Southern Indiana Living

MAR-APR 2018

Southern Indiana Living magazine is the exclusive publication of the region, offering readers a wide range of coverage on the people, places and events that make our area unlike any other. In SIL readers will find beautiful photography, encouraging s

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Mar/Apr 2018 • 40 she isn't well. We just never know." However, Brenda doesn't just sit around. "Most days I have a small win- dow of time that I feel fairly good and I take advantage of that. I can do laundry. I love to iron. I get tired so I iron awhile, rest a bit, and go at it again." She looks forward to alternate Fri- days when she, with the help of her adult son, Travis, cares for her two youngest grandsons, Baylor and Blaine Broughton, 4 and 2, respectively. "I can't physically play with them, but I find ways to con- nect. We play board games, read, sing, cuddle, nap and get along just fine." Brenda also helps with projects at her church, Hillview Christian. "I try to find things I can do," she said, "like set- ting salt and pepper shakers on all the tables when we are serving funeral din- ners." She gives Larry a lot of credit for making her journey work. "Without Larry's support, I couldn't have done this," Brenda said. "He told me at the beginning, 'We are in this together,' and he has really been there for me. He has even learned to cook and clean." The couple has been together since they were teenagers. Their first kiss hap- pened at a birthday party when she was 14 and he was a year older. They reconnected a year later at a hayride celebrating Brenda's brother's birthday. "That is when we had our sec- ond kiss," she said. They began dating on Sept. 15, 1978, and on Sept. 15, 1979, they exchanged wedding vows. The young couple moved into a two- bedroom mobile home and Larry went to work in his dad's sawmill. In the early '90s, they got into the real estate business. "Larry got his Real- tor's license in 1991 and I got mine a year later," she said. "After we opened the of- fice on State Road 66, I mostly worked in the office, occasionally showing homes." Besides their son, Travis, the couple has two daughters, Trena Broughton and Laura Helterbrand, Brenda's sister whom they adopted. "We adopted her when she was 23. It is unusual to adopt your sibling, and unusual to adopt someone at that age, but she stayed with us until she married, and when she had Austin she wanted us to be his legal grandparents." Austin has two brothers, Devin Thone, 15 and Boley, 9. Brenda's favorite Bible verse is Philip- pians 4:13 — I can do everything through Him who gives me strength. "I have a pendant with that inscribed on it," she said. "It is the verse that I rely on." Her faith helps her maintain an up- beat aĴitude. "I don't want anyone to feel sorry for me. I don't pity myself. That doesn't get you anywhere. Without my faith this wouldn't be possible," she said, explaining that throughout her MS jour- ney, she has relied on prayers, both her own and those of her family and friends. "I know God didn't give me MS; He only allowed me to have it. And it has given me many opportunities to witness for Him." She has also found help in the Tri- County Multiple Sclerosis Society support group in Evansville. "It is comfortable confiding in other MSers, as we call our- selves," she said. The group holds infor- mational seminars and social events. Whether the future holds a wheel- chair or she is able to continue with outfit- coordinated canes, Brenda is determined not to let MS control her. "I choose to live life and that is what I do," she said. • For more information, go to nationalmssoci- ety.org and tristatems.org "When my balance got so I couldn't wear my heels, I decided to get canes to match my outfits" - Brenda Bye

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