When your best friend has 4 legs

We’ve all had best friends that one person we could talk about anything to.  The one we’d call in the middle of the night to share a great story with.  I always worry about Nicole having that 1 person who is her everything that she can tell anything to.

She has a few friends who are that close.  Her one friend is a boy – they are working through that weird stage of being friends but being part of the opposite sex.  She has another friend who she claims is her best friend but they are in WAY different places in their lives and I worry that this girl isn’t the best person right now.

Then she has Duke.  Duke isn’t a person (for those of you who aren’t keeping up- Duke is a horse).  Duke is her everything, the one person (horse) she tells everything to. And he understands her, he ‘gets’ her.  He looks for her when he hears her voice and will seek her out when he is unsure.

See a best friend is someone who you can seek out no matter what is happening and they will be there for you.  So right now Duke is her best friend.  And while this might seem sad, it’s not.  Its happy because most of us will never know the love like this.  One that is based on nothing but pure love and trust.

I hope you find a best friend who will love you this way


Build Each Other Up

A friend posted on facebook today a really interesting statement.  You see her kids might have a bruise, or a red mark or wet clothes or mismatched shoes not because she’s a bad mom or ANYTHING but mainly because .. guess what SHE HAS KIDS! That’s what it means!!

When Nic was little she would scream, not just a little but SCREAM. It didn’t matter if she was happy or sad or if it was sunny or raining, she screamed. She did this because she was SICK!  We didn’t know, we tried everything, heck she was the youngest of 5 we had been on this ride before.

My point is this, we don’t know and it isn’t our job to find out. It is our job to raise each other up! So instead of saying, “when my child did that I did (fill in the blank)” try, you are doing OK.  Can I help get you anything? Can I push your cart, can I put your cart away, or simply, I’ve been there! It does eventually get better!

Our first instinct is to offer advice, I think we are hardwired this way.  And sometimes a mom will ask for help! But until she does, just offer support, even if it’s just a smile that says “I’ve been here and you can do this!”

Raise them up

Yesterday we took Nicole to a funeral. It was the first one she’d been to after the PNHS teacher’s (which was more of an event than a funeral).  We took her along for many reasons, the largest being it was going to storm and I didn’t want her at home alone.

The funeral was for a long time friend who passed away, and we knew there would be a number of people there that we hadn’t seen in a very long time and it was true.  Also most (if not all) of those people knew Nic before she even arrived on the planet and probably held her, talked to her and played with her while I was on staff at Community.

After that we headed to our church for a Community 4:12 event.  Tony and I wanted to get back connected to Giftmart and felt that this was an easy way to go in and sign up.  What we didn’t expect to happen was the connection we would make with a single ministry.

360 Youth Services is an orgnaization that helps teens and young adults navigate life. But they also help LGBT teens! This is something that for both Nic and myself is near and dear to our hearts.  For me (and probably for Nic) it’s because we have so many friends who fit into this group.  AND for many of them they’ve struggled with who they are over their life.  When we heard that this is the one of the largest homeless populations as well I know both of us were very surprised.

I am not sure how we are going to get involved in this organization but I know we will.  This morning as I was reflecting on this, the following verse came to mind Proverbs

22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go,
[a]And when he is old he will not depart from it.

I know both Tony and myself want our kids to grow up to be accepting, loving, understanding people and after watching all of them, I can say we’ve been pretty successful.

I am looking forward to how Nic and I will fit into this organization and what we can offer.  The person we spoke with said that we should talk about what our family brings and then sit down with them and say here is what we have.  The one thing I can say our family brings is acceptance.  Acceptance for who you are, acceptance that life hasn’t been easy for you, and acceptance that you matter to us and to God.  It breaks my heart to hear that parents are throwing their children on the streets because they are different or don’t fit a mold of what ‘we’ expect them to be.  This simply can’t be what God expects, it just can’t.

So we’ll be praying for what our next steps will be… I can’t say for sure what they will be and if they will be anything but this definitely feels like it has the hand of God in it.


It’s the Birthday!!

Today so many years ago we welcomed a pink bundle into our lives! Little did we know the journey this little person would take us on!

From health issues, to horses to laughs to tears this child has given us so much joy!  I will never forget the quick nurse visit that turned into the birth of our daughter!

It would be a short 18mths later that our lives would be turned upside down as we tried for years to come up with a diagnosis!  It would take over 100 doctor visits, 2 Mayo visits and more nights googling symptoms before we would have a clear list of things and a road map to attempt to manage this lovely life!

I would NOT trade any of that for the world.  This child has taught me so much about life and love and laughter! Her ability to look at life in a way that says the glass is always full and that it doesn’t matter what gets thrown at you it will get better!

I can’t believe that God blessed us with this amazing person!  I know that God made her just for us, that he formed her to be perfect for our family and for that I am eternally grateful!

So today we celebrate 14 years of laughter and tears! And we look forward to so many more!!


Most people think of the word liberty and think it means personal freedom – well in the horse world it means that and so much more!  According to (https://horsefulnesstraining.com) The goal of Liberty Training is to develop a true connection between human and horse based on how horses interact and communicate within the herd.

Nicole has been talking about doing ‘Liberty work’ with her horse for several years.  I didn’t really (and still don’t) understand what it means.  Altho I am learning! What I do know is that liberty is teaching my daughter to read and trust her horse.

But more than that, it is a joy I have never seen in her before!  She is loving working with Duke and doing Liberty.  She is teaching him to trust her and to look to her for leadership!  Yesterday he got spooked, you see horses have a few blind spots and right behind them is one.  He gets scared when he can’t see whats going on or if he catches a quick glimpse of something the can’t see.  Yesterday this happened and he started running.  However he looked to Nicole to see what he should be feeling!  This is huge, this means he’s looking to her as the Alpha and seeing if she feels he should be scared.  She stayed calm and he calmed down and eventually came to her.

This is the core of liberty work!  The idea that the horse is trusting you because you have a bond!  Not one built on fear or attack but one built on mutual trust.  Duke is learning to trust Nic has his mom!

When I picked her up yesterday I asked if she missed riding and she said No way! She said she loved the liberty work!  She could not imagine doing anything else!!  I love seeing this joy in her!!  It’s hard work but she is so excited to be doing it!

Couldn’t of said it better..

Take a moment and read this amazing article..


OK Back? This is our world EVERY single day.  We attend a ton of events and we’ve had very similar situations  We were once pulled aside in a security line and had to wait for a supervisor – once she arrived she essentially yelled at the person who had stopped us and they allowed us in.

Having food allergies, means you travel with food everywhere you go.  This is a given! We can’t go to events without having food with us.  I can’t tell you how many websites I have scoured to determine how likely we’ll get Nics food in.  What extra hoops are we going to have to jump through to keep her safe.  We’ve had moments where we don’t take food in because we know it won’t be too long and we can leave her food in the car.

I’ve not gone to events because the site said no outside food allowed.  Even though I know that we are covered under the ADA act.  Essentially you are dealing with security people who aren’t fully educated and don’t understand the law.  Saying “don’t tell anyone” is really an attitude we see everywhere!

Take a moment and think about this, if you knew that going into an event meant you couldn’t eat anything there, and that potentially the food in the event could kill you, what would you do?





Horse Lessons

Nic has been riding now for several years and while I was learning a ton at every lesson I was kind of in the mode that I knew ‘enough’. (not all but enough) So we decided to buy a horse.  Seems like an easy decision, find the right one to buy, find a place for it to live and move on.

For those of you who know horses you are probably laughing yourselves off your chairs right now.  I know rookie mistake!  What I didn’t know, was the learning curve that was going to be associated with this experience for both myself and Nicole.

You see buying a dog, a car, even a house is easy.  You decide the one you want you test drive you make a decision and you bring it home. There is a learning curve, if you get a puppy you have to potty train, if you buy a car you have to find the gas cap, and even a house comes with it’s own issues of figuring out where stuff is and how it all fits together.

Owning a horse is so much more!  Not only do you have to learn how to operate this new thing but it has an opinion and often isn’t afraid to share it with you!  See horses are pack animals AND they are at the bottom of the food chain.  So they are always trying to figure out who is the boss.

And if you aren’t it, then they are going to be and then sometimes they still want to be the boss!  Duke likes to push Nicole.  He likes to test her – he gets spooked pretty easily and when he does he gets bossy.  He won’t put his head down, he will pull on the reins and he will push her to do what HE wants.  She is learning to push back be big and make sure he knows she is the boss.

What is funny (in a loose sense of the word) is that he is well aware of what he’s doing.  He will give her a look, like “hmm let’s see what I can do here”.  What I have read is that they are going to test, and if you let them win, they are going to learn.  They learn that they are now in charge and you aren’t.  So every test she has to meet and and push back.  She simply can’t let him win.  For either of them!

She is learning some very important lessons, one of those is that you have to always be thinking 3 steps ahead.  Its a tough lesson for a 14yo kid!  She has to work hard to teach her horse what he needs to do, this often means not doing what she wants (like riding) and pushing him to do what she thinks is important.

This means educating the rest of us about how to handle him and where to stand.  Today she is going to teach me how to hold him so that if he gets spooked we are both safe.

Life lessons are often hard to teach however having a horse has certainly given us alot of opportunities to teach them!


Today is bittersweet, as I watch all of my friends kids head off to school I am sad that mine is not also on her way.  However, I know we made the right decision.  Getting up every day at 5:30 to leave the house at 6:30 would be next to impossible for us.  POTS kids struggle with sleeping.  Imagine the nights you go to bed and your mind is running a mile a minute, your thoughts are racing, maybe something went down at work or at home.  Now imagine that EVERY night you lay down is like this!

This is what it’s like for some kids with POTS and then getting up early and on a schedule makes it 100x more difficult.  I know for Nicole being able to go on line and at her own pace is exactly what she’s supposed to be doing.  I just worry that we aren’t thinking of something or that there is a hidden obstacle we don’t know about.

However, a very wise friend and pastor once said worry is a monologue when God wants a Diagloge so today I am going to pray for all those who are heading out and I am going to celebrate that hopefully going on line will allow us to finish early and start college early!  And even if we don’t that she is going to get the education she needs and not worry about missing days!

So here’s to the first day of school for everyone!  If you need us we’ll be sleeping, doing homework and visiting our horse!

Dear Kindergarten Mom

Today you dropped your baby off at school.  You might of had to leave them at the door or you may have been able to walk them into the classroom.  The 5th graders look so big, is it even possible that your tiny person can be ready for this step?  You worry that they have enough crayons, that their backpack is right and that they make some nice friends.  You wonder if they will like their teacher, will they learn what they are supposed to and will they enjoy school.

In the end it won’t matter if they wore their favorite dress or torn up jeans, if they had a Superman backpack or a princess one, in the end what matters is that you both learned.  Learned that life isn’t going to always be so easy, that there will be bullies, and colds, and even some broken bones.  That the tears will dry up and the laughter will end, in the end it won’t matter.  What will matter is did they learn to have compassion, did they learn to share with the other kids and did they learn that while learning is  tough it is also fun.

In a few short days my daughter is supposed to start high school, supposed to, not going to.  So many years ago, I never thought we would not see this day, never thought that she wouldn’t follow in her brothers foot steps of being a Tiger.  However, life as it always does, had different plans for us.  Ones that took us down different roads through difficult terrain and ultimately had us choosing a different path.

This path isn’t wrong or bad, it is merely different.  So as you send your son or daughter off to school remember that the path is going to change. Friends are going to come and go, likes and dislikes will change and at some point you hope they will find a passion for something.  That passion may not be what you had hoped, but embrace that, embrace the unknown and embrace each day as it comes.  This is journey not a destination and one that only God has planned.

For today hug them so tight, cry the happy tears, and listen to their happy stories about friends and cubbies and books and recess and new teachers.  One day they are going to take a bigger step of becoming grownups and all that has to offer scary or not.  But today, today they are your little person and for today Enjoy that!