Good New Year to all of you! I hope you had a very Merry Christmas and your 2014 is starting off to a great start! So are you a person who does New Year Resolutions? If you are what kind of resolutions do you make? Do you usually keep them? Is it a bummer at the end of the year when you did not accomplish the New Year Resolution or do you celebrate because you achieve the goals you set before you for the year? I get curious about how others set their New Year Resolutions; or if they just embrace the new year for what it is.
I have had a lot of time to reflect lately. I have time to just take in God's Word and to meditate on what our journey all has been. I have been sitting back and watching Lydia accomplish many many goals that we never thought were possible. While I am still holding my breathe as I know at any moment a virus like RSV or Influenza A could be very hard on her, I have to say that I just appreciate our journey so much more, praise God that He has allowed our family to stay so healthy, and let loose a little bit as I see her being stronger and more resilient. While I still don't want to let my guard down completely, it is almost as I can see a light at the end of the tunnel (at least a light for this part of the journey!).
Last year I had a crazy idea, a dream. I have prayed and pondered on it. I have given it much thought. It is NOT going away. I am not sure what God wants me to do with it yet, even if anything. But it is right there on the top of my head at all times. As I finally decided to sit down and share my crazy thoughts with my husband; I felt an urge to share my dream publicly.
I have to say that this is hard for me because I feel like it is nothing but a silly little dream. However, one of my "resolutions" is to be in the Word more (I really have struggled with that) and to just sit quietly and listen to God. This crazy dream is not going away. These crazy thoughts are consuming me. So as I prayed through the store today, I just felt like today is a good day to share with you my dream...it can't hurt!
I am going to tell you the background pieces first that lead me to my silly dream and then pull it all together at the end.
When we were in the hospital and it was after Lydia's first surgery. She was VERY sick after that surgery and it was a ROUGH recovery. It had been over a week since I had the privilege to hold my child. I missed her. I never thought that it was possible for your arms to ache so bad for your child; but they can and mine did. I had received a gift from one of my sister's friends. I had never met this lady, but she has made a HUGE impact on me from her gift. She gave Ellen and Allison books (they are their favorite books) and she put a scarf in there for me. I have NEVER worn a scarf before. If you know me, you know that my style is pretty simple. She wrote a note and it went something to the tune of sometimes you just have to dress up in the hospital and look nice; it can change your entire outlook.
Well, that day, as my arms ached for my daughter, I put that scarf on. My posture was a bit better, a smile appeared on my face, and I felt like I could once again fight this fight. The nurses and doctors even complimented me on my appearance (it was a change from the lounge clothes I had been wearing). That day, I was able to hold my daughter. The nurse told me to go to the bathroom. As I was in the bathroom her and the RT were gathering cords and wires so I could hold my daughter. This picture is the same picture that I use for my blog. I will always remember that scarf and the gesture from this lady. While I have since had the pleasure of meeting her, I have never been able to tell her the profound impact that the scarf made on my life.
The second part is what we did for Christmas this year. I feel that each year we are just searching for gifts to give to the girls because it is Christmas. When you spend a Holiday or more in the hospital there is a different perspective that you have. There are so many people who "give up" their Holiday to serve others, to make it the best Holiday for their patients. There are many patients who never get to get out of that hospital. And I think when you are in that situation you really understand that no amount of gifts will EVER replace what it is that you are going through. However, memories are critical to the situation that you are enduring and the future.
This year we did not give our girls presents on Christmas (they were given a couple Christmas Eve but really not much). We spent the majority of the day making hand scrubs and foot soaks and body scrubs. We had the best time doing it. No one complained about what they did or did not get, no one fought, everyone had a blast. We shared stories and talked about our dreams and just had a wonderful time. When we were done we took them to the hospital and gave them to the nurses and staff that were working on Christmas day. We have a lot of great stories to tell, and the girls have memories that will last a lifetime. They were SO excited to give the gifts. It was one of the most amazing things that I was part of and it is because Lydia had to spend several Holidays in the hospital.
The other thing we did for Christmas this year was make a lot of gifts. I, myself, and not a crafty person; but thanks to Pintrest I feel like I am very crafty. We painted canvases with the girls feet and it spelled love, we made family trees using finger prints, we made salt dough ornaments decorated with the girl's hand prints on there, and we (Lydia and myself) learned to make scarves! We made calendars and made our own wrapping paper. We had a good time and we created many memories. It does take a lot of time, but I would not trade the memories of this Christmas for anything.
I guess this brings me to my silly crazy idea. After a lot of reflecting and dreaming I thought of creating a foundation in which a family, who is the hospital, at the Ronald McDonald House, could have a basket to make memories. Especially around a Holiday, but really anytime. I remember a little girl that lived next to us in a room at the hospital for only three days, her parents never got to take her home. But every child needs to have memories. So the baskets would be full of canvases and paint to make hand prints and special paintings to be hung in homes. All of the ideas and everything that is needed would be in there. There could be baskets of supplies to make presents for nurses and doctors, there could be baskets to make gifts for grandparents or aunts and uncles that may be unable to visit a special patient. The baskets would be able to create memories for the families to have for a lifetime with a tangible item to remember it by. There could be party baskets to make memories for people celebrating anniversaries, birthdays. I hope you get the idea....a basket to make a memory by doing a special project with the ones they love and have a piece of artwork or a finish project to remember the memory by.
And each mom would receive a scarf. Every mom that has to endure having their child in the hospital needs to look and feel good. While I understand it is not the scarf itself that changed me, it has given me a lasting memory. It is something fun, an item that may not be bought by the mom. But it is important for me to continue giving this gift as I hope it would make many other moms feel as special as I did when I put that scarf on.
My mind goes on and on and on. We could spread the Gospel tract in these baskets and we could spread awareness about Down Syndrome. We could sell these baskets to other people who are maybe working moms who don't have the time to make these important lasting memories. Or maybe there are people like me, who lack creativity, and would like to have their home decorated with memories. We could use our barn at some point and have it the distribution center for these baskets and we could employ people with Down Syndrome to help compile these baskets. The ideas in my head keep going and going. I am not sure where this idea will go, but I needed to share it with someone!
So in 2014 I am going to be bold and share my wild crazy dreams. Maybe nothing will come out of this, maybe it will. I have no idea how to go about it, no money to start it, but everything starts with a dream. I know if this is God's Will; it will happen. It is time for me to step out of my comfort zone and start doing more! I am so excited for 2014 and what God has in store for me, for Ellen, for Allison, for Lydia, for my husband, for our family, for my marriage, for my relationship with God. I know being connected to Him, amazing things will happen...I have a great reminder of that...Lydia. He has brought her so far and I am ready to watch her continue to spread her wings and fly.
Lea's Blessings is what I would call the foundation, non-profit, or whatever it may be! Lea's is made of up: Lydia, Ellen, Allison Spoor. Blessings because we have been SO blessed!
Thanks for reading my crazy dream. I hope this maybe inspired someone else to dream and share their crazy dreams!!!