Communication and accessibility are basic human rights.
Will you join me in the fight for equality?
Will you join me in the fight for equality?
About the event:
Last weekend, I was blessed to be able to attend Beth Moore's Living Proof conference in Springfield, Massachusetts. I have watched Beth speak on TV and online, so I knew that she is a powerhouse and that she's extremely passionate about speaking Truth into the lives of other women. Sadly, I have not had the chance to read any of her books yet, but I definitely will! I was so excited to see her live!
The event was incredible! It's hard for me to even explain it; but the Holy Spirit was very present and very active in that arena. There were 2,000 women attending the conference. To my surprise, Beth said this was the smallest conference that she has had on this year's tour. Seemed pretty crowded to me, so I said a quick prayer of thanks to God that this was the particular conference I found myself at!
Even though there were 2,000 women there, the event had a small-group Bible study vibe.I was not expecting that at all--and I loved it! Beth taught mainly from Colossians 4, adding in other scriptures throughout her teaching for additional support. Her theme was "Staying afloat the fellow ship." (Get it???) She talked about how important it is for us to be in constant fellowship with other believers and that, at the same time, our main goal is to reach outsiders, or non-believers.
I was seriously impressed with Beth's teaching skills! She used lots of visuals, which helped me remember her main points. She actually had a (filled) salt shaker in her hand constantly and would shake it when she was reminding us how to Biblically season our conversations with non-believers with salt! Everyone was cracking up! I plan to attend this event again next fall, and I can't wait!
Whenever I go to an event, I'm always scoping out how accessible it is to different needs. I like to continue to support events that are accessible and help events that are less accessible understand why accessibility is so important. Plus, I like reporting back to all of you! From what I could gather, Beth Moore's conference was very accessible. There was an ASL interpreter in the front of the arena. There were several areas of seats that were reserved for attendees with special needs. I saw a few people in wheelchairs that seemed to be able to get a good view of what was going on on the stage, as well as enter and exit the arena comfortably. So, Living Proof Ministries gets an A for accessibility from me!
My personal challenges:
I don't go to large events like this very often. One of the biggest reasons for that is the fact that my disabilities can make it challenging. In order for me to go, it has to be something/someone I am really interested in and I have to be able to plan a lot of things ahead of time (how long the days are going to be, when I can rest, a plan for an escape from visual and/or auditory stimulation if needed, etc.)
So, what challenges did I face at this event? First of all, crowds of any kind are difficult for me. I feel trapped and claustrophobic when there are too many people and I can't move around. Also, arena sitting is not typically my friend. My body protests those hard, squished together seats every time. By the time we left the 2 1/2 hour Friday night event, my back and my legs were SCREAMING at me! I couldn't wait to collapse into my hotel bed! And, the 2 1/2 hour car ride there did not do my body any favors either. Travel is also extremely hard on my body. And most events involve travel and those arena seats. So, yeah...
A large amount of visual and/or auditory stimulation can be challenging for me too. Of course, I mentally prepare to take in more stimulation than normal when going to an event like this, but I'm typically still exhausted and overjoyed by silence at the end! Crowds and high amounts of stimulation can make it difficult for me to focus on my surroundings. And, there were these "speed bump" like things on the floor of the arena. Yup, you guessed it. I tripped over one! Also, my hands were shaky and achy (didn't mean to rhyme that, but whatever works), so as I tried to open my iced tea, I ended up spilling a bunch of it.
Was it worth it?
Short answer: yes. This was a great event. Beth Moore is an amazing teacher. Her praise band is fantastic. I had good fellowship with family and friends. But, that being said, there's a reason I only do these types of things once a year or so! It typically takes me at least 3-4 days to get back to my "normal" energy level (which isn't normal anyway).
I highly recommend this event to all women who love Jesus: able-bodied and disabled people alike!
I was prompted to make this video after watching a video on YouTube where Rikki Poynter (a fairly large YouTuber that I follow) described a recent experience of having a "Christian" comment on her social media pages and claim that he was able to cure her deafness, as well as cure all of her deaf and blind friends. He then started to talk about Jesus in a way that made it clear that he was not trying to share the gospel or lovingly offer prayer, but instead to draw attention to himself. When Rikki asked him to stop commenting on her posts, he did not stop. I made this video to apologize to Rikki, as a Christian, and to let her know that we do not all take that kind of approach to offering prayer or talking about our faith. I also wanted to challenge fellow Christians to make sure that we are not falling into this trap! If we come off as arrogant, condescending, and/or confusing, what's going to attract people to God? In this video, I offer some tips of how we can be the prayer warriors that God calls us to be, and to do so with gentleness and respect, which God also commands.
Even though English is my first and primary language, this was my first English vlog (it is closed captioned)! I need to work on not saying "um" and "like" so much! It seems that it wouldn't be weird to make a video in English since I speak English all day long, but it was actually a little weird talking on camera because I've never done it before. I definitely want to continue branching out with vlogging, both in English and ASL (videos will always be captioned). I plan to continue written blog posts as well; I enjoy both platforms and the way I can mix them together to compliment one another. I've got some ideas for both platforms that I look forward to sharing with you all soon! I'm continuing to learn more about both blogging and vlogging, and I'm so grateful to all of you who stick with me through this journey!
I've decided to get a new vlog series going. It's been awhile since I've done any vlogging, and I think it's about time I get back into it. This series, "The Chronic Chronicles", will discuss my experiences living with various chronic illnesses. This first video discusses what it's like to live with Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome (a rare, chronic disease with no known cure). These vlogs will be in ASL, but, even if you don't sign, I've got you covered. There will be an English transcript posted below the video here on the blog as well as in the comments section of the video on YouTube. Enjoy the new series and please feel free to ask questions or share any of your own experiences!
Transcript: Hi Everyone! Today I'm going to discuss a chronic illness that I have called Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome. That name is long, I know, here it is again. The short name is CVS, so I'll use that now. Ok, CVS sucks. You have probably never heard of CVS because it's rare and most doctors haven't even heard of it. I have gone to the doctor and told them "I have CVS" and they say "what's that?" and get very confused. It's very frustrating! I was born with CVS. When I was a baby, I had problems with vomiting. All babies do vomit, but mine was very severe. The doctor tried many different things, but none of them worked. My mom stopped breastfeeding and tried many different formulas, but that didn't work. I got diagnosed when I was 22 years old. Yes, for 22 years I had no name for my illness. A few doctors tried, but they couldn't come up with anything. What is CVS? It's kind of like migraines in your stomach; it's weird. It's also connected to migraines in your head; I have both. Sometimes, I have them at the same time, and sometimes they're separate. There is very little research done on CVS because it's rare and there's not a lot of funding. Nobody wants to pay for more research; it sucks! Some of the research has caused some doctors to think that CVS might be a mitochondrial disease. That makes sense to me because I'm always very tired, and mitochondrial diseases cause tiredness. Doctors used to think that only kids could have CVS, but that's not true. Now they know that adults can have it too. Sometimes kids grow out of it, but sometimes they don't. Like me; I've had it my whole life. What happens when I have a CVS attack? Obviously, one thing is vomiting. But, sometimes, if I take my medicine early enough, I can prevent the vomiting. I will still feel sick, but I won't vomit. It definitely helps some. Other symptoms include: headaches (like I said before, the headaches and the stomachaches are connected), nausea, pain in my arms and legs--especially my legs; they will hurt a lot! When my legs start hurting, I know I need my medicine because a CVS attack is coming. Also, my hands get really weak. I can't hold anything; my hands are useless. Also, my eyes are very sensitive to light. If I'm on the computer for a long time, sometimes I will get a headache and my eyes will get blurry. Also, this can happen if I am in a room with too much light or flashing lights. Then, I have to rest my eyes. Sometimes I use my eye mask to help my eyes rest. I'll show you. It's beautiful right? I got that at the dollar store! CVS in unpredictable. One week I will be fine and be doing all my normal activities: work, socializing, church, etc. Then, other weeks, I will be exhausted! I will nap in the afternoon for 4 hours sometimes when I'm having a CVS attack. If I'm sleeping that much, I know that an attack is coming and I need my medicine. I'm always more tired than most people, but sometimes it's worse, and I know an attack is coming. When I have a bad week, I can't leave the house much. I'll only do the things I have to do. I will go to work and then come back home and sleep, and that's it. No socializing, no going to the store, which is annoying, and I can't get any errands done, which is also annoying. My hope is that more people like me, living with CVS, will express their feelings and encourage more awareness so that people can get diagnosed sooner than I did. 22 years, wow! Now, I'm 27. Yeah, I've known for 5 years now. Also, I hope that the research can get more funding. I don't know if that sign (research) is conceptually accurate. Yeah, I wanted to share my chronic illness experience. Thanks for watching, bye!