Do It Myself Blog – Glenda Watson Hyatt

Motivational Speaker

Blogosphere Catches the Christmas Spirit

Filed under: Blogging — by at 7:17 pm on Thursday, December 11, 2008

In an email exchange several weeks ago, social media strategist Chris Brogan suggested that I put together an ebook from my blog posts to generate some income for myself. Awesome idea!

The wheels began churning. I’d pull the best posts from my first year of blogging here and entitle the ebook The Best of…The Left Thumb Blogger. Adding Volume I to the title would enable me to create similar ebooks in subsequent years, assuming this one was a success. 

With Christmas fast approaching, I then began thinking that I could donate partial proceeds to my favourite charity the Union Gospel Mission for its Christmas dinner fundraiser. I headed to bed, feeling good about this plan.

Entering the bedroom, I heard a voice clearly say, "Feed 100 people."

What the heck? 100 people? Are you kidding? I’m only a small blogger with small blog traffic? How am I suppose to sell 100 ebooks to feed 100 people within the limited time before Christmas?

I proceeded with the idea the next day, with the voice’s words on my mind. Due to some delays because of other commitments and a few technical difficulties, the ebook took longer than expected to create, increasing my doubt to sell 100 copies in time. Once created, the project became a community effort:

Some of the Twitter messages announcing ebook proceeds feel homeless people Christmas dinner

The Best of...The Left Thumb Blogger: Volume I

What happened next was amazing and humbling. People – some friends, some strangers – purchased multiple copies of the ebook. Others, not wanting the ebook but wishing to buy Christmas dinner for people in need, bought me enough cups of coffee (using the link below the post) to keep me buzzing for a week!

In less than a week of launching The Best of…The Left Thumb Blogger: Volume I, enough money has been raised to feed Christmas dinner to nearly 80 people in need! And there is still one more week to go!

How heartwarming is that? Giving selflessly to people less fortunate – the blogosphere has definitely caught the spirit of Christmas!

Thank you.

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a chai tea latte. Thanks kindly.

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Spotlighting Businesses That Are Improving Accessibility for People with Disabilities

Filed under: Accessibility 100,Living with a disability — by at 10:43 pm on Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Accessibility 100Accessibility 100 provides easy-to-implement, free and inexpensive ways for improving accessibility for people with disabilities, dispelling the myth that accessibility needs to be expensive and difficult to achieve. Let’s spotlight Accessibility 100 in practice.

Oftentimes businesses and establishments make the news for not providing access for people with disabilities. Let’s turn that spotlight around and shine it on businesses and establishments that have improved access or service for people with disabilities in small yet meaningful ways, or even for one customer in that moment.

For example, several years ago Darrell and I spent our anniversary at Crescent Beach. We found a small place somewhere along the water for dinner. Once we had eaten, I had to use the washroom. The single washroom was tiny. There was no way I could get my scooter in and close the door. Of course, every restaurant should have a wheelchair accessible washroom; however, sometimes reality bites! In that moment, I had to use the washroom and I had no clue where the nearest accessible one was. The waitress kindly helped me to walk into the washroom, waited for me, and then helped me back to my scooter. That was not likely in her job description, but she did what she could to compensate for the building’s lack of accessibility. For that I am appreciative.

More recently, at the Sandman Inn in Castlegar, the manager ensured appropriate grab bars were installed in the otherwise fairly accessible bathroom before I returned to my room on the second night. This enabled me to safely use the toilet.

How many other individuals do what they can to make their businesses or establishments accessible, in that moment, for a customer/client/patron with a disability?

Let’s spotlight individuals and businesses that have taken small steps to improve accessibility, one customer at a time. To get this going, I am tagging Kara Swims, Lori-ann Engel, David Hingsburger, Norman Perrin, Nickie, and Karen Putz.

Haven’t been tagged? Not to worry. Either leave your story in a comment below or share your story on your blog and link back to this post. That way all of the stories will be gathered in one place for others to read and to learn from.

Let’s hear your (or a loved one’s) story!

Accessibility 100 is a series of 100 easy-to-implement, free and inexpensive tips for improving accessibility for people with disabilities. This is a community project. Feel free to leave your comments, questions and ideas for future Accessibility 100 posts.

Get the entire series by subscribing to this blog by filling in the form in the upper right corner or by subscribing to the RSS feed.

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a chai tea latte. Thanks kindly.

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The Master in Applied Disability Studies Continues

Filed under: Living with a disability — by at 10:20 am on Friday, December 5, 2008

Two weeks ago I did an interview with Fernanda Araujo for her Masters in Applied Disability Studies. This week she had a few follow up questions.

1. Can you start by telling me something of what it is like to live with disability every day?

For the most part, having a disability isn’t something I really think about. I don’t wake up every morning and think, "Damn, I have cerebral palsy yet again!" I go about my day, doing what I do, the way in which I do it. At times I hit a bump or barrier and need to find how to work around it. But, really, I don’t know what it is like to live without a significant physical disability. Living with a disability daily is how life is and I deal with it, day by day.

2. What are some of the main challenges you face? What strategies do you use to meet such challenges?

My biggest challenge is verbal communication. Because of my speech impairment – I speak Glenda-ish – most people find it difficult to understand me, which severely limits who I can talk to. This is rather isolating at times. Through the years I have used various strategies to work around my speech:

  • An alphabet card to spell out words for people. During my university years, that card became my security blanket. I didn’t live my apartment without it.
  • Notes that I typed ahead of time. I dubbed them my talking papers.
  • Now I use text-to-speech software and the voice of Kate to give speeches and presentations.

I have found having a variety of strategies to be the key. That way I have a choice of which to use, depending upon the situation.

3. Do you ever feel marginalized? Disadvantaged?

I felt the most marginalized or disadvantaged was when I was searching for a job. Because of my disability, I can not answer phones or type at 60wpm – job requirements for many entry level positions. Employers seemed unable or unwilling to look beyond my cerebral palsy with its jerky movements and strained speech to see my abilities, skills and passions. Employers were unwilling to take a chance in hiring me. Being excluded from the labour force, after working as hard as my peers in school and university, I felt marginalized by society.

However, because I was excluded from the labour force in one sense, I have found other ways to put my abilities, skills and passions to use in rewarding ways. I imagine I am happier and more fulfilled doing what I am nowadays with blogging and such than I would have been in a 9 to 5 type job. I am confident that the income will come.

4. What have you learned from your disability? How has it made you a better person?

Without knowing the type of person I would have been had I not had a disability, I think my cerebral palsy has magnified my determination, persistence and creativity. Having a disability has taught me to be open and accepting of differences and to try to accommodate those differences. It has taught me to flexible and to find possible solutions. I am continually learning patience and understanding.

5. How do other people look at your disability?

This is a difficult question to answer because I rather not speak for other people. Some see my disability first; others see beyond my cerebral palsy to see me.

6. What about your close relationships with people? In what ways do they treat you differently and in what ways does disability make no difference to them?

My close friends and my family see beyond my disability and accept me for who I am. They willingly make allowances when needed and they know when I can do things myself (sometimes with a gentle reminder). They expect no less from me simply because I have a disability.

7. Are there other aspects of disability that are important to you?

Tightly intertwined with disability is the need for accessibility in every aspect of life: housing, education, transportation, shopping, employment, banking, websites, health services, recreation, entertainment, sidewalks… Every where. It is that accessibility that enables me to live my life as independently as possible. Accessibility enables me to say, "I’ll do it myself."

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a chai tea latte. Thanks kindly.

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Together, Let’s Feed 100 People Christmas Dinner

Filed under: Blogging — by at 6:00 pm on Tuesday, December 2, 2008

An Union Gospel Mission placemat set with a spoon(Photo credit: Miss604)

In this economic downturn, it’s easy to ignore and forget individuals who are truly in need, those who are struggling to find enough food to eat and a warm place to sleep. But, this is exactly the time when they are in need the most, to know that they are not alone and that others still care.

The Union Gospel Mission – the lifeline to basic necessities for thousands of men, women and children – holds a special place in my heart. Late on my wedding day, once the festivities were over and Darrell and I had been duly showered/pelted with environmentally friendly birdseed, Mom and my brother Kevin dropped off much of the remaining food at the Union Gospel Mission in downtown Vancouver. Being able to share our special day with those less fortunate than us made our day that much more meaningful. Ever since, I have given to the Union Gospel Mission whenever I can.

The Best of...The Left Thumb Blogger: Volume IWith this in mind and thanks to an idea from Chris Brogan, I have compiled The Best of…The Left Thumb Blogger: Volume I – a baker’s dozen of posts from 2007, my first year blogging at Do It Myself Blog. This collection of posts are ones that I particularly enjoyed writing, that garnered amazing response from readers, or that are messages worth sharing again.

For every ebook purchased before December 18th for only $6.50, $3.29 will buy Christmas dinner for someone in need.

If you don’t wish to purchase the ebook, but would like to buy someone in need Christmas dinner, kindly buy me a coffee for $3.29 (using the link below this post) and I’ll add your donation to the total.

Together, let’s feed 100 people Christmas dinner and show them they are still valued members of our community.

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a chai tea latte. Thanks kindly.

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