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.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Contribute, Help and Make a Difference


“I’d rather attempt to do something great and fail than to attempt nothing and succeed.”

- Robert H. Schuller

I attempted to volunteer at the A.S.P.C.A about a week ago. I went for both the informational training session and to hands on training session. I really loved seeing the dogs at the center but I realized that the volunteers were expected to do far more than to socialize with the dogs. I didn’t really fail rather I came to the conclusion that it was far more involved than I had thought.

I was attempting to find an outlet for me to spend some of my free time while doing something good by animals which have always been near and dear to my heart.
 
I realized that I love what service dogs do and the incredible responsibility that they assume.

In my heart I miss my cocker spaniel Andrew that I had years ago. I included a picture of the breed for your reference.

I realize that many people have service dogs and I would love to hear about that. I recently heard a heartwarming story about a service dog that saved the life of his owner by fetching an epi pen and delivering it while his owner was going into shock. I would love to somehow support service dogs because I think that they are incredible and can save lives.

I always inquire about how people who are survivors of brain injury spend their free time. I often find myself searching for something meaningful to do with my free time. I am a member of the Facebook group for TBI survivors and caregivers and many times the conversation amongst the group members goes to how to take up your leisure time.

I would love to hear some ideas of how the survivor that you know takes up his/her leisure time. Comradery is essential for us survivors and I think that the more frequently that we can hear responses from likeminded individuals the better all of our lives will be. Better decisions are made when several minds contribute varying ideas to them. I am always interested to hear who aids an injured party make decisions.

We all need help at one time or another. We can contribute and help one another as we each try to make ourselves a spot in the world. I think the internet has been fantastic at providing many different avenues for an individual to find a place to connect with certain communities. Sustaining a brain injury at this point in history is much better than if you had an injury many years ago. The internet is in full function and it is serving as a phenomenal way to connect people.

I thank you very much for reading and I would welcome any thoughts that you may have.

~Noelle

Monday, August 14, 2017

Be Bold, Be Curious and Break New Ground

"We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths."
- Walt Disney
I decided to take Walt Disney’s quotation and make it a reality. On a summer day rather than doing more of the same, my friend suggested that we go crabbing. I had never done this before but I was open to a new experience. I was a bit fearful of holding a crab because I have no experience with it. Thankfully my friend knew precisely how to hold the crab to ensure that I would not become a victim to its claws. 
Life is about gathering and creating new experiences. The more often that you step outside of your ordinary typical leisure activities, the more often you allow yourself to experience new things the more often you open yourself up to new groundbreaking moments. 
I did not feel passionately about crabbing but it gave me an experience under my belt. I know many people who have crabbed and have greatly enjoyed it. For me, I greatly enjoyed being outside in the incredible summer weather, yet I do not feel a strong desire to go crabbing again in the near future. I much prefer going out fishing on a boat. I must go out fishing before this summer comes to an end.

It seems that the seasons go by faster and faster the older I get. I am of the mind frame now that I truly want to enjoy every day. I think that you enjoy a day by making it memorable and by taking part in new experiences. By taking part in new experiences we can expand our horizons. Each of our lives is made up of a sum of our experiences. I was proud that I tried a new activity that I had no experience with. I would love to hear from whoever is willing to share how they pass the free time in the summers. There are various bbq’s that may serve as fundraisers and also to raise awareness to various causes. I like to support fairs or picnics that are put into place to support a cause.

I think we as survivors should realize what we represent as we go about our days. The opportunities for survivors are certainly different from non survivors but they don’t have to be less so. I have always found that every survivor that I have met has numerous service providers contributing to his/her health. Volunteer and see what types of opportunities are available to support a cause that you take part in or believe in. I encourage all survivors to try and see what opportunities are available to them. Never be afraid to look outside the box.

I thank you very much for reading and I would love to read any responses that you may have.

~Noelle

Thursday, August 10, 2017

12 Years Later …. Wow


“There's always a bittersweet kind of thing, but I feel like everything had to work out the way it is. Everything that had to happen, happened.”

Bruno Mars




A few days ago was the twelve year anniversary of my accident.

What is scary is that I am going to get to the point where I am going to be alive much longer as a survivor and subsequently as a person with a disability than I ever was prior. I am very fortunate that my family is incredibly supportive.

What was surprising to me was how many people reached out to me on Facebook regarding my anniversary. Both of my parents took me out to dinner to reflect and celebrate upon what has happened in my life over the last twelve years.

Much has changed in the last twelve years. My responsibilities have changed but I still and always will have to live my life in a healthy manner. By reading Bruno Mars’ quote I question slightly if things were supposed to work out the way that they did. The rational part of me does believe that accidents happen and that nobody was ever supposed to become a survivor. As our company tag line says, “A moment changes everything”.

That one moment twelve years ago forever changed the sequence of the rest of my life. I was very grateful that both of my parents (even though they are divorced) decided to come together and take me out to dinner on that incredibly poignant day for me. My parents and my friends were both incredibly supportive of me in my anniversary date.

I am going to include a graphic of  Pheonix Rising because it is much the way that I feel in relation to my injury most frequently. I will live the rest of my days tying to become more and more okay with who I am. August second will always hold a deep significance to me for what it represents. As I go forward I am hoping to become more okay with who I am and what my abilities are.

As always I thank you so much for reading and I welcome any thoughts or comments that you may have. I often reach out to support and get support from various online support groups that I am a member of. It is always fantastic when there are many different people sharing and supporting one another. Always remember that we are real life, Pheonix Rising.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Seasonal Sports

"Every day is a new opportunity. You can build on yesterday's success or put its failures behind and start over again. That's the way life is, with a new game every day, and that's the way baseball is." Bob Feller 

I recently attended a baseball game; it is one of my favorite things to do in the warm weather. Bob Feller’s quote is a very interesting way to consider a baseball game in relation to your life journey.

Every day is a new game and every game has its own challenges. I snapped a picture of myself in a baseball hat before I left for the game.

I truly love baseball games. The game that I attended was my little cousin’s traveling baseball game which had a tournament relatively near my hometown. My cousin is from far away so I jumped at the opportunity to see him play so near my house. I try to consider Bob Feller’s quote when I am watching a baseball game.

Sometimes watching a game is a nice reason to get your mind away from any difficulties that you are going through. No matter what you are battling back from, you can always be an enthusiastic fan. Sporting events are a fantastic chance to have old good fashioned fun. In regards to my family it has become an every year tradition. We attend a few games (some of which professional) and try and stay focused on the competition of the game. At the conclusion of the game I always try and remember how everyone can gain a life lesson from it.

The sun will come out tomorrow and a person has to focus on the new goals that are to be accomplished. There have been times throughout my recovery that I have gotten depressed regarding my current stature, baseball and other sports games have helped me to maintain prospective and to ensure that I remain in a good state of mind.

I enjoy the warm evenings and I love a good sporting event. One thing that is a challenge for me even this many years after my injury is walking down steps without a railing. Typically even at professional stadiums there is always a small section where there is no railing present. It serves as a bit of a reminder for me that it is okay to ask for help. Nobody wants to take a header down cement stairs in a stadium.

I would love to hear any experiences that you may have had at a sporting event. I thank you very much for reading and I look forward to reading any responses that you may have.

~Noelle

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Jumping Brook Gala: A Family Tradition

I recently attended a gala at the Jumping Brook Country Club. I was able to put on a dress and try and forget about any difficulties that I am going through. I snapped a selfie at my house before I left for the event and will include it with my post.

This is a yearly event that I attend every year with my father. Life passes by much easier when there are things to look forward to. I suggest that anyone who is going through a trying time tries his or her best to get out and attend events with family and friends. This event has become a yearly tradition for us and I look forward to seeing my friends that are always in attendance. It is always fantastic to spend time with my father. I do have some body image insecurity but it helps me to put my thoughts aside and put on a dress for an evening I am trying to be incredibly honest about the difficulties that I go through following my brain injury. Still go to the gym pretty constantly but I am not as able bodied as I was prior to the accident. While I was formally an avid runner, now I do the elliptical to burn calories.

I am sure that I am not alone and that there are many individuals who struggle with body image. Following a brain injury where you are nowhere near as mobile adds a new set of dynamics to the equation. It is my hope that survivors who are living with the same body image issues as I know that they are not alone. By surrounding myself with loved ones and those that support me is extremely important. My family and close friends know how much I struggle with my body image.

I know that there are definitely other survivors that struggle because I know that the world is a huge place and that the brain injury survivor world while much smaller is vast as well. It is my hope that people do not feel that they are alone.

I welcome any thoughts comments or questions that you may have.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Don't Let Your Past Define You

“Make a pact with yourself to not be defined by your past. Sometimes the greatest thing to come out of all your hard work isn’t what you get for it, but what you become for it.” 
- Steve Mirabelli


All of us who have sustained an injury need to realize that we are more than our injuries. Rehab is extensive and a great deal of hard work. The most difficult thing to explain to someone is that all of his/her hard work will have incredible benefits. The truest benefit is who you become after going through the rehab. There is an extensive amount of work to be done and you truly can see a glimpse of who you are by the incredible effort that you put forth. Moving forward in life you should always have confidence. No matter what life throws at you always know that you can handle it. Things may not always be easy but we are able to compare it to our history and realize that nothing will ever be as difficult as what we have endured. Allow yourself to become who you are going to become while knowing that you are capable of incredible things. You have to know internally. Ups and downs always will always occur and we have to know who we are and that we can accomplish incredible things. I can speak only for myself that for a long time I allowed myself to only be defined by my past. As the years have progressed I am trying desperately to make my life aside from my accident. It is not something that I will ever forget but hopefully I can move forward with it in the background and not so much the forefront. I choose to allow the positive aspects of this recovery to increase my state of mind. Day after day I am sure to remember what I have survived through. I am trying to not be defined by this injury; rather I will attempt to always move forward with this as a positive aspect of who I am. This week I visited one of our retirement homes and the residents had not heard of my story. I choose to revisit my past for an occasion when it would be applicable to inspire others. My position is unique because my injury is forefront at many of our facilities. As long as I have made an internal agreement with myself to not allow it to define who I am in entirety. Every day is a work in progress and I am trying to get myself to define myself by what goes into makeup who I am.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Best Friends

“A best friend is like a four leaf clover, hard to find and lucky to have!”
- Sarah Jessica Parker



In the summertime especially I truly cherish the time that I have with true friends. After a brain injury many of us have lost many friends but the ones that endure are truly excellent characters for us to associate with. What is surprising is that my truest friends are people that I became close with when I was a child and was very into riding horses. Even though I no longer ride horses, they have stuck by me and have been supportive of me in my current ventures. My best friend has stuck by me throughout the many ups and downs that I have had with this injury. Depending upon where I am in my Botox schedule I sometimes shake more apparently than others. I do not walk perfectly and I need assistance when it comes to cutting my food. I have three great friends that I am never embarrassed to ask for help. They will assist me with anything that I need help with. I would love to hear who else has seen their friends really rise to the occasion and assist them in whatever life throws their way. I accompanied my best friend to the beach yesterday and we had a wonderful day. She has been by my side quite often recently because I am alone for right now as my family is in Disney World with my brother and his family. I did not go with them down to Florida because I do not love the extreme heat of Florida in the summer. They went now because my niece and nephew are out of school. My best friend works in a school system so she is off right now as well. She and I go to the beach and go to see bands at night. It has really made my time alone much more tolerable. I would love to hear who has seen their true friends come to the forefront after a trying life situation has occurred. I know of many people who have gone through a divorce and subsequently really had to reevaluate who their friends were. I have been friends with my best friend since childhood and I am sure that I will be by her side no matter what life throws at her. I have seen how she has been so supportive of me throughout a few difficulties that I have had in life already. I hope that you are all graced with at least one true friend who would do anything for you regardless of any difficulties that you may have gone through. Life is not easy and we will all go through difficult situations throughout our lives.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

It's Never too Late to Change Your Life for the Better

“It’s never too late to change your life for the better. You don’t have to take huge steps to change your life. Making even the smallest changes to your daily routine can make a big difference in your life." Roy T. Bennett

I try and live everyday with this in my mind. Drastic changes to your daily routine are not needed. Small tweaks to your daily routine can make a big difference over time. Following an injury you may feel as though much of your life is out of control. It is important that you remain in control of what you can. I have spoken with many survivors and I try and convey the importance of not using substances. It is vastly important to eat a healthy diet and to understand what is going in your body. Following a brain injury we are even more reactive to what we put in our bodies. Every day I am sure to not ingest things that are poor in regards to my health. I think that sometimes we all feel as though we could use a change in our lives but we are unsure of how to go about attaining it. Huge changes are not always necessary. We all have the ability to try and improve our daily routines. This morning I made sure to go out of my way to wish the valet drivers at the hospital a fantastic day. The smile that I received this morning was a great way to start my day! My change that I need to make is to not be so critical of my physical features. I need to remind myself daily that one’s life worth is not based on how he/she looks in an outfit. This morning the warm smile that I received had way more to do with my attitude than anything else. I know that I am not alone in my thinking because weekly I talk with patients about the importance of a good attitude and the benefits that it can have on your rehabilitation. One resident who I visited with made it his mission to report to me weekly about his bird friends that he had made his unofficial pets from one of the rehabilitation centers. That was an example of a small change that he made to his daily routine that drastically improved his state of mind! It is my hope that people understand how greatly things can be impacted by small changes made to your everyday routine. Roy T. Bennett’s quote is one hundred percent true. Minute changes are all that is needed to your daily routine. Daily actions become automatic and non-spectacular over time. One small difference or alteration to the routine is fantastic and can greatly help you over time. I am hopeful that I will be able to continually increase my state of mind. I know that I need to continually work towards being okay with whom I am following my injury. Even though my injury was a long time ago I will be forever be working towards being okay with who I am in my body post brain injury. I thank you very much for reading and I would love to hear any thoughts that you may have.

~Noelle

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Summertime Enjoying Surfrider


“Happiness comes when we stop complaining about all of the troubles that we have and instead offer thanks for all of the troubles that we don’t have.” Unknown

It is now the summer and it is awesome to be able to enjoy the beach and the water. Living in the northeast I truly experience the chill of winter and also the heat of the summer. I went down to the beach and was happy to see the ocean; the club that I attended even had palm trees planted. Even though palm trees are not native to my area, they added a lovely touch to the beach club. The beach has an amazing ability to make you forget any troubles that you may have. The vast ocean is a subtle reminder of how small we are in the world. The beach allows us to feel at peace. Following a brain injury many of us have difficulty walking in the sand. I am certain that I don’t walk quickly on the sand. I was still able to meet people down at the beach and my friends know me and they understand the difficulties that I have from my brain injury. It is my hope that everyone who has had a brain injury will surround themselves with people who understand. I can assure you that there are people who understand. It is incredible to offer thanks for the gifts that we are given. There are always five thousand things to be thankful for to contradict any complaint that we might have. I think about how fortunate we are to have the ability to enjoy and celebrate on the beach. At the beach there is always the hustle bustle of the families organizing their barbecues for the evening. Summer to summer the children of the families grow up. My niece and nephew are such great swimmers now. I completely feel as though it was only yesterday that they were in swimmies and only stayed in the shallow end of the pool. My walking in the sand is certainly a bit of a challenge for me but as long as I am surrounded by caring people who understand I do not mind. The children greatly enjoy the beach and it is good for our family to be able to go and support each other. It is my hope that every survivor of brain injury does not allow the injury to dictate where they are able to go during times that they enjoy. For as long as I can remember I have always greatly enjoyed the beach. I still do and I likely always will. I would love to hear what you do to enjoy your summer months. I thank you very much for reading and would love to hear any responses that you may have.

~Noelle

Monday, June 19, 2017

Celebrate Your Parents (and Your Pets)

Any man can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a Dad.  
- Anne Geddes

This previous weekend was father’s day. I am so thankful to both of my parents for the way that they have stepped up for me. I truly believe that after an injury we need to celebrate and be able to step outside of ourselves. Often I consider how fantastic both of my parents have been in the wake of my injury. I am not your typical thirty-two year old and I depend on them a great deal in ways I am sure that are unlike their constituents. The thing that I am positive to make sure is that I am incredibly appreciative for all that they do for me. Father’s Day and Mother’s Day I feel are both small opportunities for children to share their appreciation for their parents. I feel that a person should never pass up an opportunity to thank their parents for all that they do. I have been incredibly fortunate in that my parents have always stepped up to support me.

After my injury my father came to the hospital every day following work. At one point I remember I was scared to take a shower because I feared that the water would be cold; my father came to the hospital before work to ensure that I would be given a warm shower. I will never forget how incredible my parents were to me throughout my injury. No matter what I do to show my appreciation it will never be enough to show my true gratification for all that they do for me. This previous weekend I celebrated Father’s day out at my Dad’s farm in Cream Ridge. I have included a picture of one of my Dad’s dogs that was enjoying the pool on a warm afternoon.


It is always important for you to get outside of yourself and to celebrate other people. This weekend I celebrated my father and all that he has done for me while enjoying his pool and his animals. Sundays are nice days to wind the week up and prepare for the upcoming week ahead. I was able to reflect upon the week while relaxing and enjoying great company. My brother wasn’t able to attend as he had previous commitments but he will bring his family out at another point. It is interesting for me to witness how as we are getting older, my brother now has a family of his own. The torch has been handed over and now it is my brother who has a blossoming family with young children. I was sure to send all of the fathers who are friends of mine well wishes and I truly hope that they were able to enjoy their day with family.  I would love to hear what you did to enjoy your father’s day. As always I thank you for reading!

~Noelle

Friday, June 16, 2017

What's Done is Done

“What's done is done. What's gone is gone. One of life's lessons is always moving on. It’s okay to look back to see how far you’ve come but keep moving forward.”  Roy T. Bennett


This quote is one of the hardest in life to satiate upon. We all will go through periods that we wish that we could take back. An incredible lesson in life is learning to always move forward. Of course I wish that my accident never occurred, but I cannot allow myself to consider how my life would have been had the accident never occurred. It did occur and my life is altered. My life now gives me the credibility to speak with others who have undergone his/her own life difficulties. I have had to learn and remind myself quite often that it is okay to reflect upon how far I have come to gather motivation to keep putting one foot after the other. We all have a long road that we are on and we must do our best to never doubt constant forward motion. At times things may be fearful to us but we have to never doubt and keep our faith alive and well. It is important to surround ourselves with loving friends and family. I make sure to always remember this when I am cultivating relationships with people. I enjoy going to see bands and being outside, but more than anything I appreciate being surrounded by people who I care about. Recently I was able to remember just how fortunate I am to be able to be outside and laughing with friends and family. My accident is in my past but I must always move forward. I am able to enjoy being surrounded by people that I care about and to ensure that I continue moving forward. I always try and surround myself with positive people who are always thinking proactively in regards to their lives. Positivity is contagious and therefore we all must try to surround ourselves with positive people. I know that following my injury I absorb emotions quite easily from other people and that I must be sure to always put a great deal of importance in regards to those that I surround myself with. I will always put great importance on this fact and make sure that it is always a priority in my relationships. I would love to hear who else has noticed a slight change in what is important to them in regards to friendships following a life occurrence. I know several people who have had to reassess how they make friendships following a divorce or even after taking a new job. Most of my friends are from many years ago and I still am quite close with several of them. I thank you very much for reading and would love to read any input that you may have.


~Noelle

Friday, June 9, 2017

Be Open to Suggestions




I recently got my Botox injections which help me tremendously with my headaches. I learned that you have to be open to helpful suggestions from various sources. Working in healthcare, mostly everyone who you come across daily is in the business of helping people to feel better. I have included two pictures where you can see that my demeanor increases dramatically from the picture in my office (where the lighting is not ideal for a migraine sufferer) and a selfie that I snapped at my house a few days following the Botox injections. Botox injections have been a game changer for me in regards to me being able to lead a productive life. I feel that it is my duty to be open with other migraine sufferers who are trying to live a productive life. My life was run by hoping and praying that I wouldn’t get a migraine when I had things planned. Botox was suggested to me by a doctor who was in attendance at one of my speeches. Thankfully I took the advice which was suggested to me and have benefitted greatly from the Botox injections. I am able to live my life for the most part without being sidelined by my migraines. I still do get a few break-through migraines but they are far more manageable then they were prior. I am forever thankful to the healthcare provider who suggested that I try Botox injections to lessen the impact that migraines were having on my life. Prior to me getting the injections, the migraines were running my life. I was trying to schedule things and I’d pray that I wouldn’t have to cancel them because of my headaches. Everyone who I was in contact with understood the severity of my headaches and they knew that I may have to cancel. Since getting my Botox injections it is very rare that I have to miss an appointment. I even enjoy going to see bands and listening to the loud music that they play. Thankfully I am able to take part in many activities that were not an option for me before I began my Botox injections. I am thankful that I have been able to reap the benefits of what are possible when Botox injections have the desired effect on people who are migraine sufferers. I am very open to tell anyone who is a migraine sufferer about my positive experience that I have had with the injections. I am hopeful that another migraine sufferer will experience relief in one way or another and then share his/her experience with others. Every survivor has the ability to share what has helped him/her along the way and help to connect the dots for a new survivor. Unfortunately brain injuries happen to 1.7 million people a year so there are always going to be new survivors who are looking to make their recovery as smooth as possible. I thank you for reading and welcome any comments that you may have.



~Noelle


Thursday, June 8, 2017

Conditions are Never Perfect

“Conditions are never perfect. “Someday is a disease that will take your dreams to the grave with you. If it’s important to you and you want to do it “eventually” just do it and correct course along the way.” Tim Ferris

 Tim Ferris encourages people to not wait or put things off. We have all heard individuals who constantly recite that things will get done eventually but they lack an action to get the task initiated. It gets pushed off to the side and is soon forgotten. It is important to not always find yourself waiting for the “perfect opportunity”. Such an opportunity will never come. We make situations perfect by taking the first step and taking action. Individuals who possess the ability to be “self-starters” are always preferable to those who wait to be spoon fed. Life is about opportunity and seizing the moment. As a survivor of an injury, I pushed the envelope and pushed forward in my recovery regardless of what overly conservative people recommended. Every aspect of my recovery happened and was successful because I did not put things of or wait to try for “perfect” conditions. Every survivor of a brain injury realizes that much of the recovery is far from perfect. I believe that nothing will happen if you are not willing to risk disappointment. To this day I still challenge myself more so then many deem warranted. I know myself and while I may walk a bit awkwardly in heels, I still do like to wear them with dresses or with suits. I know that while I may look a tad awkward if I were to wait for the “someday” that I walk perfectly in heels then I would never wear any of my fancy shoes. Sometimes you just have to grab the bull by the horns and try something. If we all get stuck waiting for that someday to come we may never be able to achieve our true potential. I would love to hear who else has had experience with pushing the limits following a brain injury. I have learned from my experience that there will always be people who do not understand. Following a brain injury I have had to work extremely hard to make things okay for me. I personally enjoy wearing heels with some of my suiting outfits. I enjoy wearing sandals with a heel in the warm weather. I do understand that many people are going to wonder why I make the effort when it is slightly more difficult for me to keep my balance. At the end of the day, I do it because I want to. Each one of us is capable of making decisions that are in our own best interests regardless of what others may think. I have decided to challenge myself and wear heels when I feel that they match my outfit. I very often wear flats, but on certain days I decide to wear heels regardless of what I know others may think. I always try and remember the Dr. Suess saying, “What others think about you is none of your business.” I would love to know what some of you may think. I have included a picture of me in a suit and heels!

~Noelle


Tuesday, June 6, 2017

If Something Stands Between You and Your Success...

“If something stands between you and your success, move it.” Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson

If a person is in the correct state of mind, inspiring occurrences are all around us. A safe haven for me and many other survivors that I am in contact with is the gym. I do all that I can to ensure that my body remains healthy. Certain things have happened that are out of my control but there are plenty more things that are in my control. I am sure that I avoid toxins and bad food in my daily nutrition. Following a brain injury it seems that many things are out of our control, we must remain in control of what we can control. I am certain that I have made my decision part of my life at this point. I consistently try and improve my balance and my state of mind. Both of these things can be worked on at the gym. I am proud to say that the overwhelming sentiment that I have absorbed from survivors who I am in contact with is much of the same. That being said, I am relatively certain that most survivors that I am in contact with are proactive in their approach to their recoveries. Family members of injured individuals who do not look to improve themselves I am sure can be frustrated. The key is to try and remain encouraging without allowing his/her frustration to take over. Many things can come between you and your success. It is important to remember that we are always in control of what we do. We are in control of our daily activities and we have the capability of not giving up. When I saw this sign at the gym I was immediately moved by it and I thought of the many individuals who are in recovery. We all view things differently based on our own life’s experiences. I am positive that my view of life is far different from most of the other people in the gym who see that sign. It is a good reminder that you never know the eyes that people are looking at the world with. We can never know everyone’s story. It is important to not be callus in regards to others. I try and take inspiration from every avenue possible. It is important to remember that everyone has a different story and everyone brings different experiences to the table. Inspirational sayings are excellent for all people but they are certainly even more so for someone who has endured an injury. I would love to hear how you feel in relation to inspirational sayings and how you feel that they might affect somebody who has endured an injury differently.

~Noelle


Friday, June 2, 2017

If we want to direct our lives, we must control our actions.

“In essence if we want to direct our lives, we must take control of our consistent actions. It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives, but what we do consistently.” Tony Robbins 

We need to take notice of what becomes habit. It is very important to plan out our daily actions. There will always be special occurrences yet we need to take notice and make sure that our everyday behaviors are done in support of our grand plans. As a brain injury survivor there are many things that are out of our control. I myself as a brain injury survivor was desperate to find things that I could control. In life there are so many aspects of daily living that those who have never been injured take for granted. As a survivor I recall when I was first able to do my contacts and how big of a deal that was to me. Now as the years have gone on I do my contacts daily without thinking about the accomplishment that it was when I was first able to wear my contacts without struggling. I hope that all survivors take notice of the seemingly small accomplishments that they are able to conquer every day. A survivor must take notice and celebrate the small things that they are capable of each day. An individual needs to take ownership over his/her actions. As a brain injury survivor an individual needs to never lose sight of the accomplishments that he/she is capable of. It is a huge accomplishment for a brain injury survivor to prepare his/her own meals and perform daily activities of daily living. These are things that are taken for granted by so many but as survivors we cannot. Certainly many things are different and in many ways more difficult; but we must give thanks that we have a life. If we are fortunate enough to have a life it is my hope that we will be fortunate enough to be in control of our daily actions. Obviously it is the goal for every survivor to be in control of his or her daily activities and life. Daily it is far too easy to begin to take things for granted once again; reflection and encouragement helps us to be in the state of mind where we can reflect and satiate on our successes. It is necessary in my opinion to not lose sight of your successes ever. Granted, it is not always easy and often we need to be reminded of our successes so that we can have our heads up regarding the next challenge on our agenda. Consistent actions must be remembered as consistent achievements. If you are a survivor of a brain injury, there was a time when you couldn’t have done much of anything independently. It is important to remember this in your daily life as you remain enthusiastic regarding your day to day tasks. I thank you so much for reading and would love to hear how you remain motivated in your day to day lives.

~Noelle

Friday, May 26, 2017

Stay the course and climb for the heights

“It is not the mountain that we conquer but rather ourselves.” Edmund Hillary

Edmund Hillary was born to two parents in New Zealand. As a boy he was hardly the type that one would anticipate to climb and conquer the earth’s highest mountain. He was smaller than most other children and this was why he never pursued sports. As Hilary got older, he decided that he wanted to serve his country. Hilary served in World War two. It was after his service that he decided to pursue his passion of mountain climbing. Edmund Hillary faced many battles that easily could have derailed him from his goal. Hillary did not allow himself to be sidetracked. Having been in the World War Two, I am positive that Edmund Hillary witnessed must difficulty and tragedy. It seemed as though Hillary was truly motivated to pursue his passion by what he witnessed in war.

Edmund Hillary decided to attempt Mt. Everest alongside Tanzing Norgay. The two men made a pact to not reveal who reached the top of the mountain first because they both realized that it was not important. On May 29, 1953 Edmund Hillary along with his climbing partner were able to reach the top of Mt. Everest. After seven weeks of climbing, it was inconsequential who stepped to the very highest peak first to the men. Once the men accomplished their goal they both attained celebrity. Life was not all sunshine and roses for the men following their accomplishment. Edmund Hillary in 1975 underwent a great loss, his wife Louise and their 16 year old daughter Belinda were both killed in a tragic airplane crash. Hillary was a man who had conquered the highest mountain in the world, but he was not invincible to one of life’s greatest tragedies. I think it is important that we all remember that we are capable of great things but life is full of curveballs and we always have to be prepared. Edmund Hilary had an affinity for heights and climbing since he was a young boy. He first realized his draw towards climbing on a school trip.  It is important for us to remember to not allow life altering accident to cause us to lose track of our dreams. I would love to hear any thoughts that you may have and I thank you for reading.
~Noelle

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Chrisis JFK

“When written in Chinese the word crisis is composed of two characters; one represents danger and the other represents opportunity.” John F. Kennedy

This quote is one that is important to be remembered for all people but certainly someone who is undergoing rehabilitation from an injury. Every time a person tries something out of his/her comfort zone they are always at risk of failing. The flip side of failing is to achieve great things. If you focus upon the literal Chinese meaning of the characters there are equal parts of danger and opportunity in any crisis. Every person has to be groomed to seek out the opportunity in any crisis. Certainly this is easier said than done, but with proper supports in place we all need to remember that yes there will certainly be times of disappointment but a person needs to remember that along with the danger of failing there is an equal portion of an opportunity that is available. The opportunity is not always as easy to be seen as the danger; with proper coaching an individual can be groomed to look for the opportunity. Any person going through rehabilitation can benefit from having a supportive network of individuals who they can meet with throughout his/her journey.

Hospitals have a treatment team who evaluate and meet to discuss an individual at hand. There is a team that is dedicated to helping the patient seek out the opportunity at hand. A recovery in itself can always be an opportunity. A person is free and able to push themselves as hard as possible to achieve as much as he/she desires. Enthusiasm is always needed and encouragement should always be abundant by those who are supporting an individual who is venturing through on his/her own rehabilitation process. Families are always in a situation to make an effort to encourage a member and they were incredibly motivational for me. I have witnessed many people who have benefitted hugely from family encouragement. Rehabilitation is not strictly about the sessions. There are many hours in a day aside from those when a person is in session. Often patients can encourage others during meal times and during down times between therapies. An individual shouldn’t feel as though periods between therapies are anything other than an opportunity to gain encouragement from others and also to share encouragement to others. Often individuals share that they have sensed a positive culture from certain rehabilitation centers. Rehabilitation experiences can often vary widely based on the culture and the population. Rehabilitation experiences can be made or broken based on population experiences. I would love to hear about any experiences that you may have witnessed during rehabilitation. I thank you very much for reading,

~Noelle

Thursday, May 4, 2017

The Ultimate Measure Martin Luther King Jr.

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” Martin Luther King Jr.

Different aspects of life cause people to react differently. Martin Luther King Jr. calls on people to evaluate others when they are under times of distress. A person’s true being comes forth not when they are undergoing moments of sunshine and rainbows but rather when they are experiencing some difficulty and hardship. People that are experiencing rehabilitation from any sort of a hardship will have his/her true being be evident. The rehabilitation from a brain injury was long and arduous. I felt challenged by my the therapists that I worked with as well as by my internal drive which constantly pushed me to seek to achieve more. My true being was certainly challenged and I am sure that my true being was able to be seen by everyone who interacted with me. I work hard to recall and remember the hardships that I went through to ensure that I remain motivated in my daily life. I experience different times of challenge and controversy now than I had in the hospital. I try and recall the difficulties that I went through and compare them to the things that I have difficulties with now. Life is a marathon not a sprint and there will be various times of different difficulties and hardships that a person may not have bargained on in life and we all have to be prepared to navigate around the obstacles that appear to be in our way along our course.

People must be willing to accept changes along the way as they go through. Things come up that are not always bargained on. Never shy from moments of challenge and controversy because it is in these times that the true measure of a man will be seen. People can never be completely sure as to how strong they can be in the face of difficulty until they have no choice but to be strong. It is my hope that no accidents happen and hat nobody will have to go through rehabilitation, but unforeseen circumstances arise and accidents will happen. It is my hope that everyone will realize the strength and the ability that they have and tap into their strength if they need to. Dire situations call upon dire measures. Rehabilitation is an incredible opportunity for a person to showcase the strength and desire that he/she possesses. Individuals need not shy away from difficult situations. When a person takes a difficult situation in stride it is admirable and one never knows the impact that his/her rehabilitation impact can have on others. I try and express to every person that I touch base with that he/she can be an inspiration to others. I thank you very much for reading and as always I welcome any thoughts or reflections that you may have.

~Noelle

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Paul Bryant

“If you believe in yourself and have dedication and pride- never quit. The price of victory is high but so are the rewards.” Paul Bryant

Paul Bryant helps to try and put forth a sense of validity towards those who are putting forth the utmost of effort. The price of succeeding is indeed high but in the realm of an injury there should never be a limit on the amount of effort that you are willing to put forward to get your life back. There should never be a sense of quitting or giving up on you. There will be many trying times where you may be tempted to take the easy way out or to give up, Paul Bryant’s quote reminds us to keep pushing forward towards our goals. One needs to always call upon his/her internal drive to continue pushing forward towards your goal.

I always enjoy surrounding myself with others who inspire you to continue moving forward and can be the impetus for you to want more. Desire and dedication are two of the main components to live and to achieving what you desire. People should realize that within reason any price that you pay in moving towards your goal should be worth it. Personal goals are incredible because they are about you and the effort that you put forth. People can learn much about themselves by the way in which they proceed towards attaining goals. I enjoy talking to patients about how their goals are progressing. Every day is a new slate and should be treated as a new opportunity to progress. I try and inspire every individual who I interact with to believe in them self. Believe in yourself, have pride in how far you have come and have faith in how far you can go. By reflecting upon how far an individual has come it is my hope that he/she will gain a sense of refreshment and renewal. Pride I feel is an ingrained attribute that people either have or are lacking. Like everything else, it must be worked on. Ideally every person should be attempting to gain confidence as he/she proceeds forward. The rewards of victory must always be remembered. An individual should always reflect upon them when he/she is attempting to gather further enthusiasm to proceed forward. The journey of life is all about being inspired to want more for. I feel that as long as you are moving in the correct direction, a person should always want more. To have a healthy desire can be an incredibly motivating factor. I would love to hear about your desires and what you have found to encourage you along the way. I thank you very much for reading.

~Noelle

Friday, April 28, 2017

He Who Moves a Mountain Begins by First Moving Small Stones

“The man who moves a mountain begins by first moving small stones.” Confusious

Everyone needs to remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day and that even a monumental task such as moving a mountain begins in the same simple way of first moving a few stones even pebbles. At the end of the day no task in moving towards a goal is too minute or insignificant. A person has to be committed towards his/her goal. Once one has decided that they are all in on a task to reach a goal he/she needs to realize that no aspect is beneath them. Even huge goals begin by first accomplishing a few small tasks. It is easy to desire lofty goals, but maybe not always evident in the ways that an individual goes about beginning to go about moving towards the goal. A person who wants to try and get back to walking, needs to keep the prospective that it will take time to accomplish. A dedicated team of therapists and doctors work together to attempt to motivate people as they work towards their goal. It does not all happen at once and it may take many months or even perhaps years for a person to accomplish the goal at hand. All movement towards a goal is progress. Goal accomplishment always begins by getting the correct state of mind. A healthy state of mind is one where a person will not be disheartened by slow progress in the beginning. Any great accomplishment began first with a glimmer of an idea and the commitment of a person towards it. Distractions and things that may take your focus away from your goal will always come. A person has to be completely committed to their ambition and not allow things to draw their focus away. This is certainly easier said than done and there will always be many things that may distract you and take your focus away from your goal. I think that a person must always try and remember what they are capable of. Self-reflection and meditation is a fantastic way for a person to remain focused on the task at hand. A person has to first make the decision to try something. The most difficult decision is the decision to try. Once the decision to try has been made one has to continue to persevere and truly live his/her commitment to accomplishing that goal. People are always more pleasant to be around when they themselves are self-motivated towards an objective. I think that people need to remember this as they are proceeding forward. There is always another objective to move towards and people need to focus on setting their sights on a singular one at a time. It is always easier to first begin moving towards a goal by starting small. I thank you very much for reading and would love to hear any thoughts that you may have.

~Noelle

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Serenity Prayer Living the Word After a Disability

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things that we cannot change; the courage to change the things we can and the wisdom to know the difference.”

The serenity prayer rings true in so many aspects of life. This prayer to me is incredible because it speaks directly to me in regards to the many frustrations that I have in regards to this brain injury. I know that I am not alone. I am in contact with many survivors who also struggle with the frustrations that often come from a brain injury. My life is entirely different than it was prior and it is very different than I would have planned it to be. My life is not seamless and it is not easy, but I am living it. I as well as survivors in general have to embrace the new normal. It is certainly not easy but we have to reflect upon the serenity prayer daily to ensure that we never lose the ambition to continue pursuing what each one of us was put on this earth to do. The serenity prayer I feel should be recited daily by each one of us. There will always be things that are out of our control, as there will always be choices that can be made. We have to make choices and decisions that are beneficial for us. I occasionally attend brain injury support groups where other survivors share about their lives and what has proven to be successful or detrimental. We cannot allow ourselves to fall to the temptation of making decisions that are detrimental to our well being. The serenity prayer can help us survivors to refocus our ambitions. Circumstances and situations are always going to come about that we didn’t plan on. I am learning that such is life. There are many lecturers that speak in regards to this aspect of life. We as a people need to understand that there will always be unplanned events that occur. I love the serenity prayer and I reflect upon it constantly. I even enjoy occasionally attending open meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous. There is something beneficial about being in a room full of like minded people that are seeking the serenity prayer. I feel that we are all seeking that prayer in our own way. In a room at alcoholics anonymous I reflect upon my injury and how I daily seek strength to live successfully even though there are many things that are out of my control. People who come together seeking inspiration are typically willing to assist others in their quest. I would encourage everyone that I come into contact with to get involved in organizations where there are like minded people who are seeking similar things out of life. Every person is remarkably similar in many ways. We all go through trials and tribulations and we will all experience a level of frustration at one point or another. People always find support in numbers and I have found a great deal of comfort from gravitating towards support groups where there is an overwhelming sentiment of unification and togetherness. I thank you very much for reading and I would love to read any thoughts that you may have.

~Noelle

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Leading With Encouragement

“If you are a leader you should never forget that everyone needs encouragement. Everyone who receives it young or old is changed by it," John C. Maxwell


I try and live my life with the encouraging words of John C. Maxwell. John C. Maxwell truly believes that everyone can benefit from encouragement. No matter what place you are at in life, no matter what you are going through you can always benefit from encouraging words and actions. The head of my department at work I feel lives this quote. She truly understands the value of encouraging words and seeks to always pass them on. Everyone should seek to be a leader to someone. Little children and the elderly both benefit greatly from encouragement. Every person should consider what words they would value before they engage in a conversation with others. John C. Maxwell is certain to mention to all leaders that they should never discount the value that their encouraging words can have on others. The power that your words can have is incredible. It should never be underestimated. Peoples’ lives can be greatly influenced either negatively or positively based on the words of others. You never can be too sure how your words are going to be received by a person so it is always best to speak to others in a way that you would want to be spoken to. Certain places of work are notoriously positive in the way that they interact with their employees. Certain religious and societal cultures also tend to lead to positive interactions amongst members. I have found it to be incredibly important to surround yourself with a culture of like-minded people. Often times you will see a similar sentiment that exudes from a family. Consider people you know; are they mostly from a family of like-minded individuals? More than likely they are. Similar cultures and ways of thinking gravitate to each other. It is no surprise that typically you will see an overwhelming similarity amongst people who work or associate alongside each other. People are social creatures. We all can learn from each other and we all absorb influences from one another. It is my hope that I can influence and encourage people in a positive manner. I do come from a positive family and they are a large part of the reason that I recovered to the point that I have. Certainly much of recovering is very difficult but it certainly helps if you are supported by positive people around you. Whenever I am around my brother’s children I always pay special attention to exude positivity and I hope that they can absorb some of the influence. I greatly enjoy being around children who I can influence positively as well as older adults who tell stories of their grandchildren. People gravitate towards positive individuals and hopefully I can serve as a positive ray of light. I thank you very much for reading and I would love to read any thoughts that you may have.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Bruce Lee

“If you always put a limit on everything you do, physical or anything else. It will spread into your work and your life. There are no limits only plateaus, and you must not stay there you must go beyond them.” Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee encourages individuals to always push beyond. People have to know that strength and courage will always lead to a better result. A person must not allow his/her self to become stuck in the ordinary of routines. Otherwise a person will become bored and under stimulated. People can always ask more of themselves. A small gain should always encourage a person to capitalize upon it and to seek to be the most that you can be. There are survivors of all sorts of vices and we are all called to be there to support each other I have always sought encouragement from as many sources that are possible. I would not be where I am today if I had not. I believe that a recovery from any sort of a vice is only possible through comradery and kinship.

A person has to realize that plateaus are temporary and are meant to be pushed beyond. With a supportive environment people should always be encouraged to push beyond where they feel their limits are met. Often times a limit is self-imposed in one’s head. Bruce Lee encourages people to push farther. People should always look towards his quotes as they try and push past where they are. No plateau is permanent and every person has to remember any lull is temporary in nature. We will all experience plateaus and people have to be willing to push past the plateaus to get to their destination. Much of life is surrounding yourself with supportive individuals and using the influence from them to accomplish what you know must be attained. A person needs to heed the advice of Bruce Lee and never put a limit on what he/she can accomplish. Successful individuals in life often see their plateaus as spring off points where they can gain more momentum to move forward. Mentors can often encourage people by example. Often times it is not what a person specifically says it is rather how their presence made a person feel.

 I hope that I represent encouragement by being present in the interactions that I take part in. There have been many times where my interaction with an individual may have seemed insignificant to me but the pupil found it very encouraging. I have come to learn that it is not always about how I feel at the moment, rather how my presence and interaction made the patient feel. As I get further and further away from my injury I must understand the lasting impact that my interaction can have on others going through similar life experiences. I thank you for reading and would be encouraged to read any thoughts that you may have.

~Noelle

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Where There is Faith There is Hope

“Where there is hope there is faith. Where there is faith, miracles have the ability to happen every day.” Anonymous

I think this quote is fantastic because it helps to keep the flame of inspiration alive. There are many people who seek inspiration every day in their life. The difference between people who are forever seeking inspiration and those that are successful in attaining it are those that have witnessed that faith can cause miraculous things to happen. There is no limit to the amount of faith and hope that a person should have. Therefore there is no limit to the amount of inspiration that a person should seek. Every person has had their own miraculous experiences. It is fascinating to inquire about them and hear the differing responses. People are incredible and through my experiences I have had the opportunity to speak with a vast spectrum of ages and I have learned much about the differing views of life from them. We can all learn from each other as long as our minds and hearts are open to it. Daily I am sure to keep myself open to absorb the incredible stories and experiences that may be shared with me. Through experience people gain an invaluable amount of knowledge that they can share with others if they are given the opportunity to share. I have learned of miraculous stories from many individuals, through which I have seen that indeed miracles can occur quite often and one should always be open to one happening. Conversely, there are skeptics who would state that miracles do not happen; only good things to those who put the work in. I believe that the combination of the two is where the road to success is paved. Individuals have the ability to encourage miraculous things to happen by working hard and by surrounding themselves with incredible people. In my daily life I have learned to always put in the effort to always be surrounded by the most encouraging people possible. Inspiration can be felt from those that you surround yourself with. I have found that much has to do with the state of mind that you are in. It has been suggested to me to meditate and repeat positive mantras to myself daily. I try and do this and I try and share this with the individuals that I interact with. Every day is a new opportunity to attempt to share what has worked and how I stay encouraged. Hopefully I can encourage people to want more for themselves and his/her rehabilitation process. Individuals are open to tell me about their day and what has happened because I have walked in their shoes. II thank you very much for reading and I would love to hear how you maintain motivation and what helps you to maintain motivation.

~Noelle

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Don't Limit Yourself

“Don’t limit yourself. Many people limit themselves to what they think they can do. You can go as far as your mind lets you. What you believe remember you can achieve.” Mary Kay Ash

Many times when individuals are going through hard times they very often doubt themselves. Mary Kay Ash tells individuals to believe in themselves and encourages them to never doubt what they believe and what they want. In my own rehabilitation I distinctly recall how difficult it was to stay motivated day in and day out. Living in a rehab facility is very trying emotionally for patients. Especially after a brain injury, it is easy to believe that the new surroundings are now your life. Mary Kay Ash would encourage individuals to truly believe that they are capable of limitless potential. Sometimes people can be surprised by what they are capable of. Mary Kay Ash does not believe in putting limits on what you are capable of. She believes that the mind is capable of extraordinary things. Mary Kay Ash would say that people are capable of whatever their minds can think up. I remember when I was in rehab always keeping a firm hold of my desires. I wanted to get to the point where I could walk into the rehab unassisted and be able to speak to others on behalf of the fantastic rehabilitation that I attained. Thankfully I have now gotten to a point where I can walk into the rehab facility and tell patients and families of the possibility of a recovery as long as the work is put in. What I try and convey to every patient and family that I interact with is that it is not going to be easy but that a great recovery is possible. The possibilities are there for a phenomenal recovery. Every patient interaction is different but it does seem that pretty unanimously the patients are all encouraged to hear from a survivor who has walked in their shoes. I am thankful for this. I greatly enjoy hearing the reports from the different therapists who very often report positive patient reactions in regards to my visits. On the flip side, I love to hear the accomplishments that patients have made from week to week. The patients in the nursing homes love to have someone to talk to regarding their days. I am thankful to fill this role and I love hearing the reports from their weekly therapy sessions. At the hospitals my role can be quite different. Depending on the level of arousal and coherence delegates how (or if) I can interact with a patient. I love speaking to families. Very often families wonder what the future will look like for their loved one I try and embody a message of hope for many patients and/or residents. I thank you very much for reading and I would love to hear any thoughts that you may have.

~Noelle

Monday, March 6, 2017

It's Not About the Hand You're Dealt

“It’s not about the cards you are dealt, rather how you play the hand.” Randy Pausch

Randy Pausch’s quote fits in perfectly with anyone who has had a brain injury or any sort of an unfortunate life event. Sometimes things don’t go as planned and the only option is how you manage and deal with the factors (cards that you are dealt). We as individuals do not have control over how situations occur. We can only try to be as well rounded and as understanding with ourselves as possible. The truth is that nobody should judge one another until you have walked in those shoes. Even then I try not to judge others because one never knows how the situation would be different if the shoe were on the other foot. Life has shown itself to be funny like that. We don’t have control over what happens to us; only how we interpret and move forward with the situation at hand. We all have to make every day a challenge. We should forever try and make ourselves better as we go through each day. Every day is another chance for us to wake enthusiastically to make ourselves better than we were before. When we think of things in this way we find ourselves waking with more of a purpose and drive. We all need to have something to work towards. A sound mind and happiness should be the goals of most people. I believe that we can all take steps every day to work towards this. I find that working towards something bigger than oneself allows the focus from getting too daunting. Every day we should awaken with a spring in our step to try and leave a positive imprint on the world. We can make our sphere of influence much larger than if it was contained to just ourselves. I try and encourage every person that I come into contact with to want more. I hope that I have encouraged many of the patients/residents that I interact with to desire a deeper level of satisfaction. It can be achieved if you make a conscious decision to always try and look at things more positively. We cannot control the hand that we have been dealt but we can always work towards trying to arrange it in a more positive manner. Forever each one of us should continue working towards that. Look at Bethany Hamilton for instance; she was dealt an absolutely terrible hand. She chose to not focus on the negatives of her accident. I am sure that there are days when she has her moments but that does not override the overwhelming positivity that she feels. I saw her speak and she is forever grateful that she is a role model to people who have attained disabilities everywhere. Her positivity despite the hand that she has been dealt is fantastic and admirable. I thank you very much for reading and would love to hear any thoughts that you may have.

~Noelle

Friday, February 24, 2017

Power Alexander Graham Bell

“What this power is, I cannot say. All I know is that it exists….. and it becomes available only when you are in a state of mind in which you know exactly what you want…. and are fully determined to not quit until you get it.” Alexander Graham Bell

Alexander Graham Bell speaks of the drive that people need in order to accomplish big things. In regards to your health everything is a big thing. Everyone should always desire the most for themselves in regards to health. Sometimes people cannot pinpoint exactly what it is that makes them push forward. At the end of the day it is okay if you don’t understand exactly what makes you carry on as long as you summon some sort of motivation to make you carry on. Big achievers are notorious for having excellent work ethics. The Steve Jobs of the world have a tireless desire to always expand their horizons and always achieve bigger and greater things. A survivor of an injury has to come to terms with the fact that certain things are forever different, but there are things that one can forever do to continue improving. Once again I feel that survivors can help to motivate themselves by utilizing support networks. People of all different walks of life can find others who are walking in their shoes as they go through differing trials and tribulations of life. All things can be made better when you find your tribe of people who understand. The world is filled with people and I can assure you that there are always people who understand where you are in life and what you are looking to be supported in. Part of how I have made an existence for myself is to travel to various locations and always be a sounding board for residents and patients as they are preceding forward on their rehabilitation programs. I try to encourage patients and residents to always put his/her best foot forward. Most people want to be proactive in his/her recovery but they aren’t always sure how to go about it. I am a huge proponent for trying to find mentors and other survivors who have walked along the same path as you have. One has to never quit. If you are happy with where you are you going it is important to always try to reenergize your efforts to accomplish your goal. Sometimes the greatest evidence that a person can have is the things that they have done. People’s paper trail of things that they have done is often their strongest case for the enthusiasm that they are trying to accomplish. Often I encourage people who are not thrilled with their physical abilities at the current moment. I try and get them to not lose hope and to engage themselves in the social aspects that are available to them so that they don’t get negatively impacted by the environment that they are in. The individual is always in control of his/her experience. I try and encourage individuals to never stop until he/she is proud of the experience that they have made for themselves. I thank you very much for reading and would love to read any comments that you may have.

~Noelle