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, effects 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.

thoughts

If You Have A Dream, Chase It- An Update

Last week, I wrote a post about my dream of helping kids with cancer. Thanks to The Truth 365, that dream has come true.

A few days after I published the post, I got a response from The Truth 365, which, of you didn't catch my first post, is an organization that raises awareness for pediatric cancer and advocates for more funding. The woman who emailed me back was incredibly kind, and she told me that what I could do was write a guest post for their Facebook page and we'd see what kind of response we'd get. I was elated, and immediately went to work writing my post, despite the fact that I'd seen the email after midnight. (People always say you write the best pieces late at night- I'm inclined to agree.)

The post was published the next day, and the response was overwhelming. There were so many kind, thoughtful comments, but the best part was that a mom wrote in to The Truth 365 and said she would love it if I would write to her little girl! I was so excited. I have a card that I'm going to send her, and I hope and pray the Lord will use my words to make her smile and lift her up. She has already inspired and encouraged me so much, and I'm so blessed to be a small part of her courageous battle.

Please keep her in your prayers, and never be afraid to follow your heart and chase your dreams. Amazing things happen when you have the courage to step out in faith and reach towards them.

Here's the link to the guest post I wrote, in case any of you want to read it😊:
https://goo.gl/ka3Q1c

thoughts

If You Have A Dream, Chase It

Since the passing of my sweet friend Kate, I’ve had a desire to help other kids fighting cancer. I wrote Kate letters, and I would love to do something similar for other kids. It doesn’t have to be letters; I just want to encourage and be there for other kids fighting the same battle Kate fought so courageously.

Tonight, I did something about it.

There’s a non-profit organization called The Truth 365, who shares stories of kids fighting cancer and who fundraises and raises awareness for childhood cancer. They’ve reached out to thousands of cancer fighters, including Kate. In fact, she was how I learned about them- her mom shared posts on her Facebook page of interviews she and her family have done with them, as well as other things they’ve posted about Kate. So tonight, I reached out to them, telling them about my dream of wanting to help other kids who are fighting. I’m not sure when or if they’ll respond, but I decided to try, just in case it works out and I do get the blessing of being a small part of what they do.

So tonight, I wanted to tell you this: if you have a dream, or a desire that the Lord has placed on your heart, don’t be afraid to go after it. If it’s meant to be, it will work out. And if not, you will still be able to say you pursued something close to your heart. And that is something to be proud of.

I hope you had a blessed Monday. Good night. 💗 Sweet dreams. 💖

Florida Gators

2017 Will Be Different

We won the SEC East, but we were creamed by Alabama in the title game.

We were demolished by Florida State.

We have a stellar defense, but our offense is less than amazing.

That’s what Florida has been known for the past two years. We win the East, but can’t take home the title. We end the regular season with a loss. Our offense isn’t the most efficient. We don’t have the respect that we had in 2007,2008, 2009. We’re not regarded as one of the powerhouses of the country.

This is the season all of that changes.

We open our season with Michigan. It’s a big game, which means it has the potential to give us the respect we’ve lacked for so many years, if we can win. If. That’s the key word in that sentence. I think we can, though. For one thing, Jim Harbaugh doesn’t have a returning quarterback, either, and he also lost star tight end Jake Butt. But here’s the more important factor: motivation. We have a motivation they don’t. We were the ones on the receiving end of that embarrassing loss to end our 2015 season. We were the ones who had to stand there and watch their team celebrate in the middle of the field. We went through all of that. They didn’t.

And you know what? The boys are confident. Not just about game one, but about this season and about who we are as a team. In every article I read on floridagators.com and every interview I watched at Media Days, I hear a desire to be better. To be successful. To beat Florida State. To bring home that elusive SEC title. It’s not a “new season new start” fire, it’s a “new season let’s prove something” fire. They’re  hungry for victory. They’re hungry for respect. They’re hungry for success.

Why shouldn’t they be? We’re more talented offensively than we have been in years, we still have a playmaker-loaded (albeit unexperienced) defense, and we’ve got a kicker who can hit field goals from just about anywhere. And we have seven home games this season, one more thing that will work in our favor. 

We have the makings of success. Now we just have to play.

Sports

Here’s Why I Think Tim Tebow Will Make It in the Majors

Yesterday, ESPN posted this fantastic article about MLB players who are rooting for Tim Tebow as he continues his journey to Citi Field. I loved seeing so much support from the league’s All-Stars, especially after hearing so many say they don’t think he’ll be able to make it. I think he’ll make it, and here’s why.

He has raw power behind the plate, for one thing. It seems like every week you see another video of him hitting a home run, and I think part of that comes from his strength. No, he’s not built like a baseball player, but it’s paying off.

And while we’re talking about batting, let’s mention the fact that he’s also becoming more consistent behind the plate. Since being promoted to Port Saint Lucie, his batting average has improved to .318 and he currently has a .972 on base percentage. He’s on a nine game hitting streak, and he’s moved from seventh in the batting line-up to sixth.

He’s also made great a few plays in the field since moving to PSL. I think everyone saw the video of him robbing Fort Meyers first baseman Zandal Weil of a home run. He’s improving all-around, which could lead to another promotion sooner than we think.

He’s also making a difference off the field. He’s a leader in the clubhouse, but more than that, he impacts the community he’s in. Last summer, he stopped and prayed with a man having a heart attack, and this summer, he’s spent time with numerous kids from his foundation who have come to his games. Tim Tebow impacts and inspires others wherever he is, and I think that’s a trait of success as well.

Of course he has to room to improve in certain areas. Don’t we all? But if there’s one thing I know about Tim Tebow, it’s that he will put in the work and the time to get better and make his dream of being a major league player a reality. I won’t be surprised to see him playing at Citi Field, and I’m behind him all the way.

Cerebral Palsy · Faith

All Things Are Possible If You Believe- A Crutches Update


“If you can?” Jesus asked. “All things are possible for the one who believes.”
– Mark 9:23, NIV

I wrote in an earlier post about my dream to walk with crutches at graduation instead of my walker. This verse came to mind last night, after a practice session didn’t go as well as I wanted it to. I felt like I couldn’t get my balance; I couldn’t figure out the right rhythm, and would’ve eaten our hardwood floors several times had my father not been right behind me. But I also felt…. fire.

Fire to keep going, keep practicing, and keep trying. Fire to keep fighting for my dream. Because I know I can do it. There’s no doubt in my mind that I’ll be able to walk across the stage next May with my arms in crutches. I found myself thinking about what an amazing feeling that would be; I thought about how great it would be to show everyone that obstacles don’t have to limit you. I remembered how incredible it felt to stand with them on my own for the first time. I felt strong, I felt confident, and I felt like I had overcome my disability. In that moment, as I stood on my own with my crutches, I felt like I could do anything.

And as I lay in bed last night, the words of Mark 9:23 came to mind, as if He were telling me He thinks I can do it, too. It was a reminder that He’s right beside me, giving me strength and carrying me through this entire journey.

I can live this dream. I just have to believe.

Florida Gators

My Thoughts on Florida’s Time at SEC Media Days

Florida head coach Jim McElwain and players Martez Ivey, Marcell Harris, and Duke Dawson took the stage yesterday at the SEC’s annual Media Days, and were asked about anything and everything (literally- Mac had to talk about the infamous shark photo and Marcell Harris and Paul Finebaum had a lengthy conversation about his hair). While we were given no information on the status of star wide receiver Antonio Callaway, there were a few things that give me even more confidence about Florida’s 2017 season.

1. The team has a chip on its shoulder.

This was evident by Coach McElwain’s body language and tone as he spoke at the podium. He said the team understands why we haven’t been successful at times, and when the SEC Network crew asked him about offensive production, it seemed he took it personally. Florida fans want more, and he wants to bring Florida back to national prominence.

2.  The boys seem confident.

It was quiet, but it was there. They carry that chip too, and I sensed a hunger for success in their voices. Duke Dawson said the defensive leaders are teaching the younger guys and helping them as much as possible, and I got the sense from the way he and the other players spoke that this team is working together and has a chemistry that the previous two teams haven’t. Only time will tell, but I think there’s something special brewing in Gainesville.
3. Leaders are starting to arise.

Not only are the more experienced guys on defense helping the freshmen, but Marcell Harris said he could “already tell” transfer quarterback Malik Zaire is a leader. I may be wrong, but I think leadership like that has been a missing piece for the last few years. If we can get a few guys to step up and be strong leaders, guys who can rally the team before an important drive and keep them motivated during practices and workouts, that could be a key ingredient to a successful season.

More Notables

  • SEC analysts Greg McElroy and Jordan Roberts picked Florida to win the East.
  • Paul Finebaum picked Florida to defeat Michigan on opening day.
  • “I just really felt going through spring practice- that Florida speed is back.” -Head Coach Jim McElwain to local Hoover media

What did you think of Florida’s time at Media Days?

Also, speaking of Michigan, here’s a fantastic article from In All Kinds of Weather’s Ty Butler on the importance of a win at Michigan.