#385: Amy Purdy

I’ve enjoyed watching Dancing with the Stars SO much this season. I’m actually kind of sad tonight is the finale, I want it to keep going! The level of dancing has been so amazing and once we reached the top 6 I thought “Any one of them could win it!”

From the beginning of the season there’ve been several stars I’ve been rooting for, but as it went on one has emerged as my favorite: Amy Purdy. It is amazing to me what she is able to do having two prosthetic legs! Each week I’ve been excited to see what she and Derek are going to do. She is such an inspiration to me, especially being a dancer with a disability I can relate to her story and the struggles she’s faced.

While I’ve enjoyed every single one of her routines, below are the videos of my three favorite routines Amy and Derek have done this season.

Comtemporary: (This is the dance where she really became my favorite)

Jive: (When I saw this one I thought “That would’ve been amazing if she had two regular legs!”)

Freestyle: (From last night, this was so amazing!!)

#385: Thank you Lord for Amy Purdy and the inspiration she’s been to me and so many others on Dancing with the Stars this season.

What are you thankful for today? Leave a Comment and let me know, I’d love to read it!

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#377: Paralympics

This afternoon I watched the NBC special on the Highlights of the 2014 Paralympics, and let me tell you I teared up at every story! No matter their disability or story each Paralympian is an inspiration! Like I said a in my post about the regular Olympics, I am a HUGE fan of the Olympics and watch them as much as I can. But I’ve never seen any of the Paralympics before and when I saw this special was airing I was really excited. I’ve heard stories of Paralympic athletes and seen pictures of them competing but I don’t think I’ve ever seen any actual footage before. You can hear about it, but seeing it is another thing! I loved the clip from the Opening Ceremonies that said “We show the world that what may seem impossible, IS possible!” I hope in years to come they’ll show more of the Parlympics on TV so we can all be inspired by these incredible athletes who’ve overcome so many challenges!

#377: Thank you Lord for the Paralympics so people with disabilities can compete just like regular athletes on the biggest stage in the world, and inspire everyone who watches them!

What are you thankful for today? Leave a Comment and let me know, I’d love to read it!

Day 339: “Just CP” Facebook Group

While I have Cerebral Palsy I’ve never had many interactions with other people with CP, except a couple of people who have it so severely they can’t speak. Since it wasn’t till a few years ago that I even felt comfortable around people with disabilities it never bothered me too much. I’ve also had very little interest in finding out more about CP until recently.

Back in October I was looking around on Facebook and found a group for people with CP which I joined and I can’t tell you how much it’s benefited me. There are people in this group from all over the world on every part of the spectrum of CP. I’ve learned so much from them already about what life can be like, as I get older and what it’s like to have a more severe form than I do. Some of the things I’ve learned have helped while others have worried me, but I believe it will all benefit me in the end, and it’s nice to be able to talk and discuss stuff with people who know exactly what I’m experiencing.

Day 339: Thank you Lord for the “Just CP” Facebook group, everything I’ve learned since joining and the interactions I’ve had there.

What are you thankful for today? Leave a Comment and let me know, I’d love to read it!

Day 292: Run for Their Lives

This morning I participated in “Run for Their Lives”, a 5K cross-country race, to raise money and awareness for women and children caught up in the sex trafficking industry. It’s such a worthy cause and wonderful event that I’m so glad I was able to participate in.

If you had told me a few years ago that I would be doing a 5K I’d never believed you! I have tight muscles in my legs because of my disability and I’ve never had much stamina as a runner. I did walk a good bit of it this morning, with some running mixed in, which was my plan. I’ve been training for it on the treadmill for the past month, first working on distance then increasing my speed, I’d lost weight and gained some muscle, but I wasn’t running yet so I wasn’t sure what to expect.

My goal was to do it in less than an hour, and when I hit the 2 mile mark in just under 30 minutes I knew I was in great shape. My final time was 47 minutes, nothing close to the winner who did it in 18, but it was a victory for me! I’ve already decided I’m going to start training for next year. I want to be able to run most of it next year to support such a great cause, and to show others that even if you have a disability you can still do great things! I hope I was able to be an inspiration today to everyone who knows me and about my disability!

Day 292: Thank you Lord for Run for Their Lives, so we could have a chance to help women and children around the world escape the horrors of sex slavery. Thank you that I was able to be part of it today, and I pray that I was able to inspire someone to try something difficult for them with my example.

What are you thankful for today? Leave a Comment and let me know, I’d love to read it!

Day 163: Hippotherapy

You’ve probably never heard of Hippotherapy, and that’s fine most people haven’t. (No, it has nothing to do with Hippos!) Hippotherapy is physical therapy on horseback. I can’t remember exactly where the name comes from but I know “hippo” has something to do with horses in Greek or Latin.

Because my cerebral palsy is so mild I haven’t needed too much therapy over the years. When I was little I did have speech therapy, but most of the therapy I’ve had over the years (if you don’t count my years in ballet which with the stretching I think of as a kind of therapy) was on horseback. Through my sessions I learned how to handle the horse, and did a variety of stretches while I the horse, such as riding in all four directions, touching my toes, etc. There’s something about the movement of the horse that helps a person’s movement. For me I didn’t really think of it as physical therapy, just as horseback riding.

I did hippotherapy for several years before my schedule became too busy and I became more involved in ballet. (I’ll never forget the day I went from riding to ballet with only an hour or so in between. I had to go from keeping my heels down, to keeping them up!) I saw some benefits in my body, but I was having so much fun and at the time wasn’t so aware of my limitations I probably didn’t even notice most of them. What I do remember is seeing changes in other riders.

I mostly had private lessons in the beginning, but later I had group lessons as well. I saw people of all ages riding from young children to adults with a wide variety of problems. The ones that stick out most in my mind were three adults with MS. In the beginning they would come in their wheelchairs unable to walk at all, but as time went on they didn’t need them any more, and could walk with the help of cane. It was truly amazing to see them progress!

Day 163: Thank you Lord for Hippotherapy and the impact it had on my life, and so many others!

What are you thankful for today? Leave a Comment and let me know, I’d love to read it!

Day 78: Adventures in Odyssey character Jenny Roberts

Yesterday I wrote about my favorite kids’ radio program “Adventures in Odyssey”, today I want to write about one of my favorite characters from the show: Jenny Roberts. Jenny is blind, and at times struggles with her disability, but at others she is able do amazing things in spite of it. I can totally relate to her because I have had similar experiences with my own disabilty.

My favorite Odyssey episode is “The Perfect Witness”, where Jenny witnesses a robbery and is taken hostage by the thieves because she won’t be able to see where they take her. But by using her other senses she is able to help the police catch the crooks. I am always encouraged when I listen to this episode, it reminds me that even though I have limitations, I can do great things, and I shouldn’t let them hold me back!

I was once in a musical where we borrowed characters from Odyssey to tell the History of praise music, and I got to play Jenny! In the show Jenny has been struggling with the challenges her disability gives her; she meets the blind hymn writer Fanny Crosby who helps her see that we should look on our struggles with joy because they produce perseverance. I auditioned for the part because I wanted to play my favorite character, but I never imagined the impact it would have on me personally. At the time I was going through a similar struggle with my disability and I can’t tell you how encouraging those lines were to me! I still think about those lines occasionally when I’m feeling discouraged, and they still help me!

Day 78: Thank you Lord for the Odyssey character Jenny Roberts, and the encouragement she has been to me over the years!

What are you thankful for today? Leave a Comment and let me know, I’d love to read it!

Day 68: Saturday Night Worship at YA

I just got back from an incredible weekend at Youth Advance, (YA) my church’s annual youth conference. As usual it was an awesome weekend, that will have a long-lasting impact.

One of my favorite parts of the weekend is Saturday night, when for two hours we just worship God and have ministry time. It’s always an incredible experience and very moving. I love singing praises to God, and doing it with such a large group is awesome! It’s so amazing to get a taste of heaven, and I never want it to end!

Along with praise and worship, there’s also ministry times, when by the Holy Spirit’s leading, different groups of people are asked to either raise their hand or come to the front of the stage for prayer. The groups vary from year to year, but many people usually respond. This year they asked people with needs in their physical bodies to raise their hands, first students than adults to ask God for healing. During the student time I prayed for a teen girl in a wheelchair, with tears in my eyes.

When it came time for the adults I raised my hand, and as people began praying for my Cerebral Palsy I began sobbing. I know God can heal me, and would love him to, but I can’t remember the last time I prayed to ask him to. I guess I’ve gotten comfortable with the fact that until I get to heaven I’ll probably always have this condition, and God is using it for his glory, which is what matters. I’m not saying God is definitely going to heal me, but I’m going to start praying for healing again, and see what God does!

Day 68: Thank you Lord for the Saturday Night time of worship at YA, thank you for the many ways you’ve used it in people’s lives over the years, including mine. Thank you for giving us a taste of heaven in worshiping you!

What are you thankful for today? Leave a Comment and let me know, I’d love to read it!