An Amazing, Life-Changing Week!

This week has been so amazing! I promise that I’ll get back to house projects next week, and I’m still going to work as hard as I can to meet my goal of finishing the bathroom by the end of June. But this last week, home projects have been the last thing on my mind.

As you probably know, Matt and I bought a wheelchair van last week. If you missed that story, you can read about it here. We knew the van was going to be delivered last Saturday, but we didn’t know what time. So Matt got up early, and I got him ready to go out into the world for the first time in years.

Sadly, by the time the van was delivered and all of the paperwork was signed, it was pretty late in the afternoon, and Matt was too exhausted to go anywhere. I did get him into his wheelchair and loaded up in the van so that I could practice attaching all of the straps and the seatbelt, and then we went for just a very short drive around our neighborhood. We drove for less than five minutes, and then he was ready to go home and lie down in bed.

He had asked me about the possibility of me staying home from church on Sunday morning so that we could go for a drive and out to eat, but later on Saturday evening, he decided that I should go ahead and go to church on Sunday, and we’d plan something for the next day since it was a holiday.

So Monday morning came, and I wasn’t sure if he was going to chicken out (I mean, just think about what this must feel like after being housebound for 13 years), but he got up early and was determined to leave the house. He was excited and nervous and emotional. We both agreed that no matter what happened, we wouldn’t panic or get frustrated. If something happened where he felt panicked or overwhelmed, I would simply load him up in the van and drive straight home. I wanted him to feel comfortable and relaxed and know that I wasn’t going to keep him out against his will. He was in control of where we went and how long we stayed out.

I’m so glad that we have the amazing wheelchair ramp from the back studio door that leads to the carport, because it’s so easy for him to get out and into the van. And I ABSOLUTEL LOVE that we got a rear entry van! I can park anywhere and still get Matt in and out of the van easily. I’m not confined to parking in the specific wheelchair accessible parking that has the ramp space on the side for van access.

And here was Matt on Monday morning, about to get into the van for his first real outing in about 13 years. He was emotional, but excited, and giving me a fist pump in the air. (Sorry that these next three pictures are blurry. They’re actually screenshots from videos that I took. I may share the videos later on my Instagram stories.)

And because I didn’t want ANYTHING potentially ruining this outing for us, I didn’t change his shirt before we left, so he had a shirt on with remnants from the previous evening’s dinner that he ate (and spilled on himself) while reclining in bed.

I also didn’t attempt to remove his Hoyer lift sling from underneath him (that’s the green thing you see). Those types of things (like changing shirts) seem easy and effortless to most of us. But they absolutely deplete Matt’s energy. And I could just see me changing his shirt and removing the Hoyer lift sling, and then him convincing himself that he was too exhausted to actually leave the house. I was determined that that was NOT going to happen. So we headed out as is — dirty shirt and Hoyer lift sling. And honestly, I couldn’t have cared less. There were much more important things at work here than to worry about a dirty shirt and a Hoyer lift sling. As he gets more used to going out, and as we learn together how to navigate this new chapter, we’ll both get better at it.

Anyway, once I got him all secured in the van, he seemed pretty relaxed! I had to put a t-shirt under the shoulder strap so that it wouldn’t rub against his neck, but we’ve since learned a much easier way to do the shoulder strap so that it doesn’t even touch his neck.

We went to Rosa’s Cafe for breakfast, and once we ordered and headed for a table, he got pretty emotional. I mean, y’all! This was his first time eating inside of a restaurant in 13 years! And seeing him get emotional made me emotional as well. I’m sure people were wondering what the heck was going on with the couple crying in Rosa’s. 😀

We had such a great time having breakfast together, and I was so glad that we went for breakfast instead of lunch because they’re not busy at all in the morning. I think it would have been a lot more overwhelming had we gone for lunch and had to work around the lunch crowd.

After our leisurely breakfast, we headed to Lover’s Leap at Cameron Park. If you ever visit Waco and do a tour with Waco Tours, this is one of the places they’ll bring you. We saw two vans filled with tourists while we were there.

It was a great day with beautiful weather, and we both enjoyed spending some of the day outdoors at such a beautiful spot in the city. After that, we headed to Sonic to get some cold treats. When we got home, I got Matt out of the van and got him situated inside, and then handed him his Sonic orange slush. He took a sip, and with a huge grin on his face, he said, “This tastes like victory!” 😀 (I know I’ve already shared that part, but it bears repeating. Our outing was a HUGE victory!)

I couldn’t believe how smoothly everything went. I had prepared my mind for some bumps in the road — trouble getting Matt secure in the van, or a spilled drink at the restaurant, or something like that. But none of that happened. The whole experience went off without a hitch, and he felt so comfortable and gained a huge amount of confidence being out and about. In all, we spent about four hours out of the house on Monday.

On Tuesday, I figured he’d want to stay home and rest from all of the excitement on Monday, but I was wrong! While he didn’t feel up to going somewhere where he had to get out of the van, he was very excited about the idea of taking a drive around the city. So I got him up and into his wheelchair, and then loaded him up in the back of the van, and we took off.

We drove by and saw the first house that we rented when we moved to Waco in 2005. We stopped by my mom’s house. We drove all over, and he loved being out and seeing the city. After a couple of hours of sight-seeing, we went to a drive-though and got a late lunch, then headed home to eat.

Once I got him settled at home after our outing on Tuesday, he was exhausted and said, “Just give me two days to relax, and then we’ll do something on Friday.” I was more than happy to do that because I’m not wanting to push him too hard. I do want to gently nudge him enough so that he doesn’t give into fears, and so that he gets past the mindset that the van is just for special occasions or emergencies. I want to nudge him just enough so that he understands that the van is for normal, everyday life, and if he wants to get out and go the grocery store, we can do that. But I don’t want to push him so hard that he’s constantly overly exhausted and can’t have any downtime to rest.

So Wednesday, I had lunch with my mom and then went to my church small group that night, just like normal. Matt was glad to have that time to rest up, and as per his request, I was expecting him to rest up yesterday as well.

So imagine my surprise when we woke up, and he was ready to get out and about again! After his being homebound for 13 years, there was absolutely no way I was going to say no. If he felt like he was up to it, I wasn’t going to argue with him or try to talk him out of it. So we loaded up into the van, and headed to Rudy’s for some barbeque. I took several pictures of him there, but this one is my favorite. There are so many emotions being expressed in his face all at once — happiness, excitement, relief, all along with a few tears.

After lunch, I took him to my church so that he could look around, meet my pastor, and get a feel for the size of the church, etc. And then we did more driving around by the river in various parks. In all, we spent about three hours out and about.

To say that this has been life-changing doesn’t seem adequate. I mean, people use that phrase to describe all types of things, and those things generally aren’t actually life-changing.

But this is. I don’t know exactly what caused this change in Matt — his sudden desire to get out of the house and have a life outside of the house again — but I’m just so thankful! I try to put myself in his shoes, and I just can’t even imagine. I have no idea what it must have felt like being home bound for 13 years. And then I have no idea what it must feel like to suddenly be back out in the world, experiencing all of these things for the first time in well over a decade. I also can’t imagine the amount of fear and anxiety he must be having to overcome, but he’s jumping in with both feet. I couldn’t be more proud of him, or more excited for him.

And he’s not ready to show down yet. 😀 He’s already told me that we’re going to IHOP just as soon as I’m done writing this post. And tomorrow, we’re going to see a movie together for the first time in….well…at least 13 years. We were trying to think of the last movie we saw together in a theater, and the last one we both remember was Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (which we both agree was awful). I’m sure we saw something after that, but we haven’t seen a move together in a theater since around 2008 or 2009. Then on Sunday, he’s going to go to church with me, and possibly out to eat with my family afterwards. This will be his first time going to church in about 15 years.

We both agree that we’re going to have to settle into some sort of schedule, like maybe one outing during the week, and two on the weekend, so that I can actually get some work done. But this past week — our first week with the new wheelchair van — I wanted him to be able to get out and about as much as he wanted to. This was INFINITELY more important than a bathroom remodel or any other house project.

Life-changing, indeed.

UPDATE Monday, June 6, 2022:

Our amazing week continued through the weekend. Friday morning, right after I finished writing the above post, Matt was ready to head to IHOP. We ate so much that we were both ready for a nap. 😀

But we weren’t quite ready to go straight home afterwards, so we did more driving around. It’s hard to imagine, but even though Matt has lived in Waco since 2005, he doesn’t know his way around the city at all since he hasn’t been out and about in the city for the last 13 years. So as we drive around, I tell him street names, and where certain stores and landmarks are, so that he can start learning his way around.

We also did more driving around the parks at the river and found our favorite where we planned to eat lunch the next day.

On Saturday morning, we headed to the movie theater to see Top Gun: Maverick. I’m not sure if Matt was more excited about the movie or the candy. 😀 He actually thoroughly enjoyed both.

After the movie, we headed to Rosa’s Cafe again and grabbed some lunch to go, and then headed to the park that we found the day before. It was perfect. The weather was gorgeous, and the area was very easily accessible for Matt, including one picnic table that was obviously designed differently than the others specifically for a wheelchair user. That was very nice. The park is literally called Mouth of the Bosque, and it’s where the Brazos River and the Bosque River meet. The view is beautiful, and it’s a very fun people-watching area as there are always people boating and kayaking on the water, people biking, walking, and running on the trails, etc.

Yesterday was the perfect ending to an awesome week, as Matt went to church for the first time in about 15 years. It was incredibly emotional. Before church, I messaged my small group on our group text and told them that Matt was for sure coming, so when we arrived, they were all waiting in the lobby to greet us and meet Matt. Such amazing people! They were so excited to meet him and make him feel welcome, and he definitely did.

He wanted to be a wallflower (a back row Baptist 😀 ) on his first Sunday, and I was perfectly fine with that.

After church, we met up with my mom, brother, and sister-in-law at Longhorn Steak House for lunch. It was the longest that Matt had been out and about in one day, and when we got home, he was exhausted. But it was all worth it.

Matt was so excited that he had been out of the house six of the last seven days. One evening (Friday, I think), he was lying in bed thinking about the week he had (so far), and he got very emotional. I looked over at him, and he was too emotional to speak, but through his tears, he mouthed the words, “Thank you,” to me. I got a bit choked up myself at that.

He has talked nonstop about his amazing week, and how can’t believe how much fun he had, and how it has been so life-changing. Last night as we were getting ready for bed, he mentioned it again, and I reminded him that this week wasn’t the end. It was just the start. The wheelchair van isn’t a rental that we have to return, marking an end to his outings. The wheelchair van is ours. We get to keep it, and this is just the beginning of many more weeks and many more outings for him. I think he’s still trying to wrap his head around that. And after 13 years of being stuck at home, it might take a while for him to realize that we can make plans and leave the house whenever he wants to go. But there is no doubt that his life has changed dramatically over the last week. And it’s been so amazing to witness in person.



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    1. Wish you both the best and many more years of outings. This post brought tears of happiness God bless you both

    1. I am crying tears of happiness for both of you! God is so good. The house can wait. Matt has arrived!

  1. This will be a truly memorable week for you and Matt. The bathroom and the house will still be there when you get back. But taking advantage of those special times in life is so worth it

    1. I so agree and you said it better than I could. These special moments for them are so important. The construction work can be put aside for a while. Seeing how happy Matt was just brought tears to my eyes. I can’t imagine not being out for 13 years. Blessings for them.

  2. Oh, this brought tears to my eyes. I am so happy for the two of you. This truly is life changing. Congrats on the new found freedom!

  3. Read all of that through crocodile tears. What joy! God is so good. Be blessed in all of your adventures together!

    1. FYI, crocodile tears are fake tears. I am 47 and just learned that the other day. I always thought it meant big, giant tears.

      And same here, cried through the whole thing. God IS good.

  4. Goodness, Kristi. Pure goodness! This brought tears to my eyes. Congratulations on the new lease on life!

  5. Kristi – So glad you shared this story. It just warms my heart. Agree – much more important than projects.

  6. That is so WONDERFUL! The change in his outlook and willingness to get out is so positive! It can only help his physical well-being. Getting out with him appears to have been a major plus for your mental well being as well. As a nurse, I am so proud of both of you! BTW, tell Matt that Grandma Griffith in Florida thinks he’s a good looking Dude!

  7. Just so very happy for both of you!! The expressions on his face says it all….it certainly was and is life changing for sure.

  8. This is so beautiful! Thank you for sharing. My husband is wheelchair bound and becoming more wary of leaving the house. He’s still able to transfer into our vehicle, but I don’t know how much longer that will be. An accessible van is something I hope to have one day. Enjoy your new adventures!

  9. This made my day!!! I’m tearing up just reading about your unbridled excitement, happiness and all the rest. Your instincts are spot on too; letting Matt go and go but now, getting a schedule down that better meets his needs. Have fun!!

  10. Dear Kristi,
    I have been a follower since your condo days and I have always admired your work but especially your attitude. This post moved me to tears at a time when news events have left me in tears too. However, these are happy tears for you and Matt. I wish you many more happy times out and about in the new van!

  11. Kristy, this was the best blog you’ve ever shared. What an inspiration you are to so many caretakers that have given their best, for the best, that nobody sees. So excited for you and Matt as this new chapter is being written. I’m in happy tears. Blessings to you and Matt❣️

  12. Absolutely thrilled (and teary eyed) for you and Matt. It’s obvious he trusts you implicitly. Cheers to many more new memories!!!

    1. Beautiful post. I hope this this the best summer ever, then fall, then winter… I love that you’re taking a break -you and Matt deserve it. So very happy for you both! Can’t wait to see where this newfound freedom leads you.

  13. It is breathtaking to read these posts about the new van and Matt’s new world! I cannot tell you enough what an amazing person you are and how thankful I am that Matt has you by his side to see him through such difficult times. I am sure these posts give hope to others who are primary caretakers of loved ones. Even for those of us who do not have such challenges in our lives, it reminds me of the goodness of people — of you, in particular — who surround us every day if we open our eyes to them. Many blessings to you and Matt as you continue this remarkable journey!

  14. I’m not crying — you are….
    So very wonderful!
    So glad you are prioritizing your life together with Matt.
    House projects will get done when they get done and that is good enough!

  15. I’m sure you are at least partially responsible for the change! As someone who struggles with severe anxiety and agoraphobia, reading how understanding you are of his potential anxieties and how you reassured him he is in control made me so happy. Your compassion and excitement, with a little nudge is the perfect medicine. Thank you to you and Matt for inspiring me to be brave too and get out more!

  16. The very very very best project post ever! Crying here from happiness for you and Matt, and his new-found freedom!

  17. Thank you for sharing such joyous news. This post completely choked me up but it is so great for you and Matt. I hope you continue to share news of Matt’s new lease on life. The world news is so dark, your post is like the sun busting through the clouds. Blessings to you both and I hope you have many happy adventures.

  18. You are amazing, Kristi Linauer! Had no idea how huge your load was. You put most of the rest of us to shame.

    Know you focused on how intense the events of this week must be for Matt but it had to be intense for you as well, helping him adjust and maneuver in public places after so very long. What an inspiration you are! We need more folks like you in the world. Thank you for your example.

    So glad the week went so very well for you and Matt. Here’s to many more shared outings and beautiful moments of God’s amazing grace.

  19. Pure joy is what I see in Matt’s face! I am so happy for both of you and I love hearing about your adventures. Take as much time as you want to enjoy your life together. There is nothing more precious than time. We’ll all be here whenever you post about whatever you are doing!

  20. I’m so emotional reading this that I can’t imagine how it is for both of you! So happy for you both—I wish I could think of a word or phrase stronger than life-changing but I can’t! This is truly miraculous’ 💕

  21. 😭 I can’t express how happy I am for you guys!! Such a touching story! Thank you so much for sharing… you two are such an inspiration! 🥰❤️

  22. This is just so incredible for you both! I am so happy for you. I can only imagine the joy and grateful hearts you must have for this very special week and all the outings to come. xo

  23. This made me emotional for you. This is amazing, I am so happy for you both. Life changing is an understatement. I’m excited for all the adventures in your future!

  24. This post made me emotional!! I am so happy for both of you to be able to enjoy LIFE TOGETHER out in this big, wide world! Enjoy and post more about your adventures!

  25. This is wonderful! I can’t relate to Matt’s MS (My cousin has MS but is thankfully still doing great with no new lesions and complete mobility) but I have spinal stenosis and neurogenic claudication that is affecting my use of my legs. I live alone, and just basic housekeeping and living is so hard I never do anything else except my job, which also has challenges…I have a scooter at work, but not outside of work. Aaaaanyway…all that to say, I can see a small glimpse of what limited mobility can do….and that taste of freedom has to be sweet, sweet, indeed!

  26. Chills reading this, am so very happy for the two of you. Thank you. Thank you for sharing your life and it’s struggles. The joy comes through totally. Really puts things in perspective for this 80 year old lady! I wish many more blessings for the two of you!

  27. So, so happy for you both. Getting a little choked up over all your adventures that lie ahead.
    God bless you both in this new phase of life.

  28. You are to be commended Tracy for all you do. Matt is surely enjoying his new wheels.
    About the seat belt irritation, my MIL found that too. She took a piece of sheepskin and wrapped it around the seatbelt and secured the outer edges with Velcro. A snap for you to sew. Best of luck to you and Matt. ❤️❤️

  29. To continue your high flying perhaps Maverick will be a great movie for the two of you.
    There is a lot of job, celebration, emancipation, accomplishment, and more in his face. Thrilled for you two.

  30. Such wonderful memories for both of you this week. So happy that Matt is enjoying the van and the experiences that you both can enjoy.

  31. Wow, Kristi–wonderful news! Hooray for Matt, & for you! Brilliant!!
    With love to you both!

  32. Kristi, I am incredibly happy for you and Matt!!! I love that you posted this….beautiful photos that says it all. So many more blessings wished for you both.

  33. I am so thrilled that you were able to get a van with wheelchair capabilities. I love that Matt has decided to get out and see the world as much as he is able. My love to both of you!

  34. So excited for you and Matt. The stuggles you talked about seem so minor from outside looking thanks for sharing how exhausting just changine a shirt can be.

  35. I love these posts! Blessings to your new wonderful life!! There’s so much to enjoy in this world. So happy for you both!

  36. Over the moon with JOY for you both…..My heart is smiling broadly…. My sincere abundant good wishes for you both that you travel….“To Infinity and Beyond!!!”

  37. an absolutely beautiful and perfect post. well done on the van discovery and purchase. i wish you and matt the very best on each and every outing. life changing for both of you in ways more than just the obvious. blessings to you always!

  38. LOOK OUT WORLD!! Matt is smiling again and we’re all smiling too! #teamMATT #freedom
    So entirely overly elated for the both of you!!

  39. Sooo many happy tears for y’all!! I love this so much for y’all! It is simply wonderful! What a courageous man he is! ❤️ And what an awesome wife you are! Absolutely take time for this new chapter! We’re all cheering you on in this new freedom and adventure with Matt, and we’ll all be here cheering you on when you do get back to the house! You definitely have your priorities in the right order!! ❤️

  40. This opens a whole new world of possibilities for both you and Matt. I don’t have words to describe how excited I am for you!

  41. Kristi, I don’t usually comment but have been reading your story for years and this definitely deserves a comment. I am so so happy for you and Matt!!! Have fun and enjoy!!

  42. Hi, Kristi. I am a very long-time reader, first-time commenter, but I just wanted to say how thrilled I am for you and Matt. This post brought me to tears. So happy for you both!

  43. Wow, wow, wow! This is so wonderful and uplifting! I got teary reading of your adventures so far! I am so very happy for you both individually and as a couple. This is a “quality of life” thing that we/I take for granted. Wishing you many more great explorations aheadM

  44. Tears in my eyes, too! So wonderful for you and Matt to get to do things together again! God is so good!

  45. I was so happy for you both while reading your post that it actually brought tears to my eyes! I can’t wait to read about your next adventure! P.S. Rudy’s is awesome! When we lived in Austin, we used to go there a lot 🙂

  46. This is the most hope inspiring post. May you have many, many wonderful adventures together. Fire works on the 4th of July seems like a perfect outing!

  47. Kristi,
    I have followed you for many years. This post will probably remain one of my favorites. It makes my heart sing that you and Matt have found a new way to be happy! Yes, your man is brave, but you have made this happen and I am so proud to know someone with your take charge attitude. Enjoy the moments. Life is short – eat dessert first!

  48. AWESOME news!! Way to go, Kristi and Matt! I love everything about this. The anticipation of going out, the ease of access, Matt allowing you to take the pictures of him still wearing the dirty shirt – and even letting you post it!! Meeting your pastor, and church, going out to eat (again), enjoying the days together. TOGETHER. What a lovely post to read on a Friday afternoon. The home projects can wait.

  49. What an absolute joy to read about Matt’s outings!!! I am so thrilled for you both and excited to put a face to the name and stories about Matt! I hope the new bathroom and van make life so much easier for both of you and continue to give you a new lease on life! You guys sure deserve it!!

  50. I’m sitting here crying after reading this….so darn HAPPY that you and Matt bought that van! Way to go Matt! What a wonderful feeling to get out and GO! So many possibilities for the future. God Bless you both. 💜💜

  51. This is all so Wonderful!!! So happy for both you and Matt!!! Big Smiles and teary eyes here for you both and for the great adventures that lie ahead for you both!! God Blesses!!

  52. Oh my goodness! This makes me have all the emotions at once too, but most of all, so happy for you both! <3

  53. Such a fantastic blessing!

    May there be many new adventures to enjoy sharing together, and with others!

  54. Hello Matt, it’s so good to finally see you!!! My heart is filled with so much admiration for the courage you found in choosing to change your life with this new freedom. The world awaits your discoveries!
    Congratulations and many hugs to you and Kristi.

    Ilene, Eastern Shore of Virginia.

  55. This makes my heart smile. Thank you Lord for wheelchair vans, courage and a willing wife. I could not be any more excited for your new life together.

  56. I couldnt help but get emotional myself over your most recent post! I am so Happy& Excited for your New Life! I cant wait to hear/see more about all of your New Adventures with your husband Matt! What an Amazing Testimony! That wheel chair van is clearly already a huge Blessing!

  57. I have been a long time reader but never commented. But today I just have to respond to tell you and Matt how happy I am for you both. Thank you for sharing this with all of us. What a wonderful post. You and Matt have many adventures ahead of you. Happy trails!

  58. This is my absolute FAVORITE post of yours, hands down! Absolutely thrilled for you and Matt and shedding some happy tears for you.

  59. I am so happy for both of you! Absolutely life changing! The practicals of schedules are important but I’m glad you’re choosing to bask in the joy for a little while first!

  60. This has to be wonderful for both Matt and you to be able to get out together, once again. I hope he continues enjoying what little freedom he has been robbed of by this dreadful disease. My older brother had MS, which progressed rapidly, causing him to pass away in the prime of his life. Congratulations to Matt on taking this big step and to you, for not only encouraging him, but in sharing this milestone with all your readers. ♥

  61. Kristi and Matt my heart just fills with joy for both of you. That van was heaven sent to open up the world of possibly for you. ❤️🙏❤️

  62. Congrats, Matt, on the new van! Is there something in particular that jumps out as so different about Waco? I’m sure I take too much of the natural beauty outside (rivers & sunsets) for granted.

  63. How wonderful for you both! Nice to see you Matt! Go go go!
    Rosa’s is a great restaurant. I know the owner, Bobbie Cox. I worked at the vet clinic that takes care of his race horses at his farm North of Weatherford. My daughter is running one of his horses Sat night at Delta Downs. Trainer Heath Taylor, 8 th race, #2 Shott Gun. He’s good!

  64. I know, I know, tons of comments. Of course, because this is one of the most beautiful posts I have ever read from anyone! Can’t thank you enough, really needed to read this today.

  65. I agree with most of the people who have commented that this is the best post you have posted! I am so happy for both of you! We all love your amazing handiwork but we love and care about you and Matt more. You guys have become a part of our lives as we look forward to your posts. And don’t worry any little problems as you are out and about are only little bumps in the road. The best of luck to you both on your new adventures!!

  66. Kristi- This made me well up with tears. I remember how getting the wheelchair van changed my father’s life too. I am so happy for you both and have a new found respect for you and ALL you do. You really are superwoman 🙂 Great to hear the joy in your post. A gift for you as well .

  67. Reading today’s post made me happy inside. So very well done Kristi. I will never meet you or Matt as I live on the other side of the world but I would like to. Enjoy the new found freedom as the bathroom will still be there tomorrow. Much love and respect to you both ❤️❤️❤️

  68. I can’t express my love for this enough for you. My happiness and delight for you. I work in disability and seeing these profound moments is just wonderful and humbling. Thank you for sharing this.

  69. this asked to be the best post I’ve ever read! It really is a reminder that we should never take anything for granted! thank you for sharing, I will be praying for you and your husband that you have many more excursions ahead! 🙏🙏

  70. I can only imagine how Matt feels, being out in the world after all that time. So much has changed, I’m sure, as I remember when we were there quite a few years ago, that the highways all seemed to be having construction! We could tell things were changing in the area. I know I have been mostly home bound due to Covid since 2020 and am now trying to get out more, but it doesn’t last long. Anxiety kicks in, plus the things I used to do while out don’t seem as enjoyable or important as before. Still, I try to get out for my mental health! Have fun enjoying the world again together!

  71. So happy for you both. I have a niece with CP who is slowly becoming home bound because of loss of muscle tone, need for Hoyer lift, etc. just getting to hard to move her. Your story touches me deeply and I Am crying big tears for you both. Big fat sloppy happy tears.

  72. Thank you so much for sharing your special story with us! We rejoice with you and Matt! God bless!

  73. Kristi, this is just so amazing! My heart is full of happiness for both you and Matt! This van is such a blessing to y’all! And you are absolutely right… renovations can wait! This is the time for some life-changing outings and adventures for Matt! Here’s to many more! xo

  74. Praise God From Whom
    ALL Blessings Flow!
    I’m proud for you both. And I do believe that, unknowingly, YOU needed some out & about time, too! So glad everything went smoothly & y’all shared some wonderful outings, with MANY more to come!

  75. Thank you for your story! It really puts my everyday struggles in perspective! I am always trying to be a glass half full in my attitude and this makes me realize what I take for granted.
    Congratulations on your new van!

  76. Oh, Kristi, it’s like he’s been released from prison! Enjoy every moment! And hi there, Matt! It’s nice to finally “meet” you!

  77. I have been following your story for, oh I don’t even know who long! I think you were in the apartment.
    I am so happy for the both of you.
    WOOHOO!!!!! Matt don’t give up ! The courage you are showing is amazing! I wish you only the best, and enjoy the adventures that await you.

  78. Heartwarming to read your post. I have been following you for a long time and did not realise this challenge that both you and Matt have been facing. Such wonderful news. Welcome to the World Matt. I hope you have many more wonderful adventures. Kristi you are a good woman.

  79. Congratulations! Amazing! There are NOT enough words to type to proclaim how I feel for BOTH of you! I will leave it at you don’t spend time reading..but time out and about! So proud..and happy for BOTH OF YOU! Sending hugs love and prayers! XOXOXO

  80. Thanks for sharing your experiences with the new van and Matt’s ability to go out in it. It must be so emotional for both of you. God Bless You both!

  81. Wonderful!

    My friend, who had been in a wheelchair since childhood, loved going to movies and out to eat! I was fortunate to tag along for her first vacation (in her 40s) – a girls’ trip. This was a big deal bc no one but her dad or a transportation service had driven her across state lines. Sadly, I backed into a truck in the hotel parking lot, but even THAT (bc the van was still driveable) didn’t dampen her enthusiasm and sense of adventure. That’s how big this vacation was for her!

    Such exciting times lie ahead for you and I’m so happy Matt is literally along for the ride. Van talks are fun. Enjoy!

  82. There is absolutely nothing to say here but “hallelujah!” And I finally got to see a picture of the gorgeous man you are married to! You are both so lucky to have found each other in this one lifetime! Bless you both and (pun intended) let the good times roll!!!!

  83. you can always finish the bathroom…..enjoy life—nothing better than taking it all in….!!! nothing better than smiles….laughs….. the van has changed your life!!!

  84. What a wonderful week for the two of you! So happy that you could both enjoy this…you both deserve it!

  85. As I read this my heart is beating crazy with happiness for both of you and yes, I had happy tears! Life changing indeed…. You are so blessed❤️❤️

  86. Aw, bless both of you! Tears in my eyes; so very happy for you. And thanks be to God for providing this opportunity.

  87. How very nice to meet you Matt!! It is so nice to have a picture to go along with the name. I am so happy for you and Kristi, so very happy. I’ve was cooped up for 2 years and can’t imagine 13 years. I do hope we hear more about the adventures you and Kristi take. Thank God for this. Kristi, I’m sure others have said the bathroom can wait, and they are right. I, for one, wouldn’t want to miss going out with such a good looking man. God bless you both.

  88. A suggestion for Matt’s dignity: My wheelchair-bound mom was reluctant to go out to eat because she couldn’t be positioned at a table so as to prevent dribbling and spilling on herself, which embarrassed her. Finally, I got the bright idea to have a friend use some cheap, lightweight bath towels and velcro to make easy-on/off bibs for her! We used them for every meal home and away, kept her clean and preserved her dignity. Why I didn’t think of it sooner than I did is beyond me.

  89. I have often wondered how you and Matt handled his being home bound so well. I truly admire both of you. Happy tears of joy for Matt to get out and about to see the world after 13 years. You both are in my Prayers.

  90. Rejoicing with you! I love hearing the joy you relate for him, but also your obvious joy to share in all that means with him. A blessing indeed!

  91. THIS IS AMAZING! I can’t believe what it must have been like being stuck at home for 13 years. I had no idea he was homebound and can see the emotion and excitement he felt getting out. Thank you for sharing this. I’m so thrilled to hear all of this!

  92. What a wonderful post! Thank you for sharing your family triumphs with us. I’m so happy for Matt and he should be so proud of himself for embracing this new phase of life. Glad you took a vacation week and celebrated with him. 🙂

  93. Not being out for 13 years, no one can imagine what Matt must be feeling. Yes, it is life changing…it has given Matt his life back even if it is a little different. You must be so proud of him. I can’t wait until, say, church and family dinner on Sunday is a routine event. This is as life changing for you, Kristi, as it is for Matt. You may have lots of Home Depot, grocery, Hobby Lobby trips with Matt’s company.
    I didn’t know that they even had rear entry vans. It’s awesome!

  94. Such an amazing change-of-life event to be allowed to share in—thank you!😊

    May you all reap great blessings from all the adventures that lie ahead!👍🏻

  95. This is a whole new chapter in your lives, and I’m thrilled for you! I get emotional thinking how Matt must feel about his new freedom. This will have positive effects on him I’m quite sure.

  96. This was the most touching post. I only experienced 6 months of my husband in a wheel chair so I know some of the things you go through everyday and still do all the remodeling. Your an amazing wife. My husband never asked to go out because he said it was too hard on me. We went out very seldom but he always felt so much better after even though he was tired. He said he felt normal again. I bet Matt was so overwhelmed seeing all the things he heard you talk about going to. This post brought back those times for me. Your taking time off needed no apologies he should come first and your readers should be understanding and happy for you to be able to give Matt this wonderful gift of becoming part of the world again. . This was so more exciting than any reveal of a room. It means your life will become a little more normal….spending time together doing things so many people take for granted. Congratulations on the first week of a new life.

  97. I am in such awe of your story. Thank you for reminding us not to take anything for granted. May God bless you and Mark with many more fun-filled outings with more love, laughter, and joy than your hearts can hold.

  98. I’m tearing up reading how this has changed Matt’s life. I am beyond thrilled for you both. And being a back row Baptist is not a bad thing. 🙂

  99. Happy tears for you both! Was thinking about you as I came through Waco on 6 going to College Station to my Grandsons, yesterday. Wish I’d had time to visit the parks! Fast trip there and back, But maybe next time I can explore a little.
    Sounds like your lives are fixin to be much better!
    Will your dog get to go, too?

    1. Cooper will join us eventually. Right now, Matt and I probably need a little more practice and experience with just the two of us. I’m getting much faster at getting Matt in and out of the van, but the thought of adding a dog into the mix right now would stress me out. 😀

  100. I’m sure I’m not the only reader left in tears. I’m so happy for you both! Although I’m not in a wheelchair, I’ve been housebound for over five years. I only go out for medical and dental appointments, and I’m thankful to be able to do so.

  101. This one is for Matt:

    Hi Matt,

    I am sitting here at home in Macas, which is in the Amazon area of Ecuador, and thinking about the two of you. I have had the fun of reading through almost 200 comments sent to Kristi and you over the last few days. I hope you either read them yourself or Kristi read them out loud to you.

    Now you know you have a huge fan club!

    Of course, none of us have met you two in person but I think it is fair to say that we feel like we are almost friends. You have shared your life with us–the ups and
    downs, so thank you for that. That took courage and humility. Seeing your picture, I get the feeling you have a great sense of fun and that will increase with more stimulation of seeing the real world go by and being in the midst of it when you are out and about with people around you.

    I have no doubt you will inspire others who are in a similar situation, or caring for someone who is, to broaden their exposure to life if they have been reluctant to do it.

    Your van excursions have been a joy to read about. What a treat for you to be out in that snazzy van. I like that you have such a practical back-end entry and exit so you don’t have to reposition the wheelchair once you are inside. I hope the ride is fairly quiet so you two can chat as you tour Waco and note the changes that have come over the 13 years of being in the house. Exploring the city and surroundings will get better and better so enjoy!

    I think it is great Kristi is taking needed breaks from her many projects. The house will still be there and we will be too, ready to see the wonderful things she will continue to do.

    She is a very special woman with a warm heart. May we emulate the fine example of loyalty she shows in her love for you. I’m sure you are very proud of your Wonder-Woman.

    I have one favor to ask you (I have a feeling your influence may nudge her agreement–at least, I hope so.) Please post a photo or two of you together so we can enjoy the whole picture. No fair hiding; there is no reason to do that. So pretty please, ask her. (If she doesn’t read this part of the message to you, tell her I-will-know. 🙂 )

    I am sending warmest love to you, Matt. Share it with your bride. Is this your 20th anniversary year?

    1. I read your comment to Matt (the whole thing 😀 ), and he got emotional. The whole thing is still very emotional for him, and he gets teary-eyed when people share in his excitement. And yes, this September will be our 20th. Woohoo!!

  102. I have been in your shoes. My husband was in a wheelchair for the last 10 years or so and I know what a big deal it is to get out and about. I’m very happy for both of you. I also know that there are really hard times that get overlooked and misunderstood. I just want you to know that you are not alone in the world and it’s ok to have bad days. Matt knows that you love him and you are an uncelebrated hero just as much as he is! Best of luck to both of you and congratulations on being able to just enjoy “normal” (or what everyone else thinks in normal) life. Isn’t that what it’s all about anyway? 🙂

  103. Reading your update has me crying with tears of joy for you and Matt! How wonderful that a new chapter is beginning for you two! Blessings!

  104. Oh Matt and Kristi! I’m a bit late reading this, but I am tearfully ecstatic for you both. Matt, your life has just change dramatically, and in the best possible way. I am so thankful that you have such an amazing partner in Kristi, and I wish you both endless happy outings going forward!

  105. I just read the update. It still thrills my soul what a material object (the van) can do to change a life. I’m so excited for both of you.

  106. I teared up the first time I read this post and then again when I read the update. I’m so happy for the two of you, but especially for Matt and his new lease on life! I wish you all the best as you now figure out how to balance work and play adventures. I think “play” will do you both a lot of good!

  107. I too read this through tears of joy. It is so unbelievable how the van purchase has totally changed your lives together for greatness!!! The simple things like lunch out, a movie, church, or just a ride around town will be enjoyed so much by you both, and you are spending good times together! We are all so happy to watch you work less/slower, while you and Matt enjoy life again…it’s all we would wish for you both. Matt’s expressions were priceless, and I am amazed at how much he enjoyed it all…seemed like he was not nervous or fearful as much as he was excited and enjoying every minute of it. I am in awe of you both. Congratulations on that purchase – and enjoying life more again. I am so happy for you both.

  108. My eyes are leaking–so happy for both of you! The projects can wait, you enjoy your new life together on the outside of the house!

  109. This makes my heart so happy. You’ve got a fan club on here Matt and we are all so excited for you & you new adventures.

  110. Thank you both for sharing with us this wonderful new season in your life together! Matt is SO handsome , youthful and not much changed from your wedding picture! We need a selfie with you two together out on a new adventure.

  111. OMG I’m crying happy tears reading about the amazing week you and Matt shared now that you have the new van!!! Thank you for sharing your beautiful story of patience, devotion and empathy that is the epitome of LOVE!!!

  112. I’m so thrilled for both of you. I can’t imagine his wonder and excitement at all the “new” world around him!! Everyday will be an adventure! Blessings!!

  113. One of the sweetest posts I’ve read…..I’m actually typing this with tears rolling down my face. So inspirational….thank. you!

  114. Kristi,

    Wow! So inspirational! What a great victory for you both! Those memory making events will continue! And thank you for sharing all your creativity with your remodeling you’re a genius!

  115. I’ve been catching up on your blog after finding it recently. Well, from mid-2015 (can’t find the first post).
    I had to stop here to write something, as I’m sitting here teared-up.
    Yay, Matt!!!!! Life-changing indeed! I’m thrilled for you. 🥲