Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Miracle Countdown Finale!

December 19th--Miracle 19

They were happening each and every day.....hour by 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 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 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 mind was racing to somehow connect the dots....what did he 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 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 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 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 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 is owned by the people."  

We were completely humbled to realize  our home was built much the same 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..... 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Miracles #12 and #13

December 12--Miracle #12

There was an accident in the right lane; we were now down a lane.  Today was not the day for "drama" on the highways....I needed to be at the hospital in 30 minutes for Jacoby's discharge meeting. I had drove home the night before to stay with the kids (especially Vincie) and planned to be back early to make the meeting. This meeting would determine whether Jacoby would be released on Christmas Eve; Christmas Eve was 4 days away. 
Traffic was beginning to build up by the minute; I could tell from experience this wasn't gong to be a small inconvenience...I was going to miss the meeting. 
"Dang it...dang it...dang it!" Chalk another one up for Murphy's Law. 
Back at the hospital the meeting had started. Jason and Jacoby had situated themselves at the table and anticipated the fact this would probably be the last one. 
Jacoby's head doctors began voicing their concern for Jacoby's discharge from Children's  Hospital. They told Jason there had never  been a patient with that level of injury released before 2  1/2 to 3 months; we were at 1 month. They didn't think we had experienced enough "situations" to discharge yet. 
( was all becoming very clear why God had not allowed "Momma Bear" to make the meeting that morning; this Momma might have brought down a few doctors that morning.  God is too smart;  He knew Jason would handle the "road block" calmly...which he did.) 

Jason explained that from the very first week at Children's Hospital, we asked them what we needed to do to get Jacoby home...that's all she wanted. They told us we needed to step in and perform Jacoby's care procedures which included cathing, bowel, showering, dressing and blood thinning shots.
BRING IT ON....had become our anthem; we would do whatever we needed to do to get Jacoby home....WHATEVER we needed to do. 
Jason and I started the responsibilities of Jacoby's care the 2nd week of Children's Hospital and never looked back. They had given us a checklist; we had successfully completed every single task. 
Jason calmly told the doctors and therapists we had completed the list for discharge and explained leaving her in the hospital didn't necessarily mean she would run into dangerous" situations. He said they should have clarified that expectation from the beginning. 
The doctors were silent and  said they would talk and get back with us on their decision. We were visited later that day by Dr. McNalley giving us permission to take Jacoby home on Christmas Eve.   Tears.....tears....and more tears......we were going home!

We brought Jacoby home on Christmas Eve 2012; just over one month from her accident.  Jacoby was the first patient they had ever had with that level of injury, to be released one month after admission; that was a miracle...........

December 13th--Miracle #13

This miracle is small and could be easily overlooked, but I just CANT let that here goes..... 


OK....this may seem like a silly miracle to some of you out there, but to have a Starbucks coffee shop on the bottom floor of your hospital ...that opened early every morning and closed late every night brought tears of joy to my face each and every day. 
Honestly, we were averaging 3 to 4 hours of sleep a night. In addition, Jason and I were sharing a coach to sleep on in Jacoby's room; I bet you can guess how "comfy" that was for a month AND romantic for that matter. 
Long story short, there were mornings, when our alarm clocks went off, we would stand up UNABLE to open our eyelids! Thanks to my friend, the siren, several times a day....WE MADE IT!
Thank you Lord, for the small miracles in life like Starbucks! 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Miracles 10 and 11...

December 10th and 11th--Miracle #10 and #11
( I included both in one entry due to the length!)

It was strictly procedure.  Jacoby was doing AMAZING with her therapy regimen and passing all her "psychologist" appointments with flying colors; however, we knew she still had one requirement to fulfill. Before Jacoby could be discharged from Children's Hospital, she had to go on an "outing"... an outing of any kind. Jacoby's physical therapists and team of doctors wanted to see patients challenge themselves and go out on an outing with their new circumstances. Basically, they wanted Jacoby to leave the hospital in her wheelchair. It could be as simple as ride in a car and look at Christmas lights, go to a drive-in movie, go through a drive through...simple, right?! Jacoby said she would think about what she wanted to do; we would go tomorrow.
Brian, Jacoby's therapist pulled us out into the hallway and said,
" Its only fair to let you know that this "outing" can and probably will set Jacoby in a state of depression for awhile. Most of our patients see the outside world for the first time after the accident during this outing; they want their old life back. Jacoby may be embarrassed of her wheelchair, embarrassed of her body, embarrassed of EVERYTHING!"
Up until this point, Jacoby had blown everyone (including Jason and I) away with her faith. She absolutely hated being paralyzed, but she also seemed completely at peace with where God had her for the moment. There were no signs of depression...YET! But now they had to go and ruin it for all of us...easy for him to say, I have to take her home. I could definantly feel myself going into the "crazy mom" cycle and realized it was MY turn to show a little faith.  Afterall, how bad could it be? We would probably just be looking at Christmas lights from inside the van, she will be fine.
The next morning, Brian stopped by the room to remind us that we had the outing and he would see us in front of the hospital at 6pm; she could tell him the destination once we loaded up.
Had I known what was about to take place, I don't know if I would have had the strength (or guts) to go. But isn't that ALWAYS how God works? He knows how we think...He knows we operate better not knowing details in advance..He knew that night wasn't about Jacoby, it was about us.
Everyone was on pins and needles, as it was her first time out. Jacoby doesn't like to be out of control so I could already tell this drive was going to leave us feeling like we'd run the Boston Marathon. We made "small talk" for about 2 minutes, and then he asked Jacoby what she wanted to do. No one was prepared for what came out of her mouth.
"Is there a RAM restaurant around here? I would really love to go eat at the RAM for dinner."
Confusion seemed to be the single word to describe the emotion floating around in our poor hospital van. Wasn't she supposed to be embarrassed? I mean, the RAM at 6pm at night is "prime time" dinner hour. Wasn't she aware I would have to feed her every single bite? What if her chair didn't fit? Depression...she certainly didn't seem to be settling into a depressed state!
We all seemed to stammer through our shock. As Brian unbuckled her chair and got out the ramp, Jason squeezed my hand and our eyes met.  We were both holding back tears for Jacoby's sake, but I knew the dam would break at some point that night...of this, I was absolutely certain.
Dinner was as hard as I could have imagined. The stares came from every corner of the restaurant, chairs were tight; people were having to adjust their tables to make a path for her wheelchair. Some people didn't move and were annoyed at our request.  Jacoby ordered her absolute favorite... a RAM cheeseburger;  she enjoyed every bite.
It was getting hard to swallow...the lump in my throat was there to stay. I was praying  God would just get me though dinner. If Brian saw me break down, he  might not let us take her home if they thought we couldn't handle the pressure. How could she be so strong? How? Lord, whats wrong with me? Why are we the ones slipping into the "depressed state?"
Our world had changed, her world had changed; we needed to move on. Everything inside of us wanted to stay in the past, wanted to stay in the familiar.  All circumstances around us seemed to be a disaster... shear if all hope was lost.
BUT the center of the storm, HE WAS THERE...mighty to save! As we began to thank Him for what we couldn't understand at the time, His peace completely took over and guarded our lives.

Today, Jason and I had the privilege of visiting the  911 Memorial Museum in New York; three beautiful and emotional hours changed our lives forever.  Finally, we were able to see firsthand, all the details of that tragic day sewn together into something precious and sacred. Their names and stories were honored. We were watching one of the short documentary films, when it hit us.
After the dust and debris settled on that tragic day, the sight was almost more than you could bear; there were no words for the loss of so many precious lives. Complete devastation and hopelessness filled the smoke-filled air...UNTIL the American flag was hoisted up into the center of the ruins. It's very presence filled the air with strength and hope! Everyone present was reminded they were part of something much bigger and greater than themselves...hope was NOT lost; they would press forward, they would keep fighting...they would NEVER give up.
Just like the American flag reminded Americans that hope was in their midst despite the tragic circumstances all around them, the Lord reminds us that He is "the hope" in our midst when life falls down around us.  
Thank you for the miracle of a trusting heart, even at the age of 15....
He is Our Anchor.....and the Anchor holds....

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Miracle #9

December 9th Miracle #9

The lights had been turned off; we had made it yet another day. All we knew was we were one day closer to going home...HALLELUJAH, PRAISE JESUS!
As busy as her physical therapy regimen was  during the week, there was still a loneliness that invaded our hearts and thoughts each day. Jacoby NEEDED people to boss around, our other children needed their Mom and Dad  back, we desperately wanted our family back together. 
However, it made me realize this miracle I almost missed....we faced this challenge TOGETHER each and EVERY day.  How many times had I walked down the hospital floor to see room after room with only a child in it...parents or loved ones no where to be found.  These children were in good hands with the wonderful nurses, but some people didn't have the luxury or overwhelming support that we had to be with their child all day and night. How hard that must have been for them!
Jason had a boss and co workers that insisted  he stayed with Jacoby at the hospital; they wanted him to be with us. We will be indebted to each one of you forever. 
Long story short, even with a full time job and 5 other children with extremely busy sport schedules, (I know you parents GET this) Jacoby  never had to be alone. , not even for one day. 

Thank you, Lord for that miracle of getting to be present.........

Monday, December 8, 2014

Miracle #8

December 8th Miracle #8

I had read of events like these, watched them on T. V. , even dreamed of them, but NEVER had I been a part of one personally; December 19, 2012 changed that forever.   
It was a freezing winter night, the kind that would keep most sane people bundled up inside for the evening; but not this night. This night there were hundreds of people with only one thing on their mind...and it wasn't their warmth. It was a precious young girl who's life had changed forever with one dismount. 
People were  desperate at this point to help in any way they could.  While,  Jacoby laid in bed at Children's Hospital with a raging, friends, and hundreds of people we didn't even know, were sitting in a theatre ready to give of themselves by their presence, their smiles, hugs, tears and finances at the"Gift for Jacoby" Benefit Auction. As if the sheer amount of support wasn't enough, somehow they had been able to secure the event at the beautiful Temple Theatre on the Tacoma waterfront. 
As Jason and I were pulling up to the theatre, we just stopped and stared for a moment. This amazing sight was worthy of a moment of silence. Then, almost instantly, I went into complete panic mode.  I wondered if I had made the right decision to come. What kind of mother was I to leave my daughter with her Grandma when she was so sick? What if I cried the entire auction? 
No...I KNEW these people deserved to see us, even to just feel close to Jacoby through us. Yes, yes...we needed them and they needed us.  I opened the car door and stood up only to feel like I was going to fall over...I was instantly weak. 
"O God, please help me...please........
Just like "Footprints in the Sand"....somehow, someway....God carried me into the theatre that night, and O what my eyes saw. I saw one of the most inspiring, breathtakingly beautiful miracles I had ever seen. In just under 3 weeks of time, God had worked through so many willing people to make an event take place that takes at LEAST 6 months to a year to plan! Olympians who I had watched as a child win medals and come through great adversity, were sitting right across the table from me. Im talking 4 feet away, folks!  I saw gymnasts Jacoby's books were filled with and athletes such as Hope Solo come over and offer her sympathy and a hug. The theatre was filled with hundreds of people; many we knew, many we didn't... but one thing they all had in common.....a love and concern for a young, precious girl  named Jacoby Miles.  The auction brought in $150,000 that night...150,000 dollars!!! We knew a large portion of this would go to stem cell therapy in Mexico and much needed therapy and supplies.  
Looking back, that night flew by like a dreamy haze, yet an imprint of love through those people will never be truly was a miracle.......

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Miracle #7

December 7th  Miracle #7

It was early evening and the day was finally coming to a close. Someone had knocked on our door and the nurse popped her head in and said, 
"Someone is here to see you, Jacoby. He said his name is Steve Penny. " 
Jason and I looked at each other and then at Jacoby; this was the President of USA gymnastics.  What?! 
We all had about 5 seconds to panic about the fact that we looked like individuals who had crawled out from underneath a rock! However, Steve walked in and put us to ease right away. He was so kind as he talked to Jacoby and then mentioned he wanted to make a call; there was someone that wanted to talk to her.  He dialed a number and then told us he would be connecting us to Nastia Luiken. He had been told she was Jacoby's favorite gymnast...which was very much the truth. 
We stood back and just watched Jacoby talk to Nastia for a few minutes.  It was a pretty AMAZING way to end a day...don't you think?

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Miracle #6!

December 6th Miracle #6

With house plans  on the table and people ready to build, we knew the home addition was a "GO".  However, we were immediately faced with a major roadblock; we needed the building permits FIRST.
For those of you who don't understand what this  is or even means....just understand these can take MONTHS to get approved...months! Melanie had wanted the ENTIRE home addition done in UNDER a month. Everything had come to a screeching halt; the building couldn't even START without this precious little detail.
 I wish I could say that I responded in an "admirable" "hello" God can open ANY door! Instead, I remember thinking all plans of moving Jacoby home before Christmas Eve had just flown out her hospital window. We went from such a "high" to such a "low"...all because of one silly step in my mind.
The VERY next day, Jason  and I were standing in Jacoby's room at Children's hospital.  Jason's cell phone rang; it was Melanie. She HAD IT...she had the building permits; we had the "green light" to build.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!! Jason and I looked at each other and just laughed...ONLY MELANIE ROACH!
But we knew who was opening the doors for Melanie....the miracle maker!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Miracle #5

December 5th--Miracle #5

Jacoby had FINALLY fallen asleep. Other than the low hum of the vital monitors in her room, it was completely quiet.  Nightmares had become a normal part of her sleep, so when she was peacefully sleeping, you "thanked God" and made a quick trip to the bathroom or waiting room where family and friends graciously waited to hear a quick update.  It was in the Harborview Medical Center waiting room that another miracle came to life.
I had walked out to the waiting room to find Melanie and Dan Roach visiting with my family. Melanie had her lap top out and looked like she was trying to figure something out. She looked up and said, " We already have people ready RIGHT now to start a new home addition for Jacoby; if ONLY we had a set of house plans drawn up, right?"  Tears came to my eyes and a large lump made it impossible for me to swallow... 
"We do, Mel,...we do." Still in disbelief, I  called Jason over. 
" Did we  not just draw up "rough draft" house plans with your mom last month and stick them in the organizer on the kitchen counter? Jason nodded his head. 
"They want them....they want the plans," I said. 
Everyone who had just listened to the conversation seemed to understand the preciousness of  what they had just heard. 
All Jason and I could think was ....someone was 10 steps ahead of us...someone knew we would be needing those house plans, someone who just so happens to specialize in miracles! 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Miracle #4

December 4th--Miracle #4

IT WAS RAINING......LETTERS....hundreds of them; letters of love, concern and support for Jacoby and our family. We stood in disbelief as we watched this miracle unfold in front of our eyes. Within 48 hours of her accident, we had hundreds of letters pouring in through anywhere and everywhere. The gymnastics community, soccer community, school communities, college communities, churches, friends, family, even support from across the country and around THE WORLD from people we had never even met. This didn't even begin to TOUCH the countless voice and text messages left on our phones, steady stream of visitors, and endless media clippings on Jacoby's story. 
Now, we're not the youngest chicks out there; we have seen a few amazing things transpire in our day, but this.....this we had NEVER seen before. Frankly, who were we, or Jacoby, to receive such attention. The unbelievable concern from the media and people in general, humbled us for life. We love and appreciate all of you; we are forever indebted to you. We watched it happen and we STILL don't believe THAT'S miraculous!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

2nd Year Celebration...It's All About The Journey!... Miracles #1-#3

It's been 744days, 17,856 hours, 1,071,360 minutes ,and about 32.71 million seconds since Jacoby's gymnastics accident.....but really, WHO"S COUNTING?

We just passed Jacoby's  2 year marker, and YOU CAN BET THIS FAMILY IS GONNA CELEBRATE! We celebrate a beautiful life; a life that has forever changed ours and so many others.
Even as Im writing this now, it's hard to control my emotions and not sound clique. I'm desperately wanting to describe in words what my own head can't completely make sense of yet. However, one thing is for sure...we're all still here, we're still breathing, and we STILL choose joy; there is ALWAYS hope...always.
Two years ago, I vividly remember  receiving "the call".  Jacoby had fallen on her dismount, she couldnt feel anything. Those moments become etched into your very soul; you can remember where you were...who you were with....and the crisis of belief that soon  followed. I remember telling myself I could handle a compound fracture, 2 broken legs, broken ribs but  paralyzation...paralyzation  was not a word I even wanted to say, much less watch my daughter live out.
" God, please....not her, not Jacoby. This one is for me, not her. I begged and begged.....and begged some more. If wailing the loudest and longest would have changed her circumstances, I do believe she would be walking now.  As the hours became days, and the days became weeks, it became painfully clear we would have to decide what we truely believed; would we live in fear? Would we allow ourselves to drown in discouragement and doubts; or stand up to fear and let our pain push us.
These past two years have brought  up many questions, but the one that is asked over and over is how does Jacoby stay sane and continue with a positive outlook? I don't even begin to understand God's ways, but I  DO happen to know that answer. Jacoby's faith in her Savior was and IS her rock , her stronghold, her refuge when no human alive can give her what she desperatly wants. Her actions prove she truly believes in a God who has a plan for her life and has her in the palm of His hand. I could write chapters on the first 6 months of her injury....literally chapters; however, that is for a book and that is coming as well. But, you poor folks who thought you were gong to get a quick blog update would not be too happy with this ol mom if I confused blog with book right now. Therefore, we shall keep things on "blog status" today. we celebrate lessons learned and changes in our perspective. Jacoby would be the first to tell you her accident is a gift, a gift that transcends what we can see on the surface. On the surface, you and I see a paralyzed, 17 year old girl. We see a girl bound to a wheelchair,  uncapable of being independant and very dependant on the care of others to get her through the most basic tasks. But what you CAN"T see, is a 17 year old girl with faith that puts a saint to shame, a girl who has a heart the size of Texas, and a girl who can capture an audience of any age simply with her smile and story.
To lie and say these past two years have been easy, pain free, and had little or no effect on our family would be just that...a lie. Jacoby endures SEVERE nerve pain every other day. She has decided  medicating cannot be the answer for her because the meds that actually work have the side effect of blurring her mind, so she endures the pain. She's a 17 year old TEENAGE girl in a WHEELCHAIR....need I say more! The list could go on and on, but it won't ...because we choose to place our trust in God and choose a positive perspective. We don't get to choose our trials, but we DO get to choose how we will respond to them. Are we going to give up and give in when trials come or allow them to make us stronger? Jacoby made her choice back at Harborview Medical Center, that is still her choice today.
Since my last blog in the late 1700 century, Jacoby really hasn't skipped a beat. We now fill our days with sophisticated things like homecoming dances, SAT's, parasailing, slurpee runs and public speaking. (yes...she is working hard on embracing this one considering how much she LOVES  to talk up front!)  Jacoby has become quite the public speaker and speaks at many events, churches and schools.  As we have learned to say, "BRING IT ON"!

QUICK THERAPY UPDATE:  Jacoby is continuing to strengthen the muscles that are firing and building those that are not through electronic stimulation. The overall impact is "increased independence" as she is able to do more for herself. Also, she continues to have excellent health and remains  unhospitalized due to, in part, continued exercise therapy.
Vertical Therapy continues to be a COMPLETE blessing to Jacoby and our family.  These people have become part of our family, our daily schedule and we can't imagine life without them. Chris , Jacoby's main trainer, USED to be asked questions like, " Are Jacoby's triceps "firing" at all?" Now, he is asked questions like, " When are you going to ask your girlfriend to marry you?" " How many kids are you going to have?" He has definitely moved in closer on the family circle.

These are just a few recent events I KNEW we couldn't leave out:

1. Jacoby's 2nd Annual Run!
YES...she got us to run again...this time it was in the August sun! Unlike the first race where we all resembled ice figures, this race was on a GORGEOUS day; purple "Go Team Jacoby" shirts everywhere. There is something powerful and healing in participating and contributing toward  a good cause. It is a beautiful reminder we're not alone; we all want to see Jacoby and everyone else affected by spinal cord injuries to find their fullest potential....ultimately, A CURE!  Our hearts are with you all...We run for EACH ONE OF YOU!
There is really no way possible to adequately thank all those who made "Gift for Jacoby " run possible.  I honestly pray continually The Lord will give us constant opportunities to "Pay it forward"; I guarantee He will.
Melanie and Dan Roach... my eyes fill with tears just typing your names...THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING you have done, yet never HAD to do; thank you, thank you, thank you.
There are so many of you who volunteered and sacrificed hours and hours taking care of details. Thank you to each and every one of you who showed up or contributed on race day to show support for Jacoby and our family; you will NEVER understand how much that that means to us.
Next year, it will be even more exciting as we grow this event. We will be giving a portion of the proceeds to spinal cord research and to others in similar circumstances.  THE CURE IS OUT THERE; we want to do our part to find it! The race will be November 14, 2015,  so put it on those calendars a year in advance.
Yes, you heard me correctly! Jacoby decided on the spur of the moment this summer she wanted to parasail at Lake Chelan. We were all SHOCKED and practically in tears! I mean, isn't it my job as mom to say, " that's crazy thinking, what if you cant hang on?" (which she couldn't ...might I add) Here is a perfect example of telling your child to face their fears and then wanting to hit yourself  over the head because you basically HAVE to give my your blessing...back up your big mouth because they are doing what YOU told them to do! FOR PETE"S SAKE! Actually, the credit belongs to a speaker she met at the Youth Disabled Leadership Camp  named Barry Long. He inspired her to fight against her fears and go do something she was afraid of...his words melted into the marrow of her soul; she came home from camp a changed girl. Thank you, Barry....
Watching Jacoby get pulled up hundreds of feet into the air was.......beautiful.....simply beautiful. No wheelchair, no confinement, COMPLETE freedom. I do believe I scared the poor gentlemen running the parasail half to death when I began WAILING uncontrollably. I don't know where it came from,  and I most certainly didn't know how to shut it off.  The higher she went, the harder I cried. She was finally FREE! But more than that, it was her smile from ear to ear.  Now THAT made it all worth it; she was happier than a child on Christmas morn! O LORD, freeze this moment....
That day something changed in me as well.  I realized many of us stop challenging ourselves; we quit believing there is great reward in conquering our fears. So I challenged myself to stop making excuses....time to do something I was afraid of too! The rest is history...thank you, darling.
Just a few weeks ago, Jason and I were blessed enough to sit around a big table with some of the people who had witnessed many of the miracles at the time of Jacoby's accident and the building of our home addition. It occurred to me that if it was AMAZING to Jason and I to hear these stories, it would be bless your socks off too! So here goes....CHRISTMAS COUNTDOWN OF MIRACLES! My prayer is that by sharing our recent miracles surrounding Jacoby's accident, you will see your OWN miracles; they are there if you want to see them.

Dec. 1st-- Miracle #1
The day of Jacoby's accident was Friday, November 16, 2012.  I had dropped Jacoby off at practice after school and then came home to pick up the rest of the troops. We were heading out to a soccer game on the peninsula. We received "the call" literally 10 seconds before we got on Interstate 5. Jason pulled over right before the onramp, swung the car around ILLEGALLY and began to drive as quickly as he could to Roach Gymnastics Center.  Had we received the call even 1 minute later, we would have been stuck in traffic and unable to be with her for God knows how long. We talk  about how AMAZING the timing was on that call ALL THE TIME.

December 2nd--Miracle #2
The evening of her accident, they moved us from St. Josephs Hospital in Tacoma to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. Jacoby had 2 surgeries that needed to happen ASAP. The 1st surgery was needed to realign her vertebras in a straight line. Her C4 vertebra had faceted her C5, which means it had jumped above it.( Yah, not looking to good for the ol spinal cord! )They had to screw a halo in her head, and hang a weight in the back to keep the vertebras from shifting before they went in for the 2nd surgery. The 2nd surgery was needed to  put the rods in and to fuse the vertebrae.  Completely unknown to us, Jacoby had a large blood clot in her lungs. The doctors didn't tell us that they didn't think she was going to make it through the 2nd surgery.  They said goodnight to us  and assured us they would be back first thing in the morning, only to turn around 20 minutes later and tell us they were taking her in right away. (This was around 3am)  Another miracle...Thank you, thank you, thank you, Lord! I'm glad we had no idea until after the surgery....thank God we didn't have to plan a funeral the next morning. (Our hearts go out to the people that do.)

Dec. 3rd--Miracle #3
JACOBY'S SPINAL CORD WAS NOT SEVERED!!! After the 2nd surgery had been completed, the surgeon came out to talk with Jason and I. They had believed the spinal cord was severed before they went into the surgeries, but realized it had just been stretched to "seran wrap" consistency, but had NOT been severed. THIS WAS HUGE....
A huge "thanks" to the 1st responders for doing such a great job at delicately moving her off the unstable foam pit; you guys rock!

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