Monthly Archives: March 2014

Always Dream Big


One thing Mark and I tried to stress to our kids when they were growing up was to always dream big. Over the past year or so since my diagnosis I’ve learned that dreams can come true even through sorrow and suffering. In fact, some of the most significant dreams in my life are coming true right now.

Always dream big.


“Most people never run far enough on their first wind to find out they’ve got a second. Give your dreams all you’ve got and you’ll be amazed at the energy that comes out of you.”

William James

Golden Friendships


I’ve been blessed with so many friends in my life but I never could have imagined or even dreamed of what I am experiencing and feeling now from my childhood and high school friends. We hear the saying, “Make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold.” Our golden friends never forget even if we haven’t been in contact very much over the past forty or fifty years. Our golden friends give us a precious glimpse into our past and help us remember what life was like growing up and how we saw our world back then. Our golden friends also remind us that the most important things in life don’t involve status or money but compassion, love and support for those friends’ suffering or excelling in life.

Ever since my Hug Party my childhood and high school friends have been truly amazing. We grew up learning together and we’re still learning from each other now. They’re following my life through my blog but I’m sure a lot of my stories mirror their stories. I feel like we are all on this journey together whether we’re dealing with ALS or some other struggle. We are all trying our best to find meaning and balance in our lives.

I’ve been touched by so many coming from near and far but even though I can’t share every visit I would like to share some recent ones.


Recently, a golden friendship has shown up close and personal when my childhood friend Bruce Olsen drove from Ohio and back in a day to visit. Last week Bruce arrived at our house, sat down next to me and asked me how I was doing. I immediately started to cry so he grabbed a tissue from the table next to me, dried my tears and patiently waited for me to stop crying before talking. From my perspective, it seemed very natural for both of us.


One of my best childhood friends, Nancy Moody, who I’ve talked about before in my blog, has agreed to speak at my funeral. Nancy now lives and works in Washington D.C. but she visits us at least once a month. She is still as amazing as she was in high school.

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My classmate Fred Schmitt cheerfully stopped in for a visit while in town from Holland to make sure Mark and I were doing okay. As we were all eating lunch together Fred gracefully cut up my food and gave me a drink like he hangs out with us all of the  time.


Also, my childhood friends Mary Poel and Jeff Gates took a day off from work and drove across the state to visit. They make a stop for lunch at US 31 BBQ to visit another classmate  Kristi Buris and then spent the afternoon with Mark and I catching up on each others’ lives. On their way out of town they went through Spring Lake to visit another classmate, Kurt Boerman, before heading back across the state.

My classmate Kristi Fagan is a regular visitor and has done so much for our family. Recently Kristi and her daughter Ashley stopped by for a visit. Ashley just graduated from college and wanted to say good bye before heading out of state to start her new job.

I could go on and on about the many ways my golden friendships have touched my heart. If I’ve ever questioned whether childhood friends forget each other, I’ve found my answer. They don’t.