I got an e-mail Monday about a secret flu shot clinic for employees of my health region, including Disability Support Providers (me). It was a ten minute walk from my house (where I got led into an Authorized Personnel Only room), convenient as I am also high risk because of my asthma. Also it is basically next door to 7-Eleven. And a lovely morning for a walk.
I’m only a week late—here’s my 12 of 12 from November 12th, 2015!
12:37 am – kitchen. Hello, reminder. Hello, November 12th. [I often ignore these alerts for HOURS…]
10:29 am – bedroom. It’s getting to be that time of year… Mittens.
11:23 am – bus. My buddy, Murray, Steve’s guide dog. Hard at work!
12:11 pm – bronuts. Boston creme, aka Edgar? Yes, please!
12:20 pm – bronuts. One of the bros brought Murray water :].
12:28 pm – King Street. For my friend Riki: yes, Bronuts is wheelchair accessible!
1:20 pm – mts centre. The boys (aka Steve and Gerry) and I went to Starbucks and it was very full, so we took our drinks and sat at the far end of the Tim Hortons in MTS Centre.
3:30 pm – graham at donald. Waiting for my bus to go to work. This post with a graffiti-ed name tag was interesting to me.
6:20 pm – respite. You mean you don’t make paper french fries at work?
6:30 pm – respite. Apparently the five year old didn’t like some of my shading that got a bit out of control, so I made it better by making the offending french fry have ketchup on it. [I mean, also, when the little one found a freezie and we couldn’t find a second for the 5 year old, I convinced him that frozen bananas were the greatest thing ever… and won him over.]
8:50 pm – kitchen. Went shopping on the way home. I’m doing NaNoJouMo (national nonstop [art] journal month], so, I have to give my inner [non-]artist some new tools.
10:49 pm – kitchen. My first oil pastel creation in years. I think I had better pastels as a kid, actually…
The past is important in telling our stories, to understand where we’re at and why we’re there.
But tonight, I am not celebrating what’s ending . . . i am celebrating what is coming. I don’t “do” new year’s resolutions, because a resolution is simply a goal–and goals need to be set and re-set frequently to make progress.
Today I closed off 2011 with my friend and former coworker, Sara, just one of many amazing people I experienced the joy of meeting in 2011. We ate too many crepes and had an amazing time, and were ironically wearing the same Hollister hoodie in different colours, pink t-shirts underneath and brown jackets! [I took mine off for the picture].
After making a final pharmacy trip for the year (gotta love breathing, yeah?), I came home to do a final workout to hit 800 kilometers for 2011. To give some perspective on how much I’ve grown in regard to exercise and fitness in 2011, my total on December 31st, 2010 was a tiny 100 kilometers [which was upped to a legitimate 106 as I found later on that I had forgotten to count an April race in there].
That. Is. Huge. The big change in 2011 came in September through the amazingness that was Physical Activity: Promotion and Adherence, definitely my favourite university class thus far, and really gaining the understanding that the SMALL things make a BIG difference! Though an unintentional success attributed to making small changes and regulating physical activity, since mid-September [at my highest ever weight which may have been some sort of weird fluke] I have lost a total of 17 pounds. I can’t say I felt “bad” before or anything, but comparatively, I feel totally awesome both physically and emotionally with the GOOD changes that have happened!
I’ve walked 213 km, stationary biked 143, and racked up hundreds of kilometers in commutes. I walked one race, went on a few short hikes, went on an adventure rock climbing this past week. I played hockey both in my skates and in my Sauconies and skated down rivers. I’ve played in concrete jungles and playgrounds. This has been the most active year of my life, and I plan to strip that title away from 2011 and give it to 2012.
This year, I have reached farther than I thought I could, pushed my lungs and my body in bigger ways. I started thinking about things differently, relationships changed and growing happened. I did things I couldn’t believe I would or could succeed at.
I got a new job at an amazing daycare. I worked one-on-one at camp for a week, which was one of the biggest challenges and biggest joys simultaneously. I have met so many amazing people in “real life” and online. One of my best guy friends for a time became my first boyfriend and even though it mutually didn’t work out, it definitely did not damage our friendship, which was the most important thing to us. I returned to Chicago. I watched one of the girls I do inclusion with grow so much in where she’s at, while simultaneously realizing the growth in myself through her. I have fallen more and more in love with the subject that is applied health. I have changed my perspectives on health advocacy, become more involved, and continued to learn how to OWN my asthma and encourage others to do the same. I have learned to better live with what I’ve been handed. I have learned more deeply that health and wellness is a choice. I have learned to see things differently, engage differently, and not just make goals, but meet goals and ENGAGE in these goals to use them as learning experiences.
I want to continue that next year. Continue moving forward, continue proving myself wrong, continuing to grow and learn and thrive, not simply survive.
There is more goodness coming. There is a year of hope, joy, change, growth, learning, and love ahead.
Bring it on 2012. GOOD THINGS!
You make all things work together for my good.
and if our God is for us, then who could ever stop us? [. . .] our God is healer, awesome in power . . .
I hear ignition in the words off her tongue. I see the light in her eyes.
This IS the girl I knew last year, but the girl has grown. I am seeing the change, seeing the love. And I am blessed, amazed, astounded at the work that God is doing in this girl.
She’s sixteen, and has the beautiful trusting mind and relentless love of a five-year-old. A glowing smile, and a hug every time we see each other. And the above are a few of the choice lyrics that overflowed from her heart tonight during worship.
Last year she came but rarely engaged. Worship was too crazy, too overwhelming for her, and on the bigger, busier nights, she’d often choose to stay home. This year, I can’t even piece together what changed in her, except that God is doing amazing things through music in this girl. She runs in every single week, finds me, gives me a hug and then holds onto my shoulders, jumps up and down and says “Kerri! Are we doing worship tonight?!” And I am so, so happy every time that I get the opportunity to say “YES!” And then she asks me repeatedly “How long until worship?”
The character of God is changing the character of this girl. I love that when I least expect it, He opens my eyes through her in such a way that only a big, big, BIG God can do.
I am blessed.
I am blessed by her presence, her heart, her love, her perspective. Her perception. Seriously, she caught me tonight, figured out I was tired, and then after worship told me I needed to go home and go to bed.
I am blessed that through some path only an amazing God has created that our paths crossed, and I’m able to be a part of her world–I do one-on-one respite support for her at our youth events on Friday nights. It’s something I never perceived happening when I signed up to be a youth leader, but it was definitely not an accident. And it’s an amazing learning experience, not only in working with people with disabilities, but in life.
She opens my eyes every single time.
She teaches me how to trust. How to engage when the moment is right for not everyone, but for me . . . as she does. She teaches me how to open myself up to others . . . not for them to see more of me, but for me to see more of them.
She reminds me time and time again that LOVE is LOUDER than circumstance.
(Anybody recognize that P.O.D. title?)
Yesterday evening, sitting next to the sixteen-year-old I do respite with at youth, she grabbed my arm and started playing with my purple flowery sportsband. Didn’t ask about it, just played with it, and asked what time it was [I think she thought it was a watch]. The funny thing is, the last two weeks, none of the kids had asked about my bracelets (I work with like 55 of them). Until yesterday, that is.
“Miss Kerri, do you have asthma?” [The kids at work call me Miss Kerri. It’s all cute and such, though it threw me off a lot the first, oh, two months of work.]
“[Insert other kid’s name here] has the same bracelet! And she has asthma, too!” [Hooray for being matchy with one of our kids? She doesn’t wear hers much anymore, I’ve been noticing.]
“Yuppers. I have a black one too, but it’s too big.” Kids understand all about things being too big. Adults kind of lose that sort of understanding.
The other thing adults kinda lose, is the ability to not ask me incessant questions and just take it for what it is. Your bracelet is matchy to my friend’s bracelet, you both have asthma, I’m gonna go back and play now. Kids are so easy (most of the time).
Last night, my other respite girlie sits down on my knee and starts playing with my bracelet. “I used to have that one! Except it had velcro on it.” [The girlie has asthma, recently diagnosed epilepsy and potentially severe environmental allergies in addition to the behavioural/developmental things that lead me to doing respite with her].
And my question is . . . why are these kids not wearing their bracelets? I understand MedicAlert is a little pricey for some, but there are other options. It’s something I definitely think is important, and people don’t understand how important it actually is..
It’s your life. Do you wear medical identification to identify your invisible illness? Why did you make that decision, or why not?