The Boy Who Was Born Without A Brain

My daughter April snuggling with Caleb

In my family we have a secret code to communicate our love for each other when we are out in public. We wink. When one of us is about to perform or speak, we look for a family member’s face in the crowd. Then we wink at each other. Closing one eye and winking is our secret code for saying, “I love you. You can do it. You’re wonderful.”

Almost seven years ago, my grandson Caleb was born into our family. He must have known before birth that he would never be able to speak to us because he was born with one eyelid permanently closed. So, he is always “winking” at us, always communicating, “I love you. You can do it. You’re wonderful.”

Mitchell and Caleb
Caleb has one eye lid permanently closed because he is missing one of his eyes . . . and he is also missing his brain. All the doctors said he would die soon after birth. They were wrong. He is a medical miracle. The doctors say he can’t see, hear, speak, think or move. Those who know and love Caleb understand he has his own unique way of experiencing the world and communicating his love to those around him.

After Caleb was born the hospice people told us to buy a burial plot and continually warned us of his imminent death. We soon learned you can not live well in a state of fear and sadness. We decided we could spend Caleb’s entire life anxious and scared he might die at any moment, or we could celebrate each day we were blessed to have him with us. In the beginning, my daughter April celebrated Caleb’s birthday every week instead of every year with balloons and cupcakes because we simply did not know how long we would have him with us. We stopped the cupcakes after we gained ten pounds, but the celebrating goes on.

We all prayed for a miracle when we first learned about Caleb’s condition. We got one. Caleb’s birth, life and mission have had a deep and lasting impact on our lives. His spirit, eternal identity and most of all the loving, individual relationship he has with each of us is truly a miracle. Because of Caleb we know that each of us has a divine purpose and that the physical body is a sacred gift we should never take for granted. We better understand the worth of a soul and the resiliency of the human spirit.

Caleb’s older brother Matthew said, “Grandma. The doctors said Caleb was going to die, but he didn’t. That’s the first miracle I ever saw!”

The winking family: Mitchell, Josh, Caleb, Dallan, April and Mathew
Caleb’s younger brother Mitchell holds hands with his brother while they ride together in the stroller. Sometimes the only intervention that can get Caleb’s heart rate up is when his older brothers Josh and Matty crawl in his crib, hug him and sing, “I am a Child of God.” Caleb is my hero and though he has never been able to utter a single word - he has taught everyone who knows and loves him – all the secrets of a rich and meaningful life.


More Pictures From Samoa

My daughter Arianne and her family recently returned from Samoa and brought along these beautiful pictures I'd like to share with you.


Happy Birthday Sophia

Sophia Spends a Day on the Ceiling


Grandma Baadsgaard

“Sometimes it is very hard having three brothers,” Sophia said as she stood next to her mother cooking a pot of soup on the stove.

“I know,” her mother said. “I grew up with brothers too.”

“They always break my toys and they won’t be careful with my dolls. Sometimes I wish I could live on the ceiling so they can’t reach me.”

“Be careful what you wish for,” her mother answered.

Suddenly Sophia’s three brothers ran into the room, knocked her over and stepped on her favorite doll.

“See what I mean,” Sophia said rolling her eyes.

Sophia walked into her bedroom and slammed the door. Then she put her doll into a backpack, strapped it on her shoulders and tried to find a way to get on the ceiling. First she grabbed the bar in her closet and started walking up the wall until she flipped over. Suddenly everything went black.

When Sophia woke up she was stuck on the ceiling living her life upside down. She saw her three brothers below her trying to jump up and touch her. But she was safe at last.

“No more broken toys and squished dolls,” Sophia said. “This is wonderful.”

First she walked over to the upside down light fixture, sat down and decided to have a tea party with her doll without any rude interruptions.

“Sophie, Sophie,” come back down. “We miss you,” her brothers yelled from below.

Sophia pretended she could not hear them. She was having a delightful time with her doll and not one single brother knocked her over. When she got bored, Sophia took a nap next to her doll by flipping over the curtains at the window for her blankets.

“It looks like you’re having a nice time up there,” her mother said when her brothers pulled her into the room.”

“Tell her she has to come down and play with us,” Sammy said. “It not fun without Sophie.”

“Sophia will come down when she is ready to come down,” her mother answered.

When her father came home from work, he walked into Sophia’s bedroom, scratched his head and said. “How are you doing that?” he said. “You can’t live forever upside down.”

“Actually,” Sophia answered. “From where I sit, you are the one who is upside down. I’m right side up on the ceiling.”

“Oh,” her father said. “I never thought of it that way.”

When it starting getting dark, Sophia pulled the curtain back over herself and went to sleep. When she woke up, her mother was staring at her and she was back in her old bed.

“Oh, I’m so glad you are alright,” her mother said. “You had me scared when you fell on her head in your closet.”

“Have I been living upside down?” Sophia asked.

“You might put it that way,” her mother answered. “You guys can come in now.”

Suddenly Sophia was covered and smothered with brothers, lots and lots of brothers hugging and kissing her.

“We’re so glad you are alright,” her brother Sammy said. “We were worried about you. We love you Sophie.”

“I guess brothers aren’t so bad after all,” Sophia answered.


Happy Birthday Bradley!

                    Bradley Joel has a heart of gold
                    And the brightest smile in town
                     He gives the biggest, tightest hugs
                     His energy never winds down

He likes to run and jump and play
And read a lot of books
He does back flips and cartwheels too
And helps his mother cook

When he comes to Grandma’s house
He never passes me by
He smiles and says, “I love you.”
That always makes me sigh.

Bradley Joel is a wonderful boy
He has a place in my heart
No matter how big or tall he grows
I hope we’re never far apart

For Bradley Joel is my special grandson
Sent to me from above
We will always be together now
For we’re sealed together in love.


New Horizon's Orchestra Concert On Thursday

I play the violin in an orchestra that is giving a free concert this Thursday night (November 10th) at 7:00.  The concert will be held at Maple Mountain Stake Center across the street from the new Maple Mountain High School in Spanish Fork, Utah.  That bit of information may not seem particularly interesting unless you know the rest of the story . . .

When I was a girl I told my mother I wanted to learn to play the violin.  She told me that playing the violin was only for rich children.  I believed her and sang in the choir instead.  Several years ago I learned about a unique orchestra in Utah County.  This orchestra welcomes beginners.  In fact you must be over forty years old to join.  Everyone with a few hours a week to spare is invited to be part of a unique and life changing experience.  You are asked to bring your own instrument, music stand and several music books that we play from  So I'm learning how to play the violin even though I well over fifty.

Andrew Dabczynski, from the BYU School of Music, is our director along with several graduate assistants.  Undergraduate students enrolled in music education at BYU come to our rehearsals and practice leading us as part of their music education program.  So basically we are all students helping students who are helped by students.

Do we sound like the Philadelphia Philharmonic Orchestra? No.  But that doesn't matter. We have so much fun learning together.  I never get through a rehearsal without laughing or having tears come to my eyes.  Making music is such an incredible joy. 

Playing in the orchestra has also sparked an interest in my children who are still living at home.  My son John has learned to play the bass and now my daughter Alisa is learning to play the cello at their local schools.  I guess they think, if Mom can do it, I can do it. 

If you've ever wanted to play in an orchestra come Thursday night and check us out.  I'd love to tell you how to join.  I'm so happy that I didn't let this experience pass me by.  We're never too old or too dumb to try something new.  Being a beginner at my age is the best fun I've had in years.   


Halloween Faces

My daughter April with her super hero boys.
My granddaugter Tessa  . . . "I don't want to be a lady bug!"

Here's a big thank you to all you mothers and fathers who worked so hard to make Halloween fun for your children and my children.




Catch the Beauty While You Can

Recently I was at our cabin watching the gold leaves circling around and around and down through the crisp Fall air to the ground.  I soaked in the gleaming moment like the last warm rays of sunlight before nightfall.  I wanted to take a photograph . . . capturing the essence of time as one season in nature and myself - flowed silently into the next. 

When we came back the next day, all the leaves had fallen creating a soft wet carpet on the ground.  The time for savoring was gone.  It happened so quickly . . . before I was ready to let go. 

So do our lives pass before us.  We move so quickly from one season to the next  . . . before we catch our breath, we must move on.