Photography and Birding: A Recipe for a Meaningful Life


By Kara Aiello 
Ann Marie Geiger
Recently I had the honor of interviewing Ann Marie Geiger, an avid bird watcher and photographer who is a Renaissance woman in her own right.  Born with Osteogenesis Imperfecta, a bone condition that causes people to experience a few to as many as a hundred fractures, usually occurs before adolescence. Ms. Geiger is short-statured, uses a wheelchair for mobility and has experienced around 70 fractures in her lifetime, but she doesn’t let the pain of those years hold her back from living life and doing what she loves.  Now in her mid-50’s, Ms. Geiger lives in an impressive in-law suite located in a Montgomery County suburb of Philadelphia PA, connected to her sister’s house which they built together, her part made accessible for her personal needs.  Her portion of the house includes 3 bedrooms, 2 baths which are wheelchair accessible, a sunroom, a living room and a spacious kitchen with low countertops, stove and oven. In addition, her little family includes 2 dwarf rabbits, Popcorn and Bunson, a yellow Parakeet named ChiChi and Smuckers, a Cockatiel who has a keen knack for picking up words and voices that will make you laugh and scare you all in the same moment.  Smuckers’ vocabulary includes “pretty bird”; “come here”; “what a pretty bird you are”; and “I’m a pretty little bad bird” a phrase one won’t soon forget!  

The Struggle of Asking for Help

As mobileWOMEN, often we find ourselves in situations where needing help can be a humbling experience. But there are other times when needing help can leave us with a feeling of humiliation! It can be frustrating to be in the position of being dependent upon others when often, inside, we feel fiercely independent and would do anything not to have to ask for help. At first, we might think, “I’ll go without," or "I’ll just skip … “ whatever the need may be. But over time, we may come to realize that needing help is a reality we cannot avoid and making peace with that is all part of the battle.

But here are important questions to ask: Is this way of thinking beneficial to us? Is it really worth suffering or obsessing? Are we afraid that someone will be upset with us if we ask? Perhaps that is the case in some situations, but not always.

What if we looked at the circumstances with a different perspective? Maybe we are missing an opportunity to share an experience with another human being--a snapshot in time where two people can connect, an honest, positive exchange of the human spirit. At times, people may want to help, but feelings of uncertainty of how to do so can arise. Other times, people may become concerned that their actions could offend someone. Helping another human being can be extremely rewarding, so why not push your pride aside and allow that person into your world for a small moment in time? You may just make that person’s day, which could have otherwise been another hectic, meaningless one.

Achieving Potential through Therapeutic Insight

By Kara Aiello
  
Raising a daughter who lives with a disability is far from easy. My parents did the best they could as most any parent would.  As a child, I was given safety and comfort when I lived through fractures and operations. I was protected from the bumps and bruises of life that could have done me great harm at that delicate period of my life.

That protection, so important then, didn’t always benefit me as I grew up. I became more physically strong not having fractures past the age of 11, but not emotionally strong.  However, a gift from my mother did send me on a journey of growth that has helped change my life in so many ways.