Tag Archive | Photography

Who’s Your Daddy?

As I look back on the last 18 months of my life, there is so much to review. I’ve survived not one, but two, life threatening events that have shown me how much I have to be grateful for in this life. Of those things, I’ve come to realize that most people today do not have the privilege of being in constant contact, yet alone are able to know, their biological fathers. To me this is a disheartening situation that I cannot either fathom nor comprehend. In my life, I have not only been blessed with having a biological father that has been there for me no matter the circumstances, but also “Bonus Dads” that too have nurtured and guided me through many the difficult and blessed times in my life.

There are those that would look down on my upbringing in that it was too conservative, unstable, and demanding. To this I say, in some degrees I tend to agree with you. I was raised in a Nazarene parsonage where the rules were more strict than those of the others in my circle of friends. I was not allowed to attend dances, I didn’t see my first movie until after I left home, on my first visit home after attending college I got my ears pierced for the first time after my Mom signed the waiver only to have her exit the Claire’s store to cry while I got them done, I had a strict curfew, and dating was definitely something that could only be done upon reaching the age of 16. I’ve often been questioned about the instability of my childhood in that it involved frequent moves due to my Dad’s profession as a minister. Though they were difficult to not only accept, but to also become accustomed to, they were also a common part of my life that I learned (though not always happily) to accept. As for demanding?? Yes, It was VERY demanding. We were what others looked up too, used as examples, and would criticize to no end. That was the most difficult of all to follow. In seeing what the ‘other’ parishioners’ children could do beyond what we could and constantly question “Why can they…?” when I couldn’t. We were to represent the standards that our denomination had set into place no matter what others may do even though their guidelines were the same.

What I would not change are the blessings I’ve been given with each and every opportunity each new location brought. The experiences that I gained in learning about the diversities that exist in the many regions of our great country and the people that taught them to me. Of these people, I have come to know several as ‘Dad’  throughout my lifetime. Each has been there for me at different times of my life, each giving me the guidance and  direction needed at those particular times. There was Gary Williams, from my time spent in Iowa, who, with his wife, Carolyn, kept us under his wing and his roof on more occasions than I can count. Memories flood my mind of four kids, who became as close as any brothers or sisters could, spending countless evenings doing what kids do while expertly distracting me from the issues of home with my Mom’s numerous hospital stays. Which brings me to Mark Fletcher and his wife Carolyn. Though Mark is now gone, his legacy continues in that he too helped raise someone else’s daughter during a time that stability was key. Mark and my Dad were partners both in church and in work, but their biggest partnership was in jointly raising their children. During a time of complete confusion over my Mom’s health and continued frequent hospitalizations, their home was one where I was always welcomed as treated as one of the family. Last, but not least, I mention the Rev. Jerrold Lake. A man that has seen me at my worst, most disparaging moments, yet showed me through counseling, guidance, and love that this too was just a moment in time that I could overcome. Eventually, I did just that, but I don’t believe it would have been possible without his patience and unconditional love. To my great joy, two of my ‘Dads’ are now family in their own right as a son and daughter were united in marriage recently. Be still my heart as my family has come full circle!

Yet, through all the changes and opportunities that my life has brought me, there has been one person who has been by my side throughout them all. He was there to give me my name, to hold me when I was hurt, to punish and guide me in the wrong and right way, to uplift me when I could not do so myself, to comfort me during the loss of a parent, to cry with me when bringing a new life into this world, and to be my first date as a shy 13 year-old who was just beginning to learn about life . It’s been his encouragement, praise, and pride that I have strove for. It’s his name that I proudly carry and hope to have brought and continue to bring honor too. It is in his shadow that I confidently walk knowing I never have to fear the unknown as long as he is there beside me.

It has been the most difficult time of my life to date these past few months to say the least. Yet, during each and every one of these times, I have awoken to the strongest, most caring, faithful, generous, and loving man I’ll ever know standing next to my hospital bed. It’s been during those drug induced hazes, that on opening my eyes and seeing him there, that my heart has leapt like a child’s running to jump into her Daddy’s arms. It is then that I once again know without any shadow of a doubt, I am…and will always be…my Daddy’s daughter.


Daughters and Dads     wpid-paperartist_2013-08-17_06-34-10.jpeg

Remembering Me: Update ~ Part III

Later on I learned what had happened by piecing together what I was told by family after once again waking up in a hospital ICU.


Sick Selfie ~ BJC St. Louis, MO ~ Sept 2013

I’d been airlifted from the accident to the closest trauma unit approximately 90 miles away. My family got there soon after I arrived. On arrival tests were ran per protocol, then triaged which included unsuccessful attempts at getting my hip back into place. I’m unclear as to what happened or exactly what the specific medical necessity was, but from there, I was airlifted for the second time to Barnes-Jewish in St. Louis. I have no memory of this, except for waking up briefly at the end of the second flight panicked at not being able to move, unaware of where I was, and being highly claustrophobic did nothing to help the situation. Luckily, we landed before I had a full blown panic attack only to have them accidentally hit my hip on the helicopter frame when unloading me and passed out once again because of the pain.

I woke up only three times in the trauma unit that I remember. Each was after unsuccessful attempts at putting my hip into place.  My bed was surrounded by the several medical personnel needed for this procedure. The medication used to put me under during these attempts caused me to have terrifying nightmares as I’ve never had before. So much so, before putting me under for the third time, I asked the nurse to stay with me. I  remember exactly what I said to him. This would be the last attempt. That was final. I needed and begged him to stay with me, and not leave until I was completely under. I told him I wasn’t sure I’d come out of where I was being sent back too. I was scared, I was tired, I thought I was going to die…. alone.

I’d not only suffered a dislocated/broken hip which ended up having to be repaired surgically with a bracket and pins, but also several broken ribs, a third degree liver laceration, and a broken tibial plateau (knee) which wasn’t found until five weeks later during my routine post hospitalization follow up appointment with my orthopedist.


Hip Repair


Tibial Plateau Fracture

I was hospitalized for a week. On leaving, I was able to come directly home instead of going to a rehabilitation facility. My mobility was very limited and required the use of either a wheelchair for any extended periods of time or a walker for short distances. I needed assistance with almost everything from using the restroom to getting dressed to showering.


My Assisted Living 'Nest'


Working It Out, Still ~ Physical Therapy ~ March 28, 2014

It’s been six months since the accident and I have yet to get back to where I was physically before everything happened. Then to be told at my last appointment that I never will due to residual damage and deterioration caused by the wreck, my life has once again taken an unforseen, twisted, and wicked turn. Once again, as I’m having to cope, adjust and learn a modified way of daily living, I remind myself . ..

Breathe in,
Breathe out,



And that it’s all about isn’t it?? Living ~Not Just Surviving….


Remembering Me


Team Andy ~ Coworkers ~ 2012


Team Andy ~ June 2012

Yesterday I was reminded of a time when one of my goals to achieve during a year was to get healthier and physically fit so that I could walk the entire length of a charity walk. This was the year I participated on both Team Andy for Cystic Fibrosis and also a Relay For Life team within 24 hours one weekend. Afterwards, I began training for next year’s first goal which was The Color Run 5k I would run with my son, Andrew.


Relay For Life ~ Survivor Signatures ~ June 2012


The Color Run ~ April 2013 ~ Springfield, MO

What I didn’t know then was that by taking on this initial goal for Miller Time and Charrae Potter and following thru resulting in a then 50 lb weight loss and becoming a runner, is that it would save my life that Christmas. Because of that year’s life changes, what I was told would have killed me previously, a 1″ clot travelled through my heart instead of stopping it permanently. What was done as a heart felt gestures in supporting friends and their families, literally made my heart stronger which in turn saved me too. 💟💖👟💟💖👟



Remembering Me ~ Part II

To read Royal’s (my son) story of stroke survival and recovery from a Mother’s perspective, follow this link:

Reflections ~ A Mother’s POV: A Royal Recovery Story

To learn more about my story, follow this link:

I’m A Survivor!!!

Sister Strong Survivors

Celebrating Blood Clot Awareness Month by celebrating those who have been with me from the beginning of THIS recovery. Who have been your touch stones through thick and thin, dark and light, tears and laughs, anger and joy. Although just some of my “Sister Strong Survivors” and my son (of course), I celebrate ALL my fellow survivors… For you are strong, able, and loved. Remember… Life is for Living ~ Not Just Surviving…


Sister Strong Survivors (and The Kid)

Live every moment – love every day
‘cus before you know it your precious time slips away.
Live every moment – love every day
’cause if you don’t you might just throw your love away.

I walked for seven miles this mornin’. footprints in the #sand.
#Washed away without a warning when the water hit the land.
But I will #walk on ’til I can no longer stand.
I’ll take you by the #hand and we’ll…

Live every moment – love every day
‘cus before you know it your precious time slips away.

There’s #water in the #wind tonight.
There’s a #chill in the air.
It’s coolin’ down my #skin tonight
Soakin’ through your #hair.
There’s #warmth enough within’ tonight
For both of us to share.
We can take it anywhere. and we’ll…

Live every moment – love every day
‘cus before you know it your precious #time slips away.

Sometimes I wish we could take a #trip far away.
Leave all this #trouble and #heartache and pain for another day.
I will #search for that place but ’til I find it all I can say is…

#Live every moment – and #love every day


Shop The Clot – J Wells Brewery Event



Wishing I was in Colorado at my friend Lisa ‘s and her husband’s brewery tonight to help celebrate and pay forward everything she’s overcome and then the amazing achievements she’s accomplished this past year. I can honestly and wholeheartedly say that she is one of my Sister Strong Survivors who, without having met, my current recovery would not have been the same. Instead of letting me be ‘me’, she looked past that and was determined I was to be her friend and she didn’t let me stop her even though I did my best to. Despite my many warnings, massive moodiness, lengthy self imposed alone times, social ‘everything is fine’ mask wearing routine desperate attempts at not allowing anyone into the inner circle to see or know the ‘real’ me, she didn’t give up. For that, I’ll always be indebted and grateful. Congratulations!!! You deserve every moment tonight and remember… Take a moment… Breathe in…. Breathe out… REPEAT…

P.S. For all those who were concerned regarding how I would cope with recovery after my PE both mentally and physically having known how difficult it had been previously, this is one of the Sisters you should thank for the complete 180 this time. — feeling hopeful with Lisa Cowan Wells at J Wells Brewery.

Now for the shameless plug…. J. Wells Brewery didn’t end their fundraising efforts when the party did. They will continue to raise charitable funds for the National Blood Clot Alliance with a portion of their proceeds from the sales of Lisa Red Beer and T-Shirts. T-shirts can be purchased online at


and information on how to purchase Lisa Red check out

J Wells Brewery – Boulder, CO


Lisa Red Beer T-Shirt

Also, whether you are a Survivor, family member, caregiver, or just want more information given by survivors themselves, be sure to check out the Facebook survivor group that was founded, continues to be operated, and lead by Lisa at Surviving The Silent Killer or follow the link on my Facebook page at Living~Not Just Surviving.

Warrior Walk

My ‘thank you’ to all of you who have been with me from the beginning and stuck with me through everything this last 15 mos…



Like a Warrior that fights
And wins the Battle
I know the taste of Victory
Though I went through some nights
Consumed by the shadows
I was crippled emotionally
Somehow I made it through the heartache
Yes, I escaped.. I found my way out of the #darkness…
Kept the faith

When the River was deep
I didn’t falter
When the Mountain was high
I still Believed
When the Valley was low
It didn’t Stop me
I knew you were waiting for me
~ George Michael

March =
Blood Clot Awareness Month

New Fangled Pen Pals


© 2013 Willoweagle (unpublished)

The inspiration for the above written poem came with the arrival of these beautiful flowers sent from two wonderfully inspirational, hysterically looney, super supporters,  who have been there for me the past year whom I’ve never met face-to-face, but we’d know each other anywhere.

Blown away, overwhelmed, amazed

Got 'em snowed!!

Smiles in a Vase

Ohhhhh…if you only knew how right thezs two got it….
Ok…so I’m REALLY gonna go small town on ya…READY?!?!?!

The flower shop you ordered those from, just HAPPENS to be owned by one of my best friends/ex-daughter-in-law’s (we’re 3 months 16 days apart…sigh….I’m older..and we graduated HS same year)…hold on

I had spoke with her about 6 weeks ago and we were to meet up for lunch…we hadn’t laid eyes on each other in nearly a year…I KNOW!!

ANYWAY…The plan was to change that..BUT she had some medical issues (she has Crohn’s) that needed be dealt with…then it was MY turn…

So imagine how delighted I was when I thought she’d stopped by quick during a delivery AND brought me flowers…THEN found out she was delivering them from YOU GUYS!!!

It was better than any Publishers Clearing House Ed McMahon Presentation could ever make up!!!!

Made my day!!!!



Living ~ Not Just Surviving New Header Banner for out new home page!!!


We now have a new home page specifically designed for LNJS!!! And, yes, Unicorns have been included….along with several of my friends!!! 
Would love to hear back on impressions, thoughts, etc so we can get this tweaked and running smoothly.  Any feedback would be great….but GREAT feedback would be BETTER  🙂
So….now…gotta give a shout out to the ones that have actually not let me REALLY be alone when I want nothing but to sink into the abyss of the internet and skulk…
Just like them, their profiles and projects are as unique and varied as they are. Check out their ‘Social’ projects/profiles here:

A Beautiful Mess Blood Clot Recovery Network

Surviving A Silent Killer





These are just some of the friends and supporters I’ve had and made recently. They’ve all brought something different into my life with their views, honesty and friendships. They’ve each touched and changed, even if ever so slightly, my way of taking in the world around me. We should all be so lucky, and I hope you that you are.
Happy Saturday everyone!!!!!



Woo Hoo!!!


Did a search for our page today as a friend of mine who DOESNT have Facebook (I KNOW right?!?!?) wanted to see it. I couldn’t believe my eyes!!! I hadn’t even typed in the entire URL!! And second was our friends at. @BCRN!!!
Its ALWAYS neat to see friends doing great in what they are doing, but have to say, the competitive side of me was saying “Woo Hook we’re #1!!!!!”