Thursday, December 30, 2010

Guess what?

I have some exciting news to share with all of you. But, in true form, I'm doing things a little different.


Box of toy cars..........$19

Baseball bat..............$40

Four wheeler..........$398

My little nephew.............PRICELESS

That's right! I'm going to be an aunt in May 2011! I can't wait to meet this precious little man! Fun times are ahead for sure!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Life Right Now

This is just a quick entry to let all of you know I haven't been feeling the best for the past few days. I'm going to rest today, so there won't be a Memories Rewind post. School starts back next week, so I need to be feeling better by then.

As you know, life isn't always rosy. I have bad days just like you. When I had my back pain for a year, I didn't write in my diary because I was in excruciating pain. It was hard to get through the day, much less write about my feelings. In retrospect, I wish I would have written about that time to some extent, but I didn't want my diary to be filled with pages of "I've had another bad day" you know?

Anyway, I am blogging about my not so good days. Sometimes, it helps just to get it out. Tomorrow is a new day, and that means it has the potential to be a great day.

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Results are In....

Thanks for participating in my polls! I was glad that a few of you joined in on the fun.

Some interesting facts:

  • The poll said that the majority of my readers are female, but I know for a fact I have a few male readers. :)

  • Most of my readers are between 18-25 and 33-40

  • The majority of you have children

  • There was a tie between Fall and Spring as your favorite seasons

I know everyone who reads didn't participate, but it was interesting to find out a little more about some of you! Now that Christmas is over, what was your favorite thing about Christmas?

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas is Near

I thought I would share our tree for this year.

In the midst of presents and parties, don't forget the real reason for celebrating. God gave His best so that we could have a life filled with hope for the future. Even though we deserved a much harsher punishment, He took our place.

Hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and a wonderful new year!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Memories Rewind: The Child Within

Every child waits in anticipation for Christmas. Pretty lights, presents, and festive music are a change from the everyday routine.

We would all pile in the car to go look at Christmas lights. Mama would take us down through where Granny and Papa's old house was because there were a few houses that really loved to decorate for Christmas. As we pulled up to the old man's house, Mama slowed the car to a crawl so that we could take it all in. In the front yard, there were reindeer and trees with colored lights. There was a Santa's workshop that was trimmed in red. Each year he would add something new, so me and Eli would try to see who could spot the newest addition to the old man's growing collection first.

"Look at the blow up igloo, I exclaimed. It even has falling snow inside of it. I don't think that was there last year!"

We would be in awe of the decorations. As children, we would get excited if a Christmas song came on the radio. Everything was different, yet familiar at the same time. At Christmas, even an ugly tree could be beautiful with some lights and festive garland.

Now we are adults, but we still enjoy Christmas. On the way to our church's yearly Christmas program, my brother was in a great mood. He was humming his favorite songs and everything. He had been chipper all day come to to think of it. It was great to see him in such a good mood. It was almost as if he was a little kid again.

What is your favorite Christmas memory?
P.S. Thanks to all who have participated in my poll! Go here to answer my questions!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Special Needs Dolls

Growing up, you never saw dolls that looked different. The dolls always had the perfect outfits, manicured nails, and all of the accessories. In case you haven't been out and about in awhile, you may not realize that most people don't look like that. There are kids with cancer and many other things.

I thought it was important to make sure they were represented, too. So, I went on a search for dolls that have wheelchairs, crutches, etc. To my surprise, I even found dolls with braces! I think this would help kids who are different to feel better about themselves.

These dolls would be good for younger kids who like soft dolls and aren't old enough to play with dolls that have lots of parts. You can purchase everything at this website. They have lots of accessories to choose from too. *The accessories are sold separately from the doll.

This is a doll for kids who are going through chemo. You can purchase it here. Scroll down until you see a doll named Hannah. It's also available on this website at a cheaper price, but it's out of stock right now. Sew Able dolls also has a boy doll with blond hair that wears braces, but there's not room enough to list every single special needs doll. I just wanted to share this with everyone in case you know a child that has special needs or have a family member like that.

This is a baby doll who is doing physical therapy. You can choose from exercise balls, trampoline and other accessories to go with the doll (this is also from the Sew Able website. I had never seen anything like this, so I thought I was cool!
P.S Here's the link to the physical therapy equipment and wheelchairs for the bigger dolls. Please remember that the bigger dolls are for older children.

Monday, December 20, 2010

What Does it Take?

I was sitting in an office and noticed some very peculiar things. Someone was expecting a baby and the mother of the woman never got excited as the ultrasound wand moved over the woman's belly.

I couldn't believe it. How can you see a precious little person on the screen and not get excited? If you aren't over the moon about having a grandchild, could you at least smile? What about thinking about all of the adventures, trips, and firsts you will get to experience with your grandchild? Does that not make you get the warm fuzzy feeling in your heart?

I'm afraid in today's society, people don't get genuinely excited over anything anymore. Sure, they scream and yell when their favorite team is playing on TV, but that's not what I'm talking about it. The kind of excitement I'm talking about doesn't fade away within a day or so. It lingers with you awhile. You have a spring in your step and are feeling alive. I guess you could say this is what a newlywed feels like. I wouldn't know since I'm not married, but I would imagine this is what it would feel like.

I don't know about you, but I need some excitement in my life every now and then. Going to school, doing homework, bathing, and eating all become somewhat mundane and routine after awhile. I try to look for pleasure in the simple things. It doesn't take much to make me happy.

When was the last time you were excited? Share it in the comments!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Getting to Know my Readers

I've recently had some new people subscribe to Making my Mark through email. I just wanted to say thanks for reading! It is wonderful to know that people take time out of their day to read what I write.

Since I've had some new readers as well, I want to know more about you. Yes, even the ones who never comment, feel free to participate in this. :)

The polls will close on December 25, 2010 at 12:00 A.M. Eastern Standard Time Can't wait to see the responses! This should be fun!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

(in)courage Post: Brokenness

My post is up at (in)courage! I'm seeing myself in a whole new light. I've had to face the truth today. It was a harsh reality, but it was also a life-changing truth...

Click here to read the rest of my post. We've all been broken, but the Potter can make something beautiful out of our mess if we let Him.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Coming Up: Guest Post for (in)courage

I will be posting over at (in)courage tomorrow. I'm very excited because it's a website that encourages women. Be sure to scroll through the Daily Guests section because there are some awesome stories that are sure to inspire. Even if you're just having a bad day, you will be feeling grateful for what you have. The best part, no caffeine is needed. :)

So, head on over there tomorrow to see what I have to say! I'll post a link to my post when I get back from my doctor's appointment. It will be posted in the Daily Guests section.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Think Before you Speak

Image Credit: What Not to Do ©StillSearc 
I said I would share some of the dumbest things I've been told concerning my disability. So, here they are:

"I'd like to be out of school for three months...but not because of surgery of course."

[in reference to my wheelchair] "You don't need legs do you?"

"You have it easy because you get to leave Chemistry early." I responded by saying, "No, I actually don't. I have to work harder to make sure I have all of my work done because I leave early."

"You must be the teacher's pet because you get to leave lunch early." I had to leave class and lunch early to avoid the crowds. Because of the hardware in my hips, if I fell, it could cause serious damage.

"You must be the Queen of Sheba! You have the best desk and chair in the classroom." I had a desk and chair because of my back pain. All of the other students had those small desks. (This was actually pretty funny).

As I was walking to lunch in elementary school, a boy suddenly turned around as he mimicked me. "This is what you look like when you walk. A duck!"

I'm adding another one that my mom reminded me of. A random lady came up to us while we were shopping in Wal-M@rt and said, "You're just being lazy using that electric scooter." My mom told her that I actually needed that because I couldn't walk long distances. She laughed and said, "I was just joking." A Wal-M@rt employee overheard the conversation and told her that if they didn't think I needed it, they wouldn't let me use it. The employee also told her she was extremely rude.

Louise reminded me of something in her comment. I can't expect anyone to understand what I'm going through because they have never been in my shoes. They can only relate to what they've experienced. This post is mainly a reminder to everyone (including myself) to think about things before we say things. Words have the power to encourage, but they can also be incredibly hurtful. My mom always taught me to give everyone the respect that I would want given to me. I always welcome questions from people (even strangers) because I want people to know it's okay to ask questions. I just wish people would be more respectful of one another. It really is an uncommon thing these days.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Beneath the Mask

We all hide behind a mask. We plaster on smiles when we are breaking on the inside. We just want people to think we have it all together so we aren't peppered with a million questions after they find out what's really going on.

If we're being honest, that mask almost makes us forget we don't have any pain in our lives. (Fill in the blank with whatever word fits your situation). The mask has become almost like a second skin because we find ourselves telling everyone, "I'm okay," but that couldn't be further from the truth.

Only when we get to the root of the pain or frustration will we begin to heal. Imagine someone in so much pain (whether it's physical or emotional) that they want to crawl out of their own skin. I uttered those words just the other day. They peel back that thick layer they have built up around themselves that was crafted for years. As they take of the mask and seemingly protective layers, you get to see the real them. You see the heart faintly beating, but it's beating, nonetheless. That's a good thing because it means there's still hope!

When the person emerges from the mask, they have a hard time adjusting to their new reality. But, it's a step in the right direction because they have made the choice to finally be free of the prison the mask had them in.

What masks do you need to shed? Are you struggling to keep up the image of Miss Perfect?

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Memories Rewind: Flutters of Light

Eli and I were on a mission. The night was a bit muggy, but it didn't bother us. Armed with mason jars and coats, we were ready. We weren't catching measly bugs. This twin duo was going to catch some fireflies.

They fluttered all around my Memaw's yard in the summertime. I darted off in one direction so me and Eli wouldn't be fighting over fireflies. I wanted to catch my own, you know. So, I ran around until I set my sights on one within reach.

The firefly's body would light up like a neon light one second and be gone the next. I cupped the jar and slammed on the lid. "I got one!" I thought to myself. Much to my dismay, the little critter got away before I could catch him. I don't know if there are male and female fireflies, but it didn't seem right to refer to these beautiful creatures as its.

"Look! I got one, Madison!" Eli exclaimed. I rushed over to see firefly up close and personal, but Eli would only let me get to a certain distance. It was a magical sight. In my opinion, fireflies were a lot prettier than most insects.

I couldn't be outdone by my brother, so I had to catch one now. I was trying to be patient, but catching a firefly was hard work! Finally, one was within my reach. I gingerly screwed on the lid as he fluttered around inside. I suspect he didn't like being in such close quarters. Who could blame him? He was used to flying in wide open spaces, and I stuck him in a little mason jar. "Don't worry, little fella, I won't hurt you," I reassured him.

We hurried inside to show Grandaddy our new friends. After telling him how we caught them, we released them so they could fly freely in Memaw's beautiful yard. I secretly hoped the fireflies would come back to visit more often.

Did you ever see or catch fireflies as a child?

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

A Letter's Journey: What Hurts the Most

I apologize for leaving you hanging on this story for so long. I just didn't have the energy to continue until now.

For the previous edition, click here.

"Why not go?" Domonique asked herself. Well, she could think of a million reasons. For starters, she didn't want to hear his incessant ramblings about what he hated about his life. She also didn't want to be badgered about things that happened years ago. She didn't want to hear about any negative things. Domonique just wanted a simple, quiet dinner. Was that too much to ask?

Maybe this time will be different. Who knows he might be glad to see me? Ugh. She was doing it again. Dominique was torturing herself with countless what if scenarios that might not even happen.

In the midst of her tug a war with her mind and heart, a song came on the radio. She paused her pacing on the floor to see what was playing. Wouldn't you know it was What Hurts the Most by Rascal Flatts? How ironic. That was exactly how she felt.

"Starting now, I'm taking control of my life. No more reasoning through this mess. I'm living my life for me," she said out loud to no one in particular. But....

That song was quietly playing in the background. Oh, that song. It could creep in at the worst of times. She felt the anger rising up within her with each beat that sounded through the stereo.

"What hurts the most

Was not being close

And watchin' you act a fool

'Cause ya didn't even have a clue!" Dominique belted out in her living room clad in her favorite flannel pajamas. She was making up the words to express how she felt. She couldn't control his actions, but she could let all of her frustrations out in this song.

And never knowing...

Dominique could feel her chest getting tighter as she tried to utter the next words. They came out barely above a whisper, but she was determined to not let her grief overtake her.

"What could have been

And not seein' that savin' you

Is what we were tryin' to do..."

Dominique collapsed into the pillows on her couch. She didn't even care that her mascara was running down her cheeks. She let herself sob for a good hour. She let go of all the hurt from the missed birthdays, hateful words, and pain from the last ten years. Dominique decided to go to bed. Tomorrow was a new day. She would decide about the dinner later. Right now, her body was more than willing to get beneath the covers and stay awhile.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

21 Wishes

With each birthday comes a time to reflect on the past and anticipate the future. As my mom said, "Make a wish!," Eli and I simultaneously broke out in a fit of laughter. It was a priceless moment.

In honor of my 21st birthday, I thought I'd list 21 wishes. I didn't want to do a 'traditional' birthday post. I guess you could call this my bucket list. Some of these things are just for fun. :)

1. Enjoy this next year no matter what comes my way.

2. Take more opportunities to thank my family "just because".

3. Go to Spain.

4. Learn how to use Photoshop.

5. Learn calligraphy one day.

6. Meet Denise Hildreth. She's one of my favorite authors.

7. Write a book.

8. Go back in time to the visit those beautiful, old libraries to learn how people lived, what they did for fun, etc. I like to look at people's handwriting, too because every person's is different.

9. Be able to do more in physical therapy.

10. Be able to sit up more during the day. This is getting better, but it's taking time.

11. Encourage kids with disabilities to never give up.

12. See how a popular magazine like Vouge or Seventeen magazine is designed (I think it would be cool to see it go from the rough draft to the final version!).

13. Donate hair to Locks of Love more often. I've done it before, but I want to do it again.

14. Design stylish shoes for kids and adults that have to wear orthotics or heel lifts.

15. Visit Switzerland.

16. Give journals and pens (and crayons for the younger kids) who are in the hospital to encourage creativity inspite of their not-so-fun situation.

17. Graduate college

18. Get married

19. Go on a mission trip.

20. Find opportunities to give to others in meaningful ways. Encouraging words, handmade gifts, etc.

21. Learn to slow down and enjoy life! I'm working on this one right now by watching Christmas movies. :)

My brother and I had an awesome birthday! We kept it simple and celebrated with family. What would be on your bucket list?

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Memories Rewind: Caught in the Middle

It had snowed the night before. The ground was covered in a beautiful blanket of snow. As I stepped out onto the porch, I had to stop and stare for a minute because we don't get snow very often where I live.

Being the kids that we were, we couldn't wait to build a snowman, but first we had an impromptu snowball fight with my older cousin Brad. Eli threw one at Brad and then it was on. Brad got a big pile of snow to make sure his snowball packed a punch. He wasn't playing when it came to snowball fights. I was walking around in the yard when it happened. I turned around slowly and I was met with Brad throwing a snowball that hit me right in the shoulder All I remember was the blur of his jacket as he was running towards Eli. Man, did that hurt! As I regained my balance, snow was coming out of my mouth as I stuttered while trying to speak.

"Madison, I didn't mean to hit you," Brad assured me. "I was trying to get Eli back and I you came into my path as I was aiming for him. Are you okay?"

"Yeah, I'm fine. I just wasn't expecting it!"

Soon after, I dusted my coat off and the boys resumed their game. I made sure to get as far away as possible this time because I didn't want to be caught off guard again. "You're going to get it now!" I heard one of the boys say and they ran to hit each other. I let them have their fun. As for me, I went back inside where it was warm. That cold weather was not my friend at the moment.

Have you ever been the unexpected target in a game with your family?

P.S. I'm in the midst of finals and my birthday is tomorrow(!), so I may not post until the weekend.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

I Wouldn't Change a Thing

I was recently having a conversation with some other people. A really thought-provoking question was asked. "What event do you wish you could have prevented?"

I said a friend's suicide. Another person said the life-changing car accident that left her paralyzed and in a wheelchair. Her response got me thinking. I've never wished that I was born a different way.* Sure, I've gotten frustrated over the years when I couldn't do things my friends were doing. When I was younger, I wished I didn't have to have so many surgeries. As I've gotten older, I've realized that all of the events in my life have shaped me into the person I am today.

If I had been born with no physical handicaps, I would have an entirely different outlook on life. I wouldn't be as compassionate. Unfortunately, I probably would have been one of those snarky teenagers who thought the world revolved around them. I would have been concerned with the latest fashion. So, in that respect, I'm thankful that I didn't end up like most teenagers. I would much rather give than receive. I'm always looking for ways to make someone's day better, even if it's just a smile or listening to them. Basically, I learned at a young age that it's not all about me. There are hurting people all around us, but most people turn away. (If I wished I was someone else, I would just get their problems. Yes, they would be different problems, but everyone has things they deal with.)

While my life has had its share of ups and downs, I wouldn't trade my life for anything. I'm still believing for my total healing because God has promised that healing belongs to me in His word. I have so much I want to do with my life that requires me to be healthy. Until then, I'm going to keep writing and using my gifts for His glory.

*The only thing I have ever said in regards to having a disability is that I would be glad to trade places with those people who think I have an easy life. I'll have to write a post with some of the dumbest things I've heard in regards to my disability. You would be surprised at things people say.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Still Learning

I'm in the homestretch as I countdown the end of this semester. I have two group projects to film today, a speech, and then finals. But I can see the light at the end of the tunnel!

I've learned a lot about communication and designing publications, but most of all I've learned a lot about myself. I've learned that I can do things that seem impossible if I'll tackle them one page at a time.

I've learned that everything has a way of working out in the end. Countless times this semester, I've been frazzled and stressed. But, everything always comes together when I give it to Him. Why is it so hard to do sometimes? We know God knows what to do, yet we think we've got everything under control.

I've learned that you learn a lot about others in the midst of stressful situations. Some people stick it out with you, while some hide away in the rooms away from reality.

I've learned to trust even more in the grace that God gives each day. Just when I think God can't get any more awesome than He already is, He does. He comforts me when I'm stressed, He provides encouragement from the most unlikely places, and He is continually helping me see what I can be through Him.

One of the most profound things I've learned during this semester is delay is not denial. My mom said this after one of my doctor's appointments didn't go as planned. This phrase has echoed in my mind many times since that day to remind me that just because something doesn't happen when I think it should, doesn't mean it won't happen.

Whether you're a student like me or an employee, what have you learned in these past few months?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Memories Rewind: Kite Day

I've asked my friend Katie Griffin to do a guest post for Memories Rewind today. Go on over to Katie's blog The Greatest is Love and welcome her. She is finishing up college, so she hasn't had much time to blog. But I know she would love to read your comments. Enjoy!

As a seven year old little girl, the event of the year was Kite Day. My dad and I would go to the hardware store and buy the plastic, wood, paint and string needed to build a kite. Then my brother, Isaac, and my older sister, Lauren, would race us down to the basement to see who could finish making their kite first. It was never a real contest because there were three of us and only one dad, and we couldn’t do it without dad’s help.

As dad glued the sticks together to make the frame we would unroll the plastic and try to drape it across the wooden sticks just right so we could get to our favorite part of kite making- painting. We got to choose three of our favorite colors and mine were pink, purple and green. Last year we just had swirls of color on our kites but this year was extra special because dad helped us make stencils so that our names could be on our kites along with a few hearts and flowers. As my dad held down the stencils, I poured my heart out on that kite in colorful rows of pink and green. I saved the purple for the hearts and flowers that floated around my name. When the last dab of color had been added to the plastic we stepped back and both mine and my dad’s brows wrinkled as our eyes were wide with joy. “Good job, Kate” he said as we carefully picked the kite up and carried it outside to dry underneath the sun’s rays.

A few hours later we had changed from our paint-covered clothes and put the dry kites in the back of the truck and were on our way to my favorite event of the year. We arrived at our church and unloaded the food and the kites and made our way through the crowd. Adults and children alike eyed my prized kite. The wind picked up, blowing my blonde curls all in my face, and I knew it was time to set this kite free from my grasp. Dad helped me hold it as I readied my hands on the spool of string. I watched as he took off running and then released it into the hands of the strong wind. For just a moment, I panicked, but then saw that it was flying just fine in the wind. Its colorful tail danced back and forth above me and in that moment I was completely content. I began running across the yard not taking my eyes off of that kite for a second.

A gust of wind came from the opposite direction and suddenly my eyes were staring at the ground where my broken kite lay. Tears filled my eyes as I carried it’s corpse up to where dad was and he assured me that it could be saved. I thought it was beyond repair, but he took it to the truck and pulled out some tape and glue and before I knew it he turned around with my beautiful kite completely fixed! I stared at him in awe because I realized that my dad could truly fix anything. After thanking him a hundred times, we released it back into the sky and I was once again completely content as I watched my colorful diamond flutter across the big blue sky. Kite Day had once again been a success.

I’m 22 years old now, married, and living two states away from my dad. But looking back on that day, I realize that I no longer can run to my dad when my heart gets broken or I get disappointed. Now I run to my heavenly father, usually with tears pouring out of my eyes, and He does exactly what my dad did years ago- He fixes it.

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Steady Rhythm

As I lie here, waiting for my medicine to work, I can feel my heart beating. Bump ba dum. Bump ba dum over and over. My heart still beats in the midst of everything around me. No matter how many doctors appointments I have sprinkled throughout the month, life goes on.

Each day, I have a renewed hope to face the day. This past week was hard and frustrating. All I wanted to do was work on my assignments and I couldn't. The reality that I needed to rest...HAD to rest hit me like a ton of bricks.

I sighed as my face felt the coolness of my pillow. "When I wake up, I will feel better," I told myself. I was right. I did feel a little better. I made a choice to do some work that day no matter what. As I eased myself into the right position, I felt satisfied. No, I didn't get everything crossed off my to do list that day, but I did something. My pace was steady. I have to keep living my life in spite of what's going on in my body or around me.

With God's help, I will get my work done for this semester. I don't have much longer. :)

What about you? Are you going to make the choice to really live your life to the fullest?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Memories Rewind: Nine Dollars

I went down to my Papa's house and ran up to the door. "Papa, guess where I'm going?"

"Where?" he asked. "I'm going to Wal-M@rt to get my ears pierced!" I said excitedly.

He was a little skeptical at first since I was only nine years old at the time. He fished around in his pockets and handed me some money. "Well, here's $9, but you better come back with your ears pierced."

"I will, Papa! Don't worry!" I assured him. When I got to the jewelry section, Mama told me I needed to pick out some earrings first. I scanned the options and settled on a pair of little studs.

I climbed up on the seat in anticipation of getting those sparkly earrings. After cleaning my ear, the earring was in my ear. "That wasn't so bad" I thought to myself.

Well, I didn't know whether to be nervous or excited because we were almost done. I knew what to expect, so I tried not to get too nervous.

Before I knew it, my ears were red, but they had earrings in them! I couldn't wait to match my earrings with my bracelets and rings.

As soon as I got home, I couldn't wait to show my Papa. Always the teaser, he said, "Whatcha got there?" I'm sure I rolled my eyes at this point while explaining to him that I got my ears pierced just like I said I would. "Woo! Let me see those things!" he said. "Those sure are pretty."

As I left, I wrapped my arms around his waist and thanked him for the money. It wasn't much, but it sure brought me a lot of happiness.

Have you ever had something simple that made you happy?

Friday, November 05, 2010

Being Productive

I want to check in with everyone today. In the midst of many final projects and doctor's appointments, the blog has been a little neglected. I'm sure you understand that school comes first. :) Blogging is something I enjoy, but I want to have the time to make good posts, not sloppy ones.

I have some posts coming up that I think you will enjoy. So, I just wanted everyone to know I'm still alive. I just have some things that must be done this weekend.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Monday, November 01, 2010


As I go about my daily tasks, I can't help but think a little more understanding would go along way. These are just general thoughts. This post isn't directed towards a specific person or group or people.

For example, when I'm tired after a day of school and assignments, a little understanding would be nice. I'm not talking about treating me like a queen bee, but just put yourself in my shoes. So often, people are rude, and it shows.

They don't hold doors and they barrel past you in a store without a second thought. This reminds me of a horse with blinders on. People are in such a rush that they can't see much of anything around them.

Others are snappy, and you can't figure out why. In my experience, this leads to frustration because I don't know how to help them. I have to be patient with them regardless of how they act because I don't know what kind of day they've had.

But, that's easier said than done. Sometimes, I would like to give people a dose of empathy to make them care about someone other than themselves. If I had a magic wand, I think I would find a few people and zap them. Who knows, maybe it would have lasting effects? :)

Can you think of anyone that fits this description?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Memories Rewind: Halloween Our Way

Mama and I were on our way to pick out a Halloween costume for her character at church. I skipped through the aisles looking at the costumes. There were scary goblins and witches for those who wanted a little fright in their Halloween plans. Then, you had Dorothy from Wizard of Oz or Cleopatra. The possibilities were endless at this store!

When I turned around, Mama had put on a colorful wig. It was hilarious! But, I have to admit I was a little embarrassed at first. :)

Then, she put on a mask and burst into a song that she just made up on the spot. We had our own fun right there in the store. I loved that my mom didn't care what anyone thought about her dancing around and having fun with me in the store.

Before we knew it, we had been in there for over an hour trying on funny glasses, hats, and the like. I spotted a feather boa and just had to try it on. I guess the creative juices of Halloween had finally found their way to me. I looked pretty awesome with my pink boa and capris if I do say so myself.

We left with a neon green wig because we didn't find exactly what she was looking for at that store (She did find a costume eventually), but we had lots of fun acting silly!

What fun memories of Halloween do you have?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Don't Flinch!

Little baby chicks are so cute and small. But when I had the opportunity to reach in and touch one, I instinctively said, "I don't want it to bite me!"

Isn't that what we usually do with people? We don't want others to hurt us, so we hold back. If we are brave enough to start building a relationship, we flinch and pull away as soon as others try to help us. Admit it; you've had someone give you constructive criticism and you've flinched. You instinctively pulled away from that person the minute you thought you might get "bitten."

Sometimes we pull away from the very people we need in our lives the most. Pulling away from them isn't going to change our situation. It will only distance us further from our lifeline. If you were drowning, would you swim away from the rope? No! You would swim furiously until you latched on.

Hopefully we will all realize the importance of having someone in our lives that loves us enough to tell us the truth. God has given each of us an opportunity to latch onto His lifeline. He plucks us out of situations when we seek Him, but He uses the people around us to do it. In order to grow, we need to face the truth and not shy away from it. Instead of flinching in fear at what might happen when Gods sends people into your life, embrace your new opportunity for change!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

In the Midst of It

I was scheduled to go for a nerve block in Augusta on October 15th in the hopes that the doctor would be able to pinpoint the source of my pain. When I went to sleep that night, something was different. My heart rate was slower and I actually got a good night's sleep for once.

I was trusting God to guide the doctor's hands as he would be the one injecting the medicine into my back. An unmistakable peace was with me as I drifted off to sleep.

When I woke up the next morning, I didn't have ANY pain! The miraculous thing was I wasn't in any pain on the way to my doctor's appointment either.

They ended up not even doing the nerve block because I wasn't in any pain. That type of nerve block is only helpful if you're in pain when they are doing it because that's the only way to tell if it was working.

I was a little upset that Mama had to take off work to come with me and they didn't do it. But, those thoughts quickly vanished when I realized this was the beginning of my miracle! No knew I had been praying God would take away the pain in my legs so I wouldn't need the nerve block.

It was an amazing feeling! The pain has tried to creep back in these past few days, but I'm standing on God's promises.

Don't stop believing in the midst of the storm!

P.S. I know I didn't do a Memories Rewind post on Wednesday. I have had tests to study for and deadlines to meet for my yearbook class.

Monday, October 18, 2010

You know you've made it When...

(I had forgotten about writing this awhile back, but it's worth posting.)

Your 12 year old cousin sits quietly, laptop in hand, reading your blog. Sometimes I question whether or not I really produce interesting work. Mama cast a knowing glance at me and said, "You've done good when you can keep an 11 (now 12) year old's attention for several hours." I guess she's right.

After writing for such a long time, you learn that no paper will ever be perfect. No story will be complete, but you begin to be okay with it. Sure, I revise, revise, and revise again to make sure that I've fully developed my ideas, but my mama has taught me that you can only do so much.

An English professor of mine once said something that I still remember, "There's no such thing as great writing only great rewriting." How true that is. When he first said that, I was a freshman navigating the waters known as English 101. I woke up on the first day of school a little nervous but full of excitement because I had to the opportunity to learn at a different level. To be challenged in areas that I hadn't thought about.

Thanks, Mikayla for reminding me why I started writing in the first place...for others to enjoy.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Feature Article: Writing for an Audience

I've been waiting to announce something. I am now one of the five feature writers for Adori Graphics! I'll be writing articles on all things related to blogging, which is so me. As you all know, I love to write so this just allows me combine my love of writing with helping others. That's what communication is all about, so the things I've learned in class will definitely be put to good use.

Here's a little snippet of my first article which is about writing for an audience: Writing for readers versus in your private journal are two very different things. I'm going to give you some tips to keep in mind...

Join me today at Adori Graphics for the rest of the article!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Memories Rewind: Join In!

I'm not feeling good today, so the weekly Memories Rewind post will have to wait. I just need to rest, so I'm not going to fight it.

In the meantime, why don't you all link up your Memories Rewind posts? It could be a childhood memory or something your children have done. The sky is the limit as far as topics go. I've always wanted to branch out with Memories Rewind, so hopefully many of you will join in! I asked about interest in this before, but I choose to believe some of you were too shy to comment. :) Please link back to this post somewhere in your Memories Rewind post, so others can be a part of the fun, too!
If I have a good response, I may may this a weekly link party in addition to my own Memories Rewind post.

No story or memory is dumb. Just link the URL of your Memories Rewind post here, not the URL of your blog. Example: It will be open until Friday, October 22. I can't wait to read your stories!

Monday, October 11, 2010

In my Shoes

As a young girl, I loved shoes. But, there was one problem. None of the cute shoes would fit with my AFO's. My mom and I would spend hours in Wal-Mart hoping that one pair might work.

I spotted a cute pair that I just had to try on. Mama would bend down with the shoe horn in hand. It was a war. Heragainst the shoe. She pulled and tugged, but it just wouldn't go over my braces. I let out a sigh of disappointment as we moved on.

Sometimes I would suggest a pair to Mama even though I knew they wouldn't work. I thought if I wished hard enough they would magically fit. I knew Wal-Mart shoes didn't have any support in them, but they had all of the cute styles. Usually, we would order dressy shoes from a speciality shoe store, but it was different for everyday shoes. Mama would have to buy them a size up from my normal size so the shoes would go over my AFO's. Tears would sting my eyes as I was reminded once again that I wasn't like everyone else. (These didn't come from Wal-Mart, either.)

Going to school was also constant reminder of what I couldn't have. All of my friends wore these cute strappy sandals. The pain almost felt like it would leap out of my chest each time I heard a flip flop coming down the hall.

Mama didn't mind paying more for my shoes because she knew it was what I needed. But, I was mad, frustrated, and overwhelmed. I just couldn't understand why all of the shoes that worked with AFO's had to be boring. I wanted color and style! Was that too much to ask? Twenty years ago it was. Now, there are companies like NAOT who make sure people in braces have cute shoes (the footbed comes out, and I think some of the shoes come in wide sizes).

Even though I don't have to wear braces anymore, finding shoes is still a struggle because I have to wear a heel lift in my left shoe. The shoe has to be wide enough to accommodate that. Privo has removable insoles, too, so that works for me. (There are many other websites that sell Privo, I just linked to a familiar one. You can find really good sales on them if you look.)

That saying "Don't judge someone before you walk a mile in their shoes" is so true.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Memories Rewind: The Flower Garden

This is a journal entry that was published in my middle school literary magazine. Please ignore any errors. I was a sixth grader when I wrote this. :)

Dear Journal, 1/29/02

I enjoy looking at my grandmother's flower garden when I go to visit her. When people look at her flower garden they just see beautiful flowers surrounding them. I see that, too, just much more than that. When I gaze out into her flower garden, I see all all the different colors and textures of each flower. She may have a whole bunch of the same kind of flowers in a group; each one is unique in its own way, just like people. Some of them have red on them with tints of white on the edges to draw the attention of the person or thing looking at it.

In my mind, I see each flower trying to outdo the other. They are very beautiful, my favorite one is the one I just described called, Double Delight. Others are bright pink with long sturdy stems for support.

Everywhere you look you see flowers! My grandmother has flower baskets in shady places. My grandmother loves vibrant colored flowers! They bring life into her yard. I couldn't imagine her yard without flowers somewhere in it because I have been around them so long!

Another thing I see in her yard is all the time and work that my grandmother and grandfather have put into their yard. Don't think that my grandfather gets left out of the work, Grandmother has to have his help, too!

I also see green shrubs around my grandmother's yard, and when they bloom in the Spring, you would have thought that they started out as little green plants! People are the same way. We start out as little babies and as time passes, we begin to grow and mature (I hope!)

Everything is a process. Flowers don't grow into big and beautiful flowers over night. It takes time, water, and sun to make them grow. It's the same way for people. When we are little, we need to be taken care of, loved, and nurtured in order to grow. At the end of this process, both come out strong and healthy.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Who Runs this Thing?

I've had several anonymous comments over the past week about a certain subject, so I thought I would answer it here. They will say something like, "I want to thank the staff here at for their work." My personal favorite was, "Can I get a staff member to answer my question?"

So, for all who are curious, this site isn't run by a staff. It is run by me and me only. I got a good laugh out of those comments, though. I guess people think that several people contribute to this site, but it's just me. I plan to have some guests posts occasionally, but what you read here is my stories.

Someone thought I completely made up the Memories Rewind posts, and when I responded that these were things that happened to me or someone in my family as I was growing up, they were surprised. Needless to say, I had a great childhood for the most part. :) I do all of those from memory, except for My Favorite Place, which was taken out of my middle school literary magazine. I have made up some stories, and I may share them here one day.

I'm always curious as to what people are thinking when they read my blog, and know I know (a little bit). For all of you who read, but never comment, why don't you leave me a question in the comments? I'd love to hear from you!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

One Step at a Time

The teachers gathered the teens and said we were going on an the woods. They explained the rules. Everyone had to have a buddy with them and we had to find our way back by working together. Note: This was a well-facilitated group exercise with many teachers and adults around.

Mrs. Stephanie and I started off just trying too get a feel for the area. Soon, we came to an area that forced us to decide which direction we were going to take. Left or right. The pine needles underfoot were no help. No one had paved the way for us. We choose one and continued on the path.

Time rocked on. I wondered if we were any closer to the church. I had no idea where we were. I just knew we had to keep going. Let's just say my legs had other plans. They were throbbing in pain because they weren't used to being used that much. I trudged on. The pain became more intense so I leaned into my crutches even more. "Do we need to stop and rest?" Mrs Stephanie. asked. "No," I said emphatically. Not now.

Weary from the walking, I didn't say much. I was tired. In my laziness, I failed to see a stick up ahead. My leg crumbled underneath me because of the little roadblock. Mrs. Stephanie. gripped my body tighter, holding me up as we went. I leaned into her shoulder determined not to make her carry all of the weight.

Little did we know, Mr. Bev was sent out to make sure we were OK. We were so focused on finishing we didn't even know he was 10 feet away from us. When I saw the Teen building, I knew we had almost made it. "Don't give up now,"I told myself. That would be ridiculous! Mr. Andy said, "Stephanie and Madison have entered the building. Give them a round of applause!" A huge smile crept across my face at the thought of what we had accomplished.

Sometimes we wander aimlessly through life thinking our knowledge is enough to sustain us. Then, circumstances arise that force us to choose our next step. Doubt or Faith? Love or Anger? We can't go through this life alone. We must have people in our lives that we can lean on. There is a sweet satisfaction that springs forth from your soul when you push yourself out of your comfort zone.

What obstacles do you need to push through?

Image Credit: Microsoft Clip Art

Monday, September 27, 2010

Duty Calls

I have a mid-term exam to study for and lots of little assignments, so blogging will be limited this week. I may have a Memories Rewind post up, but if I don't feel free to look at some of my past stories for your weekly dose of laughter.

Hope everyone is having a great Monday! Mine will be filled with studying.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

It's a Choice

Every day we are faced with a choice. Is today going to be good or bad? While you can't change the circumstances, you can change your attitude.

When my body is trying to adjust to the changes, which result in some sleepless nights, I get a choice. I can wallow in self-pity and find countless things to nit pick, or I can say, "No matter what I feel like, I'm going to praise You anyway." In fact, I uttered those words through tears today as I waited for relief. One thing I've learned is you can waste your life away waiting for things to happen. You have to embrace the moment. I thought of the first song that popped into my head and started singing.

God didn't mind that it sounded like a blubbering mess. I was determined to get in a good mood. Sometimes we can be so focused on a little thing that we miss the big picture. The big picture is I still have a life. I have breath to laugh and sing. I can write when words are stuck between the lump in my through and my stubborn head.

It won't be like this forever. I've been through this before at different times in my life. I choose to focus on the good because if I focus on the bad things, that does no good. When I'm at my weakest, I know things could be worse. So, I'm going to be thankful that tomorrow is Friday, which gives me a few days to recuperate.

P.S. Today is the fourth anniversary of my second surgery.

Until next time,

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Memories Rewind: A New Beginning

I just came through another major surgery at 14. I slowly walked the hallway of the hospital as I was trying to prepare myself to meet my new physical therapist. Up until this point, all of my physical therapists had been women, so I was nervous.

My feet were dragging as my mind was racing. "Would he be understanding? Is he patient? Would he be like a drill sergeant?" I wondered as I stopped in front of the room. There was no turning back now.

I eased my body into a chair in the waiting room. I decided to watch the minutes tick by on the clock on the wall. I was trying to think of something...anything to keep from going into panic mode. Tick, tick, tick. Before I knew it, it was my turn.

I was met by a young man named Dustin. "Are you ready to get started?" As I got up to leave, the receptionist said, "He won't kill you." I felt a little more at ease as a smile crept across my face. "Maybe this won't be so bad after all," I thought.

We discussed my medical history and did the evaluation that is required before you can start PT. He was a great listener, so that was a major plus in my book. I wasn't quite at the "let's be friends" stage, but I didn't hate him either. That was a step in the right direction.

Now, I have no reservations about him. We are both on the same page as far as my health is concerned. Yes, he challenges me, but he wouldn't be a good physical therapist if he didn't.

Have you ever dreaded something only to be pleasantly surprised at the outcome?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Moving Right Along

School is keeping me incredibly busy. I am learning so much about how magazines and newspapers design their pages. It definitely takes patience!

I'm juggling the workload fairly well, considering my pain. I love being busy because it keeps my mind off the pain. I haven't given an update on the medical side, so I thought I would take time to do that. I've been in a lot of pain these past few weeks, but I'm managing. I go back to the doctor in October to get a shot. I've often heard it's important to keep your routine as normal as possible, and I would agree with that. During a recent conversation with my old orthopaedic surgeon, he said something that really encouraged me: "You have a lot of things left to do in your life!"

I hung up the phone feeling renewed. It's amazing what a few simple words can do to encourage you. I was hurting that day, but I wasn't after we finished talking. I love it when I'm reminded of the big picture. I'm not going to stop living my life just because I have a few bad weeks. The assignments that I have don't magically disappear, so I take a break. Then, I get back to my work. Life isn't always easy, but God's grace is more than enough. I told God, "I'm running on empty today, so I'm going to use some of Your grace and Your strength." His tank is always full.

As humans, we let our pride get in the way of God's blessings. We think we've got everything under control, but we don't. We just think we do. Sometimes God wants to recharge us, but we are too drained to pay attention.

P.S. I finally got a new computer! My sound had quit working among other things, but I'm back in business now. This is why this post is a little late.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Memories Rewind: A Moment in Time

At my school, everyone looked forward to Field Day. It was a chance to take a break from our schoolwork and just have fun.

I found my group over by the swings and waited for the games to start. You could feel the excitement in the air. One of the first races was the wheel barrow race. One person had to push someone in a wheel barrow all the way around the orange cone and back, and whichever team did this the fastest won.

"C'mon!" we all shouted to our teammates as we waited our turn. I was next. I hopped in the wheelbarrow as fast as I could and off we went. A massive black guy was pushing me (if I remember correctly). "Are you ready to fly down this hill?" he asked.

"Yep, just as long as you don't throw me overboard!" I replied. The next few minutes were a blur. We whizzed past the trees so quickly they resembled huge green blobs to me.

"Lord, help me not to get sick," I mumbled under my breath as I heard my classmate's feet pounding the grass. We made it around the cone with no accidents, so we were in the homestretch. "Just do what ya gotta do," I told my classmate. "I trust you."

Everyone was cheering us on as we were coming back. It was a surreal feeling because in that moment we weren't divided into different teams, we were a unified group. Everyone forgot about their desire to win, and reached out to help me out of the wheel barrow. The teachers were stunned and stood there marveling at how bickering kids could work together when they wanted to.

I don't remember much of anything else that happened that day, but I will never forget how that simple little game showed the true meaning of teamwork. For a few minutes, I wasn't limited by my AFO's. I could be free to just enjoy the moment without worrying about getting tired.

Do you have any childhood memories that are etched in your mind?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Endangered Species

I was at a crowded, required function at school this week. I went in determined to learn something, and I did. I wasn't bothering anyone when I overheard girl talking in her cell phone:

"Where are you?" she demanded. "I'm over here by the door trying to find you!"

I watched this girl as she waited for her friend to find her before she would sit down. I wanted to tell her, "Sit down next to someone and introduce yourself. It's not that hard."

It was hard to watch her look so lost and nervous among strangers. She reminded me of a butterfly. If a butterfly doesn't get out of its cocoon, it will die. In order for it to live, it has to stretch its wings and push past the thing that has it confined. To put things in perspective, the butterfly is furiously working to reach what lies beyond that cocoon. All this time the butterfly has been nestled there, but there comes a time to shed that covering. If not, the butterfly will be suffocated and never fulfill its purpose.

Like butterflies, we need to get out of our comfort zones, or we will die, too. No, I'm not talking about a literal death. A piece of our hearts will die because someone was supposed to fill it...maybe someone we don’t even know yet. It isn’t always the easiest thing to let someone new into your life, but we shouldn’t avoid the opportunity. You never know who could change your life; you have to be willing to get out of your comfort zone.

Do you want to stay where it's comfortable only to be met with an imminent death, or do you want to risk pushing through some barriers in order to live a fulfilling life?

*I would have included an image of a cocoon, but the photographer never wrote me back to give me permission. Just use your imagination. :)

Friday, September 10, 2010


Being a friend means many different things to people. To me, it means being there for the other person no matter what. A friend is someone who knows all of your flaws and chooses to love you anyway. A friend listens. A friend supports. A friend challenges you to do things that you wouldn't normally do.

Lately, I've been questioning a few friendships. As with any relationship, it is a give and take. Sometimes, I wonder where to draw the line. I've forgiven many things. Friends spend time together, right? That's what I thought, too. It's like I'm a puppet on a string that is being led on and pulled in so many directions. I still love this person, but they have to make some decisions.

When they do, I'll be here waiting. I'm not going to be a doormat, but I am here to listen. I just think some people don't know the difference. We all should to re-evaluate what's important to us from to time to time, but not everyone does. It bothers me when people just float through life, letting things just "happen" without actively taking control of things in their life. I think people do this to avoid responsibility.

These are just some of my thoughts on friendships. What do you think?

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Memories Rewind: Laughing in the Night

We had just moved into our new house. The crickets were chirping as people were getting ready to relax for the night.

"Wanna throw the baseball around with me, Madison?" my brother asked. He didn't have to ask me twice. I jumped up off the couch and headed outside.

Eli was good about throwing it easy. He stood close to me, letting me catch the ball with ease. The muggy air was making me sweaty as I concentrated on catching the ball in his worn glove. We were talking about school when I forgot a ball was headed in my direction.

"Madison, you were supposed to catch it!" Eli said as the ball rolled to a stop on the grass. I laughed as I tossed it back to him. He just had to understand that girls get distracted when they talk.
Eli was a little frustrated. He wanted to play catch. I had ruined the game. Oh well, that's what little sisters are for, right? I felt bad, but out of the corner of my eye, I saw his trademark grin. That was our unspoken signal that everything was A-OK.

Before we knew it, it was time to come inside. I still remember the stickness of the air as I stood talking to my brother. We didn't have a care in the world. Sometimes I think back to that night and a smile creeps across my face. Laughter really is the best medicine.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Seeking Solace

As human beings, when tragedy strikes, we have to find something beautiful in the midst of the chaos. Isn't that what we search for? We come home after a long day at school or work and seek solitude in food or a good movie, right? We want to quiet our mind's restless thoughts as we try to make sense of our lives. Sometimes we can't plan next week's schedule, much less what we will do tomorrow.

It's normal for us to crave calm in the storms of life, but we need to look in the right place. We can't do it alone, that's for sure. When my mind wants to wander off in million directions, worrying about things I cannot change, I'm gently reminded by my Father of something I sometimes forget. "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things" (Philippians 4:8 NIV).

After l went to Augusta for my last doctor's appointment, I was left with a lot to think about. The song "Beautiful, Beautiful" by Francesca Battistelli came on. The lyrics really spoke to me that day.

I thought I would share a few lines:

Don’t know how it is You looked at me

And saw the person that I could be

Awakening my heart

Breaking through the dark

Suddenly Your grace


Like sunlight burning at midnight

Making my life something so

Beautiful, beautiful

Mercy reaching to save me

All that I need

You are so

Beautiful, beautiful

After hearing those words, I was no longer focused on the day's events. My God had provided all that I needed. He had been with me through countless surgeries and sleepless nights. In that moment, nothing else mattered.
To an outsider, my life probably looks like a tragedy. I'm in a wheelchair. My mom has to help me with a lot of simple tasks. I could say more, but none of that matters (I've not always been in a wheelchair and don't plan on staying in one forever). It would have been had God not done a miracle in my life when I was a very sick baby in the NICU. He has truly made my life something beautiful. If you can't say the same about your life, just focus on how great God is. You'll get there.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Promoting Your Blog

I had an interesting question someone asked recently I thought I would share with you.

Anonymous said, "Wow...this blog is so popular. I just wanted to know how do you monetize it? Can you give me a few advices? For example, I use I'm earning about $1500 per month at the moment. What will you recommend?"

First of all, thanks for the compliment. To answer your question, I don't monetize my blog. I don't have any ads on here. In other words, I don't earn any money from my blog. I do this because I love it. It's not that I'm opposed to making money doing what I love, but that's not why I started this blog. (I don't want to put random ads on here that have nothing to do with causes I don't support.)

Writing is my passion. It's actually like breathing for me. I try not to go a day without writing something. This blog isn't popular because of anything I've done, I can assure you. I write about things that God lays on my heart as well as my life in general. I can only hope that it touches someone in some way. This blog started out as a way for me to journal my thoughts, but as I began seeking God, He wanted something more. He wanted me to share my talent, so whether one person or one hundred people read this...I'm OK. It's about doing what God wants, and I don't want to miss out on what He has for me.

I did submit my URL to Yahoo, Google, and Bing about a month ago. It's free. You won't earn any money by doing this, it just makes sure your site will show up when people are searching these sites. It may get you a few more readers. Bing is a relatively new site, but it can't hurt to do it. Go here to submit your URL.

My advice for you is to be yourself. Don't try to be the next big blog. That will only lead to frustration and burnout. You have to have a passion that drives you regardless of what others are doing. Find your niche. Write about things you love. If you are struggling for topics, start there. People will be more receptive of that. People who know me in real life will tell you that I am the same person on this blog as I am in real life. This is my story. You are reading my raw emotions. Some days are good and some days are not so good, and I think that has helped make this blog what is today.

I don't have any earth-shattering tips on this subject. I'm just a writer...and I like that. If you want advice on how to promote your blog, e-mail Louise at Adori Graphics. She has people that sponsor her blog, so she would be much more help in that area.

As always, if you have any questions, just ask!

Friday, September 03, 2010

Forever Marked

I have many scars on my body. One girl even went so far as to tell me she felt like she was going to throw up after looking at my leg, even though there was no blood or anything.

I look at them as something beautiful. They signify that I've survived. No, I didn't always look at it that way. As a young girl, I didn't think anyone could ever love me with all of my issues. If I'm being honest, sometimes I still feel that way. I know that love isn't determined by what's on the outside, but you would be surprised at how society is towards people like me.

But, as I was going in for my spinal fusion surgery, something changed. I was seventeen years old. I was no longer a scared nine year old girl. I knew what I had to do. "Let's go add another scar to my collection!" I told my Granny with a laugh.

We all have scars. Some of us have scars on the inside that run deep. Just because others can't see them doesn't mean the pain isn't there. You survived, too. Scars signify the wound has healed up.

The recovery process isn't easy. Some days are better than others, but after each surgery, there was one thing that kept me going: The end goal. At the end of of each physical therapy appointment, I could look back and see my progress. Other times, I felt as if I hadn't made any, but the outcome was what I kept in my sights. When my leg wouldn't bend, I pictured myself walking with ease. I willed myself to look past the pain of the moment.

Let's embrace our scars and be thankful we are not there anymore.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Memories Rewind: Towering Stacks of Treasure

Hello, readers! Madison invited me to do a guest post for this week's Memories Rewind, and I was very excited for the opportunity to share with all of you. My name is Tanya Hudson, and I was Madison's junior English teacher a few years ago. (She was an excellent student and, of course, an excellent writer, as I'm sure you could've guessed. :p) Now, I'm a school librarian in Athens, GA, and I thought I would share one of my favorite childhood memories: summer trips to the library with my Mammaw.

We didn't have much money when I was growing up; my parents had me and my little brother, Dave, when they were teenagers--just kids themselves. Despite their limited means, though, Mom and Dad always made sure we had books at home, and they always encouraged us to read--but I was ravenous for more. I even read in the bathtub, squinting to decipher the microscopic print on the lime green shampoo bottle.

Enter my Mammaw, who kept Dave and me in the afternoons during the school year and in the summertime while Mom and Dad were at work. Often--sometimes twice a week, sometimes every single day--Mammaw would pack us kids into her clunky blue station, along with her bulky black handbag and a canvas sack full of books to be returned, and we would ride across town to the library. (I don't mean for the ride to sound long; "across town" in Hartwell, GA is never more than a few minutes away.) When we arrived, she would head over to the large print adult fiction (she didn't see so well) and inevitably choose a handful of trashy romance novels to peruse while Dave and I made our choices.

Now, honestly, I don't remember the first time I visited the library, probably because I was too young to remember most things yet, but I do remember the sense of awe I felt every time I saw those shelves upon shelves of books. They were all treasures, all full of magic and wonder, packed with people and places I didn't yet know but yearned to visit.

I started, of course, with the picture books, like most kids do. Sometimes I would take a towering stack of those over to the lounge chairs by the window and read them right there in the library before choosing even more to check out and take home. I had my own library card, but kids were only allowed to check out three books at a time, and I just couldn't abide by that silly rule; instead, Mammaw would check out my books on her card so I could take eight or ten at a time (stuffed, of course, in one of her faded canvas bags).

When I got a little older, I moved two shelves over, from the E-for-Easy area to the J-for-Juvenile-Fiction section, where the books got thicker and, in my opinion, much more exciting. I learned that Encyclopedia Brown was smart enough solve any mystery, followed the Boxcar Children on many adventures, envied the girls in the Babysitter's Club books (who seemed so mature to me at the time), laughed at Ramona Quimby's antics, cried with Wilbur the pig when his spider friend, Charlotte, took her last breath. I read my favorites over and over, and the librarians (who, of course, knew me by name) would always let me know if they'd gotten in a new book that they thought I might like.

Now that I'm a librarian myself, I get to experience the magic from a whole new angle. When I read a picture book to my kindergarteners and see them smile or laugh or stare in disbelief, it reminds me of when I was their age, just starting to realize the wonder of reading. When I recommend Mary Downing Hahn's Wait Till Helen Comes (one of my childhood faves) to a fifth grader who wants a good scare, and when that kid comes back a week later saying, "That was so good! Are there more books like this one?"....well, pardon the cliche, but it warms my heart. When we order new books, I bubble with anticipation, just waiting to show them to the kids next time they come in. And sometimes, I even plop down in our story corner with a big stack of picture books and just sit there, reading, letting the stories whisk me back to those summer days in the library.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Where I Come From

In the South, we were raised to treat others with respect. My Mama raised me to say "Yes and No. please and thank you." Not huh. That is so disrespectful.

People plan their schedules around football season. (I'm one of the rare people who doesn't like football, though).

Guys (and girls) go muddin' Yes, that's how it's said. You would be slapped if you said mudding. That just wouldn't be right. Muddin' is where a group of people take their trucks and get them so dirty, you won't even recognize them or their vehicle when they come back. Sometimes, they wait to wash them because they know it will just get dirty again.

We find any excuse to eat. Some people even make up reasons. For example, a job promotion calls for a dinner. If a friend comes over, it's impolite not to ask them to stay for dinner. Any holiday is a given. Every Sunday is marked off as a family dinner with all the fixin's. Fixin's is just a word that means all kinds of side dishes: Baked beans, macaroni and cheese, potato salad, green beans, etc.

Tea is our drink of choice. I prefer mine sweetened, please. Some don't, but I don't think there is any other way to drink it.

We do have phrases that most people don't understand. For example, we say, that child is a mess!" We mean she is mischievous, not unclean.

Some people say, "He/She is a pistol!" This just means the child is very rambunctious.

Bless you (or bless her heart) is another common phrase.

My Grandaddy used to say, "I'm going to cloud up and rain on you!" if we did something we weren't supposed to do.

We say y'all. It's part of our vocabulary. I have family from up North who say you'uns instead of y'all so different places say different things. That's what makes the world go 'round!

"I declare!" is something that both of my grandmothers have said when something has taken them by surprise.

Daddgumit! is something people say when they are frustrated.

Grits are something some Northern people know nothing about. Grits are commonly ate at breakfast (but are sometimes served later in the day with shrimp). Some like them plain, while others prefer cheese. I love grits. If you haven't tried them, I encourage you to!

Hush puppies is another food that we love here in the South. Yep, they are fried bits of dough. They're commonly served with fish and a side of tartar sauce. If you don't know much about the South, we love fried foods. As I always say, everything in moderation, though.

Sweet potato souffle is a yummy dessert we enjoy here in the South.

I've shared a little about where I live. Now, it's your turn! What state/ country do you live in? What makes it unique? I can't wait to read your responses! I'll randomly pick 10 comments (if I have that many) and spotlight them in a post!