Real People. Real Stories

Dying, to Live Your Life


h Blog

Lisabeth has been writing blogs since January 3, 2012. At that moment, when her husbands life was hanging in the balance, she opened up her life and her heart to everyone. The blogs, that described her families journey and life living with traumatic brain injury, along with her own journey through Stage IV breast cancer, have opened up a world of heartfelt connection and inspiration for others.

Real Stories from Real People – Life Battles Relived

A story from an anonymous person that wanted to tell her story. Why am I telling my story? I feel that it is my duty to share it with you. […]

Pivot Left

Life does not always move forward as we had planned. Sometimes you must take a step backwards. Sometimes a turn to the right, or maybe even a hard pivot to […]

Dying to Live Your Life – What does that mean?

When I first started thinking about writing another book, I wanted to capture the essence of all of the things that I had been writing about the last several years. […]

Why the long face? (AKA why is my face leaking?)

Dear God what is the problem?? Why do I spend moments, and not just a few moments, but lots and lots of moments with my face leaking? For you strong […]

The Next Great Thing

When looking at your life, do you see great things? Do you see steps forward, progress of goals, and feel a sense of wonder at what great things will be […]

Dying to Live Your Life

Featured blog for Readers Magnet Thankful for a great partnership with Readers Magnet for featuring my book in their site. Here is complete text of the Dying to Live Your […]

Sometimes you just have to look for it

It is the holiday time of year and everyone is happy and celebrating. Presents and parties abound, and we are all supposed to be joyous, appreciative of what we have […]


New moments. Old moments. Past moments. Moments flash by us, we don’t even recognize most of them as our brain does not remember like a movie, it remembers events and […]

Alone or Lonely – Is there a difference?

Are you alone? Does being alone mean that you are lonely? Does being lonely mean that you are never near others? Being alone and being lonely are very different ideas, […]

My 10 Days of Paying Attention – Day Seven

Practice day for the team! Mariah and I opted to rent bikes last night to keep throughout today, as the park that we need to get to for my practice […]

My 10 Days of Paying Attention – Day Six

Wednesday I never once said that I always make the best decisions, sometimes you just leap and let it be. This morning, well yesterday, I made an appointment to get […]

My 10 Days of Paying Attention – Day Five

Tuesday – Day 5 Bike day – loose agenda here in Florence but hoping to cover more ground by renting some bikes. Goal for the day – do not get […]

My 10 Days of Paying Attention – Day Four

Day Four To wake up and realize you are in yet another country is fascinating. Sleep is sleep anywhere, but being awake is an entirely different thing. Stepping outside into […]

My 10 Days of Paying Attention – Day Three

Day 3 – The Day of Travel We spent day three packing and organizing, shopping and moving. Having some time in the morning to shop, we wandered through our now […]

My 10 Days of Paying Attention – Day Two

June 30, 2018 Day Two It really is something when you can completely step out of what you know, who you are, and where you have been to embrace something […]

My 10 Days of Paying Attention -Day One

6-30-18 Cancer gifts Months of planning and praying led to this moment. The moment when I get to say “Okay I am ready to go!” To go where you ask? […]

My 10 Days of Paying Attention – Day Two PM

Day Two PM The time shift has not quite set in for us as we leave for dinner at 8:00 PM, following a frantic 30 minutes trying to rebook a […]

Not facing my fear

I like to pretend that I have no fear, that I am fearless at all times. That I am not touched by the worries of the world, and that I […]

I’m Lucky

I’m lucky – for so many reasons. I have amazing support in my life. I have a strong family, a strong will and a strong heart. I have people that […]

The “Eve” of things

Last Saturday we were having our typical busy weekend. In the midst of it all Tommy declared the day Super Bowl Eve. Technically he was correct and with all of […]

Death on my doorstep

2/3/18 Death. I have been thinking about death in all of its forms for the last two weeks. Unusual I agree, but with a blog called DyingToLiveYourLife, and a philosophy […]


1/24/18 Excuses – we all have them. Over and over. We can all rationalize reasons why we do things, don’t do things, how we do them or the way that […]

Amazing gifts

1/15/18 Sometimes the most amazing gifts come out of nowhere. When it happens, breathe it in, let it simmer in your soul. Experience the true joy of the moment. As […]


1/10/18 I had a conversation today with someone that runs a company that provide household products to individuals that are looking for a way to decrease the chemicals and harsh […]

Dying To Live Your Life – 12-27-2017

12/29/17 It just takes a moment – any moment- to change your life. My life changed, drastically, twice in four years, and in those moments, I changed. It didn’t matter […]

Thinking about it all

But I do think about the future, and the time has come again for the future to be a bit worrisome. Every six months people that live in the cancer […]

A few minutes alone

I am spending a few minutes alone. In my car. It’s just about the only spot I am alone these days. It’s quiet other than the Christmas music playing. Well, […]

Beginning again

It feels like forever since I wrote an update. It isn’t because there is nothing to write (there is always something to write) but I have been very focused on […]

My reality vs real reality

For someone that wants to be done with all things surgery and doctor related, a week with three doctors appointments and a call from the surgeon does not feel like […]

New twist

and why people say to me “can’t you just catch a break?” Typically when friends and family are upset about some other hurdle or sideways path that pops up I […]

Pain – 1 Lisa – 1

Note: This is a blog entry dated October 18, 2017 by Lisabeth Mackall. She is the author of Dying to Live Your Life. Some gains in my world tonight. Pain […]

Pain – 1 Lisa – 0

Note: This is an entry dated October 17, 2017 by Lisabeth Mackall, author of Dying to Live Your Life. Tight night. Pain is expected, even welcomed at some level, because […]


It’s 0430 and I’m awake. I slept fairly well last night, which means I only woke up twice before drifting back to sleep. By 0430 I knew my luck had […]

The next big thing

Yesterday brought me within one week of what is supposed to be the final surgery for reconstruction. I, of course, am not counting on it being the last as we […]

Only posting the good

I find that I post less when I am feeling better. I find that I do not want to share only negative, so I only post the more positive. Today […]

Happy One Year

Note: Happy One Year is an entry dated April 25, 2012 by Lisabeth Mackall, author of Dying to Live Your Life. I am happy to be one year out from […]

Missed it

I completely missed it – did not update CaringBridge at all last week, even after hanging out in the hospital for three days. Apparently they didn’t count! Although not as […]

More of the good

I am happy to report that the good news keeps on coming. Today I met with my plastic surgeon to discuss the plan for surgery this fall. I have been […]

Morning On: No Cancer in Sight

Great news today – clean CT scan which means currently no cancer in sight. No cancer in sight. With this news, I officially move on from the cancer fight. I […]

Thinking about tomorrow

Typically I will start my posts with some pithy commentary relating to my title. I start out with something sassy and build from there. Today I’ll I’ve got is that […]


I’m sitting and waiting for Frank to fly in to Chicago so he can help me drive back from a very long weekend of soccer and a work conference. Normally […]

Can’t stop now

Things have been going well with just a little process issues. What this means is that every few days I had to have blood drained out of the expander site. […]

Boobs 2.0

So boobs. Yep let’s talk about boobs. So I’m trying to get mine back – a newer maybe slightly younger looking version than before. As part of that there are […]

Moving on – Part 6

It is time to move on. I am lying in bed wishing I was asleep. The sun is shining right in my face which makes sleep elusive. But to me, […]

So far so good

I hesitate to post that things are okay as that has often been about the time when things go bad. I decided to risk it and say that I am […]

It will be okay

I know you are worried. I know you are scared. But it will be okay. I love the hugs, the good lucks and the prayers. Each one warms my heart. […]

27 Dresses – The Cancer version

27 Dresses – most of us have seen this movie or at least know what it’s about. A young lady is the caregiver to all, and has had that role […]

This thing called lymphedema

I know it’s early. Sleep is often elusive in my world and I try to just rest when I find myself awake and alone at night. This morning I find […]

Figuring it out

After living the last year with a cancer diagnosis I am never surprised when things change. The last few weeks have been different in that doing the daily day-to-day has […]

Sitting in the dark

I’m sitting here in a dark hotel room with my 12 year old son snuggled up to me. It’s quiet and I’m awake. I’m always awake. But that’s okay. I’m […]

I love having cancer

I love having cancer – I really do. You know why? Because it truly puts everything into perspective. I have spent over a year fighting, being sick, living with pain, […]

Its just Cancer

The last few weeks have been a very slow return to what I see as semi-normal life. The days are filled with work, soccer, school and errands. I usually make […]

A letter to my best friend

Lisa – I dreamed about you last night. It doesn’t happen often, but last night we were back together again. Although parts of the dream were fleeting, it warmed my […]

What’s new

What’s new with all of you? I feel as if I haven’t been a good poster lately. It isn’t because things are going badly, on the contrary, things are moving […]

I Quit

I quit. Well, not today, but I quit yesterday. I know you are thinking that quitting sounds like a negative thing, but for me, it is truly joyous. I quit […]

Technology and Brain Injury – Friends or Foes?

When an individual suffers a brain injury, there is often a mad rush by family members to find every possible way to help in the recovery process. Technology is such a huge […]

The Things I didn’t know

There are so many things that I didn’t know when diagnosed with breast cancer almost a year ago. I didn’t know that things would start so fast; the visits, the […]

Carrying Wood

Today I carried wood. So what, right? Big deal Lisa, you carried some wood. Well, it is a big deal. For months, I have been “resting.” Healing from so many […]

Finding Balance – Again

Finding balance is a daily struggle – do more, do less. Rest and move. Do and Don’t. I am finding it hard to find a way to find the best […]

Witness for the New Year and an Anniversary

The New Year is here for all of us – and tonight I am spending some time reflecting back on last year, and looking forward to what will come next. […]

I am Free

It’s true, in my own way, I am free.Free of tubes, drains, PIC lines, wound vacs.Free of something attached to me that was meant to keep me alive, help me […]

Where did we go?

I know, things were supposed to shift gears, change it up, and have a new person blogging on the life of TBI.  We were up for the challenge, and excited […]

New Blogger

Hello out there! To start this off, I will tell you what I was doing at this time four years ago.  At 2030 hours, my partner Joel Karz were finishing […]

Changing of the Guard

Change is a constant – many of us spend our lives waiting for change, hoping for changing, trying to make a change, or praying for a change. Change happens whether […]

It is Okay to be Different

It is you know – it is okay to be different. It is Thanksgiving, and for many people that brings great joy and happiness when gathering together with friends and family.  […]

Holiday Preparation

The time has come again to meet the holidays head on – as the holidays approach, many families that love an individual living with a brain injury being to worry about […]

Veteran’s Day Thoughts

Veterans are the reason we have the freedoms that we do. They fought our battles, they waged war in places most of us don’t want to visit. They gave their […]

A Solo Partnership

A Solo Partnership – those words do not really go together well, do they? I have been mulling over those words in my head for over a week and it […]

The Ride of My Life – Part 2

I am wearing dark clothes to try and blend in. I am fairly certain anyone could figure out that I am not a real cop, but at least I can sit […]

The Ride of My Life – Part I

When my husband became a police officer, we both knew that sometime early in his career  I would be going with him to work to do a ride along.  It […]

The Silence is Deafening

I will no longer be silent. I will no longer hold my tongue. It is not a matter of pride that I have remained quiet; not a matter of anger, […]

A Grain of Salt

We have all heard the saying “take it with a grain of salt.” This adage means to look at something skeptically, or to not take something too literally. Well that is how […]

Caregivers: Your Insides are showing

Has anyone ever asked “How are you?” and you reply, “Fine thanks. Why?” Well, you look tired. Uh oh, it is the caregivers tell – when people not living in […]

Where have you been?

Truly this question is not for all of you, but sent to me from many of you. I am here, but not HERE. I am being focused, but differently. I […]

Wisdom in the Journey

Wisdom  imparts itself on us when we least expect it.  Tonight, as I don’t find sleep coming to me easily, I think of all of the wisdom I have gained […]

Police Week 2015

Police Week 2015 has just ended. Another week of honor and service remembrance for those gone too soon while serving their towns, state and country. The honor they deserve in […]

What is a crisis and what isn’t

It is easy to fall into the trap of “crisis mode.”. I am feeling that right now as I try to find a new house, pack up this one, finish […]

Radio Show Tonight – 7:00 Central Time

You Are Invited Lisabeth Mackall: Caregiver, Therapist, Author When Lisabeth Mackall opened her front door at 2:30am on January 2, 2012, it changed her life forever. She learned that her […]

Giving Up

Giving up. You might be thinking to yourself “this is not going to be a typical cheerful blog day”. Not that all of the posts that I write are cheerful, […]

Friends in low places

So many friends in low places – and not in the low places like the Garth Brooks song. Just low, feeling bad, struggling with the reality of what a brain […]

Life seems to be moving faster

I noticed today that the weekend went by in a blur – time seems to be moving faster again for me, which is a clear indication that life is moving […]

Compassion Fatigue

Compassion fatigue – do you know what it is? The textbook definition has many pieces depending on where you look.  The one that I think fits best for many people […]

Time keeps on ticking, into the future…..

The future moves towards us whether we are ready for it or not. Today is just another day in the life, yet we can spend that day either dreading the […]

The Invisible

Although not true in all cases, many times a brain injury is an invisible injury. Just by looking and even sometimes talking to someone, you may not know about the […]

Brain Injury Awareness Month

So March is Brain Injury Awareness Month – I will tell you that many people I know have added green ribbons to their Facebook pages and are recognizing the life […]

Thoughts can change the day

I am not a worrier by heart. Normally, I go along my day without fretting about things or obsessing about what might or might not happen. I have never felt […]

Today and Tomorrow

So I haven’t written lately – no blogging, no articles, minimal Facebook posts.  It probably doesn’t help that I am in week two of my bronchitis fun. I think it […]

A walk down a hallway

Last night I was leaving work later than usual.  Most of the people I worked with had gone home for the night, and there were just a few stragglers leaving […]

Retirement information

As much as I thought we had posted the flyer to everyone, apparently there are those of you who have not seen it.  To all of you, thank you for your […]

You Just Don’t Know

You just don’t know when it will come along… that feeling of intense worry, about things that you know will be fine, but you just can’t help the feeling of […]

A future of possibilities

December 31st and January 2nd passed us by with little drama – although in our house we all know what those dates mean, we are currently doing our best to just […]

Almost a New Year

Remember when your “year” worked a bit different than the adult year?  For most of us, the year started in September and ended at the end of August when we […]

Living Without Regrets

It has been a long time since I posted to the blog but I have been following my own advice – taking the time to focus on what is happening […]

A Door Quietly Closes…

Each journey begins with a step off of the regular daily path onto a new one. Sometimes these steps are taken voluntarily. A tentative move towards a new direction. Some […]

Happy Thanksgiving weekend

Another holiday has passed, and I am glad that it is over.  Don’t get me wrong, we had a really nice holiday with extended family, a visit up north to […]

A note that touched my heart

You can live through many days thinking that you haven’t done anything to touch someone. Then you have a day like I did today. Starting a new job and learning […]

A memory of the past

I was reminded this week of the journey that is possible in our lives.  We don’t always pay attention to the passage of time, but if we step back and […]

Waiting Game – Take Two

In our world we spend a lot of time waiting – waiting for healing, waiting for insight, waiting for results.  Life often becomes a waiting game for us, and it […]

A Month of Change

November for us will be a month of extreme change – change as the weather shifts to colder temperatures, change as I go back to work full-time, change as we […]

To Live Like You Were Dying

Today I had the honor of attending a funeral of an Officer that passed; an officer that died not from a gun battle, but from a battle that many lose […]

It’s All About Choices

Each and every day there are choices that can be made – we all make choices when it comes to what we eat, what we wear, where we are going […]

Finding hope in chaos

No one has ever accused me of being quiet – of not having an opinion and sharing it. So here we are this morning, and I am recovering from an […]

Opportunity to Honor

Note: Opportunity to Honor is an entry dated October 8, 2014 by Lisabeth Mackall, author of Dying to Live Your Life. This weekend there is an event in Madelia MN […]

Change is the only constant

Life keeps changing for everyone; no one gets to sit in a corner and live without the changes of each day, even if they are small changes.  For me the […]

Fall is here, time keeps moving

It is amazing to me that it is already October – I remember this spring thinking that I had no idea how I was going to make it through the […]

A sunny afternoon

I am sitting alone in a parking lot waiting to see a patient – because I am early, and the weather is beautiful, I don’t mind a little time to […]

Silent but still here

Typical beginning to the school year and transition – absolute chaos for about two weeks, and then the calm of quiet hits the moment everyone transitions out of the house. […]

What I know

Today I feel like I am supposed to write about yesterday, which if you are here in Minnesota, was an amazing day of tribute to another fallen officer at the […]


I am supposed to be heading out to see a patient, but I find myself watching the Facebook feed and the stories about Officer Patrick and those supporting his family. […]

Another blessing, another heartbreak

Sleep was elusive last night – although I had such a blessing yesterday, that blessing was paired with a senseless law enforcement killing that brings such a heavy heart to […]

Friday night life

It is a Friday night and the evening is quiet, even with four kids in the house. It was a productive day for me, and that always makes me feel […]

You are not alone

It’s another beautiful summer night here in Minnesota. I am grateful for the warmth of the sun, the slight breeze, the flowers in the bloom, and the ability to appreciate […]

Friendship and kindness

The other night I had a dream, but at the time, it felt like a very real memory coming to the surface. I was attending the wedding of my best […]

A New Outlook

Today I was able to attend church for the first time in many weeks – schedules get complicated and unfortunately, church is often one of those things that gives for […]

Last Call

I am in a familiar place tonight – sitting in the dark, a bit drained and sad, but comfortable in my own home, with the silence of my own space, […]


Control. Such a small word – seven letters, only one vowel – it would not seem that a word like control could mean so many thing to so many people. […]

This too shall pass

The weight of the world rests on me. If I am not here to keep control of all of the strings and threads of everyone in my family, life will […]

National Police Week

Not a normal week – harder than most for some reason.  A week that feels cloudy, less sunshine, and filled with a heavy heart. Of all people I should know […]

Listening to others

Right in this moment I am in the breather before the storm – I just reviewed the week with kids trying to ensure that we all know what is happening […]

Keynote Speaker at Mental Health Symposium

Here is my latest presentation announcement. My next event will be May 21st in Wilmar, MN.  I am the Keynote Speaker for the 23rd Annual Southwest MN Symposium on Mental […]

Small joys

Some days I have no idea why I still blog – I just wonder if the purpose, which was to update everyone on Frank and how he was doing, is […]

Another sharp turn

There are so many things that change in an instant – life changes without notice, without warning, and we have to decide which way to turn when the path in […]

Crossing that bridge

It is important to remember where you started so that you understand how far you have come. I try to remember this when I get locked into worrying about the […]

Another doctor, another part of the puzzle

It feels like it has been such a long time since I have written any type of update on Frank’s healing and recovery.  To be honest, things have not been […]

Brain Injury Conference

What an amazing day yesterday – participating in a Brain Injury Conference is such a humbling experience for me.  Yesterday was no different, and I am so grateful that I […]

Forward slowly

Spring is finally trying to make its way back to us – I am grateful that we have entered a time of new, not just in the weather but for […]

I am lucky

It is not every day that you get to spend time doing something with people that you think are great.  I was lucky enough to spend the last two days […]

The Iron Jen Show

Really excited about being on The Iron Jen Show tomorrow morning.  I will send out the link as soon as it posts – what an honor! Living through and Surviving […]

Another good day

The day started fast and furious – kids out to school and work to be done.  I allowed the busy to take over for a while before I left the […]

Spring is in the air – we hope.

I will admit that I have been thinking about writing and updating for two weeks, but have not really done a whole lot about it.  I think sometimes that happens […]

No one is perfect

Being real means I do not have to pretend to be perfect. I am glad that I know the difference, and understand that it is okay to be afraid, sad […]

The Fear of Help

So I haven’t posted for a while, which is not my usual pattern. But, sometimes life get s really hard and then other things move into the place of writing […]

Blessing in many places

When we are given the chance to meet with and educate First Responders, there are always people in the group that we seem to connect with – we never know […]

Faith makes the difference

As many of you know, I am a firm believer that you have to trust in things outside of your own “doing” to live your life, a life full of […]

Life Coaching Workshop registration is now open!

Welcome friends! I wanted you to know the workshop registration is now open. Thank you for your patience! Sunday, March 2nd, 1-4 PM Country Inn & Suites (formerly Holiday Inn […]

Feeling like old times

Home tonight with the kids – one in bed asleep, one watching TV, one at school and one at driver’s ed.  The most important one isn’t home.  Frank is at […]

Gratitude – from the other side

It is Sunday morning, and few in my house are stirring – yesterday was an incredibly busy day for everyone, and by nighttime, everyone was tired.  I am not surprised […]

A familiar journey

I made a journey today that I can do with my eyes closed, my car on autopilot and one that I don’t have to even think about. A drive that […]

Start of something new

It is a new week – today is 1-13-14 and for many it is the beginning of the focus for the new year.  In our house that is very true. […]

And the beat moves on

Life moves on around us even when we may not be looking forward.  I always found it interesting that life continued on even when I was buried in my own […]

Another Year, Another Anniversary

It is hard to believe that we are heading in to the night that two years ago changed our lives forever.  Although I think that it is easy to say […]


I think that is the best way to describe how I feel right now.  I talk with others that have marked an anniversary of some sort – a divorce, a […]

The end of another year

It is December 28, 2013 – in any other part of my life I would call this the end of the crazy holiday season.  The time where we try to […]

Remember to make a difference

Each connection makes a difference for someone else.  Pay attention to the people around you. You will notice that the little things that you do each day can make a […]

Feeling fine this holiday season?

A busy weekend before a busy holiday – I know most of you are running around crazy busy just like we are, trying to get as much done before the […]

New adventure – live radio!

As some of you may know from the Facebook page, I will be doing a live radio show on the Internet tomorrow night (Thursday) starting at 10:00 PM CST.  I […]

27 Miles Kindle Book Sale almost over!

Final Days for the $3.99 Kindle sale!  Through December 19th 27 Miles: The Tank’s Journey Home is just $3.99!  Limited time offer! Visit for your copy today! Note: Lisabeth […]

Amazing Grace

It is amazing to me that it is already the middle of December… again.  How these years go by so quickly is unreal to me; I think it means I […]

I believe…

I believe in so much these days – the inherent goodness of people, the kindness of a stranger, and the compassion from others that have lived where you live, walked […]

Today, be the one…

I work very hard to not criticize others in any way – not their decisions, their motivations, or even their whining about other people.  However, I think that sometimes it […]

Don’t judge, these are not your shoes

I work very hard to not criticize others in any way – not their decisions, their motivations, or even their whining about other people.  However, I think that sometimes it […]


Today is a day for many to give thanks – thanks for their families, their health, their children and their friends.  Today many want to take a moment to remember […]

Lean in, lean out

The world that we all live in is fast and different and changing all of the time.  The world that WE live in is also fast, and changing, and very […]

No news is … No news

There is no way to rush things, no way to make things happen faster, sooner, quicker.  Right now we wait for lots of people to make many decisions about a […]

Another Day

I am sorry that there has not been an update; I am not keeping people in the dark on purpose, but there is no true outcome that I can send […]

The reason for the season

It is funny to watch the Christmas stuff roll in everywhere, when we have not even worked our way past Thanksgiving yet.  In our household the transition occurs Thanksgiving weekend, […]

Change is coming…

There is change in the wind. Not just change in the weather, but change in life.  We all have cycles of change, and if you have been following us for […]

It takes a village

You know the phrase “It takes a village.”   Do you ever really think about what it means, how it applies, and what you can take from those four simple […]

Still waiting…

Patience is a virtue – well, it appears that I am not so virtuous when it comes to being patient.  I know that many of you have messaged me asking […]

Una Stamus

24 hours.  In 24 hours Frank starts his testing phase to assess his recovery. The goal has always been for him to go back to work as a police officer, […]

The waiting game begins

There are so many times throughout the day that I have things I want to write down but never do.  Then I get to the end of the day, and […]


I am up early this morning – REALLY early – and I thought I would get some work done.  I started some research for the articles I am writing today, […]

We can’t always know where we are going…

Do you think I know what I’m doing?  That for one breath or half-breath I belong to myself? As much as a pen knows what it’s writing, or the ball […]

New Look – New Events – New Stuff!

Following the hacking of my website, we have transitioned to a new look – the goal of course is to keep the same feel as the old website, but to […]

Happy Birthday Officer Frank Mackall

Happy birthday Officer Frank Mackall! We are all busy with our day today. Our day is busy with school, work and the usual crazy. But it is also Frank’s birthday. […]

Some Days I Just Don’t Know

I talk a lot about figuring it out, doing what you dream, and taking a moment to notice life around you.  I am finding lately that I can do that, […]

Laughter is the best medicine

** If you get any weird emails from me please let me know All should be fixed but I want to make sure no one is getting anything from […]

Thank you for your patience

Well, let’s try this again.  Things have been quiet for a week as we try to get a handle on the hackers that attacked the website.  My hope is that […]

Day by Day

Some days I just don’t know; not that we ever truly know what is in store for us, but sometimes, I really wonder. The weekend was fine, rainy one day, […]

An opportunity

An amazing day spent with an organization that brings a communication tool to those involved in a medical or traumatic event.  Caring Bridge was such a great tool for me […]

Enough is Enough with the emails!

So you may have noticed a few extra emails in your inbox today – apparently the website was hoarding them for a few weeks, and decided last night enough was […]

A step forward and a step back

Happy day when you bring forward something that you have been working on for a long time. My book 27 Miles: The Tank’s Journey Home is now available for download […]

A New Beginning

It is through the internal understanding of yourself that you gain the ability to live through the unlivable.  Understanding of the why may never be reached; who can ever understand […]

A typical day

There is no typical day in our universe, although there are more and more days that tend to look similar. It is a bit like holding your breath and letting […]

Have Some Faith

I have decided that it is time to change things up a bit – starting with the beginning. I have been labeling my blog posts as the date for 20 […]

Small things

Some day sit just pays to say “I am not going to shower today!” You know why? Because there is not enough time in a day to worry about small […]

Finding happiness

I have a confession to make – not every day is filled with roses and happiness.  Surprised? Just because we choose to find the positive does not mean that we […]

The Long Wait

I am losing my time to blog and I feel as if I am missing the people that I have spent so much time getting to know.  I have not […]

Honoring the Path

I received an amazing email today from a friend of mine – a friend that has lots of boys in her house as well, and understands my day to day […]

Oh the choices

Another start of “new” is coming. New school year for the kids. A new school year at a new school for Frank’s brother. A new therapy group for Frank. New […]

This moment

The sounds of the lake are so peaceful – loons, boaters slowly driving by – a peaceful end to a busy summer. As the kids return to schedules, and we […]

Let go of the past

You can dwell on the past and worry about the future, or you can strive for a great future and let go of the past. My daily plan is to […]

Life changes – TO you or BECAUSE of you

The truth about scary life journeys is that they require one to follow a path that you did not want to follow. Life changed FOR you; you didn’t change life […]

Forgetting the real emotions

You forget. So much time has passed since Frank left for work, duty gear in hand – you forget. You forget the risks that law enforcement officers take every single […]

Pay attention to joy

Joy comes in many different places. The important part about finding joy is that you must pay attention. Today for the Mackall’s was a busy day – working on the […]

The Wall, the Sun, and the Break

I posted on Facebook the other day that fear creates such a wall for people. When we let fear lead our day and our thoughts, it essentially puts a wall […]

Embracing the change

There are days that I feel guilty for not writing an update.  I remember so many nights after returning from a long day at the hospital. Finally climbing into bed, […]

The good that life brings

A day of reflection, a day of busy, a day that might not have happened. It is days like today, my birthday, that I tend to get more melancholy – […]

Surprise video

So tonight I was setting up our video camera for my son – apparently he is going to play FIFA soccer on the Xbox, and talk to the camera and […]

What could be

I am spending my quiet day (a day with only three kids in the house instead of four. I will explain number four at a later date. I’m trying to […]

Find fun, find balance

Another weekend in the bag – how crazy these days can become, and time seems to be flying by at a record pace!  Days seem to blend into weeks, and […]

Break day, not break down

It is a break day – I am trying to make sure that it wasn’t a complete breakdown day, although the definition of that may be elusive right now. Sometimes, […]

Finding some quiet

The end of another day, and I am grateful for the quiet in our house. A visit to the lake is always busy, even when we may wish for some […]

Writer’s block

I sat down this morning to write a blog and I am stuck. It rarely happens that I do not have the ability to sit down and write something about […]

Another Mackall day

Another day in the world of Mackall. You never  quite know how things will go. It starts with a thunderstorm at 2:30 am, Mom sleeping with the 8 year old, […]

Taking Another person’s blessing

Don’t take away someone else’s blessing. These were the words given to me last year by a very wise woman.   She was watching me struggle with accepting help from the […]

Being the light

This has been a crazy morning.  It started with dropping off one kid at golf at 7:30 and never slowed down until just a few minutes ago. I had the […]

Where I find my strength

It is from all of you that we have gained the strength to carry on every day.  The texts, notes, posts and emails make a difference in our lives. We look […]

Summer is flying by

It is amazing how fast this summer is flying by us all.  I know I am not the only one that is feeling like summer is half over and that […]


Summer is such an amazing time of year. To me, it feels like anything is possible when the sun is shining. That life is lush and green. Sometimes life present […]

Book announcement

It is only fair that if I make an announcement on Facebook on our Mackall Family Journey page that I post one here on the website as well. First of […]

Night time thoughts

It is so late for me to still be awake, yet I feel as if I need to write some things down tonight. I have found that when I try […]

Super Heroes

The world is such an interesting place – a world that truly I whipped through, without thought, before life changed for all of us. There are so many days that […]

Father’s Day

Happy Father’s Day. The one day in the year that is dedicated to the men in our lives, and in our children’s lives. It gives us the opportunity to thank […]

First Day of the Summer Feel

A beautiful day in the neighborhood. Thankful for this day, for the sunshine and the breeze, for the cottonwood blowing through the air, and for my children having fun with […]

Faith is a strong word

Faith is a strong word. To some it means the trust in all, and to others it is a crutch to lean on. Faith can hold you up when the […]


Sunshine. Such a beautiful thing to those of us that have been deprived of it for what feels like months.  I am sitting at soccer practice, listening to the birds. […]

The End and the Beginning

The end of the school year. One kid doesn’t care, one is in tears, and one is so happy that it is over.  How do you make this group of […]

17 Months

The end of a good day.  I am grateful that I can call this a good day – as Frank reminded me just a few hours ago, tonight is the […]

It’s here – and it makes me nervou

Today is a new day, one that I have been worrying and stressing about for so long, that now that it is actually here, I find myself at a loss […]

Comparing thoughts

It is one of those nights when I am unsure of the nature of the blog.  It is Saturday night, quiet with one kiddo in bed, and the dogs lying […]

When a Day is just a Day

Funny when a day, is just a day. I think it has been so long since I have had a day that I just went through without feeling like there […]

Why the Blogging?

I thought I would add another post this week since I have been sorely lacking in my communication about Frank and his recovery.  I feel for those of you that […]

Time Flies and Life goes by

There are so many things happening every day that I should be posting each and every night.  I remember a time when I did just that – got home, put […]

End and Beginning

It is amazing how frantic one can get while under the guise of slowing down.  I knew my end of work was in sight, and I knew that this would […]

Wishing and Wondering

I came up north today so very tired.  I have been worrying and stressing about the future, and that is such a hard place to be.  Wishing, wondering, trying to predict […]

Caregiver Fatigue

Caregiver crash Those two words define the last four weeks for me – and although it was a gradual process, now that I am on the other side, I am […]

Unsettled weather, unsettled life

Amazing to look outside and see snow again on the ground this morning.  Friends only 15 miles away are sending me pictures of their green lawn.  Wasn’t it just a […]

Caregiver fail

I have been holding on to an amazing moment that I had this week.  Not because I did not want to share it, but because I have again not listened […]


I am grateful for a few moments this morning to sit still and not think about all that I have to do.  I sometimes worry about how fast time goes, […]

Announcement 2.0

Website issues last night – hopefully the link to this post stays valid! I want to make two announcements today for important events coming up in May. The first is […]


I want to make two announcements today for important events coming up in May. The first is an open discussion forum being held in St. Paul on May 14th.  This event […]

Just breathing in the sunshine

The sun is shining today – it feels like a miracle after the snow, and more snow, and more snow these last few weeks. It is amazing how the weather […]

Finding blessing in hanging out

Sometimes life intervenes in our lives in ways that we have no control, no warning, and no way to prepare for the impact of an event.  Today, in the great […]

Public TBI/Concussion Discussion

On May 14th at 6 pm, I will be co-hosting an open discussion about head injuries and recovery.  This meeting will be held at the Martin Luther King Community Center […]

True exhaustion

I have said it before and I will say it again – exhaustion is a tricky bastard.  One minute you think things are going to be okay, and the next […]

Take back

Our family is finally recovering from whatever black plaque hit our family in the last month.  Crossing my fingers that the one person that has so far been healthy, stays […]

Plan fail

The best plans sometimes just fail – my goal this weekend was to get a lot of cleaning done, get a new post up on the website, send the book […]


There is no declared winner in a tickle fight – sometimes everyone wins. Last night, there was a Mackall child pile on the couch.  Frank came around the corner to ask […]

Thinking about the future

Conversations happen all the time – some in a rush while doing other things, some while sitting quietly in a silent room, in the dark, while others are asleep. Today […]

St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day.  I must say, in the past, this day was fun when at work because I could always count on my friend Kari to dress in green with […]

My Chief

I know – two posts in two days – but it was important for me to talk about today after it happened. A few days ago I was contacted by my Chief […]

A check on CaringBridge

I have jumped back on to Caring Bridge today to look through many of the posts that were left for us over the past 13 months.  As I read and reread them, […]

Heroes Behind the Badge

Heroes Behind the Badge Friday night was spent traveling across town to attend a movie screening with other families and supporters of law enforcement.  This movie, made by law enforcement […]

Too much in a day

There are just some days that defy understanding or explanation.  Sometimes days are have so many emotions packed into them that it is almost like running a marathon, and when […]

Am I a whiner?

As I have said many times, there are days when I am just surprised at where my life has gone, and what I do with my days now, compared to […]

I am just tired

As I sit here trying to plan out my week, I have come to the realization that I am tired.  Tired in way that I have not felt in many […]

Ongoing transition

I am double posting today so if you are still part of Caring Bridge, and also registered with, you may get this update twice.   Thank you to those of […]

Knowing your limits

We all know that there are limits to what we can take – many of us take on one more thing, just one more thing, one more thing.  As the […]

Trust Issues

Apparently I still have trust issues.  I am aware that I have them, I even try to deny them, work on them, and sometimes I will even admit that they are […]

02-20-2013 – Also known as test day

This day is just hard – there is no way around it.  You wait 13 months to get to a certain point, and when it is here, and over – now […]

The day BEFORE test day

I sit at my table this afternoon looking outside at the beautiful sunshine.  If you are in MN, you know that the sunshine is deceiving, as it is 4 degrees […]

Trusting the move forward

So many days and weeks can go by without too much worry or overt concern. As the neuropsych testing moves closer, I become more anxious – and much to my […]

Our Law Enforcement family

I usually keep my postings to either my philosophy on life change or updates on Frank’s condition.  I try to be respectful of the many people that support us that are […]

Supporting new fears

I forget sometimes – as time flows by, I forget how hard change and life can be even after all of this time has gone. by.  As I plan to attend […]

Finally settling down?

Such many things going on, but apparently nothing exciting to write in the blog.  Maybe that is a good thing – maybe I have settled enough into life’s routines that […]

Another Super Bowl

Sunday night – the night of the Big Game.  I like football, I just don’t usually get a lot of time to watch it.  I try to watch the Super […]

End of the month moving on

We made it through January – finally.  I have been waiting the entire 31 days for this month to be over.  It just holds too many hard memories for all […]

Brain fart

I had such a brain fart the other day – I cooked a whole chicken in the slow cooker so I could use it in recipes this week. I was […]

Invading memories

I really should be sleeping, but as I was reading before bed a funny memory came back to me. That has been happening more and more lately, as days from […]

Amazing moments

The life “after” the head injury is filled with many amazing moments. Amazing because you cannot imagine the changes that occur, how you will live through some moments, and the […]


I met with a friend today that is going through a devistating life change.  It is hard to see someone in that place – a place that I have been, […]

Thinking about time past

I took some time today to think about how much has happened in just one year.  Since January 2, 2013, there are many days that I think “Last year I […]

Listen to the Thank You’s

When I hear the call to say thank you, I try not to ignore it. I have posted many times about the indescribable, humbling support that we have received since […]

Adam Levine

Adam Levine, from Maroon 5, is an important person in our house. Why you may ask? It all started many months ago during the previous season of The Voice.  Frank […]

Life’s Moments

Tonight, I had five minutes to myself.  I know, an amazing few moments for me; it was a good five minutes even if I had to chase everyone away from me […]

The Moment – Take Two

January 1, 2012 Like most days, Officer Mackall is asleep until about 4 pm.  He is back to work after a few days off, and this will be his first […]

A Date Redo

So close, yet so far to go… Last night, just like a night a year ago, Frank and I went on a date.  Last year, the date consisted of a […]

Reminder of Jack

As I drove back to work today after a very nice lunch with a close friend, I heard on the radio a discussion about hockey.  During the broadcast, they announced […]

The First Christmas

It is our first Christmas together since that say so many months ago that changed our lives.  There was a lot of anticipation from the kids, and a lot of […]

Our friend Noah

I am sitting at the airport in Cleveland with Officer Mackall. It is a quiet concourse on a Sunday afternoon. There are flights coming and going, kids laughing trying to […]

Each day is a gift

You never know what a day may bring.  Each day is a gift – I have recognized that for many months now, trying not to take a moment for granted, […]

A privilege

Today was a very different day – a special day – but not in the way most would think when a day is deemed “special.” Today, I was given a […]

Reality comes home

I have struggled for days trying to get an update written. I know that we are now at 11 months since Frank’s accident.  Eleven months of stress, worry, joy and […]

Officer Down

Nothing is more chilling in Law Enforcement families than the words Officer Down.  Minnesota heard that call today.  God Bless the family of the Cold Spring Officer killed last night. […]

Thank you on Thanksgiving

I am taking this moment today, the day before Thanksgiving, to reflect back on this last year.  It has been a busy day, trying to get ready for the holiday […]

Undressing in Public

The sun is shining today – there is a hint of warmth in the air, and the sky is a beautiful blue.  It is Sunday, a day that can be […]

Putting Life into a box

I have strayed from my openness and my honesty. I have removed emotion, pulled away, put many things in a box of day-to-day and things to do.  It is not […]

The 10 month mile marker

Today is November 1, 2012 – this day marks 10 months since Frank’s accident. It also marks 10 months since he has been able to live the life that he […]

The days move forward, with or without us

Some days you can wake up, energized for the moments that will come each hour.  You know what you need to do, what you want to do – there isn’t […]

Pay attention and find your path

When life took a dramatic turn in January, what I knew and what I believed all unraveled.  I had to look at each minute and try to live through it.  […]

Life is a journey

Life is a journey – so many of us try to direct and force our way through each day, just to collapse into bed with exhaustion and hope that tomorrow […]

Another day in the life

Each type of injury has its own recovery path – the type of injury, the severity, the support system and the type and skill of the medical intervention all impact […]

Where does the time go?

The energy that we spend each day attempting to juggle all of our “to-do” tasks is tremendous.  Even now, reading a blog note, you are expending precious part of yourself […]

Comparing problems

I know there are people that have bigger problems and issues than we do – people are losing their homes, lost a loved one, children are ill, parents are struggling. […]

Traumatic Brain Injury Support

  Welcome to our brain injury discussion.  Following Frank’s accident, I learned a lot of new information about brain trauma, and the support systems available throughout the country. One of the […]

So close

Another weekend, another list of places to be and things to do.  I am thankful that these things included a nap today, because as I have said many times, eventually, […]

200 Moments

I was going to just drop in a quick entry tonight when I noticed that there are 200 entries into this journal.  That is 200 moments that I shared of […]

Ongoing journey of recovery

We are back at Bethesda as always for our long therapy morning.  Frank is in PT first, running on the treadmill and doing his sprint agility drills.  We spent some time […]

Filtering of self

Over the course of the last few months I have found myself filtering myself more and more – I am not sure why, but I believe it is part of […]

Messages from fatigue

Note: This blog entry is dated July 29, 2012 and is part of tank’s journey home. Some of the most important things that I learn come at the end of the […]

Another Frank Update

I thought I would do another update from therapy today. I know people continue to ask how Frank is doing and it is often hard to put into words the […]

The Impact of the Impact

I know I spend a lot of time talking about how this head injury has impacted our family.  I hope that I can describe how this event feels, in hopes […]

Face to face with the truth

I spend many late evenings allowing my thoughts to ramble around in my head.  Sometimes they make me think of the past, worry about the future, think about the why, […]

One minute of my life

The Traumatic Brain Injury   I haven’t changed – you have. I can do that – I don’t need your help. I want to do more today – my brain doesn’t […]


Progress is good, right?  I know sometimes people second guess when something changes – buying a car,  dying your hair – and sometimes there is remorse or fear involved in the […]

One foot in front of the other

Have you ever tried to walk backwards on a treadmill?  I have, and it is not easy.  Even if you are a runner, able to rack up mile after mile, […]

A six month look back

Today marks a date in this journey – today, six months ago, on a very cold and icy January night, I was met at the door by a law enforcement […]

Emotional clarity

I am acutely aware of my emotions these days. I think in part because as a family, we have had to endure so many strong emotional swings in the last […]

Welcome Back Frank

Welcome back! Hey Frank, great to see you! It’s Frank! Welcome back Frank! These are the messages that we heard all day today as we visited Savage during Dan Patch […]

Real life vs Therapy life

I am writing this update today as Frank works through his three hour block of therapy. Today was a good example of therapy progress slowing due to over-scheduling of other […]

Is protection necessary?

As a therapist, I can buffer a patient during a treatment session to allow them to succeed with a task.  I ask a question, give them a cue, prompt them with […]

Let Go and Let Live

Another few days, continued need to let go and let live.  So hard, so scary to allow major errors, yet I feel that through difficulty, learning does occur.  Just because […]

Fear in my face

As a few days go by, and I have not update Frank’s site, I begin to feel terrible about not posting.  So many people pray for his recovery, show us […]

Never enough thank yous

The morning started with a quick trip to a soccer tournament in Bloomington.  We just can’t seem to get a weekend that does not result in rushing from one thing […]

Small moments are the most important

As we head into another very busy weekend, I made it a point this morning to just sit still and take in everything that is going on right now. It […]

Knowing where we stand

I know many of you come to this site to get a current update on Frank and how he is doing, and are often met with a tirade of my […]

Life is full of second chances

As I sit in the dark in the dining room, waiting for the storm to roll in, I am thinking about this very busy day in the life of the […]

The Concept of More

Yesterday at church I was given another nudge – I often find that when I need to have guidance or focus it is handed to me if I just listen. […]

City Heat

Another weekend sneaks by with a wonderful ending.  After planting, running errands, tilling the garden, and cleaning the house, we were given the great honor of meeting a group of […]

Driving – finding the limits

Since I had a few people ask me the same question, I thought maybe I would clarify yesterday’s posting for everyone. I certainly do not want to reduce the joy […]

Driving again – another step forward

I asked for prayers this morning on Facebook, just wanting a little bit of support in the universe today.  As Frank and I headed out for a day of doctors […]

Just another day

Nothing new and exciting, I just know that I get worried emails and texts when there is no update for a few days.  I told Frank that I needed to […]

Why the rush?

Have you ever stood in line at your favorite coffee shop, waiting for your order thinking “Seriously! Come on – how much longer is this going to take?”  Have you […]

Finding some space

We pass through many fazes in recovery during a head trauma, and it is always important to watch for fear and sadness.  I have been ever vigilant with Frank to […]

Healing assessment

Our days work around visits with hospitals, doctors and therapists.  Yesterday we had a follow up visit with the neurologist that treated Frank for so many weeks at North Memorial […]

The Impact of Trauma – phone obsession

Frank asked me  a funny question – “Do you go anywhere without that phone attached to you?”  My answer – of course, really?  I don’t have my phone with me […]

The real brain injury impact

As I continue to reflect on last nights events, I am amazed at the people that were there, the kindness of strangers, the friendships that were solidified, and the fun […]

How to describe this moment in time

It is difficult to put into words the many emotions that we experienced last night at the benefit in Savage.  When we arrived, we were in the parking lot as […]

Four months

Today marks another anniversary in the world of traumatic brain injury. Today marks four months since Frank’s accident – four months since the knock on the door in the middle […]

Small moments

Note: This is an entry dated April 30, 2012 by Lisabeth Mackall, author of 27 Miles: Tank’s Journey Home. I am sitting watching Frank warming up with the boys for […]

Fifty Shades of Gray

There is a new book out with the title “Fifty shades of Gray.”  My understanding is that this is quite the read, and I know many people that have jumped […]


I have been struggling to find the words to express the last few days events.  I try to keep everyone updated on how Frank is doing, and it is often […]

Quitting is not the end

Note: This is an entry dated April 25, 2012 by Lisabeth Mackall, author of 27 Miles: Tank’s Journey Home. I often wonder how many big changes one person can sustain […]


An oddly normal day filled with dropping kids off at school, heading off to school, making bracket purchases at Menards, mowing the lawn, cleaning out the car and filling up […]

Hurt to the heart

Have you ever gone to the beach for the day?  Started out in the morning, high tide, feeling the sun on your face, the sand in your toes – everything […]

Am I still the wife?

So much is going on in our lives that I find it hard to write some days – I miss it, and I need to make it a priority for […]

Thank you

Sitting at therapy today thinking about Frank and how far he has come. His ankle is bothering him today. Apparently it was bothering him yesterday but he never tells me […]

Subtle worries

Quiet – that is where I am sitting right now.  Frank is still sleep, I think all of his additional self-imposed rehab is catching up with him. The house is […]

The Heart of it all

Last night we attended the first of several benefits for Frank. This one planned by so many of the law enforcement personnel that assisted at Frank’s accident who worked with […]


Brain injuries are tricky – they often have no face, no identity, because you cannot see them. What you often see is someone who looks like you, walks like you, […]

Just funny

Each day continues to bring different challenges and different moments of laughter.  Memory things are challenging at times. I am trying really hard to step back a little bit and not hover […]

Easter Day adjustments

An Easter day that went by quickly for us – not necessarily going the way I wished, but the kids are ending the day playing together, and not fighting at […]


Thinking that days of worry and fear are behind us – not a true statement or thought process right now.  What was a simple headache one day turned into a […]

New roles

This new role with my husband following his brain injury is different. I am not just his wife any longer – I wish I could be some days, but that […]

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