Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

I'm not a big fan of Halloween. Although I think it is cute when the kids get dressed up. I admit I used to dress up as a kid. One of my favorite Halloween costumes was when I was a cheetah in third grade. Oh yeah, and I used to like the candy. Now I only eat sweets every once in a while. Anyways, here are some facts about Halloween:

"The first Halloween celebration in America took place in Anoka, Minnesota in 1921."

"About 99% of the pumpkins marketed domestically get turned into jack-o'-lanterns."

"Halloween candy sales average about $2 billion annually in the United States."

"Over 10% of pet owners dress their pets and Halloween customs."

"Over $1.5 billion is spent on costumes each year and more than $2.5 billion on other Halloween paraphernalia."

"90% of parents admit sneaking goodies from their kids' Halloween trick or treat bags."

You can get more facts and other stuff by clicking here.


Thursday, October 30, 2008

Ouch! Not really.

Today I went to the doctor's office. I scheduled an appointment to get my annual flu shot and a pneumonia shot. When I got there, the doctor started looking through my files and discovered that I actually needed three extra shots. I ended up getting five shots; flu, pneumonia, meningitis, hepatitis A and hepatitis B. Because of where my injury is, I'm really not supposed to feel anything. However, I do have feeling all over. It is best on the top of my forearms. The shot didn't hurt though; I have this way of relaxing my body so that I don't feel any pain.

Tomorrow I have a test for psychology. The tests are only worth 20 points, but it adds up quickly. I hope I'm ready because I chose to update my blog instead of finish studying. Wish me luck!


"The people who say they don't have time to take care of themselves will soon discover they're spending all their time being sick."
-Patricia Alexander


"Live. And Live Well. BREATHE. Breathe in and Breathe deeply. Be PRESENT. Do not be past. Do not be future. Be now. On a crystal clear, breezy 70 degree day, roll down the windows and FEEL the wind against your skin. Feel the warmth of the sun. If you run, then allow those first few breaths on a cool Autumn day to FREEZE your lungs and do not just be alarmed, be ALIVE. Get knee-deep in a novel and LOSE track of time. If you bike, pedal HARD… and if you crash then crash well. Feel the SATISFACTION of a job well done-a paper well-written, a project thoroughly completed, a play well-performed. If you must wipe the snot from your 3-year old's nose, don't be disgusted if the Kleenex didn't catch it all… because soon he'll be wiping his own. If you've recently experienced loss, then GRIEVE. And Grieve well. At the table with friends and family, LAUGH. If you're eating and laughing at the same time, then might as well laugh until you puke. And if you eat, then SMELL. The aromas are not impediments to your day. Steak on the grill, coffee beans freshly ground, cookies in the oven. And TASTE. Taste every ounce of flavor. Taste every ounce of friendship. Taste every ounce of Life. Because-it-is-most-definitely-a-Gift."
-Kyle Lake, Sermon


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

99 Balloons

I watched this video on Oprah today and I just had to share it with all of you. It touched me and I know you too will be touched by this precious story. Be prepared with a box of Kleenex; it made me, Oprah, Celine Dion, and probably millions of others cry. Sorry to do this to the saps out there, but this video is really worth seeing. It has over 1 million hits on YouTube and it gives me the chills just talking about it. So here it is.

Wow! This video makes me think about how lucky I am to be alive. We only live so long and we should live every day like it's our last. "Live for today, hope for tomorrow" is a saying I live by often. The mom of the little boy said something on Oprah today that I would like to quote, "I'm happy today, I can be sad later." All I can say is amazing! Truly amazing people who have come together to make a video and end up touching others. By the way, she's pregnant again! Another baby, another miracle, another joy of life.


"Loss leaves us empty- but learn not to close your heart and mind in grief. Allow life to replenish you. When sorrow comes it seems impossible- but new joys wait to fill the void."
-Pam Brown

Monday, October 27, 2008

Speaking Engagements

Hi everyone.

Back in July, I was the keynote speaker at a Spinal Cord Injury Research Symposium. Dr. Wise Young, a world renowned research scientist, was the featured speaker. Dr. Young is well known for his spinal cord injury research and clinical trials in China. The event was put on by the Morton Cure Paralysis Fund. They have now posted a video of the event, including my speech, on their website. It is at least two hours long. I encourage you to watch the whole thing because Dr. Young had some interesting information to share about spinal cord injury research and the progress they are making. Although, if you don't have the time, you can always fast-forward to the end to see me speak. To watch the video click here.

Also on the subject of speaking, I will be giving three speeches in a row next Thursday to three different classes at Richfield high school. I am part of a volunteer program called Best Prep. Although lately I have been getting paid for my speeches, it is nice to volunteer and get practice every once in a while. I will let you know how they go.


"It is not so much the content of what one says as the way in which one says it. However important the thing you say, what's the good of it if not heard or, being heard, not felt."
-Sylvia Ashton-Warner

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Footprints in the Sand

Footprints in the Sand

One night a man had a dream.
He was walking along the beach with the Lord.
Across the sky flashed scenes from his life.
For each scene he noticed two sets of
footprints in the sand, one belonged to him
and the other to the Lord.

When the last scene of his life flashed before him,
he looked back at the footprints in the sand.
He noticed that many times along the path of his life
there was only one set of footprints.
He also noticed that it happened at the very
lowest and saddest times in his life.

"Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you,
you'd walk with me all the way.
But I have noticed that during the most troublesome
times in my life there is only one set of footprints.
I don't understand why when
I needed you most you would leave me."

The Lord replied, "My precious, precious child.
I love you, and I would never leave you
during your times of trial and suffering.
When you see only one set of footprints,
it was then that I carried you."
-Author Anonymous

Whenever I read this poem, I know that I am never alone. In times of trouble, sadness, grief, loneliness, despair, or whatever it may be, I know that there is someone there guiding and helping me along. This actually isn't the original copy of this poem and its author is no longer anonymous. The original was written in 1936 by Mary Stevenson and copyright ownership was granted in 1984, 48 years after it was written. During those 48 years, some of the words of the poem have changed and it was usually followed by "author anonymous". It is very interesting how the ownership came about. If you would like to visit the website for more information the address is:


Saturday, October 25, 2008

In It for the Long Run

I am loving this blog! It feels good to be able to express myself while others become inspired by me. It is so much fun to post my writings and opinions. The first month was going to be a trial to see how I liked it. Obviously, this blog isn't going anywhere soon. I'm excited to say that I am going to keep this running as long as possible.

I would love to see more people comment on my posts. It would feel good to know that people are reading what I write and that I'm not just doing this for me. It's not that hard to do. All you have to do is click on comments, fill out some general information to create an identity, and then write whatever you would like. I am also able to write back to any of the comments made, so feel free to ask questions, say a quick hello, or just post a general comment. I would love to keep this site up as long as possible so let me know that you're interested in reading it.


"All of us, at certain moments of our lives, need to take advice and to receive help from other people."
-Alexis Carrel

Friday, October 24, 2008

Word for Thought



"We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face... we must do that which we think we cannot."
-Eleanor Roosevelt

Thursday, October 23, 2008

If I Had My Life to Live Over

If I Had My Life to Live Over

If I had my life to live over,
I'd dare to make more mistakes next time.
I'd relax, I would limber up.
I would be sillier than I have been this trip.
I would take fewer things seriously.
I would take more chances.
I would climb more mountains and swim more rivers.
I would eat more ice cream and less beans.
I would perhaps have more actual troubles,
but I'd have fewer imaginary ones.
You see, I'm one of those people who lives sensibly
and sanely hour after hour, day after day.
Oh, I've had my moments, if I had to do it over again,
I'd have more them.
In fact, I'd try to have nothing else.
Just moments, one after another, instead of living
so many years ahead of each day.
I've been one of those persons who never goes anywhere
without a thermometer, a hot water bottle, raincoat
and a parachute.
If I had to do it again, I would travel lighter than I have.
If I had my life to live over, I would start barefoot
earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall.
I would go to more dances.
I would write more merry go rounds.
I would pick more daisies.
-Nadine Stair

What would you do if you had your life to live over? Would you do some of these things or something different? Would you even choose to live your life differently? These things are small differences, are there bigger ones you would change? Feel free to comment below.

To me, life is not about the things you do or how you do them. It's not about who you're friends with, how you look, or the things you say. It doesn't matter where you live or what possessions you have. It isn't about social status or class, work ethic, or ability. Life is not about what type of person you are or who you become. It doesn't matter what filled your past or what's to come in your future. Life is one of those precious things that unfortunately can't be lived over again. I believe that there is a certain path for all of us and that things happen for a reason. You can also choose your life and your destiny. You can wish that things were different, or that you had lived your life differently. In reality, life is yours to live and how you live it depends on the choices you make and the path that is intended for you.


Saturday, October 18, 2008

Update on Me

Hi everyone.

School is going good. I got 4/4 on my quiz last Wednesday. I was excited to have the day off yesterday for MEA. I went for a role down this path close to my house. A photographer named Kate came with me. She took a lot of pictures of the beautiful changing weather, including me in some of them. It was a little chilly, but I bundled up. I will post some of the pictures when I get them.

Also yesterday, a company called Reliable came out to deliver me my new standing chair. I've been waiting for a long time. One of the things that is recommended for spinal cord injuries is to stand at least a few times a week. Getting started is the hard part. Since I haven't stood in about eight months (when I trialed the stander), my body isn't used to it. I have hypotensive episodes, where my blood pressure drops, when I change positions from laying to sitting. It's even worse when I go from sitting to standing. I have to go really slow and gradual into a standing position. The first time I went up yesterday, I got to 90° for about one minute before my blood pressure dropped and I had to go back down. The second time, I was at 90° for about six minutes. When I took my blood pressure, the machine said error. Whoops, I guess it got a little too low. But six minutes is good for not standing for a while. My goal right now is to get used to standing twice a week. In the long run, I hope to stand at least four or five times a week, up to 30 or 40 minutes.


"The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, nor to worry about the future, but to live the present moment wisely and earnestly."

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Subject: The Seven Wonders of the World

A group of students were asked to list what they thought were the present Seven Wonders of the World. Though there was some disagreement, the following got the most votes:
1. Egypt's great pyramids
2. The Taj Mahal
3. Grand Canyon
4. Panama Canal
5. Empire State building
6. St. Peter's Basilica
7. The Great Wall of China
While counting up the votes, the teacher noted that one quiet student hadn't turned in his paper yet, so she asked the child if he was having trouble with his list. The reply came, "Yes, a little. I can't quite make up my mind because there are so many." The teacher said, "Well, tell us what you have and maybe we can help." He hesitated, then read, "I think the Seven Wonders of the World are:
1. To touch
2. To taste
3. To see
4. To hear
He hesitated a little, then added:
5. To feel
6. To laugh
7. and, to love"
The room was so quiet you could hear a pin drop. These things we overlook as simple and ordinary are truly wondrous-a gentle reminder that the most precious things in life cannot be bought or built.

I love this story! I think it really makes people realize how valuable life is and not to take the little things for granted. There are people out there who can't touch, taste, see, hear, feel, laugh, or love. Think about it. Put yourself in their position, or even my position. Try sitting still for five minutes. No moving around, scratching itches, moving your hair from your face etc. It's hard isn't it. I know there is no way that anyone could know or even imagine how it feels to lose or be missing a sense unless it had happened or was happening to them. Even doing a simple experiment like sitting still for five minutes or wearing a blindfold for a day cannot show someone to the full extent what it's like to have a disability. Just something to think about when you're holding your kids, tasting your favorite food, watching the sunset, listening to the birds, getting a massage, reading a funny joke, or spending time with the people you love.


Thursday, October 9, 2008

My new blog site

Welcome to my new blog site. This site will replace my old CaringBridge website. It will be filled with updates about me, pictures, links, stories, interesting facts, quotes, and much much more. Feel free to comment on any of my posts, as I would love to hear from you. Commenting would be like signing the guestbook on my CaringBridge site. I hope you enjoy!