Friday, December 21, 2012

What a Love!

It's 10:07 p.m, and I just need to write. It's one of those things that always calms me. I've had some thoughts about my nephew lately that I just want to preserve for memory's sake. Maybe twenty years from now, he'll read this blog and/or my diary to learn a little more about me.

He has learned so many words lately! Airplane, car, drink, and more are just a few. He still hasn't mastered Auntie M, but brings me things when asked.

About a month ago, after he was all clean from his bath, and I got a whiff of whatever soap my mom used, I instantly wanted to bottle up that moment - and scent - to keep forever. I guess my blog is one way of doing that. Even though he's not my child, I felt so much love right then that it seemed that my heart would most definitely burst right then and there! I find myself finishing my work quickly to savor his little laugh and his new found infatuation with tractors ever since my mom found YouTube videos. He will literally sit mesmerized at the computer. Well, at first he did, anyway. Now that he knows me or mom can pick a new video by moving the mouse, he will pick up my hand and put it on the mouse. It's his way of saying, "I want to watch something different!" He's too smart and picks up on things very quickly!

He loves one ebook on my Kindle Fire that I downloaded for him. Things that Go from iStory books. It was free and makes all kinds of noises with pictures off fire trucks, airplanes, race cars, etc.

He's growing up too fast, but I see traces of that baby he once was in his beautiful eyelashes, dancing eyes, and expressive gestures. Christmas is going to be FUN this year!

I'll do a life update soon, my mind has been on my nephew lately. :D

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Sweet Freedom

I'm happy to report that I am free for a MONTH! Free from papers, projects, presentations, and tests! What ever will I do with myself?! Blog, of course!

In case you didn't know I have been nominatedf or an award from WEGO Health. I've done several posts about them before. I now have a nifty little badge on my left sidebar that enables you to vote for me in just a few seconds! Just enter your email and hit endorse me!

In other news, I'm still having some foot issues, so I'm trying compression stockings.

I celebrated my 23rd birthday by studying for finals. Yep. :) I'm grateful for another year!!

My little nephew is growing like a weed! He's only 18 months, and already in a size 6 shoe (it is a tad big)! He is learning so much and just laughs at me when I use my headset with the Dragon voice recognition software that has been a lifesaver for me when I am not feeling well.

I've missed everyone!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Memories Rewind: Halloween Throwback

While looking for a specific photo one day, I found this one and couldn't resist sharing. It was at my old church's fall festival, and I was not in the mood to have my picture taken. Mama made me anyway, and now I look back on this photo with fond memories! Yes, I had an attitude!  As you can see, my brother was not fazed by my antics. :) I was some kind of princess, but that's all I remember.  My mom just said I was Cleopatra!

P.S. You can nominate me for one of WEGO Health's Health Activist Awards by going here. Just make sure you put the name of my blog, which is Making my Mark. My name is Madison Sanders. The blog URL is They just ask you to tell them why I should be nominated. Winners will be featured on the WEGO Health network, which is a huge opportunity to raise awareness about cerebral palsy, strength, and overcoming adversity. Thanks in advance!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Catch Up and Unexpected News

So many things have been going on in my life lately I haven't had time to write on my blog. I've missed it so this is going to be kind of a catch-up post. I have been very busy at my internship, and I absolutely LOVE it! I will finish editing a manuscript this week and have been sending many press releases out to colleges and various print media for the book Military Fly Moms. TV and radio stations are next on the list. By the way Military Fly Moms won the Military Writers Society of America 2012 Creative NonFiction Award! Be sure to like Miltary Fly Moms on Facebook so you can stay updated on what Linda Maloney, the fabulous author, speaker, and mother of two is doing!

In other news, after experiencing pain in my left foot for about 8 months at least (I wrote about a doctor visit here), visting an orthopedic surgeon, and having x-rays done, I finally have an answer thanks to a DIFFERENT orthopedic surgeon. I found out today that I had 3 broken toes and didn't even know it! The doctor says they're healed and aligned right. I will start physical therapy as soon as possible for the swelling that has built up. SO thankful to God for His mercy!!! I can't say enough about His grace because I certainly wouldn't have made it through these past few months filled with tests, senior seminar speech, and publication projects without Him! 

I am still having pain but listening to my body, resting, elevating my feet, etc. I guess I can no longer use the joke that I have never broken anything. It's only been done on purpose by doctors. :) 

To top of this week, I received a letter in the mail saying I am one of thirty-one students at my school nominated to be included in the 2013 edition of Who's Who Among University and Colleges! So honored! Hard work is rewarded. If you are struggling right now, don't give up!

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Lip Balm Mishap

Last week, I woke up during the night only to realize my lips were really dry. I turned on my light, but couldn't find my lip gloss. Finally, I found a little metal tin of Burt's Bees.

"This must be lip balm." I said to myself. When I opened it, I saw it had never been used. Thinking nothing of it, I rubbed the tip of my finger in it and put it on my lips. They were still dry. I rubbed a little bit more on my finger and coated my lips. Nothing. They were still dry. 

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw on the tin the word lemon. "That must be a new flavor." I thought to myself.

Getting a little frustrated, I rubbed my finger in the balm several times to make sure I had enough. Rubbing it all over my lips. This should do the trick, I said. When my lips still felt like sandpaper, I knew something was wrong. Flipping the tin over, I read the words lemon CUTICLE butter.

That explains it! No wonder it was at the bottom of my drawer unopened. I found the nearest napkin and began to fiercely rub my lips to remove any trace of that lemon balm. Now awake for sure, I found my trusty Burt's Bees chap stick in my drawer.

I learned my lesson. Never dig around in a drawer when you're half awake because you'll probably regret it later!

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Advocating for Another: Wrap Up

Well, I finally squeezed out a little bit of time to do the last post for WEGO Health's advocating for another blog carnival. 

Put a bow on our Advocating for Another week by sharing what you’ll plan to do going forward. Free write or choose one of the bonus ideas.

I have some exciting plans in the works, but  nothing I can share just yet. I am making something that will benefit the disabled community and their friends and family. I'll update as I can! I can promise you don't want to miss it!

I just want to encourage everyone to look for opportunities to help others. If you don't, who will?

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Advocating for Another: The Spark Within

Even though school and life got in the way, I still wanted to finish the advocating for another posts.

Today's post is a letter to my [blogging] community.

After so many surgeries, I lost my spark. When I was younger, I would do anything my brother did. I wouldn't think twice about any limitations. Going to the doctor and experiencing so much pain made me cautious, uncertain about taking steps, rolling over in the bed. Simple things that I wouldn't have batted an eyelash at before. 

I didn't wake up one day and discover my spark was gone. When I had physical issues one right after the other, it began to slip away little by little. I really noticed a difference after my spinal fusion because it took me longer than most people to recover. In all honesty, though, it started the year before when I was in agony 24/7, soaking my pillow in tears because I couldn't sleep with that pain. Just waiting for daylight to shine through my window so I could take some medicine to at least dull the pain somewhat.

It happened when I would have to sit in church services with my TENS unit on 60, the highest setting, with an ice pack because my back hurt so bad.

It happened when I woke up to discover a bright red place on my hip that hurt deep inside of me. It happened because my cousin, who was young at the time, had to see me lay in the bed rather than doing fun stuff with her because I was hurting...but I didn't know why.

It happened after countless pokes from nurses taking blood tests but finding nothing wrong with me. It happened when my mom was told to take me to the ER in Atlanta, spending hours crying waiting for a doctor to see me only to hear them say they had seen nothing like it.

It happened on the way home from Atlanta, when I was throwing up on the intersection with no where to pull off. It happened when I knew something was wrong, and experiencing utter frustration when the residents on call in the hospital thought I was crazy.

It's so important that we don't let a disability or our circumstances cause us to be a shell of our former selves. I've spent a lot of time trying to get back to the person I was. I've missed the girl who was full of spunk. I've missed the girl who would take a hard fall, and jump back up with a bleeding elbow and go right back to playing outside. I've missed the girl who had a zest for life. After this weekend, I've made a conscious decision to get her back. I'll share more about that later. All I can say is "Watch out world, Madison is back!"

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Advocating for Another: Inspirational Quote

"If we all did the things we are capable of, 
we would astound ourselves." 
~Thomas Edison 

I love this quote because is so true. So many times, we don't do something because we don't think we can. We make up excuses like I'm too old, I don't have the knowledge." Yadda yadda yadda. We never know what we are capable of doing until we try. Take Thomas Edison for example. He had thousands of failed attempts at the light bulb, but he kept at it. Look at how one idea changed the world forever. Light is everywhere now. 

People are constantly breaking world records in the Olympics because they thought they could do it. What are you holding back from because you don't think you're capable? Let the fear of failure propel you forward to something better, bigger, than you ever imagined. Discover something your good at and work until you become great. Don't let life pass you by because you're sitting on the sidelines. Be a participator in life!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Advocating for Another: Once Upon a Time

It’s storytelling day! Write a story about yourself, your community as though you’re a children’s book author. Be sure to include a beginning, middle, and end. Extra points for illustrations! 

Since I've told plenty of stories on my blog, I'm going to do something a bit different...a poem!

Once upon a time there was a young girl who stood out among the rest
She was spunky and Southern, and thought no outfit was complete without jewelry!
There was just one problem: she couldn't escape the stares about the colorful braces that hid under her dress.
"Oh well," she thought, "that's the least of my worries!"

She grabbed her backpack and headed for the bus
Anticipating the adventures she'd have in room 201
Finding a friend, she started chatting. That was a first day of school must!
With all of the cackling, you'd have thought we were at a chicken run!

Alas, it was time for class to begin
Just then my new friend whispered, "What are those things on your legs?"
"They help me walk better," I replied with a grin.
"Cool," she said. "Do you like chocolate eggs?"  
Afraid we'd get in trouble, we stuck our nose in our books.  We wanted to be alive to enjoy the weekend!

If you want to join in the blogging fun with WEGO Health, click here! (Link no longer exists)
Be sure to like WEGO Health on  Facebook to read everyone else's posts!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Advocating for Another: Betcha Didn't Know

Today’s post theme is all about the reveal. What’s something people would be surprised to know about your life as a  Health Activist, your community, or condition. Uncover it and elaborate upon in stream-of-consciousness-style.

This means this post won't be connected and might not make sense. It will just be my thoughts.

Contrary to  some misinformed people, cerebral palsy is not a progressive disability. Whatever grade brain bleed you had, is what it will remain. Also, it's not possible to pass it on to a baby should a woman with cerebral palsy choose to have children. Along those same lines, not everyone with cerebral palsy will struggle with learning. They could be like me and have a mild case that only affects the lower extremities, not the brain.

People with cerebral palsy can work. They are more productive than some able-bodied members of society. We might have to do things a little differently and a little slower than most people, but we get it done. Not walking on time as a child made me tough. I found a way to get to my toys, button my clothes even when my fingers fought me every step of the way. (Now, admittedly, necklaces are still a bit tricky.) We find joy in the journey. 

Change doesn't affect us like most people. It's all I've ever known. Between new doctors, hospital visits, and altering our schedules on any given day due to pain just becomes something we adapt to along the way. 
Love is much more than a feeling. It's something I actively give to those around me. I've seen how disabilities affect people's lives, and I'm determined to make the most of each day. 

I'm a goal-setter. Even today as I've slept most of this beautiful afternoon away, I did manage to read a chapter for my Mass Media class. That makes me feel content, even things didn't go exactly as I'd planned. 

Of the people I've met with disabilities, their personalities, dreams, goals, shine as we talk. I don't even notice a girl or boy with a disability... or maybe a wheelchair and oxygen tank. The parents look over approvingly as we talk like two young adults sharing and listening about life. Sure, maybe there's a bustle of patients in the background, but right then, at that moment we are not bound by disabilities or stereotypes of what doctors say we can and can't do. We are two young people with the whole world at our fingertips just waiting to be changed by us.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Advocating for Another: Challenge Accepted!

Today's post almost didn't get written because I've been dealing with a cough and congestion in the middle of trying to complete things for school.

This prompt is aptly titled challenge accepted because it deals with the hard things about leading a community.

1. Making sure everyone's voice is heard. I'm in the process of working on a way to fix this. There are so many people that need encouragement, it's hard to reach everyone.

2. Coming up with relevant and interesting content. I'm sure every blogger has had that moment where they question things. I try to keep the communication flowing between my readers by asking for everyone's input, what you want to know about me or cerebral palsy. Usually no one responds so I'm assuming it's because they don't know what to ask. This leads me to my third point.

3. Educating the public. So many people don't know about disabilities and how they affect the person and their family. Especially with the internet, there is SO much information available by people who claim to be experts. I'm working on making a change in this area as well, but I can't say anything just yet because I don't have all of my information together. 

 In my opinion, education starts at home. I can't tell you how many parents I've come across who discourage their children from asking me questions. I love it when that happens because it gives me the opportunity to smash the stigma associated with disabilities while watching a child soak up new information!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Advocating for Another: Inside the Fishbowl

Since I talked about my community and some things that make me and my readers unique yesterday, I thought I would branch out and do one of the bonus prompts, which says to tell what my life is like to someone looking on the outside then describe it from the inside.

On the outside, I look like a stylish young woman busy attending college classes and helping out at my church all while in a wheelchair. Some people have mistakenly thought I have an easy life because I have people helping me do things, get a little extra time to do tasks, and so on.

From the inside, they would see a slightly different picture. My hair looks so good because my mom helps me dry it and style it. I have a beside commode because I'm not quite strong enough--yet-- to walk to the bathroom and sit down without help. They would also see I have to get up about thirty minutes to an hour before I have somewhere to be in order to get ready because it takes me a little longer to do things. They would also see that I LOVE my family. Someone on the inside would also see me on my not so good days. I have days that I am tired and do all of my schoolwork from my bed. I have moments of frustration because society seemingly forgets about the disabled population and think that's okay.

Someone on the inside would also see my progress. They would understand what a huge thing it is to sit in the living room with the family-whenever I want! Even on the days when I am really sore, one small victory like being able to walk down the hall just little further than last time is cause for my mom to smile broadly and say, "See, you're getting better!"

So with aching muscles, I look around at my yellow walls (with a purple accent wall) and remember that having someone to share life with is so incredible!

Come back tomorrow for day three of advocating for another by WEGO Health!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Advocating for Another: Community

Today is the first in a series of posts about health activism thanks to WEGO Health. I advocate for myself as a patient, but I also have a community of wonderful readers who are hopefully inspired by how I fully live my life in spite of my disability, which is cerebral palsy.

This post is all about my community!

I decided to do a collage with some of my readers and friend's pictures who I knew wouldn't mind being featured here. I also used a few images from dreamstime to represent everyone's interests!

Click collage to enlarge

The people that make up my blog's community are students, grandparents, families, nurses, musicians, fun-loving. Coffee lovers. Artistic. Individuals. Creative. Black. White. Old. Young. Eclectic.

Yes, some people who read my blog do have cerebral palsy. But more than that, we are all encouraging each other. You are beautiful, my friends!

If you are an a parent, caregiver, or health activist of someone with a disability or condition, feel free to participate by blogging, tweeting or doing short status updates to Facebook.

Image Credit:

© Michael Levy |

© Daniel Gilbey |

Nurse via Microsoft Clipart

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Need a Creative Graphic Designer!

I am planning something exciting and need a logo design! Since I haven't decided on a name, I'm going to let the logo help me decide. Me and a friend were talking and had an idea about a half man half woman. I don't want to reveal all of the details just yet, but if you are creative and up for a challenge, I need your help!

If you are willing to do it for free, shoot me a message, and I'll give you details! You would get credit after it is completed.

Monday, August 06, 2012

Help me get to WEGO's Health ePatient Conference!

As you all know, I use this blog as a personal journal as well as sharing my heart about what I want. 

Well, I've took a leap and joined the WEGO Health Network, a place where people of different disabilities who are advocating for others can come together. I so desperately want to help others! In September, they are having a conference and one lucky person will get to go free-conference and travel expenses paid.  I just wrote why it would be awesome for me to go on the WEGO Facebook page. I don't know if it will help get me there, but if you would like my wall post, maybe, just maybe, someone will be encouraged.

Thanks, y'all!

Friday, August 03, 2012

Water at Watson Mill!

Mom and I made a short trip to Watson Mill campground a few weeks ago. It's also handicap accessible! I just had to share the beautiful pictures!

Where have you been lately?

Monday, July 30, 2012

Adventures in Athens with Mom

My mom and I decided to go to Athens to try some places our friends had recommended or went to.

The first place was Your Pie, a pizza place that lets you make pizza any way you want. The way it was set up reminded me and my mom of Subway. The best part was the brick oven. By the time we got our drinks, our pizza was done!

We chose to make ours with sausage, cheese, and mushrooms. We also put onions on one half with the other toppings. I liked the fact that the toppings didn't get melted together so much that they were mushy.

The second place we stopped at was Menchie's frozen yogurt. Some friends of ours had tried this place and my mom and I wanted to see if it compared to Sweet Monkey.  I got pomegranate raspberry tart mixed with Georgia peach, topped with granola and pecans. While Menchie's doesn't have nearly as many flavors as Sweet Monkey, it was okay. I really liked the fact you could purchase a carton to go!

This next place was kind of spur of the moment. I spotted a sing for Gigi's cupcakes out of the corner of my eye on the way home. Since we don't go to Athens much, we decided to stop.

We tend not to like overly sweet desserts. I'm glad we only got one cupcake because it was RICH, as we say in the South. :)

We chose the salted caramel and chocolate cupcake. It was good, but I could only eat a little bit. The saltiness was a nice contrast to all of the chocolate. There was even chocolate inside the cupcake! Overall, a great day in Athens with my mom!

What are some of YOUR favorite places in Athens?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Book Review: Bittersweet Surrender by Diann Hunt

I read the ebook Bittersweet Surrender by Diann Hunt several months ago, but I haven't had time to post a review until now. I was attracted to the book initially because of the title. Carly Westlake is the main character in the book. She owns her own business, a chocolate spa no less, and seems to have a great life with her best friend Ivy right there with her. What could she have to surrender to that was so bad?

Further into the book, I discovered she was a cancer survivor. I could relate to this because of all of my surgeries. I thought the conflicts in this book were realistic: a father having trouble with his teenage daughter, couples with marriage problems and grief.

The book started to get a little cheesy for me when Carly tried to change herself when her old high school boyfriend Jake came into town. With his good looks and charm, Carly fell for him hook line and sinker. She thought this was finally going to be her happily ever after. I was a little disappointed when I got to this part because it seems like lots of books have a former flame pop up, and I was expecting a little more substance to this book.

I finally got wowed by the end. I won't say if it was a good or bad wow because my emotions were all over the place with this book. There were some very unexpected twists and turns, hidden secrets, and betrayals that kept me turning the page to see how the book would end! I had never read any of Diann Hunt's books, but I was pleasantly surprised at the issues she managed to weave into this book almost seamlessly. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes love stories mixed with self-reflection and things that average people deal with. However, if you prefer to read books that draw you into the plot immediately; this book is probably not for you because Hunt takes her time to develop the characters in the beginning.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Set Apart

I was reading in Isaiah the other day when I became burdened to pray for our nation with earnest. Isaiah 1:4 says, “Oh---sinful nation people weighed down with iniquity, brood of evildoers, depraved children! They have abandoned the Lord and despised the Holy One of Israel.”

Even though this was in the Old Testament, it reminds me a lot of the United States. Everywhere you turn people are sinning and trying to ensnare others into their traps of wickedness. Lying tongues and deceitfulness of riches are common. Where are the men and women of God who are going to stand up for what is right? We are supposed to be a living example of what it means to walk in power and authority, but we are NOT using it.  Sadly, being a Christian is nothing more than a label these days.

Lest you be dismayed, there is hope! Isaiah 1:16-17 says, “Wash yourselves. Cleanse yourselves. Remove your evil deeds from My sight. Stop doing evil. Learn to do what is good. Seek justice.”
In other words, God is saying repent! Deal with your own filthiness of flesh. Yes, that means to confront your weaknesses and sin. Turn away from all of those things that have caused you much agony. I can tell you this: If you seek to know God and His ways, He will teach you. Changing our nation starts with changing yourself. All it takes is a decision. It is more important than ever for the Body of Christ to stand united together. If our house is full of division and strife, we will accomplish nothing!

I’ve decided to be set apart. What about you? Decide NOW to stop making excuses!

Image Credit:
© Ragne Kabanova|

Friday, July 06, 2012

New Internship and Senior Project Approved!

Well, I've been busy with my new internship! You read that right. I am a publishing assistant intern for Tannenbaum Publishing Company! I'm in the process of editing my first manuscript. It's very exciting knowing that I am helping someone else make their dreams come true.

I've also gotten my senior project approved. It will be an inspirational 12 page magazine about people who happen to have a disability. Parents and people who know someone with a disability: What would make you want to read a disability magazine? Colors? Overall feel? The more opinions I have the better. 

Hope everyone is having a wonderful week!

Friday, June 22, 2012

I Love Dropbox!

I realized while on my computer yesterday that I had not shared the fabulousness of dropbox with everyone! I couldn't believe it because it's a wonderful free program that is like a backup place for all of your files. I've been using it a little over a year and love it. I store almost all of my schoolwork on there, personal files, pictures, as well as church things that the publications team is working on together.

What's great about it is it can be accessed from anywhere! Even on your phone, which is great for people on the go that don't want to keep up with lots of flash drives or external hard drives.

Click this link to be invited by me and automatically get 500MB of space added to your account! I use the free version. Dropbox doesn't even know who I am. I just love their product!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Gift Certificate Winner...Or Not

I wasn't feeling so great yesterday or this morning, so I didn't post a winner yesterday. No one commented! What's up with that? If you would like the gift certificate, email me before the day is out because it expires today. I'll be glad to send it to you!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Who Wants a Gift Certificate?

I recently received a $10 gift certificate from in my email. I don't have any plans to buy anything right now, so I thought I'd give it to one of you! They have lots of things on their website, and I'd hate to see this go to waste!

To enter, leave a comment on this post telling me what you're reading or plan to read this summer! I'll pick a winner on Friday since the certificate expires on Saturday, the 16th. 

Saturday, June 09, 2012

2012 Family Photos

It takes a few minutes for the book to load.

I just had to share this beautiful book I created with the help of Shutterfly! We haven't had family pictures made since 1997 so I am thrilled to have these memories preserved thanks to my friend Randi Green of Z & Lei Photography! Didn't the book turn out awesome?!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Maybe I'm Me

The older I get, the more I seem to question the way I am. Well, that's not true. I guess it was just when I realized I'm not like everyone else. I like to do things right. It doesn't matter whether that's an assignment, an exercise program, or speech. Someone at church tonight said, "It's good to question why you think the way you do." So, I did just that tonight. After digging in my memory bank, I found it.

When I was about nine all the way into my teen years, I was with one physical therapist. I would stop several times during the session and say, "Am I doing this right?" The physical therapist said, "I have never had someone be so conscientious." Well, at that age, I didn't feel conscientious. I felt weird. Most of the people I went to school with were overjoyed just to pass. It wasn't that way for me. If I knew I could have better, I wanted better.

Even as a college student, people called me insane for striving to get an A in Communication Law. I now realize I'm not weird, I'm just me. I can't apologize for that. One of my philosophies is if I don't do it right, why do it at all? Take exercising for example. If I rushed through them just to get it over with and go home, I wouldn't get the full benefit. My muscles wouldn't be stretched which means it would be harder for me to walk the next day.  Anyone who is close to me knows that I give 110% into whatever I'm doing. I'm only on this earth for a short while, and I want my time to count for something.

Maybe that makes me weird to some people. You know what, that's okay.  Maybe I'm too hard. Maybe I expect too much of people. I don't know. I struggle with that balance because I don't want to push people away. I don't want to change the fiber of my being, though, just to make someone happy for a short while.  I've never had many close friends because most of them couldn't relate to the physical suffering that I went through as a child and went our separate ways, even though it was beyond my control.

I'm twenty two years old, and continually strive not for the praises of man or an A+ paper. As I've said before, my papers, degrees, and certificates will rot one day. They will mean nothing. But, while I'm here, I strive to be the best representative of Jesus that I can and that includes giving my all. Jesus gave His all in whatever He did, so waking up each day, being a little weirder than those around me is okay if it means I am following Him. 

Monday, May 28, 2012

Summertime Fun and Website Building

Well, my summer has consisted of lots of playtime with my little nephew. Even though I try my hardest, he still hasn't said Auntie. His personality is developing more and more and his little laugh is beyond sweet! He has the most energy ever! He was going constantly for two days and only took one or two naps. If I had his energy, I could build a house, run a marathon, cook dinner, and who knows what else! Haha. It's so cute to see him explore my room and hide behind the door and then go play and find the door again and be SO excited! He has really brought joy to the everyday things. 

He also likes the toasted peanut butter crackers that come in little packs. These were originally for me because I love crackers as an afternoon snack, but after discovering that peanut butter can increase inflammation, I've decided to switch to almond or cashew butter. Not one to waste, I decided to let Mason have a taste. He loved them!

I'm also working on a final project for one of my classes that includes me trying to design a website using Flash CS5. If it turns out even close to what I envision in my head, I'll be happy. Seriously, there are no good step-by-step tutorials on how to do this. One site even called a "tutorial" a bunch of files with no instructions! I was beyond frustrated, but I'm going to get some advice from a friend of mine and trudge on through. That said, if anyone has any advice or any good websites that have easy to follow instructions on creating a website using Adobe Flash CS5, I'd be forever grateful!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Open Letter to Fulton County BOE Concerning Special Needs Abuse

Those of you who know me know I have a passion for special needs kids, so when my mom told me of special needs kids being abused at Hopewell Middle School in Fulton County, I was coming to my blog to take action. This link tells the stories of several children, some who can't even talk who were slammed into lockers, covered in feces, and subject to vulgar language by their so-called teachers.

This is an open letter to Fulton County Schools:

Dear Boards who hire Teachers,

Do a better job of monitoring the teachers. This abuse happened over several years. My question is why? Are you blind? Were you too busy to make sure that children who can't defend themselves were taken care of? All children deserve a safe environment. Although the teacher and principal who covered up the abuse are now gone, you need to take a serious look at your leadership. What happened to people with character and moral integrity? One teacher was discouraged from saying anything because nothing would be done. I can assure you if I ever witness that I would not stop until someone heard me. I have cerebral palsy, so I know what it's like to face challenges.

Those women did not deserve the privilege of being around such precious children. Shame on Fulton County for not investigating this sooner and taking swift action. It is utterly despicable what happened to these children! They didn't deserve this at all. With each news story, my confidence in the leadership in different areas of impact continues to decrease.

Where are the men and women who will stand up for the truth even if no one is standing with you?

The principal that was fired from teaching in Georgia is now teaching at the College of Charleston. How in the world is this woman allowed to be teaching anywhere? Our justice system is seriously messed up!

Where are the men and women who care about people and children instead of a paycheck?

I will warn you: That power that you have now can be stripped in an instant. If you are not doing your job, there's always someone else waiting in the wings. You are replaceable!

I applaud the parents for not being silent. Parents know their kids better than anyone, so please be aware at all times. The board of directors shouldn't have been paid because the parents did your job for you! Before you hire anyone in the future, please do a thorough job. I suggest you do surprise visits at least weekly. If you don't set the standard for education, who will? Instead of worrying about bigger buildings and better lunches, I urge you to take care of the children! They are our future!


One voice who won't be silenced

P.S. If anyone is wondering how they can make a difference, get involved in your community! Don't just talk about doing something, do it. My mom has often told me, "Be the change you want to see."

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Printrunner Giveaway Winner!

Even though my Printrunner giveaway ran for a week, only one person entered. That person was my mom, author of the blog, Dance Even in the Rain!

Congratulations, mama!!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Sweet Moments at Mason's 1st Birthday

My family and friends helped celebrate my nephew's first birthday this past weekend. I wanted to share a sweet moment that was captured on video by my mom. You can click the full size button to see the video better.


I thought it was so sweet that he wanted to share!

His little car from Mommy and Daddy that he LOVED! Could he be any cuter?!

I had a wonderful time celebrating my precious little man!  My life is so much richer than a year ago because of him.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Postcards from Printrunner!

 Jian from Printrunner recently contacted me about hosting a giveaway. This company allows you to print online using their easy tools. Among things like stickers, business cards, and flyers, the also offer custom postcard printing.

The prize is 100 5x7 postcards that will be printed on the front only using the 4 color printing system(CMYK). The paper will be 14 pt. with a UV coating on front. After the giveaway is over, you'll receive your postcards in 4 days! (You do not get to proof your order).

*Giveaway is open to US Residents only, ages 18 years old and above.
To enter: Leave a comment on this post telling me your favorite summer activity along with your email address so the winner can be contacted!
Optional entries (leave separate comments for each thing you do):
Like Making my Mark on Facebook
Blog about this giveaway linking back to this URL:
Like Printrunner on Facebook
Winner will be announced Friday, May 18th!
DISCLAIMER: Thank you to PrintRunner for providing us this giveaway, I will receive a set of postcards for hosting this.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Best Insoles Sale!

I love sharing good things! A few months ago, I made my first purchase from Best Insoles, a fabulous website that carries insoles for different shoes among other things. Since I have a leg length discrepancy, I have to wear a heel lift in my one of my shoes. With all of my foot pain, I decided to go ahead and get a new one just to be safe. It is SO much smaller than the one I got from the guy who made my last pair of AFOs. Now I won't be so stressed when looking for shoes.

The best part is they're having a sale! They don't have a clue who I am, but I wanted to share the code with everyone I got in my email. Use the code SPORT10 for 10 percent off! They have insoles for men and women as well as things for orthopedic shoes and those who suffer from plantar fasciitis.

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Swimming in Paper

Hey everyone,

In the midst of studying for a final and finishing a portfolio for a class this semester, I wanted to update you on things. I have been super busy with my internship and church stuff. My church just celebrated its 25th anniversary and we just finished hosting a four day conference. In the midst of that, I helped edit two mini books and help prepare and transcribe a 300 page book to be ready for printing. I just have to say that I LOVE holding books that our team worked so hard on in my hands! Sadly, that left little time for blogging. Summer is in the air  and that means more blogging!! I have some posts planned and a giveaway, so check back often!

Monday, April 16, 2012

April Issue of Athena Magazine for Girls!

To say I've  been busy this month would be the understatement of the year! I will spare you all the details and just share some fruits of my labor. Does that sound good?

I worked on two articles for Athena Magazine for Girls this month.  They are now live on the website. One was about the Susan G. Komen and Planned Parenthood controversy (Website no longer exists). I'm sure everyone one has heard at least some parts of it. I learned a lot about two very different organizations while doing this article. It was a whirlwind month that tested my patience, but perseverance paid off!

The second article was about a very mysterious work of article called the Ghent Altarpiece. Since it had such a unique history, I would have loved to have shared this with my granddaddy. I learned about lots of techniques (that were new to me at least) while working on this piece. I hope you enjoy both articles.

While I'm at it, if you want, please drop Sarah, the editor-in-chief a line to tell her how much you enjoy the magazine. Everyone involved with AMG is not paid. We do it because we love what we do!  She works a lot behind the scenes to make this magazine a success(in addition to her day job). I know it'd mean the world to her to hear your encouragement! 

When I get out for the summer, be looking for more book reviews and general posts. Thanks for reading even though this month hasn't been consistent!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Easter 2012

I thought I would do a picture recap of Easter weekend.

Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend celebrating the TRUE meaning of Easter! The above picture of my nephew was taken by my sister-in-law. Didn't she do a great job?! The food and family are wonderful, but without Him, we would be lost.

Friday, April 06, 2012

God Provides

Recently, I began to see how a lift chair could benefit me in my everyday life. I have been doing all of my college coursework from my bed, but that is not God's best. I get tired sitting in the wheelchair for long periods of time, which causes me to slump. That is not good for my posture, so with a lift chair I could be in the living room looking out the window while still being comfortable. Unless you've been sick, you don't know how depressing it gets to look at the same four walls (even though mine are a cheery yellow accented with purple) day in and day out. The lift chair will give me the opportunity to be more comfortable when I am working on my laptop, because it hurts my back to bend over a table at normal height and work from my wheelchair. Something else that most people wouldn't think about is that being in the bed for a long time puts you at risk for losing your mobility. Having a lift chair would make me want to get up more because it would be comfortable for my back and legs. The recliner we have now is too low for me to get up from without help. A new lift chair would give me more independence in that area, while still stretching my muscles and back.

My mom and I began to look into Medicaid paying for the chair, but they refused because I am in a wheelchair. They said it would be around $1,000 for the type of chair I needed. My family decided they would pool their money together, but God had a better plan. A thought flashed through my mind "Why not let your friends and family on Facebook know about your need?" I ran it by Mom to make sure it was okay to post it on my personal Facebook page, and in just a little over a week, we raised all of the money to cover the chair and a table for me to use while I work!! Even one girl I go to school with gave money! This just reinforced how good my God is! God even used this selfless act as a testimony of His goodness to the employees of the lift chair store. They were there at the beginning when we thought Medicaid would pay and saw us leave disappointed. My mom was able to tell them, “God supplies all of our needs,” as they watched her lay the money on the counter! My God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly, above all that I could ask or think!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Little Things Can Cause Big Problems

I've been having some physical issues lately. After being in pain and the swelling in my feet not going away, I went to the doctor last Thursday to discover that I had blood bruises underneath my foot and lots of fluid from the weights that I use to physical therapy with at home. The doctor said every time I did them(which was once a week like I was told to do), the weight was slipping below my ankle and essentially bursting blood vessels and cutting off my circulation. The medicine they prescribed is getting rid of the fluid, but I am very weak and experiencing some tingling. Lots of rest is what the doctor ordered, so I'm being a good patient even though I have a million things to do.

I also had fluid building up in my stomach and didn't realize it. I thought I had just gained a few pounds, but after I started taking the medicine to get rid of the fluid and swelling in my feet, my stomach started shrinking! I am sharing this with everyone because it is so important not to ignore things going on with your body.  I'm so glad I was able to be seen quickly by my doctor and get the problem under control.

In addition, I have been plugging along on my school assignments and the April issue of Athena Magazine for Girls. Hope everyone is enjoying this beautiful day!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Good Stuff

Even though I have been busy with schoolwork, some good things have been happening.

In late February, Deborah, my very first baby sitter came to visit me from Kentucky. They used to live in my hometown but they moved for work purposes. It's great when we can catch up with them.  

Last week I went to visit my little nephew, my brother was not home to carry me into the trailer, so my mom carried me.  I walked holding onto her into the bedroom.  Even though wasn't the easiest thing. I was determined to see my little nephew. At the end of our visit,  I was able to ease myself down from the wheelchair to the floor with my mom's help. That's the first timt I've been able to do that without serious back pain in years!  We did this so she wouldn't have to carry me a second time. I could just slide into her arms. 

I'm not where I want to be in terms of progress just yet, but I'm not where I was even a few months ago! Woo hoo!  

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Second Magazine Article Done

After a few technical issues, my second magazine article is now live on Athena Magazine for Girls website!  Click this link to read it. (The website no longer exists, so the link has been removed).

I can't tell you how great it was to talk with Lauren Ricks about her mission trips in various countries. Although we are thousands of miles apart, we are united in our desire to change the world around us. Read the article to find out some of the best and worst parts of her adventures so far!  No matter how old you are, you will definitely come away feeling so incredibly grateful for the life you have.  I know I did.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Don't Let Your Dream Die

For years, people tried to talk me out of becoming a writer. There was a particular instance in middle school that I will never forget. My teacher had given me an assignment to pick the career I wanted and to present a Powerpoint presentation in front the of class. As she was walking around the classroom, she said, "What did you choose, Madison?" I distinctly remember telling her "Journalism." My Powerpoint had a very colorful cover slide with a picture of a quill.

 "Oh, you will want to pick something else," she said. Hurt, I continued to listen because she was my teacher, someone who I trusted to lead and guide me. "You won't ever make any money being a writer," she said and walked off. She never knew how much those words impacted me. Subtly, my mind shifted to other careers. "Let me look up the salary for a nurse," I said to myself, knowing the health care field was always promising. Seeing the numbers on the screen settled it. I would be a nurse, even if every fiber in my thirteen-year-old body went against it!

I continued on in high school taking health occupations classes and even doing clinicals. My heart wasn't in it, though. Away from prying eyes and judgmental attitudes, I would write at home. English was my favorite class. I would spend hours writing stories. I had tasted the joy of creating something of my very own, and no one could take that away from me. My mom knew my heart. She didn't pressure me to do anything, but I know that she prayed for me and she listened. I'm so thankful I had someone to believe in me and my dream!

Countless friends and teachers in high school said I needed to be a teacher, because I am good at explaining things to people. I smiled and said, "That's not the career for me."  I said this to each person who suggested it. I got tired of hearing it, to be honest with you. Inside I screamed, "Can anyone see that I want to be a writer?" I didn't know it at the time, but I was taking a stand for what I believed in and not letting other voices talk me out of what God called me to do.

In the midst of my battle with my heart and my head, my mom told my brother and me, "Do whatever you love to do. Don't let anyone pressure you to do otherwise."

When it came time to register for college classes, I was automatically drawn to the communication major because of the writing aspect. Somewhere along the way, I decided that my mom was right. Even if I never made an enormous salary from writing, I was going to do it because I LOVED it. Seriously, I have a page full of ideas on my computer of things to write about. I have dreams about characters and stories. No amount of money can compare to true fulfillment! 

And now? I’m entering my senior year in college, working on many projects for Gateway publications and writing about current events for my internship with Athena Magazine for Girls. What if I had listened to my middle school teacher? I would be miserable! I want to encourage each of you to not let your dream die!  

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Sneak Peek

My church recently launched its new monthly magazine! We've been doing weekly publications for a long time, but we now have a fantastic team that helps with the articles and design.

My article is on page 6!

I will post my article, Don't Let Your Dream Die" here tomorrow!