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I spent nearly four days in a hospital gown and it gave me pause. It was uncomfortable, in the bed where it twisted around me, and even more so when I was out of bed , holding it tightly closed with one hand on the way to the bathroom. I felt vulnerable and exposed. One nurse suggested that I would sleep better if I just untied it while in bed – no thank you.

I had very little control of my life in the hospital. People came and went, putting medication into my IV’s, doing EKG’s, drawing blood. I was dependent on strangers to care for me; I wanted their help, but it felt odd. In real life, I spend my days being in charge of my little brood. I schedule the appointments, plan the meals, enforce the chore chart, and keep us moving along. In the hospital, I was reduced to a fraction of my normal self.

Hannah and Mimi

Hannah and Mimi

This story was long, too long for a blog post, despite the fact that I tried to make it concise, so I broke it into two parts, intending to post them one day after another. In retrospect, I realize that while I know the whole story, it is unkind to leave you all hanging. So here it is, Part 2. Thanks for your loving words and prayers. I’ll have more to say on all of this soon. [My Slightly Broken Heart, Part 1]

Saturday I had an echocardiogram and we learned that I have a bicuspid aortic valve which is the cause of the aortic aneurysm. A bicuspid valve is the most common congenital heart defect and most often poses no problem – although it can – and it all gets complicated.


I’ll begin this post with the end of the story. I did not have open-heart surgery.

However, I’m  pretty certain this was the most expensive, complex, and strange weekend of my life.

It all started on Friday when I woke at 3:45 am with a heavy weight in my chest and the sense that something was terribly wrong. Intellectually, I knew we were all fine, so I prayed my way through it. As I lay in bed, I began to think about a very healthy friend who recently had a heart attack and soon I was in the kitchen consulting my favorite physician, Dr. Google. [editor's note: Dr. Google is second only to my own daughter, Dr. Hannah.]



“When it comes to life, the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.”

G.K. Chesterton

giving thanks #1291 – 1300

my soon-to-be daughter-in-law, Katie

addressing wedding invitations 

How's this for a great idea!

How’s this for a great idea!

I woke up early, just as Russ was finally crawling  into bed after finishing a project for work. His cold body curled up against mine in the wee hours of the morning. I waited for sleep to return and then finally crept from our bed, made my way downstairs, and flipped on the coffee maker.

I read my Bible, read from my current book, Daring Greatly by Brene Brown, planned my day on a lined tablet (yes, real paper) and then opened my computer,  ready to write. I launched into a post on the topic of attunement, which was the subject of a recent parent session at Dimples’ program. In an effort to be accurate, my post began to read like a boring college paper. I tried to fix it, then realized this was all taking far too long. So I saved it as a draft and went to take a shower.

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Is it possible that I haven’t written a Sunday Gratitude post in over a month? I find it hard to believe, but then again, this last month was a tough one for me. I feel like I may be emerging from it and giving thanks is always a good exercise in seeking joy. So here it goes – gratitude for the entire month of March in ten short points.

giving thanks #1281 – 1290

people we’ve never met coming to work on the barn project 

march birthdays: hannah and samuel. april birthdays: mimi, andrew, and eby


The photo above is of Dimples meeting TobyMac before his recent concert in Montana. Such a fun experience for her!

giving thanks #1261 – 1270

a much better week

preparation for Refresh nearly done 

time to connect with some  of my big kids

daddy date for Bee and Sunshine

My Ladybug

My Ladybug

giving thanks #1251 – 1260

a quiet morning with my sick Little Man


movies, lots of movies

yoga pants and a comfy sweater

DSC_0293 I enjoy a good cup of coffee – in the quiet morning all by myself, in the afternoon with a friend, and always when I eat a sweet dessert. Coffee is a simple pleasure in my life. Not long ago, when Hannah was visiting, we had the opportunity to sample and review two Maxwell House International coffees. The package arrived at the perfect time – in the midst of a knitting project. We were making felted baby shoes, which involved experimenting with needle sizes, numbers of stitches, and how many minutes it took to felt the little shoes. I have to say, they turned out completely darling. I’ll get a picture from Hannah to share with you.


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If you follow my One Thankful Mom FB page, you know that we’ve been praying for Rieden, a darling baby who had a liver transplant yesterday.

I have not gone through this, and I find myself wondering what is truly most helpful. So my question to you is:

In the event of a prolonged hospitalization or a death in a family, what can we do to help? What can we do to bring comfort?