Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Blog or book?

Writing a book is an idea I've been toying with for a while. People tell me all the time that they think I should write a book because they think I'm so "inspirational." I understand what people are saying, but this high praise always makes me cringe a bit because I'm not trying to be an inspiration. I'm not trying to do anything grand; I'm just making the best of my life. I AM glad I can show people that it IS possible to go through something traumatic/life-changing and still live a joyful life. So even though I'm not trying to be an inspiration, I'll take the complement and consider it a challenge to continue to live the best way I can.

Back to writing a book. I actually started writing back in 2004. I wrote about my accident, my recovery and my personal experiences as I exited the "normal" world and entered the disabled world. I'm glad I wrote those experiences down when I did, because although I have a great memory, time has a way of bluring even the most vivid details that you're sure you'll never forget. I put my book on the back burner after I wrote down my initial thoughts and experiences because I developed a bit of "writers block" and I wasn't sure how to proceed.

Fast forward 4½ years to the summer of 2009. I felt the desire to start writing again, but going back to my book didn't appeal to me. Several people including family and friends suggested I start a blog. At first I didn't like this idea at all because I wasn't sure what I would write about or who would read it. I e-mail my family and close friends about the things I'm up to, so I didn't think there'd be anyone else who would be interested in my life. I was wrong. My blog has really taken off in the past year and a half, and I receive lots of comments from people, even complete strangers, who really like what I have to say.

I'm still on the fence about whether I will ever get back to my book, or if I should just stick to blogging. I've already blogged a lot of what I wrote in my book, so I wouldn't want it to be redundant. I guess I'll have to keep thinking about it. One thing I've learned over the past several years is to, "Never say never," because I never thought I would write a blog. (And when I started blogging, I never thought I would enjoy it so much!)

*If you're interested in reading more about my accident, recovery and how being paralyzed has changed my life, scroll to the bottom of this page. I've created a chronological list of the posts where I've talked about my accident, so just click the title of the post you're interested in, and it'll take you there!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Snowy afternoon at the movies

Yesterday afternoon my younger sister Chandra and I went to the movies. It was a cold, snowy day, so it seemed like a perfect day for the movies. (Although I think ANY day is a perfect day for the movies, rain or shine!) Watching just one movie never seems like enough, so we saw two.

The first movie we saw was The Adjustment Bureau with Matt Damon (one of my favorite actors). It was a sci-fi thriller that was a definite nail-biter. The second movie we saw was Red Riding Hood, which was a new, more mature take on the classic children's fairy tale. This movie was also quite suspenseful since you didn't know who the Wolf was until the end of the movie. I really liked both movies and I didn't have to worry about falling asleep  since they were both so suspenseful!
As I already said, it was a cold, snowy day. It had just started snowing when I arrived at the movie theater, and when I came out of my first movie two hours later, it looked like a blizzard outside. It was snowing so hard and the flakes were huge, like little cotton balls. The snow had tapered off a bit after the second movie, and there were several inches of snow on our van that we had to brush off. The snow picked up again after we got home, and altogether we probably got around 6 inches of perfect snowman snow.

I know it's spring and we probably shouldn't be getting snow, but I loved how the heavy/slushy snow coated the trees and made everything look beautiful. I laughed to myself every time I saw an irate comment about the snow on Facebook yesterday. Why can't people just relax, enjoy the beauty and realize that the snow will melt quickly since the temperatures are above freezing?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

"I'm Alive"

 I love Celine Dion. She's one of my favorite singers and I think she has an incredible voice. If you asked me what my favorite Celine Dion song was, I wouldn't be able to narrow it down to one, or five or even 10. There are just so many good ones to choose from, and I like them for different reasons, like lyrics, music/sound or the way they make me feel. (I'm the kind of person that forms strong emotional attachments to songs.) I could probably narrow my favorite songs down to a list of 25, but I couldn't go any lower than that.

One of my favorite songs is called I'm Alive and it's from the A New Day Has Come album. (Probably my favorite Celine Dion album.) Anyway, I loved listening to this song after my accident because I was so overjoyed to be alive after surviving such a horrible accident. Listening to that song made me feel happy, and when I listen to it now I remember the way I felt back then. I love how songs have the ability to jog your memory and take you back to a different place and time in your life.


Do you know what a hoosier is? Probably not, unless you are from the St. Louis area. (And no, it's not someone from Indiana.) ‘Hoosier’ is a term that I've always been familiar with, and I grew up assuming it was a term that everyone knew and used. (The best way I can describe what ‘hoosier’ means is that someone is low class. Red neck, hick or white trash would be synonyms terms that could be used in conjunction with or instead of hoosier.)

As I've gotten older I've realized that no one else in the country or even outside of the St. Louis area uses this term, or even knows what it means. I think it's funny when someone refers to someone as a hoosier around someone who didn't grow up in the St. Louis area, because they inevitably end up scratching their heads and are confused until someone clues them in on this local slang. It makes me wonder what other terms/slang exist in different parts of the country that only folks local to that area understand.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


If you're a regular reader of my blog, then you know how much I dislike spring! (Click here to find out why.) One of the things that I don't like about spring is birds. You might be wondering what's so wrong with birds, because they seem innocent, cute and playful, but they aren't! I'll tell you why I have a grievance against birds: they are so loud and often wake me before I'm ready to get up!

Here's a funny story about how my dislike of birds began. Before my accident I worked at a movie theater as an assistant manager. I would often have to close on Friday night which meant I wouldn't get home until 1 AM or so. I'd go to bed completely exhausted after a full day of school and then a full evening of work at the theater. Inevitably, I'd be woken up early the next morning by the incessant chirping of birds. One Saturday I woke up on the "wrong side of the bed" because nature's natural alarm clock started going off way too early and my sleep was disrupted. You'd think that if you were tired enough you'd be able to tune out the birds, but I couldn't. Anyway, I got up and I remember telling my sister Chandra, "I hate birds!" I was perfectly serious, but she thought it was so funny, and it's something that we still laugh about today.

When I was in Mississippi last weekend it was definitely spring and the birds knew it! They were so loud, especially on Sunday morning. From the sound of things, I could've sworn that I was in the tropical rain forest!

Bring on the beautiful flowers and the warmer temperatures, but birds, please be quiet!

"Same Kind of Different As Me"

Last night my book club met and we discussed the book Same Kind of Different As Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore. I know I've already written about this book on my blog, but it was such a good book that it deserves another shout out!

 This book is a true story, and it is so inspiring. It's one of the best books I've ever read and it just makes you feel good. This book is especially great for book clubs since there are a lot of things to discuss and talk about, so I highly recommend it for book clubs or for anyone who loves to read great books.

 There's also a follow up book to Same Kind of Different As Me and it's called What Difference Do It Make? This book is also really good as it recounts the impact that the first book had on different people. I'm attaching the links to these two books, so check them out if you want to read something good!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Favorite pics from my MS trip

Miss Kate turns 8!

The whole reason for my trip to Mississippi last weekend was so that my family and I could be a part of my niece Kate's baptism. In my church you don't get baptized until you're eight years old, and since Kate turned eight last Saturday that meant we had extra reason to celebrate. Here are some of my favorite pictures from Kate's birthday:

Mississippi spring

Last week my mom, my younger sister Chandra and I went to Mississippi for the weekend since my niece Kate was getting baptized. When you're as disabled as I am it's not easy to travel since I can't just hop out of my wheelchair and crawl into any old bed like a normal person can. Even though it's a lot of work, it's worth it to be able to see my sister Sharon and her family, and especially to be a part of the baptism of one of my nieces.

The weather in Mississippi was absolutely beautiful. Spring had definitely sprung and there were blossoms on all of the trees, as well as lots of pollen that left a thick, yellow coating on everything. The weather was in the mid 80s while we were there and I thought it felt wonderful, although everyone else thought it was a little too warm! It was great weather for playing outside.
I was also able to get together with my friend JT while in Mississippi. He's originally from Mississippi, but I met him a few years ago when he was living in St. Louis. He moved back home to Mississippi last year, but fortunately he only lives two hours away from my sister, so we took advantage of being relatively close and met up each other.

The best thing about my trip was being able to spend time with family. My sister Laura, her husband Brett and their little baby also came down for the weekend, so we had lots of fun eating, hanging out and playing games. I love spending time with Sharon and her family and I just wish they lived closer, but I'll try not to complain since the distance between us (seven hours) isn't so far that we can't see each other several times a year.

Ebony and Ivory

This is a picture of my younger sister Chandra and me. (People often mispronounce Chandra's name, so this is the way we tell people to say it: "It's Chandra… like Jackie Chan-dra.") Chandra and I weren't particularly close growing up since I’m 4½ years older than she is and that seems like a lot when you're young. However, we've grown a lot closer in the past 7+ years since my accident. Chandra is my only sister that has been with me the entire time I've been paralyzed. She was a freshman in high school when I had my accident in 2003, but she's now all grown up and a 22-year-old adult. She still lives at home, though, so she does a lot to help my mom with my care even though she works full-time. Her help and her companionship are invaluable.

We've gone through a lot together and we've become very close, especially since my accident. Not only are we sisters, but we are dear friends. Our personalities are alike in so many ways which fosters our closeness, but at the same time we’re quite different, so we don't always see eye to eye. Still, we have so much fun together and I don't know what I would do/will do without her. I dread the day when she will eventually leave home.

Here's a silly thing that we do together. I'll say, "Channie," and she’ll respond with, "Heather-y?" And then I'll say, "Ebony?" and she'll respond with, "Ivory." (It rhymes if you say it correctly.) I'm so glad that Chandra was adopted into my family because my life would be a lot more lonely without her!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

One day early

On the first day of the month I wrote about how much I dislike the month of March. That being said, I do like St. Patrick's Day. I love Shamrocks; they are my second favorite shape after stars. I don't know why I've always liked shamrocks and clovers, but I think they're unique and pretty. I'm posting my St. Patrick's Day post one day early since I'm leaving on a trip tomorrow and I won't be back until the beginning of next week. (That means I won't be able to blog for several days, in case you start to wonder where I am!)

My mom, my younger sister Chandra and I are headed to Mississippi because my niece Kate is getting baptized on Saturday. My sister's house is seven hours away and I'm glad it's not any further than that because seven hours in the car is about my limit! I'm really looking forward to seeing my sister and her family, but I'm not looking forward to being away from my special air bed and overhead lift that I use to get in/out of my bed. It's definitely not easy for me to be away from my special equipment, but I can sacrifice for a few days because it's worth it to see my nieces and nephew. I'll have plenty of pictures to post and stories to write about when I get back!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Then and now

Lately I've been watching a lot of the Masterpiece Theater productions that BBC produces. I love watching them because they are always so well done. A lot of them are screen versions or adaptations of classic books written by authors like Jane Austen or Charles Dickens. These productions are usually several hours long, which I like because in addition to being entertained, I become very familiar with the plot lines of classic literature without actually having to read the books. A lot of tmousehese books are so long and hard to understand since they were written so long ago. Our vernacular has definitely changed and evolved since the 1800s, so I'd usually rather watch a well done production than suffer through reading a long book that would be a struggle to understand. I'm just a simpleton when it comes to that sort of thing! ;)

Now that I've given you the back story about what I've been watching, I have a few thoughts about society then and society now and how much things have changed:
  • Fashion: women always wore long dresses and bonnets and men always wore suits with all the bells and whistles like tail coat, waistcoat, cummerbunds*, cravats (or some sort of other neck tie-like accessory) and top hats. In a way, you had a lot fewer choices since you knew you were either going to wear a dress or suit. I wonder what people back then would think of the kinds of clothing that we wear today.
*I always thought it was spelled cumberbun, but it's not! Who knew?! (Not me, at least!)
  • Dating etiquette: courtship used to be so proper! It's definitely not the way people date today because you can get away with things in this day and age that would never have been tolerated in "the old days" like living together before marriage, or even making out. We’re not as proper in the way we speak, either. It seems like people referred to each other as Miss/Mrs./Mr. most of the time back then, and nowadays it's definitely not as common to address the people we know like this, especially our friends.
  • Correspondence: letter writing has definitely become a lost art! Now that we live in the computer era where it's quicker to send an e-mail, instant message or message via Facebook, people don't write letters anymore! When I was a little girl I remember my mom writing/receiving letters each week – usually from her parents, but they switched from letters to e-mails mid-90s.
In a way it's sad because I think there's something so much more personal and "real" about letters/mail, especially when it handwritten. Sometimes I wonder what it would have been like to write with a quill and ink or with one of those pens with a special metal nib that you dip in ink. Nice penmanship (something else that is slowly becoming a lost art in this computer age) was always something I took pride in before my accident and I think it would've been fun (although more tedious and less practical) to write with pen and ink.

Monday, March 14, 2011

From rain to snow

Last night it started raining in the late evening. I woke up several times in the night, and I heard the rain hitting my window. It was a slow, gentle rain, and I was thankful that there weren't any violent storms like there were last week. I was shocked when my mom lifted up my shade this morning and I saw this, which I definitely wasn't expecting:
I enjoyed watching the snow as my mom got me ready this morning. It was snowing pretty hard, and I thought it looked like it was "raining snow" since the snow was coming right down.

–When I got on my computer a little bit ago I had to laugh when I read all of the Facebook status updates of the disgruntled snow/cold haters who are "sick of winter" and are wondering when spring is going to come (don't worry; just six more days!) The temperature is supposed to be 70° in just a few days, so not to worry! :)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Bonding time

This past weekend my sister Laura and her daughter Amy spent the weekend with my mom and me since Laura's husband was out of town. Laura came over on Friday afternoon, and she and my mom made a flourless chocolate torte for our dessert that evening. It was so good and had such a rich, chocolatey flavor. Laura and I spent Friday evening and Saturday afternoon watching TV and movies and we had a lot of fun with each other.

Laura lives about 30 minutes away and she comes down several afternoons a week to help my mom with my care. We've both remarked several times lately that we feel badly that we didn't get along when we were growing up, but that we’re glad that we like each other now. Thank goodness that things can change when you grow up and mature! Here are three pictures of Laura and me from back in the day:
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