EMPOWERING CHRISTIAN WOMEN: I'll Do It Myself Blogger Widgets

I'll Do It Myself

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Meet Glenda Watson Hyatt, a woman who is clearly NOT defined by cerebral palsy - even though the experts advised her parents to institutionalize her as "she would not amount to anything."

Her parents deserve a standing ovation for raising their daughter to be an overcomer. The word "can't" was not allowed, only "try".

Today, I have the honor of interviewing Glenda while she completes her two week Summer Sojourn Virtual Tour. Glenda is crusing around, promoting her first book, "I'll Do It Myself ." Glenda uses her honesty and humor to share her life experience of living with cerebral palsy, motivating and inspiring others to use their life to impact the world around them!

Enjoy the interview...

Are you a believer in Christ? What is your favourite scripture?

Glenda: "The verse "With God all things are possible" (Matthew 19:26) sums up my belief in God.

I love the title of your book “I’ll Do It Myself”. Can you share how the title was birthed for your first book?

Glenda: Growing up, and even today, I was often heard uttering "I'll do it myself" when someone tried helping me. I became known as the "I'll-do-it-myself Girl". It was the obvious title for my autobiography.

On your blog, you state: “I want to share my experiences as a person living with a disability to show that I am more than my cerebral palsy; to show that I am capable of having a career, running a business, being married and owning a home, that I am interested in politics, global warming, and, heaven forbid, even sex, and that I have “normal” every day problems too.”

Living with a disability demands a “new kind of normal”; it requires a different way of living. What types of things do people without disabilities take for granted, each & every day?

Glenda: From my perspective, people without disabilities (or Abs – able bodies) take the little things for granted, like being understood by anyone you speak with, being able to go any where without needing to first check whether it is accessible and without a major effort getting there, or being able to cut fresh fruit. For others, taking a breath requires mechanics to be functioning smoothly and continuously. For the most part, people don't consider the wonderment of how their body works and all it takes to keep it functioning properly until something goes wrong – and that can happen so quickly, without warning.

However, I believe a "normal" life is a rather elusive concept. What is normal and for whom? Everyone has their own image of "normal", and rather than struggling to reach that elusive image, individuals need to find happiness and contentment in their own "normal".

What kind of positive impact can people with disabilities have on our society?

Glenda: Wow, that is an essay question! It can be answer in so many ways, on so many ways. By simply being part of society, "we" add to the richness and diversity of our community and world around us. More specifically, in terms of the labour force, people with disabilities are an underutilized talent pool. I came across this statistic yesterday: 51.3% of working age persons with disabilities are not in the labour force at all versus only 20.6% of those without disabilities (from Human Resources and Skills Development Canada). If employers are open and receptive to hiring people with disabilities, we (I loosely use "we" because people with disabilities aren't a homogeneous group) can be the solution to the current labour shortage in many fields.

How have your parents impacted your life?

Glenda: In my autobiography's epilogue, I wrote, in part: " Two people I am especially grateful for are my parents. They believed in me since Day One, when some doctors – the “experts” – said that I should be institutionalized and forgotten, that I would not amount to anything.

My parents encouraged me, telling me that I could do anything that I put my mind to. They told me there was no such word as can’t; only try, and to always try my best. They taught me to always say “Thank you,” and that if the words wouldn’t clearly come in that moment, then to smile – a smile CAN open doors.

They spent hours beside my hospital bed; Mom knitting as I tried to sleep despite the pain and Dad using a straw to drop juice into my mouth so that I didn’t have to move, and thus, avoiding more pain. No doubt it was as heartbreaking for them when they had to leave as it was for me when they left at the end of visiting hours. There were tears on both sides of the door.

They were always supportive no matter what I wanted to try, whether it was going to Brownies, starting horseback riding, leaving for university, getting married or buying a condo. Putting their own personal pain aside, they were both there for my convocation, my wedding and my fortieth birthday, which meant a lot to me. And now, despite them having been divorced for several years, they still offer the exact same words of advice and encouragement."

My parents have helped me to reach my dreams and to become the woman who I am today.

Thank you Glenda for sharing your life story with my readers. I appreciate you taking the time to stop by. I am so thankful that our paths have crossed; I hope we can actually meet in person some day!

There are a few ways that you can support Glenda:

Follow Glenda for 2 weeks on her Summer Sojourn Virtual Tour; you will enjoy getting to know her better!

Pick up at least one copy of her book, "I'll Do It Myself"; you can get your own copy here.

You can also support Glenda by hosting a virtual book review on your website or blog. Contact Glenda to see what dates are still available. I know she would appreciate your help.

And if you enjoy reading Glenda's blog, you can vote for her every day. Glenda is in the running to get paid to blog for a year! Glenda believes it is her life's purpose to share her story with others, so that she can help to alleviate people’s fears of those with disabilities in a non-confrontional and humorous way.

Glenda is married to a wonderful man Darrell who also has cerebral palsy, making life that much more interesting. Together they struggle to find employers and business clients who see beyond their disabilities to see their skills, talents and God-given gifts. Their ambitions are as normal as any couple’s: pay off the mortgage, travel and save for retirement.


Anonymous said...

Karla thanks so much for hosting yesterday's appearance on "Summer Sojourn" virtual book tour! Much appreciated. I'd like to invite your readers to join me for the rest of the tour at www.doitmyselfblog.com. Thanks again!

Jana B said...

Ooooohhhhhhhh good questions! I'm mucho impressed!