For years that I lived in Bentonville and went to the Bentonville Farmers Market, I dreamed of the day I too could have a dog that would come with me faithfully to look at the rows of produce, homemade desserts and jams, and handcrafted household and jewelry items. I finally got my wish! Continue Reading →
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One of the best aspects of my job as an education beat reporter was the ability to interview kids of all ages and backgrounds about subjects ranging from gummy bears to how what they were learning in the classroom could be applied to everyday life.
In the eight years of that job, I would guess I interviewed hundreds if not thousands of students. I also wrote about services and programs designed to help kids live healthy, safe, happy and complete lives. I loved being able to write about events and programs happening in my community that were making a true difference in the lives of people who have so much hope and potential.
It was with this mindset that I went to my very first Abbott Nutrition RazorFest (put on by Champions for Kids), which was at the University of Arkansas’ Reynolds Razorback Stadium. I wasn’t sure what to expect entirely even though I had been told it would be filled with booths and activities geared towards helping kids lead healthy, happy lives (I will share more about ways you can get involved at the end…keep reading!) Continue Reading →
Those were words that I started speaking at 6am many mornings when I was in high school. At least during the summer and weekends! I’ve had many jobs in my life and besides being a babysitter and a reporter, I’d have to say that working at a McDonald’s was the most fun I’ve ever had on the clock. The customers were mostly great and my coworkers were interesting too. I loved helping people from all walks of life!
All this reminiscing is thanks to a news story interview I did with two brothers who own 34 McDonald’s in the area (will update this blog with the link once it publishes).
I learned a lot at that job and found something I was really good at doing. That McDonald’s back then was trying out a new style of ordering where you order at the first window and pay, then you get your food at the second window. That was my job, I was the face-to-face drive thru person. I was quick, accurate and friendly (but not so much that I held the line up). Continue Reading →
I wanted to take a few minutes and thank everyone who reads this blog. You join me in my reflections, recipes and general ramblings and it’s appreciated. I hope that in some small way, I’ve been able to offer something that has blessed your life as I share my life’s struggles, triumphs and blessings.
Let me take a few more moments and share some happenings here at Jamie’s Thots that you may (or may not!) find of interest. Continue Reading →
One of the first major, major crushes I had as a kid was on a Wichita State University basketball player. #45 Sasha Radunovich was just dreamy in my nine-year old mind. He was 6’10″ and had a foreign accent. A nice, exotic Yugoslavian accent.
We had season tickets during that time and sat in the student section, which was available to us because my mom audited a couple classes. I remember the day I met Sasha. He was volunteering at a practice for the wheelchair track team I participated on. I was so nervous that he was there and while I was in a race, my mom went over and told him about me. Next thing I knew, he was cheering for me! I went over and talked to him and got his autograph. So what did I talk about when meeting my crush? I told him all about the students who had season tickets behind us at the games who snuck booze in their jackets and used “bad words.” Yeah.
Anyways, the crush was a good thing because it led me to research European history, especially Yugoslavia. I wrote one of my first reports in elementary school on Yugoslavia. See, it was educational.
This log is something I wrote in April 2009. It seemed fitting to reshare:
But as I thought about it more this morning, it seems only fitting, only appropriate that it would rain so much on Easter morning. Think about it, rain is cleansing and rain helps things grow, bringing a sense of renewed life to the world. Isn’t what Christ did?
His death and resurrection accomplished both things: it wiped out our debt of sin, completely. There wasn’t any IOUs or even hints of it. It also gave us new life, not only a better life than we had before but somehow being promised life after being assured certain death seems so much sweeter.
Even as I write those words I have a hard time understanding them because they mean so much. Even now that I have a real relationship with God, I have a hard time knowing how to react to the idea of the crucifixion. It’s not that I’m not grateful, in fact it’s really the opposite.
The idea that Jesus did that is so amazing that I have a hard time fully grasping it well enough to react. Is a thank you good enough? Hardly. Is accepting the gift enough? Not really, even though that’s all we have to do to receive the eternal life the gift promises. I keep thinking I should be breaking down in tears and wailing or having some other violently emotional reaction to all that happened on Golgotha, but I don’t. I just sit there in quiet awe, respect and numb thankfulness that seems and probably is so inadequate.
From now on, forget the Easter egg hunts. I hope it rains every Easter.
It is not unusual for friends or associates to ask me how to help another friend of theirs who was recently injured to the point that they are permanently disabled.
I usually feel at a loss when this happens because, as I tell the person asking, I was born with my disability. I came to the acceptance thing a long time ago, as a child. I never had that moment when my life was one way then in a moment it was changed forever.
I try to explain that if I were to wake up and be completely healed of the Spina Bifida tomorrow, I would feel the same kind of loss that people feel when they are injured. It’s going from a life I know to something completely foreign and unwelcome. Most are flabbergasted when I say that, others gain a whole new understanding of me and how I live.
Adapting is like grieving
We all have people in our lives who we remember for their profound influence and often times, those people are teachers. I was blessed during my 16 years of school to have many excellent teachers who inspired, educated and blessed me. One such teacher was Mrs. Luella Zuercher, who taught me in Spanish I and II, as well as Junior English and Senior English. Yes, that’s right, I had the same teacher for both English and Spanish.
Mrs. Zuercher was a tough teacher. She wanted us to be prepared for college so we often worked on our writing and analysis skills such as taking a piece of text or information and responding to it. There’s many “Mrs. Z” stories to tell, but for some reason what I remember most is when we would be given 10-20 minutes at the beginning of class and instructed to write on some random topic. Many classmates hated those assignments, I adored them. I loved the challenge of taking a random topic and developing a full essay about it. I have to admit that I got pretty good at developing an opening, three points and a closing on just about any topic. Continue Reading →
I remember when I was a little girl, I was interviewed for some local TV station’s show that I think was called Mike and Maddie. Or something like that. The segment was about local kids with Spina Bifida and if my memory serves correct, it was one of those “rah rah isn’t this cute handicapped kid darling” kind of shows.
It seems like most of the time when we see a person with a disability being interviewed or cast on a TV show, it’s all about their disability. The story is disability related or somehow they are being cast as the “person in a wheelchair.” The roles tend to be very stereotypical and not very full. I can think of a few examples where this wasn’t the case, and I appreciate those shows.
The latest issue of Parent Magazine changes all that and I’m incredibly excited. Continue Reading →
There is a little girl living in Russia right now whom I can’t wait to meet. She has no idea who I am or that I even exist. She has no idea that I’ve been praying for her and waiting with bated breath for the time when her little walker and her little feet can sit on U.S. soil and she can finally have a place to call home. A home where she is cherished, not referred to as an “invalid.”
The story of Polina is much like the thousands of orphans living in Russian orphanages, but in many ways it’s incredibly unique. I was about to say that I met her mom less than a year ago, but then it occurred to me that technically I’ve never met Kendra either. Kendra found me through a mutual friend and I’ve gotten to know her through Facebook and her blog. She and her husband, Jason, have been trying to adopt a little girl from Russia and have been raising the funds to make that dream a reality. When I call Kendra her mom, it’s not technically fully legal yet. But in her heart, Kendra is Polina’s mother.
Polina is a little girl with Spina Bifida, the same birth defect I have. I rarely feel a connection with someone simply because we were born with the same health problems, but sometimes it is a bridge that creates a unique connection that is hard to explain. I don’t think the common bond is the disability, I think the common bond is how we handle it, how we are survivors and thrivers…not victims. Continue Reading →