Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Our family has a new addition...a kitten named Pickles.  I never thought we'd be able to have a house cat because they can get under foot and cause me to fall easily.  That isn't the case any longer and we adore our new family member.  My girls will be able to experience loving a kitten just as I did as a little girl and that makes me so happy.

How we got her name:  We went to a farm to get cucumbers for pickling.  They didn't have any.  However, they had kittens and we left with one of them instead.

Facing My Fears...Again

This past weekend I rode a bike!!!!

I met up with my childhood friends at a state campground.  While we were sitting around my friend, Angie, suggested that I try riding one of their bikes.  I didn't think she was serious until she said that she would hang on to the back of the bike for me.  After some hesitation, I decided to give it a whirl.

I hadn't ridden a bike since I was twelve. It took my brother, Tom, three summer to teach me how to ride without training wheels. I never thought I would be able to do it, but the day I finally took off down our driveway was one of the most freeing days of my life.

By the time I was twelve, it became too difficult for me to ride my bike an longer.  So, when my friends suggested I try the bike again, I was a bit scared.  They quickly reminded me that, "once you learn how to ride a bike you never forget how."  We all thought this would be a great opportunity to see if that old saying is true.  I am proud to say that it is!

Angie and Lonnie grabbed on to the back of the bike (where a toddler would sit)  and told me to peddle.  A few seconds into the fiasco, I told them to let go.  "Are you sure?" they asked.  "Yes, let go."  Then I was off down the dirt road of the campground.  I could help but scream a bit.  I tried not to, but I just couldn't help it.  I was letting out what sounded like high pitch dog barks.  Steve even said that a dog barked back.  So, to say I was nervous was an understatement, but who cares.  I did it!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Facing My Fears

This past weekend, I went camping with both of my brothers and their families.   When I left Friday with my girls, I knew I had a fun time ahead of  me.  I had informed my nieces, Mikaela and Sophia that I had jumped off  of my boat at my cabin just a couple weeks earlier and they were proud of my for trying something that they knew I was scared to attempt.

A week before our camping trip, Mikaela suggested that I go down the water slide at the campground.  I thought she was crazy and told her that I could not do it.  "Yes you can!" she said right back to me.  I reminded her that I can't swim and she quickly turned to me to say that the pool is only five feet deep.  I'm deathly afraid of water and I proceeded to explain to her why that is.

When I was a little girl, I took swimming lessons and was actually a pretty good swimmer.  People would comment to my mom how well I swam at such a young age.  There was a BIG problem though:  I could never get my feet planted on the ground after swimming.   While swimming, I would raise my hand out of the water and whomever was the person in charge of me would grab me and stand me back up.  So, yes, I can swim.  However, I can't stand up when I'm done.  I'd have to say that's kind of an important part.

After my niece listened to my explanation she informed my that her dad (my brother) could catch me when I went down the slide.  I knew at that point, that this twelve year old was not going to let this go.  I told her that when we got to the campground I would try and go down the slide, but I'd have to wear my life jacket.  I'm telling you that I am really scared of the water.

When I got to the campground that Friday evening, my niece didn't give me much time before she asked me when I was going to go down the slide.  I told her that she had to go back to the camper to get my life jacket and by the time she got back, my beer would be gone and I would do it, just to get it over with.

Mikaela quickly returned with my life vest.  I put it on and looked out at all the people vacationing at the pool.  I told her that I didn't care what they all thought of me, even though I'm pretty sure they thought it was odd that a  35 year old woman was wearing a life jacket.  Next, I told her that she would have to go up the ladder behind me, because if I chicken out she would need to just push me down the slide.  She said she could do that for me.  As for my brother, he stood in the pool at the base of the slide waiting to catch me as though I was three years old.

As I climbed the ladder, I could feel butterflies in my stomach.  I know it's silly to have felt this way, but I couldn't help it.  I was trying this for the first time because I was NEVER able to do it as a child.  There is no way my muscles could have handled the sudden movement going down the slide not to mention how nearly impossible it would have been for me to get up the laddert in front of all of those people. My  bottom had barely touched the slide when Mikaela gave me a good strong push. I quickly found myself flying down the slide doing something impossible.  Mikaela never gave me the chance to chicken out and I'm thankful for that.  She helped me face my fear.  And even though I didn't think it was fun, I'm really glad that I did it.

I should probably add that as soon as I got out of the pool, Mikaela insisted that I go down the bigger slide that is also an enclosed tube.  I was even more scared to do that, but I did it with the support of family.  Life is too short to not take chances and face our fears.  This is something that I will remember for ever and I think my niece will too.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Girl Scout In Me

Tonight was Winona and  Sharon's bridging ceremony.  Sharon went from being a Daisy to a Brownie and Winona went from a Brownie to a Junior Girls Scout.  Before we left, my mind went back to the night I bridged from a Brownie to a Junior Girl Scout.  I remember that I didn't really want to go to the ceremony.  I was too nervous to walk across the bridge if front of all the parents and grandparents.  My parents made me go and I did just fine. I made it across the little bridge and received my Girl Scout wings. 

This evening was so different from that night over twenty years ago.  As the co-leader of Winona's troop, I had to stand in front of the parents and grandparents and speak.  I didn't get emotional until it was time for me to take each girl's hand and walk them across the bridge.  By the time I walked the tenth girl across the bridge, I thought to myself, "I can't believe that I'm doing this, at night, in front of people."  Tears welled in my eyes just as it was time to congratulate the Junior Girl Scouts with applause.  

So, I can't help but wonder if all those people think that I'm just a crazy, emotional, Girl Scout leader.  There were only a handful of parents that know "my story"  The rest of them don't have a clue that a little over a year ago it would have been a chore for me to get to this ceremony and I would not have been able to assist in any way.   

I will remember tonight as long as I live, just like the night nearly twenty five years ago.  Only this time, it will ALL be happy memories.

Mom and Dad,
Thanks for making me participate in that bridging ceremony many years ago.  It was an important night for many reasons, but most of all it helped me to really appreciate the special gift that I was given tonight.  Thanks for always having faith in me.  I love you both!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Say Cheese

This past weekend I went to a family reunion.  I enjoyed visiting with those who I only see at weddings and funerals.  I must say that it was kind of weird seeing them in shorts and t-shirts.  Anyway, we took time out of the day to take group photos.  The last photo that was to be taken was of the entire group.

Since everyone's cameras were running low on batteries, I was asked if we could use mine.  Everyone took their place for the photo and I quickly tried to figure out how to set my cameras' timer to take a photo.

As soon as I knew everyone was ready, I asked where I was supposed to jump in.  The answer was up front, right next to my niece, Becca.  I stood behind my camera, looked through the lens and then pushed the button to take the photo.  Then it was time to run!  I ran as fast as my flip flops would take me, sat down next to my dear niece. crossed my legs and smiled with a second to spare.

How is it possible that I did this?  In the past, someone would have had to help me walk to where I would have to pose for the picture.  Not this time.  I did it and on my own,.  So, when I look at this photo of me sitting up front, with a big smile on my face, I know that it's much more than a family photo.  I also have a pretty good idea that my grandparents saw the whole thing from heavan and that makes my heart smile.

Friday, August 5, 2011

A Helping Hand

I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed with my emotions this morning.  My life has changed so much this past year.  I can do everyday tasks so much easier than I ever thought possible.  More often than not, I was dependent on others for help.  Last night was different.  I was given the gift of being able to help another mom.

Winona and Sharon were invited to a birthday pool party last night.  I offered my help to the parents and found myself assisting them for the duration of the party.  I helped pour soda, pass out the pizza, re-filling the snack dishes, etc.

My mom has always been the person to come help run my daughter's birthday parties because I wasn't able to do much at all to help.  I usually had to sit in a chair and watch my mom and Steve do all the running during the parties.  I always felt blessed to have planned my girl's parties, but there's just something about actually being able to do the "mom duties"

In March, Winona and Sharon had a combined sleepover, birthday party.  I was able to get the pizza ready, run the games and get the kids to bed.   Steve helped me quite a bit and my mom didn't need to come at all, because I had faith that I could do what I needed to do.

Birthday parties are a lot of work, but it is worth every bit of it.  When we give a child a fun birthday, we are creating memories that will last a lifetime.  I have so much to thank God for.  I just hope He knows how much I appreciate the life I have been given (even the years with the physical challenges).

Monday, August 1, 2011

On Three

We spent this last weekend at the cabin with some friends of ours.  The weather was warm and the lake water felt perfect.  My friend, Hilary, has known me for quite some time and understands how I feel each and every time I do something that I have never done before.  Last summer she encouraged me to go tubing behind the boat with her.  She really helped me overcome the nervousness of the unknown and I really enjoyed the experience.  So, when she asked me to jump off the side of the boat with her this weekend I knew I had to try it.

Steve had anchored the boat in the middle of the lake (about 20 feet deep).  When Hilary asked me if I wanted to jump off  the boat I felt both excited and scared to death.  I have never even gotten up the courage to jump off the dock, so the thought of jumping off the boat had never crossed my mind.  We both had our life vests on and stood at the back of the boat together.  "I don't know if I can do this," I said looking at her.  I'm sure I looked like a little kid getting trying to jump off the diving board for the first time.  Hilary turned to me and said, "You don't have to do it if you don't want to."  

I had to jump.  Not jumping was not an option.  I have been trying to get the courage to jump off the dock, but have chickened out each and every time this summer.  I looked at Hilary and told her that, "I want to jump."  She smiled at me and told me that she would hold my hand.  Eagerly, I took the  hand that I knew would give me the support that I desperately needed to overcome my fear.  

As we stood at the edge of the boat looking down at the water my nerves began to become more intense.  I can't swim, but I knew that the life jacket I was wearing would take care of me just fine. I didn't think that my legs would allow me to let go, so  I turned to Hilary's husband and asked him if he would just push me in. 

I have to jump.  Hilary tells me that we can go on my count to three.  She also told me that I could plug my nose with my other hand.  The cocky part of me informs her that I don't need to plug my nose.  I begin the count to three and on two I jumped.  

As I fell into the water I give a quick scream, as though I'm riding a roller coaster.  My voice is quickly silenced by the lake and water shoots up my nose.  Slowly, my body rises to the surface.  As soon as my head is out of the water I begin cheering myself on.   Hilary gives me a high five.  Even though I have swallowed water and my nose is burning, I can't seem to stop screaming with excitement.   No can I get this smile off of my face.  This is one of the happiest moments in my life!  I just did something that I could have never done before and it was so much fun!  

Hilary, thank you so much for helping me overcome my fear and introducing me to an activity that I will be able to do with my daughters at the cabin.  My only question to you is: What are  we going to do to top this next summer?