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I am thankful

It’s that time of year again when family and friends gather around the dinner table to get to know each other again and be thankful. There are many things to be thankful for, our families, friends and homes, food, and health to name a few. I thought to myself that these things are all important to me every day but there are also a lot of little things that I am thankful for too. I thought I would share them to show that the little things matter too. At first, I struggled to think of things that I am thankful for, but once I started I realized I am most thankful to be able to lead the life I have. If it were not for the big and little things I would not be here today. That being said here are a few little things I am thankful for.

Photo: fall decoration of pumpkins, maroon mums and signs that say Be the change you wish to see in the world. go confidently in the direction of your dreams. live the life you imagined. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think.
Positive vibes for Thanksgiving

Wheelchair on the injured reserve list

I am thankful that my wheelchair still works even though I have struggled with the batteries dying for the last 6 months. I finally got the good news that the repair order has been approved and the parts ordered. This has been an ordeal, to say the least. It started with the cables going bad which led to the joystick which caused the motors to have to work harder and the batteries to drain faster. The cords were replaced twice. This leads me to give a big shout-out to eBay for having the cord at a reasonable price when no one would return my calls. Even though I have had to travel with the battery charger and find pugs to charge everywhere I go, I am thankful that it still works and allows me to get things done.

Photo: from the photo booth of three pictures with mom, dad, the bride and groom to show that my wheelchair did not stop me from being there for my friends.
My chair didn't stop me!

Fake tree

I am thankful that we have a fake Christmas tree. For years Mom insisted that we get a real tree. A few years ago after the tree fell while we were away, shattering some of our favorite Christmas decorations, we got a fake tree. Normally we wait until after Thanksgiving. Every holiday deserves its time, but this year we are not hosting Thanksgiving and are going away again for Christmas. Anyone who knows me, knows I love Christmas. The lights, the sounds and the smells. It is a magical time of year filled with wonder and anticipation. Mom and I decorate the tree over a week's time.

Photo: Christmas tree with the angle on top.  In the background is the special Christmas treasure chest.
Our tree and the Christmas Treasure chest in the background

Christmas traditions

Now that is not to say that we overdo it, it's just our tradition to talk about the ornaments we place on the tree. We tell stories about where we got them, who they came from, or what they mean. While we decorate we listen to this special treasure chest that my Nana gave me. It has these little elves that strike xylophone bells and play music. It reminds me of Christmas at Nana’s when we would all gather as a family to celebrate this special time of year. Nana would have the house decorated from top to bottom, but never tacky. She had multiple Christmas trees and it was one of the times during the year we would not only gather as a family but also in the living room! Everyone was running up and down the stairs, laughter and merriment filled the air. It was truly magical. Even though I have a fake tree, I am thankful for the memories of Christmas past and being able to put it up before Thanksgiving.

Photo: me , mom and Nana in her living room at christmas time.  we are wearing our Christmas sweaters of red with Santa faces on them.
Nana's Living room!

Are we out of gas?

I am thankful that the van did not run out of gas even though it said it was empty. Recently we have had a few issues with some minor parts of the van. The gas gauge and the low tire pressure in particular. One day we were visiting a friend. On our way home we decided to stop for coffee. As we pulled into the parking lot, just before the drive-through, the you need gas dummy light came on. Mom panicked, she walked around the car but did not smell any gas, We had just filled up the day before and couldn’t figure out why we would be empty. Not wanting to run out of gas, again. It happened many years ago as mom likes to ride the van until 1 mile to empty. We went to the closest gas station. It only took three gallons of gas and the the light went off for a few minutes. With our newfound knowledge that the tank was full, we went back and got coffee. On the way home while driving, it happened again. This time though no panic, we ignored it. It happened over and over again. Mom figured out that every time she filled the tank and drove it for three miles the idiot light would say get gas. So we waited until we could get it to the repair shop. Turns out it's a broken plastic piece that is a small fortune to replace, so now we just have to watch our mileage and ignore the idiot light. So I am thankful that we didn’t actually run out of gas and were able to finish our errands.

Photo: gauges of the car showing the low fuel  and gas gauges on empty but the distance to empty says 217
Liar! Says empty but can drive 217 miles.

Talk, Talk,Talk

Finally, I am thankful that I can communicate. This key skill has enabled me to meet people, explore opportunities, and expand my horizons. If it not for my gift of gab so to say, you would not be reading these words. You see, I met April and David the hosts of this website at an abilities expo. We chatted for some time about all kinds of things. The ability to speak has opened the doors for me to meaningful volunteer. I am a member of The Think Differently county initiative to bring about awareness, inclusion, and acceptance. I also graduated not only high school but also college because I was able to communicate the knowledge I have gained. Recently I even helped my dad add contacts to his phone, even though I have never personally done it myself. I am a valued board member of several organizations one of which is offering me a paid, finally, position to help spread the word about the importance of being tested for Prostate cancer and being inclusive of the disabled. Without communication I would not be able to accept a position at the CUNY School of Public Health and Policy, recruiting disabled individuals to participate in health and wellness studies. But most importantly I am thankful that I can help other people with my voice and help them find theirs. So I am thankful that I can communicate.

Photo: a picture from my presentation that says I am just like you, I have the ability to do things.  My abilities were doubted but I succeeded.  I gratuated with a regents dipolma in 2016.  A picture of me in my white cap and gown, a celebratory smile or accomplishment and my aide since kindergarten
From my presentation to students

I am thankful

I think it is easy to overlook the small things that have a huge impact on our lives. I am thankful for the kind people who share their kindness to make this world a better place. I am thankful for those that accept me with all my imperfections and forgive me when I make mistakes. I am thankful for the people who have come into my life and made me a better person. I am thankful for many things and consider myself to be lucky. So as you sit around the Thanksgiving table next week remember all the little things that you are thankful for.

Photo: my cousin is wearing a santa hat with white beard and I am wearing my gobble til you wobble shirt.  This represents the back to back holidays.
Gobble til you wobble, Merry Christmas

Thank you for reading until the end!

This is the view from my wheelchair, where miracles can make a difference. Always Strive for the Impossible. Come back in two weeks to see what is on my mind and hear more about my experiences and The View From My Wheelchair. I am going to take the week off!

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