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Let Your Sun Shine - Newsletter

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Let Your Sun Shine

“What sunshine is to flowers, smiles are to humanity. These are but trifles, to be sure; but, scattered along life's pathway, the good they do is inconceivable.“

-Joseph Addison

In This Issue

  • A Message From Shelley
  • Don't Just Take My Word for It
  • What's New?
  • Mobility Corner
  • Do You Have a Question You Would Like Answered?

A Message from Shelley

Dear Friends,

I love it when the sun shines in the winter. I know that means it is cold outside but it is so much easier to get up, get going, and keep going when the sun is shining than when it is cold and dark. A dose of sunshine does wonders for my mood and energy. Perhaps you find this to be true in your case too.

When you are limited, like I am, in your ability to get outside of your house, it is important to find ways to bring the sunshine inside. I have been known to “sun bathe” by basking in the warm rays of the sun streaming through my office window, but there are other ways to add a little sunshine to your life. Here are just a few:

Good Friends

I have a group of friends that gets together once a week to play Mah-Jongg, a Chinese tile game. We pop popcorn, break out the M & Ms, and spend the afternoon laughing, crying, solving each others’ problems, and drawing closer to one another than we ever would in any other context.

How else might you find a way to share time with friends? Why not, invite a few friends over to watch the game, or make cookies, or share a meal? You do not have to do all the work; many people would love to share a few hours in exchange for a dish to pass or an ingredient to bring.


I am in a wheelchair all my waking hours so I find it rejuvenating to use a standing frame that lifts and supports me in an upright position letting gravity “take its toll” for awhile. I joined an adaptive swimming class at the University of Wisconsin where physical and occupational therapy students assist those with disabilities in the water, and I have started horseback riding (hippotherapy) under the supervision of the professional staff and volunteers at Three Gaits, Inc. Therapeutic Horsemanship Center in Stoughton.(608-877-9086)

Many senior care facilities encourage their residents to use a towel or inexpensive rubberized resistance bands to stretch and move. More recently, they have added virtual activities by installing a Nintendo Wii system; those unable to lift a bowling ball find it easy to simulate this activity with a lightweight controller in their hand. What ways can you find to add fun physical activity into your day?


Norman Cousins once said, “Laughter is inner jogging.” In fact it is so good for you that laughter therapy groups are starting up in cities across the country where people get together just to laugh. You don’t have to join a group, however, to find reasons to laugh.

Funny situations and circumstances are all around us. Once I was explaining to my son’s friend that I used to be right handed but was now left handed because of my disability. Excitedly he said, “I know. That means - you’re amphibious!”

Self-deprecating humor or laughing at oneself is another way of bringing laughter into your life. When I speak to audiences about strategies for living with a chronic illness, I share my personal story and describe my disabilities. I add that, “a strange thing happened when I lost the use of my legs and dominant right arm and hand. My mouth got bigger! At least that’s what my family says.”

Looking for and finding funny slices of life give us a brief respite from our limitations and worries.

Giving to Others

My assistant’s grandmother used to play the piano for residents in a nursing home—most of whom were younger than she was! Doing so brought joy to her life. Can you volunteer to tutor or mentor young ones at your neighborhood school? Or if you cannot get out, can you use the phone to read to someone who is blind, or be a listening ear for a lonely senior or an overstressed single mom? When we help others, we forget about ourselves for awhile, feel needed, and that feels good.

So in the words of Anthony J. D’Angelo, “Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine.”

Take care,


For a regular slice of my life, visit my blog, What I Learn About LIVING from my Chronic Illness.
If you have any comments, please e-mail me directly at Shelley@MakingLifeEasier.com.

Don't Just Take My Word for It

"Those who bring sunshine into the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves."
~James M. Barrie

“Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadow.”
~Helen Keller

“A good laugh is sunshine in a house.”
~Author Unknown

What's New

I’m going to be a movie star!!! The National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS) has asked me to “star” in a series of videos depicting ways I make life easier around the house. We start shooting footage in April with the hope of having these videos ready to view in the fall. If you would like a preview of some of the tips I might present in one of these videos, along with more than I could ever share in the time allotted, you might want to purchase a copy of my book, Dressing Tips and Clothing Resources for Making Life Easier, which gives practical tips and strategies for making getting dressed easier, and provides a directory of companies that provide special clothing and tools for dressing yourself when you have physical limitations. This book is not available in bookstores; order from www.AttainmentCompany.com.

Mobility Corner

If you use a wheelchair, scooter, or walker, or have other mobility issues, visit www.MobilityCorner.com for helpful news, articles, and information for making your home, auto,and workplace more barrier-free so you can enjoy life more independently. While you are there, check out my Tips for Making Life Easier™ article on this month’s mobility topic.

Do You Have a Question You Would Like Answered?

Do you have questions you would like answered or a topic you would like discussed? Chances are if you do, other readers and listeners do too. To make my columns, e-zine, and TV and radio programs more beneficial for you, we want your input. Please e-mail any comments, questions, or suggestions to: Shelley@MakingLifeEasier.com.

Until next time, just keep smiling, and scatter your sunshine wherever you go!

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