You Can’t Teach an Old Dog New Tricks

Thank you for checking out my blog.  Let me tell you a little bit about how this blog came to be.  In April of 2013, my son TJ sustained a severe brain injury at the age of 16, and during the course of his illness, I inadvertently discovered something about myself: I like to write. Through the pages of a Caring Bridge journal that spanned almost five years, writing became an outlet for me, a kind of place where I could pour out my heart about the joys, struggles, and heartaches of living life with a brain injured son; a place where I could be creative; and most importantly, a place where I could point others to the only hope there is in this life, Jesus.

My beloved son passed away February 27, 2018, at the age of 21.  Our five-year journey left me trauma filled with a brokenness that I knew would never be repaired until I get to heaven and God makes me whole again.  How do I go on?  Everyday I am learning. Everyday I am taking small steps toward finding joy in life again and learning to live with this hole in my heart.  

At my son’s death, I also had to say goodbye to my steady and constant friend Caring Bridge.  I had just lost my child whom I had fought so hard to save, and now I was losing my creative lifeline as well…….until my friend Barb suggested in a Caring Bridge comment that I should start a blog.  “A blog?” I thought. “I don’t know anything about blogs. I would like to start a blog, but I don’t know how….. and I’m scared. What if I fail and my heart gets even more broken? I’m not very good with electronics.  In fact, I hate electronics. I’m 47 years old, and I don’t want to learn. Isn’t there a saying about that??? You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.  No, I don’t think that’s going to work. I don’t think that’s what God wants for me.”  So I talked myself out of it and went back to folding laundry, mopping floors, and waiting for God to show me what He wanted me to do with the rest of my life.

When we hit the one-year anniversary mark of TJ’s death, I noticed I had begun getting restless.  “What am I going to do with myself? Do I get a job? I really don’t want to get a job. I want to be home in the summers with Aiden, my adopted 9-year-old  grandson.  I need to make some money but what am I going to do?” I finally began to fervently pray to the Lord about giving me direction on what to do with my life.  I brought it up in my Bible study group during prayer requests, and out of the blue my dear friend Beth said, “You should start a blog.”

There was that word again.  Blog.  B-L-O-G. “I think God is telling me He wants me to start a blog,” I thought.  I really wasn’t quite sure what a blog even was. I had been taking care of a sick kid for five years and was completely out of touch with society, so I googled the definition of blog, and it said, “A regularly updated website or web page, typically one run by an individual or small group, that is written in an informal or conversational style.”  

“Well, that’s simple enough,” I thought.  “Maybe I can do this.” So I enlisted the help of my friend Lynne who also has a blog.  She helped me get set up and showed me the ropes, and now I am up and running, at the beginning of another journey.  I can’t wait to see what God does……


14 thoughts on “You Can’t Teach an Old Dog New Tricks

    1. Hi Kelly, thank you for sharing your blog. I met Travis and you when I visited your home, I hope you can remember me. In November our 36 year old son collapsed. He was rushed to the hospital and a brain tumor was found. He had also suffered strokes as a result. We have been on this journey and I think of you often He is still recovering and not able to be home with his wife and 4 year old son, but it is a marathon not a sprint. I admire your strength and draw from it often. Again thank you. If you still have my # call anytime. TY

      Kari Paulsen


  1. Hey Kelly,
    I think of you and all of your family quite a bit. I look forward to reading your blog. LOVE to all of you and your family ❤️❤️❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Kelly! I just read this post and your about me in your menu. I have tears in my eyes as I write this. I can not even imagine the grief you’ve endured losing TJ last year. Please know I will pray for you and if you ever need to talk, I’m here!! I have four children and am a TBI warrior as well. Starting a blog was a great decision but at first I only did it for me. I wanted people to “get” what I was going through. But then, God did a change inside my heart and I started writing for Him by sharing hope, love encouragement to others who suffer. And pointing to Jesus through every post written. Only God can do that. I have a very rare TBI and explain my story more in my menu titled “my story” and also in a podcast. Please feel free to reach out. Much love, Viv.🤗


  3. This is so great, Kelly. I think of you and TJ often, and miss the days when I got to work with him at OT at Mercy. I’ll also never forget that you knew my great-grandma Lydia Sackett 🙂 such a small world! I hope you are finding peace and I’m excited for you to be starting this new journey. Best, Jaelynn


    1. Thank you, Jaelynn. I certainly miss those days as well. TJ really adored you. The last day you were at Mercy we were having car problems, and I was concerned we wouldn’t make it to therapy. He became very upset because he thought he wasn’t going to get to say goodbye to you. He didn’t have an opportunity to be around young people very often and youe friendship meant a lot to him. I hope you are doing well and your dreams are coming true.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s