Friday, March 27, 2015

If April showers bring May flowers, what do snow showers bring??



     This sure has been an extremely long winter and I decided I was going to put an end to it once and for all.  I watch the weather forecast practically hourly, after all, how else was I supposed to respond when people randomly ask me when it's gonna warm up... I'm not actually a Meteorologist but I'm always happy to give them a free opinion. If we didn't have weather what else would we have to talk about...

     I anxiously awaited the day when the temperature would finally spike over 50 degrees, and that was when I planned to get my bike off  of my indoor trainer and back on the road. The tricky thing is, once it's off I'm done riding inside so I needed to commit.

     According to the extended weather forecast this weekend was going to be "D day"; after all, it's officially spring and mother nature surely wouldn't lie to me, WOULD SHE!?!?
                                     
     However, I woke up to a gushing down-pour of rain and though it wasn't optimal, I just remembered the old saying "April showers bring May flowers" (and maybe frogs...) and April was only days away so we were right on schedule.

     As I dodged the quarter sized raindrops just before dawn I kept reminding myself that at least it wasn't snow, and a little water certainly wasn't going to make me melt.  As soon as the sun comes out things would surely dry up and my bike and I could re visit those bike trails we put to rest last fall.

     But as the day progressed that crazy mother nature decided to play a trick on me because this is what we were looking at now...  SNOW?? Seriously!?!?!                 

                                         

     But two could play at this game!  I took my bike off my trainer in spite of the snow, and if this snow doesn't go away I'll show mother nature and ride this weekend anyway; that's what gloves are for.  Now the question becomes which bike trail will be lucky enough to get me:)

     It's true, we can't fool mother nature, even if she pulls a fast one on us, but whatever she dishes out I plan to take:)  After all, plans might change, but if you just add an "E" that "plan" becomes "plane", and with that extra set of wings the opportunities are endless.

Have a great weekend!!

Christine:)

     

     



Wednesday, March 25, 2015

It's not what you know, but who you know that matters.




     Anyone who is into sports knows March madness is huge.  I don't follow football, so I really don't care... I know! I know!! I'm not that ditsy!!! We're talking basket ball... but I don't follow that either, so the statement is totally correct.

     DMC Tech Group, where I work, was having a kick off party after hours for the start of the March madness games, and though I don't really care who wins or loses it was a party and food, so I planned on being there.  

     A couple of the guys were working diligently that afternoon to set up the big screen and projector in the glass enclosed conference room, which was totally within eyes view of the reception desk where I was sitting.  After what seemed like hours later, they finally had it up and running.

     Jeff, one of the guys setting up, said "It must be nice to sit there and watch the game all day".  It almost seemed like a total waste.  Someone who could really care less planted right in front a huge screen and able to catch every bit of the action, yet I didn't even care...

     But at five o'clock, when the work day was over I was right there with the rest of them acting like I had a clue... who am I kidding... I wasn't acting, I was clueless.  I personally would have made my picks based on the cutest uniform:)

     After some idle chit chat and a comment or two about who's winning, I started showing Susan Taylor, who wasn't there last year, some pictures of our team for the Bike To The Bay 2014, making sure to point out Steve, her boss, wearing the pink leapfrog shirt.  I asked her if she wanted to ride this year.  She really sounded interested, but her biggest concern was that her bike was making some weird noises, so she might have to get it fixed.

     A year or so ago I would have said "wow, sounds like it's time for a new bike".  But I know so much about my bike now that I was confident that I could help her figure out what was wrong.

     Susan was now anxious to ride with us and said she has a couple of neighbors who she could ask to ride as well.  She had to take the weekend to make sure it would work, but by Monday she was hooked!

     I guess the old saying still holds true... It's not what you know, but who you know, that matters:)

      
Have a great day!!


Christine:)      

Monday, March 23, 2015

The power of pink


                                     

     Most people have one particular thing that makes them stand out in a crowd. Maybe they're extremely tall or very short, red hair or even blue...  When people refer to me, they could come up with a million things.  The girl with the brace, short, talks like there's no tomorrow, obsessed with chocolate and frogs... The list is endless.  But if you were to Google the word "pink", my picture would definitely be next to it!

     Of all the colors known to represent power, pink makes me feel like "Wonder Woman". Sure, black is slimming and red absolutely makes a statement, but pink is like a great big hug.  

     Call me crazy (I've been called it in the past) but there is nothing in the world that makes me feel more powerful than pink (except maybe pink frogs!). I don't need anything else to put me in a good mood. In my mind when I wear this color I'm taller, I run faster (lol), and I can even feel my smile shine brighter.  

     When you commit to the color there are no rules, as long as it's pink.  A while back I was getting new glasses and they were pink (imagine that...).  The lady said "Hey! they match your outfit!"  I told her if I came back the next day she would say the same thing:)

    When I was at an MS self-help group meeting the other day, one of the attendees happened to be a service dog. He was very well trained and knew his job.  But as lovable as he appeared to be, if you were able to read his sign you would know not to disturb him, because he was working.  However, this picture proves my theory.  This tiny little puppy couldn't read, yet she didn't have to follow that rule because she was wearing pink, and when you wear pink it doesn't matter how big you are, because there's always power in pink.




Have a great day!!

Christine:)

Friday, March 20, 2015

If you're not early, you're late!

                             

     You can call me a lot of things, but late isn't one of them.  My mom always said if I'm not there ten minutes early she's sending out a search party.

     I have girlfriends who tell me next time they're buying my coffee, but they can't beat me there, so how are they ever supposed to make good on their promise.
Call it a quirk if you want, but the fear of something happening, causing me to be late, forces me to always be early.

     A few weeks ago I had an appointment with my estate planner, Rich, to set up my wills, both living and the other side of the dirt.  I just wanted to make sure I had things covered when the day came where I could no longer talk (like that will ever happen,lol).  

     You had to know I was early for our meeting as usual, and after he finished explaining to me my options, we set up a meeting two weeks later to go over the documents and sign my life away (no pun intended...)

     The day of my next appointment, my daughter was on spring break and my schedule was all out of whack.  For the first time in a million years I missed my appointment.  Rich's secretary called and after I apologized profusely we set another appointment for later that day.

     When I arrived I was asked to be seated in a conference room to wait for Rich.  As he entered the room I told him I felt terrible that I missed my appointment, because I haven't missed one in forever.

     Rich gave me a smile, and the words that came out of his mouth were "I'm sure you haven't", but the look in his eyes said "right... and I'm the Easter bunny..."  

     If you didn't know me that would be an appropriate thought, but if you did, you would believe.  At any rate, he was very understanding and we proceeded to go over the documents.

     I had no idea how detailed these documents had to be.  One question on the form asked if I had any special requests when I was to the point of no return... I said "do you mean like I want to be tube fed chocolate??"  He smiled and said "If that's an option by then... sure!"

     There was a page with blank lines and he explained it was to write down any special requests based on religious beliefs, etc...  I said " I don't have any unique religious beliefs, and if you mean like worshiping a head of lettuce... that, I don't do".  He explained he could leave it blank in case I changed my mind later, or he could draw a large X through the lines right now.  I told him I didn't foresee "ever" worshiping a head of lettuce, so X away:)  

     We were getting down to the part where I had to give him my "John Hancock" and my last question to him was "Is this written in stone, or can I change my mind on who can talk for me when I no longer can?"  He told me I can change my mind at anytime; but I have to believe there would be a line a mile long to witness that day I can no longer speak:)

     As we were ending our meeting Rich handed me his newly published news letter to read, which he was very proud of.  I gave him one of my cards for my Leapfrog blog and said "I'm pretty proud of this too!  I just write a lot of random things, tongue and cheek or life stories... I can write about absolutely anything."  He smiled and said "I suppose you're going to tell me next you'll have a post about your visit with your estate planner..."  I told him "You just watch and see...".  

      Will there ever come a time when I don't care when I get there??  Who knows, it's still up for debate.   Until that time comes I'll continue to believe "If you're not early...you're late".

Have a great weekend!!

Christine:)

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck... it just might be a swan.



     So much of life is made up of illusions.  Either we're tricking our brains to see what we want to see, or our minds play tricks on us.  Whatever the case, things aren't always what they appear.



          My Daughter, Lindsay, was home from college for spring break, and though we now have a casino right in town, Lindsay is still one year shy of legally entering it.  Her brother and she thought a trip to Dave and Buster's might be the next best thing.

     This place was an hour north of us and and more or less a glorified Chuck-E-Cheese for adults.  It had all the fun and games of a casino, only you didn't empty your pockets as quickly.  However, there was the opportunity to fill them, except it was tickets and not cash.

     With 5 years between them, Lindsay and Matt don't have a lot in common, but they do like to play games, and when they realized they could score double the points if they both threw balls at the same time on one particular machine I saw one of many illusions, and that was that they actually liked each other.
                           


          The beauty of camera phones is, you can take a  million pictures and trash the ones you don't want.  Of course I took many, and when I took this picture, it was simply Matt throwing his hands in the air, but when I looked at it later I saw my next illusion.  If you'll notice, Matt appears to be hanging from the light.  
                                                                                                                                                                              

     Many of the games reminded me of being in Vegas, though there was something about this place that was missing.  I did see this frogger game which is a bit of nostalgia  and it took me back to earlier times.  



          The tickets you won were for the most part worthless, and only redeemable for glorified junk in the redemption center.  But at least the games acted as a baby-sitter, saving you from gambling away your mortgage payment.


     Before long, Matt and Lindsay were on a mission to see just how many worthless tickets they could collect in one night.

     So here was our next illusion... all of these tickets were stuffed in Matt's front left pocket, 2110 to be exact, and it was like a magic act as he kept emptying them into the bin.


     The whole day turned out to be magical, and it was a miracle that Matt and Lindsay never got sick of each other.  But as I was showing my friend, Maryann, my photos the next day, she looked at this sunset, the one I thought looked like a sandy beach  on the water, when in reality it was a snow covered corn field from the freeway...  She said "Hey, look!  it's a swan!!"  I never saw that, but it sure appeared to be one:)



     I trick my brain all the time to try to make good things out of the challenges in life, but sometimes nature does it for us, and if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck... it just might be a swan:)

Have a great day!!

Christine:)

Monday, March 16, 2015

It's easy to keep your feet on the ground; But floating in the clouds takes faith.



        Yes, for most people it's easy to keep your feet on the ground, but I've discovered that up in the clouds is where I'm the safest.  It's very easy for me to trip just putting one foot in front of the other, but when I was up in the clouds I never fell once.  Why was that?


           When I walk I think about every step I take, which is hard to imagine for the average person.  But when I'm up in the sky it's out of my hands, and anything "could" happen, yet I just have to have faith that I will be protected.

     Though I was 1500 feet up while hang-gliding it was really no different than being one foot off the ground, because I believed that the landing was going to be very graceful.

     Comparatively, when I was Para-sailing, at only 500 feet in the air I still left my landing in someone else's hands.  I've never actually admitted to having a fear of heights, though before these two excursions I may have felt a little safer with my two feet planted securely on the ground.  Ironically, now the higher I go, the the safer I feel, because it only causes me to have more faith.

     I told a friend I just might try sky diving next, which is somewhere around 12 thousand feet up in the sky, and to a fully able bodied person this seemed like a crazy idea, but if you just latch on to someone flying high on faith, even the ablest of bodies just might prefer soaring high in the clouds.

     We always hope to do things all on our own, and we usually have plenty of plans.  But I'm starting to believe we have have faith, because the landing is out of our hands.

Have a great day!!

Christine:)

Friday, March 13, 2015

Having faith isn't always enough; sometimes the message has to be delivered to your door.



     This world is full of great leaders, as well as many followers.  I really believe I could lead anyone!  The problem is, I usually need someone to point me in the right direction.

     A few years back I was somewhat forced to figure things out on my own, and I was clueless what direction I was going. There are a few things I'm okay at, but I would never call myself a writer.  A "talker" absolutely, a writer... not so much.  But if I saw my words on paper maybe it would help me make sense of them, hence my days of writing began.

     After taking that leap of faith writing soon become my passion, but what was I supposed to do with it??  I could always publish a book, and though I've had many names thrown my way, I couldn't just team up with some random person only to see my one chance fizzle, and never again have the opportunity to use my words for good.  This was where my blog came in.  There was no risk, so I could do what I love and no one could stop me.

     Last fall when I planned my trip to visit my cousin down south, he nor I would have ever guessed it would come at a time when we both needed answers.  And who would have ever guessed we could actually help each other find them.

     I mentioned to Keith that I knew all of the people and things in my life were there for a reason, but I just needed someone to tell me what to do with them.

     Keith asked me if I like to read because he had a couple of great books that really helped guide him.  I said I don't like to read paper back books anymore for two reasons...number one; it seems my arms have shrunk over the years and it's exhausting holding a book three feet away to read it.   Number two; I can't start a story without seeing how it ends, and I don't usually have time for a whole book. Now, articles on line... that's right up my alley.

     My brilliant cousin had a solution for me.  He E-mailed me a link for the first book.  It arrived in my "in box" on a Sunday afternoon and I figured I would read the first few pages to see if I could get the gist.  I couldn't stop reading, so five hours later I had completed the book and made sure to thank Keith for helping me find a way to spend my Sunday:)  The second book, unfortunately, couldn't be found electronically, so I guess I would have to wait for the movie... 


     I had forgotten all about the book thing, though Keith and I continued to E-mail back and forth, sharing helpful words of wisdom.

     One day I received a package sent by "snail mail", wrapped in orange plastic, covered with the words "thriftbooks".  I opened it and was surprised to find a paperback book titled "The greatest miracle in the world" inside...

     I couldn't figure out why someone was sending it to me.  There was no return address and I surely didn't order it.  A million possibilities went through my head.  The first being some random evangelist sending it to everyone on earth, hoping someone reads it.  The second being the fact it was marked "thriftbooks" (I later learned this was an actual on-line book store)  but I thought maybe some thrift shop was clearing out there inventory, took a general mailing list and said "okay, let's start with the Ks".  I didn't know but it seemed a little creepy, so I really just wanted to get rid of it.

     I threw it in a large plastic bin in my storage room  where I toss things that need to be broken down for the garbage.  I no sooner dropped it before I picked it back up.  Why did I have this?  Things have shown up at my door in the past and there's always a reason.  But then I dropped it again...

     On garbage day I broke all of the boxes down as usual and emptied them, but couldn't get myself to take that book out, so there it sat  all by it's self.  A couple days later Keith and I were emailing back and forth and he said "read any good books lately?? lol".  That was random, and I tried to figure out the segue, but couldn't.

     The next day he E-mailed me with concern.  He asked me if I got the book he sent me.  I told him I didn't see the attachment.  He said "no, a paperback..."  Oops!  I went over to the bin and pulled it out.  I could have just said "yes, thanks", but he got the whole rundown.  Hey, anything for a good story:)  I told him I guess this means now I'm going to have to read a paperback book again.  He E-mailed me back informing me not to worry, the next shipment would contain arm extenders:)

     Of course, I certainly had to read this book because there had to be a great message in it.  That's the way it always works, when someone goes through that much trouble there usually is.  I have a CD with all of my favorite songs on it and  I listen to it every single day when I workout and otherwise.  The songs themselves bring back fond memories of earlier times, but if I really listen I always find the messages within them.

     This book was no exception to the rule, along with giving me some answers to questions I've been puzzled by, this book taught me that I have the power to make my life what ever I want it to be, and if I point myself straight ahead I'm sure I'll eventually know just what that is:)

Have a great weekend!!

Christine:)


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Nothing's ever black and white

     Life would be so much easier if everything was black and white, but that's not how life works. As you can see, without color there is something definitely missing.

     I spend a lot of time trying to figure out where my life is headed, and once I know then I can sit back at watch it all play out.  

    But if we knew already what to expect we would dodge all of the obstacles, and we wouldn't be able to experience all of the great lessons along the way, nor appreciate the wonderful people who help us complete the final puzzle. 

     


     There are days where I think if I could just see things through rose colored glasses I could ignore the rest of the hurdles.  But you'll notice,  even through rose colored glasses something is missing, and we need every element in order to create a picture that is true to life.

     I'm starting to understand that my colorful life is exactly what I need, and as pictures don't lie, if you leave every element in place the picture will be it's brightest, but sometimes it has to be brought to our attention that some of the color is missing and when we see the final picture we get it.

        
     It's true, nothing is ever black and white, but isn't everything better in color?!

Have a great day!!

Christine:)

Monday, March 9, 2015

Everyone knows someone...




       I'm sure we all have doppelgangers, or at least someone who is relatively similar to us.  But I started thinking the world was full of people who shared my same make up, because people are constantly telling me they know my twin.  Maybe I have an all american face...

     The other day my friend Karen asked me to meet her and some friends at Paddy Jack's Grill for their trivia nite.  My mind is always swimming with random thoughts, but trivia isn't usually a part of them, though it did sound like fun.

                                

     We were at a table with eight people so it was inevitable that within our group we could come up with at least one or two intelligent answers, so if I could be any help at all I would be thrilled (For the record, I knew the answer to the campfire dessert was S'mores:).  After contributing to the first question and getting that hard one out of the way my job was done, and I left all of the easy ones up to the rest of the group:)

     Towards the end of the evening the next question was going to be on literature.  Someone at our table said "Hey Jennifer, this should be right up your alley since you're a writer!"  I got this rush because I always wanted to publish a book, and just knew someday I would be guided on how to do it.

     I asked Jennifer if she had actually published a book herself.  She told me she was in the process of co authoring one right now.  My eyes lit up because I knew this was my chance to figure out how it's done.

     Before long we were deep in conversation and Jennifer knew my whole life story and I also knew hers.  We discovered that our lives were oddly similar.  Not only did we each have three children, we both hoped to be motivational speakers someday, as well as writers.  Fate has drawn me to others in the past... was this fate again??

     Jennifer mentioned that she has a friend who could be my twin.  I said people tell me that all the time.  But I think the reason for that isn't because I have an "all american" face, as much as an "all American" spirit, because within five minutes of someone meeting me they usually know exactly  who I am, and everyone knows someone just like me.  If they didn't know who I was, then how would they know I have a twin??

     Further in the conversation I mentioned how sometimes I feel like the universe is all mine, and everyone around me is an instrument in my life.  Jennifer totally agreed that this was how it worked.  Our energy attracts people and therefore we draw them into our own universe.  That's why things always have a way of working out, because we attract others to be our support.

     I told Jennifer this makes perfect sense because it was an outside force that steered me into riding in the Bike To The Bay, and then my energy attracted over 40 riders to join my team.  It's all a process.

     Of course, just to put this to the test, I asked Jennifer if she rode a bike, and she admitted she hadn't been on one since the ten speed bike she rode back in her high school days.  When I mentioned I ride in the MS Bike To The Bay with 30 years of MS under my belt, and believed she could do it as well, she was hooked.  My new BFF was now anxious to join my team.




          I will surely pick Jennifer's brain down the road to figure out this book thing, as well as motivational speaking, but for now I am totally convinced that we all have magnetic forces that draw great people into our lives, and if you think you know "me" then you probably do know my twin, because I believe "everyone" knows "someone".

Have a great Day!!

Christine:)



Friday, March 6, 2015

There's no such thing as can't.

     I know it's way too cold to even think about the Bike To The Bay, and the snow certainly doesn't help any. But I really wanted to start working on all those who sponsored our team last year so I had an idea where we stood.

     A lot of my sponsors were either friends being very nice, or businesses giving into my persistent badgering... New York life was a little of both.  

     My insurance agent/financial planner Paul, was also a friend more than happy to sponsor our team, but gilding the lily a bit, I was persistent enough, until I had eventually convinced several employees to join my team as well.

     Paul was more than happy to help out again this year, so I took my trusty camera over for the documented proof.  


        Looking at this photo you can see that bike riding was not even a thought at this point.  In fact, if it weren't for the "New York Life" sign being right side up, it would be hard to tell the clouds from the snow.  

     This day it was sub zero outside and the parking lot was a sheet of ice.  I walked in and stated the obvious to the receptionist, "It is fareeeeeezing ouside!!"  She commented that I picked the wrong time of year to have a brace on my leg.  I told her the brace isn't going anywhere so I guess I'm just in the wrong part of the country...

     I like how helpful people can be, and as I was showing my agent the pictures from my para-sailing and hang-gliding last month he asked "Are you allowed to do that!?" (then again he is in the insurance business, Hmm...)

     The cool thing is, I'm "allowed" to do anything I want, as long as it's within the law, and technically, I CAN do ANYTHING outside of the law if I want to.  Of course since I don't look good in stripes OR orange I try not to cross that line...

     I hear all too often "I can't..." and I'm guilty of saying it plenty myself, but I'm starting to realize that that word doesn't really exist, because there's always a way to make anything happen.  Sometimes it just might take a little improvising. 


          You can say you can't til you're blue in the face, but sometimes all it takes is a smile:)

Have a great weekend!!

Christine:)

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Apple doesn't fall far from the tree






     For as long as I can remember one of my best life strategies has been delayed gratification.  A lot of people tend to work well under pressure and wait until a deadline is minutes away before they move.

     I, however, feel like I need to get the hard things behind me before I can rest at ease.  When told there is bad and good news, often people will say give "me the good news first to cushion the blow of the bad news".

     When given the choice, I would take the bad news first every time.  Once I process the bad news I can dwell on the good news as long as I want.  In fact, if I can figure out how to turn the bad news into something positive then my good news is even sweeter.

     My daughter Lindsay and I don't always see things in the same light, but the other day we were having a conversation and I saw a sign that she actually understands how this way of thinking can be a great way to live.

     She told me her boyfriend Carl is the most amazing person, because when ever she is having a bad day he will ask her to name one thing that is bad, so she does.  He then asks her to name another, followed by a third... then instead of trying to fix it for her he asks her to start naming everything good in her life.  It's inevitable that the good will strongly out weigh the bad every time.  A man very wise for his years and Lindsay truly gets it.

     Sometimes it takes an outside perspective to help us see things that are clearly right in front of our face and I think certain people are put in our lives to do just that.

     My life has been a series of delayed gratification and when I feel like things are hard, I try even harder to imagine how much stronger I'll be after I get through them.  If I just have faith things will always have a way of working out.  

     We don't always know where our life is headed, or how long it will take to get there but one thing is for sure, anything worth having is worth the wait.

Have a great day!!

Christine:)

Monday, March 2, 2015

Life is all a state of mind.


                                         

     When I had my very first symptom of MS thirty years ago the only therapy was a four leaf clover and a prayer.  It took scientists many years of research and a lot of hard earned money for them to find a way to slow it down, but they did.

     The biggest drawback to this, however, was that it was done through injections.  Being a real needle-phobe, it wasn't until I had my first sign of permanent nerve damage twelve years ago before I decided to give myself my first shot, but not before shedding a few tears.

     Of course, these shots didn't work on everyone, so they had to work diligently to find other therapies that did.  Thanks to all of the donations from generous people through things like the Bike To The Bay, they now have eleven therapies to slow down the progression of MS.

     In fact a couple of the therapies are actually in the form of a pill.  As some one who is absolutely sick and tired of needles I was thrilled that I might never see one again.

     But like I said before, there are many different therapies because there are many different types of MS, and nothing about MS is certain.  What works for one, may not for another.

     After twelve years it was pretty clear that my therapy was the right one for me but I also know "shot fatigue" is a real thing, and I truly believed I had it. What started out years ago as "one, two, three... go..."  soon had a zero after the 3.

     I got out my calculator and figured out I had given myself over 1700 shots, which was 1700 more than I ever signed up for, and I decided I was done.  At my next doctor's visit I told my Neurologist I had had enough of the needles and I wanted to give the pills a try.  He told me my therapy has been working for twelve years and it wouldn't make sense to rock the boat right now and end up with more irreversible damage.  That was easy for him to say, he didn't  have to jab himself over 1700 times. 

     He knew best, but it was my body, so I took his recommendation with a grain of salt, but wasn't taking the other option off the table.

    However, the day finally came where I physically could not put one more needle in my body and I was actually willing to take my chances.  Though after some mental encouragement I realized I absolutely "physically" COULD do it, it was the mental part that was throwing me.

     I had to understand that if it wasn't for these shots I might not have working hands to give them.  So I finally made up my mind that as long as I have working hands I'll do what ever it takes... and when the day comes where I can't, I'll just find more hands:)

Have a great day!!

Christine:)

     

     

Friday, February 27, 2015

My test of human kindness


     The story of my amazing journey finally came to a conclusion, and I had every intention of redirecting my efforts  back to the Bike To The Bay.  However, I just recently learned that I've been focusing on the wrong thing for way too long.
   
    Anyone who knows me knows I'm very strong willed, and I won't give up for anything.  I was so proud that I was able to do everything in my power for so many years to beat the odds of MS.  I wanted more than anything to try to be "perfect" again. 

     Then someone told me, with no intention of offence, that I never was perfect, nor would I ever be.  A little bit of brutal truth, but it was in fact, the truth.  No one is perfect, so why should I be any different?

     But that didn't stop me from wanting to be as close to  "whole" as possible.  If things stopped working, then maybe it was because I wasn't trying hard enough.

     As issues came into play, and I did everything in my power to keep strong, I seriously thought that was why people were inspired by me.  When I got the brace we all remember I had a brief melt down, because I thought I would have to turn in my "inspiration" Title.  I needed to figure out how to try harder to repair any debilitation, giving me reason for my existence.

      Riding in the Bike To The Bay as someone with MS for thirty years made me feel like it was my job to prove I wasn't going to let MS take me down.

     The thing is, it finally hit me that people weren't inspired because I was defying the odds, but because I tried very hard to be the best I could be.  It soon became obvious that it wasn't how I was doing physically that mattered, but that I continued to keep my spirit, no matter what.

     All of the kind people who have helped me, received the gift of doing something kind for another human being, and maybe my mission is to allow them to help me on my mission; therefore feeling important themselves.

     So, will I continue to fight like crazy to keep my body  strong??  Heck yeah!  Though, you can take away my body, but you can never take my spirit:)

Have a great weekend!!

Christine:)

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

It takes a village...

     Well, my trip to sunny Fort Myers was over, and that morning I was up with the chickens to make my very early flight.  Keith told me two hours early wasn't necessary at this airport, so we arrived one hour before take off.  I told Keith I will never forget his generosity, and this was where we would say our good-byes and  part ways, but not without the solemn promise we would do this again next year. 

     There were a lot more people in line for security then there were at the Toledo Express on my flight here.  It didn't matter though, I knew the routine and I would be in and out with out even batting an eye.  I put my luggage on the table and asked the security guard if she could just wand and x-ray me and leave me intact. 

     She said "We don't wand here."   I said "they did at the Toledo Express...".  She replied "Well, we don't HAVE wands here."  To which I said "So does that mean I have to take all of my paraphernalia off??"  She said "I can do a thorough pat down if you don't mind that."  

     Anything to avoid being taken apart, so I was more than happy to comply.  I was expecting it to be like a police frisking, and I would breeze right through, (not that I've ever had one, but I've seen a lot of cop shows...) but she took the word "thorough" literally.  By the time she was through with me I actually thought we were dating...  But I was still intact, so I caught my breath and went on my way.


     With this airport being very small the seats began to fill up fast, and by the time I went to sit down they were few and far between. As I was looking around to find a seat close to the gate I made my next friend, Meghan.  She got up and moved over and asked me if I wanted the end seat.  

     No surprise, we talked up a storm and swapped war stories until they called our flight.  I asked Meghan if I could take her picture for my blog and like every other person on my trip, she was thrilled.



     We boarded the plane, where a kind man offered to lift my luggage into the overhead, and then I would meet my next friend Diane, who was a "snow bird" on her way back home.  She mentioned that it was too bad about our mayor, right??  I told her it was so sad that he was in an accident.  She told me he passed away last Friday.  Wow, I was so busy living on the edge that I lost touch with the real world.  I hadn't seen a newspaper or the news in the past three days...

     Before long the plane landed safely in Toledo and the same kind man brought my luggage back down for me.

     Walking down the enclosed ramp I could feel the bitter cold making me wish I was still in Fort Myers.  But then I realized I had finally completed my test, and it was official that I was now a world traveler... (even if they were only baby airports...)
     I called my brother Doug to let him know I landed safely, and then waited patiently for him to pick me up.  While I waited I had to make one more friend, and that was the lady who worked at the airport coffee shop.  I told her all about my journey and what a real learning lesson it was.  

     When Doug finally arrived, carrying the winter coat I left behind, I asked my new friend to take my last and final picture to complete my story.  My awesome brother who brought me here was now taking me home, with a mind full of  memories of all the amazing people who helped me "make it on my own".  I now know, like the song Lean on me, "We all need somebody to lean on".



          You can always make it on your own, but some times it takes a village:)

Have a great day!!

Christine:)

Monday, February 23, 2015

Want a bad hair day?! para-sailing and a convertible will do it!


    

     When we left the beach after our para-sailing excursion, It sure felt like we had covered a lot of ground, and the day had a lot more hours in it.

     Keith said "I know you ride bikes right??"  Of course!  Hello...! the Bike To The Bay...?!  He said "Great!  Then I think you'll like what we're doing next."

     Well, this was kinda like riding a bike; it's old fashioned cars with pedals.  This was great!!  After all summer riding my road-bike this thing would be a walk in the park (or should I say "ride...")  

     Of course, I can't pedal with my brace and nerve zapper on my leg, so I left them in the car and Keith dropped me off at the rental booth, then went and parked.


     There were cars with two seats, four seats, and six seats respectively.  Being there were only two of us we got a small two seater.
  


        I soon found out this was not just like riding a bike; this thing weighed about 100 times more than my 20 pound road-bike.  


     Then, the pedals are standard in all of the cars. If your legs are long your knees are hitting your chin, but if they're short then you pedal with your tippy toes.  Being I happen to be vertically challenged I ended up sitting on the edge of my seat while trying to keep my feet on the pedals; I didn't want to be a slacker.  

     As we started riding I asked Keith if he would even notice if I wasn't pulling my weight... He looked over, smiled and said "uh... I think I would..."  So I guess there was no nap for me...

     Another interesting note; there were two steering wheels but only one steered.  I figured it would be like student driver cars where both sides controlled it.  Nope, and I was not in the driver seat, so I was at the mercy of where Keith decided to go.  

     Don't get me wrong, this was a beautiful park and the view  made it well worth the effort.  
     

       Along our route we came to a marsh.  Keith told me a lot of times you'll see alligators here, but it was highly unlikely we would see them at that time, because there were ducks swimming around, and they would know not to put themselves in danger.



     By the time we were back to the rental booth we had been riding about an hour and fifteen minutes, and I have to admit my legs were like rubber.  As we were getting out of the pedal car I said to Keith "I don't know if you noticed but I may have slacked off once or twice..."  Again, with that smile he said "oh yeah, I did:)"  I was busted:)

     So now I had the challenge of getting back to the car with "rubber legs", no brace and no nerve zapper...

     Keith offered to go get the car, but that would only waste time, so I told him I could walk slow if I could just put my hand on his shoulder for balance.  I mean, we couldn't walk arm and arm; he's my cousin, and we weren't in Kentucky!!  

      After a couple minutes it hit me, I was wearing sunglasses while I had my hand on his shoulder... I laughed and said "do you realize people probably think I'm blind?!"  I think I heard Keith say under his breath "Did you say blind or blonde...Lol."

     We finally made it to the car and our next and final stop for the day would be dinner at a restaurant that has nothing but salads.  Keith figured I would be as happy as a pig in mud; which I was.  He told me they even have frozen yogurt...  Wow, twice in one weekend?!  How did I get so lucky?!

     After we were done with our salads I went over to get some yogurt.  An older gentleman walked up to me and said "is that stuff fattening??"  I told him It's yogurt... how can it be??

     I looked over at Keith sitting at the table.  He rolled his  eyes and shook his head with disbelief then said "Come on, really!?!?"  What can I say.  It's like the movie Field Of Dreams, "if you build it they will come..."  I didn't know they were talking about froyo.

     Once again, the day was coming to an end, and I had a very early flight the next morning.  We called it a night, though my mind would go into overtime as I thought about all of the amazing things I did these past few days, along with feeling the confidence to conquer many more obstacles in the future.


Have a great day!!

Christine:)