Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Riding Bike...Are you kidding me!

We have tried for a couple years now to get Bryson to ride a bike.  We figured it would be possible...someday...but it was becoming such a chore for all of us.  This summer we saw glimpses of him getting his balance but he just couldn't do it for very long.  Then finally last night this is what we saw...

We are not finished but I would say he has crossed a huge hurdle.  We have to figure out how to get him to be able to get on the bike, get his foot in place, and get started without our help, but I'm hoping he will instinctively figure that out on his own.  (If any of you have any ideas on how we might teach him I would be up for that.)  He can also only turn one way right now.  When he tries to turn the other way he falls.  All in all I'm pretty proud of my boy!  As with a lot of physical activities in his life it took him longer then most kids but this is just another stepping stone in his life that when he is struggling to accomplish something else he can look back and see that even with one leg he learned to ride a bike.   AMAZING!
(On a side note.  I know this blog is just about Bryson's journey, but for family out there, Reagan also learned how to ride her bike down the road last night.  I said ride, not break!  Right now she just falls at the end and hopefully someone is there to catch her:))

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

4 Years Ago Today and Look How Far He's Come


I have to admit, this was the first year that I did not dread this or even remember what it was the anniversary of.  It wasn't until this afternoon that I realized that my mother-inlaw's text that she loved us and was proud of our son made since.  In my eyes that is a blessing.  Yes, now I am getting teary-eyed remembering but what healing must be taking place in my life to get me to the point where I don't dread Aug 17th.

On that day all of our dreams for our son were shattered with the doctors words about amputation.  We thought of all the things (we thought) he would never be able to do.  Not in our wildest dreams did we imagine all that he would be doing today!

Are there still down days, hard conversations, and daily trying to have faith that God has a purpose for even this...yes, of course!  But thank God for his redeeming power in our lives.  That He continues to work in and through us and that I know He has and will continue to do the same with Bryson!

By the way, I do eventually plan to update all of you on Bryson's summer, especially Nationals, but I need to wait until I'm caught up from being gone on vacation for 2 1/2 weeks and the kids are in school!


Monday, June 6, 2011

More Prayers Needed

The blog I wrote last week, really was from my heart and was really meant to be just another post about Bryson and the things that pertain to him.  I never dreamed that almost 9000 people would have read the blog in a week - that was not my intention.  In case you are not familiar with blogs, I can see how many people view my blog and what blog posts are being read.  (Don't worry, I can't see who:))  Before my post about coach Tressel, normally only about 30 people read my post - some family, some friends, and some other parents of amputees, and that's just fine.  But because of my post about coach Tressel and other people coming to the blog I noticed that almost 100 people have read my post about Izzy and I thought, "great, that means more people are praying for her now."

All that being said, I have another prayer request for all of you.  I had a friend from KY who emailed me last week about a family who also live in KY.  Their two year old daughter was run over by a lawnmower last week, I think, and she did not survive.  When I heard the story, my heart broke again.  These tragedies with children will never get easy for me.  I sat in shower again, which was always the place where I allowed myself to cry during the months after Bryson's accident, and cried for the family and also cried as a relived all of the feelings I felt that first night.  I know the pain and grief I felt cannot compare to this family's.  Please pray for this mother, father, and the 8 year old brother. (I think that's the right age)  I left the story pretty vague on purpose.  I have emailed the mother, but I don't really expect to hear back from them anytime soon and maybe not at all, so I don't really feel like I have permission to give any details.  You have enough there to be able to pray though. 

Like I said, I have emailed the mother and I did leave her a the link to this blog, so I thought it would be nice and encouraging for her (if she reads this) for you to leave your own prayers for the family in the comments to this blog.

Thanks for praying!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Coach Tressel's Legacy...according to me

You won't be able to read or hear about this story on ESPN, Sports Illustrated, or the Columbus Dispatch this week.  You see there is nothing, as a fallen people, that we like better than a story of a good man who also has fallen - sad isn't it.  (Believe me, I know from personal experience!)  We get a weird sort of pleasure reading about it, listening to all the details, and then making comments about it to our friends, family, and posting comments about it all over the Internet.  Twisted - I know, but think of how many times we participate in this.  Well, this is my blog and I've decided I'm going to do something different.  I'm not going to condemn anyone, but I'm also not going to excuse anyone.  What I really want you to see after this blog entry is that our legacies do not have to be defined by our failures, our sins, our mistakes despite what some TV commentator might say, but they can be defined by the grace of God working through us day in and day out.

Well, in light of that, I would like to remind you or maybe tell you for the first time my story of Coach Tressel and the legacy that he will carry in my family. 

On Aug 17th my son was run over by a lawnmower.  It just so happened that on that day Bryson was wearing his brand new #33 jersey.  Bryson was probably the biggest 4 year  old OSU football fan ever and was so excited about his new jersey.  In fact, his dad had on a matching jersey.  Turns out his daddy used his jersey to tie around Bryson's leg to stop the bleeding and Bryson's jersey was cut off.  While I was in the emergency room with Bryson before he was life-flighted to Columbus Children's hospital he let me know that he was upset about his new jersey.  I assured him we would get him a new one, but never did I dream how things would turn out for him. 

Bryson on the morning before his accident in his brand new jersey.

Bryson had his leg amputated and then spent quite a bit of time in the hospital as he healed.  During that time, through a series of events that I'm not even sure of, Coach Tressel was made aware of Bryson's accident and his love for the Buckeye's.  It wasn't a couple of days later and Coach Tressel came to meet Bryson in person.  He came alone: no cameras, no media, no support crew.  He came. He encouraged. He let us tell him Bryson's story.  He let us take his picture with Bryson.  He gave Bryson some signed hats and a covered note pad.  He promised to get Bryson to a OSU football practice and to an Ohio vs Michigan game (since that always falls on the weekend of Bryson's birthday).  All of that was great, but what left the biggest impression on me was when he handed us his business card and wrote his personal cell phone number on the back.  He told us to call if we needed anything - are you kidding me!  Who does that!  I will tell you - not somebody who is only interested in lining his pockets or winning football games.  We were of no value to him, my husband is a youth pastor, we don't live in Columbus, & we aren't alumni of the university.  We were just a hurting family who he took time for, in the middle of football season, to encourage.

He fulfilled his promises to Bryson.  Bryson was able to go to two OSU football practices and went to the Ohio State/Michigan game the next year and sat in the most amazing seats.  On the notebook he gave Bryson he wrote, "The Buckeyes are cheering for you."  Bryson was very impressed by that.  While watching the football games even now a couple years later Bryson will say, "That's Coach Tressel!  That's my friend!"

At Bryson's 1st OSU practice

After Bryson's 2nd OSU practice

OSU/Michigan game - we had to hold him the whole game because he didn't want to miss anything.

So, Coach Tressel's legacy in our family will simply be this that he was an encourager when we needed encouragement, was compassionate when we needed compassion, perfect - NO (but really who of us is), and to Bryson "friend."  I'll take that kind of legacy any day of the week.

On a side note, random people have asked me how Bryson is taking all of this (knowing what a big fan he is) and I will tell you this, he is just sad that Coach Tressel won't be coaching the Buckeye's next year.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Bryson's prayer for Izzy

So it has been a couple days, but after I told Bryson about Izzy that night he said a prayer for her.  It was so cute, so innocent, and so genuine I just had to share it with you.  I hope my memory holds up for this because I hope to do this word for word - I really should've went right downstairs and wrote it down, know how that goes.  Maybe as you read it you can offer this same prayer for her.

"Dear Jesus, Please help Izzy with the cancer.  Tell her all the things she can still do with one leg.  Help her to be fine.  Amen." 

I think my favorite part is "Tell her."  I love the childlike faith - oh that we would all have more of that.  Of course Jesus can tell her in ways that we cannot imagine.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Pray for Izzy

I go so long between posts sometimes that every now and then I think, "why bother anymore," and then I get a comment on my blog or an email that encourages me to continue.  Last week I got one such comment and then followed by some email correspondence and I think Praise God that we have an outlet like blogs in which we can connect with so many people. 

Anyway, this post is for one reason and one reason only, and that is to ask for immediate prayer for a young girl named Izzy.  She has had cancer and chemo and will now be having her leg amputated on Thursday (I believe) in effort to rid her body of that cancer.  Please pray for her, her parents, for the doctors, for other family members, for friends that they would be supportive and know what to do and what not to do.  If you would like to see her story it is included on her Aunt's blog at  If you search by her name "Izzy" the entries should come up.

Thanks in advance for your prayers!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Giving Credit Where Credit is Due

I have had a lot of people comment on facebook that they love the new picture in the heading of this blog.  I have to give credit where credit is due, because I did not take or edit the picture.  Our friend Lyla Kornhaus, took the picture for us.  She has taken a lot of our family pictures and we love how natural the pictures look when she takes them.  The picture is edited - no, Bryson was not standing in water:)  I did get to spray the water in his face though.  I think the picture is pretty cool myself...and since I didn't take the picture, I can say that and still remail humble.:)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Couldn't Wait!

There was so much I wanted to post between my last soccer post and now, but those will just have to come at a later time.  I just couldn't wait to show you this...


Isn't it the coolest thing ever!  I haven't even seen it in person yet but this picture makes it looks so cool.  I guess Bryson was really impressed!  Beau said he will need to get adjusted to it, but said that Bryson didn't get frustrated at all - which is huge. (he's a little of a perfectionist)  Come Monday morning he will take it to Physical Therapy with him which should help him out a little.  I guess on the bottom of the metal foot thing there should be some tread on it, but right now it is just a foam thing.  They will leave that on for a couple weeks and then bring him back to put the tread on it.  This is suppose to help them know where to put the tread or something like that.  Right now he can't be out on the pavement with it but that's fine as he learns how to use it.  I can't wait until I start seeing him run with it.  I'm sure his face will just light up.  We will work on getting a video of it.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

... And Yes, Another Sport for Bryson

This fall Bryson wanted to play what do you think we did...let him play soccer and Beau coached his team. 

We were the parents, before Bryson's accident, that said we wouldn't have our elementary children in sports.  We felt like took too much time, the parents in the stands were a little too intense, and we didn't want to put any kind of pressure like that on our little kids.  Well then Bryson's accident happened and we had to rethink a lot of things.  Bryson wanted to play sports so badly  - any sport - and we realized that any sport he played now would really be a form of physical therapy for him.  We figure any activity is good activity for this kid.  Call it justifying things, but this is what we have decided to do.  As a result of that decision we have to let all our kids play sports - wouldn't want to play favorites.:)  To be truthful, I'm always happy when the seasons are over but I love watching the kids have so much fun. 

So, about soccer season, does it surprise you that Bryson loves soccer?!  It didn't matter that his team wasn't very good he just loved playing.  His favorite position was goalie.  He had a lot of practice with it since that's the position he played at most recesses. 

side story:  Bryson got stuck at goalie a lot during recess and was very discouraged by it.  He wanted score goals like the other kids.  It wasn't until we told him that his uncle Burke was goalie that he decided he could do that.  Then Beau worked with him to show him how to dive for the balls and the rest was history.  Now he doesn't always like it that he has to take turns playing goalie.

Here are some pictures from the season.  I wasn't able to make it to all the games since Reagan's games were sometimes at the same time, but I was still able to get plenty of pictures.  (typical me!)

 Bryson's 1st Goal Kick.

 Wasn't meant to be - but it didn't phase him a bit.

 What kid doesn't like to throw the ball in, but how many are smiling during it.

They probably lost, but Beau does a great job of making it fun anyway.

One of my favorite stories from during soccer season happened after the games - more than once.  When I would go to pick him up he would say, "my leg, my legs gonna fall off."  How many parents hear that after a game.:)  His leg would get so sweaty that he just couldn't keep it on any longer.

Bryson's favorite sport is always whatever is in season, so at that time is was soccer.  I have a feeling their will be more soccer in his future.  We are in the process now of getting Bryson an athletic leg, so next year might be quite different for him.  He is very excited about getting this new leg.  Stay tuned for pictures of it - right now we are waiting for it to be made and trying to decide - knee or know knee - but that's a discussion for another day.

Hope you are all finding a way to stay warm.  We can finally see our driveway!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

National Junior Disability Championships 2010 - Chicago

Well, I have to add a disclaimer to the beginning of this post.  This is all second hand information for me.  As most of you know my husband Beau is a youth pastor and long before we knew anything about the NJDC we had planned a mission trip with our youth group that very same week.  We wanted Bryson to be able to go to the nationals when we found out about it but knew we could not go ourselves.  My parents were going to be watching our kids during the mission trip so we asked Beau's parents if they would be interested in taking Bryson to the nationals.  They were more then willing - which we are so thankful for - so any pictures and information I have came from them. 

Getting there & arriving at Chicago

Long drive - but nothing a little DS won't help!

 The loot from the welcome bag!

Activities for the athletes to experience & enjoy


pretty sure he was showing off his muscles

It sounded to me like these experiences and the new relationships he made were worth the trip in itsself.  The competition was just secondary.  These are the parts I wish I could've been there to see.  I could see him swim anytime but these moments seem priceless.  You take a kid who all year gets to see very few other kids that are like him and then put him in a place where he sees other kids like him and he just blossoms.  You can just see the joy and excitement on his face.  Really I can't wait to get to take him this summer.

The Opening Ceremony

Bryson's team that was there for the ceremony "Wayne County Wildcats"

Parade of athletes - check out Bryson - he is forgetting to stay with his team.

Just love how excited and proud he looks - I'm sure around here nobody even noticed his leg.

 Bryson with some of the other athletes enjoying the performance
This was the Jesse White Tumbling Team - Bryson was pretty impressed!

New Friends!

The Competition

Like I told you before, the competition really became secondary.  From what I hear Bryson was a little tired and really didn't have his best times.  I saw the videos and he even looked a little sluggish.  It was a whole different atmosphere at these competitions compared to what he was used to.  He had weird practice times, races in the evenings (late for Bryson) and he would have to be alone waiting for his turn for a long time - only coaches and swimmers were allowed by the pool so the grandparents were up in the stands.  He had his DS to keep him company but it also became a little of a distraction from what I hear.  That being said, even though his times were slower he was able to place in the nationals.  Here's what he got:
25 M back - 2nd place
25 M Free - 1st place
50 M back - 2nd place
50 M free - 2nd place
Not bad for his first nationals!  It will be fun to see how he improves this year.  Just the maturity and the growth of his body will be a huge advantage from where he was during this competition.  Again this year we only let Bryson compete in the swimming competitions because we didn't know what he would be able handle, but there really are so many more events he could be participating in.  Hopefully we will get him into some of the track and field events this year.  I'm sure it would be a huge confidence booster for him to be able to race against people with his same abilities.

Experiencing a basketball wheelchair - looks like he enjoyed it.
Playing soccer with his new friend.  His new friend had no legs or arms, but Bryson wasn't about to cut him any slack and I don't think the guy wanted him to.  Pretty cool!

Dressed in his pjs and ready to head back to Ohio

My favorite picture from the week - man I love this guy!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

West Virginia Games - Finally!

Well, with the new year, again, I have decided to do more posting about Bryson. The reason for this blog is not to brag about my kids - if I wanted to do that I would post about all four of my children (you can see that on my facebook). I really want this blog to speak of God's redeeming power: how He can take a horrible lawnmower accident and turn it into a beautiful story of hope and joy and I would also like it to be an encouragement for others going through similar circumstances. I hope to not only be sharing the good, but also the bad, the sad, the hard questions. I will try my best to be authentic through it all.

So about West Virginia games - kind of left the blog hanging after that, but if you have any connections to our family at all you probably heard the results. Bryson got 1st in each of the events he swam in (25 back & free, 50 back & free) and got his best times. He did standing dives this time which might have helped his times some but you could also tell he was really enjoying the competition. So, with no problem he was on his way to the Nationals in Chicago.

The best parts about these events is that it builds confidence but it is also a great place to meet others with disabilities. I know I have said this before, but Bryson is very sensative to people with disabilities. He really cares about them and loves being with people like himself. I love it that he is very comfortable in these situations and it has rubbed off on my other children. We hope to continue attending these events.

At this competition Bryson got to talk with a news reporter. He really had no idea how to answer the questions but it was cute. He was getting asked some pretty deep questions for a 7 year old. He only knew he was there to swim and to have fun, so asking him questions about what that meant to him went really far over his head. Well, anyway, it made for some cute pictures.

Ready for Nationals!