Book Review: “Jane Doe” by Victoria Helen Stone

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Howdy!

So, this week is all about reviews. I had two other plans for what I could talk about for today, but I just decided to scrap them and give you this one to round up a very busy time for books!

This month, I was able to enjoy some Prime Reading and as much as I had hoped that Margaret Atwood’s sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale would still be listed on the site as part of the choices you can read, it wasn’t so I had to find something else and as I scrolled through all of these books, I finally saw a familiar cover. Before we continue though, I have to mention that I am not really into suspense thrillers in both books and films. I have watched What Lies Beneath, Escape Room, and Play Or Die recently and really enjoyed them but I never finished Paula Hawkins’s The Girl On The Train so I was a bit hesitant but once  I read the description of the story, I instantly hooked!


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A double life with a single purpose: revenge.

Jane’s days at a Midwest insurance company are perfectly ordinary. She blends in well, unremarkably pretty in her floral-print dresses and extra efficient at her low-level job. She’s just the kind of woman middle manager Steven Hepsworth likes—meek, insecure, and willing to defer to a man. No one has any idea who Jane really is. Least of all Steven.

But plain Jane is hiding something. And Steven’s bringing out the worst in her.

Nothing can distract Jane from going straight for his heart: allowing herself to be seduced into Steven’s bed, to insinuate herself into his career and his family, and to expose all his dirty secrets. It’s time for Jane to dig out everything that matters to Steven. So she can take it all away.

Just as he did to her.

taken from Goodreads

So, I started reading this book, knowing that there would a big chance that I could be wrong and I would hate this, but thankfully I didn’t!

I was actually flying through it because I was loving the main character Jane. She explains everything from her childhood to how she basically self-diagnosed herself as a sociopath. I love watching some true crime shows on Investigative Discovery and it was interesting to see how her mind worked. I love to observe people and learning how to read their body language but this goes all in and it was so addicting! She also talks you through her reasons why she wants revenge on this guy, and this is where you really see this side of her really start to unfold, because she’s very honest about everything. I like that fact she isn’t a whiz at everything, like she says in the book, she can’t break into safes and vaults.

There are some strong religious views; a man has more authority, he owns everything and the only thing the women are suppose to do is be there for him and take care of the children and their home. A man can be forgiven by the Lord with little to no punishment whereas a woman has to pay for her sins automatically. I know there are a lot of people out there who still live and preach this way, but I have issues with it. I have always had questions about this lifestyle, but after taking a few days to think about it, I thought maybe I am a little bit of a feminist than I originally thought, because I believe in equality in relationships and if you are doing something against God, whether you are a man, woman, trans, gay, disabled you should all be punished for those choices. That’s my say on it.

Overall, the book itself was so good! I wasn’t even halfway finished with it before I basically announced it to anyone within ear shot that it was my favorite book of the year and at the moment, I have read four others so this is a pretty big deal for me! If you don’t normally go for these types of books, I definitely think you should at least to try to find it at your local library or if you have Prime Reading too, you can check it out there to see if you are proven wrong like I was!

Have you read Victoria’s novel “Jane Doe” yet? If you said yes, what did you like or hate about it? Let’s chat below!

snowflake

Book Review: “Five Feet Apart” by Rachael Lippincott

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Howdy!

One day after I finished writing Monday’s post, I finally finished this book. I knew I was close to being done with it, but I figured I would savor it a little bit!

I came across this book twice – the first was when the trailers of the film adaption were being played on almost every channel and the other was through a fellow blogger who literally tweeted she cried more than she though she would. I definitely had to wait to read this but I can say it was worth the wait! Now I can finally check out the movie and see it lines up with what I was seeing in my head or not.


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Stella Grant likes to be in control—even though her totally out of control lungs have sent her in and out of the hospital most of her life. At this point, what Stella needs to control most is keeping herself away from anyone or anything that might pass along an infection and jeopardize the possibility of a lung transplant. Six feet apart. No exceptions.

The only thing Will Newman wants to be in control of is getting out of this hospital. He couldn’t care less about his treatments, or a fancy new clinical drug trial. Soon, he’ll turn eighteen and then he’ll be able to unplug all these machines and actually go see the world, not just its hospitals.

Will’s exactly what Stella needs to stay away from. If he so much as breathes on Stella she could lose her spot on the transplant list. Either one of them could die. The only way to stay alive is to stay apart. But suddenly six feet doesn’t feel like safety. It feels like punishment.

What if they could steal back just a little bit of the space their broken lungs have stolen from them? Would five feet apart really be so dangerous if it stops their hearts from breaking too?

Description from Goodreads.

First Impressions:

There was only one thing I knew about the story, and it was the disability aspect of it. I think reading John Green’s The Fault In Our Stars helped me a lot when it came to understanding cystic fibrosis or CF as it is mostly called in the book. It kind of put things in perspective thinking back to my own lung function, especially before I had my back surgeries in 2002. The technical term is: spinal fusion surgery. If you’re not too queasy about blood, you should check it out online. I wouldn’t surprise me if there’s a video of it on YouTube! Growing up, I was never able to breathe right because my spine was so curved, it was slowly crushing my right lung. What I didn’t know until about a month or two ago, is that my lungs are still undeveloped because of the damage my spine caused.

I think another way I understood the character’s stories is because I spent three and half months at Shriner’s Hospital for Children. Once the author was explaining the layout of the hospital, I was basically using my memory of the buildings I was in for my stay to reconstruct what it could look like, but it wasn’t as fancy as the book though. I also felt like I was both Stella and Will in different ways, because I remember being likeable among the nurses there but also a rebel like Will. As Will had found his way out of the hospital, I escaped once but it wasn’t to go onto the roof, I was actually searching for my mom.

I loved this story for many reasons. Of course, I liked the fact that it brought me back to a time in my life that seemed so small but in reality it wasn’t. Three and half months is a long time, especially when you’re surrounded to new people, other kids with disabilities (and that alone was different!), but on top of that you have the surgeries and recovery time. I was fortunate enough to have all three surgeries be successful, whereas there were others who had the same surgeries but their bodies were rejecting the rods. They had to be there longer. They were away from their families and friends, just like Stella, Will and Poe.

I was pretty pleased on the fact that I could picture everything going on; to Stella in a full handmade hazmat suit to the black truffles! I felt like I was right there with them, which is why it probably made me more emotional because I was around the same environment. We definitely had more than two nurses watching over us. A lot of them were like Barb and Julie, but instead of using a favorite nurse I enjoyed being around and let me tell you, there were a lot! I exchanged them with someone else. I miss them and I think that was the main reason why I didn’t want to put their faces in those characters. I was already emotional by what was happening in the story, I didn’t need to add another layer to it.

Stella had the right idea of vlogging her time in the hospital, and talking about her struggles with CF. And just being a supporter to others with the condition! A part of me wishes I had discovered blogging or enjoyed writing in a journal while I was there. We took lots of pictures but I would love to read what was going on in my head at that time. We had lots of activities, involving arts and crafts, but nothing I did ever survived the past 18 years. Yes, that number is correct. It has been 18 years since I had my surgeries. A lot of family members and teachers I had in school are probably going to be shaking their heads after reading that sentence!

By the time this post goes live, I will hopefully watched the film. I will also write up a review on that in next couple of weeks. I cannot wait to do that next! Okay, I’m done now.

Have you read or watched Five Feet Apart yet? What were your thoughts on it?

snowflake

The Goodreads Challenge |Top 20 Books For 2020!

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Howdy!

If you are a lover of Goodreads, you probably vote for your favorites of the year in December and when January comes along you make up an estimate of how many books you would like to read that year. I don’t participate in the yearly votes but I do try to create the reading challenge at the beginning of the year; now I usually pick a very low number because I have never had a large selection of books that I actually wanted to read during the course of the year. This year, I feel a change taking place within me. I want to read more, I really do. So, that’s why I am taking the plunge and updating my original goal of 5 books to 20!

I have to say before we continue on with this post, I was inspired to write this after spending a couple of days on Twitter checking out other blogs. Anna from The Bursting Bookshelf does the weekly Top Ten Tuesday challenge and she shared the newest prompt of the week which was “Top Ten Books Added To Your Bookshelf” or something like that. I thought this could be an awesome way to share the rest of the books I bought with that Amazon card in December. So, after reading this post, please go take a look at her blog too!

So, as of right now I have only completed one book and I think this looks promising! I haven’t figured out all of the books I’ll be reading this year, but I can give you the top 15 books for now and maybe I will update you later! I tend to check out the free books a lot during the week so it could grow into a bigger list in the next couple of months, but we’ll see what happens!

  1.  After You by JoJo Moyes | click here to read my review now!
  2.  Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott* | the book review will be up on Friday!
  3.  Ride Me Dirty by Vanessa Vale
  4. P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han* | I am back on the Lara Jean/Peter love train!
  5.  Wicked Beat by Olivia Cunning
  6. Wonder by R.J. Palacio*
  7. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  8. Throne Of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
  9. The Husband Hunters by Anne de Courcy
  10. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  11. Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen*
  12. Head Over High Heels by Lila Monroe
  13. Down The Rabbit Hole by Holly Madison
  14. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn*
  15. A Court Of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

As you can see, I have a lot of books that I can read in 2020 already! The books with the [*] at the end mean I want to watch the film after finishing it.

I have already completed After You, the second in the Me Before You series. The next five books listed are almost finished, everybody is over 50% of the way done so I’m hoping to get through before I get to Wonder. I would also like to mention that all but one is on my Kindle. I have the physical copy of the second book in the Jenny Han series stuffed into my bookshelf for when I am ready for it!

I don’t know what made me purchase Jane Eyre, Pride & Prejudice and Little Woman. I feel like it was a mixture of curiosity and wanting to explore the classics a little bit too. There are a couple of other books on this list that were bought by my mom a few years ago, and I’m glad I can read them now! She read both Down The Rabbit Hole and Gone Girl. They were the only ones that I felt were interesting to me! I’m trying to convince her to get Sally Fields memoir so we can buddy read, but so far no good!

If you want to check out on my progress throughout the year or want to see the other books I’ve read in the past, you can add me as a friend on Goodreads! Click the “G” symbol on the sidebar on the right with the rest of my links.

What are you currently reading now? Are you taking part in the Goodreads 2020 challenge? If you are, how many books do you want to read this year?

snowflake

A-Z Disability Challenge | Z : Zoom

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I know I’m late on getting this post up, but I have been feeling really lazy in the past few days.

I have always been called “speed demon” because I have my power wheelchair’s speed on high. It’s crazy how much my mom thought the volume was down low while I was in school! Speaking of that, my middle and high schools were attached and had multiple ramps in the hallways. The first time I ever visited, I was probably going into fourth grade and my face lit up. I couldn’t help but race up and down those halls with Blondie and our cousins. Now as an adult, I feel like I have definitely calmed down, and to just seal the deal, the occasional popping a wheelie doesn’t even do it for me anymore. For my parents, this is a blessing and this could be a good sign for other families out there who are dealing with little speed demons at home too, but I feel like I should say that if I was in my power wheelchair for 8 hours straight and there were ramps all around, I would totally go for it in a heartbeat!

Since creating my Instagram account a few months ago, I have been speaking to other people with Arthrogryposis, and it has been really nice to discuss our stories and everything, I also love when parents will follow me too. I get a chance to watch the younger generations grow up and learn how to deal with it in an entirely different era.

There is one little girl that takes me back to starting school for the first time, making what I thought would be long-lasting friendships, and receiving my first wheelchair. The girl’s mother told me once that thanks to her brothers encouragement, she tracked mud all over their house. I could tell she wasn’t thrilled about the incident. There is a big difference between the mini daredevil and I. When I was in elementary school, we left my power chair there and only took it home during summer vacations because our house wasn’t handicapped accessible. So, I never really got to do things like this when I was younger, but this was also at a time where I could scoot everywhere so I didn’t need it too much.

When we did go places that required something more substantial, we used a toddler stroller. It was lightweight so it wasn’t that big of a hassle to put together and take me on trips. I want to say that we used them from the age of seven to probably 11 years old. After I had my surgeries, my body decided that it not only wanted to grow but everywhere! Honestly, for the last five years of being in the stroller, I never wore the seatbelt. I couldn’t. It never wanted to fit around my belly.  Thankfully, by the time I started going to middle school, I was riding the bus to the school and home, so we could keep my wheelchair with me at all times but more importantly, this also meant we could finally get rid of our trustee stroller of the early 2000’s.

Once you got your first power wheelchair, were you described a “speed demon” growing up? Do you remember the first time you discovered rolling down into ramps and/or mud? 

snowflake

 

Blogmas | Favorite Christmas Short Films

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Howdy!

I have talked about how I am going very non-traditional this Christmas, with my tree and how I choose to decorate it, but when it comes to the holiday as a whole I have my ultimate favorites that I look forward to doing like baking sugar cookies and putting lots of frosting and sprinkles on the tops of them with my sister and brother-in-law. Hopefully this year, Mr. Nolan can join us as we create a fairly large mess in the kitchen–I can’t wait to see my mom’s face for that!

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YouTube isn’t just about influencers/creators and live sports – although they are both nice to watch every day of the week, I actually like finding things from my childhood on there. I have watched a lot of movies that I hadn’t seen since I was seven or nine years old. Unfortunately, there are some channels that have been taken off because of violating copyright policies, but I wouldn’t let that make you sad because I’ve also found there is always another one in the depths of the site waiting for you to find it!

I’ve already shared on my Instagram stories who I am watching on YouTube, but I have yet to share with you what makes me feel so festive and ready for Christmas. Well, technically I wrote a blog post about it back in 2011 or 2012, but I thought it was time to redo it and give you individual links to each one so maybe you can check them out too with your family!

I am actually fairly picky when it comes to the oldie Christmas shorts, the only ever modern film that I love is Olaf’s Frozen Adventure that came out in 2017! The ones that I will be discussing today all came out in the early 1930’s! The story behind them is a bit of a blur, because I still have no clue who had them on TV but my gut always brings me back to Turner Movies Classic, considering the date they were all released! However, they also could have been recorded on a VHS for when my mom and her siblings were little, and my grandparents let us watch it. Both of these stories are very likely, it’s just the matter of figuring it out which one is right!

Here are the four Christmas short films I love:

Somewhere In DreamLand (1936)

I know this isn’t directed towards the holiday season, but the first time I watched it was for Christmas.

This follows a pair of siblings, brother and sister, and they are shown collecting chunks of wood laying on the street. As they drag a very heavy wagon of wood back home, they come across a selection of shops that specialize in every child’s dream: sweets. Unfortunately, they are very poor and cannot afford to have anything, but once they arrive home and climb into bed for the night, they dream about all of the candy and ice cream their little hearts desire and when they wake up the next day, they are welcomed by a beautiful surprise.

The setting for this cartoon is during the Great Depression, which makes a lot of sense for both the plot and the year the film came out as well. In 1936, we haven’t established our decision on joining our allies in World War II yet, but we are slowly making our way out of that time in history. You do get a sense of what families were going through during this time though, because the mother of the children, looks very worn down and when the kids ask for more food, she breaks down and sobs into her apron. I can’t imagine the pain everybody went through during this time, and then on top of that I remember that it happened again in 2008 – the dates might’ve changed but the pain stays the same.

Christmas Comes But Once A Year (1936)

This is incredible little tale about these very poor orphans that are celebrating Christmas. They each get out of bed and run out to their living area where they have a sad tree with some dirty socks hanging above the fire place. The children grab and play with their toys only to see them break in front of their eyes. As they cry, an older man drives by in his car whistling a festive tune and discovers the heartbreaking wailing from inside the house and he basically fixes up their toys, house and it’s a merry time with all of these smiling faces again!

It tugs at your heart because in the back of your mind that are children and their families that cannot afford food, water, shelter, even new toys for the holidays! It really puts things into perspective about your surroundings. I definitely feel very humble after watching this film and always want a big hug from my parents afterwards.

Side note: This has captions included at the bottom of the screen!

Santa’s Surprise (1947)

This is next one, I think is what drove me to enjoy learning and respecting other people from around the world.

The story goes like this, Santa Claus is making his way through all parts of the world, the US, Norway, Germany, China, etc and what he doesn’t know is that as he puts the presents underneath the tree, a child is sneaking onboard his sleigh and when Santa is done for the night, he heads off to the North Pole with these kids. As he snuggles into bed, the little ones make sure the coast is clear and head inside his house to basically return the favor of bringing them gifts every year.

Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer (1948)

Everybody has their favorite movie on the story of Rudolph, but this is mine. Apparently, the saying “the older, the better” works perfectly here!

I feel like I should say, I really haven’t seen any other movie about the story of Rudolph, so I’m not sure on how much they really go on about his life before becoming part of Santa’s crew. Once this one starts though, you see this deer that just wants to fit in with the rest of the herd but because of his big red nose, he gets made fun of by his peers but as his mother calls for him for the night, she reminds to hung up his stocking.

After he drifts over to sleep, we venture into how Santa Claus prepares for his night ahead and finds out that it’s extremely foggy. As the clock crimes, he calls out to all of his flying reindeer to their places and they race out to deliever gifts to everyone, even the animals.  When he stops at Rudolph’s house, he discovers a very noticeable light coming from a room and finds it is Rudolph and his special nose. Santa invites him to guide his sleigh and they leave to finish the night off. By the next day, the news has spread across the village and because he helped protect Santa and his other reindeer, he was rewarded a hero and was finally accepted among his kind.

I think the main reason why I love this one the most is that the way the backgrounds remind me of Scooby-Doo, where it doesn’t matter how much running or in this case flying everybody does, the background rarely changes! It is a very adorable cartoon.

Have you ever seen any of these before? If you have, which one is your favorite? What are your favorite movies or shows that you enjoy watching at this time of the year?

snowflake

Blogmas | Christmas Tree Ornaments

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Howdy!

Before I start on this, I am leaving my previous Blogmas post about my Christmas tree because if you haven’t read it yet or this is your first time on here, you can get caught up on why I have adopted a very interesting way to do my tree this year.

For today though, I am discussing my process of both the ornaments and the way I took the pictures, because that in itself was a big production that some people might find enjoyable! Fun fact: I am one of those people! 

  The Ornaments  

I feel the need to mention that the day I finished writing my previous post about my tree, my whole original theme of white lights, purple bulbs, and a star on top, kind of went out the window since my mom could not find anything to match that scheme. However, my dad did say something about going to Dollar General and getting things there. So, one morning I went on the DG website and looked over their very limited holiday decorations and found two that I actually loved, and they were: a pair of angel wings that came in two colors on the site, gold and red. I really fell in love with the red ones. The other one I just couldn’t get over was the crown. If you know me well, you know I need anything royalty and I thought for this reason would be no different!

Later that day, my mom went to the store and came home with an interesting sort of things for me. She got me a box of array silver ornaments. There are the normal shiny ones but my favorites are really the glittery and matte bulbs the most. Unfortunately, they didn’t have their hooks on them already so that was a bummer, but I managed to put two of them on the tree myself before letting mom take over! Now, you’re probably wondering about the two I found online. Did we have any luck in that department? Well, I’m happy to say, she found both of them! There was a setback though, she found the wings only in silver.

This wasn’t what freaked us out though. When I saw them online, they looked pretty smell, almost the same size of the other ones she got me. No… The wings and crown are huge! We couldn’t believe it! Honestly the crown is the perfect size but the wings just look obnoxious! This wasn’t the funny thing though, because both of my parents thought it would look great as the topper, but every time I look at it, I think it looks like a vagina! I literally thought of the episode of Everybody Loves Raymond, when Marie takes an art class and the sculpture she presents to her family, looks just like a vagina. The wings are basically in the same shape but with a bigger opening in the middle, so when my mom placed it at the top of my tree, it just looked very wrong. I mean, I’m all for my Christmas tree being non-traditional, but I have to draw the line somewhere!

I managed to talk my mom into putting the wings lower on the tree, but as much as I had my heart on a star on the top, I kind of thought the crown would look better there instead. It took some convincing on my part because my mom was very adamant about the vagina–I mean, the wings on top–but it does fit on there nicely. As far as decorations on my tree, this is about it. My mom did find me some lights too, but the cord was white and since the tree isn’t as full like others, it looked a bit chaotic but all is not lost, because my mom came up with another idea for them. I don’t even know what prompt this, but she just started wrapping them around my curtain rod on both sides and it actually looks amazing with my sunflower curtain! Thankfully, the lights don’t generate too much heat that I can actually leave them on all day and night. They make my room look really cozy!

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  The Process Of The Pictures  

Now that we have that part out of the way, I can talk to you about how I managed to take the photos for this blog post. I will say, it was not easy, but honestly any post that requires a lot of pictures is usually pretty difficult anyways! Between the fact that I am always adjusting myself to get the ‘perfect’ shot and basically trying not to pop out of my wheelchair and land butt (or worse, back) first on the hardwood floor, isn’t the best thing in the world. Thankfully, I can say I did not hurt myself too awful that day – I did sleep like a baby that night so I took that as a good sign!

For the first round of photos, I used my Kodak digital camera I got last Christmas. I thought the pictures turned out really good the last time so I tried it out for this part, but since I was working with higher angles, I was having a lot of difficulty keeping the camera steady enough. I was able to get a few of the ornaments in their places, so that was nice, but for the rest I switched to my tablet.

Now, I will say that I would only use this as a last resort, because they weren’t in the best quality. I think the culprit for this was because it was too dark in my room. I have become dependent on the flash and since I didn’t have enough lighting, they might not look the greatest but I honestly loved how they turned out for some odd reason. Besides this, I used something else to help make everything easier for me. My nana and papaw had this foot stool that they inherited from the aunts, and I use this to prop up my tablet to color and read. However, I hadn’t thought about using it as a tripod until that day. It took me a good hour and a half to arrange it in certain ways to get the shots I wanted, because when it comes to blog photography, I am incredibly picky! We were successful though, or at least I’ll found out if any of you send me comments about them after reading this post.

The last thing I would like to do, is find this large bag of classic Christmas heirlooms my nana gave me a couple of years ago. I think they would look awesome surrounding the tree. It would complete the whole thing I think. If we find them, I’ll update you about it on Instagram and Facebook!

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What was the meaning for your Christmas tree theme? Do you have any funny ornament stories you would like to share with me? For anybody with a disability, does it normally take you a while to get everything just right? What do you use to make things easier?

snowflake

A-Z Disability Challenge | W : Wheelchairs

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It is extremely difficult for me to talk about wheelchairs. Last year, the big contervesory was about the death of Stephan Hawking was announced, an artist made this beautiful drawing of him coming out of his wheelchair and basically walking up to heaven. As a disabled woman, I was very conflicted with this, but it wasn’t for the picture per se. It was because I felt like I had to choose between what I’ve always been taught and agreeing with the rest of the disability community.

The big deal wasn’t necessarily about the drawing itself, it was more about how a disabled person relies on their wheelchair to do things, like simple tasks around the house and/or getting out and having drinks with friends. However, everything just exploded into this chaotic thing that I really did not want to be part of at that time. Honestly, I still didn’t want to talk about it again on here, but I am on the letter “W” and there wasn’t anything else I could talk about other than this.

So, I’ll just say that my wheelchair doesn’t give me freedom. There it’s out and I can separate myself from the crap I’ve been feeling all this time.

I do think it allows me to do tasks better but I still feel stuck whenever I am in it. I really feel I am limited in both varieties of wheelchairs, as I’m either too short or too bulky! I have yet to find the perfect fit. Maybe this is what regular woman deal with picking out new heels! The second point I would like to get across is, it’s also all about your state of mind. I think after so long, you adapt to every different setting, and wheelchairs are a part of this too. You might get to do new or lose some beloved challenges while figuring out your surroundings.

Again, I have conflicting feelings about my freedom. I know I can never get away from my limitations. I say this not a sad note though, I like being able to test them anyways. I think this is really healthy! My family might not always agree with that statement, but you know. Honestly I would lastly like to say, I will believe what I want to. I have been doing pretty good on several other subjects throughout the years, I can add this onto the never ending list too! Even if that means keeping it in for a year and a half until I can find a clean way to discuss it on here, that’s what I’ll do.

If you’re in a wheelchair, whether that is full or part time, what are your thoughts on your freedom to be able do all the things you want to do? 

snowflake