Chapter Forty-Eight & Feeling Great

Guess who’s 48 today? Me!

I woke up feeling great today.

I googled the number 48 to see what was special about it besides me tuning this amazing number. I found there’s a special edition of a Harley Davidson Motorcycle that share this special number. Fast and smooth is me. No, I’d never ride one but I’d wear a pair of chaps and sit on one.

Also, I learned the number 48 means, guardian angels are signaling, that a sequence of events is facing a closure shortly. In return, you’ll be amply compensated for all the honest efforts you put in.  I’d take that for, COVID will be ending shortly and I’m going to hit that big Mega Million or Power Ball drawing that’s up for grabs. It may be wishful thinking but, a sista can hope!

Lastly, I know the number 48 means I’ve been blessed by the good Lord to have been granted to be on this earth for this amount of time and do great things and meet great people. No, I didn’t have to google to learn that.

As I reflect on 47, I must say, it brought challenges. COVID took my job, my freedom to move around freely and to see my friends in person.

This time last year, I wasn’t thinking about life as it is today. I was thinking about, where I was going, what meeting I had to attend, and going to mall the to purchase boots that were on sale.

This pandemic slowed my life down to “smell the roses”.   

I’m much happier these days and that’s saying a lot because I was already happy. I take more time now, to appreciate the littlest of things.

Often when something bad happens, it teaches us lessons. I had almost a year to chill and take things in.

As I celebrate 48, I’m going to take notes from 47 and put good energy into the universe. Life is precious and no one should take it for granted. Do your best each year you are granted a higher number and help someone. I honestly believe, helping others make you better.

What am I looking forward to at the age of 48 you ask? I just got word that I’ll be returning to work soon which I’m happy to report. I miss my work family! As always, I’ll continue my journey to step. It’s hard but nothing that comes to easy is worth it. I’ll continue blogging professionally and personally for I love expressing myself. Lastly, I’m going to continue to be happy and keep my faith. I genuinely believe, faith brings you happiness.

On that note, Happy Birthday to Me

Stay safe and uplifted!

Shari

Learned Lessons of 2020 & Here’s to a Better 2021

We are approaching 2021 and, I’m so happy.

It’s been a hard year. Everything you could’ve expected to go wrong has lived up to its expectation.

Twenty-twenty brought COVID and swept the nation, taking many with it and continues to do so today. Many have lost jobs and homes. Businesses have gone under some to never return.  The need for food is, greater than it’s ever been and life is just unbelievable hard for the majority right now.

Also, this year, we’ve seen the big problem of racial injustice. The Black Lives Matter movement took center stage to remind the nation, the black community is a part of the society too and will not be treated, inhumanely.

Also, I witness the lack of home health aides become an even greater issue in the disability community. Although we’re a strong population, if we can’t get the one service we so desperately need and by law are entitled to, we’re up a creek without a paddle.

Because of all of this is, why I’m glad to see 2020 come to an end. But, even with all the madness of this unforgettable year, I’ve learned a lot.

This year has taught me I’m a lot stronger than I ever thought. I got my strength from my mom. My mom who is now up in age and dealing with the challenges that it brings, instilled a will inside of me to make it no matter what. I’m forever grateful to her for that. She is and will forever be, superwoman to me.   

Life is never easy, but it’s so worth it. It’s the little I’m valuing more these days. I’ve mastered making my bed (which I’m very good at), putting on slippers, air frying, and yes, even ordering door dash. May not sound much to you but, being able to do these things bring me, great joy. Let me remind you, I don’t have to do any of these things. I’m one of the lucky ones who has many hands to assist me, but I wanted to. That’s another thing I credit to my mom, get it done, so if you don’t have a peddle, you can flap your arms in the water until you make it to shore for help.

This year also taught me; advocacy is the bomb! Throughout the year, I’ve had time to join many advocacy groups, organizations, and events virtually. I drew knowledge and strength from every meeting I attended. When things aren’t quite going right, you need a soundboard of people who understand your needs and can offer suggestions.

I knew this but, a family is everything. My family who I refer to as “The Super Coopers” are amazing! I’m so lucky I was blessed to be a part of that family. Also, my favorite guy is the love of my life, even if he loves the Steelers! I couldn’t have made a better man for me even if I tried for, he’s very supportive and promotes my independences. Most of mankind is kind. Many in the world care about the people and want to help.

Finally, I’ve learned from 2020, time heals all wounds. It was a hard year but, I’m optimistic and, I believe with work and a whole lot of faith, 2021 will be a better year!

Until next time, stay safe and uplifted

Happy New Year

Shari

12 Days of Christmas-COVID Style

Since Christmas is almost here, I’m determined to make it special despite, COVID. Here’s my list to make the most of the holiday!

  1. I love Christmas music, so I’ve been chilling out listening to the Soulful Christmas station on Pandora. My favorite Xmas song is, O Come, All Ye Faithful. Turn some Xmas tunes on, it will help put you in the holiday spirit.
  2. Decorating your house is another way to bring out your Christmas spirit. My house is all decked out in holiday décor and it put a smile on my face as I ride through it!
  3. Many are putting holiday drink recipes on Facebook. The one that caught my interest that I’m going to try is, lime sherbet, Sprite & Patron. I’ll definitely be trying that one.  Anyone have another one I should try?
  4. The Lifetime channel has an abundance of great holiday movies and I have been glued to the tv enjoying them. My favorite has been, Christmas Ever After featuring Ali Stoker who’s an actress with a disability. Check it out, it’s a good one.
  5. Due to the pandemic, I haven’t been able to go out and shop in person like I love to do. Thank goodness for online shopping. It’s been fun purchasing gifts for loved ones. There are some good deals out there. Check them out!
  6. O’derves holiday recipes are the best because most are finger food which is right up my alley! Google some and snack away. Remember, don’t overindulge. Summer is right around the corner and you want to remain your beach body.
  7. Enjoy virtual holiday events. I know we want to get but we need to stay safe. Many are offering virtual light displays and musical performances. Google some and check them out.
  8. Donate to a cause. My sister and went to Wendy’s and she was offered to donate her change to an organization that helps black youth education. I thought that was awesome so find a charitable organization to donate to.  Any amount is helpful.
  9. Appreciate the snow. It’s beautiful and won’t be around for long.
  10. Take a holiday picture. Darryl, me, and Tiny (our doggie) is preparing to take a home holiday photo in matching pajamas with the help of my computer’s camera.  Wish us luck.
  11. Tell a stranger, “Happy Holidays”. Someone told me that the other day and it warmed my heart.
  12. Create memories!

My favorite sister Glenda “Peggy” told me at a young age, “learn to make yourself happy”. That was the best advice she has ever given me. No matter the situation, I try to make the best of it. I wish the same for you.

Happy Holidays

Shari

A Want Vs A Need-What’s More Important

I often debate when it comes to me as a person living with a disability, what’s more important, my wants or needs.

Right off the bat many always say, (especially the ones who support me) needs are greater.

I agree on some bases for I know I need certain things to keep me alive as well as independent. My scooter keeps me mobile, personal care attendants make sure I’m able to do things that cause me physical difficulties, and of course, food and water are a must. Needs are definite necessities.      

Although I’m down with this need thing, I want to let you know, my wants are equally important especially now during the pandemic. My wants are keeping me sane.

I find myself wanting more simple things these days. Netflix seem to be at the top of my list so I added an account in my budget so I can watch whatever my little heart desires. This includes binge-watching certain series. Gummy bears are a must to have around the house these days. I tend to eat all the red ones first. Scented candles seem to be making me extremely happy too especially the delightful scent of Vanilla Snowflake.

I chose to write on this topic because I hear of many stories from my friends with disabilities on how they’re not getting the want list met during this time.

People with disabilities have been in a pandemic mode for a long time. We are used to loneliness, isolation, social distancing, sickness, low income, unemployment, etc. All this pandemic stress is new to most but it’s life for most with disabilities. The only difference, people with disabilities are strong, and know how to handle situations that others don’t. By no means are we superheroes and having to deal with the pandemic didn’t help but we are a strong community.

I don’t want to see those who have been fighting the good fight be stripped of their power and happiness taken because they’re not getting what they want. You may say, some of what people want is not good for them. I’m saying, some of your wants aren’t good for you either, yet you still partake in them.

As long as things are done in moderation and don’t cause one harm, I say go for it.

Wants are just as important as needs. Often both can work together for one’s good.

This pandemic will soon pass but until it does make sure some of the people’s wants get met. They’ll be much happier.

Until next time, stay safe and uplifted

Shari  

Note to Self

One of my favorite segments on CBS’s Morning Show is Note to Self. A note to self is where your current self, writes a letter to your younger self. Since we’re in the midst of the Thanksgiving holiday, I figured I’d give it a shot.

Hello Shari! What an interesting life you’ve had so far.

When you were born, it was rough. Girl, you even died but a higher power brought you back to do great things and you’ve exceeded at doing them all.

You had a hard time getting started. Walking, talking, and using your hands came late. Your amazing family worked with you constantly until you got a handle on your life.

Shari, you will attend a grade school where all students have disabilities just like you. This school is where you’ll meet life long friends and begin to make great strides in your quest for independence. And, thanks to the professionals who worked there, you’ll learn many techniques to do things for yourself.

You will later be mainstreamed into a school where you and some of your lifelong friends are the minority instead of the majority. It will be hard and you will take on the act of being bullied but thanks to your four big brothers they’ll teach you the meaning, of thick skin along with other tacked that your mom wouldn’t have approved of to take of yourself. At this time, you’ll also go through an ugly duckling stage where you won’t feel pretty at all but thanks to your big sister, she’ll help bring you out of that by teaching you beauty tips. Soon, you’ll turn into a beautiful swan and begin to look at yourself in a new light.

High school will be ok. You’ll be in many activities and kids will become too mature.

After high school, you’ll attend community college and earn a degree. Not really being sure of your career path, you’ll stumble into a non-profit organization that will help you flourish into a position you had no idea you could do.

During this time, you’ll meet the one who you thought was the love of your life. He’ll break your heart, but later, you’ll be so happy he did.

Unfortunately, you’ll lose your ability to walk and one of your favorite brothers. This will be stressful and test your faith but thankfully you hung on to your faith and got back on your path to success.

Advocacy will become your passion. You’ll join and become selected to sit on many boards,  councils, and commissions at the local, state, and national level. You’ll even become Ms. Wheelchair Ohio 2008!  

Shari, you’ll later meet the love of your life and begin living the American dream! You two will purchase a house and get a big spoiled dog who you love dearly.

Life will be going well, then you like the rest of the world will be caught up in a pandemic. Life will be different, but you’ll keep your faith and you’ve more time to spend with the ones you cherish while also working on yourself.

Shari, as you prepare for Thanksgiving, I’m not sure what the year twenty-twenty-one will bring. I am sure you’ll find ways to make things happen because that’s what you do. Keep on your journey young Coop and remember, life is what you make it.

Happy Thanksgiving All!

Shari

Making it Through Stressful Times

Life is stressful these days but we’re going to make it through.

I woke up this morning feeling icky and disgusted and that’s not like me for I’m usually, a very happy go lucky person, but this week has been stressful.

I cracked my phone screen and I love my phone. I often kid around telling people, you can take my scooter but not my phone. Also, I had an evaluation to get a new scooter after five years only to find out, the brand of scooter I have has been revamped to make it better. The only problem is the new revisions are going to be more of a barrier for me to operate. COVID is still running around at a very rapid pace threatening everyone it meets. Finally, this darn presidential election is a crazy and whole different ugly monster.

What is one to do to maintain their mental and physical state?

I’ve decided, I’m going to give myself, a Shari Day. What’s a Shari Day you ask?

I’m going to start by limiting how much tv I watch. Seems as if I’m drawn to hearing about the elections and having access to the CNN news channel, isn’t helping. I would love to tell you I’m going to take a break from watching all together but that’s not likely, but I do think limiting my time consumption will help me.

Pizza always makes me happy, so pizza for lunch is what I’ll be having! Not to worry, I’m still on my fitness kick but today is my day so pizza is what it is.

Practicing a new technique to drive my current scooter in order to see if I should get a scooter or a different device is on my agenda for today. I have an appointment to try out a new brand next week, so that will also help with my determining factor.

Christmas is coming so I’ll check out new phones on the internet to see which one I want to buy. I always buy myself something so a new phone it’ll be. Hopefully, the one I choose will come in red for that’s my favorite color.

As far as COVID, I’m going to keep doing what I’ve been doing, which is laying low, social distancing, and wearing my mask everywhere I go to keep safe.

Other things I will do to keep from getting stress are, plan a special day this weekend which is going to include getting dressed up and going somewhere. By no means will it be extravagant or crowded but, new scenery will do me well. I think I’ll also do a little online Christmas shopping. Christmas shopping makes me happy as well and puts me in the holiday spirit.  

Finally, I’m going to remain prayerful for prayer changes things. 

These times are indeed stressful but don’t let them take you down.

Until next time, stay safe and uplifted

Shari

Getting to the Core

As COVID19 lingers, so does the quarantine pounds many have gained from it.

When the whole quarantine/social distancing rule was put in effect by the governor eight months ago, I kept thinking, no matter how long this thing last, I wasn’t going to sit around and gain a lot of weight. Usually, when tragedy hits, many deals with it by eating as a coping mechanism. 

Food is a wonderful thing but when you overindulge, it causes a problem. One piece of cake leads to two pieces and by the time you know it, you’ve eaten the whole darn thing.  

As I said before, I can’t afford to gain weight. The more weight I gain, the hardest it is for me to move. My disability already makes it hard for me to move. Adding more weight makes it nearly impossible. I’m determined not to let that happen because I want to keep the mobility, I have to remain independent.

I mentioned in a previous post, I’d had been going to my mom’s house twice a week and walking her steps (14 to be exact) to keep myself limble and in shape. I’m happy to say, that’s going great. I’m also happy to report, I’ve added another regiment to my workout routine. I brought a Red XL and I love it!

The RED XL allows one to work on their waist by sitting down and twisting from one side to the other. It has handles on both sides and lucky, I have the stability to balances myself and get my twist on. I also, feel the burn in my legs for I try to lift them allowing me to twist easier and much faster.

I usually twist while watching tv. It came in handy while watching the presidential debates, especially that first one. Thanks to RED XL I was able to get in shape while working out my frustration.

Another good thing about the RED XL is, it’s very light so you can take it anywhere you want to go to work out. Because it’s so light, I never transfer to it alone. Safety always comes first but once I’m on it, I become a beast as my brother Jay calls me. Most exercise machines are heavy and bulky but not the Red. It’s cute and red which is my favorite color.

Although we’re in the midst of cold weather, nicer weather is bound to return. I intend to look my best when it does. I even told my favorite guy, he’s going to be calling me, six when I’m finished referring to me having six-pack abs. Yes, that’s my goal. If I make it to just being more mobile, I’ll take it.

One day COVID19 will be gone. My only question to you is, how much weight will you’ve gained when it does?

Until next time, stay safe and uplifted

Shari    

Should Your Mate Be Your Caregiver

The profession of caregiving is an ever-rotating field. It’s especially trying at this time as we deal with COVID19. 

My caregiver whom I’ve been with for seven years, recently had to put me on hold because of personal reasons. Although I miss her, I’m ok because I have a good back-up system plus the company, I receive services from, finally sent me a replacement.  My new caregiver and I are trying to learn each other but, that’s a blog story for another day.

While I was waiting for my caregiver’s replacement one of the people who assisted me was my favorite guy, Darryl.

It’s a different dynamic when your mate serves as your caregiver. I’m happy to say, Darryl is the perfect guy for me. There’s nothing he wouldn’t do to assist me and promote my independence. With this being said, I like to pose the question, “should your mate be your caregiver”?

I’m going to say, no.

Caregiver and intimacy just don’t mix in my opinion. Being a woman, there are just somethings you’re just aren’t going to want your man to do for you especially if, he’s your mate. It’s just like when I was in intensive rehabilitation facility for physical therapy and a male nurse answer my call to assist me to go to the restroom. I had a fit! I told him thanks but no thanks buddy, send me a female nurse. I don’t mean to sound discriminatory but, isn’t no male taking me to the restroom. It makes me feel uneasy.

Of course, when meeting a mate, your hope is, that person will assist you in hard times. If he or she doesn’t, you have the wrong person. Still, I think there should be a line not to be crossed because caregiving and intimacy just don’t mix. I think it takes the spark out of a relationship.

Now, as far as cooking, assisting with dressing, and maybe small other tasks, I’m good with Darryl’s assistance. Other one-on-one care, a sister needs a female caregiver.

COVID19 has broadened my horizon for there’re are many more things people with disabilities have to deal with every day which others without don’t. What I find troubling, no one ever wants to talk about them. Unless we’re in open conversations about things such as Medicaid, employment first, or transportation, the other things that make us human get overlooked Could it be the other subjects are too touchy?  

If you haven’t figured it out by now, I like touchy. Opening touchy subjects is the only way I’m going to live a full quality of life.

I am very thankful for my favorite guy assisting me in my time of need. He’s has a beautiful spirit but unless I’m in a pickle, on vacation or on business presenting out of town, I don’t want him to be my caregiver. He can’t do my hair or apply a smokey eye with my eyeshadow and that’s what I need and want. Just keeping it real.

Until next time, stay safe and uplifted

Shari      

NOTORIOUS

The world has lost a giant in Supreme Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Justice Ginsburg who died last week at age 87 was nominated by President Bill Clinton in 1993 was the first Jewish woman and the second woman to serve on the Supreme Court.

Throughout her career, Ginsburg noted she faced discrimination. As in today’s times, if you’re a woman of another culture, the world often passes judgment which leads to discrimination to those who’s not viewed as the majority. Discrimination can often deter a person from reaching for their dreams but, it didn’t Justice Ginsburg and because of her tenacity, we’re a much better nation.

Although I’m impressed with Ginsburg’s resume which includes her efforts in, gender equality, planned parenthood, and LGBTQ rights, I’m most thankful to her for the Olmstead vs LC case in 1999.

Olmstead vs LC was about two women named Lois Curtis and Elaine Wilson who had disabilities and were institutionalized voluntarily in Georgia. After their lengthy stay in the institution that later proved them competent, they decided they wanted to move out and live in the community. Sadly, their request was denied to do so but through their advocacy and the advocacy of others, the case was taken to the supreme court where Justice Ginsburg help set in place the rule community integration for people with disabilities.

Justice Ginsburg valued people with disabilities’ worth and knew they had a right to live in the community as anyone else.

Ginsburg took on the nickname of the Notorious “RBG”. The only one I knew who shared that name was the late Notorious “BIG” who was a rapper and songwriter. For you’ll who don’t know, Biggie was one of the best rappers in the world. His lyrics were real and relevant to everything that was going on. If one thought he or she wanted to have a rap battle against him, he or she had been ready with their best. Just like Biggie, Ginsburg was known for her words and strength to inject the right for justice.

Although there have been great women who’ve graced this earth, Justice Ginsburg is the only woman that has laid in the statehouse for the people to come and pay their respects for all she’d done making the world a better place.

There will be other women that will make their mark in the world to make it a better place because the Justice helped paved the way for them to do so. She was a pioneer that will be sketched in history.

Rest well RBG and know we are all better because of you.

Until next time, stay safe and uplifted

Shari

A Night to Remember

Do you have a story of COVID19 you need to tell?

If you’re like me COVID19 has changed your life. No one expected this pandemic to take land and dock, but it has. In the past six months, things have been so different for all, that I’m sure you have something to get off your chest.

On September 23, 2020, @ 7:00 pm via Zoom, the awesome advocacy group, Breaking Silences will be presenting a poetry/speech night. You can join us by listening to dynamic speakers tell their story or apply to be a speaker yourself and tell your own personal story.

Often, when a person has a disability, he or she is forgotten but, this will be a night to let our voices be heard. What I love about this group is although it’s an advocacy group where many people with disabilities share and take on issues that affect our livelihoods, we don’t discriminate against anyone. All are welcome.

The night will be a time to laugh, cry, feel angry as well as happy, and hopefully get a new perspective on this pandemic that will carry you through for the long haul.

Everyone has a story and what I’ve learned over my life is, if you share, it makes you feel better. Sharing your story can also help someone else to know they’re not in this fight alone as well as give him or her tips on how to.

By the world being in chaos which causes us to social distance, this event will present us a way to come together as one. We really need togetherness right now.

As much as we think we’re invincible, everyone needs help sometimes.  A shoulder to cry on or a listening ear can make all the difference in someone’s life. Disability or not, COVID19 is not discriminating. It doesn’t care who you are for it’s making life difficult for all in one way or another.   

If you need another reason to tune-in on the 23rd, yours truly will be hosting this fabulous event. I will also be taking the mic as a speaker. COVID19 has caused me to think differently and have a somewhat different attitude and I’m ready to share.

Contact: Terri Thrower @ terri@expandingnormal.com or 630 290-6715 for more information on this event.

Hope you can join us for it’s going to be a night to remember.

Until next time, stay safe and uplifted

Shari