It’s a thing

Word aversions — they’re totally a thing.

You know…those words that saying or hearing make you shudder (and I’m not talking about swear words). Maybe you don’t think you have them, but if you think about it long enough I bet you’ll come up with a few.

Some people despise the word “moist.” Don’t ask me why, I’m not one of those people. I don’t like saying the word “cookie.” I love what said word ultimately stands for, but there’s something about saying it that makes me mentally grimace. I think it’s the two hard “kuh” sounds in such a short timeframe, but who knows.

Then there are words that you don’t like because of an implied meaning that you maybe don’t want implied. For example, when people ask me about what my “accident” was or when my “accident” happened, I’ll respond by talking about my injury or when I was injured. It’s not that I take issue with calling what happened to me an accident, I just feel that “injury” fits better. Another example, if you go to Starbucks and order a medium latte, the barista is supposed to respond by clarifying that you want a grande latte since that’s the “lingo of Starbucks.” I probably shouldn’t admit that I know that…Yes, it’s the exact same size and thing, so does it make a difference? Probably not. Yet, as likely everyone has experienced, words are powerful things.

What’s another one of my strange “meaning-is-implied-in-not-quite-the-right-way” word aversions?
Busy. The word busy.

How are you? Good, I’ve been pretty busy.
Do you want to grab a cup of coffee? I can’t, I’m busy.
What has so-and-so been up to? I don’t know, they’re always so busy.

When you ask Google for the definition of busy, it’s about as simple as it gets.
Busy (adj) having a great deal to do.
Busy (verb) keeping occupied.

It’s a simple 4-letter word, and yet so often, so much is implied and assumed with its use — that implication that someone has too much going on and is simply too busy to be bothered by you. That’s sad right? Especially because that isn’t always what’s meant when someone says they’re busy. Continue reading


I’ve been pretty quiet over the past two months and you know, silence can be a beautiful thing (just ask my Mom). It’s amazing how sometimes, the presence of nothing can be a something greater than an actual anything…

Yea, that doesn’t necessarily make a whole lot of sense and I don’t know if I’ve had enough coffee today to make it make sense, but I think it is a valid point. Nothing can be a powerful something.

Do you ever sit and just be? Sit in revered silence as the world spins around you? Sit and just feel? Feel the way a chair presses against your shoulder blades?  Feel your chest rise and fall with each breath as your heart beats at its own unique tempo? Feel through your emotions of the day, giving them the time they deserve to be processed?


A: I raced Grandma’s Marathon again🙂

I’ll be the first to admit that “just being” isn’t something I’m very good at (see Exhibit A to the right). My blog tagline is “Never Sitting Still” for a reason and if you saw my color-coded google calendar, you would understand how accurate of a statement that tagline is. I love the things I’m doing and would struggle to pick even 2 or 3 of them to remove from my day to day life. Yet, when you fill your life with “somethings,” there really isn’t room for “nothings”…

You know, maybe the key doesn’t lie with the “nothings.” Maybe it’s more of learning how to fully experience those “somethings.” Learning how to be deliberate in experiencing your present, savoring the moments of now without worry or anxiety over yesterday or tomorrow. Continue reading

At Least

Everyone has habits.

I20151204_135433‘ve got a really bad coffee habit (or a really good one depending on your perspective). If I have a question to ask, I’ll raise my hand without even thinking as if you were my second grade teacher. When I set alarms, they rarely ever end in a 0 or a 5 — instead my radio alarm starts playing at 5:01am or my phone goes off at 5:06am (alright alright, that’s just on work mornings, I normally sleep in a bit later than that…)

I also have this habit where if someone’s walking towards me and we make eye contact, I smile at them and continue on my way. Nothing wrong with a smile right? Sometimes situations allow the exchange of a few words, like in an elevator or something.  You know, those times when you use one of those simple inquiry phrases that show someone you see them and you wish them well in whatever path their life is on.

A few weeks back I had engaged in one of those “simple word exchanges” that I guess was really anything but simple.

“Talk about a great weather huh! How’s your day going today?”

“Yea. Uh, it’s alright.”  — Pause—
“You know, I’ve got problems, but at least I’m not in a wheelchair.”   — Pause—
“Oh, I don’t mean that in a rude way.”

You know, you hear about moments or situations where people get the wind knocked out of them. Someone got tackled in football, a dude fell over backwards on the ice, all these obvious situations that result in the literal wind being taken from your sails.  Yes, I’ve had said “wind knocking” happen to me in a physical sense during my life but I had never realized how similar the sensation would be as the result of a verbal statement. Continue reading

Mom-ing Glory

As you likely know, this Sunday is Mother’s Day. If you didn’t realize that, your welcome in advance.

You know, I appreciate holidays that urge you to appreciate or be thankful for something. Thanksgiving has always been on the top of my “favorite holiday” list but there is simply SO MUCH to be thankful for  that it’s nice that certain things get their own mini-holidays.

If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, you have certainly met (in a sense) my Mom. There was this time when my sisters and I planned a surprise wedding anniversary party for her and Dad, or this time when I almost got her arrested at the airport, or this time when I talked about my Mom’s obsession with Costco toilet paper (which also happened here and here and I’m sure a bajillion other places…) Needless to say, Mom makes a lot of blogging appearances.

Yet, I know I’ve never “dedicated” an entire blog post to her and I think now would be the perfect time. Okay Mom, I know you’re rolling your eyes going “oh great” and you would be correct, it is great:D Now stop rolling your eyes.


My family has always been pretty close to one another and that can certainly be seen in almost any picture from my childhood. Mom took on what I’m convinced to be the hardest job on the planet and was/is a stay-at-home mom for us three girls. That meant she was there and involved in every and all aspects of our very busy lives. Whether it was 4-H related activities, karate lessons, or coming up with and helping to make ridiculously impressive Halloween costumes, Mom was there.

Fast forward to all of us in high school where she supported each and every one of the ridiculous endeavors we involved ourselves with. Jazz Band, Show Choir, the school musicals, the high school plays, planning an after prom and after graduation party (complete with a cash cube…you know, monopoly/real money flying all around in the air that you have to catch) and then the epic parties. At my graduation party, not only were my sheep present but there was a bounce house and dunk tank. Seriously. I mean, what kind of mom does that? Well, mine does.


Fast forward through college (again, supporting us whether we’re 20 minutes from home or 4 hours) and then we get to wheeling land. Mom was there and has been there through it all. From the day I “came to” at Craig Hospital in Colorado to the the months of struggling to find acceptance to finally finding my independence again, she was there in all her Mom-ing glory. Continue reading

Dear Legs

I’m a journaler.

Woah, I guess according to spell check, journaler isn’t actually a word. Oh well, today’s a live on the edge kind of day.

Pausing to reflect and write down my thoughts (or  about my most recent crush which was an embarrassingly common occurrence during my teenage years) is something I’ve been doing on and off since high school. I recently pulled out one of my first journals and man, reading some of that stuff was a whole new level of funny, but moving on…


I tend to live the majority of my days at a much faster pace than I probably should. I guess I’ve come to realize that when I take the time to stop and really consider those little moments (or those big moments) by journaling, it helps. It helps me process. It helps me to calm down and work through tough situations. It helps me to keep things in perspective. It’s also super quaint and picturesque to sit with a cup of coffee, pen and paper and just write (You know, that thing you were taught to do back in elementary school).

My journal “entries” don’t usually have any sort of format. They’re more of a stream of consciousness, rambling about whatever comes into my head sentence conglomeration. Recently, a blog of a friend of mine posted about this self-love journal letter challenge. In essence, you write a letter each day to a particular entity. For example, dear younger me, dear first love, dear hunger, dear mornings…you  know, that kind of thing. Continue reading


Have you ever realized that life seems to have a certain “expected progression” of events? You know, things that should happen to you or that you should do just because that’s what everyone does?

In my mind, this is the expected life progression: birth → go to school → get a job → maybe do the “fall in love and have kids” song and dance → retire. Of course there are a lot of other things that happen in life that actually make it meaningful, but the broad strokes seem to follow the “educate →work→retire” pathway.

When you have a spinal cord injury, that pathway is basically obliterated. No matter where you’re standing on it, you won’t be anymore because 1) you can’t stand and 2) everything in your once well-constructed and well-planned life is and will be different.

My injury happened when I was in the “go to school” phase of my path and essentially, that’s where I still am as I now begin the application process to attend medical school. It’s actually a year long process (meaning I’m applying for the entering class of 2017), which is a long time to just  sit and wait.

I’m good at sitting, not so good at waiting…. Continue reading

Spit it Out

Language is such a complex topic — the way we talk, the words we choose to portray a particular thought, the countless grammar rules one must be aware of to sound like a pseudo-educated human being. It’s a lot to have in a person’s head all for the sake of communication, whether it be conversational or your own internal “self-talk.”

I’m not one of those people who is really good with language. All those rules and parts of speech and spelling and punctuation? Yuck, not really my cup of tea (or coffee). The only reason I can tell you when you should use a semicolon instead of a colon is because I just googled it (and I’ll probably forget within the next hour and do it incorrectly anyway).  Yet,  I will admit to having a certain love of all the ridiculous idioms and well known phrases we use in the English language.

That’s a piece of cake. Why don’t you just spill the beans? Well now he’s gotten a taste of his own medicine.

You know, phrases like that. Yet, I never really realized how many of those phrases cause a bit of “literal dissonance” for a person in my shoes… uh, wheels.

I do have some pretty cool shoes though…

I just want to get my foot in the door. She’s trying to climb the corporate ladder. They were paralyzed with fear. Continue reading

Experience This

I find airports to be fascinating places.

Just think about it, when else in life are you likely to interact with or encounter the myriad of individuals you run into or walk past as you rush from terminal to terminal? People from different countries, from cities you’ve never heard of, or from walks of life you’ve probably never even thought about before. So many “life experiences” all located in one geographical conglomerate.

Kind of cool right?

I was in an airport last week (first time since April 2015 — I guess its been a little while) when Mom and I headed out to Deadwood, South Dakota to participate in Black Hills Regional Ski for Light. If you’ve been following me for some time, this event may ring a bell. It was something I had the opportunity to participate in during my reign as Ms. Wheelchair America and had an amazing time (I wrote about it, so here it is if you want a reminder). Naturally, having left the TSA agents in Rapid City with a nice little memory thanks to an awesome souvenir they didn’t find as awesome as I did (Side note: don’t put painted red dowels taped together with an obviously fake fuse from the Crazy Horse blast crew in your your Mom’s checked bag) I thought maybe we should do a “take two” and see how it would go this year.

I have to say, going back as a “commoner” was a whole lot of fun. For starters, I had such a great time last year that I invited some of my wheeling buddies along. I had gotten a selfie stick for Christmas and they were less than thrilled with my plan to take a selfie together. Granted, I roll my eyes at those stupid sticks too but man, when it comes to fitting three wheelchairs in a picture, it worked pretty slick. Although the dude on the right in the picture will tell you I’m terrible at using the thing (and he wouldn’t be wrong).

IMG_20160125_193135We would all ski during the day, either downhill or cross-country, and then hit up the saloons at night. I actually played at a blackjack table this year and did smashingly well. Meaning, I came out on the plus side of the $20 I put in. My winnings are pictured below… Continue reading

Whatyda Expect?

Expectations are funny creatures.

The presence of an expectation implies a plan, goal, or at least some kind of thought about a future event or activity. In my mind, plans and goals are good things; they’re things to work towards or look ahead to. So naturally, by some sort of transitive property that should mean expectations are good things too…but I don’t know if that’s always true.

I’m sure you’ve heard of people saying they don’t let themselves have expectations so they don’t have the opportunity to be disappointed. Makes sense to me, but whether its actually possible to not develop those little “creatures of expectation” is certainly up for debate.

Don’t ask me why, but I keep personifying “expectations” into these little minion like creatures…minion

They’re a little bit strange too, so I think it fits…

Why the mental perusing through the zoo of expectation? Well, today officially marks my survival through another year of life. I can officially “check the box” on Sam’s life, year 23 and move on to Sam’s life, year 24.

Now I’m not one to go “all out” when it comes to birthdays. In my mind, once you hit 21, a birthday just becomes the day that you double check your math and re-figure out how old you ACTUALLY are. The thought of celebrating a “birthday week” seriously gives me anxiety – I’m much happier with a low key approach. Continue reading

For Science

The other week I realized I have remained in the same state for a whole three months.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Wisconsin, but three months in one state is a long time. At least after last year when I felt like I was on a plane almost every other week. Relatively speaking — three months IS a long time.

So when I got a random message courtesy of the “Contact Me” tab at the top of this page from a random dude at Michigan Technological University who was doing research related to wheelchair users asking me to spend a couple days up there, I naturally jumped on the opportunity and said “A-OKAY!”

I realize now looking at that paragraph in hindsight, that whole sequence of events would probably be on the list of things parents tell there kids to never do. However in my defense, I did google him and when the person you google has alphabet soup behind their name for their degrees and have had 23 publications since 2007, they’re probably legit. Plus, google doesn’t lie.  (Goodness, there are so many reasons I’m not ready to be a parent…)

1Not to mention Houghton, Michigan is gorgeous….

The research itself was fascinating and something I was all into since the study was looking at a new piece of exercise equipment and the possible benefits it could have in the rehabilitation of individuals with mobility impairments and possibly even athletic performance. Continue reading