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Just Awesome

The DOC was first introduced to me via a podcast way back in 2005. Podcasting is a medium that is still pretty effective and one guy who does podcasting in his own unique way is Chris Snider.

Just Talking is the name of Chris' podcast and the format of it. The show is a free flowing discussion between Chris and a guest. Guests are usually from both the Diabetes and Gaming community but the discussion never stays on those topics. Chris has a way of turning what feels like chit chat into a revealing and entertaining interview. It is really wild when you first listen. You almost don't realize it's an interview, you feel like you are hanging out with friends listening to their conversation. 

Chris not only podcasts but also writes. His blog is called A Consequence of Hypoglycemia and although it seems like it would only be about diabetes, it isn't. Chris has a way of writing that seems more revealing than it is. What I mean to say is there is a level of comfort to his words that make you feel like you are following him around and seeing what he wants you do see. Not in a TMI way but in a way like no other. A great writer can really transport the reader and Chris does that with each post.

Chris is a gamer and all around geek (his words). All those things, PWD, Gamer, Geek, are wrapped up in a passionate, funny, witty, and intelligent guy. 

The more I write I realize we have a lot in common. Did I mention his cats and love for them? So much so that he has a Tumblr just to post their antics? 

Recently Chris started another tumblr blog called My Diabetes Secret. It is a site with user submitted anonymous posts of secrets they want to share about diabetes. Reading through the posts I find myself identifying with many, wishing I could reach out to several, and brokenhearted for others. It's tough to talk about diabetes for some and especially when you are afraid of being judged. This is a safe place to do that and I am very thankful he set it up.

I don't think when Chris got involved in the DOC he had any idea his involvement in it and outside as an advocate would be as important as it is. He is an example of how much each of us can be a voice for those who do not have one. I am inspired daily by all he does and who he is.

Share your Chris love below in the comments.  


The Search Sheriff

When I first started blogging and finding sites about diabetes it was pretty easy to navigate. Most of the legitimate sites I knew about from other bloggers and the ones that were silly snake oil salesmen were easy spot. Not so much anymore.

With all the money to be made and the amount of people online, bogus diabetes products and companies pop up pretty often. With all the junk to have to sift through it seems like surfing the web for diabetes is just not a good idea.

You should be aware of a blogger who not only was frustrated with the same issue but did something awesome about it.

Bernard Ferrell is a type 1 blogger and a good friend of mine. Bernard created a customer search engine called Diaboogle. It is a custom Google search engine that filters out all of those snake oil miracle cure sites!

That there is a testament to Bernard’s character and spirit. He sees a need and creates a solution. His passion for helping and caring for others is seen in his blog posts. Bernard is someone who always reaches out to me when I am in need.

Comments he leaves for me are always so genuine and caring. He will send me a direct message if he notices I am acting gloomy. He puts others first and stands up for the little guy.

Bernard has a special place in my heart because years ago I wrote a post about my feet being cold all the time. A simple post in structure but beneath those words were a concern and worry he picked up on. A week or so later a pair of wool slipper socks showed up at my door.

He sent me a postcard apologizing for not being able to make a diabetes conference and I keep it here in my desk. So thoughtful, loving, caring, and supportive. And did I mention his awesome Irish accent?

Long before we met we used to talk about a day in the future when all of us DOC friends would be hanging out together. Meeting Bernard face to face was another dream come true for me. I thank God for his friendship all the time and appreciate all he has done for me and the community.

Have you met Bernard or heard he sweet accent? Share you Bernard love in the comments.  


The Life Changer

There is always something to learn from people I meet who have diabetes. That could be hearing about a new technology or finding a great low carb recipe. Sometimes the things I learn from the DOC are so life changing it is hard to put into words.

Lee Ann Thill changed my life, twice. How could a type 1 blogger from the other side of the country change my life? The first time she did it by reintroducing me to a former love, art.

Lee Ann is the brains behind Diabetes Art Day. A day where we are encouraged to make art with a diabetes twist. The first year my whole family joined in and all four of us sat around the table and made art about our feelings towards diabetes.

Those few hours were so much fun and so memorable. Each of us shared our pictures, what they meant, why we came up with them, and what we called them. This lead to very deep discussions about how diabetes effects my family and how they feel about how it affects me. It opened up the road of communication between all of us regarding my disease and for that I will be eternally grateful.

Meeting Lee Ann in person was a highlight. She is honest and real. So much so that I have many pictures when my timing has captured exactly what she is thinking at any particular moment. Her likes and dislikes are easy to read from her expressions.

Some of the best laughing attacks I have had are because of Lee Ann. Her sense of humor is right up my alley and always welcomed. Her passion for art and what it can do to transform our hearts is apparent in all she does. If she could meet every single person with diabetes in the world and help them see what art can do to change their lives I think she would.

Last December when I was home after my surgery I was feeling really depressed. I was in pain constantly, I could not work, and I felt alone. Sitting at the computer was uncomfortable and the rest of my family was not doing well either. It was a bad time.

One day I get an unexpected package delivered from FedEx. It turned out that Lee Ann sent me a box filled with art supplies. Paper, pens, pictures, markers, paint, prompts, pastels, brushes, and most of all hope. I sat there looking at it all and just fell apart. My sister just had surgery for cancer, my step mother died when I was in surgery and everything seemed the worst it could be. That package was the second time Lee Ann changed my life.

She made me see that even when I am in a terribly dark and sad place, art can be there for me in a way no one can. It doesn’t judge and no one ever has to see what I create. Whatever is created is exactly what I needed to get out.

Lee Ann is an important person in my life and I am so thankful for our friendship. I love her heaps.

Share your love for Lee Ann in the comments.


Wicked Awesome

It was outside a Starbucks in Burbank when I finally met Kerri Sparling. I had found her blog via a podcast about diabetes. She was being interviewed and it made me want to hop online and read her blog. That was back in 2005.

Kerri is someone most people in the DOC are aware of but I would like to tell you some things that I feel make her very post worthy. 

For some it is difficult to take a complement. I know when people say nice things to me I am just finally learning to say thank you and move on. Before I would deny their opinion by saying how not worthy I am which is really rude on my part actually.

Kerri does something entirely different. When I have been at conferences or meetings and someone says something like, 'Kerri you wrote a post about complications that was really great,' she will not only show appreciation but will reflect that compliment back to the DOC. A response like, 'And any blogger in this room or any person with diabetes could have written that post.' I could hear her also saying something about how complications are something all of us think about, are scared of, and need to discuss. 

She doesn't bask in the spotlight like so many people would be tempted to but rather when the spotlight comes around she walks backstage, grabs a hold of it, and shines it all over the community. That is pretty amazing.

Her blog, Six Until Me, is a great place to start my DOC online day. It is one of the first things I tell people with diabetes to check out online. And especially if they are type 1 women and are thinking about pregnancy. Kerri was very open about her entire journey through pregancy which I know has and will continue to help other type 1's who want to be parents one day.

Kerri makes everyone who reads her blog feel like a family member. We have seen the sweet things her husband did before he was her husband and was courting her. Wedding pictures and stories. New career changes. Ups and downs. Highs and lows. All the way to the birth of their little Birdy. We are welcomed into her life through her words with a warmth and honesty that allows us to feel her emotions while tapping into our own.

She is wicked awesome.

Share your Kerri love below. I know I could go on for days but I don't want to get all mushy. ;)



Who's That Girl?

Last year was a rough one for me. The issues I had with my heart and the complications that came along with surgery were a lot to deal with during the holidays. 

One day as I was dragging myself around the house feeling miserable I heard my doorbell ring. When I opened the door I saw a box sitting there as the tail end of the delivery van sped off. Inside the box was a shawl and note explaining the shawl was actually part of a ministry. This prayer shawl was made by loving hands that prayed it would provide comfort and warmth to whomever received it. 

This came from a dear friend of mine in the DOC, Jess. I should say that Jess did not make it but it was her church's ministry that sent it and it did exactly what it was supposed to do.

Jess is a type 1 blogger and diabetes advocate. Her passion comes from a struggle with lows as a kid and a spirit of caring for people who need a voice. Jess works with the You Can Do This Project which is another passion of hers. 

There are few people in the this world that bring a comfort and safety with them wherever they go. When Jess is around I have this sense of calm and peace. She genuinely cares about people so much so that I literally feel better when she's around. It's weird but I know you know what I mean.

Jess' blog is called Me and D and I highly suggest you add it to your reading schedule. Jess makes me want to be a better advocate because I see how much joy helping others can bring. She is a major inspiration for me and major friend!

Share your Jess love below. She's the best!