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Brave.  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. Brave. I’ve already written a few posts and I am just now defining what I will do with this blog site. 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. I plan on having guest authors share their stories as well. Come learn from my mistakes, from my living out life, oh and yes, I do have Parkinson’s Disease. So come join me on this blog journey and we will see where it takes us. I’ve never been one to follow a straight line!

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This is your very first post. Click the Edit link to modify or delete it, or start a new post. If you like, use this post to tell readers why you started this blog and what you plan to do with it.

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First Punch

First Punch by Heather Richardson, of Bloomington, IN, to be Released on iTunes March 24,2017 is a Song of Inspiration, Hope & Strength The song was co-written with Lisa Cox of Zionsville, IN.
BLOOMINGTON, March 24, 2017 – The song “First Punch” recorded and co-written by Heather Richardson, a local musician, tells the story of inspiration and hope for all of us fighting to not give up when life presents its unavoidable challenges. Picture a teen struggling with depression, a father losing his job, a child with special needs or an injured military hero. Now picture a gym full of Parkinson’s patients & their coaches fighting to regain stability in their stance, power in their punch and ownership of their mind and body they once knew.

The lyrics of this song were born from the depth of despair. In her fifties, Cox works as an elementary school counselor, and fully enjoys the active life of raising three grown boys.  When she was “punched in the gut” with the news that changed the course of her life, Parkinson’s Disease, despair and loss is the only way she. can describe the words first heard, “no cure!” Then she “listened to the battle cry, calling, to get up, get up and try!”  This was the  battle cry of friends and family encouraging her to go to a place called Rocksteady Boxing. She went there reluctantly, but when she took that “First Punch,” she began to feel hope! What she and Heather want to share with the world is that sometimes it takes reaching out and throwing that first punch at what you fear in life. Then “ you’ll start to feel your spirits rise”. Although inspired by one battling Parkinson’s Disease, this song is for everyone battling something, and that is all of us! Be brave and don’t let your fears stand in your way…

“First Punch” is not the first time Richardson & Cox have collaborated musically. Heather sang a song at a Kindness Concert sponsored by Stonegate Elementary school February, 2016 that she and Cox wrote together two weeks before the concert and before they actually met each other in person. Cox says that she is fortunate to have found such a talented musician to bring out the depth of emotion of her words through Richardson’s melodies. Richardson is a very talented songwriter. You will be hearing more from her in the future. Cox is inspired by all the children who face living with disabilities. Heather’s cousin’s daughter, Bella, who has cerebral palsy is one of her heros. Bella and Cox box together.

For more information about Heather Richardson and hear a sample of the song, visit http://www.heatherrichardsonmusic.com.

For more information about Rock Steady visit http://www.rocksteadyboxing

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Calling Me!

Calling Me

I know I should eat right
A thought I do despise
I know that I should lace up my shoes
and get some exercise
I know I should cut out fried foods
And eat less sugar too
I know I should drink in less caffeine
But I’m not in the mood

I know I should cut GMO’s
Ingest only what’s cage free
I know I should eat super foods packed with a, b , c and d
I know life would be better
I’d have more energy
I know my skin would glow
If I’d consume what grows on trees

Ok. I start today
I’ll do it wait and see
Pump that iron run that race
I’ll count the calories
My will power starts to waver
The smell it gets to me
Perhaps I’ll start tomorrow
That donut’s calling me
Perhaps I’ll start Tomorrow
That donut’s calling me
.
By: Lisa Cox “Never met a donut I didn’t like!”

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The Power of Words

“Teacher, with all due respect, please take a minute to read my school history file. While you are doing that, I’ll be going home.” It was the defining moment of his life. It was the answer given to the most cruel of questions. A question that could have crushed so many. But for Bob Viera, it was the question that literally put the wind in his sails for the rest of his life, a life of hard work and determination. Bob Viera is one of the most fascinating people I have ever met. You will read his full story someday. A story that must be told of a true overcomer.

My parents met this couple, Bob and Cindy who live in the same condominium complex, while walking Mia. Mia is the Shitzu-Bishon dog that I insisted that they rescue a few years ago — a dog that my sister and I are sure has nudged us out of our inheritance someday.

Somehow this daily walk at 4:00 pm has become what is known as “Mia Hour” where my dad stops mid-walk and gathers with many friends on Bob and Cindy’s lanai. I think it is just an excuse for a happy hour of fellowship and fun because it must be 5:00 pm somewhere, right?

That is where I started hearing Bob’s countless stories of the life of a Nantucket fisherman, on the day I was invited to “Mia Hour.” The story that intrigued me the most is the one that breaks my heart as an educator.

Bob’s early years as a child were spent battling severe asthma and allergies. With only having a third of the lung capacity of a typical child, this debilitating illness caused him to fall two years behind his peers in school. At the beginning of his eighth grade year of school, Bob’s family moved off of the Nantucket Island to a bigger city. It was there in the first few days of class where his new teacher asked the question still sears in his mind today. “Bob, will you come stand a in front of the class and tell them why you are 16 and still in the eighth grade?” That was the last day that Bob ever attended school. For the next 22 years of his life he lived on fishing boats. His education was gained not through text books, but through living life and making wise choices that bring him to where he is today. Ironically, that is to a small crowded lanai full of retired educators– former teachers and administrators gathering for “Mia
Hour.”

I asked Bob if he had finished high school how his life might be different. He couldn’t answer that because the life he lived is the only one he knows. I say he lived it brilliantly, but I can tell there is a scar left from the cruel words of one person so long ago.

This made me ask myself, “Do the words that come out of my mouth uplift and encourage or tear down and leave wounds?” Bob’s story had me thinking of the power of words. “Sticks and stones will break your bones,”  but words….. words can scar you for life. I don’t know how Bob Viera had the fortitude to survive that hurtful question without bitterness? That is a whole other chapter for his book someday.

Bob Viera, as a former teacher and current school counselor, I apologize for what happened to you that day so many years ago. You are my hero!

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What I’ve Learned….

Three more hours and I will be home from my second trip in the Flying Eddie (our new — old RV)
I have learned much from the first two official RV trips.
(The three times we picked up friends in their homes and drove to Meijer parking lot and ate snacks and played cards for the evening doesn’t count. I did find it fun to pull up to someone’s house in a nice neighborhood and lay on the horn– quite fun!)

What I’ve Learned:
1. When your RV is still winterized and you can’t use its bathroom, a red solo cup works just fine. It works as fine as it does when you are asked to pee in a cup at the doctor’s office.

2. If you choose to pee in the woods instead, note that there is not much privacy in the winter. Just wave at the car that drives by you mid-pee.

3. There is a white line on the right side of the highway called a fog line. Apparently, if you sway over it too many times, policemen don’t like that. Could be that just gives them an excuse to make sure you are not drug lords pretending to be a happy camping family?

4. If you leave your dog alone in your RV while you go out, put away all food, or she will climb on the table to get to all of the pop tarts.

5. Road barriers come up very fast and it’s hard to swerve a large RV out of their way. But the RV can handle them. They are small.

6. Most of all, I learned that slowing down and beating your husband at scrabble with a lakeside view is just what is needed to rejuvenate for a busy week.

Almost home.

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Do You Know Where You Are?

Do You Know Where You Are?

I’m home now. After a warm week in the Florida sun visiting my parents, I am at home. The road, or should I say sky, to get home was a bit bumpy.

I was dropped off at the airport and checked my suitcase in at 6:30 pm and proceeded to glide through the airport on my knee scooter to my gate. I have a broken foot that after 8 weeks in a boot now needs surgery. Ugh. As I stood ready to board the plane, a woman who looked about my age asked me about my foot. We both came alive when we learned that we lived in the same hometown and so with that thread shared knowledge, we picked seats next to each other. What I anticipated to be a routine flight home, became another story in my life to tell.

As the flight took off, Jan Sheehan and I started a running dialogue that didn’t stop until 3:30 am, but it only takes 2.5 hours to fly to Indianapolis. Let me back up.

Once Jan and I settled in our seats, we both began a quest to find common ground. Surely, one of her children knew mine. Her four girls were all about the same age as my three boys. Surely, we had at least one friend that we both knew. Try as we might, we could not find anyone or anything that would bring our lives together in spite of living minutes from each other.

As we began sharing our family photos and videos, the ride became a bit bumpy, and I began to get a bit panicky. As the ride began to get very bumpy and I got very panicky, Jan reassured me that in her expertise after much flying experience, this was just a little storm, and so we proceeded our deep, very focused discussion in sharing our life stories.

When we landed, with much relief, I called my husband who I knew I was just minutes away from giving a big hug. “We’re here,” I said. “Uh, no you’re not, he argued. “Yes, we just landed.” I
tried to correct him. Duh! “Lisa, do you know where you are? You are in Louisville!” He was laughing now. Apparently, we were in such a deep discussion at one point even trying to arrange marriages between our children that we missed the announcement that it was too dangerous to land and we had to refuel in Louisville.

I grabbed Jan’s arm and tried to save her from the embarrassment of having the same conversation with her daughter, but I was too late.

For the next hour and a half we sat in a stuffy plane with nothing to do but continue to marry off our children and try to find a common friend we both knew. I had gone through about everyone I knew, then I thought of one more. “How about Janet Ostendorf,” I said. She lit up. “She is one of my best friends!” “No, she is one of my best friends,” I argued smiling. There it was. The thread became a thick cord of new a new relationship through the common friend of Janet Ostendorf, but then I thought who doesn’t know Janet Ostendorf! Lol.

By the time we finally made it to Indianapolis at 3:30 am, My new friend admitted to me that she had already lied to me. No, it was not a mild storm. Inside, she was scared to death. She just told me it was mild to keep me calm. With that knowledge I say boldly and without reservation, yes, I know where I am. I always knew where I was, right next to a new friend who I believe I will be adding to my treasure chest of friends. I believe we will be laughing about not knowing where we were for years to come.

Janet Ostendorf, Jan, and I are having lunch next week, but I’m not surprised any more. Everyone in town knows the beloved Janet Ostendorf!

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What Do You Do?

A regular college baseball game is 9 innings long, and I mean looooong. When the game is tied at the end of those 9 innings, they keep playing and playing and playing, until one team scores that one little run that edges out the other team. After hours of battle one team goes home victorious, the other, just edged out, and has the big L stamped next to that game forever in the record books.

That is what happened last night to my son’s college team, The Dayton, Flyers. After 5.5 hours of play and 12 innings, they were edged out of a victory by one little run, 21-20. It was called a slugfest so many runs were scored.

Since the game of baseball is so looooong, and I mean looooong, you have so much time for your mind to wander. I like to spend some of that time comparing baseball to life in general.

So what do you do when life feels like you are battling in extra innings and the battling goes on and on? What do you do the morning after that battle when you wake up to remember that after all the hard work you put in, you still have to count the circumstance as loss? ……..

You get up and do it again! You get up. Look up! Keep your head held high and do it again!

It’s called grit! Dig down deep and do it again. Keep going, and don’t quit until you start seeing the V for victory in your life, whatever that means for you in your situation.

Flyers, get up, do it again. Look Up. Hold your heads held high. You’re going to start seeing those V’s for victory.

As for me, I may have life completely figured out by the end of the season if I keep pondering life during these games that are so looooong!

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And They Battle On

I have been taught a new lesson about how to live life in the past two days. I am in Florida with my parents and their “snowbird” friends. They have all flocked together to escape the harshest Mother Nature has to offer in the north for three or four months.

Before I came down here, I would chuckle and shake my head every time I would call my mom on the phone. She never had more than 20 seconds to talk to me. The conversations went a little like this. “Hi, Mom. How are you? Guess what? I just found out I need surgery on my foot.” “Oh, Lisa, I’m sorry to hear that, but I’ll have to call you back. Bocce Ball starts in 10 minutes.” Other familiar responses would be “May I call you later? — we are meeting people for dinner, friends are coming over, we are off to serve at a mission center, we are off to church, or I can’t hear you from the noise at the pool.”

From my wintery cold sunless end of the cell phone, I enviously envisioned “the lucky ones,” as I thought of them, blissfully laughing and effortlessly living out their golden years without a care, so I thought.

I have visited my parents and the friends they have met over the past few years at this condo in Florida several times in the past, but for some reason, I see them through new lenses now. Don’t get me wrong. I know they all are fortunate to have the means to be able gather and escape the darkness of winter. I am well aware that they are all fortunate enough to even escape the world of work and have retirement years as I know that they are in the minority of the world’s population of poor. However, what I see clearly now are lovely people who are gracefully doing the best they can. You can escape the snow, cold and ice storms, but you can’t escape the harshness of what life brings with it the older you get. You can’t escape the physical aches and pains and the emotional scars of loss after loss. Getting old is not for sissies.

Of their friends, there is one man who refuses to put his beloved wife in a nursing home. ” I have done things as her care taker that I never dreamed I would do, but you do what you need to do,” he shared. — and he battles on with a cigar in his hand.

There is woman from a distance who looks like she could be a model. She is graceful, beautiful, fashionable. You have to look very closely to see the hint of grief that follows her. She has lost a husband, son, and almost lost a grandson in a random shooting. — and she battles on.

I get a hug from another friend I have met in the past who remembers me. She is one of the kindest people I know. I would never have dreamt that welcoming, thoughtful soul carried with it a real depression that relentlessly won’t leave her alone — and she battles on.

There are countless stories of love, resilience, fortitude, and acceptance living in these condos. If I am wise, I will take away a lesson that will serve me well in the years to come.

As I listen to the echo of their laughter at an evening pool- side gathering, I hear them share stories from their past. Through the pain that aging brings with it, they find each other and share, love, and live life abundantly, not alone, but as birds who flock do, together. That is the lesson I have learned, together.

Together– and they battle on.