Monday, August 18, 2014

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

In the last week I've seen tons of videos on Facebook of people pouring buckets of ice water over their heads (or other people's heads). I've even seen celebs and other well-known people participating in this frigid challenge on TV. I quickly caught on to the fact that it's to raise awareness for ALS. It's interesting how fast fads and other challenges like this spread. I've probably seen 15 videos just on Facebook today.

Initially, I wasn't quite sure what the point of dousing yourself in a bucket of ice water was, and how that raises money for charity, so I did what I always do when I'm curious about something. I consulted Google, of course! Here's what I learned: People make a video of themselves dumping a bucket of ice water over their head, then they upload it to a social media website and challenge their friends to do the same within 24 hours OR donate $100 for ALS research.

You might be thinking exactly what I was at first, "How is that going to raise money for ALS?" since it's clear from the number of videos going around that lots of people are opting to go the ice bucket route. As with any trend, many people are fans and others have pooh-poohed the idea. I saw this meme on Facebook earlier today:
Okay, that's a valid point. It's sad to think about how we really take clean water for granted here in America and to think about all of the waste there is when it comes this the resource. I guess people could do far worse. The ice bucket challenge has been fairly successful, though, since it has raised over $20 million this summer, not to mention tons of awareness. I guess this challenge is pretty clever after all. ;)

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis is one of the cruelest diseases. Imagine one day experiencing weakening in your muscles and you slowly become paralyzed. Not only do you lose the use of your limbs, but you also lose the ability to breathe, swallow and even speak, all while your mind stays sharp and intact. It's truly like being trapped. I much rather become paralyzed in an accident since you can still live a relatively long and healthy life than to develop ALS which progresses relatively quickly (average life expectancy after diagnosis is roughly two to five years).

One final meme to end this post because it made me laugh:
Still shot from the Captain America movie

Saturday, August 9, 2014

A Different Kind of Canvas

I saw something amazing online a few days ago that I just had to share. I'm not sure who the artist is or where they got the idea since there weren't any details listed, but someone is doing something pretty amazing with their hands ON their hands (or possibly somebody else's hands).

Take a look at these incredible animals paintings painted on hands held in different positions. The details are phenomenal and they really do look like the animal they're supposed to be.
I would definitely have a hard time washing this hard work off of my hands!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Longtime Friends

I love it when old friends (or should I say longtime friends) come to visit. Last Friday my mom and I were able to catch up with our longtime family friends, Dirk and Janet Burton, who were in town for a few days. They came over and had lunch and dinner with us and stayed for seven hours. We had so much fun talking about what's new in our lives and it was fun to hear about what each of their kids are are up to. We also spent a lot of time reminiscing about old times and I probably said the phrases "remember when…" and "I have such fond memories of…" a dozen times each!

We also reminisced about Dirk and Janet's last visit with us back in 2010. It's hard to believe that three of the four kids they brought with them on that trip have gotten married in the past four years. Something else that's hard to wrap my head around is that I am now older than Janet was when I met the Burton family back in 1991. That  is crazy! 

We took some pictures. It was funny to look at them when I loaded them onto my computer. Mom, Janet and I basically kept the same pose in all of the pictures, but funny man Dirk struck a new pose in each shot. That's Dirk for you!
Dirk has an impressive collection of hats (close to 400) and most of them are extremely unique. Even though Dirk was only in town for 2½ days he brought five different hats with him. He brought one of his oldest hats–a turtle hat–with him. (This was always my favorite hat of his when I younger.) He put it on my head when we were taking pictures. I look awfully cute, but I still think Dirk wears it better!
I will conclude this post the same way I ended the post about their 2010 visit: "It's nice to know that although the years go by, some people never change!" Very true!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Blog Turns 5!

On August 3, 2009 I made my very first blog post. It's hard to believe that that was 5 years ago! On one hand it doesn't seem like that long ago, but on the other hand a lot has happened over the course of the past five years. Time is sure a difficult thing to wrap your head around since sometimes it crawls at a snail's pace and other times it goes faster than you can believe!

I've been making fewer and fewer blog posts over the years. In 2011 I made 254 posts. Last year I only made 136 posts and I hope to at least break 100 this year (this is only my 65th post of the year). I guess I'm running out of things to write about! The first several years I wrote extensively about my accident, and basically included the entire story. I've also written lots of posts about paralysis, answered FAQs and explored how my life has changed in the past decade since my accident and how I manage to keep a joyful perspective. I'm fresh out of ideas!

I also don't go out as often as I did several years ago, and you can't document adventures you're not having! My movie reviews have fizzled a bit because I don't see movies at the theater near as often as I did a few years ago. And I haven't had time to read/listen to as many books, either. I'm pretty boring, what can I say?! ;) I still stay extremely busy and never seem to have enough time for all of the things I want/need to do, but it's just stuff that isn't very exciting and therefore wouldn't make a very entertaining post. I still cover all of the highlights of what I'm currently up to and try to include significant happenings in the world and other things that I find intriguing or thought-provoking. Writing posts takes a lot of work, but I do enjoy it. I just feel like I've covered all of the most interesting stuff already and don't want to waste time writing about not-so-interesting things just to make another post. That being said, I do try to make a post every week to give those faithful followers something to read if/when they check in on my blog.

The best thing about blogging BY FAR has been the correspondences I've had with complete strangers across the country and even the world. It seriously fills me with awe when someone I've never met contacts me to tell me how something I've said on my blog has had a positive effect on them or has made them realize that they can get through their challenges and hard times, too. Comments and emails from people are THE BEST and are definitely appreciated!

I've had two interesting blogging-related experiences this year where I've been contacted by two random people who found my blog after searching the Internet for information on paralysis. The first experience was earlier this year when an author who lives in Germany contacted me because he wanted to ask me some questions. (He's writing a novel and his main character has an accident, breaks their neck and ends up a quadriplegic.) English is not this man's first language, so that was interesting. His English was pretty good, so I hope there wasn't too much that got lost in translation.

The other experience has occurred just within the past few weeks. A movie producer from Los Angeles emailed me to consult me about my experiences as a quadriplegic for an independent film he's making about a quadriplegic. I never expected to become paralyzed and I really never expected to be consulted by an author and a filmmaker. I may not be an expert on paralysis, but I'm happy to do what I can to help!

Blogging technology is amazing and it's so fun to be a part of the world from the comfort of my own home. Thank you to everyone has been a part of my blog these past five years, especially those faithful followers near and far that keep coming back for more. It makes all of the time I spend on my blog worth it a million times over!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Last of the Summer Company Leaves

Things are much more quiet at my house today than they've been lately. We've had company five of the past six weeks and I was able to see all four of my older sisters and many of my nieces and nephews. I love my family and we've had some great times these past six weeks, but as they say, all good things must come to an end.

My sister Sharon visited in June for my birthday. I guess she just didn't get enough of me, so she decided to come back. Another week of fun with one of my sisters and their kids? Well, if I have to. ;) We didn't do anything spectacular or really anything at all, but I think everyone had fun.

We took some pictures after church. Matt does not like having his picture taken, so it's just the girls in the picture:
Elizabeth and me, and then Sharon and me:
Chandra with Elizabeth and Sarah:
An adorable picture of Sharon
Chandra played Uno with the kids for a long time, and below that is a picture of Matt who had climbed up one of the trees in the backyard:
It was hot so we went to get ice cream one afternoon:
Matt ate his ice cream cone and then was enamored with this pump. Typical boy!
The kids also enjoyed playing in the inflatable pool they brought with them last summer and spent a few afternoons enjoying the water:
Sharon's small town doesn't have the best shopping, so she took her kids shopping for new shoes for school and was able to find a pair for each of them.

We also watched lots of movies, including Gone with the Wind. We watched the four-hour movie with the three oldest girls and they loved it.. Sharon and I also watched the two-hour documentary made in the late 80's for the 50th anniversary of the film. It was really fascinating and it was truly a groundbreaking movie. Even though the movie came out in 1939, I think it's still a great movie and they did a really good job of condensing the 1000+ page book into a movie. (Even though the movie was four hours, there were still a lot of things that had to be left out.)

One thing that was mentioned in the documentary was how Gone with the Wind was the first movie to have a swear word in it. (The classic line at the end of the movie/book, "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn.") What a difference in today's society where movies are riddled with vile language and it's nothing for some movies to have the F-word in them dozens of times.

I'm feeling a little blue now that all of our summer company has come and gone, but I guess that's just a sign that we have lots of fun together. Thankfully, time goes quickly and before I know it they'll be back!
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