Tag Archives: #carterstrong

Hey Carter

It is this date again – June 30th. I remember walking with Stella in the early morning sunshine last summer remembering a year before that – in the hospital watching my nephew die.  We prayed for a miracle so that he could stay. We prayed for a miracle so that he would peacefully let go.  It was a struggle that we all shared. It is a struggle that we continue to share.  Today’s blog is in memory of Carter Joseph Boerboom; it is written by his father, Wade Boerboom, for families who are fighting cancer and praying for their own miracles.

Father and Son Carter

Anyone who knew Carter knew how much he liked his gift of gab.  We can’t imagine where he got that from… Have you met his parents and extended family? 😉 These are the real words and raw emotions from his dad in a letter to his son, putting into print the many chats they frequently have.

Hey Carter,

So get this, Aunt Sonya asked me to guest blog for her website.  Yeah I know, homework in the middle of summer, right?  But she asked that I use it as writing a letter to you.  I guess she didn’t realize I talk to you every day.  Oh well, I guess to humor her I will pretend I don’t and write this out to you.

So, what else has been happening you ask?  Well, I suppose we should catch up on everyone.

Freaking Lebron & the Cavs won the NBA title in 16, but the Warriors got them back in 17!  Kevin Durant ended up going to the Warriors this last summer in free agency.  I think just to stick it to Lebron.  They went 16-1 in the playoffs.  Only lost one game to the Cavs.  I wanted the sweep, but losing just 1 isn’t too bad either.

Oh, I feel bad about this one.   When we were told your cancer was back, on June 10th, 2015; you said “does this mean we can go to Duke?”  You were too ill to travel, so Joy and I decided to check it out this fall.  What a cool place!  They beat up on Grand Canyon. The kids/crowd were going nuts the whole time.  You would have loved it.

Katie is on her 3rd college & 3rd car.  Yes, she really is.  She attended Morris for her freshman year.  She did ok, but I think she spent more time in Alexandria with Tom than she did in school.  She wanted to try St. Cloud fall of sophomore year.  She lived in Tom (Geske) and your mom’s house in St. Cloud.  There was a crazy stabbing in the mall where she worked.  Thank goodness she wasn’t there.  I’m thinking that was the turning point, and they both just didn’t really love St. Cloud anymore.  She came home to SMSU, and is a 3.9 now.  Yes, she really is!  She just rented a little house in Marshall.  She’s growing up, I guess.  Tom is working at Action Track Chairs.  As for the cars…  The Dodge basically just died.  Then last week we had hail & it took out the Focus we replaced it with.  Damn kids and their cars…..

Belle went to Mankato last year.  She lived with her cousin Alex and a few other girls.  Interesting year.  They had a gathering that got busted before school started & then got robbed over Christmas break.  She is doing well in school.  She job shadowed a chiropractor and a dermatologist this summer.  Let’s hope she really makes money after graduation, lord knows she likes to spend it.

Sam graduated this year.  Get this, he has a girlfriend!  Yes, our Sam.  She came to the house the other night for venison/b-day picnic.  Our tradition of having those for you kids continues.  We had yours this year too.  Sam is planning on going to SDSU this fall.  I can’t wait.  Division 1 hoops!  They actually made the big dance this year.  Sam and his buddies have a company now –  Average Angling.  They upload videos, and get paid for it.  I think they have made something like 17cents off their fishing videos now.

Maddie is driving now.  Katie and your mom go to lunch with her from time to time.   She looks like she is doing well & having fun in school.  We see on Facebook that she does lots of sports & time with friends.

Sam and your buddies all miss you too. I think they are still up to the same shenanigans – maybe not shooting hoops off the top of the golf cart anymore though.  Sounds like Sam is going to St. John’s University for school next year. Of course we figured he would.  His family brought you to a couple of Johnny’s games.  I think they are pretty big fans of SJU.

Joy is training and coaching full time now.  She left Schwan’s to start a gym at the office.  She started with personal training and expanded to Rock Steady Boxing.  It’s boxing exercises to help Parkinson’s patients with their symptoms.  Her clients seem to really like her, even though she yells at them & beats them up.  The Rock Steady Boxing thing was something we saw on 60 Minutes.  The best part was that her training was in Indianapolis.  Joy worked, and I got to go to the Big 10 Tournament.

Kailen & PJ are workout bffs now.  Both are getting pretty fit too.  I think they work out twice a day.  Sounds like Kailen will be the running back in Cottonwood this fall.  Should be fun to watch.

Lori, Tori, and Tiffy moved to Bloomington.  Lori is a VP or something I guess.  Big time, right?  Tori is driving and will get her license soon.  Tiffy is in basketball, softball and volleyball.  All this summer.  They are pretty busy.  I think the Beer-Straights think they live there, too.  They are up there usually three weekends a month.  They usually bring the dog too.

Jack is going to camp after camp for football.  Sounds like he is headed to Ohio for one in July.  He just got his moped license.  Crashed the other day.  Just a little skinned up.  Not bad enough to come see you.  Jonah and JR both played SW Slam this spring.  We caught a few of their games.  JR seems to favor the 3 pointer.  He is not as proficient as you, but he is still young.

Bill and Missy are doing well.  Still camping & riding motorcycles.  They went to Arizona and rode to Vegas last spring.  No pictures of ass-less chaps have shown up, so we are all good.  They chase Wyatt around a lot.  He is pretty good at hockey now & made a couple traveling teams.  One tourney was up in Duluth.  He lifts weights now at the high school.  I think he is finally starting to grow.  Cody is buying Lori’s old house, and has a roommate-Dylan.  Let’s hope they don’t kill each other.

Braden bought a house in Cottonwood and got engaged to Amy.  20 years old,  going on 30.  He is farming with Ron and building a hog barn.  I bet Ron never thought in his wildest dreams that he would have hogs on that farm again.

Tam is not an empty nester yet.  She still gets one more year of chasing Kailen around to games.  They like to fight a little, but I think they are both going to miss each other.

Grandma Glenda sold the store.  Yep, the days of free ice cream are long gone.  She travels a lot.  She likes the bus trips they do around the different parts of the country.  She lets the kids drive her corvette for prom.  Sam went and then kept the car for about two months now. Nice grandma, huh?

Grandpa Ron and Lois like to camp & travel.  They went to Hawaii last year.  He still farms with Braden.  I think he plans to delegate more of the work soon.  He is just waiting for Braden to get the barn done.  He wanted to see his “home” farm last year in Belgium, but there was a bomb at the airport so we all chickened out.  Looks like we are finally going to get there this fall.

Grandma Nancy wants to retire, but Grandpa Steve doesn’t want her to yet.  Maybe another year.  She has shorter hours in the summer so she can spend more time in the garden and tinkering around the farm.  Grandpa still drives all the time.  He still loves to catch the grandkids’ games and tries to get to as many as possible.  He of course runs a little hot when things don’t go quite right, but he is getting a little more mellow.  Maybe that is where Bill gets it???? 

Grandma Betty and Grandpa Joe have an apartment at Boulder Estates now. They still visit the farm and like to have coffee there. They are as funny as ever. They celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary in May. They are looking forward to seeing you again one day, too.

Your mom & Tom are also doing well.  They like to get to the cabin as much as they can.  I’m glad you got there a few times before you had to go.  They named it Carter’s Cabin.  Lynd just got hammered with hail, so we won’t have to worry about siding contractors for quite some time.  Tom will stay busy!  Your mom started teaching – subbed at Holy this past year.  I think she really enjoyed that.  That gets me thinking of all the homework we tried to make you do your last year.  It’s like you knew you really didn’t need to spend a lot of time with that.

The Pats and Ore & Jenny are doing well.  Morgan is getting married and has a baby. So I guess that makes you a second cousin? Or a first cousin once removed? I don’t know. They are well and miss you.

So now that you are all caught up on everyone, what’s been going on with me.  Get this, in the fall of 2015 I was told I have Melanoma In-Situ.  So cancer, but just on the surface of the skin.  99.5% curable.  Nothing like what you went through, but still cancer.  AGAIN, the same year????

The Agency is doing well.  I just keep plugging away.  After 30 years of eating and drinking, we finally have KB’s as a customer!  Persistence pays off.  You know, you were supposed to come work with me and take over one day.  I still have the letter in my office from when you were in 1st grade.  It said you want to sell insurance and take pictures of houses.  That’s not all it takes, but you had about 90% of it down.

We are repeat “Over 30” city league champs!  I know, my 3 point per game average is not the difference anymore.  It has a lot (everything!) to do with Shuan Wisdom.  I like to golf as much as I can.  Somedays it goes well, some days it doesn’t.  I like to get up early and play.  Gives me time for our “talks” early in the morning.

Carter and his dog

One thing I have been thinking about as your anniversary comes around is that I don’t think I took the time to realize everyone lost you.  I was pretty wrapped up in feeling sick/sad/pissed/poor me, that I sometimes forgot that everyone else lost you too.  The thing that really struck me was even though I was shook up, you took it pretty well, and it was happening to you.  That really helps me believe we will have this talk in person again one day.

Friday is two years since you moved away.  I gotta tell you, it was rough at first.

Carter 123

A couple things I will never forget about that day.  You were all sweaty, so we decided to change your clothes.  We kicked everyone out of the room except Tom, nurse Dan and myself.  We figured we would put you in Duke apparel.  If you are going to go, go in style right?  Anyway, as we are changing you (yes, shorts and all) your eyes popped open and you threw a punch right at nurse Dan’s face.  I guess waking up with ½ your clothes on caught you off guard.  He didn’t get hurt too bad… you were high on morphine after all.

The last two things you said in your first life will remain with me forever.  First, you said “I was chosen, I am going to die”.  What an incredibly profound statement to hear.  Even more so from a 14 year old.  Always wise beyond your years.  I couldn’t believe it.  Was it faith?  Was it God talking to you?  Was it to comfort all of us?  I think it was a little of all those.  I also believe it was your way of telling us that you were going to be okay.  For you to know it and accept and acknowledge the situation was incredible.

You said something about “My babies! Where are my babies?!”  We all leaned in close & asked “What babies, Carter?”  You said, “I have two babies.”  “The dogs?” your mom asked.  “No, I have two babies.”  I like to believe in some life you do. One bit of advice for you.  If your kids want to shoot hoops in the driveway when it is late and cold out, do it anyway.  In April of 2015 when you were feeling good, you wanted to shoot hoops.  After a while I went in the house.  I sat for about five minutes and then said to Joy, “I think I have to go shoot hoops in the cold with the kid some more.”  I thank God all the time that I went back out there with you.  Even though it was colder than shit out.

See you soon,  talk to you tomorrow.   Pops.

 

 

Stay Calm & Shoot Hoops!
Profs Dr. Wendy & Dr. V. 

Advertisements

And Life Goes On

Written on 6.30.16
in loving memory of
Carter Joseph Boerboom 
5.16.01 – 6.30.15
#carterstrong  #carterstrongcommunity

BLOG life clouds

Walking outside early this morning I was immediately struck by the picture in the sky. The clouds were the “storybook” kind.  They looked amazing in the sky –and this was even before my cup of coffee!  Anyone who knows me well probably had a chuckle with that previous line as I am the kind of person who walks around rattling off the technical names of clouds for the pure enjoyment of it…and here it’s “storybook.”  Okay – read on then…

I thought about the clouds while on the walk with Stella, our family St. Bernard this morning.  Highway traffic was buzzing from afar, birds were chirping, and the tall grasses were rustling.  Life was happening all around.  I recalled that it was Carter’s angelversary – one year since he passed away and became cancer-free.  Wait. How can it be a year already?  That can’t be right.  He was just here smiling, laughing, joking, and ballin’ it up on the court.  Well, now that I think of it – Carter never met Stella. She is a year old now and has been a part of the family since last August.  But they haven’t met.  Wow.  Time just flies by and life continues on…but we still miss and mourn and celebrate Carter’s life.  It’s okay to still do that, right?  It’s okay to laugh and cry and live – even when it still hurts.  The hurt doesn’t go away, but it changes.  I knew that I wanted to write a blog post, but I didn’t know if I had the words to express all the different emotions that are felt by each of Carter’s family members and friends.  It reminded me of writing the eulogy last year at this time; it was also a Thursday early morning with the sun just peeking up over the horizon.  I didn’t know where to begin and if the words would come to me then either…and then they did because they came from all of you.

There are signs all around us if we know to pause to look and listen for them.

Today a pair of #carterstrong-inspired, customized shoes arrived… two weeks earlier than anticipated.  The fedex driver needed us to sign for them, and we were actually home to do just that, which is somewhat amazing in itself.  This may not seem like a big deal or explicit sign, but believe me, it was.

BLOG life shoes

I found the dragonfly garden ornament that I couldn’t find to put out this year.  This week… on Tuesday, which is the day of the week that Carter passed away.  The chaplin shared the story of the dragonfly with us in the hospital room just after Carter left this world.

BLOG life dragonfly

There was a guest author, Nora McInerny Purmort, on MPR on 6.29.16 talking about her life experience of living through death.  She took her grief and love and wrote a novel, It’s Okay to Laugh (Crying is Cool Too).  The interview was incredible and real and timely.  I actually paused from my task and was amazed by all the things Nora was saying; I totally “got it.”

I received an email from a friend and colleague.  It was about grief and living and being okay.  Thank you.  The timing was perfect, and helped me process and compose.

The list goes on…

So what do I really want to say about Carter and memories of him?
I think it is said best here…

I didn’t die today.  I lived until today!  ~Carter’s Dad, Wade (posted 6.30.15)

Carter’s been cancer free for a year – maybe not in the conventional way; but his spirit lives on, his story lives on, and I truly believe each and everyone of us carries him in our hearts every day. Thank you to everyone who’s showed my family support these last few years. We remain ‪#‎carterstrongforever    ~Katie

1 year. 52 weeks. 365 days. 8760 hours. 525,600 minutes since you grew your wings.  We miss you all the time.  There isn’t a second that goes by that you aren’t on our minds.  You’re forever in our hearts. 14 years old was just too young.  We love you bud from the siblings.  #carterstrong  #angelversery #cancersucks 5/16/01-6/30-15   ~Belle

One year ago, you earned your wings as an angel in heaven, and I thank my lucky stars that you were a part of my life. You fought a good fight with strength and perseverance like I’ve never seen. Your smile and your laugh are something I could never forget even if I tried, including your Chewbacca impressions and your critiquing of my basketball skills, or lack thereof…Miss you everyday Carter… We all miss you…~Cody

And maybe someday I’ll see you again
We’ll float up in the clouds and we’ll never see the end
And we’ll go up, up, up
But I’ll fly a little higher
We’ll go up in the clouds because the view is a little nicer
~Zach Sobiech

Life is about living and loving.  Even as the world continues to spin, Carter will not be forgotten and continues to be loved.

BLOG life Carter's family

Laugh. Love. Mourn. Love. Live. Love. Repeat as needed.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Stay awesome Marshall. Everyone I hope you’re doing okay, and STAY AWESOME.
– Carter Boerboom

 

Stay Calm & Live Life!
Profs Dr. Wendy & Dr. V.

 

New Beginnings Never Get Old

BLOG JV graduation S16

It happens each spring and shouldn’t be a surprise. Kids grow up and spread their wings for the next adventure, leaving the nest and mama birdie. Graduation marks the closing of a chapter and the start of the next. It is a familiar storyline, and one we just wrote about last week. So why did it creep up on this mama birdie?

BLOG JV graduation3 S16

 

This BLOG JV graduation S16week my oldest son, Jackson, graduated from the 8th grade. Maybe this isn’t a huge ordeal, but to this mama, it was an emotional one. It seems like just yesterday, I was on bed rest for 8 weeks patiently awaiting (while trying to postpone) his arrival. We have been on a rollercoaster called “life” since before he was born, and continue to be – or get back in line for another turn at the amusement park.
JV – as his cousin, Carter, nicknamed him – has been in the same school and part of the school family since preschool. He is now preparing for his next adventure – high school.

Don’t get me wrong – he is ready. He is growing up to be a fine, respectable, young man. He has taught me much about being a mama birdie along the way. He is ready. I may not be, but that is how life goes. We sometimes aren’t ready for the big leap. We just have to have a little faith and jump.

Two takeaways from this post –

Do what you can to prepare – but know they will make some good and bad decisions along the way. Guide them to make better decisions in the future and commend them for the good decisions made. Good or bad experiences – learn and grow from them and love them.

This last one goes out to the teacher candidates – do your very best – give your very best each day because the students are courting on you – the birdies are leaving the nest in some way at every grade and every day of every year…and need you. No pressure! 🙂

Congrats on closing this chapter and looking ahead to the next!

Stay Calm & Lead On!
Profs Dr. Wendy & Dr. V.

We Are Made To Be More

BLOG Whitney Burmeister
As we strive to do more each day in our careers and lives, we were recently reminded, what we really need to do – is to be more. We can allow our days to fly by with schedules full, but what does it mean if the days mean nothing at all but items to check off the list?

This past week the NSIC – Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference met for the summer annual meetings. We gather together to consider what has passed – to celebrate successes and to move forward together to strategically plan for future successes. We are an optimistic group! 🙂 By the way, it happens to be the best NCAA Division II conference…not that I am biased!

At the Honors banquet, we celebrated the Willis R. Kelly Award recipient, who is the top female scholar-athlete in the 16-school conference. This award is based on a combination of academic and athletic accomplishments. But really, it is so much more. The faculty athletics representatives in the conference highly consider leadership and community service attributes in this decision. Whitney Burmeister, who will be a senior at Southwest Minnesota State University this fall, was selected as this year’s Kelly award winner. When I asked Whitney to share about herself, one of the highlights for her was being a class notetaker for other students on campus. She shared “it may seem minimal to others, but I love that I can help someone by taking notes for them if they need assistance.” She is also actively involved in the “It’s A Slam Dunk, Don’t Drive Drunk” campaign on campus as well as serving as the SAAC – Student-Athletes Advisory Committee serving as the secretary and working for the IFO – Interfaculty Organization office. (Working with faculty across campus is no small undertaking!) Whitney excels in the classroom as an Exercise Science major and on the court as a key volleyball player. She grew up on the farm milking cows and knowing what work ethic truly is in life, sport, and school.

She truly is an outstanding student and outstanding athlete. Moreover, she is so much more. We share this today because our goal for all of us – is to be so much more. We aren’t “just” this or that. Collectively, when we care for others, we are more.

With the recent death of my nephew, Carter, we learned as tough as days can be, the road would be so much more challenging if we didn’t have “more” from others. The outpouring of community support from family, friends, and strangers has been overwhelming. People truly are so much more. ~SV

Our goal is that we continue to move forward and pay it forward. Let us consider this example and Whitney’s example of how we can be more for others. It isn’t who you are or what you do… but what more you do that counts. As teachers, leaders, citizens, it is our responsibility to be more.

Be more.

Stay Calm & Lead On!
Profs Dr. C. & Dr. V.

Fight

This is my fight song
Take back my life song
Prove I’m alright song…
And I don’t really care if nobody else believes because I’ve still got lot of fight left in me.

Fight Song ~ Rachel Platten

Have you heard it? Are you living it? If you are here and reading this now, you need to fight. Fight for your beliefs. Fight for others. Fight for love. Fight for your life. We aren’t necessarily talking about breaking out the boxing gloves, but we are talking about not going down without a fight. For whatever path you are on.

Hard work and determination can take you places – a lot of places on your winding path. I have spent the past few weeks watching my boys work hard at practice and play all over the countryside…and even yard work in the backyard. I get tired just watching them, but I never tire of watching them. They go all out – whether in an AAU game on the court or in the backyard on the court or pulling weeds for their crazy mother (aka – me).

It amazes me how deep all three of my sons can dig. From running and strength training (Jackson) to breaking boards to pass his second poom junior black belt test (Jonah) to pulling out his own tooth because his dad said that he couldn’t do it (JR) – my boys’ determination surprises me and impresses me.

JV PACE  Jonah jr boards   JR baseball

One example to share about my oldest … He has discovered intrinsic motivation this year at the age of 13. He has grown up to the point of becoming my cheerleader. We used to run together last summer, and he pretty much loathed it. Something happened. This summer when we run together, or rather, start our run together, he speeds off into the sunset and then runs in place while he cheers me on to catch up. He then proceeds to “fist-bump” me and say something to the effect of “Nice work, Mom. Keep it up. I knew you could do it.”

 JV T&F 4

What has happened here?  He decided to fight to be better than he was and change his mindset. He decided to put in the hard work and dedication to get better for him, not me or anyone else. I keep thinking to myself, “where did this new found drive come from?” He just made a decision to get better and work through his discomfort. One of the reasons I think he works so hard is watching his cousin, Carter, fight. He is fighting against Ewing Sarcoma. This life-altering fight has caused many of us to press pause and then push forward and fight harder. If Carter can do what he is doing with a positive outlook, we can do so much more than we did before.

TeamCarter                  Carterstrong

Sometimes life’s challenges can make us reflect on our lives and work harder to be better than yesterday. We just need a little motivation to get us past the initial discomfort and fight harder.

We need to motivate ourselves and each other. It is time to re-energize. To be able to do that again or to do it better or to try something new… It seems the opportune time to do so –summer, a break, a vacation – the perfect time to repurpose, reenergize, renew, and fight.

Work hard. Play hard. Fight. Repeat. Switch up the order as needed. This post has gone a little off its original course, but the moral of the story is to fight.

~SV

 

Stay Calm & Lead On!
Profs Dr. C. & Dr. V.

Life’s All About The “F” Word!

Memorial Day was a day to stand at attention and salute all soldiers who fought on or continue to fight on the battlefield of war, risking their lives to bless us with the greatest gift of all—freedom! Thank you, Veterans, for giving that right to us! We esteem you so!

National Cancer Survivors’ Day is Sunday, June 1st. It is a day to salute our brave friends—Erica, Sharon, Erin—warriors who fight on a different battlefield. The battlefield of cancer!

Erica, who continues to fight colon cancer that has spread to her liver.

Sharon, who fought breast cancer and is three years victorious.

Erin, who was recently diagnosed with melanoma again…clean for over a decade…and so her battle begins again.

Life is so precious! As Erica always says about treatments, “Let’s get this show on the road,” and as Sharon always says about life, “Life’s all about the “F” word.” So, without further ado and in honor of Erica, Sharon, and Erin…and can’t forget the guys, Carter and Papa (although Carter would be ticked that we were considering him with a list of girls…although these ladies are warriors so it’s just not the same!)…let’s get this show on the road and remember that life IS all about these “F” word(s):

Faith: “Faith makes all things possible…not easy!” Author Unknown

Family: “Other things may change us, but we start and end with family.” ~Anthony Brandt

Friends: “We’ll be friends forever, won’t we Pooh?’ asked Piglet. Even longer,’ Pooh answered.” ~Winnie the Pooh

Food: “Vegetables are a must on a diet. I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread, and pumpkin pie.” ~ Jim Davis

Fun: “I know it is wet and the sun is not sunny, but we can have lots of good fun that is funny.” ~Dr. Seuss

Fairway: “As you walk down the fairway of life you must smell the roses, for you only get to play one round.” ~Ben Hogan

Fashion: “Lace-trimmed socks do help me play soccer better.” ~Fancy Nancy

Forgiveness: “Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.” ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

We thank you from the depths of our souls, Erica, Sharon, and Erin (…and Carter and Papa).

Thank you for showing us steadfast courage.

Thank you for showing us remarkable determination.

Thank you for showing us unwavering faith.

And most of all, thank you, gals, for showing us how to truly fight like a girl.

Happy National Cancer Survivors’ Day, girlfriends. We love you and we salute you! Stay calm and FIGHT on!!

Image
googleimages

Stay Calm & Lead On!

Profs Dr. C. & Dr. V.