Like Daniel: Into the Lion’s den we go!

Have you ever felt like you were going to be eaten by lions? I sure have! Yet, with faith I overcame this fear.

You see, I do not have health insurance and for the past four years I have not seen a doctor. For over the last month I had been calling the low-income clinic trying to reach their social worker to see if I would qualify for their low-income sliding scale program. After telling the social worker my situation I was granted the “free” scale. From there she led me to my nurse’s office where I had to fill out my medical history.

As I waited for my name to be called, I prayed a prayer of thanksgiving for meeting my needs and a prayer for courage since going to the doctors were like being thrown into the lion’s den. The reason I was so nervous was because of the sad reality of seeing my mother passed away right in front of me at age 17, and on top of that having quite a few bad experiences with medical professionals when I was a teenager.

As I sat there waiting for my name to be called my palms were sweating, and my heart was racing as the nurse led me from the scale into the exam room. When I finally perch myself on the exam table, I felt like I was in a den of lions ready to be eaten. Trying to calm myself I thought about a Bible study I did a few weeks back about Daniel and the lions. I knew I had to be like Daniel and have faith. The nurse’s assistant asked me the usual round of questions, like if I was in pain, when my last time I saw the doctor, what medicines I was taking, etc.

Then she took my blood pressure, which was fine, however she had to take my pulse twice. My pulse was high at 129. As I sat there waiting on the nurse, I continued to feel like I was going to panic. I started to do my breathing exercises. Breathe in and then slowly out through your mouth I told myself. Then the holy spirit came to me and reminded me of verse John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

Then the nurse came in and we talked. She could tell that I was really scared. She gave me a chance to calm down and get all my anxiety out before she did a basic exam. She listened to my heart, lungs, and stomach. She also looked at my mouth, nose, ears, and eye. (By the way, she knew what Nystagmus was. 😊). Then she looked at my legs and ankles.  Afterwards, we came up with a treatment plan.

I am now on a short round of medicines for a rash. It should be cleared up in a few weeks. I also got a referral for mental health for depression and anxiety. Remember it is okay to reach out for help.

I also need to follow up with the eye doctor and dentist at the clinic. When I walked out of the clinic, I felt good that I looked fear straight in the face!

2020: More Courage, Self-control and Joy-October Edition

October was another month that was filled with ups and downs. I showed Courage more than once. My last Orthodontist appointment was on 11-5-2020, I was really concerned about needing surgery. I am happy to report that the pain is gone, praise Jesus, and that surgery is not needed. Have you ever felt like you were going up against a giant? I felt like I was. I have not seen a doctor in over four years, and I knew that it was time to get back into healthy habits. That meant obtaining courage and making an appointment. It took over five times to get a hold of the social worker to be able to tell my story. I finally got a hold of her and got my appointment set. 

Part of learning self-control is learning to trust Jesus. I have battled anxiety and depression most of my life. Since I made my doctor appointment it was hard to push the thoughts of going to the upcoming appointment aside. I have a hard time trusting doctors and nurses because I lost my mother, from a heart attack, at the age of sixteen. I have a huge fear of dying like my mother. However, I knew to better my health I had no choice, but to go to my appointment in November. God has given me another crash course in anger management and the ability to let things go. On the way to my last orthodontist appointment I texted a “friend,” and she started cussing me out pointing out things that were wrong in my life. Like the fact that I have a low income, no insurance and the fact that because of my visual impairment she never thinks that I will make something of myself. I tried to stand up for myself explaining that in Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen.” She continued to say hurtful things. I continued to point to the Lord by saying that I walk in God’s grace every day. In 2 Corinthians 9-11 says, “My gracious favor is all you need. My power works best in your weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weakness, so that the power of Christ my work through me. Since I know it is all for Christ’s good, I am quite content with my weakness and with insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” Even though I continued to point to the cross she continued to argue. I ended up just ending the fight. I felt angry and hurt. The next day my friend came back to me and did not show any remorse. I had a hard time giving it over to the lord. Those words she spoke really hurt. I continue to ask for God’s grace and guidance on this matter.

When it comes to joy, I have felt joyful over the fact that I have been working with a friend who shares with me the hard work of running a business. She encourages me during each meeting. It brings me great gladness the goals that I have achieved.

How was October for you? Tell me in the comments below.   

HALLOTOBER TAG

I was tagged by Nicola who runs the blog, Parenting in Pain to do the Hallotober Tag. Here are the rules for the tag:

The post rules are 

  1. Thank the person who tagged you and link to their post.
  2. Put the rules are the beginning or after the introduction.
  3. Answer the 13 questions.
  4. Tag 13 people to do the tag.
  5. Delete Question, add a new question of your own.

With the rules out of the way let’s get started. Thank you, Nicola for tagging me to do this tag.

Here are her questions:

  1. What’s your favorite thing about October? The colors.
  2. Are you a big celebrator of Halloween? I am not, but blind as a bat girl is. Blind as a bat girl is a girl who fights against blindness and helps promote eye health. She only comes out during Halloween since she is part bat.
  3. What’s your favorite horror movie? I don’t watch horror movies.
  4. Would you rather a cozy night in watching horrors or a big night out in a costume? Blind as a bat girl loves to go out trick or treating.
  5. Which has been your most favorite costume to date? As a kid I loved dressing up as Underdog.
  6. Bobbing for apples or pin the hat on the witch? Pin the hat on the witch.
  7. How do you celebrate Halloween? Blind as a bat girl always stops by my house to tell others how to help save their eye sight. I love to hang out with her. Tonight I am also having a pizza party with a friend.
  8. What’s your least favorite horror? I don’t watch horror movies.
  9. Do you have a favorite trick or treating memory? As a kid I loved dressing up as a doctor, ninja and Underdog. When I was little I would go trick or treating around my grandparent’s neighborhood. Also, attending the Halloween fair when my Step Dad was a chef at a nursing home was fun.
  10. What’s your favorite thing about Halloween? Seeing the children
  11. have fun and get candy.
  12. Scary costume or Silly costume? I would prefer a silly costume over a scary one.
  13. What’s your favorite Halloween candy? Reese’s peanut butter cup.
  14. What costume did you really want as a kid, but never got? My mom always got me a Halloween costume I asked for.

Kayaking For Disabled People (Guest Post by Michelle Williams)

Kayaking for disabled people may seem like a strange sport, but it can be very beneficial to your health.

Photo of a person Kayaking

Kayaking is very good exercise that has little or no impact on the body and you can learn many new skills while enjoying the great outdoors. If you are looking for a new experience, then kayaking, although it has certain challenges – may just be for you.

Disability awareness has been increasing steadily. Many organizations have started to sponsor recreational activities for disabled groups so they can enjoy the great outdoors without worrying about their ability to operate equipment. This is great news for many disabled people who want to enjoy the great outdoors as much as possible. Kayaking is an activity which is no appealing to many disabled people, due to the advances it is now possible to do so in a safe and enjoyable environment.

Kayaking for disabled people is popular in Britain, the United States, Europe and New Zealand. Some of these countries have even created a system whereby groups of disabled people go on regular kayaking trips – which makes the whole experience much more enjoyable all round. This has proven to be a very effective way of introducing disabled people to kayaking, as well as being a fun activity for all. Disabled people are able to enjoy the great outdoors in their own special way.

The activity allows many disabled people to enjoy some of the great outdoors without having to worry about their ability to manoeuvre the kayaking equipment. This is important if you have any kind of impairment that makes it difficult to use simple wheelchairs or other equipment. It is certainly a sport / activity which allows disabled people to have some fun, and some of the best experiences involve kayaking in waters that can’t be accessed by cars. Disabled groups often set up campsites around lakes and rivers, enabling people with mobility issues to enjoy the great outdoors in ways they never could before.

Kayaking for disabled people provides people with physical fitness benefits as well. Kayaking can be a great way of exercising and it helps build muscle tone. Kayaking is a great way to burn calories and get in shape without having to run all over town or go to the gym. Kayaking also helps build strength, flexibility and balance, as you are required to keep your body steady in order to move the kayaks.

Kayaking is a pretty fantastic activity for anyone with mobility issues, and it offers many benefits for all levels of ability. Whether you want to go camping, go trekking, go boating, go mountain biking, or just enjoy some time in nature, kayaking can be a great adventure for everyoneespecially those who want to experience a longer period of time in the water.

Kayaking can be a great way to improve your abilities, especially if you already use special equipment. such as walking sticks or walkers. Kayaking for offers you a great way to experience a challenging sport that can help improve your fitness and allow you to experience the great outdoors.

Its a wonderful sport, and it also provides many benefits for those who have physical impairment problems. It is a great sport for many who love the outdoors and have been able to experience it on a smaller scale before.

About the author:

An avid writer, traveller, surfer (and many other outdoor pursuits). I have visited over 30 countries in the last 15 years, love to get off the beaten track and explore new destinations.
You are equally likely to find me with my laptop on the top of a mountain or a hidden beach.
My writing can be found across various publications online and I am always happy to write for anyone, just drop me a line : michelle@webmailant.com

Photo of Michelle

2020: More Courage, Self-control and Joy-September Edition

September was a remarkably interesting month for me. When it came to courage, I had to rise to the challenge more than once. I had my third orthodontist appointment, and luckily enough my pain from my tooth was improving, so my orthodontist had me continue to wear my retainers full time for four more weeks. We are hoping that this will improve the pain even more. Time will tell.

We were hit by hurricane Sally and it left Pensacola in a mess. The wind howled like a dog as it passed through Pensacola. I tried to remember that God is always with me even in weather like that. During the storm, the holy spirit reminded me of Mark 4:39-41, “He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” Now, I’m not saying that the hurricane was magically going to stop, but to have faith in every situation. After the storm I was without power for two days and I was without internet for over a week. I really had to work on patience because I had a limited data plan. I was behind in my work; however, I am getting caught up.

When it comes to joy, I found that after the storm just connecting to friends and loved ones really helped me get through being grumpy because it was so hot without the air conditioner. Once I got back onto the internet, I felt joy because I did not have to worry about using my data.  I am so thankful that my family and friends are okay from the storm.

How was September for you? Let me know in the comments below.

Surviving Hurricane Sally

On September 16, 2020, Hurricane Sally hit Pensacola, Florida.  Most of the people in the community were not prepared because we were told that we were only going to get the outskirts of the storm.  However, Sally had other plans.

The storm carried high winds and lots of rain. Downtown Pensacola and some other areas were flooded, and many houses were ruined. Many trees were knocked down.  As for my house. We were lucky. We only had one tree that came down by the side of the house, however a few more inches and it would have been in my bedroom.  Other than that, the front and backyard were a mess. It’s going to take a while to get the yard cleaned up, but it can be done.

We were without power for almost two days. I was so happy when the power came back on.  It felt so good to hear the air conditioner come on again.

As far as my business, due to my limited phone plan I was unable to post regularly. ☹

Please have patience with me as I get back on my feet and answer posts, update videos and more.

I am so thankful that my family and friends are fine and well. I am praying for my city and those effected by the storm.

Interview with Sal Mannan (Guest interview #28)

Hey everyone! Today, we have a guest post from Sal. She runs the blog Under my Umbrella. Be sure to check out her on social media and give her a follow. Thank you Sal for being a guest. 🙂

  1.  What is your name/blog, channel name?

My blog is titled ‘Under My Umbrella’ and can be found at https://mypurpleumbrella.home.blog/wordpress.com

2. What is the name/cause of your visual impairment/disabilities that you have?

Ah, I have already answered that one, I have Congenital Rubella Syndrome caused by contracting Rubella in the womb.  The main damage Rubella caused in me that is noticeable is to my eyes and heart.  Thanks to my mate rubi (Rubella), I was born with Congenital Cataracts which were removed after birth. Which means I am Aphakic and have no eye lens in either eyes as the cataracts were bilateral.  I also have bilateral Nystagmus, Strabismus, and a whole range of other defects and problems in the eyes. I was also born with a hole in the heart, known as Atrial Septal Defect, (ASD) which has been corrected twice.  There are other problems, but I will not list them all here.  I did grow up with a bit of developmental delays, but I think I have come a long way and slowly getting there, and I have caught up quite a lot I think anyway.

3. How does your visual impairment/other disabilities affect you on a daily basis?

Oh, the usual.  Struggling to read small print, seeing things from far, little focus, balance issues and the list goes on.  But I just carry on.  They do not affect me as bad as most other people.  My CRS is quite mild, and so are my visual impairment and other disabilities.  Of course, just because it is mild, it does not mean I do not struggle, because I do.  Just not as much as others, I guess.  Say for instance as one example, I do not need a guide dog or cane.  But I still have my barriers.  I try not to think about those.  I do what I can to the best of my abilities. 

4. What do other people think of your visual impairment/disabilities?

That I am a pain in the butt. Not really only joking.  I do not really know what people think, although most seem to think I don’t sound disabled, and I seem to pass off as normal.  I apparently speak so well you would not know I had a disability.  Apparently, I do not look disabled either, but they can tell something is not right, just that they cannot put their finger on it and has something to do with my eyes. I think they lie; I do not even look normal to myself when I see videos and photos of me, you can see something is wrong.  Wonky head tilt due to null points is just one of them. Lol! People are just too nice, or afraid they will upset me by being honest, I think.

5. If you had to give a piece of advice to others about having a visual impairment or disability, what would that you may have, what would it be?

Oh, this one’s a tricky one, I am not good at giving advice.  I guess I would like to tell the world, that my body might be riddled with damage and defects, but if you look under those flaws and disabilities, you will find a human being with feelings.  A person with a huge personality, with likes, dislikes, thoughts, ideas, dreams, humour and so much more.  Do not treat me like an alien and alienate me, talk to me and you will see a whole person inside this broken body of mine.  I do not need fixing, I’ve had all the fixing that can be done, but while rubella has touched my body, there are things it couldn’t touch.  it did not take away my emotions, I still feel emotions like everyone else, I get hurt, angry, sad, happy, excited, all of those things like the rest of the world. It did not get my intelligence completely; my brain still functions well enough. I am not the smartest person in the world, but I am not stupid either. So, treat me with respect and know that I am still human.  Disability for me does not cause me misery, it is people’s attitudes towards me and my disabilities that cause any hurt in my life.  Remember disability is not a choice, be kind because disability can happen to anyone, and it does not discriminate your age, race, gender, or anything.  We just want to be treated as human beings because that’s what we are.  Just like you!!  Ok I know I talk a load of rubbish and far too much, don’t worry we’re coming to the end now.  Lol!

6. Name your best quality?

Oh, I do not know, I don’t think I have many good qualities, I’m not really good at anything much, I don’t have talents, or anything like that.  There is nothing special about me, but if I had to name one thing, I guess it would have to be my sense of humour.  I love banter and being silly, and just joking around.  I really think laughter is the best medicine and love making others laugh and seeing them happy.  Even if most people do not get my jokes and think I’m strange.  I am one of the most misunderstood people ever. But for those who do get my humour, well at least it gets them smiling. I try to be kind and helpful too, as best as I can.  I’m not perfect, but I think those would probably be my best qualities.  I do not know really.  I think I am my own worst critic, so I really could not say what my best qualities are.  *shrugs*

7. If you could interview anyone living or dead, who would it be and why?

Oh boy I do not know.  I guess at this moment in time it would have to be Eddie Redmayne.  (That might change in a few years’ time.  Who knows?). Lol! But right now, yeah, I’m really into Eddie Redmayne.  I love his portrayal of Newt Scamander, who just happens to be my favourite character throughout the whole wizarding world franchise.  Yes, I am a Potterhead, and right now I am obsessed and have a strong fixation on the Fantastic Beasts film and Newt.  I also like Eddie as a person, he seems so interesting and fascinating to me.  When I watch his interviews on YouTube, I find what he has to say interesting. He also seems to have a good sense of humour too, and I think he’d be fun to interview.  I love how he gives us nuggets of his personal life in his interviews and he seems like a really fun person to chat to and interview.  He is quite witty.  I love witty people.  Lol! He is also described by many as being humble and genuinely one of the nicest people to ever meet. Which is a quality I like in a person. So yeah, I would love to meet him and interview him.  I might be on the floor from fear, nerves, and anxiety before I even get near him, but it will be worth my while. Lol!

8. When and Why did you start your blog or YouTube channel?

I think I kind of answered that in another question.  I started this blog fairly recently, it is still quite new, I think.  I cannot remember exactly when, but I think it was this summer.  I started it because I wanted to express my thoughts and feelings on certain topics, I would come across here and there, or my own experiences, and wanted a place where I could do that in more detail.  I find expressing myself helps me get stuff off my chest etc. and I find writing therapeutic. I can forget my troubles sometimes when writing, so why not.  I just wanted to give it a try, plus I want to help make a change in the world and help bring about more acceptance and awareness to disability and make the world a better place for people living with a disability.  I do not think my blogs will make much of a positive change in this world, but I can try right.  Also, maybe to get people to look at the world of disability in a different way to the norm.  I do not know, I guess I thought it would be interesting to see how blogging goes really. 

9. Why did you choose the title of your blog or channel?

Ok this one is rather complicated and not a straightforward answer.  Do I ever give straight forward answers? Anyway, so why did I call my blog under my umbrella? Well I’m one of these people who love a play on words and love using words with meanings and metaphors  I’m not really sure if I can explain the title in a way that would get you all to understand.  Basically, I was born with a condition called congenital rubella syndrome.  CRS is an umbrella of multiple disabilities and defects caused by the rubivirus a viral infection known to many as German measles or rubella, which causes damage to an unborn child in the womb.  When doctors give vaccination and explain that rubella is dangerous to pregnant women, it is not the mother they are talking about, it is the unborn child.  The infection if contracted in first or second trimester during pregnancy causes serious damage and prevents major organs from developing properly.  This can have serious damage to major organs including the brain and heart, and many other things, but that is in severe cases and the infection affects different people differently.  Each individual experiences the condition in a different way. 

The fact that Congenital rubella syndrome is an umbrella of different disabilities and defects is where the umbrella came from.  It was a way to describe my condition in one word.   The under my bit is a sort of metaphor or message to say look under my disabilities and you will find a person with many thoughts, ideas and dreams.  A human with feelings.  It is a way of saying come and look into my world, as I share my thoughts.  I cannot explain it properly, I tried explaining in the about section of the website.  I do not know if that explanation is any better.  But it makes sense in my own head.  Well I wanted something centered around the world umbrella, I nearly went with my purple umbrella, either that or in my own bubble, but cannot remember why I did not.  I guess there were already blogs with those names, and I wanted something unique and interesting.

10. Who has inspired you for your blog or YouTube channel?

This one is a little tricky to answer.  I do not think there was anyone in particular who inspired me to write my blog.  At first the idea started when I found myself expressing my thoughts and feelings on certain topics around disabilities, after seeing articles, discussions, and certain content on the internet, during discussions on Facebook in certain groups.  Some of the things I saw often frustrated me, or had me thinking, or just had my interest.  And I just thought maybe I should re start blogging again, except a bit more seriously this time.  The idea sat and simmered in my mind, I got distracted, started other projects, and was also writing other things too, so it never happened for a while.  Then I started seeing other people blogging about their experiences, or thoughts on similar things I had expressed thoughts on too and wanted to give it a try. 

A few people also encouraged me to start up a blog, as they felt I write from the heart and people would benefit from my honesty and thoughts.  And so, Under My Umbrella was born. Lol!

11. Where can other people find you on social media?

You can go a hunting and find me at:

WordPress: https://mypurpleumbrella.home.blog/

Under My Umbrella!! Why try to fit in, when you were born to stand out? Dr. Seuss! mypurpleumbrella.home.blog

Facebook,  https://www.facebook.com/MyUmbrella/

tumblr:  https://www.tumblr.com/blog/undemyumbrella

Well I hope you enjoyed reading that.  Thanks for reading. 


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