Tag Archives: Christmas

Almost a year ago…before the writing began.

24 Dec

Since tonight is Christmas Eve and tomorrow is Christmas, I thought I’d share a picture I came across today from last Christmas.


It’s crazy to think how much can happen in a year. This time last year, the idea of starting my memoir of living with Cerebral Palsy hadn’t come into existence quite yet, and in all actuality, that is hard for me to believe. I remember how, on a cold winter day in January, I made the quick and impulsive decision and said, “I’m going to write a book about my life!”

A few days later, after I had spent many hours just writing, writing, writing without even thinking of stopping, I emailed two very important people in my life: my writing mentor and my freshman English professor from my previous college, both of whom have always been incredibly supportive of my writing. Both of them have always been big supporters of me in general, and so I wasn’t surprised to receive positive reactions concerning my decision to write a book about my life. Though I did receive support from both of them, I sensed hesitation, and truthfully, I’m still unsure if that hesitation was just my own lack of self-confidence coming to the surface or whether it was something else entirely. Either way, at those very beginning days of my memoir, when only the first thoughts of it were being formulated in my mind, I never thought I’d reach the point where I could talk about my past with such ease. Granted, there are definitely memories that still cause me to pause simply because I haven’t quite gotten the guts to pull them out of the black box they have been hidden in for so long, but considering where I was this time last year, I’ve come very far.

Truthfully, it’s because of the support I’ve received from my mentors, friends, family and all you lovely fellow bloggers that I have made it to this point concerning my memoir. Though the amount of pages I have written is incredibly, incredibly slim considering a full year has passed since I began, most of my writing took more mental preparations than I anticipated in the beginning. Though I wrote like crazy in the beginning month of beginning my memoir, that “early fire” started to fade when the emotions of what I was doing began to fully set in. Since then, I have continued battling those emotions, and those battles have taken up more time than I anticipated….time that could’ve been spent writing. However, I needed to give attention to those battles…to all of the emotions that were being brought to the surface after essentially burying huge chunks of my life in boxes in the back of my mind. Therefore, though I don’t have very many pages to show for all that I have trudged through over the past year, if anything….I know what I have finally faced…and what I have grown from.

Therefore, I wish to say thank you for every single one of you who have been a part of the supportive hug I’ve been receiving for the past year. To family, friends, mentors, and fellow bloggers…thank you for sticking with me through the really hard writing days, the really good writing days, and all those days in between when I was either talking about my memoir or talking about a certain memory from my past. Though there is still a very, very long way to go, I know from experience that the beginning of a project…or the simple act of even starting it…is the hardest. Though there were many days throughout the last year that I either debating stopping or could no longer remember why I was putting myself through the pain of writing and reliving the hard parts of my life, I kept at it. I kept at it for you, for me, and for all the families and kids dealing with a disability who just need someone to relate to or someone who understands or someone who they can look to and say, “She made it through. So can I.”

As well as my many thanks and lots of love, I’d also like to wish all of you a happy holiday season. 🙂

New traditions are bittersweet.

23 Dec

Though I love that my parents moved up to NC in May of this year and are now only a 45-minute drive away from me, the “big move” involved selling the house I grew up in until I was 16 years old. Though I was ready to get out of my small hometown as soon as the opportunity presented itself, I loved growing up in the house that I did, and I am very fortunate to have been provided with a house that was full of love, comfort, books, and many memories.

Every single holiday memory I have took place in that house, and this year will be the first time I will be making new traditions in a different house. I’m happy with how things are now, of course. I love my parents’ current house more than my childhood home in SC, but my childhood home holds every single memory of my life up until the age of 16. Decorating the Christmas tree with my mom and getting nostalgic when pulling out the hand-made ornaments from when I was 5 and 6, making Christmas cookies in the kitchen, and putting up my own little fiber-optic Christmas tree (which came into the picture many years ago when I spent the holidays in Shriner’s Hospital for Kids and wanted something to make it feel more like Christmas in my hospital room). Even though the majority of our holiday “traditions,” or just how Christmas Day would pan out, are easy to duplicate in a different house, I think the kicker is also the realization that we will be opening presents and stockings in a different house from now on. The Christmas tree is up against a wall of windows rather than being set in a corner with two couches nestled around it. Since we have a wood stove, there is no fireplace to hang our stockings, and for the very first time, we will only have 5 stockings as opposed to 6 (since we lost Roxy, one of our springer spaniels, this year). Despite that sadness, Hoss, Roxy’s son, will be getting plenty of treats and as much love and attention as we can possibly show him. Needless to say, he’ll definitely be a happy camper on Christmas morning.

I don’t doubt that this Christmas will be just as special as previous holidays. However, I know that for me, it’ll be an emotional adjustment. I know that this year when I wake up on Christmas morning, I’ll be picturing the tree nestled in a corner…stockings hung up on the fireplace…and Hoss and Roxy sitting around my parents, my brother and I as we open stockings and gifts in our pajamas. And maybe, for just a few seconds, I’ll feel a bit sad about not getting to experience another Christmas in my childhood home, but then I will be sure to understand how fortunate I am to even have the opportunity to celebrate the holidays with my family around me.

Photo Friday: Home for the Holidays.

21 Dec


“The ache for home lives in all of us. The safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.” – Maya Angelou

Books, books, books galore!

17 Dec

Currently, I am visiting a friend in Virginia, and for Christmas she gave me a gift card to an amazing used bookstore in Lynchburg called Bookshop on the Avenue. Since this wasn’t my first time in this particular used bookstore, I knew my way around a bit and was able to navigate from the classics section upstairs to the abundant general fiction section downstairs that held my heart and soul.

I love everything about used bookstores. The smells, the way the books are even in piles on the floor because of the lack of shelf space, and the way it’s possible to find some really great treasures if you’re willing to take the time to dig a little bit. However, this particular used bookstore adventure was even more amazing because rather than spending my own money on books, I had a gift card. Yes, I was going to get books, and they would be free.

Here are the treasures I found:
1. Run by Ann Patchett– I have read Truth & Beauty by Ann Patchett, and I loved it. Since Truth & Beauty is probably one of the best books I’ve read in a while, I’m excited to enjoy another great read by the same author. When I found this signed first edition of a book I haven’t read by Ann Patchett for only $5.95, I definitely couldn’t pass it up!
2. Shanghai Girls by Lisa See– I’ve read Snow Flower and the Secret Fan as well as Peony in Love by Lisa See, and they have both been absolutely amazing, so I knew that I couldn’t pass up another great read. I can’t wait to read it.
3. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers– I was excited to find this treasure since I have been wanting to read it for quite a while. A friend of mine read it a few months back and said she thought I’d like it, so I can’t wait to see if she’s right.

At this point, it seems as though I have more books in my To Be Read pile than I know what to do with. However, since classes of the spring semester don’t start back until January 14th, I figure I have plenty of time to at least make a good dent into my constantly-growing pile.

Goodbye finals, hello reading hibernation!

10 Dec

It’s official! I took my last final this morning, so the fall semester of my junior year of college is officially behind me! Woohoo! It feels amazing to be done, and now I have nothing but good things to look forward to over the next month. This week kicks off a slew of good things: meeting with the Easter Seals program director of the Asheville office tomorrow, going to see The Nutcracker with my mom on Wednesday (which I haven’t seen since I was really young), and leaving for Lynchburg, Virginia on Thursday to spend a week with Kayley and her adorable daughter, Clara. I can’t wait!

However, best of all, I rewarded myself for being done with finals by making a trip to Barnes and Noble. Yes, it was a success. Here were the two treasures I knew I could not live without:


These two treasures are only the beginning of my month-long reading hibernation I look forward to every year in between the fall semester and spring semester. However, I know they will be perfect reads to start things off. To all of you book lovers out there, are there any books you are looking forward to reading this holiday season? Share your suggestion in a comment below! 🙂



My own kind of ballerina.

28 Aug

When I was a little girl, my grandmother took me to see The Nutcracker every year at Christmastime. I’d put on my black and white checkered dress and my patent leather shoes, and my grandmother and I would drive up to the Koger Center in Columbia. As I sat in the audience watching the Sugar Plum Fairies dance, I’d think about what it would be like to be a ballerina. I’d watch the gracefulness of their movements and imagine being able to move almost effortlessly. That’s what it looked like to me: like the ballerinas were moving so fluidly that it was as if they were floating on air.

Even though I was never able to take ballet lessons, I did as much as I could to feel like a ballerina. I bought a pink leotard and pink ballet shoes. I even had to have a bright pink tutu with sparkles. The tutu was my favorite part. I loved the fact that I could spin around and around and the tutu would fly up like a balloon. I remember feeling pretty, and I remember the days that I would spin around in my leotard, tutu and ballet shoes like I was a true ballerina. Simply wearing the outfit was enough for me.

I got my own experience of being a ballerina when I joined the Calhoun Players, a community theatre group in my town. However, in the beginning, it wasn’t like I imagined it to be. Even though I got to dance on stage, for many of the productions I was placed in the back. Though I knew that it was because there were other people who were better dancers than I was, we all want to have a chance to shine. I got my chance in 2007 thanks to my theater director, Chuck. In 2007, I was in the cast of the Wizard of Oz. However, the best part was that for the first time since getting involved with the Calhoun Players in 2001, I wasn’t in the chorus. I had one of the main roles. I played Glenda the Good Witch. Even though I didn’t necessarily play the part of a ballerina, playing the part of Glenda was the closest that I’ve ever gotten, and it was probably one of the happiest moments of my life. I wore a blue sparkly dress that had puffy sleeves and a puffy bodice. It wasn’t a leotard and a tutu, but in my opinion, it was even better. I also had a wand, and I wore a tiara on my head. I felt so happy in those moments on stage that I felt like I was going to burst from happiness. The “shining” moment for me during those performances (other than playing Glenda and feeling as pretty as a ballerina) was getting to stand out on stage in my pretty outfit and sing a solo. For a few minutes during each performance, all eyes were on me. However, for the first time in my life, people were staring at me in awe rather than looking at me and wondering what was wrong with me. Granted, it probably wasn’t the first time I was looked at in awe or happiness, but it felt like a first time for me since I had grown so accustomed to being stared at in a negative way.

As I sat in the audience of The Nutcracker performance, I didn’t know that one day I would be able to be my own kind of ballerina. Even though it wouldn’t be in the way that I imagined, I feel like it was much better. Rather than sitting in the audience watching the performance, I got to be the one on stage. I may not have gotten the chance to dance like the Sugar Plum Fairies, but I got to do something I loved even more: I got to sing. I got to sing like I’ve never sung before, holding a wand and wearing a tiara. I got to wear a blue sparkly puffy dress that still hangs in my closet at home, reminding me of the moment that I got to feel like my own kind of ballerina.

‘Tis The Season For Pleasure Reading.

17 Dec

“A room without books is like a body without a soul.”-Marcus Tullius Cicero

It’s officially day 4 of my Christmas Break, meaning that it’s time to get into reading mode. I’ve associated breaks from school as times for pleasure reading for as long as I can remember. I’ve attempted to read when school is in session, but more often that not, I spend more time reading than actually getting school work done, so I’ve had to save reading for holidays and other breaks. It definitely is a treat I always look forward to!

On Tuesday, I got Christmas presents from my best friend, Skidmore. They were 2 books that I had been wanting to read (Summer’s Child by Diane Chamberlain and Whistling In The Dark by Lesley Kagen). Yesterday, I started reading Summer’s Child by Diane Chamberlain, and I’m really liking it so far. Ever since I developed a love of reading as a kid, I’ve always been a fast reader. That can be a good thing or a bad thing. Mostly I think of it as being negative because most of the time I breeze through books so fast that they’re over before I can even blink.

Reading (and writing) has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. Often they were what I used as escapes from reality. Through books, I imagined myself being the characters. Living an entirely different life with another personality and other experiences that are used to shape my life. I feel like, at one point or another, we all wish for a different life. Not a different life completely, but maybe just living in a different location or being brought up in a different way. It’s a part of human nature to wonder. Wonder how things would have been if you had or hadn’t met certain people or made certain decisions. But just like wanting, wondering can make you veer from your current path. More often than not, the veering isn’t always a good thing. It’s just important to remember that the life we were given is meant to be ours for a reason, and it’s easier to find happiness in what we do have than long for things that may never be.

What books have you started reading lately? 

It’s Beginning To Feel A Lot Like Christmas.

9 Dec

Crowds of people, Christmas lights, Christmas music, and open shops. Those are the things I remember from this year’s Small Town Christmas in Saluda. This was the first year I actually got to experience it. Me and my friend Malia came down to enjoy it since we were in need of a break from finals. It was a nice way to get into the Christmas spirit.

Normally, when I think of Christmas, I think of spending time with family. As it’s nearing Christmas I am anxious to finish with finals and get home. Every year my mom and I put ornaments on our Christmas tree together, and this year she’s waiting until I’m home to put the ornaments on. I’ve always been drawn to the meanings of Christmas ornaments. Ours range from ornaments my brother and I made as kids, ornaments that were given to my brother and I by Ms. Jo, my mom’s vegetable ornaments, different colored balls, and a variety of Christmas-related ornaments.

It’s always this time of year when I think of Ms. Jo. Every year, she would bring my brother and I a new Christmas ornament. It was never anything extravagant, but it was still special. As a kid, I didn’t really pay attention to her visits, but now that I’m older, I longer for a Christmas visit from Ms. Jo. She lived down the street from us, and she was one of the nicest older ladies I knew during my childhood. I remember my first Christmas without Ms. Jo. It wasn’t dramatically different, but there was a different feeling in the air. That first Christmas without her was hard for me. Though I didn’t really feel it at the time, Ms. Jo’s annual visits always gave me a sense of comfort and love. It was easy to go through the motions of Christmas, but that’s just it, that first Christmas without her I went through the motions. I mean, Ms. Jo and I weren’t close, but I could tell she cared for me, and she was a comfort to have in my life.

Often times, I think that’s how loss is. It’s hard for a while, but then over time, it’s gets a little easier. Not to say the pain goes away necessarily, but it just gets a little more bearable. This Christmas I’ll think of Ms. Jo, but I’ll remember what I loved about her and how she made Christmas just a little more special. To anyone who will be without someone for the first time this Christmas, I’ll be thinking of you.

Are those snowflakes I see?!

29 Nov

“The world changes when it snows. It’s quiet. Everything softens.”-Gilmore Girls

It’s official. At approximately 3:30 this afternoon, I spotted the first snowflakes of the season! Even though it’s not sticking and it’s only snowing off and on, it’s so pretty. I’ve opened my window so that I can smell the amazing snow-filled air. This is quite a treat for me. I’m originally from South Carolina where it doesn’t snow much, so I’ve been looking forward to winter in Asheville for quite some time. The fact that it’s snowed today has also made me realize just how close Christmas is. So, I’m sitting in my room watching the snow and listening to Christmas music. I still can’t believe it’s that time of year again. I feel like it was just Halloween a few days ago.

This semester has flown by, which is both a blessing and a bummer. I’ve loved my first semester at Asheville, but I’m also reaching the point of just being totally burned out, so I’m just ready to be done already. I want to get these papers and projects out of the way so that all I have to do is get excited about Key West. Me, my parents, my brother, my brother’s girlfriend, and my friend Heather are all going to Key West for a few days before Christmas. I’m really looking forward to it. It’ll be nice to have a fun trip to get excited for the holiday season. Plus, I haven’t seen my friend Heather since before Thanksgiving so I really miss her.

Current Christmas Music: Last Christmas by Taylor Swift. I’m a HUGE Taylor Swift fan, and I’ve always really loved her Christmas music, so it’s a win-win.

What’s your favorite part about the holidays? Have you started getting into the Christmas spirit yet?

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

28 Nov

“Sometimes you wake up. Sometimes the fall kills you. And sometimes, when you fall, you fly.” 

It’s been a rainy day here in Asheville. Not drizzling rain, but the yucky, pouring rain that soaks your shoes and makes you just want to be curled up inside watching a movie. Normally, I like rain. And rain in the mountains has always been special for me. But I think the fact that it is Monday and has been pouring rain all day is reason enough to not be in the best of moods. But the great thing is that small things can sometimes brighten even the darkest of days. For instance, I found out today that both of my classes on Wednesday are cancelled. I don’t know about you, but that’s definitely reason enough for a smile! Also, I just started listening to all my Christmas stations on Pandora, and I guarantee that by the end of the night I will have had at least one dance session in my room. Isn’t Christmas music just the best? It’s super cheery (most of it) and reminds me of cookies and the smell of trees and cooking and family time. Ah, so much fun! And I’m definitely thinking that I need to really get in the Christmas spirit this year. Ya know, peppermint coffee, Christmas music, going to the Biltmore to see Christmas lights (apparently their Christmas light display is amazing), make a gingerbread house, watch Christmas movies. Yeah, I’m smiling just thinking about it all.

What do you do to get ready for the holidays?