Thursday, August 1, 2019

A look back and beyond: Kim Dodson celebrates 20 years with The Arc of Indiana!

Have you ever watched a TV commercial, whether it's for an insurance company, a bank or a new snack food and the commercial has happy smiling people and some fancy slogan, yet you think, "Wait, I don't remember that being my experience!" I can say with absolute certainty you will NEVER find that to be the case at The Arc of Indiana! I work with a team that is committed to serve others to the best of their ability and sticking with those they serve until the desired goal is accomplished! The woman in the drivers' seat heading up the daily operations is Kim Dodson. In 2018, Kim celebrated her 20 year work anniversary and to say that she's committed to doing her job well, is an understatement! She was hired and mentored by retired executive director John Dickerson in 1998, with no background in the disability field, but that didn't stop John from teaching, training and cultivating Kim's potential. She grew so much under John's watchful guidance, that 3 years ago when John retired, Kim became executive director. When I interviewed Kim about her years of service, I could tell just how deeply the relationship with John had affected her. She is such a genuine person, everything about Kim sparkles, shines and beams! She wants to leave you better than when you first walked in the door. That's why I came to the Arc of Indiana almost 9 years ago. John hired me, saw and cultivated my potential for growth, and now Kim carries that on, not only for me, but for all of us! We all feel loved, valued and appreciated! Our work atmosphere is "We work better together" and what we each bring to the table is embraced and refined, so we all continue to work as one great team!!  Happy 20 year Anniversary Kim! WE LOVE YOU!!!

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

Read more about what drew Kim to work in the disability field here:

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

I have an Immune System made of steel....sure I do!!!

I will just start off by saying that this blog post is not a ''my situation is a thousand times worse than yours" type of post. It's more about the need to acknowledge our feelings as humans. Several weeks ago I started experiencing what would later be diagnosed as a UTI. This is the first UTI I've ever had. Yes, really! And the antibiotics I'm taking (I'm on my second round, the first round didn't help) are the first antibiotics I've taken in over 25 years!! I've rarely been in a hospital except for a surgery I had to lengthen my muscles when I was 13, to help my body stay upright, loosening the jaws of life as it were... that left my legs in a perpetual "downward" momentum. Then came the diagnosis and endless doctors' visits of celiac disease. This was one of the hardest diagnosis to handle, because I didn't even know how to approach this body was fighting against itself and depleting me of important vitamins and nutrients, while plotting to kill me slowly, I'm sure! Over the years, I've realized just how important it is to be well informed. I try to be smart about the food I put in my mouth (I've become quite the nutrition label reader,  I must say) and being sure to take the right supplements as well, because celiac disease has wreaked havoc on the inside of my body. My ongoing battle with panic attacks and anxiety has also forced me to take a slower more calculated examination of what my body and emotions need. Everything is connected and in order to take care of your WHOLE self you must invest in things that take care of YOU.  Every person has very different ways of fulfilling the need of self care, and that's how it should be... we are not robots and not all things are "one size fits all" but, the one thing that is always needed is keeping a fresh perspective on SELF CARE! Please never make a mistake by thinking that, "well, I will take my supplements tomorrow, or I'll sit and read tomorrow, or I'll get together with friends soon".  I've said the same things many times before and it does little good to put things off because each time you do, you put taking care of yourself to the back burner. There's no need to do that. Life is about "Blooming where you are Planted" and to do that to the fullest.. you must take care of your WHOLE beautiful wonderful MAGNIFICENT self today! No questions or apologizing about it! Because, guys and gals, we must remember, Life is a Beautiful Ride!

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

Friday, April 26, 2019

Behind the Mic at the Movies - Mary Poppins Returns

The first Mary Poppins movie was made in 1964 starring Julie Andrews. Her portrayal of Mary Poppins was superb! Stepping into that role for Julie Andrews was so effortless and her performance was so endearing and not easily forgotten! I loved how Julie Andrews played that role and I just couldn't imagine how anyone could play that role like Julie did. Mary Poppins Returns is the modern version of the classic!  Hey!!! Someone else CAN play Mary Poppins people! Emily Blunt's performance is instantly captivating! The movie doesn't by any means lose any of the whimsy that makes our hearts flutter! Mary Poppins is not just any nanny, she takes you on unimaginable, unforgettable adventures that are beyond your wildest dreams! To think, the Banks kids told Mary Poppins that they didn't need the services of a nanny! No matter the circumstance or situation they found themselves in, Mary Poppins always had a positive motto and a life lesson to be learned! Mary Poppins wasn't the only one sporting a positive midset, her lamplighter friend, Jack played by Lin-Manuel Miranda, who is spectacular in this role, is Mary's right hand man in supporting her positive mindset and her adventurous spirit! One of the scenes I ABSOLUTELY LOOOOVE is scene 10 "Turning Turtle" where the kids, Mary and Jack go to see Cousin Topsy, played by Meryl Streep, to fix a bowl that the kids chipped one night while fighting in their room. When they meet Topsy, she isn't really keen on seeing them walk through her door, but she would complain about her life that seems to turn upside down like a turtle in it's shell. By the end of the scene, all of the positiveness of Mary and her friends rubbed off on Topsy! My favorite quote in that scene is: "When you change the view from where you stood, the things you view change for good"
I bought the DVD and now watch the it everyday while enjoying my morning coffee!  Ladies and Gentleman, in my humble opinion, this movie is "Practically perfect" in EVERY way! Disney hits another home run!!

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

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

9 years hosting my podcast...How is it even possible?

My first podcast episode aired: December 22nd, 2009. There are a number of reasons why I've been able to host A View from My Window for nine years. There have been MANY people who have mentored me, trained me and listened to me. All of that was the perfect recipe to to start the fire burning and planting the seeds for my intense love of, wanting to be and eventually becoming a journalist. I'm a self-taught journalist who honed my craft by watching others in the field. I knew I needed to see and feel news in action. All the trips to WLFI News 18, WISH-TV and the relationships I have, even to this day, with everyone I met, especially at WLFI, made me know for a certainty that I needed to be a journalist! I really got to see firsthand that being in a TV job is much more than lights, camera, makeup, hair and nice clothes. Those things are certainly a part of the job, but the most important and lasting part is the person you are behind the camera. We're all human and have ''off'' days, but always remembering that you want to be a warm, caring, invested, engaged person to the people you interview, work with or meet. They deserve the gift you bring to them, because when you think about it, whoever is in front of you, is bringing a gift that they possess to you. The gift of telling you who they are and what drives them to do the work they are doing. All these things I keep in mind before recording an interview for my podcast and then I try to use those things while the interview is going on so that I can show them that I care about the things they have shared with me.  It's really the most beautiful gift that I can weave together a story so that listeners can get the full picture of who is being interviewed. That is the part that keeps surprising me, even after all these years! I'm grateful that The Arc of Indiana was the organization that was the one to say YES! Thank you to ALL the staff! I have the best co-workers! Thank you to my producer Sally Morris and my sound engineer Bryce Dickerson for helping me with questions, concerns, brainstorming and just plain ' ole fun and laughter!!! Thank you to my mom for always believing in me and never voicing any doubt, but always supporting me! For always being my "backbone"! Thank you to everyone who I have interviewed on the podcast, too! It truly has been a privilege to tell your stories, hear your backgrounds and get to know you better! Thank you goes out to retired executive director of the Arc of Indiana, John Dickerson for being the one to see my potential and RUN with it! You will always have a special place in my heart for how you made my dream a reality! Thank you to the current executive director Kim Dodson who has continued to make me feel valued and appreciated and is always up for an interview whenever we need her and is always such a bright spot whenever I come in the office! Yes, I have the best boss! Thank you to Paul Howell, who became my mentor when he worked as an anchor at WLFI... Thank you so much for getting the ball rolling all those years ago! You were the biggest cheerleader for my dreams back then and it was the strongest motivator to keep my dream alive! Thank you to Ken Oguss who was always ready for the ride! Along with your forward motion, you always helped me slow down and really hone my craft and explore what was possible!! For that I am ever grateful! My first interview where I was being interviewed was with Joe LePage! I was so nervous, because it was my first time being the one interviewed! Looking back on that interview in 2010, I was nervous, and you could see it, but Joe couldn't have been sweeter!! Thank you so much Joe!  You interviewing me back then is one of my favorite memories!!  It takes a village, and the people I have met that have become part of my village to accomplish my dream of hosting a podcast for 9 years... You ALL are the best! Thank you for coming along for the ride!  I am so glad to have come this far...and I can't wait to see the places we go!!

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

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

A quote lovers' reflection...

I've always loved quotes. Visual reminders that fill your mind with positive thoughts, pushing out the negative like a bulldozer!  I've always had a knack for writing, words and language. That doesn't mean you should ask me about adverbs, adjectives or pronouns!  I mean, I know they add something to the structure of a sentence, telling you who, what, where, when, why and how.. yada, yada and so on. My love of words and writing began early because of just how powerful they are, and in this case, powerful for the good! I LOVE coloring! The adult coloring book trend will never go out of style for me! Is it because I can't draw anything but a stick person to save my life? Yes, but that's our little secret!  I love coloring pages that put good thoughts in your head and heart. I colored one not too long ago that said, "Life is Sweet" (the one that's pictured, in fact!)  That statement got me thinking. Sometimes that statement can mislead others into thinking that you must not have any problems and that everything is rainbows, unicorns and candy corn for you!!  But, that's not always the case.  Life is about choices. The things that shape you and the experiences you have gone through are many times dealt with privately, not viewed by the eyes of others.  When you have something that plaques you, whether it was years ago or more recent, it takes time to come to grips with pain, emotions and frustration.  Then it takes coping strategies that allow you to put things into perspective and move on stronger and more resilient then before. Granted, the negative emotions will rear their heads and you will have to work with that, but acknowledging those emotions is nothing more then being human....That's OK!  You can also be proud of how far you have come. Think about it. Whatever the mountain you are climbing or have climbed, didn't defeat you! It may have knocked you down for a bit, but you got back up and are still fighting, still breathing, your heart is still beating and just think of all those who love who you are and are cheering you on!  I'm writing this post to tell you I've been through every ounce of every feeling and emotion I've put on this digital page! I am here to tell you it does get better and even now, when the negative emotions do come, it's not so earth shattering. It takes constant effort, but the effort is well worth it.  So, the next time someone asks: "How are you?" You say "Good!"'re really saying, "Life is Sweet" and I'm still a work in progress!

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

Monday, April 16, 2018

Behind The Mic Book Review UGLY by Robert Hoge

I absolutely LOVE when friends give me book reviews!  I logged onto my facebook page one morning and my facebook friend, Rita Shutes, whom I also know personally, had posted a picture of her daughter Olivia with this book standing outside a nursing home where she reads to the residents.  Rita has really instilled in her children the need to give back and make people's day a little brighter.  I have been a recipient of many of these gifts to make people's days' brighter, when I worked as a receptionist at Olivia's daycare!  When it came to this book, it also brightened my day!  UGLY by Robert Hoge is one marvelous book!!  As I got to know Robert through this book, I was moved by his courage and his fortitude to live life to the fullest, despite how different his appearance is from those around him!  He was able, at a young age, to go through a life changing surgery, yet understanding that the outcome would mean an easier way of living.  Unbelievably brave!  What was also brave to put in this book was the reaction of his mom after he was born.  She told Robert later that the reason for her reaction was pride.  She was worried about what people would think about the way he looked.  After working things out inside herself, Robert's mom's love for him grew strong and fierce!  What I really appreciated about this book is that it helps you to look outside your own comfort zone, coming to realize that you don't have to always go along with what society deems as "approved".  We are individuals, made up of different feelings, reactions, desires, dreams and abilities and we are not robots.  All human beings should be treated with dignity and respect!!  Robert gives this magnificent advice:  "If you're different from other kids, don't worry about the jigsaw puzzle.  Don't judge yourself by everyone else's seemingly beautiful picture.  And don't worry if your final picture doesn't seem clear or if the edges around your story don't seem sharp.  The solution is simple: Be unafraid of living.  The puzzle pieces will take care of themselves"

The sentences above are just one of the many golden nuggets you can keep in your "positive thinking" memory bank when you need it!!

Robert: Thank you so much for telling your story through this book!  It reinforces the adage that you can NEVER judge a book by its cover, but you can learn life changing lessons from it!

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

Pick up Robert's book here:

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Behind the Mic Book Review: A Beautiful Mind, a Beautiful Life by Lindy Tsang

"An unstoppable person is someone who is not afraid to make mistakes. An unstoppable person radiates confidence because they believe in their abilities. An unstoppable person perseveres by viewing life's obstacles as opportunities to learn and grow.  They don't just dream the dream; they live the dream" 

I feel like this book needs to be announced on the loud speaker at the drugstore, no, not "clean up in aisle 4"... more like "inspirational life lessons in aisle 4...oh, and while you're at it, you can pick up that favorite eye color you've been wanting."  Lindy Tsang uses the platform of makeup tutorials on her Youtube channel to help bring out your best outer beauty and this girl has major skills!  Her love of all things beauty is infectious!  Not only does she serve as an ultra adorable expert, but she's also realized that beauty is more than just about the face.  You can have a pretty face, but feel broken, unlovable and hopeless inside.  I love how Lindy is using her success to help other women succeed and start to love the image staring back at them in the mirror.  Lindy shares deeply personal insights into how she felt growing up.  When she said she always felt different, I completely and totally could relate, especially with having a physical disability and using a wheelchair. One day she decided to take control and change her mindset about the world around her and not put limits on the extraordinary potential inside her.  Her parents just expected her to follow in her family's footsteps of choosing a career as a doctor, lawyer or engineer, but a love of art was what she really wanted to tap into and see if it could turn into, not just a job, but a passion!  Before becoming the household Youtube star she is today, she had to climb from the bottom to the top, but she took steps to pave the way to being the best version of herself.. being unstoppable!  She worked at her parents Thai Chinese restaurant and when she started earning money and buying makeup, she eventually got up the courage to post a video on Youtube!  The flames of her extraordinary potential were being sparked!  Through this book, Lindy walks you through the process of bringing out your own extraordinary potential that could be hidden inside you!  She becomes your loudest cheerleader throughout this book!  I recommend this book becoming a part of your beauty routine!!  Thank you Lindy for writing this book and helping everyone find their own way to being UNSTOPPABLE!

Learn about this book from Lindy herself!

To purchase the book:

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