A sad face, not a sad disposition…

dipressionIt is well known that I was once in a dark place filled with loneliness, heartache, and desperation. I was in a position of solitude that forced me to contemplate and question everything and even think about the final curtain call. I quite literally had nothing in my life except for my television for needed entertainment. My desperation desired social interaction that was filled by telemarketers who cannot hang up and must wait for you to disconnect first. Many of my days were filled not with unloading my issues onto these phone salespeople but forcing them to drag out their sales pitch. I got entertainment in any place that I could.

I kept my blinds closed, and my long days would meld into long nights blurring the lines between days of the week. I ate so little and lost so much weight that I thought that I might fall through a sewer grate and felt that I should routinely carry spelunking gear. I wore an emaciated bodysuit like it was Prada, and I was walking out of Sax Fifth Avenue in New York.

It took me many years of sad solitude and seclusion to land in this destination filled with desperation. To find my new torturously tormenting position in life, I needed to stew in a bath of boiling anguish and hopelessness. It did not happen overnight, but I marinated in heartache for years until my melancholy turned into misery. However, this is in the past, and I am working hard to make sure it will never again return.

eggshell walkIn the past several weeks, I have felt like some people around me are walking on eggshells and watching what they say. It is like people just learned of my horrific history and fear that I could backslide into my pitifully punishing past. These individuals seem to be attempting to keep me from slipping down the dark rabbit hole called depression by giving me unexpected praise. It is like they are trying not to say the wrong thing and avoid upsetting me, but they can rest assured that me spiraling back into that dark place is unimaginably unlikely. I understand that these actions mean that a lot of people care about me and want an impeccably engaging life for me, and that means a lot. On the other hand, the eggshell walking is not needed and should only be done after making eggs.

I now have things going on in my life that were only a dream back during my dark days. For example, I swim three days a week, which I could not objectively do four years ago. The pool is great for me physically, but also mentally as I interact with my classmates, and sometimes we even go to lunch together. I also talk with many other community center members who know me from us talking whenever possible. I am in the water exercising for two maybe three hours a day and have seen more positive results than negative ones.

I attend a weekly contemporary church service and have made many friends expanding my social circle. I periodically participate in plans pertaining to the church and various outreach programs to help others. I am a member of a small group affiliated with the church that meets typically one night a week. This action once again helps me to enlarge my group of friends. I am also a member of a men’s group that meets once a month in a public restaurant for breakfast once again, raising my list of friends.

I have a blog that genuinely takes about a week to complete each entry, and I make sure to dot my t’s and cross my eyes. There is also a substantial amount of research that is involved in some of the topics. All of this means that I do not watch the TV that I used to make my life does not revolve around the television schedule, but my schedule.

aaa houseI am now the proud owner of a brand-new house in a new neighborhood that is close to nearly everything. My new residence is actually wheelchair accessible, whereas my previous house was pretend adapted. An entry ramp for wheelchairs and no carpeted floors does not make an acceptable house for those in wheeled chariots. It is also a connected home that absolutely helps me with all of my daunting daily duties in various ways making my life much more comfortable.

There is a new paratransit system that is so much better, making it extremely convenient to get from one place to the next. No longer do I need to plan for hours of extra time before and after every appointment. A fifteen-minute meeting could not happen as there was a two-hour minimum, yet that time restriction was lifted. This new paratransit system has unlocked a whole new and undiscovered world that allows me the freedom that otherwise was impossible.

The last positive task that has become massively important in my life is mobile food procurement. This tasty transport technique gives housebound homebodies access to the plethora of food options available. Simply said, delivery is king for both groceries and restaurant meals making food more attainable.

inaciousNot to mention the personal physical challenges that I have faced and defeated. The list is two down and more to go as I do not know yet what they are. I completed a 5k in my wheelchair that several said that there was no need to try as honestly I could not do it. I swam to raise money for the MS Association several months after learning to swim without the aid of my legs. I set a challenging goal to swim two and a half miles and crushed that target by swimming eight miles using my upper body only. I do not know yet what these future ambitions will be, but the possibilities are endless and my tenacity relentless.

sunshineSo as you can see, I had nothing going on before causing crushing contemplation. My life and in turn, my brain was empty so many years ago, and that allowed torturous turmoil to take hold in my mind. I currently have so much going on that visiting the darkness of my past is an impossible imposition. Sure, just like everyone, I have sad times, but nothing even close to the mournful moments of my history. All in all, I am a happy person who has way too much going on to follow the rabbit from Alice in Wonderland down the rabbit hole.

Sometimes a sad face is just a bad day.

Delivery chivalry …

ggogleI have spoken about how technology has advanced and helped us in life tremendously. I told how fantastic futuristic inventions have made my life significantly better in various ways. It has helped me open and close blinds that are out of my reach and lets me answer the doorbell without being there. Using this tech verbally, I can set a reminder, check the weather, and I can listen to music or call for help. With these advancements, I can turn on lights, the television, and I can open the garage door and in some cases turn on ceiling fans.

When I was a kid, I knew a senior woman who desperately depended on others for everything. She could not drive a car, and her handwriting was horrendously hideous. These assisting people were needed to drive her anyplace that she needed to go like shopping for food and clothes. Others even helped with her many money matters. These people assisted her by writing her checks, pay bills and open and read her major mail.

appI am a very private and independent person who does not want to break that privacy palisade. However, in this world of “there is an app for that” there is no issue of concern for keeping my things private. I have a banking app and scheduling app; there is a budgeting app and a delivery app. My app list has a library app and a photo app and even an app for reviewing all apps.

My banking app allows me to pay my bills by setting them up to be paid automatically or as needed. I can write checks, pay individuals, or schedule a transaction for a later date. I can transfer money or have a cashier’s check written all with the help of my banking app. My online financial institution is also open 24/7. This action means that on occasion, I can call with questions if an account query puts me in a quandary.

I have food delivery apps that will deliver dinner from a diner or other forms of nutrition next week. I used to need treasures for tipping and papers for purchasing, but that is now a thing of the past. I simply open the app for groceries or meal time and pick what, where and when I want it. It has my credit card information and even allows me to tip all with the push of a button so no need for cash. Food delivery is realistic, not futuristic.

There are two types of food delivery apps, and the first one delivers groceries. It is extremely elementary and has very little of a learning curve. You download the app and follow the simple directions for setting up an account, including adding a credit card and choosing the store that is closest to you. Although this priceless process is plain, it can also be particularly problematic.

When most people grocery shop at the store they can roam like nomads wandering through the desert. On the other hand, if a list is made and an item was forgotten a lazy stroll through the store might give a required reminder. When ordering with the app, you cannot accidentally see it on the shelf and remember it. Also, a plethora of profuse purchases provoked by hunger shopping is very unlikely. As you are strolling through the app, you will only be reminded of things like hotdog buns and chips if you buy hotdogs.

trackNext, there is an app for delivering a delicious dinner, a luscious lunch, or any meal in between. Some restaurants even offer their app with a delivery service, yet the choice is yours on who you should use. There is a similar systematic strategy for setting up all of these applications. You download the app and signup for an account, giving them any of the addresses that your meal will be delivered.

When you are hungry or want a snack simply open the app and find the restaurant that you crave, and that is open. Browse the menu or menus that they offer and find the enticing edibles that you desire and add them into the cart on the app. Once you have all of the vittles from the restaurants that you want in your cart and press the place order button.

A series of events are then set in motion from that one button push that manipulates mealtime forever. Your order is then sent to the restaurant to begin prompt preparation to execute it expeditiously. Before your order is ready, they send out a message through the delivery app to let drivers know that it is prepared for diligent delivery. At that point, a driver comes to the restaurant and picks your meal up for a quick quest to find your house. While it is being transported, you can track the driver in real time.

end o blogGone are the requirements of getting dressed, going into public, and having a sit-down meal. You can have fast-food for one or slow food for ten all delivered for your convenience. I feel that I was born at the right time as I love my independence and not requiring help from others for these tasks. I cannot wait to see what technology comes up with next.

The future IS now.

It is too deep, just let me sleep…

therapyI decided to tell some of my more difficult early multiple sclerosis stories in a series of blogs one at a time. I have feared to tell these tales because I do not know if people will judge my feelings and what they think is minor. Like a friend might say that I am making mountains out of molehills, and that I should simply sweep it under the rug. As I sit and type this nearly twenty years after the fact I realize that the pain still lies deep in my psyche. This disturbing tale is going to take much time and tears to put down into a blog.

It is my understanding that talking about issues such as these is imperative to one’s well-being. As these tragedies are difficult to think about and so far are no more comfortable to put into text, I hope the sting disappears. To help me avoid the fear of being criticized for overthinking this situation, I want to type it into a document and share it. The average blog takes me a week from start to completion, but this one will take longer because of the emotional starts and stops. I do have to keep reminding myself that everyone deals differently, and that is why some come back from war mentally broken, and others are fine.

ms questionsIn the winter of 2002, I had been heavy weight lifting for a year with my friend Mike, who is also a Marine. In the first year, I dropped weight so quickly that I went from a waist size of 40 to a size 29 back to my Marine Corps days. So here I was after my MS diagnosis, newly divorced, diagnosed, and deeply discouraged at my situation and not knowing what to expect. My MS doctor never told me what to plan for with my condition because there were a plethora of possibilities. For this reason, I decided to keep living my life normally as I was in denial because I had no real symptoms at that time.

In Columbus, Ohio, the metro parks host a weekly winter hike program every year, and my mom invites me to join her and my stepdad. Up to this point, I had virtually no MS symptoms, although this time that would significantly change, today, the MS beast would rear its ugly head. This day I would meet the maleficent monster that would haunt my nightmares forever.

winter hikesThe hikes would start on Saturday morning at nine and held at various parks around Columbus, Ohio. I showed up that morning at my mom’s house at eight-fifteen with my hiking boots on ready to take on Mother Nature’s snow. Most people had proper pad paraphernalia, although there were a few that apparently did not understand the importance of good footwear.

There are often several hike lengths to choose from, including a short one mile a three and sometimes five milers. This hike offered the one and three miles, and being that we were all avid hikers, we chose the lengthier three-mile route. They also provide some sustenance at the end of the trek, sometimes including cold donuts or hot chili. There is also a beverage offering of water, hot coffee, and hot chocolate, bringing warmth to an otherwise cold morning.

The hike that day started very well as it snowed significantly overnight, but the morning was bright and sunny. About a quarter of a mile in, I began to feel weak and tired and verified with the rear guide how far we were. I told her that I would be going back to the beginning and explained to her that I was fine, but that I just felt a little off. That was the time that I should have clarified that I had multiple sclerosis and that extreme cold viciously and quickly rips all energy from me. Now would have been the perfect time to define my MS malady and that it would be in my best interest to have someone walk back with me.

snow deadAs I walked back alone, the wind was bitterly cold, and I could feel my strength vanishing with every step. There was no one on the trail, and my weakness was quickly overpowering my tenacity, and I had less stability with every passing second. I needed to lie down for just a minute to catch my feeble breath, and then I would finish the hike back. After I laid there for several minutes, I heard a voice call out to me, and I panicked. I jumped up and ran to a walkway underpass that was about ten yards away, and I stood against the wall as that group hiked by.

panic timeI have no clue as to why I ran, but it was probably because I was an able-bodied weightlifting big bad Marine and I did not want to appear as a weakling. One of their group guides was left behind with me, so we walked back on this treacherous trail together. However, the walk was slow and desperately difficult, as my weakness was back. I tried to hide my wobbly walk from this woman, but I was as easy to read as a Dr. Seuss book. As we walked back in silence, every slight grade uphill felt like climbing a mountain as she continually looked back and watched my every step.

When we made it back to the central section, I found a covered area with a bench and sat down. I let the guide know that I was okay and would sit on this bench and rest and then return to my group. About ten seconds after the guide walked away, the park ranger’s pickup truck showed up and drove onto the grass ten feet away and parked. This park ranger waved and sat there like a mama bear ready to react if anything happened.

park benchI rested on that bench for twenty minutes or so before I began to feel physically improved. I am not sure why the cold did not continue to strip me of strength, but I was feeling better the longer I rested.

Once I was feeling up to par, I decided to join my family to hear about their adventures. There was a dining hall type place where they ate the chicken noodle soup that they were served to warm their spirits. My mom told me about their hike and then asked me where I went, I downplayed things by saying that I found a bench and sat for a while. I could not and have never talked with anyone about my hazardous life-threatening unexpected undertaking that day.

ms bookI now understand my MS and the physical restrictions and challenges that limit my abilities in these situations. Sometimes I take things for granted, and this can cause havoc and encourages me to devalue typical movements. These unthoughtful actions can force me to make mistakes that can threaten my well-being. However, I am trying hard always to think through everything that I do, including sitting positions and moves that I make. Yes, this day significantly impacted my nightmares, but it also created a staggering impression on my understanding of multiple sclerosis and my life to come.

Education is knowledge and knowledge is power.

Accession obsession…

fred aI found true beauty in the love of my life, and she has grace and elegance like none before her. My lovely has a poetic symmetry that allows for smooth Fred Astaire like movements while having the curves of Marilyn Monroe. This glamorous Venus allows me to be myself while helping to keep my independence. However, to receive this gift from the heavens was a difficult battle from the start. To obtain this alluring artistry, I needed real fortitude and strong tenacity as the dissension was discouragingly disheartening. Allow me to tell you the story of getting my first fantastically fitted and life-altering wheelchair.mm

My first wheelchair was a standard hospital-style wheelchair that I received from a different donation program. The guy from this awarding agency told me how ninety-nine percent of their requests are for power wheelchairs. He explained that they would not ask for my donated chair back and that I should plan to keep this heavyweight hand-me-down. This chair was sixty-five pounds and folded, but did not disassemble though its size and weight made it very difficult to put into most vehicles. Although my mom often exercises and is fit, it was a struggle for her to put my chair into her SUV.

small chairAfter a lengthy discussion with my doctor, she prescribed an ultralight wheelchair. I took this prescription to a local seating clinic where the discouraging part of the story begins. I rolled into the clinic in my wheelchair that was oversized and ill-fitting for my greatly gaunt body. They helped me to sit on a slightly padded table so that they could begin to take a plethora of my body measurements. This assessment was to ensure that this chariot would fit me comfortably because as they say measure twice and cut once. Someone using this personally sized chair for such a long time needs anything that encourages complete comfort.

power chairAs a thirty-eight-year-old man in relatively good health, her next statement threw me for a loop. Not talking to me about my options, she merely asked what I was looking for in a power chair. We did not discuss the benefits of the different styles, so there was no mention of the option of manual wheelchairs and their advantages. I quickly spoke up, and vehemently said that I wanted a manual wheelchair. She then explained to me that power chairs are much easier to pass through Medicare. I explained how that was nice, but then I reiterated assuredly that I wanted a manual wheelchair.

After way too much cajoling, I was lowered onto a manual wheelchair that was only adequately fitted to my frame. This temporary chair was used to test my mobility ability testing my strength to self-propel. I was too stubborn to say, uncle, as I was run through the paces running me up and down a ramp and over several speedbumps. They doubted my conviction and continued to challenge my endurance by having me push myself down a long hallway. This relentless testing proved that I am a bullheaded Marine who was not willing to back down from this exhausting investigation of my capabilities.

traMy current wheelchair is custom-fit for me and only weighs a hair over forty pounds. This lack of bulk allows me to propel myself most places while not feeling like I am pushing a tank. The chair disassembles and reassembles with ease and can fit into vehicles from super small to the sizably substantial. The tires have airless inserts eliminating flat tires or the need for the manual manipulation of an air pump. It has indeed helped me to keep my self-reliance and lengthens the list of places that I can traverse.

It is unfortunate that many times in this world, people become self-focused asking themselves what I can gain from this. This me-ism based world can truly hurt those in need and benefit those looking to get just a little more for themselves. We must be diligent in knowing what we need to be heroic and heard on the reasoning for our desires. Most importantly, we need to be courageous and ask questions and stand firm in defense of our ideals.

Be strong vocally and get strong physically.

Heartfelt humanitarianism…

help othersThe other day someone asked me a question that baffled and bewildered me, yet this query that was posed was so simple. They asked: why do I help others if I do not know or owe them anything? I sat quietly for a moment and evaluated this inquisition and the best way to explain the purpose of this lifelong altruism of mine. Truth be told I also contemplated on why we are friends as he was honestly confused by my humanitarian hands. He did not understand why I would not buy myself an unnecessary and unneeded better Bluetooth headset since I had the money.

When I was growing up, my family was lower middle class, although we were a hare’s breadth away from being poor. Our family held onto the title of the lower middle class like it was the last twinkly at a weight watchers meeting. My mother, who was a single parent, worked a full-time job and went to college, so we rode that tightrope between poor and poor-ish for seven years.

poorWe were low-income, but I had no idea what being poor genuinely meant until I met some specific people in high school. I was not afraid to make friends with anyone, including the people that were shunned and socially shamed because of their appearance and clothing. I made good friends with those who were the real impoverished individuals in high school. Freshman through the senior year were the years it was most difficult for a kid to hide the family financial stance. So I had both rich and poor friends though I learned the most about life and the real meaning of friendships from those with the least.

I learned from seeing this downtrodden lifestyle and saw how my friends did not work so that their parents could do so. Most days, they needed to watch their younger siblings because their parents could ill-afford decent childcare. I quickly realized that when we were going to eat fast food, they could not buy food for lunch. I did not want them to feel bad and look needy if I only bought food for them. The solution was to simply pay for the group as to not single out the neediest among us. It felt good to do good for others without making them feel embarrassed or ashamed for not being able to contribute financially. This action was done with no expectations of payback, thus began my altruistic life.

I have seen and experienced some of the worst neighborhoods that Columbus, Ohio, has to offer. I was told that I had to physically see the poverty-stricken communities to comprehend the struggles of the penniless people truly. Walking in these areas and talking with some of the residents, I learned that many put forth a valiant venture to lift themselves out of destitution. This effort tends to reward them with a losing battle, typically moving them one step forward and two steps back. Sadly, they are not afforded the opportunities that I have seen others use to their advantage to raise out of the impoverished lifestyle.

flowersMy friend later asked me: if that is the case, then why do you do things for people who are not in need? He saw me order flowers for the community center where I swim and heard that I bought dinner for a group of friends. This question tells me that I should start shopping on eBay to find new choice chums.

There is enough bitterness, hatred, and contempt in this world that truly affects everyone. These negative impacts are not the same for everyone, but it affects everyone none the less. So in my eyes doing good whether they are in need or not are putting a bit of kindness into an otherwise acrimonious world. Giving to the destitute or affluent has a positive impact on the recipient and the altruist alike.

humbl1To make the world a little better in my eyes, I give to many charities like soup kitchens and food banks. I have helped supply clothing and furniture for local free stores and given out grocery gift cards to plenty of needy families. I have purchased school supplies for many children and Christmas trees for families in need. I have sent flowers and fruit baskets all over town in an attempt to bring a smile or two. I have even bought many meals for friends both in large groups and one on one. I have been told that my giving is excessive. However, I say that it is not enough as I would like to do more, but my income will only allow me to do so much.

Please do not think that I am braggadocios because that cannot be further from the truth. My mom tells me that I am simply leading by example, and yet I genuinely hope that people are willing to follow suit. I understand that not everyone can afford to do these things, but little acts of kindness make a difference in this bitter filled world. So the next time that you are out at your favorite coffee place, buy a coffee for a stranger or do some other random act of kindness. I guarantee you that it will make them feel good, but it will give you a great feeling as well.

Be the change in the world that you want to see- Gandhi.

No object of pity…

Friends and even family can occasionally act funny when it comes to the unwell. They seem to feel entitled by proxy to the term of disabled. Some of them can even get bombastic when they come to the defense of anyone in a wheelchair. These people can periodically become overly pro accessibility to the point that it becomes excessive.

panera caA friend and her husband were taking me to a fast-casual eatery for lunch. There was a light rain coming down that seemed to cause people to drive erratically. As we pulled into the parking lot, there was construction equipment all around. The trucks and dumpsters blocked many of the parking spots. There was one accessible parking space where someone was illegally parked. This lack of convenient parking caused us to get rained on as we rushed to get inside. We moved as fast as a herd of turtles stampeding through peanut butter, but we made it.

I am the kind of guy who knows that to find this illegally parked person is unlikely. Not to mention all of the stress that it would cause if we found them. I said it before and I will say it again: stresses and MS are like oil and water. This bad mix can create physical consequences that can put a stoppage to my progress for the day. I do not want to visit these significant problems, so I avoid the catastrophe causing concerns at all cost.

pissed poochMy friend went to the cashier, and with a vehement passion, she began to protest loudly. I tried to calm her down, but like angry pit-bull holding food, she would not let it go. I explained that the cashier is not the one to blame for our damp dilemma. I reminded my friend that her ferocious temper is scaring the young female cashier. She soon calmed down, and we eventually had a nice lunch. I imagine that my friends vociferating may have scared the offender who caused our wet woes to the point of never parking like that again. On the other hand, it may have accomplished absolutely nothing at all.

I accidentally left my accessible parking placard in the car of a friend of mine. He called to let me know that he had it so that I would not panic when I could not find it. “I can bring it back to you whenever you need. When do you need it next?” he questioned. “Bring it ASAP please because I will need it tomorrow morning” I explained. When he brought it to me, he explained: “I had to use it to run into the grocery store real quick to grab one thing.”

park pkacI proceeded to let him know that there is paperwork that goes along with the placard to prove it is yours. I also made him aware that either of us could get ticketed for him using it illegally. This citation could be handed out even if he had the paperwork. I would get the ticket if I let him use it unlawfully or he could be ticketed if he used it fraudulently and without my knowledge. Then I reminded him that these tickets for illegally using these placards are no joke costing on average $250 to $500.

The question is will he do this again? I don’t know, but he will not be using my placard.

cta mainstThe COTA bus arrived one day with two drivers one of them being a trainee. I had seen the trainer before, and he made a funny, smart comment. He said something about getting myself on the lift in a jovial way and I laughed. The trainee was shocked and said, “Are you not going to push him?” “Why,” the trainer asked. “Because he is in a wheelchair.” She said morosely. He explained that just because a person is in a wheelchair that does not mean that they are helpless or unintelligent. “Many of them live independently without issue” he proclaimed.

I say all of that to say this: I want to be seen as just another guy out in public. I do not want people to see me as less than or different. I refuse to ask for special treatment, and I do not want people to feel sorry for me. Many people hold doors open for me, and I appreciate that. Depending on the timing I try to hold doors open for other people. I do not cut in line or complain when there is no handicap parking.

I am in a wheelchair. It’s not who I am. It’s just how I get around.

Tug of war with a spider web…

createThere are many forms of creative people like authors, musicians, painters, designers, and even chefs. Individuals like Mark Jacobs, Monet, Mark Twain, Mozart, and Mark Peel are all imaginative and innovative people in their fields. Ingenious individuals like them get most of their inspiration from the many roadblocks of everyday life. This idea means that they did not become experts in their universes quickly or without some significant struggles.

usmcA person does not learn and grow only when life is silky smooth, and to become adept is even more of a challenge. These battles that life puts in your path are where you will find the separation of the neophyte and the proficient. A person is not handed the title of US Marine, but they earn it through thirteen weeks of arduous, exhausting challenges. The title is not dropped into their laps but bestowed upon them after all of the problematic provocations are complete.

In my search for blog creativity, I have earned insightful inspiration from books and TV shows. I have organized and obtained blog ideas from movies, music lyrics, podcasts, and even once from a partridge in a pear tree. The proper promulgation for my new blog topics is eluding my imagination. The usual wisps of wisdom that feed my inventiveness have become as elusive as the loch ness monster.

thI feel like my last few blogs were missing something, but I am not sure what it was. I feel that I need to experience a few more of life’s wisdoms and obstacles to provide me with more inspiration. As if my MS is not demanding enough, it is important that I endure more of life’s worldliness to give my readers an enjoyable blog. I need more exposure to everyday life and all that it has to offer good or bad.

I am sure that some individuals will tell me that my blog is excellent and that there are no issues with it. The question that I need to answer is, is it more important for my readers to be satisfied or for me? As the writer, I say that I have to be happy with it first because if not, it will not be understandable.

signSo I will be taking some time away from this blog to regain and recoup my creative juices. I will be reposting some of my earlier blogs in the meantime, so keep reading just in case you missed one. I am eager to return with all new and creative blogs to remind people of one fact that somebody has it worse than you, and they make it work.

You can be a watcher or get off the couch and get in the game.

An elephant doing ballet…

avoid failIf you want to have success in your life, you must avoid failure at all cost. Wow, that is a pretty impressive statement, and I think it says it all, so I guess this blog entry is complete. That comment is a positively perfect proclamation so you can stop reading and go back to your daily grind. I will send this to the proofreading and punctuation people so that we can wrap this one up. I must say that it was insightful and impactful promulgation.

I am the one who does the preliminary checking and correcting my work. I now realize that I need more than a declaration like that to fill my obligation to my readers. I should give you the reader more information to understand if that statement has importance and relates to my circumstance. Although that is a profound theory that can be used in absolutely any situation, I need more substantial facts. So hold on a few minutes while I get my thoughts together to make these words more valuable than a blank canvas to a painter.

analyze 2Every time that I fall, and after my recovery, I tend to analyze, criticize, and evaluate and investigate. I try to contemplate what caused the fall and postulate how to avoid a repeat catastrophe. Is it possible that my foot or even my wheelchair could have been slightly out of position by a mere half-inch? Let me give you a few examples of things not quite right causing a cataclysmic consequence.

After I got out of the pool the other day, my upper body felt weak like it does most days after swimming. I went into the family changing room that is most conducive to this body of mine that has been peppered with this pestilent prostration called MS. I carefully unpacked all of my shower necessities and put them on the shower bench and towel hook.

showerAlthough I was exhausted, as usual, the transfer onto the shower bench was simply silky smooth. I turned on the water to allow it to get to temperature, and then I pre-rinsed. When I grabbed the liquid soap bottle to put some soap on my scrubby, the container was slicker than a Vaseline slicked eel and fell to the floor. As I slowly bent down to pick it up while holding onto the shower grab bar, I slumped over too far. At this slouched angle, I had to rely on my weakened arms to pull me upright, causing a real aggressive battle.

I wanted a fight free from falls but instead ended up on the shower floor brimming with enmity. This anger built up to a burning rage as my ignorance caused my next challenge as I left my phone six feet away. My next task would be to drag myself across the floor to acquire my phone and call the front desk for help. A few minutes later, a staff member came and picked me up and placed me back in my wheelchair. It is in my best interest to always think logically and move with lethargy to avoid these situations.

Getting into and out of most cars is a geographical conundrum compelling deep contemplation. Taller vehicles like SUV’s or Minivans are more challenging than having an elephant send a birthday text to your friend. So my goal becomes strategic positioning to make sure that my every step in the process is correctly positioned.

The other day I was getting out of a friends SUV and things did not go as well as I would have liked. Every car has its idiosyncrasies that force a need to slow down and excogitate to avoid any tragic tumbles. That day I was tired hot and bound to make a significantly senseless snafu.

We put my wheelchair just outside the car door parallel to the car so that I only needed to slide onto my chariot. I was weak and needed some minor assistance with a trick that we have figured out through trial and error. Locking one arm from each of us at the elbow, my friend pulls me onto the waiting seat below. However, on this day, the stars would not align this time the odds were not in my favor.

ppThings started well as I was politely pulled off of the passenger seat and onto the chair below. Sadly my foot usually hits the floor as a pivot point, but the lack of fulcrum was the first folly of the day. The next issue was that there was no seat under my rump as I expected because I forgot to pull the chair forward completely. My improperly positioned wheelchair was only a few inches off-kilter, causing me to land on the edge of the cushion and slide off and onto the floor.

ebIt took several minutes of the struggle of my friend to get my derriere onto the landing zone. This challenge was an educational moment that I will try to never forget and avoid this catastrophic calamity in the future. To avoid exacerbating my falls, it is imperative that I think and move slowly. When I do not transfer carefully and cautiously, I am as graceful as an elephant doing ballet.

If you fall nine times, then get up ten.

Recreationally resting and leisurely relaxing…

khThe idea of relaxation is simply subjective as everyone has their way of finding a happy hiatus. Some people find a benefit in working on tasks that they enjoy, yet others need to stop working altogether to find pure relaxation. Specific individuals need the assistance and support of good friends to find absolute cessation. Countless people require total solitude to attain relaxation, while many desire groups of friends to achieve an immersive intermission.

There is the idea of enjoying a staycation or going away for an exuberant away-cation. On the other hand, there are those of us who need to veg out because it is refreshing Friday evening and we worked too hard in the morning. We need to find that which makes us happiest and revel in it as long as possible and bask in its reprieve. The important thing is to be calculated in finding your undeniable happiness.

babyI find periodic purposeful pleasure in all forms of music. The melodious and rhythmic sounds that fill my house makes my soul sing with exuberant jubilation. Diverse styles of music from Beethoven to The Beastie Boys help my various moods keep under control. I love to kick back and let the tuneful tones take me to a tropical island while my worries get washed away by the ocean sounds.

booksOther times I feel a desperate desire to disembark from reality and board the train to another world. The local library is brimming with books that can take you on a journey to places that you may never visit and might not even know exists. I can climb Mount Olympus and palaver with Zeus or traverse to the bottom of the ocean and play cards with a lobster. The average library has over thirty million books, so the adventures that you can take are nearly endless.

Manic moments of my mad mind at bedtime may demand a visit from the Dalai Lama himself to calm the beast within. Meditation is relaxing, causing restful mental tranquility that allows peaceful slumber throughout the night. Deep contemplation and rumination before the day begins can put your brain in a harmonious state to help your day run smoothly.

kicking with friendsYou can also settle back and put your feet up and totally tranquilize yourself by spending time with your friends. No matter if they are classmates, colleagues, or cohorts friends can help you chillax and chordal until you cry out with laughter. True chums know the right buttons to push to make kicking back fun and easy to wipe your worries from your cranium.

I also swim three times a week, which is good for your body, mind, and spirit, helping to relax you in every way. Any hobbies that a person has can also help mediate and moderate stress build-up that occurs from daily life. Do not become slaves to your worries also avoid becoming hermits to avoid interacting with people. So no matter how you find respite for your day, it is essential always to take time to enjoy the life that you have.

Relax, refresh, and revive.

Through the eyes of a child…

learnWe as adults forget and sometimes become flustered at how slowly children think as they learn. I have seen parents get upset as their kids sluggishly realize how something works and impede the family progression through the day. Grownups often forget how life looks from the eyes of the innocent while the neophyte inside of the child shines. Kids’ creativity continually causes cultivation proliferation.

The perspective of children should teach us all how to look at things with an innocent mind. At times we need to throw out our presumptive predilections and see things through the eyes of wonder and excitement of a child. I do not see several boxes in a stack, but I see the castle of Camelot to be defended by the Knights of the Round Table although the table is square. It is essential to let the kids be kids as they could unexpectedly invent the next big thing as they play, grow, and learn.

When I was a young child, my school went to visit COSI or Center of Science and Industry. We wanted to see what we could learn and participate in as everything was hands-on at this science center. I remember how we went to the mining exhibit to experience all aspects of the life of a miner. Eight kids at a time piled into this elevator to travel down many floors. I knew that the elevator was going down because there was a window that showed the walls were traversing towards topside. When we got off of the elevator exiting from the opposing door, we were in the deep dark depths of the city.

COSICOSI is very good at sparking imaginations and causing kids creative minds to go wild. With my adult brain, I now understand that the walls that I could see through the elevator windows were on a revolving roller. I comprehend that the elevator was not going anywhere, and we exited from the opposite side of this permanent portmanteau. The adults in the lives of these children should be encouraging this ingenious innovation from these mini minds as often as we can.

vbs3The Vacation Bible School theme this year is Into the Wild while I’m looking at it from a child’s perspective. I walked into the woods with my friends and met some people who worked at the basecamp. They took us through tall trees that stood as high as the building where my mommy works. I saw a bridge that looked like it was hovering over a river with fish in it that sits just after the waterfalls. There were lots of trees and animals all around making everything like a real forest. We could see the sunlight as it peeked through the leaves and tree branches that lit our path to the next area.

vbsOur journey took us first to a new part of the woods that was so big that a million of us fit at one time. Although there were trees all around us, some of the staff had music instruments that they played loudly. The lady in charge taught us a lot of great songs. This music made us dance to music and act silly and have lots of fun. These songs reminded us that Jesus loves us all even my big sister, who could not come to VBS this year. I just want to live here because I am having so much fun.

casdleNext, we went to several different rooms for Storytime, crafts, games, and even ministries. VBS reminds us all always to be good people do good things and that Jesus loves us. After all of the fun things, we went back to listen to more merry music before our parents picked us up.

kidsAs parents, we teach our kids that all-so-famous song that goes “This little light of mine I’m going to let it shine.” The adults need to remember how famous that song truly is to the growth of children. It is essential that we feed their creative minds because we could be looking at the next genius. When you limit their creativity, you could be smothering the light of the next Einstein, Beethoven, Bill Gates, or even Steve Jobs. The history books are full of people who as children were told that they would never amount to anything, and then they proved the nay-sayers wrong.

Play is the highest form of research.