Thursday, August 23, 2007

Cruisin' back to REALITY!

I'm "back home in Indiana" after a great vacation in Florida/cruise in the Caribbean! Traveling is definitely a challenge for me physically now, but I am so blessed to have had this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Thanks Ken!

On August 7th, we flew to Orlando. We spent 4 nights in Titusville (directly across the river from the Space Center) with my our gracious hosts, Ken and Glenda. On the evening of August 8th we were witness to history as we watched the launch of the Space Shuttle Endeavor from the shores of the Indian River. Amazing.

On August 11th we set sail on the Carnival Glory. The Glory is the largest of Carnival's cruise ships weighing in at 110,000 TONS! The ship is just under 1000 feet long and carries more than 3000 passengers. Above the water there are 14 stories, not counting the height of the stacks, etc. It was truly a floating city.

After spending August 12th at sea, we pulled into Cozumel on August 13th. We spend the 14th in Belize and the 15th in Costa Maya (Majahual, Costa Maya, the port we visited took a direct hit from the category 5 Hurricane Dean less than 6 days later!). Another sea day (those were FUN!) and we arrived in Nassau, Bahamas on the 17th and returned to Port Canaveral on the 18th. What a time! I was a "cruise virgin" and I have to say, this is the way to vacation! I was so impressed! I used a manual wheelchair for most of the cruise, including trips ashore in port. It had advantages and disadvantages. The obvious advantage is that it is easily collapsed for storage so I could use "regular" transportation (buses, tender boats, water taxis, etc.). The obvious disadvantage is that I had to have someone to push me (and that proved to be a challenge and tiring on a good day!). My arms are too weak to self-propel in a manual wheelchair beyond a few feet, so I am totally dependent on someone else. Add that to the fact that I am difficult to understand when I talk and you have a recipe for some interesting encounters! That said, I didn't die at the hands of any Bahamian drivers while turned backwards in the middle of the crosswalk as the light turned green for THEM!

I am still trying to recover from the trip. I am continually amazed at how easily I fatigue and how difficult simple things are becoming. Soon, without a wheelchair van with a suitable lift, I will not be able to do many of the things I take for granted now. Simply shopping has become something that is beyond my ability without assistance.

Since returning from Florida, I have tried to get at least one box unpacked per day. It is slow going, and I have to stop and sit down and rest frequently. We still have several interior rooms to paint..... any volunteers??? Interior decorating aside, I love our new home and already feel so comfortable here. The house is just so adorable and "homey". I am eager to add my own decorating touches to make it truly "mine".

I was so blessed to have time alone with Catherine before she went off to grad school this week! I can't believe she is getting her masters! And she's too far away in Terre Haute. Please join me in praying that she can transfer to Ball State in the future so she can be nearer our home. I will miss her so much!

Phillip is doing fabulous. He started school on Monday (the 20th) and is taking several challenging classes. I am so blessed to have such an awesome team working with him at Highland. I am also so blessed to have his father and Kimberly watching out for him and taking such good care of him.

Christopher has become a young man over the summer. He is still affectionate and cuddly, but he is so tall and looks so much older! Where did my BABY go??

I hope you have taken time to look around my website recently. There are lots of new things....check it out!

Please keep in touch. Fall is right around the corner (although you wouldn't think it by the blazing heat) and time marches on!

"It is good to have money and the things that money can buy, but it's good too, to check up once in a while and make sure you haven't lost the things money can't buy." - George Lorimer

Love, Claudia

Monday, August 6, 2007


Tomorrow I leave for a cruise! A friend of mine, also a young PALS, GAVE me and "a guest" an 8 day Carribean cruise! Did I mention that he GAVE it to me??? I am accompanying he and and wife and their children on the Carnival Glory. I am sooo excited, but you know what I am most excited about??? I get to MEET my friends, Ken and Glenda! Yes, you read correctly. I've never even MET them! Amazing. Someone I've never met loves me enough to invite me to join them (and pay!) on a cruise.

God is amazing. He is moving in so many ways. Sometimes, I think God is sitting up in Heaven, laughing, saying "All those years, you worked so hard, tried so hard to control everything and look where it got you. No where. NOW you've finally LET GO of EVERYTHING and look what I am doing! Without your help, Claudia!

I'm going to Florida 4 days early so that we can watch the launch of the space shuttle. Ken is retired from NASA since his ALS (he's not even 40 yet, so "retired" is maybe the wrong word) and lives in Titusville, and we'll watch the launch from near his home. They say it shakes the windows when they launch! :)

I can't wait to see what else God has in store! Love, Claudia

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Getting Settled In

We moved, suddenly and sooner than we expected, on July 25th. As it turned out, it was either that day or not until August 15th. So, with less than 24 hours notice, we moved! I was so blessed to have All Star Moving Systems (Atlas Van Lines, Muncie) DONATE the move to us! The owners, Tony and Pam Brown, had been looking for a family to move for gratitude for all God has given them. And they choose ME! To say that it was a blessing is an understatement!!!!!!!! The move was still exhausting for me and I spent several days in severe pain from the spasticity in my body, but Pam Milligan (Branches of the Vine Therapeutic Massage, Indianapolis) worked the "sore" out and I'm back to full steam!

The house has fewer boxes every day and we are feeling like we are getting "moved in". My dear friend from Young-Nichols Ambulance days (now THAT is ancient history!), Julia (Myers) Smith has been decorating Christopher's room. It is a Disney theme with Mickey border half way up the wall, dark denim blue curtains and paint (on the lower half below the border) and cream paint on the top half. Julia is painting Christopher's name on the wall also, along with three of his favorite Disney Characters (Mickey, Goofy and Donald). He just LOVES his "Mickey" room already and I promise to post pictures when we get it finished.

The plans for redecorating the other rooms are formulating and will be implemented as funding allows. The next room to be decorated will be Amy's bedroom which is currently LAVENDER, then the kitchen will be next after that(currently "wine rack" wallpaper and dark MAUVE paint....ewwwwww). Still, the house is so cute and so "homey". I am so glad we moved. We are close to everything but feel like we're out in the country when we hear the chorus of cicadas and crickets at night and birds during the day. Once the current "air you can wear" heat and humidity pass, I will return to working outside as my strength permits and definitely will spend some more time swinging on my porch swing.

This morning, Pastor Greg (Greg Paris, Union Chapel Ministries) spoke about "How Do I Face the Future?" and one thing he spoke of struck me personally. In Joshua 1:1-11, God instructs Joshua to "be strong and courageous". That is what I intend to my life, as long as I'm alive, being as "strong and courageous" as I can be, and praying for God's grace to strengthen me and his love to give me courage. I pray that for you too.