Friday, March 30, 2007

HBO: Yellow Brick Road I almost cried when I saw this. Boy, it brought back a piece of childhood memories. When I about 10 years old, I started organizing backyard shows with the neighborhood kids. The first year we just sang along with 45 rpm records. The second year we did music from South Pacific and the third year we did music from the Gay 90's. When I was 13, my family moved from Cleveland to Cincinnati. But the next year I was back in business with a new group of kids. I decided to go big and do the whole show of The Wizard of Oz.

I could not find a script, so I bought the soundtrack and the book and wrote the script myself. I wrote, casted, directed, and played the Tin Man. We charged 25 cents for children and 50 cents for adults. We made $100. We went on a local children's tv show and donated the money to United Cerebral Palsy---that was the group's decision.

I would love to see the film they made of this production. If anyone knows how to get a copy, please let me know.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

MAR. 25, 2007-- I was asked to give a moment of concern at Pilgrim United Church of Christ today. My subject was "labels."

A few weeks ago, our pastor, Madison Shockley, gave a mini sermon on the politically correct terminology on referring to his race and culture. You see Madison is of a minority status in our congregation. In an effort to improve communication with his 90% white congregation, he ended his mini sermon by saying that he preferred being referred to as an African American or Black Folk. I wanted to yell back, "I prefer to refer to you as Madison!" When I told him I would like to respond with my thoughts about labels, he agreed to let me address the congregation.

Here is what I told the congregation:

Labels are for jars, not people.

Labels are intended to describe who we are, what we have done, or some other characteristic. However, labels never tell the whole story. At best, they only speak of a small part of who we are. They can be based on fact or perception. I am white. Madison is black. Those are facts. You can tell that from a distance without ever meeting us. Some people refer to me as "disabled." Am I disabled? Well those who are visiting today would no doubt say, "Yes, of course you are!" But those who have known me for years would probably argue with you by stating all my life accomplishments. Am I disabled? It is a matter of perception. I have a disability, but does that make me disabled? Some will think it does, but others won't.

In the 80's, a small group of people with developmental disabilities living in an Oregon institution formed a new self advocacy group. They needed a name. Judy Cunio, a severely physically disabled woman, said, "We are people first. Our disabilities are second." That was the birth of People First, a self advocacy organization that is now an international organization. If anyone here would like to know what it means to 400 individuals who are constantly labeled to be considered "people first," I invite you to come to the San Diego People First Conference at the Marriott in Mission Valley on Mother's Day weekend. We have volunteer opportunities and I guarantee it will be an unique learning experience.

There are many labels people can or have used on me--disabled, amazing, sinner, lefty, and a label given by one young member of our congregation, Sam. He calls me "the lady with the dog" (Andre is my service dog). But there are only two labels I accept. One is my name "Linda." The other is "child of God." As a child of God, I know I am loved, accepted, and forgiven no matter how others perceive me. With God, I am always a person first.
Note: I received a standing ovation.

Thursday, March 22, 2007 : 'Superwoman Linda Thompson, Born With Cerebral Palsy, Reveals Breakthrough Strategies For Living
Large Without Limitations...!'

In this Powerful FREE E-Course, Linda reveals to YOU 9 powerful lessons for living a life of possibilities not impossibilities. Linda has inspired many to turn their dream into reality. Take advantage of this amazing information that will lead you down a journey of discovering new possibilities in your life and achieving all your dreams!"

Home: The Christmas Puppy, an e-book. "This is a heart warming story about a puppy in a pet store who has only one wish--to find a home and someone special to love and who can love him. All the puppies, except for one, have been promised a new home on Christmas Eve. Being passed over time and time again, the puppy feels he is too old and too big to ever be adopted, but he learns Christmas is a time for miracles.
The Christmas Puppy is a story that touches lightly on differences that can lead to discrimination and how that can feel. It also shows how an encouraging word can help build confidence. And, last but not least, when things seem to be as bad as they can get, it is possible that someone will enter the picture and convincingly show that differences don't only not matter, but also may be beautiful.
A life lesson and story on love and differences for children of all ages."

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Creating Your Own Path

Creating Your Own Path: "If you are a person with a disability, a parent who has a child with a disability, or a professional who works with a person with a disability and you are looking for an inspirational role model, you have found her. Linda Thompson, 58, born with cerebral palsy, has successfully created a productive, independent life for herself. Taught by her mother who was light years ahead of society in her vision of accomplishments for her daughter, Linda managed to forge through the inaccessible barriers that existed the first forty years of her life. Her story is a must to hear for anyone who faces a life of extraordinary challenges in their life.
For the last three years, Linda has created training materials for people with developmental disabilities on self advocate mentoring and how self advocate can become involved in community service. She has traveled throughout California presenting the trainings to People First chapters. Descriptions of the trainings Linda can provide are provided through this website. Can't find what your group needs? Contact Linda and she will create a Power Point presentation tailored to meet your needs. She is also known to be a motivational keynote speaker."