Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Upcoming documentary "Certain proof" and Asserting One's Independence

"I don't want to live here forever "

"I want to be my own person ! Please help me,"

I was struck by these eye-opening words of Chris Burke as he played the role of Bob, a young person with down syndrome just struggling to become a part of his brother's family. In a way, that's the cry of the entire disabled community-to be seen as individuals capable of living a meaningful life with little assistance from others. The cry becomes even more alarming when society begins to question a person's worth when they are unable to walk, talk or even communicate.

In a new documentary entitled "Certain Proof", producers follow the lives of three distinct families each touched with cerebral palsy. Like most parents, they struggle in wanting to provide the best education they can for their children ; even if it meant fighting to prove their sons or daughters were learning when the schools disagreed.

If you are disabled or have disabled family member, you've heard all of the arguments.

1) We're not equipped to handle such a disability.
     While that may be true, there is funding in every school for children with disabilities. Check out the ADA and be aware of what your rights are. In many cases, this is where having an Individualized Education Plan comes into play

2) We're afraid of the influence the disabled child may have on the other students.
     Again, a plausible concern.. While the children may be afraid at first,
socialization is the key to bridging the gap of understanding. Starting early allows the children more of a chance to connect with each other, seeing past the disability and accepting them.

Bottom line: what right do we have to judge the people that God created? None. Each one of us has a special purpose in this world and who are we to limit ourselves?

For more information on the documentary, go to the following link:

Monday, March 21, 2011

Wheelchair changes and personal reflections

Welcome Back, Folks..

It's clear I haven't been focusing on updating this blog lately. I'm sorry, I've just had lots on my mind lately. For starters, I don't want this blog to be bogged down by negativity and that's all I can seem to focus on right now. I don't know when exactly it started or how long I've been this way. But I find myself changing into someone I don't know.I'm doing my best to hang on to my faith until the storm passes, but I feel as if I'm failing miserably. But those are just my feelings, not reality.

Now for my daily readers, you may realize a very special day is around the corner. That's right: April 21, I'm going to be turning 31. It seems like not too long ago I just turned 30. But in all reality, I have been through a lot this year with my arm surgery and such. I accomplished several goals this year, including being able to drive my wheelchair and getting assessed for another one. Since this wheelchair is over at least five years and I no longer have the need for head controls (although sometimes I found them reliable when my nerves got the best of me) we figured it was time for a change.

Anyway, I'm anxious to see is the progress continues whether the high hopes I had for my new wheelchair are attainable. For one, a new joystick that is within my reach and power buttons accessible by my elbows that are reliable. The ones I have now work intermittently and my friends link you. Joan 9ability to drive is dependent specifically on how I'm placed in the wheelchair.

Now, if any PTs are out there you're probably asking yourself, "Have you continued therapy?" After the surgery, yes, I did. That's when I made great strides in my driving ability. But after a family emergency, the therapist needed to cancel our appointment. Months went by and we never rescheduled.. Looking back, I wonder if that was a mistake.. Not only because I stopped . seeing improvement in driving but because I felt the weekly outings were helping in other ways as well.

Truth be told, there probably are at least one to two more surgeries in my future. Trouble is, which ones are most important. That is, important enough to keep me at home while I'm recovering and putting on hold my dreams to live independently in an apartment someday. Soon, very soon I hope. All questions that need to be answered at some point.

Anyway, my next few posts should be quite interesting ones... The first will tackle a very important question. How do we determine one's worth if they are part of the disabled community unable to talk or have their opinions heard?

Stay tuned.. I hope to have my opinion on that tomorrow

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Encouragement: Soul Surfer

Welcome back~

I know it's been a couple of weeks since my last post. I just haven't heard anything disability newsworthy as of late. That is, until a few days ago.. But first, I would like to extend my sympathies to those impacted by the tragedies in Japan. The country has sure been through a lot these days with the earthquake and the tsunami. Now they are being threatened by a possible nuclear plant explosion.

Times like these really make it clear how connected we truly are: not only as a society, but as a world as well. During these tough times, people are able to look beyond themselves and see the needs of others. They realize what's really important-faith and family and doing whatever they can to help.

On to the disability related part of this post, an upcoming movie features the inspirational story of surfer Bethany Hamilton. What's so special about Bethany, you may ask? For starters, the young girl survived an unthinkable shark attack and lived to talk about it. Not only that, she overcame great odds in order to surf again. You see, she sustained numerous injuries as a result-including but not limited to the loss of her arm.

The movie opens April 8th and I for one can't wait to see it

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Encouragement: Living For Today

Hey Guys~

Today I was reminded of the importance of breathing. No, I'm not just talking about the process of inhaling and exhaling; but actually living every moment with the purpose. Sounds simple, right? I will be the first one to tell you it's not because there are more things in this world do distract you then to help you on your journey. Take for example the application of Facebook. Many people use it as a avenue for contacting friends, displaying photos of recent events, etc. But in actuality, the platform has taken on a mind of its own, featuring mindless and sometimes addictive games.

I'm not saying that's a bad thing because sometimes we need a break or to talk to friends who are miles away. Just try and think about what you are doing.. Is this really necessary or is this just a distraction to keep me from focusing on the real issues in my life.

That's a question that came up as I was playing "baking life" after reading a devotional from Joni Eareckson Tada. The theme: "Who Are You Living for?" As Christians, the answer should be a simple one-God. But sometimes we take God and his grace for granted and EXPECT him to save us when we make a mistake. He does, but that doesn't give us free reign when it comes to sinning.

Read Romans Six and it elaborate this point..

Writing this post, I thought I would make more sense and it turned out completely different than I expected. I'm sorry if I am not clear in my writings and they may turn out to be more ramblings than anything else.

On a personal note, lately I find myself slipping into some of the anxiety-ridden tendencies that I had back in college. I'm guessing it stems from my internal struggle for independence. I know I have limitations that keep me dependent on people. Let's face it. It's always going be that way, but that doesn't mean I don't deserve the opportunity to be on my own in an apartment. After all, I've done it before and survived successfully in Michigan. But when people I work with don't understand that and think I would be better off living at home. I can't handle people like that.. I know there are entitled to their own opinion, but that negativity frustrates me to the point I almost felt sick.

Health issues or not, I'm glad I got that off my chest!

I'm sorry if I don't write tomorrow, I will do my best to remember.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Your Own Show: Series Finale


So things didn't work out exactly like I expected. Going into the last few weeks, I had every intention of updating readers on my life and current disability shows like Your Own show. But I have felt a little distracted and spacey lately. I don't know exactly why, I've just had trouble giving a voice to my thoughts going on inside my head. I seem to have lost focus in what's important.

Anyway, enough about me and onto the real reason for this post. I am thrilled to announce that Kristina and Zach got their own show as a result of being winners for Oprah 's Your Own Show. The decision was an easy one, since both contestants brought their A Game despite being nervous and overcoming sickness while producing their pilot.

The pilot was a three minute snapshot of what each contestant felt their show would be like. For Zach, he entitled his pilot "Rollin Around The World with Zach Anner" and took viewers around some of the highlights of Hollywood, including Hollywood Boulevard and the Kodak Theater as well as many others. In his usual comedic style, he pointed out that not all weather is going to be good for sightseeing, pointing out the smog that sometimes exists in the city. By the end of of shooting, it was clear that Zach was exhausted and some of the teammates that rejoined in order for Zach and Kristina to complete the task didn't think he would be able to do this on a consistent basis.

On the other hand, Kristina had a cooking show in her sights after completing this process. Her goal: getting people out of restaurants and back into the kitchen. With a little help from a friend, Daniel, she was able to overcome her nerves and make the kitchen easily accessible to her viewers

Both Zach and Kristina's shows will be produced by award-winner Mark Burnett. He has produced such reality shows as Survivor etc.

Even though I don't get the network, I am kind of looking forward to seeing whether they post recent episodes of the shows online for each of the contestants or whether you have to get the network to receive the show..

I'll keep you posted!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Your OWN Show: Week 7


Only three contestants are left on Oprah's Your Own Show-Terrey, Zach and Kristina. Unlike most weeks, the contestants were asked to work as individuals in a press junket. The goal was not only to give them a chance to hone their idea for their very own show, but to see how they dealt with the pressure of being in the spotlight.Who was this week's guest host.. None other than Oprah Winfrey's best friend and fellow radio show host Gail King. She offere them some well thought out advice when dealing the press including to be open but know where their boundaries were in things they did not want to discuss. In a surprise twist, Oprah turned out for a few questions..Zach made the best out of the situation by turning the tables and asking Oprah some questions. As always, his humor put her at ease immediately and he was able to really learn from her experience being a veteran host for her show. Although Kristina stumbled, she was able to get back up when Oprah asked her how a cooking show impacted her life.

On the other hand, Terrey was unable to clearly describe her vision for her own show and was eliminated.
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