Love truly CAN conquer all: Meet Katilynn & Matt Wetherbee
I first met Katilynn Wetherbee at my favorite safe space/keep-your-butt-in-shape workout spot barre3frankfortavenue & we became fast friends. I was blown away by her energy and spirit, but if wasn’t until I ultimately learned about the complexities of her life and her love story with her now-husband Matt that I was able to imagine and live a life of love such as theirs, which so many might miss out on.
Together for nine years, five of which were back then seemingly normal for Kaitlynn and Matt, they lived their lives in Boston in bliss; then in an instant everything changed. Five years ago, three days before his 29th birthday, Matt suffered a life-changing spinal cord injury while playing basketball, his favorite sport. Then came two months at Massachusetts General Hospital, followed by three months of recovery at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital before he could return home.
Matt ultimately launched the MW Fund when he realized how important it was for those living with spinal cord injuries (SCI) to have access to daily exercise and therapy. Once leaving a rehab hospital and being discharged from outpatient therapy, insurance often does not cover the cost of exercise facilities specializing in SCI, typically costing a
minimum of $100 per hour. This is difficult for most to afford given the extra costs associated with SCI, which is why the sole mission of the MW Fund is to award scholarships to deserving individuals in order to offset these financial burdens.
Kaitlynn and Matt are now residents of Louisville, Kentucky, where he is participating in epidural stimulation research at the @UofL. This research has resulted in many positive changes to daily life for Matt, and other participants, including the ability to stand, regulate blood pressure, move voluntarily, improvements in bowel and bladder function, and overall mental and physical health.
Although he remains paralyzed below his shoulders, Matt has made huge progress since his injury and guess what? This beautiful couple recently got married! I knew I had to share their story with everyone I possibly could via my Not So Darlin podcast and luckily for everyone, they both agreed to come on board. Please listen in on our conversation here, check out Matt’s amazing website at mwfund.org, and please follow Kaitlynn and Matt on Instagram at @kkiely14 and @mwetherbee.
Smells Like Teen Spirit - Meet Renee Sinning
From hair sprouting on every surface of a teenage boy's body, to navigating the waters - literally - of a daughter's period, being a teenager is hard. But being the parent of a teenager is even harder.
Which is why I have Life Coach expert Renee Sinning, my guest on this week's 'Not So Darlin' podcast, to share her expertise on how to survive raising teenagers & keep one's sanity! I’ve been listening to her podcast "The Empowered Parent Podcast" for some time now and it's been a terrific help for me to educate and inform myself on how to be a better parent to my 14 yo son.
I have discovered all she shares to be super helpful & insightful, and I know you will too, whether you're a parent, grandparent, or friend of a friend to teen. And believe me, anything I can do to help my son Brax in any way as he navigates the next few years, I'm gonna do whatever it takes. And I know you will too.
Couples #Goals - Meet Stephen & Erin Mitchell, Founders of createyourcouplestory.com
I discovered Stephen and Erin through a shared post on their Instagram account @couples.counseling.for.parents and was immediately hooked. They offer up some awesome marriage and parenting advice for everyone of all ages, genders and sexual identities.
They’ve been happily married for 12 years and are raising three kids, they work together – which probably wouldn’t be ideal for a lot of us! - and as they say, “we genuinely like one another (most of the time)!” Both are extremely accomplished and have advanced degrees: Stephen has a PhD in Medical Family Therapy, and Erin has a master’s in counseling psychology.
He is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Professor, while she works as a writer and Relationship Educator. Together they have taken their experience and knowledge to create couples courses, and by working together they provide relationship education to make couple relationships stronger.
Stephen and Erin specifically focus on couples because they are passionate about others having access to experience the sense of healing, belonging, and love that comes with an intimate couple relationship. And like all couples, they have struggled, continue to struggle, and no doubt will struggle again, yet they are committed to a healthy, loving relationship which they share on their website and social media channels.
I asked them to join me on my Not So Darlin podcast so I could pick their brains and learn more, as I have found their posts to be super informative and speak to me in so many ways as a wife and boy mom. Please check out our conversation here, be sure to visit their website and follow them on Instagram and Facebook.
HAPPY ANNIVERSARY TO ME!
The modern-day gift for a one-year anniversary is a clock, which commemorates the passage of time over the first year of a major event. That stated, I can’t think of a better analogy as I celebrate the first anniversary of my Not So Darlin podcast.
Why? Because while many would say time practically stood still during 2020, for me the past 12 months seem as if they flew by. It proved to be one of the most enlightening years of my life, a journey of self-discovery that opened up new horizons and experiences I never imagined. It was also one of the biggest learning experiences of my 43 years around the sun, with lots of bumps, curves, and woulda/shoulda/couldas. But at the end of the day – make that 365 days – the rewards have been enormous.
As we all shut down for quarantine last spring, I decided it was the perfect time for me to embark on a personal and professional reboot. I’ve always been fascinated by the stories of others who truly want to make an impact on our world, whether in baby steps or a big-time way. And what better way than to share these stories than to host an online forum that shines the brightest spotlight as possible on these very special people? Of course as is the case with most new endeavors in life, it really does take a village to make things happen, and I want to acknowledge my gratitude to the following:
First and foremost, Level Up Louisville whose mission is to connect, educate, and inspire women through a series of classes and events, and the invaluable counsel of my amazing instructor there,.Allie Hembree Martin. Were it not for her expertise and guidance, there would be no Not So Darlin podcast
Huge hugs to my hubby Brian for gifting me my podcast equipment for Christmas 2019; it’s definitely the gift that keeps on giving.
Podcast editor and producer extraordinaire Jacobi who helps make my broadcasts technically flawless so they flow beautifully
An enormous thanks to all of my guests for the compelling content you help me create each week. You’re all rock stars and such an incredible inspiration to me. You’ve opened my eyes and my mind and have given me the drive to keep going with your stories.
And last but certainly not least, a big shout out to my listeners who have encouraged and supported me. It means so much that you take time out of your day to listen in. I’m overwhelmed by the response from all of you here at home in the good ol’ USA, as well as my global followers (G’day Australia and thanks U.K. mates!).
And speaking of shout outs, I’d be remiss if I didn’t share the top 3, most listened-to broadcasts of the past year:
1) My Mother’s Day 2020 series featuring Jessica, a widowed mom of three making it on her own, on her own terms;
2) Audrey May of Mizuguchi Plastic Surgery;
3) My good friend Melanie of melanie-jean.com;
And I want to give a very honorable mention to Spiritual Medium & Psychic Jenny Shanks who was this close to third place. And these four guests will be back as special guests in the coming weeks, so be on the lookout!
I’ll close with a small bit of info about the origin of the name of my podcast. As a little girl growing up in Kentucky my very sweet, very southern grandmother used the term of endearment ‘darlin’ as both an adjective and a noun for so many different things: “Isn’t that darlin?”, “She’s so darlin”, “That outfit is darlin.” And while it’s a wonderful word, I’ve learned throughout the years that not everything is always ‘darlin’, pretty or perfect…and that’s OK. No one or anything is perfect and ‘darlin’ doesn’t always apply, because perfect is lame and it’s more than fine to be ‘not so darlin’.