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Random fact about Sam: I love to learn

Alright, so maybe that isn’t that random of a fact, but I’m being completly serious when I say it. I’m not kidding you when I say learning gets me about as excited as the entire state of Wisconsin is when the Packers go to the Super Bowl. Let me prove it, I did something called Strengths Quest as a Community Advisor (same thing as an RA) in college where you answered a bunch of questions and found out your “Top 5 Strengths.” I guess you could say it’s like a modified Myers-Briggs…ish. Anyway, “Learner” was my number one.

Bailey Hall CA Staff  Photo Credit to the awesome Ms. Jana Paulson
Bailey Hall CA Staff
Photo Credit to the awesome Ms. Jana Paulson

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A New Sisterhood

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It takes a lot to leave me speechless. It takes a lot for me to not be able to find something to say (I mean, just ask my family). But I’m sitting here, trying to figure out where in the world to even start. Where to start to describe the events of August 4-10th….

August 4-10th was the National Ms. Wheelchair America (MWA) 2015 competition held in Long Beach, California. So we (Mom, Dad, and I) packed our bags and headed out there. I guess I shouldn’t make it sound so easy. We had an early flight to catch so we (plus Danielle, our driver) spent the night in Milwaulkee to be ready in time. Now THAT was an experience. We happened to stay in a hotel that was booked out for the Midwest Latin Dance Festival. Sounds all well and good right? Well, as the walls rumbled at midnight from a live band, we started to get a bit concerned. A call to the front desk informed us the band was on till 3am. 3am rolls around and the band stops only for a DJ to start. Needless to say, I was a bit concerned how the rest of the trip was going to go.

Thankfully things turned around the following day when we had the greatest flight attendants. I wore my Ms. Wheelchair Wisconsin sash on the plane and the attendant wanted to know where my crown was. I informed him only Ms. Wheelchair America wore her crown during the competition, but he thought that just wouldn’t do. He disappeared around the corner and a few minutes later produced my very own South West style crown.

photo 2-1

TAH DAHHH! Peanuts and stir sticks. How cool is that? I told him he wasn’t getting paid enough… Read the rest of this entry »

Practice, practice, practice

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So I haven’t died, I’ve just been really busy and kind of fell off the blog-o-sphere. But if you’ve met me in person, I rarely stay quiet for long. So hmmm, I’m gonna spend a bit of time playing catch up on Sam’s life-ness.

I had my first biff backwards in my chair a week ago which is exciting. Well, I guess Mom probably wouldn’t say it was exciting, but I’m no longer a falling-backwards virgin so that’s something. Okay, that doesn’t sound very good but I think you get my gist. It was kind of a comical situation and I’ve learned that I’m the queen of freak accidents. So Danielle and I were home alone, just hanging out watching another epic episode of Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix (I may have a bit of an addiction). I was totally behaving myself, meaning I wasn’t screwing around and hanging out in a wheelie; I was literally just sitting there, all four wheels on the floor. I decided I wanted to get something to snack on in the kitchen so I started to back up and Mr. Leopold just happened to be screwing around under my chair and I totally ran over his tail. He freaked out, so I freaked out and pushed forward really fast while he shot out from underneath me and that combo of me pushing forward and him flying backward sent me right over.

It all happened super fast until I got to the moment where I knew I was done for and as the world started to move in slow-mo, all I could do was think, “Huh, this is really happening. I’m totally gonna fall over. Oh! Chin to chest. Chin to chest!” Danielle was a bit worried, asked if I was okay but then said we better take a picture and text it to Mom who was gone at a class reunion. So yep, the moment has even been forever solidified in pixels. For the record, Leopold was back on my lap in under two minutes. That cat may have some serious issues.


I’m pretty sure my favorite part of the whole ordeal was once I was all re-situated and upright and Danielle goes, “you know, I’m super proud of myself, I was really mature for that whole thing.” Yea Danielle, especially when you said we needed to take a picture. You’re basically the epitome of mature:) Read the rest of this entry »


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How about these warm days huh? It’s still hard for me to wrap my head around the fact I no longer need a coat to go outside after that never ending winter we had. Needless to say, I’ve been spending quite a bit more time under the sun to say the least. For starters, some 4-H members made me an awesome raised gardening bed that is currently residing in our backyard and there are even things growing. Boom sauce! Mom, Ms. Florist herself was all like, “you better dig that up better” or “your rows aren’t straight” or “that’s not gonna grow” and now there are totally green things to show my way works just fine. I mean, yea, she was right, my rows aren’t straight and my carrots never germinated (whoops), but the radishes, beans, peas, or kolorabi don’t seem to mind…


I guess I should admit to another gardening fail…I have tomato plants as well, but those are too tall to really have a heck of a lot of success in a raised gardening bed with a shorty like me taking care of them. So, we have separate pots that those dudes are growing in, but getting them there was a bit more of a challenge then it probably should have been. Mom was around doing goodness knows what in the backyard and told me I was okay to plant them in the big pot. Well, I missed the word “big” and saw these two lovely little pots on the ground directly in front of me and went to work. I had a nice little hole dug when Mom comes around the corner, see’s my awesome progress and goes, “What are you doing!?! I so wanna kill you right now!” Apparently, those two little pots were home to her calla lily bulbs that I had now graciously displaced onto the cement. Whoops. Mom claims it was sabotage… Lesson learned: listening is not overrated. But just for the record, the lilies I dug up and then got replanted are doing better than the ones I never touched. See Mom, trials can be good for things, they make you stronger:)

SEE! They're still growing...
SEE! They’re still growing…

Alright, enough green (or lack of green) thumb talk. So this past week I went to the National Wheelchair Sports Camp at Ironwood Christian Ranch in Stewartville, Minnesota. I had heard about it from a friend of mine and got myself (and Mom) all signed up. That went something like this, “Hey Mom, how old are you?” “__ years, why?” (Yea, I’m not gonna post Mom’s age online, I’m pretty sure I’m still making up for the lily incident and I don’t think that would help my case) “Oh, no reason, I’m just signing us up for a camp.” It’s amazing the gunk I drag her into… Read the rest of this entry »

Can you?

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So…I always have issues figuring out how in the world to start posts. I swear, someday I’m just going to tell a ridiculous joke to break the cyber-silence. Awe heck, I’ve got a good one to share so I might as well do it today just for kicks. Why did the man go out with a prune? Because he couldn’t find a date. Bah ha ha! Terrible…

My year anniversary day (wow, that doesn’t make a lot of sense) went really well and you know, it really was just another day. But it also was a day to celebrate life which meant a pretty good reason to have a party with the family and some close friends. We lit off wish lanterns that evening and I wanted to share some of the photos because it was pretty awesome.


Doesn’t it look gorgeous? I can promise you it was even cooler in real life. Funny story about the lanterns, we lit them all off over a bunch of farm fields basically in the middle of nowhere so we didn’t have to worry about anything bad happening with the open flame. All of them went up without a hitch, that is until the very last one. The very last lantern got caught in the lone tree in my aunt’s front yard. No worries, the tree was fine, but I felt it was oddly fitting. Yea, take THAT tree. Read the rest of this entry »

Press Pause

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A year.

It’s been a whole year.

I feel like I just need to pause and not write for a minute to let all of that to sink in. I was injured May 25, 2013 and here I am May 25, 2014, an entire year later.

What do you do on the anniversary of something you never thought would happened? How do you approach a day like today? How do you deal with all the emotions and memories of the accident and of this past year? I mean seriously, how?

In one breath, it’s just another day, one more day past the one when everything changed. But everything really changed…I mean I went from walking to rolling. I went from independent to dependent. I went from running around like a fool, ready to start and enjoy summer to not even being able to breathe without a ventilator or eat without a tube stuck in my body.

So do I sit here and cry because it happened?  Spend the day in bed with a blanket over my head just trying to imagine what my world would be like if I hadn’t been standing in that exact spot at the exact moment? Do I just push on and brush it off because it really is just another day?

I wish I knew the answer to any of those questions….but I don’t…at all. I’m usually not one who likes to dwell in the past or the “what could haves” but sometimes I think looking back on something as massive as this and what it all has meant for my life helps in moving forward.

July 1(ish): Memory returns
I don’t remember anything from when I was injured on May 25 until July 1st-ish. I was awake and talking and there are pictures to prove it, but that time span seriously doesn’t exist in my head. To be honest, I’m really thankful I don’t remember any of that time…I’ve heard stories, and they’re scary just to listen to. A 10 hour surgery, 3 bronchoscopy procedures, a collapsing lung, and the list could keep going. But I’ll tell you what I am thankful for, I’m thankful for the people who were right there and have stayed right there when I did “wake-up.”


Mom was right there with me that morning when I “came to.” She was there when I was fitted for my first wheelchair, she was there as I spent long hours in countless therapies, and she was there when I’d get in bed at night, too tired to even lift up a glass of milk, let alone deal with all the emotions of a new injury. My sisters actually came out that first weekend I started remembering things and they were there for me as they always have been. I still remember crying and being terrified of seeing them for the first time, what would they think of me? How would they treat me? Exactly the same. And same never felt so good. And Dad came out for a visit which was awesome, but he also spent so much time getting our home to be accessible for me. Family is a pretty special thing and I’ve just started to learn how very special mine is… Read the rest of this entry »

Got Real?

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So instead of writing this from my clubhouse as I normally tend to do, this post comes from the passenger seat of the van. Mom and I went road trippin’ to Minnesota this week (which was pretty awesome to say the least) and now we’re making the 4.5-hour drive back. Mom sure is a pretty comical creature to road trip with, we keep having to pass all the big semi’s so they don’t “block our view” when we come across the sheep farm with all the little lambs because then Mom (as she said) “would be one cranky lady.” I’d just like to point out its her who’s all obsessed and not me…for once…but I’m not complaining:D

So the road trip…

I did my undergrad degree in three years which means that a lot of my friends who are actually normal (well, besides being friends with me) are graduating from college this year. That being said, I took to the open roads to celebrate with/congratulate them and visit campus and see some of my awesome professors again. I forgot how gorgeous of a college I went to (and also how hilly of a campus I studied on) but mostly how gorgeous. I mean seriously, look at it.


Being back was really special, but at moments a little hard. I mean, that place is littered with memories of what was and what was going to be in the life I was living. I was rolling through the vet school seeing vet students rush by in scrubs or leaving classrooms which caused a few, sad, that-was supposed-to-be-me feelings. But what really surprised me was how fast those feelings left. I couldn’t be happier pursuing medical school and I guess those moments just go to show how true that is. Read the rest of this entry »