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Who’s Counting?

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A year and a half.

That’s today.

It’s been a year and a half of life post-SCI and here I am, still kicking.
Well, I guess that’s probably not the best metaphor to use….

Sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever get to a point in my life where I stop counting the time that has passed. Stop making note of the injury anniversaries, hospital discharge dates, or post-SCI life accomplishment milestones. Sometimes I wonder if I’m even supposed to get to a point where I stop counting my “wheeling” time. I guess it’s a good thing I’m generally not too concerned about blending in and fulfilling whatever standards society has set as “normal.” I mean, I don’t think another May 25th will every pass by without it having a different “presence.” I guess that makes November 25, the half-way point to the year mark, a bit similar-just to a lesser degree.

It’s still strange though, having two days that I never thought would be anything more than simply dates on a calendar that now hold this crazy powerful reminder of a pretty drastic change in my life. This very powerful reminder that I have to figure out how to deal with.

Do I look back at where I was? Spend time reflecting on those frightening and overwhelming days back in the hospital?

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The days where I had countless tubes and medical paraphernalia connected to me (Most of which I kept once they were pulled out, just for the record. I mean, I paid for it, so why not?) The days where all I could stomach eating was applesauce. The days where people pushed me around because I didn’t have the strength or desire to do it myself. Read the rest of this entry »

Just Wait

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So there’s this story that I feel like I’ve heard or have referenced myself a bajillion times throughout my life. It’s nothing crazy or embarrassing, just something we, as a family, chuckle and shake our heads at. Of course it’s about Mom..

Apparently Mom wasn’t the most patient of children. I couldn’t really tell you the extent of this impatience beyond the now-classic story I was referring to in the beginning. I guess Mom didn’t have enough patience to wait for the toast to finish toasting and would attempt to fish it out with a fork. Needless to say, Grandma recognized the need for growth in this area and she set to work. Mom was quickly enrolled in the knitting project in 4-H as well as the dog project to attempt to improve said lack of this quality. If you ask me, I think it worked. Exhibit 1: She raised three of us crazy kids. Exhibit 2: She still puts up with me on a daily basis when there are days I don’t even want to put up with myself.

Ironically enough, I was enrolled in the knitting project myself as a 4-Her and I loved every minute of it. I’ve made some pretty crazy things (see below) but it’s always been something I’ve enjoyed.

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Tadahhh! A tiny knit pig.

I (like Mom) was also in the dog project and did the whole dog training song and dance in not just obedience, but showmanship and agility too.

So what’s my point? I always thought I had the whole patience thing figured out. I mean, I’ve even spent countless hours working with sheep, which although are wonderful and beautiful creatures, they aren’t very forgiving or trusting.  I was also Community Advisor in college and let me tell you, working with some individuals was certainly trying. I have patience. Read the rest of this entry »

The Fifth W

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Who. What. Where. When. Why.

Pretty basic stuff right? I mean, we’re taught the five W’s in what, second grade? Those first four W’s are pretty basic stuff, but if you ask me, that fifth W can be a real pain in the neck sometimes. I guess the five W’s missed the memo about saving the best for last…

I think everyone has asked themselves “why” something happens at some point in time in there life. Why does poverty and homelessness occur? Why do young people die? Why do people get sick? Why does someone get injured in a freak accident, changing their life forever in a split second? Why. To be completely honest with you, that really wasn’t a question I’ve struggled with since all this happened. I guess I’ve always had this belief that everything happens for a reason. Keyword in that sentence, had.

Why past tense? Now that “why” I can answer…I’ve been volunteering with this awesome new organization called the ave. The ave. is a community built to encourage spiritual growth and provide a place of fellowship for high school students in local WELS churches. I guess just really giving them a place to connect with some peers and learn about God’s word in a “teen friendly” environment. We meet at a local coffee shop twice a month to “unplug” and “plugin.” We seek to refocus with music, God’s word, prayer, and often listen to a speaker (if you’re local and know of some students who could benefit, check out the website and have them come join us!).

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I love going and chatting with some great students and other volunteers; plus as a bonus, I get to worship, listen, and learn (yeay learning!). This past session, Pastor Leon Ehlert (a teacher at Fox Valley Lutheran) was our keynote speaker who talked about how and why Christians suffer. Read the rest of this entry »

Go go go!

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Go. Go. Go. That’s life right?

Go. Go. Go. A constant hustle and bustle from one activity to the next. There are appointments to make, tasks to complete, errands to run, and the list just keeps going and going and going. I kind of doubt I’m the only one that feels this way. I mean sure, everyone has a different level of activity before they consider themselves, “busy,” but we all get there.

I’m pretty sure I’m there right now. Awe heck, I live there. It’s probably a bit on the weird side, but I do better with life when I keep myself busy and out of Mom’s hair (well, sort of outta Mom’s hair). For example, I’m taking some business courses (I told you, I love learning) and I’m driving now, in my own vehicle! Boom sauce!

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And just for the record, it’s not a van-it’s a hatchback with sliding doors. This way I just chuck my whole chair behind the drivers seat and don’t have to worry about breaking it down in nasty Wisconsin-like weather. But that’s beside the point. I guess I’ve been doing a lot of thinking (scary I know, just in time for Halloween…) and spending more time reflecting on my day-to-day life, beliefs, and my injury/accident. Read the rest of this entry »

Learner.

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Random fact about Sam: I love to learn

Alright, so maybe that isn’t that random of a fact, but I’m being completly serious when I say it. I’m not kidding you when I say learning gets me about as excited as the entire state of Wisconsin is when the Packers go to the Super Bowl. Let me prove it, I did something called Strengths Quest as a Community Advisor (same thing as an RA) in college where you answered a bunch of questions and found out your “Top 5 Strengths.” I guess you could say it’s like a modified Myers-Briggs…ish. Anyway, “Learner” was my number one.

Bailey Hall CA Staff  Photo Credit to the awesome Ms. Jana Paulson
Bailey Hall CA Staff
Photo Credit to the awesome Ms. Jana Paulson

Read the rest of this entry »

A New Sisterhood

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It takes a lot to leave me speechless. It takes a lot for me to not be able to find something to say (I mean, just ask my family). But I’m sitting here, trying to figure out where in the world to even start. Where to start to describe the events of August 4-10th….

August 4-10th was the National Ms. Wheelchair America (MWA) 2015 competition held in Long Beach, California. So we (Mom, Dad, and I) packed our bags and headed out there. I guess I shouldn’t make it sound so easy. We had an early flight to catch so we (plus Danielle, our driver) spent the night in Milwaulkee to be ready in time. Now THAT was an experience. We happened to stay in a hotel that was booked out for the Midwest Latin Dance Festival. Sounds all well and good right? Well, as the walls rumbled at midnight from a live band, we started to get a bit concerned. A call to the front desk informed us the band was on till 3am. 3am rolls around and the band stops only for a DJ to start. Needless to say, I was a bit concerned how the rest of the trip was going to go.

Thankfully things turned around the following day when we had the greatest flight attendants. I wore my Ms. Wheelchair Wisconsin sash on the plane and the attendant wanted to know where my crown was. I informed him only Ms. Wheelchair America wore her crown during the competition, but he thought that just wouldn’t do. He disappeared around the corner and a few minutes later produced my very own South West style crown.

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TAH DAHHH! Peanuts and stir sticks. How cool is that? I told him he wasn’t getting paid enough… Read the rest of this entry »

Practice, practice, practice

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So I haven’t died, I’ve just been really busy and kind of fell off the blog-o-sphere. But if you’ve met me in person, I rarely stay quiet for long. So hmmm, I’m gonna spend a bit of time playing catch up on Sam’s life-ness.

I had my first biff backwards in my chair a week ago which is exciting. Well, I guess Mom probably wouldn’t say it was exciting, but I’m no longer a falling-backwards virgin so that’s something. Okay, that doesn’t sound very good but I think you get my gist. It was kind of a comical situation and I’ve learned that I’m the queen of freak accidents. So Danielle and I were home alone, just hanging out watching another epic episode of Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix (I may have a bit of an addiction). I was totally behaving myself, meaning I wasn’t screwing around and hanging out in a wheelie; I was literally just sitting there, all four wheels on the floor. I decided I wanted to get something to snack on in the kitchen so I started to back up and Mr. Leopold just happened to be screwing around under my chair and I totally ran over his tail. He freaked out, so I freaked out and pushed forward really fast while he shot out from underneath me and that combo of me pushing forward and him flying backward sent me right over.

It all happened super fast until I got to the moment where I knew I was done for and as the world started to move in slow-mo, all I could do was think, “Huh, this is really happening. I’m totally gonna fall over. Oh! Chin to chest. Chin to chest!” Danielle was a bit worried, asked if I was okay but then said we better take a picture and text it to Mom who was gone at a class reunion. So yep, the moment has even been forever solidified in pixels. For the record, Leopold was back on my lap in under two minutes. That cat may have some serious issues.

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I’m pretty sure my favorite part of the whole ordeal was once I was all re-situated and upright and Danielle goes, “you know, I’m super proud of myself, I was really mature for that whole thing.” Yea Danielle, especially when you said we needed to take a picture. You’re basically the epitome of mature:) Read the rest of this entry »