The morning race



My steps didn’t slow even though I barreled through the finish line,

then another, then another.

The gossamery tape placed by the eight-legged course marshals.

Sometimes it would be an arm swung ahead, but mostly my torso

and face collected the finish line film.

I only hoped I wasn’t trailing behind me spiders flip-flopping

trying to understand why their carefully laid traps

were now in ruin.

I got bucked off

This is not a statement of weakness, any more than a snow skier saying they fell on the slope or a basketball player missing a free throw.

It’s what happens when riding horses.

Barrels on Chip

My earliest memories revolve around riding horses. I actually started to help with the training when I was around 5 and my mom would lunge them with me on top. I don’t think she would have done that if she felt the horse were unsafe, but it was a good learning experience for me.

I started showing once we moved to Colorado. I was about 10 years old. I know I did some Western Pleasure before that, I had the fanciest polyester suits you ever saw!

too cool!

I wish I had pics of me in one of those!

Buffy in poles at the National Little Britches Rodeo Finals

Buffy was my first real horse, my own horse that nobody else was allowed to ride. I trained her up from the ground and we broke records in arenas all over the state and some of those records – I hear-still hold.

She was my best friend when I needed one through my parent’s divorce. I don’t even know how many times I came off of her, lots, we’ll just say lots. She had a lot to learn and so did I. We kind of grew up together.

Rocky running Barrels at Bergstrome Arena

A tragic accident left Buffy with a broken leg. I finished out that particular season on my mom’s horse, Rocky. But after that, I was on my own.

my colt CJ

For my graduation gift, my dad gave me CJ. He was actually a grandson of Buffy, which made him even more special. Another horse I got to train from the ground up.

By the time I was a senior I had trained numerous horses for other people, my first payment for training was a saddle blanket that the lady wove herself. I used it in many parades! I’m sure I had been bucked off dozens of times by this point, I was rather good at rolling out my landings.

Riding double on CJ- Rexburg ID

CJ and I worked together very well. By this time I wasn’t as interested in competing, but more just riding for pleasure. He was such a willing horse! In this picture, I’m pregnant with our first child. Shortly after this was taken CJ went to my sister as we couldn’t afford a horse and a baby at this time.

I would ride every chance I got. I was blessed enough to have parents who continued owning and showing horses. both mostly with team roping. So when I visited them, I also visited their horses (not much different than now!) I wanted my kids to have every opportunity to get on so they would feel comfortable.

Tigger and I riding through the Garden of the Gods – Colorado

Then I was able to get Tigger. This huge gelding stole my heart! He had so much power and energy, I love that in a horse, it keeps me from getting too comfortable. He would do anything asked of him, sometimes with a bit of coaxing.

I had to say goodbye to him when we decided to move from Colorado and continue our education.

I led you through that long history of me and horses because I think it has bearing on me getting thrown last weekend.

We were visiting my dad and [as always] we headed out to the horses!

Enoch loved riding – he’s a champ!

Most of our time was spent on these two tame beasts.

Danni was so at home on Butt-Head (that’s what they call this horse – not making that up! )

So here’s when we get to the good stuff. Dad told me about Romeo. A 4-year old that he had bought and sent out to several trainers. 2 sent him back after just a few days saying “no way”! One claimed to have ridden him but the results weren’t trustworthy and a little questionable.

This made me rub my hands together and beg to ride him. To my dad’s credit, he said no, not unless Bill gave the thumbs up. Bill said to use my own judgment. So I did.

Day 1 was mostly groundwork, mounting, and walking around (no pics from day 1).

Lunging

Day 2 started the same, groundwork to begin with. It was suggested by dad that I should probably work him a little longer on the ground before hopping up. And now in retrospect, I can see how that might have been a good idea.

so far so good Romeo

But when I got on him he was mellow as can be, we walked and then broke into a trot – new ground for us. He started pitching, but I rode him through it and calmed him down, and then tried again. He did fine until I urged him into a canter.

Giddy up Romeo!

I feel like this is a good time to explain the photography. Danni was using my phone and it had 3% battery left. The LCD screen was black, so she was just guessing and clicking, I think the photography adds a special flare to the events!

Pulling him in

I’m a little embarrassed about this shot, holding the saddle horn – yikes! But I’m pulling him in from his fit and actually could have (in retrospect (so many good ideas in retrospect!)) calmed him and been alright.

ride ’em cowgirl!

But no – I decided to ‘cowboy’ him by pushing more energy into the situation. It’s not a bad thing necessarily, I’ve been able to use this method on some horses – after I’ve gotten to know them a bit. But some horses won’t have it and will rise to the challenge, playing the game wholeheartedly! Horses like Romeo. He just let loose!

I can fly!

You’ll notice I’m still holding the reins with my left hand. Something I have always been taught not to do, but still do it anyway. I have been drug around an arena because of this bad habit. fortunately I did let go upon landing.

Letting go of the horse.
He’s going to keep on bucking – it’s way too fun!
Yes, I’m smiling!

I didn’t know at the time that my 190 + lb body careening onto my right hand had caused a radial head fracture. I just knew that things were a little sore.

My phone must have died, or Danni was too traumatized to continue pictures, but I want it to be known that I did get back on him! Looking back through my years of riding I can’t recall a single time I didn’t get back on. The time I lost 4 of my teeth with Buffy, the time I broke my foot working a friends horse, the time I came off into a barbed wire fence (Buffy again – man we have some good memories), the time I rode a crazy paint on the gravel road and he threw me hard (one of my friend’s dad bought him and he never gave him an ounce of trouble!), and many many more times that have probably been knocked out of my brain.

I’ve never not gotten back on, even if it was just to sit and converse with the horse for a few seconds, or ride around the ring a few times (like I did with Romeo). That is a lesson for both horse and rider. The horse needs to know that while he might have shook me off for a bit, it’s not a permanent thing and maybe next time it won’t be worth the effort.

The rider needs that assurance too. It’s used as a cliche now, but getting back up on the horse has given me so much confidence and strength. Now, if I was in excruciating pain and knew that I would die if I didn’t get medical help, that might be an exception.

No regrets! I have to deal with this little elbow issue (I’ll blog more on that later). But the falls are worth the rides! Feeling the breeze on a galloping horse outweighs tasting the dirt. I hope to have horses in my life full time soon, I yearn for it with every essence of my being. Right now I ride often in my dreams. Knowing that I want horses in my future is one of the reasons I’m working very hard to get my body into good shape.

I hesitate to tell people that I got bucked off when they ask about my wrap and sling. So many people are already afraid of horses. It could be due to studies like this:

According to new research, you are 20 times more likely to be injured doing an equestrian-based activity than you are riding a motorbike. And even worse, horse accidents equate for 25% of all lethal injuries in children’s sport.

or stats listing the 3 most dangerous sports as:

1: Horse Riding

Many people have a soft spot for horses. Some see them as a pet, while others ride them for fame and fortune in competitive racing. Regardless,our equestrian friends can weigh over 1000 lbs. and can unexpectedly throw their riders around like rag dolls. Horses also bite with their teeth and butt their strong heads, but by far their most dangerous habit is kicking their hooves. The incredibly powerful muscles in their legs can deliver a force that has been known to kill humans.

According to Riders4Helmets.com, an estimated 7 million people ride horses per year. In 2005 alone, over 78,000 riders visited the emergency room as a result of horse-riding related injuries. Always make sure to take proper precautions when riding a horse.

2: American Football

3: Bull Riding

Eve riding Dancing Deer at my dad’s a couple of years ago

I admit I have been blessed with no serious injuries. My children have all ridden now and then and know the basics enough to enjoy themselves, and hopefully, have the brains to stay away from the Romeos out there.

Leg Day

I will try to post about my gym experience at least once per muscle group. Today was leg day. I love leg day!

This week I decided to up my workouts!

Between teaching or attending, I did 6 yoga classes this week, and I may do a solstice one tonight. One of those classes I attended was a Kundalini practice. For some reason, I had in my mind that it was mostly breathing and chanting….man was I wrong – it kicked my butt! I enjoyed it though.

I planned on getting to the gym 3 times with Bill, but I forgot that I was subbing for a class during one of those appointments, so I only got in two days. But two very productive days.

I’m estimating 13 miles of power walking (maybe 2.5 of “running”).

Fasting happened, but not very well. And yesterday Bill & I traveled to Nashville IN and back and along the way I ate 1/4 of a peach pie and 4 truffles. They were good – but I’m paying for it.

For about 2 weeks we’ll be on the road for a trip out west. I wish I could go into a coma-like state until we reach our destination, that would really help me not to snack….

Back to leg day: here’s my workout I actually change it often to give my muscles variety, but this is a nice overall sampling.

Squat
Squats

Squats are a great full lower body movement. It concentrates of the Glutes and quads. Sometimes I do them without the rack, but because I like the form the rack allows, I use it quite often.

glute extension
Glute kicks
Inner Thigh
Inner thighs

It’s great when the cable machine is open. I do 3 types of exercises there, glute kicks, and inner and outer thigh pulls. It can take some time, and monopolizing the machine for that long can be pretty rude if the gym is full. I got lucky today!

leg press
Seated leg press

This is a pride thing for me. I like to work out with the weight that was left on it – usually by a guy. I learned long ago that women don’t want to put their feet wide on the press, that can build up muscles along the sides of our legs. I want long toned muscles, so I keep my feet closer together.

calves
Calf raises

I take the opportunity to do calf raises while I’m there. Our Downtown YMCA doesn’t have a calf lift machine, that makes me a little sad. But there are plenty of ways to hit the calves!

You’ll notice the jump rope beside the machine. I’m trying to work jumping into my regime more. So much good can come from jumping! It takes a while to get used to the rhythm, but I try to stay on my toes and ‘stay light’.

dead lift
Dead Lift

Dead Lift is one of those movements that sneak up on me. They feel so easy and free-flowing as I do them, then- BOOM! the next day I’m feeling it big time! It’s basically done by hinging from the hips and letting the weights come to the ground then hinging back up.

Today I did a few rounds for quads on the extension machine. I’m very very careful with that because I love my knees and want them to last me forever!

Then I went to the seated flex leg machine for my hamstrings, I can go crazy on that baby!

Bill's arms!
Bill’s arms!

Bill is a very modest man. He doesn’t like ‘showing off’ his physique by wearing ultra tight shirts or shorts. In fact – most of his time in the gym he’s wearing a sweatshirt. I get to enjoy all his hard work though. He’s been hitting the weights for about 25 years.

I really really enjoy my smaller size, and I may relish in it too much with all the yoga pants. But that all may come back to haunt me after all my lazy travel eating!

dead tired!

Ever feel like your legs won’t move? Or that sitting up is just too much? (I mean really – my abs hurt on my sternum! There are no muscles on the sternum!) I’m not so bad that I’m incapacitated, and this is a good springing off week. I just need to find a good workout to do in the front seat of a van.

Tell me about your favorite gym workout!

Trip to Maryland & DC

I think we should get some sort of award for squeezing maximum fun in a relatively small amount of time!

Harrison and Elsie are stationed at Ft. Mead, Maryland. They have been for a couple of years and we have not made the trip up to visit them – until last week!
It’s a good thing because they are heading out to Hawaii for four years. (yeah- we’ll make sure to get out and visit them there as well!)

Friday

We made our way to DC to explore some galleries and museums.

Our crew at the Art Museum
Pinching his tush!

We spent just a fraction of the time Bill would have liked at the Gallery. But kids don’t enjoy looking at artwork that much!

Washington Monument

We were blessed enough to somehow not have crowds or lines. So we didn’t get the ‘full’ experience (thank heavens!).

Wheeling through the Smithsonian

The Smithsonian could have held our attention all day!

Enoch loves dinosaurs!
What big teeth you have

We learned so much about birds, bugs, gems, and of course, dinosaurs!

lunch time!
Lunch time!
Food trucks!

Sometimes I hear a rumor about a food truck in Muncie but haven’t caught it yet. But the food trucks there were amazing. We all found something we loved.

Air & Space

We had to see all the air & space travel ships. Of particular interest, the toilets (didn’t get a pic…)

Touching a rock from the moon.
Playing at the Air & Space Museum

Saturday

We took a trip to Sandy Point beach to play!

Sweet family!

The above image is the closest picture I got of a family photo of their family – at least they’re all having fun – even if we can’t see the kids’ faces.

Running in the ocean
laying in the ocean

Danni loved just swimming and floating around the water, we really need an ocean in Indiana!

Sand study
Working hard
My view!

Personally I’m more of a beach girl than a water girl, I was very content to sit and read and watch!

My man!

I always enjoy this view!

Father/son!
Turtle girl!

Of course we all came away with a lot of sun! Some suffered worse than others. But now we are all ready for summer.

Sunday

A day of rest. Our sun weary bodies made it to church, then we hung out and just enjoyed each other’s company.

My curly headed friend!

It kind of looks like I play favorites with my pictures with Georgia, not so, she just likes to hang out with me more than Dano.

Something is really interesting on there

Monday

We decided to go visit some family!

Chit chatting at Sonny & Dorris home

Bill’s mom, Ruth, grew up on the same property that her brother still lives on in Brandywine MD. The property has since been subdivided and many family members reside on it now. Sonny and Dorris live right next door to the house he and Ruth and their other siblings grew up in.

Enoch at great grandma’s home where she grew up
Sonny and Dorris with the little Inman family.
Sonny and Dorris with more of the Inman family (Except Elsie who was taking the picture!)

We get a few weeks of rest before our next adventure out west!

Miracles abound!

The day after we left for our trip to visit Harrison & Elsie and the kids in Maryland David and Camden had their baby. The day after that she was life lined to Riley’s hospital in critical condition. It was almost unbelievable that within a couple of weeks 2 grand daughters arrived in this world and all thought everything was fine only for both to be put into critical care units soon following.

Camden’s family lives in Indy and we knew they would be very helpful and attentive to them, so we went on with our trip (more on that in the next blog!).

Kenadie

The amazing doctors at Riley’s ran every test possible to try to figure out why this little infant was struggling. They thought it might be metabolic, but all tests came back negative.

Camden and Kenadie

A doctor told David & Camden that sometimes babies come out and their body is so used to having everything done for them in the womb, that it can revert back to those expectations.

Kenadie

After a week of testing and making sure she was functioning on her own they were able to bring her home yesterday!

Home sweet home!

Tawnymara and Dallin still have a couple of weeks to go before they can walk into their home with Emery, but they’re not complaining, Emery is a super star!

tubes being taken out

It seems like daily we get reports of more tubes being taken out and of her recovering at an amazing speed. She’s beating the time table projected. Tawny brought up yesterday;

“. . . she’s doing amazing! I was kind of skeptical about her seemingly flawless recovery, especially since her surgery was so rough and all the doctors expected a “roller coaster recovery”, until I remembered that her baby blessing said she’ll be able to recover from her surgeries with no problems¬†️ – what a manifestation of God’s power! “

Emery

While some might be concerned about the huge scar these surgeries will leave behind. Tawnymara and Dallin will have no problems raising Emery to think that she’s special and imbued with super power (which I quite think she is) and Emery will end up feeling bad for anyone without the cool scars on their chests.

Emery

Something occurred to me today. It was brought on by a comment one of my yoga students said to me. She was sharing about how her kids (15 & 17 in years) were chit chatting away late into the night and how it made her feel so happy to hear it.

I had told her that I missed those days. Then while in child’s pose my thoughts went to David and Tawnymara. Both with their newborns in critical care, both with unanswered questions and uncertain futures, both with amazing supportive spouses. I knew – without a doubt, that these two had been chit chatting with each other, I’m sure very late at night – or in the early morning hours. I know they have wept with and for each other.

The other siblings have also been so involved and aware of all the events and contact has been daily. I’m so grateful that this sibling bond is strong enough to be used in times like this. I’m so glad they love each other, serve each other, weep for each other, and make each other laugh. That’s them fulfilling their calling as brothers and sisters.

This realization was so touching and powerful tears came to my eyes and my heart was swollen with gratitude for this relationship they have with each other.

Emery Feet

I can’t thank you enough for your part in all this. Prayers ascended have wrought miracles transcended!

Emery – post op – surgery 1

Blessing day! photo cred: Rebecca Knudson

On Sunday Tawnymara’s & Dallin’s bishop came to the hospital along with Dallin’s huge family to bless baby Emery. It was a beautiful blessing with some pretty great promises, one being that she would live to the age of baptism.

Emery was in such good form that they took off her oxygen patch and they were moved to a different floor on Monday where they could relax a little more and enjoy each other.

family time – photo cred: Rebecca Knudson

That was very short lived.

They were told that no surgeries were scheduled for Tuesday and they could go ahead and get her in. Unexpectedly soon. It was heart wrenching that their time of cuddling and loving on her was so small. But it was promising to get things going as well.

The surgery was scheduled to start at 7:30 am and go until 1:00 pm.

her heart

What I understand from it was that she was on a heart by-pass machine. They patched some things, combined some tubes, and stuck a camera down her throat to keep an eye on things.

The surgery went over by over 2 hours. There were issues with her blood pressure and she had to be put back on the by pass machine for a bit. But she came through.

Her intubation tube will reside in her for about 3 weeks with that camera. Her chest will remain open for a few days until the swelling goes down and they know they can safely close it up- probably Friday.

Open chest tied together.

Seeing her with her eyes open and looking around was disconcerting for me. For some reason I thought she would just be ‘under’ until they had her sewn up and the tubes out.

I know she’s sedated, but I fear she’ll cry or squirm and hurt herself worse. I think I’ve used helpless to describe my way of feeling throughout much of this.

I need to start using blessed more. She’s doing so well that they’re pulling back on the Bp meds! She was expected to crash last night, but she made it through like a champ. So SO many good things happening right now. The next 2 nights will be touchy, then 3 weeks of recovery in hospital, then home! She’ll get a break until around 3 mos for her next procedure.

This is not something I would ever wish for for my daughter and her husband. But throughout it there has been an outpouring of love, support, and care that I haven’t witnessed before with our family. It’s humbling to know how many people have been cheering Emery on and even crying tears of compassion on her and her parents’ behalf.

I know this is only the beginning of Emery’s journey, but now it has begun with gusto! She has more friends than she’ll ever know. And hopefully her story can give others strength as they go through their own trials.

Emery Update

I just texted Tawnymara to send some love – her reply, “It’s going to be a good day”.

She never ceases to amaze me!

This calm and joy and positiveness I attribute to the love and prayers friends, and friends of friends are sending by the bucket loads! I’m humbled by your love, truly! Heavenly Father is acknowledging and sending peace.

This morning I was in a yoga class, at the end the instructor had us connect with our heart. My hand went to my chest and I felt my heart beating. The miracle of it all. And of course my mind went to the heart that’s somehow still beating in this precious girl’s chest.

Hippie headband (Oxygen reader:-)

I have been good at staying away from the ‘whys’ and ‘what ifs’ that generally creep in when a trial besets me. But I wanted nothing more than to let her have my heart! I know it’s not possible, I know it wouldn’t work. But I broke down and wept at the unfairness of it all.

This baby’s heart is so messed up – it really is a miracle that she is alive! Arteries and veins are backwards, valves are leaking, tubes are incomplete. There are a whole bunch of technical terms that make my brain hurt.

The Dr.s diagram of Emerey’s heart. The green are tubes they need to make or fix for her. The scribbled green is showing the leaky valve.

Tawny sent me a half dozen photos she took of me with Emery. When I received them yesterday my heart filled with gratefulness for all the precious time I got to have with her. Then I realized I didn’t get any with Tawny and her baby. Grrrrr, what was I thinking?

Baby doll!

Thankfully I have news and images fed to me whenever I ask through Dallin’s mom, Rebecca, she’s my connection. Tawnymara shares often as well, always with a smile even when the news sucks.

This morning she shared that the arch (big purple arch in the image above) is not strong enough for the Dr.s to do what they initially planned. All the while she reported it with a smile and found the good in it, like now they know better what direction they need to go. Surgery will be bumped up to Monday or Tuesday.

Today Emery will get a name and a blessing. That’s when the infant is blessed by the priesthood. It’s not necessary for entrance into heaven. because we believe all children are born innocent and don’t need baptism until they are the age of accountability (usually 8). But it’s nice to hear the individualized blessing for the child, and have her name known for our records of the church.

Emery’s bilirubin is great so she’s off the light and enjoying snuggle time with the family.

More updates to come as they happen! Thanks so much for your bouee-ing powers being sent our way!

Emery

It’s amazing how quickly life can change. This last week has been one wild ride. It’s been so emotional. Couple that with my lack of sleep I’m probably too emotional to write this. But I’m going to anyway, I want Emery’s incredible arrival and story told.

I arrived in Utah on Tuesday of last week. Tawny’s due date was the previous Tuesday. So we were in high hopes of Emery coming soon.

We spent a lot of time in the pool. Tawnymara could bounce without high impact.

We walked all through the aquarium.

We hiked Prov Canyon.

We went to the temple. We also visited many shops and delicious restaurants.

Day after day we planned fun things, then – finally- Tawny started feeling contractions. This was on Saturday. We decided to help time pass by watching a movie. We saw Tolkien (amazing movie BTW)!

Sunday around 2:00 am Tawnymara woke with heavier contractions, they were keeping her awake, so we made sure we had everything ready. She did a home-pool-birth.

From here on out it was eager anticipation. If I were a gambler I would have put good money on Emery arriving on Mother’s day- good thing I’m not a gambler! By 9:00pm Tawnymara called the midwife and a group of 5 ladies came over ready for action with duffel bags of equipment for any conceivable situation. After checking her though they thought it might be a while longer and left us to have an enjoyable night in labor, and watching Scrubs.

Dallin was an amazing ‘daddy doula’. Throughout every contraction he would put pressure on her hips or stand so she could lean into him.

It was a long hard night. Around 2:00am things cranked up, it had been 24 hours since Tawnymara woke with contractions, and now the real work was going to start. A call to the midwife brought the crew and duffel bags back.

From then until 7:00am it was full of hard labor. Tawny would try to catch mini naps between contractions, it was excruciating watching my daughter go through this kind of pain and work and not being able to do anything for her – truly excruciating!

Dallin was able to deliver her. It was such beautiful event. Emery was immediately brought to Tawnymara’s chest and all our hands helped to rub her little body and get the circulation going.

Soon Tawny got up on trembling legs and made the trek to their bed. Mom and baby had the go over check up and while some of the midwives did that others were in cleaning up the birthing area like champs.

My favorite picture of this little family!
Aurora time.
Eve time.
Pretty in Pink

The midwives came back on day 2 and checked Emery over. Then again on day 3. It was during that check that the midwife felt she should be taken in to the hospital for more in depth oxygen tests. Nothing was glaringly wrong – it was a feeling. They went in and found Emery has Tricuspid Atresia. This is a heart disease that basically means only half her heart is working.

She was life flighted to Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City. This is where my heart crumbled. I knew Tawny was still in so much pain from her 30 hours of labor. Then all the pain that come with healing and breastfeeding. Adding on the nights full of waking to feed I knew she was on the point of collapsing. Getting the news that her infant had this disease that will require many surgeries and hospital stays then she was told she couldn’t ride with her baby to the SLC hospital because the pilot said there was an imbalance. It seemed too much! I was back home by then feeling very useless and helpless.

I am in awe of Tawnymara’s & Dallin’s strength! They have taken every step of this with faith and courage. I don’t know how they’re doing it. I think I’d be in a fetal position in a corner somewhere- in fact I feel like doing that now. I think there are now hundreds of people praying for them . I know there’s such power connected to that, and I attribute so much of the fact that Tawnymara is smiling and loving on her baby in their last Marco Polo, and Dallin’s voice is upbeat and positive.

Dallin’s amazing family is heading out to rally around them. I’m so grateful they will be there to support and love them through the next little while. The future plans for Emery include many surgeries and the possibility of a heart transplant. It’s going to be a long journey. I’m hoping to get back out there and help through some of this. The distance sucks!

Between getting back so late on Tuesday, then teaching early morning seminary, then finding out about Emery the last night around midnight, my sleep has been very minimal. I’m kind of a wreck. I’m yearning for the peace of the temple and Bill and I will be going tonight. I’m trying to balance all this with the faith of knowing Emery is in Heavenly Father’s hands, and what ever transpires is part of a bigger plan. I got to spend a day with this precious angel and I feel so blessed for that.

If you’re reading this- chances are you’re praying too, THANK YOU! Thank you .

I will share more of Emery’s story as it unfolds.

While mom is gone…

Image result for dad home with kids

I very rarely leave the family and venture out on my own.

Last time I did Bill decided to remodel our kitchen, but had only gotten to the dismantling of it and when I walked in I almost started crying. Actually I think I did cry for a second.

I had just finished a week long camping trip with a group of young women from our church. It was a wonderful time, but I was bone tired emotionally and physically.

Tomorrow I leave to be with my oldest daughter. She is now 6 days overdue and I’m hoping to get there in time for the big delivery! I had planned it this way so that I could help her and her amazing husband by waiting on them for a week while they could just sit and love on Emery (Baby’s name).

Yesterday a friend asked me if I had all my plans in order to leave.

You can laugh- I did.

But then I realized I actually did plan it out a little. I left this day clear so I could do what I need to get done, only now I realize that I need 2 of me to do everything I thought I could do.

Things I can check off my list: clean kitchen, wash laundry, make bread, make food, mow back yard, take care of businessmen & seminary emails.

Things I have yet to do: clean kitchen (… I made food after I did it last time….), get a pedicure (this is not a must, just a wouldn’t it be nice…probably won’t happen) , take a meal to a friend (last minute thought- glad I made a lot of food), go grocery shopping, fold & put away laundry, pack, take dog for a walk, pick up pottery (Danni & I took a ceramics class), & I really should set aside some time for a shower and family time.

The house will not be pristine when I leave, and I have no expectations of it being that way when I come home. My children are old enough so that Bill can work and they are fine holding down the house. Danni is an exceptional cook and all Enoch will eat is cereal, sandwiches, smoothies and pancakes (and pizza – he loves cheese pizza), so the food I made ahead is more for my own peace of mind.

Bill has a ton to do with our business, so I know he’ll not have any chances to remodel anything (BTW – I love my kitchen now!).

A few deep breaths and it doesn’t look as impossible as it did before. I’m so blessed to have a family that can survive without me here, even if I don’t act like they can.

Barrier Free

I think most of us feel like our lives have limitless potential. We know it’s possible to put in the work and get results. It’s what this great country is all about!

Now that doesn’t mean we don’t flounder and flail from time to time, but we can keep trying – or not, it’s our choice. Very rarely is there an actual barrier – someone standing in front of us saying

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Not all the population has these opportunities. I think we’ve comes so so far from just 20 years ago, but some things that our populace with special needs may want to do can really feel out of reach.

I used to think certain things were just not possible for Enoch, marriage, driving, supporting us in our old age…But now I’m not putting any kind of expectations out there, why cap his progress?

Enoch will often get up early – like 4am early. He usually plays with his toys or draws. Lately he’s been getting out his word cards and printing them in a notebook. Today I tested him to see if he could read all the words – he passed with flying colors on the ones I pointed to.

We had to get him prescription glasses (not in pic). He popped the lenses out so he could say he was wearing them whenever I asked. He’s having a hard time adjusting to the glasses, so he found an alternative way.

I’m not putting anything past him. He’s outsmarting me- out witting me- and can stay awake for longer periods of time, he’s get the world in his hands!

Barrier Free is the title of an acting group I have gotten to participate in for the past 5 years. It grows every year, I can’t imagine how the director will continue to absorb so many actors, but she’s done it like a champ so far! This super woman is Tracena Marie. I don’t know what drew her heart out to the community of adults with special needs. I don’t know why she gives 9 months of her life a year to teach, guide, and love the wonderful people who get involved. I should ask her someday.

She not only holds theater groups for adults, but for children also. Enoch has been one of the lucky ones to be in her program for the past 2 years!

Last year Enoch also got to be in the adult production, he’s quite the versatile actor.

Last weekend was our Barrier Free show for this year. The messages from these always come form the participants. They give thoughts and ideas – sometimes without knowing it – in their training sessions. Tracena takes all the notes from all the meetings and compiles them into a script. The script is fluid and works on the talents of each individual actor.


There’s always music and dancing! There’s always comedy and serious scenes. There’s always tears from many of those who watch.

I’ve watched these performers morph into super stars once the lights are on them and the audience is watching. I’ve watched them bloom into beautiful actors, expressing feeling and compassion. I’ve watched their confidence bubble up as they float onto the stage and give their all.

While the message of the show is always a good one, the real beauty is in the delivery!

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For 3 performances the actors are given wings. All barriers to being a star are gone. They get all the bells and whistles- lights, sounds, props, costumes, and the applause. For 3 glorious performances they are the stars!