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 I used to be a stay in the lines, go with the flow, don’t make waves kind of person. I have changed. Parkinson’s is one of the many cards dealt to one in life that can shift the mind set. I am now a find the line and push beyond it, swim against the flow, and waves? I will splash and make as much joyful noise as I can, while I can, fearlessly. This site is meant to bring hope, inspiration, and make you think a little deeper about life. I hope you walk away from reading a post with something to think about or smile about for the day.

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Alan

His name is Alan Roy Scott. He has irritated me. He has made me cry. He has made me laugh. He has encouraged me. He has challenged me. Except through Skype, I have never been in his presence, but he is my friend. You may not know his name, but if you have listened to songs sung by Celine Dion, Luther Vandross, Cyndi Lauper, Gloria Estefan, Roberta Flack, The Allman Brothers, Sheena Easton, The Neville Brothers, Pat Benatar, Patti LaBelle, The Pointer Sisters, Rick Springfield and Johnny Mathis, then you have been touched by his creativity. If you have seen the First Wives Club, Top Gun, Coming To America, Karate Kid II, Fame (TV show), Rags To Riches, Santa Barbara, As The World Turns and Beverly Hills 90210 then you have heard his music as you watched. Alan Roy Scott is an acclaimed songwriter.

I started this crazy lyric writing about a year into my Parkinson’s diagnosis. I discovered I have what I call a rhyming disorder. (Don’t look it up. I made up the term.) It just means I like to rhyme. Why did I start doing this? That is another story for later. What I like about the challenge of writing songs is that for me it is like a timed sudoku puzzle with words. You have about 3.5 minutes to tell a complete story with part of the story repeating 3 times, and it has to rhyme, make sense, and be catchy enough to move the audience emotionally in some way. Whew! Alan Roy Scott has drilled me on this over the past few months through an online song evaluation service called Song U. When I get an A+ from Alan on a song critique, it is not like getting a participation trophy. He is a straight shooter and he means what he says. I work for those A pluses from Alan. Lol. Alan and I wrote a song together for an organization I belong to called Rock Steady Boxing. I did pay to write with him. Well, he is Alan Roy Scott, and I’m no Celine Dion. It was worth every penny to work and learn from this tell-it-like-it-is, compassionate man.

Parkinson’s, I hate you, but you have brought such music to my life in so many ways. You have brought people into my life who I would never have met without you. Parkinson’s, I want you to go away, but you have taught me to listen deep inside. There is beautiful music playing in my life all around me that I would not have noticed without you. Parkinson’s, I have a hard time saying this because I hate you, but thank you. Alan Roy Scott, let’s write another one in 2017!

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The Birthday People

I call them “Birthday People” –people who stop in the middle of the day that commemorates one’s birth and take the time to simply say Happy Birthday!

Social media may have many negatives, but when the “Birthday People” do their thing, I am reminded of how powerful the simple gesture of acknowledgement is. The Birthday People take a few seconds of their day to say — you matter.

Yesterday was my day and I have to say I was
overwhelmed and touched by how much that simple gesture meant.

Thank you, Birthday People! Those of you who posted, tweeted, texted, emailed me to acknowledge #57 yesterday made my day brighter. There is a good
force in social media. I call them the Birthday People.
Many thanks again to you all!

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1865

“Are you the couple that now live in Jean Apple’s house?” That is the question that my husband and I have answered over and over the past couple weeks. It is the question asked by such lovely and friendly new neighbors curious as to who owns the little house built in 1865 –the little house so loved by their neighbor, Jean Apple. Jean has moved out of state and has entrusted this little piece of history to the Cox family.

While Searching for places to store our stuff, we found this antique hidden behind the walls of the house. I can imagine Mrs. Higgens sitting on the stool spinning yarn on this “thing.” The Higgins family are recorded to have built this house in 1865. That antique makes you think 1865 was a simpler time.

Was it? What was happening in our country in 1865?
-The American Civil War ended
– Lincoln was inaugurated as second term as president
– Lincoln was assassinated
– The 13th amendment was ratified banning slavery
– In the Ku Klux Klan begin its movement

— All in 1865, The same year that this little house that I now live in was built.

Have we learned much since then as a nation? Have we not learned that all life is sacred? Have we not learned to look past our differences, get to know people and not merely tolerate them, but to appreciate them and love them.

My heart aches for a country that has not learned its lessons of the past and can’t see beyond a statue that will be dust over the course of time.

A statue will crumble just like hatred and indifference can make our country crumble, but the attitudes and ideals of compassion, kindness, acceptance, appreciating others can be passed on through centuries and never be torn down.

As I put another load of laundry in my modern day washer, I think of Mrs. Higgins as she probably sat spinning that thing to make clothes for her family. I’m not sure what she thought about the events going on around her in the same year her little house was built, but I clearly know what I think and believe.

Today an American flag will be hung outside the little house on Maple street built in 1865– for all who have fought and given their lives for the ideals of this country. All lives matter, all people matter–liberty and justice for all!

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Coach

Coach

My family celebrated my mom’s 80th birthday this weekend in Nashville, TN. It was my mom’s idea because my mom is fun. She is a grandma of 4 grandsons. She is the mom of two daughters. She is the wife of one husband.

My mom is a fairly private person about her own childhood. That is because it was not picture perfect. What I will share are the words I would use to describe her mother (my grandma) — loving, kind, strong, independent, steadfast, role model, survivor. I do not have any words for her father. I do not know him. From what I hear, he was not a nice man. I call my mom and her two siblings silent survivors because all three emerged from a childhood of tension to become people who are loving and kind. I have always admired my mom for her lack of bitterness towards her own father. I’m sure she would tell me it is her Heavenly Father who fills that gap. My mom is a woman of strong faith in Jesus.

If you look at my mom’s high school and college year books you will see pictures of her as a cheerleader — a role she carried on into her adult life as she married a man who for decades was a high school basketball coach. Most people think of her as that cheerleader sitting in that basketball gym in the stands, and in many ways that is how I see her — an encourager in the stands of my life always cheering me on.

But I’m sure my dad would agree with me, my mom ain’t sitting on no sidelines just cheering us on. (My mom was a high school grammar teacher. That is going to make her cringe! Lol) My mom IS our coach.

I would call her my life coach. She wore the whistle in our family. My mom is the best of any good coach who pushes her players and tries to get the best out of them. My dad and sister I know would agree with me, we are who we are today because of our mom. Words to describe my mom are the same ones that I used to describe her mother — loving, kind, strong, independent, steadfast, role model, survivor. I can only hope that someone will say those words about me some day. I am fortunate to have been coached by the best.

Connie Milhollland, you are dearly loved by this family. Every day you cheer us on, we want you to know we are grateful for you, Coach!

Love you always,
Your Team

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Gift with Purchase

And the adventure begins…. My husband and I began a new adventure yesterday. We are now “village people.” Ever since 1991 when we first moved to Zionsville, Indiana, we have wanted to live in one of the town’s quaint historic homes and yesterday, for better or worse, that dream came true.

Our little house began it’s story in 1865 with the Higgins family. I can’t wait to take time to dive into the history preserved in the thick binder left for us by the previous owner. But for now, I will spend my time unloading boxes and saying hello and good-bye to the resident who thought he owned the house and perhaps he did. He keeps me awake this second night in our new house thumping on the prison gate of his cage that is propped on the roof above me. Lured there by the finest of delicacies — a Little Debbie Swiss Brownie.

We said hello today while I stood in our new dining room when suddenly a decorative metal round piece popped off the wall and crashed on the floor. I now have learned this was a cap to the flue of the chimney once probably used by the Higgen’s family as they cooked on their wood- burning stove.

In the picture you can see the faint outline of the masked face that stuck his head out of that hole to greet me. That masked- bandit will be moving out of the village this morning. I hope he enjoyed his brownie before moving on.

When you buy a house built in 1865, you expect many obstacles along with adventures, but I didn’t expect this “gift with purchase” that we will be returning to Mother Nature. Hello friend and good- bye. …. and yes, I am so hoping you are a “him” and not a “her.”

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Don’t Forget

Don’t Forget.

DBS (deep brain stimulation) surgery is a real possibility for me in the near future. My miracle medication, Levodopa, is starting to lose its effect reminding me what I try to forget — Parkinson’s is a regressive disorder. At my most recent neurologist appointment, I had a levodopa challenge test. I had to be off my miracle medication for twelve hours to gather data on how effective this medication is for me. This information is needed for the brain surgery. For twelve hours I had to be reminded of what I try to forget — this disease is not going away and it was frightening to live in that body for twelve hours unmediated.

During the same twelve unmediated hours, I received heartbreaking news that a dear friend’s husband has Alzheimer’s.

As much as I try to forget– there is no cure for many neurological diseases that ravage and destroy. Yesterday forced me to think about what I try to forget– the late stage of these diseases.

I try to forget — some day that will be me. Even though this is a bit sad, I am going to tell you what I don’t want you to forget — when I am in that late stage. Then, you fill in the blank for your loved one.

Don’t forget — this is not the real me. I am not this body but trapped inside it. Don’t forget.

Don’t forget — my smile and how I am not very photogenic. We laughed about this often.

Don’t forget — that I am funny. Tell the stories of all those funny moments we shared.

Don’t forget — that I love dogs. It lifts my heart to have a fur ball snuggled next to me.

Don’t forget — that I am passionate about children’s causes and bettering their lives.

Don’t forget — that I am a fighter. I am still fighting.

Don’t forget — that I’m your friend. I would give you a hug if possible.

Don’t forget — I am your sister. You still need to ask to borrow my clothes.

Don’t forget — I am your mom. I love you dearly for who you are, not what you do. I brought you into this world and I may not be able to take you out now, as the saying goes, but you know my expectations– men of character.

Don’t forget — I am your wife and even though you now are my caretaker, I am passionate for you, adore you, still love your legs. Keep biking. You have great legs.

Don’t forget — the real me. I’m just trapped inside this mortal body.

Don’t forget — to be happy. I believe in Jesus. You don’t have to worry about me. I look forward to heaven where I will be greeted with a new whole body.

Don’t forget– I love you.

For your loved one, what would they say.
Don’t forget — ________.

While I am still in the earlier stages and don’t expect this to be me for a long time, and I am still praying for a cure. I want to remind you some day — don’t forget.

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F

To all my fellow Parkies out there. This is for you! If you do not know what a Parky is then you are missing out on some of the greatest people I know.
My fellow friends with Parkinson’s Disease, I had my 4 hour cognitive ability test yesterday as one of the measures to determine if I’m a candidate for DBS surgery, and I would like a redo! I would demand a redo, but I know it would be futile.

At one point in the 4 hour process that will determine my fate, I was given one minute to come up with as many words as I could think of that start with the letter L. No problem. Those L words rolled off my tongue with ease. Then I was asked to name as many C words as possible- piece of “cake.”
Then she said name as many F words as possible and for about 10 of those precious 60 seconds the mother of all F words was stuck in my mind and would not get out of the way of all the other more innocent F words that wanted their turn. I stumbled and stammered to pull those pleasant F words out from behind the big one. But like a bully, it stood its ground in my mind and blocked my other F “friends.” I thought about just saying the big one to release the others behind it, but then I
would have to admit to the evaluator the fact that word existed in my mind. So for the remaining 50 seconds, I fought off the “word that shall not be named” and held up my honor, but I’m sure lowered my score.

So neuropsychologists everywhere, take note, please pick another letter besides F during your cognitive ability tests. If you use F, your data will be skewed because most of us do not want to admit that the F word exists in our minds or has ever been spoken out loud when only 60 seconds determines our fate. There are 25 other letters from which to choose, and I get F, gosh darn it!