Monday, May 28, 2012

One with Nature

Memorial Day is a federal holiday that is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service. It's also a big weekend where people take time to spend with family and friends, doing a lot of outdoor activities. Also, going "up north" (anywhere north of the Twin Cities) as we call it in Minnesota is common.

Today I went for a roll in Wayzata with my aunt, Sandy and sister, Kristen. First, we stopped at Starbucks and got drinks and then headed down a path around part of Lake Minnetonka. It was a beautiful day and there were lots of people boating, fishing, swimming biking etc. We were out for a couple of hours just people watching and enjoying the sunshine.

I love going outside and prefer to be in the sun. Some days I'll sit directly in the sun for hours. Although, my skin is extremely sensitive so I have to be very careful and wear sunscreen all the time. My face and arms will get really red even if I've only been outside for 10 min. in the sun. I think a lot of it has to do with the medications I'm on; they can cause my skin to be hypersensitive and I burn easily. One thing that's interesting is that most people in my situation don't sweat below their injury, but I do. My back and feet do the most but those are the places that I also wear braces. I'm probably able to sweat because my injury is incomplete.

I've written blog posts before mentioning my backyard and the beautiful forest that surrounds my house. We live on an acre, and our property backs up to a forest filled park with a nature trail. That guarantees that no one will ever build behind or around us. I enjoy watching the animals and just listening to nature; it's so peaceful and relaxing. It doesn't matter what season it is, there's always something to see and hear.

I also love all of the plants and flowers. I like to have people take pictures of them and the animals. My mom plants a lot of things each spring; that also includes a garden with all sorts of vegetables and some fruit. I've posted some good photos of my yard, house, plants and animals that I've taken over the years.

Female turkey in the tree

Raccoon taking a snooze in broad daylight
This is my favorite picture of a tree frog on a Black-Eyed Susan in our front yard
Dear in the woods
Monarch butterfly that I released
Two pairs of ducks swimming in the marsh
Goose reflection shot
Two woodchucks chowing down on some corn
My backyard
Fire pit and woods in my backyard
Flower shot
Flower shot II

Before my accident I loved going fishing, hiking and canoeing. Basically any outdoor activity that involved nature I was doing. I went to a YMCA camp in Amery, Wisconsin for seven summers straight and was going to be a counselor there. I've gone back to the camp to visit a couple of times since.


Monday, May 21, 2012

Why I Blog

I've been thinking lately about reasons why I blog. First, it's important to know that everything I say is true to me and my feelings. My goal is to share my story, giving others a glimpse into the life of a quadriplegic. I want to educate others about people with disabilities and tell those looking from the outside that there is nothing to fear or be afraid about. No question is a dumb question. In fact, I encourage people to ask and explore their thoughts with me. All of these are reasons why I started to blog about my life.

Before reading a friend's blog, I had no idea what one was. I was intrigued by the number of readers and how many people commented on the post. I was also interested in finding out how to go about setting one up. I've always loved writing, especially about myself, so I figured blogging wouldn't be too difficult. After researching a little bit about blogs in general, I started creating mine in September 2008.

After figuring out a name and design, I made it live by October. I didn't know what to expect and hadn't a clue the responses I would get. Pretty soon the number of visitors started rising and I realized I was reaching people across the world. I never imagined I would be receiving comments and e-mails from others in similar situations just looking for support and someone to relate to. While starting to realize the impact I was making, I became addicted to blogging. I began opening up more about my life and writing in more detail.

I knew quickly how important and special this blog was becoming; this is what I stated in a post a couple weeks after starting it up:

"I love 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."

Keep the comments and questions coming!


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

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A Look into School and a Job

It feels so good to be done with spring semester. My first summer class starts at the end of this month and I'm actually looking forward to it. Even though I like being stress-free and not having to worry about homework deadlines, I do like to stay busy. School has always been one thing that's constant and consistent. That's probably what this keeps me motivated to keep going, along with the feeling I'll get when I finally have a degree and will be looking for a job. I know I've talked a lot about school lately but I'm excited about the progress and accomplishments I've made.
At the time of the accident, I was two months into my sophomore year of high school. While in the hospital, I finished up two classes that I was taking. I tried to go back to school after I got home towards the end of my sophomore year but decided I wasn't ready. I went back my junior year and ended up graduating on time with my class in June 2005; that was something I was shooting for, but didn't know if it would happen. I signed up for one class at Normandale fall 2005, but after two weeks of attending I withdrew from the class. I've officially been going there since fall 2006 just taking one or two classes at the time (which is all that I can usually handle in my busy life).
Throughout the past seven years, my sole experience with working has been one job that lasted through two summers. It was with Intermediate District 287 doing data entry, spreadsheets and art design. All other experience I have has been volunteering; this includes public speaking, working with children, Ms. Wheelchair Minnesota 2011, advocating etc. I would love to do an internship somewhere to get even more experience within the communications field. However, I'm definitely eager to find a job that pays.
Right now I'm working on revising my resume so I can start distribution whenever needed. I'm also going to get new business cards to give out. I think the best thing one can do is market themselves and find contacts whenever possible. Even though I'm not planning on working quite yet, it will be good to create relationships with others and get my name out. That way when I do start looking for a job I'll know exactly what I want and who I should connect with. I'm eager to get into the work field but I know I have to finish getting my degree's first.
I've often thought about getting a part-time job so I could get paid versus all of the volunteering I do, but I'm not sure what type of position would suit me right now. Plus, it may be difficult for me to juggle classes and a career at the same time. I'm already very busy so adding 20 hours a week for work would probably be very difficult. Maybe I could start out with a few hours a week and work my way up; I'll just have to keep my options open.

For now, I'm enjoying my time relaxing and sitting in the sun with no worries or stress; the only work I'm doing now is on my tan!


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!

Amazing Mother

Brought life into this world

Cherished every given moment

Sweet memories of bliss

Generosity and kindness throughout

Gave love to others

Caretaker to all around

Dedication within the family

Sacrifices made for children

Amazing mother of mine

-Jenni Taylor

Sunday, May 6, 2012

There's an End in Sight

Spring semester at Normandale ends after next week. I'm glad I will be done with my Intro to Short Stories class soon. I only need 10 more credits (three classes) and then I'll have enough to graduate with my Associates in Arts with an Emphasis in Communications at the end of fall semester.

I signed up for summer classes a few weeks ago. There are two summer sessions, each one month long. The first session goes from May 29-June 29 and I'll be taking Cultural Anthropology which meets one of my transfer goals. That's the only class that seemed somewhat interesting compared to the other history type classes. Then, I'll be taking Intro to Marketing for the second session which goes from July 2-August 3. This will be an elective although I'm not quite sure how much I'll like it; I hope it's not boring. I thought it could be of some use if I want to be able to market myself in the future.

Registration opened last week for fall classes already so I got that out of the way as well. I signed up for Geology which meets my science with a lab goal; that will meet at Normandale Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. I haven't taken a class yet where I've gone three days a week so I'm interested to see how I'll hold up. I'm sure it won't be too bad. Even though the three classes I signed up for are enough to graduate, I did add Public Relations online also in the fall.

I can't believe my graduation from Normandale is this year! I've been attending since fall of 2006, just taking one or two classes at a time. This will be a huge accomplishment, alongside of graduating high school on time with my class. My plans are to go on with school to get my bachelors in Personal Communications. I just recently figured that out; before I didn't know what I was going to do afterwards. Metro State in Minneapolis has a good program where I can choose which track I want, and I'm going to do public relations. I've looked into a lot of jobs in this field and it's definitely something I have taken interest in.

My general interest in PR came just in the last year, since becoming Ms. Wheelchair Minnesota 2011. During my reign, I had to do all my own researching, publicizing and contacting news coverage. I was able to get my story published in three newspapers and one online paper. I also wrote (and read others) blog posts in different areas about everything I did. Besides attending events and speaking, being able to promote myself to others was one of my favorite things I did.