Wendy on Wheels Visits St. Ambrose

January 31st, 2017

I woke up around 3:30 this morning. I’m an early riser normally. Typically not that early, but I couldn’t get back to sleep. Sometimes, my mind just runs everywhere, as if it is training for a marathon. It was mostly positive. I was excitedly thinking of new material for my visit to St. Ambrose School in Godfrey.

After an hour of meditation, I knew I needed caffeine to make it through the day. I took a quick walk to Starbucks in Cheshire Hotel for a venti Cascara Latte.

Coffee before makeup

Coffee before makeup

I started my first presentation around 9 to the preschool through 3rd grade students. One thing I stressed to them was the importance of, taking a stand, if you see something happening that you know isn’t right, DO SOMETHING! SAY SOMETHING!

Fired up!

Fired up!

The next group was the 3rd through 5th graders. We had a wonderful discussion about creating inner space, finding positive solutions to problems and bullying. It was amazing! That had such insightful ideas and good questions for me.

I enjoyed St. Ambrose very much today! I’m so grateful I had the opportunity to share Wendy on Wheels with such a wonderful group of students and teachers!

 

 

 

The reason I wanted E-books and my cousin AJ

July 20th, 2015

After over a year of headaches, frustration and multiple people’s hard work, my books finally became available in e-book format a couple of weeks ago. The whole process was a complete nightmare! I’d like to share with you the reason I pushed through to get them as e-books.

edgar

This cutie, Edgar, communicates nonverbally using an Ipad. He is learning to use his head to select different phrases and options on the iPad. Like many of my fans, Edgar’s hands cannot turn the pages of a paper book. Having Wendy on Wheels on his iPad allows him to read Wendy’s adventures or have them read to him. This brings Wendy’s adventures to a whole group of children who may not have had access to them before.

When I see this picture of Edgar, I am reminded of my cousin, AJ, who passed away about 10 years ago. AJ had a severe form of cerebral palsy. Edgar looks so much like AJ it’s scary.

AJ

My favorite memory of AJ is this one. My dog, Cleo, loved (and still does) to lick people’s faces. She would put her paws up on his wheelchair and lick him all over his face and mouth. AJ would laugh with delight and open his mouth more.

AJ at his prom

AJ at his prom

I will have big news regarding “Wendy on Wheels Moves On” at the end of the week!!!

Wendy’s Updated New Look

July 13th, 2015

I updated Wendy’s new look again. I decided to put her in a more “active” wheelchair. To do this, I lowered the back of Wendy’s chair removed the handles. We also changed the color so that her chair would stand out more on the cover.

Here she is!!!

Here she is!!!

I will have the cover soon. I can’t wait to show you!!!

The trip that inspired Wendy on Wheels Goes to the Beach

May 31st, 2015

This morning, Facebook sent me a notification saying I had memories. Six years ago today, I was with my family in Clearwater Beach, Florida on the vacation that would later inspire my first book, Wendy on Wheels Goes to the Beach.

Mandy used a beach wheelchair to go around Discovery Cove. We went snorkeling, swam with stingrays and dolphins. I loved it!!

Mandy feeding birds at Discovery Cove

Mandy feeding birds at Discovery Cove

The beach was walking distance from where we stayed. Here’s a picture of Mandy and my dad at the beach.

This picture later was used Wendy on Wheels Goes to the Beach.

This picture later was used Wendy on Wheels Goes to the beach.

The "cartoon" version

The “cartoon” version

This was such a fun trip! I loved spending time with my family. I had no idea at the time that trip inspire a children’s book, which would lead to more books.

In other news, I will have an updated image of Wendy for book #5 in the next couple weeks as well as a cover. I can’t wait to share it with you!!!

 

 

The Influenced by Jason Hwang

November 11th, 2013

October 30th, I was the Keynote Speaker for Ursuline Academy’s High School Diversity Conference.   I spoke for about an hour about diversity, ability awareness, ability sensitivity and the creation and evolution of Wendy on Wheels.  After I finished speaking, I stuck around for a little while.  A young man introduced himself.  Then he told me he was a poet and my speech had inspired him to write a new poem.  He showed me his hand where he had scribbled it down. I felt so excited that my speech had inspired him.  Here’s the poem.  Please read.

 

The influenced
By Jason Hwang
There is a kid.
sitting admist all the crowd,
listening to a woman.
At first, he doesnt care.
just a speech, extra credit
grades, thats where his mind went
The boy just listens with no thoughts candid.
but do we control our thoughts?
when we see a black person with a hood on in a dark alley
don’t we instinctively think of danger?
don’t we protect our body as its the natural behavior?
This, the words from that woman, became a cause of an instinct.
He thought, of group of superheros.
May be it is the avengers,
may be the xmen and its comrades.
but what xmen has the power to move a whole community into a realization?
what avenger has the power to influence the young minds about the dark side of the alley?
what superhero actually give others an image of the pessimistic side of the Galaxy?
None, the hero continues on its journey undefeated.
But this superhero, wendy on wheels, is different.
as though she is undefeated, she has been defeated.
she has been had the worst disadvantage.
but gift is a curse, and it works vice versa
curse, when given to the right person, is the strongest gift the world will ever give
Just like rosa parks and her dark pigment
Just like Einstein and his madness
Just like Steven Hawking and his disability
Wendy on wheels was and will be given with the biggest super power.
This thought crashed into the boy.
didn’t write for a while, now he looks down at the keyboard with no sense of coy
and express all he has for this one superhero.
Who was created from another super hero.
who was inspired by the most gifted yet most cursed.
who is inspiring the boy sitting in the backseat listening.
And the boy’s final thought is this.
To be influenced, is to listen to someone who was influenced.
and this effect, will ripple towards all the earth.
and in the end, achieve its perfect influence of diversity.

How many celebrities does it take to publish a children’s book?

March 16th, 2011

Does anybody else watch The Celebrity Apprentice?  Sunday’s episode disturbed me in several ways.  For this week’s task, the teams had to create a children’s book based on at least one member of the team.  The teams were judged on originality of concept, presentation of the story, and age appropriateness for four and five year olds.

I knew the team was doomed when Lisa Rinna became project manager against her will.  The ladies, mainly Star Jones and Dionne, came up with a story about a shy lion based on Latoya Jackson.  The title was “Why Can’t I Roar?”  I’ve read a book like that to my nephew.  Not only was the concept unoriginal and boring, they chose Latoya Jackson as a main character with the theme, “be yourself.”  How ironic. 

As an ability activist, I was horrified by Dionne Warwick’s treatment of Marlee Matlin.  Marlee and other members of the team thought Marlee should be the character.  Dionne kept pushing the group on her lame, uncreative concept.  Marlee suggested maybe the one who teaches the lion to roar is someone who cannot hear.  Dionne was hateful towards Marlee, with eyerolls and throwing her hands up in disgust whenever Marlee signed.  Anti-project manager, Lisa Rinna tried to base at least one character on Marlee, saying maybe the lion could ask another animal who is deaf to help her roar and have Marlee sign back, “No, I can’t help you.” 

The “legend,” Dionne Warwick, responded forcefully saying, “THAT IS SAD!”  She continued, “I don’t think four and five year olds are ready for that kind of diversity.  Let’s get real here, we are looking to write a story that will make these babies smile and be happy, not walk out remorseful because they will feel sorry for her.”  I guess the informercial queen finds people with different abilities than her depressing.   

I liked what Marlee said to the cameraman.  “Dionne put up a very clear barrier right in front of my face.  That made me feel handicapped.  You have to understand, I don’t accept handicaps.  I go around barriers all the time.  What she said was completely ignorant.”

Meanwhile, the men’s group did a cute book based on Li’l John being bullied at school.  Mark Mcgrath originally wanted to make Li’l John become a superhero.  YAY!!  Superhero theme.  🙂 

Meanwhile, Star Jones was left in charge to design the whole book.  Her design job made me wonder if she’d ever even seen a children’s book.  The images had plenty of open space for the words.  The text was so small on the page, it looked ridiculous.  That is a simple fix that any person who looked at it would have noticed. 

They say “don’t judge a book by it’s cover,” but it’s cover looked silly too.  Who would buy a book of a lion that looked like it was crying?  Maybe it was crying because it was supposed to be Latoya Jackson.

In the end, Backbone, the men’s team won the task.  YAY!! 

The women’s team ended up in front of the Trump boys in the boardroom.  Dionne and Star were very proud of their awful, boring storyline.  I was hoping Evil Music Diva would get fired but it was Lisa Rinna.  It seemed as though she’d never seen  any Apprentice show and didn’t know what she was supposed to do in the board room.  She left them with no other choice.  Tsk, tsk.  🙁

In other news, a lot of good things are happening with Wendy on Wheels.  Today, an article  about Eli and his mother, Amy, being cartoonized in Wendy on Wheels Saves the Day apparently appeared on the front page of the Yakima Herald-Republic Newspaper, along with a cute picture of them.  I had a great interview on Family Network Radio last week.  

Brooke and Brielle really love Wendy on Wheels!!  Read about it here.