As I have done in years past for as long as I can remember, I spent some time on this New Year’s Eve reflecting on the events, both good and bad, of the past year. Although I have been writing this blog for a long time now, lately it has been a good friend to me as I process the things going on in my life. For an hour or so this afternoon I took some time to look back on the posts of 2015, and I smiled as I realized that I have grown in many ways in the past 12 months, while in others I have stayed exactly the same. There is good and bad to both I suppose, and I thought it might be fun to take a look at the past year “Health on Wheels” style.
Taking the Stares: Okay, I will admit it. I just cheated a little. This post was written on December 30, 2014. But I like it, so I snuck it into this list. One of the things that gets under my skin as a person living with a disability, is when other people make assumptions about me instead of making the effort to ask me a question. This post explores that issue in a bit more detail. Read it here.
Whatever It Takes: One of the accomplishments I am most proud of is completing a 26.2-mile marathon in my wheelchair when I was in high school. Pride took a step further when that story was selected by Chicken Soup for the Soul to be part of their “Think Possible” collection. See the details here.
Not Yet: A special little girl taught me a powerful lesson about changing my perspective. Check it out.
All the C’s in Medicine: Because of my various disabilities, I will probably have some medical issues for the rest of my days. This post discusses the way I feel whenever medical personnel choose to be rude compared to how I feel when I am treated with respect. Take a look.
Never Say Never: Given that I have hired and managed a team of caregivers for almost 30 years, I thought I knew every rule. Especially the basics. But I had an experience this summer that turned my number one rule on its ear. Read about the rule breaker.
Look at Me: When I was a very young child, I was the poster child for United Cerebral Palsy. Even though I thought it was an honor at the time, as I grew up, the experience had an extremely negative impact on my self-perception. Clicking here will explain what I mean.
Silver Linings: The Americans with Disabilities Act is vital civil rights legislation for people with all kinds of disabilities. The 25th anniversary this past summer was definitely something to celebrate. Click here to read about the changes the ADA has made in my life.
Moving On: I have written often on this blog about my opinion that society still sees people with disabilities as second class citizens. It was a major shift for me to realize, after an incident at church one Sunday, that the insensitivity of others is not always intentional. Read all about it here.
Step by Step: This year it really hit home with me than anything you want can be accomplished as long as you take it one step at a time.
Use Your Power: As much as I appreciate the assistance my caregivers give me, there are times when I need to be their boss. The delicate balance of that can get tricky sometimes, and this issue came to a head over the summer. More details are here.
Cheeseburgers Mean Freedom: In the fall I was fortunate enough to meet with an amazing group of people who are working on transforming an area of Lawrence, where I live. They asked me some questions about accessibility for wheelchair users and were genuinely interested in the feedback I gave them. I thoroughly enjoyed talking about the East Ninth project with this group, and cannot wait to see the changes that are made when the project is completed. It’s gonna be sooo cool! Look….
What a Semicolon Means: This just might have been the most difficult post I have ever written. It’s not often that I talk about my psychiatric diagnosis and the way that it affects me. But when I heard the story of the Semicolon Project, I felt a need to tell how I related to it. Although I was nervous about how it would be received, other people must have liked it. It has been re-pinned on Pinterest 86 times. See it here.
It’s About Much More Than Picking Up Pencils: For the first time, I had a friend of mine write a guest post on my blog this year. Joshua is one of my caregivers, and he wanted to write about his experience working for me. His words blew me away. There are many times I write about feeling misunderstood. Joshua let me know that there are some people in my life who “get” me. Read his words .
Look Beyond: Although it was written more than 25 years ago, the message in this poem is still what I strive for in society today. Read it here.
What Leah Sees: My beloved service dog has had some health issues this year. Through the struggle, it was important for me to realize what the important things about my dog really are. The love story is here.
There is the list. 15 favorite posts from 2015. 110 posts total. When this year began, I had about 65 followers on this blog. Today I have 539. Shazam! What a blessing!
Thank you, everyone, from the bottom of my heart! Happy New Year! I wish you all a fabulous 2016!