Five Smiles #1

Monday: Today I finished reading an inspiring book called Laughing at My Nightmare. It’s written by a young man named Shane Burcaw who was born with Spinal Muscular Atrophy — a disease that causes his muscles to waste away over time. He’s been in a wheelchair his entire life, but his outlook on everything is amazingly positive and he doesn’t let his condition stand in the way of being happy and productive. He travels all over the country as a public speaker, runs a non-profit organization, a blog, and a YouTube channel. He’s definitely a busy guy! I highly recommend his book. He’s about to come out with a second one as well. On his blog, he writes these Weekly Smile posts. I like them so much that I decided to ‘steal’ the idea. Hopefully, he won’t mind. This may or may not actually become a weekly thing, but anyway, here goes!

Tuesday: I recently started volunteering at a non-profit just a few miles from my house. The Barn at Spring Brook Farm provides camps and after-school programs for kids with physical and cognitive disabilities. The Barn is loaded with cute farm animals that kids can connect with and learn from. I’ve been doing some writing and helping with advertising materials for them. They also gave me access to their WordPress, so I can update their website. It feels good to have some work responsibilities again and be part of such a special organization. Click here to read about some of the amazing work being done at the Barn.

Wednesday: It was wine and cheese night with my lifelong friend and neighbor, Emma! We grew up just a two-minute walk from one another. I have countless memories of swimming in her pool in the summer, waiting for the bus to kindergarten in her front yard, jamming out to the radio in her car on the way to high school, and experiencing my first frat party when I visited her at Penn State. In September, Emma was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. She had to temporarily move back home and leave her graduate program at Georgetown for treatment. After two months of intense chemotherapy, she is now cancer-free! Needless to say, it was time to celebrate. Since she’s been home, we’ve been hanging out a lot. We both know what it’s like to have our lives turned upside down and be in scary medical situations. She blogs candidly (and hilariously) about her experience going through chemotherapy and even inspired me to create my own blog. Head on over to her blog and show this beautiful baldie some love!

Thursday: Willow is slowly but surely catching on to the potty training! She’s started running to the door and sitting there when she has to go. Our entire downstairs is no longer her litterbox! Mom still calls her a tiny terrorist, though, because she gets into everything. She’s a five-pound wrecking ball. Willow also experienced snow for the first time and it was adorable. Here is a 16-week update picture of her. So cute!

Friday: While working out at Magee Rehab, I noticed they came out with a new information brochure. A while back, I did a little photo shoot with the Magee therapy dog, Kentucky, and his owner/occupational therapist, Kristen. One of our pictures made it into the brochure! My modeling career is taking off! Since then, Kentucky and Kristen have moved to Cleveland, but seeing the photo of us together reminded me of all the good times we had. Kentucky is the sweetest, most well-behaved dog I’ve ever met. I played with him as an inpatient when I was missing my own dog (Hazel) and continued doing OT with him once a month once as an outpatient before he moved on from Magee. If I was having a bad day, Kentucky would put a smile on my face. I miss you, Kentucky!

What made you smile this week?

3 thoughts on “Five Smiles #1”

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