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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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

Dear World,

Dear World,

I am warning you things are changing. The way we look at the word disability is fighting to change. At this time I know a 17 year old girl with Down’s who hosts her own cooking show. Another girl with this characteristic is applying at some of the most prestigious colleges in our country. In this video, my little Bella doesn’t see her Cerebral Palsy. She sees her self as a strong fighter, as she should.

World, you have to change. Some of us may do things differently than the typical person, but we are fighting. We matter, everyone of us.

And if you find yourself with the opportunity to assist us in some way, be thankful. You will most likely learn a great deal from our strength and from our challenges.

If you find yourself spending time with us, you will know a deeper meaning of life. You will have more compassion. You will wrestle with your own perception of what is important in life– and the lines drawn in the sand of what is a disability may just get blurred and forgotten. You might see us not as a person with Down’s, CP, Autism, Parkinson’s, ALS, etc. You might see us as the girl with curly hair. The boy who is funny. The mom who writes. You may find that it is fun to spend time with us.

World, We are fighters. Like Bella in this video, we will not rest until you see and know us for who we are. And when you finally open your eyes, you will see how boring the world would be without us.

World, We are not broken. You are. We were fearfully and wonderfully made, just like everyone one that inhabits you. World, don’t ignore us. Being ignored is the worst pain.

From One who who sometimes acts like she is from another planet,
Lisa