Satisfied-In Spite of Disability-Still

Okay. I’m feeling proud and want to toot my own horn. It’s been over a year since I began my blog/website dedicated to SCI, one of the most fulfilling of my adventures, and surprisingly cathartic.

I scrolled down memory lane of that novice writer and after reading the first few posts thought, “Darn, that was good!” So today, I’m reposting my first article from April 22, 2012, in case you missed it.

There are a myriad of things from which we can find peace and satisfaction. Living with a disability, illness, or disease does not prevent us from experiencing joy and happiness either. The heart attitude of ingratitude does that. One of the most important ways in finding peace AND satisfaction is assuring that our friends and loved ones know we love and appreciate them. I know mine do because I show them by how I treat them, and because I tell them every day.

I believe Jewel’s song, “Satisfied,” reveals an anointed insight into our heart’s deepest desire—to love and to be loved, despite its redemptive value. “Satisfied” encourages us to not be timid, afraid of, or hold back words of love, especially important for us with disabilities (we’re physically limited in the many other ways of demonstrating affection). She expresses that the sorrow of regret is worse than any fear of rejection. (“Google” it and give it a listen.)

Growing up, I don’t remember my parents ever telling me that they loved me. It wasn’t until my late twenties or early thirties that I began telling them that I loved them. (I was a late bloomer in learning to express my emotions.) Talk about awkward—very for me, but more so for them.

My intent was to make sure they knew I loved them, not to change their behavior; nor to hear them tell me. Although they did in time, in the beginning there were nervous laughs, bowed head “uh-hums,” and “Okay, then…” at our good-byes.

I could have lived my life without the expression of those three words, by me or from my parents. And, in a futile attempt to justify myself, I could have pointed my finger at them to divert attention away from my failing. But because of my disability, my eyes were opened to see the need in myself, my heart received a blessing.

How often are we found guilty of putting our best foot forward for mere acquaintances, church members, fellow employees, and our bosses, but are rude, inconsiderate, and disrespectful to members of our own families? Through my disability, I have realized how much I need others, especially my family. If I don’t tell them today how very special they are to me, I may not have another chance. I don’t want to live with that regret.

Every one of us drew the short straw for, at least, one admirable character quality. If you are clueless as to what one of your shortcomings might be, but truly want to be a better you, try this: Ask your closest friend to help. First, to tell you what quality they love the most about you; second, the most annoying. You will be blessed hearing what endears you to them and, in time, you will be a blessing to them by changing that character flaw.

Don’t expect yourself, or anyone else who may join in on this satisfaction search, to instantly change by just a twitch of the nose. Baby steps are slow, and there will be fall downs.

Get a good brush.

It’s Summertime Summertime Sum-sum-summertime

This is one of my “Off the Wall” posts, and my August newsletter, “Chariot Notes” theme. There’s no SCI lesson. It’s just to make you smile.

Have you already summered at a crowded theme park, a quaint lakeside, a romantic seashore, relaxing beach, or have plans to do so? Either way, I associate summer with song, and friends and family. Whether at the annual Fourth of July family reunion, or grilling amidst competitive backyard activities of horseshoes, basketball, and badminton, relishing nature by fishing, camping, and nature walks, or just lazily luxuriating somewhere, it’s always under the sun.

pool n beach ball

In my youth, convertibles, ‎‎beach towel sunbathing on foot-scorching sands, swimming in Gulf Coast ocean waters, or lounge chair sunbathing at a friend’s over-chlorinated pool was the ultimate summer activity; but ALWAYS accompanied by music and dancing! (For mental vacations to waylay stress, check in here:…elchair-needed/  Yep! IT’S SUMMERTIME!

For you of my generation, these words will roll off your tongue. For you young whippersnappers, go take a listen to what you missed. WARNING: possible earworm infestation.

Here are the first few lines of three of my favorite ‘oldies,’ along with the links to their audio enjoyment.

I’ll begin with my favorite favorite: The Lovin Spoonful-1980’s “Summer in the City.” These are from the original lyrics, instead of its more common misheard lyrics (which I was also quilty of mishearing), “Hot town, summer in the city, back of my neck getting dirty and gritty. Been down, isn’t it a pity, doesn’t seem to be a shadow in the city. All around, people looking half dead walking on the sidewalk, hotter than a match head…” The Lovin’ Spoonful – Summer in the City – YouTube – 153k –

This one is my second favorite: Nat King Cole’s 1961 hit, “Those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer.” “Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer, those days of soda, and pretzels, and beer. Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer. You’ll wish that summer could always be here…” Nat King Cole-Those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer – YouTube – 247k –

You’ll get a kick out of this oldie. Oh, for the simplicity of yesteryear! It’s the Jamies’ 1958 single, “Summertime.” “It’s summertime, summertime, sum-sum-summertime, summertime, summertime, sum-sum-summertime, summertime, summertime, sum-sum-summertime, su-um-mer-ti-i-ime…” The Jamies – Summertime, Summertime – YouTube – 145k –

OR here’s a present day ‘summer song’, “Summertime,” by Kenny Chesney Kenny Chesney – Summertime – YouTube – 168k –

What’s your favorite memory or summertime activity?

BONUS: Summertime recipe

For a healthy summer evening cool down, enjoy one cup of lycopene-rich chilled watermelon for 46 calories, or two cups for under 100 calories.

OR, for a cool 100 calorie zinger, cut a cupful of watermelon into one-inch cubes, freeze, then drop into the blender with a shot of Vodka. (It’s also a mosquito repellant…sort of. Although they’ll be attracted to the sugar in your blood, you’ll be distracted by the sugar in your blood.)

P.S. Both my books have fun food fandango sections! Hint. Hint. Go HERE Views From My Chariot  HOW TO BE THE BEST YOU




Ecological Footprint from a Wheelchair

Who we are has nothing to do with our mode of transportation (wheelchair, Volkswagen or Rolls Royce), designer clothes, profession, or annual income; but everything to do with our passion and positive contribution to the world.

One of my passions is nature and our earth’s preservation. They not only allow me the rapture of their beauty, but life-sustaining food and oxygen. Directly and indirectly, their quality is up to us.

As for my ecological footprint, I’m considered fanatical by some. Before I was sixteen, I remember turning the water off while brushing my teeth and washing my face or hands. It seemed such an unconscionable waste. Even now I wash both in cold water, and when waiting for the water to warm up for hand-washing dishes, I collect the cold in a watering container to bathe my flowers in-between showers. FYI: Rolling from a wheelchair requires no more from nature than walking. It’s not our physical capabilities or disabilities that determineapathy–lack of consciousness and appreciation–for life sustaining earth that . Are you?

I use only natural cleaning products and no chemicals on my yard or gardens. I have w-a-y too much wildlife to risk their health, although I do have pest control spray around my windows and doors every other month. Occasionally even then, during extended rainy seasons, industrious ants find their way inside.

My cat litter, WBCL (World’s Best Cat Litter), is recyclable, made from corn. What gets scooped, I scatter in my wood as fertilizer. The trees clap their branches and whisper their thanks.

Another reason trees thank me: I don’t buy paper towels, paper napkins, or paper products. I recycle paper bags as gift wrapping, as I do other’s gift wrappings to me. Although I use a set of washable, environmentally friendly bags for grocery shopping, when I run low on my large paper bags to contain my recyclable “mixed papers”, I request paper bags at my grocer.

I do not use plastic baggies, plastic utensils or plastic containers. I DO break a lot of my glass containers, but they’re recyclable!

Concerning carbon dioxide emissions, I plan errands around my (or my helper’s) location in town. Whatever I need (or think I need) from across town takes second fiddle—it waits. Fortunately, I live in a small town where everything lies in close proximity.

Within two-and-a-half miles of my home are my bank, dentist, doctor, gas station (Shell’s American gas, not exported; although gas mileage isn’t an issue. My office is only nineteen push wheels from my kitchen.), grocery, hospital, farmer’s market (locally grown), favorite fast food, favorite restaurant, and health food store (all three organic), office supply store where I purchase recycled paper and recycle it, recycling drop-off, and veterinarian. The cherry on top is: my hair stylist is within shouting distance—directly across the street!

As for methane, I own no cattle or swamps.

As for chlorofluorocarbons, out of necessity I do use one aerosol for the occasional lube job—to keep my wheelchair from locking up.

Yes, you could say that I live in a bubble. But, it allows me to breathe deeply, and guilt-free.

FYI: Rolling through life from a wheelchair requires no more from nature than walking. It’s not our physical capabilities or disabilities that determine the size of our “footprint.” It’s a mental disability of apathy (or honest ignorance): lack of consciousness and appreciation for our life-sustaining earth and her homies. Please educate yourself.

As Oprah quotes Maya Angelo, “When you know better, you do better.”

Might you consider changing one of your indulgencies, for the world’s sake?