Wednesday, July 15, 2015

"HAPPILY MELTING"



I’m guessing the Good Lord grew weary of hearing us complain about the Great Northwest's lack of sun and sent in "melting" temperatures.  Yes, the high temps have been with us for the last several weeks now and even though we are dripping... we are melting and happy. 
It's crazy; Jacoby and hot weather have a "love/hate" relationship.  Due to her injury, she spends most of her days feeling like she's a character in "FROZEN"; therefore, just like Olaf... she dreams of HEAT.  She visualizes herself... sitting with the  warm sun hitting her face ... and tells me this amazing place she is visualizing is Hawaii; now, isn't she clever?
Trust me, she knows how to "work it" with this ol momma of hers.  Someday, right?

OK, back to reality!

Basically, hot days make her extremely happy... almost ecstatic... BUT, ONLY for a couple of hours, only to leave her absolutely frantic to cool down her core body temperature. Of course, the key is to MODERATE the amount of time in the sun, but we have never been really familiar with the term of "moderation" in this family.  It isn't easy teaching an old dog new tricks you know, but hey... we're going to keep doing our best!  Overall, Jacoby is LOVIN’ the Cali temps... KEEP IT COMIN', LORD!

As always, some things never change.  Jacoby finished her last day of being a "junior" making her mother cry.  I opened her binder only to find personal letters written to EACH one of her teachers: letters that expressed her appreciation for their unique characteristics, teaching style and memories they had left in her heart forever from this past year. 
Seriously? She wrote letters to her teachers? 
Somehow this moment made me realize just how different her experience, perspective and maturity differed from my own at the age of 17.  What a hardship and yet what a blessing to think beyond yourself at such a young age. 
Teachers names started racing through my head I had never thanked...never acknowledged... never relayed that, because of their dedication, my horizons were broadened... my heart forever changed.
But she won’t suffer these regrets; she is alert and her senses are always "in tune" with her surroundings and with those who change the world.  It poses the question... just who is in the better situation?  Many would disagree with me, but my soul tells me her.  Compromised physically... yes, but mentally... stronger than the iron that supports the Pentagon or the Empire State Building.  Her God is her Healer, her Provider and the Author of her Faith; He is the Anchor of her soul.  She isn't afraid to trust Him because she KNOWS Him.  Faith and Hope are her constant companions; sounds like a place most of us would like to "set up camp" mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Something to think about.

Our first family road trip of the summer was to "Regional Soccer Headquarters USA"...aka...Boise, Idaho. Yes, we were "melting" there too, but when you're surrounded by family, food, and fabulous soccer...WHO CARES!
Morgan’s team made it to Regionals, and so we figured we couldn't go wrong; it would be soccer or socializing with family and friends, “win-win” either way!
If we weren't at soccer games, we were taking over the waters and boat launches of Boise with the masses of children we bring together when our extended families meet. 
Jacoby was much more daring this summer and didn't hesitate to go out on Uncle Victor's boat for rides.  I haven't figured out if she truly loves the boat rides or just the opportunity to get away from all the young cousins that swarm around her asking for rides on her chair. Probably a little of both.
I must admit, listening to Jacoby's responses to the swarm of our darling nieces and nephews always makes my day.  They say things such as:
"I wish I could ride around in a cool chair all day long like you!"
Jacoby: "yup"!
But here is my favorite:
"Jacoby, don't you get tired of sitting all day? When are you going to start walking again?"
Jacoby: “I don't know...whenever God wants me to..."
Kids: “Well, I still think you should just get up and start walking."

Once again, why do YOU think she goes on the boat rides? Lol

Thank God for these children... for humor...for summer!

Ps. Jacoby has decided where she wants to go for college... SEATTLE PACIFIC UNIVERSITY, baby! (AKA... SPU!)  Old stomping grounds of her papa and mama... couldn't be happier! GO FALCONS!!!






















Friday, May 29, 2015

"Back of the Pack"

Runners.....TAKE YOUR MARK.....Ready......Set.........GO!!!

Thousands of anxious runners began their 8K race through the streets of University Village just a few short weeks ago.  "Beat the Bridge" is a well established race which funds research on Juvenile Diabetes.  It was our privilege to run the race this year for many reasons.  Mer Udovich, one of the young girls on Morgan's soccer team, who is also precious to our family, was diagnosed with Juvenile diabetes.  Nothing like adding purpose to a race by knowing someone personally that it will benefit! 
I have run this race many, many times, but this year it was different; it was better.  This was Jacoby's first OFFICIAL race, besides her own.  She knew it would be challenging because it was cold, but she was so excited to be there for Mere and to show her support for people who live with diabetes.  
As Jacoby and I waited to start, until there was space for the wheelchair to "edge in", I surveyed the runners.  The scene was all too familiar to me...runners frantically checking to see if heart rate monitors were ready to go, music being set, watches being re-checked and runners darting in and out of one another to find an open spot.  
Jacoby and I were some of the last ones to step over the starting line; no point in fighting the crowd.  As her chair rolled over the starting tracker, that "competitive gymnast" resurfaced. SHE WAS IN A COMPETITION; we were going to DO THE THING!   Emotions ran high,  but I decided right away I could either run or cry, but I didn't have enough air to do both.  
Jacoby was readily looking for divots in the road and wheeling toward the smoothest areas.  BLESSED CHILD! In all the years I had ran this race, NEVER did I have to pay attention to the condition of the roads and sidewalks.  But, we were having a MARVELOUS time, just she and I.  Running as fast as we could ....when we could, and slowing down when the pavement demanded it.  We had to get to the bridge before it went up, and it was in our blood to BEAT THIS BRIDGE!

As we ran together, I had a whole new experience; the "Back of the Pack" Experience.  No longer did I pass people and try not to breathe hard....because the people we were running beside were breathing JUST AS HARD as we were, maybe harder. Frankly, it was awesome! We were all giving each other the "I got your back" glance and nods; we had become a family in the back.  We obviously all had our unique "hang ups" , but it created an atmosphere of "realness" I had never experienced in a race.  We were at Mile 3 and we had not even glanced at a watch once! 
We smiled at the people taking the time to cheer us on.  We noticed a precious little girl who had opened her window and was wavering at the runners that morning; we saw her little hand and waved back wildly at her.  She was absolutely thrilled we had seen her and reciprocated an equally "wild wave" and smile.  Tears burned my eyes as I realized we would have NEVER appreciated that precious little child had we not been in the circumstances we are in now.  Our "problem" was turning into an opportunity to see life from a different angle.  Perhaps we all need to view our problems differently.....a challenge to overcome....an opportunity to succeed. 

p.s. We DID beat the bridge.....BARELY!






Tuesday, April 21, 2015

NEW MOVEMENT!

Our Dearest Blog Friends!

I have been dreaming of writing this entry for 2 years!!! I have cried for it, yearned for it and prayed God would bless Jacoby with it.

YOU GUESSED IT! JACOBY HAS NEW MOVEMENT!!! After 2 years of waiting, Jacoby made the discovery in the living room.
"Hey Mom and Dad... I'm not sure if it's a muscle spasm or not, but I'm able to lift my right wrist; I think it's moving!"
Let's just say time stopped.  She had our IMMEDIATE attention, which is a hard commodity to attain in the Miles home.  Jason and I both watched in disbelief and amazement as her once lifeless wrist started to lift weakly.  Could it really be... movement?
 Jason said,
"Lift your wrist again, Jacoby!"  Her wrist began to lift... slowly, but definitely  lifting!

Once again, we found ourselves standing in a moment where common words seemed completely  inadequate to express what our hearts where aching to release.  Such complete nonsense to someone else, could be "a Parting of the Red Sea" moment for another person.  You see, when that brain signal found a pathway down Jacoby's arm, new hope found a pathway back into our hearts. 



Jacoby sharing her "good news" with her gym sisters!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Miracle Countdown Finale!

December 19th--Miracle 19

They were happening each and every day.....hour by hour...day by day....moment by moment. We had seen the drywalling and the truckload of supplies delivered at the exact moment needed, but it didn't end here. 
A willing plumber from the gymnastics community had volunteered to install ALL the plumbing; he worked a full time job throughout the day, and worked throughout the night to finish our home.
Not to mention the carpet "angel" who just HAPPENED to come by the house the DAY they needed the carpet torn out. Yes, the volunteers here at the house could have figured it out, but to have someone who knew exactly what they were doing would trump all efforts! 
We heard he "stole the show"!  He ripped out the carpet and laid new carpet in half a day...any questions?
Finally, who could forget the man who "just followed the light"! 
It was late into the night; the men were working around the clock to get this home finished. Sleep would come in a week. Bright lights had been set up around the building sight so the men could see and keep working. A man walked up to the house and asked the men working if he could help. He told them he had been out walking and had seen the light; he needed to follow the light.  As you could only guess, the builders had just come to a point where they needed another man to help lift an extremely heavy beam, but who would be able to help in the middle of the night? The man needing to follow the light, of course! 
I know these stories and STILL ...I cry EVERY time!
Thank you, Lord, for the miracle of willing workers who listen to the "still small voice" to go and help...
Thank you for the man who followed the light....


December 20th -- 25th "The Miracle of All Miracles".......

It was Christmas Eve and I was shaking inside uncontrollably.  The feeling I had could not be compared to anything I had ever experienced before. We had finally been given clearance to check out of Children's Hospital; we would be walking out the hospital doors and driving toward our hometown of Puyallup by 3:00pm.  Glory! Glory! Glory! 
It had come at last...the day we had all dreamed of since the accident; WE WERE GOING HOME! It didn't matter what Jacoby could or couldn't do anymore, because there were principles that whispered something much deeper to our hearts. No matter what...we were going to be ok....we were going to live our lives to the fullest...we STILL had joy and we would keep the faith. 
My only regret was not taking a picture of Jacoby's face the moment we pulled out of the hospital drive. She had a smile from ear to ear....the "commander" was heading back to her "commanding post"! My administrative assistant had been gone and we ALL missed her. 
As we merged onto I5, I glanced back at her.  Jacoby's not a girl of many words, but the look she gave Jason and I  shouted a THOUSAND words at that moment! 
(Here came the tears, my ever-present, faithful companions. ) I wanted to open the window and shout at the top of my lungs.....just shout to the world we were going home; come hell or high waters, we were going home!
There is something amazing and beautiful about the human spirit. God made us to WANT to fight and pull through an obstacle; he made us WANT to pull through adversity.  I knew the challenge would be....NOT to grow weary if He chose a different path for Jacoby than we would chose. I silently prayed He would help me to keep His perspective on this journey. Jacoby was His child, I could trust Him with this precious treasure. 
As we pulled into our hometown of Puyallup, my heart automatically started racing again. I felt as if it was going to explode right through my jacket! 
We had not seen our home since they started the new addition; they were finished and eagerly waiting for us. Tears began to roll down my cheeks again.....my heart was overflowing with gratefulness and love toward ALL the people who had given to our family...given through their time, encouragement and resources since the accident. 
How could we ever repay this community....these people.....these friends for what they had done for Jacoby? 
How could we ever thank them enough for the sacrifices made on our behalf? 
I couldn't help but to look over my shoulder at the last month of miracles God had displayed right in front of our eyes. We would never be the same people again; there was no going back. 
There it was.....like the star of Bethlehem....our road....our neighborhood. The lump in my throat was growing and my eyes were hot with tears. O how I loved this road...O how I loved the neighborhood kiddos that ring my doorbell 50 times a day!

And then my heart felt as if it quit beating. There in front of my eyes was the most beautiful sight I had ever seen. 
All I could see were people everywhere; precious people we knew and shared life with and precious people we didnt recognize. They lined the streets like a breathtaking Christmas garland. They were clapping and cheering as we pulled up to the front of the house. 
Instantly, I thought of all the times we had watched Extreme Home Makeover together as a family. Each week, we would gather in the living room on Sunday evenings and cry (Jason included) over the amazing stories of peoples lives being changed because of others generosity and care. In fact, we always wanted to be a part of a team that helped with a home renovation for someone that desperately needed it. 
Through my tears, I said, 
"Jason, we ARE living out what we always wanted to do...we're just the ones in desperate need." 
Both of us were bursting with emotion and thankfulness; life is never the way you think it will be. Somehow, it's better.
Meanwhile, as we unhooked Jacoby out of the van, the smiling faces of the angels that showed up that day will forever be imprinted in my mind. 
They lead us in to the most beautiful "act of love" we had ever seen.  A home with a foundation built on miracles, prayers and sacrificial giving. A home with hallways as wide as the Texas skies, a home where Jacoby could start a new chapter.
That day...that moment....was one of those memories that will never be able to be replicated in our hearts.  We had just witnessed a month of MIRACLES....a month of service and sacrifice...a month of pure, uncontrollable LOVE!

As I close up this year with our "Countdown of Miracles" the human language, once again, falls short of the words I want to say, but have no way of expressing. They are "words of the heart"....expressed through miracles we personally breathe and live out each and every day. 

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Lord....for ALL the amazing people you worked through to create miracle, after miracle, after miracle.  Thank you for giving us the biggest miracle of all...JESUS....who gives us the hope to know this tragic accident was a gift; Jacoby WILL walk again!!!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Miracles #17 and #18

December 17th--Miracle #17

Back at the home front, they needed someone to drywall. The pace was neck-breaking speed; getting a volunteer who not only knew HOW to drywall, but to drywall QUICKLY was going to prove to be the challenge. No one helping knew of anyone available, they were up against a wall...projects had to keep moving. 
There was a knock at the front door. Two young construction workers were waiting on the front porch.  They explained to the other volunteers they had just been laid off THAT MORNING and had heard of Jacoby's story; they wanted to come help with whatever needed done.  
Now for the big question...could they drywall?  Drywalling just happened to be a task they could do with their eyes closed and one hand tied behind their backs.  The young construction workers didn't leave until the entire job had been completed; they had done beautiful work. 
The other volunteers could not believe what they had just witnessed. In the EXACT time of need...God had sent the equipped helpers, not a moment before!  The building crew said they will never forget that day........

Thank you, Lord for the miracle of bringing the EXACT help that was needed at the EXACT time it was needed........


December 18th--Miracle #18

They were running low on supplies; the "first push" to get the frame up had left the supply shelf almost bare. 
In a fairy tale story, I would elaborate and describe in words the most beautiful picture of a big white hardware truck pulling up to our home...LOADED with all the supplies the builders needed and more...much, much more.  These supplies would be a a gift of love, donated to make a young girl's Christmas wish come true. 
For those of you who don't believe in fairy tales anymore,  time to start! 
The "fairy tale" I just wrote about happened in real life. They HAD ran out of supplies  and someone must have known they would be needing them. The big, white truck loaded with supplies came to our house in December 2012...and delivered supplies AND hope! 
Sometimes events like these seem too good to be true...made up...fabricated to give others a false sense of hope. My wish is that you will never choose to think that way again after reading these miracles: my hope is that you will keep believing there is ALWAYS good..there is ALWAYS hope!
Thank you for the miracles that seem to good to be true......


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Miracle #16

December 16th--Miracle #16

His name was Ashraf.  I was literally  on the verge of tears getting on the plane tonight...trying to figure out what just happened? What just compelled this young Middle Eastern man to go out of his way to get us on our flight home.  It just didn't make sense.....my mind was racing to somehow connect the dots....what did he see....UNLESS...it was a miracle!

Just a few moments earlier, Jason and I raced into the JFK International Airport knowing we would be cutting it close...too close for any comfort whatsoever. We had left our hotel with plenty of time to get to the airport, but quickly started to change our song when we saw how long it took us to simply exit off the Midtown Tunnel in New York. WE WERE CRAWLING....this would certainly clear up, right?! WRONG!
"O God, please help us make this flight," I prayed. The kids...Mom and Aunt Mollie, but especially Jacoby NEEDED us back. She was hanging on, but it was time. 
We were 50 minutes out from the departure time when we tried to check in. The computer wouldn't even let us check into our flight. It kept flashing times for tomorrow morning flights instead. I quickly told Jason to try it again.  I wanted to tell that machine I had 6 children waiting at home, and one who had special needs; she was counting down the hours. I could see their faces; not making this flight was NOT going to be an option....please...please...please. Jason continued to try and check in.
By this point, a Delta assistant had come over and asked if she could help. She must have seen the looks I was giving that poor old machine. I was temped to tell her everything I had just told that machine in my mind, but I surprisingly held myself together and started praying. The woman was very kind and helpful, but told us it was probably too late. And then she called over a young man named Ashraf. We told him the machine wasn't even letting us check in. We didn't need our bags, we didn't need our things, we just wanted to get home. I'll never forget how this man took action. It was like an angel tapped him on the shoulder and said, 
"Hey, you need to help this crazy couple....they have a daughter who really needs them home tonight...Boss's orders!"
He said, ' Follow me!" He walked us to the front of the check in line....and told them this couple needed to check in right away. And he stood RIGHT by our side until we checked in. I kept telling him thank you.....I couldn't stop...it felt like my dad had showed up at the JFK airport on special assignment" from heaven. I turned around and thanked those standing in the line, my eyes were filled with desperation, so Im sure some of them could understand. 
He quickly led us to security where long lines had already formed. He led us straight to priority check in...walking straight past all the lines to a separate check point. By this point, I could have adopted him as my own child and I just kept saying,
"thank you, thank you, thank you." But that wasn't where it ended. He began to grab the baskets you put your shoes and bags in at security and told us,
"Here...move up to the front...I need your shoes, your jackets!"
Ashraf LITERALLY walked us through security and was gone, but not before this ol mom could grab his arm and ask his name. He could have told me he was Apostle Paul and I would have believed him. 
I couldn't stop praising God as we put our things back on.....
"You are too good to us, just WAY to good to us!" 

Through my tears I chuckled to think how busy we must keep God...always having to send angels and miracles our way. The most amazing and beautiful part about this whole story is that He is sending angels and doing miracles all the time...for ALL of us....we just need to open our eyes.
Thank you, Lord....for the miracle of Ashraf "the angel" tonight.........

Monday, December 15, 2014

Miracles #14 and #15

December 14th--Miracle #14

It was December 14th, 1996, on a beautiful winter night. The Christmas tree was perfectly decorated and hundreds of lights....tucked away in the branches....were dancing on the walls of the candle-lit church I grew up in as a girl. 
That night, 18 years ago, I promised a young, handsome man....my high school sweetheart...that I would love and respect him for better or for worse, sickness or in health....
18 years later.....we've been through some "better" years, and we've been through some years that could have destroyed us.  Jacoby's accident was one of those hardships that could have ended our marriage. 
My heart goes out to the couples who face these types of struggles OR WORSE..with no support; it's hard enough when you DO have family, friends and resources to help carry the load. 
Today, I am TRUELY thankful for the miracle of #18 FULL years spent together with the man I love.....


December 15th--Miracle #15

Do you remember the  movie, "Its's a Wonderful Life?" 
Do you remember how your heart was going to literally burst open with joy when the whole town of  Bedford Falls came one by one to George Bailey's aide? 
George had lost all hope in living because of a problem he couldn't fix alone.  George was truly ready to end it all by jumping off the bridge.  Meanwhile, when his friends and community found out the crisis George was in..they came together and helped in whatever way they personally could...working together that day, they brought hope back into the life of George Bailey and his family.  
Each and every one of you WERE and ARE Bedford Falls to Jacoby and our family.  We were desperate to know we weren't alone; you carried our pain with us then....as you still do today. 
One specific miracle that still leaves us in awe was the building of our home. A completely random group of men and women (all volunteers) came together, headed up by Tim Baublit, and poured the foundation, framed and presented a home to us 10 days after they broke ground. There is something about this gift....this offering...this sacrifice....that chokes me up every time I think or talk about it. 
That crew of workers worked around the clock, many times only sleeping for 2 hours, before they started back up again. They gave time up with their families, and most gave their own health...just to give Jacoby the gift of an accessible home for Christmas. 

I know for certian The Lord had angels working on those grounds day and night, keeping those men and women  AWAKE and SAFE....so they could finish the task. 

As Jason and I were walking through the White House Visitor Center today, we came across a quote that one of America's presidents said....

"The White House is the only home that is not owned by the family who resides in it...it is owned by the people."  

We were completely humbled to realize  our home was built much the same way....by the people....for the people.. All of you who sacrificially gave of yourselves for our precious daughter's benefit  and for ours.... Our home will ALWAYS belong to all of you forever......

Thank you for the miracle of determined people willing to give everything they have to give someone else hope......thank you for the miracle of our home....thank you for being our Bedford  Falls.....