Sunday, October 17, 2021

The Ultimate Creator- Moab, Utah


Moab, Utah

Videos of the Scenic Views of Moab, Utah

Kyle and I recently went on a trip to Moab, Utah for a special off roading event, outdoor exploring adventure, and a belated anniversary trip.  We celebrated 11 years of marriage in August.  Some people say times flies in marriage, but for us it feels like a long time. 

We have been through so much together over the years and we have come out stronger.  It feels like our marriage has refined us individually and as a couple through pressure to transform our marriage into a diamond.

Arches National Park in Moab, Utah

We certainly do not have it all figured out and conflict always comes up, but overall, I feel like we are in a good, happy, and content place.  As opposed to the way we use to interact together, at one point, when I wondered if we would make it.  The stresses of our lives became so great, but with God as our rock, we were able to cling to Him, and fight for our marriage and each other. (We also went to a great Christian marriage counselor for a few years and put the work in to address issues to move forward in better and positive ways.)

"Window" Rock formation, Moab, UT

Moab, Utah reminded me of the transformation our marriage has gone through and showcased the incredible creator God truly is. God has created an area of the country that you can literally see the layers of the crust of the Earth from millions of years of erosion. Like life and marriage, the pressures of the whole Earth have created shifts, and erosion. Over millions of years, the changing lakes and rivers have created landmark rock formations. Besides looking like Mars, the desert landscape is like nothing I have ever seen!

Arches National Park in Moab, UT

The national parks in Moab, Utah take you through a journey in time where you can explore and come in close contact with these amazing rock formations.  We explored the Arches National Park, and it was very vast and awe-inspiring. If you are ever able, I would encourage you to explore Moab and see God’s mighty hand on display in physically shaping the world!

Friday, September 10, 2021

"My Head Hurts"


1st Day of School 2021

James had been complaining about headaches after school. I would make comments that it was, "convenient it was happening right when it was time to start doing his homework". We thought maybe he wasn't drinking enough water. We thought maybe he wasn't eating enough at school. We thought maybe it was seasonal allergies. Can you tell we gave this a lot of thought??? I even asked his pediatrician about it too.

About James on his first day of school

But it wasn't until Parent's Night at his school when I spoke with another mom who said it could be related to his vision. Then, I immediately knew she was on to something. As I had found out, it was only happening around academic activities. I didn't think he had any trouble seeing but now knew it had to be related to his vision. Pediatricians can do basic vision screenings. Finding an opthamologist that can, has all the equipment, and will do comprehensive children's exams I realized, are harder to find.

After a visit to Milan Eye Center for a sty and a basic exam for James, they referred us to Eyes on Towne Lake. They told me about the wonderful Dr. Jennifer A.Dattolo, OD, FCOVD, there who specializes and has all the equipment to see children ("infants to elderly"). She gave James the most comprehensive eye exam I have ever seen and she was very efficient. After a long exam she told me the answer to our burning questions!

Working on Math homework

James has weak eye focusing muscles. She prescribed him glasses for reading, writing, and computer screens at school and home. Basically anything within his arm distance. He picked out some cute glasses and they are being ordered now. She said the straining trying to focus is what is giving him the headaches.

1st School Project- "Mercy Watson to the Rescue"

Kyle and I both wear contacts and have poor vision. James has 20/20 vision now and these glasses should help keep his vision better longer. The focusing muscles should get stronger over time as well.

So mommas and daddies, don't stop searching for an answer when you know something is not right with your babies (no matter how old they are). We have to be their biggest advocates! Trust your gut!


Sunday, June 13, 2021

The Bright Sides of my Ankle Recovery

Female Strength Mural at Mercedes-Benz Stadium

 I have always been a "Let's look at the bright side" kind of person.  During difficult situations sometimes you really must search for something positive.  Positives can be hard to find and maybe they will not be revealed until a (much) later date. I do believe; however, God can use anything for His good, eventually. God also can provide comfort and grace during a trial to help you get through it. If you welcome Him in, He is with you even if He is silent.


Getting my medical boot

Since I have broken my ankle, it has changed just about everything I do to get around, to do household tasks, forget about running or playing soccer. In the event I have somewhere to go dressed up, nope, no heels either. I love my heels- the higher the better. But COVID-19 canceled my "heel events" anyway.


First time going up the stairs

Taking a shower

Showers looked a lot different and stairs, do not get me started on stairs. I feared getting more hurt by going up or down stairs. I stayed in an extra bedroom on our main level and did not go up the stairs for 2 weeks. I slept on an air mattress and used the couch behind it for working.  You know when you own a business certain things still need to get done.  Employees would be pretty upset if I had not run payroll that week.


Frankie trying to be sweet

I could go on and on about all the things I could not do or how hard it was for me and my amazing husband and son who picked up all the slack. But, I want to focus on the bright sides of this situation.  This whole time I have been looking for how God will use my broken ankle and the aftermath to reveal things to me and teach me some life lessons.  This has happened for a reason, and I was determined to figure out what the reasons were.  This is part of my story now.


Flowers from a friend

Flowers from two friends

Love. The biggest bright side of this whole experience has been L O V E. Actually F E E L I N G how loved I am. I have been abundantly blessed by the outpouring of support in so many ways from my family, friends, friends of friends, neighbors and even acquaintances. This is my biggest bright side. To have such amazing people in my life during such a hard time has been overwhelming, in the best way. Our family has an unforgettable gratitude to all of you for your kindness. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!


Physical Therapy

I have a much bigger appreciation and gratitude for my health, fitness, and mobility. I developed a bigger compassion to those individuals that have mobility restrictions.  It is hard to explain, but there are a lot of emotions you have when you are struggling physically.  You feel like you are missing out because you cannot participate in certain things.


Grocery shopping for the first time

You can feel the eyes watching you wondering what happened to you or the story behind your situation. That is the most common question I get.  The little kids seem to be the most outspoken about their curiosities. Then their parents seem sorry or embarrassed that their kids ask questions or want to touch the medical boot. I did not mind them though, they mean well.


Tubing on the Toccoa River in Blue Ridge, GA

Then I felt almost guilty and an inconvenience for asking for help doing something that would have been easy for me before. I tried to ask in a really nice humble way and then be patient that it may not get done right then. I did not want to not come off as bossy or ungrateful.  I tried to use a lot of pleases and thank yous. That was a feeling I put on myself; Kyle and James are wonderful!


Braves game with my family

We feel very blessed with the things we have but they are not important, because they are just things.  It made me evaluate and reflect on what is important in life.  What IS important are the people you surround yourself with and the relationships you have in your life. My relationship with God.  That is one thing I can never do without in my life.

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Girl, Wash your toes


X-Ray side view

I'd love to be able to tell you I broke my ankle on a wild hunting expedition stepping on a bear trap or in a sky diving accident or something else exotic and exciting.... but here is what actually happened:

(If you get squeamish, this post is not for you, keep scrolling.)

X-ray profile view

I was playing soccer in a local adult rec league. As a forward, I was in the goal box along with my other teammates trying to score. The game was close, and we were giving our all.  I was playing near the goal post and the ball was going away from the goal along the end line. I was leading with my left foot about to take a touch to keep it in bounds.  I was poised to turn to get the ball back in, hopefully scoring.

Well, that didn't happen... As I went to take a touch with my left foot the goalie dived for the ball, got the ball and landed on my foot.  It gets kind of gruesome from there.  I heard and felt 2 breaks and as I went down, I knew it was a major injury. I immediately started to freak out.

Our son was there watching, and we have taught him how to unlock our phones and make calls in case of an emergency. He also has both my and Kyle's phone numbers memorized.  I called to our son and asked him to call Kyle while my teammates called 911.

Our son earlier that day at Monster Jam

As I laid there my teammates gently took off my shoe, then my soccer socks, then my shin guards. They asked me if I could wiggle my toe? "If you can wiggle your toe, it is not broken," one player said. I could wiggle my toes, so I thought that was a good sign. But then when they put my leg down, my ankle went one way, and my foot went the other way. Then I really panicked.

By this time Kyle, was on the phone and our son gave me the phone to talk to him. Kyle knows how to calm me down and he started talking me down off my cliff I felt like I was on. The firemen and EMTs were arriving and Kyle was on his way. James was quickly packing up all my stuff. (I think he aged about 3 years during this traumatic series of events.)

The EMTs took one look at my ankle and said they were going to put a splint on it and take me to the hospital. As they carted me off the field on the gurney I was wondering if they could tell if it was broken, since I could wiggle my toes and all... without hesitation he said, "Oh, yeah".

At Monster Jam that morning

Skipping ahead, Northside Hospital Cherokee was wonderful. The care I received was top notch and the staff was very accommodating. After trying to set the ankle in the ER, it didn't set completely straight. The ER Dr. contacted the Orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Widener, and he decided to go ahead and schedule me for surgery the next day.  He already had a full day of surgery, so I was blessed to stay overnight so he could do the surgery the next day.

The hospital was almost at full capacity, so they let me spend the night in the ER. The next morning, they moved me to a room in the women's ward while I waited to have my surgery that afternoon. When I got to the preop room, I asked someone to pray with me and we did. Then, as they prepared me for surgery, I felt God's presence as a friend I volunteered with at our church walked in to my preop room. I remember when she was going through nursing school and how we prayed she would pass her nursing test. I remember how hard she worked to earn her degree! Now, in the middle of my story she was my preop nurse!

After the surgery, Dr. Widener told me the injury was worse than they thought because there was a third bone broken, that they couldn't see in the x-ray, which is why it didn't set right in the ER.

The official diagnosis is a Trimaleolar fracture. In layman's terms, the three ankle bones were all broken, and my foot was dislocated. The thin bone broke at a diagonal, the bigger bone broke across the bottom, and the small bone on the back broke vertically. So, he put four screws on the metal plate attached to the thin bone, 2 screws going up on the big bone, and one screw going across the small bone in the back.

Watching our son's little league game

Now, I am wearing this half cast for 2 weeks. I cannot put any weight on that leg. Then I will switch to a boot and start physical therapy for the next six weeks. I feel overwhelmingly blessed with Kyle and James helping and doing so much, all our dear friends and neighbors rallying with us by bringing meals, flowers, chocolates, snacks, fruit, and offering to help in different ways. Thank you to my dad and my in-laws and to everyone for all the calls and texts of friends and family checking on me.

And no, the blood was not rushing to my toes Tuesday morning. I just needed to wash them...

A lady bug landed on my good ankle

Immanuel (Hebrew: עִמָּנוּאֵל‎ meaning, "God is with us"

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”  All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).

Matthew 1:20-23 NIV