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A Perfectly Imperfect Christmas

Photo of my 3 kids in front of a Christmas tree when they were little

Our favorite ornament on the tree was received by my husband 16 years ago. A round red globe holds a small framed photo of our children. When you press a button, 3 little voices ring out in an offbeat chorus, “I love my Daddy! I love my Daddy! I love my Daddy! Merry Christmas!!” The kids and I laugh every year about struggling to get them to say that in sync. I finally gave up and ‘settled’ for having it in a round. The imperfection and shared memories are what makes the ornament a treasured memento.

When life doesn’t go as planned, lean in and laugh. That’s where the magic hides.

This year, on Christmas Day all but one of our family of five will board a plane to San Antonio to celebrate the holiday with our sweet red-headed Alex. He has been at Air Force Basic Military Training (BMT) since October 30th. I have missed him so much!! 

Unfortunately, this Christmas our family is dealing with more injuries and disappointment. This time it’s not me; it’s Alex. Both my husband and I have had a hard time focusing on Christmas or much of anything else because our hearts are already with him in San Antonio. I know God won’t give us more than we can handle, but geez I wish he’d stop trusting our resilience so much! Read more

The Extraordinary Impact of Gratitude

This time of year, most Americans focus on thankfulness. (Canadians were thankful last month.) Social media abounds with posts touting gratitude, service, and reconciliation. Let’s all come together!

And then January happens…..

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Expect Delayes (yep)

I was certain my brother would be my kidney donor. Even though we didn’t yet have a surgery date we assumed it would move forward. He tested as a good match; it was just up to the surgeons to review. We cleared our calendars and prepared for hospitalization. I told at least a couple of dozen people that I would likely get a kidney transplant in August. I turned down work opportunities.

And then, my brother uncharacteristically showed up at my house in the middle of his workday. I just knew. We went to Jamba Juice and everything seemed happy until we were sitting on my deck in the sunshine and he said he had bad news. After months of tests and jumping through hoops the surgeon called Matt yesterday to say they aren’t comfortable with the level of risk associated with putting his kidney in my body. We’re unclear why. The problem could be my damaged anatomy or the complications of his multiple renal arteries – both of which we had been forewarned about. Mostly likely it’s a combination. We’re waiting for more information.

Meanwhile I’m trying to get my head around this disappointment. Before meeting up with my brother I was at a Toastmasters meeting sharing my ‘Living 5 Rules’. I assumed I would miss next week’s meeting because I would get a call saying we were moving forward with the transplant. I already knew that an Operating Room was available. On the way home road construction blocked my usual route. A large warning sign blinked – “EXPECT DELAYES” spelled just like that. I laughed while thinking, “Apparently there was a delay in 5th grade English!” All together I felt very smart.

I came home to learn that I should expect delays. Life is like that. We think we have all the answers. We’ve worked out the plan in our heads and scoff at the warning signs. We are so smart. But that doesn’t change the need to be flexible and EXPECT DELAYES – while keeping a sense of humor.