Living and laughing with a disability - cerebral palsy; ordinary life, extraordinary circumstances.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Me and U2

Some people have it all together.  Thanks to God and His great mercy, I have never been accused of such a thing!

I went to college in the 80's.  For a guy who has trouble writing notes, and even more trouble reading them, college was hard.  Some professors would give me that look "Why on earth are you here?"

The fun part of college for me was meeting Dave, Lisa, Frank and a myriad of other friends at the "Donut" shop to try to solve the problems of the world.  I also enjoyed my fellowship with brothers and sisters in Campus Ambassadors, the campus christian group I was involved in.

I spent a lot of time in college by myself, studying really hard.  When you have a disability, such as the cerebral palsy that I have, your whole life is about overcoming.

I had a secret stress relief.  When nobody was around, I would slip a cassette tape into my boom box.  One tape in particular I listened to over and over again.

And I would dance.

The lines played through my soul like a prayer:

"Where the streets have no name"

"I have climbed the highest mountain...but I still haven't found what I am looking for"

"And you give...and you give...and you give yourself away"

U2...the Joshua Tree.

When I heard about the event that our intern at church, Vicar Ray, was putting together, I was beside myself.  U2christ, a social justice and worship event to the music of U2.

Click on this graphic below for event info:

Here is a song I hope they do...with BB King, of course...;):

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Breaking out of the groove...going to the Hub

I am liking my new 4/10 schedule with Fridays off.  My supervisor at the Special Olympics was out of town Friday, so I had a day to myself to fill up.

Jodie had a meeting at the district office, so I dropped her off.  I came back home. I had a few hours to kill before my lunch downtown with Sam.

Last February I had gone to a meetup in Portland to learn about search engine optimization from Mr. SearchCommander himself, Scott Hendison.  Scott use to coach Eric's baseball team a ftew years back.  

At that meetup I met Haley from Lewis Creative.  Their job is to brand your image, which I think is really fascinating - "Mad Men" type of work.  She gave me her card.

Haley invited me to come to a meeting that she and cohort Sarah (of Garrison Marketing Solutions) host on Friday's from 10 to 2 in Gresham.  It is called the HUB - a place for local business owners to meet and collaborate.

I have been leery of going to the meeting.  I am not a business owner and I am not a professional.  I have way more to learn than I have to share.  I know a little about everything but not a lot about anything.  Even so, I am learning what I can about creating websites with WordPress, and about promoting websites.

I nearly talked myself out of not going to the meeting.  Lately I have been experiencing anxiety when I am confronted with new situations.  I don't know why.  With my disability I seem prone to stay in my defined world.  I have a life in my own little world that is totally accessible to me.  Why venture in unknown territory where I might run into people who might not understand me or my disability?

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
Albert Einstein

I am finding a lot of inspiration from Einstein these days.  A genius, yes, but he knew more about failing than he did about succeeding.

I made my way to Park Place Coffee.  There were lot's of people inside.  I went to the front of the shop and bought a cup of coffee.  I asked the barista to bring the coffee to my table when she finished helping the customers who were in line behind me.

There was a bunch of tables pushed together with people who all had laptops set up.  I set up at a table behind them.  When they realized I was there for Hub, they invited me over to their table.

Haley was with a client.  Sarah came over to find out what kind of projects I was working on.  I told her that I was working with WordPress and that I could use some advice.  Sarah told me to talk with Al at the end of the table.

Al was talking  to the barista, helping her with internet marketing strategies for the cafe.  It was nice to hear how business at the cafe has gone way up on Fridays since the Hub has been meeting there, way beyond the Hub members themselves, leading us to wonder if a busier cafe draws more business.

When I was able to talk with Al, he wanted to see some of my work.  I had him look at  Al said it was a nice, simple and clean site.  He read some of what I wrote and he said to me, "Wow, you are really a good writer!"

The compliment was very nice - it really surprised me.  Al had some helpful hints about the projects I am working on.

It was a very encouraging being around other creative people.  It reminded me of my six month stint on the magazine back in 1988.  The idea of talented, creative professionals coming together to help each other rather than compete against or one-up each other is such a positive environment.  No bad ideas, just better ideas...letting the creative juices flow.

I am still a novice in the world of WordPress, SEO and other technical matters, but I have dreams of learning what I need to know to become successful in such a world.  I have further dreams of one day helping other people with disabilities find economic self sufficiency using these kind of skills.

I may not ever get there, but it is really more about the journey rather than the destination.  It is nice to know there are people like the people at the Hub to help along the way.