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My “Perfect” Blog {Giveaway}

My “Perfect” Blog {Giveaway}

Ok… so here is the deal.

I signed up to write a blog. Just a simple blog, right?

A blog reflecting my reading of The Cure for the “Perfect” Life: 12 Ways to Stop Trying Harder and Start Living Braver by Kathi Lipp and Cheri Gregory.

It’s now Sunday night. The blog is “due” on Monday morning.

It’s not that I intended to procrastinate, but…well… that’s just what happens.

Always.

And now, the night before, I am stuck struggling to write the “perfect” blog, with the “perfect” opening lines, stories, analogies, and thought provoking words to capture you as my reader.

So…here I am… reading a book to help me overcome my struggles with people-pleasing, perfectionism, performancism, and procrastination, and I am STUCK.

Stuck.

In my attempts to write the perfect blog and please all readers and audiences–because, of course, my value and self-worth is determined by how many likes, comments, and re-posts my blog will receive (it’s not life changing unless it goes viral, right?)–I have allowed the fear of failure to prevent me from writing until the very last minute. Once again. “Perfectionistic Paralysis” and procrastination at its finest.

For years now I have convinced myself that excellence, organization, order, and cleanliness were next to godliness.

“True excellence is simply doing our very best–perfectionism demands a flawless performance at all times.”

I need to be flawless, right?

The Proverbs 31 woman, right? Perfect, right?

Wrong.

“Perfectionism isn’t Christian. It’s just crazy.”

This “craziness” has actually led to craziness. With the birth of three children, full-time work and school, hubby in school full-time, and the feeble attempts to minister and disciple, I lost complete control.

Dishes and laundry piled. Panic attack.

Submission of sub-par school work. Panic attack.

Grocery shopping with the children. Panic attack. (Ok, that one doesn’t really count. Doesn’t everyone have a panic attack while grocery shopping with children?). But, you get the point.

As a student of psychology, I quickly scanned the diagnostic manuals of mental disorders for my official diagnosis. Note to self: Never diagnose your self.

Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder.

Or, was it Generalized Anxiety Disorder?

Or, was it a social phobia?

Or, was it a mood disorder?

The label had to be perfect, right? Just like everything else.

“A perfectionist is not someone who is perfect; it is someone who is miserable, because they can’t get it right.”

Now, please don’t hear me for what I am not saying. I am not challenging or undermining the valid diagnoses of those struggling with real mental illness. Some people have real mental health concerns and should treat them with all seriousness.

But some people… some people like me… need to stop the madness, stop the diagnosis, stop the labeling (my sweet husband has been telling me this for years), and just start living.

Living braver!

“We have to rebel. We have to make choices that are countercultural to our society, our families of origin, and even our churches.”

So, what exactly does this #braverliving look like? And is it even possible? Can I actually rebel?

In their upcoming book, soon to be released, Kathi Lipp and Cheri Gregory have given me some hope, and through #tinyactsofrebellion I can finally stop trying so hard and finally start living braver.

Tiny acts.

I’m learning to take small steps and rejoice in the tiny acts of rebellion that are freeing me from the bullies of people-pleasing, perfectionism, performancism, and procrastination.

Tiny acts.

Taking joy in the accomplishment of a task, recognizing that the work of my hands brings glory to the Lord–an audience of one–regardless of comments (or no comments) from others around me.

Tiny acts.

Confronting a co-worker who has continually offended me, and establishing boundaries for future interaction.

Tiny acts.

Repeating the mantra, “I am not a bad mother,” even if the dishes are piled high and we are eating grilled cheese sandwiches for the third time this week.

Tiny acts.

Accepting that failure is just a part of progress and growth, so releasing the fear and taking the risk to write more.

Tiny acts.

Publishing a blog that is far from perfect, but honest and real.

“Authenticity is what it takes to battle the bullies.”

Tiny acts.

With each act, each day, and each new chapter in life (and in this book :-) ), I am trading my try harder living, rejecting the fear within, embracing the love from above, and living the life of courage and bravery that God has called me to live.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and DO NOT BE AFRAID.” John 14:27


 

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{Giveaway} Win a copy of The Cure for the “Perfect” Life: 12 Ways to Stop Tryin Harder and Start Living Braver by Kathi Lipp and Cheri Gregory. Share in the comments with us today and one commenter will be selected to win a free copy!

  1. How are you trying hard to have the perfect life?
  2. What do you think is your biggest struggle–people-pleasing, perfectionism, performancism, or procrastination? Why? How does it show?
  3. How do you think this book will help you?

{Read Chapter 1} You can get a taste of this fabulous book by downloading and reading chapter 1 Here.

{Buy the Book} Get your own copy of this amazing book, set to release on August 4th. Pre-order a copy of the book Here.

Can’t wait to hear from you, and have you join me on this #braverliving rebellion.

Mary :-)

Praise God for the Good

Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise him all creatures here below;
Praise him above ye heavenly hosts;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.

Sometimes I get grumpy. Just straight grumpy, full of negativity, and with nothing but complaints on my lips. Grumpy, and in a funk. My house is a mess. I hate my job. My kids don’t listen to me. My husband and I lack consistency in our communication and date nights are almost non-existent. We have no direction as a family. Most of my girlfriends live too far away, and wah-wah-wah, I can’t afford to join my sweet sisters at the She Speaks conference going on right now or the Online Bible Study Retreat in the fall. Again…wah-wah-wah.

And then I just feel dumb. First world problems, you know? In my selfishness and ethnocentric view of life I tend to forget a hurting world–slavery, abductions, wars, devastation, hunger, and lost-lost souls.

And yet, I am reminded of my sisters in Lira, Uganda, praising the Lord even in the midst of hardship. Real hardship.

Praise.

Praising God for the good.

How do we capture the love our souls were designed for and let it change us for good?  We start by recognizing that all that is good in our life comes from God and praising Him for that. It’s so easy to get distracted by what is wrong in our life and and take for granted all that is good. – Lysa TerKeurst, Am I Messing Up My Kids?

I don’t want to be distracted any more. I don’t want to take for granted all that is good. I want to praise.

Yes Lord, I enter this day into a time of praise. Praise in the midst of directionless depression and uncertainties. Praise. It roots me once again in the truth of who you are—your grace, love, and mercies overflowing even to those of us unworthy and unfaithful. You are faithful when we are faithless. You are joy when we are joyless. You bring peace when we find only turmoil. You alone lift us up and plant our feet on solid ground. Praise. It roots me.

And so I praise you Lord…

I praise you for cups of coffee, pens and journals, photographs, roses and daisies, soft candles, strawberry milkshakes, and warm lavender baths.

I praise you for my home, in all of its unique personality, broken hinges, and peeling paint—it is home, a place of warmth and comfort, and it brings joy to my heart to be here.

I praise you for a steady job and reliable income. A job that not only pays the bills but allows me the opportunity to continually minister to young adults seeking truth and answers.

I praise you for sweet friendships from long-time girlfriends and my precious Proverbs 31 Online Bible Study community.

I praise you for the three beautiful little girls who teach me each day about patience, listening, love, laughter, reading good books, being silly, and asking big questions.

I praise you for the amazing man that you have provided in my life—my protector, my encourager, my lover, my best friend.

I praise you for the freedom to worship you with our local gathering of believers, united in brotherly love and with a passion to know you more.

I praise you for the strength, courage, wisdom, insight, direction, and peace that comes from you alone.

I praise you for all that is good.

Amen.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise him all creatures here below;
Praise him above ye heavenly hosts;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.

Relax, Refill, and Refocus

When I became pregnant with Sadie Rose, our first child, I started writing a journal, filled with photos of ultrasounds, notes from doctor visits, clippings from articles, and prayers for my soon-coming baby girl. I continued this journal through the first few years of her life, intending to give her this precious gift of prayers, thoughts, and wonderment when she turned 18 years old.

When I became pregnant with Dani, our second child, I knew that I had to continue this gift idea. And so, another journal began. I did well in the beginning, capturing notes and thoughts from the visits to the doctor, and recording the names of the nurses who helped deliver Dani on that special day. However, three years later, I still have not written her birth story and many milestones have gone unrecorded in her journal.

Now, our third child, Kaycee has just turned 1-year-old. And what does her journal look like? Well…I missed most of the doctor visits, and I haven’t written in her journal since she was three months old. So…there’s that.

Just another project unfinished. Another failure as a mother. And each time I look at these journals sitting on my desk, I am reminded of how far behind I am in writing, how I will never catch up, and how I should just give up now. I rationalize to myself, “I just don’t have the time. I’m too exhausted. Besides, they would rather have a home cooked meal than a stupid journal, right? When they finally turn 18, they probably won’t like these gift-journals anyways.”

But today… Today was different. Today, my husband called me home from work and ask me to care for the girls since he was feeling sick. When I arrived home he encouraged me to just spend time with them–don’t work, just relax and enjoy your time with them.

Relax?

Really?

So, with “Princess Music” playing in the background (Thank You Disney Channel on Pandora), the girls and I sat at the dining room table to paint.

For two hours they painted… and me… well, in this relaxing moment I grabbed Kaycee’s journal and began to write! I cut, I glued, I stickered, and I wrote precious memories.

Now, in this late afternoon, as all three nap, I breath in the day, the relaxation, and embrace the refill from the Lord and His sweet treats. A glass of almond milk. A Cadburry Crunchie bar. And a good book (wink wink Lysa TerKeurst) and my Bible. This is just what I needed.

We all fall short and must rely on God. Becoming frustrated and mad will completely drain us and make us feel defeated. Turning our circumstances over to God will right our heart, change the way we look at the situation, and help us recognize glimpses of God in the midst of our broken efforts.
– Lysa TerKeurst, Am I Messing Up My Kids?

The fact of the matter is, I am not a failure as a mother. Sure, I have dishes piling in the sink, laundry left unfolded, dust collecting on the dressers and bookshelves, and Lord know’s my kitchen floor needs a major mopping. And, let’s not forget that I am months and years behind in my journalling and scrapbooking for my children.

But, I am not a failure.

I just need a little refill every so often.

And my refill comes from Christ alone.

The best kind of refreshment is found when we go to the Lord and ask Him to fill us.
– Lysa TerKeurst, Am I Messing Up My Kids?

And so, in this day of relaxation–thank you hubby!–I can be refilled by the sweetness of the Lord, and refocus my attention not on the unfinished tasks or failed projects, but rather on the blessed gifts of my children, my home, a comfy rocking chair, a simple candy bar, a pen and my journal and all that I too often take for granted. Amen. Amen.

Taste and see that the Lord is good. Psalm 34:8

Being A Mom is Tough

We all live in a place of utter dependence on God. As a mom, I live in constant need of His love, encouragement, wisdom, perspective, strength, patience, and grace. – Lysa TerKeurst, Am I Messing Up My Kids?

My dear Sadie Rose, 5-years-old and quickly turning 18, has a flare for the dramatic and a quickly growing vocabulary. While leaving school one day this past spring, she realized in a panic that she had forgotten her favorite blanket in her classroom, and exclaimed, “Oh Crap!”

In complete and total shock, I replied, “Sadie Rose! You can’t say that! Where did you learn to say that?”

She had the perfect answer, “From you.”

Of course. Of course that’s the answer, my little foul-mouthed pre-kindergartner.

I responded, “Just get in the car.”

My children are like sponges. They will say what I say. Sometimes I am blessed when they repeat love and encouraging words, but more often than not, I am mortified when they repeat my failures.

Yes, my failures. These little girls have a way about them, naturally reminding me of my failures on a regular basis.

Sadie Rose is dramatic, expressive, and too-smart for her own good. Dani is an introvert, a bully when life is interrupted, and continually wets the bed because she is too scared of the bathroom. And Kaycee, well Kaycee almost died from choking on a bottle cap 5 months ago and now enjoys giving her mother panic attacks by finding the smallest items in every corner of every room  and shoving them into her mouth.

And I am to blame. Right?

Wrong.

Being a mom is tough. Plain and simple.

Sometimes I have actually thought to myself, “I want to throw the tantrum on the grocery store floor! Surely that has to be cathartic in some way! Would anybody think it odd if I just threw myself on the floor right here in the frozen food aisle and screamed it all out?”

Well, I may not have the freedom (or the bravery) to scream it out in the grocery store, but praise the Lord, I have the listening ear of an amazing God who gives love, encouragement, wisdom, perspective, strength, patience and grace. Amen. Amen.

Yes, being a mom is tough. But being a perfect mom is impossible. I will fail. I will make mistakes. And my children will repeat words I would rather them not even hear.  And so, I must rely completely on the Lord. He alone will see me through the storms of tantrums, bed wetting, choking hazards, and yes, even a cuss word or two.

With God, I’m never a bad mom. I might be having a bad moment…or two…or seventeen, but a few bad moments do not define me as a bad mom. God’s grace is there to cover me. Teach me. And even in the middle of a bad moment, interrupt me, redirect me, and change me. Forgiveness is there. Love is there. A second chance is there. – Lysa TerKeurst, Am I Messing Up My Kids?

I am not doomed to be a failure as a mother. Instead, I live in the freedom of knowing that  God’s grace, love, and forgiveness cover a multitude of my mommy mistakes.

My Flesh and My Heart Fail

MY flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. PSALM 73:26

It has been almost four months since Kaycee choked on the bottle cap and was rescued by Officer Ramos. Just a few weeks ago, she turned 1 year old, running around and babbling at her birthday as a true miraculous testimony of God’s provision and strength.

Yes, HIS strength.

Without a doubt we experienced the strength of The Lord that day and in the healing weeks that followed.

But now, after more time has passed, I tend to forget. I tend to forget his healing and miraculous hand in our lives. I tend to forget his amazing provision in our times of need and desperation. I tend to forget his faithfulness.

This past week, all four of my family members have been sick. We returned from our 4th of July holiday with everyone healthy, but just a few short hours later, both girls had fevers and were putting themselves in bed.

The next few days were a whirlwind of sick–fevers, sore throats, vomiting. You know, all the fun stuff. It was all I could do to keep the house clean and my sanity intact.

But then, my husband got sick. And I don’t do well with my husband sick.

Sure, I can give him tylenol and water, make him soup, force him to lay down and get some rest, but… well, he is my other half and without him, I just don’t work very well.

As I laid in bed late Saturday night, the girls asleep, the house a mess, and piles of dishes and laundry engulfing me, I couldn’t help but cry. My heart cried out to God in weakness as I laid next to my husband, him shaking and soaked with sweat from the fever, that I couldn’t fix.

“I CAN’T DO THIS!”

A quiet response.

“You’re right. You can’t. But I can. I always do. And I always will.”

Peace warmed my body as I surrendered to him and was reminded of the very verse that he had given me in one of my darkest times, just days after Kaycee choked.

MY flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. PSALM 73:26

HE is my strength. HE is my portion. He will heal. He will provide. And He will be faithful when I am faithless.

And I whisper a sweet, “Amen.”

One of those days…

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It’s been one of those days.

You know, “those days.”

One of “those days,” when you wake up early to start the week off right and enjoy a beautiful quite time with the Lord. Then, so as not to waken your oldest child who went to bed last night with a 101 degree fever, you quietly prepare for a day at work, two jobs that is, and sneak out the back door. You kiss your husband goodbye and pull out of the driveway.

One of “those days,” when only a few short minutes away from your home you are pulled over by a police officer for expired tags. Does it matter that you already paid the DMV and are still waiting for tags? No. It doesn’t. You still get a fix it ticket. But at least the officer is nice. Until that is, upon your arrival at work, you come to realize their is an animal cookie stuck to the roof of your car just above the driver’s side window. Nice cop? Nope. He was just amused at the rhinoceros staring at him.

One of “those days,” when after just an hour at job #1, you have to rush to job #2, only to arrive late. And two hours later, to return to job #1, just to get stuck in 20 extra minutes of traffic.

One of “those days,” when after you think you’ve survived your day at work, you come home and enter into the front door to the greeting of your middle child, now with a 100 degree fever, vomiting all over the living room floor, just inches away from the giant bowl that her father had placed there for this very reason. Into the peppermint bubble bathtub, while mommy makes a list of all the ingredients she will need to purchase at the grocery store to make a much needed pot of homemade chicken noodle soup for her sick kiddos. Oh, and of course, husband is starting to feel sick too.

One of “those days,” while after shopping for an hour at the grocery store–which is always an adventure in itself, especially with a growing 1 year old who likes to make her presence known to all who pass by, can climb out of the cart, and enjoys grabbing every item out of your purse and dropping it on the grocery store floor, so as to force you to re-trace your steps down the aisles when you can’t find your keys, your coupon book, or your cell phone–you return home to two completely exhausted and worsening older children.

One of “those days,” while trying to unpack the groceries, grill the chicken, cut the fresh veggies, boil the broth, and draw another peppermint bubble bath for the oldest child who is almost delirious from fever, your 1 year old decides to open the bottom cupboards in your kitchen, remove all of your trays, bowls, and jars, and then waddle her way into the entryway of the home where she proceeds to smash a mason jar into tiny shards of glass all over the tile. Perfect.

One of “those days,” when you have to carry both of your oldest children to the table and convince them to open their eyes just long enough to scoop a few bites of hot chicken noodle soup into their mouth–filled with chicken, whole wheat noodles, bok choy, ginger, basil, parsley, celery, carrots, onions, and garlic. Everything wonderful for healing and fever reducing.

One of “those days,” when after encouraging your oldest child to take just one more bite and sip some broth, she thanks you by vomiting all over her bowl of chicken noodle soup and across the dining room table. Daddy and your middle child quickly leave the table so as not to succumb to sympathy vomiting from the smell. Weaklings.

One of “those days,” when mommy must clean and disinfect the  table, return the oldest child to the bathtub, and start the first of many loads of laundry for the night. The dishes must be cleaned and the kitchen counters wiped down. The floor must be swept and mopped. The children must be put to bed. So, after prayers, songs, a kiss on the forehead goodnight, and three extra diaper changes for your 1 year old who now has diarrhea (of course), you return to the kitchen to finish your chores.

One of “those days,” when at 11:00 o’clock at night, you finish jarring the remaining chicken noodle soup, because Lord knows, no one in the family is going to be interested in chicken noodle soup for at least a few days.  There is just something about ginger, noodles, and bok choy coming back into the bowl that causes one to lose an appetite for soup.

And one of “those days,” when you finally sit down at 11:30 and enjoy a whole wheat english muffin, because you are still hungry after your interrupted dinner, and a glass of orange juice with a handful of vitamins, because YOU don’t want to get sick.

Yes. It has been one of “those days.”

But what do you do? Breathe. Thank God for the blessings. And prepare your heart for tomorrow… which could very well be another one of “those days.” The adventure awaits.

 

 

She. Is. Alive.

Kaycee had just awoken from her nap. She was playing on the floor next to me, as the girls and I curled up and watched Treasure Planet. It was a rainy day and Kris and Kaycee had both been under the weather. Kris had the flu for the last many days and Kaycee had just developed a cold. We were having a quite and restful day. Kris was slowly waking up and getting ready to join us on the couch for the movie and time as a family.

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Just a few moments after Kaycee had begun playing in the toy kitchen just behind me, she crawled over to the couch, pulled herself up, and started making an odd coughing sound. I looked over at her and noticed that she was moving her tongue in such a way to indicate something was in her mouth. I immediately put my finger in her mouth to push it against her cheek and pull it out. I tried to remain calm. But when I touched the object it slid past my finger and towards her throat. I tried to hook it again, but it went deeper. I tried to remain calm. And I shoved my finger to the side of her throat to hook it once more. As it slid deeper, I threw my body over the side of the couch and flipped her over to begin hitting her back. She squirmed and began to cry. She slipped from my hands and I fell onto her back. And I couldn’t remain calm anymore. I began to scream. Violently scream.

Kris came running from the bedroom, grabbed her quickly, and began hitting her back. He ran with her into the kitchen, fearful of what to do next, but continue to hit her back and attempt to dislodge the item. I followed him into the kitchen only to see Kaycee’s face covered in blood and blood and vomit covering Kris. He yelled at me to calm down and leave the kitchen. I returned to the couch where I held a panicked Sadie Rose and Dani, and the three of us cried and screamed and began to pray. “JESUS, PLEASE. JESUS, PLEASE.”

And then I heard the words I will never forget, “Mary, she is dying.”

I screamed, grabbed my phone, and quickly tried to dial 911. As it rang, I threw open the front door and began running outside into the rain, hoping that my presence outside would bring some some sort of miracle and I would be able to flag down the paramedics. I began screaming to dispatch. “4311 CENTRAL AVENUE. MY BABY IS CHOKING. SHE IS DYING. PLEASE COME. 4311 CENTRAL AVENUE. MY BABY. MY BABY.” I kept repeating my words as dispatch kept asking me to calm down.

I ran to our neighbors house and began banging on her door, “SHANNON!!!! HELP!!!”

Just then, I watched as Kris came running outside. Kaycee hanging lifelessly in his arms with blood and spit up dripping from her mouth. But, she wasn’t blue. She wasn’t blue. “PLEASE COME QUICKLY. SHE IS 8 MONTHS OLD.”

Kris ran into the midst of traffic, dozens of cars driving by in the downpour of the rain. He ran across the street to the workmen’s comp clinic, hoping to find a doctor or paramedic nearby. The cars came screeching to a halt. I chased him to the curb, screaming, “MY BABY. HELP. SOMEBODY. HELP.” Neighbors came out of their homes, cars stopped, a man approached Kris.

It later dawned on me that all of the cars and people on the streets were stopping because they thought Kris was kidnapping the baby. But even with people approaching, Kris didn’t stop running. Into the clinic, but out again with no avail. No one to help.

My eyes stayed on Kris and the baby as I continued to scream. Dispatch kept telling me to calm down and that someone was on their way.

Just then…black and white. A black and white was driving by. Driving by to another call down the street. Not for us. I threw myself out into the traffic and screamed, “PLEASE STOP. PLEASE STOP. PLEASE STOP.” The police officer pulled over. However, believing too that Kris was trying to steal the baby she almost got back into her car to chase him. But in a split second, she realized that Kris was now running towards her and not away. She knew something was wrong.

I learned later from Kris that he believed Kaycee was going to be dead, and felt she should spend her last seconds with both of us. And so, he had begun running back in my direction. By the grace and amazing hand of God, Kris had begun running back towards me just as the police officer had started approaching me.

Kris quickly handed Kaycee to the police officer and she immediately began hitting her back. She checked in her mouth and could feel the object but it was too far in. Then back over again and HIT HIT HIT. She then hooked her finger in…and PRAISE THE LORD…pulled out a plastic water bottle cap covered in phlegm and blood. And Kaycee cried. She cried and coughed and cried and cried. And I held her in the rain and cried and cried.

Dispatch was still on the phone. The paramedics were still on their way. Dispatch began yelling at me, “Ma’am, what is happening?” By that time, I had enough of dispatch and threw the phone at another officer who had arrived at the scene, “Here, you talk to dispatch.” And I held my baby and I cried.

I looked over to our home and saw Sadie Rose and Dani, standing panicked and fearful on our porch. The precious little girls never left the porch. In the fear of the moment, they followed our directions. Praise the Lord. Our neighbor Shannon came to their side and took them into the house.

When I stood up, I saw multiple police cars surrounding the area. They had all stopped. One officer even opened his back seat door and released the man he had in custody. Apparently, our situation called for more attention (my apologies to the community that is not being disturbed by the drunk in public wandering the streets). The officers helped me to my feet, and helped me to the house. I couldn’t stop crying and screaming and holding Kaycee. The blood and vomit continued. Was this nightmare not over yet!?! Please dear God.

In the small of our entry way four or five police officers came in, followed FINALLY by the paramedics. Notepads came out. Questions asked all around us. A blur. They would need to take her by ambulance to the hospital. Kris got her carseat and gave it to the paramedics. He then told me that we would let her go by herself with the paramedics and we would follow. I panicked. No, I could not let her out of my sight. The paramedics pleaded with me that she would be fine. Kris assured me she would be fine. We would follow right behind.

They wrapped me and Kaycee in a blanket as I carried her back out into the rain and towards the ambulance. It was then I realized that I had been wearing my slippers. Soaked now with rain from running around the streets, and yet, with every step in my squishy slippers I was reminded how much it didn’t matter. I climbed carefully into the rig, placed her in the carseat and buckled her in as she and I continued to both cry. The paramedics tried to assure me that she would be fine. I rejected their words. “You need to understand something,” I stammered in brokenness. “This is a mother’s worst fear. To leave her child in the care of another, and knowing that I could arrive at the hospital and something have happened to her while I was not with her. I am leaving her with you. Do NOT let anything happen to my baby.”

I said goodbye to Kaycee and I climbed out of the ambulance, acknowledging that I may never see her again.

Back in the house, Kris tried to calm me down once more. I couldn’t cry. I couldn’t stop shaking. I was focused on one thing only. My shoes. I needed to find my shoes so I could drive to the hospital. But then…I was reminded of Sadie Rose and Dani. I didn’t want them to be afraid. So, I grabbed their “B” and their “I” along with their princess dolls and walked over to Miss Shannon’s house. Praise the Lord for candy canes and cartoons. The girls were delighted and doing just fine. I let them know we were going to go see Kaycee at the hospital and everything was going to be fine.

Was it? Was it a lie? Was everything going to be fine? Panic began to set in again. I walked back into our house to get the diaper bag and my coat. Why would the diaper bag matter? Did it really matter if she was dying? And why my coat? I was already soaked with rain. Nothing made sense. I told Kris I would be waiting in the car, as he locked the house and grabbed his own shoes. Did I mention that his head was still spinning from having the flu? This man. Amazing man. Sick as a dog just moments before, running through the rain and traffic to save the life of our baby. Amazing man.

I sat in the car and posted something on Facebook. Does it seem silly? It was the only thing I could do in that moment. Ask for prayer. Sometimes I hate social media. Today, I praised God. And the prayer chains began…

In the car, we pulled away, and headed into the traffic. We attempted the freeway for one stint of our journey only to pull right off due to the storm. Today was not the day for Southern California drivers to get in my way. Does nobody know how to drive in the rain!? So, back onto the main roads and through each light we came to a stop…and a long awaited go. Each light. My knuckles became whiter on the wheel. I remained more calm then ever, but the storm inside was raging. The trauma. I kept feeling the bottle cap in my fingers, just barely slipping from my grip. I kept hearing my screaming and the words, “Mary, she is dying.”

Kris and I tried to talk as we drove. I tried to stay distracted away from the panic, but to no avail. It came in waves. Like the rain gushing down.

And then the best phone call I have ever received. My mother had arrived at the hospital before us. She was holding Kaycee. Kaycee was smiling. And the doctors said she would be ok.

Moments later we pulled into Kaiser and ran across the parking lot. Into emergency we were led and into a massive room with a little baby girl in pink, crying. Covered in blood and spit up. But crying. And alive. And oh so very happy to see her mommy.

I sat on the hospital floor and rocked her in my arms. We just held each other. And I cried.

From behind me, I saw the uniforms. Three police officers entered the room. The female officer that had saved her life, followed by her sergeant and her lieutenant. A few questions were asked, but primarily, we all just wanted photos. Photos of baby Kaycee and the woman who saved her life. Her name is Janet. She wanted a picture too.

Her sergeant informed us that Office Janet Ramos was a decorated medical vet from Iraq. She had saved many lives, and was probably the best person to have on the scene. Embarrassed by the compliment, Officer Ramos quickly interjected, “But this was the first baby.” We smiled and praised the Lord.

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We were released from the hospital just minutes later, and with a goodbye hug from Officer Ramos, we were out the door. Out the door with our baby Kaycee, alive, breathing, crying. And oh, her crying was sweet. Crying. Life.

Home now. The evening has come. The girls are all asleep in bed, and Mommy and Daddy are quickly headed in that direction. But before the night came to an end, I need to write this story. The story of God’s amazing sovereign and miraculous hand of protection over our family. Every. Step. Everything orchestrated perfectly by God.

I will never forget this day. The trauma will continue in my mind. But tonight, I can praise God… Praise God for my baby girls ability to crawl to me, stand up and tell me something was wrong. Praise God for my husbands ability to keep the cap from lodging further and for running into the rain to save her life. Praise God for the rain that slowed down the cars as they drove by our home. Praise God for the call that was made a few blocks down forcing Officer Ramos to be driving by our home. Praise God for her medical training and quick thinking. And tonight, I praise God for my crying baby…who is alive.

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