“Abled”, not disabled

My family and I religiously watch Extreme Makeover Home Edition (EMHE). We don’t have cable, by choice, so we stream it via ABC’s site on my laptop. The design crew, the builders that get involved, the thousands of dollars donated by CVS, Sears, and other companies make the show a definite feel-good experience but the families that they help are the true inspiration. Seeing the communities pour out their hearts and their time each build, seeing the emotions on the designers faces and even the contractors, makes us all want to sign up to help for the next build to pitch in and help. (Researching that, we’d really like to.)

I know, I know, there is a lot of criticism over all the commercial hype, the flashing of logos every 30 seconds from the companies who are involved…you know what, who cares? CVS came in and PAID OFF one families medical bills and gave a full ride college scholarship to the father! If they want three seconds of advertising time or their logo to get flashed around LET THEM. More power to them, I think it is fantastic to see someone care enough to get involved. Knowing how much the companies have donated, seeing the extra mile some of them have gone, the contractors included, they have made it a point to actively be part of the SOLUTIONS instead of part of the problems in this world and have earned our support.

The other thing I hear about EMHE is that “they could help so many other people if they donated all that money to charity”. I think what they are doing is so much better though, short and long term. What they are doing is empowering people to make a difference in their communities and inspiring others, like me and my family, to do more in ours. It’s like a virus of compassion and I think it is so much better than just throwing money at someone and hoping it goes to where it should. I think being inspired to ACT and create CHANGE in your life and the lives of those around you is much more beneficial. People donate money to charity everyday (and bless them all for it) but to actually get out there and make something HAPPEN…that’s even better.

Abled, Not Disabled

One of the episodes this week is the story of Patrick Henry Hughes and his family. Patrick was born with no eyes, cannot walk, has limited mobility with his arms yet can play the piano with a depth and beauty that is seldom mastered by the sighted. I was thrilled to get the chance to hear him and share him with my family. Patrick is a complete person, complete and whole and vibrant and he has touched everyone who has come in contact with him. He is a brilliant musician and now, with the help of ABC and EMHE, has his own recording studio so I am hoping to find that he has released a CD. (So far not found one so let me know if you hear anything.) His outlook was amazing and, though I have never met him and most likely never will, he inspires me.

Another inspiration was a local Lexington, Kentucky artist by the name of Jessie Dunahoo. Jessie is 75 year old, blind, deaf, and completely amazing. He loves sewing textures together and makes incredibly tactile pieces of art. ABC had contacted Latitude, a Lexington-based arts organization that works with people with disabilities, for a local artist to contribute to the family’s home and Jessie spends three days a week there. My ex-husband’s family lives in Kentucky so I am hoping we can make a side-trip to Latitiude next trip up. I would love to meet Jessie and tell him how inspiring he has been to me.

We’re Complaining About What?

We all do it. We complain about really stupid stuff. Stuff that we don’t even remember what we were complaining about the next day. There is so much we take for granted, so much we overlook until it is gone and then, EPIPHANY, we wish we’d recognized it at the time.

I’ve been laid up sick for the last few weeks and have missed being able to create; I’ve not even had the energy or inclination to doodle or journal, that’s pretty bad. The littlest things have been tremendous effort, things that I would normally multi-task by the dozen, and yet I really have no right to complain. None. I have friends who battle cancer for their lives every day, friends who are terminally ill…and me, I have a roof over my head, food in my kitchen, Lymphedema to make me appreciate small comforts, and a bed to sleep on at night.

So why do we complain? We’re spoiled. All of us. We have running water, electricity, indoor bathrooms. Some don’t. A lot don’t. And it isn’t just an overseas problem, a problem in someone else’s backyard. It’s here, in OUR backyard. There are homeless HERE and not just because they don’t want to work or would rather get a handout than make the effort. I hear that so much and it pisses me off. You don’t know them, you don’t know their lives, and while, yes, there are some cases out there like that it doesn’t gives us the right to look away and ignore it. It doesn’t give us the right to sweep it under someone else’s carpet and just avoid it till it goes away. That could be you. That could be me. Life is ever-changing and no one knows what comes next. We are all on the same ride and it is up to EACH ONE OF US to help make the journey a little better.

Just One Person

One person, that’s all it takes. When one person makes the decision to GET INVOLVED, to take action, it inspires another to do it too. Pretty soon you have a lot of one person, people, all singularly making the decision to help. That’s all it takes. Inspiration.

One of the people who inspires me is Chelise Stroud Hery, one of the groups is ZNE. A ZNE member, a stranger to most of us, lost her mother unexpectedly and 68 people, SIXTY-EIGHT, showed up and donated art for a collaborative book (yes I am in it) that Chelise put together in FIVE days…my hat is off and my hands are applauding. If more people made the decision to ACT, just get out there and do SOMETHING, I think this world would be a much better place to live in. And they are, I see inspirations online and locally all the time, and it is about time. Technology has lent it’s hand to it as well. The fact that the world is a smaller place with all of us being able to bridge the distance digitally is amazing in itself. (And bless the ones who keep it all working.) So when you get overwhelmed and you think that one small act on your part can’t possibly make a difference…it does to someone, it does to a lot of people.

Spread compassion like a virus. One ripple affects the sea…

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