Welcome to the Pieces of Me blog, where I open my heart up to others on this crazy journey I call life. My passion and some would say my “calling” in life has been to break down barriers and provide a purpose for individuals with disabilities.
Over the years I have spent countless hours speaking with parents, friends, co-workers, and business leaders, whose lives have been touched in some way by someone with a disability. This experience has led me in my ability to guide, support and give hope during even the most difficult hours.
My roles have shifted over the years and my everyday tasks have multiplied, as I continue to explore and create opportunities to meet the needs of individuals with disabilities and their families. Although I know I am doing what I can, it breaks my heart when I can’t find the time to connect with those who need someone. I should be proud that the last 11 years I have directly helped and supported over 300 individuals who have disabilities, trained over 120 staff, connected with thousands of community members with questions and inspiration, but I still dwell on the fact that there is more to be done.
This last year I have spent many sleepless nights, thinking about how can I reach more parents and families who are not reaching out to me because they think I am too busy. How can I teach my experience based knowledge and drive to my staff who are working directly with individuals with disabilities?
When my brain recognizes a need for others and then is pairs with my passion…I start thinking how I can solve these questions. How can I have conversations to share experiences that might help, give insight for change and acceptance, provide an outlet of understanding, and a chance to share relatable experiences while walking in their shoes.
Then it hit me… I will start a blog to share real-life experiences and results. Sounded amazing at 2:00 AM, however after a few hours of sleep and waking up to my 8-year-old crawling in bed to get in his morning snuggles (he is such a momma’s boy and I love it), the idea of a blog seemed insane. Where would I start? What if people didn’t like my insight? What if parents have a different perspective than mine, and comment negatively? How would I fit it into my daily schedule? How in the world would I teach myself to start a blog, when I can barely figure out how to post to Instagram, how to use a hashtag properly, and the most horrifying…I can’t write complete sentences without major grammar issues (just ask my closest friends, I write like I talk and that is scary all together).
What in the world am I thinking? A blog. Then the question that haunts and challenges me to my core, Why Not? If not me, who? This is when my heart kicks in, and God takes the lead. My fears become overshadowed by the desire I have to aid and support the lives of others. So, a writer or not, I’m up for this next challenge. I will embrace this opportunity, through print, to carry on my vision to break down barriers for those with disabilities. I will lend a supporting hand to a parent or family member in providing insight, to explain diverse approaches, and more importantly to write in a way that inspires people to get off the sidelines and recognize their own potential in making an impact.
So whether you’re reading this as a parent, a sibling, a teacher, a business owner, a neighbor, or a caretaker to someone with a disability…. I can say I have been there; I have walked in those shoes. Each of those roles are a piece of me.
As I try to spill words onto paper, my goal is to provide a take away of knowledge that will better equip, train, or prepare you in supporting those around us every day with a disability. These words are powered by experiences in celebrating victories, pain, embarrassment, fighting through the unknown, and learning through trial and error. I have come to realize the greatest source of impact to individuals with disabilities as a whole, comes down to one thing: providing the “how to” actions that are relatable to those who have their “boots on the ground” to those trying to navigate life, supporting, loving, teaching, and advocating.
We all have a variety of journeys we take in life, and fortunately I have been blessed that my journey is ongoing. I will always support, advocate for and love individuals with disabilities. So prop your shoes up, sip your morning coffee, and allow me to fill your shoes today by sharing a “piece” of me with you….