Cerebral Palsy

The Thing About CP

For those of you who don’t know, cerebral palsy is a neurological disorder that affects movement and posture. For some, affects can be severe, but for others, it’s more mild. I’m blessed to be on the more mild end of the spectrum; for me, it affects the way I get around. I’ve used a walker and worn calf-high braces since I was little, and weekly physical therapy is routine.

I try to have the perspective that my disability is a way for me to inspire others and impact lives; it’s a platform the Lord has given me to spread His Light and Love. While that is the way I look at it, there are days when I lose perspective and end up crying, because the frustration has become too much. Like when I see my dad get ready to run, and wish I could go with him but can’t. Or when I wake up, and taking a step sends throbbing pain through my feet. Or on the days when I’m so tight, I feel like I can barely move.

But here’s the thing about CP. It is an it. It’s a thing; it’s not me. It doesn’t define me or who I am, and it may affect the way I get around, but it will not affect the way I live my life. I want to be known for lighting up a room; I want to be the reason someone’s day is brighter. I want to inspire others and make an impact, and be known for that. Not my disability.

So here’s the thing: I may have cerebral palsy, but cerebral palsy does not have me.

Florida Gators · Sports

The Year in Florida Sports (So Far)

Moments ago, Florida’s baseball team advanced to the championship series of the College World Series with a win over TCU. I thought I’d take the moment to not only highlight the boys’ accomplishment, but the accomplishments of Florida sports so far this year. So far in 2017, Florida has:

  • Defeated Iowa in the Outback Bowl 30-3
  • Advanced to the Elite Eight in basketball
  • Captured our third straight regular season SEC title in softball
  • Been crowned SEC Champs in baseball
  • Won the national title in women’s tennis
  • Won the national championship in men’s track and field
  • Advanced to the championship series in the Women’s College World Series
  • Advanced to the championship series in the College World Series

In addition, here are a few staggering statistics, via Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin:

  • UF has won 38 national championships
  • We have won a national championship in each of the previous nine academic years
  • This year, 13 Gator sports teams finished ranked in the top ten in the country, with ten teams finishing ranked in the top five

As the saying goes, it’s always great to be a Florida Gator.

What has been your favorite moment in sports so far this year? No, it doesn’t have to be Florida related. ūüôā

Florida Gators · Cerebral Palsy · Faith

ūüźäHeading Down to Gainesvilleūüźä

“Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have, I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.”
Acts 3:6

I read this verse earlier in the week, and it made me think of the last time I visited the Ville (as freshman quarterback Jake Allen refers to it). I thought I’d share this story since I’m on my way to Gainesville now!

 We’d come to town for a basketball game. On the day we left to go back home, I’d waited downstairs in the hotel dining area while my family went up to get our luggage. I’d been absentmindedly watching the news when I noticed a young man cleaning the table beside me. His name, I learned a moment later, was Cory. I said hello, and we got to talking. When I saw him glance at my walker, which sat right beside me, I explained about my cerebral palsy. He listened, and then asked if he could pray for me. I told him yes, thinking he meant he’d pray for me in private. To my surprise, he came over, and, after making sure it was alright, laid his hands on my leg braces and began to pray. He prayed for His healing, and for Him to help me walk on my own. I was touched by his kindness and I loved how open he was about his faith. His prayer made my day, and the thing was, my legs actually felt stronger once he finished. It reminded me just how strong our Lord is. It’s amazing what happens when someone professes their faith so openly, and goes out of his way to be kind to someone else.

Have you ever had someone ask to pray for you in public?


Will Grier

Earlier in the week, West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen announced that starting quarterback Will Grier will be eligible to play after serving an NCAA suspension for violating their PED policy.

In 2015, Grier was suspended for after leading the Gators to a 6-0 start. He had violated the NCAA’s PED policy, and as a result, he was suspended for not only the rest of the 2015 season, but for all of the 2016 season as well. Not surprising many, at the end of the season, Grier announced he would transfer from UF.

He landed in the PAC-12 and is now a West Virginia Mountaineer.  In a recent interview with Bleacher Report, Grier said he felt an almost immediate connection with Holgerson, and committed to West Virginia after Holgerson told him, “Don’t worry about anything. We’re going to stick with you no matter what, even if you can’t play the first six games of 2017. We want you.” Now, it’s known that Grier will get to play at the beginning of this season, and ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt is convinced he will win the Heisman.

My Thoughts on Grier

If you read my blog on a regular basis, you know I’m a die-hard Gator fan. And, like the rest of Gator Nation, I was shocked to learn of Grier’s suspension. However, unlike many Florida fans I know, I view the incident as a mistake made by a twenty-year old kid. Should he have checked with the trainer before he took the drug? Absolutely. But here’s the thing: He’s still growing up. He’s still learning. I believe the PED situation was something he learned from, and I think he’s going to take the college football world by storm at the beginning of the season, much like he did at UF. I’m excited to see what he’ll do, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Scott Van Pelt’s prediction ends up being right.

What are your thoughts on Will Grier?

My Writing

If I Could Be With You: A Poem

If I could be with you nowI’d wrap my arms around you and hold you

I’d hold you close,

I’d hold you tight

I’d hold you until the pain faded,

I’d hold you until you no longer felt vulnerable,

Or embarrassed

Or humiliated

I would whisper to you that they are wrong

And that their words do not deserve space in your beautiful mind

Don’t let them break your beautiful heart

No, no

Please don’t let them in
If I could be with you now

I’d wrap my arms around you and hold you

I would hold you until you no longer hurt

Or burned

Or felt alone

My darling, you are not alone

You are not

I’m right here with you, and let me tell you something

I love you

I love you so much

I love you more than words can say

So let me hold you

Let me hold you until the pain goes away

Summer Reading

My Personal Cannon

A few weeks ago, Stephanie posted her at Adventures of a Bibliophile¬†posted her¬†personal cannon¬†of books which have impacted her throughout her life, and invited readers to do the same. Stephanie, I’m so sorry I took so long to do this! Here is my personal cannon:

  1. The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner

This was the series that got me into reading. I was in second grade, and at the time, I couldn’t¬†stand¬†reading, and so I read Clifford books at school just to be able to tell my parents I was reading something. Well, they soon found out what I was doing, and asked the librarian to make sure I only checked out books that were at my reading level. I had no idea what to read- until my physical therapist suggested The Boxcar Children. I immediately fell in love with Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny Alden, and thus my love affair with reading began. I read every book in this series that I could get my hands on, and got to the point to where I could read two in a day.

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2. The Trixie Belden series by Kathryn Kenny

Another mystery series. These books are about thirteen-year-old Trixie Belden, who calls small town Sleepyside, New York home. When Honey Wheeler moves in to the mansion next door, the two become fast friends, and this series chronicles their adventures and the mysteries they solve along the way. I loved the elements of family and friendship that are present throughout the novels, and some of the first stories I wrote were about Trixie and her friends. I would create a new adventure for them, throw myself in as a character (because why not?), and let my imagination run wild. That helped foster my love of writing as well, and for that, those books will always hold a special place in my heart.

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3. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

What girl doesn’t love¬†Little Women?¬†My grandmother bought a condensed version of the book for me when I was in fifth grade, and upon devouring it, I fell in love and had to know the rest of the story. I loved the dynamics between the characters, and I liked how different each girl was. I found a film adaptation on Netflix not long after I read it, and I must have watched it at least twenty times.

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4. The Truth About Forever and Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen

Yes, I know technically I listed two books, but I love them both equally and I couldn’t decide which one to choose, so I put both. I was introduced to Sarah Dessen the summer after sixth grade, when my literature teacher gave me a basket of books from her bookshelf and told me to read whichever ones I wanted and bring them back to her at the beginning of the next school year.¬†Lock and Key¬†was the first Dessen book I read, and I went on to read all of her books after that. At the time I read each of the two books above, I felt a connection with their main characters that I’d never felt before. Dessen made me feel understood and as if I wasn’t alone, and I knew I wanted to craft stories that did the same thing for other girls. I want to write books which make readers laugh, cry, smile, feel comforted, and know that they’re not the only ones who have gone through what they’re going through. Dessen played a major role in helping me figure out who I want to be as an author, and I hope one day I can meet her and thank her for that.

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5. Dear John by Nicholas Sparks

Another gift from my grandmother. She gave it to me when I spent the night at her house and had forgotten to bring a book, and I loved it,¬†although the ending drives me crazy. I recently reread it, and I’ll put a review up soon!

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6. Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick (and every Becca Fitzpatrick novel)

A friend recommended this series to me, and I knew it was good if she was recommending it, because she is not a reader. I was hooked by page two. Not only does it have realistic dialogue and a plot that unfurls at breakneck speed, but I’ve never read a book that combines fantasy, romance, and thriller in a way that seems effortless. Becca Fitzpatrick is¬†brilliant, and I loved the Hush, Hush saga so much that I bought her two latest books without knowing anything about them. It was not a bad decision.¬†Black Ice¬†and¬†Dangerous Lies¬†were just as incredible as the Hush, Hush saga was. I highly recommend all of her books!

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7. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

I had to read this for AP Language last year, and it was one of my favorite books that we read all year. It’s a nonfiction novel about the murders of the Clutter family in 1959 Holcomb, Kansas. I loved Capote’s style- he painted a picture in your head and somehow had you rooting for the two killers despite the fact that they killed four people in cold blood (I had to). Fun fact: Harper Lee assisted him with the research for the novel.

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8. Shaken by Tim Tebow

Totally¬†opposite end of the spectrum from¬†In Cold Blood,¬†but it’s one of my favorite books. It’s special to me because Timmy- Yes, I know him and yes, I call him Timmy- shared my story in Chapter 7, and it features stories of friends of mine that I love dearly. There were pieces of the book where I could hear him reading it to me- that’s how authentic his voice is. I couldn’t be more honored that he chose to write about my W15H and about the time we’ve spent together, and I couldn’t be more proud of the success the book has had. It’s a great read, one that will make you laugh, cry, and realize that you, too can make a difference in the lives of others.

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That’s my personal cannon! Stephanie, thank you so much for the post inspiration! Now, I have a question:¬†What books make up yours?

My Writing · thoughts

Friday’s WordPress Daily Prompt: Create

Earlier I posted yesterday’s Daily Prompt, and now I’m posting Friday’s. Better late than never, right? Friday’s daily prompt was Create, and I had to post about it because nothing makes me happier than creating something new.

One of the things most I love about creativity is that it can be taken in so many ways. Some people create breathtaking works of art, others are creative with their fashion, and then there are those who create through music. I’m most creative when I have a pen in my hand and a blank piece of paper in front of me.

I’ve always loved to write. That love first blossomed when I was in first grade, and my teacher would give us morning assignments to write stories. I loved them, and I soon figured out that with a pen in my hand, anything was possible.

I’ll never forget the first story I wrote. It was about a friendship between two horses. I still remember how excited I was that it was more than a page long, and I still remember that I wrote it in an Ariel notebook with an erasable pen. Even then I wound pieces of my own life into my writing: the horses were named after two of my friends. 

Now, eleven years later, much is still the same about the way I write. Writing still brings me a joy that nothing else does, and I’m still in love with the freedom I have when I’m sitting in front of a blank page. I love that when I write, I can do anything, I can be anything, and I can do anything. I can say what I wish I had the courage to say in person, or I can do something I’ve always dreamed of doing- I can walk, I can run, I can dance. When I write, my cerebral palsy isn’t an obstacle. With a pen in my hand, I can beat it. I can overcome the challenges I face every day; I can win the battle I fight with it. When I write, anything is possible.

My dream now is the same thing it was when I was six years old: become a published author. Though I still have a ways to go,  I’m a little closer now than I was then. Now, I’ve got an idea that I believe can actually be published, and it’s in the process of being written. And God has put people in my life that can help me accomplish that dream. I’m so grateful for their wisdom and help- because of them, in a better writer. Since then, I’ve actually been in a bestselling book- Tim Tebow shared my story in his latest book Shaken. He gave me a glimpse into the publishing process, and he showed me that if you trust God and work hard, no dream is impossible.
How do you like to be creative?

Faith · My Writing

Daily Prompt: Blossom

I know this is a day late, but I wanted to respond to yesterday’s daily prompt:

Blossoming is growing,

It’s coming alive

It’s opening your wings,

And learning to fly

It’s following your heart

And being unafraid to let yourself fall apart
Remember this:

It’s okay to hurt,

It’s okay to burn

Because walking through the storm of pain

Will make you become clean again

It will make you stronger,

It will give you wisdom

It will make you see the world with new eyes,

And I hope

You’ll realize how beautiful you are
Because, my love,

You are beautiful

You are special

You are important

You have the ability

To do whatever you wish to do

You never know just how our Lord will use you
Remember this:

You are beautiful

You are special

You are more than enough

And you, my dear,

You are loved

You are loved more than you know

By your friends,

Your family,

And the one who created this beautiful Earth

He loves you

He cares so much for you

He loves you,

And you are His

Image via Google
via Daily Prompt: Blossom