Second Chance to Live’s mission is to encourage, motivate and empower the reader’s to live life on life’s terms. Although your life circumstances may be different than mine, I believe you can benefit from my personal process. I have not shared these specifics before, but now is the time. For many years I earnestly sought to encourage, motivate and empower people that I believed God brought into my life. I diligently sought to apply and prepare myself to fulfill the requirements to be of maximum service to God and my fellows. I pursued both educational and practical experiences to align myself with a vehicle that could utilize my passion to encourage and motivate. Many of these efforts did not succeed. Many of my efforts were practically blocked even by church leadership. My desire to fulfill my mission and destiny was practically dismissed as inadequate. I found myself in a perpetual conundrum. I truly felt like a man all dressed up with no where to go. I found myself waiting for someone to coronet my gifts and talents as significant to be included in their programs, but they never came. I went from job to job, church to church, organization to organization, not realizing that my gifts, talents and abilities were very much needed and valid.
After 20 years of ongoing job loss and disappointment, I discovered that my traumatic brain injury disabled my ability to work in full time or part time employment. I applied for disability and was turned down 2 times. I continued to attempt to work in full and part time in employment working with people, but I continued to get and lose jobs. As you can imagine, I continued to experience ongoing disappointment and discouragement. Consequently, I reapplied for SSDI (disability) and was finally approved 9 years ago. During that time I went through Vocational Rehabilitation and was deemed to be unemployable. I simply could not work full or part time with other people. That reality was befuddling to both my family and myself, but my experience proved to be unmistakable.
After I was approved to receive disability, I continued to advocate for people with disabilities. I contributed to changing the allowable income limit from $281/ month to 100% of the poverty limit in January of 1999. This allowable income limit change enabled many elderly and disabled people to receive full Medicaid benefits. I also advocated to have food stamp allowances increased to keep pace with cost of living increases for over 6 years. I ardently pursued food stamp advocacy during the 1st and 2nd Clinton administrations and then with the 1st Bush administration without success. I faced the beaurocratic shuffle and the lack of accountability on so many different fronts. As proof I have 4 full 1-inch binders filled with letters that I sent to an exhaustive list of agencies and officials. In addition, I continued to go about my business, attend support group meetings, talk with trusted friend and decided to write my autobiography and then a book. Table Topics for the Soul- Journey to the Heart is registered with the library of congress, but not published. After writing my book, I continued to study, learn and pray for clarity and direction.
Earlier this year a good friend of mine, who is an English professor at a University encouraged me to start a blog. After speaking with several other friends, I decided to call my blog, Second Chance to Live. Second Chance to Live has provided an avenue to share my experience, strength and hope with people who want what I have been given. The vehicle of my web log removes the biases that come from people that do not have ears to hear. That does not mean that there is something wrong with those who do not have ears to hear. Years ago I was not able to hear what I now share with you in Second Chance to Live. I had to come to a place in my life where I was willing to listen and learn from my experiences and circumstance.
I wanted to share the above with you so that you will have the courage to learn how to use your passions, regardless or whether you are disabled and can not work in full or part time employment. The delivery system of your passion may be different from what you might have expected. I did not see myself as a creator through writing years ago. I was so focused upon how I thought my delivery system should look. Accept yourself for the progress you are making, (Please read my post, Traumatic Brain Injury and Worry). Celebrate in those successes for they create the building blocks of your destiny. You may not know where your progress is taking you and that is fine. None of us know where our circumstances and experiences are taking us in the long run. That is where trusting the process, trusting a loving God who cares about our futures—to give us a future and a hope—and ourselves in the guidance we are given each day. More will be revealed when we need to know my friend. Follow your passions. Follow your bliss. And most of all, be encouraged. You are a gift to your world!
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