Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Seven years ago, during a moonlight rappel, I ended up falling 80-100 feet. No that’s not a typo, I FELL OVER 80 FEET and Cougar Cliff itself is over 250 feet. EVERY single day, month and year past March 12, 2012 is truly a miracle, second chance and gift because despite all reasoning & laws of physics - I survived. But not only did I survive, I have gone on to fight, thrive and build this beautiful life I have today. 

It’s become a ritual the past three years to visit Cougar Cliff near the anniversary of my accident. Each time we’ve visited we've had a faqmily prayer. This year as we visited the cliff, my emotions were very raw & so Trevor spoke the words I could not. It was such a beautiful moment to see what I had in my arms that moment and reflect on those seven years that I've had the opportunity to keep LIVING. We felt like we were walking on sacred grounds because this place & that night was a catalyst for everything that was to come in my life. And that is one of the MANY lessons I've learned this year.


This has been another year of LEARNING & LOTS OF LIFTING (my baby). I've been constantly adapting and figuring out how to best care of my ever-growing baby boy. It has been EXHAUSTING, EMPOWERING, FRUSTRATING & JOYFUL - all at the same time. This year I also finished another marathon sprinkled with speaking engagements throughout the year. But my main focus has been on motherhood and trying to keep up with all the lessons I continue to learn.

After spending the last year pouring my whole body and soul into caring for Will, I decided to focus on myself a little bit this year. For years now, I’ve had some physical struggles and pains that make it difficult to sleep, therefore affecting every aspect of my life. My days seem to revolve around my pain and exhaustion, while trying to be present with Will and be the best wife, mother, friend, daughter, sister & human-being that I can. 

With the complications and pains I've been facing, I've felt frustrated at times. Doctor after doctor, I've consulted & sought for answers and solutions. In exhaustion, I told Trevor I just wished there was one doctor that understood everything, that could help me answer all my  questions and problems. Suddenly,  I was reminded that I already have the greatest physician. One who understands all of our pains and has a cure and a solution for every ache, pain and complication. So I decided to start consulting with the Great Physician, Jesus Christ. As I've poured my heart into prayer and writing, I've had some personal and comforting experiences.

During these last few months, we've been studying the New Testament, which covers Christ's birth, life, ministry, death & Resurrection. These books, chapters and verses are filled with stories of Christ healing in a simple touch or a spoken word. My emotions have been tender, as I think of the woman with the issue of blood that suffered for 12 YEARS, without relief. I've felt close to this women, even though I've only suffered 7 years. But I can only begin to relate and imagine those feelings of faith, gratitude and pure love as she was healed, after YEARS of enduring pain & sickness. In a simple touch, in a small moment, she was healed - how miraculous. 

Mark 5:22–43, Christ converses with a woman of great faith

Although Christ is not here on earth right now, He still lives. The day of miracles has not ceased. I've come to realize that my miracle has not come in one miraculous moment. I didn't stand up and walk in ONE moment or ONE day. My nerve pain didn't lessen in ONE moment. I didn't pee after my accident, right when I started praying for it. All these miracles have taken faith, time & patience. It has been through small and seemingly simple miracles, BUT THEY ARE STILL MIRACLES. As I've been consulting with the Great Physician, I've been prompted to return to physical therapy, revisit surgeons with very specific goals and ideas in mind. 

While none of these procedures and medications have come to fruition yet - and regardless of their result, it is so comforting to know that there is someone who understands it all. Every pain, every heart-ache, every loss, every ailment - He understands them all and knows how to heal us. 

For some reason I got real ambitious this year, leading up to my accident anniversary. I decided to recap each year. Mainly, I wanted to show how my life didn't just suddenly come together. I didn't just stand up and start walking one day, I didn't cope & deal with my loss in one month or even one year. Every moment hasn't been filled with sunshine, roses & optimism. I wanted to show the highs and lows and how long it took for different aspects of my life to come together. Another aspect I wanted to show was my grieving process and rebuilding my life and confidence. It may seem silly to go month by month & there are so many details, events & memories that I'm not able to cover. Some days have been painful, others emotional, and some just flat out hilarious and so joyous to relive and reflect back on. 

So here are the links to the videos and blog posts to each anniversary for the last six years. I'm just so grateful for the opportunity to keep on LIVING the years as they come. 

Growing Our Family

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Did I trick you? 
No, we are not growing our family right now. But that would probably be Will's face if we told  him we were. There's no baby on board, but a lot has been weighing on my heart and mind these last few months. So here's a little of my heart & mind dump.

Growing up I never imagined the day I'd become a mother. With life I assumed it would happen when I "grew up". Then after my accident, I remember mourning the life I would never have and specific experiences I'd never have with a fully-functioning body. 
One day I specifically remember grieving the loss of the carrying my baby on my hip 
and dancing around the kitchen. I hadn't even realized I cared or even had those dreams until they seemed lost. 

Now that I am a mother, I can't imagine anything more meaningful. My role, identity and purpose as a mother has filled my heart to the brim. Here are a few quotes on motherhood that I love & have helped me understand my purpose and influence as a mother:
We really loaded Will up on sunscreen, hence our difference in skin tones.

“Home is where women have the most power and influence.”

“The influence of 
righteous, conscientious, persistent, daily mothering 
is far more lasting, far more powerful, 
far more influential than any 
earthly position or institution invented by man.”

"Righteous women have changed the course of history and will continue to do so, and their influence will spread and grow exponentially throughout the eternities.”

"Mothers who know do less. 
They permit less of what will not bear good fruit eternally.”

“These wise mothers who know are selective about their own activities and involvement 
to conserve their limited strength in order to maximize their influence where it matters most.”

These quotes are all from Julie B. Beck's talk A "Mother Heart"

“Your success as family, our success as a nation,
depends not what happens inside the white house, 
but on what happens in your house.” 
  -Barbra Bush-

When we got these family pictures back, I had a very meaningful and even spiritual experience. It was as if I could see our future in our hands. I could see children on each side of us hand in hand. It filled my heart with hope & joy, but then doubt, fear & disappointment quickly set in. The idea of growing our family had already been weighing on my heart before and seeing these pictures only amplified those thoughts & feelings.

Before William was even a year old, Trevor & I had been talking about our future and goals as individuals and as a family. As we talked about growing our family, it was difficult to see how that future would be possible anytime soon. In those moments, 
my fear was greater than my faith.

Physically there is only so much room on my lap & my wheelchair, but in my heart there is much more room. When I think about being pregnant, physically it leaves very little room on my lap in my wheelchair, which means I wouldn't be able to just pick William up and set him on my lap. But emotionally there is so room in our hearts & home for more. But then I start thinking logistically, from potty training while juggling a wheelchair, a big belly & trying to get a toddler to the bathroom to shopping and trying to hold on to a toddlers hand, push a stroller and my wheelchair. Running errands just the two of us is already a pretty intense task and I start to wonder how I would even do it all. My hands are much more limited than you're average mother, either one hand has to be on my walker or wheelchair to get anywhere and that leaves one hand kind of available to juggle something else. I know this is a problem for all mothers, but for me it is even more extreme.

Then I think about how I still feel like I'm learning how to adapt to my baby - who is really turning into more of a little boy. In all reality we will be learning and adapting to these new stages for the rest of our lives. It's a never ending course of learning, adapting & loving. At times that can be overwhelming. As I realized I was allowing my fear and doubt conquer my faith, but then I remember - I figured it out before and I will be able to do it again! 

Before William was born, I really had no idea how I would take care of him from my wheelchair & walker. I had some ideas and hypotheses, but none had been tested and proven until he arrived - but once again we figured it out! There was only one instance that I left him in the rocking chair and went back to bed & I haven't dropped him yet - although he's had a couple good falls. Overall there hasn't been any obstacles we couldn't overcome.

Trevor is such an incredible father and husband. When I look at him I have no doubts; he is so patient, loving, compassionate, nurturing, kind, goofy & outright fun! He is the absolute best dad. Our home is truly a place of learning, love & joy and it makes me want to welcome all the children we can (haha but not really all) into our home because with Trevor as their dad our children are sure to turn out kind and good. Then I think about myself, although I have a lot of the good makings as a mother, I question physically how I can manage more than one child. I still haven't figured out the one child we do have, how can I imagine welcoming another into our family. But once again I need to put my FAITH OVER FEARS. 

I love the crinkles around Trevor's eyes when he laughs & oh the laughs these two have together.

Then I was reminded of this quote that brought comfort to me in the hospital. One day while looking out my hospital window I saw someone speed by one their bike. I began to cry as doubt & disappointment filled my heart. In that moment I realized my doubts were greater than my faith. And right there and then I promised myself that I would not let fear & doubt outweigh my faith during my recovery process. Now in a new stage of life, it's amazing to see how the same reminder and quote has brought peace, confidence & reassurance:

"Choose faith over doubt
choose faith over fear
choose faith over the
and choose faith over pessimism."

-Richard Edgely-

Now I'm not saying that we are growing our family right now, but I was humbled and reminded that I need to CHOOSE faith especially over the UNKOWN & UNSEEN. I don't KNOW what our future looks like and I can't SEE how I will manage a growing family, but at the end of the day I need to CHOOSE faith and trust in the Lord, His timing & my ability to handle everything with his help. Just knowing I have Trevor by my side, 
I know that we can handle everything together and with the Lord.

[Especially when he's not gone 11 hours a day during busy season.] 

Oh how I love my hunky, kind, goofy, tender-hearted baby daddy. 

Also a huge thank you to Mersadi Olson Photography for capturing these beautiful moments, that I will cherish forever. There were so many other darling pictures, I'll have to share another time.

Our Happy Place

Sunday, January 13, 2019

The pool is our happy place. 
In the water I'm not defined or confined by my wheelchair. 
I can hold William on my hip & even WALK with him. 
It's truly MAGIC!

I didn't even realize it, but I use one hand to hold onto Will & then I single arm dip us down to the ground to transfer into the pool. 

Then I set Will to the side while I transfer into the water first. 

Once we got used to the chilly water temperature & started splashing and 
playing Willam warmed right up.

When it comes time to get out I set William on the edge first and then I get myself out of the pool, which is more challenging than you'd think. 

Since I'm mostly paralyzed from the waist down, I'm basically lifting dead weight. But once I get the majority of my legs out of the water I do a little twist so I'm back sitting on the edge.

Daddy's able to get way more height & all the smiles. 

It's not hard to get smiles out of this kid when we are in the 
water splashing & being thrown around. 

I love how these photos capture how I get in and out of the pool without fully-functioning legs. 
First I have to push myself up out of the pool high enough that I can twist my body and sit on the edge. 

After getting out of the water my legs go stiff and I have to force them down so I can get back into my wheelchair. Meanwhile, William was on the runaway. 

It was so much fun working with Mersadi Olson Photography to capture the 
simple & magical moments in the water.