First Punch Boxing for Kids

 

Check out the video below!  This summer pilot program for kids who may have any type of challenge is up and running. As I sit back and watch, it is like this program is meant to be. So many people are coming together to make it successful. It is a testament to when many people work together and bring their individual talents for the good of the group and for the good of others, amazing things can happen.

My Top 10 From First Punch, so far.

1.The smiles
2. The Laughter
3. The fierce look on a six year old’s face when hitting a punching bag
4. The intense focus of a shy 13 year old when hitting mitts in the boxing ring
5. The New Logo
6. Our T-Shirts
7. The Hugs
8. The sweat that makes me know the kids were challenged
9. The Support from the boxers’ parents
10. And most of all the cadence and chant when we all break it down at the end and together say 1,2,3…. First Punch

Meet Lorisa

Labrador Retriever + Poodle = Adorable Dog Called Labradoodle.

Lori + Lisa = Adorable Girl Called Lorisa.

Who is Lorisa? Lorisa is the main character of the book cowritten by my dear friend Lori and me. Lorisa is a labor of love created by a friendship that has stood the test of time. For me, Lorisa represents determination, faithfulness, loyalty, sacrifice, belief and love– all of the characteristics that I have witnessed in my cowriter over the years. Lorisa has the boldness and spunk that I see in Lori and the scattered idealism that I see in me.

We hope that Lorisa teaches children to believe in themselves and enjoy the process of growing up. Lorisa has what is called a growth mindset which basically means that she believes that her efforts matter. Her motto in the book– Am I there? Not Yet. I’ll get there. You bet!

Lorisa has taught me to believe that I have purpose and to enjoy the process of living. Lorisa has taught me to dream big, work hard, and not focus on my limitations.

We did not draw Lorisa. We worked with a fabulous illustrator who kept going back to the “drawing board” until Lorisa emerged as we envisioned her in our minds.

Who is Lori? If you had the privilege of having Mrs. Hockema as a teacher, you will never forget her. She most assuredly is on your list of favorites. As a classroom teacher, she was dynamic and passionate about her students and profession. She gave her all. She still does in all her endeavors.

Over the next couple of weeks I will slowly tell you more about Lorisa. It is going to be an incredible journey as we introduce her to you. How do I know this? — because the process of writing this book has already been incredible and fascinating.

Retired Teacher + Retired School Counselor = Two Friends with Many Stories to Tell

Adorable girl character + Adorable dog character =
Book Coming Soon Titled NOT YET

………Is it here? NOT YET
It will get here. You bet!

Coming soon!

NOT YET
Lisa Cox and Lori Hockema

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Ribbon of Tears

Ribbon of Tears

If each of our lives is a story, and I do believe each and every one of us has a story to tell, today’s page of my story would have tears staining the ink on the page. Today is a day I let go and trust. Today, I say good-bye to the idea of going back to the profession I love. Today, I turn in my letter of retirement much earlier than I ever anticipated. Today Parkinson’s knocks a little wind out of me.

By tomorrow, I will turn the page and look for new opportunities. Tomorrow, I will quit pouting and see all of the windows God is already opening as this door quietly closes in my life.

Actually, I won’t wait to turn the page of tomorrow. I will mentally put those boxing gloves on (physically put them on tomorrow) and hit back

I will do as the song Heather Richardson and I wrote…..

“dig deep, find strength, and trust. And throw that First Punch”

But……. first I will reflect on a line that Heather and I wrote in another song that I hope you all will be hearing her beautifully sing sometime soon…….

” Today is marked by a ribbon of tears to close the chapter of” my counseling years.

Good-bye —
ZCS

Hello —
New Chapter

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Why? First Punch for Kids with Challenges

The past seven years for me has been an incredible journey. I have been to a place that I never dreamed I would go. I have experienced a world right in front of me that struggles to fit in, keep up, and is often on the sidelines of life. My journey has been a spinal tumor, spinal cyst, and finally a Parkinson’s diagnosis through which I have discovered a whole new world of pain, struggle, fear, healing, acceptance, beauty, and joy. It is the world of the disabled or those with special needs.

From 2010 – 2015 I lived in that world as I watched and experienced my body succumb to the attacks of Parkinson’s. Slowly, my body began to stiffen and fail. I was losing my balance, my movement, my strength, and my smile. On July 28, 2015 I visited a doctor who prescribed for me a new medication. Miraculously, in one hour after being on that medication, I came back from my journey and the experience of being disabled. Although, I still have the same diagnosis, I am back to my almost fully functional self. There is no cure for Parkinson’s. I will most likely regress someday. I write this to you today because I sit here with the gift of my health back for an undetermined amount of time. Praise God.

For a while I have stepped out of the world of disability, but I cannot leave my friends behind. My friends are the little ones with challenges who I would see in the halls of the schools where I have worked for 24 years as a school counselor. I now have an amazing window into their world, our world in reality.

Our purpose for the First Punch Boxing for Kids with Challenges is to bridge that gap and bring strength and hope and to give kids the courage to step up and battle the challenges they face in their world.

I am a funny, fun, in love with life person. Parkinson’s tried to steal that from me. Parkinson’s lost. Hope won. The fear is gone. I want to share this hope with kids experiencing challenges in their lives.

I have so many people for whom I am thankful and so many more to whom I need to reach out and help.

Will you partner with us to fund this pilot program for the summer of 2017?

Let’s make it happen!

FIRST PUNCH – Noncontact Boxing for Kids with Challenges https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/147552517/first-punch-noncontact-boxing-for-kids-with-challe

Coming to the Surface

Sometimes reality makes me come to the surface and truly face what is happening in my brain. That is what happened yesterday at my appointment with my neurologist. From the moment he walked in the door, I knew he was analyzing my every move, word, and expression. He was looking for signs of regression, and that makes me have to face for a moment the physical changes that are slowly happening to me. At these times I feel like I can’t tread water or swim fast enough to get away from the raw reality of it.

I knew going into this appointment that I have noticed that my meds were not working as well. I guessed there was some regression, but yesterday I had to face it, grieve it, and feel it. It was a hard day.

This morning the sun is shining. I hear the birds singing, and I plan on living today to the fullest.

…… And I plan to submerge myself in the tranquility of denial, not denial that I have Parkinson’s.Today I will drown myself in the comfort that it does not define me. I will deny this disease any power over me. Today I will push back any fear that has resurfaced and focus on the beautiful routine of the day.

Today I will drift and let the current pull me far away from any negativity and closer to my creator. Today I will trust my God. Today I will quit fighting the undertow of faith and belief in a bigger plan than I can see. There is a bigger and plan than pain and suffering.

That is until July 25, my next neurologist appointment. Then I will have to resurface again, but only for a day!

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A Story I’ve Always Wanted to Share

Believe!

It was a walk I will always remember. My grandmother had just died and I was distraught about her death and my failure to be a witness to her. My grandma who I had never known to go to church and never speak openly of faith, died at age 91. It had always puzzled me, my dad’s side of the family. There could not be more loving, giving, caring people. Growing up I always wanted to ask my grandma about Jesus, but I never could find the courage. The only evidence I ever saw of a faith was a cheap plastic framed picture of Jesus that hung on my grandma’s wall in her small bedroom. I hadn’t been in that room for many years.

The last time I saw my grandma was in a hospital room. She was battling a blood clot in her lung and had an oxygen tube in her nose. At one moment she was with us. Then she would drift off for a minute and wake to say something a bit delusional that indicated for me that I only had one last chance to ask my grandma about Jesus. Did she love Jesus? She had just looked at my aunt and I and expressed her love for us all, so I thought this is my moment. I asked the question. “Grandma do you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior?” She lifted her head and answered, “Jesus, is he the one who stole my purse?” My aunt looked at me mortified with an expression that said “what are you doing?” I left that hospital room humiliated and embarrassed. She died that night.

The next day God and I battled on a long walk. I remember the sky being particularly clear and beautiful, and I looked up and had a conversation with him in my mind. “I can’t do this. I am a shy person. It’s just who I am. I have prayed for her for years. You let me down. Now I will never know. Do not ask me to share my faith with anyone ever again!” Those were some of my rantings and accusations I threw at God on that walk. What I heard in return was “go into her room.” At the time I didn’t have a profound understanding that God had just spoken to me. Now that I look back, I know it was God because– I argued with him. “Oh no, a cheaply framed picture of Jesus on a bedroom wall does not mean you have given your life to Jesus.” “Go into her room” is what I heard. Would that picture hanging on her wall give me peace? I thought not!

A few days later after her funeral, I sat among a gathering of family and friends in my grandma’s living room. I thought maybe I would find comfort in looking at that picture on her wall, but I really doubted it. I was nervous when I asked if it would be ok to go in her room. I didn’t know why.

As I opened the door to her bedroom, my heart was pounding and I looked to the wall in front of me where I remember the picture being. My hope plummeted as I saw a mirror hanging where that picture had been. “See, it’s not even there,” I threw at God in my mind with contempt.

When I spun around to go back out the door, I froze. There it was, the picture I remembered. It was surrounded by three more pictures of Jesus in different settings. There were several crosses on the wall, bible verses stuck in the door frame, an angel pin I had once given her, dried palm leaves that her other grandchildren had brought her after Palm Sunday services, and statues of Jesus. I had to take a second look to make sure that it was not a tribute to Elvis. In that fleeting moment while I stood frozen, I know this sounds crazy, but I felt a flutter, and I know an angel stood behind me whispering in my ear, “Your grandma is fine. This is for you. Your grandma is fine.”

The moment was over when my dad barged in the room. I pointed at the wall and asked, “Why didn’t I know this?” He just laughed and said, “Oh, your grandma always loved Jesus.” I just smiled and took that picture and walked out of the room.

I have always wanted to tell this story even though it makes me sound crazy.
I may never have that kind of experience again, but it had a profound effect on my faith. God has such a sense of humor. I just know that he and my grandma are laughing and loving the moment when she told me that Jesus stole her purse! Believe!

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Sharks

I like a movie with a good happy ending. I saw one awhile ago that had everything but that. It is called Open Water. Now if you plan on watching this movie, stop right now because I am going to tell you the ending.

Basically, a married couple go on a tropical vacation. They go on a scuba diving adventure. They are having a great time diving, but when they surface they find their boat has left without them. The scuba diving guide miscounted and did not realize his mistake for days. The majority of the movie is spent with the two of them bobbing up and down with a few boats that pass too far away to see them. Eventually, the man gets bitten by a shark and dies in her arms. Then she just takes off her life jacket and goes under. I hated it. Where was the redemption? Where was the hope? Where were the rescuers who would risk all to bring them home?

They say it is based on a true story. That makes me shudder as I have been scuba diving about 3 times. This couple placed their trust in their guide, the scuba diving company, their watches, their equipment, their rescuers, and each other. None saved them from their plight.

Sometimes I feel like my life is kind-of like that open water. And it makes me think about where I place my trust. If you are a Christian, you will understand when I claim that I place my faith in Christ alone. There is a familiar song that I have sung often in church. It goes ” in Christ alone, my hope is found. He is my light, my strength, my song.” Yes, I profess that I place my faith in Christ alone. Those of you who are not Christians, to you I I fully admit that I live as a hypocrite most of the time. If I am honest with you and myself, I place my faith in my comfortable home, my job, my husband’s job, my health insurance, my family, my doctors, my food. I could go on and on. Those worldly things are not bad, but they are as fleeting as that negligent boat that left the couple in open water in that movie. There have been times in my life when I have been striped of those worldly things that I mentioned and have felt as vulnerable as those unfortunate scuba divers.

In 2010 when my health the striped away from me is one of those times. I felt panic, despair, and the fear was like sharks nipping constantly. But unlike the movie, I stopped bobbing and trying to battle that fear nipping at me. The words to that song became a reality. I was forced to either keep battling myself or live those words I have sung for years — in Christ alone.  I finally surrendered my plight to him. The rescue chopper did not come. I am not miraculously healed. He could have sent it. Instead, I feel like he has put a shark barrier around me, protecting me, and giving me wave after wave of joy and blessings in my plight. That is real. That is how Christ rescued me. I can without reservation claim “in Christ alone.”

We all live by faith in something.  There is only one I have found who can protect me from the sharks of life. In Christ Alone.

There is a sequel! It’s called Open Water 2. If you plan on watching it, again stop reading. In this movie there is a new set of friends on a sailboat sailing across the ocean. How does it end? Well, let me just say this. It’s all fun and games as you push each other in the ocean until after the last man jumped and you realize that someone forgot to put out the ladder and you can’t get back into the boat. More sharks!

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