4/24

My grandfather is super cool…until he starts talking about golf (surprisingly similar to watching golf), and then I have trouble maintaining my focus. But seriously, he is a wonderful person and influence in my life.  He is very supportive, and wants to come and visit Opportunity Networks at some point for the day, to be involved in my life and see the place that I enjoy spending my time at!  He is very funny, likes to joke a lot, and can make everyone around him feel great about themselves.  Once, I was checking out FaceBook, and noticed that he had friended a bunch of my friends; I’m not sure if this was because he wanted to have something to talk about with me, or because he wanted to pump up his friend numbers, but I thought it was sweet regardless.

I remember a trip we took to Florida to visit my grandparents, and we were hanging out at a local golf course.  My grandmother and I were driving around in a golf cart, checking out the tan boys and enjoying the wonderful weather. He let me drive the golf cart, when nobody else wanted to, and it made me feel older and independent.  I also remember when my cousin and I painted the fingernails on one of his hands black; he let us do it!

Grandpa, if you’re reading this, I want you to know that I love you, and you are one of the best things in my life.  Thank you for being a wonderful grandfather, and for spoiling me like all great grandfathers should!  There are plenty of great memories in my life thanks to you.

Until next time,

Dee out!

3/29

Happiness can be elusive, but when you find it, it can make you feel better than ever. On the flip side, when you don’t feel happy, you would give anything to get back to that happy place. There have been plenty of times in my life when I have been full of happiness, and can’t imagine feeling any other way; but, there are inevitably the tough times that make you wonder how you’ll go on.

I’ve been happy, and I’ve been sad, perfectly natural human emotions; I’ve learned that many times you need to do things for yourself in order to find that happiness, rather than waiting for others to do for you. Having a job you love, having your life (kind of) together, and having supportive friends and family are very important, but happiness, true love and success are all pieces of the puzzle that lead to inner peace. To paraphrase a quote from Beauty and the Beast; “A beast can treat you better than a prince.” To me, that means that there is someone out there for everyone, and you should look past the superficial to find real beauty and love.  There is something that everyone is looking for in life, and what is right for one person isn’t right for the next.  I think love is the same way.  One thing is for sure; love is messy, complicated and difficult to navigate.  But it is also beautiful, and while everyone has their own path to take in life, I believe that in the end, if it is meant to be, it will be.

Love makes you feel good, it hurts, and it can confuse you, sometimes all at the same time.  It is the only emotion that doesn’t follow some kind of mold, which is why it is so difficult to navigate.  You can love someone and be completely certain of why, and you can love without that certainty.  Dear love, you are awesome…and you suck!

Until Next Time,

Dee out!

3/23

So…lately I’ve been thinking about changing the days that I spend at Opportunity Networks. I know I get to spend two days with them, but I’ve been feeling like two days is not enough. If nothing else, I would like to switch my days to Thursday and Friday, because Opportunity Networks does a lot of really cool things on those days, including the News Crew and Music Group. I know that it will take a conversation with my school, and I will have the support of my family and my friends from Opportunity Networks, so I don’t think it will be an issue.

Honestly, I can’t wait until I am 21 so that I can start spending my whole week with Opportunity Networks. I feel like the people there are part of a community, and it’s a place where I can be included, and people care what I have to say. If you read my last blog post, you know that I am working to be as independent as possible, and I hope someday to live completely independently, with some supports. That will happen through self-advocacy, my own strength as a person, and help from those who care about me.

I have a friend who is starting to transition over to Opportunity Networks, and I have always felt like sort of a mentor to her. We went to school together, and I’m really glad that we will be able to spend more time together. I used to help her at school with her talker (augmentative communication device), and I would do anything for her. When I help her, it makes me feel so good about myself, and I know that it makes her feel good and more comfortable as well. I look forward to hanging out and being able to help her at Opportunity Networks, as well.

Until next time,

Dee out!

My Introduction

Welcome everybody to my first post for From the Mind of Deanna. I attend Opportunity Networks on Wednesdays and Thursdays, but I really can’t wait to be able to go all week, because I have the opportunity to be myself there. I can express myself in my own way, and my friends (staff and program participants) there are very supportive of my goals and dreams.

My dream of becoming a writer started with an interest in photography. I thought that explaining photos that I took would help readers understand the meaning behind my photos. After a while, my passion for writing took the spotlight, and photography became a nice complement to that.

Someday I want to compile a book of short stories that I have written, and Opportunity Networks staff and program participants can act as peer editors to provide feedback before I publish my work. I have felt such a high level of support with Opportunity Networks up to this point, and I can visualize my book being reviewed, edited, and sent to be published!

Until next time, keep dreaming, night and day.

Dee out!