Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Speechless







This young man is Micah Fowler. He is an actor who debuted in the 2013 film, Labor Day. This September, Micah will be starring in the new ABC sitcom, Speechless. All I have to say is FINALLY!!








Speechless is a comedy that will follow a middle-class family with strong personalities, as they move to an upper class area. There are two very exciting things about this show:

1. Micah Fowler will play a teen with cerebral palsy
2. Micah Fowler has cerebral palsy in real life

That's right!! There will finally be a show featuring a real DiversAble Model. Micah hopes this show will help people grow more comfortable being around people with Diverse Abilities. He wants people too see how "normal" we are, to see that we laugh, cry, and have a great sense of humor.

In an email he wrote to The Mighty, Micah states, "In real life, I live every day conquering challenges brought on by cerebral palsy. In addition to the physical challenges, one challenge I have noticed is that sometimes people who have not met me, seem uncomfortable around me. I hope as people watch “Speechless,” they get to know JJ as a very normal person, to the point that they don’t even see the disability."

Check out the show's trailer:


Today you can show your support of Micah, and all DiversAble people, by placing an order on my c+i boutique! A portion of all proceeds will go towards The DiversAble Model Project, Unveiling True Beauty: ORDER HERE

Friday, July 8, 2016

Am I doing something that matters?

When I woke up this morning, I thought to myself, "Am I doing something that matters?" This is a question that has haunted me since the end of 2013. I look around me today and see friends becoming enemies, lives unnecessarily stolen, protests, and overall chaos. God has been gracious in protecting me, but I still think, "Am I doing something that matters?" 

At the end of 2012, I thought I had the perfect life, the one I envisioned for myself. My marriage was on the up, in the reconciliation process. I had my dream job, working for a Christian ministry serving inner-city youth. We just found a wheelchair accessible house in a decent neighborhood with a backyard for the dog, and enough space to start a family. It was perfect!

In just two years, everything changed! After having my #LittleBear in 2014, my husband's Depression began rearing it's ugly head. I was struggling in silence with Post-partum Depression. My job changed leadership and I knew God was calling me away, but to what? 

I started my Chloe + Isabel business in September of 2014, hoping it would help keep my family afloat until I found another full-time job. I finally obeyed God's calling me away from what I thought was my dream job in November of that year. We struggled, financially, maritally, emotionally, and spiritually. I took a part-time job way below my experience and financial needs, while still working my c+i business. It was so hard, but we trudged through. 

By April of 2015, things were on an upswing. I was hired as Program Coordinator for KEEN New York, a national non-profit organization providing free sports and recreation activities for youth with Diverse Abilities. My c+i business was transformed by The DiversAble Model Project, and my baby boy had just turned 1. The only thing I felt was missing was me doing daily ministry. My job at KEEN and with c+i are both "secular" and I missed being able to openly share my faith. I missed when my job WAS sharing my faith, teaching people that true love isn't judgmental, angry, or harsh. Teaching people that the God we formulate in our minds, the old man who is always scolding us, is not real. I missed the freedom to tell people that their pain isn't because God hates them. Love! I missed showing and teaching love.

When I woke up this morning and asked myself, "Am I doing something that matters?" God gave me a resounding, "Yes!" When I shared God's love for work, many people figured I was doing my job. Maybe they even thought I was really good at my job. Many were touched by the Holy Spirit. He was able to use me no matter what, but it was still my work. Since working for KEEN and c+i, I have had real encounters with real people about the real God. This didn't happen because of my job, but because God lives in me. My life's work matters and I don't need a title to live in my faith. I've shared God's love with literally thousands of people through c+i. They may not even know it, but it's true!

As I look around and see the division between black and white, police vs. people, homosexual vs. herterosexual, religion vs. religion, my heart breaks. I long to do more! I desire to bring peace, joy, love...God! 



Though it often feels like sports and recreation for DiversAble Youth makes no difference to the problems our world faces today, that's a LIE! Though it feels like my jewelry business is useless to the chaos that has consumed our society, that's a LIE! I am uniting people through both of my jobs. I am demonstrating God's love through my own faith journey. I am empowering people. What I do matters!!

What do you do and do you believe it matters?
 
Support The DiversAble Model Project by placing an order on my c+i boutique. A portion of all proceeds will be used to further develop this project: ORDER HERE

Monday, July 4, 2016

D.O.A.


Aimee (Mom), Dan (Dad), Emily (Superhero)

Happy Independence Day!! I know we're celebrating our breaking away from Britain, but today is also about celebrating the heroes who helped make that happen. As I got to thinking about heroes, I realized that people with Diverse Abilities are often viewed as "inspirational," but not really heroes. For this reason, I'm taking you to the U.K. today to meet Emily.

She is a 10 year old girl who was born with Spina Bifida, a Diverse Ability that affects the spine, usually leaving people needing to use wheelchairs. When Emily's father, Dan White, realized there is a lack of DiversAble icons for his daughter to be empowered by, he created a comic book. He calls his comic book The Department of Ability and Emily is the main character!



As the leader of the D.O.A., Emily is equipped with a "multi-functional airborne wheelchair." She also "stands for truth and justice!" Her team of superheroes is called the Strongbones Superheoroes, in honor of her dad's partnership with Strongbones Children Charity, who is helping Dan publish the first run of this comic book. Many of the characters featured in the comics are based on real children served by Strongbones and friends of Emily.

https://www.departmentofability.com/theme-tune/lyrics-by-sarah-renehan/




What would a superhero team be without their very own theme song? Dan White partnered with an Australian band called Calling Utopia. Sarah Renehan wrote the lyrics and performed the D.O.A.'s theme song, an upbeat anthem, removing the typical sad, "inspirational" music usually associated with media featuring people with Diverse Abilities. Click Here to hear the song!










If you look at today's traditional heroes, they all have what society would consider a "disability." Iron Man is only super because of his robotic (prosthetic?) suit. The Hulk is only strong because of his inability to control his anger. Daredevil is only amazing because of his heightened senses caused by his visual impairment. It is important for every person to find heroes they can relate to. This issue is not just a problem faced in the UK. The United States also lacks positive, strong, independent people with DiversAbilities in media. Dan's comic book is about more than inspiration. It's about giving people with Diverse Abilities the opportunity to see that we are strong, powerful, super!

You can visit The Department Of Abilities website and support their mission by ordering from their Shop (some cute merchandise!). The First Edition of the comic book will be released soon and they do international shipping.



The DiversAble Model Project aims to "Unveil True Beauty."  My Chloe + Isabel business has beautiful accessories that will leave you feeling & looking like a superhero! Portions of all proceeds from my c+i business go towards supporting this project. Please consider placing an order today so we can have ALL people equally featured in fashion, and society. Plus, today is your last chance to take advantage of up to 30% off with my Summer Solstice Promo. Use code SUMMER at checkout when your order reaches $75!! Support Here: Mandi's CandI Shop