Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Triple Treat

First off, I have to tell you how quiet it is around here.  It's so peaceful during the week.  It certainly is that time of year when we only see people we know.

Secondly, you will be so proud.  Especially if you have been on this journey with me since A Little Slice of da Harbor.  I got to adventure three days in a row!

That's right.  No death-defying Brockway mountain descents, but some of my most favorite things to do around the harbor in the winter time.

I better back up and say that this was the first week in a month and a half that I didn't need to blow snow or take care of administrative duties while Brady P. was at his short three days of school.  So I took some freedom time.

Monday my friend Stacia and I traversed the harbor from the Harbor Haus lot to Porter's Island.  It was a blue sky day, baby!  Just what I was hoping for.  

The ice was thick and the wind was tolerable.  Here's a picture of the ice.

Sleek and sexy bubbly ice

I try to make it there every winter to check out the ice volcanoes and broken tundra of ice fragments, but this year I saw something new.

Other people's tracks.

What???  Other people went out there too?

Yes, siree.  It filled my heart with glee!

We saw snowshoe tracks and fat bike tire tracks.  Signs of life from friends in the harbor!  Here is proof of the bike track next to the lake.

Bike tracks on Porter's Shore

Now don't be upset that the background is blurry.  I was focusing on the tread in front.  Besides, I really didn't get any good landscape pictures to do the scenery justice.  I'm a writer, remember?  But here's another try.

Looking toward East Bluff

Tuesday was a super duper treat because it just doesn't happen every year.

WE ICE SKATED ON THE HARBOR!!!

Yeah, buddy!  As Stacia and I traversed Monday, I thought, Man, I bet we could skate on this!

So I told my pro ice skater friend Tanya about it, and she was all in.

We shimmied out a bit past the snow patches until we found a decently smooth area for two.  Before you knew it, we were spinning, jumping and whirling through the air!  

No, wait.  That was Tanya.  Only Tanya was doing that.  I just marveled at her and tried my own meager tricks.  I only fell hard once!  (If I ever get pictures of that day, I will post them here!)

It was awesome.  We seized the day.  It's pretty much the way to do it up here.  I'm so grateful for my friends that are up for anything when I get the chance to be just Amanda again.

Wednesday was a bit drizzly, but there was one other place I've been eyeing up during cross country skis this winter: the ridge across Lake Fanny Hooe.

Brady P. and I take the wagon out to the fishing dock by the boat launch on Fanny Hooe often, so I knew the ice was thick.  I couldn't find anyone to go with me in a pinch this morning, so I just went alone.

I've done dumber things alone.

Looking east on frozen Lake Fanny Hooe

One cool spot of note was Manganese falls, of course.  

 Manganese Falls from the bottom

And here's a slow motion video from below that bridge for you just for fun!


After that rushing action, I climbed pretty much straight up the ridge until I hit the Keweenaw Point Trail.  Someone had been skiing up there!  

Want to know who else I saw evidence of?  Otters!  I imagined them sliding down those slopes on their bellies (because I saw their slide marks) as I huffed up the hills.  Ah.  So lovely.

It was really refreshing to be out there all by myself after all this time that I used to do those adventures everyday.  Now they are sparse, but I am still so grateful to be breathing that fresh air, following my curiosity, finding treasures in Mother Nature and just plain feeling connected to the earth.

I think we all need to do that, so I am glad that it's still a priority for me when I can swing it.

Well, thanks for spending another few minutes of your time with me!  See you next week -- spring break for us!

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Decisions, Decisions

Brady P. is really something.

I phrase that vaguely because I honestly don't know how to describe him sometimes.  But I can describe what he does.  Here's one of his latest.

When he knows what he wants, he will tell me in a word or two.  Sometimes those words are accompanied by a sign.  "Eat."  "Music."  "Computer."  "Rocks."  "Help, please."  Etc.

But sometimes I ask him a question and give him options.  All children should be able to make decisions about daily events and choices.  So we've been doing it more.  However, I have never seen a person react to a choice quite like Brady P.

"Braeden," I'll say as he zips up his jacket.  "Would you like to wear the football hat or the rainbow hat?" I ask, holding them in front of him.

He looks up at me like I just told him the juiciest secret in the world.  His eyes get big and his lips mash together like they are sealed.  I think he even blushes.

Then he starts to rock from side to side lifting each foot off the ground as he sways.  His eyes shift from the football hat to the rainbow hat and back again.  Then they shift up to me, beaming, as if to say, "Are you ready for my answer, Mama?  It's going to be the best answer ever!!!"

But he doesn't say a word.  He just rocks back and forth with that tight-lipped grin and wide eyes.  

"Which hat would you like to wear?" I ask again, hoping it will prompt a response.  But instead it shifts him into another fit of facials.

He will scrunch up his nose, open his mouth and stick out his front teeth while squinting his eyes.  Then he will lift his eyebrows while he rocks side to side thinking about which hat he wants to wear.

But he already knows.

He is being dramatic about it.  He is keeping me in suspense.

However, I am not suspended.  I already know, too.

After a couple minutes, if I still have the patience, he will look at me like he is about to burst with the most exciting news in the world.

Then he points to the football hat.

"Okay!" I shout.  "The football hat it is!"  And I put it on his head.

Whew.  Another two-minute decision initiated for Brady P.

Watching him go through this process is really interesting to me.  I can just see his wheels turning like they did when he was learning to kick a ball.

It's like I can watch the path of neurons firing in his body, through his brain and out his pointed finger.

Quite amazing.

And when I ask if he wants milk, juice or water with his oatmeal, he'll do the scrunchy face.  But, like with the hat, I already know the answer because his lips form an "m."

"Mmmik!" he shouts as if he just gave the world's greatest speech.

You know what?  For a little boy who is proud of his decisions and can actually verbalize them in a way someone can understand, I'd say it's a pretty great speech, too.

Guess what.

You didn't miss out!  The Vitality buy two get one free sale is still on until St. Patrick's Day!  Woohoo!  Shop now and get one item absolutely free with coupon code 3COLORS.  I've even added free shipping for these last few days.  I mean, what more could you really want shopping online?

Thanks for your support.  See you next week!

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Survival Tips

I'm not an expert on the Mom subject, but I do have a unique situation.  And within that unique situation, I have found out what works and what doesn't.

In a nutshell (as you probably know), I am a single mom of a child with Down syndrome living in Copper Harbor.

I have been asked by multiple people, "How do you live in Copper Harbor through the winter like that?"

I'll tell you how.

I am crazy.

Ha!

No really.  "We're all here cuz we're not all there," is a quote on a shirt at the Gas Lite general store.

I love living in Copper Harbor.  And while maybe it wasn't the smartest thing for me to do by myself while Braeden was in emergency mode four years ago, I still did it because something in me just wants to be here.  I haven't felt at home like this anywhere else.

But with that choice comes survival techniques.  A person certainly can go crazy up here, and you don't need to be in my situation for that to happen.  Just take a look around!

So I wanted to share with you a few of the tricks that really work for momming it here at the end of the earth.  Because without them, both of us would be crazy.

1) Change the Scene
Preschool is very helpful.  It's 7 1/2 hours a week of liberation for me and Brady P. -- from each other.  He sees Mr. North, who he adores, and he sees his friends.  He sees other books, toys, games, people, chairs, lights and everything.  It just needs to happen.  Switch it up.

Also, I have finally created a place for Brady P. in the basement.  No, I don't lock him up down there.  I go there with him, so he can play in a different environment with different toys.  While in the basement, he is mesmerized with his race car track.  Two cars go around and around about 18 feet of track.  The coolest part is that he watches them and purposely makes obstacles for the cars, so he can rescue them.  What a guy.

He also has several modes of gross motor physical therapy to play on while improving his balance, strength and coordination.  I love it.

2) Music All Day Long
Now, I don't know why I used to think this was a bad thing.  Brady P. looooooooooves music.  He absolutely adores music.  Especially music about animals.

So, I kid you not, from the moment he wakes up, he turns on the speaker, so I can play music.  Usually Bounce Patrol to starts things off.  Then we cycle through animal sounds and Old MacDonald and even my songs for a bit, so we can have a dance party or two.

The difference I see in him when the music is either in the background or the main event throughout the day* is simply amazing.  I see improvements in his speech as he sings songs and says the animal names, and I see improvement in his focus and over all demeanor as it soothes him.

 *We do take music breaks during the day.  When we eat or I have to make a phone call or we FaceTime family.  Then, when we're done, he tells me, "Music!"

3) Ask for Help
The other day I woke up to a leaking roof.  Well, I'm not bringing Brady P. on the roof with me while I shovel.  "Hey, friends: Help!" and help came.  Bless their hearts.

After the storms I needed to snow blow.  I'm not going to set Brady P. out in the banks for him to bruise his ears from my noisy beast and get covered in flying powder!  "Help, friends!" and help came.

I am so lucky and grateful for the people in this community that come to our rescue when life hands us more than we can do on our own.  I honestly could not live in this town if it wasn't for them (you know who you are!).  

So thank you, Copper Harbor for wanting to keep us around.

Those are the main tips I have for our harbor living.  Maybe you can or can't use them in your own life, but I find it interesting that there are a few things that just need to happen for the survival of our wits.

Here's another tidbit for you.

I don't often think about this because he is a little rock star, but Brady P. just had his four year anniversary of his patched up heart.  

That's right!  Four years with his new heart -- a heart of gold, as I like to think of it -- and he is doing amazing.  I hardly notice the scars on his chest, and I rarely hear him breathing too hard.

Brady P.  He is my little angel boy.

Here's my favorite picture of him as a fragile little nugget just after he was born.  He even needed to be on oxygen at the beginning.

My fragile little nugget

Yup, those were the days of living on pins and needles.  Luckily, today we just live on EIEIO.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Keeping Winter Bright

Hello from the ridiculously white great north!

Yes, we got a lot of snow.  The report was 20-something inches, but the wind gusts dispersed that into drifts, so it wasn't an even layer of snow... in most places.

It was blown clean over here and over your head over there with an extended peak at the top making it clear which direction the wind came from... for hours.

I'm not going to bore you with my sob story of how long it took me to dig myself out (or the fact that I haven't even finished yet!) because Yoopers everywhere have their own story.  And many had it worse.

I want to talk about the snow being FUN!

Because, before the storm, I was dedicated to making the Copper Harbor tunnel luge right off my front porch.  Yup, that's right.  A tunnel luge.

It took a few random hours of digging when I could get outside according to Wee-man's schedule.  But the day before the storm was predicted to come, one friend watched Brady P while two of my girlfriends came by to help me dig until the bottom tunnel met the top tunnel.

Oh, glory and joy in my heart!!!  We did it!!!

Then we quickly tried to shape the rest of it to get a smooth ride from the top to the bottom -- a length of approximately 30 feet.

Haha.  The smooth ride never happened.

But we rode anyway with our limbs whipping around and voices squealing.  Here's a video of one of the pioneer rides!


Oh, man.  It was so fun.  We had about a dozen people try it out the first day.  And the next day, some of the town's school girls came and sledded for three hours!

I was elated.  That was exactly what I wanted to do -- create something fun to bring the community together over outdoor activities.  I mean, that's the mission of Copper Harbor Vitality!

We sledded for those couple days, but then it snowed and snowed and snowed as I mentioned above.

I did a few runs today to see how much work the luge needs.  The tunnel needs to be dug out a bit.  I'm not normally claustrophobic, but I started to feel that way as I wriggled myself out backwards at the bottom.

The only problem is that I can't find my scoop shovel!  I honestly think it's buried in the snow. 

How ironic.

Well, I'll get that baby up and running again, don't you worry.  If you want to come and check it out, please do!  Just bring a shovel.  Wink.

And now for a special offer!

All this snow is very, well, white.  And I'm a woman who loves bright colors.  Do you know what is full of bright colors?  My wildflower pictures!

A teaser of color!

Right now, I'm offering a great sale on all items on the Copper Harbor Vitality website of buy 2, get 1 free!  Woohoo!  Put a little color in your life, save some cash and support one of your favorite artists!

Sounds like a triple win to me!  

Just use the coupon code 3COLORS at the checkout.  And start shopping here!  The offer expires on St. Patrick's Day.

Thanks again for reading.  You are a rare breed -- a person who reads!

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Animal Instincts

So there's this boy.

He's really sweet to me.  And although I've known him for a few years, it seems like the truer I am to myself, the more he appreciates me.  Sure we have our bouts, like any relationship, but it's clear that he loves me unconditionally.

The other day we were at Burger King (a funny place for a scene, if you ask me) and he was in the booth bench beside me.  He put down his cheeseburger, and with ketchup all over his hand, slipped his arm around my neck and fingers in my hair.  He looked me straight in the eyes, and with his breathy little voice, he said, "Hiiieee, Mom!"

What a little charmer.  PDA in Burger King.  

He stood there on the bench with his arm around my neck while I tried to eat my Whopper.  But, for some reason, eating didn't seem as important as just closing my eyes, snuggling right back with him and repeating, "I sure love you.  You are so sweet."

I didn't even care who was looking on because, as the saying goes, "You can't stop love."  And the fact that my four-year-old son finds it necessary to swoon over me at a burger joint while his nana finishes her fries across the table just fills my heart through the entire universe.

So I treasured it.

He has done that same sweet thing more and more often lately.  I lift him up into my arms after school and he just plants a sweet kiss right on my lips.  I don't even have to ask!

And to make me wonder if he is buttering me up for something, he put all three dozen animals away into their bucket without being asked before bed time last night.  What a great little helper!  I am so proud of the little man he is becoming.

Speaking of animals, though, listen to this.

Brady P. cycles through different obsessions.  For a while it was dance pop music, then EIEIO (for an hour straight, if I could stand it) and now it's animal sounds.

He watches one hour of computer a day, and I let him pick what he wants to watch because it's his special time.  Well, there's this collection of videos of animal sounds from all over the world.  I mean, there are animals I have never even heard of on here: coypu, capybura, tapir and oryx to name a few.

As each animal is introduced, a video clip plays while its name is displayed in fourteen different languages, and a lady says its name in a strong South African accent.  The video plays a couple signature sounds for each animal.

Braeden has watched hours of this because it's his new obsession.  

Well, one day, one of those videos came on after an EIEIO song (or forty) during music time.

Here's where my mind was blooooooooown away.  In the video that day, the lady did not say the names of the animals, and Braeden was not watching it -- just listening.

So we had these animal sounds playing raw and unnarrated through the speaker.  Braeden stopped playing with his other obsession, the flipping Ninja Turtle, and stared in deep contemplation.

He was listening intently to the animal sounds.  Just animal sounds with no music or narration.  

Do you know what he did?  He told me what animal was making the sound.  He listened briefly, and after a moment, said the word as best he could.  

Not always able to make out the exact word he is saying, I looked at the video that played up on the counter and saw the name of the animal making the sound.  I can't say he got them all exactly right, but he was differentiating animals with savant-like precision.

Do you know what sound a kangaroo makes?  How about a guinea pig?  Orangutan?  Moose?  Toucan?  Lynx?  Sloth?  Meerkat?  Anteater???

Brady P. knows.  And he can pick their sounds out of 100 other animals.  The boy just amazes me.

Not only does he like what he likes, but he excels at it.  Flabbergastingly so.  He has graduated beyond Old MacDonald's farm and can now give tours at the Disney Zoo.  Maybe we'll go there someday.

Here's a link to the Zoo Video we listened to that day that made me realize just how far he has come.

And for fun, here's a picture of Brady P. the first day I took him out to skate.  His skates were too big, but he glided from side to side pretty naturally -- if I held him up!

Taking a break

Trying to... get up? 

Haha.  Nobody can be a genius at everything!

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Grab Bag

Hello!  Gosh, you're great.  You always come back for more.

I would imagine that at this point, you don't even know what to expect when you click on this blog.  It's not very predictable -- at least in my eyes.  

So today you're going to get a grab bag of fun.  That's right.  A random mix of musings: some deep, some light, but all of them are true.  Cuz, let's face it.  That's how I roll.

Okay, now close your eyes and pick one out.

Now look at it!  What did you get?

Prize #1: Ice Rink!
The boys at Grant Township flooded the basket ball court behind the school, so now it's an ice rink.  But not only is it a rink, they keep it shoveled off too!  Good golly gracious, we haven't had an ice rink up here for years!  And for the last couple days, the school kids got to go out to skate during recess.  When I showed up yesterday, I was enchanted.  All of the kids (except the two wee-est) were wearing skates on the ice while pushing small plastic chairs with those little metal disks on the bottoms -- learning how to skate!  That was a site, all right.  The two tallest girls could have used bigger chairs, so they weren't hunched, but I doubt they'll need chairs for very long.  And when they all came in from recess, their cheeks glowed and their spirits soared.  They want to skate everyday to infinity.  Now that Brady P. is getting it, I'm even more excited to go out there with him.  I used to want to be an Olympic figure skater (when I was 12), so I enjoy gliding and twirling myself.  Wait til I try it with a chair!

You picked a fun one!  Reach in again.

Prize #2: Stephen King
I am just a few pages away from finishing my first Stephen King book.  Yes.  My first.  And maybe only.  Can you guess which one I picked up after all his years of writing?  No, really.  Guess!  Okay, you're wrong.  You didn't even know this one existed (but please comment if I'm mistaken!).  It's called On Writing ~ A Memoir of the Craft. When I saw that cover staring at me one day at Grandpa's Barn, I was stunned.  "What?  Stephen King wrote a book about writing?  And it's non-fiction?  Holy buckets!  He is like one of the most popular writers I know!  I better get his insight."  So, yeah. I'm almost done with it, and let me tell you what.  He writes a lot like me.  Or, I should say: I write a lot like him.  Without even trying.  It's just a gift, man.  And that's what he says.  One of the most memorable quotes I took so far is this, "It is, after all, the dab of grit that seeps into an oyster's shell that makes the pearl, not pearl-making seminars with other oysters."  I think that quote can apply to any craft or talent.  If you got it, you got it.  Now harness it and make some pearls!

Want to do another?  Come on.

Prize #3: Confession
I have a confession.  I think you're going to be disappointed in me, but I am going to tell you anyway because if you can't tell your shortcomings to an audience comprised of people who love you and people you don't even know, then you're afraid of something.  I left Copper Harbor on January 8th and got home on February 1st.  Today is the 13th.  Do you know what I have not seen up close in 36 days???  Oh, man... it's so hard to admit.  I have not seen the splashing water of Lake Superior.  I can feel my heart just yeeeaaaarrrrning in desire.  But when I drove the lake shore since I've been home, it has been frozen as far as the eye can see.  Now, I think it has broken up a bit out there, but the harbor is definitely solid.  Excuses!  Excuses!  I need to get out there!  I need to find an open spot of Superior sweetness and listen to the waves and dip my fingers in her glory and feel my heart sink fully back into my chest.  Don't get me wrong, it is difficult this time of year to get a taste of Her Majesty, but I am determined.  I'll chip through the ice if I have to.  Hopefully I won't fall in.

Okay, that one made you want another one, right?

Prize #4: Breathwork
As you may have noticed, in my last few posts I have alluded to the fact that my life took an unexpected and difficult turn lately.  I felt broken.  B.R.O.K.E.N.  Have you ever felt that way?  Do you feel better now?  I sure hope so.  Like I said a few posts ago, I had to do a lot of emotional purging, meditation and conscious focusing to get back on track.  But I have to also tell you about a breakthrough technique I found.  It's called breathwork.  And honestly, I don't know a lot about the origin, but my friend Rachel leads sessions online, so I took one a few weeks ago.  I expected to have a relaxing time breathing peacefully.  Not the case.  At all.  I started doing this breathing where you focus, not on deep breaths or holding it in, but on keeping a consistent cycle inhaling and exhaling.  I imagined my breath like a wheel turning from my abdomen to my heart.  I would do this the best I could until I bawled my eyes out -- several times.  Then I would breath in a cycle again until my arms shook wildly, my lips quivered and my feet felt numb.  Or I laughed hysterically.  Or my whole body tensed up to the point where you could have put my shoulders on the top of one chair and my calves on the top of another and I would have laid there like a quivering board.  Ho.  Ly.  Crap.  That was an experience of a lifetime.  But, do you know what?  I felt waaaaay better afterward.  I felt focused and positive.  I felt so alive and renewed.  And I have learned that when I feel fear or anxiety creeping in, I can just take some time to practice this breathing technique, and I will feel much better.  It has never felt as intense as it did since Rachel's guidance that day, but I think I may have shaken out some of the shadows.  I think this is really awesome.  If you want to look more into it, check out Rachel's website.  Thank you, Rachie!!!

Whew.  That one was rather expected.  Should we try one more?

Prize #5: Brady P.
Yeah, yeah, I know.  You wanted to hear about him the whole time.  That's because he's awesome.  He is a little parrot these days.  He will repeat what people say... even unsuspecting people!  Now, his every word is not yet understandable, but you can tell he's repeating what you said.  So watch your mouth, sonny!  He is also doing much better now that we are home.  He loves going to school.  Loves playing with his toys.  Loves sleeping in his own bed.  Loves bossing me around and telling me which song to play next.  Loves to hold hands and say "Thank you for this food" before we eat a meal.  Loves to test his knowledge.  Loves to play the matching game (still, but sometimes I beat him now!).  And just loves.  He is such a lover.  He is the epitome of love.  And I am so grateful for him in my life.  

Okay.  Five is a good number to stop at.  Wait.  What's that?  A bonus prize?  What is it???

Prize #6: Bubbles
I took this picture of Braeden just after he got his glasses.  It's hilarious -- especially if you have ever seen the Trailer Park Boys because he looks just like Bubbles.  I put this picture on facebook and it went wild.  But just in case you're not on facebook, you should have a glance (and a chuckle) as well.  Enjoy!

No caption does this justice

Well, thanks for playing the grab bag of randomness with me today!  I sure had a good time.

Just one more thing:  Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! to my family and community of Copper Harbor.  Life is fulfilled in unique ways with that support. 

Take care of yourself now.  And go do something fun that you've been meaning to do.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Itsy Bitsy Steps

Hi there.

Some days are fun.
Some days are hard.
Life can lift up.
Life can bombard.
One day at a time
is how we can win it
but sometimes it's hard to endure just one minute.
Look up at the sky.
Count our blessings each day.
To grow and survive
is the only way.

My heart goes out to you, friend.  Life is real.  Let's be real about it.  We can all survive together.  Just believe and do your part... I am doing mine.

Even the itsy bitsy spider went up the spout again.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Sunny Reprieve

Hello from Arkansas!

Grammy Linda, Brady P. and I came down last week, so Braeden could visit his dad. Even though our flight here was canceled and our flight out of here is canceled, we are grateful to be in the sunshine and double digits above zero.

A couple days ago it was 54° so Grammy and I hiked down to the creek and sat on some boulders in the sunshine. We even got to take off our jackets and pull up our pant legs to really soak it in! It was so peaceful and welcome that I soaked it into my soul.

Here is a little video of my favorite part of the creek that I sat in every day I have been here. It’s no Lake Superior, but it’s fresh running water, and the sun sparkles around it.


We hope to be back home soon although it will look and feel like a different place than when we left. That is part of life I suppose.

Brady P. needs to be home. As a creature of routine and habit, being away and traveling for a month has really taken a toll on his behavior and feelings of security. I look forward to getting back to normal even though normal is different now. I am stronger and wiser.  At least I hope so!

Please pardon the unusual look of the font and alignment of this blog. I couldn’t quite get it right on my iPhone. I will edit it once I get back.

Be true to yourself. You deserve it!  Nobody else can be you.

And for heaven sake, stay warm!

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Traveling...

Hello loved one.

You are loved by someone, you know!

I am traveling today, tomorrow and next Wednesday.  I'll do my best to get something out in the interim.

Sorry about the chaos. 

Believe in yourself.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Brighter Days

When was the last time you felt like a kid?

Like you were ready to take on the world.  Like you had so much energy that you had to roll in the snow to let some of it out.  Like you were carefree, full of laughter and longing to spread joy.

Brady P. is like this everyday that I am in a good mood. 

I was like this last week after I crawled my way out of being crushed emotionally.

Brief recap:

     Amanda recently finds herself in a situation where she thinks she is going to die.  She survives.  But she lives paralyzed in fear.  She cannot eat or sleep.  
     Grammy comes to save her and Brady P. from being alone, so the situation cannot happen again.  Grammy brings Amanda and Brady P. home to Wisconsin where Brady P. can be in good care of Grammy and Grampy while Amanda hibernates in order to heal.  
     Amanda cries.  She bawls.  She curses.  She journals.  She lets it all (well, at least as much as possible for now) out.  Then she meditates three times a day.  She focuses on peace.  On strength. On overcoming.  On brighter days.  
     Luckily, Amanda is in a quiet place in the woods, so she has no other demands placed on her besides the one to overcome trauma.

And she did.

Alleluia!

Okay, back to first person.  I just wanted to remove myself a bit from that story, so it wouldn't be so emotional.  You don't need my drama in your life.

But I do want you to see my salvation.  Because after that week of purging fear, anger, grief, sadness and guilt, I could find myself again.

Those emotions are not part of who I am.  I am strong, upbeat, friendly, caring and positive.  I must move forward, and I must forgive.

When I was able to do all that, I quite literally became a kid again.  I couldn't wait to play with Brady P.  I sledded more than the little kids every chance I got.  I skipped and bounced and laughed and sang.  

I felt light again.

A lightness in my physical being, my emotions and even in the things I looked at.  I was so grateful because I could have been stuck in that dark, scared, depressing place in my mind for, well, forever.

But I knew that is not me.  That is not who I would let myself become because of someone else's actions.  I am a warrior, and I am here to help save the world.  

Thank goodness I can save myself.

Now, I'm not going to preach to you about any of this, but I certainly want you to see from my experience how the power of positivity, meditation, doing the work and having a supportive and safe place to stay while you are healing or trying to achieve a goal in life are quite necessary.  I could not have done it in a week's time without any of these elements.

Thank you to everyone who has offered me support.  Brady P. and I are stronger and wiser because of it.

And as proof that we are doing well, here is a video that my Daddio took on a sledding walk at the Rogers one day.  It is the first video I have edited in years.  It's simple, but sweet.  Enjoy!