Do you catch my drift?

This is Ron with your Motivational Message:

MORE TO COME! Stay tuned for Ron’s Newest Painting!

My Friend ED

This is Ron with your motivational message:

Ed is one of those guys that when you meet him you like him instantly. Who would have known that my buddy would pass so swiftly. He was the major brains and ingenuity behind the quad squad. He was the guy that would fix things and not complain. Ed could take care of just about anything. Of course he had a car that was similar. But it was a 67’ yellow Camaro, with a corvette motor and 4,000 watts stereo. “That’s the one I want to drive.” I told him. The 68’ firebird belonged to a friend named Ron Phillips. It was he who developed the Quad Squad team which included Ed. I remembered the first time I drove the firebird, I had not seen Ed show much emotion. He was kind of a man’s man. But Ed actually grabbed my head and kissed me on the cheek out of excitement. He was proud to be a part of allowing a quadriplegic to drive for the first time. It was probably historically the first time somebody had driven a 67’ firebird with just the use of his teeth and head. I had a slight fender bender you might say, shortly after I successfully completed 2 laps around the track and topped out at 52 miles an hour. I ended the show in front of a few thousand people with a nice smoking burn out. Full of adrenaline and excitement I decided to take my family for a nice little drive around the parking lot.

It was there we had a mechanical error, I couldn’t apply the brakes. Time seemed to slow as I proceeded to crash into a red shiny sports car and no way to stop it. On top of wrecking the vehicle, it was also among the owner’s favorite. I did about five thousand dollars worth of damage and when it was all said and done it cost about ten thousand dollars to repair. Everyone went home with their tail between their legs, I felt terrible and so did Ed.

Soon after, Ed decided to come to my house from Portland to cheer me up and to hang out for a little inspiration himself. He reminded me that it was the ‘Hope Rod’ and the message behind the impossible- that all could do impossible things. Especially those wounded, young warriors coming home from recent wars. Ed encouraged me to continue on, and insured me that mechanically; there wouldn’t be the flaw I experience with no brakes. Because of Ed I ventured out on a flat desert in eastern Oregon. The dried up lake bed was located southeast of the Steens Mountain. The Alvord desert was like talcum powder and completely flat for miles. It only received about 7 inches of rain annually. The quad squad renewed their excitement and I said I was up for the task. My goal in the desert was to go 100 miles per hour. Long story short we completed the goal. It was an amazing feeling, empowering and energizing.

After completing the goal I realized that this was the last time I was going to get the opportunity to independently operate a car by myself. I decided to do something that was probably extremely dangerous to most. But I had decided to drive alone and my Squad dreadfully disagreed with my choice. It gave me feeling of freedom that most of us take for granted. I exceeded my original goal by 1-going 101 mph alone in the desert with my team and family behind me. It was a very powerful moment.

After all of the excitement of driving alone, I proceeded to do some ‘S’ Shapes with the car to further prove my unique ability to control the vehicle. In my last turn on a hard right my knee flopped over from the door to the steering wheel. It immediately jammed my leg under the steering wheel grinding a blister on my skin. Looking as though my leg would snap, I yelled dreadfully through the speaker phone attached to the squad on the other end to shut her down. The motor died instantly as they pushed the remote control switch. Not knowing what they would find, the forgiving dudes on the squad laughed as they moved my leg. I slowly drove it back, feeling once again on cloud nine. We were all elated about the event of the day, until that evening when I got home. My buddy asked my unaware wife if she would like to see the video. Sitting down, she thought she would be watch her husband driving with all precautions particularly after my crash. To my udder dismay, we watched the solo drive and my friend had put in the wrong tape. With lack of words to describe my wife’s reaction, let’s just say my consequence was worse than the crash that I had experienced on the first drive.

ed

Ed showed some signs of illness shortly after we completed the 100 mph in the Alvord desert. Ed had lung cancer and it was serious. I visited him a few times in Portland, and he came to see me speak once. Each time I saw my friend, he was fading. The picture I share was two days before he passed. He made himself get out of bed in order to give me a hug. He loved me and I loved him. If it wasn’t for Ed I wouldn’t have completed the task. If it wasn’t for his inspirations I wouldn’t have driven the car that gave hope to thousands. That life is short so live it. Do your dream, and love your brother. Work as a team, and always complete the mission.

Ed, I thank you for being a brother and a friend. I miss you Ed and I am grateful for all of you friends that are still alive.

To your inspiration,

RON

Oregon Duck Reflection

This is Ron with your motivational message,

I recently received an email from a gentleman where he told me that my book had made a huge impact. He read it when he was twenty years old and now his daughter reads it. I share this email today as it correlates with my recent Mouth painting of the Oregon Ducks, not the college team. I was inspired by a friend who said, “You should paint a duck butt.” Laughingly I said, “Why would I do that?” Interestingly enough I did the picture. Duck butt, a baby face, and a flower, all of which are reflected in the water. I guess we can call it a butt face flower reflection! All joking aside; the mother in this oil art piece naturally teaches her offspring the valuable lessons on survival. Her reflections resemble the lessons for her ducklings, her family. I know at times it’s crazy trying to raise 2 girls as a single dad. I wonder if they see more “rear end” reflecting, rather than teaching them to fish for their survival. My heart is to instill a healthy positive attitude in my young ladies. I hope and pray that they will see a positive mental attitude in the midst of my blunders. Being a parent is not an easy job, without our guidance, we leave them vulnerable to danger.

Duck butt

“How is my life reflecting for the future survival of our children?” Was a question that came to me as I painted, and then I received this email.

“Hi Ron my name is Mathew I read your book when I was 20. I loved it. I am now 42, married and have 5 kids. “It was the first of a motivational series, my favorite books on the shelf.” One day my 8 year old daughter saw the book and asked, “What is this is about?” Not only did she read it, we discussed it together. The book was the turnaround for our attitude problems. We wake up and say, “It’s not a bad day.” My daughter is now 14 and actually had your book out tonight, as she shared with her friends. How this dude never gave up. Thanks for the impact you have had on me and my family for the last 22 years.”

Let’s ask ourselves today what part of our rear end flower face do people see? There is nothing more satisfying then hearing encouraging words from others.

Lord,

May our lives reflect faith, hope and love. May we be filled with peace, patience, goodness and kindness. Amen.

To your inspiration, Ron

The Dead Rooster

This is Ron with your Motivational Message:

In shock and dismay I yelled, “You just killed my mom’s favorite rooster!”

I’m not sure if you’ve ever experienced a moment when something went wrong and left you feeling heartbroken, numb, and searching for an explanation—a “what just happened?” moment. My mother, Theresa, as you may have read before, loved animals. She was particularly fond of one rooster. I could understand the love she had for that bird because I watched her raise it from a chick. It befriended her and would follow her around much like a pet dog would. He was black and red with shimmering, brightly colored tail feathers. He also had a bad attitude. I was afraid of that rooster. There had been several times while I was in my wheelchair that he would sneak up from behind and spur the back of the chair.

May 4th, 2015 004

One day I was in my yard next door to Mom’s working with a young man named Hal. As Hal went about his business, unbeknownst to him the rooster had approached. Mom’s wild bird went into attack mode and began scratching him mercilessly. I hate to say it, but it was hilarious to watch Hal flail and scream like a girl. As a means of protection, Hal picked up a small stone and threw it in the direction of the ferocious rooster. It hit him square in the head and he fell over.

Dead! My mom’s beloved rooster was dead and I was responsible. Hal tried unsuccessfully to revive the bird, doing everything except mouth-to-beak resuscitation. Nothing worked and I accepted the blame. I had Hal place the rooster in a nice box and we went next door to break the news to Mom. As expected, she broke into tears and cradled the bird in her arms. I was surprised by the love she had for that little creature. The next day Hal arrived with a tiny, new rooster chick to console my mother and alleviate his guilt. It worked–my mom was in love again.

I believe there is still a cross that stands where the rooster is buried. The memory of that day remains so vivid. Although he was not too fond of me, I do miss that bird. So, here I am 28 years later painting a rooster because of this story and the adoration I see others have for their chickens. Accidents are unavoidable in life. All you can do is do your best to make it right, admit to your shortcomings, realize that you are human, and with that will come forgiveness. The rooster will live on.

To your inspiration,

Ron

The “Ping” in my Eye

This is Ron with your Motivational Message:

“I heard the ping,” said my surgeon as she cut the stitch deep inside my eye.

It has been three weeks since my two hour eye surgery, however, my memory is very clear and crisp from that day. I had been conscious during the operation with my eyes open, but thanks to pre-procedure medication I was hardly bothered. They could have cut off my leg and slapped me with it and I wouldn’t have been the wiser. This week I had to return because my vision had not yet recovered.

My head was strapped down to impede any unwanted movement. I gazed intently into the fuzzy red glow coming from the laser machine. It felt very awkward to be restrained in such a way, particularly with the strap around my chest to keep me in my chair, but it was necessary to focus the laser beam on the back of my eye. I wondered how long it will take as my surgeon said, “hold your breath.” Suddenly there was a “pop” inside my eye. She stopped and asked, “Did you hear the ping? That’s the sound of the laser cutting the suture.” I had more than 200 stitches in my eye and some of them had been pulling tight. “It’s making your eyeball shaped more like an egg than a sphere and the tension is causing your vision to blur.”

As I tipped my bowl of coffee to my mouth first thing this morning, I realized what a blessing it was not only to still have my eyesight, but also to have people in my life that I can trust. You can imagine, there is great anxiety related to putting your vision (and livelihood, for that matter) in the hands of a surgeon. We put our faith and confidence in people everyday sometimes without doing a little investigating beforehand. As a result, we may find ourselves in a compromising situation which creates a fear and a possible lack of trust.

The eye is a vital organ and as a quadriplegic mouth-painter I rely very heavily on my vision and spend much of my time only 10 inches from my canvas. I would not have given my eyes to just anyone. I did my research on Dr. Edmunds and only could find good things. Thanks to her, my glaucoma is beginning to dissipate and my eyes are healing nicely.

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I am reminded of all those who assist me and I want to thank my friends, who support what I do and pray for me, especially those who feed me and get me in and out of bed. I am grateful for all the people whom I can trust; that are reliable and dedicated to doing their best. Yet, I also offer grace to those who have let me down, for God knows how many people I have let down.

Let’s take a moment together to reflect on the people we trust. People who are faithful, trustworthy, and supportive. Let’s show them an attitude of gratitude because their life makes the “ping!” Like a bullet striking the target or a laser cutting the stitch–it’s the ping that makes the difference.

To your inspiration,

Ron