Paying It Forward

Have you had that  moment where you’ve come to the realization  that what you’re doing is right? Sometimes in the process of finding ourselves we’re not exactly sure how we’re going to get to the end result.

I started this blog to encourage and inspire  others to go after their dreams. No matter the circumstance they can overcome them. It doesn’t matter if you have a physical or mental impairment or you just need a push in the right direction.  I want to help make the world a better place not just for people with disabilities, but for everyone who comes after me. Everyone deserves fair opportunities no matter their origin.

I often think of why God made me the way he did? Not in a self loathing sense, but in finding my purpose. He gave me this life to encourage and empower others. Circumstance doesn’t have to cripple you anything and everything is possible if he wills it. Don’t dwell on what you don’t have. Make the best of what you do have.

In telling my story I hope that it gives others the opportunity to do the same. We should not be ashamed of revealing our struggles. Everyone goes through something and by telling your story it could help them in their situation.  I believe in paying it forward. Helping others causes a chain reaction that causes the overall improvement of everyone’s lives.

If wasn’t for the people in my life I wouldn’t  be where I am today. There have been so many people that are a big part of who I am. One person that is very special to me is my one on one Mrs. Janice Wilson. She’s like third parent to me. She came into my life when I was in first grade. She pushed me beyond my limits because she knew I was capable of much more than what I was doing at the time. She made me self reliant and always encouraged me to do my best. She always held me accountable when I was wrong she called my parents because she knew I was better than that.   One of the best moments of my life is when she came to my college graduation and saw me walk across that stage. She is one of the few people who have been there from the beginning besides my parents that has been here to see how far I’ve come. It’s not over yet. She’s a big part of who I am and I am thankful forbthat. Thank you Mrs. Wilson.

I hope that I can be that person pushes others to be their best self like she did for me. Everyone needs that person that will give them a kick in the butt   when it’s needed and credit where it’s due.

-Ebony L. Washington 

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The Heart of a Teacher

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” -Maya Angelou

 

“You were originally zoned for Trace Crossings Elementary, and that school is closer to where we live, so I think it would be best to send you there.” My mom said as she was helping me get ready for bed. I started crying. Gwin Elementary School had become like a home to this almost 4th grader, and I had made tons of sweet friends that I didn’t want to leave. My mom had her mind made up. I would stay there for two years until 5th grade graduation, with the same teacher and the same classmates for those 2 years. I also would have a special education teacher. I’d always had one for math, as that was a subject I’d always struggled a little with, but this time, at Trace, I would have a Special Ed. teacher for math & reading. I had no idea why, maybe it was because of my tracking problems when I read, or maybe it was because God knew I would need this sweet teacher for more than one class. It seemed like I would not make friends, but I eventually did. I still struggled a lot though. I struggled with the pressures of being a new kid, a preteen, and getting ready for middle school, but what stressed me out most was how I seemed to be told constantly by adults, “You’ll never be able to handle the “big obstacle” that is middle school.” Yep. Way to tear down a kid’s confidence. One day, the stress of it all just got to me. I got down to my special education teacher, Mrs. Brown’s classroom, for afternoon reading. I could no longer hold in my emotions, so as I was driving there, I was also crying. Mrs. Brown was also heading to her classroom, saw me, and opened her door for me. I was the first one there, so for a while, we were alone. I don’t think she said much, and if she did, I don’t really remember what it was she said. I just remember her hugging me, giving me a glass of water, and holding my hand. “Wow, I thought “This is the first time I feel someone actually cares for me, and is in my corner.” That was not the only meltdown. She was there for many more. At 5th grade graduation, she had tears watching me walk down the aisle, and she gave my mom a book about the Full Life Ahead Foundation. This organization helps people with disabilities reach their goals & dreams in lifejb 2. It has helped me tremendously, and still helps me to this day. The next year, I ended up being homeschooled. I was going to have to go through a major hip surgery that year anyways, and I gained 2 major things through homeschooling: I drew much closer to God, and was baptized. I also learned those adults were right. I can’t handle obstacles. At least, not by myself, but that’s okay. I have a God who can. He will always be with me in every stage of my life, no matter where it takes me, and He has a plan for me. The world can’t tell me otherwise. The story comes to now, when I’m in college. My mom teaches exercise classes at a nursing home called Summerby. She was talking to this sweet old lady who had come to her class one day. “My daughter taught Special Education.” she said. I guess my mom was curious, so she said, “What’s her name?” “Joan Brown.” her mom said. As soon as my mom talked to her that day, she came home and said to me, “Guess who I saw?” “Who?” I asked. “Joan’s mom.” she said. “Who’s Joan?” I asked. “You know, Joan Brown?” Her mom came to my class at Summerby.” It all started coming back to me. How could I forget the sweet teacher who changed my life? “She said that Joan comes to visit her a lot.” “She also said that Joan’s mind is going, so it might be hard for her to remember you, but we should still go and see her.” I knew it would be hard for me, seeing her like that, but I still wanted to see her. We got busy with our lives, and my mom was working a lot. Then, in October of last year, my mom talked to Joan’s mom. She found out that Joan died, and they had just had her funeral. Of course, after that, I couldn’t stop thinking of her. My mom found Mrs. Brown ‘s obituary online, and the thing that stood out the most to me was this quote: “Joan’s love for Jesus Christ showed in every aspect of her life.” Of course, I thought. That’s why she was so special. That’s why her light shone so brightly in my darkness. Recently, one of the pastor’s at my church gave us an assignment to write a thank you note to the person who invested in us. I got to visit and talk with my teacher’s sweet mom, and give this note to her. It was really cool. Teachers, I know your job can be hard at times, but you matter to your kids. Look for the child who is struggling, and they just might remember you years later as the teacher who was there for them during their struggle. The teacher who showed them Jesus in their time of need. Mrs. Brown, your death is probably the hardest death since the death of my dog, Sandy, but I know you are home where you belong with my angels, watching over me, and helping me overcome my obstacles. Thank you for everything. RIP. ❤ This blog is dedicated to Joan Brown. 1948-2015

 

Ashley N. Moulin

Act One

It’s been awhile since I posted anything. So today I’m going to go a little off topic of CP and talk about something more light hearted.

As I’ve stated in the past I have taken up acting up and modeling. One reason I’m doing it is to raise awareness about Cerebral palsy. Though this process I’m learning a lot about myself. It has made me more confident and confortable with who I am. I’m absolutely loving it.

The best part I have enjoyed so far is meeting new people. I was an extra in a movie a few weeks ago, it was so much fun. I have so much respect for film makers now. I didn’t realize how much work goes into it. It took nearly 12 hours to one scene, but it was worth it. At the end of the day finished product is what matters. I can’t wait to be a part more films. Keep a look out you might see me on the big screen one day!

Ebony L.Washingron

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A Message To Our Readers

Thank you so much for all your support. Thank you for reading Our blog.We appreciate all your support. It would mean a lot to us  if you could share this with all your friends and  family. Anything it takes to get our message about Cerebral  Palsy awareness  out thank you we love you so much.

We love you guys! 

-Ebony & Ashley💚💕

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What is “Normal”

Sometimes I have those moments where I feel like I’m missing out, but looking at the bigger picture it’s the complete opposite.  Yes there are things I do differently than other people it doesn’t mean I’m missing out. If it wasn’t for my Cerebral Palsy I wouldn’t be where I am today. In a way I’m greatful for it. It’s made me a strong minded person. I don’t give up as easily and I choose to fight on. 

People ask me all the time do I wish I could walk and  live a “normal” life? But what actually defines normal? Everyone has there own definition of what that means. To me it’s living life to the best of my ability. I refuse to stay inside the confines of normal. I may not be able to do somethings physically, but I am forefilled  in other areas of my life. If it wasn’t for my CP I wouldn’t have story tell. Touching lives that I would have never had the opportunity to touch. Life is not easy for anyone nor is it fair. Why dwell on the fact that I’m not “normal”?  Life is too short for that.  God made me the way he wanted me to be. We are all made in his image. He makes no mistakes and never give us more than we can handle. None of us are normal. Honestly that word should be obsolete. It confines us to one category or mind set. If we accept that there is no such thing as normal we can accept our differences in the beauty with those differences.

Ebony L. Washington 

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Dog is just God spelled backwards

As my friend, Ebony, mentioned in one of her blog posts, when you have a wheelchair, it can be harder to make friends. For me, the hardest part is I’m afraid that people might look at me on the outside instead of truly getting to know my heart and me as a person. Put this on top of being an introvert, and it can be even harder. 12 years ago,  I met one golden retriever who didn’t see my disability, but saw my heart from the moment she met me. I applied for a service dog at a place called Canine Assistants in Alpharetta, Georgia. It took 5 years. I am, for the most part, a patient person, and I have always been. At least, that’s what I’ve been told, but the little child in me did not know if she could wait that long. I soon forgot I’d even applied until my mom got the call when I was 11. I would turn 12 in January of 2002, and get my dog, Sandy, that summer.   When they called she was a little skeptical about getting a dog. My little sister, Desiree, would be 1 that March, and I would soon be going in for another surgery after I got Sandy. She almost told Canine Assistants, “Not this year.” She knew, though, how long I had waited, and that I would be so disappointed. Then, my birthday came around the next year, on January 7th, 2002. One of the birthday presents that really meant the most that year was a Build A Bear from my little sister, Cheree. It was a stuffed golden retriever. “I named it Sandy.” she said. I guess you could say that God was speaking to her. The day finally came. My family and I headed to Georgia for a one week training camp. The dogs were already a year and pretty  much fully trained, but now, it was my turn, along with all the other owners. We had to learn the 90 different commands, sit through lectures, and work with the dogs. Then, we had to pick our top 3 dogs that we liked, and that we thought worked best with us.  Canine Assistants would go from there, and  pick the dog that they thought would best fit our personality. My top 3 dogs were named LJ, Sandy, and Alice. Can you guess which one they gave me? After we got our dogs, we started going on outings to get both our dogs and us used to going out together. One of my most favorite memories that still makes me smile to this day was when my sister, Cheree, and I would get on the bus, and every time we got on we would sing this song with a lady who had a dog named Ginger. We would sing, “On the road again, we just can’t wait to get on the road again, with our dogs.” One time, we had gotten back from a mall trip with new Build A Bears, and we added to our song: “With our dogs and our Build A Bears.” Sandy hardly left my side after training camp. She was in the hospital with me when I had my surgery, (except she couldn’t go in the operating room.) she went on tons of trips to the library with my best friend, Briana, and I while our sisters were in gymnastics, she went on trips out of the state, she went to art classes with me, she even went to church with us. Then, one day, in 2014, Sandy got sick. she wasn’t herself, she didn’t want to eat,and when she did eat, she threw up a lot. I emailed Canine Assistants vet, Kent Bruner, to explain the situation and schedule a time to bring her in. Georgia was so far away, but Sandy hardly ever got sick, and we didn’t really know a vet here, and we always liked bringing her there because they really took care of her and loved her as their own. I had scheduled a time. I was ready to go to a Demi Lovato concert that Feb. in Georgia. The day of the concert came, and I was so pumped. Something happened. Sandy started sneezing blood that day. My mom called Canine Assistants: “We’re going to be in Georgia, and would like to schedule an emergency visit.” I went on to the concert with my dad, feeling like a bad owner, while Desiree and my mom went to Canine Assistants with Sandy. After the concert, when we were all back together in the van, my mom said, “Kent said it could be an infection or cancer, but it’s most likely cancer.” I didn’t want to feel anything, so I just felt denial. I thought of the most positive outcome, an infection. Kent gave my mom some medicine to see if the infection would go away. Nothing was improving, and I was still in denial, denial, denial. “She doesn’t want to do anything.” my dad said. “She doesn’t even want to move.” “Don’t think of your feelings, think of her pain.” It was then October. Time for another trip to Canine Assistants.  I wanted to put her to sleep in the comfort of her home with her family, cremate her, and bury some of her ashes there on the grounds of Canine Assistants.  I know with all my heart I made the right decision. We were waiting outside for Kent to come back from his lunch break, then we got tired, so we came inside. We had just gotten inside and Sandy just decided to plop down at the back door and not move. We were so far away from Kent’s office, but we decided to wait there with her anyways. Kent came back from his lunch break. “Oh, Baby girl, you do not look good.” He picked her straight up and carried her to his office. Don’t cry, Ashley, I thought to myself. Then, he had to ask the question, how are you doing? “I’m OK.” I whimpered, then I just broke down. My mom, Desiree, and I all gathered around her as the vet, Kent, put her to sleep. My mom and I were a mess, and even the precious vet was crying. Those dogs are his babies. Canine Assistants had raised and trained Sandy until she was a year old. “You can come back and play with our dogs anytime you want.” “You can even have another one.” Canine Assistants said. Sure, I have a few close friends, and I  will be forever grateful for their love and friendship, but no friend can ever show me love and loyalty the way that Sandy did. Even in her last few days, she would never leave my chair’s side. I will be forever grateful for Sandy, and for the amazing place that is Canine Assistants. They both showed me what love is. They both showed me God, and all I have to end with is that there should be more places like Canine Assistants in the world.

By the way, I put the wrong year up there as to when I got Sandy. I had her from 2003-2014 RIP. For more information, or to donate, please visit: http://www.canineassistants.org If your heart moves you, please donate under my dog’s name: Sandy Moulin. This  blog post is for her and Canine Assistants.

Ashley N. Moulinsandy and ash

Accessibility And Inconvenience 

Getting around can be hard at times. Sometimes it can be inconvenient and sometimes people are just inconsiderate. It’s not that people do it on purpose, but sometimes they just get caught up in their own world. They forget to take others into consideration.

My biggest pet peeve is when people use the big stall even though they are fully capable of using the regular stall. It makes my blood boil sometimes. Or when I go certain places  and they’re not accessible at all. Because the buildings are so old that they’re not up to code. By law every public place is supposed to be accessible for everyone. Some places skirt around the issue by not building above three levels so don’t have to add an elevator.  This is a sad, but true fact. We as wheelchair users should be aloud to go anywhere we please. By raising awareness we can make things better for us.

Ebony L. Washington

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