Monday, September 18, 2017

Living Each Moment

“The key to happiness is letting each situation be what it is instead of what you think it should be."
- Mandy Hale 


Last week I decided to go out fishing again. It was a nice day and there are not going to be too many more days that are warm enough to go out on the water.  I enjoy the activity and it is something that my Mother and I share.

I decided to accompany my Mother for a day of enjoyment on the water. I am actually making some strides as I was able to reel every fish in myself without assistance.

I don’t think that attaching bait to a sharp hook will ever be a good thing for me, but other than that I was able to catch the fish and reel it in independently.

The first time that I went fishing I needed help with the entire activity. I am still making progress every day is a new opportunity to do something better than before. I was beyond excited when I found this quote because I doubted my decision to go on a day of fishing, until I got in the moment and allowed the excitement and exhilaration of catching fish take over.

I second guess my decisions quite often but perhaps I should follow Mandy Hale’s advice and live in the moment. Sometimes I get too consumed with over thinking my decisions and wondering if they were conducive to the way that I am trying to live my life. I had a wonderful time once I stopped second guessing myself and considering where I “should” be. Should statements I am trying to distance myself from should statements because life is about situations and truly enjoying every possible moment. I know that I am not alone and that there are many people who are trying their best to make their life as enjoyable as possible. I feel wonderful after taking part in outdoor activities and I challenge other survivors to step outside of their comfort zone and allow themselves to live a little.

I would love to hear what you do for enjoyment and recreational activities and I welcome any comments that you may have. I love new ideas and suggestions and I truly believe that we can learn from each other by sharing ideas and suggestions. The camaraderie can help each one of us make our days as enjoyable as possible. I will include a picture from my latest fishing adventure. Thank you so much for reading.

Another Summer Ends

"Summer ends, and autumn comes, and he who would have thought it otherwise would have high tide always and a full moon every night." - Hal Borland


Another summer has come to an end but I think that we should all try to hold on to our special memories from the season. Hal Borland’s quote factually lays out that one season will never last forever. Seasons are cyclical and as one passes the next begins. As the stores are already putting Halloween decorations up, it is so important to reflect upon the good times of the summer and not rush your life away. I will do everything in my power to enjoy every moment.  I spent a great deal of time at the beach this year. I will include a picture of my feet in front of a glass window from LBI. We all need to understand that seasons come to an end so that a new season can begin. My summer was fantastic in large part because I wasn’t a prisoner to my headaches.

Every year the fall is bittersweet, you remember the summer’s adventures and you try and hold onto the memories as everyone returns to school and his or her regular schedules. I am never ready for the summer to end as I love it. Every year I greatly enjoy the warm weather (you don’t have to worry about losing a jacket!). Now the weather is already starting to get cool and it is hard to believe that sooner rather than later we will be wearing coats. I am going to try and extend the summer for as long as possible. I choose to not wear coats until it is absolutely necessary because my memory causes me to lose coats far too easily. The cold weather means that if you are dressed appropriately you can still do outdoor activities. Everyone needs to understand that seasons change and transition to the next. I have great memories from this summer and I have several things coming up in the next few months. It is always good to hold onto what brings you joy and try and repeat it. I enjoy fishing even in the colder weather and I am sure that I will go out several times over the fall. I have a speaking engagement planned for later this month and I am hopeful that my words will offer encouragement to those that hear. I hope that all reading this will take a moment out of his/her day today to truly enjoy the moment.

Appreciate the weather and know that it is changing. The summer had to come to an end and the fall also will have to come to an end. We each need to realize how lucky we are to be able to get outside and enjoy the weather. I thank you very much for reading and encourage any reflections that you may have.

~Noelle

Friday, September 8, 2017

Will to Succeed

“The will to succeed is important, but what’s more important is the will to prepare.” Bobby Knight

The school year has now begun again for children all over. It is very important to remember Bobby Knight’s words as we begin any venture. An individual has to engage in actions to properly prepare for the action to follow. School and rehabilitation are similar in that they both require dedication. A person will only get out what they put in. Ideally a person prepares for what lies ahead. In sports there are captains who can help by offering advice and methods for a person to help aid them on what skills to work on. Throughout the rehabilitation journey I sought guidance from as many reputable sources as possible. I believe that after brain injury guidance from others who have been there is incredibly valuable. People prepare an injury date as their date of being born again because a life is forever altered. Things have to be relearned. 

As I look around in the morning and see the kids walking to school with their backpacks on I wonder if they are taking steps to prepare for the next step. Certain people excel in school but then lack the drive to succeed in life. Most people have the desire to succeed but they may lack the discipline to prepare. School serves as practice for people as they are preparing to engage in a career. Those who are recovering from an injury must take steps every day to prepare their bodies for the next step. You must think of yourself as a student who is preparing to relearn the most important skills of your life. It is my hope that I can be a mentor to individuals that are scared and are seeking out ways to better prepare him/her self for the next step ahead. After battling through this injury I realize how much I could have benefited from having a mentor who had gone through a similar experience to me.

 I am speaking regarding my rehabilitation process back at where I was hospitalized.  It is my hope that from hearing my story and experiences somebody will feel better and more comfortable pushing through on this rehabilitation journey. I know that it is a long and arduous journey, but hopefully my story will make it a little less foreign to those that hear it. I just want people to know that they are not alone. Thank you very much for reading and I would love to hear any thoughts that you may have.

~Noelle

Friday, September 1, 2017

The Charm of Fishing

“The charm of fishing is that it is the pursuit of what is elusive but attainable, a perpetual series of occasions for hope.” John Buchan

The peace and serenity that can be felt on the water is incredible. I recently went out fishing and I was fortunate in that I actually caught two fish! Philosophically fishing is an incredible opportunity for doing a wholesome activity that really gets your hopes and anticipations awakened. I think fishing is a great time to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. For a few hours your main concern is if your bait is appealing. I am going to go out again in a couple of weeks. My parents both enjoy fishing so I am going to go out with each of them. I am happy that I found another wholesome and enjoyable activity that I can take part in. Your entire day can be made by a fishing trip. To me, a successful fishing trip has less to do with the number of fish caught and more to do with the awesome scenery of the nature around you. You can’t help but be hopeful that you will catch something. 

I had an incredible day! It began at the breakfast table while I was reflecting on yet another beautiful morning; I really felt that it should be enjoyed because summer is short. My Mom agreed and just like that we decided to go out fishing for the day. Spur of the moment decisions are often times the best. You can really feel true serenity when you are out on the water. Life is full of so many ups and downs, but when you are out on the water for a fishing trip you are able to step away from any responsibilities or stressors that you have. 

I am going to plan a few more trips in the near future as I really enjoyed myself! I thought of the many others who are injured and I am a huge advocate of getting outdoors and doing something that you love. I realize that fishing is not for everyone, but it is important to even just get outside to enjoy the fresh air. The fresh air and the sunshine outdoors is good for people young and old alike. I am interested in hearing who else enjoys to be out on the water and who enjoys to fish. I hope that others realize the serenity of being out on the water. I thank you so much for reading and welcome any comments that you might have.

~Noelle

Monday, August 28, 2017

Lottery of Life

“It's so overwhelming. It's almost better than winning the lottery, because you worked for it. It's like something you want all your life, but you never thought it would happen, and all of a sudden it did.” - Ronnie Coleman

Regaining your independence after a brain injury can be compared to winning the lottery. It is more self-fulfilling because it takes copious hours of hard work. Nobody should ever be shocked by what they regain after a brain injury. We all work tirelessly for every bit of freedom that a person regains.

A person never gets miraculously better from a brain injury. Individuals have to be willing to put in the time and battle through both the neurological and the physical fatigue that will inevitably be present along the path towards recovery.

My recovery was and still is my largest challenge in life. Every day I awake with a purpose to try and improve myself both physically and cognitively. This will be a forever goal. I will try and remember Ronnie Coleman’s quote as I begin each day.  I will include a graphic representation of both a body builder and a lottery ticket.

We all will have days where our responsibilities get to us; it is important to always try and remember that improvement will take time.

It is important to never lose your focus and to keep trying for the life that we all deserve. I have improved vastly from the early days of my injury, yet I still have many things that I need to and will continue working on. In certain way I have a lifelong forever goal. I will never have months where I feel that there is nothing for me to work on. My gym friends also feel as though every day is a new opportunity for them to work on their fitness. We all should have something that we are working towards. People in general need to realize that as human beings we each have an incredible desire within us. It is my hope that survivors are able to tap into that desire and push on to achieve the best life possible.

Everyone desires a life of meaning and a life of purpose. Following a brain injury the path is set for us to always have something that we desire. Again, something that I would never wish on anyone, but seeing as how it was part of my hand, I will forever be trying to improve.

I would be so interested in hearing any thoughts that you may have. I thank you very much for reading. ~Noelle

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Navigating Life, and Social Life, Post Brain Injury

“To get the full value of a joy you must have somebody to divide it with.” - Mark Twain

My great friend had her wedding shower over the weekend. It was an excellent event and everybody in attendance was genuinely happy for her. Things have changed, as she has moved in with her fiancé in Philadelphia but you can see how happy she is. I have high hopes for a lifetime of happiness for her and her groom. I have included a picture that I snapped at my house before I left to go to the event.


As a TBI survivor one has to take into account any difficulties that may arise. When I was shopping for my gift for the shower I had to make sure that I got a gift that I could handle with one hand. I wore sandals with a slight heel so that added a bit more unsteadiness to my gate. Thankfully the gift that I found was not terribly cumbersome or fragile. My girlfriend is very familiar with me and the challenges that I have as a result of my TBI. She asked her fiancé to go and get my car when it was time to leave as I had to park rather far away.

Earlier in my recovery she was awesome to me as she was one of the first people to take me out following my hospitalization. You never forget a friend like that. I was proud to be at her shower and I was honored to be invited. It is always nice to meet new people and my friend works in the equestrian industry so a few people recognized me from my riding days.

I wonder who else has attended events that are a bit compromised following his/her TBI? I have found that it is best for me to attend as many typical events as possible for me to live my life as normal as possible. I forever am trying to get my life to return to being full with many wonderful people in it. I stay up to date by reading blog posts myself to hear how things are going in the TBI community. I think that part of keeping my life as “normal” as possible is to stay informed as to the things that are happening in my TBI community.

Life has many aspects and different issues come about nearly every day. The activities of daily living are certainly one aspect but navigating life but the social interaction piece is a large one as well. I am glad that I was able to attend my friend’s shower and that I was able to bring a gift that I was able to carry and walk with.

I am always very interested to hear any thoughts that you may have. Thank you very much for reading.

~Noelle

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Celebrate Our Differences, Cherish Your Individuality


"We don't need a melting pot in this country, folks. We need a salad bowl. In a salad bowl, you put in the different things. You want the vegetables - the lettuce, the cucumbers, the onions, the green peppers - to maintain their identity. You appreciate differences." - Jane Elliot



As a person in the United States we need to hold on to our individuality. Our society is made up of different people and different strengths. Everybody is different and everybody brings different strengths to the table. It is far easier said than done, but we need to try and celebrate our differences.

Jane Elliot makes an excellent comparison. As a child in school you always hear about the melting pot that is the United States. Perhaps Jane Elliot’s comparison is that much more applicable.

We all need to hold on to our own individuality. The differences among our people are what make our country so special. It is difficult to not fall victim into what we believe that society wants. In a perfect world we would celebrate our differences and not be concerned about being aside from the norm.

Things are not always as easily said as done. I heard another comparison that stuck out to me; “Why try to be white bread when you are nutritious multigrain?” We need to attempt to embrace what sets us aside from the norm. We need to remember Jane Elliot’s quotation and try to remember what makes our society unique.

People are celebrated for making the best of life situations. We are all different and we all have different strengths. That is what makes our country so great. I will include a graphic that represents individuality. It is my hope that with every day I will continue to become more and more okay with who I am following my brain injury. I do not think that I will ever wake up and not realize that my life is forever changed, yet I am hopeful that I will find my place in the world and that I will wake up more and more peaceful as the days go on.

Whenever I get frusterated about bein diferent I will try and remember Jane Elliot’s quote. Every one of us has to remember what about us makes us unique. Every person is different and we all bring different strengths to the table. I love that in this country we are celebrated for being different. All things considered this injury happening to me in the United States was the best case scenerio.

Life is about looking towards the positive.There is always a positive aspect to look towards. I thank you very much for reading and welcome any thoughts that you may have.