Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, and other appointments

This week, like so many other weeks, was packed with appointments. I’ve been able to do more weights in physical therapy. After the accident, I had a 1-2 pound limit with my wrists and couldn’t put any weight at all on my feet/legs. As my body began to heal, that slowly increased. This week, I was able to lift between 30 and 70 pounds, depending on what part of the body I was using to lift. I still need to be careful, but I’ve been able to lift a little more each week. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like I’m really seeing any progress at all, and then suddenly, I’ll be able to do more than what I could before.

My left wrist is still pretty limited with movement, but it has come a long ways from where it was. I still have a hard time with tasks like driving, moving laundry over and carrying items such as a plate from one place to another with this hand, but am able to do it some. This may be a permeant thing, where I have to learn to adapt in other ways, but we keep working it and massaging it.

I started going back to our chiropractor, and also get massage therapy so that should continue to help loosen everything. Between all of my appointments though, my weeks are packed and I end up exhausted by the weekend.

Daily Stops:

After my appointments, I’ve really been working on stopping somewhere I enjoy, such as a nature center or preserve, to increase my walking endurance and allow me to spend more time in the great outdoors. It means my days are longer, but it is helping me to get back to normal more and hopefully build my endurance so I can go a full day without needing to rest as much.

Some of my adventures from this past week include a pottery class at the local nature center with my niece, a couple of different hikes on nature trails and a visit with my family. I’ll include more on that in the next section, but here are some photos from my hikes:

Family Camping Trip

Last year, my family did a camping trip. We had so much fun, we decided to try to make it an annual thing. This year, with my injuries, Ben and I weren’t able to stay overnight, but we went for a daytrip. We took a walk down memory lane through the cemetery where my great-grandpa used to be the caretaker, and to the house where my dad was born. We celebrated several birthdays and enjoyed most of the day together. A few photos from our trip:

The house where my Dad was born:

My great-uncle and great-aunt lived here. He was a farmer, with sheep, goats and cattle. He was married to my grandma’s sister. My grandma went to her sister’s house to have the baby, so my dad was born on his farm. This is the house he was born in. We went there as children, and got to spend time with the animals.

Quotes, Scripture and songs from this week:

This was a week full of walks down memory lane and making new memories! I keep getting a little stronger and able to do more, but healing can take a long time. I am so very thankful to have some beautiful places in Northern Michigan to visit as I continue to make progress.


Crazy Busy Month

Once a month or so seems to be about what I’m updating right now. I intend to update more often, but life has been pretty busy so it doesn’t usually happen. Life is full of appointments right now and the days go by fast. I will try to post more frequently, as I know this is going to be a longer post.

Physical and Occupational Therapies:

We’ve had a pretty crazy month. I’ve continued to get stronger, and am doing independent physical therapy sessions twice a week at the hospital, and the rest of the days at home. For the hospital sessions, I am able to go to the rehab portion of the hospital and use their equipment to workout and strengthen my body. At home, we have several pieces of equipment I use most days when I’m not at the hospital sessions, and I continue to take walks regularly. These are mostly around our yard and neighborhood, but I am beginning to venture out a little further.

I started driving back in June to some extent, and have been increasing that slowly each week. The hardest part of driving for me is my left side, as my wrist gets tired pretty easily with the steering wheel and I struggle to get my left leg into the vehicle a little sometimes. I’ve come a long way, but the left side was really damaged so I still have a ways to go. I am hoping to begin walking at local nature preserves soon. My balance has improved greatly with a lot of therapy. I could still fall, but the chances of that happening have greatly decreased from where I was even a month or so ago.

Some of the photos I’ve taken either in our backyard, or while stopping to various lakes and side roads between appointments:

Internal Damage:

I’ve mentioned this previously, but there was a lot of internal damage during the accident. I was going to have a surgery for this in July, and it has been postponed until fall, likely October. We are hoping this will fix some of the stomach problems I’ve had, like stomach aches and nausea, but if not, I will need more tests. So far, all of the tests I’ve had indicate the problems largely stem from injuries in the accident, and that once those are fixed, there is a good chance they will clear up.

It took quite awhile, but we were finally able to get my records from the first hospital I was at. The doctors did a temporary fix after the accident, but my abdominal wall was greatly injured so they couldn’t fix things the way they need to be. We’ve had to give the abdominal wall lots of time to heal. Most of the time, I don’t notice a lot of pain until I’m more active and then I get twinges that sometimes get worse. Orthopedically, I’m now cleared to return to work, but with all of the internal damage, I will need to be off just a little bit longer. I am hoping to return to teaching by January.


As some of you may already know, Ben ended up with a staph infection in his leg after the accident. He has fought this infection since December, with it coming and going a couple of times. Last week, he noticed it was coming back. Within a few days, he noticed his big toe was also infected. He went to the emergency room where they told him it was a staph infection. They called in an antibiotic for him and told him to follow up with his primary doctor. When he followed up with his primary doctor, he sent us straight to the ER for more tests. They believe it may actually be MRSA. He ended up needing his entire toenail removed. I have shared some photos in the gallary, but I will warn you some of them are pretty graphic so you may want to skip past them.

Rainy weather:

August has been a pretty rainy month so far. It has led to some gorgeous skies! You can see some of the storm clouds moving in up above in the photos I shared, but here are a few more photos from our rainy days, and a video:

Native Plant Garden

We are really getting some pretty flowers in our Native Plant garden!

Quotes for this Month:

A vendor at our local Farmer’s Market makes awesome decals, and you can do custom made ones. I had some of the quotes that have meant a lot to me over this journey made into decals. Two of them, we placed in our stairway. The rest will be placed on objects, such as journals. She does a great job! You can find her Facebook page here…..

This post is getting very long, so I’ll sign off for now. Stay tuned for hopefully more frequent posts.


July Week 1 update

PT, OT and Appointments

It’s hard to believe it is July already! This week, I finished outpatient Occupational Therapy, and started Independent Physical Therapy. It feels really good to be working out in a gym setting again! We’ve also added a few pieces of equipment to our home workout gear, including a trampoline and balance board, so I can continue many of my exercises on days I don’t have Independent PT. I will also be continuing to use the tools we have for occupational therapy. My wrist is able to turn as far as 45 degrees, and that may be as far as it will ever go, but we are going to keep trying to get it to go further.

I also had a doctor’s appointment and some testing this week. I will be having surgery later this summer for some of the internal damage during the accident. It is a fairly simple procedure, with a 2-3 week recovery time, so hopefully things will go well and I will be back to “normal” pretty quickly.

Photos From This Week:

I will try to share a few photos each week. With all of my appointments, and living in north-west Lower Michigan, we often end up traveling and get some great views!

Writing a Book

I’ve been working on a book about our experiences with the accident, and some of the things we’ve been through the last few years. I wanted to share an excerpt here:

From the non-fiction book I’m working on:

“This journey we are on isn’t one that I would have chosen.  But I think all great adventures start out that way.  You don’t choose the adventure, it finds you.  And so we are on a path we never wanted to take, but nonetheless find ourselves going down.  We are stronger for it, even though we do not wish to be.  We are caught up in something far greater than ourselves, something where we know our ending is happy but we do not know what dangers we may face along the way.

It’s like in all the great stories, where they faced danger and heartbreak, sorrow and pain but in the end good won against evil.  In the end, all was right with the world.  This journey we are taking isn’t pleasant, but we trust in our King that all will be well in the end.  The battles are hard, the journey is long and life goes on around us, even when our own lives seem to be caught between what has happened and where we will end up.  We are still on a journey we didn’t wish to take, and may yet face giants, monsters and danger along the way.  But in the end, it will be ok.  I often think of the quote from the movie “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,” which says “Everything will be all right in the end. If it’s not all right, it is not yet the end”  We have not reached the end of the story yet. “

Quotes from this week:

Quotes I’ve been focusing on a lot this week:

These quotes means a lot to me! When I feel like giving up when doing a physical or occupational therapy exercise, or I’m struggling to use my left hand or bend down, I remind myself of these quotes. One is from the Bible, the other is from one of Brandon Sanderson’s books.

Songs From This Week:

Songs I focused on this past week:

Weekly Post: March 26 to April 1

I am going to try to do weekly posts with the Scriptures and songs from the week in that post. I will then try to post at least once every week or two in a separate post to give an update.

Songs to Focus on:

From my mom…

March 26:

March 27:

March 28:

March 29:

March 30:

March 31:

April 1:

Other songs:

Scripture to Focus on:

From my mom…

March 26:

March 27:

March 28:

March 29:

March 30:

March 31:

April 1:

Other Scripture:

Other quotes:

Collateral Beauty and Finding Joy in Pain

First the updates on physical therapy and occupuational therapy:

Occupational Therapy:

I have continued to make improvements. Sometimes it feels very small, but they add up and my left wrist has come so very far!

February 26th

Physical Therapy:

Today I got the all clear to begin walking with a cane. As I transition from the walker to a cane, I will be going back and forth between the two, depending on my pain and energy level that day. I have made a lot of progress in a short time, but I’m also listening to my body, and some days, I just need to take a break.


From my mom….

Others to focus on…

Bible Verses:

From my mom…

Others to focus on…

On Collateral Beauty and Joy

I came across a #speaklife post on TobyMac’s Facebook page today that really stood out to me. You can find it here:

This quote really stood out to me. In December, my life changed forever. Certainly, I never would have thought I’d be facing so many injuries and challenges in the days ahead so quickly. But this is the story I’m in. This is what I’ve living day to day. Yet there is much joy among these challenges, even among the pain.

I’ve been thinking about the movie Collateral Beauty. It came out in 2016, staring Will Smith and Keira Knightley. Ben and I saw it in the theater. One thing that really stood out to me in this movie is the idea that even in great pain, there is beauty. The movie refers to this as “Collateral Beauty.” Collateral has several definitions, but one of them is defined as additional but subordinate; secondary. Secondary beauty. Beauty that wasn’t first choice, or something you even wanted to have happen, but beauty nonetheless.

Near the end of the movie, one of the characters says “Just make sure you notice the Collateral Beauty.” Since watching this movie, I’ve thought about the phrase ‘Collateral Beauty’ often. Collateral beauty involves the little things people do and say in the really tough times, like sending care packages and kind messages. It’s a butterfly flittering across the grass and into the sky the day after a storm has come through, and a neighbor helping someone clean up their yard when a tree falls. Sure, we might prefer that the accident never happen, the storm never come or the tree never fall, but there is so much beauty, so much good that can come of it.

If I had a choice in all of this, I would have chosen to not be in a wreck in the first place. That would have been best case scenario in my mind at least, to be whole and not broken from a wreck. But if this was the case, I wouldn’t have had all the good things in between, the kind words, the care packages, meals, and so many other ways people have helped out. Honestly, there has been more “Collateral Beauty” in all of this, than there ever would have been beauty had I been able to choose not to be in an accident. I think the more difficult the experience, the more beauty can be found. Don’t get me wrong. It doesn’t mean any of this has been easy or that I don’t have days that are rough. But even in that, there is beauty.

With finding that beauty, comes joy. Joy isn’t just about being happy. It is both a verb and a noun, so while it means ‘a feeling of great pleasure and happiness,’ it is also a verb meaning ‘rejoice.’ Looking for collateral beauty in our darkest moments can help us to find joy. We can rejoice, or show great delight even in tough situations because we see the beauty that is there too.

My faith helps me a lot in this. As a Christian, I believe that everything happens for a reason, and that God can and will work all things together for our good, even the bad things. The good isn’t always easy to see though. In dark moments, when the world seems so unfair and so very tough, it’s hard to look for the good. It’s hard to find joy in the Collateral Beauty around us. Our world wasn’t meant to be this way. It isn’t how it was created to be, isn’t how things were supposed to be and we know it. Collateral Beauty is second beauty precisely because it isn’t how the world was created to be. It’s beauty despite what has gone wrong, joy even in the darkest of moments.

When God works things together for our good, sometimes we don’t see right away. Sometimes it’s years down the road that we realize how He took a situation and turned it for our good. Other times, we can see right away, but I think more often than not, especially in very difficult situations, it’s not until years down the line, or perhaps not even this side of Heaven that we understand how God worked things together for our good. But we don’t always need to understand something to see the beauty in it. Joy is all around us, even in the toughest of times. It’s a gift, this collateral beauty that surrounds even the darkest of times. Sometimes we just have to look for it, but the light that comes from joy and collateral beauty will always outshine the darkness.

A Christmas to Remember

Warning:  graphic description of an accident

Edit:  Other than a few edits that I made, this post is largely unedited. It was left that way intentionally to show how difficult it is to write, and to track my progress as I go along.

On December 19th,  we headed into Meijer in Gaylord to do some Christmas shopping.   It was snowing so we took it slow and I snapped a few pictures as  Ben drove.  Moments after I took the pictures, life as we knew it changed when our vehicle hit a patch of ice  and threw us over into oncoming traffic.   We hit the other vehicle head on. 

I saw the headlights from the other vehicle on the front of it just before we made impact.   Everything felt like slow motion.   After the initial impact,   airbags went off and there was kind of a lot of dust and things in the air for a few minutes.   Likely is probably more like a few seconds but it felt like minutes.

Ben tried to find his phone but he couldn’t , so he grabbed mine to call 911.   I remember him asking me if I was ok,  and I wasn’t.   I knew my left wrist was broken and I was struggling to breathe. 

Ben told me he loved me and I responded that I loved him too.   At one point while we waited for the paramedics I use my right wrist to pull myself up because I was really struggling to breathe and that hurt really bad too.   I also realized there was blood everywhere and didn’t know where it was coming from, but I knew I was hurting and couldn’t breathe.   With my first aid and cpr training, I knew I shouldn’t move because of possible spinal injuries, but I also knew breathing came before spinal injuries.   If I stopped breathing, it wouldn’t matter whether or not I hurt my spine. 

When the paramedics arrived, they assessed us. as well as the people from the vehicle that we hit.   I was labeled priority one.   They cut the door off to get me out then cut my seatbelt.   I was put on a stretcher and taken to the ambulance , where they began cutting my clothes off to further assess me.

I was also put on  oxygen.    When they cut my coat off from my left arm , I realized the bone must be through the skin on my wrist,  as I could feel the wetness from the blood.  I forced myself to stay conscious,  as I was afraid I wouldn’t wake back up if I went to sleep. 

They rushed meet me to the hospital in Petoskey,   where the trauma team then took over.  We noticed my belly was tender, and it was at that point we realized there was likely internal bleeding.

I was rushed into emergency  Exploratory surgery.  Just before, they allow me to speak with my mom on the phone briefly.

I don’t remember a lot for a while after this.   When I came to, I was in the ICU.   I have been intubated for surgery, but was on oxygen by this point and the tube had been removed.

I spent several days in the ICU before moving to a regular Room.   In ICU, we discovered even more was broken.   In all,   I have at least 2 broken ribs, a broken scapula, Broken wrist and a fractured wrist, broken toes, broken ankle, and a dislocated and broken hip.

I also had soft tissue damage in my stomach,   They had to repair about 10 inches of intestine, put stitches in my colon,  and make a temporary fix to a hernia where my liver is pushing against the abdominal wall into my chest.

In the ICU I had my own Room, but when I transferred to the medical word I shared a room. I spent from December 19th to December 30th in the hospital, before moving to rehab.

Spending Christmas Day in the hospital was definitely not what we planned. It will definitely be a Christmas to remember. In many ways, I will long treasure this Christmas. I may not have spent it with my husband and other family like I planned, but I did get to see my husband, And I felt God moving and working in unexpected ways. I don’t know that there could be any better Christmas than to spend it with God, and the amazing people He’s been bringing into my life through all of this. I may not have been where I wanted to be for Christmas, but I was where I needed to be.

On December 30, I transferred to Mary Free Bed in Traverse City for rehabilitation. I have a long road ahead of me and it is not going to be easy. But we know that even in all of this, God has a plan, and He is working everything together for our good.

In the meantime I will try to blog as often as I can. Typing is

really hard right now but I can use microphone on the headset Ben gave me to do speech to text. One day I will return to my writing from these past several years, but I’m determined to make this work for now.

Finding Thankfulness and Joy in 2020

2020 has been a year for many of us; and by that, I mean it hasn’t been a good year. Between a pandemic, quarantines, shutdowns, fires, deaths, and so many other crazy things happening, this year has been one for the history books, and not in the way that we like.

In my own life, it has felt like one thing after another. Wesley has had numerous health problems, leading to higher than normal vet bills. Ben’s nerve pain and neuropathy continues to progress, and has now reached his arms and hands. I was in a car accident, and totaled my car. Our washer went out and we had to get a new one. I finished Grad school with my second Master’s degree, but was not able to walk in any ceremony, due to the pandemic. We said goodbye to family members, had to have part of our roof replaced, and had a difficult season on the farm.

In November, I normally do a “what I’m thankful for” post daily. This year, I’ve done in videos instead, through the one-second everyday app, but looking back on the year, sometimes it is hard to find things to be thankful for. Deep down, I know there is much to be thankful for, but in the day to day struggle, it’s hard to focus on that. I create a list of 30 things I am thankful for:

  1. My faith
  2. My husband
  3. My family, including extended family.
  4. Friends
  5. Our dogs
  6. Our rabbits
  7. The opportunity to raise baby rabbits from the day they were born
  8. The ability to write
  9. A good camera for photography
  10. The ability to take great photos
  11. Life
  12. Food on the table
  13. Bills getting paid
  14. Transportation
  15. Safety in car crashes
  16. Computers and other technology
  17. Living in Northern lower Michigan
  18. Our backyard
  19. Birds, especially snowy owls
  20. The ability to read
  21. The gift of time
  22. Christmas
  23. Raindrops and rainy days
  24. Snow, especially fresh fallen snow
  25. Sunshine
  26. Sunrises and sunsets
  27. A warm house
  28. Fresh water to drink
  29. Social Media; even with the negativity, there is still positive
  30. Video platforms like Zoom that allow us to connect

Today we celebrate Thanksgiving. It’s the weirdest Thanksgiving ever, with some of my family quarantined and us all unable to meet as a family. As I reflect on Thanksgiving, I am reminded of several scripture verses, including 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.

Sometimes I feel like we mix up the definitions for joyful and happy. Being joyful is not the same as being happy. Happiness is an emotion. It comes and goes, and may depend on our circumstance. Joy on the other hand isn’t circumstantial. We can have joy even on the worst days, even when the world around us seems to be falling apart. We choose joy, and it gives us hope. We choose joy, and even in the darkest of times, we see good.

Sometimes we have to search for it. It’s not always easy, in fact I think more often than not, it’s a fight. Joy is knowing that no matter what tomorrow brings, we know it will be ok. It’s being thankful, even when it feels like there is nothing to be thankful for. It’s finding moments of happiness when it seems to be so fleeting.

Today, despite all that 2020 has brought us, we can choose joy. We can choose to be thankful, despite what is happening around us. Our circumstances do not change our ability to have joy. What we go through cannot take that away from us. We choose it. We will not always be happy, but we can always be joyful. We can always find something to be thankful for, even if it’s the breath in our lungs, a last chance to say goodbye, or a second chance at tomorrow. Despite all that 2020 has brought us, as rough it as has been, we can still say “Happy Thanksgiving.” For truly, there is much to be thankful for.

No Such Thing as Bad Weather

“There is no bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.”

-Sir Ranulph Fiennes

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything. I’ve been busy finishing up my second Master’s Degree. I’m hoping now to get back into blogging.

Today it rained almost the entire day. I’ve always found the rain to be so refreshing, so cleansing, so other-worldly. It’s the same with foggy days, as though at any moment, one might find themselves leaving this world and entering another.

I’ve always loved the outdoors. As a child, I spent the seasons outside regardless of the weather. Sure, there were times when it was too cold, or storming too much to be outside, but whenever possible, we went out. I love the quote I posted at the top of this post, about how there is no bad weather, only inappropriate clothing. I find this to be very true in almost all kinds of weather, except maybe for super hot days when the only clothing that might work would be considered inappropriate, or during severe storms, when it is just not safe to be out. But for the most part, the great outdoors can be enjoyed in all sorts of weather.

So today, despite, no, because it was a rainy day, I headed out to a nature place near us to enjoy a hike. Grass River Natural Area is a beautiful place not too far from home. When I realized it was going to rain most of the day today, I knew I had to find the time to get out for a walk in the rain. I wanted, needed to walk in the refreshing rain.

Arriving at Grass River, it was rainy at a steady rate but not pouring.

Walking the entrance trail to Grass River Natural Area.

If you’ve never been to Grass River Natural Area, it’s a beautiful nature preserve in the heart of Antrim county in Northern Lower Michigan. Now, I realize there is a whole debate about whether or not it is Northern Michigan if you are below the bridge, but we are north of everything except the few towns that exist between us and the trip the Mighty Mackinac Bridge that takes you to the Upper Peninsula. So while we may not be the far north of Michigan, we are “up north” for most people in Michigan.

This area is one of the most beautiful places you’ll find. Between Torch Lake, Deadman’s Hill, Grass River Natural area, and so many other amazing places, there is so much to do outside. During my trip to Grass River, I headed for the boardwalk trails. The trails with boardwalk on them are some of my favorite to visit!

A note of caution, the boardwalk trails can be very slippery when it rains, especially the older ones, so if you do head out, be careful!

The “new” boardwalk trails, rebuilt a couple of years ago or so.
Caution! This can be very slippery when wet.

Despite the danger of slipping, I find the boardwalk to be amazing in the rain! Good footwear helps to keep your feet steady, but it does get pretty slick even then. It is such a beautiful walk though. A few photos from my journey:

I also stopped by one of the river overlooks to take some video. By the time I got to the Grass River Dock, it was pouring too hard to have equipment safely out, so I headed back, but this video is near the entrance to one of the boardwalk trails.

So peaceful!

Another of my favorite quotes is:

“Its the not the Destination, It’s the journey.”

This quote is credited to Ralph Waldo Emerson, although there has been debate about whether or not he actually said it. Either way, I find this to be so true! I had no particular destination in mind today, other than getting safely back to my car, but it was about the journey. And what a journey it was!

Along my journey, I took quite a few photos. A few more:

As I finished up my walk, I was damp despite wearing rain gear, but I really didn’t care. My camera equipment and binoculars were still dry, and my heart was full. I know many people who would rather stay indoors on a rainy day, but not me. Not with the right clothing at least.

Sometimes the best journeys come in the most unexpected of places. Sometimes worrying about what’s happening around us keeps us from finding our true destination.

Heading back to the parking lot, I had to stop for a moment and just enjoy the rain and the wind through the trees. It was powerful, but peaceful all at the same time.

Peaceful, powerful.

By the time I got near the parking lot, it was raining harder, but I was in no rush. This was a journey I never wanted to end. But like all adventures, they must come to an end, leaving us ready for the next one, and stronger as we face whatever is around the next bend.

Leaving Grass River… it was really raining by then!

30 Things I am Thankful For:

Most years, I’ve posted 30 things I am thankful for in November, one each day for the month on Social Media. This year, I didn’t get a chance to do this, but I still want to share what I am thankful for, so I am doing it as one big post.

1. My husband
2. Chewbaca
3. Wesley
5. Trips to Mackinaw Island
6. Snowy Owls
7. Sunsets and sunrises
8. Loons
9. Snow
10. Fall
12. Grass River Natural Area
13. A house to live in
15. Story Ideas
16. NaNoWriMo
17. Scrivener
18. History
19. Time in Nature
20. The ability to access the Bible from anywhere.
21. The ability to make music.
22. Christmas
23. Encouraging quotes
24. Hot beverages on a cold day.
25. Those who have bravely gone where others have not.
26. Hope
27. Time in nature
28. Lake Michigan
29. The little things
30. Faith