My Birthday: Part One

My Birthday started the day before my because I talked to Morielle on the computer: `Happy Birthday Mathalia! How old are you?’


`No, not yet! Today you are 19 and tomorrow you will be 20!’

`What did you ask for your Birthday dinner?’


`Oh that will be delicious with Chester’s beef. Have a wonderful day!  I miss you soooo much!’

Next thing we made scones to share with my swimming friends. We made a batch for me: gluten-free flour; applesauce, no egg; and vegan shortening, no butter. After that we made regular scones with eggs from my chickens and real butter! I helped with painting on the glaze after they were baked. My mom said it was important to make the gluten-free first when the kitchen was clean.

Tuesday morning Coach Helen picked me up for Adult Coached Swimming. I put the scones in the back of her car. We had fun at the pool swimming, taking pictures together, and eating scones. My friend Katie made me a Happy Birthday sign:


That’s me in the pink cap.


When I got home, it was back to the kitchen baking Birthday Cakes:  two gluten-free and two-regular cakes.  CRAZY! It was fun! In the middle of our baking, Matthan called from USC to wish me a Happy Birthday!


`How old are you?’

`I am twenty; nineteen is all done!’

After baking, my mom took a power nap. I was sneaky and took a photo of her while she was sleeping. I don’t think she noticed but she did notice the thermometer:  70 degrees outside.

`Mathalia this is perfect weather for a tandem bike ride. Let’s go for a ride.’

`No, thank you.’

`Mathalia! Come on! Let’s go! It is 70 degrees. We have to go! We will call it your Birthday bike ride.’

Well, when she said the part about `Birthday ride’ then, of course I wanted to go. We rode a long the river. And then my mom stopped and wanted to take pictures of trees. Okay, whatever.

`Let’s take some pictures of the trees now and we can come back later and take more photos.  We can compare our to see how Spring has sprung.’

She had no problem convincing me to take photos. I love to take pictures.


Birthday dinner with my Mom and Dad was sort of boring but I knew that more Birthday was still to come. My mom asked me:

`Do you want to wait and save opening ALL your presents for when Grandpa gets back from Phoenix?’


So after dinner she went downstairs to work.

I had to go get her: `I want presents!’

`Mathalia! I thought you said you wanted to wait?!’

She forgot that I say `yes’ to everything. `Yes, I want presents with Grandpa does not mean that I don’t want presents NOW! And so I opened my presents before bed. A nice day with more to come.


Happy Birthday Mathalia!

Senior Year Slide Show

My friend Rachel, my mom and I made a video to share at the Missoula Aquatic Club Banquet May 2013. My mom printed and cut up 100s of photos; I chose the ones I liked; I wrote the captions and then I typed them into the computer. I selected the music and my friend Rachel came over and put it all together. Today my friend Christy taught my mom how to upload it and embed it in a post. I am excited that I can share it!

Siblings Part Three

Thursday, August 1, was a normal day at home: visiting my lamb, Domino, and my goat, Kanga, at the Ag Center and helping my FFA friends get ready for the Fair. It was on my list to go to Adult Swim after a short nap but I did not wake up until suppertime. My mom said it was okay, `You were exhausted, Mathalia; you needed to sleep.’ In the evening Matthan showed us his Green Mountain Summer pictures from Vermont. He can be a very wild and crazy brother when he is hanging out with his friends. Then he helped me post a picture on Facebook. I hope I can remember how to do it after he is back in Los Angeles!

Friday morning I went to lap swim with my mom and I had a very `Adult life’ adventure which my mom thought was fabulous but I was NOT very excited about it at all!! The morning started out just fine: we got up early and ate a little snack, rode the tandem to the pool, checked-in for lap-swim, swam, took a shower AND then she rode the tandem home without ME! She LEFT me at the pool!! While I was in the shower, she told me:  `I am frustrated, Mathalia, because you are soooo SLOW; I have things to do at home; I am NOT going to wait for you.’  And then in case, I did not understand or hear her words above the noise of the shower, she wrote me a note and left it on my swim bag. Wow! I was hurt and angry!! You should have seen me walking home: boy, was I quick!! When I got home she was happy and PROUD of me for my very quick walking AND for my very `adult’ problem-solving skills but I was still pretty ANGRY as you can imagine! I felt better after I had eaten a full breakfast and unpacked my swim bag.

By 4:00 when my mom was leaving for Spokane to pick up Morielle, I was happy and we had worked it all out. Still she thought I would want to stay home, relax, go to bed early, see Morielle in the morning. `NO WAY!! I want Morielle.’ And so she let me come along with her: more driving, more pot holders, more napping in the car. We got to Spokane early and then Dad texted Mom that the flight was delayed even more so we ate our little supper snack and then my mom took a nap in the car. I was messing around with my camera, taking pictures of her while she was sleeping and that woke her up so then we were both playing around with out cameras. It was funny.

But then it was time to get Morielle so we put money in the meter for parking the car and then we went inside and we waited some more. I was ready and waiting with my camera to take a picture of Morielle when she came out of  airplane! Morielle thought it was all very funny: no one was coming to greet her with a hug: I was trying to get a good photo and my mom was taking pictures of me taking pictures of Morielle. Morielle thought we were both CRAZY. Finally, we were happy with our photos and could give Morielle a welcome-home hug. She thought we were being very funny with our cameras but we take our photography very seriously.

Lots of talking and laughing in the car on the way home and then Morielle suggested a funny radio show: Cabin Pressure. It was very funny but then my mom started to fall asleep so we stopped listening and she and I took naps while Morielle drove us home: glad she had not forgotten how to drive a car!

Prom Weekend!

On Friday we had all team practice at the Grizzly Pool. We played games in the water and then we had silly dress-up with Missoula Aquatic Club t-shirts and anything green. I wore a green necklace. It was fun! Then we had the banquet with lots of pizza and salads. I ate one piece of pizza and then Coach Dave started talking about the team. He came to the part about recognizing the Seniors on the team—this year that was me and only me! So I got to show the slide show that I made with my mom and my friend Rachel. Everyone liked to see my baby pictures and my silly sibling pictures. I will try to put it on my blog so that you can see it too! Then Coach Ellen talked about me and said very nice things and she told funny stories about me:  when I was little I used to `forget’ to say `Hi’ to Ellen after she said `Hi’ to me.  I was just teasing her. I also used to tease Coach Jake by switching lanes in the pool: he did not know that it was me who was messing with his counting! I also used get disqualified in my breaststroke races when I would wave to my friends who were cheering for me at the side of the pool; this would mess with my mom a little who was an official.  Anyway, she said lots of nice things about me and then the captains said lots of nice things about me and they gave me a really cool team picture that everyone had signed:  Congratulations, Mathalia!  Good Luck, Mathalia!  I will miss you, Mathalia!  Keep swimming, Mathalia!
Saturday morning was very normal with swim practice and paperwork and laundry after that. Then we made a quick trip out to the FFA Farm to see my chickens and baby lamb (the subject of my next post). Well, it was not as quick as it should have been—I think my mom was having too much fun that she lost track of the time because when we got back home, I had to rush rush rush to get ready for Prom:  take a bath, blow dry my hair, curl my hair, put on a little make-up, put on my dress and necklace, prepare my purse. Whew! We were only a few minutes late meeting friends. Ashley, Dustin and I sat at one table and our moms sat at the other table. I ate pork teriyaki and we had wontons for an appetizer. At the end of our meal we shared our fortune from our cookies and then we gave each other our flowers.  We had plenty of time to take pictures down by the river, the fish sculpture and the bike sculpture. It was fun to see friends in their pretty dresses and get ready for The Grand March.
Prom was really fun:  we took silly pictures in a booth with friends; we wore silly Zoo hats; and we danced the night away.  At first I was a little shy but after that I never wanted to stop dancing. Lots of people left early but we stayed until the very last song!
Sunday morning I got up at 8:00 just as my mom was leaving for church!  Yikes!  I said, `I want church.’  `Well, you slept in,’ said my mom, `because you were so tired from a late Prom night; it would be okay to skip church this morning.’ `No, I want church!’  Then my mom smiled and grabbed a piece of paper and was excited about `the opportunity to learn’ to make an adult decision:  I had to decide what I wanted to do:  do I skip breakfast and get dressed really fast?  Well, I don’t like to skip breakfast but I don’t like to skip church either. We were able to figure it out: get dressed really fast and eat a little something in the car on the way to church.  My mom was so nice to help me pack up a little food while I got dressed. We were only a little late which is a lot better than skipping church!
Next week, I won’t be so tired and I will get up on time and have breakfast as usual before we go to church. After church we went to grandma and grandpa’s house for taco salad and strawberries.Yum! Then we played Muggins.  I got `mugginsed’ a lot because I wasn’t paying attention and because it had been a long time since we had played together.  Then my mom and I went out to see the animals–see my next blog for more details.  At home I worked on my calendar and got ready for my school week:  6 more Gold Days and 6 more Blue Days and then Graduation!

Inspiring Student and Special Olympics

This week was really fun because of Special Olympics and because of a special dinner honoring inspiring students.  I hardly know how to begin to tell everything!  I like it dance was my favorite part!  My friends Jessica and Kenzie thought carrying the Torch for Opening Ceremonies was very special!  I will start with Wednesday and then try to tell everything in order:  Track and Field Day  I got to hold the Torch for Opening Ceremonies and lead the Parade of Athletes around the track field.  My friends, Jessica and Kenzie, got to walk with me and it was really fun to do it together.  Sometimes the Torch would blow out because of the wind but the policewoman would light it for me again.

It was very exciting and my mom took lots of pictures but only a few turned out well.  After Opening Ceremonies we had lunch and then I ran 50 meter race and after that race I played soccer with my team. I think we won but my mom thinks we lost but it doesn’t really matter because we had lots of fun!   In the later afternoon and evening we had the dance which is always my favorite part and then we ate a delicious turkey dinner with mashed potatoes, green beans, and a delicious homemade roll.  I had a piece of cake and then my mom whisked me off to the next event in the gym across the hall.  This was the National Honor Society induction ceremony.  Somehow I missed it last year but my teacher, WyAnn, made sure that I got in this year which was really nice of her.  After the candle lighting exchange from Seniors to Juniors—I got a little mixed up because I was a Senior getting inducted and not a Junior but it all worked out in the end.  At the end then I got another piece of cake—it was so big that I shared it with my mom and dad.   And then we went home;  I was very tired and very excited about everything.

On Thursday we had Special Olympics bowling which was fun.  I went bowling with Megan and with Jacob.  It was funny because there were two M.S.’s playing but I knew when it was my turn to bowl.  I did a good job. I got a strike once and a couple of times I got a spare.  My mom thought that was pretty good.  My score was 71, I think, but I really did not keep track of scores and things like that. Then we went back to school and had lunch.  I went swimming after school for a short time but I had to get out early and put on my pretty dress to get ready for the Inspirational Student Dinner.  The event was very exciting.  They had a name tag waiting for me and they took me to table 27.  We had six people at our table:  my mom and dad, WyAnn my teacher and two more Big Sky Friends.  We listened to speeches and then the students had to get ready and my principal, Mr. Laboski called my name and I walked up the stage where Dr. Apostle gave me a medal and I shook lots of people’s hands and everyone clapped and then I sat down with my mom and dad and friends.  Everyone was very proud of me and very thankful for the wonderful honor.  There were only two students per grade for each school and I was one of them which was a very special honor. We had strawberry shortcake for dessert.  The strawberries were very good!  After the dinner we took some more pictures and talked to friends.  And then we went home; I was very tired and very excited about everything.

Then on Friday we had Special Olympics Swimming which was really fun because I saw lots of swimming friends at the pool.  My Coach Sarah was there and she was helping everyone and she helped me too.  I cheered my friends when they swam their races.  And I swam 100 free and 100 breast.  My mom and Sarah were there making sure I swam a nice, legal breast stroke. And I did!  It was fun!  I didn’t get my ribbons from swimming yet but my mom thinks I got a blue ribbon for the 100 breast because I was the only swimmer swimming the 100 breast which was not much competition.  It was fun.  After swimming, I still had more school and then work at the Writing Center.

What a busy day and what a busy week.  My mom laughed and laughed when she saw me come to the Writing Center:  I was carrying all the stuff I needed for that day and two snack containers from Special Olympics:  my school backpack, my swim bag, my violin for orchestra class, and two buckets from the snacks my mom sent and I was wearing my Letterman jacket and it was 70 degrees outside.  When I turned the corner, my mom couldn’t believe that I brought all that stuff on the Ag. Ed. bus and then walked to Mt. Line Bus stop at the Mall and then got on Bus #1 to Miller Hall and walked to The Writing Center.  She felt sorry for me so she took some of the stuff home so I wouldn’t have to carry it home all by myself.  But when I got home, she insisted that I do it all over again for a picture.  Silly mom.   So I had to put my letterman jacket back on and my back pack, my swim bag, my violin in one hand and the two snack containers in the other hand.

My Letterman Jacket

On Tuesday I was so excited about the Swim Banquet because I am a Senior and it was my turn.  After we picked up my friend, Jenny, we got to the Banquet on time and got some ice-cream.  There were lots of people and it was hard to find a seat.  I wanteto see the slide show but Coach Helen wanted to start with awards.  Then it was Big Sky’s turn and I went up in front with my friends Caelin and Jenny;  Cameron came later.  Coach Helen said nice things about each one of us and we got a package with blue and gold ribbons for Big Sky:  a North Face back pack, a big laundry bag with my name on it and a blue/gold pot holder from myself :-).  And then my swim friends came up and gave me a letterman jacket!  My friends helped me put it on and then everybody stood up and clapped. Then I went back to sit with Jenny and I wore my new jacket.  Coach Helen gave more awards and we had a slide show of lots of pictures from High School Swimming.  It was fun!  My favorite part was the jacket and the slideshow and the ice-cream! (Click here if you want to read about Missoula Invitational Swim Meet and click here if you want to read about High School State Swim Meet in Hardin.)

After the banquet my mom wanted to take pictures with friends and with coaches.  Coach Helen said:  next year I hope you come to Masters’ Swimming on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  And my friend Hailey said:  next year I hope you will come to the Grizzly Pool to watch us swim. We took my friend Jenny home and then we were in the car and we were quiet and I was thinking and then I said `next year.’  My mom said, `Hand me a kleenex, please.’  And then she reminded me what Coach Helen said about swimming Masters and what my friend Hailey said about watching my friends swim next year.  `Are you a little sad?’ she asked me.  `No, I am happy.’  At home I put our senior picture `This is not our first Rodeo’ poster in my scrapbooking box `High School Swimming is all done,’ I said and then I went to bed.  I was tired and excited both at the same time. 

On Wednesday I wore my Letterman Jacket on the bus to school.  My mom told the bus driver about the Swim Banquet and about the jacket.  She was crying a little bit.  Silly mom. But now I know when she does that that she is giving thanks and being proud of me so it is okay.  At school I did not put my jacket in my locker.  I wanted to wear it to my classes.  In painting class, I was careful not to get any paint on it;  in Culinary Arts I was careful not to get any dough on it; and at lunch I was careful not to spill my lunch on it.   I wanted to wear my Letterman Jacket because . . .  well just because I was grateful and proud and excited . . .  everything!  

On Thursday, I got up early and helped pack the car to drive to Utah to see Matthan swim.  I wore my Letterman jacket in the car.  When we got to Deer Lodge my mom asked me if I was warm and if I wanted to take off my jacket.  So I took it off because the car was warm.  I made 10 pot holders and then my mom wanted to listen to The Iliad by Homer.  She said that that after The Iliad we could read The Hobbit.  And that is what we did. We got to the hotel in Salt Lake City and then ate dinner at McDonalds.  I had grilled chicken wrap, small fries, garden salad and water with no ice.  At the hotel my mom and I watched Downton Abbey.  It was so happy with the baby and then it was so sad.  

In the morning we got up and ate breakfast.  I made 10 pot holders and then I played games with Grandpa and then Uncle Jeff came and we played more games. And then we waited and waited for Matthan.  We were so excited!  And then Matthan came to the hotel with his USC swimming friends.  I showed him my Letterman Jacket but he was not very surprised about it—he already knew I was going to get it—he kept the secret.  Good job, Matthan!   He said that it looked nice on me and we took a picture together.  And then we talked and talked and talked.  It was fun!  Then after McDonalds with Grandma and Grandpa and Uncle Jeff we went to the swim meet.  Matthan swam 50 breast.  Go Matthan!  Go SC! It was fun!

Saturday morning we got up and we ate breakfast in the hotel and we played more games and did more talking and then it started to snow.  It was very prettyeveryone was worried about the roads for going home.  But Matthan was very excited to see the snow!  He misses snow in southern California.  Then we went to the swim meet.  Matthan swam 100 breast, 200 breast, and 200 IM.  Go Matthan!  Go SC!  It was fun.

We drove home in the snowstorm:  I made 10 more pot holders;  I listened to The Iliad for my mom; and in the night I took a nap and then we were home!  Sunday we went to church, unpacked our stuff, worked on homework and then relaxed.  

playing games together at the hotel
playing games together at the hotel
Go SC!  Go Matthan!
Go SC! Go Matthan!
USC @ Utah
USC @ Utah
#1 SC Fan!
#1 SC Fan!
sporting Trojan and Eagles gear
sporting Trojan and Eagles gear

crazy southern California boys

with my coaches

with my coaches

My High School State Swim Meet Weekend

It all started when my mom insisted that we drive over grandmaʼs house to watch television which did not make any sense to me because we have a television but she said we had to go because we couldnʼt get the signal for KPAX on our television. Anyway, we drove to grandmaʼs house and there I was on T.V. I was swimming at the Grizzly Pool and they showed me swimming and diving; later Coach Helen talked about me and my friend Hailey talked about me and my mom talked about me (click here to read her thoughts of the interview).

Then we went home and went to bed . . . and the next morning I wore my Big Sky Swimming warm-ups outfit and everyone was talking to me and saying that they saw me on T.V. and `way to go, Mathaliaʼ and `have fun at State, Mathaliaʼ and `Good Luck,Mathalia.ʼ My mom picked me up from school and laughed when a friend encouraging me to swim fast asked about PED’s and going to Florida.  I said `yes, I want to swim fast, take PED’s and fly to Florida!’   Mom said, `Well, you had better hope Coach Helen doesn’t find out.’

Good Luck, Mathalia and have fun!my locker decorated for the State Swim Meet

Good Luck, Mathalia and have fun!
my locker decorated for the State Swim Meet

On Thursday, we drove all the way to Hardin on the big Beachliner buses: wow it was a long drive. All the swimmers–ninety of us—got a little bag with breakfast and then later we got a bag with lunch.

6:00 a.m. boarding the busses

6:00 a.m. boarding the buses

We had lots of time: time for napping and time for talking and laughing with friends; and time for listening to music. In Hardin I remembered the pool; I had been there before. The first time was five years ago when I went with my mom to watch Matthan swim.  Matthan was a sophomore and I was still in middle school.  I sat up by the announcer where it was quiet and not very many people and I watched the swim meet and made lots of pot holders while my mom officiated and Matthan was swimming.  The second time I was there was three years ago when I was a freshman and I got to go to the State Swim Meet. My mom came on the bus with the whole team and we stayed in the same hotel room together. This time is a lot different because I am a senior and I came all by myself with friends!

alone in swim meet chaos

negotiating swim meet chaos all by myself

My mom says she is so proud; maybe that is why she is crying all the time. Anyway, it felt really good to warm up in the nice pool and then go back to the hotel for a delicious taco bar supper. I stayed in the hotel all by myself with friends!

In the morning on Friday I went down to breakfast and my mom was there making eggs. I talked to my mom but I ate breakfast with my friends. Then we got on the bus to go to the meet. My friend Jenny wrote my races on my hand with black ink. I got ready for my races all by myself. I swam 50 free, 100 breast, and then the 400 free relay.  I got ready and was on-time for all of my races.

waiting for my heat, getting mentally ready for my race

waiting for my heat, getting mentally ready for my race

beautiful, legal breast stroke!

nice, legal breast stroke!

enjoying my swim and all the cheers

enjoying my swim and all the cheers

race is done!  well swum!

race is done! well swum!

getting read for the anchor leg of the 400 Free Relay Race

getting ready for the anchor leg of the 400 Free Relay Race

The relay was really fun because I  had never swum the 400 Free Relay. I got to swim the anchor leg and everyone was cheering and clapping and shouting: `go Mathaliaʼ and my mom was taking pictures and crying. Silly mom. After the race she took more pictures of me and of me with friends and then I took a shower and got dressed.  I went back to the hotel and ate a fancy Olive Garden dinner with salad and bread sticks.  I hung out with friends and High School Swimming was all done for meSaturday I got to watch my friends swim in finals and I got to cheer them on in their races: Go Kate from Big Sky. She got a medal in the Award Ceremony just like Matthan when he was a Senior and got a medal. It was fun. We got on the bus and drove to a grocery store. I bought chicken and potatoes for three dollars. Then I hung out with friends on the bus until we got home.

My dad picked me up and at home I scrubbed my hand really hard to get the black ink off my hand. High School Swimming is all done! Well, we have one more thing: High School Swim Banquet on February 19. I put it on my calendar; I am really excited because I am a senior. This year is my turn!

At church everybody was talking to me: good job, Mathalia! I saw you on KPAX News, Mathalia! I was so proud of you, Mathalia! Way to Go Mathalia!  This year is my turn: graduation is June 1, 2013! Thank you Coach Helen and High School Swimming, Thank you Missoula Aquatic Club, Thank you Grizzly Pool, Thank you KPAX, Thank you Missoula, Thank you Montana; thank you God.

p.s. If you see my mom, tell her to stop being silly and just give thanks for the past four years of high school and know that His faithfulness will continue to be new every morning in the years to come. Then tell her to go chill with her favorite book:  To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven . . . He has made everything beautiful in its time . . .[therefore]  nothing is better for [her] than to rejoice . . . and enjoy the good of all [her] labor—it is a gift of God.

My Very Fun Long Weekend With Winter Special Olympics

Two ribbons and one medal for skiing and snowshoeing!

Two ribbons and one medal for skiing and snowshoeing!

I had a fun weekend with no school on Monday and Special Olympics on Tuesday and Wednesday! So this week I have only two days of school: one Gold Day and one Blue Day. I am tired but I am excited to wear my medals to show my friends at school. Anyway, I had a busy weekend and a time to catch-up at least a little; my mom likes it when we get paperwork done!

So on Friday I got home and found the schedule for my swim meet in Helena on the table waiting for me. That made me excited to get ready for Saturday. So I packed my stuff all by myself! And then I went hunting for my mom. She was in the attic working. I joined her and did a little weaving on my big loom. There was something wrong with foot treadle #3 so my mom helped me a little but mostly I was weaving all by myself. Then I was going to make some pot holders but I changed my mind and asked my mom to read The Hobbit with me. It was scary. The gobblins came into the cave and took all their packages, baggages and ponies too. I went to bed early and got up at 5:00. My mom said it was too early but I wanted to get ready all by myself. The only thing my mom helped me with is a pillow: she asked me if I would like a pillow so I could sleep on the bus. I said `yes.’

My mom said that this was my last regular swim meet and that she remembered driving Morielle and Matthan to Sentinel parking lot for their meets. This would be the last time for the early Saturday morning drive. It was very dark and gloomy with fog. I saw the pretty moon and I saw my mom crying: `what are you doing?’ `I am giving thanks; could you hand me a kleenex, please.’ silly mom.

On Sunday Grandma and Grandpa were sick and the piglets at the FFA Farm had not come yet so we stayed home and worked on homework. Then when we were done doing our paperwork, we finished watching The Dark Knight Rises. There was a football game and The Star Spangled Banner and I liked that part and then the game went crazy with guns and shooting and people screaming. It was scary. What happened is more guns and shooting and funny flying cars. And then it was sad at the memorial service.

I went to Winter Special Olympics on Tuesday and Wednesday. I rode the bus and watched a movie. I went nordic skiing and I went snow shoeing; I did not ride the snowmobile and I did not ride the sleigh or go sledding. Then I went to the hotel and had the dinner and the dance. I ate pasta, salad, bread, cake and ice cream. Then we had the dance. I got to wear my prom dress again because the theme was `It’s a Formal Affair.’  My roommate, Jade, told my mom that I was the dancing queen again. It was fun! I slept in the hotel room with Jade and on Wednesday I went skiing again and snowshoeing again. I won two ribbons and one medal. It was fun. I rode the bus home and watched another movie. My mom came to get me and we went home. I told her everything that we did in the car. At home I unpacked my stuff and packed for a Gold Day. And then we ate supper and we heard a noise:  what’s that funny noise?  It was Morielle calling on the computer!  It is called FaceTime. So my mom put the computer on the desk and we talked to Morielle while we ate our supper. It was almost like having her home for dinner except that she had just gotten up in the morning. I showed her my jar of applesauce and she wanted me to pass it right through the computer so she could eat some for her breakfast! We said `goodbye’ on the computer and then I got ready for bed because I was very tired.

My Very Fun Missoula Invitational Swim Meet Weekend!

100 meter breast stroke race

100 meter breast stroke race

Missoula Invitational Swim Meet 2013 is my turn! I remember when it was Matthan’s turn: 2010. I remember taking a picture with Matthan, mom and Mathalia. It was fun! This year it was my turn to take a picture with mom and dad. Grandma and grandpa were there too. Grandma was taking pictures with friends: Mathalia and Jenny; Mathalia and Caelin. And then they called my name and Kathleen Ward took my picture with mom and dad and by myself and with my senior friends.  It was so fun!

And then Dan at KPAX took my picture with a big camera and he clipped a little microphone on my sweatshirt and then he talked to me about swimming and about violin and then he talked to my mom about swimming and about violin and about everybody cheering for me. She cried a little. silly mom.

Jenny wrote my races on my arm so I was on-time: 50-free, 200 relay, 100 breast. I remembered swoosh—no poufs. My mom was happy about that–no D.Q.’s. silly mom–it doesn’t matter!

On Sunday I went to church and everybody was talking about the newspaper and I didn’t understand until we got home and my mom showed me my name in the newspaper about Hellgate Girls! I was so proud and excited! I read the newspaper with my mom and then I took it to grandma and grandpa’s house and they read the newspaper and grandma made a copy and then my dad read the newspaper. Everybody was talking about it at swim practice Monday morning. So this year it is my turn and it is fun!

On Monday I got up at 5:00 to swim then I practiced violin and made 10 pot holders. I worked on my Senior Project paper work with my mom. Then we went cross-country skiing. I fell down and I got back up all by myself. Then we went to Joseph’s Coat and my mom bought me a button for my new hat. It’s cute. Then I read The Hobbit with my mom. It was a crazy fast day! The one thing I wanted to do was to read The Hobbit and we did! The one thing my mom wanted to do was to go skiing and we did! And then I went to bed early: 6:30!

And this . . . from mom . . .

I knew the senior recognition was coming and I knew the KPAX interview was coming; I just didn’t want them to come—somehow block them out or cut me out of the picture. Saturday morning I read a very meaningful blog from Morielle in China wondering about her future and of course, I immediately transferred her thoughts to my worries about Mathalia’s future after high school: all the concerns packed into my little brain AND this being her last high school swim meet in Missoula, AND wishing they could do the T.V. interview without me. Hah! So the simple prayer from James, may we do the right thing and may you use Mathalia and her story as it goes to a wider audience.

Interestingly, the KPAX reporter asked me about her disability: what is her disability? Huh? I don’t know . . . yes, I have to fill in paperwork about her disability but I rarely talk about it: it is written on her face. So maybe I said something like: Down Syndrome, Cognitive Delay, low-muscle tone, speech issues, impairment? not sure what I said.

Then he asked me about her name! Wow! Okay, dear Lord, here you are working: `it took three months; we wanted something meaningful for her. Athalia means the LORD has shown His strength . . . through her weakness. This certainly has been the case and can be seen clearly with her presence on the team.’ So far, so good until he asked me about my thoughts regarding the cheers and response from the crowd irrespective of team loyalties. . . . well, you know, silly mom.

Anyway, I’m not done with the story: another example of how very very present I have been experiencing my Heavenly Father this year: Sunday morning reading the Old Testament Lectionary Reading for the second Sunday after The Epiphany, Isaiah 62

. . . and you shall be called by a new name that the mouth of the LORD shall give.

You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of your God.

You shall no more be termed Forsaken,/Disability

     and your land no more be termed Desolate/cognitive delay

but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her and your land Married;

       for the LORD delights in you . . .

as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride,

           so shall your God rejoice over you.

So present, so very very present. My mind was filled with unpleasant labels and misgivings about not being able to keep my composure in front of the camera. And thinking, wondering about Mathalia’s future. Yes, this is her Senior Year and it is a lot of fun and very exciting but after this, then what? She has a disability very much so. My heart is worried and troubled about many things. AND he knew this and he prepared a reading for me, just for ME because we did not read that passage in church. Mathalia shall be called `My Delight Is in Her’ and the Lord delights in her and her God shall rejoice over her. No need for me to be anxious and trouble. He has got Mathalia covered in his wings. So well primed my tears that you can imagine what happened in church when we sang the line: He lives to calm trouble hearts in I know that My Redeemer Lives and when my pastor read the newspaper article in the adult Sunday school class. I am a complete basket-case this year AND Mathalia takes it all in stride: `2013 is my turn.’ Surrounded by ten thousand gifts and I am worried and troubled about many things. silly mom.

May I be given the power to enjoy them; the power to see and enjoy is also a gift of God. Ecclesiastes chapter 5 🙂


Mathalia loves the limelight much more than the competitive aspect of swimming. Throughout her races, she’s always smiling and looking at the people who are cheering her on.