Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Dust off those running shoes!!!

Alright people...the weather is getting beautiful out there and there is not a better time for some racing then now!!!

Race #1...BIAU (Brain Injury Association of Utah)
We had the BEST time last year getting a fun group together to come and race for this great organization. In case you forgot I will give you a little reminder!
TEAM DAKOTA!!! We rocked it!

The sad news is I signed up for the Ogden Marathon months ago because it filled up in 3 days so I made a quick decision with some friends...and later found out it is the same day as the BIAU run, walk, stroll which is May 19th. ;( Seriously I was so bummed...I want it to be a yearly tradition...so next year we will be there FOR SURE! So, since I can't go I can't force anyone else to go ;)...but if you want to go support this great cause you still can. If you don't have a Dakota shirt then I will find you one if you want to go in behalf of us. Because I was so bummed I emailed the organization to find out if there was anything else that we could do. They said we could still form a Team Dakota and just have a donation from our team. SO...I set it up and am asking anyone and everyone who can to help out...even if it's just a couple bucks.

I know there are a lot of opportunities to donate money and we can't do it all...but before you say no here are a few facts about brain injuries I took off the BIAU website:

  • Every 23 seconds, one person in the U.S. sustains a brain injury
  • Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is a silent yet serious epidemic currently leaving 5.3 million Americans with disabilities. This represents over- 2% of the US population; 56,000 victims in Utah alone!
  • Every 7 minutes, someone dies of a brain injury
  • An estimated 1.7 million people sustain a TBI annually.
  • 52,000 die

    Those are serious and I bet you know at least someone who has sustained a brain injury...if you are reading this you know at least one! ;) But seriously...this is a serious issue and it could happen to anyone...a car accident, a stroke, a fall. Zach and I have talked and decided that a brain injury is by far the worst injury anyone can sustain. Your brain controls EVERYTHING! There is SO much more to learn about the brain and SO many lives could be saved if they figured out a way to help heal this vital organ...the brain...or even understand it more. So basically what I'm saying is...every little bit helps...so do what you can. If you want to actually go and run the race here is the link race. To donate online with Team Dakota click here team Dakota.

    Last year my AWESOME friends from South Dakota State that live in the midwest obviously couldn't come down for the race. So instead they all gathered in MN from Iowa, South Dakota, and Minnesota to run in Minnesota's brain injury race. So if you live in a different state that is definitely an option as well! Here are their pic from their race...LOVE YOU GUYS!!!

    Race #2: If you read my blog you know about my angel friend Dylan Shaw!! I LOVE Dylan! He came into our life for a brief time when we needed him most and touched it in a way that no one else could. He is our angel! He passed away from a brain tumor but we will ALWAYS still be "Doin it for Dylan!" Last year before he passed away they did the Dylan Shaw Warrior Run...a 5k in Pleasant View and a kids run. I can still picture Dylan in my head driving around on the Razor with his Grandpa. He was SO cool!
    WELL...I was SOOO excited to hear they were gonna keep the race alive and do another one this year. They even asked us if they could do it for our little Dakota man. I was so hesitant at first because we have already been helped tremendously and have never felt once that we deserve any of it...BUT because it is Dylan we said YES! It is an honor to be a recipient of someone whom we admire so much! SO in honor of our hero Dylan and for our sweet angel Dakota...we are inviting any and all to dust off those running shoes and join us in Pleasant View on May 12th! We will be there for sure and I know Dylan will be too...we just won't get to see him beat us all to the finish line!
    So to sign up...here is the link https://dylanshawwarriorrun.webconnex.com/2012  HOPE TO SEE YOU THERE!!!!!
    So does Dylan and Dakota!! My heroes!

    The cute girl that is setting it all up is also looking for anyone that would donate prizes for raffle or food for after the race. If you know of anybody let me know and I will get you her info!

    Thursday, April 19, 2012

    Getting Better

    So...I apologize for my last venting post. But sometimes I have to let it out to get over it and unfortunately for all of you this is where I do it. It's easier to type and cry then talk and cry so SORRY! But I can't thank ALL of you enough for the prayers, sweet comments, prayers, text messages, prayers, flowers, prayers, encouragement, prayers, support, prayers, love, and did I say prayers offered in our behalf after that post. I know they were answered because that very next day was SO much better and since then it has gotten a little better and a little more. I still don't have my happy go lucky boy but the crying and screaming is a lot less often compared to all day and the spasticity has gone down too. He will snuggle me again contently and he has even given a few smiles and little giggles again. I can't tell you what even 1 smile a day does for Zach and I. Both of us have just been SO much more happy and content ourselves because Dakota has been. His mood TOTALLY affects ours dramatically. So THANK YOU!!!!!!! I know Heavenly Father hears our cries even at times when I doubt!

    This is a video of his REALLY happy days that we had awhile back. You couldn't stop this kid from smiling and laughing if you wanted to. I hope we get back to there. This laugh...although so different from his old laugh is music to my ears and can brighten my day more then the sun!!!

    One more because it is just SO cute! Don't mind me I just got home from a LONG run and am sweaty and disgusting! (Dakota still loves me though...stinky, sweaty, and all!)

    After I watched these videos it got me thinking...how different is his laugh then it used to be. I know it is way different but I wanted to remember so I started watching some old videos of him and I couldn't stop. Surprisingly I didn't cry while I watched I just sat there and smiled. It felt SO good to remember who is inside of this little boy that I care for every day. I have SO many memories that flood my mind every day but yet I still forget...it's so hard to explain. I don't ever want to forget but sometimes it hurts to remember. Zach came in while I was watching and he just bawled. He said for him it is easier to not think about the past and just focus on the now...but they made me smile. Later that night was a different story. As I laid in bed and watched the old videos in my head...I looked at his cute face sleeping on our video monitor and it hurt a little more. I wished I would wake up to the sound of his cute voice again saying..."Mooooommy!" Then go in his room and see him standing in his crib with his blanket in his mouth. ONE DAY I WILL THOUGH! Until then...I will remember and be grateful for every smile and laugh that I get!

    WARNING: You are about to view the cutest boy on the planet!!!!
    He was about a 1 1/2 in this video. Playing with Grammy!

    This is just 2 months before his accident...LOVE YOU BUDDY!!! Can't wait to play like this again someday!!!

    Monday, April 16, 2012

    Rough few days

    Wanted to just give up today...throw in the towel!!! We don't know what's up with Dakota lately. Seriously things can never just stay the same around here or just keep looking up.When you think you are coping okay...not good but at least okay and life is manageable...not great but manageable...look out...at least for us. All the sudden the last few days Dakota is having a lot of spasticity and tone again and crying ALL the time. Not just a whine cry a bloody murder cry. I know when he gets all tight and stiff like he does it probably hurts his muscles and makes him cry more and there is nothing I can do to help him. I can't tell if he stiffens up and it hurts and then he cries or if something else is bothering or hurting him so he cries and stiffens up because of that. There are a million and one things that I just don't know and no one to turn to. As I drove in my car and he was screaming and crying with tears, snot, and spit running down his little face I just cried too and let the tears and snot run down my face too.

    There is nothing worse as a mom to not know how to help your child. There is nothing worse then not being able to put a smile on your child's face no matter how hard you try. And there is nothing worse then not having anyone to turn to to help you. My friend said can you call the doctor? Yeah...I could but after all of our experiences I can tell you right now they won't know either. They can check out his ears and throat and do some vitals but in the end there guess is probably as good as mine. They will probably just switch up some meds to experiment and hope that helps...so my messages I left them today are really no comfort for any help. I wished so badly there was SOMEONE, ANYONE I could call that could help me, give me some tips, some suggestions...but there is NO ONE. I just wanted to talk to someone that could understand me and all of my mixed up feelings and emotions. Someone that could give me some hope that it WILL get better. I did call on my Heavenly Father through my tears as I drove...I hope He heard me tonight...I hope He will help.

    It's times like this where I have to wonder...why does he have to suffer like this? Why does he have to be in so much pain, be so miserable and unhappy? Why did he choose to stay here instead of go to that place of peace and happiness...free from all pain and sorrow? To teach me I guess. To touch the lives of others. To be an earthly angel to help others appreciate what they have and remember what is important. I look forward to the day when I will see and understand the whole plan! For now...I will keep trusting in my Savior that there is a GOOD purpose to all of this.

    I will try and remember the quote my mother in law has in her bathroom tonight..."There is always, always, something to be thankful for." I know there is...even through my tears. That's what keeps me going when I don't want to take on another day!

    Friday, April 13, 2012

    Bedroom Makeover

    So I'm a little slow in posting but I was waiting for a couple of the finishing touches to be done before sharing...those were done bout a month ago...so I'm still slow but oh well.

    ANYWAYS...for Christmas Zach let me makeover our bedroom. I shouldn't really call it makeover since it was never done in the first place. We have lived in this house for almost 5 years and our bedroom has never had one thing on the wall. Bout a year ago we finally put a T.V. in our room so that was our first wall decoration...if you can even count that. Couple reasons...1. Money...the other parts of the house were the first to get decorated since no one ever really sees your bedroom and we didn't really care too much about it. 2. Zach had a log bed before we got married and it just came right with us. Now...it is an AWESOME log bed and super cute and way sturdy...BUT I had NO idea how to decorate with that style. It wasn't really MY style so I seriously always had a blank as to where to even start...so I never did.

    Here it is. We did have some pillows and a side table on the left but we had already started clearing stuff out before I thought to take a before picture. This awesome bed is for sale if you know of anyone interested. ;)

    Zach was the one who said we should do something with the room and that got me kinda excited. Ever since me and my sister Annie went to town on other parts of the house I have had a decorating itch. I LOVE the shabby chic style that is going on right now and am ALWAYS looking for new ideas and even stopping at antique stores. (I swore as a kid when my mom would drag me to those places that I would never shop there...boy was I wrong)

    So for my Christmas present (I know that was forever ago) he said I could do whatever I wanted to our room...so I did. SO me and my amazing sister Annie started bouncing ideas off each other, buying things, sending pics to each other (she's in AZ). Because she is THE BEST, she drove home with me from our Christmas vacation and we went to town. We spent ALL day and night for several days working our tail feathers off. Luckily Zach and his brother Ryan painted the room for us before we got there so that was one less step we had to do...they were great sports!

    Zach was a little nervous and not so sure of some of the ideas I told him but he let us do what we wanted and in the end he LOVED it too! Even though it is WAY more feminine then what it was before.

    Here she is folks:
    I still need to reupholster the couch but I'm waiting for more funds...so if anyone knows someone that isn't too pricey. There is no way I am attempting that by myself!

    AWESOME friend in my neighborhood sewed the large pillows for me! Thanks Michelle..we love them!

    My sister Annie sewed lace onto the edge of our pillows and it turned out SO cute. LOVE it! (I have NO idea how to run a sewing machine!)

    My side of the bed

    Zach's side. He didn't want another door since I have 2 hanging in the hallway but I LOVED this door I saw outside a store and just had to have it!

    The canvas was a little overwhelming at first because I didn't take into account that since it was a closer picture of us we would be ginormous! But there we are folks. Zach said he LOVES my smile in that pic and I told him, good you can look at it very well every day since it is so large! ;) Love the old frames we found though!

    Love this temple picture that Chelsie gave me! She took it and everything...so talented!

    My sister sewed these amazing curtains can you believe it...she is SO talented! Thanks again Annie!

    Couldn't get good lighting of the whole thing so this is the best I could do.

    Zach was a huge help too. He got this old chandelier to work after hours of working with it. It had some bad wiring and was hard to fix but he did. He can seriously do EVERYTHING...I love it!!!

    So there you have it folks. I know it's not everyone's style but WE love it and that's what matters. Since we did it we have been SO good at making our bed EVERY day and keeping our room pretty clean. It is amazing what a room does for you when it looks so good when it is clean. Before we didn't really care so we NEVER made the bed or kept it super clean. And it was such a fun feeling right after going to bed every night. It was like we were in a hotel and not at our house. It felt so new and fun. The newness has kinda worn off now but we still love the feeling we get when we go in there!
    Thanks Annie for all your help!!! (You should see her house...words can't even describe how amazing and fun it is!)

    We also added a few new and fun things around the house:
    Made this fun end table for the living room out of an old spool from Home Depot. Just modged podged book paper and glazed over it all. Perfect height for our couches...and free!

    Top view

    My favorite accessory on the table. Found this old rad jar and wasn't sure what to do with it. Saw this idea on Pinterest...just fill it with vegetable oil, put a picture in it and voila! So fun!

    As you can tell I love old jars so saw this fun idea too and made a soap dispenser out of it for the kitchen.

    Added that rad sconce to the left of my board in the kitchen. We had been looking for one ever since we put up the board and finally found the perfect fit!

    It even works too thanks to my handy husband!
    Gives off a romantic glow ;)

    Lastly, we added these fun mugs to my cupbard. Love em..oh and the cute curtain above the sink you can kinda see.

    That's all!

    Wednesday, April 11, 2012

    A Happy Easter

    So I think this was the first holiday since Dakota's accident that I was okay. I don't think I even shed one single tear and I was overall pretty happy. That is a major accomplishment for me! I will admit I watched for a second some kids hunting for their Easter eggs and longed to be them...but it was just a second and I was done.

    I think the difference for me this year was definitely my focus. Easter for me growing up was not a big drawn out thing with lots of presents and excitement. We did the traditional coloring of Easter eggs and on Easter morning we hunted the eggs that we colored and some plastic ones that had some candy in them and that was it. We would take turns hiding them after we found them because that was so fun. There was no big Easter basket, not even an Easter dress or outfit. Not that all of that is bad but I'm just not used to all of that. I don't even own one single Easter decoration.

    So...lets just say Dakota got NOTHING...not one single thing from us from Easter. (Yes, we are horrible parents). We did go to our friends the Sessions one night and dye eggs but Dakota wasn't very into it. Part of the reason was I knew he would get spoiled by his grandparents and great-grandparents and I wasn't sure what to get him. I like to buy Easter outfits (cuz I DO LOVE clothes) BUT I held back because he has a pretty full closet already and I knew he would have something in there that would be just fine.

    So as Easter morning rolled around...no baskets...no finding eggs...no new exciting outfits...we went to church and I was able to really focus on the true meaning of Easter. I felt a deeper sense of gratitude and love for this holiday. I focused on my Savior and as I looked at my sweet, adorable little guy snuggling on the luvsac...I couldn't help but be overwhelmed with love and gratitude for the sacrifices my Saviour made for me...so that I could know with confidence that one day that little boy will be perfect again. I felt gratitude that because He has felt my pains and sorrows He is able to strengthen me, help me, heal me, and give me light, hope, and peace through all of these dark days!

    Snuggling after church

    Just because I didn't buy or do much for this holiday...doesn't mean we didn't party it up! We did have some good times with Zach's dad's side of the family Saturday. Grandma and grandpa Rhees are so cute to do an Easter hunt at their house each year and they go all out for all of the kids. Even us older kids get a bag of licorice and an egg with some money. They are such cuties and it is always good to see all of the fam (aunts, uncles, cousins). Thanks grandma and grandpa!
    Poppy, Dakota, and Grandma...check out that basket!
    Tasting that chocolate bunnyfrom his basket...mom did too! ;)

    The girlies...and Dakota
    (Me, Ashley (Zach's sis), Olivia (niece), Jenny (Zach's sis), and Tate in her belly! ;) )

    Just swingin with the 2 cutest boys at the party...not counting Zach of course!

    Later that night we were able to go to dinner with some friends. Brandon and Jill Olson who I have posted about were in town from Heber and we were so excited that they let us know and invited us to Red Robin. Jake and Heidi came too...always good times! Thanks guys!
    girls...me, Heidi, Jill

    boys...Brandon, Jake, Zach (Brandon didn't want his picture taken so he was making it impossible to get a good one!)

    Sunday evening we got together with just Zach's fam and Grammy and Poppy (aka Zach's parents) go ALL OUT as well. Dakota got so many things we couldn't even fit them in his cute horsey Easter basket! They even do a hunt for us kids and hide eggs with money. Each couple has to find 3 eggs and Doug doesn't hold back when he hides them. Towards the end he has to start telling us hot or cold cuz it is almost impossible. I didn't think it was quite fair either since my partner can't see...we were TOTALLY at a disadvantage BUT we still got the most money! That's how we roll! ;) Thanks Doug and Vicki for the fun night!

    This little kids getting ready for the hunt...Jenny is posing for Tate.

    Dakota finding his presents...he was REALLY into it can you tell!


    D and Mommy

    Getting ready for the big kid hunt with Ryan and Lindsay

    On your mark get set...

    GOOOO!!!! (Sorry we won the most! ;) )

    Snugglin with Aunt Lindsay

    And Ryan too!

    Houston was trying to share his drink with Dakota during dinner...soo cute...what a sweet boy! I don't care what your parents say Houston! ;)

    Even Aunt Jenny got Dakota an Easter basket...I am a horrible aunt as well. I apologized up front to her unborn baby that I won't be as cute and fun of an aunt as she is. She is always so thoughtful and getting things for Dakota that I wouldn't even think about. Thanks Jen!
    Jenny and Dakota...spoiled boy!

    Happy Easter Dakota!!! Thanks for teaching us so much and for being patient with us when we don't always know what you want or need. We are doing our best and we hope you feel and know how much we LOVE YOU!!! We are grateful and honored to be a true angels parents!!! I know that you have probably been held by the Savior, you probably understand the whole plan and I know you know WAY more then mom or dad could even comprehend. We are still trying to figure it out buddy but one day we hope to be as smart as YOU!!!!

    P.S. ANOTHER sweet family in need of help! 29 year old mother of two crashed her mountain bike and may be paralyzed from breast down. If you can donate they would greatly appreciate it. She used to be in my sister's ward!! Here is the link: http://www.indiegogo.com/p/92123

    Friday, April 6, 2012

    General Conference

    So ALL week I have been meaning to get on here and talk about how AMAZING general conference was last weekend. I was able to watch all 4 sessions (at least most of it) and there were SOOOO many talks that were SO good I don't even want to name them because I know I would leave out some of my favorites still.

    The funny thing about conference is I never really understood how freakin cool and amazing it is until I was like a junior in college. Growing up it's not that my parents never really taught us the value...I'm sure I just didn't listen or pay attention. Also, at least 1 out of the 2 conferences held a year I'm pretty sure we were at one of our rodeos which were an all day Saturday and Sunday affair so we missed it. And when you are a kid you don't really go back and read or listen to the talks like you do as an adult. So my junior year in college I was going to school at South Dakota State. In South Dakota they don't air it over the television like they do here so you had to put your dress on and go down to the church 4 times if you want to see all 4 sessions. So I did it that fall my first year there and that was probably one of my most favorite conferences ever. When you have to sit in a dress in the chapel it is a lot easier to pay attention and be alert then sitting on the couch in your jammies. ;) I realized how blessed and lucky we are as a church to have a LIVING prophet here on the earth and amazing apostles to lead us, guide us, support us, council us, and help us along this hard journey we call life. All of us are trying to get to the same spot in the end and we need all the help we can get (at least I do). Ever since then, I look at general conference in a whole other light and I look forward to it every 6 months and I try my hardest to make it a priority, even on Saturdays.

    Of course I'm sure those of you who watched it could guess that my MOST favorite talk of all was Elder Ronald A. Rasbunds of the Seventy entitled Special Lessons. (click link to read full thing) After that session of conference I went to grab my phone out of my room and had so many sweet texts from others who had thought of us during that talk. It was the best! His main message that summarized his talk was: "It is my hope and prayer that we will continue to bear nobly our burdens and to reach out to those among us who are suffering." It was a great message and he talked a lot about his sweet grandson that was born with a disability. It was so sweet to see the cute pictures they displayed of that little angel Paxton and to see his cute trach like Dakota.

    I could go on and on about the different parts of the talk that I loved but I think I would quote the whole things so you must read it for yourself!!
    But I have to name a few. ;)

    Dear Elder Russell M. Nelson, who just spoke to us, taught:
    “For reasons usually unknown, some people are born with physical limitations. Specific parts of the body may be abnormal. Regulatory systems may be out of balance. And all of our bodies are subject to disease and death. Nevertheless, the gift of a physical body is priceless. …

    “A perfect body is not required to achieve a divine destiny. In fact, some of the sweetest spirits are housed in frail frames. …

    “Eventually the time will come when each ‘spirit and … body shall be reunited again in … perfect form; both limb and joint shall be restored to its proper frame’ (Alma 11:43). Then, thanks to the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we can become perfected in Him.”1

    (Dakota is definitely one of those most sweetest spirits housed in a frail frame. But I can't wait for that day spoken of when his body will take on that perfect form that he once had thanks to our Savior Jesus Christ!!!)


    Some might ask when faced with such suffering, how could Almighty God let this happen? And then that seemingly inevitable question, why did this happen to me? Why must we experience disease and events that disable or call precious family members home early or extend their years in pain? Why the heartaches?

    At these moments we can turn to the great plan of happiness authored by our Heavenly Father. That plan, when presented in the pre-earth life, prompted us all to shout for joy.2 Put simply, this life is training for eternal exaltation, and that process means tests and trials. It has always been so, and no one is spared.

    Trusting in God’s will is central to our mortality. With faith in Him, we draw upon the power of Christ’s Atonement at those times when questions abound and answers are few.

    (I have OFTEN asked those questions and feel like the answers are few at this point but I have a testimony that if I trust in my Heavenly Father, one day all will be made right and I will have an "aha" moment and have a complete understanding of all the pain that I have experienced and once again I will shout for JOY!)

    President James E. Faust, my boyhood stake president, said: “I have a great appreciation for those loving parents who stoically bear and overcome their anguish and heartbreak for a child who was born with or who has developed a serious mental or physical infirmity. This anguish often continues every day, without relief, during the lifetime of the parent or the child. Not infrequently, parents are required to give superhuman nurturing care that never ceases, day or night. Many a mother’s arms and heart have ached years on end, giving comfort and relieving the suffering of her special child.”5

    As described in Mosiah, we have witnessed the Savior’s pure love given to Paxton’s family, which love is available to all: “And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord.”6

    (I loved that first paragraph because he put into words exactly what I feel...anguish, heartbreak, day after day, day and night. I didn't love that he said hearts have achedaching will subside at some point but it is not very promising I guess...I still pray for miracles but maybe my heart will continue to ache day after day until that miracle comes. But I know the second paragraph is true because at times my burdens feel lighter then others and I know that is because the Lord has strengthened me and is helping me carry this heavy load. How grateful I am for that...although at times I think I forget and try to carry it all on my own. Until that miracle comes I will continue to pray for His hand to help lift, strengthen, and carry me, that I can one day say, I too submitted cheerfully and patiently to ALL the will of the Lord...I definitely can't say that yet!)

    Paxton’s family has learned they are surrounded by countless heavenly and earthly ministering angels. Some have quietly slipped in when needed and silently slipped out. Others have been at the door with food, doing the laundry, picking up the siblings, calling with encouragement, and especially praying for Paxton. Thus another special lesson learned: If you come upon a person who is drowning, would you ask if they need help—or would it be better to just jump in and save them from the deepening waters? The offer, while well meaning and often given, “Let me know if I can help” is really no help at all.

    We continue to learn the important value of being aware of and interested in the lives of those around us, learning not only the importance of giving help but also the overwhelming joy that comes from helping others.

    Dear President Thomas S. Monson, who is such a magnificent example of lifting the downtrodden, said: “God bless all who endeavor to be their brother’s keeper, who give to ameliorate suffering, who strive with all that is good within them to make a better world. Have you noticed that such individuals have a brighter smile? Their footsteps are more certain. They have an aura about them of contentment and satisfaction … for one cannot participate in helping others without experiencing a rich blessing himself.”8

    (We too have been surrounded by heavenly and earthly ministering angels throughout our hardships and have learned this lesson oh so well. Zach and I have often talked about those angels that have just jumped in and done things without asking and he put it so perfectly when he said that the offer to help sometimes is really no help at all. During our situation there were many willing and asking like this and it was greatly appreciated. But when you are in the thick of it all sometimes it is hard to know what to tell someone to do to help...they can't take away my pain or make Dakota all better so really that was all that mattered at that point. So often we either didn't know what to ask for help or felt bad asking for help. It was when a sweet family just offered and came to pull our weeds I realized...wow that was really helpful, or just dropped by a dinner not knowing if we needed it or not, or Zach's parents and sister who would just come to give us relief to take a turn to bathe Dakota and get him to bed or watch him so we could sleep, etc. There were soooo many situations like those and I learned then to just jump in and help instead of saying...let me know!!)

    There are SOOOO many opportunities to help others because unfortunately there are SOOOO many trials big and small that everyone around us is facing. In the last 2 weeks we went to 5 different benefit events or dinners. I'm not saying that to brag or anything but just to show that just in this small area there are SO many people needing help...and those are just some that we knew of. You don't have to donate large amounts of money to help...cuz we definitely don't have tons...but just showing up and buying dinner and showing your support means more then you can imagine. There were SO many complete strangers that reached out to us in many ways...even simple as prayers, comments on our blog, cards in the mail, etc....so even if you don't know the person who is struggling or needs help...don't be afraid to just do something!!