My “Why” – To Celebrate Life

*Lots of inspiration and deep-thinking for the next 6 weeks!*

I want to change the world! If not the whole world, perhaps at least my own little sphere of influence. I’m taking an online course from The Full Measure through Schoology.com. It will be exciting to learn more about myself and “to learn how to engage in a wholehearted life,” which is the objective of the class. Our first assignment was to identify our “why” – our purpose, cause or belief that is going to change the world. It was tough to choose the “why” that I want to focus on because there are more than a couple of “why’s” that define why I live my life the way I do. I decided on something that I am passionate about. It helps to shape who I am and is something I want to share with others. So what is my “why”?…laughtogether(photo credit: Lindsay Nicole Photography) Continue reading

To Plant a Garden Is To Believe in Tomorrow

(Title quote by Audrey Hepburn) Yesterday I was making dinner when one of my 10 year-olds walked in and sighed, “I really can wait until garden season. It’s so hard and boring!” I exclaimed to him, “I’m so happy to hear you say that because guess what we’re doing for family night?!… We’re going to clean up the garden! Yay!” (Cue groans, moans and complaints from both 10 year-old sons.) Yes, raising a garden is a ton of work. No, the work is not always fun, but it is super rewarding. Do not do all of the work yourself – invite your children to help. Give them responsibility. Show your kids that working together as a family is fun. Yes, they will whine. No, they will usually not find the work fun. And, no, they will probably not recognize the rewards of the hard work. At first. But when they are 18 and (hopefully) leaving your house, they will know how to work like grown men and women (even if they still whine about it a little). Strengthening the bonds of family and helping your children learn to be more self-sufficient so they eventually leave your house – what better rewards are there than that?! Grow a garden!

Round 1 of garden prep done! We did not plant a garden last year and for months I used the garden as my goat pen while we built a new barn. Since goats are messy and can be completely destructive, suffice it to say that we have a ton of work to do this year in the area of garden prep. Yesterday we hauled out piles of sticks and branches (which I had fed to my Goats last year), began repair of the brick walkway and completed the first run of tilling. 

Juniper and Bonita, our goat kids, also had a blast “helping.” 

Awakening From Our Long Winter’s Nap…

Well, our long winter’s nap lasted about 2 1/2 years. Ha. Not only is our farm awakening to the sights, sounds and smells of spring, but I feel like I too am figuratively awakening. I’ve spent the last two years growing and raising a baby (sweet Annabelle Ruth was born April 1, 2016). AnnabelleBirthRS_197

As she approaches her 1st birthday, she continues to grow faster than the weeds in my garden and I find myself awakening to a closer version of the “me” that I desire to be. As I awaken, I leave behind the sleepless nights. I leave behind the nag of the “getting-it-dones”. I leave behind the desire to do nothing but sit on the couch (as if that would ever happen – I have 4 kids). I leave behind the post-partum depression. Continue reading

This Week’s Harvest: Sweet Peppers

IMG_7030

I’m growing peppers bigger than my fist! And, they are still going strong – I’ve been harvesting a bucket of peppers every week. I have frozen most of them to make canned salsa later, but I have used quite a few fresh. Here is my new favorite recipe using green peppers (or red, yellow, whatever)…I give you the most amazing stuffed peppers you’ll ever eat, hands-down… Continue reading

The Story of a Little Heart Continues

Donate or join a walk today!

Over the next two years Adam continued to undergo various tests, procedures and surgeries and we continuously witnessed miracles. At 6 months old, we learned at a routine cardiology appointment that Adam was going into heart failure. He was admitted to Cincinnati Children’s that week for a cardiac catheterization with the hopes of repairing the pulmonary conduit through the catheter (rather than putting him through another open heart surgery). Through the catheterization they were able to successfully place three stents in order to open up his collapsing grafted artery. In subsequent cardiology appointments, his cardiologist continued to marvel at how Adam’s little aortic valve just chugged along. It was always leaky, but somehow his heart didn’t mind.

image

Continue reading

The Story of a Little Heart (Part 3)

Donate or join a walk today!

7/03/12

My Dear Adam,

The best day ever. I held your tiny body in my arms for the first time since you were born three weeks ago. For the second time, I snuggled you. For the second time, I smelled your sweet hair. For the second time, I relished the softness of your baby skin against my face. I’m engraving this moment in my heart forever so I can close my eyes and return to it again and again. I haven’t felt so much peace and warmth and love in so long. I love you, my dear sweetheart.

IMG_1589

Continue reading

The Story of a Little Heart (Part 2)

Donate or join a walk today!

6/15/12

Dearest Adam,

You are 4 days old today and you are having a life-saving surgery that will fix your heart and allow you to live a normal life. Last night was a restless one. I hate sleeping in hotel beds. Daddy and I arrived at the hospital around 6:30am. We had the opportunity to hold you one last time before the surgery. I took a peek at your perfect little body – the last time that I would see it in its perfect, unscarred form. Knowing that your heart was failing you, I listened to your heavy breathing as your lungs worked harder and harder to oxygenate your body. I wished that I could give you my breath and somehow make your heart whole so you wouldn’t have to go through all this.

The surgical team seemed to be moving in slow motion as they walked through the doors of the CICU and toward your room. I didn’t want them to take you. Not yet. I wasn’t ready to let you go. We followed the team into the staff elevators and meandered through a maze of white, sterile hallways that led to the operating rooms. It was a force beyond my own strength that allowed me to put one foot in front of the other. As I walked, I watched you lie there – so small and fragile in the big bed. When we reached the OR, the anesthesiologist assured me that you would be comfortable.  I tearfully said goodbye. They pushed you through the doors and I had nothing else to do but wait… Continue reading

The Story of a Little Heart

It’s 2 am. I can’t sleep. Too much clutter in my mind. Writing helps me to de-clutter. I usually write in my journal or write letters to my boys. I was re-reading some letters that I wrote to Adam in the first year of his life. Our sweet Adam is only 2 and already his life story is a miraculous one. As we are striving to spread awareness of congenital heart disease and support for CHD research (and with Adam’s 2nd heart surgery approaching in just a few days), I think that sharing Adam’s story with you might go a long way. And, although the feelings I’ve expressed through these letters are personal, I share them as a testimony that our Heavenly Father is real and that He loves us. That we have a Savior, Jesus Christ, and that through Him, we can do all things…

6/11/12

My Dear Adam,

I have been blessed with the sweetest of angels, and that angel is you. I thank my Heavenly Father daily that He sent you to me. So much has been asked of you already, my sweet baby, and I’m afraid it’s only the beginning. God sends his children to Earth to learn and to grow. We’re all faced with trials – some more difficult than others – but I promise you that He will always be there to succor you. Throughout your life you will experience much physical and emotional pain, and you will be asked to bear hardship and sorrow; however, the joy and happiness and love that you experience will be so much greater. We all have a purpose in life. Everyone has a story to write. I can’t wait to see who you become, little Adam. What great opportunities and happiness lie ahead for you. My little sweetheart, this is the beginning of your story…

Last night I went into labor. It wasn’t unusual for me to have contractions, but these were a bit stronger and more frequent. Around 6:30am, when Daddy leaned down to kiss me goodbye, I whispered to him, “Honey, I think I’m in labor.” Daddy told me he would meet me at the office. I got up, fixed your brothers some breakfast, took a shower and did some laundry. I also packed my bag, because after all, this just might be the day.

I got to the doctor’s office around 10:30am. It was determined that I was already about 7cm! I said, “Well, I guess I should probably head to the hospital then!” As we drove toward the hospital, my mind was racing. I had anticipated this day for 9 months. Admittedly, I was scared to meet you. I knew of your heart condition, but I didn’t know what to expect at your birth. Would you be sick? Would I get to hold you? Would you look like the baby I had envisioned in my daydreams? We arrived at the hospital around 11am, and Daddy and the nurses made me as comfortable as possible. I progressed quickly and before I knew it, I was wheeled to the O.R. and it was time to push.

DSCN0607

Continue reading