What’s in your rearview mirror?

“One person can make a difference and everyone should try”

-John F Kennedy

The other day, I was talking to a friend about life when he mentioned something that caused me to stop and think. We were discussing making a positive impact on the people around us and making a difference. To me, I believe it is everyone’s responsibility to make a difference or to change the world for the better, even if it’s in the tiniest way. His response to this statement was how not everyone is like this, not everyone tries to make a difference or a positive impact.differenceII

It’s so easy to become wrapped up in our own daily life and to only be concerned with what’s going on in our bubble or what directly affects us. But when we stop to recognize those around us, we allow ourselves to broaden our perspective and to see the needs of others. When we are willing to help others instead of just ourselves, we not only feel good about who we are but also improve the lives of others. If life came with a rearview mirror, we could see how our actions have an impact on those around us and how important it is treat everyone with kindness.

Have you looked in your rearview mirror lately?

“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”

-Mother Teresa


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The ugly habit of toe-walking

A bad habit cannot be thrown out the window, it must be coaxed down the stairs a step at a time”

-Mark Twain

As I touched on in a recent post, lately I’ve been focused on trying to permanently correct my walking and unsteady gait. I’m at that point in life where it’s exhausting to constantly worry about tripping over my feet, struggling to carry things when I walk, not being able to walk in a straight line, etc.  After 20 years of dealing with an unsteady gait along with other walking-related issues, I’m determined to fix these issues once and for all. 


In order to achieve my goal, there are several bad habits I’ve developed overtime that need to be broken. One in particularly, which is probably the hardest to break, is that I have a tendency to walk on my toes. Years ago, when I first re-learned to walk, I used to fall all the time mostly because weakness in my legs and poor foot placement. As a last resort measure to keep myself from hitting the ground, I started to walk on my toes.  Overtime, toe-walking became the norm and how my body would compensate for not always being able to control my foot placement.  Toe-walking became a learned behavior and how I taught myself to adapt to my situation.

Although toe-walking at first seemed helpful, I’ve come to realize it actually increases my risk of falling. It has also caused my ankles to become weak and has made it very difficult for me to walk in a consistent heel-toe motion. So basically now I have to break a 20 year-old habit, learn to not walk on my toes, and instead walk heel-toe. (not confusing at all)

bad habits



As I consciously try to walk heel-toe and avoid walking on my toes, I can’t help not get frustrated at myself for wasting all those years creating this bad habit. Toe-walking has negatively affected my walking in many ways! But the thing is I have to let it go, be patient with myself, and remain committed to breaking this habit. It is often through our mistakes that we learn the most about ourselves and are able to change for the better.  

There are some days where everything seems perfect and my heel-toe motion is on point. But there are also days when I struggle to stay off my toes and feel extremely discouraged. Days like that I can hear my therapist shouting in my head “Get off you toes! Get on your heels!” As annoyed as I feel at times, like I’ll never walk normally, it’s important to push forward; remain dedicated and determined. Even as I write this, my heels are on the floor while my toes are in the air, as if I’m about to take a step. Not sure how much that will help with walking but at least it helps my bran become familiar with that feeling.

So maybe I developed a bad habit overtime, that’s in the past, I can only focus on improving myself now. Once you hit rock bottom, the only place you can go is up. But the only way to do that is through discipline and constantly being aware of the issue. It’s like trying to lose weight or eat healthier, you have to make a conscientious decision. After awhile, it just becomes second nature and turns into a good habit.  What are some of your bad habits?

“We are what we repeatedly do.
Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit”

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Quantity vs Quality


“Quality is more important than quantity. One home run is much better than two doubles”

-Steve Jobs

Quantity vs. Quality? This has always been a lingering debate in my head. Which is more important in our daily lives, quantity or quality.
My dad used to always bring this argument up, questioning which mattered most. In his case, having ALS, quality far outweighed quantity. Because of the disease, his life was cut shorter than most. He would’ve liked to live longer with the disease but at what cost? Most likely, he would have needed machines to assist him with breathing, eating, and almost all of his daily functions. Choosing to live longer, he might have sacrificed the quality of his day-to-day life for quantity of years and that was something he didn’t want to do. Ultimately, he chose quality over quantity. He chose to try to live in the present moment and not think about the future or how much longer he had to live. He wanted to maintain the little bit of independence he still had instead of depending on assistive devices and maintain quality relationships.

I was reading an article the other day about the difference between quality vs quantity. It described quality as a characteristic, a feature or state of being. Whereas, quantity is the extent or sum of a value. It goes on to say how quantity cannot change or be argued, what is 2 will always remain 2. Quality however, is subjective and has the ability to change over time.

I think it’s safe to say that our society tends to value quantity over quality. How much money we make, how many gadgets we have, how many tasks we can juggle at once, etc.  Although I’m pretty sure most people would agree with making lots of money, this thought process can be dangerous, especially when it comes to relationships. By focusing on quantity, we often sacrifice quality.

What do you want in life, quality or quantity?

“It’s better to have fewer things of quality than too much expendable junk”

-Rachel Zoe

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Just take the next step

“He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.”

Muhammad Ali

In my last post, I wrote about how important it is to me lately to once and for all correct my unsteady gait. Perfecting my walking has been something I’ve struggled with for a long time and it’s now one of my top priorities to fix this. I read a book by Matthew Kelly which talks about becoming the best version of yourself. He described how often we worry so much about where we will be in five years and how are we going to get there, that we often overlook the present moment. Just taking the next right step.

So after doing a little thinking, I decided my next right step to becoming the best version of myself was to focus on correcting my unsteady gait and my walking. My ultimate goal is to be able to run again. Not quite sure what my next step will be after correcting my walking or where life will lead me in five years but for now I’m heading in the right direction.

I recently joined a boxing class which is definitely not your standard practice therapy but it’s an incredible workout and really helps with balance. The organization was originally founded to help those with Parkinson’s battle the effects of the disease but they are open to helping anyone with a movement disorder. As I mentioned in my last post, my approach to physical therapy this time around is “outside of the box”, I don’t want to  focus on only one option of treatment and ignore the rest. A key to recovery is being open. 

Most people think of me as very quiet and nice but don’t know I have a hidden “aggressive streak” (how a friend kindly refers to it) When I was in high school, we had a punching bag and speed bag in our basement that my brothers would use and wanting to be like them, so did I. Boxing is actually a great workout for your core and upper body.  It also helped my balance, in terms of standing still and not getting knocked by a swinging bag or focusing on tiny but quick foot movements. My brother actually brought me a pair of boxing gloves. Perhaps because he was tired of me using his or maybe he thought I needed to learn more self-defense. Either way, I have pretty, royal blue boxing gloves. So upon learning about this class, I was very interested and ready to pick up my boxing gloves again.


To me, my boxing gloves are a symbol of empowerment and help me to feel confident in myself.   They embody strength, determination, hard work, and perseverance. They may appear to be simple boxing gloves but to me, they are a sign of a fighter. They are a sign of what this next step is life means to me. It is not only about gaining muscle strength and improving my walking but also gaining confidence in myself and self-esteem. They are a sign of why this next step in my life is important to me. Because once I achieve my goal then I will be able to build off of it and start working on the next step in my life. As Matthew Kelly says “Just take the next right step”. And  something I’ve come to realize is the next step that’s right for you, is not necessarily the next right step for your friend, your family members, or your neighbor. It’s what is right for you and will help you become who you are meant to be. For me, I always compare myself to my peers and ask myself “they are doing this, why am I not doing the same?” But the thought of taking the next right step reminds me of why I am not following their path and instead following my own. Boxing and spending hours working out will help me to take the next in life.

But maybe boxing isn’t your thing but what is the one thing that will help you become closer to a better version of yourself? Something that gives you confidence and fulfillment. What’s your next right step?

“Show me the way I should walk”

Psalm 143:8


P.S. A little shameless self-promotion but please check out my newly updated version of my autobiography, In my own words


Filed under Being disabled, Life in general

Hard work is really hard

“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”

-Martin Luther King Jr


For many years, it has been a goal of mine to be able to run again, to re-teach my legs this motion, and correct my unsteady gait along the way. I would like to walk with confidence and ease, instead of worrying about falling flat on my face with each step or feeling like a pin ball bouncing off walls as I struggle to walk in a straight line. 

So after taking time away to focus on finding a job, it’s back to physical therapy again. I’ve noticed going back to physical therapy ever couple years has become a reoccurring trend in my life. It’s like losing weight or trying to have six-pack abs, in order to achieve and maintain those results you have to constantly be working at it.  For anyone who has gone through physical therapy, they’ll probably tell you that at some point they hit a plateau or no longer felt challenged. This plateau is something I’ve come across many times and it is frustrating to say the least. Once you hit this plateau, therapists often have a difficult time finding new exercises or thinking outside of the box. (No offense to any therapist reading, this is just personal experience)
So when considering therapy again, I wanted to make sure it would be challenging and help me achieve my goal. I found several places that offer exercise-based therapy which immediately grabbed my attention because this was something I had never heard of before. This type of therapy offers a different approach to therapy and encourages the patient to continue working out after hitting this plateau. It sounded like I finally found a therapy that might help me achieve my goals!
Shortly after starting therapy though, I was pretty disappointed. My therapist had me doing things like bridges and planks, all which I had done before. They were challenging but nothing different from what therapists in the past suggested I do. 
But here’s the thing, nothing worth having ever come easy. It will require hard work, discipline, and determination to achieve my goals. As much as I’d love to snap fingers and perfectly walk and run again, that’s not how it works.  For anyone who has tried to lose weight, you know it’s a constant battle and no matter how good of shape you’re in, you have to start with the basics. Once you perfect the basics and set a solid foundation, you are able to build on that. Which is why doing exercises such as planks is important because they’re basic exercises.
“Sometimes God doesn’t give you what you think you want, not because you don’t deserve it, but because you deserve better”


Filed under Being disabled, My faith, Positive attitude towards life

For the love of animals

Until one has loved an animal a part of one’s soul remains unawakened
-Anatole France
The other day someone asked me what my favorite animal is.
Since a young age I’ve been obsessed with elephants, mostly because elephant starts with an E and so does my name, Elizabeth. I spent hours learning about elephants, memorizing fun facts about them. For example, the easiest way to tell an elephant is African or Asian is by their ears. It is said that African elephants have bigger ears compared to Asian elephants.  Elephants also have extremely developed brains, the saying “you have a memory of an elephant” actually is a pretty accurate statement. When talking about our love of elephants, my friend referred to them as “gentle giants”. Elephants are the largest land animal on earth but despite their massive size, they have gentle, caring hearts. Herds of elephants are centered around females and elephants in general express maternal instincts. They are able to show empathy, grief, compassion, and are very playful.

Although being asked what my favorite animal seemed like a silly question, it made me think how animals play such a big role in our lives as humans. They provide us with basic necessities like food, drink, transportation, and companionship just to name a few. Animals teach us how to use our instincts, how to adapt, to love unconditionally, and to never take life too seriously.

Growing up, my family always had cats as household pets, each a stray cat except one which we bought from a vet. My dad wasn’t a huge fan of dogs. Between him dying of ALS and me dealing with cancer, we just didn’t have time to commit to a dog. But cats were an easy solution because they’re independent and self-sufficient but still provide companionship and love. It’s amazing how pets become part of the family. I loved each one of them, even the one that was a little crazy.  It is often said that having household pets can teach children lessons such as responsibility, compassion, respect, etc. I agree with that completely.

Shortly after my mom remarried, my stepdad convinced her into getting a dog. Having never grown up with dogs, I actually really didn’t care for them. So whenever my mom mentioned getting a dog, my response was “if you get a dog, I’m not coming home”, usually a couple other words were included in this.
One of the reasons for this was after my dad died, I had gotten an adorable white kitten and wasn’t sure if she would get along with a dog. For the last year of my dad’s life, I begged him for a white kitten with either blue eyes or green eyes and a cute little pink nose. However, mostly because of breathing issues, he didn’t want another cat in the house. So when he died, one of the first things out of my mouth was “can I get a kitten now?” (loving daughter that I am) Snowball was born a week after my dad’s death and was everything I wanted. She was perfectly white and had one blue eye and one green eye. She loved to cuddle and was so sweet.

Flash forward years later, one night in college after returning from Christmas break, my brother called saying he, his wife, and their dog were driving home to meet the new dog mom rescued and were planning to pick me up on the way. As we drove home, I had many thoughts going through my head but mostly was convinced I would not love this new dog. Well, that quickly changed the second he sat near me, looked at me with his big brown eyes, and smiled. Snowball and Riley did not get along at all and after several months, I gave Snowball away to a good family. She was terrified of dogs and would hide all the time. It was a difficult decision but she deserved a better life and there was no way I would give away Riley instead.


 I still have a love for cats but cannot imagine how I lived so long without having a dog. Everyday Riley teaches me something, whether it is to love unconditionally, to find pleasure in the simple things, or to be kind towards others. (especially when you want something)
Being part german shepherd, part husky, Riley is very intuitive and picks up on my disabilities very easily. He knows to sit and be patient when I struggle to put on his collar or to walk slower with me because I can’t keep up. For not being a trained service dog, I see now how much service dogs or service animals can be helpful.
All animals whether it be cats, dogs, other family pets or even wild animals teach us about life and help us to see the beauty in the world. 

“How it is that animals understand things I do not know, but it is certain that they do understand. Perhaps there is a language which is not made of words and everything in the world understands it. Perhaps there is a soul hidden in everything and it can always speak, without even making a sound, to another soul.”

Frances Hodgson Burnett

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Let it go and move on

“If it’s not going to matter in five years, don’t spend more than five minutes being upset by it”


The other day, I was scrolling through my Instagram, looking at photos of friends and trying to catch up on their latest adventures. After a minute or so, that feeling of comparison started to kick in, the thought of “my life is no where as exciting as theirs” or “why can’t I be like that?”  Than I stumbled upon this quote. Although I’ve seen it a million times before, something about it seemed to grab my attention.


As I struggle to figure out adulthood and my next step in life, I find myself constantly worrying and comparing. Social media is truly a great thing in terms of keeping in touch with others but it also is a great distraction from life and depressing at times. Why is it that we always want what others have and aren’t content with what we have? I’m extremely guilty of this and worry about the most ridiculous things. Mostly why am I not like most people my age? But when I take a step back and ask myself, is that really what you want? Usually the answer is no. My life may have it’s issues and unanswered questions but I’d rather have my issues compared to some people.

A best-selling author, Regina Brett, once said “If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.” Lately this has been my first thought when I feel comparison started to creep up on me. What is the sense in worrying about the future and making myself upset not being like someone else? Will this matter 5 years or even 5 minutes from now? Eventually we all end up where we are meant to be so why worry about the details of how we get from a to b?

“I’ve learned that worrying, planning, or being angry over something small is often useless because life is full of change and unexpected surprises. Sometimes you have to just let go and hope for the best.”


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