The Butterfly Effect

No you didn’t! Yes, I did! No, you didn’t.  For Real, I did!


I know!  I’ve always been the one to say I’d never get one and here I am about to show you my new tattoo!  Well somewhat new, I have kept it a secret for a year now. Surprise!


 I have worked in two careers where I have seen too many people naked.  This led me to view quite a few tattoos. Young, old and in between.  Most have not been delightful to stare at, especially when they are not artfully done or when the person’s skin is so saggy, I would have had to ask them to pull it tight to even recognize what the tattoo was portraying.


Now I have always enjoyed photographing them as long as they did not embarrass me, they can create quite a dramatic effect when photographed well.


So how has no one seen this creation in the year since I’ve had it inked on my body?  It rained all dang summer!  So there was no swim suit wearing for me and it’s not like I just go around pulling up my clothes and say, “Hey look at this!”


Just like my very first presentation about our crash at St. James High School, it was GO BIG or GO HOME!


Some of you may understand when I say that I ruined a perfectly good starch job only wearing this shirt for a photo shoot that I never left my home for. Then 500 trips back to the camera to see if all looked okay, my ankles said, “Good ‘Nuff. “


Yep, it’s big.  I put more thought and research into this than I did my college classes.  This is permanent and something I never thought I would do.  So why did I do it?


Our two daughters, who were in the crash with me, spoke of it a couple of years afterwards.  That, when they were of age, they wanted to obtain something to acknowledge the evening that everything in their life changed and we came out the other side with a different, but positive perspective on life.


Still living in incredible pain, I couldn’t entertain the thought.  Why would I torture myself, (as I’ve always heard how the drilling of needles burrowing ink into your body feels), to be reminded of a night that I am still humbled by every second as my body pulses with fire burning pain? (yes, the tatt hurt like a motha)


As time moves forward and changes my body, so does my outlook on the tattoo.  It becomes a symbol of faith, courage and determination.  I am as proud to wear it as I am the scars that the metal of my car ripped across my body.


It says I not only have survived, but I did not allow this experience to ruin me or my relationships. 


My husband was superbly surprised at my admission that I was seriously thinking of this and how large.  When I described what I wanted and where, he quietly began perusing the internet, unknown to me.  He passes his iPad over to my side of the love seat and says, “What do you think about these?”


My open mouth gape turned upward into a smile and I asked, “So you are okay with this?”  Not only was he okay he wanted to help in the design and encouraged me. 


Why butterflies?   They represent strengthand a re-birth.  Never knowing

the amount of strength I would need for my recovery, I thought the description fit and I am an improved person because of my journey, being reborn with this new life.  Butterflies are perfect.


We decided on four because we have fourchildren, each supporting our family as we traveled through four years of overcoming this tragedy together.  Wanting the color to pop, just like my renewed outlook on life,  I opted for bright, contrasted hues.  Just like the butterfly, I am quiet in nature, but now subtly make my presence known.

Not feeling too womanly with my scars and awkward walk, I wanted this to show strength combined with femininity.  Ten hours of adding butterflies, scrolls and lastly the date, my artist, Will at Blood Brothers Ink , suggested the cocoon.  Listening to my story and how it has affected me, he also viewed this as a re-birth.  I was wrapped in a cocoon for four years as I recovered and emerged a beautifully scarred butterfly, who has a wonderfully positive view on just about everything in her life. 


Butterflies signify peace and that is what I have been left with as this part of my journey comes to a close.  So……….


PEACE………be with you all.    




*** My artist Will Spencer is wildly creative, listens to your ideas and is equally creative and trustworthy wielding needles and ink.  My personal recommendation.




                                       

Boys Catch Girls

     Rifling through a random box in my basement, I encountered this photo of my Gerald Elementary Kindergarten class.   There is no reason that it should be kept in the particular box and as I held it in my fingers, my memory had to reach far back in time to recall faces and experiences in Mrs. Reel’s classroom.


     Mrs. Reel.  First off, it seems she was the best teacher of all time, that’s how I recall it to this day as I travel through my memories as a five-year-old little girl.  She always seemed patient, even with the few that were always causing trouble in class.  Her voice sounded calm and soothing, she introduced us to many fun activities and urged me, but did not push me to come out of my shell.


    Scanning the faces of our class, many names will not break through the time barrier and surface to the top.  Each face brings to light an emotion about how that child make me feel during that year I spent with them.

     All make me smile, whether I remember a kind gesture from the Grob twins or little blond haired Scotty, slumber parties at Dana’s house, or the boys that were always getting into trouble like Jeramey, Jeffery and Dallas!  I can’t forget the playground game of boys catch girls and vice versa.


     My shyness was in full force during that first year of school.  Always kind and soft spoken, willing to interact with everyone in class, but most of the time too introverted to start the conversation.  I loved everyone.

     Now being a woman of forty years, very little of my personality has changed.  I am still shy and introverted, but I have consciously challenged myself to break that shell and it seems I enjoy starting up random conversations, because I realized most of you don’t bite!
     So where are my classmates now and what are you doing?  What accomplishments have you made since we sat in class together so many years ago?  

     I wish you all happiness and thank you for many cherished memories!

Boys Catch Girls

     Rifling through a random box in my basement, I encountered this photo of my Gerald Elementary Kindergarten class.   There is no reason that it should be kept in the particular box and as I held it in my fingers, my memory had to reach far back in time to recall faces and experiences in Mrs. Reel’s classroom.


     Mrs. Reel.  First off, it seems she was the best teacher of all time, that’s how I recall it to this day as I travel through my memories as a five-year-old little girl.  She always seemed patient, even with the few that were always causing trouble in class.  Her voice sounded calm and soothing, she introduced us to many fun activities and urged me, but did not push me to come out of my shell.


    Scanning the faces of our class, many names will not break through the time barrier and surface to the top.  Each face brings to light an emotion about how that child make me feel during that year I spent with them.

     All make me smile, whether I remember a kind gesture from the Grob twins or little blond haired Scotty, slumber parties at Dana’s house, or the boys that were always getting into trouble like Jeramey, Jeffery and Dallas!  I can’t forget the playground game of boys catch girls and vice versa.


     My shyness was in full force during that first year of school.  Always kind and soft spoken, willing to interact with everyone in class, but most of the time too introverted to start the conversation.  I loved everyone.

     Now being a woman of forty years, very little of my personality has changed.  I am still shy and introverted, but I have consciously challenged myself to break that shell and it seems I enjoy starting up random conversations, because I realized most of you don’t bite!
     So where are my classmates now and what are you doing?  What accomplishments have you made since we sat in class together so many years ago?  

     I wish you all happiness and thank you for many cherished memories!

Everything I need to Know

     Three weeks.  High humidity.  Arthritis flare-ups.  Pain.I can’t shake it.  Rarely do my bouts last this long anymore, but I seem to be headed for a fourth week.       Missouri’s odd weather c…

Everything I need to Know

     Three weeks.  High humidity.  Arthritis flare-ups.  Pain.I can’t shake it.  Rarely do my bouts last this long anymore, but I seem to be headed for a fourth week.       Missouri’s odd weather c…

How AgrAbility & Vocational Rehab Keep Me Safe while Working on the Farm

     In late 2014, I attended a Women in Ag conference in Columbia, MO that was hosted by the MU Extension called Pearls of Production.  One of the extension reps was speaking with me about my disabilities and gave me a contact from their AgrAbility program. 

     That was the best call I could have made for myself.   The Missouri AgrAbility program has helped me continue to work on our farms in a more safe and creative manner. 

     Their mission: The purpose of the AgrAbility Project is to help increase the likelihood that farmers, ranchers, farm workers, and farm family members who are limited by any type of disability or chronic health condition employed in production agriculture or agriculture-related occupations become more successful. It’s about cultivating success in agriculture, employment, and rural life for people with disabilities and their families. The AgrAbility mission is to enhance and protect quality of life and preserve livelihoods. The AgrAbility philosophy represents the very ideals that define American agriculture. It’s about supporting and promoting growth and independence. It’s about no-limit thinking and the can-do spirit. Ultimately, AgrAbility is all about hope!

     I agree with their mission statement wholeheartedly because I have seen it in action.  

     They partner with your local Vocational Rehabilitation  to find ways to keep you employed and should you need special equipment to do this, Vocational Rehab contributes greatly with that factor. 

     Both organizations are passionate about ensuring we can still be independent, their job is to assess how to do that. 

     They travel to your farm, you take them through your daily chores, the reps ask questions and offer advice of better, safer ways to accomplish the same task. 

     In my case, special equipment was suggested to keep me out of harms way when working with our cattle.  One piece of equipment that has been essential to my safety is a UTV with a grain feeder that sits in the bed.  We have installed a switch inside of the cab to open the feeder door, I pull up beside the bunks and let ‘er rip until I reach the end and am assured I have the correct amount of feed distributed.

     Now there is no way to absolutely measure the amount of feed unless you only put that amount into the portable grain bin, but I have been feeding 150 lbs of grain to these heifers for so long, I had to practice a few times so I could gauge timing and how high to raise the bin door.   

     Not once do I have to exit the vehicle and put myself in any danger.  If you are new to my blog, I have severe, permanent lower body injuries from a car collision and three of my joints are now fused. My balance is an issue and my lower legs are delicate.  I, in no way want to be re-injured, but I love my job. 

      This Polaris Ranger keeps me from being bumped over by cows, I do not have to walk on uneven ground, especially over frozen hoof prints and there are no calf hooves flying in my direction.  It has been the most essential piece of equipment I have received. 

     There are some other pieces I will show you in later blogs, but today I wanted to concentrate on the UTV. 

     Here are a few videos to showcase how I use this little masterpiece.  I urge you to contact either of these organizations to help in your farming career!

National AgrAbility 
MO AgrAbility
Vocational Rehab
Rolla, MO VR