Friday, November 29, 2013

30 Days of Thanksgiving: Day 18

Day 18: I am thankful for my gut instinct! There is something so special about the gut instinct. It has been given to us for a specific reason. Just think about all the times we don't listen to it but then get in trouble. Or when we just have a "feeling" . . . and our feeling was dead on! Come on now, our gut instinct has power, truth, and our best interest at heart. It is our guide, our teacher, and our help - helping us make the right decisions! No situation is too tough! Rain or shine, our gut instinct is fired up working! It can tell us that a certain person needs uplifted and then gives us the exact word he or she needs to hear. It tells us when something is wrong and, if we pay close attention, it even tells us what that "something" is and when to act. How awesome to have! Our gut instinct screams the evidence of something far greater than ourselves. Our gut instinct is the Holy Spirit, live and in action! May we listen whole-heartedly, as it will determine the course our lives take!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

30 Days of Thanksgiving: Day 17

Day 17: I am thankful for Mothers Against Drunk Driving and their efforts for the past 33 years! I just completed a public policy paper on drunk driving and MADD has played an enormous role in the fight. Alcohol-related deaths have decreased per year from 21,000 in 1980 to 10,300 in 2012 with the help of MADD! I am very proud to be a part of this organization and help save lives!

"Every 53 minutes on average, someone is killed in a drunk driving crash. Every 90 seconds, someone is injured because of this entirely preventable crime" (MADD, 2013)


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

30 Days of Thanksgiving: Day 16

Day 16: I am thankful for common sense. Common sense: "sound and prudent judgement based on a simple perception of the situation or facts" (MW, 2013); or having knowledge that should be simple and obvious. Common sense is knowing right from wrong. Common sense is being responsible and cleaning up after yourself. Common sense is being loyal, kind, loving, caring, helpful, and generous to all; having manners; respecting others and property; and honoring our parents. 

Common. Sense. --> Simple. Obvious. 
Thank you Lord for blessing me with it

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

30 Days of Thanksgiving: Day 14 & 15

Day 14 & 15: I am thankful for God meeting my basic survival and safety needs - food, clean water, shelter, clothing, a stable environment, financial support, and reliable transportation! Many do not have these and sadly, most have it much worse.

5.8 BILLION people live in extreme poverty (World Bank, 2010); some without shelter, food, clean water, clothing, and without EVERYTHING that we have . . . YET, as a society, we still are not satisfied, nor do we want to give up anything we have, even time, for the benefit of someone lacking. Could we even begin to understand what such poverty is like? And what's worse, there are more than enough resources on this planet to fill the needs of everyone. We have been given the MEANS, the KNOWLEDGE, the WISDOM, and the POWER to make a great societal IMPACT! May we step up, align, and begin the battle!

Monday, November 25, 2013

30 Days of Thanksgiving: Day 13

Day 13: I am thankful for being blessed with such a great extended family! Thank you all who have been a part of my life before my accident, (especially) those who were there for my family and I when I was in the hospital, those who have visited me since my accident, and those who are there for us today. Your love and thoughtfulness mean so much to me! Happy Thanksgiving family! Love you!

Friday, November 22, 2013

30 Days of Thanksgiving: Day 12

Day 12: I am thankful for my amazing friends - those who visited my family and I while I was in the hospital, those who knew me before my car accident and have been a part of my life these past 8 years, and those friends who God has brought into my life (or back into my life) since my accident. You all are such blessings to me, more than you know. What words could I form to express my gratefulness for you? Your love, compassion, kindness, prayers, faith, support, and time . . . Not just anyone can be the type of person you are and the friend that you have been to me. No, you are special. You each have an amazing heart. I praise God for all of you, especially those who are there for me today and help me when necessary! With all sincerity, thank you.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

30 Days of Thanksgiving: Day 11

Day 11: I am thankful for hot water heaters and that we have one! What a blessing it is to have hot water :) I am also thankful for welfare programs that help me survive - the Social Security Administration, SNAP, and Medicaid - as well as health insurance through my Dad's employer Raytheon. Thank you Lord for providing for me!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

30 Days of Thanksgiving: Day 10

Day 10: I am thankful for the abilities I still have and what I can still do despite the abilities I do not have. I remember waking up in ICU after my crash. I could only move and feel my neck and head, see, hear, and think. With my vision, I saw my body laying in a hospital bed, I saw countless tubes, and I saw the pain but also hope in my parents' eyes. With my hearing, I heard talk about my care from here on out and ultimately the devastating words that I was in a car accident and am now paralyzed. The harsh truth became more real as all my (then) present and future hopes and desires seemed to at once slip from my grasp. All I could do was cry but the more I did, the harder it was for me to breathe.

I know what it's like to lose everything, even more than the little I've shared, but it is in that loss that I learned how incredibly blessed I still am and how obliviously blessed we as a people are. What a blessing to be able to walk, move, feel, see, hear, speak, and think. What a blessing to be able to hop out of bed in the morning, take a shower, and work. Or to be able to go to the bathroom on your own. We are so blessed yet don't realize it. We complain and aren't satisfied with what we have while there are millions of people thirsting for our blessings.

I am so thankful for the abilities I have and praise God for them. He amazes me all day long for even allowing me to have what I have. Even though I can no longer use my fingers, there is still so much I can do. Even though I cannot move my legs, I still have a voice, my mind, and my faith and I will never give up. #ToGodBeTheGlory

Sunday, November 17, 2013

30 Days of Thanksgiving: Day 9

Day 9: I am thankful for my church Covenant Church McKinney! I started attending this church in 2010 and since then, have grown tremendously in my faith and knowledge of my God and my self. There is something so amazing and awesome about this church. You can feel it when you enter - the people, the atmosphere, the worship team, the worship music, the sermons, and the prayers - something about this church just strikes you and penetrates through to your heart. All stress, worry, and burdens lift upon entering. As soon as the music begins . . . boom! That "something" hits you again and you realize what it is: God, like never before! His presence is so thick, so captivating, and so real at this church. You can't help but release all the pain, hurt, and struggle you have up to God and as you do, there is an instant feeling of His love, peace, joy, healing, and restoration. Such a transaction in itself is a miracle. I have grown so much, in so many ways, the past 3 years from being a part of this church. I now am confident of who my God is and who I want to be and I owe it, in large part, to this church. Much love to my Covenant family! 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

30 Days of Thanksgiving: Day 8

Day 8: I am thankful for my morning caregiver and friend Teresa Mitchell! She has worked for me nearly every week day for 3.5 years (on/off). She comes in early, lets Buster out, stretches my legs, helps me with my catheter, waits a good 10 minutes for me to decide what to wear (lol), dresses me, helps me get into my chair with a slider board, fixes my hair, helps me with breakfast, does housework that I could do if I was able, picks up everything I drop, and helps take me to school and to run errands. She does so much for me, is the best one at getting me up, the best one at making my favorite breakfast, and can always keep herself busy. She does things for me and for others that go unnoticed and even though she knows this, she continues to do them. May God BLESS you for this Teresa and flood your life with mighty breakthroughs! May He reveal to you who you are to Him - beautifully and wonderfully made! Love you!

Friday, November 15, 2013

30 Days of Thanksgiving: Day 7

Day 7: I am thankful for my shower girl and great friend Demarus Bassett! After 4 years of my family and Billy doing my 3-hour shower program every other night on their own, we had to seek help. Two and a half years ago, God sent us Demarus It is difficult to put into words how much she means to me and how she goes above and beyond for my family and I. If we need help with anything, she is there. If Billy or my parents want to go out of town, she is there to help take care of me - staying the night to do the turns, helping me with dinner, getting me in bed, and getting me up. If I need up at 5 a.m., she will do it. If one of my family members needs help with anything, she will help them. Her heart is beautiful and absolutely amazes me every day. She is an extraordinary person and friend and I praise God for her, truly. May He RICHLY reward you Demarus for your love, compassion, and kindness you have shown towards my family and I. You are a diamond. Love you like a sister!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

30 Days of Thanksgiving: Day 6

Day 6: I am thankful for my boyfriend Billy. We started dating October 25, 2002. We celebrated our 3 year anniversary while I was in the hospital and celebrated our 11th anniversary this year. He stayed with me, despite something as big as paralysis. He helps take care of me, turns me twice every night (to prevent pressure sores since I do not have good circulation and cannot feel most of my body), takes care of our house and yard, grills some mean meat, has the cutest smile, and has an embrace that heals all brokenness. Every day I am amazed that he is still here steadily sacrificing his body, his strength, his time, his sleep . . . his life. I am very thankful for him, appreciate him, and love him very much, more than he knows!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

30 Days of Thanksgiving: Day 5

Day 5: I am thankful for my sister Natacha Winchester! She is my only sibling and because of that has made an even greater impression on my life. I have always looked up to her and admired the person she is. When I had my accident, she moved in our house for 2 years to help take care of me and even when she moved out, she continued (along with my Mom and Billy) to help shower me and do my shower program every other night (which is BIG!). I appreciate her, respect her, always go to her for advice, love spending time with her, and cannot help but have fun when with her. She is beautiful inside and out and deserves nothing but the best and happiness. Love you sister so much!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

30 Days of Thanksgiving: Day 4

Day 4: I am thankful for my Dad Gerry Winchester! Where do I begin? One thing I love about him is how affectionate and loving he is. He displays how a woman should be treated, has the best hugs, and doesn't hold back from telling me he loves me and is proud of me! I can always feel how grateful he is for me in every hug. He has also always been a great provider, teacher, and encourager to strive for the prize. He has instilled in me a strong work ethic, character, perseverance, compassion, a foundation of faith, and a little bit of OCD :) I appreciate him, love him dearly, and wouldn't trade him for the world! Xoxo Dad!

Monday, November 11, 2013

30 Days of Thanksgiving: Day 3

Day 3: I am thankful for my loving family and boyfriend who remain by my side. They are my number one supporters in every way. They always have been. Today, I dedicate to my Mom. She truly goes above and beyond for me and does things for me that no one else will do. Without hesitation, she quit her full-time job to become my caregiver. The four months I was in the hospital, she spent the night with me nearly every night. She does and does for me until she can do no more and then still asks if I need help with anything. She has a beautiful heart, tries her best to help everyone she can, loves God, and always provides a positive outlook on every situation. Oh and she's got this crazy sense of humor that rocks also! She is my best friend and is absolutely amazing and I love her so much! God tremendously blessed me when He gave me her as a mother!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

30 Days of Thanksgiving: Day 2

Day 2: I am thankful for life and every single new breath I'm given. I was found 8 years ago laying on the pavement of Hwy 5 not breathing. I had died. Who called 911 & what pushed the paramedics, who tried multiple times to revive me, to try that last time? Who protected the helicopter care-flighting us? Who guided the hands of the doctors & nurses through every surgery & scare? Who am I to have been saved and given a second chance? Who am I Lord? You could have said, "No" and let me go, abandoning me as I had You but You said, "YES! I will save her & she will come back to me & I will use her for My glory. I will show her how much she is worth." 

I spent my adolescence longing and searching for acceptance, belonging, and for my peers to tell me I have value; that I am of worth. I spent all this time desperately searching for these needs in people and in the world, never truly finding them. All I found was false acceptance, false belonging, and conditional love from peers. When my wreck happened, I lost nearly everything and hit absolute rock bottom. I could hardly move or feel, became dependent on others, and was just in a tough place emotionally, socially, and physically. I literally had no where to look but up. Once I did though, once I finally did, once I finally released all my burdens and grips that I had held onto so tightly for so many years, God showed me that He was all I need and that He is all I've ever needed. He revealed to me the Truth, my value, my importance in this world, and who He created me to be. All that time I had been trying to fill my God-shaped hole with things that would never fit because it was Him all along and only Him that I needed. Not allowing Him in created my void. I just am so thankful for God and for life. He loved me so much that He breathed life back into me. Me! Oh my God, thank you for life!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

30 Days of Thanksgiving: Day 1

I've decided to jump on the 30 days of Thanksgiving! 

Day 1: I am thankful for my Father, Christ, & Holy Spirit. When I rededicated my life (a couple years after my accident), I finally reached that point where I was ready to give up my self and live for God. I asked God to reveal Himself to me, my purpose, and how much He loves me. The experiences I've had; the revelations, prophetic words, and spiritual gifts I've received, and all the prayers that are beyond coincidence that I have seen answered ... I could never deny Him or live without him. And although this life with paralysis is difficult, I would never go back. I didn't know who I was, I didn't grasp the love of my God or family, I took EVERYTHING for granted, and I lived for MYSELF, never satisfied. I was broken, shamed, abused, and discarded by the world. God has shown me who I am and who I'm not, what's important and what isn't, and most importantly, who HE IS. Oh His love and presence... they absolutely captivate me. You have my heart God. Truly. I love you.

Friday, November 1, 2013

November Speeches

November 1, 2013 - Speaking to Early College High School students (a branch of Brookhaven College) whose classes are dual credit (count as both high school and college credits). When these students graduate, they will have in hand a high school diploma and an associate's degree.

November 12, 2013 - Speaking to the Social Work Student Association at the University of North Texas (the university I attend) at 4:40 pm in Sage Hall 329.

November 13, 2013 - Speaking to my cousin Matthew's fourth grade class at Bridlewood Elementary School in Flower Mound, TX at 1:30 pm.

November 19, 2013 - Speaking at MADD's Adult VIP at 6:00 pm located at the Salvation Army (600 S. Wilson Creek Parkway, McKinney, Texas 75069)