Perfectly …

Today is my daughter Libby’s 17th birthday. To say that time has passed quickly since the day she was born is an understatement. I remember her beginning like it was yesterday.

I was standing in a deli after church on a Sunday morning when I realized that I was pregnant with Libs. I had just prayed the day before, that if the timing was PERFECT, that I would love to have another baby one day. Life was definitely not perfect at that time. I had just returned back to work and was loving the contract that I took with a local hospital. My head was in a different place. Yet there I was in that deli, already stricken with ALL DAY sickness and knowing that I was headed into what would likely be my third high-risk pregnancy. NOT the perfect time but it definitely all turned out PERFECTLY! God knew that our family needed Libs and He knew exactly when we would need her. I saw God move so much when I was pregnant with her. It was truly miraculous. And she came in God’s PERFECT timing. Libs was born into this world to a room full of laughter. All of us, doctors and nurses included, were laughing and having a wonderful time. Her birth was honestly like a party. I remember when I first held her, I felt an unexplainable familiarity with her. I felt like I had held her my whole life. She fit PERFECTLY into my arms, my heart and our family. I can’t imagine us without her! Libs is one of the funniest people you will ever know. I love how she sees and relates to this world. She is genuine and honest. She has always been a justice-seeker and she is incredibly fair. Libs is a gifted artist and brilliant, but most of all, Libs is kind and compassionate. This girl has a HUGE heart. I couldn’t be more proud of the young woman that she has become and of all the things that she has already accomplished. Life will take a lot of twists and turns for her over this next year. But I have no doubt that her future will turn out exactly how she came into this world … perfectly.

Well, I hope you all have a day where things turn out PERFECTLY!!!

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Faith, love and miracles …

I know that this is the 10th year that I’ve been blessed to share this story, but I still cry like I wrote it yesterday. This story is about our beginning together. The story that we all fought so hard to tell. It is a story of faith, love and miracles.

When I was about 11 weeks pregnant we were told that she did not look quite so “typical” … I didn’t care. I loved our baby. And I prayed.

A few weeks later we were told, that not only was our baby “not typical”, but that there was a chance I would be delivering her stillborn. I wanted our baby even more fiercely than I had before. And I prayed.

Several weeks later, we almost lost our baby … to which I screamed an angry and adamant “NO!” And I prayed.

A month later we were told that our baby had a “very large hole in her heart” … to which I said, “I don’t believe you.“ And I prayed.

Two months later we were told, “Your baby is small” … to which I laughed and said, “Of all the things that you have told us, this seems pretty manageable.” And I prayed.

Two weeks later, on what was supposed to be a brief doctor’s visit before we headed to our local water park, we were told that our baby was not growing, that she was too small and that she was not acting the way that she should be. We were told that I would be given another amniocentesis to see if her lungs were developed. If they were, my doctor wanted to take her right away. I felt like my body was failing her. And I prayed.

My doctor gave me a drug to speed up our baby’s lung development. The results of the amniocentesis were not what we had hoped for. My doctor told us that our baby’s lungs were not developed, our baby could not breath on her own. Now we had a team of medical professionals. They hoped nothing would go wrong for the next 48 hours so that the steroid that they had given me would have time to help our baby’s lungs grow … to which I said, “OK”. And I prayed.

Less than 24 hours later I had a hospital room full of people wearing blue. They were running around and pumping my body full of fluids and drugs. We were told that we could no longer wait. We were told that our baby would not be breathing and that she would be very small and weak … to which I cried in her father’s arms and said, “I’m scared.” And I prayed.

Minutes later I was strapped to a table. I had refused anything that would alter my mental state. I wanted to be there for our baby. It took a long time to get her out. I was told that she was so small that she kept slipping through the doctor’s hands. I kept screaming, “Is she out?!?!” And I prayed.

Then, I heard a cry … to which I thought, “That is a loud cry for a baby who is supposed to be weak, small and not breathing.” And I prayed.

A few minutes later our baby was brought over to me, warmly swaddled, pink as could be, breathing all on her own and with no hole in her heart. (Sure, she had some extra chromosomes, but who cares about that?) And when I saw her I thought, “You are my miracle and I love you.” And then, I praised God for our beautiful daughter.

Ten years ago today, through God’s amazing grace, Reese Lindsey Grace was born by emergency cesarean section. She was 6 weeks early. She weighed 2lbs 15oz and was 15 ½ inches long. My world has not been quite the same since that day … and I would have it no other way.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you celebrate a miracle … and always remember to pray!!!

Far away …

Today my son George officially found out that he will be studying abroad his next school year. He will be heading to Germany, and he will be leaving sometime this summer and he will be returning in late Spring 2020. When he sent me a copy of his acceptance letter I literally stopped and wept. My son’s dream came true. And it’s absolutely beautiful. As much as I struggle with the changes that have come with having adult children and the directions we have all been pulled, I can’t help but feel overjoyed. I am so incredibly thankful for the opportunities that have come George’s way. He has worked hard and he has persevered and God has blessed him abundantly. I know that at some point the distance and the time apart will hit me like a ton of bricks. But for now, I’m just going to be happy for my son and grateful that he is living the life that he’s dreamed of.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you get to go FAR AWAY!!!

Celebrate EXTRA …

Happy World Down Syndrome Day everyone!

March 21 was designated as a global day of awareness that has been officially observed by the United Nations since 2012. This date was chosen to represent the triplication of the 21st chromosome (3/21) found in individuals with Down Syndrome. As you all know, my daughter Reese has Down Syndrome and she is the most amazing human being that I know. She is strong, smart and beautiful. Anyone who knows Reese will say that she makes the world a lighter and brighter place. Seriously you guys, she is THE BEST. I am truly blessed that God chose me to be her mom!

Well, I hope you all have a day where you celebrate EXTRA!!!

An unexpected God gift …

Last night, after a very long and very exciting day (I’ll explain why in a later blog), I somehow got Reese into bed early. This is good because she has her hernia repair surgery tomorrow and I want her going into it as strong as possible. Sleep is so important leading up to something like this and it will be a huge part of how her little body will recover after. But, I guess her mama’s body was needing that sleep too.

Last night I laid down with Reese. We said her prayers and snuggled. And I don’t remember another thing after that. I woke up three hours later, thinking I had just dozed off. Talk about completely disorienting! I thought for sure I would never fall back to sleep. I was wrong. I slept for almost another 7 hours! WOW! With as conscientious as I am about my health, I am often amazed at how much I fail to see what my body really needs. Tomorrow will be long and stressful so I am glad that today I feel great and ready to tackle anything. And I am once again thankful for God’s hand in helping me be at at my best for Reese. As a mom, I just keep going, often times piling more on my plate than I have room for. I’m grateful that God sees this. And despite the piles of unfolded laundry and the dirty dishes in the sink, God knew it was more important to give me rest than it was to give me more time in my day to complete chores. He is awesome that way.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you receive an unexpected gift from God!!!

The heart of the matter …

I am a self-professed self-nurturing advocate. Yet, there are so many parts of me that seem to get neglected. Ugh. But isn’t that a truth for ALL OF US?!?! Despite knowing how important it is to take care of ourselves and to feed our souls, life and responsibilities (and some people) make us feel that those parts of us aren’t a priority. I am not sure of how that seductive process works, but it definitely sneaks it’s way into my daily routine. Even at my age (will I ever learn?), I know that I personally need to be more aware of this and how it can greatly effect my peace of mind and overall happiness.

When I look back on the young girl that I was in junior high, those genuine deep-rooted parts of me have not changed. I absolutely love that about myself too. I am and have always been a God-seeker, a family-lover, a rescuer, a writer, a foodie and a fitness junky! Those are the parts of me that aren’t going anywhere. They are the God-infused characteristics that have stuck with me for a lifetime. And I know that if I want to continue to be the best version of myself, so that I can be everything I need to be and want to be for the people that I love, then I really need to make sure that I nurture those special parts of me. After all, if God gave me all those passions, then I guess it’s part of His plan for me. And THAT is always a good thing.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you get back to the heart of the matter!!!

Rise …

My chores were done yesterday. I got a good night of sleep. I woke to beautiful blue skies. And EVERYONE here is healthy. If that doesn’t motivate me, nothing will. My mood has lifted. After last week, I feel renewed. Restored. Ready. I am grateful to be worry-free. Well, at least for the moment. This kind of energy feels INCREDIBLE after the despair I felt last week. It was dark. I felt our skies agreed. We had more rain falling than I had seen in years. I honestly felt like I was in a pit deep with fear. When your child is sick you feel so helpless. And that feels horrible. But Reese is fine now. GOD IS SO GOOD. And I have climbed out of that hole. I am back standing in the light. And I am THANKFUL. So, so THANKFUL.

During yoga this morning, I stretched my body taller and reached high into the sky so that I could physically take in as much of this day as I could. I have taken so many deep breathes today. In relief and to absorb this easiness of this day into my soul. I don’t want to waste one moment of how I feel. The weightlessness of this day is a gift and I will treat it as such. I choose to be present. To balance. To enjoy. To serve others. To love. To chase my dreams. And to bravely wear my purpose. To me, THIS is living my best life with all that God has given me. I don’t have to, I want to. I choose embrace this day and to be open to all that it brings me.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you rise!!!