Thursday, August 30, 2012

Friends at the Paralympic Games

One of our favorite perks of this blog is meeting new friends. When readers are in the area, or we're in their area, they often reach out to us to get together. This has been so much fun. We have so many new friends across the country.
One of these couples are the Reagans. They live in Ohio. Alicia is paralyzed, Jimmy is in ministry. They have a busy family. This week the Reagans are in London for the Paralympic games. In case you were unaware, the world's disabled athletes compete on the heels of the Olympic games in the host city and venues. They don't receive the same attention or crowds, but the international competition is much the same.

Alicia and Jimmy are there to support ministry work reaching out to the game attendees. They went to share the reason for their faith with people from around the world. When Dana told me about it I was jealous of them. Then I realized I haven't gone out with the sole purpose of sharing my faith with others in a LONG time.

It's not like they're wearing white shirts with black ties and name badges or standing around with a bull horn and tacky posters. They have pamphlets, but not posters. They're just out there enjoying the amazing opportunity with the purpose of doing something for God.

As I read their updates, it's great to see their enthusiasm.

A big reward is how much they are enjoying each other. Jimmy shared how good this trip has been for their marriage. They are meeting new people, seeing the sights, and living an adventure; and they're doing it together! It's one of those lessons we have learned that when we are doing something together with purpose it is that much sweeter and we grow much closer.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Somewhere Out There

Remember the scene where Fievel Mousekewitz and his sister looked up at the moon and sang that beautiful song? That's the way it is for Dana and me this week. I'm in northern Virginia and she's in Tampa. I'm holding down the fort while she's covering the convention. But somewhere out there we'll both be listening to a platform speaker at the convention because, well, we're news nerds.
Don't get me wrong, the moon is beautiful and romantic, but we pretty much fell in love over news. We both keep up on politics; we both fact check; we both appreciate the ins and outs of a news cast. There are times we roll our eyes or laugh together at something nobody in their right mind would even notice.
As I listen to Gewn and Judy interview their guests and the platform speakers address the crowd I think about my wife working in the network space and hurrying to get to the floor for the keynote. I miss laughing together at people and sharing inside jokes. I miss saying, "did you hear that", when Dana tunes out to check her email or Facebook. I miss snuggling in bed together.

"Somewhere out there beneath the pale moonlight someone's thinking of me and loving me tonight."

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Secret to Stress Management

Can anyone confirm for me what day it is, exactly?

Life right now feels like a blur.
Like the kind of blur you get when you're trying to take an iPhone pic out your car window when you're going 70mph down the road.

I don't know that I have ever been busier.
At least, that's the way it feels.

I'm old enough now to know myself, thank God.
So, I know when I need to slow down a little bit and manage my stress.  You know, so I don't stroke out, or be a raging you-know-what to my husband, or cry in the bathroom at work.

It involves a lot of slow, deep breathing, and lists.
Lots of lists.
I never would have imagined that at age 32, I would benefit so much from back to school sales!
I am all about compartmentalizing.

I have two jobs right now, plus this blog.

So, I keep a notebook of to-do lists for my show, called "The Brody File," (shameless plug: Today my show makes it's NATIONAL TV DEBUT!! on the ABC Family Channel. It's a weekly political show without the snooze factor... We like to think of ourselves as Meet the Press, plus a little bit of Comedy Central with a sprinkling of Jesus) I keep another notebook for all of the publicity stuff for my co-worker's new book, (another shameless plug: David Brody's first book is in stores now, it's called "The Teavangelicals" and it's all about the huge intersection of the evangelical movement and the tea party movement, and their impact on the 2012 presidential election. Michael built the website! I have a part time job right now working for his publisher, Zondervan, promoting the book. I'm calling myself DBRPR. And, I keep a third notebook for everything to do managing this blog, and keeping in contact with all of you!

I don't have notebooks for keeping my house organized or my husband taken care of. Maybe I should, though, because there is definitely dust all over my house, and I don't think my husband is going to eat a home cooked meal until after the election.

Thank God he's an easy going, pretty low maintenance quadriplegic! Ha!

Yesterday morning I woke up stressed out.
I had a huge zit on my chin, my back was killing me, and I was waking up to a stress dream.
In my dream: I woke up late, walked and fed the dogs, and when I was putting the dog food container back, the shelves in the laundry room came crashing down on me.  I heard Michael say, "Are you okay?" And from the nearness of his voice, I realized he must be right there, in the kitchen, which is impossible, because I hadn't gotten him up and dressed yet.

So right then, I realized that was a dream.  I was slightly relieved that the shelving in the laundry room had not come crashing down.  But slightly even more stressed because I was indeed running late, and I still needed to get Michael up and dressed.

This week I had one day where I completely forgot a lunch reservation I had with a friend, one night that I got three hours of sleep and today I have taken the day off to go to Maryland to get our new van!

I think it's going to be the middle of September before I have time to go to the DMV and register it though, because tomorrow I leave for the RNC in Tampa, then next week is the DNC in Charlotte, then Michael and I go to the Wounded Warrior Getaway in Maryland and then we head south for my nephew's wedding.

I think I need to make some more lists!
If posts around here are a little few and far between over the next three weeks, you know why. I will be on Facebook, though, so feel free to hop over there and say hello.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Tim, Kenny, and Crazy Rednecks in the Wheelchair Section

We LOVE going to see Kenny Chesney every summer. It's a rite of passage. Dana has been seven or eight times. Sunday was my third. It is always an experience.
First, there's the concert. It's always a bargain. Kenny has the greatest opening acts. Usually they are all top-bill performers! Last year we got Billy Currington and Zac Brown Band. I hadn't realized all of their songs I liked.

Almost as entertaining are the people who attend the concert. This is an all-day event that kicks off with tailgaters at noon and lasts till nearly midnight! By the time the opening acts start, half the crowd is half drunk. As the night goes on it gets more, um, colorful. We always wonder why people get so drunk because they surely can't remember the concert. Hurling in the bathroom can't be as much fun as the show, right?

Anyway, this is how it usually goes.

So, we arrive at the parking lot as Jake Owen opened. Since we're dieting, we did our own "tailgating" with Chipotle, water and Diet Coke. In the parking spot next to us --a blue spot mind you-- is a blue pickup with a young couple, she's pregnant, and their three friends. They were in folding chairs in the painted area and already having fun.

As we go into the stadium, we are maneuvering through the crowd like Lewis and Clark through the uncharted rivers of the Northwest. And the looks we got were like the Native Americans must have looked at the Europeans. Sometimes people almost back up on me, so I push their thigh so they know I'm there. Always gets a reaction, but I figure better a little grope than landing on a guy's lap.

We haven't even gotten to our seats and are already laughing!

Grace Potter is rockin' on stage as we make our way to the seats.

We come through the tunnel and I tap the woman sitting in her scooter in my way. She's like, "hey!" but I'm all business, "excuse me, I need to get through :D".

She has three friends. All in their forties (or older). One is whistling and stomping around.
This is how she was almost all night. She came over and asked Dana to take their picture with her wind-up camera. She introduced herself and said, "this is my friend Sandy. She was hit by a train." Poor Sandy! Whistles "took our picture."
Grace wrapped up her set. BTW, she is HOT!

We got up to get our drinks. In our marvelous planning, we had only $20 cash on us. That meant either standing all night in an ATM line or getting by. Well, my new favorite drink is beer and lemonade. They had both! Dana noticed people with Corona in large plastic souvenir cups. Perfect! We were on another expedition. First the Corona (light, since we're on a diet), then the lemonade --half way round the stadium. Finally, back through the crowd --a little drunker by now-- and to our seats.
Whistles was waving her arms around and telling people in the stands, "I love you all." she took off down the stairs toward the field. Phew!

At these concerts, people trickle in through the opening acts. By the time Kenny is on stage the seats are full of rowdy folks.
Then Tim came out. I think Dana gasped. If Grace Potter was hot, Tim was radioactive. Dark tan, tight white jeans, and a tight, low-cut tshirt.

She was gone -- and I couldn't blame her. He owned the stage from the first note. He got us to sing Happy Birthday to his daughter on his iPhone.
Tim sang from his heart and it showed. We even felt it. So did a young black man in a white tank top.
We thought, "that's nice, he must have come with those guys." Nope. He sang every Tim McGraw song at the top of his lungs and made friends around him. I know he enjoyed the novelty as much as we did.

It was like going to church. By the end of Tim's set the sun was behind the stadium and we were spent! Whistles showed up some time during the concert. I think she passed out somewhere for a half hour. She was charged up and ready to go!
Another intermission.

Dana went to the ladies' room. She was torn because she didn't want to miss Kenny's opening, but had no more room in her bladder. We did split that drink, after all. But she got back in time for the opening. Kenny has a long intro video tht basically means wrap it up and get to your seats. Dana returned to her seat proud. Said she had grabbed paper towels on her way in. Overheard a lady say there was no toilet paper as she entered the stall. Smart.
Back to Kenny. He did open great! As he floated over the crowd everyone roared. Kenny sang his biggest hits. While I sang right along with Tim's oldies, Dana sang to Kenny's. She was snuggled on my lap. So nice.
We noticed that Kenny seemed winded. The crowd filled in a lot of places. He was sweaty and just plain exhausted. Not that he wasn't good, just wasn't electric like Tim. Felt bad for him.
But the crowd didn't disappoint. Dana noticed the young couple to our right. They were basically making whoopie right there beside us. Awkward. Whistles' friend started to flip out during a love song effing this and that because something was missing. La la la la. She got on the phone yelling. LA LA LA LA. Then Whistles hands her a concert tshirt. (She is pictured above with the blue t-shirt before it went missing) We thought they were going to blows. Apparently Blondie Mullet didn't appreciate Whistles' prank.
Thankfully they simmered down after a couple of songs.

At some point the horny couple disappeared. Phew! Of course, I knew where they were heded. Silly rabbits.
Kenny kept singing and we sang along --"the boys of fall..."

Then a guy stumbles in with a cane led by a woman. Ever see a drunk blind guy? It's like a car wreck. You don't want to look, but it's just too interesting. He couldn't hear his wife, so he just stumbled to the empty seat. The woman and two girls (guess those were their daughters) stood behind. Then the rabbits returned. They looked funny and then went somewhere else.

Slowly everybody to our right left as Kenny sang on. Peace. Until Whistles got wound back up. Now she had twenty feet of stage in our wheelchair section. She stomped and danced and hung backward over the railing. Oh I forgot that! All night she was to our left hanging over the railing over the people in front of her. They ignored her. But it freaked out the kids to our right. The "crowd control" guy tried to get her to cam down.

She DANCED with him! As in, she had him twirling her around!

Too funny.

The night ended --as all Kenny concerts do-- with a big finale. Tim came out of nowhere to sing his duet with Kenny and made his way to the stage.
They sang each other's old hits. Then Grace came out they had sung their duet earlier.
All four --including Jake-- sang some classics then gave a big goodbye to fans in the mosh pit.
Whew! I didn't mention the lady who was hitting on the security guard all night, the gay couple dad-bracing behind us, the guy dancing without his shirt, the other guy who set aside his concession dinner to dance with people on the field, the guy who almost got kicked out, or the girls with their TIM and KENNY cut out sign.

Too much to take in! But a great memory for our memorable weekend.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Our New Van and the Beauty of Paying it Forward

I wanted to write about the day we got our new van right away.
But, I had to work. A lot. Over the last few days.
So here, I am, armed with a heart overflowing with joy and gratefulness, some pictures, and even a video.

Tuesday, Michael and I headed up to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, MD. It's about 45 minutes away from where we live in Virginia.

I realize as I'm exiting the Beltway (about 40 minutes from home) that I didn't have my wallet in my purse! That meant I didn't have my driver's license. I did have two other forms of government-issued ID: My US Capitol pass and my White House hard pass.

The hard core officer at the gate took those, and my car registration, and made us park the SUV just inside the gate. Purgatory. The officer even questioned if Michael's ID was his! I mean, come ON.

I have been to WRNNMC SOOOO many times and I was just waved on. GRR.
So, I had to text the McConnells and sweet Krystina came to the gate to rescue us. And the hard core officer of course gave me a ticket, which he informed be was "only" $75.00.  For driving without a license.  I could have appeared in court with my license to show that I did in fact have a valid driver's license, but I don't have time to go to court in Maryland, so I paid the ticket.


Now, moving on to the rest of the day that was filled with nothing else like that! Phew.

We met up with Derek and Krystina and headed to a conference room where the group was having lunch.  It was packed in there!

There were wounded warriors and wheelchairs and family members and friends and even dogs! Michael spent some time getting to know some of the wounded warriors that we didn't know.
I finally got to meet Laura, from a great organization that helps out up there, Operation Ward 57.
I saw Derek's mom, Siobhan. She looks amazing. It's incredible, what we've seen this family endure. When I first met Siobhan, she hadn't slept in weeks, she was dealing with migraines, and keeping tabs on her son (one of her five children) who had just been blown up. I can't even imagine. It was so nice to see her refreshed. It's not easy, this family definitely still has lots of challenges, but life goes on.  They are so strong!
Laurie Hollander, who leads Help Our Military Heroes, talked about how their non-profit got started, and how their mission is to provide wheelchair accessible vans to the wounded warriors.  The government provides grants that cover the cost somewhat, but HOMH meets the military families in the middle and bridges that financial gap, so they can get their vans.  There were a few other non-profits and people who all worked together to get the McConnells their van, I can't even remember them all. If someone sends me the complete list, I will be happy to update this post so they can all get adequate shout-outs!

I loved hearing the background of the charity - and how they have these spin-a-thons (think spinning class) that raise some $250,000! Just a beautiful story that everyone can make a difference, you just have to do what YOU CAN DO and see what happens.

Laurie presented Derek and Krystina with the keys to their new van!
And that wasn't all!
It felt like I was watching the Oprah Show or Ellen! Because then Laurie gave Derek and Krystina a year of free gas, and a year of free car insurance. That may not even have been all. I couldn't keep up!
Then, Krystina spoke.  I can't help it, I'm going to gush here. Because this young woman is the real deal. Today is Krystina's 21st birthday! She is so young, but you would never know it. She has such poise. She lives her life with such grace. She is small, but spunky and I would not mess with her! She was laying on the beach a year ago, when she found out the guy she had been dating for four years lost both of his legs in Afghanistan. She didn't even pause. Krystina quit her job, dropped out of school and has spent almost every single day of the last year helping Derek to heal.  She is the picture of service and commitment, and even though she feels like a little sister to me, there is a part of me that looks up to her.

Krystina presented the van keys to us.

She cried a little, but held it together for the most part. I was crying too, and I was speechless after she gave me the keys.  I said a few words, just thanking them for their friendship and Michael thanked them and encouraged the wounded warriors that though the road is long and tough, they can live with these injuries.

It was all very emotional for me.

So. I had a cookie. Naturally.
Then, we headed downstairs to go to the vans!

Of course, we got lost. We went out the wrong entrance, had to visit the front desk to get a map, then the elevator was taking forever, so we walked around the building up a huge hill.
It makes me laugh now. We don't ever seem to take the easy road, do we?

The vans were parked in front of the tower, which is like the signature building on campus.
I wish I would have gotten a picture of both vans. Our van was parked behind the McConnells' van. If anyone has that picture, will you please send it to me?

Derek and Krystina showed us our new van!! We were so excited. Michael couldn't get in there fast enough! Haha.
I mean, you know, after it was fully inspected by Sgt. Archie of course!
Michael rolled right up FRONT! Yay. We are so excited to have a van that meets our needs, and allows us to ride together in the car. Michael used to have this big red van when we were dating, and the wheelchair tie downs were in the back. I always hated driving up front while he was in the back. It made me feel like a taxi driver, or like I was his mom. (no offense to my mother-in-law) I'm really looking forward to riding in the van together up front, where we can hold hands, share french fries, and of course - fight over the temperature and the radio stations!
There are a couple of things that needed to be looked at in the van - like the ramp and the door. There was a super nice guy named Randy from Ride-Away in Beltsville, MD who was part of the presentation. Ride-Away is a company that modifies vehicles for people with disabilities to ride in them, or drive them. Randy offered to go ahead and take the van to the shop and get it looked at for us! So, I handed him a key. I mean, that's service!

Then we went up to check out Derek and Krystina's new wheels.
Isn't that beautiful! It's a 2012 Charcoal Dodge Caravan and it was so awesome to see Derek and Krystina in it, checking everything out.
Derek and Krystina were ready to go crusin' in their new wheels!
So, we saw them off.
Then Siobhan took a picture of us with our new wheels!! :)
Thank you Team Derek!!!! Our life is changed, and we are forever grateful!

You guys. I am not even done!
After this, we went with Siobhan back into the hospital to go see Capt. Tammy Phipps. Capt. Phipps BUILT the driving rehab program at Walter Reed. She shared with us the road she has taken over the last few years to get this amazing program started. And she even showed us her adapted vehicles!
She explained different types of hand controls to us, and how she has taught other quadriplegics to drive, and what the challenges are, etc.  It was fascinating!
I could really tell how passionate she is about her job. She is THE person who teaches all of the wounded warriors to drive, ya'll! That is a big job! And an important one. I can only speak as a family member of someone with a disability - but having these guys able to drive has GOT to make it so much easier on their families, and I'm sure it works wonders for the wounded warriors - giving them back control of a vehicle, and giving them freedom and independence!

We drove home in our SUV. It looks like we will be getting our van back from Ride-Away next week, probably Tuesday or Wednesday. We are SO excited!

What moved me more than anything else that day was the people.  From Laurie, who started this charity by riding a stationary bike - to Derek, Krystina and Siobhan - giving us the van that someone else gave to them in their time of need - to the people at Ride-Away, to Capt. Phipps. It took a HUGE group of people who care A LOT to make this happen.

It's like a huge food chain of paying it forward. It's fueled by good people who pour their time, their resources and their hearts into healing our wounded warriors.  It takes a team effort like this to get them back to life, to their new normal.

Michael isn't a wounded warrior.  He is not new to life in a wheelchair.
Yet, here we are - benefiting from this same pay-it-forward food chain.
It is an honor.
And we promise to keep the chain going forward.

I think his post on our Facebook page said it all:
"Hey all. Just wanted to amen all of the comments... this is a great step for us because it means no more transfers in the heat, cold, rain and scary side streets. No more people watching my wife haul my big you know what in and out of the Escape. She can dress like a girl now. Like, wearing a dress and heels out -- even if I prefer jeans ;-) we can go out without worrying about Dana's back."

Let this be a challenge to you. What can you do to make someone else's life better? Everyone can do something. And when we work together, we can change someone's world. It matters.

Saturday Morning Post

Good. Morning!

Oh, how sweet it is to spend an early Saturday morning on my corner of the couch, assuming the blogging position.

I feel like I haven't done this in forever.
I have SO much to tell y'all about.

Life is crazy busy right now.
In a good way. It's a good busy. But it's still busy.

And I'm just living life one day at a time right now. I think this is a good thing, because it's forcing me to live in the moment - something I've never done well on a consistent basis.

My coffee is brewed, Brokaw is snuggled beside me, Michael is still sleeping in the other room, and it's just us for an hour or so - before I get to work around here.

Cheers to Saturday Morning!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Life Rolls On: Just Because You're Paralyzed Doesn't Mean You Can't Surf

Pardon me for the longest title ever.
But it's a true statement.
Just because you're paralyzed, doesn't mean you can't surf.

I can't help but smile when I look at these pictures of my husband.

Let's talk about this for a second.
There are LOTS of reasons I never would have imagined I'd see him surf.
1. He's a quadriplegic. He's paralyzed from the chest down, only has limited use of his arms, and can barely hold himself up on his tummy when he's on the land, let alone in waves that are crashing.
2. He's from Arkansas.
3. He's just not generally known for his coordination or any sort of sporting expertise.

So, when I heard about Life Rolls On's "They Will Surf Again" adventure in Virginia Beach, I signed him up, of course.

I figured, why not?
It's a great organization.
There are TONS of people, including experienced surfers who volunteer, so I knew he would be 100% safe the whole time.
AND it was an excuse to go back to my hometown, see my family, and spend a day on the REAL beach.
Where do I sign and fax the form, right?

Let's rewind to Friday.
We road tripped it from DC down to the 757.
We arrived at my favorite all-inclusive resort, also known as my sister's house.
Michael spent the afternoon working on designing a website.
Then we went out to dinner with some of my family, and had a great time.
I love my family SO much. They are so much fun. We stayed the night Friday night at my sister's mom's house (okay, so we have a crazy family tree, just go with it) and that was wonderful because there's only like two steps into her place, and she was sweet enough to give us her bed for the night, and so we slept ON A BED without paying for a hotel! Sweetness. Thank you Shannon!! And, Michael could get in the bathroom, it was so nice.

We won't talk about the 3:00am issue I had when I found out that Mitt Romney had chosen his running mate, and I had a crisis of conscience and may or may not have secretly wished, just for a minute, that the Life Rolls On event would be cancelled, and I could be in Norfolk for the Romney/Ryan event. You know how the story ends. I love my job, and I'm passionate about covering politics, but obviously I love my husband (and the ocean) more.
We got there early, because I was signed up to volunteer for the event. So, we got all registered, and we headed out to the beach. So awesome that Virginia Beach has an accessible part of the beach (it's up at Gromet Park at First Street, check it out!) so we just rolled out without anyone's help.
I was immediately transported back in time.
Oh my WORD, I love Virginia Beach, and I miss it so much!
As the morning went on, more adaptive surfers (there were 40+!) and volunteers showed up, and were getting everything ready.
Photo Credit: John Wright

I was on the blue team. Can you see me? 

My friend Courtney came by to meet Michael and hang out with us. Thanks for coming, Courtney!!
Everyone gathered for a group photo and a prayer, then it was time to surf!
Photo Credit: John Wright

I volunteered in the water helping several surfers on the blue team. Michael was on the orange team. So, he chilled on the shore, visiting with some more friends who stopped by to say hi.
Thanks to Ian and Julie (nice to meet y'all!!) and Jake and Amanda for coming by!

Helping the surfers was really fun. I loved being in the water, and feeling the waves come and come and crash and crash. There is nothing like that rhythm, the sun and the salt water. It feels like home. It's beautiful and powerful and being in the ocean is truly a whole experience: physical, mental, spiritual. I loved it.  Helping the kid surfers was the most fun, because they were just smiling and screaming with joy!! I loved it.  I met some other volunteers who had driven in from as far away as Richmond and Chapel Hill to help. Great people!
We met so many people. It was SO much fun.  During our break for lunch, we walked over to the inlet, and saw my brother from a distance. He was working. His JOB is on a boat, taking parasailers out.
This is obviously A LONG WAY from where he was last summer, in Afghanistan. I am so happy to see him shirtless on the back of a boat, with a bunch of red facial hair. I love him and I'm so proud of him, and just relieved that he is not, as my sister put it, "half way around the world, in hell" anymore.

Michael's time to surf wasn't until later in the afternoon. So, after much anticipation, it was FINALLY his turn!!
Here he is with some of the volunteers on the orange team.  I can't say enough things about how much I love these people.  They kept my husband safe the whole time!!

I wanted to go out with them, so even though I was on the blue team, I swam out with them when Michael went out.  He made me promise to not try to control anything or talk, so I held up my end of the deal!

You guys.
Remember, Michael can't hold himself up!!
Harder than it looks.
Harder than we thought it would be.
PLUS, at the time he was going out, the waves were bigger than they had been all day (of course, it's Michael, haha! If there is an opportunity for anything to be more of a challenge, it will be - for him, bless his heart!)

After about 8 waves crashed over the team, one guy suggested they put a life jacket on Michael. To my mother-in-law, before you freak out: He was in a big strong guy's arms the ENTIRE time. One guy yelled, "the wife wants him to put a life jacket on." Oh no!!! I didn't want to get in trouble, so I made it clear that while I 100% supported the life jacket idea (I wondered why he didn't have one on to start with, but I was holding up my end of the deal by not being controlling and saying anything), I didn't say that.  Michael just laughed.  

They got the life jacket on him.
And then they got another one out there for him to prop his chest up on, so he wasn't drinking ocean water the entire time.  That was key!

It was hard to keep him on the board, because the waves were building and they just KEPT COMING, and washing him off.  

I may or may not have broken my end of the deal to not be involved that last time they were trying to get him further up on the board. Because, I know they were like four big strong men and all, but you've got to remember, I am more familiar with Michael's body than anyone, other than Michael himself. So, I just grabbed the back of his swim trunks and yanked him up on there real good. 

Then. He was set.
A good wave came, and the guys pushed him out in front of it, one guy was on the back of the board, holding Michael on, and they rode it in. ALL THE WAY IN.

I watched him from behind, and I kind of cried. Just a little.

I waited out in the ocean, because we were hoping to ride at least one wave in together. But, after that one wave, Michael was done. It was a lot of effort. Everyone on the shore was cheering. And will you just look at the faces of the volunteers on the orange team in the water, as Michael surfed in? This was truly a team effort, and they were certainly sharing in our joy.  I am so grateful for these people!

And see the guy in the back, in the hat?
He asked me if I wanted to catch a wave in.
Of course I did!
He said I deserved to surf, too.
So, they got the board back out to me.

And while no one was watching, I rode a wave in.
I haven't done that in almost 20 years!
I only made it to my knees, not my feet, but it was amazing!!

I think when I just stood up and walked away from the board, everyone was like, "wait a minute..." Haha.

It was special, though. On so many levels.

I am SO THANKFUL for this day.
The entire experience was AMAZING.

My heart is just overflowing right now, thinking about Michael out there, roughing it in the surf, and not giving up until he got HIS wave, and riding it ALL the way in.  I was/am/will always be SO PROUD of my husband.

I'm so thankful for Life Rolls On. For the Christopher Reeve Foundation.
For all of the volunteers.
For the people we met.
For our friends who came by to watch and hang out and meet us and spend time on the beach with us.
For my family.  Oh my word, my family.  You should have seen my sister, her mom, and her mother in law out there with their cameras.  Michael had a serious pack of blonde paparazzi out there, haha!
For my brother coming by when he got a break from work, just in time to see Michael ride his wave in.
For my amazing husband, who never gives up, who will try anything, and who I love more every day.
Major shout out to my sister for her awesome pictures of Michael surfing!!

I can't wait for next year!!