Wheelchair Warrior

Let me tell you a story:

“There was a little girl who had a little curl, right in the middle of her forehead.” (It’s not exactly a curl; it’s more like a wave, if I have a perm. If I don’t have a perm, I wear unintentional bangs.) “And, when she was good, she was very, very good, but when she was bad, she was horrid.” MY story changes here to: When she was MAD, she was a Warrior. Let me explain:

Last week, I told you that my ebook was coming SOON. I was three-fourths through; I had about one more week of typing to do. As I’ve told you or you’ve read, or maybe you haven’t read and I haven’t told you, I type about 8 words a minute, with my middle finger. Five hundred words a day is great for me. It’s a good day. Recently, I typed a thousand in one day. I was elated to be ahead of schedule. How I did it, I don’t know. Magic fingers, I guess. What can I say?

I took a break, went to dinner, came back to my office, and opened the file. It was EMPTY—0 CHARACTERS!

I clicked here, clicked there, trying to find where it went. Was there an auxiliary file? No. The original file was still titled, but there was nothing in it. Seven thousand words circling Saturn!

Okay, I have “lost” articles, emails, FB notes before but not of this magnitude. I decided to call my computer guy the next morning. He had retrieved things before; he could do it again.

He said, “If the file remains with no content, it can’t be retrieved.”

I was sick; I was literally nauseous. I thought I would vomit. Instead, I cried. After a short cry (I do not indulge in pity parties.), I made my morning espresso. I enjoyed my morning indulgence then, went to wash my face and apply make-up.

I decided on black eyeliner. After lining my eyes, I thought, “I feel like black eye shadow.” I have NEVER been Goth but, today, this felt right!

I DECLARED WAR!

I blackened my eyelids. My hand painted God’s zigzag lightening rod on my right cheek and on my left cheek. I drew a cross (the blood of Jesus) between my eyebrows, three interconnecting circles (Father, Son, and Holy Ghost) on my chin, and symmetrical arches (my angel’s protection) on my jaws.

Because this book is for YOU, my faithful readers, this MAD WARRIOR put her head down, fists up, and middle finger poised. Threatening the enemy, I DECLARED VICTORY to complete this book!

I am back again, two-thirds of the way through. Determinedly, it is COMING SOON. (You can order, Views From My Chariot: A Wheelchair Oddity while you wait. Click “Purchase,” and click the link to its web page. Order there.)

Today, I apologize for the delay.

Wheelchair Pathfinder

This is an excerpt from my ebook that you can instantly download FREE with your subscription to my ezine. COMING SOON!

When I was five or six years old, someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. Without hesitation, I said, “A boy.” As adults, we laugh at children’s cute misconceptions. We know it isn’t going to happen. Then, somewhere amidst the journey from innocence into adulthood, the majority of us arrive unfulfilled, bothered and bewildered of the cause. We wonder: How did I get off my path? What is my calling? What is my purpose?

Carolyn Weiss says it best. She says it’s never too late to get back on your life path. If you are alive and breathing, you have a purpose.

I have always been an explorer, much like my Daniel Boone-esque, frontiersman, explorer dad. (You can read the wild stories about him in my book, particularly the “That Was Then” chapter.) Back in my walking days, I spent endless hours exploring concealed paths off country dirt roads, ambling amidst woods, discovering hidden swimming holes, and forgotten Civil War grave yards. Occasionally, forgetting my compass, I lost my way. Of course, I always found my way back—I’m here to tell you about it. But, they were daunting times in unfamiliar places. It required maintaining control over my emotions—to stay calm and focused—search for familiar landscape, and persevere until I recognized my path.

I have ALWAYS been a writer. Growing up, other ambitions, and other’s ambitions for me, clouded my thinking, causing me to diverge from my path. Like the blinking arrows >>>>> direct a driver to merge into another lane, thoughts of becoming a nun (yep), an archeologist, Ms. America, a linguist, a famous actress, an Airline stewardess (to name of few), kept detouring me from who I was—a writer and teacher.

Because I never listened to my heart, I didn’t know who I was. My persona became whatever this noggin head imagined I wanted to do.

I entered and won beauty pageants until retiring my last three crowns at nineteen. I took Latin, Spanish, Italian, and French until I realized it took more dedication than I was willing to give. I majored in Speech and Theater until my interest in phonetics changed my path into becoming a speech and language pathologist. (This was God’s plan, after all. It was a trick up His sleeve in order for me to provide for myself after becoming disabled.)

I still followed a couple of detours after that. I’m a S-L-O-W learner, but once I got it, a dust cloud follows behind me and my chariot. (You don’t see it on my book’s cover because my illustrator replaced it with wheelchair tracks. Whatever.)

I believe we wander from our heart’s path because we don’t recognize our value and belittle our gifts. We assume them common and mundane by thinking, “This is too easy. Anyone can do it. I’m nobody special.”

That’s the big LIE—to derail you off your life path, your fulfillment, your contribution to the world. Yes, the world!

Do you know what yours is?

I will help you find the path leading to your heart, the way I found mine.

HOW TO BE THE BEST YOU COMING SOON!

Disabled or Enabled Thoughts

I may be living with a disability, but I have enabling thoughts, most of the time.

I enjoy reading and writing, and I love words, but there are times when OCD (Obsessive-compulsive disorder) sets in—like the Howard Hughes moment when I catch myself repeating, in my head, the same set of words over and over and over and over and over…. I catch myself repeating a slogan on a billboard, a car sticker silly-ism, a TV advertisement, or a thought reminding me to do something.

I fall out of the formal diagnosis of ritualistic behaviors because there is no mental compulsion driving me to relieve an identifiable anxiety. Except, I must confess, on rare occasions since I was a young girl, when a group of birds fly overhead, I am compelled to count them before they disappear from sight. Of course, that’s totally normal. Don’t you also need to know the avian population? No worry; I don’t keep count from one counting to the next and add them up. That would be CUCKOO, and compulsive. Repeating the same set of words in my head is recurrent, it isn’t compulsive, unless I don’t have a pen and paper readily available, or until I turn the oven off…turn the oven off…turn the oven off….

“STOP!” I say out loud, only to hear myself repeating the same stale words moments later. It’s like dictating a Western Union telegram—Stop (period). No such luck! It’s really aggravating.

To get to my point, research has shown that our thoughts (able-bodied and disabled alike), positive and negative, affect our emotions and physiology. Long before this type of research was accepted, James Allen wrote As A Man Thinketh. The following are food-for-thought quotes from his contemplative writing:

“The body is the servant of the mind. It obeys the operations of the mind….”

“Disease and health, like circumstances, are rooted in thought. Thoughts of fear have been known to kill a man as speedily as a bullet….Anxiety quickly demoralizes the whole body, and lays it open to the entrance of disease; while impure thoughts, even if not physically indulged, will sooner shatter the nervous system.”

“Strong, pure, and happy thoughts build up the body in vigor and grace.”

“If you would perfect your body, guard your mind. If you would renew your body, beautify your mind. Thoughts of malice, envy, disappointment, and despondency, rob the body of its health and grace. A sour face does not come by chance; it is made by sour thoughts. Wrinkles that mar are drawn by folly, passion, pride.”

“There is no physician like cheerful thought for dissipating the ills of the body; there is no comforter to compare with goodwill for dispersing the shadows of grief and sorrow.”

And, along those lines—A REMEDY: When you find yourself feeling depressed and sorry for yourself, do something kind, thoughtful, and generous for someone else; not just once, often. He’s not heavy; he’s your brother. Your heaviness will be lightened, as well. I have always found this to be true.

Living With a Disability-WITH A HOPE

According to me, one of the misfortunes of living with a disability is the loss of spontaneity. I miss impromptu trysts with friends for a midday coffee, catching a matinee at the last minute, foot-scorching sands on the beach, beach towel sunbathing, walking barefoot in the rain…but, living with a disability can not diminish beholding beauty.

Recently, I felt overindulged at a friend’s “throw her own” birthday party. She invited an estimated seventy friends for a special luncheon at her country club. (For you guys, if you’re not into flowers, envision the panoramic view through the floor-to-ceiling windows of the 18-hole, 6,702 yards of rambling golf course. Now, fantasize about your par 71 score. Check back in for the last three paragraphs.) The speaker was Dorothy McDaniels of Dorothy McDaniel’s Flower Market fame in Homewood, Alabama. (She has even made arrangements for Margaret Thatcher!) She demonstrated techniques of a dozen different floral arrangements using red roses and green roses (I didn’t know that there were green roses.), green hydrangeas, purple irises, hot pink lilies, yellow this and thats, and white everythings; I love the purity and simplicity of white.

My rose after a two day bloom

 

The table settings were breathtaking. At each place setting was a single rose tied with bows of purple organza and spring green satin. Every rose was a different type and a different color.

 

The centerpieces were low and glorious with light and hot pinks, purples and periwinkles, orange, yellow, and green. See!

A floral rainbow

 

The meal was as colorful and tasty: Spring greens salad sprinkled with sliced strawberries, wild mushroom crepes with Béchamel (a rich, creamy white sauce) over a rice pilaf, and rainbow sherbet with a Pirouette (rolled cookie) served in a long stem wine glass. Yum!

Outings have been rare lately, although I’ll be out promoting my book, Views From My Chariot: A Wheelchair Oddity, in the upcoming months! August 23-26, I’ll be in Chicago for the fall National Rehabilitation Conference peddling my book. Look me up if you’re there.

Although, I believe this is my temporary home (like Carrie Underwood’s song), I travel daily, making the best of living with a disability. Each room in my home is decorated with a different country’s influence. My wardrobe is ethnically chosen, and two of my three cats are Persian and Russian.

A language barrier you wonder? No problem! The language in my home is love—the universal language!

When I “relocate,” I look forward to traveling this universe beholding its breathtaking beauty. I’ll be whole and healed, enjoying unsurpassed spontaneity. That will be something.