Brave

I posted this on my facebook as a random thought tonight. I realize that I haven’t been utilizing my blog as I should and decided these posts belong here too. So you may have read my ramblings about bravery already… But just incase you need to hear it again, here you have it. 🙂

” If you dont learn how to be scared, you’ll never really learn how to be brave.”

There’s something to be said about fear and how we approach it. I can count on one single hand the times Ive sat in a hospital bed and been completely free of fear. Considering the amount of times I have sat in a hospital bed…. that’s really not many. There’s fear behind every operation. Fear behind every test. And fear behind all the unknowns that lie ahead. I used to believe that there was weakness in being gutted with fear and even more so admitting those fears. As I’ve grown, I realize there is a certain kind of greatness that our fears bring about. It’s not fear itself, that’s bad. No, Fear brings with it an opportunity for great courage… Choosing to take that step into the unknown.
For me? Its choosing to do an operation or a test even with it’s unknown and hec sometimes even with it’s known. For me? It’s choosing to say yes to going somewhere brand new and far away for treatment. For me? It’s not having enough memories built up for the one day Im not there to make them anymore.
For you? It could be leaving your job for a new one. Or moving far away from where you are. Or voicing your thoughts and opinion when you don’t know if anyone will agree. Or simply afraid for what the next day holds.
Our fears bring with it an undenied bravery. Being afraid of things we can’t control or don’t know? No, that’s not a bad thing. The bad thing would be letting those fears win and not pushing forward. So whatever you may be scared of right now?? Wake up tomorrow and be brave. Wake up and go do what you are afraid to. Let your fears mold you in a good way. And if no one has ever told you before…
It truly is ok to be scared, just remember to be brave too.

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Until we meet again 🙂

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Is it really 2014?

I can’t even begin to fathom it.
I took the month of December off from the blog world.  Mostly because I had a very sick kiddo the entire month but also because It was quite a busy month for my family. Looking forward to jumping back into the blogging scene with fresh posts, fun stories from my little family, and all kinds of outlooks and opinions.

It seems that nearly everyone I know on this New Years day has posted their Resolutions they plan to attack this year. I’ve never really been one for resolutions, for a lot reasons really. I am not a stick to, do, and complete kinda gal. I tend to be really excited about something but when the excitement wears off so does my interest. I’m also a huge procrastinator… tomorrow is always better than today and next week is even better than that. Thus, December rolls around and I’m just starting on my resolution. 🙂 Finally, I only like to set short term goals because the long term seems so unreachable. I don’t like to fail and thus it’s much easier to set something short term than it is to promise myself a big win.  Small victories for this girl is more than enough.
So if I don’t set a new years resolution… then what is the point of a 2014 post?  Well, for me starting a new year is about reflection.  Reflecting on the year before and taking away from it only the good and moving forward. Reflecting on the lessons I could have done without but learning from them and not looking back. Summing up what I learned from a year in the life of me and running with it into the next year.

2013 was a year to remember. We celebrated E’s very first birthday in January and her very first gotcha day in December! She baffled us with her language skills and made us laugh more than we ever expected.  E has the keen ability to keep our hearts light and our spirits full of joy. I ran into a health scare that challenged my faith and my strength… even as I write today I question who has really won that small battle. I gained wonderful friendships in sweet ladies who also call themselves “mommy.”  I celebrated small and great joys with friends – from moves, engagement, babies, and graduations. I had heartbreak through some incredible losses. And I learned that even decisions that seem right at the time could be the wrong ones. I learned not to hold on to things that are ready to let go and to move forward on even the hardest days. I learned the grief of falling in love with an angel baby… though her hours on earth were small, her impact was incredible, Eliza will never be forgotten and her memories lives on. : ) I learned that the very things in front of us are worth fighting for and that love is a full time gift. One worth working at. I learned that the things of this life that we aren’t prepared for could lead us into the biggest grace of all. The little things that even though we don’t see at the given moment is a complete blessing in disguise.
My biggest lesson that I have clung to tightly is the lesson of grace. This year after some hard battles, I could genuinely take a step back and see Grace’s hand all over the situations. From timing to circumstances. There have been times where I broke down questioning and angry with life. It’s funny how things completely fall into place even when we can’t possibly imagine that they will. Someone asked me how a certain set of circumstances could pass as grace to me… and why didn’t I look at it as a bad hand dealt or the complete opposite of blessing. It’s simple… I know how much worse it could have been. I know exactly where I could have ended up.  I was graced with a daughter who simply snuggled with me on days that I felt so terrible.  I am graced that my husband works full time so that I do not have to… thus I no longer have to worry about leave or someone trying to get my work done by a certain deadline because I can’t. I am graced with friends and family, who despite knowing my every being (the goods, the bads, and my failures) still love me unconditionally. Grace… not every situation was an easy one this year. Grace not only saw me through them, but also shielded me from things, at the time I couldn’t possibly fathom. In some ways, my hardest minutes were my greatest blessings and that is certainly something to be thankful for. And that is certainly grace.
I am immensely looking forward to 2014. I can’t wait to see how much my sweet girl grows. I’m anxious to strive to be a better person than I was in 2013. I’m excited to see where life takes my little family. Every minute is an absolute gift and I am so excited to live it. There’s blessing in the new year and the waking up to see it.
My biggest wish for all my readers this year is that you strive to be better than the last year.  That you love who you are and are proud of the decisions you make.  That you fight for good and squash bad. That even when you hurt… you unroll your covers and get out of bed with your chin up. To be strong even when you feel incredibly weak. To smile at every stranger and hug as often as you can. Choose life, friends… in every possible way that you are able. 🙂

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

It’s Black Friday… what gives?

uh oh. I have another bone to pick with all you folks…. and mainly you folks who hate on black friday.

Department Stores Macys Black Friday 1946This picture is dated back to the 1940s and is at Macy’s. Black Friday… no matter how it caters to American Greed and Consumer needs… it is still TRADITION.

I have many friends hating on black friday. “The stores opened too early. People should be spending time with their families. Black Friday is for the crazies. People are too consumed with material things to enjoy thanksgiving.” Well here’s what I have to say about that. While black friday shopping is not for me because I hate standing in line at walmart on a normal day… many people enjoy it and it truly is tradition. I woke up to a newsfeed of people who hadn’t yet been to sleep and going on 24+ hours of shopping… and you know what I say to them. WAY TO GO. Because you have much more stamina then I do.  Most of these people went WITH their families and they do so every year. So for you folks that say they need to be spending time with their families, you should stop and think that just maybe they are. This is a tradition for some families they pile in the car going from city to city with each other and snag the best deals on everything. For some people staying out all night is a comittment they have to do so they can ensure that their shopping gets done for Christmas… because to pay full price for all the things in their cart they would need to pay nearly 2 grand or more to bring it home on a normal day.

So for all you black friday haters… be ashamed of yourself.  No one hates on you for choosing not to go black friday shopping… so don’t put someone down for going. Most of these people enjoy it and spend all week looking forward to it.  It is not a new concept… black friday has been around for decades. There is nothing wrong with anyone taking part in the “crazy” that is a thousand people in one place getting the best deals they can. Just like there is nothing wrong if you want to stay home in your PJs all day.

Good heavens guys… we should be above the judging.  And I’m serious on this… stop putting your two not so nice cents out there just because you aren’t on the same page as someone else. We need to be better than that. These are your friends and colleagues and ranting about how they spend their time is not really any place of yours…. especially if you aren’t being nice about it.

So… happy black friday friends!  Whether you are spending it like I am in pjs with harry potter or going on hour 30 of no sleep. 🙂

Until We meet again,

 myrainbowcounts@gmail.com

What kind of love is this?

You know, I get nervous when I think about sharing a personal post. I get even more nervous when I start to share a post that I know without doubt will cause some controversy or at least anything that tugs at the heart. But this topic has been incredibly heavy on my heart and so now you all are going to bare witness to something I don’t usually do….I’m laying my naked heart out for y’all to see.
Let me start by saying I am SO tired of reading articles on the perfect family and the top ten things you should do as a married person. I’m tired of reading articles that make me feel like marriage is not fabulous and I’m even more tired of reading articles that make me feel like the worlds worst mom because my kid eats sugar and we don’t have craft time everyday. I mean seriously have you tried crafting with 21 month old? It’s absurd… “let’s color a picture Em… ok kidding, mommy will color the picture.” “Let’s put this string through cheerios and make a necklace or wait, your idea is way better we’ll eat the cheerios and put the rest on the floor.” Seriously… just because we aren’t crafting every day or ever at all doesn’t mean I’m a failure as a parent… but gosh dern it if the world isn’t saying otherwise.
I’m so tired of our “today world.”  I’m tired of looking at the internet and basing my value off of that. I’m tired of seeing the picture you paint on facebook of your perfect little family and all the perfect pictures. I’m tired of seeing your hair always in place and all the “selfies” you took at just the right angle to make you look that way. I’m tired of people giving up. I’m tired of seeing both men and women walk away from their families out of selfish choices. I’m tired of seeing people fail to fight. I’m tired of the notion that happiness will be found on the other side and that just because you aren’t happy you can flee whatever obligations you promised. I’m tired of love being made to look like butterflies and fairy tales and well if you don’t have that than you are lacking. I’m tired. I’m absolutely tired of people determining what’s ok and what’s not ok based on what they see on the internet. TIRED.
I love my facebook connections. I love being able to stay in touch with people I went to kindergarten with and family that at one point all I really knew of them was their name. I love facebook. But oh is it terrible for my heart. I see the perfect picture of you and your husband grinning and heads in the cloud in love. I see the picture of your family all together smiling at the camera. Oh gosh to just get Em to look at the camera is a task. I see the post you put up of how awesome your life is because of x y and z. And I see the perfect little family that you want me to see. What I don’t see through our facebook connection is how you cried last night because you didn’t like what you saw in the mirror. I didn’t see that the one perfect picture you have posted was a single picture of at least 500 that went wrong before and after that one. I don’t see how your day went after your toddler knocked over your brand new tv or colored on your antique furniture passed down from generations. I don’t see how hard is is for you to go to sleep at night and I don’t see the disagreements you have with your spouse. I don’t see that you are moments away from breaking down. I see perfection on facebook and that’s it. I am guilty of the same… I post pictures of Emilyn that tickle my heart and I can guarantee you it’s normally not the only version of that picture on my phone. I likely picked my favorite one where Em was smiling and not throwing a tantrum or picking her nose. I don’t often post pictures of myself because I can’t get it in the right position that my face looks smaller.  Ladies and gents… we aren’t perfect. The perfect little family you follow through blogs and pinterest… they aren’t perfect either. My family isn’t perfect. We see the good parts and not the bads when it comes to portraying our lives online.
And you know what… if your marriage isn’t perfect, that is OK. You may not get butterflies everytime he walks in the door and on most days you’re probably still annoyed that for heavens sakes he could have just put his socks up today…. seeing him only reminds you of how annoyed you were when you were doing the picking up after him all day. You may not communicate the way you think other couples communicate. Let me just say this… it’s OK to watch tv together and not a feel good conversation be had. We go and go and go and it’s ok to slow down when you walk in the door. Love will not always look the same folks… you will not love that person the same way you loved him 5 years ago. Love isn’t based on how many times you cuddle or how often you feel good inside.   Of course my husband drives me crazy some days. Of course it irritates me when I have to ask him for the 10 thousandth time to do something.  Marriage isn’t butterflies and cotton candy. It’s hard work. These days we have the notion that if we aren’t happy we can just pack our bags and leave. There may be someone else you connected with and you are leaving because you want to be with them…. because with them you have butterflies and they get you and you’re happy. Trust me I get this… but the fact of the matter is, you’re married. You promised life to someone else and you didn’t just promise to them “Till things get hard do us part.”  FIGHT for it. I have so many friends traveling this road right now… one person or the other throws the line that they just aren’t happy anymore or that they aren’t in love anymore. I know how easy it is to leave… hec it’s too easy. But it isn’t meant to be easy. You’re suppose to fight for it. Fight for your family. Fight for the energy to love. It doesn’t have to be a mushy gushy love all the time… but you have to walk in the door having respect and want for your family. That man… he’s the father of your child. He’s the person that you chose…. you chose this life. That woman? She’s the woman you waited for at the end of the aisle. The woman you made cry when you got down on your knee. That woman? She is the mother of your children… you force yourself to love her. You find every reason you need to stay and forget all the reasons you need to leave. Seriously… stop tossing in the glove because you’re losing the game and pick up the bat and start winning.  You figure out what each other needs. You sit down and you figure out how to do life together. STOP GIVING UP.
I get it guys… of all people I understand and I get it. It is so easy to look at someone else’s life and feel like we’re failing.  Especially when everything in this world is agreeing with you.  Stop comparing yourself to that mom you think is so perfect. Stop aiming to please the eyes of facebook and start finding a way to make things work.  We are all set up to fail when we compare ourselves to someone else. We are even more set up to fail when we look at how much greener the grass is on the other side. Do you know how that story ended??? How has it ended for you before… because I can tell you that I’ve been to the other side of alot of things and the one thing I can tell you that the grass is never greener when you’re trading your family in.  SO FIGHT, Dag on it. Fight for your family and stop taking the easy way out because it’s offered.
Your family? IT IS PERFECT. Your an amazing mom. You are a spectacular father and I don’t care what they say.  Kudos to you for raising a sane kid in this not so sane life. Kudos to you for spending time on your phone when the world tells you you’re missing out on your child’s life. Kudos to you that stay at home and never miss a single second or laugh or poopy diaper. Kudos to you that are working two jobs and still trying to keep your head above the water. Kudos to you who want to leave but stay anyway.  Kudos to you who stayed when you thought it couldnt get any worse….
You see we’re all at different places in our walks of life… some of us are over the moon with our life. Some of us our clinging with all we can to get our bills paid. Some of us are just breaking up a what seemed really amazing relationship and now everyone wants to know if you’re ever going to settle down. Some of us are just comfortable and content… we aren’t in a high and aren’t in a low, things are just kind of sailing along.  Some of us are taking on new roles and trying different avenues.  And you know what some of us tried and tried and divorce was the absolute only resolution. NO ONE IS JUDGING HERE so please… forget what everyone else’s life looks like and simply focus on your own.  Set your own bar and set your own pace.  I am begging you. If we all keep measuring ourselves with what the internet says or comparing our worth to what we see of other people’s lives on facebook than were all doomed. Because no life is perfect and honestly… most all of our lives are broken in some way shape or form.  We need really really need to be better about this.  I’m not saying we all need to air our dirty laundry over every internet portal (PLEASE DONT DO THAT! I BEG YOU!) 🙂  I’m saying we need to simply enjoy what we see of others at face value and stop trying to live up to a bar we’ve set for ourselves based off what we see from others life on facebook…. because we are only seeing the good things.

Whew. Deep Breaths.

Until We meet again,

 myrainbowcounts@gmail.com

It’s heart day… again.

Last year on heart day, I put a lot of emotion into my blog post.  I shared with you the joys and struggles it was to be a recipient and how challenging it was to find joy in what is such a difficult situation. If you don’t remember it or have never read it, please do so here.

As it was last year, it never gets easier to find words that are right and fitting to the occasion. It’s a day of joy and grief… in some ways a day I wish would fly by without so much acknowledgement but in the same thought a day I want to shout from the roof top. I spent a lot of time in quiet today and I also spent a lot of time in tears. That said, I write a letter to my donor family every single year… but this year will be the first year I will ever share it with someone else. Please bare with me and be patient as you read through it. And if you’re my donor family… I hope this reaches you knowing that I am desperate to have you know how incredibly grateful I am for you, you taught me more than I can ever put into a single letter— or 18.

To a family I have never had the honor of meeting, yet have the humility of carrying your loved one with me,

Today marks 18 years. Long years for you, I’m positive. Yet these 18 years have gone by much easier for me. I wonder myself who he would have became. I wonder whether they’d be married and have many children. Would they have gone to college or excelled at some great gift of talent. Golly, I even wonder who they’d become in terms of careers and passions. I know 18 years ago and many days earlier that you never imagined that you’d be wondering such things so soon. I know that as a parent you feel slighted… no parent should lose a child so soon. You missed all the years ahead of them. It truly is heartbreaking. If you are a grandparent you ache for the noise in your home and all the special things you did before this dreaded day. If you are a brother or sister you have likely felt the guilt yourself. You’ve felt the ache of losing your best friend and maybe you have felt the anger of knowing that their heart is beating… but they are not breathing any longer. If you’re a friend of this sweet child you have gone on to graduate high school, go to college, and start a family clinging to the memories as they grow distant and more vague. I know. Because I have placed myself in each of your shoes. As a mom now, I can’t even begin to process your grief. I can’t imagine how it feels to lose that which you cherish most. I can’t begin to process the thought of my daughter meeting Jesus while someone else carries her beating heart. I cry at the simple but such difficult thought. I see my own mom interact with her granddaughter and understand with just a glimpse of how she loves.  She misses E’s laughter and the way she can storm through her house in seconds making the biggest mess and this miss comes as soon as we go home that day knowing we’ll be back and usually as early as tomorrow.  As a sister, I can’t imagine losing my best friend. I would feel guilty that I got to live, if she didn’t. I’d feel angry that someone else was living with the heart that should have kept my sister alive. As a friend, I can understand holding tight to memories. When that person is no longer there it’s all you have… and you feel guilty that you can’t remember every detail of them or that she doesn’t cross your mind as often as she should. I have placed myself in your shoes countless and I do mean countless times.
There are no words I can offer to you to ease any of your aches. In your own right, I hope you found AMPLE time to grieve for this sweet child today. In so many ways, I have. The heart that beats in my chest is so strong. It has given me a life I never could have dreamt of. I am a mom today. My daughter said “awesome” today when seeing Christmas lights and giggled with me in the early hours of the morning. I giggled too and this says so much as I’m not a morning person. When she giggles first on early mornings, I normally and oh so selfishly roll over and tell her to “close your eyes baby, mommy needs just five minutes longer.” 🙂 Today I woke and giggled too.  She greeted me with breakfast today and as she gave me my hash browns she followed suit with “Happy Heart Day.” She was coached by her sweet father and I couldn’t help but grin. I can not wait til E is old enough to understand what that really means. I can’t wait to teach her what selflessness looks like and to explain all it’s importance. I want to show her all the reasons we celebrate – not just mommies chance to be her mommy and many other things but heart day also is in celebration of the life that carried this heart first. We celebrate his life too.
With every letter this gets so much more difficult to write. Not because I don’t have words but for each new year I am granted, I find it harder to condense all I want to say into a single letter. I will be forever grateful for your decision to be so selfless in some of your darkest hours.  This year I have spent hours and many of those into the wee hours of the morning searching for you with my not so skilled way of doing so. I’ve missed you more this year than I ever have before and this year as per the past years, I have longed to hug your neck and show you what your decision has done for me. I didn’t just get a second chance at this crazy life… I was given life altogether. I learned from you what faith and mercy looks like. I learned from you the idea of grace and what a precious hard concept to grasp. I learned from you how to love and even more how to love my daughter. You have taught me to not take my days for granted and not to take those around me for granted either.  To not only love fully but love overwhelmingly never holding back. You’ve taught me that life is hard and you fall into places that you don’t always want to be… the beauty in that is not how we got there but how we rise above and come out of those places not focused on our own selfish needs. I strive to be the family you are. To live my life selflessly giving to those around me more than I have to give and loving more than I sometimes want to. I found myself learning forgiveness in places where it was easy to say no to.  I have lived well but more importantly I have love living. Thank you is not nearly a sufficient word choice… but it is all I have.  Thank you again today as I remember you and dwell on you more than all the other days of the year. I think of your family and the one sweet child who carried this heart before me often and not a day goes by that I don’t feel you beating within me. As I fall in love with my sweet girl over and over, as I find a love for music and friendship, as I pig out on mexican food and start christmas shopping. As I laugh and laugh and as I shed tears for things lost… I think of your sweet child. Maybe they would have loved mexican as much as I do and Maybe they would find peace in listening to gospel songs. Maybe they would have enjoyed being a parent as much as I have. And maybe they would rub off on me and have a love for exercise. Maybe they would have been gifted musically and excelled in dance.  So many things I wonder…. and so much of my life I contribute to them and to this sweet family. So Thank you. For giving me life. I am forever indebted to you and will never ever forget the memories you have given me. Not a day goes by that I don’t love you… a little more today than yesterday and a lot more now than 18 years ago.  My appreciation for you never falters and grows immensely with every passing day. I feel as if I’m part of your family already and yet I have never met you. I love you and I am forever and ever grateful to you.  Thank you thank you thank you… you’re child is my hero and your family a team of incredibles… a great team of heroes, indeed.
With all my heart,
  Stephanie

Letters… who knew!

The last video I posted was Em, in all her glory, counting. To my surprise… this girl also knows hers letters.  And by “to my surprise” my mouth hit the floor when she knew what a double-u was. 🙂 I’m not sure if her grandmas have been doing letters with her or if she has been spending a lot of time watching and really paying attention to the tv show – Super Why.  We have blocks with letters on them and whenever we play with those I always tell her A is for Apple!  B is for Bumble Bee! and so forth and she is always way more interested in the pictures on the opposite side of the blocks than the letters that represented them. 🙂  This morning as she brought me her newest book – “Berenstain Bears A Happy Halloween Book,” out of more habit of pointing out pictures in the book, I decided with no obvious reason to ask E what letter I was pointing too. I had NO and I do mean absolutely NO clue that she would be able to tell me. We went through all the letters on the page and she really amazed me!  So here’s a peak into this proud momma’s morning. 🙂

 

Until We meet again,

 myrainbowcounts@gmail.com

Fan Problems :)

So Dad, my ultimate biggest fan, has been after me again quoting exactly the last date I updated this blog of mind. So here I am. 🙂 I’ll tell you exactly what I told my dad… when you have a toddler that fights sleep until 1 or 2 in the morning it leaves no time for blogging. I try to do any and all my writing after my sweet baby girl is in bed. Here lately getting in bed has been a terrible and horrible routine, thus my blogging time has been interrupted with the event of. 🙂  Any momma’s out there have any tips??  We have had a solid routine since she was six months and nothing has changed. I did start giving her baths at night time (and in the AM!) and that seems to help some but she is almost terrified of sleep and the thought of being put in her bed all alone. She fights so so hard!! I’m hoping this is a phase, a short one at that. It’s been going on for just at a month now. #AdayinthelifeofEm
Sayings147In the meantime, when I do get time I will be writing multiple blog updates at once and scheduling them to post automatically. I’m still trying to figure out a day and hours that I can sit down and commit to doing this. I’m hoping to get at least 3-4 blogs up weekly. Quiet time is hard to come by when you’re “mommy!”

I’m a bit behind as I mentioned so expect some date-back posts! 🙂 I have stuff to fill you in on from almost the entire month 🙂  Hopefully I’ll get caught up this week!!

Love you guys! And thanks for continue to read my blogs even though I’m very inconsistent with updates. 🙂

Until We meet again,

 

 myrainbowcounts@gmail.com

E went to the ER!

Two post in one day?? What’s going on with me. 🙂  I cheated and was meaning to schedule this in for wednesday’s post but forgot to do that. You’re welcome. 😀

Any child of mine is bound to make it to the ER, at least once… and while I hesitate to say that, I’m pretty positive that is an understatement. 🙂  We are a family of accidents and being accident prone is almost a rite of passage. My sweet E definitely did not escape this adopted gene and wounded up in the ER about a week ago. Today, was the official last day of her boo boo, so I deemed it appropriate to tell you folks about it and show you her first ever battle scar.

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E took quite a tumble when playing with mom’s dog and busted her head wide open. To this minute, I’m not 100% positive how she did it because it happened so so fast but what we do know is… well it happened. 🙂  I think it hurt me far worse than it hurt her.  She was such a champ at the ER and made me oh, so proud. Even in the midst of all the aches and pain this sweet girl was still full of smiles. Today we went to her pediatrician to remove her staples. Another first marked off the books… though this one I could have done with out.

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It may be silly but I definitely hung on to her first ER hospital bracelet and my name tag that said I was her mommy. It’s the little things right? Sometimes as “mommy,” I am overwhelmed with how much love there can be in one single person. My heart literally bursts for my sweet girl. At the very moment that E was crying because she was hurt, my heart broke into one thousand itty bitty pieces and in that very moment I had no idea I could hurt that way for someone…. and this being said by someone who is overly empathetic and has an untamed habit of hurting with people. I so badly wanted to take her place or wave a magic wand to make it better. I did all I could to do just that, from singing her our favorite song, trying to talk to about her funny things, and simply tell her how much I understood her tears.  All this over a gash on her forehead. While I was sitting there with a cloth over her head and even before we assessed the damaged well enough to know it needed sutures to help with healing, I couldn’t help but to think about a friend. Her sweet baby girl recently was severely burned from a quick accident in the kitchen…. at the time I read the news my heart broke for both this little girl and her momma. But as I was sitting there with my own crying beauty, my thoughts went directly to this momma. I was a complete mess over E being hurt and she wasn’t life flighted to a nearby hospital. To all you momma Ladies out there… it takes strong women to be “mommy” and that’s a beautiful blessing. So So Thankful for the opportunity to love such a sweet girl over and over again. If I haven’t learned anything else at all, I’ve learned that there is no greater love than a love for your child. You will always choose them first. You will always do your best for them. You will fail, you will cry, you will feel like you could do a thousand times better… but you will do all you can for them because you are their mom (or dad) and there is nothing more important to you. There is no greater gift that could ever be given to me…. and I’ve been gifted far more than I ever deserved.

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And just so you aren’t left with terrible battle wound pictures. Here’s sweet E cheesing over “sketti” that our favorite neighbor and sweetest friend, BeBe, prepared for us for our Sunday Dinner.  🙂 Our last “official” night with a boo boo.  I’m not sure why she’s decided that this is the best smile she can produce… but she sure has the knack of cheesing down.

Until We meet again,

  

  myrainbowcounts@gmail.com

Touched in love.

I posted a few days ago on the need to be more authentic in my blogging. I had no idea what I was in store for when facing that challenge.
If you know my Mom then you know that she fervently asked for prayers yesterday.   I had close friends, who after seeing my momma’s post, asked for prayer, along with my incredible sister. It goes without saying that you are probably aware that the only mention I gave of having a tough time was a picture of me and my baby girl, quoting “Everything is going to be just fine.”
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It’s been quite a week. I was in the emergency room. I slept for nearly two days straight. I got bad news at an appointment and then more bad news after having a minor heart procedure the next. Jeez Louis Batman. Enough in one week. Enough.
Many who know me don’t see this side of me often, if ever.  I rarely seek out help or advice or a shoulder, even prayer, especially when it regards, what I often refer to as, my “hospital world.” Don’t get me wrong, I never want to hide that I am a transplant recipient. I proudly boast this fact to all who meet me, as I am so proud that I am able to carry the heart of someone that seized the ability do so himself.  I am not hiding that nor am I embarrassed that I’m a “forever patient.” When it comes to the ins and outs of being a patient and the roller coaster journey that accompanies it, I just don’t pass that on to others… often times even the ones closest to me. Most of us “patients” choose to do this because we know the burden we place on our family and to do so, to even our closest friends, is a hard thing for us to accept.  We don’t want to live in a world where we are consistently sick, where we are constantly having to need, where we are constantly being asked about it, and where we are chained to the title of illness… but the irony of all that is that we do.  We have no doubt what it’s like to be sick often, to take more medicines in a day than some take in a year, to need to sit still just because that’s easier than the repercussions of moving to get the medicine you need at the time, to be poked and prodded and examined to the point that modesty has been stripped from us and, even though we should, we don’t care any longer if our butts show when we turn around in a hospital gown or if we forgot to shave our legs before we walked out the door to the hospital or if we are asked for yet another sample of some bodily function we normally leave in a toilet and not a cup. We’ve learned to be a patient pretty well. What are the odds, right? Now considering all I’ve just said, we are also good at pretending. We pretend that we feel great when our body hates us. We pretend that we’re having a really good time when all we want to do is escape the crowd and sleep. We take stairs by two and run to keep up with the youth group kids when we can hardly do it. We laugh about how many times we had to reschedule a date because we were in the bathroom purging what was left from breakfast or just stuck at the hospital because even though our appointment was at 9am it’s 4p and were still doing tests. It’s the life of a patient right? We cry because we want relief. We cry because we just want to be a good mom, employee, housewife.  We cry because we somehow know deep down that we have to get to the next step and to do so is to push through the ordeal we’re having right now. And we deal with it because we have too.
I wouldn’t trade this life for anything. I realize after reading what I just wrote, that this may come as a shocker. You know, most days it does to me too. I have met the absolute most wonderful people on my journey. I have been cared for by hundreds of nurses who made me laugh even at the hardest time. I’ve made friends I never would have despite. I still talk to the people I walked the “hospital life” with when I was just 10 years old and I cherish them completely. I truly love my life even with it’s roller coaster journey. What’s not to love when you are so loved in return.
I have found myself in break down of tears – yesterday, last night, and even tonight as I begin to share this next thought with you. SO much love and prayers were offered yesterday just because my momma asked for them. I received almost endless messages of hugs, love, good thoughts, and offers to do absolutely anything they could — Beth, even offered to clean my house (I giggle at that because she has no idea what she is *really* offering by doing so, but even still I’m brought to tears because I know she means it to it’s core). I was and still am floored. I know I have amazing friends. I have friends that I talk to daily, friends I talk to often, and friends that just check in from time to time, friends from high school, college, and the hospital world… but they are amazing friends, MY amazing friends, and there’s so much love to be found in them. I can’t offer enough thanks for how you all stood up for me yesterday, on a day that I needed it most. Once again, it’s amazing how God knows just what we need. In the midst of terrible news, friends from every walk of my life offered encouragement in ways I needed it the biggest. Truthfully, there was a sense of relief found in everyone knowing I was struggling yesterday. It wasn’t as hard as I expected to be seen from a different angle.  So – thank you. I humbly and desperately seek your prayers and encouragement right now.
For those of you that missed my sweet momma’s post yesterday, here is a bit of the run down.

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After what seems like an eternity of feeling lightheaded and just not functioning well, I finally ended up in the ER on Sunday night. After a few medicines and a bunch of tests I was sent home and told to return to the clinic, where all my doctors reside during the day, a few days later.  Wednesday I was given the news that my heart function had dropped and was told to pack a bag and come back for a heart catheterization/biopsy Thursday, with the expectancy of being admitted after. I did just that… I packed my bag and after a terrible nights sleep and a wake-up, I headed to the hospital – bag in hand and my chin up. The biopsy was harsh and even the doctor agreed that we needed to change the way things went down in the OR for me. I was rolled out shortly after with a bandage on my neck, surgical hat on my head, and into a room to rest up. They decided that I could come home based on the initial results in the OR. My heart was doing it’s job for now and I didn’t desperately need to be in a hospital bed. GREAT NEWS. But we had no idea what to expect from the phone call we have grown to anticipate and would receive later that afternoon. *Ring Ring Ring* My mom or dad usually takes these calls for me. Mostly because I’m snoozing away after a long morning and also because I want to make sure every detail is HEARD well. This time this phone call came with some bad news, definitely not what we had hoped for. The one word that transplant recipients have come to dread is REJECTION. Our hearts function in a way that a disease would in our body… we have to lower our immune systems so our body doesn’t attack our heart. Despite how long it’s been mine, my body still sees it as a foreign object. As a vague example, the average body will attack a common cold so one can be healed from it — not living with a common cold forever. The issue for transplant recipient is that we are wonderfully stuck with our hearts forever and we have to take medicines so our body accepts that — forever.  My medicine failed to do the job this time as my count lowered and my body attacked my heart. This left me with the dreaded word – I was in rejection. The good news in all this is that they are treating me at home. No hospital gowns or lengthy hospital stays. The bad news? The medicine prescribed has terrible side effects. 😦  So that is that. Learning to be comfortable as this medicine takes its toll will be challenging. I’m scared. I’m a little angry. I’m grateful that there is a medicine to help. I’m glad for another wake up.
My momma taught me a huge thing yesterday in asking. My sweet friends want to help. I will not nor do I want to bombard you with facebook rants or post daily progress here, but I will ask tonight that if you think of me to please pray. The road ahead is in no way an easy one but with the help of my friends and family, I know that it can be easier.

So thank you. For your prayers. For caring. For sweet sweet words. For letting me tell you I’m sick. For taking time out of your day for me. Most of all, loving me despite the challenges.

I’m incredibly and overwhelmingly touched tonight.

Here are a few things I was encouraged by in just a single day… may you find encouragement in them also.


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Until We meet again,

myrainbowcounts@gmail.com

An Overwhelming Click

Have you ever had a moment where things just click in your head? Everything makes sense. Most of the time for me it’s how the world of technology actually works. Or in the kitchen when I’m making dinner and deciding how long the meat needs to go in before I start the veggies and BAM I finally get dinner done all at the same time. Or when we get out the door in time and it clicks that gosh I should try that more often — because I very rarely get anywhere on time. But tonight while I was deep into the song “Blessed Assurance,” rocking my baby girl to sleep things overwhelmingly just clicked.
Many of you know my road to getting to where I am now has been vigorously blessed. There are rarely days that pass that I don’t grasp this sometimes, but not always, simple idea. But tonight it seemed like it hit me upside the head and said ‘Steph, shake it off, every step in life you’ve taken whether willingly or not so, has been for perfect reason.’ WHOA. Perfect reason you say? Well yes actually… absolutely perfect reason.
As I was rocking my sweet E, she went from gently caressing my face to tracing the scar that lines the middle of my chest. She finds it often but today it hit me harder than usual.  I sprung tears as I realized the reason this little girl is even a part of my life is because of that scar. *Deep breath* The ultimate truth that God knocks into me often is that our lives are perfectly planned and every detail has reason. Nineteen years ago I had no idea I’d be “Mommy” to the most beautiful and sweetest little girl. Nineteen years ago I wasn’t expected to live another nineteen years. At first I was given just five to ten years of near healthy living. Another overwhelming “click.” I’ve been living ten+ years longer than I ever should have with the heart I carry now. Holy Moly. All to think that it was always part of my plan, so that I could rock my baby girl to sleep tonight while she’d find the scar that shows where my life was started once again.
It hasn’t always been easy. Even as I write tonight, I struggle with being a transplant recipient. The life of medicines and tests and all things that accompany isn’t all that fun…. but you can bet I’d do it all over again for the chance to meet my Sweet E. As I look forward, it’s my greatest hope that things happening now will bestow with it more time as I watch my little girl grow. And if it doesn’t you ask? Oh man, the thought is gut wrenching, but just as much the thought gives me peace. I have loved and been loved in the biggest of ways. I found a faith that comforts me when nothing else can. I have the absolute best family,who will give anything to see me and mine happy. I have lived life well… and you better be sure that I will continue that way until the plan for life hits it’s end. Until the final word of the last sentence of the very last chapter of my book.
To live well because our life is simply a gift is a concept we all need to embellish upon. The day we were born was not a coincidence and neither is every day we live. Let that click.

 

Until We meet again,

myrainbowcounts@gmail.com

These are older pictures but I love them none-the-less. 🙂

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