The Taggart Family -- Life, Family and Friends

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Location: Salt Lake City, Utah, United States

This blog is a record of events in the life of Joseph Taggart and his family since his spinal cord injury while body surfing in Guatemala in January 2006.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

If you Enjoyed the Holiday Weekend Raise Your Hand -- 5/30/2006

This has been a busy long weekend. In the United States we celebrated Memorial Day on Monday. It's a day when we often visit the cemetary and remember those who have passed on, especially those who gave their lives in military service. It's always good to remember those who have sacrificed for a cause greater than themselves. It was a busy weekend of continued work on the house and yard. The Ward made arrangements for a half dozen giant dumpsters to be brought into the neighborhood to help in spring clean-up. Our construction mess was cleaned up, we almost single handedly filled up a dumpster. It's great to have wonderful friends and neighbors to help out. Tonight the High Priest's Group showed up and finished emptying out the POD storage unit. IT'S EMPTY & THE HOUSE IS FULL. Yea! We have all the bathroom fixtures now, waiting to get them installed. A team is coming tomorrow to install a storage system in Joseph's closet. We are gradually moving stuff in to His room and he's starting to feel more at home. Life is good.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Emptying the Box, Fixing the Locks, & the AC Docks -- 5/26/06

Tonight was a regular beehive of activity at the Taggart household. Ed Ayers was over installing the new handles and locks for the doors. His work is maticulous, it's great to have neighbors with talent.
Joseph and Elizabeth talked Mom into letting them have some friends/neighbors come over to simply move the large-screeen TV out of the POD so we could get it hooked up at the same time we hook up Joseph's AV gear. It was a conspiracy. As soon as the TV was out of the Pod, out came the couch into the house. Before long, in came the piano and the chairs. The Pod is getting empty and the house is starting to look like a home again. We're all pretty happy about it.
Doug Miles and Curtis Churchtown (DC Air- Heating and Cooling) brought the AC unit that docks into the frame under Joseph's bedroom window. This provides independant control of room temperature in his room. It's been warm enough to need it. It will be very helpful. The hardware for the shower was delivered yesterday and the new toilet will be delivered tomorrow. We are getting closer to completion every day.
The van will be ready in another week and a half. They are doing a great job (as the photo's indicate) Joseph is already planning his next road trip! He has been on the speakerphone a lot this week and is getting pretty good with his brace holding a pencil with erasers on both ends. He can run the remote control to the TV as well as answer and dial the phone. He talked with a Social Security disability worker on Wednesday. At the end of the phone conversation (about two hours long) the worker said, "Can I just tell you something? You have such a great attitude! It gives me faith in mankind."
And for us, Faith in the Lord too.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Paint, Power, Plumbing, a Practitioner Pizza Party and Patching if not Pimping Joe's Ride 5/18/06

Since last week the buzz of activity at the Taggart residence has not ceased. We've had help from many in the neighborhood, the Westover family was over Saturday cleaning up the yard and mowing the lawn. Scott Colemen hooked up the water on Saturday. We can water the lawn now! The shower and toilet fixtures aren't here yet but we're ready when they are.

Painting has involved the Dean Family, especially Steve Sagers, as well as Walter, our regular painter. Joseph's room looks wonderful. The colors Joseph picked out look fabulous (Dad repented for his original misgivings. . . again!). We only have a bit of trim in the family room to do and the inside painting is finished. Dad has been working on the garage all week, fixing up a storage area with shelving etc. Terry McCleery, our neighbor has helped out between working on the siding. The side of the house visable from the street now has matching original siding (taken off the back of the house). The new siding which may not match as well will go on the back.
On Tuesday the electricians came back to install the lights, switches and outlets etc. We have power!
Also Tuesday afternoon Joseph had a visit from Casey his occupational therapist from LDS Hospital with his children and Misti (Physical Therapist) with her darling daughter. Joseph's home visit physical therapist Rolayne was here as well. It was great, a pizza party with practitioner professionals. Joseph had fun reading "The Monster At the End of the Book, Book" (Sesame Street) to Casey's kids.

The professionals at AutoCare Collision Repair continue to work on the JoeMobile. They are making progress (No, Really!) We are very excited.

The really big news is that on Tuesday, Joseph slept in his own new room. We're still working on things but he's in. Dad hooked up the new TV mounted in the ceiling over the bed and able to be rotated around. The window coverings, fixtures and furnishings are on the way, but WE'RE IN.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

A Mother Like No Other 5-14-06

Happy Mother’s Day! This is a day of general rejoicing in the U.S. and a few other places (In the U.K. Mothering Sunday was March 26th this year). Joseph was asked to speak this morning in the family ward. It was outstanding. His Mother’s Day topic was “Love”. He referred to the statement by Joseph Smith: "Let us pour forth love. . . Cast our bread upon the waters and we shall receive it after many days, increased to a hundred fold." (HC 5:517). He said his mom had poured forth love his whole life. . . and although he was inadequate to return the hundred fold by himself, he prayed that blessing would be fullfilled for her. His concluding testimony was felt as well as heard.

Gloria always wanted to be a Mom, when we were unable to have children, we turned to the Lord and began the process of adoption. After six years of expectation (a long pregnancy) the Lord blessed us with a daughter, then four years later with a son.

Gloria’s patriarchal blessing spoke of her future as a mother: Choice spirits will come and dwell with you”. Tim’s blessing promised: “. . . the blessings of fatherhood, when you will have established the background to support the reality and blessings of home life.” It then spoke of a future “. . . sweet companion to become the mother of your children. Together we have seen the fulfilling of those promises, and the unfolding of Heavenly Father’s Plan for the two of us and for our two wonderful children. The two of us each saw the two of them in separate dreams before their birth. Together we all rejoice in the miracle of mothering and the joy of a family. Perhaps that is why Joseph’s accident isn’t really a tragedy just an opportunity and challenge to face together as a family, as we look forward to an eternity together with other family to follow.

President Hinckley said: "Of all those who influence our lives, none is so effective as mother. . . She it was who nurtured us. She it was who, consciously or otherwise, shaped the direction of our lives. . . And what do you do with mother love when the babies are grown and gone away? Well, another child of a new generation is born and the whole process starts over again. The caring, the loving, the nurturing. The greatest miracle of all-the assurance that life will never end. There will always be mothers, and they will always be endowed with a love that is unlike any other love on the face of the earth.”

(Gordon B. Hinckley and Marjorie P. Hinckley, The Wondrous Power of a Mother, p. 2,16)

Photo 1: Joseph meets Mom! January 1982 at LDS Social Services office in Idaho Falls, Idaho. He was obviously happy about the situation at just 1 week of age!
Photo 2: Joseph examines a flower, camping in Logan Canyon about 1985.
Photo 3: Mom and Joseph over a cup of hot chocolate. Remodeling in background.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Four Months and Moving Forward 5/10/06

Joseph's surgery was four months ago today. What an amazing journey in all of this there has never been a feeling of dispair or grief. . . just facing ahead and moving forward. God lives and loves us and gives us the capacity to have joy and peace, even in the midst of awesome challenges. Joseph is a great example to us all-- focusing on possibilities not on limitations, on opportunities not disabilities, on how to take the next leap forward not what steppingstones have been missed on the way. We look forward in anticipation to each new day and the seeking answers to the questions that arise. What a ride!

AutoCare Collision repair in Logan sent a couple of photos of the Van in progress. The Phoenix rises from the ashes even as we speak. The work is rife with symbolism.

Things have been busy on the house as well. Today Mark Maxfield started doing the trim on the floors and doors and Steve Sagers started the painting on the ceiling of the shower.
Terry McCleery is back in town and is working on the siding and Dad is working on the garage storage area.
Joseph and Dad are also working on getting things set up so Joseph can use the computer and phone etc. We built up a table so Joseph could roll under it (not too useful); cut down his 'goalpost' control joystick on the demo wheelchair (somewhat helpful), set up a speakerphone (useful but not as useful as a cell phone -- we'll have to figure that one out). We are adapting and configuring -- slowly making some progress toward independance. Joseph is getting pretty good with the TV remote with a pointer attached to the wrist brace of the left hand. We experimented with a track ball for the computer, but not too successfully yet. Getting a surface at the right height and location is the challenge. Seems like we need McGyver or something (a little duct tape and baling wire ought to do it, don't you think?). We got word that the insurance company approved the commode/shower chair, that was good news indeed.
Thanks for all your help, friendship love support and Faith. We feel uplifted and edified everyday. . . doesn't that seem a bit irrational and illogical? But it's true. Each day we are filled with the joy of living and the constant comfort of the Spirit. In fact, in a word, we REJOICE. Brigham Young understood the feeling when he said:
"We rejoice because the Lord is ours, because we are sown in weakness for the express purpose of attaining greater power and perfection. In everything the Saints may rejoice -- in persecution, because it is necessary to purge them, and prepare the wicked for their doom; in sickness and in pain, though they are hard to bear, because we are thereby made acquainted with pain, with sorrow and with even, affliction that mortals can endure, for by contact all things are demonstrated to our senses. We have reason to rejoice exceedingly that faith is in the world, that the Lord reigns, and does his pleasure among the inhabitants of the earth. Do you ask if I rejoice because the Devil has the advantage over the inhabitants of the earth, and has afflicted mankind? I most assuredly answer in the affirmative; I rejoice in this as much as in anything else. I rejoice because I am afflicted. I rejoice because I am poor. I rejoice because I am cast down. Why? Because I shall be lifted up again. I rejoice that I am poor because I shall be made rich; that I am afflicted, because I shall be comforted, and prepared to enjoy the felicity of perfect happiness, for it is impossible to properly appreciate happiness except by enduring the opposite." (Discourses of Brigham Young, page 228)

God help us rejoice every day for the blessings we receive. . . for He loves us, we are His children and He is our Father.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

The Gentleman from Taylorsville has the Floor -- 5/7/06

The floor installation was completed in Joseph's new room on Friday. Brent Hill, (Hill's Flooring Installation) who did the installation, served in the same Australian Mission as Dad and is a really great guy. He did a wonderful job on the floor. As soon as the trim and baseboards are in we are ready to paint.

Saturday Scott Coleman (former EBM missionary) tied in the drains etc. to the house plumbing. Water tie in will be on Wednesday. We are getting close! The ward is getting restless-- anxious to help us bring the furniture back in-- but Mom is committed to waiting until after the painting is complete (only one more cleaning please!).
Joseph is moving forward with continued Physical Therapy, sunshine and great friends. He truly loves life and is committed to making the most of it. He is a joy to be around.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Lifts and Let Downs -- 5/4/06

Monday the bathroom tile installation was completed in Joseph's addition. Tuesday morning the people from Advanced Lifts came to install the wheelchair lift in the garage. They finished the installation Wednesday morning.

It is a great permanent solution to Joseph getting lifted up and let down from the main level of the house. YEAH! We appreciate those who not only donated the lift but found the very best one around. It is really wonderful.

Monday evening the Coast-to-Coast Auto Transport driver called to say he was in Cheyenne Wyoming and would be arriving in Logan to drop of the van on Tuesday as well. Dad was there to witness the 'let down' as four other vehicles had to be unloaded before the brand new 2005 Chevy van with the wrecked side could be driven off the rig. The battery was dead so it took a bit more effort, but off it came. The engine is perfect and the wheelchair access costomization looks first rate. Kim from Autocare Collision Repair in Logan was there to take the low mileage patient and see if it could be restored to health.

Randy Simmons, Head of the Political Science Department at USU and Tim's best friend since early high school days, is overseeing the ressurection process. Talk about a LIFT. The van looks really good except the parts that are currently not functioning., and with a lot of work and dedication . . . sounds like Joseph's situation. Life does have it's ups and downs. As President Hinckley has quoted: "Anyone who imagines that bliss is normal is going to waste a lot of time running around shouting that he's been robbed.
Most putts don't drop. Most beef is tough. Most children grow up to be just people. Most successful marriages require a high degree of mutual toleration. Most jobs are more often dull than otherwise.
Life is like an old-time rail journey--delays, sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders, and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed.
The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride." (Teachings p. 254). We do thank Him!

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