Friday, August 4, 2017

We'll incase you missed the announcement: 
Cooper is getting a little brother coming November 2017

In other words I'm pregnant, I rarely say that out loud, but I've been trying to make it feel more real by at least typing it. (But seriously, how cute is this onesie we found with a mini Cooper/golden-doodle on the front?!)

I've been in denial for about the first half of this pregnancy. Part of it was I just didn't expect this all to happen so soon. I had complications that we planned on being on this journey for the long haul. But someone upstairs thinks he's funny or knows what he is doing. Either way this lil nugget is making his debut the beginning of November whether we're ready or not. 

February and March: The Cheeseburger Months. I don't really eat red meat at all, but for some reason I was constantly craving cheeseburgers - not a huge 1/4 pounder, just a simple kids burger.  Before I knew I was pregnant I just thought I deficient in some nutrient found in red meat. So during February and March we made lots of burger stops, which Trevor had no complaints about. Also I can't believe I had the energy for it but somewhere between the napping and eating I kept up on my mountain boarding and "ran" the Salt Lake City Marathon in March. Braden was able to ride as my "support team" and it's always fun to see such dear friends. 

Around mile 10 Trevor was waiting for me with Cooper. Cooper was so needy and right when I stopped he started crawling up on my lap. What a goofball. 

March & April: The Napping Months. There was excessive napping and fatigue which made April & March a bit of a drag.  I would teach all day and come home nap, eat, try to exercise and early to bed. Life was really exciting, as you might imagine. Trevor was in the midst of CPA exams so his study schedule was quite rigorous. He'd study late and I'd fall asleep by 9/9:30 PM. 

In March, right around when we figured out I was pregnant, I was in the midst of job interviews for a new school district. I was offered the job the same day I did one phone interview and after driving down and meeting with the staff I immediately felt like it was a good fit. But I had just found out I was pregnant a couple weeks before and struggling with what to do. I found myself confiding in a complete stranger, the principal, as I tried to weigh my options. Originally the job offer was for a full-time teaching position. Then she offered me a part-time job teaching position, as well as numerous other options. But in the end I realized that there was so much uncertainty and learning ahead of me. Just learning to balance my life between wheelchair, walker and crutches has taken me almost 4 years and so I can only imagine my learning curve for motherhood. 

May & June: Finally May came and I felt like I'd normalized. I didn't need constant naps and burgers and Trevor finished his masters & two more CPA exams. After our first ultrasound appointment I finally believed I was pregnant, but right after the appointment was done I went back into "denial". 

But with everyone coming into town for  Trevor's graduation I knew we needed to tell our families. All of the Masters programs at USU had their graduation ceremony on May 5th - Cinco De Mayo. So we decided  the best way to surprise our families would be with a little piñata surprise at Trevor's graduation BBQ. I need to find and take a picture of the creepy plastic babies Trevor wanted to fill the piñata with because they are absolutely ridiculous. The piñata was stuffed with these plastic babies, baby confetti, pink and blue rattles along with some candy and of course - the ultrasound pictures. At the beginning of June I finished up my first year teaching 2nd grade. We took the summer off to move, enjoy being together and travel. 

#MaccDaddy was our favorite hashtag of the day

The past 6 months have been a whirlwind. I'll post about our trip during June and July in another post because SE Asia in a wheelchair is quite the adventure. Finally around 22 weeks I've hit the point were this whole pregnancy dealio started to become real. Especially on our flight back from Thailand, it started to become more difficult for me to sit up. Overall though, time has flown by and I've been in denial up until the last few weeks. We're not very good at documenting, but maybe when I have a real bump we'll try and take a few more. I'm finally starting to "show" if that's what you'd call this picture:

24 weeks (I'm pretty terrible at documenting so this is my best effort)

At week 28 I'll begin to taper off my medication for my muscle spasms. This was my biggest concern about being pregnant and now with only 3 weeks left, I'm realizing that it will be here before I know it. So all prayers and positive thoughts that I can handle my crazy spastic legs without medication would be much appreciated. I haven't been able to manage my muscle spasms on my own since I was injured in 2012. And the last time I tried to go off this particular medication I went through withdrawals and even CRAZIER spasms. But either way I start tapering off in 3 weeks.  I still journal plenty but I wanted to put together a little post to help document life. I have a whole little bit on motherhood, but I think I'll save that for a separate post, since I'm trying to keep these posts short and simple.

I Didn't Think Motherhood Was For Me

Thursday, August 3, 2017

I never grew up dreaming of being a mother. Of course when I was younger I assumed marriage and family would come with time, but it was never something I dreamed of or really desired. One of my concerns while dating Trevor the first time was that I knew he wanted to get married and eventually start a family. At the time that was something I didn't want at all; I wasn't in a place where I could even imagine motherhood and I really didn't even want that to be apart of my future. 

Being a part of a religion and culture that focused on family and marriage, I felt out of place. But I didn't let it weigh on me because I was so focused on recovery and healing in my own life and just getting a grip on the "new" me and my "new" life. It was while I was nearing the end of my counseling and I really felt like we had worked through a lot of ISH in my life. But during one session I remember sharing my disinterest in motherhood and marriage and trying to figure out what was wrong with me and why I've always felt different in that regaurd. We talked a length, but I didn't leave with a solution or new perspective.

Over the last few years, God found ways to soften my heart towards marriage and family. Not only did I become more open to these roles, but I realized that those roles as a wife and mother are a part of MY eternal and divine identity. With time and through study and prayer I began to learn more. I even started to share what I'd been learning at different speaking engagements; which only reconfirmed what I felt Heavenly Father had been teaching me. 

It always amazes me that over the past 5 years and my "talks" are always changing. I never use the same talk when I speak, I use lots of the same quotes, but the focus always seems to be changing. The last few years I've been learning that I am not defined by my my physical attributes, but by the spiritual attributes. But lately my study and learning has brought me to a deeper understanding of who I am. One of my favorite quotes has helped reinforce what I felt like I was being taught at the time.
"Female roles did not begin on earth and they do not end here...by developing a mother heart, each girl and woman prepares for her divine eternal mission of motherhood."
That first sentence is where it's at - "and they do not end here". Motherhood, even before I was pregnant, brought more peace and hope into my life - knowing that motherhood has always been a part of my divine nature, purpose and identity. Sometimes the thoughts of motherhood in a wheelchair/crutches/walker brings doubts and concerns into my mind. I'm still so unsure how I will accomplish tasks that are so simple for other women. I've grieved thinking about the moments I won't get to fully enjoy with an able body - running around with my children in the yard, standing and rocking a baby in my arms, hold a toddler on my hip while I stand and walk around. 

The reminder that female roles did not being here and they do not end here, helps reconfirm that I will one day have those opportunities because these females roles as wives, daughters, sisters and mothers are divine AND eternal. I know I will have these opportunities with my limited body on earth, but also eternally with a HEALED and WHOLE body - because of Christ's Atonement and the plan of salvation these opportunities "do not end here". 

Although I don't feel like the typical excited mother-to-be, I know if I love Cooper as my dog-child this much, I will definitely have more than enough of love for this lil nugget. And I take comfort in knowing that this role is apart of my divine identity and nature. So regardless of how I may be feeling from day to day, I know that it will all turn out alright because mothering is in my divine nature. I'm sure it will still come with hard work and learning, but that's what this life is all about. 

5 Y E A R S

Monday, March 13, 2017

Normally as this time of the year approaches, I start to think about the accident and plan some way to celebrate being alive. But after last years reenactment, I found closure. I went back and claimed the experience that changed my life. The word that kept coming to mind last year was: FREE. After that rappel I felt so free - free from the accident and my injuries. Free from everything that had been holding me back. And so this year as March 12th approached I remembered, but my mind didn't seem to dwell on all the events that March 12th holds. I realized that the reason I used to write so consistently was because I was in the midst of learning so many new lessons including coping with the grief and change I was experiencing in my life. I wrote because I was still processing it all; I wrote to find healing and understanding.

Now that I've found that healing and understanding in my life I don't have any new realizations in my life at this 5 year anniversary. But I did remember a significant lesson I learned within the first few days after my accident.

Before March 2012 life seemed to be going my way in every way- emotionally, socially, spiritually and physically. But I was in a stage of life where I knew God had a specific purpose for me and I was trying to seek out His direction. I wanted to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I wanted to teach others about the joy that I experienced from knowing God and Jesus Christ. My prayers revolved around serving a mission, but for some reason I kept getting a giant NO of an answer. I couldn't understand why God wouldn't want me to dedicate this time to serving and teaching about Him. After months and months of struggle, I finally accepted His will for me and decided not to go. Then I began to ask Him about my work opportunities for the upcoming summer. I still felt like God had a specific purpose for me, but I couldn't figure out where he wanted me to go. I had two incredible jobs lined up and my heart was pulling me in both directions, but I had to choose. I prayed and prayed and didn't received any answers until I came across this scripture in D&C 62:5  

“…As seemeth you good, it mattereth not unto me; only be faithful and declare glad tidings unto the inhabitants of the earth…” 

At the time I thought I understood that it didn't matter which job I took, as long as I continued to serve God and remain close to Him. What I didn't know then, was that God had a completely different mission in store and it truly "mattereth not" which one I chose because  less than a month later I was involved in the accident that changed the course of my life forever. When I was paralyzed, I was called on a new mission. I've learned that His plan for me involved a lifelong mission that allows me to speak to hundreds and thousands of youth, young adults, adults and countless strangers.

Often times people ask me:

Didn't you have a bad feeling before the accident?

My sure answer is NO. In fact, those moments right before my accident were some of the most peaceful beautiful moments I can think of in my 21 years of experience. I sat on the red rocks looking up at the night sky in complete awe of it's beauty and serenity. Just moments before my life was forever changed, I was overwhelmed with peace. 

 I have come to learn that God does not make "bad things" happen, but sometimes He ALLOWS them to happen.

I know God had a specific mission in store for me and this accident is a part of my mission. While a lot of pain and grief have come from my accident, even more JOY has followed. Not only does God have a specific plan for me, but He has one for you too. Sometimes our prayers are not answered the way we want because He has a different plan in mind.

1,826 days
1,826 days since I last ran or jumped around on my own two feet. 1,826 days filled with neuropathic pain. 1,826 days of intense muscle spasms. 1,826 days of small steps and hard work.  Some days were filled with grief and sadness others were filled with resilience and determination. Some passed painfully slow others flew by in a blur. Seasons of sorrow were folled by seasons of joy, but in the end I'm still me. We each have the same 24 hours in a day, it's not as much WHAT has happened to me. It's about how I've chosen to react and move forward. In these past 1,826 days I student taught and graduated from college ON TIME. In these past 1,826 days I commuted and spent endless hours for physical therapy. I worked 4 different jobs and finally ended up teaching again. I brought home Cooper and become a dog mom. In the past 1,826 days I found my passion for exercise and the outdoors again cross country skiing. In the past 1,826 days dates I dated, broke up, dated and married Trevor. These 1,826 days I've travel everywhere from Hawaii to San Fransico and the African continent and all the way across Europe. The past 1,826 days may not have been filled with running, but those days have been filled with just as much adventure. The past 1,826 days have been filled with just as much joy, love and laughter.


The Walking in Between

Monday, February 20, 2017

I've been struggling with my blog lately because I love using my blog to share goodness and some of my personal experiences, but I also love to blog and journal to record memories. Although this is not the most exciting stage of life I still want to remember the ins and outs of day-to-day life. Every once and awhile I just want to update about my life as of lately. I love the lyrics in Ben Rector's song where he sings: Cause life is not the mountain tops it's the walking in between.  So this is some of the walking in between going  on in my life. 

Right now, Trevor is in the midst of studying for CPA exams and so almost every waking moment is spent studying for these exams or working in the tax lab or finishing up class work for his last semester in his masters program. Trevor is usually pretty good about taking breaks and escaping into nature with me and Cooper. This winter we had 3 snow days up in Logan and as you might imagine - TONS of snow to go with it. So we've tried to take advantage of all the xc skiing before all of the snow melted. 

I used to dread winter, before I started xc skiing. It was nearly impossible to enjoy the outdoors and was so difficult to get around in my wheelchair. But skiing has totally transformed winter for me and I actually really enjoy nature in the winter. 

Winter can still wear on me though, I love being outdoors and in sunlight. So all these short days and minimal sunlight can be a bit of a downer. So my mom, sister and I decided to escape for a girls weekend to Paradise Valley, AZ. And let me tell you in the middle of a cold winter, it really was paradise. Between our morning pool time, afternoon workouts and fabulous dinners on the outdoor patio, it definitely lived up to it's theme #treatyoself2017 

We stayed up talking until 2 A.M. the first night, but we still wanted to maximize our pool time so I ended up falling asleep on the pool floaty. There I was awkwardly passed out and floating into people in the pool. Meanwhile, Kaaren and Laura were by the poolside eating lunch and laughing at me. We left the resort a few times, but every time we came back we questioned why we ever left in the first place because we loved it so much. If you are ever looking for a weekend getaway the JW Marriot Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort will not disappoint. It was the perfect girls weekend filled with endless conversations and laugher because lets be honest, if you hang out with Kaaren there is bound to be laughter.

We can't forget our dog child, Cooper. He really is our child. Cooper turned two this month and people told me he'd grow out of the playful puppy stage around this time, but he hasn't. And I don't even mind. He is a bit needy, but I have to remember I got him when I was single and avoiding men. Cooper really did get a lot of attention as a puppy. My mom even refers to him as her dog grandchild and my whole family might be a little excessively in love with him. So it's not all Cooper's fault, we really do encourage his needy behavior sometimes. Taking Cooper xc skiing with us really was the best. One week we couldn't take him because his paw was bleeding and it broke my heart when I saw other dogs out on the trail. So you better bet we bought doggy paw protectors and took him with us the next time - HE LOVED IT. He would sprint ahead and then run back to us and frolic in the giant snow banks. Making Cooper happy makes me happy, that's what it's like to have a real child right? So that's why Cooper is our dog-child. I know this is probably an unhealthy relationship, but I'm conscious of it so it's fine. 

Other than that January was a little crazy with a handful of speaking engagements. I've really come to embrace sharing my story and speaking. Sometimes it can be overwhelming with everything else going on in life, but January was good. I was a little exhausted after teaching all day and then speaking at night. I'm continually being reminded that Cache Valley is so interconnected. I'm constantly meeting people and making connections of who is related to who etc. It can be fun and exhausting trying to remember them all. But I really do love that about the "small town" feel of Cache Valley. I know we are really going to miss that when we move. Trevor will graduate in May and my school year will finish in June. We knew our time in Logan had an expiration date when we moved into our first apartment together. But there will be a lot that I miss about Logan, Trevor studying all the time will not be one of them. 

 I officially became Mrs. Brittany Fisher Frank after a trip down to the Social Security Office in Ogden. Trevor used to joked with me the first time we dated about me becoming his B.F.F. Now it's official. Sitting in the room waiting to change my name made me even more grateful for Trevor. This world is CRA-ZY or maybe just the Ogden Social Security office is, but either way it just made me so grateful for everything - especially Trevor. I know I've been complaining about all of his studying lately, but he's been working so hard and going above and beyond in everything he does. 

And that's been life lately. Nothing too exciting or out of the ordinary. Social media has this way of only displaying the highlights in our lives. But I want to remember that life isn't just about the mountain tops or peaks in our lives, it's the walking in between.

SIMPLIFY in 2017

Sunday, January 8, 2017

2016 was NOTHING like I planned. From getting back together with Trevor to my anniversary rappel at Cougar Cliffs to our family trip to Europe & oh getting engaged and married - it's been quite the year! Just shortly after the new year Trevor & I had our "first date" - for the second time. You know how the Chinese calendar has the year or the cow, year of the pig etc.? Well 2016 was the year of the Trevor. Since about the second week of January 2016, it has been all about Trevor. Reconnecting, dating, getting engaged, planning a wedding and starting our new life together back in Logan.

(don't mind our moody dog-child)

This past year I've been trying to find balance in my life. I attempted to balance a full-time teaching job, trying to train full-time for xc skiing, regular speaking engagements, balancing my role as a wife and dog-mom. I've been slacking on my blog this last year because I was trying to balance all these different roles and responsibilites. After lots of thinking and prioritizing I've decided to just SIMPLIFY.

The first step to simplifying was to let go of what wasn't bringing me joy and that started with competitive skiing. As I've been thinking through my long term life goals, I realized competitive skiing was doing nothing for me.

The best way to live a meaningful and connected life was to and to do just that - live. I will definitely continue to ski, but the stress of training and skiing competitively was not bringing me joy. I know my identity doesn't lie in my role as an athlete. Skiing and mountain boarding brings me joy, but not at a high level of intensity. And with a full time job, husband and dog, as well as regular speaking engagements and numerous failed attempts at writing - I just didn't have enough hours in the day. I still make daily exercise a priority because it always has and always will keep me sane.

Trevor & I talked a lot about consistency before the new year. We often set goals based on things we plan on doing every day or a certain number times a month. And while I think it's important to write down specific goals, I also want to remained balanced. And in order to remain balanced we need to simplify. That is where this years theme comes in:


So often people make these extravagant new years goals & lists. But this theme truly simplifies it all. In this simplified 2017 we want to be consistent. Consistent with our prayers and scripture study. We want to be consistent friends. We want to consistently be serving and loving others. We want to consistently work out, attend the temple and try new recipes. With consistency there is balance and with balance there must be simplicity. 

This year I want to live a simplified and balanced life, but the best way to do that is to be consistent is to not try and overwhelm ourselves by starting a bunch of large ambitious goals all at once. Our actions may start small, but with all of our actions we want to be consistent and intentional.

Here's just a little recap of my past themes:

RECKLESS in 2010

And now for a recap of 2016: The year of the Trevor.

Lots of cross country skiing & started secretly dating Trevor.

More skiing, secretly dating & surprising my mom. 


My 4th anniversary rappel.

 Mountain boarded my first marathon, landed a job in Logan & got engaged.

 Surgery, wedding planning & our family trip to Europe.

 More wedding planning, bridal showers, speaking engagements & moving up to Logan. 

 Wedding month, Hawaii and a trip back home to Chicago.

 After lots of traveling we finally got settled in our new apartment, had time for a little summer fun & then we both started school. 

 Lots of teaching & studying with a trip up to Jackson Hole as the support van for Braden in the LOTOJA.

 More teaching & studying - with a family trip down to St. George to see my dad run in the marathon.


 Tried to stay healthy in the midst of teaching 2nd graders with some speaking mixed in between.

(Cubbies won the World Series)

 Bought our first Christmas tree & celebrated the holidays with our families.