Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Giving Thanks

It's been a slow week--as to be expected--we've got family coming into town and Thanksgiving preparations are well under way. I love the preparation and anticipation of holidays almost as much as the holidays thesemselves. But one thing I realize I haven't been doing much of lately, is taking time to stop and focus on gratitude. Last year I made a gratitude tree for our family to write things we're thankful for on leaves and place them on the tree. We had discussions about gratitude and I wrote a little piece on the blog about gratitude for the sake of gratitude. I haven't done any of those things this year. Which would be fine if I was actually thinking about gratitude in my heart...but I haven't been. 

So as I start some baking today and as I'm running around doing errands, cleaning the house for company I'm going to to take some time to be mindful of all the things I'm grateful for in my heart. I tend to run on the high strung side, especially when it comes to holidays. I want everything to look just so, I want it to be special... but it's not worth it if I'm letting little frustrations get in the way of the joy. 

I've said this before and I'll say it again, gratitude is the key to a happy life. Not being grateful 'because it could always be worse' but being grateful because there is always something to be grateful for. As we explained to our girls last year, gratitude can change your day, your week, your life...not because it actually changes your circumstances, but it changes how you see your circumstances. It can take effort to practice real gratitude, but for me it has always been a transformative experience. So as I am cleaning today I'll remember what a gift it is to have a home, and as I watch dishes pile up tomorrow I'll say a prayer of gratitude that I have food to eat and a family to eat that food with. As I try to keep noisy kids from waking up a sleeping baby I'll remember how each one of them were babies once and doesn't it all go so fast?  I so often get caught up in the frustration of messes, noise, and chaos but really, all of these things are evidence of the amazing, lovely people I get to share my life with. 

Gratitude is like glasses for my helps me see things as they really are. 

And if all else fails, we've always got Adele

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. 

Friday, November 20, 2015

Special Needs Spotlight || Wyatt

Thank you for having us on the #specialneedspotlight. Hi, my name is Liz and I would like to introduce myself and our family. My husband, Jamie and I have three beautiful, loving and super goofy children. Hayden (10), Sabine (8) and Wyatt (6).  We live in Severna Park, Maryland. Our house is always loud and full of energy.  Our special needs child is Wyatt with severe food allergies. He is one special boy. He likes what he likes and will not change his mind. He is very aware of his allergies. I like to think we taught him well. Really, he just listens to what his body is telling him the minute he eats something.


Miggy: Hi Liz! Thanks for being here and sharing your story with us today. So your son Wyatt has severe food allergies. Can you take me back to the day you first found out about his allergies and the following months as more foods were added to the list? Do you remember how you first felt?  Can you compare those first thoughts and feelings with how you feel now?

Liz: A few months before Wyatt's first birthday I gave him a lick of peanut butter from a spoon. This food was the only thing his sister, Sabine, ate at this time. Wyatt took his lick with excitement, ran around our kitchen island and then vomited. I thought to myself this does not seem right. I told Wyatt next time rest after you eat, so you don't get sick. Three days later, I decided to give the peanut butter another try. This next time, the PB just touched his lips and he projectile vomited. I knew we had a food allergy.

The next day, we went to the family doctor. Wyatt gave some blood and we were told to see an allergist right away. The results of the blood allergy test detected high levels to peanut allergens. We met with the allergist after a few days. The allergist did additional tests to include the skin test. He had 21 allergens pokes on his little back.  The results with the largest reaction had to be re-tested on his arm.  After the results were confirmed, the allergist told me to stay away from all tree nuts and peanut products. Do not eat anything from shared equipment or made in a factory that has peanut or tree nuts. They handed me a prescription for some epi pens (Epinephrine injector) and said he is anaphylactic. Make sure you always have the epi pens with you. Then they said with a smile, come back in 1 year for a check up. I stood there with a blank face and could not do anything.  I remember walking away from the office crying. I had no idea what I was going to do. How do I make this kid safe? I felt so alone.

Miggy: How do these severe food allergies affect you and Wyatt’s day-to-day life?

Liz: We are learning more everyday. It was easier when he was home all day with us and we could monitor all of his food interactions. We realize that this manner of control does not lend toward a normal life. As he has grown up and begun school, we have had to adapt. We are still a bit nervous and have not done the usual things like take an airplane ride, hired a baby sitter, or left him alone at birthday parties due to an accidental interaction or consumption of danger food.

Liz: Overall, he has only had one severe reaction to peanuts that required him to obtain the epi pen. However, looking back on a number of other incidents, we should have given him epi 3 other times as a preventive measure. His normal reaction to allergens is to cough, get swelling of the lips, tight throat, hives and usually vomits. These types of mild reactions happen nearly everyday, even with us avoiding his danger foods. This is mainly due to his overall list of allergies that are not food, but environmental. For example, when his immune system is low and pollen is high, he gets sick.

Despite the list of allergies, Wyatt takes everything in stride. He is normally very happy and full of energy. When he is sick, he is only down for a bit but recovers quickly. He does not know anything but this life. To him this is normal.

Miggy: What are the biggest worries you face for Wyatt? Conversely what are your hopes and dreams for Wyatt and specifically for managing his allergies as he grows?

Liz: Wyatt is now in Kindergarten. I worry that he will have an accidental reaction at school. I worry that others will not take his medical condition seriously and delay intervention. He has a medical alert bracelet, along with a special medical needs plan at school. As luck would have it, there was an open position at school for a lunch helper. I decided to stop worrying and be proactive, so I started working at the school during the lunch hours. I am glad that I am there to monitor him. He has had many days with hives all over his face even when he is only eating the safe food.  

I do hope that one day soon, we will find both the cause and cure for food allergies. I am hopeful that Wyatt will always pay attention to his food prior to eating it. I am hopeful that he will have medical help, when he needs it most.

We are managing his allergy mainly through total avoidance of any possible risky foods. We read and trust a lot of food labels. We limit our exposure by making the safe choice. We do not eat out much. On the positive side, we are very fortunate to be part of a research trials involving Oral immunotherapy (OIT). The research study,, is conducted with Johns Hopkins Children's Center is funded by the National Institutes of Health. The three year research trial is very intense includes an initial dose escalation, build-up, maintenance and avoidance phases. Wyatt has just passed his 2 years in the study. We are hoping that he has a successful outcome to allow him to survive an accidental exposure.

Miggy: I don't know if this is still the case, but for a while it seemed like a lot of people would complain about schools becoming "peanut free" zones and in general there seemed to be a negative view towards making accommodations for children and people with severe food allergies. First, is this even accurate? Do you find this negativity towards children with severe food allergies still exists? Second, if it does what would you want to say to people understand as a mother of a child with these allergies? Is there something you wish other people knew so as to avoid awkward or hurtful situations?

Liz: I do believe some people have negative feelings toward the food allergy community. I see it often. As a parent of a special needs child, I never want anyone to feel out of place. I will never ask anyone to make something special for him. I see tons of people get upset because their child cannot take peanut butter to school. They claim that PB is the only food their child will eat. I understand this claim. Our daughter was such a child too. However, due to Wyatt's allergy, she has lived without PB for years. She has has adapted and found new things to eat. Parents do not realize that there are different degrees of food allergies just like burns. It seems that today some people have mild allergies to gluten, dairy, or shellfish. Wyatt has a '3rd' degree reaction to peanuts that will kill him without medical intervention. He does not have a second chance.

On the other side, I also believe that some food allergy parents have overreacted to cause such a backlash. Recently there was a news article on a parent who posted up signs during Halloween to avoid danger candy for the whole street. While, this action was well intended, but instead this created a polarizing argument both on the street and across social media.

I do wish that people in general be aware of the different degrees of food allergies. When we ask for food related information at restaurants, we get everything from eye rolls to very empathic concern. Overall, we ask that people just accept other's differences.

Miggy: If you could say something to the mom who just starting on this journey of severe allergies, what would you say?  What would you say to yourself if you could go back in time?

Liz: I would say that this journey is not easy, however, you do not have to live this special needs alone. Your primary job is to keep your kid safe at all costs. You will seek opinions and advice from everyone. The medical community, along with all of us, is learning how best to adapt to this medical condition. There are a number of positive medical research treatments out there to include OIT and even the Peanut Patch to help with treatment.

The best advice is to take one day at a time. Take time to breath. You are not alone. There are others in the food allergy community like FARE (food allergy research and education), various informative blogs, and Facebook support groups for both education and sharing advice.

Miggy: What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned since becoming Wyatt's mom?

Liz: Wyatt has taught us that life is precious and not to be taken for granted. We believe that Wyatt has this medical condition for a reason, not by happenstance. We trust in God that Wyatt's future is full of happiness and life. Yes, we want Wyatt to be safe, but we do not feel the need to change Wyatt to be something he is not. Overall, we have three very happy and mostly healthy kids. We are truly blessed.


Liz, that was fantastic,Thank you so much! I'm so glad you explained that there are different degrees of food allergies much like burns and that your son has a 3rd degree level reaction to peanuts that would kill him without medical intervention. This is really important to understand! As healthy and typical as your son is in every other way, that little difference is a mind-boggling big deal. I will say that I was initially one of those people who sort of rolled my eyes at the idea of schools having to be peanut free (even though we've never lived in a school system that was peanut free). Now after doing a few spotlights of children with severe allergies I would gladly follow any such guidelines in our school district and would help to spread education about the importance of these guidelines! If any parent put themselves in your shoes for even a second, I can't imagine anyone not supporting a measure that could literally be the difference between life or death. The oft repeated phrase, "it takes a village" takes on a whole new meaning in the world of severe allergies. Thanks again for sharing your story and your son Wyatt with us! Lots of love for you and your whole family.

I hope you guys have a FANTASTIC week before Thanksgiving. I'll be taking next Friday off for the Holiday, but I hope you have a great time with your loved ones. I've got some great spotlights in the works, but of course I'm always looking for more opportunities to share your stories. So please, if you know someone or would like to participate please email me at thislittlemiggy at gmail dot com.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

How do you talk about Religion + Politics?

Wow. There is so much is happening in the world and in the media right now that is making my head spin. Election season is upon us, add to that recent world events including the new issues such as do we let Syrian refugees in our boarders? (to be fair, another viewpoint) and if you haven't heard there has been a lot happening in the LDS or Mormon church these past couple of weeks that is really causing some unprecedented (but not uncalled for) waves in our faith community. There is so much to think about, process, wade through, consider and most days my head is like an alphabet soup of mixed up ideas and ideologies that I can't seem to string together.  

But I don't want to talk about religion + politics per se, I want to talk about how we talk about religion + politics. Or how we don't talk about them as the case may be. 

I was not very politically minded as a youth, and so when I finally became interested in political issues as a young adult I started to ask questions. Especially when someone was really sure about a particular stance and I considered them to be a smart, thoughtful person. I wanted to know why they felt this way! And how they arrived at this conclusion! Was this this truly something they felt would be better for the whole, or just something they preferred themselves and didn't care how it affected the whole? My brain naturally switches to a devil's advocate mentality when I'm trying to figure out what I believe--I do this to myself inside my own head all the time as I turn an issue around and try to look at it from all sides--So naturally I did the same thing to the people around me by asking tough and challenging questions about the issues, without trying to come off as personal attacks or challenges.  

Except, I found out that I wasn't very good about that second part. 

I quickly learned that when I asked these kind of pointed questions people tended to believe that I was attacking them, or perhaps they were just uncomfortable with my passionate debating method... not sure which.  For years I would say that all my Democrat family and friends thought I was a Republican, and all my Republican friends thought I was a Democrat. Looking back I wish I would have prefaced these conversations by simply letting them know I didn't really understand this issue (or I just wanted to know more) and would they mind if I asked them some challenging questions? Yeah... in hindsight that would been too easy. Glad I didn't go that route! 

The problem is, instead of figuring out a way to have these deep and potentially powerful conversations, I learned to stop asking questions. I took the idea to heart that you don't talk about politics and religion in polite conversation. (Except that sometimes I still try and thankfully with some groups of friends I have been able to have some wonderful and enlightening conversations surrounding touchy subjects.) There are so many things that I haven't really worked out in my head and so many things I would like to discuss with intelligent people who are really educated about specific issues but I don't feel like there is a great way to discuss these things without stepping on toes or bruising friendships. Which probably has a lot to do with me and my style. That being said, even when I try to bring up sensitive topics in a sensitive manner, I often feel the room shift into nervous energy and I think, Oh! I'm making everyone uncomfortable...I guess we're not supposed to talk about this!

Enter Facebook. 

Ugh. Lets just all agree that the constant smattering of political and moral agendas can get a little annoying. From BOTH sides of the fence. But it can also be a great way to have these uncomfortable conversations as well. We all know the pitfalls of safely hiding being behind a computer screen makes it all too easy to say too much and to be too honest, but in certain cases that safety allows us to share, read and view opinions that we and others might not otherwise feel comfortable saying out loud. Yes I could and perhaps should do my own research to form my own opinions, but in our information overload age that's actually quite difficult. Added to the fact that different media sources are biased. (And please, it's not just Fox news...though yes, them too.)  But I really just want to talk about these things, like civilized 

Honestly, I'm a sucker for good, meaty conversation but it's been so long since I've had a group of friends I could sit really dig into the juicy stuff with. Yes I find these kind of conversations fascinating, but they also help me fetter out my point of view and really decide how I feel about an issue. I would also add that I don't enjoy having 'conversations' with people who don't really want to converse or tell you about their beliefs as much as they want to convince you of the rightness of their way of thinking. When this is the case, I avoid political and religious discussions like I avoid bad breath. Like I said, I'm happy to hear from people who are passionate and well educated about their beliefs as long as they aren't pushy about it or offended when I'm not on board. I don't want to be coerced into someones point of view, but I do enjoy a back and forth, even passionate debate. Mutual respect and an underlying friendship that won't be broken over differing points of views is key to these kind of conversations don't you think? Even then it can be tricky. 

I am so curious, who do you talk to about your political + religious beliefs? Is it productive--meaning do you enjoy the conversations and do you feel like the conversation actually helps you figure out what you believe? Do you ever change your opinions? Do you have a safe person or a group of friends you can share your thoughts with, even when they are still in their fetal stage--meaning they're not fully formed and maybe even a bit crazy looking? Ha! I feel like I'm in that stage a lot and am always grateful for the few people I can really talk these things through with!

And if you want to know if I'm a republican or a democrat... I'll tell you. I'm neither. :) I'm a registered independent. I have to say I often find our polarized political system baffling and I have little tolerance for people on either side of the fence who can't admit any fault in their own party or see any good in the opposing party. I really don't get that. 

art: Untitled, Lygia Pape, 1958

Monday, November 16, 2015

Reign Rapid Glory

I shared this photo and the caption below on instagram over the weekend and thought I would reshare it here in light of the terrible events in Paris and Beirut over the weekend. Everytime I pass under this bridge I'm captivated by this caption... the whole before and after aspect, the who, what, and why of the message(s). I'm not sure why I took a picture other than it felt significant, at the time I wasn't thinking of any big picture metaphor. Coming across this picture again and writing my little IG post was a reminder that if something feels significant to you and you can't figure out why, it's a good idea to write it down or take a picture...sooner or later the meaning and significance will work its way out. Anyway, I hope you enjoy. 

Reign Rapid Misery Glory

I came across this photo I took a few weeks ago and almost forgot about. Seems appropriate to post today. When we lived in Cincinnati the first time I remember often driving under this graffiti tag that read, ‘Reign Rapid Misery.’ When we returned years later it was still there, except someone had now spray painted Glory over the word Misery, in pink no less. I love that someone took the initiative to do that and I wonder who they are and what were the circumstances that propelled them to act? Anyway, there will always be people willing to ‘Reign Rapid Misery’  but there will always be a way, and people willing to find a way, to change misery into Glory. Beauty for ashes. It’s the great alchemy of our existence. And there are always more glory spreaders than misery spreaders. Lets grab our pink spray paint and be glory spreaders today. 

Friday, November 13, 2015

Happy Friday

ARGH! The second time I'm doing this post today as I just discovered my not-yet-2 year old somehow got into my account and deleted this post! What? She also managed to turn on a youtube Micky Mouse video once unassisted. I'm scared. 

I hope you're weekend is off to a good start. Mine (sorta) is. I love this little snapshot of my two lovies coloring above. About 2 feet away they would have all sorts of space to spread out and color, but no...they cram themselves into a little nook between the couch and the shelves, behind the plant. I guess they're sensing the need to get cozy...we've had a lovely indian summer, but the cooler temperatures are finally here. We've been trying to get out every weekend and take advantage of the lovely weather, I'm ready to slow down...hopefully starting with this weekend.

I've got some great spotlights in the works, but in the meantime I like to collect a links regarding special needs/disabilities to share when I don't have a spotlight. Here are some things that have caught my eye lately:

Would you ever hold a stranger's hand who also happened to have special needs on a bus? This guy did.

Honored to be mentioned in the CAP Beauty newsletter this week.

People with disabilities face discrimination every day. If you don't think it can happen in public, with multiple people participating, then let this be a wake up call to you. This makes me simultaneously angry and sick to my stomach. Here is the follow up news article.

On the flip side, so happy to see this model with limb differences receiving such positive attention!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Studio Reveal

It's been such a long time since I've shown any photos of my studio! I've been meaning to do this for a while actually. Some of you may remember when I got a crazy hair one day and ripped out the carpet in this room on an impulse. Fortunately B was willing to help me install a wide plank floor using plywood over the weekend. (Original post here.) That was over a year ago! I still have one major project that I'd still like to do in this room and switch out the light fixture before I consider it 'complete' but this room has come a long way and I absolutely love it. I feel so lucky/fortunate/blessed, whatever word you want to use, to even have a space dedicated to creating... such a luxury for me. Honestly this is one of my favorite rooms just to be in.

Ready for some super ugly before photos taken in poor lighting with giant messes everywhere?

Just after moving this point the only thing we had done was mounting the desk on the wall. This is the same door desk we had in Texas...I still love it and it's a great size for this room.

At this point we had added the shelves, but I just couldn't get past the was killing me. One day B said, "So rip it out already!" So the next day I did. Towanda! 

B made the shelves with some walnut we scored for crazy cheap on craigslist and these ikea brackets spray painted gold. I have these threshold magazine holders and love them. I had planned to use a set of white Eams knock off chairs for the desk, but I'm really glad I have this office chair as well. We ordered it for B's desk, but it didn't fit and I'm so glad it worked out in my space because it's just a lot more comfortable to sit on for long periods of time. I found the giant compass through an online estate sale and it's perfect as both a representation of my work (I use a compass in a lot of my composition) and it looks like a letter A--the first initial in my name. 

The floors remain one of my very favorite features in the room. For a long time I had a rug in here too and while I loved the rug it wasn't right for this room, but it took me a while to see that. When I moved the rug out and regained the whiteness of the space, everything started coming together again. Also, our old Ikea kitchen cart has been repurposed into my paint/art supply stand for a while now and it's perfect. We craigslisted it in our NYC days... so kinda sentimental too.

Some of my favorite details: This beautiful hanging planter from one of my favorite local shops, Fern (they also have an online store!) and this AMAZING vintage magazine with my middle name as the title! Did you know that's where Miggy comes from? It's a take off my real middle name Mignon. (Also this was a gift from a friend and for the life of me I can't remember who! So if it's you will you please let me know!) 

We installed smaller shelves on the inside of the closet for more storage and to work with the little alcove in the back of the closet. The closet doors are the 'big project' I'd like to do next...I've contemplated a DIY barn door as I would love to access to the whole closet at once and I think it would look amazing visually, but I would also have to have that wall clear every time I opened the door and since the space isn't very big I often keep my larger paintings against the we'll see. Either way, I want to replace them.

There it is!
Thanks for checking out the studio! I always love seeing other peoples spaces and homes...hopefully you like seeing mine too.


Thursday, November 05, 2015

The Problem with Pity Revisited

                                Pity and friendship are two passions incompatible with each other. 
                                                                                                  --Oliver Goldsmith

Last week a beautiful Halloween picture of Lamp dressed up as Ariel was regrammed on an instagram account that showcases people with disabilities who use adaptive equipment doing all sorts of awesome stuff. Most of the comments were sweet, supportive and wonderful. But there was one that rubbed me the wrong way and I couldn't not get it out of my head. It said: "That's not fair! I hate that kids have to suffer like that!"

There she was, my beautiful, smiling little mermaid and somehow all this person saw was suffering. I'm pretty sure this person was not intentionally being rude. Maybe they even thought this was showing kindness and support? Nevertheless it was offensive. I wasn't planning to respond but after a couple of days I felt strongly, once again, to take the opportunity to educate. Here's what I wrote in response:

Suffering? This girl is THRIVING. You'll never meet a happier, [more] positive little ray of sunshine. The only time she ever "suffers" is when she has to deal with people who think that she has a sad, little life or who think of her as a 'poor thing.' She is not held back by her disabilities nearly as much as she is held back by people who have preconceived notions about her disabilities. Sure there are things she can't do, just like there are things all of us can't do, but she is much more able than she is disabled. I hope you know that I'm not saying this out of anger but from a standpoint of education. Please don't ever pity a person with disabilities. It may seem like the kind thing to do, but pity [is] judgement. And judgement is the most damning and difficult obstacle any of us have to face. God bless.

I thought this would be a good time to revisit this post I wrote about pity a while back and why it's such a problem for people with disabilities. This is  just my take, not as a disabled person, but as a disability advocate + mama of a disabled person. I made a few edits to the original post as it always felt a little unfinished to me, but the overall sentiment is the same. You can read the original post here published in July of 2014.


A scene from the library last week:  A little girl spends a few minutes assessing Lamp then walks up to PSP and says, "I feel so sorry for your sister for missing an arm."  I'm not sure PSP knew what to say, but I think she just smiled and shrugged her shoulders like OK... if you want to.

Later that evening Lamp said, "Hey mom! I've got a good idea for what to say when people say they feel bad for me!"

"OK, what's your idea?" A little surprised because I didn't think she heard this exchange at the library.

"I can just say, 'It's OK! You don't have to feel bad for me.'"

"That's a great thing to say."

"Yeah I can just show them my arms and be like 'it's OK, my arms are just different. I'm not sad.'"

"That's right. You don't want people to feel sorry for you."


Besides the fact that my 4 year old is often surprising me with just how much her young mind absorbs, I was struck with the fact that 1) she recognizes what pity is and 2) she does not want that crap. She might not be able to define it, I'm sure she doesn't even know the word, but girlfriend does not want people feeling sorry for her.

I know in this example these words were coming from a little girl who doesn't know any better, but I hope you understand that it's not about the girl. It's about my daughter, a girl born with disabilities, who doesn't want people to pity her. And we have definitely had adults share similar sentiments as well, actually using the term "poor thing" in reference to Lamp. For the love, please do not ever refer to someone with disabilities as a "poor thing." Yes Lamp still laments that she can't do certain things, and yes she even asks why she was born this way. Those are legitimate questions and feelings that she feels. But she does not want anyone else feeling sad or bad for her.

I'm not sure I ever really understood pity before having Lamp. Truthfully I still have a hard time defining the difference between pity, empathy, sympathy and compassion--it can be confusing. As this post states, "these things can interconnect, and even at times, seem interchangeable. They all have to do with emotions that are born out of other people's suffering, sorrows and tragedies."

But here's what I now understand about pity now and why it's so damaging as it pertains to someone like Lamp. Pity stems from judgement. Pity looks down on you and judges your life and your circumstances to be so far gone that it must be completely incompatible with happiness. Pity assumes the worst.  It seems to me that empathy and perhaps sympathy tend to happen as we listen to others, as we hear where they are coming from and respond accordingly, i.e. mourning with those who mourn. But pity it isn't listening, it isn't responding or interacting, pity only judges. And that judgement is usually damning. Of course pity tells you more about the person giving it than the person receiving it because when you 'feel sorry' for someone that revels your fears, your prejudices and your misconceptions. Unfortunately pity can still hurt the person on the receiving end. To tell Lamp you feel sorry for her, is to tell her she's not enough, that there is something intrinsically wrong with her, that she is not capable, that being herself is a negative thing and on and on and on. It's not hard to imagine how damaging that message could be if internalized just once, let alone over the course of a lifetime.

I posted a Ted Talk a few weeks ago by a woman named Stella Young. She spoke about the objectification of disabled people and many readers had mixed reactions to her talk. Some of you thought she was looking to take offense at people who simply meant well, while others of you (a few that are actually disabled) agreed with her perspective. Part of her message was that when we expect too little of people with disabilities, we hold them back as a society, and that the biggest obstacles disabled people have aren't the limitations their bodies place on them, its the limitations society places on them. Pity plays a huge role in that. Pity isn't looking to elevate, pity holds back.

The assumption that a disabled person leads a life of sadness or overall just "less than" an able bodied person is a common one. And even though few adults would ever say that they feel bad for Lamp, many, many people have expressed a sort of equal but opposite point of view, "Oh wow! She's really happy isn't she?" or "Look how happy she is!" Again, I know people mean well but I've heard this enough to know that some people are genuinely surprised that a girl like Lamp should be so happy.

In short, pity sucks. Literally. It sucks away potential, self esteem, encouragement, and enthusiasm.
My daughter was born with limb differences, but she was also born with a light in her eyes. A light that I hope and pray everyday never gets snuffed out by the weight of pity.

I'd love to hear your thoughts... Do you feel like you truly understand what pity is and would you care to broaden my definition?  Anyone ever been on the receiving end of that kind of pity?  Is there a difference between feeling sorry for yourself and others feeling sorry for you? Any other thoughts?  

photo credit Momoko Fritz