Saturday, August 13, 2016

Stronger than Yesterday has MOVED!

     Hello to All!

We have moved our Stronger than Yesterday blog over to Word Press.  Our new address is careyportell.com/blog

We have a full website that includes our Inspirational Speaking and blog pages all on one site for more convenience. 

Be sure to visit us there and we cannot wait to interact with you on our updated site. 

Carey Portell's Speaking Website

Sunday, July 3, 2016

I AM Capricorn

     Born on December twenty-fourth, I am a Capricorn, the tenth sign of the zodiac. 
     According to astrology.com, we are all about hard work. Capricorns are both ambitious and determined.

     Life is one big project for us, and we adapt to this by adopting a businesslike approach to most everything we do. Capricorns are practical as well, taking things one step at a time and being as realistic and pragmatic as possible. The Capricorn-born are extremely dedicated to our goals, almost to the point of stubbornness.  Last week in a conference room, I said almost exactly this same thing.  The question asked, which one of these qualities describes you best during your recovery from your tragedy?  Mine, was consistently striving towards my goals.  I had that goal of walking and recovering to the very best of my ability and that goal never changed.  It was in my sites at all times and was always my end game.

     Capricorns are industrious, efficient, organized and won't make a lot of waves. We are scrupulous with details and adopt a rather conventional posture in business and in life. We feel best playing it safe, since this is a fail-safe way to reach our goals.  Yes, again true.  I must be organized in all that I do, if I am not, I feel overwhelmed.  I need order, not chaos.  I do play it safe for sure. I have been working on this, to take more risks and to not always have a plan in place or that it is okay to deviate as long as I still reach the same place I intended from the beginning.

   
 Capricorns are patient, too, and are happy to wait for their ship to come in. The flip side to this staid behavior is that we can become quite unforgiving of those who aren't as diligent or ambitious as they are.  I have been working on this one also!  I think Everyone should be ambitious and strive towards their goals with vigor!  Not everyone is like me!  I always have a timeline and when I decide on a project for myself, I have a “get to it right now” attitude and what I must realize is that to some, it does not matter if it takes their entire life to reach that one goal as long as they reach it.  It is their goal in their timeline.

    Caps are happy to work for it, and luckily they possess enough discipline and sense of responsibility to get them there. Capricorns tend to be mature and are amply blessed with common sense, two more qualities which help their success-driven endeavors.
They are traditional (but not quite the button-down stiffs some would suggest) and somewhat inhibited, prompting others to wonder if they can ever enjoy success and its rarefied air. Rest assured, these folks will be smiling inside.  Traditional is my core with just a little orneriness to keep me from being boring.  When I succeed, it would be a rare case to see me jumping up and down or screaming from the roof tops even though that is how I feel inside.  A huge, shy smile is more my style.

     Caps are down-to-earth in the sense that they're not interested in
wild ideas or round-the-world dreams. They would much rather stay put and get to work. Remember, these are the business people of the zodiac, so in their sensible and economical way, they'll get up every morning and see to it that their job is done to the highest degree of quality possible.  Each day I have activities that I want to do, for fun, but I rarely allow myself that privilege until my chores are complete.
When it comes to love, Capricorns are ever devoted and loyal.  Sometimes to the point of a Mama Lion.

The great strengths of the Capricorn-born are their willingness to work hard and their determination to succeed. Their ambition is boundless, yet they are cautious, responsible and always play fair. That's why their successes are all the more, sweet. 
This last one sums it up perfectly.  I want to work hard and have the feelings of accomplishment, yet I am eternally cautious in how I succeed at this.  Many times looking at what is best for those who surround me more than what is best for myself.  If I can reach the same results while working around others needs/wants, that will always be my natural choice.







Info Taken from astrology.com

Sunday, June 5, 2016

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 strength and 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 four children, 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.




                                       

Monday, May 16, 2016

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!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

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 changes are at fault, aggravating my advanced arthritis.  Self motivation has come naturally for me, but since our car crash, working at it has become a full time job. 

     Only having troubles when the pain wears on me for long periods of time, like now, does my spirit damper some.  Last evening, I told my husband that I didn't know how much longer I could do this.  

     Most days I live, some days, I survive. 

     Surviving the last three weeks has become burdensome.  Each day I have to prove I am stronger than my pain.  Each day I must motivate mentally and emotionally or I will not survive. 

     My dear friend gifted me a book last summer.  Initially scanning through it, I thought this is exactly the type of book she would give me.  I did not read it front to back, but read the next page as I felt the urge.  Each one liner was a lesson, a lesson I needed on that particular day. 

     The past three weeks has prompted me to re-read it and I have read the chapters from cover to cover. 

Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Little Golden Book

     Do you remember that little book from your childhood?  They have one for adults and we all need to read it from time to time.  Simplicity.  Simple words that we should all live by.  Life lessons that make ours easier to live by, if we would just do it. 

     Permissions that we do not allow ourselves, small motivational one liners that move us to a better place and give us the strength we already know exists inside of us. 

     I look for daily motivation everywhere and every chance I get, because I don't deny that I need it.  Some days more than others, in this case some weeks more than others.  

     This book tells me it's okay to take a day off due to my pain and not feel guilty about it.  It tells me it's okay to do something fun even if I don't have all of my chores accomplished.  These words tell me it's okay to have a down day, but to get up the next with vigor.  Or that it's okay if it takes more than one day. 







    It says, Don't Give Up.

     

Monday, April 18, 2016

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     



Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Chronic Pain? Redux-it!

     Any of us with chronic pain knows that there is not one "cure all" out there.  We use many different forms of pain relief products to ease our ailments.  


     Rarely do I use prescription medication for reprieve, but sometimes it is just a necessity to stay ahead of the heavy discomfort before it turns to agony.  


 I will never, ever stop using my Medicine Springs Mineral Therapy to soak my arthritic body.  It is good stuff!  This is especially beneficial to me in the cold, winter months when my body seizes up.  A good hot soak in the tub can lighten the aches enough to bring me back from the edge and it's producers are pretty fun folks to be around also!

     Always searching for natural alleviation because I do not want my body riddled with the toxins of other products, I came across this cream on Instagram. Redux-It 
If I may speak honestly, I was pessimistic about trying another cream or ointment.  When you have severe daily pain, you need a product that works and not just claims to work or works on a level of pain that is not the norm.  

     Looking at the ingredients and reviews, I actually approached this company for more information.  They offered to send me a jar for trial.  Not wanting to pass on a product that I hadn't given an adequate amount of time using, I opted to use for an entire month before giving my opinion.  

     I didn't need that long to make a confirmation, but I stuck to my guns to see what extended use would result in.  This is cream is the BOMB!  With any cream, you cannot be stingy with application and follow. the. directions!  

     I did just that and exactly like the Mineral Therapy,
 my face before looked like this : 


and as I felt it's effects work their
magic, my face became a pleasant 
surprise of: Ohhhhhh, that's niiiiicce! 
    It wasn't long before I was back to my old self enough that I could than have an emoji like this:

     I realize I enjoy putting a humorous effect in my writing, but I would never pass on a product to you that I did not believe in or does not work for my situation. 

     Most of you understand how significant the trauma to my body is and the significant amount of pain that I try to decrease on a daily basis, so if I say it works, I truly mean it. 

     I keep a jar of Redux-It in my purse to use in place of popping another pill and obviously I can't just take a bath in Mineral Therapy  salts at one of my kids sporting events, so this is a great alternative to normal toxic pain relievers. 


       Both of these products are not just for health issue pain alleviation.  Use them for soreness from playing sports, working out or if you woke up with a stiff neck or back.  Or like Julie, cut an entire truck load of wood!

Just in time for my blog post, Redux-it is offering a coupon that lasts through Friday! Don't miss out!  If this is ever a time to give a new product a try at a huge discount, this is it.  Click on any of the links in this blog or below to their direct website!


Sunday, April 3, 2016

Driving by my "Moment in Time"


It is mid-March, I am pale from never leaving the confines of my home and cabin fever has taken its toll on me.  Grocery shopping needs to be done, my husband suggests I accompany him and see how I feel while riding in the front seat.  Then we will be able to gauge how often I can make trips from home.   It is certainly a hassle to transport me because I am of no help getting into and out of our truck, but my man never complains.

As we head to Cuba, Missouri, just twelve minutes from our home, my heart clenches as my husband does not turn left towards the interstate, instead continuing to drive on the outer road, knowing we will drive the exact route of our collision.

 I have never questioned him about this decision, although I do wonder if this was an oversight or his way of urging me to overcome this obstacle.

Passing the turn off, I mentioned that I was becoming nervous due to the direction we were traveling.  Instinctively, he reached for my hand, holding, caressing my clammy skin the entire drive.  Not being clear on exactly where our desecrated pile of metal landed, Greg softly said, “Right here.” 

My eyes moved to the right side of the road, the scene looking different in the
daylight as our wreck happened under the cloak of darkness.  Railroad tracks, pine trees, pain.  Three vague memories create an ache deep within my heart.  That night, the impact, our girls quivering voices brings a heaviness to my broken soul.  Throwing me into a silent, lonely place filled with immense heavy sadness.  Each time pained thoughts of this chaos chisel through my protective wall, it overwhelms me with these emotions and I wonder how long it will take my spirit to heal.

Quietly, slowly bringing in long, deep breaths as we pass the spot in mere seconds, my body releases as if it broke from a fever.  Reaching our destination, I release my grip on Greg’s hand, rip my jacket off due to the profuse sweating happening underneath and announce, “We made it.”    

Just a week later we again headed to Cuba, but this time night has fallen.  We were attending a fundraiser my family had organized for us.  

Before I knew what was happening, I was staring into a huge set of white head lights passing by us.  Mesmerized by their intensity, my eyes becoming huge, my breathing stopped, reliving the impact at that exact moment.  As the truck was equal distance to ours, my head jerked hard to my right just as it did when we were hit that frigid evening.  Quickly realizing I was staring out my own window, we were not actually colliding and that this was just a flashback, I forced my heartbeat to slow. 

Eyes tightly squeezed shut, softly I urged,  “Greg, I need to travel more at night, to get over these feelings that I have.  I did not realize I still have so much anxiety about traveling in the dark.” 

Although this is my first expedition into the night, it would not be my last flashback under these circumstances.  If I conquered this episode of apprehension and survived to tell it, surely I could conquer the ones to come.


My largest challenge is just that, challenging myself too hard, too early.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

That Black Angus Bastardo............


     I had a run in with our youngest bull, not my first, but my closest so far.  All turned out well, neither one of us is hurt, unless you count my look that could kill, but I do not get the impression he was disgruntled by that.

     Always being prepared, with my guard up is the only reason I was able to escape him.  Plus, he had tried the same action just the day before, therefore my eyes were peeled for him and I knew my escape route.

     First let me apologize for the curse word I am using for him.   Knee deep into a Ralph Compton, western book series with tales of long, arduous cattle drives and Spanish speaking Indians, I somehow feel that if I say it like the men in this story say it, then it doesn’t really count.  In Spanish it doesn’t seem as curse-wordy.
We first brought this beautiful slab of beef home when he was just a wee little guy.  He was hot and ready to work, day and night if need be.

     Once when walking to the feed bunk, I noticed that look in his shiny black eye, his left one to be precise and I knew.  That black bastardo was going to kick me.  Always carrying a five-gallon bucket of feed between myself and our livestock, his hard hoof planted on the plastic that I was carrying instead of my tender flesh.  Never having another altercation for an entire year, I was a little perplexed when for the last month he developed a little of a “tude”.

     One more thing.  Do not label me as racist for calling him black.  It’s a descriptive word and I feel those who do not know Angus cattle may not understand there are also red Angus cattle.  Now you have an image to go with this story.

     Back to cattle drama.  Each day I don my custom braces while working on the farm to increase my stability because of my fused ankles.  Sixty-two (my name for our bull because of ear tag) had developed a habit of closing the gate to his feed lot, cutting himself off from grain.  It swings one way and each time I tied the metal barrier open, the next day, as sure as the sun shines, this hunk of muscle has broken what I thought was my solution.
He’s still young, maybe he was entertaining himself or maybe he was being an ornery male.  Here’s where it gets a little precarious.  The gate has to swing outward and he must walk around it, enter the alley and ambulate to his feed bunk.  He is big, clumsy and impatient.  Not understanding he must wait for the gate to open wider than his chiseled flanks, he would inadvertently get himself caught in between the gate and pipe fencing or close the gate again.  I tried and tried, but he was not a thinker, he was a reproducer and it was showing.  It was also wearing on my own patience.

 
   Standing at the end of the gate where it met the pipe fencing, I would hold it open while he pushed past the other end.  With just enough time, I could climb to the top rung and watch him stride past me.  Usually with his nose in the air snubbing me.  After the second day of this he came to the fence to flare his huge, wet nostrils at me, pace three times back and forth in front of my perched self before deciding his growling stomach was more important.

     Not enjoying this experience and wondering what the heck tightened up his bung hole, I made a pack with myself, for my safety.  If the same scenario happened one more time, Carey would not feed this moody beast.

     You know it’s always that next time, isn’t it?  Next day, gate closed, I hold it open and begin climbing to the top rung of the fence.  This day he was again not patient, but he was not clumsy either.  It’s like he mastered a martial arts class in one night and became as agile the Karate Kid during his last tournament. 

He was coming for me, eyes not wavering, focused on me.  I was the only thing that existed for him.  Almost to the top rung, his head dips down only to raise up swiftly.  Already having my right leg over the fence, I pull my bent left leg higher as his massive hard head catches under my knee and there I go.  Like an awkward ballerina flying through the air, trying to catch a glimpse of him but yelling to the blue sky and white clouds, “ Youuuuu Bastardoooooo!”

     Apparently my left hand still encompassed the metal piping, pulling hard, I righted myself in mid-air and came down feet first.  Having mentally prepared for any fall, I hijacked my right knee to my arm pit, knowing I will do anything not to land on my right foot, I put that left foot down and waited for the sting to ride up my leg as I landed.

     Holding my breath, bending forward, riding out the wave of fire traveling up to my knee, I turn my head slightly to the left as I look between the rusty pipe fencing, only to see a smirk on this muscle butt’s face as he says, “Booyah”.

Recovering more quickly than I thought it would take, I straighten up while muttering incomprehensible words at not only Sixty-two, but myself.  “You win; I’m not messing with you anymore.  I’m done.  Wait ‘til Dad gets home,”, I spat.

     I challenge myself daily, prepare before entering any situation and am constantly aware of my surroundings, due to my situation and career I choose to work in.  This day is the reasoning behind that.  It is also the reason that there are times I must accept that some jobs cannot be mine.  Usually taking a few times to find a creative alternative doesn’t always pan out, as in this case. 


Giving it my best shot, I admit, it is in my best interest if I keep a pipe fence between myself and this black Angus bastardo. 
WINNER: Sixty-two.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Amberley Snyder-Using Her Tragedy to Change the World

     Early in 2015,  a suggestion from Instagram guided me to follow a pretty spectacular cowgirl based on others that were already in my news feed.  Instinctively, wanting to know more, I hit "Follow" and began to read her story.  Miss Amberley Snyder.  An hour later I knew this woman was going places and quickly. 
  

  

 Watching her online audience explode the rest of the year has been exhilarating.   Promptly feeling a kinship with this young woman, I scoured the web to find any speaking event of hers that was located near me.  

   


  
There are snippets of her presentation online, but I wanted to see it, more so I wanted to 
feel it.  We enjoy the same activities, both started riding horses at the age of three, both of us experienced tragedy and were now speaking of it publicly.  What I really desired was a one on one.

 
   It just so happens that my friend, farming partner and the FFA adviser of Bourbon High School felt so enraptured with her testimony at the National FFA Convention last Fall that he brought her to Missouri to speak at three of our local schools and asked if I would like to spend the day with them.   That message was sent by text so he didn't hear my artless snorts of, " Well Yeah!"

   


  Listening to her message and watching her influence decisions
that day, anyone could plainly see she was made to provoke thoughts.  She moved and spoke with ease, calling attention to ability, motivation and attitude.

     Enjoying a lunch between speaking events, I quietly studied this vision of motivation.  She has a beautiful, contagious smile for anyone who crosses her path, but it was the genuine look in her eyes that hooked me as a fan for life.  She has a naturally, honest heart of a cowgirl with a side dish of sass. 

      I enjoyed her company, I admire her fight, I praise and respect her ability to share and I loudly applaud her for "getting back on that horse."  I urge you to read her story and use it as you need for your own growth.

    


 Her positiveness is palpable.  She will continue to crush her life's challenges, succeed in influencing others and I know I will watch her compete in her dream rodeos.  I am but a minnow in her sea of followers, but I will be cheering just as loudly as the next at her new found accomplishments.   






     We all wish you well in your upcoming endeavors and will remind ourselves of your equation to prosperity. 


Ability +Motivation +Attitude=SUCCESS
     


     (Amberley's photo)

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