Ride Rona, Ride

Rona and Jim throwing out the first pitch of the Peninsula Pilots ball game, Aug. 2013.

Rona and Jim throwing out the first pitch of the Peninsula Pilots ball game, Aug. 2013.

This world is full of amazing people. I am thankful each and every day when I am blessed to be associated with such incredible people. I love hearing their stories and learning new things from their escapades. I also get inspired and pushed forward and lifted up. There is one such lady who is just simply remarkable.

Her name is Rona Altschuler. She is the Alzheimer’s Association Southeastern Virginia Peninsula Walk Chair. She is also a new friend of mine. She is a wife and a sister. She is a mother. She is a dental hygienist. She is also a daughter who lost her mother to Alzheimer’s Disease. Rona was already the walk chair BEFORE her Mom was diagnosed. Before her life was touched so personally and tragically by this nightmare. She is a ball of energy and a really GOOD person. I know. She has shown me in numerous ways. Right now, she is showing all of us her ardor, devotion and willingness to put her body where her mouth is. Rona is BIKING across our great country. That is right: BIKING. She flew from Virginia to San Diego and along with a small group of women, she is riding her bicycle from California to St. Augustine, Florida.

For two months she is putting her body to the test. She is missing work. Missing friends. Missing her husband. Missing walk preparations. Missing life back home. Missing her son. Think of all of the “normal” life things you would do over a two month period. Now think of completely pulling yourself out of the picture. All of the planning and preparation that would have to take place.  Not to mention the physical training and mental preparedness.

She is writing a blog to keep everyone apprised of her journey; http://ronasride.wordpress.com.   I hope you will read her words and also be inspired by her selflessness and dedication.

Please take a moment to read about her amazing strength and send her some words of encouragement. Let her know how thankful you are that she is willing to put her life on hold so that others won’t have to.

The main reason Rona decided to do this ride across so many miles is to spread awareness along the way about Alzheimer’s Disease. Every stop they make, she meets locals and tells them why she is riding and about the need for more help. She is also doing this to raise money. So, if you can, please donate; http://ronasride.wordpress.com/please-donate/  Even if it is only $5. Imagine how much your small (or large) donation will help her as she pedals along through Texas and Mississippi. Imagine the courage and determination this takes. With a click of the button and the sacrifice of a latte you can tell her “thank you.” Rona is paying for her trip with her own funds. 100% of what is donated goes directly to the Alzheimer’s Association.

I am so proud to call Rona a friend and so lucky she is fighting on the same team. Thank you Rona!!! God Speed and enjoy the ride!


posted by Karen in Early Signs of Alzheimer's,Early Stages of Alzheimer's Disease,Younger Onset Alzheimer's Disease and have Comment (1)

My Happy List

Mystery flowers left on our front porch last year......

Mystery flowers left on our front porch last year……

I started writing a piece a few weeks ago about how angry I was. I will still publish that piece, but right now, I am just not feeling it. I am feeling new and exciting things on the horizon. So, I started doing just the opposite. I started a list of what makes me happy. Wow! I was surprised at how many things, many of them simple, that really make me happy. I don’t mean just put a smile on my face. I mean the kind of happy you feel inside; the kind of happy that makes you love your life and like nothing can bring you down. The feeling that all is right in the world.

After the devastation in Oklahoma and other parts of the Midwest this past week, I thought it would be a much better idea to share something a little more on the sunny side.  As I was cleaning the bathrooms and kitchen floor this morning I thought of those that have no bathroom or kitchen floor to clean and how lucky I was, even if I wasn’t too happy about the actual task.

I would like to suggest you take a few moments and really think about what makes you happy. You might be surprised by your own list. Maybe you can use that list to make sure you integrate your HAPPY into your everyday life.

Things that make me HAPPY:

  • Hearing my kids laugh and carry on a conversation together. Especially when they don’t know I can hear them.


  • Hearing my 9 year old son rapping in the shower.


  • Hearing my 12 year old daughter belt out tunes in the shower.


  • Listening to the rain while sitting on a screened in porch or while lying in bed.


  • Smelling the earth after a rain.


  • Feeling the warm breeze off of the ocean and feeling the salt spray on my face.


  • Jogging in the rain.


  • Biking at night with a full moon, a slight breeze and clean air. Even happier is when I get to do it with a friend.


  • Hearing Jim tell me he loves me. And that I am beautiful. This used to happen everyday and I took it for granted.


  • Visiting with my parents and getting to know them as friends, not just as parents.


  • Listening to friends chit chat and just be. Normal talk.  Hanging with good friends can carry me through a really bad day.


  • Visiting a place I have never been before.


  • Making a difference to someone.  This blog has really helped me feel like I am accomplishing this on a daily basis. I aim to do more of this….


  • Helping someone to see something in a different perspective that changes their life. This sometimes happens after a good heart to heart.


  • Having a clean house. Well, I can’t say this happens often, which might be the reason it makes me so happy.


  • Not having to decide what is for dinner. Or what we are watching on TV. Or what we are doing. Or, well you get the idea.


  • Not needing to get up first thing in the morning and having the kids come into bed and snuggle with me. LOVE.


  • Having a great, candid, open conversation with my kids about their life and who they are as a person. These don’t happen enough.


  • Seeing my children happy.


  • Seeing my husband happy.


  • Enjoying the sunshine after a cloudy, rainy, snowy, cold day.


  • Helping a perfect stranger and then not needing to tell anyone about it.


  • Reading a really good book that I just can’t put down and realizing I haven’t forgotten to fix dinner or take the kids to practice.


  • Realizing that I matter to others and accepting their love and care. This is an ongoing process for me. It is harder than you think.


  • Hanging with just Jim; watching a good movie and enjoying together time. These don’t happen often enough.


  • Watching my kids become their own person. This also would fall under the proud category.


  • Helping a friend with a problem and believing I contributed  in some small way.


  • Jogging or walking the Noland Trail. I am very happy as long as I don’t see a snake, then there is no happy.


  • Reconnecting with an old friend and realizing they have missed me too.


  • Organizing my chaotic house. This is a process that has never been done. But it will make me happy when and if it ever happens. In my mind it is doing to happen almost every day.


  • Having a husband that shares my hopes and dreams for our children and our future. Although Alzheimer’s Disease has taken a lot of this away from us, I know that I have a partner in Jim that supports my efforts and our children’s efforts.


  • Giving a bouquet of homegrown flowers to a friend or teacher. I love flowers. But not the silk ones.


  • Riding in the car (ok, van) with a great song on the radio that I know the words to and belting it out. Even better with the windows down and the sun shining. I refrain from this often since I drive a lot with fellow drivers in close proximity. 


  • Listening to the birds chirp and chatter. 


  • Getting through a list of things to do: I don’t know if it makes me happy or feel accomplished, but either way, it is on this list.


  • Becoming enthralled by a great song and playing it over and over until I learn all the words.


  • Feeling safe in Jim’s arms. 



posted by Karen in Early Signs of Alzheimer's,Early Stages of Alzheimer's Disease,Uncategorized,Younger Onset Alzheimer's Disease and have Comments (5)