Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Memories Rewind: Pucker Up!

My brother and I don't eat a lot of candy but when we do, look out. A bag of unopened warheads were just calling our names as it laid on Granny's table.

"Let's have a competition," Eli said. I nervously glanced at the back of the bag. The sour meter was staring me in the face. Never one to shy away from a challenge, we headed straight for the little blue package.

I tore into it slowly. As I raised the candy to my mouth, I knew I was in for some serious sour candy.

As if it wasn't enough to eat the candy, Eli had another idea. "Let's see who can keep it in their mouth the longest!" he said as a smirk crept into the corners of his mouth. I think my feelings were made known as I groaned in disgust at his brilliant crazy plan.

1...2...3 seconds ticked by for what seemed like an eternity. Both of our faces were contorted in all sorts of ways. I was secretly glad I wasn't the only one struggling. After 5 or 6 seconds, I gladly admitted my defeat.

To my surprise, Eli held on for about 8-10 seconds. He laughed when he realized he had won, but he had a stomach ache later. That was punishment enough, so I said nothing. Needless to say, that bag of warheads was left right where we found it, daring someone to pop one in their mouth.

What were some candies you remember from your childhood?

Image Credit: GrubGrade via Google

Monday, June 28, 2010

Loving Yourself

There’s no such thing as perfect people
There’s no such as the perfect life
So come as you are
Broken and scarred
Lift up your hands…be amazed, be changed by a perfect God

-Lyrics to Perfect People by Natalie Grant

We’re all flawed in some way.
I thought it would be therapeutic to make an "I am Not"… list

I am not brief
I am not sloppy
I am not a size 0
I am not always right
I am not a blonde
I am not a fabulous cook
I am not society’s definition of normal
I am not a conformer
I am not hard to please

I guess you think I’ve gone crazy with a list like this, huh? Nope, hang with me.

I am….a part of God’s family
I am….loved
I am…beautiful
I am….detailed
I am…creative
I am…outspoken at times
I am…someone who likes to be busy
I am…compassionate
I am…content
I am…an observer
I am…. a rule follower

I am…a daughter
I am…a friend
I am….a listener
I am…a learner

I am me. I may not always have the “perfect hair”. Who cares? The media feeds us their definition of perfect anyway. I don’t always think before I speak. I may talk a little too fast. One thing that can’t be said about me though is that I loved too much. When you realize what you’re not, you can fully embrace what you are.

It has been a journey for me to love myself. It's a continual process, really. We all have crazy days, but it's important to remember we are accepted in the Beloved. When I'm having a bad day, I remind myself how far God has brought me.

What are some things you love about yourself?

P.S. There were no questions, so that's why I didn't post on Thursday.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Memories Rewind: You ordered THAT?!

We were at Panama City Beach. The breeze was gently blowing through the palms as we sat down at Pineapple Willy's. Me, Memaw, and Granddaddy quickly settled on the ribs. Beth and Mikayla were still mulling over that mouthwatering menu.

Never one to stray from her favorites, Beth ordered the chicken fingers. "I want the peanut butter and jelly sandwich" said Mikayla.

"Out of all the things on that menu, you order that?" Granddaddy said with a smirk on his face.

"But it's the crustables kind, Granddaddy" Mikayla reasoned.

Just as she had made up her mind, Mikayla spotted something she just had to have. "I want that drink in the cool looking glass!" she exclaimed excitedly.

"Mikayla, that is an alcoholic drink." Memaw whispered. Her young mind didn't see anything wrong with that. She poked that bottom lip out in disgust. She wanted that strawberry drink! Memaw asked the waiter if the alcohol could be taken out much to Mikayla's delight.

As the smell of juicy ribs wafted to our table, I was getting hungry. Looking at Mikayla's face as she bit into that sandwich, you would have thought she was eating steak. I think things just taste better at the beach. You're removed from reality. Sunsets and sand abound. She talked about her "special drink" for the rest of the day!

What were some foods you loved as a kid?

P.S. If you have any questions to ask, don't be shy!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A Symphony of Sound

I was serenaded yesterday by an unlikely source.

A bird had perched itself in the tree outside my window. I cupped my ear to ensure that I heard it clearly. Something was a little odd, but I couldn't quite pinpoint what it was.

"This bird is singing all alone!" I said to myself. Normally, birds join in with one another creating a beautiful melody. A female and male bird can coexist seamlessly. But, today that wasn't the case.

I wondered if the bird poked his chest out a little further, feeling great because he made a beautiful sound by himself?

As beautiful as the bird sounded, it was a one-dimensional sound. There were no moments that stood out to me. Sometimes, we are like that bird. We think we are just fine being a loner. "I'm going to do things my way!" we declare to anyone who will listen.

I don't know about you, but I don't want to be like that bird. I want my life to be multi-dimensional . Our lives are enriched when we have others around us. I'm not an artist, but I have friends who are. When I combine my writing with their art, my words take on a whole new meaning. Our two hobbies are meshed seamlessly together to create something beautiful.

Creating something by working together is a process. You have to find out what others weaknesses are and help them shine in spite of their flaws.

What is something in your life that you need others in your life to make happen?

Monday, June 21, 2010

A Different Kind of Q&A

I'm sure I piqued your interest with my last post because cerebral palsy isn't often talked about from a point of view like mine. Sadly, most children with CP (this is the abbreviation for cerebral palsy) can't talk and are totally dependent on their parents.

Blonde Duck asked a question that I thought would be best shared with everyone. "Do people ever try to help you too much, like just totally go overboard and treat you like a baby?"

For the most part, no. My Mama has raised me to be independent. If I can do it myself, I will. Sometimes I have to remind people of that. :) For the past few years, things have changed a little bit. Since the infection(aka mystery diagnosis by the doctors) happened soon after my spinal fusion, I didn't get my mobility back right away like I should have because I was bedridden unexpectedly. My mom has to help me put my pants and shoes on...for now. I'm constantly working to regain the motion of bending in my back. I can bend a little, but I have to be careful.

One thing that has changed in me as a result of everything is my level of humility. I didn't like to ask for help because I didn't want to be a burden on anyone. Now, if someone wants to open the door I let them because it's an opportunity for them to do something for me while feeling good about themselves.

I normally don't do many Q&As, but I thought I would open this up to my readers. Have any questions about cerebral palsy or my life? Ask away! (Email is always open, too.) I'll answer them on Wednesday or Thursday.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Misconceptions about Disabled People

Since this blog is also about my life as a disabled person, I thought I would clear up some common things people seem to think about people who aren't "normal". If you've been a reader for awhile, you already know my thoughts on that.
  • We have feelings. Mean comments add nothing of value to the world, so why spew hatred? Sometimes I think the people that are mean are doing it to feel in control of at least one area in their lives. I was always taught to treat others like I want to be treated, but that seems to be a lost art these days.

  • We have goals. I'm not going to let life pass me by. I just have to do things a little bit differently. Whether you realize it or not, we all have a 'disability'. For example, your bad attitude can hinder things just as much as a limp can.

  • We are not stupid. Most of us can hear everything you're saying. I do not appreciate someone judging me before they get to know me. Don't try to make things harder for us just to get a good laugh. How would you like it if someone slammed the door in your face? Oh yeah, that's right. You wouldn't.

  • We have friends. If the truth be told, it is sometimes easier to make friends because we don't have anything to hide. We are who we are and don't apologize for it. Sometimes, people don't know how to approach us, but they learn with time. Having a friend is an adventure. We don't always see eye to eye with our friends, but we do have a mutual respect for one another.

  • Wheelchairs and other medical devices aren't weird. You can touch them. All we ask is that you be careful. They are not toys to be flipped in every direction.

  • I can't speak for everyone when I say this, but I would rather you ask questions. I would rather someone be made aware of the truth about my situation that be misinformed with lies. Lies create doubt and fear, and I don't want people afraid to ask questions. I won't bite. :) I will be honest, but I won't bite.

  • Contrary to popular opinion, there are things we can do. Not every person in a wheelchair is paralyzed just like not every person with hair loss has cancer.

  • My friend, BK, thought of a great one that I forgot about. She said that people assume everyone with disabilities is the same, especially the ones with the same disability. What most people don't understand is there are different categories of a disability. For example, cerebral palsy is typed by the severity of the brain bleed, which ranges from 1-4. A person with a grade 1 brain bleed has much milder symptoms than someone with a grade 4. A grade 4 bleed means the person will most likely be wheelchair bound for life, have trouble swallowing and talking, etc. It can also be broken down into types based on muscle tone.
I need a little help from my friends. Yes, even the lurkers. What are some other common misconceptions about disabled people that you've noticed?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Memories Rewind: Endlessly Spinning

I skipped over to the merry-go-round at the park. The other kids became tiny blurs as I whirled around and around. Suddenly, the dirt underneath my feet looked like a faraway land with rocks and pebbles.

I held on tight as Mama leaned into to push us. Caught up in a daydream of a land filled with beautiful flowers and flowing dresses, my hand slipped from the rusty railing.

Bam! My body dropped onto the wood underneath me with a resounding thud. Unable to stop the merry go round without throwing everyone off, Mama waited until the merry go round slowed to a stop. My leg was dangling on the side as I tried to heave my body closer to the center. What happened next was a true act of teamwork. All I could see was a mash of hands reaching for me. Black hands and white hands were encircling me until it was safe to get off.

This reminded me of the body of Christ. We come from all different backgrounds: rich, poor, Caucasian, Hispanic, and African American. What you may not realize is we all had someone who cared enough not to let us slip into oblivion. Men and women loved us even when we pushed them away.

As I got up to get off the ride, I was a little woozy. Taking my hand, Mama and the other kids pulled me to my feet. That day is just as vivid today as it was almost 10 years ago. Things can change in an instant in this life, and I'm glad to be surrounded by caring friends and family.

How about you, reader? Any scary experiences on a ride when you were younger?

Monday, June 14, 2010


Sorry about the spacing!

Edit:Somehow this post went from published to draft without me telling it to. Pardon the computer issues.
Visions of an unkempt yard brimming with thorny purple wildflowers invaded my thoughts as sleep tried to come.

My mind revolved the image over and over again as I drifted on the brink of sleep. Understanding began to come, as I realized our souls are like that unkempt yard, filled with thorny “weeds" that keep us from God’s best for our lives. Those weeds are the pain of rejection, anger towards someone, or pride. You know the thoughts that you would never dare breathe aloud to another soul? Yeah, those are weeds too.

Those weeds and thorns become rooted deeper as we are filled with pain and resentment. The longer we let those weeds and thorns take root in our souls, the harder it is to get rid of them. There is hope though. God’s grace is more than enough to root the thorny mess out of our lives!

We try to hide those weeds, but after a while it becomes more difficult to maintain our calm exterior. We want others to believe we have tended to our hearts with much time and care, but eventually those weeds take over. Finally, we must make the decision to do some “yard” work saying, “Whatever it takes to get rid of this mess, I’ll do it God!”

Like giving in to the sleep that finally came to me, we must all fully surrender to the Father. We must be willing to let Him root out the thorns and thistles keeping us from pursuing Him.

So, what are you waiting for? Wake up and get to digging!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Gaining Momentum

A pendulum swings left to right. The distinctive ticking noise fills the air. Behind each swing is a noticeable push. Each time back and forth propels the next. Every failure, trial, and hard place propels us forward. If something goes wrong with the pendulum, it doesn't stop. It keeps doing its job. Too often, humans stop right before a breakthrough. They sulk about the weight they haven't lost or they whine if they haven't lost enough. You could insert anything into that sentence. The point is we've all been guilty of this.

When we gain momentum, let's hang on to it! I've found if you can keep a steady rhythm in most things, you can get back on track when a few bumps get in your way. In the grand scheme of things, it's all about keeping things in perspective. Imagine a runner. He's made it halfway through the race, but his legs are killing him. After he refuels with water and a snack, he sets his sights on the finish line. He got his mind off the pain, which helped him to finish the race...and finish strong.

In Psalms 42:1, David says, "....As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God." Just like the runner replenished his body with natural water, we have to have God. His word breathes life into the most dismal of circumstances.

These are just some thoughts floating in my head lately. Even I need a reminder to keep going at times. I've realized that you have to find the courage deep within yourself when things get tough. Making up your mind to keep going is half the battle.

What are some things you need to push through? Will you stop steps from the finish line?

Image Credit: Google via All About Alpha

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Memories Rewind: Takin' Care of Business

*This is the first of my Memories Rewind: Summer Edition. Stay tuned for more laughs and mischief!

Granny had just come in from the garden. Her arms were loaded with golden ears of corn. I could hardly contain my excitement when thinking about all of that corn.

"C'mon, M. I need some help with this corn." I grabbed a chair from the house and made Granny wince as I drug it over the concrete. Granny couldn't have my brother just standing around, so he got a basket, too.

One by one, we peeled back the layers. Then, we had to brush the corn to get rid of the silk that finds its way in between the kernels. Before long, I found my eyelids drooping. Maintaining a garden was hard work! I stole a glance at Granny. Her shorts were dusty, but her hands were busy. How often do we abandon the harvest because it seems like too much work for very little reward?

Feeling the cool breeze of the fan, I was re energized. I went to pull out another ear, but my hand was touching the bottom of that worn basket. Woo hoo! "Granny, I'm done!" I said as I sprinted into the sunlight to play. E wasn't about to be left, so he quickly finished and ran out to meet me.

As I child, I didn't comprehend the lessons that Granny was teaching us right away. I just knew we were helping her get finished quicker. I wouldn't trade those summer days for anything.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Communication is more than a Wall Post

If we’re not careful, F@cebook can give us a false sense of reality. In other words, you might mistake real relationships for the occasional status update and reconnection. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you are friends with 220 people just because F@cebook says you are. Friendships take lots of work and commitment from both parties. I understand the concept behind reconnect with a friend”, but if F@cebook has to remind you to reconnect with somebody, you were not close to begin with.

As I've said before, communication is an ongoing thing. I've noticed one problem that has hid in the shadows among other problems; we have lost our voice. People are too afraid of what others think if they tell them the truth. We have to love that other person enough to tell them the truth.

Another thing that's important is we have to learn when to step back and be quiet. That's right. There are times that we need to hold our tongue. Words can be used to build up or tear down, so we have to be mindful of that. Someone once told me, "If you don't know the purpose of a thing, you'll abuse it." In other words, if you don't understand the power that the tongue has, you're headed for trouble.

How do you use technology in your daily lives?