Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Could it be.....that YOUR an Ironman??

In the summer of 2011, my friend Nathan Criswell competed in the  Iron Man.  From the research I've done and things I've heard about the amount of energy it takes to train and run this Triathlon, first I thought, "That's a big job, will he be able to do it?"  No, this question wasn't a doubtful thought.  Nathan and his wife Alyssa are avid runners.  But the amount of energy and the beating a person's body will take is known to be  brutal!  140.6 miles total! (2.4 mi swim, 112 mi bike ride and 26.2 mile run) Talk. About. SORE.  As the weeks went on, via Facebook pictures and statuses, I was taken along for the ride as the time inched closer and closer to the big race day!  I was really excited and pumped for Nathan.  In my mind, I was the coach in the movie Rocky, "C'mon, Champ you can do this"!!  Nathan had lots of support in his wife Alyssa, his happy newlywed cheerleader by his side. (their wedding was two months before the triathlon)  So, you could say their marriage got off to a strong running start.... ;)  On the day of the race, there were status updates from Alyssa saying Nathan was in good spirits and he was making good time.  Then...hours went by.  No word on if he finished or how he did.  The next morning I logged on to facebook and lo and behold, the journey was done and Nathan could now be called an IRONMAN!!!! Victory was his!!!!  Sore, tired, yet he finished!!   SO INCREDIBLY INSPIRED!!!!  Why?  Why Not?!?!?!?!  I mean think about it: First of all the enormity of the race was huge!!  It was hot!!  Oh!! Did I mention, EVERY, yes every muscle in his entire body, even muscles he never thought he used or even knew he had....HURT!!!  And yet, the goal was reached with determination and desire!!
Love (and running) is a perfect bond
of union! 6-18-11 <3

2.4 mile swim (must begin with a picture with his
Biggest fan, wife Alyssa) :) <3
It got me to thinking....Nathan's running the Ironman and Alyssa's support of him, give people with disabilities so much hope!  All of us have different challenges we face everyday, our own hills to bike, rivers to swim, and things that take energy to run with...... but just like Nathan if you have determination, desire and support, even after using every muscle, real and figurative, to push through....Victory can be yours!!  So, the next time a challenge or struggle comes your way, think of Nathan... He is an Ironman! What about YOU?  Could it be that maybe, just maybe you are too?!?! :)
Finish Line!!!! :)
112 mile bike ride :)
26.2 mile run :)
 Michelle Fischer is the host of A View from My Window, a podcast produced by The Arc of Indiana

Ironman Photos courtesy of: Alyssa & Nathan Criswell

Thumbnail Quote photo courtesy of : Just Feelin' Good

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Disabled turns into IN-abled: Chad's story

Photography is a passion for Chad!
Dweezil, the Mascot!
Cover your space,  Change your world!
Chad and sons Micah and Ben :)
                                               is the brainchild of President/ Founder Chad Moore.  The company celebrates the accomplishments of people who have not allowed their limitations to stop them from doing what they dream of and living life to the   full!        The idea for this company came after spending the day with his friend Noah Hiles at a Special Olympics event.  Chad is an avid photographer and it seems like the camera is never out of his reach!  That day was no different.  450 photos of Noah, his friends and fellow athletes were taken.  Chad said after he took the pictures he was more than inspired, but the inspiration didn't stop there.  Everyone who saw the pictures kept talking about them and using words like happy, accomplished and free!  Positivity was at an all time high and it was too good to keep to himself!  Along with Vice Presidents Amy Parker and Chris Hiles, they put their heads together and thought,  How can we share these pictures with the world?  Chad's background as a Director for the State of Ohio in the area of re-employment, is what lead him to start asking that question.  Part of his job meant time spent going into employment offices presenting workshops and training courses.  For as many buildings as he went into, he always felt like there wasn't really anything a person could connect with.  Nothing to celebrate the abilities or passions of the potential employees.  Nothing to give them hope about the positive outcome of re-entering the workforce.  Not only did this thought cross his mind for the people he served, but for himself, as well.   You see, Chad was diagnosed with bipolar in 2003.  It's classified as an "invisible disability" but with the challenges he faces it doesn't always feel invisible.  When I met Chad, the first thing that stood out to me was his captivating personality!  He seems to walk in the room and own it in such a warm exuberant way.  He views the work and the challenges he faces as things that have helped him be more creative and more accepting of other people's challenges as well as celebrating their successes!!'s main focus is on ABILITY and INclusion. With their person centered, vibrant eye-catching designs, it doesn't take long to see that people with disabilities seek to step up to their challenges and prove that they don't just want to exist... they want to LIVE as people IN-abled!!       That is SUCCESS indeed!! :)

The staff are the nicest people I have met!!  Thank you, Chad, Amy and Chris for all you do!!  You are all ROCKSTARS in my book!! :)

Michelle Fischer is the host of A View From My Window, a podcast produced by The Arc of Indiana

Listen to my interview with Chad!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Music Therapy: Your brains' best friend! :)

A three day weekend is coming up and you just got a call from one of your best friends, "Let's go on a road trip filled with our favorite shopping stops, delectable food stops and conversations that make us laugh and cry until our stomachs hurts!!" Exactly what I need, you think.... No sooner than you hang up the phone, you hop in your car, put your shades on, pop in your favorite tunes, turn it up, and dance like nobody's on the road and sing like a rock star!  Seeing your best friend lifts your spirits and puts you in the happiest of moods!  Did you know those tunes that are in your CD player are your brain's best friend???  Who knew!?!?!  It makes sense though, right?  When you have to clean the house, what gets you motivated more? Dead silence or a favorite song?  C'mon now, don't lie, we all know that you use your broom handle as a makeshift microphone as you jam to Michael Jackson's Billie Jean and do the moonwalk in your kitchen!!  It's ok, your secret is safe with me....;)  We are all motivated by music!! This motivation helps us all be productive and it calms our nerves.... It even helps me when I sit down to write blogs like this one!  It helps the ideas and words flow when you, as the reader, read this blog it's a really enjoyable experience for you! :)   Music therapy is a fascinating field that is helping people with disabilities in remarkable ways!!  Lindsey Wright, a music therapist that sat down for an interview with me some time ago said music therapy is used to work on communication, cognition,  motor skills, emotional and social skills.  The music therapist uses different techniques and motivators to get the clients they work with to work on new skills that they wouldn't maybe necessarily be motivated to learn if the music wasn't there!!  The results are remarkable!
When your brain and music form a bond,
Remarkable things happen!!! :)

I'm always so happy to meet and interview people like Lindsey!  She recognized as a child how happy music made her and she wanted to share it with others...especially those with disabilities.  People learn and are motivated by different things....that's normal. Music therapy is just one more tool to help accomplish the goal of educating others that we are all the same. The outside may be different, but music is the universal language of of the motivators that we ALL can groove to!!

Listen into my interview with Lindsey to get to know more about this sweet music therapist and learn more about music therapy!

Michelle Fischer is the host of a View from My Window a podcast produced by The Arc of Indiana