Monday, December 27, 2010

A simple act exemplifies the true meaning of Christmas

So I realize this article didn't come out during the Christmas season; but it provides another example of how the littlest of sacrifices can change everything. This article, especially strikes a chord with me because I know there may come a time when my parents are unable to help with my daily care and personal assistant supervision. When that time comes, I hope I am surrounded by not only family and friends, but people like Rudy!
Please take a minute to read this article, it may change your life...

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

End-of-the-year Christmas letter

Dearest friends and readers;

Well, it's that time of year again. It's hard to believe that in just a matter of days, it will be Christmas. Not too soon after that, it will be the beginning of a new year. That being said, imagine my surprise when I began shuffling through my posts and realized I began this blog over four years ago. Four years! Who would have thought? I would like to thank those people who have not only encouraged me to write my thoughts here, but have remained faithful readers in the process of my journey. Although I have never met most of you, I hope you realize that you have given me as much as I have given you ... With every post, I shared a part of myself with you in the hope of giving you the motivation to live your life in spite of what difficulties may come to pass.

Below is my Christmas letter which gives a summary of the year's events. For my new followers, I figured this would be a great place to begin the journey:

It's hard to believe it has been about two years since we first arrived to Virginia. It's been quite the adjustment for all of us, getting into the swing of things with dad's new one hour commute to and from Washington, DC to deal with, as well as my adjustment to new personal assistant rules and regulations. But this year brought many surprises as well.

In February, we got a little taste of our "home" in Michigan with the record setting snow storms in Virginia. On the first, we got twenty-four inches of snow only to receive another eight inches two days later. Something good came of it though as dad was unable to go into work and had to work from home. In the end, this provided some quality time for our family. April approached quickly and I welcomed it with a bit of apprehension; after all, I was turning the big 30! But after a visit from one of my best friends, Ron, I was reminded we're all young at heart. We spent her visit doing some of the usual girl stuff, such as going to the movies and shopping... Boy, did we ever! May May was a chilly month which brought several red letter birthdays. My brother Tim turned 31 and Rebekah (the smallest niece and my God daughter) turned two. They grow up too fast! Unfortunately, we were unable to celebrate with everyone at the Japanese steakhouse because my other niece, Elizabeth was sick.

On the 7th of June, I had an appointment with Dr. Scott Edwards at Georgetown Univ. Hospital to discuss my options in an effort to release the tension in my arm and increase my mobility; at this point, I had tried just about everything and had my doubts. The month also brought Elizabeth's 5th birthday and we had a big party with all her friends and family. July brought back memories as the three of us; mom, dad and and I traveled back to Michigan to spend some time together. We rented our "old" cottage on little Glen Lake; I spent the majority of time reading as dad enjoyed discovering about his ancestors on ancestry .com. In August, I underwent surgery on my left arm; it was a success, helping me to gain 40° of passive range; I wear a brace at night and was rewarded (by my parents) with a beautiful diamond and sapphire ring, now that my hand lays flat.

My recovery process was a slow one, as we had a real difficult time arranging therapy. With God's guidance, and a lot of waiting, we settled on the Fairfax Hospital to begin therapy. In early November, I finally achieved my ultimate goal of driving my wheelchair again by a joystick! It has been over five years since I lost my ability to drive using my hand.

During November, I also decided it was time for a change - I decided to become a blonde! Unfortunately, it wasn't meant to last; as I eventually had to go back to my natural color.

All in all, it's been a wonderful year; full of God's peace and understanding. I can't wait to see what unfolds for the next chapter of my life!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Hope in the form of CS Lewis's classic book voyage of the Dawn Treader brought to life

Hey Guys~

So I was pleasantly surprised when I went to see CS Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader yesterday. I'm not usually into action, adventure movies, but I was taken aback by how their producers stayed true to the theme of the book. For those of you unfamiliar with CS Lewis and his work, he used this fictional land of Narnia and its main character of Aslan to be a metaphor for Jesus and the eternal life that we all can have if only we believe. In the first movie, Aslan lays down his life for another character in place of him. In that way, Aslan pays the ultimate price for them so they might live. By the end of the first movie, Aslan come back to life and their is peace among the land.

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader continues the story with the youngest of the children, Edward and Lucy along with their cousin Augusta, returning to Narnia in order to fight the green mist which had been accepting human sacrifices. The three go on a journey to find the source of the mist and rescue the people. Along the way, there faith in Narnia (for Christians, Narnia is an analogy for the "unseen" world or heaven) is tested. They are tempted based on their individual vulnerabilities; for Lucy, it is an undeniable urge to find her value in her beauty, for Edward, it was in his need to feel important (otherwise to be King) and finally Augusta just wanted to be rich and powerful.

In the end, Aslan protected them each according to his will-by coming to Lucy and reminding her of how special she was, by providing a voice of reason when all logical judgment seemed lost and making the best out of a bad situation. (For we know, all things work together for the good of those who love Him-Romans 8: 28)

Well, I hope I didn't give away too much in the movie. But it's really good one, especially for those looking for a little bit of hope this season.

Here's one of my favorite quotes from the movie: ""It is my hope that by knowing me in this world, you may know me better in the next,"-Azlan, Voyage of the Dawn Treader. May the same be said of us, and our relationship with Jesus Christ
Merry Christmas

Friday, December 10, 2010

Christmas is in full swing now; "20/20" featuring the 7 wonders of the world

Massillon Okay,

My apologies for the tardiness of this post! I can hardly believe we have two weeks until Christmas arrives. This holiday season keeps me especially busy with Christmas shopping to do, letters to mail and presents to be wrapped. Not to mention, I have to think about training another night personal assistants. Here's hoping this one doesn't have trouble cooking, I'm getting tired of the microwavable meals. That being said, I may limit myself to two posts per week until things settle down. I find myself having little to say anyway.

I was watching TV last night and came across an interesting episode of "20/20". Now, I'm not a news critic, but this one highlighted The Seven Wonders of the World. What's so special about that, you may ask? Well, these seven wonders are not famous structures or landmarks, but people with unique talents. For example, meet a 10-year-old who sings like an angel, despite the tragedy of losing her mother to cancer, or women who see themselves as "mermaids" because of their unique ability to hold their breath for long periods of time underwater.

But today I would like to focus the story of Rohan Murphy. Born without legs as well as several other birth defects, he continues to defy the odds when it comes to reaching for the stars. It wasn't always easy, though.

"I really just didn't want to accept being disabled [growing up]," says Murphy.

At first, he admits to lashing out at people who asked about his disability. That is, until fellow coach and friend Ron Croteau stepped in asking him to be a sports team manager.
In time, Murphy realized that he was able to do more push-ups without his prosthetic legs. That's when he began wrestling.

What follows is an amazing story. For more information, you can see the video on Just click on 20/20 for Friday's episode

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Rolloff Family: a Final Goodbye

Welcome back~

Okay, so tonight concluded the final season of Little People, Big World. It has lasted six seasons and I've seen most of them. I've grown up with them really. I remember when I first saw a rerun of the pilot episode; I was a struggling teenager learning to accept my disability and live my life. Their family reminded me that anything was possible even if you have a disability; it might just take going about the goal little differently.

I will admit the final season had me going a few times-wondering whether they were going to sell the farm or whether the boys were in fact going to move out. Even though Matt was hard at times, I feel that his heart was at the right place. But at some point, you have to let your children go and make their own decisions without worrying about a time table.

I will miss the family, especially Zach. Even though we have never met, I feel like we are kindred spirits when it comes to waiting for the special person.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Another year is coming to a close.


It's hard to believe it's that time of year again; it seems like only yesterday we moved to Virginia. And yet, so much has happened since then.. I've become an Avon consultant, had surgery, and learned to drive my wheelchair again. And yet, I still feel something is missing. I guess that is why I love Christmas: it serves as a constant reminder that even in the darkest of times.. There is always hope. Christmas will always come
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