Rising Above Podcast
Episode 10: Becky Davidson

Episode 10: Becky Davidson

February 4, 2020

You will love hearing Becky Davidson share her story. Her marriage to her late husband Jeff was full of ups and downs, but through it all, their commitment to one another and their marriage stayed strong. 

Related Links: 

TWOgether Marriage Retreat Experience (coming February 14)

Rising Above Ministries

Redefine This Life

"There is no yet" blog

Read More:

No More Peanut Butter Sandwiches - By Jeff Davidson

Common Man, Extraordinary Call - By Jeff Davidson with Becky Davidson

Favorite Quotes:

“Go back in your mind to when you first met your spouse. Remind yourself of what it was. Why did you fall in love with them?.. Remind yourself of those feelings that you had.” - Becky

“We’re going to take 5 minutes a day to have this conversation, to have this connection.” -Becky

“There wasn’t anything hidden, there wasn’t anything to hide…” - Becky

"Hallmark Movies even make marriage and life and dates seem like this picture perfect, and that's not real. And that's not reality. If you are lining up what you think your marriage should look like based on some romantic movie…" -Becky Davidson



Episode 9: Steve Grcevich

Episode 9: Steve Grcevich

January 21, 2020

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Enjoy this conversation with Dr. Steve Grcevich from Key Ministry as we learn more about mental health and how churches can respond to this important consideration.

About Dr. Steve Grcevich

Dr. Stephen Grcevich (MD, Northeast Ohio Medical University) serves as the President and Founder of Key Ministry. He serves the primary vision caster and spokesperson for the ministry and plays an important role in Key’s efforts to develop collaborations both within and outside the disability ministry movement with church leaders, other like-minded organizations and the professional community. Dr. Grcevich is a regular contributor for Moody Radio Cleveland and the ERLC (Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention) and is frequently invited to speak at national and international ministry conferences on mental health and other disability ministry-related topics. His first book, Mental Health and the Church, was published by Zondervan in February 2018. In addition to his ministry work, Dr. Grcevich is a child and adolescent psychiatrist who combines nearly thirty years of knowledge gained through clinical practice and teaching with extensive research experience evaluating medications prescribed to children and teens for ADHD, anxiety, and depression. He serves on the faculty of Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED) and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, has been a presenter at over 35 national and international medical conferences and is a past recipient of the Exemplary Psychiatrist Award from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).


Related Links: 

Key Ministry

Key Ministry Facebook

Inclusion Fusion Live

Dr. Steve Grcevich’s book: Mental Health & the Church


Favorite Quotes:

“One of the things that we suggest to churches: Put as many pictures and as much video up online…” -Steve G.

“Do we minister to people and provide them with the same kind of supports for mental health disabilities as what we would physical disabilities?” -Steve G.

Based on a Lifeway study: “What families impacted by mental illness most wanted from their churches was for their pastors to talk about it from the pulpit.” -Steve G.

Episode 8: Tracey Martin

Episode 8: Tracey Martin

January 7, 2020

We know you will love hearing from our friend, Tracey Martin. Tracey is the mom of FIVE children, four of whom are quadruplets! She has been married to her husband Mike, a doctor, for 32 years, but she is honest that it hasn't always been easy. They have dealt with many challenges on staying connected, especially as they have raised two children on the autism spectrum. Their son, Gabe, has profound autism and is non-verbal and their son, Sam, has Aspergers (high functioning autism).

Favorite Quotes

"[On marriage] It hasn't all been roses and sweetness. It's been very hard, but we just cling on to each other and cling on to God to get us through." -Tracey

"You decide…make your own decisions…you're the Mother…and that child is your gift." -Tracey 

"Don't get on the autism or special needs bandwagon…if so and so is doing it, I need to do it." -Tracey

Related Links

Marriage Cruise

By the Brook Moms Retreat


Episode 7: Heidi Clopton

Episode 7: Heidi Clopton

December 17, 2019

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

In this episode, we talk to a special friend of Rising Above Ministries, Heidi Clopton. As you’ll hear, Heidi was Jon Alex’s first occupational therapist and was there for the very beginning of Rising Above! You will also hear which annual event was Heidi’s idea. We are thankful for the many ways Heidi has blessed the ministry over the years, and we know you will love hearing from her today!

Favorite Quotes:

"The best thing you can do is find out if there is something that can help them... The most important thing though is to get answers and I feel like you don't need to stay in that place of, 'is there something wrong or not?'" -Heidi

"Get an evaluation. A lot of people think they have to have a diagnosis first, but they don't." -Heidi

"You need the team approach. That is so important." -Heidi

"Therapy happens everyday...and be fun! And be something you enjoy doing with your child." -Heidi


Related Links:

Center of Development Pediatric Therapies http://www.developmental-delay.com/

“Common Man, Extraordinary Call” book by Jeff Davidson with Becky Davidson

Episode 6: Wally & Lisa Bryan

Episode 6: Wally & Lisa Bryan

December 3, 2019

In this episode, we talk to Wally & Lisa Bryan, parents of a son with fragile X syndrome about their struggles through getting a diagnosis, adjusting to a routine, and finding community. We hope you will be blessed by their story!

Favorite Quotes:

 "Our faith wouldn't be where it is now had God not given us Matthew." -Wally

"God teaches us everyday through Matthew and still does." -Wally

"Nobody brings more glory to God [in our circle] than Matthew does." - Wally

Related Links:

National Fragile X Foundation www.fragilex.org 

Extra Special People https://extraspecialpeople.com/

SouthEast Gwinnett CoOperative Ministry https://www.segwinnettcoop.org/

Special Needs Schools of Gwinnett www.specialneedsschools.org/

Episode 5: Emily Shipley & Jade Cross

Episode 5: Emily Shipley & Jade Cross

November 19, 2019

In this episode, we talk to two moms who "get it" that the holidays can be a difficult time for special needs parents. You'll hear personal experiences of everything from relative gatherings to family photos. If you're a special needs parent, we hope you'll hear that it's okay to make hard decisions for your family with your special needs child in mind. If you're a relative or friend of a family with special needs, look for opportunities to show grace this holiday season. 

Favorite quotes

"Sometimes you just want to be asked...you just want to be included."   -Becky
"Please keep asking." -Becky 
"Our feelings towards our family has never changed. Just give us grace." -Emily
"Our life is so unpredictable." -Emily
Helpful Resource


Episode 4: Mary Susan McConnell

Episode 4: Mary Susan McConnell

November 5, 2019

Mary Susan is the host of the popular Mama Bear Podcast- a space she created for fellow women raising kids with special needs. She is married to singer/songwriter Sean McConnell and is the mother to their 8 year old Ghanaian beauty, Abiella. As a former middle school teacher, she has her Master's in Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment and her Doctorate in Special Education. In her spare time she likes to work in her pottery studio, stalk the Carter Family on Instagram, and dance like everybody's watching.

Favorite Quotes:

"Women are still the women they were before this chapter of their lives." -Mary Susan

"The other thing I've seen [among women interviewed] is the need for community." -Mary Susan

"Find community as fast as possible. It's worth every ounce of energy it's gonna take." -Mary Susan

Links Mentioned:

By the Brook "This Is My Story" downloadable retreat

Parenting Team article 

Find Mary Susan:

Mama Bear Podcast


FB @marysusanmcconnell

IG @marysusanmcconnell 

Episode 3 : Sandra Peoples

Episode 3 : Sandra Peoples

October 15, 2019

Sandra Peoples is a special-needs mom and sibling. She's the author of Unexpected Blessings: The Joys and Possibilities of Life in a Special-Needs Family. Her husband is a pastor and she serves as the special needs ministry director at their church outside of Houston, Texas. Join us as we talk to Sandra about her journey and how it gives her great insight into how to remember the siblings of our children with special needs.

Favorite Quotes:

Creating a safe place outside of the family for our kids to be themselves and talk… - Sandra

I take things in seasons... - Sandra

I say no to a lot of things... - Sandra

Only do what only you can do. - Becky

You can't always say yes [to your typical child], but you can say "let's make a plan for later." - Sandra

**Be sure to listen for Sandra's ONE THING: encouragement that she would give a sibling of a child with special needs.

Find more from Sandra Peoples:


Twitter - @sandrapeoples

Instagram - @sandrapeoples

Facebook group- Self-care for the Special Needs Mom


Unexpected Blessings



Episode 2 : Conservatorships

Episode 2 : Conservatorships

October 1, 2019

In this episode, we talk to our friend Dawn Fry, an attorney, about conservatorships. We discuss the step-by-step process of setting up conservatorships and special needs trusts and the importance of thinking through this process before special needs children turn 18. We hope you will enjoy this practical episode with so much helpful information for parents raising children with special needs.

Check out these related links:

https://www.lawfry.com/ - Dawn Fry's law firm 
http://goodnightsuperman.com/renewing-our-vows/ - blogpost written by Jeff Davidson when the Davidsons went to court for Jon Alex's conservatorship
Episode 1 : Meet Our Team

Episode 1 : Meet Our Team

September 17, 2019

In this episode, we discuss:

Local Impact

Easter Eggstravaganza, Heroes' Ball, Fall Festival, Hang Time, Coffee Talk

Nationwide Impact 

By the Brook: Retreat for Moms of children with special needs, SOAR: Retreat for Dads of children with special needs, For Jonathan's Sake Training 

Worldwide Impact

Downloadable Conferences (currently available):

"Love Well" Moms Retreat

"This Is My Story" Moms Retreat (COMING OCTOBER 4, 2019)

Downloadable Bible Studies (currently available):

Seeing Jesus


Favorite Quotes:

1. Everyone's {marriage vows} are tested, ours were really tested. There were a lot of things that the enemy could've used to destroy our marriage...but it actually drew us closer together. We want to help other couples learn how to navigate that.

2. Wherever you are, we desire to connect with you and build community when you may feel like you don't have any around you.

3. I want more than anything for when a special needs family gets a new diagnosis...that Rising Above is a resource for them.

4. Vulnerability can be scary, but the reward is so much greater than the fear.