Isabelle Bryan Goose. Girl. Grit.

A lot of people ask Ashley and I the  meaning behind #GooseStrong. Ashley usually rolls her eyes (at me) and then I explain. This blog will be a bit of an explanation while I share what I have learned from my youngest daughter.


Isabelle’s life has been full of health problems. But you would never know it from interacting with her. She has more giggles and laughter and mischief than most kids I know.

For the first year of her life she was on reflux medicine to keep her from throwing up. We had to give her medicine morning and night every day. 

When she was six months old she was diagnosed with hip dysplasia. So she wore a harness which held her legs at right angles to her body for about nine months.

From about nine months to now she fought ear infections. She has had two surgeries to put in tubes. Recently we completed the sixth round of antibiotics in a row to try and clear her ears up. We go to an ENT specialist soon.

Now, of course the battle is with leukemia.

Yet the best word to describe Isabelle when she’s not really sick is a silly goose. We call her goose all the time as a nickname because she is just so fun. No matter how many times she gets hurt or gets stuck with needles she always has a cheerful demeanor.

My daughter has the extraordinary ability to soothe herself very quickly and then get up and keep going. Sure she throws fits and gets in fights with her older sister, but she is so resilient! 

Isabelle is a fun, silly Goose.


From pink bows to Mini Mouse jammies Isabelle is all girl. She is my girl. It is so hard to see her get injections every week. It is so hard to hold her when she passes out from anesthesia medicine. I want to protect my little girl.

I think one of the biggest reasons God gave girls to me was to teach me how to watch out for them and to learn to protect them. 

In Isabelle I also see a strong little girl. She gets hurt, she wipes her self off, and then presses on.


I think Isabelle is gritty. She has a two-year-old version of a willingness to press on when the going gets tough. It’s not a supernatural grit but she is tough.

I guess when I see my little daughter I’m also reminded that I need to be gritty. I need to stick to it when I want to quit. I need to press on in advocating for her and her health. I need to be resilient when I feel exhausted by the battle with leukemia. 


I came up with this tag sitting at Riley Children’s Hospital in April. I knew from the beginning that I needed to be strong so that Isabelle could be goose. I need to get my heart and my mind in order so that I can be there for my gears. I need to stay healthy physically so I can be there for my goose. 

I cannot protect Isabelle from everything and I know I should not. Yet I dearly want to be such a dad that my two-year-old daughter can be a fun loving girl, a goose. Facing leukemia, this means I need to be strong.

Now whenever I use the #GooseStrong I reminded myself that I need to be strong for my little girl. I need to live my life on purpose for others.


There is so much to my daughter that I haven’t said here. I love her and I see so much potential and value in her. I pray to God that I can be strong so she can be goose. I pray to God that I can manifest the grit to press on when I feel weak. 

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