Posts Tagged ‘music’

My youngest daughter came down to visit me this weekend. I asked her to bring her guitar so we could sing. I love music. We sang a lot and she played and sang many songs for me. I could not have asked for better medicine!

My wife and two daughters hold my heart in their hands.

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In the immortal words of Willie Nelson…”On the road again.”

There are many things in life that give the appearance of hindering anything a person attempts to do. This is not a new concept, but for people with disabilities, it does seem like the “curve balls” come faster and harder. Giving in, or quitting, to the trial often seems like the only course of action to be taken. And then we start to see the light at the end of the tunnel (praying it is not an oncoming train) and press forward. So that being said, let the journey continue.

IMG_0408Leaving the port of Ashdod behind us, we sailed our way northward to the port of Haifa. The city of Haifa slopes upIMG_0411 steeply from the coastline to the top of a small mountain. The view from the ship was beautiful as we were docking at 7:00 AM. Haifa is located in northern Israel and from here we would be touring many sites in the Galilee region: Mt. of Beatitudes, Tabgha, Church of the Primacy, Church of Loaves and Fishes, Capernaum, and a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee.

I had visited all of these places on my last trip to Israel, and despite my memory of some IMG_0412IMG_0417accessible challenges ahead, I was eager to see them again. Of all the places to visit in Israel, the beautiful region around the Sea of Galilee is probably my favorite. From the sloping hills of the Mt. of Beatitudes, to the steep Arbel Cliffs, the area isIMG_0423 filled with biblical history. The churches have a peaceful simplicity to them that welcomes a person to slow down and reflect. Our guide was wonderful, and made sure that each place we visited we saw and heard about it in great detail. She was completely at ease with me being in a wheelchair and anything that I wanted to attempt she was eager to make it happen for me.

The two sites here that I am going to focus on are Capernaum and our boat ride. The ancient city of Capernaum is amazing to say the least. Excavations here are remarkable including the remains of a synagogue dating back to the Byzantine period. Because IMG_1227IMG_1239Jewish culture demanded that the ground where a synagogue would be built had to be sanctified, it would be marked as holy ground. Rather than going through this process again, any new synagogues would be built on top of the older ones. So the remains of the fourth century white synagogue that we were able to be in is built on top of the first century IMG_0434synagogue that Jesus would have taught in. Just outside the steps of the synagogue there is an excavated site of the first century village. The homes were communal in fashion with larger central rooms for cooking and family gatherings in open courtyards. As the family grew, rooms were added to the central home for expansion. We also saw the site of what is believed to be St. Peter’s home. There is much biblical evidence, and physical inscriptions that have been excavated, for proof of its location. This park area is owned and maintained by Franciscan Monks, and once again, offers the tourist a place of peace and quiet to walk (or roll) around the grounds soaking up the serenity.

IMG_0448When we left Capernaum we headed to Nof Ginnosaur where we would get on a fishing boat for our ride on the Sea of IMG_0452Galilee. The last time I was here, getting from land to the boat proved to be a very accessible challenge. I was absolutely amazed this time! The dock area had been completely reconstructed with a smooth ramped surface taking me right to the boat. Last time I had to have men lifting me up and down stairs and slippery ramps to get me to the boat. This time I had complete independence and rolled my way along with no problems at all. When I got to the boat, three men lifted me and my wheelchair from the dock and set me in the boat. The entire transition was seamless and without fault. Once on the boat we headed out onto the waters as the crew played the US National Anthem and then the Jewish IMG_0794National Anthem. Once we were out quite a ways, the motors were cut off and silence and calm surrounded us. Our guide pointed out all of the many locations around the sea and then the party started!  Lol They played traditional Jewish folk music for us and taught anyone willing how to dance. The boat rang with music, dance, laughter and many good friends. Needless to say it was a wonderful time and I hated to have it end. But like all good things, end it must.

Once back on shore, our bus driver was waiting for us. He drove us back to the port of Haifa where we boarded our ship at a rather late hour. But there is 24 hour food available and wow, were we hungry! The smells coming from the buffet tempted our senses and we ended our day with a tremendous meal and many great memories.

As Wendy and I went to bed that night we felt the movement of the ship as we left Haifa and headed for the port of Kusadasi, Turkey.

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One trend in homes that is popular at the present time is known as “Minimalism.” I suppose that people subscribe to this for various reasons, but for someone in a wheelchair, it is very practical and functional.

Minimalism is just a fancy way of saying less is best. I’m sure that many of you have been in homes that in order to get through, you have to follow a trail around furniture, coffee tables, entertainment centers, room dividers, etc. For an able bodied person there is nothing wrong with a home set up like that. But for someone in a wheelchair, at least the way I think, I do not want to live in an obstacle course.

Starting at our front door, I enter our foyer that has one piece of furniture in it. You will also find hardwood floors throughout the house instead of wall-to-wall carpeting which is difficult to push a wheelchair on. To the left is a large archway going into what would normally be a formal sitting room. Ours is used as a music room, allowing room for my piano, and plenty of open space to roll a wheelchair around. To the right of the foyer is a four foot wide hall leading to the bedrooms and bathrooms. Straight ahead is a 32 inch doorway which leads into the family room. I would recommend a 36 inch door whenever possible, but since I fit through it fine, we left it as is when remodeling.

If I go through the music room there is another large archway opening up into our dining room. The dining room is our most crowded room in the house due to the size of the room and of course the dining room table in the middle of the room. But even here I have free access to go through the dining room and into the kitchen. I also have plenty of room to get to my assigned seat at the table where there is no chair to worry about moving.

Once in our kitchen you will find the only piece of furniture, except for a small decorative stand in the corner, is our kitchen table. Make sure when purchasing a dining room/kitchen table, you measure the necessary height for you and your wheelchair to sit at. Due to design features, many tables are not functional for people in wheelchairs. The rest of the kitchen is open floor space for me to maneuver around in. The kitchen can be a very critical piece in remodeling your home depending on your desire of what you wish to do in the kitchen. If you are a gourmet chef and love to cook than our kitchen would be completely impractical for you. There are many attractive and functional kitchen features on the market today, such as cut-out spaces under sinks and range tops, pull down shelving storage in upper cabinets and lowered counter space for food preparation. Once again, design your kitchen for what works best for your goals. The only change we made in our kitchen was the flooring. We removed the linoleum and put in ceramic tile. Note of caution here. If ceramic tile is something that you would consider, choose wisely. We wanted something light in the kitchen, but the light colored grout has caused problems. The light colored grout shows dirt easily and stains very quickly. So if you do choose a light colored ceramic flooring, make sure you get the grout sealed very well to help keep it clean.

If you were to open cupboard doors in most kitchens, you would find similar placement of the most commonly used items. The placement of those items will usually be eye level with someone that is standing up. If you are able bodied and open the cupboards in our kitchen, you will find all of the most commonly used items knee level. As strange as that may sound, it saves me having to always ask for assistance to get something I need. The kitchen is one room that can rapidly eat up your remodeling funds if you are not careful. So do what is necessary to make it functional for you, but don’t get caught up in the hundreds of gimmicks that are on the market today.

Even if minimalism is not for you, your home needs to be practical. That may sound like everyone compromising for me because I’m in a wheelchair. But Wendy and I both agreed that the more we could do for my personal independence, would ultimately result in much less work for everyone else. So in our case…less is best.


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