I was born in Kansas, raised in Missouri, returned Kansas for grad school and work, and have now returned to Missouri. As the connecting city of my two beloved states, I consider Kansas City my home. I root enthusiastically for the Royals and Chiefs, while siding with the Kansas Jayhawks (well, maybe not in football but definitely in basketball!). This allegiance does not make me popular in a neighborhood of Mizzou supporters, but I stand my ground. RCJ!!

When not watching sports or binging on Netflix series, I can usually be found in my craft room, sadly, it seems, shopping online for craft supplies more than creating artwork and greeting cards. You crafters understand, I know.

The English major in me still beats strong, so I spend time reading, which includes listening to books from Bookshare on my phone or iPad before bed or when I am not feeling well. Putting my own words on the page has always empowered me, from the time I used to dictate stories and poems to my aide, Mrs. Steele. I am delighted to have the time, perspective, and energy to devote to writing again.

Having cerebral palsy from trauma at birth, I have difficulty with movement and speech. I am proud to have been one the first students with severe disabilities to be educated alongside my peers without disabilities. I was fully included in general education from second grade onward. I graduated high school and college with honors, always recognizing how fortunate I was to have been able to participate in education. To that end, I put aside my love for literature and writing to pursue a master’s and Ph.D in special education. I worked in disability research and taught an online course in teaching students with disabilities for fourteen years.

English never left my soul, though. So I eventually earned a second master’s in English and fulfilled a life-long dream of being an English teacher by teaching online for several schools. Alas, the reality of grading barely readable essays tempered my illustrious vision of an English teaching life. However, I am forever grateful to have reached that dream.

A few years back, I taught myself to do origami by watching YouTube videos. Since my hands do not work well, I fold the paper with my feet. This was the birth of Toerigami. These foot folded creations decorate my home and find their way onto cards and artwork for loved ones.

Speaking of loved ones, I mothered a dear chubby Dachshund named KC, who was with me for fourteen years. My current child is a black cat named Mumford Sheldon Phog, or just Mumfy. I adore the music of Mumford & Sons, I love The Big Bang Theory, and I love the Jayhawks. Thus, the name.

My favorite singer of all time is Nanci Gifffith, but I love most alt-country and, of course, the 80’s music of my youth.

I love all shades of Blue, especially Royal blue and Jayhawk blue. My neighbors insist these are not the same thing. I will always have a soft spot for purple, but I tend to gravitate towards different favorites every few years. Right now, I love medium minty green and have joined the rose gold bandwagon.

My sheroes are Maya Angelou, Tina Turner, Helen Keller, Elizabeth Warren, and most recently, Brené Brown. Her TED talks, books, and online courses have changed my life in countless ways. You will see many references to her work in my writings here.

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