Tanner's Man Card

Note: My oldest grandson, Tanner, went to his first school dance tonight—Homecoming—with his good friend Madi. He was telling me how he asked her and I asked him to share the story with you.

Madi lives in our neighborhood, and we’ve been friends for a long time. She comes over sometimes and has my mom do her hair (Mom’s a stylist and has a salon in our house). A few weeks ago, I was listening to her and my mom talk while she was getting her hair done, and she found out that I didn’t have my driver’s license yet. She started giving me a hard time, telling me that not having a driver’s license was like not having a man card. I kidded around with her, but I have to admit our conversation was a little motivation for me to think about getting my license.

That’s the first part of the story.

The second part is that when I found out she hadn’t been asked to homecoming yet, I decided to ask her. My dad went commando on it, bringing out the “Dude, You’re Welcome Kit.”  There’s this sticker in the kit that says “Official Man Card,” so it worked perfectly. I wrote a note saying, “I know I don’t have my driver’s license, but here’s my man card!” We put it on a lanyard and everything. It was perfect.

She replied by putting caution tape on my front door and string all over the yard, then hiding a note that said, “Sorry for stringing you along. I would love to go to homecoming with you.”

So, I’m going to the dance with her tonight. I’m not driving, of course. . . but I’m working on it!



A Too-Brief Advisory Board Visit

One of my goals since my accident was to progress to the point that, when our Advisory Board members came into town for their annual retreat, I would feel well enough to see them. I knew I wouldn’t be able to attend the entire retreat, but I did want to spend a few minutes with these amazing ladies. . .

Well, I reached my goal last night! Our six Advisory Board members arrived on Sunday for their meetings here in town, and I was able to spend a few minutes with them last night. They had had all-day meetings on Monday and Tuesday, and they came over to the house for a brief visit last night. It wasn’t as long as I would have liked, but it was wonderful to hug them and visit with them and get to know them a little bit better.

Part of the Advisory Board Retreat tradition is My Favorite Things, where each board member shares a few of her favorite things with me and the other members of the board. I look forward to that part of the retreat every year and felt badly that I would miss most of it this year, although I did share a few of my favorite things with these women before they left my house.

Because I knew I wouldn’t be able to spend the entire evening with them, I chose to treat them to one of my favorite things—a service at Brick Canvas. So after they left our house, they headed to Brick Canvas where they enjoyed either a facial or massage. We had worked them hard the two days of the retreat, so hopefully the service helped them relax. (Maybe it will turn out to be such a great idea that from now on, board members will hope I’m not available so they can do it every year!)

The retreat ended last night, and our board members headed home today. I enjoyed meeting them ever-so-briefly and am grateful for the time I spent with them. In addition, Sara took careful notes last night during the remainder of the My Favorite Things activity, and she shared those notes with me today, along with the gifts they shared. So although I wasn’t there in person, I do feel like I know these leaders and appreciated so much all they did the past two days. .  . and I look forward to getting to know them even better this coming year.


Founder's Circle 2013

Note: Because I was unable to attend Founder’s Circle, I asked Sara to guest blog—here’s her report. Also, most of the photos are from the last night; we had a hard disk problem and were unable to retrieve photos taken from the other events. Sorry wasn't able to show photos from all events, but enjoy the one of the entire group plus our last event.

Got back yesterday from Founder’s Circle—what a blast!

I’ve attended Founder’s Circle before, but this one was a little bit different without Mom. We missed her. I always enjoy talking to demonstrators, and this year I especially wanted to visit with as many demonstrators as possible and make sure everyone felt appreciated and valued. Since there were more than 100 demonstrators, that meant I was pretty busy! But it was a good busy!

I arrived on Wednesday and jumped right in, chatting with demonstrators over lunch and welcoming them all to the event. The theme was cowboy chic, and Mom had been particularly excited about that so we took lots of pictures and I’ll make sure she sees them!

Thursday was kind of a hang-out day. . . I spent a lot of time at the Horseshoe Lounge, chatting with demonstrators. While visiting was definitely the high point of the day, I have to admit the treats were amazing too! There was a great combination of healthy and yummy; we even got to make our own trail mix! We also had lots of fun with Make & Takes, which featured sneak peek products.

Thursday night was our share & swap night, which we did a little differently this year. We gave each Founder’s Circle achiever the book “How Will You Measure Your Life” by Clayton Christensen, and then invited three demonstrators to share their thoughts with us. The discussion was touching and inspiring, and I think it was a great way to reinforce how important it is for our demonstrators to know what matters most to them and be able to fit in Stampin’ Up! where it makes the most sense. Of course, the evening ended on a high with everyone exchanging swaps (Mom and I always do one swap together, which I handed out. . .she had signed every one with her left hand!) and homemade ice cream sandwiches.

Friday was our Kanab day; we did that a little differently too. We split into two groups, took a tour of the facility, stamped more Make & Takes, and ate with employees. After that, most of us spent the evening at Tuacahn, where we watched a great production of “Mary Poppins.” (Tuacahn always does a fantastic job!) The theme of the play had a lot to do with priorities and balance as well, and several demonstrators asked me if we’d planned it that way. Not on purpose, but it was a nice coincidence.

Saturday was another casual day, with lots of free time. Some demonstrators went shopping, sightseeing, or on other fun adventures, while others stayed pretty close to the hotel and pool, just relaxing. The Horseshoe Lounge was busy too. In the evening, we dressed up in our cowboy chic getup and spent the evening wrapping things up at the Staheli Family Farm with lots of fun western-themed activities (corn mazes, wagon rides, archery, Bingo, horseshoes, roping station, petting zoo, cow milking, etc.) It was great! Everyone had the opportunity to win free prizes (more free product), then we ended the evening with a tasty Dutch Oven dinner and Hired Guns, a two-man cowboy band.

I think what I loved most about Founder’s Circle was the chance to visit with these amazing demonstrator leaders on a very personal level. . . get to know them better and find out what we can do to better help them. I appreciated the honest conversations I had and the chance to communicate with them about what they were thinking, as well as what we are thinking. I also saw the value of them rubbing shoulders with each other, talking and sharing ideas, inspiring each other, and learning from each other.

It really was an amazing few days, and I hope everyone returned home feeling renewed, spoiled, and thanked—because we definitely appreciate these women and everything that they do!


Incredibly Blessed. . .

I’ve enjoyed a quiet, reflective day—it’s been wonderful!

I have missed being with our Founder’s Circle achievers this weekend. . . Sara is there and will be guest blogging about the event. I’ve been thinking about those wonderful women a lot these past few days and hoping they are feeling pampered and appreciated!

I have also been thinking about how incredibly grateful I feel. I continue to improve, and while things are still difficult and I move slowly and tire easily, I am so aware of how blessed I am. I will recover from my injuries. . . many others who suffer serious accidents deal with lifelong challenges and permanent changes.

 I spent some time last night reading the many, many cards I’ve received from so many of you around the world, and I was touched to the point of tears at the expressions of love, support, and concern that I’ve received. It’s been three and a half weeks since my accident, and people are still thinking of me, reaching out to me, expressing their encouragement . . . if my recovery were determined by the love I felt from those who surround me, I would be completely healed by now!

Last year I was amazed at the power of cards as so many of you sent me birthday greetings for my big 5-0. I have been reminded again how powerful a heartfelt (and handmade in most instances) greeting can brighten a day . . . I love being part of a community that understands the difference a card can make! Thank you to everyone who took the time (and who is still taking the time—cards are still arriving) to let me know they are thinking of me.


New in 2013 Creative Challenge

Because of this accident, it's taken me a little longer to post the winners for the New in 2013 Creative Challenge. I appreciate your patience--and your willingness to share your projects with me! What wonderful ideas you all had. . .I'm not stamping right now, but I definitely have some great inspiration to look at when I'm ready.

Also I noticed that someone asked about winners of a previous challenge. I sure thought I'd posted all the winners, so I'm going to do a little homework and see what I can find. If I missed posting one of the creative challenges, I'll definitely be doing a long-overdue winner announcement soon!

Congratulations to the winners, who all receive a free stamp set of their choice from a current publication! Woo hoo!

July 10--Lori Rider

Click here to see Lori's Thoughts of You Bring Smiles card.

July 14--Ashley Marostica

Click here to see Ashley's gift tags.

July 15--Margaret Raburn

Click here to see Margaret's Happy Birthday pansy card.

July 15--Vanessa Farkas

Click here to Vanessa's Thinking of You card.

My New Digs

Thought it was about time to let you see my new digs. We moved a hospital-like bed into the great room off our kitchen, and this is my new home for the next several weeks.

Initially I was going to just post one photo, but Sterling thought it might be more entertaining for you to see me walk to the bed. . . I can even get my feet up on the bed all by myself now with my little blue pick-up thingie (I’m sure there’s an official name for it, but I don’t know what it is). It sounds silly, but I couldn’t do that a few days ago. Every day there are tiny bits of improvement that are cause for celebration!

And moments that are cause for concern. I woke up this morning with symptoms of a blood clot in my leg. After calling my doctor, he said he wanted me looked at, so we almost had to go back to the hospital. Thankfully, my sweet bishop (the leader of our church congregation) is an ER doctor, and he was more than willing to stop by and check it out. . . .saved us the trip.

He wasn’t too concerned, said the symptoms were fairly localized and to just watch it closely. We sat and chatted for a few minutes and shared some thoughts and feelings about the past couple weeks. He encouraged me to write down some of those, even though I might not feel like they’re very significant. . . said someday I might wish I had them recorded. So in the coming days and weeks, I will probably share some more reflective, thoughtful posts. Hope I don’t bore you too much!

Another highlight today was going outside for a few minutes. My sweetheart can get me down the stairs in my wheelchair, and Jon built me a step so I can get into the car with Sterling’s help. So we don’t have to rely on anyone else being here for me to be a little bit mobile. Today we went for a short ride (I can’t sit for a long period of time, mostly I reclined in the car seat) up the canyon, and it was fabulous! Beautiful almost-fall day. . . crisp air, gorgeous scenery, much appreciated!  I’m appreciating a lot of things these days, but I’ll save those thoughts for another post.




I'm Home. . .

Those are words I’ve been looking forward to writing for days, and I thought I’d feel a lot better when I finally wrote them. But coming home has been a long, exhausting adventure, and I’m worn out! I actually got home last night, but struggled most of the day yesterday with dizziness and nausea, so just didn’t feel up to blogging last night. I thought I’d feel better today, but unfortunately, I’m still dizzy and sick. Feeling a little better today. . . or maybe learning to cope with it better.

The doctor says it may be related to the accident (crystals in my inner ear getting displaced) or may be a germ that’s going around (a friend mentioned that she knew of several people complaining of the same symptoms) or simply vertigo.

Regardless, he’s not worried. . . just another hurdle to get over.

I had thought I’d post a photo of me in my digs (hospital bed in the middle of our living room) but that’s not happening tonight. Just not feeling up to it.

Maybe tomorrow. In the meantime, I am thrilled to be home. . .better view, better bed, and closer to people I love. I’ll take it. . . even with the spinning room.

The Best Medicine Ever. . .

I'm back.

Kind of. . .

Every day I improve and the things that excite me seem pretty silly compared to what I got excited about only three weeks ago. Today I walked 108 feet in 30 minutes with only one break. Yay! And me being the stubborn, competitive girl that I am, I don’t need anyone prodding me to do better. . . I keep track.

My days are intense and exhausting, although every day is a bit better.  There’s a checklist of things I have to do before going home, and I’m working hard. . . today we passed off my car transport. Took more than an hour, but I got in and out of my car twice. One step closer. . .


The last few days I’ve had the best medicine of all—visits from our grandchildren! All but the twins have come, and they were on their way one day and we had to call and ask them not to come—it was just one of those bad days (which still happen but fewer and further apart).

They’ve all been so sweet and gentle with me. . . I can see the concern and love in their eyes. They’ve drawn pictures to brighten my room and made bracelets and headbands for me to wear. They’ve wheeled me around, and tonight we even went to dinner in the cafeteria (my appetite is finally coming back).

And, of course, the well wishes and prayers coming from you are almost as powerful! As Sterling mentioned, they are working! Too tired to share much more tonight, but am feeling so grateful . . . thank you!


I'll Be Darned. . .

Some days the sun does come up in the East!

I hadn’t planned on blogging for a few days so I’d have plenty to report on, but today was a good day and I just wanted to share it.

There’s not much to say other than Shelli went through all four of her different physical therapy sessions, and she was AWESOME! She was tired but not exhausted, hurting but not excruciating. She made significant improvements—yesterday she walked 12 feet in 50 minutes, today she walked 24 feet in about 30 minutes. She was hustling!

At the end of the day, they told Shelli to take a 30-minute break in her wheelchair. I asked if we could play hookey, and after getting permission (which kind of meant we weren’t playing hookey, I guess), Sage and I took Shelli downstairs. We took a tour of the hospital’s cafeteria and went out on the patio, where Shelli had her first breath of fresh air in a week. Fantastic!

When we took Shelli back upstairs, she was definitely done for the day, but it had been a good day!

The rehab staff is great. The first day was kind of tough, but we’ve meshed with them well since! They are kind and encouraging, and seem to enjoy stopping by Shelli’s room to visit. It might be because we have a diffuser going and are using essential oils—the room smells great!

A young CNA dropped in this afternoon, and we chatted about his tours in the Middle East (two in Iraq, one in Afghanistan), his family, and his plans to become a pediatrician. Everyone’s been friendly. . .

And for those who have asked about Kadie, she’s doing great. She’s healing nicely, is receiving some treatment (massage therapy, of course!), and should recover completely as well.

Yep, the sun definitely rose in the East today. I’m sure there are plenty hard days still ahead, but it’s nice to have a good one to share. Your prayers are being felt, things are happening, days like this we can do. . .


Chapter 2

The hacker is back. . .

I promise this post won’t be as long as the last one, but I wanted to bring you up to date.

Shelli arrived in the hospital on Thursday; it’s now Wednesday morning, right? (My days are running together a little bit.) It’s been almost a week . . . a very long week!

Up until yesterday, she was on the trauma floor, with lots of testing, poking, prodding, and physical therapy. She sat up and sat down, wiggled and stretched, tried hard to do everything she was asked to do.

Yesterday morning, one of her physical therapists announced that she was going to walk down the hall with the aid of a walker; she made it to her doorway (about 15 feet) before finally admitting defeat and heading back to the bed.

Despite that, by mid-afternoon, we “got a raise” as my father would have said, and moved one level up from the trauma floor to the acute rehabilitation floor. Within an hour, the supervisor of the occupational therapy team dropped in for a visit, and all I can say is, he wasn’t gentle. His job was to find out what Shelli can do and what she can’t do, and while I understand that’s his job, it was hard to watch. By the time he left, Shelli was close to tears. Didn’t feel like much of a raise.

And it got harder,

A couple of hours later, we were getting ready to take Shelli to a visit to the bathroom when two nurses came in to help. When they explained they were going to spin, lift, and sit, we told them we had worked out a much more gentle method (learned from therapists from the floor below). After a fairly lengthy discussion, we persuaded them to let us at least try it our way while they watched and evaluated, but halfway through, one of the nurses couldn’t stand it any longer. She insisted on showing me the spin-lift-sit method, which I tried. When she asked me if that didn’t feel better, I had to be honest—nope. She was not impressed.

After they left, Shelli and I realized we’d entered a whole new world.

The trauma floor is full of people who are gentle and soothing and focused on getting their patients to a good place; the rehabilitation floor is full of people who are strong and demanding and focused on getting their patients past the good place to the even better (because they can go home) place. It just doesn’t feel like a better place quite yet.

Thankfully, the highlight of the day was yet to come—a shower, followed by a visit from Tawnya, her friend and stylist, who gave her a haircut. When you can’t even touch your head, a quick, easy hairstyle is a must for everyone who is helping!

As I left Shelli last night, she was exhausted. On the drive home, I thought about the past few days. While Shelli is getting stronger every day, she’s still in a helluva a lot of pain. (Excuse my language, I am country boy, after all. . .PLUS she’s not reading this over my shoulder!) And the reality that this is her life for quite a few weeks is sinking in. I have no doubt that she’ll make it, and that that stubborn smile of hers will stay strong, but this is going to be hard.

On the bright side, we are both touched and amazed at the outpouring of love and support. We’ve read the comments on the blogs and almost every comment talks about kind thoughts and prayers being offered on our behalf. Thank you! We are both absolute believers in prayer and want you to know that they are helping; we feel them.

Before I end, I wanted to mention a couple of “housekeeping” items (and you thought I wasn’t listening during Shelli’s convention speeches!).

First of all, a couple people have sent e-mails to the hospital, asking hospital officials to forward them to Shelli. While we are both touched by these expressions of support, we want to keep the hospital staff on our side, and we’re pretty sure that they’d prefer not to add “messenger” to their already long list of responsibilities. We’re telling people to check here on her blog for updates, and also to post comments and well wishes here; Shelli will get them faster here than anywhere else.

Second, several of you mentioned sending cards, and since Stampin’ Up! is a card-making company with tons of card-making people, that definitely makes sense. If you want to send a card, you can send it to Stampin’ Up!’s home office, and they’ll make sure Shelli receives it.

I did notice, however, that one commenter suggested sending cards not necessarily to Shelli but to someone else in your life who might need it (elderly, military, etc.). This suggestion stood out to me too, because I know the power of cards and know that many people don’t have the incredible support that Shelli has (thanks in large part to you). I think it would be a great idea to send a card to someone in your life who is in special need or someone who may be feeling lonely. Just wanted to share that thought. . .

Third, and this one might sound weird, especially considering that I am a pretty quiet, in-the-background kind of guy. I don’t know the Statement of the Heart word for word like Shelli does, but I know it starts out with something about loving what you do and sharing what you love, and I had this thought—Shelli would probably love it if you shared Stampin’ Up! with someone. Think of your friends, family, neighbors, whatever . . . and as you’re thinking and praying about Shelli, as a name comes to mind, consider sharing Stampin’ Up! with that person. I know that would thrill Shelli. . .

I promise that’s my own suggestion—no one from Stampin’ Up!’s recruiting department has been anywhere near me. I just know how much Stampin’ Up! has meant to Shelli through the years, and how much she loves it, so I just thought I’d put that out there.

Now, this has turned out longer than I thought, so I’m going to stop.

But stay tuned for Chapter 3. . . .