Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Thank you Maya Angelou!


Still I Rise

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may tread me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I'll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don't you take it awful hard
'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
Diggin' in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I'll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I've got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history's shame
I rise
Up from a past that's rooted in pain
I rise
I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise. 

Saturday, May 24, 2014


This past week's challenge and gratitude post is one I hope to repeat often during these warm weather months.......having too much FUN and  making new friends!
A willingness to try new things, a few people who chose to help and a sense of humor made all the difference in this past weekend's activities of new things to do.
PSU Head Football Coach, James Franklin, welcomed me to join the Women's Football Clinic and expertly accommodated two of us with limited mobility.  This staff was definitely "on it" when it came to organizing information, changing rooms and seeing to it that each woman had a name badge and photograph taken with our new head football coach!  Since "What ever happens at the PSU Women's Football Clinic stays at the Clinic", I will just say that the experience was very unique, filled with  information, and had a spectacular conclusion that will return me to Beaver Stadium for the 2014 Football Season!  I encourage all of us who have been angry and disappointed to separate what may still be worrisome from this new dedicated staff and talented student athletes to join me in returning to Beaver Stadium for the 2014 Football Season.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Graduation & Mother's Day

This weekend was an especially busy one in this college town as Spring Commencement Ceremonies and Mother's Day came on the same weekend.  Both celebrations bring bittersweet memories for me as my mother passed just one month before I received my undergraduate degree from Penn State.  In the midst of my emotions, I felt such gratitude as I  watched the School of Nursing give degrees to their first gradates as it's own Department.  Before nursing was within the Department of Human Development.  I  told one graduating nurse that I  have such hope in this generation of young adults entering the medical field.  I hope for better patient care for those with disabilities and less politics.  Gratitude and hope go together, at least most days.  I want there to come a day when the good medical care I've received through much self advocacy will be a matter of course.  That physicians will recognize that it's okay to admit to a patient when not much is known about their disability and admit  that they may be biased because of ignorance in  the field.  I am grateful for the clinicians I have chosen who have come to this level of expertise.  Most of them are within the Penn State Hershey System.


Sunday, May 4, 2014

A Weekly Series on GRATITUDE

Thank You Creator for the use and control of my hands!

Oprah often talks about keeping a "gratitude journal."  It got me thinking about a new way to write about advocacy  in these days of great challenge.  I often think:  What if I couldn't use my hands?  These posts that you read are typed with my own hands without any adaptive equipment.  Perhaps this dispels a false image of those diagnosed with athetoid cerebral palsy as it has one of the most complex manifestations.  Think of the popular image of "Praying Hands."  It is a favorite of mine as I think of those in the helping professions, cooks, bakers, sculptures, painters, research scientist, musicians, etc.  All of us use that body part at the end of our arms, attached to the wrist, called  "HANDS."
Learning to control my hands took years of repetition as the involuntary gross motor movement would fling a salt shaker across the table or I'd "hit" some one instead of shake their hand.  By my late teen years, I had gained most of the necessary control to do every day task, and I began teaching myself a system of typing on my sister's manual typewriter.  Most days, I now type approximately 30 words per minute with few errors.  Now that I can legitimately call myself a writer, I use my hands to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves and the number of people donating funds, time and encouragement continues to grow.