My pleasure to introduce Francis Hulshof, a honored Veteran of the Year!

Francis Hulshof, Veteran of the Year Award, given by the First State Community Bank of Portageville, MO

Francis Hulshof, Veteran of the Year Award, given by the First State Community Bank of Portageville, MO

It has become my goal to change the face of limited mobility.  The only way I know how is to spotlight stories and pictures of others to help change the view.  Here is just one…..

The people we meet along the way are far more heroic and fascinating than ourselves.  I received an everyday order for two MagnaReady shirts.  The sizing varied, one medium and one large.  As old fashioned as it sounds, I picked up the phone to call the customer (Francis’s daughter Karen Masterson) to see if I could help and look who I met!

Below is a few segments from a tribute his son gave when receiving his distinguished honor.

Francis Hulshof  grew up and worked on a farm in Portageville Missouri.

 He was drafted into he army like a lot of other young men on Feb 14th, 1951

Local farmer of small stature and a big heart being recognized as the Veteran of the Year. Francis Hulshof was that man.

Local farmer of small stature and a big heart being recognized as the Veteran of the Year. Francis Hulshof was that man.

He was given the job for driving the jeep for Col. Ralph Melcher. Together they worked as Forward Observers, going to the front line to assess the situation, and return back to their camp with new information to process and use in offensive maneuvers.

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Francis Hulshof stands in front of his military memorabilia and plaques that
have been presented to him throughout the years. The two in his hands are
this years Veterans Recognition plaque, right hand, and a Thank You Certifi cate from the Republic of Korea. He received this earlier in the year during the 60th Anniversary of the signing of the Korean War Armistice

Some stories heard from veterans are very entertaining but then again serious. It was their way to remember certain stories and react to the magnitude of the situation. I remember one buddy said to the other, “Where were you when we were attacked at Pearl Harbor?” “I was up on the roof with my machine gun, shooting down every zero I could see.” While the other replied, “Oh no you weren’t, you were hiding down under the bunker with your head down, I saw ya.

Image 1

Francis Hulshof and Charlie Haubold chat with
each other at the Veterans Appreciation Breakfast

He was with the 8th field artillery of the 25th Infantry Division, commonly known as Tropic Lightning and he was stationed around Hill 1062 most of his deployment. Corporal Hulshof never said much about the battles.

 Today we thank you!

What an honor and privilege that Francis will be wearing  our  MagnaReady shirt!

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Four letter word……Help!

In a family of 12 you learn very quickly the meaning of the word HELP. Help your sister tie her shoe. Help drive your brother to basketball. Help your mom by doing the dishes. Sometimes you knew you were “helping” by not asking for anything – because your mom and dad may be consumed with something else. I am not a stranger to the word or concept of lending a helping hand. As a child I witnessed my dad help complete strangers. I recall hearing, “Mike, why are you late tonight?” “I helped someone who needed a lift somewhere.” “Who dad?” “Nobody I knew, just someone down on his luck.” My dad’s quiet, humbling kindness was always there and from my mom, the same. She would also throw in, after a search of something missing, “say a special prayer to St. Anthony”– the patron of lost things.

Back Bend Demonstration

Back Bend Demonstration

As a mother I witness help. Libby helping Hadley master a back bend – lesson I hear – You can do anything! Libby helping Hadley learn to read – lesson I hear – I know you are smart and capable AND worth my time. Libby teaching Hadley the rules of tennis and life – lesson I hear – I will always be here for you if you need anything . Hadley schooling us all on her made up knock knock jokes – lesson I hear – It’s important to always laugh. A recent favorite of mine… “Hadley, this is what you do if someone makes fun of dad”. (which unfortunately has happened) Lesson I hear – Siblings understanding strength and unity.

Learning a Back Bend

Learning a Back Bend

As an adult I’ve helped. I make an attempt to help families, both that I know and who are complete strangers. I volunteer my time, thoughts and resources – all of which I know I can do more and should. I am trying to being an advocate for Parkinson’s. One of the manifestations of the disease is a quiet voice and I am happy to lend mine for the cause. I try to help my own family build the tightest indestructible wall of love, that no one OR disease can break.

H E L P

But this four letter word has been haunting my soul. I am an avid reader, lately, not as much for pleasure but for research. The Michael J Fox Foundation published a Facebook post that encouraged people to “share” or comment. Most were lengthy compelling stories about life challenges and changes. I read them all but when I close my eyes at night I still see one mans response. It was four simple letters – one simple statement and if I were being completely honest, a desperate plea. It simply read “Help”.

Today I feel like asking. Help us find sanity. Help us find patience. Help us find peace and if I could channel my mother, St. Anthony, Help us find a cure!

Sisters

Click Here For Audio – Carly Simon

 

Two Little Gazing Standing At The Sea

Two little sisters gazing at the sea,
Imagining what their futures will be.

TWO LITTLE SISTERS LYRICS – CARLY SIMON

Two little sisters gazing at the sea,
Imagining what their futures will be.

The older one says, as her eyes look around,
“I will go as far as the corners of the town.
I’ll plant a little garden, flowers everywhere.
And pluck the most fragrant for my hair.”

I will go as far as the corners of the town

The older one says…..

Two little sisters gazing at the sea,
Imagining what their futures will be.

The younger one stands with her eyes open wide.
And says, “I’ll go as far as the corners of the sky.
I’ll gather all the stars each night as they appear,
And pick the very brightest one to wear in my ear.”

I’ll go as far as the corners of the sky

The younger one stands……

I didn’t choose you and you didn’t choose me.

I didn’t choose you, who would guess we’re from the same family?

But, what will you do when the nights get cold?
When the stars grow dim and your dreams seem old.
Watcha gonna do when winter calls,
And your flowers fall from the garden walls?

I’ll come home to you, you’ll come home to me.
My love will be your remedy.
I’ll choose you and you’ll choose me.
We’ll be two daughters dancing by the edge of the sea.

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I’ll come home to you, you’ll come home to me.
My love will be your remedy.

The best remedy for Parkinson‘s.

Spring Break With Michael J Fox

Parkinson’s Awareness Month means just that…Be Aware.  Aware that many people are fighting to find a cure, several are securing funding for the possibility of relief, droves are digging in to promote education, treasured people are teaching how to live fully with the diagnosis and umpteen individuals are empowering acceptance.

My eldest brother and his family, traveled recently to Los Angeles to assist The Ohio State University Buckeyes basketball team in their quest to make it from their Sweet Sixteen standing to the goal of NCAA champions.  He sent me a text – no words -just this picture.

Spring Break with Michael J Fox

LA with Michael J Fox

I quickly showed it to my girls (ages 5 & 10) and their faces lit up like fireworks.  Not many people under the age of 20 really can say they know the film works of Michael J Fox.  This had nothing to do with Marty McFly.  “Awesome” Libby exclaimed.  Hadley said “lucky” and wanted to know if they had met him. At that moment, they didn’t feel alone.  Their awareness helped my girls feel accepted.  Happy that their 10 and 13-year-old cousins would extend a silent hand to say not only do we understand but we are here to support you.  It says we stand beside you, with you and in kid language, we have your back.

Thank you Mike and Beth.  Awareness can be small simple gestures too.

Link

A Review From Rehab Management Magazine

Thank you Rehab Management Magazine for the review! Whether your disability is short term, like a broken bone, rehabbing your way back from a stroke or something more permanent – we hope our adaptive wear product can help!

Muhammad Ali – Impossible is a DARE!

We are headed in to the fourth quarter (football pun intend) of 4th grade.  Hand in the air with the traditional four finger- last effort sprint – salute.  When the year kicked off, the phrase “Toto we are not in Kansas anymore” was referenced.  We just seemed to be entering into a whole new world.  Homework, which use to be completed on the drive home, now was taking a much larger effort- to be exact hours- sitting at a desk- immediately as we entered the house.  Snack served and sometimes she was there so long, snack rolled into dinner.  My youngest likes to pretend she has the same requirements from her pre-school teacher.  So to keep Hadley occupied for this new extended period was just as big of a challenge.  Often I heard, Mom whats 2+2 =  followed by an older voice asking what the exponent of x² + x² is.

4th Grade Historical Figure- Muhammad Ali

4th Grade Historical Figure- Muhammad Ali

Then, the first big assignment of the year, a oral book report on a historical figure, with the exclusion of sports figures.  They would take on their selected, teacher approved figure dressed in full character.  Endless options- so many to choose from.  Libby and I started brainstorming.  She was looking for someone fashion related- “too easy” I said- it wouldn’t stretch her boundaries.  A past president I suggest- “too boring”- a factual history buff she is not.  She rattled off who her friends had already selected- Walt Disney, Johnny Appleseed, Harriet Tubman, Neil Armstrong.  All with great teachable lessons to learn. Thought ensued as I went to bed that evening.  I shot an email to her teacher- in short it read….. Mrs. Adcock- I would like Libby to learn more about Muhammad Ali and present him for her book report.  I know that sports figures are not permitted but because he suffers from the challenges of Parkinson’s disease, like her father, I would really like her to learn about the man before the disease.  In true Mrs Adcock fashion, she enthusiastically agreed and we went to work.  At first Libby wasn’t thrilled with the life lesson I was imposing on her but soon after she watched a few videos and read a book – she was enjoying it.  Her book report was finished without any fights!  As a family we watched countless hours of interviews of Muhammad Ali – pre and post Parkinson’s days.  She even had Mrs Adcock cue one to the smart board during her report. She was happy with the end result, as was I.

In the process of this report, I too was inspired about the man before the disease.  We found the following quote about things being impossible.

Impossible - edited version

I printed it out on the heaviest weight paper I had and stared at it for days on my design boards.  Each glance, concentrating on a different word.

IMPOSSIBLE              –               DECLARATION              –              DARE

All seemed appropriate at different times.  As the final details of MagnaReady needed to be decided, I choose this quote to be inserted in every package that we send out. On the front is his saying and the back is our care instruction. A detail that is a declaration. Here’s to the dare.  If my 10 year old can dare to break out of her comfort zone and do a report to help educate her class not only on a story of a man but the disease he battles, and my husband can stand tall everyday while he faces the double dare this disease throws at him, then certainly, I can do my part and dare to reinvent a solution to a problem for so many.  Make life easier when it’s not. Dare to make a difference.  Dare to stand proud as a family. Dare to declare we choose to live our lives without the word impossible.

The full quote –

Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.”

― Muhammad Ali

Thank You!

Emily Post - Etiquette

Emily Post – Etiquette

When I was getting married, some 19 years ago, I purchased Emily Post’s Etiquette Book.  It was important to me that I master the art of correspondence.  I still enjoy sending and receiving a snail mail thank you.  I am usually quick on the draw and have them addressed and in the mailbox by weeks end.  It’s one of those things that I take delight in completing as I cross it of my to-do list.  I have a deep affection for heavy weighted letterpress with a colored lined envelope. An old boss gave me a beautiful Waterman pen with a note that said “always take pride in your signature” and I have treasured and used it for many years.  Now If only my hand writing was as beautiful as my mothers calligraphy!

So sitting down to compose the thank you’s on my list should be easy …. right?  Truth be told I’m struggling and they continue to haunt me.  I decided this morning I must tackle it today.  It is easy to express a thank you for a small token or gift but how do you truly express gratitude to the people who have helped you in your greatest times of need?  During our recent lives journey many people helped our family stay afloat- not missing a beat or a basketball practice!  I am very closed- I can do it myself mentality – a flaw of mine I know. I am like most people.  I don’t want to put anyone out- take time from their families or make anything about us more important than anything that is happening in their lives.  We all have our challenges and who am I to waive the white flag and say we need help.

So here goes a few…..

Thank you!

My daughters teacher must think I am the strangest person in the world! She has offered several times to bring a meal, take Libby home – anything to ease our burden.  Who are we to ask a mother of 2, a full time teacher/ educator, a wife, a daughter, a sister for help.  It’s just not in my DNA.  She must know though that I am just thankful for the role she plays in my daughters life everyday as the best teacher who smiles when she sees her, gives her an extra hug, makes her day as normal as a 4th graders can be and most importantly, instills in her the confidence to be a great person! So, thank you Mrs Adcock.

To all the people who brought meals.  I’m not really sure I should thank you because the comments from my girls were blunt. “Mom, this is really good! Why don’t you make this?” “Mom – so and so knows how to cook…. you should spend more time asking her for recipes.”  Joking aside, not having to worry about planning, shopping and preparing was a huge blessing – so thank you!

For the friends that live far -from Germany, Florida, DC and Boston– thank you for just calling to check on us.  Hearing your voice brightened the day and made us feel loved.

To the friends that helped us laugh during the process, that was the best medicine.  I have to share one story that just ticked me to no end.  The day before Don was to be connected I received a text from a friend that said “I just remembered a dream from last night. Don was at a party with a huge smile on his face walking around pinching people and saying…. look what I can do. I can pinch again. You were mortified and Don and I were laughing hysterically.”  BOTH of those things would be true! So thanks for helping exercise our smile!

One last thank you to share, for the family and people that helped with our children -this is the hardest one for me- our deepest appreciation is extended. You have loved them like they were yours.  A close friend of mine just celebrated 40 years of life. I was quiet emotional because I wanted to express to her how selfless she’s been to me in this journey.  At her dinner, I gave a toast- I felt myself quivering as I read these words

When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving us advise, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand.  The friend who can stay with us in an hour of despair, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend that cares.”

Our sincere thank you,

Don and Maura Horton

A Childs Awareness of Disability

Siblings

Sibling Love

Disability is a broad word.  We live with one. Parkinson’s. And by “we” I mean my husband who battles it everyday, myself and our two sweet children.  It means different things for both of them.  My oldest in someways is the lucky one. She has had many more care free experiences with Don prior to his diagnosis.  When I remember her childhood I have vivid images of Don pushing Libby in her Reebok jog stroller to parks in Boston. Going down, what seemed to be at the time, a huge slide in front of her just to catch her- not an easy feat for a 6 foot 4 man. Picking her up when she fell or tossing her in the air for a thrill.  Sitting on the floor playing Polly Pockets for hours. Trying to teach her golf, basketball and how to really throw a football-  “a girl with the proper grip will impress many people in life” he would say. We had four years of living in this relative bliss.  Then the diagnosis- which we thought didn’t REALLY apply to us.  His progression will be slow.  He’s in such great physical health. For the love of God, he works out everyday for two hours – sometimes a contention in our marriage.  Eats healthy.  If anyone could fight this it would be him.  It cant happen to us.  It will be a long time before the outward signs start to manifest.

Hadley Ellison- our spitfire

Hadley Ellison- our spitfire

Then we had daughter number two. – a sure spitfire!  We made a conscious decision to have another child knowing that Don has Parkinson‘s.  Truth be told after his diagnosis I was even more driven to try to have a sibling for Libby.  I couldn’t bear the thought that an only child would have to endure the burden of the disease alone.  Hadley’s  life with her father has been great just in a different way. Any time she gets is appreciable and looked at as a gift.  Don plays Polly Pockets with her as well.  He’s interested in her basketball skills and wants her to learn the proper way of handling a football but the innocence of her youth seemed gone before she was born.  For all of us dealing with big issues, it sometimes seems unfair.  My 43 year old brain has difficulty dealing with Parkinson’s daily. What can this 5 year old be thinking?

Map of Disablity

Map of Disability

I don”t have a map for how I am to handle this with my children. Often I lay awake at night and second guess how I do, but the other night I was proud. My oldest recently went ice skating at night with a friend and her family.  She came home late.  I asked- “Was it fun?” “Yes mom -a blast!”  “I’m just really tired.  Can I go to bed?” I could tell there was something else on her mind.  Night is our “talking” time so I put the youngest to bed and then went to Libby’s room.  We started our chat… “What was the best part?” – a question I always ask to find the light in her eyes.  “Mom, a lady there fell.” I reassured her people fall all the time.  “No mom she REALLY fell. I think she broke her arm.”  Again reassuring her it will be alright.  I replayed a story that my mom had the same type of accident just on roller skates.  It landed her in a cast and time with a physical therapist. “MOM (clearly I was missing something) the ambulance was there and I think she had a disability.”  Stopped in my tracks I decided I needed to listen closely to the answers of the questions I was about to ask.  “How could you tell she had a disability?”  “Mom, I could just tell.”  “Did you see it happen?” “No.”  “Did you try to help?”  “No mom. I couldn’t and she didn’t have anyone there with her and it looked like it really hurt.” “Did you think she was scared?”  “She had to be. Mom, I’m scared.” “Scared about what?” “I’m afraid that something might happen to dad and we won’t be around.  No one should be alone mom.”

When my head hit the pillow that night I was dismayed about my inability to calm her fears because I cant promise her anything.  I can’t promise everything is going to be ok.  I can’t promise he wont fall.  I can’t promise I wont get sick- a questions she asks regularly.  I have no promises for what lies ahead for us.  We don’t know what will happen- we have to expect the unexpected. But I do know we can promise we will always be there for her dad.  I was  proud that my daughter understands that there are people who may stand out to her for different reasons in this world and that NO one should be alone in their fight.

Together Forever

Together Forever