The Soldier and the Squirrel introduces children to the Purple Heart

through a loving story of a friendship between a newly wounded soldier

and Rocky the squirrel with his backyard friends. This story began as a

blog during my first year in bed after my incident. With much

encouragement, it is now a book and has been placed in the

Ronald Reagan Presidential Library & Museum. Please watch the video

on the About page to learn for the Soldier & Rocky are changing children's






Glorious Rejoice Dots Glitter





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When Today Is Real

I can't erase where I am. That was this morning's epiphany as my husband prepared for today's arrival of friends - a frantic attempt to straighten the house, my pointing at my husband's sweating brow, it became clear there are things we cannot make disappear. The stair lift, the pile of magazines that lighten my days. The crutches near the sofa, the oddness of an anti-gravity chair in the living room that faces the television. There are no fresh flowers on the table as was my usual selfish delight. I now light candles in a attempt to make up for their absence.

Having friends visit today is the highlight of my week. I have not seen them in ages, and they will see how I have aged. Inside. Perhaps for the better. I was the one who always smiled, who said too much and listened too little. Years ago when I was young, when a friend who saw me cry one time said thank God I was real. If she could only see me now.

Real is a tough place to get to. We try so hard when we are young. We think that living large and expressing whatever we are is being real. When real is not something you are. It's something you become after years of trying too hard.

Real is when you are stripped of the ability to be anything other than you are at that moment. It is having friends over who don't care if there are fresh cut flowers on your table, even though you do. Real is wearing lipgloss but caring only if it smells like cupcakes. Real is putting on the white sundress because it makes you feel like the girl who doesn't need the special chair in her living room. It's when you follow Facebook to see how your friends are doing, rather than just posting what you wish you could do. I'm still working on that. Today, my friends Lisa and Joanna are bringing lunch. Then my darling Jan will come to cut my hair and make me smile. In the afternoon, Travis will teach me Final Draft, to help my dream come true. Today is real. And I thank God for all it will be. And for what it is not.

Today is not errands, or shopping for pants that will fade. It is not attending a party of people I don't know or going to a movie I paid too much to see. I will not run into someone and not recall their name, or go to the grocery store and forget the milk I went there for in the first place.

Today will be simple. Because real is simple. I will embrace my friends and know it means more than it did before. We will talk about life and what a difference a year can make. And when the day is over and I go to bed, my heart will be full. Because today was real.

As Don wipes his brow, the cleaning complete, and I sit in my awkward chair - I anticipate the day and say to myself that although things may not look as they did before, why would I ever want to erase anything so perfectly simple, like today.

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