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!!!

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Cotton ball clouds …

I’m not sure of exactly when I first noticed them but I know that it was back in college. And it was definitely at summer’s end. I remember because I was out late with some friends and the temperature was warm and humid. We sat on blankets at a park by a little lake. It was then that I noticed them in the night sky. So delicate. So beautiful. They were everything perfect to my impressionable young heart. They softened me. And they stuck with me. So much so that every year at the same time I take note of our night sky. I’m sure that they have a scientific name and reason but I never cared to learn them. I just simply enjoy them for what they are to me. Fond memories. The coming of age. Hope. Love. Friendship. I have seen a lot of incredible night and early morning skies over the past 3 decades but these will always remain my favorite.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you see cotton ball clouds!!!

Thankful, grateful and blessed …

I am heading into this Mother’s Day weekend feeling pretty good so I want to write all of this now. It’s always unknown how the actual day will hit me. I can feel fine going to sleep the night before Mother’s Day and then BAM a blanket of sadness is there in the morning. But right now I feel overwhelmingly blessed and I want to stay focused on what I have, not on what I have lost. I truly have SO much to be thankful for. I’m thankful because I am a mom with the best kids in the world. I am thankful that I have been allowed to share so much of their lives with them. I am thankful I have watched almost three of them now grow to be adults. I absolutely LOVE watching them chase their dreams! And I am thankful that God entrusted me with Reese. I think I needed her just as much as she needed me. Of all the things that I have become in my life, MOTHER, is my favorite. Yes, I lost my mom, and that still hurts after 25 years. But being a mom has healed me so much and has eased my grief in a way that nothing else can. So, I want to give a BIG shout out to Sid, George, Libby and Reese (and, of course, Trevor Sid’s boyfriend too). Thank you. Thank you for taking the broken parts of me and putting me back together again. Thank you for understanding my grief and helping me grow through it. Thank you for readily seeing and honoring grandma’s legacy that has been weaved into each of your lives. You are truly my greatest joy. You are the reason I smile so much and why I laugh so hard. You are my hopes and dreams come true. I couldn’t possibly be me, without all of you. And there is absolutely nothing in this world that I love more than all of you!

Well, I hope you all have a day where you feel thankful, grateful and blessed!!!

Celebrating a lifetime of love and friendship …

Yesterday I went to the wedding of one of my best friends from high school. It was a pretty darn perfect day in my opinion. The weather was gorgeous. The bride and groom were happy. And the reception was a blast! We all had so much fun. And I think the biggest reason why, is that this beautiful couple brought a lot of us together who hadn’t been in been in REAL contact, other than through social media and maybe an occasional event here and there, for a long time. It was so good to see everyone. It was like no time had passed at all. We danced and laughed and joked and talked and shared just like we did over 30 years ago. I think that if decades later you can feel as comfortable with your high school friends, as you did in high school, then you have definitely been blessed with special friendships. I know that I have been and I’m truly thankful.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you celebrate a lifetime of love and friendship!!!

Wedding bells …

One of my best friends from high school is getting married today! I am so happy for her and her husband to be. Honestly, there is a special kind of peace that you feel knowing that someone you love dearly has found true love. It’s beautiful and my heart is full of joy for them! I simply can’t wait to see them live happily ever after together.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you hear wedding bells!!!

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!!!

Live and love unapologetically …

It is a gift to enjoy who you really are. It is a blessing to have confidence in the path that you have chosen for yourself and to trust the decisions that you make along the way. To be able to like yourself, even after looking into the mirror AND knowing the feelings that you house in your soul, is absolutely peace-giving. It is freeing to love yourself and others unconditionally. And to no longer feel the need to give excuses and to live genuinely in your truth is about as good as life gets.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you live and love your life unapologetically!!!