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.

Monday, September 25, 2006

11,000 Hits and Great Advice

Joseph is absolutely great, working hard on school and rehab-- his mind and his body. Looking forward to LDS General Conference and the EBM missionary reunion this weekend. If you check out the map/counter on the bottom of this blog, you see the map showing where you readers and friends are from. We've had over 10,800 hits since mid May. If you click on the map, then the various areas of the world, you can get a more detailed picture of where you all are (like the ones shown). We are so impressed!

Tim found the following article going through some old files tonight. We thought you'd enjoy it:

The Best Advice I Ever Had

Once when I was facing decision that involved considerable risk, I went to a friend much older and wiser than myself. "I'd go ahead," I said unhappily, "if I were sure I could swing it. But . . ."

He looked at me for a moment then scribbled ten words on a piece of paper and pushed it across the desk. That single sentence contained the best advice I've ever had Be boldand mighty forces will come to your aid.

The words my friend had written were, I discovered later, a quotation from The Conquest of Fear by Basil King. They made me see clearly that when I had fallen short in the past, it was seldom because I had tried and failed. It was usually because I had let fear of failure stop me from trying at all. Fear is the most paralyzing of all emotions. It can stiffen the muscles and stupefy the mind and the will.

On the other hand, whenever I had plunged into deep water, impelled by a flash of courage or just plain pushed by the rude hand of circumstance, I had always been able to swim until I got my feet on the ground again.

Be bold—that is no exhortation to be reckless or foolhardy. Boldness means a deliberate decision, from time to time, to bite off more than you are sure you can chew. And there is nothing mysterious about the mighty forces referred to. They are the latent powers that all of us possess: energy, skill, sound judgment, creative ideas—yes, even physical strength and endurance in far greater measure than most of us realize.

In other words, boldness can create a state of emergency to which the organism responds. I once heard a famous mountaineer say that occasionally a climber will get himself into a position where he can't back down; he can only go up. He added that sometimes he put himself into such a spot on purpose. "When there's nowhere to go but up," he said, "you jolly well go up!”

The same principle works just a surely in something as common place as accepting the chairmanship of a civic committee or seeking; more responsible job. In either case you know you'll have to deliver—or else. And, unless you're hopeless! unqualified, you will deliver. You pride, competitive instinct and sense of obligation will see to it that you do.

Admittedly, those particular mighty forces are spiritual ones. But they are more important than physical ones. While it was a hurtling pebble's centrifugal force that killed Goliath, it was courage that enabled David to face the Philistine giant in the first place.

It's curious how spiritual forces often have their counterparts in the physical world. A college classmate of mine was a crack football player, noted particularly for his fierce tackling even though he weighed much less than the average varsity player. Someone expressed surprise that he didn't get hurt. "Well," he said, "it goes back to something I discovered when I was a timid youngster playing sandlot football. In one game I suddenly found myself confronting the opposing fullback, who had nothing but me between him and our goal line. He looked absolutely gigantic! I was so frightened that I closed my eyes and hurled myself at him like a panicky bullet—and stopped him cold. Right there I learned that the harder you tackle a big player, the less likely you are to be hurt. The reason is simple: momentum equals weight times velocity."

So if you are bold enough, even the laws of motion will come to your aid.

This trait—a willingness to extend yourself to the utmost—is not one that can be acquired overnight. But it can be taught to children and developed in adults. Confidence is a cumulative thing.

To be sure, there will be setbacks and disappointments in any program of expanded living; boldness in itself is no guarantee of success. But the person who tries to do something and fails is a lot better off than the person who tries to do nothing and succeeds.

Bold self-confidence and decisiveness often mark leaders in the business world. The most effective executive I ever worked for was a man who made almost instantaneous decisions. "At least," he used to say wryly, "I make my mistakes quickly." On one occasion someone asked this man if he didn't believe in the adage "Look before you leap."

"No," he said cheerfully. "The trouble with that axiom is if you look too long, or too often, you never leap at all."

A willingness to take chances, a solid faith in the individual's ability to cope with just about any problem—these characteristics are part of the American tradition. Is the' spirit dying out? Some people claim that our preoccupation with security is weakening it. Initiative, they say, is the instinctive response to the lack of material comfort.

I disagree; people, I believe, will always seek new and more challenging worlds to conquer. When I was a boy, a man visited our class and was invited to say a few words. I don't remember who he was, but I've never forgotten what he said: "Love life. Be grateful for it always. And show your gratitude by not shying away from its challenges. Always try to live a little bit beyond your capacities—and you'll find your capacities are greater than you ever dreamed."


Monday, September 18, 2006

9/11 and Moving Forward with Resolve -- 9/18/06

September 2001, Joseph was serving his mission in Campinas, Brasil; Dad had just completed a long trip recording Legacy and Testaments in Europe before the Olympics, and met Gloria for a short vacation before returning home. They had arranged to meet a group of former EBM missionaries in Frankfurt at the temple for a reunion. What a glorious experience. A few days later in Bokrijk, Belgium Tim and GLoria watched on a TV in a McDonalds as the twin towers collapsed. There was an outpouring of compassion, love and solidarity from everyone on the streets of Europe over the next week before Tim and Gloria returned home on their scheduled flight -- the first flight out of Frankfurt after 9/11.

Here we are five years later with so much different in the world and in our family yet so many things the same. We are having another mission reunion, at our home on the Friday before General Conference, September 29th (see for more info). We have been experiencing an outpouring of compassion, love and solidarity from everyone here, the past several months that has changed our lives forever. And now, as then, we move forward with faith and resolve.

Bill Yadeski our great friend and neighbor (and former Bishop) finished a project he took on to build Joseph a workout platform where he could do his physical therapy excercises at home. He did an amazing job. You'll see it folded up in the first photo and extended in the second. Note part of Joseph's great collection of licence plates on the wall behind. He has been collecting them from he and his dad's travels and from friends around the world. Some date back to WWII.

Joseph is fully engaged with life, enjoying school, friends and family. His classes are upper level classes with a lot of graduate students and very enjoyable. He had a barbeque here on Saturday night with a host of his friends then Sunday over a dozen family members came and brought dinner. With so many great people around it's easy to focus on the small wonders of life (see the photo of Ethan) rather than on the tragedies.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

A Lift to Remember - 9/10/06

The lift that enables Joseph to get out of his bed and into his chair each day has been attached to the ceiling with poles on each side of the bed (exerting tension against floor and ceiling). This week Dad installed the ceiling mounts manufactured by Chuck Todd, a stake member and friend of the family. The poles can still be used when we travel and take the lift elsewhere. The solid metal mounts screw to the ceiling joists with lag bolts. Dad volunteered to test out their strength (If they'd hold him, Joseph would be a breeze). Chuck did such a good job. It's awesome to have great people with great skill and great friendship as well.

Remembering Who They Were and Learning Who We Are -- Part IV.

Joseph's GGGrandfather on his mother's side was a great friend to the Prophet Joseph and a great example as well. Here is an excerpt from his history:

Samuel Walker West was born March 30, 1804 in Dixon County, Tennessee. He was the youngest son in a family of eleven children.

When he was fourteen years old, he and his brother went out after wood. When they returned home, their mother met them with dreadful words, “Your father is dead.” Samuel rushed to where his father lay, threw his arms about him and called,” Father! Father!”

Then his father came back to life and said, “Sam, why have you done this, if you had only known how hard it was to come back you never would have done what you did. It is the will of the Lord, I shall go and you will have to submit to it. My work on this earth is finished.”

And he also said, “Do not join any of these churches for none of them are right. The true gospel will soon be restored to the earth and I want you all to join it.” “How are we to know the true church?” asked the mother of the family.

“When you see two men always traveling together carrying a bag and an umbrella, preaching from the Bible, but always having another book, a new book with them, you will know it is the true church.” was his answer. . . .

As soon as they learned of the Mormon Church, he, his mother, and brother John, were all of the family who joined the Church. They were baptized by David W. Patten.

Samuel W. West and his wife had a beautiful home in Benton County, Tennessee. They were very hospitable. While laboring in that locality, the Mormon Elders made their home with them.

Elders David W. Patten and Wilford Woodruff always stayed there. Samuel loaned his big fine horse to Elder Woodruff to ride while he was visiting people in the neighborhood. Some of the enemy of the church gave poison to he horse in its food. Elder Woodruff wrote in his journal as follows: “A mob got to us and poisoned our horses, so that the one I rode, belonging to Brother Samuel West, died a few days after. This horse had carried be thousands of miles, while I was preaching the Gospel. Brother West did not complain, but said, ‘The horse died in the work of the Lord.’”

In 1842 Samuel West moved his family to Nauvoo, where they bought an acre lot and built a fine brick house on it.

Samuel and the Prophet Joseph Smith were very dear friends. On one occasion the Prophet called a meeting for the purpose of raising some money. Due to sickness in the family, Samuel did not go to the meeting. It was useless, no money could be raised. After the closing of the meeting, the Prophet remarked, “I have got to have this much money, and the Lord knows I have to have it. So when I leave this building the Lord will have to guide me to where I will get it.”

Outside he turned around and started out, where he did not know. He walked to Samuel West’s home, but he hesitated to enter the house. Samuel saw him at the gate and went out. The Prophet told him he had to have some money. Samuel said he had some, and asked how much was needed. The Prophet said, “Two hundred dollars,” and they went in the house. Samuel got the money and gave it to the Prophet. Then Joseph Smith said, “I will get this money as soon as possible and pay you back.” Samuel said, “I do not want it back. All I have is for the up-building of God’s Church on the earth.”

The Prophet started to go, but turned in the doorway and said, “I want to leave a blessing with you.” And with his right hand upraised he said. “I promise you in the name of Israel’s God that neither you nor your posterity after you shall ever lack for bread and not be able to get it.”

With the saints, Samuel and his family left Nauvoo during the general exodus. . . .

Between Christmas 1872 and New Years he had a siege of pneumonia and was apparently dead for about an hour, but came back after seeing Joseph and Hyrum Smith, David W. Patten, his mother and others. He said his life was not finished; he didn’t know whether it would be days, months or years that he would live, but he know he would go to the first sickness he had after that. He died two months later.

From The Dora Woods and Larkin Richard Shaffer Family, 1991, pp. 105-107.

What a lift to remember the greatness of common people who lived their lives with purpose, commitment, and righteous principles.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Laboring Day, Brain Cramps and High Tech Medicine - 9/3/06

Monday is Labor Day (United States) but we got the jump on the labor on Saturday. Dad worked on closing up the side of the ramp from Joseph's back door. With that, mowing the lawn and sundry other jobs he overdid it a bit and had a weird day recovering on Sunday (brain cramp?), anyway the hospital confirmed he had a brain.

Omar Canals, a co-worker with Tim and bishop of a nearby ward, came with a couple of his ward members to size up the back yard. The youth, and their leaders, have decided to take on the project of providing Joseph with something to look at, out his windows. The ward youth are going to design the landscaping and then put it in. Is that awesome or what?!!! Joseph is so pleased, as are his folks.

Also on Saturday, Cisco Soto (owner of Monarch Construction), a great friend of the family, came with some crew members and started patching up the basement bathroom (the window was closed off and the room torn up a bit to get plumbing to Joseph's sink, shower, and toilet). We really appreciate all the hard work and great skill.

Joseph is doing well, his spirits are good and he is feeling much better. They continue to treat him with intravenous antibiotics, and will for the next few weeks. The photo is of the high tech device that allows the gradual delivery of the IV medicine without cumbersome stands and bags. The ball is a balloon of sorts filled with the antibiotic, the dosage is timed by the stretch of the ball and the size of the tube. It takes about 90 minutes for the dose twice a day. Dr. Mom, with talents honed in the mission field, is the main caregiver and administering angel to us all. She wished she could be triplets this weekend. Elizabeth had minor surgery on Friday and is doing great. We're all grateful for her good husband and healthy kids.

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