Hi, I’m Daelyn!
I’m thrilled you have found my happy little blog!
I lost my 17 year old son to Rhabdomyosarcoma on March 12, 2013. I have learned a whole lot about life since his diagnosis in 2010. I created this blog to share my journey and things I have learned along the way. My goal is to inspire others to live a positive, joy-filled life, and hopefully my readers will, in turn, spread joy, too. Dream big and sprinkle kindness wherever you go!
married to THE most incredible man on the planet
we met online in 2001, but later found out we graduated from high school together!
mom to 3 great kids and 4 fur babies
a forever 17 yr old angel, a 23 yr old son, a 25 yr old step-daughter, great dane, bichon frise, and 2 chihuahuas
I taught for 20 years, some of which included 2 years of being a mentor to new teachers and staff developer. I also have my masters in Elementary Reading and am a certified reading intervention specialist.
a mermaid wanna-be
my happy place is in crystal blue water swimming with the fishies
dark chocolate with sea salt
mermaids and unicorns
sea turtles and dolphins
bein’ crafty and makin’ stuff
teaching (especially reading to beginning and struggling readers)
shrimp scampi (with extra garlic)
snorkeling and diving
Some fun pictures:
Here is a bit of my life in pictures. If you want the story version, please scroll past the photos for all the juicy details!
Just feeling a little sassy! I was trying to get used to wearing my glasses.
The guy who makes my heart sing! He is my knight in shining armor. He carved this funny dude for a contest.
My son and Mr. Mantastic. We stopped for a picnic while four-wheeling last summer.
Maui Oct. ’16 – I was a tad bit giddy about heading to a new beach to snorkel! (My shirt was a gift from a friend and says, “I’m really a mermaid!)
Maui – definitely my Happy Place!
As close as I can come to being a rainbow butterfly unicorn! Gotta LOVE Halloween!
Dirtbiking – Memorial Day ’16
The weekend I fractured my back. Ouch. FYI…When EMTs ask 4 or 5 times if you want to be airlifted, say YES! The alternative isn’t worth it! Just think about being strapped to a backboard and an hour long ride on a 4 wheeler on a bumpy 4 wheeling road. Yeah…NOT comfortable AT ALL. I lived to tell about it, though and can’t wait to get back on my dirt bike!
Paddle boarding on a mountain reservoir in 2015. the water was soooo cold!
Because everyone needs to do a balancing yoga pose on the edge of a cliff while four wheeling, right? I had received my 200hr therapeutic yoga instructor certification and was anxious to use my skills anywhere and everywhere!
My sweet, sweet Blossom! I got Blossom five days after my son lost his battle with Rhabdomyosarcoma. We got her in order to train her as a therapy dog to take to the hospital, but quickly figured out she was meant to be MY therapy.
One of the BEST days of my life! Friday the 13th of October, 2006.
My son – age 13, four months before he was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer.
We were guests of honor at a fundraising gala and I was one of the guest speakers. There with Care is a FABULOUS foundation, and they really took great care of us while Austin was sick. I highly recommend checking them out!
Another one of the BEST days of my life! Austin hoped to meet the Dalai Lama (me, too!) and by some miracle, I was able to make that happen. We were given a trip to Washington D.C. to meet him. In the first photo, His Holiness was telling me about some amazing medicine he sometimes takes. He told me how pure it is, just like my heart. <3 I’ll never forget that moment. In the next photo, he was hugging Austin and telling him that he will be ok, no matter what happens.
A couple weeks after Austin died, I went on a previously planned cruise with my mom and my sister. It was really a difficult thing to do, but I tried to have as much fun as possible. I am so happy I made the choice to go, because I played with dolphins in Roatan, went zip lining and cave tubing in Belize, and spent the afternoon on a private island in Cozumel. The pictured dolphin decided to kiss me with his tongue, which definitely took some of my tears away when everyone in our tiny group laughed and laughed at his antics!
This was another incredible experience we were able to have while Austin was sick. Austin was approved for a Catch-a-Dream trip and asked to go bow hunting. We didn’t know where we were going until we got there. It ended up that we were at Tony Stewart’s ranch (yes, the NASCAR driver!) We were able to spend a couple of days at his house and were treated like royalty. John Morris, the owner of Bass Pro Shop, was there as well, and brought us many gifts. He also brought one of his singers from his resort in Branson to entertain us around Tony’s fire pit next to his lake one night. It was so surreal!
My son and I at the Garth Brooks concert when he FINALLY started to tour again! This kid is amazing and makes my heart smile! (So does Garth!)
We were lucky enough to have a visit from Anna Sophia Robb (Soul Surfer, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Winn Dixie, The Carrie Diaries, etc.). She was filming a fundraising and awareness video for There with Care, and brought some groceries to our home as part of the video. Austin was a pretty happy camper, as you can see! She graduated from one of our local high schools, so it was a fun homecoming trip for her. She is a great girl and we had a lot of fun with her.
This great group of kids makes me so happy! They are all friends of Austin’s, and have stuck with me and my fam throughout the past few years. They bring me flowers on Mother’s Day, hang out with us on his birthday, and volunteer for our foundation, Rollin’ Dreams®. The blue ’72 Chevelle is a gift we were able to give Austin with the support of sooo many wonderful people and one of our local news channels. You’ll be able to read all about it in my book when it is published, and I will write a blog post about it. It was Austin’s dream car, and he asked us to continue showing it after he died. We now use it to raise funds to give teens with cancer and other life threatening illnesses activities and experiences to combat boredom while in treatment. The Towmater truck was a Halloween “costume” Mr. Mantastic made for our little buddy, Carter, whom we met in the hospital during Austin’s first week of chemo. He was 6 months old. Carter continues to deal with issues from his diagnosis and is now 7 years old, and has my heart!
Quirky things not many know about me:
I’m a type 7 on the Enneagram and Orange/blue in the True Colors assessment. I’m also a WOO on the Strengths Finder.
I can bend my tongue in a crazy weird shape! It’s supposed to be a genetic talent, but I’m the ONLY one in my family who can do this incredible feat!
I am double jointed. Ooooh Ahhhh
I can cross my eyes one at a time, and often, not on purpose.
I come across as being confident and outgoing always, but really, I work really hard to maintain my confidence.
I secretly wish I was an actress.
I’m kind of a dork.
OH! You’re still here! YIPPY! Here is the story of my life version for your reading pleasure!
I was a K-3 teacher for 20 years, with a specialty certification and my masters in Reading and Elementary Literacy. I was also a staff development specialist and mentor to new teachers. This all ended when my 14 year old son was diagnosed with stage 4 Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma on April 9, 2010. I was clearly devastated by the diagnosis, but also suffered an identity crisis because I didn’t know who I was anymore. I wasn’t a “teacher” anymore (or so I thought). I dreamt of being a doctor when I was a teen, and through my son’s 3 years of treatments, I learned more about cancer and medicine than any person should have to. That was my med school. I am now so grateful for everything I learned, but would give anything to go back to the way things used to be. I lost my son, Austin, on March 12, 2013, two weeks after he turned 17. I have literally had to learn to live again. Throughout the last 6 years, I have done many things to learn to live happily. I do my best to promote joy, and to learn from all of my life experiences. I have had to reinvent myself numerous times, and learn how to be a grieving mom and still be a functioning member of society. It makes me feel really wonderful to know that I have the choice to be happy, and be able to choose to do so MOST of the time. Throughout this past 6 years, I have learned many “strategies” for living a happy life, and being a positive person who sees the beauty in a glass that has something in it, whether it is half empty or half full. I am working diligently to finish writing and publish a workbook that includes so many of the lessons I have learned.
I treasure time with my family, and am so lucky to have the BEST husband in the world! We met online 15 years ago, and actually graduated from high school together, but didn’t know each other way back then. My 23 year old son, Chance lives at home, which I LOVE, but I know it is time to let him go when he is financially able, and I am ok with that now. I have a beautiful 25 year old step-daughter, and am a MUCH older sister to my gorgeous little sister and handsome brother. Of course, I am the BEST child my mom gave birth to. HA! 🙂
Right after Austin died, my family created a non-profit, Rollin’ Dreams, that enriches the lives of teens with cancer by giving them activities and experiences to combat the severe feelings of boredom that come with treatment. This is the cause Austin chose when I asked him what we could raise money for by showing his beloved 1972 Chevelle. I knew I would need something positive to help me keep going after he died. I also have a small photo booth biz and have a blast helping others to create fun memories at their events. I LOVE to get crafty, and am an avid learner. I’ve learned everything from hand lettering to machine embroidery to Reiki, Healing Touch and therapeutic yoga. I LOVE public speaking and sharing my journey with others, and I thrive on being busy, but also need quiet time every now and then. I am a mermaid wanna be, and would give just about anything to live on the beach!
At this point, reinventing myself means that I am working at the most incredible cookie store on the planet (I call it the happiest place in CO) and I have learned to decorate the cookies, which is the LAST thing I thought I would EVER be capable of in this lifetime! I LOVE my job and the people I work with. I am learning to keep my confidence level high and my mind open. One just never knows what may happen in their life to change everything they know and count on.
There is so much more I could tell you, and believe me, I could tell and tell and tell and tell, but for now, I’ll leave you with this:
Please check in and check in often. I plan to post at least once a week, barring any bodily injury again. I’d love to hear from you, so please connect with me on Instagram, Pinterest or Facebook. I’m not a very good tweeter yet, but maybe some day. Feel free to leave comments and thoughts on any of my posts. I’d love to hear from you!
I hope you have a wonderfully, fabulously, amazing day!
Live every moment to its fullest, laugh often, love freely, dream big, and sprinkle kindness wherever you go!