Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Encouragement: Listen to Your Heart. Lifetime Movie Network premiere

Welcome back, everyone~
Gearing up for today's post, I came across an interesting movie featured on The Lifetime Movie Network. The movie, entitled Listen to Your Heart, features the compelling and yet complex love story of a deaf young woman and a musician. The situation gets hairy when her mother (Cybill Shepherd) sees the relationship getting more personal and does whatever she can to keep the two apart. It's a very relatable story and highlights the importance of being able to stand up for one's self.

To view the trailer, click here:

Monday, April 25, 2011

Encouragement: Soul Surfer Review


So it's been over three weeks since I have posted a blog on here ... With good reason, though-I celebrated my 31st birthday this month. I know I have a hard time believing it myself. But it's true. That being said, I have had a lot of visitors coming around to help me celebrate my special day. Some of them I've already discussed in previous posts.. You know who you are!

This past week was a college friend who traveled from Michigan to be with me. We had a great time, just hanging out and catching up. At times, we even went to the hair salon and took our own personal tour of Washington DC [from the car, mind you; because I have a wheelchair and my friend had a walker}

For my birthday, we ate at a Japanese restaurant and my parents surprised me with famous Georgetown cupcakes. All in all, it was in unforgettable birthday. Although it still amazes me how some friendships can last a lifetime while others change at the slightest glimpse of difficulty

Onto my real post topic, it's dawned on me that I promised you my readers a personal review of the movie Soul Surfer.For those of you who aren't familiar, the movie tells the harrowing story of professional surfer Bethany Hamilton. What's so special about Bethany? Well for starters, she survived a terrible shark attack: not only that, she lost an arm in the process and still surfs. Even more remarkable, she is a living testimony for the power of Jesus to work in every believer's life no matter what the circumstance.

The movie has an all-star cast with such big names as AnnaSophia Robb (Bethany), Helen Hunt (Mrs. Hamilton), Dennis Quaid (Mr. Hamilton), Lorraine Nicholson (Alana Blanchard, Bethany's childhood best friend), Carrie Underwood (Sarah Hill, Bethany's youth pastor and friend). The list goes on and on.

While it's true a majority of Soul Surfer focuses on Bethany's rise from the ashes, it also spends a great deal of time talking about perspective.One all my favorite scenes involves Carrie Underwood (Sarah Hill) talking about how Christians view the trials of life. To begin, she asked the youth group to identify some pictures. They were unable to because they had been magnified only to show part of the image . "Sometimes we are standing too close to it to see the entire picture," she says. The long-term ramifications being that God knows what's ahead and unfortunately we don't. She reminds them of the significance of Jeremiah 29:11

Another scene featuring Carrie Underwood can be viewed here. It takes place shortly after Bethany's return from the hospital. In this scene, a confused Bethany questions God's will for her life. and then click on Carrie Underwood

Like all of us when change arises, we have difficulty making adjustments. Bethany was no different. At one point, she was offered a prosthetic arm in exchange for a interview; but when she tried using it to support herself on her board, she found it virtually impossible. But still she persevered and shortly before Thanksgiving, Bethany found her way to the water again and also returned to competition: during which time, the judges offered her a 5 min. head start into the water-a advantage she refused

"I don't need easy, I just need possible," Bethany once told her dad while learning to surf with one arm.

After a disappointing finish, she almost gives surfing up. But then she decides to get away and attend her youth group's mission trip Thailand and help those impacted by the earthquake there. It is only then when she looks into the eyes of those whose lives are truly devastated, that she realizes how lucky she is and how giving back not only could impact her life, but the lives of those around her.

I could go on and on with the review. Instead, I will leave you with one final quote as it relates to her having only one arm...

"The list of things have to relearn is extensive, but the things you won't be able to do are so small"

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Encouragement: To Institutionalize or To Include Those with Disabilities

That is the question posed on a recent episode of Dateline NBC. At the center of the issue lies the stories of those who are deemed "mentally incapable" or those who are "financially draining". That seemed to be the case for a Russian orphan diagnosed with cerebral palsy. His story was a hopeless one, until someone saw something that the others hadn't-he had potential. The remainder of his story is one filled with inspiration and drama. You can learn more about the story by buying his book on Amazon at:

Monday, April 11, 2011

Personal Update: Adventures in Baltimore

Welcome Back Readers~

My apologies at being away so long from the blog. Not only has life kept me busy, but I found myself at a crossroads once again. Many times I struggled with myself, wondering whether I should clue readers into my life or keep it separate. Honestly, I don't think I ever came up with an appropriate answer: but I figured I owed you a quick hello.

I have accomplished a lot this month with a new wheelchair evaluation and a visit to Baltimore in order to visit friends. I can hardly believe I've had my current wheelchair anywhere from 5 to 7 years. But this allows me to get a new one in the near future. This one will include some of my old features such as a molded seating system fitted for my growing body as well as the usual tilting system, but will allow me to have more freedom with an individual joystick easily within my range of motion.

Since my surgery, my range has increased little by little, but I have been unable to adapt my current setup to maximize my independence. That's why I'm so excited to see what the next couple of months bring. Things can only get better. Also, thanks to the expertise of the wheel chair seating staff, I was able to solve a current pain issue involving my hip and legs: to make a long story short, it has to do with me sitting for long periods of time and activating the nerve bundles along my thigh and hip area on my right leg. It is unclear whether the problem can be permanently fixed or whether the tilting mechanism will alleviate much of the problem. But I am headed to the doctor for more information tomorrow, but I'm happy to realize there's a name for my discomfort and I'm not imagining it! (My dad always jokes that I have an overactive/imaginative imagination)

On a more positive note, I was able to use this time to visit a child hood friend. It was nice to be able to catch up with Lauren as well as her family. In many ways, I look up to her in seeing how far she has come as an individual as well as a working person. She has never given up on herself and always stayed true to her goal.. Helping others overcome their physical limitations and reach the stars. I'm so proud of you, Lauren!
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