Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Gift's of Love

This week has been great and positive as we have been able to get Britten involved  at the University.  He is now attending Speech Therapy at USU  2 days a week, while continuing at the Hospital the other days.  Britt is excited to be up on campus as he bumps into many friends.  He is thrilled to be able to attend an institute class (Miracles of Christ), where the Instructors have been so willing to help.  Britten is now involved on the Activities committee and had a great time passing out pizza for "game day!"   Britten cheered the Aggies on, where he thought it was so cool to be standing on the 3rd row in the student section.  But he soon found out that 3 hours was too long to stand on his foot, as it caused him great pain and the loud cheering  gave him a headache.  I texted him to see how he was doing and he said, "I can't really see anything, but I'm doing great!"

So many acts of service are shown to our family on a weekly basis.  Grand Parents , friends and neighbors continue to help us drive Britt to and from his therapy's. The sacrifice on their part helps me tremendously as it gives me a few hours to get something done (like the blog). Haha

A few weeks ago, two little neighbor boys came to visit Britten one evening.  They handed him some money and said,  "We made these braided wrist bands and sold them at school, so we could raise money to help you pay for your therapies."   What great love was shown by 2 young primary children, as they sacrificed their money and time to serve Britten.
Another kind act of love was shown by a young women in our Ward, as she had a baked food sale for her Young Women's project. She and class members spent many hours in preparing, baking and selling foods, as she raised a generous amount of  money to help Britten with his therapy's.

We are so deeply touched by the gifts of love that we have felt, that others have given of themselves to bless our life.     No greater present could be recieved than that of love.

As Britten finished speech therapy this week, I was so excited for the great progress he is  making.  My heart fluttered with gratitude as the therapist started to share her feelings with me about Britten, She said,
"As one of Britten's therapists, I have been so thrilled and excited with his motivation and eagerness to learn. He is such a hard worker and is so involved in his therapy. He wants to be challenged and it is so wonderful to have a client who is so invested in his treatment and is willing to work hard at every session. He even lets me know if I am not challenging him enough, or if I jump in to help him too soon (and I appreciate that.) 
I told him that I have never had a client (in 20 years) that worked as hard as he does, or is as motivated as he is. I have also never had a client who made documentable progress at every single therapy visit.
It is so fun and rewarding to work with him."

Our Labor Day weekend was great as we enjoyed spending time with family. Britten was thrilled to be on a jet ski with his brother (one of his favorite past times) for the first time in two years.  It was exciting to watch Britt play football with the guys as he was the quarterback for his team.   Britten's balance continues to improve each week with physical therapy, as we watched him play volleyball.
We couldn't help cheering when he jumped up and block Canon's Spike!   I continued to be amazed while being grateful, for how well he does with such little site!  My Father says, "someone is helping him see."

Two weeks ago, August 22, 2012, I took Britten into the Ear, Nose Throat Doctor for a check up dealing with his Vertigo and being so nauseous. The Doctor decided to do an Audio Test on Britten to see where he was at. The Doctor had the reports that were done at the U of U on June 21, just 2 months earlier that showed he had a 30-35% hearing loss in his left ear. They said that surgery could be done to possibly correct this problem.
The Audiologist performed the test and said, "His hearing is normal." I looked at him with a puzzled look and said, "No, he was just tested 2 months ago and he has hearing loss." He said, "Well, it's normal now." Again, my heart started to flutter as tears welled up in my eyes.
The ENT (who knows Britt) came in and said, "I don't know why I am surprised. Why should I expect anything else." I left the Doctor's office and sat in the waiting room for minute. I had a hard time trying to control my emotions as we continue to to see the Lords merciful hand in Britten's recovery

It is amazing to us see Britten's progress.  It is also amazing to us that so many wonderful people are keeping Britten and our family in their thoughts and prayers.  We feel so blessed as a family to be witnesses of the continued blessings and love from our Father in Heaven and his son Jesus Christ.  It is a humbling experience to witness and be involved in.  We love you all for all the love that has been shown to us.  We love our Heavenly Father and Savior Jesus Christ and know all good things come from him.


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Discouraging Days

For the past 3 months since we have been home, Britten has been so cheerful, with such an upbeat positive attitude.  He has had a few days of discouragement, but has been able to stay focused and happy.  The past 2 weeks have been extremely difficult for him as his friends are headed back to College and involved with their studies, work and social life.  Some friends are engaged to be married and excited for their future.

Britten is starting to question his future.  "Will I ever be able to go back to College?"  Britten's studies are relearning to read and write in the simplest form.  As tears are running down his face, he says, "I know my eyes will get better some day, but I don't know if it will be 1 year, 2 years, 8 years, or even 20 years. I won't be able to be a dentist until my eyes get better."  Other questions are consuming his thoughts like, "Will I ever be able to drive a car again?  What will I do for work?  Will I ever be able to work and make a living for my family?  What girl will want to marry me?"

My heart cries,  because these are very legitimate questions.
I try to reassure Britten that Heavenly Father has been with him every step of the way, everyday.  He will not abandon you now.  He will help you know what you can do and he will allow opportunities to open up for you so you can have a happy, successful life.  Sometimes things don't turn out how we plan, but if we have faith and rely on our Savior, he will help us everyday.  We just need to concentrate on one day at a time.
I asked Britt, "are you progressing each day?"  He replied, "Yes, I'm doing amazing!"  I then  tried to assure him that we just need to concentrate on, one day at a time.  It's like President Monson said, "Life by the yard is hard, but by an inch...it is a cinch!"  Britten agreed and smiled that he can do that!

Probably one of the most frustrating things for him, is knowing how his personality traits were before the accident, and how his brain injury has altered some of that.  One of Britten's best attributes that has blessed his life as well as our family's, is that he is a peacemaker.  He has had the patience of Job and this has blessed him to stay calm, not get irritable with others (especially his brothers), to not speak unkind words in any situation.  He never raised his voice at us, even when he was upset and showed up most respect for us.  The song, "I'm try to be like Jesus" was Britten in every way.

Now, due to the injury, he gets frustrated with himself, because certain things can agitate him.  He doesn't let out his frustrations very often, but will let them build inside until he finally lets it out.  He will say, "I don't want to be this person.  I want to be the person I was before.  I would never get mad.  I don't like it when I get mad over little things.  I just want to be the person, I was before."

 I also feel bad, because many aspects of his life have changed, and yet...He is still the same person.  He is still that same kind, loving, compassionate, patient person.
  I have been amazed at how well Britten has been able to contain his frustrations and emotions.  I tell him, "he is probably more normal now, like me and many others, that speak too quick and regret it or get mad easily, when the situation really doesn't matter."   

While we were in the hospitals I posted the quote above Britten's bed, "The future is as bright as your faith".  I looked at it several times a day. When days were so discouraging and hard, I wondered, how can we do this,  I would look up....and see..."The future is as bright as your faith."  Along with all the encouraging words from family and friends (old and new), that is what got us through the day. 

I think it is now time for this quote to hang in Britten's room, to encourage him to: "Be of Good Cheer, The Future is as Bright as Your Faith".  
Thank You President Monson for your profound words of encouragement that have gotten us through, even the darkest days.

On occasion I have read to Britten his own words sent home on Oct. 31, 2011.
There have to be challenges and trials in our lives, to make us rise just a little higher and do just a little better.  It is those challenges and trials that shape who we are, and depending on how we react to them, we can become even better and stronger and more prepared.
There is a famous quote that says, " Just as a Gem cannot be polished without friction, a man cannot be perfected without trials." 
Challenges and trials are a part of this life.  We agreed that they would be a part when we accepted Christ's plan.  I don't believe that God makes things happen to us, but allows them to happen, because He knows that it is through those challenges and trials that we will become better, and that we can become the best we can.
Because of my trials....I'm becoming a better missionary and I'm more prepared for life after. 

 love,  Elder Schenk

Yes, Britten Schenk, You are prepared for life!  You will overcome your challenges and trials with your determination and great faith.    You continue to inspire your family and everyone you come in contact with!  We love you.

Carol Mikita did a short story on Britten if you would like to visit the website.  It is on:  mormon times.   Dated Sept. 2, 2012

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Touched by the Spirit of "Britten's Run"

Our family was deeply touched by the spirit of Britten's Run.  The love that was shared that day was experienced by all.  After the run, an individual shared with me that "the feeling" here is just incredible!  To see family's together on a beautiful morning is just wonderful.  We should do this more often!

After the runners and walkers took off and individual came up to me and said,  I know that you don't know me, but I would like to introduce myself. I'm Kerry Harding from Washington D.C.   As my jaw dropped, I exclaimed, "Of course I know you!"  You are the one that sent Britten a birthday package while he was in the hospital in SLC.  You  are the one that sent him a "welcome home gift" after reading about it on the blog".  The package contained the Brazil soccer team jersey that was worn in the Olympics, Brazilian goodies, inspirational music and sunshine candy!  But what meant the most was the heart touching letters that were included.  Brother Harding, You are an inspiration to us!  You have made me think about my life and have inspired me to be a better person.  To reach out to others, (even when thousands of miles separate you) to cheer and lift one's spirit. 
We visited with him for 2 or 3 minutes, took pictures with him, then he said, "I better get going, this is my first 5K ever!"  We didn't see him the rest of the day.  It was if he was an "angel" that came and touched our hearts, then was gone.  Brother Harding, you will always have a special place in our hearts...especially Britten's!

Our cousins, Dan and LaNae Maughn rode their bikes sporting their "Britten's Run shirts" in support of Britten.  They rode 36.85 miles, riding from their apartment in San Diego, CA to Mission Bay and back, arriving home at 11pm.  Dan and his family are some of our "Heroes" because of their courageous examples of battling through his accident over 25 years ago, leaving him with a TBI and some physical challenges.  One thing we know about Dan is...He Will Never Give Up!

So many individuals touched our lives that day.  People from all walks of life that gave up a beautiful Saturday morning to show love and support to our family.  We are truly thankful for your sacrifice, generosity, friendship and love!
We love each and every one of you!
Steven, Karla & Britten

Saturday morning when I walked from the parking lot across the grass, I was overcome by the sight of all the people that were there for Britten's Run, and it was hard to control my emotions. Everything was so well organized and well prepared. I had the very strong feeling that the Hand of the Lord was in attendance that day. At the start of every committee meeting we would say a prayer and thank Heavenly Father for the opportunity that we had to perform a service for the Schenk family, and please help us to be able to put it all together. And help us He did indeed. SO MANY people were willing to help and spent countless hours to make it a huge success. We will never be able to repay everyone for their help and generosity. Blessings will come to those that were so kind.
co/chairman - Val and Janice Andreasen (Britten's grandparents)


An example of persistence, courage and optimism, this young man is the very definition of a hero to me.   Only something this noble and worthwhile could have motivated me to come all the way from Washington, DC to run in my first 5k ever.
 Kerry Harding-

 Of all of the the things I've done in my life, participating in this event was definitely one of the Top 5. The excitement, the energy, the love -- it was all just electric. I've been photographed with many famous people through the years but the one with Britten, framed along with my event tshirt and race number, will take an honored place on the wall over my desk. Thank you for the honor of being part of this day.
  Kerry Harding-