The cost of tuition has been rather daunting to consider, but Ben and Amanda firmly believe that this is where God has led them this year, and that He will provide, as He’s answered so many prayers along this journey.  We are so appreciative of the outpouring of support we have received over this past year, and simply wanted to share this opportunity in response to questions regarding continued progress, needs and prayer requests.     

As I'm not a long-term resident of AZ, I've had to spend a lot of time researching this so that I somewhat understand what I'm talking about!  Arizona has a tuition tax credit law that enables Arizona taxpayers to donate what they would otherwise pay in income taxes toward scholarships for students attending private schools.  In return, taxpayers are eligible to claim a dollar-for-dollar tax credit on their state income taxes - so in essence, all contributions toward the kids’ tuition are returned in full with your yearly tax return!  

Arizona law allows residents to receive a credit for donations up to a maximum of $517 for single taxpayers and up to $1034 for married persons filing jointly, or your state tax liability, whichever is less.  Donations can be made to Arizona Christian School Tuition Organization (ACSTO) with whom Hope Christian Academy partners; ACSTO is a non-profit organization that processes tax credit donations and provides scholarship awards to private school students.  Donations can be made by a one-time check or credit card payment, monthly credit card withdrawals, or by donating your current income tax withholdings through an agreement with your employer.  With a donation, Jayden, Austen, and/or Moriah's name(s) need to be included in recommendation to receive this scholarship funding (two student names can be recommended with each donation, or separate donations can be made in each student’s name).  All scholarships are awarded based on recommendations, family financial circumstances, and family applications.  (Moriah also qualifies for an additional Overflow Credit because she will be attending kindergarten, which allows friends and family to contribute an additional $514 [single] or $1028 [married]).   

If you feel led to support our family in this way this year, I have attached links from the ACSTO website that discuss in detail how donations work, ways to donate, Frequently Asked Questions, and donation/tax credit forms.  I would also love to answer any questions I am able to, or assist in the process in any way I can.      

On behalf of our entire family, thank you so much for joining and supporting us on this journey.     


Krista Ippel

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