About Angel Blair

I am a Client Services Specialist here at MSAA. I hold both a Bachelor's and Master's Degree in Counseling from schools outside the Philadelphia area. I love reading, movies, going to concerts and traveling. Favorite place I've been so far---Disney World!

Starting New Holiday Traditions

Ah, the holidays. It feels like they came around mighty fast this year—even quicker than years past in my opinion. My husband and I will spend this holiday season in a new home and with that comes the possibilities of new holiday traditions. I look back fondly with love and joy at traditions my family engaged in this time of year. I want to re-create those meaningful and festive times and also create new memories for years to come. Well, let’s just say that’s always my intention.

One tradition my family carried out when we were young was Continue reading

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Genuine Gratitude

As the leaves change colors and fall off the trees and the temperatures drop, most of us cannot help but think of what makes us grateful. Gratitude does seem to go hand and hand with turkey and mashed potatoes and all the other holiday traditions. According to dictionary.com, gratitude is defined as “the quality of being thankful, readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.” Being part of the chronic illness community, I feel this is one of the loveliest qualities we possess and need to hold onto.

A Genuine Feeling

Gratitude outshines all other emotions. So much so that when you experience it, your smile and eyes shine with genuineness. Hopefully everyone has experienced this feeling at some point in their lives. Close your eyes and imagine one time when you were so thankful and genuinely happy. You may have smiled so hard that your cheeks had gone numb from being so overwhelmed from your love and joy. That moment may have been so touching that even still to this current moment, you cannot come up with the appropriate words to express your thankfulness or gratitude.

Daily Gratitude

I would like to think that most of us experience gratitude daily in even the simplest of things. Some of my daily moments of gratitude are from my dog Lacie, my nephews and family, and when someone holds the door for me. When that happens, I light up and will very excitedly yell ‘thank you!’ out of my appreciation for them and their small act. That moment will usually make my day, and the person may never even understand why I shouted thank you so quickly, but I hope they do.

Tracking Your Gratitude

If you wanted to, you could keep a little journal to help track and find what you are grateful for. In the morning you could write down one or more things you are grateful for or how you will make today great. You could even include a positive affirmation. During your nighttime routine you can write down a good deed or two that you did that day or even some great experiences you had. Of course, you can mix and match or find even more ideas online for doing a gratitude journal if it is something that interests you.

I wish you all the happiest and warmest of holiday seasons to you and your loved ones.

About Me

*waves* Hi MS community, my name is Kelly and I am an intern at the MSAA for the fall semester. I’ll be graduating in the spring with my Associates degree in Human Services. I’ve been disabled now for about 13 years, since I was 17 years old. I am a type 1 Diabetic, and have Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, Necrobiosis Lipoidica Diabeticorum, plus a few other diseases. I use a walker or cane daily. My hobbies include advocating for the disabled, playing video games, and lounging with my dog.

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Holiday Assistance

The holidays can be a magical time of year. There’s a different feeling in the air—of wonder and joy, that feels unique compared to any other time of year. Though the season can evoke much happiness and excitement, it may also create stress and challenging expectations for some. Financial stressors and limitations can be especially difficult this time of year.

Holiday celebrations can symbolize something different to each person. Special traditions and pastimes may not center around gifts or feasts. The holidays can be what you make of them. But it’s important to know that for those who may need a little extra help in carrying out their holiday activities, there are resources available to help.

  • Salvation Army
    • Offers seasonal services and holiday assistance programs to help families in need with holiday dinners, toys, and clothing.
  • The United Way
    • Provides information and referrals for holiday assistance programs in the community.
  • Toys for Tots Program
    • Distributes new, unwrapped toys during the holidays to children in need through community outreach and support efforts.
  • Catholic Charities Services
    • This group and other local religious organizations may offer seasonal assistance based on location. Contact groups directly to inquire of services available.
  • Lions Club organizations may also have holiday assistance programs available in the community.
  • County department offices of family/social services may have additional holiday assistance and resources.
  • Local schools in the community may know of holiday assistance programs for families.
  • Community food banks may also be able to offer holiday assistance programs in the area during the season.

Many community assistance programs have specific application deadlines and requirements in order to receive holiday assistance by a certain time. Be sure to reach out to the resources to see what’s available in your area and how to apply.

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Putting the ‘tude’ in Gratitude, (in a good way)

With the arrival of November, we’re coming to that point in the year where we have ample opportunity to show kindness and gratitude towards others. Yes, there’s no question that this should be done all year round. But the holiday season evokes this notion even more so and individuals really embrace the concept of gratitude.

Honestly, sometimes it’s hard to be grateful. When life feels like its constantly pouring down on you or pelting lemons at your head, it’s a bit challenging to find things to be grateful for. This is normal. It’s only human to feel Continue reading

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It’s OK to talk about it…

Mental Health - Let's Talk

In (very) recent years, mental health and wellness have become more talked about and recognized in mainstream society. It’s discussed more openly than ever before. To be honest, we’re not too far beyond the days where it was ‘taboo’ to talk about mental health publicly.

Old Times

Few would ever think to disclose Continue reading

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Seasons of Change

It’s hard to believe that fall is right around the corner. Where does the time go? I don’t know if it’s the culture of our society that makes time go by even faster with its quick pace, but time sure does fly and change is constant. The change that comes with the start of fall has begun, especially in the form of back-to-school routines for the kiddos.

I do not do well with change but that doesn’t stop it from happening. Life constantly evolves and moves forward. And there are times that change can Continue reading

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What Helps You Relax?

I’ll be the first to admit that I can be a bit of a high-strung person. It’s hard for me to relax sometimes. I assume it’s because of my A-type personality that constantly has me on-the-go and anxious about even the littlest things. Even when I think I’m relaxing; my mind is still going a mile a minute thinking of anything and everything. I find it’s worse as I’m getting older.

I’ve always envied those who seem to relax easily. Now I’m making assumptions for some who may appear relaxed but have tons of things on their mind Continue reading

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Reminiscing of Summers Past

As a kid summer always seemed like such a charmed time. Mostly because school ended and we were ‘free.’ For some the season brought trips, vacations and activities that weren’t done during the school year. For others just having time off and spending days with family and friends was treasured. Reminiscing of summers from my childhood has now become a favorite pastime of mine.

Growing up we weren’t fortunate to have lots of family vacations or trips. But we did our best to keep ourselves occupied in our day to day. We did have certain things to look forward to Continue reading

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Accessible Travel

It’s officially Summer and the arrival of the season signifies travel plans and busy itineraries for some individuals. Whether it be local travel to sites in one’s community or journeying to farther places, individuals can benefit from planning ahead for their trip as much as possible.

I wanted to share some great information I came across in an article on tips for travelers with disabilities and another with tips for travel agents working with those who have disabilities. Many suggestions involve making arrangements and contacts beforehand to ensure facilities and destinations are Continue reading

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Getting Lost in the Story

There are several types of art forms that speak to individuals very uniquely. Each of us can find ourselves inspired by diverse, artistic expressions and sometimes easily relate our story to what’s being told through art.

I myself have always been inspired by books. Since I was little I loved to read and found myself constantly being pulled to different stories. I’m amazed by how many different approaches to writing there can be and how storytellers can make you feel like you are a part of their story.

I’ll admit that I like to read to Continue reading

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