Monday, December 28, 2015

From little things come BIG things.

Have you ever been completely overwhelmed with goodness? Have you ever realized that dreams really do come true? Is it possible that there is still LOTS of good left in the world today?

Three and a half years ago our family embarked on a journey that was uncharted territory. We had no idea what the future would hold. We had prayed for a happy and healthy baby.  We got one of those - Happy. Parson Blue was far from healthy. A rare genetic condition attacked her lungs and she would struggle for each breath until she was 11 months old when a donor completely changed things. 

After 5 long months inpatient at Texas Children's Hospital, at the age of 11 months old, Parson received the best birthday gift ever in the form of new donor lungs. Through our transplant journey, the amazing doctors and nurses at Texas Children's Hospital became family to us. The care we received was not only life saving but heart changing as well. They cared for our child and our whole family in the process. 

We didn't take the journey alone. Our family has been carried along many days by a band of supporters we dubbed "The Parson Blue Crew."  All along our journey thus far, they have given generously of their love and prayers of support. 

Parson has enjoyed an AMAZING two and a half years with her new lungs. She has learned to walk, enjoy books, talk, read books, laugh and enjoy books. The kiddo LOVES books. Because books make our family very happy we wanted to "give back" to Texas Children's Hospital in the form of a children's book drive.  We put out a call for new books...and The Parson Blue Crew went to work. 

In larger than life fashion, our tribe proved that BIG things come from little things. I expected to receive 20-40 books at the local drop off locations throughout the drive that would last from Thanksgiving through mid December. To allow our out-of-town friends and family to participate, we also set up a wish list through The Blue Crew completely blew any expectations I had out of the water. Boxes began to arrive daily. One day we received 34 boxes of books. Then one day we received 407 books in one day. The Blue Crew proved to me, book by book that goodness abounds. 

We've got board books and we've got complete sets of books.  We've got Seuss and we've got trains. We've got Wimpy Kids and Dork Diaries and Hunger Games and Harry Potter. The books came by plane they came by train, folks even brought and dropped them off. They bought for babies and they bought for big kids. They even bought Fox in Socks. They've bought books about sports stars and Minnie Mouse too.  They even bought coloring books, crayons and crafts too. Stacks and stacks of books to share. 

To date we have received over 2700 books and more books are arriving each day. Even the UPS man and postal carrier are proud to be a part of our drive. 

Our little book drive has proven to me that sometimes all you have to do is ASK. Our dream of a book drive to stock the book cart at Texas Children's Hospital has now become a HUGE reality. The Blue Crew reminded me that BIG things can come from little dreams.  One little sick baby brought together many people and because of a dream we made a BIG delivery of books to Texas Children's Hospital. 

In addition to delivering over 2700 books, we also packed extra special care packages including books for children in the PICU. After a very emotional delivery day, we came home to 39 more books on our doorstep. Safe to say...we will be headed back with another special delivery of books very soon. 

Thank YOU Blue Crew! You were insanely generous. From little things come BIG things.  

The Happy Family delivering books. Lots of books.
Jennifer,  Darby (8), Parson (3) and Rodney. 

Parson Blue Crew Book Drive drop off box
Wahooo!  More Books!  
Parson... Before and after transplant. Blessed. 

This kiddo LOVES books. 

This is the little book that started it all. We brought this lift-a-flap book to many therapy sessions to entice Parson to reach, roll over, scoot, stand, and even start walking.  Many of the flaps are gone, but sweet memories remain. 

I'll help you get that one Momma.

This kid knows. Can't you sense the love these two have for one another?  Parson and Dr. George Mallory, TCH Lung Transplant Physician.

Big sister Darby and cousin Victoria, Loading up to deliver books. 

A very warm welcome from our TCH lung transplant family. They helped us unpack and deliver smiles/books.

Melissa Nugent and Jennifer Maddox - two of our TCH family members. 

#texaschildrens #donatelife
Special care packages for kiddo's who would spend Christmas in the PICU

BELIEVE. This word became very special to us during our time at TCH.

More of our special TCH family that welcomed us when we made our care package deliveries to the PICU.

Friday, October 2, 2015

What's your 10-2?

10-2 will probably never be the same for me. I guess I should say... THANKFULLY 10-2 will never be the same for me. It's the day that I got the worst case of whiplash I have ever had. That was D day -  Diagnosis Day for Parson. The day when the doc said that really long phrase as they wheeled her out for her first surgery.  Whew. My neck gets sore all over again when I recall the events of that day. 

But you know what? Three years further down the road from d-day, I am a MUCH better person. I know what matters. I no longer sweat the small stuff. I cherish moments and people, not things. I am assertive. And I have developed some mad negotiation skills. 

One of those really dark nights when Parson was very sick, I prayed in desperation for God to save her. I looked up on the bookshelf and "Plan B" by Pete Wilson jumped out at me. In this book, he leads the reader to discover that "Plan B situations force us to rely on a power beyond ourselves."  The book helped me reframe my situation in the shadow of the cross and navigate the greatest storm I had ever faced.   

It is kind of a cool kwinky-dink that the CB lingo for 10-2 means "Receiving Well".  It is reaffirming to the symbolism of what 10-2 has been in my life. Some days I actually want to scream to the heavens "I'M RECEIVING IT WELL. My cup runneth over Good Buddy." On the tough days I want to scream "UNCLE! You have got me on overload. You can stop sending me 10-2  messages at any point."

Not gonna lie, some days are just tough.  The day when one of the 11 Meds squirts out of the extension tubing all over your work clothes. The day when you haggle with insurance over coverage of IV needles. The day when you wake up and learn one of the lung transplant buddies you have made along the way got his angel wings last night. The day when the home health report list your kids prognosis as "fair".  Those kind of days are just tough. 

And even though the 10-2's define us, it is the 10-3's and 10-4's that are the difference makers. Someone once said "Adversity introduces a man to himself." Ain't that the truth?!? How you play the hand you have been dealt is really where the rubber meets the road. I heard a quote that sums up the 10-2 kind of days. "When you trust God with your greatest fears, you discover your greatest joys."

So what's your 10-2? When is the defining moment where God really got to your heart? 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Underdog

So I have always loved an underdog. I absolutely love it when somebody sneaks up from behind and wins. The guy that  proves 'em all wrong and shakes things up. The bracket buster. The runt. The long shot. Even though I really don't care much for bumper stickers, I secretly love it when the car in front of me proudly boasts a sticker that reads  "My kid beat up your honor student". I have always been a sucker to fall in love with that kinda kid.

I always get a little sick to my stomach when report cards come out and my FB newsfeed is littered with pics of the most recent school awards that Sister So&So's kid have won. The All A honor roll, good citizenship, perfect attendance and highest AR point total. You know what I am talking about - the kid can't even hold all the certificates. 

Don't get me wrong, I am so proud for you and your kid - but I love the underdog. "And the underdog Award for the 2nd Six Weeks goes to ...." 
 I am thinking there should be a certificate for making it to school on time and fully clothed for a whole week.  Maybe one for surviving sight word hell and living to tell about it. An award for understanding and applying the "new" math concepts. Both students and/or parents could be eligible to receive the aforementioned awards. Can I get an amen? 

I love the kid that struggles with their sight words. The one who has his color changed at least once a week. The fella who can't keep his hands to himself. The one who makes you laugh outloud when all of your adult super powers tell you not to laugh outloud. The Kid who is saying what the rest of us are thinking.  The ones who cheat death. These ones just go straight to my heart. 

This week we are celebrating a HUGE upset, a come from behind victory that snuck up on everybody - a David with his slingshot episode -- I'm talkin' about the UNDERDOG baby!

Dyslexia can't hold this kid back. ADHD can't slow her down (pun fully intended).  Darby Clark Herrington is here to charm you with her superpowers. She competed in UIL oral reading and placed 4th in the competition. And her school took home the 2nd place trophy. Boom baby! Take that dyslexia. Booyah! She just sucker punched that ADHD in the gut.  My kid did it!  As MC Hammer would say --"Sound tha bell cuz school is in session. U CAN'T TOUCH THIS!!"  

Actually - I could not be more proud of Darbs. In all seriousness, this is the kid who was a struggling reader - (remember, the aforementioned sight word hell). Through her UIL experience, she conquered some fears and came away with some amazing memory capital. Heck - we all did. The whole family is celebrating. She took this UIL challenge and owned it like a BOSS!  

By the way, Darby also had all A's for her first semester averages. (I'm talking about an epic celebration that lasted a week - Ice cream. Skating. Slushees. Trips to the Blue Store. Play dates. Happy meals. Sonic Happy Hour. Dance party.  Oh yeah!)


And the wee little, happy underdog isn't  taking no for an answer either. She is rocking her new lungs every stinking day! Boom. So take THAT filamin A genetic mutation. And BOOYAH take THAT "failure to thrive".   Even though we had two hospital stays to start 2015, she isn't gonna let a little cryptosporidium/RSV/rotovirus keep her down long. This kiddo got some new lungs and she is ready to roll. 

On this date two years ago, we left in a hurry to rush her to the ER. She laid limp in my arms, fighting for every single breath that her terrible, crummy lungs could muster. Feburary 4th sticks out in my mind as one of the worst nights of my life. I wasn't really sure she was gonna make it. I pleaded for her next breath. Mercy. I get so emotional reliving Feb 4th. It was a real low point. But thank you Jesus, the story didn't end there.  This little genetic mutation is a walking, talking miracle.  

In all honesty, God knew I loved the underdog. I am certain that is why he gave me two of them. I wouldn't trade them for any old stupid paper award certificate on this earth. I'm sorry that some of you Momma's got plain vanilla kiddos. I like mine with a little less class and a little more sass! These two curly headed tornadoes are David's in a great big Goliath world.  David's show us that life does not have to be perfect to be wonderful. You know the ones who "gut it up" and take on Plan B one day at a time. 

To be honest, we have navigated some really rough days in our little family. Circumstances have often led me to say "Why Me?" a lot over the past two years. I mean, I didn't sign up to be a doctor/nurse/pharmacist - I just wanted to be a Momma. But doggone it, these two precious underdogs have given me  hope for days like February 4th.   I CAN do a lot of things I never dreamed I could.  My girls have taught me that some days you just have to put on your armor, pick up your slingshot and give it your best shot. 

After a really rough start to 2015, I remarked that I was glad to see January in my rear view mirror. I wasn't real impressed with what she had to offer so far, but reminiscing back to just two years ago really put things into perspective.  Take heart my friend, you may be down, but you are not out. You may be having a February 4th kind of day. Work may be awful. The stomach virus may be getting the best of your family. The flu may have knocked you off of your feet. Your world may have been rocked by sadness. You may carry a load of guilt ... and Goliath might be staring you down. But I can promise you - the same God of David delights in the underdogs. Another promise, the diahrrea will not last forever. All you gotta do is pick up a rock and give it a shot. My God is mighty to save. 

Underdogs unite! 

The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. - Zephaniah 3:17 

My proud UIL winner. 

My beautiful mutation. 

My God is MIGHTY to save.