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…And There Will Be Bad Days.

When I was first injured, people used to tell me “there will be good days, and there will be bad days.”

Some days, a huge fight with my husband can set off a bad day. Other times, it can be bad hair or a zit on my chin that makes me cry for hours. I never know when and where it’s going to come from, but a bad day always seems to creep in on me.  Those are the days where I question everything. My worth, the intentions of the people around me, my purpose in being here…and the worst place to be during one of my bad days is inside my head.

I’ve struggled with anxiety since I was 17 years old. I’ll never forget the first anxiety attack I ever had. I was cheering at a high school football game, when all of a sudden I felt like my chest was caving in. I couldn’t breathe. I thought I was dying.  More recently, within the last year I was in and out of the emergency room. I was convinced I was having a heart attack or that there was something wrong with me. After the doctors gave me my results of my EKG and all the other test they ran and told me I was physically fine, I realized my anxiety had made its very dramatic return. They weren’t huge stresses in my life that were causing it to set off. It was just a bunch of small things that I let pile up with nowhere to go. It took a bit, but I worked through everything and it got better.

I’ve always been really good at coping with things on my own. “Cry it out. Dry it up. Put on your big girl panties and move on.”  I envision myself running into Harry Styles at my local Target with puffy red eyes, ruining the photo op of my lifetime. That would be a tragedy. But in all seriousness, I don’t know when I got so good at not talking to people when I’m struggling. Part of me thinks it’s because I don’t want to burden anyone with my problems, but another part of me thinks I don’t want people to see the non-perfect parts of my life.

I’m constantly being told what an inspiration I am or how great it is that I’m always smiling. But there are days when I’m a mess and those smiles are not as easy to come by. This morning, as a matter of fact, I sat at the mirror and cried because my face is as oily as a garlic pizza. Maybe there are other issues that got me to that point, but that’s all it took to push me over the edge. Not exactly the picture of perfection some people see when they think of me.

I always tell myself that it’s just a bad day and I get another chance tomorrow. It’s ok to have bad days and it’s ok to talk about it. I think this blog post is my way of doing that…letting it out so I can start the process of picking myself back up and getting to the next good day. It’ll never be easy, but it’ll always be worth it. If any of you are struggling, please remember that.

Now, who has a good remedy for oily skin??

 

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Here I go again…

I really hate getting into political or religious views on here, but I find myself hoping I can use this platform as a way to explain (or apologize for) the actions of a handful of people and create a different view for anyone who is unsure of Christianity because all they hear are the negative stories of people who aren’t exactly living their lives the way the Bible has taught us to. So, I give to you…yet another post about religion. Buckle up and keep your arms and legs inside the ride at all times.

(DISCLAIMER: My beliefs are my beliefs. If you don’t share them, that’s ok. The world is full of all kinds of people and I accept/respect them all…as long as you’re not an a-hole.)

I think a lot of times these days, Christians as a whole get a bad name because of what they believe are “sins”. The Bible is pretty clear…and we’ve all read it from a young age. It might shock you to hear this, but I believe every single word in the Bible. I do not pick and choose which sins are good and which are bad based on my lifestyle. I believe that on my day of judgement, standing before God while He judges me for sinning even though I knew full well what I was doing will likely be one of the most unbearable pains I’ve ever experienced. My husband and I lived together for 4 years before we were married. Clearly, the premarital sex didn’t go unnoticed. And my language…well, go ahead and check the box next to Commandment #3 on the list of things I’ll be judged for. Heck, while you’re there, check #4…and #s 8-10. Yeahhhhh…I know.

But guess what will happen after I stand before God for all the sins I committed? Get ready for this…He will forgive me.

No matter how we disappoint Him, we’ve been promised that we are forgiven and loved. God isn’t going to bring us up there and put us on different levels based on our sins. He isn’t going to say “Sorry…your sin was bigger than the rest. You can’t sit with us.” If we love Him and we confess our sins to Him, we are forgiven.

So why do so many people choose to judge and persecute others for their sins? That isn’t a right that God has given us. As a matter of fact, 1 Peter 4:8 says “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” ABOVE ALL. As in, MORE IMPORTANT THAN ANYTHING ELSE.

I recently discovered that someone I care about is a lot less loving of their fellow humans than I thought. It’s a struggle to know how to deal with this. Do I just wash my hands of this person and the relationship we’ve built over many years? Or do I give them the same love and acceptance that God has given me through all my sins? I am an extremely open-minded individual…I literally just try my best to love everyone, regardless of the things they do that are considered sins in the eyes of God. Because God told me to do that. I trust that He will sort us all out when our time comes…and that it’s not my job to attempt to do it now. And to be honest, the moment I realized that was the moment the weight of the world lifted off my shoulders. This is what God wants for us. Love, happiness, and to spread it everywhere we can to show others what He is really all about. We don’t have to do His job…we just have to do ours. Above all.

So, if you’re unsure about Christians because of the actions of a few…please know that God didn’t set us out to hate or judge anyone. And the people who do will have to stand before Him one day and confess all of that. Know that you are loved and that if you need to feel that, so many wonderful people are ready to show you.

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Summer…break?

Summer is upon us. The kids are out of school and surprisingly, it’s been an entire week and they haven’t murdered each other in cold blood. As for me, I am in the middle of preparing my petition for the entire human race to stop referring to it as Summer “Break”. The only thing breaking around here is my sanity.

What does a disabled, working mother of 2 do to keep her kids busy over the summer?

I wish I had all the answers for you. It’s not like I can just throw on my 2-piece and head to the pool for a day’s worth of cannon balls and sunbathing. Public pools are not what we would call “accessible in any way”. So here are the few things I have found to keep the kiddos busy this summer.

1. Pokémon Go. 

I know it sounds ridiculous, but we all play. Literally, the entire family. We drive or walk around looking for those adorable little critters for HOURS. We’re a pretty competitive family, so it gets intense. So far, we’ve refrained from any pushing, shoving, or hair pulling. Great success.

2. Splash pad

Our local pool has a splash pad that the kids can run around in. The good thing is they love it and I don’t have to worry about them drowning in front of me. So, we save the pool for grandma and beat the heat on solid ground.

3. Local concerts and festivals

We are lucky enough to have a fully accessible concert venue one town over. They do free concerts each week and during the summer, something is always going on there. Check your local community calendar and make some phone calls inquiring about wheelchair accessibility.

4. Sporting events

Luckily, most stadiums/arenas these days are wheelchair accessible. My advice to you is don’t buy your tickets online. Many places hold accessible tickets so they aren’t purchased by people who don’t need them. Call the venue and see what their policy is on exchanging regular tickets for accessible ones. Generally, you can purchase any ticket and bring it to the box office on the day of your event to swap it for the seating you need.  Be careful  though…there is usually a limit on how many people in your group can swap tickets.

Hopefully, this list gave you a few ideas of how to keep your littles busy before they decide to rebel and tie you to a chair with duct tape over your mouth. Don’t forget about arts & crafts…and maybe some child labor. Most kids will do anything for $5. That includes laundry.

Bribery is a mother’s best friend. You’re welcome and may the odds be ever in your favor. 

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Best of the Best 2018

I often get asked what items I use to help me get things done. As a disabled wife, mother, and professional, things aren’t always easy. I made a promise to myself that I would not let my disability stop me from living the most normal life possible.

This year, I had a lot of help. Here are the items that made 2018 a lot easier for me.

     1.  iRobot Roomba 675 Robot Vacuum – $299 iRobot.com

This is by far, the most helpful item I received this year. Vacuuming from a wheelchair is very difficult. You get tangled in the cords and most units are very heavy. Cordless vacuums are high maintenance and generally don’t have the power to pick up large amounts of dog hair. I used to dread vacuuming and would put it off as long as I could. Now, it’s as easy as saying “Alexa, tell Roomba to clean.” The Roomba 675 is Bluetooth enabled and can be controlled from your Alexa or smartphone. Even if you aren’t in a chair, I highly recommend this vacuum. It has absolutely changed my life.

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     2.  Amazon Echo Plus – $149.99 amazon.com

As a family, this has really helped us all. But me, especially. From being able to tell it what to add to my grocery list (instead of having to find somewhere to write it down) to using it as an intercom to let my husband know I need his help from the next room, it really has been so important. It’s also nice to incorporate with light bulbs that I can’t reach to turn on…and I can control my Roomba with it, as well. We have Amazon Echos in every room of our house and it was such a great investment.

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     3.  Apple Watch (Series 3) – $279 apple.com

I previously had the Series 2 Apple Watch and I honestly barely used it. I ended up selling it after letting it sit on my dresser for months. With the release of the Series 3 Apple Watch, Apple finally incorporated features for individuals in wheelchairs. Instead of a daily “step” or “stand” goal like most activity trackers have, the Apple Watch has a “move” and “roll” goal. It lets me know when it’s time to push myself around and it keeps track of all my activity. I don’t have to guess if I’m on track. Also, the Series 3 (as well as the new Series 4) Apple Watch has cellular capabilities so I don’t have to worry about bringing my phone if I’m going somewhere where I may drop it or my lap/hands are already full. I am glad I decided to give this watch another try because it’s quickly become something I can’t go without.

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     4.  PopSockets and Car Mount – $15 and $10 popsockets.com

I absolutely can’t live without a PopSocket on my phone. I have very limited finger dexterity and my iPhone XS Max is very heavy. I like knowing I have a good grip on my phone with texting and, of course…taking selfies. The mount is a must-have for the car. I can see my maps without having to take my eyes off the road.

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     5. Universal Wheelchair Cup Holder – $14.99 amazon.com

I swore I would never be that lame-o who put a cup holder on their wheelchair…until I was. What a life I was missing! I used to have to ask someone to hold my coffee or try to hold it between my legs, which generally ended in me somehow burning myself and, worse yet, wasting a $4 latte. I bought 2 of these bad boys…in case one ever breaks. Because there’s absolutely no way I’ll ever go another day without it.

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2018 was a year full of new things for me and I’m thankful I am able to share the items that made life a lot easier for me. I’m excited to see what 2019 brings and how I will navigate my way through it! Thank you all for coming along for the ride! Happy new year!!

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So I’m an Activist Now

I have always said I will never be an activist. I just wanted to be one of the quiet ones…happy in my little corner of the world, pretending problems don’t exist. That is my jam.

If only the a-holes of the world would learn how to park.

Our local police department made a Facebook post the other day showing a photo of a motorcycle parked in some hash marks next to a parking space. This is when I realized that 1) Everyone around me is an idiot. And 2) I may not want to be an activist, but I am one now.

Most of the people making comments on the post we’re actually defending the biker. I know. Crazy, right? They say that many people don’t like when motorcycles are in regular parking spaces because it’s taking up a whole space when they only need a tiny bit of room. So, I guess the only obvious solution to them is to use spaces that are meant for individuals in wheelchairs so they can do every day activities just like everyone else. Do I want to go to the grocery store? No. Do I enjoy going to Walmart and rubbing elbows with women in flesh colored leggings and wondering “Is that pants or is she naked?” Definitely no. But I must. I’m a wife and mother. Sometimes we need stuff.

Back to my story. I went on a commenting rampage telling everyone who defended this man how utterly stupid they were. I also said he was lucky he hadn’t parked next to me because I would’ve absolutely hit his bike with my door. Gator don’t play that shit. (Will Ferrell reference. You’re welcome.) Now, I get it. The general public is unaware of the struggles of being disabled. Some aren’t familiar with the laws. Also, many of them are idiots. But the police department’s response was what really made my head spin and puke come out of every hole in my face.

Ummm…what??

 Did I just have to school a police department on the law? Am I Elle Woods? It’s a good thing I commemorated the occasion with a screen shot, because they deleted their comment shortly after. We are officially living in a world where even law enforcement doesn’t see the rights of people with disabilities as a matter of importance. At least we have each other, right?

Wrong.

 Two days later, I took a solo trip to Target to buy things I didn’t need while forgetting everything on my shopping list. I parked like a normal human being and went in to shop. As soon as I hit the doorway on the way out, I saw it. I knew before I even got near my car that someone had parked too close. I thought to myself, “Another able-bodied moron parked in a spot he doesn’t need.” Nope. The vehicle had a handicapped tag and a veteran license plate. They should’ve known better.

img_2872img_2874I had no idea if my door would hit their car and I absolutely did not care. I pressed the button and let ‘er rip. They must’ve been touched by an angel because I could have barely fit my pinky between my door and their mirror. Then, I squeezed myself onto the platform, not caring if my chair scraped on the way. I was able to get in…and I was pissed. Pissed enough to decide that I can’t be quiet anymore. These things are preventable and easy to avoid unless you’re a selfish asshat. Then, you need a ticket…or at the very least, a giant door ding.

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I know I can’t rely on law enforcement to take this issue seriously, so I had to come up with an alternative way of informing people that they park like idiots. Using only my printer, a few boxes of Dollar Store crayons, and my world famous sarcasm, I came up with a wonderful activity for all future offenders.

Activism. My new jam.

 

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I’m a Black Belt (in Problem Solving)

If finding alternative ways of doing every day stuff was a martial art, I would be one of those people who roundhouse kick stacks of bricks and turns them into dust. Seriously. I don’t know how I do it. I can’t figure out my 3rd grade son’s math homework, but I can engineer adaptive devices (please…I use that term very loosely.) to make my every day activities possible. I generally need the help of an adult to make these things work…yes, I know I’m an adult. But I need, like, an adultier adult. This generally begins with my unwilling, but guilt tripped accomplice hearing my idea, telling me there’s no way it’ll work, then looking like a chump while I’m serving up all sorts of smug looks when we finish and they realize that I was right.

I present to you, The Door Loop™. OK…so the name isn’t original. I’m a genius scientist engineer and I don’t have time to come up with creative names for my life-changing products. Anyway. About a week ago, my wonderful uncle installed some ramps for me because I was getting stuck on the lip of my back door and literally had to call for help. I’m not kidding. “Help” was in the form of my poor neighbor in his pajamas running through the yard to come get me unstuck when he should’ve been sleeping. Meanwhile, my dogs looked on offering no help at all. The new ramps are amazing. I have never been able to get inside my house without wondering if I would be ok by myself. I always needed a Plan B. But, no longer. I was free. I was able. The world was my oyster.

Until it came time to close the door.

Before the ramp, in order to close the door, I would get as close as I could, push the door in, bouncing it off the wall behind it until it came close enough to grab the knob and pull it shut. Sometimes I’d need to pull on the window frame on the door to get it within my reach. But the new ramp prevented me from getting close enough after the door was bounced to get my hand on the doorknob. F…M…L…

Then, I got an idea. If I could put something on the left side, opposite of the knob to pull the door shut, I could totally reach it. Sounds genius, right? No? OK…fine. My husband and mom said the same thing. *insert mocking Spongebob meme here* “OnCe YoU dRiLl a HoLe In YoUr DoOr, YoU cAn’T gO bAcK.”

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 Soooo…I went to Home Depot and picked up everything I needed to make this genius idea come to life. My husband grabbed his drill and reluctantly put a big fat hole right through our metal door. That was the moment I thought, for a fleeting moment, “Oh shit. We just put a hole in our door.” Once he finished installing my…concoction, I went outside and prepared to be vindicated. I looked at him, effortlessly grabbed The Door Loop™, and just like Clint Eastwood would do, said the coolest last words I could come up with before pulling that sucker and shutting myself outside into the great, big world.

“Bye, bitches.”

My idea (as usual) worked, despite the words of my naysayers. I haven’t technically gotten any apologies, but the satisfaction of knowing they were wrong every time I pull that loop is enough…for now.

That was cooler than any brick-breaking roundhouse kick I’ve ever seen.

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Not THAT Kind of Christian

I decided to start blogging again. I used to do it almost every day, but life got busy and…whatever. Podcasting is great. But sometimes I’m too socially awkward to form intelligent sentences out of the thoughts I come up with and people are usually left not knowing what the hell I just said. Sooooo, blogging.

Anyway, I felt like if there’s any subject that can really get me stuttering and excessively using the phrase, “Wait, no. Hold on. What I meant to say was…” its religion. I’ve always been a Christian. Like, since birth. My parents and grandparents raised me in the Wesleyan church and I’m thankful for the early exposure I had to God. I even went to a Christian preschool. Thoooooooose were the dayssssss. You get there, sing some songs, sit in a circle while the teacher reads you a story about a dude getting swallowed by a whale, (poorly) color a picture of said whale, animal crackers and grape juice, go outside, then mom picks you up. All we needed to do was “Love one another.” God said so. Simple as that. We were living our best lives back then, folks. Being a Christian was soooooo easy.

When I was in my car accident at 17, my faith never wavered. Oddly enough, I never asked God “why me?”. I questioned what the purpose was for Him keeping me here, but I was fairly content with waiting for an answer for the most part.  I knew my life would matter, though. I really have no idea why I didn’t get mad at God back then. If He is who I think He is, I feel like He would’ve been alright with me getting a little pissed every once in awhile. But…I was just…happy I was alive.

A year after I got married, we found out we would likely be unable to conceive on our own. Now that put the big guy on my shit list…but only for a minute. I knew I needed Him to get through the struggle of infertility and IVF, and He was there. Through the shots and the mood swings and the blood draws and the blood draws and the blood draws. We were so blessed to conceive our son on our first round of IVF. Then, because God enjoys a good practical joke every now and then, we were surprised with our daughter out of the blue just under 2 years later. Still…living my best life.

But then…adulthood happened.

Humanity happened.

Within the past five years or so, I’ve asked myself on numerous occasions what kind of Christian I am. I definitely don’t fit in with the devout folks like my wonderful late grandfather who would leave pamphlets and tracks everywhere he went…but I definitely love God. I believe that Jesus died for my sins. But I reeeeeaallllllyyyyy don’t care if you do. Yup…I said it. I don’t give a flying rats booty if you don’t believe in the same things I do. I read a book once about living a purposeful life as a Christian and the author kept saying how if he could just save one person, he did his job. But I’m more of a “Hey y’all…I’m going to heaven. If you’re coming, get your shoes and let’s go.” kinda girl. I struggled with this for a long time. I felt like if I wasn’t running around yelling Bible verses into every empty sliver of air I could find, I wasn’t doing it right. I felt like I was being a bad Christian. It wasn’t until later that I realized I’m just not that kind of Christian.

Before you get all offended, I don’t mean that in a bad way. The world needs both kinds. There are many people who have been saved by a good old fashioned unwarranted prayer sesh. As a matter of fact, a man once came up to me and my children while loading our car in the Walmart parking lot and asked if he could pray over me. I took my finger off the trigger of my pepper spray, and we all bowed our heads and let him pray that I would be healed. It opened up a great conversation between my kids and I about praying for others and I was thankful. But thats not how I roll. I’ll pray till my lips fall off in the privacy of my own home for every rando I see that looks like they may be struggling. That’s my style. My modus operandi, if you speak Latin…or French. To be honest, I don’t even know what that means.

Another reason I’ve questioned what kind of Christian I am is because I live less like the church wants me to and more like I think God wants me to. I am soooooo not conservative. I’m all about “Love is love” and “Do you, boo boo.” Love who you want, dress how you want, be who you feel you are inside…just. be. happy. I really can’t bring myself to tell another human being what to do with their heart or their body. That is exactly 0% my business. I will never judge a human being on things like their sexual orientation or who they voted for…or anything else. Why? Because I once paid my 5 year old $5 of his own tooth fairy money that I had in my wallet to mop up dog puke because I was gagging so hard I thought I was going to die. I’m a human and I have no room to cast judgement on another person for doing what they feel is right in their own life. The only way I will judge you is if you look me straight in the eye and tell me the Backstreet Boys made better music than *NSYNC. But seriously, God wants us to love one another. We literally learned that in preschool. So, no matter who you are, I’m about that life and I’ll love, support, and annoy you until the day you die…or block me on social media.

I feel like a lot of the time, we are told to spread the message that being gay or trans or having kids when you’re not married or anything else that isn’t straight white dude-ish are all sins and very very wrong. This is 2018. There is hate pouring out of every part of our world. People are dying every day because someone decided they didn’t agree with a life a complete stranger was living. Teenagers are killing themselves because they’re being told they’re going to hell for being exactly who they are. Its real and no matter how easy your comfortable life makes it to turn away and pretend it isn’t happening, it is. And I won’t be part of it. I will do my very best to live as much like Jesus as I can. By loving.

I’m that kind of Christian.