Saturday, April 13, 2013

Adventures in Thought-Provoking Disasters!

Brynn, in her boots, making a face in front of the wreckage! 
      Before I even tell ANYTHING about our journey over the last week, I would like to say a few things. I have struggled with my own attitude about this business for years and years. Since it's my baby, and I put the good old classic "Blood, Sweat & Tears" into it, I tend to take things personally, say thoughtless, foolhardy exclamations, and view my customers as people that I serve and need to make happy, but nothing beyond that. I really suck at making friends, and I think it may spring from the misconception that I have of what a "friend" even is. I fail to remember that we have friends to TEACH US TO SERVE OTHERS, not  to see how we can benefit from other people and what they can do for us! True friendship is the exact opposite of selfishness.  It is kind, loving, forgiving, caring, and doesn't stop to think about "inconveniences" or " so much time" in the process of serving.
        In this vein, I apparently have a HECK of a lot more friends than I ever thought I did. Not the "accept request" kind on facebook, but the actual "We-are-thinking-about-your-needs-instead-of-our-own" type. I spent the whole weekend at the Norman Medieval Faire accepting kind thoughtful gifts and treats, in between bouts of running to the porta-potties to throw up (DANG morning sickness will get to you...especially when you're trying to look pretty, be presentable, and serve customers!), but more than that, I had hoards of people coming in JUST to ask about me and how I was doing with my company and my family. People were sweet, kind, sympathetic, and supportive.  I can promise you guys, if you came past the booth when I wasn't there, it was probably because I was bawling my eyes out, overwhelmed and humbled by the love I was receiving. Now, granted, the last time I was pregnant, I absolutely wept through the entire 2 hours of Mary Poppins, so I AM emotional, but that doesn't negate how treasured I felt as a human being.

      And guess what! This was all BEFORE we got in a life-threatening/altering accident! The love that I have felt literally seeping into my physical and emotional wounds has been healing better than any medicine. We have had such an out-pouring of genuine concern and charity that my whole chest is absolutely on fire just THINKING about it. I can honestly say that THIS is the pinnacle of my career! It helps show my soul to me, and let me know that I DO have a noble, higher purpose for being here in this life, and particularly, in running this company. When I declare that my ultimate dream is to help women learn to  love and appreciate their bodies, it sounds so pre-packaged and gimmicky. I might as well be a lotion commercial.  The thing is-I believe in what I'm doing from down at my very core. I KNOW that our whole entire world could change if women were able stop focusing on their failures and flaws and start marveling at the wonderous gift that our physical forms are in this life. I feel that learning to have charity and love for ourselves is the start to loving others.  Yet, in showing love for others, we see the good and beauty in ourselves....thus the marvelous cycle continues.
        What I feel that I've learned this week......how do I even say it? I am aware that I have awesome, loyal customers and fans, none of which I feel that I deserve. I wasn't aware that my little/big dream to help change women was ALREADY working. The reason I can TELL that it's succeeding is that the way I've been treated could only come from women who have that love and passion within them! You ladies don't sound like selfish-small-minded women who focus on your flaws. You're vibrant and glorious....just exactly the way I've seen you the whole time!
I REALLY enjoy the box of anti-biotic ointment band-aids in the front dash..proudly displayed....defying everything. 
 Ahem. Day 1. Monday, April 8th
I will just start with the day that we left. We headed out of Joplin, MO, near where my parents live. We stopped at Wal-Mart and spent an absolute shameful amount on snacks of every manner. This is  not normally like me. I must have KNOWN something would occur.  
That night, Brynn got the same stomach bug that I had had the previous night. It hurt SOOOO much. Churning, bubbling, stabbing pains, with throwing up and extreme sensitivity. Brynn said, "Mom....it feels like someone is hitting me in the stomach with a baseball bat."  She was right.  I climbed into the back to lay down with her. She was so sick that she couldn't even stand the pressure of her dress, so off it went. She just lay there in her undies, while I stroked her head.
I think this almost makes me more sad than our dang car! I mean, I LOVE our trailer! The fact that it carries around our livelihood makes me feel like it's one of my employees. It works freaking hard, too! 
 Day 2.  Tuesday, April 9th, EARLY morning, about 2 AM.
  I woke up to hear my husband, Tyler saying that there was so much ice on the windshield that the defrost couldn't even battle it, with the highest heat setting. Strange. I hadn't thought the roads were bad at all just an hour before. Everything seemed fine.  I laid there for about a half an hour, feeling very....I can't even DESCRIBE how. I just know that I didn't feel right. I called up to Tyler and told him to let me take over, since he was probably tired, then I laid my head back down by my kids.  A few moments later, Tyler yelled, "Son-of-a!  Brace Yourselves!" Suddenly, I could see the trailer weaving wildly out the back window, and suddenly, everthing in the world happened! I felt myself being violently chucked around the back, with an unearthly sound, akin to screeching dolphins, breaking, plates, and popping balloons.  Suddenly, I was laying on the roof of our car, and everything was upside down. I felt the wind immediately. The window beside me had broken out (or I had kicked it out...one of the two.).  I later found out that the wind gusts that night were 50 mph, with a temperature of 12 degrees and a windchill of -4 degrees. No wonder it was SOOOO freaking cold.
stuffed, animals, jumper cables, and a mattress covered in my blood and the back window. 
 I was VERY disoriented, and my whole entire body FELT the weight of disappointment, panic, anxiety, sadness, and bone-chilling fear. I could hear my kids crying, and as I climbed out, I didn't know what to do first.  I ran up to the front and frantically called to Tyler. He didn't answer, and of course, my mind ran a million miles per minute,  imagining him dead on the highway. My soul cracked.  He called to me. He was fine. Oh, how I LOVE that man! I called to my friends, Carly and Paige, and the answered.  Thank the Lord. My kids were still crying. I remembered that Brynn was only in underwear, and I reached in and wrapped and blanket around her, trying to steer clear of all the glass. I noticed that my leg was covered in little rivers of blood, but I didn't even feel anything. Thank you, adrenaline.
Over to the side, you can see Carly's guitar. It got some STRANGE puncture wounds. We were all deeply distressed. What is life without music!? 
 Right then, a few men came running up. They frantically asked questions, about how many people there were, if anyone was hurt, and so on. One of them yanked off his jacket and put it around me, and then he pulled both of my kids from the ground, wrapped them tightly in blankets, and held onto them, one in each arm, while he waited for his friend to back up the truck that they had been driving. These wonderful, beautiful, angels of human beings pulled us into the warmth of their truck, and let us know that they were all volunteer firefighers and EMTS! You can only imagine the relief I felt. The immediately started checking us for injuries, gently feeling up and down our necks and spines. They talked gently to us the whole time.  I realized that I was still wearing the jacket of one of the men out in the freezing, blasting cold, and I was able to give it back to him so that he, my husband, and a couple other men could go to the trailer and try to get some of our luggage into the back of their truck.
So....this is my trailer, looking into a fun-house mirror. 
 It seemed like the ambulances took a million years to get there, but heck, the roads were absolutely wretched, and that black ice happened soooo very quickly.  We had also had the problem of having a much lighter trailer than normal, seeing as we left most of our inventory back in Missouri, since we were headed back in 3 weeks to do the Oklahoma Renaissance Festival. I think our trailer just ended up acting like a sail for those high winds, and that's why it fish-tailed out of control.
Inside of trailer. Metal crumples beautifully. 
 Anyhow, we got to a very small little hospital in Hugo, Colorado, and were taken care of beautifully! We had a doctor that looked exactly like the kind of handsome doctor you would see on TV, and I was so deliriously happy to be ALIVE that I just kept cracking jokes, laughing, and grinning like an idiot, even while they dressed my wounds, which I DEFINITELY felt after the adrenaline started wearing off. They would have been able to just x-ray us, give us the okay, and release us, but the dang winds had knocked out their computer systems. After being there about 5 hours, we had to be transferred to the Denver hospital, which would be another 2.5 hour ride in an ambulance, again. Luckily, it was only me and Paige that had anything worse than bruises, so it was just us that got to make the arduous trip to a place with x-rays.
My PROUDEST wounds I have ever gotten! I mean, the fact that these purple bruises are the size and shape of my kid's heads? Priceless. I truly think that one of the reasons that my kids came out with so few injuries is because I grabbed both of them and held them against me while the car rolled, thus they were more stationary, and my body shielded them and took the brunt of the roll. 
 Probably my FAVORITE part of the whole entire ordeal was meeting the guy that was the EMT riding over with us on the second ambulance. I have never met anyone like  him, and if every single person in the medical world had the same attitude as Mark Morrison, the world would just be okay.  He was so caring, good-natured, giving, and kind.  He was probably in his late 50's, and had the face of someone who has been smiling and loving his fellow human-beings for his whole entire life.  He talked to me the whole entire ambulance ride, and told me what a privelage it was for him to have a job where he could help someone through the worst day of their entire life. He talked about how you have to truly love people to be in the medical world, because it's all about customer service.  I could tell he deeply loved  his job, and drew great satisfaction from it.  He had been a volunteer for 15 years before he ever actually got paid!!!!  I was so inspired by him that I felt like I could do anything and love anybody!
This reminds me of the kind of horror you see after a tornado. Metal just being sheared off like someone took gigantic scissors to it! 
 Phew! And thank heavens, we got checked out, nothing broken...I got a nice little ultrasound picture of my baby. Thank heavens there's only one in there.   We got picked up by my husband's brother (thank you soooo much, Nate) and got to go to their house in Denver, where my kids got to play with their triplet girls! ;)
Day 3: Wednesday, April 10th.  After some serious thought, I decided that we may as well just get a new diesel SUV right there in Colorado, rather than trying to do rentals and having to drive a rental car AND a U-haul truck home. None of us girls felt like driving, and my leg was so swollen, I'm not sure I could have physically done it. I couldn't walk worth jack either, with all the muscle tissue damage and cuts I had gotten.  Anyhow, after looking at several, we finally found one with the right price and mileage. We spent the rest of the day filling out paperwork and spending every  last penny that we had just made at our Norman show. At least we had the money. *sigh*.   P.S. We DO have full coverage on THIS vehicle, because not having it on the last one was the worst idea ever. Insurance companies don't give a dang if you wreck of your own accord and you have limited liability.
Day 4: Had to drive two hours BACK into the town where we wrecked, and go to the tow-yard to clean everything out. It was gross and messy and emotional. It's one of those "behind-the-scenes" things that you don't think about. It took us HOURS to transfer things, assess damage, and marvel at what had and hadn't broken!
Just when we thought we were safe out of horrible weather...this! Thanks, Colorado. It was beautiful, and terrifying. 
 That night, we were so exhausted, but we just wanted to go home!!!!  The GPS said that we could get home at 5 am on Friday, and it sounded just so beautiful!  Originally, we had hoped to get home Tuesday, so  Friday sounded acceptable.  However, as we climbed the steep mountains in Colorado, the snow started coming down, it was dark outside, and we saw people swerving off the road left and right. We slid around a little ourselves, and needless to say....we were a bit.....tense.  We found a hotel. We would drive home in the daylight.
HOly JUNK!! My leg looks so swollen and gross here! I PROMISE, my calf isn't normally that massive! 
Day 5, Friday, April, 12th. Yup, the whole morning, we drove very slowly on icy roads, and they actually closed the pass just an hour or so after we came down, because of a horrible accident.   When we crossed the Utah state line, I had never seen anything so vividly breathtaking in my life! I kept making jokes about how we weren't meant to ever leave Colorado, and how it would be like the bridge on the Legend of Sleepy Hollow, and right as we were crossing the state lines, and headless horseman would come out of nowhere, throw a pumpkin at our car, and we would all die.  However, we made it just fine, with not much to speak about.....just the way I like it.

I have a LOT to do to try to prepare for our 5 weekend show starting in May. I'm going to have to sew the most incredible things anyone has ever seen and have the best show run of my entire life! The thing is, I'm SUPER energized, like I've never been! I feel like I can do anything, be anything, and sew anything! In many ways, this has been one of the best blessings of my whole life. I honestly needed some kind of re-charge, and man....did I get it! I know that I love this business fiercely, and I love my customers even more. Being able to see how much people care has really motivated me to be a better servant through my company. This life is precious, and I yearn to fill  it with moments and actions that I can be proud of. I have been preserved because there is a great path ahead of me, and I need to walk it.


  1. So glad everyone came out of it ok. The truck photos sort of convey just how terrifying it must have been, but I'm sure that our imaginations fall short. ;)

    It's awesome that you're so keyed up to get everything going and embrace life with such zeal!
    Just be careful not to push yourself too hard, you are a little bumped up, after all.

  2. I am so glad that you were all protected!! What a scary ordeal.

  3. I am so glad you are all ok. All the Damsel girls were worried and we are all relieved and thankful that no one was seriously hurt. Next time, stay in a hotel. We ALL love you and want you to stay safe!

  4. I am so glad that you and your family (including your sales girl, and bebe Michelle) are okay! Love and prayers sent your way! Seeing you in Norman was the highlight of my weekend.

  5. When you say your calf isn't normally that huge, I didn't even notice, because I have ginormous calfs! Haha

    So glad the only things broken were replaceable.

    You can friend request me anytime.

  6. You amaze me. I absolutely feel for you. BTW, I will be there in May at the Muskogee fair and I would love to visit with you. I'm going to let you help me find a corset to make me feel amazing. And I will bring photos from our shoot for you in hopes that it will make you feel even more awesome! I'm glad you are all doing alright at least. When things like this happen, it makes you really think about what is important.

  7. "I have been preserved because there is a great path ahead of me, and I need to walk it" -- yup. You Know. :)
    Welcome ... Glad you made it here alive ... !

  8. OMG. I am so happy that you are all safe. I cried reading this. We had heard about the accident on FB and I prayed so hard. I can't even tell you how happy and relieved that you and your fam and friends are okay. #pureblessings

  9. So glad you and everyone else are all ok, and nobody was very seriously hurt! I honestly think you're amazing and a very hard worker--I don't think I'd be able to get back on the road so soon after.

  10. So glad that you guys are all okay (as much as you can be). Congrats on being pregnant once again. All of your fans care about you more than you know and we are so thankful everyone made it out safely. Like someone said above, lucky the only things broken were things that are replaceable. We will all be here to help you and your family out as much as we can.

  11. So glad you're all safe and, yes, those bruises are true badges of honor. Life is all the more precious for those moments which remind us how short it can (or could) be.

  12. Sweet Bubbles! I am so glad that you and your family made it through with love abound and around you all! I too cried for some reason while reading this. I think the part that got to me was seeing you grinning while showing off your bruises. Hugs to you and yours. Glad you guys made it.

  13. Oh my goodness, Michelle I am so happy you and your family were not seriously hurt! XOXO

  14. OMG! You brave and heroic woman! Shielding your babes from getting hurt during that unreal flip! No more winter driving and pushing the limits! So glad you all came out alive and well, albeit badly bruised and with the leg injury. Could have been a lot worse.(my cousin lost her 11 yr old son during a winter spin out in Colorado) You're brave for putting yourself though the posting of this blog and reliving the moments.
    You had angels watching out for you for sure.

  15. I am so thankful that you all were not more seriously hurt. I kept you all in my prayers. You are so loved by all those you serve. I had fun seeing you again in Seattle at Faeriecon. You made Anya feel sooooo special by your comments about Nathan (her husband and my son) Heal quickly, laugh often, and love life. Carolene

  16. Soooooo glad that aside from the bruising and leg damage, that you are all ok! ::hugs::

  17. I am thrilled that you all have made it through this terrifying experience with the largest of the damage being emotional. Your bruises are breathtaking, in so many connotations. My heart has been with you (all of you!! Paige and Carly, Tyler and the kids!!) and I will continue to send healing energies for you all... You, and your heart, and your caring, with your (devotion) to your business and customers is why I am honored to be a customer, and the biggest factor of why I continue to shop with you first, for all of my (costuming) needs!!

    I am so excited to hear that you are expecting another blessing in your family's lives!!! YAY!!

  18. Good to hear you all came out of it okay.. hope the injuries heal swiftly. Black ice is so scary.

  19. So glad you and your family are safe. Such a scary experience. Hope you all heal quickly.

  20. Just reading your ordeal made me misty-eyed several times! I can't imagine going through something like that! You are a far more powerful woman than you ever knew, to come through that smiling and positive. That kind of attitude is a blessing in life to everyone who has the fortune of experiencing it!

  21. I am so incredibly glad that you and your family are ok! I'm sorry about your vehicle and trailer, but at least no one was harmed! I couldn't have possibly been that positive throughout all of this. I had my own incident with black ice this past year on New Year's Eve, but it wasn't nearly this harsh. I'm so very glad that you are all alright!

  22. So so happy that all of you are okay! That is such a rough thing to have to go through and it could have been so much worse. You are awesome and make awesome corsets and your customers (me included) think you are just the bee's knees. So keep on keepin on!

  23. Gosh.. I cried reading this and my mom cried too. We both felt so honored to get to meet you at Norman on Sunday and when we left that day we actually said prayers wishing a safe return for you and your family. We actually had a bad time getting home ourselves (two blow outs on the same wheel in a 2hr span) but nothing compared to what you guys went through, yikes!

    I think its kind of funny the comment you made about Colorado not wanting to let you leave.. I made a similar joke about Texas when we crossed the OK-TX border. The moment we crossed we had our first blow out..like Texas was mad at us for leaving. ;)

    But wow...that is such an amazing experience y'all went though. So terrifying...but thank god those VFF/EMTs were behind you! Truly heaven sent they were! I'm really so glad that you are all ok! And please don't over work yourself! We all want you to continue to heal especially with a little one coming along!!! <3

  24. Very glad you're all ok. I live in a part of Australia that doesn't snow (sure, we go under water but it doesn't snow!), but since my husband is from Kentucky, I've had a scrape with black ice. We slid down and embankment into a gully, and were immediately helped by 4 wonderful people. It's amazing how caring people can be in a crisis, and I can truly understand your need to just get home. Best wishes for getting through the recovery!

  25. So glad the family is OK! I wore my Damsel corset to Scarbough Faire as my homage to you!

  26. Oh my goodness! I am so glad that you and your family are alright!

  27. Thank you for sharing your story. So glad you and your family are okay, and that you have had a positive experience out of it! Take care!

  28. Michelle you are such a godsend. You are a very unique and special lady. I am so glad that you and your own family and your Damsel family are ok. It is so funny how you mentioned the EMT and how he made a change in your life. I had the same experience this year as well. I had an ATV accident out in the middle of nowhere. It was really nice that several of the dirt bikers out at the lake where there to help get me to the road to get picked up by the ambulance. My husband was trying to get back to our vehicle and take care of our ATVs so he could meet up with me. I had dislocated my shoulder...OMG it was so painful. I had to walk an hour through a rough field to get to a locked gate where one of the dirt bikers had the combination and picked me up in his truck and he called the ambulance for me. First the firefighters came and they were so calm and gentle with me. Then the EMTs...again so nice and gentle. While I was riding to the ER, the EMT was keeping me calm (I was in tears and about to pass out from pain) and telling me how great he thought it was that was going out experiencing life even thou I am 46. He said he seen many women get my age and just become stale. He was very comforting and a great inspiration. So I get you Michelle....I think a lot of us do. We all truly do love you and wish nothing but the best and want you to have continued success in your business.

  29. I am so glad you are all okay.

  30. I am so so glad you and your family are all alright. Those pictures are scary. God bless the people that were there to help you.

    See you in Vallejo.


  31. Michelle, you, your team, and your family are absolutely amazing people!! You have a strength of character and humility that few people these days have and I am overjoyed to hear that everyone made it out safe. It was an honor and a privilege to have met you this past January at the Queen Mary and I hope to have the opportunity to meet you again soon!


  32. Michelle,
    I regularly check this adorable blog of yours because I love how positive and witty and sarcastic and awesome you are. Reading this thing cheers me up on a regular basis, and I greatly appreciate it. Seeing how you dealt with this terrifying situation so heroically makes me love you that much more. It is nice to share your blood. I miss you, Cousin! Bless you for being such an inspiration and such a magnificent soul.


  33. Michelle,
    Praise the Lord that you all made it out okay!! What a miracle! It's amazing to think of all the small events that happened/God willed into existence, so you all were right where you were suppose to be to come out okay. Like if Brynn hadn't been sick, would you have been there to snuggle her and protect her? Glory to God for all the protection. The pictures of you with your Mommy bruises of Love was glorious! You are such an incredible mother, friend, and servant. I always am amazed at your positive attitude, wit, and sarcasm. You are a delight! I can not wait to see you and hug you at the OK Ren faire.

    Love, Nicole Rickey