part IX… selling our home

Saturday morning, about 4 weeks post-injury, we were finally ready to get the house on the market. Ironically, I woke up with thoughts contrary to that well prepped plan. I said to Eddie, “I need to tell you something. You probably won’t want to hear it… but the Lord has been pressing it on my heart all week and I cannot move forward with the realtor’s pictures today until I get this burden off my mind.”

Blessing #5… a burning bush.

Ed had already been awake and had begun straightening up the house for the website photos that were going to be taken in 4 hours. He came back to bed. “What?” Normally when I deter him from a project it comes with a huff, a sigh and an attitude of frustration that I am interrupting his diligent task. But this time, he was very patient. Very peaceful. Hmmm…

ourhome“Ed, I know what I am about to say is going to be polar opposite of all that we have been working towards and dreaming of for the past 10 years, but I don’t think we should sell the house right now. In fact, I think we shouldn’t sell at all. Possibly ever.”

He just stared at me and said, “Oh my goodness, I had the same thought this week! It’s not that I’m afraid to sell… heck, I’ve moved dozens of times in my life. In fact, we’ve never really even liked this house’s style, layout, size, etc… it was just an easy flip… so we really should stick with the plan to sell this and buy our last home, our dream home. But I feel so strongly about what the Lord has laid on my heart… well… it’s so bizarre… I almost feel as if I have seen a burning bush?!”

“Eddie, it must be of the Lord! This was not even on the menu of options for either of us… tell me more about what He has shown you this past week.”

“Well… I’m not really sure why we shouldn’t sell. In fact, I cannot even justify it in my head. But the Lord has laid it so heavily on my heart that I cannot move forward to sell this house. All morning when I have been prepping, I have felt completely wrong about it. This is amazing!  He has been talking to us both separately… but the same. What has the Lord shown you?”

As he looked at me, I knew there was one more remnant from the Lord’s pressing that I had yet to share with him. “Well…” This next part had me a bit scared as it was an old topic that had been tabled years ago… with the last conversation not being a very pleasant one. “For the first couple days this week, when I felt His leading, I had no words for ‘why’ He doesn’t want us to sell. Then as I continued to pray and chat with Him… I heard Him say… ‘don’t sell the house – pare down your expenses so that you can afford to homeschool the girls.’  I know this is a closed topic that we gave up on years ago… but because your job is now flexible and my job isn’t but it provides other family needs… what if you worked part-time – homeschooled the girls until noon-ish – they could do follow-up work on their own – and then you could go to work in the afternoon? That’s not set in stone… but if we remain in this house… we could afford for you to go part-time. And we could, most likely, afford the costs of home schooling?”

He looked shocked. “That’s a lot of information all at once, Lisa! Where did you come up with all that in a week?”

“Honestly, it all came out of left-field. And I am sorry to tell you all that… all at once… today… hours before we sign papers… but I feel so strongly convicted about it that it would be a mistake to not share it with you.”

“Okay… let’s pray… now.”

Remember the ‘thanksgiving’ emphasis I shared in part VII?  “…do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication WITH THANKSGIVING let your requests be made known to God.”   (Philippians 4:6)  Thankfully, right then and there, God stopped the sale of our little, affordable home… so that He was able to provide Bible-based schooling for our girls; quality time between father and daughters; more concentrated family time through rough waters ahead; and 5 years later… He was able to continue to provide a roof over our heads when I had to give up my career due to the lasting effects of my TBI… a financial hit that a larger, ‘better’ home would not have sustained.

Blessing #6… we didn’t sell the house.

So, very slowly, I am learning to pray through a situation with thanksgiving for the coming blessings that the Lord will provide through whatever difficulty I am currently facing.

When I pray only for Him to lessen my anxiety, my focus tends to be on me and how I am handling the situation.

When I pray with thanksgiving, my focus is most definitely on how God will be handling the situation. Then thanking Him, often in advance, for caring for and solving my crisis in His wayin His timing… with His answer… leads me to more faithfully following His sovereign and divine plan.

Blessing #7… we are able to home school the girls.

*This document is the sole property of L. Marie Drake © 2017.  Permission granted for printing copies of this page on the basis that they are not used for personal profit or any financial gain. Thank you.*


part VIII… home and whole

As the days passed, I spent more time sleeping and not moving than I had since I was about 5 years old and had pneumonia. It didn’t yet bother me that I couldn’t move crossBESTILL.jpg without the walls moving with me. I was more than grateful to no longer be vomiting or worrying about the escalating danger. All had been resolved, to my knowledge.  And, I had yet to be frustrated by all that I couldn’t do or say. I was just too strangely exhausted to even know the losses that were coming.

Blessing #3… Family and friends came and went with food, flowers and house cleaning (wish I could have booked that for a lifetime!). It’s funny… when you cannot see an illness, no one (including yourself) believes it is truly there. So, I gradually felt like anything that seemed ‘off’ about my day, was just a figment of my imagination. When people came and went, I felt a bit awkward telling them my story… as I didn’t look too different.

After about a week of obedient ‘resting’, I figured it was time to get back in the game. Although, I still couldn’t function normally – couldn’t drive, couldn’t walk a straight line, couldn’t hold a long conversation, etc. – my fear was that these stagnant behaviors would be my ruin. So, in an effort to CONQUER these weird new post-concussion actions of mine… I kept going… harder.

Yup… just as I had dreamed of in the ER… I purchased my first Sudoku book and tracked my progress in learning for my own proof that I was not losing my cognitive abilities. The girls and I tried out for a play through our local community theater – believing that should cover my summer respite (normally my job required me to be in training or training others all of June and August… but my mom and hubby put the kabosh on that). We continued prepping the house to get it on the market. We returned to our busy family schedule of sports, activities and church life. Planning for Lucie’s 13th surprise birthday party went from my hospital bed head to emails and action. Week two, I went back to work part-time. Week three, I went back to work full-time. Week four, back to work full-time-plus.

Blessing #4… Did I need a severe concussion to find my true identity even though I thought my heart was in the right place? The miracle was… I began to see His heart desires for my life.

“If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations—”  “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” (referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings?”  That’s a good question, God! I died to the world’s way the minute I submitted my sins to Your forgiveness and my path thereafter to Your will. So why do I want a better house? Why do I need to work more than is required of me? Why do I desire to fit into the merry-go-round of American expectations? “These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.” So, Lisa, why do you think you always have to do more?  You need to make enough money to have all that our family needs and wants. You need to be involved in volunteering, donating, church activities, etc. You need to be a good mom, wife, daughter, friend… but why?  (Bible verses –Colossians 2:20-23)

Am I living life for what I need and want, creating a self-made religion? Or am I truly living life for what God has planned for me? Are my actions too self-driven from pride or are my actions a result of waiting upon the Lord’s design and being filled with a sincere passion for Him?

Who am I?

Deep down… truly… who am I?


**When I list blessings… I know that there were, and still are, many that I have taken for granted, and as a result, have gone unnoticed. My God is too great for me to be able to list all of His provisions and blessings that have decorated my life so abundantly!  As I cite them, I feel negligent in not capturing them all… but then again, I feel blessed. The fact that He would continue to bless me, in spite of my ingratitudes or ignorance, reminds me that He loves me more than I can even imagine.

*This document is the sole property of L. Marie Drake © 2017.  Permission granted for printing copies of this page on the basis that they are not used for personal profit or any financial gain. Thank you.*

mid-month news and info ~ july 2017

NEWS & Info

  • How do I explain a brain injury in one sentence or less?
  • Today, a dear friend reminded me that the words of the truth, the Bible, are something I need to nourish my spirit with over and over again…  “Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!”    Mark 9:24

  • Here is a wonderful website about a woman whose life was turned upside down by a major injury… .  Joni became a paraplegic at 17 years old.  Her story tells of how God pulled her out of the pit …thru her disability, other life events and most recently, breast-cancer.  She is full of inspiration!
  • Info from a researcher on a TBI group I follow… Matthew Bennett is a naturopathic doctor, acupuncturist, and athletic therapist who has recently relocated to Vancouver to start up his own holistic practice called Active Solutions Medicine.
    • “Dear TBI Tribe,  I would like to introduce myself [Matthew Bennett] and the project I have dedicated my clinical practice and life toward over the past 7 years.  Prior to this project I was working full-time as an Athletic Therapist with professional teams in the NHL, MLB and CFL. While working with teams such as the Ottawa Senators Hockey Club, I was responsible for the medical pre/rehabilitation of the team along with another therapist. When players were injured, I slept in their homes and hotel rooms waking them up every few hours to simply make sure they were alive. During these quiet hours we spoke about symptoms of moods, relationships, and ability to function while completing simple daily tasks. Countless times over six seasons I was asked, “how are we helping my head?” Sadly, we just said to rest, day after day and often led to medication, depression, suicide, abuse (substance, child, spouse, self).  We had a protocol for every injury, surgery and emergency scenario, except for TBI. Following the 08-09 season I left the NHL and returned to school to study medicine for the purpose of learning how to empower the brain and nourish the nervous system.  While in school I continued to work in a clinical setting and then returned as a clinical director for a large soccer academy mid-way through the school to help cover costs of the tuition.  This exposure to patients and athletes allowed me to complete game changing experiments with active individuals who are extremely tuned-in to the changes of positive and negative effects of their lifestyle habits. What I have been able to complete to date is the first patented formulation to help treat mTBI. The US Patent number is 9,101,580. As well, I have completed an initial 18-athlete study, a follow-up 60-athlete study and am currently developing a third study with various institutes. This single-blind data collected has shown a reduction in symptoms by a factor of three!  In general, the formula works in three ways 1- Reduces inflammation in specific structures within the brain (ex. asataxanthin reduces inflammation in the optic nerve); 2- Increasing energy to the brain (ex. Taurine); 3- Balance Hormones for adequate sleep and rest (ex. Melatonin).  Due to the extensive 16- ingredient blend there are ingredients which help the soft tissue repair often associated from the whiplash mechanism of injury.  I am continuing to collect data and learn to benefits as well as limitations through each patient completing this document:  
    • I share this information with you as I recently presented at the Ontario Brain Institute. At this meeting it was confirmed the governments involved with the International TBI Initiative (US, Canada, European Union, Australia and China) have collectively spent $160 million in TBI research in the past 5 years. Added to this is the NFL/NFLPA ~$50 million spent in three years. Of this $210 million not a single dollar in any currency has been spent on treatment options. This is truly astonishing. This is confirmed by the Neurologists, Presidents and Board Members of each association. This needs to change, now.
    • The formulation I have developed is simply meant to be used as a single part of any rehabilitation protocol. Re-align, Strengthen and Nourish. Various practitioners do this by exercise, soft-tissue, bone structure and nutrients. My goal is to connect to create authentic and complete protocols which utilize these pillars which will help share knowledge and improve the lives of those suffering as well as the families witnessing the days, weeks and years of symptoms.
    • A few other resources can be seen at:…/traumatic-brain-injury-impact-assessment…/

part VII… the blessings begin

On the afternoon of February 28th, I found myself in the local hospital. At the foot of my ER bed, spun a tornado of incoherent conversations between the doctors, nurses and my husband – decisions – options – “the helicopter is ready” – “who do we call first?” – another CAT scan to check the bleeding – more vomit…

phiaSADat13bday …there sat my little Lucie. It was, to me, the only thing I was able to understand, at least partially. I wondered, why is she so sad? Why does she look so pale? Why is she on her phone when she knows it is for emergencies only? Why isn’t her dad paying any attention to her? She looks like she needs a hug. Is she crying?  Ed… quit talking to all these strangers and go to Lucie… I can’t get to her…. something is holding me down.  Would you please hold her? She needs you!

To this day I have never fully been able to crack the shell that Lucie created around herself in those hours in that emergency room. Her 12-year-old heart was breaking. Her mind was whirling with fears and anxieties about her mama that no child should ever have to face. She had to somehow survive it.

She was so brave (she’s always so very brave). She was fighting this battle for me. My little baby was fighting for me. She texted every person in her life… asking them to pray for me.  A gazillion aunts, uncles, cousins, friends… she recruited to be our prayer warriors… she reached out to them all.

Blessing #1… the internal bleeding in my head – suddenly stopped (6:00p).

No more vomiting. No more brain surgery. No helicopter ride to Minneapolis. No more pending death. Eddie’s ‘mad face’ melted and he smiled at me. My condition was finally stable. Gradually, I was wheeled from the ER room to a room in the hospital. Lucie’s texting and phone calls shifted from pleas for prayers to shouts of praises! … her cheeks grew pink papakissingphiaonhead.jpgagain… as they wheeled me down the hall to my new room. My heart smiled while watching her beautiful red hair bouncing as she skipped along and led our little parade of doctors, nurses, and loved ones.

“…do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication WITH THANKSGIVING let your requests be made known to God.”   Philippians 4:6

“WITH THANKSGIVING” … Those two words in the above verse have humbled me for years. Getting thrust into a stressful situation and praying to ‘not be anxious’ is one thing. I get that. But going into a stressful situation, (let alone a near death one), with thanksgiving  and trust for what God is already doing according to His plan – in this very situation – well that is an entirely different perspective for me – a perspective that I could barely fathom at the time. Little did I know, that in the coming years, amidst all of the many anxieties that this concussion would bring to all aspects of my family’s lives, it has also, somehow, brought even more praise and thanksgiving for the amazing things God has done for us through it all.

Tender care and prayers from our pastor, our families, friends and co-workers… carried us through the quick hospital days and transitioned us back into our home life. The doctor sent me home on day two and assured us of the phenomenal turnaround in my condition. Her only prescription was: “Take it easy for a couple weeks. Come back if there are any changes in mood or behaviors. Go home and rest.”

Blessing #2… we are all four home and whole, together.


Before you leave this page, if you know of someone or you, yourself, have experienced a concussion… mild, moderate or severe… Please do go to the links below from our website. They are a collection of symptoms, resources and post-concussion care tips. It has taken me 6+ years to sift through, find, and collect the valuable resources below. Had I been made aware of them at the time of my injury, I may have healed differently (possibly completely) from this TBI. The minute your brain is altered through an injury (or any traumatic event), it miraculously starts rewiring to accommodate the alteration. As the hours, the days, the months and the years ticked by for me… rewiring occurred. But it occurred incorrectly. Please take action immediately.

post-concussion symptoms & resources

post-concussion CARE tips & tools

U R NOT alone!

 (please also click on the U R NOT alone! TAB to reveal personal stories from many survivors)


*This document is the sole property of L. Marie Drake © 2017.  Permission granted for printing copies of this page on the basis they are not used for personal profit or any financial gain. Thank you.*

part VI… the last ski

Pause… Stop… Rewind…

As you know by now, on February 28, 2011, I suffered a fairly decent “concussion.”  It was identified as a subdural hematoma.  Despite the injury, I did have fun getting it!  My husband, two daughters and I were night skiing at a local, ski slope, trying to get one more ski in before our house projects dominated and the spring melt began (it was also an attempt for me to be done working for the day…10 hours on a Monday!?).  It would glamorize my story if I told you that we were downhill skiing in the Swiss Alps or even the Rocky Mountains.  But no, our ski hill is just a minor hiccup on the surface of the beautiful Minnesota terrain.

My husband, who could sell a single, dirty, sock to anyone… can truly make anything fun (as he edited this for me, he actually tried to think of how he would sell that sock!).  So, with the snow on its last attempts of providing a decent ski-run, we dutifully ventured to the top of each slope.  Not expecting the sophistication of light powder of the mountains on our frozen packed snow, my husband managed to create a sort of ‘follow the leader’ game to make it more fun on the icy runs.  The challenge was for each of us to take turns trying to lead the others on a new, adventurous path to ski down the hill.

Eddie was the leader this time. We all followed him to a hidden path… or what we thought was a path.  Lydia was in front of me and stopped to get her bearings and find the exit where Eddie and Lucie were heading. I took the opportunity to race ahead around them in an effort to up the challenge of the game. Instead, I went onto a direction of the path that truly didn’t exist. Because of poor eyesight, poor lighting and a broken down barrier, I unexpectedly flew forward off a 12 foot drop. In a nutshell, I did the coolest and craziest ski-stunt of my life with no one watching… not one part of my body touched the ground, until the back of my head did.  No broken bones, no bruises, no helmet… just one nice brain-bleed.  


Our friend “modeling” the icy cliff… he is a little over 6′. I flew from about 3′ above him to 5′ in front of him.  I told you…. BEST ski stunt of my life!  🙂   Where was the trail-cam when I needed it?

Now we all grew up experiencing a concussion or two, right? As I laid there on the icy snow, I felt this sort of electrical zing travel from my head to my toes; from my head to my fingertips; from my head

What seemed like long minutes later, I felt my girls standing near me… somewhere… I heard their voices. The first thing I saw was my husband’s face. He looked mad (which is how he looks when he’s concerned and he can’t fix things). That is also my internal cue to secretly smooth things over (remember my past?). So deep inside my snow gear, I quickly wiggled my extremities making sure they worked. I then tried to get up from a locked back-bend (my ski boots held me in a permanent position trapped in my ski bindings)… to show my family that I was alright.

Sweet, little arms helped me up as I began realizing what just happened. Normally, I would have fought the woozy sensations and incessant tingling and caught the next chair lift up to a new slope… just to prove to myself that I was fine. But something was different… my husband’s face told me that. We told the girls that I needed to be done for the night… that I probably had a little concussion… and it was almost closing time anyway. We had had a great time. We actually did something fun during the week… so let’s just go home.

Home. Bed… quickly. Family prayers. Lights out.

4:00a… our eldest, Lucie, was calling me from her bedroom downstairs. In a bit of a frantic shuffle, I jumped out of bed and started down the stairs… but they were moving… everywhere. I slinked to my belly and crawled down the remaining stairs and to her room. It was quiet. She was soundly sleeping… but her room was like being in a snow-globe. What was happening?  “Lucie! Can you get your dad? I’m not sure I can walk.”  Still no response. Was I not really saying anything? I thought for sure I was yelling that at the top of my lungs from the floor right by her bed?!  Why couldn’t she hear me?

I began slithering back upstairs… calling for my husband. He woke and found me… and was again mad (24 years of marriage have taught me that this is his emotion for fear and/or lack of control). Again, I tried to smooth it over… “Well, now we know it truly was a concussion. Maybe I shouldn’t drive to school (work) today. Can you wake me in a couple hours … then drive me there?”

Sleep again. Lights out.

6:00a… I cannot wake up. Cannot. But I have to. Fine… I’ll write some substitute lesson plans if Eddie can just set me up at the computer. I start typing… everything is moving again… dang… I run to the bathroom… throw-up #1. Now what was I doing again? Eddie guides me back to bed… with a bucket this time instead of my computer. No work today. Ugh… there was so much to do in the next 4 days of work – teaching, testing, training, report cards, meeting planning/leading, parent/teacher conferences – I couldn’t miss today. I just couldn’t.

From the other room, I could hear Eddie rearranging the day’s events for the girls, Lydia (8) and Lucie (12). Throw-ups #2, 3, 4 and 5. Then back to sleep.

9:00a… I woke up ready to throw up again… but I couldn’t find the bucket? I could hear the girls giggling in the room next door and was mad that Eddie had left them home with me. I didn’t feel up to being a mom today… much less a mom who cared how they spent their day not attending school!  “Lucie!”  Three more shouts and finally she came to my room. “Please find the bucket… I think I am going to throw-up again.”

“Mom, it’s right there. Right by your bed.”

“Where?”  I started throwing up and the bed started spinning, finding the bucket was hopeless because it too was spinning.

“I got it, Mom. Hold still.” She realized that something wasn’t right as I tried to move to the magical ‘moving’ bucket. Throw-up #6.   Yuck!    Poor kid… trying to understand the chaos that was gradually driving the course of our day.

10:00a… the phone was ringing. Had I fallen asleep? It was Eddie. He was checking in on me and trying to make sense of what Lucie had called and explained to him. “You really should call a doctor, Lisa. You should at least talk to a nurse at the clinic and see what you should do.”  Seriously, what I should do…???  I am glued to my bed for fear of the swiftly moving carpet that lies below.  “I’m not going anywhere!”  I hung up on him.

“Lucie!  Bucket!”  Throw-ups #7 and 8… barely made it in the bucket… it’s constantly moving faster now.  Without Lucie holding it and now Lydia holding my body still… it would have been a mess.

11:30a… woke up… kinda. The girls were in my room asking me something, but I couldn’t stay awake. “Mom…”  Asleep again.

12:00 noon… Eddie’s call woke me up. “What did the doctor say?”

“What doctor?”

“Didn’t you call the clinic yet, Lisa?”

“Seriously, would you quit calling me? I am so tired. You keep waking me and I just need everyone to leave me…. (throw-up #9)… alone.”  I hung up on him again. What an idiot, he makes me so mad!

12:30… Eddie woke me up again with a call!!!  “Ed, can you just leave me alone!?!  Why did you leave me home with the girls?”

“Lisa, did you call the clinic?? Some friends at work are telling me that this could be pretty serious. Someone just died from something like this… but it happened slowly over a couple days…”    LIGHT BULB!     He realized what he was saying… I continued to throw-up while he was on speaker phone. As the girls helped me with our new ‘team effort’ of regurgitation, they told their dad the gory details of our morning. They could also see that my belligerent attitude towards him was very unusual… in fact my entire personality was off. Together they decided to make plans to get me to the ER. “I’m calling an ambulance, girls, don’t worry, just stay with your mama. I’ll meet the ambulance at the house” I heard my husband saying.

“No ambulance!” I quickly joined the dreamy conversation they were all having around me. “I’m NOT riding at the mercy of some ambulance… it will make me sick. I don’t want to vomit anymore! Ed, if you want me to go so badly, why don’t you come take me yourself so I can tell you how to drive?!”

I snapped at him one more time and that was it. He was on his way home.

Throw-up #11? or 12? or 13? Whatever, I’m just going to sleep…   everybody   just   leave   me   alone!

Fear… confusion… Just remember, Lisa, “It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”    Deuteronomy 31:8

*This document is the sole property of L. Marie Drake © 2017.  Permission granted for printing copies of this page on the basis they are not used for personal profit or any financial gain. Thank you.*

part V… the family home


About two years after living in our temporary Minnesota home, we were ready to flip it and go for that dream home where we hoped to draw pencil marks on the walls showing how tall our kids had grown; plant trees which would someday grow tall enough to decorate with Christmas lights; and create an environment that we hoped our girls would long to return to with their families one day. But life exists outside of our dreams.

The economy fell into a recession… especially the housing market. All brakes went on. Instead of moving forward with our grand plans of a craftsman rendition of a dream home on some lake, we were quietly thankful that our affordable little home remained just that – affordable.

Meanwhile, my career was accelerating. Nope… not in the way of finances (hey – I’m in the world of education – not banking :)!  Rather the velocity increased in the way of  time, training and learning. My career began to morph into part classroom teaching and part coaching other teachers.

My job was to introduce and instruct established teachers in a new and internationally effective reading program, straight out of New Zealand. Because this concept was new to the Midwest and to our district and to its established teachers, it wasn’t always well received. Therefore, in addition to just simply doing my job, the politics of the job began to take up more and more of an already full schedule. Forty hour work weeks quickly grew to 45, 50, 60, 65+ hours a week… along with a nightly ‘to do’ list staring at me when I was home, trying to be “present” with my family.

Now remember, someone like me truly doesn’t mind this much work. In fact, I’m a bit like a gerbil on a wheel – as long as the wheel’s spinning, I’m good. What does happen to folks like me… is we lose sight of the people and relationships right in front of us.

family pic quebec 2006~good one  Our family had become involved in short-term mission work, Bible studies, sports, youth groups, music lessons, etc…. Despite our best efforts, we had become the typical way-too-busy American family. I had too many balls in the air and I was constantly trying to find that elusive balance between my career and my family.  

Amidst everything – the too busy but still happy family life and my too busy but still satisfying job – sometime in January of 2011, we started re-researching the possibility of finding that dream home. The market had found some stability and our house was estimated to turn a profit. By the end of February we had remodeled the basement and repainted the whole house. Our home was ready to be put on the market and the dream house was once again in our sights.

Then, on February 28, 2011,  everything changed. There was a wild glide into mid-air, a thud, a flash of light and a sudden, blinding pain… and nothing has been the same since.

I didn’t understand it – that everything had changed for me. Not then. I didn’t understand it as we raced to the hospital the next afternoon with my head hanging over the puke bucket while I was on the phone with a colleague, asking her to conduct the training I had planned for the next day. I didn’t understand it as the doctors discussed airlifting me to Minneapolis for an emergency brain surgery while I made plans in my head for Lucie’s surprise birthday party now only a month away.

As the doctors explained to me what a Subdural Hematoma is, I was thinking about our house. The realtors would be there in a week to take pictures. Did I have everything ready? Should I take all of the family pictures down like they suggested?  Did I have all my testing done at school, before kids left for Spring Break?  Were my report cards completed?  ...CAT scan (are they the same as CT scans?) Why was Lucie going through so much at school?  Why did kids leave her out?  Am I spending enough time with my children?  Do I know them? Was Lydia truly as happy and as confident as she seemed? … heart monitor?… (why? I get the brain scan but… an MRI now? ) When would I get all the student’s data entered from the testing if I were in the hospital?  How would I be able to analyze the data if I couldn’t even see the bucket in front of me earlier today?  Could I still speak French?  Oh, no!  What if I lose my language abilities in both French and English… let me try it.  OK, no words French or English… just confusion.  I’ll try later. …more doctors shining more lights in my eyes… (I feel like the lights are killing me). Where’s my mom?  Is she still on her trip? Why is Lucie at the foot of the bed?  She looks sad?  How can I comfort her?  My dad looked quite pale when he came to get Lydia for us, why?  What is Eddie doing? … please don’t make me try to follow your finger again… Would someone please get me a Sudoku, so I can prove that I still have a brain?  Wait, I don’t play Sudoku… note-to-self… learn how to play Sudoku!

As unbelievable as this sounds, about four years passed before I was able to understand and come to grips with the fact that nothing was ever going to be quite the same for me again.  There would be blessings, but they would look a bit different and they’d be harder to see. Not harder to see because they were smaller – I don’t think God gives us small blessings. I think His blessings are all infinitely enormous, all equally wonderful.

I think it’s our vision that fails us. His blessings were there through all of this dark period. Some I couldn’t see at all and missed entirely, and others I could barely make out through the fog – I saw only bits and pieces. But He was teaching me to look closer and to try and focus on what He was doing in my life.

Eventually I got so if I squinted, I could start to see the beautiful pattern in what initially looked like a big, ugly mess.

“We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.”     2 Corinthians 4:8

I believed that verse meant He wanted me to never give up… and I was a stellar model of that in my newly ‘concussed’ predicament. I thought the words were about me and what I could do. But I have since come to believe that this verse isn’t about me at all. It is about Him.  He wants me never to give up hope in Him.

Ever so slowly I learned to give up on myself and to trust in Him. All of my efforts to overcome this injury were failing. Not one of my attempts at a normal life were successful.

Finally, grudgingly I agreed to hit the pause button on all of the many plans I had made for my life.

But the pause button wasn’t enough. He wanted me to hit STOP…

*This document is the sole property of L. Marie Drake © 2017.  Permission granted for printing copies of this page on the basis they are not used for personal profit or any financial gain. Thank you.*

freedom truly isn’t free

american flag

Sending out a special THANKS to the many soldiers, families, volunteers, leaders, etc… who have put the freedom of our country,

The United States of America,

first and foremost in their lives!  We at tripping UP the DOWN escalator are very grateful for each and every daily freedom we have… and the many freedoms that we take for granted!  

May God continue to bless America!


*Please remember to support our troops and their families.  MANY SUFFER FROM the Invisible Illnesses that THIS WEBSITE is seeking to reveal and help heal:

Operation Heal Our Patriots

Handmade by Heroes

Top 10 charities that support veterans 


*This document is the sole property of L. Marie Drake © 2017.  Permission granted for printing copies of this page on the basis they are not used for personal profit or any financial gain. Thank you.*



part IV… two kids, three careers & two houses later

Yes… nine short months later, the boy and I were blessed with a beautiful, happy, healthy baby girl.  Thanks to the help of my diligent and devoted parents, the remodel on our house was finished just in time to become parents ourselves! And it was so well crafted by my father’s handy work… that two and a half years later we were able to sell our home and make quite a decent profit.  Why sell?  Well…

I guess having a baby does change your life!? Once our little Lucie entered the world, careers, routines, ambitions and life in general seemed to look different than before.  It was no longer desirable for us to ship her off to daycare; work 50 hours a week; commute 2 hours a day; and rush home, completely exhausted to throw together a dinner, bathe a baby, read her a bedtime story and say goodnight – only to repeat the same agenda the following day.  We tried having Eddie stay home for a while… but my commute and job were still too demanding to have much of a family life.  Our wheels started turning and we began plans to move from the heart of Minneapolis to our “little house on the [South Dakota] prairie” where a business opportunity had come up for Eddie.

Leaving behind a secure, rigorous, and blossoming career was difficult for me… and my usual train of thought. But staring at a darling redhead and not being up for the task of “mom” by the end of each day began to supersede my typical pattern of type-A tug of war. We risked a lot, trusted the Lord, and we moved. At first the road was rocky… our marriage began to crumble – we rebuilt – we faltered – we regained our footing – and finally we humbled ourselves enough to submit our relationship back into Christ’s hands.  Healing began, our friendship and our love for each other grew beyond anything we had yet known, and baby #2 came along, little Lydia.  

Being a stay-at-home mom most definitely had its ‘guilt factors’ – not ever doing enough for the cause of the family, financially, globally, etc. However, the Lord subtly showed me the beauty in 

mtrushmorethe career of raising kids… and what an important career that is! Having the time to play with them; teach them; share God’s word with them; ponder their daily discoveries alongside them – I had time with them! It was an opportunity I’d never had before – an opportunity that many never have.  It was a gift from God that I hadn’t even known to ask for.  Our lives slowed to a near stop out there on that beautiful prairie, and we learned to live a rich life outside the hum of the city.  

For this brief pause in my life, I was able to enjoy both Lucie and Lydia to the fullest and let go of my inner drive. Sort of. I did find time to refurbish a piano; build a fence around the first garden I had ever planted (at 7 months pregnant); teach aerobics up to the 9th month of pregnancy; learn to cook meals rather than just throw together salads; raise my girls bilingually; train two cats and a dog – or two, and a few other things.  For the most part, though, this pace was calmer than I was used to. A calmer pace led to a calmer me. And a calmer me led to a better, closer relationship with my Creator.

“Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God,”      2 Corinthians 3:5

As the girls grew, we longed for them to be closer to their grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. We felt a desire to return to the place of our childhoods – Up North, Minnesota. The prairie was beautiful, but the clean, crisp, 10,000 lakes and the endless forests of trees – always felt like home.

With our marriage rejuvenated and our little family established – by the grace of God (the housing recession was coming) – we sold our house in the South Dakota countryside and moved back “home.”

Eddie got a job at my dad’s company (thanks again, Dad) and I jumped back into my 


former career of teaching. We bought a cookie-cutter house (a temporary place – we planned on flipping when we found our dream home). We found a church family that helped all four of us to grow in our faith and 

knowledge of Christ. We had one kid who was in school and the other in a very nice daycare situation shared between grandparents and a friend. We were home and loving it!  

For the first time ever, we could see our “happily ever after.”

We thought it was a done deal.



*This document is the sole property of L. Marie Drake © 2017.  Permission granted for printing copies of this page on the basis they are not used for personal profit or any financial gain. Thank you.*

part III… the boy

New Year’s Day, 1993, we were Up North at my parent’s house on the lake. Unbeknownst to me, “the boy” got up early, went downstairs, and gently interrupted my dad’s morning devotions to ask him for his daughter’s hand in marriage. (So old school. So romantic. I loved it!)

Blessing given. (Btw… thanks, Dad!).

5 hours later – halftime of the Sugar Bowl – the boy asked me to show him the playhouse that my dad built me as a kid. Reluctantly I said “OK.” (Just the summer before I’d asked him to come out and see my childhood playhouse. For some mysterious reason he continually declined. Now – New Year’s Day – it’s 20 below zero and all of a sudden he wants to see it!?)

We bundled up and made the short walk through the woods to my gingerbread-styled playhouse. Once inside, he challenged me to climb up in the loft (of which my adult body now barely fit). When I awkwardly found the top ledge, I turned around to show him that I did still fit.  As I flung my feet from the ladder to hanging over the edge, he grabbed my hand, and proceeded to ask me to marry him! His version of getting down on one knee was mimicked by me being above him… again… so romantic.  As the cold made his lips barely talkable, he struggled to ask again… “Will you marry me?”  Between my shock, my freezing tears, and utter joy… I had forgotten to respond.  Through visible breath… I finally said YES!  Six months later I found myself married to the boy… Mr. Tall, Dark, and Handsome and I became one. We began our life together.



I do have to admit, he was more than just ‘tall, dark, and handsome’ – even more than the man of my dreams. My attraction to him came from a substance in him that ran deep and complemented my shortcomings… and I his. He knew the Lord, he shared that spiritual relationship with me, and with that foundation underneath us… our relationship had – still has – an unchanging ROCK to stand on. We truly were best friends getting married… and still are… despite our imperfections.

So….a couple new chapters in my life had begun. I had found God – really. And I’d found the man I believe He intended for me and I was sure that now I would know how to live a life of peace and balance. No more questions, no more doubts, no more chaos. But that’s not the way God wired me. I was still the same type-A human He’d originally created. And that’s okay! He most definitely has a purpose and a special plan for all of us and all of our intricate ‘wiring.’

“LORD, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O LORD, you know it altogether.
You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it…

For you formed my inward parts;

you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”

Psalm 139

Despite reading and knowing the truth of God’s word, I would often find that I was becoming my own best competition… never satisfied with enough. Was this the way God had “hemmed me in?” Was this me allowing Him to be “acquainted with all my ways?” Or, was my personality a road block in drawing closer to Him? I agree that He “knitted me together” but, even though I had come to know Him through Jesus, was I praising Him for what He had made… or was I recoiling the ball of yarn and, in turn, un-knitting what He had so “fearfully and wonderfully made?”  Always biting off more than I could chew; always trying to fit square pegs in round holes; always reaching for the moon. Always, always, always

During our first five years of marriage, my husband and I were working downtown Minneapolis – living just a short bus ride away in “God’s Country” – NordEast Minneapolis. We were fortunate to be… very happily married. Life was simple and easy. But…..

I’ve never been super comfortable with “simple and easy.” Where’s the challenge in that? I started thinking about having a baby. Surely a baby wouldn’t complicate my life. Right? No… I wasn’t that humble to see through my own personality!

But it wasn’t just type-A-syndrome… No, it really wasn’t that at all – it wasn’t that tidy of a thought. This desire was something honest and real and it came from – well, I don’t know where it came from – the Lord – and it came from down deep, from a part of me I didn’t know I had. We’d talked a tiny bit about having babies, but I had put way more energy into a career and a happy marriage. Children were never really a part of that picture. Until they were.

We were in the middle of him finishing college & working odd jobs; me – working a 50+ hour week job & graduate school; remodeling our house; and learning to be married. So when I presented the whole baby idea to my husband, he looked at me all clueless – sort of the way I looked at him when he wanted to see the playhouse at 20 below. He often has the more realistic view on things – sometimes leaning pessimistic.  Well, you know my angle – overly optimistic – nothing’s impossible – partially realistic. And then, according to him, I lied to him – twice.

My first lie (according to him) was that having a baby would not much change our simple, happy life. I really said that!  Two decades and two kids later, I know now that that was a ridiculous thought, but not a lie because at the time… I did actually believe it.

My second lie (according to my husband) was that at my ripe old age of 30, it would probably take a couple of years for us to get pregnant… three weeks later I was interrupting his Twins game on TV to tell him that I was, in fact, pregnant.

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.”   2 Corinthians 4:7

Nine months later, the next new part of my life began…

*This document is the sole property of L. Marie Drake © 2017.  Permission granted for printing copies of this page on the basis they are not used for personal profit or any financial gain. Thank you.*

mid-month news & info  ~ june 2017


“This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.”        Psalm 118:24


  • Depression is another Invisible Illness, so we would like to highlight it on tripping Up the Down escalator.  It is one of those things that hides inside of us and often gets overlooked by the outside world. In fact, most people suffering from depression are very good at disguising it… even as they try to plow through their daily routine! Fortunately, we have had Jill volunteer to share her personal story so that…
    • we can know that we are not alone!
    • we can learn more about the signs and symptoms of depression as we help ourselves or loved ones through this difficult place.
    • we can consider sharing our own story in some way.
  • Please read Jill’s story about her struggle with depression (you can click on the blue link or you can find her story in U R NOT alone… our stories).  Please pray for her continued healing and the healing of others battling this Invisible Illness.
  • Another personal story was shared via a song. At age 18, Mandy suffered an Invisible Illness that changed her life forever. You may have heard this on TV… we now have it included on our site in U R NOT alone… our stories… mandy’s story/song. 
  • Sometime in July… we will open On the Lighter Side!  This section will be its own sort of blog – digging into male and female thinking, rationale, observations, and plain old common sense (or plain old lack of it). As we walk through this life… we at tUtDe are trying to remember to smile. We hope you will too! 🙂


  • We did it!!  You no longer need to have your eyes working today!! So far, we have successfully added “listening links” to the following areas.
    • The home page
    • Blog:  part I…what just happened? 
    • Blog:  part II… FROM THE TOP
      • See this icon at the end of an article to retrieve:  listeninglinkzzzz listening link


  • Share – SHARE –share!  Please consider sharing a trial you have had in your life and how you are dealing with it from day to day; how you have found a blessing in it; or maybe you are deep in the middle of the chaos that comes with a life-changing illness and you just need ‘sharing therapy’ to weed through the days?  We thank Jill for courageously sharing… let her courage be yours!
    • Worried you cannot write your story?…. Still contact us and we’d be happy to help you by either writing it with you/for you; editing it with you; or maybe even recording it instead?
    • We have two friends working on sharing. One will share with us about her challenges with PTSD and another about life with Fibromyalgia.
  • If you appreciate our website, please consider “following” it via your email. No worries… this won’t dominate your daily mail… you will only receive an email when we post our weekly blogs.  This will help our ratings and spread the hope to more people in need!  Thanks.
*This document is the sole property of L. Marie Drake © 2017.  Permission granted for printing copies of this page on the basis they are not used for personal profit or any financial gain. Thank you.*