Monday, December 17, 2012

11 months and counting...

I have now been back in school almost an entire semester! Where does the time go? This has been one of the fastest semesters to date! It has also been almost a year since the accident, which is crazy to think about! We have come a long way...
For quite a few months Brad was in excruciating pain pretty much all the time. The every day medicine he has to take, plus the prescription pain medicine, seemed to stop working which was a terrible realization. I asked Brad one day how he was supposed to handle the pain on a daily basis and how I, as the caretaker, was expected to cope with the emotional roller coaster that accompanies chronic pain. Neither one of us had an answer to that question, but kept praying that God would send an answer.
A few weeks ago Brad met with a pain specialist and he suggested another form of pain medicine that isn't as strong as the other he was taken, but that it may work for him. To our surprise, it did work! Last week, Brad said he had the best week he's had since the accident! Now, until you have dealt with this kind of pain on a daily basis, it is hard to relate. However, the entire dynamic of our house changed. The mood was lighter and our situation seemed almost bearable for a time. Please be in continued prayer that this new medicine will continue working and that Brad can continue to grow stronger daily.

Brad shared these lyrics with me the other day:
"Even If" by Kutless...
Sometimes all we have to hold on to
Is what we know is true of who You are
So when the heartache hits like a hurricane
That could never change who You are
And we trust in who You are

Even f the healing doesn't come
And life falls apart
And dreams are still undone
You are God, You are good
Forever faithful One
Even if the healing
Even if the healing doesn't come

Lord we know your ways are not our ways
So we set our faith in who You are
Even though You reign high above us
You tenderly love us
We know Your heart
And we rest in who You are

You're still the Great and Mighty One
We trust You always
You're working all things for our good
We'll sing your praise

You are God and we will bless you
As the Good and Faithful One
You are God and we will bless You
Even if the healing doesn't come
Even if the healing doesn't come

In looking back at 2012, we have been where we NEVER thought we would go, have had to face the unimaginable, and have had to grow up a little too quickly. However, God has put us in this place, though at times it feels like the desert, for a reason. We are ready to move forward and hopefully have a much calmer 2013!
My 27th Birthday!

Our Christmas card photo!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

New Beginnings...

So, I start school tomorrow for the first time in 8 months! I have experienced a wide range of emotions this weekend, from excited to sad to completely overwhelmed. I have worked very hard in my classroom trying to organize and prepare for this upcoming year. It is kind of intimidating seeing that I only completed half of my first year of teaching second grade, which means after Christmas it will be totally new to me.
This weekend, for whatever reason, I allowed myself to be sad and angry (it's been a while since I felt this way). I was explaining to Brad that, in a way, our situation is like a death that we wake up to every single day. It is traumatic and devastating and greets us with every new day. We were also talking about how the things we do, or did, before the accident on a daily basis haven't been affected greatly but just in thinking about what we are so very limited to do from this point on. It kind of feels claustrophobic. I can't imagine what Brad feels like when all he wants to do is get out of his chair and he physically can not do that. Wow! Another lonely thought is that no one in our immediate circle has any experience with these emotions and changes; no idea what we are experiencing. So sometimes this makes it hard to share because I can't even begin to explain...

This past Christmas! Charlie's first Christmas and Ally's first Christmas with a little brother!!!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Dreaming With A Broken Heart

I haven't posted anything in over a month! It seems that this summer I have done a lot of thinking and focusing on myself, which was very much needed. Sometimes our thoughts can get the better of us and we can get lost in what could have been or what it once was. I heard this John Mayer song this past week and a few of the lines really stood out to me... "When you're dreaming with a broken heart, the waking up is the hardest part. You roll outta bed and down on your knees, and for the moment you can hardly breathe... When you're dreaming with a broken heart, the giving up is the hardest part..." It seems, in a way, we are dreaming with broken heart. Everything we once had "planned" for our lives has been put on hold, with a complete detour as to how to achieve those dreams.

 However, we have come a long way in almost 7 months. There are still days when it doesn't seem real; that we will wake up and everything will be back to the way it use to be. That day hasn't come yet, so until then we continue asking God for a miracle of any kind and praying that whatever He has in store for us, whatever our 'new' plan is, that He wouldn't let us miss it. We don't want what we have gone through and continue to face on a daily basis to be in vain and we want to be different because of what we are facing. We just don't want to get so wrapped up in our daily life and miss what God is doing in and through us!

School is about to start and I have been in my classroom a lot! Going back after 8 months away is exciting and anxiety-producing at the same time! I will also be working on my National Board Certification this year which is scary in and of itself! I did meet a new friend, Savannah, who will also be working on her boards this year so that will be a huge help! I am learning more and more the importance of friends and all that they can bring to your life. Last night I called Neely, one of my very best friends, and was able to talk about the joys and sorrows of our situation and she was there just to listen and sympathize with me. True friends are a God-send and I thank Him everyday for those he has placed in my path!

Since my last post, Brad was recognized for becoming a licensed architect which was very exciting! He was definitely one of the youngest ones in the room and he was probably among the very few, if not the only one, who completed this process in under a year! He has so much to be proud of!



Us at Brad's licensure recognition!!!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Trusting God

So glad we traveled as much as we have!!! On our honeymoon! Puerta Vallarta, Mexico June 2008!

Italy, February 2009!
New York, June 2011!

It has been a while since my last post, but sometimes it's nice to check out for a while! Brad just completed his 2nd week at work! He is working part-time, 5 days a week. Two days a week he is still going to therapy, but we think we only have a few more weeks left in that because Brad has met, or is close to meeting, his goals in both PT and OT! It has been 5 months since the accident and he is still learning more efficient ways of putting the chair in the car, getting out of the car, and even made something to help hold the umbrella once he is in the chair and getting back into the car! I love this about Brad! He is always thinking of ways to make things easier, never settling for the 'normal' way other people do things!

I have started reading a book by Jerry Bridges called Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts. This book has been such a source of comfort and inspiration during this time. He frequently asks the question, "Where is God in all of this?" Following this question, he provides scripture to show that God is completely sovereign in EVERYTHING! If He were not, there would be no basis in trusting Him in all situations. "Even when life seems to be going our way and our daily path seems pleasant and smooth, we do not know what the future holds... often it reveals events most unexpected and frequently most undesired. Such events, unfolding in ways contrary to our desires and expectations, frequently fill our hearts with anxiety, frustrations, heartache, and grief." This is exactly how I would describe life before and after the accident. He says at the beginning of the book that there is a, "twofold objective of God's providence: His own glory AND the good of His people." Not one or the other, but both. So, what we are experiencing will ultimately be for His glory AND our good.

I can understand that we can bring Him glory in how we are coping with our new situation, staying close to Him and seeking His will on a daily basis. But my new prayer is that He will slowly begin to reveal to us how this is for our good. This is very hard to understand and I'm pretty sure we will never, and were never intended to, completely understand God's working in and through us. After coming to this realization, though, I have been able to feel more at ease and not so anxious about everything.

The book also talks about how our plans are individual for us, no one else. They are not supposed to look like our friends or other family members. This is probably one of the hardest things to come to terms with. Where we thought we would be at this time in our life has completely been re-routed, and thats ok, just extremely hard. Our culture is full of comparisons and I have always had a hard time with this, fallen prey to this idea. BUT... God is working this out for His glory AND our good, and that makes it easier when handed over daily.

I have always felt that Brad and I don't seem like we are whatever age we are at the time. However, this situation has forced us to grow up and deal with difficult issues head-on. I told Brad the other day that my prayer is that none of this is in vain, that God would totally blow our mind with what He has in store for us. I don't want to miss a thing He has planned. I was always afraid to pray that God would use us in whatever way He needed. Now, our worst fears have become true life, so now there is no fear in that prayer! After I shared this with Brad he then said how he is realizing more and more how much worse it could have been. We have so much to be thankful for, and Brad is an amazing individual to say that many people who have experienced something similar wish they were a paraplegic so that they could still do so much for themselves. What an outlook!!

We are excited to see what God has planned because we know that His ways are higher than our ways, and his thoughts higher than ours (Isaiah 55:9).

On a totally different note, completely random... these videos have brought us many laughs this week...

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Big Week

On the way to the movies!

So, my last post was pretty depressing; I guess we are entitled to those every now and then. Today, I share more positive events from the past few days!

This past Thursday was our 4th anniversary! We have come a long way in this short amount of time as a married couple, especially in the past 5 months. We started the day with therapy and then we went to see What to Expect When You Are Expecting. It was so funny, hilarious even, while also telling the sweet story of different mothers and their experiences during pregnancy. We then went to Gigi's Cupcakes and then we spent the night at the Old Capital Inn. We ate dinner at Ruth's Chris, which was sooo good! Our parents were amazing! Brad's mom kept Ally and Charlie and also had a gift card waiting for us in our hotel room! Brad's dad and Cindy had roses and chocolate covered strawberries waiting for us! My parents gave us a gift card for the movie! We could not ask for better parents... they have been extremely supportive since the accident! This was our first over-night since the accident and it was fantastic!

Friday, I received a text from one of my very best friends that she was in the hospital in labor!!! Brad and I went to the hospital around 7:00 and sweet baby Lorenzo was born at 11:56 Friday night! It was such an amazing experience and we felt so blessed to be a part of his birth! They are the sweetest little family and we look forward to watching him grow up!

Tomorrow is Brad's first day back at work! I think we are both sad, in a way, that he is going back. After all, we have been together since January! I do think, though, that this will be good for both of us. He really enjoys his firm and all of his co-workers. I will be meeting with my national board mentor and Claire (best friend and co-worker) to begin working on one of our entries required for our boards. This is going to be a big week, so please keep us in your prayers!

Our room!

Waiting for us in our room!

On the way to Ruth's Chris!

Monday, May 28, 2012


This morning was a time when I woke up and immediately thought, "Are we really doing this again? Does it have to be so hard for another day?" That's hard when that's your first thought of the day. I've probably said this before, that the good days outnumber the bad, but when the bad days hit it can be very overwhelming. Brad and I were riding home this afternoon and, for some reason, when we are in the car my mind fills with thoughts. I told him that if I could only use one word to describe our situation it would be 'suffocating'. When my thoughts get the better of me, it almost seems impossible to live in the here and now. It's almost like I'm swimming and can't come up for air.

I was also thinking about Brad's time in the NSICU and how I had no clue what was ahead of us. No clue. I don't think I could have handled or comprehended how completely life was about to change. 

I talked with a friend this afternoon and she reminded me of the importance and necessity to live each day for what it's worth. I have found this to be so true; just hard to do at times. She also has gone through a lot in the past year and she said one of the hardest things to move past were all of her dreams she had for her and her family. This has definitely been hard for us as well. Not that we won't be able to accomplish things we wanted to prior to the accident, just now they aren't done on our timeline. We think we are in control until that control has been stripped away and we are forced to focus our eyes on Him and seek His council. Too bad it usually takes a tragedy to come to this realization.

I told Brad this afternoon that if God said, "Do this one thing for the rest of your life and I will change this situation" I would do that one thing and many more. Brad responded, "Do you think we would appreciate our situation being changed forever or do you think we would get used to it again?" It's sad to say but I think we would get used to it again, being able to do things we did prior to the accident, taking things for granted. If we could only go back in time...

This simple pose is one of the hardest things to remember. I always loved that Brad was so much taller than me. It's the little everyday things, like standing in front of him in this way, that really hit home.

James 4:10 "Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up."

Saturday, May 26, 2012


I haven't posted anything in a while... the last few days for us have been weird in a way. Weird moods and attitudes, we are learning, come with the territory and I haven't felt like sharing lately.

Update: Brad did get a release letter from the pulmonolgist to play golf! Hopefully in a few more weeks we will be learning more about the SoloRider and getting used to using a new technique to play a game he loves so much!!!

Yesterday we got to spend one-on-one time with Brad's Aunt Karen from TN. She came down (with her other sister and her parents) when Brad was in the NSICU but didn't get a chance to see Brad. We had dinner at Brad's mom's house and watched a movie afterwards. Tonight we had dinner with Brad's family from TX. We really enjoyed both visits and look forward to visiting with them again before they head home!

I wanted to share some pictures that Brad has taken recently with a new camera he got for his birthday!
This is a nest from one of our fern's hanging from our pergola! You can even see pieces of carpet in the nest from the construction that was done at our house!

Brad gave me this orchid on Valentine's Day in 2011. I thought it was dead when all of the flowers fell off then one of my friends told me to cut the stalk back and be patient. I watered this flower for over a year before any more flowers grew! Awesome! (This is also the flower used as our background on the home page.) 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Golf Again!

Brad has always loved reading forums on different topics (motorcycle, truck, etc.) He has now discovered that there are forums geared towards people who are paralyzed. There are many different threads in these forums and one Brad read recently was about different things that annoy people who are paralyzed. One person mentioned that one of the hardest things is watching people their age move on with their lives and participate in "normal" activities. This has been one of the hardest things for me to consider as well. It is extremely difficult to see friends and family members carry on as usual, all the while thinking that everything is now different for Brad and I. Well, today we got a piece of 'normalcy' back...

While we were still in rehab I met a woman (Ginny) in charge of sports and activities for patients. She mentioned that I should see if Brad was interested in fencing, basketball, etc. I shared with her that Brad's favorite sport is golf but that the adaptive equipment to play golf (para golfer or solo rider) is very expensive. She said that she bought one 2 years ago and that no one has ever used it for its intended purpose; people simply rode it around to keep the battery running! Well, short story... The SoloRider is now here in our neighborhood! Ginny agreed to let Brad try it out, with the help a the golf pro (Kyle), who happens to be a friend's husband! Today we talked with Brad's pulmonologist to get a release letter so that he can begin using this equipment. The next step is to begin working with Kyle and re-learning how to play golf. There is no other program like this in the state and we are praying that it is a huge success and that Brad can continue doing something he enjoys so much!

This is the SoloRider Brad will use! His clubs strap to the front of the car and the seat swivels and stands Brad so that he can, once again, play golf! Thank you Ginny and Kyle!

Sunday, May 20, 2012


This is one of the last pictures we took before the accident. This was taken at our house at our annual cookie party. I asked our pastor, Bro. Phil, to display this picture at church the following Sunday so that everyone would have a face to go along with a name when they prayed for Brad and his recovery.
It has been a little over 4 months since Brad's accident. In any given day there are many different emotions and thoughts that go through our minds. Today was the first Sunday that I can honestly say I wasn't mad, angry, or upset during the service. It was also the first service since the accident that I didn't cry through every song. 

Brad and I realize that we may never know the reason for his accident and we don't understand why God allows bad things to happen to people. The thing we do know is that, if we let Him, He will turn our situation and what we have been through into something bigger and greater than we could ever imagine or wish for ourselves (Isaiah 55:9 states, "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts"). 

My attitude turned towards this way of thinking about a week ago. I am trying to be more intentional in finding things to be thankful for and praying that He would open our eyes to all we have and all that He is doing for us. Since then, every day that I have prayed that prayer, I have been amazed at what He has shown us. Unexpected donations, peace of mind that construction is complete, Brad having the ability to drive again, looking forward to learning to play golf using adaptive equipment, just to name a few. 

This is one of the earliest pictures of us that I could find! I think this is our junior year of high school and we are taking the train to New Orleans with his mom!
My grandmother recently shared an email with me about a lady who wrote the 45 lessons that life taught her. One that really stood out to me is, "Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy clothes. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special." I have realized more and more how true this is. Don't put off 'til tomorrow, what you could do today. Let everyone know how important they are to you and how much you love them. 

I am so thankful that the day of Brad's accident I got to get ready for work with him and get one last "normal" hug and kiss before everything changed. My favorite memory from that day was him hugging me, looking down at me (like he always had being an entire foot taller than me), and telling me how pretty my eyes are. We both said I love you before I left for school that day; what better way to start the day! 

We have come a long way in 4 months. I am pretty sure we have experienced every emotion possible. Lots of sad days, but we are glad to say the good days far outweigh the hard ones. We have grown so much closer to one another and I respect him now more than I thought possible. He shares his thoughts, good and bad, about our situation and always realizes we have so much to be thankful for. Brad has been a huge inspiration to me, been so patient in learning a new way of life, and let me know how much I mean to him. Because of this, I know we are going to be OK.

This was taken about 2 weeks ago on our way to Walker's. Brad's parents treated us to dinner to celebrate Brad finishing his licensure exams and me getting my master's degree!

Saturday, May 19, 2012


Our story begins almost 12 years ago when we met as freshmen in high school. Brad and I began dating in October of 2000 and have come so far since then. We have been married for 4 years this month and have 2 Yorkies, Ally and Charlie. In December Brad finished 7 licensure exams for architecture and I completed my master's degree in elementary education. Our lives changed forever on Thursday, January 12, 2012. 
My husband was on his way to work, just like every other day, when he hit a patch of gravel on his motorcycle. Brad had to straighten the bike out and ended up riding down an embankment. Simply by the way he landed he suffered a T6 (middle of his chest) complete spinal cord injury (SCI). Although this was the injury that would change things forever he also suffered a C6 fracture, nerve damage to his left shoulder, as well as cracked ribs. 

Friday he underwent a forever long surgery to stabilize his spine. While in surgery he had to have quite a bit of blood transfusions and for the next 7 days he was  in the NSICU. Every day our families would wait in the hallway hoping and praying that he would wake up that day. 

Finally one morning he wrote my name down on a sheet of paper for the nurse; he was asking for me! I was on the way to the hospital with my mom when I got the call. We rushed to the hospital and I literally ran all the way to his room. At this point all he could do was write things down because the ventilator tube was very limiting. We conversed this way for a day or so before he finally asked me, through writing on a dry erase board, if he would ever get his feeling back. This is when I finally had to tell him the extent of his injury. This was extremely hard to do; I felt, at the moment, just as paralyzed as he did. Then he told me that this didn't change anything for him (life, kids, etc.). 

After leaving the NSICU he spent 2 days in a regular hospital room before moving to the Methodist Rehabilitation Center where we would spend the next 8 weeks. While in rehab I had the thought a few times that creating a blog would be a source of therapy for me, while also keeping friends and family members updated. Once at home I had a friend suggest the idea to me and now, here we are. The upcoming posts may be out of chronological order, but I just wanted to share our story with others as the memories come back to us.