Saturday, March 28, 2009

Advantages to CP

In my opinion, having Cerebral Palsy has many advantages. Here are some advantages that I have or will experience(d):

1. I can get paid for participating in medical studies.
2. Even though I don't, I have permission to use the elevator at school.
3. I am the only one in my graduating class with Cerebral Palsy.
4. I can get one of those blue parking passes.
5. I am not old, but I have already had Botox.
6. I have an excuse to take Pilates Classes.
7. Some of the most influential people in my life have to do with my Cerebral Palsy (my therapist, my Pilates teacher, and my adapted P.E. teacher).
8. When I write poetry, I automatically have something to write about.
9. Playing the cello is not only fun, it's also theraputic!
10. I understand all the jokes made by Josh Blue.

I want to know...

Do you have a list of ten great things about having Cerebral Palsy?

Tonight is Earth Hour!

All you have to do is turn off your lights from 8:30-9:30 PM tonight Saturday, March 28, 2009. Why? Well, this is an election between the earth and global warming. By turning off your lights this apparently shows that you are voting for the earth. Whereas by keeping your lights on, you are supporting Global Warming. The results of the election will be counted at the Global Climate Change Conference 2009 in Copenhagen. To have your vote counted and your voice heard, be sure to REGISTER (it took me no time at all). I think this sounds like a great idea for both the earth and your family! I'm thinking of board games by candlelight! Also, if you want something interesting to read about Earth Hour try an article titled "Great Pyramids of Giza to Switch off for Earth Hour"

I hope you are all having a great Saturday!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

"Teachable Moments"

When I heard about President Obama's inappropriate comment comparing his bowling skills to the special olympics I was very upset. This newly elected President who I have admired and cheered for over the last months insulted something that is related to a major part of my life. President Obama who is, in my opinion, a believer of hope and equality has contradicted his own ideals, which were spoken in his hundreds of speeches given throughout the campaign season. In my opinion Obama slipped up BIG TIME! Nevertheless, I am still an avid admirer and supporter of him. I also believe that everyone makes mistakes that cause a lot of harm to certain groups of people and, yes, this is wrong, but the truth is that we do not live in a perfect world. Instead I think we should take this comment and turn into something good and productive, a time to realize that everybody has their differences and that the world is an amazing place because of these differences. Also, that everybody's differences, whether external or internal, should be respected by all. In the words of Special Olympics Chairman Timothy Shriver, "This kind of language needs to be a teachable moment, I think, for our country." So, I think, in my opinion
we can all use President Obama's comment as a "teachable moment" whether its for ourselves or for another. On this issue I found this video of Good morning America's interview with Tim Shriver to be quite, to use his word, "affirming." Finally, this letter to Obama, written by Sarah from Class of 2008 (found at To the Max) is great and puts an uplifting perspective on this issue.

In other news..

Also, I want to wish you all a happy 2nd day of Spring! I am so excited for Spring I can hardly stand it! Oh, and just in case you missed it, yesterday was World Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day. Don't worry, if you forgot or didn't know, I was informed by email a day ahead. Thank goodness for Facebook and its Cerebral Palsy awareness groups!

Feel free to share your thoughts...
What are your perspectives, opinions, or thoughts on President Obama's comment?
Are you all as excited for Spring as I am?
Did you do anything special for CP Awareness Day?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Many Thanks

Many thanks to Angela and Sandy for their willingness to be guest contributers! I found Angela's personal description of being a "Hollander" very touching and Sandy's post that connected having Cerebral Palsy to the recent election extremely thought provoking.

If anyone would like to follow in their footsteps and become a guest contributer please feel free to email me at I would love to hear from you!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Believe In Hopes and Your Dreams!

November 4, 2008--Election Day! Glued to CNN, I watched, with my husband, the results come in as many of you did. As the evening went on, I became more confident of my decision 18 months ago to support Barak Obama as my new President!

He Won! I cried! I fought back tears as he gave his Victory speech (although it was more a speech of Gratitude and an invitation for us all to unite as Americans to bring about change). I fought back tears to see the genuine hope in people's eyes as Obama talked of the future. He talked of working together to bring America back to being a strong and caring Nation, giving its citizens the power and the responsibility to help make that happen.

Where am I going with this, you might be thinking. I guess I want to talk about visualization. My visualizing that Obama would become our next President is similar to visualization of my own life. If you are readers of this blog, I have Cerebral Palsy. I have strived to overcome the barriers, misconceptions and the attitudes of the times!

Time has been good to me. Born in the late 40's, my folks were told I'd be a vegetable who would never sit up. Soon my parents realized this as not so an began to work with me. As far back as I can remember, I visualized success in whatever I wanted to do. That's the true blessing of going through childhood. One can dream and act out their future with no limitations.

I saw myself as attending high school, college, being employed and being married. I'm happy to say that I've accomplished each goal! Was it easy, no! Those limitations that a kid never sees; well they started appearing However, my desire and determination outweighed the negative feedback from those who only saw my wheelchair and heard my distorted speech.

After reaching my goals, I began searching for future chapters in my life. After college I got hired as a teacher's assistant, teaching students with disabilities. I then worked for the Metropolitan Center for Independent Living as Transition Coordinator, helping students with disabilities make the transition from High School and home to independent living in the "real" world.

Still relatively young, but burned out from fighting and advocating for the rights of people with disabilities, my husband and I moved out of the big City to a life in the country. I love it! To keep active I joined the Lions and the snowmobile Club. This baby, born to be a vegetable was living her life!

I wanted to do more, to give back! Then I found this neat tool on the internet. It allowed me to send beautiful cards via my computer! I had reached a new level of independence. Learning more about the effects of sending heartfelt greeting in minutes, prompted by a thought, I found a way to give back and help others reach their dreams. has given me a future!

It is our inner self that makes us who we are. Obama found his inner self. He now wants to help each one of us to find that strength and belief that we can accomplish our goals and desires.

With the Election over, a real hope for the future ahead, we can now focus on a way to make a difference ~ Change a life!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

More Perspective

As Angela said, my hope is that all fellow "Hollanders" enjoy running through the beautiful red poppies.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Special Momma Guest Post

We arrived in Holland 6 years and 1 day ago.  My pregnancy was normal -- we were blissfully unaware of what was coming.  Like other parents we exptected our baby to arrive healthy and to be able to bring him home a few days after he was born.  That wasn't the case.  Suddenly, like a scene from some medical drama on TV our lives changed forever.  Our son Jack Riley was born at 25 weeks gestation and almost didn't survive.  Almost.  He was a fighter from day one.  We were thrown into life in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for 3 long months where Jack endured many medical treatments and surgeries.  There were times we didn't know if he would make it.

Jack came home from the hospital and never looked back.  He grew stronger and reached milestones we didn't know if he would ever achieve.  He was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy at 2 years of age.  We read and researched and learned everything we could.

Nothing prepares parents for having a disabled child.  Reaching out to other moms and dads helped so much.  Joining online support groups, reading blogs and connecting with local resources (like early intervention) helped us realize that "Holland" wasn't so bad.  In fact, Holland is a place where we celebrate the "inchstones" instead of reaching for milestones.  And you better believe when one of those far off milestones is reached there's a party....there are cheers and heart felt congratulations from those that truly get it!

Living in Holland with my family has truly been a blessing.  I wouldn't change a thing.  Jack wouldn't be the awesome kid he is today.  Of course I would take away the pain and hope our children never have to go through another procedure or surgery but I wouldn't take away their spirits.

I did not move to Holland by choice.  There are days when it's tough living here.  Really tough!  But the beauty of this place is amazing.  We're here and we're not leaving any time soon!  To my fellow "Hollanders" -- i am grateful for your friendship and support.  I love celebrating your children and sharing this life together.  Thank you for being a part of mine.

Angela Wilhelm

Jack is a former 25 week preemie who just turned 6 years old yesterday!  You can see Jack's progress through the years at our blog.  Thank you for reading!