Goals and their importance

Goals and their importance

 

Happy New Year to you all.  It is New Year’s Eve day and I find it hard to believe that yet another year has so quickly gone by.  It absolutely is true, the older we get the faster time goes. As a child birthdays never came fast enough. Christmas always seems so far away. And now all we want to do is slow our time down.  We want to spend more time doing all the things we love to do.

It is also a time when we reflect on our last year.  Did we get to visit all the people we wanted? Did we do all the good we could for as many as we could?  When time slips away so quickly you should all take a very close look at how your life went for the year.  Was it all you really wanted it to be? Did you travel where you wanted to? Did you lose the weight you thought you should? The list could go on forever.

I always set goals.  Each day has the same number of hours in it and I will try to make every one of them count.  As I am taking more time each day to do things I really want to make sure that what I am doing is exactly what I intent to do for that day. A very important “Goal” is set in place at this time.  By 2018, I pray that Rotary will achieve its goal of eradicating Polio from the face of the earth.  I am a 1948 polio survivor and for the past 2 and a half years I have been sharing my story with churches, local Rotary Clubs thanking them for all they are doing and visiting schools to share my story about not treating someone who is different – differently.

polio, crutches, all the steps,

I am not alone is this effort.  Since 1985, Rotary has been working with our global polio eradication partners WHO (World Health Organization) Unicef and CDC (Center of Disease Control). All are strengthening their efforts and are placing the greatest demands on Nigeria to finish the job. Rotary Clubs from around the world are all working together.  There have been four free health camps organized in Pakistan this year.  Rotary Club District 3271 of Karachi Sea View have been training mothers to welcome the Polio teams to give the vaccine to their children.

Ann Lee Hussey is a member of the Rotary Club in Sunrise, Maine. She is also a polio survivor and has been through surgeries, braces and therapy to help with her ability to get around.  She contracted polio at 17 months, 3 months after the Jonas Salk vaccine was released to the public.  She has led 6 teams to Nigeria to help vaccinate the children there against polio. I contracted polio long before there was a vaccine to protect me.

On Friday October 24, 2014 I spoke to the children at Pacelli High School in Austin, Minnesota.  KIMT TV was there and broadcast that evening the importance of knowing that the world is not polio free and what each of us can do to help. Also, make sure that your children and grandchildren have completed their vaccinations for the polio virus.

Courage is born at the point where God’s grace and human effort intersect.” From the book “The discernment of the Spirit” by Father Timothy M Gallagher.  Guidepost magazine.

To follow Rotary and the work that they are doing please go to blog.rotary.org/tag/polio-survivor.

To view my book “All the Steps I have taken” go to Inspiring Voices

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Living with Polio

It could happen at any age, it didn’t matter if you were 10, 20 or 30+. The virus would attack the body with a fever, headache, fatigue and sore throat. For many a full recovery was made and nothing went beyond this point. Since I was so young when I contracted the virus I couldn’t tell my mother what was wrong when I was so ill at 6 months.  My mother visited our local Doctor every day for a week before he directed my parents to take me to St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester, Minnesota. From that day to now I have lived my life with the effects of infantile paralysis (polio).

polio, crutches, all the steps,

Linda at the age of 4

As a young child I learned to navigate my way around with the use of braces and crutches.  I learned to walk after being admitted as a patient for therapy and taught how to use braces and crutches. I was so young that I don’t remember this process, I’ve only been told and shown pictures. When I look at pictures from the past, I’ve noticed that I always had a contagious smile on my face and was always happy despite my challenges!

Polio, crutches, survivor, all the steps

Linda at the age of 10. In the background you can see a small remaining section of the fence.

I grew up on the family farm. My parents put a fence around the yard to keep me safe from machinery and other farm equipment.  It didn’t take long for them to realize that they were not going to be able to fence me in, because I used my crutches to reach the latch and undo the fence and I was off. They later took the fence down, and decided to let me try and do anything I wanted to do, without limitations.  As an adult I am so grateful that they let me exceed my boundaries. I have never been afraid to try anything I thought I could accomplish.

Each summer entailed yet another surgery to improve my mobility. Every summer I would have surgery shortly after school was dismissed and I would spend the rest of the summer healing so I could return to school in the fall. Sometimes I would return to school still needing to use crutches. When I was 15 I had my last surgery to get rid of my last brace.  I was so excited to finally be able to go without braces on my legs.  Forrest Gump said. “If God wanted us all to be the same, he would have made all of us wear braces on our legs.”

polio, survivor, crutches, all the steps

Linda at the age of 15 with her grandpa Reimann and cousins Cheri & Barb

My journey has made no significant change. It is  still the same challenge everyday.  This is an update with a  corrected address for wordpress.

Go Above and Beyond or do Nothing? It’s your Choice.

Go Above and Beyond or do nothing?   It’s your choice.

Polio, Dad and daughter, Surviver, All the Steps,

Dad and me at ST. Mary’s

“I didn’t choose polio. I didn’t choose the crutches, cane, and braces; I chose to thrive.”  Thriving is what I did from as early as I can remember.  So little I was when polio had a chance to slow me down. I do not remember those days when my parents had to leave me at St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester, Minnesota. How heart breaking it would have been for my young parents to come to visit me and I didn’t respond to them as my parents. My hospital stays were long and I am very sure the nurses did the best they could to provide the nurturing care that I needed as an infant, but there is nothing like a mother and fathers love.

It has always been, and continues today, that I do the very best I can with any task that I put in place. If something is worth doing, it is worth doing well.  My children dreaded summer when 4-H projects were due for the county fair. They didn’t care so much for the theory that I had about doing their project “right”. But “right” is what won Blue ribbons and a chance to advance to State fair.  Many State fair trips were won.  Now they look back and realize that “right” is the way to go. The best part is that now it is their choice and not mine.

polio, mom and me, All the Steps, family,

Mom and me at St. Mary’s Hospital

Now, as an adult, my physical limitations do make a difference in how I finish projects. They are still finished in the proper manner but it takes a lot more time and effort and it is hard for me to realize that I may not get it all done today. The sun will always come out tomorrow and deadlines can be managed by being extremely organized and focused. It is now possible for me to say “NO” on occasion if I think the project will be more difficult than I care to pursue.  Whatever handicap polio has left me with; polio will never claim my life or my spirit. My morning jump start with my prayer time and coffee always get off to a running start. “Life without God is like an unsharpened pencil.  It has no point.” I am going to keep my pencil very sharp.

I know that my family appreciates all that I can do for them.  Each day will begin with early morning phone calls from them with things I can do to help make their day more manageable. I always am most happy to be able to help them anyway that I can.

I chose to go above and beyond. What will you choose?

Annivarsary picture, polio, gathering

Christianson Family

Why Me?

God, All the Steps, Polio, strength, courage

picture from stock.xchng

God had a plan for my life from day one, it may not have been what I wanted it to be, but it was his plan and I was going to except it. God uses my life as an inspiration to all I encounter. With my attitude of, “I can do all things through him that strengths me”, I am showing my faith in God. Of course I didn’t realize that I was an inspiration to anyone until I was working in my last dental office. One of my doctors said to me “Do you realize that you are an inspiration to all you are working with?”  I never thought of myself as inspiration to anyone.

I was born to young parents who were able to give me all the opportunities I needed to be an inspiration to anyone I would encounter. My parents were so strong and had great courage in those early years when I was sick.  I’m not sure how they did it; leaving a small child at a hospital away from family, I’m sure it was harder for them than it was for me.

All the steps, Overcoming, polio, inspiring

picture from stock.xchng

 

I learned to handle the limitations that made it harder for me to navigate through my day.   From the beginning of my day when I put on my left leg brace, to the end of the day when I place it in the closet, I have to realize that it will be a fabulous day in spite of wearing that brace.  It’s heavy and I carry it around all day but, without it I could not do all that I am accomplishing.

I was blessed with a family of my own and was able to encourage them to be all that they could be. My children are all respectable community minded young people with families of their own.  I pray they will all make a difference in the lives of those they will meet.

Polio, All the steps, survivor, limitations, inspiring

picture from stock.xchng

Patience has become a very important attribute in making my day a success.  Without patience my day would not be as enjoyable as it is with all the activity that I manage to partake in.  I am so blessed to be able to do all the things I enjoy and love and can’t wait for the next day to start so I can do it all over again.