Friday, May 29, 2020

Hilarious Videos

Sarah Cooper is a comedian and author who describes herself as “not the normal demographic for TikTok”. Although when Trump handed her what she explained to be “liquid gold”, she decided to use it. She lip-syncs his worst comments from press conferences and creates the most hilarious videos that have now gone viral. She has now caught the attention of many people including the news and even Ellen DeGeneres. Here is her first original video created on TikTok and uploaded to YouTube:

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Lifting Orders

Despite the number of coronavirus cases rising, Minnesota’s stay-at-home order expired on May 18. Although it extended many restrictions on public gatherings including eating at restaurants and in-service religious services until June 1. That means most retail businesses are open at either 25% or 50% capacity under safety guidelines. Small social gatherings are permitted with 10 or fewer people. These orders have varied from state to state, with some opening their doors earlier.

I’m hoping to go out somewhere soon. The only thing is the more I start venturing out, the more risk I have of becoming exposed. Even though I could figure out a way to maintain distance, I mostly would be worried about other people coming close to me. That’s why starting with somewhere like the mall would be good because it’s more open than a regular store. Next month I have some doctor appointments scheduled, but that’s another month still.

Right now, I have been trying to get outside as much as possible when the weather is nice and warm. That way I at least get a different view along with fresh air other than just inside my house. Hopefully by the end of the year, everything will be open. Although I’ve seen that a lot of stores have gone out of business because of having to be shut down and not maintaining revenue.


Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Mental Health Awareness

May is mental health awareness month. It’s been observed in the United States since 1949 and was started by the Mental Health America organization. It is a time to raise awareness of those living with behavioral or mental health issues and reduce the stigma that so many people experience. This also includes promoting increased access to care and treatment.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, “nearly 450 million people worldwide are currently living with a mental illness, yet nearly two thirds of people with a known mental illness never seek treatment. ADAA is dedicated to helping those living with anxiety, depression, and co-occurring disorders and their loved ones find treatment, support, and resources.” The organization also provides free resources for those in need.

Everyone faces challenges in life that can impact their mental health. It is especially true this year, with so many people having to be isolated because of the coronavirus. Socialization, contact with other people, and having a routine are so important in our lives. When people are forced to break from the norm, it can cause a sense of brokenness, one that forces difficult choices within.

It is even more important now than ever that we take care of our mental health in our current environment. Some ways to do so is by finding the positive in things, owning your feelings, eliminating toxic influences, creating healthy routines, supporting and connecting with others etc. These can help bring a better quality of life to you and the people around you.


Monday, May 18, 2020

Things to Remember

These are 12 things to remember in life. I believe they can be just a little something to go by when a situation might come your way unexpectedly. Also, it never hurts to have positive affirmations in your mind while making decisions.


Friday, May 15, 2020

Quality of Life

I am aware of some healthcare providers that tend to think people who are paralyzed have a very low quality of life. There are assertions that they would rather die than live with a severe disability. Although some spinal cord injury survivors tend to feel different. I believe every new circumstance in life comes with new meanings, choices, adventures, possibilities and challenges.

There is no question that quality of life means different things to different people and at different times in life. Over time our perception of it changes. When we are younger, we focus on leisure activities, physical abilities and employment. Although as we get older, we place more emphasis on family and relationships.

The same is true for someone who becomes disabled. For the first year or so, they may dwell on what life could have been or what abilities were lost. Although as time goes on most tend to realize there’s more to life than just thinking about the what if’s. That despite what happens we can still go about living however we choose. 

With me, at 16 years old I was still in high school looking ahead at all the opportunities I may miss. It took a good year for me to finally realize that I still had more life to live, just in a different way. Even though I was in a different situation than planned, I can still maintain a good quality of life. That despite my newly transformed way of doing things, my overall values stayed the same and I can still find joy.


Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Words to Motivate and Inspire

As you may know by now from my blog, I love quotes! I’ve written some and also have many books. I also just like browsing the Internet for uplifting sayings. For this post, I thought I would share some of my favorites from a book I have called “Keep Believing in Yourself and Your Special Dreams”.

It’s up to You

This life is the only one you’re given. Look for opportunities to grow, and never be discouraged in your efforts to do so. Replace your weaknesses with positives; take life’s broken pieces and re-create your dreams. Never measure the future by the past; let yesterday become a memory and tomorrow a promise. Begin each day by focusing on all that is good, and you’ll be in a position to handle whatever comes along. Take responsibility for your actions; never make excuses for not being the best you can be. If you should slip, be comfortable by the thought that we all do at times. Determine your tomorrows by the choices you make today, and you’ll find yourself living in joy and triumph. -Linda E. Knight

If You Ever Feel Discouraged…

Hang in there and have patience with yourself in the situation. Live in the moment, one day at a time, not fretting about the past or worrying about the future. Don’t take on more than you have to; learn to let go. Refuse negative thoughts; replace them with positive ones. Look for the good things in your life and make a point of appreciating them. Believe in yourself and know that you have the power to do anything. You are ultimately the one in charge of your life and the only person in the world who can change it. No matter how much others are pulling for you or how much anyone else cares, you must do what needs to be done to make your present and future everything you wanted to be. -Barbara Cage

Be Strong, and Don’t Give up

Remember… There is a deeper strength and an amazing abundance of peace available to you. Draw from this well, call on your faith to uphold you. Life continues around us, even when our troubles seem to stop time. There is always good in life. Take a few minutes to distract yourself from your concerns-long enough to draw strength from a tree or to find pleasure in a bird song. Return a smile, realize that life is a series of levels, cycles of ups and downs- some easy, some challenging. Through it all, we learn, we grow strong in faith, we mature in understanding. The difficult times are often the best teachers, and there is good to be found in all situations. Reach for the good. Be strong, and don’t give up. - Pamela Owens Renfro

The Path to a Dream

The path to a dream is paved with sacrifices and aligned with determination. And though it has many stumbling blocks along the way and may go in more than one direction, it is marked with faith. It is traveled by belief and courage, persistence and hard work. It is conquered with a willingness to face challenges and take chances, to fail and try again and again. Along the way, you may have to confront doubts, setbacks, and unfairness. But when the path comes to an end, you will find that there is no greater joy than making your dreams come true. - Barbara Cage


“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Do not follow where the path may lead. Go, instead, where there is no path and leave a trail.”

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Guest Blog Post by Brody

This is a guest post written by none other than my dog Brody. I thought I would share it with all of you. He gives a great insight into the life of a dog and information about himself.

Hi everyone! My name is Brody and I am 8 ½ years old. I’m a Chinese crested powderpuff and I come from a family of show dogs. I have hair on my head shaped like a crest and my skin is covered in pink spots. My mom is allergic to pet dander, so it’s a good thing I’m hypoallergenic which means I don’t shed. Although that means I need to be brushed daily and taken to the groomers to get my hair cut every so often. 

I love my mom so much! I wait for her patiently, comfort her through hard times and disappointments, and romp glee at her homecomings. I am a registered companion dog for her. I’m gentle, happy, loyal, loving and totally devoted. I follow her everywhere she goes. Also, I have a sensitive nature and don’t like to be separated for long periods of time. 
I have my own bed and it is my favorite spot to lie in. Sometimes the sun comes in through the window and shines brightly on me, heating me up. I can’t believe I have this whole pillow all to myself! Some other places I like to lay are on the back of couches, on my mom’s lap, and snuggle in her bed.

My favorite thing to do is go on walks with her. I know exactly when it’s time to go; whenever she pulls out my leash and says: “do you want to go for a walk?” Then she attaches it and me to her wheelchair and off we go. In the winter, I like to wear sweaters because they keep me warm. Even though I like my walks, I prefer to spend the remainder of my time indoors 
mostly sleeping.

Some other things that bring me happiness are cuddling, being pet and brushed, playing with toys, and chewing on bones. I really enjoy being around kids, mostly because they are my size and usually friendly towards me. I also know how to do some tricks! I can dance, sit, lay down and even smile when asked.

I’m security/control manager of the house. This includes my mom and all the other people that come in and out of it. I do not always welcome strangers in the yard or house. If I see them I either growl, bark, hide, or run to my mom for safety and assurance. Although, I like to chase after squirrels and I’m not afraid to run towards the turkeys or deer in the yard! 


Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Disability Portrayals in Movies and Television

The portrayal of people with disabilities on television can influence the public’s perception of disability in both negative and positive ways. This can have a profound effect on how they are viewed by society at large. Many of those representations are accurate, many are inaccurate, and some are even offensive. It all depends on how the role is played, what message is being sent, the intentions behind it, along with the interpretation of character.

When I was growing up, I rarely saw someone with a disability on TV, especially someone with a spinal cord injury. This was also true when my accident happened at the age of 16, in 2002. Although as the years have gone by, I have noticed more roles where someone was acting with a disability. On the occasion that I do, my first question is usually whether or not the actor/actress was truly disabled. More often than not however, I discovered that the person was not and just an able-bodied person playing the role of someone with a disability.

I think it’s fine, as long as the portrayal is accurate, relevant to the situation and not demeaning in any way. It is one of the only ways we will see improvements of how people with disabilities are treated. My goal is always to show people that although those with disabilities may have a physical difference, they are no different. I would hope that this would show in films where there happens to be a disability role. Although that becomes difficult, I believe when the actual film is about someone with a disability.

There seems to be a common notion that when people see someone with a disability, they may say things like “you’re so brave” or “I don’t know if I could do what you are doing”. It implies that the disabled person must be going through a tough time or their situation is unbearable, even if they are just trying to be sensitive. Although most times that person is just going about trying to live as normal life as possible, despite what they deal with on a day-to-day basis. I believe some of this notion comes from what is depicted through movies and shows that people watch.

There are some clich├ęs and stereotypes that can evolve. Some examples are “the disabled person was faking it (The In-Laws), disability is used to indicate that a character is a villain (The Girl Who Played with Fire), people with disabilities can cure themselves through sheer force of will, disabled people are filled with a murderous rage (Hook).”* Other ones may be a person with a disability must have some tragic story or they want to end their life because they can’t see themselves living in that situation (The Bone Collector, Me Before You). These are just situations that can come about with some movie plots.

Over the years, we have evolved in the way of how to characterize someone with a disability. Directors, writers and actors go through great lengths to properly show a disability in movies. However, I think it’s important to show disabled characters and disability related situations realistically instead of just trying to say the right thing about it. That means possibly having someone with a disability play the role intended for that character. This gives people more of an opportunity to see a sense of “normalcy” to the intended role along with plot. One example of a well-done movie is: Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot. Even though the main actor is able-bodied playing someone in a wheelchair, there is a character who actually has a disability and in a wheelchair in the film.


“Strength lies in differences, not in similarities.”-Stephen B Covey


Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Going Out

Since almost all businesses, shops, malls etc. have been closed for a while now due to the coronavirus, it has been almost 2 ½ months since I’ve gone anywhere other than around my neighborhood for daily walks with Brody. Even though it’s been nice outside and I’m glad to be able to at least enjoy the weather, it’s been difficult on me not being able to do “normal” activities such as shopping or even just browsing around. I have been finding it both physically and mentally challenging. To be honest I’m going a little stir crazy, feeling imprisoned in my own house.

There are many things that I need and want to do. When I’m able, the first thing I have to do is get some blood samples drawn and also go to some well needed Dr. appointments. Although I’ve been able to talk to some of my doctors online, some require in office visits. As of now, I have one scheduled with my pulmonologist in July. I’m hoping by then I’ll be able to go to it.

One thing that I’ve been wanting to do is get my haircut. I was about to get it trimmed right before everything shutdown. It is getting extremely long, as I’m sure most of you who can’t cut your own hair can attest to. I am planning on getting 10 inches cut off altogether soon and donating it to Locks of Love. It will be the fourth time I donate it. Brody also needs his hair cut, but the dog groomers are not open.

Other things on the top of my list are going to a movie, the mall and out to eat. Even though we can now watch plenty of movies On Demand and on Netflix, it’s been a long time since I’ve actually gone out to the movie theater. Also, it would be nice to get to the mall and do some shopping. Even though I don’t necessary need anything, just looking around at different things is enough. I order most items that I need online, including clothes.

It would be nice to go to a restaurant, although I recently read an article that talked about how the new “norm” for eating out will forever be changed. There may be physical differences, like masked waiters, disposable menus, silverware in packaging, or fewer tables so people can sit farther apart. Also, levels will likely be down to 50% occupancy to accommodate. Also, signs will be up saying that cleaning products have been used along with glass dividers between customers and cashiers. Luckily, some places have been able to be open and do order out or curbside pickup.

I have been trying to do other activities around the house besides just binge-watching Netflix and TV shows. I’m using the time to get things organized, playing games, going outside etc. Once places start to open their doors, hopefully I will be able to get into the world as we now know it.


Sunday, April 26, 2020

Expect the Unexpected

Expect the unexpected means to not be surprised by an unusual event. Anything could happen, and probably will. Considering all the possible scenarios is the solution for a lifestyle without disappointment. Sometimes we will let life guide us and other times we take it into our own hands. However, no matter how organized we are or how well we plan, something may pop up and steer us in a whole new direction.

As my life has unfolded, and with the way things turned out how they did, I am happy to be alive! My willingness to continue pushing through my personal expectations along with remaining positive and persevering is a testament to who I have become. Making an impact on people’s lives is important to me and gives me a reason to get out of bed every day. I can show others not to pretend to be who they are despite their situation. Do not let anything slow you down and do not impose limitations on yourself.