Have a Good Day

We’ve lived in our house for three years now. There is a convenience store down the road and handy for EVERYTHING. Gas, treats, sweets, snacks. There is a gentleman who works there, and when I stop in for my eggs, grapes, or goat cheese we exchange words.

I pay for my things and say, “Have a good day.”
“You too, and remember make it a good day, no matter what.”

I’ve been having this pleasant conversation two-three times a week with Dave. I’d guess he should be retired, but he’s working full time, the early a.m. shift and giving kindness daily to those in their daily rush.

Sunday, I was in the basement with the urge to spring clean. My daughter was suddenly behind me, her arms open and tears falling. She startled me.  “I just read a card from Gram.” Her crying immediately became more intense. Gram has been in the hospital for the past month with sickness. Her body slow, fighting and wanting to quit. The battle of holding on. I held Chloe and asked what the card had said. She didn’t want to say and immediately I suggested, “Go get dressed, we will go visit.”

Chloe straightened herself, dressed, mascara. We left the house and she said, “Oh, I forgot something!” I replied, “I’ll stop at Sheetz.” I got some gas in my jeep, she ran in. Comes out and hops in and says to me, “Well that man in there made me feel better,” with a slightly less sadness in her voice.
I responded, “A guy? Was his name Dave by chance?”
“Did he say, remember.. make it a good day, no matter what?!”
Chloe responded, “Yes.”

The impact we have on others is so significant, even when we don’t realize it.

Gram, 78, she has been struggling with her health for quite some time now. For my daughters, this is their great-grandmother on their dad’s side. They have grown up to the ages 12 and 16 and being close to her. She overspends on them for holidays and birthdays. That Sunday we went to visit, she kept saying to the girls, “Sing me a song!” She sang Silent Night with us, quiet and raspy. The girls harmonized to the tune of the Star Spangled Banner, as their grandmother began to find comfort in song. Demanding, bossy as I always remembered she was. Confusion because of the lack of oxygen getting into her blood. It’s been a sad few months. In the back of my mind, I was thinking, “this is my ex’s family, but this wasn’t about me or the past.. this is the now and family is family.” Life is so fragile.

It was two days later and I was rushing to work. I had to stop for something. Yes, familiar faces behind the counter and I wanted to be sure to say Hi, and then I remembered how Mr. Dave impacted my daughter the few days previous. He was there. I said, “Hey I need to share something with you,” reaching to touch his hand. I’m telling him that my daughter had come in sad days ago right before visiting her ill great-grandmother. How she was feeling broken, fearing death soon. “You had said what you share to everyone daily.” I was choking up explaining, and saying to him, “Just so you know .. you here, you make a difference in the lives of others.”
Dave said, “Now you’re going to make me cry.”

Isn’t it amazing we get this one life and energy to give? We get to chose daily how we give to others. What a responsibility.

“You have a good day .. and remember, no matter what.” (and I REALLY mean that!)

Amy Scott

Born in Atlantic City NJ, and raised in NEPA. Forever a lover of sand and ocean, but would escape to the woods and a cabin. Fan of traveling, small coffee shops, real feels and deep conversations. A girl that will throw the car in reverse to photograph something that catches her eye. Continuing to find herself even at 40.

Amy holds the first four year college degree in her family history. A mother of two daughters who come first. Photographer of family and abstract. Writer of life pieces and poetry. Passionate in inspiring others to always find the positive.


Life is hectic for a Lupie.

Balance is where I find serendipity.
Serendipity is whenever events come together happily and unexpected, kind of like luck! The first time I heard the word Serendipity was in a movie that I watched as a teenager. It was a Rom-Com about two people running into each accidentally who fall in love but get separated only to meet again 10 years later.

I like the sound of the word itself, Serendipity, it even sounds playful. It does not come from Latin or Greek, it came from a British nobleman in the mid-1700’s who created the word from an ancient Persian fairy tale. Who doesn’t love a good fairy tale? I digress.

Lupus life is so far from a fairy tale that it’s insane. Living with lupus is living with a traveling circus of inflammation. Lupus has affected everything from my hair to my stomach to my heart and, of course, my joints. It’s an awful relatively invisible disease that requires constant juggling. Along with Dr. appointments, lab testing, imaging, procedures, medications and insurance verifications, there is joint inflammation, pain, debilitating fatigue, and too many other complaints to list.

I think everyone needs balance in their life. Everyone plays the balancing act game, balancing work and home. Balancing healthy food vs. junk food. Balancing emotions like happiness vs. sadness and anger vs. delight. Life is about balancing peacefulness with playfulness too. For a lupie, not only is it important to achieve life balance but it’s finding the right balance of medicine to manage symptoms and coordinate with the right doctors. Then there’s emotional balance, stress management and learning to accept the situation we’re dealt.

It takes a great deal of effort to balance everything that’s going on in my mind and body but when I have a good day, a really good day it is serendipity! It’s as if all the planets have aligned perfectly. That particular serendipitous day would involve feeling good with minimal joint inflammation/swelling, adequate sleep, having my pain controlled and a normal heart rate. It seems like I live my life in an “on hold” manner just waiting to feel better, to feel good enough to have fun, something healthy people take for granted. But when everything is balanced it’s serendipity!

Since my lupus diagnosis, I’ve lived my life waiting for that wonderful day. Honestly, it happens about as often as a blue moon.

On my bucket list is a place in New York named Serendipity. It is an ice cream parlor. One day I hope to get there and if I do it will truly be serendipity!

Michele Palermo

Michele is a retired registered nurse who spent 15 years in Emergency Medicine. That’s where she learned there’s a fragility to life. Diagnosed with lupus after going through a divorce has taught her to be a survivor instead of a victim. With her career shortened by illness she turned to books. She fell in love with the written word as a young child. To her, words convey emotion. Her new passion is writing. As an aspiring author, she hopes to inspire others on this roller coaster called life.

Pass The Certificate!

August 2016.

Heading into my final year of high school. I was determined to make it the best year yet.

It was Tuesday, my first therapy session of the year. My therapist and I were getting ready to take my usual lap around the school as we were walking she stopped and asked,

Jules, what’s a goal you want to achieve before you graduate high school?

I didn’t even hesitate.

I didn’t even have to think about my answer.

I have had the goal in my heart and mind for a couple of years already and I was ready to do whatever I had to achieve it.

I want to walk across the stage in my walker at graduation,” I replied.

She smiled. “That’s a great goal. It’s going to take a lot of hard work, but we have plenty of time before graduation, so we’ll be able to do it. “

So, now that my therapist was on board, it was time to let everyone else on my team know. I told almost every single person. My paragym teacher, academic teachers, my house administrator etc. They were all excited and were there with me the whole time, every step of the way!

I also planned on keeping it a secret from my graduating class until graduation, so I told everyone that knew already, keep your mouth closed. I don’t want any of the seniors to know. Everyone was supportive of it and told me they would keep it to themselves.

But, unfortunately, halfway through the year, the anticipation of keeping the secret away from the graduating class was starting to kill me. I couldn’t hold it in anymore. So, to make myself feel better,I told them.

Their reactions such as “I’m going to cry and I’m so excited for you.”Were truly priceless and pushed me harder than ever to build the strength up in my legs enough all year to walk the long hike up to the stage that coming June.

May 27, 2017.

4 weeks before the big day.

One of the administrator’s that was on café duty during my lunch period pulled me aside to chat with me about plans for graduation. Like how the stage was going to be set up and how myself and another student that was in a wheelchair was going to get up on the stage using a ramp etc.

“You’re going to be called first Jules. She said then you’re going to give everyone their hugs and come down,  same with the other student. After you both are done, we will let all the others go. Sound good?”She asked.

I nodded in agreement.

June 12, 2017.

Finals week.

The final week before the big day for the graduating class of 2017.

And the final week for me to finalize everything before my walking milestone. The final step in the planning process was to speak with my gym teacher about how we were going to get me downstairs if we were all on the second floor and were separated by last names in rooms, it was going to be a tough walk.

Luckily, that week I only had one final and that’s it. SoI was able to spend more time planning.

“If you can’t make it downstairs without being tired because I want you to have enough strength and energy to be able to walk out to the stage,” explained my gym teacher. “We will let you get a head start and give you a ride on the cart. But if graduation gets postponed to the 18th of June due to weather (the original set date was the 17.) that rain day morning we will all meet in the gym and walk out from there.

The cart didn’t work.  So, now in a way, I was praying that it got postponed only because having the cart would kind ruin the plan.

It did get postponed. Which I was happy about.

June 17, 2018.

24 hours before the big day.

The day all of us graduating seniors pick up our caps and gowns as well as have our yearbooks signed. Emotions and excitement were running high for everyone. It was all starting to feel real.

June 18, 2017.

The big day was finally here.

The day 400 of us graduating seniors said goodbye to the place we called home for 4 years. We all met in the gym. I was feeling nervous, anxious, and excited all at the same time. We were led by row to line up in the hallway to get ready to walk out. My row went first and within 30 minutes or, so everyone was lined up and ready to go.

We started to walk; I was already getting overwhelmed and we didn’t even make it to the gate yet. When we walked the path, all I could hear was people clapping as the band music was playing from someone’s I pod and the faint screaming and hollering of the people in the bleachers. It was very emotional how many people supported me in reaching this goal of walking across the stage at graduation, and now the hard work was paying off.

With the guidance of my gym teacher, I made the long hike out to the football flown to my seat up in front, and he was so proud and so was I. The music stopped playing. The national anthem was sung, and all speeches were given.

Finally, it was the moment we have all waited for.

I got ready to walk and went up to the ramp. 

My name was called:

“Juliana Ruggiero.”

I walked.

All of the seniors were screaming and so were the people in the bleachers. I gave everyone on the stage their hugs and walked back to my chair. I felt so proud of myself. “I did it!” I whispered proudly. The other wheelchair student went after me. We both watched as the rest of the seniors went up.

Everyone was done the closing speeches were said and we all able to throw our caps up in the air as a final farewell. Everyone was crying and proud. I was proud of myself. And my para was crying. The whole day was emotional and happy, and it will be a day I will remember forever.

To anyone with disability reading this. I want you to know no matter what you can achieve your dreams. Don’t let anyone or anything hold you back. You can do anything you set your mind to, all you have to do is work hard and believe in yourself! That’s it!

You got this!!

Juliana Ruggiero

Juliana is 18 and fresh out of High school. She graduated with High honors. Writing is something she really enjoys doing and everyone that knows her tells her she has a gift for it. Juliana is a hopeless Italian food addict, loves meeting new people and making new friends. She is very laid back and easy going. Juliana is here to inspire everyone and give it her all. She doesn’t have a bad bone in her body. Her career began in July of 2016 after reaching out and offering to be interviewed for The Abler Blog. Since that interview, after seeing all the positive feedback she was getting from everyone, it pushed her to do more with her writing! Pushing herself to do more has lead Juliana to some of the most kind and supportive people she could ask for! She is grateful that she took that “leap of faith.”

Love is Love is Love

For my birthday this past fall, my Life Hostage bought me a gorgeous sapphire ring. We spent several hours searching a dozen stores for that one ring that we were both happy with. I wear the ring on my left hand, but before you ask, we are not engaged.

We are happy and being happy is a very personal thing that really has nothing to do with anyone else. But you would never know that from the way people stare and ask questions.

No, we are not engaged. No, I don’t think wearing a ring on that finger means I’m not leaving it open for an engagement ring. No, he didn’t get down on one knee to give it to me. Yes, I do have an issue with my right ring finger knuckle that makes getting rings for my left hand much easier. Yes, I wear it every day with as much pride and reverence as I would an engagement ring. Yes, I feel naked if I don’t wear it.

I don’t know why I bother answering the questions. I really shouldn’t. No one is harder on me than me. Trust me, I had all those same thoughts swirl around my head once or twice. But just because I thought them doesn’t mean you can interrogate me on them. I really want to tell people to take their judgment and shove it where the sun doesn’t shine.

Honestly, there are some people that I don’t think mean anything by their questions. I do think they are happy that we’re happy. They’re just curious. Then there’s the other group of asshats that feel the need to question our life. Guess what? It’s really not that exciting – we live a very simple life with tons of love. And food, we like food. No juicy story there.

Recently I was reading an article claiming to know about the healthiest relationships – they’re the ones that aren’t plastered all over social media. Outside of my writing, I rarely post about my Life Hostage. Once I read this, I started to become hypersensitive about other people’s posts regarding their significant others. And quite honestly, I don’t know if there is credence to this theory or not. But what I began thinking, after all this ring chatter, was that maybe the healthiest relationship is one that is not visible at all.

What kind of crazy nonsense is that? The kind you start to believe after you’ve been asked a dozen times about when your wedding date is.

Love is love is love.

Isn’t that what different groups of people across the world have been fighting for, for years and as far back as I can remember? And you shouldn’t be made to feel like you love is any better or worse than anyone else’s.

Love is love is love.

Whether you want to shout it from the rooftops or keep it private, that’s your choice. But you should never be made to feel like you make the wrong one. There is no wrong choice in love. Yes, I say that even as a woman who is divorced. I never feel like I made the wrong choice there.

What I’ve learned from this experience? I think we love who and how we love. And that’s nothing to be ashamed of.

A hot mess held together on a daily basis by dry shampoo and probiotics, Rachel is still trying to figure out what she wants to be when she grows up but for now is a communications professional by trade. A true Chicagoan through and through, she is an East Coast transplant trying to set down roots. Although the height of her high heels may be getting shorter, Rachel’s expectations are not getting lower and she is on a mission to change the world one person at a time.

Faking it

We’ve heard it a thousand times, “Fake it, till you make it.” We’ve all know what it means and we are all guilty of saying it at one point or another. There is just one issue with it, it’s the biggest lie I’ve ever told myself.

Being positive and keeping my chin up is difficult for me. Being constantly positive and seeing the silver lining in every situation, is exhausting. It’s both physically and mentally exhausting. I’ve tried to fake being positive. To put on a smile despite what I’m going through. Faking happiness and just waiting for the day that I will actually be happy is the worst thing I could do.

I’ve denied myself emotions I was rightly due. Denied myself the process to heal the right way. Lied to myself that not being okay isn’t okay and you just need to move on and be happy because the world doesn’t like you if you’re not happy and positive.

I’ve continuously questioned why I’m still upset at the end of my last relationship. My best friend tells me it just takes time and you have to choose whether you move on or just stay put.

Faking it has kept me stagnant because I’m only pretending to have moved on. All the while behind the smile, the laugh, and brave face, I am crying on the inside. I now stand at the beginning of a new road. It’s time I choose.

I can sit here and wallow in self-pity and cry poor me. Or I can choose to be happy. Choose to move forward, let go of the past and trust God.

Here is to a better year. Letting go of things I can’t control. Forgiving the hurt and pain that others have caused, asking for forgiveness for pain and hurt I’ve caused others.
Being more positive (thank you Project Wednesday) and grateful for the good in my life.
Seeking to rebuild my faith in God. Learning to trust in His will. His timing and His plan.
~First Facebook post of 2018

I’ve faked it for too long. Faking it has only prolonged my struggles. We all have at some point. This is my time to move forward and change.

God has a plan, as difficult as it may be to trust Him or no matter how much trust you’ve lost in Him, He still trusts you to allow Him to work in your life.

Today, I once more choose to be happy. Choose to allow myself to hurt when I hurt, cry when I cry, but not allow myself to stay there to hurt and cry.

Same for you.

You are strong, courageous and brave.

God Bless and Positive Vibes.

Niall Covington

Born with a genetic disorder, Niall knows what it is like to be knocked down. He has been there several times and he has been able to get back up because of faith and a small number of friends. Seeing others getting knocked down, Niall offers a hand whether he has just fallen or is on the way back up himself. Volunteering as a summer camp counselor for children, teens, and young adults with the same disorder, Niall hopes to inspire them to overcome life’s road blocks. For Niall, writing for Project Wednesday is an opportunity to reach more people, and to help more.