Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Until Forever - Teaser Trailer HD


Welcome back Readers ~

This morning I watched Until Forever on Pureflx; this movie was based on the real-life journey of 16-year-old Michael Boyum's journey coping with leukemia. Despite their youth, Michael and Michele were determined to cherish each other and live each day as if it was their last. Michael's faith was quite evident even during the last days. In that he visited other cancer patients sharing his reason for hope with others .

This movie inspired me to do the same-even though at times I feel my words don't have the effect they should.

For more information:

http://www.bulletin-news.com/articles/2014/08/18/love-leukemia-and-loss-inver-grove-heights-familys-story-becomes-faith-based

http://www.kare11.com/news/minnesota-mom-inspires-feature-film-about-her-son/32578602



Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Born This Way Season Three Premiere

Welcome Back Readers-

I am happy to report that Born This Way is back for its third season on A&E. After two seasons, the series has been begun to change peoples' views on those with disabilities; this is evident by the show receiving a Emmy  for Best Unstructured Reality series, ending the two-year streak of The Deadliest Catch. This season holds changes for the whole gang- including a budding romance for Stephen and Megan, a independent living opportunity for Christina. How will the parents cope? I don't know, but I can tell you from personal experience that learning to let go of your children and see them fly and come into their own can be the most difficult thing.   The series airs on  Tuesdays at 10 PM.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

My Birthday Adventures in Disney World, Part Three

Dear Readers,

Over the past few days, I have reminisced about my experiences at Disney World- both when I was younger and now. When my dad heard about this, he was able to dig out a picture of our first visit in February 1998. What a difference right? Unfortunately, my brother wasn't able to come with us that time.  But my mom says  there's always the possibility of us coming back  and sharing the whole experience with my nieces.. Although they have already  been there once it's always different  together as a family. Even  as I say that, I can't believe we would be  sharing it with  the next generation.  Wow, how time  flies!
Debbie  and  family at Epcot- February 1988

Debbie  and Family- April 2017
Our  last day  at Disney World  was spent at Epcot (obviously); we got a late  start  that day  because it was due  to the hottest day..  The report was spot on! As we began our journey through the different countries,, I was taken back  by  enormous flower gardens and sculptures;  the creativity it took to shape some of those plans into Disney characters (like Elisa from Frozen or  Belle from  Beauty and the Beast) is brilliant. In  all, there are about 100 topiaries  to admire  around Epcot. For  our first ride, we decided  to go to on Spaceship Earth. For  this ride, I  had to transfer out of my wheelchair-  but it was worth it. This ride  takes you  back in time from the Stone Age, showing the evolution of  man.  (I'm using the term   "evolution"to  mean  the growth  in  man's intelligence; I do not believe  in the  theology of  evolution.)  What  I liked  most about the  ride was  the fact that it  was interactive; it allowed  riders in each  seat to "choose" what their  future looked like based  on answering a few questions   posed  to them along the way.The pics captured at the beginning of the right are then placed in a video used to portray the future. This is something that riders can take with them if they supply their email in the database on computers near the ride.Another interesting fact is that  the ride takes  place  "inside" the Epcot ball.

Next,  we attended The  Voyage of the  Little Mermaid  show.  This 15 minute performance includes live puppetry with performances of popular  songs from Sebastian the  crab as well  as Ariel.  During the show,  I felt  like  I was  truly  "under the Sea" because bubbles cascaded from the ceiling at one point.

What's a trip to Disney World without saying Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse? It's not a trip, of course! For the reason, I actually took some time to wait in line and meet the popular characters as well as get my picture taken with them. For those that say I'm too old for that, well, you are only as old as you feel. Here  is two of  my favorites.



After that, we continued  our trek around the  "world"stopping by Germany to look at the intricate Cuckoo clocks and then  went to France to sample  the delicious crepes (thin pancakes)  that reminded  us of   Grandma (mom's mom).  In one building, they  even had a widescreen movie that gave us a tour of the country; we soared about  the vineyards that created wine and went  through famous churches. This gave us a in-depth  view of the country without having to  actually go there. One of the final things we did there was go to see The  America Adventure  at The World Showcase. This 30 minute performance utilizes audio- animatronics and film to go back in time and view the major events that  made America the great country it is today.

Monday, May 8, 2017

My Birthday Adventures at Disney World, Part Two

Hello Again Everyone~

I hope you all have enjoyed reading about my adventures in the Magic Kingdom at Disney World. In this post I will share with you what I did during my second day on vacation at Hollywood studios. For this adventure, we had to take a bus; the buses must run back and forth every 15 to 30 minutes because we had to wait 10 minutes for ours. During that time I encountered a disabled intern working there in charge of the bus routes. I later learned that there was a special internship opportunities for college students wanting to work there during the summers..

But I digress...

A bus arrived to take us to a Hollywood Studios; this particular bus had a hydraulic system which lowered it to the ground for easier access. Then, a lift opened up and I got in with no trouble. At that point, they secured my wheelchair down with straps and we were on our way. Shortly  after  arriving my family and got a bite to eat. We then  decided to  attend the Beauty  And the Beast: Live On Stage  show. This 25 minute musical extravaganza highlights popular songs  from the original movie.  What makes this so different than the movie? First,the  host selects  a member  from  each audience  to give  a special rose to- it  symbolizes    the special  bond, a father  has with his daughter.  Second, specific  shows  have real-time  American  Sign Language (provided by translators) for those  that are deaf and hard of hearing.

After that we spent some time walking around the streets, sightseeing (and shopping) before going on The Great Movie Ride. This attraction  is accessible to those in wheelchairs as well as those  able to transfer in and  out by themselves or with the help of  other people. The ride insists of  real-time clips of the  greatest moments in movie history, as well as reenactments that put you right in the middle of the action. From there, we  toured  the Walt Disney: One Man's Dream  "museum". It follows him through the  monumental years  of his career and  gives people a in-depth  glimpse on what it takes to create an animated film.

Another live show that I enjoyed was the  Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular. This exciting show gives viewers a behind the scenes  look  at how stunts are filmed in the movies



Wednesday, May 3, 2017

My Birthday Adventures in Disney World Part 1

Welcome Back Readers~


After 30 years, I can finally say I’ve been to Walt Disney World twice in my lifetime. The first time when I was seven years old or so and my parents wanted to show their children a good time. This time, I am 37 years old and trying to rediscover some of that magic and childlike awe we tend to lose in the process of growing up, I can honestly say I’ve done that. In this post, I will highlight some of my favorite activities to do in the Magic Kingdom that are handicapped accessible for those in wheelchairs.


 My mom made reservations or three days at Disney’s Polynesian Resort, which incidentally was the same hotel we stayed at originally. The resort still had its Hawaiian style decor; however, it has seen its share of technological advances- like electronic bracelets that allow you access to the hotel as well as the theme parks. These bands are only available as part of a theme park package. Employees at the resort always seem to go above and beyond to make your stay extremely pleasant. For instance, once they heard it was my 37th birthday trip they gave me a "happy birthday" button. I wore it for next two days,  getting several well wishes  and even a few extra perks here and there.


After settling in and getting a good night’s rest, we decided to go to the Magic Kingdom first. Since  we  were at the resort, it is much easier to take the monorail or bus  to  all  of the amusement. Getting  on the monorail is simple,  security personnel have little ramps which line up with the  vehicle and allow you  to drive your wheelchair inside. For a bus, the procedure is slightly different because they have lifts and tie-downs  to secure the wheelchair in place. At any rate, we arrived at the Magic Kingdom just in time for us to see the Disney characters dance by the castle. "Inviting" us  to enjoy the rest of our day.After that, my parents and I visited the Swiss  Family Robinson attraction where they reminded me of the first time we had visited when my dad carried  me to the very top of the treehouse. From there, we went  on the  Jungle Cruise ride.


If you are looking for a handicapped accessible boat, you may have to ask for assistance. In which case, they may give you a specific time slot where the boat is available. We had to wait until 1-1:30 PM; the boat had a special ramp that lowered me down and then rotated my wheelchair, so I was looking straight forward and could see either side of the water Along the way, my tour guide pointed out different animals; although these were animated, they gave a realistic portrayal of what people would have encountered in the Amazon. There were also waterfalls that kept people cool during the ride.   At 3 o’clock, we stopped on Main Street and waited for the Festival of Fantasy to begin. This parade highlights all of the characters from Disney movies, including Beauty and the Beast and of course, Mickey and Minnie Mouse

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Lauren Scruggs (Kennedy) on Home and Family: Reflecting Back on The Accident That Changed Her Life Forever

Dear Readers,
This next story came to my attention because it was featured on Home and Family. Unlike most stories, I am usually aware of the person being interviewed and their disability related experience; this time I was not. It highlighted Lauren Scruggs (now Lauren Scruggs - Kennedy) and the four-year anniversary of the propeller accident that changed her life forever. Although she recovered after lots of rehab, the accident left her with both physical and emotional scores- including the loss of her left arm and eye. These days Lauren is looking forward to the future and her new marriage; she is also using her experience to create awareness for those who are financially unable to provide real life like prosthetics for their loved ones.

For more information, please go to:



Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Encouragement Sidewalk Prophets- Help Me Find It (Official Lyric Video)


I was listening to the radio recently and came across Sidewalk Prophet's 2013 hit, "Help Me Find it." The song speaks to my season of life right now.. We sometimes struggle to find God in the ordinary tasks of our daily life: but He is always near!

Sidewalk Prophet's "Help  Me  Find  It"  Lyrics

I don't know where to go from here 
It all used to seem so clear 
I'm finding I can't do this on my own 

I don't know where to go from here 
As long as I know that You are near 
I'm done fighting 
I'm finally letting go 

I will trust in You 
You've never failed before 
I will trust in You 

(Chorus )
If there's a road I should walk 
Help me find it 
If I need to be still 
Give me peace for the moment 
Whatever Your will 
Whatever Your will 
Can You help me find it 

Can You help me find it 

I'm giving You fear and You give faith 
I giving You doubt
You give me grace 
For every step I've never been alone 

Even when it hurts, You'll have Your way 
Even in the valley I will say 
With every breath 
You've never let me go 

I will wait for You 
You've never failed before 
I will wait for You 

Chorus

I lift my empty hands (come fill me up again) 
Have Your way my King (I give my all to You) 
I lift my eyes again (Was blind but now I see) 
‘Cause You are all I need 

Chorus

Thursday, March 16, 2017

CP Awareness Month;Zach Anner follow-up

Welcome Back Readers~

Because it is CP Awareness month, I thought I'd highlight one of the most popular comedians with CP on YouTube, Zach Anner. Some of you may remember me highlighting him from Oprah Winfrey's Create Your Own Show on OWN. He completed against other contestants in an effort to pitch his own traveling show. In the end, Oprah couldn't choose between the top two finalists-Zach and his traveling show as well as Kristina Kuzmic-Crocco's cooking show (if I remember correctly.) He recently added the title of author to his resume, penned his own memoir entitled If at Birth You Don't Succeed: My Adventures with Disaster and Destiny. Unlike the inspirational approach, Anner chooses to make light of his disability never letting it stop him.

Also, this month, the CPF is having a fundraiser in order to raise money for their organization. It starts on March 25 and involves downloading a app on your phone and exercising.



For more information  on raising awareness of CP, please go to:

https://www.facebook.com/cerebralpalsyfoundation/?hc_ref=PAGES_TIMELINE&fref=nf


For more  information  on Zach Anner or his book, please go to:



https://www.facebook.com/zachannerfanpage/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPTVYxUoYWhNa8J7GzIGnyQ

http://www.lovethatmax.com/2016/03/a-book-from-zach-anner-guy-with-sexiest.html





Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Assistancee Dog Issue goes straight to Supreme Court

Welcome Back Readers~

I was watching the news last week and came across a interesting story; it involved a young girl with CP w(cerebral palsy) and her struggle to gain independence in school the help of her assistance dog Wonder. In 2009, Ehlena Fry and her goldendoodle Wonder were first paired together during training in Ohio; this opportunity made possible through a $13,000 fundraiser held by family and friends. The trouble began when they tried to transition Wonder to assist her during school hours .at first, the school agreed to a 30 day trial.This didn't work out as planned, however , and was marked with one obstacle after another. Eventually, the Fry family decided to change middle school.

Still, they believe the other school needs to be held accountable according to the Americans with Disabilities Act .

For more information on this story, please go to: 

Http://www.npr.org/2016/10/31/499876610/a-girl-and-her-service-dog-head-to-the-supreme-court

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Looking Back at the Last Four Years of Independence...

Dear Readers,

 It is with mixed emotions that I finally come to terms with moving out of my apartment next week.. That's right folks! After about four years of living independently, I will be moving back in with my parents until they figure out where they plan on retiring. It is  not a  decision  I  (or should  I say we) came to easily, but the  financial  burden was  getting to  a bit  much. For  those living in Virginia, you  understand exactly where I am coming from.

Still, living  independently is something that I would encourage  everyone  with a disability to  embark upon.  Not only does it  teach people what they are  truly capable of, but give parents the benefit of knowing what it feels like to  let go  without the  fear of ultimate failure. In other words, they are still around to teach   them when necessary while  giving  their children the freedom to make mistakes...

Let's take a look back at my journey. When we first moved to Virginia in 2008, I found it difficult to make friends. My family and I spent several months settling in and trying to find a church we felt comfortable with. After looking at several prospects, we finally decided on a church whose main goal was teaching straight from the Bible, verse by verse. It was there that I met Sadie and we developed a friendship. Beginning December 4, 2011, we discussed our dreams of living independently and toyed with the idea of becoming roommates. Like myself, Sadie was determined to spread her wings and fly! Looking back, I  feel as if this was God's plan, giving us the opportunity to prove our capabilities to our parents. My parents weren't exactly comfortable with the idea of me living by myself, so this was a logical compromise. That  way, they knew someone would be there in in the evenings (as well as at night) in case of emergencies.

In January 2012, we finally signed a one-year lease for a two bedroom apartment;its location was close enough to my parents that they could come help when needed. Little by  little we begin to make that apartment our home, adding sparks of color (and accent walls!) Along the way I learned important lessons about cooperation and compromise.  At first, I spent a majority of my time working on this  blog; never giving up hope that I would find a job. Occasionally, we would have friends from church over for movie nights and to celebrate birthday parties. We both thrived until unforeseen difficulties caused my roommate to have to move out. This left me reeling, wondering how all of this fell into God's plan. But you know what they say- When God closes a door, he opens a window. It was  around that time (or earlier)  that I was hired to write blogs on website accessibility. My parents were still unsure about my ability to live on my own but figured since I was financially stable, I should at least finish the lease.

I continued to work for the remainder of the lease, but  felt the apartment  was a little too big for  one person. For a while, I  wasn't sure whether a one bedroom apartment would open up and I have to move back in one my parents; sometime during Christmas break I was notified that one had  became available- an early Christmas present. So on February 19, 2013, I began  transferring my  belongings from one apartment to the next with the help of some friends from church. Although I had lived independently before, it was an exhilarating feeling knowing I was completely on my own. I was responsible for paying the bills as well as making the place my very own. In other words, I was now a part of the typical workforce, getting up early in order to telework several  hours a day.. In the process, I dealt  with my share of personal assistant problems; this reiterated the value of advocacy on a daily basis and making sure my voice is heard.


All in all it has been amazing five years; during which I've gained the self-confidence of knowing what I am truly capable of. It's been a roller coaster of emotions but that's just a part of life;as my college pastor used to say, "Exp|ct the unexpected." While moving back sometimes feels like a step backwards for me, I have to believe God has something bigger in store for my future- and this was just a glimpse into what is humanly possible..I haven't given up  hope that I will settle down permanently- with a full-time job and a place of my own (maybe even  a boyfriend!) It just isn't my time yet..


Until then, I will have fond memories to look  back on and am forever  grateful for the experience. I just need to to where my primary focus should be- trusting God  to provide for the future like he always has. Maybe this time back home will rejuvenate my faith..

( This will be my last post from the apartment; all other posts will be from my parent's place! Internet will be disconnected sometime tomorrow.. Chuckle)

Saturday, February 11, 2017

I'm Not Ashamed: Official Movie Trailer (2016)


Welcome Back Everyone~
A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to watch "I'm Not Ashamed." This movie chronicled the life of Rachel Scott. Most people remember her for her faithful declaration of Jesus on April 20, 1999 during the Columbine High School massacre; what they don’t realize is the journey it took to get there. On the outside, she was a typical teenager who struggled to be a part of the “in” crowd at school while dealing with feelings of insecurity. Her parents felt they had no other choice but to send Rachel to her aunt’s for the summer; during which time, she had a spiritual breakthrough.
Back at home, Rachel feels conflicted. She tries to stay connected to her old friends while staying true to her newfound faith- it doesn’t work.
Still, the movie came to mind during a recent sermon from church. It centered on our eternal inheritance; In Luke 10:25, an expert tries to trip up Jesus by questioning his teachings. He asked, “…What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Instead of answering him out right, he turns the question back at him saying, ‘What is written in the Law?”’ he replied. ‘How do you read it?’ In other words, Jesus wonders about the expert’s interpretation and understanding of the Law. At first, he answers almost verbatim to that of the first commandment (as written in Mark 12: 12); In verse 27, the lawyer answers, “… Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”   The conversation continues with Jesus replying as follows, “You have answered correctly… Do this and you will live.”
The expert attempts to justify himself by inquiring further as to who exactly is his neighbor. This is where the parable of The Good Samaritan comes into play. What's  my point in using this as an example? Loving others isn’t always easy; many times we find ourselves outside our comfort zones. For Rachel, this meant putting her faith on  display several times on and before that fateful day in April. One instance  of love iin  action  is one she befriends Nathan,  a  homeless teenager  on  the streets and invites  him to  youth group.  Not  only  does  he  get a place  to stay,, but realizes  the importance of having only faith.
The next  sermon  focused on the  two  distinct perspectives Christians can  have  towards their  relationship  with Jesus-doing things  for Him versus Getting To Know Him  Intimately.  While  God appreciates  our showing  love towards  the community, he puts  greater value  on  our  personal relationship with  Him.  Why? For starters, it  gives  new meaning to our actions; we  understand and begin to see  things from God's perspective  rather than  our own. Don't get me wrong,  God values what  we do as long as it  is for the right reasons.  Take a look  at God's response  for supporting  evidence in Luke 10:41- 42
In short, I would highly recommend renting I'm Not Ashamed.  Although  the content is highly  thematic and suspenseful  (because of its Subject matter  and  PG rating). It is very inspirational and moving.
I have  included  the theatrical trailer below as  well as the  lyrics to Plumb''s Need You  Now (How  Many  Times)




Need  You Now (How Many Times)
by Plumb



Well, everybody's got a story to tell
And everybody's got a wound to be healed
I want to believe there's beauty here
'Cause oh, I get so tired of holding on
I can't let go, I can't move on
I want to believe there's meaning here

How many times have you heard me cry out
"God please take this?"
How many times have you given me strength to
Just keep breathing?
Oh I need you
God, I need you now

Standing on a road I didn't plan
Wondering how I got to where I am
I'm trying to hear that still small voice
I'm trying to hear above the noise

How many times have you heard me cry out
"God please take this?"
How many times have you given me strength to
Just keep breathing?
Oh I need you
God, I need you now

Though I walk,
Though I Walk through the shadows
And I, I am so afraid
Please stay, Please stay right beside me
With every single step I take

How many times have you heard me cry out?
And how many times have you given me strength?

How many times have you heard me cry out
"God please take this?"
How many times have you given me strength to
Just keep breathing?
Oh I need you
God, I need you now.

I need you now
Oh I need you
God, I need you now.
I need you now
I need you now

Friday, January 6, 2017

Funny Friday Clip: Do Not Let Children Use Alexa without Parental Supervision!

Welcome Back Readers~

Watching Fox Five DC news yesterday, I came across a funny story about the precautions of using Alexa to purchase items online, As I've written in previous posts about Alexa, the device has the capabilities of accessing music, reading books and purchasing stuff online simply by voice. That is, of course if the technology has access through your linked accounts. One Dallas family learned this lesson the hard way when packages started arriving that they had ordered. Turns out, Alexa had been listening to closely to the daughter when she asked for cookies and a dollhouse- her wish was granted. The family then donated the dollhouse to charity.

Too bad she was not aware that you could deactivate voice purchasing or use a pin to confirm the purchase.

For more information on this story, please go to:

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