Barrier Free

I think most of us feel like our lives have limitless potential. We know it’s possible to put in the work and get results. It’s what this great country is all about!

Now that doesn’t mean we don’t flounder and flail from time to time, but we can keep trying – or not, it’s our choice. Very rarely is there an actual barrier – someone standing in front of us saying

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Not all the population has these opportunities. I think we’ve comes so so far from just 20 years ago, but some things that our populace with special needs may want to do can really feel out of reach.

I used to think certain things were just not possible for Enoch, marriage, driving, supporting us in our old age…But now I’m not putting any kind of expectations out there, why cap his progress?

Enoch will often get up early – like 4am early. He usually plays with his toys or draws. Lately he’s been getting out his word cards and printing them in a notebook. Today I tested him to see if he could read all the words – he passed with flying colors on the ones I pointed to.

We had to get him prescription glasses (not in pic). He popped the lenses out so he could say he was wearing them whenever I asked. He’s having a hard time adjusting to the glasses, so he found an alternative way.

I’m not putting anything past him. He’s outsmarting me- out witting me- and can stay awake for longer periods of time, he’s get the world in his hands!

Barrier Free is the title of an acting group I have gotten to participate in for the past 5 years. It grows every year, I can’t imagine how the director will continue to absorb so many actors, but she’s done it like a champ so far! This super woman is Tracena Marie. I don’t know what drew her heart out to the community of adults with special needs. I don’t know why she gives 9 months of her life a year to teach, guide, and love the wonderful people who get involved. I should ask her someday.

She not only holds theater groups for adults, but for children also. Enoch has been one of the lucky ones to be in her program for the past 2 years!

Last year Enoch also got to be in the adult production, he’s quite the versatile actor.

Last weekend was our Barrier Free show for this year. The messages from these always come form the participants. They give thoughts and ideas – sometimes without knowing it – in their training sessions. Tracena takes all the notes from all the meetings and compiles them into a script. The script is fluid and works on the talents of each individual actor.

There’s always music and dancing! There’s always comedy and serious scenes. There’s always tears from many of those who watch.

I’ve watched these performers morph into super stars once the lights are on them and the audience is watching. I’ve watched them bloom into beautiful actors, expressing feeling and compassion. I’ve watched their confidence bubble up as they float onto the stage and give their all.

While the message of the show is always a good one, the real beauty is in the delivery!

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For 3 performances the actors are given wings. All barriers to being a star are gone. They get all the bells and whistles- lights, sounds, props, costumes, and the applause. For 3 glorious performances they are the stars!

Getting to know me

Not too long ago I met a beautiful woman who decided to give my restorative yoga class a try. She had undergone gastroplasty and had lost a huge amount of weight. She commented to me that she wanted to get to know her ‘new body’.

That comment has stuck with me. Especially as I have lost weight and do have a new body. A couple of times I have had to do a double take in a mirror when I was walking by. Or I’ve looked closer at a picture or video of me to make sure it was me.

I don’t know what to expect when I see myself. Not yet.

I had Danni snap this picture yesterday as we were walking out the door for church. My brother gave us this coat 7 or 8 years ago. He got it from a translator in Afghanistan who decided the mission they were on was too dangerous for him and felt bad about ditching my brother, so he gave him this coat.

This was a ‘double take’ picture. I’m not sure what it was about it that made me look twice. It’s really not that great of a picture. But I like the ‘me’ in it.

We went for a walk through the Minnetrista yesterday. I don’t like those filters that make the skin look like porcelain. I like the ‘me’ in this even though wrinkles are there and my grey hair is frizzing like a champ, I like the calm joy that is coming through my eyes, and I love Bill’s smile!

I find as I grow older I’m not worried about the perfect shot so much as the real ones. The ones that have a story and show the emotions of the situation. Of course I still don’t want to look like a zombie or a mug shot, but I’m less picky now.

To tie this into the getting to know me title, I’m struggling a bit with that. You will probably think I’m off my marbles here, but when I look at pictures or my reflection I expect to see something else. I expect to see a thinner younger me. I expect to see my transformed body looking amazing! But instead it looks a lot like I thought it should have looked 40 pounds ago.

There’s a certain amount of acceptance that I’m lacking. I’m working on doing better, but it’s the automatic response – the one I have to talk myself down from each time with the self talk about how far I’ve really come. I’m not even sure where that initial disappointment in myself comes from.

I’m not writing this to get your accolades. I hear daily about how much better I’m looking from myriads of people. I’m writing this in case you can identify and you can know you’re not alone. How we see ourselves is a tricky endeavor.

I don’t think it’s just our physical appearance either. I like to think that I’m patient and loving, but I know if I’m cut off in traffic I become this:

Maybe we’re all a bit splintered. Maybe I’m not so unique. Maybe it’s wanting the better me while seeing the lesser me that makes me want to continue to improve myself.

A week in South Carolina

This is actually more of a photo montage.

~So enjoy!

biking on the beach
so many dear friends made!
OK- so the birds were mesmerizing!
so wonderful!
Loving the shoal- we could walk in the water for a long time!
Who doesn’t love a sunrise kiss?
Morning over the ocean.
2 deer
We really did smile throughout this whole trip!

Our lodging. Vanderhorst Plantation.
Why we were there.

Bill is an amazing teacher, that’s why he was asked to teach this workshop of amazing artists. I don’t get to go on every trip with him, but I was sure grateful to be his travel buddy on this one.


I will be the first to admit that I go into things “half-cocked” – as my dad would always say.

There are many euphemisms that don’t apply to my personality, “look before you leap”, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”, and so on.

So it all started when I went to Alec for some acupuncture. (Amazing by the way – I would totally suggest it for anything that ails you!)

He sat and talked with me for quite a long time explaining all the many services he offers. Turns out some people don’t like needles sticking out of their skin. One of those services is cupping. I was very interested!

I found my own silicone starter set on Amazon and ordered them.

Cupping Warehouse TM Supreme 8 (4 Sizes) Professional and Home Use: Clear Chinese Silicone Massage Cupping Therapy Sets Vacuum Suction Cups

Bill injured his elbow quite a while ago. He has been trying several options to help it, but nothing has worked. This was my first ‘test subject’! I rubbed some arnica creme into it and latched those babies on.

Elbow cupping – it looks like the water bottle is attached as well – it’s not!

I had read enough of the instructions to know that I shouldn’t put them over a major artery or leave them on for more than 10 minutes – enough for me – let’s do it!

His elbow felt great! He has done some stretches and exercising to help it along, but he says it’s night and day!

My daughter hurt her back/ shoulder area by playing with her nephews, awesome! I got to try the cups again! And she felt better, not completely healed, it took another session a couple of days later.

Yesterday Bill said he had tweaked his back, so I ran for our cups! (I may or may not be a little too excited to try out my new toys on my family.)

Right after cupping

I had him go through some yoga poses after the cupping and he said the pain was much less. While the marks look bruised, there are just shadows of them this morning. Although when I did my daughter her marks were much darker and lasted longer.


Cupping draws stagnant blood and other fluids that has fallen out of healthy circulation up to skin the level and away from the injury so that healthy free circulation can be restored to the affected area. Being that skin is the body’s largest organ, it contains about 20% of your blood volume at any given time. The skin has a beautiful network of capillaries that make it a fantastic vehicle to transport all the stagnation that cupping pulls up into it. Cupping creates a space for oxygen, living cells, and nutrients needed for healing. The body’s capillary system at the skin level carries the toxins to the liver and kidneys, where they can be metabolized and excreted. ~ from :LOVIE ACUPUNCTURE AND HEALING

I think of it like lifting up the rug (skin) and sweeping dirt out from under it.

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If you’re anything like me – I’m usually sweeping it under the rug!

Have an old injury? Or maybe a brand new one? I would suggest cupping! Probably from a professional like Alec. But – if you are also a half-cocked personality, there are so many articles and videos out there, you could get your own set and give it a try! It’s worth looking into anyway.