project #2 update… | Just Shake It Off

Remember back when I wrote “stop. collaborate and listen…”? I shared that I had 5 different projects and collaborations going on.

Project #1 that I shared was the launch of the Just Shake It Off store. And you have been SO supportive! It is so fun to get texts and photos from you when your products arrive!

Well…project #2 has rolled out and I can finally share what this one’s all about. It has a few different parts to it, so bear with me as I piece them all together for you.

self-prescribed occupational therapy…

With Parkinson’s comes tremors. They are probably one of the most well-known symptoms of PD. For many patients, but not all, tremors are the first indication that something peculiar is going on. A right-handed tremor was my first remarkable symptom. Because Parkinson’s is a neurodegenerative, progressive disease, the tremors will continue to get worse. I’m trying to combat that inevitability as best I can with activities and tasks that regularly challenge my small-motor skills.

The typing I do helps, but I also seek out opportunities to continue practicing my handwriting when I can. My cursive is no longer cohesive, so everything but my signature is printed. But I really liked my cursive…so I still try. Working with the small pieces of jigsaw puzzles is beneficial and a fun hobby that slipped by the wayside in the busyness of raising my Lou-Crew. We’ve dusted off the Wii and put it back into action. Those darn video games are not ALWAYS a waste of time and navigating those hand-controllers in sync with the television screen can be occupationally therapeutic. But DON’T tell the kids.

Oh…and a disclaimer. I am clearly NOT a trained and certified Occupational Therapist. These are just little things that I have discovered help me. If there are any of you reading that are trained and certified Occupational Therapists…you’re likely rolling your eyes and giggling at my “self-prescribed” methods. As much as I love you and will come to rely on and appreciate you someday…it’s not someday yet. I’m going to keep doing my self-prescribed tasks because I’m not ready for you yet.

But…what does ANY of this have to do with project #2? Well…I’m glad you asked.

what’s your word…

I’ve joined with the “What’s Your Word” project. “The MyIntent Project is a catalyst for meaningful conversations and positive action”. Their mission states “We believe there is purpose inside each of us and we want our efforts to encourage people to share more truth and inspiration with each other. We are not a jewelry company – we are a service project.”

I am challenging myself and defying my tremors and I’m working diligently on making custom hand-stamped jewelry. And…so far, so good. Up until now, I’ve only made pieces for myself, my family or friends, and a few I’ve done as gifts. My hope is to begin to feel confident enough in my work to sell some pieces. In order to be able to eventually sell my pieces and use the MyIntent branding and mission, I had to go through a small training course and then had to produce a sample assigned by them for inspection and approval. And, tremors be doomed…I PASSED!

So, an eventual customer will choose their piece of jewelry, their finish, and their word. I will then hand-stamp, package (and FYI…my packaging is super-cute), and deliver or ship their piece to them. This has been GREAT self-prescribed occupational therapy and I am having so much fun with it! I will be adding a section to my blog for this, but if you are interested in hearing a bit more or ordering a piece now, feel free to get in touch with me.

in the meantime…

While all of this was taking shape here at home, Ellie was, unknown to me, being assigned her semester-end service project for one of her classes at Olivet. Ellie is majoring in Sports Recreation and Management. She, in collaboration with two fellow classmates, has to create, implement and successfully execute a program or fundraiser for a “special or differently-abled population” and submit a 10-page paper on her chosen project and population.

She and her group chose to do both a program AND a fundraiser. And they chose me and my jewelry and Parkinson’s Disease as their population, program and fundraiser. And, no…I’m not crying, you’re crying. Go grab a tissue and meet me right back here.

Ellie and one of the girls in her group came home for a weekend in late-February with the project as their mission. They learned a lot about Parkinson’s. I learned that even a STEADY-handed young woman can fall victim to the weighted hammer used for hand-stamping.

And together…over 100 hand-stamped bracelets were created. Do you still have your tissue? Because after learning more about life with Parkinson’s, the words the girls chose for their bracelets were…”STRONG”, “CONQUER”, “GRIT” and “BRAVE”. The girls took those 100 bracelets with those 4 meaningful words back to campus and began preparing for the fundraiser portion of their project.

I’m writing this at 3:00 am on Monday morning and their fundraiser kicks off at noon today. They will set up in Mott, the main academic building on campus, and for the next three afternoons, they will sell their hand-stamped bracelets while educating fellow OC students about Parkinson’s Disease. And…50% of the proceeds will be gifted to the Parkinson’s Foundation.

And, now? Well…for now, I’m going to sign off. I’ll be back on Wednesday night to share all about the smashing success of their fundraiser. So, until then…

but it’s only tuesday morning…

Hello! I said that I’d be back on Wednesday night, but…here I am early (really early) on Tuesday morning with an update already.

Because, in typical 2020-2021 fashion…things did not go quite as planned for the girls today.

They got everything set up at Mott and had even made a few sales when 30 minutes later they all got an unwelcome phone call. The classmates working on the project with Ellie are also teammates. The phone call was to let them know that a majority of the volleyball team was going to have to go into quarantine because of COVID-positive exposure.


They had to withdraw from the NCAA volleyball tournament that begins tonight. They will have to finish their semester, including final exams, remotely. And they have to put a pause on their fundraiser and service project. They’ll be meeting with their professor over Zoom to discuss options for moving forward with the fundraiser and earning full credit for the class. I’ll be sure to pass along those details when they’re confirmed.

So…there you have it. There’s project #2 in all its bits and pieces and chaos. Stay tuned for the update to the update to the update…or something like that.

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