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.


27774596._SY475_Can you love someone you can never touch?

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

Why I Started The “Three Good Things” Challenge

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Howdy!

Since it’s the last day of week and we’re quickly heading into February, I wanted to talk to you all about a challenge I’ve been doing on Instagram for the entire month.

I’ve known about it for at least four years, and been doing it for the past three years off and on. I found the challenge while on Pinterest and I loved the idea of it! The photo said to write out three good things on a piece of paper and put it inside a mason jar to keep until the end of the year so you can see all of the positive things that happened to you. Now if you more of a private person, you could still do it this way, but I like seeing what other people say in their lists, and I don’t know about you but I love seeing others succeed even if it’s a small victory!

Honestly it is pretty easy to do, however if you are having a very dull day, it will get a bit complicated to put something down, but I’ve found out that this is also a good thing too, because it is forcing you to look for the little things, and this is what  people seem to forget the most and I think that’s the point of calling it a challenge. If you’re someone who wants to find other ways to practice self-care, this could be part of your nightly routine!

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If you would like to join in with the challenge, you can follow me on Instagram or my blog’s Facebook page. I haven’t doing good at publishing them there as I would like to, but maybe for February I will get better so even more people can do it too!

Although I do not own the challenge itself, I do have a few rules for you to follow:

The standard amount is threeI would like for everyone to post three things, as the minimum but you have more than that, then I will not stop you for sharing the rest.

I will try to have my lists up before 8pmI am still trying to work out a good time to publish my lists. They’ve been going up between 5pm-7pm, because I like to be offline before eight o’clock so I can get ready to eat supper or watch a basketball game.

You do not have to create a dramatic listI’ve been using the app Pic Collage to make my lists every night, mostly because it’s fun but you do not have to do it too, unless you want to then you can di it! Don’t let me stop you!

Try to be originalSo if you have things happening to you daily, I’d like for you to chose something else (if you can) to list that day.

Be respectful to others that comment belowI don’t want anyone judging another person’s list. This is suppose to be a fun, positive thing, not a way to tease someone!

Ignore my mistakesIt’s come to my attention the last few days that I am not watching out for when I misspell a word(s) and I tend to get made fun of later that night. I will make more mistakes, but you’ll just have to get used to it.

One thing I would like to mention is that, you’re still going to have bad days here and there. This challenge will not cure you from ever having an awful day, and I’m mostly saying this for myself to remember for later because there have been a couple of times were I didn’t know what I was going to share with everyone, because it wasn’t a particular good day, but I feel like if I’m honest with you, you’ll feel like you can be truthful with me too.

What do you think of the “three good things” challenge? Have you done it before or are you a newbie? For those who are doing it with me, do you think it is helping you look to the positive things in your day?

snowflake

Book Review: “After You” by JoJo Moyes

Hello!

For Christmas, I was gifted with a card from my aunt and uncle. It was a beautiful card! It was painted like a present perfectly wrapped along with these brown strings that looked like they were real, so much that I almost attempted to undo it! Inside was a nice little message, wishing me a nice holiday and new year, and finally a $50 gift card for Amazon.  I actually didn’t use it right away, I wanted to wait just in case Santa Claus didn’t get me a pillow, which he didn’t…. but neither did I! Haha!

Since I was given a new tablet for my birthday from my lovely nana, I’ve been reading a lot more, and it’s mostly because I don’t have to wait until it’s fully lit in my room. It has a light built into it and that means I can read it at night!. So, when I got the Amazon card, I knew I would buy some books that I desperately wanted to read before watching their films. I’ll explain later in another post I promise!

A couple of years ago, I read the book Me Before You by JoJo Moyes, and after finishing it I actually went ahead and watched the movie and was semi-impressed with it. I still stand by what I said in my review for the film, it had the important things of the book they could fit into the two hours of content.


Here is the description of it on Goodreads.

27774596._SY475_“You’re going to feel uncomfortable in your new world for a bit. But I hope you feel a bit exhilarated too. Live boldly. Push yourself. Don’t settle. Just live well. Just live. Love, Will.”

How do you move on after losing the person you loved? How do you build a life worth living?

Louisa Clark is no longer just an ordinary girl living an ordinary life. After the transformative six months spent with Will Traynor, she is struggling without him. When an extraordinary accident forces Lou to return home to her family, she can’t help but feel she’s right back where she started.

Her body heals, but Lou herself knows that she needs to be kick-started back to life. Which is how she ends up in a church basement with the members of the Moving On support group, who share insights, laughter, frustrations, and terrible cookies. They will also lead her to the strong, capable Sam Fielding—the paramedic, whose business is life and death, and the one man who might be able to understand her. Then a figure from Will’s past appears and hijacks all her plans, propelling her into a very different future…

For Lou Clark, life after Will Traynor means learning to fall in love again, with all the risks that brings. But here JoJo Moyes gives us two families, as real as our own, whose joys and sorrows will touch you deeply, and where both changes and surprises await.


I honestly can’t say why I felt the need to continue reading the series. I was tempted to see Lou’s journey to Paris, but once I started on After You, I was kind of sad that it wasn’t the focal point of the story, but as I went on I began to feel happy that the author went in another direction.

Several of the characters are still in the process of grieving and dealing with the aftermath of everything that happened with Will and his family. As much as I loved the funny, loving, comical Louisa Clark from the first book, I wasn’t too sure how I would feel about the bitter, almost faded version of this beautiful person. The events that take place after she comes home is really rough but I think it was very powerful to see what happens to a person after someone they loved dies, even at their own accord. I’m trying not to spoil things, but I wanted to include the fact that Lou goes to counseling sessions and I felt this was so important for anyone that is dealing with anything going on in their life but have no one to talk to.

There was one thing that kind of bothered me towards the middle of it. I started to think of the film of the first book, and I thought if they would continue doing the series? I know the backlash of the disability community wasn’t pretty, but a part of me was curious on how they could make this story work on film. Also, who would play both Sam and Lily too? I’m not going to lie, I still had Emilia Clarke in my head the whole time and I felt like she was perfect for the role anyways, so I embraced it as much as possible, but picking out who I thought would play Sam and Lily, are still on in the air.

I really enjoyed this book, but I will have to wait some time to be able to purchase the next one because as my mom told, “Meghan, you have seven others books. Why don’t you try to get through those before you go asking to buy more.” As much as I don’t want to admit it, she does have a point, but I’m going to miss reading up on Louisa’s life!

Have you read Me Before You and its sequel After You yet? What were your thoughts on both novels? Would you like to see it in as a film and would you keep the same actors or exchange them? 

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

 

A-Z Disability Challenge | X : X Marks The Spot

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This week’s installment will be kind of funny as I know a lot of disabled people deal with this on a daily basis. Luckily for me, I don’t, but it does happen every once in a while. I will be discussing mysterious bruises. Oddly enough, on the day I came up with the letter theme, I actually did have a bruise on my leg that just sort of appeared out of nowhere, so it works out great!

I always find myself with a black and blue spot in the most weirdest places, like my knees or shoulders. The only explanation I can give to you about the one on my knee is that it could have happened in the middle of the night and I accidently whacked my knees together while I was turning to either side. However, I can’t say anything about the shoulder though. Am I alone with wishing I could get them on places that make better sense; going back to what I said about my knees. I know I hit the bony side of my left foot a lot whenever I am in the process of putting on my blanket! I think at night, I forget how close I am to the walls, but still when I wake up, it’s not the place on my body that is hurting the most!

The plus side of this is that I am no longer banging my head on the wall. Yes, I have been known to do that too! I literally have to keep a fleece blanket next to my line of fire so that if I do get very close to it, I have that soft barrier in between and maybe I won’t end up with a damn goose egg on my forehead. Again, this has happened in the past too.

Where do you get most of your bruises on your body? Do they start to appear at night or as the day continues? 

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

Blogmas | The Christmas Day Tag!

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Howdy!

I think every Blogmas I’ve done, I always have some kind of Christmas tag in the lineup. I’ve never planned on any of them, by the time the season rolls around, they just appear at the right time, so I just end up doing them anyways!

I found this one while on Twitter. A fellow blogger Nina posted her link through the many retweet accounts and it came up on my newsfeed. When I first read it, I quickly realized that I hadn’t done it before and that it was all about what goes on Christmas day. I thought it would be fun to kind of guess what’ll happen that day a few weeks in advance, and maybe I’ll find out everything I said in my answers was right. Sometimes I like placing bets on myself, keeps things entertaining on those boring gloomy days!

It is a tag, but I am opening it up to anyone who wants to do it. If you end up answering the questions below, I would like to read your posts! So, please link it back to me at the end, okay? Have fun!

What time do you wake up?

It varies with every year honestly, but it is always very early! I’m not saying we get up at like three or four in the morning–when I was little, my sister and I tried to make this happen on more than one occasion; it actually happened once, we were proud of ourselves!–but we tend to get up around sevenish. When my grandparents lived in town, this was our usual schedule: wake up at 7am, play for 10 minutes and then rush to get ready to go to nana and papaw’s by 8am. This might be the way, Blondie and Brandon do it this year, but I could be wrong.

Where will you be spending the day?

So, since we no longer go to my grandparent’s house, it’ll just be my immediate family gathering at our new house! I am actually really excited to celebrate it here, we were jipped last year but we want to make up for it.

What will you be wearing?

I have a really cute pajama set, they are white with little Cardinals sitting on tiny branches and red leaves. It is made of velvet, so they are comfy and warm – perfect for Christmas I think!

What games will you be playing?

We don’t really play any games, at least not with my parents. Nolan will probably play with his cars for the “short” time before we unwrap presents. I don’t think my parents, mainly my dad, to have my little nephew wait even five minutes to dig into the gifts under the tree! He’s always been awful about that, but he has turned into a big softie when it comes to him.

What will you be eating and drinking?

So, during Thanksgiving, my mom is the one that tends to do the bulk of the cooking but dad is in charge of the turkey and gravy. However, when it comes to Christmas, this is where he tends to shine the most. He loves making big Christmas breakfasts.

We usually have any way you take your eggs, bacon, fried potatoes, sausage and cinnamon rolls. Sometimes he makes me breakfast burritos or quesadilla, but if he doesn’t, my go-to is the potatoes with ketchup, plus two or three cinnamon rolls for good measure!

As far as beverages go, we never have anything fancy. Nolan will probably drink apple juice and the rest of us will have milk, which seems like the perfect breakfast to me.

What will you be watching?

Okay, since dad gets up pretty early to cook everything, he usually takes over the remote and turns it to TBS for the 24 hour broadcast of “A Christmas Story”. Here’s the funny thing about that, I haven’t watched it all the way through since I was in middle school!

Now, after all of the festivities die down a bit, I have a full afternoon of NBA basketball games. I like to think it’s a Christmas gift to myself because it’s usually all of the teams I normally watch during the season playing on that day. Last year, I only missed one game, because I was so exhausted and because the Lakers were having an awful bout of games, I figured I wasn’t going to miss much and I think I was right too. I might end up recording them all and watch at my own time, but who knows!

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What do you hope to find under the tree on Christmas Day?

You’re allowed to laugh at this answer, but I haven’t really asked for much this year. My mom said she has gotten me something that will be signed “From Santa Claus” on Christmas day, but the only thing I really hope to see is a giant pillow.

I sleep with three pillows at the moment! I have my childhood pillow down at the bottom because I can’t get rid of it for the life of me, plus two extra ones I’ve had to include because of my neck. So, I am hoping for one, hard, giant pillow to solve all of my problems.

Who will you be spending day with?

I am spending the day with my parents, Blondie, Brandon, Nolan and our dog ChiChi (and yes, she has a stocking and is getting her own gifts!). I feel like it could be chaotic because of the excitement in general, but since Nolan is walking now, we can’t just place him in his high chair and have him unwrap his presents there. I have a feeling, he’ll be attempting to help everyone with their gifts!

When will you be opening your presents?

It’ll depend on whether or not we eat breakfast first, but like I said, I don’t think it’ll take my nephew long to convince papaw that we need to do this first, but you never know – although when it comes to these two, I’m hardly ever wrong!

snowflake