New Year's Day Recipe - Pork and Sauerkraut

By Robyn Keller 

With the New Year coming rapidly, I thought it would be nice to share my traditional New Year’s Day recipe.  I know from talking to many people that different regions have their own traditional New Year’s recipes, but one similarity they do have, is the foods consumed on January 1st are supposed to bring you good fortune. Greens, such as cabbage, collards, kale and chard are consumed because their green leaves resemble folded money; and are thus symbolic of economic fortune.  
My Sister-in-Law, Shelly, is from the south, and she always makes Black-eyed peas. There are even those who believe in eating one pea for every day in the New Year.  This all traces back to the legend that during the Civil War, the town of Vicksburg, Mississippi, ran out of food while under attack. The residents fortunately discovered black-eyed peas and the legumes were thereafter considered lucky. 
In Italy and the United States, the custom of eating pork on New Year’s is because the rich fat content signifies wealth and prosperity.  So in keeping with some of these traditions, I’m sharing my mobileFRIENDLY recipe, Pork and Sauerkraut. It's easy because you prepare the meat, stick in a pan and voila! ENJOY!

Holiday Windows - "Because Who is Perfect? Get Closer"

By Wendy Crawford

One of my favorite activities this time of year, is visiting New York City to see the incredible holiday windows! They are truly spectacular works of art and trust me, they have to be for me to want to traipse around for hours in the cold! In fact, I love window shopping any time of the year. In that small little cubicle of space, life is perfect, magical and beautiful. The mannequins' hair, make up and clothing are flawless, as they pose in their ideal surroundings with their supermodel "Barbie doll" proportions.

Recently, a  Swiss based not-for-profit organization, Pro Infirmis decided to redefine this unattainable esthetic by creating mannequins with real life physical disabilities. On December 3, the mannequins were actually placed in store windows on a main street in Zurich, Bahnofstrasse, in honor of International Day of Persons with Disabilities. The awareness project called "Because Who is Perfect? Get Closer" was captured in a short film by Alain Gsponer, and has gone viral on the internet with almost nine million page views, demonstrating that people with disabilities can also be fashion forward!

So while you are admiring the holiday windows or window shopping this upcoming year, keep your eyes open. With this incredible number of views, you never know, we may be seeing more of the new found beauty that we know has existed all along.




 

Have Your Genache and Eat It, Too! A Renal-Friendly Tip-Sheet for The Holidays


By Bethany A. Hoppe 

mobileWOMAN, Bethany Hoppe
‘Tis the season to be Jolly…and totally jinx your well-executed healthy lifestyle you’ve created for the last year, in just four easy weeks!  Renal-friendly diet or not, I can promise you I generally do not turn down every single Christmas cookie that looks my direction, or deny myself a taste of the latest Holiday Cocktail. 

So, how does a girl preserve herself without pickling herself throughout the celebrations?  We all know that your co-workers at the office are not going to forego the salt, and to ask family members in all directions to cook renal-friendly is going to be akin to suggesting Tofurky instead of the real bird back on the farm.  Actually – you might get a bird – only it might not be the one you anticipated. 

No worries – here are some quick tips to stay as renal-friendly as possible during all of the festivities without upsetting the fruit cake, Great-Aunt Biddy, or your Holiday Spirit.

Sugar Plum Dream Cocktail
Drinks All Around:  It would be a huge stretch of the imagination if you found yourself to be the only single solitary person at the party who turns down alcohol.  Not to be snide, but in nearly all social settings there will be those who do not imbibe for religious, addictive, or other health reasons.  So, while some of your cronies may be tipping back the Christmas Punch more than others, you are not alone in your choice to mix up your own non-alcoholic drinks that look and taste as great as the available cocktails, without the kick to the kidney. 

If, however, you are in a place where a glass of wine or spiked punch isn’t a health hazard, be sure to drink twice as much water as either an alcoholic or highly caffeinated drink.   A quick rule of thumb from the article “How to Take Care of Your Kidney Health,” drink one and a half to two liters of water a day, and drink only moderate amounts of tea, coffee and cola because they contain caffeine. This, like alcohol, is a diuretic - which means that it dehydrates the body.  So – for every Sugar Plum Dream cocktail – drink twice the amount of fluid in pure clean water…something sure to be at most dinner parties. 

Holiday Decorating Made Easy with Gadget Girly

By Julia Dorsett
mobileWOMEN contributor, Julia Dorsett
Where did the year go? It is true what your parents said to you as a bored child, "Wait until you get older and time will fly."  It is so funny, but yes, they were right!  So as I prepare for the holidays, I am constantly reminded how much longer it takes to do everything as a wheelchair user.  I'm not complaining, I enjoy doing all that I can by myself, so yes it may take longer, but the immense sense of accomplishment I feel when it is finished is so worth the struggle.  As a single gal, I don't have the luxury to ask for help when it comes to my household duties, including managing my holiday decor. That is why I'm always looking for gadgets to help me splash the Christmas spirit throughout my house with less complication.  

My latest discoveries are flameless candles. I am obsessed, to the point where a friend compared my house to a funeral parlor.  Okay, well that wasn't very nice and I have to admit I do have a lot of them scattered throughout my house, but I think they look beautiful.  If you are not familiar with these fantastic little accents, let me enlighten you.


There are several options out there.  I prefer the candles that have short black wicks that look more realistic when not on.  Then there are the ones that have clear flames that actually move when on, creating a flicker effect, but look less real when not on.  All of them are covered with real wax and look like a real flame candle.  When on, they emulate a lit candle by realistically flickering as a wick would.  The best feature of the these candles, aside from the safely aspect, is the timer.  Each candle comes with a built-in timer that allows the user to pick the time when the candle goes on, by merely pressing a button on the bottom of the candle.  The candle will then come on at the same time every night and "burn" for 5 hours.  This is a great help when the candle may be in a hard-to-reach spot or you have so many of them that it's nice to have to not worry about "lighting" them all, each snowy night.

Enjoy a Stress-free Thanksgiving Weekend with these Black Friday Tips

by Cheryl Price


The holiday season is upon us. I’m not sure how this happened, considering it seems like yesterday that we welcomed in 2013, but of course they do say that time flies when you’re having fun. I guess there’s no reason to complain then, right? This is the time to be thankful, give thanks and eat a lot of turkey in the process. For many of us, we will be celebrating Chanukah simultaneously with Thanksgiving, which is exciting and gives the holiday extra meaning.

Then if course there’s Black Friday….So it’s the time to be thankful for what we have and then trample fellow shoppers who are scrambling for a good deal….in order for our family and friends to have more to be thankful for this holiday season.

I’m not one you’ll find camping out for Black Friday deals. Is that because I’m not a fan of sleeping in my wheelchair on the sidewalk? Or perhaps is it because I don’t want to be knocked out of my chair as a stampede of people rush the Toys R Us entrance? Maybe it has more to do with my love of shopping online, actually, and less about the sleek new Ti-Lite that I use for mobility.

Featured "mobileWOMAN" - Danielle Sheypuk, Ph.D.

Danielle Sheypuk, Ph.D.

Danielle Sheypuk is a licensed psychologist, specializing in the area of dating, relationships, and sexuality among people with physical disabilities.  She currently practices psychology in New York City, where she obtained her Ph.D. from The New School for Social Research. 

Dr. Sheypuk was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy, Type 2, when she was three years old, and she has used a motorized wheelchair since then.  Her interest in the psychology of dating, relationships, and sexuality among people with disabilities began while she was in graduate school, where she uniquely combined her personal experiences and professional studies.While pursuing graduate studies, she once described her NYC dating and relationship experiences as “Sex and the City, disability style.”  She began to address the difficulties that people with disabilities encounter in this frequently ignored yet extremely significant aspect of their lives.  Although there have been many campaigns designed to improve public accommodations for people with disabilities, almost no attention has been paid to improving the quality of their romantic relationships.   


Several published articles later, Dr. Sheypuk’s interest turned into a full-blown campaign after she snagged the title “Ms. Wheelchair New York” in 2012.  “I used this title to speak out on a larger level to change society's negative views of the sexuality of people with disabilities, to promote healthy romantic relationships, and to make dating someone in a wheelchair both desirable and sexy,” Dr. Sheypuk told the press.  Since then, she has found herself in demand from a variety of media focused on her particular area of expertise.

Robyn's mobileFriendly Recipe - Slow Cooker Turkey, White Bean & Pumpkin Chili

Robyn Keller, mobileWOMEN Contributor and Outreach Coordinator

Fall is definitely here! You can see it in the beautiful colors of the trees and you can feel it in the chill in the air.  Whenever this time of year comes around, I always turn to comfort food. One of my favorite things to make is chili. But I wanted to do something a little different than my usual chili; I wanted to utilize some of the fall vegetables that are in season. As luck would have it, a dear friend gave me this recipe that does just that, and it’s easy to make. The recipe is for Slow Cooker Turkey, White Bean and Pumpkin Chili! Yes pumpkin!
The bright orange color of pumpkin indicates that pumpkin is loaded with an important antioxidant, beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is one of the plant carotenoids converted to vitamin A in the body. In the conversion to vitamin A, beta carotene performs many important functions in overall health. Research indicates that a diet rich in foods containing beta-carotene may reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancer and offers protection against heart disease, other diseases as well as some degenerative aspects of aging.
So not only is it healthy but I decided to give it a try and it was DELICIOUS! So here’s my next Mobile Friendly Recipe:

Wedding Dresses For Wheelchair Users: How to Find That Perfect Gown

By Kelly Rouba
Reprinted with permission from The Mobility Resource.


As someone who loves watching shows like Say Yes to the Dress on TLC, you can imagine how excited I was when I got engaged this summer and finally had the opportunity to shop for my perfect wedding dress. Although I didn’t have bridal consultant extraordinaire Randy Fenoli by my side, I was lucky enough to be able to turn to fashion guru Christine Schwab for advice.

Schwab and I both have rheumatoid arthritis and have gotten to know each other as fellow board members of the Arthritis National Research Foundation. A noted television personality and author of several fashion, beauty and lifestyle books, Schwab has shared her expert advice as a guest on many talk shows over the years. Ironically, her introduction to learning how to style women who use wheelchairs came when she was asked to do several fashion makeovers for what was then Live with Regis & Kathie Lee.

Since I also use a wheelchair, I knew she’d be the perfect person to turn to for advice on what to look for in a wedding dress. Many of her tips can be found throughout this article, along with helpful advice from other fashion experts and even a few brides themselves. By following their recommendations, I was able to find my perfect dress and there’s no doubt that you will too.

Chairs on Television: Are We Moving Forward?

By Amy Saffell

I don’t have to tell you that TV shows that feature characters with disabilities, and specifically those in chairs, are few and far between. People with disabilities would love for the attitudinal barriers that others put on them to go away, but it isn’t easy when mainstream media doesn’t give many examples for people to look to of a successful person with a disability who might give them a reason to think differently about the capabilities of people with disabilities. Perhaps the biggest recent success has been “Push Girls,” which completed its second season earlier this year. Still, The Sundance Channel doesn’t reach everyone. “Push Girls” is a giant step forward, but there is much more room for improvement. It would be nice for network channels that everyone gets to freely feature people in chairs. So, what might be stopping them?
You may have seen the show “Ironside” on NBC this fall, a remake of the 1960s-70s TV show about a high-profile detective who sustained a spinal cord injury in the line of duty. The show clearly depicted Detective Ironside as a smart, independent, and capable person in a chair. They showed him getting in and out of his chair without help, they showed him working out, they showed him doing physical tasks from his chair, and they showed him having relationships with women. They showed how the things he’s learned from being in a chair actually help him in his job and in his ability to solve crimes. The show also explored the psychological difficulties of him coping with being in a chair and the trials of trying to make others around him accept his disability as much as he has. True, Ironside was played by Blair Underwood, who isn’t a chair user in real life, which begs the question that someone who is actually a chair user should get the opportunity to play the part of someone in a chair, but on the flipside, Underwood is a big-name actor, and the fact that he would want to play the part of someone in a chair, and quite convincingly from my perspective, just might be a great way to draw in people who wouldn’t have watched it with an actor they didn’t know. 

Disability Advocate Honored by White House as a ‘Champion of Change’

by Kelly Rouba
This article is reprinted with permission by www.themobilityresource.com

Over the past eight years, Scott Ellis has trained thousands of New Jersey and Pennsylvania residents—many with disabilities—on how to prepare for emergencies. Although most of them probably thought they’d never need to worry about being affected by a real disaster, that all changed after Hurricane Sandy made landfall last October.
“For many people, Hurricane Sandy was a huge wake-up call and now, more than ever, they realize the importance of being prepared for a major disaster,” says Ellis, who is the emergency preparedness training coordinator for the Progressive Center for Independent Living (PCIL) in Hamilton, New Jersey.
On September 24, Ellis was among three individuals honored by the White House as one of their Champions of Change for Community Preparedness and Resilience. The Champions of Change program was created as an opportunity for the White House to feature individuals, businesses, and organizations doing extraordinary things to empower and inspire members of their communities. This particular award celebrates “Americans who are preparing communities for disasters and helping them respond and recover.”

In Search of the Perfect Wheelchair Bag

by Wendy Crawford




A couple years ago, I was holiday shopping at an outlet mall. Even though I detest the cold, I love the holidays and embrace every tradition there is, especially shopping! Bundled up like the little brother in “Christmas Story," I watched the shoppers go by with their shopping bags as I enjoyed listening to Bing Crosby for the zillionth time.

We noticed a sale at the Coach outlet, so we stopped in to find some gifts. We had no idea what we were in for! It was an absolute complete madhouse! Women were lined up, waiting to enter, while salespeople tried to keep order in the chaos. We decided to stay on course and, after a long wait outdoors, we proceeded into the store. How can a girl miss out on a bargain? 

Through the craziness, I saw all the beautiful bags and purses in a variety of vibrant colors. Suddenly, I felt a slight pang of envy. For the past 20-plus years since my C5/6 injury, purses were too difficult for me to handle due to my limited hand function; I had always opted out for “practical” bags for the back of my chair.  Since they weren’t pretty, they were always black to blend into the back of my chair, and I used the same one year round. It was at that moment that I realized I was tired of settling for a “practical” bag. Here in the Coach store, I began my search for the perfect chic bag.

Robyn's MobileFRIENDLY Recipe - Angel Hair Pasta with Spinach and Anchovies!

Robyn Keller, mobileWOMEN.org Contributor & Outreach Coordinator
Here is another Mobile Friendly Recipe for you to try.  I really love cooking with anchovies! They practically dissolve, but they lend this wonderful flavor to any sauce. Other important reasons to eat them are that they are sustainable and healthy, as they are full of fatty acids that can help lower cholesterol and reduce heart disease. They're also a good source of protein, calcium, and vitamins E and D. In fact, you have probably eaten them before and not even realized it since they are in Worcestershire sauce and Caesar salad dressing!
Even if you “think” you don’t like anchovies, please give it a shot. I promise you, this recipe will make you an anchovy convert!!  I made it several years ago for my husband, Steve’s birthday.  He loves it so much that it has become a birthday tradition.  I hope that you enjoy it as much as we do!
Angel Hair Pasta with Spinach and Anchovies
Here are a few ideas that I use to help me prepare this recipe.  I use a food chopper to dice the onions and chop the garlic. I do have trouble opening the anchovies, so I have someone open the cans and put the anchovies along with the oil into a container that I can open later.  I put the thawed spinach in a strainer and press out the excess water; you can also press with a paper towel.  When the pasta is cooked, I use a plastic pasta fork attached to my Norco Universal Quad Cuff to scoop the pasta from the boiling water to the skillet. This way I don’t have to transfer the boiling pot of water and mess with trying to pour everything into a colander.  Another great thing to use is a pasta pot; it has the colander built right in.

What is Desirability?

by Bethany Hoppe


There is no denying that each of us has Desires, even at the most basic level of being thirsty or hungry. Beyond that, we might get into creature comforts and our sexual appetites. Some people base personal Desires on material things such as clothing, buying certain labels, or simply owning things, regardless of how little the possessions mean to them or how soon they tire of them. Generally, the Human Animal constantly functions on its Desires for comfort, sustenance, survival, and safety. 

Mistakenly, our society often likes to point out the materialism of today’s culture, but fails to consider the Spiritual-Emotional needs of the Person as part of the equation. Out of our frustration, we have become really good at pointing fingers at one another, judging one another on how much or how little one earns, and applying unfounded meanings to the words wealthy and poor. And worse, we then self-apply these unfounded meanings to our physicality, emotional stability, or mental capacity with even more labels. We constantly validate or in-validate ourselves and those around us with very little thought.

But the fact still remains that we all have Desires.

And we should. 

Amazing Quadriplegic Woman's Pony tail Technique

By Tiffiny Carlson 
Every girl wants the freedom of throwing up her hair whenever she pleases, but when your fingers are paralyzed, even partially, this is something you have to give up (quite painfully I might add). But Elizabeth Kolbe, 25, a C6-7 quadriplegic woman studying law at Stanford University, refused to accept her no-pony-tail fate and figured out a way to put her hair up independently after working on a technique for about 2 years. By combining the right lean and moving her hands and manipulating her paralyzed fingers just so, her pony tail technique works.
As a C6-7 quadriplegic woman, Kolbe can move her arms almost normally, and she has about 10% finger function; certainly not enough to just throw her air up thoughtlessly whenever she wants to. She can move her thumb on her left hand and her left index finger, as well as some lower hand tendons.  But as her video of her showing off her technique shows, once she’s in the right position and has her hair in the exact place she needs, everything falls into place and she can get her ponytail up in less than a minute. 

Watch her ponytail technique above.
Unfortunately, since my injury is at the C5-6 level (one level above Kolbe’s) her technique won’t work for me. But despite only C6-7 quads being the only people who can really use the information exactly the way it‘s laid out, it also has another, much bigger lesson: It shows that whatever your injury level, you should make the most of every muscle movement, even if it’s only a flicker, because you never know what you may be able to figure out. The ability of humans to think their way out of almost any situation, even if it takes years, will astound you.
Reprinted with permission by SPINALpedia.com
About the author: Tiffiny Carlson is a freelance writer from Minneapolis. She has a C6 spinal cord injury from a diving accident from when she was 14 years old and has degree in Mass Communications from Augsburg College. Tiff has her own website, BeautyAbility.com and is SPINALpedia.com’s official blogger writing about all about all aspects of life with paralysis. 

SPINALpedia.com is a free user-generated how-to video network for people with paralysis and their supporters to connect and learn from each other. There are thousands of videos available –from the basics (getting dressed in the morning) to the extreme (adapted skydiving)—all able to be filtered by the physical mobility of the users, making searches efficient. Their mission is to empower more people with paralysis with the tools to adapt their lives and re-enter society as active citizens.

Revisiting the Great Outdoors

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by Darla Greven


This summer my husband and I wanted to find a way to go camping in Yosemite National Forest. Although we used to love camping, we hadn't tried any outdoor overnights since my injury 10 years ago. We didn’t pull down our old tent and camp stove, but we found some great adaptive alternatives that got me camping and enjoying the great outdoors again with my family.

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My Kodak moment… here I am out in spectacular nature; triumphing over obstacles that could keep me from this beautiful place, because of my impressive willpower! Right? No. Unfortunately, my willpower can’t change the fact that real forest floors and true wilderness don’t conform to my new list of special needs.
What I’ve learned I can do is work hard and explore my own resources and push my own boundaries to find ways I can enjoy the things I have always loved, like the outdoors. Since I began living with spinal cord injury, paralysis and pain years ago, it so much more challenging; but I am finding that it’s totally worth the effort!

Gadget Girly Tries Out Smart Home Automation with the Belkin WeMo

"Gadget Girly" Julia Dorsett
As a globe trotter, I am always looking for gadgets to help me when I prepare to leave the house for a trip. Light timers are good, but with power outages and daylight savings time, they can fail as a reliable sources of security. Enter the Belkin WeMo. This fun, little gadget allows the user to control any outlet in the house with a smartphone; it's the latest in smart home automation. 

Setup is very simple. Plug in the modular unit, connect to your WiFi, select the WeMo option, open the WeMo app (download from ITunes) name each of your devices and you are ready to go. I used it on several lights, but you can plug in anything. Start your coffee from bed, turn on your table fan from across the room or fill the room with your favorite jams before you even enter your house. I found the setup very easy and just last night sat in my car and turned all my lights on from the car! Very cool! The WeMo even has a motion sensor which allows you to trigger any outlet when you pass by the motion detector. I have mine set up at my front door, so as I enter my house a hall light goes on.  You can also use the small button located on the outlet device to turn your appliance on and off. So, not only does this system enable you to turn your stuff on/off from 30,000 feet in the air,  you can also light up the house with a simple swipe on your smartphone as you sit on the couch watching the sun set.  


When It's Not a Big Deal

By Wendy Crawford
One of our editors recently brought to my attention an article about a quadriplegic rugby player, Jessica Kruge,r who landed a modeling contract with a large Canadian cosmetic company, Lise Watier. Jessica beat over 400 competitors and was chosen unanimously by a panel of judges to represent their new perfume, Something Sweet.  
“Finally!” I thought. Twenty-nine years ago I was an up-and-coming model, working in Toronto and Montreal , Canada.  After six months, I secured a two-month modeling assignment in Tokyo, Japan. I was ecstatic! My dream to travel the world was becoming a reality. 

Wendy Crawford, before her accident
Unfortunately, I never made it. On the way to the airport, my vehicle was rear-ended by a driver that had been drinking, shattering my vertebrae and my dream in a split second.
After surgery and almost a year of rehabilitation, I only wanted to return to my life as I knew it. I wanted to model again, only this time, I would be returning as a C-5/C-6 quadriplegic . Since I had mostly done print work in magazines before the accident and I looked basically the same, I didn’t think that it would be a problem. The only difference to me was that I would be sitting when I was photographed.
Well, I couldn’t have been more wrong! This was the 80’s and models with disabilities were unheard of.  My agent urged the clients to hire me, but there was no work for me. Everyone in the industry was compassionate, but I got the feeling that they just didn’t know what to do with me. Many fashion magazines were interested in covering my story, but to me, it wasn’t the same. I just wanted to work as any other model and pay my bills.
Fortunately, I was blessed to find a fulfilling job, public speaking to high school students and community groups about the perils of drinking and driving. I loved this work and even though I knew this job was important, I was still confused and frustrated as to why I couldn’t continue to model. Years later, I did a few modeling jobs for companies like Carnival Cruise Lines and Nordstrom, but there was not enough demand to make it a career.
As the years have passed, I realized that some of that frustration was me coming to terms with my injury, but also the longer that I am disabled, the more I understand the importance of fair representation in the media. 

Robyn's mobileFRIENDLY Recipe - Cucumber, Tomato & Mozzarella Salad

Robyn Keller, mobileWOMEN.org Contributor & Outreach Coordinator
I come from a family of foodies so it was natural for me to want to cook.  I am a c6-7 quad and married to another quad. It's important to both of us to eat healthy but can be a challenge.  What better way than to cook our own food? With my limited hand use, I knew if I was going to cook, I would need to be creative.  So over the years I’ve found some helpful tools and great recipes that taste wonderful yet are simple to make.

I find this the best time of year to create flavorful dishes with a bounty of healthy vegetables to choose from. When planning meals, utilize some of the fantastic local produce that is in season – it’s inexpensive and super-fresh. YUM! If you have your own garden, you probably are buried in tomatoes and cucumbers right now so here is a recipe for a refreshing salad with some tips for those with limited hand function: 




Sail Away

By Bethany A. Hoppe 
 
mobileWOMEN contributor, Bethany Hoppe
In the middle of winter this past year, my friend Unita and I started up a fabulous conversation about summer vacations.  She and her husband, who works at the same university as I do, usually do a trip each summer.   So, we decided to plan a trip together.  It didn’t take long for our vacation daydreaming to take us to the beach, which of course led to chattering about our shared love for dolphins, which led to our shared wish to have a dolphin encounter, or at least go view them from a sailboat.

Ironically, while I love the water, I don’t really swim.  I am in awe of the ocean’s energy, vibe, and force – yet know that it isn’t the safety of a swimming pool with umbrella drinks.  A lot of my mixed emotions about the awesomeness of the ocean’s shore, and the rush of dealing with waves and wildlife, is wrapped up in logistics.  

Wheelchairs are not a fan of sand, or salt water no matter how much this Rolling Diva wants to play in the ocean and tan on the beach!  

Rolling on the beach may sound romantic, but it isn’t the picturesque stroll hand in hand with your man when you’re battling every victorious foot of progress in soft sand, sea foam, and shells.  I found very quickly that if I stopped for a moment, I sunk into a rut that reminded me of getting stuck in the deep snow of Northwestern Pennsylvania.  

If I wasn’t cleared out of the way enough for incoming surf, I would get dizzy with the gravitational tidal pulls that shifted the soaking sand under my wheels, relocating and sinking me into a new spot with zero hope of backing out of the current or next rolling curl of water.  

When you’re not a strong swimmer, and you weigh in about the same as a Jellyfish…diving into the surf isn’t the brightest idea.  But despite this, I craved adventure!  I wanted to be on the water. I wanted to be at the water.  I wanted to be in the water.  I wanted to encounter the life force of the ocean.  

My husband and I traveled with our friends to Cocoa Beach, FL for the vacation Unita and I had begun talking about back when there were no leaves on the trees of Tennessee, and the forecast was a constant gray drizzle and chill in the air.  

With help from Tyson, I got a quick carry-her-across-the-threshold, and then go-back-and-get-her-chair style of getting onto the beach.  Soon we discovered a strip of beach between the soft sinking sand, and the wet tide sand that basically acted like a sidewalk.  If I tipped back slightly off my casters, we were able to manage quite a romantic stroll along the beach.  Occasionally, tides came in closer than expected, and I would get a little stranded momentarily.  I have made a mental note that next time I take a beach vacation…plan ahead to rent a beach wheelchair.  It will be worth the fees and the freedom of joy-riding a bit more.  

Here are a couple of links to learn more about beach chair rentals that has a listing of multiple locations: http://www.beachwheelchair.com/rentals.htm

Even though I didn’t have a beach chair, I still enjoyed the beach.  The more I rolled around, the more physically fit I began to feel and become in a very short amount of time.  I quickly learned a few new ways of pushing my chair, and bumping up and down small steps of the resort.  But more than that…I learned something about my own physical integrity.

Personal Meets Professional: Advocating on the Rights of Parents with Disabilities


Erin Andrews with her son Gavin
by Erin Andrews, PsyD, ABPP (APA Committee on Disability Issues in Psychology)

As a psychologist, my experience has primarily been in the clinical domain. However, on April 17, I was thrilled to expand my experience with advocacy when I represented the American Psychological Association at a congressional briefing on the groundbreaking National Council on Disability (NCD) report - Rocking the Cradle: Ensuring the Rights of Parents with Disabilities and Their Children.

The briefing was a joint effort between APA, NCD, the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), and the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA). When I spoke to that room of congressional members and staff, I spoke from personal experience. My interest in parenting and disability goes beyond the professional. I am a disabled parent myself and have written about my pregnancy journey before.

Here is the back story. Rocking the Cradle is the first truly inclusive overview of reproductive and parenting rights among people with disabilities. The issues contained in the report impact me both personally and professionally.

PushLiving Nutrition for an Optimized You: How your diet can make your “Push Living” easier and less complicated.

By Deborah Davis


You may exercise, take vitamins and supplements, and think you are eating a healthy diet, but you could still be feeling lethargic, depressed, and tired and don’t know why. It could all be based on your diet and its effects on “elimination”. Yep, we are going to be talking about a diet that revolves around the best practices for eliminating “Poop”.
Having a disability that affects your mobility can create more health concerns and complications if your diet is not optimized to aide you, but instead is a contributing factor in what ails you. Some of the common complaints often complicating quality of life and work for so many in our Push community include:
        Skin breakdowns,
        Bacterial infections (uti’s being a main one) 
        Pain in joints/stiffness
        Low blood pressure
        Blood sugar issues
        Stomach issues such as bloating, spasms, pain, constipation or diarrhea, 
        Weight gain due to lack of activity

Then there are the “beauty and aging” factors that we would all like to optimize:
        Clear bright eyes
        Healthy, shiny  and thick hair
        Supple skin with fewer breakout
        Less wrinkling and sagging of skin
        Less dark circles and eye puffiness
        Strong nails

Based on years of research, and travel throughout the globe, the bestselling author featured in this article highlights how some of the above issues can be addressed via food. Kimberly Snyder is most famous for giving high paid movie stars and celebrities the EDGE they needed before a movie to look their best, stay youthful and maintain their highly sought after beauty. But don’t use her celeb fame against her, she is also a clinical nutritionist who has done extensive research.