Tuesday, January 20, 2009

This is a bit complicated, but that’s what makes it so neat :)

I never much enjoyed running. And I’ve always found it uncomfortable meeting new people. I was completely content to take a class at the Y and then drink my coffee until my Child Development time was done. So, the fact that I ever joined the run club is, in itself, a glimpse of God at work.

I have no idea what made me decide to take such a risk and run that first day. But, I really hit it off with the girls and to this day, every single one of them has enriched my life and has inspired me over and over. I quickly became known as the ‘talker’ of the group and was the one that people ran with if they forgot their music. It wasn’t long before they all knew Rhyan’s story. Within a month or so, we were all out on a beautiful spring day when one of our “Fierce Friends”, Stephanie, mentioned that she had a friend, Chris, who had a friend, Debbie, with a hearing impaired daughter.

After Rhyan’s diagnosis 6 years ago, I became a recluse. Whether it was denial or self-pity, I didn’t want to hear other children talking and meeting milestones that we didn’t think Rhyan would ever meet. It took a long time before I put myself out there to develop friendships. It’s my desire that no other Mommy out there ever feels that way. So, when Stephanie told me about Debbie, I said immediately that I wanted to meet her. Debbie and I met the following Monday with our girls, and Debbie told me that she wanted to help in our mission with Rhyan’s Hope. Like every other Mommy of a HI child, our bond of friendship was instantaneous and I was thrilled to have her support. The support, however, was beyond anything I could have imagined.

It didn’t take long before I realized that I wanted Debbie to be on Rhyan’s Hope Board of Directors. Her energy and motivation was exactly what I needed to keep moving forward. One afternoon this past fall, Debbie called me and said, “Are you sitting down?” A dear friend and client of hers wanted to donate the remaining funds for Jillian’s implant. And you know the rest of the story. :)

There are no coincidences and fate is a farce. God directs our paths and places people in our lives to bring us to the place He wills. This life we live is about relationship. First will always be our relationship with our Father, but second is our relationship with each other. We’re here to love, to lean on each other, to lift each other up. We’re here to inspire and to be inspired. Relationships, whatever they may be, are a risk. But, they are a risk that will always be worth it. No matter what, we can gain wisdom and knowledge from every person that leaves an imprint on our hearts.

Tonight, I’m meeting with Stephanie’s friend, Chris for the first time. What I didn’t know last year when I first heard her name is that Chris is an event planner. And after nearly a year, even though we’ve never met, she has a desire to help us plan our first annual Rhyan’s Hope 5k. How grateful I am that I believe in something bigger than Coincidence.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Purpose. With the brokenness and sin in my past, I searched for my purpose for so long, never believing I would find it. Never thinking I deserved it.

It’s taken a long time to see that God didn’t show me the way in spite of the pain and heartache of past circumstances. He used the pain and the heartache of past circumstances to show me the way. Whether the pain was caused by others, by my own foolishness - or by a diagnosis of which we had no control - they were the same tears that paved the way to the beginning of my greatest passion. They were the tears that made me strong enough to be grateful for the doors my Protector closed and brave enough to walk through the ones He opened.

And here we are. Yesterday I watched the miracle of God's purpose for my life unfold. Jillian emerged triumphant, wearing her new ear, a walking example of God’s grace. She cried when the auditory nerve was stimulated for the first time, but within minutes she was responding to her name, listening for her mommy’s voice. She showed off her new walking skills and possessed the same uncanny ability as Rhy to make everyone around her smile. And so her story carries on.

We all have an amazing story penned by the Greatest Story Teller of all times. And written within those pages is the purpose He created us for. Sometimes we skim past His words in the hurriedness of life. Other times they’re written in bold, but we’re too afraid to see them. But for all of us, God loves us so much that He didn’t just put us on this Earth to exist and trudge through life only to die. He made us to have a passion and live it out to help others find theirs.

If you’ve questioned your purpose in life, if you’ve decided you don’t deserve to have a passion to help others, look at the chapters of your past through the eyes of your Father. All of our stories are intertwined with the stories of the lives that brush against ours. Those tear-stained pages might just be the ones that change the ending of someone else's script for an eternity.

Happy writing, Loved Ones,


Thursday, January 15, 2009

There simply too much to say, and being sleep-deprived and sick, I just can't get my brain to work.

In a nutshell, today was perfect. Jillian is a walking, hearing, precious little miracle and I promise to give details tomorrow.

Lots of love,


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

We leave tomorrow morning for St. Pete to witness Jillian hearing for the first time with her left ear.

This is it. This is what we've all prayed for all these months. This is the completion of the miracle God always knew would be. I hope you all have a wonderful day tomorrow, knowing the part you played in His plan.

I'll give an update as soon as I can.
Lots of love,

This is a link to a site that explains the surgery and activation http://www.mayoclinic.org/cochlear-implants/procedure.html


Friday, January 09, 2009

Why do I wait so long to write??? Well, much has happened! Aside from Thanksgiving, Christmas, Evynn's birthday, New Years, and Evynn's birthday party -- little Jillian received her cochlear implant.

I spoke to Andrea yesterday and Jillian’s recovery has been more than wonderful. It has been miraculous…

At 27 months, Jillian was still not walking. After countless tests, the therapists and specialists had no answers. During the surgery, Dr. Orobello wasn’t able to perform the surgery as he normally would due to scar tissue and bones. It was the most frightening part of the surgery and the time when we were praying the hardest. The bones and the scar tissue were removed during the surgery in order to thread the electrodes through the cochlea. The day after the surgery, Jillian walked for the first time and Andrea said, ‘She hasn’t stopped yet.’ Jillian’s therapist believes that the scar tissue and/or bones were causing balance issues that were resolved during the surgery.

Over and over again, I put God into this box. I think, ‘He can do this’ or ‘He can do that’, but my imagination stops there. I’m filled with gratitude that He loves me enough to humble me by showing me His greatness.

Next Thursday, Jillian will hear for the first time in her left ear. And we’ll be privileged to witness her walk. How grateful I am to have a God that continues to bust out of the ridiculously small box I continue to create. I'm so excited to detail the events of Jillian's activation for you. Even if it's difficult, it will be worth it - for so many reasons.

In the dark hours of this morning, I suddenly realized that we don’t have our ‘first candidate’ anymore. We have our ‘first recipient’. Recipient. What a beautiful word.

With so much love!!!

(Attached is the link to the ABC broadcast regarding Jillian and her secret Santa. While we will be forever grateful to the family that provided the overwhelming amount of funds needed to make Jillian's surgery possible, your prayers and donations were what got us started and gave us the courage and confidence to continue. You are all such a beautiful part of this.) http://www.abcactionnews.com/content/taking_action_for_you/story/Secret-Santa-brings-gift-of-hearing/-F9V3lp950isAUdZtwuK0g.cspx