Monday, March 30, 2009
How was everybody's weekend? Mine was okay, but as you can see I'm still trying to catch up on some things. Therapy is going well as I have said. On a personal level, I am struggling. It's been so hard to find friends down here; the only people I know here are my family. On the one hand, it just makes me learn to appreciate my friendships developed in college so much more.
I'm sure my disabled readers know where I'm coming from. We just want someone to look beyond the disability and see us.. a person with the same hopes and dreams as anyone else. With that in mind, I came across this unique video presentation about Dave. Please take a look
Friday, March 27, 2009
So I realize therapy and the busyness of life have kept me from posting lately. Progress has been slow and steady, but I am learning how to move again. Like my occupational therapist says, it's more about learning how to move your arms and fingers separately rather than just improving appearances (i.e. my tightness and rigidity). I'm glad we are on the same page with that because it's easy to lose sight of the little accomplishments. I barely have time for myself anymore
Anyway, it's been difficult to find anything new and exciting in the disability world these days; so, for right now, this is the best that I can do. Below is the blog of the current Ms. Wheelchair Washington. It's amazing what people with disabilities can do..
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
So I found this foundation/blog and I thought it was pretty appropriate for today. Having a disability, giving up seems like a easy way out at times, but it's not. This foundation sheds light on the different avenues available to people with special needs.
Monday, March 23, 2009
How's it going with my friends in cyberspace.. I hope my readers took some time to rest up and relax as well as accomplish some goals that had long been forgotten. I certainly did. This weekend, thanks to the advice of a long-lost friend, I took up the task of re-working a book I had started in my youth.I have a long way to go, mind you; but I am happy to find that something jumped-started the process again.
That being said, the topic for today's post is about attitude.. Having a good one is not always easy, especially when we are confronted with challenges on a daily basis. I came across the following blog and was once again reminded of the purpose of staying positive. Hope this encourages you as much as it did me.
Friday, March 20, 2009
It's hard to believe but it's Friday. I had a few days there where I thought I was going to be out of commission with my computer. Luckily, it's up and running again. But I learned my lesson about what and what not to do with Dragon NaturallySpeaking. For that reason, I have a lot to catch up and am just going to post a link to today. This is just another example of disabled people overcoming challenges on a daily basis
Feel free to take a look:
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
If you're a parent of a child with a disability, I'm sure you are somewhat familiar with the "inclusion" or "mainstreaming" process. I certainly am. As a matter of fact, it's this process that has helped me develop into the person I am today. But not everyone is that lucky. Depending on the severity of a disability, the road towards inclusion can be a difficult one to travel. What makes it so difficult? That's a tough question. Several factors can impact the process, such as setting realistic goals for the child to achieve, the ability to connect with people etc.
In a recent documentary on HBO Family, inclusion issues like these were discussed. The documentary entitled "Graduating Peter" follows the journey of a young boy with Down Syndrome as the makers the transition from middle school through high school and into the real world. Like most parents, Judy just wants the best for her son. This simply means being able to live in the community as independently as possible, to have "a meaningful job" that he enjoys and maintain friendships.
"In order to do that, you need to learn the skills to get along in the community and those things absolutely cannot be taught in a self-contained class.." said Judy.
Besides the education, inclusion provides a foundation where students learn to socialize and interact with others. It also serves as a place to observe and practice appropriate behavior in everyday situations. With down syndrome, social and communication skills often come to play a huge part in a child's development. Unfortunately for Peter, communication is often really difficult. This often results in Peter acting out in the classroom.
"I think part of it too is the loneliness, not being able to talk and tell people what he would like or what he might be thinking," said Chris Vestal, a middle school Special Education Teach
Some inclusion programs, like Peter's focus on more than just academics; depending on one's goals, part of the time may be spent in the workplace developing the necessary skills to hold down a job. These jobs can range from anything to a janitor of a store, cleaning the city bus etc.
"My role is to try and make this gradual change from from school to work as an adult for Pete, so that when he leaves school that there's a worksite in which Pete has been performing at, been trained at that worksite and that he has expressed a real interest in," said Wayne Zellers, the high school Special Education Teacher.
Like most students, the transition from middle school to high school can be a difficult one. Especially for people with disabilities. They just want a place where they can be themselves and still fit in with the crowd. For more information about this documentary, feel free to to go to:http://www.hbo.com/docs/programs/graduating_peter/
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Citation for TV program: "Graduating Peter" HBO Family Channel 407, 16 March 2009 (original air date:1/21/03)
Monday, March 16, 2009
I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend. Mine was uneventful, except for our weekly family dinner. It was nice just having time for us to talk and be a family. As I get older, I learn to treasure these times, creating mental pictures to remember for the future. In fact, I can hardly believe I will be 29 soon. But you know what they say-time flies when you're having fun. Life should be fun though..
Growing up, people have asked how I am able to maintain such a positive attitude and outlook despite my daily challenges. I hope I have made it clear through my posts that I haven't done this alone. It is only because my faith in God and the belief in my future that this is possible. In today's post, I have included two links. The first is a blog that features a YouTube link on the theological aspect of suffering in life. Why does God allow it? In this video, Joni Eareckson Tada debuts topics that will be featured in a new class at Dallas Theological Seminary:
The second link features a blog focusing on a parent's perspective of coping with the disability. It features some of the most common questions that will surface. These questions include: how will my life change when my child arrives and how to deal with the emotions of guilt:
Friday, March 13, 2009
Wow, it's hard to believe it's Friday already. The week has just flown by for me. Therapy and training a new personal assistant is keeping me very busy. So busy, in fact, that I hadn't realized the amazing milestone I am about to accomplish in a few days. You see, I will have written my 200th post next week. That is an amazing feat for me, especially considering I do everything through voice recognition. It is my hope that somewhere during those posts I have imparted some gems of advice or encouragement that have given my readers courage to live life despite the challenges they face on a daily basis.
Today's post is a simple one.. It has come to my attention that March is National Multiplie Sclerosis Awareness Month. Learn more about this devastating disease and how people are working to find a cure at:
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Okay, so today is the first day of my physical therapy. I have already made some amazing strides even without therapy; I can't wait to see what happens next. Granted, somewhat straight wrists don't seem like much to most people. But it is for me. I'll admit I'm not quite sure what I'm capable of in regards to range of motion and such. I kind of lowered my standards when it came to that area of my life.. I don't know why. I guess other things were more important in my life back then. That's all about to change. I don't know what I'm capable of, but I am willing and going to find out.
A nagging question still still remains, "When will I be satisfied with where I am in my life?" I know what people are thinking, "Life is always about improvement." I know that-that life is always about growth and improving oneself. I just want things to settle down for me. I want to be able to look at my life and say "I'm happy with where I am ." Not only for myself, but for my parents as well. I know they don't say it, but I know they are concerned about what will happen to me when they're gone. How much will I be able to do on my own? Who will take care of me? Questions like that haunt me as well. But I just hold out hope that friends and family will come through for me. Otherwise, fear like this could stop me from living my life without worry.
I apologize for these personal musings. It's just something I had to get off my chest. In reality, they kind of fit with today's post. How do we learn to live life to the fullest despite the barriers placed in front of us? That's a tough question-the answer varies from person to person. Take this week's family on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition for example. The Riojas family has overcome a lot of obstacles in their lives. Growing up, Mary was born with a rare genetic mutation that left her with one arm and no legs. But that hasn't stopped her from living a full life raising 4 wonderful children. Today, she also gives back to Easter Seals-the organization that once showed her that anything is possible.
"I really believe that we ourselves inside know what our own boundaries are and whether/ how far we can push ourselves," said Mary Ann.
After being the first one in her family to graduate, she had high hopes for giving her family and things she didn't have growing up. But it didn't come easy. With the help of the Fresno Housing Authority, she was able to put a down payment on a house. Despite accomplishing one of her dreams, that house is not really adaptable to her needs. That counters and cupboards are too high and there is barely enough room for wheelchair to move.
"Two words to describe my house are 'limits' and 'dangers'-once I had to get up on the kitchen counter and slipped and fell, where I broke my pelvis bone in half ," she said.
While the family vacations in Colorado skiing, Ty Pennington and his crew made it their goal build a home without barriers.
In the end, Ty Pennington not only build her a home, but thanks to extra funding from several companies, they were able to pay off Mary Ann's student loans as well as donate money to buy more wheelchairs for the Easter Seals program.
Citation for TV program: "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" ABC Channel 7 WJLA, 8 March 2009
Monday, March 9, 2009
So I am taking a break from the grown-up girlfriends series for a while. Partly because I am thinking I am getting way too deep for a "disability" blog. Please let me know what you think. So, for today's post, I am going back to the basics. I came across this article using my Google alerts; this is just another example of people overcoming the limits that society sometime puts on us.
Friday, March 6, 2009
Before I get started on today's post, I would like to say something first. In going over Chapter 9, of the grown-up girlfriend book, I was quite sure whether I should include it. Firstly, because my friends might read this and get the wrong idea based on my notes. That is not my intention. I have some of the greatest friends in the world .However, not everything is perfect in the real world and my readers should know what to do when certain characteristics show up in friendships. That being said, here are my notes for Chapter 9.
Notes from Chapter 9-the Grown-Up Girlfriend Overcomes Destructive Friendships
- " During the beginning of friendships, we are often on our best behavior-just like dating !" (Page 147)
- We may Not realize the beginning of negative behavior because we are captivated by the strong bonds we have with our friend
- Don't jump friendships-build appropriate boundaries (Page 148)
- Learn to distinguish between destructive patterns
- Here are some things to consider:
a. Is your friend bringing up legitimate concerns or are they one-sided? (Selfish, etc.)
b. If a destructive friendship continues, one friend might began to feel pressure from the other. The other friend might feel guilty
c. In a destructive friendship, one friend may end up threatening you-giving the other person an ultimatum. "If you were a real friend, you would do this.", "Let's do this or I will find another friend who will. "
d. As stated previously, fear is a common ingredient in both positive and negative relationships. However, in destructive friendships, fear plays a vital role
- What to Do When Trust Has Been Broken?
a. Realize that the pain she is feeling has some benefits. It pointed her to Christ and made her realize the relationship didn't really have the right foundation
b. Realize that a real friendship takes trust. "Trust is a risk". (Page 158)
c. Some important things to remember:
1) "Let Christ fill you first" (Page 158)
2) "Be willing to trust even after betrayal" (page 159).
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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, March 4, 2009
I am sorry for my tardiness in posting to this blog today. (In reality, I know it's Thursday; but I figure it's better later than never.) I hope to get things back on track by Friday. Anyway, on to today's post.
In this day and age, it is so easy to get stressed and bogged down by the things of this world. I thought I would take some time to highlight some songs on my iTunes that inspire me. These are songs that remind me that God does love me and no matter what happens he is with me.
1. While I'm waiting-John Walker-The Blessing
2 . How you live (Turn up the Music)-Point of Grace-How You Live
3. He believes In You-Point of Grace-How You Live
4. You Alone-Echoing Angels-You Alone
5. Praise You in This Storm-Casting Crowns-Lifesong
6. East to West-Casting Crowns-The Altar And the Door
7. Anyway-Martina McBride-Anyway (Single)
8. You Know Where To Find Me-Matthew West-Happy
9. Something to Say-Matthew West-Something to Say
10. This Center-Matthew West-Something to Say
11. The Moment Of Truth-Matthew West-Something to Say
12. Stop the World-Matthew West- Something to Say
I could go on and on, but these are very favorites right now. If you haven't figured it out, the format is song-artist -album. I hope this helps you as much as it does me
Monday, March 2, 2009
It's hard to believe it is March already. Based on the weather outside my window, you would think it was December. That's right; there's snow on the ground in Virginia. Yet, sunshine still manages to peak its way through the clouds. It's picturesque scenes like these that make me just stop to marvel in awe of God's beautiful landscape. The year 2009 has just started, but I have already learned so much -about myself as well as personal care agencies here. Have you ever felt like that? It's almost gotten to the point where I would like things to go right for once. But I know through it all, I am growing into the woman God wants me to be.
Botox seems to be going okay for me. It's only been a week and I have seen improvements in my reach and abilities-that's even without therapy. My mom is still trying to find one in our area. The doctor suggested I go for occupational therapy twice a week. So I don't think it's going to be as difficult as before. Please continue to pray that I continue to improve..
Now, onto today's post.. Over the last few weeks, I have continued my analysis of the book entitled Grown-Up Girlfriends by Erin Smalley and Carrie Oliver. I hope you have found that insight I have posted from the book as enlightening as I have. This week, I intend on concluding the series with notes from the last four chapters. As I am sure you've noticed, the authors also place an important emphasis on the developing Christian friendships can impact one's life. Chapters 8 focus on the importance that forgiveness plays in maintaining healthy relationship. On Wednesday, I will continue with Chapter 9-on overcoming destructive relationships. These are the
relationships that have played a role in developing your personality in a negative manner.
Notes on Chapter 8-A Grown-Up Friend Forgives
"A friendship will never be the same when true forgiveness is experienced; it will deepen and and grow at levels never before experienced". (Page 132)
The Biblical Stance on Forgiveness
-See Colossians 3: 13
-True forgiveness starts with a grounded relationship with God. Accepting and acknowledging our weaknesses
-Forgiveness is a choice, not based on our emotions. However it is founded on "compassion and grace" (Page 134)
-As Christ did with the Samaritan Woman, we should be willing to discuss each other's short comings in a effort to become the woman God created us be. But do it in love. John 4: 4-30
-Try to look at things from their perspective. Realize at some point, the roles may be reversed.
-Remember that our friends can't supply for our every need. Only God can
-Forgiveness cannot happen overnight!
-Forgiveness requires: 1) a heart of repentance. 2) acceptance of one's behavior, not blaming your friend for your mistakes. 3) reconciliation is an agreement that things have to change- "the things will be different". (Page 141)
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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