Wednesday, May 22, 2013

More Determined Than Ever

I don't get this fired up too often, but boy am I smokin'!  Smokin' angry!! I hate the Law School Admission Council.  Yes, hate is a strong word, but it is exactly the word I want to use.  They make no sense.  First, they deny my request for accommodations.  Then they deny the appeal.  Then they deny the disability attorney's appeal.  Why?  Because my GPA is too high!  Just ignore my physical disability completely!  And, while you're at it, downplay my learning disabilities.  Just focus on my GPA.  Focus on the number that was achieved over the course of four years without time constraints.  Yeah, that's a good idea, LSAC.  I'm not in law school yet, but that seems like a pretty fallacious argument to me.  It has nothing to do with anything.  But, you LSAC, seem to think it is valid. Well, guess what!  It's not.  And, you are violating the American Disabilities Act.  And, Department of Justice is going after you for this.  I applaud them - and am tagged onto the case.

You think you are keeping me out of law school, but you don't know me.  You just make me want to work harder.  You make me want to be there even more than I did before.  You've lit a fire that just may push me into disability law.  I WILL get into law school.  I don't know how.  I don't know when.  But I WILL do it.  And, I will fight for justice.

You can knock me down, but you can't knock me out without one heck of a fight!!  The fat lady may be warming up, but she hasn't sung her song.  She's not going to sing.

This devotional showed up in my email this morning, the morning after the ridiculous news:
You see, it’s when we are taking on the tasks that He has called us to do that others, namely the Enemy, will work against us.  And just when our task is about complete, just when we can see the fruits of our labor at hand, they’ll try to distract us.  They’ll threaten us.  They’ll discredit us.
“I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down.”  (Nehemiah 6:3)

Take that, LSAC!  As a dean of one of the law schools told me today, "Stay mad. It is the most motivating factor right now.  Stay hungry." 

Thanks for the fire, LSAC.  You think you've won.  Sorry, you are wrong.  I may need a miracle.  I may need someone to just "do the right thing".  I may need to win the lottery.  But I will resolve this.  And, in the end....

I will win.

Monday, May 20, 2013

30 Day Blog Challenge

I was perusing my blog friend, Katie's blog  and noticed that she had done a 30 day blog challenge.  I have never fully participated in one before, but thought it would be fun.  I emailed Katie to see if she would like to participate again.  She had originally done it with her friend, Rebecca.  Katie graciously agreed.  We're going to start on June 1 and go until June 30.  Katie is also going to try to figure out the link up thing so anyone who wants to can participate and we can make new blog friends.  That's the most fun thing about the blog world!  You wear your heart on your sleeve, but you make new friends along the way!

Let's be honest.  I have never blogged for 30 days straight.  I probably never will even though blogging is one of my favorite things to do.  With the LSAT coming up again on 10 June (YUCK!), I am definitely working ahead on some of them and will schedule the posts.  If you want to join in on the fun, we'd love to have you!

Here's what I will be answering:  (In the original English spellings courtesy of Rebecca's blog)
1) Your favourite song.
2) The meaning behind your blog name.
3) Your favourite television programme.
4) Favourite book.
5) Favourite quote and why.
6) List 20 of your favourite things.
7) Favourite films.
8) Talk about a great place you have travelled to.
9) Share a photo of your friends.
10) Share something your afraid of.
11) A recent photo you took.
12) What do you believe?
13) Your life goals.
14) A picture you love.
15) Your dream house.
16) Share something your OCD about.
17) What are you really looking forward to?
18) Your wedding/future wedding/wedding you have attended.
19) What do you miss?
20) Nicknames you have.
21) Favourite food.
22) A website you enjoy looking at or care deeply about.
23) A video you have made or enjoy watching.
24) The town you live in.
25) Put your i-pod/i-tunes on shuffle what are the first ten songs?
26) Plans for the weekend ahead.
27) Your Pets.
28) What's in your handbag?
29) Favourite show or concert you have been to.
30) What do you love about life right now?

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

" Random" Acts of Comfort And My Earth Angel

After Dude died, I received many, many expressions of sympathy.  Many of the messages came from people I went to college with but hadn't spoken to since we graduated nine years ago.  I dubbed these "random" acts of comfort because they came from kind people who were not our close friends and family. I so appreciated them taking time to express their condolences and share stories of their interactions with Dude, and in some cases, the impact he had on their lives.  I don't know how they knew to reach out to me, but was so touched that they did.

One of the "random" acts of comfort came from someone named Mary.  Truth be told, I think I friended Mary on Facebook because I saw one of her wedding photos and thought they were so pretty I wanted to check out more.  C'mon, you know you've done the same thing. You just might not ever publicly admit it.  Mary and I may have had one class together, but our school was small so everyone knew everyone.  She wasn't really friends with me or Dude, but she had definitely had interactions with both of us throughout our four years on campus.  As I sorted through all the condolences, Mary's stood out.  She said that she wanted to share her story with me because she felt she could help me.  Totally grief stricken and heartbroken, I had no idea how I was going to handle the situation I suddenly found myself in.  If someone, anyone, was willing to offer advice, I was willing to listen.  I could use all of the help I could get.  I asked her how she knew to reach out to me.  Her response was that the bond between Dude and I was evident to everyone who came in contact with us.  My response is God sent her to help me.  That's why I call her my Earth Angel.

Mary lost her best friend seven years ago.   She is six years ahead of me in this grief process.  She's been through those dark, hard moments when you just clutch your pillow, lift you head, and realize the pillow case is sopping wet!  She understands the pain.  The confusion.  The utter sense of loss.  She "gets" me. My situation is rather complicated, but Mary's been in my shoes.  Mary has gone from barely surviving to thriving.  God sent Mary to show me that there is hope and a future after suffering such a devastating blow.

She reminds me of the love Dude and I shared.  That, no matter what, that love is a gift that is mine forever.  The memories are treasures that only I will have.  She assures me that I can move forward without having to pretend Dude never existed.  She begs me not to ever make such a sacrifice.  Mary also sends me surprises.  I love surprises.  Dude used to love to surprise me.  Look what just came in the mail!

That's dark chocolate.  I told you she was an angel!  Accompanying the chocolate was the perfect message:
life is an ocean you must swim across with salt in your eyes and big waves to cross; there are storms and sharks and sunburn to face, but despite the current, you must keep your pace; weak and tired when you reach the beach, yet strength and wisdom the waves of life teach.
One of the most difficult things about grief is no matter how hard I work to get through the pain, I cannot bring Dude back.  But, I sure am glad I have Mary to join me on this difficult road.  She knows it's not easy, but a little dark chocolate makes it more bearable.

A "random" act of comfort led me to my Earth Angel.  So thankful. 


Saturday, May 11, 2013

Something New

Notice something different....

My blog got a new look!  My friend, Kathryn, did a phenomenal job on my blog when I first set it up.  Two years later, she has a beautiful baby girl named Charlotte, so her attention has been diverted to that little beauty!  Kristen from Whiskey Tango Foxtrot designed it for me.  If you are looking for someone to update your blog, Kristen comes highly recommended!  She was so easy to work with and she worked at record speed!  The two of us communicated back and forth over email for maybe 2 hours and the end product totally exceeded my expectations!

Sparkle!  Hot Pink!  Stars!  It's totally me!

Lately, people have been commenting that I "look good".  I'm not sure if it is just that I have looked like I've lost my best friend (oh wait!) for so long that a more consistent smile is quite an improvement, or if I really am actually looking good these days.  Either way, I am adjusting better to this "new" life.

My new blog design makes me really happy.  It's fresh!  It's fun!  It makes me feel alive!

Monday, May 6, 2013

It's The Little Things

It is said that in grief, the first year is the hardest.  In some ways, that is true.  Initially, the loss manifests itself like daggers in your heart.  It is so painful you can’t imagine that you will possibly live through this, and quite frankly, you don’t want to because you’d do anything to be with the one you’ve lost.  The pain starts to get less intense and then a birthday comes, the holidays, or the anniversary of the death and you are slammed up against the wall (or more likely, curled in a ball in your bed) with grief once again.  I made it through the first year and breathed a sigh of relief thinking things would get better.  I had bought into the fact that the first year was the hardest and I was over the hump.

There are a few people that actually say the second year is harder than the first and I am starting to think there is some truth to that.  The first year, the pain is intense a whole lot of the time.  You expect yourself to be a mess because it has only been X number of months since the tragedy.  By the time the second year rolls around, you know you will survive the excruciating pain that will, at times, inhabit your heart.  You don’t always erupt into tears at inappropriate times and in inconvenient places.  You don’t even cry everyday anymore. You are able to welcome more joy into life and not feel guilty about laughing and being happy. Smiles come at the memories of the love you shared.

That’s where the second year can get hard.  Grief is like a kick in the pants.  It can motivate you to do wonderful things (more to come on that so very soon, I promise), but it also still has a tendency to knock you flat on your butt – sometimes at the most unexpected times.
One of the most important lessons I have learned over the past year is that it is all about the little things.  That is two fold. The first applies to how you can help someone you love who is grieving.  The little things are magnified so big.  I realize that it can be so hard to know how to help someone who is grieving.  I have been there myself.  Just at a complete loss for what to do.  But, the fact of the matter is, no grand gesture is needed.  A phone call, a text that says “I love you”, a song, a card, a hug, someone just asking how I am doing and really wanting to know the answer, sharing a joke, ice cream, cupcakes, anything to bring a smile makes such a difference.  All of those things you might consider little seem SO VERY BIG.  The important thing to remember is that you can’t make someone who is grieving cry.  The tears are already there.  You may just be giving permission to let them fall, which is often the best gift you can give.  The worst is just leaving the griever alone.  Even though it is probably not true, that can make them feel like they have lost everyone.

This weekend, I had a hard time.  I am not quite sure why.  There was no real reason, but as I mentioned, the second year is surprising.  Amidst the unexpected tears are also little surprises.  Good surprises.  Reminders that life should not be taken for granted and it is the little things that matter the most.

Little things that made me happy this weekend:

-    The Kentucky Derby – I bet on Orb and went to bed Saturday night $135 richer.  Winning!! (Hadn't heard that for awhile, had you?)

-    A friend who helped me clean out my summer and winter clothes.  I had 15 shopping bags full of folded clothes to give away, donate or consign.  That is ridiculous, but my mom makes me keep all of my clothes because “you never know when you might wear them again”, so many of the clothes I have had since high school.  Yikes!

-    Tackling the Type 2 questions on the LSAT.  Now to just nail those Type 4s and logic games.

-    A conversation with Mike’s mom.  This instantly makes me feel better.

-    Rockin’ out at church to some awesome music (Oh Happy Day!) and a message that I needed to hear.  Pray big prayers!  More on that later.

-    A lunch date with my dad

-    Time at my parents house with “the girls” aka our dogs

-    Watermelon and Boom Chick-A Pop.  Have you had Boom Chick-A Pop?  It’s my new addiction love

-    Finding an awesome graphic designer to give my blog a new look.  Stay tuned!

-    A few text messages from some friends.

-    A compliment from my mom

-    Carrie Underwood’s new single, “See you Again”.  I will see you again.  This is not where it ends. I will carry you with me until I see you again.  Sometimes I can feel my heart breaking, but I am strong.  I carry on because I know I will see you again.

I am learning day to day to appreciate the little things.  They mean so much.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

My Life Story in 250 Words

Born 13 weeks early at two pounds and with Cerebral Palsy, my parents were told “put her in a wheelchair and forget about her.  She will never walk or talk.”  Always up for a challenge, I have proven the naysayers wrong.  I walk (tap dance!), it’s hard to get me to stop talking, and I hope to make an unforgettable good impression on all those I meet. 

The hospital is my second home, but I much prefer life outside those sterile walls in Alexandria, VA.  

With an insatiable desire to travel the world, I spend most of my money gallivanting around the globe and visiting those I cherish. 

Attending University of Richmond was the second best decision of my life.  Following Jesus, the first. Both decisions have shaped who I am and how I view life.  My heart was full and then it shattered. Never giving up, I am no stranger to difficulty and press on.  

A daddy’s girl who loves sports, singing, laughing, lounging on the beach with a fruity drink in hand, and chasing after big dreams.  One who dreams of the day I will marry my “teammate” and raise children and a dog – life would be incomplete without a dog.   

I walk with canes, but my disability does not define me. I want most to be defined by the way I love Jesus, people, and my passions.  

Sometimes I feel left behind, but in reality, life is just beginning.

Link up here
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