Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Wow, in 12 days I will be a 30 - year- old woman! Okay, by the date of this post, it's a little longer; but, as usual, I'm running behind.
30 years? Has it really been that long? I have to admit that time has flown by for me the last 10 years. I've been busy that's for sure; first, getting my Associates Degree in general studies from a community college in Michigan and then continuing my education at a Lutheran University. It's been amazing to see how far I have come. Most of which, I can't really explain because I've forgotten how I used to be. My parents could give you their own interpretation because they can probably remember my youth better than I can ! I have a feeling that is one of my "side effects" of the baclofen, but no one can tell me for sure.
Anyway, I've grown a lot since then. Greatly due to the overwhelming support of family and friends. As I've said many times before, college played an instrumental role in my growth process. experience allowed me to see what exactly was possible in terms of my future. I was able to "spread my wings" and see my life for what it would eventually be- a life on my own, separate from my parents. Scary as I was for my parents, I relished in the opportunity. It was during that time that I saw life for what it was.. At its best, having friends who accepted me DESPITE my disability, not BECAUSE of it and helping me to accept my disability as well. At its worst, it reminded me how important advocacy will remain to be in my life. In summary, I must always be aware of my disability without letting it dominate my life.
As time passes, though, I find the roles reversing. Why? Maybe it's simply my age or getting caught up in the world, I don't know. It's not like I've lost my confidence; I still want to write. It's all I'm really good at (besides advocating, that is).. I just wonder whether my story (my life and my book) have reached its full potential and stopped growing.
I can't imagine what my future holds and that scares me. As a child, everything seemed so simple having my parents around to protect and guide me. But now, things are changing!
I'm on my own..
Yet, I'm not!
Monday, March 29, 2010
So Easter is coming in two days: not according to the date of this post but the date I'm actually writing this. (I'm late by a couple weeks, I know!) Anyway, if you're anything like me, sometimes you can get caught up in life and forget the meaning behind these holidays. That's happened to me this Easter. I don't know exactly what exactly it happened, but I seem to have gotten caught up in the days.. Planning ahead, taking things for granted! That's when I got a reality check through Facebook. My friends had their priorities straight. They weren't concerned about their weekend plans on their status, but instead took the time to remind me of the miraculous resurrection that occurred on Easter.
Which leads me to a moment of personal reflection: Why have I forgotten the Lord? I know I'm only human and I'm prone to make mistakes. But still, my life is not a game or rehearsal, it is in fact an opportunity. By sharing my struggle, I hope to keep my fellow readers from the same obstacle or at least show you that you are the alone.
That being said, my status on Facebook now reads:
Have I forgotten you O Lord? "Cast me not from your presence, oh Lord; take not your Holy Spirit from me. But restore unto me the joy of your salvation.." I can't remember exactly where these lyrics are from but that pretty much describes what I'm feeling right now. Please remember why we celebrate Easter everyone!
Friday, March 26, 2010
The weekend has passed and I'm running behind again.. Sorry, I've been kind of out of it lately with the emergence of a family health issues and my upcoming 30th birthday. But more about that later. Until I get a grip on things that, I thought you would enjoy this link. It features one of my new favorite shows "Glee" . This show, which returns early April, is being recognized for its ability to raise awareness of disability to a worldwide audience
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
So you may have noticed a few changes after the last week. First, I added a new feature, courtesy of Link Within, which points reader to other posts similar to the one they are reading on my blog. I encourage readers to use this feature if they are trying to look for something particular. It seems to be very helpful. Secondly, I have purchased a new computer making dictation a whole lot faster and more reliable. That's why, besides today, I have been on time on most of my posts for the week.
Now for the bad news... Since I got my new computer, I've had difficulty putting all my files back together. That being said, I still don't have my iTunes up and running completely. For that reason, I am postponing the Patrick Henry book review. But don't despair, I have a wonderful substitute. I actually came across this young man's story thanks to an old professor and friend.
His name is Nick Vujicic. He's a 23-year-old young man with timeless wisdom and an amazing story that has touched millions. Born with no arms and no legs, he travels the world as a motivational speaker telling people to never give up whatever their circumstances may be.
His story is much more powerful if you hear it from him.. please take a look:
His personal website is:http://www.attitudeisaltitude.com/
PS. He also lived by the philosophy of a life without limits.
Monday, March 22, 2010
Welcome Back Readers~
So it has come to my attention that Saturday was CP Awareness Day. It's funny though; I know about disability awareness month, but didn't realize there was a official day highlighting my disability. Or maybe I did and just don't remember. Anyway, what can I say about CP? Sure, I could give you the medical jargon as it relates to my condition but you could find that anywhere. Instead, I went like to share something more personal. I've always said that every trial in life provides us with a unique opportunity- to learn more about ourselves while developing our character.
True, all I've ever known is CP. I wasn't disabled in a car accident or anything like that. I was born this way- CREATED this way- for a reason. Now, for some people, this may be a hard concept to swallow. Why? It's hard to fathom that a loving God would allow anything to happen to one of his children. Today's world is too focused this idea of perfection. The perfect career, the perfect marriage- these things don't exist. It's an unattainable goal. The only thing that we have to do is try our best and lean on God to provide the rest.
That's hard for some of us to do these days.. Sit back and relax, relying on something bigger than us.
Now to the question of the day: Would I change things? My knee-jerk reaction would be yes. Things would be a lot simpler if I was able to walk and take care of myself. But then again, would I be me? Would I have the same personality and character if I weren't disabled. My instincts tell me no.. But no one really knows the answer to that, except God.
All I know is I have learned so much living with a disability. Here are just a few of the important lessons that have impacted my life.
1) Dependence is a good thing!
2) It's Okay To Ask For Help
3) We Are All Connected
Friday, March 19, 2010
I've often referred to my college years as the best years of my life. I still feel that way. Being in college shaped my life, allow me to be see myself as my friends see me. A person who has a disability, not a disabled person. There is a difference.
Meet Elyssa Olson, a young woman on the verge of such a journey:
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
It's that time again. Here is the continuation of my book review of I Am Potential. My dad got the files back in order again tomorrow. Although I can't imagine how they got rearranged in the first place. Below is some of the important information I gathered from the book. It pertains to how Patrick Henry first adjusted to reading using Braille and the continuation of the principle, "Be The Person Your Mom Would Be Proud of.
A Different Kind of Learning
Growing up with a disability never was an issue for Patrick Henry. That is, until the subject of reading came along; he didn't understand the purpose for it... After all, he couldn't see! What did it matter if he could read or write? Soon, learning Braille became a family affair. At first, the family used the Grade 1 system, learning all twenty-six letters of the alphabet in Braille and then connecting them to make words.
This system was very time-consuming and soon the family moved on to Grade 2 Braille. In this system, the idea of letters was still in place but contractions were also used in place of some words. In total, there are about 250 contractions in this system. Contractions were a combination of dots and dashes that formed complete words.
After a while, though, Patrick Henry surpassed his family in terms of learning Braille. Partly due to the help of his Braille Teacher in school, Ms. Nettie. But one thing remained to be seen, why was he learning to read if he couldn't see like all the others? It wasn't until Ms. Nettie came up with an association game. She made scratch and sniff flashcards with words. He would read the word in Braille on the card and then there would be a smell either of something associated to the word or an odor that starts with that letter. For example, if the word was "red" there might be a smell of a cherry on the card.
The Five Senses
As previously discussed, Patrick Henry loves to use his five senses to gain information about the world around him. But it wasn't always like this. As a child, he was "painfully" aware about the acuteness of his hearing. So bad he couldn't stand the song, "Happy Birthday" or the sound of applause. According to his parents, it was the audience's way of showing their appreciation for his music.
"Suddenly, that became a different matter entirely; I liked it and wanted more," Patrick says
Although John (Patrick Henry's father) takes center stage in most of his son's activities, Patrick Henry says he wouldn't know what to do without his mom
"She took up my cause from day one," he says
Like most parents, the family wanted the best for him; but they weren't sure where to begin. Luckily, Patrick's mom found the VIPs (Visually Impaired Preschool Services). Before long, she was an expert in her son's disability- staying connected with the right specialists and doctors needed.
"The most impressive thing about mom is not just how much she accomplishes on any given day, but that you would never know that she was the one who did it," he says.
And at that time, research was more difficult. After all, there wasn't the capability of the Internet; countless hours were spent on the phone - contacting doctors and getting referrals.
Her ultimate goal: Making Patrick as independent as possible.
Friday, March 12, 2010
So the topic of adoption isn't really disability related; although I've seen more and more stories and blogs about people adopting children with disabilities as part of building a family. Disability or not, adoption gives people an amazing opportunity- sharing love with those who've never truly experienced it. Growing up, this has always been a part of my plan, whether I have children of my own or not.
Reading this story reminds me why...
See for Yourself !
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Another weekend gone by and I'm just getting to my blog posts. I'm sorry, we have a lot going on at our house and I haven't quite felt up to writing. Today is Friday, and I finally have gotten things fixed in terms of the Patrick Henry audio book, so look forward to it next week. For the time being, I have decided to take things easy. Below is a article I found using Google alerts featuring a number of women overcoming their "perceived" disabilities to do great things.
Take a look:
Monday, March 8, 2010
It's Monday again and the weekend flew by too fast. Still, I enjoyed having time alone with my father while my mom traveled to get her sister who has decided to stay with us for a while. Now my mom is happy, going through old pictures of her family in order to make a photo book. I don't blame her, it's the only relative besides my brother and sister in law (and my cute nieces) we've seen in a while. Sometimes I wonder why this town has to be so small and disconnected unlike some of the bigger cities. It's crazy, the only form of reliable transportation seems to be your very own car. You know what that means. I have to ask my parents to go anywhere. But what if I want to go to the movies by myself?
That's not my only difficult I'm going through this week. I have a lot of stuff I've been thinking about this week. But I will spare you the details. Let's just say, I'm questioning my path on this journey called "life" again lately. I am hoping God reveals himself to me once again and I don't "wander" much longer.
Anyway, I thought I would pass this new blog onto you my readers. Like me, the owner hopes to shed some light on how having CP can have an impact on someone's life while also trying to make a difference in today's world. "Just Sunday" is one of her earlier postings on her blog, On the other hand, "Stretch Armstrong versus cerebral palsy" highlights her daily struggle with disabilities
Friday, March 5, 2010
So, I'm behind with a couple of my posts. But I came across this article that I thought you might find interesting since it's difficult to find toys useful to children with disabilities..
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
So I don't know how it happened but my audio files of the I Am Potential book got mixed up and are not in order. It's going to take me a while to rearrange them. There were in order on my iTunes, but now they're scrambled. I can't figure it out. I must have accidentally pressed a button on my iTunes to sort them somehow. That being said, I will need some time to figure it out. I will still post things like news articles for encouragement. Please bear with me!
Monday, March 1, 2010
I don't remember the first time I saw the Dan Keplinger story but I must have been a teenager. I was inspired by his story because it gave me hope for my future. I'll have to admit though, I was a little surprised that he allowed himself to be labeled "King Gimp". Anyway, his art continues to move millions. Recently, though, he accomplished another lifelong dream- he got married.
Read more about his story here: