Friday, August 30, 2013

Why WE Love Dakota…Nana

Of course I had to ask one of the people I know who loves Dakota VERY most…Nana (my mom) to write about Dakota!! Dakota was the 11th grandchild born into my family so my mom knew EXACTLY what she was doing in the grandma department when Dakota entered the world!


What she didn’t know, was how much Dakota and I were going to need her throughout his sweet little life!! Even though she lives in AZ, a whole state away from Dakota, she has never let the distance stop her from sharing her love to Dakota! She often puts letters, books, and cards in the mail to Dakota and almost weekly sends texts to just let us know she is thinking about us and loving us!

She makes time every summer and whenever we need her to come, to spend some quality time with Dakota. She will fly up at the drop of a hat if I even mention that we might need help. She maximizes EVERY minute she is here, serving and helping in ANY way she can to make Dakota and my life the easiest it can be!!


After the accident her and my dad were there for us EVERY day…whether it was forcing us to eat food, giving us hugs, words of love and support, or stretching and sitting with Dakota! They were by our side through it all…all the tears, pain, and heartache!

After the accident my parents were so concerned for Dakota to have EVERYTHING he needed….they bought him a brand new temperpedic bed that angles up and vibrates so that he would be in a comfortable position and not EVER get bed sores. They allowed us to trade cars with them so that he could have more room for his legs and in the back for his wheelchair. They paid for him to have horse therapy, and the list goes on and on!! They are ALWAYS trying to help in ANY way they can to make sure that Dakota has ANYTHING and EVERYTHING he needs!!

Besides the physical help and support they have given us they have been there for us emotionally and spiritually as well…even though I know this trial has been so hard for them as well! My mom often texts me a simple thought or scripture for the day to help motivate and inspire me to be the best I can be. My dad often sends handwritten letters (yes the old fashioned way…that I love) to us to share his love and support to us!! They have listened to me cry and vent through the pain and struggles. They are 2 people that I know I could count on for ANYTHING at ANY time!!


Not sure where or who I would be without them!!

Here is what she had to say:
(Grab some tissues!)

Lessons Learned from Dakota

The day Dakota was injured was the day my world fell apart. I was so excited to have all of my family together to celebrate Ty’s recent wedding to Heather. It was a day of celebration, not for tragedy. We were even going to have a live band. I was anticipating the joy of watching all the kids dance. . . Dakota liked to dance. Watching Dakota lie on the ground unresponsive sucked all the excitement out of my being.
After transporting Dakota to Maricopa County Hospital and getting him situated in ICU, his little body still lay there so lifeless. Just hours ago he had been playing so happily with his cousins.

They put him on a cold matt filled with ice water to slow his body functions, reserving his energy to allow his brain the ability to heal.

I watched Tessie hold his little hand, kiss his tender face and plead in Dakota’s ear, “Please stay here, Buddy, I will help you. I will help you.” The harsh reality of Dakota not being whole again was so painful. I was watching my baby hurt for her baby and I hurt for both of them. I felt like the worst grandparent. It was a grandparent’s nightmare to have a grandchild hurt on your watch. It was no one’s fault. I knew that in my head, but it wasn’t registering in my heart. The kids weren’t playing near danger; we were all right there; how could this happen?

The neurologist came in to talk to us. While his words were kind they were also stern. He told us that Dakota’s brain had been without oxygen too long. He explained that the next 72 hours would be critical. If he survived 72 hours, there would still be undetermined damage and questionable prognosis. Then his words cut sharp, “I am seriously concerned he will make it.” Then without hesitation and more determined he added, “I want you to understand, I am seriously concerned he will make it.”
In my mind I knew he was preparing us. All medical facts were against Dakota. But I also knew this was in Heavenly Father’s hands. We needed a miracle!
I believed in miracles. . .

In the next 72 hours I pondered and questioned if I really did have enough faith to believe in a miracle so personal. The words from a parable, “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief,” (Mark 9) rang in my mind over and over. “. . .help thou mine unbelief.” This became my prayer and my test!
I have been hurt and cried in my life, but I usually don’t just sit and cry. Whatever is wrong, I just get over it and keep moving. For the first time in my life I sat and cried “air sucking” cries, uncontrollable and physically exhausting. I didn’t have any more tears to cry, and I was still crying! I had to pull myself together. I thought of the familiar words in Isaiah describing the Savior: He was “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” It hit me, “THIS IS GRIEF!” To watch my lifeless grandson and to hear my daughter’s pleas. . . . this was grief. I knew this was only a little drop of grief for Him, but now I understood a little better His suffering because now I too was acquainted with grief.

“Surely he hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows. . . ” How could He endure the grief of the whole world? It overwhelmed me!

Then the words, “. . . and with His stripes we are healed.” Wow! What powerful words touched my heart like never before.

“Only He “with his stripes” can understand this grief and relieve me from it. Only He “with his stripes” can strengthen me to help Tessie and Zach. Only He “with his stripes” can allow Dakota to stay here with us or return to Him now.

These were the words that came to my mind as I quit crying: Everything really does depend on Christ. Everything in this life depends on Christ. Everything depends on Christ for hope in the world to come. I knew this in my head, but now it was really reverberating in my heart like it never had before.
Now I needed to Trust in Him.

Another scripture came to mind, “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” I needed to be patient. I needed to trust more and submit my will to His will. His way and his time would be best!

I remembered the parable of the man that was lowered on his bed through the roof by his friends to be healed. Jesus blessed him and said, “Take up thy bed and walk.” The man immediately took up his bed and walked. I believed this story to be true. I believed it could happen for Dakota too. If the Lord wanted Dakota to walk and talk again, Dakota would. But if not, then I still needed to trust that He knew what was best for Dakota and for all of us. I have realized that Dakota is here for us.

In my ponderings, I believe that Dakota knows Jesus personally. In those critical 72 hours I believe he saw heaven, he knew how wonderful it is, and he made a conscious choice to stay here on earth for his parents. Our Heavenly Father and Dakota both heard his mother’s pleadings. He answered that prayer. Dakota knows heaven. What a valiant spirit he is! What a blessing he is to us! He made a sacrifice to stay here and how frustrating it must be for him to watch us make so many mistakes.

The question was never, “Why Us?” The question came to be, “Why NOT Us?”
Why not us to learn the lessons Heavenly Father wanted us to learn?

As I walked the halls of Maricopa County Hospital every day for a month, there were others who were hurting and in such hopeless circumstances. Another child came into ICU because the mother’s boyfriend had injured the child. How my heart hurt for that child to be in such a condition because of abuse. Dakota was loved! When that child left ICU, who would protect, love and help him to heal from his injuries? Other grandma’s couldn’t spend the day at the hospital because they didn’t have a car, or gas for their cars, or the time to be there. My heart became more grateful for what I had and I developed more compassion for those who had other struggles in life.

I walked the halls of Primary Children’s Hospital and realized every child there had a story. They were each unique. Dakota’s story rocked my world, but each parent and grandparent there was dealing with the medical issue at hand, making adjustments, and surviving. It was inspiring! If they could do it, so could I. Why NOT me?

Tessie has always been tough. . . a tough cowgirl, a tough ball player, a tough scholar. But when life threw her a curve, she picked up the ball and threw it back into play. I always knew she was tough; I just didn’t know she would have to be this tough. She has taken motherhood to a whole new level. She is my hero! Dakota is my joy! Zach is my example of daily courage with steadfastness!

Top Ten Things I Learned From Dakota

1. Being with Dakota is near to Heaven.
2. “Why NOT us” to learn the lessons Heavenly Father wants us to learn?
3. Never take one single breath for granted. Cherish each moment together.
4. In the Lord’s time; In the Lord’s way. . . “for my ways are higher than your ways. . .” Isaiah 55:9
5. Christ is Everything! Trust in Him.
6. Eyes to see things that I once took for granted; a more grateful heart.
7. There are still miracles today. . .our miracle is in Dakota’s smile and the light in his eyes.
8. Life doesn’t have to be perfect to be WONDERFUL! Dakota makes life wonderful.
9. God does hear our cries, He is aware of our every desire & He can “help our unbelief”.
10. Everyone has a story. . . . What’s yours?

How I Love my Kota!

Nana, Cinda Winterton



  1. You're mom is the best! So inspiring. You're parents were the first place Krystal went after Bryan died. She leads by example. love ger!

    1. She truly is!! Thank you for being such a great neighbor and friend to her!!

  2. This is so inspiring! Makes me miss you guys even more and your whole family is awesome especially your mom and dad! Sending our love from AZ!

    1. Miraya so good to see your name on here!! WE have some great memories together as kids!! Thanks for your sweet comment and love!!

  3. Thanks for sharing that, I needed it! Love you all!

  4. The words she spoke were so familiar yet something I needed to hear again today. Thank you.

    1. It's funny how often we still need to be reminded of things...even when we have learned things the hard way!! :)

  5. I have been following your blog for quite some time now (we met a few years back playing softball when I lived in Perry, you probably don't remember me) but I just couldn't read this sweet blog post and not let you know how your blog is so inspiring, I often marvel at your strength and positive outlook on life, after reading the beautiful words of your adorable Mom it's no surprise where you learned these traits! What an amazing Mom you have, and amazing Mom you are! Thanks so much for sharing your story :)

    1. Nichole I totally think I remember you!! Was it with the Jeppeson team?? Thank you SO much for taking the time to share this sweet comment with means so much!!

  6. I just found your blog and can't begin to describe how much your family has touched my heart. Thank you for being an inspiration and for helping me figure out how to deal with my trials.

    1. Thank you dancin momma for visiting my blog, reading, and taking the time to share this sweet comment!! We are all in this crazy thing called life together so I'm happy to be able to help you in any way possible! ;)