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Amy F. Quincy Author/Freelance Writer

Month

September 2012

Calling All Angels

Volunteer Angels

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I’ve seen and met angels wearing the disguise of ordinary people living ordinary lives.

~Tracy Chapman

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It’s waterskiing time again! Please enjoy the great video put together for Brooks by John Lipscomb, check out Channel 4’s news coverage or read my blog from last year. (I should probably mention that the girl in the tiara is Ashley Heath, Ms. Wheelchair Florida — just because tiaras and waterskiing don’t normally go together.)

What struck me this year was the enormous number of volunteers it took to make this happen. A great many people took their weekend and did something for others instead of something for themselves. So, I’ve been thinking a lot about those that need help and those that give it. I guess it takes both to make the world go round.

But, here’s a secret. I’m kind of selfish. I honestly can’t say if, before the wheelchair, I would have spent the weekend hauling gear and pushing wheelchairs or curled up on the couch with a good book.

So, if you’re one of the helpers of this world (and you know who you are,) then I commend you and thank you. If you’re not, maybe it’s not too late. Or if you’re like me and you’ve realized it’s too late to be of much help now, then what a marvelous lesson we’ve learned for next time.

We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.

~Winston Churchill

Writer At Work

It pains me to do this, but I must. Many of you have told me how much you look forward to Sunday’s blog…BUT…I have to focus on my book. You may see a Do Not Disturb sign a time or two in the future. Remember to hang your own sign (even if it’s just on the bathroom door for 10 minutes!) when life gets a little too full. Don’t forget to carve time out for yourself.

Unplugging

I defy you to try to completely rid yourself of cable. It can’t be done. I’ve tried in the past. I tried again last week. A month ago they let me keep some movie channels for free. Great, right? Wrong. I have no willpower. I end up watching The Italian Job for the billionth time and eating a pint of Pralines ‘n Cream.

And why? Because it’s there. And I want to get on the couch and out of the wheelchair for awhile. I could be reading on that couch. If I didn’t have television, I would be.

I’ve determined that TV is the source of all my problems. Problem losing weight? Sitting in front of the TV is a known trigger for me. I eat even when I’m not hungry. Who watches TV without snacks? Problem  #2: I haven’t finished my book. It weighs heavily on me. I’m so close! What if I get hit by a Mack truck before my masterpiece is out in the world? So much time would be freed up for writing if I didn’t get sucked in to two hour movies on cable. And money. Money’s always an issue. Particularly, when you don’t make any. I’ve already whittled my monthly bill, with Internet, from $150 down to $65. I gave up everything but local channels. And movies. Last week, I decided to axe it all.

Yeah, right. Continue reading “Unplugging”

For a Lifetime

O’Keefe, Poppy

Nobody sees a flower – really – it is so small it takes time – we haven’t time – and to see takes time, like to have a friend  takes time.

~Georgia O’Keefe (1887-1986)

I’ve been thinking about friendship and looking through old pictures. My best friend has a birthday coming up and I’m making her a surprise. I won’t say what it is, though I shouldn’t worry. She never reads my blog. With three young boys, I can hardly blame her. (Notice I said hardly. I do blame her a tiny bit.)

Do we look like we arrived together?

We’ve been friends for 30 years now. As friends we’ve seen each other through divorce, disability and the tumultuous teens. There were fights over boys that neither of us remember the names of.  She kissed the boy I carried a torch for. I left with her prom date. (Hey, it was junior high! I think his mom drove. Not exactly a scandal.) We’ve weathered the storms and survived the inevitable falling outs.

Lifetime friends do that.

With Michele, 1984

Changing Times

“Look up at the stars, not down at your feet. Be curious.” ~Stephen Hawking

If you’re like me, your favorite part of the Olympics is the human interest stories. Someone who seems destined for greatness, looses and then, struggling against all odds, fights their way back to the top again. If you are moved and inspired by these stories, then you’re going to love the Paralympics. Every single athlete is a human interest piece. Everyone’s got a story to tell.

In case you don’t catch it (and why would you? It’s not televised in the U.S.,) you can watch the Games online. I’ve been watching Paralympic Sport TV. The only problem with this is that I remain hunched over my computer instead of in the comfort of my own living room. If you, too, would rather be watching it on the big screen instead of a small one, my little petition is still struggling out there in cyberspace, so sign it!

The Paralympic Games, which started August 29th and continue until September 9th, started with an opening ceremony extravaganza, held in front of a record audience of 62,000. It began with inspiring words from Professor Stephen Hawking and featured deaf and disabled performances.

This was a homecoming of sorts for the Paralympics because, although the first official Paralympic Games was held in Rome in 1960, the idea was founded in Stoke, just north of London in 1948. Sir Ludwig Guttman began the revolutionary practice of using sports in the rehabilitation of spinal cord injury patients with just 16 athletes on a small piece of land between the back of a hospital and a railway embankment. It has grown steadily to 2012, with over 4200 athletes competing from over 160 countries. Sir Philip Craven, President of the International Paralympic Committee, thanked Sir Ludwig Guttman for “generating the first sparks that became the Paralympic spirit.”

As I scanned the U.S. athletes for sight of my friend Jerry, a Paralympian I met back when we both tried wheelchair tennis (he found his sport in archery – see the previous links,) I found it impossible to keep a dry eye watching the athletes take part in the night of their lives. The Paralympic athletes are a celebration of the human spirit, a testament to the amazing things a body, particularly a disabled body, can do. Isn’t that what we love about sports? And the growing Paralympic movement, with more people watching than ever before, is a sign that we are one step closer to an inclusive society. These are, indeed, changing times.

Me with Paralympian Jerry Shields

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