Tag Archives: wheelchair

It’s Getting Close

3 Mar

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I had this great New Year’s resolution that I was going to be better about blogging more in 2014 and now it is March, and I have only gotten one blog done. Ugg!  I am pretty sure I need 8 days in a week. 🙂

I am really excited to finally share some sketches from my new book coming out this summer (fingers crossed).  I already talked about it a bit in a blog I wrote several months ago. This is a brand new series about a little girl named Prinna Marie.  The first book is called Prinna Marie Goes Dancing.

This new series is definitely the byproduct of all things girly!  This is the only reason that I decided to collaborate with a new illustrator this time around.  (My husband was actually relieved.) Once you see Theresa Higby’s lovely work you will not be surprised why I couldn’t wait for her to start on this project with me.  I don’t want to share too many spoilers, but I want to share just enough for you to get a taste of how beautiful the artwork is going to be.

Prinna Marie is just like any other little girl that likes to make new friends and play pretend.  After she meets a new friend, Sophie Grace, at the park they are soon off to the Fairy’s Ball.  What little girl wouldn’t want to do that?

Like me, being in a wheelchair never stops Prinna Marie from any kind of adventure.  I guess you could say that this makes her different, but then again maybe not.  That is my goal in this series. I want to not only show disabled children that they aren’t as different from other children as they might sometimes think, but also to show able-bodied children that disabled children are just like them in all the things that really matter.  They like to make friends, play games, and go on adventures just like anyone else.

Hello, my name is Prinna Marie

won’t you come and dance with me?”

They both smiled, for they knew right away

that they would be great friends that day.

I can’t wait to share Prinna Marie Goes Dancing with you very soon!

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So Much Happening

3 Jul

Little Mar

I’ve been so bad about keeping up with my blogging, but for good reason. We have been very busy with several new projects so I have many exciting things to tell everyone about.

 The first big news is that in just two days, July 4th, not only are we celebrating the United States’ birthday but this is also the launching date for our new book Diabetes and Healthy Eating co/authored with Celebrity Chef Charles Mattocks.

 We are working so hard to spread the word so that we can reach as many children as possible with this incredibly important lesson about diabetes.  This book not only helps children with diabetes to understand their condition and how eating healthy benefits them, but it also helps children all over the world understand how important eating healthy is for the prevention of diabetes as well. Be sure to check out the book’s new website @ http://diabetesandhealthyeating.com to learn more details!

 Dave has also started again on our next Mommy, Tell Me a Story book.  In order to get the book on diabetes done on time we had to delay getting Mommy, Tell Me a Story about a Fish completed.  We are still very excited about getting this done. Dave’s art work is looking wonderful as usual.  I should have some fun drawings to share very soon!  Details about this book are in previous blog posts.

 I also have even more news to share.  I have started another book series!  After starting the Mommy, Tell Me a Story series just over a year ago I have had many people ask me if any of my stories would deal with my own disability or related disabilities with children in wheelchairs.  Well to be honest, I really hadn’t thought about it until it was brought to my attention and this got my imagination rolling.

 This is how Prinna Marie Goes Dancing came about. Prinna is just like many little girls. She likes to play dress-up, play with her dolls, have tea parties and, yes, go dancing at far-away balls, in far-away lands where fairies dance in magic castles. I want children to see that just because Prinna is in a wheelchair doesn’t really make her any different than what any other little girl may be like. She will do things differently, but that doesn’t stop her imagination or her dreams.

 I have also been given the privilege of taking on a new illustrator for this project.  To be honest, I love my husband’s work as an illustrator, but this book needed a woman’s touch.  Explaining to Dave what a proper “Fairy Ball” should look like would be fair to difficult. Bless his heart, he would have tried, but the art work in Mommy, Tell Me a Story about a Fish is already pushing the limits of his feminine side.  Trust me when I say that he is relieved to not have to take on this task.

 My dear friend Theresa Higby is a lovely artist and I am so excited to show the world her amazing talent. It really is rather funny watching us talk over the sketches that she has done.  The two of us start acting like we are five again.  With all the… “Oh, yes, that dress is perfect”…or “That is so cute”…and “I love the bunnies!” 

 All my other books have shown the side of me that grew up with a brother, played sports and now have four boys.  This book gives you a peek into the other side that loves lace, pink, cute animals and dressing-up on occasion.

 Theresa and I should be ready to publish Prinna Marie Goes Dancing by the first of the year 2014.  We just can’t wait to share all these incredible projects with your precious little ones!

 

           Mommy, Tell Me a Story book series…imagination inspired through color and rhyme

Kristi’s Story

17 Apr

After many of you read my blog about the miracle of my son’s birth, I am sure that some of you were wondering why I’m a paraplegic and in a wheelchair. I think that is a pretty reasonable question to ask. So it just seemed like the right time to share with you my story.

There is a lot of suffering that has happened in the US, and all over the world for that matter, this week and the last several months. Sometimes we forget that there is a lot of suffering that happens every day.  I am by far not the only person with a difficult story to share.  But just maybe by reading my story you will be able to face the world and all its obstacles with a little more determination, strength and hope.  I proofed this myself so please be gracious if you see a silly typo. 🙂

It is my prayer that by learning a little bit more about me, you will gain a better understanding into why I write about the topics that I do in my children’s stories.  I want to help our precious little ones to be prepared to face all the adversities that life can throw at them with the power to overcome, not succumb.

June 9th 1986.  I don’t know if you can recall what you were doing, but I do.  I had
flown to CA to see my brother’s girl friend (soon to be fiancée).  It was my birthday, and we had decided to start the day off horseback riding.  I was not an expert rider but was competent. We had ridden around the property for over an hour and had decided to
head back to the barn.  I only remember glimpses of what was soon to follow.  I distinctly remember coming a good five feet away from the large barn door opening into the horses feeding area.  I remember him walking towards it and me pulling on the reigns to try and stop him. Then I recall ducking my head to go through the doorway.

The next moment I found myself completely flat on my back in a pile of hay in a massive amount of pain, unable to feel my legs.  The most likely conclusion was that my back must have hit the door beam and dislocated my vertebra causing instant paralysis.  I must have then lost my balance and fallen from the horse to the floor…pretty reasonable conjecture.  None the less, I was now finding myself waiting for an ambulance to arrive and from here on things progressed rather quickly.

The paramedics arrived only to see a young woman with not a scratch or bruise on her body, just lying in the hay relatively calm.  I distinctly remember telling the paramedic, when asked what was wrong with me, “I am paralyzed.”  I know that I totally
shocked him because he gave me the funniest look.  I was soon put on a board and sent to the nearest hospital.  I was in a pretty rural area so I had to travel on a dirt road.
I remember not liking that part too much on a board.  But by this time all the meds were kicking-in to help with the pain I was in, and things started to get a little more blurry.

I recall telling one nurse that was trying to get the hospital gown on me that she needed to make sure nothing happened to my “guess” jeans because they were my only pair. I laugh now when I think about saying this. Only a teenager would be more worried about their jeans than being in the hospital paralyzed.  I remember telling everyone I saw that it was my birthday today, and I was turning 15.  I was also getting very annoyed that they kept asking for my address.  I know why now, but at the time I thought all these nurses really must be stupid if they had to keep asking me the same questions over and over again.

I learned at a later date that the hospital I was sent to first was too small to accommodate my injury so I was then ambulanced to another hospital.  This hospital had a doctor that could do the surgery but not the facilities to house me afterwards.  It was then decided to air-vac me to another hospital so I could be at the right facility
after surgery.

The bad news, to add to the obvious bad news, is that all this hospital hopping was eating away at my 24 hour window.  This is the amount of time that you have to fix a spinal cord injury before scar tissue forms around the area permanently blocking any nerve signals from the brain to the lower half.  By the time they got me to my final destination the surgery could not get scheduled in time, and my 24 hours was up.  Now the hurry was over and things went into slow motion.  So my accident happened on a Monday, but I didn’t have surgery until Friday.

Things continued to get worse.  I was too small for the bed.  I was too big for a child bed, but too small for an adult bed.  The bed was slated to try and immobilize the body. My head was bolted straight with large padded ovals on either side.  The idea is to keep you totally still so the bed moves for you.  It rotates your body completely sideways and then it moves back to the other side so you won’t get bed sores.  They had tried to stuff
pillows around me to keep me from moving when I went vertical.  But pillows have a bad tendency to squish.  This meant that my whole body moved several inches once gravity took hold. Then the screaming would begin.

The x-rays seemed to show a clean break, which should not have been that painful after medication.  But as anyone knows who has experienced a dislocate themselves, the pain does not let up until the pressure is gone.  Once under the knife (eight hrs total) they soon realized the problem.  My spinal cord was described to me as the consistency of a smashed banana.

Needless to say I felt a whole lot better on Friday when I awoke nine hours later.  I felt so great the next morning that I was actually able to sit up (in my stylish new back brace of course) but ha! I was sitting up.  After the sheer elation of being out of that bed and sitting up wore off, the reality of my new permanent situation started to kick in.  I was informed that the chances of me walking again were almost zero.

Before we go much further into that, I must add that my prayer support was off the scale.  In one day alone I received more mail than the entire wing of the ICU.  My final
count was over 200 letters and cards.  My father was a computer programmer for Doubletree Hotels at the time.  Ten Doubletree Hotels sent me flowers.  There were 31 flower arrangements total.  My mother had to take pictures of them all so I could remember them later.  You can’t bring flowers into the ICU.  It was actually rather comical. She would bring in a flower arrangement and say, “Look what you just got, isn’t it beautiful?” and then leave the room.  My Uncle worked for a Christian radio station
in Tucson and he had told my story on the radio as well.  I had people praying for me and sending me letters that I didn’t even know.  Rather overwhelming for a quiet teenager.

Amongst the fan fair and flowers I was starting to wilt inside.  Three days had passed since my release from bed bondage and things started getting hard.  This is when God choose to make a big move in my life, in the form of my mother.  My mother is far from perfect.  She struggled most of my childhood with depression and suicidal tendencies.  But she does love me and loves God, and God was going to use her in a mighty way. That morning she sat by my bed and said to me, “Kristi, you can feel sorry for yourself.  You have a good reason too.  No one will hold it against you.  This is a tough thing.  Then again, people that feel sorry for themselves are not very happy.  They don’t have many friends because no one likes to be around people that feel sorry for themselves all the time.  So I guess you can be that way, or you can take what you got, and let God make something beautiful out of it.  You will have a lot more fun, you will be happier, and everyone around you will enjoy being with you.”

Yes, I know that some of your jaws have hit the floor.  This seems rather harsh.  But then again when God is talking to you, you really should lesson.  From that moment on things changed.  I knew she was right.  My own mother had been a perfect example of how depression can consume the joy out of you.

When you let God do miracles He just starts performing one right after another.  God laid on me peace the size of a football field.  My attitude was so noticeably different than everyone in the ICU that they felt it necessary to send a physiatrist to examine me.  I mean everyone else on the spinal cord injury floor was on meds for depression.  They were concerned I was in denial.  After talking to me for over a half hour I am quite sure that they didn’t know what to think of me.  I should not have been that happy.  I cannot describe the peace and joy that I felt, or still feel today, because our human finite minds really can’t comprehend it.

I could go into gory detail,after gory detail of all the events that followed this, but everything comes down to this.  God is God and I am not.  He was not asleep while all this took place.  He was not unable to take proper bed measurements. God saw fit to allow an incredibly shy insecure teenager to show just how loving, powerful and big He is.

Is it a bigger miracle to heal the body or a broken soul, emotionally and spiritually?  Jesus brought up this point once before with another paraplegic much like myself, in Luke 5:23.  Jesus says, “Which is easier, to say, ’Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ’Rise up and walk’?” The real miracle was the transformation of a soul for eternity.
God heals people from the inside out, not the other way around.

The people of the day needed to see a physical miracle to give proper claim to His deity.  I think that people today need to see more than that.  We need to see miracles that defy reason and understanding.  We live in a world so preoccupied with physical comfort and appearance.  If all our bodies looked and worked perfectly, would we be happy then?  We all know the answer.  God longs to give us His joy, but how often do we choose not to take it.  We thrash out—“Why me?  Why can’t I be like her/him?  She/he has it so easy.”  That of course is always a lie from the father of lies himself.  We all have wheelchairs.  Some are seen and others are not.  What is yours?

My accident and your issues are no different.  I cannot claim the corner of the market on suffering. I don’t want you to look at me as disabled, but enabled through Christ to do all things, and go through all things. God longs to bless your socks off!  Please don’t stand in His way by looking at your wheelchair and seeing only giant mountains to push up.  Let Him lift you up on wings like eagles so you can soar over the tops of them.

My life is not ever going to be easy.  My body will never function right on many levels, not just my legs.  Will I, and do I cry sometimes?  Absolutely!  But then God fills me up again with His joy, and I can be reminded again of all His promises.  I don’t have to keep this body because it is only a temporary shell.  Someday I’ll get to turn it in for a new one, and then I’ll fly.

25 Perks

30 Jan

 

I have a seat everywhere I go.

Many of you have been following my blog now for several months so you have noticed that some of posts have been serious in nature.  If you missed my blog on “Finding Humor in Everything” you must check it out because then you will be prepared for today’s blog.

There are only a few things in life that I take very seriously and the rest is completely up for grabs in my opinion.  Now let me just preface to you that there are many many things about being a paraplegic that are extremely difficult, painful and downright depressing at times, but those topics are no fun to talk about so I’m not going to.

What I am going to educate you about today are a few fun perks about living your life in a wheelchair.  Now, if you are already offended then just stop reading now because I
have no intention of making people mad at me.  But after 26 years I have definitely gained some insight on the matter, and if I can have fun with it you can too.

  1. My feet never get tired from waiting in line.
  2. When someone has to tell me bad news I am already sitting down.
  3. I didn’t need a stroller when my son was little…I was a stroller!
  4. I get on all the rides at Disney Land a lot faster.  Yeah!
  5. No one ever thinks I‘m lazy for always taking the elevator.
  6. I‘m always allowed on the airplane first.
  7. I can buy as many shoes as I want because they hardly every ware out.
  8. I never get blisters from my new shoes!
  9. I have the perfect lap for holding babies (big fan of this one).
  10. When in a group and told to find a seat…I’ve got one.
  11. I can always see over everyone’s heads at the movie theater.
  12. My friends find me handy at the mall because I can carry their bags.
  13. I always get a good parking spot.
  14. Signs that say, “No Shoes, NO Service.” Don’t apply to me.
  15. My hubby knows I’m exempt from washing windows and mowing the lawn.
  16. I’m the perfect hugging height for 5 year-olds and younger!
  17. Going downhill is super fun!
  18. If I get tired of walking my dog he can always pull me…literally.
  19. My air cushion can be used as a flotation device.
  20. It sounds totally impressive to say that my chair is made of titanium.
  21. When I was younger I could actually miss school for having a flat tire.
  22. I can easily impress any child (and some adults) by doing wheelies.
  23. I get two bounces in wheelchair tennis and you just get one!
  24. I am the envy of every person carrying a folding chair.
  25. I get to witness the shocked looks on people’s faces when I say silly things about my disablity!

Everyone has things in life that can be difficult, but it just might be up to you whether or not you make that difficulty a handicap or a perk!

Finding Humor in Everything

24 Aug

It is interesting how a statement, a smell, or even a picture can instantly bring a memory to the forefront of your mind that you haven’t thought about in years. Well, this happened to me the other day.

I was reminded about an event that took place in college that instantly makes me start to laugh. This particular story took place my senior year. Two of my dear friends that had already graduated the year before had come back for a visit. Because I went to Biola University in CA, one of everyone’s favorite “free” pastimes was going to the beach. Cindy and Linda decided that it was high-time I tried my hand at surfing. Yes, I am a paraplegic in a wheelchair, but they knew very well that I was always up for trying something adventurous.

Going to the beach with a wheelchair is always an event in itself. After taking in the layout of the beach; you then strategically plot a course that will take you through as few sand dunes, towels and people as possible. This is because it may take 15-20 minutes just to convince the chair to go through the sand to your located spot. Even with the pushing and pulling efforts of able-bodied people, you will have to stop several time to take in oxygen. Needless to say, once you get there you don’t move anymore. It was decided that the best way to get me to the water was on the board. Then the hilarity began. I have no balance at all! So every time a wave would hit, I would fall off. Then we decide to put me on my stomach so I could hold on tighter to the board. Well, turning was no picnic either. My legs were acting like noodles trying to escape a pot. After this was accomplished, Cindy and Linda each got on either side of me and put an arm around my back to keep me secure so they could swim me out to deeper water. You see, I couldn’t paddle because my legs don’t work, and my arms were very preoccupied with holding on to the board. Everything seemed happy at this point but my face. It wasn’t happy at all!  Because we were heading OUT the waves were crashing INTO my face!

We were just about out far enough to start to turn me around back to shore when something completely unexpected happened. At that moment, one of the local surfers passed me on his way out to catch a wave. In the nicest way possible he said to me, “Lookin’ good! All you have to do it STAND UP!” Then he smiled, gave me a thumbs-up and was on his way. The amount of laughter between the three of us that was inspired by this statement should have made us drown. Thank goodness the surf board was there to save us. Poor guy had no idea that what he said was soooo funny! After we were able to calm down and catch our breath, I managed to successfully catch a wave and rode it all the way to the beach in time to mimic a beached whale waiting to be saved. You’d think this was the end of the story… but you’d be wrong.

About an hour later, after sunning for a bit on the sand we decided to prepare for our strenuous return trip through the ever unpleasant SAND! I had just gotten back in my chair and was picking up my stuff when the most ironic thing happened again. The same surfer happened to be passing by and was brought face-to-face with the words that he had said just an hour or so earlier. I will never forget the look on his face. I felt so bad for him. I thought his eyes were going to pop right out. All I heard was “Duuuuude! I am soooo sorry. I didn’t know you were in a wheelchair!”

It took a great deal of work to convince him that it was no big deal. We just thought it was funny! I didn’t remotely have my feeling hurt. Rather I was more flattered by his thoughtfulness (he was pretty cute as well). I wish more than anything this surfer would read this blog and realize that his ignorance has brought me years of laughter and nothing but pleasant thoughts of CA surfers! I hope this story has triggered your own unexpected humorous memories. You never know when a good belly laugh might be waiting just around the corner–or the beach!