Sunday, January 15, 2017

Fuzzy Wuzzy

Most winters, I try to become a hermit and stay in as much as possible. January hasn't been too bad so far, but I'm still minimizing my time out in the cold. Since I wasn't going to be seeing a lot of people or have any school talks, I decided to try an experiment.

Ever since my teen years, I have always shaved my facial hair and not let it grow. I've been hearing a lot about beards lately for some reason and wondered how mine would grow. Starting on January 2, I stopped shaving and just let the hair grow. A few people said it would start to itch, but it never came up. I attended a visitation on the fifth, so I shaved off what grew for a beard and tried again after the eighth. This time, I was able to go the full week without shaving, and I started to notice some
changes.

If I have an itch by my eyes or nose, I usually blow at it to see if I can get rid of an offending hair or skin flake. On Thursday, I did my regular routine, but not much breeze got to my target. I tried holding my stick differently, different angles of attack, but nothing helped. After too long of a time period, I figured out my mustache had grown out enough to block my hot air.

For the beard, my caregivers first noticed a bald spot under my chin. After them touching it, the area feels like where I used to rub my chin on my vent tubes. Driving my chin control chair with the extra hair also started tricky with my controls sliding off my skin.

After nearly two weeks of growth, I went ahead and shaved it off again and went back to my normal look. Feeling a smooth chin again and having a clear path to puff is a nice feeling. It was starting to feel warmer, which I liked, but I don't think I'll try it again any time soon.

Having fun experiments in the quad life helps to break up the regularity from day to day. I don't have anything else in mind, but I'll see what is in store for another week.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Life Lessons

I read a blog entry last week called 7 Life Lessons from a Guy Who Can't Move Anything but His Face. It was written by Jon Morrow, a writer with muscular dystrophy that has done very well through his writing.

According to the article, Jon moved to Mexico and was able to cover his own care and now has made millions through his writing. I don't agree with some of his language choices, but I'm glad that everything has worked well for him. From the picture and writing, it doesn't look like he uses a vent to breathe, so that does ease care needs a little.

Writing is something I enjoy, but I need to be in the right frame of mind to produce anything that's halfway decent. If you have been reading my blog for any length of time, I'm sure you can tell the difference from one week to the next. Earning some income from my writing would be great, but I don't see it happening, at least at this point.

At one time, I had hoped to be able to do enough web development to become independent, but that wasn't in God's plans. The last year especially has been extremely slow with web work and I averaged less than eight hours of work per month in 2016. As I've said on here before, I've learned to be content with what I have.

It isn't easy by any means, and I'm not always successful in being happy with what I have, but it's a major life lesson I've learned. It would be great to be independent of my dad's insurance and Medicaid and able to cover my own needs, but they are covered. A time may come that major changes will happen because of my funding, but I've been given a great 35 years so far and don't expect it to end.

You don't need to risk everything and move to Mexico to learn life lessons. Pay attention to the life God has placed you in now and take time to listen to His teaching. It may lead to a life of financial independence, but we'll always be totally dependent on Him for forgiveness of sin and the life to come.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

2016 Numbers

The time has ended for 2016 and another year has begun. Looking back at last year's blog numbers, I did manage to get in one entry every week. However, I was a little surprised when I looked a little closer at my totals for the year.

Every week after I finish a post, I click on publish and I'm redirected to a page that lists my previous entries. To the right of every post are two numbers showing the number of comments and how many people viewed a post. December's numbers are shown here. With only six subscribers, I average about 18-20 views per post. Since I just post once a week and just about my musings, I think that's pretty good.

In 2016, my most viewed posts were:
  1. Three Seconds
  2. One Year of Working Legs
  3. Christmas Fun
  4. Quick Visit
  5. Upgrade
As a web developer, I know Google (the parent company of Blogger) keeps detailed records of visits, so I looked further. I found out I have a few more readers than I thought. This screen shot is total visitors over the last 30 days. It's a few more than the one above.

I'm not sure what everyone finds interesting, but I'm glad you have stopped to read. I don't know what 2017 will bring in the quad life, but I hope to be able to keep coming here every week. May God be with you this year and let Him work in the life you've been given. I will see what this first week brings and report back to you my readers.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Post Christmas

Christmas 2016 has come and gone and in a few hours the observed holiday will be over and everything returns to normal. For a few days anyway, then the new year celebration begins.

I notice every year that the holidays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year, seem to all clumped together. Three holidays in a five week time span during a time of year that is not always favorable for going out and traveling. During the summer months, the three U.S. celebrations of Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day, are spread out over three months. They are during the time of year when it's great to get out as well.

It would be fun to live n the southern hemisphere and have the scrunched holiday schedule during summer. Spending Christmas and New Year's on the beach in New Zealand with school out for the summer would be great. Families can travel to relatives' houses and not have to be concerned about getting home before school resumes.

The southern U.S. experiences part of this though. Yesterday I saw friends from Florida hanging out in the pool on Christmas day. I hear several people say they like a white Christmas, but I think I could get used to a green one very quickly.

No matter my varied thoughts, it was good to celebrate Christmas again with both sides of my family. When I only see some of my cousins' kids once a year, it's a challenge to identify who goes with who. A child who used my chair to help steady himself to walk last year is now running circles around everyone and talking.

Yesterday at church was also great to celebrate the birth of Christ. The official celebration is over and I'm sure some gifts have already been returned, but the gift that was celebrated never ends and has no boundaries. It has been a full year in the quad life and I look forward to what God has in store for 2017.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Cold Snap

November was one of the warmest Iowa has had on record. Mostly everyone I know enjoyed the extended fall temperatures and wanted it to stay. Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end and reality has returned.

December started off pretty well, but the last ten days haven't gone above the freezing point. This weekend has been a large shock to the system for cold. My dad's side of the family had our combined Thanksgiving and Christmas last night. When we left the house, it was a balmy 6° outside, before wind chill. Getting in and out of the van at my grandparent's house in the country felt like rolling into a deep freeze. However, I think a deep freeze is set warmer than the temp was.

This morning I woke up to my outdoor thermometer reading -13°, but with very little wind. As a result of the cold and yesterday's snow and ice, almost all churches in town cancelled their services. I missed last week's morning service due to no night nurse, so today was an excellent time to listen to what I missed. I was surprised to hear my name mentioned during the sermon, so likely a good thing to know.

As I write this, my thermostats are averaging at 0° outside, too cold to go out. However, this is Iowa and conditions change quickly. Tuesday is forecast to be in the upper 30's with most of the week having similar readings. After a month off, I'm hoping to finally bike again and try my new breakaway sweatpants made just for the occasion.

The warm to cold happens every year, so I knew it was coming. I think when living the quad life and moving very little, the chill seems to have more of a sting. No matter what, I'll live with what God has given me, and be thankful for a warm house, stacking caps, jackets, and everything else to ward off this fallen world.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Christmas Fun

A regular part of Christmas is putting up decorations. Some people go very extravagant with lights timed to music while others keep it more simple. My family does more toward the easier end.

For the first week of December, my primary day assistant was ill and couldn't come. Dad stayed home with me three of the four days she missed, so he had plenty of time to decorate. I did my usual train
tree in my room, but we added another train this year. A friend gave me a small set to go around the tree as well, so we have two train trees this year.

Decorating is one of the fun activities to help celebrate the season, and spend time with family. I saw a Christmas quiz that this week that had a few fun facts as well.

True or false: The Friday after Thanksgiving is the busiest shopping day of the year.

Which U.S. state was the first to recognize Christmas as an official holiday? New York, Florida, Alabama, or Texas

What unusual thing do the lyrics of these three Christmas songs have in common: “Jingle Bells,” “Winter Wonderland,” and “Sleigh Ride”?

For the answers, and more questions to stump your friends, download this free PDF from LivingWaters.com.

While we celebrate Christmas one day a year, remember the real reason to celebrate. It isn't to receive, or return, packages from people, but the gift of the babe in a manger that we may receive everlasting life.

With winter cold, I haven't had a very active quad life this month. I'll see what another week will bring!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Word Roles

I don't know how many people do this, but I often find common phrases somewhat amusing. I sometimes wonder if the person realizes what they're saying. I've made such errors and laughed when I realize what I actually said.

One area I often hear fun phrases is announcing a new pregnancy or birth. You will often hear, "Mr. and Mrs. Jones are expecting a child!" I'm glad they clarify, otherwise I may have mistaken the excitement, and increase in belly, with a kitten coming. A few months later you're told they had a little boy. Good to know he didn't come out as a teenager, the couple may have sent him back.

Other phrases I love to play are simple questions like, "What's up?" This leaves a wide range of responses available, the opposite of down, the ceiling, clouds, gas prices, your time, and many others. The list goes on.

"Be careful, that just came out of the oven, it's hot." I would hope so, if something just came from the oven and was frozen, it's time to get it fixed.

"It's always in the last place I look." It could be the first place you look as well. Unless you continue to look for an item after you found it, you'll always find it in the last place you look.

We park in driveways and drive on parkways, and then wonder why English is a difficult language to learn.

We've been given the gift of communication that we can help build each other up, entertain, and also spread gossip and slander. If used correctly, it can be a great tool. As you meet with friends and family in the coming weeks, pay attention to both funny moments, as well as serious. Both in and out of the quad life, every word needs to be considered and used wisely.