December 30, 2014

Accessibility Awareness: Public Restrooms

Growing up I did not pay much attention to how accessible places were for people with disabilities. Mainly due to the fact that someone to get me where I needed to go with no problem. However, as I grew older and began to do more for myself I began to realize how inaccessible many places were; especially regarding bathrooms.

An accessible stall should have handrails as seen in the picture above on the right. They should also have enough room for the persons wheelchair and a person to aid them should they need assistance.

The picture on the left was taken by me at a local restaurant. As you can see there are no handrails. Aside from not having handrails, I was unable to close the stall door after entering and positioning how I needed in order to be able to transfer. Friends I was with had to stand in front of the stall (with their backs to me) to give me some sort of privacy so someone else did not just walk in on me. To make matters even more complicated there was not enough room for another person to enter the stall with me should a fall have occurred. Situations like this are not safe for anyone with a disability or who is elderly. If someone were to fall in that stall there is no way for them to even try to pull themselves up. I did speak with the manager this afternoon and he was very unaware of this issue. He sincerely apologized to me for the trouble I had and said that he would make sure it was fixed, to give him about a week. I plan to go back in a few weeks to see if any progress has been made.

This is not the only time I have encountered such an issue as this where I live. There are several places I visit that are not truly accessible to those in wheelchairs or otherwise. I know this blog will not reach many people, but it is one way to raise awareness!

December 21, 2014

Locks of Love

Since letting my hair grow out relatively long over the past few years, I have always wanted to donate it to Locks of Love once it was long enough. Well, that finally happened on Wednesday of last week! I was getting tired of having really long hair. It was becoming hard for me to care for so while my sister and I were out and about I made my decision and had it cut!

I did not freak out after it was done. I am glad that I was able to donate my hair to such a good cause. It feels a whole lot better and is much easier for me to deal with. :)

If you or someone you know would like to donate to Locks of Love or is in need of their services you can find more information here: 

December 16, 2014

Holidays Are Here!

Hello fellow Bloggers!

I took a month and a half hiatus while my computer was being repaired. I have it back and I am ready to write for all you lovely readers! :)

Today I am writing about... you guessed it the holidays and the things my family has made tradition through the years. I am excited about writing this post because it is part of a link up party, of which this is my first!

This album is my favorite Christmas album. It is not Christmas time until I hear Gene Autry sing Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. My mom has this album on vinyl. When I was growing up we listened to the record every year. When it begins Gene asks you to pull up a chair and listen. I always sat right by the record player and listened to the whole album. Just last night (Monday 12-15) I was able to add the album to my Spotify music collection, now I can listen to it anytime I wish!

When my sister and i were little Mom and Dad would drive us around on the old back roads and through a subdivision or two to look at the houses decorated with Christmas lights. We also listened to silly Christmas songs as we drove along. It was always lots of fun! :)

Now that my sister and I are grown we have started the tradition of getting new Christmas PJ's every year and just hanging out with the family. I know, most kids get PJ's on Christmas Eve to wear on Christmas morning. Well, I will let you in on a secret... We always opened our presents on Christmas Eve! Now that gifts are not of great importance to us and we do not have to be 2 or 3 places in a night to see this part of the family or that one we spend the night at home with our parents and bake Christmas goodies while listening to Christmas music and just having a good time with one another. Of course, there are still gifts under the tree for my 7 year old niece, but she also enjoys the PJ's and baking. She is quite the crafty kid!

What are some of your families favorite holiday traditions?

October 2, 2014

Disabled Dating: We Are Not a Charity

I have been single for a year and a half now. Since then, I have casually hung out with people; but have not been on a date that has actually led to really getting to know someone to see where things go.

If you read my blog or follow me on Facebook you know that I enjoy going out and listening to live music. This is my way of letting go of stress and worries. I have a great time when I am out. I get out on the dance floor and dance the night away just like everyone else, but I have noticed something in the way people approach me and those I am with.

I constantly hear people say:

"You are so awesome!"
"It is so good to see someone like you out having a good time and enjoying life."

Then, they approach whomever I am with and proceed to tell them what an amazing person I am and how it is great that [they] take time to get me out.

I have thought about all of this for a while, and honestly it bothers me a little bit, and in writing what I am about to write here I know I am not just speaking for me, but also those who are afraid to say it.
It seems as though society views those of us in the disabled community as a charity sometimes. Especially when we are seen doing normal things like normal people, be it going out dancing, holding a job, living on our own, or the main point of this post; dating.
Those who choose to take part in the lives of others who are different are not "special" because they choose to have something to do with us. They see us as they see you. Normal, and proceed to treat us as such. We want this not only in friends, but a partner as well.

The point to all this rambling? We are tired of sitting on the sidelines waiting because someone is too afraid to take the chance. Be bold and make an effort to get to know someone who's different you may find they have more to give than you thought. 

September 18, 2014

Living Independently

My journey to independence began at the age of eleven with the help of wonderful doctors and physical therapists at Shriners Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky. I spent 2 weeks of my sixth grade year there learning how to transfer to and from the bed, toilet, and shower. Also during this time I learned how to fully dress myself. This made getting ready for school at 5 a.m. a whole lot easier for all involved. While I got dressed Mom or Dad could get breakfast ready which ensured plenty of time to eat before boarding the bus in the morning. At first, I had to have someone spot me during transfers to ensure that I did not fall. As time went on I was able to complete the transfers totally on my own.

A year after graduating from high school at age nineteen I made the decision to attend college 3 hours from home at MTSU in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. There was a lot of planning that was involved in making this decision a reality. I had to make sure that I would be staying in a dorm that was accessible and get help with transportation for errands I would need to run. Thankfully, the campus is relatively accessible to wheelchair users. My on campus apartment was a little on the small side, but I was able to manage and make everything work for my benefit. I had a caretaker come in twice a day. In the mornings they helped me get everything ready for the days classes and prepare breakfast, and in the evening they helped me prepare dinner and were there while I got settled in for the evening.

After living in Murfreesboro for nearly three years I moved back home. I stayed with family and a good friend for the first year after returning home and then in the summer of 2006 I moved into my own apartment. I still remember the excitement of being on my own and truly having my own place. It was a thrill! I lived in the apartment for three years before finally purchasing my first home in the summer of 2009.

I have lived in my home now for five years. It is a double-wide mobile home. I knew the moment I rolled into it I was going to buy it. Minimal modifications were needed to make it accessible, for that I am grateful!

Today, I want to share with you through brief descriptions; some of the equipment and appliances that have made living in my own home possible.

  • Front load washer/dryer: This is self-explanatory. Using a front load washer is idea for those who are wheelchair users because the washer/dryer is sitting at our level and we can just toss the clothes in with ease! Laundry quickly became one of my least favorite household chores but I am thankful I am able to do it.
  • Foreman Grill/Toaster Oven/Crock Pot: These three items made cooking meals possible for me. I am no longer just the queen of the microwave! I am now able to make items such as hamburgers, chicken, pizza, pintos..etc.
  • Electric Recliner: This is my spot in the livingroom. Ninety percent of the time this is where I can be found cuddled up in a blanket watching TV or gaming. These recliners are true blessing for those who are disabled or elderly. It allows us to be able to change our seating position and relax without the worry of being stuck because we cannot push the recliner back down or because we cannot hold the recliner back in the reclined position.
  • High-rise toilet/Hanging Shower Caddy: These two items have been a tremendous help in my independence as well as my shower seat. The high rise toilet seat makes transferring a whole lot easier because it is level with the height of my chair and also eliminates the need for seating over the toilet which allows more space. The shower caddy, well it is also self-explanatory. I have one on an extra shower rod inside my shower. This eliminates clutter on the edge of the bathtub and puts everything needed in reach!
I am very thankful to have been given the opportunity to learn how to live on my own and for the overwhelming support I have received and continue to receive. Living independently with Cerebral Palsy is one of my biggest accomplishments and having a positive go-getter attitude has helped me get where I am today. This journey is one that will continue for a lifetime. For I will always be learning to do new and different things!

July 27, 2014

Mail Call

"Welcome: You've Got Mail!" We all remember hearing those words after signing into AOL. When I was a teen those words made me happy as ever. They meant I had mail from friends and I couldn't wait to read it and send something back. Now, I do good to get any email worth reading. I have to admit, I miss email. I still think it is a great tool for communication - but as with all things technology has evolved into texting and social media networks.

Checking my mailbox at home is usually not even close to exciting. It's bills and junk mail. Who wants that? But, every time I order something offline via Amazon or something of the sort I get excited just like I did logging into AOL. 

This week I ordered a case for my phone. I have been looking for a case for some time because my poor phone is beginning to look kind of beat up from dropping it and this bugs me. After searching for what seemed like forever on Amazon I finally found something I liked. It's not an OtterBox [They don't make them for Samsung Galaxy Mini's]. Shame I know!

I paid $5.25 for this gem with free shipping and received it by weeks end. I love it. It seems like it is going to be very durable and it also makes the phone easier for me to hold. That's a plus! All the dings and bangs on my phone are covered so its like getting a brand new phone, at least to me it is!

What has been one of your favorite online purchases? Do you miss communicating with people via e-mail?

July 23, 2014

Just Roll With It - JoJo

I was reading through some comments on Facebook a while ago - yes, I know that it is after 4 a.m. but I had to write! Anyway, I was reading through some comments and my dear friend Jo Jo said "I love how you just roll with the punches." That reminded me of this song by Steve Winwood. It has long been a favorite of mine, thanks to my Mom. It is kind of my life motto. I just roll with it and make the best of everything that comes my way.

I messaged Jo Jo a few days ago cause I was just having one of those days as we all do sometimes. He didn't reply. I didn't think anything of it because I know he has been really busy getting ready for some things. Tonight, I messaged him again and simply said, ignore the last message, all is well now. He replied and said he didn't respond to the previous message because he knew that I would push through it. Which brings me to this... Have you ever had someone not respond to you when you really wanted them to? Times when hearing from them would make you feel better? Sometimes, there is a reason for the silence just like in this situation. Silence really is golden in more ways than the normal "having peace and quiet". It can give you the push you need to pick yourself up, do what you need to do, and continue to roll with it!

Has there been a time in your life when someone's silence has helped you?

What is your life motto?

July 22, 2014

Picnic in Reliance

Last Tuesday, the family loaded up and we headed to Reliance to have a picnic, hang out, and let Kaylee and her friend play in the water. It was a whole lot of fun. We enjoyed a picnic lunch of sandwiches and chips before letting the girls play in the water. The water was really cold, but they loved it. I sat by the water in my chair until it started coming in. Boy was that an adventure - getting me back up on the sidewalk before the water came in too far, haha! 

After the water came in the girls enjoyed tubing down the river just a little with the current. Dad and Sis endured the water and caught them.

Later in the afternoon just before we left, a man came down to the river with his dog. He had a tennis ball with him and the dog would catch it if you threw it in the water. It was really fun to watch and the kids loved it. Every kid there got a chance to throw the ball for the dog.

Can't wait to go again! Here are a few pictures:


What activities have you done this summer?

July 16, 2014

These Wheels Were Made for Dancin'

"These wheels were made for dancin', and that's just what they'll do..."

Yep, that's right; adapted straight from a country song! As you already know and have read, I have a huge love for music. Live local shows are one of my favorite weekend activities when the opportunity arises. Not only do I enjoy the loud music, I also love dancing! I get out on the dance floor just like everyone else and just enjoy scootin' around and having a great time. When I am dancing I don't worry about anything. All the worries in my world fade away and I truly truly enjoy myself. It is freeing just like the music is. 

What do you do to free your mind and/or de-stress?

June 6, 2014

Pampering Should be Relaxing

Let's face it, most all females like to be pampered once in a while. This usually consists of some shopping and most likely a manicure and/or pedicure. I am one of those girls. I do not have painted nails often because it is not something I do well on my own. [Trust me I've tried] So, ever great once in a while I have girl time with my sister and a friend and have my nails painted.

I am always satisfied with the way my nails turn out and it makes me feel girly as it should.

However, the process of having my nails done has never been a truly relaxing experience for me. You may be thinking, "Well, why not? I love going to have my nails done!"

This is why:

  • I cannot roll completely under the manicure table.
  • The manicurist usually seems frustrated with me because I cannot completely relax my hand.
  • I have to lean way over the table which causes my back to hurt.
If I were able to roll completely under the table I think my experience in such a salon would be different. I would be able to sit more comfortably and not have to lean way over, nor would they have to pull at my arm all the time. And the manicurist would not seem as frustrated.

Thoughts ladies?

June 2, 2014

A Peaceful Sunday

Yesterday was a very peaceful day for me. It was quiet and relaxing. I spent a lot of time outside. I enjoy the outdoors when the sun is shining bright! My lilies finally bloomed. I love it when they do!

Later in the afternoon I enjoyed a Nestle Drumstick on the porch. The first ice cream I've had this summer. It was delicious! :) 

I also prepared dinner last night, it's the least I can do for my sister and all the hard work she does. I am so glad we have been blessed with an awesome relationship. I made BBQ Chicken in my crock pot!

I ended the night with my favorite little person my sunshine. I love having her around! :)

May 30, 2014

The Gift of Time

All of us are given the gift of time to use in whatever way we choose. Sometimes we are wise about it and sometimes not.

After finishing school at Cleveland State I was sure that I would have a job working from home doing medical transcription, which would make for a lot of time spent productively. Unfortunately, life did not pan out that way. I settled into just tending to the house. Billls were paid, I didn't need to worry.

However, at times I would worry about what others thought of me because I had gone to school and didn't have anything to show for it besides the degree hanging on my living room wall. It bothered me that I had achieved this goal and was not even putting it to use. In short, at times I have felt like a bum. I have often times begged the question, "Why did I do that if I was not going to use it?" I know many of us ask that question after finishing school. But, we should be proud of ourselves for achieving that goal which we set for ourselves. I know I am.

I have learned to see this personal struggle I've had in a different light. Having "too much time on my hands" has afforded me many wonderful opportunities. I am able to give my time to those who need it most - my family.

My sister does not have to worry about finding a sitter while she works. I am available anytime I need to be.
I am able to be part of all activities Kaylee has in school because I am not working around a schedule.
I am able to spend a lot of one-on-one time with Kaylee also.

I am thankful for this opportunity. I may not ever have kids of my own, but having time allows me to play a big role in my nieces life and that is one of the most important jobs I could have in this life. I get paid with lots of love and girly giggles!

May 28, 2014

On Turning 30

Last Tuesday, May 20, I turned the big 3-0. I started the morning off listening to music while sitting out in the sun. That is my morning ritual during the summer if it is not raining. My mom came over for the late afternoon/early evening. She baked me a big batch of homemade peanut butter cookies. One of my favorites that she does. :) Later that night, I went out with my sister and some friends to listen to some local music talent. We had a great night! This past weekend, I was able to go see Zach Dylan & D-Railed at B & B Marina with my sister and some more of our friends. So, all in all, I had a awesome birthday week.

I have a feeling this next year is going to be full of new and exciting adventures. Better buckle up for the ride huh?! :)

March 11, 2014

How Music Keeps Me Going: Dedicated to Joseph Drew "MOJO"

JoJo and I at The Park Bench in ATL

Music has always been a big part of my life. I've had a love for it ever since I was a young child. I can remember asking Mom and Dad to play certain songs on our travels to and from Kentucky. One of them was Rocky Mountain Way by Joe Walsh. Some of my favorite childhood memories involved music. Dancing in the living room with Mom and Dad to old cassette tapes for hours and just laughing and enjoy our time together. My sister and I use to blast music while we played outside riding our bikes.

Music instantly puts me in a good mood when I am feeling down. I have an immense love for live music. Most times I would much rather listen to live music as opposed to the radio or a CD/MP3 player.. to compensate I just turn my music up really loud and jam out. Live music is soothing to my soul. I don't think about anything when I am listening to a band, (I have a few local favorites). My wheelchair doesn't even exist to me I get out there and dance with the best of them! Who says MsHotwheels can't dance? ;)

The picture above is one of my favorites. Joseph Drew in the former drummer for my favorite band from Atlanta, Pistol Town. He now plays with a band called STARS in Austin, Texas. When I met JoJo for the first time we instantly connected. He has a huge passion for music and a zest for life that is contagious! He always has a smile on his face and positive things to say. Every time I seen him at a show or now message on Facebook he always asks how I am doing and how my writing is going. He took a genuine interest in my writing for Cerebral Palsy Family Network and that's always meant a lot to me, because I'll be honest sometimes I feel like my writing gets me nowhere - even here on my personal blog. But, I'll keep writing anyway because I enjoy it.

So, again... thank you JoJo for your support through this journey in life. You've impacted my life and my love for music. Your friendship means a lot. <3 always and forever, because circles never end <3.

"Let's get on with the music..."

Cerebral Palsy Family Network Blog - For those who want to read!

January 22, 2014

Special Needs Animals: Be Their Voice :)

For the majority of those with dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, and the like; the animal isn't just their pet. They are considered to be part of the family, a furry child if you will. For some, their pet is the only "child" they have. Just like human babies, some are born with special needs, and require special care and/or equipment to help them life their life to the fullest. 

I use a wheelchair to help me be mobile and live life to the fullest. So does the little Chihuahua below named BeBe. Physical therapy has also been part of my well being throughout the years just as it was for the Boston Terrier with Swimmer's Puppy Syndrome.

Special needs animals need just as much of a chance at life. The same chance the child with mental or physical challenges is given. Just as we have to be the voice for the human special needs community, our furry friends need the same voice speaking out for them as well!

BeBe gets A Wheelchair
Swimmer's Puppy Syndrome

January 8, 2014

Holiday Recap

So, I am a little late at posting but better late than never right?

The week of Christmas was fabulous! I stayed the entire week with my lovely sister. Christmas Eve day Emily and I spent the day with Dad. I really enjoyed the time we got to spend with him one on one. It isn't something we get to do very often. It was such a joyous time. :)  We hung out with Mom and Dad Christmas Eve night playing board games and waited for the anticipated arrival of Santa for sweet Kaylee. :) Christmas morning we had breakfast with Dad's brother and sister, which is always enjoyable. That afternoon after everyone left we sat down together and opened our gifts. This is only the 2nd year that we have opened gifts on Christmas Day. We usually open them on Christmas Eve.

I am very happy with what I received, but more blessed for the time I was able to spend with my family and the memories we made. We sure mad some great ones!

I can say the year ended well. I came into my own as a person, as an individual.


 My Gifts

 Ready for a day with Dad

Kaylee and I enjoyed a movie and popcorn <3