30 Days of Thanks – Day 23 – Looking back 4 years… thanks for today!

thankful2

When I started this “30 Days of Thanks” annual tradition,, it had been inspired by my mother’s experience. In July 2011, mammogram displayed a lump, and the cancer diagnosis and treatment that followed was a journey I know Mom and Dad will not forget. And neither will I!

Today’s 5 Things of Thanks

  1. Good news – Happy about Mom’s recent visits to the surgeon and oncologist who led in the treatment of her disease. She is still cancer-free!!
  1. How far we’ve come – It was a blessing yesterday to spend the evening with a couple who had been friends of my parents when I was young (their son and my little brother were friends). When Joyce was diagnosed with breast cancer, I was in second grade, and remember how the year of treatment drained her so much… but the cancer did go away at that time. Though it has had recurrences, the fact that Joyce is now doing beautifully speaks volumes as to how far treatments have come!
  1. double delight roses

    These “double delight” roses are from Dad’s rose garden… I wish you could smell them!

    Dad’s roses – Mom’s favorite of my Dad’s rosebushes is “double delight,” one that not only boasts beauty of red-tinged petals, but boasts a beautiful aroma with intensity unlike any other.

  1. Phone calls with faraway friends – What a blessing it was today to enjoy a long conversation with a friend who lives far away – and find out I’ll get to see her soon!
  1. God’ love – …that is so evident in his creation, in ways he uses medical technology to heal, and how he works to show compassion and love for those who do not experience physical healing,

I know that every good and perfect gift comes from God above (see James 1:17), and I hope this “30 Day” adventure can help me remember to thank our Lord for these many gifts. And to notice them when they’re right here in front of my face.

30 Days of Thanks – Day 22 – more “everyday” thanks

thankful2

This summer continues to be filled with lots of special moments. With yesterday’s celebration of 25 years of the ADA, it brings to mind some of the things I take for granted.

Day 22 – More everyday thanks

  1. Canvas bags – We have myriads of canvas bags, most with ads or messages written on them. But no matter what they say on the outside, I love being able to carry items in a sturdy way. Many of our bags have fun memories attached… bonus indeed. :)

  1. suitcase
    Suitcases with wheels – I remember going to camp as a child, bringing a hard suitcase that I lifted and carried. Even a small carry-on is now easy to roll along – how nice!
  1. Lists – I find more and more that things I’m sure I’ll remember… well, I remember them tomorrow. Maybe. So I am very thankful for lists!
  1. Greater cultural acceptance of disability – T.R. shared with me a nice example of this. Take a look here at a lovely image of an aunt and her niece… the most telling thing to me is that the aunt may be in a wheelchair, but this fact is not celebrated or degraded. It just IS. And that is beautiful. (After yesterday’s celebration, this was particularly telling.)

5. E-mail – I recall when I was in college and used email for the first time – it was winter 1992. I was rather amazed. Then in 1994, During my first year of teaching, my school became connected to the Internet… and it was my privilege to show students in my science class the magic of e-mail. When we typed a question to “Bill Nye the Science Guy” then received a response the next day, this was a special kind of magic. Today, I’m still amazed when I look at the screen of my “inbox,” viewing the list of places these messages are from, when they were sent, and pondering the “magic” of today’s technology.

30 Days of Thanks – Day 21 –  Happy 25th Birthday, ADA!

  1. disabilitiesSummer 1990 was a time of transition for me, as I was preparing to move away to college. My senior year had been an eventful one in the big scheme of things… the Berlin Wall had been torn down in November, student protests at Tiananmen Square in Beijing had shaken the world just a few months earlier, and Nelson Mandela had been freed after 27 years in South African prison.  After graduating, I had no idea that our President would sign a bill that would have more of a personal impact on me than any of these other storied events that filled the news ever would. On July 26, 1990, George H. W. Bush signed into law the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). As he stated at the signing, this act was meant to tear down another wall, removing some of the barriers experienced by those facing disabilities.

Has the ADA succeeded in tearing down that wall, as the President stated? Though I know implementation has been imperfect (what isn’t?), The ADA has succeeded in making life fuller, places more accessible than many would have imagined 25 years ago. So this leads to today’s thankful list:

5 Things That Make Me Thankful for the ADA:

  1. Parking places – Because of the requirements legislated by the ADA, those of us who have difficulty walking (or using a cane, walker, or wheelchair) may park in closer spots. Before I started using a cane, I would often use my tag and park at these spots – I may not have looked “disabled,” but MS left my legs less cooperative than I sometimes wished, and my internal battery just didn’t hold any extra charge.
  1. Required Accessibility in Public Places – Except for older locations, all public places are required to allow those who are disabled to use them. So doors need to be wide enough, an entrance without stairs must be present… the power of this law became obvious to me when I called the restaurant where we were planning my parents’ anniversary. Not having visited this out-of-town establishment before, I asked whether the room was handicap accessible for one in a wheelchair or using a walker. The answer was immediate, “Of course it is. It’s the law.”
  1. School stuff – For me, I was able to quietly make arrangements to have the location of a college course changed, as I researched in advance to discover that the planned classroom was one that had a few steps at its entrance. Though I was only using a cane, I knew that the unpredictability of MS could require the use of a walker later in the semester. So the room switched. And the other students never knew about this. (At first, the instructor had questioned whether this needed to be switched, but when I copied a college administrator on the email conversation, the prof was told that I shouldn’t have had to ask more than once, and law required that this reasonable accommodation be made.)
  1. “Magic Doors” – This is what they seem like anyhow. Though automatically opening doors are not an ADA requirement for many locations, they do help for the accessibility standards to be met. Pressing a button to open a door allowed me to enter school, work, and church.
  1. Elevators! :)I was thrilled to hear a report last Friday about ways the ADA has made a difference in the lives of those who may not face disability. I can only imagine navigating New York City in a wheelchair, but I was very encouraged to hear of subway stations that are in the process of adding (or are planning to add) elevators. Here at home, I appreciate the existence of elevators, more than I used to, and I know the ADA has helped fund improvements here nationwide.

Curb cuts, accommodations, accessible theater seats… there is so much this law has helped make available. This isn’t only for the disabled community as it is now, but for those who don’t view themselves as “disabled” but find their lives enriched by structures, events and cultural trends impacted by the spirit of the ADA. Thank you, George H. W. Bush!

Day 20 – Thirty Days of Thanks – pectin and berries and jars, oh my!

Since we came home from Michigan City with several pounds of blueberries, I am thankful that blueberry jam can be made and last for many months to come. This leads to today’s 5 Thankful Things:

5 Food-related Thanks:

  1. Ball glass jars –
    Ball jars wth blueberry jam!i :)

    Ball jars wth blueberry jam!i :)

    Glass canning jars, with seal-able lid inserts, are such a wonderful way to preserve food! Thank you to the Ball Brothers (and sister) who moved to Muncie, Indiana during the gas boom, to produce glass products, like those wonderful jars.

  1. Fruit pectin – How wonderful to have a little box of this to a mixture of fruit and sugar, cook, and process to can in those lovely glass jars.
  1. IMG_7286Boiling water “canners” – How very cool it is to be able to safely and succinctly seal glass jars, by boiling them in a stove-top canner. Once the jars cool, a certain sense of accomplishment is felt when one hears the little “pop!” ping as the jars each seal.

  2. Fresh cucumbers, garlic, and dill – Together, these can join with vinegar and pickling salt, filling those lovely jars, to make pickles that will indeed be appreciated!

    Kosher dill pickles!

    Kosher dill pickles – best appreciated after they have marinated for more than three months.

  1. A loving, culinary husband – …who knows that his wife does not possess the heat tolerance and dexterity she used to use to complete basic canning. He did a fantastic job today, with help of our two sous chefs, in creating a fun menagerie of colorful food treats. Interestingly, the daughter who dislikes blueberries helped most with jam, and her sister who finds cucumbers inedible offered a great deal of pickle help. We love you, Rach and Em!

Day 19 – Thirty Days of Thanks – more summer blessings

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We are indeed thankful for lovely days like today! How so? Here are a few ways:

1. Sunshine – Even when I’m not outside, I love being able to enjoy the lovely light… in the morning, it isn’t too hot yet, and it’s nice to be able to enjoy a little bit of the fresh air.

2. Air conditioning – One MS symptom that can be particularly frustrating this time of year is extreme sensitivity to heat. (By this, I mean temperatures above 74 degrees.) Heat is “my kryptonite,” and air conditioning makes it possible for me to function during warmer seasons. Thank you, AC!

3. Fresh berries on morning cereal – What a blessing it is to have freshly picked blackberries on the morning cereal!

Angie on the new porch glider. :)

Angie on the new porch glider. :)

4. New porch glider – With a special gift card I received at the completion of my Kids Hope ministry time, I purchased a porch glider (that was nicely put together by my very talented husband, as it arrived in a box, in pieces). Now we have a shady space where I can sit and enjoy the breeze, with T.R. and I can sit together. (Or I can safely go there on my own… when one isn’t extremely mobile, it’s nice to have these spaces.)

5. A final late wake-up morning – With plans we have this weekend, next week, then with school coming quite soon, this was really the last morning without an enforced wake-up time for our daughters. I rested also, of course, but not quite as long. :) It has been nice to have the extra rest that summer brings!

Day 18 – Thirty Days of Thanks – dentists, teeth, smoothies and such

thankful2

Summer break is not just a time for vacation fun, but it’s also a time to catch up on other things that are not quite as “fun.” But we are so blessed to be able to have dental care available, repairing problems with our teeth so that they can be useful for our entire lives. This has been a week with visits to the dentist and the orthodontist, and this care is something for which I am indeed thankful!

5 Bits of Dental Thanks:

  1. X-ray – I am thankful that an x-ray can peer within my teeth to find if there is a weak spot that will lead to problems… thinking of dental things a century ago, I can only imagine the troubles my mouth would have had. (I was born without a permanent tooth, so I know I would have at least one problem area.)
  1. Hygienists – These specially trained dental nurses do an outstanding job when helping give care to keep teeth clean and healthy. I can only imagine what it would be like to look into mouths, smile in the midst of halitosis, and carry on one-sided conversations each day. And smile in the midst of this.
  1. Dentists – A doctor who could literally be bitten by patients, who can interpret x-rays and stains and gums, and who can do all of this with a personable, professional smile, is indeed a treasure. (Dr. Raymond Maddox, we do miss you and are thankful for the years of service you gave here.) We look forward to having Dr. Matthew Maddox join things here later this year!
  1. Orthodontists – I’m thankful for those who helped me when I was in high school and college, working to move my teeth so that my jaw wouldn’t pop and lock… ah, TMJ. A wise orthodontist was able to use a series of retainers to get my jaw moving correctly, then braces finished the job.
    blueberry smoothie

    Fresh blueberry smoothie from Emily! :)


    Not fun at the time, but I am thankful that I never needed surgery in my mouth. My daughters each have orthodontist trips now, and I know they’ll be thankful one day also for a bite that works as it ought.
  1. Smoothies – On the way home from dental appointments, we stop at a restaurant to pick up shakes, but I was even more blessed this week after an appointment with a filling repaired (one from a few decades ago originally). My daughter also had a filling on this day, so instead of stopping at a restaurant, she made a fresh blueberry and frozen yogurt smoothie for each of us. This was indeed welcome and appreciated!

Day 17 – Thirty Days of Thanks – School Supply Ponderings

school suppliesBack-to-school sales may be a little disconcerting, as summer is still very much here, but the girls and I feel a certain giddiness when combing through newspaper sale inserts, creating lists of things we think are needed. When the girls were in Kindergarten, I not only had a detailed list from the school, but I followed the teacher’s suggestions and labeled every crayon, every pencil, each glue stick and pair of tiny scissors… it was time consuming indeed. As a mother, though, I felt a sense of accomplishment when a labeled backpack was properly prepared, including obligatory boxes of tissue. They’re sixteen now, and high schoolers don’t exactly have that list. Mommy doesn’t label the bits of things, but Mom and Dad get to have a nice time finding the best bargains in folders, binders, paper and such.

So after we returned from vacation, we were off to the store to stock up on school supplies. This is a great time of year to pick up needed items, even if you’re not in school yourself! How so? Take a look at today’s little list:

5 things I’m thankful for when shopping during back-to-school time:

  1. School is anticipated excitedly – Even though there isn’t the enthusiastic expectation that there was a decade ago, both younger and more seasoned students start with a clean slate (or a blank screen, I guess you’d say). Two decades ago, I viewed this from a teacher standpoint, and it’s fun to see it from the student side now.
  1. sharpiesColored sharpies! – I like to label things with permanent marker, and my favorite brand is “Sharpie.” During this time of year, not only are sharpies on sale, but there are sets of colored sharpies that didn’t used to exist… this is the perfect time for me to replenish my marker set.
  1. crayons1New crayons, too – My very artistic daughter was able to purchase a set of 120 crayons. Crayola, of course, and all different colors… several that were new, like “outer space” (really dark blue) or “mac and cheese” (the color of the Kraft type, not the real stuff, I’m afraid). Those won’t be coming to school, but she is taking an art class, so who knows? (I thought my box of 32 had a lot. Little did I know.)
  1. Folder and binder bargains – Folders and 3-ring binders can be pricey during the rest of the year, but the price is at least halved in late July and early August. The same is true with loose leaf paper and notebooks – it’s time to stock up!
  1. Thankful for all of this – Considering the “school supplies” that would have been available when my parents and grandparents went to school (some only through eighth grade), I am a bit overwhelmed. Wow – what abundance we have! I hope that I can keep this in mind as the pencils dull and the markers fade. We are so blessed!

Day 16 – Thirty Days of Thanks – Home Sweet Home

home sweet home

If you have been following my “Thirty Days of Thanks,” you’ve likely noted that the thirty days haven’t been all in a row. One thing I have been valuing a great deal is time with family and friends, so particularly when we had opportunities for family times that won’t be able to be replicated until Thanksgiving, I decided that “30 Days of Thanks” would spread out during the summer, and I’ll complete my list before my daughters’ school starts in August. I’ve been thankful along the way, and I’ll resume my daily ponderings now. :)

As we’re all home now and getting back into the swing of things here, I even am more overcome with reasons I have for “everyday thanks.” Dorothy was indeed correct when she clicked together the heels of those ruby slippers: “There’s no place like home.”

5 things I’m thankful for at our own home:

  1. Our own beds – What a lovely thing it is to sleep in our own bed, with our own sheets and pillows!
  1. Fully stocked kitchen – I take for granted, after a while, that we have plates and bowls and silverware and pots and pans and such… how blessed we are!
  1. Growing garden – How welcome it was to find that our garden took advantage of the rains that came while we were away… we’ll be enjoying fresh green beans with tonight’s supper, in fact.
  1. Comfy chair – It’s fine (and enjoyable!) to share furniture with others when about 20 people are sharing a living area, but it sure is nice to sit back in a comfy recliner.
  1. Welcome stillness – As an “introvert with extrovert tendencies,” I enjoyed last week but am really appreciating the peace and quiet of our small-town life.

Many thanks indeed!

Day 15 – Thirty Days of Thanks – Different beach view

While growing up, I enjoyed times we would go to a “beach,” those these moments usually included a sandy area beside a small lake. I may swim a bit, but I would always look for shells, rocks, or other treasures.  Even when I graduated to occasional saltwater visits, my goal was the same: shells, perhaps? Wading along the waves was fun also, and I loved observing the natural wonders that culminate with winds, currents, and wildlife.

TR Angie beach chair

T.R. and I “combed the beach” together with the beach-friendly chair.

As our family time near Lake Michigan neared its close, T.R. and I were able to visit the beach. This may seem like a regular occurrence to many of you, but you have to realize that a regular cane, walker or wheelchair cannot manage travel on a sandy beach. Enter the “beach wheelchair,” one with tires made just for such an excursion. And this leads to today’s list:

5 Bits of Beach-related Thanks

  1. Calming sounds of water – I love the sounds of the lapping IMG_7012waves, punctuated by the occasional gull.
  1. Patient husband who wrestled successfully with the chair – T.R. was able to conquer the chair that doesn’t like to turn so that we could visit the shore together.TR Angie beach
  1. Shells –
    Angie shells

    admiring the lovely shells!

    He gleaned several small shells for me from the sand… we knew I wasn’t going to be crawling on the beach then successfully standing back up, so T.R. brought several shells my way. (They came home with me, of course. :) )

  1. Beach sunsets – This wasn’t the same day we rented the chair, but we were able to see the sunset from the boardwalk in front of the beach.
  1. New family memories – Because heat and MS do not coexist kindly, I know that I will never be with T.R. and thefootprints girls on a Florida beach, but it was special to watch as my husband and daughters traipsed through the sand. Special memories won’t be washing away as quickly as the sand, I am certain!

Day 14 – Thirty Days of Thanks – OUR Anniversary Celebration!

knight wedding album

July 16,1995

After a wonderful time of celebration yesterday with my parents, today it was our turn. On July 16, 1994, I was blessed to become Mrs. Angela Marie Knight. And there are so many things I am thankful for! I’ll just choose five for today, but as a result, this is quite incomplete.

5 things I’m thankful for today as T.R.’s wife:

  1. our anniversary trip last year

    our anniversary trip last year

    That grin and eye twinkle: T.R. has a fun way of finding humor in life, and we have laughed together at times. Like when he says, “I’ll race ya!” as he pushes a wheelchair I am in. I always win. ;)

  1. Foodie fun: We both enjoy exploring foods together, and he
    meringue  dessert

    meringue dessert

    is becoming an expert of sorts in home cooking. As such, we always enjoy trying and appreciating new things when we travel. Today, I had a dessert I’d never enjoyed before – a baked meringue bowl, filled with fresh fruit and cream. I enjoy meringue candy during the holidays, but this was a first… and it was lovely in appearance and flavor!

 

  1. Patience: When two individuals are married, they always grow in ways they may not have expected. Though it’s not always natural for him, T.R. has become amazingly patient with the likes of me. He helps this already lackadaisical lady compensate for, accept, and face necessary delays in life.
  1. “Daddy!” : T.R. is a wonderful father to our two daughters. He went from changing diapers sixteen years ago to helping them learn to drive today, and he has continued to show his love for these lovely ladies. It is such a joy to have a partner like this as we guide our daughters through life’s challenges!
  1. In sickness and in health – He continues to honor those wedding vows, and he holds my hand and passes a tissue while we wander through the path that is MS. I do know this life looks different than the one we likely dreamed of twenty-one years ago, but the journey remains hopeful and joyful because we’re walking (or wheeling) together.

I love you, T.R.!

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