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Finding Life after losing one

finding life after losing one book review + joy in jacksons journey

Finding Life After Losing One was written by Nikki King & Alice Rampton.

Nikki was my college roommate and  is one of my very dearest friends.

Nikki contacted me a while back and asked me if I would be willing to write about some of my experiences with Jackson and having the knowledge that my child has a terminal disease and knowing that at some point that disease will take his life.

I was so honored to be able to contribute to her book. We’ve shared with each other the difficulties that each of our situations hold and while we never know what we can handle until we’re faced with it, we both have expressed our thoughts and feelings about how each of us doesn’t think we could handle each others situations.

finding life after losing one book review + joy in jacksons journey

In this book she shares her experience with losing her daughter, Taylor, in a tragic accident. Throughout this book there are excerpts from other parents who have lost a child.

finding life after losing one book review + joy in jacksons journey

I want to begin by sharing Nikki’s Story………….

One fateful day, July 27th, 2012, Nikki’s sixteen-month-old, Taylor, had a tragic accident. Family from all over the Pacific Northwest came together for a reunion. That night Nikki and her husband, Eric, were going dancing with some of their family. When the time to get all the kiddos ready to go to the babysitter’s. Unbeknownst to Nikki, Taylor had slipped outside through the front door. Eric went to move the car in preparation for leaving. Not knowing that Taylor was outside, he moved the car and Taylor was hit by the right front tire. He never saw her little body. Panic ensued. Eric rushed her to the emergency room. Nikki was in the kitchen and saw Natalie (her 5 year old daughter) rush in like she had seen a ghost. She happened to be playing with the dogs outside and saw Taylor under the car.  A short while later I got a phone call to go to the hospital, so I left the other 3 children with family. Upon entering the hospital all she could hear was her husband repeatedly saying, “I’m sorry. I’m sorry. Please don’t blame me”. The doctor said Taylor had died on impact.

Eric and I have stuck to the promises we made to each other that day. What we still struggle with today is the blame we place on ourselves. That’s not helpful either. The reality is that our personal situation would only get worse if we lost each other as a result of this tragedy. Taylor was born  because of our love, and together we strive to heal from this tragedy through our love.

Nikki later recalled that the whole week she would get an overwhelming feeling to look over her, smell her, kiss her, and hold her close. Do I think that was by accident? or was that divine? It was absolutely divine. When we get those nudges or ideas….we need to listen to them. I am so proud of Nikki for taking that time to listen and to have those last few snuggles, smells and kisses.

 

Death takes many forms: overdose, suicide, accident, disease, murder, and the unknown. We don’t pretend to understand the emotions or experiences of all parents who have lost a child.

The other author, Alice, has a story about what happened with her daughter Lora. You can read about that here:

There was a large mass on her left adrenal gland. It turned out to be a neuroblastoma. They had opened her abdomen up and found that the tumor was too large to remove. It appeared to originate in the adrenal gland and had begun to invade her other organs. She was given a 5-10 % chance of survival.  They did a surgery to remove what they could and then the tumor came back.

Still cradling her in my arms on the changer, Lora simply reached up toward something and took her last breath. Mark came beside me, and we cried as we realized that she was gone.

There are so many wonderful pieces of advice in this book and I have written down the ones I love below. Here is one excerpt from the book that I wrote about Jackson.

finding life after losing one book review + joy in jacksons journey

“Although you stand at my grave and weep, I am not here, I do not sleep. I walk on heaven’s golden streets and listen at my Savior’s feet. ”  -Susan Fisher, mother of Dallas Fisher (1988-1992)

“Grief is the price we pay for love” – Prince William, Duke of Cambridge

“And once the storm is over you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what the storm is all about.

-Haruki Murakami

In this excerpt from the book I am discussing how I handled receiving the diagnosis. finding life after losing one book review + joy in jacksons journey

A child who loses his or her parents is called an orphan.

A woman who loses her husband is called a widow.

A man who loses his wife is called a widower.

There is no word in the English language for a parent who loses a child

 – it’s just unnatural.

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“I’m convinced that the Lord may push us to the very brink of despair to test who our God really is. He tests us to see who we turn to in our hour of need. He blesses our lives, and then we can turn and express gratitude for those blessings. I don’t think I’ve ever been grateful for my trials, but I’m grateful for what I learn from them. I’m grateful for the tender mercies that I see because of my trials.” – Nikki King

As the world you know crashes down around you and chaos becomes the norm, the one thing you have control over is your attitude. You basically have two choices: 1) You can choose to be bitter and angry 2) You can choose to learn from and accept your new reality.

“We aren’t always responsible for the circumstances in which we find ourselves. However, we are responsible for the way we respond to them.”

“Those we love don’t go away, they walk beside us everyday, unseen, unheard but always near, still loved, still missed and very dear.”

“A good friend is….a safety bar on your emotional roller coaster, a therapist without the high hourly fee, a nonprescription mood enhancer. “

 

To purchase the book you can get it HERE on AMAZON.


RallyCap

RallyCap+joyinjacksonsjourney

I’m always on the lookout for sporting programs that Jackson can take part in, but up until recently I haven’t been able to find all that many.

I’m the type of mother that never wants their child to feel left out or that they can’t do something.

I modify things for Jackson all the time so that he doesn’t feel left out, but with sports there really is no modification. It’s adrenaline, impact, running, and competition. All things that are not good for a boy with delicate muscles.

That recently all changed when I heard about a program called RALLY CAP SPORTS.

RallyCap+joyinjacksonsjourney

It is a sports  program for children and young adults with special needs. They want to create a world where people of all abilities can share in the joy of sports.

Their mission is to create positive sports environments fostering social integration, healthy living, and greater self-confidence for children and young adults with specials needs.

Each local league has passionate volunteers of students at universities. So the mission is actually two fold;

to provide transformative sports opportunities for the under-served special needs community and bring together communities by changing attitudes and opening hearts.

Here’s a short video showing Jackson at Rally Cap! {specifically at 2:09 for those impatient folks)

“Sports are a powerful avenue for people with special needs to discover new abilities, develop confidence, and find joy in every day. They also uncover a sense of belonging and inspire communities to open their hearts to people of all abilities.”   -Rallycap

Jackson has had the opportunity to participate in two of the sessions so far.

The first one he did was Basketball.

This was his first time being part of a program/team with this sport and he was thrilled.

He was so worried at first because he didn’t know how it would go and he had many questions.

“How can I keep up?”

“What if I get tired and need a rest?”

“I’m not going to be good enough.”

I explained to him how this was a special program that is different from the rest and that it would not allow him to overexert himself.

That if he was tired, he could easily take a break and come see me for a drink.

That he was in control of what he wanted to do and that if ANYTHING was too much, that he could stop anytime.

We went and he met the girls he would be playing with and pretty quickly a big smile appeared on his face.
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They had hoops of all varying sizes and he could shoot at any which one he liked.

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The pure joy on his face from making a hoop was enough to make my momma heart soar.

RallyCap+joyinjacksonsjourney

RallyCap+joyinjacksonsjourney

This program is seriously managed SO well and I couldn’t have been happier as a parent watching on the sidelines.

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Afterward we had to celebrate by getting some ice cream of course!

Jackson knew right where he wanted to go and this time he ordered up a big sundae!

RallyCap+joyinjacksonsjourney

At basketball each week he would just light up and have such a blast.

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At the end of the session he was honored and celebrated for being such a wonderful player and given a trophy.

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As you can tell…..that MAY have been his favorite part!

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Jackson also just did the Football/Cheerleading Session and yet again it did not disappoint.

He was way more apprehensive this time about doing this sport.

He’s never played football and knew that it was an impact sport.

When he first got there he refused to take part, I think it was a combination of fear + the fact that he just woke up from a nap.

But after I got out there and played a little football and then after he giggled at me and how terrible I was he gave it a shot!

RallyCap+joyinjacksonsjourney

We then found some hula hoops and that really made him giggle when we all tried to do various tricks with them.

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and then near the end I couldn’t spot him and wasn’t sure where he moved to.

and then i saw it.

He asked his girl if he could do the cheerleading portion.

and all i needed to see were these 2 pictures to know that he was definitely enjoying himself.

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PURE JOY.

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If you would like more information about the RallyCap Sports program you can visit their website HERE.

“Children and young adults with special needs should be able to participate in and enjoy sports just like everyone else!”

-Paul Hooker, Founder


You are a badass

you are a badass book review

You are a badass: how to stop doubting your greatness and start living an awesome life

By Jen Sincero

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 This  book is seriously SO fantastic. It has some of the best messages I have ever read.

There is some gold in this book and I have written down some of the very best ones for you to take a sneak peek into before you get the book and dive in yourself!

It’s about having the cojones to show up as the brightest, happiest, badassiest version of yourself, whatever that looks like to you.

you are a badass book review
“The good news is that in order to do this, all you need to do is make one simple shift:
You need to go from WANTING to change your life to DECIDING to change your life.”

Someday you should wake up crying tears of giddy disbelief that you get to be you.

“You are a badass. You were one when you came screaming onto this planet and you are one now. The Universe wouldn’t have bothered with you otherwise. You can’t screw up so majorly that you badassery disappears. IT IS WHO YOU ARE. It’s who you always will be. It’s not up for negotiation.”

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“When we’re born, we have an instinctual understanding of some of the most important basics of life that includes, and goes way beyond, bending at our knees, instead of our lower backs, to pick a beer can up off the floor. We’re born knowing how to trust our instincts, how to breathe deeply, how to eat only when we’re hungry, how to not care about what anyone thinks of our singing voices, dance moves, or hairdos, we know how to play, create, and love without holding back. Then, as we grow and learn from the people around us, we replace many of these primal understandings with negative false beliefs, fear, shame, and self-doubt. Then we wind up in emotional and physical pain. Then we either numb our pain with drugs, sex, booze, TV, Cheetos, etc. Or we settle for mediocrity. OR we rise to the occasion, remember how truly mighty we are, and set out to relearn everything we knew at the beginning all over again.”

Appreciate how special you are. There will never be anyone exactly like you. You were given special gifts and talents to share with the world, and even though everybody has special gifts and talents, nobody will use theirs quite the same way you do. You have a way of being in the world and a perspective that’s unique to you. You are the only one who thinks your thoughts the way you think them. You have created your own unique reality and are living your life according to your own unique path. You are the only you that will ever be. You are kind of a big deal.
You are more than enough. Avoid comparison like the plague.

DO NOT WASTE YOUR PRECIOUS TIME GIVING ONE SINGLE CRAP ABOUT WHAT ANYBODY ELSE THINKS OF YOU.

“The power of giving is so strong that the excitement and the good feelings are often greater for the giver than for the receiver. When you find your calling and you design your life is such a way that you can share your gifts with the world on a consistent basis, you feel like a rock star.”

“Every single person is born with unique and valuable gifts to share with the world. Once we figure out what ours are, and decide to live our lives putting them to use, that’s when, and only when, the real party begins. Living a life on purpose is available to everyone.”

“Everyone’s journey is unique, but we’re all trying to get to the same place- the place where we feel happiest, the most alive, and the most like ourselves.”

“Much of the time we pretend we aren’t clear on what our calling is when what’s really going on is that we’re horrified to face it because it seems too big or too impossible to make a living at or completely out of the question for us. But what if you had the audacity to leave your excuses and your shame about wanting to be huge and fabulous behind and really went for it full-on anyway? What if you decided to do the most outrageous, most exciting thing you ever dared fantasize about, regardless of what anyone, including your terrified self, thought? THAT WOULD BE LIVING.”

“Many people trade in living fully in their purpose for more “grown up” versions of life that range from the merely passable to the full-on sucking. They’ve bought into this idea that

being responsible = not having fun anymore,

that waking up feeling excited about life is for the young, and once we’re older, we need to trade that in, settle down and be more “realistic”.

YAWN.
I am talking about continuously living our dreams, no matter what stage of life we’re in, instead of settling for mediocrity because we don’t believe anything else is available or appropriate.”

“When you’re so lost in what you’re doing that you lose all sense of time, you have officially entered the Vortex.”

“Giving is one of our greatest joys. It’s also one of the most fearless and powerful gestures there is. When we trust that we live in an abundant universe and allow ourselves to give freely, we raise our frequency, strengthen our faith, and feel awesome, thereby putting ourselves in flow and the position to receive abundant amounts in return.”

“We live in a universe of give and receive, breathe and exhale, live and die, suck and awesome.
Faith is your best buddy when you’re scared shitless.
When it comes to our emotional pain, however, we’re apparently way more game for seeing just how much torture we can endure, wallowing in our guilt, shame, resentment, and self-loathing.
When someone does something awful to you, take that person out of the equation so you can open yourself up to have a more pleasant, and productive, reaction (and life). It’s not about them anyway, it’s about you.”

“You’re the author of your own life- not your parents, not society, not your partner, not your friends, not the bullies who called you Fatzilla in junior high- and the sooner you decide to write yourself a better script, the sooner you get to live a more awesome life.”

“Fear will simply give you an unlived life of mediocrity, wimpiness, and shame.
Other people are like mirrors for us: If somebody bugs you, you’re projecting onto them something that you don’t like about yourself, and if you think they’re awesome, they’re reflecting back something that you see in yourself that you like.
You people you surround yourself with are excellent mirrors for who you are and how much, or how little, you love yourself.”

OWN YOUR UGLY.

As Winston Churchill so aptly explained, “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”

“If you want something badly enough and decide that you will get it, you will.
There are plenty of people out there in the world living the kind of life you only dream about living, many of whom are far less fabulous and talented than you are.”


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