Be a Peach

you-can-be-omokdj

I saw an image recently that listed 5 lessons in life from Dr. Seuss.

  1. “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than you.
  2. “Why fit in when you were born to stand out?”
  3. “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.”
  4. “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”
  5. “Today I shall behave as if this is the day I will be remembered.”

As I read through these statements, I was reminded of how unique each of us really are. I know that we all have probably had times where we fantasized about being a sports star or singer or some other notable person. We may have actually even wanted to be like our neighbor down the street or even someone in our family. There was a certain amount of discontent with the person we saw in the mirror, and we may still be discontent, or even unhappy with that same individual in that mirror today.

Well before I write a long blog on the steps of change and self-improvement and self-help, I want to ask you to first look at the You that is truer than true. Take a look at the person that was perfectly crafted by God to be an encouragement and blessing to others on this earth. Don’t focus on the negatives or who or what someone else may be, or even what another may tell you that you are. Focus on the You that is you. Realize that you were meant to stand out, to swim upstream in a downstream world. Be the odd one; be the different one, but whatever you do, stand out in the most outstanding and positive way you can. You were born an original, so don’t die a copy.

What’s stopping you? You have a brain, you have feet. Choose your path. Albert Einstein said “strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.”The only limit you truly face is the one you face in the mirror each day you get up. You say people are holding you back; people are keeping you from making a positive impact, but those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind. Fill your life and surround yourself with individuals who encourage and lift you up, those who do not discourage and tear you down. Keep in mind I am not saying people who will tell you what you want to hear, but instead people who truly care enough to tell you what you need to hear, but still care regardless.

Finally, behave each day like it is the day you will be remembered. What do you want to be remembered for? Jackie Robinson said “A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.” Remember that you have the power to impact people either positively or negatively; how you attempt to impact them is your choice. Additionally, how you choose to be impacted by others is something you also own. So back to the picture. If you are doing the best you can and making a positive impact, being that ripe and juicy peach, someone is not going to like you. It is ok; I promise. Life’s measure is not about pleasing everyone, but instead saying that you gave it all you had, pleasing the One who created you. One last quote from Erma Bombeck: “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say, I used everything you gave me.” Stay true to your faith, those you care about, and definitely stay true to yourself.

#noquit #justbe #bike2live #litwithin #move4PD #teamfox #parkinsons

https://just.jcarmichael.wordpress.com/

 

Butterfly Feet

image6Did you know? On average, 100 people choke to death on ballpoint pens every year. On average people fear spiders more than they do death. It’s possible to lead a cow upstairs…but not downstairs. A crocodile cannot stick its tongue out. Our eyes are always the same size from birth, but our nose and ears never stop growing. A snail can sleep for three years. No word in the English language rhymes with “MONTH”. The house fly hums in the middle octave key of F. Tigers have striped skin, not just striped fur. You know something else, facts are facts, but sometimes the value of those facts can seriously come into question depending on your perspective. Sometimes, facts can even be as useless as the last four letters in the word ‘queue’. Wait for it, wait for it. Ok, now that it sunk in and you have laughed, facts, randomly assembled, can actually be quite pointless.

Take for instance the fact above about being able to lead a cow upstairs, but not downstairs. First of all, I live in a single level home, and second, I don’t have cows inside of it. So yep, as you guessed it, that is a pointless fact for me, even though the image of it is quite funny. On the other hand, I definitely fear spiders more than death, and have done some pretty amazing footwork upon discovering a spider; highlight and underline that fact as important. Now someone with a totally different perspective than my own may have the exact opposite importance placed on the same two facts. So now, as you have read through me discussing random and pointless facts, you have probably asked yourself as a reader, “What is the point to all of this?”

Well my point is not actually random and pointless facts, but instead perspective. I know we recognize some people who are quick to point out useless facts about others, quick to point out their flaws or differences, and quick to assert that their own personal perspective is the correct one to have. I bet that sometimes, even though we hate to admit it, we are the person who is actually doing this to someone else. I have found myself at times measuring another’s circumstances or problems from the perspective of my own. Truth is, these times usually occur on those days when I am being selfish and having pity parties and just having bad days with my PD. That’s not to give an excuse or to justify it; it is simply the trend I recognize.

Truth is, my perspective should never keep me from having compassion or love or a heart of service for others. Yes, I face Parkinson’s every day I wake up, and my perspective, my facts are awfully important to me, but may be pointless to someone else because they may face cancer or divorce or loss of a loved one, or heck, their life may be clicking along at a wonderful pace with very few problems at all. However, I honestly should never deem my perspective more important, or make their facts and perspectives seem minimal, or point out their flaws in a way to make my perspective greater. In fact, perhaps I should be thankful that I am coming from a different perspective, and am able to encourage and love that person differently because of it. Maybe my perspective could be improved simply by genuinely caring enough for an individual with a totally different perspective so that their life is made better. And honestly, maybe if I openly share my facts, and use them in a way to lift others up, maybe my facts and perspective will have a positive impact in someone else’s life.

So today, before you speak or act or think in a certain way about someone else, remember “your” facts could be as pointless to them as you may think “their’ facts are to you. Impact someone else’s life in a truly positive way by setting aside your facts and perspective, and understanding and serving theirs. Oh yeah, and remember that butterflies actually taste things with their feet. That’s probably why they don’t wear shoes.

#noquit #justbe #bike2live #litwithin #move4PD #teamfox #parkinsons

https://just.jcarmichael.wordpress.com/

The Oxymoron of Change

1e8f1b4399bed92fab1bb81aab5a8763A wise man once said “Change… A bend in the road is not the end of the road, unless of course, you fail to make the turn.” Another wise man also said “Change is inevitable, except, of course, from a vending machine.” Well, one thing is for sure, change is definitely coming, and all we have to do is wake up to realize it. In reality, the fact that change is going to occur actually makes it and oxymoron of consistency.

Now, given the fact that change is going to consistently happen, let’s take a look at what we can do to actually manage it. I have read several takes on the parable of the carrot, the egg, and the coffee bean, and since I like to cook, it has been totally relatable to my diagnosis of Parkinson’s, and the changes I have already experienced, and will face in the future. Truthfully, to me, it applies to our response to any adversity, so here goes.

If you place a carrot, an egg, and a coffee bean into three separate pots of water, and leave them to boil, you will notice several things about adversity and change. The carrot goes in strong and firm, but after fighting the boiling water, it becomes soft and weak. The egg, with it’s fairly tough outside and liquid soft inside, changes into something with a fragile outside that is easily broken, and a hard inside. Finally, the coffee bean actually blends with the water, uniting itself, and taking the water on as part of its own self, and making something new and better.

Being diagnosed with PD, being a carrot was never an option for me. As you have read in my blogs before, you know my intention is to fight it as long as I can, using every method or tool I can, and to go out strong and tough. I have fought other adversities in life, and continue to gratefully and thankfully wake up each day, at least talking to my crazy brain, hand, and foot to get them all together so I can get on out of bed. I do not plan to let the adversity of PD soften me and make me weak, to take me to a point where there is no fight left and I am easily pulled apart. On the other hand, being an egg would have been an easy option for me because I have used the response of hardening myself, closing others out of my adversity, and not getting help, or offering anything at all to others for other tough times in my life. An egg has a fluid and changeable center in its original state, but when introduced to the boiling water, it s center becomes hardened and stiff. The outside looks the same, but is more fragile than before, and the inside is no longer able to exist freely. It is merely a false representation of what it once was.

Instead, I think I’ll be a coffee bean. When the water gets to its hottest, boiling violently and tossing the bean all around, the bean releases its best, and changes the water into something better, something more aromatic and desirable, and yet amazingly a part and creation  of the bean itself. I often times try to spend my time encouraging others, not just those with adversity, but each person I come across. I don’t always get it right, but I do realize everyone, and I mean everyone, needs and encouraging word or smile or thought occasionally. As PD progresses more inside my body, I find that more of my spirit actually progresses into PD, and I find greater cause and purpose to live positively through adversity and impact others with a sense of hope and encouragement. So be the coffee bean, and remember the last aspect of change, that one when you mumbled something to your mom and she said “What?” It wasn’t because she didn’t hear you; she was simply giving you an opportunity to CHANGE your response before she changed your world.

 

#noquit #justbe #bike2live #litwithin #move4PD #teamfox #parkinsons

https://just.jcarmichael.wordpress.com/

Statistically Speaking

837abefb877ff65600ef92c559ca36e9Statistics. Sometimes we base our lives, our choices on statistics and probabilities. Sometimes, we are crippled by the fear of probability and the fear of what could happen.  Sometimes, statistics can be misleading, and can cause us to react in negative ways. And sometimes, that fear makes us a statistic in a bad way. When combined with certain facts though, statistics can be very helpful in determining how we respond to certain things. They can help us form plans and decide on treatments and work on our own strengths to move us forward. I decided to share some statistics and facts about Parkinson’s this week, not to invoke some sort of emotional response from the reader, but to instead give an idea to the perspective I write from, and often try to encourage others from. Some of this may not be of interest if you in fact do not have PD, but it could give you some insight on questions you may have when you get around me, and it may even encourage you just a little. So here goes.

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive, degenerative neurological movement disorder that affects approximately 6.3 million people worldwide. It affects up to 1 million people in the United States alone, striking 50% more men than women. The average age for onset is 60. However, there is the lucky 5-10% of us that are diagnosed with early onset PD before the age of 50.

Physical symptoms of Parkinson’s may progress over a period longer than 20 years. Early on, the person with PD may take longer to button shirts, tie shoes, or perform normal activities related to getting dressed for the day. As the disease progresses and medications become less effective, the symptoms worsen to the point of interfering with walking, getting out of bed, bathing, and eating. Some of this can be evident early in the disease as well, just not daily. The four primary symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are tremor (involuntary, rhythmic shaking of a limb, head, or entire body), rigidity (stiffness or inflexibility of the limbs or joints), bradykinesia or akinesia (slowness of movement or absence of movement), and postural Instability (impaired balance and coordination). However, one of the most frustrating things about PD is that there is no consistency with how these symptoms occur. One day, a person may feel nearly normal and functional. The next day, they could be struggling to walk or feed themselves, or be extremely rigid and stiff, suffering significant pain. What’s even more frustrating is that these same people can experience fluctuations from hour to hour, and then have very few symptoms for days.

Mental symptoms progress as well. Depression is the most common neuropsychiatric problem encountered with PD. About 40% of PD patients experience depression, with half meeting criteria for major depression, and the other half meeting the criteria for dysthmia, a less severe form of depression. Some of this is attributed to not being able to do the things you used to, such as reading or hobbies, and also the not being able to do the things you could do physically. Along with that is the constant reminder of pain from stiffness and rigidity. Medications used to treat Parkinson’s unfortunately add to the cycle. Anti-parkinsonian medication can cause hallucinations, delusions, agitation, and mania, along with adding many unpleasant physical side effects. But let’s not forget cognitive impairment. PD is associated with widespread cognitive impairment, including dementia. Early in PD, memory, attention, and executive functioning suffer. The bad part is by the time the physical signs show up; 60-70% of the dopamine producers in the brain are gone. So as you probably guessed, the mental side of PD is just as erratic and frustrating.

So as for statistics and facts, I am going to end it with these. 100% and 1 day. I plan to give my life a positive run 100% each day. I plan to take what PD deals me one day at a time. I plan to encourage people and speak hope and find joy along that journey, and even though I may have days that this plan will not work out as well as I could hope, I will simply wake up the next day and give it that 100% shot again. With that, whatever struggle you may have in your own life, be sure to define your own statistics, and not be defined by the statistics and facts of your struggle.

#noquit #justbe #bike2live #litwithin #move4PD #teamfox #parkinsons

Watch Me Parkie Style

FB_IMG_1472164872030Now I know I said I wouldn’t post this week, but this one would not wait. How many of you have heard “it’s all fun and games until somebody loses an eye?” When I saw this picture, I actually found myself laughing at how very inappropriate it would be to ask someone with an eye patch if it was in fact all fun and games up to that point. If you are reading this and you know me, you know I have this innate ability at applying humor to almost any situation. I was hugging my wife and telling her goodbye as I left for work one morning, and my leg started to tremor and shake pretty significantly, as it will sometimes do with my PD. This particular morning, I started singing “do the shaky leg, do the shaky leg” and laughing loudly, which brings me to the horribly inappropriate but humorous rewrite of the song “Watch”, giving it a Parkie twist. Now I know some of you may not have heard the original, but to get the gist, you can listen on YouTube at this address: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vjW8wmF5VWc. It actually is a dance craze as well. Now, play that in the background and sing along with my words.

Watch Me – Parkie Style

You already know who it is
Parkie-o
Parkie-o
Parkie-o
Gonna do it for me

 

Now watch me trip (Fallin!)
Now watch me sway sway (Away!)
Now watch me trip trip
Now watch me sway sway (Don’t wanna do it)

Now watch me trip (Fallin!)
Now watch me sway sway (Away!)
Now watch me trip trip
Now watch me sway sway (Don’t wanna do it)

Now catch me

Ooh catch me, catch me
Ooh catch me, catch me
Ooh catch me, catch me
Ooh ooh ooh ooh

Ooh catch me, catch me
Ooh catch me, catch me
Ooh catch me, catch me
Ooh ooh ooh ooh

Do the shaky leg (shake)
Do the shaky leg (shake shake)
Do the shaky leg (shake)
Do the shaky leg (shake shake)

Now take your meds (take ’em, take ’em)
Take your meds (take ’em all)
Tell ’em ” take your meds ” (take ’em, take ’em)
Take your meds (take ’em all)
Tell ’em ” take your meds ” (take ’em, take ’em)
Take your meds (take ’em all)
Tell ’em ” take your meds ” (take ’em, take ’em)
Take your meds (take ’em all)

 

Now watch me
Stop stop stop stop stop stop stop stop stop
Now watch me
Stop stop stop stop stop stop stop stop stop

Now watch me trip (Fallin!)
Now watch me sway sway (Away!)
Now watch me trip trip
Now watch me sway sway (Don’t wanna do it)

Now watch me trip (Fallin!)
Now watch me sway sway (Away!)
Now watch me trip trip
Now watch me sway sway (Don’t wanna do it)

Now catch me

Ooh catch me, catch me
Ooh catch me, catch me
Ooh catch me, catch me
Ooh ooh ooh ooh

Ooh catch me, catch me
Ooh catch me, catch me
Ooh catch me, catch me
Ooh ooh ooh ooh

 

Now watch me freeze (aha)
Now watch me shuffle man (okay!)
Now watch me freeze (aha)
Now watch me shuffle man (okay!)

Now watch me freeze (aha)
Now watch me shuffle man (okay!)
Now watch me freeze (aha)
Now watch me shuffle man (okay!)

 

Now watch me shuff, shuff, shuff, shuff, shuff, shuff, shuff, shuff (Hold on)
Now watch me shuff, shuff, shuff, shuff, shuff, shuff, shuff, shuff

 

Now watch me
Stop stop stop stop stop stop stop stop stop
Now watch me
Stop stop stop stop stop stop stop stop stop

 

Now watch me trip (Fallin!)
Now watch me sway sway (Away!)
Now watch me trip trip
Now watch me sway sway (Don’t wanna do it)

Now watch me trip (Fallin!)
Now watch me sway sway (Away!)
Now watch me trip trip
Now watch me sway sway (Don’t wanna do it)

 

Now catch me

Ooh catch me, catch me
Ooh catch me, catch me
Ooh catch me, catch me
Ooh ooh ooh ooh

Ooh catch me, catch me
Ooh catch me, catch me
Ooh catch me, catch me
Ooh ooh ooh ooh

 

Now if you laughed, please do not feel guilty. I have Parkinson’s, and I laughed hard because thought it to be so inappropriately funny, but seriously hilarious as I started trying to formulate a dance craze to this. So, as these words and the picture of me doing the dance get caught in your head, smile; it’s okay. And if you have Parkinson’s like me, first, take a minute to laugh, and second, if you have some mad dance skills, get up with me: maybe we can’t make a video and a new dance craze, sort of like Weird Al Yankovic used to do. Have a great one!

#noquit #justbe #bike2live #litwithin #move4PD #teamfox #parkinsons