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UPDATE: The project is LIVE! Go here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1756964235/different-is-awesome-kids-picture-book

So, I got this news today:

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It’s official. The Different Is Awesome! Kickstarter project is ready to Screen shot 2014-04-29 at 6.38.28 PM!

I’ve prepared for this like crazy and I’m beyond excited to press that green button.

And I will…on May 1st. Thursday morning.

GET READY, INTERNET.

Here’s the deal, though…I need your help. I know we can do this, but it’ll only work if we all pull together to make it a reality. Are you with me?! Here’s how you can help:

1. Share, share, share! Once I officially launch the project on Thursday morning, I’ll be sharing it with my sphere of influence and I hope that you will, too! Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, email, tell your family and co-workers, smoke signals, sky-writing…I’ll say it right here: The person who shares the project in the most creative way will win a FREE autographed copy of the book!

2. Pledge early! One of the most consistent indicators of a successful Kickstarter project is a strong start. People who are browsing the projects see one with a strong start and are inclined to jump in, too, because it must be awesome! So, my big ask here is that if you’re planning on pledging, it would be incredibly awesome if you did so one DAY 1 or shortly thereafter. Take a look at the pledge levels and the corresponding rewards and reserve yours!

3. Ask questions. Seriously. I want to make this fun and as easy as possible. If there are things you don’t understand or are having difficulty with, let me know and I’ll do my best to help.

So, we’re really doing this, y’all. You only live once, right? Oh, snap…I think I just accidentally wrote YOLO.

Here’s to dreams becoming reality! Here’s to success! Here’s to the most awesome community ever!

Love you all and appreciate you more than words can say.

Hugs to all!

Ryan

This is the conclusion of my four-part recap of the Helping Hands Foundation’s 2014 Winter Outing.  Read about Friday here, Saturday here and Sunday here.

While my travel to the outing was uneventful, my trip home was…kind of a disaster.

Tony, Nikki and I left the hotel a little after 10am and my flight to Philadelphia departed as planned around 130pm.  I arrived in Philly, took the shuttle to Terminal F, and waited for my 522pm flight to Milwaukee.  We were all sitting there, waiting and watching for our plane to arrive at the gate.  5pm, still no plane.  515pm, no plane.  Finally we were told the plane would arrive at 6pm and we’d leave at 645pm.  The plane finally arrived at 630pm and we waited for an update.  The woman at the gate said something about the pilot needing 15 more minutes to talk to the people in Milwaukee “to make sure it’s safe.”  That was the first indication we had that we might not be going home that night.

Finally, the woman came back and I’ll never forget the look of fear on her face.  She didn’t even use the PA system, she just blurted out, “It’s cancelled.”  Of course a ton of irate people ran at her, like SHE made the decision to cancel it.  What did they want her to do? “Oh, I can see you’re all very upset, so, never mind!  Let’s board and head to Milwaukee! Hope you don’t die!”  Just dumb.  So, we all had to stand in line and try to reschedule our flights.  Rumors were swirling about why the flight was cancelled and when we’d be able to get out of Philly.  I met a few people who I got to help make laugh, so that was nice.  I finally got to the counter and was super jokey with the lady, which she seemed to appreciate.  The first flight she found me had me getting into Milwaukee at 230am on Tuesday.  Yeah…no.  I had her look again and she found the LAST flight to Charlotte, NC at 5, connecting me to Milwaukee around 1030.  “Sweet, I’ve never been to North Carolina!” I said.  She laughed.  She printed my tickets and off I went.

Continue Reading…

This is my recap of the Helping Hands Foundation’s 2014 Winter Outing.  Read about Friday here and Saturday here.

Did you know that the Australian Open (tennis) was on LIVE at 4am Sunday morning?

I didn’t, but found it after getting back to my room around then.

That’s what happens when you’re making friends.

After a few hours of sleep (which would become incredibly unfortunate later), I packed-up and headed downstairs for breakfast.  Another buffet, featuring bacon and various other breakfast foods.  Eventually I made my rounds, giving hugs and goodbyes to friends, old and new.  We also had our annual HHF Winter Outing picture with the incomparable Dayna and Vennessa!

Dayna, Tony, Nikki, Moi, Beka, Nick and Vennessa

Dayna, Tony, Nikki, Moi, Beka, Nick and Vennessa

Last year I really had no idea what to expect when I attended for the first time.  And it changed my life.  It really did.  That’s why I was so excited to come back this year!  It’s amazing to hear attendee after attendee talking about how they’ve been coming for ten, fifteen, twenty, even thirty years!  And yet, I feel like a part of the family.  That’s what I appreciate most about Helping Hands.  The acceptance, the love, the laughter, the support…it’s all there in spades.  That’s why I can’t see ever not attending.  Maybe that’ll change some day, but I can’t imagine how.

Continue Reading…

This is my recap of the Helping Hands Foundation’s Winter Outing.  Read about Friday here.

Saturday arrived a bit early for my taste, but I got downstairs in time for breakfast and a couple of great speakers.

Nicole Kelly, Miss Iowa 2013, was first to take the stage and she owned it.  It was so cool to finally meet Nikki (I had interviewed her last year) and see her in action.  She was positive and encouraging and challenging, all at the same time.  It was fun to see all the kids lined-up to get pictures with her and to see her interacting with them all.  Nikki gives speeches all the time, but this was different than usual.  You could see her eyes twinkling as each little girl and boy came to her and showed her what made them different.  She made them each feel special.

Me and Nicole

Me and Nicole

Continue Reading…

This is my recap of the Helping Hands Foundation’s 2014 Winter Outing. Read about Saturday here and Sunday here.

If there’s one thing I’ll remember about this year’s Helping Hands Foundation winter outing, it’s this:

Thank goodness nobody was recording me during my talent show performance.

For real, though, this year’s event was awesome; just like I expected it to be.  Those of us who attended were happy benefactors, basking in the leadership of amazing folks like Patti, Vennessa and Dayna.  Ok, enough wordplay.  The leadership of the HHF is incredible and they do such a fantastic job with the event.  Bravo to all who helped!

I’m going to write three posts, broken down as such: Friday, Saturday and Sunday/Travel Misadventures.

So…here’s Friday.

My experience this year started WAY better than last: I didn’t miss the bus!  I left my house at 345am, took a bus to Milwaukee at 430am, left for Boston (with a pit-stop in Cleveland) at 8am and arrived a bit after 1pm.  Long, but uneventful.  The plan was to meet-up with my good friend, Tony Memmel, and new friend, Nicole Kelly, at Logan Airport and head to the hotel together.  After wandering around for a while, I finally found Nicole and then Tony found us.  Our friend Annie picked us up and off we went! Continue Reading…

Earlier today I was on a nationally syndicated sports radio show.

All because I have one hand.

See, I was listening to Jay Mohr Sports and they were talking about a story wherein a zoo is no longer feeding bananas to monkeys because they say the bananas have too much sugar and calories.  Sports!  Jay was saying how he’s never gone to a zoo and seen fat monkeys just laying around holding their bellies, so, I sent this tweet:

 

Apparently, after I left my car to return to work, Jay read my tweet.  Brad tweeted at me that Jay wanted to know if I really had one hand and that I should call in.  I had a little time left on my lunch, so I did.  And this happened:

 

So, 4 million listeners heard that.  AND I’m getting a gift card!  Sweet.  A couple things stuck out to me after having listened to this.  First, even don’t know what I meant when I said, “You know how that goes.”  It was the most mundane accident ever.  The part I loved, though, was when Jay tried to ask me about my arm.  The dude is a comedian…I don’t think I’ve ever heard him be so careful about his word choice before in my life.  I was happy to jump in and help diffuse the situation.

I also thought his reaction to my story was interesting.  Like, I only have one arm and I broke the small one…what a disaster!  When, in fact, it would have been worse if I had broken the other one!  He essentially played the Hand Card for me, too!  Classic.

In retrospect, I wish I had said something more profound, but it was spur of the moment and I just went with the flow.  It was cool to be a part of the show and to expose Jay’s audience to Living One-Handed.  I’ve already had several people read one of my most challenging posts and respond positively, which is awesome.

In the big scheme of things, the experience today wasn’t life-altering or anything, but it was a lot of fun.

And next time I’ll talk about something more inspiring.

Like the Packers.

Last January I had the opportunity to attend the Helping Hands Foundation‘s Winter Event and, honestly, it affected me deeply. I smiled and laughed more times than I could count. I cried in front of a room full of strangers. I got to hear so many amazing stories and meet so many incredible people. And here’s the thing…I want to go back. I want to see my friends again. I want to meet Nicole Kelly and Rebekah Marine! And I want to bring my wife. I want her to experience this supportive and inspiring community for herself.

I stink at taking panoramic shots, but this gives you an idea of the awesome group of people at the event earlier this year.

I stink at taking panoramic shots, but this gives you an idea of the awesome group of people at the event earlier this year.

The Rovedos! Cam was SO into this. And Cam has a little brother now! :)

The Rovedos! Cam was SO into this. And Cam has a little brother now! 🙂

That said, we need your help to get out there this coming January. So, what I’d like to do is a joint fundraiser.

I’m going to set the target at $1000. I’m not going to cap it there, but that’s the minimum I’d like to hit. The way it will work is, anything we raise above and beyond our costs will go directly to the Helping Hands Foundation. I LOVE them and believe in what they do.

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Here’s how it’ll work:

For every $10 you give, your name will be entered into a drawing for one of these items:

Autographed Judith Caseley Book
Signed Nick Newell Picture
Signed Nikki Kelly Picture
Jim Abbott Autographed Baseball card

Also, for each of these levels you’ll get:

$10-$50 A personalized LOH postcard from me

$51-$100 A personalized LOH postcard and LOH sticker

$101+ A personalized LOH postcard, LOH sticker and LOH stress relief cube

Also, and this is the big one…if we raise $1000, I will write and perform an original song, while playing the piano, at the HHF talent show! Prepare to be amazed. Or something.

And listen, if you give $1000 yourself, I will write a song about whatever you want. Within reason. You have a cat you want a song written about? Done. A favorite pair of slacks? Done. Anyway…

Here are the logistics: Click on the Donate button below to donate. That’s it. And hey, if you want to donate but don’t want to be entered to win something, that’s totally great. Just let me know. I’ll keep the page updated to let you know where we are.

UPDATE: Currently at $725! (12/18/13)

Ok, so there it is. I only do this because you guys are so awesome and supportive. And because I believe so much in what Helping Hands does and has done for years and years. Thank you and let the fundraising begin!








That seems about right.

That seems about right.

Story Chicago 2013

October 15, 2013 — Leave a comment

“Dreams don’t fade away as we get older; we exchange them for standards of living.” Ben Arment

Ben’s words on the first full day of Story Chicago rang true with me.  We all have dreams and we need to see them through.  We just do.  The Story Conference reminded me of that fact and helped reset my course to do so.

The conference started with an amazing art display.  “Make sure you’re in before 7 because they’re closing the doors and you don’t want to miss it!” I was told.  And they were right.  The creative team presented a visual and aural masterpiece.  Essentially, it was a thunderstorm inside.  And as I type that, I am fully aware I cannot do it justice with words.  The cool thing, though, was that there was an actual storm raging outside, too!  It really was an event that had to be experienced to be appreciated.

Then we got to view Blood Brother, a fantastic documentary about a guy who ends-up finding his place at an AIDS orphanage in India.  At turns funny, then poignant, then heartbreaking…Blood Brother will change you.

I’m not sure I knew who any of the speakers were this year before they spoke, but they added their own flavor.  It’s just so cool to hear other peoples’ creative process!  From the Global Director of Creative Outreach and Senior Writer for Nike, to the founder of Charity:Water, to the Director of Arts programs at Kickstarter, to the Chief Product Officer at Blurb.com, to a “mouth artist,” to the creative director at Cirque du Soleil Media, to the Creative Director at Google Labs…seriously, we as an audience might not have known who they were, but they are all amazing people doing incredible things who we have a lot to learn from.

Continue Reading…

Thanks For The Card, Grandpa

September 11, 2013 — 1 Comment

For as long as I can remember, I’ve gotten a card from my grandpa for my birthday.

Every year, usually the day before, the card would arrive.  A $10 bill tucked gently inside and the words, “Love you – Grandpa” scratched onto the card stock.  And right there next to him, since 1994, has been “Grandma Mary.”

Grandpa passed away in April, but Mary, God bless her, has carried on the tradition.  Today is my first birthday without grandpa here, but look what I got in the mail yesterday:

Tears

Tears

And here’s what you need to understand: They’ve never missed it.  Which is unbelievable because Grandpa had ten kids.  That means a lot of grandkids and great-grandkids and even a couple great-great-grandkids.  Even so, without fail, that card and $10 from grandpa and Mary would be in your mailbox right on-time.

I know it won’t go on forever, but it was nice to open the mailbox and see that card at least one more time.  It made me sad, because I miss my grandpa, but it also made me smile to know what an amazing woman he married after my grandma died.

So, thank you for the card, Grandma Mary, and the lovely reminder.

And I hope you’re having a great time in Heaven, grandpa.

I miss you.

Getting To Story 2013

September 10, 2013 — Leave a comment

The Story Conference 2013 is coming-up QUICKLY and, just like last year, I need your help!

Story is a conference for the creative class. A place to share ideas and encourage each other to tell even better stories with our lives. You can read all about my experience at last year’s event in a series of six posts, starting with this one.

It means a lot to me that so many of you have expressed interest in helping me experience Story again and I’m totally stoked about this year’s fundraiser!

Here’s the video version of what I’ve written below:

My friend Jim Abbott has provided TWO autographed baseballs for me to give to two lucky winners!  Here’s how it’ll work:

First, for every $10 donation, your name will be entered to win a baseball autographed by JIM ABBOTT!

The other big item I’m going to include in the raffle is this sweet LOH messenger bag! It’s a $50 value!

I also have some shirts, stickers and stress relief cubes if you're interested!

I also have some shirts, stickers and stress relief cubes if you’re interested!

The second ball will go to the highest bidder!  Send me your bid at ryan@livingonehanded.com and I’ll update this post as the bids come in.

Current High Bid: $200.00

The easiest way to donate is to click on the “Donate” button below. When you do, please indicate if you’re interested in either the ball or bag or both.








If you’d rather give by check or cash, that’s totally cool. Just email me!

In addition, every donor will receive an LOH thank you postcard from me!

Also, if you’re just super awesome and would like to give without being entered into the raffle, just let me know.  🙂

I’ll chose all three winners SATURDAY NIGHT at 10pm CST (9/14/13)!

Seriously, you guys are the best.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…you’re the reason I do this.

Thank you and please let me know if you have any questions!

Ryan