Sunday, December 31, 2017

Welcoming the New Year!

Another year has come to an end! Prepare to welcome the New Year! I am getting together with a few friends this year to celebrate the coming of the New Year.

I will try and let certain things go with the coming of the New Year. There are always new goals to be set as we begin our New Year. Celebrate the people that you care about with the coming of the New Year. Every opportunity that is presented to you is one that you should take advantage of. I have included a picture from my Christmas celebration!

It is crazy to imagine that another year has come to a close. I am glad that I have friends to welcome the New Year in with. We all need to celebrate the good things that we have in our lives Every year we are able to take part in wonderful celebrations throughout the year. We need to remember how fortunate we are to live free. I will take a moment to celebrate my health. It is freezing outside but I have kept up my activity level and I am glad to say that I have kept up with my New Year’s resolution from last year. I have continued to take part in activities even though the weather has gotten very cold. I will celebrate another year of freedom. This New Year’s I will celebrate that I have successfully lived through another year. I am getting to watch my niece and nephew grow up.

We are all blessed. We are blessed to wake up free and pursue our dreams. The healthcare here is second to none; practice being joyful over the positives in your situation. Practice being joyful about who you are and where you are going. Everybody is different and everybody brings different strengths and attributes to the table. I am getting together with several friends to celebrate the new year. We will all get together to welcome the new year. I would be interested in hearing what any of you are doing to bring in the New Year. Notice the traditions that you are developing. Basketball season is upon us and I will continue going to college basketball games with my father. I will be sure to capture a photo from my New Year’s celebration and include it with my next week blog. As the years go by my injury becomes less and less of a daily focal point for me. It has provided me with a depth of character that is far beyond my numerical years. I would be so interested in hearing what you feel that your injury has taught you? Everyone has their story and everyone has a character. We can all learn things from one another. We each have to know and love who we are.

Enjoy the moments to celebrate that are among us. I encourage everyone to take this New Year’s as a chance to celebrate another year of life. I am so thankful to you for reading and I am so interested in reading any responses that you may have. ~ Noelle

Friday, December 22, 2017

Promote Peace and Gratitude this Holiday

“Celebrate the festive holidays and allow yourself to celebrate another year coming to an end. Try and promote peace.”

It is the end of the year. The weather has gotten cold and the holiday season is in full swing. This time of year is fun with the hot chocolate and the singing. The days are now getting longer which is a great celebration for me. I am not a fan of having to turn on your lights at four thirty in the afternoon. My brother’s children as well as the other children of the family will anxiously be awaiting their presents. I snapped a picture of my brother’s black lab in a Santa hat as part of the festivities. This weekend I will start to celebrate as I am going to numerous celebrations for friends families. I will have to plan out my meals as I have to take part in the celebratory dinners. It is difficult to have an invisible voice on your shoulder whispering as to what you shouldn’t eat. Thanksgiving and Christmas are both challenging for me with the vast spreads of food. I have to try and prepare myself by learning the menu at the different houses.


The holidays are about joy and happiness. I will do my best to step away from any of my internal dilemmas and truly get into the moment. I am going to try and enjoy each celebration that I am invited to. I am preparing for the days and nights to come. It is a special time of year; no matter what your faith everyone will celebrate something. The boys and girls anxiously await their gifts and the adults look forward to gathering around the table and sharing what is new in each one’s life. Not a whole lot has changed this year from last. I am still working towards my goal of becoming as independent as I can. My family is fantastic and they always support me in everything that I do. I am going to try and bring joy to every gathering that I am invited to. I will try to allow myself to feel the happiness that the children do. I am going to try and smile and laugh as much as I can and understand that people want to be around other happy people. I often think to myself how fortunate I am to be able to nit-pick regarding my appearance when there are so many that are stuck in the hospital and are unable to stand and see themselves in a mirror. I am going to try and remind myself of this whenever I start to feel myself having a difficult time deciding what to eat at a gathering. I would love to hear from anyone else who feels some sort of guilt in regards to food. I thank you very much for reading and I wish you all a lovely holiday season. ~ Noelle

Monday, December 18, 2017

To Be Alive is the Greatest Gift of All

“Life is made up of special moments which make it worth living. Remember to slow down and remember how precious it is to be alive and love.”



A friend of mine from childhood passed away this weekend. It was especially tragic because it did not have to happen. He was about my age and my heart breaks as now we will not be able to have him in our presence ever again. I was so glad that I had gone for a Santa hayride with my niece and nephew the day before my friend’s passing.  As hard as life can seem for us, we will wake up in the morning and be able to conquer another day. We can never allow ourselves to forget how fortunate to wake up another free day. 

Throughout life there are so many moments that are meant for us to enjoy. I try and cherish every moment. This weekend I went for a Santa hayride with my family. I will include a picture so you can see how the weekend started off fantastic and joyous and then one phone call changed everything. My heart breaks because his family will not have him around for anymore holiday seasons. I know that while death is heartbreaking, I have to try and appreciate those around me that much more. We only get one life and it is so important to cherish those around you.  We are not guaranteed any period of life on this earth. Please try and cherish every moment that you have. Cherish the traditions that you have developed over the years. Realize that they are special gifts and we should all cherish them for as long as we are healthy and can. Every day that we have is a gift. I hope and pray that no one takes his/her life for granted.

Take advantage of every activity that you have available to you. Life is meant to be lived. I try to live my life but I am extra careful to not take unnecessary risks. Life is fragile and it should never be taken for granted. I try and create memories with my family. My niece and nephew will only be young once and it is important for me to try and take part in as much of their holiday as possible. I would love to hear what holiday traditions you take part in and who does them with you. It is hard to believe that another year is ending. All we can do is keep trying one day at a time. To this day when my emotions are really strong, my balance and coordination go out the window. Hopefully I will be able to keep it together for my friend’s funeral tomorrow. I am already a bit nervous about finding the church where the services are. I will try to keep my emotions calm and truly focus on where I am going. I know that there are others who share the same issues with walking and balance during emotionally charged moments. I thank you very much for reading and I welcome any thoughts that you may have.

~ Noelle

Friday, December 15, 2017

Practice Awareness

"You're the only kind of knowledge they don't teach at any college. You're an education in yourself."    - Harry Warren

We have to know that we need to truly get to know ourselves. It is far more important when unforeseen circumstances play out. After an injury we have to do some soul searching to know who we are. We have a lifelong venture to get to know who we are. I love philosophy and I feel that everyone can make efforts to get to know who they are. Going through trying circumstances allow our true being to become visible. We have a lifetime to get to know who we are. Every action that we take has a direct effect on who we are. We each come into contact with other different people and nobody knows how many people’s lives they can effect. This holiday season take notice to how many people you interact with. Try and improve the day of at least one person every day. You yourself will feel better. The holidays are a special time to get together with loved ones from near and far. We have to try and know ourselves so that we can learn what makes us happy. Each one of us has so many aspects to what makes us tick. Life is about finding ways to make ourselves happy in the wake of the hustle and bustle that surrounds us.

We have to remember to take a moment for ourselves and maybe engage in yoga or meditation to get in touch with our inner being. Reflect upon what makes us happy and how we can share that with others. This is a special time of year and it is a time to celebrate with the people that bring us joy. Never forget to be joyful that you get to celebrate holidays and that you are living. The gift of life is one that we have to always remember. It comes before anything. Try to be joyful to have life this holiday season. Remember to take time for yourself. Nobody is as important as you are. We have to take care of ourselves so that we can bring joy to others. I just made my flight arrangements to fly down to Florida in January. I will take another winter trip with my family. I will fly down myself and I am very proud of myself that I have proven to myself that I am capable of flying alone. I was extremely apprehensive at first but now that I have done it I know that I will be fine. What yearly traditions do you have planned for this winter? We have had our first snowfalls and I am not exactly a fan as my balance combined with snow and ice makes it difficult for sure. I would love to hear any thoughts that you may have and I thank you very much for reading.

~Noelle

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Own Your Dreams

“Life will only change when you become more committed to your dreams than your comfort zone.” 
- Billy Cox

I recently snapped a picture of my dog truly living in his comfort zone. We have to want more for our lives then a lazy dog.

There is a time and a place to let yourself relax, but there is also a time to be motivated and to go forward with your life. 

After enduring a life altering injury you have to want. Every one of us has a great desire that we must tap into. I feel that I rest so much more peacefully when I have gone forward with my life and am proud of where I am going. My dog seems to not have a care in the world. We need to know that we are not dogs and we must always be pushing towards the next best thing. We are all capable of extraordinary things and we must never doubt ourselves. I try to never allow myself to go with the motions.

This is our life and we have to keep working towards making it enjoyable. Dogs are the best but we have to realize that their life is all about peace and relaxation. I think that I achieve the most peace when I feel that I am living in a productive manner. My largest dream post brain injury is to live as a productive and meaningful member of society. After sustaining a devastating injury I think that we all seek true peace. Injuries can be physical, emotional or spiritual they all leave us searching for what our purpose is. The holidays are coming and I am going to continue searching for meaning in all that I do. I would love to hear how you have found meaning in your lives.

I am searching for peace, a peace that will allow us to proceed forward while feeling okay. I hope that my pursuit of my dreams will allow me to find peace. I know that this will be a lifelong pursuit. Peace and family love are two very special aspects of the holidays. I hope that we all are surrounded by love and care. We have to desire more for ourselves then our comfort zone. We cannot allow ourselves to be lax and to abandon our desire for more.

We all have to want more for ourselves. I love interacting with every person that I meet and learning about what makes him or her unique. Every one of us is unique and we all have our own special gifts that we can share with the world. I think that each one of us should share our story and take pride in how far we have come. Every person has his or her own story about what makes them up.

There is a special bond amongst the brain injury community and I feel that each one of us is capable of incredible things. I would love to hear any thoughts that you may have.

~Noelle

Monday, December 11, 2017

Lead with Your Heart; Never Slow Down

“Four steps to achievement: Plan purposefully. Prepare prayerfully.  Proceed positively. Pursue persistently.”  - William A. Ward



I am trying to live my life with the quote of William Ward deeply seeded in my consciousness. I allow myself to participate in activities because I believe that the mind works better when it is stimulated in many different areas. I go out fishing from time to time because I feel that I freely think when I am out on the water. I am planning to keep up with my life and try to remain positive.

I know that there is a whole segment of the population who has sustained brain injuries and they are looking to proceed forward with their lives. It’s okay to be scared, but you have to continue moving forward. This year I am trying to remain active in the colder weather and I am doing a good job. Just because the weather gets colder does not mean that your activities in your life need to slow down.


Every activity that you take part in should serve to aid you as you plan your days ahead. I enjoy people and I like to do things with people. I greatly enjoy fishing in the colder weather. I will include a picture from my most recent trip. When you are out on the water you are able to momentarily step away from your responsibilities and truly allow yourself to enjoy the wind and the water. I reflect a great deal when I am out fishing and there is plenty of time to allow your mind to wander and enjoy. I feel that I am far more prepared to tackle my work when I have a good balance amongst my days. I am taking part in many activities and I feel better able to do my job when I have all of my experiences to share. A big part of who we all are is a sum of our experiences. 

I went to a charity function last night to support the Cerebral Palsy Foundation. It is important to always remember that somebody has it worse off. We all have our challenges and we all have to be there to support one another. I am a huge proponent of getting involved with local charities and opening your heart up to other people.

We were all put on this earth to help one another. My nephew has a huge heart and he and his sister are both going to do great things for people. I am excited to see how they both develop and where they will go in life.

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

Monday, December 4, 2017

Letting Go, Looking Up and Facing Forward

“How would your life be different if you learned to let go of the things that have already let go of you? Free yourself from a past that you cannot change.” - Steve Maraboli

Often times in life we need to face the things that are. While there are many things that we can make an effort toward to change; certain things happen that cannot be changed. Occurrences happen to all of us. There is not always a specific reason for everything, things happen and how we react to them is what makes us who we are.


I try and let go of the things in life that we cannot change. This injury happened to me, and I am doing my best to live as normally as possible. I hope and pray that I can be of some influence to somebody who is going through similar circumstances. I have friends from all walks of life and it seems that every person will go through different experiences that help to make them who they are. Maybe this injury has made me much better able to discuss with people who have had various different life experiences. Maybe I have to consider myself fortunate. I am able to visit with family quite often and I am never alone for too long. My health is doing fantastic and I am able to think and reason. All things considered I am incredibly fortunate to be able to live every day while trying to impact others.

This life was created for us to try and impact others. I try and relate as much as I can to as many people as possible. This is our life, how are we going to make it ours? I always strike up philosophical conversations with many people that I meet. I think that much can be learned about someone when you delve deep into their philosophy on this life. We all have a purpose and we are here to aid and help one another along the journey.

We have to challenge ourselves to think and believe in our actions.  I think that we should all try to think deeper and challenge ourselves to reason all of our actions and figure out what makes us tick. I love chatting with everyone that I meet on a deeper level.  I feel that we all have our own stories. Maybe my cerebral thinking makes me a bit different from the typical person that you meet. I know that here are many people who will engage me in a deep conversation. I love charity events because I feel there are many like-minded people getting together for a common cause.

I thank you so much for reading and I would love to hear any thoughts that you may have. ~ Noelle


Monday, November 27, 2017

Cherish Your Family

"Cherish your human connections: your relationships with friends and family."
- Joseph Brodsky


The holiday season is among us; the weather is cold now and it is time to take part in traditions that you have developed over the years. I recently went to a musical with my brother and his family in Trenton. My father, the kids’ grandfather was also there.

We all have the ability to love and I encourage you all to be giving with your love. The ability to love and to be loved is an incredible notion that we should all strive for. I am in contact with many support groups and I realize that there are often many people that do not take an interest and do not try to understand. My niece and nephew I feel have never noticed that certain things about me are different. I adore them and I am going to try and remain a positive influence on their lives. Maybe my issues are a bigger issue to myself then the rest of the world? I wonder; who else feels this way? I know that I am not alone and that others feel this way as well.

As I am getting older I realize that each one of us has things that we are insecure about. We are all on our own journey and we each have the ability to be there and support each other. Remember that positivity is contagious. You can help to improve somebody’s day with your only effort being a smile. You never know what people are going through. Always know that regardless of what anyone is going through, you can only help by sharing a warm hearted smile.

Thanksgiving was lovely and the Sunday following was fantastic. It is always wonderful to be surrounded by family. Friends are great but your family is for life. It is my wish that everyone would feel the same desire as I to truly love to be surrounded and connected with family. I am aware that many do not have as understanding a family as I, but I have to believe that family is so important and at the end of the day they are what matters. People will come and go in each one of our lives, but we only get one family. At the show with my niece and nephew I got to see the utter joy that came over them as we saw the different characters come into play. I am going to include a picture from this previous weekend. As my brother’s children get older I am going to try and assume more of a role. Thanksgiving is awesome because the kids do not get distracted by the presents. With Christmas coming there is so much more emphasis on presents. I am happy to say that I already got presents for my family. I don’t really have any wants for this year. I just want things to keep going as well as they have and I wish for true contentment for all of us. I will continue to take advantage of places to go and people to see even in the colder weather. My eyes are open to different activities to do.

Everyone has different ways of passing their time and I love to learn from everyone that I meet. I would love to hear ways in which you find ways to pass your time. I am trying to incorporate my right arm as often as possible in my various activities. This injury has given me an abundance to work on as I am continuing to live my life. It is my hope to continue improving this arm as often as I can. I would so love to one day connect with someone who lives with a tremor as I do. I will continue to reach out and hope that one day somebody living with a similar tremor to myself will reach out. I am open to any suggestions for ways to improve this arm. At the end of the day even if this arm never gets substantially better I am able to live a very full life. I will never pursue a career as an artist, but I am able to use my right arm in certain ways. What I have learned is that the more you use it the better off you will be. All the while I am ensuring that my human connections remain strong forever. I thank you very much for reading and I would love to hear any thoughts or experiences that you have had.

~ Noelle

Monday, November 20, 2017

What are You Thankful For?

"Gratitude is the inward feeling of kindness received. Thankfulness is the natural impulse to express that feeling. Thanksgiving is the following of that impulse." - Henry Van Dyke

Another Thanksgiving is upon us and it is a time to reflect upon your life and remember the strides that you have made in this previous year. People gather together and share a feast together.

Remember how blessed each one of us is to have family and friends to surround us. Many people see Thanksgiving as their favorite holiday because people do not get distracted by gifts. The kids beg to differ at this point but as they mature they will grow to appreciate what it means to truly give thanks. Everyone loves gifts but it is truly special to be able to truly give thanks for all that you have been given. Many argue that the maturity that it takes to truly appreciate all that you have been given is the greatest gift of all. It is my wish for all that you come to a place where you are wholeheartedly able to give thanks for all of the blessings in your life. As we get older it is that much more important to remember to give thanks. One must try to never get too consumed with insignificant aspects of life. The holiday season is about love and reflection.

I am including a picture from a dinner that I went to this previous weekend. I have stuck with my goal of continuing to do things even as the weather changes. I have been meeting more people and I am trying to continue to go out with people even in the colder months. Many of my friends go on short getaways at this time of year, but I prefer to be a homebody. There is always a nice crowd of locals following the bands that I enjoy. I have gotten to know the spouses of the members of the bands and they have provided me a great option as one of the bands is always at a place that I frequent. I am preparing for a lovely Thanksgiving at my brother’s house as he hosts it every year. I would love to hear what you have planned for this Thanksgiving.

I hope that you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving and I encourage you to give thanks for everything that you have been granted in this life.

Enjoy your friends and family and have a wonderful holiday! I thank you very much for reading and I would be very interested in reading any feedback that you have.

Noelle


Friday, November 17, 2017

It's Up to You to Make Life Worth Living

“The ladder of success is best climbed 
by stepping on the rungs of opportunity.”
 - Ayn Rand


I think a great deal about where my life is going. I believe that anyone who has rebounded from a tragic life event eventually gets to the point where they consider what the next step is for them. I recently met a friend for dinner and a comedy show and we discussed where life is leading and the possibilities for each one of us. People have their own views towards life and I love to hear about them. There are always differing ideas about how to proceed forward. I would love to hear who else has found themselves pondering about the future. 

At the end of the day I am so glad that I have a future to ponder. I need to remind myself of this whenever I feel myself begin to get anxious about my where my life is going. I am a member of various support groups and all of the members try to be supportive and offer advice. I love to hear people’s opinions and I like to research how other brain injury survivors have made a life for themselves. I still go to chamber of commerce meetings to network and hear from others how their stories have gone. This life is a long road and we need to figure out how we can create a life worth living for ourselves.

Each one of us needs to try to network and find out what occupation we are best suited for. Every day is a gift and every day is an opportunity. It is my wish for all of you that you do not waist any days. Every day is a day to get in better touch with you. Many people have found incredible meaning in volunteering. It is my wish for all to find meaning and purpose in how they live their lives. There are numerous different opportunities one just has to be open to seek them. Networking with as many people as you can is always beneficial. I am going to share who it is that I am and the things that are important to me.

As you know I am a huge advocate of networking with many people. I included a picture of me from when I was at a friends house and we were discussing each other’s futures. We need to make right here and right now of utmost importance. All each one of us has is right here and right now. We each need to think about how we can go through our lives while ensuring that we have purpose. I thank you very much for reading and I would love to hear who you go to for advice. 

Monday, November 13, 2017

Experience Life and All Its Treasures

Every season has its treasures. The late fall is striper season and they are starting to run! Try to take part in every season’s treasures!

This weekend I was near the beach locally and I saw an incredible amount of fishing boats that were just off shore in the ocean. There was clearly a great deal of activity under the water as everyone seemed to be fishing. I have become quite fond of fishing and I think that I will go out on the next decent weather day. I have included a picture that I captured of the vast collection of boats just off shore. I typically do not go fishing in the ocean; rather I go out on the rivers. I think that all people can get enjoyment from being out in the water and going fishing. There is an incredible serenity that allows you to step away from your daily routines and enjoy the outdoors and the excitement of a wholesome activity. I am already planning a trip and I am enthusiastic that fishing has become a great activity that I can regularly take part in. I share my stories with the elderly patients that I visit at our facilities; I get to see the twinkles in their eyes and truly wish that they could take part. You never know, I share with their families’ maybe they will help to arrange a day of fishing for their loved one.



I think that having something to look forward to is incredible especially when you are in a facility. Those that are injured keep pushing forward in their recoveries to the day when they get out and can return to their typical activities. 

The elderly often reminisce and tell stories about their days fishing and how enjoyable it was for them. They always tell me to take advantage of the many opportunities that I have available to me. I am getting out and doing different things at the change of the seasons. I am going to try and take advantage of my public speaking skills more so this winter. I am going to a “toastmasters” meeting at one of our hospitals this week where hopefully I can network with more people who can share how they have utilized their public speaking skills and used it to their advantage.

Life is about using the resources that we have been provided and making it work for us. Networking with others who are looking to improve and/or utilize their public speaking is a fantastic outlet and I am hoping to learn many things. I would be so interested in hearing ways that you get involved with others. I will go to the “toastmasters” meeting tomorrow and I will be sure to fill you all in on my new experience. I thank you for reading and I look forward to reading any comments that you may have!

~Noelle

Monday, November 6, 2017

The Infinite Pursuit

“Sometimes you make the right decision; sometimes you make the decision right.”
- Phil McGraw

I went out of my comfort zone and I went to a meetup group on Saturday. You never know the different people that you are going to meet.

My recovery has been fantastic but the capstone is certainly my right arm. Randomly at this get together I met an occupational therapist who offered advice and was encouraging me to do different activities where my right arm was utilized. At this get together there were people of different ages and people from different walks of life.

I made a conscious decision to enjoy the environment and the people in attendance. I went to the event of the mindset that I would ensure that I would enjoy myself. I am sure that I met some new friends and now my database of people to do things with has expanded. No matter who attended the get together I know that I would have made it enjoyable.

I was of the mindset that no matter who was in attendance, I was going to ensure that I made the correct decision. You can learn about life by making decisions and witnessing how they play out. I had confidence and I would encourage all to try and gather their confidence and try something out of the ordinary.

Who would have thought that I would have met an occupational therapist who would encourage me on her day off? I am going to keep challenging myself and do things where my right arm is involved to see if I can gain more strength back in it. I would love to hear what you enjoy doing on the weekends to take up your leisure time. What are you doing to further your recovery? I try to put my memory to use in as many ways as possible. I try and remember phone numbers as often as possible. Life is about effort. Each one of us has the ability to work as hard as possible to keep looking for improvement. This is our life and only we are responsible for what comes of it. I encourage you to keep pushing and to dream big. Each one of us has the ability to want more.

When it comes to our recovery you always have to want more. I am never okay with where I am; I feel that I could always be further along. I think that we can all improve things about ourselves. People do better when we are in the pursuit of something. I encourage all survivors to be in a forever pursuit to continue improving. Get the mindset correct and keep trying to improve yourself. I would love to hear your thoughts and I thank you very much for reading.
~Noelle

Friday, November 3, 2017

A World Beyond Your Comfort Zone


“When you become comfortable with uncertainty, infinite possibilities open up in your life.”
- Eckhart Tolle


A person has to desire to be in control of his/her life. I decided that I need to be more active as the weather begins to turn. I am generally uncomfortable with going to places that I am not familiar but I have decided to allow myself to be uncomfortable and make decisions not based on my fear of uncertainty; rather to open myself up to new opportunities. 

I do feel enthusiastic and energized about my new strategy for this time of year. I feel as though I haven’t missed a beat and things only get better by change. My bands that I follow will continue playing all year long so I will continue to have places to go. 

I generally hang out with my same group of friends, but I have decided to step outside of my comfort zone and join a meetup group in the area. I am going to go to a bonfire and house party this weekend where I will meet all new people. I am very comfortable meeting people so I feel as though this will be a positive experience. I may make some new friends with people who are interested in making an effort to get together. I have included a picture of me from outside the entrance to a concert that I went to recently. 

I feel as though as the holiday season is just around the corner and I am still making moves to continue visiting with various different types of people. This year is a change for me as I typically slow down a bit as the weather gets colder. 

This year I am putting on my sweaters and realizing that there is really no reason to hibernate! Certainly I am a bit nervous about going someplace new with people that I do not know. Anyone who knows anything about having a TBI knows that survivors are no strangers to uncomfortable or awkward occurrences. I have to remember this as I go forward to a new and different place this weekend. 

I have allowed myself to realize that I am capable of handling some pretty tough circumstances and I am secure in saying that I will be able to enjoy myself this weekend. I will be sure to take a picture this weekend to include with my next post. I would love to hear what you do for recreation and how you meet new people. Never be afraid to go outside of your comfort zone and to try meeting new people. We are what we are. Some people may not accept us but many people will. 

We have to give ourselves a chance at developing a meaningful social life! I would love to hear who else has tried meetup groups to meet new people. I thank you very much for reading and I encourage any comments that you may have.

~Noelle

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Halloween: A Night for Family, Friends and Fun


"I love the spirit of Halloween and the energy that comes with it.
"
- Katherine McPhee


Another Halloween has come. It can all be in good fun as long as you realize and appreciate the day for what it is. It is a good night to get together with friends and dress up in a goofy costume.

Every year I try and appreciate Halloween for the energy of people being together. I was a cowgirl one night of the weekend and I was a “pink lady” the other night of the weekend. A person needs to realize that it can be a fun filled day of laughs and enjoyment. It is my hope that everybody can appreciate the day for what it is.

I greatly enjoy looking at the children as they come trick or treating in their costumes. It is a day where people can step out of their comfort zones and put a silly costume on.

Katherine McPhee looks at the day in a way which we should all try to. The day should be a fun filled occasion.

When I was younger the day was about trying to look glamorous, as I have gotten older I have decided to add humor to the day and not try and look particularly glamorous. I am excited to see all of the kids who will go trick or treating in my neighborhood.

I went to two Halloween parties that featured bands. I have found that music is incredibly enjoyable for me and I try to surround myself with it as often as possible. It is my hope that everybody had a great time and all enjoyed dressing up for the occasion. I would love to hear what everyone was for Halloween.

When I was a “pink lady” there were several other ladies who were dressed up to be “pink ladies” as well. Halloween is about enjoying the people that are with you. Everyone needs to make an effort to get together with people and have a good time. Life is a about making times enjoyable. We are all responsible for our own happiness. We have to make a conscious effort to make our time enjoyable.

I will include a picture from this weekend from a Halloween party that I was at. It is my hope that everyone will get out to enjoy the festivities and the fun of Halloween.

I hope that you will get to see the children dressed up in costumes it is always a wonderful tradition.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Growing Your Self-Esteem


"Your self-esteem won't come from body parts. You need to step away from the mirror every once in a while, and look for another reflection, like the one in the eyes of the people who love you and admire you." -Stacy London

I went to a beautiful wedding of my great friend who I grew up with. She and I became very close during high school when we both saw each other nearly every weekend at horse shows. She is a fantastic friend of mine and I was able to get a ride from another mutual friend who was more than happy to facilitate me getting there. I felt very blessed that I was able to be there and share in her special day. This wedding was an awesome occasion for me as I knew many different people there of many different ages. These people truly care about the whole me. I never tried to conceal my injury from them as they knew all about it from the beginning. I have several pictures from the wedding which I share with a few of the residents that I have become close with. In my heart I am truly excited and happy for my friend as she begins this new chapter of life. She is not someone who ever devalued a person because of a disability. 

I am blessed that I have many people in my life who value the person and do not only view a person as disabled or not. People have so many different characteristics that make them who they are. I have gained confidence in my body and I am proud when I stand in front of people and speak. I recently spoke for the medical school of the doctors that saved my life twelve years ago. Every year when I speak there I am able to sleep a little sounder that evening. My wish is that everyone who has sustained a brain injury can be patient and trust that they will find his/her way in time. This brain injury has taught me to be patient. It took me a great many of years before I knew where I was heading. To this day there are still moments when I am unsure, but I do know one thing; I am trying. I truly believe that everyone needs to believe in themselves and realize that you are capable of whatever you set your mind to. I believe that we can help and encourage one another along the way. I try and share my story with as many people as possible to be a positive influence. I would love to hear any thoughts that you may have and I thank you very much for reading.
~Noelle

Monday, October 23, 2017

Improve Through Change, Not Chance

“Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change.”
- Jim Rohn


Understanding yourself is a necessary element once you decide to change your life. Each one of us has the ability to make even a small change every day to try and improve ourselves and the world around us. This year I am truly embracing the harvest and fall season. I am trying to appreciate the change of season There is something very comforting about putting on a long sleeve shirt and enjoying the pumpkins and brisk weather. I will include a picture from last weekend where I went to a harvest festival near home. I am adapting to this colder weather. I want my activity level in the colder months to increase so I am making a conscious effort to make a change and to take part in many more activities. Jim Rohn’s quote is an important one for us all to remember as we are trying to improve things.

Every day should be an effort to improve things; try a little bit harder, smile a little bit brighter and push a little bit farther. Jim Rohn’s quote is helping my fall to greatly improve. I am enjoying the foliage and taking part in Halloween activities. I will include a picture from a harvest festival that I attended. It is wonderful to be with people. We should all try to engage in as many activities as possible with as many people as possible. I am making a sincere effort and I am succeeding at engaging in a variety of activities. I didn’t want my life to vastly slow down because the weather began to get a bit chillier. I surround myself with others who also want to take part in proactive activities as the weather begins to change. I am meeting new people and I am not allowing my calendar to get empty. Some events may seem silly to me; I am getting out and taking part in wholesome activities. I decided as the summer was coming to a close that I would not allow my activity level to vastly change as the seasons began to change. I am going outside of my comfort zone and I am taking part in fall activities.

What types of activities do you take part in during the fall season? I thank you very much for reading and look forward to any responses that you may have.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Change Yourself. Change the World.

“The moments we have behind us, you won't be able to see again. We're only responsible for what we live in right now.”
- Flavor Flav     

We each have the ability to improve our every waking moment. If we don’t choose to improve it who will? I greatly am an advocate of getting involved in philosophy. Only we are in control of changing our state of mind. This is a huge responsibility and makes us each capable of an incredible amount. I think that we should each choose to be involved in as many events and activities as possible. After sustaining an injury we have gone through some of the most difficult times in our lives. It is important to remember that those moments are behind us now and now it is our responsibility to live every moment. We should all remember this and try to make every moment matter. We are each capable of helping other people and I know that it greatly helps us gain a purpose much bigger than ourselves. 

We each need to feel that we are impacting a community of people; a single person can affect a great deal of people. We can consciously decide to live a more positive and proactive life. Each one of us is capable of making choices to be proactive in how we choose to live our lives. Each one of us is capable of choosing to adopt a more peaceful and positive state of mind. When I go to our rehabs I always discuss with the patients what is going on and I encourage them to get involved in their surroundings and with their community. I have noticed that several of the residents who I interact with have greatly increased their involvement amongst where they live. Life is about becoming involved and making a life worth living. I am taking my own advice and not allowing myself to become less active as the seasons change. I am going to continue to take part in events and activities. 

This Sunday I am taking part in a walk for the make a wish foundation. I believe in the cause and I am happy to take part. I believe that it is a positive activity and I am happy to be a support for these children facing terminal illness. I would love to hear what charitable organizations that you get involved with. I feel that my weekend will have a nice balance of social activity and meaningful purpose. 

There are always activities going on that are in favor of good causes. I greatly encourage each and every one of you to find out how you can get involved. I thank you very much for reading and would love to read any responses that you may have. 

~Noelle

Friday, October 6, 2017

Walk With a Purpose

“I think that the moment my legs begin to move, my thoughts begin to flow.”
- Henry David Thoreau

This weekend I am participating in a walkathon for traumatic brain injury awareness. It takes place early on Saturday morning. There will be an incredible unity of all of the people taking part in the walk. I believe in the cause and I will be walking with a woman who I met at a support group about two years ago. We both are living our lives after a traumatic brain injury. Both of our hearts are in the right place. Walking gives you a wonderful time to reflect and I truly feel and believe in Henry David Thoreau’s quote. All of us that have regained the ability to walk should embrace it and never forget how lucky we are. Never forget where you came from and what you have ventured through. We are all who we are because of the circumstances that we have lived through. A trying experience both physically and emotionally stays with us forever. It makes us who we are. People go through things that contribute to the people that we each have developed into. I actually feel really positive about my decision to take part in this walk tomorrow morning. I will reflect upon all of the things positive that have come into my life as a result of my brain injury. We each have the choice every day to focus upon the positive or the negative. I valiantly choose the positive as it allows me to be encouraged every day. I hope that we can all find things to become involved with that allow us to be encouraged and develop a life worth living. I would love to hear what charitable events that you take part in. Walking provides time for us to reflect upon our thoughts and our emotions. I am encouraged to take part in a walk that helps support those who have sustained an affliction. I will include a picture of people taking part in a charitable walk. I thank you very much for reading and would love to hear any responses that you may have.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Life is the Sum of Our Experiences, So Live Memorably

“One learns from books and example only that certain things can be done. Actual learning requires that you do those things.”  - Frank Herbert



Frank Herbert’s quote reminds us that we must experience. We should all realize that our lives are made up of experiences. I am trying to take advantage of all of the opportunities that present themselves. Life is a sum of all of the experiences that we have had.


I am going to take advantage of events are offered to me because I realize that as the weather begins getting colder I get to into putting on a sweatshirt and sweatpants and watching a movie. I am truly going to try and experience events and activities this winter. During the summer I am always out listening to music but this winter I am going to make a conscious effort to do more things. I truly want to experience this winter. Events are made memorable by the people that take part in them. I am already excited about the new opportunities that are going to present themselves because I am open to it.


Typically I slow down greatly in the winter, but this year I am going to greatly attempt to not allow myself to slow down to nothing. I am going to attempt to take part in indoor concerts and to be with people. People make the world go round and I would encourage each and every one of us to take part in as many activities as possible.


Try to truly appreciate the change in seasons and enjoy the chilly crisp air as we get closer to the winter. I do love wearing vests so that is always a plus for me as the seasons change. I am still trying to put off wearing a jacket until the last possible moment. I have a tendency to leave jackets places as I don’t always think to put them on when I am leaving places.


This year I am going to try and be more mindful as the days get colder and I will need to wear a jacket. I know that I am not alone and that many people who have had brain injuries leave their jackets places as we get closer to the winter. I am going to try and venture out of my comfort zone and do more things with more people. I challenge all of us to venture out and take part in activities. I would love to hear what types of things you enjoy doing in the cold weather. Obviously I am not going to take up ice skating anytime soon!


We can learn from each other’s suggestions as we decide what activities to take part in. I thank you so much for reading and I look forward to reading any responses that you might have.


~ Noelle

Monday, October 2, 2017

Attitude of Gratitude

“Gratitude is the healthiest of human emotions. The more that you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.”

- Zig Ziglar

Every single one of us has the ability to choose to be thankful. Every day that we wake up with fresh air to breathe and food to put in our stomachs, we need to be thankful. This is a lifestyle that we can develop. It certainly takes practice but we need to focus on the positive things that we have in our life.


Undoubtedly there are things that we desire that are far more than we have but our focus cannot and should not be upon those things. If we turn our minds we will learn to be thankful for what we have. Try and be thankful for the joyous people in our lives.

We have free will and we can try to improve our outlooks. After my injury occurred I distinctly remember that I was going to put forth every effort to be thankful for the things that I have in my life. I have to choose to be happy and thankful that I can work at all. It certainly was questionable if I was going to be able to work at all following my injury. Every moment that I am able to think and choose is a moment that I need to try and choose an attitude of gratitude.

Every one of us will see the improvement that can happen as we choose to change our mind to an attitude of gratitude. We need to make a mental list of the things that we can be grateful for. We need to be thankful for the people that are in our lives. Each one of us has free will and we can all choose to be grateful for what we have.

I do not love that the weather is getting colder, but I am choosing to focus upon the great nights that I had in the summer and also the exciting things that I have planned for this winter. I will include a picture of a fantastic night from a concert that I went to in the end of the summer. I am choosing to focus upon the great nights that I enjoyed over the summer. I can carry them with me by continuing to listen to the music. I feel an incredible sense of gratefulness since I have chosen an attitude of gratitude.

I believe that all people can make a conscientious decision to choose to be thankful for the things that we have. Be thankful that you woke up today and be thankful that you have your health. The greatest ability that we have is the ability to have free will. Every one of us can choose to focus upon the things that we have.

Be grateful for all that you have and reflect upon awesome times that you have had recently and trust that you will have more in the future. I would love to hear any thoughts or reflections that you may have. Thank you so much for reading.

~Noelle

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