Something Magical Happened

Friday, October 19, 2018

Lately I've felt the pull to write more. Right now I have almost 10 unfinished pieces that I need to finish up & post. These past few months I've been tricking myself. With the world of Instagram and images, I feel like I'm able to get a few thoughts down & post it with a pretty picture and call it good. But lately I've realized that it's been a cop out & I need to more fully & deeply process my thoughts.

The other week we drove up to Logan to get some family pictures done. I had decided that I wanted to try and capture the real me. The real me doesn't just stand and doesn't just sit in a wheelchair - the real Brittany uses Trevor and crutches to stand and balance, crawls around on the ground, furniture surfs walking around the house & uses her wheelchair a lot.

It's been over 6 1/2 years since my accident & it has been such a journey to self love and embracing & balancing all sides of myself. Being a t12 incomplete paraplegic comes with a lot of uncharted territory. From the beginning I didn't identify with my wheelchair because before I was a runner, I thought my strength, ability & identity came from my legs & was a huge part of who I thought I was. After my accident, I still always had the hope & determination that I would walk again. As months and years passed I kept thinking I would graduate from my wheelchair and leave that clunky thing in the dust. But I came to realize, that although I learned to walk again, I would always need my wheelchair to get long distances & other situations.

Sometimes when I'm in public, I wonder if people realize that I haven't always been in my wheelchair. I know what it like to have fully functioning and strong legs. Not that it really changes anything, but it's just a thought I have. I think sometimes we worry & fuss and are all more self-conscious about ourselves, our bodies, our abilities etc. But the truth is others probably aren't thinking about us at all.

For years I've transferred out of my wheelchair for every picture, hid my crutches behind friends and family or literally throw them out of the picture. Many SCI's don't like you to touch their wheelchair because they feel it is an extension of themselves. But I didn't identify with my wheelchair, in fact I hated my wheelchair for many years. Instead of seeing it as a tool that enables me to do more,  I always saw it as a clunky metal burden, that stuck out like a sore thumb in everyone's pictures.

Now I've had some muscle function return, the the few muscles that did return are extremely weak & I compensate in every way imaginable. My walking went from intense second-by-second process where I had to think about each and every moment. It took all my PHYSICAL and MENTAL strength to put one foot in front of the other. But even after 3 1/2 years of intense physical therapy my "new" walking has become a little more automatic. If I slow down & really think about what I'm doing I'm able to engage a few more muscles & improve my form, but the walk is much slower. Other times, I just try and hustle, cheat and overcompensate to move faster. Either way I do it, after about 10 minutes my body is exhausted. It's very difficult to hold anything other than a bag or backpack and maybe pinching a few things between my fingers while holding onto my crutches.

It always feels so good to get out of my wheelchair and off my butt, but then after a few minutes standing and walking I'm exhausted, it's a constant struggle. And then I end up back in my wheelchair. I can get so much further & get so much more done when I'm in my chair. But too much time in my wheelchair and I start to feel restless & uncomfortable - I refer to it as "butt anxiety".

Even on my wedding day I don't have a single picture of me in my wheelchair. Mainly because I literally didn't use my wheelchair all day. Even with the constant love & support from Trevor & 4 years using a wheelchair, I still hadn't figured out how to accept my wheelchair's help.

Beforehand I stressed over what we should wear for our pictures. I fussed over what would and wouldn't look good in my wheelchair and finally decided to just wear what I'm most comfortable in - jeans, a sweater & my favorite walking sandals. During our pictures I jumped from wheelchair to crutches to sitting & balancing standing up. The whole time I felt comfortable transferring in and out of my chair like I do in day-to-day life. I hoped the pictures would turn out okay, but I still was nervous to see what I looked like in my wheelchair.

A couple days later our photographer sent me a couple sneak peeks and something magical happened


When I saw this picture, for the first time in over 6 1/2 years, I didn't see my wheelchair sticking out. I saw a beautiful family and more importantly I saw Brittany - a strong, resilient, kind, confident, stubborn, compassionate and loving wife, friend, sister, daughter & mother.  I didn't see a girl in a wheelchair. I wondered if this day would ever come & it was beautiful. I truly can't find the words to fully describe this feeling. I didn't just wake up one day & love my wheelchair, it has taken time, a lot of work, self-love, acceptance & learning. How grateful I am for this pure moment that was captured that I will cherish forever.


Being Content

Friday, September 14, 2018


The scriptures do not change, but we do, 
and so the same scriptures can give us new insights 
every time we read them. 

Mervyn B. Arnold

I started off with this quote because I could not have worded it any better. The exact same scripture has taught me the same lesson during different seasons of my life. In January 2012, I started writing scripture cards where each week I wrote down a verse of scripture and on the back side I wrote down why & what I was feeling at the time.

My VERY FIRST scripture in January 2012 was:


On the back of the card I wrote: I love and chose this verse to focus on because so often all I do is look forward to the next adventure. I need to focus on being content with where I am, to slow down and enjoy where I am now in this moment. Then I cross referenced "Find Joy in the Journey" and 

Alma 29:3

But behold, I am a man, and do sin in my wish; 
for I ought to be CONTENT with the things which the Lord hath allotted me.

In 2012 I had just come off a high of an incredible summer being and EFY (church youth) counselor and a zip line tour guide in the Smokey Mountains. I kept looking ahead and thinking about the next summer and adventure. This scripture humbled me and reminded me to be content in the state of life I was in right then and to find joy right now and not wish my days away looking ahead. I was in my junior year of college & loving life, but I was reminded to love the life I was living right now and be fully present.

Image may contain: 1 person

No automatic alt text available.

Then three months later these verses took on a whole new meaning. As I lay on a physical therapy mat watching other patients get up in standing frames, attend pool therapy, walk in the robotic Locomat. I was so frustrated. Due to all the broken bones in my legs and feet I had explicit restrictions on what physical therapy I could do and weight bearing was out of the question. Even nonweight bearing pool therapy was o a no because of the k-wires that were sticking out of my toes. I remember looking at another patient who I knew was a complete SCI, meaning they would get no return of muscles or feeling to their legs, but they were getting up in the standing frame and I was so envious. That was what I wanted to be doing, but instead I'm side laying on the mat working on these frustrating twitches muscle movements. 

Suddenly, the reminder that "I ought to be content with the things which the Lord hat allotted me" came to mind and I was immediately humbled. The Lord had allotted me so much already and he wanted me to be CONTENT. He allotted me my life, my ability to speak, think and continue to build connections and relationship. He not only preserved my body, but had allotted some sensation and a little strength to return to my legs. He preserved my t6 vertebrae, which was broken, but had not caused any spinal cord damage.  It was a gentle and loving reminder that I was not meant to stay in this season forever, but for now to be content and be patient for the growth and progress that is to come. One day I would be able to get up in the standing frame, one day I would get in the pool, one day I would walk on the Locomat and even on the ground. 

Image may contain: 1 person, sitting and indoor

Image may contain: 1 person

Image may contain: 1 person, pool, child and outdoor

Most recently, I learned this lesson again after I had my first baby I am home a lot more. As we've rearranged furniture to fit baby gear into our new world. I began to get frustrated with some of our furniture. It wasn't the color nor the size or comfort level I'd like. I avoided inviting people over into what felt like a makeshift apartment and I did my best to cut it out of pictures. Once again,  the reminder came to be content. Eventually we'll get a sectional couch that will provide more seating and comfort, but for right now I need to be content. After that realization I invited friends and neighbors over to decorate Valentines day cookies because why not! It was a wonderful evening of fun and cookie decorating and when mention of hanging things on the walls my neighbors reassuring told me that they hadn't hung much up either.


As winter turned into spring and now summer I've watched neighbor and neighbor move out of our street of duplexes into their own homes. Once again I longed to move and have a back yard and door that we could go out and enjoy so I don't have to walk Cooper and Will down the street every time we want to play outside. Then I remembered what we had been praying for over a year ago - handicap accessible housing to rent. When I found these duplexes it was an answer to our prayers because finding a two car garage home to rent with no stairs is almost impossible. Yet here we are living in this two car garage handicap accessible home. As the time came to renew our lease I was humbled and signed again being reminded to be CONTENT and that this home was an answer to prayers. Although it's not meant to be our forever home, I needed to be content until the time comes to progress and move forward. 

Wherever you are in life right now - whether that be in high school, college or beyond, a particular job, single, married or somewhere in between, wanting to lose 5 or 50 pounds, in a apartment or a home - we need to strive to  BE CONTENT.

Heavenly Father doesn't want you to stay there forever, this life is about progress and growth.

But if you truly want to find joy right here and now, then you need to start with being content with what you have and where you are RIGHT NOW.  As we find more contentment we will find more joy. 


Here's a couple of my favorite talks that focus on contentment & gratitude in our current circumstances I promise they are SO WORTH YOUR TIME:

Click here to listen -> Content with Things Allotted Unto Us


PONDERING PROCEEDS CONTENTMENT

Being content means acceptance without self-pity. Meekly borne, however, deprivations such as these can end up being like excavations that make room for greatly enlarged souls.

We are to do what we can within our allotted 'acerage' while still using whatever stretch there may be in any tethers.

Some undergo searing  developments that cut suddenly into moralities status quo. Some have trials to pass through while other have allotments they are to live with. Paul lived with his 'thorn in the flesh' (2 Cor 12:7)

Life's defining moments come within our allotments...our responses are what matter.

Such contentment is more than shoulder-shrugging passivity. It reflects our participative assent rather than uncaring resignation. 

The Lord knows our circumstances and the intents of our hearts, and surely the talents and gifts he has given us. He is able to gauge perfectly how we have performed within what is allotted to us. 





Click here to listen -> Grateful in Any Circumstances

"I do not believe the Lord expects us to be less thankful in times of trial than in times of abundance and ease."

"Being grateful in times of distress does not mean that we are pleased with our circumstances. It does mean that through the eyes of faith we look beyond our present-day challenges."

"We can choose to be grateful, NO MATTER WHAT."






Full-Time Grandma

Monday, September 3, 2018




 My dad UNofficially retired and has been promoted to full-time Grandpa. We say unofficially because if you know Bryan Fisher, you know he won't just stop working.  
Growing up, I never realized what a demanding job & schedule my dad kept. Regardless of his job, he always made time to coach my soccer team, as well as my siblings, from first to eighth grade with practice multiple days a week at 4:30PM, and multiple games on Saturday mornings, both spring & fall for over 
12 YEARS

During our younger years, my dad would leave long before we'd wake in order to catch a train to the city and be home in time for practice. There's so much you don't realize in those moments of growing up & only when you look back can you see the sacrifices & endless support. 


When I started running in high school he never missed a cross country meet. Endless Saturday's spent watching me run cross-county in the fall & track meets in the winter and spring. He was always there cheering me on. I know I didn't recognize and fully appreciate it in those moments. He even postponed promotions at work, that would require much more travel, until after my sister was done playing soccer. 

He has so selflessly cared, provided & supported our family for over 30 years. There is just too much to put into words, but he always showed his loved through acts of service & showing up and being present in our lives. My dad has provided me countless opportunities to succeed & achieve my goals, but he did not shelter me from working hard. 

From soccer games & cross country meets to physical therapy & adaptive xc skiing, he has always showed up to cheer me on. From cheering me on during a 5k college race to cheering me on in physical therapy as I learned to sit up and balance again, all the way to my first Paralympic National xc ski race. 

There is so much I've learned through my Dad's example and I have numerous stories running around in my mind. I know I need to write them down, but I'm not sure right now is the time. Those will be saved for another posts - lessons I've learned from my Dad. 


Watching my Dad become a Grandpa has been such a sweet experience. With my Dad's travel he would often make arrangements to stop over and visit us for 24-hours and sometimes even less. One time we even drove to the airport to visit him during a 2 hour layover. It so special to see their sweet bond & watch how much my dad loves being a Grandpa. While at Braden's wedding, a couple friends commented on how my dad always seemed to be holding Will & commented on their sweet relationship. 


After my Dad's official last day in his office he & my Mom hopped on a plane and flew out for Labor Day weekend. We went to church, went to breakfast with GG, drove around Pineview Reservoir (since the water was closed), had a picnic, visited two temples, multiple walk, morning workouts, and lots of playing, reading & snuggling. Full-time grandpa status kept him pretty busy, but I did see him rest his eyes a time or two. Here's just a few of the pictures from all our fun & adventures celebrating together. 

  



   






    


  





CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR PROMOTION
FULL-TIME GRANDPA



FRIENDS WHO HAVE YOUR BACK

Friday, August 31, 2018


YOU NEED FRIENDS LIKE THESE

As my friend Haley says. 

Friends that have your back - figuratively and literally.  These girls knew the "old" Brittany or should I say pre-accident Brittany. Even before my accident, I knew these friends had my back.  But that took on a whole new meaning after my accident and an even more literal meaning the night of Emily's wedding a few weeks ago. For the first time in years we were all together in the same place for such a happy occasion. The day had been so wonderful & we arrived at the wedding dinner. I was sitting in the grass playing with Will, while everyone else sat in chairs - I'm just really a floor person. Any time I'm given the chance, I'd rather sit on the ground. I lunged forward to surprise Will & suddenly my dress split up the back. Yes, it made that terrible sound like you've hear in the movies. I just started laughing knowing that my back was exposed. Haley came to the rescue and was able to knot up the hole with a hair tie and help cover for me as we walked into the house. Then we all proceeded to squeeze into the bathroom and brainstorm a solution. Lucky for me, my friends are so creative. Liz documented while Haley & Annaliesa found needed and thread to stitch me into my dress. It was such a sweet comical memory, if I didn't know it before these girls have my back covered. 

"Friendship is the instrument by which God reveals to each of us the beauties of others."
C.S. Lewis

A few days before we had a chance to get together for a girls night & last fling before Emily got married. It was so comfortable & heart warming to be together again. There were a couple comments brought up about my accident & the time afterwards. I was surprised as I choked back tears, as I responded. These girls had been some of my most vigilant friends after my accident. They knew and understood things that very few others did and so I don't typically encounter such raw conversations. How grateful I am for the beauty, sweetness & healing their friendships have brought into my life. 

ힰ   ힰ   ힰ   ힰ

August, OH what a wonderful month it has been, filled with so much love, celebration, happiness and dear friends. Three of our best friends got married with in three weeks so it's been a little crazy in the best way possible. First there was Britten & Alisa. In high school they were known as the Cyclones, I'm pretty sure it's form a basketball team name, but it just kind of stuck. Most recently, Britten joined the marriage club. We met Alisa a few weeks before the wedding in a random parking lot on a Sunday afternoon and we were smitten - haha. Then after spending the wedding day together we were able to learn even more that we loved about Alisa. She is headstrong and drive, but so compassionate and loving, which is EXACTLY what Britten needed.

Britten & I were both in traumatic accidents within days of each other, back in March 2012. I first met Britten on a double date and it wasn't until later afterwards that Trevor told me all Britten had been through. We are the miracle Britt's and Trevor's Britt's - he takes such good care of us. I now claim Britten as my friend too, even if it was Trevor that introduced us. After Trevor & I broke up he and Britten were able to be roommates and I'm honestly so glad they had that experience.

Not all the Cyclones were able to make it in for the wedding, but we got to see Chase, as well as Tyson & Victoria (plus their new little Isla who was only 3 weeks olds) I think the last time they were together was at our wedding so it was so fun to see them all again! 


Before Britten & Alisa got engaged I texted Britten about his birthday and meeting his girlfriend. The next day, Alisa was no longer his girlfriend, but his fiance, and he didn't give us the slightest inkling! That little stinker.


We love getting to see Chase. Trevor got to hang out a few months ago when I had a baby shower in Provo and we got to see the salt and pepper in person. Each time we part, we are reminded how much we love Chase and although we don't have official godparents, Chase is definitely Will's godfather. 



Then Mrs. Herring - what a whirlwind it has been. When we first caught wind of a possible August wedding, Trevor took time off work and we started planning a trip to Hawaii where we they were living. It's hard to keep up with Haley's fast pace life, even for herself. So quick summary they ended up getting married in the mountains on Hawaii, moving to Japan, only to have her honey and new husband deployed 6 days later. Lucky for us, she was coming back to Utah for her sister's wedding and we were able to throw her a surprise party.

It was the night before her sister's reception and the day after she'd traveled around the world to be here. But with lots of coordinating we were able to get so many people that love Haley in one place, including her mom & sisters. Normally tears aren't a good sign, but in this case I think it was a successful surprise. Oh and if you know Haley then you know party's come with a theme & costumes. So her bridal shower was definitely NACHO AVERAGE, Frida Kahlo, Mexican & Cafe Rio theme.







My sweet Emily is married too! It worked out that Annaliesa & Haley were able to extend their trips to the mainland to be there for Emily's wedding and it has been the absolute best! We've been able to get together on multiple occasions. We weren't all roommates at the same time, but Annaliesa, Haley & I were roommates freshman year when we met Emily in our ward. After Annaliesa was married we moved into the red roofed house in Logan and Liz moved in as a random roommate and turned into the dearest friend. It really is amazing how college brings you together with some of your dearest friend. My heart has been so full each night we've been together. 








My heart has been so full and giddy being bath with old college roommates. We just bring out the immaturity in each other. After the wedding we had a couple hours so we made and In & Out pit stop. Will fell asleep in the car and Trevor was happy to stay in the car and watch football while he slept. Meanwhile inside we were trying to airdrop this ketchup stick figures to anyone around us. We would see people around us decline the airdropped photos and just couldn't contain our laughter. 


"It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them."
Ralph Waldo Emerson


We literally danced the night away. Trevor was holding sleepy Will during most of the dancing, while us girls took the dance floor by storm. William woke up and Annaliesa danced with him while Trevor & I were able to share a couple of dances. After a few dances I was physically exhausted and so Trevor & I sat back down. Don't mind me while I gush for a moment, but Trevor looked at me under the trees & starry night sky on that refreshing summer night and I could just see his love for me in his smiles & his eyes.  Sorry, just a mushy moment I want to remember forever. 



Will has been doing so great with all these crazy wedding schedules. He's learned how to 
party hard and nap harder.  


 It was the perfect night and happiest day for our sweet Emily. 



My heart wanted to burst & I wish I could capture that look on camera. But my world just felt so complete as we sat under this beautiful tree with the love of my life, watching one of my best friends dance with my baby, and watching another best friend dance with her new husband and love. Life just felt so perfect and time seemed to slow down in that moment. As I sat back and watched all this beauty, I just tried to soak it all in, not through a little glowing screen, but with my own two eyes and with my heart and soul.


But wait, there's more - Cortney! We first met before moving out to Tennessee to live and work together at  CLIMB Works in the Smokey Mountains. With all the weddings this month there was bound to be conflicts in schedules. But I'm so glad I was able to celebrate with her at her bachelorette party and see so many other sweet friends from Utah State days.


Another friend was in town during the wedding mania weeks. Kristin & I were pregnant at the same time & our boys are less than 2 weeks apart - even though Will has a good 4 lbs on Ollie, he was moving all around, while Will sat and played on the blanket. It's so fun to be able to navigate and move through the different stages of motherhood with a friend.


   

     

While I'm catching up on play dates...We stopped to see my college teammate and friend, Brittany & her baby girl, Blakely before they moved to Iowa for medical school. We were able to snag a few moments together & meet her sweet baby girl. . 

   

Annaliesa's gang was visiting the longest & so back in July we were able to drive down for Davey's first birthday. It was so fun to see the babies and all the different levels of development. Davey bear crawls around & very recently started walking. But as you can see in the pictures Will is bigger than Davey and he wasn't even 9 months at the time. 




Our boys are 3 months apart & I just can't wait to continue to go on family vacations and see how the boys grow up together and become real friends. There were multiple girls nights and family dinners that I didn't snap any pictures. They were just such beautiful moments and people that I was just soaking in every minute being together. What a beautiful month of love, friendship & celebration. I'm just so grateful for such dear relationships that make life so sweet. 


And of course I'll end up with the boy I spend most of my time with. He lights up our world & has been so flexible during this crazy month of love, parties and celebration. It was always good to have some calm normal days between all the fun.