Thursday, December 31, 2015


In a few hours 2016 will be upon us. I wish I had something profound to say. My wishes and hopes for the coming are year simple and straight forward. 

I want to move forward in my life. I am going to try to repair as many relationships as I can. The ones I can't, or the ones that make me unhappy,I will have to accept that I did the best I could and move on. 

It has always been difficult for me to have a positive attitude. This year I am going to make a sincere effort to be more positive. I know It won't be easy but I am going to give it my best shot. There   is not much to be happy about when you live in a facility, While I am here I'll try to find something positive in the experience. I was happy to be safe and dry during the rain and terrible flooding this week. 

I want to write more blog posts in the coming year. I want to read more. A book can take me anywhere.

i want to explore opportunities. From writing to living opportunities. I want to see what is out there waiting for me.

I want to be a better sister, aunt and friend in the coming year.

Moving forward is scary. Will I have failures? Yes. All I can do is try.  Try to be the best person I can be.

Good luck in your Journey. Keep moving forward. 


Saturday, December 19, 2015


I have read several posts from other bloggers in which they write letters to their younger selves offering insight and advice. I decided to give it a try.The following is my letter to my fifteen year old self.

Dear Joanne,

I am your older self. I am fifty-eight years old. At the age of fifteen, I am sure that seems ancient to you, but trust me, the time goes by faster than you expect. When you get closer to fifty-eight, it won;t seem old at all.

Right now life is pretty easy for you because Mom does everything. I know you never liked the social groups for teens with disabilities, but get involved in one. You might make some connections that will help you later in your life. Look toward your future because Mom will not be around forever. Take on as much responsibility as you can. When others give you advice, be respectful and listen. You do not know everything. Learn to make decisions and be confident in them.  

Get involved with an independent living center soon after you finish school. Move out on your own. It may not seem like it now, but moving out, will be the best thing for you and Mom. 

Be proud of your accomplishments. There will be many. The kids at school laugh at you and think you are weird. You are unique. You will be successful. You may not make a lot of money or be able to work full time, but you will contribute to your community and help others. That is the best kind of success.

Mom's death will be extremely difficult for you. I am not sure you'll ever really get over it. you just have to go on the way she would want you to.

You'll make mistakes. Burn bridges. You'll say things you cannot take back. But, you'll also have some unforgettable experiences, travel, meet some great people and do things you never thought you could do.

I live in a facility now. I don't believe it will be forever. It's just a stopping point. A. place for me to gain the skills I need to have a better life.

The best advice I can give is to face your fears. I have a lot of trouble doing this. Everything scares me. If you can face your fears, you'll be okay.


Your Older Self

Sunday, December 13, 2015


i am a glass half empty kind of person. It has been difficult for me to see the positive side of my circumstances since moving to a facility. I have lost so much. My life is totally changed. I didn't know if I could write a holiday blog because I didn't know what my message would be. No one wants to read a depressing blog post.

I forced myself to start looking at the positive things in my life. I have a private room with a balcony and a large closet. Many residents have to share a room with little personal space. .I know how lucky I am to have my own room.

Since Thanksgiving, several things have happened that made me stop and reflect on how blessed I am.  

I turned my blog post on Donald Trump into a letter to the editor and my letter was published in the St. Louis Post Dispatch. I wouldn't have considered doing this had it not been for a friend who thought that my blog post was good enough and deserving enough to be submitted for consideration. I am blessed that my friend believed in me.

I miss Christmas at home. I miss my tree with my Suzy's Zoo Village  under it. Several weeks ago my brother put up a tree in my room. He also brought a box of family Christmas decorations with him. It's a new tree, but it is  adorned with ornaments and decorations from home.I look at the tree and smile. I smile because I see the wooden ornaments my mother painted hanging on it. But, I also smile because my brother took the time to put  up a tree and decorate it with things from home.  It meant a lot to me.

I am blessed because I have not been forgotten by my friends since moving here. I know they have families and lead busy lives, but they still manage to find the time to visit. I hope they know how much I appreciate their visits.  Their visits allow me to forget where I am for a while. And, they always make laugh . And, laughter is very important. Some. residents rarely have visitors. I am blessed to have frequent visitors.

So, maybe the glass is not half empty after all. I have a family who loves and supports me. I have friends who make to for me even though they are busy.  Maybe the glass is not even half full. Maybe the glass is filled to the top ready to overflow.

May your glass be filled with joy and blessings this Holiday Season..   

Thursday, December 3, 2015


First, Donald Trump mocks a reporter with a disability. Now, Kylie Jenner has posed in a wheelchair on the cover of Interview Magazine. She called it a fashion statement.

It is obvious that choosing to pose in a wheelchair on the cover of the magazine was in poor taste and showed a lack of maturity on Ms. Jenner's part. What upsets me more is the kind of message she's sending to her fans. In my opinion, she is trivializing the importance of wheelchairs, making them appear to be props or toys., The cover photo sends the message that a wheelchair is something to have fun with. When in fact a wheelchair is a means of mobility and independence for many people with disabilities including me.

When the photo shoot ended, Kylie Jenner could get out of the wheelchair on her own. She didn't have to wait for someone to come and transfer her the way I do. If she is against bullying, why then would she choose to pose for a magazine cover in a wheelchair? By doing so she is mocking every person for whom a wheelchair is a necessity, not just a prop or fashion accessory that will be discarded when the photo shoot has ended.

Ms. Jenner also stated that she feels limited in her career. She has no idea what it means to be limited in what you can do. Having to depend on others to assist you. Having to plan everything even the most basic things like when you can use the bathroom. I am sure Ms. Jenner has never had to do that.

I would like to encourage Ms. Jenner to visit a rehab or nursing facility. There she will see people dealing with real struggles and limitations. And, I hope she'll regret choosing to use a wheelchair in that cover shoot. I hope she will see that for most people who use them, a wheelchair is not a choice. .