Wednesday, March 14, 2018

The Cellist

Oh my heart is full! 
Thank you God for restoring Emma's ability and passion for the cello. Each time I hear her play I wonder if my heart might explode. I wish Aunt Delma was here to experience all that my girls are accomplishing. She would be so proud. Back to what I was talking about...Truly, this child smiles while she plays. She loved it before her accident but appreciates it more now than ever.

Sunday my GI friend, Kimberly and I spent the evening listening to some fantastic cello musicians at UNK. And then I was thrilled when they all came back out to take pictures. Well, that made this mama so happy! I can't wait to do a little scrapbooking. :) To top off the evening I spent the night in Grand Island rather than driving all the way back home. 
Good music, Good friends and a Good night's sleep.

Before I pulled away, we hugged a little longer than normal. My girl is ready for a break. I reminded her it's only 5 more sleeps until she is home again. I can cook for her, do her laundry and snuggle on the couch. Spring Break for the whole family...can't wait!

Monday, February 19, 2018

Thrive at CCC

I'm going to a women's retreat

I know what you are thinking...sounds awful! It took me several years to agree to go to this thing. Thanks to a church event back when my girls were toddlers, I decided it was better to do a scrapbook weekend with friends than a women's retreat with a bunch of annoying women. Seriously, if I am going to spend lots of money and be away from my family for 1-2 days it better be fun or a time of great spiritual growth (or both). No kidding one of the sessions I attended back in the day was "how to dress your shape" WHAT??? That did me in! To be fair, there may have been something good presented that day, I just don't remember. I vowed to never go again. I don't want to learn how to fold napkins, use a scarf as an accessory or clean a bathroom in the midst of a women's retreat at church!

Geepers...a lot of punctuation and frustration just flowed out of me.

Anyway, I am so happy that Christ Community Church knows how to put on an event for women. And I'm thankful to some persuasive friends who got me to go back. Over the years at CCC I have had a variety of roles, this year I am a table leader again. Other than my loyal GF Tami, I do not know who will be at my table. This is both a source of excitement and anxiety. This week I am focusing on prayer for the event, the speakers, the table assignments, the attendees, the weather and health. God is able to do more than I could ever imagine. If you are so inclined please lift up this event in prayer.

As a table leader I am also trying to come up with something special to make for each person at my table. I can't spend much money so it may be a little sign with scripture on it. I will let you know if that actually happens. With a theme of "courage" I like the verse below. (I know I just mentioned it in my last post) I will take suggestions for other short verses.

Happy Presidents' Day!

Pray for our leaders!

Soccer Husker Commit 2020

I love seeing God's hand at work.

As I have mentioned in earlier posts, Reagan's college soccer recruiting started very early. She was on a visit at Creighton University before her freshman year of High School. It was exciting but knowing what I know now, I wish we would have said "no" to all those early visits, they created too much stress for our young soccer player. Fast forward one year to the fall of 2017, Reagan had lots of schools talking to her every 2-3 weeks and she decided to commit to a Division I, Power 5 conference soccer program by November/December 2017. Chris and I were not in support of that early commitment and we weren't convinced that she was looking at the right school for her.

First shingles attacked Reags in September and soon after she tore her ACL during a soccer game. These devastating injuries had Reagan wondering why God would allow this to happen to her at the worst possible time. College coaches at Kansas University, Minnesota, Notre Dame and Auburn University all got cold feet, after months of constant recruiting they turned their backs on Reagan. ONLY ONE COACH reached out to Reagan after her injury, Coach John Walker from the University of Nebraska. His message was simple, "You are going to be fine! You were great before and you will come back stronger after surgery." WOW! Remembering the phone call still makes me a little emotional. This is just what our depressed daughter needed to hear.

Reagan's road to recovery has been hard and she still has a long journey back to the pitch but what I have seen in her is amazing. She is a fighter. She is smart. She is persistent.
Here are some statements:
"Mom, do you think God allowed shingles and the ACL to happen so I could slow down?"
"Watching the game from the sidelines has taught me so much about my teammates."
"I won't ever take playing soccer for granted again."
"Why do they complain? I would give anything to play right now."

Growth seldom happens in times of comfort. God's not mean and He doesn't make bad things happen to us but He will us trials to shape us. The bible is filled with stories to support this idea...pruning of the branches or the refining of metals in the fire. And Jeremiah 29:11 reminds us of God's great plans for each of us. The bible says, "plans to prosper us and not harm us." I love that. Reagan's temporary set back is actually a set up for great things.

About a month ago to the amazement of my friend, I said these words aloud, "I am thankful for this injury." Is it coincidence that as our hearts began to change so did our circumstances? No, I don't believe in coincidences! Blessings are often disguised when we try to follow our own agenda but when we seek God first, they are visible.

Several months ago Reagan had ZERO interest in Nebraska Soccer simply because it was in Nebraska! The fact is, she wouldn't allow herself to see that UNL had everything on her list of wants and needs. Last week Reagan had a second visit with the Husker staff and team. It was abundantly clear to her (and her parents) this is where she was meant to me. To say the next 55 hours were rough would be an understatement. Our 16 year old child had to make some adult decisions and one of them was letting go of one dream of in order to pursue another. Now that's maturity. Here are some of the things that helped Reagan see the University of Nebraska-Lincoln as the place for her.
  • Player Development
  • Family atmosphere on the team
  • Coach Walker believes in Reagan now as much as pre-injury
  • Holidays with family
  • Financial
  • We love the HUSKERS! (I added this...not on her list)
We don't know where God is going to take Reagan but we know He loves her and has great plans for her. I pray that she continues to trust God, listen for the Holy Spirit and direct people to Jesus.

Below is the announcement our club coach posted on Twitter

G O   B I G   R E D ! ! !

Monday, February 12, 2018

Could She Be A Husker?

I started going to Nebraska Cornhusker football games in 1990. I met my husband in 1994 and once I found out his family had 4 season tickets, I knew it was true love. (kidding...not kidding)

Fast forward 23 years and we have a soccer player visiting the University of Nebraska - Lincoln, home of the Huskers. It's her decision but I've gotta say it would be pretty exciting to have our daughter playing for this Big 10 program, just 50 miles from our home. Academically it's a great fit, in fact Nebraska has produced the most academic All-Americans in the nation, more than Notre Dame, Standford and Penn State to mention a few. The science behind the training, fitness and nutrition is mind blowing. Even though Nebraska Soccer tends to recruit later than most other Power Five programs they still produce professional and national team players every year. That development of the player is critical! The freshman housing isn't the best but all other facilities are top notch. However it is Coach John Walker's character that may be the deciding factor.
Reagan didn't want to take a
picture with her parents

Hawks Championship Center
the indoor training facility

Soccer locker room at Hibbner Stadium
Reagan's ACL recovery is going well. We are so grateful to have an unofficial visit during her time of healing. If it works out, we will be headed to Oral Roberts in Tulsa, Ok for another unofficial visit on Sunday.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Milestones of Hamstring Recovery

Identifying and meeting milestones has not been a significant part of my thought process. Now that I think about it, I don't seem to be a person who does a lot of goal setting. I remember doing a goal setting exercise when I worked at a church in Phoenix. I hated doing it. I wonder if that is the symptom of some underlying neuroses. ;) Flashback to potty training days, I am certain there was milestone planning, I just don't remember. In the last year, without realizing it I have become much more focused on reaching milestones. Some of these milestones have been suggested by medical professionals and some by me (the patient).

The purpose of milestone-based thinking is to help choose the right goals. It is counter-productive to be laying on the couch 2 weeks after hamstring surgery thinking only of running a marathon. At 2 weeks PO (post op) I was elated to be able to put a little weight on my right leg and began to focus on my next milestone of bending at the hip. Today, I am nearly 6 mo PO and my next milestone is running. Excitement builds these last eleven days until I can put a big checkmark in the "running again" box.

Yesterday I spent an extended amount of time searching and planning my running milestones of 2018.

  • February 11 begin running
  • April 21 local 5K race
  • April 22 sign up for a 1/2 marathon
  • Summer 10K race
  • October 21 Des Moines, IA 1/2 marathon

What I went through was rough but conquerable.  If you want to understand my injury and surgery better you can read about it by clicking here. Instead of feeling sorry for my aging self I decided to beat the odds and come back better than before. I share these goals so you can become part of my road to recovery. I am a bit frightened to run again and have no idea if I will be able to run 3.1 miles in April much less 13.1 in October. Posting this is my way of asking for your support, prayer and encouragement, not just in running these physical races but in walking along side me in my life journey. 

I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus is calling us.  Phillipians 3:14

Monday, January 22, 2018

Rocking College Life

One semester to go. I'm not surprised at all but that doesn't change the fact that I'm thrilled to see Emma do so well in the transition to college.  When an 18 year old heads off to college they have no idea what they will experience in that dorm room, on campus or even in those classrooms. For sure it is different from home, their ability to adapt is amazing. Emma loves every single aspect of her college experience so far. Maybe it has helped her learn to appreciate her family a little more and they way she was raised.

-She has learned to live with a stranger
-She has learned how and where to study
-She has formed some amazing relationships
-She has experienced very different morals, values and cultures
-She has found a job
-She has learned that eating too much junk has consequences
-She has found a group to help her grow spiritually
-She calls her mom :)
-She loves coming home (and going back to school).

I am so proud of her!

Shortly after second semester started we received a certificate of academic excellence.
Great job Em. Always work hard to be the best you can be.

Last week this picture came across my instagram feed. My heart nearly exploded with joy. Remember June of 2017 when Emma dramatically injured her middle finger on her left hand leaving her unable to play the cello? Well, she is back at it. Not only is she playing again but she auditioned for the University orchestra and made it! Congrats babe!! I miss the beautiful cello music she created while living at home. It will be such a joy to hear her perform again.

We have always felt like it is our job to help our children grow wings and then celebrate when they leave the nest and learn to soar on their own. Our first baby girl is doing just that!

Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men 
stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD 
will renew their strength. They will soar on 
wings like eagles; they will run and not grow 
weary, they will walk and not be faint.
Isaiah 40:30-31

Friday, January 12, 2018

Scrappin' Christmas

I'm not ditching the holiday, I'm back to scrapbooking and oh does it feel so good. Many years ago I decided to do a book of our annual Christmas cards and letters. I sort of scrapped 2000 and 2001. They were both ugly to say the least. Since then I just stuck the card and letter in the book. My plan was to get back to it when I had time. Apparently last night was when I finally had time. I creatively documented 11 years of our family cards and letters. It's not surprising but certainly is disappointing that I am missing several years of cards. So if you happen to be a person who keeps Christmas cards and would like to scan my old cards/letters from 2007, 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2015 I would love to have a copy. In the meantime I have a couple places to dig through.

People like FlyLady warn again the dangers of keeping junk, so many of us suffer from some form of hoarding.  However, I can't even begin to tell you how grateful I am to have these pictures and letters from the past. The quotes we included both make me laugh and cry. 

The practice of sending out cards and letters is slowly going away. Chris would love for me to email the letter, I just can't! Life BC (before children) is not typically highlighted in year end letters. Oh how I would love to reminisce about what 23 year old Chris and Melanie thought and did BC. 

Too often I compare our family to others, we just never seem to measure up. Darn social media! What I realized while lovingly pouring over these pictures is that our family has a rich history. I love what Chris and I have created over the years. In a blink of an eye we have gone from one baby girl to three phenomenal daughters who are on the verge of becoming adults. For sure we have a blessed life. And just like the title of my all happens so fast.

Below are some pictures of the simple scrap projects I did last night. It felt so good to use up some unfavorable supplies. I like the way it turned out. Nothing is overly decorated, after all the picture and letter are the important aspects.

I know...ugly but paper from early 2000's

this page isn't really done

again, kind of ugly but happy I used
up a bunch of old supplies

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Slique Challenge

Working out has always been something I love to do but for some reason over the last 19 years I have found reasons to not workout. It's the girls, the laundry, time constraints, pure exhaustion, family activities, surgery or whatever else popped up. I guess I forgot that it's of the utmost importance to take care of myself so I can take care of my family. Over the years I have slowly gained...well let's just say a lot of weight. The final blow was injuring my hamstring in July, surgery, 6 weeks on the couch and then a slow recovery. In December I started PT and walking on the treadmill but by the end of 2018 I want to say I have completed a half marathon. This is going to take a tremendous amount of work but who doesn't love a challenge?

This "condition" didn't happen over night or even over a couple of months so recovery will take many months as well. Competition drives me so I joined the Slique Challenge. This is a weight loss challenge and as much as I would love to win the grand prize 60 or 120 days from now I also will be a winner if I drop several pounds and re-enter the active life I use to have. My first goal is to shed 20 pounds.

I wasn't going to tell anyone about this challenge. To be honest, I'm afraid of failure and more afraid of anyone knowing about my failure. What a defeatist attitude! As soon as I click on "PUBLISH" to this post, it's out in the light for everyone to know, and I believe that is the first step towards success.

Instead of using my kids as an excuse I am using them as a reason! 

I took measurements and a horrifying picture of myself. One of the worst days of my life. UGH! When they say the truth sets you free, I literally almost ran away. The truth of that image and those numbers were staggering. Instead of posting that sports bra and shorts pic I am posting the picture that serves as my short term inspiration. The picture on the left is from May 2017 at Emma's graduation. The picture on the right is from November 2017. The face says it all!

Here's to Health in 2018!
This body is the temple of Christ and it's time to treat it as such!

Monday, January 1, 2018

Best Christmas Gift of 2017

Over the Christmas break our family had the wonderful opportunity to spend a morning with Dad. This February will mark the two year anniversary of Dad moving into the senior care center. It was most definitely a needed move but hard on all of us.
-Mom promised she would never put dad in such a facility but she also didn't know what life would be like as his health continued to decline. Being a caregiver is exhausting in every part of life. For mom's health, she needed this help.
-For the at least the first year, every time mom saw dad he asked her to take him home. These were the times I started to see mom really break. It was hard for her to say she couldn't take him home. Dad's hallucinations and confusion grew making it impossible for him to live at home. However, there were (and still are) times that dad thinks clearly. Knowing you are losing your ability to care for yourself must be tragic.
-For me, I felt like dad should have been moved into a nursing home months before mom finally caved to the facts. However, it was also so hard to see dad make that permanent transition. With the exception of this week's visit, every time I see dad he has declined from the previous visit. I miss dad so much!

Back to the blessing of seeing dad this week. The girls didn't love leaving the house at 6:45am, they usually have another 3 hours of slumber. However, the early departure allowed us to get to dad's place by 9:30am and have two quality hours together. I was pleasantly surprised to see dad wide awake watching Andy Griffith Show. And then came several beautiful moments, first dad knew me and knew the girls were his granddaughters and second during our conversation he laughed several times. Seeing his genuine smile was heartwarming. Most of our conversation was confusing but moments made sense. At one point Dad even asked me if I needed some money. So sweet!

Wishing everyone a very Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Road to Recovery

Reagan is ten weeks PI (post injury) and six weeks PO (post operation) Already she is hitting benchmarks that remind us "she is going to get there!" From the beginning I told Reagan we weren't going to focus on what she can't do or how long it was going to take to get back on the pitch. Rather we would take a look at the next goal and look back at how far she had come in one week, two weeks, etc. It's been a great plan, so far. 

I love lists and spreadsheets. I haven't made a spreadsheet or line graph (yet) but it is very encouraging to look back at what Reagan has accomplished thus far.
MRI before surgery 10/18

Getting around before
surgery. 10/17

3 days PO 11/17
1. 1st Doc appointment and MRI (Oct 18)
2. Rehab to heal MCL and regain ROM for surgery
3. Surgery (Nov 14) This was a big one...she got sick 4 days before surgery and there was a strong chance that surgery would be post-poned. I loaded her up on several essential oils and surgery safe supplements all day long. Her body fought it well enough to go under.
4. Start Physical Therapy (Nov 17)
5. one wants to talk about it but anyone on painkillers KNOWS this is an issue!
6. Off Pain Meds
7. Back to school (Nov 27) and back to soccer practice.
8. Two week PO appointment (Nov 28)
9. No Crutches (Dec 11)
10. 6 week doctor appoint (Dec 27) = no brace and start driving

I hope I can get the video below to work. For 2 weeks I dropped Reagan off at PT for her hour long visit. A couple weeks I stayed to watch her progress. The emotions caught me off-guard. Seeing Reagan walk, march and ride the bike without crutches, a brace or even the ace bandage was overwhelming. Reagan is doing so well and even though there's so much she is waiting to do, she can be very proud of her accomplishments in such a short time. Then two days later at PT again she was kicking a soccer ball. Claire, her therapist understands the psychological side of this injury, touching the ball is critical!

Dr Arnold explained today that the next six weeks can be difficult. To this point she has had very visible benchmarks but weeks 6-12 PO are all about strengthening which happens gradually without much fanfare. It's also a time when athletes such as Reagan begin to think, "I feel good, I can do that." WRONG!!! No you can't! Use caution! Think about the future not the immediate limitations! These are difficult things for a 16 year old to do but Reagan is up for the challenge.

On a personal note, Reagan and I attend physical therapy together from time to time. Our injuries are completely different, our bodies are completely different but we are both extremely competitive. Claire (PT) put us both on little wheeled chairs to scoot across the floor. First thing she says, "THIS IS NOT A RACE!" To that Reagan exclaimed, "OH YES THIS IS A RACE!" Ha She makes me laugh. Only because I have to enjoy it while I can... I won! :) My leg hurt later that night but that's ok, it's been many years since I have been able to beat Reagan at anything physically.

All joking aside, I am so proud of Reagan's hard work and determination to return better than ever. There's something to be said for a warrior who can fight the battle on the field but also the one that rages within. You've got this kid! Keep working hard and reach your dreams.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Happy Birthday Livie

What happened? Wasn't this sweet girl a funny little toddler yesterday? We couldn't be prouder of who she is becoming. Smart . Funny . Musical . Jesus Lover . Emotional . Positive . Ranch Eater  No matter how many birthdays she has, Liv will always be my baby. 

These two girls met in 2007, pretty sure Kayla was still in diapers. They have been BFFs since day one and other than silly little disagreements over toys when they were little I don't think there has been a fight. They have helped each other celebrate every birthday for the last ten years. When we moved just 3 miles away the girls were devastated. Fast forward three years, we live in the same neighborhood again. Life is good! 

 This is what you get when you ask four middle school girls to pose for a picture.

Cherry Brownies and Sparkler candles

Escape rooms are a pretty big deal right now but since I haven't been to one I couldn't in good conscience send a group of young girls in without an adult so we created our own. Chris did an amazing job buying locks and creating a Star Wars themed escape room. The girls had a blast! There was a series of riddles and challenges they had to solve to unlock and open each box. It was so cool to listen to them collaborate and problem solve. I love thinkers! I love smart girls!

Now praying that the movie puts them to sleep...

Happy Birthday Olivia Joy! 

Monday, December 4, 2017

Gathering Addresses

Tis the season to make lists, gather addresses and plan holiday fun. Tonight as I prepared to pour over my Christmas card spreadsheet I began to panic. My old computer is basically dead and that is where I kept my spreadsheet. You see I like lists and I love spreadsheets. Years ago I began keeping data on who I sent cards to and who sent them back. To be honest, it's a means to cut down my outgoing cards. Not that I want to be a scrooge but the list keeps growing and growing. I try to keep my outgoing cards to 100, it's a challenge. I don't received that many cards, I guess people are too busy to make the time for this age old custom. Or maybe their husbands have convinced them to email cards. My darling hubby has suggested such a deal...oh that's not happening!

So I ask, how do you weaned down the list? There are people like my friend Susan who hasn't sent me a card in 8 years but will always get one from me even though she knows every details of the past year. She's just my person! But then there's Jenny who always sends a card but we haven't talked to each other for 14 years. Do I still send her a card? What about people from the kids' activities that I see weekly but we aren't friends? Do I send them a card just to be merry and jolly but truth be told I either don't really know them or don't care for them? And then what's the rule with co-workers? You say I'm over thinking this...absolutely! It's important (to me) to do the right thing.

So I have made a list, on my new computer. Currently I have 82 to mail, 28 to hand out and 15 to email. I need to cut at least 10 or move them to the email column. You know, I may have forgotten some recipients thus creating a cushion is a good idea. Oh my gosh, thank goodness I don't have a job that requires me to be gone from home for 9 hours a day. How on earth would I get all this accomplished?

Next on my list...
Finish Christmas shopping
Wrap gifts
Make a second batch of peppernuts
Clean out something, this house is so cluttered.

I hope your Christmas season to-do list is short and manageable. Whatever doesn't get done will only be noticed by you. Christ is still King whether we mail cards, wrap gifts or volunteer to ring the Salvation Army bells.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

I found this post hidden in my drafts, started the week Reagan was injured. It is just the ramblings of a mom hurting for her child.
Tonight I am dragging. I want to cry but need to keep my composure. It almost feels like throwing a tantrum would ease some of what is building inside of me. Life isn't fair and this is no big surprise but why? 
I am mad. 
I am sad. 
I am fearful. 
I am plagued with concern. 
I turn to God. 
I trust God.
It's just a torn ACL I tell myself. Something that is corrected everyday in this country. Something that athletes recover from every year. But it's not JUST A TORN ACL, it's so much more. 

It seemed that Reagan was on the fast track to a college scholarship to play soccer at a D1 school in a power 5 conference. And from there her goals include the national team and playing professional soccer one day. Lofty goals for a 16 year old but it's actually been her plan since she was 7 years old. Now we don't know if there will be athletic money for Reagan. College coaches are pulling away from her.

Reagan isn't completely defined by soccer but it is a key ingredient. Taking soccer away from Reagan for the next 9 months is heart wrenching to watch. Soccer isn't just an activity for our daughter. It's her workout . stress reliever . fun . endorphin producer . friends . challenge . vacations and sometimes her identity. Reagan is a sister, daughter, friend, student, leader, christian, goof-ball, introvert, thinker and button pusher but without soccer there is a hole. It's that hole that makes a mama's heart ache. 

Reagan had surgery on November 14th and started physical therapy 3 days later. She has had good days and hard days...there are more of both yet to come. I have never seen a girl with such a desire and drive to overcome. We are proud of you Reags. Keep working hard and trusting that God has a great plan for your life. 
The Injury 10.14.17

The Surgery 11.14.17

The Road to Recovery 11.15.17

Give Thanks with A Grateful Heart

Each November I create some kind of gratitude list. This year my plan was to post on instangram an unplanned picture each day that represented something of my everyday life that I'm thankful for. Honestly, I was not as consistent as I hoped to be. The thing is I began to recognize the most simplistic items and events of my day that I am truly thankful for. Being happy and grateful is a decision. A decision to recognize my blessings rather than focus on my wants and needs.

Every thanksgiving day we hang out with my husband's family in Omaha. Many years my parents have joined us but with dad in the nursing home and mom in Texas, it wasn't possible to have them with us. All too often I hear people complain about family. We look forward to spending holidays with our family especially at Thanksgiving. This year I experienced a first. Once Emma came home from college I felt completely content. We still did the big gathering but I could have been just as happy having my family of five around me for the day.

Sixty degrees and Thankful!

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Veterans and Chris

Happy Veteran's Day
Happy Birthday to My Guy

I love you Babe!
Today I wish a very happy birthday to the father of my children and love of my life. This handsome hubby got a little cheated today as we have one sick and one almost getting sick kiddo at home. Our plans were to eat out, go to the Curling Olympic Trials and the movie Thor. Instead we ate out twice and came home for some R&R.

Every year Chris picks a new hamburger joint for the family birthday celebration. This year we went to Louie M's in east Omaha, not an area we frequent. This establishment has been around for 37 years. It's a real family business, owner Lou and his 2 adult sons were there, father and son cooks were in the kitchen, a family combo works there and their head waitress has been working at Louie M's for 25 years. Sounds like a great business. I loved the history of the place. My hamburger was good but it didn't compare with Stella's in Bellevue.
Louie M's Burger Lust
This picture just isn't quite right. Again, it's odd to celebrate without Emma. Being the sweet daughter that she is, both Chris and I got to facetime Em tonight. I cherish hearing about her week. Her exciting news was learning to shoot a shot gun. Never a dull moment!

Monday, November 6, 2017

Move This Mountain

This past year our family has had an unusual amount of challenging issues and I can't help but wonder why. Typically when I ask God "why are we dealing with x, y, z?" I am really complaining about my discomfort and looking for answers that will soothe me. What if it's not about me? While it is probable that God has something to teach me, it may also be about someone else. 

If God has brought me to it, He's going to help me through it! 

Today I choose joy! I will face each challenge with the wisdom that God loves me and has great plans for me. I can be an inspiration to others and a light to the world when I focus on God as my strength. 

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Happy Halloween!

Fall in Nebraska can be fantastic or ridiculously cold. Handing out candy to cute little kids coming to my door bundled up battling the snow on halloween just doesn't seem right. My little kiddos had their own Halloween fun. Olivia trick or treated with her BFF Makayla. Reagan had her squad over for dinner, pictures and laughs. While Emma hung out in her dorm room watching Netflix.
Reagan's Squad
Stephen Curry . The Purge Scary girl . Lifeguard . Pig in A Blanket
The Purge Scary guy . Sister Grace . Chill Dude (whatever that is)

A Box of Nerds

Saturday, October 21, 2017

In A Blink of An Eye much can change.

Last Saturday Reagan was bouncing off the walls with excitement to return to the sport she so dearly loves to play. It had been a grueling 17 days since she had done full contact, all out soccer and she was about to play a league game in her hometown for the first time in years. Reagan was strong and ready to face the St Louis Scott Gallagher-IL ECNL team. Three minutes in to the game, as she won the ball back from a SLSG defender, a small collision landed Reagan on her right knee. I could hear the scream all the way across the field in the stands and then the sobs of pain as she rolled on the turf. There was no doubt in my mind, her knee was in bad shape. Chris and I sat there in fear, watching her dreams get challenged and her heart break. At that very instant I began to talk to God. I know He wouldn't give her this kind of talent, passion and drive just to let it end right there. So we begin a journey of self discovery, faith and a lot of hard work.

SIDE NOTE: her team went on to win the game 1-0 in a very physical nasty game.
Coach Marcus carries Reagan off the field

My baby on the far left watching her team play
Physical Therapist  ✅
Sports Orthopedist Knee Specialist ✅
Chiropractor  ✅

The results are in. Reagan has a torn ACL, sprained MCL, torn meniscus and bone bruise on the femur and tibia. To me that says it was a contact injury which is a good thing, less chance for re-tear because it wasn't due to her mechanics or anatomical make-up. The other good thing is without a torn MCL she can probably still have a hamstring graft and not have to wait as long for surgery. She has quite a bit of swelling and pain right now. Hopefully she will be walking and pain free by the time of surgery. We see the surgeon again on Nov 3rd. In the meantime, Reagan is working on getting her leg completely straight and a full range of motion.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Minnesota and Missouri Visits

What a ride our girl is experiencing!
Our speedy blonde wears #8 on the field but will always be our #1 soccer player. She loves to pop the ball over the head of her defender, zip around and drive to the goal. As college coaches caught a glimpse of her in the fall of her freshman year, recruiting calls began to trickle in. Now that she has been to several NCAA Division 1 college campuses she is starting to make a dos and don'ts wish list. Something along the line of sports medicine is starting to emerge as a possible course of study but mostly she is concerned with which coach can help her reach her soccer goals of playing beyond college, into the pros. Even though Reagan has always been a kid who takes in a lot of information without saying much, I don't know if at 16 years old she can look at a campus, three coaches and a brochure and feel confident in making a decision about the next 7 years of her life. I guess that's what  mom and dad are here for, to guide, advise, encourage and support her. As many coaches will tell her, it's important for her to remember soccer is a means to college and her education will be a means to a day soccer will end. I like this advice from a former college player and coach.
Would you come to this university if you didn't make the soccer team? If the answer is no, don't go to that university. If you would go to the university even if you didn't make the team, this could be the right university for you. Enjoy this time, investigate and prepare yourself to make the right decision. It will be one of the biggest decisions of your life.
Coach Schellas Hyndman, FC Dallas Head Coach

This fall Reagan has had the privilege to visit two fantastic college campuses and a third hopefully later this month but I will disclose that later.
1. University of Minnesota, Big Ten
2. University of Missouri, SEC
AUGUST 11, 2017
Really, what is there to not love at the University of Minnesota, if you are there in August? Notice they didn't invite her up to the frozen tundra of winter. I remember several years ago Reagan's team played soccer in a heated Minneapolis dome in February and it was 35 degrees INSIDE!!! Ok, other than the ridiculously freezing temps, the place is great. Coach Golan is a strong no nonsense leader who has turned the program around in the last four years. The academics are top notch. And then there's the row of mopeds, Reagan loved that many players drove mopeds. Yes, you read that correctly, MOPEDS. 
Possible Negatives: It's a huge campus (50,000+) and I've heard the class sizes are on the larger size. They don't have reciprocity with Nebraska, meaning out of state tuition is a killer. Airfare to the TwinCities is awful but it is driveable, only 8 hours.
Reagan's visit was the day after my hamstring surgery and in the heat of Chris' high school softball season which is why she took the visit with teammate Grace and her dad. They attended a packed house home game Friday night. Saturday morning they toured the facility and had individual meetings with the coaches which at least I was able to join in through the joys of modern technology. Minnesota moved up to number one on Reagan's short list.

SEPTEMBER 24, 2017
To be completely honest, I have never liked the University of Missouri. Why? Because I am a KU fan. The hatred goes back before there were even universities built in either state but the distaste for one another rages on.  And their colors are black and yellow, come on people. That's just me and truly wherever my daughter plays soccer I will love and cheer for the team. But like Leigh Anne Tuohy in The Blind Side movie stated, "black and yellow (she said orange) are not in my color wheel". Reagan doesn't have any of those preconceived thoughts which is good. Reagan and Chris toured Columbia, Mo with teammate Maddie and her dad. The visit began with a Sunday night game which the team lost miserably to Texas A&M but Reagan actually saw the loss as a chance to understand team chemistry. She saw the girls on the field battle until the final whistle even when a win was impossible. They didn't start playing "boom ball" they stuck with good soccer and didn't tear each other down. I would say that's a sign of a healthy program. Enrollment at Mizzou is about 35,000 with almost 300 degree programs offered, just like many other universities. One thing I do know, Reagan was very impressed with the coaches and the team, more than she thought she would be. Shortly after Reagan's visit she came down with shingles so we got a little distracted. This week we will talk some more.

Recap of college visits thus far...
Creighton University, Omaha NE
University of Missouri-Kansas City, KC, MO
Kansas State Univeristy, Manhattan, KS
University of Kansas, Lawrence KS
Auburn University, Auburn, AL
University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
University of Missouri, Columbia MO

Reagan, we are proud of who you are, not just what you do. Soccer is one part of you, don't let your successes and failures on the field define you. You are an amazing young lady.  Wherever you go to college and whatever you do keep Christ close, you'll be just fine. We love you much!

Friday, October 6, 2017

Shingles Are the Worst!

There are topics that instantly tug at my heart...Human trafficking, Child abuse, Infidelity, Emma's Fall, Colic and now I will add Shingles to that list. In no way am I suggesting all these topics are equally horrific. Each one of them pierces my heart. Never again will I hear about a person suffering from shingles and not think of what we have endured the last 10 days in our home. I love that my name to three special little girls is "mom." Back in 1999 I had no idea the blessings and the torment that would come with such a title.

Here is Reagan's virus story

Saturday afternoon Reagan got ready for her first homecoming (yeah, I haven't posted those pictures yet.) She wore a beautiful soft flowing short black dress. Comfort is a must for Reagan, fashion is always a distant second place. She noticed that the dress was irritating her left thigh but couldn't find anything poking her skin and it wasn't really that bad so she went to dinner and the dance with her group of friends. (this is something I will learn about later)

Sunday Reagan and her dad headed south for another college soccer recruiting visit (yeah, I haven't posted those pictures either.) They attended a D1 women's soccer game on Sunday and did the whole tour and meeting the coaches on Monday. They got home just in time for her club soccer practice. Like any other day on the field, Reagan worked hard in practice, came home starving and had a back log of homework due to missing school. Some time before bed she began complaining of pain in her groin area. I told her to ice bath and left it at that. 

Tuesday was typical day as far as I knew. School...Snack...Soccer  I guess those are the important S's in Reagan's life. Soccer practice was ran by another D1 college coach who is recruiting Reagan, she was focused and worked hard but afterwards complained again of pain in her groin. When I showed her how to roll out the groin muscle, it didn't bother her at all. That was my first clue that she did not have a groin pull. After her shower she said, "oh look mom, this is weird I have a little rash on my thigh." It was odd but certainly didn't cause any real concern.

Wednesday morning was the kick off of Reagan's SWEET 16th Birthday. Only it turned out to be NOT-SO-SWEET! She noticed a pain in her lower left back/butt area and complained of a bad night of sleep. This all was really disrupting my perfect birthday planning. If you know me, I had balloons, special breakfast and gifts everywhere. Birthdays are important to me. Actually, she wasn't too bad yet so off she went to school. I had some fun surprises at school too. Fast forward nine hours and our birthday girl was falling apart from pain, mostly in her back. The poor thing, she wanted to celebrate with family and about all she could do was lay on her bed in tears. At this point, I knew it was time for a doctor but wasn't sure who to see. That night was horrific! I've never seen a child in so much pain for two straight hours, this is when my birthing class preparations helped.

Thursday morning I marched in the pediatrician's office and pretty much demanded to be seen first which worked. I feel bad for everyone else that day, Dr Lisa started her day off 40 minutes behind. I am so impressed with our pediatrician, she is amazing with my children and understands me. She was really confused on what Reagan was presenting until she saw the rash. The L3 nerve path was perfect to explain Reags had a case of SHINGLES. Just like you, I was shocked. I thought this was a disease for octogenarians. We spent the next 5 hours at children's hospital having tests ran. Which I might add that the blood work STILL ISN'T BACK...8 DAYS LATER! Thank goodness we aren't dealing with a life threatening condition.
Sept 28th

Reagan's internal pain continued to increase in intensity and longevity. NSAIDs did nothing for the pain and narcotics took off the edge just enough that she could sleep at night. You caregivers (especially moms) out there know what I mean when I ached and cried for my girl. The rash intensified as well, first blisters arrived on the 29th and then seemed to reproduce rapidly. 
Sept 29th
Saturday was a tough day. Reagan had lost the use of her leg. That's right, she couldn't walk. Fear set in and it didn't really matter that I explained to her that this was just a virus and would leave just like any other virus. Secondly, EGA ECNL 01 (her soccer team) was playing in Chicago without her. The girls were so kind and concerned about Reagan but with each snapchat she got more upset, not to mention the constant shooting pain in her back and groin were bringing her down too. The pain Reagan endured was greater than anything I have ever seen any other person go through. 

I don't want to forget a high point for Reagan, Emma came home from college. A sisterly surprise visit was the best medicine! That Emma is a great kid!

Sunday, October 1st was more of the same.

Monday was Reagan's 3rd day home from school which was causing her a lot of stress. As the internal pain decreased the rash became more bothersome. This is when we noticed all the extra red splotchy areas, I am guessing hives. They eventually went away.
Oct 2nd
Tuesday the 3rd, Reagan visited practice. She had a limp but could walk out on the field. Playing wasn't an option but she needed her team. Who knew hanging with mom 24/7 for 6 days just wasn't enough for her. :/  On our ride home she said, "I'm going to Wisconsin this weekend and I AM going to play." At this point there's no reason to argue so I said can we make that decision on Friday? Here's the deal, my kid is so stubborn, determined and hardworking that when she said she was going to do something she meant it and there really wasn't any chance of changing her mind. I talked to both her pediatrician and her chiropractor, both in agreement that playing would not hurt her body or cause a relapse, it would hurt to play. That's all she needed to hear.
Oct 4th blisters starting to dry up

Today is October 6th
Reagan went to school half day Wednesday, full day Thursday and half day today. Her teachers are being very accommodating as she will most likely receive incompletes in 3 of her 4 block schedule classes and they will allow her to finish the work over fall break and then adjust her grades. 
Just as she said, Reagan is currently in transit to Wisconsin to play soccer with her favorite 18 people where another D1 college coach plans to be in attendance to watch her play. The girl hasn't ran in 10 days so I'm not sure how well she will play but it will be a victory to Reagan to be back on the field.

Shingles is the result of a compromised immune system in someone who has the Herpes Zoster virus hanging out in their spine and the greatest attacker of the immune system is stress gone unchecked. Our household has been ravaged with stress over the last 5 months.  I think Reagan's little body held out just as long as it could and when I finally was able to take care of my family again the body broke down. Reagan has healed incredibly quick. The combination of a young healthy body and a mom who did everything possible to boost her immune system gave her a fighting chance. Here are some of the things we did to support her health...
-Chiropractic adjustments daily
-Young Living essential oils (immupower, elemi, helichrysum, frankincense, copaiba)
-Supplements designed for the nervous system (sulfurzyme, calcium)
-Eating LOTS of healthy fats (avocado, Omega 3, coconut oil) which coat the nerves
-Rest and Ice
-Limiting stress, lots of laughs
-Domeboro soak for the rash
-She ate chocolate which made her happy
-Drinking oceans of water
-Our most important treatment was prayer. God is our healer. He loves us and wants nothing bad to happen to us. I know He can use this difficult time to shape us into better more compassionate people. I'm not glad we went through this but I kept praising God inspite of it. I look forward to the benefits God has for us because of this trial. God is Good All The Time!