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Count Your Blessings

I remember once meeting someone who – when I asked how they were doing – loudly answered, “Oh I am blessed and HIGHLY favored!”  I thought that was interesting and it made me think.  While I’m not questioning this lady’s heart nor will I go into any kind of theological debate, I will say that some people recognize the blessings in their lives while some say these things with an expectation of some DOPE stuff that God owes them.  Honestly, if God wanted to give us all a huge bag of gold and a Bentley, the promise of Heaven wouldn’t hold much weight, would it?  Anyhow, I digress…back to blessings.  I think sometimes our society as a whole has the idea of “being blessed” altogether wrong.  And I’m included in that number a lot of the time.  We think blessings mean no bills, money in the bank, a 5-star meal, and a nice car.  And yes, those things are blessings.  But what I’ve learned lately is that if you woke up this morning, God’s blessed you.  Simple as that.  So go make the best of it.

Sometimes it’s really easy for us to get caught up in life that we forget to be thankful for those blessings that we have everyday.  A home, food, family, friends, oxygen, health, all fit into those category.  For me this is the best reminder of my blessings:

NolanHeartHat

Look at that kid.  How cute.  The mere FACT that he is here with us is a major blessing.  A major blessing.  This morning I held Nolan on my lap and was making him laugh and it reminded me of those two months where he had a breathing tube in him…he couldn’t cry, he couldn’t laugh…he couldn’t make a sound.  And there were moments where I was honestly scared that I would never see my son again.  But here he is.  BLESSING.

Yes, the bills sometimes seem astronomical and the bank account seems small, yes things break and annoy you at home, yes sometimes you feel so tired from your week that you beat yourself up over not spending enough time with your family…but that doesn’t mean the blessings are gone.  You just need to open your eyes.  Every time that kid smiles, every time that kid laughs, I’m reminded of just how much I am blessed.  I realize not all heart parents are so fortunate.  I can’t imagine how difficult that is.  Sometimes it’s easy to be frustrated that Nolan doesn’t eat by mouth or that he doesn’t walk or crawl yet.  But he’s here.  When you look at it that way, things aren’t so bad.  So I encourage you, take a step back and see your real blessings.  You’ll be blown away.  Sometimes those challenges in your life are put there to change your perspective on blessings.  You don’t have to go claiming them in order for them to just magically appear…they just might already be there and you just aren’t looking.

So This is Christmas?

Christmas is my favorite holiday, by far.  I love the time of year and I love giving gifts.  This Christmas, however, was a bit different.  Yes, the tree was up and we had gifts bought and wrapped, but having Nolan in the hospital during Christmas made things feel just a tad off.  We did get to take Hudson to see Santa at the clubhouse in our neighborhood, and that’s always fun

HudsonChristmas

 

He’s so big and such a good big brother.  The great thing was that he’s at the age where he can start to get into Christmas, so unwrapping gifts with him was a lot of fun.  Even Grant got into the festivities:

GrantChristmas

 

Otherwise, Christmas was a blur.  I can’t remember what we ate, I can barely remember what people got.  It was a complete blur.  Of course the other thing is that we had to make time to go to the hospital to see Nolan.  At this stage he was starting to slowly come out sedation and would open his eyes from time to time.  It was good to see those beautiful eyes, but sometimes they just looked so sad and it broke my heart.  Sometimes his mouth would open like he was trying to cry, but nothing would come out due to the breathing tube in his throat.  As we prepared to head to the hospital, the first thought in my mind was that this Christmas kinda sucks because Nolan was still in the hospital and we couldn’t have him home and be celebrating all together as a family.  On the long drive down, it didn’t help that no one was on the road and nothing was open.  It was Christmas after all.  We got to the hospital and did our normal routine of riding the elevator to the 6th floor and being buzzed in and making our way to Nolan’s room.  When we got there is when my tune changed.  Nolan’s room was facing the front of the hospital, so it had a really big window, and all along the window sill were Christmas gifts from complete strangers.  There was little stuffed animals, a pillow pet from another heart family, some books, and even a stocking of things for us.  I was just completely blown away.  Whoever left these things didn’t know us, but did it out of kindness.  And you know what?  I really needed to see those things there; not because it was free swag, but because it was done out of love.  I started to count my blessings: I had to healthy boys at home, and Nolan was doing better and better in the best hospital around.  I realized that in spite of our troubles, we had it real good.  We had a home, we had food, I had a job.  Thank you God!  It was a great Christmas after all.  And even better, Nolan’s nurse took a picture of Bekah and I with Nolan, which was our first picture together with him:

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Now in a totally non-serious note, I do want to take a second and highlight my fav gift that was in Nolan’s room that day.  A church (I don’t remember which one) brought Nolan this stuffed animal and blanket combo, and if you squeezed it, it would make the sound of the animal.  Nolan’s animal?  A GIRAFFE.  What sound does a giraffe make?  I just had to know, so I squeezed it.  And I was TERRIFIED.  Apparently a giraffe sounds like a combination of of a chimpanzee and a kookaburra both being set on fire.  It was one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen/heard and I couldn’t help but show it to like every nurse and staff member at the CVICU.  That thing was hilariously freaky and I am SO thankful to that church for bringing it lol.