What’s Wrong with Ordinary?

 

Recently, I was forced into the noisy and congested world typical of American life.  Yep.  I had to go shopping.

It all started the moment I tried to squirt a little bit more of the most basic of all oil paints, Titanium White, onto my palette.  With a PFFTHHPPPPP the remaining paint plopped out.  Reaching for my backup tube, I found. . . nothing.  Yep.  That tube of Titanium White stuck in the back of the rack?  It wasn’t white.  It was Ultramarine Blue.

What?  Impossible!  Agghh!  Okay, don’t panic.  Just get some delivered.

Normally I can accomplish this task with a few clicks and, violá, the deed is done.  Not this time.

Having pulled out my handy, lightweight laptop computer, I searched for a site that would deliver some paint within a few days.  (Another experience of the typical American life.)  However, with a click-click here and a click-click there, I discovered that it would take, drum roll – please, two weeks for the paint to arrive.

Oh, phooey, ptooey.  I have to go to the store.

So, off I went to one of those big box stores that sell home goods, craft items, and art supplies.  I live at least an hour away from any major city.  Yet, I only had to travel 15 miles to buy my oil paint.  (Another one of those pretty awesome miracles of the ordinary American life.)

As I rolled into the store, my eye noticed a sign for sale, “Be Original, Not Ordinary.”  Huh?  What’s wrong with ordinary?

World’s First All-Accessible Water Park

Inspiration-Island-Map

Image this:  A child who has never had the opportunity to be completely immersed in what would be considered a typical summer activity.  Why?  Because s/he is confined to a wheelchair or has autism or a brain injury.

I guess you don’t have to imagine it, do it?  With all the ADA-compliance modifications that have already been made – and they are wonderful, the world is still largely out of reach for anyone with special needs.

There have been times when I have cried because I was sidelined because of a physical barrier.  And, if I cried, I can only imagine how often a child has wept because s/he was relegated to an observer-only status.

Now, image this:  A child or adult with special needs has the opportunity to be completely immersed in a typical summer activity.  What a fantastic idea!

Well, we don’t have to use our imaginations anymore; someone has finally taken the barriers away:  Gordon Hartman, the creator of the world’s first ultra-accessible water park.  It is a fantastic idea, and it is a reality!

“Children and adults who have special needs are sometimes left out, not because they want to be but because sometimes things are not always adequate for them to use,” Hartman said.

Today is the opening day for Morgan’s Inspiration Island.  A $17 million tropical-themed water park located in San Antonio, Texas.  This astonishing park (check out the above link) merges those with and without disabilities into one experience. The greatest part of all is that it includes all special needs people.

There are waterproof wheelchairs that use compressed air instead of batteries (which the University of Pittsburgh helped develop); waterproof wristbands for those who tend to wander, quiet areas for those who get overwhelmed, and a way to quickly change water temperature for those who are sensitive to cold water.  There’s more:  fast passes for those who have trouble waiting in line, private wheelchair transfer areas, and the riverboat adventure attraction boats rise to meet passengers (instead of wheelchair ramps).

Admission?  FREE FOR THOSE WITH DISABILITIES.

Anyone up for a road trip to Texas?

 

 

 

Like A Turtle on Its Back

It was one of those mornings, Spring shining through the windows.  The promise of warm breezes and light jackets.  My favorite way to wake up.  Smiling, I lifted myself up.  Wait, no.  Rather than sitting up, I had remained prone.  Okay, I’ll try to push a little harder.  Nope.  That didn’t work.  Time and time again, I tried – and I failed.  You’ve heard of frogs turning into princes.  Well, I guess I had turned into a turtle on its back.

I happen to be married to one of those sweetheart kind of guys.  Knowing that if I quietly called to him, he would wake up and eagerly help me.  I guess I could say he loves his turtle.  Yet, there was no morning urgency to rise.  So, instead of waking him up as I had in similar situations in the past, I decided to let him sleep.  This old turtle could wait out the time with prayer.  Eventually, he stirred and my prince charming turned me into his princess.

The before Rose – the one who existed before a degenerative neuromuscular disease claimed her body – she would not have been given to wait out any situation.  She was always having to do, to go, and to act.  There are many disadvantages to living trapped in a body that doesn’t work very well, but there are some advantages, too.   This morning’s advantage was to let myself be helpless.  Rather than thrashing out against an unmovable force, I chose contentment.

It has not been an easy metamorphosis, and I am not changing from an earthbound, crawling bug into something that can fly in the light.  My conversion is taking away freedom of movement, incremental, almost indiscernable pieces of my life – my physical life.  In its place, I am finding an upside down turtle.  My choices are obvious.  Do I pull myself into my shell and hide away?  Or, do I lie there vulnerable and patient?

Patience and contentment are choices even when my life is not upside down.

 

The Untapped Ability in Disability

In this post, Cal gives us a glimpse into the nitty-gritty of living with a degenerative neuromuscular disease (DMD). However, he doesn’t stop there. Embedded in his post, he also gives us a glimpse into the mindset needed to persevere through the struggle. The end result? You decide.

An Angel Fell From The Sky #8/13

Who is your angel?

Frank Solanki

He used to call me names

Throw paper balls at me

Would drop a toad on my desk

And on some days even three

I would help him in his homework

He never would thank me back

Only thing I got in return

Were the silly jokes that he’d crack

He used to dress so shabbily

To school, he was always late

I even told my mother once

“That’s the boy I hate”

That’s how our story went

Until I broke my foot one day

It was somewhere in February

I had to stay in bed till May

He would come and visit me

Dressed appropriate and fine

And joke that he was first to school

While others reached by nine

He would bring all the notes from school

And occasionally flowers and chocolates

My mother even asked me once

“Isn’t that the boy you hate?”

That’s how our…

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