Category Archives: Stories

A new job, a book, and a wedding!

10616059_10152782372714073_7923268522615505755_nThe last 12 months has brought quite a lot of change.

In September 2014, I started a new job at the Northeast Independent living program. There I began to work with people with disabilities and it brought some of my personal life work full circle. I would receive referrals from the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission then I would work with the people on living independently in the community. This was one of many new transitions that I have been experiencing over the last couple months. As I settled into this new job I also was still settling in to my new home with my boyfriend and the new community we had moved into.

I continued to work on my book. This is been a childhood dream that I had been working on for about three years at that point. In October I finally pushed myself to get it finished. As many of you already know the end of October 2014 I self published my book on Amazon. It is called “The Impossible Only Takes a Little Longer: One Woman’s Story of Determination”. The support that I received with my self publication was amazing my job of two-month did a book signing for me. My social network of friends and professionals spread the word about my book. As the holiday season arrived many people were inspired by the book and bought it as a gift for other friends and family.

Last winter was very hard all the snow and cold kept me from going outside. Work was closed off and and I have a lot of fear about going outside as I wasn’t sure if I would slip and fall and hurt myself. I took the opportunity to learn new cooking and baking recipes. Then I got to work on getting my book into Kindle format. Within a few weeks I succeeded in getting my Kindle formatted book. This was exciting to me as I wanted to be able to have my book in at least one accessible format. As I’ve learned through the years that as much of the bookworm as I was reading a regular book was often difficult with my hand so close to my shoulders.Between my book being available in softcover on Amazon and then in Kindle I thought life couldn’t get any better.

Excited to be at Magika
Excited to be at Magika

February brought so much more transition by boyfriend and my dad started on our new kitchen that was promised to be accessible. The plans were exciting and the accessibility absolutely thrilling. Gone almost 2 weeks without a full kitchen my boyfriend says to me you want to go out to dinner tomorrow night. I quickly agreed and said as long as we can have vegetables. He smiled and said that is not a problem. The following night we went to my favorite restaurant Outback. Just before dessert he kneed down on one knee and asked me to marry him.

I was so surprised and so excited! The next some seven months would bring a lot of planning. We agreed to have a short engagement so on September 27, 2015 we married. It was the most beautiful day. I had long red dress my husband to be wore a kilt the colors of red and black. I walked down the aisle bagpipes and drums. A reception having elements from Princess Bride and Star Wars. It really was the most amazing day of my life!

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October 2015 brings one year since the publication of my book. It has been quite a year as you can see that from above. In my first year I sold 300 books some of that was online, book signings, and family or friend requests. In the next year I hope to get my book out more and use it a teaching tool at perhaps some of the schools. My story is similar to so many people’s stories out there with disabilities. In the sense that they struggled or continue to struggle each day. Society expected less from them and they were always surprised that person succeeded.

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In a Book store near you!

Wow, “The Impossible Only Takes a Little Longer: One Woman’s Story of Determination” is now available at Magika in Salem Massachusetts!

About a month ago I had the opportunity to do a book signing and I have to say the weekend with absolutely amazing. I sold a good amount of books and met some amazing people from around the nation and the world. They were customers from three different countries and four different states. Who would have known that I would’ve met such a variety of people I hanging out in a store in Salem Massachusetts.

I’m thrilled to say that not only did I sell books, meet some amazing people, and network some business opportunities by my store is now available on the shelf at Magika! If you are a browser of books and love handle one before purchasing here is your opportunity. What better time than to visit Salem Massachusetts and by inspiring book for your friends and family.

Yes, dreams do come true…

Many of us have had conversations in our childhood about things we want to accomplish someday. For me one of those things was to write a book on my life. I think the idea came to me in middle school . This would be a conversation that I would continue to have with friends and family for many years. Then about three years I started actually writing a book on my life. Then on Sunday I finished! I self published my book after only talking about doing it for about twenty years.

“The Impossible Only Takes a Little Longer: One Woman’s Story of Determination” is now available on Create Space and on Amazon. Currently it is only available in paperback. I am working on formatting it into e-book on Kindle.

The book has stories, poems and pictures that brings the reader through challenges and success of my life. If you’re looking for a story that will inspire you or someone else in your life pick this book up. As I have been told my friends before “I’m just being little me. I never tried to be inspiring.” That was when they responded, “That’s why you are so inspiring Sheila. Keep being you!”. SheilaBookCover_30Aug2014_final

Korean Filming (Part 1)

The US Filming finished mid-day on January 31, 2012 which meant I had two and a half days to make sure all my responsibilities at work were organized and to get myself packed before I left from S. Korea. At 5:30 on Thursday night I shut down my computer and looked to my friend Erin and said “I’m going to S.Korea tomorrow, Wow”. It just hit me mainly because I was so focused on making sure things were organized at work. I went home to finish packing and go to bed early. I had to be up at 3:00 am to catch my shuttle to the airport to make my 6 am flight to JFK, New York.

I have say 3:00 am is way to early to be awaking up at even when you are in bed by 9 pm. I got up and ready and by 3:45 my shuttle was at the front door. It was a quick ride into Logan airport since there were not that many people on the road. Once at the airport things went quickly, I checked in and waited for wheelchair assistances this was going to be a long day and so I was going to limit my walking. By 5:30 I boarded the plane and was sleep within seconds and next thing I knew we were landing at JFK. I meet up with Andrew after landing and we waiting a few hours for our connecting flight to South
Korea.

I flew Korean Airs in the largest plane I had even seen it was two stories referred to as the airbus. We had coach tickets and they were nicer then I expected. I had an individual tv to watch what I liked when I liked. They also gave out little bags with slippers, toothpaste and a toothbrush. I have to say I have never been feed some much on a plane and the food was pretty good too. The flight was way to long 15 hours on a plane I read, watched movies, listened to music, slept a few different times, played video game and had time to spare. By the time we landed I was so done with the plane and happy to be on land. My legs were a bit sore and swollen despite my efforts to walk around on the plane and feet barely fit in my shoes. I was happy that I had a wheelchair reserved. As we existed the plane the reality that I had traveled half way around the world set in. There was little to no English written or heard around me we were brought to get our luggage and then to customs I was completely lost. We existed customs and were meet by the Korean filming crew. After 15 hours on a plane I was sore and a little disoriented and now I was on film again. They wanted my impressions on Korea I did not have much to say as I had only had seen the airport.

We had about a 45 minute ride to Hotel M where we were staying. Seoul is a pretty modern city lots of people, businesses, buildings, and traffic as with most cities no parking. The hotel I stayed at was very nice. You had a little walk in area where one would take off their shoes and put on the provided slippers. The floor was heated! Then you had your usually hotel amenities. Now the bathroom setup was a bit different. There were different slippers to change into when going in there. Took a little bit to figure out because everything was written in characters. The shower stall drain out on the floor instead of a self contained space. This I figured out after soaking two towels as I usually leave things on the floor. I later realized this is a typical setup it just goes to show you the small culture differences. I made it to 9 pm on my first night and feel fast asleep.

My first full day was scheduled tightly. First stop was Kukkiwon, the headquarters of Tae Kwon Do, I had been told they were having an event that day and I was invited. It was not until that morning did I realize that this event was the weekly testing that occurred for students in Seoul. Students did not get tested at the local but came here. The place was packed three was an easy three to five hundred people there. When we first arrived we meet with a number of the Masters and then I interacted with some of the students. Students lined the hallways practicing and the testing space was was huge. During the meeting I realized they wanted me to do forms out in the testing space the idea was a bit scary. I was fine with it but told them I need a little practice time before hand.

Before I knew it I was changing into my Do-Bulk (uniform) in order to perform my hyung (form). I had sometime to practice in the hallway which was great as I was nervous. As I was trying to practice the camera was staring back at me and I told him he needed to leave. I needed to get centered and having a camera in my face was not working for me. He understood and let me be asking if he could film practicing in a little bit and I agreed. I agreed but the practicing only lasted a few more minutes and I was called to the floor. Since I know little to no Korean and an interpreter was not brought to the floor there was a lot of gesturing to get me to the floor. Once there I waited my turn to be brought forward. There were many people there and three ring setup to accommodate all the testing so lots of activity. When I was brought forward things were brought to a stop. A man introduced me , at least I assume he did as it was all in Korean, then I heard charyot (attention), kyung-nae (bow), jhoon-bee (ready) and she-jae (start). Thank you Bruce McCorry’s Martial Arts for teaching me these important Korean words. It all went fast as forms do not take very long. I was presented with a new uniform and another blackbelt. When I was done I thanked the Masters. I then did some practicing in the hallway for camera. Then there was pictures with everyone. People were coming up to me left and right. It was a trip.

We then went for lunch on the ground and I had my first Korean meal. It was pretty good except for the spicy cabbage which I later learned is what everyone eats there. I also impressed everyone as I used my chopsticks with lunch. Thank you Mr. K’s, Asian African Class. Then we went to a museum upstairs from where we ate. It was really interesting as it held all things Olympic Tae Kwon Do. It also had pictures of a less modern Kukkiwon. Then we were off to our next scheduled event with the Scouts.

It was interesting to realize that there are boy scouts and girls scouts in Korea as I have always seen that as an American Association. That is probably more my assumptions then anything else as I do not know the history of the scouts and the world is a smaller place now. Why not have scouts all around the world. I was a part of the days event. It was great to speak to the scouts about my life regarding bullying and Tae Kwon Do.
It was a fun full day and I was fast asleep by 9 pm.

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US Filming (Part 3)

US Filming (Part 3)

January 27, 2012

My biggest stresses at work were resolved which made me feel much better. I even decided that that I would go to the grocery store again and get ingredients for stuffed mushrooms with yesterdays stresses gone I was happy to cook a little. Zayda came over after work and we jumped into her car to do errands. The grocery store and then the liquor store then home. They filmed us bringing everything into the house and then organizing it. I did not want to change until I was done cooking and cleaning up. Zayda and I made up up stuff mushrooms real fast and then reorganized the house for guests. Then I changed and Zayda did my hair and makeup for the party. People arrived around eight even though I planned for seven. I explained to the Momo that my friends were arriving a little later that seemed to calm them. There were about seven of us that night and we had lots of fun. There was dancing, music and I played my digerdo. It was all very unplanned which was perfect. There were a few weird or uncomfortable moments like trying to get drumming to happen with a group that did not drum. A few people had interviewing happen without notice which was a little sudden but they were ok with it. We also played games jester and twister. It was lots of fun.

January 28, 2012

Today was the Lego Store this was a visit long planned for my nephew. Now the whole family was coming. This was an event I told them would not change or be cancelled for the other day they were not sure if we could film. I meet everyone at the at the Lego store around eleven. Momo had meet some of the family but not everyone. Then we just enjoyed ourselves. I hangout with the family as usually and just tried to forget about the filming. They me and the family all interacting. Then there were the random questions about my childhood toys. The question seem out of context to me and the family but maybe not to the filming people. At the end we all went down the escalator together which was very humorous. Then it was back to the house for lunch, hanging out and more formal interviews. My parents and sisters had formal interviews after lunch. My nephew and niece were asked questions about me and it was very cute. Then there filming of the family hanging out together.

I’m skipping to Monday now I spoke about my trip to the Cape on part by accident when it actual happen on January 29, 2012.

January 30, 2012

Today we went to visit Shriners Hospital for Children in Springfield Ma. This is where I receive most of my medical care as a child. I was able to get a hold of a friend at the hospital and she helped plan things out. We did a tour of the hospital and did interviews with Maureen a physical therapist who use to work with me as a child. It was interesting to hear stories from her about my childhood. I was also give video footage of me taken at the hospital when a was young. Later in the day we had a chance to go in back room to where all the braces are made. I had not been back there in a long time. Last there was a short interview with the chief of surgery. Dr. D spoke of my care at Shriners through the years.

When we got home we spent sometime filming me getting ready to pack for
Korea and talked about what might be happening when I went to
Korea.

January 31, 2012

Last day of filming in the US was today. Today we had a visit to the District Attorney’s Office planned. Since a big theme of the documentary was about bullying it fit well to talk with the D.A. Office about their bullying program. Ruth went over the bullying program with me and then there was a short interview with her. Then Cheryl Watson was interviewed the chief of victim services a woman I had worked with closely over the last few years. After the visit to the D.A. Office there was a little bit of filming done driving back to my office and then they were done. The US filming was complete!
Overall thoughts

Looking back on the experience I’m glad I did it and I think the over message was great. The whole experience was not easy. I had two or three people with me every day for fourteen days. No it was not every moment of the day but when they were not there I knew we had filming to do soon. They also wanted to be able to film as many parts of my life as possible in two weeks. That meant I needed to plan things and see if friends and/or family were available to be filmed. I also was in the middle of planning the volunteer training at work and had never done that before and was under a lot of stress. Then I needed to have everything in place at work so I could leave and go to South Korea for five days. It was a tough schedule and I was always worrying how my friends and family were about the interviews and the random camera in their faces as we were doing an activity. They were at Tae Kwon Do about five different times and I did not want the filming to have a negative effect on the other students. Then my usually stress relief at Tae Kwon Do was not happening because I had to be on point for camera. It was a lot and I’m glad I did it. Next my trip to South Korea.