Saturday, June 30, 2007

John Edwards is someone I have been following since before he ran for Vice President. I found him as I was channel surfing one day. He caught my eye. Maybe it was that $400 HAIRCUT. All I can say is that whatever he had to say that day he held my interest and has held it ever since.

I understand from the John Edwards website that Ann Coulter, a right winger, made a hateful remark about John on Good Morning America. She said, "If I'm gonna say anything about John Edwards in the future, I'll just wish he had been killed in a terrorist assassination plot." If that wasn't bad enough, she was invited to be on Hardball the next day. Elizabeth, John's wife, called into the show and asked Ann to stop her hateful talk about the Edwards family and all other candidates. Ann became rude and combative. There is a recording on the website, www.johnedwards.com Also there is a blog for public comment. I could not help myself---I had to respond. This is what I wrote:

I have taught people with developmental disabilities about freedom and rights for 30 years and every one of them could tell Ann Coulter what is wrong with her "freedom of speech" defense. A person has no true freedom until he/she knows and understands the responsibilities that go with any particular freedom. Those who fail to live up to the responsibility of a "right" or "freedom" are often denied the freedom. There are many people in prisons that can testify to that. When a person kills another human being in anger, is he not using the freedom of expression? We all have a right to express ourselves, don't we? Yet, our society does not accept that behavior. Words can be just as damaging as a loaded gun pointed at someone's head and the behavior of people who use hateful words should no more be tolerated than the behavior of someone holding a loaded gun to someone's head.
Ann needs to grow-up and be responsible for her actions. Until she does, I hold the media responsible for giving her a platform to air her hateful, irresponsible behavior.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

video

I learned that I had the ability to make a movie without any fancy equipment, so here is a small story on my dreams and accomplishments. It is also posted on YouTube. Enjoy!

STRATEGY 9: REALIZING YOUR DREAM

In following the past eight strategies, hopefully you will find yourself close to realizing your dream. If you find you did well in the beginning but got stuck or lost along the way, go back to the point you felt successful. What changed? Did you hit a barrier? What stopped you from getting passed the barrier? Did the dream change or did you change?

Life is full of surprises—some good, some not so good. Life’s surprises can interrupt us to the point that we become stalled or propel us so far forward we can’t see where we are headed. Either way one must stop and evaluate where he is, where he is going, and where he wants to be. Life changes. People change. Dreams can change, too. What you wanted six months ago may not be what you want or need today. Don’t give up your dream—evaluate, modify, and proceed with your new found passion. Learn from yesterday. Live for today. Work to make your dream your reality tomorrow.

Besides following these nine strategies, there are many self help books to encourage and motivate the one that needs extra support in achieving dreams and goals. You can find people with like goals and dreams in classes, workshops, and conferences. There are CDs that address the sub-conscious with positive affirmations while you sleep. There are Yahoo groups to support and talk on any topic you can think of. Dreams deserve all the power you can give them. Dreams give meaning to life. Realize your dream and work at turning it into tour reality.

What’s my Dream? My dream is to become a nationally known public speaker and advocate for people with disabilities and to write a book about my life experiences to encourage others to reach for the stars and go after that “impossible” dream.
Linda Thompson, MSRC, has 30 years professional experience serving people with disabilities as instructor and advocate. As a keynote speaker, she addresses audiences of parents, professionals, care providers, students, congregations, and business administrators/employers on the importance of recognizing the individual and abilities rather than the “labels” of disabilities. “People with disabilities are people first. Our disabilities are second.”
www.empoweringusall.com
STRATEGY 8: GROW WITH YOUR DREAM

As you work the “steps” of your dream, you will find not only will your dream take a new shape as it grows, but you will also grow from the new experiences you have. Working on a dream can be a life changing experience because it can touch you emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually. In working your dream, you can develop many different skills you may have never realized you had.

The one thing you can count on in life is change. Many try to resist it or deny it, but it still comes. Without life would be boring and we would have nothing to look forward to. Some become so determined to get the dream they have envision they refuse to “settle” for anything less. They are going to have it all or die trying. Determination is an admirable quality, but don’t let it blind you from achieving something greater than you can imagine. The detours in life can lead to bonuses you would never imagine. It doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t achieve the dream you had been pursuing. Detours can enhance your dream even though they seem to be completely unrelated to your dream.

When I was in high school, I learned my peers felt very comfortable telling me their problems. I decided I wanted to go into social work, but the powers-who-be thought that was an unrealistic goal because of my disability. I was sent to Goodwill for vocational assessment. After two weeks, it was decided that I had a high aptitude for math and it was recommended I go to business college and become a statistician. The powers-who-be encouraged me to follow this plan even though it was not my heart’s desire. I tried. I took business courses for two quarters and then announced I would never be a statistician. I eventually convinced the powers-to-be to send me to college to study writing. The Department of Rehabilitation would not finance an education in social work, but they were convinced of my writing abilities and financed my education in journalism. It was a compromise—I knew I would never follow a career working with numbers, but at least I had an interest in writing.

The irony was that after earning a degree in journalism my first full time job was teaching independent living skills to people with developmental disabilities. I was doing exactly the type of work I wanted to do, but I soon learned I would not go very far in the field with a journalism degree. I was repeatedly denied a promotion because I had “the wrong education.” After three and a half years, I quit my job, moved from Cincinnati to San Diego, and went back to school to get a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling.

I have worked 30 years in the social service field. What about my journalism degree? It has enhanced my work in the social service field. I have written articles, created newsletters, and have lead two teams of staff in writing and developing training materials for people with developmental disabilities. Just a few days ago, I committed myself to my lifelong dream—the dream to write a book. Don’t be afraid of taking the detours. It is an opportunity to explore something new that may lead to a new and different dream. If it doesn’t, you can stop going down that path and return to your original plan.

Following your dream is an opportunity to grow emotionally and spiritually. You will discover your life purpose and your heart’s true passion. Enjoy the journey. It is worth living.

_____________________________________________________________

Linda Thompson, MSRC, has 30 years professional experience serving people with disabilities as instructor and advocate. As a keynote speaker, she addresses audiences of parents, professionals, care providers, students, congregations, and business administrators/employers on the importance of recognizing the individual and abilities rather than the “labels” of disabilities. “People with disabilities are people first. Our disabilities are second.”
www.empoweringusall.com
STRATEGY 7: WORK YOUR DREAM

Ok, now you have announced your dream! Some people were supportive and said something like, “Well, if anyone can, you will!” Others may have offered, “Sure you will—when pigs fly!” And then there are those who want to believe you and say, “Great! When you figure out how to do that, you can teach me!” To which I hope you confidently responded, “I will—for a price!” Hey, you spend time, money, and effort in making your dream come true, so there is no shame in selling your knowledge of the experience. After all, the knowledge you have to offer will make it easier for someone else. Forgive me. My entrepreneur side is surfacing. Yes, I am a struggling entrepreneur who is determined to become an Internet millionaire!

We all know that a true dream does not come true by closing our eyes and rubbing a magic lamp. If it could, we would have more than we need and all we think we want. I live by the saying that “if it is worth having, it is worth working for.” Praying may help, but God is not a magic genie either. My mother used to tell me, “God helps those who help themselves.” I believe if I am faithful to my dream and do whatever it takes to make it come true, God will guide my journey. That is not saying it will come easy or will happen according to my plan, but it will happen in one form or another. Oops, my preacher side is showing. Yes, I have been known to write and give sermons—my personal favorite is Jesus on the Yellow Brick Road.

Now that you have announced your dream to friends and family, you need to turn your time and energy into your success plan. Use the encouragement you received to motivate you. If you received discouragement, use that to motivate you. How? Well, all anyone has to do is tell me “NO” or “YOU CAN’T.” I take that as a challenge. My mindset becomes “JUST WATCH ME. I NOT ONLY CAN, I WILL!” Oh no. Now I am giving my speech as a pageant contestant the night I was crowned Ms. San Diego Wheelchair Queen. My message was I CAN DO IT AND SO CAN YOU!

Have you created the steps to your dream mentioned in Strategy 3? If so, go back and look at your “dream step” plan. Have you completed any of the steps? If you have, congratulations! Go treat yourself to something you have been wanting—you deserve it! If not, there is no time like the present—if you have the time to read this, you have the time to work on your dream. The first step is the hardest—ask any child learning to walk. But have you ever seen a child after taking that first step? There’s no stopping him! That is how it is going to be once you commit to doing that first step. Remember, after completing that first step and each of the following steps, treat yourself to something special. When you feel good about yourself and what you are doing, it motivates you to continue going further. This is your dream and you need to do whatever it takes to maintain your focus.

Commit to the work and your dream will become your reality!!!!!



Linda Thompson, MSRC, has 30 years professional experience serving people with disabilities as instructor and advocate. As a keynote speaker, she addresses audiences of parents, professionals, care providers, students, congregations, and business administrators/employers on the importance of recognizing the individual and abilities rather than the “labels” of disabilities. “People with disabilities are people first. Our disabilities are second.”
www.empoweringusall.com
STRATEGY 6: OWN YOUR DREAM

The strategies up to this point have been used for you to internalize your dream by creating it, deciding a plan of action, learning and preparing for the journey, and visualizing your self as accomplishing your dream. Now it is time to claim your dream and make it real. Until now, it has not been too much more than a figment of your imagination and as fleeting as your own thoughts. Similar to a fetus that grows internally from a speck of an egg into a six pound human being, the dream must have a birth in order to develop and become the reality it is meant to be. To speak of your dream is to breathe life into it. You must tell people your dream, what it means to you, and how it will become an important part of your life. This may be the most important step, for this is the point where a dream will start to grow or die a sudden death.

Speaking your dream can be exciting and motivating. If you are surrounded by positive thinking people, they can encourage you and maybe even help brainstorm and build a stronger foundation on which to build your dream. However, if you tell people who do nothing to support you and tell you things like, “It is never going to happen,” you may feel foolish and decide not to go any further. People are robbed of their dreams everyday by thoughtless comments made by others. Accept the fact that not everyone is going to believe in your dream. That’s ok. They don’t have to. It isn’t their dream. It’s yours. The only one that can give it life or put it to death is you.

After working my first full time job teaching independent living skills to people with developmental disabilities in Cincinnati, Ohio, I decided it was too hard to commute on a daily bases in a climate of snow and freezing rain. If I was going to work, I was going to find a place to live where I did not have to navigate my manual wheelchair through the snow and ice. When Susan and her husband were relocated to San Diego, I quickly took vacation time to visit her during the winter. It didn’t take me long to decide that San Diego was the place for me. The move would mean leaving friends, family, and the only full time job I had known. It meant saving money for the move, locating an apartment that was wheelchair accessible, hiring a moving company, packing all I owned, and driving myself and three cats 3000 miles across the country. When I told my friends and family that I was moving to San Diego, I didn’t get much of a response. They didn’t believe it and they might as well patted me on the head and said, “Sure you are.” Perhaps I didn’t truly believe it in the beginning either, but I saved money until I felt I could afford the move and then asked Susan to help find me an apartment. Once an apartment was found and the deposit and first month’s rent was sent, everything fell into place. I gave my notice, hired a moving company, packed my belongings, and moved to San Diego. Friends admitted they did not believe I would go. One of my friends who came to terms that I was actually going to drive 3000 miles across the country with 3 cats fenced into the back seat of my Dodge Omni, convinced another colleague to help me drive across country. When people continued to hear the things I was doing to prepare for the move, they slowly understood that my dream was more than just wishful thinking. As I became committed to completing the steps in my plan, I, too, realized my dream was becoming my reality. As impossible and unlikely this dream seemed to be at the conception of the dream, it grew into a possibility and became my reality.

Remember, the life or death of your dream will depend on your desire and determination to see it through to the end. Own it and breathe life into it!



Linda Thompson, MSRC, has 30 years professional experience serving people with disabilities as instructor and advocate. As a keynote speaker, she addresses audiences of parents, professionals, care providers, students, congregations, and business administrators/employers on the importance of recognizing the individual and abilities rather than the “labels” of disabilities. “People with disabilities are people first. Our disabilities are second.”
www.empoweringusall.com