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Monday Update: 1/29/07

Well, it’s been another busy couple of weeks; it’s hard to know where to start! Keeping us most busy is the fact that we’ve been mulling over ideas about moving. We’ve just been talking lately about simplifying things…and making them easier for us both. We’ve been pretty happy in our house here in Des Moines, but over the past several months we’ve discovered how certain things, which we once considered minor inconveniences, have become increasingly difficult for us to deal with. Having a family room in the basement makes it hard for Matt to get down there and relax when he’s home alone. Having a detached garage means we have to walk down the driveway in the rain, snow, and wind. Having to take the dogs out the side door means I have to stand in the back yard in my bathrobe when it’s -5 degrees outside. All of these things have got us thinking about trying to find a house where we can shorten the list of inconveniences and make life easier and more enjoyable for us. I think we are both at a point where we realize that making changes, to adapt to the way our life is now, isn’t such a bad thing. For a while, I think we thought we’d be admitting defeat, or resigning ourselves to a life with ‘disabilities’ if we made any changes to our house or lifestyle…but over time, we’ve realized that making adaptations to accommodate our changing lives, doesn’t have to be a bad thing.
So, after considering several options, we’ve pretty much come to the conclusion that we’ll probably have to buy a new house. The newer ranches have much more open floor plans, which would allow Matt to move about the house in his wheelchair more easily when I am not home. They also have attached garages and more manageable sized yards to maintain. We can get in on a new house build and widen the bedroom doors so Matt can go in and out of the rooms in the chair as well, which would be great. So, we’ve been researching our options and working with our realtor to narrow them down. I’ve toured several houses and I think we’re getting close to making a decision. Matt and I will be working through the details in the next few weeks, so be thinking of us as we prepare to make this big leap.
In other news…we celebrated my 31st (gulp) birthday this weekend. Friday night we went out to dinner and a movie with Hope and Chad. We had a great time (other than having to put on a hula skirt and pitifully attempt to hula dance while an entire restaurant of people sang Happy Birthday to me).

We saw a movie…Rocky Balboa…and it was SO good! Go ROCKY! Saturday night we went out to dinner with Matt’s parents at our favorite local restaurant and had wonderful steaks…then back to our place for a DQ ice cream cake! MMM!! It was a great weekend, even though it was the first time ever (in my 31 years) that I didn’t get to celebrate my birthday with my parents. It was hard not seeing them, and opening their gifts without them…but I did enjoy my birthday. Late Saturday night we played around on the floor with the dogs. Matt got down out of his chair and wrestled with Buddy…something he used to do a lot, but hasn’t for a long time. Buddy was ecstatic to have him down there playing with him…and I was tickled just to do something as ordinary and ‘us’ as playing with the dogs together. It was a good end, to a very good day.
I also wanted to write a little something about faith. I’ve received compliments over the past several months from lots of people, saying how impressed they are by my faith, strength, and trust. While these comments are very touching, and they often bring me to tears, it is also quite humbling. I guess I don’t feel like I handle this situation in any exceptional manner. I truly believe that I am just doing the best I can with the hand I’ve been dealt. Do I question why it is I’ve been dealt this hand? Do I wonder what on earth we’re supposed to be learning from this situation? Sure. But I also believe it is not for me to know the answers right now. I’ve had theological debates with friends on whether or not God has a plan…and whether or not things really do happen for a reason. Obviously, no one can truly answer those questions…and it seems somewhat futile to me to try. I guess I feel that through our trials we are given an opportunity. It is an opportunity to let our true colors shine. It is an opportunity to draw ourselves closer to each other and to God. It is an opportunity to put our faith to the test…to draw on the strengths and gifts we have been given, some that we may not have known existed before. It is an opportunity to challenge ourselves and to change for the better.
I’m sure people read my words and hear me speak and wonder if I’m really for real…if I really feel that way etc. I guess, in my heart of hearts I also have fear, frustration, anxiety, and sadness over the life we have lost…and I will say it has been lost for I know also in my heart of hearts that it will never be the same. Even if, by some miracle of God Matt was able to regain all of his previous abilities and go on to lead a ‘normal’ life…I know that we have changed. We can never truly be the same. And for that, I do grieve. But…I know that we must go on. I know that there is a life ahead of us to be lived. I know that God could have taken Matt home on that September afternoon, but he didn’t. I have to remind myself that while I may have lost some of the ‘old Matt’…he’s still here!!! And inside, he is SO much the same person. He has the same sense of humor, the same sarcastic attitude, the same annoying political views (sorry George!), the same interest in hot rods…the list goes on and on. I know that Matt grieves for his own loss as well. He wants so badly to go back to the way it was. He doesn’t want to be exceptional (which I think we all know he is) he just wants to be the same old Matt. Easy going, funny, witty, strong, active…Matt. But in all the important ways, he still is and always will be Matt.

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