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.