Friday, February 27, 2009
I apologize for the late posting of this article. This weekend, my family and I traveled back to be with family as a cousin of mine got married. Weddings are a amazing time to recognize the power of love both on a spiritual and physical level. I can only hope to find that someday.
Anyway, on to Friday's post..
If you ask most people, blogging is considered a source of entertainment. This platform allows people to discuss ideas, share facts and get to know people on through this thing we love to call "cyberspace ." However, for people like me, cyberspace offers so much more. Take a look at another disabled blogger's perspective:
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Okay, so the Botox injections went well. I ended up getting six injections in my left arm and two in my right. It will take two weeks until we see the maximum results they will have. But I am hopeful. Right now, my arms ache and are a little weak ; as a result, I am posting a little early and shorter this Wednesday. You may remember I posted about Cole Massie earlier this month. Cole is a young man with CP that participates in karate despite his disability. Well, recently, his Judo friend Sensei Rich also made the news.
Read more of his amazing story, also overcoming being legally blind http://www.pottstownmercury.com/articles/2009/02/23/news/srv00000%20ease%20than%2004753462.txt
*After posting this article, sensei Rich pointed out some corrections. Rich participates in judo, not karate. He is also legally blind with Congenital Nystagmus, not totally blind. Judo is a recognized Paralympic and Olympic sport. I am sorry for the misrepresentations previously, I wasn't really feeling that great
Monday, February 23, 2009
Okay, so here's the deal. I haven't received any feedback on my continuing Grown-up Girlfriends series; as a result, I have decided to finish what I started. Besides, learning how to maintain friendships is a important skill-friends will always be around even when your parents won't be. This subject applies to everyone, not just the disabled community.. but first, let me explain what's going to happen this week. I am going in for Botox tomorrow. For that reason, I may not be posting as usual. I've had Botox before but it was a long time ago; so, I don't exactly remember how much pain the treatment will cause. This time, I am getting my wrists and arms done.
Anyway, I am going to do my best in terms of posting on my blog a day in advance and set it up to publish itself. But I am not making any promises. The next few weeks are probably going to be full of intense therapy sessions and such. Still, I am very hopeful. If the therapy can make my hands straight enough to wear rings, or drive my wheelchair using my joystick, or simply dial my cell phone, that would be an accomplishment. Keep your fingers crossed or say a prayer if you feel inclined.. thanks !
Now, onto today's post..
Chapter 6: The Grown-Up Girlfriend Embraces Differences
1) Acknowledge our differences and accept them; the fact is, that our differences are what attracts us to each in the first place.
2) Too often we feel the need to create our friends into what we think they should be, try to let this go. Realize that God created your friend this way for a reason.
3) Everyone has different personalities
-are you a introvert or extrovert? Introvert get their energy from being alone, while extroverts get their energy from being around people and doing activities.
-Dreamers Versus Detaliers? Dreamers like to make plans for the future whether or not they come true. Detailers like to make plans for today and live in the present.
-Structure or not? Some people like to use planners to organize their day while others find joy in living life spontaneously.
-Feelers Versus Thinkers? Traditionally, women are led by their feelings when making decisions. Occasionally, though, there are those who like to take some time before making decisions. This can cause conflict because the feelers often take this personally
4) Why are we so different?
-We are so different because we are uniquely created by God.
-The conflicts in friendships make us fully appreciate and reflect on God's love.
-Being in a friendship full of differences gives us a unique opportunity to develop some of those qualities in our own lives
-When we understand each other's differences, we are more likely to adapt our expectations and avoid conflict.
5) Remembering the biblical purpose of differences
-Read Romans 12:4-5
-Not everyone can be the same. They each have to fulfill their purpose.
Chapter 7: The Grown-up Girlfriend Connects by Communicating
1) The power of words can be used twofold; Words can bless people, but they can also do irreversible damage. That's why you shouldn't be careful.
2) Some important Questions To Consider
-"Are we willing to take responsibility for our words and learn methods to clean up our messes?"(Page 105)
-"Are we willing to be committed to seeking Christ's discernment about if and when we need to communicate our pain to others?"(Page 105)
- "When others fail us, are we willing to forgive and begin the journey of healing our hearts?" (Page 105)
-"As a grown-up friends, are we willing to make the choice to learn adult communication skills and not to stick to the methods we learned from our families or in junior high school?" (Page 106)
3) Are you a Safe Friend?
-a look at the negative impact of words.. "Gossip can poison our perceptions of another person ." (Page 112)
-besides criticism, here are some characteristics that can lead to negative thinking between friends-critical thinking, competing, blaming, unwillingness to confront, jealousy etc.
4) Creating a Safe Environment For Friends?
-"Honor your friend" -appreciate their value in your life (Page 118)
-"Recognize when your fear buttons have been pushed" (Page 118)
-"Be willing To Forgive" (Page 118)
-"Speak Life into Your Friends"-be positive in your relationships, uplift rather than tear down your friends (Page 119)
-"Avoid escalation" -try to stop all negative behavior (Page 119)
-"Create ground rules in the relationship"-these are boundaries that you both will follow regarding behavior, ideas of trust and intimacy (Page 119)
5) As a Grown-up friends, we must be willing to confront the real issues
6) Be a good listener
7) "A Grown-up friend is aware of negative beliefs and gives her friend the benefit of the doubt" (Page 125)
8) "A Grown-up Friend Takes Responsibility"(Page 128)
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Notes taken from the book "Grown-Up Girlfriends: Finding and Keeping Real Friends In the Real World" by Erin Smalley and Carrie Oliver
Friday, February 20, 2009
As I mentioned earlier, I recently realized that I had forgotten to pursue the rest of my book review on Grown-up Girlfriends. You may remember this book is about the importance of maintaining and sustaining friendships in real life. I have already covered subjects such as:
1.) The Purpose Of Friendship
2.) The Challenges In Creating Friendships-these can be both internal and external. Although, most of the time we create them ourselves.
3.) We must be committed to knowing God and becoming the women God wants us to be.
4.) The Characteristics of Grown-Up Friendships. Knowing its purpose is important
a. takes the focus of you
b. gives us hope for the future
c. May reduce feelings of rejection
5.) Learning that every relationship has different levels of intimacy. We give and receive different amounts of information, depending on the level of trust.
a. Some friendships are for fun; they primarily share opinions and common interests.
b. Others have the opportunity to go deeper, sharing our hopes and fears for the future.
c. It is important to note that not all friends are at the same level. It is like that for a purpose. They fulfill a need that God created.
These are the main points from chapters 1-3; today, I will continue with chapters 4 and 5 in a effort to finish up the book. Feel free to e-mail me with opinions about these posts, so that I know whether to continue it.
In chapter 4, we learn that the "grown-up girlfriend" is committed to knowing herself.
Ask yourself these questions: What is The Status of Your Heart? Is it Open and Closed? If you have had hurtful experiences in friendships, it is possible that you may have close your heart. Contrary to popular opinion, love is not just a feeling; it is a choice biblically founded. See Mark 12:28-31.
It has also important to note that we are not capable of generating this love ourselves . It comes from God. See I John 4:7-8, 18-19.
If your heart is closed:
1) Acknowledge that and gave your heart time to process what you are feeling.
2) Seek God for guidance; ask God to change your heart. See 1 John 4:7-21
How does our heart gets closed? It is important to note what motivates us and "pushes our buttons" Believe it or not, fear often causes our heart to close. I'm not talking about physical fear fear, but the emotional ones. Fear of being rejected and abandoned by a friend to name a few. Knowing this about ourselves has the potential for a deeper understanding and stops a negative reaction and a chain reaction to others.
Some negative impacts of fear are:
1) Because of fear, we talk about the surface issues rather than the "real" ones
2) Because of fear, our initial choice is to react instead of respond to that conflict. Take for example, the biblical example of Genesis 3: 10
3) This fear can create a co-dapendency. At this time, our focus is more on what our friend should do, leaving us feeling helpless. Therefore, we often feel the need to "manipulate" the situation.
The flip side to fear and its chain reactions to friends-and sometimes keeps us communicating even when we don't want to!
In chapter 5, the grown-up friend learns how to set and maintain boundaries
What exactly are boundaries? See Mark 12: 30-31
This means honoring both your heart and the heart of your friend
When it comes to emotional boundaries, most people fit into one of two categories. They either let their emotions control them or are "emotionally stuck".
Having healthy emotional boundaries prevents us from becoming "overly involved" and emotional in a situation.
So where do you fit in? Ask your friends for feedback
Having healthy boundaries also ensure healthy expectations on the friendship for both parties.
These boundaries often remind us our "unique identity" as a woman. We each are different and should not conform to the habits or views of others
Well, that's about it for chapters 4 and 5. Let me know what you think.. Should I continue writing down the important points from this book or should I move on to Patrick Henry's "I Am Potential". Your feedback is appreciated.
*Despite the fact that this book is primarily for girls, I believe many of these concepts can be applied to other relationships.
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Notes taken from the book "Grown-Up Girlfriends: Finding and Keeping Real Friends In the Real World" by Erin Smalley and Carrie Oliver
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Before I get started with today's post, I wanted to give you a heads up for the rest of the week. Over the last few months, I have realized there are a few projects on this blog that I haven't finished. My grown up girl friends book review and "Debbie questions" week are just a few. I intend to rectify that. On Friday, I will once return to the book review and try to finish what I started. In terms of questions that my readers may have, you are always welcome to e-mail me. Who knows? I may announce a questions week again since it just occurred to me sometime this month is my two-year blog anniversary.
Now onto today's post..
It's hard to believe it's the middle of the week already. It still amazes me how fast time can fly; so I have learned the importance of not taking anything for granted. Even the hard time times. As I mentioned many times before, it's these times that have the potential to develop the most character. Here's another person's perspective on learning to take our moments and use them wisely.
Monday, February 16, 2009
I came across this devotional excerpt from one of Joni's books and I thought it would provide a good start to the next week. The premise, what is encouragement? As I said many times before, having a disability is not always a positive experience. After all, we often have to depend on others for our every need. But it also allows us a unique opportunity to inspire others through everyday perseverance.
Or as Joni's puts it, "Focusing on suffering is a dead end. Rationalizations and justifications do nothing but harden your heart, making things worse. However, softness of heart comes when we encourage one another in our suffering - spreading truth, imparting hope, bearing the burden, sharing the load, praying alongside, and offering a comfortable shoulder to cry on. Thank God there were Christian friends who stuck with me, scolding me when I complained, and cheering me on when I chose a brighter outlook. My hardness of heart melted and I became soft and pliable in the hands of God."
So, today remember Hebrews 3: 13
Personal note; If any of my readers want the link to get the devotionals themselves, please feel free to e-mail me. The devotional that I just paraphrased had a great impact on me, I would also be happy to forward a copy of that e-mail to you. Because I have to admit her words are even more powerful than mine. =)
Friday, February 13, 2009
By Debbie’s Dad
Debbie has asked me to write an article for her blog and I chose to write about my perspective of her life as my daughter, a wonderful and disabled young woman. I must first admit that I am understandably proud of her accomplishments, including her faithful publication of the blog “Rolling into the Future”. Let’s consider the three perspectives that I have of Debbie’s life.
A look At the Past: Gratefulness
Debbie was born very prematurely and was in the hospital for many weeks before she could come home, and then her development was very slow for the first year. At about one year, the doctor informed us that he could confidently diagnose her with cerebral palsy. Debbie’s mom and I were shaken – because we both new people with CP. Soon we got her into therapy and then into a United Cerebral Palsy school (at age 2) and prayed for the Lord to help her achieve her best. We had no idea what capabilities she would develop, but soon it became evident that she was quadriplegic; she had limited use of her left hand and virtually no use of her legs. She progressed well and the Lord gave her a good mind and heart – and she loved school. By ninth grade, she began using speech recognition software (she is an early pioneer of the use of this technology) and graduated from high school in the National Honor Society. She proceeded to Community College and earned her Associates degree in 4 years, and then went to Concordia University (and lived in the dorm!) and within 3 more years, earned her Bachelor degree. As I look back on the first 10 years of her life, I never would have imagined she would come so far! Her mom and I are truly grateful!
My Perspective Today: Inspiration
Today, I am blessed to have a daughter that is a wonderful young woman who is an accomplished college graduate, a writer, and the most enduring person that I know. I am very proud her – but I would rather call my pride “inspiration” because she encourages me. I see her deal with personal adversity and frustration every single day – and confront it with patience, grace, and faith. Most people do not have any idea about the challenges of the daily life faced by the disabled – I get to see it up close. Debbie’s posts to her blog are major efforts even with her voice recognition software –a simple “copy and paste” is a major effort. And yet she plugs on without complaint – and with a glow of purpose in her smile. She believes that she is encouraging someone out there as she adds word upon word, paragraph on paragraph and blog post upon blog posting. And I believe she is encouraging people out there – even as she encourages me right here. Debbie is my daughter, my friend, and often my date as we go to movies and out to eat together. What a blessing to have such a sharp young woman to talk with, to discuss issues of faith, and to laugh with while watching “Judge Judy”.
Looking to the Future: Faith
It is not a secret. The greatest concern of any parent of a disabled child is the apprehension about care for their child when the parent dies. This is my greatest concern; it is a test of my faith in the Lord. I can try to set aside a trust fund, try to help her find faithful friends she will have through life, and help her find a place, a career, and goals for life, but I know that there will come a time when I will not be there for her. And so I trust the Lord, who has cared for us so far, and I make reasonable plans for her. We all look toward the future in faith, but I guess I do in a special way.
So, how do I sum up my perspective of life as the father of a disabled young woman? I live with fond memories in gratefulness, inspired as I see her live with difficulty and grace, and I live in faith as I trust the Lord for her future.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
So it's the middle of the week and I'm looking forward to the Guest Post from my father on Friday. But before that occurs, I thought I would pose a question to my readers. How far would you go to to provide for your children? If you're like most parents, mine included, you would do anything to help them.
Recently, this question became a reality for the Peters family. This Georgian family of five is no stranger to adversity, coping with children who have disabilities. Their daughter was diagnosed with Stills disease; on the other hand, one son has autism. In order to fund for their medical care, they did the unthinkable-they put everything they own on eBay.
To read more about their incredible story, go to the link below to see the original story http://specialchildren.about.com/b/2009/01/27/special-needs-family-puts-everything-it-owns-on-ebay.htm
The Peter's Family-The Winning Bid
Monday, February 9, 2009
This week my readers may be in for a few surprises. Many of you may remember me mentioning a guest post by my father. This will certainly be a interesting experience for me, to see my disability through another person's eyes besides my own. I will be honest, I don't know exactly what he is planning to say but I know it will be something to look forward to. But first, I wanted to let you know what I'm planning for this blog and a near future. In past posts, I featured a young man who displayed his blindness, manages to inspire millions with his music and unbreakable spirit.
Well, he's done it again. This time, he is telling his story in his new autobiography entitled I Am Potential. I recently bought the audio book from the bookstore and plan on sharing my insights with you. But for now, here's a sneak peek-
Friday, February 6, 2009
So I'm running a bit behind this week. As you could probably tell, my heart hasn't been into much lately. I can't quite explain what I'm going through; except to say, I am rearranging some my priorities. Over the past few weeks, I've realized some things about myself that need to be changed. There are some friendships that have changed as a result. But more importantly, I have realized the importance of a reliance on God. As a woman, I find this reliance often replaced by human relationships. I will admit I have a tendency to do this.
But as a friend reminded me this week, "A perfect love drives out fear." The only perfect love is that of God. The movie "Fireproof" also reminds me of that. Starring Kirk Cameron, the movie chronicles a marriage on the brink of divorce. When he receives a book called "The Love Dare", he embarks on a journey that changes everything..
For more information, view the trailer-
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
As previously posted, I'm not really up to writing much these days. But I have had this link for a while, so I figured I would let it speak for itself. Here's an example of a positive role model to people in wheelchairs.