Monday, February 24, 2014

The House That Built Me

Over the weekend I had a nice conversation with my oldest sister. After catching up on a few things, she let me know she was thinking about putting her house on the market as she explained the scenario I understand the need and want to. But at the same time my mind raced back to all the memories of the house. This house was built by my grandparents and has been in the family ever since. Some memories are awful, and have never left a scar so deep. Others make me smile and laugh, home is home no matter what has been inside those four walls. The past 5 years my sister has done all she can to make it work for a family of 6: 3 bedrooms and 1 bathroom just enough. She has remodeled a lot, however the precious markings still remain on the walls. The summer Kasey left us, he marked his height inside the front door, outside he wrote his name in cement. This are small tokens that remind us of his presence, something he wrote, and something we can picture him doing with a smirk on his face. These are the things that make it hard for me to let go. I remember the day my old bedroom walls got painted, covering all the drawings he drew next to where my bed use to lay. Slowly, I let go of the anger and appreciated my newly painted walls, because the memories were still there. I could still picture him coming in on Saturday mornings asking if I'd get up so we could watch cartoons. The thought of never walking into those doors again leaves me with a heavy heart, however I must remember those are just things. I will always have the memories.
Front Porch Gatherings

Monday, February 17, 2014

Scoliosis- The Eastern Oregon Shriner's Princess

Recently, I have found out that my niece Mackenzie was named this years Eastern Oregon Shriner's Princess. Words can not describe how happy I am for her because this has been a long, tiring, and hurtful process for her. I don't remember exactly when Mackenzie was diagnosed with Scoliosis at the age of 7. From that time on she wore a brace nightly to help correct the curvature in her spine. As she grew up, the curvature began to get worse. She was required to wear the brace for the majority of the day and in school. However, for a young person this was hard to do and very uncomfortable to sit in a school chair. By the time Mackenzie turned 13 the brace was no longer correcting the curvature, and it became about a 51 degree curve. Shriner's had held out as long as they could without doing surgery. The importance of waiting this long was to allow the patient to grow because once they fused the spine together the could no longer grow. When Mackenzie went in for surgery the degree had worsened to 70, she an 13 year old with a birthday in less than 19 days away. In scoliosis surgery, surgeons attach tiny metal hooks or screws to the spine and connect those hooks or screws to small rods to straighten the spinal curve. Mackenzie underwent this surgery in which they had to fuse together 12 vertebrae's put in two rods and 21 screws. The surgery lasted what felt like forever, and was just the beginning of a long healing process. As Mackenzie stayed at Shriner's, I saw the worst and the best of her. She is the sweetest and quietest girl I have ever met. To see her in that kind of pain with nurses who didn't fulfill their duties was heartbreaking to watch. Not to mention Shriner's is a 5 and half hour drive from home. Mackenzie missed out on many activities as a freshman including volleyball and basketball, and going to the lake during the summer. Basically any activity that was considered "rough". As the healing process continued sure the scar was healing but there was a lot of pain she faced from just sitting that I couldn't imagine. Mackenzie currently is getting ready for her second season at the varsity level softball, this is her sport. However, many days she will come home hurting or upset that she had to sit out at practice because swinging a bat caused her pain. She has never been one to let her team down and she has a hard time listening to her body say that is enough. Although it has been a year and a half since her surgery she will feel the effects for a life time. I can not imagine being in her shoes. Anyways, Mackenzie isn't just a niece to me, she is one of my best friends someone I can tell absolutely anything to (and she will usually laugh and look at me like I'm a Joke). She is motivated and talented, she excels in everything she does and works so hard for what she has. To hear that she has been given the honor to represent Shriner's makes me have goosebumps, this is something she is truly deserving of and she will be a great representative of all the kids who go through Shriner's. I am very excited to see her wear a crown through the many parades she will be apart of. I am soooo lucky to have such an amazing niece who has gone through so much, and who has taught me a lot about life. She may only be 15 but she is the strongest girl I have met that still has a positive outlook on life. Below are the before and after pictures

Monday, February 10, 2014


This week is Valentines Day, and in the fourth grade classroom, a perfect time to brush up or learn some new etiquette skills. This Friday, the class I am placed in this term will dress up nicely and have lunch with a partner (of the opposite). The focus of this is to have students feel comfortable in a one on one situation with someone of the other sex. Throughout the week the class will practice communicating appropriately, sitting correctly, not putting elbows on the table, all the good stuff we have forgotten to do in our own homes. Today, a comment a student made, really got me to thinking. The teacher was providing the class with an example of what to talk to talk to another student about, and reinforcing that you do not want to make the entire conversation about yourself, therefore you ask questions. In the middle of the demonstration conversation a student blurted out, "Your teaching us what Facebook does," in regards on what kind of comments to make to the other person. I was shocked and surprised, never before have a I heard something of this nature. The teacher made very valid points in the fact that this was the complete opposite of how you use Facebook. On Facebook, you have time to think about your answers and edit it your comment to your perfection. The conversation may just stop or continue to go on for a while. On Facebook, you can make yourself look one way, without others really knowing who you are and what you believe. As I think back on my day, I am some what disappointed by this comment still. I find it very sad that our youth are growing up thinking that Facebook can teach you how to communicate with others and how you should respond in our own 'real' conversations. On another note, I was glad to see that the teacher was taking the time to address proper etiquette, and giving her class the opportunity to experience it, because we have to face the facts that today's youth don't always get this at home. Being able to say please, thank you, and communicating to another person respectfully are real life skills, not "get me a drink woman" as one student thought would be okay to say.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014


Over the weekend I received an unexpected call from my bubba,also known as Luke (my big brother). Luke is 11 years older than me and has always been my hero.Literally in every aspect of my life. You know how little girls look up to their dads? Not me, I look up to my brother.Currently he lives in Texas and I hadn't spoken to him in quite sometime because his phone broke and well he didn't want to spend time getting it fixed. Anyways we talked about the normal stuff, kids, school, work, romance so on so forth. Then I asked him if he had gone to see the Lone Survivor yet. Luke spent 8 years in the Navy putting computer tracking systems into military airplanes and helicopters and is still doing it today just not under the Navy. A few summers ago he sent me this book to read, it was a must, and he would force me to read it if he had too. Well that wasn't the case, it took me less than a week to finish it on a fire assignment. We discussed the difference in the book and movie and I was shocked by how much he remembered. Every little detail, he knew this book front to back and to be honest I had his copy. It made me realize how much we forget when it comes to details and reinforces why most the time books are better than movies. As our conversation ended he called me boo boo, I smiled thinking to myself I am 22 and he is still giving me nicknames. However that was the best part of our conversation. I know, that no matter where this guy is he will always have my back and will always be there for me. He is not only my brother and father figure but my best friend. So I thought I would share a poem with y'all I wrote a few years ago as a Christmas gift to him. This poem is about his relationship with my little brother we lost and how I viewed there relationship.
Brothers you will always be, How special you both are to me. Time with you is never enough, The way you both thought you were so tough. I wish for one more time I could hear the : Sh*t talking -Joke Making -Girl talk you two did. That I could see the: UFC Fights - PS 2 playing - And target shooting. How I took for granted seeing you together, Even the things that are suppose to last forever. Not only were you his brother, but his guardian, idol and best friend. He strived to be like you until the end. Cling to the memories you two shared; Maybe he really is being spared? Luke and Kasey, are like no others, They are the worlds very best brothers. I apologize the poem is not in lines like I originally wrote it.