July 29, 2015

The Christianville Spirit: Michaels Moving! (Again)

The Christianville Spirit
The Spirit that Sparkles
July 29, 2015-TCS # 459

So, My Readers, It is that Time. A Time that My Mom and I have been struggling with. This Sunday, My Brother is Moving to Colorado. As This is His Final Week, I think I ought to Share how I feel about it all. Now, Don’t Get Me Wrong, My Brother and I have been having Good Quality Time together lately before He Leaves. Last Week, My Brother and I decided to go See a Movie, Ted 2. You See, My Brother and I saw the First Movie, Ted, So when I heard that There was a Sequel to it, I thought, “I should see that with My Brother”. See, My Brother Michael and I have different Movie tastes, I am more a Romantic Comedy or General Comedy Movie kind of Guy and Michael is more of an Action Movie and Horror Movie kind of Guy. So, Seeing Movies that are more like Gross-Out type of Comedies is where We meet in The Middle, if You will. On Sunday, We got to have Our Last Family Day, and Monday We went out to Dinner with My Brother’s Friend, Spencer. You See, Sunday has always been Our Family Day, The Day that We would always hang out at Home and Spend Quality Time together. I cherish All those Sundays! It is a Time also where we can talk about Each Other’s Weeks and How Everyone is doing. We would also have Our own Brunch that sometimes My Brother would make for us and He brought Home some Good Meals sometimes! On Monday, We got to hang out with Spencer. My Brother’s Friend, Spencer, went to School with Us and then, He would have him come over and Michael would play the drums while Spencer played the Electric Guitar, that is how I met Him. Since Then, Michael, Spencer, and I have our little “Guy Time” every now and then. Again, We have gone to Many Places and Many Adventures. Then  The Question comes, How do You feel about All this, Michael moving to Colorado? Well, I have to say it is Tough watching him go off to Colorado. I would rather him go East toward Family, but He has to Spread His Wings a little bit and Learn Lots of Lessons. I tell Myself that My Brother has His own Destiny, His Own Track, as Do I and My Mom. I would not be a Good Brother if I told him to stay or Follow us to move toward Family. Because He would probably end up resenting us and always wondering “What If I went to Colorado?”. Now, that is not to say that I won’t miss seeing him all the time, knowing before when He lived in Denton, that He is only a 45 Minute Drive away and Having Him to Hang out with or I want to have Brotherly Quality Time. In His Defense though, One, is He has come a Long Way since High School and All This is just part of Him becoming Successful, and Who would not want to See Their Brother become Successful? The Second, with Respect to Where We live in Dallas, I tell Myself that Nothing is keeping him here (except for Us) but, The Truth is, He is not a “Dallas-type of Guy” and Dallasites tend to be Not as Friendly and Focused on Making Money and No Nature, My Brother on The Other Hand, is more of a Nature type of Guy. Someone who loves to be around Nature, like Trees, Mountains, Rock Climbing, and All Associated. In Dallas, We have Broccoli-Sized Trees, No Mountains (We have a few Hills though!), and No Beach (Except for Galveston, 5 Hours Away, not as Pretty as Say, The Coastline of The Carolinas). My Mom is not too happy about, as Her Second Son is moving away from Her because She really enjoying having Her Children around, and Who would not blame her, We are Awesome Kids! She has deemed This Weekend Her “Grieving Weekend”. Then, There is the fact that My Mom wants to be near Her Future Grandchildren, Not have to Travel so far to see them. I am going both ways, where I want to be near My Brother, because He is My Future Guardian (if Anything should happen to My Mom) and I Love Him. At The Same Time, I want to be near The Smith Family as well as PTLS Family Members like “My Kristin”, My Friend Deb, and PTLS “Brother” Tyler. I picture My Mom as a Stretch Armstrong Doll, Michael and Future Grandkids pulling Westward and Smith Family pulling her Eastward. I follow My Mom’s Friend, Monica’s Son and His Lead because He was similar to My Brother. He has moved 4 Places before Settling Down, or at least for Now. He has Moved to Illinois, Atlanta, New York City, and Finally, Amsterdam. I could picture Michael living in Europe and Really Enjoying It and It is Very Artsy. Although, My Mom could picture him in Oregon. There is a Different Side of The Family there, The Grants. We are close but, I don’t know them as well as The Smith Family. All in all, I try hard to see Michael moving to Colorado in a Positive Light and I believe that although Change is Painful and Hard, I believe that It will be a Growth in Our Family and Like I said, Change is Painful, but then again, so is Sitting Still. It is better to have Pain in Changing!

Thanks for Reading The Christianville Spirit. Follow Your Destiny where ever It takes You  

July 22, 2015

The Christianville Spirit: Statistics I Study

The Christianville Spirit
The Spirit that Sparkles
July 22, 2015- TCS # 458

Bonjour, My Readers! I would have to say that “Bonjour” is One of My Favorite International Greetings! Bonjour, Hello in French, It just seems to flow when You say it. Anyway, On to This Week’s Newsletter! So, As You know, I Love Geography, Road Signs, and Travel, but You Know, what also fascinates me? Stats. As in Statistics. No, I don’t mean Statistics about Sports like Baseball or Football, believe me, When I handed them out when I worked at The Frisco Roughriders half of The people did not read The Baseball Statistics that We had to put in Programs we passed out. I am interested in International Stats as well as Stats about My Own Country. You See, Other than My Own Research and Curiosities about Different Parts of The World, I check This Site on Tumblr every day called “Maps on The Web” (www.mapsontheweb.tumblr.com) I was curious about Stereotype Maps and Somehow, I found Maps on The Web. It shows me Maps of All Kinds, Stereotype Maps; Income Maps of The World and/or The US; A Map of Europe showing The Nation’s official name in their Native Language, like Did You know that The UK (also called “United Kingdom” or “Great Britain”, depending on where You are from) is actually called “The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland”? Hmm, That would explain the Various Names of Calling It. Sort of like, The Netherlands which has an AD (Authoritative Division) that is North Holland and South Holland. So, The Netherlands is called both “Holland” (referring to State of North Holland and Country, or both). Yeah, Europe is VERY Complicated in It’s Names and How Things work. It probably sounds like The Most Amazing Part of The World, Sorry but, that is My Own Bias. One Map showed how the International Dateline goes through The South Pacific with all of it’s Island including Fuji, Guam, American Samoa, and French Polynesia, among Many Others. I saw One recently that showed The Average Age in which Men and Women get Married in Several States, in Texas It is 26.9 for Women and Men is 28. Other States, it is Older or Younger. One Stat about a Country really fascinates me. You See, My Mom’s Friend has been going to Costa Rica for Business Trips and Costa Rica, although I know that it exists in The World, It has not been on My Radar of Places that I am Interested in. After She got back, I started researching on My Own about Costa Rica and This is where it gets fascinating. So, knowing that Costa Rica is Pretty Small Country compared to say, France, Sweden, or Norway, is The Most Stable, Most Green, Most Progressive Country in ALL of Central America. Now, Central America is not a Very Big Area, You have Mexico, Belize, El Salvador, Honduras (which is The Murder Capitol of The World, By The Way), Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and finally Panama (as in, The Home of The “Panama Canal”). I wonder though, How is that possible that Costa Rica is The Most Stable of Those Countries? Many Reasons I am sure, but One is the Love of The Word, “Pura Vida” (pronounced Pure-uh, Vee-dah). It is Costa Rican Spanish for “Pure Life”. They use it so much it has Many Meanings, among them; Hi, How are You, Great! or Okay, and Thank You. I guess, The Tone of Your Voice matters a lot! One List of Stats that Fascinate me The Most is The Happiest Countries List and Peaceful Countries List. It always makes me wonder, With Respect to Said Countries, Why is it Countries in The North like Canada, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, or Switzerland are The Happiest and Peaceful Nations in The World? The United States in always in the Teens or 20’s on that List. Likely because of Their Way of Life, in Sweden for example, You can Camp anywhere in The Woods you want to, as long as You respect Private Property and People’s Privacy. Also, In Europe, They Live to Work and They have at least a Month of Paid Vacation Days. In The US, Don’t Get Me Wrong, Guys! I Love My Country, The United States; But, Here we Work to Live and Vacation Days are as Low as Two Weeks if not Less. That would Explain Our Happiness Rating Here! In Happy Countries, They trust Their Government, which many of them are Monarchies, We on The other Hand, Don’t. So, My Last Question for Those that are Curious, Who does all these Stats? Tons of Researchers and Interviewers from Organizations like Forbes, CNN Money, Pew Research Center, and Of Course, The CIA World Fact Book. The CIA World Fact Book is the one who likely knows all of The Stats and Keeps Track of Them. All in all, I could go on and on about All The Stats and Facts I learn but, That would be VERY Long! We live in a Fascinating World filled with Facts, both Good (like World Peace and Happiness) and Bad (Who did What War), You just have to Open Your Mind and Learn about it, without too much American Bias. By The Way, Why do We call Ourselves “America” or “American”? Because We are called “The United States of America” which is part of “The Americas”.

Thanks for Reading The Christianville Spirit. Rock On with Your Stats! 

July 15, 2015

The Christianville Spirit: Words That You Call People

The Christianville Spirit
The Spirit that Sparkles
July 15, 2015-TCS # 457

Howdy, My Readers! Thought I would do different greetings every now and then. “Howdy”, by the way, said better as “Howdy Y’all”, is What we say in Texas to say hello. Y’all, by the way is Texas Short-Hand for You All. Anyway, on to This Week’s Newsletter! So, Among the Many Things that us Young Adult PTLSers talked about at The PTLS Conference was The Meaning of Different Words that People used to refer to those with Special Needs. Also, How do we feel about “having Special Needs”? Well, The Truth is that I am aware that I have Special Needs, I embrace the Fact that I have Potocki-Lupski Syndrome, but at The Same Time, It is NOT Me. Not in the Way of Denial but, In a Way, that I personally don’t see that I have Special Needs because I am just Me, Christian. It might also help to the fact that I have had Potocki-Lupski Syndrome or Duplication 17p11.2 for My Whole Life, so really I don’t know any different. So, About The Words to refer to One with Special Needs, There are 4 Terms to use. A Disability, Handicap, Mentally Retarded or The R-Word of All Variations, and Someone with Special Needs. I, as well the Young PTLS Adults would prefer The Last One. Another One is that People think that PTLS is a Disease and I can assure you that It is Not. PTLS just happens, No Other Way to Explain It, It just happens. I see it more like it is a Serendipitous Accident, in other words, it is part of Your Destiny somehow. Anyway, Let’s Examine these Words. Now, I know that Words are Words but Many of These Words have Meanings. First Word is Disability. Disability, as My Young PTLS Adult Friend from The Conference says and The Word, Dis means, Anti or Against Something. In Other Words, You can not do XYZ. Ability, however means that You can do something. So, to refer to Me as Disabled means that I can’t do all the Things I want to do in Life and That is NOT True! Now, to be fair, There are People who are Truly “Disabled”, It is harder to do things but, They are Strong Enough to try their Hardest at it. The Next Word is Handicapped, Because I am able to Walk and Function as Typical as I can, that does not apply to Me. Respectfully, There are People that are Handicapped, even those that Do not have Special Needs. The Best Thing that You can do is ask if They need Help, if They do then, Help them and Mission Accomplished, They will be Grateful to You. If Not, then that is Okay too. Now, Here comes a Word that I do not like to Say Often, nor do I like to be called. Now, This Word comes from The Fact that People like to Compare Kids that have Special Needs versus Those that Don’t and Sometimes, It turns Ugly. We refer to it as The R-Word, Retard (Sorry Kids!). Now, The Word, “Retard” is actually a Cooking Term. You Know, when You are cooking something and The Fire from The Pan gets too High, You have to retard it. This is The Pleasant Way that I see that word’s use. However, The Government at one time used the Word “Mentally Retarded” or “Mental Retardation” to mean Someone with Special Needs, doesn’t sound too bad, right? After Rosa’s Law, It is now “Intellectual Disability”. Now, You drop The Word “Mentally” off That Phrase and that is when It is meant for Harm toward those with Special Needs. People say it in a Funny or Stupid Way, like “Ohh, That’s so Retarded” or “Your So Retarded” (pointing at Whomever did something Stupid, not meant toward Someone with Special Needs). I had a Friend that said that a lot and It annoyed me each time He said it because Said Person had Special Needs! Luckily though, There is a Campaign out there called “Spread The Word to End The Word” (STW, I call it for short) It is at www.r-word.org, Sign the Petition and Stop using The R-Word! And, finally, The Phrase that I would rather be referred to as “Someone with Special Needs” because that is Me, “Someone with Special Needs”, better yet a “A Person with Special Needs” because after all, I am a Person, just like You. A bonus with This Phrase is that it applies across The Board and does not in any way Offend anyone or Make Someone feel Different. So, What about The Other Words, Can I use them too? I would prefer that You not, but If You have to, Change The Words around so They sound better. Disability, How about Differently Abled (regardless whether They are actually “Disabled” or Not). Handicapped, That One can not be changed much because it applies to those are a Truly Handicapped, but Don’t use it on Me because I don’t see myself as “Handicapped”! Mentally Retarded, All Versions of The Word should be Taken Away except for The Original Meaning, which is for Cooking. and, Someone, Person, or People with Special Needs is probably the Best Word to use. All in all, The Point here is that I am just like You. Yes, I may need a bit of Help in certain areas and Treated Kindly, but I deserve to be treated as if I was like Everyone Else. No Comparing, No Name Calling, and PTLS is NOT a Disease, It is Only a Label!

Thanks for Reading The Christianville Spirit. We are all part of The World, We should Treat each other as Human Beings! 

July 8, 2015

The Christianville Spirit: PTLS Conference

The Christianville Spirit
The Spirit that Sparkles
July 8, 2015-TCS # 456

Welcome Back, My Readers! We are getting back on Normal Schedule for Newsletters. So, This Week’s Newsletter, All I can think of at The Moment is Wow! Just Simply, Wow! This past Week I went on a “Official PTLS Business” Trip to Houston, The PTLS Capitol, for The PTLS Conference. Yes, It is that time again for The PTLS Conference. This Conference, I have to say, was a PTLS Conference that was unlike any other that We have done. Now, Okay, to Date, We have had 3 Conferences so far held in 2009, 2012, and This Year, respectively. This Conference was different in many different ways. The First being that My Mom planned it all. Yes, She planned it along with Help by The PTLS Foundation and The Hotel’s Event Planners. So, We started with Driving down to Houston on Tuesday so that My Mom could make sure that Everything was Solid and make sure that Everything is all according to Plan, that and Two Other PTLS Members were already there. My Mom had to make sure that just in Case we stayed for 4th of July that We had a Room that We could see The Fireworks, You never know! They first put us in a Room facing Buildings, Nope. Then They put us on The Top Floor of The Hotel and also on The Concierge Level along with Members of The Board of The PTLS Foundation. We were Very Blessed to say the Least! My Mom did mostly all the planning, so She deserved a little Splurging! Anyway, We had a Nice Dinner with a PTLS Member from The UK, We went to a Southern Food Restaurant and That was Fun. It started Raining REALLY Hard on the way to The Restaurant and even harder once We got inside The Restaurant. It was kinda Funny talking to This PTLS Member and Teaching Her what each Menu Item was. We had Fried Chicken, Fried Crab Balls, and Shrimp and Grits (oh and I am sure My PTLS “Brother”, Tyler would be so Proud). It was Interesting explaining food that is Normal to us to Someone from The UK. Wednesday (Newsletter Day), We played the Part of “The PTLS Conference Welcome Committee” and We welcome PTLS Family Members, New and Old coming in. A lot of People did not get in until Late because of The Weather, It had been raining on and off during The Day yesterday and on Wednesday. Wednesday Evening, We had a Meet and Greet but because of The Weather, People were Delayed coming in and were Very Tired arriving. For The Next Two Days, Thursday and Friday were The Main Conference on Thursday which pretty much went on All Day and Break-Out Sessions on Friday. Thursday was The Part where Everyone heard all The Information about Potocki-Lupski Syndrome including Dr. Potocki and Dr. Lupski speaking as well. Even My Mom got to speak this time around! Maybe that was because She is Very Knowledgable and She is The President of The PTLS Foundation. So, What did I do The Whole Time? Well, I told Myself that I would at least sit in The Conference until Lunch, The First Half. Luckily though, There were more PTLS Adults this time. So, We sat through 3 Speakers (including My Mom) and then, The First Break came and We PTLS Adults decided to sit the rest of it out. So, There were 3 of us that hung out together, but There was a Total of 7 of us. At First, after Everyone went back into The Conference, I thought “Oh Man, PTLSers are a bit awkward meeting The First Time, This should be Interesting!” and then, One helped us start Talking. We talked about Many Things including The Word, “Disability”, The Word “Mentally Retarded”, Watched several YouTube Videos, Listened to Music (One kept us Entertained with that), and The Other and I were “Self-Appointed PTLS Ambassadors” (Something that I claim about Myself in The Most Humble Way!). We did all have some of Parents of PTLS Kids come to Sit and Listen to all Three of us talk. Later, After Lunch, We went down to Starbucks to get a Smoothie and The Hotel’s Starbucks was closed so We had to walk down The Street to The Starbucks across The Street. Now, This Conference was Different because We would normally have it at Texas Children’s Hospital but, My Mom decided that it would be better to have it at The Hotel that We normally stay at, to Help Everyone. It was probably The Most Genius of Ideas because People could take their children up to Their Room if They got cranky, tired, or needed a Nap. After We got back from Starbucks, We sat at The Registration Desk to help one of the other PTLS Foundation Members if She needed it. After a While of Sitting there, One of The Girls got bored and turned on Some Music and She started Dancing. We all kinda watched her for a Minute and then, Decided to Dance with Her. We did a bit of The “Cha-Cha Slide” in Our own Way. Then, We played “Boot Scoot Boogie” and Tried Our Own Version of Line Dancing (Only in Texas!). That evening after The Talks were over, We went to a Dinner for The Doctors and Myself, and The Other Adult PTLSers got to Eat Dinner together. I will say that We had One of The Best Conversations about Everything that PTLS Adults think of, about as close to Typical Conversation as We probably had. (Again I am sure that My Mom would be Proudly in Tears, if She had listened to what We said) Everyone Else’s Brains were fried to say The Least, A lot of Information to Digest for People. I will say that Our PTLS Conferences can get a Bit Overwhelming for Everyone because of All of The Information that is being Told to You. I pictured it like having a Pizza bigger than 16 Inches and having to Eat it All in One Sitting, All Day. And, What if You don’t normally eat Pizza or a Pound of Pasta, It is a Bit Overwhelming, isn’t it? Now, I’m not saying that You should not come to The Conference, I am just saying that It is a lot of Information. Now, If I was in Your Place, Not having had PTLS My Whole Life, It would Extremely Overwhelming. Now, I do get Overwhelmed myself when I am there because of All The Activity and All The People that I really want to talk to (and, Vice Versa). On Friday was The Break-Out Sessions, This was The Time to Ask Questions about PTLS and In a Way, Talk to Other Parents and Get the Idea of PTLS wrapped around Your Head. We had several Doctors do their Own Break-Out Sessions as well as My Mom and 3 Other Moms doing The Parent Panel which is usually My Favorite to Sit and I can share My Own View about PTLS to those sitting in There. It also helped to hear about What Other PTLS Adults Lives are like. So, It gave Everyone including Myself a View of The Different Ways that Young PTLS Adults are Living. It was Very Interesting to Hear, to say the least. After The Break-Out Sessions, It was Time for Everyone to get going or Head Out to Lunch. This was a Time when It was Overwhelming because I wanted to do My Final Round of Talking to Everyone and Give Hugs, Make Sure Everyone was Okay, and Of Course, It was also when Everyone wanted to take My Picture with Them. On Top of That, My Friend Allan (a PTLS Dad) wanted to Talk to Me further about Travel, History, Geography, and Politics, Oh My! We had talked a lot about The Night before but, We decided to Continue with Where We left off Yesterday; Only Problem was that He had to leave in an Hour and 30 Minutes. Oh Boy! My PTLS “Brother”, Tyler would say! Luckily, I got to talk to Him and Show him My “Street View Log” Map. It was a Ton of Fun talking to Him about All My Favorite Subjects. After Several People left, We decided to go to Lunch at This Pizza place in Midtown Houston, it was pretty good. I will say though, that They have Very Large Pizzas (like what I mentioned before, Ha!). I had a Meatball Pizza, It was really good. On Our Way back, I figured that since We were in Houston and I knew that Houston has No-Zoning Laws (You can build Whatever, Wherever) There was a Guy who had a House that was dressed in Beer Cans. Yes, You heard that Right, Beer Cans! In Fact, They call it “The Beer Can House”, It was a pretty cool House! After that, We came back to The Hotel and Hung Out at The Hotel Pool, Of Course I got to spend more Time with My Friend and Her Mom. My Friend, by the way, was the one who wanted me to Hang Out in the First Place.  The Final Day, Saturday July 4th (The Fourth of July) I finally got to Sleep In a Little bit since I had to get up anywhere from 6:30 to 7 AM Most of The Conference and We would not go to Bed until 11:00 or Midnight. After We packed up, We went down and said Goodbye to Anyone Else who was Leaving. It went easy, that is until I had to Say Goodbye to My Friend and Her Mom. Her Mom hugged My Mom telling her “Thank You for Everything” and I thought in My Head and I said Out Loud, “No, Thank You Guys!” because They taught Me what The Future is like a few years down The Road.
So, Let Me be Real with You for a Minute here. Being The Head of PTLS, The Ambassador of PTLS is a Very Great Honor! I get to help PTLS Members see that There is hope for The Future, which I have NO Problem with at All, In Fact I am honored that I am The Future for Your PTLS Child. So, The Question becomes, What is The Future look like for Me? Now, Yes, My Mom talks to other PTLS Members about How scary The Future is for Me (From Her View) and The Fact that We really don’t know much about The Future, and Yet, We are The Leaders, The Hope, The Ambassadors of PTLS. I personally didn’t, really realize The Thought of that until I saw and heard all that My Friend has Done (which is Similar to Me, which maybe why we got along so well) It makes me Teary-Eyed just writing this, It is that much a Deal to Me (well..and, My Mom). Most of The Time, I just listen to My Mom talk about it and, I think “Oh, what’s The Big Deal, Mom? I got it handled!” as well as The Fact that PTLS Members are in Tears after They meet me but, I have never really understood that until Now. Of Course, When I envision My Personal Future, I see Myself meeting My Soulmate, Bridgett and Eventually Marrying Her, Living Our Life Together and All associated both Up and Down; That is what I tell you and I do believe Wholeheartedly but, In Terms of Support for My Future, I don’t have many others to show me what Direction sort of like a “Here Christian, Christian, Christian” kind of showing, similar to How I help PTLS Members that are Younger than I am, There is Not Much Support. It makes me Sad and A bit lonely because I’m the Driver in The Dark with My Headlights on as High as They can go and I don’t have Anyone showing me what is Ahead, I just drive along with PTLS Members following behind and Hope to God that a Deer doesn’t jump in The Middle of The Road. That has happened before at The Lake House that I grew up going to, but that is Another Story for Another Time. Call it Being Overwhelmed (which I am a Bit after The Conference), Maybe being Tired, I don’t know, but that is How I feel about that. In All Honesty, I Love Supporting You PTLS Family Members, I don’t want you to feel Bad because of Not Supporting Me but, that is because You are on Your Own Journey, and Yes, Don’t Get Me Wrong, There are a Few PTLSers that are Older than I am, but Everyone has their own lives. and In My Friend’s Case, In Some Odd Way, She helped me and Showed Me that Yes, There is a Future out there for Me and Again, Yes, The Track that She is on, I don’t always agree with, but, I think Most of All it shows me that My Future that I am dreaming of, Is not just Dreams, It is a sort of Reality. I guess all I can say is that, It was all a Reverse Psychology. Normally, I help People and This Time, She helped me. Anyway guys, I really appreciate You Guys letting me be Real with You because I think it really helped me and In Turn, It will improve Myself to help you even better. All in all, It was a Great Conference! Okay, Scratch That! It was a Stunning, Brilliant (as They say in The UK) Conference. I truly Love All My PTLS Family!

Thanks for Reading The Christianville Spirit. Everyone has their own Track, Future, and Destiny to Follow. Sometimes, that is The Best Lesson to Learn.