Thursday, November 12, 2015

Beautiful Life

"I am only one, but I am one.  I cannot do everything, but I can do something.  And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do." -- Edward Everett Hale
Please join us this Saturday for the "3rd Annual Run for Miles" 5K and Half Marathon and #LoganStrong Raffle.

Race info: 

Support Logan Lewis in his fight against Neuroblastoma: 

Here's a little slideshow Jacoby put together: Beautiful Life 

Indeed, it IS a beautiful life...

Friday, October 16, 2015

Did you say... "Senior"?

Gimli says it best in Lord of the Rings,

"Certainty of death, small chance of success... WHAT ARE WE WAITING FOR?"

That, my friends, is the Miles Family motto we choose to live by each and every day. (Is our craziness starting to make sense now?) So with a motto like that... you can probably guess that coming up on our 3 year "marker" since Jacoby's accident, we STILL have hope, we STILL find purpose in the midst of the pain, and we STILL BELIEVE!

Let's just go ahead and do the "mature thing" here and get "the update" out in the open. As most of you know, JACOBY IS A SENIOR THIS YEAR... and there is absolutely nothing I can do about it.  (Gulp) And to make matters worse... so is her twin brother, Kaleb. (Chocolate, please!) The school was ever so faithful to send home the dreaded "graduation packet" one month after school started. Do they have zero idea how much we as mothers suffer already? For Pete's sake, they could have waited for at least two months. But no, we are forced to look at their cap and gown orders, their senior rings and graduation announcements now! By the way, did I mention I'm having a hard time with this?

Long story short, Jacoby has been a delightful child to raise. For the past 18 years, she has been the oldest child of 6, so you know what that means.  She plays by the rules, is extremely bossy and is the epitome of responsible.  So you can only imagine how the collage searching/choosing is "going down". She has been researching college deadlines, requirements and scholarships for quite some time now. (I know what you're thinking, I didn't either!) This is what Type A people do, my friends. She knows the official date of "early bird registration"... whatever that means, and she intends to take advantage of the benefits.  Someday I'll understand... maybe.

Unless plans change, SPU (Seattle Pacific University) is where Jacoby is headed in less than a year.  Oddly enough, she learned how to walk on SPU grounds, she learned how to talk on SPU grounds and she watched her very young parents graduate from college on SPU grounds.  Her roots run deep there and I get emotional every time I think about it.  Many people have asked if she will be staying on campus or living with us at home and commuting to the city.  My answer to this question is... we don't know yet.  We have left the decision completely up to her.  In all honesty, this decision scares all of us to death.  It’s hard enough when the time comes to drive away when you know they can make their way around campus, but the thought of not knowing if she is getting fed, teeth brushed, hair washed and properly cared for leaves an even deeper twinge in this momma's heart.  Even with all the uncertainties floating through our heads, we do know one thing for certain... The Lord will show her EXACTLY what He wants her to do and He'll give us the strength to support her in that decision. 

Still to this day, Jacoby has not been hospitalized once since her injury, (which was almost 3 years ago) and has not experienced even one AD episode (otherwise known as "Autonomic Dysreflexia": a dangerous medical condition well understood by individuals who struggle with spinal cord injuries.) We couldn't be more thankful to NOT know the emergency room's staff by name.  Unfortunately, Jacoby does experience extreme nerve pain on a pretty regular basis, but we have found it can be helped immensely with a steady "diet" of good rest and exercise. (Sounds like the rest of us.) Jacoby tries to get in 8 hours as much as she can manage. (This is where it doesn't pay to be a "Type A") Jacoby likes "A's" in school, and will give up sleep to get them. I know many of you reading this have children just like this "get it".

Honest to goodness, Jacoby couldn't ask for better exercise therapy than what she receives from Vertical Therapy. They come to our home 3 days a week and provide fantastic service. VT (Vertical Therapy) has been part of Jacoby's journey since the very beginning and now just blend in as part of the family.  They have seen her at her lowest points (and ours for that matter) and have been a part of each new mountain climbed.  Chris and Ashan are more than trainers to her; they are her friends. 
Jacoby has been able to maintain her amazing flexibility through therapy, and has improved her balance and triceps strength.  This is huge because she really had no triceps movement at all when she started.  Long story short, improvements are always happening here in the "Miles Training Room."


Fortunately, Jacoby's mental, emotional and spiritual health are all intricately connected and she is growing stronger by "leaps and bounds" in these categories every year.  I know this seems confusing but maybe the verse she lives by will help explain:

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your mind."--Matthew 22:37

Jacoby's faith in God IS her rock, her peace and her reason for living, PERIOD.  Since the accident, she has always believed God will use her pain for good. That there is a reason for everything... and she will trust in His "reasons" no matter what! Some days, the tears flow and it's hard... really hard.  But her conviction remains that not one tear is wasted or overlooked, it all matters and has purpose. Now THAT'S beautiful...

Last, but most certainly not least, is Jacoby's annual run! In just under a month, on November 14, we will be standing (frozen) at the starting line for the 3rd annual "Run for Miles" 5K and Half-Marathon! (And yes... for those of you already worried about the weather, it will be ARTIC temps so make sure you run fast!) We have chosen to hold this inspiring event during the time she was injured because it adds meaning to the race and to our family.  Because after all, even in the harshest of circumstances, beauty finds its way and WINS... if you look for it. Our vision for this race started with the face of our daughter, Jacoby, but will end with many.
Please come and lend your legs to those who can't... it will be worth EVERY minute!

P.S. Thank you... thank you... thank you our precious friends and family for EVERYTHING; we could not go through this crazy thing called "life" without you.  The angel, Clarence, in "It's a Wonderful Life" says it best,

“Remember, no man is a failure who has friends."

Let's continue to DO THIS THING... together!



Wednesday, July 15, 2015


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 opportunity to succeed. 

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

Tuesday, April 21, 2015


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!