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Wednesday
Jun152011

jermaine: spirit of an angel and strength of an army

Just wanted to share some incredible words from Jermaine. So often I'm asked how I met the boys and why I'm so inspired to help them. The note below explains "WHY" and soon I'll fill you in on "HOW".

Why

Note below is from Jermaine after receiving his new wheelchair. For those that don't know, Jermaine is an incredible young man with the spirit of an angel and strength of an army. He was gunned down four years ago during a robbery, left paralyzed fighting for his life.

Thank you diana. if I had to go back in time and change anything I wouldn't cause I would not have you in my life. the things you have done and the bond we have is so far great that I don't want anything or anyone to jeopardize it. you are by far one of the greatest inspirational, loving, caring, honest everything in one women I've ever came across and I love you so much not for just what you done and how you help change my life but just for who you are. don't ever change or let anything or anyone in this world change you.

Seriously? Yes, I'm serious. This kid IS for real and those words really came from him. I tear up every time I read it. I think he should run for president some day -- he's that special. These boys have changed me, made me stronger and inspire me to live a better life. I know deep down they are the reason I had the courage to let go of everything and pursue my dreams.

I want everyone to know this feeling. Some divine universe brought us together and I am so blessed to have each and every one of these boys in my life. They've helped me far more than I could ever help them. 

Jermaine is still going to guest blog for me, but he needs time to settle into his new apartment first, and school. As soon as he's up for it, it will happen. :) 

xoxoxo


Wednesday
Jun152011

life-changing wheelchairs!

I rolled into LA with my camper just in time to turn around and fly back to NYC for my boys! Jermaine and Jonathan would finally be receiving their long awaited, new, pimped out, life-changing wheelchairs! (hence the blogging delay)

There will never be enough words to fully articulate my love and appreciation for Darrell Gwynn and everyone who works for his foundation. Darrell has now provided wheelchairs for all three of the "Boys of Beth Abe". 

My lovie Jonathan, a super quad, once left stranded in his hospital room in fear of his junkyard-worthy power chair breaking down leaving him stranded in the streets of the Bronx, now drives a $35,000 vehicle of independence. He went from a Yugo to a Porsche! He needs to retake driver's ed; however, as he already ran into a wall and took out one of his wheels! The new chair is so fast and responsive it takes some practice. Luckily we were at the racetrack when it happened, so the wheelchair pit crew was on hand to fix it! He's been practicing his maneuvering skills in an open courtyard of the nursing home so we don't expect that to ever happen again -- right Jonathan?!!!! :)

My precious Jermaine has so many life-changing events happening in his life right now. Finally, after years of neglect in the nursing home, he is moving out on his own! As I've mentioned in the past, insurance will not pay for new wheelchairs while the boys live in the nursing home; however they will pay once they've moved out! The Darrell Gwynn Foundation usually donates power wheelchairs; however, in Jermaine's case, we requested a super-lite manual wheelchair knowing his freedom was just around the corner and with that a new power chair through insurance! Jermaine's new super-lite manual chair is the Cadillac of manual chairs -- he's gone from pushing a 50 lb tank of lead to cruising in a 12 lb hoover craft. 

Here are some pics from the incredible Darrell Gwynn wheelchair donation events that took place at Raceway Park in NJ.

Jermaine is so poetic, articulate and well spoken I balled through his entire "thank you" speech!! 

Standing: Darrell's incredible dad, Jerry • Linda, Jermaine's sweet aunt • Me • Jenny!
Sitting: Jermaine • Darrell Gwynn

Blake and Jermaine on the race track for the opening "track walk". Jonathan was was with the pit crew fixing his busted wheel! Blake received his wheelchair last June. 

Jonathan, giving his "thank you" speech in front of thousands at the race track!

Blake, Jermaine, Jonathan and Darrell. Darrell's dad, Jerry, is standing behind Jonathan. I don't know the man holding the fake check, but I'm sure he's nice. :)
One of my favorite pics! All the boys with Darrell sitting in his wheelchair race car!  Jenny, Jerry and Me behind them.

 

Wednesday
Jun152011

grand canyon north rim!

Looking for tranquility and solitude? While I highly recommend quitting your job, buying a teardrop camper and traveling the country, I realize that might be a little out of reach for most grown ups. If that's the case, then do the next best thing: take a trip to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and stay at the Grand Canyon Lodge! You'll thank me, I promise!  

The best view of the North Rim is located through the sunroom of the Lodge. You don't need to stay at the Lodge to take advantage of the spectacular view -- although I recommend it and when I start vacationing in establishments that provide real beds again, this is top on my list. 

The walk from the sunroom to the various view points is breathtaking. You can't help but sigh and smile. :)

Adirondack chairs are very New England and make me very happy. They line the overlook on both the east and west entrance of the sunroom. I sat for awhile just smiling -- because that's all you can do; it's involuntary. :)  

Sunroom of the Grand Canyon Lodge. Amazing view in the most tranquil, sublime setting.

Wednesday
May252011

zion national park : emerald pools

First off, I should begin by telling you the "Emerald" Pools are not emerald! At least not yet anyway. When I asked about this obvious problem, the ranger said they'll turn "emerald" in about a month. Helpful information I could have used YESTERDAY! Apparently the "green" algae needs time to grow, which then gives the pools their "emerald" effect. While "emerald" pools would be much prettier (because now it just looks like dirty water), it was a nice hike.

view from under the falls!

view of the "not so emerald" lower pool. Told you it looked like dirty water!

lower falls
upper falls (middle was closed). 

Wednesday
May252011

zion: hebrew for refuge or sanctuary

MORE DESERT BIG HORN SHEEP! 

Other than spotting a rocky mountain big horn from a distance in Glacier National Park, I've never really seen one, and definitely not this many! Hence why I took so many photos! These are desert big horn here in Zion, but BIG HORN none-the-less (well, little horn in this case)! I loved photographing these guys!

Wednesday
May252011

zion national park : full of big horn trouble makers!!

Ram #1: "Were you looking at my woman?"    Ram #2: "So what if I was?"

Ram #1: "I'm gonna kick your skinny ram #ss, that's what!

Tuesday
May242011

zion national park: the circle of life!

May not be suitable for children. Unless of course you want to have the birds and the bees conversation!


 

Tuesday
May242011

volunteering at the best friend's animal sanctuary! 

Best Friend's "No Kill" Animal Sanctuary was started back in 1970 by 22 loving, dedicated, risk-everything-for-a-dream group of friends who envisioned a refuge where animals could live their lives in a comfortable, loving environment, safe from harm and cruelty. In 1982, these dreamers pooled their resources and bought 3,000 acres of breathtaking high desert canyon in the wilds of Southern Utah, now known as Angel Canyon – home to the most beloved sanctuary in the world. It truly is a remarkable story of love and triumph.

While the number fluctuates, BFAS is home to roughly 2,000 animals from all over the country. Everything from horses,

Click to read more ...

Monday
May232011

bryce canyon driving tour!

Weather was stormy and unpredictable my first day at Bryce so I opted for the Bryce Driving Tour. Unlike some of the other National Parks that are magnificently beautiful, but not clearly marked (Zion for example), Bryce has its "view points" conveniently located and marked right off the 18 mile main park road, requiring very little walking making the beauty accessible to everyone. While spectacular, I still highly recommend a hike or horse back ride through the canyon!! 

View points: Fairyland Point • Sunrise Point • Sunset Point • Inspiration Point (sounds like Happy Days!) • Bryce Point • Paria View • Fairview Point • Natural Bridge • Agua Canyon • Ponderosa Canyon • Black Birch Canyon • Rainbow Point • Yovinpa Point

 Natural Bridge

Black Birch Canyon

Bryce Point

Fairview Point (it recently snowed!) 

Monday
May232011

bryce canyon national park

 Bryce hike that leads straight to heaven! 

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