I’ve been thinking about all the good in our lives. Lately, as we’ve been reflecting on Allison’s health issues I can’t help but feel the necessity to mention that she’s been blessed with good health in recent months. Today is Good Friday, which seems like a really appropriate day to write about such a subject. If you’ve been following our posts the last few weeks then you know that we had the unpleasant experience of making the hospital our home for several months this last year.
I’ve heard of God encounters before, but I wasn’t really sure that I had ever had one. I’ve since come to the realization that the reason I haven’t personally had such an experience is because I’ve never been alert to them. Needless to say…I am aware of them now. Something else I soon became aware of…a new phrase…”kidney friends”.
June 1st was like any other morning of my new motherhood journey: wake up with an awful back ache from the hospital beds, do part of my devotion, love on my baby and then realize I really need that cup of coffee to do devotions or love on the baby. My husband, Liam, is an Army Officer so I essentially did the whole hospital thing on my own, since we live over 70 miles from Dell.
To combat the lingering loneliness of caring for a sick baby alone, I would call my mom while getting my coffee to update her and chat about at least some of the “normal” new mom stuff. Yet, I still made the same mistake every day—talking to her in the elevator, where I would, every day, lose cell service. Usually I was alone, but on June 1st, another couple noticed my faux-pas, so, out of nervous chatter, I told them about my life. This couple, was Kristen and Winston Millican, our soon-to-be friends. I was surprised when I found out baby Allison was being hospitalized for similar issues. And we actually shared a doctor since Brennan’s urologist was on vacation.
Our youngest daughter, Allison, is turning a year old on April 4th and we are getting ready for a big celebration of life! Why such a big celebration? Well, for our family it’s not just to have a party for her birthday. It’s really a time to thank God for some pretty big miracles that He has done this last year in our lives. The first four months of Allison’s life were filled with long hospital stays. These involved reoccurring infections and a surgery that we were pretty apprehensive about. During those months we were fortunate to have help from each of our families. We relied on FaceTime sessions and updates from our family to try and stay connected with our other two daughters. Even though we were walking through some really tough stuff we also saw God show up in some amazing ways during that time. One particular way was when we had the privilege of meeting baby Brennan.
I was listening to a podcast a few weeks ago that left me realizing that some of us live with words that impact us more than we may ever realize. The guest speaker said that the things we tell our children when they are young tend to be their inner voice when they are older. Think about that for a minute. The words that we tell our children when they are young tend to be their inner voice when they are older. I caught myself holding my breath after I heard those words. “What words will my children have playing over and over in their minds when they get older?” I thought.
I don’t know about you, but about once a week or once every other week I try to clean out my five-year-old’s backpack. She is what some people might consider a hoarder. And when I say “some people” I’m actually referring to myself. Empty snack wrappers, crumbled up papers, pencils upon pencils, and some toys every now and then are just some of the treasures that I usually find in her school backpack. But this last week I was surprised to find something new. Something she’s never collected before. And I just have to share it with you.
When I was little I loved Doug Stone’s song “Little Houses”. There was something that resonated in me every time I heard that song. I haven’t thought about it in a long time, until recently when my close friend, Jamie, brought it to mind. She mentioned to me that she saw a sign recently with the words “Love grows best in little houses” and that the sign made her think of our house. As soon as she said those words I had this tug at my heart. Kind of like the feeling you get when you think of your kids and how they are growing up too fast. Or the same feeling you get when you see an old childhood friend that you haven’t seen in awhile.
I am not a health nut by nature. I have always had a sweet tooth. In fact, when I was younger I would force myself to eat what was on my dinner plate just so I would be allowed to enjoy the dessert that was available upon completion. My parents were smart. They knew when it came to dinner time that I had two obvious weaknesses. I loved sweets and I hated missing out on anything fun that might be going on after dinner, so they had no choice but to use these to their advantage.
“All work and no play”. It’s a philosophy, just not a philosophy that our family believes in. I’m not saying that we don’t believe in working hard. In fact, hard work is something we feel strongly about. And instilling a strong work ethic in our kids and throughout our company is something we desire to do. But learning to take a break or have a moment of fun is what enables us to sustain our dedication to a job well-done.
We live rather far from town. In fact, what my girlfriends consider “in the sticks”. We moved here as soon as we got married, which has almost been ten years ago. As a result, I have learned the art of substitution in my cooking endeavors. What I mean is that I have learned to use the ingredients that I have on hand.